Saturday, March 27, 2010

Billy Graham visits + Website Backup + Learning about Facebook

Early Evening
Billy Graham Visits the Den

Bear spent a while last night going through old Billy Graham videos, looking for just the right one to put in The Balcony.  She found videos clear back to 1949 -- he sure looked young back then! But he already spoke incredibly well, and was very on-target right from the start.  The one Bear chose was from 1957, because in it, Billy Graham answers a lot of questions that non-Christians have about Christianity.  And Bear wished she had heard something like it before she became a Christian -- it might have saved her some grief.

Technology is so incredible nowadays.  Bear never thought she would have Billy Graham visiting her Den!  Wonders never cease.  :-)

Website Backup

Today, was mainly spent backing up the Den's files.  Bear got kind of nervous, after pouring a whole week of almost non-stop work into it, thinking that if something catastrophic happened to the site and she lost all the writing she had done, (plus all the formatting, room setups, etc), that she would be one unhappy Bear.

So she cranked up the Den's Worship Favorites player, and spent a couple hours doing a lot of monotonous backup work, copying every post, and every Page, and all the code for all the individual gadgets and widgets into backup files, using notepad.  Glad to have that done!

Now, she just has to remember to update the backup files everytime she makes changes.  Which shouldn't be too bad, using Notepad files -- basically just a quick cut and paste operation, now that all the files are set up.

Learning about Facebook

Learning about Facebook was not so clear-cut and straightforward.  Bear did get signed up for membership without any problem.  But figuring out how "walls" work, and what a newsfeed is, and how to share content and privacy settings, and, and, and . . . Big Bear sigh.  It seems kind of like landing on an alien planet, suddenly being in the midst of all those walls and profiles and friends links and friend of friends links.  Do they have friends of friends of friends of friends, she wonders?

Bear is going to pray on this much, not sure what to set her privacy settings for.  She's thinking about just going fully public, but also thinking about going fully private, with all sorts of options in between to contemplate.  But for now is mainly just "lurking", keeping all her privacy settings on "only me" viewing, and wandering around the site, kind of trying to start to feel less alien.

Part of the problem is that it's a whole new language on Facebook planet.  Bear knows what a "story" means in real life, but how a "news feed" connects to a "story" and what a "story" means on Facebook could be anything.  And where Bear comes from, walls are made out of mud or rock or branches.

However, she did have lots of fun roaming about Facebook planet, and found a few Christian Teen groups.  Even found one fantastic teen video that'll likely be appearing in the Teen Worship section of the Worship Room on the first day it opens.  The group is not professional yet, so are posting their videos available to all, but their singing and faith are surprisingly strong.  And when Bear clicked on their friends, it led to other teens testifying about the Lord in interesting ways, on their "walls".

So Bear's beginning to have some fun at Planet Facebook.  Who knows?  Maybe a Facebook Share button will even appear on the Den wall someday soon.  It's kind of amazing the way you just click a button on someone's wall in Facebook, and make something appear on your own wall -- Bear stumbled onto how that part works already, making the teen worship video appear on her wall, before she even understood what button she had just clicked.

But it's Saturday evening, and time to catch up on some basic life chores that have been "on hold" this week while Bear played in the Den.  Bear wants to have them out of the way, so she can kick back and enjoy Sunday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

God smiled at Bear + Changing the time order of posts

Late Afternoon
God smiled at Bear

Bear is sooo excited. And just has to stop and praise our Most Awesome God Most High!  Because this morning God did something that SO illustrated His Presence to Bear, that she's just hopping around in excitement and thankfulness.

Bear worked all night on the Den again last night, and although she made some progress, as noted in the last post, and was happy about that, she was starting to think she had gone absolutely Bear crazy.  She's still fighting to recover from a case of anemia, and yet this past week she has only gotten 3 to 4 hours of sleep every 24 hours, and sometimes less than that, even. 

It's like what happens to Bear when she drinks coffee.  (She's one of those bears who coffee has a really overblown stimulating effect on -- to say the least, and can be up a couple of days straight if she drinks one cup of it.)   But Bear hasn't been drinking any coffee at all.  Well, except for 1/3 cup yesterday -- but that was the first all week. 

Yet she's been wide awake almost all the time this past week, as if she was on coffee.  And in the midst of a case of anemia.  (Although the anemia has been steadily improving, thankfully.)  It's like her body suddenly flipped out of "anemia mode" into "coffee mode" with no coffee in sight, and no other apparent cause to account for such a change.

So this morning, when finally getting to bed, after another long night of trying to make Blogger do things it's not really designed to do, Bear was thinking that she would be wiser to dump the whole thing.

And why would a Bear really want a blog anyway?  She was reminding herself she must have better things to do with her time than setting up some crazy blog that was probably going to take more time than it was worth to maintain and run anyway.  And what was the point?  And she was likely damaging her health with all this blog craziness!  And she must have gone absolutely looney. 

To sum it up, Bear was pretty depressed.  She went to sleep repenting to the Lord for getting things out of perspective and wishing she was a better Cub to Him than she is.

And she unplugged all the telephones and turned off the cell, and made plans not to touch the Blog for days, and promised herself when she did come back to it, she'd leave out the extras for now, and just post Blog posts.  And get sane.  And stop all this nonsense.  And she planned to sleep for about 24 hours straight, and then get up and seek the Lord in prayer for more stability and logical walk in the future, and for basic sanity.

But then she woke up just four hours later, and before her eyes were fully open, she suddenly knew what to do to set up a blank page template that would match the Den's Template Background, that she could use to host additional web pages on another host, and connect them back to the blog/Den in Blogger, making it one large website. 

Bear's had a smattering of HTML language learning in the past, and knew some of the most basic things about coding for a basic page.  But only a smattering -- not enough to handle frames, and sidebars, and gadgets, and widgets, and not even much text formatting stuff.

Yet there was suddenly revelation, like a shaft of sunlight, bright in the midst of HTML ignorance and blog confusion and darkness -- she got out of bed, walked to the computer, turned on the screen and had the first step completed, before fully getting her eyes open.  Then after the first step, she suddenly knew how to look up information on the Web to get help to finish the second step -- knew what the second step should be and how to look up the details.  And so with the third.  And the fourth.  And it all fell together perfectly, with no glitches, one step after another. 

And before Bear knew what had hit her, she had a blank page template setup with the Lighthouse background on it, and buttons on it to navigate back to the main Den with . . . and she knew how to put gadgets and widgets in it -- so she can insert both text and any blogger gadget (like videos, images, link lists, etc.)  It took a couple of hours, but just all fell together perfectly.

And she tested it out, and it works.  (And that's with just using Notepad for her html document "software" and an FTP program to upload it onto the Web with.  Although she's thinking about looking for a cheap older version of Microsoft Front Page, which would be very helpful in the longrun.  She was able to do it with the bare bones basics today.)

And then, when she was trying to take in the fact that God had given her "wisdom" suddenly on something, so startling and like never before in her life -- just showing her something so completely and suddenly like that that she couldn't do on her own or with her own knowledge . . . just when she was coming out of shock and starting to thank Him for that . . . she suddenly had another revelation, which, if it works, shows her how to set up as many rooms as she wants to, including SUB ROOMS, including links to various pages from within the SUB ROOMS.  (For example, the main Worship Room could have three smaller rooms within it:  Teenage Worship; Kids Worship; Adult Worship.  And then the Adult Worship could be further subdivided with links to various pages in it's sidebar to access various worship Video Players -- like one for hymns, one for instrumental, etc) 

Bear doesn't know for sure if that last revelation will work or not yet.  And she's going to plug the phone back in and get back to normal life for awhile again before trying it out.  And hopefully get some more sleep first as well.

But she's recorded step by step instructions on how to do it, and thinks it very likely will work, considering the way the other stuff worked so well.  Plus, it makes sense to her.

She thinks she's beginning to know how Daniel felt when he and his friends prayed for revelation about the King's dream to avoid getting killed in Daniel, Chapter Two. (The King had sent out a decree to kill all of them and any of his other advisors because they couldn't tell him what he had dreamed the night before, so Daniel went and talked the problem over with his friends). . .  "17Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
 18That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
 19Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
 20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
 21And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:
 22He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
 23I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.
 24Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.
 25Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.
 26The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?
 27Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;
 28But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; (Daniel 2:17-28, King James Version)"

That's what it felt like to Bear today -- "a secret revealed unto Bear in a night vision" -- which has never really happened to Bear before -- and Bear is so thankful to know she's not totally crazy to be trying to put together a Writing Blog and Worship/Christian Resource website after all -- it looks to her like, since God's giving her sudden wisdom on it, He's most likely in favor of the whole project -- and Bear thanks the Lord, Most High . . . "I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee".  And Bear thanks anyone who has prayed for her in all this.  God answers.  God is awesome.  :-)

Late Night
Changing the time order of the posts

Bear is going to change things around so things post in better time order, in her journal here, than they have been.  Right now, everything posts in normal "blog time" order.  Meaning that the most recent post made always goes on top.  That's not a bad system for people who only post once a day, but is confusing to Bear when she reads back in her journal, because she posts more than once a day, often.

So, say on a Saturday, she posts three times in the day.  It comes out with the post she did at night, coming out on top, right under "Saturday".  Which would be OK.  But when a person gets to the end of reading that post, they feel like they're done with Saturday -- because that's the post that had Saturday displayed.  The other two posts that were also made on Saturday come out underneath, but don't have Saturday displayed on the top of each of them, and it makes the whole thing confusing.

So Bear is going to change the time of day on old posts, so they post in right order.  And then she's going to stop posting more than once a day -- just make a DRAFT of each post during the day if she thinks she's going to post more than once that day -- and then save it all as one post.  So a person can read all of Saturday's posts, for example, from top to bottom in logical order, like in a real-life journal.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Congratulations Winners + Bear Wants to build an addition

Late Afternoon
Congratulations Winners!

Congratulations again to all the winners of this week's Writing Challenge!  Bear has had a chance to look at just a few of the entries, and they are excellent.  She's looking forward to getting around to reading more.

But at the moment, Bear is still very preoccupied with moving cleanup and settling in still.

Late Night (Actually, very early Friday morning)
Bear wants to build an addition

Bear decided to cut down on the number of family photos in the sidebar and make things a bit more streamlined there. 

Bear also decided she wants more rooms reasonably soon.  She's thinking of a Bible room.  And once the worship room starts filling up more, will likely want to have an extra room for kids/teen worship type stuff and interests, separate from the main worship room.

So she spent the night looking into WordPress and other blogging and Website setup options . . .  Hours of frustration.

And I tell you, it sure made me appreciate Blogger more.  Theoretically, Wordpress is supposed to be better than Blogger if you want more than 10 pages.  Also, it can create sub-pages.  However, it looks to me like you have to mess with the code a lot more, every time you want to do even basic things like adding a gadget or widget.  And I don't want to spend lots of time learning how to do all that. 

Blogger seems much faster and easier to work with.  And the other free blogging solutions seemed to also have more flaws than blogger.. At least for a beginner like me.

So then I thought maybe I could somehow copy my template background and put it on another website hosting service -- then just build a normal website there, as an extension of the blog here.  I could link the two together, and if they had the same background template look, it would work nicely. 

But I couldn't figure out how to move the background. 

So I prayed on it, very frustrated. 

Then a possible solution hit me.  And I really think it might work. 

I decided that I could just create a second Blogger blog, with the same template background.  Because you can create as many blogs as you want to on Blogger, apparently.  And I can set up the side bar to match in the other blog also.  And then I can cross link them.  (Because I had already set up the Header Links in a text gadget anyway -- so all I have to do is copy the gadget from one blog to another.) 

So now, Bear has up to a total of 20 rooms available to expand into in future, and is happier again.  (IF the idea works.)  Or, if she wanted to set up a third blog, 30 rooms; or, if she wanted to set up a fourth blog . . .

Time to call it a night!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to new Den Visitor + What are followers? + More work on the Den + Feeling at home

Welcome LaTawnia!

Welcome to the Den, LaTawnia!  Bear looks forward to getting to know you more, as time goes on.

Bear is trying to figure out "Following" more

Bear has to admit that she had no idea what a "follower" was, until recently, when she looked in the Help Files for an explanation.  Bear is kind of a social klutz, and hasn't had any experience at all with social networking type stuff yet.  Although she IS thinking about joining Facebook, just to give it a whirl and find out more about it and try to figure these things out.  She also still doesn't really understand things like RSS feeds, podcasts, and many other modern Web innovations, that are just routine to most people.  Even putting together this blog/website has been a MAJOR "learning as she goes experience".  

(About 7 years ago, I had a very SMALL blog on Blogger.  But in those days, you could only do one page, and, as far as I know, "gadgets" and "widgets" weren't yet in vogue.  And the only social networking site that was really going strong was MySpace.  But it was very suspect and parents worried about their kids being on it -- while the kids were apparently happily  "social networking" years ahead of their parents.)

Anyway, Bear is about 7 years behind the times on lots of major Internet technology -- and 7 years is a LONG time gap, considering the speed at which the technologies are changing.

But, although Bear is not sure she fully understands how "following" works, and hasn't dared to try it herself yet, she's glad you're here.  Your visit today was an encouragement, just at the time when Bear was starting to think she had gone a bit overboard-crazy in all the moving-to-the-Den work frenzy.

More work on the Den

Today has been a saner day, though.  Bear actually got more sleep, and got caught up on kitchen work.  And she found some time to dig through some old family photos and found a less blurry one of BearBear at keyboard.  Plus, she was happy to stumble onto the one, where she's hanging out at the front Den entrance.  (She's the one on the far right-hand side.) So she hung those up on the walls and things are starting to look less bare around here.  Or, maybe they're actually looking MORE "bear"?  (I may not have completed the homonym writing challenge, but at least I got ONE pair in!)

Also, she found time to pop over to FaithWriters and wave hello, so people there won't think she died or something.  :-)

So, it's beginning to look like life is going to start to return more to its normal pace, fairly soon.

But right now, hibernation -- preferably long hibernation -- is what's on Bear's agenda.

Late Night
It's beginning to feel homey around here

Well, Bear is starting to feel at home in her den.  She's got the Worship Video player on, as she posts this, listening to great worship music.  Has got the mail system setup so she has outside communication with the world.  Has got a new quiz in the Rec Room ready to do after finishing this post, and this week's Bible Memory Verse on the blackboard, in sight, for practice.  Plus, has instant access to Bible look-up, and can even have whole Bible chapters read to her aloud -- (using BibleGateway) in whatever version she wants.  Quick one-click access to a multitude of awesome Christian Resources, good reading . . .

She's one happy Bear, as she tilts the recliner back, feet up, and surveys her new domain.

There's lots of work to be done yet, and more "moving trucks" on the way eventually, with more furniture for many of the rooms.  But the initial moving rush is over, and all basic utilities in operation.

It has been a very hectic moving season though, and Bear's pretty tired.

In fact, she's been so caught up by all the moving excitement, that she hasn't even entered the Homonym mini Writing Challenge at FaithWriters this week yet.  Not sure if she's going to get that done or not.  Will see if she's got a bit of energy back tomorrow, after getting some sleep . . .

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Video Player goes up + Why Bear chose the videos she did for her Favorites

Bear loves the Video Player

And is happy and excited to have the music videos up!

Why Bear chose the videos she did for her Favorites

Some people visiting the "Bear's Favorite Worship Song Videos" section of the Writing Den, may wonder why Bear chose some of these particular music videos to add to her "Favorites" list.  Because there is an unusually wide variety of music styles included, to say the least ...

Some of the videos are deep worship-type song videos, sung with an element of deep prayer and praise.  Others are speedier, and more on the exultant side of Praise.  Some take place in churches where jeans wouldn't be frowned upon.  Some in "cathedrals", with stained glass windows. One even takes place out in an empty football field.  And a few are even Christian "rap" music -- almost loud rock -- and are some teen and kid music that normally I wouldn't personally enjoy whatsoever. (Although I do like listening to some of the music kids do -- some of the more blaring and jump-around stuff  with loud guitars and loud drums seems more like noise to these older ears.)

For example, the songs selected that are by Hillsong Kids seem a bit rough and kind of noisy, more than purely melodic to me; and aerobic jumping-around while praising the Lord is not my personal worship style, to say the least.  In fact, Bear would probably drop from exhaustion, just trying to keep up with them for 30 seconds.  :-)

However, I love to listen to the WORDS those kids are singing, some of them not even 9 years old yet, and love to watch them express their love and faith in the Lord in their own way.  And, when I listen to them, and study their faces, I see many of them with a deep love for the Lord.  And I am touched by their witness -- sometimes at the same level as by some of those more my age and style, who do my style of worship songs more.

I enjoy watching the teen Korean Christian rap dancers, as another example, because I know the particular song they are singing and its English words, and love to watch the pure joy on their faces, as they dance and praise His Name, and proclaim how much they love Jesus, and that EVERY move they make, and every breath they take is through HIS Grace.

So people visiting the Den will find quite a variety of expression posted in Bear's song section.

They'll find Michael W. Smith bowing in reverent prayer at his piano bench in front of a piano painted in rainbow colors, when getting ready to sing "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"; find a line of robed Presbyterians heading for the altar in a cathedral, singing "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee", where sunlight filters down from above, through stain glassed windows; and will find 6 year olds leaping around wildly in songs by the Hillsong Kids, waving hands in the air, as they sing how "God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son ...", and then in another song will see some of those same 6 year olds, eyes half-closed in prayer, and then in another (Tell the World) singing with even wilder energy about witnessing that Love to the world, and proclaiming that God is their only hope for standing in that Witness.

But there's one thread that runs steadily throughout all the various types of music styles and types of expression in Bear's Den ...

In each music video, the love and worship of the Lord and desire to give the whole life to Him -- no matter what -- shine through bright and clear and clean.  And move me deeply as I listen and watch.

His Spirit shines through; the Light bright.  Especially when Bear jumps from one worship video to another, and sees the wide variety of ways people lift their hearts to Him.

Bear doesn't know if other people will be interested in seeing any song videos or not (but thinks they're missing a blessing if they don't explore Christian Music Videos, because it's a new worship genre that has a very unique way of juxtaposing visual imagery of various sorts with music and words, that ends up putting together some very deep and thought-provoking messages about the Lord and His Truth.)

But even if no one else were to listen and watch, Bear's happy to have her music area in the Writing Den anyway, all the links handy.  That way, when she's writing here, she can just hit a music link, while working; and listen to people praising the Lord in another "window" on her computer in the background, as she writes.

From 5 year olds to 90+ year olds, our voices are raised together in one accord . . . singing in awe of the One Who has given us Life and Grace and Hope.

And the witness and joy in that, expressed in these videos, in all the colors of the rainbow, strengthen my faith and personal walk in the Lord.