Thursday, October 30, 2008

Falling Flat on My Face.... of the many perils of walking at night!*

*At least no one could see me ;-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Church Community

Last year I felt really estranged from our large church. While I still attended, I dramatically scaled back on my volunteer commitments. I felt burned-out and frustrated with certain aspects of the church. I needed a break and time to regroup and refocus on what is important to me about my church. I had some hard feelings that I needed to work through and resolve. I haven't resolved them all, but this past weekend brought back to me why I continue to attend.

In a word, it is the people. This past Sunday we had our Newcomer's Potluck Diner. I was in charge of organizing it (as the new Membership Coordinator). Since I had never attended one, I was a little unsure of what was expected. What I discovered was a core group of volunteers that had been doing this for years and quickly stepped up to help. They were fantastic and open to new ideas of doing things. There is no better bonding practice then washing dishes together! I also had a wonderful time meeting new people and making new, fresh connections to the church. Their energy and excitement was infectious. When I look back to all the frustration of the previous year, being together in community with this small group helped me remember why I made a covenant with my church. Sometimes reaching out and making true connections is what makes all the difference.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Extricating the Negative

One of my goals this year was to try to rid myself of negative situations. Obviously, there are negative situations all the time, but I am talking about those long term situations/relationships that are so entangled you feel helpless in getting out of them. There are a couple of these in my life (not my family) that I keep getting drawn into that on a good day are mildly irritating and on bad days so frustrating I can barely stand it. Why can I not dissolve myself of them?!? Why do I continually allow myself to be involved?!?! I frequently tell myself that I control how I react to situations and that I can not expect others to respond how I feel they should. This will never happen. I also control whether or not I allow myself to be drawn into the situation. After all, I am not a child. I know what will most likely happen. But....these issues are bigger then me. There are more people involved then myself. One of these will be coming to a head soon and I need to decide how I will respond. In my heart, I know what I need to do, but that "give people another chance" brain of mine keeps me from doing what I need to do. I know people will be disappointed and I don't like that. I know they won't completely understand, but I don't feel like I can be brutally honest. Isn't it easier to keep the status quo? The other one is very much up in the air with a lot of variables that will influence the outcome. This decision is also not completely my own. While I will do what I need to, it is hard to live in flux.

I want to mention, though, I do realize that I am lucky to have options. These issues are purely relational and not related to health or livelihood. I am just not sure why it is so hard to let go of relationships/situations that we are not technically bound to. Why do I/we continue with the negative? Why is it never easy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Nacht Spaziergang


We have recently added a new pet to the family, Daisy. She is a wonderful mixed-breed, four year-old, rescued dog. She comes to us after a year and a half at a no-kill shelter. She is gentle and well-behaved. The kids love her, as do I! I am hoping this is the beginning of a long relationship, it is off to such a great start.

One of the added benefits of Daisy, is the return of being able to walk at night. I love walking at night, but don't feel particularly safe without a companion. Daisy fits the bill perfectly! With the weather turning cooler, the evenings have been perfect. I love walking around when it is quiet and still out. Everything seems so peaceful. I like to imagine people in their houses winding down for the night, a calm in the air. I love being able to see the stars and hear the leaves blowing in the wind. It is my favorite time of the night and I am glad to be able to enjoy it again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Unsung Volunteers

Since beginning work as the Volunteer Membership Coordinator, I have become increasingly aware of all the "silent" volunteers at our congregation. I have been amazed at the long term dedication of members of our congregation. I always new R. made the coffee. I didn't realize that she helps stuff all the recycling bags for pick-up. I never knew that C. took it upon herself to make name tags for members. J. has been dedicated in following up with emails and letters to new visitors. L. has been putting packets together for new members for years. I am sure that there are even more, and to all of you I say THANK YOU! Without all your work behind the scenes our church would not be the welcoming place it is.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Close of the Season

I remember last January making big plans for our garden. I was determined that it would provide a substantial portion of our vegetables (the rest being provided by our CSA). Oh, how easily plans are made with the best of intentions and how quickly they fail! There were several reasons why the big garden did not happen, most notably the completely over-whelming part-time job. But, the season was not a complete loss. In my optimism, I ordered a bunch of berries and strawberries. (I have this dream of having a huge berry farm...) Of course, I procrastinated and didn't plant them right away. Thus, I ended up with three live strawberry plants and one raspberry bush. Amazingly, the bush actually produced some wonderful raspberries! I was so excited. My kids were a little wary, though, as they are yellow, not red, raspberries.

Mother nature also pulled a few strings for me. I love heirloom tomatoes and seeded them way too late. But, wouldn't you know, it was the wettest spring on record and I couldn't plant them until later anyway! I am now fortunate enough to still have fresh tomatoes. Nature also heard my laments about not having planted any jalapeno peppers. Low and behold when I started scavenging around my very weedy and overgrown garden I found a volunteer plant. Yeah! My lazy composting paid off!

When I look back, while the gardening year did not go as expected, it wasn't a bust. I did get vegetables and herbs. But, my eternally optimistic nature is already planning how fantastic next year's garden will be....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vegetarian Awareness Month..... OCTOBER!

I have been a vegetarian for over half my life and have not regretted or questioned it at all. Despite growing up in a very meat/hunting loving area, I knew by eleven that I would become one. I vividly remember going fishing and watching the horrible death of the fish I caught. It seemed so cruel and I could not get over the fact that something died just so I could eat it. It lost its life for me. At eleven, it was very overwhelming. It took a few more years to completely transition, but all these years later, I still strongly hold that belief.

I know many people don't have any qualms with animals dying for us, but I would ask you to also look at the environmental cost of eating meat.

"A 2006 United Nations report summarized the devastation caused by the meat industry by calling it "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global."*

Additionally, "According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads. "*

These are pretty dramatic statements, but ones that we should all consider when we decide how we are going to feed ourselves, family, and the planet. I encourage you all to incorporate a vegetarian meal at least once a week into your diet! You might be surprised on how much better you feel.