My heart and prayers are with the people of Lebanon…


“Let us pray for the victims, for their families; and let us pray for Lebanon so that, through the dedication of all its social, political and religious elements, it might face this extremely tragic and painful moment and, with the help of the international community, overcome the grave crisis they are experiencing.” Pope Francis

grace, peace & prayers


“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” Khalil Gibran

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Tough Turtles (a little inspiration from…)

Ever have one of those days when all you want to do is crawl into a protective shell and hide? From everything and everybody?

Like Mr. Turtle in defensive mode. Not going anywhere!

“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” James Bryant Conant

Turtles are hard to crush in their tough shells, but to move forward they must put their vulnerable necks out. That might take a bit of courage facing the unknown, but lots of courage when the known is filled with lots of scary stuff.

Mr. Turtle peaking his neck out (tentatively, a good start.)

“Fear has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.” Zig Ziglar  

Fear wields paralytic power. In our current whacked-out-world context it might be tempting for us to retreat into quiescent shells until the next century.

At the very least until 2020 is over.

Or, taking inspiration from Mr. Turtle we can let courage toughen us up enough to keep moving. To stick our necks out. To stick it to our fears.

Have a go at them, one step at a time.

Mr. Turtle says, “It’s time to face your fears and keep going!”

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Maria Robinson

grace, peace & tough turtles

Virginia : )

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A (Powerful) Prayer for Our Times

Today is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-31 July 1556.) As previously posted here (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)  Virginia is a groupie of Saint Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. As we celebrate his life and Jesuits the world over, including our beloved Pope Francis, here’s a prayer from Saint Ignatius for hearts to ponder.

O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of Your presence, Your love and Your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in Your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us. For, living close to You,we shall see Your hand, Your purpose, Your will through all things.”  Saint Ignatius of Loyola

grace, peace & powerful prayers

Virginia : )

“He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.” Saint Ignatius of Loyola

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T-shirt Tours: Tie-dyes & Fishy Smiles

Virginia’s t-shirt tours wind down today with her favorite t-shirt from a memorable visit to see the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta. Yes, you guessed it, with her brother Dwight. (He really likes aquariums!) We spent 5 days traipsing around Atlanta that trip, but the first day we were in line for the Aquarium by 8:30AM (doors opened @ 9:00AM and our hotel was located right across the street!) 9+ hours later we left just before closing. (Did I mention the Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest in the world?)

Virginia’s favorite t-shirt, what’s there not to like? Purple & green, tie-dyed, and peace to all – say the frogs! A thank-you gift from nice brother for long day @ the Georgia Aquarium, this fav of fav t-shirts is actually from the Atlanta Zoo (we saw that, too!)


Looking up at the Georgia Aquarium, what a view!

You never know who might be smiling at ‘ya @ the Georgia Aquarium!

Photo credit: Dwight Woodward

Here’s to making new friends @ the Georgia Aquarium!!

QUOTE: “Peace begins with a smile.” Mother Teresa (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)

grace, peace & fishy smiles

Virginia : )

p.s. This concludes Virginia’s t-shirt tours. Hope you enjoyed them! Hmmn. Since there are plenty more t-shirts and memories (+ drawers of winter shirts +) maybe Virginia should consider a t-shirt tour every now and then. Arm-chair travel therapy!

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T-shirt Tours: grits galore (+more) in OBX

Today Virginia’s t-shirt tours travel to North Carolina’s Outer Banks (known as OBX.) Since over the years Virginia has enjoyed multiple visits to Nags Head beaches and environs, she has a big stack of OBX t-shirts. Here’s one from a fun place frequented (usually more than once) during our visits.

“Got Grits?” Sure, lots @ the Grits Grill (Nags Head, Milepost 14) Virginia is a huge grits groupie, yumm!

In case you’re wondering what grits look like!


In the OBX there’s lots of things besides beaches to see, like these turtles at the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo.

There’s also lots of beauty to take in like these flowers at the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo…

…and glorious beach views, like this one in Nags Head.

QUOTE:      “No grit, no pearl.” (Anonymous)

grace, peace & grits galore

Virginia : )

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T-shirt Tours: sunny (& hot) @ Maymont Park

Virginia’s t-shirt tours continue with a memorable visit to Maymont Park in Richmond, VA. Two years ago a change of plans turned a long weekend away into a stay-cation at home. Making the best of it my brother and I day-tripped to fun places including Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (as posted here: Flowers! Flowers! Flowers & more!)

That weekend coincided with a heatwave (110+ heat index in the shade) but we shouldered on to visit Maymont Park on Sunday, not realizing that everyone and their grandmamas (literally) would be there on Mother’s Day. Needless to say, Virginia became a puddle walking around in the heat!

But nice brother gifted this fav Maymont t-shirt after a long hot trek from the rose gardens to the other side of the park..


Lots of huffing and puffing to reach the beautiful Japanese gardens @ Maymont Park on a hot and sunny day!

Reflecting in Japanese Garden @ Maymont Park

Roses doing their thing in the Italian gardens @ Maymont Park (even on a blazing hot day!)

QUOTE:  “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

grace, peace & beauteous wayside sacraments

Virginia : )

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson  (It’s Sunday, a two-quote day!)

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T-shirt Tours: (a little) kelp @ Vancouver Aquarium

Virginia’s t-shirt tours continue with a memorable visit to Northwest Canada a few years back. While traipsing about Vancouver (as posted previously here) my brother and I had the opportunity to visit the Vancouver Aquarium with my dear friend and mentor Edie. We had a grand time keeping up with her (and she’s in her 80s!)

“LEGALIZE SEAWEED: A Little Kelp Goes A Long Way.” Wearing this t-shirt from the Vancouver Aquarium always makes me laugh! 🙂


Not sure if kelp grows in sand, but maybe there’s some hidden away for this colorful stingray at the Vancouver Aquarium?

Maybe this grumpy blowfish needs a little more kelp?

Vancouver penguins: which way to the kelp?

QUOTE:  “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.” Anonymous

grace, peace & (a little) kelp humor

Virginia : )

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T-shirt Tours: “spaced out” on Wallops Island

Today’s t-shirt tour takes us to Wallops Island, located just across from Chincoteague Island on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (the state.) A few years ago my brother and I spent a fabulous week in Chincoteague viewing wildlife and watching a NASA rocket launch (posted about previously here and here.)

As huge NASA groupies, we had a blast!

“NASA: IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. Oh wait, yes it is!” Always fun wearing this fav t-shirt acquired at NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility.


NASA Orbital Rocket launch from Wallops Island

A great white egret (not so impressed with rocket noise!)

Sunset over Wallops Island (view from Chincoteague)

QUOTE: “We cannot discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide

grace, peace & new horizons

Virginia : )

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T-shirt Tours: Trust issues @ Yellowstone Park

Virginia’s t-shirt tours continue in Yellowstone Park. Years ago my younger brother and I spent a memorable 4th of July week with my mentor and friend Bill Warnock at his beautiful cabin in West Yellowstone, Montana. (How I miss Bill as posted here previously.) We had a grand time traipsing around Yellowstone Park with Bill, but we were very careful around the bears!!

“YELLOWSTONE. DO NOT FEED THE BEARS. I am not a bear. Trust me.” Favorite t-shirt from Yellowstone Park that’s super soft from years of wash and wear.


Summer flowers blooming @ Iron Spring Creek in Yellowstone Park

Mesmerized by Narrow Gorge Mini Falls in Yellowstone Park

Trust or no, trying not to wake up Mr. Bear in Yellowstone Park

QUOTE: “We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us.” Anonymous

grace, peace & trust issues (with bears!)

Virginia : )

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T-shirt Tours: Properly Motivated (in Tennessee)

Today Virginia’s t-shirt tours take us (a bit circuitously) to Tennessee. A few years ago my brother Dwight and I made a mammoth driving trip to celebrate one of his milestone birthdays. Our sis Cindy joined us for a few days in Charleston, South Carolina, before we zoomed to Franklin, TN, to pick up the Natchez Trace all the way to French Camp, Mississippi, where our niece Joybells and her family live. After traipsing about Mississippi we zoomed on to Chattanooga, Tennessee – a truly fun city!

Since Dwight is majorly into fish we visited not just one, but TWO Aquariums that trip…

“Exercise. Some motivation required.” T-shirt acquired @ the impressive Tennessee Aquarium, housed in two buildings dedicated to oceanic aquatic creatures and fresh water habitats.


A few fun fishies @ The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston

Jellyfish hanging out @ the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga

Properly motivated (SHARK!!) @ the Tennessee Aquarium

QUOTE:   “I wish travel therapy was covered by my health insurance.” Anonymous

grace, peace & proper motivation

Virginia : )

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