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HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Blog, Commentary, History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day takes me back to 2013 when I finally had an opportunity to go to Ireland. I found a tour that would allow me to visit parts

stone wall hedges

stone wall hedges

Leprchaun Crossingof England, Scotland, and Wales, as well as Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. With ancestors from four of those five countries, I wanted to explore the lands of my roots. 

Ireland was as beautiful as all the pictures, travelogues, and stories promised.

Pieris Flaming Silver 'Lily-of-the-valley'

Pieris Flaming Silver ‘Lily-of-the-valley’

The people were friendly, the food delicious, and the scenery spectacular. There are many delightful places I sojourned but here I’ll share just a few.

One stop was The Giants Causeway World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland. Here you can walk

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

on over 40,000 hexagonal basaltic columns that resulted

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

from volcanic eruptions. As one might expect, there is a legend that tells of the giant who built the causeway to walk to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant. It is no surprise that one can also find similar basalt formations across the water in Fingals Cave on the Scottish Island of Staffa.

In Dublin I visited Trinity College Library to see the famed Book of Kells.

Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library

These colorful illuminated medieval Gospels were produced in a monastery in the early 8th century on the Isle of Iona, Scotland, in honor of Saint Columba and later taken to Ireland. While there are 680 illuminated pages of the medieval Gospels, the library only displays two of the current four volumes at a time, one showing an illustration and the other displaying typical text pages. The library itself is a sight to behold with its mammoth book filled cases stretching to the ceiling. Dozens of busts of well known authors are mounted at the edge of each aisle.

Four Evangelist Symbols In the Public Domain

Four Evangelist Symbols
In the Public Domain

Book of Kells In the Public Domain

Book of Kells
In the Public Domain

 

 

         

 

 

 

Traveling around Dublin you will spot the famous colorful Dublin Doors, of eighteenth

Dublin Doors

Dublin Doors

century Georgian homes. Strict building guidelines governed the homes making them closely resemble each other, so residents began painting their front doors vibrant colors and installing ornate door-knockers to show their individuality.

Driving through Belfast, you will see many vivid murals of scenes and people painted on the sides of buildings

Murals of The Troubles

Murals of The Troubles

. These paintings remind us of the three decades in Northern Ireland called The Troubles, a period of continual strife between factions wanting

independence from, or remaining loyal to, Britain. Many efforts at finding an agreeable political solution failed until the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have enjoyed greater peace and prosperity in recent years.

Shamrock 2To learn more about ST. PATRICK ~ British Patron Saint of Ireland, visit my blogpost from last year.

http://janetgrunst.com/st-patrick-british-patron-saint-of-ireland

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Posted by on Mar 9, 2015 in Blog, Journal, Media Sharing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

I’ve been nominated for the Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award! So warning: this is a somewhat whimsical post.sisterhoodoftheworldbloggersaward-graphic

This is providential because I was feeling remiss about not blogging recently, and befitting because I was nominated by Kathleen Rouser – kathleenrouser.com  who likes to write about whimsies among other things. Thanks Kathleen.

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site.
    2. Put the Award logo on your blog.
    3. Answer the ten questions sent to you.
    4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer.
    5. Nominate five blogs.

The Ten Questions I was given:

1) Why do you blog?

 I enjoy writing Blogposts about other people who may not be well known. Promoting other writers is fun. I also find devotionals inspiring and encouraging so I like to share them with others. I like to feature people and organizations that inspire me. As an aspiring author, I need an online platform.

2) Which famous person from history would you interview on your blog if you could?

Jesus Christ, is probably the most obvious answer.  Other than Biblical figures: George Washington.

3) Where do you most of your blog ideas come from?

Historical events and people from various eras (particularly those who’ve served in the military).

Spiritual insights and devotionals

4) What is your favorite blog post that you’ve written?

I don’t have a favorite. But “Time Well Spent In God’s Waiting Room” is where I live.

5) What are some future topics you hope to cover on your blog?

More interviews with authors ~ Historical events or places ~ Articles that encourage others. A blogpost featuring my husband who builds beautiful guitars and banjoes.

6) What has been your favorite place to visit in the United States?

That’s tough because I’ve been to many places I’d like to re-visit. I would love to return to HawaiiShameless Promotion: Virginia has a wealth of fascinating places to visit, particularly if you’ve got any interest in history.  I live in the Historic Triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg~Jamestown~Yorktown)

7) Where and what kind of dream vacation would you like to take?

The British Isles and Ireland – I’ve been there before and would love to return.

8) What fictional character do you identify with the most, out of your best-loved books?

Jane Eyre. Jane has had to overcome significant rejection and other difficulties in her life. She’s plain, quiet, introverted, yet committed to her values and is not afraid to share her opinions. 

9) Are you a seat of the pants blogger or do you plan out your posts, with purpose, long in advance?

While I am an organized and fairly structured person, I tend to be a seat of the pants fiction or non-fiction writer.

10) Have you found that blogging has helped you grow in other areas of writing?

Absolutely. When I first began writing for publication, I wrote newspaper or magazine articles. Now, I primarily write fiction, so I find blogging makes me exercise that entirely different style of writing. 

I nominate:

Elaine Cooper                http://elainemariecooper.com

Laura Frantz                  http://laurafrantz.net/

Carrie Pagels                 http://cfpagels.blogspot.com/

Cynthia Howerter          http://cynthiahowerter.com/

Karen Wingate               http://karenwingate.com/

Joan Hochstetler            http://www.jmhochstetler.com/

Here are my 10 questions:

  1. Name three blogs of different types (i.e. devotional, individual, commentary or political) that you like to read.
  2. What are your favorite types of blogs to write?
  3. What are your hobbies other than writing and reading?
  4. If you could hang out with one fictional character for the day, who would it be?
  5. What is your favorite fiction book?
  6. Other than the Bible, whit is your favorite non-fiction book?
  7. If you could travel (at someone else’s expense), where would you go?
  8. If you could choose to live in another era and place, in what era and place would you live?
  9. What talent, other than writing, would you like to develop?
  10. What are your favorite things to blog about?

 

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IS THE WORLD STEALING YOUR PEACE?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 9 comments

When we listen to or watch the news and hear of tragic or sad events, it is easy to get discouraged. When we, or the people we love, are going through difficult times our hearts are heavy and we long to transform the circumstances. It’s easy to wonder where God is, and why He allows these things to happen.

We live in a fallen world where evil, disaster, disease, and death seem to have free reign, and those are the events that seem to get news coverage. It’s important to remember that there are also stories of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and generosity that are taking place all around us. These incidents could touch our hearts and lift our spirit just as powerfully, but they rarely command the same amount of press time. 

As Christians, we know Who is triumphant. The whole story has been written and we know the ending ― that evil, disease and death will cease and Jesus will reign over all.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Until then, we can center our hearts and minds on the Lord. A great way to sheet of musicdo that is to list all the things for which we are thankful. Listening to hymns, praise songs, and inspirational music can also inspire and lift us. These tools don’t alter the circumstances, but it changes us, and our perspective as we go through trials.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The Lord has given each of us a platform, and prepared places for us to be an encouragement to others. When we choose to be the light, and do His will in the localities where He has placed us, He blesses us.

  If you need a song to encourage your heart today, listen to one of my favorites, My Jesus My Saviour by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4&list=PLh9KTH-y7X5URgvGx6VKf2ePhrcEe-BLIRainbow

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THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

It was almost thirty years ago that I first read THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING by Mabel Lee Cooper. I’ve heard this Christmas allegory read by Paul Harvey, the well known American radio broadcaster, famous for his “‎The Rest of the Story” broadcasts several times in the years since. I’m sharing it now with you.  I wish you a blessed Christmas.

THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING

It was Christmas Eve. Outside the wind howled and the snow was falling; a dreadful blizzard was on the way. Inside his little house by the side of the road, a great philosopher sat comfortably by his warm fire with his books for companions. This philosopher was very wise. Many people found their way to his door to seek his advice and help. Not only was he wise, but also very kind; he loved all living creatures, and for his great kindness and wisdom he was beloved by all who knew him.

As he sat this stormy night by his warm fire he thought of all who might be out in the blizzard. He arose, raised his curtains high, and put a bright light in his window, saying, “All who must be out tonight can find shelter and warmth and welcome by my fire.”

As he stood by the window, suddenly he heard the sound of many voices singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men!” It was the little band of Christians singing in their chapel nearby.

“This is Christmas Eve”, thought the philosopher to himself, “the night the Christians celebrate the coming of God to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Now this philosopher, being in the habit of understanding the things he believed, had not joined the band of Christians. He thought the Christians’ way of life was the best way, but he could not understand the many mysteries of their faith. Above all, he could not understand the Incarnation. Why was it necessary for God to come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ? How could it be? Because he could not understand these things he would not become a Christian.

As he was thinking, suddenly he heard a noise at his window, caused by a flock of half frozen birds beating their wings against his window pane. The poor birds had been caught in the blizzard as they journeyed southward to a warmer climate.

The heart of the philosopher was touched, for he loved birds.  He opened wide his window, thinkBirds in the Snowing the birds would fly in where there was warmth. But the birds didn’t understand, and would not fly in. Putting on his warm fur coat, he went outside, determined to save them if he could. He tried to force them into his room, but they resisted. Several times he tried to clutch them in his hands, but they eluded his grasp. Then he took bread crumbs and scattered them on a little place he had cleared in the snow. The half-starved birds devoured the crumbs, and then, with renewed strength, tried to fly again.

The philosopher thought of his barn where the birds would be safe in the warm hay. He placed a ladder leading to the door of the barn and covered each round of the ladder with bread crumbs. He succeeded in attracting the birds to the ladder. They ate the crumbs on each round and reached the open door of the barn. But they wouldn’t fly in! How hard the philosopher tried to force them inside, but they didn’t understand; and in spite of his efforts he saw the birds drop, one by one, frozen to death, with a haven so close at hand.

The philosopher looked sadly at the birds he had tried so hard to save. “The great difference between the birds and myself,” he thought, “is that I know where a haven is; they did not. They did not understand that I was trying hard to save them, and I could not make them see that the haven was close by. There was only one way I could have saved them ― only by becoming a bird could I have made them understand!”

As he mused, suddenly he heard again the Christians singing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Then a great light seemed to come to the wise philosopher. “O God,” he cried, “there was no other way for You to make men understand ― no other way that even You could lead them and make them understand, save by becoming one of them!”

And then, in the drifting snow, he fell upon his knees and uttered from the depths of his soul, “I believe! I believe!”

Holy Family

 

 

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SALUTING AN UNCOMMON HERO

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Blog, History, Uncategorized | 6 comments

FlagOn this Veteran’s Day, I want to give homage to Alex, a World War II hero, a United States Navy fighter ace and Medal of Honor nominee. Alex and I worked in the same Wells Fargo Bank office for six years back in the early 70’s. He worked upstairs in the Trust Department and I worked downstairs in the bank. I would see this man’s smiling face every day as he walked through the lobby and up the stairs. We would exchange pleasantries and at times chat in the lunch room. When my parents wanted to open a trust account, I set up the appointment and introduced my father, a retired Navy Captain, to Alex Vraciu, the Trust Officer.

By the mid 70’s I had relocated to the east coast and never saw Alex or most of my former coworkers again. One evening in the 80’s, I happened to be watching a program about World War II on Navy Seal 2television about the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”. Since I had visited the Marianas chain of islands, I was particularly intrigued. They were telling the story of the famous Navy fighter pilot, Alex Vraciu, already designated an ace because of his previous kills. But on June 19, 1943 he destroyed six Japanese dive bombers in a period of eight minutes. My eyes were glued to the screen watching the film footage as they detailed Alex’s many victories and illustrious career. I was stunned. Alex knew I came from a Navy family, yet he never mentioned he had served in the Navy.

Alex was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his actions at the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, but it was later downgraded to a Navy Cross. By the time the war ended, Alex was the US Navy’s fourth highest ranking ace. After the war he became a test pilot and played a part in forming the post-war Naval Air Reserve program. He was promoted to Commander and led squadron VF-51 from 1956 to 1958. In 1964 he retired and went into banking.

Commander Alexander Vraciu in front of an FJ-3 "Fury" like the one in which he won top honors at the 1957 Naval Air Weapons Meet in El Centra, California. - U.S. Navy Photo

Commander Alexander Vraciu in front of an FJ-3 “Fury” like the one in which he won top honors at the 1957 Naval Air Weapons Meet in El Centra, California. – U.S. Navy Photo 

Alex Vraciu was a hero, not only for his naval exploits, but also because of his remarkable humility. I suspect he and my father probably shared some Navy stories, but my father was also a man who did not believe in calling attention to one’s success, so he never shared what he knew of Alex with me.

Alex Vraciu is now 96 years old.  

“Fair Winds and Following Seas” Alex.

 

A note on a webpage set up to honor Alex states “ALEX VRACIU HAS NO DIRECT CONNECTION WITH THIS WEBSITE. THIS IS AN EFFORT BY HIS FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS, NOT BY ALEX HIMSELF. HE IS TOO MODEST A MAN TO PETITION FOR REDRESS.”

http://www.alexvraciu.net/Alex-Vraciu-Bio.html

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FATHER’S DAY

Posted by on Jun 15, 2014 in Blog, Commentary, Uncategorized | Comments Off on FATHER’S DAY

Like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can bring on a multitude of differing emotions, some painful  . . . some pleasant.

Some people will experience sadness on Father’s Day.  It may be a reminder of the loss of a beloved parent. Or it may be because not everyone has had a positive experience with their own father growing up, or as an adult.

Dad and the kids. I'm the short one.

Dad and the kids. I’m the short one.

 

It’s been said that the greatest gift a father can give his child is to love and respect their mother.

 

I was fortunate to have that, and it provided security and stability for me and my siblings. My father came from very humble beginnings, without any parental encouragement or support. Still, through hard

work and a desire for an education he got his degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University during the depression. I couldn’t ask for a better role model of integrity, loyalty, honesty, personal responsibility,

Ken - the best father a person could have

Ken – the best father a person could have

perseverance and thrift. I respected and loved this very reserved and quiet man.

 

 

This Father’s Day, I celebrate my precious husband who is not only a wonderful father, but has been like a father to my sons. I also honor my sons and a son-in-law. These three men are doing a terrific job loving their wives and raising their children.

 

Chris & Christy's Family

Chris & Christy’s Family

 

 

Jeff & Jill's family

Jeff & Jill’s family

Jimmy & Sanja's Family

Jimmy & Sanja’s Family

 

Some people who have had a poor, or non-existent, relationship with their earthly father may have a more difficult time understanding or accepting the love, provision, and protection from our Heavenly Father. My prayer is that those living with that disappointment, may come to know that by opening their heart to a relationship with Jesus, they can experience the unconditional love, and the provision, presence, protection, and peace with the Perfect Father. 

 

 

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