Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

Who doesn’t like a little “extra”?   Like a decorative swirl of foam on top of your morning latte?  It is a signal that we are about to be treated to something special, something memorable.

The Perfect Cup

The Perfect Cup

A little “extra” may also signal fine craftsmanship, attention to detail, and an artistic vision far beyond what we might expect–like this beautiful wooden boat created by Lake n’ Sea–on display at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

 The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is that little extra–Jimmy Johnson

Lake and Sea, GRAM, Spring 2014

Lake and Sea, GRAM, Spring 2014

It takes time, effort and dedication to exceed expectations, to go beyond the ordinary.  Not everyone is up for the challenge.  In fact, extraordinary people may labor alone, misunderstood or even ostracized by others.

It’s never crowded along the extra mile.–Wayne Dyer

Reaching for the stars, Worlds Fair 1968, Flushing, NY

Reaching for the stars, Worlds Fair 1968, Flushing, NY

But going “above and beyond” can have a dramatic impact–both positive and negative.   Some extraordinary individuals (like Mohandas Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King,  Leonardo da Vinci,  Jonas Salk, and Thomas Edison) used their talents and energy for the common good.   Others with destructive or self-serving ends fomented wars, destroyed millions of lives, and altered the course of history for their personal gain.   My short list of these people would include dictators like Adolf Hitler,  Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong Il, Idi Amin Dada, and Pol Pot.

Sometimes it’s difficult to sort through the tangle of current events to tell whether the extraordinary acts of one person are for the common good or for personal gain.  Some social activists and artists lead the way and take a stand far ahead of the rest of us.  I am fascinated by the artists who use sidewalk stencils and graffiti as a way to transmit their bold messages. (Keith Haring and Banksy are two personal favorites.)

All graffiti is low-level dissent, but stencils have an extra history. They’ve been used to start revolutions and to stop wars.–Banksy


Sidewalk Stencil, Grand Rapids, May 2014

So now, it’s your turn.  Do you agree that “extra” is hard to find, but often precious?  I think of those quiet “extras”–like my dear mother-in-law whose holiday dinners always had that delicious surprise–like the noodle kugel with the crumbled corn flake crust.  Or, my husband who thoughtfully slips some extra cash into my wallet when he sees I’m running low.   Who is on your list of “extra-ordinary” people?  What are their “extras?”

Click here to see Michelle W’s post for this week’s challenge.  Some beautiful interpretations of this week’s theme are also listed below.  Enjoy!  And thanks, as always for sharing your thoughts.



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