Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Favorite Things 2007

Blame Chandelle, she made me do it...

Lisa, Artemis,Emily, Janet, Lessie, G, Chandelle my gosh, did I leave anyone out?

Discovering "The Wire". Hands down the best television on the air right now (new season in two weeks, yay) Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!!! and here's one of my favorite scenes.

"Mad Men"- Second best television show this year. Those clothes, that furniture and the main character...what a hunk!(yes, I used the word! He really is.) And if you're a feminist, it will either make you grateful or give you reason to grind your teeth and curse at the T.V.

Discovering blogging (maybe that was 06?) not that I have anything important to say but it sure is fun

Getting to know my daughter as a girl becoming a woman. Scary and and wonderful all at the same time

My Young Women. I might not have stayed in the church if it wasn't for my calling with these girls. I'm supposed to teach them. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to let them talk.

Renewing my recommend. 2 years since my last visit to the temple. It's nice to know that I am a member of The Church because I want to be, not because someone expects it of me. On my terms and when the times comes, on His terms.

My neighborhood. living on the west side of the city, I get to be in a ward with alls sorts of folks. Diversity is good for the white man.

My '07 Felt road bike. yeah, I'm still a little squirly on it but I like the "go fastness" of it and can't wait for spring.

Discovering dark chocolate-thank the women of fMh for that.

Julie Rose. It's been fun having a friend to watch and discuss every little detail of "Mad Men" with. Too bad she's moving to Charlotte, NC in a week. (I will miss you tons!)

The Bourne Ultimatum. It could just be Matt Damon but I have loved every one of these movies and last night, I squealed in delight as I watched the final installment.

Falling in love with yarn-- again. (Actually, it's a sickness)
oh hunny bought me a new digi camera and a Sansa e260 this year. I'm finally succumbing to technology. Perhaps I will get dsl in '08? I can dream...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moving Forward

I've been feeling a little saucy lately and so I've been reading the personal blogs of those I've become familiar with on fMh. I typically try to stay away from personal blogs because (I'm a snob?) it's just so much to read. Like standing the in the deodorant isle at the's a bit overwhelming.

I'm drawn to stories of those that have left the Church or are struggling to stay in the Church. I think I like reading about the conflict and how lives are shaped by this curious thing we call The Gospel. AND, if I wanted my teeth to ache, I would read the Ensign.

I will be the first to admit that there are things about my religion that bother me. There are times when I think I just don't want to play anymore (and turn of the lights and pretend I'm not home) and times when I just roll my eyes and think my god people...pull your head out of your asses! But the positives far outweigh the negatives for me so I stay, despite the imperfection I find .

So as I've been reading the blogs, I've had an opportunity to ask myself: where do I fit in on the scale? Am I a super duper star saint? Or am I on my way out? Have I lost my faith? Or do I believe what I want to believe?

Sure, I have doubts and I should--I live by faith. I believe in a God that I cannot see. I worship a God who cannot speak to me in a way that I can literally hear. And I belong to an ultra conservative organization that requires so much of who I am that I am often at odds with the institution.

But why am I still wanting to be active in this church? Rather than working through the reasons why I should stay, perhaps I can work backwards and consider the reasons why I don't have to stay.

I don't have to be a Mormon because:

My spouse isn't LDS, never has been, probably never will be. In fact, he's not religious. So our marriage will not be affected by my decision to leave.

I'm a convert, so I don't have to worry about "disappointing" family, friends, mission companions. My family associations are just the way they were before I joined the church.

My daughter is a convert too. Although I understand my responsibility of a parent to teach my child about God, I refuse to indoctrinate hear and tell her what she believes. (she was 10 when she joined the church. It was her decision based on her reasons. All i did was ask if it was something she wanted to do.

I don't need religion to keep me honest, chaste, virtuous. I am those things because I love my God and it's his example I wish to live by.

I don't need to participate in a religion to keep my mind turned towards God. I don't need religion to teach me how to be a Christian. I have the words of the saviour in the New Testament to do that.

I don't need the ward to fulfill friendship needs, perform charitable acts, or act as a place to pay my tithes and offerings to God. My community provides ample opportunity.

Despite all of that, my heart and mind want to stay.

Listen folks, I've never stuck to anything in my life. I'm lazy and flippant and flighty. If I could have gotten out of the mommy gig, I would have done that years ago. Let's just say that sticktoituvness is not a quality I possess, and yet, I'm still here.

I made a choice years ago based on something more powerful than logic or history to be a part of LDS Church. My decision wasn't based on a perception of an organization. I didn't join the Church because I had a friend...or I like the missionaries...or because I thought Mormons were really great people... or because they had all the answers I was looking for.

I joined this church because a very still and small voice, one that I remembered hearing and feeling when I was nine years old and again at the birth of my daughter said, "yes Melanie, it's is true."

Monday, November 26, 2007

consumption unit

as of late, my daughter has started referring to us as her "parental unit". it must be something she picked up from her socially conscious progressive high school but this term bugs the hell out of N.

probably, he finds it disrespectful. perhaps impersonal. i can't quite put my finger on it and while i think it's funny in the "that's cute" kind of way i have to admit N is right. children should address their parents with respect.

So...on vacation last week, belle said, "thank you, parental unit" and in response N said, "you're welcome, consumption unit."

doesn't that just sum up a teenager's role perfectly?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Have I Seen the Hand of God Today? 11/18/07

Today was a glorious fall day. Blue skies, temps in the 60's with a slight breeze. As Belle and I were walking to church we started talking about testimony and how it comes to each individual.

It was also one of those rare opportunities in which a mother and her teenage daughter open up and talk truthfully about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it means to be a woman of God. We both decided that we liked what we were doing and we didn't want it to end so we continued our walk around the church parking, continued our discussion and got to know each other a little bit more. WOW! A sacrament meeting to remember.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Have I Seen the Hand of God Today? 11/13/07

Last night, I had to write a brief testimony for the Young Women Evening of Excellence. I assumed it would be a quick five minute task that starts with "I believe..." or "I know that ..." or "I am grateful for..." but as i started to write, my thoughts turned to not wanting to mis-lead the young women. What does that mean-- mis-lead the young women?

I started to worry that maybe I didn't have a testimony. I worried that I would be lying to the girls about what I knew, thought, believed. I am no different than many of the women I know in the church in that I have periods of doubt and times when I just don't know if I believe in it all. I had just recently attended the temple after a long sabbatical, and it wasn't the same for me. It felt awkward and I experienced doubt-a first for me. I left with the resolve that I would continue to go back and the awkwardness is just a result of my lack of preparation.

After many attempts at trying to write something that would say it all, I gave up. I asked myself (often those conversations involve my Father in Heaven) how I gained a testimony in the first place. Though it wasn't a powerful, revelatory experience, there it was in plain speak; simple and something that I could be sure wasn't misleading the girls.

Here's what I came up with:

Years ago I asked my Father in Heaven about the words I read in the Book of Mormon. I asked him about the missionaries and the work they do. I asked him about the restoration and the Church. Within minutes he made it know to my heart and mind that what the missionaries were teaching me was true. As the years have passed, He has continue to make the truth know to me through mt prayers, gospel study, service and daily life that the church I belong to is the place I should be.

Oh how easy it is to forget the basics and how difficult it is to go back to them.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is Love Enough?

We want freedom of speech
But we all talking at the same time
We say we want peace
But nobody wants to change their own mind

And it goes on and on and on
For a thousand years
What language are your tears?

Everybody wants to live the life of kings and queens
But nobody want to stay and plow the fields
Everybody want to tell their neighbors how to live
But nobody wants to list to how they feel

And it goes on and on and on
For a thousand years
What language are your tears?

But what I dot to say right now no more time is
Is your love enough, is your love enough, is your love enough?
Or could you love some more?

And it goes on and on and on
For a thousand years
What language are your tears?

What language do you cry in?
What language do you dance in?
What language do you make romance in?
What language do you make love in?
What language to do you pray to the Above in?
What language are your fears?
What language are your tears?

I currently have a post on titled "Choose Ye This Day" (I posted it here on this blog too) I credit this song (Michael Franti & Spearhead) for prompting my thoughts.

"Everybody wants to tell their neighbors how to live
But nobody wants to listen to how they feel"

There you have it. What more needs to be said?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I thought I would take on simple little project today. I would hand write letters to some folks I haven't heard from in ages. The first person on my list, Liz, is a piece of cake. No matter how long we are apart, it's like we saw each other last week. I think we have a cosmic connection. Despite our totally different personalities and totally different approach to life, we connect on a spiritual level that has sustained us for nearly 10 years. We are like family.

Second on my list, Sabrina. This would be a bit more difficult because I hardly know her or her family and we haven't spoken in nearly seven years. She sent me a card with a picture of her family and I thought I should say hello, if only to be "polite."

As I was looking at her family picture, a co-worker asked me "who's that?"
"My sister"
"You have a sister?"
"Yeah, I do. We don't really know each other."

Another co-worker, walking up the stairs, said incredulously, "You have a sister? You've never mentioned her."

As I stare at the stranger in the picture, I realized several things. I have been getting cards and pictures from her for years and this is the first time I ever really looked at the people in the envelope. It was also the first time I realized that I had a niece. A beautiful, adorable niece that might want know me.

My mom married Tim in the early 80's and soon came Sabrina. I was about nine when she came into this world. We looked nothing alike; she with light hair and fair skin, la guera, and I, the very chubby brownish kid with dark hair. We were years apart and it wasn't long before abuse followed by divorce decided how much of each other we would get to know. She moved away with her dad and I stayed with my mom and we both went on to live different and separate lives. Sure, there was the occasional visit but it was strained at best. There was so much drama on both sides of our lives, we were young and estranged, how could we find a safe place to connect?

After my divorce, I got busy being a mom and working and schooling that I didn't really give her a second thought, except on the 30th of June each year. Sure, I would have liked our relationship to be more but I didn't make the effort. Presumably, because I was a single mom or because we didn't know each other, or because she's married and has her own family, or because she lives in another many reasons and looking back, not one of them is good enough.

All my life, I have wanted to belong to a family. I desperately wanted to fit into my mom's family and that never happened. I had wonderful aunts and a grandma to step in and care for me but they had their own children and lives to live.

I am now 33 years old. I am a mother to a 13 year old girl. After years abuse, and the ensuing drama, I am happily married to the greatest man I have ever known. I have a nice home, in a nice neighborhood. I have--a happy family, a good life. And now I have time?

It's such a shame that a casual question by a work associate has reminded me that I had family all along. I had a sister. What a wonderful gift. I had someone that I could have shared my life with and yet, I was too busy?

My god, the regret and shame I feel at this moment. I belong to a church that values family second to God and I am just now getting that? All those years I longed for something I already had. I could have been there for the birth of her daughter. Her wedding. I could have shared those really great moments in her life. I could have been there for the really bad ones.

My sister is now 24. I'm told she is happily married and a mother to a daughter who's name escapes me at this very moment.

Is it too late to become her older sister? To get to know her and connect?

Is it too late to become family?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I am fascinated by the idea that removing the bad things in life will somehow make better people.

like.... not selling alcohol in stores--only in approved state run locations.

the prohibition of some adult novelties

or the desire for some groups to ban adult films in a certain Church members hotel chain.

Good grief! When did being Mormon mean being mommy and daddy to the world?

I get it. We are a light unto the world, blah blah blah. --we, individuals, Christians are the light unto the world.

Satan sought to take away our freedom to choose. His plan was to remove all of the bad stuff too, and was rejected by our Father in Heaven for a more appropriate plan-- agency.

I can't help but feel that some persons in this church have the idea that we have the truth so we have to force everyone else to live our truth as well.

When will we allow our brothers and sisters of the world to be big boys and girls and choose for themselves what actions and behaviors they deem appropriate for themselves and their families?

There are obvious exclusions for murder, incest etc. And of course, when personal freedoms infringe on the rights and liberties of others but those examples are the extreme and not what I am talking about.

I believe that vice serves a purpose and however trite this will sound, without it we cannot value virtues.

I believe many need to fall away from the Lord. I believe that is part of the great plan. Often, lives must be destroyed, only to to be built up again. Stronger and perhaps different. Different from what we expected.

Trying to invoke morality by prohibition isn't the answer. There must be opposition in all things....and yet, we are trying to remove the opposition and in turn take away agency.

For the sake of all of our spiritual well being, choose YE this day for whom you will serve and let the next guy do likewise.

Gracious Hosts

Seriously! What is the point in having a personal blog? "everyone else has one?" That is precisely the problem, the blogsphere is saturated with the personal musings of nobodies like myself. Really, who cares that I don't like watering my lawn in the middle of August?

If it isn't obvious, my lack of talent in the writing department is fueling this rant. My inability to trust what I have written and actually "post" is also a major contributor to my frustration today.

The reality is that without blogging, my light would be dim. Without blogging, I wouldn't have the opportunity to publicly call "bullshit" on folks when they are acting like idiots. The world that once revolved around me, has undergone a major remodel and has room for everyone now. Thanks to blogging, my workday has meaning. And most importantly, without blogging, I wouldn't have developed a wonderful group of friends with whom life as a latter day saint seems doable.

So here goes a public "Thank You" to all of those folks out there that generously let me take up space on their blogs and have gone out of their way to let me know they're listening to lil ol me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

sidewalk motes in my eye

Every day I walk Mr. Pink, the yellow dog, 'round the 'hood, passing along perfectly manicured lawns and gorgeous flower beds up to the river for a little swim. As we walk along, I have to dodge downpours from sprinklers and sidestep miniature sidewalk motes. I wont deny that it feels good to get a little splash when it's 100 plus degrees out but last time I checked, we didn't get too much of a snow pack this year and we just came out of and could be heading into another drought.

Equally as frustrating as freely flowing water on sidewalks, is a brother or sister opening or closing a church meeting with a plea from the Lord to "bless us with moisture".

I'm old fashioned. I don't know if it's appropriate to ask our Heavenly Father for something that we are just going to waste in the ground, on the sidewalk, on the street or in the gutter.

Furthermore, what would ever give someone the impression that it's OK to ask for something in a public prayer that he or she already has and doesn't dare to conserve?

Tons of money and effort goes into building dams and rerouting rivers and streams in this gorgeous western landscape so that we may have clean drinking water but most of the water we consume in the west goes towards irrigation. Believe me, my eyes are delighted at the sight of a well kept green lawn and pretty flowers but when I think about long term ecological and social effects of damming rivers and tapping aquifers , the issue becomes so much more than "curb appeal".

Are we not stewards of this earth? Should we not be mindful of our most precious natural resources, especially when we are taking from our neighbors to suit our own desires and comforts? Of all the things a body requires to sustain life, water is at the core and if we continue to consume and waste at the rate we are doing today, we wont be fighting wars in Iraq, but wars in our backyard over land and water rights.

Not nearly enough effort and emphasis is placed on the concept of conservation in this country. If we are truly Stewards and Saints, we should not be put out by the suggestion of letting our "Kentucky Blue" go brown during it's normal August dormancy. Nor should we consider it inconvenient to install water saving taps and toilets to save a few gallons here and there.

We are truly blessed to live in these United States, where, at the present time,water is cheap and clean. May we act upon that blessing from the Lord with gratitude and conservation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

higway riding...

After a short bout with shoulder tendinitis, I am back to commuting on the bike. I forgot how my puny 20 miles per hour is no match to for a double semi whizzing by at 50 mph, spewing its roost onto my face, reminding me that there's less than three feet between me and my death. Combine that with 100 degree temperatures and poor air quality and you're looking at a real good time.

Last week, on my way home from work, I got ran off the road. Wasn't anything serious-- this time. As I looked up the road to offer words of encouragement accompanied with some sign language, I noticed the lady behind the wheel was on the phone--head down and completely oblivious to what just happened. She was literally within inches of hitting me and had no clue that my life dangled in her fingertips.

As an individual that doesn't have a cell phone (nor does my spouse) I just don't understand what could possibly be so important that can't wait until you are not operating a vehicle.

So please, next time you are tempted to check your texts messages, voice mail or caller ID whilst you are driving, exercise a bit of self control and remember that you are taking my life in your hands to satisfy a curiosity or save a few minutes.

What is your footprint?

Ecological Footprint Quiz by Redefining Progress