Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | September 4, 2014

Gone to soon

In memory of Ben Meinzer, July 23rd, 1996 — August 31, 2014

Sunday August 31st, I got the phone call that no-one ever wants to get, a young person has passed away. Ben was only 18-years old, as a matter of fact he was just barely 18-years old when he went home to God.

We have all heard stories of young people that have lost their battle with different illnesses and have been taken too soon. We’ve all heard stories of young people who were an inspiration to others as they lived with whatever illness, disability or disease. Ben was one of those young men that was an inspiration to many while he lived with Spina Bifida. Ben refused to be defined by his illness or disability. Ben spent most of his life in a wheelchair and in and out of Children’s Hospital. That is not who Ben was. Ben was an incredibly talented musician. He loved playing his guitar. Ben was an amazing athlete who tore up the basketball court as he played for the Milwaukee Heart Wheelchair basketball team.

Ben was also a loyal friend. What I will remember most about Ben is that absolutely nothing deterred him. There wasn’t anything Ben couldn’t do.I knew Ben from the time he was in 6th Grade. I first met him when he was a volunteer for Vacation Bible School. Ben would help with snack, he would help count change that was being collected to buy baby chicks thru the Heifer Project. As time went on I got to know Ben as he attended Christian Formation classes and went on several retreats with his classmates.  Ben always wanted to participate in all the same activities that everyone else did.

In many ways Ben was an inspiration to those around him. He always had a smile on his face, he loved to tell jokes and if you thought you were having a bad day he was always quick to point out that whatever the perceived mountain in someone’s life was, was probably more of a molehill compared to others who were in a hospital bed being treated for some awful illness.

As I mentioned before Ben spent most of his life in a wheelchair. He never had the ability to walk, yet Ben always Walked. Built and Proclaimed by his life and his faith. Ben had a deep faith and trust in God and he wasn’t afraid to share his faith with anyone. He shared his faith as freely and with as much energy and passion as he put into music and basketball.

Ben is certainly gone to soon, but his smile, passion and love of life will live on in the hearts and memories of his family and friends.

Thank You Ben for teaching all of us how to Walk. Build. Proclaim. You were a true inspiration to so many and will be missed on this earth greatly.

Advertisements
Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | September 1, 2014

Labor Day — Shepherds

It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer.  A day to take a break from “Laboring” a day to reflect on what it means to work and be thankful for jobs that we may have that keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. On this Labor Day I would like to reflect on people in our lives that we look to as Shepherds, being a shepherd is an important role that someone either plays in our lives or we play in the lives of others. I have been fortunate to have some wonderful role models of what it means to be a shepherd in my life. As we reflect on Shepherds in our lives and what that role looks like, I would like to take a few minutes to extend a welcome to some new followers from Volunteers of America, Wisconsin — Minnesota. I hope you enjoy the reflections that are shared here on Walk.Build.Proclaim, thank you for your example of what it means to be a shepherd. 

I am going to draw upon the image of shepherds from the prophet Ezekiel and a reading I heard read at weekday mass on Wednesday August 20th, 2014, the reading from Ezekiel was Chapter 34. verses 1-11.

In this passage, Ezekiel is told by God to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, i.e.….the religious leaders and other leaders. Ezekiel was told to call the “shepherds” to task, as they weren’t doing what God had expected of them. They weren’t pointing people to God; rather they were pillaging the flock, they were more concerned about themselves and how they’re going to get ahead then about the well-being of the flock they were supposed to be shepherding.

As I’ve thought about this passage and imagery from Ezekiel, I’ve been reflecting on different people that I have encountered in the role of a shepherd as well as my own experience of being a shepherd. It was clear to me that there are some people that have come and gone from my life because they weren’t very good examples of what it mean to be a shepherd. It’s those people that weren’t the best examples of shepherding that we learn the most from in terms of our own shepherding style. Finding someone who is a poor shepherd forces us to take a look at our own shepherding style and make course corrections. After all, we don’t want to follow in the footsteps of the poor example of shepherding, do we?

The same can be said for people that we encounter that are good examples of shepherding. We want to follow their lead and learn from them, such is the case of someone that I have had the pleasure of meeting only once in person, but have communicated with via email over the course of a couple of months. Her name is Katherine Johnsen, and she is a Program Supervisor for Volunteers of America, Minnesota and works out the Mora office. I got a wonderful email from Katherine about a week ago, telling me that she has a “wonderful group of caring staff” and she wanted to provide them with an opportunity to feed their faith life by receiving a weekly reflection that I had written for Volunteers of America. While I was sad to tell Kathy and her team that the Weekly Walk by Faith reflections were ending, I was happy to direct them here to Walk. Build. Proclaim. What stood out to me in this conversation was that Kathy, a supervisor took the next step in her role as a shepherd and offered her team an opportunity to feed and nurture their faith life. This is what a shepherd is supposed to do!

I’d invite you to spend a little bit of time with this reading from Ezekiel and ask yourself, what kind of shepherd am I? Do I need a course correction in my shepherding abilities or am I doing OK? Or spend some time looking at the different people who fulfill the roles of shepherd in your life: are there are any that you need to depart from because they aren’t setting a very good example of what it means to be a shepherd? Perhaps they are more focused on themselves than those they should be shepherding! If there are people in your life who are outstanding examples of what it means to be a shepherd, tell them.

Prophecy against the Shepherds of Israel

34 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to [a]those shepherds, ‘Thus says the Lord [b]God, “Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been [c]feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds [d]feed the flock? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without [e]feeding the flock. 4 Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the [f]diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. 5 They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. 6 My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them.”’”

7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely because My flock has become a prey, My flock has even become food for all the beasts of the field for lack of a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but rather the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock; 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My [g]sheep [h]from them and make them cease from feeding [i]sheep. So the shepherds will not [j]feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”

The Restoration of Israel

11 For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | August 27, 2014

I’ve been duped!

You duped me, O LORD, and I let myself be duped;

you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.  Jer. 20. 7-9

This opening statement from Jeremiah is a real attention getter isn’t it! You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped. How many times have we felt duped, by our own kids, a friend, a spouse, or a co-worker. We may think, you got me this time, but it won’t happen again I’m going to have my guard up.  Have you ever felt duped by God the same way that Jeremiah did?

I have to say this week I am feeling particularly duped. I am feeling that way because this week my kids started 7th Grade and celebrated their 13th Birthday (the 2nd day of school). I’m feeling a little bit duped by how fast time goes by. I know it seems so cliche’ to say that time goes by so fast and we should enjoy the little moments we have with those we love, at the same time we are trying so hard to provide for those that we love that we don’t always have the time we’d like to spend with those we love and enjoy an afternoon with 2- 3yr olds at the park or swimming, or catch an afternoon nap when the kids are napping.

Before we know we it, we’re living with teenagers who will soon be adults contributing to society.  Yeah, I’m feeling duped like Jeremiah this week and like Jeremiah I let it happen.

The next line that Jeremiah goes on to say that you (God) was too strong for me and triumphed. As I watch my kids move into their teenage years, it is my hope and prayer that they have a sense that God is bigger than they are. God is bigger than their teenage anxt and that if they trust in God he’ll always have their backs and He will triumph.

I may feel duped this week by time, but I am certainly grateful that God is stronger than I am and I am forever grateful that he blessed our family with these two wonderful kids.

                                    Happy 13th Birthday Nick and Grace.

 

2014-08-26 09.51.02 2014-08-26 07.26.40

1-year photo                                                 13-year olds 

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | August 25, 2014

Resources to Walk.Build.Proclaim in our everyday lives

More than 18-mnths ago Pope Francis took the world by storm when he was elected Pope. We have seen him boldly walk out into general audiences with what seems like little regard for his safety. We have seen him dine in the cafeteria with “Blue Collar” employees at the vatican. We have seen him bring together leaders of war torn regions to pray together for peace. Recently he took the time to call the family of local journalist James Foley who was held hostage twice in the Middle East and was recently killed by his captors.

Pope Francis has done exactly what he told the Cardinals and Bishops they should be doing, he is Walking, Building, Proclaiming.

As I bring this blog back to life with a job change, I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favorite “resources” if you will that remind me and sometimes teach me how to Walk.Build.Proclaim

My first choice is a daily (6-days a week) podcast entitled  Pray as you go is brought to us via a Jesuit group in the UK. This is a wonderful podcast that takes one reading from each day (8 times out of 10 its the gospel of the day) and it offers the listener a chance to reflect on the day ahead of them or behind them or whatever station you are at in life. I personally listen to this podcast at the end of the day, sometimes wish that I would’ve started my day with. This is available via podcasts in itunes as well.

Daily email subscriptions: It seems that just about every website we encounter wants to use an email address, its sort of become like our student id’s can’t get anywhere without it. We can spend hours each week unsubscribing from different newsletters and promotions that we never wanted to receive to begin with. There are a handful of different resources that I was more than happy to share my email address with as I look forward to what awaits me on a fairly daily basis. (This doesn’t mean I read each of these the same day I get them! Some pile up for a couple of days and then I binge read. Here are my top 5 Favorite email Subscriptions.

  1. Today’s Reflection, this is authored by Fr. Don Talfous, a Benedictine monk at St.John’s Abbey in Collegeville,MN. Fr. Don has a way of writing about what he sees and experiences around him in the every day to scripture. This is the firs thing I read every morning.  Super easy read and always inspirational. Fr. Don always finds the good in humanity!
  2. Still Speaking, A Daily Devotional. I have been reading Still Speaking from the UCC church for about 3 maybe 4years. This is a dailly devotional that rely’s on different UCC Pastors and other people related to the UCC Church to break open a small piece of scripture. Each author has a little bit of a different flavor to them. This is something I make a point to read each afternoon.
  3. Scripture of the Day, this is a group that I was told about by a colleague with Volunteers of America, MN. Steve Moore is the author. Like Fr. Don, Steve writes short reflections on Scripture passages that relate to everyday life. I don’t always get to this one daily. But I rarely let it pile up beyond 2-days!!
  4. in the meantime, I have been following this blog since its inception 3+ years ago. David Lose, know the President of Luther Seminary in PA writes about faith and life as well as a section called Daily Bread, where he pulls apart one Gospel a year, section by section. This year we are in the middle of Matthew. This often tends to be a binge read for me. I really enjoy the “Breaking Bread” portion of the Blog. I always walk away with a new insight into the gospel or the story that David is writing about.
  5. Last but certainly not least is a blog that comes from someone I’ve written about before; Gary Neal Hansen, author of Kneeling with Giants, Learning to pray with history’s best teachers  has taken to the blogging world with Christianity as a second language.  Gary has a knack for bringing forth the very best in historical “Giants” of faith and sharing them in a way that is engaging and educational. Don’t miss out on meeting some of these wonderful role models of faith.

My very last choice for a resource to reflect on and to continue to learn to Walk.Build.Proclaim is something I’ve recently come across on twitter, its called  Sacred Space — Daily Prayer.  This too comes to us from a Jesuit organiztion, its a shortl daily reflection based on the Jesuit tradition of an end of the day examen. You can spend as much time with each slide that you’d.

Each of these resources offers different reflections and different ways to pray or just take a few minutes alone to reflect on the day and where you may have seen God at work in your day or where you maybe didn’t handle a particular person or situation quite the way you should have.

I would love to hear about other resources, apps, people to follow via blog or on twitter. I can be reached on twitter @Tracy_WBP  or follow Walk.Build.Proclaim on Facebook  WalkBuildProclaim on Facebook

 

 

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | May 5, 2014

Be Where Your Feet Are

Have you noticed the sense of urgency in the Easter readings? It’s almost as if Peter and the other disciples just can’t get the word out about Jesus’ resurrection fast enough!

 Jesus himself can’t seem to get to His disciples fast enough either. On Easter Sunday we heard that it was the first day of the week. This past weekend, when we found Jesus in the Upper Room, we were told it was the first day of the week. Next week’s gospel reading is the story of Jesus meeting two more people on the road to Emmaus and again we’re told that it’s the first day of the week.  Jesus seemed to be in a hurry to see people and share the resurrection first hand.

 Even as we look at the readings from the Acts of the Apostles that we’ll be hearing over the next several weeks, there is a sense of urgency in getting the news of Jesus resurrection out to as many people as quickly as possible. We see Peter standing in front of large groups in the temple area speaking about Jesus resurrection. Peter and the other disciples were doing everything they could to get this message to go viral, as it were. Just imagine how quickly the message would’ve spread if Facebook or Twitter was around during that time.

 What strikes me about how quickly the disciples took action and started to spread the message is that they didn’t really take any time to be where their feet were.

 Be where your feet are is a phrase that I ran across on Twitter a couple weeks ago. My first thought was wow, that’s really a profound statement! I immediately thought: Am I were my feet are, or am I thinking about the next place I need to be or should be?

 We are very good at reacting, we are very good at planning and scheduling (over scheduling)  stretching ourselves as thin as possible. But to what end?  Do we feel more important when we are busy and over-scheduled?  What is so important that we can’t take some time to just be in the moment or the day or whatever and just take in what is happening around us?

 

The day that I had set aside to write this reflection was disrupted by a major appliance in our house needing to be replaced. I had very little to do with the replacing of this appliance; it was our hot water heater, it’s not like there’s a ton of choice available in choosing a hot water heater.   The day was disrupted by not only needing to take care of this inconvenience, but it was also interrupted because my husband’s aunt and uncle came over to help with the replacement. I was only expecting my husband’s uncle; now, all of a sudden I had to spend some time talking to someone and being hospitable when I really wanted to be writing and getting a handle on a number of other things. My feet were not where I was, and I knew it.

 It left me asking the question: how can we be purposeful in making sure that we are where our feet are?  How can we curve that sense of urgency to keep moving onto the next thing? 

A couple of weeks ago a young lady that I know took extra time to go to her apartment, warm up lasagna and deliver it to a couple of homeless men living under a bridge.  She did more than just give a couple of guys some lasagna on a chilly Saturday night.  She took the time to be where her feet were and she talked to the couple of guys. She learned what their names were and heard a little bit about each one of their stories.

She treated them and talked to them as people! I have been asking myself all week how many of us would take the same action that my young friend  took?  How can we really truly be where our feet are?  Do we take the time to hear the stories of people we encounter on a daily, weekly or monthly basis or are we too busy thinking about the next thing I need to get done or the next place I need to be etc.

 Peter and the disciples weren’t very good at being where their feet were after Jesus-Resurrection. They were on the move. They had a message to deliver and communities to help get started. We certainly wouldn’t be continuing to celebrate the easter season without Peter and the other disciples sense of urgency to spread the message of the resurrection.

 There are times in our lives when we need to be a little bit more like the disciples we heard about in this weekend’s gospel story. Once they recognized the risen Jesus, they said; “Come stay with us. Share a meal with us”   Come, sit down, and let us all be where our feet are.

 As we head into the third week of Easter, I would invite you to be a bit more conscience of where your feet are, and whether or not your head and heart are where your feet are. Or is the sense of urgency to get to the next thing getting the better of you?

 

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | March 10, 2014

Breath of Fresh Air

I don’t think it matters where you live in the United States, I think just about everyone agrees that it has been a long cold winter!  As I was watching the weather the other day on a local TV station the meteorologist said that in WI we’ve had at least 4 inches of snow on the ground for at least 90-days!  That seems eternal!

As we start a new week, a week in which many of us were asked to “spring ahead” and its the first full week of lent, I thought it would be nice to spend a few minutes sitting with, praying, meditating with this picture of new life.  This is what is waiting for us under all of this snow and ice.

"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." ~ Lao Tzu

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
~ Lao Tzu

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | March 6, 2014

Lead us not into Temptation….

Lead us not into temptation….

Did you ever ask yourself why it is that we pray those words as part of the Our Father? Lead us not into temptation. This comes after we’ve already dared to call God our Father, we’ve asked for our daily bread, and we’ve asked for the grace to not hold grudges against one another. And as if all this wasn’t enough, we then dare to ask to not be lead into temptation, BUT delivered from evil.

 I’ve been sitting with the readings from this last weekend for a week or so. The first reading from Genesis is the story of Eve being tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit from the middle of the garden, the tree of knowledge and evil. We all know how that turned out.

 Jump ahead to the gospel and we find the very familiar story that we hear at the beginning of every Lenten season. Jesus is lead out into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights; at the end of this time Jesus is met by a tempter who offers three temptations.

 The tempter approached and said to him,

“If you are the Son of God,

command that these stones become loaves of bread.”

He said in reply,

“It is written:

One does not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes forth

from the mouth of God.”

   Then the devil took him to the holy city,

and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,

and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.

For it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you

and with their hands they will support you,

lest you dash your foot against a stone.”

Jesus answered him,

“Again it is written,

You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

    Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain,

and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,

and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you,

if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”

At this, Jesus said to him,

“Get away, Satan!

It is written:

The Lord, your God, shall you worship

and him alone shall you serve.”

 

Temptation is a very human thing. We are tempted by a variety of things every day.   We may be tempted (lured) by the promise of power or money or that piece of chocolate cake just looks too good to pass up. When we give in to temptations there is the possibility of harming ourselves or someone else.  One of the most frequent temptations that we are probably faced with on a daily basis is the temptation to engage in what might be called “water cooler talk” or “office gossip”, or any conversation that involves us talking about someone who is not part of the conversation. I think it’s safe to say that most of the time those conversations aren’t overly kind and we know what we’re doing isn’t appropriate, yet that temptation to grab onto that apple on the tree in front of us can be just too much sometimes.

 This is where I’d like to bring Paul’s Letter to the Romans into the conversation. This weekend we heard from (or will hear from) Chapt. 5 verses 12-19. There is some tough language in this letter and a hard concept to wrap our brains around or even put contemporary words around (trust me I tried). As I took a step back and looked at the circumstances surrounding the writing of this letter, what struck me was what and who Paul chose not to write about.

 Paul’s letter to the Romans was most likely the last letter that Paul wrote to any community. Scripture scholars don’t think that Paul ever had any direct contact with the Roman community to which he was writing and remarkably he wrote this letter from jail!

 Never once in this letter does Paul write one negative word about the people who have put him in jail or are serving as guards or anything else during his time in jail. It would be really easy for Paul to give into the temptation of writing about his jailers. He takes the higher road and realizes that there is a more important message to be delivered. That message is a message of forgiveness. It is a message that says that we don’t need to keep living in the past; we don’t need to live in the shadow of the choices Adam and Eve made to bring sin into the world. Instead we can live knowing that Jesus laid down his life for all of humanity, for the forgiveness of sin.

Paul recognizes that we are human, we have flaws. We’re going to be lead into temptation. It’s how we confront those temptations as followers of Christ that is going to make the difference in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

 As we start this first week of Lent, I ask you to be aware of what temptations are around you everyday. Stop and think about how you are going to respond to that temptation. Will you give in and eat the fruit from the tree of fruit and knowledge OR will you be more like Jesus and Paul and say NO, the consequences of choosing to give into this temptation are just too great and could hurt myself or someone else.

 Lead us not into temptation….

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | February 28, 2014

Return to me with your whole heart

Looks like March is definitely coming in like a lion in the midwest. March is still roaring with cold, wind and more of the dreaded “S” word….snow.
Hopefully, as the month continues, winter will loosen its grip on the Midwest and give us
some glimpses of new life.

Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season is just a couple of days away. Most people look at what they can strip away from their lives during this season and I am looking at different ways to re-engage in various parts of my life that have fallen by the way-side. Blogging is one of those practices that has sadly fallen away.  I thought Lent would be a good time to try and post at least twice a week.

Lent is a season of conversion. A time to return to God with our whole heart. We’ll hear that invitation to return to God with our whole heart on Ash Wednesday, its one of the first lines of the reading from the prophet Joel.  Before we can return to God with our whole heart we need to take a step back and look at what is preventing us from giving God our whole heart. This weekend’s gospel reading and reading from St. Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians invite us to take an inventory of our lives and our hearts and find a way to let go of the extra idols / masters in our lives.

Jesus says very clearly to his disciples in this weekend’s gospel;

“No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and mammon.  Matthew 6.24-34

I have spent  the last six weeks, reading the “Book of Wisdom” with someone that I visit. Over and over again is the same message, you can’t possibly serve God and your idols at the same time. You need to make a choice, to serve, honor and worship the one living God or your idols that are man-made – widdled out of old knotted wood. Idols that have no arms, no legs, no breath and can have control in and over your life if you let them.

The Lenten season is about banishing those idols out of our lives, whatever they may
be: greed, prejudice, anger, frustration, bitterness…. this may seem like a daunting task
to let go of those idols and change our hearts. If we don’t find a way to relinquish control of the  idols, masters, mammon in of our lives, we will have a very hard time accepting the invitation from the Prophet Joel.

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,

Returning to God with our whole heart will  take a little bit of time. The idols that are part of our lives didn’t just show up one day; slowly they made appearances. We now have 40 days to kick them out of our lives for good and return to God with our whole heart.

We know we can’t do this alone. We’re going to need the help of our respective faith communities, families, friends and prayer!

Maybe lent is a good time to include some new forms of prayer in your life. I have slowly started adding the Liturgy of the Hours to my daily prayer life. I’ve been fairly successful in incorporating night prayer, my goal is to include morning prayer as well. (I’m hoping it will warm up enough to walk with my dogs and listen and pray along). Each part of the Liturgy of the Hours includes some time for self-reflection an inventory of our day if you will. What do we need to let go of?  There is an app called ibreviary so you can read along as the day progresses, I also found a podcast that is very well done .Liturgy of the Hours

Whatever practices your going to add to your life during lent or take away during lent, I hope that they help you return to God with your whole heart. As St. Paul said to the Corinthians, this is an acceptable time.

Brothers and sisters:
We are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Working together, then,
we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says:  In an acceptable time I heard you, and on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Cor. 5.20-6.2

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | October 3, 2013

Feast of St.Francis

Tomorrow, Friday Oct. 4th  is a wonderful Feast Day. Its’ the Feast of St. Francis!!  We celebrate many things about St.Francis, we celebrate that he truly knew what it meant to Walk.Build.Proclaim, as he sold all of his belongings so he would be unencumbered when it came time to build the church that God had asked him to build.

We celebrate the Feast of St. Francis with the Pope, who took the name Francis because of Francis love for the poor.

The one thing that St. Francis is probably best known for is his love of Animals! There are many churches around our local area that are offering Pet Blessings today.  Why wouldn’t we want to celebrate, bless and be thankful for our pets.

Pets offer unconditional love, companionship and sometimes a good chuckle. Pets offer also us unconditional protection! Our older dog Tank, warns us every day that the mail truck is in the neighborhood, he also lets us know when the garbage truck is making its weekly rounds. He doesn’t just protect our family, he takes his protection duties very seriously and protects our neighbors as well by altering them that the Med-Star van is picking up our neighbor!  I wouldn’t trade this over-protection for anything!

Our younger dog Piper, she’s been nick-named the “wild child” if we take her out for a walk (run) with her two besties. She is the fearless leader going all sorts of places she isn’t supposed to be, bringing back gifts nobody really wants or appreciates. She doesn’t mind if you tell her to drop and leave; she’s just going to try to out-do herself the next time.

Both of our dogs are also wonderful teachers. They teach us patience, because sometimes they don’t get fed at 5pm. Piper lays by her bowl quietly to remind you that its dinner time. Tank and Piper have also taught us that making new friends is pretty easy!!   Piper is often allowed to go to work to with me as I visit different residents at different group homes. She knows that if she just sits nicely that someone will come and pet her and talk to her, before you know it she’s getting all sort of attention and making all sorts of new friends.

What do these furry creatures ask for in return? Our unconditional love, a good tummy rub at least once a day (more if they can get it).  Just time spent together whether it’s out on an early morning walk / run (if your Piper) or just a little ear-rubbing love when your watching TV, don’t forget a yummy treat goes a long way too.

Today, as we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis, let us pause and take a minute to thank God for these special companions in our lives.  Go ahead and bless you pet, or look for a Pet Blessing in the area that you live in. (This will most likely be at a Catholic Church with a School attached to it) In case you can’t find a Pet Blessing, I’ve included one for you.

“Blessed are you, Lord God, maker of all living creatures. You called forth fish in the sea, birds in the air and animals on the land. You inspired St. Francis to call all of them his brothers and sisters. We ask you to bless this pet. By the power of your love, enable it to live according to your plan. May we always praise you for all your beauty in creation. Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures! Amen.”

St.Francis

Posted by: Walk.Build.Proclaim | October 1, 2013

Here I Am…

This week, I would like to take a couple of days to highlight (for lack of a better word) a couple of people who have taken on the task of Walking.Building.Proclaiming in many different ways.

They have all answered the call to serve or lead by saying, “Here I Am! Send me!”

I’d like to start with someone who heard the call and said “I’ll be right there” and drove across the county. My Uncle Mike.  My Uncle and his wife live in AZ. They’ve had enough of Wisconsin winters. (Who can blame them?!?!?)  Mike and Sandy keep themselves busy with a variety of Bible studies and other volunteer opportunities, as well as keeping up with their family on Facebook.

One of the many volunteer opportunities that my Uncle has really enjoyed and found one of his gifts in is being a hospice volunteer. Last week when he heard the call to come to WI and be with my parents as my dad is living with end-stage bone cancer, Mike selflessly said “I’ll be right there”.

When I contacted both my Aunt and Uncle to express my gratitude for giving of themselves selflessly to be with my parents, they both told me that this is God’s call, there wasn’t a second thought or a NO in our conversation.

Uncle Mike and Aunt Sandy both said, “Here I Am. Where do you need me?”

For their selfless act of love and caring, I offer the following song / video (one of my favorites) but these two truly embody what it means to Say Here I Am, to Walk.Build & Proclaim.

Older Posts »

Categories

Gary Neal Hansen

Theology. It's good for you.