Euro Cup Life Grooves

“The Rules of soccer are very simple: if it moves, kick it. If it doesn’t move, kick it until it does.”  Phillip Abraham Woosnam (1932-2013)

Italy and England kicked their way into the Euro Cup final yesterday. Just making it to the final is a HUGE achievement! This year’s tournament saw tense matches with overtimes, penalty kicks, and stellar soccer moments to savor.

So, it’s just a game. Soccer, or football (as most of the world calls it!) 22 players kickin’ it for 90 minutes.

“The thing about football… the important thing about football… is that it is not just about football.”  Terry Pratchett

Therein lies the rub. On the day, the best team wins. “Best” on the international stage does not necessarily mean highest ranked, or most professionally qualified, or having the best player in the world. Sure, that helps. But, not always.

Take for instance the Italian team. They did not even qualify in 2018 for the last World Cup – a humiliating disappointment not just for the team, but the whole country of Italy (where folks take their football seriously.)

But, after loads of hard work here they are 3 years later as the new Euro Cup champions.

Life can be like a football match. Sometimes we try (and try) to reach our goals, but miss. And, sometimes it’s not just one missed goal, but a whole match of mess-ups.

When we miss our goals and jumble our life grooves, do we give up?

We’ve got to put ourselves out there if we want to reach our goals. We can’t sit on the sidelines of our lives and expect to achieve …anything. We may want to quit. At those times good life grooves involve “hanging in there,” showing up each day, praying for the grace to meet each challenge as it comes.

Being faithful even when things seem impossible.

Getting help also helps. Like, we need each other. Football is a team sport – it takes good teamwork setting up a goal.

Sometimes we don’t see those around us, willing to assist our life grooves. Maybe we need to look around and have a go at things with help from others.

Developing good life grooves can be tough, especially when the going gets gritty. Courage helps. Like favorite author Terry Pratchett said, it’s not just about Football. How teams play, matters. How we choose to play our individual life grooves matters.

Yesterday both England and Italy played their hearts out into overtime, then penalty kicks. Although England led by one goal a good chunk of the game, Italy never gave up their relentless pursuit to the final moment…

Viva Italia!

grace, peace & Euro Cup life grooves


Posted in Life (in general), Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Quickie Quote: Hospitality of the Heart

Here’s a short (yet powerful) quote to contemplate today…

“We must strive for hospitality of the heart. Without it, hospitality of the house is nothing.” Catherine Doherty

grace, peace & open hearts

Virginia : )

Photo: Charleston, South Carolina

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Frankie does the 4th!

Frankie is my niece Megan’s (very cute) doggie. Megan took this picture this morning while celebrating the 4th of July with my sister Shere and their family down in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

“Scatter joy!” Ralph Waldo Emerson

This year in the U.S. our July 4th celebration is spread out over two days (most everyone has off today.) Last night here in Williamsburg it was grand to see thousands of folks turn out for spectacular fireworks. Virginia was so busy enjoying everything (after a delectable ice cream social beforehand hosted by dear friend) that she completely forgot to take pictures!

So my niece Megan’s picture of Frankie will have to do!

HaPpY 4th (on the 5th of July!)

grace, peace & freedom (to scatter JOY!)


Photo credit: Megan Perry Fisher

Posted in SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Finding Roses in the Rubble…

To honor Virginia’s 10th blog-versary, here is a post from 2011 of why she chose the name “Roses in the Rubble.” It’s about finding Roses in the Rubble of our lives…

As a relief & development worker I documented sobering issues: child victims of war, the ravages of HIV/AIDS, and injustices (mass graves inclusive) in conflict zones and places of poverty around the world. After collecting flower photographs during my first posting in the Middle East, what began as a hobby (making cards out of flower pics) became something more, especially during the Kosovo relief program. Finding roses in the rubble and capturing them on film.

Finding beauty –HOPE – in a disaster zone.

I love flowers, our Creator’s heavenly paintbrush splashing beauty around us. In Tanzania jacaranda trees lined a street near our main office. Every December lavender flowers canopied in giant trees fluttered everywhere. It reminded me of elven Lothlorien in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. When I went on (and on) about the beauty of these trees, my African boss said, “the flowers mess up your windshield and make a mess all over your car!”

But, hey, they were still a beautiful, inspiring mess!

Sometimes our lives are filled with messy mistakes, failures and piles of rubble. But the thing about finding roses in rubble, you have to look for them. Sometimes they’re hiding behind our fears, insecurities, anger and bitterness.

But God can do the impossible, and God is rather good at bringing good out of impossibly challenging circumstances.

Think of Joseph, thrown down a well and sold into slavery by his mean brothers. Never say it can’t get worse: he ended up in the rubble of an Egyptian prison (they are notoriously bad now – imagine what it must have been like 5,000 or so years ago?)

Keeping the faith, however, years later he became the second most powerful man in Egypt and saved not only Jacob and his family but the whole region from starvation. Joseph became a powerfully strong rose amidst debilitating and devastating rubble. As he later told his brothers, “what you meant for evil, God used for good.”

I know that God has grown roses out of my personal rubble in impossible-to-comprehend ways and those around me, especially my bed-fast quadriplegic Papa. (May he and Mama now R.I.P.) I’ve also met many inspiring roses living in the rubble of conflict zones who reflect the beauty of hope to shattered hearts and broken dreams around them.

Their scarred blooms are filled with petals of faith, hope, peace and love as they exude the bitter-to-sweet scent of joy amidst suffering.

Living roses inspire us to be more of who we are meant to be: beloved sons and daughters of our Almighty Heavenly Father, regardless of whether we are red, yellow, pink or purple: we all come from the same human stem of life created in God’s image.

If you are bogged down looking at the rubble around you, Heads Up! Look around, the sun still rises and the sun still sets (keeping Heavenly paintbrushes busy.) If God clothes the flowers of the field so beautifully, will He not take care of us?

Have faith…and COURAGE.

It takes courage to be a rose when rubble surrounds you!

grace, peace & resilient roses

Virginia : )

“The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? One thing I desire, and that I will seek after: to behold the beauty of the Lord and inquire in His temple.”  Psalm 27:1&4

Posted in Life (in general), Sunday-ish Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments


There are celebratory grooves going on here at Roses in the Rubble!

Today Virginia commemorates TEN YEARS of blogging. Bring out the chocolate cake, light those candles, it’s time to celebrate! Can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Virginia tentatively launched her first blog post entitled “Inspiration” out into the blogosphere.

Here are bits from that first effort:


to provide the embers of creativity – to educate – to reflect – to ACT

What inspires us?

Art, beauty, faith, the lives of those who have gone before us

inspire us to believe, to hope, to act.”

“Finding inspiration in Rubble, books, movies, music & more…”

Since then there have been many posts (@ 1,000!) about many things, the kind of things that interest Virginia (and she hopes others, too!) Inspirational quotes (lots & lots of those), photographs, personal reflections, travel, books, movies, flowers, several post-a-day Advent & Lent gigs and more (teatime anyone? humor? tree groupies of the world unite?)

It took awhile to figure out things like “tagging” but the most fun part of blogging these ten years has been meeting other blogging buddies around the world. You have made – and continue to make – the blogosphere a fun place to hang out.


A big THANK YOU to faithful readers (family, friends, blogging buddies inclusive) who inspire and encourage me in so MANY WAYS.

grace, peace & celebratory grooves

Virginia : )

“Imagine. Create. Inspire.”

Posted in SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments


Faithful readers know that Virginia loves roses so much she named her blog Roses in the Rubble. As the month of June winds down, there’s a special celebration headed this way on the 30th. Virginia’s not divulging much yet, so you will have to stay on tenterhooks till Wednesday. Until then, here are a few favorite rose pics to get the party started… (hint, hint, party infers there is something momentous to celebrate!!!)

A red rose @ Norfolk Botanical Garden

The rose arbor @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

A plethora of roses @ Butchart Gardens

The Italian Rose Garden @ Maymont Park

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

grace, peace & ROSES

Virginia : )

Posted in SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Quickie Quote: Courage to Soar

“If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable… we must be content to creep along the ground, and never soar.” St. John Henry Newman

Sometimes we get so mired in making sure we’re sure about whatever we’re doing that we forget to engage eyes of faith to look up (and around) for soaring opportunities.

grace, peace & courageous soaring

Virginia : )

Posted in Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments


Today is the first official day of summer in this part of the globe! Contemplating summertime usually sunshine enters the picture along with heat and humidity – especially where Virginia (the person) lives in Virginia (the state.)

Virginia doesn’t like hot humid heat, especially sunshiny burn-redheads-up in the middle of the day kind. Thus today to honor the first day of summer, I am sharing one of my favorite parts of summer days: THE SUNSET.

Usually things cool down a bit by then?  Here’s a memorable gentle sunset captured on camera in the Outer Banks of North Carolina a few years ago…

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” Walt Whitman

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

grace, peace & sunsetty sunshine

Virginia : )

Posted in SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments


To perk up the end of the week, Virginia is sharing a few of her favorite cloudy day flower pics…

Blue flowers @ Butchart Gardens

A menagerie of joy @ Norfolk Botanical Gardens

An iris @ Colonial Williamsburg

Water lilies @ Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”  Claude Monet

grace, peace & Friday flowers

Virginia : )

Posted in SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Quickie Quote: Powerful Dreamers!

Here’s a little midweek inspiration….

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman

grace, peace & (powerful) dreamers

Virginia : )

Photo: Monument Valley, UT

Posted in Quotes, SNAPSHOTS & WHATNOTS | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments