Dreams of Grandeur

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“Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain;  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthat you have the right to explore all heights and depth;

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthat there are no walls nor fences,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnor prohibited places,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnor sacred corners

olympus-digital-cameraoriginalin all the vast expanse of thought.”
~ Robert Green Ingersoll

avataralex-original“There is one spectacle grander than the sea. And that is the sky. There is one spectacle grander than the sky. And that is the interior of the soul.” ~ Victor Hugo

There is a vast landscape inside each of us. It is the place of hopes and dreams. It is the place of wonder and dignity.
It is a grandness that is known as you.
Peace, Alexandria
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

Photo locations: Acadia National Park, Maine
Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina

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Welcome the Light

I“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie

Here we go again! Another Christmas. What better way to start off than with a challenge about light. Whether one is a believer in the Christ-child or not, we all must agree—it’s the time of year we lay aside our differences and go all out.

IEveryone’s just a bit more kind as we take in all the wonder. There’s an abundance of generosity in the air. The young can’t contain exuberance. Those older contemplate years gone by, watching children with joy, and become child-like again. The return of Christmas reminds us of how fragile, fleeting, and precious every person and moment is.

As a devout Christian I have said Christmas makes us all believers. Something strange, almost mystical, no–miraculous–occurs.

I“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

We all celebrate. Does heaven gasp as the world wraps itself in Christmas—a spinning ornament studded with lights, glitter, and tinsel—another majesty of sorts—glistening from the most tasteful decor to the gaudy, even overdone? Or simple Charley Brown’s, from rich to poor, overdoing everything from lights to food to drink to family to travel to lavish spending?

IIt’s the celebration of the world—the glimmering earth spins in space, dripping in lavish everything. Is God upon His throne inhaling the wonder as His creation celebrates the greatest event in all of human history—Emmanuel—God with us?

IThat miraculous moment when the divine intersected humanity.

Skeptics and unbelievers try with all their might to squelch Him, to destroy Him, to snuff Him out. But try as they might, the world, believers and unbelievers, celebrate the mystery.
He cannot be silenced.

I“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ” ~ Roy L. Smith

Just gaze at the stars and sun above and you will see—night after night, day after day. Christmas is always there for you and for me.
You just can’t miss it.

“And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”” ~ Genesis 1:3

d“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” ~ John 1:1-4
“And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” ~ John 1:14

DSC_1352-001“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” ~ John 8:12

This is why I believe. If you find your faith waning this Christmas, why not rekindle it with the Light?

I“God is here. This truth should fill our lives, and every Christmas should be for us a new and special meeting with God, when we allow his light and grace to enter deep into our soul.”  ~ Josemaría Escrivá, Christ Is Passing by
Peace and joy this Christmas,
Alexandria
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

Thanksgiving Wish

DSC_1314Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;

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Where there is hatred, let me sow love; 

DSC_1323Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is error, truth; 

DSC_1280Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy.

DSC_1320O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love.

DSC_1047-001For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
~ prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assissi

DSC_1352-001This is my grown-up Thanksgiving Wish. How about you?
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Peace, Alexandria

Leaf Layer

DSC_1246“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” ~ Emily Bronte

DSC_1170“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

DSC_1169“Autumn is the second spring when every leaf is a flower.” ~ Albert Camus

DSC_1240“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

DSC_1275“Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

November Surprise

Be Thou the Rainbow

I saw the lovely arch
Of rainbow span the sky,
The gold sun burning
As the rain swept by.
~ Elizabeth Coatsworth

"Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life." Lord Byron

Ah, November is now upon us. I tried to find some really sweet November quotes on the web, thinking I would find a lot of poetry and quotes depicting the glory of this great month. How shocked and depressing to find literature filled with so much melancholy and gloom.

I suppose in many parts of the world the climate lends itself to melancholy in November. Around here, as October slips quietly into the sunset, November carries on the work of autumn slow and magnificent. And for me personally, November is neatly sandwiched in-between the end of Indian Summer and the bustling holidays. When you think about it, don’t the holidays serve as a huge distraction as the bleakness of winter rolls in? We wake up in January and it’s like, “Wow, it’s winter!”

The other side of the rainbow

But back to November. While I sat perusing the poetry, how fitting a chilling rain should suddenly befall the midst of all the gloom and doom. Great! Dear November, you just confirmed what I’m reading! Stop the madness!

But suddenly, a voice shattered the madness. My husband was off in the back field calling to get my camera and come running. And to my great surprise, what I saw proved those writers and poets dead-wrong. What began my November was this glorious arch spreading over the sky. Yes— a RAINBOW!  Far, far from melancholy. Oh, how I wish you could have been there! Just amazing.

Forever Chasing Rainbows

Rainbows usually conjure images of spring freshness and oh, how writers praise, praise, praise the endless wonder, relieved to the nth degree that all the bleak and blah of winter is finally gone. But just to prove those highbrow writers wrong, nature decided to blast forth this November with a rainbow. No room for gloom this time!

So what do you think about November? Rather than leave it up to famed writers and poets, perhaps it’s now up to the world of everyday bloggers like you and me to change that reputation. Even if your climate is cold, bleak, and cloudy, is there not some glimmer of magnificence? You may not get a rainbow like I did but November holds plenty of surprise. It’s there, to be sure.

I Hope

You might have to do some searching to capture the beauty in the bleak. But even in the worst of times, there is always a place, a space of sanity and glory, that silver lining of hope—possibly even a rainbow. With November ushering winter at our doorstep, together let’s find that surprise. I’m ready. How about you?

November Thoughts | One Last Bling

DSC_1266“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” ~ Jim Bishop

DSC_1018November is the month of my birthday. Which means it’s the time of year I purchase some special things I’ve wished for throughout the year. I usually add a few pieces to my wardrobe, buy a few kitchen gadgets, sometimes add a new piece of jewelry. Overall, it’s my month to do (or not do :-)) and get something special.

DSC_1193I know this sounds crazy but this year I purchased some very sturdy scaffolding. We are do-it-yourselfers and those extension ladders make me dizzy. 

DSC_1036-001Plus, I needed some peace of mind. I am tired of holding my breath and nearly passing out when my husband or son-in-law climb to clean or paint the upper level of our home.

DSC_1192I know. A strange purchase. It was expensive and kind of blew my birthday budget but it’s truly what I wanted.  

DSC_1179However, I still managed to secure some bling—but not the jewelry kind.

November BlingAs autumn progresses in my part of the world, November emerges as the month of gold. It’s the bling I wish and wait for all year-long. It’s as if the trees wish me a big, happy birthday. The celebration goes on as they glitter and glimmer the whole month. It’s a nice, warm welcome to another year of life.

imageSo I’d like to say thank you to my lovely tree friends for all the abundant bling. I feel dressed to the nines another year and now I’m ready to face winter.

DSC_1204November is truly a great month for a birthday.
😉
Alexandria

P.S. I would be remiss if I did not recognize two other “friends” who said good-bye this month. The last hydrangea and yellow rose. Thank you so much for lending your beauty one last time. See you next year!

“In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus
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I enjoyed the November Bling at these places, too. Thought I’d share.
http://streetsofasheville.com/2013/11/30/novembers-last-days/
http://letsgolescophotos.com/2013/12/01/wrapping-up-30-days-of-so-much-thanks/
http://haikugesundheit.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/haiku-93-end-of-november-nablopomo-30/
http://johntharding.me/2013/11/26/photo-of-the-day-autumn-dazzler/
http://digger666.com/2013/11/22/leaves-of-summer-past/
http://digger666.com/2013/11/19/hidden-in-autumn-leaves-by-takk-b/
http://thesirenstale.com/2013/11/17/the-years-last-loveliest-smile/
http://kittnoir.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/sunset-on-autumn-gold/
Weekly Photo Challenge: Let There Be Light

Beyond the Imagined | Horizon

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“Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step.

Yep, that would be me.

 Only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.” ~ Dag Hammarskjold

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Water has an endless horizon; there is no limitation when you look out into the water. 

There’s nothing to interfere with the mind’s eye projecting itself as far as it can possibly imagine.

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I suppose it’s the same way people in the Midwest feel about watching amber waves of grain or endless rows of cornfields. There is something exhilarating about it.” ~ Billy Joel

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“We praise the day and and stand in awe of the night. However, sunrise and sunset live as the union of the two–a marriage formed by day and by night, a reminder that even the world was made to come together. Like love, it is something our hearts can experience, while the mind will never fully understand.” ~ Sean M. Smith

When I leave my day job I walk to the top level of a parking garage to get to my car. Usually well into the evening, I’m greeted by a sparkling city-night skyline. After a hard day of work, it’s exhilarating. But there’s something else in the parking lot that greets me as well—a barely noticeable very slight bump in the middle of it. And you know what? Not a night goes by that I don’t trip over that bump. You know why? I can’t take my eyes off that beautiful city skyline. I do it nearly every time.

It reminds me of my life. In my attempts to stay focused on the big picture sometimes I falter and trip. You see, when your eyes are on the horizon that can happen. But if I focused on that bump in the parking lot I’d never look up to see the beauty of the skyline. Horizon is what I chase everyday. Don’t we all?

Few experiences in life exhilarate like the horizon. Whether yours is a city skyline, an expansive ocean, or a sprawling cornfield, the bumps are worth it. Unless you like standing still.

Peace, Alexandria
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Inside the Thorns

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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
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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?
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

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!

Adventures in Apertures | WPC: Focus

“Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” ~ Tony Robbins

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” ~ Mark Twain

DSC_0461 f/4.2 cropped“Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.” ~ Niels Bohr ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
These photos are taken with differing apertures using two different lenses. They are collections of the same scene.

As you can see, they each have their advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on, well, what you want to focus on. In photography, it’s important to focus on one thing. That one thing may be the big picture or it may be a small object. There is the shallow depth of field and the large depth of field.

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it? —dynamic arrays of focus. And it can be hard in this modern warp speed we are now immersed in. At every moment we focus on “something”. I don’t juggle it perfectly but I certainly try. I have a few big picture goals in my life that get squeezed out by all the little things that draw my attention.

Some of the little things I love, like an unexpected visit from my grandson or adult children. Or phone calls from faraway friends and family—just visiting or planning time with them. They are definitely worth my focus and relationships with them fall into my “big picture” goals. There are many other good things, too, but I do have to say “no” to a lot of those good things.

I sprinkled a few quotes that help me. What about you? What do you say “yes” and “no” to? Where’s your focus these days?

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“Beware of overcommitment. You can’t “yes” to everyone. You must practice saying “no”. Otherwise, you may be at risk of compromising your quality or your integrity.” ~ Stephen Deal
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This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a theme of “Focus”. It was a lot of fun to experiment and I’m pleased with the results. I hope you are, too. Peace, Alexandria

Other links:
SimplySage: A Return to Organic Photography
Photography 101: Finding Your Focus
Festival of Flowers: Week 12

Jump! | WPC: Carefree

20130720-213801.jpg“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

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“Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ H. Jackson Brown Jr

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“You’ll be glad you did!” ~ Alexandria Sage
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The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Carefree”. One word means carefree for me—Summer. And summer means “water”.

Free from the stiff structure of school schedules, water brings out the brave in me. Water has dominated my summers as far back as I can remember. And I’ve done just about every trick imaginable in the water.

My uncle plunked water skis on all us cousins at a very young age. He would shove them down in a sandbar and take off.  It was drenching at first but in time we learned to skim the choppy waters, dodging large chunks of driftwood which made the ride even more wild. There was never a Do you want to learn this? With unbridled voracity, we bolted to the boat the day our name was called. In my family, this was a rite of passage.

Then there were the rope swings, the high dives, the quarry and cliff jumps. {Yes, I nearly drowned once-seriously.} My own kids didn’t take swim lessons because nothing could keep their mother out of the water with them. {No embellishment here—they are my proofreader’s. :-)}

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Now this little guy is my swimming buddy. He’s getting braver and more adventurous. What’s more carefree than a beautiful summer day and a pool filled with shimmering water to frolic in? For him and me—NOTHING!

