119. Refraction

Refraction —

the change of direction
of a ray of light
or sound,
in passing obliquely
from one medium into another
in which
wave velocity
I pray for refraction.

God’s light to shine through
the curtains,
the leaves,
fall leaves
the shadows,
Porch shadows
the water,

the air I breathe in —
–passing obliquely
from one medium through another.

Change my wave velocity,
redeem me
to reflect Christ.

This was inspired by the word for the weekly photo challenge — Refraction.

67. Gadget stuff

This is part 5 of several posts discussing Richard Foster’s chapter on Simplicity in Celebration of Discipline.

I need want a new IPhone.

There is nothing wrong with mine, except it’s old. A 3GS. If you’re not up on IPhones, that’s 3 models ago. The 4, 4S, and 5 have come out since. A few months ago, I got Mr. H.C. an upgrade for his. He needed one; his little slider thingy (technical jargon) was broken, and he couldn’t silence it, plus it was looking pretty bad because he is a construction guy, and his phone gets a lot of hard use, and he just needed a new phone.

He didn’t want one. Mr. H.C. is not a tekkie; he uses his phone for convenience and work and just wants a phone that will do everything for him and has a short learning curve. (He’s a busy guy.) So I bought him a 4 — not that much different from his old 3G, but it has Siri, and it has a great camera. Yes, a great camera. That’s why I need want one.

Unfortunately Richard Foster reminds me (yet again) that I am falling short here too. I know, I know, we all fall short…


Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, said in a recent blog post, “Incidentally— when you start a blog, you have NO IDEA that you need to take 12,000 pictures of EVERYTHING.” And yes, she is absolutely right! Not only does one need space for one’s thousands of photos, the new IPhone cameras take Panoramic shots, which one absolutely needs if one is trying to show a room transformation… Look at these panoramic shots of the kitchen:

Apple Hill Kitchen

Panorama Apple Hill Kitchen
Yes, these were taken by Mr. H.C’s phone. And not only does it have Panorama options, it also has HDR capabilities. Right! I’m not really a tekkie either, so I only recently learned what this is. It means High Dynamic Range imaging; a few posts ago I complained about not being able to get a good photo of the inside and outside of the kitchen windows in the same shot. That’s what HDR does —

By definition, photography is the art of recording light. This act must be done with the camera sensor — which is only capable of capturing a certain range of light intensity at any given time. Even the most expensive and most professional cameras on the market are not equipped with sensors that can capture all ranges of light in one photograph. That’s where “HDR photography” comes in.”

This was from an article on IPhoneography that I went back to study. So, this photo was taken with Mr. H.C.’s camera as well:

Kitchen Windows at Apple Hill Cottage

HDR technology at work — this is the shot I could never get with either my Canon or my IPhone. I deleted all the tries or I would show you the difference.

If I had my priorities straight, I could be in agreement with TWO of Mr. Foster’s rules for a simple life here.

Most of the time Mr. H. C. is agreeable when I ask to borrow his phone. Last weekend I took eight pictures with it. But sometimes he wants to use it himself? Like tonight, for instance, I wanted to upload the photos onto the Mac and he said, “Well how long will it take?”
Right. Never mind, I’ll do it later.

Convenience! That’s what we want, and we want it now. (Sigh) Oh those wants vs. needs… They are so troublesome. Especially when it comes to tech gadgets. Those custodians of modern gadgetry sure have us propagandized, don’t they? Face it, I have three perfectly good digital cameras at my fingertips, and I’m not satisfied? There is something wrong with this picture. (It must not be in HDR!)

58. Black and White

I’ve had black and white on the brain lately.

Everywhere I look, I see black and white together. Dark and light. Absorbing and reflecting. Hot and cold. Opposites. Contrasts.

black and white in natureToday, stopped at a stop light in the burbs of Pittsburgh, I saw a bald eagle. My first thoughts were, I must be wrong. What other kind of bird looks like that? Some sort of hawk? I may have misidentified it; but there it was — huge, flying out of the treetop, thirty feet above me. I got a good look: white head, black body, curved yellow beak, very large. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology tells me that it could be a turkey vulture, but I definitely saw a white feathered head. I’m sticking to my story.

black and white in the world
I was marveling at the sight when twenty yards down the road came two black and white police cars racing to a somewhere scene, lights flaring, sirens blaring. Yes, that was more like the city — powerful, forceful, a place full of opposites — street lights illuminating the dark, sirens piercing the silence of the night, churches and rescue shelters — havens in the midst of desperate neighborhoods.

black and white in design
Black and white in design is a study of contrasts. The design blog Hongkiat.com calls black and white a “stark dichotomy,” which makes the design impossible to ignore. It is clean and simple, yet it can be complex as well. Black and white together have “…endless opportunities that other color schemes just don’t manage to generate. It all just balances itself out.”  I especially like the word balance.

I love old black and white films, and black and white photography fills me with a longing that color just doesn’t satisfy. (See post 30. A Stillness in Time).  Wikipedia says, “Since the advent of color, black-and-white mass media often connotes something nostalgic, historic or anachronistic.” Yes, that’s me — nostalgic, anachronistic, and yearning.

Black and white together — it is bold. Courageous. Balanced. Stunning. It takes a stand. Bald eagles, police cars, photography, design… and our new kitchen floor.
Armstrong VCT tile

It is bold. I generally believe in hardwood floors or muted rugs. This stands out. It shouts out. I love it!

I have never been bold or courageous, though as I get older I discover I am gaining on them. Arguments still make me squeamish; heated discussions still often silence me; and I usually just want everyone to get along together. My walls are white, and my wardrobe consists of neutrals, though I occasionally wear an emerald scarf, a bright red sweater, a purple t-shirt. I have always admired boldness in others, while secretly thinking that bad things always happen to those who stand out or stand up.

In a world that needs boldness, I want to stand.

In a world that needs the saving grace and redemption of Jesus, I want to shout of His power to save.


Happy Easter! May we be bold in speaking of His love.

No, the issues that are fracturing us are not black and white. But what we must all take to heart is His love; His redemption; His power. Written over both the black and the white is His love — written in His blood — written forever, no matter who we are, what we do, or how we dis-grace Him. His love covers us all, and it’s free.