Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Seven Thoughts (And a Glowing Endorsement of Into the Woods)

I haven't blogged a lot lately because a lot is happening. This blog is public--and honestly--I don't know who is reading it--so I'm a little leery of sharing my unedited thoughts today...

But I have thoughts...ohhowdyboy do I have thoughts.

First thought:  I would like to publicly and proudly proclaim my unadulterated love for The Echo Theatre's production of Into The Woods. I've never seen it--except for the recording they did years ago with Bernadette Peters. It was luscious. Delightful. I was giddy. The melodies are beautiful and strange--like all Sondheim seems to be. The costumes were inspired by Firefly. The set designs were deliciously Brechtian. And the acting was nuanced. There were a couple of moments where the actors would turn upstage for a special moment--and I wanted to see their faces in that moment--but that's only because I really cared about what was happening. It was very rare--and actors are allowed to turn their heads. As a music director--I loved that the live band consisted of a talented piano player and a violinist. I was giddy that in the small space--none of the actors were miced. (miked)? It was a credit to the production. The actors were able to maintain a wonderful balance of soft and loud. Audience members were pulled into the story--and carried away in the music. I loved it. You need to see this show.

Second Thought: I moved! I live in a castle now! I am a princess in a castle. And I have a dog!! She's my dragon warrior dog. If anyone comes to the door--she gives a lone bark. (She never barks otherwise.) It's better than a doorbell! (I don't really like the idea of being a princess--but honestly I feel more like a princess in this beautiful castle than a queen.)

Third Thought: I'm trying to make a concerted effort to date more. I'm trying. (big sigh) I enjoy the time that I spend with the gentlemen who I've gone out with. It's been delightful. But... none of us like to have to think about or plan dating. It's just one of the necessary evils you do if you want to eventually fall in love. Until then, you're basically just making new friends. Which is never a bad idea. The funny thing is hearing the men explain why they're not interested, without coming right out and saying it. Everyone enjoys making new friends--no one enjoys starting a new relationship. So first dates are about making sure that everyone knows "this is just a date... not a big deal...we're not getting married... we're interested in other people....just so we're clear..." It's delightful.

Fourth Thought: I've had a couple of men I dated in the past contact me out of the blue in the past couple of weeks. I love making friends. I love keeping friends. But sometimes--if we've stopped dating, and you've chosen to marry another woman... I wonder why you bother to contact me for a little online chat a year or so later....Why??? It's weird. Last night, one particular friend who is about 45 asked me if I wanted dating advice from his 20 year old girlfriend, since she has a better track record than I do... So I will just tuck that away. If I ever want to get knocked up by a guy who is 25 years older than me--I will contact his 20 year old girl friend to ask her how she did it. I'm sure she will unveil some pretty mysterious things to me about men. I look forward to her wisdom.

Fifth Thought: Why is it that I'm just not interested in finding love anymore? Am I just jaded? The fact is--I'm pretty happy with the status quo and I feel like love would throw a wrench in things... But... I really like my new doggie. I was scared to add her into my life--and now things are good. Granted, I think she'd prefer to be running around outside all day... but for the most part, we have a great routine together. So, if the right guy came along--I think I could make room for him in my life. I think I could enjoy love again... It's just FINDING him is a little....not on my list of things I prefer to do.

Sixth Thought: In my dating adventures--regardless of how tedious the "not interested in anything" conversation is going--I find myself feeling genuine respect for my male friends. I have enjoyed their company. They work hard and they try very hard to be good men. It's not an easy world to be a man or a woman. Especially when you're single. I am so impressed with the men I've had the chance to get to know.

Seventh Thought: I love my lady friends too. Every week, I get to go and visit different women from church--and it's so neat to see that they are all happy, intelligent, complicated, successful, ambitious, beautiful, thoughtful... etc.

These are my thoughts. These seven thoughts could make up seven different blogs.

Thank you for reading! Have a great day!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Allow Me To Prophesy

I am announcing an upcoming style trend.

Men will shave again.

I have been a lover of the beard for quite some time. I love it for a number of reasons, the first being it indicates that the man I am kissing is quite manly. I love hair on the face almost as much as I love hair on the arms. I just love all that testosterony goodness.

But the beard is an old trend and soon fashion trends will reverse themselves--as they do--and we'll see the baby smooth face return to the forefront of fashion.

My evidence? The way my heart palpitated in the movie theater while watching Jersey Boys yesterday.  This is not a film review... my review is--I liked it... But really, I just liked staring up at really really handsome guys.

unshaved man

dapper looking shaved man

unshaved man

clean shaved



Group shot of handsome men

Group shot of handsome men in suits

Mark my words, ladies and gentlemen, as much as I love a good beard--and God bless the movie 300 for giving us rippling muscles and awesome beards--the era has passed. 

Clean shaven men, eager to show off their chiseled jaws, high cheek bones, and sparkling eyes will begin roaming our fair streets. Granted, the trend will start in Europe, mosey on over to New York City, and sometime in the next year or two, make it's way back to Utah. 

But you heard it here first. 

Or rather, I heard it here first because I should probably research and find out if the trend hasn't already started. 

You know the beard trend is ending when men are tying flowers up in their faces. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Loud Laugher

I like to laugh. You might say, I love to laugh.

But Uncle Albert and Dick Van Dyke laughed when things were funny, and so do I.

I've been to a couple of shows recently where it seems like there are plants in the audience (or maybe they're just groupies, I don't know). It's either a man or a woman who will laugh obnoxiously just ahead of the joke. It completely draws me out of the theatrical experience. I am so bothered by this deranged laughter, when everyone else is trying to follow the plot, that if the moment WAS funny--I miss it.

It's ruined the last few shows I've been to. Well, maybe not ruined. The shows were still good--but they weren't as funny as they would have been if I had been able to breathe in and naturally enjoy the comedic timing.

I have no solutions. Just complaining.

Thank you for your support.

Just remember--laughter good. Laughter at random moments that aren't funny to anyone but anyone just to let everyone in the audience in on the fact that you have a crush on one of the guys in the cast and/or helped build the set and therefore you're a super duper winner... bad.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Spring Awakening

Midvale Main Street Theatre is great at doing theatre for young people, by young people. It's an amazing brand and Tammy Jackson Ross, who had been a business manager for over 25 years, is amazing at creating a brand and honoring the customers who specifically seek for that brand that only she can give them. With each production, the brand Midvale Main Street Theatre increases in its power and relevance to the talented young artists in Utah. They are unafraid of difficult theatre. They are unafraid of shock and awe. They are unafraid of provocative. (See NTN, Avenue Q, RENT)

It seems to me, most edgy theatre in Salt Lake is done with a professional edge by out of towners here to show regular old Utah the way. And yet, I'm seeing a slew of theatres no longer afraid to put thoughtprovoking new plays on their season. Lately, I've seen a wealth of great theatre from a variety of up and coming companies, determined to create brave new theatre in Utah. 

Last night, I enjoyed the opening night production of Midvale Main Street Theatre's Spring Awakening. It was Cassidy Ross's directorial debut. (She's worked behind the scenes for years, and directed two sold out runs of children's theatre performances last year--but this was her first go at helming a main stage production.) The show is about the sexual awakening of the youth in 1880's Germany. Supported by an amazing production team, (Aaron Ford: choreographer, Sean McLaughlin: Set Designer, Jennifer Hairr: Lighting Designer, Ryan Fallis: Graphic Design and Sound Tech, Taylor Erickson: Assistant Director, Austin Heaton: Stage Manager, and Jason Campbell: Music Director)--the show is a force. The energy of the movement--the mesmerizing harmonies--the jolting rock star tones.

Leo Cody Jensen leads the ensemble through their Spring Awakening as these teenagers ask questions and work their through the mysteries of their changing desires. I won't talk about the storyline. I went into the show a Spring Awakening virgin. I knew it was raunchy and unapologetic. And it was. The youth of the actors and production staff gave vigor to the raunchier moments--but one thing that age teaches is to value the quieter moments during times of tumult. The production seemed to skip over the less titillating moments. I wanted a touch more gravity in the small exchanges.

Erica Renee Smith found a lovely place between girl and woman. She was unafraid of the joy of both. Carolyn Crow's Marta was afraid of everything. And Allie Duke's Ilse gave up any semblance of fear and shame. I found myself wondering what my life would be like if I could just let go of society and join an artist's colony myself.

Thomas Kulkus was hilarious and his voice ripped up Duncan Sheik's melodies. Terry Lee McGriff had my favorite line in the show. Brock Dalgliesh resembled a cat holding a stick of dynamite. His frenetic passion made me want to give him a hug and a warm cup of chamomile tea.  Jim Dale mastered several different parts, lending voice to the patriarch and Kelsey Lyn Hoskins' matriarch was unnerving.

The whole ensemble roared through the production with energy and charisma.

The folks sitting to my left were uncomfortable during a few of the racy bits. They would start talking to each other or looking at their candy. And you are welcome to look right into your bag of popcorn if you like.

The show isn't for everyone. (Rated R) But if you're uncomfortable with lying to children about sex, or if you want to hear someone's unapologetic story about what it feels like to be a teenager awakening inside themselves--then come and enjoy Spring Awakening. It might not be your story--but it will remind you of your story and help you to love that part of your soul more than might have when you needed to love that part of your soul. However you choose to live, letting go of the shame of humanity is a truth I can support.

The show runs June 12-June 28 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7pm. Don't worry about getting dinner as they serve delicious food at the concenssions, and each seat is in front of a table top to make viewing and eating comfortable for everyone.

For more information on showtimes--visit

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Losing a Gallon

My body is a miracle. Ever since I wrote about women and flesh--I've realized that I needed to pay more respect to my body. Since then, a good friend recommended I read The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel. On April 20th, I started putting different things into practice. It took a month, but over that time, I've felt myself heal.

I used to have a raging sugar addiction. I remember the night when I said no to candy. It was difficult, but the strength from being next to a bag of candy all night long and not once having a piece--that was pretty spectacular. Not that I won't choose to have candy again--but it's the "needing" the candy that I don't want. I want to choose to savor a piece because that is my choice.

Food has been my enemy. I get frustrated with it. It doesn't make me happy.

Now--I LOVE food!

Last night, I sat down and had grilled Salmon and yellow squash and read about the benefits of summer squash. I read about the fiber, the vitamin A, C, and beta carotene as I enjoyed the flavor of the squash and the salmon. It was a joy to eat. I enjoyed shopping for food last night and filled my cart with fruits, vegetables of all colors.

I don't even know how I got to this place. It's just every day, cravings went away. Little by little. My body feels incredibly healthy. I feel I have more energy than I've had in ages.

You read in the book not to weigh yourself for 6 months because the body takes time. You lose, then plateau. But I wanted to anyway. At first, I dropped 12 pounds in a week. Then back up 5. (That was discouraging.) And then it just kind of held on for a while. I finally hid the scale from myself. Despite what the scale said--I could feel my body getting healthier. I felt lighter. I felt stronger. It didn't matter what the scale said. I had gone from wanting to eat at least two candy bars and three bags of candy a day to no sugar at all. Who cares if I lost any weight? I hadn't been to McDonald's in almost a month!

Sunday night, I was lugging a gallon of water into my room. I had decided to carry around a gallon of water to make sure I drank the whole thing throughout the day. I placed it on my night stand and thought about how it was so heavy. I decided I wanted to weigh it! But I didn't want the temptation to weigh myself. I fell asleep instead.

Last night, I couldn't resist the temptation to pull out the scale. I wanted to weigh that bottle.

I just thought--if I've lost one of these bottles of water in weight from my body--what a relief to my skeleton! I weighed the bottle. It was over 11 pounds.

Then I stepped on the scale. Since April 20th, I've lost 18 pounds!

It's a great start! I've lost more than a gallon of weight! I feel really good. More than the weight, I've lost the cravings. And I've gained a really nice relationship with food.

I feel spectacular.

Everybody has to do things in their own way and in their own time. The exciting thing is--I find myself adding a healthy new habit every day--which makes it fun. I created a meditation for myself to listen to as I drive so that driving can be a way of destressing. I have started stretching every day at work to oxygenate my muscles. I'm just adding little things to help find happiness in getting healthier.

I understand why they say not to look at the scale--it's because the inner changes matter more than whether the scale reflects those changes--but it was nice to see that things are working.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Private Spring

Yesterday, I met up with a friend I made about 3 years ago. We spent the afternoon sharing our thoughts and playing with her cute baby.

This week, my brother Matt turned 32. On Monday, Matt, Nick, and I all drove up into the mountains to look at the stars away from the city lights.  On Tuesday, we had breakfast for dinner.

Wednesday, I had friends come and visit from church. And then Michelle and I went to visit a couple of women from the church ourselves.

Last night, I went for a 20 minute walk in the early evening and listened to scriptures. The holy words in my ears, the sun shimmering on the trees, blood in my vessels, oxygen in my muscles.

And then I met up with 4 beautiful friends for frozen yogurt.

Monday night, I said no to McDonald's and ate almonds and strawberries instead.

Tuesday night, I said no to sausages and instead of eating candy, I ate an energy bar.

Every day I spend more and more of my time with happy, uplifting friends. Every day, I find it easier and easier to make better decisions.

When trying to decide what to do last night at 10pm, I decided to go to bed! How novel!

I don't know if anything has changed much on the outside, but on the inside, I feel clear. I feel strong. I feel invigorated. I feel like every day possesses its own magic.

I've been watching Call The Midwife all week. I fear it has touched the language in my brain. I cannot help but think in this strangely formal 1950s British speak.

I don't know whether there's any outward indication of a change. The scale hasn't budged. But inside I feel lighter.

Right now, I'm sitting at my computer watching a man try and fit a thousand pieces of furniture into a small storage unit. I'm waiting for impending crisis. I cannot imagine how this will work. It can't. Oh--they just came in to ask for a broom. My magical shimmer is starting to dwindle. I think shimmer is my word today.

So nothing too dramatic to report. Just little bits of changes that mean the world to me, but mean nothing to anyone else.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Being a Mother and Other Traumatic Tales of Womanhood

I'm 36.

I'm in that post 35 year old world. As a woman, you know what I'm talking about. "A woman's chances of..." "After 35, the baby risks..."  "It's easier for a ...." Blah. Blah. Blah.

Some of the blahs seep in though.

And so I start thinking. I realize I need to make peace with some things.

I will get married.

But I might not be able to have children when I get married.

My mother is the only daughter. My grandmother was the only child. I'm the only daughter.  My great grandmother was one of several children, but her mother died very young.

We have a history of fun times with our lady parts. Each generation has its own super fun tales. I think that's part of the rites of being a woman though. Traumatic stories of child birth, or lady bits. All in good fun.

My gynecologist used the word "infertile" in a general way a couple weeks ago.

To solve an ongoing problem, he suggested I get an IUD. My insurance provider has said that I'm covered if it is to prevent pregnancy. The problem I have actually prevents pregnancy, so I'm not sure if I'm covered or not because I'm not actively trying to prevent pregnancy. I'm also not really sure how getting an IUD is going to solve my problem. But my doctor casually walked over the word "infertile"... and that's the part that has stayed with me. I casually glanced at the word too. And I acknowledge that because of the problems I currently face, I would be unable to get pregnant, if I were to try to get pregnant. But still... you just don't think of it as an unsolvable problem. We solve one problem at a time... But still... infertile.... And that said... I'm not really comfortable taking something for the express purpose of stopping pregnancies that I will one day want. It just feels counterintuitive.

And so I need to make peace. I need to identify with my weaknesses.

I might not ever be able to have children. I might be infertile forever.

A woman's relationship with her hypothetical offspring is an interesting one. Everyone thinks about their children differently. I never really imagined them. They're abstract to me. I guess I didn't want to allow myself to hope for them because they're going to bear the mark of their father. That's generally how it works. And I could never really figure out who their father would be.

So I don't feel the loss of my hypothetical off spring. I have never had visions of them. I can't picture them in my mind.

But I have had visions of what it would be like to mother them. I would like to teach them to play the piano. I would like to take them to the park and to the zoo. I would like to fill their bellies with healthy and tasty foods. I would like to play with them. I would like to read them stories. I have plans to keep my kids home for school because I don't have the patience for schools. I want them reading Shakespeare in the second grade and conducting scientific experiments in the 3rd grade. I want them studying computer programming in the 4th grade. I want them to experience learning with passion.

I would love to have babies. But I don't know if I will be able to have them anymore. I do not feel the loss of my hypothetical children. I feel the loss of my hypothetical motherhood.

My motherhood remains this idealized dream instead of this real, gritty, dirty, mindnumbing, crazy, painful reality. I hear your traumatic stories. I understand the ways in which I am blessed.

But it's always greener and all that.

I don't believe in certain conclusions when it comes to this topic. Life has a way of turning everything on its head.

I guess I just wanted to share my perspective on being a mother on the Mother's Day weekend of my 36th birthday. I know many women who have had similar musings. And some of them have gone on to have beautiful babies. And if my life changes in that way, I'll write about it from that perspective.

It's all a part of the traumatic tales we tell as women.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning to Deal With Stress

I realize I don't process stress very well.

I absorb it.

I read recently that fat protects your organs from toxins. The fat holds onto the toxins. Often as you release fat, you're also releasing toxins.

I have a lot of fat with which to absorb toxins.

But if I'm releasing fat--I'm also releasing toxins.

Yesterday, the combination of incoming stress and outgoing stress made me feel just horrible.

I had a massive headache. My guts felt disgusting. Everything just felt icky. As for eating, I didn't realize until 10pm that I really didn't eat a lot yesterday. I had a couple servings of rice and a green smoothie. But I wasn't hungry. Probably because I was around food all day. I made a big meal to refrigerate for work. I went grocery shopping, etc. I think I satisfied my hunger with my eyes.

I tried to release the stress through meditation. I went outside under a tree and meditated. I meditated inside. I spent much of the day trying to release stress. But I still felt crappy.

Finally, I went to the temple.

I almost didn't go. But I made a commitment to myself. I ironed my dress. I got in the car at 6--hoping to get there 45 minutes early.

I managed to take the world's slowest route to the temple.

I missed the 7pm session and ended up going on the 7:30pm session.

As I sat there, I felt myself lifted up. The ugly feelings left me. I felt the words resonate clearly, so clearly in my mind. I felt lightness flow through my body. I felt good energy flow through my organs. I pondered the things of the flesh. I pondered the sacredness of the physical. In the temple, a good deal of time is spent talking about the creation. I felt my faith in the sanctity of the flesh and of  creation grow. I felt God bless my new path of healthy living.

Letting go of the protective barrier of fat is difficult. Carrying around the protective layer has made it possible for me to face many stressful situations in the past. I have to learn how to deal with stress in a different way. I do not have the luxury of absorbing it. I have to figure out different tools for dealing with stress.  First, I'm going to allow myself to be bad at it. I'm going to patiently accept that I might have a day where I feel yucky and where I have a temper tantrum.

If I don't say the right things, if I lash out--I apologize right now. I'm learning.

It's going to be a journey, but I am so grateful for this new adventure!

(Lest this entry scare people into trying the latest detox diets--let me share what I've learned.)

To Detox:
1) Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
2) Drink plenty of water.
3) Oxygenate your body through exercise.

Monday, May 5, 2014

15 Years

It's been 15 years since I began my LDS mission.

I've been looking at some pictures. May is always gorgeous in Utah. Look at that snow-capped mountain!

Here I am with my mom, my brother Jack, and my brother Nick. I think Nick was about 6 at the time. He was in kindergarten. I know this because he had decided that he was going to shave his head like Michael Jordan for school that year.

This is one of the best pictures of my brother Jack.

Here's me with my step-dad Brent. Everyone else looks great. I'm apparently distracted by the sunlight or something like that. Look how red my hair is?? Good grief. I hate how red hair fades over time.

My mission lasted for 18 months. I served in Dallas, Texas and surrounding counties.

While I was there, we taught lots of people, served, visited, discussed, served, rode bikes, etc.

The Coley's are the first family I got to see baptized.

I still talk about them from time to time. I'm so amazed by their faith and their hope in the gospel. I am friends with Talia and Leandra on Facebook and it is so much fun to see how their family has grown over the years.

Last night, I went on a walk around my apartment complex. I didn't think about it being 15 years since my mission started until this morning--which only adds to the magic of this moment.  I ran into the sister missionaries on bikes. (I was on a bike the first 5 months of my mission.) We had a great talk at the picnic table next to the duck pond. As I talked to them, I remembered similar conversations that I had with the members of the LDS Church in Texas. I learned so much from the people of Texas. They say missions are about teaching, but they're really an amazing opportunity to go into homes and learn at the feet of amazing people--whether they're LDS or not. I shared some thoughts with these sisters that I hoped would help them on their missions and thought of the women who shared with me.

Today I'm grateful for the many people who took the time to teach me. I'm grateful for the opportunity to witness conversions throughout my 18 months. I'm grateful for my many companions.
I'm grateful for my mom and for my step-dad who paid almost $400 a month to support me while I was on my mission. I'm grateful for two great mission presidents, Pres. Hanks and Pres. Morgan, and especially for Sister Morgan, who taught all of us missionaries with power and testimony. 

Happy Cinco de Mayo everybody! I love that the anniversary of the beginning of my mission is a big holiday! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

War Horse at The Capitol Theatre

I taught a Humanities class where I spent one lecture discussing the ins and outs of World War I.

We would discuss how old war fighting traditions stood against machine guns and biological warfare. You can talk about the battles and list the numbers of the dead, show the artists and show how the existential movement was born from the horrors of the fighting--but War Horse was the most moving demonstration I have ever seen of the horrors of this war.

Broadway Across America presents The National Theatre of Great Britain's production of War Horse.

First of all, you should see a picture of the horses.

The horses were operated by three puppeteers whose job was to bring to life the animals. With every stir of the head, every breath, every twitch of the tail, you felt and understood the animal's spirit.

Joey and Topthorn are two horses sent into war to charge with the cavalry.

They are sent into the war to charge into machine guns and barbed wire.

Both guns and barbed wire rip into the flesh of these magnificent animals and during the fighting soldiers from both sides of the war risk their lives to save the innocent animals.

The whole play is about people who can't understand one another, learning to hear and speak to one another. From the horse Joey and the boy Albert's first meeting, to Captain Freidrich's efforts to communicate with a young French girl, to an exchange between an English soldier and a German soldier--both determined to save an injured horse.

The whole war was about a clash of perspectives and an inability to see eye to eye. The 19th century fighting styles clashing with the 20th century weapons. The Kaiser and the Kings. Albert writes home that he's still in farm country--and he is. Across the different borders, across languages--the spirit of the land and the kindness of the people extend to both sides of the conflict. But across the land, the inability to communicate leaves the land a growing cemetery.

But where good men try, as they take a moment to listen to breathing, to choose their gestures carefully, and reach out in gentleness, we see hope that despite the differences, the world will heal from this great war.

The play was beautiful. It wasn't a vehicle for actors. It was a vehicle for a story. Each person was a part of a whole. It was moving to see actors work so seamlessly with one another to honor the story that they were telling.

If you have an opportunity, don't miss out on a chance to see this beautiful play.

It runs April 22-27 at The Capitol Theatre. Tickets are expensive, but worth it. This kind of puppetry is something you don't see everyday. (Thank you Handspring Puppet Company.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


There's a place on State Street where young homeless people can go and find lunch and hope.

They provide classes, training, one on one guidance, clothes for interviews, food, and opportunities.

Volunteers of America runs the place.

It's on 655 South State Street.

They are working to help homeless youth--people who often blend in--to find a way out.

If you have time or money and you're looking for some way to help with the homeless crisis, please consider their efforts.

They are now raising money to build a 30 bed youth shelter.

They are just finishing a home with 14 beds to help the youth transition from the street to their own homes.

I'm so impressed with the work that they're doing.
If you would like more information, visit

Instead of giving to panhandlers, give to this or any of the other resources available to the homeless.

Instead of giving your change to panhandlers who may or may not be homeless or who are part of syndicates who often have to give their money to higher ups who use them to collect money--consider this alternative:  Keep bottles of water on hand and share information about nearby resources where they can turn for help. Instead of pocket change, offer refreshment and education.

If you would like to donate your resources, the shelters are in need of food right now.  These organizations are always in need of volunteers. And of course, whatever money you can give will go a long way.

Thank you!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seeing Les Miserables at Hale

Saturday night, my friend Andrea called me and asked if I wanted to be her date to Hale Centre's production of Les Miserables that night. The show sold out ages ago. I had heard wonderful things about the show, but I never thought I'd get the chance to actually see the show because I just didn't have the time or money--and it was sold out!

It was a beautiful show. I don't need to write about the plot or even this particular production.

Instead, I want to write about seeing this show on closing night.

There was something deliciously metatheatrical about this particular performance.

First of all--Hale is theatre in the round. You look down onto the action, rather then up at it. Instead of seeing the action played out across a stage--you see the action swirling in front of you. And you're always aware you're in a theatre because you're constantly gazing around at all the people watching the show. The audience is a part of the action of the play. Because of this, all theatrical experiences in this space have a bit of metatheatricality about them.

But closing night... that was a whole 'nother story.

Throughout the run, two casts of actors performed Monday thru Saturday, at least twice a day.

I imagine, knowing you needed to preserve your energy and strength for a week's worth of shows, the actors would have measured their energies and sang with gusto, but a touch of reservation. Saturday night's actors left EVERYTHING on that stage. I felt like I was watching actors finally free to give absolutely everything to a performance. Every gesture, every chord, every tear, everything was filled with all the energy and love they could muster.

I never really fell into the world of the play. I was more touched by the actor's story then by the story of the play. (Not that Les Miserables isn't a beautiful story!) But when the bishop offered Jean Val Jean redemption, I was more moved by the look shared between David Weekes and Casey Elliott as they cried over sharing the moment for the last time.

As Casey sang out "Bring Him Home", he held that sweet note at the end just a touch longer. And the audience roared with applause, not only for that night's performance, but in gratitude for all the previous performances.

My friend Andrea's daughter Abigail Scott played young Eponine. It was so delightful to see her running around the stage during "Master of The House" stealing luggage, serving beer, and stealing beer. She was a riot. My heart melted at the curtain call as she and young Cosette stood in front of the audience and tried to keep little smiles on their faces as their lips quivered and little tears streamed down their faces.

Adam Dietlein's performance as Javert... I was told I would cry in several different places, but I didn't. I was moved. I was inspired, but like I said earlier, I never really fell into the story. Not complaining--just saying, I didn't cry. Adam's performance was solid. I never felt like I was watching an actor on closing night with him. I felt like I was watching Javert. And when he jumped off the bridge into the foggy depths, I cried.

Madeline Weinberger had a beautiful moment as Eponine. She had several, but I was especially moved by her choice to just be. She didn't push. She didn't over emphasize. The words just poured out of her mouth without anything more than a breath. The choice to just sing--without affectation, without pushing, without supplication--it spoke volumes. It told me that she was tired, that the mere expression was all she could muster. It was moving in a way that anything more would have sullied.

Of course I watched Emily Bell's performance of Madame Thenardier carefully because that's the role I wanted to play. Of course she was magnificent. She wouldn't have won the part if she wasn't incredibly talented at both singing and acting. She was funny and grounded. Where everyone else's characters are caught up in flights of romanticism, she and her partner in crime, played perfectly by Josh Richardson, were pragmatic capitalists. My only complaint is that she looked too young to be Eponine's mother in the scenes after young Eponine becomes older Eponine. I was surprised they didn't put a streak of white in her hair or something. Despite the fact that I'm a good ten years older, I take great pride in the fact that I probably would have looked too young as well. (Gotta love looking young!)

Erin Royall Carlson's Fantine was beautiful, dangerous, and passionate. Her voice soared and her body quivered. She carried herself in this unbalanced way as though her whole life took place on a rocky ship that left her unbalanced and undone. The lovely ladies that surrounded her were equally mesmerizing. They were gritty and raw.

I've never really connected with the character of Cosette. She's lovely, but it's hard to remember that she was the poor neglected girl who sings about castles in clouds. Instead, she's the girl who gets the guy. (As the girl who does NOT get the guy, I don't relate well to this character.) Rachel Woodward was beautiful and she did a beautiful job. I'm not surprised that she won over Brad Robins heartstruck Marius.

Derek Smith's Enjolras was inspiring, as he should be. His followers were equally inspiring. He rode around the circle on his cart, waiving all of us on to fight in his revolution.

My favorite moment of the show was when he died. (I realize I'm a touch morbid.) I gasped. I think I even muttered "Holy Sh**!"  During the fighting, the guns went off and fire blazed in spurts all over the stage. People fell injured and crawled back on top of the barricade (remember, we're looking down on the barricade, not up at it--brilliant work by set designer Kacey Udy). At the moment of death though--when these brave soldiers died...the light designer Brian Healy orchestrated a shot of light--or rather--a BEAM of light to catch the character in their moment of death. The actor would freeze in that moment and then fall to the ground. All around the stage--shot, beam, freeze, death. One after the other. Now you understand why I swore. It was an unexpected bit of magic. Not only did you feel the sorrow of their death, but in the same instant, you felt like these poor souls were carried immediately to heaven.

And of course, it was no surprise to see the souls return to carry Jean Val Jean to heaven at the end of the show.

It was a beautiful production. Kelly DeHaan's musical direction was pitch perfect. (Sometimes a good cliche is hard to resist.) Director David Tinney found delicious nuances in the story. Peggy Willis and Suzanne Carling's costumes were a treat. The colors were muted. The shapes were intriguing. The layers, the structure, the lack of structure--all told compelling stories. No one really notices sound until something goes wrong--and I didn't notice Dan Morgan's sound at all. (That's a lie, I noticed quite a bit of lovely nuances that added to the story... but you know what I mean..)

I'd tell you to go see the show, but it's likely you already saw it. And it closed.

So instead, I'll encourage you to just go and enjoy live theatre. If nothing else, remember the beautiful moments that happen when audiences and actors come together to tell a story. Truly, a theatre is a hallowed place. 

Friday, April 18, 2014


Easter is my favorite holiday.

As a child of divorce, Christmas was always about figuring out where you were going. Or as we get older, about making sure you have a gift for everyone you see. It's really fun buying gifts, but there's always this nervousness that you're going to forget someone you love.

Halloween for an actor is a night you don't have to dress up. Very fun, but I never really get into it because I find that the favorite part I like to play is myself.

But Easter is a day you're only beholden to yourself. You don't have to buy gifts. If you don't show up to a party, it's all right. I don't even feel guilty not going to church because we really should remember Jesus year round. On Easter, we are invited to celebrate with music, scripture, and really tasty candy. And it's springtime. There are evidences of rebirth and renewal everywhere you look. You don't have to decorate because the earth does it for you.

In Judaism, my favorite holiday is Yom Kippur or The Day of Atonement. Because it reminds me of Easter.

..In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the LORD. -Leviticus 16:29-30

 What does it mean to afflict our souls?  To remember. To remember what we have done.

He shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the Lord. 

To remember what He has done. 
We remember that He lives. We remember the gifts and the blessings, despite our afflicted souls. We remember the wrongs and we remember that they will be right. 

It is a day to remember hope, renewal, and resurrection of both the body and the spirit. 

It is a day of praise and gratitude. 

Please enjoy this beautiful song of "Total Praise", written by the incomparable Richard Smallwood.

You are the source of my strength. You are the strength of my life. 

I lift my hands in total praise to you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Midvale's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is Hilarious!

Aaron Ford as Leaf Coneybear, Erica Smith as Logainne SchwartzandGrubbeinerre, Mary Nelson as Marcy Park, Michael Howell as William Barfee, Garrett Grigg as Chip Tolentino, McKenzie Heaton as Olive Ostrovsky. (spellings may be off)

Last Friday night I got to see an absolutely enchanting show at the Midvale Main Street Theatre. 

I auditioned for the show and I spent a weekend listening to the music, watching youtube videos, and preparing for the callbacks. Before that weekend, I really wasn't familiar with the show.  As I watched and listened, I fell in love with this beautiful show about the confidence and insecurities of those preteen years. The pressures, the needs, the horrors, the delight! I laughed and cried all day long. 

Michelle Dodge as Rona Lisa Peretti and Jourdan Dixon as Douglas Panache
I really wanted to be in the show. But alas, another very qualified woman got the part I wanted.  Of course, I cried my eyes out because you do that sometimes as actors. We weep to the heavens and wish we could play these amazing parts. Having shared that, I was absolutely delighted with Michelle Dodge's performance. In real life, she IS a jr. high teacher. She sang beautifully. She was an anchor for the craziness around her, and I loved her improv! I loved her performance! She and Jourdan Dixon absolutely won over audiences with their improvised banter. 

My brother Matthew came with me to the show. He's been doing improv for over ten years and he raved about Jourdan's performance. This is high praise folks.

Carolyn Crow as Trish Mahoney

The comfort counselor is usually played by a man named Mitch, but I loved Carolyn's performance as Trish Mahoney. It was spot on. I swear, I never stopped laughing during this show--except for that one time I was bawling during the one song that always makes me bawl.  You know what song I'm talking about and if you don't--you better go see this show because it is worth every penny just to see that amazing song! McKenzie Heaton, Garrett Grigg, and Michelle Dodge--I love you! (hint hint, nudge nudge... knowwhatimean...)

There are no words to describe Aaron Ford's performance as Leaf Coneybear. 

I invite a comparison to the original Leaf Coneybear as played on Broadway. 

 Jesse Tyler Ferguson was pretty dang brilliant. 

But Aaron Ford... oh for the love of Pete.. the man made me laugh so hard. 

I'm glad that the world is filled with men who are talented enough and crazy enough to play this part. 

It makes me very happy.

Big kudos to the whole cast for finding a perfect balance of individual strength and ensemble in their performances. They came together beautifully in the music (directed by Colyn Quinn) and the dancing (choreographed by Aaron Ford). Tammy Ross's direction served the story well. I loved  the show!

 The show only runs three more nights. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Shows start at 7pm. My suggestion to you is to try and see the show Thursday night since Friday and Saturdays fill up super fast. 

Midvale Main Street Theatre is located at 7711 S Main St (700 West). You can visit their website at for more information. 

(I'm going to press publish and wish I could gush more about each performance, but honestly, just go and see the show. Take my word for it and go and see the show. Then you can tell all your friends about how Garrett Grigg's performance as Chip cracked you up--or how Mary Nelson's Marcy was spot on, or how Erica Smith was both militant and endearing. Or how Olive and William's friendship was so tender. Okay... pressing publish now.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Always On My Mind

Things that are currently on my mind:

1) Noah was a complicated story that actually delved into some of the elements of the story that I personally pondered... like the whole letting everyone die thing.

2) Elder Dallin H. Oaks' talk at the Priesthood Session of the April General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have so many more questions now! It inspired my curiosity.

3) I have a very cute nephew.

4) I spend way too much time having inane conversations with people in Facebook groups. I feel toxic.

5) I'm tired of being unhealthy. I keep thinking I'm depressed, but I realize I'm just anemic. Which is just another symptom of another problem. And on and on and on.

6) My TV is only showing in black and white right now. I've been watching West Wing. The show really works in black and white. I kind of love it.

7) I'm transferring to a new facility. I had a good talk with the person coming in to take over here at the storage facility--and she's wonderful.

8) My Aunt Marylou came to visit this weekend. We had such a great time! My brothers Nick and Matt came over with my dad John and we made Beef Massaman Curry! It was so tasty.

9) I paid a lot of bills. This is awesome. This left me without any moneys. This is not awesome.

10) Performing in Not The Messiah last week was absolute joy. The audience waived little glow sticks. The other singers were so talented. And I got to eat cheese curds and grape juice. During the show. During a song. Because I'm cool like that.

11) I'm afraid of a few things. I don't want to say them out loud because it gives them credence. But I carry a few extra fears right now.

12) The film I was in last year is doing really well at WorldFest in Houston. Our leading man--Carleton Bluford--was just nominated for Best Lead Actor. I'm so happy for him! Eventually you'll have an opportunity to see Stop Pepper Palmer  in Utah. And when you do, remember that it was filmed right here in Utah with actors from Utah!

13) I'm still very grateful. Life is good. I washed my clothes last night. Woot!

So these are the things that are currently occupying my brain. Among a thousand others.

I need to settle my mind.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Singing in a Monty Python Show!

A couple months ago, I got a call from the radiant Kate Rufener. 

"Would you like to be a soloist in an upcoming show at The Grand?"

This is The Grand.

Isn't it magnificent?
She told me it was going to be a revival of this show.
 She told me that this guy--
(Dave Hanson)

and this guy--
(Jim Dale)
were both in the show! 
The luminous Marcie Jacobsen was going to Hawaii--and they needed someone to step into her shoes for the revival.
At the thought of working on a hilarious show with such talented people--and at the mere compliment of being considered for a part that Marcie had played the previous year--
I immediately said yes!!
And now it's showtime!
We have had wonderful rehearsals where I've met so many talented people! 
This is Angie Chatelain Avila and her beautiful sheep.

This is the hilarious Choir--surrounding the beloved Brian--played by Anthony Thomas Buck.


(You can kind of see the backside of Kevin Mathie, our wonderful musical director.)

The incomparable JD Dumas took this picture of the live orchestra from his place at the piano at last night's rehearsal. 

They sound heavenly. 

 The show is a joy!

We have lumberjacks, sheep, men in drag, beautiful music, beautiful singing of beautiful music, Bob Dylan, a little irreverent humor--(It's Monty Python!)--glowsticks, a keytar, french horns, and Cheese! 

It's 3 nights only! (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday)

Tickets are only $12-$15. 

Come and enjoy a beautiful evening of fun!

Showtime starts at 7:30pm.

For tickets, visit

The theatre is located in South Salt Lake at 1575 South State Street. 

See you at the theatre!



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Stranger in the Flowerbed

I saw this shape pass in front of my office window.

I hurried over to the door and yelled down the street. "Hey!"

He turned back.

"Don't walk in the flower beds. Use the sidewalk please!"

He started towards me with this familiar smile.

I cut him off with a polite thank you before he could start a conversation and shut the door.

Two hours later, the rain started to fall.

He came blustering into my office.

His hair was shoulder length and matted. He was unshaven, but it only looked like maybe two days growth. He still had his teeth. His coat, face, and hands had a layer of dirt and his face had that leathery look you get when you live outside. He looked to be about 40. But really, he could have been 30. Who knows. He stood about 5 ft 10 inches. Average build. He was handsome. His body had the quality of being a former jock in another lifetime.

He asked, "Where's the music you usually have going?"

I lied. "What music?"

I always turn off the music when a customer comes into the office so I can focus. He wasn't a customer though. He had never been in the office. How did he know about the music? I immediately thought about the flower beds just in front of my office window.

He began to speak as though we were longtime friends and as though we had spoken together many times before.

I attempted to keep my face completely neutral and said, "I don't remember you."

He became flustered.

He said, "Do you have any coffee or a lighter?"

I said no.

He asked if he could use the restroom. I told him to go right ahead.

When he came out of the bathroom he continued to try and make small talk. I'd record it here, but I didn't understand it honestly. Just imagine a lot of nonsensical small talk.

I just stared at him with a neutral look. Not caring, not condemning. I was behind my desk. He was a human being and I refused to humiliate him by reacting to him with any sort of fear, but I did think about how we were the only ones in the office.

Suddenly he said, "Can I have a hug?"

It was incredibly difficult for him to say it. His eyes begged me to hear him. I thought of all the healing that a hug can offer. I thought of how alone he must feel.

I sat safely in my seat behind my big marble desk and thought about his needs.

But I didn't move.

I didn't catalog my own needs and his needs were clear, but I just couldn't cross that threshold.

I looked him in the eyes and said in a clear soft voice, "Why? Tell me why you need a hug."

He floundered for the words, "Because it's Christmas."

"It's not Christmas. It's April 1st. Why?"

He tried to smile like a sheepish little boy and make a joke. I kept my face serious.

"Why did you let it get so bad?"

His face softened into a kind of seriousness, but he didn't answer.

Finally he smiled, "You need a hug more than I do."

I responded, "Everyone needs hugs. I know why I need one. Why do you need one? Words are important. You want a hug--give me words."

He begins to describe with his body language and his words a need to be held like a baby. I understood what he was saying, and I came very close to giving into his request.

Then I heard it.

Water running.

I used it as an escape from granting his request.

"The water is running. Turn it off."

He looked at me.

"Turn off the water."

He walked away from the desk. For a moment, I thought he was going to just go out the door and leave without a word, but he headed past the door to the restrooms. There are two. The men's and women's. Instead of going to the men's restroom where he left the water running, he headed to the women's restroom and turned on the large spigot over the mop bucket.

I realized he was using this as a means to get me out from behind my desk. But I had no choice.

I left the desk and walked to the restrooms, but I made sure I had my phone with me. If I needed to, I could speed dial the police.  I turned off the sink in the men's bathroom, and managed to push past him into the women's restroom to shut off the larger spigot before the mop bucket overflowed.

I was incensed by this little bit of anarchy. It undid the puppy dog eyes and the sincerity in his request. I realized that couched in his need for human contact was a much baser need to just rub up against some boobs. And even though his need for intimacy was real--my need for distance and safety was just as real. I decided that it was all right to embrace an ethic of selfishness in that moment and I put my needs ahead of his. For many, this answer might have been obvious--but I'm a militant people pleaser. I have this stupidly courageous need to see how I can please the world at my own expense. Choosing my needs over his was a difficult thing to do.

Until I heard the water running.

He left without any ceremony and if there was conversation, I don't remember it.

I imagined what good I could have done, had I allowed him to hug me. But honestly, I think he would have taken more from me than I could have given to him.

After he left, I replayed the situation over and over.

I have three core values, Faith, Courage, Compassion.

I feel like my choice to leave that man without a hug demonstrated neither faith, courage, or compassion.  I hate to live outside of my own value system, but I must have faith that I don't need to sacrifice my own well being to save this man. I must have courage to protect my own needs. I must have compassion for myself.

This is my story about the stranger in the flowerbed. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Holy Poo I'm Tired

I have this haunting fatigue that is making every part of my body feel like it weighs a million pounds. Standing is a problem.
Holding my head up is a victory.
Typing is a something.
Thinking of words is hard.


I had such a lovely weekend. Why do I feel like I spent two days pounding tequila??

Friday night, I worked out for 90 minutes. I felt completely trashed afterwards. I called my good friend Nancy and promptly enjoyed a lot of unhealthy food at a diner. It was glorious.

Junk food for the win!!

Saturday, I gave exercise another chance. 45 minutes. Heartpounding. 160 beats per minute.

I felt great!

Sang for 3 hours at rehearsal for the oratorio.

My brother Matt and I went shopping for clothes and he bought me a large Kale smoothie.

It was tasty!

Healthy Food wins!
Exercise wins!

I stayed in Saturday night and went over all the songs for the gospel music event last night.

Loooooootttts of singing.

Sing sing sing.

Sunday morning--I woke up and made a big breakfast with eggs and an english muffin. I sang in the ward choir for 45 minutes. Then I joined the rest of the gospel choir-Soulful Praise--and we sang for our church congregation. It was so exhilarating. Lotsa stress. Lotsa joy.

Driving in show. Going to Bountiful to get set up for the concert.

Singing, more singing. Singing again.

Trying to release stress. Trying to be happy. Trying to be positive.

I began resonate a few simple objectives. Sing with faith. Share with love. Be present.

When the other choir got up to sing, we were supposed to stand off stage and wait for them to finish and then join them for the final two numbers. This choice didn't resonate with my objectives. So I went off script. I walked back into the audience and cheered the other choir as loudly as I could--with as much love as I could muster.

After the concert, I joined my family at Village Inn where we did what we do best--we ate (food win!) and we talked about auric fields, spirituality, etc. We all completely suck at small talk.

I came home and gabbed on the phone for a while with my friend Travis. Good times...

I woke up today and I feel like I've been run over by a truck.

By a large, heavy, truck.

I can't... So much tiredidity. That is my new word for tiredness. Tiredidity.

I am going to leave work in 30 minutes and I'm going to go the gym. I am going to crawl on the treadmill and roll over a few times on the yoga mats.

Me for the win!

Oh good grief someone please make this pounding stop.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Singing Gospel Music

Sometimes I miss Washington, DC.

But it's not the things you might expect.

I miss my students.

I miss their unadulterated and unashamed faith.

It seems that certain cultures... (white people mainly) are rather reserved when it comes to matters of faith. We have mastered the art of separation of church and state.

But in maintaining this separation, we lose some of our passion in faith.

My students were unabashed in their faith. They understood something about the power of emotion in their religion.

Mormons are super at logical faith. We witness with all the passion of a lecturer. Our tools for conversion are conversation and explanation. And we're very good at it. But we've almost gone too far down the path of logical explanation. And as a result--it's just as easy to undo someone's faith with any old strategic conversation.

Faith in Jesus Christ, while it is appealing to discuss the principles and merits in a detached manner--is based on miraculous, unexplainable phenomena. It requires emotion, passion, and an ability to let yourself jump off of a proverbial cliff in your mind and float in a sort of cosmos of magic and miracles. In order to be a Christian--you must allow that there are facets to your beliefs that simply cannot be explained. They must be experienced. Words fail.

But music comes close.

Sunday night, I'll be singing with a Gospel Choir. We are made up of a few faiths, including one Jewish woman.

We won't be preaching any sort of complicated doctrines. Just one song after another bearing witness to the miracle of Jesus Christ.

I enjoy singing, but this experience singing with this choir has been other worldly for me.

I can't explain it. I can only sing it.

If you have ever wanted to better understand some of the unexplainable parts of Christianity--come see this concert.

Sunday, March 30th at the Bountiful Regional Center at 7pm. It's free. Everyone is welcome.

(Take the 2600 South Exit in Bountiful. Go East--or right if you're coming from the south. Turn Right at the very next light--400 East--before the Village Inn restaurant. Follow the road for a couple of blocks. Very soon you'll see a giant white dome on the right side of the road. That is the Regional Center.  It is in North Salt Lake technically. Finding it on a map is difficult.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Finding Balance-A Follow Up to the Previous Post

I've been thinking about the idea of "ordinances of the flesh" and balance for the past week.

The soul is the spirit and the body.

I feel unbalanced as a person. I excel in things of the spirit. I love to contemplate spiritual things and I feel I dedicate myself to spiritual joy.

But I haven't prioritized things of the flesh. I live this crazy unbalanced life where I completely ignore my body, in favor of my mind.

After writing about need for ying and yang, men and women, spirit and flesh--I realize that I need a more balanced set of priorities in my life. Taking care of the body isn't about vanity--it's about balance. I guess I've always seen taking care of my body as a more worldly pursuit. And that's wrong!

On Saturday, I got a pass to the gym. I know it's springtime and I should just go for a walk outside--but I don't. I always think I will--and I never do. Or I go three times and then get a sunburn and stop. I went over to Planet Fitness and signed up for the $10/a month plan. That's about what I pay for Netflix. I think it's worth it!

On Saturday, I got on the treadmill and walked for 20 minutes, then worked my pecs. That was all I did. It was a short work out. But it was a good start!

I skipped Sunday. I had planned to go--but instead I had a couple of dear friends over for dinner. It was a rich Sunday evening.

Monday was the clincher. Yesterday was such a good day! I worked ten hours then went to the gym.

I walked 24 minutes--at a pace that kept my heart rate between 140-150. Then I did reps on the ab machine, one of the leg machines, the bench press machine, and one of the weights that works your biceps and your lower back. After the weights--I went back onto the treadmill and did another 20 minutes. It felt great!

I came home, threw some food into the crock pot, did the dishes, and just enjoyed the sense of accomplishment!

Unfortunately, the exercise made falling asleep difficult. I really wish I was a morning person.

Today, I have rehearsal for Soulful Praise (click here for a link to the Facebook event)  tonight from 7-10. I work until 6. There's no way I can make it to the gym before 11pm. I'm trying to figure out what to do there. I have my shoes in the trunk--so I think I'm going to try and go for a 20 minute walk here at work during the day. I just want to develop every day habits. And maybe I'll go tonight anyway!

I am trying to practice what I preach. If I say that men and women are equal and represent the two sides to the self--and I place a higher priority on spiritual things over physical things--then through my actions, I am saying that I think men are better than women--or the spirit is better than the flesh. And despite the fact that I don't feel that way at all--my soul feels neglected. It feels out of balance. So little by little, I am going to love myself into a more balanced person.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why I Haven't Written About "Ordain Women" Until Now

Women and the Priesthood.

I've been thinking about this all week. I have had several conversations with women I really respect about this topic. And they've come down on either side of the issue, for very good reasons. And so I percolate. I have been listening, praying, reading, listening, and formulating thoughts. And I'm not done percolating honestly. I'm still learning.

Here are three of the good things about the Ordain Women movement--whether you agree with their agenda or not:
1) The conversations are rolling. Women are sitting with other women discussing the power that women have. We are talking about our gifts, our spiritual experiences, our personal revelations. We are talking about Adam and Eve. We are sharing our testimonies and edifying one another through these conversations.
2) I am asking questions I wouldn't have thought to ask and receiving answers that overwhelm my spirit. Answers that bring so many other things into perspective.
3) Misconceptions about the powers that women have are coming to light and ignorance is being addressed. 

So here are my beliefs as they stand on this Friday evening. And I'm open to new wisdom and eager to learn more. But here are some of the things that I feel I have learned as I have prayed and pondered these things this week.

A dear friend introduced the idea to me that in Hebrew--man and spirit can be used synonymously in some scriptures, and woman and body also seem to be interchangeable. I've thought about this idea a lot in thinking about the roles of men and women in the priesthood.

I believe that when a man and a woman receive their temple endowment, they are "endowed with power".  Whether I am ordained or not, as an endowed woman, I have the priesthood. If you doubt it, go to the temple and listen closely. For this reason, I don't feel the need to ask for it.

But I want to know what my priesthood responsibilities are as a woman of God. I want to know how I may serve the Lord.

I believe that the men have authority over matters of the spirit. They administer in spiritual ordinances like baptism, giving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the administering of the sacrament, and all other spiritual ordinances because as a man--that is their calling.

Man=Spirit. Woman=Flesh.

What does this mean? And in our post Nicene Creed Christian world, how do I teach myself that duties related to the Flesh are equal in importance to duties of the Spirit? And what are these duties?

I was thinking about what these might be and I remembered a talk my mission president's wife, Judy Morgan gave to all the missionaries about how Christ's choice to appear to Mary Magdalene immediately following his resurrection was not a coincidence, but that as a woman, it was her right to be the first to see the resurrected Lord.

I believe that women have power and authority over these "ordinances of the flesh". Birth, death, resurrection, sex, healing, nurturing, feeding, clothing, and other things I haven't yet thought of.

All spiritual acts can become pedestrian without the right attitude. And these acts of the flesh can become every day to us as well. But as we reverence ourselves and the powers that we have--we will enrich these acts of the flesh, which will in turn help both men and women to become exalted. Just as ordinances of the spirit help men and women to become exalted.

The soul is made up of the spirit and the body. The spirit and the body are required for exaltation.  The man and the woman together are required for exaltation.

While I am not opposed to ordaining women--I believe the first priority is to more openly teach and discuss the powers that women already possess. I want men and women to understand and respect their power to lift one another.

Just as exaltation requires a partnership, so does leadership. I believe one of the first things the church will do is more fully acknowledge the partnerships in the church leadership.

For those of you who aren't LDS and are now completely bored by this blog, I apologize. For those of you who think I'm too moderate, I apologize. For those of you think I'm too extreme, I apologize.

More than anything, I feel so enriched! I feel like I have disrespected things of the flesh to my spiritual detriment and I need to be a better steward to myself. Lots to do! Lots to learn!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lotsa Music

Ever since I can remember, there's been music.

I can't live without it. It is everything.

And I don't even think I'm that good at it. I chose theatre over music. There were a lot of reasons why, but I think it came down to wanting music to be my own private joy.

Right now I'm feeling intimidated and overwhelmed with music. The joy is still there--but I'm working on two separate performance projects--and I haven't quite clicked with either project yet. I mean I love them both--but it's not easy yet. We're still at the "must super focus--must use every ounce of brain power to get this to work-" point. Once it clicks, you can kind of relax and actually enjoy the art of the art. But right now, I'm in super focus mode.

But today is Wednesday. Sweet delicious Wednesday.

On Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday--I listen to and study the music we're singing for 'Soulful Praise'-An Inter-Faith Musical Celebration of Priase through Gospel Music. I'm singing the alto line. Most of the songs are three parts and the alto line sits in the middle of the chord--so it's sometimes difficult to pick out. The biggest thing is making sure you over articulate the words and just get into it. It's gospel music! Of course, you can't hold your music. The words and the notes need to be memorized so you can really sink your teeth into the feel of the song. So for those three days, I focus on gospel music.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday--I listen to Monty Python's He's Not The Messiah--(he's a very naughty boy). This is an oratorio of the Life of Brian--sung in a style reminiscent of The Messiah with trills and frills. It requires a heady classical placement--but I'm supposed to also throw in a cockney accent as well. I'm the mezzo soloist--THANK HEAVEN--(yelled to the heavens because the soprano part is crazy high.)  It's complicated and incredible. The music has a hundred different styles including gospel, country, folk, calypso, and everything else you'd expect. It's a joy to sing--and we get to hold our music!! Although, I really wish I could memorize it.

But today is Wednesday. Today, I am listening to Radiohead, Neko Case, Fitz and the Tantrums, and whatever other band suits my fancy. Today I shall sing along with the radio! Or listen to NPR and NOT sing!

I love music--but going back and forth between an oratorio and straight up gospel music is hurting my brain. It's also exhilarating and absolutely divine.

I'll post more info on both events soon--but in case you're wondering now--
Soulful Praise--one night only--March 30th at 7pm at the Bountiful Regional Center--Free.
Not The Messiah--one weekend only--April 3-5th at 7:30pm at The Grand Theatre. Visit for tickets!

Monday, March 17, 2014


This video speaks for itself.

I want to talk about my own particular sins with regards to objectification.

I know that good hygiene and proper care for oneself invites success, but I have this ingrained notion that I cannot be successful if I don't look the part of a successful woman. I must have perfect hair, flawless skin, a bright smile. I must be fit and wearing tailored clothes that show off my body. I must wear the perfect amount of make up and be ready to take on any project with a smile. I also imagine myself with long manicured fingernails.

Outside of this look, I am less than. I am unfinished. I FEEL unable to take on the tasks of the day and unworthy to compare myself with other women.

I watched this video Thursday morning at about 7 am.

I spent the day thinking of ways I hold myself back when I don't feel I fit this mold in my mind. I don't like visiting friends when I feel fat and ugly. I don't like trying new things. I am afraid of auditioning for things.

Thursday night, I visited with four different women, each successful in their own right. Each happy. Each striving. When I went to see these friends, I didn't bother with make up. I wore something comfortable and reasonably stylish, but nothing tailored. My nails were short. My skin was mostly clear except for an odd zit near my ear. My hair was tangled and thrown up in a bun. At first, I was concerned how I would feel compared to the women I was going to be meeting up with.

The first woman came from work. She was dressed conservatively, but she didn't appear to have any make up on. This didn't stop us from enjoying a nice conversation and doing what we needed to do. I enjoyed getting to know her and hearing about her joys.

The second woman was just returning from the gym. She smiled brightly and we had a nice talk about work and spiritual things. She was in her gym clothes, no make up, hair in a pony tail--but it didn't curtail her radiance.

The third woman wore no make up, and her hair was thrown up as messily as mine. She was comfortable and we jabbered about life, work, ambitions, and love.

The fourth woman was also in her workout clothes, no make up. Again, we talked about the business at hand, life, friendships, and neither her appearance nor mine kept us from having a successful meeting.

Four women, all successful. Four meetings, all successful. But none of us looked like the picture of success I have in my mind.

I believe I'm late to the party here. I believe I've fallen prey to Hollywood's idea of what a successful, happy woman should look like. I believe the world when they tell me that I should never be satisfied with how I look--or worse--that who I am right now isn't quite enough to demand personal happiness.

Beauty comes from within. Beauty is a light that shines unfettered by wardrobe or make up. It is found in confidence, laughter, thoughtfulness, and grace.

I don't know what men are looking for anymore than men know what they're looking for. I believe sexual attraction is important in a relationship, but last I heard sex generally happens in the dark. Successful sexual endeavors require trust, care, thoughfulness, laughter, confidence, and a little bit of grace I imagine. I don't think it's required that I wear high heels and a corset, although that might contribute to some of the laughter.

I look forward to love and lovemaking, but I will not present myself like an object ready to be bought in order to find love. I will enjoy my successes and take every opportunity to find and share joy. I hope that in this way, I will meet someone I can grow in love with.

My efforts to stop objectification must begin with my relationship with myself.