The Genius Blog
Building a Slideshow
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 4/12/12 09:23 AM EST
Everyone needs to go to a funeral now and then. Particularly one of someone your own age.
I went to a memorial service this week for the relative of a friend of mine. I went to support my friend and had never actually met the man that died. The man was my age, though, and tragically left behind a wife and a young son.
Despite the fact that I never knew this guy, this service moved me more than anything has in a while. While I know that all memorial services tend to focus on fond memories of the deceased – this one went far beyond the typical niceties. It quickly became evident that this young man had been absolutely knocking it out of the park as a husband, father, and man of faith.
There were lots of moving stories – snapshots of a man that genuinely cared and intentionally connected with every person he met – from his buddies at church to the Fed Ex guy that delivered things to his house. His wife wrote this incredible letter that they read - and basically said that she felt so treasured, that she would rather have been married to him for 10 years than have a lifetime with any other man on the planet. As they were going through his desk after he died, they found special cards this guy had already bought for his family – a typical practice, apparently, to express his love.
They ran this slide show in the background of this 90-minute service and it showed picture after picture of this man smiling and playing board games and vacationing and just goofing around with his son and his wife and various friends/family. You can’t fake the kind of joy and love in these photos. It was so striking I almost wished they’d just turn it off after a while so I could have a break from the emotion of it.
There are many other details I could share, but the main thing that struck me is how lazy I can get with my family and those I love. If I were to die today – while I’ve done a lot of things pretty well – I’m not sure I’d be satisfied. I’m not sure my slide show would be as full. I’m not sure that my wife would be so genuinely filled-up with love. I’m not sure that I would have demonstrated to my kids the kind of active faith in God that I want to.
This week I saw a glimpse of the potential. The service that you want to have. And it was humbling.
What pictures will you put in your slideshow today?
Posted by Lella Vick on Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:25 PM EST
I live in Norwood,N.C and I knew Dennis,Patti,Scott,and Trish,when they lived here ...great people ! Scott was a fine young man who loved golf and he loved his family.They lived on the lake and had lots of family fun times on the lake. I knew that someday ,Scott would make his mark in this great big world and as sad as this time is...he has done just that !!! God Bless you Denny,Patti,and Trish.
Posted by Tammy L on Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:43 PM EST
What a touching post.
It was the death of one of my friends from high school that made me realizing I hadn't been living, just passing time. That is when I started building my slideshow.
Thank you for the reminder that that should be an everyday occurrence.
You are an artist
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 3/22/12 11:20 PM EST
You are made to be creative. We all are.
I bet you started strong. There was undoubtedly some refrigerator art and play dough sculptures and possibly even some crayon on the wall that had to be scrubbed clean. Creativity is hardwired in all of us. And that make sense really – because everywhere you look, from the intricacy of the tiniest flower to the vast canvas of a sunset – you can see the fingerprints of the great Creator that your life reflects.
That’s something that was breathed into me from an early age. My parents made everything a creative adventure. There were the elaborate Christmas cookies that were almost too detailed to eat… the over-the-top sand castles… the ingenious hand-made Halloween costumes… and around this time of year, the Ukrainian Easter eggs. We did everything with passion.
That was some fertile creative ground – and it definitely shaped me. As a college student and in my twenties and early thirties I had an insatiable drive to create. I studied film/video, moved to Los Angeles, and was obsessed with creating culture-shaping, paradigm-shifting projects. I was never satisfied and was always trying to figure out how to create the next big film.
In the last decade, though, the realities of mortgages and minivans and pee-wee soccer leagues gradually caught up to me. As happens to a lot of folks, the big dreams had to take a back seat to life. To be honest, it was a little depressing. When the dreams got shelved, it felt like the creative side of me had to be boxed up with it.
But lately I’ve been realizing that I was missing the whole point of all those early lessons in creativity. I’d been doused in a culture of Oscars and Emmys and American Idol… and I started to believe that being the artist I was created to be meant that I had to be the best and become world famous and change everything.
I think that what I missed from those early lessons in creativity… is that all of life can be art. We can reflect the creativity and excellence of God in every small thing that we do. There is an absolute beauty in baking the perfect apple pie for your family. Or in coming up with a creative way to teach fractions to your 3rd grader. Or in picking out the perfect colors to paint your home. Or in making a flower arrangement for your spouse. Or in photographing a cousin’s wedding. Or even writing a blog post.
Nobody needs to text in their vote for you or hand you a gold statue in order for you to create beauty that enhances those around you. You were designed for this. You are an artist.
So break out the refrigerator magnets.
COMMENTS: [View all 6 comments]
Posted by Pia Capell on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:29 PM EST
Is there a way to have people preview your created sign up before you finalize & send it out?
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:37 PM EST
Hi Pia. The easiest thing to do is simply publish your sign up without inviting everyone. Then send it to the few people you want to preview it yourself. When you are all ready, go back and add your remaining invites. See this FAQ: http://bit.ly/HRzxPC
SignUpGenius Joins the Pinterest Craze
Posted by: Angel Rutledge on 3/16/12 01:37 PM EST
Ask anybody how they’re doing these days, and the most common response you’ll get is, “Busy!” So who needs another social network to join, right? That was our first thought when we heard about the new Pinterest craze. Once we checked it out, though, we realized what a great site it is for our core users who love to organize, share ideas, and make everything, including online sign ups, look oh so attractive.
So moving forward, whenever you create a sign up, you’ll have the option to pin it to one of your Pinterest boards. And you know all of those informative planning resource articles on our site that provide you with helpful tips for coordinating school events, family get togethers, and sports activities? Yep, you can pin them, too. You can even follow SignUpGenius on Pinterest and browse through our boards for creative ideas to repin. So what are you waiting for? Let the pinning begin!
NEW: No-Ads Sign Ups & Email Reporting
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 3/13/12 11:44 AM EST
Spring is here and the signs are everywhere: the weather is getting warmer, the trees are budding… and here at SignUpGenius, we've got new features blooming all over the website! Today we’re excited to announce two major upgrades.
Posted by Gail Paulus on Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:30 AM EST
Love these enhancements as well as your amazing customer service. Thank you
Look Who’s Talking… about SignUpGenius
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 3/2/12 04:12 PM EST
It’s always a little scary when you go to the mailbox and pull out an official-looking government envelope that is addressed to you. Not that I have anything to hide… but I guess I’ve seen so many science fiction movies that my imagination goes a little wild. I received an official government envelope the other day at my house and I am happy to report that the letter did not involve a summons to report to Area 51 for a top-secret experimental human trial. Whew.
I am going to keep this letter and if the government ever does try to lock me away and run experiments on my brain, I will definitely contact Kay Hagan for assistance.
Oh - And in other news… SignUpGenius was recently featured in an article at Faith Village as one of the “Top Online Tools for Small Groups.” Check out the article!
Anyways, I gotta get going... there's already an unmarked white van parked outside the office. I may have said to much...
New Feature: Unlimited Slot Quantity
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 2/20/12 08:34 AM EST
Happy Monday! To get your week off to a good start, we thought we'd announce a small, but useful upgrade to our site. We have just integrated a change to the sign up creation wizard that makes it easier for you to choose the exact quantity of volunteers you need for your sign up. Instead of being limited to the selections in the drop down box, you now have the ability to enter your own quantity! This works well for large sign ups where you need a hundred or several hundred volunteers for a specific position.
In addition, we have added an "unlimited quantity" selection. You can choose this option if you don't want a specific number listed on your sign up page and you want to leave the sign up slot open to as many people as are interested. If you choose the "unlimited quantity" option, no number will show besides the sign up slot and the sign up button will always be present no matter how many people sign up for a particular option!
Hope that brightens your day. Have a great week!
COMMENTS: [View all 9 comments]
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Thu Mar 8, 2012 1:45 PM EST
Hi Terese. Thanks for writing. Quite a number of people have written about this and that feature is pretty high on our development list. We can't commit to specific timetables because we have so many projects going on, but I would expect it in the next couple months. In the meantime, you can always export your sign up data to an Excel spreadsheet so that you have a back-up of your sign ups on your local machine and then delete the dates. The export feature is found in the "Custom Reports" link in your My Account area. Hope that helps!
Posted by Terese Lamm on Thu Mar 8, 2012 2:59 PM EST
Glad to hear that it is on the way! I have been exporting to excel every few months...and then deleting the dates as you suggested.
Announcing New Features!
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 2/9/12 12:18 PM EST
Here at SignUpGenius, we're dedicated to making your life as a leader easier! We're constantly working to expand our system in order to make organizing your sign ups and events as simple as possible! Today, we're proud to announce several big upgrades that move us another step forward in our goal to provide you with the most powerful volunteer management tool on the planet.
Store your images easily for
use on multiple sign ups!
Add Your Logo or Photo to Your Sign Up!
Now it's easy to customize your sign up page for your group or organization by loading your logo or image right onto the sign up! When you get to the "themes" page of the sign up creation wizard, choose a theme with the background colors you want. Then look for the checkbox that says "Upload my custom image" to send your image to our server.
Over 30 new themes in our "Colors" category!
And if that isn't enough - the custom images are completely integrated into our sign up duplication and transfer functionalities, making it super easy for larger organizations to share images across multiple sign ups. For example, a school administrator could create a sign up that includes the school logo, duplicate that sign up, and then transfer the copy to a teacher. That teacher now has access to the logo in her account and can use it on any of her sign ups going forward!
Add Social Media Sharing to Your Sign Up Page!
Your members can help spread the word!
The social media revolution is here - and you can't afford to be left behind! Sites like Twitter and Facebook can be powerful tools to help you recruit and communicate with your volunteers. Now, with SignUpGenius, you can automatically add "share" buttons to any of your public sign up pages. Users that sign up for something can easily spread the word to their entire social network and help do some of the recruiting work for you! This new setting is enabled by default on all new sign ups, but can also be disabled prior to publishing your sign up. So what are you waiting for? Get sharing!
Download Your Responsibility to Your Calendar or SmartPhone!
It's already great to get our automated email reminders when you sign up for something - but now you can also add your sign up responsibility to the calendar of your computer or smartphone with a click of a button! Users with an account at SignUpGenius will have the option to download their responsibilities to Outlook or Mac iCal after signing up.
After signing up, your members can easily add their
responsibilities to their calendars.
In addition, there is a simple button to add the event to your Google calendar - which syncs perfectly with any Android phone. For iPhone, iPad, or Blackberry users, you have the option to email yourself an ICS file, open the email on your device and easily add the event to your mobile calendar. Now it's even easier to keep track of all your volunteer responsibilities!
Login with Improved SSL Security
Privacy and security have always been top priorities for our site. As technology advances and changes, we're aways working to find better ways to protect our users. Even though we don't deal with financial information, SignUpGenius now joins a number of major sites in using SSL encryption for login and registration pages to better protect email/password information. To see the new feature, look for the HTTPS in the header of your browser and the safety seal on our login pages. We're proud to be one of the only volunteer sites to make this upgrade!
And More to Come
2012 is a big year for us and we've got plenty of additional great features in development. Continue to check our blog for the latest upgrades to the site!
COMMENTS: [View all 19 comments]
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:28 AM EST
Hi Kate. Thanks for writing. That feature is available for free to anyone! However, the Sign Up Creator can determine whether they want to utilize it on their particular sign up. If they do enable that feature, then the share buttons are available after you sign up for something. If you need further assistance, contact our help desk, as we can interact in more detail there than through blog comments: www.signupgenius.com/help. Hope that helps!
Posted by Kate Lee on Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:45 AM EST
I am the creator so thank you very much for letting me know I should be able to use it! I emailed help. I appreciate you responding and pointing me in the right direction.
Congrats to the SignUpGenius Valentine's Day Contest Winners!
Posted by: Angel Rutledge on 2/7/12 11:56 AM EST
We're thankful for the hundreds of folks who recently entered the SignUpGenius Valentine's Day Contest and let us know what they're hoping to receive this holiday. A big, sugary congratulations goes to Stephanie Biscardi and Deborah Sigrist for winning bouquets of chocolate covered strawberries. Stephanie let us know in her contest entry that she's hoping to get something handmade from her sweetie. Deborah would like a prime rib dinner. Hint, hint guys!
Thanks to all who entered for making another SignUpGenius contest a big success!
My Favorite Sound in the World
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 1/24/12 08:42 AM EST
I remember sounds.
The tape-deck that is my brain seems to record them. Sometimes I like to roam the archives, replaying the tracks in my life like a playlist of favorites.
One of the first I remember is from being a kid. I remember waking up on school mornings and just lying in bed and hearing the sound of my mom taking out dishes for breakfast. I loved that sound. It was like a musical alarm clock announcing that everything about the day was normal and safe and that there was someone out there thinking about me long before I even woke up. Even as I got older, I used to love coming home from college just to hear the morning symphony of silverware.
Some of my favorite tracks come from my wife and kids. The "I will" said just to me. The beautiful horrible gasps of pain that preceded those first sweet cries from my two biological kids. The sound of the African rain against the roof of a beat-up taxi as we drove back from picking up my two adopted kids from their orphanage. You won't find those sounds on iTunes, but I can hear them more clearly than any song on my iPhone.
Lately I've got a new favorite. And this one I bet you've heard too. It's not a catchy tune – but I could listen to it every day and not get tired of it.
It's the sound of the garage door.
I think I first noticed it this summer. My wife took my kids on a trip for a couple days and I had to stay home and work. I'm generally not a worrying type of guy, but for some reason that trip I was keenly aware of how my life had the potential to be completely turned upside down in a moment. A forgotten turn signal, a bartender that doesn't take away some guy's keys - and in the blink of an eye - the soundtrack of my life could get a lot more silent.
So I'm waiting on the day they're coming home and it's so amazingly quiet in the house. And then suddenly, piercing that silence is that sound I've heard a million times before that took on fresh meaning.
The garage door.
Everyone's home. Everything's normal. Everyone's safe.
Like a new remake of an old favorite.
So now it's nearly February and sometime in this next month you'll probably buy some flowers or some chocolate or a new tie for someone that's important to you. And while it's great to to have a day that makes us stop and remember and express love to those we care about – we gotta make sure that happens a lot more than on Valentine's Day. And for me - I’m going to try and remind myself daily – to say what needs to be said, to cherish the moments, to thank God for the gifts.
And now I've got a daily audio reminder.
My favorite sound.
COMMENTS: [View all 5 comments]
Posted by Julie Luton on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:03 AM EST
It's so funny ... my 13-year-old son just wrote a monologue for Drama class on sounds and how important they are. Your love letter to your family (which is what the above really is) hit just the right spot. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Dan Rutledge on Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:26 PM EST
Thanks Julie! Have a great weekend!
Announcing Our Contest Winners!
Posted by: Dan Rutledge on 1/10/12 04:59 PM EST
Here at SignUpGenius, we love to shine the spotlight on people who are making their corner of the world a better place. That’s why our recent "Real Life St. Nick Contest" was such an inspiration to all of us and hopefully to many of you as well. With so many encouraging entries about the ways that every day people are influencing others with their extraordinary generosity, we had a tough time deciding on just a few to receive prizes. Congratulations to our "Real Life St. Nick Contest" winners!
“I nominate Lauren Cray. Four years ago, Lauren began helping raise funds for an orphanage in Kenya with 20 children in a rented facility and in constant worry about their next meal. In August, Lauren took a leave of absence from her job to help more. She has purchased a van and a small farm for them to grow food. She is a hero to these kids on the other side of the world!”
2nd place prize: A $50 Visa gift card for Maxcine Howell and one for her real life St. Nick mom!
“My mom is 82 yrs old and is still sewing gifts for people all year long. She remembers birthdays for 8 children (1 deceased), 22 grands, 15 greats, and a million adopted ones. She remembers to pray for everyone and will give her (and my dad's) last dime to help someone. She's the greatest.”
3rd place prize: A $25 Visa gift card for Margaret Konczal and one for her real life St. Nick friends, Bob and Jo!
“My ‘parents’ are nice people I met when I started going to church when I was having a difficult divorce. My ‘parents’ helped me get back on my feet to take care of my then 3 small children. They are generous to the church and community also and my ‘dad’ even bought the next town over a fire truck when theirs broke down and they couldn't afford a new one.”
When asked about her response to winning the contest for her generosity to kids in Kenya, Lauren Cray responded, “I was so surprised to find out that my mom had entered me into this contest, and even more surprised that I had won! I told my friend that I wanted the gift card to go to Belwop Rescue Center for the two new children who just arrived on our doorstep at Christmastime.”
Lauren shared with us a little about the Belwop Rescue Center in Kenya. “I have been involved with Belwop for four years, since I was a junior in college. My work at the orphanage for the last five months has included creating fundraising to purchase a small income organic farm as well as a passenger van, teaching art, planting a home garden, painting and selling pictures. In addition there have been so many great personal experiences: hosting a Christmas pageant where leaders in the community could come and watch the kids sing carols and at the same time bring them gifts, or just playing with the children and tickling ten little munchkins until we were all crying with laughter! The best day of the trip was my last day there: I got to see all the kids open up their very first Christmas presents, wrapped in shiny paper with their names on it-- the girls screaming with joy over their first ever baby dolls (each unique to them) and the boys jumping up and down over their soccer jersey or toy car. I am going back next summer to help build a new home for the children of Belwop, hopefully with a large team, to see this dream continue on.”
Posted by Kimm Cray on Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:14 PM EST
Thank you SignUp Genius for this generous gift. I am grateful that our school volunteers use SignUp Genius for all kinds of things like sports snack bar duty and teacher luncheons. That's how I heard of your St. Nick contest. Thanks again!
Posted by Leslie Edmonds(secretstojewelrymaking) on Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:39 PM EST
Leslie deserves to win. Thank you for all these real-life heroes. They are such an inspiration.
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Like you need another blog to read, right? Well this one is completely different than anything you've ever read before!! Um... not really. But you can read it if you want to keep up on the latest SignUpGenius news and the off-beat thoughts of our company President, Dan Rutledge.
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