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Home > Lucki Stars > Abiding Blog

Abiding Blog
by
Lucki Melander Wilder

Still digging the blogs. Keep up the good works.  -- Jim (a reader since the first-ever announcement)

These are personal ruminations on divers and sundry topics of interest to me and, I hope, also you. Some are long, some short. Some are silly, some serious. Some are trivial, some profound. Nor is it always easy to tell which is which, even for me. And all opinions expressed are subject to change without notice.

Email me to subscribe or give feedback, or if there's a topic you'd like me to ruminate about. Not all feedback necessarily appears in this page, and may be edited for links, typos, multi-source redundancy, and relevancy. That doesn't mean we consider negative feedback irrelevant or refuse to post it, as negative feedback can often help us learn to do more and better.

Go to   #grandMya     

2021-02-14
N A N C Y   B.

"I was home."

Another declaration story. Another guest blogger, this time via interview. 'Nuff said. Without further ado, let me introduce Nancy Bagley. Tell us your story, Nancy.

As a young child, though my family didn't really go to church, I did. I remember getting baptized at the Baptist church when I was nine, old enough to convince them that I knew what I wanted and why. As I was growing up, my family moved a lot; and during those times, I went to many different Protestant churches. At 17, I met the love of my life. He was Lutheran, born and raised in the Lutheran church. And so, because I had no particular denomination and believed we were all worshipping the same God, it was very easy for me to start going to his church with him. We got married in the Lutheran church.

But you know, during the years, I just didn't understand why they had so many man-made laws. I didn't understand why if you (or even a baby) weren't baptized, you would go to hell because you died "unsaved". Or why if a person was going to a synagogue or a mosque, or even a different kind of Christian church, then they were considered a heathen even though they also believed in the one God.

As I continued in my life, I stayed Lutheran as I wanted to keep our family together; but I didn't agree with several things the Lutherans were committed to. After many years, though, I had a tragedy happen that led to divorce. Still, that gave me the opportunity to search for something that I could completely believe in.

I was in Virginia Beach, VA when I just realized that I didn't have to remain in the Lutheran church or even in any Christian church. Even though I truly loved Jesus, I needed to search for something more I could truly believe in. They had the Edgar Cayce Foundation there, and I decided to go investigate it. I was very much into dreams at that time, and what they bring to us from God, so I went to some of their lectures on dreams and started reading some books. But when I got into depth with it, I realized it wasn't what I wanted. So then I tried the New Age movement that was getting popular at that time. I loved the idea that we were all connected in a circle of life. But I still believed in Christ, and I realized I needed to find something where the people believed in Christ and that we all came from the one God and are all connected.

Nancy Bagley with her spiritual mother Jean GhofraniI had been going to college to get my social work degree; and just before graduation I had a family class. They wanted each of us to do a paper on married couples who had two different backgrounds. Now, while doing my field placement for social work, I worked in a nursing home. There was a very wonderful social worker there named Jean (<<-- left, with me). We were instant friends, so it's no wonder she became a spiritual mother to me. She had just gotten married soon after we met. She and her husband were Bahá'í and had a Bahá'í wedding. Unfortunately, when she invited me and told me about the ceremony, it sounded very strange; so I decided not to go (which I deeply regret to this day).

Jean and Mehran Ghofrani being my close friends (even, still, to this day). I asked them to let me interview them for my class paper, because she's Brazilian and he's Iranian. And I thought their having this Bahá'í Faith in common would make for a wonderful paper. When I interviewed them, they gave me plenty of Bahá'í pamphlets to use, but at the time I was just interested in the paper, not in their Faith itself.

Still, after I'd looked at all the Edgar Cayce and New Age stuff and decided they both were not for me, in about six months I started to read the Bahá'í literature again. After all, I had it there conveniently; and I spent a lot of time with Jean and Mehran, including going to Bahá'í picnics and celebrations with them. I asked Jean if they were still having those firesides she'd been talking about before, and she said yes. I sought her assurance that "They won't put me in the center of attention, would they? I just want to be there and listen." She said that, no, they won't do that.

But she was wrong. When I got to the first fireside, I was the only seeker there. So of course they paid me a lot of attention. After all, firesides are places where people who don't know a lot about the Bahá'í Faith can learn in a homey atmosphere. Somehow, they made me feel very comfortable, so it wasn't so bad.

After that meeting, I starting reading a lot of Bahá'í Scriptures and a few explanatory books like Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era. I continued to go to firesides. I loved the principles; to my way of thinking, they felt right. But my main problem was that I needed to feel convinced Bahá'u'lláh could be the return of Christ, because Christ told us He would come to us again. So one of the members asked me if I'd like to read Thief in the Night: The Case of the Missing Millennium by William Sears. I did. The book had a lot of references to the Holy Bible; and as I read it, I looked up every biblical reference in my Bible itself. By halfway through the book, I stopped looking the references up because every one so far had been accurate. And in my mind I said that, yes, I can believe Bahá'u'lláh is the promised return of Christ.

I went with Jean and Mehran to a going-away party for a couple who were moving to Chicago, Art and Chris Stanwood. As I was talking to Hal Theriault there, I said "I think I do believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Christ." Hal asked, "Do you want to become a Bahá'í?" I responded, "I think i just want to wait and think about it a little more." He told me, "You know, Nancy, if you believe that Bahá'u'lláh is the return of Christ, then there's nothing else you have to wait for because that's the most important thing to you." Right that second I said, "You know, YES, I think you're right. I want to be a Bahá'í." Being my first and closest teacher, Jean brought me a declaration card so my Bahá'í community would know I had declared I was a Bahá'í, and would have the information to reach out to me.

But there was one more little test. They brought me a pen. It didn't work. I thought: Hmmmm. They brought me another pen. It didn't work. I wondered if I was making a mistake. But they didn't give up and neither did I. They brought me a third pen, it worked, and I signed the card on July 27, 1990. I wasn't just a Bahá'í; I was a Bahá'í who belonged to a community of 75 Bahá'ís, and to the worldwide Bahá'í community. And they gave me a prayer book with the signatures of everyone in the room, which I still have.Nancy Bagley volunteering at a Baha'i celebration

(Interestingly, when I was moving to Chicago in 1993 to work at the Bahá'í Home for the elderly (where I served as Assistant Administrator, Social Worker, and Activity Director), Art and Chris were also the people who learned their downstairs neighbor had just moved out of his apartment, and asked their landlord to hold it for me, which he did, That was one demonstration that not just my own local Bahá'í community but the whole world community, wherever they were and wherever I went, had my back.)

From that day, I deepened in all the books I could get my hands on, and got very involved in the Bahá'í community, including being elected to the Spiritual Assembly of Virginia Beach six months later. Jean jokingly warned me not to do too much; "Moderation in all things!" she reminded me. But I was so enthusiastic. (It's been 30 years, and I still am. I love volunteering. -->>) I'd found my place. I was home.

Beautiful. Thank you, Nancy.

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

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Entries During
2021-2022

2021-02-14 Nancy B.
guest blogger: Nancy Bagley
Declaration Stories

2021-02-09 Nursery

2021-01-15 Harold W.
guest blogger: Harold Williams
Declaration Stories

2021-01-08 Cabbage
The Wilders

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2021-02-09
N U R S E R Y

"As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body
of our patients, their families, and ourselves. They may forget your name,
but they will never forget how you made them feel."  - Maya Angelou
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
"Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important
as a major operation by a surgeon."  - Dag Hammarskjöld

 

I started to feature and make light of this in Adding Insult, but (a) it's a print ad, not a TV commercial, and (b) it's anything but light ... in both senses of the word. It's trying to be lighthearted, but the end result for too many readers will (and/or should) mean nursing at least a twinge of pain. And it's trying to shine a light on important people, but it's so oblivious to both reality and perception that it does anything but enlighten.

The "cute" product being advertised is a series of collectible mini-dolls honoring nurses. That seems appropriate, in a way, given the amazing service being rendered by nurses and other frontline medical workers during the pandemic. And by "medical workers" I also mean everyone from nurse practitioners to nursing aides to phlebotomists to orderlies to housekeeping staff ... every single unsung frontline person risking so much to serve us in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, ambos, etc. It even seems appropriate that they're humorous dolls, because heaven knows we need to find ways to chuckle in the midst of turmoil.

And so, one company is offering a line of dolls entitled "Nurses: Frontline Heroes". Cool. Its print ad clearly shows us the first doll in the series: "I'm a Nurse! What's Your Superpower?" Complete with scrubs, super-stance, S-sheild, cape, and cap."Superpower" Nurse dollBack of "Superpower" Nurse doll

OK, sorta fun. I'm not into collectibles like that, though. Besides which, although the company says it "supports" the American Nurses Foundation, nowhere does the ad promise that any of the money I'd spend on these dolls is actually going to the Foundation. So never mind.

But that wasn't the part that earned this advert a pan at all, never mind in Abiding Blog rather than Adding Insult. No, what really bugged me was seeing what was added to encourage folks who have money to burn on this kind of thing, which also isn't me, to collect the whole series.

It showed me the company's upcoming series of 4. "I'm a Nurse! What's Your Superpower?" and three coworkers. Starting with "Spread Kindness, Not Germs". Which doll is the only one offering even a nod to the pandemic and the need for frontline medical people to wear uncomfortable PPE at all times.

Speaking of which. I want you to think back to all the newscasts, and even scripted shows, you've seen this past year where frontline medical workers are interviewed, or followed on the job, or shown walking out of their workplace to the cheers of friends and strangers who appreciate their to-often-dismissed service. Because one thing you'll probably notice is that when you compare the percentages in, say, the nursing and housekeeping staffs to the doctors and execs, the former comprise way more minorities than the latter do. Which is one - just ONE - of the factors that makes this pandemic more pernicious and fatal in minority communities.
So...

Do you see that reflected in the pictured series? 'Cuz I don't!Collection of 4 nurse dolls...all female, all white
All white. And all female.

"Oh, what's the harm?" someone is sure to say. The harm is the obliviousness. The harm is the skewed portrait of reality. The harm is the default assumptions this ad is endorsing. The harm to me and mine is every little boy and every little Black girl who, soon after leaving or possibly while still in the nursery, would dream of frontline medical service if only they could see themselves there. If only society fed them images of their potential inclusion with their mother's milk

Here would be one great opportunity to do so. To let children see that inclusiveness. Kids whose parents or grands or other adults in their environment might buy these dolls. Even more so, kids whose parents, etc., don't have that money to burn but might buy the periodicals these ads run in. Maybe even kids whose school teachers or faith-community teachers or babysitters or whatever might cut out these pix to use in projects with the kids.

But no-o-o-o.

Maybe this bias is out of sheer tunnel vision. Wearing blinders. (Lord knows I've come a cropper of that myself sometimes.) OTOH, maybe it's out of baldfaced intention. Because the company or its ad agency assumes only wealthy white people buy this stuff and it doesn't want to do anything to even marginally offend that audience. So it panders to their privileged perceptions. Which sure cuts out me and my dreadlocks even if I were a nurse. Ignores my Number One Son's EMT service. Tries to tell my aspiring
#grandMya she actually has no place in the front lines of any health field.

'Scuse me, but that ain't right. Good job dissing every minority in sight. Including many dedicated male nurses ... none of whom wear caps. Waydago there, collectible company. Count this black Mom/Grams out even if I did have the disposable dough to waste on your little dolls.

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

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2021-01-15
H A R O L D   W.

"Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

I've often mentioned the Baha'i Faith, and/or some of its principles, in various blog entries. So you sort of know what it means to me. But you deserve to hear from others, too. To read, if nothing else, what brought some others to declare that they, too, are Baha'i. Of course, you can read my declaration story in Twigs of a Family Tree. Also Mead's, Rezvanieh's and Theresa's. But not everyone can get the book (here) right now. So I'm askinig some friends to share their stories. So without further ado, let me (gratefully) introduce Harold Williams.Harold Williams in business attire

Before last August, I'd never told on any social media my story of how I became a believer in the Baha'i faith. Then I posted it on Facebook for friends. And now is the first time I am ever presenting it in a totally public blog. It was a lifelong journey, but in the interest of holding your interest, I will abbreviate as much as possible.

I was born in 1948. That is 85 years after the emancipation of my enslaved African ancestors. I am almost certain that my great grandparents were born as enslaved people and that my grandparents were born soon afterwards. That is not so long ago. I am eternally grateful to my ancestors for all that they endured so that I may be here today. What they endured is also a testament to the power of God. Today, their descendants have been described as "the pupil of the eye" by God's Manifestation (or Voice) for this day: Bahá'u'lláh. 

His eldest son Άbdu'l-Bahá once said, a century or more ago, "Bahá'u'lláh once compared the coloured* people to the black pupil of the eye surrounded by the white. In this black pupil you see the reflection of that which is before it, and through it the light of the Spirit shines forth.".

The quote below is taken from the scriptural book The Hidden Words reveled by Bahá'u'lláh. It sums up what I felt and believed most of my life.

O Children of Men!  Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.

So, what happened? How did I find out about this new faith?

My exposure to God and religion happened as a child whose parents took him to church every Sunday. I grew up in the Church of God in Christ (a Christian faith, Protestant branch, Pentecostal denomination), in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. My Sunday school teacher would give us an assignment to find a certain scripture in the Bible for the following Sunday. As an incentive, he would give the one who found it 25¢. I earned a lot of quarters, and the ability to read the Bible for myself. At age 13, I was relocated to my birth town in Mississippi (a story within itself). During my one-year stay there, I was exposed to the southern Baptist style of worship. I returned to Chicago but no longer attended church. It wasn't any disbelief in God. It was simply because I was no longer made to go to church by anyone.
 
I graduated from high school in '66. The military draft was in full force due to the war in Vietnam. I was classified as 1A, which meant that I was draftable. I decided that, maybe, I should get baptized. So, I went to my old church, confessed my belief in Christ and got baptized. But something happened during the baptism that caused me to question and think more deeply about God, religion, people, and myself.

You see, there were two other young men being baptized that day. I was third in line. The pastor baptized us all in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The first person was submerged into the pool of water and, when he was raised up, he began to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!". The second person was submerged and, when lifted out of the water, said the same thing. Now it was my turn. The pastor leaned me back into the water and baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When he lifted me out, I did not feel the Spirit run through me. I did not start shouting, or even thinking, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!" I just felt wet. I was perplexed, dazed, and confused. Had I done something wrong in God's eyes such that I did not deserve this baptism? I did not stop believing God, but I had some questions.

Soon after, I joined the United States Air Force at age 18. I travelled to several foreign countries during my service, and for the first time met people from different lands. I noticed that people were not that different from one another. We all worshipped a superior being in our own way. We all wanted the same things for our families, such as the ability to live in peace, to be able to provide food, clothing, and shelter for our loved ones. Even in Vietnam, the civilians that I met also wanted those things. I began to look at wars caused by people proclaiming that their religion is the right religion and everyone else is going to hell. Did not God create all of us?

When I turned 30, I started to seriously look for answers. After watching historical clips of Martin Luther King Jr. being stoned for attempting to go into an all-white church in Marquette Park in 1967, I felt really upset. Here was a man of God trying to go to a church to worship, and being stoned because of the color of his skin. Something was terribly wrong with that. I started investigating different religious groups in an attempt to find some answers, but to no avail. I was really beginning to be concerned that nearly 2,000 years had passed, and God had not spoken to us again. I felt that He had abandoned His creation and just left us all alone, and we were doing great harm to ourselves, even killing each other. I started telling someone about my investigation, my search for answers, and they mentioned the Bahá'í faith and the temple in Wilmette, Illinois. I was still eager to find answers, so I went up there to see for myself what this Bahá'í faith was all about.Harold Williams in casual attire

I sat in the temple's Foundation Hall and watched a film about the central figures of this faith and its beliefs. At the end of the film, a sense of peace come over me. I left that central room and began looking at displays hanging on the walls. There was one that illustrated progressive revelation, the revealing of divine truths to humankind over time as we progressed enough to need and to understand them. It showed that Voices of God like (but not limited to) Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá'u'lláh are one in spirit and reality. It showed that each Prophet fulfilled the promise of the One who came before; and likewise, each announced the One who would follow. This was the answer to my question about God leaving us to ourselves for nearly 2,000 years. God had never left us alone! We just failed to see the bigger picture.

This was my long-awaited moment to shout, "Hallelujah praise the Lord!"

That very day (August 25, 1978), I joined the Bahá'í Faith by declaring my belief to my "spiritual father" Kurt Hein, and I am still amazed by it after 42 years. If you have questions or comments, email me here. I will even gladly set up a time to talk with you if you wish.

* Referring specifically to black people, not to people of color in general.

And that is, really, all it takes. For anyone. For Harold. For you, if you're interested. When you're ready, you simply tell another Baha'i that you are Baha'i. You don't need to have undertaken any formal study. You don't need to know all the Scriptures (as if anyone could). You don't need to pledge any tithe. You don't need to undergo any ritual. You don't have to immediately practice - or even be aware of - all the principles and Baha'i laws. You just have to be willing to learn. At your own speed. And to try to live up to your faith. To the best of your ability with what you have at the time. And it's your option, then, whether you wish to also be "registered" in the worldwide Baha'i community. Which you can accomplish (in the U.S.; other countires may have other methods) simply by filling out a registration card to be forwarded to the Local Spiritual Assembly of your municipality or, if there isn't one, to the National Baha'i Center so they know how to reach you and can put you in touch with nearby Baha'is.

Thank you, Harold.

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 10:20 AM, Nancy B. wrote:
   This was good, Harold. It was very good. I like the way you told your story.

 

Harold responds to Nancy:
   There's a lot more of it, but I didn't want it to get too long.

 

 

Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 10:24 AM, Nancy B. wrote:
   Yeah, ya could go on forever. But I thought you did very well.

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2021-01-08
C A B B A G E

"Green is the prime color of the world,
and that from which its loveliness arises."  - Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Back near the end of December, I was phone-chatting with my #grandMya and I happened to mention the new plant growing in my office window. It's something I do almost every year, 'cuz in the drab of winter the eye  - the soul - craves living green. At her query, I explained to her what I had just started, how I was doing it, and the results so far.

Cabbage scrap in late December 2020Cabbage scrap in early January 2021Her response? "I'd love to see that."

So I promised to send her a pic. Which I did. Two pics, actually. Taken a week apart: <=== December 28 and January 4.===>

Her response? "Ooh so cute!"

Behind that, I sent her a detailed email. 'Cuz she likes cute. So I thought she might even be interested in doing her own plant. And I'm sharing it here 'cuz you, too, might be craving a touch of fresh, new green. And this kind of "gardening" is as simple as mud. You don't need a green thumb. You don't even need dirt. All you need is what's left over when you finish eating a cabbage, a recycled container, and water. The email said:

Thanx. Home-y hydroponics in action. All 3 disks came from 1 cabbage stalk. I have another head of cabbage I'm eating; so when that's done, I may plant a 2nd container full. Especially during winter, the eye craves bright, living  green.

Do you have a sunny-ish window in your dorm room? You could do the same thing. Any [recycled glass or plastic] container will do.

Put the inch-thick disks in & then add enough water to come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the disks. Add more water every few days as needed. I put paper towels behind the container as insulation from the cold window frame. I put them on the sill in the daytime, & back on my PC credenza, right under the heat vent, at night. (Of course, if you have a piece of furniture against the wall & the sun will come directly in, you don't need to keep it on the window sill at all, which means you don't have to move it away at night.)

Depending on conditions, especially sunniness v. cloudiness, the core disks may even start to grow rootlets. Which means you might be able to plant them outside in the spring. Or you might decide, as I've been known to do, to eat the leaves. Sooner is better than later, though, to keep them from growing bitter.

Regrowing from veggie scraps like this in nothing but water also works for lettuce and bok choi cores, celery bases, carrot tops, scallion bottoms, and bean and garlic-clove sprouts. Try it for free food. (In other words, it might save you some "cabbage".) Or just try it for free fun. Especially try it with any home-bored, wall-climbing kids in your vicinity.

If you let the resulting plants grow for long anough, and they get hot enough, they may even "bolt" and grow flowers. (I don't keep my home warm enough in winter for that to happen, but it has happened in summer sun.)

This is such an easy way to put a bright, green spin on winter. To uplift your spirits with warm hope. For as Percy Bysshe Shelley exulted, "O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

Khoda hafez,
Lucki

Fri, Sep 8, 2021 at 7:01 PM, Mya wrote:
   Super cute blog post. I wonder if anyone will actually start doing the cabbages! If they do, I hope they share that with you.

 

Lucki responds to Mya:
   Well, for starters, do you think you might? Ya know, if you have some growing in your door room, you can always give them as a mental health gift to anyone on campus who you see is feeling depressed or suffering from S.A.D.

 

 

Fri, Sep 9, 2021 at 10:37 AM, Mya wrote:
   I might give it a thought!

      Lucki responds to Mya:
  OK. Lemme know when you get back to campus. I love you forever. Mwah. Bye bye.
        Fri, Sep 9, 2021 at 10:51 AM, Mya wrote:
   Love you forever too. Mwah! Bye bye or as you say TTFN.

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