Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Two ears, one mouth...

"Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger, for anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God."
James 1:19-20

(Quick note: Time is running out for you to hear the folks at Pray-As-You-Go say the word "February"'s sort of a one syllable deal, like this--Feb'ry. Link below!)
Oh, wow...where has this reading been my whole life? I guess I concentrated on the later verse, "Be doers of the word, not hearers only." (v. 22)  Pray-As-You-Go asks how we measure up to the ideal of listening well, being slow to speak and slow to anger. I'm much more quick to speak and keeping speaking...prattling on and on. I guess awareness is the first step. But it's better to be aware early in a conversation, before this happens or during, not later, laying in bed thinking, "Why didn't I stop talking?" The old adage that we have two ears and only one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak is a good reminder. I just need to stop talking long enough to remember it! Blessings on your last Wednesday before Ash Wednesday! Love, heidi

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cheeky to humble...

"She replied and said to him, 'Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps.'"
Mark 7:28

I love it when this reading is used on Pray-As-You-Go, because they always describe the woman as "cheeky" in her comments to Jesus. Jesus had told her the children of Israel must be fed first, after she asked for a healing for her daughter. Cheeky response. I love it. Have we ever been cheeky in our prayers? I've been reading an old journal from a couple of years ago and yes, I can honestly say, some of the stuff I write is cheeky. Seriously, God? A damaging hailstorm right before I close on the sale of my house? Is that the best you can do? I won't even share what I wrote November 9, isn't fit to print, but yes, it was a bit cheeky. I really don't think God minds our cheeky prayers, because that means we are comfortable communicating with God. We are in relationship with God and if that means we're cheeky, God's OK with that. I also read back how I was so concerned with what would happen to my dog, Tebow, with the move to Boise. How would he do? How would I find a place to rent that would take him? How would that all work out? As I see the pieces of that puzzle and how they fit into place I can only marvel at the gifts of the situation. I can be cheeky in my prayers, but I can also be humble and awestruck when I recognize God's gifts. So I run the gamut of cheeky to humble, questioning to praising. Quaking to self-assured (wait! that hasn't come yet!) And all of it points to my being in a deep, rich relationship with God. And that's fabulous. Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Encountering Jesus...

"Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, 'Who touched my clothes?'"
Mark 5:30

This reading really hit me this morning for some reason. I usually am awed by the woman with the hemorrhage--her faith and courage to just go after what she knew in her heart was her only hope--Jesus. I can't imagine her fear when Jesus reels about and asks, "Who touched my clothes?" because, in touching Jesus, the woman rendered him unclean in the Jewish tradition. He could have been angry! But the woman steps forward and tells Jesus everything. I am also amazed, too, that Jesus desires relationship with each and every person he encounters. Jesus could have walked through the crowds, healing everyone of everything. There could have been many encounter-less healings along the way, but that is not Jesus' style. Jesus wanted to share a moment with each person. Jesus wanted to look into their eyes and souls. He wanted to praise their faith and cheer them on in their healing. He didn't take credit himself, but told the woman, "Daughter, your faith has saved you." (v. 34) What's really exciting to me is that Jesus wants to encounter us the same way. He wants us to reach out and seek his help for all we go through in our own lives. We need not approach Jesus with fear and trembling like the woman in the Gospel today. Jesus truly wants to walk with us through any difficulty and celebrate with us when it is over and we feel whole again. No matter what our day holds for us, this Tuesday, let's try to encounter Jesus. Love, heidi

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

What kind of soil?

"And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil...Some seed fell among the thorns...and some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit."
Mark 4:4-8

As I sat pondering this, I wondered just what kind of soil I would be today. I believe that we aren't always the same kind of soil; some days we may be thorny, and other days, we may be richer. It isn't a one-and-done deal. I think God sends us seed all day and how we receive it and act on it changes. I may be tired and impatient one day and that certainly makes me less receptive to subtle messages from God. God's message can't take root in crabby soil! Some days I may be too caught up in what's going on around me. The news can give me a thorny edge, that's for sure, and God's rather wasting time trying to teach me anything those days. (Thankfully, our God is a very generous sower and still flings the seed out with abandon!) Some days, the message may get through quickly and easily and start to take root, but by the end of the day I've lost it and my zeal has waned.  Still other days, I spend quiet time with God, praying for guidance as to what I'm to do for God throughout the day. I sense God's nudging and the message falls on rich soil in my heart. I am able to remember and act on it through the day, hopefully, producing fruit. The quiet of my heart is the richest soil for God's message. Overly saturating myself with all the things that bother me but I cannot change leaves me depleted and closed off to what God empowers me to do. Today, as we inch our way through the last days of January, let's be aware of sensing the nudgings of God through our day. Let's commit to being rich, fertile soil for God's word to take root and thrive in us, producing beautiful fruit for the world! Love, heidi

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Clearing out the clutter...

"Anything can be clutter if it keeps me totally absorbed in myself and unaware of what God is offering to me."
Sr. Joyce Rupp, "The Cup of Our Life"

I'm rereading an older book, "The Lessons of St. Francis," by John Michael Talbot, and I'm finding something interesting. My desire for simplifying my life goes back to the late 90's! I remember this book and others (such as the Joyce Rupp book quoted above) emphasizing voluntary simplicity and how exciting that concept felt to me. I remember clearing out my closet while Chris was away over a weekend. When he returned, seeing its bareness, he asked, "Are you moving out?" So simplifying is no passing fad for me...but it is always a work in progress. One can eliminate physical things in our environments even as the clutter within can still pile up. What is the clutter we accumulate within? Well, judgmentalism, our knee-jerk responses to things and people. Our prejudices, fears, and anxieties. Our sense of our own right-ness and, correspondingly,  our perceived wrong-ness of others. All of that, St. Francis would call, "The purse of our own opinions." And mine can be less a purse and more of a footlocker. I could be sitting in an empty room on a folding chair and still be in the middle of this kind of clutter. Simplifying our lives is not a weekend endeavor or even a year-long project. Done thoroughly, it takes us a lifetime to clear out ALL the clutter and find our hearts and minds more roomy. Maybe that can be a project for us this new year...clearing out the mental and emotional clutter along with the clothes we never wear. Love, heidi

Friday, January 17, 2020

Seeing God in the Now...

"Embrace the present moment as an ever-flowing source of holiness."
Jean Pierre de Caussade SJ, as quoted by Richard Rohr, 11/19/17

As I reflect on a new year, I can't help but contemplate the "Now" I am currently living. For so long I lived for the future--the next weekend, or summer, or holiday time or when I could retire. Too often, my thoughts were focused more on the future and what it held. Now, I think I can finally say, I am living more in the Now.  I am living the life I yearned for as I counted down Mondays while working for ICBVI. Now, I feel, I am living in the Now I dreamed about for so long. Richard Rohr quotes Jean Pierre de Caussade's book, "Abandonment to Divine Providence," referring to the "sacrament of the present moment." How often do we think of our present situation as a sacrament? It's easier now that I'm retired, but I am still working a job with little kids and there are times when it doesn't feel that holy at all! Richard Rohr says living in the present moment is what is meant by living in the presence of God. God is in the present moment, no matter what is happening. We can look back and reflect on seeing God in the past, what if we just take a deep breath and realize that God is also fully in the present moment. Even as the little first grader, whose fingers are too often in his nose, interrupts reading group to ask, "Can I touch your hair?" The absurdity of the present moment doesn't mean God isn't there--it just means God has a sense of humor! As we are heading into another weekend (there's that future again!) let's take time to think about one special moment--Now. Let's pause, breathe deeply, and thank God for the current sixty seconds we are experiencing. Let's see God in the Now. Love, heidi