Joy in Weathered Space


November 2011

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” ― Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

When I started this blog in 2011 I had no idea what I was doing. But I had a lot of things going on in life. A lot of sadness. Not due to anything done to me personally. But a lot of circumstances affecting my dearest loved ones and, I guess you could say, the way I hurt for them and tried to help them resulted in my own deep, deep sadness. Hence, I started to write.

December 2011

Every year some new tragic circumstance hit. Numerous things. Fractured relationships, unusual illness, untimely deaths, even a destructive tornado I found myself right in the middle of.

May 2013

Loss, loss, loss. Each year I prayed for quiet and each year the tsunami’s came. And all this is just a fraction of everything.

January 2012

So I created SimplySage. I needed a “happy place”. A place to find joy in the midst of all the sadness surrounding me. Combined with faith and some good friends, I found an additional place of solace here. And I poured out myself to pull out joys in my everyday surroundings. Simple things, really.


February 2012

And as I looked around my eyes opened to ways that nature mirrors some of the sad times. Then, a long-buried hobby of photography revived. And suddenly I found solace in all the beauty that surrounded me. It was as if God opened my eyes to metaphors in nature. Like the one above. In the dead of winter, there bloomed brilliant orange. Wonders like these carried me to indescribable dimensions. Many of them I could not capture. A photo could never do them justice. All I could do was stand in awe.


March 2012

But I wrote and wrote and wrote. And the storms kept coming. And each year I’d wonder “what next?”


April 2012

Then 2017 hit. And guess what. It was a good year. Actually, an amazingly wonderful year. Yes, the bumps and nicks still came but it seemed to be nothing that absolutely cut you to the heart. And there was a lot of love and joy in 2017. Blessings beyond imagination! Laughter returned and filled every part of my life.

But something else happened.


May 2012

I kinda quit writing.

I guess in all the joy and laughter I was just soaking it all up, And I just kept doing that. Soaking it all in. It was, in a sense, a healing balm to me. Yes, there are some scars left from all the troubled years. Some sadness still trickles in as I ponder all the pain. But I guess I needed a break. To just rest in all of it.

It was wonderful.


June 2012

I could sit here and wish and hope for another year like 2017. But there may never be a year like that again. And if there’s not, a few big lessons stay with me as the storms blow in. Here are just a few:

  • There is no one like the Lord, God of heaven and earth, whom you can cry out to from your heart every minute of the day.
  • There is nothing like the comfort and truth in His Holy Word, the Bible.
  • There is nothing like His marvelous creation.
  • There is nothing like a few close, loving friends and family.
  • Deep down, people are fragile, and are fighting battles within and without. It’s important to understand why they act like they do; and still be kind.
  • There is nothing like the kisses and hugs and sounds of children.
  • There is nothing like gratitude for so many things we take for granted.
  • There is nothing like a nutritious healthy meal and a good, silent walk.
  • Joy can be found anywhere, anytime. All one needs to do is look; and be still enough to enjoy it.

As to writing and this blog? Of course, I will continue! Not making any promises, but I will be here. I thank you, my community of readers, for being here. I don’t take your visits lightly. I don’t equate you in terms of “traffic, stats, or bots”. You are friends. And a part of the joy in all the pain.  I welcome you always.


2017, Best Photo

And as for 2017, for now I say, farewell.  I will never forget you.

Peace,
Alexandria


Weekly Photo Challenges:

Weathered

2017 Favorites

 

Advertisements

Deep Space Collage

“To go boldly where no man has gone before.”

Star Trek. The theme quote. A timeless story.

Aside from Star Wars, it’s possibly the most popular sci-fi series of all time. I loved that show. Captain Kirk—the gutsy, cunning, yet vulnerable leader was a character I most admired! Star Trek, the great predecessor of Star Wars. Still to this day they are both sheer, utter enjoyment.

Space fascinates us, doesn’t it? Huge star ships floating with grace. Hyperspace! Vulcans! Other exotic humanoids (yuk, some of them I could live without ever seeing!)

And who doesn’t love a full moon or a starry night? The constellations that have guided mankind for millennia are mind-boggling.

But did you know you could travel deep space right outside your door? It’s always been there. A space that, once entered, holds as much beauty as the stars in the sky.

Take just the rose, for instance. It’s been out your door all this time  You forge ahead in your day, maybe glance up at the sky, or in your phone, as you rush by, day in and day out.

But have you ever once thought to stop? And finally travel in? Or taken a real camera and captured it? I don’t know—maybe phones these days can do it, too

By gently separating the delicate petals, you can. Yes, they might press against your lens, which you’ll have to clean after. (Such work!)

But the trip is genuinely worth it, isn’t it? Take in the symmetry, the order of this collage of wonder; its beautiful design.

Take some time and enter into the deep space right outside your door. Waiting for you. All these years. Ttop and look. Play around a bit with angle and depth. You’ll behold a wonder you never imagined. Go boldly where few take the time to go.

And you’ll wonder why it took so long.


This is my contribution to the  Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge with a previous theme, “Order” and the current theme “Collage“.

The designs I find in nature seem so random. Yet they are not. Even in the wild woods that surround me, there is this combined symmetry; a collage that fits together perfect. Our Creator is a master of design. Stop and take a look around you. Don’t dismiss the designs. The order. No matter the collage that is your life, which perhaps at times seems more like chaos, the majesty within nature reminds you of His presence.

Peace, Alexandria


First two photos credited to Sean M. Smith. The rest are by mine, taken with Sony DSLR.

Still Friends After All These Years

StephanieCliffPic

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

Young Friends

“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 Sea, One of our Favorite Spots

The typical expression of opening friendship would be something like, What? You too? I thought I was the only one!

Together

… 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 …

Two Solitudes

in an immense solitude.” ~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves”

Missing You

“You are still my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

~ Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Soul Friends
“How we need another soul to cling to.” ~ Sylvia Plath


This is my entry for the Weekly Photo Challenge.  The theme is “friend”. I chose to interpret it in a metaphoric manner. To encapsulate that word in one photo would be impossible for me. Where do I begin??

So this post is in honor of my own wonderful world of life-long friends; who’ve clung to my soul, despite all my quirks and failures, good times and trying times. Thank you. I love you. You are life’s greatest gifts.
Peace,
Alexandria


Credit to Stephanie Goddard for the first photo. 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 these very cliffs in my own life with friends such as these. For more of Stephanie’s fine work visit White Horse Photography  You will not be disappointed.

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.

The Green-Eyed Ninja

IMG_4171

He came right to my door, yes he did.

IMG_4172

As he circled, I froze at such weaponry! Was I friend or foe?

IMG_4173

Before I could speak the eyes stared me down. Green eyes! Green eyes staring at me! And he reached for his swords.

IMG_4176

Again, I froze. What next!! What was to become of me!

IMG_4177

Swashbuckling about, I knew something about him was familiar. Those green eyes…those deep, green eyes.

img_4170

Staring at me. And at last my mind cleared with recognition!

090416_144409ekm-1

photo credit: Emily K. Morgan (emilykmorgan.com)

I’d know those green eyes anywhere!

img_2693-1

photo credit: Chris Lymberis

I just never knew he was the mysterious warrior known as the Green-Eyed Ninja!


This Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Transmogrify”.  I’d never heard this word before. It means to “change in appearance or form, especially strangely or magically; transform.”. So I chose these photos of the dashing Green-Eyed Ninja that showed up at my doorstep last year. And little did I know my grandson was a super-hero by night!

I thought it fit the theme well. And yes, indeed, he does have beautiful deep green eyes! 🙂

Happy Halloween!
Alexandria

090416_11140777ekm

photo credit: Emily K. Morgan (emilykmorgan.com)

This week’s post features two photos by Emily K. Morgan; the two with my grandson in the bow tie. Emily is a photographer from Los Angeles and is known for exceptional creativity as well as technical skills. She captures her subjects beautifully but also captures the emotion and energy of every event. Her wedding photography is absolutely stunning and I hope to share more of her work on future posts. I highly recommend you look at her portfolio at emilykmorgan.com

My Local Artist

This week I’m featuring the photography of my favorite local photographer.
(Be sure to turn up your screen brightness for these.)

Hello There

His chosen profession is law enforcement. He’s one of those gems—giving out more warnings than tickets, soft-spoken, oh-so-witty, and just plain smart. But there’s a little known fact about this tough-looking officer.

14712600_10154499026625928_4362095874913103677_o

He’s a natural born artist.

Star Blanket img_7352

The story goes that at age two, he drew a detailed sketch of a train that was shockingly accurate. It’s true. I’ve seen the picture.

A Room with a View img_7354In school, he didn’t exactly draw. Or color. He “sketched”. He turned down crayons and insisted on colored pencils and by fifth grade started a new trend. According to his art teacher, all the kids wanted colored pencils! They thought if they had colored pencils they could “sketch” like him!

Show Me the Way img_7355

Thinking he was headed for a career in art, in middle school he took up the piano. (By now, I think you know this police officer-artist is none other than my son.) 🙂

Unexpected Bloom

Until I could find a piano teacher I quickly gave him a “Pattern Piano” DVD instruction set. He watched a bit and I distinctly remember his voice, “I think I got this figured out.” And off he ran to the piano.

Jeep

It seemed in no time, he was playing beautifully, without lessons. I’m not sure he ever finished the DVD’s. He still plays to this day; and it’s lovely.

River Dusk

Then he did the same with guitar, as well as singing and harmonizing. No joke.

Drink

He took up photography in high school and was off taking pictures of everything, finding the beauty in the small and unnoticed.

14590006_10154494139315928_7835841206513142259_o

And this week he upgraded his camera—big-time I’d say!—and has been out and about, capturing the local countryside. These are some of the results and I will let you be the judge. But I think they are stunning. Click on each one for a fuller view. It’s definitely worth it!

Sky Lights img_7353

I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating but I’m truly not. Just ask his sisters! All full of sugar and spice, they are pure sweetness. They’re smart and artistic, too, but they admit, without hesitation, their brother’s artistic gifts confound them. Of course, they’re not shy about telling anyone either!


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Local“, featuring the photography of my own local artist, my dear son. I’m glad he’s out taking pictures because my life’s been a bit full as of late. He might fill in for me a bit but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. At all! 🙂

Peace,
Alexandria

Lost in the Details

DSC_3496“Wherever you are, be all there.” ~ Jim Elliot

Life is made of a myriad of moments, a multitude of details. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with all the big stuff of life that we overlook the fine-tuned details that surround us. I’m sharing a few little details I captured, most of which I walk past everyday.

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

I’m glad these things vie for my attention because they have a way of actually getting it, catching my eye, making me stop … and take a moment.

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

“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

1-DSC_0100

Whatever moment you are in today, whether joy or pain—never dismiss the moment, the detail of your very place.  When you think about it, the only moment that truly exists is the one you are in right now.  So stop and hold onto it for a moment.

1-IMG_9914

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.

Blink
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.
SuccessDrawing

 I hope it increases your joy as you trek your own crooked path. 🙂

1-DSC09943

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” ~ Maria Edgeworth

Peace,
Alexandria


This is my contribution to the Photo Challenge theme,   “Details”.

Of Sunbeams and Rainbows, Look Up!

