I love Thanksgiving. I love the storied origins of this American holiday—battered people coming out of a bitter season and choosing to be thankful. And I love the current expressions of that tradition—family, food, and faith, and no commercialized pressure to buy gifts.
One of my personal Thanksgiving traditions is posting a “Thanksgiving Top Five” blog. Each year, I flip through my client folders and review the projects I’ve worked on. That process is important for me. It’s healthy to remember the interactions I’ve had with people. And seeing my list of completed jobs gives me a sense of accomplishment. Without taking the time to look back, I’m afraid one year would blur into another in a flurry of undocumented activity.
There are no established criteria for choosing my Top Five; the process is purely subjective. A project might represent a new skill I enjoyed learning. Or a purpose I enjoyed contributing to. Or a client who was particularly pleasant. In all cases, though, the Top Five—and, actually, all my projects—represent something I am thankful for.
Top Five projects I was thankful to work on this year
I blogged about my church’s website in May of this year (“What Makes a Good Church Website“), after the major work of transformation was complete and the site was up and running. It continues to be a project I am thankful for. Living Springs is a very active church, so there is always something to communicate. And the on-site staff and I have developed a nice working arrangement: with just a couple hours of training, they were able to learn some of the regular, weekly tasks (like updating the calendar and posting the blog of Scripture readings), leaving me to focus on tasks that involve wordsmithing, design, or special coding. This way, I can minimize the hours I spend (which allows me to stay within the church’s budget), and yet the site continues to receive dedicated attention each week.
Here’s a screenshot of the current home page—
And a screenshot of what the site used to look like—
Ardella Perry-Osler was a delight to work with. She came to me for help transforming her personal journal into a published book she could share with others going through the Alzheimer’s experience with a loved one. She had realistic hopes for her book, she expressed respect for the value I could add to the process, and she was not afraid to do her own marketing. I gave her a few tools and a few ideas, but she came up with many more, and then acted on them. Ardella recognizes that writing her book gave her an opportunity to process her own feelings, and publishing it now gives her opportunities to help others. I appreciated the opportunity to partner with her in this ministry. Clicking on the image above will take you to a page where you can purchase your own copy of Learning to Love Olivia.
(#3) Video for Providence Life Services
Providence Life Services is a nonprofit company that manages 7 independent/assisted living communities, 4 skilled nursing/rehab facilities, 1 “Continuing Care Retirement Community,” and 1 home-based services agency. Each year they hold a celebration event known as Torchlight, and I am part of a team that creates the collateral for the evening. This year’s Torchlight featured a video that showcased the stories of three families who have benefitted from three different Providence services—retirement living, rehab, and memory care. I had the opportunity to interview two of the three people videoed, and it was an honor to meet them and hear their stories. I am proud of how the video turned out, but the entire process made me glad to work for Providence Life Services, a ministry that is making a difference, offering hope, and enhancing life.
(#2) LifeLines on Facebook
When Facebook made changes to their interface and introduced “Timeline,” I became my own client and converted my LifeLines Facebook page to an online, interactive portfolio. Doing so not only gave me an opportunity to learn about the new features—and then share some ideas with LifeLines readers—it also has set me free from a small part of the social media plate-spinning act. While I continue to be social on my personal Facebook page, the communication is more one-sided on my business page, and that’s ok. I’m not trying to engage people, or start conversations, or build a community like I do on this blog; I’m simply posting samples and making information available. If people choose to comment, I’m delighted; but I feel no angst if they don’t.
(#1) LifeLines rebrand
I’m including this project in my Thanksgiving Top Five because it gives me an opportunity to express appreciation to Nick Doornbos. Nick is a young designer with a huge talent and a small ego. When I saw the work he did on a logo for a new church plant that he and I were both involved with, I asked him for help with a new LifeLines logo. He provided me 14 options and called that “Round 1” ! I liked them all and had to get input from friends and clients before choosing the one that you now see on my website. Once I narrowed it down, Nick provided me a color version and a black-and-white version, and he sent me all the files and fonts so that I would be able to modify the logo for a variety of uses—online, in print, embossed on USB drives, whatever. If you need design help, email Nick Doornbos. I recommend him.
How about you?
If my Top Five remind you of your own reasons to be thankful—personally or professionally—I hope you’ll share that in the comments! And whatever your faith tradition or family culture is, I pray that this Thanksgiving season will be a time of reflection and joy for you.