Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mother Nature Always Wins

We just returned from a nice visit to my hometown, Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was one of the many Iowa cities flooded in the last few weeks. In many respects, CF was a little more fortunate in that the Cedar River borders the town, and just the area immediately surrounding the river was flooded. I am sure, though, this is little consolation to the families who lost their homes. On the way to Cedar Falls, we drove through Cedar Rapids. The Cedar River bisects the city and the damage was everywhere. Never, in my thirteen years in Iowa, could I have imagined such flooding. I can honestly say that flooding never entered my mind (which it does frequently in St. Louis). As we drove through Cedar Rapids, everywhere there were piles of garbage from gutted homes. While the river is back in its banks, the damage will continue for years. Loss like that is devastating for anyone, but most of the area affected was low-income. I can't imagine that many of the families had enough reserve funds to pay for hotels, mortgages, rent, new clothing, etc. People in these communities have really banded together to help, but there is so much work to do. When I was in New Orleans last fall, the slow rate in which rebuilding takes was very evident. While many of us generously donated our time and treasure, it is not enough. Rebuilding is not a one-stop shop, it is a decades long process. My heart breaks for all that these people are facing.

After witnessing these two Mother Nature driven events (and reading about so many other natural tragedies), I have been really pondering our role within nature. Obviously, we have little control over natural occurrences, but that doesn't seem to keep us from trying. We build levees, live on fault lines, on the coast, on the plains; always trying to make our homes more secure - lulling ourselves into invincibility. But, who are we really kidding? Nature is bigger then us all. She doesn't care who we are, what we own, or what hardships we are currently facing. She is indiscriminate in her destruction. There is no reason to ask why. We are all vulnerable is some way. We are all at risk in losing everything. That is why we need to be there for our neighbor that has. We are all one step away from a flood, drought, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, avalanche, etc. We need to extend a hand when we are able.

ps - I truly believe that nature is a neutral entity that provides both perceived good and bad. It is humans that try to bend the forces of nature to their will and question it when it does not respond.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Green Eye

I admit it - I really wish I was at GA. I have only been to one (St. Louis) and have wished constantly that I could go to another one. I love the feeling of being around so many open, warm, spiritual people. I find the conference extremely motivating, plus I feel more plugged into the faith as a larger entity then just my one congregation. I selfishly wish it was much closer and inexpensive. It is completely cost prohibitive for my family of five to go and almost so for just my husband and I (especially when you tally in room and board). I know there is very little they can do about the price - but a girl can dream (or at least watch the streaming video)!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I've been Podcasted!

If you are dying to hear my sermon from the CMwD District Assembly, they have posted a podcast on their website. If you listen really closely, you can hear one of my kids crying in the background. Just like the phone, as soon as you start recording, someone needs something! I assure you, he was just fine. Nothing like a personal touch to make it seem real!



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summer Services

Today was the first summer service of our church year. Who was the speaker? Yep, me. My husband and I joked that when we first started attending services, NEVER, EVER, would we lead a summer service. Now, eight years later, here I am leading one. Oh, how times change.

I was asked to present the sermon I had given at District Assembly. I have to admit that it was kind of fun getting the opportunity to choose all the songs and readings that I wanted. I really enjoyed planning the service and was much less nervous giving the sermon than I was at DA. I had the usual "constructive" criticism of speaking more slowly, but overall it was well received.

As I have mentioned on previous posts, I still have mixed thoughts about summer services. I appreciated the opportunity to speak and have heard some great lay-lead services, but it is so hit and miss. I wonder if any of you have guidelines or instructional tools you use for helping people lead services. I also am still uncomfortable with the tradition of UU minister's taking the whole summer "off". I really feel for the stability, coherence, and growth of the congregation, the minister should have a visible presence.

I would love to hear any of your thoughts on summer or lay-lead services.

Friday, June 20, 2008


How did you get to be eight so fast?! Where did the time go? I am so lucky to have such a smart, creative, beautiful, caring daughter. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Triskaidekaphobia and the Baby Carrot Mystery

I LOVE Friday the 13th. When I was younger, a friend and I would try to tempt the fates on this day. We looked up every "bad luck" thing you could do and tried to do them all on that day. For instance: walk under a ladder, have a black cat walk in front of us, and put shoes on the table. I am sure there were even more obscure ones, but my older mind has drawn a blank. Obviously, I made it. When I was in college, I lived in room 313 and my phone extension was 1313. If there was any sort of time to be superstitious, this was it. Fortunately, I chose to embrace this number and it has only brought me luck (well, at least not bad luck). I often think of Hermione Granger's wise words "fear of saying a name only increases the fear." That is how I feel about Friday the 13....

Second, it has come to my attention that there are quite of few people out there who believe baby carrots are actually baby carrots. Two good friends of mine recently looked at me in disbelief when I revealed the baby carrot secret. I hope I am not shattering any strong beloved beliefs, but baby carrots are actually "grown-up" carrots whittled down. Follow this link to their interesting beginnings as a way to be less wasteful to a marketing behemoth.

Have a great Friday the 13!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Becoming Centered

First Embroidery Lesson

I am slowly letting the stress of working outside the home roll off me. The kids and I are just hanging around without any of the obligations the school year brought. It has been wonderful. I have actually cooked a couple decent meals, made pies, read a book, and taught the kids some basic embroidery. All on my own time. I am also feeling so grateful that I even have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I know so many mothers don't have the option and I have no idea how I got so lucky. So I send a big shout out of THANKS to God/Mother Earth/The mysterious Spirit/Fate!