Learning a Bunch From One of my Favorite Aunties! by Audrey Jeanne Roberts

Not every "young" woman is lucky enough to have an older & wiser aunt that knows just about everything about the internet, but I do.  My Aunt Nancy taught me so much today that my head's still spinning!!!!  We had so much fun cruising all her favorite sites with tools to improve my presence on the internet.  She's such a sharing and giving woman, I'm soooo blessed!  Today was the first time I've seen her in 32 years and she hasn't changed a bit!  We forgot to take our camera today, but will take it tomorrow and I brought my digital so I can probably upload a picture.

One of the first things she taught me is that when I link to someone to turn the link blue and underline it so everyone can find it more easily!  Just ONE of her websites is www.nancys-kitchen.com.  If you need a recipe for ANYTHING you can find it on her site or request it from her members and it will show up magically over the next week.  If you're a serious cook, or just love to cook, I'd encourage you to sign up for her daily newsletter.  I could gain 10 pounds just READING the recipes!  I'm going to be sending her some sunflower art to update the "decor" of another of her sites (address of which I don't know off hand!)  And as if she doesn't have enough to do already, she's talking about doing a pet website as well!

We had a good day with the family and spent lots of time with my Aunt Betty and Uncle "Buddy," and a little time with my dear Uncle John.  He was sharp and as always, selfless and caring.  He took time to encourage Jacqui that she would do great on her test tomorrow and that he was very, very proud of her.  We cried, we laughed, we hugged and we'll see him again tomorrow morning before we go home.  They live in an airstrip development where everyone flies, has an airplane hanger and shares the runway.  The association changed the name of the airfield to the John W. Rogers airstrip in his honor.

I know you all know this, but if you love someone, take time to tell them frequently.  Call someone that you haven't talked to in a while.  If you have a "fence" that needs mending, there's no time like the present.  Life can make abrupt shifts and leave you with little time to tell those you love how much you do. 

We talked about that with Uncle Johnny today.  He wanted so much to be here to mentor Jacqui further in her flying and expressed that to her.  Even though he couldn't, she'll carry that blessing in her heart forever.  "Words of Love left unspoken have no power at all, but words of love expressed and shared encourage our hearts forever," is a quote from my "To Build a Lasting Love" poem and today I saw their reality more clearly than ever before.  Don't let another day go by without telling someone how much you love them… in fact, if you're not already, get in the habit EVERYDAY of telling "I Love You" to your loved ones.  None of us knows the number of our day, only God alone. 

So, by the way, I want to tell you that I love so many of you readers.  You have encouraged me with your comments, held me up in your prayers and helped me through each day in ways you'll never know.  Hugs to each of you.

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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The Digital Clip art by Audrey Jeanne Roberts, Blog Contest Ends Today!

Just a quick reminder, if you haven't taken time to post some comments through this month's blog posts, that's how you earn entries in the drawing. 

prize previewHere's the prize that the winner will receive.  My new kit (that isn't even out yet!) the Perfectly Peachy 2.  You'll have to wait until I get home from Arizona though Bye, I know it will be hard to wait!

We arrived at 3:30 AM and my "baby" girl woke us up by piling on us at 7:30 AM, she couldn't wait any longer to see us, so we're nursing our first cup of coffee to get us through the day. 

Tomorrow Jacqui has her FAA oral exam and then her FAA check ride for her private pilot's license.  We're keeping our fingers and toes crossed and praying hard!!!  She's nervous and wishes she could have one more flight to practice her maneuvers before the check ride!

We'll go see my Uncle Johnny, Aunt Betty (his wife) and my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Bud who are visiting their brother.  Aunt Nancy is the one with the awesome website and newsletter with recipes.  www.nancys_kitchen.com check it out if you love to cook!

I'll take some pictures if it's appropriate later when we go visit.  Hugs to all,

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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A Tiny Hint at What is to Come! Tropical Beach Clip Art by Audrey Jeanne Roberts

I mentioned about a month ago that I had a super-secret kit that I was working on… well, it's almost ready to bring out into the store and I thought I would give you a teensy weensy peak at it.

Tropical Beach PreviewThere's going to be all kinds of fun things related to the beach and to the tropics. It will be great for greeting cards or summer invites or for scrapbook uses (if you've been lucky enough to spend time in Hawaii or the caribbean!)  Wish I could show it all to you, but then I'd ruin the surprise!!!

So, if you're getting excited about summer, this should get you revved and ready to go play in the sun!

I'll try to write a little each day about my time with my family, but don't know for sure if I'll be able to.  Read yesterday's post below for the details.

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

 

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When Life Isn’t Fair…by Audrey Jeanne Roberts

It is a cry that every child utters at one point or another at their parent, "That's not fair!" or it's variant "You're not fair!"  We are each born with an innate sense of fairness which is usually of course, applied to everyone but ourselves!  As a mom, I've told my children since before they were old enough to comprehend my words that, "Life isn't fair… you need to know it, deal with it and get past it if you're going to be successful."

For some reason we seem to never quite get past that concept and when life throws us a curve… something really unfair and really devastating, we often throw a pouting, pity-party temper-tantrum at our Heavenly Father that is every bit as spectacular as our children threw at us. 

Life isn't fair.  We live in a broken world that we share with broken people who sometimes do terrible things to one another.  We also live in a world that is filled with disease and bodies that break down with wear and tear.  Death still reigns supreme at a virtually 1 to 1 ratio with only 2 men recorded as getting out of this world any other way (Enoch a man that walked with God and then God took him, and the prophet Elijah who was carried to heaven in a fiery chariot).  Death, disease and evil deeds came to this earth because of sin, and they affect those that seek after God and those that don't, equally as much.  As I might add so also do blessings… God say's "I pour out the rain on the just and the unjust alike."

Why am I bringing this up right now?  Because I am leaving home tomorrow to go visit my wonderful Uncle Johnny for the last time.  He is a sweet, funny, kind, amazing man who became my uncle through my step-father Joe Rogers.  He came into my life late, but accepted me as though I were his own.  He has been filling a mentoring role in my daughter's life this past year.  She has lived near them to go to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where she is studying to get her Commercial Pilot's License.  He is a pilot and has been a flight instructor for decades.

Uncle Johnny and Aunt Betty were never able to have kids — which isn't fair at all.  They would have made the most wonderful parents and have been wonderful to all the children that have been lucky enough to be part of their lives.  He is only in his early 70's and should have many more years to spend with my aunt and us… but will not.

His illness was just diagnosed a couple of weeks ago and at the rate things are happening, we may not have him in a couple of week's time.  It is a hard thing to contemplate.  It is hard both to find comfort and to be prepared to give comfort.

Life isn't fair.  Hard things happen to each of us.  Hard things can break you down and make you bitter or they can lift you up and make you stronger, make you an example to others.  The making or the breaking isn't really in the events themselves, but in our response to them.  How do we choose to face suffering and loss?  What do we choose to hold onto during the rough and stormy seas?  I can tell you from experience that if you do not develop a belief system and struggle with answers to these hard, hard questions when times are calm YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE TIME OR THE ENERGY TO FIGURE THEM OUT WHEN THE SEAS GET STORMY AND LIFE IS UPSIDE DOWN!

I've occasionally been asked by people, "How do you know that God is real?"  Some Christians would point to all their blessings and say, "Look at all the wonderful things He's given me, that's how I know He's real."  But I would point to all the horrible times I've gone through in my lifetime.  I could tell you story after story of God whispering a promise to my heart that looked impossible to come true — but they did.  I would point to the situations that should have destroyed me or my family but instead transformed me from a confused, weak, fearful, cowardly little girl into the woman God is helping me to become.  I would tell you that I know because He has never once failed me, or left me alone to face the trials that I have walked through.  He has walked each one out by my side or has carried me through them when I didn't even have the strength to go on.  And I am confident that He'll carry me through this one.

If you don't know that there's a God, you're not even sure you want to believe that there is, or you're really, really angry at how "unfair" God has been to you, I'd like to invite you to pray a prayer similar to this one:

God, I'm not sure you exist.  I'm not even sure I want to believe in you, but something in my heart longs to believe that there's more to life than all of this.  Please make yourself real to me.  Please show me how much you love and care for me.  I'm really angry about some things that have happened in my life that just aren't fair, and I'm even angry at you because of them  Thank you that you don't reject me because I feel this way, but long to hold me close as a loving father cradles his child.   Show me where my thoughts about you are right and wrong and teach me the truth about who you are and what your plan for my life is.  Amen

I'd also like to send you a hug myself and tell you, I'm praying for you and I care as well.

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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Audrey Jeanne’s Baby Digital Clip Art Releasing Friday, Sneak Peeks!

sneak previews for Friday 

Here's the sneak previews of what's coming this week.  Each kit is now available (as of June 1, 2007) and if you click on the picture it is a link that will take you to the Daisie Store for the rest of the photos and purchase information.  First, there is the second "Baby Love" art kit.  This kit has a lot of classic baby elements such as the bassinet with canopy, christening dress, onesies, bottles, pacifiers and a ton more!

There is a Text piece made from an Audrey Jeanne Roberts' original verse that is included.  You could use that piece as the front cover of a baby annoucement or a shower invitation. 

There are "cross stitched" borders and "embroidered" borders, and dancing star borders.

There are also 6 different sizes and colors of heart-shaped buttons that you can use individually or line up for a border.  The same is true with the different color diaper pins. 

Try using a diaper pin to "pin" a photo frame in place on your paper.  To do that all you have to do is erase the part of the pin that is "under" the paper, it's that easy!

scrap page duosThen there are also two Quick Page Duo sets that are designed for boy or girl babies.  If you are using my quick pages you can mix the baby boy/girl with the either/or sets to make a scrapbook, grandma's brag book, a mini-scrapbook or a lot of other uses.

Here's an idea: Use the Sweet Dreams page for a birth announcement by putting the baby's picture in the larger left side opening, add all the birth information into the right side opening and the baby's name on the star tag.  Reduce it to 5" or 6" square and print as a front cover glued onto a cardstock card. or make a post card (check with the post office for maximum post card sizes)and mail or create your own envelope to match using the art kits.  Have fun and "get out of the box!"

Quick page duo 2The second Quick Page Duo set is shown here.  It features my "hand stitched" stuffed animals, rick rack borders, polka dots & plaids in peachy tones accented with greens, lavendar and other warm pastels.

Each is sized for a 12" scrapbook, but all you have to do is change the printer setting "print to size" to 8" or 6" if you want to create a smaller album.  If your printer won't print to 12" wide, consider layering this on top of a piece of preprinted commercial scrapbook paper that color coordinates, or if you buy the matching paper/backgrounds art kit to match, you can print out 8 1/2" x 14" (legal size) background and piece together a background that is 12" x 12". 

Print two coordinating pieces and place a ruler or jagged edge chipboard piece on top of one of the papers, tearing upward which will leave a white edge showing.  Tape that piece on top of the second pattern and then cut to 12" square.  You can remove the blank 12" piece of paper that comes in your scrapbook as a pattern to draw your edge lines if you don't have a cutter that is large enough to handle it.

Scrapbooking is sooooo much fun!  If you haven't started yet, I'm going to nag you until you do Blush!  If you're a mom, when you scrap one of your children's pages, print copies for the rest of your children's books as well, that way they get pictures of their siblings when they were little too (and they'll think you're an amazing mom as well!)  If you're an Auntie or Grandmother, when you make a page, copy it for each grandchild or niece/nephew and save them up until Christmas… what an inexpensive but special gift to give them that will last for a lifetime!  Permalink http://www.daisiecompany.com/blogs/audreyjeanne/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=135

 

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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More Pictures From Giant Sequoia National Park & Camping With Kids

I thought I would share some more pictures of the beauty of the park.  Karla has an awesome digital camera and took lots of pictures that I downloaded as well.  I LOVE digital!  We took hundreds of pictures that we wouldn't have if we had to pay for the film and develping costs.  If you don't yet have a digital camera, they are worth the investment to get the best you can afford. 

Steve & Mike inside the tree

This first shot is of Steve and Mike inside the base of a medium-sized Sequoia tree.  The Sequoias have a very thick, spongey bark that protects them in fires.  It feels very strange to the touch.  As you can imagine, to live to be 2,000 years old, these trees have seen many, many fires sweep through the forest. 

The hole that they are standing in is caused by fire burning too long at the base of the tree.  The tree won't die as long as the thin cambrian layer that is between the bark and the core of the tree is intact and can still feed it.

The tree on the ground in front of them fell to the earth earlier in the past century.  A tiny, tiny natural spring undermined the roots and brought down a giant.  You realize just how tall they are when you walk the length of the tree as it lays on the ground!  The wood of these trees is quite brittle and not useful, which makes the logging of them that was done in the 1800's especially tragic.

There are some of these trees that are totally hollow at their base and are cave-like, yet still survive.  They are pretty amazing creations.  There is a tree in the Grant's Grove area that is on the ground and was hollowed out by loggers.  The men used fire to burn out the insides so that they could use it for shelter.  It hasn't changed in more than a hundred years… no rot, no bugs, no decay, amazing! 

red plants in forest

I don't know what these red plants are, but they have and intense red color that stands out against the green of the forest.

They are so bright that you can see them from a hundred feet away.  These were growing alongside the road.  Do any of you know what they are?  If you do, I'd love you to leave a comment telling me.  (Cheryl B. "Angeland" found out that they are called "Snow Flowers."  I believe that they are a type of fungus)

I'd like to encourage those of you with young children (or grandchildren) to consider taking them camping.  Often women just "hate" camping, it's dirty, it's hard work, etc.  But this is one of those things that can mean so much to your children that I encourage you to go past your own discomfort and choose to enjoy it for your kid's sake. 

Dogwood in bloom

It's so funny that we can spend huge amounts of money on expensive vacations that our children hardly remember, and spend almost nothing on a camping vacation that they'll never forget!!!  There's just something really wonderful about exploring together, discovering interesting things in nature and running, jumping and playing in the great outdoors (mosquitos and all!)

Some people feel that they have to have expensive RV's or trailers (they're nice if you can afford them) but camping equipment is very inexpensive and can even be borrowed from friends that have it.  For the cost of a tank or two of gas, the food you would normally eat at home and the minimal daily camping rate at your local State or National Park you can create priceless memories that will last a lifetime.  

This final picture is of the dogwood that grow at the base of the Sequoias in Redwood Canyon.  They are so beautiful.  The picture of the tree doesn't capture the glow of the white blossoms against the shadows of the forest.  This was taken near dusk and the light was quite low.  Oh well… you'll just have to come see for yourself!

Whether you camp or not, take some time to explore the beauties of nature that are all around you!  Also, for those of my readers in the United States, take time this weekend to think about those who have paid the highest price to protect us and to keep the dream that is America alive for the next generation.  Though we are not perfect as a nation, we are a nation that cares about those weaker than ourselves and our soldiers have laid down their lives for many other nations in the world.  If you have a veteran in your life, take time to call him/her and thank them for their service.

Have a great Memorial Day!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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Saying “Good-bye” is soooooo hard!

To have a friend that you are "soul sisters" with is such a special joy and blessing, and my dear friend Karla is all that and more.  However special that friendship is, add to that the fact that the four of us (her husband Michael and my husband Steve) are every bit as close as couples as we are as girlfriends.  Wow!  What an amazing gift their friendship is.

Hume lake

We drove up to Hume Lake Christian Conference Center on Thursday.  This is the lake and us sitting on the lawn enjoying the scenery and catching up.  There were the three benches in a cluster that we settled into and talked for an hour or more!  The first shot is Karla, then Mike and then Steve and I.  We spent a couple of hours there showing them around the facilities and introducing them to our dear friend Floyd Cornford (see next photo of Floyd and Steve).  If you have read my blog from the beginning you will remember Floyd lost his wife Kathy on June 10th of last year to breast cancer.  Floyd is the friend that we spent Valentine's Day with so that he wouldn't be alone.  The four of us were also dear friends and we all miss her deeply. 

Those of you that pray, please pray for Hume this weekend, there are 8 high school football teams at the camp (over 400 young men) many of them without fathers and from the inner city that will be at a football camp there. 

The coaches mentor these young men and step into that father role in amazing ways.  On average 50-75 young men will meet the Lord for the first time and half will recommit their lives.  The long term impact on their lives is incalculable.

Floyd and Steve

On the way to Hume Lake, we stopped in to Grant's Grove, the home of the 3rd largest living thing on earth, the Grant tree.  Then we took them down into Redwood Canyon where you can walk directly among the trees in the largest Sequoia grove on earth.  The dogwood are blooming there and that part of the park is uncrowded and mostly undiscovered.  Here's a shot of a Giant Sequoia that is digitally compiled from 3 photographs.  The couple in the foreground were just there, she was somewhat handicapped so they we walking quite slow and I liked having them for the perspective.  These trees range up to 310 feet in height and 40 feet in diameter!  There is no way to adequately convey how HUGE they are.  Mike was a logger in his earlier life and the largest diameter tree he felled was 12 feet, he was in a state of constant amazement.  The tree to the immediate left of the couple walking was planted in 1949 and is 58 years old, these trees grow very slowly over long periods of time and most huge ones are over 2,000 years old.

Giant sequoia treeWe convinced them to stay one extra day (we hog tied and tortured them until they gave in!)  We went to a delightful dinner theatre in Fresno called Roger Rocca's and saw "Fiddler on the Roof."  It was a fabulous production… who says small towns can't have culture?!  The only problem with living in the mountains is we didn't get home until 1 AM.  So after a slow start this morning they're off for the second half of their journey and the next visit will have to be ours to their place.

If you have a chance to be out of doors this weekend, take time to drink in the beauty of God's creation and thank Him for being such a wonderful artist.  There is no greater beauty than that of the world He gave us to enjoy and take care of.

Have a great and SAFE Memorial Day Weekend.

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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We’re Off Like a Herd of Turtles!

Which means all is normal around here!  Karla, Mike, Steve & I are going up the hill to see the giant Sequoias and some of our favorite "secret" spots at the national park.  We'll post pics tonight so stay tuned! 

We had a great time last night when they came in, they've never watched American Idol, so we introduced them to the show for the finale.  It was a really weak show we thought, fast forwarded through a bunch of it, but we loved that Jordin Sparks won!  I'll write later tonight…

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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When Best Friends Visit…

My dear, dear friend, Karla Dornacher (www.karladornacher.com) is also an artist, author and speaker.  She is coming to visit me tomorrow with her husband Michael.  All four of us are great friends and have so much fun together that it's like a long slumber party when we visit!

You can tell my warped sense of priorities in that I've spent all week cleaning up my gardens, and am only now thinking about my house.  But you know someone is a great friend, when you don't have to worry at all about your house when she comes to visit (well, maybe you sweat a little tiny bit about your bathrooms Embarassed).  Because you know she's coming to visit you, not to inspect your cupboards!  We'll talk way too late into the night.  Last time when we visited them at their Washington State home, Michael fell asleep first in his lazy boy, Steve lasted about an hour longer and then drug himself to bed.  The two of us talked until about 2 AM like a couple of teenagers!!!

So, if my posts are a little light over the next few days, IT'S ALL KARLA'S FAULT!

God is totally rearranging Karla's life.  She's beginning to move from artist/author to author/speaker as the focus of her life and ministry.  I have heard her speak several times and she is amazing.  She's deep, she's funny and she speaks profound truths with great simplicity that penetrates the heart.  If your women's group at church is having a retreat or a meeting that you plan to bring a speaker in for, you will not be disappointed.  She speaks with depth of experience, knowledge of God's word and a passion to make a difference in women's lives. 

Karla is working this year on living "A Year to Remember." Which has meant taking time to evaluate her life and activities and let God change her and fully direct her path.  "Living on purpose and with a purpose," has become a focus for her own life and I sense perhaps she's learning so that she can help the rest of us along the journey too. 

Part of that process is this two-week trip with no set schedule or plans, just meandering and enjoying each other's company and the Lord's direction.  Doesn't that sound like fun?  She's working on finding her focus, letting go of those things in life that are good ideas, but not the best and seeking where she can best be useful in the Lord's hands. 

I'll make sure we take lots of pictures and will post them here.  We'll take some next to the giant Sequoias so that you can see how really, really, really big they are.  They're the ONLY THING IN LIFE that you can see as a little child and then as a adult and will still seem as big to you as you remembered!  Have a great day!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts 

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The Art of Grace… Choosing not to be Offended

Listening to the political and cultural discourse over the past few years I've noticed that "being offended" has risen to almost a revered position in society.  In addition, its counterpart "being super-careful not to offend," has caused people to speak so timidly that they no longer say anything of real substance.  Because we're so afraid of being labeled offensive, we don't honestly and openly discuss issues in order to find a resolution and agreement.  Somehow I don't think our culture is being elevated by this.  In the process we've lost our ability to debate, our collective sense of humor and the ability to laugh at our own differences and flaws! 

There is a old-fashioned phrase "to take offense," that I've often thought about.  In reality, you have to actively "take" offense, to become offended in 90% of life's situations.  Someone who is secure in themselves and filled with grace, rarely chooses to take offense even when the offense was intentional.  They just don't have the time or energy to waste on the process!

The true virtue and excellence of character isn't in being offended, but in choosing not to be offended.  One way of making that choice work in our lives is to "give others the benefit of the doubt."  (See my post about that concept here.)  Another is the art of empathy, or to put yourself in the shoes of the person that has offended you so that you gain understanding of what motivated them.  Another is the art of forgiveness, which is the ability to acknowledge that an offense was committed against you, but choose not to become bitter or dwell upon the incident in such a way that you allow a spirit of unforgiveness take over your heart. 

One of the most powerful virtues of character is the art of grace.  Grace is knowing that what someone did is wrong, but choosing to forgive them anyway and move on.  Grace understands the extenuating circumstances or sees the situation as the other person might see it.  The ability to extend grace, usually only comes from the heart of someone who knows that they too need to receive grace.  Therefore they can in turn extend grace to someone who has done wrong against them.  "Thus for the grace of God go I," sums up the heart of this individual. 

One of the most powerful examples of the art of grace, I have ever seen was in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.  A father of one of the female victims was so filled with grace and forgiveness that I was utterly amazed and moved to tears.  One of the first things he did in the interview was to deeply identify with the pain of the killer's family and their great loss and sadness.  He also said that he knew his daughter so well, that he knew if she survived the initial gunshot wounds, she would have been praying FOR HER ATTACKER!.  He was able to extend his forgiveness to the killer's family and almost unimaginably, to the killer. 

How does this apply to our daily lives?  Are you a person that is easily offended?  Do you have relationship with an individual in your family, friend or workplace that is easily offended?  Do you want to learn to live with a heart filled with grace instead?  Here are some simple concepts that if practiced over a long period of time will change your outlook on life and thus affect all of your relationships:

  1. Understand that a person that is easily offended, is usually insecure in some or all areas of their life.  In many ways, they are starved for praise and feel overlooked or underappreciated.  Try to make sure that you acknowledge their achievements or accomplishments, and try to encourage them verbally… especially in public.  However, don't expect them to do likewise though, most just aren't capable of it.
  2. The person that is easily offended often has an almost child-like perspective on life.  Children feel like they are "the center of the universe," and everything that happens is about them even if it has nothing to do with them.  It can be very hard to relate with this individual as they take things very personally. 
  3. Amazingly, the same person that is easily offended often routinely offends others!  They are super-sensitive to imagined slights from others and yet clueless to how often they say wounding comments or act in offensive ways.  When you know this about them, it can help you choose not to react and stop conflicts before they happen.
  4. For some reason this type of individual seems to continually stir up conflict and chaos in the family or work situation.  It takes two to dance.  If you choose not to react, there isn't any reward for them and after a while they often move on to find another "dance partner."
  5. It is very hard to have a deep, real relationship with someone who is easily offended.  You may need to adjust your expectations and know that there is likely to be little you can do to change them or your relationship with them. 
  6. Peacemakers choose not to be offended, not as a weakness of trying to avoid conflict at all costs, but to overcome and diffuse conflict.   Grace-filled people choose to absorb blows and choose not to strike back (Jesus said in Luke 6:28-29: bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also."  Jesus' reference was about strength not weakness!) 

One of my favorite verses in the bible about contentious relationships is this: "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. On the contrary:

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head (note: this was a blessing, not a mean thing)."  

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Rom 12:18-21 NIV

Choosing to live a grace-filled life is challenging.  Not being overpowered by a difficult person but overcoming their influence with goodness is very, very hard.  God blesses those choices though with His grace and peace.  Though this is a "simple" concept, trust me, it's not easy to do! 

Audrey Jeanne Roberts 

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The Rest of the Story… the Rest of the Garden…

We are daily impacted by images of perfection.  Perfect runway models, perfect "Martha Stewartesque" homes, perfectly prepared and presented meals in magazines, perfect gardens, perfect, perfect, perfect… All contrasted with the realities of OUR bodies, OUR homes, OUR meals and OUR gardens.  Our hearts long for perfection, but we feel like such failures because no matter how hard we try, we simply cannot attain it. 

In fact, the bible tells us that God created us with a heart, body, soul and spirit that was perfect in the beginning, until we sinned and fell from grace.   I think that one of the most powerful evidences for the existence of originally perfect creation, is how passionately all of us long to return to it!  Watch any two year old child attempt a task for the first time.  He knows what perfection should look like and he gets furious because he can not attain it. 

the good the bad and the ugly! 

So what does this have to do with my garden?  I have learned a valuable lesson in life that I want to share with you… "Perfection isn't attainable, but excellence is."  I wanted to let you see my imperfections, so that you can become more comfortable sharing yours with those around you. 

 The images shown are the left and right sides of the same walkways.  I've had to pick places to work on and places to let go.  In a perfect world it would all look meticulously maintained… in my world, I just have to choose to look to the one side and look past the other!  But isn't that really how we all have to go through life?

I'm doing my best to live an honest, truthful and transparent life, which to me means revealing the "real" me to the people I share my life with.  Sometimes she's pretty crazy (my planting annuals in my bathrobe with my hair dye on story immediately comes to mind!)  Sometimes she's overwhelmed by the responsibilities and commitments this art licensing world places on her shoulders.   Some days she loves the world and others…. well, she wants to hide from it.  But all the time she seeks to bring joy to others and enjoy life herself.    

REALLY WEEDY! 

Living joyfully is learning to embrace that which is imperfect and yet delightful — to strive for excellence with every fiber of your being and be satisfied when you've done the best you can, with the time and resources you have.  This is my philosophy for every area of my life, and especially for my garden.

I only have  little bit of time available to tend to the garden, so I work to take charge of small areas at a time and confine my efforts to where I can make the biggest difference rather than trying to do everything at once.  I work on the areas closest to the house where I can enjoy them the most.  I work on the gardens with the best soil and growing conditions, so I get the most return on my effort.  And every so often my garden rewards me with a beautiful blossom like the spectacular Peony above, that I'll treasure forever because I get to paint it and share it with you.

Remember, perfection isn't achievable… excellence is!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts.

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The Rest of the Story….

Okay, I've gotten incredibly wonderful feedback on my garden and hummingbird photos and lots of comments about "How can I do all of the art, design work and gardening?"  So, to show you that I DON'T GET IT ALL DONE and for all of you that don't believe I really am a lazy gardener, I have a post planned for later in the week called "The Rest of the Story… The Rest of the Garden!"  Watch for great photos of my weeds, undone patches, and left side of path versus right side of path shots!

I believe in transparent honesty in all areas of my life, including my garden.  So stay tuned!!!!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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Brand New Baby Clip Art & Premade Scrapbook Pages Coming Soon!

Lora politely asked me if I had a preview ready to show you all yesterday… yesterday I didn't yet, but today I do!  I've been feverishly working on assembling a new baby/toddler art collection to expand my offerings at the DAISIE COMPANY.  There will be two clip art kits that will both be mixed with boy/girl/either art in each.  There will be a Paper pack (or 2), an alphabet (or 2) and there will be a tags n text kit as well.

Little boy clip art samples 

In addition, I have already created Scrapbook Quick Page duos for a boy, a girl and two sets that go either or.  They are made out of the wonderful warm and vibrant pastels colors that are popular with today's young parents.

There are nearly 50 pieces in each kit already, with a wide variety of color options on the various elements such as rick rack trim, scalloped frames, buttons, bows, embroidered lace and cross stitch trims. 

The text kit wll have the titles that you see shown in the scrapbook pages, which were hand lettered and hand watercolored by me.  There's also two poems illustrated and included, one an original Audrey Jeanne Verse and the other from the favorite children's song "Jesus, Loves Me" (layout also included without text on this one).

If you are like most moms and did a lot of baby book work on child #1 and almost nothing on child 2, 3 or 4, the instant scrapbook pages can go a long way to help you catch up on that task!  Add some journaling, details of weight, length and birth information and you will have an instant heirloom for your children. 

Use some of the precreated pages and then create your own to match by printing and assembling your scrapbook pages in a hybrid fashion (part digital, part layered with embellishments) and you'll have your family believing you spent an amazing amount of time, energy and money when it will cost you little of each.

Little girl clip art

The font I've used with this collection in hand lettering is also going to be available as a true type font as soon as I can get it prepared.

I hope you'll enjoy using this art to create greeting cards, birth announcements, and all sorts of other baby oriented gifts!

Please tell me anything that you think I've missed on these kits or would like to see.  You guys have great ideas and I very much enjoy hearing from you!

Also, we're half way through the month and the blog contest continues.  Remember, you're entered automatically when you leave a comment and you earn extra entries when you refer my blog to your friends and family and tell me so. 

The winner will receive my "Perfectly Peachy 2" kit, which will be releasing as soon as I can get it finished, but the winner may receive it before it makes it out to the store!

Have a great Spring day!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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Free Recipe Card Download of Digital Clip Art, Gift From DAISIE COMPANY

THE DAISIE COMPANY has a free gift for you, of beautiful recipe cards that were made by DAISIE COMPANY members just like you!  These were created in a contest where individuals designed their own recipe cards using the wonderful art and graphics available for sale at THE DAISIE COMPANY.  When you see these amazing cards, remember that ordinary people with no special graphics skills were able to create these layouts.  It’s not as hard as you think!  Each comes with a recipe and a blank version.  To download the files, click on the image and then save them to your computer.  This is a large download so be patient!  (UPDATE: the link has expired.  Please check back for other specials about once or twice a month).

link to download

Have you ever tried making your own recipe cards?  Tuck one in the plate of chocolate chip cookies you make as a get well gift with the recipe you used and watch the recipient’s face light up!  If you’ve never tried working with graphics, most computers come with a simple graphics program like "Paint."  Play around with it and see what you can do.  At the very least, you’ll be able to take the blank versions of these cards and add your own recipe to it. 

DAISIE COMPANY TERMS OF USE 

The DAISIE COMPANY’S website is www.daisiecompany.com.  You can sign up for their newsletter and receive information about what’s happening at DAISIE and special little gifties like these on a quarterly basis.  I WILL NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE RECIPE CARDS AVAILABLE ON THIS BLOG, SO IF YOU WANT TO RECEIVE ALL OF THEM YOU WILL NEED TO SIGN UP AT DAISIE!  Once you do, check out the website a little.  There are forums for digital scrapbooking and digital paper crafting, forums for Microsoft’s Digital Imaging Pro (DIP), Corel’s Paint Shop Pro (PSP), Adobe’s Photoshop Elements (PSE) and several other smaller graphics programs.  There’s a forum called "DAISIE General How-To’s" that’s a great place to begin.  There’s also a lot of praying, sharing, caring and laughing with each other that happens in the General Chat forum 

DAISIE’S message board is a very real, very caring, VERY FUN place to hang out while you learn more about digital scrapbooking or crafting.  I can’t say it nearly as well as Mary Roberson, who’s screen name is "Handmade Heartfelt" has here:

"I have owned a computer for 10 years, but had never learned to work with graphics. That is, until I found DAISIE, through Stacey Thomas. I desperately wanted to learn how to make pretty greeting cards and craft projects like those
I saw other people making. What makes DAISIE unique from other message boards is that the members share tips and advice about how to use the graphics and how to work with software programs that allow you to turn graphics into projects that you design.

I had given up hope that I’d ever be able to do more than use printable sets to print ready made projects, but Stacey didn’t give up on me. She told me to stick around the community and come to the online crops and told me she believed I could do it. She encouraged me (as did other members) that once I learned a few basic tips, a whole new world would open up to me, and it has! I never understood the concept of digital scrapbooking until I came to DAISIE. LibMary has good information for beginners, with screen shot visuals, which I find very helpful because I can see the exact steps she has taken to complete her project. There are tutorials to help the beginner, but more than that,you have wonderfully patient people who hold your hand and guide you along the way." 

If you want to learn more, here are some resources that I gathered simply by asking a question on the message board yesterday.  Here are the wonderful replies I received:

  1. Barbara said: "PhotoImpact is one that I’ve used and there are some fantastic resources for those who are trying to learn it at www.pircnet.com (including a beginner’s workshop which pairs them with a mentor that helps them through a series of lessons designed to familiarize them with the different tools – all free of charge).   www.visual-arts-academy.com is another resource for several different programs and the cost of the lessons is low for the amount of information."
  2. Margie said: "A great place online to learn software is LVS – www.lvsonline.com. The courses are $25 / $20 for returning students. They last 6 weeks. I’ve taken many courses from them and most have been excellent."
  3. DAISIE is having a custom browser program developed that will store your graphics and also help you create things with them.  It is in the last stages of development and will be extraordinarily well priced.  Stacey Thomas of DAISIE COMPANY said yesterday "We are still testing it out, but free trials of their higher priced software can be had at www.fxfoto.com"
  4. Tracy said: "You’re probably already aware of scrapgirls.com where they have several free tutorials and a lot of one you have to read. Also Linda Sattgast has several CD’s for sale that are really good at explaining the basics of PSE 4 and 5. That website is scrappersguide.com."  
  5. Cheryl said: Inkscape and Gimp(similar to Photoshop) are free. Gimp is the most popular one that I come across in the instructional technology field but it isn’t the easiest to learn. There’s a list of freebies here at wikipedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Graphics_tutorials

There’s whole new world waiting for you and a lot of new friends waiting to help you discover it, just give it a try!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Some of the things I got from my Mother are:

  1. My love of God.
  2. My love for learning.
  3. My love for all things gardening, even through she MADE me weed hers as a kid!
  4. My love of arts and crafts.  She kept me out of her hair and happy at the same time by getting me into every craft event at our local recreations center that was available.
  5. My love for reading.  She was a school teacher in training and my sister and I were her practice pupils!
  6. My love for hummingbirds, butterflies and dragonflies.  We would ooooh and aaaaaah together at our big picture window overlooking the garden.
  7. And too many more things to count!

Have a great Mother's Day!

Audrey Jeanne Roberts

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