Blog

October 4, 2020

He Made Adam First

He Made Adam First It’s almost fall and I am behind in the writing of Plausible Liars, the fifth in the Dr. Lindsey McCall medical mystery series. Way behind, for I had intended that the first draft be completed by the end of October. Although it is true that we have sold and moved from our beautiful northern Nevada home of eighteen years and my eight-year-old laptop finally bit the dust the week we got here, (the reason there was no article last Sunday) those are not the reasons that my deadline will come and go before the story is […]
September 20, 2020

It’s Just a Little Incense: Saints Cornelius and Cyprian

It’s just a little incense-Saints Cornelius and Cyprian In the Christian liturgy, Wednesday, September 16 was celebrated as the feast of two early martyrs: Saints Cornelius and Cyprian. Men persecuted by the Roman Empire for their Christian faith…fourth century Rome and therefore irrelevant to us seventeen hundred centuries later. But that is because I never bothered to learn anything about these two men. Father Mitch Pacwa celebrated the daily televised mass on EWTN and delivered a riveting homily on these two saints. The polyglot Father Pacwa (he fluently speaks thirteen languages) is a bit of an oxymoron in that he […]
September 13, 2020

Thomas More-A Man For All Seasons

Thomas More- A Man For All Seasons Most of us know the movie, and not the play, a misfortune. Because the film, although excellent, is incapable of conveying the complexities, nuances, and timeless relevance of Robert Bolt’s two-act play Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons. Had it not been for my undergraduate English teacher, I’d have missed this stunning, starkly written drama about the most important battle any of us face: conscience versus obedience. In the preface, Bolt writes a piercingly sardonic explanation about why he selected a sixteenth-century Chancellor of King Henry VIII as his archetypal hero. …why […]
September 6, 2020

I Live in My Head Until Suddenly

I live in my head until suddenly something happens to vault me down to my heart. Naturally, I’m a writer. And am therefore constantly conjuring plots and characters. Or working on an article. So this move from our Nevada home for the last eighteen years merely consisted of jumping through the hoops of keeping the house as nearly perfect as possible for all the showings. Then negotiating with realtors and buyers. And accepting the offer, jumping through more hoops of all the inspections-you know, you’ve been there. And then deciding to divest…free yourself from stuff. Books, furniture, clothes, paintings. All […]
August 30, 2020

The Things I’ll Miss: Ode to the High Desert of Northern Nevada

The things I’ll miss constitute a very long list. So I will share only the top few. The items on my list of the things I’ll miss competed with one another for top priority as the boys (Shadow and Seymour) and I hiked to the top of Pipeline for what may be the last time. Given that the home inspections next week reveal no awful stuff, we will leave our sacred place to buyers who will take over 36 Grant Drive, Wellington, Nevada in just under a month. It was eighteen years ago that we moved here. Eighteen Years!!! Really? […]
August 23, 2020

Karol Wojtyla and The Sign of Contradiction-Can These Bones Live?

He fascinates me, this Karol Wojtyla and the sign of contradiction- this man who shocked the world to become the first Polish Pope:  This was so long before I had any inkling that I would become a Christian Catholic. With ease I can recall vividly my reaction to an article in Harper’s Magazine. In an article she called, Arguing With the Pope journalist Barbara Harrison wrote about Pope John Paul’s trip to Denver in August of 1993 for what the Pope called the eighth, World Youth Day. I remember little more than my complete sense of bafflement that a man […]
August 9, 2020

Reflections on The Lincoln Conspiracy

Reflections on The Lincoln Conspiracy There’s a secret on this train. With their first sentence, Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch had me captivated. In fact, I could barely put the book down, the story was so engrossing. Complete with the world’s first detective agency, first female detective, undercover cops and crooked Police Chiefs, The Lincoln Conspiracy rivals a Grisham, Connelly, or Lee Child mystery. One reviewer calls it a first-rate nonfiction thriller. Indeed, that it is. Here’s my favorite review: Think you know everything about Abraham Lincoln? Well, think again. The Lincoln Conspiracy not only revitalizes history, it transforms it, turning its […]
August 2, 2020

The Tale Seldom Heard About Martha’s Faith

The tale seldom heard about Martha’s faith The three siblings are well known: Lazarus-the man who is raised from the dead, and his two sisters are close friends of Jesus. So close is the family to Jesus that He goes to dine with them. Martha is remonstrating Christ, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died!” We hear only from the two sisters, Mary and Martha, who are compared frequently, usually with Martha as inferior, at least spiritually, in the earlier part of this tale. Lazarus is silent. Focused on the work of welcoming and feeding Jesus […]
July 26, 2020

