Tuesday, February 7, 2017

This life.

I'm back to this AGAIN.  This?  This picture...

I bought this picture for myself in the fall of 2012.  It was almost a year after we had lost Papa.  It was a few months after my horrible hysterectomy.  We had moved Mom from the farm back to her home in town.  Keller and I were living in the house at the farm.   I ran my business from a barn next door.  We had made the house at the farm 'our own', so to speak.  And this fun sign looked great on the Kermit the Frog green walls in my new scrapbook room! I read it daily, thinking to myself that FINALLY things were going our way. 

Life doesn't work that way.  There's always something.  There's always one more thing.

Within a few months of hanging this sign, Keller's struggle in school spiraled out of control...leading us to FSU and testing...results showing he had several learning disabilities that were never diagnosed.  We then were faced with 3 months to complete his entire junior year of studies, if he was to be eligible for his senior football season.  We did it, though...studying day and night. 

So, I thought to myself, now I can live the life I've imagined.  Not a life of leisure and eating bon bons, but at least one with a happy kid and time to scrapbook and time to enjoy country living with our dogs. 

Again, it wasn't to be.  Not then anyway.  Keller got into a little trouble that summer...so despite the fact we were paying rent to Mom, she told us we had to move.  We were heartbroken, to say the least.  We found a place in a not-so-safe part of town, but close enough Keller could walk to school.  The 'crooked house' or 'ghetto house', as we called it, did have enough room for our business stuff, too.  

We would make do in this house til Keller graduated.  Well, that took a little longer than planned too...and that's another story for another day.  So, in May of 2014, we moved out of that house...I began a 6 month homeless period...and Keller bounced around from one friend's couch to another.  Again, I'm sure I will write about all this in more detail later...but for now, just know what a hard time it was!  Oh, and did I mention that it was in November of 2013, while living AND working in the crooked house, that I tore my left Achilles tendon?!  Just one more thing, right?

It was during my 6 months of sleeping on couches myself that I moved the business to North Augusta, so Tracy and I could work together to try to fix so many things that were failing in our business.  During that time, I blew out my right knee, mainly from wearing a boot for my Achilles for so long.  Ugh, not just one thing...so many hard and painful things.

But, I had a plan to get to Charleston, SC.   From the time I left the crooked house, that was my focus.  In October of 2014, I rented a townhouse for me.  Keller soon followed, as he had a diploma and was ready to focus on college.  I then had knee surgery in March of 2015.  Then in May, I moved the business to me in Charleston.  Then in November, I had Achilles surgery.

I knew 2016 would be rough, as the doctor told me it would take at least a year to be able to walk on my foot.  I thought I could handle pain...but this was different.  It never let up.  I did, by the grace of God, manage to travel all year and do my events and CKCs. 

But that wasn't the only painful part of 2016.  In March, my landlord decided to sell the condo I was renting.  It sold in just 9 days.  Homeless again.  And, yes, I will be writing lots about our tiny home journey that we are still on....9 months of sleeping at the office and counting.

Oh, in the fall, we moved the business again.  Floods and hurricanes with an office full of paper on the water was just too much to bear. 
That was it, right?  Get to November.  Then I could rest.  That was the plan. 

Yeah, right.  One more little thing happened in the fall.  Big Billy, as Keller called it.  My brain tumor.  (and, you guessed it...I will be sharing more of this story, too!)

Are you seeing how crazy my life can be?  Guess what?  It's not just me.  It's all of us.  Maybe not to the extent of mine, but we all have our challenges.  I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.  We all say that.  But, it's even more than that.  God can take every single horrible trying time in our lives and work it together for good.  I stand on that!  It's one of His many promises.

It's 2017.  It's already had some challenges.  But, I'm here.  I'm giving it my all for another day.  And, today....well, I was just crazy enough to hang that sign again!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Be still.

2017, really?  Already?  You're going to do this??

Am I the only one?  I can't be.  I just can't be the only one.  Is anyone else struggling with 2017?  2017 was supposed to be the answer.  No more bad.  No more fear.  No more arguing. 

God says, Ha!  We are not guaranteed that anything in this life will be easy. 

