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,

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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

 

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You Are My Sunshine | Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

20131030-173804.jpg“Some think love can be measured by the amount of butterflies in their tummy. Others think love can be measured in bunches of flowers, or by using the words ‘for ever.’ But love can only truly be measured by actions. It can be a small thing, such as peeling an orange for a person you love because you know they don’t like doing it.” ~ Marian Keyes

DSC02872A paintbrush swathed in shades of orange,
Lavished sky with broad, bold strokes.

20130906-003319.jpgA space of gold,
A slice of time,

CWe breathe,
and lose breath

Sunrise Bora Boraat the marvel of such artistry.
No words.

IMG_1952Just time,
… beauty,
…. peace
….. and love.


This is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Orange”. Click here to see all the other “Orange” creativity.
Here’s a few of the many others I liked:
Say It With a Camera
Don’t Throw Away That Orange Peel
Travels and Trifles: Orange: Last, But Not Least
EnJoy!
Alexandria

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 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 PietĂ , 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

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

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

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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

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Love = Infinity + Beyond… | Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

“Love does not consist in gazing at each other
but at looking together in the same direction.”

~ Unknown

This is my second interpretation for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry theme.

Can love be bound by lines, shapes, or circles? Mmm … maybe. Isn’t it two souls bound together toward a common purpose, a shared existence, despite the shapes, lines, and hairpin turns of life?

And let’s not forget—though love defies science, isn’t it a formula with a slight touch of chemistry?

Just one “angle” and just for fun,
Alexandria

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/weekly-photo-challenge-geometry/

The Beauty of a True Friend | Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

“You have been 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

This is my second entry in the Weekly Photo Challenge for January 25, 2013. The theme is love. This is one of my absolute favorite quotes on friendship.
We’re all just a bit of a mess, aren’t we? Vulnerable and fragile? Transparent and forgiving? Filled with love, filled with faults. Yet the bonds of friendship intertwine beautifully with enduring love. We love amid the mess.

For more posts on this theme visit this link.
Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

The Kaleidoscope Collide

I wonder if flowers could talk or had human emotion or had the ability to reason, would they dwell in prejudice against the color of another flower? Would they judge and resent, even hate one another because of the color of their petals? And not just the color that separates them, but the different varieties?

The hydrangea differs due to differing acidity. The daisies in the photo below have colors that are man-induced. These colors do not naturally occur in nature. They were “created”. Not the flowers but the colors. Why did someone do this? Doesn’t it add to their brilliance, bring a smile to our face, and increase our joy?

Aren’t we awestruck and delighted by the very nature of their differences? Their color and composition is completely at the mercy of their maker. They cannot help what color they are. But do we complain? Do we harbor resentment because of the multitude of color?

Then why do we do this with the greatest stain on humanity?
All of us know deep within our hearts that racism is wrong. Yet, we are all racist. All of us. Just admit it. It was taught and modeled before us. Children are not born racist. They are taught racism.

It’s okay to admit it but we must go further. We must fight it. We must fight it within ourselves and we must fight it outwardly. But how is this done?

Think of the recent Olympics. For a wondrous moment every nation was at peace. We watched the very best athletes parade into the stadium and what a sight it was! Did it not take your breath away to see the vast array of different cultures, different colors both in costume and skin?

Great Britain (Team GB) - Parade of Nations - ...

Did any of us have a racist or prejudiced bone in our body during those wondrous seventeen days? I theorize the Creator’s original intent may have been what we witnessed at the Olympics. Why would He be so risky as to create his image-bearers in different colors? Perhaps it was meant to bring joy, to rejoice, to bring color to the world. Just pure joy.
He created everything and said, “It was good.”

So if nature teaches us to appreciate, even delight in the of the myriad of color, can we not do more to appreciate rather than spurn the different skin colors?
After all, it’s all just a matter of a mere .012% melanin.

This is written in response to the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge titled “A Splash of Color”.
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/weekly-writing-challenge-a-splash-of-color/

This is also a response for the Story Challenge Letter “R” posted on FlickrComments. “R” for Racism.
http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/story-challenge-letter-r/

Photo of Olympics 2012 Parade of Nations courtesy of Zemanta.

A Sliver of Joy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Happy

A favorite hang-out | Pink fountain for a good cause. Cheery mums galore.

Favorite weather | Autumn hints, cleansing rain, cloud-break.
Lingering mist.

Favorite time | Post-breakfast desertion. Kids safe at school. Sigh …….

A slice of time,
A shy, favored friend.
A Sliver of Happy.

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
~ Joseph Campbell

“A friend is one to whom you may pour out all the contents of your heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~ Unknown

“Find the joy in your life. Laugh hard, laugh long, and laugh loud. There is something that brings joy to each of us. Find out what it is for you and work hard to get more of it.” ~ Stephen Deal

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Referring articles:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/05/weekly-photo-challenge-happy/
vimeo.com/stevedeal
(Twenty minutes on decreasing sadness, increasing joy)
https://thoughtfulpaper.wordpress.com/2012/10/06/weekly-photo-challenge-happy/

Weekly Photo Challenge | Love, With Borders

“Love consists in this–that two solitudes protect and border and salute each other.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
, “Letters to a Young Poet”


“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
I Corinthians 13: 6-7

This is one my entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge for January 25, 2013. For more entries click on the following link. I have a new post in the works for this theme but for now I hope you enjoy this. It is one of my personal favorites. The photos were a glorious accident.
Peace,
Alexandria

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Less About Me

Greetings, I am Alexandria Sage and
this is the new “less about me” page. As humans we are complicated
creatures and cannot be summed up easily. I have a “more about me”
page, a different story of me—longer. If you’re still reading this
by now, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope you’ll
read on … and get to know “less of me”, which may be all you need
to know. But—just in case—there is always
more.

I like … words, art, flowers, dawn,
dusk, history—all of it, current events, cultural trends, peanut
butter and jelly, simplicity, excellence, hard, exhausting
work.

I have … a
lovely dwelling place, the sweetest canine, two fierce, outdoor
felines, a red four-wheeler, great health that comes at a high
price, a fulfilling job, compassion for the lonely and lost,
enough.

I can … keep a secret, water ski,
grow flowers, sing first soprano.

I struggle with … the usual
insecurities, failures, and frailties inherent in human skin, a
chronic disease, man’s cruelty to man and beast.

I love … family, friends, the smell
of children, the stories of old people, solitude, the Holy
Scriptures, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I am … a loyal friend, passionate
about nearly everything, including sleep and play, loved deeply by
my parents, husband, children, and siblings. a truth seeker, truth
examiner, truth finder, intrigued by philosophy, a dedicated
student of the Scriptures and follower of Jesus Christ,
so fortunate, old
enough.

I need … love, mercy, patience,
kindness, forgiveness.

I long for … legacy,
significance.

I want
… to decrease sadness and increase joy, to make a difference for
… everyone.

Peace,
Alexandria

Spring Sings | Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

CenterPeace

“Worry is a cycle
of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” ~ Corrie
ten Boom

“Can all your
worries add a single moment to your life? … Look at the lilies of
the field and how they grow. … And if God cares so wonderfully
for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire
tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.”

Jesus Christ Matthew 6:27,
28

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close | To Listen is to Love is to Listen…

“Being listened to is so CLOSE to being loved that most people
cannot tell the difference.”

~ David Oxberg

Weekly Photo Challenge: Friendship | The Beauty Of A True Friend

Friendship—what a beautiful theme. I just have to repost this photo. Please forgive me as I used this for the Summer Challenge, too. I will leave the post as written because I think it speaks so strongly of friendship. But I think for many it is only the beginning of a vast array this week. I repost because I need the strong reminder of the quote. Remember, everything I write I’m writing first to myself.

This photo was taken at the dawn of summer when I clean and open the back porch and enjoy morning coffee in the early morning hours—sometimes with my husband, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. Summer is here when I can do this every day. I love the way the sun filters through the screen—even more refreshing after an early morning rain.

When I saw the Summer theme, I have an endless supply of summer photos, as I’m sure all do. My wonderful flowers voice summer but they do so loudly. I wanted something a bit different that portrayed what signals to me summer’s true arrival. And for me it’s about family and friends. Summer brings them out in abundance with a carefree, relaxed attitude. They let down and give their most precious possession—TIME.

And in return I give—TIME.

My friends and family love each other through joys, sorrow, and quirks. Sharing morning coffee strengthens us to keep trying, growing, and we just enjoy the company and laughter of each other. If you have taken the time to read this, then I consider you a friend dropping by as well. I’m enjoying this exact place this very moment and am honored you joined me.

I hope you enjoy this strong reminder. Remember, your friends come with wrinkles. But so do you. So do I. We try to straighten each other out, don’t we? But we forgive and take each as we are, wrinkles and all. Who wants the alternative—to be alone?

I think this voices what I’d like to say to all of you.

Take some TIME
and enjoy … this.

“You have been 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

“Do It Again”


“…it might be true that the sun rises regularly because God never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.

The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children—when they find some game or joke they especially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again!” And the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.

It is possible that God says every morning “Do it again” to the sun, and every evening “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike—it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy—but we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

Beauty Secret

“Do you love me because I’m beautiful or am I beautiful because you love me?” ~ Cinderalla

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