It’s keeping me sane(ish)

Most days around here are spent boxing up our belongings. I try to do the lion’s share of the work on this end because I’m kind of useless on moving day. So the biggest part of my contribution is the before and after. The downsizing part of this particular move has added the additional responsibility of making sure I love everything that goes in a box. Have I used this in the last year? Will I be using it in the next 3-6 months? Can it be replaced at a later date? And the most important question of all…one a co-worker taught me years ago: If you were going to use it, would you know where to find it? The answer to that last question is usually a no. I like everything to be within my vision, otherwise I forget I even have it.

As of April 3, we have 25 more days before the move. In some ways, that seems like way too short of a time period. In other moments, however, it seems an eternity.

So how do I keep sane within the confines of chaos?

I started keeping a sketching journal shortly before we found out about our move. I’m not faithful about doing it daily, and I’m okay with that. Each morning I wake up, grab my chai tea and land on the floor with the cat. I pull out my book and sketch a little about the previous day – highlights I want to remember.

The idea for the journal came exclusively from Samantha Dion Baker. I have been silently admiring her work for about a year now. Man oh man!, her journals. Each page is a work of delicate art. Her sketches are so unique to her and easily recognizable.

Something I have learned about myself over the years is that I learn a new technique best by imitating something I admire. Some might want to yell, “Hey!, that’s copying!” To which I would reply, “Yes. Exactly.” It is how – in the very very beginning – I learned to scrapbook. There were scrapbookers I really admired so I copied their work until eventually my own style emerged. I have encouraged students who have taken my classes over the years to do the same. For the most part, the techniques you admire in others are the ones that you will most likely gravitate to yourself. It’s within you – the artists you admire can help draw that out of you.

I am hoping that’s the case with Samantha’s work. I have always wanted to learn how to sketch – I love that type of art. And I love watercolor but have never taken any classes to learn how to properly do it. Instead, I have used the UNLIMITED resources online to imitate until my own style begins to set up like Jell-O.

I wrote to Samantha to see what she thought. I told her I wanted to share my progress with my blog readers but would give her COMPLETE credit for the inspiration. She readily agreed and said she was glad to be of inspiration. (A sure sign of a confident artist that isn’t hoarding their talent but eagerly helping others along the way.) I am literally looking at things within her own journals and transferring them as best as I can into my own journal. I’m already starting to see patterns emerging in the way in which I see things. I have a looooonnnnnggggggggggg way to go, but I am completely enjoying the process. It is a way to get completely lost for an hour, concentrating hard and thinking only of the page in front of me. The perfect escape from the boxes and packing tape all around, just out of my periphery.

Because things are so crazy and hectic right now in our lives, some days I only get a pencil sketch down before having to move on. Other pages have the ink drawn in, but no color yet. Sometimes I use colored pencils to add color, other times, Copic markers. I have yet to step into watercolor but mostly because it requires more space and that’s something I have in very small amounts nowadays.

I will occasionally share some pages with you. But for now, here is my very humble beginnings. I have tried to wait for a sunny day to take pictures, but if you live around Kansas City, you know it’s been so dreary and rainy lately, I might have to wait six more months for a sunny day!



I can’t tell you how much this is keeping me sane.
Well, Ish.


That was cute of me. 

I believe the last thing I said was, “…and I’ll blog about this move along the way.”

I was insane.

Currently my desk is completely covered with plants from all over the house so that I can still get to them to water them and they can still get sun, but I needed their regular spaces around the house for piles of boxes. Getting to my computer to do a complete blog is simply an impossible dream at this point. 

But I did want to check in a second and say hey.

Moving reminds me a lot of pregnancy. You know, the pregnancies I had 29 and 26 years ago that everyone said I would forget the childbirth process as time went by. I haven’t forgotten. It also reminds me of the long flight I took from the middle of the United States to South Africa. After a few hours all rational thoughts go out the window and all you can think is, “I’m finished. Right now. I mean it! I need to be done with this. Pull this plane over this very minute and let me off.

That’s about where I am with this move. And I still have a month to go.

I don’t know if it makes me a superficial person, or if it’s pretty common among all people, but I need a calm, pretty environment. I don’t live well with clutter. I told Scott the other night that my body actually hurts from walking and stopping and pivoting and turning and maneuvering my way around piles of boxes all over the house all day long. 

Yes, I’m grateful.
Yes, I’m excited for the move.
But still, yes, I’m discontented and impatient with the process.

We are learning to keep our sense of humor. And to be very patient and understanding with each other. Both of us have mentioned to each other that we are we bit control freaky and not always very nice when it comes to the moving process. Maybe in admitting this to each other before hand, we can find the space for forgiveness when the aggravated times inevitably will come. Scott and I are both firstborns. Every book will tell you that two  firstborns should never marry. I mostly disagree with them, since Scott and I seem to get a lot done together. We are a pretty good powerhouse team. But in times like these, when there are too many details and too many plans and too many contingency things that could go wrong, we both step firmly into our firstborn rolls. After seven years of marriage, we are learning when to step back and let the other lead. And that seems to be half the battle. Well that and I respect the hell out of the man. 

The biggest thing I’m keeping in mind, is that we have had rainy overcast and dreary days here in KC for weeks and weeks on end it seems. I recently heard somebody say that they are ‘solar-powered’. I loved that description! It fits me to a tee. And without any sun lately, my battery is running low.

And while I’m at it, can I just tell you that I have some of the most fantastic friends in the world. Seriously, you may think yours are great, but I think mine are the awesomest!! 

I received this text from my friend Vicky the other day. I have known Vicky since third grade, and she knows how much I don’t like rainy days.

There’s nothing quite like a well-placed text to really turn a mood around. It wasn’t what she said, of course, but rather that she remembered something about me and reached out to do something about it. I really wish I could remember that with other people. A connection can happen with such a small, free, simple act of kindness.
So now I’m back to the boxes and the smell of magic marker and the tape that just won’t stick.  But also back to making decisions about the things I have been blessed to co-exist with for awhile, trying to determine whether or not our journey together is finished and it’s time for someone else to love it – or if our time together is just not quite done yet. 

Moving would be a lot easier if I didn’t humanize everything in my life! 

The adventure continues –