Blogging

What are your first thoughts? I once saw someone just like him be very kind to an elderly lady.

We have a saying in Scotland, when things get back to normal after a holiday, or special event – “Back to auld claes an’ porrige”!
Which translates as “Back to old clothes and a simple oaty breakfast! 😉

I am afraid that problems with the new theme have forced me to revert to the old one. It’s a temporary setback, as I was using a beta version of Artisteer 3.0.
Beta software is not the finished product. It is still being tested and bugs ironed out, but we get to play with it in the meantime.

The bug that is causing the problem will be dealt with in the next release, so I am hopeful that my tweaks can be reinstated.

But this matter has made me think: How much does the design of a blog influence people’s attitude to it? Is it appearance or contents which is most important?

Contents should be the most important, but we are all influenced by elegant design and good looks – and not just on blogs and web sites. As I grow older I see people’s attitudes towards me changing. I mean people who don’t know me. They assume that a certain appearance means that what I have to offer – my “contents” – is less than that of someone younger, more elegant or better dressed.

It makes me consider how I react to other people. I must be careful not to subconsciously prejudge them, based upon their appearance.

I have been experimenting with the look of Slices of my Life. Tweaking colours and fiddling with the sidebar contents. It has been a fun project because I am using a program called Artisteer to build the templates (called themes in WordPress) for all the blogs I am involved in and I love it!

Not having any design skills, my only expertise is “I know what I like when I see it”!  So being able to quickly and easily change elements of the design and see the new version working online in a few minutes, suits me just fine. There are still some parts of the layout that are not exactly the way I would like them, but in time they will be adjusted.

It’s a bit like life, really. It is very rare to find every element of a day or week exactly as you would wish. Years ago that would have been a massive frustration for me, and the difficulties would mar the joy I might have had in the more upbeat moments. But now I realize that it is possible to live productively, and derive a lot of pleasure and satisfaction, even when things are less than ideal.

Like using Artisteer, I can work on one area at a time, one difficult relationship, or distasteful job or sad memory, or concern about the future. No need to be overwhelmed by it all at once. When I focus on one area, and see progress, it heartens me and encourages me to tackle another area of life.

There is, though, one thing Artisteer has that life does not replicate – an UnDo button! That is why I am so thankful for the forgiveness of God. He is patiently shaping me, challenging me and making changes one area at a time. And I am grateful he isn’t hitting me with everything at once! What a gracious life-builder he is!

Dave Jackson is someone I rate highly. His site, The School of Podcasting, is a treasure trove of information, experience and resources for anyone who wants to get into that medium.

I love listening to Dave’s podcasts; he has a lot of pithy sayings and one that has stuck with me is the need to avoid “paralysis by analysis”. Perhaps he didn’t coin that expression, but he introduced me to it.

This blog has been in my mind for many months. But I couldn’t get the time to set it up the way I wanted. Not being a designer I have to do it a bit organically. Try a design, like it or not like it, build on it or trash it, until I arrive at something that approaches what I feel happy with.

But this design is not the final version! So I put off starting the blog, and put it off for longer…until I saw that I was falling into the trap of paralysis by analysis. I analysed the flaws and weaknesses of my little corner of cyber-space while viewing and reading about excellent blog design and that made me seize up.

In the end I decides that I would just begin. So I’m not going to let my amateurish design hold me back.

I think Dave would be proud of me!

A few days ago I stumbled upon a site called Tentblogger. Its tag line – “Blogging for Fun and Profit”- appealed to me.

Slices of my Life, and all the blogs I am involved in ,are totally non-commercial. So I don’t want the profit, but the fun appeals to me!

laptop

Photo by CELAL TEBER, www.celalteber.co.uk

The blogger, John Saddington, is a lovely guy. You can watch his occasional video blogs and get a feel of his enthusiasm and humility. John isn’t “in your face”, but he conveys very effectively the message he wants to share in each post.

I am enjoying working my way through his archives and have already learned a lot. I’m sure in months to come I will still be quoting and commenting on  Tentblogger.

Image by Svilen Milev.

Why should I start another blog?

I already have a Christian children’s ministry blog that I am working on with my friend , Catherine.

My work involves administering a blog for the Christian magazine I edit. First! Again is a great site to work on. There is so much material that has been published by the magazine in the past, but which is still valuable today.

It is a blessing to have a full and rich life. There are many aspects to it and many interests that absorb me. Because of the many different “flavours” in my life, increasingly I am finding myself wanting to write on topics which do not fit into the two blogs I have just mentioned. So a third, more personal one seemed a good idea.

So here goes – with Slices of my Life!

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SLICES OF MY LIFE are little slivers of my experiences. I have many interests and this blog is my way of keeping track of what I see and learn. Some of it brings a smile to my face, uplifts and encourages me, or makes me think deeply. I hope you enjoy what you read here as much as I enjoy writing it!