Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing

Front Porch Swing – January, 2019

Life Lessons from the Old Porch Swing.

It’s not about what you look like on the outside…
even if you are rusty, weathered, and worn.

It is about what you are made of…
and what you do with it.

It is about how you connect.
It is about the purpose you serve.

It is about the joy you create.
It is the comfort you provide.

It is about the support you give.
It is the sacred secrets you protect.

It is about feeling the breeze.
It is embracing the squeaks.

It is about the experiences you create.
It is in the memories you cherish.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine.

Do you feel it?
Are you excited about all the possibilities the day may hold?

All the opportunites to make it special?
All the reasons to wake up?

Rise and shine
and cherish the moments!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Every time I hear or read or say the words, “Rise and Shine,” I think of Grandma

As a teenager, I loved to sleep in late – much like most teenagers – right?  I vividly remember hiding under the covers to keep from seeing the sun streaming in the bedroom and hearing Grandma  cheerfully holler from the bottom of the stairs on a weekend or summer morning, “Rise and Shine!”  She was always so excited and ready to start a new day.  I smile remembering that hope and excitement in her voice.  She didn’t work.  She didn’t even have a license to drive.  Her days were mostly spent at home working hard – inside and out – making it a haven for anyone who visited or lived there.  And yet she woke up so cheerfully each morning excited for what the day might hold. 

I have to admit – I love the early mornings these days – especially on  weekends and days I get to stay home.  I love thinking about having the whole day ahead of me. 

I baked Grandma’s Apricot Nut Bread yesterday.  It is a recipe I have shared here before.  And it truly really begins to feel like Christmas when I smell this bread come out of the oven.  The memories just come flooding back of Christmases past at Grandma’s house and the joy that radiated from her in everything she did.  

So rise and shine and cherish the possibilities this day will hold!

All is Calm

All is Calm – Snowy Winter Watercolor in Blue – 11×14

All is Calm.

We have just begun experiencing frosty mornings
and the flurry and dusting of snowflakes here and there.

It is well past due in our little corner of the world,
and I always look forward to it.

I am dreaming of the beauty of snowy, moonlit winter evenings
curled up with a warm, fuzzy blanket and a crackling fire

When all is calm,
and all is bright.

So I painted this scene in watercolor,
and it takes me to that place and that feeling.

The gift of creating.
The joy of art.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S  This painting, like most all of my paintings, is available in our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop as an original or in prints sized 11×14, 8×10, or 5×7 as well as boxed greeting cards.  It will also be going with me to the Mars Craft Show on Saturday, November 17th!

 

 

 

 

Christmas in July

Bringing Home the Christmas Tree in My Little Red Wagon – 11×14 Watercolor

Christmas in July.

Today is July 31, 2018, and it is the last day of #WorldWatercolorMonth 2018.

And even though I’m wearing shorts and the air conditioning is on, I’m starting to think about Christmas.

Just a teensy bit.

Christmas is such a fun time to create art.

I chose to use my little girl character created for this painting (inspired by my first granddaughter) to feature in this first Christmas watercolor for 2018.

My oldest daughter-in-law and I are starting to think about what we are going to create for fall and the holidays for our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy shop and Berry Vine Gifts and the big Mars Fall Craft Show this year.

I’m looking forward to seeing what we come up with and sharing it here.

I’m looking forward to another Christmas, but with TWO granddaughters in our family this year!!

I’m looking forward to finding time for art.

I’m grateful to Charlie O at Doodlewash for hosting #WorldWaterColorMonth again this year and for honoring me wth the privilege of being a World Watercolor Month Artist Ambassador.  (Today is your last chance to purchase the souvenier pouch that supports the Dreaming Zebra Foundation in giving art supplies to underprivileged children throughout the world!)

I’m grateful for your visit here today.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Don’t Stop Working for It

Pine Squirrel in the Spring Snow – Mars, PA – April 7, 2018

If you
can’t stop
thinking
about it,
Don’t stop
working
for it.

This little cutie is an American Red (Pine) Squirrel that hangs out in our back yard with the birds and other bigger squirrels (and chipmunks and turkey and deer and Charlie of course).  These little squirrels only stand about 6 inches tall, being just a bit bigger than a chipmunk, and weigh about a half of a pound (200-250 g).

Saturday morning, we awoke to another Spring snow with two or three inches on the deck railing.  This little bugger was not giving up on his quest to get to the (ahem) “bird” feeder for breakfast.  I caught him burrowing full force through the snow that was taller than him when on all fours, but he was determined…. and he got there.

He reminded me not to give up and not to stop working on what we want and where we want to go.

Thanks little buddy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Bluebird of Happiness

Snowy Bluebird – March 2018 – Mars, PA

Bluebird of Happiness.

The beggar man and the mighty king are only different in name,
For they are treated just the same by fate.
Today a smile and tomorrow a tear, we never know what’s in store.

So learn your lesson before it is too late.
So be like I, hold your head up high
’til you find the bluebird of happiness.

You will find greater peace of mind,
knowing there’s a bluebird of happiness.

And when he sings to you,
though you’re deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through.

And so remember this,
life is no abyss.
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness.

The poet with his pen, the peasant with his plow,
It makes no different who you are,
it’s all the same somehow.

The king upon his throne, the jester at his feet,
the artist, the actress,
the man on the street.

It’s a life of smiles and a life of tears.
It’s a life of hopes and a life of fears.

A blinding torrent of rain and a brilliant burst of sun,
A biting tearing pain and bubbling sparkling fun.

And no matter what you have, don’t envy those you meet.
It’s all the same, it’s in the game, the bitter and the sweet.

And if things don’t look so cheerful, just show a little fight.
Fore every bit of darkness, there’s a little bit of light.

For every bit of hatred, there’s a little bit of love.
Fore every cloudy morning, there’s a midnight moon above.

So don’t you forget,
you must search ’til you find
the bluebird.

You will find peace and contentment forever, if you will be like I.
Hold your head up high, ’til you see a ray of light appear.

And so remember this,
life is no abyss.
Somewhere there’s a bluebird of happiness*.

What a sight to find this beautiful blue bird on the back railing the other day.  A bright, beautiful spot amidst the blustery snow storm.  It made me think of the phrase, “The Bluebird of Happiness.”  A little googling led me to the song and the beautiful lyrics.  A lot of truth about life in this.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Keep Searching

Snowy Rose of Sharon Seed Pods March 2018 Mars PA

Snowy Rose of Sharon Seed Pods March 2018 Mars PA

Keep Searching.

Some days
we have to

look a lot
harder

to find
the beauty.

But it
is there.

Keep
searching.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS.  I watched a documentary yesterday that touched me deeply – Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405.  It was recommended by an art blogger friend, Ann Christina, from Germany.  It also won an Academy Award this year for Best Documentary Short Subject.  It is a story of mental illness, depression, love, and the healing power of art.

Mindy Alper is a tortured and brilliant 56 year old artist who is represented by one of Los Angeles’ top galleries. Acute anxiety, mental disorder and devastating depression have caused her to be committed to mental institutions, undergo electro shock therapy, and survive a 10-year period without the ability to speak. Her hyper self-awareness has allowed her to produce a lifelong body of work that expresses her emotional state with powerful psychological precision. Through interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight and a half foot papier-mache’ bust of her beloved psychiatrist, and examining drawings made from the time she was a child, we learn how she has emerged from darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust and support.

I watched this on YouTube and originally shared the link, but then found that it was removed from YouTube for a copyright infringement.  I hope you have a chance to find and see this touching film.  If anyone can let us know via comment where it is available to view, I would appreciate.

Snow at Daybreak

Snow at Daybreak – Mars, PA – January 2018

Snow at Daybreak.

I stumble through
the early morning darkness
heading to the kitchen
for that first cup of coffee
to help prop open
my bleary eyes.

On my way,
I flip the switch
that turns on
the flood light
shining out
into the backyard.

What could be
more beautiful
than bright white
fluffy snowflakes
fluttering down
on a cold January morning?

Snow at Daybreak.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

What We Would Miss

A Snowy Stroll at Sunset - January, 2018 - Mars PA

A Snowy Stroll at Sunset – January, 2018 – Mars PA

What We Would Miss.

If we didn’t go out
to explore
or saunter
or simply to
unwind,

think of
all the
things we
would
miss.

Walking
isn’t always
just about
the exercise
for our body.

It can
also be
a break
for our
mind.

An opportunity
to commune
spiritually
with oneself
and nature.

If I didn’t allow
myself
the gift
to get out
and walk,

this
one
beautiful
moment
in
time…

Look
what
I would
have
missed.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi