This past Sunday, Catholics around the world heard the story of the Raising of Lazarus proclaimed by their priests or deacons. It’s a wonderful story, and there’s so much commentary out there that it’s easy to get lost in all the different explanations about what’s happening in the story. Besides my own priest’s homily, I listened to three other homilies, and enjoyed each of their takes on the meaning of Lazarus’s raising. All three priests paid a lot of attention to the shortest sentence in the entire Bible, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).
“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” – James Thurber
Isn’t that a great quote?
As a reader and a writer, I understand the need to have questions answered.
So Many Questions, so Few Answers!
We all begin reading a book with many questions. What is this about? Who are the characters? What will happen to them? What obstacles will they face and overcome? How will this end? At the end of the book, if it’s a book worth reading, those questions are all answered to a satisfying degree. Unless the story ends on a cliffhanger to be picked up in the next book, we are unsatisfied if we don’t have answers. We want and need more. We need all the answers.
Life is a journey on which we grow, learn, discover, and become. We begin that journey with many questions. Who am I? What is my purpose? What should I do? Where should I go? Where will I end up? The questions are large, small, simple, and complex; and often, the answers we discover lead to more questions. We long for answers and tidy endings, but life is not a book!Read more
On a cold day in 2018, my daughter asked me if she could write my blog that week. When she told me her idea about temporary people and why she wanted to write it, I was amazed by her insight, wisdom, and faith. I was even more amazed when I read her words. Many times over the past four years, I have thought back on this blog and the impact it had on me and others.
This Friday, the third book in my Buffalo Springs series will be released. Much of the story was inspired by my daughter’s blog. Throughout the story, the characters learn to embrace my daughter’s wisdom, and their lives are richer and more meaningful as a result.
In honor of the release of Sapphires in Snow, I’m re-sharing Rebecca’s blog. I know it will impact you as much as it did me. If you’re reading it for the second time, perhaps it will have an even deeper meaning for you today.
I hope you enjoy this beautiful blog written by my daughter, Rebecca:
When I was in first grade, my best friend was constantly bullied. She had a rare medical condition that made her an easy target for the kids in our class. They were horrible to her, but she taught me what it meant to be a true friend. She brought out something else in me that those other kids would try to take away, but that I would carry with me for the rest of my life. Eventually, we grew apart, and I haven’t spoken to her in years.
When I was in fourth grade, I was the one who was struggling. My teacher saw something in me and challenged me. He was one of those people who you knew you could trust immediately, and he was so kind to all of his students, regardless of their own imperfections. He showed me what a true role model looked like and made me feel like I could accomplish anything. Eventually, I left that school, and I haven’t seen him since.Read more
This past Sunday, the Gospel reading was the well-known story of Jesus’s dinner at the home of sisters, Martha and Mary, and the Lord’s advice to Martha about choosing the better part. On the way out of Mass, as I led my entourage of family and friends from the church, someone remarked to me that it looked like I could relate to the reading and the homily that weekend! I had been thinking the same thing as I sat in the pew with my husband, three daughters, my son-in-law, Katie’s boyfriend, two of Rebecca’s friends, Rebecca’s mother-in-law, and my bestie, Anne, from Illinois. These were just the last bit of people staying with us for Rebecca’s baby shower weekend.
Many know the story of Martha–cooking, cleaning, serving–and Mary, who quietly sits and listens to Jesus. Poor Martha, doing all the hard work and planning and then being admonished by the Lord for it! If only she could be more like her sister, Mary (how many siblings have heard that before?).
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
This story holds so many lessons for us, but the true meaning, the better part of the lesson, is lost on so many. It’s a lesson I often have to remind myself, including this past weekend…Read more
While Ken and I were in Colorado over the past few weeks, we had the opportunity to climb three of Colorado’s famous 14ers, the mountains that are over 14,000 feet high. This is something we always try to do, but it took me a long time to get to a physical and mental place of being able to summit. On our descent from Red Cloud and Sunshine Peaks last Thursday, I had a lot of time to think about all the lessons I’ve learned from climbing 14ers. I’ve come to understand that climbing a mountain is a beautiful metaphor for the climb we experience in life.
What I found so perfect about this metaphor and these lessons is that there are fourteen very distinct and important things I’ve learned from these treks up and back down the 14ers. They are vitally important in climbing geographical mountains and in climbing the ultimate mountain of life.Read more
“Isn’t it mysterious how so many wonderful things in life come to us seemingly without our planning? We start traveling down one street, and we find ourselves interested in something we never expected on a side street; and as we explore it, the side street becomes the main road for us.” – Fred Rogers
Don’t you love the wisdom of Mr. Rogers?
How often has this exact thing happened to you? I think it’s the story of my entire adult life!
It seems that my path has taken so many twists and turns and detours, I’m no longer surprised to see where I’m heading or when or where I will end up.
For example…Read more
It has started once again. The talk about guns and gun control, and the question about whether it’s guns that kill or people that kill, are the topics that plague us over and over in this country. They’re good questions, necessary questions. But the real question we should all be asking is, WHY? What are we missing? What are we not doing? How are we not meeting the needs of others on such a basic level that they feel their only recourse is to mow down innocent people? What can we do to actually, truly, permanently fix this?
There’s a general feeling of dissatisfaction among Americans that goes so deep, it’s becoming imprinted on our souls.
Listening to Bishop Robert Barron this morning, I was struck by something he said. He talked about how we steer our children to be athletes or musicians or any given state of excellence, and we do anything and everything to get the child moving in that direction. He wasn’t saying this as a criticism but as an example of how we get a person to achieve something or be a certain way.
Why don’t we steer our children toward kindness? Toward loving their neighbors? Toward looking out for one another? If we can create in a child the ability to become a star athlete, then why can’t we create in that same child the ability to care for others?Read more
Shortly before the pandemic, I started doing my daily exercise routines at home instead of going to the Y. It works better with my schedule and saves me time on the road. I’ve bounced around between several different workout videos online, and they’ve all been good, but none of them made me excited about exercising. Not long ago, though, I stumbled upon Daniel from Australia, and my exercise life and outlook have changed dramatically. He and his wife, Alex, have an online program called Team Body Project, and it has allowed me to actually enjoy exercising for the first time in years!
I’m not telling you this so that you run out and exercise or join TBP. What I really want to do here is share something Daniel says in almost every video. During the workout, he constantly reminds the participants that all that matters is giving your best all day long and then waking up the next day and giving your best again.
Yes, we’ve all heard some version of this before, but for some reason, this time, it really struck me.Read more
How many minutes of my day do I spend looking out these windows?
I can’t even begin to guess.
Sometimes, I see exactly what is out there beyond the window panes–trees, the grassy (or this of year, not so grassy) yard, the driveway. I often look out to see the UPS or FedEx truck pulling up to the house. Now and then, I’ll see a herd of deer or a family of squirrels.
Other times, I don’t see any of that. I see the island of Chincoteague, where several of my books take place, or the Italian vineyard in Whispering Vines, or my Buffalo Springs setting in the Ozark Mountains. Whatever book I’m working on, I can envision the scenes outside those windows like the setting of a play. The actors move about before my eyes and tell the tale that my fingers tap out on the keys.Read more
Many (many) years ago, I graduated from college, Magna Cum Laude. It was something I really should have been very proud of. I should have been happy that I attended college, graduated with honors, graduated at all. As one of only a few people in my family who had gone to college at that time, I should have given myself some credit. Instead, I celebrated with a smile on my face and bitterness in my heart.
You see, I am ashamed to say that I felt robbed. My GPA was 3.49. A 3.5 would have earned me Summa Cum Laude, and I was really angry with the school for not bumping me up to, what I felt, was a much deserved ranking. I worked really hard to get those grades. I went to school full-time for four years holding a double major in very demanding studies (history and political science) with an even more demanding concentration (American military experience). I worked full-time for the last two years I was in school, taking every shift I could, waitressing at busy restaurants all day or late into the night, weekdays and weekends. I wrote four major thesis papers, for crying out loud!
I was really angry with the school, but I was more angry with myself. Why hadn’t I pushed just a little harder? Why had I taken the research paper-only option (no exams – just a 50 page paper) for the toughest professor? Why hadn’t I skipped a few social gatherings and stayed home to study instead?
These questions plagued me for days, until…Read more