My First Post Revisited

My First Post Revisited…
A sweet blogging friend, Carolina Russo at YesterdayAfter, tagged me and threw out a challenge to revisit and repost our very first blog post.   I thought it would be fun to reread and repost.
I can’t believe I have been doing this for almost three years!  My first post was on May 18, 2014.It’s fun to read how some things have changed and how some things never change!
My sweet Mikey is gone.   And now we have Charlie.
Papercrafting is still something I enjoy, but I’ve gravitated to watercolor painting.  Hadn’t even touched a paintbrush back then when I started.
You can see I was wishing and hinting about being a grandma…. and now that dream has come true!
Still in our same home.
The daffodils are blooming again – unseasonably early.
Life is a joyful journey, and it is fun to look back and cherish the moments.
Hope you enjoy.

the first post – so how do I begin?

May 18, 2014

So I have a good idea what I want to write about… for the most part. My BFF’s oldest daughter told me I should start a “lifestyle” blog.  I guess she thinks my life is interesting….  or at least enough that one or two people might want to read about things I do….  (Hopefully I’ll have at least one subscriber – Jacyln Rae – hint hint!)

Or maybe she just thinks I would enjoy doing it, and that is enough.

Hmmm…. I think I like that…

You know…. that’s one of the perks of growing – err – older and wiser – you get to the point where you realize you can do things just because you want to. Yes – there are those things most of us HAVE to do – like paying bills, doing laundry, working – you get the gist – but what do you like to do in between all that?

That’s the real “living” part.

“Life in between” can mean so many things…

The main reason I titled this blog with it is because I want to share the things I choose to do in between the things I “have” to do.

It can also be a stage of life that is in between stages – and aren’t they all?!

Right now – I’m kind of in between the mom stage and the empty nester and grandma stage. And Oh I Can’t Wait to be a Grandma!  (No hint hint Jake and Colleen – whenever you are ready…  well – maybe a little hint hint)

I think I was born to “mother.”  And oh poor everyone around me that I “mother” – sorry! It’s just in my DNA – I want to nurture, I want to comfort, I want to make happy. Could be worst things -right?!  (clear throat)  But don’t ask my boys…

So anyway – the things I love to do “in between” the things I have to do – that’s what I want to share with you here.

French Macarons

I love to bake.  I love how it makes the house smell.  I love how it makes people feel when they bite into a buttery, chocolately, caramely yummy thing.  I love surprising someone with a special treat of something they love.  Here is a picture of my first attempt at French Macarons.  I was so excited these testy little buggers turned out.  Not sure I’ll ever make them again – so much work – so temperamental – and what if they don’t turn out the next time?  Was it beginner’s luck?  I’ll just believe I’ve MASTERED them….  and leave it at that….

I also love to decorate – my home that is.  And it’s not all about it being House and Garden perfect for those of you that know me and are thinking  “Jodi – you are NOT an interior decorator!”

My ultimate goal (in deocrating) is to create a place that is warm and welcoming.  A place where someone can just drop by (no formal invitations needed around here) and feel comfortable and welcomed and loved.  No shoes off in my house.  So what if the carpet has stains…  Those stains represent someone who I shared my home with or that spilled a drink or our dog who came in after a rainy spring day – so what…  I grew up in a house that was House and Garden perfect… that meant NO SHOES inside…  it meant that you could see sweeper marks in the carpet from the daily vacuum…. it meant that you could literally eat off the garage floor if you were so inclined because it was so clean….  and that’s all good…  Mom was an awesome “cleaner”…  but it’s not me.  I want comfort, warmth, welcoming.  I want my house to feel like your favorite worn slippers or most comfortable fleece hoodie or your “go to” black yoga pants.  That’s what trips my trigger.

Here’s a little peek at our home – and that’s my little buddy “Mikey” who is never far from my side.  After this LONG COLD winter, it was so nice to see the daffodils and grass recently.

signs of spring

And I also love to craft.  It’s been various things through the years…  I’ve tried knitting and crocheting and cross-stitching, tole painting, slate painting, wood crafts, and ceramics.  My most recent crafting obsession is papercrafting – stamping, coloring, cutting, punching, pasting, tying – anything with paper and ink.  I guess it feels comforting being that I (and so many of us) spend so much time on the computer.  It feels extra special to create and send a special handmade something to someone and hope they realize the time and love you put into it – just for them. Here’s a card I made for a very special cousin and friend – Oh Rob! (I’m sure you’ll hear more about him in coming posts). Oh how I love that guy – and his amazingly talented and loving wife and superhero to me, Joyce.  Rob’s “One Little Word” this year is “reflection,” so I wanted to create a birthday card acknowledging and celebrating “reflection.”

rob reflection birthday card 2014

And then – I love to photograph it all.  Dear hubby got me my first good camera for Christmas this year – and I think he might regret it….  I know my boys do…. but I just love taking photographs of crazy, silly, normal, everyday things.   Not a trained professional by any means – not even a class – haven’t even read the whole manual (sorry Patty – I will get there!) – just have fun with it and love seeing what it captures.  My BFF, Jill, honored me with the privilege of capturing  her daughter, Jackie’s bridal shower recently – oh what fun that was – and even allowed me to do a “photo shoot” with her in-laws (I think George and Alice are going to be more famous than all of us) for a work campaign.

Recently, while Marty (that’s the dear hubby’s name) was cutting grass, I was doing very important things like taking pictures of dandelions and bees on them….  and HE snapped this little gem with his phone while on the tractor…. Not flattering – but yep – that about sums it up.  The silly things I do in my life in between…..

Untitled

So we’ll see how this goes….  I now have my first post under my belt.

Cheers and hugs,

Jodi

#MyFirstPostRevisited

Why?

sunny-sky-february-19-2017-mars-pa

Why do I feel the most sad
when it is the brightest most beautiful day?
Some time has passed and life goes on,
but why does my heart not feel better?

Why does the sound that I used to love
of the trains blowing their horns in the distance and echoing through the hills
haunt me so much
that I sometimes want to scream “Shut Up!”

Why do the melodious wind chimes
that sing in the breeze
make me so sad and sometimes mad
that I had to put them away for a while.

Why did you have to take your life
on the day we used to celebrate
the life of another so dear to us
whose life was also ended too soon?

Why – on a most beautiful day in February – the month of your birth,
when it should be cold and snowy and blustery,
did I sit in the sunshine… in bare feet… and short sleeves…
and mourn this beautiful gift you were missing that I know you would have loved?

Why did we often let long periods of time pass
when we didn’t see each other or talk
when I knew you were there and that you loved me,
and I know you knew I loved you too?

But now you are gone,
and now I think of you every day,
and I miss you every day…
and I wish things could be different.

With love always from your sister,
Jodi

Friends – I usually try to keep my blog upbeat and encouraging, but I really felt the need to share that even in the best of days and times and all the blessings in life, there are still times of grief and sadness.  We can’t ignore it.  Grief is something we all must face when we love.  When we love someone and lose them, it hurts deeply.  But it is still worth it to love and bear the hurt, for what would life be like without the love?  To grieve means you have loved.  And to love and lose is far greater than to have never loved at all.

I also want to thank a dear friend, who somehow always seems to know the right time and right thing to say.   This dear friend – out of the blue and from far away – sent me a text telling me he was thinking of me and my brother when he heard a song, and he thought I should listen to it as it could be my brother’s parting song.  If you care to listen, this is the song he recommended to me: “Go Rest High On That Mountain

Love & Valentine’s Day

mckinney-wedding-day

Love & Valentine’s Day

When I was a young girl
and dreamed about love,
it was dreamy and romantic
and dizzying and sweep-away, fairy tale-like.

Now that I’m not such a young girl,
but a woman who has loved
and who has also been loved
for many more years than not…

I know that love
is not just a feeling.
It is an action…  It is a verb.
It is a choice, and it is a decision.

It is giving just as much as receiving.
It is safe, and it is secure.
It is not always dreamy and romantic and dizzying,
but it is so much more.

So from the once 16-year old girl
who fell for that 20-year old boy,
I’m so thankful for your love,
and I love you more now than then.

Happy 38th Valentine’s Day!
May we have that many more.

Love,
Me

Warmth

warmth-of-fireplace

Warmth…

A crackling fire glowing in the fireplace,
A steaming bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

The eyes of your child when they know you are sad,
The hand of a friend whose always by your side.

The fur of your four-legged best friend whose always by your side,
A soft, chenille blanket from a special lady who goes by the name of Mom (II),

An unexpected text with a photo of your grandchild,
A handwritten letter in the mail from a favorite aunt.

The first sip of coffee on a cold winter morning,
A glass of red wine after a long day at work.

Favorite fuzzy slippers you accidentally wear out of the house,
A well-worn hoodie with threadbare elbows.

Memories from a special song,
A tight hug that lasts longer than a pat on the back.

The ringing of the phone at the same time every morning,
and the sound of a Dad whistling while he patiently waits.

An air kiss blown while rolling over in the middle of the night,
An “I love you” on the way out the door,

A smile that greets you when you enter the office,
The privilege of introducing your future daughter-in-law.

The distinct squeak of the door opening at the end of the day,
The comforting sound of a snore you’ve loved for 35 years.

Cheers & Warm Hugs,
Jodi

 

Everyday Heroes

homeless-bags-from-everyday-heroes

Everyday Heroes
are everywhere.

I was talking with a friend/work colleague
on the phone just yesterday.

She was driving into town for a meeting,
and we were discussing the agenda.

All of the sudden, she interrupted our conversation,
“Hold on…. Hold on!”

And then I heard her shout in a friendly tone,
“Sir!  Sir! Here you go?”

“My hands are so cold!”
I heard a male voice say.

“There are gloves in here
and some food and a little bit of money.”

My friend – an everyday woman on her way to the office –
swerved to the side of the road to hand a homeless man a bag.

You see, she carries several with her in her car at all times
and hands them out when she sees someone in need.

Everyday hero –  that’s what you are!
My friend, you never cease to amaze me.

And we can all be heroes…
everyday heroes…

It only takes one small act of kindness
to spread a great amount of love!

What can you do today?
What WILL you do today?

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

These Little Piggies

claras-toes-9-weeks-old

These Little Piggies

When I kiss them
and rub them
and tuck them in
her little jammies,

I think about
the first wobbly steps they will take and then the walks that will follow holding mommy’s or daddy’s hands and later with a beloved friend or pet or me.

I think about
the times she will stand tall and proud on them for important things she believes in.

I think about
the times when she will vehemently “put her foot down” about something important to her.

I think about
her skipping on a hopscotch game chalked on the pavement or into the house with her heart fluttering from her first kiss.

I think about
her jumping rope in the playground or jumping off a diving board or from a plane.

I think about
her dipping them in and splashing at the edge of a pond or kicking them in the vast ocean.

I think about
her marching in a band like her mommy and daddy or in an important protest that could change the world.

I think about
her putting them gingerly on top of her Daddy’s trusting, sturdy feet learning to dance.

I think about her slipping them gracefully into delicate ivory wedding shoes to dance with the love of her life.

But for now,
I just kiss them
and rub them
and tuck them in her little jammies.

And I am thankful
for these little piggies.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Finding Purpose: Why I Blog

meaning-of-life-purpose-of-life

Everyone needs a purpose in life.

The older I get, and the more I experience new life (like the birth of my first grandchild), and the deaths of those I love (like the recent loss of my brother), the more I ponder my life’s purpose….  the legacy I might leave behind…  how people will remember me.

When I started this blog two and a half years ago on May 18, 2014 – just for fun and on the encouragement of my BFF’s daughter (my McHendy daughter, Jackie), I wasn’t sure what I was doing or what to expect.  I think I secretly thought I might be the next Ree Drummond or Rachel Ray and get rich and famous.  It was all about me.

But after posting daily for almost 1,000 days, it’s become something very different.  It hasn’t brought me the kind of fame or fortune I clandestinely fantasized about in the beginning.  But what it has become – is a purpose…  a personal mission of sorts…  a small way of giving to the world…  a place to encourage (and maybe even inspire) people to embrace the simple moments of life to cherish… especially those “in between” moments.

I have a very fulfilling career and full-time job I love that keeps me busy as the Director of Strategic Projects and Office of the CEO for a hospice and home health company.  I have a husband of almost 35 years, two grown sons, an amazing daughter-in-law and another soon-to-be, and a baby granddaugher that bring such joy to my life (and of course there is also Charlie!).  I have the most amazing BFFs a “girl” could ask for.

Yet, I still believe I need to have something that is my personal legacy, and that is what my blog has grown to be for me.  When I consider my few talents and gifts, I have often been told my greatest is that of an “encourager” or “influencer.”  I’ve taken many a DISC Personality Asssessment, and I am always an out-and-out straight High “I.”  I have taken “Spiritual Gift Assessments” that tell me I have the gift of “exhortation” or encouragement.  Hubby tells me I have the gift of “gab!”  So why not use that gift – one that comes so easily to me – to benefit others?

I have never had difficulty talking with strangers.  My goal in any situation, whether it be greeting the receptionist at an office, the UPS delivery person, the garbage collector, or a less-than-happy cashier at the grocery store, is to leave them smiling.  Not sure why it is important to me – but it is.

And that is my goal here too.  The goal of this blog is not to “show off” what I have or what I can do or to make you think my life is all peachy and perfect.  My life is not perfect.  That is not what I want people to think.  In fact, my life is far from perfect… like all of ours are!  I have an estranged relationship with my mother, I was separated from my birth father for 39 years until six and a half years ago, my brother struggled so severely with alcoholism that he took his own life by stepping in front of a train…  I struggle with my weight and have always been “chubby,” I’m not particularly attractive, I have no musical talent whatsoever….  the list could go on.  I tell you this not for pity or sympathy or for you to disagree.  I tell you this so that it might allow you to know that despite life’s challenges and adversity, we can still seek to find the joy.  We can still be kind.  We can still feel love.  There are still many, many moments to cherish…  And we must seek them, and we must appreciate them.

So no matter how busy my day, and knowing there is no monetary or fame reward or prize to be given for posting every day, I still make sure I do.  I spend a bit of time, often late at night, writing a post that might encourage you, that might make you smile, that might inspire you to bake or cook something new or paint something, or just look at something differently.  It might be a few words that will remind you of something that makes you happy.  Sometimes I am typing it at 11 pm with only one eye open.  Other times I get ahead by four or five posts and give myself a break.  But I still make it a personal goal to post something everyday (that appears at 6am EST) for my dear followers to either start their day (if they are living in my part of the world) or end their day (for my cherished blog follower friends in Latvia or Ireland or Australia or Japan).

So even on my toughest days, I seek to find something good and encouraging, because in encouraging you, I am rewarded in an even more profound way than could be achieved with fame or fortune.  I feel my life has a personal purpose.  I feel I am giving something of value to the world.  I feel I might be remembered… for being kind.  I might be creating my legacy.

Do you think about your life’s purpose?  Your legacy?  What you will be remembered for?

None of us know when our last year or day or breath will be, so my simple message is: Cherish the Moments!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Today I will choose to be kind

white-rose-bereavement-bouquet

Today I will choose to be kind –
most especially and intentionally to those who are not.

I will remember how precious and fragile life is –
and seek to cherish the moments.

We may not remember days or weeks or months,
but we remember moments.

And life is made up of moments –
ones that bring joy…

And others that bring grief
and sadness and loss.

I will cherish those moments too
and allow myself to feel them.

For a heart that cannot grieve or feel sadness or loss
cannot also feel the fullness of joy and love and hope.

Today, and every day, I will seek to choose to be kind,
and I will also embrace the kindness of others.

For every moment
is what makes up a life.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi