Celebratory Birthday Blogging Grooves!

 There’s a celebration going on here @Roses in the Rubble!

June 30th marks seven years since Virginia launched out into the blogosphere. At first with tentative steps – a few movie reviews, an inspirational quote or two – then garnering momentum sharing advocacy issues, photographs, books, travel, the ups and downs of life in general, and several post-a-day Advent and Lent gigs.

This blog actually began as “Virginia’s Views.” Bet that title grabbed ‘ya, right?

Here are bits from that first post:


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

What inspires us?

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

inspire us to believe, to hope, to act.

I’m starting this blog to share views & reviews of what has inspired ME, in the hopes that maybe these books, movies, music & more might inspire YOU.” (Virginia, 30 June 2011)

That’s how it started, then a week later came up with the name Roses in the Rubble. (Kinda freaky, woke up in the middle of the night with the name on my mind and subsequently found stored-for-years Kosovo photographs in the first place checked.)

You can read what’s up with the name Roses in the Rubble by clicking here.

Looking over blog stats today, somewhere during this year’s post-a-day Lent gig Virginia passed 500 posts(!!) woot! woot! That may not seem like much (spread over 7 years) but is a big deal since sporadic Virginia took a few blogcations and at best tries for one post per week (if she’s feeling really prolific, two?)

Still one of the top posts is Human Trafficking… a poem (by Virginia),while the most personally meaningful is last year’s #MeToo.

A big (BIG) thank you to loyal readers (old and new), friends, family, fellow (& fellowette) bloggers, for taking the time to read, comment, encourage, to like, and follow this blog.

grace, peace & celebratory blogging grooves

Virginia : )

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than YOU!” Dr. Suess

Posted in Life (in general) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Uplifting Beatles Grooves (It’s World Beatles Day!)

Many thanks to Bernadette over @ Haddon Musings for the heads up about World Beatles Day (it’s today) and for sharing the recent YouTube video of Late Late Nite host James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney.

Watching it brought tears to my eyes (several times.)

Although I came of age (high school & college) in the 1980s and have hundreds of albums from that era (my brother calls selections from my collection ‘the Academy of Ancient ’80s Music’), my very first album acquisition from hard-earned babysitting cash was The Beatles Red collection (1962-1966.)

An easy choice because I had listened to my older sister play it (again & again) and knew every word of every song. There’s something special about Beatles songs – catchy melody grooves, sure, but also words that stay with us, lift our hearts, and still mean something.

A few weeks ago I watched a documentary on PBS directed by Ron Howard entitled, “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week.” I don’t think my generation and subsequent ones fully understand the phenomenon The Beatles created crisscrossing the globe will millions of fans turning out in every place. At that time the Beatles were early-twenty-somethings, yet stood tall in their beliefs, like the time they refused to play in a segregated venue in the Civil-Rights era American south.

The venue changed their policies and opened up the whole place to everyone.

So, grab a cuppa and watch this inspirational encounter with Paul McCartney and James Corden singing & reminiscing whilst visiting nostalgic places around Liverpool.

The video is 25 minutes, so prop up your feet & make it a big cuppa as you won’t want to miss any of it. (Email readers, you know the drill – click into Roses website to access the YouTube video.)

“And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be…”

grace, peace & Beatles groupies

Virginia : )

p.s. I had a crush on Paul McCartney when I was a little girl — and still do, now!

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Refugees: Becoming Refuges of Hope

Yesterday (20 June) World Refugee Day 2018 came (& went), but the issues facing refugees are not something to contemplate just one day of the year.

Imagine if conflict evicted your family (& you) from your home.

Where no place is safe, your country is engulfed in violent turmoil, and you fear for your children and loved ones every minute of every day, what can you do?

Escaping, even with nothing but the clothes on your back, is preferable to certain death that looms ever present. The decision to leave is not hard to make when you’ve also seen your home and everything you possess blown to bits by bombs and violence.

Most likely you have lost loved ones, family, friends, colleagues: conflict’s casualties claim tiny tots to the elderly, no matter how small the crawl or spry the step.

Forced to flee, you eventually make it to a refugee camp, finally accepting the fact that you’ll never return to all you’ve held familiar, because what was is no more. You eke out an existence in the crowded camp waiting (years and years) for an opportunity to make a new home in a new place.

A place where you can find a job, study, make a living, provide for your loved ones.

A place where you don’t have to be afraid every minute of every day.

A place where you can learn to live again, to hope again.

“Today if we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other – that man, that woman, that child is my brother or my sister.”  Mother Teresa (Saint Teresa of Calcutta)

Imagine if you live in one of the world’s wealthy countries, where peace and resources are plentiful: food, water, shelter, education, opportunities and freedom.

Is there room in your heart to welcome refugees who have suffered so much?

Refugees seek refuge, a safe place to be. Can you open a refuge in your heart to seek (& be) a safe place for refugees?

Can you be a refuge of hope for refugees to begin again, to learn to hope again?

Or, maybe you think it’s not your problem.

Hey you, someday that refugee could be me, or you.

grace, peace & refugees


Today there are more than 68 million refugees and internally displaced persons. If you would like to help, or learn more, here are two organizations (among many) with a long history helping refugees: International Rescue Committee and Catholic Relief Services.

Posted in Advocacy Issues, Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fatherless on Father’s Day (again!)

Celebrating Father’s Day in America this weekend, here’s another go at last year’s post…

Cherished and adored, 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. 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 red head through good times and turbulent times: always there, a constant port in any storm.

Papa cherished me (& my 4 siblings) through our growing pains in childhood, the onset of adulthood, and as we muddled our way into middle-age-hood. He would say, “You are beautiful!” (Growing up with a pimply face & 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 we each shared the highlights (or challenges) of our days.

He spent time with us. He took Section B (as we’re called, the three oldest = Section A) on monthly dates 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 speak, to do, to be all that I was, and am, meant to be as his beloved daughter and precious daughter of God, our Heavenly Father.

When I moved away from home to work in Washington, D.C. and then overseas for many years, Papa & 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 (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, 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 in hard places 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. Lots!

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.) 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 and life, but it’s filled with the legacy of Papa’s love: the love of Jesus in and through him to me. Thank you, Papa! We miss you!!

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  : )

Posted in Life (in general) | Tagged , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Bluesy World Cup Grooves: Kickin’ It!

Virginia is trying to groove her way out of World Cup blues – the U.S. team didn’t make it into the mix for the first time in a long time (30 years); but far worse, those fiercely talented (& scenic) Italians missed out for the first time in 60 years (!!)

It’s hard to be too upset when it’s here: the 2018 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, a month-long soccer competition the whole world takes pause to watch.

Most of the world, anyway. Maybe a few American buddies are not as familiar with this global event, the culmination of several years of regional play that sends 32 national teams every fourth year into a 30 day tournament that (64 matches later) crowns the best football team in the world.

This year all the football action takes place in various venues across host country Russia, with the final to take place in Moscow on 15 July 2018.

Another reason for Virginia’s World Cup blues – I miss my Mama! When Brazil hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup four years ago, Mama and I recorded and watched every match. With her propped up on the sofa, we made sure to catch the flag ceremonies and team introductions then delved into the action (fast-forwarding slow bits.)

“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.”  Pelé

We planned to skip through the early matches, but they turned out to be some of the most exciting of the tournament. After a few nail-biter games, my 79 year-old precious Mama cheered along just as enthusiastically loud as me.

Oh, how I miss her.

VA’s soccer lamp (situated next to computer)

You can read Virginia’s previously shared soccer wisdom (cool quotes & life lessons inclusive) by clicking here: 2014 World Cup Life Grooves.

This year I won’t be able to watch every match (it’s good to note that Fox Sports offers daily late-nite ‘highlights’) but will definitely try to catch the knockout and final rounds.

(Not to miss Spain play Portugal Friday! Italy may be out, but Spain & Portugal, oh la la ole ole!)

“I once cried because I had no shoes to play soccer, but one day, I met a man with no feet.”  Zinedine Zidane (French soccer star)

One thing that’s so great about the World Cup, politics get shuffled aside to celebrate the joy(s) of the sport, teamwork, national pride, goals (!) … and love?

Opening ceremony: FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018 (Fox Network)

Something our world needs (lots) more to bust our blues into long-term peace grooves.

grace, peace & World Cup grooves

Virginia : )

 “The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when nobody is watching.”  Mia Hamm (1st woman inductee, World Football Hall of Fame)

Posted in Life (in general), Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flowers! Flowers! Flowers (& more!)

My brother and I plotted (for months) to attend a big Comic Con in Va. Beach held a few weeks ago, but instead of braving massive crowds we decided to have a stay-cation.  A vacation usually involves vacating your home to travel somewhere else, but we staycated at home making day trips to interesting places, including a few we had never visited.

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond (VA), is one of those places. I don’t know how we missed this amazing place before (we tend to go to Maymont, another gorgeous park in Richmond) but we thoroughly enjoyed zooming an hour from Williamsburg to see the delights of Lewis Ginter’s extensive gardens that dazzled us with so much more!

Uniquely cool origami sculptures turned up all over (some of them quite huge.)

A few (like these peace birds in flight) offered an opportunity to contemplate (& sit in shade for a few minutes.)

Other birdies (like these) directed us their way along the pond path. There were also unicorns, horses, and lots more origami all through wooded paths and open walkways.

We had to see the rose garden (Virginia’s fav flower: this blog is Roses in the Rubble?)

Truly a glorious abundance of roses of every hue!

Irises bloomed hidden along shaded wooded paths near a small lake (and did their thing out and about in the sunshine, too.)

Walking around for several hours (looking at flowers) is a hungry business! Lewis Ginter has a casual cafe in the main building with a wide range of food offerings (including cold drinks), but we enjoyed a lovely lunch splurge at the Robins Tea House situated with glass windows every which way amidst a gorgeous Japanese garden.

Food was delightfully delish: an amazing vegan veggie burger (homemade!) for me, a tasty Asian chicken salad for my brother, then a gorgeous cheese board for dessert that kept us going the rest of the day. Vegan Virginia splurged a bit on the cheese (cheese being the reason she is mostly vegan, because she loves it too much) but now she is back on the vegan wagon. (Sigh.)

There was more to see – these cool purple pompom flowers, a huge children’s section (with lots of activities), more shaded wooded paths with magnificent trees, a few mini-ponds…

…and the Arboretum with orchids, orchids, orchids! I took piles of pics, given multiple gorgeous varieties there that are continually replenished from greenhouses.

We finished our visit in the butterfly conservatory, a lovely place to (carefully) appreciate the beauty of these winged wonders (watching where we stepped.)

grace, peace & flower groupies

Virginia : )

“Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.”  John Lennon

Posted in Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Just Keep Goin’ On

As a long-time groupie of Putumayo World Music compilations (grooving to multiple iTouch playlists & CDs in my car), ’twas so exciting last weekend finding one previously unseen (& unheard.)

If you haven’t heard of Putumayo, you can click here to read how they connect inspiring international musicians to a wide audience with music grooves from around the globe: Putumayo World Music.

new Putumayo find

Just realized this compilation is for kids (of whom I’m a slightly older one.) No wonder its filled with happy grooves, something we could all use a bit more of these days?

While the songs on World Playground come from artists from all over (Ethiopia, France, Congo, Brazil, Greece, Canada, Jamaica, Bolivia, Australia, and my favorite so far, Touré Kunda from Senegal singing, “Fatou Yo”) the last song from the USA seems like a good mantra for today: “Just Keep Goin’ On” by Eric Bibb & Needed Time.

Here’s a YouTube of Eric Bibb singing it (email readers, you know the drill…)

“Take every knock as a boost, every stumbling block as a stepping stone, lift up your head… and just keep goin’ on.”  (Eric Bibb)

For anyone knocked down today by life storms, blocked dreams and tumbling stumbles – just keep goin’ on.

grace, peace & inspiring music grooves

Virginia : )

p.s. Looks like Erib Bibb has been singing it out for a long time! Here’s a link to his inspirational story & website: www.ericbibb.com

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments