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“Don’t you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?”
― Juliet MarillierSon of the Shadows 

Welcome to my Year Long FREE Art Journaling Workshop…I SAY YES! I must admit I am feeling completely giddy at the prospect 2018 brings. Our journey together is going to be EPIC! If you are here and haven’t heard about my workshop you can go here and sign up for our private Facebook group. To learn all about the class and what to expect please read this.

Our Theme for March is near and dear to my Heart and it’s a HUGE, life-changing lesson I learned just a few short months ago.

Stop Living on Auto-Pilot

Girls, I have a VERY long Story of why I started Art Journaling and how it continues to Heal my Heart and Soul. There is no way I will be able to tell it all today. So today I share a part with you…the part where my I thought my life and everything I had come to know was over. The part where I started my FIRST journal and fell in love with it and just KNEW I was going to be ok. This part of the Story is called…

Humility

My Very FIRST Journal Page from Soul Restoration with Melody Ross.

 

My family and I were living the high life. We were very successful business owners of a franchise…at one time we owned five stores. And while my husband spent LONG hours in the shop working we enjoyed the large income and took many trips. We bought a gorgeous home in a very nice neighborhood, our kids were doing great, we went to church every Sunday…everything you dream of. But then, without any warning my stable, “perfect” life began to crumble. After 22 years with the company (many of those years spent butting heads with them)  we made a decision to SHUT OUR BUSINESS DOWN. While I was scared I knew we had other forms of income so I wasn’t too worried. As long as we could pay our bills nothing else mattered.

We shut down in December, just before Christmas. By January we were slapped with a HUGE lawsuit from our former franchise. We had broken our agreement with them and they were not happy. Total amount…nearly a half a million dollars.

A page from Soul Restoration, a class that saved me!!

 “It is our wounds that create in us a desire to reach for miracles. The fulfillment of such miracles depends on whether we let our wounds pull us down or lift us up towards our dreams.”
― Jocelyn SorianoMend My Broken Heart

That year was one of the longest and scariest of my life. So many AWFUL things happened that year…most of them so painful it’s hard to revisit. Yet, I know each time I share my Story I grow a little bit and can look back knowing how how far I have come. That time in my life gave me the tools I needed for the storm that was about to hit us. I had no idea  that our trials then would be microscopic compared to what we were about to go through. But that is a Story for another day.

By June we hadn’t made a house payment in six months. We could barely afford to feed our family yet alone go to a movie. I remember the day I knew it was bad…I mean REALLY bad. So bad I thought I would die…it was a perfect summer day, you know the ones with a bright blue sky and those big, fluffy clouds? The kind of day you just feel GOOD. It was that kind of day…a kind of day when NOTHING could feel bad or go bad. But yet, it did. So, so bad.

I came home to a sign attached to our front door that said…THIS HOUSE WILL BE AUCTIONED OFF THIS THURSDAY ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS.

Another page from Soul Restoration…my first journal. I am so grateful for these!!

I ran to the door, ripped the sign off and called Dave (my husband)  hyperventilating. Was it true? Were we going to lose our home?

*We didn’t win the lawsuit

*We were growing further and further apart as a family

*I was depressed, eating out of control and living on the couch

*People in my family were going through terrible things that I couldn’t even see because of all our crud

*My life was in shambles

Some of us have great stories: pretty stories that take place at lakes, with boats, and friends, and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story: good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.

Melvin Udall from “As Good as it Gets”

 

By the Grace of God we did NOT lose our home. We struggled terribly with our finances, remember we LOST our lawsuit…yet thankfully settled on a much lower number! We had found out some pretty scary things about a few of our family members, heart breaking things that ripped me to the core. I was still living on the couch, drowning my worries in tubs of buttered popcorn, candy and old TV sitcoms. They reminded me of a happier time and allowed me to escape my life.

“To reach the high notes in life, you must open your heart to sing.”
― Caron Kamps Widden

I had kept a journal since I was in 5th grade. You know the pocket ones with a little key from the 70’s?

In Jr. High and High School I wrote in spiral notebooks with Garfield and Ziggy on them.

 

 

But Art Journaling? I had never heard of it.

A year after we had shut our business down Brave Girl Melody Ross was launching her first ever on-line class…Soul Restoration and I so desperately wanted to take it. We didn’t have $99 though so I knew it was only a dream. Then, nothing short of a miracle happened. My Mom offered to buy me the class for my Birthday…it was the BEST gift I have ever been given…seriously. The BEST. Not only did Soul Restoration help me Heal from past wounds but it introduced me to Mixed-Media and Art Journaling. I had no idea that those two things would change my life in such a positive and dramatic way. WOW!

A canvas I made as part of Soul Restoration

I had always put pen to paper…but something profound happened when I added images to my thoughts. It opened my Heart up in ways I never thought possible and allowed TRUE Healing to take place. My Art Journal became my Sacred Time away from the world. My Time to just Be alone with my thoughts. My Art Journal allowed me to Dream again and see a brighter future for myself.

“Change, like healing, takes time.”
― Veronica RothAllegiant

There is so much more to my Story…but for now this Chapter of it ends. Thank you so much for reading it. And if you are going through anything similar just KNOW that it WILL GET BETTER.

Quote of the Month

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”  -Dale Carnegie

It’s time to create in our journals!! Your first assignment is to write down those big, awful, ugly thoughts you are having about something you’re struggling with right now. It’s time to TAKE ACTION and acknowledge they exist. Create a page of your feelings, worries, frustrations. Remember you can share your work with us if you feel like it!! Post your pages in our private Facebook group.

Here is my page…

Find my process video on YouTube “Embrace Your Journey”.

I look forward to seeing your work and hearing your Story!

 

xoxo

 

Leslie

About bravegirlartI am a creative Soul. I love God, my family and try to always see the best in my life. I am passionate about encouraging, uplifting and inspiring others to create art. I teach Faith Journaling Workshops and am the leader of an Art as Prayer group at my church. I love sharing my Story and encourage others to share theirs.

4 thoughts on “

  1. I thought you showed courage to write this and it was interesting you began with a quote from Juliet Marillier who is a writing friend of mine and lives just across the river from me which as the crow flies five minutes away. She has achieved much in her life and is very well respected in the writing community all over the world. She is a writing hermit and has mother five orphaned older dogs, so upon reading the quote, for I knew it I was inspired to continue. So, another expression, I doff my hat to you for your persistence and faith and I know it is strange but maybe you were meant to be in the space you are now in. I have joined your page for I have some issues I am working on and in a new modality, well, that is not true exactly for when young I used to love covering my school books and decorating them, so something old which I loved, but working with it differently, has come back into my life and I love it. So I wish you well as I too, wish myself well and thank you.

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