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.


June 2012

It was all so wonderful.

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 it look for it; 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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These Are a Few of My Favorite Grids | Weekly Photo Challenge: Grid

A Cupful of Friend

Relaxing in the screen grid

As I looked at the Challenge this week with “Grid” as the theme, I perused through my pictures. And it was amazing to me how much of my everyday life is filled with design.

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Grid bench, where I enjoy my favorite flower.

Be it work, home, or play I’m constantly living life in a myriad of grids. Why, I glance at my desk right now and it’s filled with cubbies of lovely baskets and throws and it’s grids bring warmth, reminding me of my favorite things. And so, I thought I’d share a few with you.

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Rust-colored trees border a grid fence. Barren beauty. (Sometimes I feel like that. Sigh …)

I think deep within all of us there is a hunger for design, composition, and order. Perhaps it’s because so much of life is unpredictable and seems out of control. But then we’ll see something beautiful. And we’ll snap a picture.

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Inhale the forest through the grid. Ahhh….

Everyday we’ll snap pictures of moments. And they become a small piece of peace to latch onto and it all nourishes our soul, doesn’t it?

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Grid grill. Yum! One of my favorites!

Perhaps they remind us that in that very photo we destined order in our chaotic world.

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Light within the grid … shine for me, please.

Our eyes searched for and found the grid. We put composition where it was not.

Clean ovens

The grid shines through. (Sigh … it’s that time again!)

We found design in small things. Like a clean oven. 🙂

Friendly ferns love the grid, too!Grids make a space for everyone, especially friendly ferns!

I don’t know about you but all of these pictures make me smile. I brought a piece of order and composition to my own chaotic world.

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My favorite beach grid. Yes, here I come!

And they make me happy. Very happy!

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A grid to play with bugs. Fun!

And isn’t happiness what we’re all searching for?

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Revived skill behind a grid. Pleased. Very pleased.

So, as you go about your day, look around.

Singing in front of the grid. Inspirational!

Find the grid. Snap the picture. Tell your story. But tell it to yourself first.

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Mmm … yes, lock me behind this grid forever!!

Then sit back and smile. And be happy!

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Let this grid warmth fill me all year long! It’s coming soon!

For happiness abounds! 🙂

Peace,
Alexandria


For more entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge with the “grid” theme click here. Have a great week!

Inside the Thorns {A Poem for You Today}

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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


I marvel at the rose, how that beauty thrives with the near clutches of thorns. The life of this fluorescent beauty doesn’t just ho-hum grow up. It is pricked by those thorns it’s entire existence, yet it not only thrives, it blooms. Delicate and bold. Tough and tender.
As life pricks us, may we learn to grow–not hardened by hardship–but strong, malleable, generous, kind, compassionate–the qualities of true beauty.
Peace,
Alexandria


Poem by yours truly. 🙂
Photos taken with Nikon D60 with AF-S Nikkor lens 18-55 mm. No post-processing, editing, or cropping.  It’s the same rose, different views.
Perspective matters, doesn’t it?


Related Articles:
Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance
yi-chin ling: much of enough comes
The Silver Leaf Journal: The Struggle to Endure

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

The sea. The place for …

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

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

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

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

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

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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!

2013 | Resolved to Illuminate Beyond

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The creature transfixed me; I stood captivated, mesmerized.
It rendered me still—a rarity in my world. Its movement was beautiful to behold. Tendrils of tentacles, suspended in lovely designs, moved in tandem.

I’d always run from a creature like this. In fact, everyone I know runs. I was acutely aware of the danger it held if we’d met in other circumstances. But there was a boundary between us now, a thick glass bubble.

The boundary kept me safe, allowing me to marvel at the creature. As I tried to capture it without a blur, it proved an expedition of futility as I quickly discovered it was never still. Its movement was rhythmic yet determined, planned yet random—unhurried— taking its time.

As I watched, I wondered if it had any destination?
Where did it think it was going? Did it ever sleep? Was it ever bored by its never-ending motion? Does it have an instinctual to-do list as it gracefully moves through life? I confess a severe lack of knowledge in jellyfishdom so I truly don’t know. But it made me realize something.

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I don’t move like that.
And neither does anyone else I know. In my American culture the phrase I hear over and over is, “I’m just so busy. I can’t seem to get anything done. There is so much left to do. I gotta go.” That’s our mantra. That’s mine, too.

But what is all this busy? This busy seizes our most treasured possession—time. In my culture we actually prize this robber of time.

We prize busy.

D

And why? Well, we give it a proper name. We call it productivity.

For example—a place I visit on occasion is the WordPress live stats page. It’s interesting because they show live activity within WordPress. It shows new posts, comments, and likes in real time. Keep in mind WordPress is the platform for over 15% of the web; there are 60 million WordPress sites in the world.

As I look at this site I notice some things. Some parts of the world are totally silent. I find it sad these people seem to have no voice. Other parts of the world are silent at times, too. But they are getting what is necessary—sleep. You can tell this by the time zones. Asia and the South Pacific sleep. Africa and South America sleep. Europe is pretty awake but has quiet periods. But the United States?

The United States never sleeps. It blinks 24/7. http://en.wordpress.com/stats/

Productivity.

Why do we continually strive to fill our days with productivity? We’re wired here to produce, to accomplish, to strive. Make no mistake—these are good things; I am not condoning sloth.

What I’m talking about is rhythm, room to relax, room to roam.

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Building rhythm into our days. Allow margin for that phone call to an old friend. Time for outdoors. Take the ear buds out and just sit and listen to beautiful music. Take time to close your eyes and just dream. And take time to love. To love those around us. Not just family and friends. How about looking into the eyes of a stranger or the outcast. Smile as you look. In fact, smile more. Let’s resolve to …

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Dawn 2013 New Year’s Day

“Stop the glorification of busy.” ~ Unknown

Isn’t that what we do? We glorify this thing called busy. Our self-worth becomes entangled in busy. Deadlines and the to-do list are important. But they are never-ending. We will never get it all done. They grow like bread yeast. And if you let yeast grow unfettered it fills a loaf of bread with holes. Same thing with us.

So resolve to take time

to sleep … to dream … then wake up … savor the sunbeams shining in.

to write … a magical song note by note … and then … to sing with crescendo the song of your heart.

to listen … to every soul you meet … with your eyes and a smile.

Take time … to listen, to gaze, to thank, to inhale, to give, to receive, to learn, and …

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January 1, 2013

To love.

I heard it said, “If you don’t schedule fun, fun won’t get done.”

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So schedule some fun. Put one fun thing on that to-do list everyday. It’s okay to venture into the margins a bit, sometimes a lot. The margins will rejuvenate you for the times of productivity.

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And one more thing …

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Get some good sleep while you’re at it. Let’s alter those stats a bit, shall we?

Joyous New Year,
Alexandria

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:27-30

This post combines three themes: Resolved, Illumination, and Beyond. I started with Resolved and didn’t finish in time. So then I added Illumination and didn’t finish in time. Then I saw Beyond and thought the photos adapted well to that theme, too. I hope you agree and I think I’m finally finished.
Enjoy.

Here are other interpretations of the themes.

Photo Credits: Alexandria Sage and S. Michael

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