Jen Rinaldi Photography

Capturing Life's Fleeting Moments…

In Memory of Ann Rinaldi June 24, 2009

In Memory of Ann Rinaldi

I have so many fond memories of my grandmother from my childhood. When I think of her I immediately think of mozzarella cheese, coupons, and chicken soup.  Strange combination of thoughts, right?

Well it all has to do with the fact that I loved mozzarella cheese so much when I was little (still do) and Gran would always have it at her house for me every time I came over her place.  She would cut it up in slices and I would put salt on it and eat the whole block.

The coupon reference is one that makes me smile.  My grandma was a coupon wizard.  She would have so many coupons that she filled an entire dresser drawer with them.  She lived in a retirement apartment complex and she would collect all of the coupon circulars from the recycling center and when I would come over I would sit at the kitchen table and cut them out for her for hours and help organized them in envelopes for her.  When she would go to the grocery store she would work with the store’s sale circular and her coupons and she could fill a whole cart with groceries and never pay a cent…we joke that sometimes they owed HER money at the checkout! She inspired me to do the same thing for my mom with coupons when I was young.  Sometimes when mom and I would go shopping I’d save her $40-$50 with “double coupons.”  You can’t beat savings!  I still try to use them where I can to this day!

I always wanted to help her when I came over.  One day she showed me that her can opener could sharpen knives on the back of it and next thing you know I was sharpening every single knife she had in the kitchen, in turn, burning out the can opener in the process.  She didn’t get upset with me…she just told me not to worry about it…but I never forgot that story all this time!  lol.

She was a great cook.  I have memories of more great Italian dinners than you can imagine.  She was also famous for her homemade chicken soup.  She’d make tons of it and freeze it in recycled containers she saved from other meals (my granny never wasted a thing!) and every time you’d come over you’d end up leaving with a container of her homemade chicken soup.

She was super thoughtful and very generous.  I remember over and over going to her house and if I complimented something she had she would tell me to take it home.  I would tell her, no Gran it’s yours, but somehow the item would find it’s way home with me in my bag because she snuck it in there.  I was just packing tonight and found a teeny tiny glass vase with teeny tiny glass flowers in it that she gave me.  I keep in it on the shelf in my office and it reminds me of her.

Grandma loved to swim at our house during the summer and she loved to read.  She has probably read tens of thousands of books in the years past.  When she would come over to relax at our house during the summer she would read her books while cooling off in the pool and would finish a book in a day!  Between her and my mother who also loves to read – I can see where my love for reading comes from (if only I had more time lately to do so!)

Grandma had many ailments and had been on oxygen for about 10 years.  Even with all of the health issues she had through the years she just kept on ticking!  That’s why it’s hard for me to grasp that she is no longer with us.  No matter what, she always pulled through, even with the WORST diagnosis – ALWAYS!!  So, I’ve been in a bit of a denial since I was told she passed away last week. It still doesn’t seem real.

It’s been a hard year.  First my Aunt passed away last year…then my Father this May, and now my Grandma (my Dad’s Mother) a month later. I’ve lost almost all of the members on one branch of my extremely small family tree.  It’s not an easy reality to face.  I’m trying my best to get through the tough days I have ahead and I’m looking forward to a bright and shiny future…there has to be a rainbow after all of these stormy days!

Visiting with Gran in NC this past November:

I can’t believe your both gone from my life…

Her favorite things…reading & relaxing in the sun in the pool:

We’ll miss you Gran!


Safely Home June 21, 2009

Lawrence A. Rinaldi

Beloved Father, Son, and Brother

November 20, 1946 – May 2, 2009

*My Eulogy*

My sadness knows no end

I can’t believe you’re gone

I’ve been filled with sadness each day

It’s been hard to carry on


I’ve grown up to have so may of your traits

and I’m happy that I did

You’ve taught me so much

and no one can take that away


You may have thought I didn’t see or hear

the lessons that you taught me

but I got every word

I picked up everything

It’s written in my heart


What I’ll do without my Dad

I can’t comprehend

Memories of times we had

help the pain go away

But my life won’t be the same

and I’ll miss you everyday


Please know that I love you

and no one can ever take your place


A part of my heart went with you…

Love Always,


Safely Home

I am home in heaven, dear ones;
Oh so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.

All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in heaven at last.

Did you wonder how I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh, but Jesus’ love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.

And he came himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus’ arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?

Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth’s shadows,
Pray to trust our Father’s will.

There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remains,
You shall rest in Jesus’ land.

When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!


Dad’s Dolphin

It was hanging in Dad’s car…now it hang’s in mine. 🙂


I Know I Have Reasons to Smile May 11, 2009

Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone;

and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come.

Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.

This was taken the Sunday after my father passed away. Chris and I took a long ride and I saw this gorgeous field of flowers and knew that on the way back that I needed to stop there. I asked him to take this photo of me. Nature is beautiful and I love capturing it. On this day this field of flowers and my day with Chris made me smile even though I felt such sadness.

Losing a parent is one of the hardest things one could imagine.

I still feel like it’s a bad dream and I’m waiting to wake up from it.

You lose a piece of your heart when someone close to you dies but after time passes the hurt seems to lessens a little each day.

I started to see a little clearer through the hazy fog I was walking through for the past couple weeks and even though I was devastated…and I felt as if life was so unfair…I realized that I still have reasons to smile.

Spending time with those that I love dearly helped to heal the pain and anguish each day.  Seeing the outpouring of love from so many people who genuinely cared enough to send words of encouragement through emails, Facebook messages, calls, cards, texts, lifted my spirits each day.

It’s hard to decide what to do next.  I’ve been away from my home in NJ for 2 weeks and 3 days.  When I arrived home tonight, from NC, I felt as if I didn’t know where to begin…and hours later I still feel that way.  I’m all out of sorts and flustered that I don’t know where to start and how to get back to normal.

I know it will take time, but if you know me, I’m not that patient about letting things sit for too long no matter what is going on in my life. I have a lot of work to do and more work is on it’s way…so rest assured that I will be back to “somewhat” normal soon.  I will be working away into the late hours on my photography jobs and trying to think about the positive things in life rather than the bad luck that I feel I’ve been experiencing for a while.  My work is one of the things that seems to keep me going through anything.  I’m so thankful for the gift of photography given to me by my Dad (aka: Poppy-Seed).

I have a lot further to go before some of the turmoil in my life subsides but with all of your love and support I know I will make it through.

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…

we must do that which we think we cannot. –Eleanor Roosevelt

(thx Amy for the quote)

hugs! xoxo