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.  


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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Benefits of an Accountability Partner

After I read the book Done and Done, I knew that having and accountability partner would be a huge help in my life.  As an Obliger, I would now be obliged to be accountable for what I was doing.  I admit that it has surprised me just how well I can now stick to goals that were very, very difficult before.

Let's take exercise as an example.  This, for me, is an incredibly easy habit to break, even when I've been successfully doing it for months at a time.  A change of season (whether of the year or of life), a change of schedule, even a minor interruption on a single day can derail my exercise goal completely.  And in the passage of time that it would take to snap your fingers, I suddenly can't figure out how to get to the gym even though I'd been successfully going for months.

Part of why I think I'm easily discouraged on this one is my weight.  I'm overweight and I know it.  I work pretty hard not to make that a big focus of my life.  I work to make healthy choices in what I eat and to exercise regularly. But I must admit that these seem to be small things when compared to the obstacle before me.

I have had a bunch of stuff that could easily set me back this year including back problems that I haven't had before.  But having an accountability partner means that someone besides me sees how hard I am trying.  She sees how much effort I put in.  She honors and encourages that effort every day.  This one witness makes all the difference.  Sometimes when I talk with doctors or others, I think they're thinking, "Yeah, right.  Like she works out that much..."  But knowing that Kari knows. That she actually knows which days I get to the gym, how long I'm there, the walks I take on day I can't get to the gym, etc. gives me a confidence and encouragement that I hadn't had before.

I honestly have no idea if accountability partnering is helping Kari or not, but I'm so grateful that she's jumped into this with me.  If you're thinking of having an accountability partner, but don't know who to ask, here's some questions I asked myself before talking to Kari.

1. Who is in a similar phase of life?  While I think that it might be possible to have an accountability partner who is notably older or younger than you, I felt like it would be best to be well matched.

2. Who has a similar schedule?  I have some wonderful friends who are ambitious and goal driven, but work full time.  They're likely not going to be able to text often during the day to either report or give feedback.  (e.g. I can't really imagine my a dear friend who is a teacher pausing her 1st grade class to text "Good job!" when I'm done at the gym.)

3. Who can text often?  Kari and I don't text much on the weekends--Sunday's almost not at all--but the rest of the week we text each other 15-30 times per day, both reporting our progress and encouraging each other.  

4. Who has similar goals?  Kari and I both have a blog, like marketing,  are invested in public education by helping in classes, PTA, etc.  We have a similar number of kids who are of similar ages. We have found that we often are driving carpool on the same day. We both love being stay-at-home moms, but have interest in entering the work force at some point.  Maybe.  It depends on how well the work-at-home stuff can go. This is a lovely place for both of us.

5. Who do you like, but don't naturally see often?  Kari and I live on opposite sides of the same city.  Our sons (her 1st and my 3rd) were in a gifted program together for 3 years. And then they went to junior high.  Our boys will go to different high schools and none of the rest of our kids line up.  Except for a chance meeting or deliberate scheduling, Kari and I don't run into each other much.  I think that's actually a helpful characteristic. I really don't think I could have a neighbor or ward member successfully be my accountability partner.

6. Who is supportive, but not judgmental?  If I take a nap or read a book, I need someone to say, "Way to go!  You took time for yourself!  That's so important."  You have to be honest.  This needs to be someone you can say, "I've been on Twitter for the last hour and I need to get going." without feeling overly embarrassed. 

7. Be flexible to stop being partners if it's no longer helpful.  When we began, we agreed to try this for a month or so, then talk about it.  We adapt as we go (not texting on Sundays) and we can stop being partners at any time.  We're also going to have to figure out how to get through vacations and other pauses. If there's one thing that I know for sure, it's that having an accountability partner is helping me not only reach my goals, but also my potential.