I have always had an interest in building websites, even as a kid. I built my first website when I was 13, and took a Photoshop and web design class at my local community college when I was 16. I bought my first domain and personal hosting service and launched Unexpected Realities on September 3, 2003.
The site began as a vehicle to strengthen my HTML code skills, display my Photoshop artwork, and, well…to blog about angsty teenager issues. I took a (small) break of about 6 years from the site when I graduated from college, and revamped it in 2016. I moved the site onto a WordPress platform and am currently using the Divine theme by Restored316 on the Genesis Network.
Why Unexpected Realities?
I am honestly not positive why my young 17-year-old self chose Unexpected Realities as my domain name. I knew I wanted something unique that would stand out and wouldn’t become obsolete over time. The name was inspired by Colossians 2:17, which says: “These were a shadow of the things to come…the reality, however, is found in Christ.” But I think I ultimately chose the name because of the sorrow I was experiencing over events occurring in my home life.
The time I spent on my site became less and less after I went to college, and I stopped working on it altogether after I graduated and got married in 2009. I wasn’t sure why I kept this site around, even though it was sitting with a hiatus status on the home page for all those years. For some reason, I couldn’t let it go. I didn’t have much interest in my site again until February 2016. We had just had our third infertilty treatment, which had once again failed. I began to feel a tug from the Lord to write about the pain of infertility and to help others know that they were not alone. And I already had website with an appropriate name to write about our infertility journey, this new unexpected reality. After all, infertility is a harsh reality that no couple thinks will happen to them. Without knowing where it would lead, I relaunched my site in April 2016.
Here are some of my site’s pre-Wordpress era layout versions, from circa 2003 – 2008. These were all created by me in Photoshop 7.
V. 18 Amber
Inspiration from the song “Amber” by 311. (Feel the angst). Stock images from Foto Decadant, Anahita-Stock. Textures from hybrid-genesis.
V. 13: Faramir and Eowyn
Eowyn and Faramir in the Houses of Healing, to celebrate the release of Return of the King: Extended Edition. Pictures from Emyn Arnen and Arwen Undomiel. Brushes from Orchidee. Textures from Tere-art and TRE-XTURE.
V. 11: Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes inspired layout. The images were all scanned by me from comic books and the brushes are from 8nero brushes.
V. 10: Hold me Jesus
Inspired Rebecca St. James version of “Hold Me Jesus.” Fonts are DaVinci Forward, Penstylefountain crazy, and Courier. Brushes are from The Magic Box and Komodo Skin. One or two textures are from TRE-XTURE.
V. 7: Arwen’s Vision
This layout is called Arwen’s Vision. In RotK, Arwen is on her way to the Grey Havens when she sees a vision of a child. This child is her son, Eldarion. After the vision, she realizes she must stay with Aragorn because there is hope for her future. Credits go to here, here, and here.
V. 3: “Love, Liberty, Disco” layout
My first layout created in 2003. Newsboys was my favorite band growing up. Inspired by the “Love, Liberty, Disco” album.