Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Creativity is Through the Roof"

Tonight I share with you a piece I wrote for my personal journal on June 22, 2011. Just a month before we moved to the Dominican Republic. As Josh and I substitute teach every day in the school district here state-side, spend our nights at our online jobs & endeavors we normally do island-side, waiting to return to our Dominican life to launch the next VERY exciting adventure, I draw many connections to that time almost two years ago. Shared:

Oregon Coast. Photo courtesy of Littmssunshine Blog

Last week, J & I finally got away for 24 hours sans children to celebrate our anniversary and relax. We went to the beach, surprise, surprise. The thing is, though, I love that tradition of ours and this year was likely the last year of it since we'll be moving 3,442 miles away. No joke. With an ocean in there somewhere.
After leaving our regular jobs just four days before, we both realized this immense weight lifted from our shoulders. That may seem quaint or obvious to others, but as we talked while strolling the cold, windy beach, it hit us that this last year was over. We had decided to both work full time to be able to leave and had known it would be incredibly difficult going in. We'd done difficult before though--in the first months of our marriage, at one time, we had 6 teenage foster children. Psychotic? Perhaps. But they can't test for that when you pee in a cup and they were pretty eager to find a place for those kids. More on that in a later post.
We had several difficult conversations leading up to both of us working full time, making sure that we both had the same priorities: our children, the core activities of our Faith and saving enough money to be able to move. Everything else, there wouldn't be much personal time for. I put away my paints. J put away his guitar. I put away my beads. J put away his writing. I put away most of my culinary excursions (this one was easier to squeeze a few in since the end result was somewhat vital). Of course, we incorporated these into our core activities, but its different sharing snip-its with a group than spending a solid three hours to yourself. We both put away the stacks of books that each of us wanted to read for pleasure. We put into storage frequent outings with friends, monthly dates, vacations--both mini and grandiose, buying most gifts, new clothes for ourselves, going out to the movies, eating out and any number of other things that we enjoy as part of our lifestyle before this last year. Before this last year, J was a stay-at-home dad and I worked full-time, but walked a pleasant 7 minutes to work and was done by 3:30 each day. And had enough time to come home for lunch. We enjoyed one another. We had enough for everything we needed. The kids were with one or both of their parents 24/7--something really important to J & I. Everything fit leisurely into our schedule. We were rested, fresh, ready for what was next.
J turned to me, his windbreaker rippling against him and the waves crashing in, "I feel like our creativity is coming back."
I nodded, knowing exactly what he meant. We'd been freed.
"I feel like I'm retiring from a life I had to live so I could live the life I want to live," I responded. I can be a bit dramatic. It was only a year. But it was a tough one. The thing is, this next chapter may be even more difficult. The difference? Its aligned to our goals & aspirations. Its so clearly part of our life-long dream. It aligns perfectly to what we believe our purpose is. Standing on the edge, in this moment right before jumping in, even though there are so many unknowns--we're both beside ourselves with excitement. We've drawn up a dream for ourselves, and thus far, we're following it--fiercely. Its been a long haul. And its only just begun.
In this last week--the first of precious few without work and before we move--the creativity and joy has been flowing through us like ketchup from an EZ-Squeeze bottle. I've baked breads and pastries, cooked a variety of cuisines, made chocolates, worked for hours upon hours with my acrylics and beads, laughed and played with my kiddos without thinking about anything else, been out with friends, and even thrown a party just because I wanted to. J takes a bit longer to transition into things, but he's noticeably more at ease--with the exception of an international move on our minds. That's all.

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