Mar 11, 2009

Glimpses of Spring

Dear friends,

The last few days have been full of good news, glimpses of spring. As you have been so kind to share in our winters, and in times of difficulty, so shall you share in the joys.

I wandered along at the arboretum this morning, in Superior, Arizona….and all the trees are about to break into bloom. They’re pushing their fists, full of blossoms, to the sky. And it is incredible to watch something that has almost burst into the world, but hasn’t quite. I highly recommend wandering around during these spring days and watching the world unleash it’s fury of color on us.

As I walked along, I thought about all the ways we are brought to life again. I thought about how I have been brought to life by news from Warm Hearth this week.

Let me share. We have a new resident, whom our staff hope to bring home today. He is twenty-two years old and has lived on the streets with his mother for much of his life. His mother died last week and as Alya, our director said, “Now he is alone in the world.” Well, not quite. Because we can take him. We can bring him home. We cannot undo all the suffering but we can add some joy to his young life.

That is springtime.

A glimpse of how what we give multiplies and is multiplied came yesterday…. Last year, a donor gave a few thousand dollars for our residents to receive comprehensive dental care. They went to a clinic in Yerevan and along the way, our residents carved their place into the hearts of the dental care staff. The staff have brought gifts and food over to the home many times. They have come for Christmas celebrations.

They also offered free care for our residents in the future. Free. To watch our Warm Hearth staff and residents make their own connections in the community and then to see the community respond, this is also springtime.

Thank you for watching as the cycle of life circles around and around within our home and our residents’ lives. I hope for springtime for each of you.

With all my heart, Natalie

*I've attached a most-recent photo of our residents and many friends of Warm Hearth.

“If you bring forth what is inside you, what you bring forth will save you.”

Feb 19, 2009

Changing Places - A Reflection

Dear friends,

I’m getting ready for another trip to Armenia in late March. And looking forward to meeting our new group of residents and seeing those I have long loved. I’m also looking forward to sharing your gifts and spirit and stories… I have a suitcase full of beautiful clothes for the residents, nursing journals for the psychiatric hospital, a hand-knit blanket, sheets and towels. I think it is part of my work to connect our residents back to you, as you are connected to them, to work on completing the circle.

Jean Vanier started group homes around the world for people with developmental disabilities, and has a book entitled “Becoming Human” that articulates the heart of Warm Hearth. What I most admire about him is his posture. He doesn’t see himself as the healer or the strong one. He says: “the one who is healed and the one who is healing constantly change place.” Again, we are encircled and part of a circle when we give and receive, when we work and rest. And I have to say that nothing is more true in this work, which is really just life, which brings us down to earth and toward heaven all in one breath, if you will.

What I mean by this work we are engaged in really being just *life* is expressed again by Vanier:

The belief in the inner beauty of each and every human being is at the heart of {Warm Hearth}, at the heart of all true education and at the heart of being human. As soon as we start selecting people and judging people instead of welcoming them as they are – with their sometimes human beauty, as well as their more frequent visible weaknesses – we are reducing life, not fostering it. When we reveal to people our belief in them, their hidden beauty rises to the surface where it may be more clearly seen by all.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here. I know that those of you who have followed and nurtured and grown this work/life have already experienced this reality. I know that you sense the threads that tie you to our residents and that you see their beauty and their strength and courage. I guess what I really wanted to share is that they also sense the threads that tie them to you…they know they are loved. They take so much joy in the fact that you know their names. Somehow this small fact makes a large difference.

So, thank you. And bless you. May we constantly change places between healer and healed. May we remain in the circle.

Sincerely & With Gratitude, Natalie

Jan 14, 2009

Making Happiness - Warm Hearth

Dear friends,

I have attached our Winter newsletter & the 2008 Annual Report. If you would like a black & white print copy of our Annual Report, please let me know.

Thank you for following the stories of our residents and the growth of our home. Thank you for making it possible.

Sincerely & With Gratitude,

-- Natalie Bryant Rizzieri Founder, Executive Director Friends of Warm Hearth, Inc.

Tel. (480) 921-1181 Armenian Tel. (374) (10) 39-81-50 Address: P.O. Box 1037; Tempe, AZ 85280

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