Alone in distant woods or fields, I once more feel myself grandly related, and that cold and solitude are friends of mine. I come to my solitary woodland walk as the homesick go home. I thus dispose of the superfluous and see things as they are grand and beautiful…I wish to get the Concord, the Massachusetts, the America, out of my head and be sane a part of every day. I come out to these solitudes, where the problem of existence is simplified. I get a mile or two from the town into the stillness and solitude of nature, with rocks, trees, weeds, and snow about me. I enter some glade in the woods, perchance, where a few weeds and dry leaves alone lift themselves above the surface of the snow, and it is as if I had come to an open window. I am aware that most of my neighbors would think it a hardship to be compelled to linger here one hour, especially this bleak day, and yet I receive this sweet and ineffable compensation for it. - Journal of Henry David Thoreau, Jan 7, 1857
As the thermometer starts to drop, the clear cold air gets your attention and informs you that the easy days are gone and colder days lay ahead. When you live in northern New England, even when you know the routine, it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. You have to gear up mentally and physically for the long haul if you’re going to make it to mud season. Nature and the weather cannot be ignored when you live in a frigid environment five months out of the year.
Thoreau called the cold a friend of his as it provided ample opportunities for reflection, interaction with the elements and a welcome break from the noise and commotion of society. Whether I’m carrying wood for the wood stove, shoveling snow or walking on the trail, each of these activities keep me in touch with the cold realities of the day and my own basic sanity. Ten minutes spent sitting in front of the wood stove enjoying a hot cup of coffee is ten minutes spent in the simplicity of existence.
The river is open today and it is flowing cold downstream, ice forming in places along the edge, slushy globs of partially frozen river riding on the surface. Patches of the slush globs float freely in the middle of the stream, but along the river bank they catch and slide along the edge of the ice creating this amazing sound. It sounds like a giant slushy machine! Standing in the cold and listening to the slushy sound of nature has a calming effect on the scattered mind and modern soul. Go ahead and embrace the elements in this cold season.
Live the moment. Dave
I love this time of year. The holidays bring friends and family together. The first real snowfall brings the promise of a white Christmas and snow sports. There is excitement in the air with feasting, partying, singing, businesses booming and people smiling. This is a time of celebration, of putting our problems on HOLD and enjoying the fruits of our labor and the joy of being alive. It is also a time for being thankful for the bounty in our lives, our friends and family, our spiritual community and the wisdom passed on to us through our spiritual traditions.
It is also a time to let our hearts be filled with loving kindness and generously share this with others. When it comes down to it, love is the greatest gift of all and it is a gift that is not reduced by giving it away. In fact, the more you give love the more it wells up in you and others creating a joyous positive feedback loop. I wish all of us a blessed and joyous new year and when we take the problems off HOLD may we face them openly and honestly, courageously feel their essence and find creative solutions that bring more loving kindness to all.
Love and Peace to you all, John Lloyd, Moderator
We are happy to officially announce that we have started a Sunday school for children. Each week the children will light their candles, share their thoughts, sing a song and have a lesson. Starting the second week of January the lessons each week will be on one of the UU principles and run consecutively until each of the principles are covered. After that the lessons will be on what the teacher of the week chooses, keeping the themes based on any ‘holidays’ around that time. The Sunday school team will be meeting after the service on January 7th. If you are interested in teaching one week, or being an assistant please join us then, or use the signup sheet that is pinned on the wall by the coffee station.
LOOKING AHEAD... at The Cup Cafe and Gallery
You can enjoy a bite to eat at The Cup Cafe and peruse the new cultural arts venue with art from local artisans. Artwork at The Cup Cafe and Gallery is for sale.
In addition, several workshops will be coming up in late winter. The first workshop is "Pen and Ink Doodling." If you would like to take doodling to new levels, you will want to come on in and join us. No formal training is required and all you need is paper and some pens. Micron pens, available at most craft stores, are a good way to go... or just a black gel pen will work. We'll be using several techniques: stencils, free-form doodling, and concepts from the zentangle tradition. For a better idea of what we will be covering, you may get a preview by visiting the TanglePatterns.com website. This workshop is open to 10-year-olds on up; children under the age of 16 will need to be accompanied by an adult.
A second workshop that we will be offering in late winter is a "Make and Take" workshop on making paper beads which may be made into necklaces and bookmarks. There will be a fee for this workshop that will cover the cost of supplies. This workshop is open to 12-year-olds on up; children under the age of 16 need to be accompanied by an adult.
See Betty White for more details. Workshop dates will be forthcoming.
MONDAY EVENING CONVERSATIONS
February 12, 2018 6-8PM - “Walk With Me” Teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh (DVD 2017)
Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most recognized zen teachers in contemporary society. His many books, teaching appearances and his monastery Plum Village in France have endeared him to thousands. Now in his nineties, Thich Nhat Hanh is the embodiment of a wise master still in our midst. This new documentary by West End Films and Alive Mind Cinema chronicles life in the monastery and teachings of Thay, as he is affectionally called by his followers and friends. Discussion will follow the film with light refreshments provided by the cafe.
About the film:
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.
E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Houlton. We currently have 26 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/ If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES