You are Pregnant

baby jesusThe words, “You’re pregnant,” can bring colorful responses. “Yes,” as a fist is pumped. Or, “It’s about time.” Or, “Yikes!”

Although medical science can give us a pretty good idea of what is going on in our bodies, we can also visit spiritual Science to get the big picture. Spiritual knowledge helps us make the looming decisions that come with pregnancies. Jesus’ mother, Mary, heard an angel message from God say, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)  Pregnancy can be a spiritually invigorating experience.

Generally, we think only women can get pregnant. But, men too can be pregnant or “expecting” happiness and responsibility. The birth of ideas comes from God, Mind. Isaiah felt God say, “Ask me of things to come…I made the earth and created man on it, it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isa. 45: 11 & 12)

A pregnancy can be a time for happy thanksgiving. We read in Psalms 100: “Make a joyful noise to the LORD…It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people…For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

If it makes more sense not to keep the baby, the divine Parent, Love, can guide you through the appropriate steps that are best for the baby and you. We read in Jeremiah words that can be felt by everyone, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” (Jer. 29:11-12)

You may hear horror stories about other people’s past pregnancies however we find assurance in the knowledge of God’s care. “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isa. 40:11) Our Father-Mother God is nearer to us than the horror stories.

Being pregnant is an opportunity to express Life, wisdom and progress. We can experience better eating and exercise if needed. We can experience a release from harmful habits. We can be pregnant with prudence and spiritual courage.

The entertainment of wondering what sort of characteristics the baby will take on can be grounded on God’s promise rather than DNA. Love is our destiny, not DNA. “I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord. In those days they shall no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’” The child’s real heritage is Life, Truth, and Love.

“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:15-16)

Although it looks like a pregnancy is going through stages, time is relative even nonexistent to the eternal God. Isaiah reiterates, “Listen to me…who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age, I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made and I will bear, I will carry and will save [deliver].” (Isa. 46:3-4)

From Genesis: “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:26 & 31)

From 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Everything good or worthy, God made.”

Discovering Balance

“The Board wants to sell more electricity, however we want to teach conservation also,” said a Board member of a rural electric cooperative in upstate New York. When listening to his statement I could only shake my head in agreement. The common conundrum of finding a balance between too little and too much is so thin in many aspects of daily life. I ask myself, How do I heat my home without exploiting the environment? How much time do I spend with my husband to keep our marriage strong yet not become dependent on one another? How do I purchase an item without becoming a consumer for clutter? How do I eat healthy without making food the major topic of thought and conversation?

I’ve spent years wobbling to keep balanced. Not only did I seek a balance within family, making sure I loved everyone equally yet uniquely, but I also worked hard to have balance between family, religion, economy, and my social life.

Every day, I’d weigh my options. If I needed to let go of something because it was throwing me off kilter, I would let go. The letting go only felt weird for a short period of time, for example, when I deleted my account on Facebook. But, my mind was better able to focus on a new direction in life without compromising my attention to health and wellbeing. And, I can always rejoin Facebook.

But one day, I realized there was a better approach to finding a balance in life. Living a balanced life is not so arduous. As I simply nurture spiritual attributes, balance inevitably comes about. I don’t necessarily have to hunt and peck for a balance in my relationships, body weight, or economic situation if I am honestly increasing in my practice of trustworthiness, spiritual courage, receptivity, and so on.

As I am receptive to Life, Truth, and Love, balance is a natural consequence.

I still balance my checkbook and know what a balanced diet is however I see these actions are the result of an attitude that puts its weight on the side of Truth. In all truthfulness, I do know when to help a neighbor, when to stop eating or buying things, when to exercise, and when to be quiet, the trick is following through on the honesty.

Ironically, being imbalanced produces a hyped up attitude—addictive to human beings. They feel alive when everything in life is disturbed, unfair, or unbalanced. But the day comes when balance is searched for. And, it can be discovered as in place, the key is Life, Truth, and Love. Spirituality may appear boring or obscure at first but that is only because imbalance was accepted as normal for so long. But, a balanced, stable, steady family, economy, and purpose are alive and well—open to entrance.

The Gift of Sunflower Sprouts

Every day I have a salad and hot tea for lunch. Unless salad isn’t available, then I eat what I can because there is little time to be too picky in this life. But, the other day, our neighbor, Adam, gave us a bowl full of sunflower sprouts.

The sunflower sprouts made for a nice topping on my salad.

Sunflower sprouts on salad

Adam grew the sunflower sprouts himself. Sunflower sprouts are packed with vitamins A, D, E, and the B complex, besides having potassium and being high in calcium and protein.

Although I still eat some meat, these facts jolt my mind to realize that I can live without certain foods. I am also reminded of the Bible story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The men requested vegetarian meals after the chief official ordered them to eat royal food and drink wine. They got their request and after eating vegetables and drinking water, Daniel and his buddies proved that they were stronger in appearance than the men who ate the upscale diet. (Daniel 1)

Not Choking on Intelligence

It can be difficult to swallow new ideas or new ways of doing things, however it’s only choking on ice-cream

The Christian Science Monitor Weekly’s editor poses an interesting opening paragraph in the August 13, 2012 edition, “Where does intelligence come from? Biologists look to organic structures. Psychologists study influences and experiences. Theologians look to the spiritual.”

Quite often, biologists, psychologist, and theologians are inclined to share views and learn from one another since most can admit intelligence needs cultivating. Not surprisingly, the new ideas or ways of doing things are hard to swallow. Even some theologians have a hard time swallowing what other theologians are sharing. They choke. But its like they are only choking on ice-cream. It melts and goes down okay. We can see infinite views.

We can take the time to swallow and digest new ideas before we wave them off.

 

Getting to Know Dandelion

Upstate New York is flourishing with dandelions. A magnanimous carpet of soft yellow flowers is cheering spring weather forward—to the dismay of some lawn caretakers. Dandelions, in all their brightness, are seen by some people as pesky weeds, a blot in their picture perfect lawns.

It’s all a matter of interpretation.

Although no one begrudges a dandelion-less lawn, the pretty yellow flowers do not need to discombobulate our thought process. Everything our physical senses sees, hears, and feels is temporal. We can let it go and engage our spiritual senses which can detect and lead into the experience of that which is ongoing such as composure and calm, even getting to know the dandelion.

Dandelion is a hardy perennial. There are hundreds of species of dandelion. Some can grow to nearly 12 inches in height. Dandelions have deeply notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are hairless and rather shiny. The spatula-like leaves funnel rain to the root. The dark brown roots have one main tap root. The fleshy root is filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly. Dandelion flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening.

Dandelion has been used in traditional Native American and Arabic medical systems. The leaves and roots are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts. Dandelion use is generally considered safe however use should be discussed with your health care provider. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as potassium, iron, and zinc. Dandelion leaves add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitute, and the flowers are used to make wines.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “Nature voices spiritual law and divine Love, but the human mortal mindset misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, coral reefs, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, flowering deserts, and galaxies—all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity. Quantum mechanics, gravity, and the cosmos teach grand lessons. The stars make night beautiful, and the leaf turns naturally toward the light.”

Don’t Get Stuck on the Marshmallow

Courtesy

The famous marshmallow study is referenced in just about every positive psychology book these days, as a thought provoking  example of how time orientation has an effect on who we are and what we do. The experiment, originally conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960′s involves 4-year old kids who are given one marshmallow and then told that they can eat the one marshmallow OR wait and receive a second marshmallow.

Follow-up studies came almost 40 years later and it was discovered that the children who exhibited delayed gratification (waited it out to receive the second marshmallow treat) went on have higher SAT scores plus become more successful individuals.

Admittedly, instant gratification hasn’t proven itself too dynamic.

Instant gratification can also trap spiritual seekers. From 21st Century Science and Health, “Audible prayer can be impressive, giving instant gratification and awe. But does it produce any lasting advantage? As we think about this more, we see that zeal “not based on knowledge,”[1] is precarious. Spoken prayer can even tempt a reaction unfavorable to spiritual growth or resolutions. Lip service can also distort a healthy perception of our Godlike responsibilities. Pay attention! Make sure that the motive for prayer doesn’t embrace the love of popularity, because this actually discourages spirituality.”


[1] Rom 10:2

Marrakech Cooking Class

Cooking in Marrakech

Our eclectic group consisted of people from Norway, the Netherlands, and America. And, we met in Marrakech, Morocco, to learn how to cook authentic Moroccan food. Our teachers, Jmar and Aisha, gave us each recipes, written in our native languages. I was in charge of peeling and cutting tomatoes in half and removing the seeds. I’ve cut thousands of tomatoes in half before, but have never removed seeds because I relish eating the whole tomato. Just never dawned on me to remove seeds.

I began the process, while watching the other cookery students clean sardines, fry egg plant, and food process cucumbers. Then Aisha, one of the teachers, gently picked up one of the sliced tomatoes, cut it through the middle of the fruit and thumbed out the seeds. I was slicing the fruit from stem to end, which made it a bit more difficult to remove seeds. So, I copied Aisha. This effortless change of rotating the tomato before slicing it in half made a huge difference for removing seeds.

We all want to change for the better, and quite often, the effective change is very very simple. No drama, no fuss. Aisha didn’t get after me. She didn’t act as though I should not be a part of the class. She didn’t even demand I do it her way. She just showed me how she did it and went back to her work.

Teaching can be done without voicing one word. Learning can be done by following examples, quietly.

The cookery class was a successful experience. The new foods were tasty and the new friendships were fantastic.

 

Baking Bread Pudding

Last weekend turned out to be down time, but holy time. Rather than being inspired to write something riveting, I was inspired to cook and clean. And, I found a great recipe:

Chocolate Bread pudding

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
¾ c. packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of milk
4 cups cubed stale bread

Melt 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix together eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and melted chocolate in large bowl. Add bread and let stand 30 minutes, occasionally stirring.
Ladle half of the bread mixture into a loaf pan. Spread remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips on top. Ladle the rest of the bread mixture. Bake about 55 minutes. Serve warm with cream. Serves 10.
I halved the recipe and used oatmeal bread and an old leftover scone. I also reduced the amount of chocolate chips. The dessert was FABULOUS!

From Science and Health, “Genesis 2:2. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
“God rests in action. Imparting has not impoverished and can never impoverish the divine Mind. As understood in divine Science, no exhaustion follows the action of this Mind. The most satisfying and sweetest rest, even from a human standpoint, is in holy work.”

Health Advice on Prunes

The October 16, 2011 Parade Magazine printed a statement by Bahram H. Arjmandi saying, “Prunes are rich in potassium and boron, which are known to increase bone mass.” The Magazine also reported that Florida State University researchers found that “women who eat 6 to 10 prunes a day have significantly higher bone density than women who nash on other fruit.”

I wonder:

How many women eat 6 to 10 prunes a day?

A lot of disbelief, or sarcasm, is generated by health advice like this.

I not only have a hard time believing women eat 6 to 10 prunes a day, but I also don’t want to eat 6 to 10 prunes a day myself. Moreover, I don’t want to fear bone loss while I eat other fruit. But all disbelief and sarcasm and fear fade as I focus on my spiritual journey.

From 21st Century Science and Health, “The fact is, food does not affect our absolute Life, and this becomes self-evident when we learn that God is our Life. Because sin and sickness are not qualities of Soul, or Life, we have hope in spirituality. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to stop eating a healthy balanced diet, or to stop exercising, until we gain perfection and a clear comprehension of the living Spirit. In that perfect day of understanding, we shall neither eat to live nor live to eat.”

The theory that eating 6 to 10 prunes a day seems rather stiff, if not unrealistic, however, I remind myself not to be unrealistic on my spiritual journey too. I really do need to eat healthy and exercise, because I still need to eat. I can’t just sit around and pray or meditate or talk about what I meditated about, and I certainly can’t expect others to either. So, if it feels like a good idea, I’ll eat a prune, but I’ll do so with a peace of mind knowing that God, Love, is my life.

Max McLean Reads the Bible without Anger

I frequently listen to Max McLean, narrator of the Listener’s Bible, on my iPOD, especially at night before going to sleep. McLean does an excellent job of blending vivid expression and theological comprehension to make listening to the Bible interesting and rewarding.

Autumn corn

Last night, I was listening to the Psalms and a picture of clarity popped into life. McLean read from Psalm 95, “For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’” This was supposedly God reminiscing about pulling the children of Israel out slavery only to have them not credit or respect God. So, the children wandered around in a desert for forty years while believing God was angry with them.

We interpret everything through the lens of our own mental attitude, and my attitude is such that I don’t have an angry God. Needless to say, the Bible appeared to contradict my sense of God as peaceful and just an all-around wise yet composed Being, able to guide all thought in a way that brings satisfaction, not anger.

Anyway, the picture of clarity was that as much as I view my own reality through my own mental attitude, the children of Israel did also. Their mental attitude however was whining about not having enough food consequently all they could sense was an angry God. God wasn’t angry. The human perception was annoyed, indignant, irate, therefore, that is what they automatically pinned on God.

Lessons learned: I can trust the view of a peaceful strong God that manifests an uncomplaining attitude. And, Max McLean did a bang-up job of recording the Bible.