Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years

I hope you all have a safe and fun celebration. We are having a family Harry Potter marathon with edible wands and butterbeer. Yum!

I noticed around the blogoshpere that end of the year/decade reflections are popular. I briefly thought about doing one and then remembered: wait, I don't like reminiscing the past. In fact, reliving the past is one of my least favorite things. I am much more inclined to look forward then back. Therefore, no list from me. I am sure you are all OK with that.

Here is to a beautiful future!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Getting it Back

This year I did not sew any Christmas presents. Last year, I sewed most of them. I don't know what happened, but I just wasn't inspired to make anything. I love sewing, but I really have to be in the mood for it and this year I wasn't. I want to get back into it, though. I just got the latest issues of Threads Magazine and it has totally inspired me to get back into clothes making. Now that the holiday stress is over, I am feeling ready to tackle some projects. Since the kids are still on school break, I figured I better start small and ease myself back into the sewing room. Thus, a new potholder. I am sure you are all amazed by my sewing prowess and would like to commission your next formal dress! I find it important to my psyche, though, to start small and see a finished product right away. The fancy stuff takes time and I need to build up my stamina!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just What We Needed

The holidays found us in snowy, blizzardy Iowa. We arrived at my mother's house on Christmas Eve after spending the previous couple days at my fathers. We were all a little worn out, in addition to having or getting over colds. Since we had already celebrated two Christmases, it just didn't feel like Christmas Eve. I really wasn't feeling well, but felt that we needed to do something to celebrate the season and get us into the spirit. Plus, I really like going to services on Christmas Eve. It is just what you are supposed to do. Everyone else was pretty ambivalent, but, in the end, I insisted. Thanks to the internet, I was able to find the schedule of the UU church in the area - the Unitarian Universalist Society of Black Hawk County. After some grousing from the kiddos, we managed to make it there. And I am so glad we did. It was exactly what we needed. Due to the not-so-great weather, there was a small turnout for the late service, which made it even more personal. Everyone was so welcoming. We sang carols with brass accompaniment, heard stories, and lit candles. One side of the sanctuary is a glass wall and you could see the big snowflakes falling. There was even a "Christmas miracle" in that due to some odd light reflections, a cross appeared on one of the walls. It was one of those perfect moments that so rarely come our way. I am so thankful we got to be there. I hope you were able to experience a lit bit of magic this season, too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

For the Love of Winter: III

Taking afternoon naps under a warm quilt....

and waking up to this:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wall

What do you do when you have tried everything to solve a problem and you hit a wall? How do you make peace with the situation? What if people keep looking to you for answers, but none of your ideas will make the problem go away? It is so frustrating. How long do you keep trying? I am ready to move on, but the past keeps pulling me back.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Lyrics

Today in church we sang Joy to the World. I thought I knew all the words to it - especially since I have been singing it for thirty+ years. Evidently, according to the UU hymnal, I don't. As most UUs know, we have a long tradition of rewording hymns to fit our more inclusive perspective. In all honesty, I don't like this practice. I put up with it because I love the music and the lyrics are mostly secondary to me. Today, though, I have had enough. I want to sing Joy to the World, the way I know it - not in some generalized format to appease the most people. It is a Christmas song. Yes, it is about Jesus, but so is Christmas. I don't understand why we try so hard to deny our Christian heritage. It seems like we are so eager to sing songs with every other religious or non-religious background, except our own. What is wrong with owning up to our Christian heritage and celebrating it just as loudly as we do our other sources? Whether you like it or not, it is our history. As longtime readers know, I do not claim Jesus as my Savior, but I can appreciate his influence on our denomination. I am fine with acknowledging and celebrating that. Maybe, someday, we will all be more comfortable celebrating our past while shaping our future.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

For the Love of Winter: II

Last night I was walking Daisydog. It was a beautiful clear night, with the temperature around 30 degrees and no wind. It had been awhile since we had a good long walk and I was really looking forward to it. As we hit our stride and I got past the mesmerizing displays of Christmas lights, I finally looked up. When I did, an old friend greeted me. Orion. I love looking at the stars. It is one of the reasons I prefer to walk at night. Unfortunately, I am awful at recognizing constellations, except for the most obvious ones. Orion is one of those. To me, Orion is a Winter touchstone. Whether global warming throws us all off and it rains instead of snows, is hot instead of cold; Orion will still be there. I love that the earth will still rotate and Orion will always be ready with his bow and arrow. It is an old friend that I can look forward to every year. I love it for that.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

For the Love of Winter: I

Many people (alright, mostly Husband) find it crazy that I like Winter so much. Yes, I don't like to be freezing, but there I are several things I really love about Winter. I feel Winter tends to be very under appreciated in the "favorite season" list. Therefore, I am starting a new series of post devoted to how awesome Winter is. Yes, I know it is still technically fall, but, come on, it feels like Winter already.

One thing I love about Winter is how it brings people together. This is the time for closeness. When you are hot and miserable, you tend to keep a space between you and your family or friends. Who wants to be near you when you are sweating so much? But Winter, it is a time to be near each other. We all exude a certain warmth that is magnified the nearer we are. In Winter, we are genetically drawn to be close. Often our spaces are confined to smaller areas (near the source of heat) and we have an opportunity to really be with someone. We welcome people into our physical space. With that, we feel a renewed sense connection with our family and friends. Winter is a time to rebuild our foundation. It is a time to tend to our relationships so that they will flourish through seasons of wandering. I hope you all take some time to be near the ones you love.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent

This year I have decided to make an effort to really understand Advent. Admittedly I know precious little beyond that it is observed the four weeks leading to Christmas. Since I don't believe in Jesus as my Savior, I never felt a need to delve into its meaning. I am not sure why, but this year I want the season to be different. I want it to have more meaning. Additionally, my youngest has started kindergarten at the Lutheran School. His teacher has been spending time each day lighting the Advent candle and discussing the "meaning of the season". He has come home wondering where our Advent wreath is. Good question.

Now, how to fit having an Advent wreath into our Unitarian Universalists beliefs? What does it mean to us? This is what I hope to discover in this season of reflection. How can I make this Advent season relevant, spiritual, and meaningful to my family? To me, Christmas is a celebration of all our births and the divinity we all possess. It is a celebration of our enormous potential for compassion and love. I want this message to ring through the season leading to Christmas.

While she doesn't know this (yet), I am using the 26 Days of Advent blog as a starting point. I find her writing to be very thought-provoking. I would strongly encourage any of you looking for a deeper meaning on the season of Advent to read it. While it is Christian based, the ideas and spirit of its thought transcend religious boundaries.

If you are a fellow UU celebrating Advent, I would love to hear what it means to you and your family.



The picture is our homemade Advent wreath. It is a straw wreath with small mason jar candles. I am allergic to most scented candles, so I made some soy based ones. I then tied a ribbon around them. The red one is for the 'celebration' third week of Advent.