Grad School, Instructional Design and Technology (IDTE), and New Beginnings…

2015-07-07 13.26.45I created this blog in September, 2006, as a place to share my writings, passions, devotionals, and in general my thoughts about the world around me.  For the past eight years, much of my content has been related to my daughter, Bethany, and her ongoing health issues.  Today, Bethany’ health is much improved after surviving a liver transplant, a re-sectioning of the liver, multiple rejections, five separate bouts of septic shock, cancer, and having tubes placed into her liver allowing the bile to drain and to help widen her bile ducts because they were closing up from scar tissue.

These past eight years have been the most difficult of our family’s life.  Loss, sacrifice, weariness, and anxiety remained our daily companion.  Don’t get me wrong, we still experienced joy, hope, and love, much love.  But once death has spent the night with you, camped at your door, attempted to make a home in your life, it is difficult not to sense his constant presence, see his effect, and feel his cold breath upon the one you love.  In an effort to ward him off, no obstacle has been too big, no sacrifice too great to insure the health of the one we love.

For our family, this meant many sacrifices.  My wife returned to work as an engineer providing better medical insurance for us, and I left work to become a stay-at-home dad.  It took Angela from the joy of being a stay-at-home mom to the corporate world, and it took me from being a senior pastor to a healthcare provider and home school teacher.    This past August marked two years for Bethany being cancer free, and this November Bethany will celebrate her third anniversary since her liver transplant.  Amazing to think about, and even more amazing to celebrate and praise God for all He has done and continues to do.

What happens now after so long of an effort?  How do you pick up the pieces of a life, dreams, and a future?  In the movie The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King, Frodo has a voice over at the end of the movie which I deeply identify with.

Thirteen months to the day since Gandalf sent us on our long journey… we found ourselves looking upon a familiar sight. We were home. How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on… when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend… some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.~ Frodo, Return of the the King (Movie, 2003)

These thoughts weigh heavy upon my own heart.  Some hurts do go too deep.  They do take hold…and it will be okay, but they must take hold.  They must dig deep, and we must never be the same.  God has unseen purposes in our sorrows, and it is for our good and His glory.

When I began this blog, I named it Things Not Seen:  Perspectives on the Unseen World Around You.  This was based on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

What we see, feel, taste, and touch are transient, but those things unseen, unfelt, untasted, and untouched are eternal.  Through all our family has endured, we have attempted to look for what is unseen, for what is eternal, because we know that God is preparing us for the eternal weight of glory.  Furthermore, we know that God has put eternity into the hearts of humanity.  Therefore, we know that God desires our light and momentary troubles to be a means to share and prepare others for eternity too.  Finally, in this new season, God has given our family a new scripture for guidance.

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

What does this mean?  It means new beginnings with new purposes.  God is doing a new thing!  He is making a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert.  We definitely have been in a wilderness and a desert, but we are now making a new beginning, traveling new roads, and drinking from new rivers of life.

One of these new roads for me is a new career.  I have not given up on ministry.  I continue to lead in many ministry areas at our church.  Instead, God has directed me to a new way of doing ministry.  He has graciously granted me the opportunity to combine two of my loves, teaching and technology, into a new career field called Instructional Design and Technology.  This past September I began working on a Masters of Education of Science in Instructional Design and Technology at Samford University.  This new training will equip me to create and collaborate in the creation of online learning curriculum.  Imagine the possibilities of bringing distant learning and the gospel to the most remote and distant places on the globe.

So, as this blog’s purpose has evolved over the years, it is evolving once again.  I imagine I will occasionally still post a musing, poem, devotion, or update on Bethany, but for the time being, Things Not Seen will now serve as my electronic journal about what I am learning in my masters program.  Expect to continue seeing projects, articles about multimedia,Instructional Design, and online/e-learning.  Imagine and dream with me.  Consider what God is doing all around you to prepare you for the eternal weight of glory, and see if He might be doing a new thing in your life, creating a way in the wilderness and a river in the desert!

Blessings, Taylor

P.S. – Allow me to share a quick hack regarding the use of multimedia in your blog entries to kick off the new purpose of Things Not Seen.

Inserting images and video into a presentation these days has become extremely easy.  Often it requires only dragging and dropping the image or video into your blog or presentation.  The image above of our family I add through a simple insert tool which WordPress provides.  You simply upload your image and then select it for insert.  You can place the image anywhere in your post and then select it and choose how you wish to orient it (center, left, or right).

The video from the Lord of the Rings was even easier to insert since I chose to grab it from YouTube.  All I had to do was fine the video I wanted to use, select the share button below the video which then provided me a short url link, copy the link, return to my blog, select the insert location, and paste the short url link into my blog post.  WordPress did the rest.  As soon as the url was inserted, my video appeared ready to view.

Using images, audios, and videos in any presentation can add interest to your presentation, but you must follow one simple rule when using multimedia in your presentation.  It must serve a purpose.  It must add to your presentation and not distract from it.  You can’t just insert media which has no clear connection to the content of your presentation.  Below I have inserted two videos.  One is a music video by Mark Schlutz titled He’s My Son.  It has to do with a parent’s prayer for their sick child.  The second video is a project I recently did about being your child’s healthcare advocate.  Both have relevance to my above blog entry.

Here’s how I could have presented and insert these videos as a part of the end of my above blog entry.

Before you go, take a moment to watch and listen to this song by Mark Schultz.  It’s titled He’s My Son.  This song speaks deeply to any parent who has had to sit by helplessly and watch their child suffer.  Below it I have posted one of my first IDTE projects.  In it, I provide a few quick ways on how to be a medical advocate for a child or loved one.


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