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

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

Cherish the Moments

Cherish the Moments.

Crispness in the air.
Leaves turning colors and falling.
Front porch sitting.

Taking time to breathe.
And relax.
And snuggle.

Neighbor dog visits.
Grandbabies giggle.
Swinging the heaviness of the day away.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

After two very heavy-hearted days being riveted to the hearing of Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford and Brett Kavanaugh, a late Friday afternoon on the front porch swinging with one grandbaby while hubby held the other was just what was needed.  The air turned crisp, Charlie rolled in the grass, the neighbor’s dog visited.  And for just a moment….. the world was perfect.  Cherish the moments!

Blue Reflections

Blue Reflections Watercolor – Cerulean and Indigo – 11×14 140lb cold press

Blue Reflections.

Baby boys turned into men.
The future in my granddaughter’s eyes.
The color of the ice caps over Mount Denali.
The color of the sea in St. Marten.
Scoring Boardwalk and Park Place in Monopoly.
Moonlight and starlight in the forest.
Dipping soft sable hair into cerulean and indigo watercolor.
Blue reflections creating magic.

I so enjoyed creating this watercolor painting! I splashed a bit and walked away for a while. I came back and added some more, and walked away again.  And then I did it again.  It was so exciting to come back and see what magic happened, and I so love how it turned out.  When I look at it, I think blue…. and memories flood my heart.

And I smile.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Stella Star – Remembering Grandma

This week of Christmas, I am sharing a few of my favorite posts from the past.  I couldn’t share favorites without including one of my all-time favorite people …. Grandma…. my Stella Star…. in this post I wrote 3 1/2 years ago. 
This day is also a day of sad remembrance of a sweet little boy (shown below with Grandma and Grandpap and me in 1968) – my brother, Johnny, before life and alcoholism stole his life as an adult when he decided one year ago today to step in front of train and let us know there would be no “Clarence” for him….

It was also the birthday of my beautiful, sweet, loving sister-in-law, whose life was cut way too short at 50 years old several years ago to cancer.

Life brings many memories – happy and sad, good and bad.  If we didn’t love, loss wouldn’t hurt so much…..  But it’s still worth it….  And it’s ok to have sad memories as well as happy ones.  It means we loved…. and that’s what life is about.

Stella Star – remembering grandma

Grandma & Grandpap, Johnny & Jodi - 1968

Grandma & Grandpap, Johnny & Jodi – 1968

Grandma was my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E person in the whole wide world growing up.

I have so many happy memories about Grandma I could probably write an entire book.

I took a walk on my lunch break yesterday afternoon in between raindrops and thunderstorms, and for some reason, I thought about Grandma an extra lot on that walk.

I think everything about early summer – the sights, the sounds, the smells – remind me of Grandma.

Maybe it is because I spent almost EVERY SINGLE DAY of EVERY SINGLE SUMMER growing up at Grandma’s house.

Oh – it was the BEST camp ever!

I learned so much from a lady that had to quit school in 4th grade to stay home and take care of her three younger brothers after their young mother passed away. At the ripe ole’ age of about 9 or 10, Grandma became mother, housewife, laundress, seamstress, cook, repair person, gardener and lawn tenderer. Can you even imagine? And this is long before automatic washing machines and dryers and sewing machines, disposable diapers, microwaves, cell phones, Google and Youtube, even indoor bathrooms! This was hard work – all day long – every day.

So though grandma was not formally educated, she was one of the smartest people I knew, and I learned so much from her – more than I realized at the time and even more the older I get looking back. She taught me important STUFF about real life – about cooking – about nature – about relationships – about acceptance and being the best of yourself. It was often disguised in humor or tough love or late night talks or swings on the porch or while picking blackberries. She wasn’t really trying to teach me by telling me how to be or what to say or how to act (or was she?). She lived her life in a way that demonstrated it and allowed me to experience it.

Oh she did some pretty UN-smart things too……. Like cutting off half of her middle finger on the lawn mower blade while trying to remove stuck grass without shutting off the mower…. Or cleaning some tough grime off the kitchen floor with gasoline and getting too close to the oven and catching the house on fire….

She never got her driver’s license after driving THROUGH the garage door, but she somehow managed to get around.

G3

Grandma, Jodi & Jake 1987

She couldn’t balance a checkbook, but she was the best penny pincher and gift giver ever.

She did, however, make the absolute best blackberry piecoffee soup (half coffee/half milk and lots of crumbled up saltines or chunks of toast), homemade sauerkraut and pierogies and halupkis and liver ball soup and apricot bread and nut rolls and salmon patties and dandelion salad and dumplings – oh my!

She also taught me things like how to make beautiful, colorful bouquets of Queen Ann’s Lace(many consider a weed) by putting food coloring in a mason jar vase of water so that when the flowers “drank the water,” their white petals turned pink or green or blue.

She taught me how to build a tent and a fort and how to camp out in the woods (about 500 feet from the house – but oh so far and vast when I was young). Thought I must admit I’m still not very good at that woodsy stuff…. Trying!

She could also splice electrical wires and do plumbing repairs.

She even allowed me to learn through crazy experiments like the time my friend, Janet and I decided we were going to boil worms (in her kitchen) for a science fair experiment! Or clean myself up in her bathroom with her yellow towels after experimenting with a mud mask facial – with REAL mud from the gravel road! (Oh the breakout after that escapade…)

What a sport she was – what a mentor – what a hero!

When grandma got older and became sick, it was my time to repay her. I hope I made her feel as loved as she did me.

G4

Grandma, Jodi, & Nick 1990

I’ll never forget the time when she was recovering from a surgery and stayed with Marty and me in our small home in the spare room so we could look after her closely. I was pregnant with my first son, Jake at the time, and still working full time. Grandma was having trouble sleeping at night and would get chilled and shake and couldn’t get warm. She called out in the middle of the night and Marty got her an electric blanket, but nothing worked. She kept trembling and shaking until I climbed on top of her – pregnant belly and all – wrapped my arms around her and calmed her until the shivering stopped – warmed from my body heat – and love. And we slept through the rest of the night. I know she would have done the same for me. That is the kind of love she taught me.

Her name was Stella, and I thought that was the silliest name when I was young. She loved her name, however. She would proudly tell me that Stella meant “star,” and as I look back, I realized she was – and still is – my shining star.

Do you have a Stella Star in your life?

G1

Stella Star & Her #1 Fan – 1985

I sure hope so. There’s nothing better.

Love you Grandma – then, now, and at all the stages of Life In Between…

Cheers and Hugs,
Jodi

Snowy Pines Watercolor

Winter Snowy Pine Reflections Watercolor - 11x14 140lb cold press

Winter Snowy Pine Reflections Watercolor – 11×14 140lb cold press

Snowy Pines Watercolor.

Is anything crazier or more unpredictable than the weather?!

Where I live, we went from record highs one week
to record lows the next.

From open windows and shorts and bare feet –
to snow flurries and wool socks and sweaters.

And one cold day I painted this winter scene
(inspired by a photo I saw that I cannot find credit for).

It’s funny how the cold scene
gives me a warm feeling.

Almost as crazy as the weather!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Autumn Reflections

Autumn Reflections Watercolor 11×14 140 lb Cold Press

Autumn Reflections.

Looking back….
I wonder why

it took me
so long

to realize
the beauty

of Autumn’s
brilliant transformation.

Looking forward…
I appreciate the journey

that got me
to this place

where I embrace
the inspiration

of Autumn
reflections.

 

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

It’s That Time of Year

abstract fern watercolor 5x7

Abstract Fern Watercolor 5×7

It’s that time of year
when the colors and smells and heat of summer

with lush greens and fragrant flowers
and thick, heavy air

are making way for
the colors and smells and chill of autumn

with vibrant reds and scorching oranges and deep hues of yellow
and a refreshing “nip” in the air.

It’s that time of year –
a change in seasons

A time for new beginnings
and a time for sweet endings.

It’s that time of year
that wonderful, lovely, sweet time of year.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Reflections from the River

Kiskiminetas River lifeinbetween.me

Kiskiminetas River, Pittsburgh, PA

Reflections from the River

Still water grows stagnant…
keep moving.

Enjoy the journey…
it’s not always about the destination.

A single rock thrown…
can cause a ripple effect far beyond its initial target.

Sometimes what is reflected back from us…
is bigger and better than we are – so shine on.

It is hard work to traverse against the current…
but it is possible, and it is often worth it.

Hubby and I took a little boat ride Friday evening down the Kiskiminetas River – a peaceful little body of water that flows into the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh, PA.   With the sweet scent of honeysuckle still in my nose, I’ve been reflecting on the many lessons we can learn from the river.  Nature has so much to teach us if only we take the time to listen.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pure