bells ring for “bread of salvation”

Posted by on Jul 2, 2017 in good for the soul | Comments Off on bells ring for “bread of salvation”

Bells ring at our little church several times a day. I’ve recently posted about the Angelus bells and alluded to other bells as well. We hear them all, and each round of tolling means something special. I already spoke about the Angelus, but the bells toll before Mass, too. And then, in a grand surprise that reminds me of my experience in Cuba, the bells also toll during the Consecration. We always stop what we’re doing when we hear that round, and send up a brief prayer of thanksgiving. It really is something special to not only hear those bells, but know what they mean.

This morning, as I was having my coffee, I heard the bells on the heels of reading a beautiful quote from St. John XXIII, and thought I’d pass it along for you. It’s the perfect reflection for today.

May your sacrament, O Jesus, be light to the mind, strength to the will, joy to the heart. May it be the support of the weak, the comfort of the suffering, the wayfaring bread of salvation for the dying and for all the pledge of future glory. Pope John XXIII (1881-1963)

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anniversaries and gratefultweets

Posted by on Jun 26, 2017 in good for the soul | 13 comments



Anniversaries are often times for reflection. A year ago this weekend we moved into our new home in the gulf coast. It coincided with the homecoming celebration and picnic at the little Creole church that is now our parish. Although the actual date was a couple of days ago, the homecoming carries much more meaning for me. It was, and is, a homecoming of sorts for us, too.

We constructed our new house, so my husband and I were living apart for a few months, he to supervise the build from a borrowed RV, and me in our old home as I finished out my contract. We moved in as the tents were going up on the church lawn. John had already made a few acquaintances and was volunteering. I sold and signed a few books as part of our sponsorship of the event.

A year later, and oh what a year, I’m feeling a part of this community. I’m at home here, and it’s a lovely gift.

abbeyI knew I would miss my afternoons at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, and wondered if I could ever find my peaceful spot here. All I need to do is stand at my kitchen window or step outside onto our porch and look at the bay. A bay, I discovered, named the Bay of the Holy Spirit, la bahía del Espíritu Santo, by the Spanish explorers in the 1500s

Here I was, pining for the Holy Spirit. Silly me. I missed my blue-lit abbey; I got a blue expanse of sea and sky, and a continuous breeze from the water reminding me that God is here, surrounding me, lifting me, inside me, above me.

sunriseEvery sunrise reminds me of this truth, that God is with us. I should know this, right? God is always present, whether we acknowledge this or not, but at this time in our lives, when the days could be dark and hopeless, I am acutely aware that he has brought us here to this place in the sun.


Some years ago, years — wow–Matt Swaim started this #gratefultweet thing. Fr. Kyle Schnippel further explained it, and I picked up the habit of tweeting with gratitude instead of vitriol. I don’t think I’ve made social media any happier, but I can say that starting the day with a grateful heart has had an impact in my life. Every day is a gift. Every morning, when John and I survey our little piece of the bay as the sun comes up, we spontaneously offer a prayer of thanksgiving.

The birds are up at that hour, chirping away. If I’m paying attention, I see the dolphins swimming up to where the river empties into the bay, in search of breakfast no doubt. The osprey family that has nested next door goes out hunting. And I check out the yard for box turtles before sending Otis out. It seems they’ve found our little corner of paradise, too.


Sometimes I feel like I’m killing my followers with the daily views of sunrises, but each one is different, unique in special ways, like all of us! You can follow my #gratefultweets @bego.



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The Angelus: Called to Prayer

Posted by on Jun 19, 2017 in reviews | 2 comments

prayMary has been reminding me to share my love of the Angelus. Two recent encounters with women who heard the Angelus bells in my community became opportunities to evangelize to one, and to pray with the other. It was a blessing in the middle of our days.

Jared Dees wrote a beautiful book, Praying the Angelus, that not only introduces us to the Angelus and its history, including an explanation for the ringing of the bells, but provides a section of meditations. This has taken me deeper into prayer. I usually pray the morning prayer from my bed (yes, I am, in fact, awakened by the Angelus bells instead of a shrieking alarm); the noon prayer lends itself to a break, which includes a longer time for the meditations.

Years ago I picked up this devotion because I thought it was short and easy to keep up with. Um. Ok. I mean, it is short, and prayed three times a day at set times (6 AM, noon, 6 PM), but the real challenge isn’t memorizing the brief prayers, it’s in remembering to pray them at the set times.

Ah, discipline. I am so weak. And the Lord is so merciful.

You see, I live next to a church that reminds me to pray the Angelus. The bells ring three times a day for the Angelus, plus the other times when they ring for Mass. They also ring the bells during the consecration. It is a glorious sound; to be called to prayer is a beautiful thing. Listen.

I encourage you to pick up this easy practice. Jared walks you right through it — it’s easy. And soon, you’ll be walking with Mary!



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Wonder Woman and the power of love

Posted by on Jun 4, 2017 in fun, reviews | 3 comments

When Snapchat knows what I want

When my husband suggested we catch the midnight showing of Wonder Woman last Thursday night, the drowsy-I-am-ready-for-PJs feeling left in a flash. I’ve been looking forward to this film most of my life even though I didn’t know it.

The film delighted the 10 year-old inside me that still comes out to play every once in a while, but it resonated so richly with me as an adult. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is the release of my book, Super Girls and Halos in a couple of months, where I dedicate the first chapter to my love/hate relationship with Wonder Woman.

It took me thirty years to gain a deep appreciation for this strong heroine. I always thought she fell short of her potential. I blamed the writers and the illustrators, and even blamed society for its expectations. What a blame game. I look at her now with a different lens, a vision part maturity and part faith and see a reflection of myself. I certainly fall short of my potential. It’s powerful that a fictional character can produce that kind of introspection in a person. In me.

But that’s why so many of these hero stories today resonate with people, whether it’s in the Star Trek universe or the Star Wars universe. Whether you are a hardcore Marvel fan, or stand by DC Comics.

I’m sure the last thing William Marston had on his mind when creating Wonder Wonder was an incidental catechism lesson. He wanted a character that was the embodiment of love. Wonder Woman, in her 70 years of adventures, actively pursues the corporal works of mercy! As Christians we know the embodiment of Love is the Incarnation, Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, Marston gave us a character that models how we should treat others, with love and dignity.

Wonder Woman, like so many of the epic superhero stories popular in film today, bring big themes to the big screen. There’s a reason why archetypes speak to us, and it lies in the human condition. Part of that condition is the struggle between good and evil that we see played out across the board in these hero journeys.

Wonder Woman is no different. And yet, she’s completely different. She leads with love, and it’s unique enough in this genre to get attention. I won’t give away spoilers, but throughout the film we see how her desire to lead with love, to do the right thing, saves souls, whether it’s a community in danger of annihilation or a companion’s sense of self-worth. She is both brutal in her justice and tender in her mercy.

I am delighted by the excellent writing, the spectacular cinematography, the amazing special effects, and the portrayal of a modern Wonder Woman who is everywoman. I mean, if every woman had a lasso of truth and bracelets of power. But we don’t need those because we have love empowering us. It is who we are as women. We are courageous, warm, strong, sacrificial, giving, sensitive, and badass.

The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Our battlefield is in the lives we lead, within our families, in the workplace, out in the world as we move through the demands of our vocations, whatever they may be. How much could we accomplish? How much could we change for others as well as ourselves if we follow Love?


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a little patience, please

Posted by on May 27, 2017 in good for the soul | 2 comments

These days I have plenty of opportunities to grow in the virtue of patience. It seems like in retirement I am busier than I ever was before, mostly my own doing in having joined some committees at church and dedicating myself to a number of projects around the house.

Somewhere in there I am also writing, though you wouldn’t know it from the general absence of anything but photo challenges here. But, it’s happening, quietly and for my personal pleasure. Maybe one day soon I’ll come clean with news about a finished novel. Or not. Patience.

Most days I sit outside in the post dawn hour. It’s probably the noisiest time of day, filled with birdsong, waves gently hitting the rocks, and the occasional whistles of a family of ospreys. It’s my favorite time of day.

I spend as much time as I can outside, whether it’s puttering around the yard, or having a refreshing drink in the cool comfort of our porch. It gives me time to observe. I’ve always been too busy, thinking about the next thing that’s due, keeping track of schedules, mine and the family’s. But now, I have nothing but time.

One of the greatest gifts of this season of my life is living in the moment. It stretches on, unhurriedly. Kind of like that turtle I watched walk all the way across our yard, from one side to the other. He stopped in the shade of the chimenea for a little while, and then went off again. No hurry. No stress. Amen.

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