Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Embracing Life

He who has so little knowledge of human nature as to seek happiness by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts.  ~Samuel Johnson

I have been doing a lot of cleaning around our home. And when I clean I think
Lately all I've been thinking about is where I am going in life.

Me, this morning.

It seems I'm not alone...which has made me feel like I'm not so weird after all.;)
My mentor Melody Ross {please click on her name and read her post. It is wonderful!}  and friend Leanne from "Chaos Comes Happiness" have been wondering the very same thing. 

In my last post I wrote...

"Trying to 
what's best 
for me 
at this
very moment in myLife.
Where am I going?
What am I supposed to do?
What do I want to do?"
Cover of March/April Cloth.Paper.Scissors
I KNOW I want to be BOLD. I want to let loose and have some FUN!!!!
My doodle I created last night.
I want to stop worrying about what I'm gonna paint next or if it's good enough to sell. I want to stop over thinking every time I sit down to work on a piece in my studio.
My friend Megan left this comment the other day...
"those sure are the hard questions! hope you get it figured out! or not, is it really so bad to do what you want in the moment and not worry about what's going to happen in the future?"

Oh boy, Megan!! Your comment hit me hard!! It has had me thinking all week long.
Is it so bad to just BE?
Is it so bad to not know what the future brings?
I just want to enjoy the process. 
Be free. 
Be spontaneous!
From one of my favorite layouts.
This was me 2 years ago in May...
Mother's Day 2010
I LOVE this picture of me...why? Because I had worked really hard and was on my way to losing 15 pounds. I see this photo and want to be there again so badly.

I have gained nearly all of it back. 
I have been in a funk.
From shutting our business down in December to family issues and financial struggles now, I have eaten myself back up to a size 14.
NONE of my clothes fit. And right at this moment there is absolutely NO WAY I can buy any new ones...

I started the New Year promising myself that THIS would be MY year! 
 My Word is Story and each one of my goals revolves around the Story I want to share once I reach each goal.

I had been doing so well with my clean eating plan in January but saw very little results. By February I was like..."Who cares, it doesn't matter anyway" and began eating my way through my days. That along with a family issue my body went crazy and all my stress put me in severe pain daily.

I have been in depression but just didn't want to face it.
Until now.

I decided...


Mt Brave Art~2011

With God all things are possible. 
And I KNOW I have faith. 
And when we have faith and go to the Lord
 He will always help us....

So that's what I did. I prayed and prayed and asked for His help.
I cast my burdens on Him. 

And you know what?
I got answers.
I did.
And I went to the Doctor and was put on migraine prevention medicine.
I went back to my old chiropractor.
I began walking outside for an hour in the afternoons.

I stopped watching TV all the time.
I stopped beating myself up so much.
I stopped my negative attitude.
This is the Personal Manifesto canvas I made for myself in December. It is filled with Words and Phrases I want more of in 2012.

My favorite image is on the left...the girl holding the snow heart. Isn't she sweet?

I am taking my days back.
I am taking my time 
and spending it better.

I may not know exactly where I am going...
but that's ok.
“Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

To celebrate my new found energy to get my life back I am offering YOU a FREE 6 week challenge called...

6 Weeks: Mind.Body.Soul.

This challenge will be filled with ideas to help YOU be your BEST self this year! It's not too late!! We will combine the healing power of ART with life skills to help YOU be the YOU you were meant to be!!
More details to come soon!!:)
Starts Monday, March 12th.

Question: What is your Word 2012? Are you living it? Please share!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's in my future?

I am busy 

Trying to 
what's best 
for me 
at this
very moment
in my

Where am I going?

What am I supposed to do?

What do I want to do?

The future is called "perhaps," 
which is the only possible thing
 to call the future.  
And the only important
 thing is not to allow that
 to scare you. 
 ~Tennessee Williams, 
Orpheus Descending, 1957

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It's all those Little Things

Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day.  ~Author Unknown

Oh, has been hard in the Ackman house for sure...but let me tell you things are getting so much better!! I am grateful for all the little things that have helped me along the way.

Yesterday I received a sweet surprise from fellow blogger and friend Maggie. We met on the Brave Girl's website and quickly connected.  Turns out we have a mutual crazy is that?! Remember the little girl, Lizzy that had a stroke last year? Well her family used to live in Las Vegas where Maggie lives and they attended the same Ward {church} and they were {and still are} friends! Small world, huh?!

Anyway...check out this awesome card Miss Maggie sent me....

Along with the card she mailed me two fabulous necklaces and this!!!

Soooo me don't you think?

Maggie, I appreciate your thoughtfulness and have a teeny, tiny something headed your way;)

Painting has been helping me through the stresses of the past few weeks...last night I began working on backgrounds for my "Heart" series.

I want these pieces to be full of texture and depth. Many more layers to go here...can't wait to show you what the finished look will be.

I have also been working on more Brave Girls...

My friend Carolyn was diagnosed with Breast Cancer last fall. Her courage and attitude during this most difficult time has been the inspiration for these Girls. Each one is filled with Words to help those women battling cancer.

Each Girl sells for $20.  Now through June 1st...ten of that will go directly to Carolyn's Relay for Life Team. I am sooo excited to help with this wonderful cause.

Looking forward to reading these magazines!! I am a magazine freak. Love them:) 

I was over the moon yesterday when I went to the mailbox and found my latest edition of Somerset Studio.

Not so happy though with this note that came with it...

Hoping I can talk my husband into buying me 2 years this time around...I mean I get that totally awesome clip art CD FREE!

The last thing keeping a smile on my face this week is my daughter Em.

On the Ackman Farm-October 2011

It's been a rough couple of weeks...but my girl...we have overcome a lot and what I know for sure is that I love her. I will protect her and be here for her no matter what! 

We went to Wal-Mart yesterday and she found these....

Lotions and foot scrubs. "Mom, let's have a night of pampering!" I couldn't resist...and at just 98 cents a tube we bought both. Looking forward to spending some "spa" time with my Emma:)

I leave you with this thought...

There must be a tomorrow, because my life overflows today.  ~Lois Chartrand

What little things are you most happiest for today?? Please share!!!!

Monday, February 20, 2012

No, it's not Perfect...

With time, prayer, lots of talking,
 tears and love 
I am at the place
 where everything doesn't have
 to be perfect. 
I can be happy with where we are.

I woke up today feeling hopeful. 
Feeling like so many good 
things are on the horizon.

I created for a few hours on Saturday.
It just felt good to put
happiness on a canvas.
I felt my stress melt away
the longer I stayed.

It was perfect.

Sooo excited to share
what I've been up to.

It's exactly where I need to 
be at this moment in my life.

Looking forward to 
encouraging, uplifting & inspiring you this week.

If you don't like something change it;
 if you can't change it,
 change the way you think about it.
  ~Mary Engelbreit

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Do you remember these? Lettering and doodle books were all the rage 10 plus years ago. Lindsay Ostrom came out with most of these along with Zig...{the marker people}. I bought every single one. I was determined to re-create all those fancy letters on my scrapbook pages!

Little did I know that all these years later I'd be pulling them out again for use in my art journals and paintings. I am sooo happy I didn't give these away during one of my whirlwind make-overs:)

With all the STUFF going on in my life right now...time in the studio has been zero. My heart just hasn't been in it. However I longed to create something...

So last weekend I pulled out all these books, my bag of markers and a small journal.

 Here's the first page...kind of primitive I know, but it's been awhile!

My favorite part of these books are all the cute, little doodles!!

They show you how to create everything from flowers to hearts to what they call "swhoopies".

For two nights I sat on my couch, markers in hand and doodled.

Considering the stress I've been under this was the perfect medicine. I can't get over how relaxing it was. For a few hours I forgot about my troubles.

I copied some from the book and made up some of my own. As I doodled I thought of several ways to use them in my art and my Brave Girls.

I think doodling is my new thing. I LOVE it!!

I must tell you, girls...even though life has been almost too much to bear these past few weeks...good, good things are happening.

Sweet things.
Good business things.
Opportunities for my husband that he's only dreamed about.

We are learning from all this hurt and frustration and relying on our Savior Jesus Christ to help us through.

He is the answer.
He is always the answer.

"Fear knocked at the door.  Faith answered.  And lo, no one was there."  ~Author Unknown

Have you ever seen these books? Do you doodle? What are your favorite blogs/books on doodling? Please share!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be of Good Cheer

We go through our days
working, striving, loving,
coping, doing, creating,
cooking, leading, guiding...

Some days 
most days
time passes so quickly
we forget to hold 
onto what really matters.

Jacks & Em 12 years ago.

What really truly matters
is our relationships to one another.
Are we loving enough?
Do we give and listen?

Are we tough when we need to be?

Are we really listening
or are we just nodding our head up and down hoping 
no one will notice?

Do our kids cry out when they 
need us?
Or do they give
us bits and pieces
in ways we 
might miss 
because we just
Em & Jacks Christmas 2011
 There is always so much to do.
Always places to go.

We need to be mindful of our days.
We need to show our loved
ones that 
Em at 14
Not everything that happens in life
can be made all better
with a hug or a kiss.

When my kids were little
and they got hurt
or in trouble
a toy from the Dollar Store
could make it all better.

That doesn't work now.


What works the very best is
setting an example.

Tough love 

it's the only thing
that does work.
But that can be 
oh so 
Oh so
It drains you
and makes you want
to curl up in a corner
and die.
It makes you want to wish your days
and weeks and months away.
Just so you can get through all the hard stuff.
Giz & Jacks Christmas 2011
Life is hard here right now.

But unlike yesterday and the 
day before that...
I am choosing to be 

I am choosing 
to see the positive.

Here is a quote from one of our church leaders...

With God’s help, good cheer permits us
 to rise above the depressing present 
or difficult circumstances.
 It is a process of positive reassurance
 and reinforcement.
 It is sunshine when clouds 
block the light.
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell
I can't be overcome 
with sorrow.
I can't live in the past.
Life is hard.
Raising kids is hard.
But it's my responsibility to 
be here for my kids.
No matter how my heart aches.
No matter how hard this may get.
I will be of "good cheer".
 None of us will escape tragedy 
and suffering. Each of us will probably
 react differently
. However, if we can recall
 the Lord’s promise,
 “for I the Lord am with you,” 
we will be able to face our problems 
with dignity and courage.
 We will find the strength 
to be of good cheer i
nstead of becoming resentful,
 critical, or defeated. 
We will be able to meet life’s
 unpleasant happenings 
with clear vision, strength, and power.
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell
Linking up today with


Monday, February 13, 2012

We all go through Trials

If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.  ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Nobody ever said life would be easy. In fact most of us know from experience the above quote about sums it up...sorrows definitely know how to swim. 

For each one of us those sorrows are different, true...but without a doubt each one of us goes through heartache and pain. No one is exempt.

Through the years I've known deep sadness in my life. I watched as my father lay in a hospital bed dying of leukemia at the age of 59. I was with my mother in law as she lay in a coma for days after suffering two brain aneurisms. She eventually left this world at the young age of 52.

When my sweet daughter Em was just 9 months old I found her little body, lying in her crib and barely breathing. I remember picking her up and feeling her "thud" against my shoulder. Surely she was gone is all I kept thinking. Miraculously we got her to the hospital in time and my baby girl lived.

What I've learned from all the pain and sorrow that's come my way in the past 45 years is that eventually the sun will come out. Your heart will feel light and carefree again. There will be hope and joy in your days. 

You'll dream again
and wish again
and feel like you can do anything again.

But it's when your in the thick of it that's it's so hard to know that. It's hard to breath because you feel like you're drowning.

Drowning in sorrow.
Wondering what was so bad in your life before that you ever did not feel happy because right now you are smack dab in the middle of pain and hurt and frustration and you just want it all to go away.

That's where I'm at right now.

Yesterday in church two of the strongest women I know gave two amazing talks on trials. It was as if they were speaking directly to me. 

I love the Lord with all my heart. With all my soul. He has never failed me. He has always been there for me.

As most of you know I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Along with the Bible we have 3 other favorite of these is known as the Doctrine and Covenants. This particular quote comes from Christ when Joseph Smith was being held in the Liberty Jail...

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."  D&C 121:7-8

This scripture gives my heart such peace. I know that what I'm feeling will surely just be a small moment in time. Each one of us must go through a refiner's's the Lord's way of molding and shaping us, allowing us to become better and stronger people.

I am grateful for each one of you as well. Each comment here and on facebook and email I cherish. My spirits have been lifted and I have even smiled {just a little bit}.

I have been doing a bit of doodling lately while sitting on the couch. I forgot how much fun and relaxing that can be. Very soon I hope to spend some quality time in my studio. 

How are you girls? How do you handle the trials in your life? I would love to know!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Keep Going

Hmmmm, trying to think of something witty to say. Really wanted to share my SEWING story with you all. But as life would have it my husband and I have been thrown a curve ball and I am trying to deal with it all.

Life is never easy. All I can say is right now I am so grateful for my faith, my friends and my family.

I am taking the weekend to think about my life and decide what in the heck we're gonna do now.


I promised to share my story this year...the good, the bad and the ugly. Well this is the ugly right here, girls. The truth is teenagers are EXTREMELY hard to raise. And just when you think everything is going to be isn't. In fact it's so far from fine that you just laugh because if you didn't laugh you'd break down into a big mile of messy goo.

I am almost to that goo stage.


But I have made the choice and I am going to keep on going.

a piece from Brave Girl's Club

I am going to keep on trying my best, doing my best, loving my best. I will be here for my kids. I will listen to them and try to understand.

Have a restful weekend, girls.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We have a WINNER!

Thanks for all your sweet words yesterday. I appreciate all your concerns. Today is my massage which helps me tremendously. I am so grateful for that one hour when I can just relax and let Annie do her work. She is the best and I appreciate her so much.

Before we go to far let's get right to the WINNER of my give away and these awesome, amazing stamps!!:)

I went to Random Generator and it chose the NUMBER 9. Congrats to Kristin from "Twinkle, Twinkle"!! I can't wait to see what you do with these, are always sooo creative!! And thanks to everyone that entered!!!

Yesterday was a blast!! I spent the morning hanging out with my lovely Mama...

I have so much to's quite a story to tell:) Stay tuned for that tomorrow...

Oh and one more thing before I go...remember that wedding piece I was working on for a friend? I finished it last week and wanted to share my results. What do you think??

A few close-ups...

This was just soooo much fun to create!

Thank you so much, Kim for asking me to make this!! It is something I would love to do again:)

Girls, what are you doing today? Any creative projects in the works? Please share!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Days Like This...

On days like this 
it's all I can think about.

The relentless burning pain
that makes it's way
up my leg,travels through my back
into my shoulder
where it settles in my neck.

Days like this I feel 
it laughing at me
as it takes my time
and holds me captive 
in it's grip.

My mind tries to block
it out.
Tries to focus on the good things...
daily tasks
a favorite television show.

Days like this...
relief is hard to come by.

My body longs for 
some kind of comfort.
Anything to lightnen
this burden of

Days like this
I dream of a place where
pain cannot exist.

Days like this 
are hard.
They make me


Why not me?

Who am I to 

Days like this
I am grateful for 
the little things.
A simple smile.
A hot cup of tea.
Warm blankets.

Days like this 
I know my Father in Heaven 
loves me.

The reason I know?

I know He loves me
because Days like this
don't happen everyday.
I am not in pain

I have more good days than bad.

I am grateful for 
Days like this.

Linking up today with

click here

click here
Don't forget about my GIVE AWAY!! Win these awesome stamps!!

Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite time to create! Drawing will be tomorrow:)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Enter and WIN!

It's Friday and Day 12 of our 14 Day Creativity Challenge. How are doing? Are you creating more? Are you thinking more creatively? I hope this has been an inspirational 2 weeks for you.

I have definately noticed a difference in my studio time. Even if I just show up for 10 minutes I'm getting a little bit done AND it's been a great stress reliever:)

These cute little guys have been fluttering around my desk for the past few weeks. I've been using them on everything from my Body Restoration book to my art journal. 

My Word for this year is STORY. These past few weeks I've really been thinking about that and how it pertains to my creativity. Do I really create based on the STORY I am trying to tell? I realized that "No, I wasn't". That is all starting to change and what a HUGE difference it's making. I can't wait to share a piece I've been working on. Becca and Danielle have been my inspirations for this piece.

Here's another peek at my Body Restoration book...

I worked with tracing paper first time. I love the look and will use again in my art journals. I used ribbon to attacth it to the page. Really cute.

Okay, so I PROMISED you a give away!! A few weeks ago I went shopping at one of my fave stores...TJ Maxx. Gotta love their paper/stationary/art area. Sooo many GREAT bargains! Anyway...I couldn't believe what I found there!! Look at these stamps!!

Aren't they cute? Can't you just think of a gajillion ways to use them??

Cards, journals, collages....

I mean that bird that says "explore" is sooo me! I can think of a million uses just for him.
Anyway...I found these at TJ Maxx and bought one for me and one for YOU!

In order to be eligible to win these all you gotta do is answer this question...

"What is your favorite time of day to create?"

That's it!

If you want to TWEET it or put this on Facebook or blog about it...please do! Then come back here and let me know for more chances to WIN!!

You have all weekend to enter...
I will randomly draw a winner on Wednesday, February 8th:)

Okay...our Prompt for today:

1. Think about YOUR story. What is it your heart is trying to say? Write down what comes to mind then create something this weekend to honor that.

2. Put on your favorite tunes, head to your creative space and work on anything you're inspired to do.


"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing.  Action always generates inspiration.  Inspiration seldom generates action."  ~Frank Tibolt


1. My newest favorite blog. Liv is full of positive energy:)
2. This post is FULL of inspirational ideas for your home/creative space.
3. My fave color in the want to do this in my art studio! Can you imagine?!?!?

Be sure and let me know what your favorite time of day is to create for your chance to WIN!!

Happy Weekend, Girls:)