Sunday, January 19, 2014


“It would be a terrible calamity for the world if we eliminated the beggar. The beggar is just as important in the scheme of things as the giver. If begging were ever eliminated God help us if there should no longer be a need to appeal to some other human being, to make him give of his riches.”
--Henry Miller

Hey there folks, welp, I have been out in Joshua Tree since last Wednesday, late afternoon, and boy, was I overdue for some silence and solitude. I had become cranky and depleted, while at the same time longing to go deeper, to be closer to Christ. I have been drinking in the silence the way a man dying of thirst drinks water.

One of the things I've been pondering is this: working ever more toward a life that has more periods of real solitude built in.

Another is this: Every morning for years I have prayed for God to direct my thinking for the day, in particular to divorce it from the motives of self-pity, dishonesty and selfishness. I always hear "selfishness" and I think that means I have to work harder. I'm beginning to see selfishness is thinking I have to earn love and thereby putting my faith in my own what inevitably become frantic and in the end resentful efforts. 

A few weeks ago a lovely reader from a small town in Ireland sent me the biggest donation I've received in the three and a half years since I started this blog--$300. And when I wrote to thank her, she replied, "That's the biggest donation you've ever received?! I'm embarrassed. You should have an annual or semi-annual pledge drive to keep your blog afloat."

Now this is so not my way. My way is to make a self-imposed rule not only to post every other day, but also to answer every single email (with a few small exceptions of harassers, guilt-trippers or married men looking for a soulmate) that arrives in my mailbox. For the most part, the mails I get are a gift, and I could write a huge post on why. Responding to them also makes for a huge amount of psychic energy, time, and flat-out beast-of-burden work. 

Who's asking me to do this? you might ask. No-one. Who's making me do this? No-one. Still, I would like to continue, if for no other reason than BECAUSE the people I hear from make me know I have tapped into a mother lode of yearning, questing wonder. But just as a little reminder, I am unsupported by a religious order, steady, employer, organization, institution, patron, benefactor, family, or spouse. After 12 years without health insurance, I am now, thanks to Obamacare, on Medi-Cal.

This is a one-woman operation--albeit one that would make no sense without you.  

I have always loved this Psalm, which basically says--Take a nap.

Psalm 127
1 If the Lord does not build the house,
      in vain do its builders labor;
      if the Lord does not watch over the city,
      in vain does the watchman keep vigil.
2 In vain is your earlier rising,
      your going later to rest,
      you who toil for the bread you eat,
      when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber...

So out here among the mountains and the creosote and the yucca, I am going to go against all my self-centered fear: of appearing greedy, pushy, ungrateful; of making myself vulnerable to abandonment, ridicule, judgment, and rejection. 
And I'm going to say if you read and enjoy my blog--the essays, the photos, the reading tips, the shared meals!--think about coughing up some dough! 
If you're one of the thousands of people who have emailed me and received a civil, perhaps thoughtful, perhaps even loving reply--perhaps you would like to think of supporting my blog which is to say my work, which is to say my life. 
You'll note the paypal button to the right. You can use a debit or credit card, which goes strictly through them. No amount too small--one person sent a dollar (although give me a break)--and no amount, for sure, too big! I'll let you know how it works out. 
To the dear, kind, generous folks who have already done so and/or have been supporting me all along, thank you. And clearly this does not apply to those of you who have cooked/bought me meals, lent me vacation homes, listened to me as I poured out my heart, offered me Mass intentions, or put me up at your home, rectory, abbey, convent or monastery. Actually, thank you, no matter what, for helping me store up my treasure in heaven.
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
--Luke 6:38, KJV
someone will identity this for me,
i'm sure...


  1. You bet, Heather. That's a Loggerhead Shrike!

    1. Thanks, Michael--I think those are the ones that impale their prey on a fencepost or something and leave them there to die.

    2. Yes; they're also called butcher-birds.


    Check out the Cornell Guide. You can download an app for your phone, too.
    I don't have any money to send. But I subscribe to your blog; and share your posts with my friends.

    1. Thanks, Traci! I do have the, or a, 3-volume Audubon Guide but I forgot to bring it with me. I keep forgetting there's now an app for everything.

      And thank you so much for subscribing and for sharing my posts with your friends. I love the idea of letting my PR program be to let my friends spread the word--that's a contribution in and of itself.

    2. From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

  3. Just wonderful, Heather. I am excited for you and for me. This Christmas, I loved playing the role of benefactor, despite the screams of my inner Chicken-Little (you know the one--she's always yelling about the end-of-the-world, so save-your-pennies?) and a long family heritage of dust-bowl poverty nightmares. So, I couldn't have been more surprised when I realized that it's true--giving is the gift. Sign me up!! :-)

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