30 Day Art Journaling Challenge

art journal, challenge, artist, art, creative, journal, sketch,

I’ve started an art journal a few days ago.  It was inspired by some artsy types I follow on Instagram.  I love to write to get my thoughts out on paper, but sometimes I want to add some color.  Art journaling has given me the space to produce a snapshot of a thought, dream, or instance in my life in full color.

The daily practice of creating something meaningful and personal has proved therapeutic.  I look forward to the time with my art journal like I look forward to a conversation with an old friend.  There is no judgement.  No rules.  Only an abundance of space and time.

I’ve shared my first few art journal entries on Instagram and Facebook, not because I want compliments or affirmation, but because I want everyone to see that art is a safe place.  People who don’t believe they are creative at all can write down a few thoughts, doodle, add stickers and washi tape, and open their minds to a side of themselves they don’t even realize is there.  They get to enjoy the benefits of color and freedom like every artist.

I’m new to this type of creativity but exploring and trying something new keeps my inner artist happy and excited.  It may not last.  My artist is a child who hops from one obsession to the next with no warning.  But I wanted to share this experience with you and invite you to join me.  So, I’ve created a 30 Day Art Journaling Challenge to be our guide.

30 Day Art Journaling Challenge RULES

There are no rules.  Only a theme for each of the 30 days.  But feel free to jump around if you’d like. A different theme may be more intriguing or fitting than the theme for that day.  Do whatever feels right.

Use any medium you want.  Watercolor, acrylic, Sharpies, graphite, oil, stickers, papers, ModPodge, you name it.  Stick it in there. Make it unique.  Make it yours.

You can start any day.  And if you can’t journal every day, oh well.  Just get back to it when you can.  But don’t skip.  Try to get 30 days into your art journal, no matter how long it takes.

Use the hashtag #30DayArtJournal.  If hashtags are your thing and you’d like to share your art journal on social media.  If you want to keep it private, more power to you.  I want you to enjoy the process completely.

I hope you’ll give art journaling a try.  Tap into your creative side.  Let’s play!

Print, pin, and share this image with your creative friends.  It’s more fun to play when you’ve got more people involved.

Do you already have an art journal?  What’s your favorite medium?  Leave a comment below and let me know how your art journaling experience is going. 

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Freedom is…

Fourth of July, Independence, freedom, USA, Ronald Reagan,

Fourth of July, Independence, freedom, USA, Ronald Reagan,

Freedom is…

Freedom is being yourself.

Freedom is letting go of the negative.

Freedom is dancing in the ocean.

Freedom is sitting around the campfire with people you love.

Freedom is coffee and a book on a Saturday morning.

Freedom is…

What is freedom to you? Fill in the blank.  Share a quote or thought about freedom in the comments.  Happy Independence Day! 

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The Man Behind My Tiara

Father's Day, man, husband, dad, provide, love, Christian, protect, hero

Father's Day, man, husband, dad, provide, love, Christian, protect, heroMom’s are heralded on Mother’s Day for their daily sacrifices, hard work, and our ability to adapt to whatever role is needed at any given time.

I feel like Father’s Day has a different theme to it.  Dads, while needed and appreciated, are often chided for not measuring up to scripture, admonished to be better examples for their children, and cautioned to be more loving toward their wives.

Dads have a tough job.  They are required to be strong and gentle at the same time.  Loving yet leading.  Gathering and giving.  Adventurous and stable.  Brave but vulnerable.  He slays the dragons at work, scares away monsters under the beds, and meets trouble at the door.  But he’s also mama’s romancer, daughter’s first date, and son’s partner in adventure.

My husband has laid a strong foundation for our family.  He is the main supporter of our many interests and adventures. And he’s always quick to invite us to share in his.  He shows us love by holding our hands and guiding us in the right direction without quenching dreams or belittling ideas.  He’s not afraid to be a Christian and he lives it in a thousand different ways.   He leads by example because words are only as good as the actions behind them.


It’s said that moms wear many hats.  Nurse, chef, teacher, housekeeper, chauffeur, organizer, meal planner, errand runner, finance strategist.  But, for me, all of these hats are really just one hat.  I feel like my opportunity to be a mother is a crown of love from my husband.  His consistent love, sacrifice, and work makes me feel like a queen everyday, and ours the royal family.

So while Mommy gets to wear her mommy hats out in public, Daddy’s medals of honor, awards of achievement, and hunting trophies are on display at home.  That’s where they mean the most. Because that’s where Dad is loved the most.

So, thanks Babe for taking on all the job requirements that go with being a dad.  All that you do for us has not gone unnoticed.  You’ve laid the world at our feet.  You’re my hero.  XOXOXO

What dad are you thankful for this Father’s day?  Do you have any stories of how your dad or husband did something awesome for your family yet completely unnoticed by the rest of the world? Comment here.

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Why Dreaming is the Key to Getting Out of Debt

Dream, marriage, debt, money, finance,

Dream, marriage, debt, money, finance, They say opposites attract.

As far as personalities go, my husband and I are the same.  We both test out as INTJ’s on the MBTI test.  It’s good and bad and strange sometimes.  However, the MBTI doesn’t have anything to do with your spending and savings habits.  Quiet people aren’t always savers.  Introverts don’t all love numbers and spreadsheets.  In the case of money, my husband and I are opposites.

Nerd VS Free Spirit

Dave Ramsey uses these terms to describe the saver and the spender in his Financial Peace University class.  There are varying degrees of spenders and savers, but in every case it can cause tension in a marriage.  We just don’t have the same goals or game plan when it comes to money.  We see money in completely different ways.

I’m a saver.

Nothing gives me more satisfaction and peace than to have a pile of money set aside.  I collect money.  I seriously have a collection of $100 bills.  My current goal is to save 100 of them.  It doesn’t bother me one bit to have that pile of bills versus the stuff it could buy.  I’m pretty content with what I have.  Security means so much more to me.

Hubs is a spender.

He’s also a dreamer.  He has plans for his money.  It’s spent in his mind before it even gets here.  We’ve learned our lesson on debt so he won’t borrow to get something.  But as soon as the money is there, it’s time to use it.  He knows this about himself and he is very aware of the need to take care of his family, so he is not careless about money.  However, with two different thought processes about money, it can be hard to get on the same page.

Reasons matter.

When talking about money, my husband and I have come to realize and accept that we have some different personal goals.  I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and I want to make my writing and this blog a full time career.  I’ve seen others do it.  But blogging is still not looked at as a “regular job” and it’s going to take time to build, so it takes some faith for him to give me the freedom to try.  He’s been a huge support.

My husband wants to become a self-defense instructor.  It’s been his hobby for many years.  He sees a future and a potential for income in pursuing it.  He is a software engineer, so this seems like a leap of faith.  Yet, I can see his passion and I want to be equally supportive.

We’ve also dreamed together.  Someday, we’d like to take that trip.  Someday, we want to buy a house.  Someday, we want those cars or that thing.  We want to retire wealthy.  And we want to leave a legacy to our children.

Dreaming gave us the same goal.

The common denominator in all of our dreams is that, in some way, we will need money to accomplish them.  That gives us the same motivation to become debt free.  Getting rid of our debt will free up the income to push hard for our dreams.  Dreaming has put us on the same page.  Dump the debt.  As. Fast. As. Possible.

Savers and spenders can work together.  It’s okay to have different dreams as long as you dream together.  Helping each other reach your goals creates teamwork.  It creates unity in a marriage where there was division and conflict.  If you find yourself on opposing views regarding money in your marriage, take the time to dream together.  Be open and willing to help each other make your dreams a reality.dream, value, goal, plan, afraid, fear

I’ve created this What’s Your Dream worksheet to help you start the process of dreaming, individually and together.  Print off a copy for each of you and then talk about where your dreams overlap.  From there you can start to make plans to reach those goals.  Together.

 

Don’t downgrade your dreams to match your reality. Upgrade your convictions to match your destiny.

Have you talked about your dreams with your spouse?  What helped you get on the same page when it comes to money in your marriage?  Leave me a comment

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It’s Happy Hour

thankful, happy, jar, thoughts, song, rememberHappiness is not a thing.  It’s not a place.  It’s not an event or a position.  Instead, happiness is thousands of things.  Big and small.  Happiness is made up of moments, memories, choices, and pleasures.

Sometimes you have to remind yourself to be happy.  It can be so easy to have your vision clouded by negative events.  When things go wrong, it becomes an all encompassing focus.  But how many things can you still enjoy in the middle of a crisis.

It might just be human nature to focus on the bad and forget the good.  It’s easier to point out the flaws than to compliment the talents.  We remember sad times, things that made us angry, times of injustice, and people who hurt us with such clarity that the feelings stay fresh and on the surface.  Yet the things that make us happy fade quickly into oblivion.  Negative feelings stick, while happiness fades.

Remember happiness. 

It takes conscious effort.  I don’t know why.  It. Just. Does.  But it’s worth the effort to turn the tide.  Remember the things that make you happy and let the adverse times fade.

 

Happy, thoughts, jar, remember, thankfulAt the beginning of this year, I created a Happy Thoughts Jar for my family.  The idea is to write down as many events as possible that made us happy throughout the year and put them in the jar.  Then, at the end of the year, we will sit together and read through our Happy Tags.

Chalkboard, chalk, label, made, paint, happy, thoughts, jar, remember, thankfulI made up these Happy Tags, printed and cut them apart.  Then I glued the edges together with hot glue to create a booklet.  The tags will easily tear off one at a time.

Happy, thoughts, jar, remember, print, tags, thankfulI glued a long piece of jute to the booklet and tied it around the jar for convenience.  We tend to write down significant things on these.  Like a new purchase.  A surprise visit.  A family event.

happy, thoughts, jar, remember, thankful, tagsGratitude List.

If you want to go more in depth with your remembrance of happiness, consider a Gratitude List.  Keep a journal or notebook with a running list of thing that make you happy on a daily basis.

It’s okay if you repeat some of the same things every day.  Coffee makes me happy every day.  So does a good-morning kiss from my hub.

You will quickly see patterns forming in your lists.  It will give you a greater understanding of what truly makes you happy.  You will find the things that are worth pursuing in your life.

 

And just in case your happiness needs a theme song, I’d love to help you with that.  Click play.  Dance.  “Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.”  You’re welcome.

 

What things make you happy on a daily basis? What little things make you crazy happy?  Comment here.

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How To Write A Letter

How To Write A Letter

Writing letters is becoming a lost art.  In an age of email, smart phones, chat apps and textspeak, it seems like pens, paper and full sentences are losing ground fast.

It’s great that we have the world at our fingertips.  But what are we sacrificing for that convenience?

There is an ebb and flow, give and take.  For every new thing that come in, something old moves out.  What a shame that hand-written letters are now antiquated and out of style.

I make a motion that we revive this activity and take it to a new level.  Remember how calligraphy became an art?  If you wanted to create a fancy document you would pay someone to write it in calligraphy.  I think letter-writing can also be an art.  Something that’s beautiful and looked at with awe.
Write a letter, pen, matching envelope, handmade, paper, stamp, mail, snail, uni ball signo, stationery, mailbox

 

Give it a try.  Practice using a pen again.  Make a letter into a precious gift.  Show someone how much you care.

 

When was the last time you wrote a letter with pen and paper?  When was the last time you received a hand-written letter?  Let me know in the comments.

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14 Valentine Gifts From The Heart

valentine gift him her unique love

valentine gift him her

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away.  Love is in the air.  Guys are starting to panic.

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate being together with the people you love.  Yes, I said people.  Because Valentine’s Day shouldn’t exclude those without a “significant other.”  However, if you do have a spouse or lover, by all means, take advantage of this special day of togetherness. (wink, wink)

When it comes to getting a Valentine gift, it should to be something that celebrates the uniqueness of your relationship.  Anyone can buy jewelry or a bouquet of flowers.  Come on.  Think a little harder.  Put some heart into it.  (Puns are so easy sometimes.)

