Sunday, September 16, 2018

KEEPING LIFE BEAUTIFUL


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I saw this and was so touched it made me rethink my recent attitude and actions. I confess to having been pulled down into the maelstrom of political bitterness, to have been nearly overwhelmed with distress over the direction of our nation. 

During my long lifetime the United States has been a SELFLESS defender of freedom for others, a strong tower and champion of good causes across the world, mostly a kind and gentle nation that demonstrated  "speak softly but carry a big stick" as Roosevelt counseled.

Maybe I am a hopeless romantic that thought things would always be that way!! 

This little poster jolted me back to a better place. TODAY I will try my best to follow the guidance of this simple lessons that Jesus of Nazareth taught.  I will try to overlook the many distressing signals and be a gentle, more loving, less critical follower of the Master Christian. 

This hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal is a mainstay for me:

Speak gently, it is better far
To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently, let no harsh word mar
The good we may do here.

Speak gently to the erring ones,
They must have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
O win them back again.

Speak gently, ’tis a little thing,
Dropped in the heart’s deep well;
The good, the joy that it may bring,
Eternity shall tell.

I know that as I put my limited, mortal critical view of life on hold, and speak gently and think gently,  I will see the beauty of loving gently and living a more joyous experience. 

My little friend below is a great example of the peace and joy that comes with a more simple life!!






Friday, February 16, 2018

LOVE AND LOVELINESS!!!



When I saw this picture, my heart went out to her in love.  How often we may overlook the goodness and genuine beauty of those we meet by looking at the outward appearance instead of the inner person.

In her Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote about “real beauty”, in these words: 

"The embellishments of the person are poor substitutes for the charms of being, shining resplendent and eternal over age and decay."

“The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul, to retreat from the belief of pain or pleasure in the body into the unchanging calm and glorious freedom of spiritual harmony."

"Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests upon its object. One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful." 

"Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom."

"Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb.“ (SH 247:28–11)


What a beautiful lesson you have given us dear friend.  You are Lovely!!!!   Now may we all see in ourselves and others that "inner beauty" that is ours as God's dear children. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AND THE LITTLE ANIMALS SHALL LEAD THEM....




While the world often seems to be in turmoil there is another side.

We constantly hear of political wrangling, nation against nation and rattling swords, personal and family squabbles, corporate battles, even school ground fights and discord. The Bible, that chronicle of the past and predictor of the future, promises a time when, after the people of the world reach a level of maturity, there will be a time of peace.
                 


In the Book of Isaiah, we read of a time when:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. “ Isaiah 11

But, for those whose eyes are open, we can even now see signs in our own time when that sense of peace and acceptance are “here and now.”

I love the promise depicted in these two pictures and I pray to be ever more alert to recognize the signs of peace and love all around us.

Can we each do our best to emulate this promised “coming together in love and acceptance” demonstrated by our little "role models" pictured here?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... Waiting on Angels




This picture of this sad little doggie touched my heart. I saw worry in his eyes, not a picture of lively joy and spontaneous happiness that we love to see in puppies.

Sometimes we may all feel that sense of worry, fear and doubt. We may wonder… are we in this big world alone? Can we handle the challenges that come to us today? Are we loved? Are we loving?

Maybe, like many of us, this dog is waiting on his “Angel.”

Mary Baker Eddy, in her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, describes Angels this way:

“Angels. God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality. " p 581


These angel thoughts come to us when we are quiet. When we shut out the noise of the world which is shouting fear, mortality, illness, sin, and doubt... in that stillness… God’s thoughts come to us to heal and bless. Our job is to trust, and listen for their message.

As a favorite hymn proclaims:

“O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide.

O wake and hear the angel-song
That bids all discord cease,
From pain and sorrow, doubt and fear,
It brings us sweet release;
And so our hearts find peace.” **


Take heart little friend. God cares for each of His ideas and you are loved and protected. Cheer Up and listen for the Angels!!!!!


** Christian Science Hymnal #9

Friday, December 22, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY



Sometimes in modern day United States of America, a country characterized in the song, America the Beautiful  as “Sweet Land of Liberty” we seem to fall from the high standard and promise of LIBERTY. 

We often appear to have strayed far from the wonders of that true land of Liberty and have become slaves to anger, held in the bondage of personal opinion and intolerance and even engage in selfishness, bitter political wrangling and hatefulness towards one another.  

The Holy Bible contains the recipe for true freedom and liberty… it is called “brotherly love”.  The main ingredient in the recipe that loosens the shackles and frees us from bondage is Love, as in:  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; * (I John 4:7)

 And the recipe instructions are:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”   (Galations 5)

The Grizzly Bears pictured here seem to have the right idea.  If Bears can love one another… CERTAINLY we can too!!! 


Let’s CLAIM our personal Sweet Land of LIBERTY and Love One Another!!!!    

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY.... ETERNAL BEAUTY OF LOVE

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It may come as no surprise that I LOVE dogs... BIG DOGS, small dogs... every size, shape and breed. Dogs are always beautiful to me!!

The doggies shown here may not be "Show Quality" beauties but I would love them to pieces. I can see the beauty in their eyes and in their spirit!!

My favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy describes true beauty as Spiritual. We see it with the heart. In her "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", she writes:

"Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly."

"Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color."

"It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness." **SH 247

I see the eternal beauty in each of you wonderful dogs!!! Maybe mankind can eventually see that inate loveliness in all of earth's people too.

Monday, November 13, 2017

PHOTO OF THE DAY.... SIMPLY LOVE


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This morning on my morning “dog walk”, I saw these little yellow flowers peeking out.

While the material world seems to be churning around us, reports of violence, hatred and cruelty, political instability and corruption garnering the headlines,  how wonderful it is when something comes to view to  remind us of what is important.

In the midst of the weeds and underbrush, these  humble little ”yellow Love reminders” made me think of God’s loving tenderness, gentleness and kindness.  No "horn blowing", no boasting, bragging or loud attention getting, they just reflect loveliness and let the observer feel the love.  

This hymn came to thought, one of my favorite “reminders”!!

How gentle God’s commands,
How kind His precepts are;
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,
And trust His constant care.

Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears creation up
Shall guard His children well.

His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day:
I drop my burden at His feet,
And bear a song away. **


And I did!!   I dropped my troubles and a song sprung up in my heart and thanked God for  the lovely gift!!

**Christian Science Hymnal #124

Sunday, November 5, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... WASH THEM CLEAN




ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... 

When I saw this picture of two "freshly laundered" dogs, my heart melted.    Having experienced the joys, challenges and "surprises" we often encounter while bathing a doggie, I could only imagine what it was like bathing two at once.

For Sam, this was his first bath in some years. The lady who rescued him feared that giving him a bath would add to his stress after he was rescued from the heavy flooding in Thailand, and she wanted him to feel safe and secure before getting him wet again. He is understandably afraid of water after his distress in the floods.

His recent encounter with an American skunk led to a "change of plan" and he has just gotten his first bath.

As a guy who loves all dogs, and has participated in the dog rescue process with a local Humane Society, I just wanted to jump in the shower and hug these little ones. 

This sweet picture brought to mind the wonderful appeal to our common Shepherd, the heavenly Father, to support our own efforts to rescue, help and heal all of mankind, written as a poem and hymn, FEED MY SHEEP,  by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.


Shepherd, show me how to go,
O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,
—How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still,
Break earth’s stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren shore,
Lab’ring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And Thou know’st Thine own;

So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms;
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning’s beam;
White as wool, ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean.**

WASH THEM CLEAN, INDEED!! And thank you Father for giving us loving animals that set examples of what true love and loyalty and forgiveness are.


**Christian Science Hymnal #304

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... BE NOT DECEIVED!!!



Today's animal photo reminded me of how easily we can be deceived by the material senses. This little dog seems convinced that there is a real treat hiding in that picture!!


Of course, the Bible is full of examples of how people throughout history have been fooled by the material senses. From Abraham to Moses and from Elijah to Jesus of Nazareth, the material senses have been proven to be "deceivers".

Seeing through the deception of the material senses, Moses led his people to safety through the Red Sea, Jesus of Nazareth made water into wine, gave back sight to the blind, and he and his disciples healed many other people who suffered the illusion of disease and death.


This hymn reassures us that even though the material senses still try to deceive and fool us, God is ever present and ready to deliver us from our worst fears.

In atmosphere of Love divine,
We live, and move, and breathe;
Though mortal eyes may see it not,
’Tis sense that would deceive.

The mortal sense we must destroy,
If we would bring to light
The wonders of eternal Mind,
Where sense is lost in sight.

For God, immortal Principle,
Is with us everywhere;
He holds us perfect in His love,
And we His image bear. **


Better give up believing the deceiving illusion, Doggie. Go for the Alpo!!!


** Christian Science Hymnal #145

Monday, October 2, 2017

Mr. Peanut and the Closet






It's funny how things suddenly come to mind, out of the blue, mostly in my case, glimpses of the past.   Many times we are suddenly reminded of childhood experiences, workplace situations or memories of wonderful family memories.   It seems we are somehow able to put mainly hurtful, painful experiences behind us  and recall fondly the good times.

Last week it was my Mr. Peanut memory that came to thought.. 

There were, in the 1940s, exciting daytime radio shows for younger people.  Captain Midnight,  Superman. Roy Rogers and others were broadcast in the afternoon hours after we returned home from school.  We were glued to the radio in the living room, awaiting each new episode and of course we were always tempted by the trinkets and gifts promised by the sponsors, all crafted to entice young listeners.  Young kids are great targets for advertisers!!!


 As I recall it was from one of these programs that I ordered this special gift, a genuine “glow in the dark” replica of Mr. Peanut, the advertising symbol of Planters Peanuts.   

Oh the way they described it…  Colorful, Authentic…  Unbreakable they said; it glows in the dark, they promised!!  Be the first in your neighborhood to have this wonderful Mr. Peanut, they suggested.  Impress your friends, they touted!


I waited eagerly for this trinket to arrive, watching hopefully for the mail carrier to come down the street; maybe TODAY would be the day it arrived.

And eventually the day came!!! 

And, true to my expectations,   Mr. Peanut gave me much joy.  I was consumed with wonder about how he could possibly glow in the dark.  Science hadn’t made that much progress back when I was small and “glow in the dark” was a strange concept!!   In order to see the little guy glow, I would go into the tiny closet under the stairway in our small house, close the door  and spend long periods standing in the dark just looking at the glowing figurine.  


I soon discovered that my mother was a little worried about a son that would go into the closet for long periods of time just to look at a plastic peanut.  I took quite a teasing from my family, even from  my dear Mother, about being Closet Peanut Man, and hiding in the dark. , I guess that concern was understandable!!

As I look back on that time I can see how childlike innocence made the whole world a fantastic and interesting place.   Maybe it was because I learned that in that dark closet I was able to shut out the outside  world, drop all distractions and let my mind listen, dream and permit my imagination to soar, see things I couldn't see outside. When I was not in the closet,  Mr. Peanut just looked like another piece of white plastic.


As an adult I can now see that being in the closet helped me close off the distractions of the “outside world”.  There was no light, nothing to pull my thought away.  I could totally concentrate on “my little glowing man” and marvel how it could glow in the dark.

  
Imagine my surprise years later when I was introduced to Christian Science as a way of living, and began to study the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and  found out that centuries ago Jesus of Nazareth even RECOMMENDED going into the closet!!!   (Take that all of you teasers who made fun of me for being a little weird!!!)


Apparently Jesus knew that the “outside world” can be a noisy, hectic place.  There are wars, rumors of wars, jealously, hatred, selfishness, cruelty.  On his daily walks he encountered those who were blind, deaf, suffering from illness, crippling disabilities, hunger and sin and disease. 

He, himself,  was not wealthy in worldly terms and traveled the area on foot.  BUT, he was rich in wisdom and understanding.   He knew the power of quiet communion with God, the Divine Mind,  that guided and uplifted him.  

He knew how to pray and that being closeted in a quiet environment helps us to listen more closely to God’s direction. 


He said:  “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6


He knew that even if the storm may roar and the problems of the world seemed overwhelming, peace and joy can be achieved through quiet  communication with God in the “closet” of thought.


He also promised:   “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33


Now we may not always be able to actually be in a real closet like the one in my old house on  Jefferson Avenue when I was a child, but we can enter the quiet “mental closet” of our own thought.   We can be in THAT closet anywhere…  in the car in traffic, in the midst a crowd, at the office, at school,  really anyplace where we can shut out the noise of materiality and listen for a moment. 

 
In the Holy Bible, that treasure trove of “Life Instruction”, we find that even thousands of years ago God was leading our ancestors into quiet closets to pray.   In the Book of Psalms we find wonderful reassurance:  


1. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. Psalms 91:1-3

I love to think of that “Secret Place’ referenced above  as the closet of my thought!!!   And the “refuge” in the next verses as the “closet of refuge.”

1.  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 
10. Be still, and know that I am God:  Psalms 46

To me, these verses are saying:  Be Still… Be in the Closet.   Listen in the Silence.  We may not have a Mr. Peanut in there with us but we will definitely feel a glow from God’s presence.  We need only enter, listen and make sure the door stays closed.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science counsels in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  

  “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.”    SH 392:24

Because the closet is our thought, we can exercise our authority,  shut the door and block out unwanted entrance.  We can keep  erroneous thoughts out of  closet by standing “porter”, or guard , at the door. 


Today, as the news media goes about their business of broadcasting stories of threats of war, terrorism, murder, political strife, questionable ethics in government, poverty and  man’s seeming inhumanity to fellow man, it is good to keep our thoughts affixed on the Truth of God’s flawless kingdom. 
 
Is that irresponsible?  Should we be knee deep in the world’s problems and personally dive head first into the muck of human tragedy due to a false sense of responsibility?   Or are we more helpful by praying to see and hear God’s direction and feel His healing presence.  

I love to think of what Jesus did when he faced difficulties.  He went up to the mountain to a place apart… and prayed.  He certainly didn’t shy away from problems but he knew his best help was quiet prayer.


Here is a quick recap of the quotes above from our mentors from centuries back:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; 
I have overcome the world.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.




Thanks Mr. Peanut for showing me the importance of discovery in the closet. Your gentle glow has helped me find the rewards of quiet observation and prayer.