We Are Thankful

Thankful.  We are so very thankful for all the contributions of this beloved community this year.  We send our heartfelt gratitude to:

  • You who bought tickets to the Auction Gala
  • You who donated your services, skills, dinners, parties, gourmet items, artwork, and fine crafts
  • You who purchased the above array of events and items
  • You who worked with the Auction Team to bring to life this year’s online auction and in-person gala
  • You, members of the staff who put up with our incessant requests for publicity
  • Our numerous, generous business donors
  • Our capable caterer, Gene Ettison, and his hardworking team
  • You, volunteers and youth, who helped make the gala a welcoming, smooth-running, and fun event!

Highlights from this unique auction year include:

  • Excitement about planning our first in-person gala since 2019
  • Trepidation about COVID’s impact on our plans
  • Success in carrying out a hybrid (online and in-person) auction event
  • Discovery that many folks like to dress up and dance!

We learned that our congregation has amazing tenacity and generosity in this time of transition.  Again, our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all.

**And, our flexible, dynamic and well-organized team is always ready to welcome new helpers!

The Auction Team

Making New Meaning From Old Traditions

Sunday, November 27, 2022 11am
Kim Collins, Lifespan Religious Educator
All Ages Service with RE classes prior to service
If we know that the Thanksgiving story that many of us learned (and still do learn) as children is a myth, then why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? It still has a great meaning for many of us as a day to gather, feast, spend time with loved ones, and observe personal or family traditions. While it is important that we acknowledge the harm brought by the origin story, we can still celebrate in a meaningful way.

Garden Spot with Kate Jerome-Decorating From the Garden

The cold has driven us indoors, the garden is finished for the season, and it’s basically time to hibernate.

But, what about bringing some of the outdoors inside to help get us through the holidays and into the new year? Decorating the house with treasures from the outdoors is a great way not only to get outside for a brisk walk but to also think about how we can renew our spirits with natural materials surrounding us.

So, bundle up, take a large basket or bag and a pair of sharp pruners and let’s go find some garden gold. The materials we’ll look at fall into two categories: things that are dried and will remain in the same state for a long time, and those things that are a bit more ephemeral and will have a shorter life indoors.

Let’s start with some of the perishable materials. You will need to time bringing these indoors so that you get the most beautiful use out of them for the longest time. In other words, if you are decorating for Christmas, cut evergreen boughs to grace the mantle only about two weeks before the big day. You can certainly cut more later and do a rotation to keep yourself in greens for months.

Holly berries and rose hips make beautiful accents in wreaths and arrangements and will usually last about a month. Branches of crabapples will last a couple of weeks if kept cool. Be cautious before bringing in other berries because some of them will begin to have an unpleasant odor when they warm up. Viburnums are a good example.

Many of the woody herbs such as thyme, sage, and lavender are still in great shape for snipping, They can be used for advent wreaths or as accents with evergreen boughs or table arrangements. They will usually dry intact but you can make them last longer if you put them in water. Tuck small bowls of water beneath your evergreens and put the herb stems in them.

Vining plants such as vinca and English ivy, because of their leathery leaves, will last a couple of weeks when brought indoors. So, again, time your snipping so they will be fresh for when you want their display.

The selection of dried materials is endless, from hydrangea blossoms to grass seed heads to milkweed pods to clematis seed pods. A walk through the garden or woods will give you plenty of ideas. These can be glued onto grapevine wreaths or wired onto green wreaths. Or, use them in arrangements, on swags, or simply as a collection on a table. One of the most beautiful simple arrangements I’ve ever seen was stems of milkweed pods (empty or you’ll have seeds everywhere) with red rose hips in a tall vase on the hearth.





The Magic of Fall

The fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the crisp air blended with the sunlight, and the cold nights where you can hear the owls somewhere in the dark sky.  It’s a time of harvest in preparation for the winter, and I love watching the bears sauntering through town (even when they enjoy a visit to our congregational rubbish bins).  I also love the leaves dancing their way to the ground and the joy of our 3 four-legged children romping through the mounds.  But the thing I love the most about fall is the time we take to be more expressive in sharing our blessings, acknowledging our gratitude, and recognizing how much we have to share and give to others.  While I try to carry these things with me throughout the year, I find there is a special magic that occurs in fall which rekindles how thankful I am for my life journey and reminds me what is truly important.

While I am thankful for many things, one I am truly thankful for is to be serving as your Director of Administration. I believe this opportunity found me and it warms my heart knowing that I am serving each of you and an organization with a purpose and principles that align with who I am at my core. I am thankful that my life journey has included involvement in the Girl Scouts, where I developed an incredible passion and love for nature and for the beautiful mosaic of diversity in our world.  I am thankful for my Jewish faith, where I explored many religions and was taught at an early age to question everything. I attended Austin College, a faith-based institution where I received a BA in Psychology and Kinesiology, and I was mentored by an amazing administrator who loved unconditionally and fostered inclusivity. I am thankful for my time at Western Illinois University, where I obtained my Master of Science in Personnel Administration with a strong concentration on equity and diversity. I am also thankful for my favorite faculty member, who said “risk taking is inherently failure prone, otherwise it would be called sure-thing taking” and to embrace risk and be bold. These experiences led me to a rewarding career in recreational administration for the YMCA and within higher education. I am incredibly blessed that my work has provided opportunities to pursue my passion around celebrating diversity, and work towards creating equitable, diverse, and inclusive spaces. And….I am thankful that I’ve joined the UU Congregation of Asheville on this journey.

I am thankful for the warm welcome I have received by the congregation and I am thankful for those of you whom I have met thus far. I am looking forward to meeting each of you, sharing stories, and supporting you in need. I am especially thankful to Marta Reese and Linda Topp for helping me transition into my role and I am thankful for Tish and Venny, who have been so supportive and helpful.

Lastly, I am thankful that you have welcomed not only me, but my wife, and I am thankful for her every minute of every day.  We are blessed with 3 loving dogs and we are thankful for beautiful rivers, the serenity we find fishing, the joy of cooking, the excitement of mystery and action movies/tv shows, and the warmth of filling our home with friends and family for dinner parties and game nights.

Wendy B. Motch-Ellis, Director of Administration