It’s no secret that I’m a fan of good design. I love it when things just click and work. I love it even more when a designer goes a step beyond and incorporates an aesthetic of beauty into a product that transcends basic functionality, regardless of if the product is a razor, a vehicle, a computer, or even something more mundane like a traffic cone or a pencil. It’s why I love to visit historic lighthouses, with intricate brickwork and wrought-iron railings that, for all an architect knew, would be seen only by hurried light keepers and frantic coast guardsmen. Every single product we see and use and touch in daily life was designed by someone. Why not strive for beauty in the process?

That attention to detail is what web designer Brian Gardner has done with his Wintersong theme for his personal blog. The theme is being given away to ten lucky fans next week, and I hope to be one of them. I appreciate the minimalist design that focus attention on content. The static header (similar to the one I’ve been using on WordPress.com’s Hum theme)  makes it easy for readers to navigate pages or connect via social media at any point in browsing. The font family, “Roboto Slab,” is similar to, though a bit more readable than the “American Typewriter” which has long been my creative font type of choice for personal letters. Brian’s attention to detail shines through, from carrying over his custom typography into the comments box on the theme so that readers can experience the pleasure of pressing out vintage copy, to his pervasive yet subtle use of Starbucks Green in navigation, links, and icons (highlight text on his blog to see how far this gets carried out). The theme isn’t without quirks. When using an iPad, if the page is loaded in portrait orientation and then shifted to landscape, there is some weird overflow between the header and content containers; and the minimalist menu widget disappears altogether on my iPod. But good designers know perfection, while often just within reach, is never truly attainable or desirable. What comes after perfection? What would be left to do?

Enough drooling, though. I’d like to win a copy of the theme because I want to put it to good use. I first started blogging back in 2009 when I was still working as local journalist and looking for an outlet to write more creatively and stretch my photography skills. I dropped out of blogging about halfway through grad school, partly because I no longer had time, and partly because the process of grad school and simultaneously navigating my first job as a minister in a congregation edged me into be more cautious and reserved in what I had to say. Expressing fresh ideas became a source of anxiety rather than a well of creative energy. With graduation behind me and life before me, I want that to change.

I hope to get back into blogging at least once a week as a way to keep me in conversation with others and as a way to push me out of my shell and risk some transparency, honesty, and perhaps even some half-baked ideas — things I think ministers don’t practice nearly enough. My previous attempts at blogging lacked topical focus. While I will likely continue to post occasional pictures of family vacations and the antics of my Samuel growing up, I want the primary focus of this blog to be about the connections between ministry and life. I hope to offer occasional reflections on scripture, toss around some theological ideas for conversation, and share stories (as appropriate, of course) from daily ministry that most people don’t get to experience — all in an attempt to help connect the dots between a life of faith and just plain old ordinary life. After all, it’s all life. It’s all real. It all matters. And this is my part for now.

Having an amazing theme to blog from would just make the process that much more fun.

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