6th Day of Chalica Saturday 12/7/19

We light our chalice for the goal of world peace, liberty and justice for all.

Will we ever have a fair and peaceful world? Maybe we can just work on having a fair and peaceful and safe place around each of us. That hopefully one day will grow to include more spaces.  One comment that I have heard is that how will we know what is fair if we don't have unfair situations. and how will we know what is peace if we don't have conflict? What are your thoughts? Can the lion lie down with the lamb? 
I like to think that my Women of Faith group is helping to make us more aware and accepting of people of other faiths.  
Definitely traveling and meeting people from around the globe helps.  This year we have opened our house to young people from across the nation and the world who are here in Iowa working on campaigns for the different candidates. Some have come just for a night or two and others for months.  It has been interesting to meet them all. Our latest, Stormy will be leaving us shortly to go back to Washington, D.C. for Christmas and his wedding. He has been a great addition to our household.  And the grandkids have stopped yelling stranger, stranger when he walks in the door. I know they will miss him when he leaves. 

So this a picture that I took in Halifax, NS this fall. It is by the water and I just loved the different colors. 
What are you doing to help make the world a fair and peaceful place? 

Blessed be, 

5th Day of Chalica Friday 12/6/19

We light our chalice for the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

What does your congregations do that supports the democratic process? 
Right now in the USA our democratic process in the society at large is all about preparing for caucus in Iowa and primaries in other states. What is a caucus? It is a time where each party in each precinct gets together in person to talk about the candidates and the issues and then votes on them.  We started with about 24 candidates in the democratic caucus this time and I think we are now down to 14. Our caucus will be held on Feb. 3, 2020 this time and we will be again the first in the nation to vote. For more information about our caucus check out the Wikipedia page.  This year will be the first time the democrats have proposed a satellite caucusing plan. There were a few of these in 2016 as test sites.  
There has been a lot of news out there about what else is going on politically in the USA, but it is so depressing I think I'll end with this.
Take care.
Blessed be,

4th Day of Chalica Thursday 12/5/19

We light our chalice for a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
Would you be willing to go to jail for your beliefs like Nelson Mandela? He was in prison from 1962-1992 on a charge of treason. He was against the white heads of state that started apartheid and he fought against the government to end it.  Four years after his release he was elected the first black President of South Africa.
Have you ever marched or protested for the truth as you saw it? When I was a kid I worked with my dad on Robert Kennedy's campaign - it was interesting to meet all the "big shots" in the Democratic party in Southern California. 
Where were you when Martin Luther King was shot? 
Or when the towers fell in New York City? 
What does the 4th principle, a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, mean to you?

Happy Chalica,
Blessed be,

3rd Day of Chalica Wednesday 12/4/19

We light our chalice for acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

One afternoon after my cruise, my grandsons and I had been to our local YMCA to swim and as we came out of the building we saw this beautiful sunset. One of the interesting parts of my class at the YMCA is that a few of the other members are also members of my local UU congregation. 
I have also been lucky that I have found a group, Women of Faith, outside of my congregation (but again many members of my congregation are also members of this group) that has been aiding in my spiritual growth these last few years. We meet once a month for good food (potluck no meat) fellowship and a program.  The reason that our food is meat free is that we have members of the Muslim and Jewish faiths that need special treatment during the slaughtering of the meat. But we can have fish so long as the fish had scales. Interesting things you learn about when meeting people of different faiths.  That we aren't so different after all.
Happy Chalica!
Blessed be,
below is an article I wrote for my congregation about our September Program. I call it Pilgrimages in Faith

Pilgrimage was the theme of the Sept. 17th program at the Women of Faith meeting. After enjoying a delicious potluck dinner of dishes made without meat we were treated to talks about pilgrimages by women of two different faiths that were eerily similar.  The first talk was: Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca by Salma Akbar. Salma told us about her fears of not surviving, getting her will up-to-date, about how the women dressed modestly and the men dressed all in white. About walking 7 times counter clockwise around the  Kaaba. How “once there all labels disappeared” people were people not doctors or lawyers or rich or poor. About how when she was close to the Kaaba, she stumbled or was pushed and reached out and touched the door of the Kaaba and was filled with light, hope and godliness.  It was a transforming experience for her.
Our next speaker was Elizabeth Popplewell, the rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. Elizabeth talk was We Make the Way by Walking, the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage. She told us of the bones of St. James being found in a box by the sea and moved 500 miles to where they are buried. She told us of her accident and how when it happened there was a doctor there to help her and when she need her stitches out there were two nurses at the lunch table to help. About sleeping in refugios (hostels for the pilgrims), eating in outside cafes, meeting people,
She told us of how the first 10 days were a time of healing for her body, the 2nd 10 days for her brain and the last 10 days were for her soul. She walked 15-18 miles a day. She told us about see the iron cross at the end and taking a rock to lay at the base and how disappointed she was that at that point she didn’t feel anything, but then as she walked away she felt a lighting, a healing and a reconnecting to God. A transforming experience for her.
Both these women came away with these ideals that Elizabeth summed up for us: surrender to the pilgrimage, I can do hard things, everyone must experience their own pilgrimage, embrace the unknown, be present to where you are, but look behind you to see where you have been, enjoy that climb and maybe see a fabulous sunrise, cherish the people you meet, keep going and come home.
Not all our dinner meeting have speakers some are just a chance to meet women of other faiths and to find a common ground between us.
I invited you to join us at the next Women of Faith Dinner/meeting or find one near you or start one in your area. 

2nd Day of Chalica Tuesday, 12/3/19

We light our chalice for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. 

While on the cruise we were treated to the wonderful songs of Branden James and James Clark. They are such accomplished young men. Vicki and I saw two of their performances and talked with them a little after the 2nd show. During the 1st show James had said we could take and post pictures so long as we credited them correctly https://brandenjames.com/photos/, which of course I forgot how to do, so I had to research them and wow... they are very impressive guys. 

Braden was on America's got talent in 2013. And he was a season 8 finalist. [See video above]
And if you can't tell he did study Opera, but sings other genres. Oh and he also plays the piano. 
James is a cellist and plays piano. He has a masters in cello performance from Cal State Long Beach. 
They met, became best friends, fell in love and last year they got married. 
So I did find out a lot of this information in my research, but then late one of  the last nights of the cruise Vicki & James picked out tables next to each other for our after the show snack and tea. And I just had to tell them how impressed I was with their talent, drive and journey. Thus started an hour long conversation with them, finding that we had many things in common, Vic & I like Branden had grown up in Southern California. James and I had both suffered the lost of a young family member. Branden has a sister like Vic that is a special education teacher - which came out when I signed 'shit' to Vic and he picked it up. We have told many of our friends to check out their videos and tour schedules and urge you all to do the same. On their blog is their tour schedule and as you will see they perform all over the world and I urge you to see them in concert if you can. I am hoping that next year they will be doing a Mid-West Tour!! If not I might have to visit family in Southern California when they are performing there. 
Well, for my friends in Australia and China, sorry this is a bit late being posted. but I wanted to make sure this was correct and give them the credit that is due them.
Blessed be,

And I'll leave you with another favorite: Somewhere only we know

1st Day of Chalica Monday 12/2/19



We celebrate our First Principle; The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Click on the Days tab above for ways to celebrate this special UU holiday.  Or watch Jeff's video's. 
Right now I'm thinking about how and why I started this Chalica blog 9 years ago. When I first found out about Unitarian Universalism I realized that it was a way of life (not just a religion) that spoke to me. It was more that principles that the people. I wish I could say we all follow our principles but in reality who does follow all the rules? I would like to think that I try.  This principle was especially on my mind this year as I traveled on a cruise ship and in Canada.  My sister/friend, Vicki and I decided to travel together on a 14 day cruise.  I hope she had as good of time as I did.  
We both agreed that everyone - staff and other passengers were so friendly and welcoming. 
I had an interesting or rather unique experience one evening. There was a magician, Naathan Phan, performing on the large stage and as many of you know I'm a huge fan of magic; [My husband is a magician and we are members of the Magic Castle in Hollywood.] so I made sure we had front row center seats. At one point Naathan asked for a volunteer and out of the 800 people in the audience, I was the only one who raised their hand.  Well I got on stage and Naathan went into his routine next the captain's voice came over the speakers, and went on and on; so there we are in front of everyone with nothing to do. Naathan was such a good sport. As soon as the captain was done Naathan started back up.  It was fun to have complete strangers come up to me during the week to comment on the show. It was a unique experience for the behind the scenes kinda person that I usually am.
There we meet so many interesting people and had such wonderful adventures.
Happy Chalica!
Blessed be,