Fortune Cookie Wisdom

HaPpY Chinese New Year to friends celebrating around the globe!! To help commemorate the Lunar New Year here’s a little fortune cookie wisdom from one of our favorite Chinese takeaways (China Star in Norge, Virginia) we enjoyed last night…

“Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings while the dawn is still dark.”

“Faithless is he who quits when the road darkens.”

grace, peace & fortune cookie wisdom

Virginia : )

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Creative Extremists (FOR LOVE!)

 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., an extraordinary man who led a movement of change, who dreamed segregated Americans could become a ‘symphony of brotherhood’ working, praying and struggling together in peaceful equality. We commemorate his efforts and the thousands who rose up with him against injustice to let freedom ring in this country.

What a life. What a legacy from this man of faith, a preacher from a long line of preachers (his father, grandfather and great-grandfather), who found the courage to stand up against segregated injustice, violence and hatred.

“…even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream…”

In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Martin Luther King, Jr. kept on going, blazing a path of change through non-violence.

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred…We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” 

Pray God that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dreams will continue in these turbulent times, that hearts sweltering with injustice, oppression and hate will be transformed into fountains overflowing with freedom, justice and love.

A favorite book, The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. (edited by Clayborne Carson), combines his letters, writings, and speeches into a comprehensive portrait of his life. I highly recommend this book for a deeper look into his life that is inspiring and a valuable resource for fighting injustice wherever it may be found.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is for all Americans and the world, regardless of race or creed. As a pastor, however, he often challenged the Christian establishment’s status quo. To look the other way or not get involved was not his way – or the way of Jesus Christ.

Take a few moments to read his  “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”  written to the clergy. See how relevant his applications are to the challenges of today:

“Was not Jesus an extremist for love: ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ … Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? …

 Perhaps the South, the nation, and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”  

All these years later, there’s still too much hate-filled rhetoric filling our airwaves, hallways and heart-waves. As we remember the legacy of this great civil rights activist, assassinated for his beliefs and dreams of equality, let’s ask ourselves, what kind of extremists are we?

How can we become creative extremists for Love? To extend justice to all, equally, through the prism of Love, stamping out the darkness of hate whenever and wherever it lurks in our neighborhoods, communities, cities, countries, and around our globe?

grace, peace & creative extremists (for LOVE!)

Virginia : )

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Enjoying Sunshine (& dancing in the rain!)

After a few unseasonably warm winter days (sitting outside? for lunch?) there’s a cold front moving in to our area with storms bellowing behind. Okay, I’m taking a little license here to dramatize my quotes. Rain, just rain is on the way for the weekend here. (Cold rain, but rain it will be. Not snow as previously predicted.)

“If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” Morris West

But, if the rains do come….

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

grace, peace & (rainy weekend) dance grooves

Virginia : )

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Snapshots & Whatnot: Forever & Now

“Forever is composed of nows.” Emily Dickinson

This quickie quote deserves a bit of contemplation. Thinking about it, 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 : )

photos: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

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A Matter of Perspective

It’s a new year (and a new decade) so maybe it’s time to consider the matter of perspective, how we see things. Visiting Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden over the holidays I accidentally hit a button on my camera (now I know what it does) that took a rapid succession of pictures of the same tree – each with a different perspective.

Perspective is a matter of outlook that often is determined by our “in-look.” Sometimes we get so down on ourselves we let fear cloud our perspective. (Keep in mind fear tends to get ramped up by our insecurities.)

When fear and insecurities cloud our horizon, it’s hard to see things clearly. Our perspective wobbles with doubt and confusion.

At times our perspective is bleak when life is a bungled heap of mistakes and failures. We can let the bleakness of the heaps darken our perspective, or we can choose to change the lens of our perspective to learn from our mistakes and keep on going.

It takes courage to see things differently, to see possibilities and opportunities when change is on the horizon (or in the immediate now.)

It takes intentional courage to change our perspective, to recognize blessings amidst bleakness. To look through a lens of faith and hope that ousts our fear and insecurities.

Changing our perspective means changing our attitudes. Gratitude helps. Maybe life doesn’t feel like a blessing right now, but looking out through a lens of gratitude there’s often more to be thankful for than we realize until we take stock.

“Perfect love drives out fear…” It takes courage to open our hearts to Love, the kind that transforms perspectives to perceive roses blooming in the rubble of our lives.

“When we are riddled with fear just as the sun sets, Christ the Light of Heaven illuminates the night, calling us into the radiance of God’s presence… May the Morning Star inspire us to keep love bright today.” Fr. Guerric DeBona

grace, peace & (new) perspectives

Virginia : )

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Gardens of Light (& Delight!)

Zooming out and about with my 80 year old energizer uncle (who still teaches as a full-time professor and is faculty advisor to 40+ students @ a college in Iowa) on Saturday we visited the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond (VA) to see their GardenFest of Lights.

A crescent moon sighting, so beautiful!

This year’s GardenFest celebrates the magic of things that fly, along with the 50 year anniversary of the moon landing…

We saw the man on the moon…

and a magical peacock of gigantic proportions!

There was also a gigantic Christmas tree with bluebirds and blue planes. (Virginia, who loves turquoise, periwinkle, and especially bluebirds, was particularly impressed with this year’s tree!)

So much color everywhere we looked!

An “enlightened” Japanese Garden…

and purple vistas that enchanted us, tremendously~!

A “bubbly fountain” that changed colors…

and pathways of delight…

All in all, an enchanting evening of lights and delight we will never forget!!

HaPpY New Year to all of you!!

grace, peace & gardens of Light

Virginia : )

“Light tomorrow with today.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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MERRY IN-BETWEEN!! : )

In this place of space in-between Christmas and New Year’s hope everyone is having a grand time…

My idea of a (really good) time: my niece Megan’s cheeseboard on Christmas Eve when she hosted us to a divinely delicious meal of epicurean proportions in her chic apartment in the Ghent area of Norfolk.

Another view of the cheese board (before we demolished it!)

Many thanks to for all the encouragement during Virginia’s “post-a-day” Advent gig – all the emails, comments, texts were greatly appreciated. Wishing everyone a (very) Merry In-Between as the New Year approaches…

Here’s a precious ‘In-Between’ moment my sister, Shere, just captured of my niece’s dog BB (must confess Auntie V has a special place in her heart for this “Doggone Doggie!”)

MERRY IN-BETWEEN!!

grace, peace & making Merry

Virginia : )

“A merry heart does good like medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)

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