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

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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!

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.

O, How The Years Go By | WPC: Nostalgia

“Nostalgia”. The word is a Greek compound, consisting of “nóstos”—meaning “homecoming” and “álgos”—meaning “pain and ache”. Wow. That’s exactly what nostalgia is to me. It’s that deep pain inside that aches for the past, that longs for home. It’s a warm feeling—home. And homecoming means just that—coming home. So for me, it’s a conflicting emotion. The warmth of home and aching for moments that can never be … again.

My parents and grandparents—how I ache for the moments I had with them. How I long for a conversation with my mother and dad. It makes me talk a lot longer and take a lot more time with my brother and sisters. I look at the photos of my children and I think Did I do those moments justice? Was I fully there for each one? Just now as I think of this time last year, there are memories I long for. Though I can never return to the past, I have this very moment to make a memory to cherish.
We cannot possess the past, but the past can mold our present.

Behold the present, and be all there.
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This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a theme of “Nostalgia”. You can see many others at the following link: Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgia
Much thanks to Vastly Curious for her in-depth definition of this week’s theme.

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

StormScapes | The World Through My Eyes

dWas once a time when we were young,
Our starts were quick, our limbs grew strong.
We hung together filled with glee,
Flexing bough with gust or breeze.
Sheltered safe from ocean’s roar,
We dwelt far from its shore.

Home Sweet HomeAnd then one day out from the sky,
From whence it came the ocean’s cry.
The breeze grew gust and gust grew strong,
From gentle breeze to thunderous roar,
Caught off guard our branches soared.
Soared and stretched
and ripped and retched,
Snapped and torn and yanked from ground,
Some carried away, never to be found.

IMG_6627We tried to keep our footing firm,
Desperation, terror churned.
Our roots clenched tight with every turn.
Huddled with our branches tight,
We clung to each other for dear life.

Then suddenly quiet it was gone,
Swift it came and it moved on.
And in that instant we were changed,
Youth was stripped, innocence ravaged.

StormScapesDestruction looming large surround,
Our hearts were crushed, pieces on the ground.

iBut we rose proud, starting small
And once again we grew tall.
Most of us grew scarred and bent.
A few of us grew quite grotesque.

StormScapesIVAnd those that clung with locked embrace
Grew woven, as wounds would not erase.

DSC_0194-003Thirty years have come and gone,
Remnants borne from that great storm.

StormScapesVBut God in His great grace adorns
our scars, and places some would see
are hid by seasons’ finery.

DSC01300. StormScapesIIIAnd winter bears a rarity,
For now we do curve gracefully.
~ by Alexandria Sage.

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Master the One“I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.”
~ Willa Cather

“Magic lives in curves, not angles.” ~ Mason Cooley

“… and some fell down and some grew tall. And those surviving twenty winter thaws, have the sweetest fruit of all.” ~ lyrics to “Better Not To Know” by Amy Grant

“It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees.” ~Wilson Flagg
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I am submitting this as part of what I think are my best poems from 2013 for NaPoWriMo 2014.

I followed Ming Thein’s recommendations for photography as described in his post. For several years I’ve taken photos of these trees and kept their story in the back of my mind. It’s about time it was told. I think it is easily said the story of trees can mimic the storms in our own lives. Perhaps this is why God surrounds us with so many—vivid reminders to “stay the storm”, stand together, lean on one another, hold one another. Just as trees find a means of survival through one another, should we do no less? 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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Home Sweet Home Inside

Inside
the place of safety
Inside
the place of peace
Inside
the place of friendship
Inside
where I am me.

Inside

the place of comfort
Inside
the place of warmth
Inside
the place of shelter
Inside
where is no harm.

Inside
the place of rest
Inside
the place I’m known
Inside
the place I’m loved
Inside
where I call home.

~ by Alexandria Sage

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Daily Prompt: Home Sweet Home
P.S. There’s no place like home.

Change—Certain as the Seasons

Fall Dozes …

The changing of the seasons mirror the rhythm of a soul. There are times of exuberance (summer) and times of reflection (winter). Fall and winter provide reflection and rest needed for the energetic spring and summer. I know this rhythm well.

Winter Sleeps.

I’m so glad I live in a place where seasons change. I lived in the American desert southwest for a brief period. Though it possesses an outrageous and incredible beauty, I missed the changing seasons. Once you get used to those rhythms your soul ever longs for them.

Spring Sings!

The seasons mimic the certainty of change. And as the verse goes, “there is a time for each matter under heaven”, I know God has his hand in every aspect of my life—blessings and difficulties. Difficult times will come are here, but there are many good things surrounding me, too.

This is how life is—the blend of trial and blessing, seasons filled with change. Remembrance of last year fills me now with warm nostalgia. Things have changed this year. Some changes I don’t like, but some I do.

As my sweet grandson and I decorated a gingerbread house yesterday, I wished him so hard to stay five-years-old! But he won’t. As I relished the moment of childlike delight I wondered will he have this much fun next year placing the sugar plums just so? I cling a little tighter to this moment and to him, all the while knowing they both slip from my grasp.

Why do I resist change when I know change is certain? Why does change fill a corner of my heart with an unsettling angst? I cry against it to no avail. It comes anyway. Why can’t I be like nature, welcoming with open arms, and just settle into it quite nicely, ready for the next? Change comes, of that I am certain.

Summer Shouts!!

But there is a certainty of which I’m glad there is no change.

“I the Lord do not change.” ~ Malachi 3:6

Though God set into motion seasons of glorious nature, he exempted himself from change. This truth is abiding and unchanging. This is the certainty I most need. I need his constant grace, mercy, and forgiveness. And he gives all. His love and mercy are the same—when we fall, when we stand. His hand is ever there to walk us through storms or meadows.

Within the unexpected turns of life He knew we needed I need something to remain constant.
Or rather—Someone.

Fashionable Fallacies

And I’ve never been out of his hand.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” ~ Psalm 103:12

“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


Other interpretations of Changing Seasons:
{Note: This is my first time using WordPress new tiled gallery format to display my photos. Click on a photo in each collection above for a beautiful gallery display. Enjoy.}

Mother Loads of Love | Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

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“Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.”
~ George Eliot

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week has a theme called “Love”.
I know—where do we begin, right? I’ve got other posts on love so I thought I’d focus on one particular type of love. Can you guess? These photos are just candid shots, some very poor images, but you cannot deny the very spirit of motherhood in them.

Sometimes love needs no explanation or definition. You just know it when you see it. Don’t you just see love in the photo above?

Now that my children are grown and in their twenties, trying to find their way, I do something I swore I would never do.
I worry.
If I let my mind wander and dwell it can flourish into a constant panic attack in my chest. I just have to push the “Stop” button sometimes. A lot of these thoughts can wander into places imagined, things that may never take place; but what of the real problems they face? Is there anything I can really do?

Hands Guide an Adventurous Walk

All three of my children are healthy, loving, and growing in wisdom. They are making good decisions as they face the realities of life. I thank God each day for them and turn my anxious thoughts into prayers. I wholeheartedly enjoy them.

I reminisce at their childhood. When they stumbled and got hurt I could scoop them up with heavy doses of mother-love and lots of band aids and everything was just fine. In fact, everything was just fine as long as they were in my hands, tucked safely in my arms. My arms could snug them tight and my hands could stroke and soothe. But then I learned the simultaneous joy and pain of motherhood.

And that was letting go …

Hands Let Go

First to preschool, then kindergarten, on and on.
My arms and hands were emptied of them and the thoughts would begin—are they okay? Will they get hurt? What if someone is mean to them?

As they grew out of physical harm the wounds of the heart kept my intuition on its toes. Once again, my touch could soothe. And each hurt pinched my own heart a bit. Still does. When you carry them inside you for those nine long months there is that strong bond of just “knowing”.

And I try not to worry. I try to pray. But I catch my hands, my arms. Empty. Where are they right this minute? Are they happy? Are they suffering? Is there anything I can do right this minute?

I thought about my grandmother, how she did this, standing there wringing her hands. My mom did, too.

Now I am doing it.

Why, oh why, oh why? This has just got to stop! And one day it did. While rocking my sweet grandson I figured it all out …

Arms of Love

The only time we feel our children are safe is when they are in our arms. When they are not we wring our hands. Our arms and hands must be wrapped around them, else worry never leaves us.

I remember the moment of their birth cradled first in my open hands, me all giddy, forgetting the horrific trauma of the prior moments! You’d think those moments would linger but no—our hands are full of a wonder so great the birth pangs slip easily from our memories as our hands and arms wrap around that gracious gift. And so it goes from the time they are born …

if they are not in our arms, we wring out hands. Our hands must, they must do something! Our arms, our hands hold the key to their safety, their wholeness, their existence, don’t they!

What are we to do with our empty hands? What should fill our hands when our children do not?

Why not assume a different position … and a difference perspective? Unclench and pry apart, then turn those wringing hands into peaceful palms together, then point them heavenward … in prayer.

Could it be for this very reason that hands folded together are prayer’s only adornment? I wonder that perhaps God knew mothers would need something useful to do with our hands when our little ones are grown and out in the great big world.

For in this simple gesture is the truest place where heaven does move earth, as a mother’s prayer is borne like no other. For those folded hands replace the empty hands and fill the heavens with songs whispering the best and highest we can do for our children—place them in the hands of the One who never sleeps and has His eye on them at all times.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Love

Other interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge that I like:

Foundation for Renewal

“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

Peace, Alexandria

This was my entry for the WordPress
Weekly Photo Challenge. The theme is Renewal. See other entries
here. http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/

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.

I
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 …

I

January 1, 2013

To love.

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

D

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.

D

And one more thing …

DSC_3462

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

My 2012 in Pictures—The Rest of the Story

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.
When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
~ Ansel Adams

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I stood on shore as the sun closed out 2012 before my eyes. My mind filled with images from the past year and I’d like to share some simple thoughts with you. Two words—that’s about all I can get out. These two simple words echo from a heart filled with gratitude.

Thank You.

Initially it was quotes and a few thoughts. Then I added photography and a busy colleague offered a few of his articles, so I have a guest author.

SimplySage became my quiet corner to navigate thoughts and merge them with a love of taking pictures. I wanted it to be fun and filled with joy. On occasion I wanted to include some thought-provoking articles. My intent was to build and preserve a legacy for my family.

But then you showed up.
Over timeyou made the choice to stop, to look, to read. Perhaps you left a comment, clicked “Like”, or became one of my followers. Again, thank you.
PIf you blog with WordPress  you received an annual report on your blog last week. Mine overwhelmed me. My numbers, like others, started small. But in April it all changed. WordPress encouraged us to share so here’s a couple of mine.

Since April you’ve come from eighty-four countries. Since April you dropped in over nine-thousand times. Wow—that made me a bit dizzy. I’m honored to share company with all of you. So many backgrounds and cultures—teenagers to grandparents, college students, writers, college professors, world travelers, moms and dads, photographers. The list doesn’t stop.

And your stories just amaze me. Transparency, kindness, manners. I’ve met the nicest group of people in the world.

I’m not a great writer and I’m not a great photographer but with company like you how could I not improve? I think you brought out the best in me and as the year moved along I grew more confident. Again—thank you.

I truly am at a loss for words.

The Weekly Photo Challenge this past week is titled “My 2012 in Pictures”. They asked us to post some of the photos from this year in a gallery format. {Click on each for a slideshow or larger view.} These are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them again.

“A good photographer must love life more than he does photography.”
~ Joel Strasser

In addition, I’m sharing the photo I think you’ve chosen as my best picture of the year. Aside from the holiday photos, this photo received the most views of any—a magnificent sunset caught with a Sony Cyber-Shot out my backdoor. Photography is art merged with science but we all know the real reason behind a good photograph …

Sillouette

Of course, it’s all luck.” ~ Henri Cartier-Bresson

As 2013 is now upon us I want to give more of myself—to take the best picture, to choose the best words, to be a niche of happiness in your day.

A sliver of joy.

“Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like.”
~ David Alan Harvey

Peace,
Alexandria

Other responses to this photo challenge:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/weekly-photo-challenge-my-2012-in-pictures/
http://travelsandtrifles.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/weekly-photo-challenge-my-2012-in-picturessunday-post-2013/

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/

Weekly Photo Challenge | Silhouette

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Silhouette”. Some of you  have seen this already. Forgive me for reposting as I now realize WordPress wants a current post rather than a revision of a previous.

This photo is of a sunset I took in February. Winter is my least favorite season but sunsets like these provide rich arrays of color to remind me that all seasons possess their own beauty. The bare branches allowed a view of the sunset not possible in warm seasons. The crisp air and humidity with slight cloud cover allowed a mixture of hues that danced their way into evening sleep. The graceful curves of the tree branches wove a beautiful pattern as if adorning the sky in a great big hug.

These reminders make the barren season bearable when I am impatient for spring. This one is worth clicking on for a larger view.

Enjoy … again.
Peace,
Alexandria

Here is the Weekly Photo Challenge link for “Silhouette”
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/

Other interpretations:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/
http://hamburgundmeehr.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/weekly-photo-challenge-silhouette/
http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/wordpress-photos-challenge-silhouette/

I am entering this as my “best shot of 2012” on the following site:http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/your-best-shot-2012/

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

__________________________________________________________________

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 | Big

There it stands. There it has stood. Stood through rain, storm, tornado, ice. You name it. It has withstood. And it remains. It’s right down the road from me—a real eye-catcher. You can’t miss it. It gets your attention. And gets you to thinking.

Sometimes I wish it could talk, just like the Ents in the Lord of the Rings. What stories would it tell? I ho-hum drive by it all the time, and wonder.

It’s sheer mass may have withstood two wars—the one my country fought to gain its independence from tyranny and tax. But I know it must have been there for the other—the one where my country was so split it set us brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor.

Yes, we came together and united again. But at a very high price. I pray that never happens again but I fear it might. And it breaks my heart. But I must be strong, for the tree bids me be. It sets the bar.

Yes, this tree has stood through history. I’ve driven right by it in the midst of terrible storms and winds I thought would lift me away. Storm after storm I wondered if upon my arrival the tree would be split. Would it still be there? Would its strength withstand ripping winds and ice-laden boughs. Yes, every time it has.
To another part of me it’s become a faithful friend—a wave in the road, a nod of tipped branch, signaling my way home. Sometimes I just have to stop and spend a little time, looking closer.

I remember our first acquaintance of such.
And to my surprise I discovered the secret of its strength. It was not just one trunk bearing all the weight. Upon closer gaze I noted what sprung from its base. It was not just one tree. It branched out to three. For though the tree looked solitary, nothing could be further from the truth. The three massive trees wove into one.

Three huge, strong-beyond-strong, massive trees, intertwined from one expansive foundation.

One large, massive tower of strength. Strength that withstood storm and gale, war and peace, generation to generation. And the tree is one. The three unite, forming a stature rising to the sky, towering above the countryside, providing shade from heat, tenacity through storms, even a home for birds nests. A homethe tree is a home.

I hope my country—my fellow Americans, my neighbors, my family—can take a lesson from the tree.
Because I’m staking something big on it.

For you see, there’s someone else riding below its branches.

Our future.

Peace,
Alexandria

Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
~ Winston Churchill

“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.”
~ M. Scott Peck

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

Referring article:
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/weekly-photo-challenge-big/

Other entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Big
http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/
http://esengasvoice.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/weekly-photo-challenge-big/
http://aysabaw.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/big-and-twisted/
http://joyandwoe.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/weekly-photo-challenge-big/
http://imexcited.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/weekly-photo-challenge-big/
http://eof737.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/weekly-photo-challenge-big/
http://chrisbreebaart.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/weekly-photo-challenge-big-1/
http://theretiringsort.com/2012/10/13/so-big/

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