Category Archives: Healing

Recovery is celebrated each day

I will give thanks unto thee with uprightness of heart, When I learn thy righteous judgments. (Psalm 119:7, ASV)

The attitude of gratitude is advised in the Celebrate Recovery program, a biblical and balanced program that helps people overcome addictions, bad habits, and hang-ups.

I went to a weekly meeting of Celebrate Recovery and found it touches people at many levels. The welcoming groups was very welcoming. They had literature available showing the steps that can be taken to recovery.

Giving thanks to God in prayer allows conscious contact with Him and His will for us.

I’ve learned over the years that my gratitude needs constantly to be purified. Although thanking God for a roof over my head and food on the table is worthy, I find it more powerful to be grateful for life, truth, and love, for the ability to live life for God rather than myself.

celebrate recover booklet

One of the booklets I picked up at the weekly Celebrate Recovery meeting

 

National Adoption Month was November

Published by The Daily Star in Oneonta, NY

November is National Adoption Month

By Cheryl Petersen

The 40th anniversary of National Adoption Month highlights the power to adopt new ideas; to celebrate adults and children alike, who bravely adopt new thoughts, new dreams, and new positions to bring stability to homes and communities.

In 1986, the initiative to increase awareness for the need of permanent families for children and youth in the foster care system, was put into effect in the state of Massachusetts.

The program soon expanded to include the United States. November was deemed National Adoption Month. And with the advent of internet came a national photolisting service. You can find, children and youth, available for adoption, continuously posted online.

Aside from the mechanics of adoption, however, also comes the essence of fostering and adoption. We need to consider the spirit of individuals, families, and communities. It can be a sensitive, complex, and confusing process.

From East Branch, Nikolas Bowker,18-years old, said, “When I first entered a foster home, I was confused. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”

Today, Nikolas is unafraid to tell other children in state care, “It gets better.”

The “better” came about with the help of many hands and hearts. It came about through efforts made to overcome snags and slip-ups.

Nikolas admitted to acting out at first, and said, “I got into fights in school. I felt as though I was being treated differently from other kids who had parents.” But he and his sister, Briana, went on to be fostered by the Bowker family, who later adopted the siblings. On Nikolas’ birthday.

Today, Nikolas is finishing high school, with the goal to continue caring for his own family.

The support from family members, teachers, coaches and so on is appreciated. “It’s nice having a family that cares for us,” he said.

Braina Bowker, 13-years old, is homeschooled and uses an online program managed by Liberty University Academy.

“Each Friday, I get to meet with other homeschoolers my age and from around the area. We play games,” said Briana, who also takes piano lessons.

Briana is tickled with the idea of having a big family. She remarked, “I never thought I’d have so many brothers and sisters.”

Their parents are Jennifer and Health Bowker, also parents to 11-year old Heath, 10-year old Caeden, 8-year old Wyatt, 6-year old Tessa, and “We adopted 2-year old Finnegan last year,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer and Heath felt so blessed to have four biological children that they wanted to do something for children who didn’t start with a loving family. They live on a small farm and give each child morning and evening chores to teach them self-worth and responsibility.

“It’s God’s overwhelming love poured on us that compels us to share that love,” said Jennifer.

However, in this brief article, justice to her statement can’t be accomplished. Nor to the children. Their backgrounds are diverse, even dramatic. They are pitted with trials, yet acquitted with profound perseverance and empathy.

Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with the words to explain, but Jennifer summed her thoughts with a quote from the Gospel Matthew: “Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

The Bowker family worked closely with Delaware County Department of Social Services, in charge of public foster care and adoptions.

Concurrent plans are established within the Department to reach the goals of: keeping children in a safe environment; returning the children to birth family members; and if that doesn’t work, freeing the children, legally and emotionally, to be adopted.

“The Social Services Department takes great pains to match children and families,” said Rebecca Hoyt, Director of Services.

Working with the Department since 1999, Hoyt has seen trends come and go, but one thing stays the same. “We try to get families back on track and keep the children in homes with a sense of normalcy,” she said.

When the trendy drug epidemic poked its ugly face out, the County instituted a Family Treatment Court to deal with cases through the Department of Social Services.

“The parents agree to be in the treatment program,” explained Hoyt. “It’s a step that assists their progress in sobriety, or if the parents can’t get it together, it allows the children to move on to adoption.”

Hoyt works with many case workers along with Dana Scuderi-Hunter, Commissioner, on the job 2 years. Training programs are in place for case workers and parents.

The top reasons children are placed in state care are parental substance dependence, child neglect, and domestic violence. Knowing this, the department puts into place apt prevention services for families and children.

Scuderi-Hunter said, “It’s about making the children feel welcomed and integrating them into families and the community. We don’t try to erase their past, but work with who they are and where they are from to move on in a life of normalcy.”

Awareness and education are also used to remove the stigma that comes with being a foster child. Rather than fall through the cracks, they are encouraged to attend higher education.

“When we all embrace a healthy image of the children, they gain confidence,” said Scuderi-Hunter.

The Department assists foster children with higher education.

Scuderi-Hunter has also noticed the confidence also allows the children to feel more secure to return to care after they turn 18-years old. “It’s the youth’s personal choice until they are 21-years old,” she said.

With this active synergy of state regulations, trainings, preventive services, treatment programs, and education, the number of foster children has been decreasing in Delaware County.

“Many factors are involved, but in 2015 there were 97 children in foster care. As of September 2016, there were 68,” said Scuderi-Hunter.

Data also shows that year 2014, recorded 15 adoptions. Year 2015, recorded 17 adoptions. “This year to date, 15 children have been adopted with an anticipation of 4 more,” said Scuderi-Hunter.

To make it special for the children and families, Adoption Days are scheduled throughout the year. Scuderi-Hunter said, “I love going to adoption days. I love seeing the permanency. Because, when we make a positive difference in the life of all children, it affects the future.”

Shaking the mind

Yesterday, I was compelled to call a friend. Her voice was so shaken, I asked, “Is everything okay?”

I then received shocking news. Completely unexpected and undreamed of.

She said, “No, I’m not okay. Eddie (her husband) died two days ago. It’s odd you called, because I wanted to call and ask you to do something for me.”

I said I was sorry, shook my mind free of getting into the sadness of it and asked how I could help. I was able to help. Death is always a trying time, and we shared out gratitude that she will get back on her feet.

Matt. 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Psalm. 30:11: You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness

Learning how to pray by not praying

If I could go back in time to deliver a message to my 16-year old self, it would be this: Relax and just be.

In high school, I was willingly interested in playing piano, but just as willingly convinced that, to be candid, I played abysmally.

I spent a great deal of time listening to music on the radio and trying to mimic the piano in the background, but fixated on the seemingly endless gulf between my lofty expectations and my relatively undeveloped abilities.

I vividly remember the time when I begged my piano teacher, Mrs. Courtoue to let me learn how to play a popular song. She yielded.

The sheet music arrived and Mrs. Courtoue explained the counting.

Soon, I thought, I’ll be playing behind the likes of Elton John.

So, when I sat down at the piano during my practice time, it was with the full weight of my own expectations for myself looming over me at the keyboard, plus the affliction of my own not-inconspicuous ego turning my every move into a potentially life-changing event.

I struggled to hit the correct piano keys with the necessary sharps. It didn’t matter if I knew how to count the song. My playing was so patchy that counting was only added noise. Every misplayed key resounded doom in my mind, not only for the song, but for my future as the next great piano player. After 3 weeks, I hated the song.

Based on this, I’d persuaded myself that I was terrible at piano.

But the urge to create harmony hasn’t gone away. My inner Elton John called to me when I was in my 30’s.

We’d needed someone to play piano at church. I brought out the hymnal and sat down on the bench. I began finding keys. Everyone in church supported me even when I played the songs with one finger. The willingness to make music returned. The keys on my fingers felt good. And to my great surprise, I improved. I found that all the things that had vexed me when I was 16-years old, besides comparing myself with other good piano players my age, caused me little anxiety. They were far away.

Somewhere between the time I was a teenager and the time I was in my 30’s, I’d learned how to play piano as background music.

It reminds me of other things that had seemed so intimidating, so uncomfortable and so scary to me as a 16-year old, that in fact became easier as I got older—after my false expectations and ego got out of the way. If I catch myself praying with anticipation of being Mary Baker Eddy, or any other spiritual leader, I stop praying until the anticipation is dissolved.

I can pray effectively. I can play piano, ride a motorcycle, write, and publish my writing. I can forgive my self-criticism. I can forgive others who criticize me. I can pray and heal things not healed before. I can see what is before my eyes, rather than be distracted at what could or should be. I can enjoy relaxing and just be.

lookg at piano

Exfoliating my mind

While living and working in the desert my skin would get dry. I didn’t think about much other than I purchased jugs of skin lotion and applied the lotion all over my body, every night after a shower.

Somewhere along the line I heard an expert say that dry dead skin is constantly falling off our bodies. The dead skin, however can cling to the body and make it difficult for the skin lotion to be absorbed.

I looked at my skin and found flaky dead skin all over. The dry skin was an impediment. Basically, it blocked the lotion I applied from reaching the skin. I scrubbed harder in the shower to get rid of dead skin. I also applied less and less lotion until I got to the point of rarely needing it.

I think back on this experience from a metaphysical view and can glimpse how thoughts of fear, envy, and anger are dead thoughts. Negative thoughts do me no good. And if I let negativity cling to my mind, they can even stop me from absorbing good (moisturizing) thoughts that come my way.

lotion

Flipping positive thinking

Life in America wasn’t easy in the 18th century.

America was carving out its new identity. Science and medicine were floundering in guesswork. Religion was preaching fiery sermons on damnation and hell.

Thinkers mobilized in the 19th and 20th centuries to enforce more scientific, compassionate organization. Not that there is a perfect system today in the 21st century, but much of what these old-time thinkers did, brought us to where we are today.

Author, Mitch Horowitz’s book, One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern Life, tackles the history of a national movement that echoes in statements such as, “Hey, you need to change your attitude.”

Most of us know the “change” referred to is a more positive attitude.

Positive thinking has its benefits, but it also holds a strong suggestion that people can be responsible for their fortunes, or misfortunes. If the status-quo of positive thinking people isn’t challenged, broader social problems can be marginalized and blaming fingers get pointed where they shouldn’t. The privileged have better results with positive thinking.

I will admit, I like myself better when I have a positive outlook on life. However, in my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned the “positive thinking coin” must be flipped. I need to not just think positive, but I also need to “unsee” the problem.

I can’t just ignore problems. It’s foolish to deny problems as if they aren’t real. But, I can un-see them, just as humankind was able to un-see a flat earth.

The technique of un-seeing is mental.

For example, years ago I had Strep. It included a severe ear pain. There was no positive thinking on my Shepherd-and-sheep-2part. I begged God to take away the pain. I called a friend from church for help with prayer, but felt no relief, so called her back and told her I was going to call someone else. Within fifteen minutes it felt as though a pump went on in my ear and puss began flowing out, to my blessed relief.

My husband took me to the doctor who confirmed Strep and prescribed me antibiotics for 10-days. The doctor didn’t have much hope about my hearing returning to normal.

I only took a few of the pills because even the doctor admitted I was on the mend. And, by now, my life picture had broadened.

The bigger picture: At the time I got sick, our young family was moving to another job, home, and community. It was exhilarating yet scary and the stress got to me.

While resting and praying, I could see God in the popular Biblical depiction of a Shepherd. My trust in God as Love to guide me and my family with wisdom and safety solidified. The fear lessened.

What I’m about to write now, sounds totally contradictory, but I saw more clearly, that Strep wasn’t a part of God’s shepherding and this helped me un-see the disease.

I didn’t try to get rid of Strep. I didn’t try to create God. I saw life, and myself, as an image of divine Spirit, Mind.

I didn’t even have a positive human mind of my own. I was image of God. My ear healed quicker than predicted and my hearing returned to normal.

Although I try to have a positive attitude, I don’t rely on it as a source of guidance.

I often seriously scrutinize problems to unsnarl their purpose and makeup, but this mental work is grounded on the fact that the physical body and mind are temporal while I believe God’s mind is substance and eternal.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Psalm of David.

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Stand with divine authority

From 21st Century Science and Health:

We should remember that Life is God, and that God is omnipotent. To forget that God is our Life, is too unconsciously enable suffering instead of contradict it. Not understanding divine Science, the sick usually have little faith in it until they feel its altruistic influence. This shows that faith is not the healer in such cases. The sick admit the reality of affliction, whereas, they should defy it. We should stand up against the testimony of the deceitful senses, while maintaining our spirituality and ongoing likeness to God.

Divine authority

Christ Jesus was an excellent example. Like him, the healer should speak to disease as having authority over it, leaving Soul to prevail over the false evidences of the physical senses and to assert Spirit’s claims over mortality and disease. The same Principle cures both sin and sickness. When divine Science overcomes faith in a fleshly mind; and faith in God destroys all faith in temporal thinking and methods of healing, then sin, disease, and death will disappear.

authority

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