Centering Gratitude

One of my centering practices is photographing things that bring me joy. Yesterday as I was bicycling home, I stopped to take in the beautiful light on Beaver Lake from the setting sun. I sat on the bench by the road for a moment of silence before heading home. I sat with a feeling of gratitude for the beauty before me, for the end of the workday, knowing I would be in my warm home soon on that chilly day.

I recently participated in a workshop on the practice of collaborative ministry and felt deep gratitude for the collaborative ministries in our congregation. A workshop facilitator explained why the title was “collaborative ministry” and not “shared ministry”. “Shared ministry” means that someone else “owns it” and allows participation.  “Collaborative ministry” is an effort to acknowledge the egalitarian nature of ministry. What an important distinction! The work of this congregation is not just the responsibility of the board and paid staff.  All members of the congregation have responsibility to co-create this Beloved Community we aspire to.

I see this in many areas of our work together. Staff, lay leaders and congregants working together co-create Beloved Community by supporting each other on our spiritual journeys. This happens with our congregational care team that is lay-led in collaboration with our lead interim minister. It happens in RE where our staff works with volunteers (at least 40 this year) to lead numerous programs that serve our children and youth. Where else do you see collaborative ministry at UU Asheville? How can your gifts contribute to our ministries during this exciting time in the life of our congregation?

Coming back into community after almost three years of being apart and developing new habits, has been awkward and slow. Some have not returned. Yet, there is so much happening in our congregation! We are welcoming visitors every Sunday. Religious Education is thriving. A new Soul Matters Small Group is launching this month. Our Justice Ministry partnership with BeLoved continues to deepen and engage volunteers. Our Search Committee is joyfully and earnestly going through the ministerial candidate packets on the journey of discerning who our next lead minister will be. There is much more I could list, but you get the idea. There is much to be grateful for.

Rev. Claudia Jiménez, Minister of Faith Development

Use Those Coffee Grounds

Are you a coffee drinker? We are in our house so I have a cup or so of coffee grounds every day to deal with. I throw them in my compost bin so they do get recycled. But there are so many other ways to use them. Here are a few that might give you a little inspiration to start saving your grounds.

First of all, you can add coffee grounds, paper filters and all to compost piles, worm composting bins, and simply to the garden in sheet composting style (dig them under).

Use grounds to mulch your plants. They are attractive and actually provide a mild dose of slow-release nitrogen to your plants. If they start getting a bit of mold, simply take a fork and stir them around. This goes for houseplants as well as outdoor plants.

Add a cup of coffee grounds to a quart of potting soil when repotting indoor plants. They will help retain moisture and provide a mild fertilizer. This is a great practice as you get ready to repot houseplants in the spring.

Work coffee grounds into your garden soil before seed planting to improve water-holding capacity and air space. You can simply spread them on top or use lightweight cultivation to dig them in.

Coffee grounds mixed with crushed eggshells repel snails and slugs. Simply mix dry grounds with the eggshells and sprinkle around your hostas and in the centers of the crowns.

Mix tiny carrot and radish seeds with dry coffee grounds for better spacing. You can also use sand, but coffee grounds will also help retain moisture to help the seedlings break through the soil crust.

Spread coffee grounds and orange peels in flower beds to keep cats from using the garden as a litter box. I’m trying this in one of my pots indoors that my cat has taken a fancy to.

Make a big coffee “tea” bag for a gentle, fast-acting liquid fertilizer. Mix about a half-pound can of grounds in a five-gallon bucket of water and let it let it sit for 24 hours. The grounds will settle and you can pour the liquid off. Or, put a cupful in a coffee filter, staple it shut and drop it in a pitcher of water to steep.  Water houseplants and outdoor plants.

In the kitchen, place a bowl with coffee grounds in the freezer to remove unwanted odors. And, rub coffee grounds on your hands to get rid of smells from chopping or cutting up pungent foods such as fish or garlic. You can also use coffee grounds to absorb odors in closets by filling old nylons and hanging them. Besides a bit of explaining to guests, it really works!

Kate Jerome