Celebrating Friendship at Stony Brook State Park

Stony Brook State Park, Finger Lakes Region, NY - Girlfriend Camp GFC 2019 - August, 2019

Stony Brook State Park, Finger Lakes Region, NY – Girlfriend Camp GFC 2019 – August, 2019

Celebrating Friendship at Stony Brook Park.

Climbing stairs

Crossing bridges

Converging pathways

Circulating blood

Conversing thoughts

Circumventing hazards

Communing with nature

Connecting souls

Contemplating life

Considering options

Challenging opinions

Cooperating ideas

Confessing truths

Collecting memories

Celebrating friendship

#GFC2019 Stony Brook State Park, Finger Lakes Region, NY - August 2019

#GFC2019 Stony Brook State Park, Finger Lakes Region, NY – August 2019

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Celebrating Friendship at Stony Brook State Park

A Wizard of Oz Party

A Wizard of Oz Party.

Yesterday, I shared a recipe for Butterscotch Haystacks that I mentioned I made for a  Wizard of Oz Party.  Today, I want to share some more of the super simple treats I prepared for our little group of 11 ADULTS who decided we wanted to watch the Wizard of Oz together.

I prepared a salami, cheese, and olive tray in the shape of the infamous Yellow Brick Road.

And oh what a joy it was to answer my cell phone at exactly the assigned start time of our little party to be asked to come outside…..

When I stepped out onto the porch in the dark and looked into the driveway, a group of seven silly, sweet friends had their arms linked together in a row and came skipping up to the porch singing, “We’re off to see the Wizard… the wonderful Wizard of Oz…” as if they were on the yellow brick road.

I knew we were in for a fun night!   One friend dressed as a scarecrow and another in the “outfit” she wore when she saw the movie for the first time – jammies, a blanket, and pig tails!

We had Bugles “Tornadoes” to dip and munch….


along with Potato Sticks “Scarecrow Straw” and Cheese Curls “Lion Tails.”


There were Hershey’s Kisses “Tin Man Hats”

and bowls of Skittles and Dark Chocolate M&M’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

We gathered at the bar first for drinks and toasting to get the evening started, then made our plates and settled into comfy seats (some even on the floor) to watch the classic we had discussed weeks before talking about how scared, yet fascinated we were as children.   (Notice even Charlie – peeking from front bottom right below – and his friend Gemma hunkered in.)

For almost two hours, we were mesmerized as if we were children, yet noticing so many more things as adults.  We sang along and recited phrases.  We laughed, we gasped, we recounted childhood memories…

It was a silly theme and reason to get together, yet somehow turned into a sincerely authentic experience…

Maybe I’m still on the Brene Brown buzz of vulnerability and courage to be oneself after reading her latest book, Braving the Wilderness, but I woke up the next morning (granted a bit fuzzy from a wee bit too much wine), but feeling completely joyous and connected and complete.

What would life be like without friends?  I hope I never have to know.

And remember……….

You’ve always had the power my dear.  You just had to learn it yourself.”

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

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! ❤

 

 

 

 

A Yellow Canary Named Terry

A Yellow Canary Named Terry.

Today’s post is a collaboration with my friend, Gary, from Spearfruit, in honor of our beloved Terry.

Gary wrote this lovely little poem late one night and shared it with me, so I knew I had to create a Terry canary as beautiful as I could, so we could share this little story and our love for a great man named Terry.

———

There once was a yellow canary named Terry
who had a good friend named Gary.

Terry lived in a birdhouse high in a tree in the city of Tampa
close to his good friend’s camper.

Terry was so full of life with vigor and glee
as he continued to blog in his house in the tree.

Then early one day, Terry became very sick
and from that point forward his health went down quick.

No matter the pain, no matter the grief
Terry always felt better and a little relief

when he blogged to his friends who provided him love
no matter his struggles or thoughts from above.

Then one day when Terry was perched in his tree,
he got a sweet gift from his good friend Jodi.

The gift was a yellow flower that was painted with love
to remind Terry that things are much better above.

From that point forward Terry raised his head high
and did his very best to hold back his cry.

Terry knew it would soon be time to let out his last chirp
so he got himself ready to depart this dear earth.

Although Terry is no longer here perched in his tree
his friends all know that his spirit is with me

always…
Love his best friend, Gary.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

—–

If you would like a 5×7 or 8×10 print of this painting or a box of greeting cards, you can order at McKinneyX2Designs on ETSY by clicking here or by stopping by Berry Vine Gifts in BradfordWoods, PA.

A Yellow Flower for Terry

Terry's Yellow Flower of Friendship Watercolor 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 Artistico 140lb Cold Press

Terry’s Yellow Flower of Friendship Watercolor 7 1/4 x 8 1/2 Artistico 140lb Cold Press

A Yellow Flower for Terry.

