2017: 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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And it finally opened up!

Lift Up 1-IMG_5811

And blossomed unimaginable!

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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Good neighbors promote growth. And speaking of neighbors …

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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

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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).

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

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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,

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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!”

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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!

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

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

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drowning in life’s demands,

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and kind of hanging by a thread,

First Rose

or in need of a hug;

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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

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And so loud sometimes! Stop it, January!

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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.

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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!

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

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

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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.}

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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

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