There is an ornament workshop after church school today, and I have suggested that we could make, rather than buy pizza to feed the attendees. After making pizza dough and helping children roll it out for over twenty years now, I am somewhat of a pizza making expert. Mine are not perfect in presentation, but they are tasty. Once I think about what I have volunteered to do, I realize I don't have the time to make the pizza at church, so I bake them early at home and plan on reheating them before the event.
In Sunday school we introduce the children to Henry David Thoreau. We read a book called Henry Walks to Work (Thanks to Valerie, this book has served many children well!) It tells the story of how Henry takes a walk into the world surrounding his home, and uses the things he finds and learns there to help his neighbors. There are herbs and berries to share with friends, simple tasks to help make travel easier for others, observations about the world to help advise people to prepare for the awakening day. I love this book and this lesson because it teaches children that some of the most simple tasks they can perform can be a help to the world around them, and they take nothing but a small amount of time and kindness. Henry does all of this as walks to work, which happens to be writing in the very cottage he has left from. Simple doable tasks which help us to be superheros. I like to think we all have a bit of Henry in us.
Instead of going to chapel with the children, I join my co-task force friend, Michael in the basement speak with the youth group to see how they are doing. They are enthusiastic and excited about their up coming coffee house on December 13th to raise money to help send some of them to GA in Portland, Oregon this coming summer. They are also interested in being more involved with the congregation in general, something I really want to help them with.
I get back to my class just as they are having sharing time, which means I only missed chapel, and little else. Sharing time is something that seems to be intergral to our Sunday school experience at 1st UU. I am not sure where or when it started, but it has crept down from the older grades and I think almost all of the classes do this at some point during the morning. In our class, we pass around a talking stick, and each person shares something from their week or something coming up. Only the person holding the stick is supposed to talk, and for the most part the children understand this. It is so amazing what they will share. Sometimes it is something like an upcoming visit, party or celebration, other times it could be the death of a beloved pet or relative.
We continue to talk about Henry and how he observed nature. From our second floor window, which is city close to the neighboring building, I think there is little hope of finding nature there. With observant eyes, the children find plants which have sprouted though concrete, and bushes in back of the house next door. We see slivers of blue sky, clouds and birds. We think about these things, and what we see in our own backyards, and draw pictures in our nature journals.
I leave the class a little early to heat up the pizza. Erin and Dan find me in the kitchen, and return some dishes from Thanksgiving. Dana also manages to find me there, amazing since this is not where I would usually be found on a Sunday morning.
I am delighted, because I think these three will get along, and I have been thinking about how to introduce them. This is perfect. They help me bring the pizza up to the ornament workshop, which seems to be very explanation intensive. The four of us had considered making something, but before it gets started, Dan and Erin need to leave, and soon after Dana needs to leave too. I walk with Dana to her car, and decide I should also head home.
I want to drive with Allie today, but I also need to rake my leaves. I tell Allie to pick me up in an hour, and this gives me just enough time to get the front in good shape. It is very mild out today, so I am glad that I put this task off. Allie comes just as I finish, and we practice highway driving on 146, parking lot navigation, parking, and end up at Target. Of course we need to stop in and look around while we are here!
Steve is out for most of the day, wrapping gifts at Barnes and Nobel, so I don't see him for most of the day. It is nice when he gets home, and we can share stories from our day.