2014 has been an incredibly eventful year for my family, and I felt like I owed my dedicated readers a bit of an explanation as to why I was absent for so long.  But instead of turning this into a long, depressing post full of tears, I’ve decided to try and add a positive spin with a free printable.  It’s not much, but please consider it a thank you for sticking with me for so long.  I love each and every one of you for that.

Clicking on the image above will bring up a larger, high-res version of this chalkboard printable, which you can then save and print to almost any size you need.

It started with the sudden passing of my dad in December, right before both his birthday and Christmas.  

Daddy and I, the little Shabby Beach Nest girl.

Thirty years later. Dad was now a Grampy!

My dad had a big part of making me who I am today.  It was through him that I was first introduced to the ocean, and together on our many adventures, he helped create the passion I will always carry for it.

But I was plagued with doubts.  I felt like I never made enough time for him in my adult life, and was filled with regrets.  I always thought we’d have more time…

The question that haunted me the most was always, “Who was my dad?” After seeing the massive response of so many to his passing, I was terrified that I never took the time to really know my father.  That thought – more than anything else – brought me to the point of many months of tearful breakdowns.   But then I realized something both staggering and comforting in its simple truth.

My father was a brilliant kaleidoscope, his many planes and colors reflecting through people’s lives all over the world.

The wonderful realization also made me understand that my dad was a lot of people’s “Barry”, but he was only one persons “Daddy”. I’m the only one who knew him in this very special, wonderful, miraculous way.  And after a time, I was finally at peace with that.  It was enough.

I miss you, Daddy…

It was in early January that I found out I was pregnant again.  The thought that my father would never meet his second grandchild tormented me.  It was only a few short weeks later that I was rushed into emergency surgery because the pregnancy had been ectopic and had ruptured my left tube.

More death…  My soul was drowning in it.

I was on strict bed rest until March, which is when we found out that Alex had been accepted back into the Army.  Can someone be terrified but relieved at the same time?  True, we had been struggling in Southern California – everything there is just so darn expensive.  

My (extremely) handsome Army husband.

But the beaches and the big blue Pacific held my heart.  And I had a job that I ADORED.  How many people can do what they love and get paid for it?  I was one of the lucky few who was legitimately excited to go to work every day.  How could I not be?  I worked in/on/with the ocean on a daily basis!  I still dream of the ocean most nights, and we’ve been gone for seven months.

I’m not joking when I say this was my office for two years. Literally, this was where I reported for work.

We now live in Kentucky.  It’s no Southern California, but it’s got it’s own charm.  Maddy is still getting used to living so far from family, and for that matter so am I.  But we’re getting there.

It’s been especially tough being so far from my mom, because not long after we got here I found out I was pregnant again.  And where my first pregnancy was a joyful breeze, this time around has been Hurricane Katrina, Charlie, and Irene all rolled into one.  I’ve been on bed rest (again) for months (which is never a good idea for someone like me who thrives on being outside and soaking up that vitamin A); and I’ve been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count.  Honestly, it’s getting kind of ridiculous at this point, lol.  I’m sure you can see why I want my mommy!

To add insult to injury, we just found out that the hubs will be deployed mere days after the baby is born.  Horror was my first response to that.  (“Leave me here? By myself?  Across the country from my family, with two kids, one of whom is a brand new baby?!?”)  And yes, I was a tad hysterical (and very high-pitched) by the end of that little meltdown.

Life in the fast lane… Nothing like dismantling some IED’s to get the blood flowing! And yes, that’s what my husband does.

But you know what?  I’m starting to accept it all.  My mind has gone from being stuck on overdrive to suddenly being very much at peace.  I figure I could either rage and rebel against the injustice of it all – all the death, all the things I loved taken away from me one by one.  Or I could accept it.

I’ve finally grown into my big girl pants I think, as I’ve chosen to embrace my circumstances.  They do not define me, after all.  God would never have given me this life if He didn’t think I could handle it.  And in some weird, demented way, that’s almost a compliment.  He must think I’m made of stronger stuff.  And you want to know something?  I’m starting to believe Him.

And so, My Lovlies… Thanks for sticking with me.  I lost myself for a while along the long and bumpy road to rediscovery.  But I’m back now, and I’ve realized that no matter what happens, I want you all in my life for good!!  Until next time, friends.