The Only True to Scale Model of our Solar System

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Our universe is an amazing place. It is an infinitely complex system. Truthfully, it is billions of infinitely complex systems called galaxies. I’m constantly amused and bewildered at people who try to explain the universe’s origin with the “Big Bang” or other theories. The universe is more complex than our human minds can comprehend, so we try to simply explain away it’s complexity tih simple terms and theories.

Today on twitter I found this interesting project a group of guys spent time in the Nevada desert building. They have created an accurately scaled version of our solar system. Their team claims it is the first and only true to scale version of our solar system. Once you see it, it really puts things into perspective. It helps you realize that our solar system is only one of hundreds of millions in the Milky Way Galaxy and that the Milky Way Galaxy is but one of billions of galaxies.

True to Scale Model of Our Solar System

Planets, Stars and Galaxies. Our Beautiful Universe.

Ever since my sixth grade science class, I’ve had a fascination with Astronomy. Although it has ebbed and flowed over time, I’ve my desire to learn more about astronomy and someday own a “monster” telescope has remained.

My parents bought my first telescope for me in 7th or 8th grade. I don’t recall exactly when, but I do remember it being during my middle school years. It was a Celestron refractor telescope very similar to this one Celestron Refractor Telescope. It was a fine entry level telescope especially for a kid.

When I married in 1998, I was pleased to discover that my wife had won a Reflector Telescope at a store drawing. It was big step up from the telescope I had as a kid. After having a few kids of our own, somewhere along the way the kids trashed the tracking gears. It was time for some upgrades. 🙂

After a bit of research and deciding on a budget, I landed on a 12″ Zhumell Dobsonian from telescopes.com. Its quite the telescope standing almost 6′ tall off.

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So why all this fascination with astronomy? If you stop for minute and clear your mind of everything you think of during your daily routine. Seriously, clear out all this distractions. Now…

Ponder that earth is 25,000 miles in diameter and its surface is more smoother than a billiard ball relative to size. Its fascinating. Planets rotate, spin around a sun on a set path, all in synchronicity without colliding. Its fascinating. In our Milky Way Galaxy scientists have discovered 500 solar systems. Our Milky Way Galaxy is said to house some 300 billion stars.  It’s fascinating.

I could go on, but pictures speak louder than words.

NASA daily photo site

Google Galaxy Search Images

I’m still completely baffled that anyone thinks that the universe as complex as it is could every have simply “occurred”. Its the most complex thing that has ever existed. Matter, planets, gravity, thermodynamics, magnetism, planets, stars, DNA, life, photosynthesis, food processing, and the list is endless. God’s design is written on everything.

Blogging Again

After taking a 1 year break from blogging, I’m back albeit with a different purpose.

The original reason behind my blog was to use it as a networking tool. I feel like I accomplished my goal. I used the blog as a calling card when reaching out to top tier business leaders. CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CMOs and the like. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to make many connections, and I attribute many of those connections to the visibility I gained through my blog. One of my favorite achievements was the interview with Josh James while he was the CEO of Omniture. As a result of my blogging around the Omniture community, Gail Ennis, Omniture CMO, took notice and while attending the Omniture Summit, she afforded me the opportunity to sit in a room with Josh James. It was a fantastic experience.

Now in this next iteration of blogging, I hope to share thoughts and ideas that I’ve picked up over the years. Recently on a trip to Washington D.C., I was afforded the opportunity to visit Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson and also to visit George Washington’s home. During those visits, I was able to get a glimpse into what allowed these men to become great leaders of our country. They spent much of their time learning, but they also spent much of their time spreading ideas via writing, letters and meetings. Now at 45, father of 6 children, 17 years of marriage, with a moderately successful career, I now hope to share a little of what I’ve learned so that someone may find it useful on their life’s journey.

Ideas on Building a Stronger, Better Marriage

Our company was fortunate to have Joe Beam the marriage guru come speak to us the other day. He’s a great speaker and had some very inspiring things to say. My wife and I went through Joe’s Family Dynamics class back in 2007. Now after 17 years of marriage, that class was one of the best things we’ve done.

Let’s face it. Marriage is tough. Some people see marriage as 50/50 give and take, but I see it as 100/100. You give 100% of yourself, and if things go well, your spouse gives you 100% of themselves back to you. Marriage is built on putting the other persons needs before your own. If that sounds a little idealistic, its because it is. I like to believe that I’m a great husband and put my wife first in everything, but in truth. I’m pretty selfish.

I’m very active and driven. My wife is very passive. We’re opposites. I prefer to always be doing something.  She prefers a much slower pace, but with six kids, slow isn’t in our vocabulary. Overtime, all kinds of things can build up in a marriage that need to be flushed out. Unfortunately, many times couples fail to surface and discuss the real issues. My wife and I are very laid back when it comes to conflict. You could say we avoid conflict. I don’t go around looking for conflict, but I deal with it when I need to. My wife with her sweet gentle spirit, prefers to avoid conflict. This is what drove us to seek some outside perspective on our marriage.

Earlier this year, we made the commitment to see a marriage counselor, and boy are we seeing a marriage counselor. Averaging 1 visit every 3 weeks for almost 20 weeks. So how did we go from not seeing a marriage counselor at all in 17 years to deciding to see one so frequently? Well, that’s a very good question.

