Month: October 2008

Can you spare 20 seconds?

Okay, y’all. I have a huge favor to ask of you if you have the time. {insert big grin here}

My dear, sweet, beautiful niece, Brooke VanOoyen, needs your help. She is a senior this year and is up for a $1000 college scholarship photo contest on this site. It would be a tremendous blessing for her to win that scholarship – it would pay for her books for the first year of college, and I know her mom would really appreciate not having to pay that out of her own pocket (what mom wouldn’t?)

The problem is, she only has 26 votes! The top person has over 700! I only have about 438 folks subscribed to my blog at this time, and I know that not everyone will even see this or much less read it. But I’m asking that those of you who DO see it and read it, just click over to this site and find her name “Vanooyen, Brooke” and vote for her.

Really? It takes about 20 seconds. What’s 20 seconds out of your life? Unless you’re a snail…then I suppose it would be a lot.

Thanks in advance.

And if you haven’t entered my giveaway for Photoshop CS3, you can enter it by clicking here and leaving a comment and your email address…because I’d like to contact you. You know, if you win.

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Eight Days a Week has never had more meaning to me..

Okay, so I’m not working eight days a week…I’m actually trying to take weekends off now so I can spend time with my kids (not that I don’t see them every day…but there’s a definite distinction between mom and teacher).

I designed a memorial blog for a friend’s daughter (and I must tell you there was no charge – it was for personal use – that’s so the bad guys don’t come and try to take me away!), and since I won’t be showing it in my portfolio (it was a freebie and made with items that are for non-commercial use, plus she’s my friend), I wanted to show it here. So Jeanette, this is for you, sister. I know you miss your sweet Lezlee Ann and it brought me great joy to do something for you so you can write her story on its pages.

I also finished and installed another design today – for Christy at The Road to Home, and I’ll be profiling it over on my design blog in the next day or two, but here’s a preview of what her new design looks like:

Ooh…and I’ve also been busy doing a few button projects:

Plus, I’ve taken in two more orders today…my queue is hopping and so am I. How’s it going in YOUR neck of the woods?

****PHOTOSHOP CS3 Giveaway ends Oct 31st – Have you entered? ****

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“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree” – Emily Bronte

Oh how I love the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn, where every leaf becomes a flower, issuing a gentle reminder to slow down from the hectic pace of summer and just enjoy being.

We spent a homeschool day at the Fair last month and I’m just now getting around to post about it. It was a free day and there were lots of activities especially for the kids. The weather was cool and crisp in the early morning, but as the afternoon wore on, we all shed our jackets and sweaters, because the temperatures climbed into the low 80’s.

This year’s theme was “Thank a Farmer”, since almost everything we eat and wear comes from a farm. The kids learned that corn is in practically everything they come into contact with and were especially interested in the fact that even the root beer they love so much has a derivative of corn in it (corn syrup).

The kids loved the cow-milking demonstration – even I learned something, and I grew up on a farm. Did you know it’s illegal for milk farmers to sell unpasteurized milk? I didn’t. We have the federal government to thank for that…standards and regulations and all. I suppose it’s a good thing, because there’s less chance for disease, but it’s so sad to me. I grew up drinking milk right out of the cow. Literally. We’d milk Bossy (yes, that was really her name and she lived up to it) and once we’d carried the pail to the house, the milk and cream would already be separating and mom would scoop a big cup out for me to drink before school. I loved it…sigh.

My favorite was Elsie the cow and Beauregard, as evidenced by the number of photos of the two of them that ended up on my camera. I was saddened to learn that Elsie’s entire life consists of laying around at fairs such as ours. She will never be bred or know the true joy of being a cow in an open field. She lives her life behind those four little metal gates. And Beauregard is not even her calf – as she has never been bred…he’s just some cute calf they threw in for oohs and aahs.

We watched a rodeo demonstration – bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing…it all made me remember my childhood and our farm in South Texas. We did that for fun – there was never a crowd, but we’d hop on the pigs and pretend we were riding bulls. That in and of itself was probably way more dangerous than riding on a bull, since pigs are fiercely mean and would have probably killed us if they’d have known any better. The kids loved the rodeo clown – he came into the audience and shook hands and high-fived the kids. And yes, he walked like a cowboy…as bowlegged as all “git-out”. That’s Texas-speak for “to an extreme degree”, just so ya know.

And now it’s nearing the end of October, the leaves are falling, the air is cool and crisp and we’ve already been on our first hayride of the year. Sigh. I love Fall. It’s my absolute favorite.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

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All good things come in Threes – a giveaway!

***If you’re here via Bloggy Giveaways – please go to item #3 – that’s the giveaway!***

Mondays are good days for announcing things, don’t you think? It’s long been known that I’m a maker of lists and enjoy the pleasure of accomplishing tasks and marking them off of said lists, if for nothing else than just the satisfaction of seeing something was actually completed.

1. My brand-spanking new Design Blog is finished. I am so excited about it – I coded it myself (which explains why some of you who have MSIE6 and FF2.0 will have viewing issues – working on the bugs still). You can visit it if you like, or not. I still have some work to do on it and there are still a few pages that are either buggy or not complete, but honestly? I just wanted to get it out there so I could announce part two of my list.

2. My order pad is open for business. Yay! I already have a wait-list of five people, but I will accept new clients as well – please go to my new Design Blog for the new pricing list and to place your orders.

3. And finally, today is the first day of a special giveaway I hinted around at last month. Some of you know that my husband recently got me the full Adobe CS3 Creative Design Suite (I had just purchsed the Photoshop CS3 two months earlier) – and apparently he got a steal because they were just about to come out with version 8 – so he couldn’t wait until Christmas (so much for surprises) because he knew how much I’d been wanting it. (Everyone say “awww”)

So what’s the giveaway? Adobe Photoshop CS3, of course! It is the original disc with the original packaging – the box and getting started manual come with it. The only catch is that it had been installed on my computer once. I uninstalled it when I received my new one so it’s ready to go for someone else, complete with the product and registration key. It’s like BRAND NEW, people.

I’m not Pioneer Woman…so I’m not giving away a brand new copy, but you can think of it as “re-gifting” or whatever floats your boat. It’s all good and I would have killed for a good used copy when I started my design business earlier this year…as it was, I spent over $300 on it. Someone is going to win it for free.

If you’re still with me – here’s the hoops:

1. One entry per person per day. Yes, I said per day. You may enter once a day every day up until October 31st, at which time I will close comments and commence the drawing using a random number generator, or my pointing finger, depending on how many comments there are.

2. Please tell me why you want to win this in your comment…all comments that are generic “count me in!” and “I’d love to win this” will be thrown out, because I can do that.

3. Giveaway is open to bloggers and non-bloggers alike – open to US and Canadian residents.

4. Giveaway ends Friday, October 31st at midnight, winner will be contacted via email and announced on this blog.

5. I can’t believe I have to remind folks this – but PLEASE leave me a way to contact you – an email or your blog address with an email address – I will not leave a comment on a blog letting you know you’ve won. I need the ability to EMAIL you. Thanks!

How’s that for a Monday? Pretty good, huh?

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Hey Peeps, Check your Vitals before you take that Disco Nap.

My eldest daughter is what is known as a “tweener”, the delicate age that comes right before puberty where you’re too old to play with the little kids and not quite old enough to hang with the teenagers. It’s tough time, I’m sure.

Personally, I don’t remember having issues with those years because I was living on a farm in the middle of Texas and had the horses and cows as my friends – they didn’t care if I wore the most current of fashions or whether I had body odor or not. I’m just sayin’.

Since I am a person who is relationship-oriented, I tend to do a lot of research and reading on anything I think might help me to identify with what she’s going through and possibly give her some tips to help her “fit in” with the kids at our new church.

Of course, I am learning as I go too, because let’s face it – it’s been a lot of years since I was a pre-teen and I’m not exactly known for my stellar memory. Nor am I known for being a “cool” mom, in fact, I’ve been called the “meanest mom in the world” before, but that’s entirely subject to interpretation, as I’m sure you well know.

However, I have learned a few words which I’d like to share with you at this time, so that you too, may enjoy a full and enriching relationship with your tween/teenager (or at least be able to cipher what they’re saying):


tatted out: covered in tattoos

tramp stamp: a tattoo on a woman’s lower back, designed for viewing between low-riding jeans and short t-shirts.

scooby doos: good shoes


cupcaking: public display of affection

boo: boyfriend or girlfriend

flirtationship: a prolonged flirtation with an acquaintance, not involving physical contact.


brodown: boy’s night out

bromance: a close, but nonsexual relationship between 2 men.

n00b: a newcomer


crunk: a hip-hop genre

disco nap: a short nap before clubbing

to take elements of existing peices of music, usually of different genres, and combine them into a new song.


check vitals: monitor one’s email, cellphone, voice mail, and other electronics

floss: to show off your wealth

jump the shark: to have peaked and now be on a downward slide

rock: to manifest greatness


fo’ shizzle: certainly

obvi: obviously

totes: totally


the bomb: an ultimate favorite

off the chain: the bomb

ridonkulous: beyond ridiculous

sick: extremely cool

tight: fantastic

wack: unjustifiable


chav: derogatory term for a working-class youth.

nutter: a crazy person

snog: to kiss

T5: disorganization, like the infamous new Terminal Five @ Heathrow Airport

The End:

badonkadonk: an attractive derriere

So how many of these words did you already know? Were any of them new to you?

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New beginnings


For any of you who aren’t familiar with what that means – in CSS and blog coding terms, the “/” symbol means “end”…and because I’m a blog designer and I love geekspeak, I am saying “end excuses” when I use that symbol. The buck stops here. I’m hopping back on my blog bandwagon and not looking back at the deserted plains I’ve crossed in the last two months.

As I said before, our family has seen some mighty exciting changes on both the home and church front. Since I can’t just compose one single blog post that encompasses the many changes that have occurred, (it would be of gargantuan proportions, believe me), I shall attempt to update you on one of the items today – Church.

One thing about blogging is that you really have to watch what you say, because it’s just going to be floating out there in the world wide web for ages and ages to come. It’s for that reason, and because I needed to gain some perspective and examine my heart and motives that I haven’t written about our change of churches before now.

I suspect that anyone who has ever been in a church for any length of time and then moved or left it for one reason or another knows what we have gone through. It has been tough to leave our children’s friends and our old church family behind, but we truly and genuinely believe that’s what God was calling us to do. Every church has its issues and problems and it would be no surprise to anyone (including our old church’s pastor) if I said there were things that we weren’t happy with there. However, we are not the sort to leave a church because something has upset us – if we did that, we’d be church-hoppers, because you simply can’t please all the people all the time. We are nothing if not loyal and the reason we left had absolutely nothing to do with anything that had occurred in our church. (Although I’m quite sure folks think it did – but again, you can’t really speak to that, or you just add fuel to the fire).

My husband is a licensed preacher. He’s not a pastor, and he’s never been ordained in any capacity in the church, because he’s never been part of a paid staff. In the last year or so, we have really felt an urgency that he should be preaching more and readying himself for something greater than what he’s been doing. What? We don’t know. But it’s there and we’ve just felt that we should prepare for it.

We had been praying separately about what to do, not ever thinking we’d leave our church…but we had a Bible conference a couple of months ago and it was during that conference we began to get some little “confirmations” (for lack of a better word) that we should in fact move our membership. I didn’t discuss it with Floy and he didn’t discuss it with me. We simply prayed.

One night, about a week after the Bible conference, Floy asked me if I wanted to visit another church and I immediately said, “Sure!” (I might have even clapped my hands together in glee and danced an undignified dance, but don’t hold me to it.) Over the course of the next two weeks, we visited two churches, one fairly large with lots of programs and youth and another with a medium membership comprised mostly of older folks (50 and up).

I can’t explain how or when it happened, but we both felt drawn to the medium sized church. There was just something about it – the folks were friendly, they had “some” youth, but more than that, there was a sense that we “belonged” there. We met with the pastor and moved our membership the next week.

It all happened so fast, we sort of forgot to tell our old pastor. Again, we weren’t upset about anything, so it came as a complete shock to him when my husband turned our keys in and told him what we’d done and where we were going. Bless his heart, he asked my husband, “Is it anything I’ve done?” (No, sir, it was not you, I assure you).

We are positively ecstatic with our new church home. God has opened up doors for us to work an outreach ministry for our church on Sundays and I’m singing my heart out almost every service doing backup and solos. I KNOW God’s hand was in this. I’m so thankful we listened to his gentle leading.

/ of story.

Well, almost. I’ll fill you in on some of the other things I’ve been up to tomorrow and next week. For now, I must finish a design I’ve been working on, as I promised a preview to the client by this weekend. Want to see one of the latest I designed? If you want to see it live, you can visit it here. She just had a baby, so be gentle…she’s not had time to post anything yet…but you can always leave her a congratulations on the new baby!

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