Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Inspiration Board

I got my first bullentin board in Jr. High...I think it was a gift from my Mom. I LOVED it!! Throughout high school it served as a home to my huge button collection. Today it hangs in our office space and is filled with photos and drawings from my kids. Every time I see it it's a blast from the past!!

Here is my studio bullentin board or as I call it my Inspiration Board...it makes me sooooo happy!!

This hangs right behind my counter where I do most of my work.

Anything that inspires is on my board....those stickers were a freebie I got in the mail. Not only do the WORDS inspire me but the colors, too!! That glittery butterfly is a Christmas ornament from Wal-Mart I just had to have!!!

My Board is filled with notes from friends, poems, hand-made tags and a photo of my parents. I lost my Dad in June of 1996...I miss him so much!!!

See that photo of my son in red?? The reason that's on my Inspiration Board is because that picture reminds me to be BRAVE! You see my son Jacks was just in 6th grade here. He wasn't very popular and was having a very hard time in school. He LOVED magic and decided to do a magic act for the all-school talent show. He practiced and practiced till he got it right. I still remember how he got out there on stage in front of his peers...the ones that had been making fun of him all year...and performed a flawless trick!! He was my hero that day!!!

The silver keychain at the bottom was a gift from one of my Blog readers...Maggie from Vegas. It says "Fly Anyway".

Another close-up...I have always wanted to create this photo frame....it hangs here as a reminder to get it done...I am thinking of a Christmas gift....

A final image shows my first art journaling page on the right and a drawing from when I was in high school of Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty.

As different things motivate me I change my board periodically.

Many of YOU have been on my board before....YOU and YOUR work continue to lift me up and challenge me to keep on creating!!!

Do YOU have an Inspiration Board?? Please share!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Words of Me Art Journal Challenge~2012

Save the date and join me for 6 weeks of WORD fun!! Starting Monday, October 1st stop by Words of Me Project for your Weekly Word, inspiring quotes and more!!

You see The Words of Me Art Journal Challenge is more than an art challenge...it's a life challenge! See on the top of my blog where it says..."Living an inspired life~one story, one quote, one words at a time"?

For the next 6 weeks not only are we going to be inspired by the Word of the Week to create a piece of art...but we are going to be inspired to create our life  more the way we want it. 

Here's an example...

Let's say the Word of the Week is BRAVE. We could make Brave inspired canvas's, jewelry, girls, journal pages, etc. Whatever our hearts desired. I would be sure and share plenty of Brave-themed quotes and ideas throughout the week to keep you thinking all things Brave....

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”- Jim Morrison

“you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”-Stephen King

I will share stories of how the Word has affected my life and ways it inspired me to be a better me. You will get the chance to share, too in our Facebook forum...Mind Body Soul.

Are you ready to learn and grow and become exceptional? 

 If you love to...

*art journal
*connect with others
*learn more about yourself
*Push yourself

then this Challenge is just right for you!!!

It's FREE!
It's Fun!!
It starts Monday, October 1st!!!

Grab a button for your blog and tell all your friends!!!! {I would REALLY appreciate it!!}

To put this on YOUR blog just right click hit Save image as. Copy and paste the link to this post
You can put this image in your Blog sidebar along with my address and make a button out of it!! Thank you so much, girls!!

I hope you will join me!! No need to sign up but I would LOVE to know if you think you might play along!!:)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Rest of the STORY....

“The secret of life…is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” - Paulo Coelho, from The Alchemist

A BIG Thank You for all your support, girls!! I read each comment and took in everything you said. I appreciate you all so much!!
I had no idea that after writing that post and getting just a small part of my STORY out there how much BETTER I would feel. It feels like my load has been lightened and now I'm ready to tell the rest of my STORY....

So...by May I was pretty much a wreck. Between trying to parent, earn money, figure out how to make $20 buy our groceries for the week, keep up with the house, activities, etc, etc...I was a hot mess. Along with all of this I was still trying to teach The Old Testament to our youth at church every morning. It was so difficult. My kids would rarely go...everyday had become a battle of wills. Here I was trying to teach our youth how to live good lives and I couldn't even get MY own to go listen. Everyday was just filled to the brim with stress. My headaches were daily...which only added to our financial burden...migraine pills cost a lot.

There was a ray of sunshine that month though. My son, Jackson had the honor of competing in the State Optimist Club Speech weekend. They paid for our room as well as a few meals. I cherish our time together there!!!

I tend to EAT when things get tough...and this time has been no exception. I have found myself eating my way through late-nights and hard times. This is the highest my weight has been. Nothing fits and with no funds...well, I've had to make do. My "uniform" since spring has been those same khaki drawstring pants.


I plan on burning them once I feel normal again. Oh, what a happy day that will be:)

Okay...so it's June....and we NEED MONEY. We have financial obligations we HAVE TO fulfill. We do have other incomes besides our core business that we had shut down and thankfully that was paying some of our large notes...but the day to day stuff...like the light bill and cable and food....those funds were drying up FAST.  We talked about shutting off our Direct TV and phones and just doing without that stuff for awhile. But then we'd get a payment in or something would happen and we could pay the bill.

Living this way is not fun...it is incredibly stressful!!! Once we are through this....NEVER again will I do this....

Anyway...our lawsuit was settled...now we knew the number. It wasn't a quarter of a million dollars but it's big. And it has to be paid. We are still working on this diligently trying to get a loan. Please keep us in your prayers. The deadline is November 1st.

Along with the lawsuit comes lawyers fees. UGH. They are awful...but so grateful we have had such spectacular ones.

If all of this weren't enough to send me to an early grave....my dear, sweet, amazing friend...the woman I told everything to. The woman I walked with every morning, laughed with , cried with and bared my soul to....

She moved away....clear to Utah. Over 1,000 miles. Away.
The morning she told me the news I knew something was up...she looked at me and started to speak and I knew. I took a deep breath and finished her sentence....you'r moving. I cried. I stopped. I smiled. I tried to be happy for her. I knew this was something she had wanted. Her family lives in Utah and she was missing them something fierce.

So here I was....all alone. I mean there were plenty of people here....but the one friend I trusted my heart with had left.

I miss her today but thankfully we keep in touch and I am planning a trip to see her this summer.

So let's assess where I am so far....

*shut business down, lose most of income
*big lawsuit
*loved one making poor decisions causing me to stay up late and worry, not knowing where they are....
* another loved one gets arrested
*migraines daily and stress level so high, eating all the time, gaining weight
*no joy in life
*loss of all sense of fun, not caring about much of anything
*best friend moves away
*income drying up, don't know how long we can keep this up
*haven't made a house payment in months, should we move???

WHEW. Just looking at all that makes my head spin and makes me wonder...."Is this as good as it gets? Is this where my life is always gonna be? What happened to my life?? Where did it go? This isn't what I had envisioned....not at all...."

I felt like a lost soul...wandering around my life...not sure where to go next.

But the thing I kept coming back to...throughout all of this past year...is my Father in Heaven and my Savior Jesus Christ.  They are what saved me....they are saving me right now.

I pray daily to Father in Heaven and I KNOW he hears me. I have seen His hand in my life, in my husband's life and in my children's life. Miracles have found there way into our situation...true miracles. There were times we needed a bill paid and we'd get a check in the mail for that exact amount. The Lord has our life in His hands and He is guiding our way.

Through the summer my dear, loving daughter and I have not only regained our relationship be we are closer are now than we have ever been. I love her dearly and am so grateful for the lessons she's teaching me.

These two kids of mine have been through a lot since January. If they told you their STORY I think they'd share a lot of sorrow, too. But I also believe they would tell you that they saw their Mom and Dad work hard to keep us a family. They saw us work hard yet take time for them whenever they needed us.

Here is what I've learned so far on my journey....

*you really can do without
*make most everything from scratch...it's cheaper!
*family is EVERYTHING, without them nothing matters
*say YES and quit nagging all the time!!
*if you must cry...don't do it all day...tell yourself you'll cry jut 5 minutes, then get over it and move on!
*movie theaters are over-rated...create a movie night at home
*keep a gratitude journal, all those little things MATTER!!!
*keep blogging and sharing my STORY, it heals!!!!
*I am not alone
*I CAN do hard things!!!!
*I AM A BRAVE GIRL...I am!!!!
*Praying together as a family brings about miracles!!
* People really CAN change!!!

There are soooo many more lessons I have learned...those are just a few off the top of my head.

So here I am today...it's September, 2012. My life hasn't gotten a whole lot easier....but it's BETTER. I have a job! I am an official substitute teacher and will be working this week at our elementary school as an Art Teacher!! It will feel so GREAT earning money for our family. My kids are doing AMAZING!!! I am sooooo PROUD of where they are in there lives right now!! Jackson is teaching kiindergarten 2 hours a day and getting ready to graduate in May. Em is a LIGHT and standing TALL with COURAGE!! She is making the RIGHT choices and I am soooo proud of her!!!! We are still behind on our house payments and are hoping we don't have to leave our home. We do have a back-up plan if that happens. We still need money for the lawsuit and are working to get that. Please keep us in your prayers!!!!!!

My life isn't perfect....but you know what...it is MY life. I am LIVING it. And yes, it's been so hard this year...but I can SEE that I am blessed. The Lord is here, with me and my family. He has never left and He never will.

Maybe this is as good as it gets...but I don't think so. I think there are sooo many GRAND things planned for me in  my life...in my children's lives....this is only the BEGINNING....

Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them... they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ready to Tell My STORY-Part One

It is such a secret place, the land of tears." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

 Last January I picked the Word STORY for my Word of the Year. You can read about my decision here.  I promised not only you but myself that I would live TRUE. That I would TRY my best this year to be HONEST with all of you and share what's in my heart. Little did I know that this year...2012...would be the hardest year of my life. Filled with heart break, anger, frustration, stress and deep sadness like I've never known before.

True, I have held up my promises to a point...but you don't know the whole STORY. There are several reasons for that...one it's just too darn painful...I don't like reliving much of what's happened and two...due to legalities I'm unable to say a whole lot about certain things until after December 16th.

2012 started off pretty good. As many of you know my husband and I made the decision to shut our business of 22 years down. We had been franchisee's and with the rising cost of fees, product and taxes it was harder and harder to make a profit.

We expected hard financial time and we were prepared. We knew all the extras wouldn't be possible for awhile and we were okay with that.

By the end of January life as I knew began to unravel. We found ourselves in the middle of a  quarter million dollar lawsuit. I felt lmy life  spinning out of control. We had lawyers working on our case and they took any money we had coming in...I couldn't imagine it getting any worse...but then it did.

In February I found out someone so very dear to my heart was making very bad choices. I was blindsided...never saw it coming. The crack was growing bigger in my heart...what had happened to my life in two short months??

Lots of tears and anger and yelling and asking WHY????!!! This was how I spent my days. Sure, I'd stop by here to write a post...wanting so badly to share my truth. Wanting to reach out for help.

I was so alone.

April....things are looking up. The lawsuit is still looming over heads and money is hard to come by but we're okay. The person making  poor decisions was getting better...the cracks in my heart were beginning to heal.

But then...just when I least expected it the phone rang. It wasn't good. Another dear one in my life had been arrested. I could feel my heart swell, ready to burst. Ready to break.

What had I done to deserve this? Hadn't I been a good mother, a good wife and friend. Wasn't I charitable and kind to my fellow man?


I have asked this question more times in the past 8 months than I have my entire life. I have grown closer to my Savior and I have been on my knees pleading with Him to come and rescue me.

As 2012 continues it only gets more difficult to put a smile on my face. There are good times to remember and I am holding to those precious memories with my life.

I will share of more of my STORY in the next post. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to me.

I am grateful for YOU!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Art Experience

So last week I showed you our Kool Kats ice shack. Thanks for all the fun comments and support! This week it's time to share the studio I work at...The Art Experience.

This amazing place was started in June of last year by my children's art teacher...Lisa Loe. She has really out did herself don't you think???

We offer various classes {jewelry making, cork and canvas, polymer clay and tons more}. I will be teaching my second class this Wednesday night from 6 to 8.

If you are in the area I hope you'll join us!! The class is $20 for everything...the house, supplies and inspiration!!

Here is my Soul House in case you missed it last week. I LOVE it!!!!

Lisa's main focus is paint your own bisque ware. This really took off over the summer!!!

Can you believe everything she has to choose from??! I want to paint everything. Especially one of those darling birdhouses!!!

I feel very blessed to be able to work at a place whose main goal is to foster creativity in others. Nothing makes me happier than when I see young children come in and proudly show off their creations to me. LOVE IT!!!

This summer we introduced "Doodlie Do!" My sweet Emma girl along with a few other artists draw on canvas's which we offer to our customers. They can use markers, paints or watercolor pencils to fill in the FUN doodles!

Lisa also features local artists including my Brave Art. So far I have sold 11 pieces:)

Here is another local canvas artist...Brenda Neff.

Along with helping customers I get to work on my own art at the Studio....this has given me a bit more creative time which I LOVE....as you can imagine, lol.

If you are in the area please stop by!! Check out The Art Experience in uptown Maryville. We are open Tuesday through Saturday...some nights till 8pm. Check us out here, too.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this peek into my life the last few posts. I can't wait to share a piece I've been working on for months now. Expect that later this week...Soul Neighorhood Part 1.

Also a reminder about our first annual October Word Challenge that starts October 1st!!!!

Do you work at a creative place?? Heck do you even work outside the home? I would LOVE for you to share!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello Kool Kats!

For the past few months you may recall me blogging about our latest business venture "Kool Kats".   Well here are the pics I have been promising...finally-LOL. The photo above shows our little ice shack at the Nodaway County Fair.

Several weeks before our first event we would take Sunday afternoons and practice making our slushies. It was pretty awesome trying all our flavors.

Here's Dave and Emma trying out the ice shaving machine.

Of course we invited our missionaries from church over to enjoy the sweet treats, too.

Emma taking Elder Scoubes "order"-lol.

Hey, Jacks!!!

How many icee's does that make today??!?

We have over 70 flavors at our ice shack and counting!! Some of our more popular flavors include...

*Bahama Mama (strawberry/pineapple)
*Buffalo Berry (cherry, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry)
*Silver Fox with cream (vanilla with vanilla cream)
*Rootbeer float
*Strawberry Shortcake with cream
*Tropical Sunrise (peach, banana, strawberry, orange)
*Frog in a Blender (lime, daquari, strawberry)

My personal favorite is Blackberry, Coconut and Vanilla cream....YUM!!!!

Elder Hall, Em, Elder Scoubes and Jacks slurping up the slushies!!!

"Kool Kats" has been in Maryville for over 12years. We purchased the business about 6 years ago but never opened it until this July. It has been not only a fun adventure but a very successful venture!!!

This is the original Kool Kats menu board from YEARS ago. We haven't changed it!!!

After the fair in July we set up shop on the South end of our little town. You can find us most days from 2:30 to 8:30 taking orders and shaving ice for the fine people of Maryville. Most of our customers remember Kool Kats from their childhood....they love it!!! It's so fun to see someone come up with a twinkle in their eye, order their favorite drink and share their memories with us.

I hope you've enjoyed taking a peek at our ice shack. We are having fun and working together as a family.

Many hands make light work.  ~John Heywood

What is YOUR favorite shaved ice flavor?? I would LOVE to know!!!!