Friday, May 29, 2009

Family of All Sorts

My parents divorced when I was in my twenties and subsequently remarried. With their remarriages, I have inherited quite a few new siblings and their children. Along with my sister and her three children, I have six step-brothers/sisters, their spouses and approximately eleven* more nieces and nephews. Additionally, I have around thirty-four first cousins. This does not include their spouses or children. This is a lot of family and is overwhelming compared to my husband's much smaller family, whom we live nearby.

During the holiday weekend we trekked up to my dad's where twenty-eight of us stayed at his house. Crazy, but fun. There were fourteen children in the house with the majority of them being under eight. What was great, though, is everybody helped each other out. We only get to see these families once a year and, since our parents have only been married a few years, we are still getting to know each other. My step-mother's family experienced a horrible tragedy when her husband and oldest son were killed in an automobile/train accident. Out of this, grew a great closeness between her and her remaining four children. I look at them and hope my children are as close when they are in their 20s/30s as these families are. (obviously without the horrific accident). I like being around them and their ease with each other. It makes me wish that we lived closer to all of them and my sister.

I love my husband's family. I wouldn't live across the street from them if I didn't. But, I have been in St. Louis now for fourteen years. I am ready to be closer to my family. Unfortunately, they all live in South Dakota or Wyoming and the chances of moving there are pretty slim. There doesn't seem to be a great need for bio-chemists in Sioux Falls, SD or Cheyenne WY. My husband also sees himself as a city boy and would feel very uncomfortable in the "country". So here we shall remain. I know this will pass, but for right now, I am missing them all.

*As with all very large families, there can be questions to how many kids certain relatives have. Sometimes it's best not to ask too many questions.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Your Congregation and Memorial Day

I am very curious to hear how your congregations handle Memorial Day. I am always disappointed that mine holds its annual Animal Blessing that day. I am not at all against animal blessings, but couldn't that be held on another weekend? Our fallen veteran's deserve a to be recognized in our services. Many of our congregants are veteran's, have family members who are veterans (my family included), and without them we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today - including freedom of religious thought. Are Memorial Day services standard in your congregations? Maybe mine is just an anomaly? I send out all my heartfelt thanks to the men and women who chose to put their life on the line to protect my freedoms. Thank You!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Muse

I love sewing for this young lady. She is such a free spirit and open to all color possibilities - unlike her mom ;-). She is often a walking rainbow. I had promised to finish this jacket in time for spring and despite it being almost 85 degrees today - I did it! For you sewers out there, this is my first Ottobre pattern and it was a bit more challenging then expected, so don't look too closely.... It is called the Birdwatcher Jacket, which I think is perfect for us, because we intend to spend much of the summer doing just that.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And more...

After finally being convinced that I did, indeed, plant a green variety of rhubarb*, it is harvest time! This is my all time favorite vegetable. I am so excited that it did well this year. Last year we had a late frost and it ruined the whole crop. Now I am off to make rhubarb bars!
*My husband was insistent that it was not going to turn red and googled green rhubarb. Sure enough, it exists and that is what we got.

The harvest begins...

The strawberries have started to come in! We have been waiting two years for these and despite some persistent birds, we are finally getting to enjoy them.

Now I just have to handle some persistent children ;-)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sun Drying

I asked for a clothes line for my birthday. I have been wanting one for a very long time and have finally taken the plunge in hanging my laundry. I am very excited. It has been killing me that we have so much sun (free energy) that I have not been using! Why should I spend money to use my dryer when the sun is just sitting out there waiting for me? Today I did two loads and was amazed at how fast the clothes dried. I have not completely given up my dryer, we have been prone to weeks of rain, but if there is anyway that I can hang it - I will. I did set some ground rules, though. For one, I just can not hang out unmentionables. They will dry on the inside line. I am sorry, but my in-laws and aunt/uncle in-law live on my street and I will not have them see what we wear underneath. Additionally, I will not do laundry on days when my neighbors have outside parties. No one needs to see our laundry hanging while they are trying to enjoy the flowers. I am also not sure what I will do in Winter. I will probably go back to the dryer. I am not such a die-hard that I will wear frozen jeans. Anyway, for those of you interested, I will keep you posted on how the experiment goes. I am sure for older folks, it is just ridiculous that people are rediscovering this very economical way of doing things!

Monday, May 11, 2009

One year older...

Yep, it is my birthday. You can all sing now. I am off to the Botanical Gardens....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I am feeling extraordinarily blessed today. Thank you, universe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Membership Moment

Following is my May newsletter article:

Membership Moment

The “official” church year will be winding down in the next couple of months. This does not mean that church won’t be happening! Summer provides unique challenges and opportunities for members, and, in particular, new members. How do you stay connected while many activities take their seasonal break? It is not uncommon to feel a little lost during this time. I know when I was a new member and summer came around, I was a little disappointed. I had made many connections in my first year, and didn’t want to lose those over the summer. But, I had no idea how to maintain them. The best advice I can give, is stay involved. Try a new group or start one of your own. Summer services are often lay-led. This is a wonderful way to learn more about our congregants and their unique interests. Perhaps they are similar to yours. Room at the Inn* continues rain or shine and is always in need of help. Did you know Religious Education runs a summer camp? I have participated in this for a number of years and have really gotten to know so many families that I rarely get a chance to talk to at coffee hour! If you like to camp, plan a weekend at B**. with another family(ies). There really are so many possibilities. I encourage you to stretch yourself and try something new. One of the best parts about being in a community is that there is almost always something happening and you are always welcome!

Volunteer Membership Coordinator

*An overnight homeless program hosted weekly at our church
**Land the church owns, used for camping and hiking

Friday, May 1, 2009

Regen, Regen, und mehr Regen...

Dear Rain,

I just want to let you know how much I appreciate all the hard work you do. Without you, there would be no green grass, beautiful flowers, fresh water, and pollen-free air. Lately, you have gone above and beyond the call of duty - so why not take a break? Give yourself a mini-vacation, you deserve it. We will be waiting with freshly planted tomatoes and sun-exhausted children for your return.

All the best,

UPDATE: Vielen Dank! I am so glad you decided to take a break, you really have earned it.