Monthly Archives: June 2008

Blessings

I woke up this morning, and decided waking up was a personal miracle from the Lord. I breathed in, slowly allowing the breeze from the window to fill up my lungs. My eyes looked over the bedroom — another miracle. I could see the dim outline of the bed, the closet, the desk. Another breath brought me sitting slowly up. Another miracle.

In a small hand-held mirror, I looked at my face. Wrinkles have started their slow, still subtle appearance, but they make me smile. I’ve lived long enough to watch my face change…how cool. I felt my head — my smooth, bald head — and marveled at what it held inside. My hands ran to the back of my head, the staples and rough scars still intact. The Lord’s tender mercies overwhelmed me. Continue reading

What does it feel like?

Wanted: More reader submissions for Ask Nine Women. Please submit yours at askninewomenATgmailDOTcom.

Today’s question for Ask Nine Women comes from Wendy, who writes the following:

I need to hear some experiences or insight into the difference between the Gift of the Holy Ghost that LDS are given and the influence of the Holy Ghost.

I know what the manuals have to say about it, but I don’t understand how that looks on a day-to-day basis.

There are many non-LDS who receive promptings from the Holy Ghost, as well as guidance, comfort, peace, etc. How is that different from the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

I have been wondering about this for a long time, so I finally asked my re-baptized Dad about this. He said he began to feel peace when he decided to pursue getting re-baptized. He couldn’t identify feeling any different after he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

It seems that if a non-LDS person is not a spiritual person, joining the church and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost would feel drastically different. But what about non-LDS who are spiritual, close to God, etc.? How is what they (non-LDS) feel different from what we can feel?

Does anybody have any personal experience to share that will help me understand this better? I would so appreciate any wisdom on this subject.

Thanks for your question, Wendy.

The Low-Hanging Fruit Has Been Canned

Nothing makes me wish I were a convert to the Church more than doing family history. Kacy posted a couple of weeks ago on good pioneer stock, and she asked the question, “what does it mean to come from good pioneer stock?” Sitting in front of my laptop, staring at my impossible PAF file, I’ll tell you what it means: it means I’ve got three thousand plus names all branching out behind me. It means that the low-hanging fruit on the branches of my family history tree has been picked, blanched, peeled, cored, and canned. It means that, while I may have various inspiring pioneer stories to learn about, I have to dig deep and spend many hours figuring out what in the heck has already been done before I have a prayer of finding a new ordinance that needs to be performed. I thought I had one in my grandmother’s younger sister, who died in childhood, but it turns out we don’t baptize underage children posthumously either. Dang. Continue reading

coulda heard a pin drop

My tween daughter Susie Q (not her real name) has a hard time breaking away from whatever she is doing to come when she is called. Although her excuses vary, there was a time when, no matter what I asked of her, her reply was always this:

One sec.

You may imagine that grew a bit tiresome as seconds rolled into minutes and minutes rolled into…well, you know.

Which is what prompted the following exchange that took place in a somewhat public location:

Me: “Susie, come here NOW, please.”

Susie: “One sec!”

Me (loudly and emphatically): “NO MORE SECS!”

What I know now

Today’s guest post is the conclusion of “No one told me, from Bek of Ignore the Crazy. “I appreciate all the kind words and discussion via comments and e-mail after the last post. I think it is safe to say this is a topic that engenders strong feelings. Like many aspects of mothering, we might disagree on the small things, but clearly there are a bunch of mammas out there that can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless, while also knowing we can figure out our new role and adjust to a new kind of normal. What a gift. “–Bek

Like all mammas, I could talk all day about my kids. If you want to read funny stories, touching stories or just stories to make you glad that they are my kids and not yours, come on over to my blog. The point of my guest posts here is to share some of the realistic (and often uncomfortable) feelings that have surrounded my experience with Grace.

I have worried a little bit that readers would think I was too focused how she is different and that it appears I will never get past it. That isn’t the case at all. At the moment she is by far my easiest kid (she doesn’t sass back and she stays where I put her, what isn’t to love about that?). Part of the problem is that when I look at my Grace, I don’t just see her sweet little nose and big blue eyes. I also see all the things that are going to be hard. I have accepted that the features typical of babies with Down Syndrome: the flattened face, the upturned eyes, the space between the toes, the lower ears and thickened neck are all part of the things that make my Gracie girl who she is. But, I also see the agony of trying to teach her to speak clearly, the frustration of helping her understand social cues, teaching her to converse, wondering how functional she will be. I see the potential of this little baby and wonder what I can do so that as a family we can help her maximize all her specific talents. At the same time I find myself looking for things that aren’t “Down Syndrome-y” about her, the expressions she has that are like those of a typical baby. More than I would like to admit I find myself looking for the things about Grace that take her farther from what she really is. Continue reading

Segullah Bloggersnacker. M&M–you’re coming. Oh yes. You are.

WHEN: Wednesday July 9th, 5-7 p.m.

WHERE: Murray Park (near the playground…more details to come). 5109 Murray Park Ln. Murray, UT 84107

WHAT TO BRING: Yourselves. Your children. Your most embarrassing story. Your favorite book. Ok, bring whatever you want, I really don’t care. But, I do care about FOOD. So, bring some yummy food to share. I’m planning on stopping at Caputo’s on my way down. But, casseroles and Jello are welcome too (right Dalene? After Sunday’s post, I’m counting on you for some Jello). We could even venture into ‘gasp’ fresh produce. I’d volunteer to cook from my non-existent food storage, but I don’t think that would be very filling.

WHO: Segullah bloggers, staff, commenters, lurkers, and friends (does that cover everyone? That means if you’re reading this, I already have you on my list of attendees ;) ). We’re so excited to actually meet the people we’ve been ‘talking’ with for three years.

Thanks for being a part of our community and we hope to see you there!

cream of wheat, a concert, and Cather

Have you read the latest issue of Segullah yet? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. Lori Nawn’s beautiful essay, “Cream of Wheat” caught my eye because I grew up absolutely loathing Cream of Wheat. I realize now we must have been eating (or, in my case, gagging on) the instant kind.

But I absolutely love Lori’s reminisces about her dear grandmother. And they brought back such fond memories of my own grandmothers. Continue reading

rant and rave, or, “I heart Utah” redux

Lately it seems that every time I turn around someone is saying something not very nice about the place I have lived now for the past 17 years. A place I love, though I am fully aware of its flaws. The place I am choosing to raise my family and which has given my kids so much more than I ever had as a child. A place that, oddly enough, frequently ranks quite highly on a number of lists of the top places in the nation to live. Continue reading

Do Faith-promoting Rumors Promote Faith?

I first heard the now-debunked “Generals in the War in Heaven” story in Seminary, during high school. I quote from FAIRwiki:

You were in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world you will be enthralled with those who you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period he lived in and you might hear, “I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea,” or “I helped build the pyramids,” or “I fought with Captain Moroni.” And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask, “Which prophet time did you live in?” And when you say “Gordon B. Hinckley,” a hush will fall over every hall, every corridor in heaven and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous. Are you still? Remember who you are!

I think I got some sensational goose bumps when I heard it as a teenager, kind of an ooh ahh response. Wow, I am so cool. It seemed to go well with the “noble and great” scripture from Abraham. General in the war in heaven–sure, why not? I filed it away in my list of things that I kind of believed. I was in a believing frame of mind: having gained the beginnings of my testimony, I was pre-disposed to believe anything preached to me. Continue reading

The Best Books

In yesterday’s wonderful post by Emily, she spoke about her mother-in-law who spent her life quietly serving her family. As I read how Emily honored this woman in her life, it brought to mind the last sentence of a novel I read years ago–Middlemarch by George Eliot:

.”. . . For the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

And after ruminating over how perfectly Eliot (a Victorian novelist born in 1819, a woman born with the name Mary Ann but who took the name George the ensure that her readers would take her seriously) encapsulated Emily’s ideas, I thought to myself, “Hooray!” Because I was already planning on writing a post about the “best books.” The novels that have reached across time and distance to teach us or lift us up or give us insight into a corner of the world about which we would otherwise know very little. The dog-eared novels with the scribbles in the margins and the underlined passages. The books that keep us up late into the night because they’re so . . . dang . . . good. Continue reading

GUEST POST: Emily Watts–Accomplishing Something

Today’s guest post comes from Emily Watts, acclaimed author of Being the Mom. You can find more of Emily’s writings at her own blog and at Light Refreshments Served. Emily has 5 children and 2 grandchildren. Welcome to Segullah, Emily! Thanks for being here.

I have heard horror stories about mothers-in-law. I have friends who suffer tremendous outrages and indignities in their relationships with their mothers-in-law. Mine was different. My mother-in-law never gave me any feeling or feedback other than gratitude for my having married her son. She never showed up unexpectedly or uninvited on our doorstep. She watched our children when we needed help—including taking in a three-year-old and a toddler for TWO WEEKS while my husband and I went to Europe.

So it always hurt my heart to hear her say, which she often did, “Oh, you get so much done. I never accomplished anything in my life.” She passed away of colon cancer this past February, convinced that she hadn’t really done anything worthwhile with her life. Continue reading

No one told me

Today’s guest post is brought to us by the very brave Bek, or Rebecca, of Ignore the Crazy. Bek, whose loving and generous spirit has manifest itself in humanitarian aid clear across the globe as well as in her very own home, has agreed to take us along as she takes a hard and honest look at herself while she is processing what it means to be the mother to a child with Down Syndrome. As a preface, Bek wants to make it clear that her revelations are more about herself than about her daughter. “…we love Gracie and do feel so blessed that she is in our family. She is ours and we want her.”

When I found out that Grace had DS, no one told me what to do. Everyone told me what to feel (“you must be so shocked” or “this must be so awful for you”). Everyone told me that she would be happy or sweet. Everyone told me to read to poem called “Holland.” No one told me that I would read it and want to throw it across the room. No one told me how to get from being devastated and sobbing on my bed to being a happy-go-lucky mom of a special needs child. Nobody told me that negotiating the distance between the two places was going to be much trickier than I anticipated. Continue reading

Saying Goodbye

Too Late to Say Goodbye,” Dalene Rowley’s poignant essay about her mourning her father, has got me thinking about greetings and farewells. Dalene talks about not realizing how close her father was to dying until it was too late to say goodbye. He left without that official farewell from her, without that closure, and the lesson of always saying goodbye has stayed with Dalene ever since. I think every time she remembers to say goodbye, she’s honoring her father’s memory. But go read the essay; it’s wonderful.

In Ecuador as a missionary I had to learn new manners for greetings and farewells. Saludar y despedir, it’s called. Entering and exiting a meeting, or a home, etiquette demanded that I personally greet or bid farewell to everyone in the room. If I could not find a person who was present, or they were busy talking, I had to ask someone to do it for me. In our mission, American missionaries spoke a mixed-up slangy Spanish to each other, as in, “I have to despedir myself of the hermanas, and then we can go.” Translated literally, it’s a jumbled mess. But we knew what we meant: to be courteous, we needed to greet and bid farewell to as many people as we could. Continue reading

Dad

Shortly after my parents brought me home from the hospital — a tiny little baby in a light pink jumper — my father attempted his first diaper changing. My mother, as the story goes, found my father and I in the nursery, me still covered in poop, and my father turned away from me puking all over the floor. That was the first (and last) diaper my father ever changed. Continue reading

Father’s Day overshadowed

All across the country families will recognize their fathers, grandfathers, husbands and father figures this Sunday. At our house, we’ll probably have some kind of a nice dessert, grill some steaks, and open a present or two once Eddie gets home from work. This year, Father’s Day isn’t the focus of our weekend, because our oldest child, Bryce, is getting baptized on Saturday.

Father’s Day is always a lot more mellow at our house than Mother’s Day. Maybe I’m overgeneralizing, but based on my experience, Mother’s Day seems more emotionally charged, more fraught with potential disaster. There’s just so many places a guy can screw it up—the wrong food, the wrong flowers, the wrong sentiments. I know it sounds selfish to admit this, but on Mother’s Day, I want to get a break from the daily grind, a reprieve from making dinner and doing dishes. I like a little bit of recognition for the sacrifices I make the other 364 days of the year.

Continue reading

My Least Favorite Primary Song

Remember the old Primary song called, “The Prophet Said to Plant a Garden”? No? Neither do I. But several years ago my daughter loved to read the Primary Songbook before bed, so I got to be pretty familiar with all the lesser-known ditties, including that one.

Right around that same time we moved into a house in Oregon that had an embarrassingly abundant garden. It was late summer when we arrived and I couldn’t believe the gorgeous produce that was suddenly all ours.

I didn’t grow up in a gardening family. Part of the problem was that we lived in Detroit and, except for some people in the ward who lived way out in the suburbs, nobody had anything to do with growing things other than dandelions in sidewalk cracks. Continue reading

Katarina’s Water Pitcher

This is a guest post from Rachelle, who has been writing for over 13 years (but is brand new to the blogging scene). She graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and has written for several Utah magazines, parenting websites and other odds and ends. She keeps her days busy with three kids ages 10, 6 and 3, a turtle and a busy husband. Every spare moment she finds is filled with gardening, writing and reading.


We all have things that hold memories just waiting to be poured out – memories of yesterday, today, tomorrow. For me, it always comes back to a simple antique water basin and pitcher bedecked in nothing more than a creamy porcelain shift worn lustrous by the decades of busy hands gliding over its aged curves.
Continue reading

waiting

Today’s guest poster has requested her name be withheld, in order to protect someone who is dear to her heart.

“Hurry, you’ll be late,” I called down to my son who was supposed to be joining the rest of the youth for the ward temple trip. “Mom, I need to talk to you,” he replied. As I walked down to his room, I knew something was wrong.

“I can’t go to the temple,” he told me. “I’m not worthy.” Continue reading

Article Discussion: Names

I happily took my husband’s name when we married. Well, before even. I set up my login at grad school to include the “o” as my last name well before he got down on one knee. I dreamily wrote my full name out in loopy letters in my journal, just like every happy bride is supposed to do. I had absolutely no qualms about taking his name.

That lasted for about 4 days. Continue reading

Bring it on!

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live this week it was the first week of summer vacation but it’s been cold and rainy all week. Don’t get me wrong, I love a rainy day. But I’m ready for some summer sun and some summer fun. Maybe if we chat about summer today at Segullah we can will it to be summer already. Are you game? Continue reading

No more pencils, no more books…

Shelah is a SAHM to four kids (ages 8 to 1) who loves reading, running and chronicling her life in the blogosphere (she also writes here and here). She joined the church as a teenager in Connecticut, and attended BYU from 1993-1997, when she graduated with a degree in English Teaching. She completed a MA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, turning in her final seminar paper on the way to the hospital to have her first child. Shelah taught middle school English and French and college-level English. Since she and her husband Ed were married, he’s spent more than a decade dragging her around the country (Missouri, Minnesota and now Texas) while he does endless amounts of medical training.Next year he promises that he’ll get a real job, stay put for more than three years at once, and all live happily ever after. Right?

In four more hours, I become a mother of four again.

Over the last ten months, I’ve had it easy. From 8 to 3 each weekday, I had only two kids hanging off the cart in the grocery store, two kids to schlep in and out of the gym child care, two kids to ferry back and forth from my son’s physical therapy. And one of those kids naps for two hours each afternoon. While she’s asleep, there’s no one for my three-year-old to fight with. It’s bliss.

Continue reading

Is Good Pioneer Stock Better than Other Kinds of Stock?

Today’s guest post is from the fabulous Kacy Faulconer. Kacy blogs at Every Day I Write the Book and is one of the featured bloggers at the new and delicious Light Refreshments Served. Thanks Kacy!

As a member of a worldwide church with lots of converts, surely you know the answer to this. Of course people with pioneer heritage aren’t better than other people! That just can’t be true. And yet . . . I kind of think some people do believe this.

Just so there will be no questions, I come from good pioneer stock—even somewhat “famous” pioneer stock. (Is it the suffering our the dying that makes a pioneer famous? Hard to say.) My husband, technically, doesn’t. I wish I could say that I’m more committed, spiritual, hearty, long-suffering, strong, or good at walking, but I’m not. Continue reading

Part II of Finding Faith: Raising bicultural kids

This is the final (for now) installment in last week’s guest post, “Finding Faith.” We left off at the part when our guest poster had recently married a man of another faith and had resumed attending church.

During those early years, I had very sporadic visiting teachers, and I don’t think we ever saw home teachers once. I think the missionaries came by a couple times. I was perfectly content to stay off the radar, though. It was in those years David learned the three questions: Where are you from? What brought you here? and, What do you do? Of course things changed once we became parents. Continue reading

An American in an International Church

What is left of the steam from the potato salad rises slowly, stops just above the dish and descends. Forks are scraping plates with hungry vigor, sausages are being passed from place to place, the vegetables, freshly-bought are crisp with life. Each mouth opens and closes, eyes sometimes follow. A slow, soft sound of pleasure is uttered from someone at the table. And as I look at my Austrian friend who had helped me prepare the meal, a smile works its way onto my face. And onto hers.

Continue reading