Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding my Wings

~ Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it. ~Eliza Tabor

For the past 9 months I have worked diligently...creating art, stretching myself, taking classes, learning how to love me...finding my voice.
I had finally mustered up the courage to sign up for a craft show and began purchasing supplies, painting and planning.

Tuesday all my plans, all my dreams came to an abrupt end.
"Hello this is Leslie Ackman and I was calling about my booth space for the show in October," I said happily.

"Are you from Maryville?" the lady on the other end asked.

"Yes." I replied.

"We gave your booth away and there are no more available spots." the lady explained in a terse way.

"What did you say?" I asked slowly.

The not very nice lady proceeded to tell me in a not very nice way that I, in fact would not be able to have a booth at their show and to try again next year.

"But how can that be? I paid for my spot and signed up and have worked so hard on my art."  A  lump was forming in my throat, making it nearly impossible to speak.

"We are sorry,Mrs. Ackman. You can try again next year. Have a good day." 

That was it. It was settled. I would not be going to Clarinda. I would not be selling my art, meeting new people, passing out my business cards.

I was devastated.
I sat in my office and cried.
Then cried some more.

I remembered....

I am a Brave Girl.

Brave Girl's have a motto...

"She Did it Anyway".

And not only am I a Brave Girl but I create Brave Girl Art
And it may not be for everyone. It may not speak to you...but it speaks to me. It's what's inside of me. When I create my goal is to uplift. It's to make you excited about who you are and what you want to accomplish in your life.
I create what's in my heart. 

It is a choice we artists make, that is not too unlike love, where we find ourselves venturing into a realm of total vulnerability."  -Kirk Wassell
So, I did what any Brave Girl would do in that situation. I stopped crying. I put my wings on and made a plan. I contacted the not so nice lady, explaining my disappointment and hurt I had in my heart. It was a case of miscommunication and I made the choice not to blame.
Instead I took their offer...a free space outside. Nothing fancy, not in the flow of traffic...but I took it. The space is free and yes, I do take the chance of being rained out or a windy day. But I have decided that this dream of mine is too important.
If I don't do this one thing, my creative dreams may be put on hold once again and I'll lose my courage.
So I plan on staying the course. I have several more items to create, pricing to do, gift bags to get ready and collage kits to pack. But I am doing this. I am not giving up.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do."  -Mark Twain

I am a Brave Girl.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Joy List

Happy Tuesday!! What a wonderful couple of days. Time spent with family, creating and church. I am filled up!!:)

My friend Joyce over at Pure Joy is the inspiration for today's post...thanks, Joyce!

I know I talk lots and lots about gratitude here. I just can't help it...without gratitude where in the world would we be? Grace in our hearts is as important as food on our table.

"As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily.  The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world."  ~Terri Guillemets

Where there is gratitude there is here is My Joy List...{thanks, Joyce!} 

Em, Jacks and me at the Royals game

My Family continues to lift me up when I am down, cheer me on just when I need it. They are my rock. I love them so much! Going on little adventures with them brings my heart so much JOY!

My cutie dog, Gizmo. He looks so silly here...this is right after his Lion cut:) During my days at home without my family, he is here, my constant companion. And when I have a headache and feel miserable...there is little Giz to cuddle with and make me feel so much better.

This brings me so much joy!! My friend Kristin at Twinkle, Twinkle painted this for Lizzy's Benefit last May. I ended up the lucky winner. This beauty hangs in my art space and makes me smile.

The Kansas City Temple! I can't believe...that at long last we will have  Temple so close to us!! Our daughter's soccer fields are right by this...we love seeing it nearly every Saturday. Such a blessing.

Last winter I bought this 3-tiered basket for 10 bucks. I get a lotta joy for not a whole lotta money. Love it!

These girls are beautiful and sweet and soooo FUNNY! It makes my heart so happy that my daughter has such AMAZING and GOOD friends!

This books fills me up. It's my journal I created for Soul Restoration 2. I look at it often for guidence and inspiration. It is slowly filling up with my dreams and goals and steps to make them come true. Love this book!

So there you have it...My Joy List.

What's on YOUR Joy List? Please share a few things with us!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Better Life...

My Brave Art

In the search for a Better Life....

1. Strive for Silence

2. Resolve to avoid finding fault

3. Be free to offer praise

-Farmer's Almanac 1882

Have a great weekend friends!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wha't on My Work Desk?

Welcome to my little corner of the Web!! It's What' s on Your Work Desk's what I've been up to this past week....

Backgrounds before paint

My friend ordered three of my Brave Girls a few weeks ago. I am soooo excited to create these!!! I know the girls personally and each one of them is such a will be so fun to create these with their sweet spirits in mind.

Backgrounds after paint

Here are the backgrounds after adding paint. I just love how they are turning out!! Next comes rub-ons, words and other background goodies.

Lately I have been using lots of these in my collages.

Aren't they beautiful? You get between 60 and 80 of these sweeties per pack. Butterflies, birds, blooms, crowns and words. Heaven!

My first Craft Show is coming up in October. There is sooooo much left to do!! EEEKKK!!

This is a recent background for my Brave Art. One of my favorites.

Just a tiny peek at my built-in bulletin board on my desk. My darling Emmie girl left me that note!:) The blue ribbon is from the County Fair in July. I placed first with 2 of my Brave Girls.

Here is a piece I finished a few days ago. That turquoise is my very favorite color ever!!!

Some close-ups...

My new fave quote!

a poem from an old book

Thanks so much for stopping by today! For more awesome Work Desks be sure and stop by Julia's today!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Good Life

"Sometimes I would almost 
rather have people
  take away years of my life 
than take away a moment."
-Pearl Bailey

Royals game last week!

This is what my life looks
like right now. Right this very moment.
So happy, content and oh, so very Blessed.

God is good to me.

Mixed Media piece I created

"Love the moment and 
the energy of the moment will spread
beyond all boundaries."
-Corita Kent 

Em at Mozingo on Tuesday

We have been spending our late afternoons and early
evenings at the Golf Course with 
our dear Emma.

This was her first year on the 
High School Golf Team.

Go Lady Spoof Hounds!

Em & Hannah...such good friends!

"Your daily life is your temple
and your religion."
-Kahlil Gibran

I have been taking each day
and trying to do my best.

My kids
my husband
my calling at church
cooking family meals
cleaning our home
and creating
being a good friend
and learning.

It's all important.

Mixed media piece  I created.

It's all a part of who I am.

"The most important thing in our
lives is what we are doing now."

My desk this week

It seems knowing what we want 
and where we want to go has 
everything to do with our creativity.

I am creating what's in my heart now.
I know what I'm trying to say.

Mixed media piece I created.

I could have remained all 
wrapped up in numbers and traffic...
but instead I chose to follow my heart.
I chose to feel what was inside me
rather than what I thought was expected of me.

Mixed media piece I created.

"Happiness is not in our circumstances,
but in ourselves. It is not 
something we see, like a rainbow, or
feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness
is something we are."
-John B. Sheerin

I am living the Good Life. 
How about you?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fully Engaged

My eyes have been opened.
Ever since my A-Ha Moment a few weeks ago
I see things differently.

I find myself enjoying every little thing I do.
I am not anxious when creating
or worried about whether or not 
this piece will sell or won't.

I am spending time with family...
fully engaged rather than worrying about what's next.

I am using Twitter but only
when it's convenient for me
and doesn't interfere with my family time.
When I'm waiting 
in the car for my kids to get out of school 
or when picking them up from practice
seems to work for me.

You may have noticed I moved
my Followers to the very bottom
of my Blog, too. It's not
because I don't want Followers
it's just because I wanted to
quit obsessing about my numbers.

This has really worked out well for me!

It's quite amazing what happens when you just let go.
When you stop worrying
about page views and tweets
and Likes and "traffic".

I am writing and creating just for the joy of it.

"If we have not peace within ourselves,
it is in vain to seek it from outward sources."
  -Francois de La Rochefoucauld

What brings your heart joy?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's on Your Work Desk??

Life is moving right along.
My two teens  are now in their 4th full week of high school.

Homecoming is right around the corner and they both have dates. 

Time is going so fast. 
I am just trying to keep
every moment shared,
every sweet conversation we have,
tucked in my heart for future reference.

 So very soon
all of this will be in the past.
They will be living their own lives...
making their own dreams
in their own homes. 

Jacks & his girl Sarah.

Time goes, you say?  Ah no!
Alas, Time stays, we go.
~Henry Austin Dobson


I have been creating in between golf and soccer games,
dentist appointments and church activities. 
Creating fills my heart with such joy and comfort.

I am grateful for art.
I think it will make it a bit easier to say goodbye
when my kids move on.

At least I hope it does.

These are just a few of my Brave Art pieces.
These are wooden blocks 
I decorated with paper, paint, bits of odds and ends
 and vintage girl images. 
They are meant to encourage you
to reach for your dreams and be a Brave Girl.

Stop by Julia's today for over 100 Work Desks and projects!!

What's on YOUR Work Desk?

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Happy Heart

Today is my day to "Bless our Home". It's the day I put on my 80's tunes, a t-shirt and capris, grab a broom, Lysol, paper towels, Swiffer Wet Jet and get to work.

Today I will "bless" our home with fresh smells, a clean look and positive energy.

I work quickly, sing at the top of my lungs and smile. It's fun and my family loves coming home to a house that looks and feels better then when they left this morning.

I am feeling good.
I have joy
and enthusiasm in my heart.

Creatively I am unblocked. Ideas are pouring our of me into my Art.
It's wonderful!

Yesterday I was able to spend 5 hours of uninterrupted time in my space. Things are coming together for my first show in October!!

My heart is full.

What makes you heart full, girls? Please share!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember...

I remember this day.
We all do.
We know exactly where we were the day the Towers were hit.

I was volunteering at my children's school that day.
Someone came rushing in..."A plane just hit the World Trade Center."
We turned on the TV.
Reports were coming out that the Pentagon had been hit, too.
I called Dave right away.
He said..."Honey, we are under attack."
A chill ran throughout my entire body.

Like so many of you...I stayed glued to the television for days.
This was like the worst horror movie ever....
except this was real.

As I watch the Ten Year Anniversary specials this weekend
the same feelings came rushing back.
It's hard to look at the news clips of those planes crashing into the Towers.
The sick feeling I get.
The tears.
The anger.
The sadness for all those lives lost.

We must never forget what happened ten years ago.
We must never forget what it felt like to be an American the days and weeks and months that followed.
We became unified in ways many of us had never experienced.
I am proud to be an American.

What are your memories of that tragic day?

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Big,Bold, Beautiful A-Ha Moment-Part 2

First off...a HUGE thank you to everyone that left a sweet comment regarding Part 1 of my A-Ha Moment. That post was so hard for me to write...I felt like that fat girl I once was in grade school...


Not quite sure what the response was gonna be. Thought maybe you'd laugh, make fun, even get mad. was just the opposite. Totally blew me away and wasn't what I was expecting at all.

Your words gave me energy to stay the course.

There is no going back, people.;)

Part 2

*This may get too long and boring.  Please feel free to read as needed:)

So there I was, on Twitter, feeling not enough. Not enough of a blogger or artist or Mom or friend or cook or home decorator. Just NOT ENOUGH.

That's not a good feeling. It damages our minds, our dreams and our spirits.
Along with Twitter I found myself visiting what I call "Mega Mom Blogs". Before I go further...please understand I am not condemning these women for what they do. I admire the fact they have thousands of readers and get book deals and speak at blogging conferences.They work hard. They spend countless hours networking their blogs. And that's okay.

What's not okay is when you find yourself stopping by to read their blog with a sick feeling in your stomach and jealousy in your heart. It's not okay when you start looking at your REAL life and wonder if you're living it the way "Mega Mom Blogger" lives her life. 

"Would Mega Mom Blogger make this meal, photograph it and still have time to play a quick game with her children, whip up a craft, blog about it all, hit Twitter then go to bed only to be up at the crack of dawn for home made french toast, freshly squeezed orange juice served on a homemade, decoupaged tray, posted by 9 then off to some fabulous day of chatting with Mr. Smith about taking her Creative Biz to the next level."

Whew. This is the way I was thinking, girls. When I see it here, all written out I realize how crazy it sounds. I was really thinking this way. I was reading these blogs and tweets and comparing my life to theirs. 

I wasn't thinking about how much I LOVE to write. 
How much it means when I get your comments or emails or I see someone face to face and they say "Wow, Leslie...your words inspired me so much today. Thank you."

No, I wasn't thinking about any of that.

I wasn't listening to my Heavenly Father either. I know he gave me talents and gifts. I know he expects me to use them for good. 

Just trying to grow my blog or tweet about my life isn't living my purpose.

So I said ENOUGH. 


And on Saturday I woke up...smiling.

I told myself I am enough.

We went to the fair that night.
My family and I.

 Don't I have a beautiful family? Aren't they enough? Don't they fill my heart with joy and love?
What was I doing worrying about what others think of me? Why was a mention in a Tweet or a Like on Face Book my priority?

I have enough.
I have this family that my Father in Heaven gave to me.
He knew that these three souls would be enough for me.

And they are.

And my writing is.

And my Brave Art.

I don't care anymore if anyone likes what I do.

I like it. 
My family likes it.
My friends like it.

These are the people who care about me...personally. They support me and inspire me to do what I love to do.

My art, my writing...this fills me up. It's my purpose. To uplift, to encourage. 

Sunday after church Em and I went outside and we created together.

We had our cozy jammies, our paint, our Mod Podge...

We sat outside and smelled the fresh early Autumn air.
We talked and laughed and connected with one another.

I felt all my cares melt away the longer I sat out their, painting and dreaming and just being.
My soul felt peace.

My Emma is one talented young woman. They are keeping an Art Journal in art class this year. She loves it...just like her Mama.

It's so bright and colorful...just like her.

I may never have a blog with 1,000 Followers.
I may never have a creative biz that makes money.
I may never have a Like again on Face Book or readers here after this post. {LOL}

But what I do have is me and my family.

I love myself.
I love that I care so deeply it hurts sometimes.
I love that I feel like I'm still in high school.
I love that I'm silly and that I sing way off key to old 80's music.
I love my kind heart.
I love this Blog.
My friends here.

I love art journaling
and paint
and getting messy
and vintage images of birds and ladies and butterflies.

I love words
and poems
and quotes.

I love reading YOUR blogs and hearing your success's.
I love it when you're real. Stay real my blog friends.
Don't get caught up in the numbers and the recognition side of social media.

If you do become one of those "Mega Mom Bloggers" let it be because of who YOU are. Let the REAL YOU shine through. If you can't blog everyday...who cares. Those of us that read your blog...we will be here. And we'll understand that you're off living your life with your amazing family. Right where you should be. 

Thank you, girls for stopping by here. For taking time away from your life to read what I have to say. It means so much that I inspire you.

Our view the day we created outside.

"People are ridiculous 
only when they try 
or seem to be that 
which they are not."

  -Giacomo Leopardi

Have a wonderful weekend dear friends!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lean on Me

"Lean on me, when you're not strong, and I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on, for it won't be long, 'til I'm going to need somebody to lean on."
- "Lean On Me" 

I am humbled by your kind and heart felt  words yesterday!!

Maggie...I am honored to be on your Hero list:)

Hi, Jerrie!! I was just thinking about you last week wondering what you've been up to!! Thank you for commenting...

Joyce...I am with you. I will use Twitter to promote my posts. I am deleting all those bloggers who make me feel worthless. {most of them}

Hey, Maggie #2!! So sorry someone wrote something nasty on FB about you. Your kind words were just what I needed.

LEANNE!! You had me laughing and crying and laughing some more! I am emailing you my number TODAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Peggy...I always appreciate your support!!!!!!!!!!!!

Amanda...I was wondering where you were. I have stopped by your blog a few times in the past few months. THANK YOU for your words of encouragement. I am honored that you read my blog.

Ladies...I have soooo much more to share and what I'm learning!! 

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.

My Brave Art

You all mean the world to me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Big, Bold, Beautiful A-Ha Moment

** This is Part 1 of  my "Big, Bold, Beautiful A-Ha Moment". There is lots of rambling...I hope you can decipher it all...I just needed to get this all down so I don't forget where I've been and that I came out of it...stronger, happier and ready to pursue my Big, Bold, Beautiful Life.

**If you Twitter...please don't be offended. I am not saying Twitter is a bad thing in moderation:)

Most of us have dreams. Some of you may want to get in shape, run a marathon, start a business, travel overseas or start a family.

When we know what are dreams's easy to set a few goals and begin working towards that dream.

Sometimes, though...we may get sidetracked. Life gets in the way. Our desires have to take a backseat to our family, jobs and home. And's none of above that throw us off's us.

I have been in a funk.
I have been comparing myself to everyone and everything.

I was on Twitter, following all these Mom Blogs with thousands of Followers, reading their Tweets and thinking..."How do they do that? How in the world do they DO all they claim to? "

Have a blog,
make a meal,
throw spectacular birthday parties,
drive the carpool,
run a successful creative biz,
Tweet, Facebook,
and all the while maintaining a perfectly spotless and decorated home
all while wearing the latest fashions, hair and make-up.

It's exhausting.
Seriously, I was reading these Tweets thinking..."do these women ever sleep?" And more importantly "are they enjoying and living in the moments they are tweeting about?"

I found myself wanting to become like these women.
I'd have my Blackberry out at every event, tweeting about...

My groceries!
Em's soccer game!
Doctor's appointments!
School football games!

I found myself more concerned with my latest Tweet rather than what truly mattered...the actual moment.

Melody Ross is my mentor. I adore her style, her flair for vintage and I love how she shines. I mean , Melody just has this glow about her. She inspires me on so many levels.

I have taken two of her classes...Soul Restoration 1 & 2. Ladies, I highly recommend these two courses. They will truly change your perspective if you do the work.

Over the summer, Melody left Facebook for 90 days. Her words about her addiction and what she learned from staying off the computer all summer spoke volumes to me.

Here is an excerpt from that post that hit me like  a ton of bricks....

...and that it got to the point in my life where I was choosing a virtual life over a real life. I was choosing pixels over people. I was choosing the number of LIKE’s I ‘earned’ over my husband’s opinion of me, or my children’s opinion....or God’s opinion. I was choosing hours in front of the computer over all of the beauty that life has to offer. Most days I was very aware that this was NOT how I wanted to spend my time, but somehow, I just couldn’t really make myself stop.

When I read these words is as if I wrote them. "I was choosing hours in front of the computer over all of the beauty that life has to offer."

Twitter made me feel everything I was trying to accomplish here was pointless. I don't have thousands of followers.

I don't have a...

perfect home

fashionable clothes
a thriving creative biz

Seeing all those women having all those things was making me second guess my dreams. I mean, if you don't have all of the above then how can you ever even have a piece?

I was losing sight of why I blog.
Why I create.
What I want to do.
What I do.

I write Words of Me Project to uplift, inspire and encourage....even if just ONE person is ever touched by what I say...then that will be enough. If ONE person is inspired to change their life for the better...then I am living my dream.

My Brave Art

Stay Tuned for Part 2....

Monday, September 5, 2011

Finding Myself through Brave Art

Today I am elbow deep in restoring...

A few days ago I had a MAJOR "A-Ha" moment.
One I am looking forward to sharing with you
later this week.

But for today...
I am restoring.

Remembering what it is I am truly wanting in my life.

I am making Rules for  My Big, Bold, Beautiful Life.

I am reminding myself that I am enough.

I am working hard to love that little girl with wishes and dreams that still lives in me.

I am creating my very own Brave Art 
using my very own Voice.

We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, “Oh, that happened, and I rose. I did get knocked down flat in front of the whole world, and I rose. I didn’t run away; I rose right where I’d been knocked down.” That’s how you get to know yourself.

–Maya Angelou

Linking up with

Bowl Full of Lemons

and Rook 17.