Friday, January 28, 2011

Style Stitches: Month 1

One of my favorite hobbies is sewing and I have missed it! My sewing room is in the basement and due to the flood & mice issue, I was reluctant to spend much time down there. Now that the most disturbing issue (mice) is dealt with, I am making my way back down there. To help keep me motivated, I have joined a Flickr sew-a-long. It is based on the twelve projects in Amy Butler's bag book: Style Stitches. There are twelve projects, so one each month. I FINALLY finished the first project, the Cosmo bag. I am really happy with how it turned out. Perplexing, this bag is listed under the easy category. It is definitely not. At a minimum it is intermediate. Thankfully, February's bag looks like a breeze (knock on wood). You lucky readers will get to see my progress and help keep me accountable to someone besides myself.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Comfort Clocks & Ship Bells

I have had a terrible cold all week. I spent most of the first night waking up every hour just to breathe. While laying there, I found myself listening to our cuckoo-clock (pictured above). I love this clock. It was handmade in Germany and given to me as a present from my father. It is one of my most *prized* possessions.

As you often do when you are sick and feverish, my mind started wandering and went back to when I was sick as a kid. I realized that I did the exact thing then when I couldn't sleep - I listened to the clock. Only it was a different type of clock. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the technical term for it, but it was a ship's clock. It is based on the same ring principles as a ship's bell. It was used to mark four hour work shifts. As I mentioned before, my dad was in the Navy, and this was the common method of time marking. The first half-hour was one ring, the second was two rings, etc until eight rings. Then you knew your shift was up. I haven't thought of this clock in years, but I spent many nights listening to its rings. Just like the cuckoo-clock, it provided a lot of comfort during those long hours. Kind of like friend who was in it with you and always there. I am not sure I could ever fully live in a house without some sort of chiming clock.

Update: I just talked to my dad and tracked down the sailor's clock. He was super happy that I remembered it and wanted it! Yay!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Scary Stewardship Info

My congregation is loosely around 140 people (83 pledging units). This is actually significantly up from only a couple of years ago. Because of this growth, our very old building is bursting at the seams. This is on top of all the maintenance an old building requires. Thus, we have engaged a consultant to help us plan our capital campaign and pledge drive. Over the past weekend, she has been meeting with various members and looking over our church data. Today she presented some of her initial findings. Come to find out, only TWELVE families are providing FIFTY percent of our budget. That is scary. As the consultant so rightly noted, we need to figure out a way to more evenly distribute our funding. If one of those families should move away, our budget could seriously be impacted.

Now, I am sensitive to the money issues so many families are facing. So how do you rectify this? I don't want people to be put off by our need for more funding. Everyone should feel welcome at church, regardless of what they pledge. But, how do you inspire those who could pledge more, to do so? I know - such a complicated question, dependent on so many variables. I don't envy stewardship and capital campaign committees. It is not easy work. Money is such a sensitive subject, especially these days. But, to accomplish the vision of our church we need to sit down and really figure out how we can make it happen. Wish us luck. The possibilities are exciting!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Billboard Parents

Today I read the this article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. I found it very disturbing. I just don't know what to think. The thought of making my child a billboard right after birth is appalling. Something so wonderful and private being sent out to the world as advertising is just horrendous. Evidently, though, this is a new trend. Husband had the dual reaction of finding it abhorrent, but brilliant. In these economic times, why not make some easy money. Truth be told, all you are doing is making your child wear a branded onesie and telling your friends about it. Why not? If your older children are also interested, let them in on it too, right?!?! NO!!! What is this world coming to when it all boils down to money? Is nothing sacred in this world? This is your baby. Do you really want his first pictures to be of all his contracted clothing, and not about the singular miracle of his birth? I find it so horrible to think that this child could grow up feeling that the best part of his birth was the money he brought in - not the love he brought to his family. Teaching values begins at birth. I hope parents who are considering this really think about the message they are sending to their children.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Youth Group Question

For those of you who have Youth Groups at your church, I have a questions about supervision. We would like to set up a Youth Group lounge area at the church. This would be an area that the kids (7th-12th grade) could have class and then hang out in during coffee hour. I am thinking that it should be required to have an adult (two?) in the room at all times. What do you all say?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany Pageant

Originally it was to be the Christmas pageant, but due to an ice storm right before school break, they had to reschedule it. Now, as the stand-in harp teacher, I was a little annoyed. I have lugged the harps to school for DAYS and sat through so many rehearsals, I could probably perform the whole thing myself. Additionally, although school was cancelled that day, by the evening it was just fine to have the pageant. Grumble, grumble...

After some thought, they decided to have it tonight. I agree, they should perform it. A lot of work went into it and more parents besides myself should see all their hard work. But, it seems kind of weird. Christmas is over. To me, when it is over - it is over. Decorations away, life back to normal, etc. It felt out of context. But, it is Epiphany. That is why they chose tonight. I have never really thought much about Epiphany and the twelve days of Christmas. But this has brought it to the forefront. Suddenly, it does seem very appropriate to have the pageant tonight. It will be a beautiful ending to the full Christmas season.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mean Church Lady

That was me today. I hate being that person. I totally feel crappy about it. As Chair of the RE Committee, I constantly hear complaints about the lack of supervision of the kids during coffee hour: Kids being where they aren't supposed to be or running around creating havoc. Part of this is true and a lot of it is exaggeration. But, there is that perception we are dealing with. So much so, that we are having trouble finding teachers because of the "behavior" issues. Gah!!! This is such a sensitive subject. Today, I had to ask a sibling pair three times to stop running around. Part of me was "just let it go", a second part was "there are lots of elderly folk who could get knocked over", a third part was "you are being mean and crabby about it", a fifth part was "somebody needs to say something" and a sixth part was "kids are kids and we don't have a good place for them to hang out at church; so get over yourself." In the end, I said something. It was just getting out of hand. Their mother was nowhere in sight. I also said something to her - which I feel even more crappy about. I hate telling parents that I said something to their kids. I told her that I had asked her kids to stop running around because I was getting worried somebody was going to get hurt. I told her they might think I was the mean church lady, but I really wasn't trying to be. Of course, she now probably thinks that of me. She was nice, but who wants to hear something like that about their kids? Now I wish I would have just said something to the kids and not her. I feel like I was calling her out and that is super uncomfortable and probably not fair. I don't know. What would you have done? How do you handle situations where parents just let their kids have free pass to the church? How do you set up expectations?