Hello First UUers,

Wow! It is so good to be back home. Vacation was wonderful but as Dorothy says in the Wizard of Oz, “there’s no place like home.” I might not have Toto in my arms, but my, oh my, has my little kitten grown into a very laaaarge kitten-cat! Little Ms. Maddie in all her furry, adorable, loving Maine Coone’ness, has almost outgrown my lap. But even after being gone for an extended vacation, she greets me at the door and signals for me to lift her onto my shoulder for a little love. I wish I could bring her to this Sunday’s Animal Blessing, but alas, she’s only used to small gatherings. A Maddie pic will have to do.

While I was traveling, I had the opportunity to read books (including one with a plot!) and watch a movie. Together, they had an unplanned theme that corresponded in a good way to the newly released, devasting UN report on climate change. The combination of books and movie opened my heart, expanded my knowledge, and gave me a glimpse of hope. First, I watched The Biggest Little Farm, an acclaimed documentary that follows a couple (and their dog) on an 8-year odyssey as they move from high-stress work life to a dried-up farm outside LA. Over the course of time – and a lot of hard work – they transform the land into a celebration of nature and diversity. Parallel to the movie, I was in and out of a book, The Overstory, a novel by Richard Powers. Using trees as the central focus, it follows not just specific trees, but the lives of people, including activists (some eager, others reluctant or accidental) as they learn, discover, and fight for the living forests still remaining. The last of the vacation trio of nature-themed media was a small book by Sy Montgomery, How to be a Good Creature. It made me laugh, cry, and appreciate all sorts of animals and critters that I normally either don’t notice or run from. In all, the books and movie gave me insight on a larger existence and a way of being that is much more healthy and sustainable than how we (and I) are doing things now.

The UN report and my vacation media binge worked together to shock me into reality and, at the same time, open possibilities. I talked about this with my traveling partner, and ended with a question I couldn’t escape. “What major thing will I do to change my environmental footprint?” Not just the easy things that are important but not enough at this late stage, but what MAJOR sacrifice would I be willing to make NOW for the survival of the planet?

I don’t have an answer…yet. But, I did get on a bicycle for the first time since college and discovered I can still ride. Maybe I could go for a few, or multiple, car-less days? (Am I really saying this in public???) And, eat a more vegetarian diet cooked with pronounceable ingredients. (My chef skills are worse than my cycling skills!) And, much less plastic. And, plant more trees and other green things. And… And… And…

What major thing are you willing to change or sacrifice to save the planet?

We should have a conversation. And read more books and watch movies that give us hope in the doing.

I’ve done a little experiment. I let Maddie sniff a sample of what I’m about to drink or eat. More often than not, she turns up her nose at anything artificial. Just real food for her. The only transportation she has is her padded paws. She can zoom around incredibly fast. No fossils fuels needed. Maybe I/we should follow suit in all we do. The planet, and our children, need us to do this.

Blessings for all of us, all creatures and life, and the planet.

Rev. Marian

SHOUT OUTS! and Reminders

Tuesday Talk and Summer Service thanks…
Thanks to all who have stepped in, stepped up, and filled the gaps as I and others have been away this summer. We all need a time to refresh and renew. Thank you to all the wonderful folks who have helped make this possible.

1-1/2 weeks: Labor Day campout (sign up NOW, details below)
2-1/2 weeks: Water Communion (9/8)
3-1/2 weeks: RE classes begin (9/15)
3-1/2 weeks: Middle Hour begins! (9/15)

What’s Middle Hour? It is an exciting mix of Forums, Socrates Cafés, Learning Labs, Incubator Groups, Creative Space, Table Top Conversations, and more! It all begins between services on Sunday, 9/15 from 10:15–10:45. More info coming!

It’s time to register for RE classes
Thank you to all who registered already, if you haven’t yet here’s the link. Classes begin September 15th; there are OWL and COA orientations before that so get your info in as soon as possible!
Any questions contact Christine.

Teachers and RE Volunteers needed!
Answer the call to teach: help our children and youth explore Unitarian Universalist values! You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be willing to learn alongside our young folks two Sundays a month! For more info, contact Amber.

Choirs begin rehearsing soon!
If you are interested in joining a choir this year contact Brandon for more information. All are welcome! Peace Pals is for our children and Rising Voices for youth. Spirit of Life sings at the 9am service and rehearses Tuesday evenings, Chalice Choir sings at the 11am service and rehearses Thursday evenings.