Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…


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Love served.

Coffee has been around for about 500 years, and I’ve been drinking it almost as long. Within these centuries, it has changed again and again — Now with drink orders that contain over 500 words themselves. 

Still, perhaps the most popular drink here in France is the espresso. 

They gave us two espresso cups (demitasses) from their vacation. I made the coffee from our espresso machine. Nothing unusual. But when I picked up the cup, it felt different. Easy. Comfortable. I put the cup down and looked at the handle. The top part was flat. My thumb rested so simply, and made the most pleasurable grip on the cup. Such a simple change, and the coffee was the same, but the drinking experience felt new and delightful.

We get used to receiving things in a certain way. Giving things in a certain way. And just because it has functioned for 500 years or so, doesn’t mean it’s really working at its best. Take love for instance. We all give it and receive it in different ways. When it doesn’t come in the way we think we need, is it wrong? I want to say no. Oh, how I want to say no. I need to see it for what it is. Still love. I must learn to receive it in the way it is given. And serve it in the best way I know how. Love and life, forever can improve.

Good morning, my friends. There is coffee on the table. And kindness in the air.


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Oh, how the light streams in!


It’s easy to confuse darkness with worry. I’ll admit I can drape myself in it — in those wee, small hours of the morning. I make the coffee just a little stronger. Force the croissant past the lump in my throat. Still, it can cling, those worries that come only from loving someone.

But then I walk into our office space. Surrounded by windows. And the light! Oh, how the light streams in and bounces off of my work. From paintings to poems, it says, “Look here. Right now. There is light.” And joyfully, I believe in it. I believe in the prayers said under my grandma’s quilt. I believe in the hope that each morning brings. I believe in the beauty of now. There is no “down the road,” only looking at the length that stretches from my heart to my hands. And they both know what to do. I smile. And begin. In this glorious light.


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Coffee on the table.

It has been a month since we had our coffee. We’ve had lots of coffee — lattes, iced and hot, dark roasts with cream, coffees from drip makers, espresso machines, pods — lots of coffee, but not ours. This morning I brewed the coffee in our Italian pot. It is simple. Strong. Fills the kitchen with the scent of morning. Fills our spirit with the taste of home. 

I painted this coffee pot years ago because it was a symbol to me of “falling in love with your own life.” It is still just that. And to start each day with that reminder is priceless, familiar, comforting — I guess that’s home.

But it takes an effort though. You have to search. Try different things. Take different paths. Stumble. Fall. Get up again, all in order to find this place. And then maintain it. I suppose the best way is just through gratitude. So I give thanks for this morning pot of coffee. I give thanks for this love. This life. This home. 

There’s coffee on the table, and kindness in the air. We begin. Good morning!


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Rolling and tumbling.


It was our first real restaurant date a decade ago. His first time in Minneapolis, he wanted to see the Mississippi River. We sat outside on a sunny day. My heart was all jimbly – that feeling of not falling, but rolling and tumbling into love.

We had been exchanging emails. My first said, “I hope our worlds collide.” I can’t say why I used that word – I had never before. But I did. And he came to Minneapolis from France. We sat by the river at the Wilde Cafe. Eating. Drinking. Rolling. Tumbling. We went inside after eating, to pay and use the restrooms. There was a small table with postcards and advertising. I came out of the bathroom and he was holding one. Smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Across the top of card it said – Collide.

Routines can set in through the years with coffee and croissants. And while they provide comfort, sometimes, you have to take a minute and remember why you started the journey. Why you jumped in, heart first. Sitting in the same place yesterday, I, we, could feel the “wilde”. I loved the restaurant. The coffee. The plated food. Delicious. My city. The city that let me in, and let me go. I loved it more. The sun. The breeze. The river. This man. All knowing my name. My heart. All willing to collide with me – heart to heart. And perhaps even more importantly, willing, joyfully, to keep rolling along beside me.

A new day is beginning. I want to keep that feeling alive. I encourage you to do the same. Taste the coffee. Smile at the sun. Fall in love with your life. And keep rolling.


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Leaving the basement.

It was in thick cup. White with a pinstripe around its rim. Heavy. Sturdy, I thought. Probably could withstand a drop or a toss across the room. After I tasted the coffee, I understood why. 

Church basement coffee. It was never the best. Even before coffee became a lifestyle, I think we all knew. But then we had better. Delicious coffee. Robust. Full. Flavored. There was no turning back. 

I suppose it’s the same with everything. Especially people. I think back to the way we treated people in Junior High, and I cringe. I assumed life would change dramatically as we got older. But some still seem stuck. Childish. Bullies. Name calling. I’m over it. As we all should be. I’ve tasted better. I’ve been liked better. Loved better. And there’s no turning back.

Are my standards high? I hope so! I hope yours are too. Let’s not waste our time with mediocrity. I want to be better. At everything. Mostly at being a good human. And I think we help each other achieve that by raising the bar. Let’s get out of the basement and live! Fully flavored lives. Robust even! 

The cup has been flung. The bar has been raised. Good morning!!!


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The anticipation of youth.

I always trust a town with a coffee shop. We stopped yesterday in Jennings, a tiny, really tiny town, just outside of Lafayette. A sign hung at the entrance, “Making people tolerable since 2013.” We smiled and knew we were home.

Maybe it has come with age, or from living in France, but I have gained appreciation and the patience to wait for my order. Because it won’t be fast here – in the south – in a small cafe. No, you will wait, even if you’re the only ones there. But it was worth it. The lattes – perfection. The ingredients the same, but they added a little anticipation to make it just a lot more delicious.

It hung on the wall in the restroom – this coffee cup made from “string art.” String art was probably the first real art that I made as a child. I say real, because it wasn’t with a kit, or something you filled in from the store, it was all hand made. A piece of wood. Nails. Lots of nails, and string. Oh, how I loved to make it. I made it again and again. Gave it to my mom’s friends. And when I saw it hanging on Diane Larson’s wall, I think that was the beginning for me. I was an artist. I was home.

This coffee cup that hung in the restroom in Jennings, Louisiana, was not new. It was falling apart at the bottom. Some may not even call it art. But it was for me. More than that really. Because in it, I could feel it – all the anticipation of youth! What a feeling! I carry it with me as I greet the new day, again and again, and I give thanks for each beginning! How delicious!


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From my tiny cup.

When I was a child, I thought coffee was chunky. I remember my Grandma’s cup, when she reached the bottom, it was filled with the crumbs of every grandchild that pleaded, please can I just dunk my cookie, just once. And my mother’s cup, thanks to me, was the same. I know she didn’t like it, but for some strange and glorious reason, she loved me more.

I’ll say it again. It’s the little things, one might even say the crumbs, but oh they matter! Always have, always will.

People often tell me that they read my posts with their morning coffee. What a gift! To share with you this time. To gather in. Sit beside you at your table.

Every day, the world throws something at us. We are asked to survive the unsurvivable. Believe in the unbelievable. It is in these moments that I remember, I was not only loved, I was loved more. Taking a sip from my cup, I have everything, and so I begin.