• Gathering of love: Thousands of Haitians attend Christian summit

    BOIS-NEUF, Haiti — The Christian pilgrims crowded a barren mountainside in central Haiti by the thousands, seeking favors and spiritual renewal.

    Organized over the weekend by Our Lady of Fatima Bible Center, the three-day summit was among the largest of its kind in the Caribbean nation in recent years. Although the center is Roman Catholic, the event had an evangelical feel, and some elements of Voodoo.

  • GRACE NOTES 2/8/14: Finding your soulmate

    The other day I posted on the Chronicle’s Facebook page a question for discussion: Do you believe in soul mates? Why or why not?

    Someone replied “Yes!” Another said he believes God puts the person meant for you in your life, and another said, “No. If there’s one for me, he must be lost because I have never found him. I really think it’s a fairytale.”

    I love that answer.

  • GRACE NOTES 2/1/14: The joys of repainting — and thin no more!

    Some time last year, I came back from a week off to a full voicemail box.

    One of my least favorite things in life is talking on the phone. First, I have trouble hearing, so if, for example, you were to call me and say, “My daughter needs a kidney transplant,” I might hear, “My dog lives in Sydney — as a tramp.”

    The conversation would generally deteriorate from there, and I would end up looking like an idiot, which I try to avoid at all cost.

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 2/1/14: Straight from the heart
  • The dilemmas of a commitment

    Even if you haven’t heard of a commitment device, chances are you’ve used one.

    Basically, it’s a clever means, either a punishment or a reward, to help you commit to something that you know will be difficult.

    Anyone who has ever been on a diet uses them: When I lose 10 pounds I’ll treat myself to a new pair of shoes — or a hot fudge sundae.

  • Growing church has big dreams

    HOMOSASSA — Every church has a personality.

    For Nature Coast Church in Homosassa, theirs has always been a church that’s a safe haven for broken people.

    They love people; they love the community and love to watch God work to restore individuals and families, said church pastor the Rev. Brad Bresson. He believes it has a lot to do with their understanding of the gospel of grace. They love because they know they are loved by God.

  • Growing the legacy of Anne Frank

    On Jan. 16, Jews all over the world celebrated a holiday called Tu Bishvat, dedicated to nature and the preservation of the environment. Long before “green technology” or before global warming, Jews set aside the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat to rejoice in the coming of spring to the Land of Israel. Since the almond tree blossoms on this date, it was a fitting time to honor trees and nature. 

  • A column 'For the wounded'

    Earlier today I got a jump on spring cleaning and tackled my “column fodder” pile of scribbles and note fragments.

    Sometimes people ask how I think of stuff to write each week. I’d like to say, “The Spirit moves me,” and sometimes that’s hopefully true. Most of the time, however, I read or hear something that sparks a thought. Some result in a full-blown column and some merely snippets.

    Today is a snippets day.

  • GRACE NOTES 1/11/14: Of toenails and helicopters

    Not to get all TMI (“too much information”) on you, but I have this black spot on my toenail.

    When I first noticed it, my over-active, ultra-melodramatic imagination decided it was melanoma and I only had three weeks to live.

    It turned out to be blood underneath the nail from the time I dropped something on it. The doctor diagnosed it as an “owie” and said it would take a long time for it to go away, that the spot would grow out as the nail grows.

  • Vatican tells Legion of Christ: Reform just beginning

    VATICAN CITY — The Vatican delegate running the troubled Legion of Christ urged its priests on Wednesday to elect a new leadership worthy of authority, after suffering for years from shame and suspicion following revelations that its founder was a pedophile.

    He said the new leaders must infuse the religious order with a new spirit to finish a process of reform he said had only just begun.