Insight, Inspiration, and Resources for Daily Life

  • I’m In the Slime of My Life!

    Oobleck and Other States of Matter

    An African American child prepares to touch a jar of slime.
    Photo by Pexel User Monstera.

    When I was younger, I had two states of being.

    In my personal life, I was fluid, like water. Which is to say that I went with the flow, and rarely set boundaries with others. I told myself, “this is what a good friend / girlfriend / wife is.” I thought, if I was so “low maintenance” not to ask anything of anyone, people would always love me. But, as any recovering people pleaser would tell you, that’s simply not true. Even worse, I found I didn’t always love me, because I was disrespecting boundaries I had with myself.

    On the other hand, in my professional life, I was solid, like brick. Which is to say that I was sturdy, and rigid with my work. I told myself, “this is what a good student / employee is.” I thought, if I was “strong enough,” and never deviated from my plans, people would see me as reliable and trustworthy. But, as any recovering perfectionist would tell you, that’s simply not true either. Even worse, I found I didn’t always find myself reliable or trustworthy, because sometimes my plans fell through.

    As I begin this, my fifteenth year at First Unitarian Church, I’ve been reflecting on just how much I’ve grown over the past decade and a half. And, thinking on it, I no longer feel as if I am only fluid like water, or solid like brick. No, these days, I’m both at all times, like Oobleck!

    If you aren’t familiar with Oobleck, it is a type of slime made from mixing cornstarch and water. It’s known as a non-Newtonian fluid because when left to rest, it flows much like a fluid, but when it’s placed under pressure it becomes rigid like a solid. And, that’s how I feel! Given the opportunity, I am happy to ‘go with the flow,’ to fit in where there are cracks, and find creative solutions to problems. But, the moment I find myself under pressure, the moment one of my boundaries are pushed on, I become solid and strong. And, I find that empowering.

    Perhaps, in another 15 years, I’ll look back and find this, too, is a failed state of being. Perhaps, I’ll look back and find I should have been gas this whole time. But, that’s okay. We’re not meant to stay in one state of being our entire lives.

    I wonder…

    • What state are you in right now?
    • When was the last time you were solid / fluid / gas / Oobleck, what did you learn from that experience?

    Want to know more about Oobleck? You can see a demonstration, and learn a bit about the science here.

  • Valuable Insights that Lift the Spirit

    Thank You for the Education

    A larger white woman with short hair sits on the steps of a small stage with a cardboard box.  She is surrounded by 9 children, who are all listening very intently to her.  They are all bathed in beams of sunlight.

    Dearest Beloveds,

    Congratulations – we did it!  We made it to the unofficial end of this church year!  And, oh my goodness, we have so much to look forward to in the coming year!  However, before we get there, I want to offer you one last reflection – one last “Tools for the Journey” (at least, until Fall).

    To begin, I want to take you back to last summer.  Do you recall what I said?  I said it was my hope that this series (which started as an email series sent to Lay Leaders in the Congregation) would “lift your spirits and/or provide valuable insight.”  And, from the feedback I received from many of you over the course of this year, it seems that hope has been realized.  I am grateful, really.  But, do you want to know what I am even more grateful for?  The ‘valuable insights’ and ‘lift in spirit’ you have given me over the course of this year.  Truthfully, I have learned so much from all of you during my time at First Church.  Would you like to know what I’ve learned this year?  I will tell you….

    • No one can do everything, but everyone can do something (okay, I knew this one before – but it’s always good to have a reminder).
    • Cultural change can be difficult.  It can take time.  But it can happen, as long as people are brave enough to center love.
    • Boundaries are a form of self-love.
    • The purpose of church may be it’s mission, but the magic of church lies within its people, and their connection to each other.
    • Gratitude is a form of that magic.  It can fuel us, heal our wounds, and even offer us protection.  Better yet, it is free and easy to access!  So, let’s express it often.

    As a colleague of mine, Maria Harris, once said “Religious Education is all we do. Unitarian Universalism is all we teach. And the congregation is the curriculum.”  Thank you for the education in Unitarian Universalism.  Looking forward to future lessons. Until next time!

    In faith and service,

    –          Meredith

  • UU Summer Camps

    Vacation, All I Ever Wanted!

    This past Sunday, my husband and I finally nailed down our family’s summer vacation plans. We will be heading to Pittsburgh towards the end of June to attend the final day of General Assembly, before exploring all that Pittsburgh has to offer (including a stop at Kennywood). I know, vacations are a privilege. And, I know some of you with that privilege have already booked your vacations. But, if you are like me – someone who has the ability to take a vacation, but tends to put off planning them – then may I suggest you look at attending a UU Family Summer Camp?

    You can learn more on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Website.  Or, check out these camps that aren’t too far from Cincinnati: SUUSI and MUUSA.

    A group of youth with varying skin tones plays with a  large parachute outside.
    By Rondae Productions

    In faith and service,