Aged Beauty


Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.

~Norman Cousins~

Taken with an iPhone.

Edited in Pixlr.

Photo credit added via iWatermark.

 

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Processing with Apps.

The Value of Character


As I have grown, I have realized the importance of character. Some people have it. Others do not. Frankly, I prefer those who do and avoid those who don’t.

Character is hard to explain exactly though. According to one dictionary site, character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. In Greek, a kharaktēr was a stamping tool, used to give something a distinctive mark. To me, character is what defines a person, what makes them unique and most importantly, what guides their actions.

Martin Luther King once said he looked forward to the day when all Americans would be judged solely “by the content of their character,” he was talking about a person’s important qualities. For if you rate people solely on their beauty, job title or wealth, you may find that they are not really people you want to be around. They may not have the same values you do. They may not act with a similar moral compass.

Throughout life, I have found character is critical. The people who have it seem to succeed. Those who don’t, eventually fail. Sometimes it takes awhile for someone’s true character to show, but it usually does. A military leader, General Lucian K. Truscott explained it well. “Character as we used to say when I was in elementary school, is what you are. Reputation is what others think you are. The reason that some fail to climb the ladder of success, or of leadership if you want to call it that, is that there is no difference between reputation and character. The two do not always coincide. A man may be considered to have sterling character. Opportunity might come to that man; but if he has the reputation for something he is not, he may fail that opportunity. I think character is the foundation of successful leadership.”

So what does all of this have to do with my pictures below? Well, when deciding what to write about the iPhone macro shots, I searched the symbolism on lilies. I came upon one site that stated lilies meant: “honor, majesty, purity of heart, sympathy and pure soul resurrection.”  And that their symbolism was to remind us that “our good deeds do not need to be seen by a lot of people and we do not need to tell everyone about them.”

To me, that all said character. Now, when I look at the details of the lily, I have more meaning, more value. I see the majesty of the petals’ bold colors as the beauty in someone’s life. It changes as we grow, fading from one phase (color) to the next. The flower’s core, where the petals meet, are the purity of one’s heart. For the intention of people’s actions come from their heart. All things start from there as in this lily. The stamens are like the good deeds to me. You don’t need to point them out. They will be noticed by others without one boastful word. The speckled dots of color on the petals look like tears to me. Tears of sympathy and pain we all surely have through life. But the thing is, as we learn with age, some of our pain fades (hopefully the sympathy doesn’t). Like on the petals, the dots of pain (color) fade and almost blend into one color it seems. It’s not that we don’t feel pain later in life, we have just simply learned betters ways to cope and understand it. And with faith, we are new people, resurrected to know the pain of this life is only temporary. So we can endure.

My lilies seem to endure quite well. They are hearty and thrive in nearly all conditions, and I guess its because they have character. I think I will always look at them differently now.

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge.

Devoid of Energy


Life has been rather hectic lately. Not only has it been physically demanding trying to keep up, but its been emotionally draining at times as well.

Normally, I can juggle a lot and do it fairly well. But not now. I am tired and drained. I am not sure what exactly happened or when it did, but I can feel a difference. I feel like I have no energy and I just want to do nothing. In a way, I feel like a flower devoid of color. I am still going through the motions. I still go to work and take care of things, but I am not at my full capacity, my full color. I am there in form, but not showing an overwhelming amount of passion.

Today at work, I took a nap at lunch instead of my normal 2-mile walk. There is definitely something askew. It may just be that I merely exhausted from my manic schedule that had a family emergency thrown on top of it. Life doesn’t stop though. After my family emergency, I went straight into a working vacation, then right to my first job the next morning, then to my second job the next, and then today, back to my first. I have been going nonstop since April 27th and I am tired. However, I don’t have time for tired, lol. Who does really?

As busy as this all sounds, I don’t understand why I am this tired. I have done more in the past. I have survived three deployments that have surely been more taxing than a few weeks of running around. And my working vacation was in a tropical paradise (Jamaica). Sure, I had to take pictures, but I was at the beach with friends drinking fruity concoctions. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense that I am this drained.

It is what it is though…and I am beat. Meanwhile, I hope my employers and loved ones can appreciate my less passionate efforts. Like the black and white photos, I still have something to offer. It may not be intense color, but there is value nonetheless. And frankly, there is a beauty and elegance in the simplicity and purity of black and white. Which photo do you prefer and why?

So for now, I will embrace simplicity and try to recharge. But, I only have a few days to do that. For my upcoming four-day, holiday weekend is full of fun activities: kayaking, movies with my kids, photographing a wedding, biking some trails and horseback riding. Well, that is the plan anyway. I guess we will see if I live that all out in full color or maybe pull it back some to a subtle layer of black and white elegance.

Either way, it will be four days to embrace whatever I chose. 🙂

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black and White.

Flowers in Black and White


The other day I bought myself flowers. I saw them. I liked them. And I thought, “These will be fun to photograph!” And what girl doesn’t like flowers?

As I started photographing my flowers, I thought about a former boyfriend. He always brought me flowers. It was just one of the many things he did that was sweet. The pleasant surprise of getting flowers for no reason always made my heart flutter. I felt special and loved. Unfortunately, as the relationship grew, I realized there were certain things missing. Just like these black and white images of the flowers I bought, the relationship was lacking color.

Yes, we both cared for each other deeply. Statements of love were even exchanged. But there was something in each of us that blocked the color from each other. No matter how hard we tried, we could not find the full beauty of each other. We could see all the elements of love: kindness, concern, friendship, and attraction just like you can see the flowers elements of beauty: petals, stems and pistils. However, we didn’t have the same goals or desires. And I found that I was starting to hold back my statements, goals and actions. I didn’t want to upset him. I didn’t want him to feel neglected. I was quickly fading. Our love was fading. We were still a functioning couple, but more and more we were becoming desaturated.

So I as I look at these black and white images of these flowers, I think they are pretty, but there is so much more. They are missing their passion, their personality, their punch. They are merely elegant replicas of the true flower. I find that they are very symbolic for how I felt near the end of that relationship. I was losing my color and passion, and what was left was a desaturated spirit…and I didn’t like it.

Needless to say, that relationship ended as it should have. I certainly hold nothing against the man either. He was a wonderful, loving man and I wish him well. We just needed different things and as our lives begin to intertwine, we discovered it was not right. I am a passionate person who lived too many years in black and white. I went through the motions. Everything looked pretty from the outside, but inside I had no color. So when that started to happen again, I knew I had to go. I cannot live in black white, regardless of how pretty it appears at times. No, I need full color, lots of passion, and sometimes over saturation. I do wonder though…is that too much for others to handle?

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For the phoneography challenge which is hosted by Lens and Pens by Sally. Click on the badge to go to Sally’s B&W post. She always has wonder pictures with inspiring words to accompany them. And, since she is a wonderful challenge hostess, she also lists the links to other bloggers’ submissions. So click on the badge and be inspired:)

iphone challenge

To see a few of the full color pictures of flowers, check out my quick Orange Challenge post. I just took some more pictures with my “real” camera though, so I will post those in a few days as well.