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