photographingGOD Photography

Tag: Spiritual

The Eyes Have It; But The Homeless Have The Eyes

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

Pedro Oliveira of San Juan Capistrano holds his photograph of a homeless man named James. The image led to an ongoing series called “Careful: Soul Inside,” to raise awareness of homeless people. Oliveira has taken photographs of the homeless in … Their souls are in their eyes, says photographer of the homeless – OCRegister

thumbnail courtesy of ocregister.com

Congratulations! You Are Destined To Conquer The Impossible!

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.”

Maasai Tribal DanceThere 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…

thedefinitionofimpossibleisthatwhich_gregpai_v2

Hope For The Hopeless

While in Central Park, I took this photo called “Prayer In the Park.” I could not help but capture the peace of this man in meditation. Maybe he was praying for a greater purpose, the healing of a loved one, or perhaps the world. Regardless, it is an amazing gift that we can connect with God through prayer.

The Thieves Of Hopelessness And Despair

The thieves of hopelessness and despair exist to breakdown gratitude and faith. Hopelessness operates like a well-planned heist. First, it shuts out the lights so we cannot see or find gratitude. All gratitude including gratitude for the moment we are occupying and gratitude for the moments of joy we already experienced, however few or far we may think they are. It wants complete darkness and control. It fills the dark room with obstacles like self-doubt, anxiety, and a preoccupation with everything that has gone wrong in our lives.

The Crown Jewel: Faith

The final stage of the crime is to run off with the crown jewel, Faith. In the confusion and sadness of the darkness, hopelessness convinces us that God doesn’t exist or if He does, He just doesn’t care. Then faith is ripped from the typically guarded protection of our heart and soul and the thief runs off with the goods.

The Real Thing: Hope

Except, the thief was unaware that the faith he stole was counterfeit. Just like the Mona Lisa in the Louvre in France, the real one is often relocated to unknown location. “True” faith cannot be taken from us. God protects and guards it just like His love.

So, when you think your hope has been stolen, remember that hope still remains.

whenyouarealloutof-hope

Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day

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

A photographer took pictures of people at 7am and then again 7pm. Five years ago, Amsterdam-based street fashion photographer Barbara Iweins decided that she wanted to get to know the fascinating strangers she captured on camera. So she did. A photographer took pictures of people at 7am and then again 7pm – The indy100

thumbnail courtesy of independent.co.uk

The Problem With Making Plans

When we become too committed to what we think is “right or best” for us, we do not open our hearts to what God may have in store for our lives. I call it the studio apartment syndrome. We do not leave any room for God to live and work in our lives. Letting go of our conviction, for at least a moment, may reveal a better plan to be convicted to. Often, such plans, would never have had an opportunity to enter our imagination or consideration.

If we want God to work in our lives, we have to mentally move into a “McMansion” because God takes up that much room and more!

 

Ever Feel Like Your Life Is Going Nowhere?

Do you feel like your life is going nowhere? I have great news. Nowhere is always somewhere; It just may not feel like anywhere right at the moment. Yet, life is not just a moment, but a continuum of moments strung together to form a glorious story. Your story. How do I know this is true?

God created you for greatness. You are an amazing creation with amazing ability and potential. Be patient and savor the moments. Be intentional, yet regard your current circumstances as part of a bigger plan. There is a bigger plan. Think back to the many times in the past you felt this way and then suddenly your circumstances changed. You may feel like you are in the middle of nowhere right now but rest assure, you are very much in the middle of somewhere. Blessings…

Our “We Need A Quote Winner” Is Allen Jose Hinahon Tingzon

We needed a quote. And the photographingGOD community responded. So many to choose from. More importantly, it was a blessing to enjoy the inspirations that were shared. Really, they are all winners, and so, WE are all winners. However, we choose one to feature and that honor went to Allen Jose Hinahon Tingzon of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

When asked what photographingGOD meant to him, Allen told us this…

“photographingGOD is a very unique platform to express one’s faith in God and in the process you inspire others by sharing your own spiritual insights. It is a privilege to be part of your inspiring organization.” -Allen Jose Hinahon Tingzon

Congratulations Allen! Blessings to all that participated and enjoy photographingGOD.

 

Stairway To…

Every time you see a new set of stairs, don’t think about the climb, but focus on the destination which will not be fully revealed until you reach the top.

 

Every Day Is A New Day

Every day begins with the opportunity to see the world differently. To appreciate everything and everyone around us.

 

Get Hitched…

Hitch yourself to God’s purpose for your life and you will not get lost or rust.

Facing Adversity?

Adversity is a Season with a Reason. Adversity shapes us. Molds our character. Makes us dependent and human. Most importantly, adversity brings us closer to our Creator which provides us with supernatural potential to overcome anything. Never forget as you go through seasons of adversity, that with God, all things are possible and your current trials have a blessed place and purpose in your life.

 

Every Single Breath, Eyelash, Finger, Toe, Cry and Grin…

I love watching God take our disappointments in life and turn them into abundant blessings. This is a story or a women who cold not have more children and turned this pain into a spiritual journey that multiplied the meaning of the child she had and more. It is not only a story of quality over quantity, but one that inspires us to look even more closely at God’s amazing creation – the newborn baby.

Mother expresses love for newborns through her photography | KSL.com

“Tiffany Parrish says these newborns that come into her photo studio are spiritual sons and daughters of God. And that during her three-hour session, posing and looking very closely at each infant, Parrish can really feel that he or she is unique.” read more at ksl.com

*Featured Photo Credit: Carme Fortià

Do You Know When To Stay Still?

I classify anxiety as an official weapon of mass destruction. It has overwhelmed modern society and very few if any can avoid its wrath. It interferes with our ability to function, relate, share, connect, serve, work, play, imagine, sleep, rest, enjoy, and pray. [Did I forget anything?]

Pharmaceutical companies are printing money on our backs while only providing temporary transient relief and no cure. But what is the answer? The answer lies in finding peace and rest in God. A peace that surpasses all understanding. You see – peace to us usually means that the cause of our anxiety is resolved. But life doesn’t operate like that. Opposing forces are perpetually at work in our lives. No ethnic, racial, economic, or spiritual denomination is safe from anxiety. Simply put, it is NOISE! Noise that interferes with our ability to connect and depend on God. God is the signal. Anxiety is the noise. And the world benefits from keeping the signal to noise ratio low so we do not ever find peace and remain distracted and weak.

When we get a cell phone call that is a bad connection, what do we do? We rarely try to tolerate it. We reconnect the call in hopes for a better connection. When we tune in to a radio station and the sound is distorted, we change the channel. However, when we are experiencing anxiety, instead of reconnecting or changing the channel that is infiltrating our minds, we let it overwhelm our senses.

First, we must recognize that anxiety is tripped by situations where we are fooled to think we are in our control but in reality, are not. Our bodily response then produces extraordinary worry as we cycle through the catastrophic outcomes, most of which take full advantage of our imagination. We become consumed by a threat that either doesn’t necessarily exist or at best, is not within our control anyway.

So the peace we need to seek is one that changes the channel that tells us “we are in control” to a channel that gives us peace in knowing that what is not in our control is definitely in God’s control and part of His plan for us.

We can tame our anxieties in the stillness of God’s peace.

 

Ever Wonder Why Most Animals In The Wild Have Their Heads Bowed Down?

And this is the close to our every day! We really don’t spend enough time acknowledging our blessings or counting the countless miracles in our midst every single moment of every day. But they are abundant. How many miracles did you miss today?

Only occasionally will we take notice to the more obvious of miracles including the sunset, a passing rainbow, or an exhibition of extraordinary talent. But every breath we take and beat of our heart is a miracle. Every time we drive through an intersection, trusting that a person (who we never met) will yield at the red light so we can pass safely through is a miracle. The ability to love someone or an entire people group with the help of technology is a miracle. The power to change or impact a person’s life in so many ways is a miracle. The things we have that we take for granted are miracles. The things we don’t have that would be harmful to us are also miracles.

We really should be walking around most of our day with our heads bowed down.

Flip Flop

Flip Flop
by Greg Pai
Photo Credit: Erik Hersman (Nairobi, Kenya)

I flip! I flop!
I wander without aim.
Life is such a game.
Chasing fortune.
Chasing fame.

I flop and I flip.
I ride high and then I dip
Kick off my sandals and wade.
What am I waiting for?
My time on earth to fade?
The Sun to Turn To Shade?

The water to recede?
Leave behind what I need?
It doesn’t work that way.
It doesn’t matter what they say.

God made me so I lean on Him.
There is no other way.

Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

God made each and every one of us unique for a reason. Preprogrammed into your soul is your specific purpose. And that purpose will use ALL the physical, emotional, and spiritual gifts you were created with. God wastes nothing. Just look at the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of everything in the universe. I remember as a youngster when I would hear of friends having their appendix removed. I would always wonder, “Don’t we need that thing? Why would we have it in the first place if we didn’t need it?”

Even more important to understand is that there is nothing about our design that limits us from pursuing our specific purpose. No physical or mental handicap. No circumstantial handicap (like poverty, loss of a loved one, being raised with one parent, etc.). Nothing. Nada! In fact, one of the cool things about life is learning how God will actually use these things as attributes of our purpose.

Now the bad news. From the day you are born, the world will pull out all the stops and try to define you. Your parents, your school, your occupation, your therapist, your friends, your spouse, your political party, etc, etc, etc… They will all have their own agenda. Not necessarily always malicious, but just the way the world works. However, we must be on our toes at all times and fight tendencies and influences that may not be aligned with God’s plan for us. Often, this may mean venturing beyond our comfort zone or shedding a lot of the world’s programming (particularly if we hardened in our ways and beliefs or up in our years). But with faith and persistence, you will achieve this pursuit for sure. It took me over 50 years.

So, stop trying to be someone other than who you were meant to be. Besides, as Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken.” Blessings in your journey…

We Don’t Want to Tell People…

God gave us a brilliant mind to think for ourselves and not simply follow a system by default. But that requires time, effort, and most of all, God’s wisdom. Thinking, discovering, and creating are the three worst things to outsource, and doing so is a fatal mistake.

Have You Seen Nature’s Waterfall Of Colors?

The Aurora Borealis , or Northern Lights, is one of nature’s most spectacular light displays. Ever changing, they will intrigue anyone who is lucky to catch them night after night.

At no other time of year can we drive through city and country alike and feel the warmth that lights add to our lives. No matter how awesome our light displays are though, nothing can compare with one of the most amazing shows nature has to offer; the Aurora Borealis, or more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights. It is literally a shifting waterfall of colors ranging from green to pink to white and everything in between. read more at grit.com

This is a phenomenon not to be missed in a lifetime if possible. Most of us will not get to the poles of the earth. However, recent changes in climate and solar patterns have been extending the effect of the Northern Lights where nearly half the earth’s population can get a glimpse (God’s way of moving the stage closer to your seat!). There is a great website hosted by Space Weather where you can go to receive alerts and other information about these events. Hopefully you can catch God’s next show! Blessings…

 

If Not For The Valleys

by Greg Pai
Featured Photo Credit: highlights6 (Wood Lanes, UK)

If not for the valleys
I often descend
I could not see the mountains
o’er horizon’s bend

The glory of God
His Majestic style
Awe filled landscape
A miracle mile

So far in the distance
While feeling so close
The landscape before me
I anticipate most

These dips
are in God’s grips
All these lands
are in His hands
Descents and ascents
are the intent of His plans

Shaping and molding
Yes, bending; That too
Form the grandeur of landscapes
Form the essence of you

So I suppose its all relative
Still this much is true
God has a landscape for me
and a landscape for you

 

All Are Welcome Here

While so many in the world seek out reasons to divide, hate and war against one another, a group of brave people, from different faiths, yet with similar hearts, are seeking to coexist. Not only peacefully, but cooperatively.

A mosque, a church and a synagogue go up on the site of an old Jewish country club.

It sounds like the setup to a joke — but it’s not. It’s actually happening in Omaha, Neb. The Tri-Faith Initiative may be the first place in history where these three monotheistic faiths have built together, on purpose, with the intention of working together.

“This is something God wanted us to do a long time ago, and we were completely blinded by doing other things,” says Aryeh Azriel, the rabbi at Temple Israel.”

This story is a testament to the absolute fact that God is sovereign and loves all of His creation. Not just some of us.

We, at photographingGOD, prefer the sound of “All Are Welcome Here” over “Some Are Welcome Here.” And on this day celebrated as the birth of Jesus in the Christian world, I suspect He too would have said, “All Are Welcome Here.”

Read original article at npr.org

Thank You God For The Miracle Of Life!

There isn’t a single phase of this process that just doesn’t drop your jaw to the floor. I can remember all four of my miracles and while all were very different journeys, all equally amazing. From the moment you learn you will be a mother or father; To the preparation for the new arrival; Then comes the day God sends this little spirit down to earth and into your arms… And finally, the blessing of family. “This is the miracle of life!”

Miss Universe 2015: And The Winner Is… (God’s Perspective)

Beauty is in the eyes of the Creator; Not the beholder. All the contest participants were winners Sunday night. In fact, we all win when we celebrate beauty through God’s eyes. Steve Harvey didn’t get it wrong. He just didn’t get it at all. It’s not his fault however. I actually adore Steve.

The host of the Miss Universe pageant, Steve Harvey, made a huge blunder by naming the wrong winner on Sunday night.

Of course, one might wonder if maybe that was the point. Cameras panned to reveal genuine looks of confusion and horror on both women’s faces as they realized what had happened, and what would happen still: One would be forced to give up the title she’d been given and the other would be forced to take it from her. Some members of the audience began to boo — in support of Miss Colombia or in reaction to Harvey’s blunder, or both”. read more at cnn.com

There is nothing wrong with being fascinated by beauty or even showcasing it. It is what God created. However, the consequences for haphazardly elevating some while subordinating others leads to a loss of the true definition of beauty itself. Beauty pageants should, and can be celebrations. Celebrations of cultures, celebrations of youth, celebrations of physical and spiritual diversity, etc. They shouldn’t be thrones with crowns. Not only pitting one individual against another, but even country against country at times. If anything was revealed by Mr. Harvey’s little faux pax Sunday evening, it should be that we are not very good at assigning beauty. Even with a sophisticated voting system. Beauty has already been assigned by it’s Creator – God.

 

Up Close and Personal With Flowers

David Leaser is using new technology and special techniques to capture God’s amazing handiwork embedded in all of nature. His images draw us closer to the detail and color we often miss for many reasons. Without a doubt, with the right intent, innovation and technology can enhance our appreciation for God’s creation.


It’s one thing to use a macro lens on a camera to capture the smallest details of flora and fauna.

Then there’s what David Leaser does, which is less like photography than it is like an MRI image. It’s called focus stacking and involves an array of photographic equipment that far exceeds the usual single-lens reflex camera equipped with a macro lens.

“I wanted to elevate these little tiny flowers into significance, give people a different perspective,” he said.”

And that he does. He also seeks to “have his works lower viewers’ blood pressure and cause them to smile.” I believe that this is exactly why God created such natural beauty on this earth. I pray we all seek ways to draw closer to God’s creation. The result – We draw closer to God.

read more at ticket.heraldtribune.com