Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Day! Jill is free!


(Jill and her sister, Katie: photos from The Christian Science Monitor)

Incredible news!!!! We will be hearing about this for a long, long time. I am posting all of Natasha's blog on this happy day!

from Jill's friend Natasha
March 30, 2006
Jill is released!!
We have received word that Jill has been released. The Italian News Agency, ANSA (in Italian), which Jill used to work for, is reporting that Jill was released about one hour ago (here "roughly" translated from the Italian), that's around 5:00 am EST. The news is now percolating down into the news agencies. We are making contacts and verifying this information. More updates will come as we know them.

UPDATE: We now have confirmation of this release from the Christian Science Monitor team. We are both still stunned by this tremendous news. All the prayers and good wishes have been answered. We are simply overwhelmed by this amazing, fantastic, tremendously wonderful news!!

UPDATE 2: The US Embassy in Baghdad has been unable to confirm her release but the CSM is reporting that she has talked to her family, confirming her release: "She was released this morning, she’s talked to her father and she’s fine," said David Cook, Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor.

UPDATE 3: The US military cannot confirm that Jill is inside Baghdad's noted "Green zone," the protected inner sanctum, or at least they are hesitant to say anything until they can confirm she is safe and protected. It is notable that she is reported to have been "released" but not "rescued," meaning a group -- the group -- decided to release her. Was it Katie's statement? Who knows, but the timing seems to suggest as much. Meanwhile, the phone is ringing off the hook with interview requests. Everyone is just overwhelmed as we do our best to get our head around all of this. To all of you calling us, we'd really like for the family to be given a chance to digest this and to make an official statement. As for us, we are absolutely overwhelmed, ecstatic ... over the moon with joy!

UPDATE 4: Word is now that Jill is inside the Green Zone and is being given a health checkup. Jill has apparently made a statement saying she was unsure why she was abducted but that she was treated well by her captors. The State Department is now weighing in, confirming her release, with a spokesperson saying: "I can confirm her release. This is great news...we are very pleased." Jill was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group, "She is healthy and we handed her over to the Americans," Nasir al-Ani, a party member, told The Associated Press. Shout it from the rooftops: Jill is FREE!!

UPDATE 5: Jill's father appeared on NBC News and made a statement: "We are thrilled and relieved at the safe return of my daughter," he said on the "Today" show. "We want to thank the thousands of people that prayed and especially the people at The Christian Science Monitor who did so much to keep her alive."


UPDATE 7: Jill's family has released a wonderful statement following Jill's release:
Our hearts are full. We are elated by Jill's safe release. We would like to thank all of the generous people around the world who worked officially or unofficially, especially those who took personal risks, to gain Jill's release. We are also very grateful for the support of the Iraqi people, who have shown the world a deep compassion for Jill's situation, and members of the press in Baghdad.
Finally, we cannot say enough about the outstanding staff at The Christian Science Monitor, who provided us information and emotional support from the very start of this harrowing experience.
Our priority now, of course, is helping Jill to recover from her ordeal. We ask that the media respect our privacy and desire to focus on Jill's well-being. When we feel the time is appropriate, we will release more details about her experience. Finally, our thoughts are with the families of others still being held hostage in Iraq, and we hope that their loved ones will soon return safely to them.
~ Katie, Jim, Mary Beth -- and Jill -- Carroll


Posted by Natasha at 06:25 AM in Jill Carroll Permalink Comments (10) TrackBack (0) Email this post

Stay tuned to any media for updates!!

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Celebrating International Women's Day and the US National Women's History Month

Is this a great picture or what?? However, I noticed that there are no Anglos in this picture! Check out the Global Fund for Women - a progressive organization working to support women worldwide. I wanted to get something in these last days of this special month. I have some very fond memories of past National Women's History Month and International Women's Day.

My favorite National Women's History Month event actually happened when the rest of the world was celebrating International Women's Day earlier in March.

Around the world, a number of Christian Science Reading Rooms (specialty bookstores selling Mary Baker Eddy's writings and publications) had put up posters about Mary Baker Eddy, the author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The posters were written in various languages and said "This Woman Never Gave Up."

(See Christian Science Reading Room website for more details)

At the time, I was working for the publisher of The Writings of Mary Baker Eddy and we were collecting accounts of how this message was resonating around the world.

We got one report from a woman researcher in Ghana and she commented "Every woman in Ghana can relate to Mary Baker Eddy." I received two almost identical reports one day, each telling how a woman came into the Reading Room, attracted by the poster, heard Mary Baker Eddy's life story and cried, saying "This woman's life is my life." These two women were from Argentina and from Australia.

A bookstore manager from Uruguay said, "Latin American women are fighters. That is why we relate so well to Mary Baker Eddy."

And a rather indignant reply from a woman in India, a senior member of a prestigous ecumenical group. "You are asking me if I know Mary Baker Eddy? She is a pioneer and I respect here. She was the first one to put forth a scientific Christianity. She helped people to heal themselves before anyone else did. Of course I know Mary Baker Eddy."

A woman from Spain was healed of cancer through Christian Science, not first from reading Science and Health, but by reading about the author. "I had to know that Mary Baker Eddy was not just being hypothetical in her book. When I read about her life, I knew that the ideas in her book were practical because she proved them."

As we close this month in the US with a quiet celebration of women, I am so very happy I got to celebrate MB Eddy's amazing life with so many people from around the world. AND I got to celebrate the stamina and persistence of women, worldwide, who "never give up" to nurture and nurse our children and our earth into future generations. Now THAT is a blessing for all mankind.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Don't always believe what you think

(see Jill Carroll update below)

Have you ever heard this? That most of the thoughts that come to us aren't original. We may pick up another's thought ( example: they cry, so we start crying). Fear, the constant commercialism around us and even empathy can lead us to adopting thoughts that are not our own. Movies are great manipulators of thought. (Not that this alone will stop me from seeing movies!)

I remember going to meet someone for the first time, and when I did, my first impression was not favorable. I had no reason to feel this way. Fortunately, I was able to catch that and literally disclaim that thought as my own. This helped establish this working relationship on a good basis and we had a very productive experience together.

But it was telling. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes,

Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously. When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion, or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.

Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them. The issues of pain or pleasure must come through mind, and like a watchman forsaking his post, we admit the intruding belief, forgetting that through divine help we can forbid this entrance.

This in itself was pretty mind-blowing to me! We can have that much discipline of thought to determine what is an original thought and what isn't. It also occurred to me how important it is to distinguish between the two.

Original thought comes in the form of inspiration and even revelation. Being able to detect the origins of our thoughts helps to protect us from contagion, fear and group think as well as fine-tunes our ability to listen to innovative solutions.

Original thought is refreshing. Ideas that feel tiresome are probably not original, but ideas that cause you to grow, to see things in a new way, that hit home, probably are.

A discipline worth knowing!

Click here for an update on Jill Carroll from the Christian Science Monitor,
here for the website of one of
Jill's friends that includes
English translations of other Arabic news articles when available,
and here for a
healing thrust to these current events.

Please add your own comments or email this article to a friend.
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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Marion, Middle East peace and church ladies

(Jill Carroll update below)

Marion had almost 80 years in this life. She had three stubborn and wonderful children she loved passionately. All three of them carried on her legacy of love for all of what nature had to offer, for family and friends and for public service.

Her memorial service was a rich celebration of her life. After the service, her fellow church lady friends swarmed around the church kitchen and dining room, making sure that everyone had enough hot dish (a Midwestern US staple), strong coffee in china cups and dessert bars. We were all united by Marion’s love in one way or the other. Meeting more of Marion’s friends reminded me of how multi-faceted and connected we all are to one another.

A large group for peace in the Middle East gathered to pray together a few days ago and I was one of them. After hearing prayers in Arabic, Hebrew and then English, we listened to a Muslim’s interpretation of Salaam, a rabbi’s understanding of Shalom and a Christian’s plea for Peace. We are all united in our love for the one God and by the teachings of Abraham. Abraham is described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:


Fidelity; faith in the divine life and in the eternal Principle
of being.
This patriarch illustrated the purpose of Love to create trust in good, and showed the life-preserving power of spiritual understanding.

