Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tending the vines...

"Once again, O Lord of hosts,
look down from heaven and see:
Take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted..."
Psalm 80:15-16

So, before I moved, son Blaine trimmed my many plants to make them travel easier. Now, he did this, not with the tender green thumb of a Gainan, but with rather wild abandon. They looked dreadful (but did travel easier--what was left of them!) I placed two of them in the treehouse and really didn't think they would survive. Each day I looked at them and wondered if they will come back. Just yesterday, I noticed several new little shoots of new growth on them! Eureka! I wondered if it isn't a bit like all of us. We go through a big change and things may seem weird at first, maybe we feel out of place, uncomfortable. But, gradually we notice new little shoots of growth in us. Change, even difficult change, can surely bring about new growth! Just like my plants, I see new shoots of growth and opportunity in me and it's lovely.  Today, as we go about our deep summer Thursday, let's be extra aware of the areas of our lives God is beckoning us to step out and grow.  Just like my funny, old philodendrons, God is tending the vines of our lives. What does that look like?  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

God's employment office...

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."
Matthew 9:38

This was yesterday's Gospel, but I pondered a bit more after I heard it at mass (there's a daily mass at noon here--now, there's a time I can get to!) Anyway, regarding the need for laborers and all...I heard the call for laborers and sort of feel like I'm at God's employment office, waiting to find out what my job will be. God is giving me a bit of a break right now, knowing that I certainly need and want to do something, but God is letting me rest a bit between innings. I left a full time job, plus a little side job. Now, I'm looking for something part time, VERY part time! When I heard the Gospel proclaimed I prayed that God would show me clearly, without me having to read tea leaves, what my job will be as a laborer in the harvest. So, here I sit...in God's employment office (my treehouse).  What about you? Are you hearing the call of the harvest? The call isn't just for clergy like we used to think. The call is for all of us...let's open our ears!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

No more "idols"...

"With their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction."
Hosea 8:5

At the risk of being a bit of a Debbie-Downer, I gotta wonder out loud if this isn't what we have done in our world today. I mean, we worship at the altar of wealth, prestige and power, don't we? We tend to admire people dripping with money, reveling in power and yet, people in our country are suffering terrible injustices, children even. Will our, so called, "civilized" society end up being our downfall? I'm too much of an optimist for that, rest assured! There are many more good, solid people who see injustice and try to right it. If anything, this challenging time in our history is bringing out the better angels of our nature, borrowing a phrase from Abraham Lincoln. The better angels in us must move us to action, mobilized into doing and being the good we seek. Amy Kuebelbeck says it well in Give Us This Day today...action is more than just posting something on social media so others can see where we stand. That's a bit too easy. But what can we do in our circles of influence? It may be as simple as extending kindness to those around us or cleaning up litter, as Anne Lamott often suggests. Is there someone we can reach out to, smile at, hold the door for? I met a nice fellow at mass yesterday who showed me around and his kindness meant the world to me. Is there a small way we can tidy up our environments and make a difference that way? I live in a large apartment complex now, and there are many ways I can make small differences here and there. I just need to keep my eyes open for them! Meanwhile, let's be very careful what we worship. Love, heidi

Monday, July 9, 2018

Astonished and astounded...

"...many who heard him were astonished."
Mark 6:2

In yesterday's Gospel, the people were astonished at Jesus' teaching in the synagogue. They were astounded last week when he raised the twelve year old girl they believed was dead (Mark 5:42). I totally get it. I've spent the last couple of weeks astonished and astounded too. There was a flawless move (thanks to several awesome young folks), a lovely send-off (thanks to fabulous friends), and a warm welcome (my new library branch is open on Sundays!) Yes, I've been astonished and astounded a lot lately, sitting in my treehouse with my old dog, who, himself, is astonished by the proximity of the squirrels. Things have gone so well with my move that I'm chiding myself for all the needless worry the six months prior. (I worry. It's what I do.) I have been so astonished and astounded, though, at seeing such good in others and even in situations. Can we feel the same when things don't go as well? I wonder, and hope so. The thing is we can be astonished at the beauty of creation around us. We can be astounded at the kind deeds of people, even as other people may be naughty. We can look inside our own hearts and see the love of God right there, and that may really astonish us!  Today, as we go about our July Monday, let's look, astounded, at the goodness of God.
Oh, and it's good to be back! Love, heidi

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tales from the treehouse...

"Just so, every good tree bears good fruit..."
Matthew 7:15-20

But also, just so, some years the crop may be a bit better than other years, am I right? I'd like to think that I'm a good little tree, bearing good fruit. Thanks be to God, my life has been rich and wonderful, filled with fabulous friends, family, rewarding work and all. But, I am honest in realizing my crop of good fruit was smaller some years than others! Even so, the career that I began August, 1979 in Miles City, Montana, ends today in Idaho. I can honestly say that it's been the best career I could have ever hoped to have, having met such great people and been able to help people, every day, if I did it right. When I prayed, as a high school senior, for God to show me what I was to do, I couldn't imagine how God would lead and guide me into such a lovely life! Now, it's time to move on, move over, actually, to my new home and life in Boise. I hope my new tree there will bear good fruit, too. I plan to continue writing these reflections, as long as God continues to teach me these little life lessons. They may be a bit different, however, as I will be writing from my new home, a third floor apartment with a big tree growing right outside my little balcony. Because of that, the reflections will be called "Tales from the Treehouse" and will begin in a week or two. Blessings and prayers for you and yours and see you soon! Love, heidi

Monday, June 25, 2018

Stop judging!

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Stop judging, that you may not be judged.'"
Matthew7:1

This is one of the hardest lessons Jesus gave to us, clearly! We all read this, each time this Gospel comes around, and give it a groan. "It's too hard!" One little technique I have found through the years is this...
When tempted to judge someone for an action we find difficult to take, ask yourself what may be behind the action. What is it about the situation or the individual that causes them to do what they do? Is there something about the situation or the person that makes their action logical? Or reasonable? Going for the "why" of person's action, may help us to stop judging them or at least may help us to judge them more kindly and with compassion.  Judging others is in our human nature and we must battle the urge constantly.  If we pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the guidance to look at the actions of others with more understanding, we may find our judgments less harmful. If we pray for loving eyes to see others how God sees them, our judgments will be more kind.  Maybe that is a good first step for us on our road to stop judging others. Love, heidi