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

 

 

Advertisements

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

 

Hydrangea Joy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

Hydrangea Joy

Vivid

Grand

Generous 

Abundant

Joy-giving

Smile-maker

Favorite flower

Enjoy!

Peace,
Alexandria

Fragile, Handle With Care | Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

d

“Words and hearts should be handled with care, for words misspoken and hearts when broken are the hardest things to repair.” ~ Unknown

Ever do this? Say something then feel the immediate twinge of regret? You wish, how you wish, you could somehow take them back. But they stick like glue. Sometimes they are just casual, oh so casual, “I didn’t really mean it.”

We utter them right off the top of our head, just because we need to talk–oh, how we need to talk,  to say something—oh, how we always need to be saying something.

Sometimes they are tinged with hints of sarcasm—just enough hint to hurt.

Breaking 1-DSC_0141 (5)

Sometimes we lash out in anger. And that’s the worst kind—so far from kind.

And then there’s the so unkind kind that cuts … deep, sometimes scarring to permanence—like a car that’s been wrecked and declared totaled.  Total damage.

1-DSC02089-005

If we would but look into the eyes, we would see the heart of each.

Look Me in the Eye1-DSC_0151

But no, we shrug away, whispering, “So what.”

1-DSC_0150-001

Our culture actually takes pride in telling someone off. We hang on to the brash words of reality television and celebrate the celebrity spewing trash-talk. Bullying is a problem among our children. It’s like we celebrate hate.

Walk Away 1-DSC_0150

What have we become?

Yes, conflict is part and parcel of life. But my mother used to say “Fight nice.” The word hate was so repulsed it was never allowed in our home, under any circumstances. Not even an “I hate brocolli!” was permitted.

Words can build or destroy. Choose them wisely—choose to soothe, heal, protect, build.

Happy

Why not declare to say, today, words tinged with, dare I say, … love?

And if you have nothing to say, it’s perfectly okay to just say nothing.

“Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent.” ~Proverbs 17:28a

Spent, or Well-Spent?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Broken”. I chose to use the theme in the context of “words”, which can break and shatter as powerfully as they build and heal.

Our modern world is filled with an abundance of them. Sometimes even one sentence can wreak a force as destructive as a volcanic eruption. (Think Twitter with its mere 160 characters. It packs a powerful punch, doesn’t it?)

1-DSC_0436

Our WordPress community continues to be a safe haven for words, a place where thoughtful expression is wrapped in respect for everyone. I’ve found it to be thus far, and I hope it continues.

1-DSC_0164

“Let your speech be always with grace.” ~Colossians 4:6a

Peace,
Alexandria


For other interpretations of the Broken Challenge, I hope you’ll take some time and visit here. You’ll enjoy the endless creativity of WordPress photographers, both amateur and professional. Enjoy! 🙂

2014: So, What’s New?

image“It’s time to rise and shine. Wake up and make the day mine. In this brand new world. I’m at the starting line.” ~ Unknown

In these United States the main form of modern communication is now text or email. Being a culture on the mega-move, we’ve gradually resorted to a number of cliché’s to reduce wordy material or communicate big ideas in as few words as possible.

Our language is woven with phrases like “please summarize” and “just cut to the chase”, or “say it in a nutshell”. (Origin: Pliny tells us that Cicero asserts the whole Iliad was written on a piece of parchment which might be put into a nutshell.)

My personal favorite is the latest method of email to my manager: “Bullet points only, please.” I like that she adds “please”. 🙂

1-DSC_1617

This is what I see when I think “bullet points”. 🙂

But for someone like me, it’s all highly problematic. Words fill my mind from morning to night, desiring a written home. But time constraints wisp them away, gone forever. Plus, brevity must be accomplished lest I lose all you wonderful folks to the land of Rip Van Winkle!

I try to be brief but what’s a girl to do who can ping a life lesson from something so simple as a solitary tree? One glance and I’m off!

Lo, How We Age

“Oh, oh, oh I could write, from morning to night, words flood my brain, like torrents of rain, but minutes skip past, and they’re out with a blast, of wind-tossed aloft, and cannot be caught. But I do catch a few, to share here with you.” That’s from yours truly here. 🙂 See what I mean?

But my annual report arrived from WordPress. Total visits. Top posts. Countries. So, bullet points it is! Hence the title “What’s New?

First, what’s new is record-breaking traffic:

  • 15,000 views, up from 2013 and over twice the 2012 traffic.
  • Grand total: Nearly 39,000
  • 136 countries. Thank you very much for stopping by, whomever and wherever you are!imageimageTop Five Posts:image
  • 1. Christmas Reflections This holds first place since published in December 2012. It’s a personal favorite of mine and the starlight on the photos were a glorious accident with an iPhone lens that was probably smudged! Take a look and see what you think!I2. Thanksgiving Reflections Another post from 2012 and it remains at the number two spot since published.
    ThankfulnessBoth of these are ever popular during the holidays and can be found on the first page of Google and Yahoo search engines during the holidays. How do you suppose that happened??? I don’t rightly know but I’m not complaining!

So that “sums it up”, “in a nutshell”. 🙂

“O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count my selfe a King of infinite space.”~ William Shakespeare

Farewell Fourteen!
Alexandria

%d bloggers like this: