Where I've Been, Words of Thanks, and What's to Come


Many of you have noticed that I have been away for quite some time and haven’t been active in posting here at RapidWeaver Classroom, or on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you to all who have sent an email to check on me. I have wanted to share what has been going on for some time now, and I am finally at a place where I feel that I can. It’s important to me that I explain my absence, so please bear with me as I attempt to share in a concise but detailed way.

Where I’ve Been

The last couple of weeks of October 2014 were busy and exciting. RapidWeaver 6 launched and I had just completed a 2-week marathon of tutorial production that resulted in 52 new tutorials for RapidWeaver Classroom. My plan was to take a break from producing tutorials through the end of 2014, and to primarily focus on supporting RapidWeaver Classroom subscribers and RapidWeaver users in general with any questions or issues with upgrading and updating their websites in RapidWeaver 6.

The following month, my family received some news that changed everything. My wife was pregnant with our 3rd child, a baby boy, and at a routine appointment he was diagnosed with a terminal condition. We were told that he wouldn’t survive for long after being born — minutes, hours or days were what we were told to expect. We spent the following months grieving the eventual loss and anticipating what was coming. We lost our son, Eli, earlier this year, and then began a different kind of grieving process that still continues to this day.

I know that people cope with suffering and loss in different ways, and for me it was to retreat from isolation — to be with my wife and children as much as possible. For me, work is when I am most isolated, despite having the busyness of the work I have to do. That is part of why I have been away for as long as I have. The other reason for my absence is a financial one related to medical expenses, which has made it necessary for me to take on a number of freelance projects in recent weeks. My attention and focus has been on those, and while I am certainly thankful for those opportunities, I badly miss doing what I enjoy the most — developing training and supporting all of you in the work you are doing with RapidWeaver.

Words of Thanks

My wife and I recently had a great discussion about what we are thankful for, and we had plenty of things to mention. We have a 4 year-old boy and 2 year-old girl, and they have brought us so much joy during these past months. We also have wonderful family, friends and church community who have loved and supported us so well, and our faith in God had given us hope. This conversation also led to what I am thankful for in my work, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share some words of thanks here.

This year marks 10 years that I have been working with RapidWeaver, and RapidWeaver Classroom passed the 7-year mark last month. I love website development and teaching is one of my passions, so I am extremely thankful that I’ve been able to combine both of these for over 7 years now, and do so at a level where I can provide for my family. I recognize though that I wouldn’t be doing what I love without those that make RapidWeaver what it is. Thank you to Dan, Ben, Nik and the rest of the team at Realmac Software. You had a vision of something great, you made it a reality, and you have remained devoted to improving it over all these years. Thank you for putting an end to my years of wandering from one website development solution to the next. I am so thankful that I landed on RapidWeaver.

Thank you to the 3rd-party developer community, for bringing your unique talents to RapidWeaver and enhancing it with your offerings. If you have developed add-ons for RapidWeaver and offered support to your customers, then this is for you. I have had the privilege of communicating with many of you over the years, and can even call some of you friends. For those of you who I haven’t had personal contact with, I do apologize for that — I am kind of an online introvert, if such a thing exists, and kind of struggle with where my place is somewhere in-between a customer and a developer. I have great admiration for what you all do. I’ve been asked many times if I will begin developing themes or stacks, but I simply want to stick with what I love to do, and I want to leave that work to all of you who clearly have the talent and vision to do it. Thank you for your commitment to the RapidWeaver community.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who have supported my work here at RapidWeaver Classroom over the years. As I started thinking about what to write here, I thought about how many of you have entrusted me with details of your lives — even with similar suffering such as sickness and death — that has made it easier as I’ve considered sharing this with you. I am thankful to have been able to get to know many of you through email conversations or Skype calls, and to get to see how you’ve taken RapidWeaver and my training and created something great for your business or even your personal life. It’s been an absolute pleasure to receive your notes of encouragement and hear how my training has enabled you to bring your projects to life. I hope for many more years to do more of the same. Which leads to…

What’s to Come

I cannot wait to get back to developing new content, and I am now at a place where I can begin doing that. I don’t know what it looks like to make-up for months of inactivity, but I am going to do what I can to try. I will have more details concerning new material very soon, but I can say that my immediate focus is to build-out detailed, multi-part lessons on what I consider to be the most important topics when it comes to website development. I will continue to develop one-off “how-to-use” videos on various add-ons from time-to-time, but I want to move towards integrating these add-ons into more involved lessons that tackle specific topics.

I also have a much bigger vision for a better learning environment. Each iteration of the RapidWeaver Classroom membership area has taught me something new about creating the best user experience, and learning experience. The last major re-working of the membership area happened about 18 months ago, and it was a significant step forward, but the next evolution should prove to be a massive leap forward by comparison. I will be steadily working on this alongside the development of the new training to come.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, for your understanding and for your support. I look forward to sharing another update with you very soon.

Ryan
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