 

1. Something homemade.

Are you handy at something?  What’s your special talent?  Can you build a trinket box?  How about knitting a scarf?  Something that you made with your own hands shows that you’re willing to use your talents and time for your partner.  They know that all the time you spent working on the gift was time you spent thinking of them.  Awwwe!

Valentine's Dinner

2. Home-cooked dinner and clean-up.

This is especially an awesome gift for a busy mom. Pick a day that you know is particularly stressful for her, offer to make dinner for her and the kids AND do all the clean up afterwards.  It takes a load off her mind and allows her to relax.  That is, of course, if you don’t burn the food or the kitchen.  If you can’t cook, you could give her a gift card to a family restaurant.

3. A c.d. of love songs.

Not any love songs.  The songs that are special to you.  You’re first dance song.  The song that was “your song” when you were dating.  The songs from your wedding.  Love songs from your favorite artists.  Songs from your favorite genres.  This is not a c.d. that you could buy.  This is special just for the two of you.

4.  Book of poetry.

Now if you can write your own poetry, that’s boss.  But if you’re not the poet, pick up a book of sonnets.  Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Maya Angelou, W.B. Yeats, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  And here’s a hint.  Something pocket sized is very endearing.

First Date

5. Reenact your first date.

Go back to the same restaurant.  Watch the same movie.  Remember how nervous you were?  See how much of the date you can remember together.  One memory leads to another.  You’ll find lots to laugh about.

6.  Find a photo booth at the mall.

Be silly together.  Do duck lips.  Go glamour.  Show some ‘tude.  You already now how awesome you are.  Show it off.

7. Custom photo cell phone cases.

You can order cell phone cases with a picture of you together on it.  Or get one for him with her picture and one for her with his picture.  These are available just about anywhere that prints photos.

Jazz Band

8.  Tickets to an event.

Do you like the theater?  Orchestral music? The ballet?  Basketball?  Bare Naked Ladies? (The band. Obviously.)  Go together and make some special memories.  Don’t forget to take lots of selfies and post them all over FB and Instagram.

Prinstagram, photo, album

9.  Photo album or book.

Put together an album of pictures of just the two of you.  In a day of digital media, people just don’t have very many physical pictures.  This is an awesome keepsake.  You could also go to Printstagram and order a bound book with your special pictures from your Instagram account.

10.  A unique craft.

You can find all kinds of unique gifts at a craft fair or on etsy.  Find a one-of-a-kind necklace.  Have a wall hanging customized for the two of you.  How about an ostrich egg with your names painted on it?  Seriously.  I have one.  I love it!

Antique

11.  An antique.

Some china or crystal or even a first edition book.  Something that has stood the test of time and is still just as beautiful.  Let it be a symbol of your relationship getting stronger and more beautiful through the years.

12.  Special desert of treat.

Does she love coffee?  Does he like cheesecake?  Make it extra special.  Go gourmet.  I love whoopie pies.  The best I’ve ever had are the little gourmet whoopie pies dipped in chocolate.  Mmm-mmm.  Taste the love.

52 Things I Love About You Book (made with playing cards)  - DIY Valentines Day Projects

13.  “Why I Love You” list.

Create the playing card book above.  52 cards and 52 reasons.  Or fill a mason jar with little rolls of paper.  Write a reason for your affection on each one.  Remember to include all the little things you find so lovely.  Like, “that little noise you make when you sleep.”

flower bouquet him

14. Flowers, card, and chocolate.

Don’t think I’m letting you off on this one.  Sure it’s typical.  But you can make it special.  Make your own card or find one on etsy.  Pick out the most unique or exotic bouquet of flowers. The best chocolates.  Or maybe a tiny jar of chocolate sauce and a spoon.  Make it personal.   And besides, what girl doesn’t like flowers and chocolate?

 

I hope you can spend your Valentine’s Day with the people you love the most!  That’s the best gift.

 

What was the best Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?  Share in the comments.

 

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