Warming up for new things.

Well, I’ve been laid off. John’s dad’s hours got cut significantly, so each of them are able to be home with him now. This is a good thing for them (I mean, except for the job part…), but I’ll miss the little guy, and I’ll have to find new ways to make some money. I hate thinking about money. I also felt kind of sad Monday after he left. I’ll still watch him sometimes, I’m sure, and we’re friends with his parents, so it’s not like I’m never going to see him. But I guess I was really in the swing of things. I was making a little money, I had days off- which when you have nothing but "days off" it makes it seem like there are none, and I was good at watching him. He liked being here, and Vera had a regular playmate. It was a juggle at times, but I did it just fine. These things were good and helped me feel… productive. I just have to relearn how to feel productive on my own, which will certainly be helped by the spring and the garden. I can also focus my energy on getting into doula work, and I also have a couple of cleaning jobs lined up. All will be well. I think the winter is just done for me in my mind. I need some freshness, some growth, some new energy.

Garden planning is going well. I shot a little high thinking that I could set up shop in the basement and start my own seeds this year. I’ll just be buying plants again this year, but I’m not worried about it considering all the work I have to do just to break down my old garden and set up the new one. Next year I will start my own seeds and think about that stuff. This year, just break ground.

I started trying out the Unitarian Universalist congregation nearby. I have some serious "church baggage" and it gives me a weird feeling to say that word. Church. They don’t even call themselves a church, but still. I think it has to do with feeling really stifled in my adolescence, especially when it came to spiritual stuff. I hated being forced to go to church, and I experienced some things from other people that kind of turned me off from Christianity for a while. It was hard to feel safe in my spiritual questioning, and I was angry at certain people (and in some ways, the church as a whole) for bullying and invalidating me. I hated how intolerant they were. Eventually I matured out of it and realized that it was just those people who were screwy, not the whole faith. Now I feel really happy spiritually, and very freed up to believe what I do. I’m very "on the path", and I’ve been craving community (what’s new, I know…). I wanted a community of people who aren’t afraid to talk about spiritual issues, who feel passionately about social justice and peace and nonviolence, who are consistent and loving and good, who don’t tell me that I have to KNOW the truth right now… It’s so hard to get these people all in a room! Then my friend Katy asked me if I’d like to go with her, because she’d always wanted to try it out, and I jumped at the opportunity. I’d heard about it before, but it always seemed kind of like a new-agey place that’s just like "oh, whatever works for you is just awesome!" and that’s all I’d ever hear week after week. I realized that those are the things I’d heard from people who have never been there and frown upon it, just because. 
I have to say, I like it. I’ve only been a few times, but it feels really welcoming. I am not afraid of what they’ll teach Vera. If anything, they have a really great religious education program and will give her a real example of a group of people who are organized in the name of peace and justice. The things that are said there are not totally non-specific chatter about believing what you want, but rather specific messages about loving each other and taking care of our world. These are the things I believe in, and it’s been really encouraging to see so many people coming together to share that and take action.
What’s funny is that the people around me want to go now too. It’s like a bunch of my friends have been craving the same thing, but didn’t want to go alone or feel silly about it. Now Katy’s boyfriend is going, my sister and her husband, Jeff, and our old housemate too. It’s been fun.

Anyway, I heard this at one of the first services and I have it printed out on my fridge now. I love it.

Go in peace.
Live simply, gently, at home in yourselves.
Act justly.
Speak justly.
Remember the depth of your own compassion.
Forget not your power in the days of your powerlessness.

Do not desire to be wealthier than your peers
and stint not your hand of charity.
Practice forbearance.
Speak the truth, or speak not.
Take care of yourselves as bodies, for you are a good gift.

Crave peace for all people in the world,
beginning with yourselves,
and go as you go with the dream of that peace alive in your heart.

My sweet Maya. She’s been loving her new yard, and she hardly ever wants to come in. I hate it on the cold days, because I’m sure she’s freezing, but she will only come in for a minute before she’s bugging me like crazy to go back out. I think she likes it here.

I love these windows.

Jeff’s shoes.

Gracie
Gracie

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Comments (20)

  1. prophetsong

    I’m really interested in your experience at the Unitarian church. Your past religious experiences sound so much like mine and I still feel kind of traumatised by some of the judgemental and intolerant and bullying responses I experienced.

    I looked into Unitarianism after our last conversation about this but I got put off by the fact that they called themselves a church and seemed to have a pastor and music. I guess I still strongly associate those things with all the bagage that came with my experience of organised religion. Maybe I need to give it a go πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Yeah, when you wrote about it I just nodded and smiled… We aren’t alone! I definitely am working through some baggage, and I think that only good can come from doing so. I’m ready to heal fully from those experiences, you know?

      They do seem very similar in format and whatnot to a conventional church. It pulled me out of my comfort zone. For me it really helped to have a close friend near me, to nervously giggle with. Anyway, it really didn’t take long for me to see that the whole vibe is different. They have songs and a choir and a pastor and all that, but they are singing songs about peace to all people and saying things like what I posted above. I have to consciously tell myself to open up and listen because it is a totally safe place for me to be who I am and believe what I do and grow where I’m supposed to grow. It’s a process, but good. Definitely try it! I can’t wait to hear about what it’s like for you. I’ll make an effort to talk more about it when I think of it. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. ladyfaith3

        I really hope that I have not discouraged you with my parenting perspectives- I truly mean no harm.

        Trish

        Reply
  2. purerandomness

    Oh that sweet Maya! She looks so comfortable cuddled up there!

    Reply
  3. brigittefires

    As a child who grew up in that church (when they still called it a church–I had no idea they’d officially changed it to congregation sometime in the last 7 years!), I can tell you that while there is a prevailing message of “Do and believe what suits you,” they also give you information about what the currently-existing options are so you can choose your path or carve out a new one. So in that respect, while the non-specific chatter is there, the specific messages, as you said, exist too.

    I do sometimes miss going to church. I’ve considered it off and on again the last few years. But Sunday mornings aren’t a good time for me. I wish they had an evening service.

    Speaking of which, a bunch of us young adults who no longer attend because Sunday mornings are bad for us were considering starting up a potluck night for UU young adults. You and yours would be welcome to join us. It may end up being Sunday evenings, just because Sunday is an easy day to get out of work with the church excuse. The potluck will include a worship ceremony, of a different feel than the services from Sunday morning (because most of us currently considering it are old church conference buddies, and so we’re planning worships similar to the ones we used to participate in and plan).

    I’ll let you know details when I have them. I think we’re now just looking for a place to host it–I was thinking my basement, but we’ve already outgrown that without even having one yet!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Exactly! I realized that I had heard all the semi-negative stuff from people who don’t go there. So… yeah.

      You should come when you can! I haven’t gone every week, I’m not going to stress myself out over it. But, if you find a Sunday that you can go you should let me know so I can say hi. πŸ™‚

      I’m always into a good potluck. Always.

      Reply
      1. brigittefires

        Problem is that even though I have Sundays off starting in May, I also work late Saturday nights. Boo. I wish more UU churches had mid-week evening services.

        Reply
  4. poppleshatesyou

    Bummer about the loss of your nanny job, its kind of a weird adjustment to go from watching lots of kids to none, or one in your case. The difference can feel staggering. (i had less then two weeks to get used to the idea last time my nanny job ended)

    Awesome! about going to the UU church, i started going there when i was 12, it changed my life in only positive ways. I’d jump on the young adult bandwagon though, it can be a lot more meaningful to have a community of like-aged friends. Not that i don’t think the greater church community can’t be awesome, but there is just really something special about getting to be spiritual with like minded folks in your same age range. As a side note, my brother and dad are in the choir…i think the 11am service. which ever the later one is.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oh wow! I didn’t realize that you had gone for so long! It’s great to hear such a good review of the place. Yeah, I think that is sound advice about meeting other people in my age group. They have a 20s and 30s group that gets together, so I think I’m gonna check that out. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      1. poppleshatesyou

        Yeah, being apart of YRUU really helped shape my teenage years in positive ways as well, i gained some of the best friendships out of it with people who live all over the country. Conferences were like the highlight of my life at one point.
        Yeah, i’ve heard about the 20’s and 30’s group, i think my brother goes sometimes. πŸ™‚ Definitely check it out, and if heather gets that group of young adults together, you should see what that’s all about as well.

        I’ve been thinking about checking on the first UU of SD, but it seems more intimidating when you don’t know anybody..nor am i ever awake on sunday mornings.

        Reply
  5. purerandomness

    I forgot to add…

    Sorry about your being ‘laid off’ and John not coming to visit you anymore. I’m sure Vera will miss her playmate.

    I like the prayer/mantra you wrote that you got from the UU church. It spoke to me today. I especially liked “Forget not your power in the days of your powerlessness”. I think that might be a good positive affirmation to keep close during labor (I’m starting to collect mantras/phrases/prayers in preparation). Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Thanks. I’m sure it’ll all work out. If anything it’ll get me out of the house more often- not a bad thing!

      Isn’t it powerful? When they recited it I was thinking “This is the recipe for the best version of my life…” I think it’s great that you’re preparing for your labor. I’m sure it will be exactly as it’s supposed to be! I love that line for it, too, it’s perfect for labor. It’s a feeling that I’m still awed by now, all the power of life coursing through me in those moments when I felt weak. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. kazzibee

    maya and vera are such cuteybadooties.

    i don’t have a religious bone in my body despite having a very religious upbringing and tumultuous departure from it…. i’m glad you seem to be finding the right thing for you!

    i like these ones..
    Live simply, gently, at home in yourselves.
    Act justly.
    Speak justly.

    now I have the task of getting back to normals! going on holiday is really great BUT NOW I DON’T KNOW WHO I AM. baha!

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Oh Kazzi, how I miss your posts.

      Yeah, I was really turned off by most organized religion, and to be honest I still am in some ways. Yet I still craved a community that could help to inspire me to grow. This place is basically offering me a network to help put my beliefs into action. Like an example, they have a locavores group- and they all get together and talk about how to live and eat more sustainably… right up my alley! Anyway, we’ll see how it goes, but it looks promising so far. πŸ™‚

      Take a “getting back to normals” holiday! Did you go anywhere?

      Reply
      1. kazzibee

        πŸ˜€

        Reply
  7. ladyfaith3

    Hi, I changed pages not only because of the things we posted about but because I wasn’t sure what I had posted in the past on my page and I want it to be available for friends from church to view. (there happens to be one person who bugs me there and I think I posted names and all) but now no problems.

    trish

    Reply
    1. Gracie (Post author)

      Hi, I was wondering what happened to you and if you were alright! Glad to see you back on.

      As far as what you said above- you’ve not offended me. I truly think that we should be open to learn from each other, and I’m sorry that the situation wasn’t handled with more understanding. You and I don’t have to agree, we just have to respect each other! Anyway, no harm done at all. πŸ™‚

      I am curious about the nature of that book though. The reviews I read were a little disturbing- I’m just wondering what your thoughts on it were and why you found it so helpful. It sounds like it’s about a great deal more than just using spanking for discipline.

      Reply
      1. ladyfaith3

        You are really wonderful. I will tell you that no one has been more patient with me. I am not an educated woman but I am not stupid and I realize that to say life is black and white would make me a fool. I love gray areas and child training the Pearls way really has a lot of gray though the book that is so controversial sounds black and white. I am re-thinking parenting and what I really hope to learn from this…

        http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/child-training/toddlers/article-display/archive/2000/november/04/lady-with-a-lot-of-questions/
        That believe it or not is a link to a very good article.
        Mrs. Pearl answeres, I think appropriately, many things. I understand why and how you could find it disturbing. I have read the reviews and really thought it out. Honestly I don’t follow the Pearls to the letter. I like most that they advocate a calm demeanor and clear instruction.
        I will give you an example and you can tell me if it makes sense or not.
        My daughter begins to get angry with a toy that wont do what she wants it to. She escalates and throws the thing, begins crying and stops it.
        I bring her to me and I tell her “Jorri, that is a fit, and we do not throw fits, I am going to give you three swats…one, two, three, ” she is allowed to cry (the Pearls sort of seem to say that is not ok but I don’t think they are clear on that really) I give her time and then if she is carring on because she is angry still I instruct her “ok that is enough crying” then I count to five. She is to be done by the count of five and she usually is because by the time I have said this she is no longer angry or feeling swatted but going on. Then we can talk once she is calm. “It is ok to be mad, but you can’t treat your things like that, ask me for help next time ok?” and that is that she agrees and we deal with the stubborn toy! The problem is not the emotion it is the reaction. We hope to give our children a bit more self discipline and self control. At young ages children can not do it themselves so we help them.
        For a child Jabin’s age a switch is not punishment. She would receive a swat for reaching to my stove top where the pretty blue fire is the swat would be on the hand accompanied with “NO, HOT” This is not to beat her but to give a good impression that mom means business…I would not want her to grab something hot. So my thinking on the little ones is a small amount of pain now saves them a lot later. that is the basic idea to the switching little ones is conditioning (remember Pavlov? I hope that isn’t offensive either I love my kids and expect that I am doing good and not harm)
        feel free to share. If you want to you could explain a simillar happening and how you would perfere to deal with it?

        Trish

        Reply
        1. Gracie (Post author)

          Interesting article. From reading that I’m not sure what all the controversy was about, but then again it’s far different from what I read about it after a quick google search.
          To explain my stance, I’ll have to give you a little background. I was raised by two very loving, and very authoritative parents. We were raised as pacifists, taught to embrace everyone in love and peace. My parents also spanked us, frequently, and were very consistent, almost never spanking us in anger. It was always a consequence of the behavior, not of their disappointment in me. I think that this makes all the difference. I think I learned a lot of good things from them. I was a very pleasant and obedient little girl, and I’m sure part of it had to do with the way they dealt with me in addition to my personality. This is why I can’t make a concrete judgment on the subject, because I hardly view my upbringing as abusive. However, I see ways in which the method was inconsistent with other messages they tried to instill in me, specifically the ones having to do with nonviolence. I also think the authoritative approach in general backfired on us all (not to blame them, but I really see ways in which it only served to alienate me and push me further away).

          At this point I don’t think I’d like to spank my children. I do see how it is effective, but I think it’s effective mostly from fear of pain- and that’s just not really a message I want to send. I also think that I can correct them without being violent, and I think children do naturally want to be connected to and please their family/parents. I did, certainly without physical punishment.

          Tonight Vera was reaching for the hot oven while I was getting something out. I grabbed her wrist and firmly said “NO!” and she giggled. I went back to grab the pan and she went for it again. I loudly said “NO! HOT!” and she startled and started crying. I finished what I was doing and gave her a hug and told her that when momma says that something is hot she mustn’t touch it. And I comforted her. This was effective for me. It’s also something that I’m fine with her doing when she sees a friend in danger. Yelling at and grabbing them is a totally acceptable response whereas I would never want her to grab them and swat them. I’m sure you see where I’m going.

          We’ll see. I can’t say I know what all my choices will be and what situations will come up, but so far this is what feels right. I also want her to know that I respect her, and that I’m here as a guardian to her safety and to raise her to be a conscious and loving part of the world. Introducing physical punishment just seems contrary to that goal for me, but I respect any parent who has put thought into their methods. And, as a product of a spanking household, I feel like I turned out pretty well. πŸ˜‰

          Reply
          1. ladyfaith3

            I think you are a good mom! I don’t think spanking is the only solution.

            I have to admit, I don’t really know how to be a parent from any example my family set. I have brothers in prison, my father and mother are both deceased. I was raised by grandparents that drank (often). I grew up seeing truly violent behavior as brothers battered their wives. I feel very lucky to have some guide. I have had good friends since I was age 10 who helped me see a better life and now I am sort of in NY on my own still trying to figure it all out. I don’t have all the answers and I know the Pearls don’t either.
            I am looking for ways lately to really show my girls more than just boundaries. It isn’t easy for me to “lighten up” but that is just what I feel they need, a mother to laugh with and live with. I very much want to show my kids a happy, decent life. I have worked hard to be a better for my children and let me tell you life has been up and down this plateau is a blessing!

            Trish

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