Connect with Your Deepest Heart Desires

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“Whatever you believe within your heart, you can behold it.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

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It’s time to open the door.

Today is the day. Today you can Connect and unlock your Deepest Heart Desires and Be Set Free to live your life. How do I know this? Because it happened to me.

Today I am teaching Art Healing Workshops live and in person as well as on-line. I am creating, I am writing, I am pursuing what lies deep in my Heart. How did this all come about? It started years and years ago within the covers of my journals. Each Birthday I would write these same three words…

Encourage

Uplift

Inspire

I KNEW deep in my Heart my Calling in life was to teach women of all ages, all over the world to not only Heal from old wounds but to Believe in themselves again.

I KNEW IT.

And God KNEW IT.

Connecting with my Deepest Heart Desires hasn’t always been easy…or has it? Haven’t they always been there and I just wasn’t always listening?

I have to say YES. Looking back, even though I may not have realized it I WAS doing things that supported my Dreams of encouraging others, of writing, of hosting a retreat and teaching. And now, TODAY I am aware of my Heart Desires and doing something every single day to LIVE them. To make them come TRUE.

Your Assignment

We are going to create a page (or 2) on YOUR Heart Desires. Be sure and print off the PDF I have created for you. The questions will help you know what your desires are and how to reach them!

I Say Yes Week Eight Journal Sheet

Here is a page of quotes you can use on your pages.

I Say Yes Week Eight Quotes

MY PAGE

Here is how my page came together for this week.

I always start with a few images in mind.

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I knew I wanted to do my tip-in first and I knew I wanted to use my NEW Dina Wakley stamps!

The paper background is from Jane Davenport. The doily is from an RAK I received!

I printed out my quote sheet then stamped the edges with lime ink.

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I knew my tip-in needed something more so I added these new stamps from Prima.

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Here is how they look…

bnmI used the butterfly and circle stamp from the set.

Now onto my main page…

I started with washi tape and a piece of Jane Davenport paper.

I decided to use the image from Bella Grace of the girl and the quote about finding your wings…I thought stars would be PERFECT…

 

Along with the stencil stars I added stamped stars on painted paper then cut out and added gold paint pen.

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This is the inside of my tip-in…my Master Dream List along with a photo of myself.

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Thank you so much for looking! I hope you will join me along with hundreds of women around the globe for I Say Yes…a FREE year long art journaling class.

I Say Yes

xoxo

Leslie

Bloom: An Art Journal Page

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“Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice, stop caring about what others think.”
― Roy T. BennettThe Light in the Heart

When I sat down to create my page this week all I knew was I wanted to use the large girl image from the Jane Davenport Mixed-Media napkins.

Our subject this week is “How others see you.”. At first I planned on creating a list of how I think others see me and having lots of speech bubbles surrounding the girl…but as I began all I kept thinking of was how much I have GROWN and I rarely let what others think of me affect me anymore. All I kept seeing were Beautiful flowers…

So this is where my page went…

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Me in Full Bloom:)

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This quote was the perfect touch to my Bloom page…

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Now don’t misunderstand…I still have moments when I have a skewed sense of how others see me…but I have grown leaps and bounds since last summer and have my journals to thank for some of my growth.

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I would LOVE for you to join our growing community of women on Facebook…Here is the link to my FREE year long art journaling class…I hope to see YOU soon!!

xoxo

Leslie

Week 7: Meet Tammy

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Welcome to Week Seven

I am so grateful you all are on this journey with me. What a wonderful six weeks it has been! I want to introduce Tammy Thomas…she has been a very active member of our Community since Day One! Tammy also is in charge of our RAK’s…I appreciate everything you do, Tammy!!!!

Always the encourager she has a Story to share with us all today…one of tragedy, hope and healing. Thank you Tammy for being so BRAVE!

HI, I’m Tammy. I live in a little town in Utah, down a little lane, off the beaten path. I’m married to my sweetheart Scott almost 29 years now. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren who light up our lives.

I love this place I call home, but there was a time when I wanted to move as far away from this quiet little place as I could possibly get.
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Life has a way of helping you see your path differently, sometimes you go unwillingly. Sometimes the change of course teaches you things you never knew you needed, it changes your heart and gives you a much higher prospective.
This is one, significant, part of my story.
It is a story about CONNECTIONS, (of the deepest kind), Grief, and Healing.

2005

September always does this to me.  As the first signs of autumn start to appear, the knots in my stomach grow more noticeable each day.  Why Do I have to remember, and so soon before the anniversary?  The world outside is so beautiful, the colors of fall are just beginning to peek through. I can see smidgens of purple, yellow, orange and red.  The sounds of the birds are everywhere. Even the Dahlias seem to have wide, vibrant smiles.  Why can’t I do the same?

