Jodi Hills

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


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Time for an upgrade.

I wasn’t having the best day the other day. I was worried about something that seems too ridiculous to mention now. But I had another task to complete. I was working on the “about me” page for my website upgrade. I had a few photos in mind that I wanted to put with the story. As you might imagine, I have tons of photos on my computer – art, travel, family… I started searching. At first it seemed laborful. So many photos. Then I started really looking at them. I started remembering. Enjoying. Giving thanks. What an adventure! And I felt a little embarrassed that I was squandering my day with worry. I looked at everything that was, and I couldn’t wait to see what could be!!!!  

A lot of you say that what I write is such a good reminder for you. I’m reminding myself along the way. We all have to do the work. And as laborful as it seems sometimes, it’s so worth it. 

You’ll have to wait to see my “about me” page. It’s coming soon. But I encourage you, from time to time, make it a task for yourself — pull out the box of old photos, scroll through your computer, read your journal, listen to your heart. What you have lived through is amazing! Gather that strength and then go out and make some new memories! It’s about you, and it’s about time! Enjoy your day!


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A place at the table.

I had to hold my hand over my mouth more than once. The laughter from the table was so powerful, my lips could barely contain themselves. One hand holding my mouth, the other hand reaching, reaching across the table, needing to touch the person who said the funniest thing, touch the person and feel the laughter through fingers and arms and try to gather it in my belly before it shot out of my mouth!

We had dinner with friends last night. Dear friends. I suppose we are all looking for our tribe. And when you find it, you just know. You gather together, not because of a game on television. Not because blood tells you that you should, but because this is your place. Your place at the table. No explanations necessary. Nor apologies. Just understanding. Curiosity. Interest. Kindness. Laughter and love.

If you can find this, a table at which to share a dream, a possibility, a laugh, a memory, a deep joy, oh, then give thanks! Give thanks at this table. What a gift it is to have friends!


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Thanks.

Some mornings when I sit down to write, the idea is at hand, jumping so quickly from my heart to my brain to my hands. Other days, I have to breathe slowly, look around, thumb through my sketchbooks, and aaaah… there it is. Still others, like today, I know I will have to dig for it. Dig deeply. Be patient. Attentive.


To quote Meister Eckhart,“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” I suppose it’s the same with living. With creating. With writing. Today, instead of searching for the lesson, I’m just going to give thanks. I’m going to say hello to the sun, and be thankful that I have another chance, another chance maybe not to be clever, to be smart, or to be creative, but a chance to be joyful. To be grateful. A chance to look around, listen to the sounds of morning, and simply say, thank you.


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Awakenings.

I’m enjoying this practice of sharing a story each morning. It has become part of my routine. I had thought of doing it for a long time, but I was a little afraid of the process. How would I come up with a new idea each day? There are challenges, for sure (it’s not coal mining hard, but it does take some effort.) The key for me has been this, the art of noticing. It sounds simple enough, and it actually is, but you do have to practice it. And once in the practice, you will (forgive me) “notice” how easy it is to notice things.

But it can’t stop there – noticing is the key to gratitude.

This morning I was awakened by the sweetest sound – birds singing. And oh, how they say. So joyful. I woke up smiling. Thank you birds. Thank you morning. Thank you “not waking up to an alarm clock.”

Gratitude alone, though, can become complacent without action. So I painted the birds that sang to me this morning. I put the bird paintings on my computer so I can share them with you. And with a piece of luck, this yellow will make you smile. This smile will brighten your face, which will brighten the face of the person next to you. And we start a chain. A chain of gratitude.

Some of you will share the story that this brought to your mind. This yellow, this bird, this awakening. And your story will make me think, hey, did you notice the… and we’re off again! Thank you for that. Thank you for this chain.

We are only as strong as our connections.

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The process


Yesterday I painted Fran Lebowitz for the soul purpose of painting Fran Lebowitz.  I would not sell her (in fact, I knew I would be giving her to a friend who adores her). I would not gain any exposure. There are no hashtags. Fran Lebowitz does not own a phone.  She would not see it.  She doesn’t own a computer. She would not come to France, because she doesn’t leave New York.  No, this was about the process. The joy of taking a blank piece of paper and creating an image. Seeing her come to life with each stroke. I love to draw. To paint. To create. I really love it. And I get to do it!  Imagine that!  Imagine – doing what you love!!! Maybe the best way I have to show my gratitude for this, is to do it – to enjoy it – for all that it is.  And so I painted Fran Lebowitz, not for the money, or the selfie, or the hashtag, but simply to give thanks for the opportunity to do it.  And I am grateful.  I packed her up this morning and she is on her way to my friend’s house in Texas, where I know she will be loved.  Gratitude keeps giving. 

Today I encourage you to enjoy the process.  Of living.  If you are baking a cake, lick the batter – share it with your kids, your husband, yourself. Smell the sugar melding with the butter as it bakes.  Pour some tea and enjoy. 

If you’re drawing in your sketchbook, don’t be afraid to scribble.  Scribble – it’s fun to even say the word.  Life is not perfection, it’s process.

Whatever you do today, take a minute to enjoy it.  This is how we give thanks. And if we’re lucky, truly blessed, we’ll get another day tomorrow.  Enjoy!