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Storms When Everything Went Dark

With the snow storm that recently passed through the eastern part of our country, many were -- and still are -- left without power.When a similar storm passed through Michigan a couple winters ago, I wrote this blog. Seems timely to share it again:It was another one of those sleepless nights. I was in my upstairs flat, a small hermitage of three room, and decided to make some tea when, during a winter storm, the lights went out.It was pitch black, too dark for even shadows to fall. G … [Read More...]


Finding Treasure with Painted Pony Beans

When my friend, Linda, and I bought this split-level house nearly thirty years ago we had to literally dig out the basement with coal shovels. It looked like a hoarder lived downstairs. With the help of her family the basement was eventually cleared, scrubbed and white-washed.One January there was extensive (and expensive) work done in our unfinished basement. The ducts had to be cleaned, patched and insulated. The furnace too had to be repaired. Then there were the five slow leaking water li … [Read More...]

field tree 2014

Keep Shoveling, Dearie

Restless and awake through the night, in bed under layers of quilts, I listed to the sleeping dog’s whimpering barks. The cat had realized that the dog’s sleep and my wakefulness was an opportunity for undisturbed cuddles. She chortled softly as she walked around the foot of the bed. She placed her front paws on my shoulder and nestled her head against my cheek.I stared out the small dormer window. The streetlight’s glow through the window marked a cross high on my bedroom wall. Even without … [Read More...]

CGG Patheos book cover

Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent

It must be a bit unnerving for a deacon to go all a cappella  in front of the congregation when cantering the Epiphany Proclamation. I've listened to friends Dr.Gregory Popcak and Deacon Greg Kandra -- lovely voices both -- chant the proclamations of The Epiphany or Easter. This year at a local church, the deacon there did an excellent chant as well. What I heard within his proclaiming was that Ash Wednesday is coming early this year on February 10. That's only a few weeks away!Like a lot of … [Read More...]


The Epiphany and the Gift of the Christmas Rose

A story often told on the Epiphany is the legend of the Christmas Rose. This lovely perennial plant is a Hellebore, and an excellent addition to any humus rich shade garden, especially in cooler USDA Hardiness Zones; it will grow in Zones 3-8. There are several cultivars with thick white petals crowned in red resembling the one in this story. I’ve grown several Hellebores in my Zone 5 gardens, some were evergreen and others that broke through the snow, often during Lent.The flower in this st … [Read More...]


Covering Ground, Unwilling to be Barren

Had I still been using a typewriter, there would be a pile of balled up, partially typed pages surrounding my desk. I thought I had a good piece written, but then not quite. It was reworked, altered, I paraphrased another writer, tried to add wit which only seemed forced, moved paragraphs…no, lead sentences…no…start again.I thought this column would be about barren ground, earth laid fallow and exposed. I wanted to tell you about how it’s not natural to create an unproductive and sterile land … [Read More...]

A Catholic Gardner's Spiritual Almanac

Almanac for Catholic Gardeners

For years I've enjoyed reading the Farmer's Almanac. All the random fun pieces of information and facts about growing and harvesting, were eagerly read throughout the year. I bought a new edition every January.It was that love of almanacs that lead to the writing of A Catholic Gardener's Spiritual Almanac, released by Ave Maria Press in 2015.The construction of the book is, of course, by month, and each month is themed. It coordinates a garden topic and a liturgical garden plan, with what … [Read More...]


The Virgin Mary and Shadows

The angel appeared and said “Do not be afraid…”Some heavenly being popped up in front of me, I’d need calming down too!These words were spoken to Zechariah in Luke 1:13; and a few months later to Mary, Luke 1:30. Let’s never mind about St. John the Baptist’s father.  Consider only Mary for a moment.Mary was well educated in the foundations of her religion. There is no doubt that she observed the traditions of daily prayers. One day while offering these prayers, a being, like no other, … [Read More...]

Pink Princess 0397254442012

The Prince of Peace and His Princess

See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now… 1 John 3:1-2There are several of us in the Body of Christ who have either been abandoned or abused by parents and don't necessarily fully connect with the concept of being a special child of God. Perhaps that is why I find pictures of a mother with her child the most evocative of all — not for … [Read More...]


Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Damask Rose

Marian gardens are the most popular Catholic garden for homes. A garden dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe would include the Damask rose.Most of us know well the miracles associated with St. Juan Diego from Our Lady of Guadalupe, of her image imbedded on his tilma and the dark pink roses left growing on Tepeyac Hill for St. Juan after his vision. The Holy Virgin sent him back to those who doubted with unquestionable proof that she had indeed made the request for a shrine to be built on that … [Read More...]