Snapshots & Whatnot: Forks in the Road

SNAPSHOTS:  Ever get to the place where you need to make a decision about which path to take when facing a fork in the road?

Traipsing along a path in the woods suddenly there’s a fork: which way to find the way back to the main road? (Like this one traversed in Sedona, Arizona years ago.)

Or maybe we take a fork in the road for a respite, to prop our feet up and rest awhile before making momentous decisions. (Last year @ Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada: a marvelous place for respite & restoration.)

Maybe one road will lift us over murky rubble if we choose to walk carefully when bridge planks are rickety. (Like this bridge @ Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park, Canada.)

Or maybe there’s two ways to get where we’re going? One uphill and the other a slightly easier walk downhill? (Like this choice to reach St. Catherine’s church with tired out knees in Siena, Italy?)

Or, maybe paths and choices lie before us, a continued journey of wisdom-seeking trust as we plod our way along the valleys and mountaintops of life. (@ the Grand Canyon, a grand place to contemplate our journeys!)


Last week when my friend Carol-Jo hosted a 4th of July breakfast picnic @ the York River State Park, she shared poetry from our mutually beloved friend, Mel Rosche. Mel led an extraordinary life as an American pilot and P.O.W. during WWII, an engineer @ NASA, and in ministry. Before he passed at the age of 94, Mel had just completed Stephens Ministry training to serve others in the full-care facility where he lived. (You can read a tribute I wrote about Mel by clicking here.)

This week I dusted off Mel’s Quest2, a book he wrote about his journey, and found this poem that inspired my heart (& soul & spirit!)


Whenever we come,

To a fork in the road,

We must be wise,

To solve the code.

At first we may think,

That our options are two,

But further reflection,

May add a few.

The most obvious set

Of options by far,

Are those which we call:

Either, or.

Look a bit further,

There may be more,

We could select,

Neither, nor.

But searching deeper,

The best choice at hand,

May go by the name of,

 Both, and.

Mel Rosche

Both-and choices in South Africa!

grace, peace & forks (in the road)

Virginia  : )

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a little retro Light (whenever!)

Feeling a little retro yesterday I was grooving to Van Morrison and cleaning the house when an old favorite blared out I hadn’t heard in years. Hitting replay between cleaning passes, ’twas like being reintroduced to an old friend.

Powerful lyrics paired with a catchy melody, “Whenever God Shines His Light On Me” is a duet Van Morrison wrote and performed in 1989 with Cliff Richard (that in itself is a weird pairing, but somehow works for this song.)

“…in deep confusion, in great despair, when I reach out for Him, He is there. When I am as lonely as I can be, I know that God shines His light on me…”

Found this YouTube video of Van Morrison & Cliff Richard singing the song (circa late 1980s?) so have a look & listen (& maybe a wee retro chuckle!)  For friends who get these blog posts in email, for some reason YouTubes don’t show up so you need to click through the title of the post at the top of the page to watch it on the Roses in the Rubble website. (You can skip adverts after 5 seconds, but sometimes they’re interesting.)  🙂

Lord Jesus, please shine Your Light around me, in me, and through me this day.

grace, peace & shining Light

Virginia : )

“When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:8

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Snapshots & Whatnot(s): FIREWORKS!


Our local 4th of July celebrations usually come with fireworks as here in Tidewater Virginia (the state of) folks take history seriously. Yorktown, where British General Cornwallis surrendered (ending the Revolutionary War), is only 20 minutes via automobile from our home. Today I rode my bike (@ 20 minutes of pedaling) to Jamestown Island where the first English settlers landed in 1607. Then there’s our town of Williamsburg that’s full of colonial history and the College of William & Mary, the second oldest institution of higher learning in America founded in 1693 by a royal charter of King William III and Queen Mary II of England.

On Tuesday after a picnic supper my sis, her husband, our uncle, brother & I ventured out with our camp chairs to the Green in front of the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg (with thousands of other folks) to enjoy the celebration of our Declaration of Independence.

In case you missed fireworks where you were (& for my overseas buddies who get this in their email inboxes) here’s a taste of what we saw from the perspective of Virginia’s iPhone (not the greatest pics, but you get the idea?)




and blue.

Filling the sky

with bright light…

like shooting stars.


