Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back On 2012

2012 was certainly quite the year for me.

Unexpectedly I got to do quite a bit of travelling. Chicago in March, Northern Quebec in July, Daytona Beach in September and time at camp in between.

There were sad moments. The loss of a family member and the closing of two doors that I would have rather have stayed open, one professional and the other personal. And then there were the severe forrest fires that threatened the area around my hometown.

There were a lot of changes. Our church hired a consultant and as a result of his recommendations and the Lord's leading we've made drastic changes to the way our church functions and operates and it's only just begun. I got to watch as God furthered the ministry reach of the MAD Christian Radio Show and see Him bring it to places I never thought possible.  I went from being an employee to an employer. And I re-arranged big portions of my life and schedule to pursue this dream of becoming a business owner.

I scratched some items off of my bucket list. Including buying a DSLR and pursing photography, inventing something, stepping foot on a submarine, and getting my boating licence.

And I've had the privilege of investing in and seeing relationships around me grow. With my family, with my small group, and with my friends. It's so true that the quality of our lives are hinged on the quality of our relationships.

There were some tough times, it wasn't perfect, but it was a good year. Not because of the trips or highlights, but because I can look back and say I'm not the same person January 1st of this year that I was January 1st of last year. And I consider that to be the milestone I look for in the passing of time.

That said, growth is my goal for 2013. Some great things lie ahead, including opportunities that are bigger than my wildest dreams, but my goal isn't just to grab the next big thing. There is also quite a bit of uncertainty regarding events that lie ahead, but my goal isn't to have a life that is shielded from uncertianity.  My goal is to be more like Christ with each year that passes and to keep my eyes focused on who He is and where He is leading me.

After all, awards and accomplishments amount to nothing. My life isn't about building acclaim for my name, but for His. And if one day I can look back over all of my years put together and see more of Him than me that will be my definition of a life well lived.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HTML5, The Future Is Here

It's official- HTML5 is feature complete, which means they've added all the features that are going to be included and it's something that web designers and app makers can rely on.

As someone who does website design for a living I have to say HTML5 truly is the future of website design.  Where once for everyday websites developers were pushing things like flash and php, now the standard for websites is clearly HTML5.

So what does this mean for those who use the internet but don't design for it?  You can come to expect websites that are across the board compatible with your browsers, rather than you having to download plugin after plugin.  You can also expect to see more and more multimedia incorporated into websites and features like drag and drop for uploading files.  You can also expect, with a little help from jQuery, a lot more websites that are mobile friendly, meaning you won't have to squint to see text and images on your smartphone.

As a designer HTML5 required new learning yes, but I love what I'm able to do with it.  Want to see an example?  Check out this website I recently completed.  It was my second project done in HTML5 (the first was retracted after the client decided to go in a different direction with the layout and features) and I can't wait to work more in it!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Perfect Circumstances Don't Make For Better Holidays

If there's anything to learn from the plethora of Christmas movies out there, it's that the perfect circumstances don't make for the best Christmas holidays.

We see that when Clark Griswold bends over backwards to give his family an old fashioned Christmas, only to be stopped with obstacles at every turn.  By the end of the movie though Clark realizes, while standing in the midst of his destroyed home and surrounded by police, that sometimes the most joy and sweetest memories are found when things go not quite the way we planned.

Think about your own memories of Christmas.  Chances are the ones that stand out most to you are from Christmas' when things didn't go according to plan and it was that obstacle that made that year all the more memorable.

I know that's the case for me.  One example that stands out is our tradition of every year going as a family to get the McNulty family Christmas tree.  The year that stands out to me isn't the one where we drove out into the bush in a nice SUV that had four wheel drive and all the amenities.  The year that I'll never forget is when we trekked into the bush with an old Ford sedan that needed the "check engine" light to go on in order to run in the right gear.  Partway on the drive the heater kicked out, followed soon by the defroster.  So not only did we have no heat, but we actually had to roll down the windows or we'd have too much frost and wouldn't be able to see outside the front windshield.  We laughed more on that drive than we had on all others combined.  And it was then that the message hit home that perfect circumstances don't make for better holidays, or better lives for that matter.

Chances are this Christmas that's going to be the case.  Things aren't going to work out exactly like you or I had planned.  But the beauty comes when we look past our ideals and instead embrace every moment that we're given, whether that moment is in front of the fireplace surrounded by loved ones or stranded on the side of the road alone, as a good gift from above.

After all if Christmas was about perfect human plans, Jesus would have been born in a palace, not a stable.  Herod would have been none the wiser about His arrival, rather than angered by it.  And as for Joseph and Mary?  They would have returned home to a warm embrace by their family, rather than being forced to flee to another country with a newborn.  The first Christmas was about God's plans, not ours. And this Christmas it's my prayer for myself and my prayer for all of you that it's about God's plans, not ours.  God may bless you with the hallmark moment you envisioned or He might bless you with an the unexpected moment you'll be talking about for years to come.  We can't know which is coming, but we can start our celebrations by surrendering our plans to Him and welcoming any "obstacle" with open arms and expectant hearts.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Learning From The Best

Over the past year I've been learning a lot about what it takes not only to open up your own business, but to make it succeed.  I've been blessed to have people who have been there mentor me and allow me to learn from their knowledge and experience.  I've also been reading a lot on the subject and while I won't recap those books here for you now, I will post links to a few online articles that I've found to be favourites and are good not only for those running a business, but for employees as well:

9 Things That Motivate Employees More Than Money

Winning the Next Wave of the Internet: Mobile

How To Close More Sales Without Being Pushy

And then a couple that are related to website design:

The Top 10 Web Design Skills You Will Need

How much do you charge for web design?

Website Mistakes To Avoid

Any recommendations on articles I should be reading?