Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring On The New Year!

From November 1st -Thanksgiving, I posted something I was grateful for everyday on facebook. It made everything better.

Not one to deny what works, I am going to do this for the entire year of 2013. But rather than clog up people's newsfeed--I'm going to record my gratitude here.

That's my ONLY resolution...

                              I simply resolve to be grateful.
                                                   There is a lot I would change about myself, my finances, my health...

But I'm not going to resolve to change anything but how I look at myself and my life.

At the end of the year, we'll see what happens.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Talking with Aldste Francom

Merry Christmas Gentle Readers!

On Christmas day, as is tradition, missionaries are able to call home to speak with families. One of two days a year during their two years out that they get to talk to family.

So we gathered on a google hangout that Nick established from Sweden. We could all see each other via video chat. It was exciting and funny. As we were all conversing, you could hear the 5 year old just below the microphone playing with his new Christmas toys.

Me: So how is Sweden?
Nick: It's GREAT! It's...(insert little boy vroooooooooooming across the floor)

It took everything not to giggle.

I asked Nick what was the hardest part about his mission. He said that the people always just said no. He said that his most exciting moments were when the answer was "I don't know", rather than just "No."

I smiled because I so relate with what he is saying!

It was a lovely conversation, full of smiles, encouragement, and testimony. I always felt such a let down after the Christmas and Mother's Day conversations because it just reminds you as a missionary to feel what you're missing of family and home. Nick looked happy, healthy, and ambitious. He had a lot of plans and he is enjoying the time to study and meditate as well as the time to teach and serve. But it is hard getting a taste of home. I wish there was a way to make this week easier.

I was talking with a dear friend the other day about how two of us have a tendency to put off feeling things until they are better. Things have been difficult lately. I generally prefer happiness and optimism to the latter, but I have felt a bit ridiculous smiling in the face of one trial after another. But what choice do you have? 

After a dear friend died, I was driving to my grandma's to take her to see the movie Lincoln. She's a history buff and I was excited to share the movie with her. On my way there, my radiator went out. I stopped at a local mechanic shop. At the end of the day, I used my rent money to pay to replace the radiator. I told the mechanic that I wished I had spent money earlier in the month to flush my radiator. He told me that if I had done that it would have cracked sooner. Essentially, the gunk was holding it together. He also explained that I had narrowly avoided having to get a whole new engine. So I sailed out of the shop with a smile, a fixed car, and no rent money, but I at least felt like the trial had come in the most positive way possible. The next day, I went to my friend Russ McBride's funeral and played the piano for Leah as she sang a beautiful song for our friend. I sat and made funny faces at his beautiful young son, trying to give him something familiar and hokey to latch onto at the funeral. I don't think I shed a tear.

 Fast forward a week--I have a new job--I can finally relax and start budgeting again--

And the tears won't stop. I am irritable and passionate and angry and feeling every emotion I should have felt at the funeral, when the car broke down, before and after surgery, after getting fired, after difficulties in my love life...

I am this odd duck that puts off feelings until I'm in a safe place. So the feelings all come at these odd moments when things are finally looking up.

So if you see me surrounded by friends and blessings and weeping like a baby--it's because I'm this strange bird who can't feel things in their proper order. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Women Part 2: Pants

If men knew how glorious wearing a dress was--they'd understand why men wore togas and skirts for thousands of years before buttoning on their trousers.

As an evolved woman, I have embraced the glorious "dress". I can spin in a circle! I can make it long, or pull it up short for convenient air conditioning. And when I gain or lose weight--the skirt still fits!

As many of you have heard, this Sunday LDS women have an opportunity to support feminism by wearing pants.

Argh. There are a million feelings tied in with this.

I am a lucky woman. I was raised by a strong feminist mother. My grandmother has been a widow for 50 years. My father and my step-father are both incredibly respectful of women, and if my mother or my step-mother ever felt they weren't respected, open dialogue was encouraged. And things changed. In the same light, I was taught to love and respect men.

As a single woman, I have never experienced unrighteous dominion at church or in my home.

I have never been judged by my peers for wearing pants to church, because I love to wear dresses.

I have never been judged for working instead of staying home with my kids, because I don't have kids.

These issues aren't personal to me. And so there is a temptation to dismiss them or to say that they don't exist.

In my ward, the bishopric and their wives sit on the stand--demonstrating that men and women serve together as leaders. I see equality in the church. I see women and men leading committees, saying prayers, teaching men and women, and I feel heard.

But I know that it is not that way everywhere.

I had no intention of wearing pants on Sunday because I don't feel like there's a problem in my limited experience. And I believe in the priesthood authority. I believe that there is a reason why men are called to lead and to serve. It isn't easy to explain--but I love how the priesthood allows men to live up to their potential as sons of God. And as a woman in the church, I feel empowered. My grandmother and my mother both serve in the temple and exercise their power in sacred ordinances. I believe that women have far more spiritual power than they allow themselves to have. As a feminist--I want to encourage my sisters to live up to the power that God and the Gospel gives them and not to be afraid of it or to lie about their nature saying, "I'm just a girl."

But then I read some horrible comments on the events page. And I felt this horrible feeling that I was abandoning my friends and my sisters who were not as fortunate.

Things are not perfect. As a church, we become better at respecting ourselves and one another.  I believe that what we can be is not where we are. And this has NOTHING to do with church policy, and everything to do with how we view one another.

So--because technically the church does not frown on wearing pants--
And because I want my sisters to know that I too believe we can be better and we should be better--
And because I believe by wearing pants I am not going AGAINST my leaders--but rather SUPPORTING them in their efforts to convey that respect for one another is a part of the Lord's will--
And because I believe that support for gender equality DOES NOT have to mean just identifying with those who want women to receive the priesthood--
I choose to wear pants on Sunday.

Worst case scenario--the women who planned the event wanted to use this as a platform to promote giving women more priesthood responsibility and to protest against the church leadership. 

I will participate for my own reasons, and perhaps you will participate for your own reasons. And those who wish to jump to the worst case scenario conclusions about this will be left to wonder where we stand--and perhaps it will open up conversations and help us to actually identify and confirm those things that we want to encourage and change in ourselves, our families and our congregations.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Last night I went to see Melissa Leilani Larson's show Martyr's Crossing. 

I love Mel's words. Every turn of phrase is well constructed.

I love that she focuses on women. It is such a pleasant experience to see a play about women where getting married and having children is briefly referred to... (these aren't bad things at all)... BUT... It is lovely when a writer conveys the crazy notion that as women, we do have other things to focus on.

I was sitting with my dear friend Lyn. Lyn works as a hospice nurse. She was a little emotionally raw because she has lost patients very recently. After the show, I turned to her and said, "So this show was about angels who lead mortals thru the pains of death. In other words, we just saw a play about you dear." She laughed and cried.

I can't believe I'm actually friends with a person like this. She is an angel. A real life angel.

To my right was a writer named Courtney.  I spent the afternoon today reading her blog. Such amazing experiences, told in such a raw and powerful way.

I want to live up to the power of my sex.

I am so happy to be a woman.

This song has nothing to do with this post, but it's in my head... And it makes me laugh.