Capturing Nature

Image By Theresa Davidson 2022 Wildflowers at Loggers Lake, Missouri

“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

Psalms 145:5

Within a few months of the covid pandemic, I knew I would want to spend a lot of time outdoors. I needed something better than my phone to capture the beauty of the outdoors. I was very lucky to happen upon an ad for a barely used Nikon D3500. It’s a nice entry level DSLR. The man whom I bought it from, bought it for the same reason I was buying it. He decided within months that he loved photography so much that he was going to upgrade to an even better camera. This camera makes me very happy, but I will probably upgrade when I retire and have more time to really get out there.

Image by Theresa Davidson – my camera (picture taken by my phone!)

I just love to get outside and take pictures of all of the wildflowers my husband has planted trying to convert some of our land back to native species. Some of the pictures I take are of non-native flowers (they are so pretty; I can’t help myself). I am not great at bird photography, and I probably need a better lens for that, but I have managed to get some good shots. I have captured dragonflies and butterflies too!

Image by Theresa Davidson: Goldenrod
Image by Theresa Davidson: I could not stop myself from taking this picture of a curly vine growing on this tree.

Being in nature always brings me closer to God. Seeing his wonderful creation always leaves me in awe. I always thank him for the beauty all around me. I can only capture a little snippet of what I am seeing (even if it’s a landscape). Many of these pictures will be used to create watercolor or acrylic paintings at some point! Practicing that will bring me great joy!

Image by Theresa Davidson, Turtle on branch at Lion’s Club Park, Rolla, MO.
Image by Theresa Davidson: Mushroom in my back yard.
Image by Theresa Davidson: Dragonfly at Lion’s Club Park, Rolla, MO

I will leave you with this quote below. Let me know how you like to enjoy nature. Peace.

“Let all creation help you to praise God. Give yourself the rest you need. When you are walking alone, listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky, the sun and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise of God, and how they invite you to proclaim the greatness of the one who has given them being.”

St. Paul of the Cross
Image by Theresa Davidson: Loggers Lake, MO

Doorways – part 2

“And when they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast and the door was shut. Afterwards the other maidens came also, saying Lord, Lord, open to use. But He replied, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” – Matthew 25:10-13

Here is another doorway we will all be faced with. It is a little scarier to think about this one. I mean, it’s joyful on the one hand – described as going to the marriage feast! Who doesn’t love a wedding party. Or more specifically, who doesn’t want to enter the gates of heaven? This passage tells us we have to be ready to enter through that doorway at any time – or else we will be wailing on the other side! We don’t know the day or hour of our death or the Lord’s coming. It’s sobering news, isn’t it?

How do we get and stay ready? We need to be so grateful for God’s mercy. We need to stay in relationship with Jesus! I used to hear that, and I wasn’t sure what that meant or how to do it. We do it through prayer, through reading the Bible and pondering His words. How is He trying to speak to you through the Word?

We are supposed to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). What does that mean and how do we do it? There are many books explaining various ways to do that, but I will share what I try to do (I definitely need to keep working on it). For me it can look like reading the mass (bible) readings for the day – and read or listen to a reflection on it. If I am really on my “game,” I will try to relate it to my life, I may even journal on it. Throughout the day I try to thank God for different things. If I am bird watching or just out in nature in general, I am always overjoyed and amazed by God’s creation and artistry. I pray for the ability to be a good steward of God’s creation. I also pray for the ability to somehow capture His creation creatively – either through my art or my photography, writing (this blog, poetry (been a while), or in my journal). I thank God for getting a green light when I need to get somewhere, or for a red light when I need to grab something in my car!

Image by Theresa Davidson – Sunflower after rain 2022

I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my words if someone needs my counsel or to help keep my mouth shut in situations where my temper may be tested (I really need to work on both of these because well, let’s just say, I need help). I like to use a prayer journal and pour my prayer into it. And of course, I attend Sunday mass.

We also need to make sure we are right with God. I am so grateful for the sacrament of reconciliation. I make not like it – it’s so humbling, isn’t it? But I am grateful for the gift of God’s mercy.

Stay ready for that doorway to open to you! I would love to hear ways you pray constantly or your favorite form of prayer.


Image By Theresa Davidson at C&O Canal in Pennsylvania 2022

Doorways – Prayer (part 1)

Have you ever gotten to a closed door and felt trepidation or maybe excitement at what might be on the other side? Doorways can be portal to new adventures or a path to bad news. An open door is usually easier to go through than a closed door – at least for me anyway. You can take a peek into the open doorway; and see what is just beyond, but a closed door just lends itself to mystery.

Have you ever thought of your prayer as a doorway? Luke 11:9-13 says “And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

We are knocking on Heaven’s door when we pray! When we bring our needs and the needs of others to God’s door, we will be answered! I know the hard truth that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.” But sometimes that answer is a “yes” and that answer sometimes comes very quickly. I prayed for years for a close relative to be healed of their health issues, and they never were. But God had other plans and I am seeing how all of it worked out for good. I have seen the power of prayer work miracles – healing that could not be explained. The thing is we have to pray, and we have to pray with faith. Faith that God hears and answers our prayers. And then we have to thank God for hearing and answering our prayers.

Bringing our needs to God and even asking others to pray for us takes courage. It exposes our vulnerabilities and areas out of our control. AH, isn’t that the key! So often I want to be in control, I want my will to be done, my way, and now. It’s often after that doesn’t work, that then I go to God, exhausted with all my efforts, and then really pray for His will to be done. I need to learn how to get over myself, over my need to be I control, and go to God first. I mean I pray daily and all, but when stuff hits the fan, I usually want to dive in and solve problems and control the situation! Am I alone in this? Tell me I am not! I would love to hear how you have worked to overcome this or how you are working it.

Pray for me friends! I will pray for you too. Keep on knocking on Heavens door.


pity party

Pity Party for One Please!

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want too…

Remember that song? There’s a new song out too, you can search for it on YouTube if you’d like.  It’s a little dark for my liking but I relate none-the-less!  Who hasn’t thrown their very own pity party at least once in a while?

Pity parties are one of my least favorite types of parties, but there are just times in your life that you just want, no need to, throw yourself one.  There are all sorts of reasons and I get into that a little later but first we need to define what a pity party is.

So, what is a pity party.  I think the Urban Dictionary has a great definition that you really need to read here.  But in short, it says a pity party is a “way of experiences grief, in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is…”  To be clear, I am not talking about the way you experience grief after a major life event. View the stages of loss and grief here.  I’m talking about the feeling sorry for yourself & whining type of pity party. You’re with me on that right?

Why do we throw a pity party?


We have many reasons or excuses to have a pity party. Perhaps we think we were treated unfairly at work or school.  Maybe there was a break up or suddenly our BFF was a complete jerk out of the blue.  Many times we can have a pity party because of the cards we were dealt in relation to our health or wealth!

As the mom of a child with several chronic illnesses, I have had my own pity parties when I am overwhelmed by it all.  Why my kid? Why don’t the doctors understand and fix her? Where did all my “leave” go (doctor appointments, staying home to support her when she’s too sick)? Why can’t I have a big vacation (no money, no leave)?  And on and on.  These pity parties don’t take too long. I cry it out in the shower, then dry off and put my big girl panties on and deal with it.  I love my children and this is what a mom does.

As the mom of a teenage mom (other daughter now 21 and a mom of 2), I know I have had many pity parties related to this whole situation.  Again, why my kid? Didn’t I teach her better than that? People are going to think I am a terrible mother!  Ha!  I’m now raising her oldest child while she is finishing cosmetology school.  Some might say I am enabling her to use me. But in reality I am enabling her to do well in her life and be able to get a decent job to help raise her kids.  But I digress, this is about me and my pity parties.  I can have some because this is a time in my life when both of my girls are older (the younger one is 15) and I should have a little time to myself right?  Not so much with a four year old.  I get feelings of selfishness once in a while and whine about it.  But I cry it out, create some art or crochet something and get over it.

My husbands aunt shared with me how she and her daughter (then a teen) would occasionally throw themselves a pity party when the daughter was in a serious car wreck and hospitalized for some time.  They would have cake and ice cream and a good cry during their pity parties.  And why not, it sucks recovering from injuries in a hospital!  But they would have their pity party and then get on with the business of healing.

I think a pity party can be a healthy thing.  Not necessarily eating the cake and whole tub of ice cream, but letting your emotions out is very healthy mentally.  Sometimes we just need a good cry. Sometimes we need to vent.

But I’m of the belief that we shouldn’t hold long pity parties and I don’t think we should invite too many people to the party.  You know when someone is having one and they want to invite you in because they are posting about it on social media.  I’m all about giving a hug or an ear where it’s needed but please, don’t drag me into a rage or depression over what has got you down. Let’s keep it to sympathy or empathy!  It can’t get ugly destructive when the wrong folks come to your pity party – what if all of you were having a pity party at the same time about different things and you all just added to each others piles. Not cool, especially if you can’t end your pity parties when they need to be ended.

Pity parties that last too long can turn into depression.  If you have trouble ending your pity party you should probably seek help.  Talk to a trusted friend about why you are feeling this way and ask them to help you!  Go to your pastor if you are religious, pray about things and give it over to God, ask for help.  Go to a psychologist or other counselor and get help. There’s even online help (Here’s one potential source of help).

So go ahead and have your pity party. Cry, scream, eat a tub of ice cream if you want. But then say a little prayer, count your blessings, and blow out those candles on that party cake.  Now go have some fun.





Top 10 Books to Read During Lent

Books during Lent?

Lent is a time when many Catholics “give up” something for 40 days. It’s a way to hopefully discipline ourselves – taking away something that we’ve become addicted to or spend too much time doing.  Some people choose to “take on” something that will help them grow spiritually.  Those practices could include going to mass daily instead of just on Sunday, helping at a soup kitchen weekly, going to do the Stations of the Cross on Fridays, or taking on the reading of spiritual books. See my recent post for more.

Books that are geared towards spiritual growth are plentiful.  You can even listen to audio books as well. Here’s a list of books that I have enjoyed reading over the years or that I am looking forward to reading this Lent (in no real order).

My Top 10 Books to Read for Lent


10. Memorize the Faith by Kevin Vost.  I read this book in chunks.  There are a lot of things to memorize in the Catholic religion! The system used in this book is built upon the mnemonic system of St. Thomas Aquinas. If you need help memorizing the Ten Commandments, the Stations of the Cross, the Books of the Bible, and many other Catholic things, this is the book for you.

9. A Guide to the Passion, 100 Questions About the Passion of the Christ by the Editors of Catholic Exchange. I know many people will watch Mel Gibson’s movie every Lent. This guide is a great companion to the movie.

8. Spirituality You Can Live With – Stronger in Faith in 30 Days by Chris Padgett.( Find his book here.) There are 40 days in Lent, but once you get through the 30 chapters with questions for reflection you will have achieved some spiritual growth.  I really liked this book.

7. The Cross and the Beatitudes by Fulton J. Sheen. This 92 page book is one I read (or at least read parts of) every Lent since I got the book. It really speaks to me.  With lessons on mercy, purity, poverty, zeal, peace, and mourning, I am sure you will find something that speaks to your heart as well.

6. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. I have never gotten through this book but this Lent, I am going to do it. Probably through the audio book.

5. Scripture, Nourished by the Word by Margaret Nutting Ralph, PhD. This is a great book if you are looking to learn about the meanings of the storied in the Bible in short format.

4. Tracking Virtue, Conquering Vice A guide for Spiritual Survival by Rev. Joseph F. Classen. I love this book! The writer, Fr. Classen, is an outdoors man who loves hunting and fishing. Much of his spiritual story telling is gleaned from his experiences of God’s creation.  In these ways, he speaks to my heart. Many of his stories are set in the Midwest too and it’s fun reading about his experiences at places I’ve been.

3. Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft.  My pastor at St. John Vianney Church, Fr. Scott Mansfield, recommended this book.  If you are looking to better understand virtues and live a more virtuous life, this book is for you.

2. Living Lent With Mercy – Encouragement & Daily Prayer by Pope Francis. Obviously his book just came out for Lent this year. I just downloaded it onto my Kindle.

  1. The Holy Bible. l don’t think anyone could go wrong reading a bit from the Bible daily.

What books would you recommend reading for spiritual growth this Lent? Leave me a note in the comments with your favorites.

Making the Most Out of Lent 2016

Fasting is a common practice during Lent
Fasting is a common practice during Lent

Lent is Upon Us!

Can you believe Lent is here already? Wasn’t it just Christmas?!  It seems like it got here in a hurry this year.  Ash Wednesday is February 10th – that’s this coming Wednesday.  Did you know Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation?  It isn’t, but going to mass on Ash Wednesday and receiving ashes on your forehead is a good way to start the Lenten season.  Lent is a time for reflection, repentance and spiritual growth.

This year Pope Francis asks us to remember the importance of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  If you’ve forgotten what those are, fear not, I have it covered!

Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry.

Give drink to the thirsty.

Shelter the homeless.

Visit the sick.

Visit the prisoners.

Bury the Dead.

Give Alms to the Poor.

See here for ideas on carrying out the corporal works of mercy

Spiritual Works of Mercy

Counseling the doubtful.

Instructing the ignorant.

Admonishing the sinner.

Comforting the sorrowful.

Forgiving injuries.

Bearing wrongs patiently.

Praying for the living and the dead.

See here for ideas on carrying out the spiritual works of mercy

Making Changes this Lent

Many people give up things like Cheetos and chocolate for Lent. Some may even give up things like Facebook.  These practices are all fine, if done with the right intentions.  But how about we give up things like pride, greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, and laziness (the seven deadly sins)?

Let’s strive to grow in the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; and the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  Or how about growing in self-control, compassion, responsibility, patience, a sense of duty, self-discipline and restraint, honesty, loyalty, friendship, courage, and persistence?

Matt Linton (See the article at Busted Halo) summed up Lent beautifully, “…Lent is as much about quitting the obligations that clutter our life as it is about learning to dedicate ourselves to more eternal tasks…”

This Lent, I’m not going to give up Cheetos or chocolate or even Facebook as I have done in the past.  But I am going to work on self-discipline and restraint.  I am going to work on controlling my Type 2 Diabetes through exercise and diet. I need work on other areas as well in the same category.  Patience is also an area I can use some growth in.  All of the virtues could use growth if I am really honest with myself.  I’ll be reading some books, including the Bible, to help my spiritual journey (look for a post coming really soon).  I’ll also be looking for opportunities to perform corporal and spiritual works of mercy and to grow in virtue.

Please share your ideas for spiritual growth in the comments. Let’s help each other grow this Lent.


Spending A Day With My Other Mother

Have you ever imagined spending a day with someone from the past?  Who would that person be? In Chris Padgett’s book, “Wholly Mary, Mother of God,” Chris invites the reader to imagine spending a day with Mary.  Jesus’ mom.  I’ve been wanting to learn more about Mary and why she may be important in my life so I picked up this book.  I am glad I did.  This invitation caught my eye.  It was just a sentence on a page filled with the Good News of the Gospel, but it struck me and now you get to read about my imaginary day with Mary. ( I hope you don’t think I am nuts).

Goodness, if I really had this opportunity to take a time machine and spend a day with Mary, I think I would be a nervous wreck.  What would I wear? Would she care? Would she know I don’t say the rosary very often and when I do, I usually fall asleep doing so?  I’m probably overthinking things and I think she would be happy just to see me.  At least that is what I am going to imagine, happy Mary.  Motherly Mary, loving Mary.

Here we are on the big day.  I arrive at Mary’s house. I don’t know why, but I am picturing an adobe type house (is that realistic? I’m not doing period research so bear with me).  I’m dressed nicely, but not in formal wear or anything. No heels, I just can’t walk in them, I have weak ankles.  I quickly forget about all that. Mary is beautiful, the kind of beauty that radiates from the inside out. She welcomes me and offers an embrace that feels so good, warm, loving. The kind you get from your grandma or your own mom when you haven’t seen them in a while.  You know you are loved in that embrace.

She is happy to see me. She’s been waiting for me to visit for a long time.  She knows I have lots of questions for her, but she offers me a cup of tea first.  As we sit, I almost don’t know where to start. So I guess I’ll start at the beginning.

“What was it like being told by the angel that God had chosen you to be the mother of Jesus?”  (Luke 1:26-38). That has to be my first question. I would be scared to death at age 14 and such a big mission!  I imaging she laughs a little and then gets a nostalgic look on her face and begins telling me about that day.  She goes on to tell me about how Joseph reacted as well. What a good man he was to believe and accept the news when he easily could have left her.  I am sure the story is a beautiful one and a hard one as well, we all know from the bible the essential parts of that story.

Mother Mary, Jesus, Joseph
Manger scene

My next question would be, “how was Jesus as a baby and a boy?”  I am still raising kids and grandkids so the insight could be valuable.  The Bible says very little about His childhood. What mom wouldn’t want to know if she had to get after Him to clean up his toys or help out at dinner?  The Bible does tell us that He was obedient to his parents (Luke 2:51).  She laughs, I imagine, and assures me that He was a little boy after all…

“How did you know Jesus could and would change water into wine at that wedding party (John 2:1-12)?”  The boldness of Mary amazes me. His response is classic kid to mom response – you know the story – but Jesus is obedient to her even then and performs his first miracle. She just knew, she had faith in HIM.  It was also the best “party trick” ever, she laughs.

I have to ask her to tell me about Joseph. The Bible says so little about him.  He was a faithful Jew and a carpenter.  She tells me about his firm, calloused but loving hands, I imagine, and how he helped her to teach Jesus.

We finish our tea and head outside to continue as we walk. I imagine she loves God’s creation (nature) as I do. His paintbrush always amazes me.

We walk and talk about getting to know the disciples and how Jesus ministry grew. We talk about how her role in His life changed as time went on, but she was always there praying for Him. When Jesus was gone in the dessert for 40 days (Luke 4:1-13), I imagine she tells me that she prayed so hard for him, “like you must do for your children. For they will be tempted too, but Jesus will win them over.”

The next question is so hard. When I was a child I would cry hearing the Passion story acted out at Mass.  I could never shout “crucify him,” I wanted to stop the dramatic reading and say, “don’t you know who HE is?”  I ask, “How did you handle that awful time?” I can’t stand my own child’s pain, must less the passion and death of Jesus.  We both shed a tear, and it pierced her heart like a sword. But she also knew it was God’s will and that His death would save us all. “He gave me to you (and John and everyone) as your mother (John 19:26-27).” “Come to me any time you need me to pray for you, my son listens to his mama,” I imagine her saying.

It’s time for me to go home, but I get another warm embrace and I know I will spend more time with Mother Mary.

If you had the chance to go back in time and talk to someone, who would it be and how would it go?  Let me know in the comments or on my facebook page.

P.S. To find Chris Padgett’s book “Wholly Mary, Mother of God” go here: