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When I started my first webpage in October 1997, I never dreamed that I would go so far as to learn graphics and design pages for other people, much less to have my own domain. This adventure began as a personal recovery page, and through no prior planning of my own it's turned into a fulltime business. Just shows you never know where your Higher Power is leading you...

My given name is Laura Lee — "lee" is defined by Websters as the side of the land sheltered from the wind. That's what I planned for this place to be. Sheltered from the storms of life, a "lee" of Serenity away from the normal turbulence of every day life. A cozy, protected island for indulging in some 'alone' time to read and laugh and ponder — perhaps to shed a sentimental or grateful tear here and there...

The best way to get to know me is to browse through the "lees" — the content pretty much describes me and my interests, the causes I support, the dreams I dream. It began as a whim to kill time and see if I could do it, and it's come to have a life of it's own, growing beyond my wildest expectations and in directions I certainly never expected or planned.

As you browse the "lee" you will learn that I have many varied interests - dolphins, decorating, women's issues, recovery, arts and crafts, reading, children, cooking, travel, dreaming... When I began this site I knew literally nothing about html coding and graphics design. I used many of the wonderful free graphics offered on the web -- until one day when I found a graphic that I wanted to change just a smidgeon to fit a particular page... and discovered that that's a no-no! I thought it was kind of a silly copyright rule at first — until I spent about 15 hours making one totally original graphic of my own! Now I truly understand, support and respect all graphics artists, especially me! So please don't take any of my graphics without asking.

I spent many months and hours doing free graphics for people while I learned, and still do some of that. But the requests kept coming for free things, and the time became limited, so now this hobby has become a full-time home business. It's been a very busy few years of learning, and I am proud to say that ALL artwork you see on my pages, other than people's awards and link logos, are totally original graphics, created by me.

You'll also see that much of my "lee" is dedicated to women and to 12-step recovery. I am a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober since August 7, 1986 - another miracle in my life. Although my pages are in no way affiliated with or endorsed by Alcoholics Anonymous, I give AA full credit for the fact that I am alive today to tell my story.

Since the birth of this webpage I have also been privileged to join several women's organizations on the web and this has grown my business and enriched my life immensely. I am in awe of the talent and love and support which flows through the cyberwaves. The strength of women joining together for any cause is simply amazing. Because of my pages dedicated to women and recovery I received many requests for resources concerning abuse and other types of issues affecting women and children. As a result of that mail, the Healing Hurting Hearts pages made their debut. The response to these pages with resources and stories from survivors of all kinds of heart hurts, from physical to mental abuse, has been truly overwhelming, heartbreaking and gratifying. These pages just grow and grow on their own, and I meet new friends through them every day who write their stories and gratitude at finding that they are not alone in their experience or in their quest for healing. The Healing Hurting Hearts pages are dearest to my heart.

My professional background covers many paths, beginning with floral design, a career I held for quite a few years and still do occasionally from my home. I also went up the ladder in Silicon Valley from secretary to my final job before I left California of Export Administrator for a leading reticle inspection equipment manufacturer, shipping spare parts all over the world — I got to install and use their very first email system! It seems as if computers have always been in my life — at least they have since I married into IBM in the 60's and watched the birth of the very first DOS program! Amazing how far we've come from the room-sized computers of the 60's to the one I sit at today.

My personal online experience began in California in the mid-80's when my husband at the time and I ran a recovery BBS in California and I had my first chance to actually talk to someone via the keyboard — it fascinated me to be able to talk with someone 'real time' on the other side of the country, and I've been hooked ever since. When the internet came into being I was in heaven!

For every horror story we hear on the news about the internet, I have dozens of wonderful stories about the good that has come from my experience on the net — to both me and to others. I met Bob on the net in the summer of 1996 in a recovery chat room — he in Pennsylvania and I in Kansas. I left Kansas and moved to Pennsylvania in January of 1997 and am still here! We've learned web development together and Bob has Kittanning-PA.com site. The net has given me more chances to learn and grow in the last several years than I had in the ten years previous, and for that I am truly grateful. Because of the internet I've taken some chances to follow my dreams... to allow myself to grow... to learn and do things I never imagined I could.

My dream was to turn this into full-time work and be able to work at something I truly love to do. And since I first put this site up in October 1997, it has become just that. I created WebCrafts by Laura, a full service web design, graphics and hosting business. I have designed more than 40 sites other than my own and maintain several others as well! I moved into my own domain in April 1999 — at WebCrafts-by-Laura.com (now closed for business). And now, in January 2001, I am making more changes. WebCrafts is no longer sharing its webspace with my personal pages. Healing Hurting Hearts, the recovery resources and the rest of Laura's "lee" have all moved into their own place at LauraFranklin.com. I hope you enjoy all the changes.

Dreams really do come true—- it just takes a lot of 18-hour days at the keyboard, much hard work and determination! I hope that you as well, will find avenues for yourself that will lead you to new worlds of wonder and growth.

I hope you enjoy your stay in my "lee" and come back often to see what's new... enjoy your journey through the "lees"!

Laura

PS - For many many pictures please visit my Virtual Family Photo Album — a gift I made for my kids Christmas 1998.

PPS - February 2006. Many changes have taken place since I last updated this page. At the height of my business success I suffered my first of several heart attacks. Since then I've had to give up the full-time web design business and take care of my health instead. I've also left Pennsylvania and am living with my son and his family in Atlanta GA and am on a whole new journey, enjoying my grandchildren and renewed activity in 12 step work.


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