There once was…

LJM One Year Old Portrait Watercolor 11×14

There once was a little girl
whose Grandma loved her so dearly

she wanted to paint her portrait
to honor her first birthday.

Though the painting didn’t nearly capture
the little girl’s character and charm and beauty,

hopefully she will
someday realize

there once was a Grandma
who wanted her to remember

how much she meant to her
and how much she was loved

that she tried to paint her portrait
and it was done with lots of love.

 

My second granddaughter recently celebrated her first  birthday.  This painting is not meant to be framed or hung, and it surely doesn’t come close to depicting her beauty. But it was painted to be tucked in a memory box as a little keepsake and token of love.  I am going to try to paint a portrait every year of each of my grandchildren for the sole purpose of tucking it away to save.  I like to think that perhaps one day when I am gone, they will occasionally look at them and cherish them as keepsakes of a Grandma that loved them with her whole heart and soul and bring back sweet memories of happy times spent together.  Love you Sweet Baby Girl!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Father’s Day

Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads!  Here is a photo taken a couple years ago of me between two of my faves:  my Dad and Hubby.

And in honor of Father’s Day, I want to share a blog post I originally wrote and posted five years ago.  Today also happens to be my Dad’s birthday, so it is a very special day indeed!


July 17, 2014

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

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart.

Every Spring
you show up

and you remind me
of Grandma’s love.

You remind me of her presence
and influence on my life.

Thank you
Bleeding Heart!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Many years ago, my Grandma gave me this bleeding heart plant.  I have transplanted and moved it.  It will always be where I am.  Grandma will always be a part of me.  There is likely not a day that passes where something doesn’t remind me of her or make me think of her, but this plant is an extra special reminder.  It makes my heart soar and swell each Spring when it blooms.  Just like her love for me did and still does.  With Mother’s Day approaching, I remember Grandma with love and the deepest admiration.  May I be even half the Grandma to my grandchildren that you were to me. ❤

PS – I will be taking a blogging break for a week or so.  See you when I return.

April Showers Part II

April Showers Part II.

After painting April Showers, I wanted to expand on the idea with a mom and two daughters walking in the rain for this watercolor.

Those that know me may recognize the inspiration. ❤

The Easter bunny brought a yellow umbrella with pink flamingos on it to Grandma’s house for Grandie Girl 1, and she is such a good big sister to Grandie Girl 2.  They both (and I) adore their Mommy!

So this one is in honor of them as well as all mothers of daughters and grandmas of granddaughters.   It makes my heart smile.

Wishing you a joy-filled day!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

http://www.mx2d.com

 

After the Rain

After the Rain.

After the rain,
we walked at the park.

The grass was greener,
the air was fresh and clean.

The sun warmed,
and the blossoming trees popped

almost as if they were
smiling with the joy they knew I felt.

My heart swelled a wee bit more
like it so often does

in moments spent
with my grandie girls.

Mommy told Grandie Girl 1
about the time she spent playing ball on this field,

and asked her if she thought she
would want to do the same some day.

The sweet, high-pitched voice
in the miniature, but too-fast growing body,

responded so excitedly
and affirmatively

like she most always does,
wanting to be just like mommy.

And I smile at both of them with their muddy shoes
from the stop we made along the walk to float dandelions in the creek.

I steal a glance at Grandie Girl 2,
who is grinning and squealing with delight

as if to affirm her agreement
and wanting to be just like her big sister.

These are the moments…
the sweet precious moments.

After the rain.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Abstract Love

Abstract Love – 30×48 on Gallery Canvas


Abstract Love.

Instead of trying to explain the muse that drew me to recently create this huge abstract piece  – the largest, most “abstract” painting I’ve done to date – 4 foot wide (48 inches) x 30 inches tall – I will share this quote from one of my absolute all time favorite books….

A book I have read and listened to the author read several times – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

The first stroke on a huge canvas can be so scary, yet so exciting and liberating at the same time.

The brushes and pallet knives and paints are art themselves!

The finished piece…

which is – for now – hanging above our bed.

Its temporary home?   Or its forever home?  Either way is fine, because I kinda love it!

If it speaks to you, it is available here.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Stopped me in my Tracks

Things that have stopped me in my tracks…
lately.

This breathtaking scene along the road as I traveled home from a friend’s on a cold, rainy, otherwise-dreary day.

Watching and listening with deep admiration to Hubby deliver a heartfelt eulogy to his beloved aunt.

The unexpected, far-beyond-her-years empathetic eyes and hugs and words of a special 11-year old girl paying her respects at a funeral visitation.

The sweetest, kindest, most undeserved compliment made by my younger daughter-in-law over dinner.

The smell of my baby granddaughter’s head after annointment with the oil of chrism at her baptism.

The startling reality of what a powerful, important influence I have as a grandma to a precious two-year old.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Reflections of Thanksgiving

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Babies growing too quickly.
A loved one’s final day.
Family time together.
Thoughts of family apart.

Sons have become men
that make us gleam with pride.
Daughter in laws grow dearer
with each passing year.

Hubby’s smoked turkey
woos the crowd again.
Granddaughter’s first apple pie
sweetens meal’s end.

Pumpkin pie for breakfast
with a bestie and “our” mom.
Cocktails with our faves
to consummate a just-right day.

Waists growing thicker.
Hair becoming greyer.
Embracing the vulnerability.
Loving fiercely.

Reflections of Thanksgiving.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi