From Trash to Treasure

It’s that time of year when there is a yard sale dotting every development, when people have cleaned out their trash and are marketing it for whatever they can get, when the hunt for a bargain really kicks in. A few years ago, our family had a yard sale at my mother-in-law’s house. I did my best to avoid coming […]

An Alternative to Being Busy

Am I busier… …than the third world woman who has no electricity and has to walk miles for a five-gallon bucket of water? …than the grandma who’s watching her grandkids, managing bills, and still getting dinner? …than any priest I’ve ever met or worked for? My list goes on. And on. And ON! The answer is…I don’t know. But I can’t […]

Turning to Mary in Pain: Our Lady of the Snows

"The Piazza and Church of Santa Maria Maggiore" by Giovanni Paolo Pannini

It was a special Christmas.  Our family, who lived fifteen hundred miles away, was coming to visit, and our almost-three-year-old daughter was beside herself.  Santa took a back seat to her cousins, and with good reason. We used the week together to make many memories and take hundreds of pictures.  I remember the look of wonder on my nine-year-old niece’s face […]

La Negrita, Costa Rica’s Our Lady of Angels

Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles

I don’t remember who it was who encouraged me to start talking to my guardian angel.  It was certainly after I became Catholic, because prior to that I would have laughed out loud in the face of such a blatant absurdity.  The only reason I was open to this idea of talking to my angel was because of a book […]

Cowgirl Mary, Complete with a Great Hat

Our Lady of Consolation (cropped) -- By Ramon FVelasquez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

When we first decided to take our oldest daughter to a nearby horse farm for a pony ride, we were both thinking it would just be a fun way to pass an afternoon.  We had no idea that it would bring us closer together as a couple, that it would turn into a destination for so many afternoons.  We would […]

Humility in the Dirt with Our Lady of Mount Carmel

"Our Lady of Carmel" (detail including Sts Teresa of Avila and Simon Stock) by Pietro Novelli

I think Mary must have been a gardener, and not just because it seems like a thrifty use of her first century time. I imagine her kneeling down, maybe using an old cloth to cushion her knees, and getting dirt under her fingernails. I think of her as a gardner throughout our human history too. A little trouble in France? […]

Hope for the World: Our Lady of Covadonga

"The Holy Cave" where Our Lady of Covadonga appeared to Pelayo

I never used to like history.  Then one of my best friends introduced my husband to a book that was more story than history book.  My husband read it in record time, which was remarkable given his limited reading time and his tendency not to read for pleasure.  On the other hand, I am a bookworm of addictive proportions.  My […]

Spiritual Lessons from Gardening

There’s nothing like playing in the dirt to give me some perspective. I suppose I should call it “gardening,” and not let on that I’m still a beginner when it comes to the flowering plants and vegetables that dot the grounds around my house.  The truth is, though, that I really use it for therapy.  I guess that explains the […]

Making the Case for Confession

Confessionals

Things were getting out of hand. I let them get that way, and it was time to do something about it. So I did what I often do; I called my mother-in-law. “Can you watch the kids for an hour or so? I need to go to confession.” She agreed, because she’s wonderful that way. And then she said something […]

The Joy of Difficult People… Really

No sooner do I get my tendency to slip out with a word that I shouldn’t say under control than the Difficult People seem to crawl right out of the woodwork of my life. Now, I want to make one thing clear: I’m as difficult as any Difficult Person who comes my way. Thanks for asking, because I like my […]