Category Archives: Question Box

Mid-week grab bag of randomness

1.  Okay, I know I’m an English teacher, and therefore I pay obsessive attention to things like punctuation.  But I find it empirically odd that the label for Luke’s current prescription says  GIVE “LUKE” 4 MLs TWICE A DAY FOR TEN DAYS.    What’s with the quotation marks ?   Am I calling him by the wrong name?  It’s like the Walgreens people are saying,  “Well, go ahead and CALL him “Luke,” if that makes you happy.  We know better.”

2.  I’ve been pretty remiss about linking to my BustedHalo Mary questions.   If you would like to know how many times Mary talks in the Bible, or how she relates to the communion of saints, or how she was treated after Jesus died, then click away.

3.  I absolutely adore lilacs.  It’s weird and primal and totally beyond any semblance of control.  I see a lilac bush and I stop dead in my tracks, sniffing and gazing in rapture, like some sort of botanical maniac.   (They are not very common here in CA, alas, though I have spied a few in my neighborhood, which gives me hope that one day I can have a lovely lilac of my own.)  So imagine my emotion when my friend Lisa posted a link to the Rochester, NY Lilac Festival.   I look at their photos and my heart beats faster.  Yes, I am a freak — a freak who is getting a great new idea about taking an impromptu cross-country trip.

Happily, there are no volcanic ash clouds between here and Rochester.

Snow White = Mary?

When I was a kid, I always identified with Snow White as a character. Maybe it’s the fact that she was one of the few brunette heroines in the fairytale book, so I instinctively related to her on that level (my blonde sister, on the other hand, could claim a kinship with Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty … proof that when it comes to fairytales, blondes DO have more fun).

Anyhow, in spite of that, I had a whole lot of fun researching this question:  “Are there Marian themes in the story of Snow White?” Check it out!

Indian Madonna and Child

Beautiful, isn’t it?  I just love this picture.

(Oh, and if you’ve ever wondered where the term “Madonna” comes from, there’s a brief explanation here.)

Image from Holy Cards For Your Inspiration

Revisiting the Visitation

I got a great question through the BustedHalo Question Box a while back:

“Why does Mary go to visit her cousin Elizabeth?  It doesn’t make sense for a pregnant woman to make such a long journey.”

Honestly, I could write volumes on this!  I love the Visitation, mostly because of the role it’s played in my own life at a crucial moment (I go into detail in Mary and Me),  and also because of what I learned about it while talking to other women.  The Visitation is more than just a nice subject for artists to paint; it’s a powerful statement of the way we are called to support each other in good times and in bad, in joyous times and in confusing times, and, frankly, in every kind of time there is.

But enough of that.  I’ll let my Question Box Answer say the rest.


Is it or isn’t it?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Is this nursery rhyme about the Virgin Mary?  Find out at!


Illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith, courtesy of Project Gutenberg