An offering from Elaine: May Christ be our light!

November 29, 2016

Isaiah 11:6-9

Edward_Hicks-peaceablekingdom 3
Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.

Sadly, these verses do not reflect the world in which we live. In this season of hope, let us pray for an end to violence, hatred, greed, and poverty, and for a stronger outpouring of love, kindness, gentleness, and peace. May Christ be our light!

Elaine Weber
SMI Board of Directors
Technology & Communications Chair

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An offering from Deanna: Live giving water of balance

July 7, 2015

This summer our family will go to Lake Tahoe for the first time. Lakes normally have been a place of relaxation and renewal. But because of the droughts – both here in Texas and in California – lakes are no longer a source of comfort but a reason for concern.

(c) Bonnie Oden
(c) Bonnie Oden


My parents have a place on Lake Bridgeport and for the past several years the water level has been so low that my dad’s sailboat has sat abandoned at the dock as there is no water to get it out of its slip so it has sat on the dry sandy ground that was once a part of the lake. This has all changed in the last month as the drought in Texas has finally ended and this May was the wettest on record. Lake Bridgeport has ben restored to her normal water level but my family won’t be enjoying the return of the water because with all that rain came storms and my parents condo was destroyed by a tornado that was part of the system that brought the water to the lake.


Water – without it, there is no life. With too much of it – life is destroyed.


This reflects the spiritual journey. Not enough and we are left feeling thirsty with our meaningless lives and lost wondering existence. Too much and we lose touch with reality living in a fantasy world divorced of real people and real experiences. The practice is to find balance – that place where our thirst is quenched and we have enough to make it until the next rain. As moments in life take us from drought to flood, may we find our own level as we seek the life giving water of balance.

(c) 2015 Deanna Hollas

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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 Eunice: Random Acts of Kindness Hit Home!

August 21, 2014

My husband and I look forward to a Friday evening newscast that ends weekly with an uplifting story. This past week we were moved once again by a story about Chris Rosati, the husband and father in Durham, North Carolina who has suffered with ALS for three years.  You might remember him as the guy who last December “stole” (with their permission) a Krispi Kreme donut truck and gave away a thousand donuts – many to kids in local hospitals.   In May he rolled out the BIGG project (Big Ideas for the Greater Good); he challenged kids to come up with creative and fun random acts of kindness and send him the ideas.  Of the 70 submitted, his non-profit selected those that would make the best viral video to be filmed.  The Friday news story was prompted by the August 3 Red Carpet premier of BIGG, the collection of those videos.  We love stories like these that make us so much more aware of the goodness and generosity of people that is often overlooked because of the plethora of bad news.

The morning after the news story of the BIGG premier, we went to Tony’s, a neighborhood café, for breakfast.  We had just finished and were asking a waitress for our check when our friend and co-owner, Lina came to the table to say that our breakfast had been paid for by a young man who had been seated in the booth behind us.  We were amazed and touched – tears filled our eyes as they had the previous night.  But this time we’d been the recipients of a random act of kindness by someone we didn’t even notice!   She told us that it happens often in their café – people are kinder and more generous than we think.  Lina asked us to pray for Pedro, our young benefactor, who is recovering from back surgery.  And we ask you to join us in praying for Pedro’s healing.  And while we’re at it, let’s pray for more acts of random kindness that lift spirits and spread such joy.

“Small acts of friendliness can create much joy.  ….  But how little do we use this knowledge?”  Henri Nouwen.

Or as my great aunt always said, “It’s nice to be nice.”

Or as St. Paul writes: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22.


Eunice Cheshire

Spiritual Director

HeartPaths Founding Faculty

August 2014

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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 Donnie: New Life

May 19, 2014

Birth=New Life

Our family just celebrated the birth of a great grandson who just happened to be born on my husband’s birthday!  It was a joyous occasion that we continue to savior as we celebrate this new life.

Little Theodore’s birth gave me a chance to pause and think about new life.  I realized it is not necessary to wait for a birth to celebrate life.  God is forever putting opportunities to see new life in front of me.  Just last week while in Denver, gazing out over 8 inches of freshly fallen snow, I was amazed to see a hummingbird flying in and out of a snowball bush that was drooping low with the weight of the snow.  This creature of God was busy keeping himself alive and giving me the pleasure of witnessing it.

I am reminded of the passage from Psalm 92, “For you make me jubilant, Lord, by your deeds; at the works of your hands I shout for joy.”  Theo’s birth makes me shout for joy and witnessing the hummingbird made me jubilant; my intention in this season of Easter is to look for God’s deeds and works so joy is mine and I’m able to shout!

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An Offering from Eunice: Wounded Healers

April 11, 2014

Many of the headlines I read each day and hear on the evening news seem to repeat history. Someone, some group, some country is offended or taken advantage of, they attack and the violence continues. The stories that appeal to me are almost always ones that tell of people who in spite of hardship are accomplishing great good.

In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, we read that “The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. rocks Then Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?’” Jesus had the truly “amazing grace” to accept suffering and persecution without passing it on. He transformed his pain into the love of good works and he challenged us to do the same.

For me the message of Lent and of the passion of Jesus is well-expressed by Richard Rohr, OFM, who says “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.”

My experience is that none of us gets all our needs met, and our human need for affection, acceptance, approval and appreciation is never filled. And few if any of us make it through life without the pain of disappointment, betrayal, injustice, or discrimination. We feel slighted or disrespected and we want to lash out. Can we turn to God to make these wounds into sacred wounds and so become the “wounded healers” for our families and communities? If we can find that God is somehow present in our pain, we refrain from passing it on and use it for good as Jesus did. Instead of retaliating and stoning others with our words and actions, we can become the stones to support the kingdom of God.

Eunice Cheshire

Co-Founder of Spiritual Ministries Institute and

a member of HeartPaths DFW Founding Faculty

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in Lent

The Truck Lights

February 27, 2014


John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Darkness engulfed us as we motored along two lane highways on a recent trip across the Texas Panhandle. Our sole company was 18-wheelers, and even with headlights on high beam, it proved difficult to know whether the road curved, angled or straightened. Not a drive for the faint-hearted! However, much to our delight we began to notice large trunks outlined in red and white lights. As long as we followed the lights we had clear direction.

Sometimes as a result of our own choices or as a victim of another’s choice we fall into a kind of darkness and we realize there has to be something better, something more. It’s like being in an explosion and crawling to safety through the rubble; or trying to find the end of a dark tunnel filled with snakes, spiders and cobwebs; or even struggling to escape a burning building. At first you may feel there is no one to lift you out, show you the way or pull you to safety.

Psalm 18:28, “For You (God) light my lamp; The Lord my God illumines my darkness.” coming to the light

But God is real and rescues you through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But for those already Christian, God provides resources; the Bible, prayer, commitment to growth, community of believers, Christian books and friends, wise and godly counselors, to name a few. He draws you back into His light.

Genesis 1:4, “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”

Stark distinction exists between light and dark, and God separates us from the darkness. With Him we’re able to step out of the rubble, the tunnel, and the burning building into the light. It feels good and healing begins.

Just as those truck lights showed us the way, God shows us the road to eternal life. But life isn’t only about receiving and living in the light; it’s also about spreading it. As we share, doesn’t our light become brighter as it grows more obvious and more consistent? How will you get and give, discover and display, and follow and feature God’s light this week?

Discovering God’s Way out of Darkness, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2014 PJ Gover (blog, includes “Bible Thoughts”!) (PJ’s devotional book)

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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 PJ: Hope

April 22, 2013

Romans 12:12, “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer…”

 cracked ground

From a distance the pastures at the ranch appear to be as pristine as a city park.  But, when you walk across the fields you’ll be surprised at what you find.  Not only is the ground uneven but among the good grasses you’ll notice weeds, thorns, cracks, rocks and gnarled roots from nearby oaks and cedar elms.  Watch where you step; it’s easy to stumble.


Imagine how pleasing it was to spot a tiny pink flower pushing its way through the soil recently.  That little bud offered a glimpse of beauty and perfection in what is otherwise difficult terrain.  It must have endured infrequent rains, hard soil, intrusive weeds, changing winds, varied temperatures, harsh mowing and, of course, cow hooves.  Still, it thrived!


On our life journey neglect, pressure, pain, disappointment and despair follow us and we may fall flat but we have hope.  Our Faithful Father enables us to not only face all that life flings our way but flourish in the midst of it, too.  The next time difficulties threaten; remember the posy with the perennial perseverance and floral fortitude!  Then, whisper a prayer of thanks.


Happily Holding onto His Hope, PJ

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