Scrambled news


As a child, I thought there were clear lines. Things were either right or wrong, black or white. However, as I grew up, I learned the world was much more complex. So complex that sometimes, there was no black or white, but merely shades of gray.

These shades of gray invade every aspect of our lives. We debate on everything too. From whether eggs are a healthy protein or cholesterol killer to if the media is worthless fake news or valued free press, we plead our case.

It seems nothing is simple anymore…or maybe, it never was.

Eggs have always been eggs. Their molecular composition has not changed. Nor has their nutritional values. They are both things: high in protein AND cholesterol. So, depending on what you read and your nutritional needs, they can be good or bad.

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For example, the Mayo Clinic states that eggs can be a very healthy option.

Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes.

Yet, for a while, eggs were reported to be a bad food choice by many. For example, Live Science states that there is no real dietary need for them.

Cholesterol is an important component of all human and animal cells and influences hormone biology, among other functions. Since your body naturally has all it needs from producing its own cholesterol, there is no dietary requirement for more cholesterol.

The problem here is that both arguments are factually correct. So, if we can have this much debate over the simple egg, naturally, every other issue is bound to be more complex.

That brings me to the media and the current buzz over their value. Just like eggs, there are two distinct camps. There is the #FakeNews camp and the #NotTheEnemy camp.

And, just like debate on eggs, both camps have some validity.

Is there fake news out there? Of course there is. However, it is usually called propaganda. This simulated version of news aims to inform its audience with the goal of altering an opinion on a topic. Sometimes there will be a nugget of truth buried in the “news.” Or other times, it is completely false. Either way, this propaganda can be powerfully misleading.

This fake news is not a left- or right-wing problem though. It can easily be found across party lines. Heck, it can be found across the globe for that matter.

On the flip side, there is good journalism out there. For generations, reporters have discovered many wrongs in the world. From unethical business practices to inhumane treatment of segments of society, reporters have provided the checks and balances in our democratic society.

This necessary “watchdog” in America is essential. Unfortunately though, the watchdog’s growl is not always appreciated, especially if its directed AT you, rather than FOR you.

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No one likes criticism of course. There will always be an endless stream of naysayers and complainers who think their way is better. However, as mature adults, it is important for us to sift through the claims and evaluate if there is any validity. And sometimes, we have to realize…the truth isn’t always pretty. Nor, is it always for us. However, just because something is not FOR us, doesn’t always mean its false.

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This harsh reality is what makes democracy work though. It helps to keep people honest and makes them accountable.

But as average people in this era of #AlternativeFacts, how can we trust what we are reading? With new “media” sites popping up all over the internet, it can be hard, if not impossible, to know the truth of what we are reading.

Fighting propaganda is a serious concern these days. And it is a issue that falls into the laps of the readers, according to National Public Radio.

Stopping the proliferation of fake news isn’t just the responsibility of the platforms used to spread it. Those who consume news also need to find ways of determining if what they’re reading is true.

If you read their article, they give some tips on filtering out fake news, which I highly recommend.

I guess the bottom line is that you should get your news from multiple sources, or like the saying goes…don’t put all your eggs into one basket.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black and White.

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Aged Beauty


Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

~Norman Cousins~

Taken with an iPhone.

Edited in Pixlr.

Photo credit added via iWatermark.

 

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Processing with Apps.

Putting down the camera


There is something magical about photography to me. I find it is a way to freeze time almost. Photographs show a glimpse of a present moment, bringing it into the future.

Photography has also been a factor in my appreciation of life. As a walk around, I notice more. I see tiny details. I appreciate textures. I study natural light. It is though there is a constant lens on my eyes that filters out all the world’s bad so that I can only see the good.

Yet, this constant lens can also be a way to detach from the moment.

Recently, I went on vacation with my love. We went off to an island to relax. I was surrounded by topical wonders: beaches, waterfalls, flowers and so much more. On our first day, we were walking around checking out the resort, and I noticed my mental lens was in overdrive. I was thinking, oh, that would make a nice picture... Then it dawned on me, by looking at everything as a future picture, I was not completely in the moment. I was thinking about photographs and not the man standing beside me.

In that moment, I had to remove the lens from my eyes. I had to stop capturing the moment for later so that I could embrace it then. I still noticed the wonder around me, but this time, I tried to focus on what is was and not the photo it could be.

I also made a conscious decision to not carry a camera around constantly. I took photos of course, but I limited it to a couple of hours during the week.

It was hard, I admit. Here I was in a tropical resort and no camera in hand. Isn’t that a photographer’s worst nightmare? I survived though. As a matter of fact, I had fun.

Without a big camera to worry about or lug around, my boyfriend and I were able to just be. We held hands on the beach. We hiked up a waterfall. We danced on a catamaran. It was exciting, and yet relaxing…and truly beautiful.

This beauty may not have all been captured in photos, but it was captured in my heart nonetheless. Ironically, as I looked for a quote on details to accompany my macro submission to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge, I came across a quote by Susan Sontag that said what I felt that week.

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I would have to agree with her. Many times, my travel somewhere is defined by the photographs I harvest. In fact, when I left for the vacation, I was thinking about what iPhone photos I could take for Sally D’s Challenge. I planned on making a post there at the resort.

That plan changed though as life took over and fun was embraced…and I don’t regret it one bit (and I knew Sally would understand).

So in lieu of a macro shots from my vacation, I am sharing some iPhone close ups that I had intended on posting earlier.

And since Sally D has introduced me to Pixlr, I played around with one of them to make it more “arty.”

As I started this post I was going to write a poem or talk about details that connected to my iPhone shots above. However, when I found the Susan Sontag quote above, my thoughts all turned. And when I looked up a bit more Sontag, I found another quote that really resounded with me.

Photographs have increased our access to knowledge and experiences of history and faraway places, but the images may replace direct experience and limit reality.

I find that statement very profound because when I look at my shots above, I can only recall the pictures. I don’t recall where I was or what I was doing, which I generally do. I don’t remember anything about the moment I took those pictures at all. I just have the photos. Though I like them, I now wonder, what did I miss?

Perhaps putting down the camera last week was the best decision for my vacation.

I am not saying that I am hanging up my camera for good. Oh no, I wouldn’t be me without one. But maybe just maybe, I can try to look at the world and enjoy it and those around me without a constant lens on my eyes. I figure, if I put down the the camera from time to time, I can not only see the details and textures in life, but I can feel them as well.

So in honor of embracing all that life can offer, here is one of the few iPhone shots we took while on the island. Now go put away your phone or computer and go hug those you love:)

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Macro.

Mirage of life


As a writer and photographer, I feel like I see more than some people. Sometimes it is a little thing that a busy person would ignore. Other times, it is something magical created by my own imagination. Either way, I know of no other way to live.

Well, let me rephrase that. I KNOW how to live a hectic, busy life that makes you miss the small treasures in life. I also REMEMBER what it was like to not dream, hope or create. Neither of the lifeless outlooks appeal to me anymore. I am too tired to do that now; so I am consciously choosing to see the wonder and hope in the world.

I WANT to see the grace of a bird in flight. I NEED to feel the breeze on my skin. I YEARN for more mindfulness in my days. Our lives here on Earth are limited, and none of us know when that time will end. So I want to enjoy what I have left.

Yes, the world if full of hateful, angry, and stupid people. There are countless piles of red tape and minutia to get tangled up in. And, there can be drama in nearly every facet in life. I know people who thrive off this drama, this anger, this red tape. They spin in circles and weave webs of confusion. I just can’t do it….anymore.

Not that I am ignoring the ills of reality and living in a Pollyanna world, but I am TRYING to keep all of that stress and drama outside of my door to limit its impact on my life.  Sometimes, this is easier said than done of course. But when these times come, I try to give the problem a time limit.

I remember I watched some horror movie a few years back. I wish I could remember the name of it so that I could quote it properly, but I can’t. Regardless, in the movie there was a conversation that resonated with me. In the scene, there were two characters who were preparing to face some evil entity or power, and they were discussing fear. One of them told the other, they gave fear the power over them, but only for a few seconds. They would soak in the moment, the terror, the realization. But after addressing those feelings, they chose to act. They said something to the extent that the fear had to be felt because the situation was real. They had to process that emotion, but that feeling was also what fueled them into action.

This really stuck with me. It made sense. You can’t solve a problem if it immobilizes you. You also can’t solve it if you ignore it. This mentality has morphed into my life. I refuse to let problems paralyze me. I will find a way to solve them. And if I can’t solve them, I will find another way to change, cope or accommodate the situation that works for me. I also make a conscious choice on the battles I chose. Let’s face, not all things need to be addressed, at least by me. So I shuffle my priorities to acknowledge pressing issues as needed. They too, are given a time limit and perhaps, revisited later if needed.

This juggling of energy has allowed me to open my eyes to the world around me. It permits me to not get overwhelmed with the ugliness of the world. It reminds me of the good that is indeed out there. This daily awareness has brought me more joy and hope than I ever thought were possible. And let’s face it, the world could use a little bit more joy and hope on a daily basis.

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Note on the photo: the photo above is an iPhone shot I took of a bird flying over a pond in Florida. Just a simple shot that really wasn’t all that powerful due to the resolution and focus of trying to capture a bird in flight on camera.

But, I saw more. I saw grace and power and magic. So, I played around and created the montage in Pixlr by adding a border and an overlay. Then, poof – there is the magic I saw and felt as I watched this bird fly.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge

Love me, but don’t touch


You fall for my tricks,

each and every time.

By still I adore you,

my human pet of mine.

I watch you prepare

my food and my home.

I am happy to be here.

I don’t want to be alone.

Yet, just leave me a be.

Don’t intrude on my space.

Just enjoy my presence,

and my regal grace.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Challenger’s Choice (Animals).