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Thanksgiving, tater-tots, and laughter

Posted in 2012:

A ludicrous series of incidents played out the “blind leading the blind” a few years ago.

Nothing was planned, it just happened, and to no one particular reason.

Thanksgiving was coming up and we didn’t have any plans. The foster child who had been living with us for over a year had just moved forward in her life and that took precedence of our time and energy.

School was out for our daughters and we were home taking a breather. Finally it was suggested we go to the cabin. My parents had a small cabin in the Blue Mountains. No telephone. Fire crackling in the woodstove. We acted on the idea. We threw some clothes in a bag and headed to the car for the hour and half drive.

Someone finally asked, What about food?

None of us expected the others to whip up a Thanksgiving feast. So, we stopped at the grocery store and laughed our way through the isles picking up things like chicken nuggets, heat-n-serve tater-tots, and fresh fruit.

Once in the Mountains, we parked the car and prepared to carry all the stuff down the snowy hill to the cabin. The driveway is closed when there is snow.

Car lights kept us going, or rather I should say, kept us in the dark because we were oblivious to the fact that it was pitch black outside with no light whatsoever. Our delight in the snow blinded us further. Once all the lights were off, we stood there unable to see one another. No moon. No stars. No flashlight. We forgot the flashlights.

Stumbling and bumbling down the hill we eventually arrived at the cabin. It was freezing cold inside but within a few hours, after starting up the fire, it warmed up. We cooked our Thanksgiving dinner in a toaster oven and ate in the light of candles. A peace ran strong through our giving of thanks.

We spent the night and went home ready for the world. Ironically a few weeks later we were again able to go to the cabin. But, we remembered flashlights this time. The result was getting a good laugh at ourselves—again. We definitely were impressed with the pitch black dark of our last trip, but acting on brain imprints was a joke. The moon was so bright it felt like daytime.

Following brain imprints is the blind leading the blind. What worked yesterday is not meant for today usually. But, following the spirit of thanksgiving is love leading love.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

From 21st Century Science and Health: For victory over a single sin, we give thanks and magnify the Lord of Hosts. What will we say of the mighty conquest over all that is unspiritual? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love expresses Her primal and everlasting symphony.”

Being Faithful to Yourself: A rendering of Mary Baker Eddy’s, Fidelity, from her book, Miscellaneous Writings

An updated version from 2013

If we didn’t think and talk about worthless topics, we would be prone to more epiphanies, naturally expanding into experiences that make us feel a secret victory.

Experience is the winner, not the crushed.

In the battle of life, good and goodness, becomes more hearty and persistent, and reduces the activity of evil. Though the threats of evil rivet our attention and actions, we can reverse this and secure the good. We can become “faithful over a few things,” and be prepared to be “put in charge of many things.” (Matt. 25:23)

Are you a child learning not to worry your parents or care takers? Are you a husband or wife learning not to demand unrealistic expectations? Are you a partner learning not to take one another for granted? Are you an employee or employer learning to serve humankind with honesty?

Remember, for all the days you forget to take a stand for good, you alone will make amends.

Mistakes must be remedied with wisdom, not more mistakes.

Progress requires work, mental and physical work, and the time to work is now. Only with straightforward effort, undistracted by self-righteousness or self-pity, will you win.

Do not blame others if your spiritual progress is shallow and vague. To follow faithfully is to practice what the teacher teaches and not expect the teacher to do your work for you.

Every great woman and man can be found on the trajectory of patience and perseverance. Faithfulness is entered by first purifying your thought and then putting thought into words and words into deeds. These steps will be slippery or mucky, however your sincerity and humility will find reward and strength in exalted purpose.

Human hopes deceive. Human philosophy, ethics, and scholastic theology mislead. Physics and quantum energy fields are insufficient to enlighten. Having one God and an undivided affection for spiritual reality will draw you to that which is worthy and worthwhile.

Being faithful to God is being faithful to your spiritual light. Spending too much time on the cares of the world or on manipulating the pains and pleasures of the flesh will diminish your wealth of spirituality.

Truth will cost you your fears, false beliefs and devotions, and lame formalities. Be willing to pay the price of Truth so you can be move forward with God and feel the exclamation, job well done.

Fixing past mistakes

I make mistakes. Sometimes, I don’t know I make mistakes until much later in life.

Mistakes are blunders, gaffes, misprints, or errors. They can also be misunderstandings, over-estimations or underestimations. I’ve made the mistake of simply failing to appreciate true values as expressed by people around me.

From 21st Century Science and Health: If mortals are not progressive, past failures will be repeated until all wrong work is erased or corrected.

Some mistakes can be fixed. I can fix a misprint on a webpage.

But some mistakes can’t be tangibly fixed. I can’t return to the past and appreciate the true values as expressed by people around me. To doggedly try to fix that past behavior is vain. It leads to guilt and shame. But, to pretend my mistake didn’t happen also leads to guilt and shame. And guilt and shame clog our thinking. This is when it’s time to live in the now.

From 21st Century Science and Health: Take the time to look past the fading, sensational pictures. Gain the true sense of life. Rest your gaze on the unsearchable realm of Mind. Look ahead and act as possessing all power from Truth and Love in whom you have your being.

Thankfully, we are driven to seek something greater.

I want to yield to something greater than a humanlike power. And this requires unclogged thinking.

The humanlike God is presented oftentimes in the Bible. Paul recorded in the book of Acts:  “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.  In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.  For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17: 29-31, NIV)

But this wording doesn’t make God humanlike. Just like my past failures to appreciate truth don’t reduce God to being unable to lift me up out of a past mistake.

God is Godlike, Spirit, Love, Truth and powerful to lift up. And Paul, along with millions of other spiritually minded, stretched their minds to be Godlike.

Paul distinguished between humanlike gods and Godlike God, between mistakable humans and us as understanding individuals. We read in Acts: When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!”  Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker.  The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting:  “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.  In the past, he let all nations go their own way.  Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them. (Acts 14: 11-18, NIV)

It’s a struggle between the human ego and the desire to stand with the divine Ego, or God. But I can live in the now and appreciate the good around me, carry that appreciation to the past and the future. I can because God is divine Mind, all-knowing Mind.

From 21st Century Science and Health: It is the prerogative of the ever-present divine Mind, and of thought which is in alignment with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future.

 

Gotta love the guinea fowl

My husband and I rescued a couple of Guinea fowl, after their tribe of twenty was picked off by predators or hit by cars on the road. Needless to say, they are fairly wild.

Fortunately, we have three chickens that welcomed the guineas.

Two issues I’m dealing with:

They roost in the tall trees behind the house, which is sort of safe, but it’d be safer if they slept in the hen house.

Also, we have a 500’ foot-long driveway and the guineas want to walk down and stand in the road. Probably because they lived near a major road in the past and were familiar to the traffic noise.

Our neighbors drive slowly but when I see the guineas down by the road, I tromp down with a couple of long sticks. I hold the sticks out to each side and herd them back. No rushing. I observe the tree leaves turning bright oranges, reds, and yellows. I watch the guineas. I think. I wish the guineas would break their habit.

Why do habits seem universal? Animals and humans alike are challenged by habits that place us in danger or shame us. I don’t know why, but I do know that I definitely see habits improve when I work with patience and encouragement rather than human will-power or threats.

It requires me to look past my own expectations and see what tiny step I can take that the guineas understand. So far, I’ve removed obstacles and I leave feed corn near the hen house. They are becoming more comfortable, more receptive.

But a key element to success is to call upon a higher source of patience and encouragement since my human reserves are rather puny. When I lose my patience, its gone. I have to look to God, an unlimited source of goodness, to re-coop my patience.

The patience of God flows freely and is available to us all.

It’s no wonder Paul told the Hebrews, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”—Hebrews 10

gineas.jpg

gineas and chickens.jpg

 

 

 

Radio interview

Click here for radio interview about Christian Science today.

Bonnie Lykes interviewed Cheryl Petersen in New York. Cheryl talks about revising Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health.

Cheryl also reads a chapter from the book she is currently writing about her life.

Anger only a wake up call, wisdom motivates

I interviewed a candidate for 19th District Congress in New York. We talked about the bigger picture, this election year’s uproarious campaigning.

It was noted that some candidates behavior is reckless, but it spotlights an anger in America.

Maybe so.

Even I get disgusted with immoral politicians. But egos, greed, and self-service aren’t new to humanity. Big money people don’t have a monopoly on dishonesty.

Anger does seem to be in the air, however. People are ready for change. We are ready to get out any vicious cycle that demeans the good in humanity.

But unless anger is seen only as an alarm clock to wake up, and not a motivator, that vicious cycle continues.

Anger never provides an inspiring or logical answer or reason to do something, or not.

Anger is only the extreme opposite of passivity, indifference–the habit of repeating the same behavior because that’s the way it’s always been done.

I don’t ignore my disgust, but I know it’s only a warning to wake me up to follow life, truth, and love. I need to get out of the bed of anger or inaction and get up with wisdom.

 “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26, NIV

Quoting from science & religion to God: The manifestations of evil which counterfeit divine justice, conjure the picture of an angry God. “And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that did not obey.”[1] Correctly interpreted, the Bible verse shows that catastrophes, famines, and plagues are the self-destruction of error, not the destruction of God’s children. We have the ability (matter doesn’t) to demonstrate the strength and permanency of Spirit We can witness the brightening light of Truth, harmony, and the entireness of God.

orange sky

[1] Micah 5:15

Midlife joy

Vowing not to be those parents who hang onto the family farm with the hope that the children return to continue the tradition, my husband and I put our farm up for sale after our girls were out of college and told us they had no interest in farming. The property sold in five days. Stunned, my husband and I stared at one another and said at the same time, “Now what do we do?”

I believe that question was the beginning of a premature midlife crisis. It led to a year of colossal upheaval. The disruption in our life, however, bashed the typical definition of midlife crisis referred to by the public.

Boston psychologist, Lynn Margolies, PhD, wrote, “A sure sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life.” Margolies likened this phenomenon to a rebellious teenager and warned against jolting loved ones or pursuing unrealistic, hurtful goals.

A midlife crisis can be boiled down to a person discovering or rediscovering their identity and self-confidence.

Discovery is not a bad thing when taken by the horns and wrangled to our benefit rather than bane. Four fundamentals to motivating a positive crisis comes to mind when recalling my midlife predicament:

Family can be separated from the job. Family and farming were my identity or so I believed. We raised our children on the farm and fostered children, all of whom thrived, surrounded by nature, animals, and fresh fruits and vegetables. When the day came in which welled up inside me a storm infused wave of desire to escape the farm, I was able to see that I could escape the farm without leaving family.

Realistic goals are priority. My husband and I were unable to retire, financially and mentally. We needed to remember when making decisions that we were unemployed empty-nesters who needed to be practical. To start a new career meant starting at the bottom.

Stuff had to go, but not good memories. With no children in the house, there were less material demands. We also no longer needed a lot of the stuff we had. Getting rid of stuff made it easier to start at the bottom. Because my good memories are not attached to the stuff, I still have them today. This freedom made it easier to discover. It also made it easier to move across the United States, for the fun of it.

Take on a challenge. We decided to move to a whole different community. Mapping out a strategy, we met fears head on and it left me with a feeling of accomplishment. Piling it on, my husband said to me, “Let’s ride our motorcycles from Washington State to New York.” My brain could barely process his comment, but it did sound motivating. I agreed only to almost back out at the last minute. The idea of riding my motorcycle 3,000 miles was daunting, until I realized if I only made it to Montana, fine, I’ll sell the bike and fly in an airplane the rest of the way.

The motorcycle trip across America is indelibly marked in my mental databank as the best two-weeks in the history of trips and vacations. We rode Highway 2, a northern route that took us through Glacier National Park, over the Bitterroot Mountains where Lewis and Clark traversed 200 years previous, on foot.

I learned that I could ride in rain, wind, over snowy roads, and under blasted hot sunshine. I spent $9 to fill my gas tank at the station, while a camper owner at the nearby gas pump spent $232 to fill his tank.

I watched terrain change from desert to woodland. I felt a spiritual parallel as I changed from wishy-washy to “I can do this.” We rode into our new upstate New York hometown on our 25th wedding anniversary. We’ll be celebrating our thirty-third anniversary in a few weeks.

dandelion gone to seed

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