Multiplying loaves and Fishes

The Gospel reading this past Sunday was about the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. I heard recently that for two-thousand years, theologians have gotten the story wrong. The modern interpretation is that the story is not about a miracle but about sharing. Supposedly, the Apostles asked the boy with the bread to share, and once he shared, everyone else decided to share, too. We’re now told that Jesus couldn’t really make five loaves and two fishes feed five-thousand people, and we should accept that this is just a nice story about the good side of humanity.

On Sunday, Father Michael gave us his own take on this story. He confirmed that it is about sharing, but not in the way that modernists believe. Jesus asked the Apostles where they could get food, and Andrew answered, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”(John 6:9). Jesus told the Apostles to share the boy’s food with the crowd, and miraculously, they had their fill and then “collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat” (John 6: 13). Father told us that God was able to perform this wonderful miracle because one little boy was willing to share all that he had.

Read more

Harvesting Love

There are few things our family enjoys more during the summer than crabbing in the rivers and creeks that extend from the great Chesapeake Bay like multiple fingers from a hand. These offshoots, consisting of salt, fresh, and brackish waters, are as much a part of Ken and me as the blood that runs through our veins. I come from a long line of watermen and boat builders dating back to the Ark and the Dove that landed on St. Clement’s Island in 1634. Much of my family history was woven into my book, The Devil’s Fortune. Ken began working as an apprentice on a crabbing boat when he was eleven and owned his own boat by the time he was fifteen. Our girls are water creatures, especially our youngest, a champion swimmer and proud holder of a boating license since she was twelve.

As much as our family enjoys crabbing together, what we enjoy even more is taking other people crabbing. There’s something about it that appeals to people on so many levels that it’s akin to a spiritual event. In fact, our former Associate Pastor, Father Olsen, summed it up best several years ago. After we went crabbing, steamed our catch, and sat down to eat, he said a blessing over the food. He thanked God for the experience of harvesting, cooking, and feasting on God’s earthly bounty. It was such a beautiful moment that I still think of it each time I sit down to eat our catch.

Read more

Models of Faith and Courage

I’ve written many times about my first trip to Israel and the friends I met on that trip who have become family. Since that trip in 2016, we’ve shared many happy times and some sad ones, always leaning on each other and witnessing to our faith. This week, we received the news that we lost a second pilgrim, and the Lord gained a new saint in Heaven. Just weeks after we returned from our sojourn, one of our most beloved pilgrims was killed in a plane crash. He was a veteran who continued to fly missions as a civilian bringing home POWs and MIAs. His loss came as a great shock to all of us. Just as sad, and initially shocking, was the very recent passing of a dear, sweet woman who has been battling cancer since our trip five years ago. The news came two night ago, and my friends and I are in the midst of sending flowers and planning our travel for the funeral that coincides with Hurricane Elsa. I’m sorry, Elsa, but you are no match for the strength of our Frances.

Frances’s passing comes at a unique time for me. My parents have always paid summer visits to our home, with the exception of 2020, and they have been here all week. What makes this trip unique is the duration of their stay. Rather than just a long weekend, they are spending an entire week with our family, and they brought my 15-year-old nephew with them to spend time with my girls. We’ve watched many classic movies that the kids haven’t seen, played cards and games, visited the local maritime museum where Morgan works, stopped into the shop where Katie works, and spent a fair amount of time on the boat. It’s been a wonderful week, and I’m sad to see it coming to a close. Mom and Dad will head home tomorrow night after my book launch, and I will head to Pennsylvania to stay the night with a friend before the two of us drive to New York for the funeral.

While I always enjoy every minute that I am blessed to spend with my parents, the coinciding of these two events gives new meaning to this precious time. We are not meant to waste a single minute of our lives or our time with our loved ones. Frances knew that. My parents know that. I pray that the rest of the my family knows that. Bickering and fighting and petty disagreements should never come between people who love each other, and every day should be faced with courage and strength, joy and peace. Frances taught me that. She taught all of us that.

Read more

Are You Seeking Adventure?

Earlier this morning, I read that spending trends among Americans are changing. Rather than buying things (which we all did a lot of over the past year), Americans are buying experiences (which we did very little of in 2020). People are realizing that they have enough stuff but not enough experiences. People are not only ready to get out of their house (and out of their pajamas and sweatpants) but to get out into the world.

I’m always amazed by those who have little but live a lot. By that, I mean those who sell everything and buy a sailboat or an RV and live life as one grand adventure. A few years ago, friends took their four small children (and I mean really small–ages 3-9) on a sailboat trip around the world for a year. I can’t even imagine that! Ken was enthralled and talks often about selling everything and living the rest of our lives visiting one campground after another.

Read more

The Great Adventure

Did you ever see the movie, Up? The movie is about Carl, a grumpy old man whose wife passes away before they do the last thing on their bucket list–visit Paradise Falls. Carl ties hot air balloons to his house in order to fly himself to South America to live out his last great adventure with his beloved Ellie on his mind and in his heart. There’s a lot more to the story, but Carl learns the beautiful message of the movie when he returns from his adventure, still not satisfied with the way his life has turned out. He sits in his chair and leafs through the photo album of his life with Ellie and realizes that their entire life, every single moment great and small, was an adventure.

The older I get, the more I realize that there are all kinds of adventures.

Read more

Beneath the Surface

Those who follow me on social media know that I’ve spent the past seven days at our family’s cabin the San Juan Range of the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Colorado. I’ve been enormously blessed to be able to share this majestic part of the world with eight other women from my tribe of women to whom I have become close since meeting in the Holy Land in 2016. Six of the women had to leave after five days, but two were able to stay a little longer and will return home later today. To say that a piece of my heart goes with each one of them is an understatement.

I learned so much about and from these women in just a few days, and the insights continue as the week goes on…

Read more

A Resurrection Feeling

Easer Eggs

Yesterday, I was talking to my friend and tour expert, Anne, about the upcoming pilgrimage I am planning to the Holy Land. We were exchanging stories of our Easter celebrations–mine here in Maryland and hers in New Jersey. Anne made the comment that “the entire day truly had a Resurrection feeling to it.”

Those words kept coming back to me over and over throughout the day.

A Resurrection feeling.

They took me back to this time last year, and I was amazed by how right Anne was. It is as if we have all experienced a true resurrection…

Read more

Make Your Sacrifice and Eat It, Too

Kneeling in Prayer

Here we are in the last week of Lent. It’s time to reflect on the past nearly forty days and examine how we did, not as an exercise of beating up oneself for our failures but in recognizing how far we have come. Have we grown spiritually? Have we gotten better at prayer? Have we grown closer to God? What sacrifices did we make, and how did they improve us?

Sacrifices come in many different forms. I’ve often wondered about those who forego chicken on Fridays but dine on lobster instead. I’m not judging. Perhaps they would rather be having chicken! Besides, in our house, Friday dinners during Lent consist of homemade crab cakes, but it’s not the crab cakes that I see as the sacrifice.

It’s everything that goes with them. Here’s what I mean…

Read more

Choosing Life Over Fear

Covid 19 is not your enemy, fear is. You will not die one day sooner or one day later than God has planned for you. But he did not create you to live in fear. The Bible says, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

I’ve written before about having faith in God rather than living your life in fear. It’s something that is often on my mind but especially so over the past year.

A few days ago, a friend posted this photograph with the caption,

Covid 19 is not your enemy, fear is. You will not die one day sooner or one day later than God has planned for you. But he did not create you to live in fear. The Bible says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

This truly spoke to me because this is how our family has chosen to live over the past year.

Read more

A Surprising Renewal

Our Colorado Kitchen

I’ve talked a lot in the past few weeks about renewal and new beginnings. We often think of springtime as the signature time of year for these new beginnings. Spring brings Easter and flowers and warmer days with shorter nights. Yet I have come to learn that we can witness renewals and new beginnings at any time of year, even in the cold days of winter.

For about sixteen years, our family has had a cabin in Colorado that we share with some family and friends. For about that long, Ken has wanted to visit the cabin in the winter, and I have said, absolutely not, no way, no how, I’m not interested. Well, this year, he somehow convinced me to make the trip, and here I sit, typing in my makeshift office–our kitchen table–with the warm, morning sun on my back.

Over the past few days, I’ve seen this beautiful part of the country in a whole new light…

Read more