In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Planning with the Family

I mentioned this before, but we had a wonderful trip to Puerto Rico with my family in the week between Christmas and New Years. It included everyone from my 8-month old niece (who is now a 10-month old niece) to my 81 year old grandmother (who is now an 82 year old grandmother and avid reader of this blog). Totally fun.

Family vacations are different than individual vacations. When you are this intergenerational, a resort is often better. You spend more time on the beach or the pool than running around town. I think that we learned that the whole family should do at least one thing together each day (an excursion or a meal). For other days, you separate and have fun individually. That means that you get a good mix of adventure, relaxation, and couple time.

So, we are planning to do it again. This time, the destination is Hawaii. It's the 50th state for my mother. It is one of 2 that I haven't visited. And, Richard has been there. In fact, his mother has many contacts there. So, we are adding Richard's mom into the mix.

One of the first challenges is figuring out the "when" and the "where, exactly" portion of the trip. Everyone has different schedules to juggle. We've been going back and forth between Christmas (again) or August. Right now, Christmas seems to be winning (there are some who prefer Christmas, others don't care as much).

The "where, exactly" part is a little more complicated, especially if you have no idea what makes each island different. We finally forced our families to take this online quiz to find out which island would be the best to visit.

We're still working all this out, so stay tuned. I'm glad I really enjoy traveling with my family. I'm looking forward to this trip.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Religion & Ethics

I wanted to post this story by Religion & Ethics. It features Trinity Lutheran Church in New York City. Trinity is an ELCA and RIC congregation that started a homeless shelter for LGBTQ youth.

Actually, I was contacted by the good people at Religion & Ethics. They wondered if The Naming Project could provide a youth to interview. I gave two contacts (with permission, of course). After talking to the youth, Religion & Ethics decided that my kids weren't traumatized by the Church enough to feature. Bummer. At least Trinity got in.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Are We Going to Be Farm Fresh?

Richard and I just had a "discussion" (I'm not sure that we fight like other people, but our discussions can get pretty loaded. This discussion centered around renewing our farm share. As I've blogged about for the last three years, I've really loved the farm share. During the summer, once a week, we get a 1/2 bushel of farm fresh vegetables (which were already washed for us). In the spring and fall, we would get a box every other week.

We knew that we were getting the stuff that was in season. We felt like we knew our farmers and what was going on in their lives. It introduced us to food we hadn't imagined before: kale, chard, fennel, bleeding heart radishes. It also supplied us with familiar food with much better taste: carrots, tomatoes, squash (which I hated as a kid). The food tasted wonderful and kept fresh way longer than anything that I've bought in a store (including organic stuff).

But there was a dark side to the farm share: It had to be picked up on Friday. We had until the end of the day on Friday to get it. If we were out of town, we needed to arrange someone else to get it or just let it go. We also got a lot of food. A lot. Spinach is pretty much always in season, so we continued to get bags and bags of spinach, long after we knew what to do with it. We made salads. We steamed it. We would make a stir-fry (our phrase for throwing a lot of vegetables in a pan). Still, the spinach would come. Same for other foods: asparagus in the early summer, radishes at the end of the year. We would have, what I called, "Vegetable backup" in the fridge. The food did stay fresh, but sometimes we would push it too far and have to throw something away.

So now, we are presented with the option to renew (at a significant discount for being current members). Richard doesn't want to deal with it any more. He thought that trying to get it and eat it caused a lot of stress. I liked it a lot, and would like to continue doing it.

First, what are your thoughts? Is it worth it?

Second, we think that a good compromise would be to share the membership with another home. If you are in our area, would you be open to splitting a farm share with us? If we can find someone else who lives nearby, then we are more likely to keep it. If not, then we'll probably forgo the farm share.

I realize that many of you don't live near me, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the farm share. Let's start a discussion.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Creating Change

I was in Dallas, TX, all of last week. In fact, I didn't get home until Monday. The purpose of my trip was to attend the Creating Change conference of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. This was my first time at this conference. There was a lot to process.

I think that NGLTF is the lesser known organization, often hidden in the Human Rights Campaign's shadow. However, while HRC does direct lobbying for (and against) legislation, NGLTF is more focused on organizing for change at a grassroots level. They work campaigns in states, to be sure, but they are also concerned with the overall movement.

Creating Change is an organization for anyone and everyone who is working with an LGBTQ organization. There were religious groups, racial justice groups, ability groups, youth agencies, senior programs, and political organizers. All these people come with their own particular agendas, but they know that learning how to organize and build relationships will be important for the overall movement. The diversity sometimes means that we don't agree. To be sure, there were several people who don't trust religious folks (and I don't really blame them). However, knowing that we are working on something mutual (like a society that protects and honors all its members) can draw us together and understand how interconnected our work is.

The other thing that I appreciate about Creating Change is its emphasis on the intersection of oppressions. While we are all there for LGBT equality, we make sure that our work also encompasses work on race, age, gender, ability, and language. Creating Change challenged us to think about how other people in our society need to be honored and protected. We don't always live up to our goal of a society that honors and protects its members, but we can be challenged to do more.

There is more emphasis on workshops and training sessions than the keynote. For one thing, with such a diverse group, it's hard to plan a keynote that speaks to everyone. Also, we came to the conference to learn skills...and we did.

Next year, Creating Change will be in Minneapolis. Consider what you want to learn and if attending can be helpful for you!