Bubble Baths (of God’s Love!)

Virginia is a bubble bath gal who enjoys escaping into the bubbles, especially during times of stress. When slammed, however, a bubble bath tends to become an irregular occurrence when it seems like a luxury of sorts.

But, oh, the joy of bubbles, of soaking troubles away through relaxation supreme.

The other night I tried a new Aromatherapy bubble bath called “Love” (with Roses and Vanilla, how could Virginia resist?) Soaking achy-breaky back muscles in the luxurious bubbles a bit longer than usual provided bounteous time to contemplate things like LOVE.

God’s love, especially. God’s love is always here to keep us going, but do we take time out of our busy schedules to soak in the bubble bath of God’s love?

When life beats us up and our hearts are sore, do we let God’s healing graces soften our hearts with bubbles of hope and restoration?

How often do we let God pamper us with luxurious Love, the kind that makes us know we are Beloved and precious in God’s sight?

When we’re stressed and slammed it’s all the more important to pause for a bubble bath of God’s love, even a quickie one.

We can take a 10 minute break to sit outside, breathe and pray. Take a worship moment to notice a sunrise, a sunset, or a moonrise. Go for a walk in the woods, check out the majesty of trees and colorful leaves (God’s heavenly paintbrushes busy at work.)

Splurge on flowers to brighten your desk (reminder: God loves me!)

Splurge on flowers to brighten your colleague’s desk (reminder: God loves them, too.)

Take time to receive love from others, and to be love to others. In so doing, we are sharing the bubble bath of God’s love for us and for all.

God’s bubble bath of love is all around us (and within us, if we look hard enough.) If we take time to soak it in, we can treasure indelible bubbles of God’s love amidst our go-go-go-goings on.

grace, peace & Love-ly bubble baths

Virginia : )

“Our hope is not based on something that will happen after our sufferings are over, but on the real presence of God’s healing Spirit in the midst of these sufferings.” Henri Nouwen

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Snapshots & Whatnot: Contemplative Beauty

In the mad hustle and bustle of our daily lives it’s often a challenge carving out time to contemplate beauty, to let it settle in our hearts for a tick or two.

Today Virginia (the person) is sharing pics from a contemplatively beautiful November visit to Chincoteague Island, located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (the state.)

“What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.” Meister Eckhart

“The pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.”  Edgar Allan Poe

Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes: quirky beauty, dazzling beauty, magnificent beauty, awe-inspiring beauty, and beauty that can be seen in ordinary everyday happenings around us. When beauty blends in our surroundings we may need to be attentive to catch a glimpse – like this sighting of a blue heron in the brush.

There’s also beauty within, if we open our hearts to look for it.

Even if we don’t feel it, there are beautiful bits inside us to contemplate (not in a vain way, but in a grateful way – like thanking God for bits of love inside us that astound us at times?)

“In our creation, God asked a question and in our truly living; God answers the question.” Thomas Merton

Even on cold and dreary days there is still beauty to be found if we look around. It’s a matter of perception, motivation (and prayer) to change dreary day doldrums into exercises of contemplative beauty.

During our November visit to Chincoteague we had several cold dreary days, but we went out and traipsed about anyway.

Fall colors seemed to pop even more in the gloomy landscape.

But there was also beauty in the starkness.

“How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year!” Thomas Wentworth Higginson

If dreary November day doldrums are getting you down, take a contemplative look around. Maybe beauty will surprise you with quiet inspiration to be and to do, to answer God’s question by truly living in this present moment.

grace, peace & contemplative beauty

Virginia : )

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Snapshots & Whatnot: foggy-time clarity

“Beyond the fog lies clarity.” Anonymous

Years ago during a month long trip to Canada’s Maritimes and Newfoundland, my younger brother and I drove around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to visit Fort Louisbourg. A super dense fog suddenly dissipated our sunshiny summer day as we neared the Fort. Stepping out of the car we delved for sweaters and jackets as the temperature dropped from 85 to a chilly 55 Fahrenheit (30 to 12 Celsius.)

Can’t remember all the details now why it was so sunny one minute and freezing the next (something to do with currents and winds colliding) but we bundled up and enjoyed what we could scurrying around in our shorts.

Sometimes life is like that when unexpected fog and change bestir bewilderment and confusion in our minds and hearts, making it hard to see things clearly. Today here are a few quotes for foggy times (collated by Virginia, the Quote Queen) along with pics from that memorable visit.

“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future.” Robert H. Schuller

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“God works all things together for your good. If the waves roll against you, it only speeds your ship towards the port.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“You will never be happy if your happiness depends on getting solely what you want.  Change the focus.  Get a new center. Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you.”  Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“The seasons change and you change, but the Lord abides evermore the same, and the streams of His love are as deep, as broad and as full as ever.” Charles H. Spurgeon

“Anyone who truly loves God travels securely.” St. Teresa of Avila

“To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that. It is love alone that gives worth to all things. Pain is never permanent.” St. Teresa of Avila

grace, peace & foggy-time clarity

Virginia : )

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Life is Difficult (a poem by Virginia : )

Virginia is not one for writing much poetry (an occasional poem puts in an appearance here @ Roses in the Rubble, usually written by others?) but last week this poem came scribbling out while lunching out, so this week I typed it up for posterity.

Life is Difficult

Life is a gift – is it?

Not all the time.

Without wonder,

Without meaning,

Without hope –

Life is difficult,

Life is hard.

Worry, anxiety, hurt and despair…

At times disappointment looms everywhere.

But beauty abounds

If you look around.

Light shines in the darkness

(even when it’s hard to be found.)

Light that is here for you, in you, with you

Waiting to turn hope into reality,

(even if not envisaged until eternity.)

Life is difficult,

Life is hard.

You are NOT alone.

God is with you, here to carry you

With Love,

The never-ending kind.

Don’t give up on wonder,

Your life has meaning:

Beloved of God.

Choose hope, choose wonder, choose love.

Life is a gift, for the glory of God.

Keep on going,

Keep Hope alive.

God’s love abounds, even when you cry.

Open your heart to springs of Hope,

There to help you cope.

Life is difficult,

Life is hard.

Keep on going

(With God’s help)

Keep Hope alive.

grace, peace & hope

Virginia : )

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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#LOVEVA : VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS!

Many of you know that Virginia (the person) lives in Virginia (the state.) It can be confusing at times, “Hello, I’m Virginia, from Virginia.” And, guess what? I also went to the University of Virginia. (Here’s a past post about that: Standing Against Hate in Charlottesville.)

You may wonder why my parents named me after a state? Well, there are many Virginias in our family: my precious mama, her aunt (my great Aunt Ginny), my great maternal grandmother (“Sarepta Virginia”), then on my papa’s side his mother (“Virginia Clare”) and his oldest sister (“Virginia Rae.”)

Lots of Virginias = my name is Virginia, too.

I am also a (mostly) proud Virginian. Arizona may have the Grand Canyon and California may have lots of beaches, but Virginia has lots to love: beautiful beaches, the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah mountains, rolling farm county, rustic rivers, small towns, big towns and lots in between including fun cities, lots of history, and many amazing people. (Ahem.)

Back in the 1969 other folks thought so too when the Richmond based Martin Agency started one of the most iconic travel marketing campaigns of all time with the slogan: Virginia is for Lovers.

Growing up in the touristy city of Virginia Beach, posters and signs emblazoned with Virginia is for Lovers blanketed the landscape. That ad campaign started many years ago is still going strong, 50 years later!

‘Cause, isn’t love a good thing to celebrate, especially in these divisive times?

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

Love is needed more now than ever in Virginia and all around our whacked out world. Maybe we can take this ad campaign to heart as a challenge, to make our towns, counties, cities, states, and countries places of light and love.

One act of kindness and love at a time, despite deadly divisiveness that seeks to stamp love out. Why can’t we make LOVE great again?

“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” J.R.R. Tolkien

grace, peace & LOVE

Virginia : )

p.s. For fellow Virginians, tomorrow (Tuesday, 05 November) is Election Day across Virginia. We’ll be electing state and local officials: county sheriffs, school board members, county supervisors, attorneys, and all Virginia House of Delegate representatives and state senators (who represent us in Richmond.) Look up candidates and see who wants to do what for issues important to you. Many folks don’t vote in off year elections, but our local and state elected officials do lots (or not, as the case may be.) Don’t forget to VOTE!

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#AllSouls: Legacies of Love (and Hope!)

Today in homes around the world we honor the memories of our loved ones who have passed. It’s hard missing our loved ones, especially as big November and December holidays creep closer, a time when the loss of their presence around our tables looms large.

But, they are always present around the tables of our hearts in the legacies of of their love that never diminishes and their presence in precious memories in our treasure chests of faith and hope.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory that no one can steal.” Anonymous

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.” Rabindranath Tagore

“Hope is the wedding of two freedoms, human and divine, in the acceptance of a love that is at once a promise and the beginning of fulfillment.”  Thomas Merton

grace, peace & legacies of Love (& HOPE!)

Virginia

“…and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” (Romans 5:5)

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“Happily Ever After” @ Halloween?

With the plethora of Christmas movies deluging Hallmark channels AND Lifetime, what to do on Halloween? Watch a favorite movie of Virginia’s that combines BOTH!

Tim Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS.

Who says Christmas has the corner on happily-ever-afters, what about Halloween?

Sometimes the heroines of Christmas movies seem a bit too perfect, like fairy tale princesses. And their ‘princes’? Ditto.

In our go-to fairy tales (and costume considerations for Halloween) I never resonated with Cinderella (glass slippers = uncomfortable), Snow White (too beautiful to be seen), or Sleeping Beauty (wake up, wake UP!) But, I will always love Sally in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” because she loves Jack Skellington and I’ve been crushing on him for years!

Sally keeps it together by a thread (literally) as she rushes to save Santa Claus from Oogie Boogie when Jack Skellington is busy taking over Santa’s Christmas duties and botching it up a bit.

Woah, maybe I better back up for those of you unfamiliar with this Tim Burton movie that came out in 1993 and resonated with me, mightily (seen 4 times in the theater whilst living overseas.)

After presiding over a roaring successful Halloween, restless Jack Skellington (my kind of prince, actually a king – the Pumpkin King) stumbles into Christmas Town where he is bedazzled by everything Christmas. Returning home, he galvanizes the goblins and ghouls of Halloween to take over Christmas (including kidnapping Santa Claus.)

Jack, a little bored with the status quo

That is the basic story line (no spoilers, here) loaded with hysterical fun. It’s been one of my favorite movies for years and years.

Sally is my kinda heroine. Patched zig-zaggedly with stuffing occasionally coming out, she sews herself back together and does her bit saving the day, in between always being there for Jack Skellington.

Sigh.

Skellington Jack, the Pumpkin King!! Misguided, misdirected, misunderstood, possibly mistaken, but committed…

My dearest friend, if you don’t mind…

I’d like to join you by your side.

Where we can gaze into the stars…

And sit together, now and forever.

For it is plain, as anyone can see.

We’re simply meant to be.

Maybe ‘happily-ever-afters’ are possible – on Halloween!

If you haven’t seen “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” give it a look-see and have a Happy Halloween!

grace, peace & Halloween Happiness

Virginia : )

p.s. Here’s a YouTube of the original movie trailer from 1993…

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