But I hope I can get him to shed the goggles soon–summer’s almost over! 🙂

Close, Closer | WPC One Shot, Two Ways

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“Life consists of a myriad of details that can cloud your vision. To gain a balanced perspective one must overlook some of the minutiae. Details, while very important, are not everything.

You can stand close and still see the big picture.” ~ Alexandria Sage

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This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways. I just returned from a trip to Antigua, Guatemala, a lovely city set in the volcanic mountains of that country. The elevation is around 5000 feet which, combined with the tropical climate, makes for an average everyday temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Built in the early 1700’s, Antigua is filled with Spanish Baroque architecture. Though hit by mild earthquakes and a few large ones, the city retains almost all its original cobblestone streets and buildings. It is absolutely stunning. Many hotels, shops, and restaurants now line its streets. They have done a great work in modernizing this city while retaining the beauty of its originality.
Aside from cropping out cars and slight rotation of the first photo, these photos are unedited. I used iPhone 5.
EnJoy.
Peace, Alexandria
Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways
Some Favorites:
One Shot, Two Ways by Sph3re
Finding Peace and Tranquility at Hotel Cirilo, Antigua, Quatemala
One Shot, Two Ways by ThirdEyeMom
One Shot, Two Ways by Tina Schell

The Master Speaks | Masterpiece: Eye of the Beholder

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“A chief event of life is the day in which we have encountered a mind that startled us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

No thoughts nor words. Chills. I stood frozen, trying to maintain composure. I stifled a choked lump in my throat, but I couldn’t stop the tears that filled my eyes, then meandered down my cheeks.

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“The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.” ~ Michelangelo

Still freshly astonished at churches, ancient structures, the Vatican Museum, and Sistine Chapel, I expected more of the same. But nothing prepared me as I stepped through the door of St. Peter’s Basilica. So unexpected. Unimaginable. My breath escaped, and I filled with wonder, How could anyone create beauty of such magnitude? And who were these creators? Even more, why?

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This was greatness of another dimension. For a few moments I became wordless, thoughtless. Then the vacuum that occupied my mind and heart at that moment became filled with a tenderness, a sweet gentility, a touch. A touch of … love.

But it was love unleashed.

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“All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled with only sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty.” ~ Billy Graham

Grand, spacious love in a pinnacle masterpiece. Love that was enough … for everyone. You could see love–painted, sculpted, flowing, flourishing in every square inch of rock solid marble. But why? The question haunted.

These were masters of another kind.

Rome Day 3 262“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

I know the history behind the excesses of some of the pope’s as well as how artist’s squabble.  But these artist’s stretched above and beyond any earthly demands or human frailty to something deeper. Isn’t it like God to use imperfect people to magnify Himself? Perhaps even they didn’t understand why. They just unleashed it all.

Rome Day 3 260And this timeless structure was like a soul connection to God Himself—a love intent on touching earth with heaven. They were light-years ahead of their time–visionaries. Could they envision me standing there today, losing my breath, tears streaming down my face, asking the question, “Why?”

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“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” ~ Michelangelo

This place was elegant, tasteful, immense, grandiose. As the earth spun gracefully around the sun, the beams cast changing rays in a delightful show of light and shadow. Science and art merged to exquisite perfection. Intentional. This was no cold stone ancient relic.

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It was soft, warm, alive … welcoming. It was as if every stroke, cut, and design were destined way into the future. For today. For everyone. For this day. For me.

DSC00318The place was filled with people, families, children and babies, but there was a hush, a reverence. An awe. All eyes looked up. For in the confines of walls, these masters harnessed but a small glimpse of the Master of all.

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And I, an honored guest, could hear His voice, whispering soft. “Welcome. Come in. Just enjoy.”

“Every beauty which is seen here by persons of perception resembles more than anything else that celestial source from which we all come.” ~ Michelangelo
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All photography {except #9 (that’s mine with a Cybershot)} is by Dan Pope of Precise Photography, based in Arlington, Texas. These photos are completely unedited, with exception of cropping Pietà, of which no one can get that close enough to photograph. See Dan’s website and browse a few of his Galleries for a phenomenal portfolio. My husband and I enjoyed a trip to Rome with the Pope’s as we both celebrated anniversaries. Dan has a big heart and an engaging sense of humor and makes friends with everyone he meets, including the Swiss Guard! He teased about how “the Pope” had come to visit Rome. Good thing Italians have a great sense of humor.

