It has been a very busy year here in Cedar Falls. Here are the highlights in photos!

Dear Friends and Family,
I hope this letter finds you in good health and happiness. 2016 has been a very busy year in our lives. We have had so many adventures this year and made so many new friends.
We hope that you have had a wonderful year and that your coming year will be even better.
NEW YEARS EVE PARTY REMINDER: Just wanted to remind you that you are all invited to come to our New Year’s Eve party on December 31.  We begin at 7:00.  It is family-oriented. We will “Ring in the New Year” at 8:00, 10:00 and Midnight!!!  Bring a dish to share with friends.
Thank you to all our old and new friends who came out this year to help elect Democrats! We did a great job in Cedar Falls.
Things I haven’t mentioned in photos include:
  • We had a great Thanksgiving Dinner with family and friends.
  • Our son, Chris & his family Merri, Tyler & James moved to Altoona, Iowa
  • Our son, Jeff moved to Brooklyn, New York for his new banking position.
  • Leigh and I are still working on our Brown house in Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Our son, Wes and wife Bethany have been working on their house in West Des Moines, Iowa.
  • We had 3 floods in our basement this year! Next year will see us painting the basement walls and floors.
  • We have 3 new loveseats in the living room – still have the red carpet… I’ve been busy framing pictures and Leigh & I have been putting them up around the house.
  • Terrible flooding in Cedar Falls, thankfully for us it was not as bad as it had been in past years, but work is still engaged throughout the state.
  • I started an aquatic exercise class in July and go every Mon, Wed & Fri. it has really helped my pain levels.
  • Leigh is still working at UNI, going to conferences, fixing up the house, riding RAGBRAI and busy with Kiwanis, our yard, & our Grandchildren, Tyler & James!

Kathy and Leigh
P.S. Leigh at ISTE and

Proud Papa Photos.jpg

Kathy & Friends on a Conference call with President Obama

And the greatest of these is Love

A friend sent me this statement from Rev. Peter Morales, president of the UUA (Unitarian Universalist Association), – 
“We have always been a people who affirm justice. I am proud of that. But right now we need to go beyond advocacy and protest. I think we are called to bring empathy, understanding, and healing. And this involves forming relationships with people with whom we most disagree….We must help frame a vision of a future that includes everyone. We must not only decry evil, we must build a foundation for hope.”
Some people have asked me what to do in the coming months and I have to admit I do not have all the answers.  I have decided to collect information and blog it about it here. So if you have any ideas or suggestions please add them to comments or send me an email. 

One thing that I am doing is to wear a safety pin. 
"I wear a safety pin because:If you wear a Hijab, I’ll sit with you. If you are Trans, I’ll go to the bathroom with you. If you’re person of color, I’ll stand up with you. If you’re an immigrant, I’ll help find you resources. If you’re a survivor, I’ll believe you. If you’re a refugee, I’ll welcome you. If you’re a veteran, I’ll take up your fight. If you’re LGBTQ, you are not broken. If you’re a woman, I’ll pay you the same wages. If you’re tired, me too. If you need a hug, I have one for you. If you need me, I’ll be with you. #youresafewithmeWhen people ask about your pin, this is your script. Keep it handy."

Blessed be

Amazing Young Person

I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of an amazing young person this summer. Her name is Olivia. She's on the right in this photo. When I met her she was a Fellow with the Democratic party. She became a leader this year with our volunteers and a leader at her school starting a young Democrats club.  She has applied to be a page with the Iowa Congress starting in January. I look forward to hearing about her adventures. 
It's not easy to call people on the phone or knock on their doors and ask them to vote for your candidate, but she did it with grace and made it look easy. 
Thank you for your time and effort this past year, Olivia. We may not have won the country, but because of your efforts we won quite a few of the elections here in Black Hawk County!
Lot of love and good luck on your new path!

#7 We Take Care of The Earth

As usual we share this day of caring for our earth with The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting.
I have my ritual for Chalica and when it is 7pm I light my candle "for one hour to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who left too soon." For our family especially this is our nephew, Tyler Joel Rudy, our dear friend Robert, and Chris' twin (a son of our hearts) Steven Carpenter and for the families that have been left behind. We have to remember that we were lucky that these children have been in our lives even for such a short time. 

#5 All People Need a Voice

This is so true! I am so very proud of those members of my religion that were able to take time and go join the protestors at Standing Rock. They and the rest of the protestors had a voice and the people listened. They helped to win a battle. The action is not permanent but hopefully may people will use their words and it will be come permanent. 

#4 Search for What is True

We light our chalice for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

What does this mean to you?
In 2012 on the 4th day of Chalica, two members of our community  (two  young Iowa cousins) were found unfortunately they were not alive.  Four years later there are still no answers to what happened to them.  One of my dear friends, Diane and her family were neighbors and friends of one of the girl, and she use to visit with them to church. We will never forget what happened. 

In 2010 on the 4th day of Chalica we had just passed the 3,000 views mark. Today we are 34,551 views!
I hope that there are many more people celebrating Chalica this year.

#3 We are Free to Learn Together

This year let's really take time to learn about the people we come in contact with: our neighbors, co-workers, people at our church and maybe even go visit a neighboring church to see what they are learning. And LISTEN the greatest part of learning is to listen to others! You really can't learn if you are doing all the talking.
Learn what the needs are of the people around you, and acknowledge their fears and worries.
But you can ask questions, and be ready to hear the answers not to stick with your preconceived opinions.
You don't have to solve all the problems, sometimes just listening helps!
Here's something you can do:
Join the #LoveArmy with @VanJones68. If you can look for today's show with @VanJones68 called the MessyTruth.

A wonderful teacher!

#2 Be Kind In All You Do

On facebook many of my friends have posted funny and not so funny pictures, saying, articles and cartoons about our next President. I have been trying to be kind by not sharing them. I am trying to keep the area around me positive.  What can we do? Be Kind to each and every person you meet. Be kind in your words and deeds.
Be a safe environment for others to come to or to use as a touch stone.

If you are new to this site, please look around at the tabs, if you find a site that isn't working please let me know. This has been a very busy year and I have not caught up with my updates.  

For those of you with children in your life, please download and share the Kid's Booklet, it is saved as a pdf so should download to every computer. 
Looking for inspiration check out Just Do It!, UUSBHC, Lisa Schwardz, JL's videos and the music links!
JL's video are 7 different videos that you can use each day for a small service. Great for a person alone or for a group. 
As you light your Chalica today think of those people that are full of fear and anxious for what tomorrow may bring. 
It only takes one person to change the attitude around them and it really is up to you! 

#1 Each Person is Important

This is the first day of Chalica 2016. Many people in the United States and around the world are still recovering from the general election. Many are praying and hoping for a different answer. Many are wondering what can they do to survive the next four years. And to make sure someone who is under qualified never gets into an office again. I don't have the answers but I do have a few suggestions.  The first of which is to really think on this principle, take it to heart and do something to help the people in your life.