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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Touch of A Hand

Greetings all.  We had a wonderful Christmas and hope yours was filled with love and laughter.  We are truly blessed with our family and friends.

I am posting the unedited version of a story which was published in April for those of you who have not had a chance to read it.

Next week I will be posting a great new twist to those New Year's Resolutions...don't miss it!

The Touch of a Hand

Extraordinary events happen.  They are often labeled as miracles, luck, fate or chance.   We recognize them most often when life appears bleak, with little hope.

So it was for me.  A ray of sunshine broke through my dark clouds—an unexpected acquaintance—when I began to work with a fellow tradesman who shared similar values, work ethic, and passions.  He brought freeing laughter to my days, which seemed a foreign language to me; it had been eons since I had laughed hard.  Tears of glee would stream down my dust-covered face, followed by involuntary snorts of delight that erupted into embarrassing bubble blowing… from my nose! 

Laido had a strange sense of humor and a peculiar habit of hugging people.  He hugged the general contractor, the subcontractors and even the clients!  My German background limited touching to a minimum, and as the only woman on the job it was absolutely off limits.  This six-foot, 210 pound giant of a man, with a shaved head and two curved earrings in his left ear, was the spitting image of Mr. Clean.  I, in contrast, stood only five feet, one inch tall, and weighed 110 pounds.  His tough exterior proved to house a warmth and softness I had not known before.  My heart, on the other hand, was fiercely protected by iron bars and armed guards on the ready to shoot down anyone or anything that attempted to come near its fragile core.

As a 33-year-old single mom, I lived alone with three small boys, struggling to patch our broken hearts together in hopes of better days.  I operated my small Jill of all Trades business, attended school and strove to raise happy, healthy, young men.  Depression and anger seemed to lurk around every corner: I fought the dark enemy at my bathroom mirror daily with a resolved cry of “CAN!”  I became an expert at “pulling up my boot straps,” although I found it harder and harder to convince myself that life would get easier and I would find my happiness again.

One day, as we bounced down the mountain roads in Laido’s Ford Excursion to the next job, he turned to me and said, “I believe God put us together for a reason.  Maybe it is friendship, maybe it’s so you can help me with my school, or maybe it is for something more.”

To which I bitterly replied, “Oh yeah?  Well, you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up faster!”  I had lost nearly all my love for a God I did not understand.  I claimed a belief in a God—just not one that gave a damn. 

Laido gazed at me with cautious resolve and tried again.  “Can I just touch your hand?”

My heart filled with fear and reproach, but as I turned to him, his face radiated love and concern; I begrudgingly agreed.  The touch of this gentle giant sent a loving energy coursing through me that was real and true.

He said softly with tears in his eyes, “You just need somebody to love you and I can love you.”

A small crack appeared in my armor while tears rose inside me.  I feared the chance that love was real and tangible.  My heart had been hardened for so long, but maybe, just maybe, he could love me.

In the months that followed, the firing squad around my heart was slowly dismissed one by one.  I experienced a love and friendship that set me soaring.  Not only me, but my three precious boys now had a man to love them in a way they had not known in their young lives.  One step at a time, with love as my protection, I stepped out of my prison of fear and into the joy of life. 

Now, nearly four years later, we have overcome many tribulations touching ourselves, our children, our finances and our spirituality.  Slowly we climb together, bettering ourselves with every step, filling our every cell with love and light.  We have been blessed with Alaya, a new little angel, who is the glue to our family and reminds us of the love and hope that each of us holds inside.  The journey, although arduous, has been more rewarding than I ever could have imagined and we are making our dreams a reality.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Festive Fun

Merry Christmas everyone! 

One of my favorite memories growing up was making up new lyrics to old songs and jingles with my cousin Chandra.  We had fun new words to “The Flintstones”, “Sittin’ on Top of the Bay”, and so many others.  My boys find them hysterical, but they may not be too appropriate here.  Ha!  Anyway, here’s a new twist on a couple of old Holiday tunes to give you a smile in your holiday bustle.

Our best wishes to you and yours for a wonderfully fun and happy holiday season an abundant 2012.

Jody and family


Let it go!  Let it go!  Let it go!
(Tune of Let it Snow! Let is Snow!  Let it Snow!)

Though the schedule looks mighty frightful,
And our home is not respiteful,
And since we’re scrambling in the frenzied flow,
Let it go!  Let it go!  Let it go!

The ads show no sign of stoppin’,
The kids are bouncin’ and hoppin’,
My bank account screams out “NO!”,
Let it go!  Let it go!  Let it go!

When the credit cards near their blight,
How I hate going out in the store,
But if I can just get the right size,
Oh wait, no there’s 20 more!

I look at my list just sighing,
I hope all will be smiling,
But since you know I love you all so,
Let it go!  Let it go!  Let it go!

Rapid Ride
(Tune of Sleigh Ride)

Just here those charity bells jingle-ing, ring ting tingle-ing too!
Come on its freezing weather for a car ride together with you!
Outside the tow trucks callin’ and lists are callin’ yoou, yoo ho!
Come on its one more letter and a fun get together with you.

Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, let’s go,
Let’s get the show on the road, we’re running in a hurried land of snow.
Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, we’re slammed, just get in the van,
We’re off to mall and the scenes of a jolly, red, fat man.

