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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