While I am still progressing quite nicely on my healing path, other life problems get in the way.  I promise I will be sharing more and more about my health...and more about this journey to a home that Keller and I are on. 

But, for now, I'm clinging to this verse:  Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10

I need to be still.  I need to pray.  I need to trust what I know to be true...that God works all things together to be good. 

And, it's important to note, that I have not given up on 2017 being an incredible year.  Don't you, either!  We just need to remember that it won't be perfect.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Well, hello.

Hello, all.

It's been way too long.  It's a new year.  Let's do this.
Meet me back here soon.



Monday, November 25, 2013


So, it's not May anymore.  How can that be?  I still have so many page kits from our Page a Day in May box set to complete.  Where have I been?  Why has no one heard from me?  Well, here's a recap of my life since February of this year...

Meeting after meeting to discuss Keller's struggle with school
Testing at FSU looking for answers (same day as set up for Feb SISS Event)
Results from FSU - 4 learning disabilities finally diagnosed
Fiona (dog we adopted in Nov for Keller) attacks Siesta, biting her in heart and lung
School refuses to help Keller, so I withdraw him to homeschool
Fiona has to be put down after 8 days of begging for other options
Board of Education requires us to complete full course loads in just 12 weeks
Bury Tracy with my business responsibilities
Study, study, study...and study some more
Pass all but 1 class (A's & B's, too!) and beg for summer school extention on one...get it & pass that one by July
Car wreck
Go back to school for football...but decide to change schools for better coaches
Move out of our home for personal reasons that break our hearts
Have home robbed of all personal items
Move business
Adapt to new school
Keller breaks hand for 3rd time
Stress of football season
Car wreck
Keller turns 18
We change our names
Torn Achilles Tendon

Take all that....mix in 22 traveling events for my work ( made it to all of them but one -- sorry, Mesa)...throw in a couple tantrums ending in "I'm leaving" and "you can't tell me what to do"....plus a whole lot of sleepless nights, and that's what I've been up to. 

Maybe now you see that the Page a Day in May was an idea for just me...something to give me a reason to scrap for a few minutes every day in the midst of chaos.  Sad to say, it didn't happen for me.  Proud of the box kit, though, and all the wonderful feedback from those of you who bought it.  I'm in the midst of mine again, so I will be posting some of the layouts here....soon, very soon.

As for Keller, he asked me to NOT share with everyone what all we have been going thru.  So, I won't go into details...but I felt I had to tell our customers where I had been & what had been affecting our business so profoundly.  I doubt he will read his anyway.  But, I also wanted to publicly say how proud I am of what he has accomplished in the last few months!!  I'm also proud of me.  If you told me in January what I was about to have to do, I'd say no way, ain't happening.  Especially after the previous two years had taken so much out of me.  Let me just say, though, that seeing your kid suffer is far worse than anything I'd been thru before.  I stood with him, when nobody else would.  I fought for him.  I taught him.  I believed in him.  If nothing else, he knows what it means to be loved unconditionally.

We are not at the end of his struggle yet, as we still have graduation to make it to...and big decisions on what life will hold after that....but, we have made it this far...and for that, I am thankful.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another Page a Day in May Layout....

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms!!  Hope you have a wonderful day...hope you get some time to scrap...and hope you are enjoying a beautiful spring day outside somewhere, so you can take fun photos to add to the spring layout:



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Page a Day In May Continues....

Life gets in the way sometimes.  Some days my goal of 10 minutes to myself (not to mention a few hours of sleep) is unattainable.  Life can be hard, challenging, even crushing on some days.  But, that's just what makes us appreciate the days that bring joy, right??  And, if full days of joy and peace see way too far off, at least I can come back to my goal of 10 minutes...

So, today I'm back with determination to get my 10 minutes of scrapping in.  Not just to say I did it.  But more so because I need it.  I need the creative energy inside of me to have a voice.  I need a way to show that I was here.  I need a few minutes to escape.  Scrapbooking can be fun, very fun.  But, sometimes it can be oh, so much more.

Here are the layouts in our Page a Day in May kit in order of how they should have been posted...and I've got them all spread around me, some partially done, some pictures planned....others are just at the beginning of the thought process for me.  (remember, these are kits individually for sale now online)



I will be posting my versions of these kits as I complete them...and I will try to keep up posting a new kit each day this month, despite what life throws at me!   Please feel free to share your versions of these kits on our facebook page, too...we'd love to see your pages!!

Thanks for hanging out with us here,


Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Page a Day in May --- Day 2

Today's kit is a double page devoted to family recipes, and includes a pocket to hold actual recipe cards.  Just look how cute:

I've had several ideas on how I want to complete this page for me....and I'm still not sure which way I'm going to go with it.  If I had a picture of my grandmother in her kitchen, cooking...then I know I would center it around that...and include some of the handwritten recipe cards I have of hers.  Since I don't have that, I can't decide if I'm going to use those recipes and those cards...and take pictures of the end result of those recipes -- the food -- or if I'm going to get photos of us in our kitchen...just me & Keller...and include some of his favorite recipes.  Since I have a 5 hour drive this morning to the CKC in Birmingham, I will spend some time thinking on this.  Whatever I decide, I will share the results here.

As for my goal of a page a day in May, I still feel committed...and I have this page almost complete...but need to know how I will finish it before I cut photo mats.

And, one of my favorite things about this kit is the combination of Jilly Girl products with ours...the banner pieces are from Jilly Girl, as well as the 'enjoy' piece and the 'good friends' strip.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's kit!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A PAGE A DAY IN MAY....Let's do this!!!

Are y'all ready to do a page a day in May??

If you ordered our box kit, you're all set to knock pages out in just minutes a day.  If you didn't order one of the kits, you can still do a page a day in May.  Use these pages for inspiration...or you can now order these kits online. 
 (just go to www.acidfree.com, click on SHOP NOW tab, and click on Page Kits link)

So, here goes...it's May 1st, and I'm determined to get 31 double page spreads done during this month.  Yep, me.  The one who hardly ever gets to think about my personal pages!  That's why I did the whole box kit thing...just for ME...and I knew I'm not the only one who needs a few minutes each day to feel creative, to escape the reality of work & kids (sorry, Keller), etc. 

This is the first kit in my box:

I had a good idea of pictures to use....grabbed those...realized I had only 4 photos that I wanted to use, but just adjusted the kit accordingly.  I also grabbed some ink & a dauber, and just lightly distressed the edges of the pieces in the kit.  Then, I matted my photos and laid out the page.

I added two small journaling boxes....and then knew I could write more on the tags to fill in more details of the day.  If you know me at all, you know that journaling is the hardest part for me.  I can see things.  I can feel things when I look at a page of pictures.  But, writing about it....not so easy.  But, I'm committed to the process this month...and if I can do it, so can you!

20 minutes, from start to finish --- including finding pix --- and here's what I now have:

Woo hoo!! Yay, me!!!!!  I scrapbooked for ME today.  Journaling and all.  It's a great start to this day, to this month.  Now, while I work for the next 16 hours, I will be thinking on which photos I want to use tomorrow on our next page.

I hope you join me on this journey this month!  Use the box kit you ordered....order these page kits from us....or dig into your stash...just do it:  a page a day in May!!!!

See you right back here sometime tomorrow,


Friday, March 15, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Well, it's been too long again.  We promise it won't be as long before our next post.  In fact, we have some major changes coming to our blog.  Exciting changes.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for those.

For now,  enjoy my blog post as a guest on the Creating Keepsakes blog:


Thank you, CK, for the opportunity.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Top Ten.

I love 'top ten' lists.  I love them on Letterman late night.  I love reading lists on all kinds of topics that I've seen in that format.  We often joke around our house about our top ten pet peeves.  Black Reebok shoes (think late 80's) are number one on that list for me.  Well, maybe 2nd to popping gum.

Well, I have a new top 10 list.  Here it is:

1.  Love.

2.  Unleash your joy.

3.  Be yourself.

4.  Celebrate the abundance in your life.

5.  Embrace vulnerability.

6. Tell your story.

7.  Ask for what you need.

8.  Listen to forgiveness.

9.  Believe in the power of kindness.

10.  Trust your heart whispers.

We'll talk about each of these & the source of my list in later blog posts.  But, there's my list.  Stay tuned...


