On June 3, the RE parents surprised me with a bookstore spree – thank you all so much. I have indulged in a huge armful of books:
- The White Stag
- The Two Princesses of Bamarre
- Fire Bringer
- The Sight
- Ombria in Shadow
- The Old Straight Track
- The King of Elfland’s Daughter: Special Edition
- Morphology of the Folktale
- The King’s Damosel
as well a nice handful of movie DVDs – The Hobbit, Fantastic Beasts, and A Wrinkle in Time!
A couple of months ago, I began an experiment in changing my dietary habits. Various parts of my life and my body were out of balance, and I longed to feel more control and mindfulness about the food I take in.
Among other things, I have chosen to limit sweet foods such as fruit, and to stick to the most nutrient-dense fruits, such as blueberries. They’re delicious, round, and blue – I am certainly not depriving myself by choosing them foremost!
In order to slow down my intake, to eat them mindfully to feel full instead of in a gorging manner, I started eating them with chopsticks. I’m no good with chopsticks; ask Grace sometime about The Chopstick Story from when we were courting. Eating blueberries with chopsticks can be funny, or it can be elegant, delicate, and oh, so flavorful.
Slow down. One at a time. Make every bite an occasion. Savor.
I hope to try this with moments, too.
During the month of March, you will see a few changes to the service in the opening moments. In their ongoing work to introduce the congregation to different pacings, formats, and styles of worship, they have accepted my proposal to create the service opening on four Sundays, culminating in Children’s Sunday on March 25th.
Please expect the opening fifteen minutes of worship to be quickly paced, full of hymns that are easy for young singers, and joyfully accepting of toddlers who need to wriggle their bodies. Families with young kids will have special roles to fulfill.
We wondered whether folks who are uncomfortable with the high energy of active children might begin to be late to the services… and then realized that would be all right. While we all recognize the value in true intergenerational interaction, nothing’s going to be lost by a one-month experiment.
I look forward to seeing you in March, my friends, Sunday mornings at 10 AM sharp.
ANNOUNCEMENT of Congregational Meeting to be held on February 11, 2018
In accordance with the Bylaws of the UUCUV, the Board of Directors will hold a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, Febryary 11, 2018 at 11:30 am. This meeting is called in respponse to request form a group of members and friends who met on Social Justice issues on January 21, 2018. The Meeting will consist of a single issue on whether we should put up the “Black Lives Matter” sign outside of the UUCUV Meeting House.
The Motion is: The Board asks that the UUCUV members approve the display of a “Black Lives matter” sign outside of the Meeting house.
We hope that everyone will be able to attend this meeting to vote. While the UUCUV does not allow for proxy votes, if you are not able to attend, you are invited to write a note in agreement or in opposition to the Motion. Please direct your note to the Board prior to the meeting by email or mail and the notes will be read at the meeting to have your opinion stated.
Child care will be provided. Please contact a member of the Board if you have questions.
I like to think of this occasional feature as a place for me to be useful to parents – more often than not, it’s a link to someone else being useful to parents!
But this week, it’s a straight-up list of my current pleasures:
- A Wrinkle in Time
- A Wind in the Door
- A Swiftly Tilting Planet
- The Little Prince
- The Velveteen Rabbit
Befriend me on Goodreads to watch as I build my Shelf of Recommended Children’s Books.
(That’s right. “Friend” isn’t a verb. “Befriend” is a verb. Feel free to ask me about other uses of the prefix “be-” in Early Modern English.)
Are you traveling? Caught at home during inclement weather? Just content to be cozy at home? To celebrate the dark of the moon alone or just with family, here are some things I do:
- sit in the dark, fully aware of it, breathing it in, listening to my own feelings of anxiety turn to peace and then to wonder
- name and welcome forces of darkness – that can be name of gods I have heard (Washer, Kali, Hecate for example) or natural phenomena (Night, Sleep, Death, dark matter) or human experience (stillness, sleep, sadness, mystery)
- In my dark space, then I light a candle (I love candles in the snow!)
- I tell a story of escape, success, or heroism that was made possible by the dark, moonless night or by deep shadows or fog.
- Then, I try to look inside. Some seeds germinate only in the dark – what is quickening within me now? How can I nurture that possibility?
- I like to have either art media or writing tools at hand so I can honor the thoughts that have come to me by responding to them.
- I always thank the guides and stories and companions which have joined me.
- Then I get back to normal time and space with some kind of food – water, pomegranate (with thanks to Persephone), mushrooms-and-onions, soup. Of course vanilla ice cream with maple syrup, but that’s considered appropriate for all occasions!
Enjoy the Dark of the Moon, friends! ~ Sparrow
Well, there’s bad news and there’s sad news, and they are not hard to find. But for my fellow parents – of kids at any age – who are having trouble finding words like “great job parenting! This takes grace and self-love and forgiveness,” here’s what I’ve been reading that feels good to share.
Because every kid needs a storybook about themselves. Because every child who cannot hide their non-privileged status deserves protection.
In my first week as the UUCUV’s Director of Religious Education, I learned from two different families about the anxiety therapies of their elementary-school-aged children.
I made a promise then, eighteen years ago, that I would honor our faith tradition, steward the congregation, educate the parents… but I’m here to serve the kids. This is a region with the weirdest combination of social pressures on children – educational overachievement hand-in-hand with Yankee reticence to articulate emotions, in an age of social media telling preteens they must give up their treasure, freedom, and franchise to even try to be “good enough”.
I’m still holding my ground when met with “My child says all they did in RE today was make pictures out of clouds.” Yep. They did. And they got outdoors, spent time with a well-educated young woman with the grit to run marathons, stayed in covenant, faced possible tick-borne diseases with education and calm preparedness. They took turns with the responsibility of carrying the first aid kit, the fussed and argued and made up and had fun being at church. They learned – again, because hearing about something once is not learning: being, doing, and experiencing over and over for a year is learning – that this is their place, as they are. Safe. And that they are also the stewards of our community.
Sorry about the rant. It happens. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading this week. I would add to the author’s list: every four year old should have the skill of self-control – and that’s something to begin learning in babyhood, via appropriate baby steps. Pull me aside for a chat anytime –