I have a friend named Terry.
His favorite color is yellow.
His husband’s name is Gary,
and they have a dog named Roxy.

Terry is a father,
a son,
a brother,
and a husband.

Terry is a handsome man in the fifth decade of life.
About a year ago, Terry and Gary sold their home in Texas,
bought a travel trailer and had plans to travel the country,
including a visit to Mars, PA, where I live.

About a year prior to that,
Terry began having some pain and health issues.
He knew something was very wrong.
Terry discovered he had cancer.

For the past two years,
Terry has sadly become increasing more ill.
The cancer is taking over his body.
But it has not, cannot, and will not kill his beautiful, loving spirit.

One of the many joys of blogging
is the community of other bloggers
and some very special friendships that are formed,
like the one that I have formed with Terry.

I’ll never forget the special way Terry made me feel one time in particular.
About a year ago and about a year into my new adventure in watercolor painting,
I painted and shared a not-so-great watercolor painting of a red boat.
Terry, in all his sweetness, told me it was “priceless” and he “would pay millions for it.”

So overcome with his kindness,
I offered it to him as a gift.
I sent it to him,
and he posted this beautiful way of thanking me:  It’s a Jodi

Terry and Gary never did get to do the traveling they had planned.
They now reside in Florida, living in their travel trailer,
but Terry has spent more days than anyone would wish
at doctor’s appointments, chemo and radiation treatments, and the hospital.

My sweet friend Terry
is now on hospice care.
He has made the choice to live out his final journey
at home with those he loves in peace and comfort and love.

After seeing Terry’s post yesterday
and thinking of him so much,
I decided to paint a yellow flower of friendship
for a beautiful friend.

Dear Terry,
please know how much you are loved,
what an impact you have made on so many,
and how I will always remember you when I see yellow flowers.

Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  If you would like to visit Terry’s blog, please click on any of the hyperlinks provided throughout this post.  I know it would mean so much to him and Gary if you would post a little note to him.  If you do, please tell him how much Jodi loves him!

Watercolor:  Winsor & Newton New Gamboge, Daniel Smith Olive Green, Perylene Green, Perylene Violet.

A 60th Birthday Candy Bar Card

A 60th Birthday Candy Bar Card (in large print for the sight impaired!)

Turning 60 is nothing to SNICKER about.
Your joints may start to CRUNCH,
and your WHATCHAMACALLIT may not work like it used to.
You'll likely have BUTTERFINGERs,
and your mind may play TWIX on you.
We still wouldn't trade you for 100GRAND.
You are a HOT TAMALE and MOUNDS of fun!
Wishing you an EXTRA special birthday!

We celebrated a friend this weekend.
I've known Mary for over 30 years.
What a privilege it is to have "old" friends!  :)

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale

A Girlfriend Camp Visit to Lily Dale.

This past weekend, a group of girls and I went on our annual “girlfriend camp vacation.”
We’ve gone to various places over the past few years including a beach week at Ocean Isle and having various “camp staycations” at each other’s homes.

One of my BFF’s (who I affectionately named Bubby about 20 years ago when Hubby and I met her and her Hubby on an airplane heading to the same cruise) and I created Girlfriend Camp (or GFC as we have coined it) quite a few years ago for just the two of us to get together.  We would meet up a couple times a year at one or the other’s house or at a destination in between since we live about two hours apart.

Since then, GFC has expanded to some of her friends and some of my friends at different times.  We are now all friends and share a very special GFC bond!

This year, Bubby wanted to visit Lily Dale, NY as part of our vacation.  I had never heard of it, but am always up for an adventure and new experiences.

And that it was!

Lily Dale is a small community  located in southwestern New York.  It has a population of 275, but welcomes approximately 22,000 visitors each year.  The purpose of Lily Dale is to further the science, philosophy, and religion of Spiritualism.

It is a place of pilgrimage for many Spiritualists and others interested in Spiritualism, the paranormal, and New Age topics.  Many medium and Spiritualist healers reside in Lily Dale.

I can’t say that I’ve been convinced to believe that Mediums can communicate with spirits (even though a Medium provided me with the name and spelling of my recently-passed brother), but what I can say is that it is a lovely and loving place.

No matter who we encountered during our visit to Lily Dale – whether they be other guests or Lily Dale residents,  every person was kind and loving.  There is a true sense of peace in this little place on earth.

There are small trails through the woods to walk –  one of which is a “Fairy Trail…”


where lovely little fairy houses and communities are on display,

and room is made for fairies (and visitors) to dance with nature.

Gathering places have been created….

for people to gather, pray, meditate,

and possibly connect with the spirits of their loved ones.

Healing services are held, and ribbons of healing and prayer are tied on a prayer tree in chains to offer continuous remembrances for loved ones.  Guests are offered the opportunity to write a prayer intention or a name on a ribbon.  By the end of each summer, hundreds of ribbons are tied to the prayer tree and sing gently in the breeze. At the end of each summer, healers gather in prayer and respectfully take the ribbons from the tree. They are brought to the closing ceremony, where a final blessing is said over the ribbons for healing and for the world.

Here we are in Lily Dale.  Full of love.  Full of life.  Feeling the peace.  Open to the experience.

And the next day……. in true GFC fashion – we spent the day visiting winerys and breweries and celebrating life and freedom and peace and friendship.


Cheers to girlfriends!  Cheers to friendship!  Cheers to kindness!  Cheers to acceptance!  Cheers to open minds!  Cheers to peace!  Cheers to love!

And finally,

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Sometimes I Wonder

Goldfinch and Grosbeak at the feeder - Mars, PA - June, 2017

Goldfinch and Grosbeak at the feeder – Mars, PA – June, 2017

Sometimes
I wonder
how you put up
with me.
Then I remember,
oh I put up with you.
So we’re even.

Author unknown

Lovingly dedicated to a guy I call “Merv.”
He calls me “Gert.”
I put up with him.

He puts up with me.
Let’s do it until eternity. ❤

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes.

They really are among us.

And I have to brag on one of them (maybe two).

For those of you that have been hanging around here at TheCreativeLifeinBetween for any length of time know about our amazing McHendy family.

Well – our youngest Jake (who we affectionately refer to as Baby Jake, but who is far from a baby these days!)  is now a distinguished Naval officer on a ship that was being commissioned this past weekend.  An Everyday Hero he is!

But behind the story of this great hero is another hero.  This everyday hero shuns the spotlight, but she does magical, amazing, generous acts of kindness behind the scenes.

She also just so happens to be my BFF.  Her name is Jill, and she is astonishingly extraordinary.  (Remember the Pay it Forward Christmas Gift Challenge?)

Well – much like any Mom of a military service person would do – Jill sends “care packages.”

But Jill doesn’t send care packages just to her son (our Jake), she sends them to the ENTIRE crew of the ship he is on – EVERY month!

She does it behind the scenes, all on her own, while also working full time and then some in an executive position, being a mom to four grown children and grandma to one (and a half!), and being an amazing friend and philanthropist.

When we recently celebrated Jill’s birthday, Jill insisted on paying the bill for lunch.  When paying, she told our server to “keep the change.”  The server questioned her to assure she meant what she said, because, you see, Jill tipped our server over double the amount of the cost of our lunch.  It was her “gift” to the server – on HER birthday!

That’s the kind of person she is…  Someone I can only aspire to be like!

When she was recently called up among dignitaries and military personnel and political celebrities to be honored at the commissioning of the naval ship our Jake is an officer on, she humbly accepted, but raised her arm in respect to doing it “all for the crew!”

I am so stinking proud of her, I had to share!  She will likely not be pleased, but hopefully she will forgive me, because she knows I am doing it out of love and respect for the amazing person she is.

Everyday heroes are among us!  And I am so honored to call one of them my BFF!

Love you Jill!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts

I received one of the most precious gifts yesterday from my BFF, Jill…. this darling little clutch purse for the wedding.

What is so special about it is what is on the inside.

From the outside, it is absolutely gorgeous!

But when I opened it up, I burst into tears.

The lining is made from a photo of hubby and me with our soon-to-be-groom son (taken at our oldest son’s wedding from 3 1/2 years ago!)

Isn’t this such a beautiful gift?  What a wonderful idea for brides, bridesmaids, mothers of brides and grooms!  Such a unique and personal gift.  Jill ordered it from AngeeW’s ETSY shop.

And clever, beautiful, kind Jill, wrote this beautiful note.

I don’t know how I hit the lottery on most amazing BFF and friends, but I am so grateful!  And what a wonderful reminder to all of us that it IS indeed what’s on the  inside that counts.

Especially as we grow older and all the “lovely” saggy, wrinkly, things begin to happen we need not discuss, it is especially important to remember who we are on the inside.

No matter our age, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance – we all have the ability to exude a bright, loving aura.  Have you ever noticed how a person who is maybe just average looking but has a bright, positive, happy, loving disposition seems so much more beautiful?  And sometimes people who are especially physically attractive, but not kind people can become unattractive?

I love how Jill expresses it….  she sees a person’s “aura!”

Let’s make a focused effort this week (and always) to look for a person’s aura – and remember that it is what’s on the inside that counts.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi