Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing

Front Porch Swing – January, 2019

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing.

It’s not about what you look like on the outside…
even if you are rusty, weathered, and worn.

It is about what you are made of…
and what you do with it.

It is about how you connect.
It is about the purpose you serve.

It is about the joy you create.
It is the comfort you provide.

It is about the support you give.
It is the sacred secrets you protect.

It is about feeling the breeze.
It is embracing the squeaks.

It is about the experiences you create.
It is in the memories you cherish.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Un…. A Charlie Guest Post

Un….  A Charlie Guest Post.

Un – decorated from the holidays.
Un – happy that parties are over.
Un – thinkable that there will be no snack spreads to snitch from.

Un – realistic that Mom thinks we need to go on diets.
Un – thinkable that there are still hours until dinner time.
Un – imaginably cold outside – so no walks again today.

Un – believable that mom has to go back to work already.
Un – able to stay awake.
Un – der the covers I go.

Un – derstand….   It’s a dog’s life.

Woofs & Wags,
Charlie

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: thecreativelifeinbetween.com.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  This post is a special one.  It celebrates a very special event in my life.   A Journey back to Daddy’s Girl…

The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl – Happy 4th Anniversary Dad!

Today is a very special Anniversary…  A day that brings back floods of memories…  floods of emotions….  reflections on time missed…  but celebration of time and love shared…  from here on…

You see – Today is a Father-Daughter Anniversary.  Today is the 4 year anniversary of my reunion with my Dad (my “birth father”).

And I  thought it deserved a special anniversary card to send to Dad to help us cherish the day.

word traveler train cherish dad anniversary 4 card

So you might think that sounds a bit odd…. Father and Daughter Anniversary???

Well – I’m going to share a kinda big chunk and pretty personal part of my heart today.  So – if you’re not into that or not interested, you may just want to skip this blog.

So here goes…

On July 17, 2010, I was reunited with my Dad (my “birth father” Dad so as not to be confused with another great man in my life that I also call Dad – I know – a bit confusing – and on top of that both of their names are John!).

It was a day neither of us will ever forget.

The reason(s) for our separation for 39 years is really not the point or purpose of this story, nor do I feel appropriate to share, but the joy in our reunion is the focus here….  And oh what JOY we have shared.

For our second Christmas together again in 2012, I presented Dad with a book I wrote for him.

dadbook

I called it, “The Journey Back to Daddy’s Girl.”  The book is a celebration of our initial exchange of emails leading up to our reunion that covers the course of only a few short weeks, but close to 70 pages of exchanges.  It chronicles how we discovered each other again – an adult daughter close to 50 years old – and an even more adult father – close to 70 years old who last saw each other when the little girl was 9 years old and the Daddy was just barely past 30.

We (well mostly I) asked each other questions (sometimes difficult ones) and our exchanges evolved from closings with “John (BF)” to “Love you, Dad”s.

Let me share the “Introduction” with you here.

———-

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl.  Jodi had a Mom and a Dad and a little brother.

Life was good, until one day when Daddy left.  Then Jodi just got to visit with Daddy on the weekends, until a day came when Mom introduced Jodi and her brother to a new Dad, and told her she would not be seeing her other Daddy any more.

Jodi lived a good life.  Her new Dad and Mom took good care of her and her brother and her new baby sister, but Jodi always felt something was missing.

She thought of her first Dad throughout her life.

She dreamed of bumping into him on the street… their eyes would lock, and they would immediately recognize each other.  Dad would tell her he loved her and missed her and was so proud of the woman she had become…..

Sometimes dreams do come true…”

———-

Marty (for those new here – the hubster), was instrumental in helping me find my Dad.

It is so much more incredibly easier than imaginable with the internet and people search software these days.

Marty has known for years – probably before I even realized – that there was a part of me missing – that there were unanswered questions – that there was a dad out there that I needed – and who needed me.  He has asked me over the years about it – ever since we started dating when I was a mere 16 year old high school girl and he was a “mature” 20-year old “man.”  (That story is a whole blog post for another day).  When Marty realized my yearning had grown so strong, and my need was so great, he was the one that took the step to reach out for me, and the resulting reply is etched in my mind and on my heart forever:

“Hi Jodi – Yes. I am your “Birth Father.”  It was an answer to prayer hearing from you.  I hope that you and John are both fine.  To this day, I regret the worst decision I have ever made.  I was talked into doing something, but I had my own mind.  At the time, I thought I was doing the best thing for your two.  Can you ever forgive me?”

And so began my Journey back to Daddy’s Girl.

And now we celebrate four wonderful years of being a reunited father and daughter, which began on July 17, 2010 when my Dad showed up to my house with a huge bouquet of flowers, a face that looked exactly like mine (and resembles Tom Jones I think only to me 🙂 ), immediately telling me he loved me, and he missed me, that I was beautiful (only to him I’m sure 🙂 ),and he was so proud of me.  You see – he wanted to fulfill my dream…  He wanted our reunion to be the wonderful event I had dreamed about over the years…

We both cried – happy and sad tears.  And we have talked almost every day since then.  We’ve spent  birthdays and holidays and Father’s days together.  He was with me at our son Jake’s wedding.  He loves my family as his own.  His family has embraced me as their own.  They have always known about me, and they welcomed me with open arms.

I will never forget the first time I met my Dad’s wife, Carole (aka Mom 2).  The first thing she said to me was, “Your Dad always promised me a daughter, and now I have one.  We’ve been praying for you for a long time.”

The epilogue of my book closes with:

———-

And so it began …….

With a simple email …

A journey back to Daddy’s girl.

And now, two and a half years later …

… we write each other almost every day

… and talk every weekday morning at 7:05

We’ve spent Father’s days together and holidays and birthdays and are part of each other’s lives again.

Our families love each other and we love each other.

‘What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life’

Dreams do come true!

this is not THE END.”

———-

071710

Father & Daughter Reunion Day – July 17, 2010

I hope this message will encourage those adult children who were separated from birth parents – at whatever age (birth, childhood, teenager, young adult) – for whatever reason – to reach out and try if it is something that has yanked on and ached in your heart for years.

Maybe your ending will not turn out as good as mine did  (and of course there is much more to our story than I’ve shared here so far) , but can anything hurt more than the emptiness and not-knowing that you feel every day?  Could the potential rejection be any worse than what you have imagined or decided or dealt with for years in your heart?

Love is worth the risk.  It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.  Closure or resolution or answers to decades of unanswered questions can let you sleep at night…  can bring you peace… can make you right with yourself!  I’m certainly not an educated or trained professional in this area, but I can only speak of my own personal experience.

I wish you joy.  I wish you peace.  I wish you resolution.  I wish you wholeness of heart – no matter the ending.  YOU are worth it.  YOU are here for a reason.  YOU are loved.

Happy 4 year “Anniversary” Dad!  I love you, and I cherish you!   (And I’ve been listening to “our song” again this week.  I’m betting you will too.)  ❤  “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life!”

Cheers and Hugs,

Jodi

Dear Kitchen Table

This week leading up to Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  This letter to my kitchen table makes me smile.  It still remains sturdy and proud in our kitchen – though it is usually covered with a table cloth these days.  I love the memories formed around our kitchen table.

Dear Kitchen Table

kitchen table

My Dear Ole’ Kitchen Table –

I know you are growing old and tired and worn (and as I look at this photo I took of you just yesterday, I realize it even more!)  There are days I think I want to replace you – or at least refinish your surface.  Many a discussion has been had about you!

But then I remember all the things we’ve been through together… The memories you’ve been a part of…  The people that have sat around you…    the food and festivities you have held…    the activities that you supported….   the different homes you have moved to with us through the years….  and I have a hard time parting with you.

Remember all those Christmas cards we colored on you?  Hours and hours over the years of markers and ink accidentally sliding off the paper onto you, which you gracefully accepted.

Remember how many times milk was spilled on you?  It often slithered through the cracks and off the edge onto the floor, but you never complained while we all scampered to gather clothes to wipe you off and rearrange dinner.

Remember homework, filling out school papers, permission slips, sick notes….?

Remember science projects and art projects?

Remember gift wrapping sessions with paper and scissors and tape and boxes and bags and tags?

Remember daily family dinner time conversations?   Arguments?   Laughter?   Prayers?   Tears?

Remember games of Chutes and Ladders, Old Maid, Monopoly, Life, Trouble, Five Crowns, Rummy, Yahtzee, Set, Operation, Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, and the hardest of all on you – Jenga!?

Remember breakfasts with friends with strips of sizzling bacon, stacks of pancakes, bowls of eggs, and cups and cups and cups of coffee?

Remember when the boys were in high school and we hosted weekly Thursday night flag football games for 5 or 10 or 15 at a time – and then served pots of spaghetti or chili or whole hams or turkeys or roasts to all for dinner – always with a cake or pie or plates of cookies for dessert for hungry growing boys (and girls!)?

Remember vacation-planning sessions discussed around you – like our trip to Hawaii with Jill & Todd – or reminiscing about favorite vacations like our Caribbean Cruise where we met our wonderful Bubby and Glenn or our ultimate excursion to Alaska with our sweet Janet?

Remember our first Christmas reunited with Dad and Carole and Aunt Gwen and Uncle Frank and John and Jeff and Dawn and Jen and the whole gang?

Remember bantering and jokes between Pap and Ron?

Remember shower and wedding planning discussions for Jake and Colleen?

Remember meeting Liz and seeing how happy she makes Nick?

You’ve cooled cookies and cakes and pies on warm summer days and cold winter evenings.

You’ve held fresh flowers and birthday cakes and candles.

Each scratch and fade and mark is a reminder of all of these times….

Thank you for being with our family and helping to keep us in touch with each other.  You were often the center of important deep and meaningful conversations.  Other times you were pounded on as we laughed until we cried…..   or cried until we laughed.

You may not be as beautiful as you were 24 years ago when we bought you from the quaint shop that sells handmade Amish-built oak furniture, but neither am I?

And I’m ok with you if you’re ok with me.

What we have together goes much deeper than superficial “looks.”

Thank you, my dear ole’ kitchen table, for all you have given to our family.

With love,

Jodi

*This post was inspired by Thursday’s Daily Prompt at The Daily Post, entitled:   Literate for a Day:   Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

Falling for Fall

Falling for Fall -Mars, PA - November 8, 2017

Falling for Fall -Mars, PA – November 8, 2017

Falling for Fall.

The days may grow shorter with darkness coming earlier….

but then we get to enjoy the warm glow of candlelight,
and breathe in the scents of pumpkin spice and cinnamon.

The air may grow crisp and the temperatures colder….

but then we get to wear flannels and hoodies and knit sweaters,
and sit by crackling warm fires under fleece blankets.

The leaves that once brought shade may turn dry and fall from the trees….

but then we get to kick and roll in the heaped, crunchy piles
and wait for sparkling white snow to stick to the bare brown branches.

The change of each new season…

brings opportunities for us to Fall for each one,
and embrace the joy and blessings it brings.

Fall for Fall!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi*

*A Born-Anew Autumn Lover!

 

The Lovey of a Bubby

Bubby and Lukey reading Klaus the Mouse – October 2017

The Lovey of a Bubby.

I have a BF named Pam,
the namesake of a special lamb.

For many years, I’ve called her Bubby –
completely out of lots of lovey.

This month about a year ago,
both of our families began to grow.

Pam offically became that sweet Bubby
and I – the happiest of all grandmummies.

She now shares with Lukey,
ever so cutely

Pam the Lamb,
who loves biscuits and jam,

so he will understand the love a friend
that is so great, and has no end.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

If you would like to order a copy of Klaus the Mouse, my illustrated children’s book of original watercolor animals and silly rhymes, simply click here.

Thanks for sharing this precious photo, Bubby!  Love you! ❤

 

 

 

 

10 Months Ago Today…

10 Months Ago Today.

I crossed the railroad tracks today,
like I do so many days.

And I realized, after the fact,
that for the first time in 10 months

I didn’t get a lump in my throat…
I didn’t hold my breath…

I didn’t think of you
and the decision you made

10 months ago today.

It caught me off guard…
Made me both happy and sad.

Only 10 months ago
you were still here…

barely hanging on…
but still there was hope.

10 months later
there is no more hope

and the memory is beginning
to fade.

I want to be happy,
yet that makes me sad.

10 months ago today
you took your life away.

Rest in peace dear brother.
Rest in peace.

Love,
Jodi

A Grandma’s Love

Grandma Susan reading Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales to her grandchildren

A Grandma’s Love.

Grandma Susan (as her grandchildren fondly refer to her) is the kind of Grandma I aspire to be.

In fact…  she’s the kind of human being I aspire to be.

I met Susan through her oldest grandson, who was my youngest son’s “roomer” in college.

To know Susan is to love Susan.  Her joy for life, her positive attitude, her love for her family, her smile, the undeniable glow that radiates from her and touches everyone she encounters….  There is something very special about Susan, and I am so fortunate to call her my friend.

Without my even knowing, Susan purchased a copy of the book I announced authoring and illustrating about a month ago, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.  When she received it, she gathered her grandchildren – now aged 13-27 (and even the spouses of those that are married now!), for a fun reading.  They happened to be gathering together for a bridal shower for one of her granddaughters, but they all took some time to sit down with Grandma Susan to listen to a few “silly stories.”

Can you believe how sweet this is?

You see, Susan is a retired school librarian and long-time lover of books and reading to children (and especially her grandchildren!).

I guess it really is true that Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales is a book for children of all ages, and it’s been so fun hearing stories from folks who have purchased the book.

Susan’s granddaughter, Charrie, told me Adele the Gazelle was her favorite character.

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your love, and for all your beautiful grands who gave permission for us to share.

I’m a new grandma, whose first granddaughter is not even a year old, but I hope I will be as loved and adored as Grandma Susan when my grand(s) are teenagers and married!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi