Category Archives: Environment

Visiting the Tenement Museum in NYC

At the Tenement Guided Tour in NYC

At the Tenement Guided Tour in NYC

As my friend, Matt, says, “The stars aligned.”

Not that we depend on the stars to determine an outcome, but sometimes, when everything falls into place, we use the phrase as a funny expression of gratitude.

Upstate New York winter weather this year has kept the snow shovels and plows in high demand. But, when Bryan came to visit us from Washington State last week, the temperatures relaxed. We got to travel to New York City and walk around comfortably. It was a long, but fun day.

 

???????????????????????????????We visited the Tenement Museum, which I highly recommend. A guided tour took us through a Tenement housing where thousands of American immigrants lived. My appreciation for the energy and strength of people who overcome many odds to succeed and expand their perceptions increased.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “The calm, strong forces of true spirituality are manifest as health, purity, and a magnanimous self. Spiritual mindedness must expand the human experience until the beliefs of temporal being are clearly exposed as impositions. Confusion, danger, and disorder will then give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God’s perfect child.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Prayer specialist gets too comfortable

Comfort zones can be large or small. With the arrival of “specialization,” comfort zones began shrinking noticeably. A specialist in food preparation might starve in the woods if they have no survival skills.

Specialized jobs limit opportunities. Foreign Service Specialist can work at one of over 265 posts overseas and in Washington D.C. and other parts of the United States. That’s not a lot of opportunity for 7 billion people.

change-flat-tire-medium-newSpecialization is undeniably a powerful social and economic tool, but it has its drawbacks. When I started studying Christian Science and learning how to ply the tool of prayer, I began devoting more and more time to the practice. After recognizing and experiencing its powerful healing force, it occurred to me that to specialize, or focus solely on one goal, could be very debilitating. Specialization breeds helplessness, dependence, and ignorance. It can eventually undermine any sense of responsibility when we stop doing other things for ourselves.

I took back my skills. Thankfully, I had a non-male-chauvinist dad and he taught me how to operate heavy equipment, change the oil, and perform basic mechanical exercises. My mom taught me that I could learn how to cook and sew and take care of children.

Although I love praying for myself, the family, or others from the public who requested prayer, I still need to get off the prayer chair.

If a tire needed changing, I’ll change it. If a neighbor needed help putting up a wall, I’ll grab a hammer. If the bathroom needs cleaning, I’ll get the cleaner and scrub.

The human mind is a fickle agent. It thinks limitedly and remembers limitedly. Christ Jesus is referred to so often as the healer and teacher, we may forget he knew how to build a house.

Yes, dedicated prayer is useful and valuable and I won’t quite it, but it can’t take over my life, my thought, and my career. To pray all day is to shrink that comfort zone down to an incapacitating size that squeezes inspiration out.

If you feel like prayer isn’t working as fast as you’d like, re-evaluate your skills. To be able to pray a long time, and for many people, may have weakened the effect of your prayer because you stopped doing things for yourself. And, those people who you are praying for, may not be responding as quickly because they are so busy cooking for you, feeding you, and cleaning up after you.

Reframing the God debate

I have no desire to disbelieve God, partly because doing so might drive me bonkers. And I agree with those who call attention to the dangers of authoritarianism and want to encourage people to resist relying on religious authorities or ever changing science for their answers to life.

Nonetheless, I have come to believe that we should depolarize the stigmas attached to our views on God.

stigmaThe debate we need is not between the existence of a God, or not, but between stigmatizing and destigmatizing.

Nick Wing posted on Huffington Post: 11 Things Atheists Couldn’t Do Because They Didn’t Believe in God.

We read:

“While the Establishment Clause of the Constitution is supposed to ensure a clear separation of church and state, the two frequently intermix, much to the disapproval of nonbelievers.

“This manifests itself in a variety of ways, from the inclusion of the word “God” in various mandatory pledges and on the face of U.S. currency, to compulsory religious-based sessions that atheists have been unconstitutionally forced to take part in.”

Granted this is a tough situation for atheists, living in a country where God is woven into the fabric of laws and pledges. Court cases never really solve the issue. But, I’ve seen hints of progress in my own Town where officials say the Pledge of Allegiance while granting respect to those who sit quietly or repeat the pledge and become silent during the “under God,” portion. There is nothing wrong with getting along.

The point is not to stigmatize one another.

Even when reading more of Nick Wing’s post, we find stigmatization in the reverse—nonbelievers pigeonholing believers. We read:

“Atheists in 13 countries face execution under the law if they openly express their beliefs or reject the official state religion — Islam in all of these cases.

“This one’s pretty straightforward. The Boy Scouts of America still prohibits atheists from joining its ranks. Scouts must pledge to “do my duty to God and my country,” and the BSA has resisted calls to remove religion from the oath.”

Muslims and Boy Scouts are being stigmatized as cruel and intolerant. Instead, let’s let public sentiment move toward change. Let’s reframe the issue.

Steer away from stigmatizing atheists as untrustworthy, but also steer away from stigmatizing believers as provincial or delusional.

Arguing over whether God is real or not is not worth the effort. It brings diminishing returns to society.

Again we read Nick Wing’s post an area that can be corrected:

“Groups of atheists have regularly been denied the opportunity to form recognized clubs at public schools around the nation.”

Our society and government is designed to allow atheists the opportunity to form recognized clubs and organizations. Let’s not deter this.

Reframing our debates, to ensure stigmatization is held at bay, ironically reveals that stigmatization is found within supposedly similar veins. Within the realm of God believers, we even stigmatize one another.

It’s not a matter of everyone being buddy/buddy however the spiritual law of respecting one another opens the door to brighter promises.

Brrrr its cold

The experience of frigid temperatures can create many responses. I decided to respond to wisdom. After feeling cold air seep through the door crack, I stuffed newspaper in the crack and felt a considerable improvement. I also remember to put down the window shades to reduce heat loss.

I dress warm when I go outside. It’s so cold, icicles form in my nostrils, but I smile. The cold also keeps me moving and alert. Coldness isn’t so bad.

From Matthew, Christ Jesus said, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

From Proverbs, “Like cold water to a weary soul it good news from a distant land.”

ice on inside window dining

Ice formed on inside of window behind window blind

Newspaper stuffed in door crack

Newspaper stuffed in door crack

Close up

Close up

Solar flares and enlightenment

January 7, 2014, a massive solar flare occurred. Classified as an X-class, this size of a flare can pose risks to the 6 astronauts currently living on the International Space Station.

The sun storm has been estimated to be as wide as seven Earths. My first thought (sort of selfish) after hearing about the flares was, Oh good, maybe the weather outside will warm above the minus 4 that it is now.

Fortunately, my thoughts can improve past the selfish. I’m reminded of an idea attributed to Christ Jesus, “You are the light of the world.” (Matt 5:14)

When I come across unselfish people, they truly are a light in the world. They aren’t thinking of themselves, but have a more inclusive view. Other people are important, just like those astronauts, who can be included in a prayer of safety.

solar flare

Don’t bite the hook of the Phisher

fisherPhishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

While using technology, we learn not to give our information freely. We update our passwords with strong passwords. We don’t download everything that comes our way.

Is there spiritual phishing?

Is someone or something masquerading as a trustworthy entity only to catch your attention in a trap of remorse or ill ease?

The key to not biting the hook of the phisher is knowing the real McCoy. We are spiritual, not mortal. We are attentive and responsive to divine Spirit, with the intent to live and love.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “The real person is spiritual and immortal, but the human and imperfect so-called children of human beings are counterfeits from the beginning, to be laid aside for the pure reality. Mortality is put off and spirituality is put on in proportion as human beings realize the Science of true identity and seek the true model.”

 

 

What am I saying?

???????????????????????????????Relationships last longer when the predominant weight of communication between people is on the side of nice things said.

But sometimes, I say things that aren’t exactly lovey dovey. For example, I will say to my husband, “You have to wash your shirt, it stinks”

But in general, we make it a practice to say positive, appreciative things.

I find this practice of saying nice things helps in society also. On the job, as a news reporter, I scold myself after saying things tainted with anger or impatience. I try to say things that are encouraging.

I’ve even experimented with this tactic.

When I meet a grumpy person, I purposely say something nice. And results show, a greater majority of the time, the immediate atmosphere takes on a livelier feeling.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Gentle words, and an unselfish attention to detail in what promotes the success of your spouse, will prove valuable in prolonging one another’s health and smiles rather than stolid indifference or resentment. Remember, a simple heartfelt word or deed is powerful enough to renew the romance.”

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