Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hail to the Redskins!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Power of Womanhood

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on the role of women and the power that we possess.  I have been reflecting a lot on the power of the doctrine of the Gospel and how it relates to women.  Also I have found some new and amazing insights that I want to share.  Firstly, if you are not Mormon, you have a different understanding of the Bible than we do.  Sure men are more prevalent in its history and through misunderstandings of different roles frequently we see women mistreated throughout history.  We believe that clearly some of the Gospel has not been correctly recorded or has been lost over thousands of years.   But the true and pure doctrine of the Gospel is so empowering!

Firstly, we believe we are all spirit children of Heavenly Parents, a Father AND a Mother.  Together our Heavenly Parents are God.  In the scriptures we read that God created us in his image "male and female".  Yes, She is not mentioned specifically in the Bible.  Often the Bible has very deep doctrines that are not always spelled out.  Think of the saying "I am the God of Abraham, The God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."  That is used over and over and over in the old testament.  It was not until Christ was speaking with people who questioned the reality of the resurrection that he repeated the phrase and added that God was not the God of the dead but of the living.  Zing!  We believe that the lack of Heavenly Mother being discussed is because Heavenly Father will not allow her children to speak her name in vain.  It is rare that I ever hear my husband raise is voice to our children.  However, if my daughter is ever rude or says something unkind to me you better believe that that will cause him to be angry.  He will not tolerate his child saying ANYTHING rude to me.  If he gets that angry over it, how would Heavenly Father react to such a thing?  It would be completely unacceptable.

All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally sons and daughters of Deity.
--President Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund (Mormon Doctrine)

As children of God, we believe that we are heirs to the kingdom and "joint Heirs with Christ"  What then, is an Heir?  Someone who grows up to inherit all that their parents have.  Someone who becomes like their parents.  This may be controversial to some outside of the church.  But if we are children of our Heavenly Parents, why would we not grow to become like them?  Why would be not receive our own kingdoms?

Moving on to Mother Eve who represents one of the most powerful examples of Womanhood that we have in the scriptures.  Note that the creation of Eve was the final act which God performed during that creation period.  She is the Mother of all living.  There are a lot of misunderstandings about Eve in the world, and that is unfortunate.  Remember that in the Garden there were two trees placed.  The Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil (with its importance in creating our existence).  Then there was the Tree of Life which indeed existed to give eternal life.  Eve made the brave choice to partake of the fruit to know good and evil which we believe was absolutely necessary.  She chose the fruit first.  She chose her responsibility and role of Womanhood.  Think of it, the creation of life was brought into the world only because of this brave act!  How powerful is that to hold 'The Mother of All Living' as her title.  In the book of Mormon we read "Adam fell that man might be".  In this case, 'Adam' can be used to refer to both Adam and Eve or indeed just to Adam.  This can be thought of similarly to the tradition women take the name of their husbands when married.  If that is the case, then this scripture is referring to both of them.  Eve took the fruit once Satan "beguiled her." Beguiling not meaning tricked but more so 'troubled in spirit'.  She knew there was no other way for her to bring her children into this world.  She chose the supremely important task of doing this by partaking of the fruit.  Adam then was correctly convinced that he must also do so to remain with her.  Then came Adam's role with the other Tree, the Tree of Life.  As Eve was first to partake of the Tree, Adam then become responsible to his children to partake of Tree of Life, in a sense.  Not the sense that this must be immediately done so God protected him from making that mistake at the time.  He was to take the responsibility of receiving the Priesthood to preform MOST of the ordinances necessary to get back to God and receive Eternal Life.

So, in terms of parenthood, Woman is responsible for the physical birth, and man responsible for the spiritual birth.  Both of which are completely important tasks.  As we have learned in the Doctrine and Covenants, "the body AND the Spirit are the soul of man." Does that mean we do either one alone?  I sure hope not.

As a Woman who has two children I have had the opportunity to give birth twice.  The first time I had an epidural and this may sound weird to a lot of people, I feel like I missed out a bit on that one.  It was still an empowering experience, don't get me wrong.  But, during the birth of my second child, I worked to learn and prepare myself for how the birth process could (perhaps should?) be.  It was the MOST powerful and empowering experience of my life.  I chose not to have the epidural that time.  And you know what?  Pushing was joy, it was work, but when my body was ready I wanted to do it.  I was mentally prepared for it.  I honestly did not feel pain, like I did during my first labor.  I gave birth to a 10 lb. 4 oz. baby without an epidural.  Now, when I am faced with something I think I cannot handle, I remember that and then I know I can do it.  I read recently a woman who felt that giving birth was an ordinance.  When I think about it, this makes a lot of sense to me.  In our church we are sealed for time and all eternity in our temples, if we chose to be.  Children born to such a union are considered to be born under the covenant that we make as husband and wife.  Just as men must be worthy to preform ordinances in the priesthood, women must keep their covenants in order to have their children born under the covenant.  What does this mean?  If a child is not born under the covenant, they must have that ordinance performed later.  This may be different from how we traditionally think of ordinances, but it sure seems an awful lot like an ordinance to me.

Some people argue that marriage is outdated, and that it is oppressive.  I argue that if it is done correctly it is amazing.  It is the most important relationship and results are breathtaking.  In our church we indeed feel that men should take the spiritual lead in the family.  Does that mean that men are somehow 'in charge' over everything?  NO WAY!  There is no one whose opinion I think more highly of than my husband.  He would never do something that I did not agree with or support, nor would I.  In this day and age of broken families and men who do not take responsibility for the children they create, this is one of the most powerful doctrines.  It means men MUST keep themselves worthy to lead in spiritual matters.  It means that we completely become one.  If a woman asks for her husband's opinion or advice and she shows that she values it, he will have the desire to always give good council.  Women control so much.  There are quotes from our church's history that are reflective of some of the misogynistic views of culture in general at the time, sure.  But there are also many quotes much ahead of their time, like this one from Brigham Young.  “There is an immense amount of talent, and I may say of real sound statesmanship within a community of ladies; and if they would only train their minds, and exercise the rights and privileges that are legitimately theirs, and would contemplate subjects that they now pass over and never think about, they would find they have an immense amount of influence in guiding, directing, and controlling human affairs.”

He also encouraged women to work and earn wages and clearly be educated.  Women in Utah fought for the right of suffrage and would likely have been the 1st state to get it.  Unfortunately the politics of the time prevented this from happening and it wasn't until Utah received full statehood that they were able to do so.  So instead the became the 2nd state to adopt suffrage.

Regarding women working. Before the industrial revolution much of the work was done by families together.  It was not necessary for women and men to work outside the home as often their homes were the place of work.  They worked together along side their children.  Women have ALWAYS worked.  Businesses were generally considered family businesses.  People would live above their shops or on their farms.  There were exceptions sure, and I know I speak in generalities.  But women and men for that matter did not used to have to chose between home and work or children and work.  Then times changed and as with all change we are left with decisions.

Right now I chose to stay at home with my children.  I also chose to pursue more education as I do that.  I am happy.  I honestly really, really, really like it.  Are there days when I am bored?  Sure.  Are there days when I am depressed?  Sure.  Drew sees that it is his responsibility to earn enough money so that I don't have to work.  As such, I have the opportunity to make this choice, but he would support me if I chose to work.  We are very blessed for him to have a great job at this time.  Yet even in spite of having that job he often feels dread at the idea of having to work every day for the next 30+ years.  Does he get depressed? Sure.  Does he feel under appreciated at work? You bet.  Do I feel under appreciated?  No not at all!  Why?  Because I am constantly told how much I am appreciated.  Everyday and several times a day I am told 'thank you', 'I love you', and how much I am appreciated.  Not only by Drew but also by Anna.  She so so so often tells me she loves me!  Randomly.  Not after I have told her.  She often tells me "You are the best mommy in the whole world."  Who wouldn't feel appreciated?  When she gets older that may not happen as much, but I hope it will.  I was never really the rebellious type and I always wanted to spend time with my parents and hang out with them.  Who wouldn't?  They are great!

Being the breadwinner in a family is not the end all and be all of self actualization.  To me, staying home with young children is important.  To me, staying home with children does not include the housework.  Honestly, Drew and I do the same amount of jobs around the house.  I realized the difference that having a mother who stayed at home made when I was in high school.  I was once in a class and the teacher asked by a show of hands how many of us had mothers that stayed at home.  Two of us raised our hands!  We were the top students in the class.  Does that mean that I think if mothers work their children won't be good students?  No, not at all.  But it made me realize that for me having a mother who stayed home made a huge difference in my life.  When someone spends that much time showing you that they care for and love you, how can you not feel valued?

Now are there inequalities in the world between men and women, yes.  These are very evident in our society.  Do they exist at church?  I would say so, both real or perceived.  But the differences come from the culture at the time the church was restored, I honestly believe that.  Think about it.  The church quite literally was cut off from society when they HAD to flee west under penalty of death.  A lot of the things that have crept into our culture have come from that.  They were cut off from the rest of society for a long time.  As the church has grown, change happens at a slower pace than it did in the beginning.  The influences of society have always influenced what people pray about.  The word of wisdom for instance came about because of prayer regarding things that were cultural.  Most things came about because of praying and receiving answers to those prayers. But not everything we have at church was the result of revelation.  Much of it came culturally, especially those that resulted from the attitudes and cultures of the times.  Society in general has often favored the male gender in a lot of ways.   But that is changing and will continue to change.  Will Women get the priesthood?  No, I don't expect them to and as I have said above I don't think there would be any doctrinal foundation for it and quite honestly it wouldn't make sense.

Currently, I am studying accounting/finance as well as computers.  One day I do intend to go back to work and I want to have the skills to compete in the working world when I do.  But on the other hand I may not go back to work.  We may chose to use my skills coupled with my husband's to bring him back home and have a family run business.  Time will tell.  As for right now, I am happy, I feel valued, and I feel empowered.  I am grateful to be a woman and I feel so much power in it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Summer Photo Roundup

A Glimps into our future

We were able to go see David Gorman perform and meet him!

We took Trips to the reservior to feed the ducks

It was a bit gray but a lot of fun

Anna and Lizzie playing at our greeat friends the Anderson's house

Anna is becoming a wall climbing expert

One of our family walks, we do get sun here

Our garden bounty

Drew's got this covered, I got to carry the camera, nice and light

Anna and her friend Winter brushing the pigs at the local farm park

Big Girls in baby swings

Born to be wild

These girls can climb

Anna being brave and touching a baby chick, this is huge for her!

maybe she was born to be a farmer

hay maze

the girls and some animal friends

nice way to end our journey


the closest ice cream farm about 3 miles away opened up their tea room!

watching a movie

a story

teeth brushing

off to bed as winter's parents picked her up late

We went to a pick your own farm and our friends pulled up right when we arrived!

Lizzie picking some

Fun times at the farm

bouncy castle at Drew's work bbq

Olypics at church, bike race!

Lizzie may have need a little help

Anna and her friend in a 3 legged race

Beautiful rainbow, we see them moften but if you look closely it is double rainbow

Painting nails with a friend

Lizzie's first time on the back of Daddy's bike

Run for your life!

We build some amazing lego creations, our robot

explored the children's centre, in a spacey tent


Planting or garden

working together

it was a bit messy

the girls were a lot of "help"

the local park (could maybe uses a mowing)

a never ending race, it was a tie if your are wondering

first trip to the eye doctor, great vision

picking the wild black berries on our evening walks near our house

strollin' together

finding mroe blackberries

the woods near our house returning from the creek

Anna ran all that way all for getting a bonus blackberry!

an end to the journey

we got the ole car out, it is still living in our front room

we made some hairy hot dogs which are fabulouos btw

Drew was putting Lizzie to sleep, he gave up and just went to sleep himself, this is how I found them, she is like squating

So we did loads of stuff had lots of fun and I can't wait to have Anna back home for her half term holiday week, but I am enjoying the one to one time with Lizzie who is learning and developing and is a really fun girl.  A fun girl who is bursting with excitement and says "nanna nanna" and crawls quickly to the door when I say it is time to go pick her up.  She sure loves her big sister and misses her loads, we both do!