Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Shake off the Rust

It's crazy to think that for the last year and half, I haven't so much as touched my blog.  On the one hand, it's completely understandable because life has been busy.  On the other hand it's sad because I need writing in my life.  It makes such a difference for me to write and write publicly.  I must admit that I feel rusty, not writing here for the last year and a half.  But I've had so many ideas swirling about what I want to write that it seems like I've got to get back in the groove.  For time's sake, here are some general life updates in the last 18 months.

  • After one year as camp cook, I got called to be Camp Director. (If I put an emoji in here, it would be the one staring at you with giant eyeballs.) 
  • I applied for Graduate School
  • I got in!  
  • I've finished my first semester at Sam Houston State University
  • Emma graduated from high school.
  • All the kids got older.
  • Everyone's eyes are kind of holding their own. (Except my mom.  She was recently diagnosed with macular degeneration.) 
  • My grandma, Carolyn Kirkwood, passed away in July. 
My graduate degree is in Sociology.  Sociology is similar to Anthropology or Behavioral Economics (Pro tip: it has nothing to do with social work) and is the study of human behavior.  I'm especially interested in Sociology of education, so I'm working on classes that would support that emphasis such as Sociology of Family, Community and Gender.  This semester I took my first research class and I've fallen completely in love.  I can't tell you how long I've ached to do this sort of research and I have so much that I'd like to share just from the first class. 

But for now, I'm here.  Moving around a little and, like the tin man on Wizard of Oz, I'm trying to oil my joints and get the rust off. 


Sunday, July 03, 2016

Girls Camp

The summer of 1993 I sat by the fire at Camp Shalom and bore my testimony to the girls in my ward. I was about to start my senior year of high school.  It was one of those bitter-sweet moments. I was putting away things of my childhood and preparing to be an adult.

My love of girl's camp has never waned.  But time has passed.  I graduated from high school, started BYU, married, graduated, got a job, had kids.  I did a lot of things, but I never made it back to camp.  The call of camp became stronger as my oldest daughter Emma turned 12 and got to go.  Year by year she went to camp and came back with stories and memories and I ached to join her.  I dropped hints to the YW president and others that I would be game to go to camp.  But for naught.

It was now May of 2016.  Girls Camp was a mere 6 weeks away.  Emma is 17 and this would be her final year at camp.  A counselor in our bishopric, Lyle Snell, asked if I could have a quick meeting with him in the clerk's office.  Church was starting in 5 minutes.  My heart dropped. I've been serving in the Primary Presidency for over 3 years and at our January presidency meeting, Brother Snell reminded us that we don't get to keep callings forever.  Even callings we love. So it was with some trepidation that I entered that clerk's office.  I could only keep thinking about how much I was going to miss the Primary kids.

"I would like to extend a temporary calling," Brother Snell said.  I was surprised. I wasn't being released!  I told him as much.

"We would like to extend a calling to be camp cook."

My immediate reaction (which is likely not appropriate) was that I punched my fist in the air and yelled, "YES!"  Then it hit me that we shouldn't "fist pump" and yell when we get callings.  I covered my mouth.

"Sorry," I said.  "It's just I'm very excited for this calling."

Brother Snell smiled.

I returned to my seat in the chapel.  I grinned and waggled my eyebrows at Emma.  I didn't even have time to whisper tell anyone about the new assignment I was being given.  But when they called my name--much to Wendell's surprise--I think Emma fist pumped too.  I was going to camp!

Stay or Go

I just found this old post.  I think it's from April 2015.  Even though, I don't think the Duggars issues are relevant, I kinda like what I wrote about following God's will.  

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There's been a lot of talk on the social inter web about the Duggars.  But one post, in particular has really bothered me. (You can find it here.) See, in this post the author, whom I'll call "Jessica" (largely because it's her name), thinks that Anna Duggar is in the worst possible position she could be in.

Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother.

I'll get behind Jessica 100% that no post-high school is a problem.  The glory of God is intelligence and we have a responsibility to get as much education as we can.  But she's what, 27, at most? (Josh was born in 1988 and I doubt that Anna is older than Josh.) It's not like her life is over or she's somehow unable to get more education.  Would it have been better or certainly easier to get a degree immediately after high school?  No question.   But it's also ridiculous to throw our hands in the air at the plight of someone who has yet to crest 30. She has time.  She can definitely go get and education if she wants it or feels she needs it.

It's the next sentence that I have the biggest beef with.  "Anna Duggar was taught that her...the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife and mother." That's not a false teaching.  Even if being a wife and mother isn't her sole purpose, it's definitely the most meaningful. Why are we throwing motherhood under the bus?  Additionally, why are we tarnishing wife-hood and that of chastity while we're at it?  It is THE WEIRDEST way to talk out of both sides of your mouth, while on one hand shaming Josh for his affairs and on the other hinting that being a little less chaste might be more healthy for Jessica. It makes absolutely no sense.

Jessica goes on to state that Anna can't divorce because of her religious beliefs.  How does Jessica know?   Was there some sort of Duggar show on "no divorce."  Is it a common practice among Baptists to "blame" and "ostracize" divorcees? I couldn't begin to weigh in on her religious practices or beliefs, but I have a hard time believing that divorce would be off the table.  On the other hand, why is divorce our immediate go-to as a society?  I know people whose marriages have survived some pretty rough patches who are now saying, "Oh yeah! Anna should leave him!" And if she stays, there's a tongue-clicking, head-shaking, she's-so-stupid mentality.  As if commitment means nothing and vows are just words we say, but when the going gets tough it should be every woman for herself.

This is not to say that I have any judgement for divorcees.  I have no idea what you've been through, and more importantly, I have no idea what God has directed you to do.  I believe that there are wonderful, righteous, Godly people, who find themselves divorced.  I trust that each person prayed their way through this incredibly difficult trial and that they made the best decisions they could as they worked to follow God's will.

But that doesn't take anything away from those who are led to stay.  There are those who have challenges in their marriages and when they beg God to release them, He says, "Trust me.  Stay for a little while longer."  Why should we look at those who stay with disdain and celebrate only those who leave?  I'm going to celebrate all those who follow God.  And if the answer is to leave, I will celebrate that you left.  Not because you left, but because you followed God.  But if the answer is to stay, I'm going to celebrate it just as much.  I celebrate those who follow God and seek do to his will.