Friday, November 14, 2014

Open Letter To Whomever Is Writing the Women and the Priesthood Essay

Lds.org has hosted a series of essays this year that have addressed some of the murkier parts of the Mormon history and doctrine. While these essays have fallen short of people’s concerns in a lot of ways, it has also inspired a lot of hope. It is the first time many of these things are being addressed and publicly spoken about, which is just a relief all its own.

There are rumors that the next essay is going to be about women and the priesthood. And I’m excited. And I’m nervous. So I really just want to have a word with whomever is writing the thing.

There is a message I want to send the leaders of my faith. Because I am struggling, and I’m not the only one. So many women are suffering and confused, and dealing with these things silently. And some bold women have spoken up and put a face and a name on this suffering, and the way they’ve been treated has left so many of us feeling lost and tired and hopeless. The church has repeatedly sent the message that it does not want women like us, and we don’t know where to go. I, for one, feel like I’ve spent much of this year begging the church to keep me from walking away, and yet still feel like I’m being shoved out the door.

There is a systematic, pervasive institutional way that we are being pushed out. Time and time again we’ve been asked why we don’t just leave. We’ve been told we’re insubordinate and that we’re a threat to the community. We’ve been called aggressors. We’ve been called cowards. We’ve been told we’re thinking too hard about all the wrong things. We’ve been told we don’t understand. We’ve been reminded of the joy of motherhood, as though we’ve denied it. We’ve been told we already have the power of the priesthood, but that means little to us when we have no authority or encouragement to exercise it.  We have been told just to have faith in the Lord’s plan, as though we should just smile and nod at a God that would see us marginalized for all eternity. People have tried to convince us that the world and God have two different definitions of equality, as though that might help us choose to ignore all the evidence we see that convinces us we are less than.

But never mind all that. We have an eye trained on the leaders of the church because that is where we know we can learn more of what our Heavenly Parents have to say to us. But mostly the messages we’ve received this year are the same ones women in the Mormon church have always been given. Which just feels frustrating and exhausting, because we are begging for some new information. We need some revelation. We need some insight. We are banging on the door of heaven and begging to know more about our roles, purpose, and value in the eyes of God. We believe that understanding women’s access to priesthood power will help us understand Heavenly Mother’s role, and we long for that because we long for her. We want to know of her and who it is we are meant to be in the eternities. All we want is to understand, to serve, and to be more fully integrated into the Kingdom of God.

So, my dear brother or sister, whoever you are, when you write this essay about women and the priesthood, please don’t make proving us wrong your goal. Please don’t write us off. Please don’t belittle us. Please don’t make us feel unwanted and unwelcome. Please understand that our testimonies of the gospel, of the Savior, and of the Prophet are strong. Please understand that we believe we are seeking after the mysteries of the kingdom of God as we’ve been instructed to do, with faith unwavering, in the scriptures. Please don’t make this essay a weapon that other members of the church can use against us.

Please say something, anything, to help us stay.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Homemade Swiffer Mop/Clorox Wipe

Please read my homemade disclaimer.

I’ve seen different versions of this idea around on Pinterest and the interwebz lately.  I made my own thing to try it out, and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I initially used it to clean the floors.

2014-08-20 10.34.52

This was especially awesome at the point in which I would have to throw the Swiffer thing away. I was able just to turn my washcloth over and start mopping with the other side.  The convenience of the Swiffer, without wasting money on those stupid wipes! I have also used these things to wipe down counters, tables and chairs, walls, and even mattresses, all to wonderful effect.

I’m not one to be overly concerned about harsh chemicals in cleaners, although I tend to avoid the rough stuff with my kids around. Generally, I’m okay with whatever if I’ve wiped it down with water after. However, apparently not using harsh chemicals has become such a thing lately that all the kids are dropping major bucks on products that will help them clean chemical free. I find this amusing (foolish?) because mostly I just care a lot more about saving money do than I do about phantom toxins. And I can get a bottle of vinegar—a big one—at my local grocery store for less than three bucks. But whatever, since it is chemical free, a picture of my adorable one year following me around while I mop seems appropriate:

2014-08-20 10.31.31

The recipe for this is simple and easy:

Equal parts water and vinegar
Essential oils, if you want
Fill container with liquids and stuff washcloths inside.
Shake container until the washcloths have soaked up the liquids.

2014-10-29 11.47.24
I am torn by which container is more convenient. The bag holds more,
but I live in fear that it will rip, hence the double bagging. The mason jar is
is more secure, but holds fewer cloths. And pouring the liquid in it is a pain
unless you have a funnel (I don’t). I think I could really get behind a gallon
sized mason jar for this purpose. I’ve never known why those existed.

I usually do about 2 Cups water and 2 Cups vinegar with about 30 drops of essential oils.  I’ve been using this cleaning blend, which is a combination of oils that are lauded for their antibacterial and antifungal properties and whatnot.  But any oil or blend that is citrus based or the tea tree family would have the same.  You could also just add a splash of lemon juice. Or, since you don’t need more than the vinegar to clean, you could just add a few drops of whatever smells nice to you.  Or nothing at all.

Easy peasy and super awesome.

You’re welcome.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thing 2 is 4

And he has been for over a month. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, BLOGOSPHERE.

I’ve been super nostalgic about this kid’s birthday. I think it is because I keep comparing how Thing 3 is at that age of 1 to how his brothers were at that age. This has reminded me of the super sweet, cuddly, funny boy that Thing 2 was as 1 year old. Not that he is not also sweet, cuddly and funny now. He still is. But he has also been a three year old for the past year… which means the sweet, cuddly, funny boy has been disguised as a terrorist for much of the time. And I can see that phase passing. He is becoming more human and more reasonable, slowly but surely. However, it’ll never be the same as when he was in the early toddler stages, and I kinda miss that. He was a pretty easy baby/toddler to take care of. 

I was determined to not have a four year old in diapers, and thought it was only his stubbornness holding us back. So, Husband and I told him that after he was four we weren’t allowed to buy him any more pull-ups because four year olds are not supposed to wear them. Four year olds have to wear nice underwear that they keep dry and clean. We counted down the pull-ups and when they were gone we switched. So, instead of having a four year old in diapers, I had a four year old that was having a lot of accidents. And at first I was just sure it was because he was being stubborn. But it didn’t take long to see that the whole thing was making him miserable. He wanted to do it, and wanted to do well, but he was having so much trouble. And it became pretty clear he was starting to feel a lot of shame about it. I took to the interwebz and have learned that late potty train actually isn’t all that uncommon, and is often because of biology. So we’ve taken a step back. And I have a four year old in pull ups. Whatevs.

Love this kid.

wesley 4 birthday

  DSCN1471
Birthday   1 Year
image   Wesley 3
2 Years   3 Years
wesley is 4
4 Years

Friday, August 29, 2014

I’m All About That Bass, But if You’re Not That’s Okay Too

I’ve had Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass stuck in my head for weeks now. It is unbelievably catchy, and she does have a great voice.  And you just can’t deny a tune that *makes* you move with it.

And I wanted to love it upon first discovering it because of the body positive message. I can get behind lines like this:

I see the magazine workin' that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
C'mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

But I struggle with loving the song, because I believe there are some serious missteps. I wish that we could present a body positive message for fuller figures (of which, I have to point Trainor is just barely—she is by no means a “big” girl) without dissing other body types. This song loses me with these lines:

'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.

I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

Some of these are less offensive than others. You could probably say any girl of any body type has “junk in all the right places” because whatever that “junk” is, I would hope it would be applied to a wide and inclusive view of beauty. But, I balk at the idea that there is a “boom boom” that all boys chase or that there is a certain body type they prefer to be in bed with at night for a few reasons. First and for most, I hate that any standard of beauty would be defined by the male gaze. But also, there is no one true beauty type for all boys. At least, there sure as hell shouldn’t be. When we are working on body positive thinking, I think we need to work on women (and men) defining their sense of beauty and confidence internally. They should not be dependent on how attractive they think they are to the opposite sex. Especially if they think they need to be attractive to all boys. How daunting is that?

But then Trainor gets even more aggressive using terms like “stick figure silicone Barbie doll.” The implication is that a thin girl is plastic, not real. But her realness and beauty are just as valid as any other body type. I hate that she has to be perceived as unattractive to send a message that full figured girls are also attractive.

And the worst of them all is the phrase “skinny bitches.” Upfront, I’m just going to say that no woman ever should be referred to as a bitch … or compared to an animal/thing in any way. The idea that women do this to each other is maddening. A patriarchal system depends on women being perceived as less than human. Using language that encourages this is never okay. And in the context of this song, the application of the word to skinny/thin women infers a personality trait—a disagreeable one—is connected to a physical trait. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

To be fair, this most offensive line is followed up with the words “No I’m just playing.” But that is not enough. If Trainor wanted to present a true body positive image, she wouldn’t even pretend to demonize all women of a certain body type in order to promote another. Women who are born into thin body types can’t help it any more than women who are born into bodies that are curvy and plump. Vilifying them because our image conscious society is solely focused on them doesn’t help promote an inclusive idea of beauty. It only trades in one evil for another.

Maybe I can’t blame Trainor solely for this though. She had a co-writer, and a lot of times for pop stars that means they sat in the room, maybe giving some input, while a songwriter wrote their song. And then, as it turns out, maybe it was someone else who wrote this song altogether … Either way, even though I might bob my head and sing along when it comes on the radio, I’m super disappointed that it had the potential to be a great feminist song, but failed to send the right message.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thing 3 is 1

With Thing 1 and 2, I felt like the first year was an eternity. I love babies, but caring for them is exhausting, hard work that I don’t really have the patience for.  Combine that with the PPD and mostly I just feel like I claw my way through the first year of a new person’s life. However, it has been different this time around.  I don’t know if it is because breastfeeding went better, I managed my PPD better, or Thing 3 is just such a happy, easy going person… but this year has flown by.  I can’t believe he is already a toddler! I feel both excited and relieved, and a little bit sad that I blinked and his babyhood was gone.

Alas, here we are. He’s a one year old. A curious, destructive, adorable, infuriating, excessively happy one year old.

 

Wade Birthday Wade 8 17 14
Birth Day 1 Year

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My First Lenten Period (I.E. Happy Easter!)

Every year around February and March I’ve always experienced a kind of holy/religious envy.  Mormons don’t practice Lent, and I’ve always wished that we did.  You know, Christmas is this whole season.  Weeks of celebrating the Savior’s birth.  But, if I may, the Savior’s birth is not what saved me.  It is His sacrifice, His death, and His atonement.  I’ve always thought it was kind of sad that Easter is a week-end ordeal, and that it kind of feels like a blip on the radar.  And so, I’m always jealous of Christians who do practice Lent.  Because their commitment to the Lenten period helps them to stay focused on the “reason for the season” (to borrow a Christmas phrase) and it transforms Easter into the kind of parallel to Christmas that it ought to be. 

This year, I just decided I was going to do it.  And then I learned that I had other Mormon friends that were going to do it. And we came together in a little Facebook group and got our Lenten groove on. 

For my part, I chose not to sacrifice something, but be actively engaged in something.  (For the record, I don’t think either approach is better than the other-it is just a choice.)  I chose to memorize a scripture a day, the theme of which was women in the scriptures.  Delving into and thinking about the lives of biblical women has been a really great exercise for me.  So much (and by this I mean 99.9%) of our worship is told in a male narrative.  Men teach men how to be men of God, and men teach women how to be women of God.  Sometimes this leaves me feeling wanting.  Searching out women of God in the scriptures is a balm.  I think I’m going to continue to do it, even though Lent is over.

Of course, as with the men, not of all of the women in the scriptures are exactly examples of righteous living… but you get my point.

Here is the list of 40 scriptures that I worked on*. Most women got just one verse, but for some I couldn’t decide and so there are two about the same woman:

Genesis 3:6-7
Genesis 7:13
Genesis 21:6
Genesis 21:17
Genesis 24:15
Genesis 30:1
Genesis 38:25
Genesis 39:7
Genesis 46:20
Exodus 15:20-21
Joshua 2:12
Judges 4:4-5
Judges 4:21
Judges 5:7
Judges 5:24
Judges 11:36
Judges 16:18
Ruth 1:16
Ruth 3:1
1 Samuel 2:1
2 Samuel 3:3
2 Samuel 12:24
2 Samuel 13:20
2 Samuel 21:10
2 Kings 9:7
2 Chronicles 34:22
Esther 1:12
Esther 7:3
Matthew 15:22
Matthew 27:19
Mark 6:25
Luke 1:24-25
Luke 1:46-48
Luke 2:36
John 4:25
John 11:20-21
John 12:3
John 20:15
Acts 9:36
Moses 5:11


*I say “worked on” because there came a point when memorizing them was not really the focus.  It was searching out and learning about the women that became the thing.  I did attempt memorization, but if I’m honest it was half-hearted.  I was way more interested in searching the internets for clues about the women.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are Mommy Wars Still a Thing?

A Community of Mothers

I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it was the 8 months of bed rest wherein I mostly tried to not feeling sick and distracted myself by playing Farmville 2 and Candy Crush all the time.  Maybe it is having a third child and so I am now serving more dictators than I have hands.  Maybe it is the battle with post partum depression that makes all that this entails seem so much more impossible.  But for awhile there, I’d forgotten I was supposed engage in all manner of conversations on the right way to rear children.

I guess I’ve remembered now?  But, I think I have come to a place wherein I just could care less how you are raising your children.  Given that you are not neglectful and not abusive, then mostly I give you mad props for keeping the kids alive.

Every now and again, my head emerges from the newborn-pattern-of-sleep fog, and I notice that there is some new debate.  I posted an article to Facebook about vaccination recently.  No debate ensued (thank you for that, Facebook friends) but then a few days later I saw a counter argument article that was a response to the article I had posted.  I realized that posting it, I had unwittingly engaged in a battle.  I regret it.  I don’t like the idea that someone saw my post and felt like I was judging them for making a different call than I made.  I generally have an opinion on these matters, of course—related to what I’ve decided to do for my own family.  But… sakes alive I feel like I’m just treading water here.  Not to mention searching blindly in the dark for the solution to every problem that is “just right” for my children.  I just don’t have the time or energy to keep tabs on whether your solutions look like my solutions. 

If other parents feel the way I do about parenting (i.e. totally overwhelmed), chances are we just need to offer each other a lot more support.  The end.

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