Friday, February 27, 2009

Youth Ministry Working Group--LIVE!

Michael Kusz, one of ten youth members of the Youth Ministry Working Group is LIVE BLOGGING from the final meeting happening this weekend in Boston. Don't miss out! It's all happening here at the Westside Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Blog!

Help spread the word, let's all support our youth, and the adults working with them too, in their good work creating vibrant youth ministry in our UU movement!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

When your family is full of geeks.....

they know every way to say "half" on your "half-birthday!"

I am blessed to live in a house full of math geeks who clearly love the youngest among us.

(and no, I don' t know what the eye is about)

If you look really closely and took higher math in high school or college, then you know that one of these is NOT actually half. No, it's not they eyeball or the sun, but one of the mathematical representations.

Happy Half Birthday Ryan! We love you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bloggin' Fun!

I had such a great time with Rev. Kit from Ms Kitty's Saloon and Roadshow at our blog workshop at the recent Area General Meeting. Our session was just packed with wise folks who had great questions and forgave us our very limited knowledge of technology. I think we all really enjoyed ourselves.

And.....we created a blog, right there on the spot! It's called Journey to the Center of the Blogosphere. Our hope is that everyone who attended the workshop and wishes to will participate in sharing on this blog and letting each other know how their own blogging is going. We can share new resources. (like the woman who had the resource for disability information.....I can't remember what the three number/letter combination was....) and support each other. We hope our area will soon have a vibrant, even larger blogging community! I have all the information to set folks up. I think I'll do that tomorrow....driving home in the dark last night, church this morning and a youth group meeting tonight are enough for now!

If anyone out there ever gets a chance to take on a project with Rev. Kit, don't hesitate for one second. I had the very best time working together!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Journey to the Center of the Blogosphere!

Pacific Northwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association

Area General Meeting 2009

Journey to the Center of the Blogosphere! 
Rev. Kit Ketcham, Kari Kopnick


Philocrites: Guide to UU Blogs

UUpdates: Blog aggregator

Discover UU: Blog aggregator

Interdependent Web: UU World web round up

Blogger: blog hosting

World Press: blog hosting

Live Journal: blog hosting

UUA Resource: Setting up a blog

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mea Culpa--the presidental candidates are not what I said they were....

I was wrong. I totally admit it. Yesterday, I said that the reason Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman didn't come and visit with the Religious Educators at our LREDA meeting was because they didn't want to. Yep, I was wrong. 

This morning I was having a power breakfast with the PNWD LREDA board, I was the outgoing treasurer and now I'm the gone treasurer! The minister I serve with, the wonderful Rev. Peg Morgan, was having breakfast with Peter Morales and couple of other ministers. Peg came over and told us in the most polite and lovely way that Peter thought that we may think that he and Laurel were not talking with us because of some reason in particular, but that Peter wanted us to know for sure that he was talking with the ministers because they had invited the candidates to come speak. The UUMN Board. And that he was happy to come and talk with us and hear our concerns and answer questions if we wanted him, too. 

Gosh, do I feel like an idiot. I hate when my human-ness shows. I did think that they were skipping us because they percieved us as unimportant! I was not really looking for the whole picture there, was I? Nope. 

I hate it when I get all passionate about injustice and instead it turns out that I'm just being a dolt! Thank God a big part of this religion is the whole forigive and go foward in love stuff. Yep, I need some of that today. I'm gonna stop by the candidates forum and see what they have to say. 

Sorry, Peter. Sorry, Laurel. Totally my fault. 

Now, it's off to find a way to make the blogging workshop have live internet because the "high speed" internet here is so much less than "high" at all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Driving before Dawn

To get to Salem and not spend more of my dear congregations ever shrinking budget I drove down early this morning. I wanted to get to the Salem church early because I had the NAME TAGS, and we all know that the earth would stop rotating and all hell would be unleashed if they didn't arrive intact and early. 

So I got up early, well...actually I just hardly slept at all. And I
 drove almost to the Washington/Oregon border in the dark. OK, not that far, but close. And when you're tired and don't want to drink too much coffee because you are the holy name tag holder and don't want to have to stop too often for the bathroom and you see this.....
...holy huge logs on a big huge truck batman. 

As soon as I got past Portland I stopped for a super huge grande latte. Geez. 

But there was other good stuff to see, come back later, I'll show you then. :-)

SO much fun

I am in beautiful Salem, Oregon for the PNWD LREDA Area meeting. Today was day one of Professional Days. And I only have one thing to say.

I want to live with my LREDA colleagues. They sing and dance and laugh--oh my GOD how they laugh.

It's so fun to be with colleagues.

I have to go out to dinner with them in two seconds--such a chore! Right after I print my budget report.

And I leave you with one thought any UU readers out there. Laurel Hallman and Peter Morales are here, they spent hours with the ministers, answering questions, listening to concerns. And except for an accidental run in say in the bathroom or the lobby of the hotel, Religious Educators get none of that. Why? Well, because minsters get a vote at GA, and Religous Educators don't. Not even credentialed folks.

Hmmm.....wish I knew someone with some pull in what gets talked about at GA in the plenery......hey! I LIVE with the youth caucus FUNTIMES manager. I'll have to lobby. Until then, I'll see if I can catch an elevator with Laurel and maybe a parking lot jaunt with Peter.

Now, off to all you can eat breadsticks. Mmmmm! OK, no! All you can eat salad.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cardboard hurts

Have you ever had a paper cut? You know, slice, blood--hey, OUCH!

Today I got a cardboard cut. Actually two of them. Putting away the finances I've been working on for hours, or really if you want to know the truth, for days. Cardstock and then--slip and then a string of words that my children should not have heard.

It's been a long day. Or a long days. Really, it's all good. I mean, the kids had Coldstone for lunch, how bad can it be? And I am ready for a new dawning, a new revelation. A re-birth of the savior come to rescue me from this life of a sinner. Or at least I'm ready for driving across the state line for some rockin' fun!

So, I'm going to the Professional Days workshop for my job. Hey, really, there is no place I would rather be. And I mean it. Jesus can go have his fun, I'm going to Salem (ha! get it, Salem!) to meet with my friends and colleagues. And my dear friends and I are going to hear one of the women who wrote the OWL curriculum speak. And we're going for dinner together. And you know there will be stories and sighs and lots of that thing we all need desperately that is called support. And we'll maybe even go sit in the jacuzzi and eat brie and we'll be happy just to be together again.

Ahhh. And all cardboard will be banned from my hotel room, banned do you hear me?

Blessings to all who walk this earth and all who dream and to all who dream those wonderful dreams. Blessings!

And damnation to all cardboard.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Faith, Family and Rock and Roll

We keep trying to watch movies together, our little family.

Now this family consists of a 17 year-old self defined super geek college student who is a national leader in his faith movement, can make a computer do anything and plays a wicked bass guitar.

A 14-year-old teen with good hair, amazing Tae Kwon Do ability, soccer ability and girl ability who is searching Craig's list constantly for a new guitar.

A 12-year-old who has not had a natural hair color for six months, can sing ANYTHING he hears, and has all the Harry Potter books completely memorized oh and he has the snarkiest sense of humor I've ever seen.

There's a grown man who has wrestled corporate america, stradled continents and is passionate about fast cars.

Then there's me, I love folk music and punk rock, faith and fantastic food and I miss my dog.

There is no movie on the planet we can all watch and enjoy! OK, maybe a few. The Ocean's movies, I mean come on, something for everyone. And there's There's got to be another movie. At least one?

We like the Daily Show. And the Colbert Report. We like to watch Man vs. Wild. And Mythbusters. Yeah. That's just about it.

OK, we liked Miracle on 34th Street. And we liked Rear Window.

Man, we are one messed up family! But the thing is that we keep trying. Tonight we watched a concert video of "The Decembrists" for about two minutes. Then we were off to channel surfing. We try. We want to sit in the same room and do things together.

And we all want to see "Slum Dog Millionaire".

Any movie ideas? Anyone?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Iron Chef's Secret Ingredient......LOVE!

We had a great Valentine's Day! It was just lovely. Early in the week we each signed up to make part of the meal. 
Everyone researched what they would make, and we created a big shopping list. And then we went shopping this morning for our ingredients. By the afternoon the kitchen was hoppin'! Mom was a little distracted by someone talkin' smack about one of her favorite bloggers, but that was OK. We handled it. Anonymous bloggers, bah. Mom made an olive salad side with Italian wedges. The olive salad will work well for muffeletas later in the week. 
The middlest made a bracciolitini; tenderized beef in bread crumbs rolled and baked. 
The youngest made an excellent garlic bread. Oh my, it was amazing. Sauteed garlic, paprika, oregano, cream cheese, butter. Mmmm. 
The eldest made a fettucini alfredo from scratch. Yes, scratch. With sauteed mushrooms. 
My dear husband made homemade eclairs. He's amazing. 
Everything was well timed, carefully plated and served steaming hot. The pasta was aldente, the beef (I hear) was tender. It was like a well run upscale restaurant. Well, kinda!

Our table was lovely, and happy. 
I loved our family Valentine's Dinner! I hope we can do this every year, and when more family members come along, they can add more of the secret
 ingredient to our family!

Miley Cyrus blames God

In some ways I hope that no one follows pop culture enough to know about this story. I mean, Miley Cyrus? Please. But in another way, I cannot believe that if Miley Cyrus had folded her lips into "Black People Lips" and been photographed that it would NOT have made CNN and created a huge nation wide outrage.

Instead she did what the Asian and Hapa men in my house call "Doing Chink-eyes". And the only coverage I can find is on TMZ and Angry Asian Man. Not a huge blanket of coverage, at least from what I can find.

And then she apologized, first in a really lame way.

Then, I think she may have blamed God.

"I want to thank all of my fans for their support not only this week, but always! I really wanted to stress how sorry I am if the photo of me with my friends offended anyone. I have learned a valuable lesson from this and know that sometimes my actions can be unintentionally hurtful. I know everything is a part of GOD's ultimate plan, and mistakes happen so that eventually I will become the woman he aspires me to be. Peace and love, Miles"

"If" the photo offended anyone? What, is she really that clueless. Yes, it offended lots of someones.

And what on earth has God got to do with it? The God in my heart would advise that you used your own free will to do something really stupid, and the very Christian thing to do would be to drop to your knees beg forgiveness and try to learn from the way that you screwed up. I'm glad her God isn't mine. I'd hate to be so mind controlled.

Boycott Disney. Speak the truth. And tell your Hannah Montana loving sweet daughters that this is not OK.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

cupcakes at the board meeting

My dear friend Barbara Cornell used to say that everyone has baggage but what happens at church is that people bring their baggage...and they unpack.

Our spirit so close to emotion tied up in identity makes for a place ripe for rough edges and conflict.

I am wildly fortunate to serve a church who knows this deeply. I spent Saturday at a Committee on Ministry workshop focused on conflict.

The first amazing thing about that is that they thought to invite me. Of course the Religious Educator should be invited, but I am sure many folks wouldn't even think of it. The next amazing thing is that our Committee on Ministry has evolved into a Compassionate Communication Committee, thanks to the inspiration and guidance of that same Barbara Cornell who was our student minister last year, and they understand deeply that conflict is good and can be healing and help us grow. One more amazing thing? There were eight of us from our congregation there. I think even more folks than the hosting church.

Church life is messy. Sometimes things that are said to me hurt me deeply, they make me cry. Sometimes I feel used and abused and like the maid and butler rolled into one; taken for granted, dismissed. Sometimes I think if I have to clean that multipurpose room one more time I will scream. But I know that this is just part of the deal. This is part of being in a mature, healthy, loving church and serving them. It's kind of like my 20 year-old marriage, it has it's trouble, but it's sacred light brings me deep contentment. Sometimes I am the oaf crashing through and causing trouble, and sometimes I'm the firefly, light and happy.

We value each other. We are committed to forgive and to begin again in love. They are simply amazing people.

I feel deeply blessed to serve a congregation who holds board meetings with cupcakes. And laughter. And love.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


For some reason this little blog is not playing nicely with the UUpdates site. It's not been playing nicely for about five posts, so if you are someone who wants to read this, and sometimes looks at UUpdates, then you'll have to go either directly to the site or use Discover UU or just you know, wait until I get it all sorted out. Right now I have this much idea what's going on.

(( ))

Yep, none!

Thanks for reading. You rock my world.


Sunday Simplicity

It was a very good day at church. Earlier this year when we began the "Chalice Chapel" children's worship time and the "Service Sunday" monthly service project I was nervous that things wouldn't flow well, that the interruption in weekly classes would be too disruptive, that we'd have absolute chaos in our "fellowship hall" that really looks just exactly like a gym.

But it's worked out so well. Every month we worry if we'll have enough of the right things to do. We try to have something crafty that the kids who like to use glue and paint and *gasp* glitter can do. And we try to have something solid and intellectual that the deep thinkers like to do. These do not divide along age or gender. They are simply interest based, and sometimes everyone hits every station and sometimes we have stalwart hard core crafters that stay in one spot for the whole session.

This month we launched our delayed "Guest at Your Table" unit. Since it was Superbowl Sunday it was a nice cozy group. On Chalice Chapel/Service Sundays our babies stay in the nursery, and our Story Time class of 2s and 3s go to their little room outside the downstairs ladies rest room, but the rest of us are all together.

Today we sent our Middle School class off to see the local "high church" over at University Unitarian Church in Seattle for a visit to see just what a "bell choir" and "organ" sound like, so our ages were a little closer. We had 3 up to 12, but no 14 year-olds.

The little "Chalice Chapel" was just absolutely lovely. We opened with a nice litany for a chalice lighting, with all reciting the italics together:

We light this chalice

When we come together
We light this chalice
In good times and bad
We light this chalice
For those who are alone
We light this chalice
For people who are scared
We light this chalice
For mothers and babies who are hungry
We light this chalice
For fathers and children who are cold
We light this chalice
Working to make things fair and good for everyone
We light this chalice

And then we talked about human rights. And do you know what they said? It started with 'food, water, shelter' then on to school, work and equal rights. Little kids, people. These were little children. They get it. They really get it.

Then we sang a song I learned at LREDA Fall Con.

Walking, walking with you. Walking with you is my prayer.

It's a zipper song. So pretty soon it was "eating, working, singing, worshiping, drawing", and my favorite "forgetting".

We ended with this prayer.

adapted from the words of Dawna Markova
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live, so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom
goes on as fruit.

Then it was on to the service project. One station assembled the boxes and set up the "Stories of Hope" forms. One station made little mats to set your GAYT boxes on during the month. One station was for making statements or drawing pictures about human rights for the Kid's Page of the newsletter (OK no one did this one and I still have nothing for that page next time, darn) and one station was making popcorn to raise money to fund our "Service Sunday" projects. They loved making the mats and some of them just love making popcorn every month. They take turns stirring, and sprinkling salt. They decorate paper bags to sell it. They melt butter. Simple is so good. We can't forget that in ministry to and with children. Simple is good.

So, there we were. We'd learned about human rights. We'd worshiped together. We'd made beautiful music together. We'd worked together. We sat and ate a good soup lunch together. It was a prayer. And it was blessed.

I hope I can always notice when the glowing light of the spirit shines right down on me, and I am lucky enough to be just this blessed.