Category Archives: Christian Science

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Foundation of Rock, #6

Road trip, 10

From the middle of the state of Washington, I practiced violin, worked on a historical fiction book, and we drove south to visit family.

Everyone tried not to talk about covid to the extreme.

The epidemic sure made me realize the value of taking into consideration, even when praying, the current world circumstances. Just as the great depression affected my grandparents for life, this epidemic too is shaping and reshaping our views. This is where my belief in God helps me. Because of a good God, I can lean on Love and Truth to make sure the “view-shaping” goes toward more spirituality, rather than fear or hopelessness.

Although, I was vaccinated against covid, I still wore a mask when it felt appropriate in certain public areas. No biggie, even if I have bad breath. I survive.

And the discomfort is piddly next to being able to talk, plant cantaloupe seeds, and goof off with children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, sis’s, and bro’s. It was a fabulous reminder that life goes on, life is real, love is real.

During the next month, I learned to play my violin without “cheat lines” and I finished my historical fiction. Now with an editor.

Doug drove home in the car and a few weeks later, I flew home. Yep. Another confirmation in the goodness of humanity. While a few bad airport/airplane situations make the news headlines, millions of people wait patiently, social distance, smile under masks, obey the hard workers who get us where we want to go.

“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—” I Cor. 1:4-5 ESV

The Foundation of Rock, 1-4

Audio Bible Lesson

Christian Science Weekly Bible Lessons are now in audio, released every Wednesday at…

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Christian Science weekly Bible study, read from the Bible. With a spiritual interpretation from 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a contemporary version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, read by Cheryl Petersen, author and copyright owner.

A Formal Apology by an Informal Christian Scientist

New audio book released

Audio book available at www.Audible.com

from science & religion to God

A conversation about divine mind-healing at your fingertips.

This book, From Science & Religion to God, is a briefer, modern, narrative of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century.

Ideas in From Science & Religion to God discuss how to use timeless spiritual truths to filter information and discover spiritual knowledge. You learn how to give mental treatments to balance mind, body, and spirit.

©2016 Cheryl Petersen (P)2021 Cheryl Petersen

Changing characters, unchanging spirit of life

I spent the last year writing a historical fiction book. It was a self-imposed doable project that fit the time and space of Covid-19. The book’s setting is northeastern United States so, I could drive my own car, bring my own food, and stay at triple cleaned rentals for the night, while investigating the protagonist’s landscape. But I didn’t have to do much traveling, because most of my research was done from home through the internet. Let me say that in another way. It wasn’t the internet that supplied the bulk of my collected information, it was the services of historical societies and libraries.

Although I have memories of me walking through Saco Cemetery in Maine, last autumn, feeling embraced by the yellows, oranges, and reds of falling leaves while searching for the gravestone of my main character, Daniel Patterson, and memories of me getting lost while driving in circles looking for historical markers, I have a gazillion more memories of me standing in my office at my standup desk, with grandchildren bursting in the room and saying, “Grandma, I made this for you.” I have more memories of me speaking over the phone with, or contacting through a webpage, people who work at historical societies and libraries.

Although I used the internet, it was not the internet that supplied the historical information. It was the people who wrote history books, the people who worked in historical societies, the people who worked in libraries, the people who updated webpages with information who supplied what I needed.

It was the people who haven’t stopped thinking and working, simultaneously.

I know we all get excited over different things. I don’t get excited about shopping or eating anything else other than oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch, and potatoes for supper but get me on the phone or online with a historian and I get excited.

“Daniel Patterson, you say, when did he die?” asks Mrs. Elder from the Dyer Library in Saco, Maine. “I’ll call you back.”

Time passes.

But I get excited as I see in my head, Mrs. Elder walking pass the history section to the research department, closed to the public because of Covid, and making efforts to peruse microfiche or digital newspapers. While waiting at home, I write about something else or organize all the paper craft projects made for me by little innocent grand-fingers. Sure enough, Mrs. Elder will call me back with a found obituary that leads me to the United States Patent Department, where a Mr. Salis assists me. He emails me a court documents that sheds light on more of Daniel Patterson’s story.

Daniel Patterson was a man who grew up in Maine during the emergence of the industrial age. He became a dentist in New Hampshire, paid royalties on a patent for vulcanized rubber dentures (superior to wood or metal dentures), escaped Salisbury Prison during the Civil War and walked 400 miles during the night to safety in the north, married and divorced a woman who would later become famous for incorporating spirituality into healing.

What else did I learn? To always double or triple check information.

While most of the historians and libraries were smack-on delightful to work with and sharp-as-tacks, a few were lax and only repeated what they read on the internet, which I already could do from home with a grandchild sitting on my desk saying, “I’m drawing a fairy picture for you, Grandma.”

Although websites such as Ancestry dot com or Find A Grave dot com are amazing, they contain errors. Human errors. No biggie, mere reminders that human beings make mistakes, including the characters in my book. So, I politely thank and disconnect from the person who repeats what they read on the internet, all the while failing to countercheck the information on another website themselves.

Don’t bother getting disgusted, I remind myself. There are nearly three hundred thirty million people in the United States, someone else will make the effort to help me. And this is where I learned to use the internet to contact municipal offices for vital records. It was another place where I exercised my right to give people a break. Let me say that in another way. It was another opportunity to act on the fact that someone will help me, I just have to make an effort also.

I pretty much count on it because, if Covid teaches me anything, it is that the same spirit that motivated a Union man to escape prison and traverse his way over the Blue Ridge and Alleghany mountains, living off the land, wearing the same clothes he was wearing when captured seven months prior, is the same spirit that motivates us today. And I do see people helping people.

Dr. Patterson and his wife, Mary

Readers:

I purchased the book, The History of Franklin, by Alice M. Shepard, from the Franklin Historical Society in New Hampshire and read an interesting paragraph about dentist, Dr. Patterson, the second husband of Mary Baker Eddy. Below is a draft sketch of what I perceive an important part of history.

Summer 1854

 Flapping her hands and pointing around the kitchen, Mrs. Patterson said, “I wish you’d clean away all these dental supplies.” Daniel had just entered the back door and removed his hat to hang on a hook. He held a basket with more dental supplies he’d just picked up at the drug store, making Mrs. Patterson’s statement paradoxical. But he walked to his dental office, set the basket on the floor, found a crate, returned to the kitchen and collected his crucible, tongs, and instruments from the kitchen. He carried the crate to office and set it behind the door.

Daniel sat at his desk to pick up and scrutinize the mold he’d made day before yesterday. His plan was to pour silver into the template to form a plate to be used as a palate for the mouth of a little girl born with a hole in her upper mouth. Daniel fretted, was it the right size? Would the silver palate remain in the mouth if connected to her small teeth? Can I insert a thin wire into the cooling silver?

Imagination stirred into a whirlwind, Daniel found Mrs. Patterson and asked, “When can I use the woodstove to melt some silver?”

“Tomorrow morning. I will be meeting with the Ladies Circle at Priscilla’s home all morning and most of the afternoon,” said Mrs. Patterson.

This piece of news elated Daniel. The Ladies Circle put Mrs. Patterson in good moods. Not that Mrs. Patterson wasn’t in good moods other than the Circle’s twice monthly meetings, but Daniel’s newest project demanded an inordinate amount of inspiration and whether Mrs. Patterson knew it or not, her state of mind, in pursuit of betterment, augmented his inspiration.

Daniel attributed his deduction to living in the Franklin area where education was of great interest to its citizens. Not only was the education of children at the Academy highly regarded, but also the education and betterment of adults.

Church attendance was consistent. The men’s Lyceum Association provided public lectures and a place for literary advancement. As for the Ladies Circle, it was founded by half dozen women including Martha Baker, a sister of Mrs. Patterson, and Augusta Holmes, another childhood friend along with Priscilla Clements. The Circle mission to promote literary enlightenment and community generosity was genuinely inspiring.

And the frosting on the cake, “Priscilla’s home” was within walking distance for Mrs. Patterson. Daniel wouldn’t need to harness and return the horse and buggy.

Daniel had concluded that the women also knit hats and other items for people and especially children, more unfortunate, but Mrs. Patterson, not a knitter, gave little evidence to support this particular conclusion of Daniel’s.

He set out the door to find Mr. Bradbury Prescott, the recently established forge shop owner on Chance Pond Brook.

A mile or more in the west, the brisk walk urged Daniel with gladness for the breeze. Coming upon the forge, Mr. Prescott was soon found and pleased to show Daniel his newly added furnaces and machinery. He’d set up with business orders with railroad companies and locomotive builders.

“What can I help you with, Dr. Patterson,” asked Mr. Prescott with a loud voice. But he had to speak loudly to compete with trip hammers, thundering furnaces, and pounding of iron.

Daniel explained the need for very thin wire, amenable to bending but not breaking.

Mr. Prescott pondered Daniel’s request, body standing still but mind searching the piles of metals laying around the forge yard. “Follow me,” he soon said.

The two men walked the yard until Mr. Prescott reached under a pile to pull out a very thin wire, amenable to bending but not breaking. “Let me know if it works,” said Mr. Prescott as he handed it to Daniel, who promptly returned home before his five o’clock patient arrived.

That evening, Daniel again studied his drawing and measurements of the girl’s mouth. Mrs. Patterson wrote at the kitchen table when reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the assigned reading for the Ladies Circle.

Up early the next morning, Daniel lit the woodstove and stoked it until it was hot. He melted silver in the crucible atop the stove while studying his drawings and measurements of the child’s mouth. After pouring the liquid into the mold to cool, he cut two pieces of short wire and shaped them into loops. As the liquid began to solidify, he inserted the ends of loops into the sides of the plate of silver now resembling a palate.

He carried it to his office to let cool for another day. A few patients stopped by his office for some dental work and then Daniel boiled his tools and lay them to dry on a towel.

He could hear Mrs. Patterson entering the front door, returning from the Ladies Circle. Daniel gasped, looked around and gathered all the dental supplies in his arm. They passed one another as he was leaving the kitchen. “How was the Ladies Circle?” Daniel asked, slinking to his office.

“I know exactly what you’re doing, Mr. Patterson. The kitchen looked like a factory the whole time I’ve been gone today. Is that not correct?” asked Mrs. Patterson with a smirk.

In the morning, Daniel reviewed his notes again, unaware of the piece of bread Mrs. Patterson put in front of him.

“You need to eat, Daniel,” said Mrs. Patterson.

It wasn’t her instruction, but her use of his Christian name, Daniel, that touched and pushed his single-mindedness into something more.

“Excuse me,” he said.

“You need to eat. You’re ready for the Nesmiths,” she said.

Mrs. Nesmith came with her daughter. The brave girl sat in the dental chair, leaned back, and let Daniel insert the silver palate while hooking the loops around her tiny molars. Daniel was thoroughly relieved to feel the plate slip up snugly into the top of her mouth.

He felt Mrs. Patterson peeking inside the office door and turned to look. Husband and wife smiled at one another, then Mrs. Patterson took a step in and asked the girl, “Would you like a slice of apple or a piece of cornbread to eat?”

She answered, “Cornbread,” and her mother brashly exhaled a loud release of stored angst. If the child’s ability to speak more understandingly maybe she will be able to eat more than liquified foodstuff. The mother’s void of angst was instantly filled with empathy as Mrs. Patterson hugged her gently before going to the kitchen to cut a piece of cornbread for the child.

Dr. Patterson and the child’s mother watched as she ate with obvious liberation. Daniel told Mrs. Nesmith, “As she grows, this palate will need to be resized or rebuilt.”

Mrs. Nesmith, trembling and with a tear in her eye, nodded and said, “Mr. Nesmith will pay you shortly.”

Mr. Nesmith came by an hour later and paid generously. Daniel mustered the strength, not to refuse the generosity, but to humbly accept it.

After a supper of fresh strawberries, peas, fish, and cornbread topped with pure maple syrup, Daniel read to Mrs. Patterson from, Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott. Enjoying the story, Daniel instinctively began adding dramatic tones and nuances for about an hour, animatedly swooping his arm with a regal force when reading:

When Israel, of the Lord beloved,
Out of the land of bondage came,
Her fathers’ God before her moved,
An awful guide, in smoke and flame.

An August Birthday

It’s Mom’s birthday today. Although her deathday was nearly ten years ago, she still bustles with aliveness to me. Parenting isn’t easy, but along with Dad, Mom managed to corral five kids into a family nice to one another. The kind of firm niceness that pretty much kept us out of trouble.

After growing up and becoming a parent myself, it felt arduous to know or capture this kind of nice.

I get peek-a-boo insights into this knowledge. Even now as a grandparent. And more often since March. Since my immediate familial members and I have been very chummy and living together steadfastly. In the same house.

In the same house where I hear just about everything.

I can tune out most sounds, except stressed, shall we say, loud speak. Eh, I mean, yelling. It happens sometimes.

For example, a few mornings ago. Parental yelling.

After which, my daughter, on the cusp of bursting tears, came to me and said, “Oh mom, it’s exhausting to yell but how do I get the kids to clean their room without whining?”

She was pretty disgusted. Probably because I stood there looking as useful as a door to a cobwebbed attic.

But, and what I’m about to type, didn’t come by means of a thought-process. I didn’t reason or recall a string of logic. I didn’t give a pep talk. I didn’t ask her, how does this make you feel, because her feelings were plain and clear. I just knew.

Nice.

Niceness exists. It’s alive and multiplying. The seed within itself.

I admitted or knew, this niceness that Mom validated when she cleaned my room and did my laundry until I left for college because she knew I’d rather be working out on the farm with Dad. It’s the niceness that thrives on the power of teamwork. It’s nice to respect one another’s uniqueness yet require expanded talents, since somewhere along my childhood, Mom did get me to clean my room and do laundry.

I even sort of learned to cook, okay minimally, in between baling hay, training fruit trees, and graveling roads on the farm. But when home, I saw Mom cooking without grumbling, teaching me it was possible.

When becoming a mother myself, I put the mental plow to the ground and tilled the soil that let me take on this heritage of niceness when doing housework.

Don’t for a second think that my plowing came painlessly. We’re talking plowing a planet here. I whined, fumed at my husband, yelled, and made myself miserable for at least ten years, but one day while standing on a mountain of dirty laundry, sorting clothes and stuffing the washing machine, the word “infinite” knocked on my mind. I opened the door and snickered. Infinite laundry was translated into the possibility of infinity. Eternity. No wonder Mom is still alive to me.

As for my daughter the other morning, my response was, “Oh for Pete’s sake, I cleaned your room until you were fourteen years old.” Her children are six and three.

We smiled at one another and chuckled. Not because her kids are younger but because, it was nice.

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