Monthly Archives: April 2014

One of These is Not Like The Other

Take a close look at the following photograph (you’ll have to click on it to see the whole thing). Can you tell the difference between the two moons? The one on the left I took a few weeks ago, and the right one I took during the lunar eclipse on the 15th of April.

The difference should be obvious, but I’ll let you study it awhile. Below is how I discovered why they are so different.

One is not like the other

When I took pictures of the lunar eclipse, I kept thinking my shots were out of focus. When I take pictures of the moon in normal phases as shown on the left, you can see a lot more detail such as meteor craters.

During the eclipse, the moon was soft and flat, no details at all as you can see in the image on the right. I kept thinking my lens was out of focus. Even trying to focus manually didn’t yield better results. I even went so far as to clean my glasses and my lens to see if they had fogged up (It was, after all only 20 degrees outside), but nothing changed. I started to wonder if my lens was faulty (which would have sucked because it’s brand new and not cheap).

After talking and sharing eclipse photos with another person online, he uploaded another picture of the beginning of the eclipse and mentioned how it looked exactly like a half-moon; not interesting at all. I studied his eclipse photo and noticed his had the same flat softness. Then everything clicked.

I don’t like taking pictures of a full moon, because there are no shadows. No shadows, no texture. It looks flat. Boring. Because our view is directly in front of the sun, no shadows are possible. Lunar eclipses are no different. It’s still a full moon; the Earth merely moves in between the moon and Sun, and the only possible shadow is that of the Earth.

Pretty cool when you think about it.

Bad Behavior

There’s a discussion on Facebook about how some commercials are teaching children bad behaviors such as defiance and lying to parents — and making them out to be good things.

It’s part of the reason we canceled our satellite TV in favor of Netflix: we now have complete control over what our son sees on TV.

Even with that we have to be extra vigilant over what our children are exposed to. It’s difficult with so much technology, especially if our children have un-supervised access on their own devices, at school and other people’s homes.

It’s also an opportunity. If we see our children exposed to examples of bad behavior, we can sit them down and tell them that although it’s glorified in society, why it’s bad nonetheless. It’s always been our job as parents to teach right from wrong. Wrong has always been glorified in society from the time of Genesis, so our responsibility to teach otherwise has never changed.

Parents have been and always will be the greatest influence on their children. To this day — at the age of 44 — I still remember my parents’ lessons on how to treat others and the true measure of success to name a few. Any commercials I’ve seen when I was little that encouraged bad behavior, I don’t remember. In the end they didn’t matter, because my parents were there to show me differently. Society didn’t mold me; my parents did. The only way that could be reversed is if parents relinquish their authority and responsibility over their children. It does happen, granted, but we can’t control what other people do.

Sure today’s society — and even our own government — makes raising our children in the way we want sometimes seemingly impossible, but there’s nothing wrong with having to work harder than we would like to meet our goals. As anyone who’s worked hard for something knows, succeeding is all the more sweet when we’ve had to struggle for it.

Social Networking and Wars of Words

I and several others I know have engaged in various discussions online, and in the end we had to walk away, frustrated and drained.

One person put it thusly: “Pretty sure social media is dumbing down the human race (she says on social media). Everybody thinks they’re right and then they yell at other people who think they are right.”

I’ve often posted arguments online and tried quite vociferously to prove my stance. But if someone comes along to prove my premise incorrect, I will be the first one to say, “You’re right.”

I said on Facebook the other day, “I don’t mind being wrong (mostly), because I always learn something when I find out how wrong I was.”

The problem with society today is we’ve elevated the definition of “opinion” to “truth.” We’re no longer interested in learning anymore. We instead want to prove to the world how smart and right we are, and everyone who disagrees is unenlightened or just plain stupid. It doesn’t matter how we came up with that particular truth. “It’s mine, therefore it’s right” regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

The most recent discussion that brought about this entry happened yesterday. I wrote an off-the cuff comment about birth control. I always knew it was a political issue, but yikes, I had no idea how emotional people get when it’s brought up. The thread soon exploded with accusations from both sides of the political spectrum about how idiotic my comment was. Perhaps it was, and I apologized to everyone for not making my original point more clear. Yet people continued to pounce on and make snide remarks on my original post long after I apologized.

I added another comment later about how when it comes to birth control, I will keep my big mouth shut, because the subject does raise so much ire. It’s a swamp I don’t want to wade through again.

A lady responded (who had also ripped me a new one on my original comment) saying, that if we don’t spread the truth and facts about an issue, the liars will continue to lie and people who don’t (care to) search for the truth on their own will take those lies as truth.

This isn’t the first time I got sucked into an emotionally charged conversation. Most of the time it’s less about politics and more about God and the Bible. When people insult one or the other, I can’t help but respond. In the end, however, I let them have the last word, thereby believing they won the argument. They did in a way, because I was too exhausted emotionally spiritually to continue.

I recently read Matthew 7:6: “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.”

The exhaustion at the end, I think, is God’s way of telling me I indeed wasted my time and energy. No matter what I said, no matter how logical or rational my arguments, they were ultimately meaningless. My opponents were too intent in proving how right they were instead of listening to and considering a different point of view.

It’s frustrating that I allow people to win wars of words against me, but some battles are not meant to be won. Arguing with someone who refuses to listen to anything that goes against their opinions and preconceived notions is one such battle. Allowing myself to be beaten up in an un-winnable battle makes me less capable of fighting one that is winnable. Determining when to fight and when to walk away? That, my friends, is the question of the day.

Why I hate the phrase, “God answered my prayer.”

People only say that when they get the answer they want and/or expect. What about the times when we don’t get the answer we want? Does that mean God didn’t answer it? That he turned a cold shoulder as a way of saying, “What a stupid prayer that was. Don’t waste my time.”

When we ask people for something and they say no, do we run around complaining that they didn’t answer?

No. Instead we say, “He said no.”

Same way with God. He answers all our prayers. Most of the time the answer is no, and that’s a good thing. We don’t always know what’s best for us, but God always does. I can look back at some of my more fervent prayers when God said no, and invariably I find out later he was right.

Instead of telling everyone, “God answered my prayer,” we need to say, “God said yes.” It works the other way as well. Instead of crying to everyone, “God didn’t answer my prayer,” we need to say, “God said no.”

And be thankful for it. God always says no for a reason, even if we won’t know that reason for a while, if ever.

That’s the definition of trust.