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America!

Happy Birthday, America!

On a day like today, I can't help but be thankful for our country, for those who defend and protect it, and for the freedoms that come with being an American.  I am thankful to worship as I want, to say what I want to say, and to have a voice in choosing the leadership of this country.

I am also thankful to own my own business.  As a small business owner, I have for over 10 years been committed to making every item right here in the US.  We have automated about 10% of our product line, but not overseas at all...all our automated production takes place in Idaho, Pennsylvania, and right here in Thomasville, Ga.  100% of our printing takes place here in Thomasville, too.  Not China.  I get calls every week, as well as emails, from companies wanting to 'help improve profitability' and 'increase production' and 'take our business global'.  Oh, that all sounds great, but the answer always includes outsourcing production overseas.

I also read something this week from someone else in the scrapbooking industry...someone who tried producing part of their line in the US, but now has decided that it's not possible to stay in business if they don't produce the majority of their business overseas...that they love america and call it home, but that there is no way to be profitable with production here.  Hmmm....maybe.  Maybe it's hard.  Maybe it's less profitable.  But, for 10 years, it's been possible.  Hard?  Yes.  Gut wrenching?  Yes.  Barely profitable?  Yes.  Impossible?  NO!

It's so hard these days that I'm not sure how much longer I can do this.  It's so hard that we live day to day.  But, we live.  I keep the faith that God put this dream in my heart, so He will provide each day for me and  Keller.  I believe my customers appreciate what we do.  We are not perfect, but we strive to do our best.  We are understaffed and overworked.  We are underpaid, if paid at all.  But, it's me.  It's Keller.  It's my mom.  It's our friends.  It's employees who are full time sometimes, part time other times.  It's their kids and husbands pitching in.  And, it's all based right here in America.  It always will be.  Or we won't BE at all.

As you celebrate this country today and those who gave & continue to give us our freedoms, please take the time to think about locally-owned & grown businesses like mine.  When at all possible, please choose to support us.  We do all we can to support our country.

Happy 4th!!!!


...and Keller :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

National Camera Day!

Happy National Camera Day!

Whether you grab your fancy, shmancy DSLR or your cell phone...snap a picture today of something that makes you happy! 

For me, it's the cutest face ever...wondering why her mommy has been gone so much lately...

We'd love to see your snapshots of your 'happy' today....share them on our Facebook page!


(Oh, and we promise not to be gone so long from our blog, too!)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sketch 140

This page is so easy, but so cute with our coordinating papers...add matching journal cards for extra emphasis!

Sketch 139

You can add lots of photos to this page by using the 3-inch circles as photo mats-or just use as embellishments!

Sketch 138

This sketch is cute in our Fall Flavors Collection, but change it up to any other paper and it would still be adorable! Try our Tybee Collection for a beach theme...or our Myrtle Beach Taffy for a baby theme...endless possibilites!

Use Rings to crop & mat photos as circles in one easy step: Adhere Ring to top of photo (this way you can see exactly how the photo will look) then trim edges of photo outside the Ring with scissors! You have just cropped & matted a round picture in a snap!! Now adhere the photos to page.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sketch 137

Add 2-inch borders, tags, and Rings for this cute page!

Use Rings to crop & mat photos as circles in one easy step: Adhere Ring to top of photo (this way you can see exactly how the photo will look) then trim edges of photo outside the Ring with scissors! You have just cropped & matted a round picture in a snap!! Now adhere the photos to page.

Sketch 136

Cute page for any occasion-this one would be great for Disney photos...change the papers to our Country Christmas Collection, and it would make a quick holiday layout!

Adhere 4x6 photos (or two 3x4 in each space), a 5-inch border, and Stackers and Rings!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sketch 135

So many ways to mix this sketch up! Change the papers to fit any theme-baby, Christmas, summer, etc...rotate the sketch for even more variety!

Sketch 134

Layer a 2.5 inch strip on a 3-inch strip and adhere to pages. Add Stackers and photos!