Monday, July 21, 2014

Renewal in Disaster

In your gut, you knew it would never work...

But that sure didn't stop you from trying.

I'm guessing that we've all had that relationship, maybe a few of them, that, at some point, we knew it probably wasn't going to work out, but for whatever reason, we kept trying. Maybe it was his charm. Maybe it was his personality. Maybe it was his charisma that kept you trying. Or maybe it was your hopelessness of finding someone else. Or maybe you were just sick of starting over...

and over...

and over...

So then what? You tried, and your gut was right. Then, every now and then, you beat yourself up a bit because you KNEW that it wasn't going to work and you wonder why you kept going past that moment.

The truth is, we all want to feel loved. We all want that one person whose world is so much better because we're in it. We want to be wanted and needed. We want to feel important and special.

When that all comes crashing down, it doesn't matter if we expected it or even planned for it, it's still a bit of a blow, if for no other reason than we have to start over. Again.

But sometimes starting over can be renewing. Sometimes it can be freeing and refreshing and just what we needed all along.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Things I've Learned from a Week Without Facebook

Yep. That was me. I felt lost without my phone, even for a minute. Not because it meant I might miss an important call, but because I couldn't check Facebook. Ridiculous.

A week ago today, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and vowed to not check my Facebook online or update it for a month. You can read my reasons for it and what brought me to this decision here.

In the last week, this is what I've learned...

1. Checking Facebook on my phone was more of a habit than anything else.
I used to open my Facebook app and scroll through my feed anytime I had a spare second. Add up all those spare, little seconds, and I probably looked at Facebook at least two hours every day. TWO HOURS!!! And that's just a rough guess. It was just a way to kill time, and "kill time" it definitely did. It was a filler for all sorts of things when I could have been doing something else.

The first couple of hours were really hard, and the first couple of days were pretty rough too. I kept trying to open up the app on my phone, but it was no longer there. It wasn't that I really wanted to be on Facebook; It was just a habit. That's it.

2. I didn't really do much more than LOOK at what people were saying and doing, and (most of the time) I really didn't care.
Let's face it, for many of us, more than half of those on our friends list are people we don't talk to, don't interact with, aren't affected by, etc., yet we spend our time scrolling through our feeds, reading what they have to say, looking at photos of what they're doing, seeing silly quizzes they've taken. Why?

3. In the last week I have had more time.
I'm not saying I have found a way to add another minute or hour or two to my 24-hour day. I'm saying that all that time I would normally spend wasting on Facebook, I've found I can use that time to do other things. I have FINALLY finished reading a book that I started over a month ago, and I'm probably a quarter of the way through another just within the last three days. I have made almost 3 dreamcatchers, a hat, made progress on a baby blanket, gone on a couple dates, hung out with friends, worked on some organization, worked on my blog, and talked on the phone. It's really amazing how my valuable time disappears when I'm habitually "checking" Facebook. Apparently our Facebook updates are so important that I can't go 30 minutes without looking at it. Not sure how I ever survived before Facebook! (insert sarcasm)

4. I've been able to invest more in people.
I'm still a bit of an introvert, but I feel like I'm actually listening to people now more than I was when I was distracted by a social networking site. As I said, I've been on two dates with a guy who doesn't even have a Facebook, and it's so freeing. I like being able to talk to people without saying things like, "Did you see on Facebook....?" or "I saw on Facebook that...." It's forcing me to get a life. With real people. With real interactions. With real conversations. With real connections.

5. I sleep better.
This one has probably surprised me the most. I didn't realize how much Facebook was cutting into my sleep time. I would lie in bed and scroll and scroll until my eyes just couldn't handle the bright light in a dark room anymore, or I would lie in bed thinking about things I saw on Facebook. If I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep, I would get on Facebook. As soon as I woke up in the morning... Facebook. I probably DREAMED about Facebook. That's crazy. But this past week, I feel like I have slept more soundly, wake up less, and am asleep long enough & deep enough to dream. I wake up feeling more refreshed. It's a good feeling.

Now, I'm only a week into this month-long challenge, but I'm curious to see what else happens this month. Instead of checking Facebook as soon as I open my eyes, more often than not, I'm doing my Bible devotion instead. Gotta put first things first.

Would you ever consider taking a break from Facebook? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

How to add a signature to Blogger posts

For 3 days, THREE, I looked up every article, tutorial, and how-to I could find on how to add one of those fancy signatures to the bottom of my posts. I tried ALL of them. None of them worked in their entirety.

Some that I tried were total fails. How the writer was able to succeed at it, I'll never know. Some of them were partial successes - Sometimes my image was there, but it just showed as a tiny box. Sometimes my image was there, but it wasn't transparent like it was supposed to be, or it had an ugly shadow behind it.

I tried editing HTML and adding CSS... I tried creating the image in Picasa, MyLiveSignature, and Pixlr... I tried getting from image from Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket... I tried HTML and direct links...

I thought that surely I'm not the only one who has wondered how to add a signature, or even tried and failed, so here I'll share with you what worked for me and hope to goodness that it works for you also.

#1 Create your image

I created my image on, which is a free site. Hooray! Doesn't require any downloading! Double hooray!! Across the top of the page, click "Pixlr Editor" then "create new image".

You'll see a window like this pop up.

You want your signature image width to be between 100px-320px and between 50px-75px in height. I made mine 200x75. Be sure to also check the "transparent" box because, unless your blog background is white, you want your image to be transparent.

Once you click "OK" you'll see a grey checked box. The grey squares means your image will be transparent and you'll only see your text. 

Click on the text tool to add your text.

If you're wanting more than one word and want different fonts/sizes/colors for each, you'll need to click the text tool for each separately.

A text box will pop up where you can change the font, size, and color of the text.

To move your image around, click the little black arrow. To move the different layers, you have to click on the layer itself, which is located in one of the boxes to the right. If it's telling you to "rasterize layers", click on "layer" across the top, go down to "rasterize layer".

When you're done, save your image twice - once as a PXD (a Pixlr image) so you can edit later if you want to and once as a PNG, which will be the transparent image to go on your site.

#2 Upload your signature PNG image to 

To do this, you need to set up a free account if you don't already have one. Click the "upload" button in the top middle. Upload the PNG file you created then click on your image.
Then on the right hand side (ignore the ad with the older lady), you will see a few link options. Select the one that says HTML and copy it (Ctrl C). We'll paste this code into Blogger.

#3 Open your Blogger dashboard

In the menu on the left, click Settings>Posts and Comments, then we'll be adding something to the "Post Template". You can see that mine is already there. Click the "add" button.

When the box comes up, type:


This will give you a few breaks before your signature so you have space to type your blog post above it.

Now, hit enter after that last <br> and hit Ctrl V to paste the HTML code into that box. You can even add a couple of <br> breaks after the code to leave a little space after your signature too. Then click "Save Settings" at the top.

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Now you can test your image in a new blog post and click preview. If there's a grey shadow behind it, follow step 4 to get rid of it. If there isn't a shadow, then you're done!

#4 Eliminate the grey shadow
My signature ended up in a white box with a grey shadow, and it was a bit annoying. Removing the shadow this way will remove the shadow from ALL of your images. I don't know how to remove it from only the signature. If you know, please tell me.

Go to your dashboard. Click Template>Customize>Advanced, then scroll down to "Add CSS". Then copy and paste this code into the box.

.post-body img, .post-body .tr-caption-container, .Profile img, .Image img,
.BlogList .item-thumbnail img {
  padding: none !important;
  border: none !important;
  background: none !important;
  -moz-box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;
  -webkit-box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;
  box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px transparent !important;
After you paste the code, click enter. Then "Apply to Blog". This will make the shadow go away.

And now you should see your signature on each new post! This tutorial will only add your signature to NEW blog posts. It seems there is a way to add it to old posts by editing the HTML, but those tutorials didn't work for me, so I'm just going to stick with this method.

I hope this tutorial has helped answer some of your questions AND that it works for you.

If you have any questions or additional comments, please let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for checking out my tutorial!!!

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