Category Archives: Spiritual journey

Piano lessons

Piano practice persists in our household. Daily, our adult daughter thumps out Mozart classics, ragtime, and a few songs from Star Wars. I don’t mind the noise, I mean music, even when the sounds curdle my brain. Imperfect practices lead to perfect performances, or so the cliché wants us to believe. But I do believe music encompasses more than sound.

When I was a kid in Washington state, piano lessons were mandatory for two years. Mom would shuffle me and my four siblings to Mrs. Courteau’s brick house once a week for lessons. My older brother and younger sister were naturals. Or they paid attention and practiced, either way, they improved to performance level, in front of people other than family and obligated parents of other students during piano recitals. When grown and married, each with two children, all four of my nieces and nephews became piano students also.

My younger brother unambiguously marked the calendar and quit piano on the 730th day after he started lessons. He hasn’t touched a piano since. “I’d never force my children to take piano lessons,” he told me years ago.

The middle sister and I quit piano lessons before we were seniors in high school. Probably because we’d rather spend thirty minutes watching Gilligan’s Island on television rather than practicing piano. Although, the change in activity didn’t require much thought. Whether watching TV or practicing piano, our priority was casual snacking. Piano keys jammed with cookie crumbs.

After I went to college in Colorado, I was shocked to find myself searching for a door to a large brick building, after hearing piano playing through an open window. After finding the door, I walked into the foyer and acted as if I was majoring in music. Not horticulture.

To map out the music building, I walked the halls and noticed small rooms, each room containing a beat-up piano and bench. This discovery initiated a quest to find piano books. A hymnal from church was a cinch to acquire, and thus I began what amounted to piano therapy for four years of college. Which in turn, after getting married, piano playing was my marriage therapy, then mother-calmer, then a tool for our children to practice on, then empty nest friend. Christmas carols always a favorite.

Middle Sister has pianos in her household also, however, it’s because she restores them to former glory after decades of neglect in a barn or storage shed.

I brought a used, dandy piano to Warwick. Our six-year old granddaughter and three-year old grandson sit with their mother and thump high and low end keys while she plays. Sometimes, our son-in-law takes his violin and bow out of its case and plays along with the piano.

No lack of wrong notes played. Timing nonexistent.

But they keep practicing, week after week, and I notice my ears slowly agreeing with my heart, which knows that harmony and order have never been broken or lost. Harmony exists, alive and well, and can be found in the slightest movements and tones.

Free audio book

To receive a free audio book, be the first person to click on a code below. The code is redeemed online at either audible.com/acx-promo or audible.co.uk/acx-promo

Codes for, I Am My Father-Mother’s Daughter:
front_cover I Am
62ZGPF57RLY99
6GXSYBK3MYDCD
8DTARN2CSKNM8
2MJG5LFEMYYFA (UK)

 

Codes for, Raising Children Without Church:
audio cover paint2GQQKQNATKDS2
2R7SAEEJSTYRR
4AKCTJ248N5BD
22A358QSJSYZG (UK)
2AEFYAEM6B7ZM (UK)

 

You may also email me and ask for a code 4CherylWrites (at) gmail.com

HAPPY LISTENING

 

Provoking images

Cartoonist Bill Watterson.

I’ve never met the guy except through his comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes. But his creative talent sure invokes images that still give me a chuckle today.

Calvin’s character portrayed a rascal, kindergarten age, who tussled with life issues in unusual ways that strike consciousness with new perspectives. Hobbes was his stuffed cat, a tabby. A furball of honest friendship and common sense.

When Watterson retired in 1995, we bought his books for posterity and found ourselves reading and rereading the Calvin and Hobbes comics. Within a few years, the pages were dog-tagged and blotched with jam or dry hot chocolate.

During our empty nest phase in life, my husband and I got a couple of kittens. A brother and sister. A tabby and a tuxedo, respectively.

Unable to come up with names we’d remember, my husband watched the kittens and said, “The tabby is Hobbes. Watch him. His attitude is Hobbes all over.” Sealed deal. Calvin and Hobbes became part of our family.

Along with a granddaughter.

Our granddaughter grew up getting to know and adore Calvin and Hobbes.

When our granddaughter was three years old, she went to the doctor’s office with her mommy and noticed happy, yet solemn attention was given to a big round tummy. “What are you doing?” she asked her mommy.

“There’s a baby inside my tummy. We’re checking to see when the baby will come out,” our daughter answered.

“What’s its name?” our granddaughter asked.

“Calvin,” her mommy said.

“Oh, we get a cat,” she remarked enthusiastically.

“Well, no, it will be a baby human.”

Slight disappointment.

No worries. That was three years ago, and our granddaughter took to her brother just fine. We do however need clarification sometimes, “You mean feed Calvin the cat or Calvin my brother?”

One day, I’ll introduce our granddaughter and grandson to Watterson’s popular comic strip. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of images they get from Calvin and Hobbes.

New Book: A Study Guide for Christian Science

I am thoroughly pleased and intrigued with this study guide for Christian Science. And now I am thrilled to announce, A Study Guide for Christian Science is published and available for the public online at Amazon.

This study guide roots in the Bible and includes twenty-four exercises that follow the pattern of instruction through questions and answers as presented by 19th-century spiritual leader, Mary Baker Eddy and found in the book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, both, the old version and new.

Eddy revised her Science and Health until she died in 1910 and Cheryl Petersen modernizes Science and Health today, titled 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: A modern version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.

The Study Guide for Christian Science brings clarity to the application of spirituality, as it stays one step ahead of changing human history, language and technology.

newestcover

 

Mindful Bridges

Well I must say, the newly repaired bridge over Wawayanda Creek in the Village of Warwick is pretty dandy. For the month of July, the bridge was closed off and vehicles detoured around the work area. When driving, I didn’t mind. The detour brought to my attention offices and businesses only a couple of blocks off the beaten path and are good to know.

Nice work on the bridge though. Smooth groove now. And safe I’m sure.

I think bridges are one answer to the dares of water. Water dares us to cross its mighty power or use its motion for power.

As for bridges, I was dazzled by the book, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by David McCullough. The bridge’s design was conceived by John Roebling and built late 1800s. The suspension-cable bridge spans 1,595 feet and opened in 1883.

When riding my motorcycle across the United States a decade ago, I drove over the Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, spanning 8,614 feet. Its total length is 5 miles and links Michigan’s Lower and Upper peninsulas. The Mackinac Bridge opened in 1957. Another tribute to competence and command.

I can still feel the grooved surface and movement of the bridge under my wheels. And the height? Two-hundred feet above the water.

The bridge was built to flux with temperature, winds, and weight. The deck can sway right or left as much as 35 feet in the center. You get the idea. It’s a feeling that impresses the soul when hovering over the bridge, with nothing but farm boots between the surface and my feet, six inches off the ground. Forget the facts I had no seatbelt and balanced on two wheels.

That soul impression of competence and command ranks up there with the type of humanity that leaves me humbled. Like when I make a stupid mistake and my husband quietly helps me fix it. Compassion is a bridge.

The bridge over Wawayanda Creek is one of about 17,450 highway bridges in New York State. How many times do you cross a bridge?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Fireflies, motorcycles, and Sacajawea

Eleven years ago, my husband and I rode our motorcycles into upstate New York. We’d driven about 3,000 miles from Washington state and were greeted by a species unseen in the desert region left behind, lightning bugs. Each year since, these fascinating fireflies gently, unknowingly, remind me that my motorcycle trip across the United States was amazing but not as amazing as Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s trek, more than two hundred years earlier.

In 1804, Lewis and Clark and company launched their mission to map out land west of the Mississippi River, the Louisiana Purchase. After making their way to North Dakota, Lewis and Clark had the foresight to hire an interpreter and his wife, Sacajawea, a Shoshone.

With baby in tow, Sacajawea and the others traversed a segment of the northern Rocky Mountains now known as the Bitterroot Range. For more than a week, they carried gear while wandering through thickets and snow, suffering terribly through hunger, fatigue, and severe freezing temperatures. They killed a horse to eat for survival.

In comparison, on my trip across the states, I drove my motorcycle north of the Bitterroot Range over the snow-covered Glacier Mountain National Forest, on clear paved marked roads, in decent weather, wearing heated gloves, and stopping to eat a doughnut, with coffee, for a snack at a café. A leisurely day.

While living in Washington, I frequently crisscrossed the Lewis and Clark trail. I grew up learning and wondering about the human attitude that yields to majestic possibilities, rather than self-loss. Oh sure, those pioneers weren’t perfect and had inner demons to fight off, but they did and accomplished a noteworthy task.

With this knowledge, it felt natural for me to employ admiration for Sacajawea. Our family picnicked and played in Sacajawea Park, a land parcel where the Snake River flows into the Columbia River, seemingly losing its identity.

But the Snake River’s comings and goings taught me that identity isn’t lost because it isn’t gained as something to keep. Identity exists as a verb.

I’m not talking about identifying people and trying to be like them. I’m not talking about identifying with a career as if it’s our life.

I’m talking about identifying with life-giving attitudes and meaningful characteristics.

Sacajawea teaches me to identify with, and mirror, mettle and might. To identify with solutions, not problems. I learn from Sacajawea to identify with ongoing spirit, instead of a fear of life and death.

Thankfully, in 1898, the 1.6 million-acre Bitterroot National Forest was established, and in 1910, about 1,500-square-miles of wilderness area was established as Glacier National Park, to intrigue millions of visitors with its grandeur, daring, and lessons of promise.

And here I sit, experiencing floating bioluminescent lightning bugs in upstate NY.

The 2020 Farmers Almanac says that some fireflies can synchronize their flashes. I’ve never seen the phenomenon but try to imagine a species identifying with and mirroring light and peaceful movement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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)

%d bloggers like this: