My family

My family

Friday, March 31, 2017

Getting down to business

In the Fall of 2016, I started keeping a bullet journal.  

For me, my journal was a combination of a daily planner + devotional + diary. 

Check out that post here.

One of my goals for 2017 was to set up my Etsy bullet journal and keep track of this little business I had going.  

Well, friends.......I've done it! 😁

My sweet coworker is a fantastic photographer!  Check out her artwork here.

We have this awesome cemetery close to our house and there is an old school house on the grounds. Lizzy knew how much I loved that old school house so she took some photos for our front room.  One of those photos (see above) is an old, rusted out, abandoned junker - see photo above - that she named "wink".  I love that photo so much that I chose it for the cover of my Etsy bullet journal.

Here's how I set this sucker up.....

Front page:  Yearly calendar at a glance

Next up....... 2017 GOALS.

For Bea's privacy, I've kept some of the information secret.  

#3  Ready-made markets

This one is probably going to be my toughest one to achieve.  Right now, I have live listings in my Etsy shop.  People who like the designs can order one straight from the listing.  

Etsy shops who have "ready-made markets" only turn their shop ON when they have inventory to sell.  They direct buyers to their shop by announcing the market dates via social media.  

It's going to take some work but I'm up for it!

#4  Add 5 new retailers

Eeks!  This one takes me wayyy out of my comfort zone!  

It requires in-person marketing to shop owners where my signs would be a good fit.  

Folks.....I am NOT a salesperson but I DO believe in this cause so, ready or not, here I come! 

"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

Truer words were never spoken.  On this page, I detail how I am going to achieve my goals.

Those red check-marks show that I'm making progress!

Revenue tracker

I'm really focusing this year on building my social media following.  After tons of research, this is the best way to drive business to the Etsy shop.  

This is a whole-new-world for me!  I am learning so much!!

Finally, I keep track of what I do on a daily basis to reach my goals.

My goal for April is to "create something every day......even if it sucks".  Haha! 😉

I'm 100% committed to this cause.  I will find a way to make Charlene's life a little easier.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Southern Girl Up North - update

Hi friends! 😉

It's been awhile since I've posted an update on my Etsy shop.  

There has been a TON of activity over there and I'm excited to share it with you!! 

Since opening my Etsy shop - Southern Girl Up North - life has been a bit of a roller coaster.  I'm so emotionally attached to this cause, it has been hard on my heart at times.

Remember......I started the Etsy shop as a way to help Bea's daily fight against Multiple Sclerosis.  All proceeds are donated to my warrior sister as she kicks this disease to the curb.  

Opening this online shop has been a HUGE learning curve for me.

My very first sign (above) is still my all-time favorite but I've ventured out a bit since then.  

One of my most popular additions is hymn boards.  

I got the idea from one of my favorite Etsy shops - Imperfect Dust - and tweaked the designs a bit to fit my personality.

Goodness gracious......I love making these beauties!  I miss these sweet old hymns that I grew up singing in church.  

In addition to the hymn boards, I've been fortunate enough to design a few custom orders.  

One for a dear friend whose niece is going through chemotherapy.  

One for a family who recently lost a loved one.  

I created this collection of inspirational signs for my first craft show (that was a total bust!).  Check out the details here.

Even though the craft show didn't generate a lot of business, I'm so glad I had that experience. 

My first foray into retail started at Mama's Happy.  Check out that post here.  Once again, that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped but I refused to give up!

I knew in my heart that God gave me this gift so I could do some good with it.  

My signs are currently in Art2Heart and doing pretty well.  I have loved every single second of working with the volunteers at Art2Heart.  They have such a heart for missions and I am constantly inspired by their creativity.

I think I am right where God wants me.  It's true that everything happens for a reason and I know God is working through me to make a difference.  At least I hope so!  

I remain my own worst critic but I'm working on that! 😊

Art2Heart has a wonderful HeartReach program that is made up of prayer warriors.  They accept prayer requests and reach out to the people in their prayers.  A lot of the time, they will send little goodies to them (prayer stones, inspirational bookmarks, etc.) so the people have something tangible that reminds them they are being prayed over.  

 I have been looking for a way to donate goods to their HeartReach and finally came up with these decorated prayer journals.  They were so fun to design!!  

One thing I love so much about Art2Heart is that they allow their vendors quite a bit of artistic freedom.  After dropping off the prayer journals, I decided to make larger ones to go on the shop floor.  We'll see how popular they are.  

In the meantime, I'm constantly updating my shop listings.  

Most nights, you can find me under a blanket......
on my favorite spot of the couch....... with a big mug of hot chocolate...... doodling designs or practicing my hand-lettering.  

I've got a few more ideas up my sleeve to try in the coming months.  Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Coming for you!

I'm headed south next week and I'm so stinking excited!!!!  😎

It's time for the annual MS Walk.

Every year, we all gather together to celebrate another year of Charlene winning the battle against Multiple Sclerosis.  Yep, she's still kicking it's behind and looking damn good while doing it!

This walk is one of my all-time favorite things to do.  I'll take any chance to get back to Texas for a quick visit but this is definitely the cherry on top.

This year it will be extra special because the MS Walk is on Mom's birthday in Heaven.  I can't wait to release balloons again - just like every year since she was called home - with the entire family.  💝

As soon as Jim booked my flight, I called this cutie to make a plan.

Face-Timing with Bea always starts like this.........

and ends like this........

Once we start laughing, neither one of us can stop.  Bill usually ends up telling us to "pipe down" and Lauren is rolling her eyes.  😊

The conversation always includes bodily sounds that should probably be kept private - ha! - and raunchy jokes.  The raunchier the better.  Too much information???

I was STILL laughing on my way into work this morning when "Summer Nights" came on.  Immediately, I was right back to Belinda's wedding reception in New Orleans.  The DJ played that song and Charlene and I automatically broke into acting out the song and dance.  I don't remember who was Danny and who was Sandy but there we were putting on the show of our lives.  We had everyone in stitches and were completely exhausted (and more than a little tipsy) by the end of the performance song. 😀

This year will be extra special because we get to celebrate Garrett & Maci's engagement!  

Woot woot!  My man-child FINALLY made if official! 

I even got a shiny new suitcase for my trip!!  LOL.....can you tell I'm excited???

Charlene and I both got luggage when we graduated high school in 1987.  Holy cow....... that sounds like a lifetime ago!  Anyway, I have been using the same luggage since them.  The roller wheels stuck and it was starting to fray at the seams.  It was time to upgrade!  Can't wait to break this sucker in.  

And of course, I have the days leading up to the trip completely scheduled in my planner.  Even down to the number of socks to pack.  😛

Yes, I'm a ultra-detailed-type-A kinda gal.  No surprise there!  

Look out, cutie, I'm coming for you!!

Friday, March 3, 2017


It's official, friends!  

Garrett and Maci are engaged!!!! 💚

I've been sitting on this news for a few weeks and I've been about to burst the entire time!  

Check this out......

That is my baby boy popping the question!! 

You have to listen really closely, but here's what he said:

Maci, you're the most important person in my world.  
I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  
Will you marry me?

I've watched that video no less than 6859 times since the big day!! 😍's how it went down......

Maci graduated with her nursing degree in December 2016.  Kevin and Brandi took Maci and Garrett on a cruise to Cozumel for her graduation present.  

Evidently the cruise ship allows you to BYOB!! 😉

The night they left Galveston, Brandi arranged a meet-and-greet with other passengers to set the stage.  When Garrett and Maci entered the room, the guest parted to show the most beautiful display of flower petals in a heart shape.  

Look how cute these kids are!!! 

I've got to send my heart-felt thanks to Brandi for setting this entire thing up.  My children are so lucky to have her as a bonus mom!  Since I can't be there, she always includes me on the big events.  She and Kevin arranged to have an international data plan so Brandi could update us in real-time.  She didn't have to do that but I am so grateful she did!

Right after the big event, Brandi called me to let me know.  It was 1:00am Minnesota time and I sat there and wept tears of joy.  Our baby boy is all grown up, folks.  

This is what I woke up to the next morning......

Picture after picture of every single detail.  

The photo below is my absolute favorite! 

While the kids were celebrating, Brandi slipped away to decorate their room.  

She even arranged for us and Maci's parents (Cindi and Trey) to have congratulations cards ready for them to read.  

Sealing the deal with a kiss.  😊

Time to celebrate!!  

Exploring the island.....

Welcome to the family, Maci!  We are so happy that Garrett finally made it official.  

You are the best thing that ever happened to him.

We love you both so very much!! 💜