We just got back from a lovely trip to Scotland, and while I have hundreds of pictures that might fit this week’s challenge, shine, I picked this one because of the lens flare.
When folks heard we were headed to the Orkney Islands and then Skye, we got some sympathetic looks, like, gee, hope the weather holds out. Boy, did it! We had such beautiful sunshine through the trip north that I just started to embrace the lens flares rather than try to work around it.
This picture is from one of my favorite days when we hiked up to see the Tomb of the Eagles. It was a glorious day best expressed with the warmth of the sun. I don’t think it ruined the picture at all. It certainly made the day.Read More
I’ve been looking forward to Walk in Her Sandals ever since I read Stephanie Landsem’s biblical fiction series The Living Water. I was so excited to tell the editor, Kelly Wahlquist, (founder of WINE: Women In the New Evangelization), a couple of months ago. In fact, I “borrowed” her advance reading copy of the book to skim through it when we were both speaking at a women’s conference.
I knew I’d love the book, and I think you will, too. It’s part fiction, part retreat, part guided meditation as some of the most gifted Catholic women writers contribute their insight and inspiration to a truly unique book.
Imagine stepping back in time to Holy Week, Easter, and Pentecost and living the experience through Landsem’s fiction, plus teachings on the feminine genius from Pat Gohn, reflections from Lisa Hendey, Teresa Tomeo, Laura Sobiech, Kitty Cleveland, and others. You’ll read and meditate on scripture, ponder questions, and have an opportunity to follow suggestions for living the walk today by actively engaging in the New Evangelization.
It’s a wonderful book to read now, but I know I’ll take it out again during Lent in preparation for Holy Week.Read More
I’ve never felt more convicted by St. Teresa of Avila’s words than now, when I’ve taken a long hiatus from writing, and find myself facing a deadline. “It is time to walk,” or as I first saw that statement in Spanish, “Ya es tiempo de caminar.”
In other words, get to it.
The context isn’t quite right — she was on her death bed and was talking to Jesus. I’m not on my death bed, though it is a small death to face the blank page if you’re a writer.
Anyway, today on the feast of St. Teresa I am reminded that I need to get moving — get the manuscript finished, but more than that, get myself together and live this pilgrim life.
I just got back from a month-long tour of Scotland. My husband and I took off to enjoy a slow journey around the country — a bucket list vacation where we took our time and saw the beautiful countryside. I expected lots of ruins and monuments, and got plenty of them. I crawled through the cavern to the Tomb of the Eagles and climbed the 246 steps of the Wallace Monument. What I didn’t expect was a pilgrimage featuring some of my favorite saints. I’ll write more about that in the coming days.
The last leg of our trip was in London. We spent a few days in the city, resting, before flying out of Heathrow. Although we had seen many majestic cathedrals, we attended Mass in modern churches since the cathedrals were now Church of Scotland. Finally in London, we looked online for a place to attend Mass on our last Sunday. Mr. Google kindly suggested the London Oratory, which was just minutes away from our hotel in South Kensington.
It was one of the most beautiful Masses I’ve attended in a long time. Maybe it was the beauty of the church, Immaculate Heart of Mary, or maybe it was finding myself in a holy place after chasing so many pagan ruins. I felt at home, surrounded by my favorite saints, Saints who have been in my life recently because of some writing projects. St. Philip Neri has been a long-time favorite, and the church, of course, is part of the St. Philip Oratory, which is sometimes called the Brompton Oratory although its proper name is the London Oratory. Take a tour here!
Though I’d spent a month in tourist mode taking hundreds of photos, I took only a few here. I was there for Mass, not sight-seeing, but I did take a couple of pictures. As soon as I walked in, my eyes were drawn to the altar on my right –I couldn’t help the smile that bubbled up, as I realized it’s the St. Mary Magdalene altar. I’m currently writing about Mary Magdalene, so I walked over for a brief prayer. There, the natural light illuminated a stature of St. Teresa, pen poised, book open.
Hi, old friend, I whispered.
Start walking, she responded.
Good ole St. Teresa. She doesn’t mince words with me. There’s no getting away from her eagle eye ever since I commended myself to her patronage. That’s a good thing, because I need a firm hand. I understood her — I need to get to work on the manuscript, but more than that, I need to get walking with the Lord. He has laid out a path for me, and I will follow it, joyfully!
We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can – namely, surrender our will and fulfill God’s will in us.
Happy Feast of St. Teresa of Avila!Read More
I picked up Matthew Archbold’s book, Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage with the intention of reading about Mother Antonia Brenner, who was featured in my own book last year and continues to fascinate me. My intention with this kind of book was to read around the chapters, reading one story today, maybe another tomorrow. I thought it would be a good bedstand book.
It didn’t happen that way. As I was flipping through the pages my eye caught Lauren Hill’s name. If you don’t know who she is, get the book today and turn to chapter six. Do it.
Lauren is my hero. We both loved basketball. We both longed to play in college. She got her dream.
You might remember seeing something in the news about this courageous young woman sometime last year. She was the high school basketball player diagnosed with cancer. When her condition worsened, the head basketball coach at Mount St. Joseph’s University arranged it for Lauren to achieve her dream and play basketball in college.
I wept. Her story is remarkable — and not because she achieved her dream. What a courageous young woman, to turn the disease, and the granting of her wish, into an opportunity to raise awareness and research funds for this childhood disease.
I was drawn to the story because college basketball was once my dream. But then, I was moved by Lauren’s trust in God that her life, however short, had a purpose for education and inspiration.
This is just one of many examples of lives lived courageously for the Glory of God’s Kingdom. You can savor it, one story at a time, or you can gobble it up like I did, and read it in two or three evenings. You’ll be inspired.
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Servant (July 29, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
I’m back again in the book review mode, and it’s a pleasure to share this one with you because, guess what? I share a few reflections with you in this book, and I’m honored to be in the company of some stellar catechists and writers such as Danielle Bean, Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle, Sonja Corbitt, Elizabeth Ficocelli, Allison Gingras, Pat Gohn, Lisa Mladinich, Elizabeth Scalia, and Carolyn Woo, Mark Hart, and Jeff Young!
What a pleasure to be working with anything that Lisa Hendey and Sarah Reinhard produce…this is truly a gift for moms in any season…whether you’re dashing out the door to get the kids to school on your way to work, or staying up waiting for a teen to get home…or like me, praying for kids launched and in the world of work and new relationships. There’s something for everyone here.
I know this is going to be a part of my mornings, but it can fit anywhere in the day. The point is, as moms, we pray. We pray a lot — and this little companion has reflections to lift us up, console us, amuse us, and help us develop a habit of daily prayer. It’s like having a girl friend along to pray. Unless you’re one of the guys writing the reflection, then it’s like…no…it’s not like having your boyfriend along, but it is great to have a dad’s perspective every once in a while, too.
Order a few copies…one for yourself, and a couple to share with sisters or friends.