Best Buds |Weekly Photo Challenge: My Happy Place

1-IMG_1931

When I saw the photo challenge titled “Happy Place” the words that immediately came to  mind were “travel destinations”—places that invoke that glorious feeling of combined rest and joy, one definition known as “happiness”. I thought of places I’ve been (North Myrtle Beach).

20130720-180450.jpg

or places I’ve dreamed of going (Moorea).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I went to Acadia National Park (above) I thought, “Oh, now this it. This is the ultimate, the place to unwind, to get away.” I was happy!

However, travel can bring its own stresses, as we all know. The planning, packing, and getting to-and-from can be tiring. You’ve heard people say, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” 🙂

a rainbow in the sky."

It can feel like chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,

Moon Shadows

or trying to truly capture the presence and majesty of another breathtaking moonrise,

image

or that ever elusive butterfly.

But when you’re in immediate and desperate need of joy, finding a happy place cannot always be found by thumbing through travel guides for yet another trip or even dreaming of those places.

It’s times like that I totally forget a happy place that lives right out my front porch. Most of the time I find I’m looking beyond it, rushing past it toward some goal, the “next thing”, that place called “when I finally get there, I will be happy!”

1-DSC09947

I forget the happy place staring straight at me. It’s a place where they’re straining their necks to grab me, to get my attention, to make me stop in my haste to happiness and see that they are what I really need;

that they live, they thrive, they exist to make me happy! (I’m convinced they serve no other purpose.) They are my never-ending friends, through every season, through every joy, through every sorrow. They are constant and oh, how I take them for granted!

1-DSC09959

They remind me that we both endure some thorny paths and sticky situations,

1-DSC09945

that I’m not the only one out there feeling so alone,

1-DSC00016

drowning in life’s demands,

1-DSC09943

and kind of hanging by a thread,

First Rose

or in need of a hug;

1-DSC09957

that while we pass each other everyday in the coming and going, we can still rise and hold our head high, together, and shine in the sun!

1-DSC00021

You see, when you have best buds you can find happiness no matter where, no matter what. 🙂


I write this in honor of my friends and family, my “best buds”. Thank you for being just a phone call away. I always miss you.

Peace, Alexandria

 

Advertisements

Stormscapes | Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

d

Was 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 Home

And 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 thund’rous roar,
Caught off guard our branches soared.

IMG_6627

Soared and stretched
and ripped and retched,
Snapped and torn and yanked from ground,
Some carried away, never to be found.

We tried to keep our footing firm,
Desperation, terror churned.
Our roots clenched tight with every turn.

DSC_0300

Huddled with our branches tight,

Intertwine

We clung to each other for dear life.

Then suddenly quiet, it was gone,
Swift it came and it moved on.

StormScapes

And in that instant we were changed,
Youth was stripped, innocence ravaged.

i

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

But 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.

StormScapesIV

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

1-1-DSC_0194-002

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

StormScapesV

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

DSC01300. StormScapesIII

And winter bears a rarity,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
For now we do curve gracefully!

d


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of Forces of Nature.  The forces of nature surround us. They can inspire or they can devastate. But always there is purpose, re-creation, re-growth.

Look at these trees that endured a horrific storm. What about the storms in our lives? Surrounded with so many vivid reminders to—stay the storm, stand together, lean on one another, hold one another—why is it so hard for us?

These trees and other forces of nature find a means of survival through one another, and by it, find healing. Should we do any less?

Peace,
Alexandria

Fire and Ice | Weekly Photo Challenge: Early Bird

imageIt was back in January and I am up before dawn, carving a wondrous niche of solitude for myself at the early bird hours.

And it’s January. Frigid and dark. And so begins my worst time of the year. Curled up in my fluffy robe, I hug a steaming cup of coffee. In the clutches of deep suffering, my heart is a solidified mass of stone. (See Reward’s of Winter)

But suddenly out of the darkness, a glint catches my eye. I peer out the window and there it was.

imageThere it was, all melting the chill that seeped into every crevice of my stone-cold heart.

A purple haze of light rises. Oh January, why beckon me! Why taunt me! I’m all cozy and wrapped up tight! Just like my heart! Wrapped up tight these days! The last thing on my mind is taking pictures! You know I don’t like you anyway! Oh January!

Beautiful and brilliant it was! All fiery and cold. Stepping onto the porch I press my nose against the ice cold screen.

IMG_0013

The holidays are a mere memory. Blah, bleak days are here. Days that drag on … and on … and on. But here comes January, showing off.

And here I go, throwing a down coat over my robe and running out the door with only an iPhone. Oh January, I know you’ll run from me if I don’t get out there! And YOU, only YOU could do this to me! But anyway, you got me out here. Now show me what you’ve got!

image

And so, January delivered–an early show filled with purple’s and magenta’s, lights and darks, glaring and glinting off bare branched trees and surly cloud covers.

image

Fire and ice mingle and I’m in near tears over it. Oh January, perhaps the reason I don’t like you is because I am so much like you.

Fire and ice.

Stubborn. Determined. Self-centered. Show off. Oh, look at you, January, you show-off!

image

Cold. Rude. Impatient. Angry, a fire-brimming volcano. (I’m not proud of that.)

image

And so loud sometimes! Stop it, January!

image

But alas, I see you are all of those things and none of those things. For what I’ve come to realize is you are just filled with … passion. You come on so strong because of your complexity.

You are passionate about life, love, passionate about everything.

All fire and ice.

IMG_0010-0

You’re so, so … so …
human.

Human … just like me.

Why would I ever treat you with such disdain? Oh, January, I’m so sorry. Come near, my friend. Every year come near, and keep me company.

Nourish JoyYou’re so beautiful.


This is my response to the Weekly Photo Challenge theme of Early Bird, in which we were challenged to get up early and explore the morning light. As usual, nature’s visual’s carry my mind to the endless lessons I learn about life. I hope you enjoy.
Peace, Alexandria

Bracing the Vortex | Through the Window

Cardinal Weathers the Storm

Sometimes you just need to bow your head, say a prayer and weather the storm.

As the polar vortex slipped over the United States, stores emptied shelves of nearly everything as residents braced for the bitter cold and blizzard conditions. But what about nature? How does nature brace for such a rare phenomenon? Are they caught by surprise, suddenly hapless and helpless, on the brink of consumption by the elements?Prayer Pose

Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln 

My friend, Sonya, and her husband positioned their bird feeders right in front of their kitchen window so they could enjoy casual close-up bird watching. In the barrage of the storm, their observations unexpectedly turned beyond casual.  As the vortex hovered, Sonya grabbed her camera and captured these lovely creatures right in the midst of this horrendous storm. How would they fare? Would they survive? I think these stunning photos, taken through her window, need little explanation.

Together

A good friend can shield you from the storm. ~ Rhea Olsen

Observe them carefully. Look at their stance, their stillness, their resolve.

Together Again“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant.” ~ Socrates

As Sonya peered through her window, I’m sure she had an inclination to run out and rescue them. But alas, she could not. She provided food, then watched as they used the instinctual abilities God built within them. They were bound together and stood firm against this treacherous storm.

Watchcare

Make note:  They did not make any attempt to separate from one another. They stood together.

Peace Could this be the same God does with us? Does He watch us weather storms, knowing He can rescue us at any time? Sometimes we wonder why He doesn’t. Didn’t He build into us resources inherent in human nature? Plus, we have His promise that just as He watches over His creatures, He watches over us with even more intensity.

Camaradarie One of His resources is the gift of friendship, so beautifully pictured here. There is a certain camaraderie among the birds. Oh, I’m sure they’ve pecked at each other over many petty things. Haven’t we all observed that? But when the storm hit, they clung together. At Peace Can we not learn a lesson from the birds? Yes, we may bicker and peck at each other from time to time. But just as the birds faced the storm together, so we must see the value of friends when the vortex rolls in.

So, find a friend and be a friend. You will need each other.

Because there will be storms, and you’ll never walk alone. 1500750_10153710169035578_55612301_o

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” ~ Matthew 6:25-27
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Weekly Photo Challenge: Window
Photo credits: Sonya, a personal friend of mine who will remain anonymous. Thank you, Sonya. 

Thank you to Ms. Sprinkle Sparkles On for featuring this blog post. I encourage all to read this wonderful post that reminds us of how we need each other. It dovetails perfect.

Welcome is My Word|Beginnings

Welcome“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

“One Word That Will Change Your Life”
The book title sparked my curiosity. One word? Really? The book’s been around awhile and I have to say, I like this idea. Instead of lofty New Year’s resolutions, it holds to a one-word theme for the year. Smaller actions center around that word. The smaller acts compound throughout the year, where the meaning of the word takes root and becomes the impetus for real, long-lasting change.

One word. So simple. And I love anything simple. The author recommends using the entire month of December to choose a word. Mine surfaced immediately.

Welcome.

It was certainly different from some of the other suggested words like joy, health, and patience. But I really liked it. I knew it was mine. And as I thought about it, I realized it was a pretty hefty word. In fact, I started to visualize other words like spokes on a wheel hub. Words like hospitality, cooking, decorating, and gardening. Such fun! I’m liking this! I envisioned thumbing through magazines filled with luscious gardens and yummy recipes. But other ideas surfaced, too. And that’s where it got hard.

Words like housework, unexpected dinner or overnight guests, digging in hard clay dirt, keeping the kitchen and great room cleared of surface clutter, keeping bathrooms presentable. Then there’s my love-hate relationship with the screened-in porch. Ugh! Those cobwebs and outdoor dust cling with a vengeance. And how can I forget the spare bedroom—that extra “space” meant to be space for overnight guests? Sometimes instead of a spare bedroom it turns into a spare-parts room, filled with assorted what-nots that have no particular space yet.

Not that I am a clean-freak, (am I?) But I do find myself filled with excuses for a lack of invitation to anyone outside my grown children and grandchildren because of one simple word–ready. I am not ready, or at least I think I’m not. Well, in my mind it’s more like not ready enough.

But another excuse really gnaws at me–invitation. I do not  invite in an intentional way like I used to. Oh, I’ll throw out a “just drop in whenever”. But “whenever” turns into “never”, which never becomes “when”. Yes, the kids drop by on a continuum, but that even lends to another excuse. “My cup is full and there is no more room.”

Welcome Closer

But there is room. If I make room. You see, welcome is not just for others. It’s for me. And it’s good for me. It’s good for me to reach outside myself and into the world of someone else. To provide a comfy room for weary travelers. Have the neighbors over for dinner. Extend a listening ear. I can get so self-centered and forget that the blessing of my home was not meant just for me and my family. It was meant for others, for the world. I may not change the world, but my welcome may touch a life that will. “Welcome” speaks love and love is not love til it’s given away. May I live generous.

I am ready!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~ Maya Angelou
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Beginnings”.  Also, I’m wondering if you noticed the ferns at Christmas? It just happened to be a warm stretch so they got to come outside. Why not? 🙂
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My favorite “manuals” to stay welcome-ready. Time to pick them up again!
Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg
Dwelling: Making the Most of the Space You Call Home by Mary Beth Lagerborg

O, How The Years Go By | WPC: Nostalgia

“Nostalgia”. The word is a Greek compound, consisting of “nĂłstos”—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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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

StephanieCliffPic

“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
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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

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.

Nature’s Usual Pose | Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

The Life of Less

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

The Climb

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

It's a Bug's Life

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

Aspire

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

The Sign of Heaven

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

Heaven's Promise“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” ~ G. K. Chesterton
_____________________________________________________

Here are other interpretations of the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme of “Up”.

%d bloggers like this: