Shape Shifting:  Lessons from Water

Time for All Ages (TFAA) and music are our Sunday sermons this summer. In July, our worship services center on the theme of WATER. Here is the TFAA story and music for reflection from Sunday, July 7, 2024. May their lessons resonate with your spirit.

Time For All Ages: Reflect on the Story

Book: Tale of the Sands

(Listen and watch the read aloud video below, or read the e-book online, free. It’s also available in print at your local library or bookseller.)

Reflect on the Music

The Waves We Give” by Beautiful Chorus (This song was inspired by the words of Bruce Lee)


Be like water, my friend

You shall find a way around, or through it

When nothing within us stays rigid

We decide the shape we’re in

Empty your mind

Be shapeless, formless, like water

It can flow or it can crash

And we design the waves we give

We decide, we design

We decide the shape we’re in

And the waves we give

Questions for Reflection

  • How can emptying your mind help you to see new possibilities?
  • How can we decide the waves we give?
  • Was there ever a time when your first judgment of a person or a situation was wrong? How did this affect your relationship or connection to the people around you? Do you know where this feeling originated from? How can you avoid this in the future? Forgive yourself and promise to be more flexible like waves in the water in the future.
  • Think about a time when your rigidity in a disagreement caused further conflict. When looking back, would being more flexible have improved the situation? How could you have been more flexible? In the future, try to be more flexible like the waves in the water.
  • Was there ever a time when your value system was tested? Did your heart and your mind not align in the same resolution? Have you ever had to re-evaluate your value system in order to more align with your heart? Let your heart bend and be flexible like the waves in the water.
  • As you move throughout your week, are there any ways you can make your heart and mind more flexible and open to change so that they are free to move with the force and the motion of the waves?
drops of water, rippling the surface of the water

This month our worship services center around the theme of WATER. (For inspiration, enjoy this Peter Meyer song, “Water.”)

Our services, learning, and gatherings are geared to support your rest and nurture our sense of community this summer.


Sunday worship services held at 11:45 am (Zoom link is available of our website’s home page):

Our services will have a noticeably different feel for the summer, with an intergenerational focus centering our services on Time for All Ages and music to guide our personal reflections and connections to the themes of the month (TFAA and music are our summer sermons). You’ll also notice that some of the music and readings will repeat throughout the month, offering us a chance to deepen our experience with them. Our Zoom tech may also look a little different as we offer simpler camera angles for the summer. We’ll also pause our potluck and popcorn after services in exchange for popsicles each Sunday. Our summer services allow us to allow Sundays to function with a slightly smaller worship team and volunteer team (allowing for varied travel schedules, summer school schedules, family needs, and the heat of the day) and offer more time for meaningful connections after the service.


Our worship services will explore the theme of WATER. 

Our Wildflower band’s music theme for the month is “Happy” by Pharrell.

  • July 7 (blended): Story: Tale of the Sands – by Idries Shah. Do you resist changes? How have changes transformed you?
    • Join us for popsicles and conversation in the Community Room after service.
  • July 14 (on Zoom): Story “Rainbow in the Cloud” (Maya Angelou) How can you be a blessing in someone else’s life?
  • July 21 (blended): Guest Worship Leader Jesus Garcia, of The Herbal Action Project. Nature gives us tools for our healing. With garden herbs and water,  Jesus Garcia will guide us in co-creating blessing water as a spiritual practice and a way to nurture our sense of community. We will also learn about the history of indigenous groups of Tejas that have been harvesting native botanicals through their lineage rites.
    • Join us for popsicles and conversation in the Community Room after service.
  • July 28 (blended): Story: Splashdance by Liz Starin. Community is more fun when we’re all included, and working together can make a positive change. How do we work together to ensure we’re all included?
    • After the worship service, we will have some creative water play for all ages. (If you are participating in the afternoon activity, we recommend wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting wet).


  • Our worship services will explore the theme of CARING AND SHARING. Our  Wildflower band’s music theme for the month is “Rise Again” as performed by the Urban Voices Project. (Special Back to School celebration on August 18.)

And Save the date for the annual WATER COMMUNION held on Sunday, September 1.



Wildflower’s Spiritual Life team met for a half day retreat in the Community Room on Saturday, June 29, 2024, to begin to plan for Fall at Wildflower, as well as have time to nurture ourselves as staff and lay leaders of the congregation. It was a gathering of 15 people representing worship, adult religious education, membership, fun and fellowship, children and youth religious education, music, and the director’s teams. As part of our day, together, we worked on the spider web exercises in Chapter One of We Heal Together (and also in Practice One of the journal), mapping our community and our relationships as individuals, and then mapping Wildflower’s community and relationships as a congregation.

Throughout the summer, we hope YOU, too, will read through the exercises of the book and the journal, and post your comments here:


  • We Heal Together: Rituals and Practices for Building Community and Connection by Michelle Cassandra Johnson (and the supplemental We Heal Together Ritual and Practice Journal)
  • You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers (picture book)

Both titles are available at your favorite online and local bookstores, the UUA bookstore, and the public library (including its Libby App). The We Heal Together journal is a free PDF download. These are what I call slow reads, meant to be savored and read as they nourish your spirit and sense of community.


  • Keep our community hydrated. Be it unhoused neighbors, service and utilities workers, pets, elderly, family, or friends, a cold drink of water is a summer kindness. We encourage everyone to keep spare bottles of water to share with the people and pets in our community as needed. (Bonus: freeze a few bottles to give away so you can offer a cool drink during a hot day or night). 
  • CYRE will be assembling care packages on July 7th, and asks the congregation to pick up a few packs, and then hand them out in the community during the week. Caring for our unhoused neighbors and others at risk for dehydration and isolation is a way for us to share that we are not alone and that we heal together.
  • Pick up trash whenever you are outside to help keep our rivers, lakes, and streams free of debris.

2nd Offering Recipients for the Third Quarter of 2024

In our work to support the community, we collect an offering for a non-profit who is making a difference in the world and who is in alignment with our values. The beneficiary of our 3rd quarter gifts (July, August, and September 2024) is Austin Youth River Watch. This organization transforms and inspires youth (including youth at Travis ECHS) through environmental education, community engagement, and adventure. There’s also a Wildflower serving on their board. We’ll be sharing ways that Wildflowers can engage with the organization, through service projects, and other community activities.

We also continue our summer at Wildflower focus on REST. How are you nurturing your spirit this summer?

This essay by Omid Safi, The Disease of Being Busy, is a meaningful, worthwhile read. In the essay he writes:

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask them how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?

What is this haal that you inquire about? It is the transient state of one’s heart. In reality, we ask, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?” When I ask, “How are you?” that is really what I want to know.

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.”

Omid Safi

I was grateful that I had taken some time off this week for rest; a few days without meetings or being tethered to my laptop or phone. As a result, when I asked a dear friend how they were doing, I had the capacity to fully listen, unrushed, to their heartfelt answer. Rest supports our ability to have a “ministry of presence” for ourselves and for those in our lives.

This summer, I hope we all have time to ask, and to be asked, “How are you? How is your heart doing?” and that we each have the time to listen, and to be listened to when questions are answered.

As a lay led congregation, we are all lay leaders in this community. In closing, I leave you with the wise words of the “Less is More: Keep Church Simple” by Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, Past UUA President:

“As leaders, be sure to spend as much time in worship, small groups, social gatherings, etc. as you do in meetings. Encourage one another to pay attention to meeting the spiritual needs of everyone, especially you — the leaders.”


~ Simone

Simone Monique Barnes
Director of Membership and Spiritual Life
Wildflower UU Church, Austin TX