Affirming Companions

photo by Thibault Carron in Kirkjufell, Iceland

Sometimes, we owe it to ourselves to stop and learn again from "lower animals" what it means to affirm and be a companion. 

We live in a world where we are increasingly told to be aggressive rather than truly assertive; self-affirming rather than affirming and authentic to one another.

Is this the world we want to make, where our need for together-ness is met through likes on Facebook or followers on Instagram, as loneliness pervades our culture?

I found this in my email this morning from Seth Godin:

Important, popular or viral

Important work is easily dismissed by the audience.

It involves change and risk and thought.

Popular work resonates with the people who already like what you do.

Viral work is what happens when the audience can't stop talking about what you did.

Every once in awhile, all three things will co-exist, but odds are, you're going to need to choose.

At Roses in the Alley, we have chosen what we feel is the important work.
Can you help us by taking the time to stop and be a companion and affirm someone near you?
Hint: We really aren't expecting many "likes" on this post.  It's not popular, and certainly not viral, but it is important.


Who Are You These Days – An Original Presence

Who Are You These Days?  Are you an Original Presence?

We can define our lives with terms given to us by others, whether friends or adversaries. But isn't this just reactionary, what everybody else is doing?

Who is writing the scripts of our lives? 

Can we be an original presence?

Consider this idea:

"... an original presence is needed, a presence in accord with our originality. The right to exist and to act anywhere and in any case does not derive from following others’ methods, but from what we are.

A presence is original when it springs forth from the consciousness of one’s own identity and one’s affection for it, and finds its consistence in this."

-Notes from a talk by Luigi Giussani to a group of university students in Riccione, Italy, in October 1976

To be an original presence is to be authentic, the real you, not somebody that fits in with what other people think we ought to be. It isn't about the Instagram loves and the Facebook likes. 

We obviously live and breathe within our current culture and often we are unconscious of how much it impacts us. We use someone else's concepts, constructs, boundaries, conditions, agenda. 

Maybe it's time to shut some of this out  a bit, and sit down with ourselves; time to listen to our core while we still can.

And so we are back to our original question  "Who are you?"



All Will Be Well – Close Up!

What does "All Will Be Well" look like close up?

How can we reconcile the events we meet every day with the ideas of hope and joy?

At least for us at Roses in the Alley, we find an answer in this ancient letter:

"whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious,
if there is any excellence
and if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you."

- Paul to the Philippians (from a Roman prison - between A.D. 59 and 63)

It isn't easy,  but it also isn't difficult, really.

It requires awaking our spirits and choosing to accept a new lens freely given.

We would never suggest a denial of our realities. We would just offer the hope that reality  extends beyond the scope of our limited sight.


All Will Be Well

All will be well, but how?

At times like these, with news of natural disasters and the cruelty of man towards man,  when violence seems to be in every breath and disunity the "order of the day", it might be easy to give in to despair and depression. 

But when we pay attention, when we are truly awake, there is still another story to tell, another viewpoint to see. And it is a far more hopeful one which has the power to rekindle joy.

In the Daily Dig from Plough today came these words from Julian of Norwich, a mystic of 13th century England:

Daily Dig for October 7

Julian of Norwich

...deeds are done which appear so evil to us and people suffer such terrible evils that it does not seem as though any good will ever come of them; and we consider this, sorrowing and grieving over it so that we cannot find peace in the blessed contemplation of God as we should do; and this is why: our reasoning powers are so blind now, so humble and so simple, that we cannot know the high, marvelous wisdom, the might and the goodness of the Holy Trinity. And this is what he means where he says, “You shall see for yourself that all manner of things shall be well”, as if he said, “Pay attention to this now, faithfully and confidently, and at the end of time you will truly see it in the fullness of joy.

Source: Revelations of Divine Love

Echoing through 8 centuries, these words are as real to us today as they were then.

Can we pay attention, be awake, and see? Can we help each other to find joy and hope in the knowledge that somehow all will be well? 

Time For Recovery- a Different Perspective on Irma and Maria

St. Thomas - US Virgin Islands -

The news is all aflame with Trump and Cruz.  But there is another story that goes on, mostly out of the mass media focus.- the US Virgin Islands, the place ignored by most of the media once the storm moved to more "newsworthy" places.

RitA wanted to give you another perspective on the aftermath of Irma and Maria on all of the Caribbean from the smaller voices.

On Medium we found this voice: 


Sarah tells the story of her parents stranded twice in each of these storms, first on St. Thomas and then on St. Croix.  She relates the fears and concerns she experienced over many days, all the result of the collapse of the communication infrastructure.  Finally she learned that they were safe. They were the fortunate ones. 

And then Sarah shared this great example of local people helping others with something as basic as information from  a local weather website (in the absence of The Weather Channel): 

Monday, September 25, 2017 09:00AM PDT - Time for recovery

"Maria has finally left us, Lee is still around but not posing a threat. Nothing else on the horizon, just a tropical wave a long way away and another one just rolled off Africa. No indication that they will develop into anything yet. So a little peace and quiet. Time to focus on recovery...

Many islands in the Caribbean are hard hit, let us not forget that! Dominica, St.Croix, Puerto Rico, Barbuda, St.Maarten/St.Martin, Anguilla, St.Barts, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, St.John, St.Thomas, Vieques, Culebra, ... am I forgetting any? This is of course unprecedented. Just looking at the pictures I included with my earlier postings is gut wrenching. The high season tourist season is a bust for these islands, which means a loss of their main source of income...

Let's hope for a not too frustrating recovery. I will push to have my special hurricane correspondents to keep posting on this website. Although I still haven't heard from many with communications still a problem. E-mail apparently not the best means of communication after storms like these. Recovery won't be easy, but we have to try our best. -Gert"

The scenes on these islands are a bad as Puerto Rico, and all involve humans in a life and death struggle to survive, recover and hopefully rebuild their lives. 

Politics makes this all unnecessarily complicated and ugly.

As Mr. Rogers says,  in every tragedy look for the helpers. Some of the smallest helpers are the journalist that documented the picture above and others, and the local weather guy, who depends on contributions to provide his much-needed service to his fellow islanders.

Maybe when we give our millions to the government and the large non-profits for recovery efforts, we can dig a  little deeper, and spare a few dollars to support the little helpers as well here.

Photo on Instagram by  Kelsey Nowakowski, Journalist, Virgin Islands





For the many whose lives have been touched, even terribly damaged by the hurricanes in Houston and Florida, recovery is hard. Sometimes it feels impossible.

Roses in the Alley wants to play a small part in giving you and them hope. If you know someone who is hurting from the aftermath of the storms, please come to our bandcamp site and download this free song recorded by one of our founders 15 years ago . Just place "0" in the price.

If it brings you peace, please forward the link to your friends who may need hope as well.

Any donations that you might make on the site by entering any number but 0 over the next few days will be 100% donated to the recovery effort, and RitA will add to the fund as well. 

Here are the lyrics below:

Lord, Send Out Your Spirit

You gather the rain
In far reaches of the heavens
You take wild rivers to tame
As they wander through the mountains

All the world and its seed
Taste the waters You created
And in Your Spirit they breathe
They bring forth Your celebration

Refrain:    Lord, send out Your Spirit and renew the  face of the earth         
Lord, send out Your Spirit and renew the face of the earth

On the wings of the wind
In the glancing tongues of fire
Each fearful heart You enflame
With your burning, unceasing desire

Send down, send down Your Spirit on us
Send down, send down Your Spirit on us

You call each one by their name
Your sons and Your daughters
We hear Your call to proclaim
Your mercy  and Your power

Rain down, rain down Your Spirit on us… and renew the face of the earth
© 2002, Robert G. Metivier

May this be a more graced set of images than the ones that we experienced in the storms. Please listen in and pass it along. Hopefully we at RitA can make just a little difference.

Photo by Brandon Kawamura on Unsplash