Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Blog Templates and the Mighty Change of Heart

I spent a lot of Thursday through Saturday working on adding this new template to my blog. It was a lot of hard work, and when I finished it last night, I was so excited! (I’m sure my husband felt I was bouncing off the walls about it. He said it was making him tired just watching me. Of course, we already were fasting, so he may have been in energy conservation mode.)

Now, getting a new blog template also has some perils that I’m recently discovering. For instance, there’s the “Fear-of-not-being-able-to-write-anything-as-cool-as-the-blog-looks” peril, closely followed by the “Fear-that-everyone-will-be-freaked-out-by-the-sudden-change-and-stop-visiting-the-blog” peril. Of course, you know what this means. I just need to write something and post it no matter what, and the stupider the post, the better, so that I can just get over this hump and be normal again. (grin)

But anyway, I started thinking over the blog-template-changing process, and I realized that there are some spiritual parallels between it and seeking for a change of heart.

I was pretty content with the way my blog was before until I was looking around online and I saw some blog templates that were really neat.

Similarly one of the best impetuses (impetii? impetium? impetusata?) of inner change in our lives is when we discover someone who is so good that we want to become like that. Ultimately, the template we want to adopt is Christ, but good people in our lives can help us see how those attributes look in real life.

I realized that it might be difficult to change my blog template to something new. I didn’t know much about the process, and I realized that if I did it wrong, I might lose the content in my sidebar, which had taken me a while to collect in the first place.

Similarly, we don’t know too much about the process of changing to become something we haven’t been before. When we change, we need to make sure that we don’t lose what good traits we have already acquired. Change can be a turbulent process.

Once I decided I wanted to change my blog’s template, I realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to change all at once. I sensed that I needed to test the template first and find out if it really had what I wanted before I adopted it. So I created another blog as a test. I created one that looked somewhat like my other one and then tried to switch to my new template in it to see what it would look like.

As it happened, the first sight of my new template was terrible. It needed a lot of tweaking. To make it look as advertised, I needed to put in a lot of extra work, more than I expected, in fact. It didn’t have a number of features that I valued on my previous blog. In order to get it working the way I wanted, I needed to look at the HTML and CSS code and study it to figure out what pieces of code did what. This meant I needed previous knowledge of HTML to study the code. Thankfully, I had taken a web programming class… about six years ago. My memories were fuzzy, but I remembered enough to avoid making some silly mistakes.

Similarly, in my life, whenever I have made some significant changes in my life, my first attempts are usually somewhat feeble because I underestimate the amount of effort required. I find I have to do some serious thinking and planning ahead how I should act or react. And often experiences from my deeper past provide just enough working knowledge of how to proceed.

I looked online for help in adding the blog features that I wanted. I found people who had faced the same problem and had figured out how to solve it. I also looked for people who were helping others fix their blog the same way I wanted to fix mine.

Similarly, one way that we get help when we are trying to change is by asking other people we trust how they have made the change in their lives that we want. We can also ask Heavenly Father, who knows all things.

I wanted to add the date to my blog entries, but the template didn’t do that. I finally figured out that there was code that was missing from my template.

In the scriptures, sometimes it doesn’t always say how we can get from point A to point B. We need to get additional knowledge through personal revelation, from the prophet and apostles, or from our leaders.

As I worked on my template, I also found that there were things in there that I didn’t want, which weren’t supposed to be there. I was able to find parts of the code that I didn’t want and get rid of them.

In the scriptures, we can find descriptions of people who chose to disobey the commandments, and it is important that we try to remove from our lives the same negative faults that they had.

I made notes of everything I did as I made all the different changes to the blog template. This really came in handy when the template suddenly got really messed up and I didn’t know what had happened. I had to start all over with a fresh version of the template and redo everything I did before, and my extensive notes of pieces of code that I had used or removed helped me do that really fast so that I didn’t have to start looking for all the information on the internet again.

Similarly, our journals can be a record we keep of what we are doing so that we can go back and see where we may have gone wrong. I have used my journal this way.

When I finally got to the point that the blog template looked just as it should in my test blog, I took the plunge and implemented in this blog. It’s hard to describe my feelings of trepidation as waited for it to load (and it loaded soooo slowly that I was sure something had gone terribly wrong). And when it was finally saved and I viewed my new blog.. YAAAAAAY!!!! Epic WIN!!

The fruits of our careful righteous labors, whether temporal or spiritual, are certainly sweet, especially positive changes we make. Like I said previously, I was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement yesterday after a mere three days of work on this template. I can only imagine how happy I will be when I’ve fully implemented the template of Christ on my life.


Anonymous said...

Awesome project, Mel! Wow! I love your idea with new use of digi-images! Thank you for sharing tutorial, templates and your wonderful inspiration! more templates easy to download

Michaela Stephens said...

But my name is not Mel..

Rebecca Irvine said...

I love how it looks. I need a new blog template myself but am nervous to try changing it.

Susan Anderson said...

Great analogy. You really got me thinking.

Thanks, by the way, for checking out my blog and making such an interesting comment. I always love when somebody new comes to visit.


Chas said...

I love the new template. It's awesome!
I have one I'm working on but my computer wiz bro has to turn the image I've made into a template. But it's not as cool looking as yours!

- Chas

Michaela Stephens said...

(blushes) Thanks for all your kind comments!

Becky, I totally understand your nervousness. I was worried about it too. I highly recommend making a test blog for trying out new templates.

Sue, nice of you to come by! I thought your blog was interesting too, which was why I commented on it.

Chas: A customized template, eh? Ooo, you'll have a one-of-a-kind blog! You know, after I finished getting my template implemented, my husband told me he thought I should learn how to design my own, and I was like, "What?! I just got done with this! I'm not going to want to move to something different for a long time!"

Unknown said...

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