Joy in Weathered Space


November 2011

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” ― Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

When I started this blog in 2011 I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a lot of things going on in life. A lot of sadness. Not due to anything done to me personally. But a lot of circumstances affecting my dearest loved ones and, I guess you could say, the way I hurt for them and tried to help them resulted in my own deep, deep sadness. Hence, I started to write.

December 2011

Every year some new tragic circumstance hit. Numerous things. Fractured relationships, unusual illness, untimely deaths, even a destructive tornado I found myself right in the middle of.

May 2013

Loss, loss, loss. Each year I prayed for quiet and each year the tsunami’s came. And all this is just a fraction of everything.

January 2012

So I created SimplySage. I needed a “happy place”. A place to find joy in the midst of all the sadness surrounding me. Combined with faith and some good friends, I found an additional place of solace here. And I poured out myself to pull out joys in my everyday surroundings. Simple things, really.


February 2012

And as I looked around my eyes opened to ways that nature mirrors some of the sad times. Then, a long-buried hobby of photography revived. And suddenly I found solace in all the beauty that surrounded me. It was as if God opened my eyes to metaphors in nature. Like the one above. In the dead of winter, there bloomed brilliant orange. Wonders like these carried me to indescribable dimensions. Many of them I could not capture. A photo could never do them justice. All I could do was stand in awe.


March 2012

But I wrote and wrote and wrote. And the storms kept coming. And each year I’d wonder “what next?”


April 2012

Then 2017 hit. And guess what. It was a good year. Actually, an amazingly wonderful year. Yes, the bumps and nicks still came but it seemed to be nothing that absolutely cut you to the heart. And there was a lot of love and joy in 2017. Blessings beyond imagination! Laughter returned and filled every part of my life.

But something else happened.


May 2012

I kinda quit writing.

I guess in all the joy and laughter I was just soaking it all up, And I just kept doing that. Soaking it all in. It was, in a sense, a healing balm to me. Yes, there are some scars left from all the troubled years. Some sadness still trickles in as I ponder all the pain. But I guess I needed a break. To just rest in all of it.

It was wonderful.


June 2012

I could sit here and wish and hope for another year like 2017. But there may never be a year like that again. And if there’s not, a few big lessons stay with me as the storms blow in. Here are just a few:

  • There is no one like the Lord, God of heaven and earth, whom you can cry out to from your heart every minute of the day.
  • There is nothing like the comfort and truth in His Holy Word, the Bible.
  • There is nothing like His marvelous creation.
  • There is nothing like a few close, loving friends and family.
  • Deep down, people are fragile, and are fighting battles within and without. It’s important to understand why they act like they do; and still be kind.
  • There is nothing like the kisses and hugs and sounds of children.
  • There is nothing like gratitude for so many things we take for granted.
  • There is nothing like a nutritious healthy meal and a good, silent walk.
  • Joy can be found anywhere, anytime. All one needs to do is look; and be still enough to enjoy it.

As to writing and this blog? Of course, I will continue! Not making any promises, but I will be here. I thank you, my community of readers, for being here. I don’t take your visits lightly. I don’t equate you in terms of “traffic, stats, or bots”. You are friends. And a part of the joy in all the pain.  I welcome you always.


2017, Best Photo

And as for 2017, for now I say, farewell.  I will never forget you.

Peace,
Alexandria


Weekly Photo Challenges:

Weathered

2017 Favorites

 

Advertisements

Still Friends After All These Years

StephanieCliffPic

“To get the full value of joy you must find someone to divide it with.” ~ Mark Twain

Young Friends

“Friendship arises out of mere companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden).

The Sea, One of our Favorite Spots

The typical expression of opening friendship would be something like, What? You too? I thought I was the only one!

Together

… It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that friendship is born.

And instantly they stand together …

Two Solitudes

in an immense solitude.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves”

Missing You

“You are still my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

~ Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Soul Friends
“How we need another soul to cling to.” ~ Sylvia Plath


This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge.  The theme is “friend”. I chose to interpret it in a metaphoric manner. To encapsulate that word in one photo would be impossible for me. Where do I begin??

So this post is in honor of my own wonderful world of life-long friends; who’ve clung to my soul, despite all my quirks and failures, good times and trying times. Thank you. I love you. You are life’s greatest gifts.
Peace,
Alexandria


Credit to Stephanie Goddard for the first photo. Capturing these four friends mid-air with such clarity is a photographer’s dream. And Stephanie does it so well. How well I remember jumping off these very cliffs in my own life with friends such as these. For more of Stephanie’s fine work visit White Horse Photography  You will not be disappointed.

Of Sunbeams and Rainbows, Look Up!

IMG_0282“Hold out your hands to feel the luxury of the sunbeams.” ~ Helen Keller

Be Thou the Rainbow1-DSC02109“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” ~ William Wordsworth

Summer Love 1-IMG_2063“Friendship is like a rainbow between two hearts.” ~Author unknown
Come the MornIMG_2432“The beauty of the sunbeam lies partly in the fact that God does not keep it; he gives it away to us all.” ~ David Swing

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi

“As on the driving cloud the shiny Bow, that gracious thing made up of tears and light.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“In the world’s audience hall, the simple blade of grass sits on the same carpet with the sunbeams, and the stars of midnight.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

“The smiling daughter of the storm.” ~Charles Caleb Colton

“Rainbows apologize for angry skies.” ~Sylvia Voirol

DSC_3462“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl

Family Tree 1-DSC_0096“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.” ~ Thomas Mann

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~G.K. Chesterton

Home Sweet Home“Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous.” ~ Joel Achenbach


The Photo Challenge theme this week is “Look Up“.

It’s been a very tragic week in these United States of America. As I watch the events my heart breaks for so many, for so much, and especially for my country. It’s easy to be buried in all of this and tempted to think we will never emerge from the stain of racism. But are we really that racist? The extreme rhetoric from both sides that fills the internet would convince us that we are. But those are words. Do we really act that way in real life?

My own community of friends and acquaintances are from different races and countries. We care deeply for and respect each other. We laugh and cry together. We share life together and accomplish wonderful things; like rainbows and sunbeams that split through dust and clouds and rain.

One friend told me the story of how her tire blew the other day. She was alone on the side of the highway and two different people pulled over to help her. One was a Black man. The other Hispanic. She is White. Not one hint about skin color. Just people working together to help someone in need. Sunbeams and rainbows. They are in our very midst everyday. They don’t make the news but their actions are how most of us really are.

I’m glad God sets examples in the sky; sunbeams and rainbows. Neither can happen really well without dust and clouds and rain. Aside from the events of the past week, life is very hard just on its own. It’s tough to work and make a living, to take care of our families, to raise children. Life is filled with a lot of stress—dust, clouds, and rain. The people we rub shoulders with everyday are the rainbows and sunbeams that get us through.

Though my nation is filled with clouds, dust, and storms right now I hope we can look up and find the rainbows and sunbeams that surround us every day, just like my friend did. Just like I do.

We may never make the headlines. But we are a great story.

I hope these photos lift you up from where you are.
And remember, we are all Americans.
Let us love one another.

Peace, Alexandria

Jubilant Community

Jubilant Spring 1-IMG_5807

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Jubilant“.  I’m sharing the abundant flowering of a clematis I bought three years ago at WalMart. In its first year it had less than five blooms.

New IMG_1851

Thinking it wasn’t feeling too much at home here, I nestled it among good things; roses, lilies, shrubs. I gave it the proper light and good old-fashioned fertilizer. And I remained … waiting.

1-IMG_5929

In gardening of any kind there is so much waiting!

In its second summer it was just a scraggly green bush. Cute. But so shy! And so I waited another year.

1-IMG_year one

And it finally opened up!

Lift Up 1-IMG_5811

And blossomed unimaginable!

1-IMG_5818

 No more shyness. No more hesitation.

Quiet 1-IMG_5781

 In fact, as the quote says, it is a perpetual astonishment. We are nearing June and it’s full of buds.

IMG_5736

The vine is branching out beyond. But it’s still connected to home. Through the wind and rain it’s held tight.

Reaching 5791

It’s all become its own little community. The vine gently weaves a pattern with the flowers. Together they reside. Yet the tender flowers are never destroyed. Nor is the vine ever suffocated by the broad, expansive flower.

1-IMG_5790

Look how they cling to each other as good friends. Neighbors. Caring for, looking out for each other. And the seed pods are so abundant that next year I’ll need to add another trellis. This community is growing! Good neighbors do that.

