Tag Archives: prayer

Need some motivation?

By Camille Pruvost

“Mind alone possesses all faculties, perception, and comprehension.”

– Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy 488:23 –

It’s that time of the year again. Papers and projects have begun piling up, the sun is setting at 5:00pm, the weather has turned chilly, and you’re soooooooo done with school. But before you start dreaming of turkey and Christmas trees, remember those papers aren’t going to write themselves!  If you’re having a difficult time motivating yourself to start working, here are a few tips to kick yourself into gear:

#1 Stop dwelling on it!

Thinking about how much work you have left to do isn’t going to make it magically disappear. I know, college life is tough. But seriously, stop thinking about it. Having a lot of obstacles isn’t a problem if you know how to react to obstacles. It is what you do that makes you successful or not.

#2 Clean your room

Dead serious. Put on some funky music with a beat, throw in a load of laundry, organize your desk, sweep the floor, and make your bed. While cleaning your room isn’t as intimidating as a paper (I hope), it gets you up and moving forward. Plus, an organized room is usually more conducive to productivity.

#3 Grab a bite to eat

When was the last time you ate? Was it nutritious? Set yourself up for success and feed yourself! At least make it a snack of yogurt, nuts, or fruit.

#4 Take a gratitude walk

Nothing like a brisk walk in chilly air to wake you up and get the blood pumping. While you’re strolling along, make a list of all the things/people you’re grateful for and why. Spend some time feeling this sense of gratitude. Think about how amazing you’re going to feel when you finally finish that paper. Happiness in the present is requisite for success in the future.

#5 Take a shower

Sometimes, that’s all you need.

#6 Block all social media

Drastic times call for drastic measures. Take the plunge, and block off all social media and websites that drain your time (ahem, Netflix).

#7 You’ve got this!

Finally, realize that you can do this. Motivation will never come from outside of you. Ultimately, you’ve got to make a choice. The good news is that you are fully capable of finishing the semester strong and with a smile on your face.

Camille Pruvost is a Christian Science nurse in her junior year majoring in music and minoring in religion. Her music ministry serves to inspire faith and to facilitate ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. This winter she will be traveling to Vienna, Prague, and Paris on the Music abroad to further her studies.

Writing for the Christian Science periodicals

by Jeff Ward-Bailey

Writing a testimony or an article for the Christian Science Sentinel or Journal can be a lot of fun — because you’re sharing a healing that really made a difference in your life, or a spiritual concept that has spoken to you deeply. But it can also be challenging to feel like you’re describing your inspiration accurately, and in a way that will be easily understood by other readers.

I’ve been working as a staff editor at the Sentinel for a little over four years, working with authors — everyone from long-time Christian Science teachers to new Christian Scientists writing their first articles — to publish in print and on the web. I do a lot of work with teen authors, as well, and as you might imagine I sometimes get submissions from Principians sharing their experiences! I’ve found there are a few elements that really make articles and testimonies sing. So if you’re struggling to write about a healing, you might find these points helpful:

  • It’s okay to sound like you! It’s easy to assume that “writing spiritually” means “writing in the style of Mary Baker Eddy” — using flowery language, liberally sprinkling phrases like “malicious animal magnetism,” and employing words like “illume” and “infinitude.” There’s nothing wrong with these conventions per se, but a testimony or article is often much clearer if it’s written in a more straightforward style. Think of the way you’d describe a healing to a friend who isn’t familiar with Christian Science. You probably wouldn’t drop a buzzword like “chemicalization” without explaining what it means, right? Simplifying your writing — and not feeling the need to conform to 1880s-era literary conventions — often makes for a stronger piece.
  • There’s no quota on quotes. Sometimes people assume that there need to be a certain number of quotes from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in their piece. By all means, if a certain passage jumped off the page at you, you should talk about it in your article! But you should never feel pressured to shoehorn a quote in to your piece if it really doesn’t apply.
  • Try to strike a balance. Many successful articles and testimonies include both a narrative (a healing or experience) and solid metaphysics. If your piece has both these elements, think about using the narrative as a framework and weaving the spiritual details in — in other words, maybe you could talk a little bit about a healing or experience you had, then use the spiritual lesson you learned from that experience as a jumping-off point to make a broader metaphysical argument. Feel free to include whatever details you want to communicate with the audience!
  • Don’t sweat it! All the editors at the magazines are happy to hear from contributors. You shouldn’t feel nervous about sending in a piece, even if you don’t feel that it’s perfectly written. The editors are happy to work with authors one-on-one to get a piece sounding just right. And you wouldn’t believe how many strong pieces I’ve received from people who really didn’t think of themselves as writers!

The wonderful thing about Sentinel and Journal articles is that they’re all written because the author had an amazing experience or insight and wanted to communicate it with others. If you let that desire to share be your guide as you’re writing, you can’t go wrong.

This guest post is from Jeff Ward-Bailey, who was a Principia College writing tutor before he became a staff editor at the Christian Science Sentinel about four years ago.

Capstone conquest

by EliSabeth Bancroft Wessel Meindl

Capstone.

We’ve all heard it, a lot of us know it as an old friend, or sordid enemy. And regardless of your relationship with it—whether you’re just getting to know it, talking about it, or already heavily involved with it, it’s a big deal. The secret that I want to let you in on is that (come closer)—it’s not. That final capstone product is made up of a dozen (okay, or more) little things that are completely in your grasp, even through blurred vision of sleepless nights.

Here are ten tips to help the process!

  1. Stay focused, go back to that contract and your advisor as many times as you need to make sure you’re not veering off the path of intent. You will find many tangents that could easily become their own capstones, so remember to keep your topic and purpose in focus. When I was first attending Principia I was in a class where there was a huge assignment due at the end of the term. We had been working on it the entire semester, and about three weeks out I was still unable to pull this thing to a manageable paper. So I met with my professor, who was kind enough to be blunt and tell me that I was ignoring the assignment. That’s why I was struggling. It happens, we get side tracked, so be aware of this pitfall and don’t waste your time.
  2. Be honest—with yourself and with your advisor. There is no person out there who is looking for you to fail, especially your capstone guide, so be willing to let go of the fear that you haven’t done all he or she has asked and keep recognizing that you are doing God’s work just as much as your own work. It’s our job to be obedient to the one Mind, and part of that is humility. If you’re struggling, talk to your advisor!
  3. Write what you know. That can’t be said enough! Write down all the things you know, and when you get stuck, sit down and write what you know again.  This will help you break writer’s block and give a fresh perspective or tone to your own “voice” in the writing, because there on the paper will be all those facts you’ve picked up during this project in your own words.
  4. Outline. The same five-paragraph paper outline they taught me in high school was where I started my 60-page capstone, and you know what? It totally helped. It gave me a simple starting place, and kept me focused in a logical direction. Point, sub-point, sub-point, repeat. There will be more than five paragraphs, and more than two sub-points, but creating a simple “form” to plug your information into it will help you organize your thoughts and all those factoids you’ve learned.
  5. Don’t pre-edit; it doesn’t help anyone. If you’re so distracted by the sentence you just typed that you’re not paying attention to the next one you’re putting down, you are pulling focus from every good idea you’re reflecting.  Just put the words down and let them sit together. Stay attentive to the ones you are writing and get through the whole idea before returning to check your commas or seeing if there’s a different adjective you would prefer to use. These are all important things, but they come later.
  6. Save multiple drafts. Label them any way you want, but don’t limit yourself to just one draft that you change again and again, because tomorrow you may realize that the silly idea you typed today was actually brilliant, but you can’t quite remember it. I went through 20+ drafts of my capstone. No, you don’t need 20 versions, but for me it was helpful to just “Save As” every time I went in to make changes or continue writing.
  7. You do have enough information. Don’t over-research. Write! So what if you have some holes—get the paper down and see what kind of Swiss cheese you’ve made and then go back and look for specific answers. But what if you don’t have enough information? Go back to your main sources: who are their sources? Go find them. It’s a good place to start if you haven’t already been there, but get it all down on paper first to find out
  8. Take breaks. Writing for 16 hours is impressive but highly unproductive. Set timers, use other homework as the balance, and tell yourself, “I’ll do 30 minutes of capstone, then 30 minutes of [blank].” After a 45-minute session with your capstone, stand up, walk around, and stare at something farther away than your computer screen. It will help you stay focused, and you won’t feel like your trapped under the never-ending project.
  9. Use technology for good. Install a blocker on your search engine that gives you five minutes to surf the Web in-between 25-minute blocks of Internet lockdown.
  10. Breathe. You’re going to do this.

Elisabeth Meindl resides in Bellville, Texas, and is a current MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts student at Goddard College. Last semester she completed and turned in her religion major capstone at Principia College.

Remember who’s the author!

by Heather Libbe

Every single experience we have, be it academic or otherwise, provides opportunities to learn more about the allness of God and our oneness with Mind. Remembering who is the author is the best writing “advice” I can give!

During spring quarter of my junior year at Principia College, I learned a very valuable lesson that has stuck with me ever since. I found myself very overwhelmed by a personal situation with a friend off-campus, and this caused me to quickly fall very behind in my work. I felt like I was just digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole looking at all my assignments piling up. One afternoon I couldn’t even get myself out of bed. As I was sobbing to myself and hit a point where all I could think was “I can’t do this,” I heard an angel message that I will never forget: “You know, Heather, you’re right—you can’t do this.”

I’ve found that idea to go really well with this Bible passage: “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). At the time, I was trying to do it all on my own, which, of course, seemed overwhelming. So I was very grateful to be woken up to the fact that I was not doing the doing. God was!

Needless to say, I was humbled.

Four years later, I was in a similar situation with a graduate school paper that needed to be written. I just couldn’t seem to make any progress with it. I had read the entire book that I needed to in order to complete the assignment but felt as though I didn’t even know where to begin. I was overwhelmed by the topic, length, deadline, and so on.

I explained all this to a friend who asked how things were going as we randomly ran into each other in a Boston crosswalk that afternoon. He shared an idea from Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that I’ve held to ever since: “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create. The creations of mortal mind are material. Immortal spiritual man alone represents the truth of creation” (262). Those four statements really woke me up to rediscover that divine Mind was completing the assignment and I was just there to reflect. As I prayed with that idea and sought to be Mind’s scribe as opposed to thinking of myself as a creator, the heaviness of the assignment just lifted and I completed it with joy. I think I even got a high mark on it, too.

Now, whenever I need to write something, be it in correspondence, an article for the Christian Science periodicals, or a piece for an organization, I continuously remind myself—before, during and after—who is really the Author. As the image and likeness of Mind, I am at one with the source of all creativity and intelligence.

Moreover, how wonderful it is to know that

  • Perfect grammar reflects Principle
  • Creative new ideas reflect Mind
  • A well-thought-out format reflects Soul
  • Different punctuation marks reflect Spirit
  • Diversity of word choice reflects Life
  • Proper citing reflects Truth
  • Editing an assignment before handing it in reflects Love

Starting and ending with prayer, with some prayer in between, has helped me over the past few years complete assignments with ease. Writing has also become even more enjoyable because it is exciting to see how the final product reflects all those beautiful spiritual qualities such as order, intelligence, logic, right reasoning, knowledge, and flow.

Happy reflecting, everyone!

This guest post is from Heather K. Libbe, CS, who was a writing tutor before graduating from Principia College in 2011. She is a Christian Science practitioner who is currently in Australia.