Tag Archives: agency

Doubt and Faith

I had a hard conversation with my adult son the other day. He has chosen to stop participating in church, as he feels betrayed and manipulated by our church leaders. He no longer trusts the spiritual experiences he has had because he no longer trusts the context in which they occurred. He doesn’t believe the church is true. He doesn’t trust our leaders. He doesn’t want his young children to go to church, but wants them to be able to “decide for themselves” later in life without “brainwashing” at a young age.

It breaks my heart. Continue reading

Choice and Anxiety

About six years ago I moved from Utah to Seattle. Our apartment complex sat next to a large outdoor mall that included a grocery store.  I discovered that I could easily walk out the back door of my apartment and get to the store in less than five minutes, so I bought a wire grocery cart and spent the next two years shopping exclusively at one grocery store (supplemented occasionally by trips to Costco about twenty minutes away). I’m sure there were nearby stores with lower prices, but for me the convenience of shopping in one place, especially a store that offered child care while you shop, was worth limiting my options. Each week I would peruse the sale flyer for the cheapest foods and plan my menu around them, sometimes stocking up if things happened to be particularly cheap.

After Seattle we moved to a small town in Northern California. Again I found it easier to shop at just one grocery store once I found one that combined my ideals of convenience, price, and quality of foods. After a few months of living in California we decided to sign up for produce delivery from a local organic farm. Again, the trade-off of limited options came with the benefit of convenience and quality. Most of the time I loved planning my meals around the delightful surprise of whatever happened to show up on my doorstep that week (except for a particular week in January when we received spinach, kale, collard greens, chard, and mustard greens all at once). Continue reading

Pancakes or Waffles?

  • Swedish Pancakes – photo by cookiedog

This month I am participating in Jana Riess’s “Flunking Sainthood” Gratitude Challenge on Facebook. The task is to come up with – and write down – five things everyday for which you are grateful. This hasn’t been be too big of a stretch. The process of developing an attitude of thanksgiving has lots of good benefits – for which I am, as you might suspect, grateful.

One thing I have noticed as I pinpoint things I’m grateful for is that I am just as inclined to be thankful for little things as I am for grand things. I try to draw no conclusions when I see that my list of five includes things as diverse as fresh raspberries in the fridge and the Atonement, or pinkie toes and my husband’s successful cancer surgery. I’m just writing things down and allowing the bliss of gratitude to carry me along during the day.

This morning over breakfast I was telling my son Chase (26) about this discipline I’m involved in. He then introduced me to another kind of value-driven challenge or “game” called Pancakes or Waffles. Continue reading

The Freedom to Choose Indulgence

Maybe it’s because I’m so full. Because I just ate the entire pantry full of Trader Joe’s delicacy: chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered PEANUT BUTTER pretzels, and THEN, after all that, cut the chocolate with a few macaroons. So this food journal entry, I’m cataloging it because I think it might be the reason I’m about to say what I’m saying and my normal, hungry, full of denial, green eating self can’t be held culpable. Anyway, here goes.

But before I say that I have to tell you this: I was on a flight two months ago, from Oakland to Salt Lake City, and just as I was settling my toddler into the seeming empty seat beside me, a pretty blond woman rushed down the aisle, with her blown dry hair and carry-on baggage ribbons of wake behind her, and claimed the seat. She was really apologetic about taking up some of the space I obviously required for four children and all their various electronic accoutrement, and I was taken aback by her heartfelt kindness—I don’t usually get a lot of compassion on these types of flights. And so, this woman and I, we really started talking. It was the proverbial set-up that you think will happen to you on every flight into or out of Utah, when you suddenly find yourself knee-deep in a conversation with a really open-minded inquisitor of Mormonism.

Of course, I only tell you of this quick association and the accompanying candor of the conversation to display for you the gristle of it—the chewy part I choked on. Continue reading


I was at Redbox the other day looking for a family movie to celebrate the last day of school. I saw an animated film with a red-haired girl on the case entitled Brave. “Hey, look at that,” I said to myself, “Brave is already out on video.” (I had seen the movie trailer in the theater recently.) “Maybe it bombed at the cinema. Maybe it went straight to video. Whatever. I’m getting it.”

Of course when I came into the house waving the disc triumphantly and yelling “I got Brave!” my kids laughed uproariously because I’d done this before – come home with some old, lame version of a new movie. Last time it was Thor — not the new, hunky film but some low-budget movie that Redbox thought it could trick me into renting because it had the same name. Well, okay, they did trick me, not just once but twice. We didn’t even bother watching the movie.

It did get me thinking about being brave, though. Because I need to be brave right now and I’m not. I know what to do but I’m not sure I have the courage to do it. To stand in my own truth, immovable. Like my hands, this morning on the acupuncture table. My acupuncturist was working on my shoulders with his little laser thing and he asked, “How do your shoulders feel when things aren’t right?” Tight and tense. “Okay, multiply that tight, tense feeling by four, and feel it in your whole body.” This is not pleasant. But I do feel curiously strong. “Now focus that feeling in just your hands. How does it feel?” Powerful. Immovable. “That’s the lesson for you right now. Our bodies will tell us what we need in the moment. How do you think that sensation in your hands could show up in your life?” Standing in my own truth. Immovable. Brave. Continue reading