First Hang Up - New Name?

Before I made the decision to give my blog an overhaul I ran across a blogger who gave a lot of advice on rebranding. You may be familiar with her (Cori at Hey, Let's Make Stuff). I had no idea what 'rebranding' was so I took the time to learn what it was all about. At the time I thought this a little more than was necessary for me but I tucked it away for future reference.

I've come to reconsider.

My first order of business, before any redesigning took place, was to buy my domain name. From there I planned to choose a color palette and design my new header. Although I do not like GoDaddy in general, due to past incidents, I decided I would register my new URL with them and use Wonder Forest's coupon and tutorial. The first step is to, naturally, register my domain name.

And guess what? Mine was taken (I'm sure you guessed that).

I can't say that I am surprised either. I mean, Over the Horizon is pretty generic. I've thought of this before, only I had the idea that 'rebranding' (as now I know it is called) would be extremely complicated. But most of all --I had no idea what to change to.

Now it is necessary. And I suppose a good thing. Maybe it will be the making of me. That is, if I can do it right. The two blogs I've mentioned already will definitely be seeing a lot of me in the near future.

In creating a name for your blog it is pretty wise to come up with something simple but unique, something that will describe what you write about in just a few easy to remember (and write) words. You don't have to be a blog expert to know that.

Okay, so... a name relating to what I write about. That is not so easy.

I've often chided myself on the plethora of topics featured here on my blog:

Vintage fashion,
Movie reviews,
Spiritual growth,
Science (at least two categories), and
random human interest stories.

Professionals say that too many interests divides the readers and confuses people, making them less likely to return. Only you can tell me if this is true with my blog. It's kind of impossible to see your own blog through fresh eyes.

This internal discussion has hassled me for years. And now it rears its ugly head in this situation as well. How can I create a name that encompasses all I write about when in one post I talk about the COTS outbreaks (the Crown-of-Thorns sea star) and in the next outline how to make a snowflake necklace?

Am I over worrying? I would like my method to be acceptable but if it is not then I won't be happy with it.

Much to think about. Any thoughts?

Time for a Remodel!

As I said in my last post, I am remodeling this place! There's a handful of things that just don't gel to me and I want them to. My banner for one. I had a great time creating it but the colors just don't stand out like they should. My background is more vibrant than my banner. I have a few ideas now as to how I could have done it instead but I have also learned some other ways of making a header and therefore want to follow that path instead. But that's not all.

What my blog looks like now (for posterity sake).

Here's a sample of my blog remodel to-do list:

  • New template
  • Color palette
  • Header
  • Signature
  • Domain name
I've done my research and everyone seems to recommend Wordpress over Blogger, that is, if you want complete control. But I am not sure I want to make that leap. I have 190 posts that would somehow have to be moved (frankly, I am hoping if it ever comes down to that I will discover another way) and I just don't like the sound of it. And yet I have to admit, the control Wordpress offers is very tempting. Plus, I have worked with it in other areas of business. But for now I am staying with BlogSpot.

Let's talk color palette!

As opposed to past attempts at choosing a good design for my blog, I have a definite idea of what I want. Well, close to definite.

Here are two of my Color Appeal boards on Pinterest I intend to use (one or the other) as palette guidelines for my new design.

Color Appeal: Warm Vintage on Pinterest
This one is warm, earthy, and a bit fibrous, giving off a real cozy feeling. Being a green hazel-eyed red-head, these colors are the ones I naturally gravitate toward for my clothing style. You can check out further pins by going to my board.

The negative with that palette is the possibility of too much dark. I don't like a lot of dark so I would have to take care to balance it.

Color Appeal: Soft Vintage on Pinterest
This one is a little cooler, definitely lighter, with a flair for vintage. I am attracted to this palette, strange as it may seem in light of what I said before about earthy tones being my thing. Antique, vintage lace --I am a sucker for old-fashioned. Want to see some more? Check out my board.

The negative to this is how close it is to pastel. I do not want a pastel blog. Each of these tones have that quality but they are slightly darker, or warmer than pastels. I hope to keep it that way if I choose to go with this palette.

Unfortunately, I can't decide between the two palettes. I want to choose the one that I am going to be happy with for a long time but I am just not sure which it is. And before I design my header it would be a good idea to have this part of the decision making solidified.

So what do you think? Which palette would best describe my blog? What can you see me using most?

And yet this isn't my only hold up. Just when I know what I want and go to get it, it is not available! So more changes are in order. Check back soon to read what it's all about!!

The Latest with Me

My plans in October when I left Crochet Spot (you can read more here) was to take the next two months relaxing/getting it together so that when the new year arrived I would be raring to start something new. I didn't really have anything in particular in mind but I had some ideas.

Surprisingly, a few things developed in the last week of December that had my mind turned to something entirely different for the month of January, and possibly for many months to come. I prayed about it, and thought about it, and prayed about it some more. But apparently it wasn't to be, and this set me back, so to speak. I was back at square one: the new year had arrived and I had nothing solid to aim for.

Needless to say, I spent the next few weeks battling myself. Now I can see that it wasn't all for naught because I have learned a few things about myself in that struggle. And about God's goodness. Instead of barreling into the new year like I had planned (or really just hoped for) I have kind of crawled into it.

My intentions have been tempered, expectations renewed, and plans sculpted into something more tangible. I still do not know what this year may hold for me professionally but I have learned (I hope) that you can't force it and remain happy and content. I've said it time and again, I am a slow learner in God's lessons of life.

So, to start out with, my intentions go no further at the moment then remodeling my blog. I've had some new ideas, learned some new tricks from fellow bloggers, and want to put it all into action. All of which I want you to be a part of.

Look for my next post where I will discuss the changes I intend to make here!!

Beyond the Mask (2015) - Movie Review

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to my latest movie review! I am breaking the norm here on Over the Horizon by reviewing a modern movie. Check out my Movie Review page if you are new here and don't quite understand my meaning. But after watching this movie I just couldn't help myself. Read on and I'll tell you why.

My Synopsis

As a prestigious member of the British East India Company, Charles Kemp will stop at nothing to gain wealth and prestige, including employing elite assassins to accomplish the company's underhanded affairs. When assassin Will Reynolds is determined to leave the business and become a gentleman, Kemp tries to see to it that he is destroyed. Only Will escapes and finds refuge in a small English town, assuming the role of vicar. He believes he has found the new life he seeks when he falls in love with kindhearted Charlotte Holloway, yet his past finds him out and forces him to escape once again, this time to the Americas. Charlotte is devastated and follows her uncle to the Americas, little knowing that Will still lives. It is the year 1776 and Will, as determined as ever to redeem himself and prove himself worthy of Charlotte's love and kindness, finds employment working at a print shop for a man named Benjamin Franklin. He becomes embroiled in the affairs of the colony and their desire to be free of England and decides to use his skill to thwart the evil plans Kemp has for them. Charlotte too comes to sympathize with the desired independence of the people and finds herself in the middle of Kemp's plans. During the outplay of America's most crucial moments as a nation, Will realizes that all of his efforts to save himself have come to nothing. He must learn that only God can redeem him and make him the man he wants to be, all while simultaneously playing his part in saving the American people from certain doom.

Simply put, Beyond the Mask is inspiring and well made. It was created, produced, directed, (and you name it!) by The Burns Family Studios. Though they practically have only one other production under their belt, so to speak, you would never guess it seeing the quality of this film.

The role of evil villain Charles Kemp, is played by talented and seasoned actor John Rhys-Davies, one of my personal favorites since his role as Gimli in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, while troubled adversary, Will Reynolds is played by actor Andrew Cheney. Charlotte Holloway is played by actress Kara Killmer and a plethora of other talents make up the supporting characters, all of which do exemplary jobs.

When I first heard about the movie I was definitely interested. It had a combination of qualities that caught my attention, the first being a period action/adventure. But the story of redemption proved to intrigue me as well. I wanted desperately for this to be a smash!

I heard later from other sources that the movie was not as good as it looked and I can't tell you how disappointed I was. I was afraid another Christian movie had bombed out. But I would not let myself create an opinion until I saw it. I was guarded but still very hopeful.

So I was thoroughly delighted when I finished the movie and loved it!! The Burns Family Studios had pulled the film off beautifully in many ways, such as:

- Excellent costuming and overall appearance! Naturally I would point this one out first since I am a fellow costume enthusiast. I felt the costumes were true to the period and very well made. The team of designers and assistants deserve a hand for their hard work. But that is all I will say on this subject for now. I intend to commit a post entirely to the costumes and hair styles of the movie in the future.

- Effortlessly skilled action sequences! The fight scenes were well choreographed and intense, something most movies made by budding movie makers fail at miserably. I can't help being harsh --if you can't make it believable and true to life, then don't try it. Not so with Beyond the Mask!

- Superb sets and CGI! I must definitely say the physical sets felt authentic. Being part of a family greatly involved in computer graphics and animation, I can't help but notice, and judge, the quality of it in other movies. I did not once feel the word "cheesy" while watching this movie. To the trained eye, some CG is noticeable, but her there are times you couldn't have guessed it.

- Beautiful romance! Not too much, not too little. I especially appreciated the wisdom Charlotte portrayed when she told Will she could not trust herself to make a decision of such importance on her own.

- Most of all, Will's progression of redemption was believable! I am a hard critic of this in modern Christian fiction. All too often the redemption of a lost person comes about all too simply and that is hardly ever the case in real life. I was very much satisfied with the progression of Will's spiritual understanding, and even more pleased that the truth of salvation was given so well.

So yes, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone interested. Despite the negative comments by some of the media (and I am sorry to say, a few fellow Christian's) the film seems to have pleased the public as a movie should. And I would say more so. Besides, when was the last time a movie was made around this period? This was fresh and new.

I have given you my opinion (and plenty of it, I'm sure), now it is your turn to let me know what you think. I'm all ears!

How to Tell if You Are Suffering from the Martha Syndrome (And 5 Ways to Deal With It)

Disclaimer: This is not a medical post and as far as I know, there is no illness called the Martha Syndrome. Correct me if I am wrong.

I have this problem, and so do many of you, with being distracted in prayer. We're distracted for many reasons, good or bad, and it can be the hardest thing to tackle.

I call it the Martha Syndrome and the symptoms can be found in many areas of our lives. But let's speak of how it affects our prayer. You begin your prayer with a little praise and maybe some thanks, throw in a few prayer requests, all with this anxious, nagging feeling reminding you of all you have yet to do. You find yourself feeling both frustrated and guilty because you don't have the time to spend on your relationship with your Heavenly Father and before you know it, you have a worse attitude than before you began.

I am going to give you some personal advice on how to deal with this. But first let me explain why I call it what I call it.

What is the Martha Syndrome?

A couple of thousand years ago there lived two sisters and a brother who were very good friends of Jesus's. When Jesus came to dinner he did what he normally did and that was talk about the things of God. He would preach truth to His hungry listeners, and at this time, Mary, a fellow hostess with her sister Martha, sat at Jesus feet and listened. As sisters are prone to do, Martha was angry with Mary for leaving her to do all of the work and she said so to Jesus. But instead of berating Mary, Jesus told Martha that her distraction over the needs of the moment were keeping her from true worship. *

We don't know what Martha said to that, but I am sure a good guess would be to say that she rightly took His words to heart and endeavored to learn the lesson she was just taught.

I will admit right now that I am a Martha instead of a Mary, distracted by important needs and therefore likely to miss the beauty of the moment. Although I attest to this in character --something you cannot change because it is the way you were made-- it is also a symbol of what many of us are like in the face of distraction. I call it "the Martha Syndrome".

If you suffer from this syndrome as well when it comes to prayer, and you want to do something about it, then read on. But beware, like all things worth doing, it takes time and commitment.

How to Deal with the Martha Syndrome

1. Block out distractions.
Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia and founder and president of In Touch ministries, is a strong advocate of taking care to block out all distractions when preparing to talk with the Lord. Time and time again he has stressed the importance of conducting your prayer time in a dark room or closet where noise and other distractions are less likely to interrupt. It might seem a little peculiar but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Other ways to minimize distractions are by turning off your phone, or in fact, leaving it in the other room where you can neither see nor hear it. But of course you must tailor this to your own needs and uses.

2. Start with honesty.
I am not going to begin to instruct you on the proper way to pray but from my own experience, here are a few things I would recommend. When I am struggling with those feelings I mentioned before, I have found it's a good idea to tell Him so. Be honest and tell Him what is on your mind that is distracting you, and then be sure to ask Him to give you peace and concentration during your prayer time with Him. Simply talking does wonders and He is always ready to listen.

3. Move on to praise.
After baring your soul, start praising Him for what He has done and will do. For me, this has become a great foundation for getting my prayer priorities on the right track. It gets your mind off of you and onto the One you are worshipping.

4. Speak out loud.
This isn't always easy and it definitely depends on where you are, but at times, praying out loud to God seems to cement your thoughts and provide clarity. This definitely cuts distraction for me, but it is just a bit awkward with others in the room or nearby.

5. Remember the work will wait for you.
Remind yourself that your prayer time is the most important thing you will do all day long and everything else falls in behind it. This said, the work will be there when you finish, whether sooner or later.

This is how I handle the Martha Syndrome when it raises its troubling head in my life. That is, when I am patient enough to see the importance of it. Obviously, there are times when you simply cannot spend the time you may wish to in prayer. I will readily admit that I have not learned the lesson Jesus taught Martha and in turn is trying to teach each of us.

What about you? What steps do you take to minimize distractions in prayer and bible study in your life? Give me your honest opinion on what you think of mine.

*The account of Mary and Martha is can be read in John 10: 38-42