Caring for Our Environment

There are not “two sides” to global warming. It is not a partisan issue, and it shouldn’t be a political one. The future of our species is at stake. Let’s move beyond politics, people. Sheesh.

***

“Is it correct to say of material objects, that they are nothing and exist only in imagination?

“…My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired…

“Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven…

“To take all earth’s beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God’s creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: ‘I love your promise; and shall know, some  time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly…'”
Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, p 86-87

Psalms 96: 11-12
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. 
 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.

Isaiah 60:13
The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

Isaiah 61: 4
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Isaiah 55:12
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

***

(Time‘s issue on global warming brought me some hope. I highly recommend it.)

(All photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

 

 

 

 

 

“I don’t need to claim these thoughts!”

“Stand porter at the door of thought.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I was in a funk today. There’s been another Christmas tragedy. Don’t want to talk about that, really. But it led me to some dark places in my thoughts. I stopped by to see Dad, hoping that would cheer me up. But he was struggling – questioning the veracity of a Christmas card I brought him from a friend, saying it seemed “fishy” – questionable – and he didn’t trust it. He argued with me about the background in a photograph – insisted it was a stadium with bleachers – which… it wasn’t. I told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me, and I left.

As I was driving home dark thoughts came knocking on the door of my consciousness – thoughts of despair and discouragement and fear for the future. Thoughts about death. And I felt afraid and guilty that I was even having these thoughts. And then I had this moment of clarity: “But I don’t need to claim these thoughts as mine! Just because these thoughts knocked on my door doesn’t mean they belong to me! They aren’t any part of me!” I realized I could choose whether I wanted to let those thoughts enter and be part of my identity, or not.

A decade ago, when I was going through a massive depression, I felt I didn’t have a choice – I felt I didn’t have control over the thoughts that came into my head, and the feelings of despair and hopelessness and guilt – and it all seemed overwhelming at times. But I acquired some tools for dealing with life’s challenges and struggles during that time. First, I learned not to fight my feelings – that only seemed to make the feelings bigger – but to let myself surf on top of them. I learned I could be happy even when I was sad.  And I learned a trick from Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now that was really helpful, too – and that I was reminded of today. In his book, Tolle writes: “Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself: ‘I wonder what my next thought is going to be.’ Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse hole. What thought is going to come out of the mouse hole? Try it now.” When I tried that experiment all those years ago (and when I tried it just now, too) – when I waited for my next thought – it didn’t come! I was filled with a blessed, peaceful stillness.

I had a healing today. And it felt like this…
healing

 

I’d like to ignore Trump, too.

There are times when I just don’t want to invest even one more minute of my precious time on earth thinking about Trump. He’s an attention-grabber – and there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to give him what he wants. And sometimes that part of me wins out and I go have my adventures and deliberately, consciously ignore anything Trump. This is how I dealt with him (and other reality stars) before he decided to run for President. I wanted nothing to do with him. He wasn’t any part of my reality. He couldn’t affect my life in any way. But it’s different now, of course. Now he can affect my life and the lives of the people I work with, teach, care about. And so… yeah… as much as I’d like to just ignore him… sometimes I feel an urgent need to address “it.” I hope my posts don’t cause you too much distress. I totally get why you’d rather not read anything about this man. Please don’t ever feel obligated to read my Trump-stuff. I don’t blame you at all for wanting to avoid it. But please don’t blame me for following my conscience on this.

“It is difficult for the sinner to accept divine Science, because Science exposes his nothingness; but the sooner error is reduced to its native nothingness, the sooner man’s great reality will appear and his genuine being will be understood.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Ignorance, subtlety, or false charity does not forever conceal error; evil will in time disclose and punish itself.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“A sinner is not reformed merely by assuring him that he cannot be a sinner because there is no sin. To put down the claim of sin,  you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality… A sinner is afraid to cast the first stone. He may say, as a subterfuge, that evil is unreal, but to know it, he must demonstrate his statement. To assume that there are no claims of evil and yet to indulge them, is a moral offence. Blindness and self-righteousness cling fast to iniquity.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

 

The Job of Mainstream Media

“When the press is gagged, liberty is besieged…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, founder of The Christian Science Monitor

It is not the job of mainstream media to present the President in a positive way. It is the job of mainstream media to report the facts, and it is the responsibility of the citizenry to stay informed of the facts. And sometimes none of that is any fun.

***

Here is a link to a survey about media on the Trump-Pence website that I found very interesting. I took the survey, but at the end it asked for my email and so forth and I didn’t want to share that stuff so I didn’t submit my answers. I’m sure y’all can guess how I answered the questions, though. 🙂 I suppose as you would find on any political website – Republican OR Democrat – the questions had built-in bias in them. That was not unexpected. For fun and mental stimulation, you might want to put on your critical thinking caps and look for the bias in the questions.

Here is how I answered a couple of the questions –

#18 Do you agree with President Trump’s strategy of communicating directly with his supporters through Twitter, email, and Facebook videos?
– Twittering your opinions into an echo chamber is not very presidential, no.

#26 What percentage do you believe is an accurate representation of President Trump’s positive news coverage by the mainstream media?
– Regarding the previous question (#26) I don’t think it is the job of mainstream media to represent Trump in a positive or a negative way. It is the job of mainstream media to report the facts.

“It is the pulpit and press, clerical robes and the prohibiting of free speech, that cradles and covers the sins of the world,—all unmitigated systems of crime; and it requires the enlightenment of these worthies, through civil and religious reform, to blot out all inhuman codes. ”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings

fake news isn't

“Springtime’s comin,'” he said. “Cannot tha’ smell it?”

Here’s something to ponder: If my dad (who will turn 100 in a few months) had decided to start closing down shop and preparing for old age at 60 he would have missed out on 40% of his life.

Yeah. Cogitate THAT for awhile. 🙂

***

So you know how in the springtime you see birds winging through the air with bits of ribbon and grass and straw dangling from their beaks – foraging for materials to build their nests? That’s been me lately. I’ve been on a treasure hunt for scraps and bits of inspiration to build a cozy little mental nest for myself. I just finished my annual spring reading of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – a book that never fails to uplift me – and I’ve been turning to the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, too, for inspiration. Mr. Rogers has, once again, provided me with a role model – someone I can endeavor to emulate in my own life. And a lecture by Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche brought me a rush of sweet, healing tears.

Here’s some of what I’ve found for my nest –

“Springtime’s comin,'” he said. “Cannot tha’ smell it?”

Mary sniffed and thought she could. “I smell something nice and fresh and damp,” she said.

“That’s th’ good rich earth,” he answered, digging away. “It’s in a good humor makin’ ready to grow things. It’s glad when plantin’ time comes. It’s dull in th’ winter when it’s got nowt to do. In th’ flower gardens out there things will be stirrin’ down below in th’ dark. Th’ sun’s warmin’ ’em. You’ll see bits o’ green spikes stickin’ out o’ th’ black earth after a bit.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

orange pink tulips 2 this one.jpg

Tulips in Tulip Town 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“How could I have stayed abed! Th’ world’s all fair begun again this mornin’, it has. An’ it’s workin’ an’ hummin’ an’ scratchin’ an’ pipin’ an’ nest-buildin’ an’ breathin’ out scents, till you’ve got to be out on it ‘stead o’ lyin’ on your back.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine, and things pushing up and working under the earth,” said Mary.
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Might I,” quavered Mary, “might I have a bit of earth?… To plant seeds in— to make things grow— to see them come alive,” Mary faltered.
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

entry to garden

Karen’s Secret Garden

“On that first morning when the sky was blue again Mary wakened very early. The sun was pouring in slanting rays through the blinds and there was something so joyous in the sight of it that she jumped out of bed and ran to the window. She drew up the blinds and opened the window itself and a great waft of fresh, scented air blew in upon her. The moor was blue and the whole world looked as if something Magic had happened to it. There were tender little fluting sounds here and there and everywhere, as if scores of birds were beginning to tune up for a concert. Mary put her hand out of the window and held it in the sun.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“She unchained and unbolted and unlocked and when the door was open she sprang across the step with one bound, and there she was standing on the grass, which seemed to have turned green, and with the sun pouring down on her and warm sweet wafts about her and the fluting and twittering and singing coming from every bush and tree. She clasped her hands for pure joy and looked up in the sky and it was so blue and pink and pearly and white and flooded with springtime light that she felt as if she must flute and sing aloud herself and knew that thrushes and robins and skylarks could not possibly help it.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Just listen to them birds— th’ world seems full of ’em— all whistlin’ an’ pipin’,” he said. “Look at ’em dartin’ about, an’ hearken at ’em callin’ to each other. Come springtime seems like as if all th’ world’s callin’. The leaves is uncurlin’ so you can see ’em— an’, my word, th’ nice smells there is about!” sniffing with his happy turned-up nose. “An’ that poor lad lyin’ shut up an’ seein’ so little that he gets to thinkin’ o’ things as sets him screamin’. Eh! my! we mun get him out here— we mun get him watchin’ an listenin’ an’ sniffin’ up th’ air an’ get him just soaked through wi’ sunshine. An’ we munnot lose no time about it.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Something seemed to have been unbound and released in him, very quietly. ‘What is it?’ he said, almost in a whisper…strange as it seemed to him, there were minutes— sometimes half-hours— when, without his knowing why, the black burden seemed to lift itself again and he knew he was a living man and not a dead one.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“Circumstances, however, were very kind to her, though she was not at all aware of it. They began to push her about for her own good. When her mind gradually filled itself with robins, and moorland cottages crowded with children, with queer crabbed old gardeners and common little Yorkshire housemaids, with springtime and with secret gardens coming alive day by day, and also with a moor boy and his ‘creatures,’ there was no room left for the disagreeable thoughts…”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“I’m well! I’m well!” said Colin again, and his face went quite red all over. He had known it before in a way, he had hoped it and felt it and thought about it, but just at that minute something had rushed all through him— a sort of rapturous belief and realization and it had been so strong that he could not help calling out. “I shall live forever and ever and ever!” he cried grandly. “I shall find out thousands and thousands of things. I shall find out about people and creatures and everything that grows— like Dickon— and I shall never stop making Magic. I’m well! I’m well! I feel— I feel as if I want to shout out something— something thankful, joyful!”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

