Jodi Hills

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


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I handed him my business card, the one with my grandfather on it. Is that Rueben? It’s hard to explain the joy I received with those three words. He knew my grandfather. Remembered his name. Said it out loud. Such a small thing I suppose, but oh, how those small things can swell with pride, and connection. Oh, how they can jump through those tiny cracks in your heart and completely fill them. My grandfather had 27 grandchildren, fifty-some great grandchildren. And on. It was hard to stand out in that crowd. To hold that farmer’s hand for more than a few minutes. But yesterday, in this Caribou, with this Dave’s recognition, I was holding it all in my hand, holding once again this overalled man’s hand, my mother’s father’s hand in mine, and we were all connected.


I have told you before, we called it “the farm.” (My grandfather’s place) “The” – as if it were the only one. And for us, it was. Yesterday, after Caribou, we went to the bank. I had met the teller once before a year ago. I asked to make a deposit. He said, “Aren’t you the artist?” The artist. “Yes,” I said, heart swelling still and again.


To see each other. To give each other the greatest gift of all. “The gift.” May we all be forever generous.


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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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