• Reveling in true colors

    We live in a world that is a true kaleidoscope of colors. Vivid hues surround creation, in the landscape, animals and in our natural surroundings. The color of the sky at sunset, the beauty of our fields here in Florida, covered by magenta Phlox, the lush, verdant horse pastures and the pink, purple and white flowering crepe myrtles transform our environment into one that is a pure delight of color.

  • Relates well with others

    Amy Lou Kingery, public relations coordinator of Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, has been named Public Relations Professional of the Year by the Nature Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.

    In her own words, she is the storyteller of the organization. 

  • Learning the art of having a good day

    Yesterday when I was buying fish for dinner, Harry the seafood guy looked at me and said, “Today has been a good day.”

    He didn’t say why, and I suppose I should’ve asked him.

    Even so, as I drove home with my two salmon steaks and the solitary fresh, humungously jumbo shrimp with its head still on that Harry tossed in as a freebie, Harry’s words echoed in my thoughts.

    Today has been a good day.

  • What are we doing here?

    Sometimes we learn life lessons in the strangest ways. Living in Ocala, with its diverse population of minorities, has opened my eyes to the religion and culture of many of my neighbors. Like most people, the old adage “Birds of a feather flock together” is true for most of my social situations, but the other day I received a lesson from a most unlikely and unexpected source.

  • Easter is for laughing

    When I was a new Christian, I discovered a portrait of Jesus called the “Laughing Christ” at a Christian book store.

    At the time I was attending a serious church, a church where the thought of Jesus laughing was most likely frowned on. Maybe Jesus smiled at babies and puppies, but telling jokes with his friends? God forbid.

  • GRACE NOTES: Lost & Found

    When the phone rings here at the newspaper, you never know who’s on the other end and what the person will say.

    That’s why we have an antacid dispenser in the break room. (Not really.)

    One day last week I got a call from a woman who sounded greatly distressed; she had lost her wedding rings.

    It happened several months ago when she was going through cancer treatment. She said the treatment muddled her brain, made her absent-minded and forgetful.

  • ‘O death, where is thy sting?’

    For me, last week began and ended with funerals.

    On Monday, I attended the funeral of Mary Zawalich, whom I’d never met, or maybe I have and I don’t remember.

    About a month ago, she called me. She told me her name and said she was 92 and she was dying, but that it was OK, that it was a “happy death.”

  • 'Noah' not welcome

    Officials across much of the Muslim world said Thursday that the upcoming big-budget Hollywood film “Noah” featuring Russell Crowe as the ark-building prophet will not be shown in local theaters because it could offend viewers.

    The decision comes after the film sparked controversy among conservative Christians in the U.S., which prompted Paramount Pictures to add a disclaimer to its marketing material saying that “artistic license has been taken” in telling the story.

  • The 'Francis effect'

    VATICAN CITY — No glitzy gold, no rich velvet, no regal fur. Pope Francis’ pared down papal wardrobe of sensible black shoes and a white cassock so thin you can see his black trousers through it is a perfect fit for his call for simplicity and humility among his clergy.

  • GRACE NOTES 2/15/14: 'I love him, but...'

    I’ve always said motherhood is easy when you don’t have kids. Likewise, it’s easy to be married when you’re not. When you’re not married and you’re only dreaming about it, you imagine the ideal. In your imagination, you and your spouse say and do all the right things, and even your arguments are sweet and making up is rosy.

    In real life, however, marriage gets thorny, and sometimes bloody.