R is for Reflecting

R is for Reflecting.

I was recently commissioned through our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop to create a special “R” watercolor for a sweet young lady who wanted one for the center of a family gallery wall she was creating.

She requested the R be in shades of turquoise and blue and entwined with some pink roses.

This painting is 12×16, which she plans to mat and frame to 16×20.

The poignant and provoking thing about it is her last name is Rodgers (the reason for the “R” painting), and that is my birth/family name.

Those who have been following this blog for any length of time may recall me sharing the story of my “reunion” with my “birth” father, which occurred eight years ago, or the story of  the loss of my brother two years ago.  Two “Rodgers” men in my life.  So, for some reason, painting this “R” for a “Rodgers” family caused many reflections as I created it.

We all are who we are as a result of a compilation of our life experiences.  I am proud to be a “Rodgers,” and I was honored to create this special “R” for another young lady who shares a connection with me.  A connection I didn’t even mention to her.  But an experience I am reflecting on as I add it to my collection of events that shapes my life and who I am.

May you find time to Reflect and Reminisce about your life,  about the people you love, and about the experiences and events that have shaped your story.  May you Remember to be good to yourself and to be kind to others.  May this message Reassure you of your worth and your Relevance as a human being.

Rejoice in your Reflections.

Cherish the Moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Dear Future Me

Dear future me

Dear 73-Year Old Jodi:

I’ve written a letter to us in the past before (Dear 13-Year Old Me), but I thought it might be fun to write a letter to future us this time.

It was one thing to look back and give wisdom to young Jodi, even though we couldn’t do anything about it “then,” but what would I like to say to the future Jodi 20 years from now at 73 years old?

53 is a good age.  How is 73 treating us?

At 13, I thought 53 was ancient, but guess what?  It really doesn’t feel that way.

Nick asked me just last week, when time turned  the number up a notch to 53, how it felt to be 53 years old.  I think he expected me to complain about getting “old,” but I surprised him (and hubby, who literally laughed out loud) when I told him it felt pretty darned great!  “53!  It’s the number to be,” I said smiling and raising my arms as if I’d won an Olympic gold medal.

Do we still feel that way about being 73?  I hope so.

Right now, I know that on the inside, we are still the same person  at 53 that we were at 43 or 33 or 23 or 13 or 3.  Who cares if the skin is a bit saggier, we have more wrinkles, more gray hair, rounder bellies?!  We’ve earned it!  If we made it this far, we have had the privilege of experiencing and enjoying every other one of those numbers, so let’s not waste our life wanting to go back to them.  Let’s embrace right now and what the present offers us.  We only get one chance – 365 days – to be this age – so let’s make the best of it.  Let’s use all the experience and wisdom we gained in the last 72 years to make this the best year yet.

When you read this, dear 73-yearold Jodi, lift your arms in victory, smile, and boldly declare, “73!  It’s the number to be!”

Love,

jodi christmas eve 2015

53-year old Jodi

 

 

 

 

Have you heard of FutureMe.org?  Apparently it has been around since 2004, but I’ve just learned about it.  According to their site,  over 4 million letters have been written to the future by people just like you and me.  Wouldn’t it be fun to receive a surprise letter from the past you some day you choose in the future?

Usually it is the future that will reflect back on the present, but FutureMe.org decided to flip that around based on the principle that memories are less accurate than emails.

So why not give it a go?  Send your future self “some words of inspiration, or maybe a swift kick in the pants!”  “Share some thoughts on where you’ll be or what you’ll be up to in a year, three years.. more?”  FutureMe.org will do the travel magic and deliver the letter (via email) to you – Future YOU!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Dear 13-Year Old Me

Dear 13-Year Old Jodi –

Almost 40 years later, it is so good to talk.  I wish we could have done this sooner.

image

8th Grade Class Photo – Almost 13

But this will be good for both of us, because in so many ways this 52-year old woman is still that 13-year old girl.

There is so much I wish you could know that we know now to make the road easier.  But then again, maybe we wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t have those toils and trials and tribulations that young girls must go through to truly appreciate life and being a woman.

But it is okay, because we turn out okay (actually GREAT in spite of ourselves), so try not to be so hard on us!

Don’t worry so much about what everyone else thinks  …  what is cool….  what is considered beautiful by teenage standards.   Be secure in who YOU are…. Self-esteem is beautiful in a girl and in a woman….  There is more to beauty than being “skinny,”  than wearing make-up, than having long, blonde straight hair (which we still never have!), than name-brand clothes and shoes and purses…

Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, wear make-up, shave your legs, date…  Enjoy being a girl, because looking back, it flashes in a blink, and you have a long time to be a woman.

Don’t feel like you have to be anything you aren’t just for a boy to “like” you.  You are fine just the way you are, and you will find that people are going to “love” you just for who you are.  Just be patient, be confident, and know the best is yet to come.

We were in such a hurry to grow up.  I wish I could tell you to slow down.  We couldn’t wait to hit that “magical” number of 13.  It meant “grown up” to us.  We were a teenager!  We didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be at times, and 12 wasn’t so bad – eh?

We moved a lot.   Things changed as we were growing up.  Our parents divorced… Mom remarried… she told us we have a new Dad going forward…. we weren’t going to see first Dad anymore…  She told us he was glad to turn us over to a new Dad…

That was hard on us.  SOOO hard on us!  How do we just do that?  But by 13, we were used to it – huh?  After all, it had been four years, and our new Dad was good to us.  He gave us a good life and he tried to love us like his own.  We will always be grateful for him.

But that didn’t make us miss our first Dad any less.  And we didn’t see our first Dad for a  really long time.  We dreamed about bumping into him on the street, and hugging and embracing and having him tell us we were beautiful and he knew us right away and he missed us, and he was sorry.  When we got married, we wondered what he would think of us and who we chose.  What it would be like to have him walk us down that aisle and dance to “Daddy’s Little Girl.”  When we had our first child, we wondered what he would think of being a Grandfather to our son.  If he would be proud of the kind of mother we had become.  We missed him, but we always put it in the back of our mind and memory, and we were grateful for what we did have and who we did have.

But guess what?  He comes back into our life – and he loves us – and he missed us – and he does everything he can to make our dreams of him come true.  So be patient, and know that you will have a beautiful reunion, and you will then talk to him almost every day, and you will make up for lost time.   With him back in our life also comes another Mom, who has waited patiently for a “daughter” that Dad promised him.  We have some more brothers and a beautiful Aunt and Uncle and cousins, who love us too, and have waited for us to come back into their lives.  I wish you could know that this would come, and you didn’t have to feel sad and not good enough and not loved enough.

At 13, we don’t even realize it, but we have one of the best friends we will ever have in our life.   And she is still one of our best friends to this day!  Her family is like our family.  They love us like their own – and we love them with a power and passion that cannot be put into words.  We will visit often with her, we will go on vacations together, we will tell her our deepest, darkest secrets, and she still loves us even though she knows all of our brokenness.  If you could only know now what a blessing we have found in her…. but we move on – for a while.

We make other amazing lifelong friends, and since we have a falling out with our family, which is very difficult, we are so fortunate to have a support network of friends who are like family – who are our chosen family.  Who choose us as family.  We have a very full, loving “family.”

We will go through a few difficult situations with boys/men that will make us wonder, but we end up meeting an amazing man, and he will be our life partner.  He will be our rock, our comfort, our steady through storms, our logic in times of confusion, the father of our sons (yep – we have two amazing boys!  You always wanted to be a mom – and your dream will come true!).  This man, who we will meet in just three short years and marry in just six, will be our forever life partner.  We have been married 33 years now, and we can’t imagine spending it with anyone else.

image

Senior Class Photo – 16 years Old

It won’t be perfect – don’t get me wrong. Fairy tale marriages can be so deceiving.  We will learn that love is a verb, not a noun.  It is an action.  It is giving as much as receiving.  It is learning what language our partner needs to hear or feel or receive love in.  But our husband understands this so much better than us, and he teaches us, and we are so very fortunate to have him.  He has a mom and dad that taught him well and that teach us and love us.  We lose them too soon, but we were there for them and they were there for us, and that is all we can ask for.

But we still went through a few crazy dates and experiences before we found him.  So PLEASE remember to carry money in your purse for a phone call, so when that boy tries to do what he did on that “date,” you can call for help.  (What were we thinking going out without even the dime needed for a pay phone back then?  Everyone carries cell phones now, and it is easier to communicate, but back then it was scary, and you were so trusting and innocent.)

Don’t be impressed with “men” who want to make you feel important and loved in inappropriate ways.  You don’t need that to be special.  They are the ones that are insecure and need to feel important.  You are fine just the way you are. Run from them – fast!  Don’t look back.  Don’t be fooled.  Men that are married and have children and show interest in 13-year old girls are the ones with problems – not YOU!

I know all you want to do is grow up and find Prince Charming and be a mom, but you get to work a little first, and that is good for you.  You will get time for that wonderful experience and be a stay-at-home mom for quite a while.  You will scrimp a bit financially to be able to afford it, but it will be worth it.  And once the boys are teenagers, you will go back to work, and you will thoroughly enjoy working, without regrets.

You will get to work for a company that cares for people in their homes when they have surgeries or chronic diseases or face end of life.  You will be part of spreading the word about the good things your company can do for people at end of life, and you will work for a company that appreciates and values work-life balance and family priorities, but you will also work hard and love it.

Be patient, young one.  Be strong.  Be confident.  Know we are going to have a good life and turn out just fine.

With Love,
52-Year Old Jodi

image

August, 2015 – 52 years YOUNG!

This post was inspired by my dear cousin, Nikole, who shared the idea with me to write a letter on my blog to my younger self.

Vintage Birthday Card

masculine card hero artsferns watercolor penny black letter background

This card was one of those projects that just evolved….

I had no idea where I was going with it, but I love how it ended up.

I felt like just splashing some watercolor on paper.

I wanted to get “wild and crazy” and just tear the paper instead of cutting it.

After the watercolor dried, I stamped Penny Black’s Letter Stamp on top.

I then heat embossed Hero Arts’ ferns on top of that.

Then I splattered…

and I sponged the edges…

and I wrapped with some SU linen thread and a wooden button.

masculine card happy birthday paper smooches sentiment hero arts fern watercolor

For the inside, I painted some “leftover” watercolor paint onto the Hero Arts Fern stamp.  I LOVE how it turned out.

Then, I used the Paper Smooches Happy Birthday Sentiment on top of it.

masculine watercolor penny black letter hero arts fern vintage card

It turned into a birthday card for a very special brother-in-law.

I hope he feels the love and passion that went into each step of the creation.

Kinda like the love I feel for him. 🙂

Happy Birthday Ron!  May your birthday be as special as you!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  I am entering this card in the CanYouCaseIt Designer’s Choice Challenge this week (CYCI#66).

CYCI66

Longing for a Happy Ending

love

#Writing101 Challenge Day 5:  Be Brief

You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

————————————————————————

Well – of course its a love letter 🙂 …………
Bear with me, friends, on a fiction challenge.

————————————————————————

It was just like any other Friday morning in September.

Mikey and I were on our morning walk.

The sun was bright, the breeze light, the air crisp, and the crickets chirped their Autumn lullaby.

Mikey saw it first – or most likely smelled it first, and he tugged on the leash I was leisurely holding.

“What now,” I thought.

Then I saw it.

I couldn’t resist picking it up.

I unfolded the tattered composition paper that was tucked into the torn and faded yellowing envelope.

My Dearest Love,” it began.

“I miss you more than the number of stars in the sky.  I miss you deeper than the depths of the sea.  The only thing that makes this time away from you bearable, is knowing that you are there, waiting for me, praying for me, longing for me – as I long for you.  I am the most fortunate man in the entire universe, because I know in my heart that you are…..”

The page was torn.  The rest of the story is lost – – – lost in time, lost in space.

Maybe it belongs to one of our neighbors.

Or maybe it has traveled for hundreds or thousands of miles – floating through the winds of time.

Mikey and I will never know.

He trudges ahead, sniffing and searching for the next treasure.

I smile and wonder…. imagining…. dreaming…. hoping….  longing…. for a happy ending.

love 2

(The card pictured here was designed for The Pals Paper Arts Color Challenge PPA213.  The challenge was to use:  Blackberry Bliss, Brown Sugar, Cajun Craze, and Always Artichoke.)

The thing I love most about it is the tiny gold embossed hearts amidst the plethora of random dots.  It’s like the hidden treasure – in the mass of chaos.

Kind of like life…

pp213

Cheers & Hugs,

Jodi