My Two Cents on Ordain Women

DSC_0458I can’t seem to escape this topic, so I may as well address it. I’ve thought about this a lot, and here are my two cents. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, here is the Ordain Women website. I encourage everyone to read their FAQ because it answers a lot of questions and misconceptions that people have about them.

My first thought is that everyone needs to be kinder on this subject. It is a topic that is very personal to many people and to offhandedly tell people to leave the church or that they are apostatizing is wrong. Ordain Women does not speak for all LDS women or even all LDS feminists, but we don’t need to silence them for us to be heard.

I find it ironic that in a church founded on the question of a fourteen-year-old boy, we are so offended by a group of women asking a question. They are not protesting or picketing; they are simply asking the Brethren to ask God for an answer to a question: Should worthy LDS women be ordained to the priesthood? While I don’t agree with the answer they are seeking, I completely support their right to ask the question.

It seems we have forgotten that there is nothing wrong with petitioning God. He often will not reveal truth unless a question is asked first. He didn’t just appear to Joseph Smith and hand over the gospel. He waited until Joseph asked and then he revealed the gospel piece by piece as questions were studied and then asked.

We need not be afraid of asking, but we also need to be open to the answer, even if it isn’t the one we want. Whether the answer to the question is yes, no, or not yet, we need to be patient and trust in God’s plan for us on an individual and church-wide level.

My personal opinion is that all the proper doctrines are set in place, we just need to change the way we talk about them. Women already have the priesthood; we are just afraid to talk about it. We have access to and perform ordinances using the priesthood. We are set apart to become prophetesses and priestesses, and those are not terms to shy away from. We have stewardships, responsibilities, and divine potential that is yet untapped.

That said, we are also imperfect. It is a mistake and does women a disservice to set us on a pedestal. I’ve heard the argument that men need the priesthood to make them as good as women. Not only is this argument completely demeaning to men, it also gives women an excuse to stop trying.

I definitely don’t have all the answers, which is why I support honest, humble seeking of God’s will. If the requirement of study and humility is met and we’re willing to accept the answer given, then we should ask questions of God. But before he can trust us with more responsibility, he must first be able to trust us to show love to each other, something I think is lacking in this dialogue.

Guess What Today Is!!!

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It’s Veronica Mars Day!!!
(P.S. Sorry the words are backwords . . . mirror selfies, am I right?)

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Even Fred is excited!

I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. The Veronica Mars movie comes out today! I donated to the Kickstarter last March (the back of the shirt says Official Kickstarter Backer, because I’m just that awesome), and now it’s here! Couldn’t be more excited! Everyone should acquaint themselves with this awesome show, and then go! I won’t put any spoilery things on here, but I’ll probably come back later to gush and fangirl all over my blog. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want!

Are you going to see the Veronica Mars movie???

Could I Love These Boys Any More?

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Today I just want to brag about my boys. (Warning: Lots of sappiness ahead.)

I’ve recently gone back to therapy, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and the abuse that I went through at the hands of my father. It’s been tough to go back and relive some of those moments, but the most wonderful part is when I leave the building and come back to the present—to the reality that I have a husband who would never hurt me in a million years and a little boy who will never know the pain of an abusive parent like I did.

I’m feel like I’m relearning every day how to be normal, but I couldn’t have better teachers. Every time I look at my husband, I see the life I’ve chosen—a life of crazy, overwhelming happiness. Every time I look at my son, I see the life we’ve been given—a life of surprises, but ones that always turn out for the best.

Travis is the most loving, wonderful, do-anything-that-will-make-me-happy husband I could ask for. I still blush and get embarrassed around him sometimes because he’s just so darn good-looking. He’ll flash me a smile and I’ll get all giddy butterflies like I’m twenty-one again and falling in love with him for the first time. I love it. I know it’s sappy, but I feel like this is how love and marriage should be. Too many jokes are made nowadays about how marriage is a sexless, unhappy prison where the husband is lazy and the wife is a nag. Marriage is hard, yes, but it’s a place where you can be accepted as exactly who you are. It’s a place to be selfless and work hard to meet the needs of the person you love. And it’s a place to be totally sappy and in love and that’s okay.

Frederick is quite possibly the best baby in the entire world. Of course I haven’t met every baby, but I’m hazarding a guess here. He’s a mellow, happy kid. He’s got Travis’s gorgeous eyes and long eyelashes. Apart from teething (which is the devil), he hardly ever cries and he’s usually content to sit and play in his room throwing his toys around or pulling books off the bookshelves. (It’s a good thing I love books so much because I pick them up three times a day!) Recently with his teeth hurting, he just wants to cuddle all day. He’ll crawl up, reach for me, and rest his head on my shoulder looking out the window beside the rocking chair. And we’ll just sit like that for an hour. It’s pretty much the most adorable thing ever.

I can’t believe these boys are mine. I’m so glad they are and I get to keep them forever. Having a family is hard. Being here every day, trying to give more of myself than I feel like I even have to make sure everyone is healthy and happy, is the most exhausting thing I have ever done. But it’s also the most important and most rewarding. Life is good . . . and only getting better.

The Best, Worst, and Most Bittersweet Feelings (And How I’ve Felt All Three)

Occasionally I picture myself discussing matters of the heart with my children. When they’re small and get their first crush. When they’re older and have their first heartbreak. When they are much older and considering marriage. And I picture myself telling them about the best, worst, and most bittersweet parts of love, because even in my short life, I’ve felt all three.DSC_0341

The best part of love is when it’s requited. You feel it, they feel it, and it is able to grow and flourish on both sides. This is the love my children will grow up seeing between Travis and me. They’ll see the things we do for each other, the way we express our love for each other, and if they’re paying attention, they’ll even see it grow. The feeling of requited love is the absolute best feeling in the entire world and one I wish for all my children to have.

The worst feeling in the world is hatred. I hate to admit that I have felt pure, unadulterated hatred in my life. I’ve come to realize however, in my experience, that you can only hate someone as much as you once loved them—that hatred comes from a place of betrayed love. You can never hate a stranger as much as you can hate an unfaithful spouse, a hurtful sibling, or in my case, an abusive parent. But hatred is, almost always, an unrequited feeling. The only one who feels it is you; the only one it hurts is you. Luckily the worst feeling in the world is also the most unnecessary. You can live your entire life without hating someone. If you find that you do hate someone, really consider if that hatred is helpful to you or not. Is it affecting the person you hate in any way? Is it holding them back from living their own lives?  The answer is almost always an unequivocal no. It will take time to overcome this feeling, time to let it go—months, years, decades even—but remember that the time given to hatred (not the time overcoming it) is unproductive time. And wasting your life on the worst feeling in the world is the worst thing you can do for yourself and your own happiness.

And finally, the most bittersweet feeling: unrequited love. This is a feeling that I don’t talk about much even though it once almost tore my heart in half. Maybe that’s why I don’t talk about it. I imagine myself telling this story to my children very carefully. Unrequited love is not an unreturned crush (though that is incredibly painful in and of itself). It’s true love on your part, and most commonly indifference on the part of the other person. The love I felt for this person was complete; I would have done anything for him. In fact, I ended up completely removing myself from his life because I knew that it made him uncomfortable that he didn’t return my feelings. It was devastating, embarrassing, and hurt more than anything I’ve ever felt. Even though at the time it felt more bitter than sweet, afterwards I realized how much it had changed me. I realized my capacity to love, and it was immense. I was able to extrapolate that love to strengthen my feelings of charity toward others. If I couldn’t have romantic love, I could put that love toward being kind to people. It was hard—quite possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I got through it and let it help me in the long run. And because I knew what real love felt like, I recognized it when I fell for Travis.

I’m fully aware that my kids will probably roll their eyes when I try to tell them all this, but I think deep down they’ll listen. The human condition transcends generation gaps and there is always value to be found in the experience of another. More importantly, I hope my children have their own experiences with love. That they’ll figure some of this out on their own. But they’ll also know another type of love: the love of a parent. And hopefully that will help them along their way.

Writing Writing Writing!

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. . . this represents my novel right now.

Over the past three days, I’ve written 5,500 words for a new novel of mine. This writing experience has been vastly different than any of my previous ones. First, I decided to write this story with two goals: (1) to write a pure fantasy instead of twisting it into science fiction and (2) to start with characters before setting and even plot.

I sat down with an interesting character—one that’s been percolating in my head for years—had someone ask him a question, and went from there. Normally I worldbuild ad nauseam only to realize that my characters are bo-ring. This time I started with characterization and character chemistry and I’ve been able to transplant some of my better worldbuilding to make the setting as it comes up.

It’s working well so far. This is by far the best writing I’ve ever done. Now my job is just to keep the momentum up and to pin down plot archs. The characters, especially the main characters, are coming to me so easily and I’ve even developed a magic system that I’m incredibly proud of (something I’ve never done before).

I’m not sure why I’m writing about my writing, but I guess at this point, I need some cheerleaders. I’ve got a solid beginning and am building the structure for the rest of the story. This is the most excited and serious I’ve been about a story in a long time. Wish me luck!

Letting the Nerd Out

DSC_0093This past weekend I attended LTUE (Life, the Universe, and Everything)—a science fiction and fantasy writing conference held in Provo. It was, well, AMAZING! I learned so much from all the panels, met some awesome people, made a long list of books I need to read, and picked the brain of my favorite author (and freaking hero) Brandon Sanderson.

It was so nice to be around other people who unabashedly love the same things I do. That’s one of the best things about being a nerd. You aren’t “too cool” for things; you can like them without irony or trying to hide it.

I also learned a ton about myself and my writing. I have always read fantasy. I have read very little science fiction, a few classics, and a bit of contemporary children’s literature and YA, but mostly I’m a fantasy fan. However, I discovered that I don’t write fantasy; I write science fiction—not hard science fiction, but what I heard this weekend termed as “cultural science fiction,” where I explore different anthropological, evolutionary, and even ecological factors that would shape societies on other worlds. (How’s that for nerdy?)

I found myself drawn to the panels on science: cryptography, biotechnology, xenobiology. I asked tons of questions on evolution, astronomy, artificial immortality, and lots of other interesting topics. I took notes. If you know me, you know I was pretty much in heaven. It was like school, but where we could talk about AI and aliens like it was a given.

I need more outlets like this in my life. Brandon Sanderson was the toastmaster at the ending banquet to the conference, and he—I’ll admit it—made me cry. He was talking about why science fiction and fantasy affects us the way it does, particularly young people and teenagers, and he really touched on a truth: when we read it, we finally realize that we aren’t alone. I felt this the whole conference; I called Travis on the first day and said, “I wish every day was like today! I belong here. These are my people.” Sure, we’re a little weird—some of us even tend toward the antisocial—but we’re also imaginative, curious, and unafraid to really love things, even if no one else does.