Friday, May 27, 2011

Leadership

Yes, my UU daughter won the Christian Leadership Award at her school. I am proud. She didn't win it because she spent the year evangelizing about Jesus. She won it because she espoused the universal ideals of leading and caring for her fellow humans. I am proud because she is always willing to help someone in need. She always has a kind word and reaches out to the underdog. She has a strong sense of justice and fairness. She is a peacemaker and I love her for that. Congrats, Sweetheart!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trust That It Will Work

Today was Social Service Sunday for the kids at church. It is always so difficult to find a meaningful and doable project for children of all age groups that can be done in an hour! This year we decided to help out the local animal shelter by collecting items to donate and then making dog biscuits in class. I was in charge of the biscuit making. I have a good recipe and got all the supplies together. What I was not prepared for was the sheer number of children who showed up! I started to feel super overwhelmed and panicked. I am not very good when I don't feel completely in control and I sensed that this could easily get OUT OF CONTROL. I know the panic showed on my face and I tried hard to compose myself. I wish I was more laid back.

Thankfully, it went wonderfully! The RE Director had found a member of our congregation who had adopted a dog from this shelter. The dog only had three legs and had been through a lot. The owner talked so movingly about the dog and the shelter, it was hard to hold back the tears. The children were very moved. We had three biscuit making stations manned by some incredibly helpful parent volunteers. Despite my worrying, the kids did awesome. They were patient, helpful, engaged and enthused. I wish I would just let go and have faith that things will work out. Today went better then I could have even hoped!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cadettes

I promise you this is not turning into a Girl Scout blog - it just happens that my life has been consumed with it for these last two weeks. Last night was our bridging ceremony. Three of my girls bridged over to Cadettes. This means that we are now an all Cadette troop. I am so glad. It is really hard to have a combined troop. It always feels like someone is not getting the full experience. I am excited for this new phase. I just wish the GSUSA would get their act together and put out the new badge books. It is very frustrating knowing that changes are coming but not being able to plan for them. Such poor timing on their part. But, I won't let that stop my and the girls' fun!

Now, a story on how times have changed. I was talking to a guy friend about our camping trip. He, of course, had to tell me about his Boy Scout camping experience. I am guessing he was a Boy Scout in the early eighties (maybe late seventies). He was around fourteen, in Oklahoma and working on his Wilderness Survival badge. The leader dropped the boys off in the woods. They were given a map, a compass, and an ax and told to go to find a designated spot. Once there, they would be given coordinates to where dinner would be. Well, when they made it to the dinner location(very hungry and tired) all that was there was a live chicken. Yes, they were expected to kill the chicken and cook it. I was aghast. "Seriously?!?", I asked. Yes. And they did. By chopping its head off. Unfortunately, they didn't know how to cook a whole chicken. Instead of plucking it, they put the whole thing on the fire and it went up in a ball of flames. Completely charred on the outside and raw on the inside. Needless to say, they went to bed hungry. All I can say is thank God Girl Scouts don't have that requirement. I asked Husband if the Boy Scouts still did that and he wasn't sure. I certainly hope not!



Monday, May 16, 2011

Of Course, the Sun is Shining Today!

This is daughter and me. This is what we looked like all weekend because it rained ALL weekend long! Not one break during the whole trip. Thirteen girls and five adults accepting the fact that we would not be dry or warm until we got home on Sunday. After an excruciatingly long Friday night/early Saturday morning, I was about to cry and just go home. I don't think any of us leaders slept at all Friday (lots of drama). I think we were also all secretly hoping that at some point Saturday the sun would peak out. It did not. And did I mention that sometimes the adult "helpers" are more work then the girls? Despite wanting to jump in the van and run home, I was in it for the long haul and summoned up all my inner strength and two cups of cold coffee and forged on. Did I also mention how thankful I am that the other troop leaders are super-star campers? So thankful for their expertise. With all that, we did end up having some really great times. Hiking in the rain and forging the raging creek was a lot of fun. The nature center helper took a liking to our girls and gave them a good/interactive presentation on rocks. The girls also got to go canoeing - in the rain and wind, soaking wet. Yet, none of them complained. I was super proud of them. This was the first time for a lot of them and they all gave it their best. Despite being soaking wet, they couldn't stop talk about how fun it was. Memories were definitely made on this trip!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Girl Scout Camping

It is that time again. I am the first to admit that I am not a camper. I am especially not a camper with people/kids I don't know well. I wish I was all outdoorsy and fond of dirt and sharing of germs - but I am not. I like gardening and hiking, but then I like to wash my hands and sleep in my own bed. In my dreams I am a cool outdoors women who hikes in the wilderness with only a pocket knife and some trail mix. Unfortunately, reality is far from that and this dream would elicit a huge laugh from my family. But, my Girl Scout troop LOVES camping and, as their leader, I will take them. We are, again, camping with the other Junior/Brownie troop at the school. Since only three of my girls are going, it makes sense to go with some other girls. We should be around thirteen total girls. All my girls have camped before, but there are several new-to-camping girls in the other troop. It is them I am worried about. Thankfully, their troop leaders are awesome campers. So it is really just me getting over my anxiety of not being in control and to just go with the flow. That, and hoping it really doesn't rain all weekend like it is supposed to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Today is my Birthday!

(flowers from the garden)

I love birthdays. Not because of the gifts, but that it is your special day. A day to feel good about you. There is a whole year to feel all the negative emotions of life, but your birthday is the one day you should give them a vacation and just enjoy the experience of being alive. You made it another year! Am I excited to get closer to forty? Not really. I have no problem with turning 40,50,60 etc. It means that I am still here - yay! What worries me is that time is going so fast. I want it to slow down. I want to savor every minute, but the busyness of daily life keeps getting in the way. In my 38th year, my goal is to reevaluate what is really most important to me and where I want to put my energy. I want to enjoy my life as much as possible and live it with integrity that will hopefully inspire my children. I can't control what is thrown at me, but I can control how I respond. I hope to respond with a little more grace and gratitude. As the song goes "always look on the bright side of life...."

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So Lucky

Everyday I wonder how I got so lucky to have such great kids. This Mother's Day, I feel truly blessed to have them in my life. They bring so much joy to my life! I love you M, J, L!

Friday, May 6, 2011

UU Book Help Needed!

I am looking for some good UU books for the tweenagers. When I was the CMwD District Assembly, I saw lots of books for the under 8 crowd, but what would you recommend for the 10-13 year olds? I would love to fill out our home library, but am not sure what to get. Any help would be appreciated.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

CMwD District Assembly

This past Friday and Saturday I was at our regional UU District Assembly. After a crazy trip up to Bloomington, IL, my friend and I arrived late, but in time for the business meeting. As I am the Secretary of the Board, I was expected to take minutes. After driving five hours (yes that is two hours longer then needed), I raced into the conference room and immediately sat down to take minutes. We missed the first half hour, but thankfully the Board President was aware of the situation and had gotten someone else to also take minutes. That meeting was exhaustive. I had NO IDEA that people were so particular about by-law wording. We were making some changes and people had a lot to say on how exactly the new wording should be. This went on for a couple of hours.... I had been excited about going up to DA because I was getting to stay in a hotel all by myself and therefore could watch cable!!! We don't have cable, so I like to take advantage of it when I can. Unfortunately, after the car ride and mind-draining meeting that ended around 10.00pm, I went straight to bed. I was exhausted.

The next day was much more inspirational. The day's presenter was Mark Morrison-Reed. He is one of the few African-American ministers in the UU faith. I had read his book In Between and was really looking forward to hearing more of his thoughts on diversity. Well, it was really powerful. I learned a lot about UU history, racism, elitism, and how we (as a denomination) reacted to it. Sometimes embarrassingly poorly and other times very progressively. Morrison-Reed gave us a lot to think about. His style was very approachable, passionate, compassionate, and thoughtful. His presentation had hard truths, but presented in a way that didn't shut people down. He has a lot of humility and I left really reevaluating how I look at racial issues. My only wish is that more members of my congregation had been there. We live and the church is located in a very racially mixed area. If he ever speaks in the St. Louis area, I know I will try to get as many people as I know to hear him. I am very glad I went. (Thankfully, the ride home was uneventful!).