Flowery Cheer!!

I don’t know about you, but for me reading the news these days tends to be a bummer! There’s too much gun violence, conflict, & negative stuff to make us all afraid. So here’s a little flowery cheer to start this week off with something inspiring…

“Fear less; hope more. Talk less; say more. Hate less; love more. And never underestimate the power of forgiveness.” Abigail Van Buren

grace, peace & flowery cheer

Virginia : )

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Fatherless on Father’s Day (again!!)

Here’s a post shared awhile back that still resonates!!

Cherished and adored are two words that remind me of my father, and loved.

Although it’s been several years since Papa passed, there’s still a crater-sized hole in my heart missing him. I don’t think that hole will ever get smaller because Papa loomed so large in my life. Center-stage with Mama, the two of them cheered me on with their love to do and be – whatever, whenever, wherever. Their deep love anchored this redhead through good times and turbulent times: always there, a constant port in every storm.

Papa cherished me (and my 4 siblings) through our growing pains in childhood, the onset of adulthood, and as we muddled our way into middle-aged-hood. He would say, “You are beautiful!” (Growing up with a pimply face and skinny legs, really Papa?) He pushed us to pursue our dreams. He supported us. He made time for us.

Growing up in a boisterous family with five kids, sometimes it was hard for my younger brother and me to get a word in edge-wise. Papa made space for us to speak through daily “round table” dinner discussions where he asked each of us to share the highlights and challenges of our days.

Round table went like this:

  1. “Did you have a good day (or a bad day?)
  2. “What was the best thing (or the worst thing?)
  3. “Do you have anything to ask, or show, or tell?” (We had to bring our ‘shows’ with us to the table.)

Papa spent time with us. He took Section B (what he called my younger brother and me, the three oldest = Section A) on monthly outings for dinner and every Walt Disney movie that came out. (There were many.) When we were a little older it was John Wayne westerns. (There were many of those, too.)

As I grew up these fun outings morphed into more serious encounters – a time set aside to seek his wise counsel and share worries, debacles, hopes and ever changing dreams. An important part of cherishing is encouragement. Papa encouraged me to seek to be all that I can be as his beloved daughter and precious daughter of our Heavenly Father.

When I moved away from home to work in Washington, D.C. and then overseas for many years, Papa and Mama called every week, faxed, and emailed (as technology evolved.) They were always there for me. Even when several oceans separated us, I knew they had my back in prayer with their heavenly-hotline buzzing as I dodged bullets, stones, landmines and endured malaria, fractured ankles (et all.)

Papa always said, “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you.” God dished out grace in many ways and in many places. But a big chunk of “hang-in-there-grace” came through Papa and Mama. Despite incredible challenges, their example of faithfulness – to God, to each other, to us, to ministry – inspired me to keep going.

The will of God has now taken me to this place of being father-less on Father’s Day. I pray for God’s grace to keep me when my heart misses Papa. I miss his larger-than-life presence, his love, encouragement, cherishment, the twinkle in his eyes, his sense of humor, his joy (even when as a bedfast quadriplegic he couldn’t move anything.) I miss his zeal for life, his faith in God, and his faith in me.

Cherished.  Adored.  Loved. All three, a gift from my father to me. There is a crater-sized hole in my heart, but it’s filled with the legacy of Papa’s love: the love of Jesus in and through him to me. Thank you, Papa!

A blessed Father’s Day to you fathers out there. Treasure the moments: cherish, adore & love. See what your children become.

grace, peace & legacies of Love

Virginia  : )

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Contemplating Mystery (Faith & Love)

Sometimes it’s hard to understand what’s what. Life is a mystery! Especially when there’s so many horrifying things happening around the world, in our country, communities & with our friends & families, too. War, senseless gun violence, disease, injuries, et all…

The thing about faith – it’s having faith amidst the challenges that makes faith, well, faith. To be sure of something we cannot see? Can’t understand?  Faith says, I can’t understand why so much loss, why so much hurt, why so much tough stuff weighs my world down, weighs ME down. But faith says, I will accept the mystery & trust God.

Here’s a quote from one of my readings today: 

“God oft times doesn’t give a lot of answers but just keeps telling us who we are. God keeps inviting us into that place where love is alive and where God is love.”  Richard Rohr, OFM

And, not to forget! We are not spectators in our lives of faith. We need to be participants with what God wants to do around us, within us & through us. That’s how the senseless stuff stops when we say, NO MORE! And work to invite others to that place where love is alive and God is love.

grace, peace & LOVE

Virginia : )

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Hope: A Renewable Option

It’s hard at times to maintain a hope-filled attitude, especially when things drag us down in the mud of ineptitude. But, the point of hope is to keep trying. To keep hoping. To do our bit. To look for hope wherever it may be found…

“Hope is a passion for the possible.” Søren Kierkegaard

“Even in the mud and scum of things, something always, always sings.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

“Hope is a renewable option. If you run out at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” Barbara Kingsolver

grace, peace & renewable HOPE

Virginia : )

Photos: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (Richmond, VA)

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Flowery Flexibility

Virginia has been off the blogosphere for quite awhile – but this week she’s back!

The dictionary defines flexibility as “the quality of bending easily without breaking” and “the willingness to change or compromise.”

Have you ever noticed how coneflowers adapt to stormy weather? Over the years it’s been amazing to see how coneflowers in their potted homes seemed to flexibly adapt during days of pouring rain and stormy weather. During the wind and rain they bend their petals like a cone (maybe that’s why they’re called ‘coneflowers?’) They don’t seem to be too bothered with thunder, either.

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” Anonymous

Sometimes it’s easy to get rigidly stuck in our ways, implacable and immovable; but when storms come (as they inevitably do) and knock us about, pieces of us may break – snap! – knocking us down & out.

If we take a lesson from coneflowers, however, by opening the petals of our hearts to change with flexibility, our lives may continue blooming with grace and hope despite the deluge of stormy rain in our lives.

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

grace, peace & flowery flexibility

Virginia : )

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Pentecost Power: Love that Changes Hearts!!

Today is the Feast of Pentecost – the birthday of the church – and the day we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives. From that first Pentecost in Jerusalem the early church grew into communities sharing everything in common. It was said of them, “See how they love one another.”

Here’s something for us to ponder this Pentecost:

“Today more than ever the words ‘see how they love one another’ resound in me. How sad it is when it is said of Christians, ‘see how they fight.’ What happened to us? We are so divided. We have broken into a thousand pieces what God made with so much love, compassion and tenderness…Today we all need to be witnesses to the love of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let us allow ourselves to be changed by the Holy Spirit, in order to change the world. Let us pray together: Come, Holy Spirit. Come Spirit of love and change the face of the earth – and change my heart!”  Pope Francis

Here’s to letting the Holy Spirit change our hearts with the power of Love, so we may go forth and be change agents of love, peace & unity.

grace, peace & Pentecost power

Virginia  : )

“Let us open our hearts to gift of the Holy Spirit, which spurs us to go out, to witness to Love that always precedes us with mercy.” Pope Francis

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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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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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