Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sending Prayers

I will never understand why someone needs to take another's life - why that is considered a solution. It is a senseless tragedy on so many levels.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all those in Knoxville.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thank You Chicago!


This past weekend we had a great trip to Chicago. Mr. Plaidshoes and I have been there several times, but it was the first for the kiddos. I can't recommend the city enough, especially for a quick getaway. We are fortunate to have wonderful family and friends who live and work in the area and provided a place to stay and a cool tour through The Shedd. Thank You H & M! We thoroughly enjoyed your company.

It was really interesting to see what the kids would get from the trip. I thought they would love to see all the tall buildings - not so much. They did like all the huge cranes on top of the tall buildings. My reserved middle child instantly felt at home navigating all the cross walks - it was really fantastic to see him full of confidence on Chicago's busy streets. My other two, acted like it was no big deal and just complained about the walking ;-) I would highly recommend visiting Shedd Aquarium (before Sept. if you get a chance b/c part will soon be closed for renovations) and The Field Museum. At The Shedd - don't miss the shark exhibit, definitely worth it. The kids loved the variety of sea creatures. At The Field Museum, if you go in the main entrance, make sure you go below because they have a wonderful children's area near the basement entrance. We only saw a fraction of the exhibits, you could really spend a whole weekend just at this one museum. Another thing I noticed immediately about Chicago was how many families are out and about - especially by the lake. It really is a kid friendly city. There was so much to see and do, you could spend days there.

It was a fun trip and so nice to get out of town for awhile!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Congregant Support

I was reading in our local paper about a new movement in conservative religions to become more supportive of congregants in domestic abuse situations. Common practice was to turn a blind eye or to blame the victim. Marriage was held to be the highest ideal and divorce not an option. I am glad to see that more conservatives are opening up to the horrible toll domestic abuse can take on victims, their families, and community. I hope that this trend continues because only with support and encouragement can a victim break free of abuse.

This also made me think of my own congregation and any efforts we might be making to help domestic abuse victims. I have noticed for a longtime that we do not have any hotline phone numbers/cards in the restrooms. This is one of the easiest ways to reach out while the victim can remain anonymous (if s/he wants to). Considering I am an MSW by training, it is a little ridiculous that I have not made an effort to put these out. I will now make it a much bigger priority. I do feel that our ministers are mostly open and responsive to any needs our congregants might have, but I am not sure how openly caring the congregation is. While I don't feel anyone would shun or judge a victim (far from that), I am not sure how to make ourselves more available so that person might come to us if they need help. Admitting something like abuse can be one of the hardest things a person may do, that is why I will try to work on ways our church can be considered a safe place. I would love to hear any ideas your congregations may have implemented and if you feel that they have been effective.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Busch Family - How Could You!?!

I moved to St. Louis thirteen years ago. One of my greatest impressions of this new city was how nobody drank Miller products. Why? It seemed so strange to my very sheltered mind. (also strange was that there seemed to by Catholics everywhere - where were the Lutherans?)Didn't everybody drink Miller Lite? I was "gently" informed that Anheuser-Busch is headquartered here and it would be blasphemy to drink Miller products. The more I looked around, the more I realized that AB was everywhere here. Their old-school lighted flying eagle greeted you as you crossed the bridge into St. Louis. Their name is on everything. At first I resisted, but slowly I was brought over to the Budweiser side. You are right, rice based beer did taste better then corn based beer!* Plus, they gave money to everyone in St. Louis! How could you not like them (besides the fact that they are a large corporation....).

This is why I am so frustrated that they sold themselves to InBev. I have previously posted on how our culture constantly tries to reach for "more". Larger sales, more profit, bigger salaries, world domination.... Why can't you just be happy with what you have? AB wasn't losing money. Sure they aren't growing at an amazing rate, but why is that so necessary? Why isn't personal integrity more important? Why is there so much more value placed on constant growth? Constant growth is what is leading to our destruction of the environment, global warming, loss of jobs, loss of stability, loss of community networks. I could go on and on, but I am so disappointed in the Busch family and the AB shareholders for only looking out for themselves. I feel more and more that governments led by corporations are just around the corner.

Tonight (because it is only 9.00am here) I will have a nice Schlafly** brew, and toast all of those people who are going up against the big guys and keeping the craft of brewing alive.


*Actually homebrew tastes the best
** A local, independent brewery

Thursday, July 10, 2008

herzlichen Glueckwunsch zum Geburtstag!

Sieben! You have stretched yourself so much this year. It has been wonderful to watch you grow in confidence and spirit. You have taken on the challenges of two new schools, swimming underwater, performing at a piano recital, beginning to learn a new language, and sharing a room with a little brother! Your heart is so kind and curiosity endless. I love watching you bloom everyday. Happy Birthday!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ethical Eating


Today, on Speaking of Faith, they replayed Krista Tippett's interview with Barbara Kingsolver regarding her book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." If you get a chance, try to listen to it. With the UUA adopting Ethical Eating as their next statement issue, it is a good place to start to really understand the importance of the topic. Kingsolver has a very self-effacing way of interviewing while making pretty strong statements. Of course, I would also recommend reading her book. It is an interesting read with some great, seasonal recipes thrown in. If you really want to delve into the topic, pick up Michael Pollen's books "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "In Defense of Food." Or, go for the original "Diet for a Small Planet" by Frances Moore Lappe.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

yes!

I am not sure about you, but I get so tired of reading articles about how the world as gone to pot - natural disasters, war, disease, famine, corrupt governments, drought, flood, etc. I avoid news programs like the plague (except Frontline and NPR). I am fully aware of all the horrible things going on. If I took all these programs to heart, I think I would curl up and hide in my basement until the imminent "end-of-the-world" hit.

Two years ago, at GA in St. Louis, I heard David Korten speak. While he was speaking on his new book, as we left the lecture he handed out copies of his magazine yes!. Ever since then, I have really enjoyed it. The whole premise is to look at current topics and see what real, everyday people are doing on local and international scales. I love reading about all the positive things people from all sorts of backgrounds are doing to make the world, their lives, better. I find it inspiring. It gives me hope that there is a lot of humanity out there doing what they can to make today a better day. To me, yes! captures the spirit of Unitarian Universalism. *

Follow this link to their site: www.yesmagazine.org


*No, I was not asked to promote this magazine. I was just reading their latest issue and thought I would make sure you all know about it.