just a super chill Sunday…

Posted by on Aug 13, 2017 in scary | Comments Off on just a super chill Sunday…


just chillin’ in the shade

…with a super chill gator looking for some shade.

I was up at dawn with my cup of coffee and journal, and spied a piece of driftwood that wasn’t exactly acting like driftwood, so I did the intelligent thing and walked out to investigate. It was the friendly neighborhood gator chilling out in the shade of the dock. He was out for some time just swimming around and doing his thing, so I took a few pictures. I think if you click on the pictures that show his body you can see the ridges on his back. What a cool place to live with such a variety of critters!

Sometimes he’d go out, and then come back in for the shade of the dock. I don’t think he’ll bother trying to come up the riprap, and of course, we left him alone, but it was exciting!

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3 things I love today

Posted by on Aug 12, 2017 in fun | 2 comments

  • rain

  • sun

  • air conditioning. on high.

how about you?

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St. Clare of Assisi

Posted by on Aug 11, 2017 in courageous saints | Comments Off on St. Clare of Assisi

Fresco at church of San Damiano, Assisi

I was born in Santa Clara, a city named after St. Clare of Assisi, and baptized in a Franciscan parish. I have great uncles who were Franciscan friars, and a grandmother who was a Third Order Franciscan. Despite this, my interest in the Franciscans never extended past perpetuating the image of St. Francis as Snow White in the garden, surrounded by the little birds and woodland creatures. I am sure that somewhere in my dozen or so years of blogging I have misquoted St. Francis, perpetuating the myth of this (in)famous quotation so often misattributed to him,

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

That encompassed my entire knowledge of St. Francis of Assisi, and I knew even less about St. Clare of Assisi. It illustrates the rather tepid relationships I’ve had with the Saints throughout my life, and the gentle awakening I’ve had in the last several years that has drawn me into the stories of these holy men and women. The Saints, I must admit, have been extending their hands in friendship for years, and only now am I responding. Better late than never is no real consolation, but writing one book about the saints in my life, and then writing a second one, Super Girls and Halos, that features St. Clare of Assisi, has opened my eyes and my heart to these powerful stories of conversion, faith, and commitment to the Lord.

Behind the accounts of incredible miracles and dramatic martyrdoms exist lives of heroic virtue. This kind of heroism doesn’t require superpowers such as flying or crushing mountains. Instead, it is a quiet strength that trusts in God, and abandons all to his holy will.

In Super Girls and Halos I explore the over-the-top heroics of fictional women, such as Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and explore the virtues in these women. I examine Rey’s character, and acknowledge that her strength and desire for justice in the galaxy are worthy of emulation. And then I examine the same virtue in a Saint, recognizing how grace works through her. Where Rey becomes a ray of light in her fictional universe, I discovered Clare, who was truly such a light in her life.

My favorite account of St. Clare’s trust in the Lord is recorded in the traditional image of her holding a monstrance. In the year 1240, the convent at San Damiano in Assisi and the neighboring village were under attack by Saracen mercenaries. St. Clare, ailing and sick, went to the wall of the convent holding the Blessed Sacrament, beseeching the Lord to protect them. The Saracens retreated, and the sisters and the village were spared that night.

Dear Saint Clare, pray for us, that we may shine the Light of Christ in our corner of the world.

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Elemental: birds by the water

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in Weekly Photo Challenge | 2 comments

This week’s photo challenge takes us to earth, wind, fire, and air. My contribution covers two of the elemental challenges, air and water. You might say I capture two birds with one lens.

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St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Posted by on Aug 9, 2017 in courageous saints | Comments Off on St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Edith Stein

Today is the feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, an extraordinary woman and an inspirational Saint. She is one of my favorite saints from the 20th century. I was drawn to her story while researching saints for my first book a few years ago, and I was so delighted to be able to include her in Super Girls and Halos.

One of the best parts about writing books that feature canonized saints is the encouragement I get as I read about women and men who pursue lives of holiness. I kind of expect these Saints to live their lives on an epic scale. In reality, they are usually regular people so inspired by Christ, so in love with the Lord, that they become extraordinary.

A Heroine

St Teresa Benedicta was already a formidable woman long before she converted to Catholicism and joined the Carmelites.

Edith Stein was born on October 12,1891 in Breslau, Poland. She enjoyed the perks of being the youngest of 11 children although her father’s death when she was a child brought challenges to the family. Her mother was able to take over the family business and make it successful. The example set by her mother no doubt influenced Stein’s later views on the role of women in society.

This sense of independence and self-sufficiency seemed to drive the young Edith. Although the Steins were observant Jews, Edith began to distance herself from the faith over the course of her teenage years, culminating in her declaration of atheism. She became an ardent student of philosophy, and while she maintained her atheism throughout her studies, she discovered the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and was convicted almost immediately. In fact, St. Teresa was so influential in Stein’s conversion that after being baptized Catholic, Stein pursued a desire to join the Carmelites.

Stein’s conversion proved to be a difficult situation for her family, especially her mother. This was further complicated by the socio-political climate in Germany in the 1930s which persecuted Jews. Stein’s conversion appeared to be a rejection of her roots. Because the conversion caused such anguish for her mother, Stein’s spiritual advisor recommended that she delay her entry to the Carmel, a delay that she respected for many years.

A Saint

In the end, her entry to the Carmel proved a devastating blow to her mother, who didn’t understand. The separation from family was deeply felt. Unfortunately, tensions continued to rise in Germany. Stein, now Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, transferred from Cologne to the monastery at Echt in the Netherlands for her safety, taking her further from family. Tragically, she was unable to escape the Nazis, and was arrested, along with her sister, and transported to the death camp at Auschwitz. She was murdered on August 9, 1942. Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross went to her death with quiet heroism, and died a martyr of the Church.

I paired St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross with Special Agent Dana Scully from The X-Files. I was inspired by Scully’s quest for Truth in the television series and her prudence in seeking answers. I was struck by the same qualities in Stein, coupled with her dedication to the faith.

“In order to be an image of God, the spirit must turn to what is eternal, hold it in spirit, keep it in memory, and by loving it, embrace it in the will.”

One of the things I enjoy about discovering saints and reading about their lives is when I find small nuggets, a thoughts or teachings that I can adopt and apply to my life. I may never be a canonized saint, but in adopting something from the saints, I feel like I am moving closer to living a life of holiness as modeled by them.


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