Essentially, we were stuck. Stuck with frustrations. Stuck with problems we hadn’t solved. Stuck with communications issues since I was okay with conflict, but it shuts my wife down. The list goes on. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck.

After a few visits, we saw a few small things you could call marital wins. Not big things, but just enough to make us think it was worth our time and money. Now being 20 weeks on the other side of our first marital counseling visit, I think it’s been money well spent. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my wife, and my kids. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re stuck maritally, you might try a marriage counselor…but find a good one.

Other marriage resources

Book: When a Man Loves a Woman

Book: When a Woman Loves a Man

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3 Recently Read Books

I’ve recently tried to step up my reading. In doing so, I’ve been able to finish 3 books in the past week. Now, don’t think too much of me. If you were able to see my backlog of reading material, well, let’s just say any positive impression of my past weeks achievement would evaporate instantly. However, these 3 books are worthy of mentioning, and the fact that they are all very different subject matter made the past week very refreshing for me.

#1 When a Man Loves a Woman by James Ford Jr. – a short read that will help any husband or would be husband become the man his wife has always desired. I recommend this book to any husband who wants to make the most out of his marriage and is up to the challenge of becoming the man his wife has always dreamed about. It’s not rocket science, but reading this may make you realize how far short you have fallen of the man you should be.

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#2 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith – a simple yet challenging and inspiring book about making the most of your life. Redeeming each and every day. I wish I could say there’s a simple 7 step plan to this book to take away, but every page of the book is challenging you about your view on life and not wasting it. Every day is a gift. I was particularly inspired by how Robert listed men throughout history and the number of days they lived. The things they accomplished with their lives were amazing. I’ve been inspired, and hope to use the rest of my days to their fullest.

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#3 The CIO Playbook by Nicholas R. Colisto – a wonderful read for anyone aspiring to attain or who has already attained a high level technology leadership role. A very thorough covering of the CIO role.

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New Gun Laws in Tennessee

It’s been a crazy few months where firearms are concerned. Sad stories in Colorado, Connecticut and several other places. Unfortunately, some people are using this as an opportunity to push a political agenda. The logic during these times is quite frequently baffling and concerning to me.

Here we have the supposed “best and brightest” running our country which causes me even more concern. I sometimes feel that the local convenience or grocery store manager is as qualified to run the country as our president. I know. That sounds a little ridiculous and I might be a little biased since I grew up as the son of a convenience store manager…but not just any manager. My mom managed 3 stores at a time….and worked 100 hrs a week occasionally, was robbed at gun point 3 times, nabbed several thieves, interviewed, hired and trained dozens of people, managed inventory, conducted product and revenue forecasting and she knew how to turn a profit. You get the point. My faith in our federal government leadership is lacking.

Now, I’ve recently been turned on to Joe Carr, one of our state legislators, and a law that he’s initiated. HB42. is an important piece of legislature. It helps to protect the 10th amendment and our 2nd amendment rights to possess guns. I’d love to see this become law. Good luck Joe!

Helping Orphans

A few years ago, I started feeling a pull to see how to help the more than 147 million orphans worldwide. In 2011, those efforts stepped up a few notches. This week, my wife and I have traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for the annual Together for Adoption Conference.

I’m eager to meet some of the 1,200 attendees, 40+ exhibitors and other ministries.

What’s Next
Leading up to our efforts to get our first graphic novel out for the Iota Soul project, we’ll be heading down to Lima, Peru to visit Robert Barriger’s church and orphan minisitry. While we’re down there we’ll be getting video, talking to the kids, and anything else we can do to help the children.

Lima Peru orphans

Donate to the trip…every little bit helps!

Something Beautiful…The Milky Way Galaxy

Amazing. This video of the Milky Way Galaxy is amazing.

Milky Way Galaxy Video

How can anyone look at our universe in all its complexity and grandeur and still believe that God doesn’t exist? Chance? I think not. Clearly, there is a design to everything that exists.

Milky Way Galaxy

The Best Thing About Orphanages

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, then you’ve realized that orphaned children are very dear to me. Some people have hobbies (and I have some of those), but over the last 2 years, I’ve spent a lot of my spare time researching and learning more about orphans and their struggles. Today I came across this interesting article by Richard B. McKenzie.

The Best Thing About Orphanages

by Richard B. McKenzie

Richard has written an enlightening article on the Wall Street Journal’s website. Richard was raised in an orphanage and does a wonderful job explaining some of the history of orphanages and how they’ve been vilified by modern society. He also mentions how children raised in American orphanages in today’s society often outpace their counterparts raised in foster care or normal society. Read the article – The Best Thing About Orphanages

World Orphans Outreach

I’ve been following Paul Myhill’s blog from World Orphans outreach. During these Christmas holidays he’s been doing something called “33 Days of Hope” where he’s featuring stories on different orphans each day to raise money. When I first started reading these stories, I must admit I was touched. Now after reading several of them, they’ve begun to impact me even more. It takes a while, but eventually you start to understand and feel a bit more of what these kids are going through out  in the world. It’s heart wrenching.

Today’s Story – She Used to Sell Her Body for Food Now Grace is Fed and Loved by Foster Parents

World Orphans - Paul Myhill