Blog

March 15, 2020

Knowledge: The More The Better, Right?

Knowledge: The More the Better, Right? It’s a simple question. Until you think about yesterday…and this last week. And all that you now know about the state of the world, spread of the new virus and standings of your favorite candidate in the Democratic primaries. Maybe you are no longer sure that more knowledge and more learning are always good and useful. In fact, perhaps you are becoming aware of the need to manage knowledge. Strange phrase isn’t it? More on that in just a bit. Like many of us insatiably curious humans, knowledge-wisdom- was something I pursued with a […]
March 8, 2020

Buck plus Harrison Ford- What else is necessary?

Remember Jack London’s The Call of the Wild? Most of us read it in junior high or somewhere around there. And many of us can recall vividly the tears evoked by London’s lyrically, evocative prose from his 1903 novel, The Call of the Wild: “With the aurora borealis flaming coldly overhead, or the stars leaping in the frost dance, and the land numb and frozen under its pall of snow, this song of the huskies might have been the defiance of life, only it was pitched in minor key, with long-drawn wailings and half-sobs, and was more the pleading of […]
March 1, 2020

My Name is Saul is Done!

My Name of Saul is done Finally, your first or maybe fifth book is done. All that work, concentration and discipline over, done! For a time we feel exhilaration, relief and pride. But only for a while. Maybe it will be weeks, days or merely hours but inevitably, we’ll hear that voice, “Now what? It’s Done, Now What? I wrote those words four years ago. And smile as I read them again because this time those lovely feelings of relief and exhilaration came and went so quickly that I barely knew they were there. True because of the challenges looming […]
February 23, 2020

Belief is Not Enough: The Awful Power and Weakness of God

Belief is not enough: the awful power and weakness of God. “This commandment, that we should love our enemies and forgo revenge will grow even more urgent in the holy struggle which lies before us and in which we partly have already been engaged for years. In it love and hate engage in mortal combat. It is the urgent duty of every Christian soul to prepare itself for it. The time is coming when the confession of the living God will incur not only the hatred and the fury of the world, for on the whole it has come to […]
February 16, 2020

Only Those Who Obey Can Believe-The Cost of Discipleship

Only those who obey can believe. After completing Eric Metaxas’ splendid biography of the German founder of the German Confessing Church, Spy and Martyr, Bonhoeffer, I needed to understand more about this man who understood Christianity in a way that few of us do. To do so, I bought and read Bonheffer’s, book, The Cost of Discipleship. Since writing almost always helps me better understand complicated questions-like these of faith- I wrote an article called Cheap Grace vs Costly Grace several years ago. And thought I had understood this brief, dense book which was written during the shockingly few years […]
February 9, 2020

Taming Our Mammoth- Or Finding Our Authentic Selves

Taming your mammoth…or finding our authentic selves Months ago, when I first read Tim Urban’s funny and whimsically illustrated article, Taming the Mammoth, I was so intrigued by the illustrations and lighthearted banter in his quirky waitbutwhy.com website, that I decided to do a post on his essay. Thus the super cute image of the caveman taming his mammoth. Keeping it for a time when I needed content… like now. Here is Urban’s list of the primary obstacles implicit in finding our authentic selves: Our desire to conform, belong and follow was once an evolutionary adaptation in a culture requiring […]
February 2, 2020

Do You Mind if I Boast About I, Claudia?

Do You Mind if I boast about I, Claudia? Late last February, Amy Lignor of Feathered Quill wrote this in her review of I, Claudia: For anyone looking for one of those easy, cozy reads, this is not it. For someone who is looking for a fantastic plot of the ancient world filled with suspense, romance, and history, this is definitely the book you want. Not only is this a well-researched book that allows the reader to actually feel as if they are walking the streets in Judea and living within this realm, it’s also a book that does not […]
January 26, 2020

How Is Your Heart Doing?

Muslim cultures have an intriguing way of greeting one another: How is your heart doing? The English translation to the Persian greeting, “Hello, how are you?” is “How is your heart doing at this very moment? At this very breath?” Head of Islamic Studies Omad Safi suggests that is what we mean when we say “How are you?” We mean to ask, “How is your heart?” I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. […]
January 19, 2020

The Golden Globes and The New/Old War

It’s been two weeks and yet I am still thinking about Sunday evening’s Golden Globes and the New/Old War. Because I wanted to see the winner of the Best Picture, I turned it on in time to watch Ellen DeGeneres speak about receiving the Carol Burnett award. The award was created last year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association last year to celebrate “outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen…in celebration of the medium’s ” Golden Age.” The comedienne was understandably overjoyed at the kudos: “From her sitcoms, to stand-up, to becoming a household staple on daytime television, […]
January 12, 2020

Stability

Stability: It’s an interesting noun- the meaning of which became radically different for me once I became a Benedictine Oblate. Many lifetimes ago, I used it to refer to critically ill patients, but as as an  adverb upon naming all the physiologic parameters used to measure the cardiac and pulmonary status of patients, “He’s been stable for the last hour…”. I encountered it anew as a Benedictine Oblate: stability is one of the three promises an Oblate makes upon making her oblation. Stability of Heart – This promise expresses the oblate’s commitment to a particular monastic community. Stability of heart reaffirms […]
January 5, 2020

Stillness Is the Key- Reflections on Ryan Holiday’s Book

Stillness Is The Key is the title of an excellent book by Ryan Holiday. This quote is an example of the deceptively simple wisdom contained in it: The world is like muddy water. To see through it, we have to let things settle. We can’t be disturbed by initial appearances, and if we are patient and still, the truth will be revealed to us. Holiday, Ryan. Stillness Is the Key (p. 47). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. I say deceptively simple because the author’s words sound almost banal…if we are patient and still…the too simple words make it sound easily […]
December 29, 2019

Wonder: It’s Essential Place in Our Hearts

Wonder: It’s essential place in our hearts There was a time when I had this memorized, the words represented truth to my 20 something atheist’s heart, immersed and lost in the sea of the thoughts of others. Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. […]
December 22, 2019

She Was Found With Child

Mary was found with child Now the generation of Christ was in this way. When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child, of the Holy Ghost. Whereupon Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing publicly to expose her, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared to him in his sleep, saying: Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of […]
December 15, 2019

What Should We Do?

“What should we do? John the Baptist said to them in reply,“Whoever has two cloaksshould share with the person who has none.And whoever has food should do likewise…. Now the people were filled with expectation,and all were asking in their heartswhether John might be the Christ.John answered them all, saying,“I am baptizing you with water,but one mightier than I is coming…” Discriminating among all the conflicting voices clamoring in our ears and competing for our attention is almost impossible. Politicians and newscasters claim unique access to the truth while expressing opinions which sound distressingly similar to one another. In an […]
December 8, 2019

The Shaking Reality of Advent

The shaking reality of Advent Amidst the Hallmark Christmas movies, red bows, tinsel, parties, Christmas music and ubiquitous political clamor, lurks a presence. A whisper deep in our hearts, in our psyches and in our souls. The phrase “the shaking reality of Advent” is not mine, but belongs to Jesuit Priest and martyr, Alfred Delp. A man who chose not to close his eyes to the growing evil around him, Father Delp was the Rector of St. Georg Church in Munich and an outspoken critic of the Nazi regime. Falsely accused of conspiring against Hitler, Fr. Delp was arrested in […]
December 1, 2019

The Civil War and Thanksgiving

The Civil War and Thanksgiving The history of this quintessentially American holiday provokes and challenges each year when I take time to ponder this oxymoron: The civil war and thanksgiving. Can anyone think of a less opportune time to declare a national holiday than in the middle of a war? Specifically a war between Americans? A war with twice the number of total US deaths than in the Vietnam war? Over 40% of the population? And yet, that is precisely what President Abraham Lincoln did. His words are sobering, even awe inspiring: October 3, 1863 By the President of the […]
November 24, 2019

Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King is my favorite Feast day of the Christian liturgy. Why? We live in a culture which is saturated with hero worship. Whether an athlete, movie star or a comic book character come to life in a film, the list of potential men and women to adore is a lengthy one. In a post a few years ago, I wrote, We have all spent time doing it: Looking for heroes in all the wrong places. Our movies and music reflect and sometimes magnify that desire to find someone who is an authentic hero. While watching […]
November 17, 2019

Can we handle freedom?

The question, “can we handle freedom?”, is not mine. Instead, it is taken from a quite remarkable speech by the current Attorney General William Barr given at Notre Dame Law School last month. While reading the speech the first time, I found it eloquent, stirring and an insightful description of America in 2019. And overlooked the import of the question. But no more. I have reread Barr’s speech six times because of the uproar it has caused among a variety of savants. Each time I did so, I became even more astounded by the virulence of the hyperbole among the […]
November 10, 2019

November: The Month of the Dead

November: The Month of the Dead Each of the first eight days of November, my husband John and I find a local cemetery and then walk through the tombstones while saying prayers for those who are buried there. Morbid? Bizarre? Or practical? Whether we know it or not, we are all-immortal souls- headed somewhere after we die.  I had never thought of the souls in Purgatory as my brothers and sisters until we happened to be in Half Moon Bay during the first week of November a few years ago. One of the 3 priests there at the Catholic Church […]
November 3, 2019

Leave, Herod Wants to Kill You-Constipated Grace

Leave, Herod wants to kill you. In the Christian liturgy for the thirty-first of October, some of the Pharisees approach Jesus to tell him to leave Jerusalem …”Leave, Herod wants to kill you.” “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I accomplish my purpose. Yet I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day, for it is impossible that a prophet should die outside of Jerusalem.’ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times […]
October 27, 2019

Saul- A Man For Our Times

Saul- a man for our times Around mid-day yesterday, I finished the first iteration of my newest novel, My Name is Saul. When I got to ‘Acknowledgements and Author’s notes, I short-handed my comments and merely wrote that if I began to write honestly about how it felt to insinuate myself into this man, I would never stop writing and went ahead to send to my four readers. The first step in the long process of publishing the book. And then sat there wondering what to do with myself for the remainder of the day. I have learned not to […]
September 24, 2017

In Praise of Procrastination, Doubt, Missing Deadlines

In praise of procrastination and doubt? Really? I met a neighbor while coming back from my daily walk with my dogs the other day. Although we live very close to one another, we see one another rarely, just when I happen to be walking by. She was delighted when I asked about her ten day Franciscan retreat several months before. After about fifteen minutes of excitedly exclaiming about the great gains she was making in her spiritual life, she interrupted herself to ask how my writing was going. Explaining that the first draft of my current novel will be done […]
October 22, 2017

Our Culture of Superlatives: Do Our Words Matter?

Culture of superlatives: What does that mean, exactly? Recently, I’ve become aware of my tendency to use superlatives both in my writing and in speaking. Consequently, I’ve been thinking a lot about word selection, both mine and that of others. The fourth in the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series, Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath is done. And is currently being read and edited by five, soon to be six people. Always a humbling and often tedious process. No longer a novice at writing fiction, I’ve learned to reign in my use of unnecessary words, often, but not always, adjectives. […]
October 29, 2017

Writing- Why Do We Do It?

Writing- why do we do it? The first draft of my fourth novel is done. And is now with the editor. I have time now, time I’ve not had for many months. A break until the work of revisions begins again. Reflecting about writing- why do we do it? works for this week’s post because increasingly it feels like everyone has, or wants to, written a book. No big surprise as many of the former obstacles to writing and publishing a book are gone. More and more frequently, new or aspiring authors ask for a review or explain how to […]
November 5, 2017

Echoes of Eden: Origin of the Gender Wars and A Novel Called Havah

Ever heard the echoes of Eden? That place of perfection where peace reigns? Not actually sounds, more like the absence of them. As if you are one with the universe, suddenly all things feel connected to everything else. A complete whole with you exactly where you should be. During the many years I lived far away from God and His Laws, I considered the Bible fantasy. The stuff of fairy tales. Pretending that I’d not sensed the echoes of Eden, had not stood alone in a wintry ski trail in awe of an immensity of being that I could touch. […]