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A poets verse

I wake up reluctant, and say:

“Thou to whose power our hope we give,

Free us from human strife.

Fed by They love divine we live,

For Love alone is Life;

And life most sweet, as heart to heart

Speaks kindly when we meet and part.”

 

I forget to pack a lunch, and say:

“Free us from human strife.

Fed by They love divine we live,

For Love alone is Life;

And life most sweet, as heart to heart

Speaks kindly when we meet and part.”

 

My car light goes on, and I say:

“Free us from human strife.

Fed by They love divine we live,

For Love alone is Life;

And life most sweet, as heart to heart

Speaks kindly when we meet and part.”

 

My boss yells at me and I say:

“Free us from human strife.

Fed by They love divine we live,

For Love alone is Life;

And life most sweet, as heart to heart

Speaks kindly when we meet and part.”

 

Dinner is a can of beans, warmed up, with my husband who loves me and made a car appointment for me, and I say:

“Free us from human strife.

Fed by They love divine we live,

For Love alone is Life;

And life most sweet, as heart to heart

Speaks kindly when we meet and part.”–Mary Baker Eddy


Creativity

Creativity isn’t stuck in the past. It’s living now. It’s giving advantages to wisdom, wellbeing, and the future.

The human mind resists creativity by insisting on repeating the past, which is impossible because God, Life, is now, new, and nimble. Unfortunately, the human mind also is actively struggling to hold onto its mortal identity and insists it’s pure and right. Thus, ignoring creativity.

We just moved to a new house. Well, it’s an older house, but new to us.

And, it is the middle of a hot summer.

Sunshine heats the inside of the house in a blink. This house has old moldy, disintegrating curtains (I kid you not) and vertical blinds that only partially help the situation.

At first, I resisted the whole move. I was ready to move back to our old house which sits in a cooler climate and has efficient window blinds.

The resistance came with the insistence that the past scenario was best, however, it the past scenario involves material things.

And material things, whether buildings, books, or human bodies, can’t stop creativity.

So, I took what we had and used them effectively while ordering new blinds.

I removed the decomposing curtains and hung them outside to continue blocking the sunshine. I broke down emptied moving boxes and hung the cardboard on other windows. Yes, there are a lot of windows in this house, but I re-learned again that we don’t lack, and creativity is active.

The neighbors understand. Our children crack jokes. “Oh, just look for the house with the curtains hanging on the outside.”

Life goes on. Instead of bemoaning the decomposing past, instead of enabling a decomposing future, get with creativity. It’s here. It’s alive.

Quoting from science & religion to God

“Consider these factors:

  • The temporal never touches the eternal;
  • The changeable never touches the unchangeable;
  • The inharmonious never touches the harmonious;
  • The self-destructive never touches the self-existent.

Reproduction by Spirit’s individual ideas is but the reflection of the creative power, God.”

Get an independent view of God

Church is where I met a veteran who served in Afghanistan. I talk about it in my memoir, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter. Roland told me about when overseas, he got caught in a melee of explosions, and in his words said, “I remember sh*&#ting my pants and then waking up in the hospital.”

He recovered and retired from the army after twenty years.

Today, Roland and I mostly talked about God.

It’s weird because the word God is loaded too and involves a lot of wars and battles. But it also involves blessings and healings, and because I’m in the mood to celebrate July 4, I’m making a new connection.

July 4 is the agreed upon date we remember the United States Declaration of Independence, made public in 1776.

First, it’s important to recognize that a declaration is a far cry different from winning independence. Eight years of combat fighting was necessary before independence was won, so it stands to reason that a fight, or at least hard work, is required to win an independent thought about God, free of past mistaken thinking.

People’s views of God are vast and famous. But over the centuries many views are proven irrelevant.

Examples:

Because we can experience hell or heaven on earth, then God didn’t predestine us to heaven and hell after death. Might as well aim for heaven.

Because we’re still learning about everything, then we can’t say God created mortal human beings. Because we’re still discovering, we can say God created unseen spiritual beings.

