ShadowLands

Moon ShadowsMoon Shadows

“Shadow is the obstruction of light. Shadows appear to me to be of supreme importance in perspective,

German FogSun Shadows

because, without them opaque and solid bodies will be ill-defined;

1-IMG_2533Cinderella Shadows

That which is contained within their outlines and their boundaries themselves

1-IMG_7343(1)Snow Shadows

will be ill-understood unless they are shown against a background

dLong Shadows

of a different tone from themselves.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

Shadow Friends

“Friendship is the shadow of the evening, which increases with the setting sun of life.” ~ Jean de La Fontaine


Tree Shadow

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

Morning WalkMe Shadow 🙂

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman

Peace,
Alexandria


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge theme of “Shadow”. I hope you enjoyed. 🙂 Click here for more interpretations.

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Fleeting Objects of Affection

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Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting. ~ Unknown

Canon EOS 5D Mark iii Focal length 24 F number  2.8 Exposure time 1/6,400

 If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. ~Tom Stoppard

 Did you know that childhood is the only time in our lives when insanity is not only permitted to us, but expected?  ~Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Canon EOS5D Mark iii Focal length 31 F number 5.6 Exposure time 1/200

Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.  ~John Betjeman, Summoned by Bells

For this set of photos I invited my dear “like-a-daughter”, Emily Morgan, to share some photos of her children. I’ve known Emily since she was a baby. Her mother is one of my closest friends since college and we spent a good portion of life raising kids together.

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Emily blossomed into a loving mother of four adorable children (ages 6 and under!). She is also a talented photographer. She and husband, Andrew, have settled in Los Angeles, where Emily frequents the Pacific beach with these sweet little ones.

The beautiful photos above, captured in silhouette, drew my attention because they capture those fleeting moments of childhood. I’ll let Emily explain it in her own words.

“Hearing waves crash and children laugh are two of the best sounds in the world. The moment when your 6 year-old and the sunset collide and you happen to have your camera handy and are able to capture that fleeting moment to hold onto forever is truly special. The way I feel behind the lens of camera brings me to life, but the better gift is being able to hold onto that moment forever in a photograph.” ~ Emily Morgan

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I am convinced that God gave childhood, not as moments forgotten or pined for, but to recapture it in our adult years, much as a photograph captures. So we would not forget to live each day with childhood eyes and wonder, to view every moment with passion and exuberance.

But what happened as we grew out of those wonder years? As adulthood seeped in, it gradually pushed out that wonder and we became grown-ups. Pushed by life and all it’s demands, the wonder nudged back and for some it fell off into the throes of deadly cynicism.

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We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860
Maybe we can’t banter about as children every living moment of the day but can we not view each day with a semblance of wonder? And spend at least some moments of the day smiling, laughing, running, playing, even dancing?

Canon EOS 5D Mark iii Focal length 70 F number 2.8 Exposure time 1/8,000
With what eyes do you see the ocean above? Are they hardened by life’s demands, unable to drink its beauty … old? Can you not see this vast ocean is but one landscape to keep you young and filled with wonder? To heal you of the cynicism, which robs you of life itself.

Let the waters spray you with healing. Climb those rocks and perch up there. Listen to the words of Emily and let yourself collide with the sunset. After all, it hasn’t moved.

But perhaps you have.

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Experience the healing wonder of childhood … everyday.

Peace, Alexandria
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After a hiatus of bearing these four little ones, Emily is resuming her photography. I invite you to view her  portfolio at www.emilymorgan.la
This is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the Theme “Object”. The ocean is the landscape and the silhouettes of children are the objects. True objects of affection. 🙂


Family | The Forever Constant

Standing Firm

“Like branches on a tree, our lives may grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.”

1-DSC_0096“In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man’s skin,—seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others.  Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps;

1-DSC_0095 that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.”  ~ Mignon McLaughlin

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“The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste,

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coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, 

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and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”  ~ Erma Bombeck

As I contemplated the Weekly Photo Challenge theme “Family” I could’ve shared oodles of family photos and memories. However, my fascination for the constant lessons of nature prompted me to use this tree I drive by nearly every day. It’s one of those anomalies of nature you just can’t miss.

Sometimes I take pictures, but other times I just stop, get under it, gaze at its never-ending branches, and admire its breathtaking beauty. But more than that, I admire it’s sheer strength. And if you notice, it’s even a bit lopsided. Its shape is not perfect and to tell you the truth, I’m relieved. It makes me feel more at home. But the tree is massive, solid, stately, so proud–you just have to see it to believe it.

It’s main “branches” are not the usual bending, thinner limbs of a tree. They are the size of trunks, which could be trees in and of themselves. Note the photo in full summer leaf above–it easily shades the entire width of the road and more. But notice the photo of it in barren winter (below). That’s when you really see the way it’s limbs anchor the whole.

I’ve tried to capture it with a camera as best as I can and if you look at its new white fence nearby, perhaps you can get a bit of perspective. It’s probably been there since the Revolutionary War.

I wonder how many generations have passed this tree in its lifetime.

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“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever. The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1: 4,5

I’ve driven past it in sun, storm, snow, and treacherous winds. Sometimes I’ve wondered if it would survive some of the worst storms. But it’s always there. It possesses a strength unfathomable and survives untouched and unscathed through it all.

I wish I could say the same about myself. 

I try to remind myself that I’m but one of the smaller branches near the ends, still being tested and tried. And that massive, huge trunk at the base is holding on to me.

And believe me, I’m hanging onto it for dear life.

image“Do not remove the ancient landmark that your ancestors set up.” ~ The Bible Proverbs 22:28

Family–the forever constant, stamped indelible. May we branch out high and wear it proud. But when we hit those storms that threaten to snap us away, may we return to the open, loving limbs of home–the place of constants—love, acceptance, shelter, safety, sanity (or a bit of a necessary dose of insanity!).

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“Some family trees have beautiful leaves, and some have just a bunch of nuts. Remember, it is the nuts that make the tree worth shaking.” ~Author Unknown

Family–the forever constant.
The place where you breathe in the comfort and exhale a long sigh,

“Ahhh … there’s no place like home.”

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“The family – that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.” ~Dodie Smith

The Lesser Light|One Favorite Subject

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“And the sun and the moon sometimes argue over who will tuck me in at night. If you think I am having more fun than anyone on this planet, you are absolutely correct.” ~ Hafez

The theme of the Weekly Photo Challenge is “One”, in which we are to focus on one subject. I chose one of my favorites, the ever elusive moon. In photography light is everything and for outdoor photography the light source is usually the sun. We look for certain times of day, angles, cloud cover, or clear. And the sun takes it from there. In fact, when you combine the best of these factors the sun really does all the work for you. Think sunsets and sunrise, the Golden Hour. An endless array of colors provide astounding results. No skills needed.

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“The moon is friend for the lonesome to talk to.” ~ Carl Sandburg

But the moon is a different challenge altogether. For a great moon shot you have to really work at it. Photographers go through great lengths to capture the immediate presence and stunning glow the moon provides. Even then it is hard to capture the emotion of moment. You just have to “be there” and experience it for yourself.

FullMoon

“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.” ~ Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

In the Bible the moon is called the “lesser light” (Genesis 1:16). It is too dim for cameras to mimic exactness, but for the human eye it holds not just brilliant beauty but deep, deep emotion. For some unexplainable reason the moon feels like a faithful friend. It provokes us to stop, quiet our busy minds, take a few deeps breaths and just relax. I don’t know of anyone that can gaze at a brilliant moonlit night and not feel a simultaneous sense of glory and comfort.

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Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy. ~ Henri Frederic Amiel

Perhaps it is the lesser light because of this very thing. We need a constant, unchanging reminder that we are not alone, that there is greatness and majesty tucked in our universe. A reminder of the presence of God through every dark night. And that is this lesser light.

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The lesser light may take second place to the other grand luminary. But perhaps it is this very notion that makes it so human. And in this sense we see that our great God, by giving less, actually gave more.

Peace, Alexandria

N “But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.” ~ Ai Yazawa

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Related Articles:
Wenjie Zhang of LightSlant on how to photograph the moon
Weekly Photo Challenge: The Power of One, Travels and Trifles by Tina Schell
Clicky Chick Creates, Christmas Favorites

Novembrance | Autumn’s Unexpected Gift

DSC_1228“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. The rich colours of grass and earth were intensified by the mellow light of a sun almost warm enough for spring.” ~P.D. James

DSC_1118“I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its leaves are a little yellow, its tones mellower, its colors richer, 

DSC_1102and it is tinged a little with sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor of the power of summer,

DSC_1057but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitation’s of life and is content.” ~Lin Yutang

DSC_1095“The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, do we see its worth and beauty. 

DSC_1069Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet, precious things that God has created in the realm of nature.While it robs them of life, it tears away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness.

DSC_1103Beauty lurks in all the dim old aisles of nature, and we discover it at last.” ~ Northern Advocate

DSC_1154“How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” ~ John Burroughs
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Another autumn nears its end. These very brief, fleeting days find me outside more than any other time of the year. The colors are just breathtaking and I constantly fight this irresistible urge to try to capture the breadth, length, and height of it. As we know, it’s an impossibility. I know autumn means to contemplate, absorb, and enjoy the richness of  its beauty. It’s also a time of remembrance as the year draws to a close and we look back.

Autumn is such a paradox. Brilliant, glimmering. But it is truly a descent into decay and ultimately … death. It is, in essence, a progression into loss. Just like autumn, we’ve all experienced loss in some fashion this year. Perhaps God fashioned autumn so brilliant just so we could see some sort of beauty in loss. But the journey of loss always holds gain as God brings something new to replace what we lost. We won’t know what it is until we look to Him in faith and ask.

As the leaves fall, shrivel, and die some things in our lives must do the same. I’ve endured a couple of deep, unexpected losses this year. As I grieve I look to God and the glorious creation He surrounds me with and try to grasp the new blessings in my life. Just as the inclination is strong to hold and capture every photo of autumn, I cling tight to what is no more. And I have to ask God for even the faith to believe there is something better. There always is. The truth stamped in autumn tells me so. Tells me there is spring.

And it’s not too far from now.

Peace, Alexandria

You might also enjoy:
Autumn Boat (aditixpictures.wordpress.com)
Autumn asks (defeatdespair.wordpress.com)
Autumn Thoughts (princesstheodora.net)
A November Garden Bimble (ramblingratz.wordpress.com)
Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected
KellyJGrace

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

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

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

Time’s Full Gift | Fleeting

DSC_0033“Our time is rare, short, and wonderful … Our time is short.”
~ Alexandria Sage

DSC_0039“Right words at the right time … Just in time.” ~ Alexandria Sage

Yellow Rose“It is beautiful how God has done everything at the right time. He has put a sense of eternity in people’s minds. Yet, mortals still can’t grasp what God is doing from the beginning to the end of time.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Time, time, a thousand times over time.
Seconds to minutes to hours to days to years.
Wishes, dreams, hopes–whisked away, or granted.
Family and friends lost, or gained.
A lifetime we are given. Yes, a life of time.
Time to live, the desire to live. Fleeting, yes. But full
… or empty. Spent
… or well-spent.
The choice is ours. The gift is ours.
Time.

Give the gift. Live the gift. And keep on giving, like the rose.
Then time becomes us well,
and time, like the rose,
is a beautiful thing.
~ Alexandria Sage

This is my photography/poetry contribution to the Daily Prompt Theme: Procrastination. It was also on the Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting
I wrote a poem to go with the theme and since this Prompt asks us for something on “Time” I thought I’d add this one. It’s another one I return to. I know time can’t be compartmentalized and is ill-defined but it does one great good to understand what we trade time for.

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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Defining Moments | Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

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“Wherever you are, be all there.” ~ Jim Elliot

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Lost in the Details”. And what a challenge it is. Don’t we get utterly lost in the details of life? Opportunities missed, lost windows of time—to show kindness or listen, to be all there. What about those that consume, order, and demand, leaving us so distracted we miss the wonder and joy of other moments?

The Observer

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.” ~ William Morris

And then there are those moments that shake us … or rather, shape us. We come to full attention. They are usually spun by a variety of events—some good, some not so good. Whatever their source, I find they can be a birthplace of goodness or newness. They are, in essence, whatever I choose them to be.

Autumn Hydrangea
“After all, it is those who have a deep and real inner life who are best able to deal with the irritating details of outer life.” ~ Evelyn Underhill

These moments serve to keep us in check or bring a new awareness of vulnerability or strength, moments to discover what we are made of. Are we flexible to receive honest criticism and ready to change? Or if we have done right can we have peace within and stand firm, even when we are misunderstood? Either way, are we ready to forgive—to let go—to forget, to move on, knowing we can’t fix everything?

“All the details of life and the quirks and the friendships can be laid out for us, but the mystery of their writing remains.No amount of documentation, however fascinating, can take us there.” ~V.S. Naipaul

Whatever moment you are in today, whether joy or pain—never dismiss that moment, for the only moment that truly exists is the one you are in right now. Some moments are times to embrace and absorb joy. For the difficult moments we need to receive love from sane, safe friends and family. It’s okay to not always be the giver or to have all the answers or to have everything together. Cherish the good moments, learn from the difficult. I found the following drawing and thought it details the true reality of life. May it bring a smile to your face as it did mine. I hope it increases your joy as you trek your own crooked path.
Peace,
Alexandria
SuccessDrawing
“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” ~ Maria Edgeworth
See the Weekly Photo Challenge for other interpretations.

Drawing credit: Unknown
All photography by Alexandria Sage, except the first one, which is by S. Michael
(aka—my dear son)

Pain Prescriptions

Pain Prescriptions

“When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”

~ C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

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

D

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/

Legacy of Joy

Sony Cyber-Shot. Self-portrait in front of a mirror. {Ok, WordPress, I’m trying.}

My dear readers,

WordPress asked all bloggers to write a post about what inspires us to blog. They wanted photos of us doing those activities. At first I was hesitant. I am far more comfortable behind a camera than in front of it. The other hesitation is my wish to maintain a measure of privacy. I confess the global world of blogging still intimidates me. But I will do my best to strike a balance with both.

WordPress encourages us to write and click. To write about EVERYTHING. To take pictures of EVERYTHING. I’m not a great writer but I love words in the form of quotes, with a dab of writing here and there. I love words that resonate healing, words that echo affirmation in the soul, words that bring joy.

I add photography and sometimes if I get lucky the pictures seem to coordinate with the quotes. Total creative fun.

Capturing another glorious sunset using the amazing iPhone camera. HDR settings, of course.

Capturing another glorious sunset with an iPhone.

Why do I blog? The biggest reason is my family—past, present, and future. And second, the multitude of friends throughout the years that have enriched my life, which now include you. I’m inspired by what makes me smile, that gives me a break in this hectic wild ride we call life and just inhale some gladness. I share to decrease sadness and increase joy … for everyone.

In addition, I hope to preserve a place that leaves words and pictures of my faith, footsteps, philosophy, and focus. WordPress says don’t hold back. But if I didn’t this would be a book. So here goes—in the most succinct I can be.

My mom and dad, both in heaven. Dad—the kindest, most generous man on the planet. Mom—organized, thrifty, clean. Together they gave me the best upbringing one could imagine. I miss them terribly. They were taken so soon. This blog honors their memory.

Wedding of my parents.

My parent’s wedding

My sweet grandmother. You lived two doors down from me. How could I ever forget the overnights and morning tea? Jumping on your bed and nighttime prayers? Your fluffy, down pillows? Your gift of sewing. You designed and made all the bridesmaid and flower girl dresses in the photo above. My family says I’m so much like you and I think that’s pretty cool.

My siblings. Amid the rivalry we emerged strong and united to this day. If I needed you at my side today, you would be there. {Dear brother, I’ll never forget when you drove cross-country to bring my Christmas presents.} In losing our parents so soon maybe we don’t take for granted the gift of each other.

Me peeking around for some candid shots at a family event. {Nikon D60 DSLR}

My husband. Wise, smart, funny, kind, philosopher, wizard. You give to everyone the most prized of possessions—your time. Cares for and watches over me with tenderness, patience, and love. Comes to my rescue for everything. Pulls over at a moment’s notice to let me capture another exquisite never-to-be-seen shot. Keeps my gas tank full. So much like my dad.

DSCF1993

Taking me up the hill the easy way, after a long sled ride down.

My children. Joy beyond belief. Each finding your way. Each blessed with kind and generous hearts. I know without a doubt that whatever path you choose, it will be done with the highest integrity. Where do I even begin?

A summer job for oldest daughter. She loved it {farm girl}

A summer job for oldest daughter. {Farm girl}

My grandson—I delight in this crazy notion called “grandparent love”. It is wondrous and enchanting. He is a ray of sunshine in my life.

The grand having a grand time in the mud.

The grand having a grand time in the mud.

My life-long faraway friends. Glenda, Debbie, Janna, Mary Beth, Peggy, Nancy, Lisa. We just pick up from where we left off.

P

Morning coffee on the back porch with a friend

My near friends. When I moved here you soothed my homesickness and the pain in losing my mother shortly after my arrival. We share the deepest parts of our lives, the heartaches and joys. You know who you are and I love the richness and trust we share.

My very shy friend. Yes, she's under there!

My very shy friend. Yes, she’s under the umbrella!

The day job. I work with exceptionally talented people in a very narrow field of medicine. I was stretched to learn a most demanding skill and with tenacity and a lot of prayer I did. And I get to do some really neat stuff that cares for very sick patients. Witnessed a few miracles, too. Every time I walk across the parking lot to begin my day I thank God for my legs and that I get to do what I do. At the end of the day I get to leave and go home. Those who are sick have to stay and wish they could go home.

Steve's stuff. He taught me how to use these—not easy.

Stuff I use at the Day Job—not easy to learn.

God. Sunrises, sunsets, flowers, nature bursting forth with color, light, and wonder. Majestic painter and creator you are. You are a very present help in time of need. Your Word, living and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword guides me. Apart from you I can do nothing.

Winter sunset out my backdoor. Hand painted by God. Incredible.

Winter sunset out my backdoor. Hand painted by God. Incredible.

And this is just the introduction to my inspiration for the wonderful world of blogging. It’s a peek into my life “in focus”—behind the camera, behind the words. Relationships are my greatest inspiration. And these are but a few. Blogging is a place where I can sort of “hang my heart” in honor of all of them.
As I press on may I leave a legacy of joy.
Peace,
Alexandria

I

This is just a photo-op. Serious photographers know you can’t take a picture of the moon without a tripod and special lens. I’m posing with the Nikon D60 with stock lens. Like I said, a photo-op to show me taking a picture. It was a beautiful backdrop, full moon rising. One of these days …

All photos taken with Nikon D60 DSLR with AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G lens, Sony Cyber-Shot, or iPhone. Photos of me were taken by my family, except the first—taken by me. 🙂

Other interpretations of the Challenge and related articles:

Christmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, patience.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

~ Oren Arnold

Related articles:
Weekly Image of Life: Happy Holidays

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/

The Weekly Photo Challenge | Sheer Joy Merge

So I’ve had a few questions as to what exactly is the “Weekly Photo Challenge”.
Since I’m getting quite a collection under that category I’m guessing an explanation is due. WordPress bloggers, you may disregard this for obvious reasons. You are considered an “Insider”. But I’d like to hear comments about what the Photo Challenge means to you.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

For the rest of you, the Weekly Photo Challenge, by virtue of its title, may be self-explanatory. But for others, here’s the inside scoop.
The staff at WordPress came up this idea to stimulate creativity for those of us who handle a camera, be it the most humble cell phone camera—which is becoming not so humble anymore—to the most advanced, light years ahead of most.

Create

The Weekly Photo Challenge has just ONE rule.
Your photo must capture the one-word theme put out by WordPress. That one word is let out of the bag every Friday. I am stunned at how many are off to a running start. They answer the call with lightning speed. If you want to see some breathtaking photography drop by any Photo Challenge.
You will see some of the most incredible art.

Together

Me? Well, I’m just a bit different.
Let’s just say my right brain must be awakened slowly. I churn over things. I think. I ponder. As I’ve said before, most of my creative thought takes place in front of a sink. A light or visual catches my eye and I’m out the door, camera dangling, in a vast array of attire, all very incidental and unplanned.
It’s a good thing I live in the country.


Sun

Another thing—I don’t publish every theme.
I’m so busy with the day-job, chasing kids and pets, home creating, garden-keeping, and squeezing in a number of avocations that mine are a bit more random and, albeit … late. I usually have an idea but it sits on the back-burner until I can attend to it. But the great thing is …

WordPress bloggers are the most forgiving and patient of folks. I am humbled they still visit, even if I am two weeks late!


Friendship—The All-Time Favorite … naturally

I’d be honored if you’d hang out a bit at my Weekly Photo Challenge category place.

I hope you enjoy my visuals. They’ve been exceptional fun to create.
As for me, I eagerly catch many others that post and am impressed at the creativity that extends to a summit beyond my vision.

Purple

I find it all to be inspirational and quite simply— fun.
Sheer joy.

What about you?

Inside

“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

Movement

How Does Your Garden Grow? | Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth.”
~ George Washington

The strongest principle of growth lies in the human choice.
~ George Eliot

“We become taller when we bow. We become lowlier when we instruct.”
~ G.K. Chesterton

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
~ Albert Einstein
 
Photos by Katarzyna.
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