Hey there! Happy 2015! I am feeling so much more settled, so much healthier and less exhausted and more balanced than I have in a long time. I'm coming back to myself without any preconceived notion or label of what that "self" is, and I am excited to explore the possibilities open to us - you and me - as we head in to 2015. I hope you are ready for some of the big plans I've got in store. There's a bunch of new things, as well as some things that will come back with some twists. I can't wait to show you!
But first, some backstory. As most of you know, 2014 was somewhat of a silent year for me here on my blog and online in general. I took some unexpected last-minute time off. You already know about a lot of what happened in late 2013 and through 2014. I decided in February of last year, after seven straight years of teaching, to finally obey what the universe had been telling me for some time: Something had to change.
The growth and maintenance of JessicaSprague.com had reached levels that I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain much longer, and it felt like I was always working. Always on to the next thing. And this rush and haste it is especially ironic considering that my entire goal is to help YOU learn the skills that help you slow down and appreciate the small things in your life, and record them. Something had to change.
The ultimate 'shove off the cliff' came in fall of 2013, when I was diagnosed with Lupus. I knew my life would be changing, and it was that extra encouragement from the universe that yes, indeed, something had to change.
The resulting sickness and exhaustion led us to careful consideration, and Jared and I decided that I would step back from teaching for awhile - something that for various reasons I had really hesitated to do. And that decision triggered a whole bunch of others.
We'd been going back and forth on one big decision for some time: to sell our cabin after 5 years of enjoying the heck out of it. To consolidate our homes into one home - a new one that better suited the needs of our changing family. Selling the cabin was quick and easy. Selling the house? Nope. Finding a new house? Getting financing, packing up, figuring out random stuff again like what school, what church congregation, where the grocery store is, all that stuff happened in the fall of this year.
Coupled with all of this - through this entire year, is something I am sure every person has experienced at some point: this crisis of identity - of having to really examine what I was made of, what I had to offer back to the world, even what I WAS now, that designing and teaching online classes wasn't the main focus of my life. What am I, if I am not this?
I don't know that I've fully answered that question. What I DO know, is that I was able to participate fully this past year in some really critical changes for my family. I cooked dinner (every now and then, let's be honest: this will never be me), spent time at the park. My children saw my face as we played and worked together. We visited family in the west for 2 1/2 weeks, and the dust began to settle from my "old" life into what I hope will be a better and more balanced one.
I don't feel like I have any more answers, really, than I ever did. But I've become more ok with the absence of answers than I ever have.
Sweet friend, I have no lion's heart. This much I know from the testing of it over the past few years. This road I'm on gets long and my knees get weak, and my hands hang down, and I despair of ever getting it right. Of ever doing or being as much as I ought to. And I know (looking at you through the monitor there, yes you), that you've been right there at some point.
All any of us have is what we've been given, what we've managed to make of it, and whatever time is left to us in our own personal race. Not until our stores of energy run out, but with patience. Patience knowing that there's more to come - both joy and sorrow, and we can meet it as we've always done, and - little by little - overcome. There's more to do before the race is done.
Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings said:
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
I have a quote I've put on the back of my cell phone, to remind myself:
It's from Hebrews 12:1.
I know some of you are hesitant now, communication became hard for me, and the classes stopped pouring in. But I can promise you with my new mindset, soul, and this amazing support team behind me, 2015 will be a new and improved year, with more fun, more classes, and some surprises that you'll never be able to guess!
I'm glad to be back in the game, and hope you'll enjoy this new journey through scrapbooking, digital design and more! Thank you all so much for being so patient with me and being part of the finest group of people I have ever known. Scrapbookers and memory keepers are the rarest of people, and it's an honor to be among you.