All posts by Kellie

About Kellie

(Blog Editor) lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing at selwynssanity.blogspot.com as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

We’re All Mad Here

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum’s Reasons for Admissions, late 1800s

I found the above picture a fair while ago, snared by the bewildering reasons people were put into insane asylums. Asthma? Novel reading?  Really? I stopped counting after 20 possible reasons I could admit to, and I wasn’t even halfway through the list (there’s about 90).  Maybe “insane” meant different things back then, or the existence of asylums created different behaviours or needs? It seems human nature to put definitions on things, both sleek and clunky. There’s a quote that often makes the rounds on Facebook that I can’t stand. It says something along the lines of “depression/anxiety/crying isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you’ve been strong too long.” I think that’s a load of stupid piled onto a mountain of useless.  The first part I know and believe – depression (or the others) is not a sign of weakness. Far from it. But it certainly is not a sign that you’ve been strong too long.  We’re all mad here, we just may not know if we’ve gotten there yet.

Nearly two years ago, a tower was built way down the bottom of a mine shaft in my mind. Of course it doesn’t make sense – it was depression and that is one slippery, sly sucker punch of sneaky jerkitude that has the superpower of making the nonsense seem totally rational and acceptable.  I found myself spending longer and longer in the tower, noticing distantly that part of it was being walled off. Within months, there was a section totally blocked off from light, from peace, and while “I” would be going about my day hanging out laundry or baking a cake or attending classes or work or praying, I could hear the broken, constant sobbing of myself on the other side of the wall. Nonstop. All hours of the day and through my nights. A noise more constant and way louder than my own heartbeat, my conversations, my common sense. I couldn’t outrun it, drown it, ignore it, do anything about it… except accept it. Depression sure messes with your senses and ability to make sense of anything, let alone what you’re feeling.

Turns out, my ovaries has mutinied. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Write On!

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Discipline is a complicated word and verb – what if kids respond to a different approach by writing alternative responses before they are needed by the kids and parents alike?

Writing epistles is one way a family loves and supports their son, serving a mission in prison.

How the story we make up impacts our emotions, conversations, our relationships, and even the way we breathe, as explained by Brené Brown.

Writing a new entry in the Ranger School history books, two women are graduating this week from the Army’s top training facility – the first women ever to do so.

A short writing exercise that changes lives, especially for students, including the idea of “self-authoring”.

Throwing away the life script, by considering the quote by President Ardeth G. Kapp  “When I was young I thought the noblest thing in this life was to be a mother—I have since learned that the best mission in life is the one the Lord has prepared for me.”

When your talents are used to help others, writing poetry is helping rebuild lives.

When the love of books is in lines of the drawn and painted variety (and no doubt inspiring more writing, including the following First Draft Poetry by Kel…)

Artist’s Medium

I’m so bad at drawing

like, wincing ouch that’s gotta hurt bad at drawing

within three weeks my primary class

7 year olds well acquainted with bandaids, face pulling and flickering broadcast artworks

encouraged each other

with gentle, sympathetic smiles

like, how on earth did you get so old and still be so awful you poor thing tilted smiles

to ease the chalk from my hand

and save myself and their own eyeballs

from my sickly stickmen efforts and filled the board with their enthusiasm

while I wrapped my spoken tinsel and tripwires of stories

around them so at times I’d have them balanced

like, so that they would all hold their breath and the chalk up from the board unknowingly balanced

on the edge of the sword fight or grisly war

or avenging angel of a next syllable to soar from my lips

waiting for the art I made with my words, chalk dust dancing between us.

Found any writing related or book art related links lately you’d like to share? Or a first draft poem inspired by the shared treasures?

Peculiar Treasures: For Your Consideration

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Want to see the world and consider humanity? The 2015 National Geographic’s Traveller’s Photo Contest winning photos have been released, and they’re breathtaking. Or there’s the bride and groom who fed 4000 Syrian refugees as part of their wedding feast.  In other wedding treasures, this 89 year old grandmother was a bridesmaid for her granddaughter, bringing more than age to the party.

This article considers when we don’t need to forgive, and the choice of words when we discuss forgiveness.  Oliver Sacks considers his life and hopes with his own personal periodic table as he lives with his terminal illness. How about having a ‘wonderful wilderness’ in lieu of a ‘crisis of faith’? This author considers the power and honesty in rephrasing individual journeys of faith and discovery.  Also, Patheos takes a look at Mormonism in America, and considers what the future may hold.

Considering a digital detox? A group went to Morocco, handed over their gadgets after a day, and the results – in relationships and physically – may surprise you. Considering a mental detox? A couple of suggestions about which books are best for contemplating the meaning of life and meditations on life. Considering your relationships? An exploration of lasting relationships and their two main factors – kindness and generosity.  Considering reading more, or clearing bookshelves? Try this To Be Read (TBR) Calculator for your TBR pile/piles/shelf/bookcase.

First draft poetry is by Melissa Y today, tying into the ‘Not A Crisis of Faith’ post:

one thing (among many)

that religion offers

is a daily walk with the possibility

of being wrong

about almost everything,

 

of wondering Continue reading

Favorite Things: Girls’ Camp

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(Please note – this post is by Lara, not Kellie. Kellie tried to get WordPress to cooperate, but it didn’t go in Kel’s favour…)

Girls’ Camp is one of my favorite things! I went four years as a young woman, and this was my fourth year as an adult leader—I love camping, I love crafting, I love nature, and I love working with the young women. Though we aren’t supposed to covet, I could spent the rest of my life going to Girls’ Camp, and be perfectly content calling-wise.

First of the year I was asked to be the ward camp director for Girls’ Camp. Our Young Women’s program is currently very small, so some of the things I would usually do in this calling weren’t on the agenda, such as a fundraiser. For the camp skit, our ward was combined with another small ward, and their ward to the heavy lifting on that, and for camp itself the stake assigned me to be a leader for the second year girls. Additionally all certification was taking place at camp by leaders specifically assigned to teach. This meant there wasn’t much for me to do except go to a few meetings and wait for camp. Still, I wanted to serve, and I know what I gained when I was a young woman and that was worth giving to others.

My daughter turns twelve one day before the camp cutoff date, and I was genuinely glad I was going to be there for her first year—she hadn’t been away from home before, and that way if she was worried or homesick I was close by—but I found myself not looking forward to camp in the weeks leading up to it. In the past, there has been lots to do to spark that excitement, this time not so much. I felt like there was going to be a lot of down time, and with many responsibilities and upcoming events I needed to deal with at home, I wasn’t convinced camp was going to be a useful expenditure of my limited time and energy.

The first afternoon, after a grueling hike on the tail of a sleepless night, all I wanted was a nap! But I sat at a devotional and listened to a speaker say exactly what my soul had been needing to hear for weeks. The next morning it happened again. Three devotional talks a day felt like warm embraces from my Heavenly Parents, reminders of who I am and what I needed to be doing, and what I am doing right. I had gone to camp to serve the young women, but over and over again I heard the Spirit telling me that I was called to camp this year for me.

The last night at our testimony meeting, my heart was broken as I listened to the struggles and heartache being faced and endured and overcome by the girls in our stake, and the Spirit spoke again—if once a year, we can give these young women a single week where they feel safe, cherished, protected and loved, it is worth any sacrifice made. For some, it’s the only time they have this security. I’m already looking forward to next year, hoping to go again, for myself, and for them.

What is the calling you’d be happy to have forever? Have you had an experience of having your heart change during an experience of service? Where do you feel most safe and loved?

Favourite: Sheer Stubborn Perversity

The image that started it all…

This past week my Facebook and Twitter feeds featured the above picture of daisies.  Most of the related clickbait headlines or comments were practically glowing with panic and horror, like “Japanese radiation deforming flowers!”  “Contamination mutates nature!” “Flowers, fruits and animals suffering years after tsunami-caused nuclear disaster…” “I think these are GMO flowers #seriously #eatrealfood #gmoisdeath #coconutwaterislife”  (these aren’t real quotes, just general summaries of ones I saw).

After a quick click or two to check that the flowers had apparently been photographed in the area claimed, I stopped reading the wheezing, shrieking pieces that went along with it. But I found myself thinking about the photo every day.

I LOVE those little flowering champions!

Stubborn: adjective stub·born

: refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something

: difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

In the face of all sorts of challenges, that plant just got on with living. Deliberately, stubbornly pushed its roots a little deeper down, in order to better stretch for the sun. Then, using its inbuilt DNA and resources, flowered.  In spite of changes in radiation levels, not being in a nurtured garden, it just got on with life.  And not only did it manage one flower, but several, and in bold and surprising ways.

Perverse: adjective per·verse

: wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive

Of course, humans freaked out because all the flowers weren’t normal – some were weird, perverse, wrong looking and not how they were meant to look, at least according to the people freaking out online. I’m betting that flower doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and (unless one of those pesky humans has come and dug it out or cut it up) it’s still there, photosynthesising away, flirting with the bees and hoping for rain. Continue reading