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: 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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An Offering from PJ: The Heavenly Highway

January 6, 2014

Deuteronomy 5:33, “You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you …”

2 Samuel 22:31, “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

A busy highway lies between the ranch house and the city. When one merges onto the interstate and into the flow of traffic it’s easy to allow other cars set the speed which is what I did during a recent hour-long drive. Sometimes I cruised below the limit and sometimes above while mindlessly maintaining pace with the car in front. When it slowed, I automatically slowed. When it sped up, I did too. When it changed lanes, I appropriately shuffled my position. When it exited I found another car to track. If I stayed close I figured I was also safe from those pesky police radar guns.

It’s easy to allow the world’s values, goals, and priorities to set life’s direction and limit. Sometimes we have the illusion that we are somehow smarter, safer, shrewder and more sensible when we cruise along with the world when it’s God who should determine the Christian’s course and boundary.

Will you exit the world’s way and mindfully enter God’s Heavenly Highway? Will you allow Him to provide life’s direction and set your pace? Will you follow His Way?

Setting God’s Cruise Control on His Perfect Road of Life, PJ

COPYRIGHT ©2013 PJ Gover (PJ’s devotional book)


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An Offering from Nancy: Journey Back

December 24, 2013


“At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.”… [GNB]

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  And everyone went to their own town to register.” [NIV] Luke 2:1

Luke sets his account of the birth of Jesus in context of the everyone traveling back to their ancestral towns for the purpose of being registered government census taking. Caesar’s word calls people back to their roots.[1]

Ever made such a trip yourself? I did something like that once when I took my mother on a trip back to some of the places her grandfather had lived and to look a bit at the route he took to travel with 3 family members to Texas after the Civil War ended. His side had lost, and the family farm in Mississippi had been burned in the war. We wondered about what he’d have felt on that trip. Physically it might not have been much easier than the one Joseph and Mary, with her swollen belly, would have made.

Pappy (Everyone called my great-grandfather Pappy) was guiding the trip to East Texas mostly on foot since the only vehicle they had was a lopsided farm wagon pulled by a milk cow. Plenty of time to think about what it meant that they were leaving the land where he had grown up to go to a new land they’d never seen.

Over the years the story of that trip was told and retold, and the only way that trip made sense was to tell it as an adventure with promise. In the new land he found a wife, raised a family, and came to accept that some of the values of the old land needed to be surrendered. I think he died a happy man.

He wouldn’t have made the trip except that things beyond himself had forced the issue. On that later trip with my mom, we talked about how Pappy’s adventurous voyage had impacted our lives, how glad we were he made the journey.

The adventure of that trip for Joseph and Mary must have been retold a lot of times too. Each time, what a wonder that it really changed the world, not just their world, but ours. A difficult journey for them, a miracle for everyone!

[1] Allan White O.P. 25 December 2000, Christmas

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An Offering from Lee: Love

December 4, 2013

There are times in our lives when things get real. I mean, what really matters suddenly becomes crystal clear. We have all had these moments of clarity. Sometimes from times of beauty or joy. Like seeing a glacier calve or when a child is born. Sometimes from times of deep sorrow or fear of losing a loved one or our own lives.  When these moments happen Truth sometimes shines through the darkness and right into our souls. We know God is with us. We know we are loved by a love that is greater than we will ever understand. We know that  love is what really matters. Loving God, loving friends and loving our family. All the rest of the dross falls away and no longer hides the sparkling diamond of love. It is stronger, more enduring, more powerful, more beautiful than any of Gods other gifts…wait I seem to remember God’s word actually saying this even better…  NIV1 Corinthians 4-8 a


4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.


Yeah, that’s the one!


Thank you God for the gift of love!


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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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Going and coming

October 21, 2013

 In returning and rest you shall be saved.  In quietness and trust shall be your strength. –Isaiah 30:15

When does a leaving home journey become a coming home journey?

The contemplative path almost always includes facing one’s wounds by experiencing the deepest pain held at bay by denial.  In wading through distress on many levels simultaneously, wholeness begins.  This is the integration process.

The end of one journey is the beginning of another.

Staying on the path,


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An offering from Lil: Step by Step

October 13, 2013

DSCN1476Hebrews 12:1

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…

Stepping on cobblestone roads thousands of years old.

Who has traveled these roads?

Disciples young and old.

Ordinary steps that become extraordinary through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stop.  Listen.  Breathe.

Stepping on asphalt roads newly topped.

Who has traveled these roads?

Disciples young and old.

Ordinary steps that become extraordinary through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stop.  Listen.  Breathe.

Stepping on cool grass freshly watered by the rain.

Sit.  Listen.  Breathe.

Notice the journey to this place.

See how God leads you here.

Give thanks to God for this place of peace.

Step by step.

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An Offering from Eunice: Contemplating Autumn

October 1, 2013

Fall is here and the revered Texas tradition – the State Fair – has opened for its 127th anniversary. Big Tex, after a widely reported and mourned fiery demise last fall, is back standing 55 feet tall and costing around a half-million dollars.  Seems Texans just couldn’t make their annual autumn pilgrimage without him.  He stands guard over a recently remodeled midway and delicacies of fried almost-anything-edible announcing that our Texas autumn is here. I am aware that autumn is announced in other parts of the country with a real change in seasons and a burnished rainbow of leaves that soon gracefully drop their attachments and lie into heaps waiting for their eventual demise. All this reminds me that October blows in another autumn in my life.

Picture - Reflection 3 October

R. Eddy Snell, president of the SRO Associates who built the new Big Tex icon was reported to have said in the Dallas Morning New, September 28th, “Pretty much everything we do is about telling a story.” So I wonder now as a maturing adult, what will be my autumn story?  What attachments will the fall of my life invite me to drop?  What will it enable me to leave behind as I enter winter? What legacies or traditions do I hope to leave to the next generation of my family?  Can I leave a legacy with real spiritual meaning and memories for grandchildren and grandnephews?  How do I live and relate to those in the spring of their lives in such a way to leave something meaningful and lasting behind?  How will I be linked to the Texas generations who follow me as well as the generations who preceded me?  What do I want my personal autumn to announce?  What will be my story?

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An Offering from Diana: Redeeming Time

July 29, 2013

When summer is just around the corner, we look forward to having more time for refreshment and renewal. The hot days seem conducive to a more leisurely pace, with thoughts of vacations, lounge chairs with an iced tea or lemonade in hand, losing ourselves in a good book, or spending more time in prayer and growing closer to God. Often though, with the modern conveniences of air conditioning and technology, life seems to move on as briskly as usual. Work continues and our lives stay just as busy, although part of the busyness may shift to activity filled vacations, family visits, and catching up on projects we could not accomplish during the year.

All good things, and yet…where is that time we promised to read some good books, dig our spiritual wells deeper, listen more closely to God’s call in our lives? How can we slow down, build energy and vision for the year ahead, tap into the deep reservoir of God’s peace, power and wisdom? If it is not now, then when will we take that time?

Last year I had an experience that helped me to know the value of slowing down and taking time to pray and replenish my energy. There had been several months filled with stress and I was feeling very drained. We have a beach cottage on the west coast and we went there to spend a few days. I went to relax on an upstairs porch and noticed a dove sitting on her nest on one of the beams above me. She seemed unafraid so I stayed where I was. Every day I spent quiet time on that balcony. The dove was there every day too, sitting quietly. I began to relax and feel myself again and it was as though she was teaching me what was important – a simple dove, one of God’s creatures.

In Carl Honore’s book, In Praise of Slowness, he talks about the importance of decelerating
from life in the fast lane and taking time to slow down. He describes a Slow philosophy which is gaining ground worldwide against the frenetic pace of everyday life. It does not just mean just giving up and being slothful, but being deliberate with our time and learning what is important and healthy for our wellbeing.

Finding spiritual growth, discovering new insights or becoming more centered once again is difficult to achieve as we race down life’s highway. We cannot produce ourselves what we are meant to receive from God. Jesus hit this point home when he was visiting sisters Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was rushing around, concerned about all of the details of the dinner she was preparing while Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he was teaching. He told her that Mary was doing what was truly important, not to diminish Martha, but to show her that what is most valuable we receive from him. It is in the contemplative, quieter times that we will find the renewal and transformation we seek.

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