Saturday, June 27, 2009

Another GA Question

I was also wondering, does the UUA have a service project available for attendees? It seems like a great way to live our values by giving back to the host community.

How "Green" is GA?

For all of you attending GA this year, I am curious about how green the conference is. Does the facility provide easy recycling? Are there reusable glasses, plates, utensils? Has there been an increased push to only use printed materials when absolutely necessary? What about the energy costs? Is there any carbon-offsetting? What about the food? Is it local? Fair Trade? How sustainable is the overall conference? I feel these are important issues to many of our members, including myself.

I would appreciate hearing how the UUA is addressing these issues. Since I am obviously not there, please comment if you are able!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Are you Kidding?!

In today's local newspaper there is an article reporting that Monsanto and Dole Foods are going to collaborate to make "more nutritious, better tasting veggies through plant breeding."* Their goal is to develop more varieties so consumers have more choices. I find this completely sad and ridiculous. New varieties do not need to be developed - mother nature has already provided a huge, diverse abundance of vegetables. Consumers need to realize that there are more places to get this variety then the local supermarket. In fact, this is often the worst place to buy veggies due to Monsanto and Dole's monopolies. I am a member of a local CSA that provides a wide range of veggies. I also try to grown a lot of my own. The best part of growing your own veggies is that you get to decide what cool, yummy breed you want! If you don't have access to either of those, farmer's markets are becoming ubiquitous in most cities. We don't need more modified food, what we need to do is support those people who are supporting diversity naturally.


*St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot*

When will this heat wave end? I think I could handle it more gracefully if it wasn't for the oppressive humidity. It feels like you are melting as soon as you step outside. Motivation to do anything in the garden is completely gone. While I know this will sound like a spoiled American, thank God for air conditioning!


*My favorite Cure song.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And then she was Nine

I can not believe my oldest turns nine today! She is such a free spirit and so uniquely herself. I love that she does not feel the need to conform and will wear a scarf on her head in 90 degree heat just because she likes it. She is smart, creative, compassionate, responsible, and a huge bookworm. I can not think of anything else I would want in a daughter. I feel truly blessed that she is part of my life. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Once Again...

I am wishing I could go to General Assembly. I will definitely watch the podcasts, but it isn't quite the same. Hopefully someday I will have the money.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Swedophile

This little guy is obsessed with Sweden. Why? I don't really know, but he has been wearing his Sweden outfit every day! Due to the rainy, muddy weather, the actual Swedish shirt is in the laundry. This has been very upsetting to him, but I refuse to do a load of laundry for one shirt. I have spent my morning convincing him that Swedish people do wear short sleeves in the summer - that it is OK to wear a plain white t-shirt under the Swedish vest. How long will this obsession last? He even wore the hat to bed last night. The only country he wants to visit is Sweden. I am cool with that considering I have always wanted to go there and husband has been there and said it is great. This is not happening anytime in the near future, though. My grandpa was also part Swedish so maybe it is some latent gene manifesting itself through him?! I don't know, but I can tell you he looked super cute riding his bike last night with the red pompoms flying. We got a lot of interesting looks.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why Unitarian?

I was asked in the comments of my previous post why I identify as Unitarian and not Unitarian Universalist. This got me to thinking. Originally when I titled this blog, I chose Everyday Unitarian because it was shorter then saying Everyday Unitarian Universalist. Not really for any deep theological reason. If pressed though, I would consider myself more Unitarian than Universalist.

In my own theological thoughts, to me Unitarian refers to the belief in one God, presence, Spirit, Force. Whatever you want to call, I believe there is only one. Even if you look at the trinity, it all refers back to one God. I am not sure if I really believe in God in the Abrahamic tradition, but I do believe that there is something larger then myself. I also believe it is so much larger than me and that I may never truly understand what "it" is. I can only draw on my own experiences and from those around me. It is a mystery of which I don't think will ever be solved - even in death (although I hope it will).

To me Universalism refers to the idea that, regardless, we all will be saved. I can totally get behind this idea. I have never been into exclusion. What I hesitate in, though, is the thought of salvation. I don't really feel I need to be saved. I don't feel you need to be saved. I certainly don't believe you need to be saved by a higher source. Let's say you believe in God. Why do you believe in a God that creates and then feels you need to be saved? From what? If we are created in his image, then does he need to be saved from himself? Then he is fallible? Who saves him? Why go through all this trouble if you are God? I have no idea what happens after death. If salvation is necessary, I hope that through living a purposeful and meaningful life now will allow that me that grace. I do know that there will be generations after me and the greatest gift I can give the future is to make this world a better, more peaceful and sustainable reality.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Liberal Saints

I read this article in UU World with great interest. While it mostly talked about the beautiful artwork of Andrene Kauffman displayed at Third Unitarian Church in Chicago, it got me thinking about the idea of "liberal" saints.

Having been raised Roman Catholic, I am well versed on saints. I could probably tell you more about them then anything else in the Bible. I love saints. I love reading their stories and hearing of all their amazing deeds. I believe that they were actual people. In fact, if I have to get on a plane, I wear my St. Christopher* medal. It brings me comfort. I even say a little prayer to him for safe travels. While to become an official saint in the church a miracle needs to have occurred, I don't find that necessary. To me, what makes them a saint is the life they chose to lead, despite great hardship to them and their family. I pray to St. Christopher to inspire in me the strength and bravery he had to "cross the raging river".

This is why I enjoyed reading Donald Skinner's article. I don't believe in worshipping people, but I do believe in learning from the amazing lives others have led. Whether they be in biblical times or the twentieth century, we all can learn something from our fore bearers. How many of us are currently living lives of comfort without really challenging ourselves to make a difference? I know I could work on living a more purposeful life. People like Jane Addams, Maria Montessori, and Harriet Tubman are current saints that inspire me. While many people might feel uncomfortable using the word saint,I would suggest broadening its definition to include one who has led a truly led an inspiring life. That, to me, is true sainthood.



*I do realize there is some question to St. Christopher's sainthood, but according to my ideas of being a saint, there is no question.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

May Garden Update

I realize this is a little late, but if you know me at all, it is amazing that pictures were even taken!

Garden proper: I am very sad to note that is is only doing so-so. I am not sure what is going on, but things are really struggling. The rhubarb and asparagus did wonderfully, but the tomatoes, basil, and peppers are struggling. I don't know if all the straw changed the ph levels, or if it has just been too rainy and cool for good growth. The peas and lettuce are doing alright, but not nearly as well as I had hoped. Unfortunately (for me ;-), the cilantro is once again growing like a weed. My husband is happy about that.

Cooking herbs - They are doing great. The dill is the only one not flourishing. This, I believe, is due to some very determined rabbits. How they are hopping up there, I have no idea.

Medicinal herbs - They are going like crazy. I will cut them back this week. The Valerian is almost four feet high!

Strawberries - They did well and are winding down. We had to fully enclose them due to the birds. We also had a slug invasion so we put out some beer. I am sure they died happy.

Raspberries - This is the first year for the red ones. They are progressing nicely.

Raspberries - This is the yellow variety. It is doing great. I wish you could have seen how sad it looked last year. I can't believe how much it has grown.
Blueberries - not pictured, but also growing well.
Year -to-date: Mixed results. I am happy about the boxed plants, but I am frustrated by the bigger garden. I am hoping with more sun and less rain, the plants in there will take off. I also need to get more weeding done. But really, who likes to do that?!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bad Mood

I can not seem to shake this funk I am in. Any suggestions? Any jokes?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Heavy Heart

Today was my last day as the volunteer Membership Coordinator for my congregation. After a lot of reflection, I realized that I could no longer promote a church whose leadership I did not believe in. It was an incredibly hard decision that I struggled with for a long time. I love this congregation. I have made so many friends in the nine years that I have been a member and each one means a lot to me. I have also really enjoyed being the Membership Coordinator. I like meeting new people and helping them find their niche in our community. It is very bittersweet. I am not sure what I am going to do next. My husband was this past years Board President and is also feeling disillusioned. We are going to take this summer and hope to find a way to bridge this divide. Right now, I am feeling disappointed, sad, frustrated, and angry. I need time to process through all of these and hope to come to some sort of peace in the next few months.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You can call me Maria

That's right. Those super cool Cardinal shirts the boys are wearing were once their curtains. As you can see they are just breaking into Do, a deer....

Homesteading

This is my new favorite book. I have always had dreams of living completely off the grid and growing all my own food. Since there is very little chance of moving to the country, and I will probably be living in the suburbs for quite awhile, I am slowly endeavoring to turn my yard into a micro-farm. While I am willing to go completely for it, my husband needs a lot more convincing, thus the very slow progress. This book is great on how to grow food and raise animals on a typical suburban lot, or around 1/4 acre. It is amazing what can be accomplished with a little strategic planning (and a willingness to get odd looks from the neighbors). I particularly like how she goes through all the steps from planting to cultivating, to processing and storing. Everything from canning to making cheese and raising goats(!) is in this easy to read book. While I can't imagine ever raising large livestock (which I believe is not even allowed in a lot of cities), her planning and organizing of the yard and the growing seasons is quite impressive. If you get a chance, check this book out.