An Offering from Eunice: Present

November 4, 2014

I have no doubt that God is always present. Although I cannot offer scientific proof, I know it from my own life experiences and from the stories like the following one that are often shared with me.

“Just six weeks short of her 100th birthday, Mother died early on a Tuesday morning in June,.  That same day I had reservations to fly to Austin for a few days, then go on to San Antonio to see her.  So I changed my Southwest flight to go directly to San Antonio.  Because of the last minute change, I had a high boarding number and the plane was crowded so I had to take the first seat I came to.  It was an aisle seat next to a lady with her husband.  I noticed she was crying, and he didn’t seem to be comforting her or touching her.  After we took off, I decided to reach out to her although the introvert in me wasn’t at all sure it was the right thing to do.  I took her hand and asked if I could do anything for her.  She said, “My mother died this morning in San Antonio, and I wasn’t with her.”  I replied that my mother had also died that morning, and I wasn’t with her.  We held hands and talked the whole flight about our mothers who both had scoliosis and osteoporosis, and who lived in a lot of pain despite being alert mentally.  Her mother was 93.  As we stood to deplane, I asked her name.  She said it was Ann Black, and I told her mine was Amy White!  I think our mothers were in heaven and asked God to put us together so we could comfort each other.  I still get chill bumps when I tell the story. I firmly believe this was a message from God that our mothers were safe with Him.”

Whether you call this Divine Providence, a God moment, holy synchronicity, or simply, grace, I am sure it is a sign of an ever present and loving God, and a moment on consolation to be celebrated.

Eunice Cheshire

Spiritual Director

HeartPaths Founding Faculty Member

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An Offering from Kathy: Abundance

November 1, 2014

Everything about Me is available to you.  I am not a God of “scraps”, one who doles out bits and pieces to My children according to My whims.  Everything of who I am is readily available to each of My children every minute of every day.

This is difficult for My children to understand because they see Me as a stingy Father, one who gives just enough to get by in their lives.  The reality is I am a God of abundance, and yes, excess, whose greatest joy is to bless and pour out this excess upon My children.

The thing that hinders each of you is your ability and willingness to receive what I have to offer you.  Limits come from woundedness, this is true, but many times the limits are imposed by you yourselves.  You erect boundaries and walls that hinder My ability to give you what you desire and need.

You hinder Me whenever you immerse yourselves in the world, filling your lives and senses with things that, in the immediacy of the moment, I cannot compete with.  I am a God of the eternal.  I am not interested in a momentary fix in your life that will make you feel better temporarily, only to find yourself in need of something more days or months later.

Each of My children are deep, deep wells.  If you attempt to fill that well with things of your choosing, with things of the world, you will never, ever, be full and you will never experience Me as a God of abundance and excess.


I, your God, am the only one who can fill, on a daily basis, that deep well with in you, and not just fill it up, but bring it to a place where it is overflowing within you so that it cannot help but touch others around you.

This is My desire for your lives:  To be a God of abundance and excess every moment of every day.  I love you.  Receive all I have.”


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An Offering from Kathy: Whisper

September 11, 2014

Last week I spent several days immersing myself in the news, something I usually try not to do.  As a result, I noticed a feeling of helplessness and despair settling upon me that I was having trouble shaking.  During my prayer time, I pictured myself one lone voice whispering in the midst of thousands of voices raised loudly in chaos.


I shared this feeling of being a “whisper” with my pastor.  It’s interesting that you use the word ‘whisper’, he said.  “That’s exactly how Elijah experienced God.”


I carried this encounter with me all day and then came the revelation:  If the whole intent of my spiritual journey is to be transformed into God’s image, then it is inevitable that I will become a “whisper” too.  Being a “whisper” is a good thing, because after all, I am my Father’s daughter.

I Kings 19:11-12 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.

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Spirituality of the Swimming Pool

June 23, 2014

On a recent Sunday afternoon I took my young grandson to a neighborhood pool.  What was meant to be a fun-filled way to cool off became a sacred moment when I felt a momentary rush of something that could only be described as the Holy Spirit sweep over me.  We are all basking in sunlight that feels like divine light in this moment; the water a powerful symbol of life and cleansing.  We are many faiths and cultures together in one place that is full of light and laughter and life.  We are community as we encourage our own children and feel a connection with those we don’t know.  Life guards are patrolling the water watching over us and reminding us of ways to remain safe while enjoying the water.  We rest as required and those moments of rest are Sabbath moments in a Sabbath day.


We are all one in the time we are there.    We are delighting in each other without speaking.  There are giggles and peals of laughter, the din of joy supported by the underlying sprays of water.  The moment is holy as I felt all of this wash over me like a healing and refreshing stream on a hot and dusty hike.  Just for a moment my being was touched by all of this as an experience of oneness with everyone in that pool.  Just for a moment – one joyous moment – when the divine made Itself known, I realized I was living – we were all living and playing – in the divine.  Oh, how God must have been smiling with joy and satisfaction watching us and infusing us with the beauty of that oneness.



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An Offering from Nancy: Perspective

April 8, 2014

Relationship-building, or renewing,  or even repairing is hard to do at a distance. Despite all our technological gadgets to help us keep in touch, nothing seems to replace personal contact.

There are people I care about but really don’t see or talk to… Sometimes it’s strangers whose stories in the news touch my heart. Sometimes it’s people whom I’ve known but who have moved away and we’ve lost touch.

Tomorrow someone I love but have not seen in many years has a birthday. I think her 61st. It seems to me her life has unfolded unpredictably. From my perspective it might have been exciting as she has lived many places, experienced many varied ways of life.

I wonder today what perspective she has as she moves into these so called wisdom years. How does her life seem to her? To me she has always been the most beautiful of her large family. I wonder if she has ever seen that in herself? I pray for her and others whom I ‘love-from-a-distance.’

May she, and others, walk in beauty and peace.

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An Offering from Lori: Thank you for loving me

January 20, 2014

“Thank you for loving me, Lord.”  I have used that phrase multiple times in the past few years.  It’s funny how those words can change both my awareness and my feelings.  Lots of people are talking about gratitude these days, claiming it can change your life and make you feel good.  But it somehow seemed “wrong” to me to tell God I was grateful if I felt sad or disappointed about a situation.  Being honest with God is very important to me.  I can remember sitting and wondering what I could be grateful for at one point, when life seemed to be not what I wanted.  And what I came up with was that I was grateful that God was with me and that God loved me.

Being grateful that God loves you sounds pretty simplistic—most people know that God loves them, right?  But something happens to me when I say those words.  I actually feel grateful, no matter what else is going on.  I am reminded that I am not alone, and that no matter what state my life seems to be in, God still loves me.  The big God who created the universe and can do anything still loves me.  Me, just as I am; weird, scared, confused, disappointed, frustrated, lonely, tired, whatever.  Even when other people don’t understand me or approve of me or include me or care about me, God gets it.  Gets me.  And loves me.  And nothing can top that.  Nothing can take it away, either.  Sometimes I just sit in the middle of that love and weep.  It’s that powerful.

The sculpture was created by Lori (Hoxie) Justice
The sculpture was created by Lori (Hoxie) Justice

So, a few words remind me of the truth, and the truth enables me to live freely in God’s love.  Pretty simple, yet very powerful.  His love is amazing.

Lori (Hoxie) Justice: sculptor, painter, graphic artist; HeartPaths graduate 2012; married Jay Justice on December 28, 2013

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An Offering from Donnie: Grateful for Good News

November 25, 2013

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who…

brings good news.

   Isaiah 5:7

Forty some years ago I was a young woman ready to start a family, to become the mother I’d always dreamed about. But as happens, no babies were given and so I used my nurturing skills in the classroom, loving the third graders as well as little stray animals that always managed to find me.

But soon that was not enough, being a mother was what I wanted most in my life.  I wanted to feel the tender softness of a baby, to change diapers and fix bottles. A friend of ours had recently adopted a baby, so my husband and I began to talk about adoption.  Finally we built up the courage to make an appointment with Catholic Charities.  About nine months later,‘ the messenger brought the good news’ that our prayer to become a family had been answered and we were presented with a beautiful baby girl only 7 days old.  We were ecstatic and settled into changing our lifestyle to accommodate this new little person in our lives.

As often happens, ‘the messenger’ had not finished His work, and a few years later, I found myself pregnant and we began to look forward to adding another little person to our family.  Our second daughter was born and we were now a family of four, rejoicing and dealing with all that two little girls bring to your heart.  We loved telling each girl about how they came to be a part of our family; how Catholic Charities with God’s help found just the right baby for us and how God in His wisdom gave us another ‘just right’ baby.

When our oldest daughter was in her twenties, she decided, with our support and assistance, to try to find her birth mother.  Again, Catholic Charities was contacted and with their help and the help ‘of the messenger’, the birth mother was found.  She was also looking for the daughter she wasn’t able to keep.  A meeting of our daughter and her birth mother was arranged.  At the same time a meeting of all family members (numbering 13) took place.  Our little family was expanding by leaps and bounds and we were all filled with joy.

A loving friendship developed between our daughter and her birth mother, one that we could not be happier about.  Over the years we’ve been reminded about how blessed we have been to be the recipients of the ‘good news of the messenger of God’ giving us the experience of adopting a child and giving birth to a child, a blessing for which we are eternally grateful.

Divine Messenger,

I will carry the glad tidings

Of your abundant and abiding love

To all I meet and greet today.

Joyce Rupp


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An Offering from PJ: The Hands

October 8, 2013

Ecclesiastes 9:10a, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might …”

Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”

James 2:26, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”

Recently I was at the hairdresser and beside me sat an empty chair waiting for a three-year old little boy who hollered and shed more than a few tears at the prospect of his unknown fate. But with the promise of a lolly-pop he allowed himself to be picked up and placed on the booster seat and draped with a large plastic cape. After a few slurpy licks on the sweet treat Mom took it to avoid stray hairs. At which point he settled under the drape and then promptly froze as if any movement might lead to the loss of an ear to two.

When his ordeal drew to a close Mom tried to return the goodie and asked, “Where is your hand?” To which the little boy emphatically replied, “I don’t know!” Once tucked under the drape I guess he figured his hands just might have disappeared. At least he didn’t want to move and take the chance!

So, what are your hands doing today?

What did you do for the Lord this morning, this week, this month? Did you carry a meal to the Hungry? Offer a glass of water to the Thirsty? Provide clothing to the Needy? Pick up the phone and call the Lonely? Visit the Homebound? Respond with kindness to the Angry and Rude? Extend mercy and forgiveness to the Hateful? Help out the Helpless? Encourage the Discouraged? Love the Unlovely? Speak God’s name to All?

Don’t freeze under the drape of busyness, tiredness, fear, apathy or even laziness. Get moving, take a chance and do mighty works for the Lord right now!

Working on Working My Hands for God’s Good, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2013 PJ Gover

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An Offering from Martha: Recovering Tree

July 19, 2013

Stripped and naked was I, following the storm and tornado.                      Recovering Tree

               Surrounding ground scrubbed to dust.

Limbs and leaves torn from my trunk

               Sad and broken my body appeared

This was not the future

               It was the present


               It matters.


Though not as tall as I used to be,

               Neither are the houses on this sacred ground.

Isn’t it curious how the foundations still exist?

               And how my roots are firmly planted

               Stretched but not severed.

A new shape is forged by the horrific storm

               I (we) will never be the same.


Gasping at the view, it is difficult to believe

               That any blessings are contained

               Within this time of shock and grief.



               They are.


It may take some time to see this truth

               But they are here, even in this stark chaos of reality,

               Unveiled by the daylight.


Time is passing, debris is removed.

The tools and sounds of recovery surround me.

               Like the beating of a heart, the hammer pounds.

The saw’s shrill buzz expresses excitement.

Bulldozers gone, their work complete.

               Plowing and scraping, recovering avenues and space.

Space for new things to happen – new things to grow.


I stand firm in this soil that was given,

               My eyes have seen much

               My body was ravaged.

But, still l stand.

               New life is appearing. Fresh foliage is proof!


                                                               God is making all things new!


Martha Jacobson

Breast Cancer Survivor

Spiritual Ministries Institute Board Member

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Let’s Celebrate!

June 12, 2013

As I watched the Tony Awards this weekend, I enjoyed the singing and the dancing, the congratulating and the celebrating, the smiling faces and the gorgeous dresses.  I thought how much healthier we might be if we celebrated our happiness, our accomplishments, our goodness, our very lives more.


“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …hide it under a bushel, no … I’m going to let it shine.”  As school lets out, these words will be resounding in church camps and vacation bible schools. Perhaps we adults should join in this chorus.

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good work and give glory to your Father in heaven.”  Matthews 5:16.


Eunice Cheshire

June 12, 2013

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