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Rosaries matter to Catholics, but for a convert like me it was the found medal of the blessed Virgin Mary that gave me both hope and fear. Where was God? And my faith?Getty Images

Perspective: What personal hardship did to my faith

A week before my daughter was born, my husband lost his job. It was unexpected. I don't remember much about what happened then, other than that at some point I pulled so hard on the medal I was wearing — a miraculous medal, imprinted with an image of the Virgin Mary — that the clasp broke. When I gave birth a few d …


  1. Before coming to Tampa, Carl Hiaasen talks writing satire in the age of Trump


    When Carl Hiaasen speaks on March 5 at the Straz Center in Tampa, he says, "I'll probably talk about the headlines, politics, Florida's role in the national death augur."

    Hiaasen: “What’s going on in Tallahassee is laughable, too, but it has a bigger impact. ... Did you hear that Rick Scott has started tweeting? And now he’s doing robocalls. Well, look at him — what other kind of call could he do?”
  2. Column: The big mistake some anti-Trump protesters could be making


    Five weeks after President Donald Trump's inauguration, protests against his administration and other figures who gained increasing prominence during the Trump era already have featured a diversity of protest tactics.

    Protestors took to the streets by the campus of the University of California at Berkeley in demonstrations that devolved into violence this month.


    According to Bloomberg's running index of the world's richest people, these are the wealthiest of them all. All of the top 10 are self-made. The world's richest woman comes in at No. 14.

    1. Bill Gates

    $85.1 billion

    Co-founded Microsoft,

    ARTEIXO, SPAIN: Uruguay’s President Jorge Battle (R) chats with the manager of the company Zara, Amancio Ortega (L), in Arteixo, near Coruna, northwestern Spain, 04 February 2004. Battle is in Spain on a one-week official visit. AFP PHOTO / Miguel RIOPA (Photo credit should read MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)
  4. Are liberals helping Trump?


    Jeffrey Medford, a small business owner in South Carolina, voted reluctantly for Donald Trump. As a conservative, he felt the need to choose the Republican. But some things are making him feel uncomfortable — parts of Trump's travel ban, for example, and the recurring theme of his apparent affinity for Russia.

    On Inauguration Day on the National Mall, a supporter of President Donald Trump takes it all in. Moderate conservatives say that harsh liberal criticisms are chipping away their middle ground, pushing them closer to Trump.
  5. Column: Students, don't repeat my mistake of comparing disagreement with your ideas to suppression


    WATERVILLE, Maine — Conservative media outlets have built a cottage industry of outrage on the premise that conservative students are victims of a "tyrannical" campus left. I know this message well, because over a decade ago, as a conservative student at Bucknell University, I helped devise and spread it.

  6. PolitiFact: No, food waste is not the third biggest source of greenhouse gases


    As it struggles to feed the hungry, the U.N. World Food Program often reminds the public that in the face of great need, there is also great waste.

  7. Column: In praise of the humanities


    Six Tampa Bay veterans took the stage to tell their stories of war. One, handsome and athletic, explained how he lost his leg from a roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad. He wears a blade-runner prosthetic and now operates a national nonprofit dedicated to helping veterans improve mental health through physical activity. …

    In Telling: Tampa Bay, veteran Jessica McVay described surviving rape by a fellow Marine and showcased the transformative power of the humanities.
  8. Column: You can't fool Mother Nature


    In the 1870s, spectacular rains began to fall on the Western Plains, turning a dry region then named "the Great American Desert" to gorgeous green. Thousands of young homesteaders rushed west to raise crops and families, convinced by a humdinger alternative fact: "Rain Follows the Plow." The more people moved to the …

    In this April 15, 1935, photo, a dust cloud approaches a ranch in Boise City, Okla. The Dust Bowl led to a massive migration of Oklahoma and Texas farmers out of the region, many of whom traveled to California in search of jobs.
  9. Column: A profound question behind the immigration debate — what kind of country do we want our country to be?


    Behind the Sturm und Drang that greeted President Donald Trump's recent and now evolving executive action on refugees lies the broader issue of U.S. immigration policies over the past half-century. And behind those immigration policies lies a profound question facing Americans: What kind of country do they want …

    Robert W. Merry
  10. Column: Oil is not the Middle East's most strategic export. People are.


    Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, policymakers, professors and presidents have been preoccupied with the so-called oil weapon. This is the notion that Iran, Iraq or OPEC could selectively cut off oil sales to the United States, causing pain at the pump and across the economy. Thus, the oil weapon became a staple …

    Workers move a section of well casing into place at a Chesapeake Energy natural gas well site near Burlington, Pa. If there ever was an oil weapon, it is now in Uncle Sam’s hands.
  11. A little Perspective: A skin-saving gecko, a cost-benefit analysis


    The costs and benefits

    As part of its assault on climate change regulation, the energy industry has conjured up frightening estimates of lost jobs and higher energy prices. But nowhere will you find any estimate of the economic benefit that would be realized by preventing rising tides from inundating New …

    Geckolepis megalepis, newly discovered in Madagascar, has the largest scales of any fish-scale gecko. “It looks like a fish until you grab it, and then it looks like a naked chicken breast,” said Mark D. Scherz, a doctoral candidate at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
  12. Column: Could the European Union be pulled apart?


    Never before has the European Union been under such severe threat. The United Kingdom's imminent Brexit under Prime Minister Theresa May, and the arrival in the White House of Donald Trump, amount to a declaration of war on the EU's very existence. President Trump has been quite clear: Britain's exit of the EU is a good …

  13. Column: Will the U.S. lose Turkey?


    In April 2009, President Barack Obama spoke before the Turkish Grand National Assembly, hailing the country's "strong, vibrant, secular democracy" and noting that Turkey is a "resolute" and "critical" American ally. Since then, much has changed in both countries, and little has been positive with respect to Turkish …

  14. We'll help to figure out what in the world is going on


    Editor's note: In advance of this week's fifth annual St. Petersburg Conference on World Affairs, several of the experts who will participate have written essays for today's Perspective about key areas of concern: Russia, Turkey, the European Union and the Mideast, among them.

    ST. PETERSBURG ?€š€” In 34 years as an American diplomat, Douglas L. McElhaney witnessed a revolution in Portugal, helped negotiate independence for the African nation of Namibia, and served as ambassador in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
He has helped organize an annual conference on national and international issues featuring prominent speakers from the U.S. Foreign Service, academia, the military and the news media at USF-St. Pete.
  15. PolitiFact: Is $135 billion enough to end global poverty? No.


    Twitter followers of the cheekily named What the F*** Facts got some bold guidance recently.

  16. A look back at Tampa Bay's cafeterias of days gone by


    Over a century ago, readers of the afternoon St. Petersburg Evening Independent encountered a strange headline: "Novel Restaurant Service Is Put Into Effect Here." The article profiled the owner, E.C. Stinespring, and his new restaurant, oddly named, the Scientific Lunch Room.

    Morrison’s Cafeteria in Tampa fed the masses, in part because the federal courthouse and post office were nearby.
  17. Column: Victims of confidence schemes tend to have something in common: They think they're extraordinary.


    A few years ago, an internationally respected 68-year-old physicist fell for a sweetheart scam. Paul Frampton met a young supermodel online, became convinced he was corresponding with the new love of his life and traveled to La Paz, Bolivia, to meet her.

  18. Perspective: Trump sold America a miracle cure, but he won't be blamed when it fails


    There are many who hope that President Donald Trump's supporters will hold him accountable. That they will insist he fulfill his promises about jobs or universal health coverage — and when those promises are broken, that their fervent support will turn into rage at having been duped, causing Trump anguish and …

  19. Perspective: Cattle ranches are key to preserving Florida for all of us

    Florida's final frontier


    Beyond our beaches and theme parks lies a Florida still unknown to many — Florida's ranchlands. Off the beaten track, these lands are our last frontier. I consider myself blessed to live and work as a rancher in this magical landscape we call Florida.

  20. Fact-checking fake news reveals how hard it is to kill pervasive 'nasty weed' online


    No, the United Nations did not order former President Barack Obama to pay African-Americans reparations.

    The Facebook logo is displayed on an iPad in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)