Monday, December 10, 2012

Nineteen Days of Gratitude

On this marvelous Monday, I am giving thanks for:

  1. Marriage Equality in Washington State.
  2. Being able to spend a full day in my church office after three weeks of scurrying to hospitals and being sick. Great to get a lot done.
  3. Remembering to call Sandra back as I had committed about her journal issue.
  4. Reconnecting with my dear friend Edie from Grand Rapids.
  5. Mike buying me lunch today at Pei Wei and sharing the plans he has for attending his son's graduation from Marine basic training.
  6. Making a meatloaf this morning which made making dinner a snap.
  7. Fresh, steamed broccoli.
  8. Whole wheat dressing.
  9. The Josh Groban song, You Raise Me Up.
  10. Getting caught up with publishing this Gratitude Blog.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Day 18 Along this Grateful Way

On this Sabbath day, I am grateful for:
  1. Only waking up once in the night to pee.
  2. Waking up early and getting my talking points for today's workshop finalized without hurrying.
  3. Regina's smiling face and being able to get eggs and sausage at church.
  4. Seeing Craig & David at church.
  5. The generosity of our congregation regarding Shelter Week.
  6. Being able to lead off the workshop with my segment today.
  7. Having the opportunity to work with Kimberli Boyd today.
  8. Eight new book study small groups forming around Super Brain.
  9. A quiet evening at home without running to Oxford or making dinner.
  10. Leftover roast beef and mashed potatoes for supper.
  11. Barbara's loving my 2012 book lovers quotation.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Seventeen Days of Thanks for Living

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. No line at the Post Office when I took Matt to mail his package.
  2. Getting mom's medications list, and visiting nurse information organized in a binder.
  3. Fresh hot Turkey sandwiches at Costco for lunch
  4. Getting mom some Zyrtec which seemed to help her itching.
  5. Being able to give my sister a break.
  6. Mom's willingness to try eliminating Cymbalta for a while to see if that is the cause of her itching.
  7. Getting home at a decent hour with some time to unwind before bed.
  8. Getting a score of 2.6 million in Zuma Blitz.
  9. The first night of Hanukkah and the ah ha that came as I pondered the miracle of the oil lamp. When our intentions are pure and in alignment with God's will (dedicating the temple) , we offer what we have (a single day's oil) and God makes it more - oil for 8 days.
  10. The smell and feel of clean bed linens and comforter.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Sixteen Grateful Days!

Today, I give thanks for:

  1. A wonderful Second Annual Faith Inclusion Breakfast meeting of The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion
  2. Sitting with the keynote speaker at this event, Ross Murray, from GLAAD. He is a very interesting man.
  3. That the church encourages me to host such events.
  4. Being on time at the early hour of 7:30.
  5. A whole new view of the Metro Detroit commuter thing being on the roads at 7 this morning.
  6. Finally having Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey with mashed taters, stuffing etc.) Matt and I had a late lunch at Bob Evans, yummy!
  7. Clear directions from the boss about this weekends workshop.
  8. Chatting with Nancy Horowitz about her experiences as an activist in the 70's in New York City.
  9.  Recommending Zan and Deb to Kevin Logan as caterers and the awesome job they did with the breakfast.
  10. Getting to bed early.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Day 15 on this journey in Gratitude

On this Thursday, I give thanks for:

  1. An alarm clock I can set by pushing buttons instead of going through all the way around the hours.
  2. Hot running water in the house.
  3. The way water runs completely over me in the shower.
  4. Returning strength and vitality which allowed me to work the all day.
  5. Reconnecting with Debra Kritzman Fielder after so many years. She and her husband Perry, were featured in a St. Vincent de Paul telethon spot which let me know she was back in Michigan. A quick Facebook search discovered that she had recently created an account.
  6. Facebook which connects so so many incredible people.
  7. Watching an interesting documentary on Norse mythology and particularly on Thor. This is Thor's Day - Thursday.
  8. A very cool oblong covered dutch kettle that mom has acquired from someplace that I have used to cook several meals.
  9. Catching the gleam in my sister's entire being as she has remodeled her house room by room. She inspires me in that she keeps on going in spite of bumps is the road.
  10. A very pleasant evening and meal shared with Mom, Mike and Matt.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Thanks for a Fortnight of Gratitude

On this fourteenth day in this journey, I am grateful for:
  1. Vernors ginger ale (especially when I am sick).
  2. Health insurance.
  3. The clarity that comes when I release what I think I know and look brand new at a project/challenge/my life.
  4. Celtic Christmas music.
  5. Being able to return to work today, even if it was only for a short time.
  6. The restorative powers of the human body that are manifest through sleep.
  7. The deep peace that flows from knowing that all things are working together for good. For me, my family and for all of us.
  8. Deep and profound conversations between my mother and I that seem to take advantage of the medical journey that she is facing now.
  9. When I picked up mom for her appointment with her kidney specialist today, my brother Darrin was putting mom's Christmas tree up.
  10. A sweet dinner shared with Dion & Ashley at Oxford Nugget reminded me of how much I love my wonderful family.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Thirteen Days of Living Thanks

Esther Karvala Ledger
Today, I am thinking about some of the gifts I received from my Grandma Ledger who was born 102 years ago today in Upper Michigan. Grandma, thanks for:

  1. An incredible inquisitive spirit.
  2. Your unconditional acceptance, you were the first family member beyond mom and dad who knew I was gay.
  3. Teaching me how to make your stuffing.
  4. Salad Dressing Cake with Coffee Frosting
  5. Oatmeal Squares
  6. Your patience at having all of your grand kids over to decorate sugar cookies
  7. Pasties and meat pies
  8. Home made Bismarks
  9. Being curiouser and curiouser
  10. Many Christmas eves spent with you prepping Christmas dinner.
  11. Countless hours spent together in the kitchen.
  12. You once told me you wished more people could see God in everything like I did.
  13. Interesting stories of your growing up in Iron River, actually Stambaugh and the surrounding areas like Beachwood.
  14. Sharing the last few years of your life with me.
  15. Your stubborn, iron will which allowed you to live your own way.
  16. Helping me take care of Grandpa Miller.
  17. Always making me feel special.
  18. Your love of the underdog.
  19. Never holding it against me when I failed you.
  20. Visiting me in Ventura, which meant taking your first plane trip in your 70's
  21. So much more lives in my heart ...

Monday, December 03, 2012

12 Days of Living Thanks

Foggy December Day
Gratitude abounds for ...

  1. This quiet foggy day stay home, indoors and focus on lavish self care, rest and healing.
  2. The way Rosemary and Thyme make the soup steam smell when I add them.
  3. My home cooked chicken and rice with vegetables soup.
  4. Knowing how to cook.
  5. Friends who call and text to see what they can do for me and are cool with my saying, I just need to rest.
  6. A wonderful Holidays Episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Certainly got the tears flowing and for a couple of hours, my sinuses open. 
  7. I love that I can experience my emotions in the physical form of tears. The last three weeks have been intense emotionally.
  8. Grateful that a host has been found for the week that had remained unfilled until a couple of days ago. Now we have churches for each of the weeks this shelter season.
  9. The way fabric softener makes clothes feel.
  10. Finally getting some sleep last night.
  11. The credit union I have been a member of for 21 years.
  12. Expanding awareness of Presence, here and now.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

11 Days of Thanks Living

This day, I am grateful for:

  1. Settling on the idea of Thanks Living for the tag line of these gratitude blogs.
  2. A friend who brought chicken soup to church for me.
  3. A very sweet voice mail message from my sister.
  4. Jim leading the church in sharing a blessing with me for health and healing from the cold I picked up somewhere recently.
  5. Learning the difference between chicken stock (made from bones) and chicken broth (made with meat.)
  6. Making it through the work day and even having a small part in the first of two Super Brain classes. I love to teach!
  7. Having the sense to cancel a social engagement after work yesterday, even though I wanted to attend the concert.
  8. Seeing Gail A. after at least 35 years. Looking forward to a deeper conversation as we can.
  9. Watching the program Aftermath: Population Zero on NatGeo - very though provoking. It was about planet Earth recovering from our pollution after humans disappeared suddenly.
  10. Hot green tea.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Giving Thanks for ten days of giving thanks.

2012 Christmas Volunteer Pot Luck
On this tenth day of noticing the many blessings I experience, I am thankful for:

  1. The many wonderful and amazing Renaissance Unity volunteers who give of themselves and invite Spirit to flow into expression through their lives.
  2. A short nap in my car while brother Matt grocery shopped.
  3. Unseasonably warm weather for the first of December.
  4. Remembering the many friends and colleagues that lost their lives to HIV/AIDS
  5. Cooking dinner for mom and Mike tonight, she liked the meatloaf!
  6. Noticing how happy Dion was to get a break tonight and paint her dining room.
  7. Darrin having the opportunity to fuss with mom today.
  8. The quiet calm that fills me and whispers, "It will all get done" even though all of my projects are behind my schedule.
  9. A call from a dear friend just to check up on me tonight.
  10. Airborne, green tea and Ester C are quickly relieving my congestion and scratchy throat.
  11. Catching up with daily blogging!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day Nine

I am grateful for:

  1. The strong sense of Intuition that guides me, especially today when I had so much to get done and no idea how to make it all work.
  2. Seeing this beautifully lit up house on my way home tonight. What a peace filled scene.
  3. Sharing a Raspberry pocket pie and a cup of coffee with my brother Matt in the midst of his shopping excursion.
  4. Finally figuring out that BOGO means by one get one.
  5. Finding a great BOGO deal on men's cologne so that Matt and I each got a great price on our signature smells.
  6. Finding no crowds at Great Lake Crossing today.
  7. The easy relationship I enjoy with my sister-in-law, Stephanie.
  8. Having a few still, quiet moments at the end of a busy day to give thanks for all I am.
  9. The expanding interconnection I feel with Life in all of Its manifestations.
  10. An incredible wedding planning with Tina & Todd and the wonderful way that Love has brought them together.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Giving thanks - Day 8 - The journey continues ...

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. An unanticipated connection to the home care agency-- the intake scheduler attends the church and knew my voice on the telephone.
  2. Not needing to go to the hospital this morning.
  3. Buying toilet paper 36 rolls at a time which helps me avoid running out unexpectedly.
  4. Christmas lights burning brightly at night which seem to transport me to an earlier time when things seemed much simpler.
  5. The way the universe provides simple directions when I notice. Today, I know it is time to do laundry because I have no clean underwear or socks.
  6. The many different kinds of birds that live in the huge pine tree outside my (home) office window. They remind me that all things are in perfect order for they neither spin nor sew yet they  have all that is needed.
  7. The lessons of patience that come from waiting. Waiting for test results, doctors to call, prescriptions to be filled, nurses to schedule the appointment.
  8. The time to write or even think about this blog because of waiting ...
  9. Getting paid to do what I love doing and for direct deposit of my check
  10. Being able to pay my bills.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 7 -

My heart is grateful for:
  1. Memories of my Grandma Ledger.
  2. Being able to take mom home from her hospital stay today.
  3. A very kind young nurse named Heather.
  4. Ice on the pond this morning which created a beautiful winter scene with ducks and geese sitting on the ice early in the morning.
  5. A furnace that works (have I already shared this?)
  6. A coffee pot with a timer
  7. Cool cousins
  8. New toilet at moms.
  9. A glorious full moon!
  10. A pharmacist named Abe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 6

Resting is important.
Today, I am thankful for:
  1. An awesome Deepak Chopra lecture and book signing event tonight. It was a powerful and awesome energy to have so many people in our spiritual "house."
  2. Receiving a call back from mom's kidney doctor and the opportunity to expand understanding of the medical issues ahead.
  3. Getting the news that mom will be discharged in the morning.
  4. Teeth which allow me to chew food, speak clearly and have the confidence to smile broadly. 
  5. A beautiful new purple argyle sweater and purple shirt, a belated birthday gift to myself.
  6. The near perfect functioning of our Gnosis system in managing a very large 1500+ tickets sold  event.
  7. My sister Dion who has cared for Mike every day during mom's hospitalization.
  8. Having a washer and dryer in the house.
  9. The many people who share hugs with me.
  10. Zuma Blitz to play when I just want to veg.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 5

This day, I am grateful for:

  1. Finding mom sitting up in a chair, looking rested and overall in better shape than she has been in for several days when I arrived at this hospital this morning.
  2. Flexibility to work from hospital room today in order to talk to doctors. Thanks to ASUS tablet and WIFI.
  3. Chef John sending the almost complete draft of menu for our upcoming shelter week.
  4. Looking up from my blogging and catching mom snoring away. I never thought of snoring as music before, such a sweet sound.
  5. Discovering that this latest episode with mom's health was elated to medication and not renal failure.
  6. Finding my way through the dizzying array of ladies undergarments and buying the briefs that mom wanted. So many unfamiliar choices.
  7. The subtle feeling of relief that mom is really on the mend.
  8. Having some quiet time at home alone this evening.
  9. The anticipation of tonight's special Holiday episode of Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
  10. Daydreaming about how I will spend/share/use the Powerball jackpot.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 4 - A gratitude journaling journey.

1st Sticking Snowfall of 2012-2013
I am grateful for:
  1. A dual alarm clock set with thirty minutes between wake-ups. Love the extra snooze after the first wake-up.
  2. The warm bed I sleep in cradled by a  comfy memory foam mattress purchased earlier this year.
  3. The quiet hush of the first "sticking-on-the-ground" snowfall of the season painting a new view on my familiar backyard scene.
  4. The almost over whelming love and prayer support for my mom.
  5. The people of St. Louis Catholic Church in Mt. Clemens who are the hosts for the first week of the the 2012-2013 MCWC Rotating Shelter Week Season. (Our first week of being hosts begins on 12/30)
  6. Hot coffee from my kitchen in my cup.
  7. A hot shower.
  8. Clean clothes to wear to work.
  9. A job that I enjoy so much it is seldom like work at all.
  10. A car to drive to work.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 3

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. The incredible nurses and doctors at St. Joesph Mercy Hospital -  Oakland who cared for my mom when I took her back to ER last night with a very low pulse rate.
  2. Not receiving a phone call from the CCU at the hospital during the night. (When I left we had no idea where or how things were headed.)
  3. Moms heart rate in a normal range after her medications have worn off.
  4. Being able to spend some time with my brother Matt today and get his shopping done.
  5. Not needing to purchase anything at the grocery store today. 
  6. Matt buying me a belated birthday lunch.
  7. Knowing when it was time to go home and let mom be cared for by the nurses, getting my emotions out of the way.
  8. Coming home and discovering that my roommate made dinner.
  9. Sharing a bunch of leftover dinner rolls from Thanksgiving with a local mission.
  10. The warm purple glow of the night table lamp next to my bed.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 2 - The Day after Thanksgiving Day

Today, I give thanks for:
  1. Kristen Diffendale and James Keane, the couple in the picture, who are getting married tonight with a focus on giving the gift of their celebration to the Breezy Point neighborhood where they life. Read their incredible story of Love Among the Ruins.
  2. Friends Maryann, John and Randy, -- among others -- who lovingly punked me yesterday by summoning me to lead a prayer during our Thanksgiving Dinner at church, only to surprise me with a Birthday cake and singing Happy Birthday. Oh, and we did have a prayer. Then Rev. Jim Lee and Mitzi our Board president, had the entire assemblage sing to me again. I am learning to receive, thanks Love! 
  3. The many expressions of love shared in cards, emails, texts, in box and Facebook posts yesterday. I am amazingly blessed by the love and friendship of so many incredible and interesting people. 
  4. The stick it through to the "end of the dishes" people like Carole and Linda who went out the door the same time I did last night. 
  5. This quiet, windy November morning to reflect on a wonderful day yesterday and to ponder our theme for this holiday season, "Find Your Way." 
  6. Being able to take a bunch of left over dinner rolls and salad to the local mission this morning. 
  7. The appearance last year of a chef right before our Thanksgiving Dinner, who, along with his partner, have become such wonderful friends. This year, for the first time in more ten years, I never had an apron on. As much as I love to cook, this freedom allowed me to be pastor for our congregation. So cool! 
  8. Being trustworthy so that others are comfortable to pour out their hearts and release long held burdens while being personally grounded enough to not take on their pain. 
  9. Having reestablished the habit of making my bed everyday by doing it, no matter what, for more than 90 days in a row. 
  10. Feeling absolutely no need to go out and buy any on sale stuff today to make me happy, forget, feel better or superior. All I need now, I have now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks - Day 1

Today is Thanksgiving Day and my fifty-seventh birthday. A year ago this month my friend and teacher, Martha Creek, asked the question in the picture to the right and challenged our church to adopt the spiritual practice of keeping a gratitude journal for at least 21 days . The assignment was  to write down at least 10 things each day that we were grateful for without repeating any item.

I followed the assignment and kept such a journal for many weeks and then stopped in January of this year. No clue why I stopped however, I am guided to begin this practice again. I know that I always find what I look for and I am looking for joy, peace & bliss!

  1. I am thankful that 57 years ago today, my mother gave birth to this body that I use as an Earth Suit.
  2. I am grateful for the 38th annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner at Renaissance Unity. It is my joy to lead this effort for the past several years.
  3. I am grateful for Rev. Karen Boland who started the dinner after noticing how many others were eating dinner in a restaurant alone.
  4. I am grateful for my mom's release from the hospital Yesterday after a week of testing, prodding and more tests.
  5. I am grateful that after many years in manufacturing, Spirit guided me toward full time ministry which is hardly work at all.
  6. I am grateful for a warm house to wake up in this morning.
  7. I am grateful for the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade.
  8. I am grateful for my incredible family, just as we are.
  9. I am grateful for Martha Creek, who shares so much with so many.
  10. I give thanks for the Loving Spirit that is my Life and for this awesome journey of awakening and expanding awareness.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Living by Choice or Chance?

I have noticed that life is more about choices and less a game of chances. Occasionally, situations arise that startle me, that I would prefer not to deal with for whatever reason. Yet I know that I am at choice in the ways I respond. I can choose heaven or hell; peace or pain; joy or sorrow.

Today, I choose Life and to be an instrument for change. Today, I choose the narrow way and I will to will the will of that One presence and power some call God.

I often describe my work as New Thought Evangelism. Isn't it good news is that each of us are creative beings, made in the image and after the likeness of God and that we have the gifts, skills and tool to choose again--to be and live and love in brand new ways. Is it not good news that each of use can have an amazing, in-every-moment relationship with Spirit? Claim this good news for yourself. Share it with the people around you by allowing Love to shine out through your life.

Only Love!
Ric Beattie 

ACIM - Choose Once Again

Temptation has one lesson it would teach, in all its forms, wherever it occurs. It would persuade the holy Son of God he is a body, born in what must die, unable to escape its frailty, and bound by what it orders him to feel. It sets the limits on what he can do; its power is the only strength he has; his grasp cannot exceed its tiny reach. Would you BE this, if Christ appeared to you in all His glory, asking you but this, "Choose once again if you would take your place among the Saviors of the world, or would remain in hell, and hold your brothers there." For He HAS come, and He IS asking this.

(c) Copyright 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, All Rights are Reserved

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Practice is My Gift

Whatever practice I practice: mindfully mowing, toilet cleaning, dancing wildly, sitting in the stillness, walking, cooking, serving, teaching, etc. is a double gift. 

A gift from You to me and a gift from me to You--an experience of Oneness..

As a result of conscious practice, I am a calmer, more pleasant, compassionate, peaceful and loving man. This is a gift to all.



Copyright (c) 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights are reserved

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Day - Shelter Week - Day 7

One of our objectives when we planned the overall Shelter Week project was for our guests to know that they were honored guests. We wanted to provide a warm inviting experience overall, good food served in a pleasant environment and as much comfort in the sleeping arrangements as we could under the circumstances.

In New Thought we teach that The Christ is the essence of all people and we set an intention to allow this Truth to guide our decisions and operations.

The original meal plan called for leftovers for the Saturday evening meal, with the addition of pizza to fill in the gap because we didn't want to waste any food. As the week progressed, we had eaten all the food and almost all the soup we had prepared. In fact, we had to prepare two additional batches of soup just to make it through Friday night. So Chef John, one of the two food service professionals who had been involved with planning of our menus, called together a small team of people who prepared an amazing celebration in food for our final evening meal. Starting with forty pounds of poached boneless skinless chicken breasts and a productive trip to Randazzo's with some wonderful produce on sale, a spectacular feast was prepared.

