Wednesday, February 16, 2011
For a couple of weeks I've had to miss my regular Wednesday office hours for a family commitment so I've been working from home. Today was a work from home day but it was such a busy day with deadlines and hot deadlines and then smoking hot deadlines. But I had to go in to church for an evening safety meeting.
So, tonight I was telling my colleague about this busy but super productive day and she said "me, too!" and then she told me that she'd just cleaned out all the stuff she'd been carrying around in her brief case that she really didn't need. I said "Me, too!" Really, it's true. I just did that yesterday.
And then we both said "something is different" "something has settled down a little" and then the Twilight Zone Show theme music started playing. OK, not really. But it COULD have. It really could have.
I have no idea what happened to the "busy" juju. There are still meetings that go for hours and hours every week. The money in this budget year is tight, the tasks ever increasing--still. But something is good, and calm. And it feels really nice.
I like having staff meetings in the parking lot. It's all good. It's actually all pretty smokin' hot good.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
But the only other thing I can trust to always be the same is nothing. If you love the way something is right now, sink down into it, breathe it in, swim around in the way it makes you feel. Because it will probably change. Maybe sooner or maybe later. But surely, something, somehow will be different. The lovely part of this is if you're in pain or hopeless, then things are also likely to change, sooner or later there will be a new day and something will be different.
Last night my oldest son was home, just for a few hours, just for dinner. But we all settled back into the five-person family instead of the four person version. And it just felt a little more settled. He's a lovely person who is very pleasant to spend time with and really when anyone visits, all the good things come out in everyone, but more than that it was just our well worn old comfortable way of being in the world. All of us, five. Everyone smiled a little more, stories flowed easily. Laughter and warmth settled on everyone's shoulders.
I know that our children grow up and move out and move on. I know that's the hope and the goal and we are deeply grateful that he's healthy and safe and sane. But there's a loss. It's a change. It's as if a piece of me has moved on. And I guess it has.
It's a blessing to be here, and sometimes it's awfully hard.
Well, oops. It would have been a great opportunity. Uh, yeah. Oops.
Hey all y'all! I love you! Thank you for being in my life. I am on my knees, grateful, singing-to-the-angels, rock-solid filled with gratitude for all of you.
For a couple of years now, we've held a lovely family dinner for Valentine's Day "Secret Ingredient--LOVE". If you watch Iron Chef you'll get it. If you don't, well trust me, it's funny. Just laugh a little polite chuckle to make everyone think you get it.
The first year we did this I checked cookbooks out from the library, we each chose a recipe, we shopped and we cooked. Same basic plan last year. This year? Well, yeah. Now I work 30 hours a week instead of 20 and there's that new church building and there were meetings and dinners and mopping and I don't even know what else all over Saturday and Sunday and then office hours today. I almost gave up on "Secret Ingredient--LOVE" and said "take me to a burger joint, it's over!"
We had a lovely dinner--California Rolls, Napa Salad (OK, really we had Caesar, but whatever-there were avocados for it) roasted vegetable sandwiches on sour dough ( you know, like in San Fransisco) and a lovely organic red wine from California. There was a little flurry, but no homemade eclairs or tenderized beef. A few packages were opened and slapped on baking sheets. But there were lingering conversations, and there was some goofiness.
Then there was a jam night. They're really rockin'. Last winter the eldest's girlfriend wondered if "bringing the rock" had something to do with solstice and bringing a rock someplace. No. No solstice rock. No Valentine rock. just a good old Tom Petty song that the middlest yearned to drive to before he had his license. All performed live in our own little choir loft.
It was lovely. And fun. Lesson for me here is we've gotta take it when it comes to us. Whether it's a meeting or a youth group or mopping the floor or a last minute moment with family, it's important to pay attention and soak it all in.
Happy Valentine's Day all y'all! I hope you are all surrounded by big love. Amen.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
But the youth group has so much energy it's hard to ignore that something is working well here. It's not like when we had 40 or 60 kids who belonged to the church. Back then we had to arrange car pools and really good food, and kids had to bring friends to make our youth group function.
Now we have a nice Jr High OWL class and after OWL a few more kids come and a nice family cooks dinner and youth group advisors come in and we have a wild rumpus that eventually turns into youth group. WITH meditation. I sometimes get a little worried when the noise stops, but now I know; it's the meditation. Or they're getting ready to play freeze tag. That actually might be the same thing.
And you know-- they drive me crazy and make big messes and push each other around and yell and holler. And sometimes there are minor family disasters that make one kid have to wait an extra half an hour to get picked up which means the two kids who ride home with me have to wait, too. And maybe they get a little silly. But don't doubt that they are still driving me crazy, even as I bribe them to pose for pictures. They're completely wild and silly. Trouble. Capital T trouble.
And I am totally in love with the whole lot of 'em.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
But there's no pushing this church off of anything. It's solid as a rock.
It was such an honor to sit with some of the wise leaders of this church as they brainstrormed how to convey the story of our breakthrough. This congregation was founded in 1963, it's older than I am. And it has had a long and lively history. But the recent story, the one I'm familiar with, is what leaves me still smiling as I pause before the next event here tonight.
Tonight we'll have a gathering of families with children in Kindergarten through 5th grade. If everyone shows up, we could have 40 families. Now that is a crowd. But it hasn't always been this way.
In 2005, when I started working here, we had 113 adult members and about 23 kids. Today, we have 180 adult members and 101 registered kids. That's part of the story, a lovely part that allows us to have three levels of Our Whole Lives classes and a real youth group with sleep overs and hide and seek games in dark.
The other part of the story is about the passion and fire of this pretty small group of people, who, during the darkest of times in the US economy, raised almost a million dollars to buy a church home in about four month's time. And then, when the paperwork was all signed and filed away, they rolled up their sleeves and proceeded to renovate the building, taking it from a near disaster to a beautiful church home. Today they're still working hard. We're a fair share congregation who have paid our dues to the district and the UUA for as long as anyone can remember. Our members clean and maintain this building. Yes, we could hire a sexton if we didn't pay those dues. No one has ever suggested it and no one ever will. It's part of the mettle of these people. These lovely people. No one here is afraid of really hard work. They thrive on it.
How do we tell this story in 6 minutes of video that will be shown at the UUA General Assembly? We might just have to bring buckets of sweat and tears and somehow --I have no idea how--convey the love that guided every move.
What an honor to serve this group.
Speaking of serving this group, there are lights to be turned on, doors to unlock and a fussy old dishwasher to go wrestle with to be ready for the families who will arrive out of the blustery night very soon. But you know what? It's all good. I appreciate all the work there is to do, because it's quite a testament to all the work we've done to get here. Hard work really does have its rewards.
And I've got a lovely church dinner to prepare for.
Amen. Big, huge Amen.
Friday, February 11, 2011
She was waggly and I could almost see the smile on her doggy face.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
A good friend posted something on facebook today about sitting in front of the TV with kids and how it might not be the typical thing they do, but today might just be the day for it. It reminded me of a lovely neighbor, she used to tell me that letting your kids watch TV was better than beating them! It always made me laugh. I also wrote about her here: