Our life is most certainly like a garden. It matures through seasons and stands the test of time through the challenge of frost and drought, and the glory of bloom. Amidst our garden, there is the likelihood that we will allow people, circumstances, and even our own limitations (both perceived and actual) disrupt its full potential to blossom and endure. Be a good gardener. Prune and weed those things that will get in the way of your full bloom…
These are some of the most amazing pictures of a subway system I have ever seen. So how does one turn a metro system into something visually captivating? Well, it certainly doesn’t hurt when the subject is an architectural phenomenon as are the case in Chris Forsyth’s images. However, all train stations, new and old, have elements that can be pleasing or interesting to the eye.
To start, train stations are loaded with interesting parallel lines that all lead to somewhere. Such geometry lends itself to producing cool perspective shots that vanish into somewhere or nowhere, or lead to a destination that is sharp in focus or blurred and blended into the background. Most stations do not offer the same menagerie of color as those featured in Chris’ gallery. However, nearly all have curious lighting that create all sorts of color casts that span the full range of color temperature. From the subtle bulb-lit sign to the powerful florescent fixtures that flood the space. Easily a lack of vibrant color can be substituted with shadows and highlights of blue to yellow light which can add mystery and contrast to the image.
Finally, what do ALL train stations have that can bring photography to life? TRAINS of course! And one can have a field day with the motion caused by a train entering or leaving the platform as well as the action and expressions of people sprinting in and out.
I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I did and get inspired to go “down under” for a day of metro station photography!
Photographer Chris M. Forsyth Exposes the Beauty of the Metro System – Interior Design
These photos remind us that the only walls we need to build, are walls to hang photos that recall our too easily forgotten history. Our memories are short and photography is one of the few means that can overcome this disability. When we forget the past, we are doomed to repeat it or in this case, doomed not to. Undocumented Mexican migrant workers allowed Americans to continue their lifestyle through difficult years and how quickly we have forgotten. Seemingly, we have not only forgotten to be grateful, but have also neglected the important role they play in today’s economy and social tapestry.
Long-Lost Photos Reveal Life of Mexican Migrant Workers in 1950s America – TIME
60 Stunning Photos Of Girls Going To School Around The Globe
Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And it’s true, education is one of the greatest resources the world has to offer. Unfortunately, young girls and women ― half of world’s the population ― are rarely given the same opportunities as boys to learn, study and succeed.Globally, 65 million girls are not in school. Out of the 774 million people who are illiterate around the world, two-thirds are women. There are 33 million fewer girls in primary school than boys. 60 Stunning Photos Of Girls Going To School Around The Globe
This is such a fascinating article. Comparing the photography of subjects from long ago to today is something we should probably do more often. This particular mystery tells a lot about our modern evolution in front of the camera. Quite the contrary from long ago, we are totally obsessed with our appearance. In addition, the popularity of the “forced” selfie smile suggests that we are a very different culture today. Perhaps, more self-absorbed and vain; more synthetic and commoditized. This is one topic where there is more much to it than meets the eye.
Now You Know: Why Do People Always Look So Serious in Old Photos? – TIME
A lot of jibber jabber about the problem of refugees on social media. Images however, for those who care to see, start to bring the problem home and make it real. I pray this article and these images perform an angioplasty on the hearts of those who have turned their head away from this tragedy. This is not their problem. This is everyone’s problem.
Photographer Captures Life In A Refugee Camp During Trump’s Travel Ban – Konbini US
With Iran in the news seemingly everyday, I think it is important for us to pursue a deeper level of understanding about who Iranians are beyond the 24/7 news cycle portrayal. In fact, we ALL benefit as a global community when we open up our hearts and minds to learning more about one another. No single person, much less a group of people, are defined by sound bites. There is a wealth of depth, diversity, and commonality which serves to bring us closer together in so many ways that are more powerful than a “news story” that seeks to separate us.
These stunningly beautiful photos show what ordinary life in Iran is like – Washington Post
What I’m getting at in the headline is that the Internet is most likely the cause of your impotence when it comes to productivity. How many people pick up their smartphones and check something online or in an app in the morning, instead of picking up a camera and capturing a sunrise? Internet Addiction is Killing Your Photography
Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”
Children Photograph What Life is Really Like in Refugee Camps – Resource Magazine
The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left.
Photographs of Mermaids Trapped in Plastic Depict the Plight of Marine Animals – One Green Planet
This article is easily controversial and many people will have different kinds of problems with it. WARNING: It is not dinner table conversation!
Nevertheless, what I find especially resolving is that this mainstream look at how our brains respond when experiencing God seems to suggest that it doesn’t matter what “belief system” we subscribe to; The neural or stimulative effect is the same. This is an excellent validation that organized religion has little to do with how we are wired to experience our Creator. This would also help explain why prayer is a common form of connection across every major religion.
This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker
Religious experiences activate the brain reward circuits triggered by love, sex, gambling, drugs and music. BY TRACY STAEDTER. 0. Jeffrey Anderson / University of Utah. This Is Your Brain on God – Seeker
Not all people who have met the misfortune of homelessness are homogeneous and can be lumped into one group. Homelessness does not define a person. Rather, it is a description of one’s circumstances and not who they are. Let us never forget that these are individuals with their own special stories and the blessing of life from God. Furthermore, the label alone will never define the potential of a single person. Just ask world-renowned author and humanitarian, J.K. Rowling.
However, one thing homelessness seems to bring out in most who are inflicted is a deep expression of soul and “truth” in their eyes. It would be wrong to quickly and categorically dismiss such expression as sadness or depression. I have personally felt an “angelic” or spiritual presence when engaging with people who are living on the street. It always seems like a more meaningful encounter than one I might have with a colleague or friend.
Incidentally, I don’t think this phenomenon is limited to the homeless. Life’s challenges tend to reduce us from what we have pretended to be to who we really are. I believe that when we let go of, or distracted from, what the world tells us is important, our true soul begins to shine through our eyes as well as our actions.
We become “real!”
Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister
Without light, there is no way to literally see beauty and there is certainly no need for photographs or photography. Light represents the fullness of all colors, visible and invisible, in the spectrum. So, why is this important? Because the “Voice of the World” wants you to believe that certain colors are more “beautiful” than others. Moreover, advertisers use our natural response to colors to shape the way we think about them so they can promote a product, service, perception, opinion, or bias.
For example, the color red is considered one of the most intense. So if an advertiser wants to assign a feeling of intensity to a statement or product they are promoting, they will likely use the color red in the ad. Seems somewhat innocent, except it isn’t. It is a blatant manipulation of our subconscious. We are not going to stop advertisers from being maliciously creative. However, we can minimize their influence when we are aware of how they are operate.
Such is the case with advertisers who are hard at work convincing beautiful West African women that their natural color is not “good enough” or that they really want to look like someone else. In addition to the health concerns caused by this worrisome movement, culture and individual self-esteem are also at stake. In summary, this is nothing less than an industrial hijacking of people’s God-given identity.
What Is the Color of Beauty?
With some estimates putting the number of women in West Africa using lightening cream at 70 percent in some places, officials say they are worried there could be a sharp uptick in skin cancer because these products attack the skin’s natural protective What Is the Color of Beauty?
We all have our special version of “crazy.” It’s a place most of us dare not go for fear of embarrassment and sometimes even pain. Not the crazy that risks one’s life or jepordizes another. Rather, the kind of crazy that is in all of us and forces us to act outside our typical, predictable, and narrow emotional expression.
God designed each of us with an infinite range of expression. This includes expressions that most people who know us well would never expect from us. And, if they ever witnessed such expression, they might think we were “losing it.”
As the grind and seriousness of life wears us down, we forget that we have deeper potential and need to express ourselves. The pressures of this life tend to harden us to the point where it may be hard to break down in tears. For others, it may seem impossible to laugh hysterically or smile ear-to-ear for an extended period of time. Yet, these are emotional valves that God installed to regulate our inner peace and potential. I pray today you find your version of crazy and go nuts! Maybe capture it in a candid photo and share it over the holidays like Jeff Frandsen and his family.
The Internet Loves This Family’s Real Holiday Photo, It’s ‘What My Family Is Like’ – ABC News
At most, only a plane flight physically separates us from people who live very different from anything we are familiar with. Interestingly, we are more than earthly neighbors and share quite a bit in common. For starters, we are all human and all created by God!
God has created an amazing spectrum of culture that we must protect and cherish. If we grow up thinking that everyone must look and live like us, we miss the blessing of diversity and the sheer potential of man’s inventive nature.
Rare Photos of Brazilian Tribe Spur Pleas to Protect It – National Geographic
This announcement by the Vatican serves as just one more reason so many people around the world are turned off to organized religion. The notion that any mortal man could grant power to another man, like that of forgiveness of sin, is frightening to me.
I am a Christian with a serious concern about the Church, what it is teaching outside of the true Gospel, and skeptical about organized religion as a whole. So I don’t know what that really makes me, except very curious and wanting to know the God of creation! As a child, I was raised as a nominal Catholic; Attended supplemental schooling and summer camp at orthodox Jewish institutions; Today, my family and I work among the Muslim population around the world building bridges of love through business and service. One thing I have learned through this diverse experience is that, like so many other systems, man has “hijacked” the authority over his fellow man and dictates the rules – as he goes along.
I do believe that religion does serve a purpose and leads many to God and to the truth. However, I am terribly concerned that it turns many more away. I know there is a voice inside us that can discern what is God from what is man. This is a very personal voice and connection that can not be bottled up and sold with a label. It is that voice (which I call the Voice Of The Heart) that can lead us as individuals as well as a race of humanity.
This is a sensitive subject. But, I share it with an open mind and a committed heart to learn the absolute truth about God and His creation, together.
Pope Francis to grant priests right to forgive abortion – CNN.com
Pope Francis has extended the powers of Catholic priests to forgive abortions, making the announcement in an apostolic letter released Monday. read more at cnn.com
For most of us, the life of those depicted in the images from this NPR article is simply unimaginable. Still, there is an immense beauty about them that is not easily understood. Probably because hardship brings out the absolute best in us. It separates us from our comfort zone that tends to take off the pressure of truly “living life” and pursuing our full potential.
Hardship builds character. It inspires the possiblity of the impossible. It humbles us to the point where our humanity radiates love, forgiveness, and servitude toward our fellow-man and most importantly, God.
I remember flying back from the Middle East in the summer of 2014 and saying to my beloved wife, “I do not feel like I am taking pictures of subjects anymore. I feel like I am photographing the awesome beauty of creation even in the most destitute parts of the world. I feel like I am photographing God.”
And photographingGOD was born. Blessings…
Absolutely Gorgeous Photos Reveal The Beauty In A Hard Life – NPR
By Greg Pai Inspired By Andrea Mani Photo Credit: Andrea Mani
This is a time of the year where many feel lonely or empty. Especially those who have no family to speak of. Our hearts have to place orphans at the top of that list. What we learn from this story inspired by Andrea Mani, is that we are all orphans if we don’t connect with and depend on God.
Orphans have seemingly perfected that connection and dependence as a means of survival. In fact, they do not see themselves as orphans; They see themselves as God’s blessed children. Experiencing His abundant, unconditional love as no earthly parent could ever offer.
“You say I am an orphan,” the hearts of the unwanted cried out. “But, I say I am loved. Loved by He who made me.” Andrea Mani fell in love just moments after she arrived for what was six months of service. At a little known ministry in Jocotepec, Mexico, orphan children are changing everyone who comes in contact with them – One soul at a time.
The orphanage cares for twenty-one girls and one boy. “One boy!” you say. Well, eight-year old Chuy (pronounced “chewy”) is one of three siblings and when the orphanage converted over to an all girls institution a few years back, they didn’t have the heart to separate Chuy from his two sisters, one named Milagro (meaning Miracle in English). A victim of physical and emotional abuse, it was only by a miracle that 8-year old Chuy survived those earlier abusive years. Cigarette burns on his body and later, months of being mute, unable to speak. Inevitably, Andrea would take a special interest in Chuy as he faced the journey of healing ahead of him.
The other children learned not to depend on “man.” God was the provider of everything in their lives and that suited them just fine. It wasn’t long before the children challenged Andrea. “You won’t last two months,” they said. These children were used to people revolving in and out of their lives, often under duress or anxiety. Andrea not only endured, but also learned why others did not. When a person signs up for this kind of work, they do so assuming they are the “strength” coming to the aid of the “weak.” To the contrary, they quickly learn that the children become inspirational and essential to their own personal journey. Radically changing their heart and perspective. Maybe even feeling inadequate and unnecessary in the ways they expected to make an impact. This is when the process flips on its head and starts to become more of a self-examination of our own lives; a sometimes difficult awakening. However, necessary.
Most of these children came from situations too difficult to write about. Even called “rats” by those the heartless of the community. Some had mothers who were prostitutes while exploiting their children sexually for favor. Absolutely tragic. However, how would you know any of this by just looking at them? They are beautiful in every way. Inside and out, their hearts and smiles radiate. Yet, they have nothing. Or do they? Andrea expected overwhelming sensations of abandonment on her arrival. She did not expect what God was about to show her.
The children had a life about them that projected pure joy. Amazing as it may seem, the children had a ritual of occasionally going into town and donating their clothing to any one of four impoverished villages in the immediate area. Yes – you read that right. Even though their very limited wardrobes were precious to them, they believed that whatever they gave up would be replenished by God’s own hand. And guess what? They were never without. Somehow, newly donated clothes always found a way to their personal shelf (that’s a single shelf). Such faith. I suppose when we have nothing to lose and expect no earthly gain, we are capable of giving and doing our most selfless work in this life. These children are living proof. They see their glass not as a quarter full or three-quarters empty, but overflowing.
We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us.
What is orphan about these children. The dictionary says the noun form is defined as a child who has lost both parents. That is innocent enough. Interestingly, the adjective form is used to describe one who is abandoned. Quite a difference. Unfortunately, we have adopted the more negative connotation as the global definition. We have convinced ourselves that we are somehow more equipped or better off than they are. Hence, we neglect to ever seek or find the orphan in us. There is that “difficult awakening” thing again!
At some point, Andrea observed a young girl’s mother (a recovering prostitute) visit the orphanage expecting to take her little girl back home. However, with the best of intentions, the woman realized that her daughter was better off staying because she was unable to offer her the same stability and nurturing.
However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!
As I documented this story, I struggled with internal conflict and confusion. I love God and He fills my life, but am I abandoned enough to really feel the fullness of His love? Many of us have family and good friends around us who bring us a great deal of joy and companionship. But what is it like to have no one but God? Please don’t get me wrong. Family is a blessed gift from God. A special treasure from above. However, I believe that God speaks to us through His beloved orphans. I now see the love of God when I see an orphan. Not an abandoned soul; But a soul that’s whole!
Whatever your political persuasion and your feelings about the current environment, the real tragedy is that America is, was, and will likely continue to be a deeply divided people. Unfortunately, hate and prejudice are in the hearts of all men since the beginning of time. These traits do not belong to a particular political persuasion, religion, race, ethnicity, age, etc. However, man can and will use such mechanisms to promote his own divisive agenda. This vulnerability belongs to all of us.
Similar to President Kennedy’s election, President Obama’s was historic (no matter how you looked at it politically) because it had the potential for us as a country to embrace the notion that all men were created equal by God. Instead, it drastically widened an already existing chasm that separates Americans into adversarial groups. But I have the good news of hope for everyone, democrat, republican, apolitical, and those who may not care at all. God still loves ALL of us. No prejudice. No hatred. Just pure LOVE!
So, I say to all of you in pain; turn your hearts to God for peace and the strength to see that God is above all of this. And I say to all of you in celebration, turn your joy to humility and put yourself beneath those in need. So that America may rise up as “One Nation Under God.” Peace be with all of you…
Visit the Gallery Shop to purchase this fine art piece by photographer Greg Pai to grace your home or office:
Power is handed down by God, who is the ultimate power, to politicians, teachers, corporate leaders, parents, etc. Those who are blessed with power are given gifts and talents to inspire and bring out the best in us as a community. However, if the fever of power overcomes the leadership, humility is overwhelmed by self righteousness and the pursuit of personal gain.
Before long, people question the motives of the powerful and lose faith in the system. When people lose faith in the system, chaos, confusion, and a breakdown in confidence ensues which then jeopardizes the power and authority of the leaders responsible. The entire community, including its leadership, is kept from progressing as a result. It’s as if the entire society is bound by a ball and chain.
When leaders approach power with humility, and recognize that it is on loan from God, they earn the respect of the people they lead. They gain increasingly more influence to inspire and elevate the community, and bring out the best in God’s creation. The system flourishes, and is respected and perfected by the people, for the people.
Doing well and doing good not only go together, but are among the secret ingredients of true joy. Not the joy that comes from graduating from college, landing your first job, getting married, having a child, buying your dream car or home, or retirement. Those things are joyful, but they are also fleeting. Their elation will last for a time and will undoubtedly be interrupted by life’s unfortunate circumstances. However, true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances. It is found when we take everything we are given, and multiply it for the glory of God and His creation so that every day is met without expectation and only gratitude.
…true joy gives us the strength to look way beyond our circumstances.
“Okay, I’m sold!” you say. “Where can I get some “true joy?” It starts with the difficulty of letting go, or the “jump” as I like to call it. Like a first attempt at skydiving. Once you leave the plane, you have gotten over the hard part because you really don’t have any choice in the matter after that. Letting go is the key. Letting go of expectations. Letting go of things you think you need. And most of all, letting go of everything we have including our talents, gifts, time, energy, money, resources, etc. Oh, and the most coveted of all, our love. We want so desperately to be loved, but we are so possessive and unwilling to give it up without some sort of fair exchange. Unconditional love is costly, but delivers the greatest return.
Free Falling Drives Passion
During the “free fall” stage, we begin to detect true joy because it inspires unbridled passion. Now, our day’s expectations are shaped by what we can do to positively impact someone or something and not by what we can achieve or get for ourselves. The deep emotional expression of PASSION is activated and gives our life its greatest sense of meaning and significance.
We have become so use to doing things for personal gain. Our culture drives this aim which only leads to empty purpose and obsession, not passion. If you don’t believe this, just ask “really successful” people what they think about that which gave them the success and was the driver of their daily purpose. Then reread this article.
James Dickson spends nearly his whole day serving and protecting people as a first responder in New York City. When he is not doing that, he is serving and protecting people. He explores ways that he can take his love for skydiving and make it more than a personal 10-minute joy. So, he aligned himself with an organization called Friends of Jaclyn which aims to improve the quality of life for children battling brain tumors and pediatric cancer. Through an event he organized, he made 25 jumps in one day while many others jumped to raise awareness and resources for this cause. Risking life for life. Each and every jump lasting far more than the jump itself, but for the lifetime of a dying child.
In a world that achieves new lows every day in its preoccupation with selfishness and hatred, it is great to see others who choose to go high with passion.
I cannot remember a time when the culture of advertising was truly inclusive (or the media for that matter). You would think that advertisers selling a product or service would want to appeal to the largest possible audience of potential customers. “Not just the perfect ones.” If I am selling soap, why would I only want to sell it to people who looked or acted like me?
When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves.
However, advertisers have taken control of this problem with some slight-of-hand psychological magic. When advertisers choose certain “types” of people to represent their product and intentionally exclude others, they have somehow managed to convince those that are excluded, that they should be more like the ones that are included, and not themselves. The “included” are superior and the excluded need to be like them tapping into our deepest, darkest insecurities. The media drives this identity crisis. Advertisers find benefit in homogenizing the globe into a one size, figure, color, type, culture, etc. fits all. This is not how we were created and abandons the richness of our diversity.
I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not.
People who have disabilities are among the excluded and have possibly suffered the most because they have to deal with both their affliction as well as trying to fit in. First, I don’t really believe that people should be called “disabled.” My preference is to acknowledge them as people who are able in ways that others are not. This is an important truth because the physical, mental, intellectual, and emotional coping mechanisms of people who may not function exactly like the masses are nothing short of extraordinary. Their resourcefulness to compensate and develop nearly supernatural abilities is evidence that they are God’s special children. To witness their daily perseverance is like watching the entire Star Wars Trilogy wrapped up in one human being. There is little on this earth that can motivate, inspire and give us hope like these individual miracles. I don’t understand why they aren’t dominating the content of all our media!
We should not underestimate the significance of growing up in a media-driven world that pretends you don’t exist. We should be able to grow up in a world where our environment not only accepts us, but promotes all of us as a community of one people without leaving anyone behind.
ADORABLE! Ga. baby changing perceptions of beauty in advertising – 11alive.com
I grew up believing I was allergic to cats and dogs. I later learned this was nothing more than a fable fabricated by others to discourage me from wanting a pet. So the TIME story, “Here Are Some Adorable Photos Of Kittens Pouncing” grabbed my tongue and inspired me to write a personal memoir, not about cats per se, but about life.
Fast forward many years later, I found myself wandering into a pet store and buying my first dog. It was love at first sight and every sight thereafter. I could not help but remorse over the years I missed out on this joy as a child. A few dogs later, I married a die-hard cat lover. She was (and is) quite the package and the package included two cats. “But Honey!” I exclaimed. “We can’t take the cats because I am allergic. Just not to dogs.” This was clearly a convenient modification of the childhood fib I grew up with to accommodate my selfish preferences at the time. Dogs over cats. Unfortunately, ignorance won and my wife lost. Relatives got the cats.
How often we let our ignorance, anxieties, and stubbornness get in the way of experiencing so many things this life has to offer. Moreover, these personal shortcomings have a way of occasionally interfering with the joy of others in ways that are rarely measurable. Today, my heart has softened for cats and my wife’s love for them. The photos of these little kittens featured in the TIME article make them so irresistible to me. These little cutie kittens definitely got my heart and my tongue. But, it is my heart and my tongue that makes this story about more than cats. How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?
How many of life’s blessings do we simply exclude from consideration for nothing more than a naïve pass? How often are we at a complete loss to truly justify, explain or understand our sometimes baseless feelings, attitudes, and actions?
The action of avoidance comes at great cost. Many things we avoid, without good and sound reason, will remain an unsolved mystery for the rest of our lives. You may say, “Well, if I don’t care about the mystery, why would I care if it is solved?” Great question and best answered with a question. How many times have you enjoyed something or someone only because you overcame an obstacle of some sort and gave it or them a chance? Perhaps, that date you repeatedly rejected until you caved in and ended up falling in love. Or maybe a food you said you would never try and finally did and became a favorite. A place you said you would never live. A country you said you would never visit. Children you said you would never have and did and they became the pinnacle of your life!
Speaking of children… These little creations need to be the focus of our reconditioning. We need to teach them to be open-minded as often as possible. To have a basis for their thoughts that is rooted in truth. I get bunched up when I ask one of my children “Why?” and they just say “Because! Just because…!” “Just because” is such a weak and lame answer… To ANY question. I suspect we just get tired of adding an untruth to the end any question we simply don’t have a good and substantive answer for.
I wonder how many things I failed to attempt, pursue, or enjoy because I let my attitude get in the way. Unfounded behavior that has no place in a world that screams, “I am remarkably made!”
Oh, how much we miss. Why? Well, I guess because… Just because…
Here Are Some Adorable Photos of Kittens Pouncing – TIME
Whatever belief system you subscribe to, I think most of us can agree that civilization is becoming increasingly self-destructive. I suppose we may have been more barbaric in the distant past (and that may be debatable). Yet, has man’s creation of increasingly complex systems including government, finance & economics, health & medicine, organized religion, education, agriculture, commerce, technology, science, communications, media, and transportation, promoted progress for the human race? Is progress leaving anyone behind? Are we eradicating sickness and poverty; improving the quality, beauty, and integrity of life; preserving our environment and resources, or increasing peace, tolerance, respect, love, compassion, service, and faith around the world? These are all very important questions to ask ourselves. Right here and now.
Imbalances Often Signal Something Is Not Quite Right
Who has benefited and at what cost? This is the first question. The resource-rich United States is split in half politically with each side believing their respective needs and wants are not being met. The result is that no one seems to be content and the frustration and hate index is going through the roof.
We should ask, “Are the systems to blame? Do they consider the totality of the population or just a chosen few? Are they creating catastrophic imbalances that grow division?” Another example, the US is the greatest consumer of the world’s resources. It represents 18% of the world’s energy consumption* and only 4.5% of the world’s population. How can we think for a moment that such imbalances will not have intentional and unintentional side effects. Just to be clear, the United States is not the only producer of “imbalances.” Imbalances exist throughout the entire developed and underdeveloped world unfortunately. It’s a simple problem of cause and effect.
Manmade Systems Are Just That, Manmade; Not God-Made
We are not advancing as a civilization. Progress has not only stalled. It is going in the opposite direction. We need to look deeply and honestly into the design and consequences of the systems we are designing and managing.
In education, for example, we do not teach our children how to learn. Educational institutions have replaced those more natural abilities with tools and techniques that encourage memorization of facts and accumulation of information; Not knowledge. Furthermore, children are classified instead of individually nurtured due to the demands placed on these institutions to produce “results.” Progress is rewarded at the sacrifice of process. Moreover, test results and grades define potential instead of passion and conviction. Unfortunately, no training to seek or discern the truth. Rather, programming in nearly every course that teach our children to debate and promote a perspective or point. What some of us would call “lawyering.”
The more we learn, the more we may earn, and the less we will grow, because the less we will ever want to know.
The subject of manmade systems is is a fairly complex discussion and will invite much debate. However, it is central to how we live together in this world while seeking purpose, peace and passion. It will be a theme that will certainly present itself often on this platform because it is both a catalyst and disruptor to the different definitions of progress. Progress as humans. But more importantly, progress as a creation. An amazing creation with amazing potential to attain true joy on this earth.
Cynical, But Hopeful
In closing (for now), Please do not see me as cynical. I truly apologize if I disturbed the balance of your day at all. However, I am willing to disturb your day if it has the potential to enhance your life. Man has extraordinary talents, gifts, characteristics, and blessings that have been created for good. But… WARNING: When man relies fully and only on himself to pursue good, without God, it seems he too often ends up with not so good and not at all God.
Congratulations! By clicking this article, you are on your way to conquering the impossible – Your special impossible. The term “impossible” places such a burden on our lives as we grow up being told that more things are impossible than possible and that those things that are possible by someone are simply not possible by us. The reality is the contrary. Each of us has our own possible impossible. However, it requires a self-confidence and more importantly, a strong faith in God who makes all things possible. But how do you put this to work in your life to take on the impossible?
“Each of us has our own possible impossible.”
There are five principles that one must cultivate to pursue the impossible. First, we must surround ourselves with people who encourage us and at least, ignore those around us who seek to bring us down. The great Imangineer, Walt Disney, was told by a former employer that he lacked imagination and creativity. One of the greatest inventors of all time, Thomas Edison was criticized as being to simple-minded to ever accomplish anything of significance. Media mega-mogul, Oprah Winfrey was fired as a local newscaster after being told she was unfit for television. Had any of these people listened to those harsh voices, they would have never achieved what everyone else thought was impossible by them.
Second, know that failure is not an option, it is a requirement. Failure is the mother of invention, truly. You have heard, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.” Well, we must take measured risk to have measurable success. And the more “lean” failures we have, the more we learn and the closer we get to achieving the impossible.
“…failure is not an option, it is a requirement.”
Again, Thomas Edison, who in spite of thousands of significant patents, was most known for his invention of the light bulb. What most people do not know is that it took 1,000 failed attempts at the invention until he got it right. Had he been discouraged at any of the failures between 1 and 1,000, we would not have light, at least not by him.
Third, is the reality of adversity. You might be reading this in the midst of a great loss, an inability to cope, extreme challenges and distress and saying “I can not even see the potential of the day much less do the impossible.” Well, I have great news for you. Adversity can be your friend. The simple fact is that when you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain.
“Adversity can be your friend.”
JK Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter series, was destitute, dependent on welfare while raising a young daughter, and suffering from clinical depression when after five years of perseverance, she became one of the richest women in the world. She credits her trials and troubles as a valuable source for her inspiration. She did fall off the billionaires list because she donates so much of her wealth to people in need. God bless her…
Fourth, when you pursue the impossible, be prepared to experience an emotional juggernaut. Periods as long as weeks and as short as hours will be met with extreme ups and extreme downs. But do not fret. Trust in God. Enjoy and savor the journey. You will overcome and be surprised by your progress as you look back with clarity. Just place your trust in God.
“Trust in God.”
Which brings us to the fifth and most important principle. Believe in yourself… But place all your faith in God. For your impossible is that which God made possible only by you. Blessings…
You can honor God in all you do. Especially in your profession, whatever it may be. Working for God is NOT a religious position. Working for God is the ONLY position. We can seek, serve, and honor God in every aspect of our profession. Often however, it means comprising our selfish ambitions for success and wealth creation for greater and a more impactful purpose. Always, it means performing our jobs at the highest levels and acknowledging God as the giver of all talent, skill, opportunity, and blessing. There is no pot of gold at the end of any rainbow here on earth. Just ask really rich people and they will tell you they are not rich enough. However, heaven holds the ultimate reward. A retirement laced in gold.
It is fascinating to see how people from developed societies transform physically during the course of a 24 hour day. I promise this is not the case in underdeveloped parts of the world. This a a great project and the photographer has done a great job capturing this phenomenon. Beyond the novel and creative however, maybe a deeper look should inspire us to look at the effort we budget for physical transformation and that which we set aside for spiritual. Just saying! 🙂 -Greg Pai
A photographer took pictures of people at 7am and then again 7pm – The indy100
You know me as a photographer, writer, and Founder of photographingGOD. I also want you to know me as a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Yes – that would make me a Christian. However, I want to live like Christ more than any label could offer. Frankly, religion and labels do more to offend me than not. Probably, because man has used them both for his own divisiveness. The current election in the United States is proof positive of that.
All my life, I have loved all people including atheists, non-believers, Jews, Muslims, Christians, other faiths, Black, White, Brown, Yellow, gays, straights, rich, poor, the wrong, the “so-called” righteous, and everyone in-between. Probably because my own background and DNA span many (if not most) of those categories. However, just over four years ago, Jesus saved my life and in doing so, my love for all of God’s people and creation deepened. This is who the true Jesus was. The ultimate Lover with the ultimate Love Story.
photographingGOD was born to share the beauty of creation; Yes – God’s creation with the world. Void of the pitfalls that religion introduces to a conversation between people who may have different faiths and often even different views within a faith. But I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that my love for all of you is driven by my love for Jesus and His love for me. My prayer is that you are loved as much as I and if you are not, that I help your journey to it. Blessings…
See the winners of the third annual Dronestagram contest. Drones can be controversial. As unmanned flying vehicles that can stealthily spy or drop weapons on people, they’ve been the subject of intense ethical and national security debates. These Are the Top Drone Photos in the World
In pictures: Less is more, minimalism in JapanFumio Sasaki is one of a growing number of Japanese people deciding that less is more and living in a minimalist way. Bowls sit in a kitchen cupboard in the apartment of minimalist Fumio Sasaki Thomas Peter / Reuters. In pictures: Less is more, minimalism in Japan – BBC News
An entrepreneur risks the gifts and talents God gave him (or her) so they can be multiplied and used to bless others. An entre-manure only dreams of being an entrepreneur, but is burdened by the fear of losing or loss. God blesses us to be a blessing. Don’t store up wheat for a rainy day. Share it and grow an even bigger harvest next season.
Maya is a 14-year-old, somewhat typical, high school student. What possibly makes her less typical is her willingness to disconnect from the digital madness that has consumed our world. Well – at least long enough to understand what she might have been missing. It didn’t happen voluntarily at first. However, she quickly learned to cooperate with her unfortunate circumstances. Here is Maya’s story in her own words…
Maya Barnes Phone Home… Not!
A week ago, the thought of just putting my phone down for a day made me extremely anxious. But now that I broke my phone, I have no choice but to go without it. It honestly hasn’t been as bad as I expected. I am still able to contact my friends and family when I am at home through my computer, but when I am out… I am completely phone free.
As much as not having a phone has been a little inconvenient, in the way that I can’t contact my parents or friends when I’m outside of home, it has actually helped me focus more on things other than social media and texting. I focus more on school and actually talking to people…actual people and not a screen!
Technology seems to get in the way of people actually interacting and actually seeing the world around them. It may seem as though you are communicating with other people, but you are actually isolating yourself in a way many people don’t realize.
The absence of technology inspired Maya to “blow the dust off” her camera and put her creative potential to work. Check it out. The results are impressive!