Our volunteers were in top form as we received 84 guests and presented them with a great meal  served from a state of absolute love. You could feel the Holy Spirit everywhere in a powerful way. We had moved beyond having guests to receiving people we are connected to by names, recognition and stories revealing many similar experiences.

Tonight, I discovered I had become pastor to many in this extended congregation. I also watched as the members of Renaissance Unity were actively ministering to these amazing souls who have provided us with the opportunities to shatter stereotypes, confront prejudices and be more authentically who we really are called to be in the world. We saw ourselves where we had seen other. We experienced a small sense of Oneness and lived out the Old Testament idea of hospitality plus the command of Jesus to love one another.

I will never be the same.

Thank You God!

The first chapter has been completed, what is Your next assignment for us?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rainy Day - Shelter Week - Day 6

I woke up late this morning with so many thoughts rushing through my mind and little time for reflection or inner direction. We needed to do some prep cooking and re-provisioning and my mind was going over and over the details.

After pouring a cup of coffee and sitting down in my office to review my notes, I see massive and dark storm clouds are towering in the western sky. The storm hit quickly bringing a flurry of sleet and hail which were quickly replaced by a cold, pouring rain.

I usually look at these days as a wonderful excuse to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot coffee. However, if you don't have any dry, warm place that is yours in which to curl up, a rainy day can seem like hell.

Several years ago, on a visit to Amsterdam, I arrived in the city about 10 hours before I could get the keys to the apartment I had rented. Not that big a deal, I thought as I made my travel plans. Hah! When we landed at Schiphol Airport it was pouring rain. I dragged my luggage, two suitcases and a carry on bag, onto the train bound for Centraal Station in the City Centre. I placed the two larger bags in a storage locker and ventured out into the rain. Over the next several hours, I had breakfast, found a rain slicker to purchase, visited gift stores, ate lunch and walked in the rain. My shoes and socks were soaked through and my feet were cold. I remember thinking I just wanted to take a hot shower and a nap and realized that was not possible which made me feel oddly anxious and alone without a place to call home.

My experience that day was trivial and lasted only a few hours but the memory came flooding back as I thought about our guests and wondered what they were coping with the downpour.  An image of  Gail came to mind, she uses a walker with her bag piled on top of it and moves slowly.

I wonder how many people are with Kevin today? He has a van and last night shared with me that he had done some clean-up work for an older couple and was given some money and a tank of gas. He shares rides with the others in this informal, always changing "family" of guests at the Macomb Warming Center. Kevin asked if I could pray that it not rain so much because it created such challenges for those without permanent shelter. I reminded him that the farmers were praying for rain and that if the dry land could pray, it would also ask for life giving rain. He thanked me for offering another perspective. I thanked him for the same reason.

Is a rainy day good or bad? Both and neither. The day is what it is.

Later, when we opened the doors, we could sense that the mood of our guests was subdued--tempered by dealing with the weather all day. Cindy commented how she wished we could have provided showers for people because sometimes a warm shower is the best way to warm up after a day in the rain. I agree.

Tonight, the warming up will need to come from Sloppy Joe's, soup, hot coffee and the connections of friendship being shared between our guests and volunteers. With an occasional request for dry socks, which we gladly share. 

The journey continues ...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Burden is Light - Shelter Week - Day 5

My Yoke is easy and my burden is light ...

or in current English

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Matthew 11:28-30 - The Message (MSG)

Tonight, I feel quiet and small. I am open and raw emotionally. Not bad--just very raw as if every feeling is amplified. Tonight, as I cooked and cleaned and made myself available to our guests and volunteers, I also pondered the scripture above. Your way, this way of Love is easy, Jesus? Really? Why does it feel so hard at imes, like I am swimming upstream?

In some ways, it was easier to not know the "other." Easier to not know the name or story of how our guests came to be here with us. Easier to make up a story about how their lack of personal responsibility had landed them in the shelter.It was easier to look away before I knew their name.

There are a few here who are so lost in addiction that they can barely function. However, they are the minority. There are a few people with mental health challenges who have fallen through the cracks of our society. Another very small percentage are folks who are  living under the radar of the usual structure of our civilization. 

Over and over I have heard first night volunteers marvel  that our guests do not look like they imagined homeless people to look, be or act like. Minds blown. Stereotypes blown. Hearts opened.  Our guests look like us; our friends, our relatives, our neighbors because that is who they are and we can see it because we are up close and persona. Playing cards, talking sports, politics, imagining winning the lottery.

Without realizing it, I had gotten pretty burned out on religion and tired almost to death of talking about love. Please do not talk to me about how loving God is unless you are willing to demonstrate that love in action and are doing something to make its presence real and felt in the world today.

I have watched as the members of our congregation have opened their hearts and allowed Love to remove  their fears, apprehensions and barriers against caring. I have witnessed our church being fully present with our guests and the blurring of the lines between us and them until it is simply we. I have witnessed my own wonder at the love shared.

During the course of this Shelter Hosting Week, I have been transformed in ways I do not yet understand. I believe this spiritual community that I am privileged to serve has also been changed at depth.

This evening 101 people are sleeping on the floor in Fellowship Hall as our honored guests. Each one has a history and hopes and dreams.

William is a clean cut, young man of 20 whose parents are deceased. William is not without permanent housing becase he drinks or uses drugs. he simply does not have enough money to live on. He is a landscaper but didn't work enough weeks during last season to qualify for unemployment and he has not found winter work so he has been part of the shelter. I have watched all week as he and a few others, look out for Roy who has started to exhibit symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. William makes sure Roy get's through the food line and helps carry Roy's tray. In the morning, I watch him help Roy locate his belongings and jacket. Love expressed and God made visible.

I am also rethinking the whole idea of homeless. Is a person who is sleeping in a shelter in our church, homeless? I think not.

The journey continues ...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Can You Help Me? - Shelter Week - Day 4

Can you help me?

I was trying to pull a trash bag up and out of a tall, thin garbage bag and it was stuck. One of our guests, George,  who was passing by , stepped forward to help by holding the canister while I pulled out the stuck bag. An easy job now with all four of our hands.

George then said,  "We would be happy to help if you would just ask." In one holy instant, my mind was blown and my B.S. - (belief system) was shredded again.

I like to think that I am a fairly awake, open minded to life in all of its diversity, loving guy. And yet, I had not considered asking for help from this kind, homeless, guest. Why, I wondered? The question was screaming in my mind. The thoughts came flooding bearing all of the reasons I had not asked him for a hand. I am here to serve him, he is a guest -- blah, blah, blah.

I am here to serve him? The implied belief of he/they need me. Suddenly, The Work was in my mind. He needs me? Is that true? Can I really know it is true? How do I feel, what happens when I believe that he needs me. What if I dropped the belief? The turn around: I need him. Yes! I need him. To hold the can so I can remove the stuck bag.. I need him to reflect Christ in a way I can get it. To reveal in me a stuck place in my belief system and expose Reality in all of its radiance.

Thanks, George, for helping me wake-up a little more. I see now, my question to George and the other 97 people in the shelter tonight is, "Can you help me become more awake? Will you help me become more human?  More aware of  Christ within us all and the Truth of  the One Life I so easily teach, preach and think about. Now, beyond thought, a brief experience of reality.

Thank You God for piercing my heart with a single, simple statement from a very kind man.

Someone Like You!

Bethany was all smiles, when I asked if she had gotten to the doctor the prior day. She told me she had and then asked if she could share a song she recorded. I said sure, so she handed me her cell phone and there was a woman with a pretty voice singing Adele's song ":Someone Like You" a cappella. After a few seconds, I realized that the Bethany was the woman singing. I told her she had a very good voice and asked if she would like to see the music video of the song?

"Yes", she said. She had a question about a line of the lyrics and had not been able to catch the words. So I opened up YouTube on my phone and streamed the video for her. It is a powerful song that about a broken heart and love that didn't work out  Together, we figured out the lyrics for the line she had missed.

"I had never seen the video, she told me. "I just heard the song a couple of times and liked it."

I asked Bethany if she had ever had her heart broken.

"Yes," she said. More than once.

"Me too," I thought. Right now.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting To Know You - Shelter Week - Day 3

New Page 1
I just got home from the the start of the third day in our week as Shelter hosts. My orientation has shifted slightly,  to place the beginning of the activities for a "day" to be the preparations that begin at 5:30 pm in order to open the shelter doors by 8 pm. Then it is intake, dinner, a smoke break for our guests that smoke, sleep, awake at 6 am,  breakfast and then the shelter empties out at 7 am. 

Tonight felt somehow like an "all about getting to know you" day. Our population tonight is 90 and many have been our guests all week so we are now becoming aware of each other. I have watched and felt our volunteers open their hearts and smiles and allow Love to flow through them in a great, powerful yet peaceful rush. The idea of "guest" as the proper form of address in an intellectual way has shattered and in its place, honored guest has become real and experienced and felt.

I have noticed that as I get to know "you", in this case one of our guests, I get to know me; to know what I think and feel and to know that we are both expressions of the One life--for real. The artificial line we/I draw between you and me grows less pronounced, less and visible, replaced with the gentle connection that comes from knowing we are in this experience called life together.

Tonight I had the great honor of being pastor as I listened to our guests at the dinner tables. I am reminded Friendship has an easy beginning. I say, "Hello, I'm Ric. May I join you?" From some, no response and that is okay. "I hope you enjoy your meal," I share and honor the unspoken request for privacy. From most though, "Sure, please do..."

Adam was able to get his warrant dealt with so he is not always wondering if/when will he get arrested when he sees a police officer. He seems more relaxed and at ease today.

This is the last night in the shelter for Donna and Regan; a sweet couple who have been together for 6 years,  Donna says that Regan saved her life by giving her CPR after she had a heart attack a few years ago. We shared heart attack stories and talked about how energy is underlying everything that is and is yet to be. Regan has gotten a job, house sitting for a investor who is buying foreclosures and flipping them back for resale. The couple get a place to stay and some work to do, painting and repairing the house while keeping the plumbing & wiring intact from vandals.  The love that flows between them is palpable and refreshing.
Brian is a quiet, serious young man, who reads what ever news paper or magazine is near him. He reminds me a little of myself, inquisitive hungry to learn.

I wonder if Sue is in the hospital tonight. She was nursing a wound on her leg yesterday and mentioned that she thought she would go the the ER to have it looked at and dressed.

David tells me about a man who really cares called Pastor Bob and who runs a ministry working with folks on the streets. 

Miss Alice is in a quiet mood tonight. She is feeling good and loved the potato with ham soup. She is looking forward to getting some sleep.

Kevin brought me a beautiful prayer of blessing from a pamphlet and thanks us for being here. When I thanked him for being with us, he asked what did I mean by saying thank you. I explained that I was grateful that he and our other guests were here, with us because it was allowing the beautiful heart of our congregation to open wide.

No, I am not overly romanticizing this experience. I am aware of the several who are drunk or very buzzed and nod politely as I pass by and who just want to to enjoy their current state and get to bed and pass out.

I am smiling inside as all around the room I I watch as members of our church and 90 people who call the streets home, share a meal, friendship and a space for a few days. Through it all, Love grows larger and larger making Itself felt and known.

In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to, "Love one another as I have loved you." We are learning how and it is awesome beyond my wildest imagination.

The journey continues ...

Copyright (c) 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights are reserved.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sleep Well - Shelter Week - Day 2

Tonight, 83 people are sleeping in Fellowship Hall, which was our original sanctuary at this campus, and is the sleeping area for our guests during our hosting week for the rotating shelter.

While we were setting up Sunday afternoon, one of our members asked, "When do they bring the cots?" There are no cots and not all  the churches provide the foam pads.

Imagine sleeping on a 8'x2'x1/2" piece of foam insulation board centered within a 4'x8' space. There is clingy plastic covering the carpet under your pad and another person within an arms reach. The  You receive two blankets and a pillow (which is inside a plastic bag and covered with a pillow case) on your first night at this location for your use all week. The bedding is washed every Sunday morning and delivered to the next church.

There is a row of sleeping spaces that are filled by people who get up from the floor and head out, many at 4 am in order to catch a bus and go to work.

This second evening was much more relaxed, or perhaps I was more relaxed. We had a sense of what to expect and what our duties were. I was able to turn my attention from seemingly endless check lists and double checking the status of many things and just be present with our guests. I was reminded first hand of how really listening to another person is a great gift to them and to me.

Marvin asked for prayer and when he found me asked if I would pray that he find a good roommate and a place to live. As I listened, he explained that he injured his back he receive's Social Security Disability but cannot afford a place by himself. He had been living with his daughter and son-in-law in a house they were paying the rent to the owner of the home however the owner had stopped paying the mortgage and the mortgage holder had foreclosed. Marvin's daughter and her husband went to stay with his parents and Marvin found his way to our church, It was his first night in a shelter. He told me that the Lord had led him and he was trusting God to help him get back on his feet. He said he wanted to find a roommate who was a christian and not a drinker. He also said he's like to meet a good woman and get married again. Marvin is probably in his mid 40's.

David came to Detroit last summer because job prospects are better here than in Milwaukee. David had lost his job after a long illness which depleted his savings because he had no insurance. David is trying to get some traction to get back into the workforce and pull his life together at 61.

John has been out of work for two years. After exhausting his unemployment benefits and what he had saved he was not able to pay the rent on his apartment so his landlord left home a voice message that he had to move and then the deputy sheriff came and told he he had 5 days to vacate the premises

I am going to bed in a few minutes on a mattress with sheets and a blanket, in another room of my home in total privacy. A mattress I had complained was lumpy, old and uncomfortable last week. It doesn't seem nearly so uncomfortable to me now.

Sleep Well!

PS - I got up early to go back to serve breakfast at the end of this "shelter day"  and the count had increased by 6 new guests brought in by various police departments in the course of the night for a total of 89.

Back home again for a nap before we gt ready for our guests again this evening. It occurs to me that I have many choices about where I might nap. In my bed, recliner, the upstairs or downstairs sofa. With a grateful heart, I am heading for the upstairs sofa with my pillow and a humbled heart.

On the Way ...

Copyright (c) 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights reserved.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Trailer Arrives - Shelter Week - Day 1

Macomb County Warming Center/Ray of Hope Day Center trailer arrives with clean bedding for our hosting Week
My heart is so full it feels like it will break open.

I had planned to spend the night at the church. it being the first night of our shelter hosting week. However, my guidance was strong to come home for the night. Now I understand that I came home to blog about this experience and to cry. 

Images from the evening roll though my mind and bring tears:
    • of Gratitude - at the closeness of God as our teams came together in final preparation for hosting the rotating shelter.
    • of Wonder - our first guests arrive, carrying backpacks, suitcases, bags and some using walkers.
    • at Realizing that some are using walkers or wheel chairs or just were releases from a hospital...
    • of Seeing myself reflected in each one
    • from Love piercing my heart and shattering my view of reality (God), once again.
    • at Sensing how wide the heart of Renaissance Unity is open
    • of Love for my friend Cindy, whom I really annoy at times ( I don’t mean too) and who always goes above, beyond and over the top!
    • for Witnessing our church take on this project at so many levels!
    • of Hope, shared with Rev. Jim,  at how this project is opening us to Spirit in a whole new way.
    • of Joy for many miracles along this journey
    • of Happiness at watching friends Mitzi & Linda work together.
    • of Amazement at the harmony demonstrated and the ease our teams worked together and our dining hosts/hostesses 
    • of Humility as two men played a serious game of chess after their meal.
    • of Joy at when one of our guests asked if we had a Charles Fillmore book he could have.
    • of Gratitude at the opportunity to lead this project.
    • of Pride at watching this wonderful interaction between beloved members of our church and the beloved of God who were our honored guests
    • of Wonder at how everything comes together perfectly in the most unexpected ways.
Our intention was to really, really live from knowing that Christ is in each one of us: hosts and guests. To open ourselves.

What a transformation of both the physical space and the inner space.
As Mark Henderson, from MCWC, arrived for his walk through, I could feel the butterflies in my stomach. Wondering if the ways we had setup the sleeping area and the dining room were good. Wondering how our volunteers would react when we started to receive our guests. Wondering about all of it.

When Mark saw the sleeping area, he said it looked good. When he swept his eyes around the dining room and noticed table coverings, and flowers on the tables and our "menu board" with its message of  "welcome, tonight we are serving...". He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Our guests will think they are in the wrong place." I told him that we wanted to treat our guests with the same honor we would a guest in our home and he said that intention was obvious.

Mark accompanied our guests who went out to have their smoke break in order to gauge the reaction of the guests to this host church. When he came back in he said that there was quite a buzz about the fact that our volunteers actually smiled like they mean it at our guests. I told hem it was because we do mean it.

Do you ever Imagine Oneness? I do, often. Tonight I caught a glimpse of what it might look like as a heart of our church was cracked wide open.

Thanks Love!
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36

Copyright (c) 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights are reserved.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Is Today the One Day?

    Today, instead of spending countless hours watching news commentators dissect each moment and movement of the last week of Whitney Houston's life and creating stories about how/why she died; we actively looked for ways we could add some kindness to another persons life?

    What if we each did what showed up for us to do? Check out this video:

    What if we were aware enough to notice the opportunities that are showing up in our lives?

    What if we stopped listening to political leaders trying to convince us that "they" have a plan to restore confidence/jobs/pride or the past glory of a bygone time--that only exists in retrospect anyway? What if we let go of thinking anyone else can fix the mess we are in but us? 

    What if we took a one day break from our agenda about the issues that seem to divide us and put the same energy into finding ways to work together for our common good?

    What if we dropped out story about everyone else. What if we turned away from whatever it is that we think "they" should or shouldn't do about this, that or the other thing? What if we released needing to get anything and focused out attention on what we have to give?

    What if we each laid our carefully crafted, hand painted, designer logo life aside for one day? 
    "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." ~Jesus (John 15:12-13)
    What if we took matters into our own hands and unleashed Love in our world? What if we stop waiting for someone else to do it?

    What if One Day is today?

    Only Love,


    © 2012 by Richard L. Beattie, all rights reserved 

    Monday, January 09, 2012

    New Year, Week Two

    Grateful for:
    • Windshield defroster in car
    • Guest speaker, Mary Morrissey, today
    • Being okay with running late
    • Hearing my voice on the answering sytem @ church

    Saturday, January 07, 2012

    Any/Every day is Christmas!

    Today, I am grateful for:
    1. My family who; by birth, marriage or choice; come together in loving celebration's of so many kinds.
    2. Having family Christmas 2011 on January 7, 2012
    3. Realizing any day and everyday is Christmas when I allow/invite/experience the rebirth of The Christ in me.
    4. The many ways chanting centers me in Love
    5. Lynne Barrette for gifting me with a copy of the beautiful cd of the chant, River of Life, several years ago.
    6. Composer Kurt Van Sickle.
    7. Duane & Randy gifting Matt with a refrigerator.
    8. Having "Noni's" seafood cocktail recipe.
    9. The way The Work rises up in me at the exact perfect time.
    10. My dear friend Duane
    11. You
    12. Creating an entry for today

    Tuesday, January 03, 2012

    Third day of this new year.

    Today, I notice that I am grateful for:
    1. Realizing the fresh apple cake I baked (to use up the apples right) will be gone today. Yeah!
    2. The interesting ways that hope grows in me. In particular the posting by a friend living in Germany, about a housing development in the United Kingdom that allows its residents to live within their share of our  planets resources.
    3. The love and support expressed at the passing of a colleague
    4. Finally connecting with the family for tomorrow's funeral
    5. Having Sandy back at our Leadership Team meeting
    6. The heater in my car
    7. Refocusing on my own health after the multiple distractions of the holidays
    8. A workable plan for Master Mind Small Groups
    9. Reconnecting with my dear friend Al after many years
    10. Getting the order of service prepared on time

    Monday, January 02, 2012

    Oh one, Oh one, Two oh one two

    Grateful for:
    1. Getting the email dragons under control and wondering why I sign up for so many e-newsletters
    2. Getting up, out and going even when I don't feel like it
    3. General Tso's Chicken
    4. Sharing The Work with someone and watching the dawning of awareness
    5. Peace of mind that is not dependent on any thing or person
    6. The book, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle
    7. Peace Pilgrim
    8. Friends who call to check on a family member, just because they care about what I care about
    9. Standing back from a situation and finding a larger perspective
    10. Fascination with date/number games/alliterations/plays on words
    11. The empty feeling that winter sometimes brings because it makes me look harder within myself