Violets and Dandelions

School’s out, it’s June, people are cautiously edging back into society, but it still all feels so surreal! I mean, seriously, it took a pandemic for our kids to get out of school before the end of June, when every teacher, student, and parent has checked out by Memorial Day at the very latest! It’s just unbelievable.

But, wait. There are those of us who failed our students and their teachers. I’m not proud of it, and I’m the first to admit that there HAD to have been something more I could do. I mean, I could make 7th graders do their work for a general music class, so I MUST be able to teach, right? I have to say, my confidence in my ability to teach has been shaken to the core all because of my wonderful, stubborn, persistent daughter. When she sat down to do her work, I mean REALLY do it, it took her 45 minutes to get through 4 days’ worth of math. I haven’t timed her on reading or ELA because she’s currently on a math kick, and will complete it. Remember how I said school already ended? Yeah, about that…

I have come to the conclusion that the following things should not be combined: negotiating a joint, uncontested divorce with an emotional abuser; divorce itself; starting a new job and working for the first time in one child’s life; having a babysitter 25 hours a week; let’s add in a world-wide pandemic; having to finish 3rd grade from home; having the entirety of your new job be recreated for a digital platform; oh, and have near-crippling depression due to the aforementioned emotional abuse.

Yup! I failed. I can’t even say that Anja failed to do her 3rd grade work. I, as her mother and teacher, failed her. I just couldn’t. It’s not that I can’t teach, and not that I don’t understand the material or the digital platform, it’s that it was all too much – especially when you add in losing the babysitter and having to take the kids to work with you every day.

This spring has been a madhouse for everyone! I am EXTREMELY LUCKY in that I still get to go into the office every day. I even get to take my kids with me due to having no sitter and no way to find a new one. I’m not stuck at home with the same family members day in and day out ad nauseam. And yet, I’m still going crazy.

My kids are four years apart, 5 and 9, and are champions at fighting with each other. Dare I say that they have actually become closer through all of this? They can still bring the house down with their fights, but they spend hours together playing every day, and I have seen numerous examples of extreme thoughtfulness between them that melts my heart. I think that will be the one good thing I take out of this spring.

Yup, I said it. I’m looking for the blessings, the moments of gratitude, the silver lining to this cloud. My kids are friends, and as thick as thieves. My job is amazing and spiritually fulfilling. My whole extended family is healthy including my cousin who has been through chemo and radiation through all of this. There are miracles happening every day, and I’m looking for them. This spring is over. Anja will eventually finish her 3rd grade work, and the 4th grade teacher is our neighbor so if she slacks off, I’ll send her up the street for an accountability check.

This summer will be unlike our usual routine. No vacation with Grandma and Grandpa in the Berkshires. No huge 4th of July celebration at the kids’ dad’s family’s place – at least not for me. No trip to Dallas with Mary Kay for 5 days of friendship, awards, and so much more, followed by a visit with one of my best friends who lives in the Dallas area. No YMCA overnight camp for Anja. There are so many things that have to change.

I guess I’m glad that all of these changes are combined. Disappointments due to the divorce are being commingled with the world being closed, so they’re not as bitter for the children. The kids actually asked me if I get a summer vacation from work, and were excited when I said that I don’t because they like the games they play while I’m working. Everything is different, but not worse.

I’ll say that again. Everything is different, but not worse.

Look for your silver lining, your moments of gratitude, and your bouquet of violets and dandelions – yes, I still get those. If you haven’t been gifted one of these bouquets, pick your own. Pick some wildflowers for a vase, or just sit and watch them. Right now, focus on your blessings even if, for today, it’s just the fact that you remember picking little flowers as a child, and that brought a smile to your face.

Cindy

New glasses

I recently broke my glasses, and had to order a new pair. When they arrived, I immediately got a headache. Now, if you’ve ever gotten glasses for any reason, you know that new prescription feeling – it’s not pleasant, but you get used to it. So then I tried to figure out how old my glasses were. I’m fairly certain I had gotten the old pair before I had wrist surgery the week that my 14-year-old nephew was born! Now, I go back and forth between glasses and contacts, so have had annual eye exams. I know that my contacts prescription has changed a few times, but it wasn’t significant enough to change my glasses. At my last exam, I was told that I could still pass the drivers eye exam with the old pair, just barely. So, let’s just say that the new prescription was quite a change from the old!

Driving around with new glasses is amazing! I’m seeing things I haven’t been able to see for years. As Johnny Nash sings, “I can see clearly now” even though our rain is not yet gone. However, there are many obstacles in our way, and we’re seeing many of them. The most recent one being that NH schools will continue with remote learning through the end of the school year. This is heartbreaking for all involved, especially the students and teachers who really are a family for 8 hours a day during the year. I have to admit, I haven’t told Anja, and don’t know if I should. It just seems like every day is a new challenge in this strange season.

To continue with the songs, we can move from Johnny Nash to The Byrds and Turn! Turn! Turn!

This is a season. It’s one where following the teachings of Christ is more important than ever. As Bill & Ted say in their Excellent Adventure, “Be excellent to each other.” I know that many of us turn to music in times of need, and so do I. Here are 2 more Bible memes for you. As a singer, I always end up back at the Psalms and the Song of Songs, they help bolster me up. May you look at the world through new glasses as you approach life in a new way, for you are sure to see things that you have overlooked for years. Take the newfound time that you have to appreciate all that life has to offer, including the reawakening of the Earth as Spring springs forth, and the kindness of our neighbors. Plant the seeds now that will grow into better relationships and better lives.

Cindy

Holy Week

Today is Good Friday. Growing up, I always questioned why it was considered good. I mean, the day of our Lord’s death can’t be good, right? And yet, what was to come next proved that his death was indeed a good thing.

That is where we are now. We’re in a constant state of Good Friday. We’ve been betrayed by this virus, Judas, and are now serving our time on the cross. As the saying goes, “everyone has a cross to bear” and this one is pretty heavy. I’m lucky, I’m staying home with my 2 favorite people in the whole world, and they even get to go to work with me in the mornings where they have the run of the church hallway – quite literally. I miss being able to visit my parents, but they have each other, while many people their age do not. Those of you who are at home alone, reach out! Those of you who know of people home alone, reach out! Call them, leave a note on their doorstep, bake cookies or muffins (or buy some). Show your neighbors that you care, and that you are still there for them.

I’ve always loved the tenebrae service of Maundy Thursday, and generally do not go to Good Friday services. For me, this is a day of reflection, of mourning, and of isolation. However, it is GORGEOUS outside today! Most of the links I sent out in emails this week worked, and I finally had some time to update the website, something that has been sincerely neglected over the past 4 weeks. I am not a gardener, but today is one of those days that make me want to have a garden. I just don’t have the patience for it, which is crazy because I’ve been told by my students’ parents that I have the patience of a saint. I guess we all find patience for those things we love.

I have been a sad and lonely teacher for the past 5 years, longing to be back in a classroom, and understand how our teachers feel today about wanting to be back with their kids. If you know a teacher, send out a hello. If you have kids, even better, have them shout out hello! Drive by their houses, and the librarians’ houses, and honk and shout like a one-car parade, letting them know that you miss them as much as they miss you. And, most importantly, take care of yourselves.

Have a joyous Easter weekend!

Cindy

April Showers

So, you’ve heard a LOT from me over the past few weeks, but nothing here. So, this is what is going on here at the office:

My children are here, learning remotely while I try to keep things running smoothly for online services and meetings. I think, on Thursday of Week 4, we have FINALLY come up with a system that works!

We are still a large part of this congregation and community, and have many ideas for those of you with children, which will be the subject of our next Blog.

This was just a short hello to let you know that we’re still here, still checking the website, and still updating it as we can.

Cindy

March 12, 2020

It’s Thursday!

I can’t get enough of this weather this week, and know I keep mentioning it, but it’s so nice to have my kids outside stomping in mud puddles, they absolutely love it!

This weekend is not as busy as the last two were here at church, but the Jr. Choir is singing this Sunday, and there is Lenten Meditation following the service. I also have to brag that we’ll have some other amazing music during the service, including violin, flute, and hand drum accompanying an amazing Sr. Choir piece! (You’re going to get a lot of musical updates from me, it’s in my blood.)

Come Monday morning, be here bright and early for an Essential Oils Basics Workshop at 9 am in the parlor with Liz and Elena Swan. It’s fun and educational, and smells SOOO good!

Community Supper will be held as usual on Monday evening at 5:30, and will be Mexican! It should be delicious!

Stay healthy, and join us at our community events!

Cindy, UCC Administrative Assistant

March 10, 2020

It is very hard to believe that it’s still Winter, with all of this beautiful weather! Don’t put your snow shovels away! I know that as soon as I do, we get another storm.

I hope you were able to come out to our Community Supper last night. It was an evening of good food and even better companionship. Don’t forget that it’s every Monday at 5:30 in Fellowship Hall, and is open to the whole community.

Speaking of food – are you looking for good company while you eat your lunch today? Pack up your sandwich, or main dish, and head over to the church. Our Tuesday Lunch Table is open at 11, and there will be hot beverages and a dessert provided. Come, sit, eat, and chat!

Did you miss Saturday’s Paint Night (Afternoon)? Are you signed up for tonight’s Paint Night at 6:30? Please remember that reservations are required, so call the church office this morning to get a spot! Space is limited as well!

With the full moon, Friday the 13th, the Ides of March, March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day, and Baseball starting up, don’t forget to take a minute to reflect on your Lenten journey, and how YOU are the light of the world – make sure your light shines!

Cindy, UCC Administrative Assistant

March 6, 2020

The weekend is here! Join us this Saturday for Men Making Breakfast at 8 am, and stay for Movies n’ Munchies at 10 am.

If you haven’t registered for Saturday’s Paint Night (Afternoon) at 1, please call the church office by 12:30 pm today, Friday, or send an email to pastorbob@uccpeterborough.org

Sunday’s Sermon will be The Grace of Faith, and worship begins at 10 am. We look forward to seeing you there! This Sunday is also Scout Sunday, so show your scouting pride by wearing your badges and pins.

On Sunday evening at 7 pm, join us at the UU Church in Peterborough for the Spring Interfaith Music Celebration.

Cindy, UCC Administrative Assistant

March 5, 2020

March is not “roaring in like a lion,” so I’m a little leery about the end of the month! However, I’m loving all of these warm days. Those of us with children are throwing them out into the mud, and cleaning them up before bed, and the neighbors can hear their cries of joy through now-open windows.

Union Congregational Church celebrated Leap Day with a FABULOUS musical revue and singalong. Everyone had a great time, and it was so much fun to just sing some favorites from the past century.

So, here we go, this is Blog Post #1. I’ll keep it short and sweet for now. Welcome to our church community, I will be posting pics, videos, stories, and anything else that shows you our church family as we grow through the seasons.