Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Modern Harp

I have now mastered (easy version) the Star Wars theme on the harp!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Growing Up

My baby read his first book today!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Day's Work...

Applesauce and Jalapeno Jelly

I worked all afternoon on these eleven jars. I feel like for all the effort in picking, washing, chopping, and boiling, I should have at least five times this! I love canning, but sometimes I wish it didn't require so much work. I have to keep reminding myself that I will appreciate it in January!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Creeds Part II

Thank you for all the comments. They brought up a lot of interesting points. I have been really pondering what it means to have a creed. I do agree that the seven principles are not a creed. I like how Ogre describes them as "approximations of values which we...share." Additionally, Allogenes describes them as "resolutions to behave a certain way." I can agree with this. I like how they both worded what the principles mean to them, of which I will work into my lexicon. Bill also notes that they are so vague that they just become muddied. Another true point. I guess I have always liked having them. I feel like they are a starting point in describing our faith.

I am, though, still not convinced that it is bad to have a creed. Ogre had made the point that creeds were traditionally used to define people as believers or unbelievers - us and them. I see that. But, I sort of feel that we already do that on an informal level. While we claim to accept people where ever they are on their path - do we really make it easy for someone who is very ideologically different from us feel at home? I sometimes feel that we have an unspoken and not so subtle creed. Why not formalize it so it reflects the best of UU thought? Whether we like it or not, we do give off cues as to whether UU is the right place for a potential congregant. Of course we try to be inclusive as possible, but in reality, it is not the right place for everyone. Why not try to capture its spirit within a creed? Maybe it could be a wonderful unifying document.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are Creeds so bad?

I am loosely following various blogger comments about our seven principles and the proposed revisions. I am stuck wondering, though, is it so bad to have a creed? Why does that bother people so much? Is it the word "creed" or is it because people don't want to feel like they have to commit to something as a group? I, personally, feel like the principles are open enough that just about any sort of UU could feel at home with them. I am not sure what is so bad about having a unifying statement. I know we claim to be a faith of "deeds not creeds", but why can't there be a creed and deeds? Why are they considered mutually exclusive? I feel that I am in the minority about this, but feel free to chime in with your thoughts and I may be swayed!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Rain?

What to do when it rains 7 inches?

Have a mud party, silly!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Music and the Harp

My son recently started taking harp lessons. I can not tell you how excited I am. When I was in elementary school, I also played the harp. Unfortunately, being in a small town in Iowa, there was only one harp teacher and she was mean. I tried to stick with it, but there is only so much a child can take - thus I transitioned to the clarinet. I enjoy the clarinet and still play in a woodwind quintet, but it isn't the same. This past week I have been playing his lap (beginner) harp. I love leaning my head on the sound board and feeling the vibrations of the strings. The sound is so beautiful. I understand why music is healing. It has brought a lot of joy to me this week. I hope it brings him the same joy.

Monday, September 8, 2008


The church year got off to a great start. With it, I started a new volunteer position as Membership Coordinator. I am pretty excited about this as I have felt our welcoming efforts have been very scattered and disjointed. We have some wonderful, dedicated volunteers doing various aspects of guest welcoming, but the effort lacks an overall, cohesive plan. I hope to remedy this! We are a medium-large congregation with a very strong Religious Education program (which brings most newcomers to us). I hope to, along with the RE director, coordinate our efforts to get the family connected and involved in the church as a whole. I am going to try really hard not to let new members fall through the cracks and help them find their niche within the congregation.

I would be very interested in hearing success stories you might have or experienced in making newcomers feel welcome and engaged.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Goodbye Chocolate Chip

Our beloved hermit crab Chocolate Chip has passed on. He was brought home from the Montessori for the summer and only lived with us for a few months this year and last summer. It was enough time for us to grow quite fond of him. We have had bad luck with school pets. Last summer while keeping the school's hamster (whom we affectionately named Vanilla Ice), it also died on us. Why? I like to think that we are careful animal sitters - we have had a dog for 13 years!

Our middle child is very sensitive to loss. He takes them very personally and very hard. I have chosen not to tell him for a couple of days. Tomorrow is the first day of school and that alone will be tough enough for him. He has difficulty with change and I can't bear to add to his challenges. While he knows death is a part of life, he has always been acutely aware of its finality. So we will wait and have a ceremony for Chocolate Chip that honor's what he meant to our family and especially my son.

I would love to hear any traditions you might have for the loss of a pet.