November 16, 2015

Go To Church

“Go to church.” I surprised myself when I said it. My friend had been quietly explaining her deep concern about her experience with public school. After years of home schooling her children, she and her husband had decided the kids needed socialization so they enrolled their children in school. Anxiety written all over her face, she said the curriculum no longer uses ‘BC” and “AD” as historical measures, they use  ‘CE ‘ and  ‘BCE ‘ (common era, before common era.) “We’re a judeo-christian culture” she exclaimed, “How can this happen in American schools?” She explained further. Each day of the […]
November 9, 2015

The Battle Over Health

The battle over health: Health is a word which should not invoke military imagery like war or battle. And yet the lines have been drawn with stakes which have seldom been greater. Many decades ago the wars began, the war against heart disease, the war against cancer, naming only a few. With the introduction of Medicare during the Johnson administration, the United States government entered the world of medicine with guns blazing. Each successive President added his personal touch: Carter empowering the originally weak and ineffective Federal Drug Administration, Reagan passing the Bayh-Dole Act which introduced the ability to declare […]
November 2, 2015

Happiness: Feeling or Decision?

Happiness: Feeling or decision? “So, how exactly, do you decide to be happy?” My friend looked bemusedly at me as she replied to my statement that I thought happiness was a decision we made. “LOOK at that tree!” I exclaimed loudly and with vehemence, knowing that my reply to her question required more than a little explanation. My psychologist husband entered the fray by asking “Lin, when was one of your happiest times in your life?” Silent for a moment, I thought about his question and reviewed major events in my life; hallmarks of ‘happy’ events asking myself if there […]
October 26, 2015

Justice and Politics

Ideally the concept of justice is considered to be independent of contextual factors like politics. And the notion of correlating the two feels somewhat odious, or at least repugnant. But the recent Speilberg movie, Bridge of Spies, is a fascinating tale of the oxymoronic twists of our government and its desire to appear just. I don’t recall ever thinking that a movie is perfect but Bridge of Spies, based on a true story about the defense of Russian spy Rudolf Abel by James Donovan, is flawless. Beginning with the screenplay by novice Matt Charman, Tom Hanks’ gripping depiction of Donovan through Speilberg’s impeccable […]
October 19, 2015

Saints as Friends?

Saints as friends? St. Teresa of Avila was one of my very first friends as a brand new Catholic Christian. I felt as if I had landed in another universe, one filled with women I did not recognize and could not relate to. But upon reading the reply by St. Teresa of Avila to Christ’s explanation of the imprisonment and near starvation of her friend St. John of the Cross, “Teresa, whom the Lord loves, he also chastises, this is how I treat all my friends.” The acerbic Spanish nun allegedly replied to Jesus, “No wonder you have so few of […]
October 5, 2015

The Martian and Pope Francis

Despite the admittedly strange correlation, The Martian and Pope Francis, there is a striking parallel between the most unusual movie adapted from novelist Andy Weir’s self- published novel The Martian and the many speeches made by the Pope during his whirlwind tour tour last week. The power of the person. If there is a single theme that seems to symbolize the insistent messages given by the leader of a billion and a half Catholic souls, it is that; the power, or perhaps the dignity of the person. Not said in a political way but deeper than that and radically so. […]
September 28, 2015

Politics of the Common Good

The word politics has gained an almost entirely negative and pejorative meaning when used by many of us in these days of scandal, corruption and greed. Perhaps there was a time when politics as noun or  adjective meant something other than a snipe but not in my lifetime. And so it was with great interest that I read the text of Pope Francis’ address to Congress. He gets right to it. With artfully chosen language, Francis invokes the ideas of a higher calling, teleology, and goodness without using any of these expressions. More than most, this speaker knows well how […]
September 21, 2015

The War Room

Prayer as war: the correlation of combat with happiness has long been one which applies to my life. Therefore, a movie about prayer and war was one I knew I wanted to see when my sister Lee told me about it. Fitting,  because the spiritual life  is fundamentally a battle. While in southern California a couple of days ago, I saw that the new movie, War Room, was playing and talked my husband John into going. Despite heavy competition like Johnny Depp’s new movie, we saw War Room Friday night before heading back home on Saturday. Immediately, I was reminded […]
September 15, 2015

Fires and The Cross

Fires in the west. Back when I lived on the east coast or during the twenty-three years I lived in Houston, hearing about the fires in the west  would provoke a momentary ‘ How awful’ but since I was far away, within seconds the horrors of distant folks were replaced by more pressing matters affecting me or my family. Such is the way of things. But after thirteen years of living in the high desert, I have come to know the perils of drought, high temperatures and the horrors of wildfires in an up close and very personal way. Last month, […]
August 30, 2015

Dog Rescue

Until our dog Shadow appeared outside the fence we were building and timorously decided to take a chance on us, I’d had no experience with rescue dogs, certainly none with dogs from dog rescue shelters. Shadow is known as the dog that everyone wanted in our little valley  because he is such a mellow, patient, peaceful dog. When I hear someone say that to me, I sometimes bite back the words, “So why didn’t you take him in when you knew he had no place to go? When you knew he was surviving on road kill?” Fortunately, those words have […]
August 24, 2015

Good Afternoon, Fellow Missionaries

His voice boomed out into the church, waking me up from the torpor resulting from  a seven hour drive from Southern California back  home that had begun at three yesterday morning. “Good Afternoon, Fellow Missionaries!” We were at the vigil Mass at St. Gall’s Church in Gardnerville, Nevada where a priest we had never seen before was celebrating Mass. A priest called Fr. Tom Hagan, OFSC strode to the front of the church to celebrate Mass, joyfully, loudly and forcefully. His homily was long, maybe thirty minutes or a few minutes longer. But I was mesmerized. Despite my fatigue, Fr. Hagan […]
August 13, 2015

The Lure of the Journey: A Few Insights

The Lure of the Journey: A Few Insights The lure of the journey is an ancient one. Whether striking out to head toward an unexplored west, risking a small fleet of boats to see what is on the other side of the earth or sending spaceships into the sky to discover other life in the majestic universe, the need to explore can be as fierce as a craving. But we learn, finally, that the riskiest, the most searing trip is the one we take when we at long last, stop. Whether through exhaustion or merely empty wallets, endless travel reveals […]
August 4, 2015

Thinking About Thinking

As a recovering bibliophile, I made a promise to myself to read each of the books purchased in the last decade or two and am now making my way through After Virtue by Alasdair MacIntyre. Despite the density of the philosopher’s prose, reading this book is bringing me back to a place I once knew well: thinking about thinking.  I use the phrase not as sophistry but to go back to the years when we wondered just what is this life really about-my life, your children? And why do you and I think the way we do? Believe and decide what […]
July 20, 2015

Ordinary Time

In the Christian Liturgy, today is the sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Ron Rolheiser writes that the phrase “ordinary time” is used for  a dual purpose. First, to highlight the liturgical seasons of Christmas and Easter  making us less likely to feel as if we ‘missed Christmas’ because of the endless distractions of daily life- too mired in preparation to take note of any meaning. Secondly, to make more perceptible the ocean of quiet miracles in which we swim: The smile of a stranger, touch of a loved one, a good cup of coffee. We use the word ordinary to […]
July 4, 2015

Three Surprising Elements of Creativity

Creativity is something most of us cannot get enough of, right? Because each day we are placed in situations requiring us to be inventive, imaginative, innovative.  Whether a stay- at- home- mom, engineer, salesperson, mechanic, or a writer, we are immersed in situations which require imaginative responses. Angry customers, bored kids, touchy husbands and new characters all entail innovative techniques and imagination. Despite massive research into the creative process and about creative people, we’ve not yet located the source of creativity. Nor have we determined how the creative process is stimulated. But there are three surprising features of the creative […]
June 30, 2015

Making A Difference

To leave our rural valley in northern Nevada, we drive for about thirty minutes. Upon turning north on the freeway, after about fifteen minutes or so, we pass a bulletin board on the left asking about one person making a difference. The caption is written over a huge image of Nelson Mendela. The other day I stared at the huge bulletin board and thought about a conversation about that very subject several years ago. My husband John and I had agreed that we wanted to do more than write out a check to help the homeless. And Reno has a […]
June 22, 2015

Christ Asleep

The first time I actually thought about being in a fishing boat in a raging storm with Christ asleep on a cushion,  was during a meditation given on that Gospel passage shortly after I converted to Christian Catholicism. The Legionnaire priest giving the meditation guaranteed my undivided attention because of the simple imagery he used when he applied this Gospel passage to my life; to the lives of each of us. To be fair, the Episcopalian priests of my childhood had most likely talked about this Gospel passage. But I had no recollection of it or of of any passage […]
June 13, 2015

The Value of Critics

In a recent post, I talked about  the cost of a scathing review I received from an anonymous reviewer. I did not mention that this was a review I solicited as in paid for. The cost I spoke about wasn’t the money, it was the denunciation, the rebukes…the heat in my cheeks caused by reading words that scald.   Now, I realize the value of that critic. When we write, speak, take a position of leadership in any group, or take any type of risk, we’ll be criticized. We know this. And we do it anyway. We do it because […]
June 9, 2015

Life Isn’t Fair-Even For Lebron

Watching the unfair calls on Lebron James during the second game of the final NBA playoffs helped when I received a scathing review of my first novel. A little anyway. We’ve been told that life isn’t fair since we were small tykes. But does it help when  three flagrant fouls in front of the referee are ignored or you receive your first scorching review for the novel that cost everything to write? Not really. The camera focused on James after each of the three poor calls; he was furious. And powerless. Within seconds, we could see him reign it in, […]
June 1, 2015

Our Three Person God

Our three person God.
May 26, 2015

The Lure of Giving Up

The lure of giving up seems irresistible for so many in this arguably most educated and comfortable of all cultures. Our own. I realized that I never got to the fundamental reason that I so liked  the film Tomorrowland in a recent post. And decided that it had to do with giving up, or rather the lure of giving up. Due to some recent conversations with a dear friend, I began to think about the reality my friend lives in, one which persuades him that he can do nothing about his deteriorating health except take more and more pills, spend increasing […]
March 18, 2018

Finding Joy: Pure Luck or Intention?

Finding joy: Joy not happiness. They are different, aren’t they? Joy is personified by this running, grinning dog. Maybe he is running toward his favorite human or perhaps she is racing after a ball. Regardless of what the dog is going for, it’s evident that joy isn’t something he has to find. But us humans? Far more complicated, isn’t it? Or is it? Could our happiness be under our control? Willed…intended? Take a couple of minutes to reflect on three things, people, beings that bring you joy. And I mean that panting, passionate sloppily joy-filled grin on that dog. Not […]
April 8, 2018

I, Claudia-Newest Book

I, Claudia. For the last six weeks or so, I have been immersed in ancient Greece, Rome and Israel as I work to get a feel for Claudia- that insubstantial shadow behind a 2000-year-old curtain- and her infamous husband, Pontius Pilate. After reading four or five novels about this woman, I told a friend yesterday, “I know who she’s not.” A rather inauspicious start? Perhaps. Most of the I, Claudia books have been sitting in a pile since last March- when I became aware that the next book would not be the fifth in the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series, […]
April 15, 2018

Three Seconds: Time for Worlds to End

Three seconds, the time it takes to blink, yawn or for our whole world to end. I’ve been thinking, once again, about time. About how slippery it is, about how we tend, naturally, to think we have all the time in the world, preferring not to ponder the reality of mortality. About how easy it is to waste this most precious gift of our lives: Time. On resentment, anger, impatience or trivial pursuits. There are a few reasons for this: After a two- week vacation on the central coast, we returned home at two AM Monday morning. It’s spring in […]
April 22, 2018

No More Lindsey McCall Medical Mysteries?

Will there be no more Lindsey McCall medical mystery novels? Why have you switched from writing mystery fiction to historical fiction? Will this help your sales? I’ve been asked these questions of late by a few folks kind enough to write and tell me how much they enjoy Lindsey, her husband Rich and their adventures. Or are merely curious about writers, why we write what we do and what is the source of our inspiration. So I wrote an article for Serious Reading last week. Perhaps you’ll find it interesting. I called it Changing Genres in the Middle of a […]