Snapshots & Whatnot: Memory Moment(s)

“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” Winnie The Pooh

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” Dr. Seuss

grace, peace & memory moment(s)

Virginia : )

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(overcoming) Disappointment Doldrums

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Disappointment doldrums, at times we’ve all been there. Something we’ve hoped (worked hard for, dreamed of) doesn’t work out, crushing us like a door slammed in our faces.

Wham! We’re knocked down into disappointment doldrums for a brief minute – months, years even – before our hope grooves get back on track.

Disappointment burns. It hurts. It knocks the air out of our hearts.

We may try to ignore it, but it’s there, waiting.

Waiting like a spigot to spew forth disappointment induced doldrums.

We can wallow in our disappointment, floundering about in our tears, or we can stop and take stock.

If we look (hard enough) around, there’s still stuff to thank God for. Gratitude is a good place to start making our way out of the DDs (Disappointment Doldrums).

What can we learn from what’s happened? Maybe the next time we try, we can incorporate lessons learned (&/or develop a thicker skin.)

Many years ago I watched a long televised Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony with my Papa. I have never forgotten the acceptance speech given by Michael Irvin. Maybe because he cried (one of the NFL’s greatest stars crying as he apologized to his wife in front of zillions of people?)

But more so for a mantra Michael Irvin shared – several times – in his speech. Something his pastor told him when he messed up (spectacularly.)

“Look up. Get up. Never give up.”

That’s the thing about disappointment doldrums (especially when we’re disappointed in ourselves) – we need to take our DDs in stride and keep on going.

“You just keep going on…”

Wake up. Get up. Keep on, keeping on.

Hope lives in the horizons of our heart.

Infinite Hope = Infinite HorizonsTomorrow is another day.

grace, peace & infinite Hope

Virginia : )

“Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.” E.B. White

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Courage Grooves: Growing Beyond our Fears

“There comes a time in all of our lives when it’s time to take stock of what was, what is, and what can be. Don’t hold on to stuff that prevents you from becoming who you can be.”  Maria Shriver

Last year I downloaded an e-copy of Maria Shriver’s book, “I’ve Been Thinking,” on my Kindle, but ended up acquiring a hard copy, too. It’s my kind of book filled with reflections, prayers, meditations – and lots of inspirational quotes. (Faithful readers of Roses in the Rubble know that Virginia likes quotes, and shares them often!)

If you’re at a place of transition in your life, or just keeping on keeping on, this book has nuggets of wisdom and inspiration for everyone. It’s a book you can pick up and savor a few pages at a time. Each meditation begins with a quote, followed by a short personal reflection, and ends with a prayer.

“You never know how your story might inspire another. Share what you wish, save some just for you, and always remember to keep adding new chapters as you go along.”  Maria Shriver

Pulling this book out again this week, Maria Shriver’s words and stories continue to inspire me (must confess when I read it last year, most of the quotes she shared went straight in my journal!)

This quote in particular has been a mantra this week:

“Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Courageous people are often afraid. In fact, that’s why they need courage in the first place! Have the courage to go beyond your fears. Have the courage to go beyond other’s rules and expectations.

Have the courage to go beyond shoulda-coulda-woulda.”  Maria Shriver

Thought sharing it today might encourage you, me, everybody – to have a bit more courage. Even if we’re afraid of being afraid, we can let God’s love (for us, in us, around us) help us swallow our fears and strengthen our courage grooves.

To stand tall and grow beyond our fears.

grace, peace & courage grooves

Virginia : )

p.s. I’ve also given many graduates and friends Maria Shriver’s “Ten Things I Wish I’d Known – Before I Went Out into the Real World,” a collection of life lessons she shared at a college commencement address I found completely relevant many (many) years after my graduation!

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Friday Flowers

If you’re having a rainy &/or yucky day, here are a few cheer-up flowers from a recent visit to the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.” Lady Bird Johnson

“A great beginning is sometimes at the point of what you thought would be the end of something.” Dodinsky

grace, peace & flower-full Friday hope

Virginia : )

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Snapshots & Whatnot: Spunky Seagulls!

Last week while waiting for the Jamestown Ferry to push off for Surry (day-tripping to Smithfield, VA, with my energizer uncle) these spunky seagulls tickled my funny bone.

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Dr. Seuss

“Don’t let a day go by without being astonished by something.” Marty Rubin

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

grace, peace & spunky seagulls

Virginia : )

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Kickin’ It: Women’s World Cup Grooves

 “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)

Virginia has been (mostly) AWOL in the blogosphere the past month due to FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. No free time, what with recording and watching the month-long tournament of 24 national teams taking on each other in Group Phase, narrowed down to 16 teams in the Knockout Phase, on to 8 teams in the Quarter-finals, then 4 teams in the Semi-finals, who continued on to the bronze medal match yesterday between Sweden and England, and today’s big final in Lyon, France.

The U.S. and Netherlands women’s soccer teams kicked their way through an exciting final match today. So excited for the U.S. women who have done an amazing job the whole tournament (especially getting through France in the Quarter-finals.)

Kudos to Coach Jill Ellis and the whole team! YAAAY, USA!

FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup has seen incredible action – upsets (Sweden overcoming #2 ranked Germany in the Quarterfinals, Norway knocking out Australia) and surprises (Italy making it to the Quarterfinals for the first time), incredibly tense matches (last second plays, goals, overtimes, penalty kicks) and stellar soccer moments to savor.

So, it’s just a game. 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, especially with women’s football/soccer. Today women coaches led both teams in the final match – Jill Ellis for USA and Sarina Wiegman for the Netherlands – a huge stride for women’s soccer. There are not many women coaches out there (yet), but maybe after today more women players will consider coaching.

It’s also about grit, endurance, determination, working toward goals, teamwork, performing under pressure, practice (practice, practice), continuing to try when down by one goal, two, three – multiple goals – for the joy of playing. Thailand lost all their Group Phase games, but they scored one goal in their match against Sweden.

The whole country of Thailand celebrated that goal, even though they lost 5 to 1.

Life can be like a football match. We try and try to reach our goals, but miss.  When we miss our goals and jumble our life grooves, do we give up?

Reminds me of a favorite scene from the movie Chariots of Fire after Eric Liddell beats Harold Abrahams in their first race. A frustrated Harold tells Sybil, “if I can’t win, I won’t run.” But Sybil replies, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”

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.

Sometimes we might want to just quit. Sometimes our best life grooves involve just ‘hanging in there.’  Showing up each day, praying for the grace to meet each challenge as it arises. Being faithful (even if we’re so bone tired achieving anything seems impossible.)

Getting help, also helps. Like, we need each other. Football is a team sport – it takes good teamwork setting up a goal. In the 10th minute of U.S. Semi-final match against England, Christen Press made an amazing header goal off a cross from Kelley O’Hara – the best kind of teamwork. All the more special as post goal Christen Press honored her mother who died suddenly this past year. (Megan Rapinoe teared up talking what that goal meant at a press conference yesterday.)

Sometimes we can’t see those around us, willing to assist our life grooves.  Maybe we need to sit back, look around and have a go at it (whatever ‘it’ may be) with help from others to reach our goals.

Developing good life grooves (the kind that see us through) can be tough, especially as in the World Cup when the game gets rough and the going gets gritty (like bronze-medal winner Sweden defending with everyone on deck for unbelievable saves against tenacious England yesterday.)

Like Terry Pratchett said, it’s not just about football. How these teams played, matters. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team won FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup by powering their way through the tournament, one game at a time with consistent teamwork, dedication, determination and grit – interspersed with moments of brilliant soccer.

Not just the Americans, but all the players in this tournament inspired me – because they all went out there and played.

grace, peace & World Cup life grooves

Virginia : )

“God didn’t create you to be like everyone else. Be you.” Tobin Heath

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Roses in the Rubble (How to Find…)

As June winds down blogger Virginia is getting ready for a celebration: Roses in the Rubble turns 8 on 30th June. Can’t believe it’s been 8 years of blogging! To honor the occasion, here is the original post (set up as a page) of why “Roses in the Rubble?” that really is  all about how to find 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 all over 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.) 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!

“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

grace, peace & resilient roses

Virginia : )

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

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