After the prayer service, an army of church ladies spread out a table of cookies, dessert bars – enough to feed us a few times over. And there was plenty of strong coffee served, of course, in china cups.

When Jesus says, “The meek shall inherit the earth,” I think of church ladies. Quietly, they attend to the memorial of a loved friend and to the burgeoning possibilities for world peace.

They make sure everyone is included, fed and that the stage is set appropriately for happy discourse. The hot dish has crushed corn flakes on it “to make it look pretty” says one church lady, and the program flyer has all the names and Muslim, Jewish and Christian prayers spelled correctly.

The dignity, humility and efficiency of their efforts support all of our efforts, big and small, that highlight our deep love for one another and our aching for peace for all mankind.

Shared greeting of Peace/Shalom/Salaam

May God bless you and keep you.
May God walk with you and protect you.
May God's face turn to you and grant you a long life in peace and justice.

Yivarechecha adonai v’yishmarech.
Ya’air adonai panav evlechaa v’yichunecha.
Yi’sa adonai panav avlecha v’yasaim l’cha shalom.

O Allah, You are peace.
Through You flows peace.
May all Your creation in this world live forever and ever in peace and happiness. Amen.

Click here for an update on Jill Carroll from the Christian Science Monitor,
here for the website of one of Jill's friends that includes
English translations of other Arabic news articles when available,
and here for a healing thrust to these current events.
Please add your own comments or email this article to a friend.
For more information, visit or contact Kim directly via skype!
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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Doubt - apathy - mediocrity and the incisive removal of them

In the transition of winter to spring, we have mud, snow turned gray, cloudy days. It is a perfect time to confront mediocrity, doubt and apathy. Yeah!

Some time ago, I was struggling with self doubt. It wasn't easy to detect at first. It came in subtle suggestions like "I can't hear God" " I am not good enough" and the taunting "It doesn't matter anyway." Then, a series of mistaken events happened, nothing earth-shattering, but enough so that it whispered, "I have failed" and "I am forgotten."

None of this of course made any sense. My life was zipping along with family and work. But I noticed that it was getting harder to feel inspired, I was tired more often and soon I had lost a good deal of my initiative. Soon there were a number of small financial issues that came up that were snarly and required hours of digging up small details to prove that we did indeed pay our bills in a timely manner. Bo-o-o-o-ring.

Doubt, I figured, is similar to disease -- a dis- ease or uneasiness. Self-doubt is even more self absorbing. It is like depression only not as severe -- like a recession of thought. With this little army of esteem breakers coming at me faster and faster, I soon got better at detecting these nagging suggestions, and got ready to do battle with them.

Mary Baker Eddy uses a term that helps to explain the soup of opinions and thoughts that we sometimes catch ourselves swirling around in. She calls it mortal mind. These opinions of dis-ease, mal-adjustment, and circuitous thinking make up mortal mind. Mortal mind creates its own conditions, and then tries to manage them at the same level. It does this by replacing bad thoughts with happy accommodating thoughts, agreeing to accept what is mediocre or sub-standard, or developing systems of coping instead of healing and transformation. For instance, it justifies the cause of depression/recession and then tries to manage it at the same level.

MB Eddy stands up to this. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (p421) she writes THERE IS NO DISEASE. Crash! Just saying this breaks through the ruminating acceptance of discomfort and mediocrity. THERE IS NO DISEASE. Therein lies the healing. MBE 's bold statement -- there is no disease -- helped me to break through this miasma of thought to go deeper than the superficial whitecaps of human experience to the "strong, calm currents of true spirituality" (p99) that lie deep below the surface and gets to the fundamental basis and purity of being.

Doubt, apathy, mediocrity - these phantoms that nip at progress can effectively be stopped and removed! Just giving one's consent that this is possible is a ground breaking idea. This, of course, should be followed closely with a wide open expectation for good to happen. Healing doubt starts by deliberately expecting good.

The opposite of discouragement is gratitude. FAR from a Pollyanna attitude, you deliberately take your thought to another place - of gratitude, expectation. We claim, we stand, we place ourselves in the place where God places us: in God's unfailing and constant presence.

God's gifts of grace, innovation, genius, brilliance are enduring. God never loses sight of this and never loses hold of His children's pure identity. We are that very expression of grace, innovation, genius and brilliance. This is who we are and where we stand.

When we confront the doubt, expose it to the light - we see the light and confirm God's glorious creation.

Infinite possibilities.

If we can read it, we can say it.
If we can say it, we can see it.

The good news is that winter always turns to spring. Our once quiet lives of winter break up and we see we are on fertile ground - whatever the weather!

I am glad to say that just by writing this blog I have been able to lift this veil of mediocrity. The sun has just come out coincidently. Hope this has brought some light to your day as well.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

In love with Argentina

I worked with a publisher introducing its books to markets all over the world. Now I can say I have favorite bookstores all over the world. But most noteworthy are the bookstores in Latin America (see Mexico - Otro Lugar de la Mancha in Polanco; Argentina - El Ateneo in Buenos Aires; Uruguay - La Mosca in Montevideo).

Curiously, when I was working in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, I just kind of felt like I was falling in love. What was it? Falling in love with being in another country? with the language? with being out of my office? I definitely loved with the teams of reps that I worked with ( awesome crew!) But it still feels pretty hard to pinpoint. What was it exactly that drew me in?

I'll start with Argentina. Argentina reminded me of an elegant older woman. Although struck heavily by the economic crisis in 2001-2002, the Italian architecture, the street tango, the pride of the people I met and the insistence that art thrive in this difficult time all added up to a romance that remains a mystery to me.

I got this picture almost by accident from this blog: The couple could be dancing on the cobbled streets of Florida Avenida in Buenos Aires where I often saw them.

I picked up a few oil paintings and black and white photos of couples dancing the tango in Buenos Aires. It brings back its charm and my ongoing query to figure out Argentina.

I have to laugh. Still can't explain it. But something about the focus, the self-contained pride, the contrast of tradition with the modern, the beauty and accessibility of this street tango captures much of what I have loved about my brush with Argentina. (BTW, the tango in Argentina is quite different then the popular tango danced in the US. Much more footwork and finesse.)

But -- of course -- Science and Health comes to my rescue and helps me articulate this feeling I have for Argentina, and even all of what I have learned about Latin America.
...and the light of ever-present Love illumines the universe. Hence the eternal wonder, -- that infinite space is peopled with God's ideas, reflecting him in countless spiritual forms.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Eating well so that others may eat well

(Jill Carroll update below)

If one were to mix all these qualities together for an ideal business: innovation, enlightened motives, a few solutions to multiple world problems, commitment to increase global health, responsibility and accountability, and then come up with a business that does all those things - I think you would end up with CalTransfer.

As they state in their website,

"Calorie Transfer (or CalTransfer) is a concept that will unite the first world’s interest in dieting and healthy eating and the more common third world worry about where the next meal is coming from. Calorie Transfer is a very simple concept.

  • For every calorie removed from a diet in the 1 st world, one or more calories should be added to someone’s diet in the third world.
  • For every dollar spent on slimming products, health foods or vitamins, a cent should be contributed to third world nutrition.

The aim is to generate interest in world hunger at a personal level for as many people as possible and also provide mechanisms where funds can be generated on a regular basis for hunger relief and development programs."

This is a very new, very ambitious project. Medscape, (a part of WebMD) has an even more detailed account of this growing company. (Click here to read it.) I don't know if the people at CalTransfer realize it, but this business concept demonstrates a biblical concept from the New Testament.

"But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality." - II Cor 8:14

This has piqued my interest. I have gone up and down in my weight. When I get stressed, I lose weight, and when I am happy, I gain weight. Well, I have been happy... really happy. And now that many of my clothes don't fit well, I am back at the weight losing game. I have lost heart in this game mainly because losing weight seems so self-centered, so focussed on physical appearance, focus on daily details of my intake of food. It makes me feel like I am a hamster in a lab, doing continuous self analysis. It also seemed absurd that the whole obesity problem exists, whereas in other parts of the world, there is hunger and famine.

But the concept that CalTransfer brings, eating well mindfully and with purpose - to help alleviate hunger in areas where this is a challenge and to curb excessiveness in areas where this is a challenge - this concept is well worth looking into. It involves high ideals and nourishes the spirit. I love it!

I had to chuckle when reading about CalTransfer. I immediately thought, "Oh this is just like Mary Baker Eddy's quote 'The rich in (calories) help the poor in (calories) in one grand brotherhood'!" Actually, her full quote is much more encompassing of the equality of all who are a part of the "one grand brotherhood" ! On page 518 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriputres, Mary Baker Eddy writes,

The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother's need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another's good. Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud. All the varied expressions of God reflect health, holiness, immortality — infinite Life, Truth, and Love.

Click here for an update on Jill Carroll from the Christian Science Monitor,
here for the website of one of
Jill's friends that includes English
translations of other Arabic news articles when available,
and here for a
healing thrust to these current events.

Please add your own comments or email this article to a friend.
For more information, visit or contact Kim directly via skype!
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Monday, March 06, 2006

Pausing to feel the love of God

(See below for Jill Carroll update)

It seemed a bit odd to take a break and go to this retreat. But the prayer team that I have recently joined at our local hospital was putting it on, and I was drawn to it.

I have recently committed myself to learning one new thing about God every day, and this retreat was a good beginning point.

Central to the retreat was a study of the Exodus in the Old Testament. As we got to know one another, and settled in comfortable chairs, the retreat started. A nun with dark eyes and a wide smile, started talking about the Exodus story, slowly weaving into it current stories of her life and encouraging others to share stories from their lives and how it paralleled the Exodus story.

It was quite lovely --- sun streaming in and all.

Tto make the connection with Moses' life and ours, was to see that we are all called. We are called, invited, protected and nurtured by an infinite God , whom we know relatively little about and will spend most of our lives working to understand. This is big stuff.

In trust we move forward.
Sometimes reluctantly, like Moses, who apparently couldn't speak worth a darn. Or sometimes, with an ego that says, "It's about time I was called! I have QUALIFICATIONS!!"
But it is the meekness that God seems to favor. The meek are those who KNOW they have to lean on God in order to get the job done.

To talk to God, Moses took off his shoes.
Taking off one's shoes, you feel the ground. It is a recognition of entering a sacred space. Isn't it encouraging to think that you can put yourself in the presence of God, just by recognizing that now - this time, right here, is a sacred space. When we are together, when I am with a patient, we are in a sacred space. "If I am present with the song" my friends can feel this.

God calls you.
Or as I saw it, God calls me. He calls me by my name. He knows me. God confirms me.
The idea that we each have a divine imprint is an idea that many spiritual thinkers have embraced. Even now, the idea of each person "being wired for spirituality", or having a divine imprint is being embraced in many forms of health care, as well as in organized religion and with independent spiritual seekers.

But regardless of the growing popular thought, the idea that God knows me hits home. I know that this is true. God treats each one of His ideas, His children as a world within itself. I also know, inexplicably so, that the key to understanding this is the key to understanding peace among individuals, and among nations.

Moses was called from something to something.
So we are called from something to something. I was recently laid off from a job from which I still feel a sense of awe. I also felt that when the job was done, it was done. If I was called from that one wonderful thing, I can see that I am now being called toward something. I gained a huge chunk of peace just knowing -- and affirming -- that God never stops calling us from one wonderful thing to another.

God loves us. Really, really loves us. The Sister's face was never more animated as when she explained how much God loves us. Meister Echkart, 12th Century Christian mystic, was quoted as saying that God is 1000 times more eager to give what we are much less eager to receive.

And on this note, we closed, each one pausing, then stating just how much God loves each one of us. It was affirming, it was nourishing. Then we all put our proverbial shoes back on and went out.

Click here for an update on Jill Carroll from the Christian Science Monitor,
here for the website of one of Jill's friends that includes English
translations of other Arabic news articles when available,
and here for a healing thrust to these current events.

Please add your own comments or email this article to a friend.
For more information, visit or contact Kim directly via skype!
Call me!

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