Category Archives: Nature and Animals

Blood Moons and End Times

Blood moons are spectacular.  We mark our calendars and stay up late to watch them. For some of us, they are magnificent celestial displays with an explanation grounded in science.  But for Christians who read the Bible literally, blood moons are signs that humans are about to face the wrath of an angry God—a signal that the “End Times” are surely upon us Continue reading Blood Moons and End Times

Letting Go of a Beloved Dog

Something is missing from my writing today. The barrage of daily news still motivates me to open up my laptop. The flames in the fireplace still match the heat of my anger at the headlines in the newspaper. The snow outside my window still reminds me that it’s a good day to stay indoors and write. The cup on the coffee table still fuels me with the caffeine that sharpens my thoughts.

But when I reach for the cup, the difference is clear. No more will I feel the nudge of a cool nose against my fingers insisting I remember to live in the present and not just in the future promise of words at my fingertips.

Our dog Beckley and I had a writing ritual. Continue reading Letting Go of a Beloved Dog

Can Christians Change the Climate on Climate Change?

This NASA graph provides evidence that atmospheric CO2 has increased since the Industrial Revolution.

Christianity isn’t under attack. But some beliefs of Christians are deserving of attack. Christians who deny climate change in the face of all evidence to the contrary cannot be allowed to wave the flag of religious freedom and force the rest of us to accept the misguided notion that God will somehow rescue us no matter what we do to our planet.

According to NASA statistics, 97% of scientists, after analyzing the evidence, have come to the conclusion that human actions are responsible for global warming. Many of these scientists are Christians. But they are being shouted down by evangelicals, led by a small group of powerful men who believe they have God on their side. Continue reading Can Christians Change the Climate on Climate Change?

How Much is Enough?

Rainy Duck

Rain falling, wind blowing, I enjoy a morning of sitting in a condo at one of the highest points in Duck, North Carolina.  Almost eleven years ago, in the face of my aggressive cancer that forced my husband and me to reevaluate our plans for the future, we made one of the boldest decisions we’ve ever made:  We decided to freeze the amount of money we were saving for retirement and invest in something we could enjoy no matter what the future held.  It hasn’t proven to be the wisest of financial investments, but it has definitely been an investment in our souls.  We’ve learned to love May and October most of all, when the weather is warm, but the beach is peaceful and the sunsets are stunning.

This morning I looked out toward the ocean, a quarter of a mile from our second floor condo, and thought about a news article in the Washington Postthis week, titled, “Collapse of Antarctic ice sheet is underway and unstoppable but will take centuries.”  Continue reading How Much is Enough?

Impatient with Your Life?

Ash w Impatiens

Spring reminds us of what is possible when we dig our fingers into the dirt.  We don’t need much—a handful of earth, a little water, a few seeds, and a little faith in the sun.

Simple, right?  Even I, an average rather than avid gardener, can make some things grow.  I plant impatiens in my flower bed, and by midsummer I can step onto my porch, look over those red blossoms, and find joy on even the most mundane or stressful of days.

But it isn’t always that simple.  Continue reading Impatient with Your Life?

“There Will Come Soft Rains”? (Lessons from Bradbury)

Rainy Saturday

It’s Saturday.  I sit by the window on my favorite day of the week, watching the rain fall steadily from a gray sky for the third day in a row.

I love Saturday.  It’s the only day of the week when I don’t have to shake myself from sleep and get dressed early.  On other days, I drag myself into the shower and stand with my face turned up to the spray until the water wakes me up.

I love the rain, too.  My husband and I shared our first kiss on a rainy day Continue reading “There Will Come Soft Rains”? (Lessons from Bradbury)

A Dog’s Life?

Beckley and Ahi

Tonight is the last night for another year that I’ll sit here writing in the glow of the Christmas tree.  The house is quiet, my daughter having gone back to her home a few miles away and my stepdaughter and her significant other out to see his friends on their last evening on the East Coast.

This evening my husband is enjoying a rare guys’ night with his soccer friends, many of whom he coached long ago when they were in high school.  They’ve played together for three decades now, through joy and children and job changes and loss.  Their friendship has been one of the anchors in my husband’s life.  They are family.

I have been left home to dog-sit.  Continue reading A Dog’s Life?

Holiday Spirit? Part Two

Hanukkah at White House

Holiday Traditions at the White House

One of my readers, Phil Buckberg, posted a story in response to my Holiday Spirit? blog on Tuesday.  I was delighted that Phil offered his own story from the perspective of his own faith, which has been my vision for this blog since I launched it a little over a year ago.  Since I’m not always sure that people see the comments at the end of a blog, I asked him if I could repost his story, and he graciously agreed.  Thank you, Phil, for making this a dialogue.  I hope that his story will inspire others of you to join in the conversation, so here is today’s guest blog:

Many years ago, when I worked for Xerox, we held a holiday-time fundraiser for a colleague who was, as I recall, a very young widow with mounting bills. As it was December, we made it a holiday party in which many of us sang and danced and generally made fools of ourselves for a good cause.

Our “director” decided that, for one part of the show, we should all wear our corniest Christmas clothing, whatever it might be. I told her that, being Jewish, I didn’t actually own Christmas clothes, Continue reading Holiday Spirit? Part Two

Know Any Snow Wimps?

Dec. 8, 2013

The snow begins–December 8, 2013

I hear it every year during advent.

No, that isn’t a typo.  Not Advent with a capital A—advent with a lower-case a.  The one that heralds the coming of Snow with a capital S.

I heard it this year for the first time at church last Sunday:  “I’m from [insert your favorite frozen tundra region here], and WE know how to drive in snow.”

Continue reading Know Any Snow Wimps?

Strength of a Spider’s Web?


For our departure from Denver yesterday, our grandson wore his favorite shirt—a Marvel comics tee featuring Spider-Man at the center of the superheroes.  Like most five-year-old boys, he loves all things Spider-Man.  He has Spidy shoes, pajamas, a backpack, and countless toys, including a device that shoots forth a string of silk in an imitation of Spider-Man’s web.

The shirt elicited commentary from more than one adult, including one who said, “That’s a great shirt!  I love superheroes!”  And when we passed a kiosk that sold sand crabs to passing tourists, our grandson stopped to point out the ones that had been painted red and imprinted with Spider-Man’s trademark white eyes, lined in black.

So it was fitting that when we finally arrived home in Maryland at 2:30 a.m., a watchful spider had spun a diaphanous web from the branch of the tree beside our front walk.  Though my husband and I were exhausted, we stopped to admire the intricate circles of the spider that sat at the very center of the web.

This morning, the web was gone.  But I could still see it in my mind’s eye, and I’ve thought about that web all day.  Fragile, yes.  I could have swept it away last night with a single brush of my hand.

But today I remembered a Smithsonian Magazine story from earlier this spring about University of Leicester researchers who set out to discover whether a spider’s web could actually stop a train, as Spider-Man’s web had done in one of the films.  Yes, they concluded, there is one spider—Darwin’s bark spider, native to Madagascar—that could weave a web strong enough to stop a moving train.

I was reminded again that that delicacy and doggedness are sometimes separated by a fine line of gossamer—that strength isn’t that far removed from weakness.

In the story of Job, one of Job’s friends tells him that he must have done something to deserve all the calamities that have taken away almost everything he holds dear.  Speaking of those who have forgotten God and implying that Job must be among them, he tells Job, “Their confidence is gossamer, a spider’s house their trust.”

Interestingly, later in the story, God reprimands Job’s friends, telling them, “…you have not spoken of me what is right.”

Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to have faith in a spider’s silken web.  One could do worse than trusting the work of spiders.  They rid us of insects that plague us.  They weave webs that protect their own from dangerous enemies.

Yes, faith is gossamer.  But gossamer can be surprisingly strong.

Tell me your stories of silken strength.