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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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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If my husband asks, you never saw me here…

Melanie (aka Chilihead – I just LOVE calling her that) and I had a great time yesterday on Behind the Blog – we had Rick Calvert (the founder of Blog World Expo) on – and I’ll be darned if he isn’t just the nicest and most personable man. (and I’m not just saying that because I want to score a sponsored trip to the BWE in Vegas, either…although that would be nice!)

We also had Kelly Curtis from Pass the Torch on to talk about going from Blog to Book. She recently published her first book and you can find it on her website – she’s a very engaging speaker and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her series on her blog about “Becoming an Author“. If you have any interest in writing, she’s got a great story.

I’ve updated the player on the sidebar – so you can listen to it. Or, you can download it and listen later. Either way works for me. I just want you to listen to my nasally, tin can voice. That’s all. I need to feel the loooove. (I have NO idea where that just came from…could it be the glass of tea and huge piece of fudge I ate?)

In other news, I’ve been working on those blog designs in between homeschooling and trying to keep up with the laundry. Everything’s coming along swimmingly except for the laundry. Any ideas for me on that front?

Here’s a couple I’ve done, along with a revision of one making it a three column from a two column that I originally designed:

Trust Teachers, a site designed for empowering teachers and contracted by a the woman who was my very FIRST paying client when I started my business(Thanks NN!):

Taking on the World (in 4-inch heels), a site devoted to the female entrepreneur – and whose photo is that on the front page, anyway?

The Miss Elaine-ous Life, also one of my first clients – she wanted a third column added to her layout.

I’ll be adding them over on my design site, along with the client profiles, but I haven’t had the time to do it yet, so I thought I’d show y’all here. You don’t mind, do you? 🙂 I’m still working out some crazy IE/FF issues on the 4-inch heels one, so you don’t have to email me and tell me it’s wonky, I know. On second thought, email me…I haven’t had much this week…

So if you’re waiting on a blog design, it’s coming. I’m a little inundated by the laundry situation around here. As soon as I dig my way out, I’ll be back. I hope.

I have missed seeing y’all in my inbox! What gives? Does no one visit any more? Don’t read leftovers? 🙂

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Bloggy ‘Bidness

Don’t forget about Tuesday’s “Behind the Blog” Talk Radio Show! We have Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing as our special guest. She will be discussing marketing and public relations – in case you hadn’t noticed, Stephanie is a PRO at both. 🙂 She had her trip to the BlogHer conference sponsored and earlier this year, she went to a special mixer at Disneyworld for blogger moms. So tune in at 12 pm central and be armed with your best questions for us!

Oops. I totally forgot to post the wrap up for Saturday’s Mystery Photo Contest! Well, mainly it’s because no one won this week, which is so incredibly sad for me, because I had an awesomely “n”eat prize for the winner. So, be on the lookout for it next Saturday. Here’s the reveal – it was a tea infuser – I figured with all the Southerners, someone would guess it. Maybe it’s only Northerners that drink hot tea? (I grew up drinking my Aunt’s tea in Alaska…but that’s another story for another time)

Oh, and hey. In between the chaos that is homeschooling, caring for my parents, writing 3 new articles for Blissfully Domestic’s new launch, moving my blogs to WordPress (yes, that’s right – I’m moving – watch for the big announcement!), preparing for the Behind the Blog radio show with Stephanie (Melanie totally carried the ball on this one as usual!), I’ve been designing. A little. Actually, a lot. But most of it is nothing I can show you. (Don’t you just loooove that?)

The good news is that I’m working my way through my queue and before you know it, I’ll be opening it up again to accept new clients. So please don’t give up and get your blog designed by someone else! You know you want to wait for me! 😀

In the meantime, here’s a few of the blogs I’ve done – only one is technically “live” right now (the other two are adding info in as we speak!), so I won’t be including links, just a screenshot. You can check my design blog to see them in their full glory when they go live, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Well, how was that for a wrap up? I think I covered a whole week’s worth of information in this one little post here.

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In the Groove of things

When Melissa contacted me about doing her blog design, I went to her blog and began to read through it to get a feel for her style and was hooked. I think I might have stayed for an hour reading – she’s got a wickedly superb sense of humor and her family has some pretty interesting adventures in the inner city where they live and minister.

She wanted something that married who she is and where she lives. When I asked her what she thought would describe her surroundings – she said “graffiti and gunfire”. I thought to myself, “oh goodness.” But then she added, “skinny white girl and shopping”, so we were in business once again and this is what I came up with for Melissa:

Blogger Ultimate Design

I’ve also done some reworks on templates – making them wider, changing colors and adding backgrounds. Fun! You can see them here on my design blog.

I’ve also finished two more designs that are just waiting to be installed – this has been a busy week and now that I have my design groove back, I’ll be flying through the orders and opening my queue up again shortly. Can’t wait!

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A very sweet design

When Babs of From My Heart asked for something whimsical and feminine along the lines of Mary Engelbreit, I thought to myself, “now this should be fun.” And you know what? I was right – and I think it turned out to be very bright and whimsical at the same time. (I even hand drew the cherries in photoshop – something I didn’t know I could do! – love being stretched…)


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