Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lent

It is that time of year that many Christians take very seriously. So seriously that they have a big party before it. Alright, that might be more fiction then fact, but there is a celebration before the quiet. The quiet. I have written before on my thoughts of lent. So I won't rehash them too much, but I will once again make the statement that everyone can benefit from a time of quiet reflection. Not a minute here and there, but actual reflection for an extended period of time. For lent, Christians typically make a sacrifice for the forty days before Easter. In these more "modern" times it tends to be giving up something like caffeine, TV, sweets. While this is fine, I would approach lent as a way to reflect upon your personal life and ways in which you can bring about the best you. I believe in Jesus as a teacher. Why not look at his life and ways in which you can encapsulate and live it with the grace and purpose that he did. If Jesus doesn't speak to you, how about delving into the life of someone you do admire and feel has made in impact in the world. See what you can learn from their example and put it in practice. I would look to Lent as time of study, reflection and then action. The quiet of Lent is a time for developing possibilities, and the celebration of Easter is the time realize your new beginnings and all that the future can bring.

I hope Lent brings this to you.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Prophetic Child

Youngest son's favorite new phrase:

"Stop doing that until the end of days!!!"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Garden Time

Yep, it is that time of year - at least here in the Midwest. Because I am always a little behind, I just put in my order for seeds. I am very excited. Once again, I have very high hopes for my garden. I have a subscription to Mother Earth News and every time I receive a copy, I think "that is what my garden is going to look like.." Of course, it doesn't (otherwise why would I keep saying this ;-). But, a girl can dream. And this year I am dreaming big. I plan on planting the following:

Veggies:
*Rhubarb - this will be the third year for the patch - it has been hard to establish this far south
*Garlic - already planted last fall
*Lettuce - 2 varieties
*Spinach
*Broccoli
*Brussels Sprouts
*Peas
*Asparagus - third year for the patch- should be able to harvest this year
*Onions
*Tomatoes - 4/5 varieties
*Jalapenos
*Bell peppers - green & red

Fruit:
*Strawberries - started patch last year and will plant some more starts
*Blueberries - failed last year, trying again
*Raspberries - already have a yellow variety, am now planting a red variety
*2 Apple trees - we will see how these do...

Herbs:
*Basil - tons of it. somehow need to keep the Japanese beetle from eating it all
*Thyme
*Cilantro
*Dill
*Lavender
*Rosemary
*Oregano
*Mint
*Sage
*Echinacea
various medicinal herbs - depends on availability

What you won't see: any sort of squash or melon. We have had a HORRIBLE invasion of the squash bug. By far the ugliest bug alive. My husband is adamant that he never see it again, so we will have to depend upon the CSA and farmer's market for those. Very disappointing because I would love to have cucumbers and watermelon.

Definitely a big goal. I will start many seeds as soon as they arrive, but plant the lettuce and spinach directly in the ground. I am going to try to start posting pictures of the progress as a way to keep me on task!

Anybody else planning their gardens? I would love to hear what you are planting this year.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chalice Camp HELP!

Thanks to comments from my previous post about the UUA developing summer camp curriculum, I have learned that Oakland has developed a Chalice Camp that they run every summer. From what I have seen, it looks wonderful but I can not find any published curriculum at the UUA site. Perhaps it is lost in the void when the new site was developed? If any of you can find it, please post the link in my comments section. I am very interested in the "nuts & bolts" of the camp. I also noticed that they previously (and still?), charge quite a bit for the camp. From what I gathered it is off-site and very intensive. I am really looking for a half-day curriculum that would be low cost to members and volunteer led. Thanks for the help!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Summer Camp Planning

I am making yet another plea to the UUA to develop a summer camp curriculum. It is desperately needed. How do I know this? I am getting an increasing number of hits by people searching for UU summer camp curriculum. My congregation puts on a camp every summer and it is very well attended. And every summer we develop it from scratch based on a theme. While we have a general format, the content is developed fresh each year. This is a lot of work! I can't believe that the UUA couldn't have a few basic curriculums developed as a basis for congregations to adapt. Almost every other major religion has something easily available for its members. I feel this is even more important as many churches tend to be less formal during the summer months. Bible camps are ubiquitous in my area and my children want to go to them to be with their friends. It is almost a cultural norm. Our children should have this opportunity. My church is around 550 members and has the volunteers available to make a camp happen. Not every congregation does. If there was already a prepared curriculum that only required modifications, a camp could be possible in many more congregations. So, PLEASE, PLEASE, UUA, consider developing one. Maybe you already are?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Wonderful Service & Young Adults

Sunday's service was probably one of the best of the church year. It was presented by our Senior Youth Group. They did an amazing job. It was centered around the theme of love and everything from the songs to the homily reflected that. I was completely impressed. I sat through the service thinking that this is what I hope for my children. This is why we attend a UU church. These kids get it. We stand on the side of love, in all its forms. It was very engaging and inspiring. My only wish is that more people would have attended. The youth really gave me hope for the future and the continuation of open religion.

I also sat there pondering, "how do we capture this energy when they leave for college and into young adulthood?". I would love to see a greater UU presence on college and community college campuses. Our theological schools would benefit in providing specialties in growing these ministries. I know many congregations try to continue to welcome their youth back when they are home - but how many are really integrated to a productive level? There are lots of unique issues that young adults pose, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't start developing ways to encourage their involvement in congregations. We need to develop new methods adapted to their unique circumstances. It saddens me to have such excited, involved youth feel left out once they leave home. Connections need to be maintained, strengthened, or redeveloped as new young adults come to the congregation. I hope the candidates running for UUA president really spend some time reflecting on this important aspect of UUism.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A little motivation.....

is all it takes.

As a congregation, we were very close to meeting a membership goal. We just couldn't quite get there. Until today. It seems like people needed a little extra nudge to sign the membership book. Our minister announced how close we were to meeting our magic number and the extra benefits the congregation would receive. That did the trick. On a normal membership book signing (first Sunday of every month), I would get a couple of new members. Today, 36 people signed the book! I guess people needed a rallying point. I had people who had been attending for 20 years sign the book for the first time! I was overwhelmed and not at all prepared. Once I got my bearings, it was fantastic to see so many people take an important step in their lives. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of coming together for a goal. A lot of people I talked to had been meaning to join for years and are already very involved in church life. They just needed a little nudge to make it "official".