1-IMG_5787

Good neighbors promote growth. And speaking of neighbors …

1-IMG_6189

What ever happened to being a good neighbor? Watching out for, protecting, sharing, loving, being kind?

Different, but dwelling together?

Whatever happened to “community”? Real community. Real people rubbing shoulders with real people. In the earlier photo, the clematis is neighbors with the lilies, roses, and shrubs. All different. But look how beautiful together.

Today there are all these “online communities” and believe me, I’m all for them.

Wild Child 1-IMG_5783

But sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten how to be with real people. We sit in our temperature-controlled environment and pluck away on the keyboard or our smartphones and call it community.

And another thing I see as I scroll through social media is how easily it is to be unkind. Words filled with so much venom. I wonder would they be that way if they were face-to-face?

Closer 1-IMG_5793

Somehow, I think not.

There’s an abundance of words and opinions nowadays. And I am definitely a free-speech warrior. But imagine the human—the actual real live person. Think about your words before you type. And work toward a jubilant display such as this. Nurturing beyond just existence. Nurturing to grow.

Good neighbors.

Opening 1-IMG_5766

Can we not do this? Whether online or in person, is it so hard to do?

Peace, Alexandria

 

 

Best Buds |Weekly Photo Challenge: My Happy Place

1-IMG_1931

When I saw the photo challenge titled “Happy Place” the words that immediately came to  mind were “travel destinations”—places that invoke that glorious feeling of combined rest and joy, one definition known as “happiness”. I thought of places I’ve been (North Myrtle Beach).

20130720-180450.jpg

or places I’ve dreamed of going (Moorea).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I went to Acadia National Park (above) I thought, “Oh, now this it. This is the ultimate, the place to unwind, to get away.” I was happy!

However, travel can bring its own stresses, as we all know. The planning, packing, and getting to-and-from can be tiring. You’ve heard people say, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” 🙂

a rainbow in the sky."

It can feel like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,

Moon Shadows

or trying to truly capture the presence and majesty of another breathtaking moonrise,

image

or that ever elusive butterfly.

But when you’re in immediate and desperate need of joy, finding a happy place cannot always be found by thumbing through travel guides for yet another trip or even dreaming of those places.

It’s times like that I totally forget a happy place that lives right out my front porch. Most of the time I find I’m looking beyond it, rushing past it toward some goal, the “next thing”, that place called “when I finally get there, I will be happy!”

1-DSC09947

I forget the happy place staring straight at me. It’s a place where they’re straining their necks to grab me, to get my attention, to make me stop in my haste to happiness and see that they are what I really need;

that they live, they thrive, they exist to make me happy! (I’m convinced they serve no other purpose.) They are my never-ending friends, through every season, through every joy, through every sorrow. They are constant and oh, how I take them for granted!

1-DSC09959

They remind me that we both endure some thorny paths and sticky situations,

1-DSC09945

that I’m not the only one out there feeling so alone,

1-DSC00016

drowning in life’s demands,

1-DSC09943

and kind of hanging by a thread,

First Rose

or in need of a hug;

1-DSC09957

that while we pass each other everyday in the coming and going, we can still rise and hold our head high, together, and shine in the sun!

1-DSC00021

You see, when you have best buds you can find happiness no matter where, no matter what. 🙂


I write this in honor of my friends and family, my “best buds”. Thank you for being just a phone call away. I always miss you.

Peace, Alexandria

 

Fire and Ice | Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

imageIt was back in January and I am up before dawn, carving a wondrous niche of solitude for myself at the early bird hours.

And it’s January. Frigid and dark. And so begins my worst time of the year. Curled up in my fluffy robe, I hug a steaming cup of coffee. In the clutches of deep suffering, my heart is a solidified mass of stone. (See Reward’s of Winter)

But suddenly out of the darkness, a glint catches my eye. I peer out the window and there it was.

imageThere it was, all melting the chill that seeped into every crevice of my stone-cold heart.

A purple haze of light rises. Oh January, why beckon me! Why taunt me! I’m all cozy and wrapped up tight! Just like my heart! Wrapped up tight these days! The last thing on my mind is taking pictures! You know I don’t like you anyway! Oh January!

Beautiful and brilliant it was! All fiery and cold. Stepping onto the porch I press my nose against the ice cold screen.

IMG_0013

The holidays are a mere memory. Blah, bleak days are here. Days that drag on … and on … and on. But here comes January, showing off.

And here I go, throwing a down coat over my robe and running out the door with only an iPhone. Oh January, I know you’ll run from me if I don’t get out there! And YOU, only YOU could do this to me! But anyway, you got me out here. Now show me what you’ve got!

image

And so, January delivered–an early show filled with purple’s and magenta’s, lights and darks, glaring and glinting off bare branched trees and surly cloud covers.

image

Fire and ice mingle and I’m in near tears over it. Oh January, perhaps the reason I don’t like you is because I am so much like you.

Fire and ice.

Stubborn. Determined. Self-centered. Show off. Oh, look at you, January, you show-off!

image

Cold. Rude. Impatient. Angry, a fire-brimming volcano. (I’m not proud of that.)

image

And so loud sometimes! Stop it, January!

image

But alas, I see you are all of those things and none of those things. For what I’ve come to realize is you are just filled with … passion. You come on so strong because of your complexity.

You are passionate about life, love, passionate about everything.

All fire and ice.

IMG_0010-0

You’re so, so … so …
human.

Human … just like me.

Why would I ever treat you with such disdain? Oh, January, I’m so sorry. Come near, my friend. Every year come near, and keep me company.

Nourish JoyYou’re so beautiful.


This is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge theme of Early Bird, in which we were challenged to get up early and explore the morning light. As usual, nature’s visual’s carry my mind to the endless lessons I learn about life. I hope you enjoy.
Peace, Alexandria

If These Walls Could Speak | Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

1-DSC_0052If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0033If these old halls,
Hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,

1-DSC_0046And children playing at hide and seek
From floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak.

They would tell you that I’m sorry
For bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn streak,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0005If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all –
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,

1-DSC_0016And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0001They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.
That’s what these walls would say.

Lyrics by Jimmy Webb, sung by Amy Grant


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a theme of “Wall”. My son took photos of this plantation near our house. It is owned by a family who chose to keep their ancestral home for sentimental reasons. The grounds are kept up but the house and buildings are gradually dilapidating. There’s a poignant sadness to see such a grand home now stand in silence when once it was filled with life. I think the song lyrics say it all.

For more creative “Wall” Interpretations click here.

September Thoughts

A Beautiful Mind

“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” ~ Emma Goldman

Ahhh … September—that time of reflection as summer winds down, school resumes, and autumn begins. It signals nature’s lingering slow dance, winding down and settling into its eventual winter rest.

Buried Treasure

Treasures“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” ~ Aristotle

There is a natural rhythm that comes with September. The wild spontaneity of summer draws to a close, unfolding into the rhythm of routine. But throughout this meander isn’t there’s a bit of angst as we say good-bye to those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer?

The Expert’s Secret

“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. ~ Neils Bohr

But there’s a fine jewel that September presents to ease the transition. It is the gift of our nearby friends, those we rub shoulders with through those months of work, school, and routine–a reconnection to those we haven’t seen all summer. As cold and winter set in they always keep us warm inside.

Welcome is Still the Word

A Cupful of Friend“Nothing will work unless you do.” ~ Maya Angelou

Friends are a touch of love from heaven. If you think you don’t have any, then reach out and be one. I’ve heard it said “if you want to have friends, you must first be one.”  I think that’s true. As a timeless commercial reminds us,

“Reach Out and Touch Someone”

1-DSC_1216Why not start today?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

Peace,
Alexandria


These are some thoughts that come to my mind this September. What about you?

Love, With a Twist

Morning Walk

When you look at me
What do you see?
Branches random,
Unchosen tandem?
Nothing clever.

Morning Hug

Space distress
Of leaves and mess?
Unlike attraction,
More like distraction!
Whatever!

IMG_6719

Why on earth,
of all the space,
Did God place
you here?
Wish you could just leave,
Whenever!

DSC_0194-003

But we are stuck.
Like glue, we are stuck!
Perhaps a wind may unabate
And maybe we can separate!
Forever!!

DSC_0256

I am strong
Without you.
I don’t need you.
Never
Will I need you,
Whatsoever.

{And so the big wind
It did come.
And so it did come unabate.
But it did more than separate.}

DSC_0300

Oh nooo!!! Hold tight!!!
Don’t let go!!!!
Please,
Don’t let go.
And don’t go.
Stay.
And don’t go away

Ever!!!

Ever

“Love lives in the myriad of imperfection and thrives because of its ability to prevail despite its inability to prevail perfectly.” ~ Alexandria Sage


Weekly Photo Challenge Theme: Twist  I hope you enjoyed my twisted poetry. 🙂 Peace, Alexandria


Other favorites:

The Grand Chase {aka Mom is “On the Move”}

DSC_3765 - Rest“There was never a child so lovely, but his mother was glad to get him to sleep.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “On The Move”. I can’t think of anything more on the move than a Mom.

Ava“You Are a Work of Art + You Are a Piece of Work = You are God’s Masterpiece.”
~ Alexandria Sage

So this Challenge is in honor of Mother’s Day.

Sheer Joy“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about arithmetic and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Those who’ve gone before us, those in our midst, and those mother’s to be;

Mother Loads of Love“Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together. ~ Pearl S. Buck

all the “other mothers”, who mother any baby or kid who crosses the threshold of their hearts;

First Held, First Glimpse“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” ~ George Eliot

and a special blessing to mother’s whose children preceded them in leaving this world too soon–may God wrap you in tender memories, grace, and comfort today.

Arms of Love“There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child – and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own.” ~ Robert Brault

Whether you chose to be a mother or if motherhood was handed to you, we all know the path is unpredictable. Nothing is guaranteed. But one thing always remains.

Katherine“A mother’s hug never really does let go. Her child is gathered in the arms of her heart at all times.” ~ Alexandria Sage

And that is our love.
Constant, unchanging, guaranteed.
And that is all you really need.

Peace, Alexandria


I received the following videos from my children. They brightened my day and made me smile. I hope they do the same for you. The links are below if you can’t open them here. EnJoy. 🙂


World’s Toughest Job
Here’s to Mom’s


Other interpretations of the “On The Move” Challenge. Give these a visit if you have a minute 🙂
Rynari
Minnesota Transplant
Gleaning the Nuggets
Sweet Capture Photography
Tea and Paper

Dances with Daffodils

1-1-DSC_1886

“Awake, thou wintry earth
Fling off thy sadness!

Opening Numbers

Fair vernal flowers,
laugh forth Your ancient gladness!” ~ Thomas Blackburn

Within

“O Love-star of the unbeloved March,
When cold and shrill,

1-1-DSC_1906

Forth flows beneath a low, dim-lighted arch
The wind that beats sharp crag and barren hill,

Best Friends Forever

And keeps unfilmed the lately torpid rill!” ~ Sir Aubrey de Vere Quotes, Ode to the Daffodil

1-DSC_0078

“Friendship is a shiny thing, a steady beam of light
A lantern on a lonely street, a song far in the night

Singular Beauty

A smile,  a touch of loving hand,
a quiet moment on a hill
And, oh, what a happy little child bringing home a daffodil.” ~ Unknown

1-1-DSC_1912

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,

1-1-DSC_1904

 And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”  ~ A.A. Milne

Happy

Like many this year, the street views outside my window have been winter barren in the most extreme sense of the word. The branches of my beautiful trees faced me everyday, some days covered with ice, some with snow, days filled with grey. And just when I thought they’d faced the worst, there came more. Storm after storm after storm.

My trees wear beauty in any season, any weather. But this winter, one of the worst ever, tested them. I’d peek out the window everyday and my stately trees stood staring, branches outstretched, as if to say, “When is enough? How long? This seems never-ending.” And me, warm inside, unable to soothe, joined their song of longing. It seemed to linger forever. They bore the stark beauty of winter proud. And we waited as one. Drawn in, still, preparing for the day of green. And then the day came.

1-1-DSC_1894
Cold, frozen ground gave way to green, gave way to buds, gave way to these yellow lovelies pushing through, popping up out of the ground.

1-1-DSC_1895-001
Yes, the days remained cold and windy and gray, but one day the sun shone bright. And I could no longer contain myself. Leaving a sink full of dishes, the rays irresistible, I ran out and joined all of them. I threw a blanket on that frigid ground and got under them, over them, and around them in a contortion of child’s play, smiling and laughing among a sea of yellow dancing. And hmmm … was that birdsong I hear? Ahhh … just a little more time, my friends, and we’ll be dancing with the sun on our back and spring in our step!

