Archive for July, 2013

writingBreaking the Silence: Recognizing God’s Grace

On September 14, from 9 am until noon in my parish hall, I will lead a workshop supported by our pastor, entitled “Stories of Faith.”

What do we hope to accomplish with this?

We’d like to uncover some of the wonderful stories from Saint Columba parishioners about the presence of God in their lives—specific times when a parishioner felt most led, or protected, or comforted by their faith in God. On the other hand, there may have been situations in which some parishioners felt the lack of God. So this will also be a very personal opportunity to understand and consider reasons why they felt alone. (more…)

The Whole and Its Parts

Posted: July 31, 2013 in World On The Edge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy husband and I once stopped at an overlook on The Blue Ridge Parkway. It was Fall, so the mountains beyond us were blazing with color; every shade of red, orange, and yellow. To the side of the overlook, we noticed a little-worn path that led into the woods below. We took it.

Step by step we went down into an odd, emerald-colored shade, almost as if we had descended into a different season. There, we found a stream running between fat tree trunks and meandering down and around small rises in the earth. (more…)

Shoot Again?

Posted: July 29, 2013 in World On The Edge

shoot again




Here’s how singer/songwriter KT Oslin put those traits to music:

“Come next Monday
I’m goin’ to bed early
I won’t talk dirty for a week or two
Goin’ on a diet
Just like sugar, honey
Come next Monday
I’m gonna give up on you! (more…)

Tied to the Past

Posted: July 26, 2013 in World On The Edge

elephant foot Forgiveness is a spiritual work of mercy, but some people won’t do it. You can apologize to them for a wrong you may have done, you can bake them a cake, take them a meal, pay their bills, or keep their children. Oh yes, they’ll let you do all that. But they won’t forgive you. They don’t seem able to let go of the past.
Why is the past– especially one that’s not so rosy– important to them? What attracts them to the role of forever playing a victim? Like the elephant who never forgot an injury, they are tied past grievances. (more…)

talkingA Threshold Conversation


I think I’m so fortunate to live where I do, in a place that often discusses God. There’s no ‘hush, hush’ about speaking the name of Jesus Christ, no hesitance to ‘give God the Glory,’—a phrase often used by local Protestants. I don’t mean in church either. I mean in the grocery store, the Mall, or the dentist’s office. If you want to talk about God, you just do it. If there’s a silence here, it doesn’t come from most Protestants.

However, many Protestants here still have reservations about Catholics, so in a Threshold Conversation with Protestants, a Catholic should stress the beliefs we agree on, not the beliefs in which we don’t agree.

In my local Catholic church, there are two basic groups of Catholics: those who have been transplanted here, and those who are native Southerners. The first group is varied within itself, because our parish is solidly multi-cultural with Asian, African American, Hispanic, and other parishioners from all over the USA. The second group, native Southerners, is now probably the minority. (more…)

Spider Webs

Posted: July 24, 2013 in World On The Edge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne year in the Fall, my husband and I sat on our boat dock when the moon was at its fullest, its reflection floating on the dark surface of the lake like pieces of a silver puzzle.

On both ends of the dock, where posts held up the metal roof, were spider webs lit up by the moonlight. One of the webs was strong, but delicate-looking, and classically precise; an ever growing circle, attached symmetrically by what must have been a ‘craftsman’ spider. The web was beautiful, in fact, it was perfect.

The other was a ramshackle sort of web, attached in a haphazard way to the post, almost like the run-down house of a derelict drug dealer. Loose strands hung from it, and there was no discernible circle to the web at all. (more…)


Posted: July 23, 2013 in World On The Edge

stacey's Destin sunsetWe rarely pay attention to the plain and simple things in our world. We notice the flamboyant, the extravagant. Who would not notice a sunset such as this? “Wow! How beautiful!” we might say.

Yet the smallest of particles are responsible for the stunning sunset. You might say they are responsible for its performance. These tiny molecules change the direction of light, causing it to scatter, resulting in the brilliant show of color. The value of the sunset, like the value of a person, is found within. But when we look at either of them, we don’t consider what’s ‘behind the scene.’ (more…)

Tomatoes and Bananas

Posted: July 22, 2013 in World On The Edge


On my kitchen counter is a stone bowl on a stem–a fruit and vegetable compote that once belonged to my mother, and her mother before her. In it, I keep bananas and tomatoes, same as my mother did.

Some of the tomatoes are still green when I put them in the bowl, but that’s okay because the bananas have a way of ripening them. My mother likened it to friendship and love. “One ripens first and then helps the other along.”


And like her, I cannot waste the uneaten bananas. I simply cannot bring myself to discard a banana only because it’s past its prime for peeling and eating. I have to make something else out of it. Banana nut bread, muffins, cake—something!

Naturally, my children always liked this family quirk, when an aging fruit they might have discarded is changed into something fresh, new–and edible. (more…)


Posted: July 19, 2013 in World On The Edge

Sometimes we know a thing best when we understand its opposite.  Joy and grief.  Pleasure and pain. Serenity and anger.

Grief, pain and anger–we don’t search for those things.

Joy, pleasure and serenity–these are the things we want.

And we know that we want them because we’ve experienced their opposites. Because life is difficult. Life is a struggle for every human being. It comes with thorns.

We grieve over a loss. We feel pain in distress or disease. We are angry when someone betrays us. And we hate the loss, the distress, the betrayal. Because hatred is as much a part of humanity as is its opposite, love.  (more…)

Get Mad

Posted: July 18, 2013 in World On The Edge

A three year old boy playing with matches accidentally lets a match fall near the hem of his mother’s living room drapery. But she’s calling him from the kitchen to come eat his dinner.

On his way out, the boy glances at the drapery and sees a tiny smoldering hole, growing wider. Still, mother is calling him to come, “Right now!”

And he’s thinking, “She told me not to play with matches. She’ll be mad.”

So he walks out of the living room, closing the door behind him as if that will get rid of the problem.   (more…)