“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.”  Joan Rivers

grace, peace & present(s)

Virginia : )

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Fourth of July PATRIOT(S)!!

It’s the Fourth of July here in America & I’ve dusted off one of my first posts from the archives six years ago. If rain interrupts your celebrations, consider watching this movie: The Patriot. Still inspiring & a viewing tradition every 4th of July week.

My brother and I saw this movie when it came out in theaters on July 4th, 2000 while on holiday in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Since Canadians ‘confederated’ their way out of British bondage (they’re still on good Commonwealth terms with England), the theater-goers’ reactions were not so favorable given how the British are portrayed in this Revolutionary war epic (burning churches & killing children.) My brother & I, however, cheered on Mel Gibson’s character Benjamin Martin as he morphed from a neutral-sit-on-the-fence-father into THE PATRIOT.

Since then I’ve watched this movie on every 4th of July or close to the date (working overseas it’s not a holiday, so I often celebrated by watching this & eating American Dorito chips when they could be found.) Viewing it many times, each year I’m still inspired by the stay the course theme: through victory, defeat, death and sacrifice against insurmountable odds, patriots like Benjamin Martin prevailed to lead the fledgling colonies into freedom and, eventually, the United States of America.

Heath Ledger (may he R.I.P.) gave an outstanding performance as Gabriel Martin, Benjamin Martin’s oldest son, who enlists early in the Continental army. The story weaves fiction with fact as General Cornwallis takes South Carolina and local militias are called up to fight. Tom Wilkinson plays a convincingly arrogant Cornwallis, while Peter Woodward is great as his always-complimentary sidekick, General O’Hara.  The bad guy award goes to Jason Isaacs who portrays British Col. Tavington, a ruthless Dragoons cavalry officer who employs extremely ungentlemanly tactics.

Some of my favorite lines are from Chris Cooper as Continental Col. Harry Burwell. (After a catastrophic battle: “who’s in charge?” “I am” – pause – “I think.”) After Benjamin suffers incredible loss and wants to leave, Col. Harry challenges him: “You’re wrong Benjamin, you matter to your men, and to others as well. Your victories and… and your losses, are shared by more then you know. Stay with us. Stay the course!”

There’s a love story (two, actually), family values (Benjamin is a widower with seven children), faith (Rene Auberjonois as Pastor Oliver, “sometimes a shepherd has to fight off the wolves”), a wedding, lots of historical settings, and a bit of violence. Rated R (not for children) but this ‘R’ movie (in my humble opinion) has an extremely high inspiration factor.

On this 4th of July, may you STAY THE COURSE wherever you might be. To my fellow & fellowette Americans, may we never forget the sacrifices of those who went before us (including the French who came to our rescue at Yorktown.)

Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC

grace, peace & independence inspiration

Virginia : )

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”    The Declaration of Independence, 1776

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Roses in the Rubble Turns SIX!!

There’s a party going on here @ Roses in the Rubble! Celebrating six years of blogging grooves for Virginia (the person) who ventured out into cyberspace with her first post on 30 June 2011. Additional celebratory woots: today’s outing marks a total of 400 posts here @ Roses in the Rubble!!

Light the candles on those vegan chocolate zucchini cupcakes (tasty & yum!)

Here are a few words from that first post entitled: “Inspiration…”


to provide the embers of creativity – to educate – to reflect – to ACT

What inspires us??  

Art, beauty, the lives of those who have gone before us…


inspires us to believe, to hope, to act… to do.

For six years Virginia has (sometimes sporadically) shared inspiration from movies, books, music, photography, people, upside down pineapple cakes, snapshots, whatnot, bunny rabbits, Freddy the Frog, and, uh, interesting cosmic entities (Galactic Gourmets et all.)

A wide variety of topics, kinda eclectic, but guess what? That’s made it fun. It’s also been fun connecting up with other bloggers – some of you are still around from when I began and some I miss very much, but it’s inspiring discovering new blogs (& kindred spirits!)

Sometimes I’ve wondered if I should keep this blog rolling, but today I remembered how my Papa painstakingly read all my blogs on his big computer screen with voice-activated software. He may not have ‘got’ some of the quirky ones, but he encouraged me with his enthusiasm to keep trying, to keep writing.

Just like so many of you! Thank you dear readers, fellow bloggers, friends & family for taking time to read, to comment, to encourage, to like, and to follow this blog.


grace, peace & celebrations

Virginia : )

Imagine. Create. Inspire.

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Misbegotten (mostly) Vegan Me

(or fall down seven times, get up eight!)

Whether vegan or not, this post is about choices and willpower (or the lack thereof.)

Yes, Virginia was an avid Vegan for three (very long) years. As a long-time vegetarian, my idea of a good day was cheese for breakfast, cheese for lunch & cheese for dinner (with sides of bright veggies, beans & rice.) Ah, the bliss of a good Havarti, flavoring of Feta, heartiness of smoked Gouda (very gooda), meltiness of mozzarella, creaminess of Muenster, effervescence of Edam, giddiness of goat cheese and the heights of my favorite, Halloumi cheese (lightly fried in a little olive oil?)  🙂


Cheese is one of the reasons Virginia became Vegan Virginia: it had to be a completely cholesterol free diet or pills every day. Vegan diet won. Doctor acquiesced menacing medicines 6 months later when vegan diet beat health challenge.

saw this last week parked @ our regional library!

Fast forward 3 years later, doctor reassessed situation & ordered eggs back into diet. Not a hard thing to add eggs once a week, but not-so-Vegan Virginia took the liberty of adding a little cheese to the eggs. A little feta here, a little skim mozzarella there, a scoop of real ice cream every now & then?

Could just feel those arteries hardening.

Sooooo, a few weeks ago made choice to get back on the Vegan Wagon.

Here’s the kicker. Last week I drove down to Whole Foods in Newport News (our closest big city) to stock up on vegan soy-free Mayo (there’s a distinct shortage in Williamsburg) & other vegan hard-to-find ingredients.

Dashed in and filled cart, hurrying to beat traffic back but somehow cart ended up near the prepared foods. At Whole Foods there’s lots to choose from in their huge salad-bar islands of goodies (numerous vegan options inclusive.) Kinda crazy how my cart veered over to the counter with their home-made oven-fired pizzas.

I was so hungry. (Skipped lunch to zip down to N. News. Not such a good idea.)

There sat a vegetarian pizza, untouched, right out of the oven. Fresh spinach, basil, tomato slices, feta & ricotta. Hot. Without even blinking (or thinking) I asked for a piece.

oh, oh, oh! Such joy in every tasty delectable bite. Struggling with the guilt thing here, because suddenly my energy spiked & the world seemed like a wonderful place.

Superficial, yes, I know. (But it was amazing pizza!)

It was so good I wanted to go back and get another piece to take home. (Didn’t.)

A wee bit grateful for that small morsel of self-control.

Still, just two weeks in and I blew it. For three years I kept to a strict vegan diet and never blew it, but just two weeks of trying again, splat, pizza did me in.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

It’s just a diet, but I failed. Maybe my ‘get up and go got up and left’ but now I’ve got to try to move forward, (one tiny cheese-less step at a time.)

Sometimes in life we fall down, splat, flat on our faces and have trouble getting back up again. Failures, disappointments, screw-ups, mistakes, missteps pull us into the mire mucking up our mobility to move forward.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.

Tomorrow is a new day.  To try again. And again. And again.

Looking up, getting up… and never giving up!

Grace, peace & get-up-again-&-againers

(mostly) Vegan Virginia : )

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.” Saint Jerome

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Amazing Grace (jazzzzingly amazing!)

It’s been an Amazing Grace kind of week, thinking of Mama. This morning it was the first hymn we sang at church. So, here’s a bit of amazing music to uplift your soul today.

A friend recently gifted me with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s CD, Blessed Quietude. We’ve enjoyed several of his jazz compilations, but this one has been on constant replay. You can feel Cyrus Chestnut’s faith and Gospel roots, especially in his inspiring rendition of Amazing Grace. Here’s a YouTube edition to have a listen…

“I believe the ability to play music is a gift from God and every time I play, I’m thankful.” Cyrus Chestnut.

grace, peace & amazing (jazzed up) grace

Virginia : )

p.s. Since we’re talking Amazing Grace, awhile back I wrote a blog about one of Mama’s favorite movies, Amazing Grace (which is also one of my favorites.) You can read about it by clicking here: Amazing Grace (& the Abolition of the Slave Trade.)

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