Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

Every year we are amazed by the growth of the lotus. The water in the dam is smooth in spring, then leaves begin to appear, unfurling on the surface as the red lotus plant begins to shoot. Soon there are buds, then as they open into blooms more buds push up towards the light, the older flowers start to lose their petals, their inner seedpod swelling, so the waterscape changes constantly. In this photo you can see the lotus in each of its summer growth stages; leaf, bud, flower, pod and seed.

 

See more wonderful entries in the Growth challenge at The Daily Post.

Sunday Post: Splendid

Jake gives some meanings of splendid, such as: wonderful, impressive, magnificent, phenomenal, charming, superb, ingenious, excellent, surpassing, very good, superior, first-rate, elegant, gorgeous, grand, brilliant, starry, resplendent, glorious, heavenly, gorgeous, exquisite, lovely, resplendent, pleasing to the eye, majestic, exquisite, lovely,  great, and memorable! Since it is that time of year again I thought of this very splendid and memorable birthday lunch my husband organised for me in 2005. I only want to show you the most splendid part of all …. an ice bowl of flowers in which was served the most delicious plum sorbet.

 

We had a restaurant at the time, so although the concept was all his there was a chef involved too.  My husband Stuart made this bowl by picking flowers for our garden, calendulas and hollyhocks and possibly more, arranging them inside a large bowl, then sitting another slightly smaller bowl inside the first bowl. He poured water into the gap and placed it all in the freezer. When it was frozen the inside bowl was removed to reveal the stained glass effect of flowers in ice! Isn’t it magnificent?

The chef appeared at the table I shared with my friends, carrying a croquembouche, sparklers sizzling, everyone gazed in delight, then burst into “Happy Birthday”! Here is a close up of the ‘cake’ after we had already begun to help ourselves. This was pretty special too.

And would you like to see a photo of the proud organiser and ice-bowl maker? Here he is! He is rather splendid and magnificent himself.

Please read Jake’s post and join in with your interpretation of Splendid!


CBBH Photo Challenge: Looking Up

Here is a new photo challenge: a once a month one that might be manageable! On the first of the month Marianne of East of Malaga will post the challenge and you have a whole month to respond, phew. We will soon be travelling so I won’t be posting much, but I can join in this one with my photo of a special stained glass window in Limoux France. Of course we had to look up to see it!

This window in St Martin’s Church, Limoux, Languedoc, France depicts Mary Magdalene and Jesus as equals, sitting together enthroned above a crowd of adoring women. It is telling a story about the Divine Feminine being of equal importance with the Divine Masculine. The women below cement this message, let femininity arise from its accepted place of deferring to the male energy, let both rule together in harmony in our lives, in our world, in our beloved Mother Earth. Other windows in this series depict men spearing and stabbing women teachers, while the women show the universal values of love, nurture, acceptance and goodness.

Tradition tells us that Mary Magdalene traveled to the south of France after the crucifixion, and taught widely for many years until her death. It is her teachings that are reflected here. So look up, see that the Divine Feminine is regaining her place in the world order. If we can live so that these energies in us are balanced, they will become balanced in society, and we can help the Earth recover from centuries of male energy domination.

I am not a religious person, I practice yoga, and I can feel energy quite clearly, so remember it is energy I am meaning, not people, saints, or doctrines when I share this with you! How does it feel to you? I really feel that although the Earth is struggling, things are undoubtedly looking up!

 

Learn more about the Conejo Blanco Blog Hopper challenge. One of the wonderful ideas Marianne has is that we should each introduce two bloggers we love to read, bloggers we visit and comment on. Inclusiveness is a feminine value …. so here are my two bloggers for you to enjoy.

Being a bird photographer I love to see what MJ is posting … she does a post a day, always of the most professional and wonderful nature photo, usually birds, but also flowers and other wild animals in the Northwestern Wisconsin and North Dakota Badlands ….. check out http://mjspringett.wordpress.com/

Only a week or so ago I found EllaDee who lives in Sydney, working towards the day she and her partner can leave the city for their country place and live a self-sufficient life. You might like to read her blog, here is a post I liked: http://elladeewords.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/one-step-two-step-pay-it-forward-or-pay-it-back/

 

Weekly Image Of Life: A Lifetime Of Memories

This challenge is very difficult, for indeed when you are older you do have a lifetime of memories rather too many to express in one post! So Island Traveler I have limited myself to photos already on the computer, which does include a few scanned images of the pre-digital era. Isn’t it amazing how quickly our lives have changed! My memories all revolve around people, family and close friends, so of course I cant include all I would like, but just a few significant times. Others who are not included are perhaps even dearer in the heart, but this is about photos and memory. I would like to show you my first child in his bassinette, or listening to his father play guitar for him, or the second child using a hammer at about 13 months of age, for it was always tools and creating things that fascinated him, or the third child standing on the kitchen bench aged two cutting carrots with a sharp knife, because that was what had to happen. Instead here are more than enough images!

Father blowing bubbles for the first son, supported and held on an old Australian cedar settle that belonged to my great-grandmother. The seventies wallpaper brings those times vividly alive to me, a rich time of nurturing and love as we became a family.

Here we all are in 1994, with our exchange-daughter Anne from Switzerland. Having three sons and female standard poodle I asked specifically for a girl when we entered the AFS exchange program. Anne lived with us for a year, and loved her new brothers while she educated us parents about the ins and outs of having a girl in the house!!! During our next trip to Europe we will visit Anne in Zurich (she still calls us “Mum” and “Dad”).

Now you have guessed correctly, this is my mother, who I don’t look anything like. She was very unhappy with me when I was born because I looked like my father’s mother. Luckily her next baby looked just like her! In our later years we became very close when I helped her overcome some life-long difficulties by encouraging her to talk to a psychologist. Old hurts were healed and she was able to be free and loving in a new way. She had suffered from a frozen heart due to the disappearance of her beloved fiance. Somehow the “pull-up-your-socks-and-get-on-with-it” approach of the 1940’s had not helped her and depression had been the ‘black dog’ of her life. Although she loved my father she had always felt broken, frozen and distant. Here she is very happy with us on a trip to Darwin in 2002.

This is a slightly blurry image of me at the Sydney Opera House, frequently visited while we lived in the greater Sydney area. For many years we went with friends to Sydney Theatre Company productions, rushing into the city together after work, sometimes drinking champagne in the car together, to arrive in time for dinner before the show. We booked at the best places, had so much fun, saw a marvelous show and drove back out to our acres on the fringes of the city. It was a high time!  Now there are only three of us, since Neil died two weeks ago after a short battle with a brain tumor.

In 2007 we had a lot of fun with our youngest son and his wife in New York … here they are on the subway … now they live in Paris so we have to go that way instead.

Here is eldest son and his family enjoying Easter with us, so we made a sign and sent a message to youngest son and his wife who were overseas!

And here is middle son marrying his lady, the awesome mother of his daughter Edwina. So many wonderful memories of a long life, and a few of the significant people who have passed through.

A-Z Story: E is for Ethereal

On the first morning of our trip to India we were taken to the Taj Mahal just before dawn. Our guide told us the story of a great love and loss. The “Crown of Palaces” was built as a mausoleum by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his third wife, who died during the birth of their 14th child. Shah Jahan is also buried in the tomb within the great domed structure. His grief has become the stuff of legend, and the world has a white marble mausoleum and beautiful complex of buildings fine enough to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

As we watched through the morning gloom the white marble began to appear, at first ghostly, then misty, subdued, then finally glowing as light touched it. This photo was taken just as the early morning sunlight illuminated the building. A reflection floats ethereally in the pool, the whole complex appearing other-worldly. The dawn sky is faintly pink, then puffy white, and finally blue. Just to be there at that time was something we will remember all our lives, so Shah Jahan has his wish that his lost beloved is remembered long after her death.

You can join in Frizztext’s A-Z Story challenge here.