The days leading up to the anniversary seem harder than the day itself.  These days before, just fill me with dread, foreboding and depression. Then, just like every year, for the past 6 years, it all comes flooding back, I have no choice but to remember…

Oct 3, 1998

It was a beautiful, October day; a little unusual, with sunshine and bright blue skies. There were none of the bitter cold winds so common during October in our quiet little town.  It seemed Mother Nature had decided to remind us of a nice spring day, but the weather was only a disguise for what would later happen that day.

As I took the short walk next door to my parents home, I couldn’t help but smile as I saw my 3 kids enjoying the delightful weather with their visiting cousins.  I was happy that they had this time together.  It was great to have some time with my sister too.  We didn’t get to see each other often enough, life and distance always seemed to get in the way. Covering the short distance quickly, I stopped in the driveway to chat with my sister and our parents before they headed into town.  It was really just chitchat, a “we’ll see you later” and a quick little wave from mom before she climbed into the small Toyota truck.  It all seemed so normal then, but later I’d come to realize it meant a lot more.

Us sisters returned to my home to share a long, over due, gab session.  We both remarked how glad we were that it was nice enough weather the kids could play outside. Eight kids trapped inside all day was not a pleasant thought.

An hour or so later, the doorbell ringing brought us girls from the kitchen.  Wiping my wet hands on a towel, I opened the door.  A neighbor stood there waiting.  “Is Scott home” he asked? I said, “he is, but he worked the graveyard shift last night so he’s sleeping.”  The man paused noticeably, before he spoke again.  “I was hoping he was here with you for this, but there’s been an  accident, it’s your parents.  It’s pretty bad.”  I must have cried out, because it was only seconds until I turned and saw my husband at the top of the stairs.

Mar. 2018

That day almost 20 years ago was a defining moment in my life.

Grief wrapped it’s arms around me, tightly.  It was deep, suffocating, sudden, and it was POWERFUL. I thought it would never let go.

In just a few short moments, the darkest of storms ravished the beautiful October day.  In a matter of hours, nothing would ever be the same.

No warning, no time to say good-bye.  Suddenly, BOTH parents were gone!

 

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GRIEF…

We’ve all lost someone we love, maybe through death, through a breakup, a divorce, a lost friendship, or illness. Grief plays no favorites, young or old, none of us are immune.

So, the question is, what do we do with it? How do we travel through it and not close off our hearts. How do we hold on to the light?

There is no question that grief defines us. But, we DO have a choice in HOW it defines us.

Some of us dig down deep and find a strength we didn’t know we had, others, may never recover.

Honestly, for me, it was a mixture of both. Ultimately though, I did find that strength, I did heal, and I found joy

again.

 To understand where I am now, I’d like to share about where I’ve been…

Writing, art, creativity, they are healing for me.  It is how I get through most difficult challenges. It is how I survive, and YES, sometimes even thrive!

This writing exercise below (5 senses) helped give my emotions a voice, it was freeing to release them, and acknowledge them, so I could ultimately heal them.

Grief…
Looks like: 2 caskets
sounds like : deafening silence, muffled whispers
smells like: freshly dug earth

tastes like: cotton
feels like: empty room, paralyzing, numb

(that exercise turned into this)

I stand paralyzed, in an empty room of my heart, 

vaguely aware of the muffled voices surrounding me. 

I feel numb, I’m trembling. 

The smell of freshly dug soil permeates the air,

 breathing it in leaves my tongue feeling like cotton. 

Awareness of the void these two graves represent washes over me,

 from somewhere I hear a soft whimper.

 I want to run! 

When will this nightmare end? 

I feel warm, salty tears wash over my face,

I recognize that whimper as my own. 

 The ensuing silence is deafening, as slowly, ever so slowly,

 the two caskets are lowered into the ground.

Healing…

Grief moves in and takes residence. It becomes an unwelcome friend even. Healing, takes time. It is a slow, often wandering, path. Grief ebbs, and flows. Sometimes the waves may overtake you, it feels like you may drowned. Sometimes, it  feels like you can breathe.

 Grief looks differently for everyone. Healing is different too.

This is what it looked like for us, for me.

I had 3 really young kids who loved spending time with their Grandpa and Grandma. It was just a short little walk next door. They’d shadow grandpa around the yard, or help grandma knead bread. There were family dinners, reading books, lots of fun times together. There wasn’t hardly a day that wasn’t spent together.

When we lost them, the kids, (well all of us actually) really struggled to find our footing.  It was so hard, because none of us got to say good-bye.

Three days after the accident, on my oldest daughters 8th Birthday, we found a way, to say goodbye.

All of us gathered in our parents front yard, wrote messages on balloons and we released them. This did a lot to heal our hearts and bring us just a little bit of peace and closure. It was especially helpful to do this together as a family.

This would continue to be healing for years to come for my then 2 year old son, who whenever he got a balloon, asked if he could send it to his grandpa. He always asked “do you think he’ll know it’s from me?” I always said he would. I wished I could hold tight to those balloons and fly to greet them.

Regret…

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If Tomorrow Never Comes

“If Tomorrow Never Comes, will she know how much I love her? Did I try in every way, to show her every day, that she’s my only one…And if my time on Earth were through, and she must face the world without me, is the love I gave her in the past, Gonna be enough to last…”

                   If Tomorrow Never Comes…” Sung by Garth Brooks

(pg. 1) (full song lyrics)

 

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This song speaks of having NO REGRETS, making sure you are loving WELL, sharing how you feel, and avoiding the circumstance where,  THERE IS NO SECOND CHANCE.

We’d only lived next door to Mom and Dad for 2 short years. We’d moved there so we’d be close to help my dad. We already spent a lot of time there helping with things dad just couldn’t do alone anymore since he’d injured a hand at work.  We enjoyed being there and sharing so much of our lives.

When we first lost mom and dad I was ANGRY. I asked God, WHY?, why did you have us move here to be close to them, just to take them away.  I didn’t want to live here anymore. I didn’t want to be here without them. I didn’t know HOW, to be here without them. I was having nightmares of the accident scene, nightmares, where once again I couldn’t save my dad as he was calling out for help.

I PRAYED , a LOT.   Finally, several months later, while walking the lane by our houses, I received an answer. “I moved you here for YOU.  I moved you here, so that you would have the opportunity to HEAL your struggling relationship with your mother. I did it for YOU”.

I cried that day because I knew it was true, I was so grateful.  If we hadn’t moved here, I would have had to live with so many regrets.  As it was, I KNEW that my parents both loved me, and I KNEW that they knew,  I loved them! What a wonderful gift I had been given. I had NO REGRETS!!!

It was at that same time, that through those prayers I was freed from the dreams. One last dream I was given, I was able to “save” my dad, by freeing him from this world. Both of these were faith building, hope building experiences that have carried me through the last 20 years.

That last year of their lives while we lived right next door, was a gift.   My little one’s knew their grandparents who loved them so, so, much. Our days were filled by sharing the lane, sharing meals, sharing work, and loving each other! It was a priceless time together.

My parents didn’t have any regrets either. They served well, lived well, and they LOVED well, each other, and all of us.

My dad especially loved my mother. He’d often mow messages for her in their grass.  Just a few days prior to their accident he made one such message, which ultimately, became a healing message of love, to us! What a tender mercy,  to have this message waiting for us when we returned to their home that day. Writing about these experiences, and using art as therapy, soothed my heart, and helped me get through one more day.

 

(pg. 2)

Unsent Letters

So many times before they died, I’d pick up the phone and call next door just to share a little part of our day. Sometimes mom would come sit and play my piano on days she might be feeling stressed. Dad would often come sit and visit a while, before my 2 year old would run off and spend the day with him.  So much of our lives intertwined, and when they were gone, the void was deep and the silence was loud.

Even 2 years later, I’d find myself reaching for the phone, sometimes even picking it up, before realizing I couldn’t call.

Finally, I want to share a concept that became a healing balm to my soul.

Periodically, I write an “unsent letter”. This type of journaling provides an outlet to release hard emotions, say things you might not want, or be able to say in person. You can write and then tear it up, burn it, you may even just keep it. The purpose, is to just get it out, let it go, and be free of it.

This isn’t something that only helps with grief. I’ve also used this method when It wouldn’t be healthy to actually give my words to someone else. As I write them a letter, it is freeing, and I am able to forgive.

Sometimes, as in grief, it is a way to feel a little bit of a connection to those we loved and lost.

As displayed here, I wrote just such a letter to my parents. The first is from 2000, and 2002, The second I created to share with you today.

I titled them “Did you Know”

I wrote the things I’d say if I could pick up the phone and call. I told them my struggles, I shared our joys. And I REMEMBERED them.

It’s comforting to know I can still share things with them, and though they aren’t here, they are always in my heart.

 

Supplies: vellum, eyelets, fibers, magazine cut outs, wash tape, chipboard words, neocolonial pastels, inks, pattern paper

Honor, and Returning HOME

Loving my parents was a gift. Losing them was one of the most difficult challenges of my life, but because I DID love them, I live my life a little differently since they’ve been gone. I try to love others, serve others and honor them by the way I live.

I am trying to honor them by being a light, and sharing what I’ve learned. My hope is to lift others when they have the heavy burden of Grief, to help make that load a little bit lighter, and to show them that there is still JOY.

Our hearts are still healing, I don’t think that ever fully happens, but my faith comforts me in knowing I will see them again. We cherish the memories, accept each level of healing as it comes, and we try to live with no regrets.

We still live on that little lane, next to where we shared two wonderful years with my parents. We have some new neighbors that we love, and so many good people that help fill the void.  We still love hearing others in town talk about mom and dad, sharing memories of what great people they were.

Once again, this place feels like HOME, for sure it has been much different without them, but the good memories now overshadow the grief, and we are happy each time we return home.

This is my most recent Art journal page, created with a poem I wrote soon after my parents death, and a new current one with the same theme, with hope, and joy weaved into it now. The first is much different than now, it is raw, and hard to read what I wrote back then, but there beauty is in the new! I have grieved deeply, because I loved deeply.

Turning for Home…

 

First page is the New Poem, the second page has the old poem under the vellum tip-in (Supplies: vellum, personal photography, stencils, texture paste, inks, stickers, acetate butterfly, wash tape, stamps, patter paper.)

A Glimpse of my Creativity…

I love old things, books, lace, journals, wooden spoons and music. One of my favorite things to do is go “antiquing” or to yard sales and thrift stores.  I treasure things from the past. I am emotional and sentimental.  I’m ok with that, it is part of who I am.

At the very center of me, lies the drive to create. When I am creating, my struggles, worries and sorrows don’t seem so heavy. I feel free, and it inspires me to do better, be better, and be a light.  It makes me want to RISE, and be more brave! Creating is joyful!

I love to read, write, sing, serve in my church and of course, spend time with my family.

When I’m not creating, I enjoy photography, it is healing for me. I feel God near when I notice his beauty.

I’m so grateful for the healing that comes through creating and using the gifts that God has given me. Here is a selection of some of my favorite art pieces. Some are healing pieces. ALL have special meaning to me.

Writing and journaling are essential to my well being, my joy, and acknowledging all that I have been blessed with.

A Favorite quote of mine right now is this,

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When expressing my creativity, I like to use paper, color, texture, paint, words and photos. I like to mix old and new, pretty and imperfect.

A book of my moms writing I put together after her

death (includes my own and my siblings writings

too), using pattern paper, mulberry paper, printed

images, and personal writings.

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Art Journal

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Supplies: Cardstock Clock,  metal butterflies, die-cut border, printed vellum

metal crown, distress ink, metal letters, printed ephemera

 Kintsugi art bowl

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an experience from a Healing Retreat Last year.

MY Photography

 

Scrapbooks:

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              Dreams: Supplies used:

              Word tiles, printed ephemera, paper tearing,

              burlap ribbon, distress ink, chalks

Assignment

This week’s art journal therapy page is all about how YOU think OTHERS see you and how that affects the Connections you make. Be sure and share your pages in our group if you want to.

I Say Yes…our Brave Heart Sisterhood Community

You Gotta Friend in Me

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The Power of Friends

Any time I think back to my childhood I think of all the wonderful friends I had and what we did together. There was Lisa…my bestie in Middle School. We spent summer afternoons playing “Gypsies” and she was married to Hans Solo and I was married to Luke Skywalker. Then there was Rose, Renee, Jamie and Johnny. They were my neighbors growing up. We did EVERYTHING together! Summers were the absolute BEST!! Midnight Ghost, movies, playing games on the deck, swimming and talking for HOURS. Rhonda has been my friend since we were old enough to talk. Not only did we spend nearly every Friday night together in high school but we have cheered each other on in life and celebrated milestones together. My friends got me through some pretty rough times in my life and each of them holds a special place in my Heart to this day.

Let’s Celebrate!

As we continue our theme of CONNECTIONS this month… we are CELEBRATING our special friendships. You know those women you feel a Sisterhood with. A bond so strong that nothing can break it.

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I am soooo GRATEFUL for the Tribe of women I have in MY life. They lift me up and help me SEE the good when all I can see is the bad. My Sister Tribe makes me laugh and laugh and yes, sometimes cry…because of how deeply I feel when I am with them.

I LOVE my Sisterhood!!

Assignment

Create a page celebrating YOUR special friendships. How did you meet? What do you have in common? Was it a friend at first sight type of relationship?

My love of art journaling has CONNECTED me to so many AMAZING women that ultimately have become my FRIENDS! Has YOUR love of creativity CONNECTED you to your Tribe? Maybe being creative has helped you branch out. Create a page centered on on your Creative Friendships….(like those of us in I Say Yes/Brave Heart Sisterhood!)

I have TWO printables this week AND a process video going up Tuesday. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here…

Friendship Quotes

Friendship Images

I Say Yes 

Our Facebook Community

You Tube video using Jane Davenport Mixed-Media Napkins

Why Can’t I Connect? A Journal Page

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When I sat down to create my Connection Page Monday morning I had no idea the stuff that was about to come out. That’s what I LOVE about Art Journaling…that’s WHY it is so HEALING!

I began by gathering a few images, papers, quotes and a letter stencil.

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As soon as I saw the image of the person on the pier I started to formulate my Story. The word ALONE came to mind. I used my own painted papers with my favorite letter stencil and glued it onto the image.

The other thing I knew about this page was it was going to be a double spread…I rarely do those but I have a feeling the more writing I do in my journals the more of these I will have!

This typewriter image fit beautifully! Writing has healed me in so many ways!

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As I wrote out my Story,  all this stuff that I hadn’t thought about in YEARS just poured out. It was obvious I needed more room to write so I added a full page tip-in to my page.

The full page is below…I LOVE this so much!

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I realized while creating this page that I have always been a loner…not by choice but it’s kind of how I was raised. My Dad was an alcoholic and my Mom was in a deep state of depression and was anorexic. From a very young age I spent most of my time alone. My Dad was either at work or out in the garage drinking. My Mom spent most of her time asleep on the living room floor. Here is an excerpt…

“I was scared at times being so alone. My neighborhood friends are what saved me from living in almost total isolation…and school. I loved school and my teachers. I got lost in books and TV shows. the TV was my best friend. The Brady Bunch, Little House, The Walnuts. All families with so much Connection to one another. Connection. That’s what was missing in my family life. It’s not that we didn’t love each other. We did. But we were all so alone.”

WHOA! That was a HUGE Awakening for me!! It explains why I turn to TV today when life gets hard and I feel sad. I always turn to old television sitcoms and now I know why!

I also talked about my drinking problem I had in college. Girls, I was an alcoholic. There is no two ways about it. It’s something I am not proud of but I AM proud that I dug myself out of that pit.

God never left me. I never left God. He saved me. And while life wasn’t always so rosy I AM grateful for the lessons I have learned!!

xoxo

Leslie

April Theme & Guest Artist

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“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
― William James

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Hello all! We made it through our first month of I Say Yes!! It has been MORE than I ever imagined and I am sooo GRATEFUL FOR YOU! We are DONE living on Auto-Pilot. We are AWAKE and we are ready to FLY!

I am so excited about so many things today I don’t even know where to start. So I guess I will just start at the beginning…lol:)

What’s ahead in April

Our Theme for this month is CONNECTION.

Our quote for this month is…

“In everybody’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner fire.”  -Albert Schweitzer

The very MINUTE I read this quote I KNEW it was meant for this class this month. It is perfect! What we are talking about for the next four weeks is CONNECTION. Connection with others and ourselves. So many exciting lessons to be learned. I can’t wait to share them all with you!!!

Here is what I am MOST thrilled about sharing with you today…we start our Guest Artist this month! Oh and instead of having ONE guest artist per month…we are having TWO!! Sooooo….that means I need MORE artists!! If YOU want to share YOUR Story please email me at wordsofmeproject@gmail.com

Meet Missy

Not only is Missy married to my cousin Dale…but she is my Soul Sister!! This girl right here has the BIGGEST most GIVING Heart!! She is HILARIOUS too and when we get together we LAUGH. And I don’t mean just laugh. I mean LAUGH UNTIL TEARS ARE ROLLING DOWN OUR CHEEKS AND WE CAN’T BREATHE LAUGH!!

Here is her Story…

 

My story

I am an introvert, through and through. It’s a good thing, because my kids are grown and out of the house, and my husband works 2nd shift (2PM to 11PM). I am basically alone most of the time. I have 3 dogs, but no humans. I am not able to function enough to hold a job…

I have New Daily Persistent Headache and Chronic Migraine Disease. I have not had a headache free day in 5 years. With this disease, I cannot take medicine for pain everyday. I am only able to take up to 2 pills every 7 days. If I take more than that, I get rebound headaches, which are worse than the original pain that I was experiencing.

At first, it was just a weird headache I woke up with one morning. I could feel my whole brain, and I could feel my brain moving if I leaned my head in any direction. Eventually, the pain got worse and worse. That is when the migraines kicked in. The only thing that would not make the pain worse, was to keep my chin level with the floor. I started sleeping in a reclining chair with a travel pillow worn backwards, so the pillow would support my chin and keep my head level. If my head tilted, I would wake up in pain and try to sleep again. I took Aleve like it was going out of style (later to find out I was getting rebound headaches and making the pain worse).

After going to a teaching hospital / clinic, thinking that would be great because they want to learn and teach this stuff, and getting nowhere, I felt led to try Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

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Hear the angels singing in the background? I found what I needed! Not only did my doctor do a complete neurological exam, he listened to me, and BELIEVED me. The Nurse Practitioner that was assigned to me was so compassionate and got to know me and my headache history. Come to find out, she has migraines too. Bonus!

She even told me one day, “some people have really bad migraines, and some people have scary bad migraines. You have scary bad migraines.” Wow! It is not just me being wimpy. I knew how much pain I was going through, but to have someone confirm it was wonderful. Even my awesome, loving husband admitted he didn’t think I was experiencing real bad pain. I guess I have been dramatic about pain earlier in life. Lol

Well, for a long time, I tried to balance work and life, but that didn’t happen. I quit work. Then I tried to balance home life, you know, cooking and cleaning. Nope. Not working. I had to find a way to create. It is who I am. So, even if it was just moving stuff around on my desk in the craft room, I needed to create.

My wonderful husband noticed how hard it was just for me to go to the room and come back out and rest my body, and suggested I get a table to put in our living room. How great! Now I can take a few steps from the recliner to my craft table, and on a bad day, play for a minute or two, and go back to resting.

My happiest days are when I get to scrapbook with my other scrappy friends. I used to be able to scrap for over 12 hours or even to go to all weekend retreats. Now I am thankful if I can last 6 hours. It is really the only time I get out, besides grocery shopping every few weeks.

Bad days are just that,bad. Good days, are subjective. Do I want to try and do something? What if I start hurting more? I think that is the hardest to deal with, the indecision. Will it be worth it if I happen to over do it? Bending my head over a table, being creative is like a gamble. For my sanity, I do a little at a time.

I don’t want to say that my pain defines who I am, only how I live. But, sometimes it is hard to explain to people why I do such strange things, or can’t do some things without putting the “chronic pain” label on myself. I prefer “pain warrior” as a label for me. I fight pain every single day. Do I have it bad? Sometimes. Are there others worse than me? Heck YES! I am blessed to have what I have. It could be so much worse and it could be real scary. Some people have stroke-like symptoms, and some people even lose their vision during an attack. As much pain as I have, I am SO happy my side effects are minimal.

I have been a creative person for as long as I can remember. I would cut up old clothes, and make Barbie doll clothes and baby doll clothes. I learned crochet, and made scarfs and blankets for all my stuffed animals.

In High School, I learned cross stitch and did it for many years. I, maybe have 3 items that I made for myself, because I always made stuff with others in mind.

I then started scrapbooking. I love blaming Leslie for my obsession. I started with just a few supplies, and very basic. Then I went to a crop with Les, and it just blew my mind. I now have moved on to mini albums and making cards. I love constructing mini albums and boxes to put them in. I love to create things and give them away, hopefully making the recipient smile.

I have always been that way. I like making things with a person in mind. I usually get inspired by a design or paper line and immediately think of who it I think it needs to go to.

My favorite quote…right now…is

You can’t start the next chapter of your life is you keep re-reading the last one.

I made this page with stamps and ink, markers and a cutout.

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The items I used

various inks from Stampin Up

Old rubber stamp

Distress Paint – picket fence

Gold paint pen

Sharpie marker

Various items from my stash

Connections

I have lost connection with my close friends because of my health. I also have lost connection with my church.

It is hard to go to lunch or go shopping with friends because my migraine triggers are so unpredictable and out of my hands.

Some of my triggers for my migraines are

  • too much activity
  • Sunlight
  • Bass in music (those boom booms really tear me up)
  • If I get hot
  • Some bright lights
  • Not enough sleep
  • Stressful situations
  • Bending over repeatedly
  • Traveling in a car more than an hour

It is a lot to work around, and frustrating when I have no control over the environment I am in. It, also, is embarrassing for me to ask someone to change their usual routine for my benefit. It is something I have learned to do, but it still makes me embarrassed or uncomfortable. I have had to walk out of restaurants because they don’t understand the reason for my request to change music or because of excessive noise.

I rarely make plans, because my pain can change at any moment. I hate to commit to something, and then cancel. I have a few scrapbooking friends who understand, but it is still frustrating to say I will go to an event, and then have to cancel.

I have pulled myself back from going to church, because of the singing and music and other noises.

 

Acceptance page

I was going through a search for acceptance quotes, I wrote some down, but when I came across this one I knew it was mine.

I was going to post this art piece when I first made it, but it tells part of my story. I wanted to save it for this month.

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I used stamps, inks and markers.

Heidi Swapp and Teresa Collins stamps, years old-from my stash

Memento Tuxedo Black ink, Stazon Timber Brown & Close To My Heart  Whisper

Tim Holtz Distress Markers

  • Mowed Lawn
  • Blueprint Sketch
  • Abandoned Coral
  • Festive Berries
  • Salty Ocean

 

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“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.” – Michael J Fox

I wanted the background to be busy, but not overpowering. I wanted to show acceptance has quieted all my fears and frustrations. Acceptance is now the forefront of my days. I listed things I have to do and accept, and they are also in the background because most days, they ARE in the background of my life.

I have a new normal, and it is accepting what the day or night brings. Do I still struggle with my limitations? Yes. Do I still grieve the old me? Yes. Do I wallow in self pity?

No, I choose to be grateful for what I can do.

I make it work. I have no choice.

Thank you so much Missy for sharing your Story with us!!

Our assignment this week  is to create a page about YOU and YOUR CONNECTIONS. Do you struggle making Connections with others? Or does Connecting come easy for you? How has your past affected the way you Connect with others and yourself?

Here is MY Connection Page. Boy did this bring all kinds of unexpected things out!!!

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You can see my step by step process and here more of my Story later in the week.

Thanks again Missy for being Brave and sharing your Story!!

I would LOVE for you to join our Brave Heart Sisterhood Community and I Say Yes!

Click here to join.

I Say Yes Class

_Connection Quotes

The Next 30 Days

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“April, the Angel of the Months.”  -Vita Sackville-West

I LOVE New Beginnings…they give me a pep in my step and allow me to see my Life in a whole new Light. It’s the same feeling I get when opening the pages of a new journal.

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Pure Happiness!

With April 1st almost here and the start of Spring I am more than READY for a fresh New Beginning. This time, though I have decided not to overwhelm myself but instead focus just on the next 30 days. My thoughts are if I actually DO what I intend to DO then the next 30 days can be a foundation for the rest of my life. And I am sure to FEEL better both mentally and physically…something I am looking forward to.

The Plan

My plan is simple. For the next 30 days I intend on…

*Renewing my commitment to NOT watching the news but instead spending my mornings reading a devotional along with the month of April in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Simple Abundance.

*MOVING everyday…if only for FIVE MINUTES! I CAN DO THAT!

*Drinking water!! I drink water now but not near enough. I need to improve!!

*Creating everyday…even if it’s just gluing something in my journal.

I plan on keeping this small journal from Flow Magazine daily…writing down my thoughts, ideas, feeling and anything else I am inspired to do.

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I invite YOU

If you want to join me I would LOVE that!! I don’t want to reveal what our April Theme is for I Say Yes until Monday…but I will tell you it goes right along with this:)

If you want to join in let me know!! You can post here or in our Community.

I BELIEVE in the POWER of cheering each other along and lifting each other!!!

Hope you join in!!!

PS…what YOU decide to do for the next 30 days is up to YOU.

xoxo

Leslie

How I Organize Magazine Images

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“He longed for cleanliness and tidiness: it was hard to find peace in the middle of disorder.”
― Robin HobbCity of Dragons

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I don’t know about you but I am FAR from organized. It’s a part of my life I have constantly struggled with both inside and outside of my home. My car is littered with coats, half-drunk water bottles and other sorts of things that were just to hard for my family to bring into our house. Our dining room table is used for everything BUT eating. I fold our laundry, pile the mail and dump stuff I don’t know what to do with there. One look around our home and it’s obvious I am desperate need of a professional organizer. Now add the fact I am working full-time…well let’s just say it’s not pretty.

The one place I insist on being tidy is my studio. It’s my safe space. The one place I go to for peace and quiet. Being clean and organized is a must! And the more organized my supplies are the more apt I am to create in my journal. And THAT is what I need most when stress is consuming me. I hope the following ideas and photos inspire YOU to create a place for all those images you use in your journals.

How I organize my magazine images

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Last summer when I REALLY started getting into using magazines in my journals I KNEW there had to be a better way to keep them. I was using gallon size zip-loc bags and while those do work well when journaling on the go…I needed something more permanent for my studio. I found exactly what I needed from one of my FAVORITE art journalers…Diane Fago.

Please Note: This process took me at least TWO FULL DAYS. I had HUNDREDS of images and words all jumbled up together so you can imagine what it was like sorting through everything. I must say it was so much fun!! I put “Frasier” on my MAC (my fave show) and sorted for HOURS!

Step One: I first decided on what categories I would sort my piles into. Here is what I decided on…

journal cards

bling

paint pens

Brave Girl Sayings, Images and Cards

letter and phrase stickers

painted papers. tissue paper and napkins

large phrases and quotes

vintage girls

birds/butterflies

rub-ons, alphabets, raised embellishments

whimsical and wings (these are mostly from Stampington Magazines)

girls

flowers

nature scenes, inside scenes

postcards (for tip-ins)

wood/metal

faith

shapes, frames, vintage

hearts, fave things, other

words/phrases (small)

Brave Girl Phrases

Step Two: Create labels for your bins/baskets

Step Three: Sort through your piles

Step Four: Put in the proper bin

Here are what mine look like…

I bought these plastic drawers at Wal-Mart.

These store my large images, words and phrases.

These purple drawers I found at a yard sale last fall. They store my smaller images and words/phrases.

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Here are the inside of four of my drawers…

Words/phrases on the top left, Hearts, houses and other shapes on the right. Lower left is my flower drawer and girls on the right.

The shelf on the left houses magazines and books I want to go through and cut out images while the photo on the right shows my flower books.

Here is what the drawers look like on my desk. These are located where I create so everything is within arm’s reach. It’s sooo easy to find exactly what I am looking for!!!

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A fun page I created using my supplies.

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I hope I have inspired YOU to go through your images and organize in a way that helps you create. I would LOVE to see what you come up with. Please share in our community.

Happy Day, girls!

xoxo

Leslie

Week Four: Freedom

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“Lend your voices only to sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from
Fill your lives with love and bravery
And you shall lead a life uncommon”

-Jewel

 

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Week Four: FREEDOM

We are already into Week four and girls, let me tell you…I see EVERYONE Moving Forward! It’s so exciting to think that just a few weeks ago many of us felt stagnant, like we were swimming against the current…but TODAY so many of us are feeling FREE! I am proud of each of you in our Brave Heart Sisterhood Community…for sharing your Hearts and Story’s and journals with us.

“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 from The Doors

Last summer when I was living on Auto-Pilot, closed off from the world, my art and my Authentic Self I felt trapped. I had been here before and I had overcome before…but through life’s trials and frustrations I had allowed my own self-pity get the best of me. I was in a hole and wanted desperately to get out. Once I ACCEPTED my situation a whole new world opened up to me. I had a new sense of Freedom and it felt so GOOD.

I had been here Before…

Several years prior to last summer I went through the biggest trial of my life. One so gut-wrenching I never thought I would be whole again. It was during this extremely sorrowful time I found Don Miguel Ruiz and his book “The Four Agreements”.

This book and the Four Agreements…

CHANGED

MY

LIFE

FOREVER.

These Agreements gave me Freedom like I had never known before.

Do I always live up to each Agreement everyday?

Nope.

Not even close.

But am I mindful of each Agreement and do I always try to do my Best?

Most days, YES.

And that has changed my life.

My entire way of thinking.

And it can change YOURS. It CAN! And when I think about how simple it is and the fact that it DOES change lives…It makes my tummy all excited and I can’t stop smiling. These Four Agreements have the power to Change the World!

Our Assignment

It’s time to get in our journals this week and create a page all about our personal FREEDOM!! Do you need to FREE yourself from something? Or are you feeling more FREE than ever? Create a page and share in our FB group (if you feel comfortable!).

Here is mine along with my process…

First I started with finding a page in my journal…I don’t go in order and I knew I wanted a tip-in on my page.

Then I usually go to my journaling drawers (more on how I organize later in the week!) and pick out a few things. I knew I wanted to use at least 2 girl images and floral paper…I also grabbed my poem I had printed from the internet, my Freedom quotes printable from this class and a few other images, papers and flowers I thought I may use.

I added this girl image I found in FLOW Magazine…I love how FREE and happy she looks!

 

Then I took several patterned papers and cut them to fit on my page on the left and cut to fit a full sheet of floral paper on the right.

I knew I wanted to use this girl as soon as I saw her. I love how quirky she is with those boots and how it looks like she is Moving Forward.

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My Mary Oliver Poem is on the right side with pink ink to make it pop a bit more.

I then highlighted words that leapt out at me with a  yellow Neo Color and water brush and a black gel pen.

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I also added lots of flowers. I add flowers to almost everything!!

To tie the two pages together I added flowers around the girl’s feet.

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My tip-in was the perfect place to add one of my favorite quotes on FREEDOM by Robert Frost…

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The typewriter reminds me to ALWAYS tell my Story!!! And BE BOLD in ALWAYS telling My Truth.

I knew I wanted to pick a Word out of the poem to put across my page. I used Tim Holtz Foam Stamps and paint on copy paper then cut out.

This is one of my most used ways to add text to my pages. I LOVE this look! And it’s soooo easy!!! Letter stencils work GREAT, too!!! (video to come soon!!) NEW VOICE was handwritten using paint pens.

Here is my finished page with the tip-in. I LOVE it!!!

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I Say Yes “Freedom” Quotes

Art Journaling is HEALER. I came into my studio today with a heavy heart and left feeling lighter and ready to face my day. Art Journaling SAVES!

If you would like to join a community of over 300 supportive and loving women from around the world…we would LOVE to have YOU! We are Brave Heart Sisterhood!!! Join my FREE year long Art Journaling class…all the information is here.

Join our private community here.

HUGS.

xoxo

Leslie