Mary Called Magdalene: A Portrait (Originally written on July 21 2019)

Mary Called Magdalene is a woman alternately thought to be prostitute, mystic, secret lover of Jesus, and the apostle who reached higher levels than did any of the male apostles. Throughout the ages, Mary beckons both believers and non. Her relationship with Jesus is a curious one, implying an intimacy that our age can conceive of only as sexual…think Sarah Brightman’s I Don’t Know How to Love Him. While at the Baptistery in Florence several years ago, my husband John and I saw Donatello’s wood sculpture of Mary, Called Magdalene. The sculpture of Mary Magdalene is a study in human […]
July 19, 2020

Sanctify The Mess: Relearning Old Lessons

Ever had a week that looked like this? Several days during this past week seemed, virtually anyway, like a humongous pile of dirty dishes that kept replenishing themselves, independent of me. Meaning that my productive intentions for the day were cast aside and piling up. That there was very good reason for my lack of productivity did not help-the fact remains that I’m behind. Way behind. By now-the middle of July- I should be writing like crazy, clear about the plot and direction of my newest book, Plausible Liars, but I am so far from that destination that I am returning […]
July 12, 2020

Real Poverty-Not Knowing What We Lack

Real Poverty-Not knowing what we lack. We hear the phrase a lot: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” And most of us are more or less aware that St. Mark qualifies St. Luke’s with two words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Until hearing this morning’s EWTN daily mass and homily by Fr. Mark Mary, I’d not given any thought to the qualifier, “poor in spirit.” When hearing that beatitude, my mind almost automatically interpreted the words of Christ to mean material poverty: the poor have far more chance of making heaven than […]
July 5, 2020

I Will Be Lowly in Your Esteem-Lessons from King David

I will be lowly in your esteem-Lessons from King David Filled with awe, wonder and the wisdom of God, the Israeli king, “girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon, as he and all the Israelites were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and to the sound of the horn. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Saul’s daughter, Michal looked down from the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord and despised him in her heart…He then distributed to each man […]
June 28, 2020

The Most Powerful Force in the World: The Human Will

The Most Powerful Force in the world is not thought to be the human will, not by a long shot. Maybe an earthquake? Or hurricane? Tornado? But the human will? A resounding YES! Only we-of all His creatures-have the capacity to deny the Creator Of this world. Of this universe. Of all universes known and wholly unknown. Only human men and women have the capacity to refute our nature as sons and daughters of God. To deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. To walk away from salvation and Eternal Life. Because I think about Eden-right, the Garden of- a lot, […]
June 21, 2020

We Will Never Change the Outside Until We Change Within.

We will never change the outside until we change within. This is a phrase used by Ravi Zacharias in a talk given at the Mormon Temple in 2017. It was my husband who introduced me to the Indian Christian apologist. After hearing just one riveting talk, I was hooked. And then proceeded to read many of his over thirty books and listen to countless presentations similar to the one I write about today. In this excellent presentation, Ravi teaches me, albeit inadvertently: The ease with which we can be seduced into the wrong judgement of another. About the extreme dangers […]
June 14, 2020

The Labor of Obedience

The labor of obedience: For many years, the word obedience served as lightning rod to me. The concept connoted all that I disliked about being female: Powerlessness, submissiveness, conformance, passivity and the like.  Feminism offered no solution other than to blame men for whatever ailed me and adopt the role of victim…seeking comfort in our culture of euphemisms. But then I became a Christian Catholic and a few years later, an Oblate of St. Benedict. And that word, like so many others in the vocabulary of faith became something I embraced; at times admittedly with gritted teeth. And I began […]
June 7, 2020

A story from the past and the disintegration of America’s rule of law.

A story from the past and the disintegration of America’s rule of law. The disintegration of America’s rule of law. Huh? Our nation, government, culture and social fabric are all based on the rule of law, are you sure you mean this statement? Indeed, I am. There are three primary reasons: Personal experience (a story from the past.) Irrational expectations of rules, laws and the state. Absence of moral framework . “I’m never picking cotton again!” Terry and I were sitting at TJ’s, the bar across from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where he was a twenty-six-year-old fourth year medical student at […]
May 31, 2020

The Advocate Will Teach You All Things

The advocate The words are Christ’s, said prior to the horrors he would shortly face-horrors that the disciples had no understanding of. Nor do we. We Christians hear those words frequently in the liturgy preceding Pentecost. But until recently, I had never considered the Holy Spirit-Holy Ghost- as a lawyer. But that is the meaning of the word advocate, is it not? “I will send you an advocate and He will teach you all things.” To whom is the Lord speaking when He makes this promise? To His Disciples and Apostles, we reply automatically. But to the rest of humanity, […]
May 24, 2020

Making A Gift of Our Wounds

Making a gift of our wounds “Making a gift of our wounds” is a most peculiar phrase for a piece on Ascension Sunday. Had I not listened to Father John Paul Mary’s homily on the EWTN daily mass this past Thursday, the phrase would never have occurred to me. But the more I ponder the words of the priest, the more I understand. A brief aside-until the churches closed, neither my husband nor I had never participated in a television mass or heard of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. Now a day without these Friars and their sacraments […]
May 17, 2020

Health is Boring-Disease is Sexy: Lessons from the Media

“Health is boring, disease is sexy.” I said this to a CNN producer who was ‘vetting’ me to see if I’d be good fodder for a weekend interview. I’m a writer. Like most other writers, I want people to read what I write. Like most of us, I write about what interests me, often using my own experience and mistakes to help others think about . When I switched from non-fiction to fiction, I knew I needed help getting known therefore hired a publicist to promote my first novel. Because of my background and experience, the publicist achieved quite a media frenzy […]
May 10, 2020

The Passion of Patience

It’s a peculiar phrase: “the passion of patience.” Almost oxymoronic- in its combining the vigor of the heft-filled word passion with the passivity neutrality of patience, it was coined by Venerable Madeleine Debrel. A former atheist turned Catholic apologist who lived and died during the last century. Her poem The Passion of Patience begins with this searing line: The patiences, these little pieces of passion, whose job is to kill us slowly for your glory, to kill us without our glory… Debrel’s words apply a wholly different twist to that seemingly inert noun patience, don’t they? Especially during these fear-filled […]
May 3, 2020

Ever Think About Eden- Whether it was a real place?

Ever think about Eden-whether it was a real place? I do. Not daily but frequently enough that I write about it. And it is almost always at this time of the year, when I go outside to our gazebo and gaze at the stream pictured above. The stream in the middle of the desert. Ever think about Eden-whether it was a real place? Yes, of course, don’t you? Extraordinary creatures like these Western Tanagers and Bullock Orioles magically appear at the grape jelly and meal worm mixtures I have learned to offer each early spring. They are back!! The beauty […]
April 17, 2014

Holy Week In Half Moon Bay

The last couple of months  have been filled with difficulties-ranging from trivial to awful. And so we decided to spend Holy Week and Easter weekend down here. I was dreading yet another series of “firsts”; this RV suffused with memories of our boy, now gone, the 4 mile walk along the ocean that the boys and I took so many times while on holiday down here over the last several years. Both Shadow and I had lots of trouble last night with those parts of this RV that were Ally’s…I could see Shadow carefully avoiding them…tough to do in less […]
May 11, 2014

Deaths of Baby Oriole, Baby Lamb And Long Ago Friend

Of late, I have felt weighed down by death. Although acutely aware of how blessed I am with my health, that of my husband and close family, this sense of the immediacy of death began when I watched my Doberman drop dead 6 weeks ago and it has not gone away. These 3 recent deaths of last week could-perhaps should- be felt as trivial but they did not…do not. For the last few years, I have delighted in the numbers of glorious Bullock Orioles who inhabit our lives for these early spring months while they build their nests, gestate their […]
June 19, 2014

For The Love Of A Doberman

This past Monday morning, my friend and I got to Rosharon to meet Max. Rosharon, Texas is the home of Aeolus Dobermans and an almost 6 month old puppy Candace has named Max after our frequent talks after my Dobie boy Ally’s sudden death. Max is bigger than pictured here; he is, after all,  close to 6 months old now. He is a lot bigger than pictured here; legs long and gangly but that quintessential expression of Doberman intelligence and curiosity is, if anything, magnified. I had not seen Candace since I left Houston in November of 1995- it seems […]
October 8, 2014

Lessons In Handling Stress

Only I and Shadow, the mostly black and gold mellow looking guy lying down on the floor next to the Doberman, witnessed Ally’s sudden death-it took less than ten seconds. I have deduced, after obsessively pondering everything that took place that night, as well as a few of the signs that had presented themselves for the previous few months in the Dobie, that Ally died of a lethal cardiac arrhythmia – most likely ventricular tachycardia which devolved into ventricular fibrillation. Coming up with an explanation doesn’t change anything but strangely, it helps. It has taken most of all of these […]