Earth Day 2022 #InvestInOurPlanet

Faithful readers of this blog know that Virginia is a tree groupie, a waterfall groupie, and an avid groupie of mountains, beaches, forests, lakes, birds, oceans and flowers…

Majestic trees @ Banff National Park (Canada)

A tree & an ocean (Pemba, Tanzania)

Niagara Falls

The grandeur of creation continually astounds my heart and spirit with awe.

As we continue to work to protect the environment and precious natural resources, let’s give thanks for our truly amazing planet and consider all that needs doing to protect it from imploding.Today our planet faces huge climate change challenges, environmental degradation of natural resources, pollution, lack of safe water access in many communities, deforestation …the list is, sadly, way too long.

We can all need to do our bit, because it will take all of us investing in our planet’s well being to reverse the tide of degradation not just on Earth Day, but every day! From the Earth Day website:

“We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.”

Here’s to being planet partners wherever we are & however we can!

“This me, like all of creation, lives in a glorious dance of communion with all the universe. In isolation we die; in interdependence we live.”  Madeleine L’Engle

grace, peace & interdependent partners

Virginia : )

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EASTER COURAGE!!

Virginia has been off the blogosphere for a bit, but is back today to wish everyone a blessed Easter!

“Jesus is the everlasting ‘today’ of God.” Pope Francis

Virginia (the person) did not get to her Lent post-a-day gig this year. Actually, this Lent Virginia did not even make it to Ash Wednesday services due to work commitments. Furthermore, she did not keep most of her Lenten abstinence goals (except one.) This year’s Lent whizzed by in a blur of work, events, travel (for work) & a few other challenges. But, whether I did a ton of Lent things & or not, Easter still came.

“He is not here, He is RISEN!”

At the Easter Vigil last night when our senior Pastor, Msgr. Joe, gave the final blessing, he tacked on something that stayed with me. “May the Risen Christ Easter in us every day.” That gives me hope, because Jesus Christ Eastering in us every day means His resurrection grace (the abundant kind) is on tap within us to face whatever challenges loom large in our lives. That should give us the courage, clarity & confidence to let Jesus be God’s everlasting ‘today’ in us & through us to others… one day & one courageous step at a time.

grace, peace & Easter courage

Virginia : )

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Forever & Now

“Forever is composed of nows.” Emily Dickinson

This quickie quote deserves a bit of contemplation. Sometimes our dreams (hopes, wishes) seem like they will take forever. At times it seems like real change (the kind our world needs lots of right now) will take forever.

We may get stymied and think, “Why bother?” Forever seems like a long time to wait and work toward something bigger than us, especially when life’s gnarly branches bleak us down.

But, if we consider that the forever future is made up of nows – this present moment, the next one, and the next – it might help us do the next thing, and the next thing after that.

“Forever is composed of nows.” Emily Dickinson’s thought truly is a challenge, to engender hope to face the forever challenges in our lives (and world) one now at a time, one step at a time, one small change at a time.

grace, peace & nows of hope

Virginia : )

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Valentine Blues Love Grooves

Love is space and time measured by the heart.” Marcel Proust

It’s Valentine’s Day. In stores & in our social media feeds it’s all LOVE, LOVE, LOVE & mushy sentiment for the masses. Sweethearts, sweet tarts & chocolate! The thing is, maybe there’s no sweetheart in your life right now (partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, loving kangaroo?) It might be easy feeling a little down on Valentine’s Day.

This down can be a real downerespecially the “nobody-loves-me” insecure one. If fleeting ghosts of relationships past lurking in the crevices of our hearts put in an appearance, the downer of lost chances dives even lower.

The important thing to consider is this: there are all kinds of love. Love is not just kisses, romance, and life-long hanging out with someone (however dashing that someone may be.) There’s also friendshippy love: the comfortable sort that hangs out with us dressed up or dressed down, through thick & thin. No make-up? No worries.

Then there’s parental love, the kind that lifts our skinned knees, bruised hearts and pimply insecurities with super-sized hugs and supportive arms that never let go.

A great deal has been written about the multifaceted dimensions of love, but instead of flirting with Valentine blues why not think about how our love can lift others?

As shared previously, my Mama regularly wrote love notes she slipped stealthily under our doors. (They mean everything now – we miss her so much!) But, one night during my care-giving gig, I slipped an I-love-you note under her door. When I went into my parents’ room the next morning, the note stood proudly framed on a prominent shelf.

It now stands on my shelf as a reminder of what a hastily scribbled note meant to my precious Mama. ‘Twas humbling, that.

How many times do we think about saying or writing the words: I love you? Or, hey, if that’s hard to communicate, just a ‘luv ya? Or, if that’s uncomfortable, sharing a smile filled with lots of affection? (Not a freaky smile, but an affirming one?)

Or you can, like me, draw highly sophisticated smiley faces.  : )

Whatever our comfort levels, we can fight Valentine’s blues by sharing love grooves a little more freely in these crazy times. Not just on Valentine’s Day – but every day.

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Maya Angelou

Wishing you all hope-filled love grooves this Valentine’s Day!

grace, peace & love grooves

  Virginia : )

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

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Quickie Quote: Hang-in-there Wisdom from Dr. Seuss

Sometimes it’s hard to manage our forward momentum when so much out there is out to drag us down (or so it seems.) Here’s a quickie quote of encouragement for all of us today from Dr. Seuss..

