Monthly Archives: March 2010

Names, Labels and Lists

“Hi, my name’s Kellie/Kel/Sister George, and I – what?” What comes next? In the past month I’ve had to write a bio paragraph and introduce myself to three different groups. Each situation was far from simple or easy. Sure, some parts were fairly constant. Like my name. The fact that I have kids is usually mentioned. But mostly, what else is included is subject to change without notice.

Because really – what IS in a name? Not just the name that our parents decide to saddle, gift or burden us with, but all the other names we give ourselves, or accept, or can’t seem to shake off. Names, or labels, put us in certain categories and out of others, and frankly some distinctions I refuse to add to my list.

Case in point – when asked, or required, I state that I am a sole parent, and not a single Mum. Some may see it as splitting hairs, but I identify much more with being the sole parent of my sons than in being a Mum who is single. Which leads to the classification looming on my horizon – in 4 days, when my divorce becomes final, I am not adding “divorced” to my own personal list of labels. Continue reading Names, Labels and Lists

Segullah’s 2009 Whitney Favorites

This year I have had the great pleasure of reading the Whitney finalists with Shelah. We agree about enough of the books to have fun discussing them, and disagree enough to make it interesting. After much emailing and talking, these are the Official Segullah Whitney Award Choices. Ballots are due April 3, and the winners will be announced April 24 at the Whitney Awards Gala.

Space constraints prevent me from saying more than a line or two about each book. For more detailed and insightful reviews, check out Shelah’s blog.

So, without further ado, our favorites: Continue reading Segullah’s 2009 Whitney Favorites

Math is hard

Last July I did a brave thing. I overcame my fear of being judged and dragged my sorry and broken body (hip, shoulder, knees and toes) to the gym. A certain gym chain that has a bit of a rep for being a bit of a meat market and sporting a lot of silicone (or whatever they make them out of these days–not that there’s anything wrong with that) and, sometimes a good bit of skin. Continue reading Math is hard

Depression Roundtable, Part V: Parenting Children with Depression

Welcome to Part IV of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series about depression. Parts I, II, III and IV can be found hereherehere and here. If you haven’t already read the series overview, please do so before proceeding.

In our fifth and final post in this depression roundtable series, we turn the discussion to the challenge of parenting children with depression. Rebekah leads us off with a glimpse into her family’s experience.

Rebekah: I have appreciated this discussion so much. Though I have not participated until now, your experiences and honest recountings have given me a really necessary and invaluable insight into the struggles of some of my most dearly loved ones. So first, let me say thank you.

Now. My own experience. My younger brother, now 23 years old, has suffered with unnamed demons for what seems like forever, probably since he was a young teenager, and was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder three or four years ago. His symptoms are slightly atypical in that he does not have extreme manic phases like we often associate with bipolar disorder; his mood shifts are more subtle and tend toward the depressed. He has been hospitalized several times after suicide attempts, the most recent being nearly two years ago, if I remember correctly. other symptoms include compulsive shopping, compulsive lying, tobacco, alcohol and pornography addictions all in varying degrees. Continue reading Depression Roundtable, Part V: Parenting Children with Depression

Be Not Afraid

A few weeks ago, I learned how to surf. It was one of my goals for the year, and I happened to be in Australia, which seemed like as good a place as any to make it happen. So I spent a sunny Saturday morning in surf school and ultimately, I am pleased to say, conquered the board. Not as many times as the board conquered me, but that is not the point.


As triumphant as my own performance was (IMHO), the real champions of surf school were the little kids. Those kids nailed it, and they nailed it fast. They raced into the waves, with endless laughter and endless energy. And then they hopped onto their boards and rode them in with skill and style, like they had been doing this for their whole lives, not just for the morning. We older folk dismissed it as the advantage of a lower center of gravity. Which is true, but I think it was something else, too.

Those kids had no fear. Continue reading Be Not Afraid

Money Money Money

I stood idly in the coffee shop while Celia chose a bottled water and fished $2 out her purse for the cashier. We ambled back out into the mall as she popped the lid and took a long drink.

“Aren’t you thirsty?” she asked.

“Um yeah. ” I bit my lip and looked away.

“Then why didn’t you buy a drink? Michelle, look at me– what’s your deal?”

“It’s just one of my quirks,” I blushed, “I don’t buy water.”

Celia laughed, “You just paid $50 for a child’s dress and you won’t buy water when you’re thirsty? OK, I promise not to judge your ostentatious clothing habit if you forgive my extravagance in buying water.” She giggled all the way to the car. Continue reading Money Money Money

The Winds Will Blow; I Will Listen.

I was a young-married with two toddler sons and we were on a two-year adventure on the pacific coast when my maternal grandfather died. I remember thinking about my Grampy in the evening of his life, the build-up of the tempest, far-away and non-threatening. His death became somehow anticlimactic because it happened 3,000 miles east of where we were. I knew we wouldn’t be pulling funds from our small budget to fly home for the services.

I silently mourned his passing, feeling remorse and regret at not being able to sit with him and tell him I loved him. I suffered silently, not wanting finances to produce clouds of guilt. I felt lost in the shadow of an event gone by—pushed back by the winds that mark the end of the storm. Continue reading The Winds Will Blow; I Will Listen.

My Mother, Yitta, and Myrna Loy

When a woman fantasizes about her baby, she also fantasizes about how she will be as a mother, the two dreams mingle.”
Sheila Kitzinger, Ourselves as Mothers

My mother was five-years old when Father Knows Best graduated from radio to her black and white television set. At ten, she added Leave it to Beaver to her diet. But it was the pinnacle of family happiness Cheaper By the Dozen that aired in her living room one evening that set the tone for the rest of her life. She was sold. She wanted a dozen kids then and there. She would raise them on a farm, and wear pearls as she went about the household activities creating the perfect habitat for her own twelve cherubs. Continue reading My Mother, Yitta, and Myrna Loy

What do you dream of?

Well this is embarrassing. We have another blank day on the blog. Consider us blog editors duly chastened. 😉

So let’s have some fun and hear from you. It is our readers and commenters that make Segullah a fresh, vibrant community. It is your experiences and thoughts that teach us.

If you please, answer at least one of these questions in the comments. I can hardly wait to read your answers.

Have you ever had a dream come true? What was it?

If you were to write a book what would it be about? Fiction, non-fiction, artsy, how-to?

What is your dream for the future? It can be something really outrageous– just share!

Depression Roundtable, Part IV: Family Ties

Welcome to Part IV of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series about depression. Parts I, II, and III can be found herehere, and here. If you haven’t already read the series overview, please do so before proceeding.

This week, our discussion turns to how depression affects family relationships. We welcome Phoebe, Leah, and Esther to the table as we talk about the challenges of supporting a parent, spouse, or other family member with depression. We will talk about parenting children with depression next Sunday.

Phoebe: I’ve been waiting in the wings to share in this particular discussion.  I don’t experience the level of depression that so many of you have shared, and truly I am grateful for your openness and honesty in discussing your personal experiences.  Your discussions have given me a much better perspective on my own experience.  Please understand that when I share what I’m about to share that it is my experience only —  please don’t feel that I’m making assumptions about other people’s experiences or judging anyone else.  This is my experience with my father’s depression.  I’m still trying to work through how I feel. Continue reading Depression Roundtable, Part IV: Family Ties

Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Today’s Up Close guest post is by Sunny Smart. She is a stay at home mom with four wonderful, hilarious kiddos and one hard-working, good-natured husband. She has battled depression at various times in her life and to varying degrees. She wanted to share her story so that others who suffer silently and alone might feel a little more normal, a little more understood, and a lot less ashamed. The stigma associated with depression can be as debilitating as the disease itself, often leading toward isolation and away from needed help. Sunny’s hope in sharing her story is twofold: One, that a few more bricks might crumble from the walls that keep so many suffering in loneliness and, two, that those who might not be able to feel God’s love in the darkness might be able to recognize some of the ways He is ever feeling after them.

The blackness had been steadily closing in. I hadn’t been up to help the children get ready for school all year. I could barely muster the courage to emerge from the bedroom when my husband left for work and the little ones had to be tended to. I walked around in a daze, wishing the day would pass so I could return to the blankness of sleep. I was volatile. A spilled bowl of cereal might send me into a rage that terrified me as much as the children. Or I might drop to the floor and weep, feeling that this moment encompassed my entire life, that things would never get better. The walls were closing in. I couldn’t breathe. I wished I had never breathed.

And yet, to the outside world, even to my closest friends, I was the vision of happiness. I could always be counted on for a joke, a laugh, a good time. I was the life of the party. No one knew how carefully I had to plan and meter my energy so as not to break down in the middle of an outing or social event. My resources were limited. I had to be careful not to tax the fragile, paper-thin facade I worked so carefully to construct. Continue reading Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd

Success as Joy’s Counterfeit

What if the famous scripture in 2 Nephi 2:25 read this way?

“Adam fell that man might be; and men are, that they might be successful.”

I’m sure most of you, like me, would find such a scripture discouraging and irritating and false instead of inspiring and hopeful and true. But sometimes I look around me and wonder: why do we as Mormons seem to buy so completely into the notion that we must be “successful” in order to be happy? Shouldn’t the fullness of the gospel—the knowledge of where we came from and what our potential really is—keep us more centered and serene than so many of us actually are? Continue reading Success as Joy’s Counterfeit

“You are welcome here.”

Three weeks ago I stepped off the plane in Amman, Jordan. “Welcome,” the immigration officer nodded as he snapped my picture and passed me back my freshly stamped passport.

If there was any one word I would come to hear a thousand times in 10 days it was welcome. In fact, it is the word I think of first when I think of Jordan. I guess I remember it because other than being printed on doormats or hotel signs, welcome isn’t really a word we use much other than in the context of “You’re welcome, ” our semi-conscious auto-pilot response to “Thank you.”

While it was certainly explicit in conversations, it was also so apparent in people’s actions.  It was everywhere, from the father and grandfather who offered to share tea with me during their child’s surgery,  or the mother who brought gifts of prayer beads and the Koran as thanks for our help. It was the little girl who slipped her ring onto my finger while we played in the playroom, and the many compliments and “mashallah”s of  of the mothers as they saw the pictures of my own children as we talked before their children’s surgeries. It was the in the “What can I do to help you?” and “Anything else you need?” I heard from dozens of volunteers each day.  It was even evident in the waiter who brought me an extra half a kilo of ice cream (in addition to the 1 kilo I ordered—which was already an outrageous amount) just to be hospitable. Not to mention, the invitations for dinner from parents or the medical students who treated us to dinner and gave us a tour of Amman. The spirit of welcomeness seemed to saturate the week and a half; it also permeated our communal meals of endless courses and generous portions.

Continue reading “You are welcome here.”

In the Company of Angels

I’m almost done reading the Whitney finalists! Exclamation point because thirty books is a lot, and while I’ve enjoyed it, it will feel good to be done with the last one. Shelah and I are going to talk more about our favorites in a couple of weeks. You can also visit Shelah’s blog for her Whitney finalist reviews. Today I want to focus on one of my favorite finalists, In the Company of Angels, by David Farland. I spent the weekend crying over it, wrapping my mind around its dilemmas, feeling humbled by the sacrifice of these handcart pioneers.

Farland tells the story of the Willie Handcart company from the perspectives of Captain Willie; Eliza Gadd, a non-Mormon traveling with her Mormon husband and family; and Baline Mortensen, a young girl sent from Denmark to travel in the company without her parents.

I love the way that David Farland embraces the moral complexities inherent in Willie handcart story. Continue reading In the Company of Angels

Depression Roundtable, Part III: Feeling Better

Welcome to Part III of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series about depression. Parts I and II can be found here and here. If you haven’t already read the series overview, please do so before proceeding.

This week, our band of scriptural sisters share how they’ve successfully managed their clinical depression. These personal experiences are being shared for general information purposes only and do not constitute advice, medical or otherwise. Please consult a health care professional with questions about specific measures of treatment.

Euodias: Taking medication with my first bout of depression really helped a lot. I took it for about 6 months. Right now medication has been a lifesaver, and I plan on taking it for at least 1 year this time. I would have taken medication more regularly in the past, but have felt uncomfortable doing so during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Other things that have helped are making sure I get enough sleep, regular rigorous exercise, especially if is outdoors. Running really helps keep the anxiety at bay for me. I really like yoga and meditation. I have been amazed at how much they have helped.

Doing something fun with my family even though a lot needs to be done really helps too. After the birth of one of my children I was feeling overwhelmed with all there was to do and the depression was setting in. Going to the mountains with the kids and my husband and staying there all day with them, enjoying the sunshine was much better than trying to clean the house that day. Continue reading Depression Roundtable, Part III: Feeling Better

Mormon Women’s Lit On Tour!

Sometimes I really hate that time-sucking, Farmville-ridden, ever-present vehicle of procrastination we know as Facebook. But I’ve gotta credit the site for reconnecting me with many long-lost friends, some of whom I’m actually glad to hear from. One of these is Joanna Brooks.  When we got in touch twenty years after our BYU days, I was delighted to hear about her beautiful family as well as her considerable professional success (none of which came as any surprise). And I was absolutely thrilled when I heard about her latest project: a multi-state tour of Mormon women writers. Titled Our Visions, Our Voices: A Mormon Women’s Literary Tour, the event begins in less than two weeks. Check out the itinerary: Continue reading Mormon Women’s Lit On Tour!

The Onion of Age

“The way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree truck or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.
You don’t feel eleven. Not right away. It takes a few days, weeks even, sometimes even months before you say Eleven when they ask you. And you don’t even feel smart eleven, not until you’re almost twelve. That’s the way it is.” ~ Sandra Cisneros, “Eleven”

It’s birthday season in our family—nine in the next seven weeks, beginning with my husband’s this Tuesday. In preparation, I added scotch tape and wrapping paper to the running Walmart list on the fridge and I bought extra butter and powdered sugar at the grocery store last week. All the better to keep the birthday cake supply constant, you know. After the next seven weeks, I anticipate that we will all be fatter, poorer, and, well, older.

I must admit that, although my own birthday is a fun excuse for demanding my favorite foods and a reprieve from dinner dishes, in actuality, it doesn’t mean much. Like many of you, I’m sure, I don’t really keep track of my age all that well. Maybe it’s a purposeful oversight on my part, given that my husband is two years younger than me. Or maybe it’s just that it doesn’t matter what the number is, but what the feeling is. I’ve always loved Sandra Cisneros’s short story “Eleven” in her book Woman Hollering Creek. The narrator sums up birthdays and age for me perfectly:

“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you are–underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.”

Today, I anticipate feeling 20 after I complete my morning run (unless my knees start hurting again, in which case, I’ll probably feel 35). And when I reach for another cookie this afternoon, I may feel 9 and subconsciously look over my shoulder for my mother, who always had a third eye for which of her seven children were inhaling the fruits of her labors.

What about you? What age do you feel best fits you right now? nike air max thea

Warning! Poetry!

I would hugely appreciate such a warning, as I am incredibly wary of poems. They are dangerous, wily creatures that lie in ambush, lurking stealthily beneath words in my personal scary wilderness. Seemingly restful and innocent, luring me in closer to the stunning flourishes, the polished simplicity, the sweetness of gentle phrases, incredibly lovely to SNAP/?crunch&%^!wallop – and suddenly I’m dazed, leaking blood or tears and left aching in the dust. Or I see something fluorescent green with a clunky gait, seventeen heads and galloping backwards and am told to my bafflement “Oh, that’s a poem.”

Poetry represents my first concrete, unpleasant realisation that language could be mean.  My teacher opened my mind to the beauty of poetry, so readily created in six little lines of rhyme, in something called (so delightfully to a besotted seven year old) a “lim-er-ick”. The giddiness lasted 10 minutes, until Mrs Sumpton told the whole class to make up a limerick about someone – and all but two of my classmates wrote a limerick about me. Kellie. Jelly. Telly. Belly. Oh, the inhumanity. Continue reading Warning! Poetry!

Notes for my pockets

“The most exciting movement in nature is not progress, advance, but expansion and contraction, the opening and shutting of an eye, the heart, the mind. We throw our arms wide with a gesture of religion to the universe; we close them around a person. We explore and adventure for a while and then draw in to consolidate our gains.” ~Robert Frost

I was talking with a friend who has been undergoing treatment for cancer.  She commented that it’s been hard to reconcile the polarity that everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. Everything–her perspective, her sense of herself, of security, the new focus on healing–has changed.  Yet she looks out her window and kids are still going to school, the seasons change as always, life goes on. Living with both realities, she said, is difficult but comforting.

She said it reminded her of a rabbinic story she heard in her childhood,  an old midrash about a sage who always kept two notes–both quotes from scripture–on his person, one in each of his coat pockets. Continue reading Notes for my pockets

“Let’s Give It Up For Wayne!”

Several weeks ago I found myself standing in front of a crowded auditorium, speaking to hundreds of eager high school jazz players who had come to hear Wayne Bergeron, a Grammy-award-winning jazz trumpet player, instruct them. It was my job to introduce Wayne and to “pump up” the audience. “You know that I’m just a housewife, right?” I’d asked the guy who told me to introduce Wayne. “You signed up to host this clinic, so you introduce him,” he said. So there I stood at the microphone, reading Wayne’s bio aloud from the jazz festival program (because I knew nothing about Wayne until that very moment), and then said, rather sheepishly, in what I hoped was a crowd-energizing tone, “Let’s give it up for Wayne!”

How did I end up introducing Wayne Bergeron, you ask? Because I have a son, Shane, who plays trumpet in the Crescent Super Band and, wanting to be a supportive mother, I’d signed up as a parent volunteer to help run the Peaks Jazz Festival, where my son’s band was performing. So I spent a whole afternoon at the festival, introducing Wayne and sitting in on his trumpet clinic, then escorting a high school jazz band through its adjudication round (and no, I didn’t know what “adjudication” meant until that day). And all the while I found myself marveling at how our children’s passions take us places we never dreamed of going. Continue reading “Let’s Give It Up For Wayne!”

How Do We Know?

My husband assigned our four-year-old son Cole the FHE lesson last night. About half hour before FHE on the way home from a playdate he and I got around to planning. It went something like this,
Me-What do you want to do for the lesson tonight?
Cole-I don’t want to do the lesson.
Me-Well, it’s your turn. It will be fun.
Cole-The lesson is never the fun part.
Me-You don’t like to learn about Jesus? (Yes, meant to ignite a little guilt and feeling of obligation. This question would have worked like a charm with my 6-year-old daughter. She loves to comply and please. Cole on the other hand, answered like this–)
Cole-MOM, I am not doing the lesson!
Me-The lesson can be fun. You can do it about whatever you want.
Cole-Okay, let’s play Candyland bingo.
Me-Well, that’s more like the activity; that’s not the lesson.
Cole-See, I can’t do what I want.
Me-But you can choose to read a story or talk about being kind or choosing the right. We can play a game based on something like that for the lesson.
Cole-I want to read a story.
Me-Great! What scripture story should we choose?
Cole-Ahh, not a scripture story! Just a story from a book. I want to read my library book about dinosaurs.
Me-Can you think of a way that connects to the gospel?
Cole-Jesus created dinosaurs.

Okay, so here I’m thinking to myself . . .it’s not exactly written down in any standard works nor has it been said by any of the general authorities that Jesus created the dinosaurs, but I think he probably did, fuzzy creation time periods aside, I mean, who else could have created them?

Me-Okay, we’ll read from your book and talk about how Jesus created the earth.

After dinner my husband asked him what the lesson was about. He smiled, “How Jesus created dinosaurs.”

His big sister piped in, “How did he do that?”
Cole, “I don’t know! We’re gonna’ read about it from my book.” (Semantics, tee hee)

So we changed some of the lyrics in the opening song, “Whenever I hear the song of a bird, or see a picture of a dinosaur” (as opposed to “or look at the blue blue sky”). Cole giggled through that, and I hoped the next time he was in charge of the lesson he’d have good memories of this night. After reading several pages of the book, Dinosaurs Everywhere! which had simply outlined the history of dinosaurs and informed us that what we know about dinosaurs has been learned through the study of fossils, my husband stopped and asked, “So, how do we know that dinosaurs lived on the earth?” I’m pretty sure it was a follow-up question and he was expecting the kids to say something about finding fossils, yadda, yadda. But instead Cole said, “Because we have brains!”

Leggings with feet in them

A few years ago, Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious was all the rage among the  moms I knew. My oldest, now nine, survives on a diet of chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, fruit roll ups, orange juice and chocolate milkshakes, and many well-intentioned friends suggested I buy the book. They knew about my struggles to get him to try something as innocuous as a slice of banana or a bite of bacon, and were all sure that if I just hid some shredded carrots in my meatloaf, Bryce would gobble it up and start begging for salads. The kid has the tastebuds of a wary bloodhound, so I smiled and nodded and thanked them for their advice, and secretly knew that I was never going to go there. Besides, Bryce doesn’t like meatloaf. Continue reading Leggings with feet in them

Depression Roundtable, Part II: Depression and Spirituality

Welcome to Part II of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series about depression. Part I can be found here. If you haven’t already read the series overview, please do so before proceeding.

Priscilla: I was 27 when I had my third child and first post partum depression. At least, that what I thought it was, so I read books and did what they said – eat right, exercise, meditate, play — but the depression never lifted. That was 25 years ago.

I have always been resistant to trying medication, even though depression is clearly a genetic thing in my family and my mother, sister, and daughter (that third child) all use anti-depressants. I have tried some at times and once it was a real life-saver, as it pulled me up into functional mode, but then it seemed to lose effectiveness, and rather than keep switching up drugs, I opted for a homeopathic approach. I’ve been using this for 2 years and I think it is working to keep me stable. The past 2 years have also been a period of major spiritual transition, involving much loss and grief as well as much promise of joy. It is always hard for me to separate out the factors of depresssion: which triggers are circumstantial, which  chemical? I have always been able to function and do what I’ve committed to do, but that seems to take more and more effort. Continue reading Depression Roundtable, Part II: Depression and Spirituality


Yesterday, I wrote on my personal blog about my mother’s piano. As religious people, we take the attitude of eschewing worldly things, of treasuring our relationships, not our possessions. And yet, I feel a great spiritual peace in my mother’s gorgeous grand piano (which is now mine). Perhaps a bit foolishly, I offered up my old piano on my blog, not anticipating the rush of interest, the almost passionate desire for a bit of music in our homes. I wish I had a dozen pianos to give away. I was tempted to look through the classifieds and buy another piano just so I wouldn’t have to disappoint so many people. Continue reading things

My Old Pigeonhole

I started out as “the smart one” in my family. My little sister had waist-length golden hair which automatically made her “the pretty one”. Eventually, though, she got a bad perm, had crooked teeth grown in and started getting much better grades, so she became “the smart one” and I, an extremely bratty teenager, became “the mean one”.

“The mean one” title stayed with me for quite a while. I didn’t get along well with anyone in my family and I wore a constant expression of peevishness. I was happy around my friends, but most people only saw a sullen girl who had a bad attitude about most everything.

Of course it was a façade as adolescent angst sometimes tends to be. Deep down I wanted to be cheerful and sweet but I just couldn’t get over myself until I went away to college and grew up a lot.
Continue reading My Old Pigeonhole

The Pleasures of the Flesh

He seems to love Wii more than me.

And he is six, and who knew this rampant need to play video games was buried inside his fingertips and probably stretches deep: up his limbs to his firm, round shoulders?

I’ve lamented this fact since the Wii arrived for Christmas, and I have people try to console me with the notion that he’s being “active,” but I just wish he was in the backyard gulping fresh air and using his thick legs in long strides. Playing real sports. Running real laps. Using real rackets.

Continue reading The Pleasures of the Flesh

Feeling the Loss

One of the things I love the most about participating in a faith is the sense of optimism it provides–the glass-half-full outlook that assures us that even when life is hard, God has the power to consecrate our afflictions for our gain (2 Nephi 2:2). As C.S. Lewis stated, “God can make good of all that happens.”

There is great power in the capacity to find meaning in what seems like senseless pain, the ability to see the fire of affliction as a refining force rather than a destructive one.

Yet it is the second half of Lewis’ statement that has had me thinking lately, and wondering how it relates to my faith: “God can make good of all that happens. But the loss is real.” *

The loss is real. Continue reading Feeling the Loss

Depression Roundtable, Part I: In the Beginning

Welcome to Part I of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series about depression. If you haven’t already read the series overview, please do so before proceeding.

In this post, our group members introduce themselves by describing how they came to recognize depression as a problem in their life. Depression is an untidy concept, and our semantics reflect that. We use the term to describe a vast spectrum of emotional and mental states, from mild and temporary situational distress to severe and abiding pathology, and even with the help of diagnostic parameters it can be tricky to distinguish between the “normal” depression of human experience and the mood disorder called clinical depression.

Continue reading Depression Roundtable, Part I: In the Beginning

UP CLOSE: Depression Roundtable Series Overview

Today marks the debut of Segullah’s UP CLOSE series on depression. These posts (weekly throughout March) are excerpts from a conversation amongst Segullah staff members, including myself, who live with clinical depression. We have taken pseudonyms for privacy purposes. I’m currently moderating a similar series of posts at By Common Consent.

Every human being is occasionally “depressed” in the sense of feeling down or discouraged. But depression as a debilitating illness is increasingly widespread and causes untold difficulty for its victims and their families. National Book Award winner Andrew Solomon offers this summary in The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression: Continue reading UP CLOSE: Depression Roundtable Series Overview

Spring is in the air . . .

… and here at Segullah we’re turning over new leaves left and right.

This morning we’re launching our new blog format, courtesy of genius web artist Johnna Cornett. And that’s just the beginning. Spring 2010 marks our forum’s 5th anniversary, and we’re excited to celebrate!

Check out our freshly designed journal site, which includes a comprehensive archive and author index (also courtesy of Johnna,long may she reign). And gear up for our anniversary journal issue, Inside and Outside Marriage, arriving in mailboxes in late spring. We’re giving away several hundred copies of this special double issue, so if you know someone who would love a print subscription to Segullah, let us know and she may be selected to receive one.

Then, mark your calendars for Segullah’s first-ever community writing retreat, coming this summer. Registration will open later this month.

More Segullah awesomeness is in the works, including another batch of greeting cards, other über-cool products, and a new motherhood anthology. Stay tuned!