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My dear friend Lori (known her for 30 years now) sent me a link to this wonderful USA Today article…  Very powerful and empowering for parents who are struggling with the decision TO or NOT TO attend church (for lack of a better term) and the affects on their kids.  Her email reads:

I happened upon this article posted in my Yahoo news. I’ve heard about Nica Lalli’s memoir, Nothing: Something to Believe In but I haven’t read it. I’ve loved reading your blogs about your involvement in the UU ‘church’ and I’ve been tempted to attend Fresno‘s UU a few times, but still haven’t done so. We come from such a diverse community that I know I need to do more to educate Josie about different religions to avoid ignorance but so far, we haven’t gone.  After reading this article, I’m feeling less guilty about not going to church but I really took Janie’s comments in her blog to heart—something you said about how great it is to be part of a community that thinks like you think and supports your family.  We have a small group of friends that think like I think and raise their children as I’m raising Josie but being part of a larger ‘community’ might be good for Josie.  Anyway…I thought of you two when I read this article and have a feeling you’ll enjoy reading it. Now I’m going to see if I can order her memoir through the library or amazon.com. 🙂

This article is very poignant and is for the most part, exactly how we are raising our kids.  BUT I think that many families out there are NOT providing this active discussion/education of religion for their kids.  Spirituality, creativity, freedom of choice and thought these days seems to be lacking in the fast paced world of drive-thru restaurants and long days at school & after school activities.  (Please don’t get me wrong here, we do all of the items mentioned before too!  That is why I feel comfortable pointing those items out.)  I know for a fact how hard it is to have a direct, meaningful conversation with kids while you are on the go!  Somehow it just doesn’t seem adequate to do during the commute home from school.

 I encourage you to comment or email me with your words of wisdom in how you reach your children, and what your families do to support diversity as well as the ‘choice’ of religion or not with your children.  Cheers!

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What a week!  I have been trying to get on the computer and write something up for a few days.  But nothing was hitting me or spurring my brain until today.  Actually it started a week ago, I just didn’t realize it until today…

The term stretch seems to cover it.  When something stretches it changes form and yet still contains the memory of what it once was.  This would summarize my life it seems.  I am constantly stretching/reaching/changing, hopefully for the better, yet gaining energy for the possibilities that lay ahead. 

When something stretches or changes, there is a reaction i.e. energy created.

This is probably the best thing about the church/congregation/fellowship that we belong to.  It is the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks otherwise known as UUFF.

We have been attending for 5 years, give or take.  If you don’t know what UU’s stand for, we have 7 main principles:

  • The inherent dignity and worth of every person
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

Then there are also the living traditions that play a part:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
  • Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
  • Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature

When the war started, this is where we turned for support.  When we needed intellectual and spiritual inspiration this is where we turned for support.  When we needed to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals who are as liberal as we are, this is where we turned for support.

Now with the changes that our lives have taken this year, it is that UUFF community that is supporting us!  What a difference that makes in ones life, to know you have good friends in a community to help you on your way.  Of course, at this point you are wondering about our families, and yes we have them too!  🙂  But unfortunately they are 3,000 to 4,000 miles away!  So they are not the ones that we rely on for our day to day existence.  Although we would LOVE to!  Maybe someday they will join us in Alaska.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Energy is bursting forth in our fellowship, we have just hired a Director of Children’s Religious Education, my friend, Bre, is doing that.  The fellowship also hired a new Director of Member Services, my friend Jeff is doing that.  Change is so good. 

In addition to 2 new directors, we have started a new committee called the UUFF Care Team.  Peg, Rebecca & myself are the team leaders and have brainstormed many ideas.   A few weeks ago we had a visiting minister, Peg Boyle-Morgan, come and lead a workshop based on this idea of caring for others, and how to orchestrate that in our growing congregation.  Jeff wrote a great blog entry on this workshop.  This event has been a catalyst for heightened awareness of others, which is nice to see.  The conscious effort that we should all have to ‘check’ on each other.

So where is this all leading?

Not sure, but I did sign up to go to our district conference and see. 

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and at the time it was ‘supposed’ to happen.  Maybe that is why I see such similarities in the changing UUFF and my changing life.  These things seem intertwined almost, they consume my thoughts & time these days.  I will keep you posted on how things progress and stretch. 

Well, I officially jumped from the cliff into an unknown abyss called my future.  Yikes!  🙂 

But resigning from my job was not nearly as bad as I had anticipated.  Maybe it was actually quite pleasant, in a moving ‘ahead’ sort of way.  I do feel lighter, clearer in my thoughts too.

Most of last week I spent thinking about this upcoming process.  It helped to spend last weekend at UUFF in a ‘Care’ workshop.  This is where we are learning to set up a system for taking care of the needs of others in our Fellowship.  Because we are lay-lead, there is not a leader/minister to guide us in this direction.  Just a committee of well intentioned beings. 

While being there and speaking to some about my impending resignation, it was nice to get the wisdom of others.  Many different ways to look at the problem, and more than enough solutions.  What great people!  That was Friday & Saturday.  Then on Sunday the service was all about the choices that one makes in their lives.  True this was in an environmental sort of way, but it still had me concentrating on changing/moving/shifting/resigning. 

Finally, now I can rest in peace and catch up on some sleep that I have been missing out on. 

(Oh and Thank you to everyone who was thinking of me!)

For the past 8 years I have stayed home with my girls, while my husband has been the breadwinner so to speak. Various things came my way during those years:
• MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) Support Group
• Started a home sewing business (Sun Berry Designs)
• ABC Preschool (Parent Co-Operative)
• Became an Educational Consultant (Usborne Books)
• Joined PTA (Parent Teacher Association)
• Facilitated a discussion group for Parents (Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks or UUFF)
• Became a Community Resource Coordinator for my daughters Elementary School
My motto has been try anything that comes my way, give it a year commitment and then re-evaluate.

With all the changes that have occurred around here in the last 6 months, I have done more reflection than usual. Maybe that is because my current job (first one out of the house in a long time) is not quite what I anticipated. 

Ultimately the last 5 months, of working for someone else, I have seen that I am supposed to create my own destiny.

My husband is an architect, and very interested in sustainability. So we often have discussions about the environment, building designs/materials, etc. Lately I have been noticing the same concerns throughout other industries as well. One in particular area is in crafts & gifts. I am in love with the website Etsy.com. What an ingenious idea! I am in the process of setting up my online store there. I will add links as I get that figured out!

Another thing of interest is the Handmade Pledge movement that is going on. These are all things that I have practiced (time allowing) so making it a campaign is amazing… The premise is that we are actually ‘helping’ the environment by buying local items and/or making your own gifts.

So what would it take to set up a ‘new’ business in my life? I think I would do quite a bit, to know I could, surround myself with handmade goodness all day AND create loving things for others too. My first blush as a dream would be to run a sewing lounge with a boutique on the front with local-handmade consignment items. Is it a financially feasible idea though? That is where I keep catching my mind wondering… I need to do more exploring on this I think, so plans are: Keep my home sewing business afloat, deal with my current job situation, do Farmers Market again this summer and keep networking with like minded folks, start taking some business classes and actually WRITE a business plan. Yikes…

I am hoping that my friend Laura would like to jump into this venture with me too. Can’t think of a better way to spend my days!

Wish me luck!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

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