Our cheeks are nice and rosy; the rum is flowing for me.
My worries dissipated as my mood’s elevated to glee.
Forget the road before us and enjoy a moment of ease,
And before you know it, it’ll all be over…PLEASE?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Love & light to you our cherished friends & family:
  In preparation for the overstuffed schedules, impossible to do lists, and creatively crazy holiday bustle, I thought it would be good to add one more things - the Christmas Letter.  Hey, why not?  I am already hopelessly overextended in my quest for the Martha Stewart, well perhaps, June Cleaver, okay so maybe the Peg Bundy holiday extraordinaire!
  I can’t help myself!  In our fast paced culture, we don’t get to say near enough to the ones we love - “You put a smile in my heart and I want you to know it!”  The lesser priorities sink to the bottom allowing the cream to rise to the top.
  We are celebrating a fantastic year of tremendous growth, giant “failures”, barrels of laughter and buckets of tears.  It’s real and it’s great!  Our treasures, Kegan - 15, Kyler - 13, Hunter - 11, & Alaya - 2, present to us challenges untold and joy overflowing.  Laido my greatest fan and encourager is at my side to brave every storm, dance in the rain and rejoice in the sun.
  With the seemingly endless chaos of life, I am gifted with moments when I remember how truly happy I am…right now.  We wish you many moments of happiness and the awareness of the blessings that surround us all. 
  May the Love of the Christ dwell in your hearts.  Much love to you and yours.,
Jody, Laido, Kegan, Kyler, Hunter & Alaya

I'm Back!

I am overjoyed to be writing again and it appears I will be able to commit a bit more time to this passion of mine.  I appreciate your patience.  I hope you will join me on this journey of discovery by joining this site and visiting my blog from time to time.  I will do my best to make it worth your while. 

Coming up, my holiday letter I hope to share with all of you.  Next a fun Christmas tune set to more realistic lyrics and an unedited version of the story published on "Hand Prints of My Heart", funny parts included!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Unexpected Sage

A great sage has come to live in my house.  She models love and wisdom in her very being.  I sit in awe when I realize what she demonstrates. 

I struggle with doubt.  Dodging the approval trap while learning to be true to myself has been piercing to the core.   I am passionate, loving and stubborn.  Fear of not doing the “right” thing ensnares my forward progress. 

Alaya is a breath of fresh air.  In her short time on this planet, I have observed her peace, easy smile and friendliness with complete strangers.

My favorite time of day is first thing in the morning.  Daddy carries her to our bed to snuggle.  She drinks her milk while I sip my coffee.  She is in no hurry to set out on her day.  She revels in the quiet peacefulness of dawn.  Cooing softly her morning song, she welcomes the day. 

This moment is a blessing.  Each and every moment I spend aware is a gift.

Lovies, blankies, and woobies are her constant companions.  Upon discovery of a left animal or blanket, she runs with great joy to retrieve it and give it a huge hug.  Not one is neglected, each a treasure.

She reminds me to greet loved ones with such enthusiasm.

In supermarkets, restaurants, parks, hospitals, anywhere really, she purposefully greets all she meets.  Her huge, gleaming smile sweetens the sourest of attitudes.  Her gift of happiness she enthusiastically shares with the world.

May I be always kind and greet everyone with love in my heart.

As Alaya makes her rounds through our bustling household, she observes, makes comments or asks questions only she can understand and frequently fills the moments with giggles and laughter.

I see her love for people; her love for herself.  She follows her heart and expresses her displeasure without prejudice.  I observe my fears I hold onto as a false sense of security or some idea of political correctness.  Her freedom is to love and be loved.  As I observe her simple contentment, her light shines truth upon my heart.  Why do I worry about anything?  Life is now. Whatever is to be will be, no matter how I rush to accomplish it or drag my feet against it.  I surrender to the flow, my dreams happen with peacefulness and surprising ease.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hope

Hope.  It is as important as air and water to me.  It energizes, inspires and creates windows out of brick walls.  A famous saying in my household (famous because I pronounce it to my family on a regular basis!) goes something like this:  “You can keep banging your head against that brick wall, blooding your face or you can try something different.” 

There is nothing like the sweet smell of a fresh idea.  I have learned through countless trials, when a door closes, it is for my highest good.  I must first accept the action, then start looking for the window.  When peace abounds in me, it becomes a rather exciting game.  What is next? What gift is in store for me?  It’s quite possibly better than I had originally hoped!

On the other hand, there are times when many doors close at once and the search for the window becomes a dark, scary corridor.  My best self reminds me “this too shall pass”, but my heart screams, “I hate this!  I don’t want to do it anymore!  Why can’t I get a break?”  I call these times “growth spurts”.  They are relatively short, but painful experiences.  When I look back, I am grateful for them, for I have learned something.  I may not have mastered the lesson, but I learned something new to help me the next time I encounter a similar situation which will undoubtedly return.

In my bustling household of one teen age boy, two “tweens”, a baby and a husband, I encounter many opportunities for hope by way of creativity, problem solving and hard nosed consistency to accomplish any sort of productive goal.  The ambition may be as simple as making dinner to as difficult as finding type to write.  Prioritizing, balancing and gratefulness are essential ingredients in my day.

The novelist Barbara Kingslover inspires her audience with these words of wisdom.  “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for.  And the most you can do is live inside that hope.  Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”