I was going to post about the sermon I gave Sun. or that I'm celebrating my 60th birthday, but talking on the phone to Susan tonight was like the best birthday present I could think of. (No offense to those of you who have given me wonderful times & thoughtful gifts.)
Susan told me a story of people who have little sense of the individual and little care for themselves, but much caring for others. They want to love and give to others - to help orphan children with no pretense of our western society. The many children they have are their children and they don't differentiate between the ones that were born to them and those that they found on the streets. They have a strong desire to be a part of a larger and larger community and to spread joy and love. But they live in a country that is divided by tribes that don't speak to each other. So when they found a religion that accepted all kinds of people, they wanted to be part of that and they wanted to spread it wide in the hope that some day all of Kenya can be united and happy together.
I never met Susan and we never spoke before tonight. I knew of her, because she's a Unitarian Universalist minister who traveled to Kenya. We have a mutual friend whom I met on Facebook a couple years ago, Kevin. Kevin's brother-in-law, Patrick, who is ~80, whereas Kevin is maybe in his early 30s, first found Unitarian Universalism many years ago and created well over a hundred congregations. Kevin has a few congregations. I created a web site for one of the congregations, Ruai Unitarian Universalist Church which also mentions the Tasia congregation. Susan understands more about which is which and who is involved in what congregation as she also met other congregational ministers (they're not official UUA ministers, of course, but certainly are ministering). She wrote a blog about her journey here.
Children at church in Kenya
Photo by Leon Nyongesa of Nairobi, Kenya
They live in Nairobi, which is a large sprawling city, and they live in the poorest part - no electricity, no water in homes. Kevin's house is one small room and he is an entrepreneur, starting many businesses in order to give the people jobs, and loaning people money to start their own businesses. But Kevin does not want a bigger house or more things. He wants to help the orphans and create more schools. He wants to teach them gender equality, AIDS prevention, and many other things that are not generally taught there. Besides getting the young adults to graduate, but a test is required and it costs $40 per person to take a test to graduate from high school, which is a lot of money to them.
I don't know how it is going to happen, but Kevin has planned a FUNDRAISER for TODAY! Can you help? See what they need HERE. As you know, every little bit helps. They accept PayPal.
Susan says she would trust them to buy what they say they need with donated funds or if people wanted to order things for them in stores in Kenya, there are American companies in Nairobi where you can purchase what they need and they can pick it up. They have large luxurious malls for white people since Kenya is a British colony and tourists go there to see the beautiful animals there that can only be seen in zoos here.
Photo by Leon Nyongesa of Nairobi, Kenya
NOTE: Read more in comments.
Recently it took me to a free dental clinic which was reported in the Washington Post here and Channel 9 here. All dentists and assistants volunteered their services - there were probably thousands of volunteers at this event. That was uplifting to know that this organization exists and that it got so much support.
The disappointment is the desperate need for dental services in this country and the lack of additional services like this. Also they turned a lot of people away and that doesn't count the many who couldn't get there for a wide variety of reasons.
I transported four people to the event on Fri. and I also transported someone to the preregistration the day before. There were long lines, so much time was spent.
A man who was deaf walked into the facility while I was sitting and waiting. It appeared they were having trouble communicating with him, so I stepped up and said I knew sign language. I didn't want to make the people whom I transported wait for me if I volunteered in another way, but he couldn't use reading and writing since his first language was "Egypt" he fingerspelled to me. They were nice to let him not wait on line as it benefitted both of us and his lack of reading English made it difficult for him to understand what was expected at this event. I'm not officially an interpreter, but it's good to know I was able to help him. Unfortunately, another disappointment was that they could do nothing of what he expected as he needed caps and crowns. All they gave him was a cleaning and referred him to the university dental school. Having tried that process with a friend, I know that can be costly, too, for someone with no income and it's not an easy process to go through either.
This country does not consider dental care equal to health care even though infections in the mouth can travel to the brain and heart. One child in the county died from the lack of proper dental care.
The good news is that the people I transported all got all or most of the dental care they needed at this event. Also, at least children will get their needed dental care starting Jan. with the new Obamacare law.
White people weren't even interested in the trial in the way most black people were according to a study reported today.
Some Unitarian Universalist congregations were aware of the feelings that were so strong amongst their members that they responded in some way on Sunday morning. Others weren't so much, so one of our leaders wrote Ignoring the verdict. Is your congregation guilty?.
After the marches and rallies yesterday, there were more today. I don't know if these will get the desired results, but something needs to be done to create a more just society. More: ‘It all must change’: early UU responses to verdict in Trayvon Martin murder case
This year I'm not a delegate. Work and other commitments will also keep me from seeing most of it live, though I will try to see as much as possible. Many people are not interested in that kind of thing - including the in-person attendance of GA. I'm an introvert and politics is not my favorite thing, but I have been inspired by some of the testimony that takes place there. It's also energizing to sing songs of our faith with so many people.
Our individual congregations may not always seem to be the best they can be. I think it has to do with diversity - we have many different interests and ways of communicating and ideas of how things can be done. It can be daunting for many to deal with these things. I know that small groups are the ones to do what needs to be done and usually a small group is inspired by an individual who is the catalyst for change. I don't feel like I'm the person to be the catalyst for change, but I try to be a supporter and encourager. People at GA are an inspiration to me. There are leaders there who are great models of leadership. I try to bring some of that to my congregation.
The UUWorld will be blogging about GA here if you don't have time to read all the UU bloggers who are blogging about it here and using the tag uuaga13 as I will if I have time to blog about the things I read. Also the Twitter tag to follow is #uuaga and they have a list of others as well (UU hashtag directory on Facebook). You could also watch it live here which included a chat last year and probably will again this year - here's a list of what you can watch and when. I just learned that Facebook now uses hashtags also, so you can easily find your friends or public forums who are posting about it. Other online resources for GA are here. There's a group of UU techies, mostly volunteers, who moderate and run so many things that we can benefit from (here's a photo of volunteers and staff just for the website work from a past GA). Thank you all who make this possible!
I hope to "see" you online at GA.
BTW, see my past GA posts, many of which include photos, at uuaga, uuga06, uuga07, uuaga07, uuaga08, uuaga2009, uuaga10, uuaga11, & uuaga12.
If you're in the area, please join us for what looks like a great service. Here's the directions.
Christian James was also a speaker in this sermon on YouTube.
How many churches and organizations let youth and young adults speak their minds in front of the entire organization of all adults, especially something equivalent to the Sunday morning worship service that most members attend regularly? We support our young people! And all are welcome! though we do ask that you respect everyone.
She read a poem by Monet that I had never heard. She also talked about having to take art in seminary and how we are creative every week at church - and even in our committee meetings where we creatively deal with problem solving and creating new things. I sure enjoy singing at church.
And this week during our Earth Day service, there will be photos displayed in our gallery that both Race & I took. I also helped put together an Earth Chalice that is the result of several people's ideas. There will be poems I've never heard and no one has ever heard since they were created just for this service. I'm looking forward to it.
I know a lot of people have creativity in their life without church. Well, I could cook & sew & do crafts, but it's not the same as doing them with a group of people that I care about and who care about me.
Our minister talked about the Big Bang which no one witnessed and yet most of us believe in it as we tend to be a group of science-minded, educated people. If that was the beginning of creation, creation has never stopped and we're a part of it. She said Picasso said he worked all his life to reclaim the creativity he had as a child. That sounds like a great goal in life. I am a "creative" being even though I don't consider myself an "artist".
Do you like to be creative?, like using your imagination to answer this question that was posed on NPR: How would the world be different if the animals spoke English and Spanish? Really, I'd be interested in your answer.
“mr youse needn't be so spry
concern in questions arty
each has his tastes but as for i
i likes a certain party
gimme the he-man's solid bliss
for youse ideas i'll match youse
a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues”
You can read about e.e. cummings and his relationship with Unitarianism in a bio from Harvard Square Library.
The bio ends with a poem appropriate for the upcoming Earth Day:
I thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(I who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
double unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
My church has long been planning a great day of creativity to celebrate Earth Day which is coming this Sunday: Here's the announcement
About twenty years ago i started having ear aches. Oh, could I relate to the screaming of a toddler! Every spring for 5 years I got them. I asked my doctor if it could be an allergy and he said he didn't think so because my nasal passages didn't have the typical appearance of someone with allergies. Then when I was at a conference in the fall taking a walk in the woods, I got vertigo. I didn't have congested ears or any sniffles, but I did have some fluid in my ears that was causing me to become dizzy. I told my doctor that I was going to an allergist.
I was thoroughly tested for all kinds of allergens and the only one that came out positive was dust (well, you know, not really dust but they call it a dust allergy). I was educated about it and told to buy some chemicals to treat my bed, furniture, and carpets (and remove carpets if possible) and I got special covers for my mattress and pillows. It worked! I never had another ear ache from allergies again. WebMD says that the height of dust allergy season is August, but that's not true for everyone. My allergist told me that it can be seasonal (spring/fall) when you heat in the winter and use air conditioning in the summer. Dust mites like a moist climate and heating and air conditioning dry out the air.
Last week I started to get what I thought was a cold, but it turned out to be dust allergies again. I had to let my housekeeper go last fall after my husband became unemployed. I stripped my bed today and found my dust covers weren't on my mattress and pillow cases - I had been doing so well because my housekeeper was keeping my house so clean (only coming once every other week) that I didn't need them any more. I found them and put them back on and washed my bedding well. I made my own tannic solution and treated my dust cloth, rugs, and chair. I gave my bedroom and livingroom a very good cleaning since those are the rooms I'm in the most. I was very congested after all that, but used some sinus spray and felt much better.
Hopefully my allergy symptoms will go away now, but I hate to wear a mask when I'm cleaning the house and really miss my housekeeper. It should be easier in the future, so I guess I'll get over it. I hope this is useful information for someone else.
I wanted to share this on my blog for people who aren't on Facebook, because Facebook is not the only place where sharing can happen. If we all took the way of communicating we like best and put it into practice to share what we feel is important, our message can reach so many more people.
What do we learn without the sharing from people in some way? People write books, they're teachers in schools, they talk to you in person or on the phone, they share at church or community meetings, besides the many online ways of sharing. The wonderful thing about the internet is the many people you can reach in such a short period of time.
The following image was created by my Facebook friend, Tim Atkins, whom I would never have known if not for Facebook, but I have met him in person at the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association, which, btw, is starting to accept registration for this year's annual meeting. Tim posted today that he made this graphic in only 10 mins. and in one day it was seen by ~25,000 people.
He was part of a few UUs who started the group on Facebook, the UU Media Collaborative, where ideas are shared to create images with a message. Then they are posted on UU Media Collaborative Works where anyone can just click the share button and share the image on Facebook. Some also share on Tumblr, Twitter, their church web site, Flickr, and other places.
It's further been shared through UUWorld.org in Fun with social media, Spinning in new directions, Sharing our faith, and other articles.
Embrace life! Share love!