Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Isaac Begins Baseball.

Yesterday, Halis and I became parents with a child who is enrolled in a sport. You know - the parents that have to get their kid to his practice on time, who watch their child's every move to be sure that he is safe, the parents who endlessly root for their baby, who eye the coach carefully to make sure that he is being fair to their little man, and the parents who politely (but firmly) ask the other kid to stop shoving their child, etc...

What a transformation in the relationship between parent and child. This was Isaac's first time being taught by anyone other than his Mommy or Daddy. The first time he was sent off into a group to learn, share, play and communicate entirely on his own. It was a bit scary for me... and maybe for him.

Because there were so many kids at this first day of practice, Daddy wanted to stand by Isaac (as other parents did with their children) in order to walk him through his very first group experience. However, I was set on letting Isaac find his way through it without our help. But after a few bouts of utter chaos, and a look of fear on Isaac's face, Daddy decided to walk his little man through the practice. This turned out to be a good idea, as one particular kid kept shoving Isaac ... and Daddy gave him a bit of a talking to.

Anyway - it seems that many parents prepared their children for this first practice and "assessment day". In order to create teams, all children had to be assessed for their skill levels in various areas of baseball (throwing, hitting, running, etc). I had no idea about this - as I thought Isaac was going to be taught everything he needed to know by his coaches. Well - believe me - there were those competitive parents who must have been practicing with their 4 year-olds for months in order to have their kids rated at the highest levels. I even heard one Dad angrily shout... "I told you, look me in the eye when I am throwing the ball to you!!!" Wow. Ok. That is so not us.

So - our kid looked like a bit of a doofus. He had no idea what he was suppossed to do in any of the areas of assessment. (I guess watching Disney's Chicken Little and various Red Sox games did nothing to help his understanding of the game). But he was smiling! And Mom & Dad kept telling him how great he was.

When it was time to hit the ball off the T - Isaac would slam the T instead. When it was time to run the bases - Isaac would just run around chasing the other kids in an effort to play tag. When it was time to catch the baseball - Isaac thought it was fun to just let it roll between his legs. Good times. But by the end of it --- at the very last assessment ---and due to our loving instruction --- Isaac slammed the ball right off the T in what might have been a Grand Slam hit were he in the middle of a game (Ok, maybe not - but at least a single). And he was proud. And hungry. And done. And wanted Home now. And so did we.

So now we are a baseball family. At least for the next couple months. And Isaac will learn much while playing this sport --- that which I cannot teach him at home: commitment to team, teamwork, sportsmanship, respect for Coach, etc. This is good. But let me tell you -- if that kid shoves my baby again, I am so going to kick his Mama's ass --- good sportsmanship be damned.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Tomorrow : Hope to See You There!

15th Annual

Saturday, April 25th * 11am - 4pm

Free Admission

Student Recreation and Fitness Center, University of Maine, Orono


Learn about Peace, Justice, and Environmental Resources

I WILL BE SELLING MY UPCYCLED, HANDMADE WARES AS WELL AS SOME PHOTOGRAPHY HERE AT TABLE #34. 10% of proceeds to benefit Haitian Roots. Will also have info about the organization on hand.

Highlights Include:

Special Events:

11am - Native American Drumming

11:30 Hope Festival Singers

12:00 Zachary Field's Amazing Juggling

12:00 Improv Theatre Workshop

12:45 Improv Theatre

1:00 ELIOT COLEMAN Keynote: "Farm and Food Security"

1:15 The Peregrine Puppets

2:00 International Student Dancers

2:00 Yoga Workshop with Bunny Barclay

2:30 DAVID MALLET reknowned folk singer

3:00 Community Dance of Hope

Workshops & Demonstrations:

Bicycle Clinic

Reducing Home Energy Costs

Cool Starts With You

Fun With Wind & Solar

Creating Community Gardens

Making a Solar Cooker

Recycled Crafts (that would be me!)

Talking Circles

Mini Farmers' Market / Food Court With Local Producers


Join in on fun activities with The Maine Discovery Museum, Windsor Arts Center and Fields Pond Audubon Center!

Hope to see you there! Remember to stop by and say HELLO.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

10 Things My Goats Have Taught Me So Far.

These young ladies are teaching me so very much lately. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Anything you continue to feed - over a period of time - will eventually believe that you are its Mama.

2. I pay more attention to the nutritional intake of my goats than I do my own son (this will soon change).

3. Goats make better pets than dogs. They follow you around everywhere, lick you, play with you, appreciate you ... but then they can go back into the barn so as not to chew your chairs, lift their legs on the furniture, or get fur all over your bed.

4. I now know what it is like to bottle feed a baby at all hours of the day and night. (Isaac came home to me when he was past this stage).

5. Baby goats smell almost as wonderful as baby humans. They have that sweet newborn smell.

6. Letting your children name your barnyard animals is not always a good idea. I find myself yelling, "Come here, Me. Hey you, Me, get over here."

7. Some cats (especially the evil kind) will try to catch and eat a baby goat. Seriously. My Mom's evil 200 pound cat went for the jugular. But same cat is afraid of chickens.

8. Goats milk is incredibly good for humans --- much better than cows milk. No cholesterol in goats milk ... among other things.

9. I never knew I could love goats so much. I could wrestle and play with them for hours. So much fun. Never boring. Who knew?

10. My husband will allow just about anything in order to please me ... (or to make up for those moments when he makes me wish I were single). The goat barn is almost finished and I only told him I was buying the goats on Friday --- on a whim. Not to mention that the babes are hanging out in our kitchen till the barn is complete.


Monday, April 20, 2009


Ready to join me in not only seeing this entire video, but also --- banning bottled water from our lives? I think I will carry around my own well water in reusable containers.

This issue is HUGE for we Mainers. If you are living in Maine --- please look into this situation we are facing as a state. It is more important than you may realize.

What do you think?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

So Much Spring ...

Ahhh.... spring is everywhere.

Birds are grabbing their nesting materials ...

We have the most adorable spring goats that we are bottle feeding ...

We have ordered 8 chicks to add to our chicken coop...

Hubby is building new outbuildings everywhere to add to our homesteading collection ...

And the seeds we planted not so long ago are soon going to be ready for planting (photo to follow).

Last year my spring was filled with selling our home, moving, readying our new home, enjoying "city" life here in Bangor. But I think this year, I am going to spend it enjoying a bit of country life on the 16 acres that we enjoy just outside of the city ... adding animals, gardening, designing new projects for Halis, etc.

Even my Dad is getting the farming bug. He wants to buy a pony this spring. For what? I don't know. I believe in farming animals that offer me something in return. A pony? Only if he can make me some money by giving pony rides! That is the only way you will catch me shoveling his sh*t. (In case you are wondering - the goats are for milking).

Well, hope you are enjoying spring as well! It feels good, doesn't it?


Friday, April 17, 2009

New Additions to the Homestead:

We now have 2 one-week old Nubian goats!

I apologize for these terrible snapshots, I didn't have my D300 ready for shooting, but wanted to get pics of their first feedings here at home.

Here is my Mom feeding "my" goat: Emily. She is so sweet and follows me all around.

Here is "Me" (seriously). Named by Isaac. He and his Grammy Bobo prefer this one. She is small and feisty:

We have always wanted milking goats. However, with all that has been going on lately, we were no where near ready for them. But, I had to go to Blue Seal to pick up some chicken feed and shavings .... and well, these two girls were just staring at me. It wasn't my fault. I had to buy them. You understand, don't you?

Now Halis is scrambling to build them a goat house this weekend - a project he hadn't planned on. Oops. I did trade him a Saturday though. Usually, I would get this Sat. to go out and yard sale, photograph, etc. But I let him have it to go shooting at a match in Augusta --- so that I could have these goats :) Not a bad trade. In a year, they will be birthing and giving milk. That will be amazing.

Till then, I have ALOT to learn, as I truly have no idea how to care for these little guys and am taking it one day at a time. Any suggestions???



Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Brother.

Lately, my Brother has been going through something that has really broken his spirits. And it has been killing me. I love that man as though we were attached at the hip - and sometimes feel as though we are twins on opposite sides of every human attribute. There are only the two of us, and though we leaned on each other throughout our childhoods, it seems that we have responded to our tumultuous upbringing in opposite ways. He took a different path than me long ago - in order to heal from some serious wounds. And now he finds himself alone in something that is bigger than he can handle. I want desperately to help him. Desperately. What is interesting and wonderful though - is that finally, after many years of living geographically and somewhat emotionally apart - he is letting me in - he is sharing his pain - he is seeking help - and he is expressing love. Most of which is surely an answer to prayer.

It is sad to see someone you love not know how wonderful they are. My brother has always been an inspiration to me... which seems to come as a total shock to him. Yes, he has made some bad decisions in his life - as we all have - but this man is FULL of integrity, inspiration, passion, and tenacity. He loves BIG. He is honest, generous, forgiving, and so many other wonderful qualities. He just doesn't see them. He assumes the worst of himself. And I look forward to the day when he can forgive his past - recognize the beauty he holds in this world - and move on to grant himself all the best in life - settling for nothing less than what he deserves: to fullfill his dreams, to allow himself to be truly loved, and to free himself of all that seeks to weigh him down.

I have shared this picture of Isaac and my Brother within this post because it seems that Isaac - through his incredibly ability to see into people's souls - has done much to heal my brother lately. The way my son shows love for his Uncle ... the way he seeks him out when he knows that his Uncle is in pain ... the way that he loves his Uncle without reservation or expectation ... the way he soothes his Uncle's pain with kind words and lovely physical gestures ... Well, I believe that Isaac is showing his Uncle that he is worthy of unconditional love. And my Brother feels it. In fact, it brings him to tears.

My brother has said that he has never met a child like Isaac before. He says that Isaac just has this "knowing". And I too am sure of that. Isaac is a gift to this world. He has already healed many hearts ... and will continue to do so, I have no doubt. But my brother shares some of these gifts as well ... and I long for the day that he sees the power and beauty within himself. It will come in time. And I will sing praises on that day.

If you - reader - are struggling with your own insecurities - perhaps you should look at yourself through the eyes of a child. Or better yet, look at yourself as you would look at a child. Would you tell a child that he/she was unworthy of anything??? Then why do that to yourself??? Would you ridicule them for all the shortcomings that you ridicule yourself for??? Surely not. So, why do that to yourself. And if a child looks up at you with absolute adoration - it is because you DESERVE it. Believe them. Allow their love to seep in and grow.

(Well, I suppose that is my "sermon" for today).

Be well, be loved ...
I love you Brother.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Still Creating ...

In the midst of all our recent struggles within the family ... I am still creating. I am still crafting, photographing, book making, etc. I need to. I have to. I would go bonkers otherwise. And frankly, with my husband's recent job loss, I am trying to pick up the slack as much as possible by selling some of my work.

Hopefully soon I will begin advertising to shoot Senior & Family Portraits. I am trying to get that in motion right now - in between helping Dad and parenting Isaac.

I am also picking up some crafting expos here and there. For those interested (and local), I will be peddling my wares at the 2009 Hope Festival in Orono, Maine on April 25th. This is my first time selling at this fair, and I will be bringing all of my upcycled books, as well as my pin/magnet sets and stationary. I will also have some photography available - but not my full collection. So - hope to see some friends there!

And for those of you who are not local - I have been posting MANY new items in my Etsy shop. Please take a look.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Today is the end of Day 3 of sitting by my Dad's bed in ICU/CCU. I wash his face, I help him walk, I move him into more comfortable positions, I make sure the nurses are giving him the the best care, etc. Mom also does all of this and more. Tonight, I am alone in caring for him, as my Mom finally went home to bathe and sleep. And I am filled with varied emotions.

I feel slightly scared ... as I sometimes feel helpless in meeting his needs. I feel joy ... that Dad is alive and making progress. I feel fortunate that I am not crying over the loss of my Daddy ... like the girl in the waiting room. I also feel terribly sad for that girl in the waiting room. I feel closer to my Mom and Brother ... as we are all in this together. I feel a bit overwhelmed at what the future of Dad's care will be ... and whether I am up to the task.

But mostly, I feel like family ... no matter its dysfunctions ... is so incredibly important. I have done things for Dad this week that I never would have believed I could stomach. But he is my Daddy ... and that makes all the difference. And sometimes we need to forgive one another for all our trespasses (both past & present) because the love that we share as family is so much more than our petty differences. And when the "sh*t hits the the fan" ,,, more often than not, they are the ones who come to our rescue.

Anyway - I am so exhausted right now, so I have no idea if I am making any sense. Just speaking from the heart I guess.

Sorry for all the delayed posts. I will begin posting regularly again soon. I have a bunch of great ideas coming up ... just need to get Daddy home first.

Love to you all.
~ Jodi

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nothing Left to Give : Temporarily

I am feeling totally tapped out right now (thus the above photo). Sure, lots of wonderful things are going on our our lives, in my photography, in my parenting, in my marriage, and in my creativity ... BUT all that is taking a backseat (like, a backseat on the back of a very long bus) because my family has been experiencing some highly emotional "stuff" right now. Though I know in my heart that it is all temporary, it doesn't stop me from feeling the pain of it all in the here and now.

For starters, my Daddy goes in for open heart surgery tomorrow at 5am. And though I know in my brain that all will go well ... my heart is aching at the mere thought of losing my Daddy ... no matter how slim the possibility may be. Secondly, my brother - whom I love so dearly that it hurts - is going through some pain right now that I would do anything to take away from him. He is private about this, so I will not explain here. But I think of him every minute of the day and wonder what wisdom I can impart that would miraculously take his pain away ... to no avail. Then, my sister - the woman who means more to me than she will ever know - is also experiencing some turmoil in her life that - although I know the outcome of it will be far more wonderful than she can see right now - her tears are breaking my heart. And I again, seek wisdom to help her through this (though she has always been far wiser than me). Next, (as if this weren't enough) my husband is on the brink of losing his job at a time when the economy is at its worst. Not a good feeling. We know we will get by ... and in fact, we welcome some change, but change takes getting used to ... and the "man of the house" feels much pressure and anxiety over how to take care of his family under these circumstances. Oh and then there is my best friend who is has been given a medical diagnosis that is freaking her out ... and is awaiting more tests to fully diagnosis her condition. I wait with her and pray for the best.

So, there is alot going on around here. And though I know that we - as a family - will all get through this together - I feel "tapped out" right now. I want to change everyone's pain, calm their fears, save them from themselves (in some cases), and wave a magical wand to release all suffering. BUT, I totally recognize that walking through suffering and pain, brings us closer to our greatest selves, our greatest joys ... and closer to our soul's purpose. So, it must be what it must be. And the doors that will open at the end of my loved ones' journeys through their pains will be more miraculous than I could ever dream. I know - I have been there. And I have witnessed the beauty of the transformations of others as well. So, I trust. Or, I try to ... except when I want to kick the asses of those who have recently wronged both my brother and my sister ... but hey, I am no Thich Nhat Han.

I hope you recognize that this post is not a pity party for me - or anyone else. Just a telling of the TEMPORARY dark areas that we have found ourselves in .... so that I can later tell you of the beauty and light that comes of it all in the near future. And I suppose this post also serves as an explanation of why my posts have been so erratic these days and will likely continue to be for a little while.

I thank you all for your prayers, your friendships, and your inspirations. You are amazing gifts to me, and I hope I have given you some beauty in return.

In hope and love,

P.S. Shameless promotion: the above photo is available in my shop: http://www.jlrphotography.etsy.com.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

SOS:KIDS Sending Goodies to Iraq and Afghanistan

I recently found out about a group called "Soldiers' Angels" through my local Borders Bookstore. They were collecting books to send to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. I purchased a book to send to a soldier, but wanted to learn more about the organization so that I might promote it on my new blog "Give to Begin to Live" (a project that I have been meaning to tell you all about for a while - but it is such a work-in-progress that I have procrastinated doing so).

After checking out their website, and doing a bit of research on them, I was amazed at how much they do for active duty soldiers as well as veterans ... and even children affected by current wars and conflicts. Very impressive.

Soldier's Angels makes it so very easy to make a difference too. I decided to take part in their SOS: KIDS program. Please see here for details. Isaac and I made a project out of putting together a package to send to children in the midst of conflict. We simply went through Isaac's clothing, and found good quality items that he has outgrown. Then we looked through his toys to see if we could find some brand new toys that he has yet to use (mainly unused Christmas and Birthday gifts). I then searched through our toiletries and my box of Goodwill goodies that I collect for random gift giving. All together, we were able to send several quality shirts, sticker packages, some school supplies, a few toys, some toiletries, etc. All this, without ever having to purchase a thing. A quick run through our home was all that was required. We Americans tend to gather so much more than we will ever need. And it feels so good to spread the wealth.

Please check out their website to see if there is a project you would like to get involved in. And better yet, please check out my new blog: Give to Begin To Live to see what other projects you may wish to assist. Giving IS Receiving.

Spread the Love,