Category Archives: Relationships

A Delight of Father’s Day

In 1995, Dad died. I still hear him encouraging me to till the ground, plant, grow, and harvest. I have no problem remembering him on Father’s Day.

A good man, not always easy to get along with, Dad taught me how to identify plants and hoe weeds out of potato fields. I couldn’t help but wonder why sometimes, the same plant could be a weed in a potato field and a flower in a garden.

Morning Glory.

Morning Glory competes for nutrients in a potato field but provides vibrant delight in a garden.

That knowledge, of course, can be observed and applied. Everyday.

Dad didn’t compete for nutrients during my childhood but provided nourishment. I was raised on a steady diet of healthy food, work, and the constant nudging to complete jobs that need to be done and to correct my mistakes.

When I follow through on the nudging, vibrant delight.

After I got married and had two children, we started fostering children. The first child that came to live with us, Junior, had his second birthday during his stay. Junior was afraid of men. Afraid of most everything; vacuum cleaner, Shep the dog, the farm four-wheeler.

The job that needed to be done was introducing Junior to confident courage. I stopped vacuuming the house, just kidding, but vacuumed when Junior was in the other room. I also asked Shep to lay down and wait for Junior to come and pet him. Shep obliged many times over.

As for men, one day, my backup babysitter backed out and I needed childcare. Mom volunteered. Super grateful, I took our girls and Junior to Mom and Dad’s house before going to my appointment.

A few hours later, I returned to Mom and Dad’s house. I walked into the mudroom and was quietly astounded to see Dad, squatting on the floor with a knee up. Junior was perched on his knee, looking at a tool Dad had. Dad carefully put Junior on the ground to stand. Junior stood tall and held Dad’s hand as they went off to fix, nothing. With Dad’s guidance, Junior plied that tool to the air or maybe an engine in his mind’s eye, with sheer delight.

 

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Reviewing Christian Science, Part 7

Christian Science Review, Part 7

Question: What is substance?

Answer: Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of disorder and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance as Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”[1] Spirit, the synonym of Mind or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual persons, is a united idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.

Think on this:

Because it’s difficult to wrap our heads around the substance of Spirit, we take it a step at a time. Or, I should say, we take it a thought at a time!

When I wake up in the morning, my first thoughts of substance would be my bed and the sunlight. After a few minutes, I may think hunger is substance.

But after eating breakfast, hunger is gone, and satisfaction feels substantial.

By then, I’ve fed and cuddled my cats.

When I sit for a few minutes of quiet time, I realize that all those thoughts are similar, not really new or different from one another. I wait for another thought.

A thought of Spirit.

As for my morning, I separate the thoughts of rest, satisfied desire (hunger), and love, from bed, food, and my cats. This doesn’t mean my bed, appetite, and cats are forgotten.

I take the thoughts of rest, satisfied desire, and love and attach them to God, Spirit. To give Spirit substance. And because God created everything, even if I don’t completely understand all that God created, I’m then able to circle around and apply the rest, satisfied desire, and love to not only the bed, appetite, and cats, but also the rest of my day involving my job, expectations, and family.

[1] Heb. 11:1 (NKJV)

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.

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Why I can love the sinner but not the sin

“No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.”

Mark 3:27 provides a basis for separating the person from the evil. The “strong man” is the devil, a demon, and Christ Jesus cast out demons or evil spirits, leaving behind healed individuals.

The “goods” of evil are depression, jealousy, fear, for examples. Christ is my authority to bound evil and plunder those goods. To bound evil is to immobilize jealousy, fear, and self-doubt. This weakens the devil and strengthens us to clean out our house and experience a freer consciousness.

Come on by Craft Shows

Just before Easter, you can find that special gift for others or yourself at  two Springtime Craft Shows:

Saturday, March 24th, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Binghamton University in New York

Sunday, March 25th, from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. at Wayne Valley High School in New Jersey

Stop by my vendor booth and check out the books I’ve written. Good reads about relationships, mindfulness, an Easter dog, family, women progressing along with men.

All books price listsmall

Uninterrupted love

Divine love can’t be interrupted.

The continuity of God’s love persists through time and change.

Here is an example:

Yesterday, I spoke on the phone with a friend I hadn’t talked to in two years. We both are busy in life, yet we think of one another often with thoughts of joy and compassion. Those memories and expectations are what keep love continuous.

The second we connected on the phone, our conversation was serious and happy. There was no discussion about weather, politics, or trivial tidbits. She told me about her niece, who is living with her and her husband now because the niece’s mother just never adapted to motherhood and moved to Mexico.

The niece had fallen back two grades before moving in with my friend and her husband. She is in sixth grade now and doing well in school. And playing the flute in band.

Love is magnified with gratitude.

Even though we don’t talk with one another often, our love stays uninterrupted, unbroken, and only gets stronger and clearer.

 

New Book

Thought provoking book for those interested: Click for link to Amazon

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