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Monday, December 29, 2008

Through the Storm

I typically keep this blog about theme related stuff but lately I have had so many other things on my mind.

As I previously wrote, I was laid off from Flock right before Thanksgiving and found out my wife and I were having out third child a week later. Since then, the Portland area had a major snow storm that lasted two weeks and pretty much shut down the city with 22" of snow and ice.

This has been a pretty tough month in our household but I have tried to bear the burden. I am in the no man's land of trying to push hard and turn Virtus Designs into a business or going out and finding a job, all while our savings are running out quickly with tons of bills to pay.

We hadn't been to Church since the storm hit so this past Sunday was our first day back. We had a great message. The topic Mark 4:35-39

35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”
36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling.
38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

The Disciples had been with Jesus for a while and had seen Him do so many amazing things. They should have known that everything would be ok because Jesus told them that they would cross over to the other side.

Our Pastor gave two points that shouldn't have given them peace.

1. They should have had peace in His promises.

We can always be sure that the Promises of the Lord will come to pass. Jesus told the disciples that they were going to the other side. That meant, they would make it to the other side. Jesus was in the same boat as they were. He was completely at peace, sleeping in the boat.

Their reaction to the storm was completely opposite. They freaked out. They panicked and woke Jesus up to tell Him that they were going to perish and that He did not care.

2. They should have had peace in His presence.

They had been with Jesus during several things and had never seen Him panic. He was always calm and they should have picked up on the fact that He was always in control.

We find ourselves in storms throughout our lives. There are two different types of storms, those that God uses to correct us and those that He uses to direct us. Both of them have the same intent to move us down the path that He has for us.

I find myself in a storm right now but I have learned not to panic. That does not mean I have always been calm in the middle of the storm and it does not mean I have been perfect in this current storm. It is a fitting coincidence that the situational storm in my life coincides with the "Arctic Blast 2008" storm here in Portland. This is on of the worst storms we have had in terms of snowfall. It made life difficult. It was very cold, extremely difficult to move around, and completely unexpected in December.

That storm finally ended and now life is going back to normal. Just like that storm, the storms in our lives come to an end. We don't like them. They are very uncomfortable while we are in their midst but I can say that every storm I have gone through has made me a better and stronger person on the other side.

This stormy season I am going through now will come to an end soon. My hope is that I can make it through knowing in peace that I will make it to the other side. I don't know what is on the other side and I don't know what will be lost in the middle but I know the Lord's ways are good and His promises will be kept. He promises to provide for our needs. Sometimes we mistake our needs with our wants.

With that said, I hope this storm ends soon and the other side comes quickly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blog Layouts

I am venturing into the realm of blog layouts for Blogger and Wordpress as well as Firefox and Flock themes. Apparently there is a huge demand for great layouts for your blog so you can share your thoughts with the world in style.

If anyone has a blog that you would like a customized layout for, I need some practice.


When my buddy (@johnweiss for twitter fans) told me about how great Twitter is, I made fun of him. I still make fun of him but at least on this topic, he was right. Twitter is an amazing way to get connected and let people know you are out there.

I also fought people on Facebook until I was forced to get an account while I worked with Flock in order to test my themes out with their browser interface. Once again, I must say Facebook is quite fun to mess around with and post pictures to and get connected with old friends. I had a friend that I hadn't talked to since 4th grade find me and send me a note.

Sure, a lot of this takes time and requires self-control but it is fun. All of these social networking sites have one thing in common, they are all integrated into Flock's UI so give Flock a try and keep track of all your account activity on the people sidebar while using your browser window for browsing. It will let you know when you need to check your account and with many of the accounts, you can just post/update directly from the sidebar.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Revelation for Firefox Now Available

You can purchase and download it here or you can go to my website for more screenshots.

Revelation - This is my newest theme creation for Firefox and the first of many in a series themes in this style. It combines glassy crimson buttons on the same shiny black toolbar from Aero Fox. This is the first release of this theme so there are sure to be some minor issues but I tried to be as thorough as possible.

If you like the RedShift V2 for Firefox, you might want to check this one out. It isn't quite as dark as Red Shift but it might just be dark enough.

Both the Mac and Windows versions work with Colorful tabs and I have redone the URL window to work better with the Fission extension for those who like their progress bar embeded in the URL window.

This theme is only available from my site and my blog.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Themes Coming- 1st Up Black and Red

I am working on a new series of themes. The first one out will be a shiny dark theme with glassy crimson buttons as seen above. I will have different color variations to follow but I am going through now to finish up the icon set. I should have the first release of this theme out tonight or tomorrow.

Follow my twitter feed to keep current on updates. This theme will be available exclusively through my site http://www.virtusdesigns.com

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aqua Midnight Released

I have released the Flock version of Aquatint Black Gloss. It is available at virtusdesigns.com