Peace, Alexandria

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.” ~ John Ruskin
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Some of my favorites on this Challenge:

Sejeong Production
Postcard Photo
Blessings Through Raindrops
Chronicles of Illusion

Am submitting this as well to the Work of Art Photo Challenge from June 2014

Be Thou the Rainbow

Moorea

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.” ~ Lord Byron

I don’t know anything that speaks fresh more than a rainbow after the rain. And I can’t think of a more appropriate photo than this, taken with an iPhone 5. Much thanks to my guest author, Steve, for this photo taken on a recent vacation. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Simply spectacular. But there is something else quite delightful about this photo. If you look across the top third you will see a faint hint of color. There is another rainbow, making it that more rare event of a double rainbow! It’s worth clicking on for a larger view. I’ve asked Steve for a short description:

“We were at our hotel in Moorea and it had been a blustery day with thirty mph winds and a fine, misting rain. Curiously, there were times that it continued to rain even when the sky had minimal clouds or even blue skies. This photo was taken from a bridge as I was walking across the hotel grounds.”

Enjoy.
Peace, Alexandria
{P.S. This photo was taken with an iPhone 5. The only editing done was the “enhance” tool within iPhone, which did little to alter the photo. Nothing else was done. To me, the photo is perfect in every way. I give Steve credit for being fast with the camera and setting up perfect composition.}
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Daily Prompt: Colors

My favorite:
The Colours of Love

You might enjoy some other articles by Steve:
A Tale of Agony
My Thoughts on Aging
Taxes Made Simple
Healthcare: Good, Fast, Cheap. You Only Get Two

A Golden Hour Collection | Weekly Photo Challenge

IMG_2432“Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise.” ~ George Washington Carver

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“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” ~ John Muir

DSC02872“Two golden hours somewhere between sunrise and sunset. Both are set with 60 diamond minutes.” ~ Horace Mann

DSC_0450“Someday you will find the one who will watch every sunrise with you until the sunset of your life … Just be patient.” ~ Unknown

“I like that time is marked by each sunrise and sunset whether or not you actually see it.” ~ Catherine Opie
Sunrise Bora Bora
“Every sunrise offers renewed hope to carry out the reflection after the sunset of yesterday. A time to let go of yesterday and embrace the new day.” ~ Alexandria Sage

Pain Prescriptions“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23
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This week’s Photo Challenge theme is “The Golden Hour”, known as the hour of sunrise and sunset. No one can deny the colors and lighting are breathtaking. How many times has this Golden Hour stopped you dead in your tracks and caught your attention? It amazes me how God built into nature two times every single day to get our attention, to bless us with a glorious start and a reflective end. Simply captivating.

Nearly every camera captures them easily. However, it was so nice of WordPress to host the Photography 101 series to help us along. And this week we were given a lesson by one my favorite photographers, Wenjie Zhang of A Certain Slant of Light. I only have one tip to offer about the Golden Hour. Be prepared and don’t hesitate. Get that picture. If you wait even one minute it will be gone.

To end with, when I saw the challenge theme I immediately thought of a song I’ve recently heard and come to love, aptly titled Golden. It is filled with a bittersweet mixture of hope and reality that intertwines the journey of every person— the rhythms of life, the ups and downs, the fickle moments, the grand ones.

Life can become a tangled mess sometimes. But through it all, the resounding truth in the last quote above, from the Bible, offers a hope that holds us firm in the hand of God. Is it not He who chose to shout His love, mercy, and faithfulness through two glorious golden hours of each day? Though the sun sets and the day ends, His mercies never come to an end. And every morning once again He shouts His love to carry us through.

His faithfulness is constant, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

Peace, Alexandria
Credits: Golden (youtube lyric video. song by Amy Grant).
Guest Author, Stephen Deal, for his sunrise photo.