healing

“The flowers are growing— the roots are stirring. That is the Magic. Being alive is the Magic— being strong is the Magic. The Magic is in me— the Magic is in me.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies.”
– Mary Baker Eddy
“Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“A false sense of what constitutes happiness is more disastrous to human progress than all that an enemy or enmity can obtrude upon the mind…”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Humility is no busy body: it has no moments for trafficking in other people’s business, no place for envy, no time for idle words, vain amusements, and all the et cetera of the ways and means of personal sense.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”
– Stephen Hawking

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood won four Emmy awards, and Rogers himself was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Daytime Emmys, as described by Esquire’s Tom Junod:

“Mister Rogers went onstage to accept the award—and there, in front of all the soap opera stars and talk show sinceratrons, in front of all the jutting man-tanned jaws and jutting saltwater bosoms, he made his small bow and said into the microphone, ‘All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence.’

“And then he lifted his wrist, looked at the audience, looked at his watch, and said, ‘I’ll watch the time.’ There was, at first, a small whoop from the crowd, a giddy, strangled hiccup of laughter, as people realized that he wasn’t kidding, that Mister Rogers was not some convenient eunuch, but rather a man, an authority figure who actually expected them to do what he asked. And so they did. One second, two seconds, three seconds—and now the jaws clenched, and the bosoms heaved, and the mascara ran, and the tears fell upon the beglittered gathering like rain leaking down a crystal chandelier. And Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said softly, ‘May God be with you’ to all his vanquished children.”
– from Wikipedia’s page on Fred Rogers

“Love cannot create His children to inflict harm on one another – not by means of heredity, or contagion, hatred, fear, violence, abuse, any other contact… anger… no – there’s no God in that history. Our eternal link to one another is Love. Our present link to one another is Love. Our past link is Love. All God’s children, in reality, are only connected through love, by Love… I let go of hurts, anger, I let go of false beliefs about connections I had with people in my life. It was so purifying. It’s like I was given a clean white page. A whole new life.”
– Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

“One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun— which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting through and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. Then sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in some one’s eyes.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Flipped Reflection. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“See here,” she said. “Don’t let us talk about dying; I don’t like it. Let us talk about living.”
– Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Robin Family

Mama Robin and babies on our porch. (Karen Molenaar Terrell)

A Prayer for the World

Feel the gentle presence of Love
enfolding all of creation.
Feel the peace of Love
settling on the world.
Feel the power of Love
renewing everything good
and healthy in us.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

flower peace 2

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep thou my child on upward wing to-night.
– Mary Baker Eddy

 

The Great Heart of Love

“When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

A poem for my love –
A Simple and Unremarkable Perfection

It’s a miracle of perfection.
I am warm and fed and I can hear
my loved one tapping the keys
on his laptop
and clearing his throat
near me
I have chamomile tea with
cream and a chunk of
sourdough bread and the wind is
moving
the rain-splattered screen on the
window
and making the lights behind it
look like they’re dancing
I feel no pain or fear
I know I’m completely safe
and I imagine coming through
some terrible danger
and finding myself in this room
and what a miracle that would
seem to be
and how much I’d appreciate the
simple unremarkable
perfection of it
and I am filled with gratitude
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from A Poem Lives on My Windowsill

heart