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Heavenly Mother’s Job

By Lisa Meadows Garfield

I didn’t actually write this essay. It was written by my friend, Tracey Snoyer, in an effort to capture the essence of what happened when some women got together for a few days of spiritual exploration in the tree-feathered foothills of Mt. Hood. I was part of the sacred circle. I invite you into the circle today, to seek with us greater light and knowledge about our Heavenly Mother.

Heavenly Mother’s Job

It started in a circle of women. Of bright, accomplished women, who held feminism as either an ideology or a manifestation. They were all empowered women: artists and business leaders and writers and thinkers. And all of them, spiritual savants in their own way. Two mothers and two never-mothers spending their days in inquiry and devotion with good food and long walks and quiet meditation. It took until the fifth day for the insight to grow deep enough for the question to be asked, and, in a spiral of light and magic, answered.

It began, as many inquiries of Heavenly Mother do, with an inquiry on Eve. Some believed that Eve knew exactly what she was doing when she took that fruit. Some believed she understood the plan in a way that inspired her to move the plan forward in the face of Adam’s solid obedience that, while beautiful, also brought stasis to the human family. It was Eve, some said, that had the insight and foresight and inspiration to make the choice that would start humanity. This idea seems to be gaining popularity: Eve as risk-taker, as knowing intercessor.

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Placement

By Sandra Clark

I have a thing for place. I’m a bit fastidious about the arrangement of things, and the locations where things are set in. Now don’t get me wrong, I clutter up with the best of them (my specialty being piles of books at my desk). But I am fond of the notion of deliberate positioning. At home I may shuffle around the artwork and tschotskes to get everything in a just the right order. (I’ve been known to cock the wooden raven on the piano at a 45 degree angle to the look just right and I’m finicky about hanging pictures is particular groupings and arrangements down to the centimeter.) I attempt to order my kitchen into stations for efficiency. When planning for family pictures I thoughtfully cull through places that mean something: a park we frequent regularly, a telling landmark of the area we live in, or some place that served as a setting for some happy past memory. I realize this marks me as a sentimentalist, so be it. This fixation with fixation may just be one of my personal quirks of an appetite for control. That too. However, I’ll bet any real estate agent in the audience would say an “Amen!” when I advocate for location, location, location.

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A Conversation: On Being a Woman, part 2

By Hannah Cruz

“Did you have a boyfriend in high school, Sister Cruz?” I froze. I can put on a smile, tell a lie that makes me look perfect or — be honest. She looks at me in anticipation. “Yeah, I did,” I say with hesitation. “I had my first boyfriend when I was 15. And some more …

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Patriarchal Blessing

By Melissa McQuarrie

In a couple of weeks my youngest daughter will receive her patriarchal blessing. She’s only thirteen, but for six months now she has been pestering me and my husband about getting her blessing. At first I brushed her off, thinking she wouldn’t be able to understand the blessing’s significance at such a young age, and told her it would be best if she waited until she was a little older. But she persisted. To her credit, for the past several months she has researched patriarchal blessings on her own, read talks and articles, asked me and my husband questions, fasted, pondered, and prayed. Her desire for her blessing has never waned, nor has her insistence that she is ready.

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On Being a Woman

By Hannah Cruz

A lot could be said about the current — what shall I call it — war on womanhood?

But with my recent calling as the second counselor in Young Womens in my ward, I really only have one thought: Being a woman rocks!

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On Running into Ex-Boyfriends

By Melissa McQuarrie

Recently I attended the wedding luncheon of the daughter of one of my favorite BYU roommates. It’s been almost twenty-five years since Sherri and I were roommates, and she’s lived all over the world since she got married, currently residing just outside of Detroit, while I’ve lived in California and, for the past twenty years, Provo. But we attended each other’s weddings and have remained close friends over the years, even if several years go by between phone calls. I even had the privilege of being with Sherri and her husband, Curt, in the temple several years ago when they had their recently adopted Chinese daughter sealed to them. So when Sherri invited me to her daughter’s wedding luncheon in Salt Lake, I jumped at the chance to see my dear friend and celebrate her family’s happy day with her.

As I got ready for the wedding luncheon that morning, I took extra time doing my hair and makeup, because I once dated Sherri’s husband’s younger brother Matt (before Sherri and Curt got married). Whenever I attend Sherri’s extended family functions (a grand total of three times in the last twenty-five years), I run into Matt. Matt and I never dated seriously, but I consider him an old boyfriend of sorts, so I want to look my best whenever I happen to see him at, say, a temple sealing or a wedding luncheon—it’s a pride thing, you know? I just don’t want him thinking, “Wow, I really dodged a bullet there.”

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That Thing That is of Most Worth

By Linda Hoffman Kimball

Popham Beach State Park, Maine

 

In a recent Worldwide Leadership Training Conference, attendees heard someone’s thoughts on “that thing that is of most worth to a woman in this life.” If someone asked you what that “thing of most worth” is, how would you answer?

Some years ago I went through a very tough time. Metaphorically speaking I felt like my ribs had been extracted. My pulses and rhythms still functioned, but my supports and protection were gone. My mother had just died. My kids were asserting themselves in creative and dumbfounding ways, following their natural call to become “agents unto themselves.” My husband was reorganizing his heart and soul, doing important internal work, but I had no idea where I’d end up when his “remodeling” was over. My soul felt like it was, to quote Yeats, “turning and turning in a widening gyre.”

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How Great Thou Art

By Melissa McQuarrie

Last Sunday our ward had the rare privilege of hearing Alex Boye sing a solo in sacrament meeting. I must confess at the time I didn’t know who he was, but when he started to sing a gospel rendition of “How Great Thou Art” I, like many other ward members, sat up straight in my seat and listened, enthralled (although I think a couple of the older ward members nearly had a heart attack). I’ve never heard these words sung so beautifully, so stirringly: “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee, How great thou art! How great thou art!” Perhaps it was the unconventional delivery of the song (jazzy piano accompaniment and all) as well as the sheer beauty of Brother Boye’s voice that made me listen to the words more carefully, made me feel them deep in my soul. It was one of the most worshipful and thrilling musical numbers I have ever heard in a sacrament meeting. I thought of that musical number yesterday as I read these words in Psalms: “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands. Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious” (Psalm 66: 1-2).

And it’s in that spirit, and in the spirit of gratitude, that I want to sing praises of my own, so to speak, to my God today. My prayers are too often full of petitions and pleas while being scarce on thankfulness and praise. What better time to give thanks than Thanksgiving week?

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Thoughts on Thirty

Our post today comes from a new staff member, Sandra Jergensen. Sandra recently moved to Texas by way of Baltimore and San Francisco and is adjusting to life in the suburbs. She loves sunlight, bold colors, and exquisitely dark chocolate. She also devours cookbooks like novels and writes a bit at www.section89.com.

I am turning thirty this week. Really. Finally. And I haven’t dreaded it at all. I don’t fear wrinkles. I’m not scared of being older than I have been. I like to think I am the type of person to embrace it. I like myself ever so much more at thirty than I did at fifteen, nineteen or twenty-three. And I am beginning to realize why. I know myself better now than I did then.

At one point I dreaded aging because I was afraid of being unsatisfied with myself. I feared that I would reach a milestone and only see what I hadn’t done, what I wished I would have done, and felt miserable at the waste of time. How I should’ve taken those art and guitar classes I have always wanted to. I could’ve gone to graduate school, learned to crochet, and gotten over the asthmatic anxiety that snorkeling gives me. I didn’t do any of those things.

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Purring and Praise

 

Today’s post comes to us from our poetry editor, Lisa G. Lisa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her cat and assorted familial humans. She loves green, God, and puddles of sun. And of course, lots of great poetry flowing into Segullah’s 2011 poetry contest: http://journal.segullah.org/contests/#poetrycontest. Write on!

 

My cat likes to bring me gifts. Baby rabbits, limp and warm. Headless moles. Birds, with broken necks and feathers strewn all over the doormat. Once, she caught a snake and deposited it—complete with tooth-holes and flapping scales—with great pride on the feline altar.

She is quite proud of her hunting prowess, my darling little cat. And she loves me. Thus the gifts. She wants to please me, bring me something hard-won and precious. She wants my approval, my acceptance of her very best work.

But I don’t like her gifts. Sometimes the baby bunnies are still alive and we always try, one more time, to save them by wrapping them in soft towels and laying them on a pillow. Until they die. Always. And we bury one more. The moles are just messy and with gloved hands, we toss them into the bushes. Both pieces. The fragmented birds are the most trouble to clean up, feathers flying, floating away from reach.

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