Trains, Mountains & Waterfall(s)!!

Since most people can’t travel now due to COVID-19 containment efforts, today Virginia invites you to take a photo journey to beautiful Canada. An inspirational escape from stay-at-home orders from the comfort of our armchairs…

Rocky Mountaineer departing Vancouver

The year after our parents passed my brother Dwight and I took a bucket list trip to the Canadian Rockies. After visiting Vancouver (as blogged here previously Victoria Day in Canada and Butchart Gardens) we boarded a Rocky Mountaineer train for a two day trip through British Columbia toward Jasper National Park in Alberta.

A “gorgeous” gorge sighting

and curvy wonder winding around beautiful B.C.

+ lots of trees and wooded enclaves

and majestic Mount Robson (awe inspiring!)

An incredible view of Pyramid Waterfalls –

so much beauty from the windows of the train!

Nearing Jasper National Park, what a view.

Arriving at our destination in Jasper the train trip may have ended, but our Rocky Mountaineer adventures continued by bus, car, and hiking shoes in some places. (To be continued…)

grace, peace & armchair adventures

Virginia : )

“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.” Michelangelo

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Starry Interdependence

Virginia realizes that she shared this quote from favorite author Madeleine L’Engle in years past. Given current circumstances wherein many of us are unable to go to our places of worship, it seems even more relevant today…

Photo credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble 20th Anniversary Team

“If we look at the makeup of the word disaster, dis-aster, we see dis, which means separation, and aster, which means star. So dis-aster means separation from the stars. When we are separated from the stars, the sea, each other, we are in danger of being separated from God…

We need to remember that the house of God is not limited to a building that we visit for only a few hours on Sunday. The house of God is not a safe place. It is a cross where time and eternity meet, and where we are – or should be – challenged to live more vulnerably, more interdependently. Where, even with the light streaming in rainbow colours through the windows, we can listen to the stars.”  Madeleine L’Engle (from Glimpses of Grace)

grace, peace & starry interdependence

Virginia : )

“If we limit ourselves to the possible and the provable, we render ourselves incapable of change and growth, and that is something that should never end.” Madeleine L’Engle

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#LENT: Still Waters

On this Lenten Monday, here’s comforting assurance from a (very) familiar Psalm:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul…” (Psalm 23:1-2)

No matter how many rocks line the shores of our lives right now, God will lead us to still waters – if we let Him shepherd us into the stillness of His presence where peace reigns supreme.

Let go, and let God lead you and me beside still waters.

grace, peace & still waters

Virginia : )

Photos: Lake Louise (Banff National Park, CANADA)

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Desert Despair vs. Courageous Hope

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent here is a challenge from one of my favorite spiritual writers, Trappist monk Thomas Merton.

“The desert is the home of despair.  And despair, now, is everywhere. Let us not think that our interior solitude consists in the acceptance of defeat. We cannot escape anything by consenting tacitly to be defeated. Despair is an abyss without bottom. Do not think to close it by consenting to it and trying to forget you have consented.

This, then, is our desert: to live facing despair, but not to consent. To trample it down under hope in the Cross. To wage war against despair unceasingly. That war is our wilderness. If we wage it courageously, we will find Christ at our side.”

Thomas Merton (“Thoughts in Solitude”)

Here’s to waging war against despair with courage and hope from the Presence of Jesus next to us, above us, below us, around us and within our hearts.

grace, peace & courageous Hope

Virginia : )

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Blooms vs. The Glooms

Glooms is not really a word but it rhymes with blooms, so here it is. Taking a break from home hibernation, Virginia (the person) ventured out to walk around downtown Williamsburg, located in Virginia (the state.)

It felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Lunchtime on Duke of Gloucester Street is usually busy with crowds of visitors, college students and townies.

It was empty.

There’s often a 1/2 hour wait at the Cheese Shop for favorite sandwiches, with nary an empty table outside to be found. But, not today.

Today most everything is closed.

Walking a little further I noticed a few spring blooms peeking out (see that purple tree hiding?) But there wasn’t as much spring around as I hoped to see.

Passing one or two other walkers we waved greetings across the street (keeping our social distance) but it all seemed rather gloomy. Empty and gloomy.

Then I saw an open gate a bit off the beaten track, beckoning. As many times as I regularly walk on D.O.G. street (for exercise, plus it’s lovely) I have never seen this garden.

An explosion of color around every corner!

Even though trees here are still mostly bare and skies a bit gloomy, these riotous blooms chased the glooms away.

A profusion of blooms = instant antidote for the glooms.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” Lady Bird Johnson

grace, peace & blooms

Virginia : )

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#Lent: Brokenhearted Balm

On this Lenten Friday here’s a little balm for the brokenhearted…

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Psalm 34:18)

“The Sacred Heart of Jesus reveals Who God is. The Heart of Jesus calls us into a deeper relationship with God. The Heart of Jesus consoles us in our despair and inspires us in our faith. The Heart of Jesus invites us to share in the love of God that renews the face of the earth.” Michael C. Matthews, C.S.C.

“There is never a reason to lose hope. Jesus says: ‘I am with you until the end of the world.’” Pope Francis

grace, peace & balm

Virginia : )

Photos: Prayer Garden this week @ St. Bede’s, Williamsburg (VA)

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Penguins! Penguins! Penguins!

Virginia invites you to take a levity timeout today with penguins. There’s something to be said for taking laughter breaks during times of stress (as shared here a week or two ago.) Looking at penguins tends to make me smile…

“There is something playful about God. You only have to look at a penguin to realize that God likes to play little jokes on creatures.” Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O.

“Look at God looking at you…and smiling.” Anthony de Mello, S.J.

“Laughter bursts out of the small world of our seriousness and greed and self importance and allows the water of life to flow freely to all, relieving the dryness and barrenness of our parched spirits.” Conrad Hyers

“I think the main reason we have so little joy is that we take ourselves too seriously.”  Thomas Merton

grace, peace & penguin joy

Virginia : )

Photos: Taken during visit to Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, South Africa

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