March has been a month where I did surprisingly very little reading in favor of updating my European bucket list!
1. I think looking up actual dates and considering different ways of traveling, creates an excitement.
Possibly a way to escape-in much the way reading a book is an adventure for both the mind and the soul! Or maybe in the way it romances us, creating an internal build up of anticipation of an experience much like the way we look forward to an interesting date. Until we board that plane or step in to that home away from home, we have so much to envision and discuss. There is really something about dreaming of places you want to go and see, sharing tips with each other, then doing something that makes it a reality!
Writing out my thoughts behind what I really want to see and how to make the most of our time, here are places I definitely want to visit in 2017 with the family;
I feel that this year most of my solo travel plans will need to stay closer to home, but we will see how the year turns out!
2. This is also the same month I picked up a new planner from InkWell Press (<–refer a friend link). I wasn’t sure if I would like it, so I went with a Quarterly planner with a separate bullet journal. The bullet journal has become my favorite way to travel plan! All of my ideas and suggestions for each location is easily accessible.
Each day has a section large enough for me to write down quotes that inspire me. To the right are sections for daily tasks, which I use to write down three good things that happen. If I wasn’t so invested in the quarterly I would upgrade this year. Wish I had taken the leap!
3. This was also the month we decided to remove the t.v. and our electronic devices. Tired of everything revolving around the games and melt downs that always followed, I removed the T.V., Playstation and Wii. I replaced the hole in the room with a bookcase from IKEA and a cassette/DVD player for our audio books. I did keep a couple of handheld devices for emergencies and roadtrips, so I am not a total electronic Grinch.
At first the kids refused to live. They laid on the couch as if detached from their life source.
“I’m sooo bored!”
“There is nothing to doooo!”
Then something crazy happened. They started to pull out activity kits we have collected over the years and use them.
They started to read more books.
They went outside and played, because they wanted to!
After a couple of weeks we decided to play with the idea that maybe we could bring the electronic devices back out. I mean, there are shows I am missing too!
Everyone enjoyed the return of the entertainment devices. Unfortunately something else returned. The bad attitudes and melt downs. The next weekend I decided to not repeat the experiment. Surprisingly, no one asked or mentioned the T.V.! It turns out without a T.V. in our face all the time we were too busy having fun with other things that interested us!
The best part was that gradually I was no longer an irritated zombie. As their personalities and interests in other things became more important, we had less conversations about the Minecraft world and fights over video gaming behavior.
At first we initially had less of their friends visit us because they no longer had access to video games. It wasn’t easy for me to deter their social interaction. I almost broke under the emotional pleas of my children… but I consoled myself with the realistic idea that their friends were probably inviting them over to play video games at their house. My goal was to only focus on the electronic elephant in our house. Eventually their friends did come back around and I stopped worrying about ruining their lives forever. Lesson learned, give kids the time and space to figure it all out!
4. Being the month of Ireland and all things green, I found myself loving the illustrations in this Irish Poem, The White Cat and the Monk, courtesy of BrainPickings.org. It really does a beautiful job reminding us to slow down and find happiness in our own purpose.
5. This travel journal really inspires me to pack my pencils! What a neat way to document our adventures!
6. As a child people in my life thought certain things were too private to talk about or that they were being kind. However their inability or refusal to talk about things often led me to imagine that I was the reason there was a problem. As an adult that lesson has always stayed with me and helped me to communicate better with my own children.
Those moments, as uncomfortable as they sometimes are, are critical moments in our lives were we could have learned how to handle our feelings. When we hide behind a smile or brush them off with snide comments, we rob ourselves of our authenticity. We lose what it means to live honestly with each other.
Which is why I think this Zen Pencils comics is a beautiful reminder that in our over-achieving, perfection is beauty, society it is important to remember that we cannot wait until we think we are ready. That a life worth living is really about deciding to fight when we are imperfect and fragile.
7. Putting this personal belief into practice I noticed that when I explain that I am angry and why I am upset, the kids will visibly relax. “Oh it is not about me! I understand!” Sometimes they offer solutions and sometimes they know that means I need a little bit more love in my life at that moment. More importantly I notice they are more open to talking about their feelings with me.
So this month I think this article was timely.
8. I joined a local Plein Air group last year and stalked them. I finally revealed to one of the members that the closest I have come to actually painting is a Bob Ross session and a failed attempt with a Paint by Number project. We had a good laugh and many conversations later she encouraged me to purchase supplies and learn how to paint with oil. Thank you Becky for your support and vote of confidence!
For my first attempt I decided to recreate a piece of Paris for myself.
9. Arts was something I was told was a waste of time, so I put it aside. Only people born with the skill have any right to create art. Phooey. Now that I am taking time to explore my interests I find it allows me to understand myself better. I find that as I allow more time for art and writing in my life, it seems to give my children permission to pursue it for themselves.
“Look mom! Look what I made!”
I’m constantly impressed by how easy it is for them create things I struggle with.
10. I’m loving this video from Great Big Story about this amazing artist, Melissa McCracken, who paints what she hears! How beautiful is her work?
Travel planning, removing distractions, living more authentically, rediscovering personal interests… it all comes down to making time to invest in yourself.
So to help you live a more inspired and resilient life, I’m sharing one of my favorite comic artist and his inspirational work by giving away two copies of Gavin Aung Than‘s Zen Pencils-Volume Two: Dream the Impossible Dream!
***This Giveaway requires that you have an Amazon Account***
No purchase required
ends April 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT