As a UU Women's Connection Council member, I am sometimes asked to write something for the newsletter. It's not required. And at the moment I have nothing newsworthy to impart. But I have some thoughts I'd like to share. If you like my thoughts, I may make this a regular item in the newsletter.

One of my spiritual teachers recently told me that only about 5% of all people are doing spiritual work at any given time. I knew what she meant, at least as it applied to me. But I got to thinking -- what is spiritual work; what activities qualify? Also, who's to say what spiritual work is and what isn’t? Must it be a conscious effort? Or is everything we do spiritual work? To those last two questions, I guess a case could be made for a positive answer to the latter. But I'm going to go with an affirmative to the former for this discussion. So first things first -- let me attempt to define spiritual work. But as with all things spiritual, I know that my definition will be limited and may not match your definition or that of others -- all of which are valid.

Was it only a few years ago (2006) that the UU Women's Connection went up with their first website? Look at us now!

Our Facebook group was added a few years ago to extend the Connection's outreach to women on the popular wave of social networking. You can find us on Facebook by clicking on the Find us on Facebook link at left.

In 2012 The Connection introduced the Voices of Women electronic mail list that brings program information, the quarterly VOW Newsletter, retreat brochures and other news of interest to women. Want an invitation to subscribe to this list? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

So...what is new now? The MEMBERSHIP link on the top menu of our site gives members a way to renew their membership and/or make a scholarship donation conveniently online. Don't know when your membership expires? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The 2011 fall retreat on Lake Michigan this past year provided a metaphor of the future of our organization in my mind. Though it was the 29th annual fall retreat since the women at Rockford began at Lake Geneva on Williams Bay, the spot on Lake Michigan was familiar and all brand new at the same time. We are comfortable on the water for this fall retreat and the ocean-like vastness of Lake Michigan with its unseen shore on the other side calls us to the broader world. During the retreat, we walked to the beach to bless the waters of the world, "Dr Emoto-style." We seem to truly be living out our mission to connect women to the larger world.

An unusual and unexpected storm the week before the retreat left a deposit of new sand on the grassy areas near the beach. We were among the first there to investigate bits of colored glass, pretty little shells and shell pieces, sea weed and worn pieces of drift wood that the storm had blown ashore. We joined water birds in investigation of the small tide pools teeming with life. Our foot prints mingled with bird prints in the sand on the freshly swept beach. Were we also what the storm blew in?

It can be whatever you need it to be.

This year the spring retreat for me was about coming to terms with many changes in my life. I found exactly what I needed in the keynote and the workshops. It felt tailor-made for me as we transitioned from Friday night gathering where I felt welcome and surrounded by a warm and supportive environment to Saturday morning when Teri Freesmeyer's keynote address helped me really engage with the present moment. The day of workshops one by one chipped away at my resistance to the changes I was facing until the last workshop where like a bolt of lightning the answer came.

In past years it has been other, less dramatic things. When I was coming off of my time on bed rest during my last pregnancy, it was a wonderful antidote to the isolation I had been feeling. When I was new to UU it was the introduction to a wide array of ways to be UU that were different from my own church. Some years it has been just a simple break from the craziness of life with kids and work where things could slow down and I could just be.

A UU Women's Connection retreat doesn't have to be a life altering experience. But it can be.