Live Bravely, Give Generously

Sure, that’s the theme of this year’s Annual Budget Drive.  But it’s so much more than that.  It’s really my mantra for living right now.  (Which is why I start the worship services with it.)  Who knew back in September that this would be such a timely phrase?  When the Annual Budget Drive team (Gina Phairas, Will Jernigan, and Wes Miller) came up with it, we were thinking more about ministerial transitions and the general political climate.  Little did we know….

For me, Living Bravely means a lot of things, but first and foremost it means lowering anxiety WITHOUT doing crazy things: wash those hands, try to remember that 6-foot rule, walk the dog, reduce trips to the grocery store, stock a few items in case we get sick but mostly buy what we need without hoarding, wipe down doorknobs and copy machine interfaces at work a lot, breathe deeply, listen to music.  It also means learning vast amounts of new things:  Ta-da! I’m now a video editor. Who knew? And Zoom?  Never hosted a meeting before. Never actually ate a take-out meal at home before because why would we?  Just go to the restaurant, silly.

And Giving Generously?  It’s way too easy to “hunker down” and protect and connect our nuclear families and close friends.  Looking outward is just not natural.  Yet as the Annual Budget Drive team wrote, “We are called to live bravely across the wide spectrum of life.”  We are called to be generous. Learning technology to connect with others is a generous act.  Baking bread and leaving it at a neighbor’s doorstep is a generous act.  Giving money to help local small businesses is a generous act.  Giving to local nonprofits that are providing services right now is a generous act.

Here’s a request we have received from AHOPE/Homeward Bound (sponsors of Room in the Inn) who also work with Haywood Street Church and Rescue Mission:

There is one thing you could consider – and it doesn’t put you in danger. We really need good adult socks, gloves, blankets, and such. We also could use easy-to-hand-out food like peanut butter crackers, bananas. easy-to-open cans of veggies or fruit or canned tuna or spaghetti.

Drop supplies off at our AHOPE Day Center on 19 N. Ann Street downtown. Just pull up in front and start unloading. People will quickly be there to help when staff is onsite (8am-12n, 7 days a week). Or I can come to wherever and pick them up if you don’t want to be in that setting. Contact Joe Hoffman for more information.

Here’s another example of generosity.  I know a lot of you are trying to connect through video–but it can be intimidating.  So, we have 5 congregants who are willing to host a meeting for you.  Whether you want to connect with fellow UUCAers or family members or friends, contact one of these people who will either help you figure out how to host a meeting or actually host it for you, so all you have to do is click in to join.

Many thanks to these volunteers.  Look up their contact info on REALM or email Tish for that info.

Evelyn Becker
Virginia Bower
Rebekkah Hilgraves
Jeff Jones
Kelly Wedell

PS  I would be totally remiss in not mentioning that references to the Annual Budget Drive might be very good cues for you to make sure that you’ve sent in a commitment for the fiscal year starting on July 1.  I know it’s clearly impossible to know your financial status for next year right now, but we’re operating on the assumption that “normal” is the only way to plan.  We’ll flex and accommodate and adjust when we need to. Thanks!

Linda Topp, Director of Administration

 

Take Some Time to Relax!

Hello Families!

This week we’d like to share with you some relaxation ideas that your whole family can do together. This is a stressful time for everyone, especially little folks whose routines have been interrupted and who are learning to do school in a whole new way.

One easy way is to use a guided meditation, like this one on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDKyRpW-Yuc

You can also read aloud a guided meditation. This one is recommended in this month’s Soul Matters packet. I like it because it’s about the wisdom of your body. Listening to our bodies and doing what it needs is a key way to stay healthy and mindful. 

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let that breathe out slowly and fully. Today we are going to learn something important about our amazing bodies.

As you relax more and more, you can feel your entire body getting warm and comfortable. Your mind feels relaxed; your body feels relaxed. All is well.

As you rest in this peaceful state, let your mind drift as you listen to my words.

Think for a moment about your body. No matter the shape or size, your body is magnificent and beautiful. Your body is composed of individual cells, which work together in harmony to keep you at your very best.

Let’s think about your feet. You might have little crooked toes, you might have perfectly straight ones, yet each and every one is perfect in its own way. Your feet and toes help you move and get to where you want to go. Say a little thank you to your amazing feet that carry you places you want to go.

Now think about your legs – your wonderful, beautiful legs. Some legs are thick and some legs are thin, but what matters is that they are powerful enough to help us move.

It’s very important to keep in mind that you don’t need to look like anyone else. You are already the perfect YOU!

We can love and appreciate our bodies exactly as they are. As we get older, we may notice some people complain about their bodies. They forget that all bodies are special and beautiful in their own way.

How boring it would be if everyone looked exactly alike! We are each so wondrously made, and we should always remember to love each and every part of our powerful, amazing bodies – inside and out.

Consider your strong back and shoulders. They help you lift and move things. They hold you up straight and help you walk tall. It’s important to be thankful for your strong back and shoulders for carrying what you need to carry in life.

Think about your arms and hands now. How wonderful it is to be able to hug the people you love. Thanks to our arms and hands, we can hold the people we care about during happy times and sad times, too. Be thankful to your arms for how strong and beautiful they are, helping you every day.

Finally, think about your beautiful face. There is no other face like yours. People can see your beautiful inner light shining out through your eyes – and even through your smile.

Remember today – and every day – to be very thankful for your marvelous body. It will be with you always, to help you experience life and express yourself in many fantastic ways.

When you’re ready and with another deep breath, open your eyes.

You’ve done a wonderful job relaxing your body and learning to be thankful for it today.

  • Mellisa Dormay

How about a family art project? We know that most kids are getting a lot of screen time now with the addition of online school and a lot of parents needing to work at home as well. There is no shame in this! However, if you are looking for some creative options that kids can either do on their own, or with their families, we have a few suggestions of our most popular choices in our Spirit Play centers. These are good for all ages!

Fuse Beads (Perler Beads)

You will need an iron for these, and it can be a little tricky to finish the projects with the iron, but it just takes a little practice. You use pegboards to make designs using small colored beads. This is one of our most popular options in the Contemplation center. You can look up patterns online, or just let your imagination run wild. We’d love to see some photos of your creations! Consider making a chalice design and sharing it with us. You can find a good starter kit on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/5500-Beads-Pegboards-Tweezer-Compatible/dp/B076HBM8M9/ref=sr_1_9?crid=244AE6ONWQT5S&dchild=1&keywords=perler+beads+kit&qid=1585154052&sprefix=perler+beads%2Caps%2C446&sr=8-9

You can also find kits with larger beads for smaller fingers on Amazon. You can search Fuse Beads or Perler Beads.

Weaving

Weaving is another project that can be done on one’s own, or collaboratively. We have gotten a lot of use out of our portable weaving looms in the Art center. Kids can take turns adding their own section to the piece and you might end up with a lovely new decoration for your home! Here is a link to the looms that we use in RE:

https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Wooden-Multi-Craft-Weaving/dp/B00KO6UGXG/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1EEB5J56X56YF&dchild=1&keywords=looms+for+kids&qid=1585154922&sprefix=looms%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-4

Starting this Sunday, you can join us on Sunday mornings live at 10am for a Spirit Play circle and story. Though it is geared towards our younger folks, everyone who might enjoy it is welcome to attend. Check your email for Zoom information to join us. If you didn’t get an email, you can email Jen at lreasst@uuasheville.org or Kim at lrec@uuasheville.org and we can send it to you. 

We will also be hosting a bi-weekly parent check in via Zoom as well, every other week on Tuesday at 7:30 pm. Jen will host this week, Tuesday, March 31st at 7:30 pm. Check your email for the Zoom info and email us if you don’t have it but would like to join in.

Inspiration: “Lockdown,” A Poem by Fr. Richard Hendrick

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic-buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

But, it’s said in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on…..

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic-buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

Continuing Adult Faith Development Opportunities

Join a covenant group. Participate in “Haunting Church” or “UU History 101”
Explore spiritual deepening groups such as the Buddhist Fellowship or Peacemakers.

Haunting Church: Owning Your Religous Past provides an opportunity to explore your religous journey through discussion, art and journaling. What do you leave behind? What do you bring ot the present? What do you redefine?
Dates: Monday, April 13, 20, 27 & May 4
Time: 2:00-3:30 PM
Who: 8-12 participants
Facilitator: Rev Claudia; email faithdev@uuasheville.org to register

Peacemakers continue their book study via Zoom on the second Wednesdays from 7:00-8:15 PM. They are currently discussing: An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. Contact Bruce Larson for details brucedeanlarson@gmail.com

UUCA Buddhist Fellowship is maintaining its regular meeting schedule: 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month via ZOOM.  Contact: Jim Steffe for details and meeting ID jf.steffe@gmail.com

UU History Class …Drop-ins Welcome
You are invited to take a 12-week class on Unitarian Universalist History.  The class will meet on Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. starting Thursday, April 2.  It will be facilitated by Rev. Jeff Jones, Affiliated Community Minister with UUCA.  We will be using the video series Long Strange Trip by Ron Cordes.The class will cover 2000 years of Unitarian Universalist history.  Each class will have 30 minutes of video followed by discussion.  You are welcome to join us for all classes or you can drop in as your schedule permits. Questions? Contact Rev. Jones jeffjonesuu@aol.com

Covenant Groups continue to meet. Some groups are using conference calls others are meeting via Zoom. Contact covenant group co-coordinators if your group would like to use Zoom or if you are interested in joining a group. 
Iris Hardin irisphardin@gmail.com
or Paula Massey massey.paula@gmail.com

Adult Faith Development Opportunities

Meditation for Beginners via Zoom, Mon., March 23, 7:00-8:30PM
This might be a good time to establish a daily meditation practice. As we all hunker down and engage in social distancing there may be an opportunity to set time aside to practice. The goals of the class are to practice simple Buddhist techniques that can be used to establish your own meditation practice and develop the confidence needed to continue your practice. Contact Jim Steffe if you are interested jfsteffe@gmail.com

Covenant Groups continue to meet. Some groups are doing conference calls others are meeting via Zoom. Contact covenant group co-coordinators if your group would like to use Zoom or if you are interested in joining a group. 
Iris Hardin irisphardin@gmail.com
or Paula Massey massey.paula@gmail.com