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A miracle is when the whole is greater than
the sum of its parts...
when one plus one equals a thousand.

-Frederick Buechner

April 24, 2014                        

Wondering is part of the human experience. From Socrates who said, "Wonder is the beginning of wisdom..." to Alice Walker in The Color Purple who said, " wondering about the big things, you learn about the little ones..." We continue to be full of wonder as we have thought about where our Miracle Chasing has taken us this past month: speaking with the lovely women at the Church of St. Ann in Avon, CT, an article in the Mysterious Ways magazine, and a Guideposts Blog recognizing that we are all Miracle Chasers. As spring finally makes its entrance this month, Katie focuses on the importance of wonder, not only in chasing miracles, but in our lives and the world around us.

          Wishing all of you a healthy and happy spring and thank you for wondering along with us.

Joan, Katie and Meb

          Mirari is the Latin word for miracle, meaning to wonder. As a miracle chaser, it is an occupational habit for me to wonder and it is no surprise I was drawn to an article in the NY Times a few weeks ago entitled, "Is that Jesus in Your Toast?" In addition to learning a new word - pareidolia (seeing something significant in ambiguous stimuli) - I learned that someone sold a ten year old grilled cheese sandwich on eBay for $28,000 because it bore a striking resemblance to the Blessed Mary. The old adage that truth is stranger than fiction comes to mind, but the article also got me, well, wondering...

          A few years back I met a woman after one of our talks, who told me about a strange experience she had one day when she was at her lowest point, lying in bed hoping to recover from ovarian cancer. Staring at the light on her ceiling, something she had done countless times before, she suddenly recognized the image of Christ in the contours of the crystal chandelier. Though she was not religious, she decided to pray. Later, she saw the same image in the grains of wood on her oak closet doors. Since her recovery, she has been unable to see the images again. To me, this is such a beautiful illustration of a miracle as a sign: of help for the asking, of Divine connection for the taking.

          Frederick Buechner said, "A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts...when one plus one equals a thousand." Our word of the day, pareidolia, if used in this story might reduce a miracle to its lowest common denominator, a state where the concept of miracle is lost, where one plus one equals zero. It is true, one must look beyond the cold, hard surface of a chandelier or a closet door, add the observer and her experience to the mystery of Divine presence, in order to find the miracle and then add what happens next: faith with a  new dimension, an altered perception of what is possible, even the forging of a new spiritual journey. As we learned in our own journey, miracles go on, creating anew. The idea that a miracle is a thousand times greater than what you start with speaks to why a personal miracle changes who you are, continuing long after the experience is over.

          Years ago as the three of us sat on Joan's living room floor, sharing the most recent miracle minutia and jewels we had discovered, I announced I had read that maybe St. Paul had frontal lobe epilepsy, which caused his conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Meb's response is one I will never forget, "Given he was the most prolific writer in the early church, does that make it less of a miracle?"

          Her comment was an epiphany to me because I was guilty of dissecting miracles, stripping them of  mystery, reducing them to the sum of their parts. No surprise, it also got me wondering... why wouldn't God use the tools at hand, chandeliers, wood doors, even epilepsy? Natural explanations for famous miracles throughout history can be found, the parting of the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds as some say) or the Star of Bethlehem. Like the woman in the story above, maybe she saw what she needed to see, but does that mean it wasn't really there? Does that make it less of a miracle?

          I wonder if there is a miracle language available to us when we are at our most desperate or afraid, a "sign" language, so to speak. Lately, we've been hearing about miracles that come in the form of words (literally) clear commands to STOP at an intersection to avert a tragic car accident, a "healing dream" with specific instructions to cure chronic pain, the message "to love" in order to save a troubled marriage...I wonder if this is like God saying prayers for us when we don't know enough to say them for ourselves. Or, if our "spirit guides" alert us to danger or give us direction in order to heal.

          I've been chasing miracles now for nearly fifteen years and still, I wonder. Each new story someone shares adds to the miracle conversation and connection enriching the stories we've heard before.

          The grilled cheese sandwich, by the way, was purchased by an online casino that planned to use it to raise money for plus one equals a thousand? I wonder...


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Check out recent articles: 
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and We're All Miracle Chasers by
Adam Hunter

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Thank you to the  Marthas and Marys
Women's Group at St. Ann Church in
Avon, CT, National Charity League (NCL)
chapters in Orinda, CA and Las Vegas,
as well as the Santa Clara University
Alumni Association
 and the Council
of Women of Boston College
We love chasing miracles with
you and we look forward to sharing
additional events with you.

Facetime and Skype are
wonderful venues for sharing
conversation and connecting
over miracles. Thank you to the
wonderful women in the New York
and Las Vegas book clubs who
have invited us into their homes
and their lives. It has transformed
and rewarded all of us.
Please let us know if you
would like us to virtually visit
your book group or club!

We have been enjoying scheduling
events surrounding the release of
the paperback version of
The Miracle Chase.
If you have any suggestions for
venues where we can continue
the miracle discussion, please
contact us.

Thank you to the Portland Book Review

and the PrayersWork blog

for featuring The Miracle Chase
with such inspirational reviews.

Thank you to Christ Episcopal Church
in Denver and the public libraries
in East Hampton, NY, Naperville, IL
and Simsbury, CT for liking
The Miracle Chase on
Facebook and recommending it to
readers and book clubs.

Check out Katie's blog on authoring
a book together at

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Joan, Katie and Meb
co-authors of The Miracle Chase
It's About Faith
"...For a few hours every week, we traded errands, laundry, and the endless needs of family and volunteer pursuits for a few hours of spiritual reverie..." The Miracle Chase