“When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try one more time.” You have more potential than you believe you do.” Dr. Seuss

Here’s to not giving up despite whatever the world throws at us!

grace, peace & perseverance

Virginia : )

“Unless someone like you cares an awful whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. Dr. Seuss

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Gardens of Light & New Year COVID-19 Blues

It’s almost the end of January & Virginia (the person) in Virginia (the state) is sending slightly belated New Year’s greetings to everyone. HaPpY New Year to one and all! It’s been almost a month since my last post, an unusually long break for Virginia the Blogger, but there is a reason.

COVID-19 struck me down on the eve of New Year’s Eve! Since then it’s been a battle juggling work and lingering symptoms. Yes, I am vaccinated but this new variant doesn’t seem to care if you are vaccinated, boostered or what what. So many friends & colleagues here have had it, some with terrible symptoms. Seriously, 3 weeks later & I’m still coughing (into my mask…)

Going back to the week between Christmas & New Years, my visiting 82 yr old energizer uncle & I zoomed up to see Lewis Ginter’s Gardenfest of Lights in Richmond, Virginia. What a mesmerizing evening of colorful, inspiring lights! Here are a few pics & quotes to “lighten” up this inauspicious start to 2022. (FYI, thankfully my uncle tested negative!)

“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!” St. John Henry Newman

“The endurance of darkness is the preparation for great light.” Saint John of the Cross

“Light tomorrow with today.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Treasures lie hidden in darkness. Only those who walk in the night can see the stars.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen (the Venerable)

Wishing everyone extra doses of Light (the kind that endures in darkness) throughout whatever challenges 2022 dishes out!

grace, peace & effervescent LIGHT

Virginia : )

p.s. Thank you to all for all the encouragement during the post-a-day Advent gig…almost kinda sorta made the goal (um, missed one or two days here or there, but made most of them!) One fun something to celebrate, during December Virginia the Blogger passed 1,000 blogs posted mark! Whew!

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CHRISTMAS EVE: CHRISTMAS LIGHT IS OTW!

It’s Christmas Eve. Here at the end of our Advent journey we await the dawn of Christmas Light to shine brightly upon us and within us.

In the tender compassion of our God the Dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

After night comes day.

As Christmas comes anew in our lives, may the light of Christ lift the darkness of despair and desolation in our hearts.

Let’s not keep swallowing what tastes bad, or has gone wrong this past year – spit it out!  May Jesus fill our minds, hearts and spirits with His mercy, grace, love, peace, joy & wonder.

grace, peace & Christmas LIGHT

Virginia : )

 “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.”

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Missing Loved Ones @ The Holidays

The holidays can be occasions for joy, but also sorrow missing loved ones. It’s been six years since Papa passed, then Mama a year and a few months later. Precious memories fill the treasure chest in my heart. My parents loved the holidays and always made Christmas special for us.

When we were growing up in Virginia Beach (before his quadriplegia) Papa would go all out putting trains together to zoom around under our Christmas tree. Still not sure if that was just for us kids, or for him: he loved trains!

Mama pulled out all the stops for meal after meal of holiday favorites and gifts from Santa. The year she received a special bequest from her mother’s estate she gifted each of with something extraordinary for Christmas: brand new musical instruments.

Music was always a big part of our holiday gatherings. We all gathered round the piano singing carols and playing our instruments. In later years as Papa went from a wheelchair to bedfast, he belted out his baritone from his hospital bed as we kept up the tradition of making music after Christmas dinner.

Papa and Mama made music together all year through. How they loved hymns and carols! In their final years they set aside time every Sunday to memorize and sing verses of their favorite hymns that Papa kept in a file on his big computer.

In pain 27/7, those hymns helped Papa get through difficult nights.

So many memories, all so precious. I know many of you, dear readers, also miss loved ones especially at this time of year.

I’m not sure how thick (or thin) the veil that separates us, but I know our precious ones are not far, for their love resides in our hearts as joy that will not diminish.

grace, peace & legacies of love

Virginia : )

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Collective Pain

Loss is never easy. The pain can feel like a knife ripping our hearts out. It’s tough, unbearable at times. But, something to realize in the pain is that we are not alone.

You are not alone.

“An experience of collective pain does not deliver us from grief or sadness; it is a ministry of presence. These moments remind us that we are not alone in our darkness and that our broken heart is connected to every heart that has known pain since the beginning of time.” Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness

grace, peace & collective pain

Virginia

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LIGHT IN DARKNESS

“My faith is brightest in the midst of impenetrable darkness.” Mahatma Gandhi

Sometimes the darkness that surrounds us is SO DARK. But when it’s darkest, light shines all the brighter. When I worked overseas in places where electricity was dodgy (or in some places nonexistent), candles and lanterns made all the difference.

Going through darkness in our lives that’s how faith works. God’s light within us helps dissipate the darkness of the next minute, then the next – if we choose to have faith and actively hope.

Faith is a choice. Hope is a choice. They are both courageous actions, especially in the midst of impenetrable darkness.

“Faith is not an insurance policy but a courageous adventure, not a tranquilizer but a challenge, not a bed of roses but a battlefront.” Carlos G. Valles, S.J.

Here’s to letting our faith-lights shine today!

grace, peace & Hope

Virginia

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