Saturday, December 31, 2011

Trusting Myself in 2011

Oh how giddy I am about this New Year.


Somehow it doesn't seem possible
to even be in the 2000's...
ya' know?

I remember when I was in high school
and my friends and I 
would talk about how old 
we'd be in the year 2000.
I think that all came from the 
song "1999" by Prince.
Remember that?

I am 45.

This is the year I take my life up a notch.
No more waiting.

I learned so much this year.
It began with finding Brave Girl's Club
and taking Soul Restoration 1.

That class was life changing...seriously.

And this Time Line in particular allowed me 
to see my life...

This page in particular changed my life.
I know it sounds so strange
so over the top dramatic...
but it's true.

It's 100% true.

I realized that those 5 years of my life
between 1972 & 1976 made me 
who I am today. 
The events that happened in those
young years made me see life 
very differently.

I found the Spirit here.
 I learned how to pray here.

Those 2 things saved my life.

I took another on-line class this year...
just for fun! 

This was my first girl...Claire.

Christy's class opened my mind and my heart.
Her class along with all I had learned in 
Soul Restoration really helped me
find my artistic voice.
I began making my Brave Girl's like CRAZY!!

 The more I created the better I became.
And the more I found my own style.
I was so happy putting words with images.
I began creating art to "Uplift, Encourage & Inspire".

I found out that to tell 
my story and 
share what was in my heart
I used birds and butterflies.

Collage painting
fabric scraps
sheet music
all became my staples.

2011 was the year of the Art Journal as well.
In June I signed up for another
Brave Girl class...
Soul Restoration 2.

Melody taught me that in order
to live my Big, Bold, Beautiful Life
I had to make better choices.

I had to to choose how to use my time.
I took this to heart and am 
still trying to watch less TV, 
limit my computer time
and spend my time doing
what makes me truly happy...

Reading Scriptures
Taking care of me.

Despite all this encouragement

But then
using the tools I learned in SR1 & 2

I realized I truly was a 
Brave Girl!!

And I began living MY LIFE

I was determined to live my
life in the best
way I knew how...

And I did.

I even sold my Brave Art in
2 craft shows
and gave many pieces as gifts 
to friends, family
& complete strangers.

I found myWINGS
in 2011.

I am on the right path
going into 2012.

I have sooo many new and 
exciting goals...
so many areas of my life
I want to GROW in.

My WORD for 2011

I think I did a great job of
reinventing my art.
The way I think about myself as an artist.

Where will 2012 lead?

What WORD will I choose to lead and guide me in the New Year?

I will share on Monday, January 2nd.

Happy New Year Girls!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Photo Shoot

Howdy, Girls!! What a week it's been. Some good, some bad. Through it all I've grown and realized that all that matters in life is my family. Without their love and support life would be a very dark place.

We had such a wonderful Holiday! As you may remember we shut our business down one week before Christmas. Honestly...I wasn't sure what would happen. We hadn't bought many gifts before that and while I know Christmas isn't all about the presents I still wanted to have gifts for my kids. It all worked out so great...and yes, Jacks and Em wanted more...but were quite happy with everything.

Here are our Holiday Highlights from the past few weeks....

Here are Jacks and Em from TEN years ago making cookies at Grammies. Weren't they cuties?

Here they are NOW!

Gotta LOVE Grams! That's Sarah on the left. She and Jackson have been dating over 1 year now.

My Em is just so darn pretty!

You can NEVER put too many sprinkles on sugar cookies!

Christmas Eve was very low-key this year. Loved it!

We played Monopoly and ate munchies. The best:)

After Church on Christmas Day we came home to open presents. Santa was very good to us this year.

One of our favorite parts of Christmas are the stockings. They are always stuffed full! This year I found a white chocolate coconut bar, orange chocolate bar, DVD's and a Barnes and Noble gift card. YES!

Jacks gave Dave a hunting hat with built in lights. Perfect for the man that has everything:)

Toy Story has always been Jackson's favorite movie. When I saw this shirt I had to get it. He loved it!!!

What an awesome big brother!! He knows his sister well....

Christmas afternoon we headed over to my Mom's for a feast and more presents. Doesn't she look like Mrs. Claus?!:)

Jackson with one of Grams'presents.

That night we went to "The Hangar" to watch "We Bought a Zoo". LOVED that movie!! I give it 5 stars!!!! So inspirational.

The next day was our Ackman Family Christmas Get-Together Extravaganza!!

Here we are!

We had a wonderful time.

All the cousins along with Jackson's Sarah and Ali's Cody...

We have such AWESOME kids!!!

The next day...December 27th was Jackson's 17th Birthday!!

How did my little tag along get to be 17?!  He has always been my buddy. Even now when I need a smile or a hug Jackson just knows and lifts me up. He is a good kid!!

Now because of what's going on in our world we really didn't expect to do a whole lot this day. husband is the miracle worker and we were able to go to Kansas City for a night of BBQ...

Oh this was soooo yummy!

Then we headed over to "Dave & Busters" for hours and hours of arcade fun!!

This night was exactly what we needed!!

There is no doubt I am blessed. I know the Lord is watching out over me and my family. I am so grateful.

The past 2 days I have been in bed with the flu and migraines. Today I woke up still a bit ouchy but ready to BEGIN my New Year!! I can't wait to share my 2012 WORD with you!!

How was your Christmas Break, girls? What was your favorite gift?? My wonderful mom gave me an Ott Lite for my art space. Love it!

Please share!!:)

Friday, December 23, 2011

It Truly is a Wonderful Life

My favorite movie of all time is the Frank Capra classic "It's a Wonderful Life"
This year...more than any other 
it seems to fit what's going on in our lives perfectly.

Lately I've seen my husband
look like this many times throughout the day...

We shut down our Domino's Pizza store down last week.
The store that has been our main source of income for over 20 years.

Why we shut it down is unimportant.
The fact is we did. 
And while a part of us is extremely happy we did...
the other part is a bit frightened.

To say our income has dropped substantially in the past 2 weeks is an understatement.

But yet, we are good.
We are.
We are so very blessed.
We have other sources of income that will sustain us.
Pay our bills, keep food on our table.
There will be no extras.
We knew that going into it.
But still it's scary.
We have worries and concerns about our home, our family.

My husband shares a lot of the same characteristics with George Baily.

He's always helping others...
Every time that scene comes on where George is taking his own money
for his honeymoon and passing it 
out to the citizens of Bedford Falls I just laugh...
it's so my husband.
I can't count how many times Dave has
taken from us to give to others.

That's just how he rolls.

Throughout this ordeal rumors have been swirling around
town that the Ackmans are losing everything.
That we were forced to shut down.

Those rumors hurt.

It's not so easy walking into Wal-Mart when you feel like
all eyes are on you.

But for the most part...
those people that know us and love us...
they have been wonderful.
I am so grateful for them.

My husband is, too.
It's not easy on him.
He's the one out in the trenches...
making sure are bills get paid.
Making sure we can do this without too  many problems.

That's why I started keeping a Gratitude Journal again.
Having a grateful heart keeps me cheerful.
Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

A grateful heart...
A cheerful life...
A smile for everyone we meet.

Tonight as we snuggle on the couch and watch our favorite classic
I will be counting my blessings.

And even though I'm not sure what 2012 will bring
I know that I lead a blessed life. I have so much.

My family.
My friends.
My faith.
A warm home.
Food on my table.
Love in my heart.

It truly is a Wonderful Life.

Merry Christmas Girls!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Art Journaling Everyday

It's Day 4 of my Favorite Blog List. Now, remember these aren't my only favorite blogs...heavens NO! They are just a sampling of blogs that have really caught my eye this past month and look forward to reading in the New Year.

Today's featured blog is "Balzer Designs". You may have noticed their blog button on my sidebar...

I found Julie a year ago on one of my late night Web Surfs. Her style of art journaling is so me...a bit messy, lots of texture and words and colors. Love it! My favorite thing about her blog is her monthly challenge..."Art Journal Every Day". With Julie's support {along with dozens of other girls} you are encouraged to create something in your journals every single day. Sounds hard...but the few months I did it felt so good!

I have been visiting her blog a ton lately in anticipation of the new year and my goal to get back to art journaling. I totally abandoned it last fall when I began painting so much and getting ready for my shows. Not anymore!! 2012 is the year of STORY for me and art journaling will play a huge part in that!! do you remember this room?!?!?  And that turkey??


And one more...

Girls...this room looks NOTHING like this now. Oh,no!! It is now my DREAM SPACE!! I am soooo excited to share all the photos with you!! Be sure and stop by tomorrow:)

Girls, I am sooo excited for 2012. I can just FEEL the goodness coming my about you??

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Funky Vintage Lovely

December 20th?? Really??! Oh goodness...there is still sooo much to do!

But wait...I have decided not to run around like a maniac this year baking 3 kinds of cookies and 5 different candies and mailing out dozens of Christmas cards.


This year I have decided to focus on my family and my Savior.

Em and I are making our family favorite candy, wrapping in a pretty cellophane bag and tying with a Christmas ribbon. I mailed out a few Christmas cards to friends and family that don't have Facebook and that's it. It feels good not to try and do it all this year:) we're on Day 3 of my 7 day "Favorite Blogs of the Past Month Tour".

Meet April. She is amazing! She is oh, so talented and works side by side with her husband creating "Funky Vintage Lovely" things for your home.

If I could afford everything she creates I would buy it all. And she is just so darling!! Every Wednesday she shares what she wears. Someday I hope to dress just like my style:)

Here is a sample of her posts and her photos...they are so inspiring. I think half of my Pins on Pinterest are from April!!

Queen Bee Market
What I Wore
Her Shop

Stop by and Say Hi to the lovely April today!! Be sure and tell her I said HI.:)

Click here to day HI!

Have you cut down on some of the Holiday craziness?? What and how are you doing??

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Amazing Danielle!!

Today's Featured Blogger  is Danielle Daniel. Her Blog "Her Painted Word" has brought me smiles, joy and such peace these past few weeks.

Danielle has a way with words. She speaks from her heart-100% and you know it. She tells stories about her family and her art. Each of her beautiful girls has such a story to tell.

Danielle has been published in two of the latest Somerset Publications {i have them both!}

I have never read this magazine before...simply because I have never sewn...but Danielle is changing all that! I picked this issue up last Friday and made a goal to begin stitching in 2012!!

You can also find her work and a wonderful article in this magazine. If you've never read Somerset are in for a REAL treat!! Not only does Danielle have a truly remarkable tale to share but Sweet Soraya is in this issue as well. In fact both Danielle and Soraya are on the COVER!!:)

I love it when a Blog not only inspires me with their artwork but also with their heart...their words...their stories. Danielle does that and so much more!!

Photo from Danielle's Blog

Be sure and stop by "Her Painted Word" when you have a chance. You will love it!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Retro Seventies

In the Spirit of Gratitude...for the next 7 days I will be sharing 7 blogs I am grateful for. 7 blogs that continue to touch my heart, inspire and encourage me to be a better me. They are in no particular order and please note...just because your blog may not be on the list does not mean that you aren't inspiring, ok?? There are soooo many...I am just highlighting a few that have helped me so much in the past month.

Today I am featuring Danielly Thompson's blog and her "55 Days of Vintage Christmas".

I found Danielle via Twitter and fell in love instantly at all her kitschy Christmas crafts from the 1970's. Everytime I visit it's like a trip back to my childhood. Memories of Grandma Jackson's needlepoint snowmen and angels, date balls and watching the  Lawrence Welk Christmas Special:)

Remember these melted plastic ornaments? I have all of these!! My Grandma Jackson was the Queen of 70's Christmas decorations.

This is my very favorite time of year...I love everything... from the special holiday movies, music and extra love we have for one another. Danielle's fun blog has given me a little bit of my Grams and my good memories from that time in my life.

Oh, hey...before I is my absolute favorite Christmas treat...Gram's Date Balls. Enjoy!!

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup white sugar
1 cup chopped dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups crispy rice cereal or Special K
1 cup flaked coconut

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the eggs sugar and dates. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Mix in crispy rice cereal. Butter hands and roll the mixture into walnut sized balls. Roll the balls in coconut. Serve.

 These are sooo good!!!

*What is your favorite Christmas treat? Please share!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gratitude in my Heart

I believe that when we're in need of something the "universe" makes sure we get it. My universe is my Father in Heaven. He knows me. He knows exactly what I need to help me through my day, my struggles, my life.

Lately things in our life have been less than ideal. We are under stress that I imagine will last into Spring and maybe beyond...

Yet, despite all of this I am choosing to find the good in my life.

I am choosing to Believe that everything my family and I may go through in the next 6 months has a purpose.

I choose to grow and become a better woman.

I  choose to be grateful.

Last Sunday night as I was sitting on the couch making menu plans for the week, it dawned on me I should start a gratitude journal. Years ago I had kept one and loved it! Thanks to author Sarah Ban Breathnach and Oprah Winfrey I have a  book filled with the sweetest little memories of my children and my life that brought me joy and peace no matter what kind of day I was having.
So, I started a gratitude journal that very night.

The next day while I was reading through my favorite blogs I read a post by Lee Clements. The title of the post? GRATITUDE. I smiled and nodded my head as I read her lovely words. She shared about her gratitude journal and how Sarah Ban Breathnach had been such an inspiration to her. Wow! I couldn't believe it!! Less than 12 hours before I had been thinking about the very same thing.

About an hour later I picked up our church magazine the Ensign. The first page I flipped to read something like this..."100 reasons you should keep a gratitude journal".
Then I turned the page and their was one of my favorite church leaders Henry B. Eyering and his talk on gratitude

Now I know gratitude is a hot topic during this season. But I don't believe in  coincidences. I believe that because my Father in Heaven knows what's ahead for me...He is trying to gently remind me what's truly important.

We are not our things. We are not our house, our cars, our clothes, our stuff.

What's important in living a good life is family. It's love at home. It's prayer. It's knowing that we can weather any storm because we have one another.

That same night I was baking a few treats for our Seminary Christmas party. I had 2 packs of saltine crackers on a cookie sheet and was spreading them around in oil. I stopped for just a moment and couldn't believe what I saw. On one of the crackers was the most perfect heart baked right in. It was perfect. And no, I didn't get a photo. I was too busy showing everyone and laughing. We all thought it was just so cool. I thought it was more than cool. I knew it was another sign. I knew it was the Spirit witnessing to me that I was on the right path. That as long as I keep my heart filled to the brim with faith and love and gratitude...then everything would be okay.

"Peace I leave with you;
my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives
do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled,
neither let them be afraid."
~ John 14:27 ~

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Story Matters

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!"  -Rocky Balboa

If you've read by blog for very may think my life is all smiley faces and exclamation points.

When I began writing "Words of Me Project" I wasn't quite sure where it would go. The past year it's been filled with stories and photos of my art. As I've come out of my artistic shell and began sharing with all the world I've enjoyed the comments and cheers each of you have given me. This blog has been my safe place. A place I can come and spill my heart out...honestly and thoughtfully. This is my place on the Web to share. To spread sunshine. To uplift and inspire you.

Lately, my heart has been whispering one word over and over again.


I hear it as I'm typing this post.
I hear it during my journal writing, when I'm creating.
I hear at the oddest when I'm studying scripture or driving.


Tell stories. Write stories. Share stories.

During the five years I wrote my newspaper column "View From the Front Porch" my readers knew me...the real me. The ugly me. The sad me. The happy me! Each week I shared a Story of my life with them. I looked at everything like a Story. I learned from the Stories I wrote about.
Each Story I told touched one of my readers in some way or the other. I know this because I couldn't go anywhere in my small town without someone coming up to me and share how my Story had been their Story, too.  

I am ready to share My Story with you.
Sometimes good.
Sometimes sad.
Sometimes angry and upset.
Sometimes exhilarating.
Sometimes scary.
Sometimes smiley faces and exclamation points!

Always real.
Always worthwhile.
Always something you can learn from.
Always Me.

"Words of Me Project" is the Story of my life. I hope to continue inspiring, encouraging and uplifting you in your journey and with your own Story.

Thank you so much for being here. Writing is my first love. It is a passion that burns deep in my soul. Without writing I don't think life would be so meaningful. When I write I can see. Writing is my song. It brings me joy. It makes me smile. And when something I write touches your heart in some way...well, that's a feeling I never get tired of.

My life is a bit hard right now. So many unknowns up ahead. The Rocky Balboa quote at the top of this post sums up the way I'm feeling at this moment in my life. The words that speak to me are these...

But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. 

I am choosing to move forward. I am choosing to put all my trust in the Lord. He knows my heart. He knows that trials bring us closer to Him. They refine us. They make us stronger.

I am looking forward to 2012.
I have been thinking about my Word for the new year. One that keeps surfacing is Clear. But I'm still not quite sure.

I encourage you to take a look at your life. What are the qualities you want to bring into your life this new year? Where do you want to go? What are your passions and are you honoring them?