A Cultural Mandate

It’s the day before the election and thus far, I have been mostly silent on the issues of the election and have managed to avoid the mudslinging that is circulating on both sides via the internet and tv campaigns. Mostly, it’s because I’m not that good at voicing my opinions and thoughts as eloquently as Shannon or Dana, but even more so, I think it’s because in my heart, I’m a peacemaker, and I don’t like conflict. At all.

However, since today is the day before the election, I felt it necessary to speak about something. I have heard many Christians say that they will not even vote this year because they don’t like the choices that have been presented to them, which is shocking to me for many reasons. If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you should realize that whether we like it or not, these are the candidates that God has chosen for us. Yep, God chose them. He’s allowed them to get this far – and the rest is up to us.

In Genesis 1:28, the Bible states that God created us to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowel of the air, and over the calttle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

I believe that as a Christian, I am a regent of God and must take my cultural mandate (or influence) to the voting polls and vote for the person who I believe most closely will adhere to the standards of the Bible.

I believe that it is time that we as Christians stand up together and speak up by getting ourselves to the voting polls and having some Godly influence. The duty is ours, the results are God’s.

Please take three minutes and view this video, from a pastor at our local church, which further explains the reasoning we should use when we vote. The reasons are sound and the choice is clear.

Now, go vote tomorrow.

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CS3 Winner Announced

Before I announce the winner, may I just say that I really, really, really wish I could give away ten copies? (are you listening, Adobe?)

But that said, thanks to all who entered the “Photoshop CS3- slightly used” giveaway! There were 410 commenters – so many that I had to number the comments, because I wasn’t about to count through 410 comments to locate the winner.

Without further ado, here are the results:

Can you believe that? All that numbering and I could have counted to 73!

Congratulations, Dianne! I hope you enjoy it! Please contact me with your mailing info.

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A Before and After

Since I moved my design blog, I haven’t posted any of the new designs I’ve done – I’ve been too busy trying to keep up with orders!

Here’s a before of a site I recently completed for Ashley of Sassy Gal Glamour. She wanted something fun and bright, with a retro/vintage feel.

This is her old blog after she moved from Blogger to WordPress.com:

We kept the cowgirl, but I added some texture and used some paper elements from Farrah’s Creations (with her absolute permission, of course) for the background and then brushed and painted until I felt it had enough color and texture. A fellow designer friend helped me find the perfect font (since I couldn’t locate her old one) and I put a gradient overlay on the letters to add interest. I think the letters look good enough to eat (they remind me of the Brach’s candies…do you remember those? the coconut ones? yum!).

Here’s the finished product:

I even gave her a cute little signature to match her header – you know I have a thing for birds, right? They pervade almost everything I do. I think it’s a constant reminder for me that if God watches out for the sparrow, then I can rest assured He’s watching over me.

Here’s her siggie:

I thoroughly enjoyed this design from the beginning to the end. It was totally different that anything I’d done before and really stretched me.

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Humble Pie Never Tasted This Good

Yesterday was a day that I will not soon forget. It was a terrible day for many reasons, but something good will come of a lesson I learned and am about to share with you today, of that I am sure.

I am convinced that God is loving, kind, merciful, and forgiving. He is also just. We don’t like to talk about the “just” part much as Christians, because, well, it’s painful. It means that we have to own up to our sins and ask for forgiveness or face the consequences. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but he certainly does expect me to try my best to do what’s right in all situations.

I have done something that was so incredibly stupid and wrong that I am compelled to do whatever it takes to make it right, even if that includes publishing it on my blog. I have been feeling convicted about what I’d done long before it came out, but I had yet to take the steps to make it right, so I suppose this is God’s way of pushing me along and encouraging me to own up to my mistakes.

I have a very good friend and mentor who told me yesterday that “the road to greatness is full of swampholes and mudpuddles”. Boy, was she right. You see, I took a shortcut on the road to greatness that I deeply regret – I copied another designer’s work, making very few changes and used it for my design blog. I knew better. And I still did it. I loved her site and her creativity and I wanted it for my own. So I took it. I committed it to memory and designed one from scratch almost exactly like hers. I didn’t realize just how much it was exactly like hers until I saw them side by side and by then…well, you guessed it…I had reasoned in my mind that it was okay because I was in a hurry and I’d make some changes down the road, etc. etc. etc.

But anyone who is a child of God knows that it’s never okay to steal someone’s work. Never. My husband pointed out the fact that I’d had a warning this week on that very subject. I had a potential client contact me and ask me to duplicate one of my existing client’s blogs for her to save time so that she could get hers published faster. I said no. That was wrong – my client had paid for an original design, I wasn’t going to do that to her. I had an uneasy feeling about it too, because I knew that I had done that for myself. Yet I made no move to do the right thing.

So today, I’m making things right. I may lose a ton of my blogging friends and followers, and even clients because of this, but I honestly feel this is the right thing to do. Repentence is not about morals. It is not about good behavior. It is not about doing better. Repentance is a matter of the heart and we need to see our inability to change ourselves without God’s help.

Painful? Yes, without a doubt. But I submit that if God can use me as an example to keep others from taking a shortcut, whether it be in designing or writing, or child-rearing…then let it be so.

And as a side note to Amy, the beautiful designer who discovered that I’d done this – thank you. Thank you for your post and I do hope you can forgive me.

To all of my blogging friends, I hope you can forgive me as well. I feel deeply remorseful about what I’ve “preached” against doing for so long. Can you ever forgive me?

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Like a Thief in the Night…

What’s worse than locking yourself out of the car?

Try locking yourself out of the house when you live in the country…no house key, no cell phone, no tools, nothing. Nada.

Yep. Last night was a stellar night in our neck of the woods. A little backstory:

We have been driving my mom’s van while she’s out of state visiting one of my brothers in Colorado and interestingly enough, it does not have a key to our house on it. Imagine that. So we’ve had to remember to carry a set of our keys along with her keys if we were driving her van.
Obviously, we forgot.

Well, my husband remembered. Or so he thought. You see, he had left his set of keys in my mom’s van the night before “just in case”, but unbeknownst to him, I had brought them inside when I came home, because I thought to myself, “Self, that’s just not like him to leave keys in the car – you’d better take those inside”.

Now, I must admit that I also heard another little voice inside my head (conscience?) saying, “Nah..just leave them in here…in case you lock yourself out or something…” to which I quickly responded (out loud, I must say), “Pshaw! We’re not going to lock ourselves out!”

Famous last words. Could that have been my pride speaking that last statement? Sigh…

So we spent a good thirty minutes trying all the windows and discussing what the most economical thing to do was – call a locksmith (ugh…no phones), break a window, or replace the door knob and lock. So we eventually “broke” into our own house with two heavy-duty screwdrivers that my brother had loaned my husband (we hadn’t returned them yet – one point for procrastination!) and messed up our back door. It’s ugly and will need to be fixed, but at least we didn’t have to spend the night in the car. Oh, and it still locks, too.

I am not, however, feeling too secure at this point. Two bumbling adults in the middle of the black night were able to break in to our house within a matter of 15 minutes. Never mind that it was us.

I’d install a deadbolt, but what if we lock ourselves out again?

(and that photo up top has absolutely nothing to do with this story…it is a photo of the “road” that leads into our feed lot at my husband’s family farm, where his mom lives. And I doctored it in Photoshop CS3 to have the curved frame around it – see what you can do with Photoshop CS3? – Enter the giveaway here)

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