Thoughts on flower arranging from Ken Gourley, gardner and flower arranger at Fern Lodge #2.

March 28th, 2017

Bringing flowers indoors, especially for people struggling with a limited physical ability to walk outdoors, means a lot to anyone who hasn’t seen or smelled any flowers in quite awhile. One of the more impressive experiences I’ve had while working at Fern Lodge, is that of witnessing not only when a patient falls in love with looking at fresh home-grown flowers in a vase; but when they stick their nose into a bouquet, to watch their surprised and delighted reaction to the fragrances they suddenly discover. Being a keen advocate of planting deliciously fragrant roses myself, for example, sharing that joy with others has been especially meaningful to me.

I was curious about trying to find whatever Mrs. Eddy might have written on the topic of scent. Here’s an interesting comment I found in Mary Baker Eddy’s Message for 1900 (8:7-10): “As in the floral kingdom odors emit characteristics of tree and flower, a perfume or a poison, so the human character comes forth a blessing or a bane upon individuals and society.”

The attached photo of the lovely pink rose, “Strawberry Hill”, seen floating in water in a small green sorbet bowl on one of the Fern Lodge breakfast tables, is an excellent example of the delicious myrrh fragrance often found in many of David Austin’s “English” roses.

Thoughts on flower arranging from Ken Gourley, gardner and flower arranger at Fern Lodge #1

March 28th, 2017

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28, 29).

The spirit of the above beloved quote made by Jesus over 2,000 years ago is not limited to just the species of the lily family, but can also apply to any lovely flower of the field. Taking time to contemplate the natural beauty that effortlessly surrounds us,—qualities such as grace, refinement, color, fragrance, and form—often inspires men and women to think past negativity and narrow-mindedness, limited or self-centered habits, and any obstacles that stand in our way of seeing the good that is already here right in front of us.

The lightly scented Yellow Lady Banks rose, which was originally discovered in subtropical China during the late 1700s, looks terrific next to a purple bearded Iris!

“Tis writ on earth, on leaf and flower, Love hath one race, one realm, one power” (Poems by Mary Baker Eddy (22:16).

Bible Lesson :”Spirit”

February 3rd, 2017

Flock 2016 — Elys Renata Carvalho

December 14th, 2016

flock4-copyWhen I started working with FLOCK (Fern Lodge Ongoing Creative Kinship) this summer I did not know how I would manage a group of children by myself. I decided to start my days establishing that God is in control. My favorite idea was that God is taking care of everyone—especially the little ones.

One morning, while I was doing my metaphysical study, this passage from the Bible came to me: “Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not:

for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein” (Luke 18:16-17). After spending a lot of time with the little ones throughout this summer, this idea began to make more sense to me. It was rewarding to feel that even though the kids were not Christian Scientists, they were open to the Truth—divine Love. For instance, on one of our field trips to the lake, one child said she was concerned about being sick. I gently reassured her, “you do not need to get sick.” I did not add anything else, but I was praying and affirming the truth about her as a child of God. I knew in my heart that she had the right to enjoy the trip without fear. We had an amazing time, and this girl was happy and was helpful, controlling the boat and caring for the younger kids. For me, this was a demonstration of how children are so open to

the Truth. It is inspiring to see how ready they are to receive the kingdom of God.

The kids had so much energy, but whenever the temptation to feel stressed seemed real, I stopped and remembered the divine qualities that each child expresses. One day, I decided to think about each

child and all the qualities I had seen them expressing, such as creativity, innocence, curiosity, and many others. The quality they expressed that touched me the most was the deep care for their families, the staff and the patients at Fern Lodge. Another quality that stood out was their ability to trust goodness. It was amazing to see how kids have so much trust and feel sure that they will be provided for. This innocent thought taught me a huge lesson. I started noticing that we, as adults, need to be more like a child and trust that our dear Father is providing us with all the goodness, affection and love that we need.

One day, when they were playing outside, a little boy disappeared from sight. I looked for him everywhere, and I finally found him in the patient’s room. The little boy was talking and hugging this patient, expressing so much affection, love, and care. Seeing that the little boy was interacting with the patient made me realize how the innocence and sincerity of children brought healing and joy to our facility.
Although working with a large group of little, energetic children seemed quite challenging at times, I felt that every single day brought a new opportunity to learn more about God because of their presence. This experience gave me the chance to ponder more deeply the qualities expressed by children, such as innocence, care, joy, and especially love. I am certain that those qualities brought a lot of healing to Fern Lodge. I do not have words to describe the blessing I experienced while working here. I am so grateful to be a part of the Fern Lodge family.

The Tender Word — Lin Watts

December 14th, 2016

The Tender Word

When I came to work this morning, I saw a precious scene. A little girl, the daughter of one of our staff members, was sitting at the breakfast table with two patients, helping one of them to eat breakfast. The staff member said, “Look, you have a new nurse!” As I watched this dear child tenderly encourage the patient, I saw love in the patient’s eyes. She said to the little girl, “Look at the sunlight. Isn’t it a beautiful day!”

I was reminded of how wonderful it is to see patients who come to Fern Lodge in need of Christian Science nursing overcome even the most aggressive challenges. This same patient, some time ago, had come to Fern Lodge, in part, because she was dealing with the suggestion that she did not want to live. She told us she couldn’t understand why she was alive and she was unhappy about it. The first few weeks she was here, she would try to leave the facility. Many times her family and our loving staff, with the steadfast support of her practitioner, lovingly persuaded her to stay. Each time they assured her that she is a loved and valued member of the Fern Lodge community. Even in those first weeks, there were glimmers of who she really was. She wrote poetry and would gladly read it to the other patients and to our staff. She was a wonderful reader. Each day, I heard our staff tell her that she is loved. I heard other patients express love to her.

One day, at breakfast time, as I was sitting in my office, I heard five different staff members tell her “We love you!.” I have seen them gently and tenderly help her to eat, to walk, to bathe, to read, and to find enjoyment in life. Their actions were genuine and heartfelt expressions of their love for her. I have seen the effect of this outpouring of love on this dear lady. Over time, she has become more grateful and appreciative. One day recently, she came back to Fern Lodge from a trip to the redwoods beaming. She said, for the first time, “This is my home.” It was as if the outpouring of love our staff gave her was like a purifying river, washing away her fears and healing her unhappiness.

The Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says (p. 367), “The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.” I have seen this tender word heal many times and I saw it again today.

Thank you for your loving support of our healing mission.

Lin Watts, Director of Christian Science Nursing

Fern Lodge Focus — October 2016

December 8th, 2016

As we look forward to the Fern Lodge Annual
Meeting, I am reminded of Mary Baker Eddy’s
1896 message to the Annual Meeting of The
Mother Church (Mis. page 127). In that message
of encouragement and counsel, Mrs. Eddy includes her observation, “Hitherto, I have observed that in proportion as this church has smiled on His ‘little ones,’ He has blessed her. Throughout my entire connection with The Mother Church, I have seen, that in the ratio of her love for others, hath His love been bestowed upon her; watering her waste places, and enlarging her borders.”

Through the years, our experiences have been similar, and we can testify to the truth of that relationship, “…in the ratio of [our] love for others, hath His
love been bestowed upon [us].” As we humbly acknowledge that Christian Science nursing must be an expression of divine Love, shown and felt in
the love of our staff, board, volunteers, patients, and donors, we see the waste places of our facility put
into good repair and the borders of our service to the
Christian Science community enlarged.

With Summer over, the joyous sounds of FLOCK activities no longer are part of our days. This childcare program completed its third year, and it is clear to us that it would be a blessing if Fern Lodge could include the FLOCK program throughout the year. We need enlarged accommodations to fulfill this vision, and we may need to purchase all or part of the property next door in order to do so. We will keep you informed of our progress, and we look forward to any insights or ideas you have to share.

The Fern Lodge Workshops on Care continue to be given for Christian Science branch churches. Our most recent program was given in September in Anchorage, AK, and it was attended by 32 Christian
Scientists from a broad area of southern Alaska. The next Workshop will be a shorter version that will be held after our Annual Meeting on October 29 at the Christian Science church in Hayward. We hope you will join us.

Coming soon, Fern Lodge will host a meeting to explain the options available to pay for Christian Science nursing care. The program will be held at Fern Lodge, and will include discussion of Medicare, Medi-Cal, health insurance, and benevolence; there will be ample time for questions. We will be able
to accommodate 15 to 20 people at a time, and we will repeat the program as often as needed to ensure that all who are interested will have a chance to participate. Look for an announcement soon.

Our Leader’s 1896 message quoted above also includes the following assurance, which gives us fond hope and eager expectations: “When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread,
it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into
it the “river of His pleasure,” the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow,—even that joy
which finds one’s own in another’s good.”
Lovingly, George Strong

Video: New Staff Members Share their Thoughts

June 24th, 2016

Philanthropy is Loving

June 21st, 2016

by George Strong

When we hear the word philanthropy, what comes to mind? Do we immediately think of charitable monetary gifts? Probably we do, because financial charity is the most common current use of the word. And Fern Lodge is deeply grateful every day for those of you who are moved by philanthropy to donate the funds that enable us to give benevolence.

But philanthropy is so much more than financial generosity. The term is derived from two Greek words, one meaning “kindliness, humanity, benevolence, love to mankind,” and the other meaning, “loving mankind, useful to man.”

Mary Baker Eddy recognized the broad scope and range of possibilities that are open to mankind when motivated by philanthropy, a kindliness that is loving and useful. She writes (Miscellany p. 287):

  • “Philanthropy is loving, ameliorative, revolutionary;
  • it wakens lofty desires, new possibilities, achievements, and energies;
  • it lays the axe at the root of the tree that bringeth not forth good fruit;
  • it touches thought to spiritual issues, systematizes action, and insures success;
  • it starts the wheels of right reason, revelation, justice, and mercy;
  • it unselfs men and pushes on the ages.”

Think about these fruits of philanthropy as they are expressed in Christian Science nursing and the healing mission of Fern Lodge. “Philanthropy is loving, ameliorative, revolutionary.” It’s clear that being kind to others, giving to those in need, is loving. And I think we generally understand that such demonstrated humanity is ameliorative; it improves another’s life, makes their circumstances better, more bearable. But why does Mrs. Eddy say “revolutionary”? What is it about philanthropy that is revolutionary? We recognize that philanthropy is a powerful force for good that contributes directly to mankind’s efforts to overthrow the false government of a limited, mortal sense of life in matter.

640px-NZ_Landscape_from_the_vanPhilanthropy is revolutionary because it is an expression of divine Love; it leads us to understand and live wholly under the law of Love that meets every human need. “The Holy Spirit takes of the things of God and showeth them unto the creature; and these things being spiritual, they disturb the carnal and destroy it; they are revolutionary, reformatory, and—now, as aforetime—they cast out evils and heal the sick” (’01 9:22-26). And “Science is absolute and final. It is revolutionary in its very nature; for it upsets all that is not upright” (Miscellaneous Writings 99:1-2).

Let’s touch on some of the other influences and effects Mrs. Eddy ascribes to philanthropy. At the 2016 conference of Christian Science nursing organizations, we learned that a national benevolence fund for Christian Science nursing is being organized under the auspices of The Principle Foundation. Such a fund is a new possibility, with the promise of great achievements, needing the focus of fresh energies, and it surely is the result of awakened lofty desires. A national benevolence fund for Christian Science nursing has the potential for extending to others across the country, even in more remote areas, the kind of benevolent financial assistance that always has been given by Fern Lodge.

640px-View_from_Raroa_Reserve_lookout_towards_Kapiti_CoastPhilanthropy “lays the axe at the root of the tree that bringeth not forth good fruit.” Christian Science nursing is philanthropic. It offers clear, prayerful, healing assistance for those who are struggling with claims of sickness, disease, accident, mental imbalance—all fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, a Scriptural symbol of the belief that man is separated from God, Life, Mind, and subject to sin and death.

When it is rightly understood and practiced, and when it is motivated by philanthropy—by love for God and man—Christian Science nursing is a systematic, spiritual activity, and its success in healing is assured.

The board, staff, students, patients and volunteers at Fern Lodge are moved by philanthropy. And as we continue to pray, consider deeply, and put into daily practice the benevolent love for mankind that springs from God’s love for each of His children, we will see the fruits of philanthropy abundantly meeting the daily needs of everyone—meeting the needs of patients for care and financial assistance, meeting the needs of Christian Science nurses for spiritual insight and inspiration, and bringing strength and endurance coupled with joy and unending hope.

Thank you for all your support for Fern Lodge. “The good done and the good to do are his ever-present reward” (Miscellany. 288:6).

Message from the Administrator (June 2016)

June 21st, 2016

George-and-Heather-retroA few days ago I walked down the Fern Lodge hall past the living room where we hold a variety of meetings and activities, and I was touched to see a group of patients talking with Maira Vasquez, who works in the Fern Lodge kitchen and assists with patient activities. Maira was conducting our weekly hymn sing, and she and the patients were sharing stories with each other. It was a scene overflowing with affection, joy, peace, and hope. I was touched deeply. Maira recently shared with me a testimony of healing (which you may read on page 7 of this Focus). Maira’s mother and grandmother both worked at Fern Lodge in the past, so we’ve had a long and loving relationship with her family.

That group in the living room demonstrated the family feeling that characterizes Fern Lodge, and it’s more than just a feeling: it is the palpable, living presence of divine Love that comes to the hearts of mankind bearing comfort and healing. Home and family, embraced in divine Love, might be another way to understand and express the mission of Fern Lodge: Our mission is to heal.

You may already have heard of a change at Fern Lodge. Our much-loved Director of Christian Science Nursing, Heather Beck, is moving with her family to St. Louis, MO, where her two children will attend Principia Upper School. Gratefully, Lin Watts, a Christian Science nurse and long-time friend of Fern Lodge, was available at just the right time to step into the DCSN position. Lin and Heather had the opportunity to work closely together for two weeks, and the transition has been smooth, easy, and characterized by joyous expectation of continuing progress.

We will miss Heather. Her steadfast spiritual devotion, her calm and gentle presence, and her commitment to maintaining the highest standards of Christian Science nursing care have been a blessing to Fern Lodge. The atmosphere she helped to establish and maintain will continue through the coming years.

Lin is listed in The Christian Science Journal and has worked as a Christian Science nurse at Fern Lodge and in facilities all over the country, in the field as a visiting Christian Science Nurse. He served as Director of Christian Science Nursing at El Dorado Vista, in Phoenix, AZ, and as the Director of Twelveacres, a Christian Science facility in Silicon Valley, CA, that serves Christian Scientists overcoming developmental challenges. Before he was called to Christian Science nursing, Lin’s devotion to Christian care and service led him to be a Special Education teacher and coach in public schools in the Seattle, WA, area.

We appreciate your interest in the good work being done at Fern Lodge. Together we can look forward to seeing Christian Science nursing leavening mankind’s thought in regard to our care for one another. I welcome comments or questions from anyone, so please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me any time.


George Strong

Message from Heather Beck

June 21st, 2016

And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters — Genesis 1:2

Heather & Robin 1This is one of my most cherished verses in Scripture and has been for a very long time. It holds a wonderful promise for all of us, the promise of freedom and progress.

Many years ago a patient and I were walking together. She was having a great deal of difficulty and was feeling discouraged about her lack of progress. As I turned to God, this line from the Bible came to me, and I shared it with her. Then I heard myself say, “Spirit moves, and you move!” She looked at me and smiled. Her face brightened, her step quickened, and she immediately walked with more strength, determination, and freedom. The light of Truth had dispelled discouragement, and the patient and I felt the effects of Truth.

It became clear to me in that moment that we move and progress, because God is the source of all movement. We reflect the natural, inherent motion that we see expressed in nature: flowers waving in the breeze, gazelles leaping on the plain, the earth moving forward in its orbit and spinning on its axis. He impels us forward, and the direction in which He leads us is always good. We progress faster if certain qualities of thought are present – humility, flexibility, willingness, expectation, fearlessness – and God gives us the ability to express these.

If we seem to be buffeted by fear, negativity—from within or without—discouragement, a lack of willingness to progress, then we can at once refute these impositions on thought and affirm diligently who we really are: God’s fearless, happy children, filled with grace and willing to move forward, expecting to see all of God’s goodness manifested. If we do this for ourselves, we will be more poised to help others. We will be alert to any suggestions that would hinder progress.

As Christian Science nurses we can’t really afford to accept any thought that limits the freedom and holiness of the dear ones we are helping, and it is our duty to express discernment and wise judgment when it comes to encouraging progressive steps. As we develop a listening ear through daily prayer for ourselves, we will be led to suggest just the right idea to awaken thought to progress. True progress is the unfolding of right ideas and can only bless.

At Fern Lodge we see progress and growth every day. It’s so inspiring! In the past few months, we have witnessed healings of broken bones, and individuals who have gained rapidly in their ability to move freely with strength and balance. We’ve seen and continue to see the graceful flow of communication and teamwork. We see flexibility, spontaneity, and loving willingness in our dedicated staff. These are all proofs that Spirit moves and we move, and that God is with us, present, and expressing Himself in all of us.