IMG_0282“Hold out your hands to feel the luxury of the sunbeams.” ~ Helen Keller

Be Thou the Rainbow1-DSC02109“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” ~ William Wordsworth

Summer Love 1-IMG_2063“Friendship is like a rainbow between two hearts.” ~Author unknown
Come the MornIMG_2432“The beauty of the sunbeam lies partly in the fact that God does not keep it; he gives it away to us all.” ~ David Swing

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” ~ St. Francis of Assisi

“As on the driving cloud the shiny Bow, that gracious thing made up of tears and light.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“In the world’s audience hall, the simple blade of grass sits on the same carpet with the sunbeams, and the stars of midnight.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

“The smiling daughter of the storm.” ~Charles Caleb Colton

“Rainbows apologize for angry skies.” ~Sylvia Voirol

DSC_3462“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” ~ Roald Dahl

Family Tree 1-DSC_0096“Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.” ~ Thomas Mann

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

Home Sweet Home“Never has the warm caress of a sunbeam seemed so ominous.” ~ Joel Achenbach


The Photo Challenge theme this week is “Look Up“.

It’s been a very tragic week in these United States of America. As I watch the events my heart breaks for so many, for so much, and especially for my country. It’s easy to be buried in all of this and tempted to think we will never emerge from the stain of racism. But are we really that racist? The extreme rhetoric from both sides that fills the internet would convince us that we are. But those are words. Do we really act that way in real life?

My own community of friends and acquaintances are from different races and countries. We care deeply for and respect each other. We laugh and cry together. We share life together and accomplish wonderful things; like rainbows and sunbeams that split through dust and clouds and rain.

One friend told me the story of how her tire blew the other day. She was alone on the side of the highway and two different people pulled over to help her. One was a Black man. The other Hispanic. She is White. Not one hint about skin color. Just people working together to help someone in need. Sunbeams and rainbows. They are in our very midst everyday. They don’t make the news but their actions are how most of us really are.

I’m glad God sets examples in the sky; sunbeams and rainbows. Neither can happen really well without dust and clouds and rain. Aside from the events of the past week, life is very hard just on its own. It’s tough to work and make a living, to take care of our families, to raise children. Life is filled with a lot of stress—dust, clouds, and rain. The people we rub shoulders with everyday are the rainbows and sunbeams that get us through.

Though my nation is filled with clouds, dust, and storms right now I hope we can look up and find the rainbows and sunbeams that surround us every day, just like my friend did. Just like I do.

We may never make the headlines. But we are a great story.

I hope these photos lift you up from where you are.
And remember, we are all Americans.
Let us love one another.

Peace, Alexandria

Opposite Attraction | Moonstruck

1-IMG_3130 (2)

“Look how the pale queen of the silent night
Doth cause the ocean to attend upon her….” ~Charles Best, “A Sonnet of the Moon”

Light and dark. Opposing forces. Both strong in their own right. Both necessary to our human existence. These opposites are not offended whatsoever when one space invades the other.

1-IMG_3140

“Moonlight is sculpture.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

For nothing shows their contrast best than when they invade the other’s space. They actually flourish together. Both are resplendent in beauty.

They are a remarkable, blinding, spectacular pair. 

1-IMG_3131-001

“Together, we form a necessary paradox; not a senseless contradiction.”  ~ Criss Jami

It is said opposites attract. In nature it seems to be a constant. But our human nature seeks to avoid what is opposite.

1-IMG_3139-001

“A man is a very small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.” ~Edward Plunkett

Though we can draw many lessons about light and darkness, the opposites in nature serve only to enhance each other. The moon shines brilliant. Stars sweep across the black sky in a breathtaking swash. Yet there is no complaint from the sky as these intruders invade its space.

Why, we humans even invade and see what happens? All so lovely!

1-IMG_3150

“The night walked down the sky with the moon in her hand.” ~Frederick Knowles

Perhaps we should not fight our opposites whoever they may be. As dark sky “walks down the moon” to merge in a shining display, and we add our playful silhouettes, can we not do the same with each other?

Would we be any less spectacular?

Peace, Alexandria


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with the theme “Opposite”. The theme can be interpreted in so many ways but I chose the contrast of light and dark. For others, click here.
P.S. Apologies if you received this twice. The link didn’t work on the first one. I think it’s fixed on this one. 🙂

Curve Around the World

FullMoon

“There is something particularly special and personal about the circle and how its curves comfortable rule every aspect of our lives.” ~ Kat Kahr, Parallelism of Cyclicality

col-nite_edited-1b

In choosing photos for this week’s photo challenge with the theme  “Curve” I’m featuring some favorites from the past. They include photos by Dan Pope, Stephanie Goddard, Stephen Deal, and yours truly. I’d appreciate if you’d explore the links. It helps me as I test my new .live domain.
Thanks and do EnJoy. 🙂
Alexandria

Moorea

Be Thou the Rainbow
“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

Rome Day 3 258-005

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

i

 LoveSong
“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

StephanieCliffPic

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

A Cupful of Friend

The Beauty of a True Friend
“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” ~ Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

20130922-213527.jpg

LifeLines
“Life forms illogical patterns. It is haphazard and full of beauties which I try to catch as they fly by, for who knows whether any of them will ever return?” ~ Margot Fonteyn

Purely Summer

Wash Over Me 20130905-202159.jpg

Purified

With summer in full swing here, I’m going to change things up a bit. Increased family demands and just loving the outdoors has nudged out any time for writing so I’m taking a break from it this summer.

Evening Blush DSC01436[1]

Evening Blush

But with the camera as a welcome part of the demands I’ll be sharing more photos.

Arrival of Morn DSC01212[1]

Arrival of Morn

I’m trying to take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by WordPress, my blog platform. But I hope to share in-between as well. The writing will be brief, three-hundred words or less. After all, I’m sure you have plenty of other summer reading to do!

Fire over Water

Fire over Water

For this week’s Challenge, the theme is “Pure“. My mind went several directions until I finally settled on some photos of the ocean. Since the beach is my “go-to” place to purify my heart, I thought I’d share some favorites. Be sure to turn your device to landscape to capture the full purity of the views. Makes a difference! 😊

Zoom for a closer look. Turn phone to side

Dawn. Crisp, Clear. Pure.  Zoom in to see a crescent moon. Stunning!

Storm over Water

Storm over Water

Then there’s the storms and artistry of clouds. So settling. Cleansing!

Wind over Water

Wind over Water

The breezes gently sweep and scatter all the busyness that inhabits my mind. It clears the clutter and tidies up my heart and with renewed clarity, I can focus on what’s really important.

IMG_5643

Pure Morning

I am swept clean! Purified!


I hope you’ll enjoy my upcoming summer “short series”.

IMG_5632 (1)

Let’s have some summer fun!

But most of all, have a fun summer! 🙂

More soon,
Alexandria


P.S. SimplySage is in transition. It’s gone from simplysage.org to simplysage.me to simplysage.live.  It takes several weeks for search engines to re-index my site so I’m kind of lost in internet space right now. The .me and .org do not work.
I’ll spare all the reasons. If I explain I’ll go way beyond three-hundred words! 🙂


For other interpretation of “Pure”, click here.

Jubilant Community

Jubilant Spring 1-IMG_5807

The Weekly Photo Challenge theme this week is “Jubilant“.  I’m sharing the abundant flowering of a clematis I bought three years ago at WalMart. In its first year it had less than five blooms.

New IMG_1851

Thinking it wasn’t feeling too much at home here, I nestled it among good things; roses, lilies, shrubs. I gave it the proper light and good old-fashioned fertilizer. And I remained … waiting.

1-IMG_5929

In gardening of any kind there is so much waiting!

In its second summer it was just a scraggly green bush. Cute. But so shy! And so I waited another year.

1-IMG_year one

And it finally opened up!

Lift Up 1-IMG_5811

And blossomed unimaginable!

1-IMG_5818

 No more shyness. No more hesitation.

Quiet 1-IMG_5781

 In fact, as the quote says, it is a perpetual astonishment. We are nearing June and it’s full of buds.

IMG_5736

The vine is branching out beyond. But it’s still connected to home. Through the wind and rain it’s held tight.

Reaching 5791

It’s all become its own little community. The vine gently weaves a pattern with the flowers. Together they reside. Yet the tender flowers are never destroyed. Nor is the vine ever suffocated by the broad, expansive flower.

1-IMG_5790

Look how they cling to each other as good friends. Neighbors. Caring for, looking out for each other. And the seed pods are so abundant that next year I’ll need to add another trellis. This community is growing! Good neighbors do that.

1-IMG_5787

Good neighbors promote growth. And speaking of neighbors …

1-IMG_6189

What ever happened to being a good neighbor? Watching out for, protecting, sharing, loving, being kind?

Different, but dwelling together?

Whatever happened to “community”? Real community. Real people rubbing shoulders with real people. In the earlier photo, the clematis is neighbors with the lilies, roses, and shrubs. All different. But look how beautiful together.

Today there are all these “online communities” and believe me, I’m all for them.

Wild Child 1-IMG_5783

But sometimes I wonder if we’ve forgotten how to be with real people. We sit in our temperature-controlled environment and pluck away on the keyboard or our smartphones and call it community.

And another thing I see as I scroll through social media is how easily it is to be unkind. Words filled with so much venom. I wonder would they be that way if they were face-to-face?

Closer 1-IMG_5793

Somehow, I think not.

There’s an abundance of words and opinions nowadays. And I am definitely a free-speech warrior. But imagine the human—the actual real live person. Think about your words before you type. And work toward a jubilant display such as this. Nurturing beyond just existence. Nurturing to grow.

Good neighbors.

Opening 1-IMG_5766

Can we not do this? Whether online or in person, is it so hard to do?

Peace, Alexandria

 

 

Color Me Red! | Vibrant

imageHere in the depth of winter the Weekly Photo Challenge theme is “Vibrant“.  Ahhh … a winter break from black and white! And what a great theme to showcase my favorite color—red! Our recent blizzard allowed this red bush a standing ovation.

image

Amidst the ice and snow the bush got my attention. So red!

image

I zoomed in for a closer look,

image

and the vibrant, red leaves glistened as the ice completely enveloped them, dripping like jewels.

image

And since I’d just replenished birdseed, another brush of red caught my eye through my kitchen window. After juggling the camera and ten pictures later I found this one deemed worthy. 🙂

Rust-Tinge

I love all vibrant colors but red always turns my head.

From barns,

image

to cars,

Vintage Companions

to mums,

Magnificent Mums

to roses,

DSC_0499

to my four-wheeler. 🙂

Capture the Mooon

I’ve even splashed it on a few walls in my home,

Christmas Gift Suggestions

and it graces my front  door. 🙂

Welcome Closer

I just love red and can’t help but share the following quote. I’m no psychoanalyst, but maybe this is why:

“I’m in love with red. I think it’s such a passionate color. Every flag of every country pretty much has red in it. It’s power. There’s no fence-sitting with red. Either you love it or you don’t. I think it’s blood and strength and life. I do love red.” ~ Brian Batt

Fire and Ice

And while taking the blizzard photos I noticed one of the ice-enveloped leaves glistening in the shape of a beautiful heart.

Midwinter's Night Dream

So, while I’m at it, Happy Valentines! 🙂

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


For more bloggers’ interpretations of Vibrant click here.
Other “Vibrant” posts I liked:
Say It With a Camera
Campbeltown and Islay Photography
Pauses and Clicks

The Time is Now!

As we celebrate another Christmas, memories of the past are a common thread woven through our countless conversations. We truly are wired to dwell on the past or dream about the future, aren’t we? The photo challenge this week prompts us to think of the “now”, the present. And so I thought I’d share a sweet moment I quickly captured.

After being fenced off from the gifts for an entire week, it was finally time! Now! The blockade was removed and my littlest grandson scurried a quick path straight to a different kind of “present”!

I hope you enjoy your “present”.  And your presents, too!

And finally, may another kind of “present” fill your life.

The presence of Jesus Christ—Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”

Present.

Remember, His time is always “now“.

Peace and Merry Christmas!
Alexandria

 

These Are a Few of My Favorite Grids | Weekly Photo Challenge: Grid

A Cupful of Friend

Relaxing in the screen grid

As I looked at the Challenge this week with “Grid” as the theme, I perused through my pictures. And it was amazing to me how much of my everyday life is filled with design.

dsc_0046

Grid bench, where I enjoy my favorite flower.

Be it work, home, or play I’m constantly living life in a myriad of grids. Why, I glance at my desk right now and it’s filled with cubbies of lovely baskets and throws and it’s grids bring warmth, reminding me of my favorite things. And so, I thought I’d share a few with you.

DSC_1304

Rust-colored trees border a grid fence. Barren beauty. (Sometimes I feel like that. Sigh …)

I think deep within all of us there is a hunger for design, composition, and order. Perhaps it’s because so much of life is unpredictable and seems out of control. But then we’ll see something beautiful. And we’ll snap a picture.

image

Inhale the forest through the grid. Ahhh….

Everyday we’ll snap pictures of moments. And they become a small piece of peace to latch onto and it all nourishes our soul, doesn’t it?

1-IMG_2025

Grid grill. Yum! One of my favorites!

Perhaps they remind us that in that very photo we destined order in our chaotic world.

DSC_1352-001

Light within the grid … shine for me, please.

Our eyes searched for and found the grid. We put composition where it was not.

Clean ovens

The grid shines through. (Sigh … it’s that time again!)

We found design in small things. Like a clean oven. 🙂

Friendly ferns love the grid, too!Grids make a space for everyone, especially friendly ferns!

I don’t know about you but all of these pictures make me smile. I brought a piece of order and composition to my own chaotic world.

20131013-012901.jpg

My favorite beach grid. Yes, here I come!

And they make me happy. Very happy!

image

A grid to play with bugs. Fun!

And isn’t happiness what we’re all searching for?

image

Revived skill behind a grid. Pleased. Very pleased.

So, as you go about your day, look around.

Singing in front of the grid. Inspirational!

Find the grid. Snap the picture. Tell your story. But tell it to yourself first.

image

Mmm … yes, lock me behind this grid forever!!

Then sit back and smile. And be happy!

I

Let this grid warmth fill me all year long! It’s coming soon!

For happiness abounds! 🙂

Peace,
Alexandria


For more entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge with the “grid” theme click here. Have a great week!

Hydrangea Joy | Weekly Photo Challenge: Vivid

Hydrangea Joy

Vivid

Grand

Generous 

Abundant

Joy-giving

Smile-maker

Favorite flower

Enjoy!

Peace,
Alexandria

Fragile, Handle With Care | Weekly Photo Challenge: Broken

d

“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.

1-DSC02089-005

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

Look Me in the Eye1-DSC_0151

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

1-DSC_0150-001

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?)

1-DSC_0436

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.

1-DSC_0164

“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! 🙂

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

If These Walls Could Speak | Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

1-DSC_0052If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0033If these old halls,
Hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,

1-DSC_0046And children playing at hide and seek
From floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak.

They would tell you that I’m sorry
For bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn streak,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0005If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all –
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,

1-DSC_0016And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after,
If these walls could speak.

1-DSC_0001They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.
That’s what these walls would say.

Lyrics by Jimmy Webb, sung by Amy Grant


This is my contribution to the Weekly Photo Challenge with a theme of “Wall”. My son took photos of this plantation near our house. It is owned by a family who chose to keep their ancestral home for sentimental reasons. The grounds are kept up but the house and buildings are gradually dilapidating. There’s a poignant sadness to see such a grand home now stand in silence when once it was filled with life. I think the song lyrics say it all.

For more creative “Wall” Interpretations click here.

%d bloggers like this: