Wednesday, March 5, 2014

I Choose Happy...

I know it seems like I fell off the planet, I did in a way. I moved across the United States from the East Coast (Virginia) to the West Coast (Oregon) in October. It happened very quickly for my husband's job - we sold our house in Virginia, found a new house and school in Oregon, packed, and got ourselves, all of our stuff, and our greyhound, Pippi across the United States in 5 weeks. We drove across America in two cars with our dog, our kids, and my in-laws. Along the way, we visited family in Ohio, our family farm in Iowa, ate a lot of really bad gas station food and stayed at a variety of hotels - some great and some that were really, really awful. We met a totally crazy lady and her pet Bobcat on a leash at a hotel - I was afraid she was going to eat my dog or my kids. We changed a blown-out tire, watched sunsets and sunrises, saw breathtaking scenery, and smelled horrible smells by factories and hog farms. We drove through farmland, desserts, across rivers, and through a terrible freezing fog and ice storm in Wyoming. We called our road trip the "Oregon Trail" and we were grateful that no one got Dysentery!

That is why I took a blogging break. But there was more to it than that, and there still is. I was also grieving and broken. I lost one of my very best friends to cancer. Then another good friend and co-worker to cancer. I also lost my grandmother and watched two more of my best friends get diagnosed with cancer, one of them was last week, one of them was two weeks before I moved. It has been a lot to process. Relocating and moving are never easy. Moving across the country to a state you've never been too is also a lot to process. Burying friends and family is hard. Cancer is awful and it's WAY too close to home for me, if you've read this post  about my husband, you know why.

I've been processing.
I've been grieving.
I've been packing and unpacking --  kids, stuff, friendships, and emotional baggage.

I've been organizing. Setting up house. Getting into a new school routine. Finding doctors, a vet, a hairdresser, grocery stores, visiting the DMV, all the fun stuff you have to do when you start your life over again.

I've been making collages, vision boards if you will, in my art journal to explore my feelings and process my grief. I've also been journaling. I've been taking photos and documenting bits and pieces of my life on Instagram. I've been reading a lot of books. I bought this bookInner Excavation: Exploring Your Self Through Photography, Poetry and Mixed Media. Thank you, Liz Lamoureaux for teaching me to take deep breaths and to listen to the wisdom within. I've been reading Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World by Tsh Oxenreider, her words are really speaking to me right now and I hope I run into her while getting coffee someday. I'm also enjoying Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford - I've been trying to spend more time living in the moment with my girls and less time worrying about what everyone else is doing, they can all wait. I'm also learning lessons about Imperfection (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are ) and how to embrace Vulnerability (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead) from Brene Brown. If sharing my reading list helps one of you, that's great. If this is all too touchy-feely for you, that's okay too.

We are spending more time as a family outdoors and less time commuting in our cars. We love our new town and we're making new friends here. We are getting back to nature and doing a better job of balancing life and work. I've been spending time off-line and with my family, allowing myself to not feel pressured to document everything for my next blog post, or feel pressured to over share on social media. I've been reflecting on my blog and what kind of place I want it to be for you, my readers, and for myself.
I'm back. I'm still broken but, I'm also healing.
I'm trying to make art again -- slowly, carefully, and when it feels right.

I choose Happy.
I choose Gratitude.
I choose New Beginnings.

My regularly scheduled kid's arts and crafts blogging will resume next week, but at a more relaxed pace. Thank you for your patience.

Pink and Green Mama, MaryLea

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Valerie said...

Oh MaryLea, even that many GOOD changes would be overwhelming. It's hard to know what to say except I'm praying for you and your family. Praying for God's miraculous comfort and healing...

teachmama said...

awwwwwh, ml, this is why you have been --and will always be-- one of my favorite bloggers and thankfully, one of my dearest friends. you are so real, so honest, so crazy creative, smart, talented, and so genuine. we're all here for you, my friend, and you may be surprised at how healing you find blogging to be--an old familiar friend for you in your new life out west, but also different as now it will be on your own terms, new terms. looking forward to this next chapter and . . ahem, also need to plan a family getaway to your neck o' the woods.. . . praying for your healing as you work through all of this. always. you rock, pink and green mama. xoxo

Laura said...

Wow - you have been through so much the past few months. I hope that you're finding healing & peace. It sounds like you've found a wonderful place to live as well as a beautiful balance for you & your family. Thanks for sharing your reading list - I also just started "Hands Free Mama" & I see a couple of others that I need to check out. I'm so glad you'll be posting again - you've been missed!

Tricia Orchard said...

Wow, I'm so sorry for all of your losses. Cancer is horrid! I lost my mom to cancer and currently have two sister-in-laws with cancer. It is not easy.

I have wanted to read all of the books that you mentioned (except the first one, which I have never heard of).

I'm glad that you are back and am looking forward to your posts again.


Faige Kobre said...

Wow, how awful. Sounds like you can write a book about your experiences. And I do remember my kids playing that computer game Oregan trail years ago

MommaMindy said...

MaryLea, I am so sorry for the grief you are going through. My husband and I lost our best friend and spiritual mentor in July and we're still numb. I'm thankful you recognized a need and took time off, although you were greatly missed.

Welcome to the West Coast! I moved to WA from MN ten years ago and it took three years of culture shock to adjust. But, I've found many blessings, as I know you will, too.

I want to tell you about one of my blessings, finding two Christian writers groups to join, one in WA and one in OR. I know you are still adjusting and healing, but if you ever feel led and ready, it could be a blessing to you. Your crafts are amazing, but your writing is good. You touch hearts.

http://oregonchristianwriters.org/ when you

Blessings to you!

Cris said...

You've made a great choice, MaryLea! I'm happy to read you again.
Thanks for sharing your strength. Kind regards from Spain

Jacquie Fisher said...

I just happened to stop by to see if you might be back and yea! You are here :) Sending hugs for the sadness in your life these past few months -- illness and death are always things that make us stop and reflect. I lost my grandmother last year and think about her often -- she had a wonderful life and died on her terms but of course, is still missed by her family.

Take care and looking forward to seeing what's up in your new home. And thanks for listing the books you're reading, I found a new one to add to my library list.

Best, Jacquie

Oana J. said...

I just discoverd your blog today and I enjoyed it very much. I am a two boys mother from Romania (just the other side of the planet :p) and I want to tell that your blog is very inspiring and I apreciate your work. Excuse my english and keep up the good work.
Oana (the Romanian for Jane):P

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