Wednesday, December 16, 2015

split personality

Today Julia was arguing with herself:

"No, I cute."

"No, I cute."

"No, I cute."

"No, I cute."

In other news, she poured some salt, tried to get into the sugar (foiled by Claire! Hurray for Claire!) and watched Frosty the Snowman, Curious George, and My Little Pony.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thoughts on 'Ordain Women'

Note: I love my husband, son, father, grandfathers, brothers, and male cousins.  I like men in general, and believe they are no less (though no more) important than women.  The intent of this article is not to disparage men.

I recently skimmed through an article by a 'post Mormon' woman who longs for women to be ordained to the priesthood in the LDS church.  She sites examples of early LDS women being ordained to the priesthood and giving healing blessings.  She also describes the day her baby was given a name and blessing, her bishop wouldn't let her stand in the circle, and that's when she fell away.

I am saddened and frustrated by people like her, just like I'm saddened and frustrated by most people in the feminist movement.  They grew up reading history books where only women like Queen Elizabeth I and Joan of Arc are mentioned, and form erroneous beliefs such as, "If women aren't prominent leaders, wealthy, or involved in war, they don't matter."  They (the Ordain Women crowd and feminists in general) fail to notice that we grew up seeing history through the eyes of men, because men were the historians.  Thus, history books are crowded with political leaders and violence, because men like that kind of stuff.  Now if women had been the historians, I'm willing to bet we'd have seen a different historical emphasis: more information on what it took to clothe and feed soldiers and those left at home during wars; how they took care of problems like menstruation and diapering babies without tampons and disposable diapers; what people thought and felt in certain situations.  Here's a sordid example.  If women were the historians, there would be no debate over whether or not Sally Hemings was Thomas Jefferson's concubine and mother to six of his children.  We'd know how Sally felt about Thomas, how she felt about his wife/her half-sister, how her half-sister felt about her, whether perhaps atheism appealed to Jefferson because it helped him feel less guilty about being an adulterer.  I'm not saying the history books would have necessarily been better, just more interesting to people like me, who are women.

Back to the post-Mormon lady.  She had just performed perhaps the most important miracle that ever happens in this world: providing a body for one of God's spirit children.  Jesus Himself couldn't do it.  (Yes, I am aware women cannot conceive a child without a man.  However, I think most men would agree that God and women deserve the credit for the creation of a new life.) Assuming she and her husband were married in the temple, she, by giving birth, also sealed that baby to her and her husband for time and all eternity.  In short, she had just performed a saving ordinance.  (I've never heard this taught in General Conference, but I had a bishop who taught it, and it can definitely be inferred from the Church Handbook.)  But, there wasn't a congregation watching, and she probably didn't have a microphone at the time, so is that why she felt she had to be part of the baby blessing (which, wonderful as it is, is not a saving ordinance)?  I don't know.  I'm trying to figure out the Ordain Women women, and perhaps I'm missing something.  But as the daughter of a bishop and former member of a stake presidency, I know that holding the priesthood and being in one of those higher-up priesthood offices is nothing more than a heavy call to serve.  Those who think priesthood leaders get more glory and power than everyone else are misled.  Bishops, stake presidents, and patriarchs are servants, and I've been privileged to know some darn good ones.  However, I'm certain their service is not any more important or glorious in God's eyes than my mother's.

I do not know why some women in the past have been authorized to do certain things through the priesthood, whether in the Old Testament or in the early days of the Church in this dispensation.  However, either Jesus Christ is at the helm of this Church, or He isn't.  I believe He is, and if I know one thing, it's that He has good reasons for doing things they way He does.  When I trust Him, I am blessed.  When I don't, I regret it.  I also know you don't have to be a priesthood holder to bless people.  In the summer of 2013 we were preparing for yet another move.  I had an impression from the Spirit that I needed to exercise to cope with the stress of moving.  But who has time to exercise when you've got four kids, your husband works long hours, and you've got a house to sell and one to buy?  So I didn't exercise.  Before long, I was so sick I could hardly walk (fever for at least a week, wracking cough, nurse practitioner put me on the wrong antibiotic, etc.)  The doctor finally got me on the right antibiotic, and my husband and a member of our bishopric gave me a blessing, which I was grateful for. However, they couldn't miraculously heal me.  I'd already been given the miracle (knowing I should exercise to avoid getting sick), and I'd ignore it.  When you disregard heavenly counsel, you can expect to pay the price. Unless a savior steps in.  Enter a dear woman named Chris Bingham.  In one evening, she and her sweet daughter Rachel cleaned my house, fed my family, and nurtured my children.  (They talked about Chris with fondness and longing for weeks afterwards.)  And that's when I got well.  If you doubt Chris's part in my healing, you've never tried to rest amid clamoring hungry children and knowing the dirty dishes are piled halfway to the ceiling, patiently waiting for the day you can drag yourself out of bed; it's debilitating.  Chris never laid hands on my head, yet she gave me a much needed blessing.  Oh, and her husband had (and still has) a brain tumor.  Yet she did all that for me. She's wonderful.

I could go on for another thirty minutes, but I won't.

Celebrate womanhood.

Stop pretending Church leaders oppress women. If a few do, amen to the priesthood of such men.

And finally, there are only four vitally important roles to fill in this life: wife, mother, husband, father. Whether you're privileged to fill half of those roles or not, do your best and you'll be doing God's work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

When They Grow Up

Damon wants to be an engineer/inventor.

Claire wants to be a professional recycler.

Anne wants to be the mother of two sets of twins.  The twin girls will be named Rebecca and Elisabeth.  She'd also like to be an artist, a chef, and/or a storybook writer. Never mind. That was then.  Now she wants to be a school principal, a teacher, or a lunch lady who makes good school lunches--no plastic hot dogs.

Julia might make a good librarian.  She likes to shush people.
--Julia, don't hit.
--Julia, it's time for a nap.
--We've got to change your diaper, Juje.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

How to Kill a Mockingbird

The other week I sat down with a book in my hand.  I hadn't done that in a while and the kids got excited and asked me to read it to them.

"To Kill a Mockingbird isn't really a kids' book," I said, but they begged and I figured they'd get bored soon, so I started reading.

They were hooked.  Damon especially.  He started reading it to himself at night, which was great, because then when I'd edit out words while reading to the girls, he'd make comments like, "Mom left out the N-word."

"Whats the N-word?"

"A mean word for a black person."

"Ohhh.  That's why chigger sounds like a swear word to me." (We've all got chigger bites.  They're 10 times worse than mosquito bites.  Don't go outside in Kansas without plenty of DEET, people.)

Every day I hoped I wouldn't get the, "Mom, read us 'How to Kill a Mockingbird,'" request.  But I did.

Finally we got to the chapter where Scout beats up Francis.  "What's a whore-lady?"

"Uh, well, a woman who commits some pretty serious sins."

"Like what?"

"Well, she sells her body for money."

"How could she sell her body for money?"

"I don't want to discuss it."

Fortunately, Uncle Jack and Atticus's conversation about Maycombe's disease bored the girls and I was able to get the girls to give up Mockingbird without too much of a fight.

Tangential: Raise your hand if you think the coming forth of Harper Lee's 'new' book sounds fishy.  I'm excited to read it, but the library wait-list probably stretches into 2025.  I just hope it was really written by Harper Lee and not her editor or somebody else looking for a buck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Why Sam's Club Is Better than Costco

(This applies to the Overland Park, KS area.)

1. Better hours.  If you get the expensive membership, you should get perks.  Like being able to shop at 8:30 in the morning after you drop kids off at school.

2. Aisles are labelled.

3. Self checkout.

4. You can use your Discover card and rack up cash-back bonus points.

5. Better hours.  Costco wasn't open on the the 4th of July.  I hate it.  It's like they care about their employees more than they care about me.  I might as well be living in Europe.  Call me a selfish, evil capitalist.  I don't care.

6. The milk jugs at Costco are ridiculous.  I should take a picture. 

7. Costco eggs are more ridiculous.  I don't want to pay an exorbitant amount for 24 organic eggs, but I don't need 48 cheap eggs.

Why Costco is better than Sam's Club:

1. It's closer to my house.

2. Their boxes of granola bars don't include the gross, low-fat marshmallow ones no one in my family likes.

Costco better be serious about their "Satisfaction Guaranteed" membership.  I'm going back to Sam's.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Church's Response to Supreme Court Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

You've probably already read it  here.

Towards the end it reads, "Members who . . . have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves."

I know that is true.  Sometime around 2010, when we were living in Logan, UT, I was struggling with the Family Proclamation.  I wondered if the Church leaders had made a mistake.  (This is not a struggle my parents or grandparents would have had.  Bob Dylan was right: these times, they are a-changin'.)

One day I knelt by my bed and prayed about it, asking if maybe the Church leaders were wrong.  After the prayer, I looked down at the floor and saw my scriptures.  I opened them up and my eyes were drawn to these words in verse 4 of D&C section 32: "Give heed to that which is written, and pretend to no other revelation."  I knew through the Spirit this was my answer.  Also, there are more than 4600 pages in my quad.  The chances of my accidentally opening my scriptures to that exact page and my eyes accidentally going to those exact words are pretty slim.

Finally, I know God loves me.  He has given me help no one else ever has or ever could.  I know He loves all His children.  And I will trust that in His own due time, He "shall wipe away all tears."

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Anne's Baptism

Julia tried to sing with Anne, Claire and Zannah.  That's not what they had practiced so Claire pushed her away.  Julia threw herself on the floor and sobbed.  It's hard to be excluded.

"Charlotte," you ask, "why didn't you do your hair? Baptisms are important occasions."  I don't know. Don't ask rude questions.

Thursday, July 2, 2015



No (Metta taught her to say this with conviction.)
No (Nose)
Ssss (for worm or snake)
Baa Baa (and then she tries to sing the rest of 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, Have You Any
     Wool').  It's cute.
Ella (Nutella)
Bandy (Band-Aid)

She loves Band-Aids with all her heart.  She would gladly get scrapes every day of her life if it meant she could get another Band-Aid, which now she can't because we're all out.

The older kids still adore her and are so thrilled when she'll hug them good-night.

Julia loves iPads and iPhones and Nutella.  She has had way more sugar and screen time than the other kids got at her age, which should make me feel bad but doesn't.

There's my dad holding Metta and Julia in our Leawood, KS kitchen. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

new lows

Last week was the last week of school.  Jake was in England.  I was still recovering from the month of April, which I'll write about sometime soon.  I was pooped. 

Saturday night, it was 7:30 and Claire reminded me we hadn't eaten dinner yet.  I cooked some penne pasta and felt like a champ for getting some vegetables on the table.  But then, as I was taking the noodles to the table, the pan slipped and the noodles went all over the floor.  I just stood there staring.  Maybe the kids sensed I was nearing nuclear melt-down.  Maybe Claire couldn't violate the "Dinner has to be eaten before 8:00" rule.  I don't know.  But those kids said, "It's okay, Mom," and ATE OFF THE FLOOR.  As luck would have it, and before you start dry-heaving, be informed I had wiped up the floor in that spot earlier in the day.  Not that that prevented comments like, "I can't eat this one--there's something gross on it."

Monday, May 4, 2015

non-traditonal multiplication cards

One of my kids can't memorize multiplication facts the old-fashioned way.  Doesn't matter how many times we go through the flash cards, after 24 hours the facts are gone from the brain, leading to frustration all around.

We tried Right Brain Multiplication Cards from Diane Craft.  I'll give her this: it's a good idea.  I'll give you this: if your kid has this same problem, have the kid make up their own cards.  Trust me, his/her drawings will be just as good.  If he/she/you is/are an artist, they'll be much better.  Or do what we did, and don't make cards; just make up stories.

We like Harry Potter here, so I assigned every number a Harry Potter character.  For example: 7 is Ginny Weasley, 4 is Dumbledore, and 9 is Hermione.  The story that goes with 7 x 7 = 49 is this: Ginny said to herself, "Dumbledore must like Hermione more than me.  That's why he left her a book in his will.  He didn't leave me anything!"  Don't worry what morals your stories teach.  The objective is to get the facts memorized, and this works for my kid.   There.  I just saved you $35.

July 2015 update: never mind.  This idea doesn't stick much better than anything else.  I want to give up.

Friday, May 1, 2015

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

If you don't recognize that quote, start reading Jane Austen IMMEDIATELY.  You've yet to live.

Some years Lynsey orchestrates a home-made Christmas gift exchange among us siblings.  One year the theme was "make something that hangs from a car's rear-view mirror."  I still use and cherish the Star Trek ornament Swiss made for me.  However, the ornament you see below is falling apart and had to be thrown away.  Lex made it for Jake.  There used to be a word bubble above Jake's head that said, "What da hell?"  Lex kindly made it removable so we wouldn't have to expose the kids to cuss words if we didn't want to.

He photoshopped a wedding day pic and one of my bridal pics to create this masterpiece.  As you can see, some of my photos included close encounters with a tree.  Lex and Justin have gotten more punchlines from that photo shoot than from my Junior Miss video, and that's saying something.

nothing gold can stay

You might recall a true story at the end of this post about a little girl we'll call Becca.  Becca recently told her mom, "Some of the girls chase boys at school."

Mom: Do you do that?

Becca: No!

Mom: Do Meg and Hailey do that?

Becca, shrugging: I don't know.

Mom, concerned because last she'd heard, Becca, Meg, and Hailey were all best buds: Do you play by yourself now at recess?

Becca: Yeah.

Mom: Did Meg and Hailey start playing games you don't like?

Becca: I don't know the details so stop asking questions.

Mom emails the teacher, because she can't stand not knowing. 

Teacher writes back: Over the past month or so she has started to not play with her peers at recess. It’s not that the girls don’t want play with her. It seems Becca likes to play by herself. She won’t join a game or include herself into a game. If she is asked, she will join a game but she never pushes herself into the group. The kids (girls) like Becca so it’s not that. The boys are not mean to her either. I feel that it is the social interaction that is difficult for her. She does still go to the social group with Mrs. Mclean but it’s still pretty hard for her. I don’t think it helps that many of the girls in this grade level are powerful slightly pushy in a way ladies. I know that didn’t sound nice but hopefully you understand. Becca is not a pusher.

Mom is relieved bullying is not involved, and can relate to preferring one's own company, so she's not going to be too sad about it if Becca's not sad about it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Cat Miracle Trajedy

After battling rodents with a live trap, toxic gas, and a pest control company, we decided we'd better get a cat to deter the little brutes from coming back.  We went to a local animal shelter and adopted their only outdoor cat:

Her name was Peaches, but after a lively debate, 'Dragon,' 'Cringer,' and 'Battle Cat' were outvoted and she was rechristened Ginger.  Here's how Anne felt about bringing her home:

We decided we'd keep her confined to the back porch for five days so she'd accept this as her new home. 

On the morning of Day 3, after the big kids had gone to school, Julia and I took the cat into the back yard to get her used to it.  Before I knew it, Ginger had run away.  I was horrified and spent the whole day praying for her return.  When the kids got home and I confessed, they were heartbroken.  I told them Heavenly Father had sent ravens to feed Elijah and seagulls to save the Mormon Pioneers' crops, so he could send Ginger back to us.  If you had seen Anne, tears falling down her face, drop to her knees on the back porch and pray silently for that cat, your heart would have melted. 

You can imagine our delight when a few hours later, just before the kids went to bed, Anne discovered the cat back on the porch!  We were so thrilled and thankful.

Then morning came and I figured Ginger had probably come back because the 3 days on our porch had taught her this was her home.  She clearly wanted back out, so instead of starting her '5 Days on the Porch' therapy over, I opened the porch door so she could leave when she was done eating.

Long story short: she's gone, the kids are very sad, and I feel like an idiot.  I can't leave food out for her anymore because it's attracting racoons. 

Jake says she would have run away regardless, but thanks to how casually I treated an answer to our prayers, we'll never know.

I will never take credit for a miracle ever again.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Here's something from a dear and talented friend as we remember the most important event in Earth's history:

Cleave Unto the Lord

By Marcia Clegg Henderson

I am thy Shepherd.
I will lead thee unto green pastures
  beside still waters.
Follow me.
How could we ever turn away from such an One?
Who gathereth His children to feed and give them rest.

I am thy Comfort.
I will succor and I will heal thee
  in thine anguish.
How could we ever turn away from such an One?
He Who pleads to spare us before the throne of God.

I am thy Savior.
I have borne for thee thy sorrows
  and thy transgressions.
Believe on me.
How could we ever turn away from such an One?
In Him is our Salvation and Everlasting Life.

Let us cleave unto Him, love and adore Him,
  worship before Him.
Cleave, cleave unto the Lord.  Cleave unto the Lord
Cleave unto the Lord.

Copyright © 1989, 2015 by Marcia Clegg Henderson.   All rights reserved.
This text may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.
This notice must be included on each copy made.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Half Bath

Darn it all, the before picture was taken by a professional with a magic camera lens so no picture I take with my semi-functioning camera can compare.  You'll have to take my word for it when I tell you there was nowhere to go but up:  the wallpaper was peeling and coated with a yellowish (gag) film around the toilet and THE BATHROOM WAS CARPETED.