Quoting from science & religion to God, “Let us prepare for the supremacy of Spirit—the government and law of universal harmony, which cannot be lost or remain forever unseen.”

The Greatest Showman

The film, The Greatest Showman (2017) entertained me immensely last night. It was clean. It had dancing, singing, and a story-line that doesn’t match history.

The protagonist is Phineas Taylor Barnum, most familiar to me as the guy who operated P. T. Barnum’s Grand traveling museum and circus in the 19th century.

I remind myself, most movies aren’t real and writers and actors are paid to entertain. It’s curious to me however that fiction can generate real feelings and emotions when I’m watching productions. And The Greatest Showman brought out feelings of good-will, dignity, spirit, and faithfulness.

In the movie, Barnum comes out as a man who celebrated the diversity of humanity. Maybe so in real life, but I don’t know. History has it that Barnum started his gigs after buying the right to rent an aged black slave. He told his audiences she was the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington.

I have no idea how many people believed the tale, but human mind is pretty good at believing what it wants.

Thankfully, we have divine mind and a spiritual consciousness to decipher reality.

Quoting, from science & religion to God:

“The ideas of Mind are real and tangible to spiritual consciousness. Mind’s ideas have the advantage of being real and good, whereas objects and thoughts of physical sense are contradictory and not absolute.

“There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth, matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal, matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and person is God’s image and likeness. Therefore, person is not material, but spiritual.”

 

A Chapter from my book

A chapter from my book, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter

Keeping It Straight

The farmer’s market got a reputation. Officials from other markets, including from the Seattle Pike’s Place Market, visited Pasco to watch its operation. I’d give them tours and answered questions. They took notes. The standard comment to me was, “I can’t believe you don’t have theft problems.”

The comment tempted me to pat myself on the back. I diligently prayed for honesty and believed my prayers had positive effects. Cash was the main currency. In the crowded hubbub, purses were opened and closed. Pants pockets were dug through for money and dollar bills were handed to farmers, who threw the money in shoeboxes and crates.

In an apron tied around my waist, I carried thousands of dollars from paid vendor fees, even serving as the local bank for change. Theft was only mentioned once.

A vendor noticed a pair of handcrafted wooden earrings missing from his rack. Two weeks later he told me, almost incredulously, “Cheryl, those earrings reappeared on the table.”

My prayer for honesty was fine and good, but I knew the people and atmosphere had a lot to do with it. The customers genuinely appreciated the fresh produce, handed to them by the very people who put their hearts and souls into the products. The vendors were from family farms, not corporations. There was no middleman to dilute the authenticity. The good outweighed the bad.

Not that it was all hunky-dory. Irritation, jealousy, and plain old weariness crept in periodically to throw us off guard. Fortunately, we’d help one another get back on track quickly, even when we didn’t know it. Like the time a woman helped me correct myself.

It was a scorching August day when more than seventy vendors showed up. I wiped salty perspiration from my eyes and was menstruating, not always a trouble-free task for me. I moved cautiously so blood wouldn’t start rolling down between my legs. People kept asking me for help, keeping me from walking across the street to where the bathroom was located.

I watched three vendors walk up to me at once, all talking, or rather complaining. When they were standing within an arm’s reach in front of me, I held up my hand, palm out as a stop sign. They stopped and quieted. I pointed to the person I figured would be the quickest to deal with. “I need change for this $50,” he said. I made the change.

I pointed to the second person, who said, “I need plastic bags.”

“You can buy some bags at stall three,” I answered, and then looked at the woman who stood with an agitated, indignant expression on her face.

“You told me to sell from stall fifteen and there is no way I can get in that stall. Do you see all these people? I have a truckload of peppers and tomatoes and need to get them out of the sun. It’s impossible to get in stall fifteen. I’ve tried. There’s no way.”

In the middle of her verbal explosion, I saw a thought pass through my head that harkened unmistakably: Women like you are why we are considered the weaker, dumber sex.

Though feeling annoyed, I said to her, “Please take me to your truck and I will help you.” I followed and asked her if it’d be okay if I backed her truck into stall fifteen. She gave me her keys and within two minutes she was selling her produce, relieved and happy.

Oddly, I wasn’t happy with myself. I felt a bit chastened.

When walking to the bathroom. I quickly realized I’d judged the woman alongside the thought that some women feed male chauvinism. I’d spent my life dodging male chauvinism because plenty of men treated me with prejudice, as if I was weak and dumb. So, why would I entertain what amounted to a male chauvinist thought?

Later in the day, I took the time to answer that question the best I could. It dawned on me chauvinism wasn’t gender specific. It was simply narrow-mindedness, a laziness that doesn’t help others. I would be adding to it if I accepted that thought about the woman that had passed through my head earlier. I mentally re-routed my thinking to admit it was chauvinism that annoyed me, not the woman. I affirmed that I didn’t help the woman because she was daft, but because I could help her in a way she understood. We were equals.

It was an exercise in breaking apart thoughts and reconnecting useful thoughts to get a more inclusive picture. The exercise helped me later when reading the Bible at home.

I read the story about Elisha who met a distraught mother in debt. She was about to lose her sons as payment for the debt. Elisha asked, “What do you have in your house?”

The mother had some oil.

Elisha instructed her to borrow a bunch of jars. When she poured her little bit of oil in the jars the oil multiplied miraculously. She sold the oil and paid off the debt.

It was the question, “what’s in your house,” that shifted my mental strategy. Instead of thinking and acting from the premise that I lack, why not ask what I have?

I had food, shelter. I even had stuff in storage, nearly forgotten. We certainly had family love. And then whomp, the thought to foster children landed in my creaked-open mind. I needed to share family love.

I went to the phone and called the State Social Services Department. A social worker came to our house to start the process of licensing me and Doug as foster parents. She examined our house, nodding in approval. Where I saw puny, she saw modest. Where I saw ugly, she saw practical. Where I saw cheap, she saw affordable and clean. Within a few weeks, 2-year-old Junior came to live with us.

Leah and Carly didn’t mind a stitch when we moved their clothes dresser out of their bedroom into the kitchen so we could fit a crib next to their bunk bed. The girls had fun showing Junior the swing set and forts.

Unexcitable by physical color, shape, or size, Junior ambled as fast as his chubby legs could carry him to keep up with the girls. He adored hugs and book reading time.

Junior helped solidify in my mind the concept of a Father-Mother God that cares for us all. With a divine Parent, the temptation to condemn his human parents died off.

We continued fostering children for the next fifteen years.

I learned that I never lost what I didn’t have. I learned that I can increase what I have.

final book cover2018front cover image small

Writing conference, part three

At the Writing for Your Life conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, I attended a workshop led by Jeff Chu, author of  ”Does Jesus Really Love Me? A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America” It was top notch. An excellent speaker, Chu was honest and humble and helpful. He strove to take away fears that come with writing and to instill hope.

By this time, we attendees started opening up and getting acquainted with one another during “free time.” I discovered that although most of the attendees were pastors or preachers, they did not carry dogmatic attitudes. It was supremely refreshing. They left behind ministries and churches focused only on the opinions of leaders and outdated concepts and practices. They were willing to face their fears to learn how to write and join the conversations today meant to embrace diversity and unite and heal, rather than convert and make a homogenous society of believers, who ultimately portray an us versus them.

There was no us versus them at this conference, that I noticed. We didn’t use our differences as a means for demanding better treatment. The diversity was appreciated and combined to show a big bright picture of an infinite good God.

I barely could get to sleep that night. I was exhausted and riveted at the same time. Sleep finally came about 9 p.m. I woke at 12:45.

A.M.

12:45 a.m., awake and compliant to get out of bed and start driving home.

Nighttime traffic was much easier than daytime traffic.

Five hours later, I was driving out of Washington D.C. and could see on the other side of the highway lane incoming traffic. I’d just missed morning rush hour.

I made it home just before noon. Dog-tired but delighted to see and hug my cats. Worn but calmed to see my chickens. Drained but filled with the desire to keep living that which has no end, creativity and the sense of belonging to an expanding and generous mind.

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