Friendship Formulae |Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable II

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

“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 typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
… 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 in an immense solitude.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves”
“How we need another soul to cling to.” ~ Sylvia Plath
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This is my second entry for “Companionable” in the Weekly Photo Challenge. Thanks and credit to Stephanie Goddard for the first photo. Though the Challenge is closed I just had to do a second entry because of this photograph and many others that I thought fit the theme so well. 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 this cliff in my own life with companions as these! Shall I add it for this week’s theme of “Nostalgia”?} For more of Stephanie’s fine work visit Goddard Photography. You will not be disappointed.
Other interpretations for the challenge can be viewed at  Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable
Peace, Alexandria

Some of my favorites:
Vastly Curious
West Coast Kayaker
This Man’s Journey
Island Vignettes
Jean’s Photography Blog
Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin

LoveSong | WPC: Companionable


“Love moves in sync with the cadence of forgiveness,

sings in tune with the melody of acceptance,

and dances in rhythm with the music of companionship.” ~ Steve Maraboli

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This is one of my interpretations for the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme: Companionable.
I think we all love the movements of music and I thought this quote was a beautiful metaphor for love and companionship. In life we have the universal need for forgiveness, acceptance, and companionship. Our movements to find these can lead us down different paths but the need still remains. As we seek to find and receive them, may we also seek to extend them. For in extending them to others, we find they will shower upon us as well.
Peace, Alexandria

Nature’s Usual Pose | Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

The Life of Less

Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars.” ~ Henry Van Dyke

The Climb

“It’s easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

It's a Bug's Life

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them.” ~ Louisa May Alcott

Aspire

Man cannot aspire if he looks down. If he rise, he must look up.” ~ Samuel Smiles

The Sign of Heaven

I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

Heaven's Promise“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
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Here are other interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of “Up”.

Was Blind But Now I See

Cloud Burst

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is RISEN!!” ~ Luke 24:5-6

Today Christians worldwide celebrate an event so powerful it split history in two. Since I am a Christian, I join in remembrance. But though I’m a believer in the risen Jesus Christ, my journey of faith was not an easy one.

I grew up in a traditional Christian church that I didn’t fully understand, so I fully rejected it. And I didn’t return, until I fully examined it. And once returned, by faith I fully embraced it. Then the risen Lord transformed and made me fully alive.

The ancient words of the Bible suddenly became living and powerful. They have been a constant source of truth, peace, comfort, guidance, and encouragement since that time.
Once I Was Blind“He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”” ~ John 9:25

But the greatest truth of all is the simplest. And it is the crux of the entire matter. It’s what he says concerning death. Jesus claimed to conquer death by his resurrection, and faith in this grants eternal life to the believer.
Cloud Masterpiece“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16

What is the universal fear of all mankind? Death. And Jesus promises life, eternal for the future, and abundant now. Life–the antithesis of death. Death–the enemy of life. He conquered it.

Heart Song

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:56-57

This is but a small glimpse into my faith. Perhaps you’re searching for that missing piece–or that missing “peace”. At the very least, examine Christ fully. You really have nothing to lose.

“God, in the end, gives people what they most want, including freedom from himself. What could be more fair?” ~ C.S. Lewis

Happy Easter

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Related articles:
Seeking the Living
My Thoughts on Aging
Weekly Image of Life: Easter Time
Aspiration for Heavenly

Photos credits:
Alexandria Sage and S. Michael

Somewhere Down the Road | My Neighborhood

Somewhere Down My Road

Somewhere down the road, there’ll be answers to the questions …

Somewhere down the road, though we may not see it now …

Morning Mist in my "Backyard"

Somewhere down the road, you will find mighty arms reaching for you …

And they will hold the answers at the end of the road …

Sunrise Again

Oh, they will hold the answers at the end of the road …

“Somewhere Down the Road” ~ song lyrics sung by Amy Grant

This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of “Phoneography—My Neighborhood”.  The intent is to capture photos of our neighborhood with a smartphone. So this is my “neighborhood”. My “backyard” is two-hundred acres of farmland. I live “somewhere” down this road and these song lyrics entered my mind when I took the first picture. The simplicity of their truth is what I cling to when I can’t figure out all of life’s mysteries.

All photos taken with iPhone 4.
Enjoy.
Alexandria

For more phoneography visit the Weekly Photo Challenge link:

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