Category Archives: Daily Special

9 a.m.: The Only True Time to Start Church

LDS meetinghouse (photo from LDS Media Library)

In my stake, we change schedules every fall, instead of in January like every other stake I’ve ever lived in. This means, my friends, that come September, we will have eleven o’clock church. Bleh.

I have long held that the Church is most true at 9 a.m., and gets progressively less true as the day goes on. One p.m. church is practically apostate (especially on Fast Sundays with a group of grouchy kids–and teachers–in third block), and if you are one of the poor souls who have to attend from from three p.m. on you might as well get rebaptized every week. Continue reading

Peculiar Treasures: Stillbirth, Sand Tables and Strong Female Character Fatigue

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Did you know the primary once had sand tables? What fun! What a mess.

Have you ever said, I hate strong female characters? Here’s a few reasons why they aren’t enough as is.

Lisa Valentine Clark, funny lady extraordinaire, lets us in on why making a movie is like motherhood and scroll all the way to the end for a sneak preview on her new movie, Once I was a Beehivereleasing August 14th.

Nothing can you prepare you if you experience one, but sharing stories of stillbirths, reminds us that the grief is real and there is beauty  and power in remembrance.

The ever lovely and gifted Ashma Hoilands’s gorgeous, thoughtful essay on the difference the exchanging the word crisis makes in the middle of one, changes the feeling and experience when your faith is shifting.

Another item to ask why? A BYU student’s depiction of Heavenly Mother goes missing from an on campus exhibit.

This week’s first draft poem is brought to us by Melonie.  And it’s lovely.

The Woman That I Am Not
 
The woman that I am not
wears knee-high fringed moccasins
and white hippie dresses.
Her hair leans over a shoulder
in a thick braid
like the staff of Moses.
She tattoos
a fern leaf on her neck
and pierces a diamond
the size of a toddler’s freckle
into the side of her nose.
leather and silver bracelets circle her wrists
turquoise wreaths her ankles
and her heart beats to
the flickering of fire.
She dances to drums.
Laughter spins from
her mouth
as simply and clear
as a flute laid to lips.
The woman I am not
sees God in the reflection of a spoon,
weighs heavy thoughts
until they turn light
and speaks words that grow gardens.
She is a sediment of wisdom.
Her limbs are long and lean.
Sometimes she plays finger tambourines
and walks in moss.
Fireflies follow her.
Where she is
It’s always twilight,
lovemaking is slow,
stars have meaning,
snow makes sound,
and the pen never runs out of words.
I can find her
when we speak.
We both share
a brown beauty mark
on the peak of our upper lip-
a dot on the horizon -
a finite spot
marking the place
between what is and what is not
.

Vacay Church

How Welcome is W

Just how welcome is “Visitors Welcome”?

That’s how they cool kids say it, right? Or maybe that was like five years ago. Not sure. The word vacay, the clipped, cutesy cool version of vacation is entirely unfamiliar in my mouth. I’m not really in touch. I would be fooling myself to say I ever have been. I’m no regular to the most popular vacation destinations, but I have taken in a few when others have done the planning. And so it is now, I’m with my husband’s family, on vacay in a popular summer destination.

The gathering spans over a weekend and so being the good (and) Mormon family that we are we all troop over to the local Mormon chapel to get our church on (do you say that? Is that cool or am I trying too hard here?) Roughly two hundred other non-natives are there to do the same. Our group shuffles in moments just before and after the meeting’s opening. The pews are packed, and rows upon rows of metal folding chairs clang against the wooden floors of the cultural hall, continuously being set up as more and more couples, families and family group sheets worth of people come in together through the back doors, realizing their chance at a cushy seat in such a popular, populous place passed twenty-five minutes ago. On vacation, when you are trying to find the church and get ready when a portion of the group failed to pack or ran out of room for a typical Sunday outfit component, and don’t have a calling or meeting that demands our particular arrival time, the result can be relaxed Sunday Casual in dress and arrival. Flip-flops with slacks finely disguise a visiting stake president. Forgive us all our sins, fashion and tardiness infractions. Continue reading

When We Love Someone Who Never Was

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I dreamed I was in an open meadow with a blanket of wild flowers. The light from the distant sunset made them glow like colored sea anemones. I was walking through them carefully, not wanting to break a single stem, when a pain hit my heart. It was so strong I fell to my knees and started wailing. I cried out her name over and over. I could not stop. The pain came in waves and my jaw ached from letting out the cries that only a bereaved Mom could understand. I woke up terrified and bawling, aching to hold my daughter.

There was only one slight problem with this dream…I never had the daughter I was crying for. She never showed up. After a short two years of an infertility scare, I was blessed to have three sons and a daughter. Then, we decided to try again. I knew there was another girl waiting to be with us. I felt her everywhere. I saw a vision of her in the temple. I knew the color of her hair and those soulful eyes. I would glance at my children around the table and feel her absence. I was impatient. We tried. We waited. We prayed. We considered adoption, but it never seemed right. My youngest is almost ten years old and this girl never came. Eventually, her strong presence faded and the space in the family dinner table filled in as children’s bodies grew into teenagehood. The absence was accepted —
Until the dream was dreamed…when the gaping hole opened up and I fell in with a deep enough love that can crumble a body.

Is it possible to love someone who never was?

Can we still love the absent father? the ignoring mother? Can we love the friend who sets the appointment but never arrives? How about the man you were “supposed” to marry who never appeared on the scene? Can we love through the letter that never came? the waited-for apology? the boy whose car never pulled into the driveway? Can we love the husband who forgets again the birthday or anniversary? the past-curfew teenager who we wait for in the dark? the answer to a prayer that never seemed to be heard? the child who chose not to be born? Perhaps the answer can be found in another question: Can we love our dearest friends who sleep on while pain racks our body so that we bleed onto the garden floor?

The heart is a resilient thing. Tell us your story of how you loved the person who never was or the thing that never showed up.

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Reevaluating Scouting

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When my fifth son was a tiny newborn we ventured downtown. Everywhere I went those days, people counted my little boys, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5!” and offered a variety of comments both kind and cutting. But I’ll never forget the lady who counted the boys, asked, “Are you LDS?” and on my affirmation exclaimed, “Oh no! All those Eagle projects!”

I laughed, but didn’t understand her words until several years later. It should be noted: I love and adore mothering my five boys. I would have happily taken a sixth– but the paperwork! Oh! The paperwork of Eagle projects.

Boy Scouts possesses it’s merits. I love the principles of service, love of the outdoors, faith and personal responsibility. My sons have had incredible leaders; men and women of character who taught/teach them real skills and values. But it’s also a program marred by huge expenses, bureaucracy and questionable ‘skills.’

I’m thrilled to hear of the church’s resolution to reevaluate our relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. Our leaders are insightful men and women, if they choose to leave the BSA, I know our church can create something so much better. Continue reading