Posted in Lifelong learning, My Own Personal Weirdness, What I Love

Hospitality and Belonging

This week in Spiritual Practices class we talked about how the Unitarian Universalist faith is a covenantal faith. We are a community that welcomes the strangers because we were all once the stranger.

I grew up Lutheran, for the most part, until I was 15 or so. I don’t remember hearing much about this topic growing up in that church. I do remember experiencing hospitality as a child, though, in the form of many, many people visiting our house over the years, mainly professors and grad students. My parents loved having people over. My dad’s parents were known for their parties and my mother was known for hers. As a child and teen, we were always having people over. As an adult, I’ve struggled a little with this one. When the children were little, my house was always too much of a wreck, though I did host other mom’s weekly for playgroups. My husband is an extrovert and would have had people over every weekend for games and fellowship. With his church, though, it was hard to get people to drive all the way out here (his church is a 40 minute drive from us and his church area expands an hour and a half around outward from the church). Now that the kids are older, we’ve hosted monthly gaming afternoons a have a few other big parties a year.

So what are the qualities of hospitality? At first we think of food, greeting and welcoming people, and listening to others. Hospitality involves an opening of the heart, as well. It’s about cultivating the desire to welcome people and invite them into our lives, a willingness to accept change and accommodate for others.

It’s not one-sided, though, it’s also about letting your community know that you have a need that should be filled. This side of things, I know I am not good at. I never really saw my parents ask for help from others when I was growing up. Helping others, volunteering for others? Yes. Getting help? Not so much. When we moved from Nebraska to Pennsylvania and then on to Texas, we didn’t have people over to help pack. We didn’t ask people to help put furniture on the trucks. As an adult, I still don’t know how to ask others for help when I really need it.

Hospitality is also a social skill. You need to have the ability to know when to reach out and when to leave people to their privacy. Another tough one for me. I watched my mother ask many intrusive questions over the years and I was always so embarrassed. I tend not to be a reacher-outer. I don’t like to bother people. I never thought of this as being the other side of the hospitality coin.

Some questions for reflection:

  1. When have you felt truly welcomed?
  2. When have you felt truly included?
  3. When have you been blessed by hospitality?

Posted in Crafts, health

It’s been….TWO WEEKS!

Now I have that song stuck in my head.

*goes around dancing and singing for a while*

*****

Ok, I’m back now. Oh, it has been so crazy around here. The last time I posted I thought I was on my way to work, but NO, I had a small child feeling all explody in the belly, so we stayed home and snuggled and did laundry, which was good because it was really the last time I did a whole lot of laundry at once and we are now starting to feel that lack.

So the day after that was Teacher Appreciation. We had soup catered, but we had to set up and make and put out desserts and make the room pretty and keep the food going. It went really well, but it felt like a super long day.

We love our faculty & staff!  :)
We love our faculty & staff! 🙂

The next night we had an early Valentine’s Day celebration with my family at their house here in town. Greg spent the night there, which he has longed to do for months and months now.

Early Valentine's Dinner with my family
Early Valentine’s Dinner with my family

Saturday we spent time gaming with my parents (yay Carcassone!) and then went off to church. We ended up having our Pre-teen meeting twice since only a few people showed up at the time we’d intended to do it and then the rest showed up later and were miffed that we hadn’t waited for them so we did it all over again. We stayed late for Open Gym Night and the kids ran around like mad things while Nick and I taught a new guy how to play Settlers of Catan.

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Gaga Ball has nothing to do with Lady Gaga, I promise. One of the church elders taught it to the kids, having learnt it at another location. The kids LOVE it!

I totally can’t remember Sunday at all. I think we hung out with my parents, then cleaned house. Whee!

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Mrs. A. put together a whole crime scene for the kids to explore bits from. It was very educational.

Monday was the start of Book Fair Week, which is extra crazy here. I spent the day at home resting up for the craziness to follow, then after school we went down to the library to participate in a Crime Scene Investigation with one of the teachers. It was super fun!

Tuesday I spent finishing up projects and then went up to set up for the school’s Fine Arts Night. PTA was serving a BBQ dinner and the book fair moved into the cafeteria for the night while the kids had all sorts of performances and things to do.

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There was a segment in another room as well, but it was in the dark doing static experiments.

Wednesday I volunteered down in the book fair for 4 hours. I love talking to kids about books and helping them out. I went straight from there to the middle school to help work FLEX day. Wednesday after school was Mad Science with the Mysterious Master Morrow. That was a lot of fun, too!

Thursday I spent another 4 hours in the library helping with book fair, then headed off for a doctor’s appointment and to deliver Valentine’s to a few friends. I had an adventure with the van not starting and my friend E rescuing me. Later, the younger kids had ALL THE CANDY after school, but we managed to share some with David as well. Nick made me special Fried Pickles for dinner.

We started our day with cards and heart shaped French toast.  :)
We started our day with cards and heart-shaped French toast. 🙂

Friday morning we got up and got ready for the Storybook Character Parade. I’d missed the note that came home saying the kindergarteners were not participating, so Greg was the only one that walked in the parade.

Greg went as Bob the Builder and Ben went as Jack from Magic Treehouse
Greg went as Bob the Builder and Ben went as Jack from Magic Treehouse. Most of the rest of the kids went as Nerds.

After the parade was over, I headed downstairs to kindergarten, then onto the bus to chaperon their trip to the planetarium. We had a good time there. Well, most of us. I sat next to a kid who really thought the sun was going to burn him & started freaking out.

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The museum had an exhibit on bivalves, a bone statue of the smallest T-Rex ever, a giant 3000 year old Mayan mask, and a bunch of blocks leftover from an Egyptian exhibit. It was quite trippy.

 We also got to tour the museum and see a real moon rock.

Friday was also the start of the church’s regional weekend. There was a hymn sign that Nick and the kids went to. I was exhausted, so I spent the evening blissfully alone.

Saturday we had church early and our choir sang “Down By The River To Pray.” I think we did pretty well. Then there was a potluck. Nick taught Sabbath school while I helped the kids find verses. Then I led the kids in crafts while Nick helped. That night there was more dinner and then a variety show and dancing. I danced up a storm with my little nieces. 🙂 I hope someone posts photos later!

On Sunday there were sports for teens and adults. Nick lead the pre-teens in sports while I lead the ones that didn’t want to play in craft time. It was a really good weekend, but oh so busy!

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These are all the photos I took this weekend. Yes: ALL. *sigh*