It's not everyday that we think about preparing our homes for emergencies, because who wants to think about the worst happening? However, every now and then, there will be moments when the worst does happen -- and we'll wish we were more prepared. This guide will help you prepare your home for common emergencies and disasters to allow you to live comfortably and with a peace of mind. While emergencies don't happen on a daily basis, it never hurts to have an emergency kit put together, and enough supplies on hand to keep you and your family safe and afloat until the situation gets better.
Caring for young children and elderly parents, and wrestling with resentment
January is a time of goal-setting and making resolutions with the aim of becoming better: better at losing weight, better at writing letters or being grateful, better at playing the piano, better at showing up- you get the point. But this year, how about setting an intention instead?
What does it mean to be a people of intention? Katie Covey, a religious educator and writer of several books, wrote “Here’s what I discovered. Intention is different from setting goals or resolutions in that it “pulls us into” who we truly are. Goals and resolutions “push us out” into future possibilities. To set intentions, we listen to our inner voice which tells us who we truly are.”
Setting an intention suggests that rather than striving for self-improvement, and possibly setting ourselves up for failure, we create space for a pulling into who we already truly are in our hearts. It is about listening to the whisper inside of us that says, “this, yes, this.” It is about finding the anchor at our core that can guide us on our journey.
Here is an exercise for setting intentions for yourself, and perhaps your family, this year. It is adapted from the Soul Matters material written by Rev. Scott Taylor. Talk about these at dinner or perhaps create a new ritual to begin the New Year.
My most important promise to my family this year is:
Because of me, my children will understand that:
I am on this earth to:
If I could change one thing about how I connect with others it would be:
At my funeral, the two adjectives I hope people use to describe me are:
If I won or inherited a million dollars, the first thing I would do is:
I am most happy when I am:
I want to spend the rest of my life doing:
In five years, people will be surprised that I am:
Because of my church community, we will discover:
If I could do anything to be helpful in the world, it would be:
Share your intentions with our community at our website, www.allsoulsreligioused.org
under the Family Ministry tab. Here’s to an incredible new year!
The holiday season brings with it the memories of past Christmases. One of my best memories of Christmas is when my son was 4 years old (he is now 22). We had gone to the hair salon to get my haircut two days before Christmas. Izaac was playing on the floor in the waiting area as my friend Fran was cutting my hair. All the hairstylist and customers were talking and buzzing about preparations for the holiday when in walked, would you believe, Santa Claus? There he stood in the door, in his flannel shirt and blue jeans, wondering if someone there could take a few inches off his long white beard and hair. Apparently, he wanted to get cleaned up for his big day coming in just two days away. I looked to see Izaac staring up at Santa from the floor, his mouth open in wonder.
As Santa sat down to wait his turn, Izaac looked at me, asking with his eyes if it was okay to talk with Santa. I gave a nod. Before Santa or I knew it, Izaac was up in his lap. The man, familiar with his role, greeted Izaac and asked him if he had been a good boy. Izaac looked at me again. Again, I nodded. Izaac answered that, yes, he had been a good boy. And then came the familiar question—what do you want for Christmas this year? Izaac listed a few familiar things and then said he wanted a pair of roller skates. Roller skates? That was the first I had heard of roller skates! With only two days left until Christmas how on earth was there going to be enough time to find roller skates? Fran could see the panic in my face. Is this news to you? she asked. I slowly nodded, once again.
On Christmas morning, Izaac and I enjoyed opening presents and playing with our new things. I could see he was holding back his disappointment. Santa had not brought the roller skates. In the afternoon, we prepared to leave our house on our way to go to the church for Christmas dinner. When I opened the door, to our delighted surprise, a pair of roller skates sat waiting for us! Izaac beamed, his belief, and indeed mine, secure in the reality of Santa.
During the holidays, the message seems to be that it is the presents one buys (we must shop, shop, shop) that will bring happiness and joy. But there is another message, not as flashy, not as loud, not as well advertised floating around out there. It quietly permeates the holiday season. The message is this, the best gifts are those that come out of love. A simple message, yes. Even a familiar, message. Beautiful, most definitely. And yet, one so easily unheard. Love.
But not just love, as powerful as that is. It is persisting in love. Persisting in love however dark and chilly it may seem. Persisting in love through heartache or anger. Persisting in love when forgiveness seems out of the question. Persisting in love through hurt, through loneliness, through insecurity, through rejection. Persisting, even when things seem hopeless.
Persisting in love. May this be your blessing this holiday season and throughout all the year.
We have changed the pageant yet again trying to get to a balance of tradition, less rehearsals, and a contemporary sense of Unitarian Universalism. There will be a few parts to audition for and these will be announced shortly. There are plenty of parts for angels, sheep, shepherds, and townspeople. Here is a copy of the pageant for you to peruse so you know what is coming up.
My barn having burned down I can now see the moon. ~Mizuta Masahide
One of our goals this year as a religious community, whose mission is to promote spiritual formation, is to incorporate more social justice into our religious education. Being of service and caring for others is a significant part of spiritual formation. In Chapel, we have talked about the different types of social justice we might do in the religious education program. We discussed three main types of doing social justice for this year: awareness building, fundraising for causes we care about, and service actions.
Last month, I invited the children and families of the religious education program to try, for just a few days, to live on $1.50 a day (for food only) per person. This was our first awareness project- to attempt to understand how 1.2 billion people in the world live, with very, very little. And not to understand hunger and poverty at an intellectual level or even at an emotional level, but at a very real, very visceral level.
A few families took the challenge and mine was one of them. What my husband I and immediately realized is that shopping for a longer stretch of time on very little was much easier than shopping for just one day. Because of this early insight, we decided to try the challenge for three days. We headed for the grocery store with $9.00 for two of us for three days. We bought oatmeal, bananas, potatoes, broccoli, rice, and beans.
Here is what we learned in our awareness exercise: portions are smaller; there is less variety in the food options; there was no extra money for snacks; no spice or butter, etc. makes for a dull meal; addictions to sugar or caffeine are difficult to manage on limited funds; it takes discipline to stay on a $1.50 a day diet when you don’t have to and there is other food in the fridge; and fresh produce is expensive. Ultimately, although our intentions were good, we were not able to stay on the $1.50 per person food plan. And yet, it was a success because our awareness was indeed raised.
We also learned something else. Taking something away helped us realize the abundance we live with daily and sometimes take for granted. This learning wasn’t just about food either. Our families and friends reached out to ask how they could support us. We are rich in our connections. The roof over our heads and the easy access to clean water allowed us to sleep safely and to bathe whenever we wanted. We are rich in the basic necessities. We chose not to eat. We are rich in our options and our choices. And most importantly, perhaps, is that where we live, who we know, what we do for a living and how much we are educated provides a safety net that tens of thousands of Americans who live on less than $2.00 a day simply do not have.
Mindful of the gifts and blessings in life, present to the abundance all around, cognizant of all those who live with so much less, let us enter into the season of Thanksgiving with gratitude, generosity, and grace.