‘Tis the Season…for CHOCOLATE!!

As we enter the fall season (today is the first day of fall!) it’s still hot and steamy in Williamsburg, Virginia. Not many fall colors to go on about, especially when remnants of August crepe myrtles are still blooming in these parts. So, instead of sharing pictures of fall trees from Autumns past, Virginia came across this seasonal quote that deserves deep contemplation and sharing…

“As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter A, E, or U is the proper time for chocolate.” Sandra Boynton, Chocolate: The Consuming Passion

If you use Sandra Boynton’s simple memory aid, you will discover that ‘Tis the season for chocolate in Autumn… (& winter & spring & summer, too!)

grace, peace & seasonal CHOCOLATE(S)

Virginia : )

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September 11, 2001: 20 Years

Most Americans will never forget where they were on September 11th, 2001 when planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in NYC, and later the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. As shocked sorrow flowed over us in waves, we reached out to see if friends, family, colleagues and loved ones survived.

Hundreds more sacrificed their lives that day. First responders and firefighters died as they kept going back to rescue others from burning buildings.

Amidst the horror, courage lived. Those acts of terror did not kill our hope.

I saw this quote on Instagram today:

I will never forget seeing what hate can destroy. I will never forget seeing what love can heal. Steve Maraboli

In the 20 years since 9/11 our country has faced more sorrows of many shapes and devastating hues – not the least the COVID-19 pandemic the past two years that continues to decimate our hope reserves.

Please let’s take lessons from September 11th and let LOVE LIVE.

Let our love be stronger than hate. It’s a choice.

On this day remember the loss of those who died on September 11, 2001. Remember those who courageously died trying to save others – and let LOVE WIN.

grace, peace & remembrance


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Labor Day Nap : )

Greetings to everyone on this steamy September day! Virginia is trying to get her blogging grooves back on (after taking an extended August blogcation) but it’s Labor Day here in the U.S. so here’s a quick laugh – as spotted last week on the law firm door across the hall from from her office.

“Currently in a meeting, video call, or napping (kidding!)”

Hope everyone is having a grand Labor Day – here’s to adding a nap to the schedule!

grace, peace & Labor Day naps

Virginia : )

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Flowery Blooming Grooves

It’s Friday. I don’t know about you, but Virginia (the person) is so ready for the weekend! Until it starts, here are a few Friday flowers and quotes to keep our hearts blooming…

“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.” Zen Shin

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.” Jim Carrey

“Flowers are like friends; they bring color to your world.” Unknown

All the flowers of the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”– Indian Proverb

grace, peace & blooming grooves


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Turning Tides…

Virginia is back from her blogcation with a contemplative thought about tides. No, she’s not going on about how tides come in and go out (although sometimes that’s cool to watch) but about the point where the tide turns. The water gets lower and lower, emptying out the shallows by a beach or river.

Things may seem a bit stagnant, empty, and a little smelly, too.

Then the tide turns and water begins to flow back in filling the emptiness with freshness teaming with opportunities for marine life (like this starfish) to do their thing.

Sometimes life’s tide turns the shores of our dreams into stagnant pools. Here are a few encouraging quotes for when things are at the lowest ebb…

“The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.”  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems that you cannot hold on a minute longer… Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”  Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.”  Leo F. Buscaglia

Sometimes on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.”  (Unknown)

grace, peace & turning tides

Virginia : )

Photos: Pemba, Tanzania

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Blogcation Grooves

Hey everyone, Virginia is taking a two week blogcation (in case you wondered where she’s been hiding in the Blogosphere.) She will be back next week, so until then here’s a pic and a quote to contemplate…

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.” Anne Lamott

grace, peace & blogcation grooves

Virginia : )

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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


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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

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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

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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

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