Why Is Your Structure Such?


You fascinate me.

I don’t know you. Don’t know much about you, actually. I know the monarchs; so regal, vibrant. The little yellow ones—fleeting, quick. But I’ve never seen you.

As I chored about the yard, I caught glimpses of you. And I thought, you’re different. What unusual beauty. Such graceful movements.

But…

So dark. Dark as a moonless night. Dark as a storm front. Dark as deep ocean.

But such a comforting dark. There’s a softness about you. Why is your structure such?

When your lovely flight pattern stopped, I moved closer. You didn’t fly away. It looked as if you waited, and actually posed for me. Your dark was then so beautiful. The rust tinge. The white. The astonishing scallops. And then that lovely shade of blueness. Black and blue. Oh, why is your structure such!

Why did God make a black and blue butterfly??

I’m not exactly sure but I thank Him. For because of beautiful creatures like you, I see the blackest of my days and the blueness in my soul are still tinged with color, and pure white, even if there’s a touch of rust around the edges. Like a lot of things in my life.

If I would just be still; and take notice.

You dawned my day with your dark.

And perhaps that is why your structure is such.

Oh, I know you won’t be around for long. Your life is sadly very brief.

And I may never see you again. But I’m glad we’ve met. 

And I’m glad of the structure that is you.


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the themes “Structure” and “Waiting.” We don’t typically see black swallowtails around here but this year we’ve seen several. These were some of the thoughts that came to me as I observed and enjoyed them. I hope you enjoy as well. 🙂

Peace,
Alexandria

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Fragile, Handle With Care | Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

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“Words and hearts should be handled with care, for words misspoken and hearts when broken are the hardest things to repair.” ~ Unknown

Ever do this? Say something then feel the immediate twinge of regret? You wish, how you wish, you could somehow take them back. But they stick like glue. Sometimes they are just casual, oh so casual, “I didn’t really mean it.”

We utter them right off the top of our head, just because we need to talk–oh, how we need to talk,  to say something—oh, how we always need to be saying something.

Sometimes they are tinged with hints of sarcasm—just enough hint to hurt.

Breaking 1-DSC_0141 (5)

Sometimes we lash out in anger. And that’s the worst kind—so far from kind.

And then there’s the so unkind kind that cuts … deep, sometimes scarring to permanence—like a car that’s been wrecked and declared totaled.  Total damage.

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If we would but look into the eyes, we would see the heart of each.

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But no, we shrug away, whispering, “So what.”

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Our culture actually takes pride in telling someone off. We hang on to the brash words of reality television and celebrate the celebrity spewing trash-talk. Bullying is a problem among our children. It’s like we celebrate hate.

Walk Away 1-DSC_0150

What have we become?

Yes, conflict is part and parcel of life. But my mother used to say “Fight nice.” The word hate was so repulsed it was never allowed in our home, under any circumstances. Not even an “I hate brocolli!” was permitted.

Words can build or destroy. Choose them wisely—choose to soothe, heal, protect, build.

Happy

Why not declare to say, today, words tinged with, dare I say, … love?

And if you have nothing to say, it’s perfectly okay to just say nothing.

“Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent.” ~Proverbs 17:28a

Spent, or Well-Spent?

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~Plato


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Broken”. I chose to use the theme in the context of “words”, which can break and shatter as powerfully as they build and heal.

Our modern world is filled with an abundance of them. Sometimes even one sentence can wreak a force as destructive as a volcanic eruption. (Think Twitter with its mere 160 characters. It packs a powerful punch, doesn’t it?)

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Our WordPress community continues to be a safe haven for words, a place where thoughtful expression is wrapped in respect for everyone. I’ve found it to be thus far, and I hope it continues.

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“Let your speech be always with grace.” ~Colossians 4:6a

Peace,
Alexandria


For other interpretations of the Broken Challenge, I hope you’ll take some time and visit here. You’ll enjoy the endless creativity of WordPress photographers, both amateur and professional. Enjoy! 🙂

Inside the Thorns {A Poem for You Today}

DSC_0835

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


I marvel at the rose, how that beauty thrives with the near clutches of thorns. The life of this fluorescent beauty doesn’t just ho-hum grow up. It is pricked by those thorns it’s entire existence, yet it not only thrives, it blooms. Delicate and bold. Tough and tender.
As life pricks us, may we learn to grow–not hardened by hardship–but strong, malleable, generous, kind, compassionate–the qualities of true beauty.
Peace,
Alexandria


Poem by yours truly. 🙂
Photos taken with Nikon D60 with AF-S Nikkor lens 18-55 mm. No post-processing, editing, or cropping.  It’s the same rose, different views.
Perspective matters, doesn’t it?


Related Articles:
Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance
yi-chin ling: much of enough comes
The Silver Leaf Journal: The Struggle to Endure

Beyond the Imagined | Horizon

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

Yep, that would be me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace, Alexandria
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Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

Inside the Thorns

DSC_0835

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?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside

Close, Closer | WPC One Shot, Two Ways

Close

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

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

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

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

The Master Speaks | Masterpiece: Eye of the Beholder

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

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

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

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

Rome Day 3 270

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

But it was love unleashed.

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

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

These were masters of another kind.

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

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

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

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

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

Rome Day 3 261

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

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

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

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

Peace, Alexandria

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

Sejeong Production
Postcard Photo
Blessings Through Raindrops
Chronicles of Illusion

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

Be Thou the Rainbow

Moorea

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

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

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

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

My favorite:
The Colours of Love

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

A Golden Hour Collection | Weekly Photo Challenge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friendship Formulae |Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable II

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

“Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
… It is when two such persons discover one another, when, whether with immense difficulties and semi-articulate fumblings or with what would seem to us amazing and elliptical speed, they share their vision – it is then that Friendship is born. And instantly they stand together in an immense solitude.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves”
“How we need another soul to cling to.” ~ Sylvia Plath
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This is my second entry for “Companionable” in the Weekly Photo Challenge. Thanks and credit to Stephanie Goddard for the first photo. Though the Challenge is closed I just had to do a second entry because of this photograph and many others that I thought fit the theme so well. Capturing these four friends mid-air with such clarity is a photographer’s dream. And Stephanie does it so well. {How well I remember jumping off this cliff in my own life with companions as these! Shall I add it for this week’s theme of “Nostalgia”?} For more of Stephanie’s fine work visit Goddard Photography. You will not be disappointed.
Other interpretations for the challenge can be viewed at  Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable
Peace, Alexandria

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

LoveSong | WPC: Companionable


“Love moves in sync with the cadence of forgiveness,

sings in tune with the melody of acceptance,

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

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

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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.

Somewhere Down the Road | My Neighborhood

Somewhere Down My Road

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

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

Morning Mist in my "Backyard"

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

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

Sunrise Again

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

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

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

All photos taken with iPhone 4.
Enjoy.
Alexandria

For more phoneography visit the Weekly Photo Challenge link:

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)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Tom the Turkey

“All life is an experiment.
The more experiments you make the better.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not go where the path may lead,
go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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A Tale of Agony

“Always do what you are afraid to do.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

d

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing,
but in rising up every time we fail.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Yesterday is not ours to recover,
but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

~ Lyndon B. Johnson

This is a response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. The theme this week is “Forward”.
I hope you enjoy my contribution. I thought about titling it “Words From Ralph” but I could not leave out the Lyndon Johnson quote.

You can read about the Weekly Photo Challenge and see other interpretations at the following link:
Weekly Photo Challenge
Enjoy.
Alexandria

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/

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/

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