1-DSC_0055

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares, and take the winds of March with beauty … ” ~ William Shakespeare

This is but one view of  life on my street. On the last post I promised you daffodils. As you can see, I kept that promise! I hope you enjoy. 🙂

Happy Spring! Alexandria

{Photos taken with Nikon D60 with Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-200mm lens, in RAW mode. If you want any metadata you’ll have to contact me. Thought if you clicked on the photos you it might be there, but not so. I recently took another photography class and this is the first roll-out of photos using full manual mode and applying some of the new techniques. As per usual, there is very minimal, if any, post-processing–nary a crop except the first one. Most are completely untouched. What do you think?}

Other street views I enjoyed:
My Cyber House Rules
Beyond the Brush
Thoughts and Entanglements
Blogagaini
Depth of Feelings
Life in the Foothills
Find Later Photography

 

Family | The Forever Constant

Standing Firm

“Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.”

1-DSC_0096“In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man’s skin,—seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

image

“Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others.  Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps;

1-DSC_0095 that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.”  ~ Mignon McLaughlin

1-DSC_0077

“The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste,

image

coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, 

d

and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”  ~ Erma Bombeck

As I contemplated the Weekly Photo Challenge theme “Family” I could’ve shared oodles of family photos and memories. However, my fascination for the constant lessons of nature prompted me to use this tree I drive by nearly every day. It’s one of those anomalies of nature you just can’t miss.

Sometimes I take pictures, but other times I just stop, get under it, gaze at its never-ending branches, and admire its breathtaking beauty. But more than that, I admire it’s sheer strength. And if you notice, it’s even a bit lopsided. Its shape is not perfect and to tell you the truth, I’m relieved. It makes me feel more at home. But the tree is massive, solid, stately, so proud–you just have to see it to believe it.

It’s main “branches” are not the usual bending, thinner limbs of a tree. They are the size of trunks, which could be trees in and of themselves. Note the photo in full summer leaf above–it easily shades the entire width of the road and more. But notice the photo of it in barren winter (below). That’s when you really see the way it’s limbs anchor the whole.

I’ve tried to capture it with a camera as best as I can and if you look at its new white fence nearby, perhaps you can get a bit of perspective. It’s probably been there since the Revolutionary War.

I wonder how many generations have passed this tree in its lifetime.

1-DSC_0097

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1: 4,5

I’ve driven past it in sun, storm, snow, and treacherous winds. Sometimes I’ve wondered if it would survive some of the worst storms. But it’s always there. It possesses a strength unfathomable and survives untouched and unscathed through it all.

I wish I could say the same about myself. 

I try to remind myself that I’m but one of the smaller branches near the ends, still being tested and tried. And that massive, huge trunk at the base is holding on to me.

And believe me, I’m hanging onto it for dear life.

image“Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up.” ~ The Bible Proverbs 22:28

Family–the forever constant, stamped indelible. May we branch out high and wear it proud. But when we hit those storms that threaten to snap us away, may we return to the open, loving limbs of home–the place of constants—love, acceptance, shelter, safety, sanity (or a bit of a necessary dose of insanity!).

d

“Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.” ~Author Unknown

Family–the forever constant.
The place where you breathe in the comfort and exhale a long sigh,

“Ahhh … there’s no place like home.”

image

“The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.” ~Dodie Smith

Bracing the Vortex | Through the Window

Cardinal Weathers the Storm

Sometimes you just need to bow your head, say a prayer and weather the storm.

As the polar vortex slipped over the United States, stores emptied shelves of nearly everything as residents braced for the bitter cold and blizzard conditions. But what about nature? How does nature brace for such a rare phenomenon? Are they caught by surprise, suddenly hapless and helpless, on the brink of consumption by the elements?Prayer Pose

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln 

My friend, Sonya, and her husband positioned their bird feeders right in front of their kitchen window so they could enjoy casual close-up bird watching. In the barrage of the storm, their observations unexpectedly turned beyond casual.  As the vortex hovered, Sonya grabbed her camera and captured these lovely creatures right in the midst of this horrendous storm. How would they fare? Would they survive? I think these stunning photos, taken through her window, need little explanation.

Together

A good friend can shield you from the storm. ~ Rhea Olsen

Observe them carefully. Look at their stance, their stillness, their resolve.

Together Again“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” ~ Socrates

As Sonya peered through her window, I’m sure she had an inclination to run out and rescue them. But alas, she could not. She provided food, then watched as they used the instinctual abilities God built within them. They were bound together and stood firm against this treacherous storm.

Watchcare

Make note:  They did not make any attempt to separate from one another. They stood together.

Peace Could this be the same God does with us? Does He watch us weather storms, knowing He can rescue us at any time? Sometimes we wonder why He doesn’t. Didn’t He build into us resources inherent in human nature? Plus, we have His promise that just as He watches over His creatures, He watches over us with even more intensity.

Camaradarie One of His resources is the gift of friendship, so beautifully pictured here. There is a certain camaraderie among the birds. Oh, I’m sure they’ve pecked at each other over many petty things. Haven’t we all observed that? But when the storm hit, they clung together. At Peace Can we not learn a lesson from the birds? Yes, we may bicker and peck at each other from time to time. But just as the birds faced the storm together, so we must see the value of friends when the vortex rolls in.

So, find a friend and be a friend. You will need each other.

Because there will be storms, and you’ll never walk alone. 1500750_10153710169035578_55612301_o

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” ~ Matthew 6:25-27
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Weekly Photo Challenge: Window
Photo credits: Sonya, a personal friend of mine who will remain anonymous. Thank you, Sonya. 

Thank you to Ms. Sprinkle Sparkles On for featuring this blog post. I encourage all to read this wonderful post that reminds us of how we need each other. It dovetails perfect.

Joyeaux Noel!

DSC_1453

“I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month.”  ~ Harlan Miller

DSC_1514Remember
This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~ Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

DSC_1437

“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”  ~Francis C. Farley

DSC_1486

“Christmas is for children.  But it is for grown-ups too.  Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts.” ~ Lenora Mattingly Weber

DSC_1479

“Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home.”  ~ Carol Nelson

DSC_1483

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~ Andy Rooney

DSC_1488

“Fail not to call to mind, in the course of the twenty-fifth of this month, that the Divinest Heart that ever walked the earth was born on that day; and then smile and enjoy yourselves for the rest of it; for mirth is also of Heaven’s making.”  ~ Leigh Hunt

 The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is Joy. Need I explain? 🙂
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Peace, Alexandria

Other favorites:
Weekly Photo Challenge: Joy
Merry Christmas in Many Languages, I See Beauty All Around
An Atheist Excerpt, Found
Christmas Favorites, Clicky Chick Creates
Christmas Family Traditions, This Man’s Journey

Novembrance | Autumn’s Unexpected Gift

DSC_1228“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring.” ~P.D. James

DSC_1118“I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tones mellower, its colors richer, 

DSC_1102and it is tinged a little with sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer,

DSC_1057but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitation’s of life and is content.” ~Lin Yutang

DSC_1095“The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, do we see its worth and beauty. 

DSC_1069Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature.While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness.

DSC_1103Beauty lurks in all the dim old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last.” ~ Northern Advocate

DSC_1154“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” ~ John Burroughs
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another autumn nears its end. These very brief, fleeting days find me outside more than any other time of the year. The colors are just breathtaking and I constantly fight this irresistible urge to try to capture the breadth, length, and height of it. As we know, it’s an impossibility. I know autumn means to contemplate, absorb, and enjoy the richness of  its beauty. It’s also a time of remembrance as the year draws to a close and we look back.

Autumn is such a paradox. Brilliant, glimmering. But it is truly a descent into decay and ultimately … death. It is, in essence, a progression into loss. Just like autumn, we’ve all experienced loss in some fashion this year. Perhaps God fashioned autumn so brilliant just so we could see some sort of beauty in loss. But the journey of loss always holds gain as God brings something new to replace what we lost. We won’t know what it is until we look to Him in faith and ask.

As the leaves fall, shrivel, and die some things in our lives must do the same. I’ve endured a couple of deep, unexpected losses this year. As I grieve I look to God and the glorious creation He surrounds me with and try to grasp the new blessings in my life. Just as the inclination is strong to hold and capture every photo of autumn, I cling tight to what is no more. And I have to ask God for even the faith to believe there is something better. There always is. The truth stamped in autumn tells me so. Tells me there is spring.

And it’s not too far from now.

Peace, Alexandria

You might also enjoy:
Autumn Boat (aditixpictures.wordpress.com)
Autumn asks (defeatdespair.wordpress.com)
Autumn Thoughts (princesstheodora.net)
A November Garden Bimble (ramblingratz.wordpress.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected
KellyJGrace

Inside the Thorns

DSC_0835

When life gives you thorns …
“Lift your hands toward the holy place, and praise the Lord.” Psalms 134:2

DSC_0842When life gives you thorns …
“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie

DSC_0836When life gives you thorns …
“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” ~ Leo Buscaglia

DSC_0828When life gives you thorns …
Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses. ” ~ Alphonse Karr

Lo, How the Rose Enduring

Mystifying, life defying,
Wrapped inside the
deadly piercing.
Delicate, yet
Strong emerging.
Not weathered torn.

But …

Beauty dazzling,
Lightly rising,
Fragile petals,
buds reach praising,
Inside eye
of dreadful storm.

Shall we fare less
inside our thorn?

DSC_0857“When life gives you thorns, grow roses.” ~ Alexandria Sage
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another contribution for NaPoWriMo 2014.
Poem and photos by Alexandria Sage. Photos taken with Nikon D60 with AF-S Nikkor lens 18-55 mm. Photos have no post-processing, editing, or cropping.  It’s the same rose, different views.
Perspective matters, doesn’t it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

The Place For … | Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea–Points of View

The sea. The place for …

20130905-225824.jpg

Thoughts … To contemplate, ponder, focus.
Emptiness … To let go, exhale, relax.

20130905-202159.jpg

Filling … To see, inhale, rejuvenate.
Cleansing … To wash clean within.

20130904-234106.jpg

Forgiveness … You have been forgiven. Therefore, forgive.
Giving … Gratitude, glory, praise.

20130906-003319.jpg

Receiving … Love, grace, mercy.
Quiet … Stillness, rest, knowing.

IMG_1952Noise … Breeze, waves, seagulls.
Laughter … Children, laughter. Families, laughter. Couples, laughter.

20130904-233909.jpg

The sea.
The place for joy.
It brings out the best in all of us. ~ Alexandria Sage

“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.” ~ Arthur C. Clarke

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea
Weekly Photo Challenge: Point of View

All photos taken with iPhone. No photo edits, cropping, or straightening–with exception of #4, in which the built-in iPhone enhance tool was used. Yes, everything looked that beautiful!

O, How The Years Go By | WPC: Nostalgia

“Nostalgia”. The word is a Greek compound, consisting of “nóstos”—meaning “homecoming” and “álgos”—meaning “pain and ache”. Wow. That’s exactly what nostalgia is to me. It’s that deep pain inside that aches for the past, that longs for home. It’s a warm feeling—home. And homecoming means just that—coming home. So for me, it’s a conflicting emotion. The warmth of home and aching for moments that can never be … again.

My parents and grandparents—how I ache for the moments I had with them. How I long for a conversation with my mother and dad. It makes me talk a lot longer and take a lot more time with my brother and sisters. I look at the photos of my children and I think Did I do those moments justice? Was I fully there for each one? Just now as I think of this time last year, there are memories I long for. Though I can never return to the past, I have this very moment to make a memory to cherish.
We cannot possess the past, but the past can mold our present.

Behold the present, and be all there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a theme of “Nostalgia”. You can see many others at the following link: Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia
Much thanks to Vastly Curious for her in-depth definition of this week’s theme.

Rise Above | Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Home Sweet Home Inside“Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility—for it thinks all things lawful for itself, and all things possible.” ~ Thomas a Kempis

No Small Matter“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” ~ Roald Dahl

Harmony“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” ~ Colossians 3:12, The Holy Bible

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These are a few of my submissions to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “From Above”. The photos were to be captured with a perspective from above. I hope you enjoy the photos and the quotes. For more interpretations see the links below.
Peace, Alexandria

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Home Sweet Home Inside

Inside
the place of safety
Inside
the place of peace
Inside
the place of friendship
Inside
where I am me.

Inside

the place of comfort
Inside
the place of warmth
Inside
the place of shelter
Inside
where is no harm.

Inside
the place of rest
Inside
the place I’m known
Inside
the place I’m loved
Inside
where I call home.

~ by Alexandria Sage

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Daily Prompt: Home Sweet Home
P.S. There’s no place like home.

%d bloggers like this: