Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I had a dream

It's no secret that being pregnant gives me some super crazy dreams.  With M it was nine months of flying, chasing, shooting dreams.  This time around I dream about lots and lots of people, most of whom I haven't seen in years.  This morning I dreamed about Scott and being rescued.  If you hang with me for just a second I promise there's a point to this.  In my dream we were driving in a canyon and had to go over a bridge which had incidentally started to crumble in some sort of landslide.  It was terrifying.  There were people everywhere needing to be rescued.  The place where we were wasn't safe and for some unknown dream reason we couldn't just drive out.  There was an avalanche coming in minutes (did I mention it was winter and in my dream you could time when an avalanche would come?).  It seemed we were all doomed.  And then I lost my husband.  I was shouting and running around like a mad woman.  I thought he ditched me to escape. After a few minutes (pause on the avalanche?) he came back.  He didn't escape, he came to the rescue.  On a motorcycle.  He made me get on and drive.  I wanted him to drive me, but he wouldn't.  He had more vehicles and there was more rescuing to be done.  He knew I could do it.  If I went on my own we would all be ok.  And I did it.  And I made it.  And people were rescued.  I was thrilled at all we accomplished.  And I woke up furious.  Where was my knight in shining armor?  Why didn't he listen to me when I said I was too afraid to drive on my own?  Why did he leave me?  I couldn't stop thinking about it all morning.  And then I realized that I married Scott, at least in part, because he's not a knight in shining armor and I'm not a damsel in distress. 

A few years ago I was reading book reports at a high school where I was doing some clinical work.  Most of the reports were on Twilight.  What I read terrified me.  High school girls praising these books, saying they were so glad to know there were men like Edward in the world.  They each wanted to hold out till they could be fragile, terrified, Bella Swan and their very own Edward came to the rescue.  Bleh.  I wanted to shout at these girls and shake them awake.  They can do better!  Women are not weak!  When a man sneaks into your room and watches you sleep it's creepy, not romantic! 

Scott was not my Edward.  He's way better than that.  He'll tell me to get on a motorcycle and ride because he knows I can do it.  He pushes me, in a good way, to try to new things and to grow.  And if I need a hand, he's always there to give it to me.  He respects my opinions and encourages my interests.  When it was time for us to decide if I would stay home with our daughter or work, it wasn't an automatic decision.  He recognized that there are things outside of being a mother that I love and am good at, and he respected that.  We talked a lot about it and decided together. He recognized and respected that for me staying home would be a sacrifice.  I know he would have respected and supported me if we decided I should go to work.  That's what I need as a woman, respect and support, not rescue.  If he respects and supports me I know he'll be there to catch me when I fall, and then help me up so I can try again.  In my dream he didn't neglect me.  I thought for a moment because he didn't treat me like stupid Bella Swan that he wasn't showing love for me.  But he sought me out first, showing me I was his first priority, the thing he loved the very most.  And then he had the confidence in me to let me go on my own.  He could see I didn't need to be carried.  Maybe I'm reading way too much into a silly dream, but I can't stop thinking about it.  I married the best kind of man.  Sure, sometimes I pine for a little more sappy romance in my life, but I wouldn't trade what I have for anything.

I wish the girls who are waiting for Edward could see what it's like to be with a Scott instead.  I wish that they could see how much greater it is to ride together as equal partners holding hands than to be carried all the time and put down as something weak or inferior.  I hope someday M finds a guy who respects and loves her because she's great and strong and wonderful, not because she needs to be rescued and makes him feel macho.  I hope this new little man that's about to join our family finds a girl someday who is great and strong and wonderful and loves him because they love being together and respect one another. 

I guess what I'm saying is, in the end I just want to ride off into the sunset holding hands, not being carried. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

they ran

Yesterday during Sacrament meeting as a speaker was briefly recounting the story of Christ's resurrection the Spirit brought to my memory a young women lesson we had a couple of months ago.  We were talking about the Plan of Salvation and I was with a group of girls assigned to read and talk about the resurrection.  We read the account from Matthew.  I was struck then and again yesterday by verse 8 "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy: and did run to bring his disciples word." 

Mary and Mary were the first to hear the news that Christ had risen.  They were the first to see the living Christ.  They loved him.  They knew him.  They were true disciples.  When they had the opportunity to tell the news they did not hesitate.  They did not walk quietly.  They were not concerned that the apostles might be offended that they weren't told first, or that the angel didn't appear to them.  They felt fear, but joy also, and so they ran. 

As I was pondering this the Spirit testified to me that I know Christ.  I love him.  I have a testimony of his gospel.  It makes me feel joy.  Do I run to share the news or do I let fear conquer my joy?  I can do better.  I am so thankful for the Easter holiday.   I'm thankful that I was able to sing praises to my Savior and feel the Spirit confirm to me again that He indeed lives.  I have a testimony that because He lives we will all conquer death and my family can be eternal.  He paid the price for my sins.  He knows my weaknesses.  He has suffered all of my pains.  He loves me.  This knowledge brings me joy.  I am thankful for brave women before me who have had the courage to run and tell the good news. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


So April.  That was a while ago.  I didn't stop thinking about things, don't worry about that.  I just stopped writing about things.  It's been a crazy good time for my little family.  The dad in the house graduated and got a real job in his field (hallelujah!  We are so blessed!).  We bought a house.  We moved.  We painted.  We played our guts out with family and friends all summer long.  We celebrated another anniversary.  Our baby turned two.   I've survived two trimesters of pregnancy.  Life has been amazingly good to us.  We are happy. 

I don't always do well with change.  I'm a planner.  I like calendars and check lists and routine.  I've had a hard time finding my rhythm again with so much change so suddenly in my life.  Most of the time that's what I think about.  Finding rhythm and balance.  It's a little bit crazy and kind of overwhelming to so suddenly go from being starving students in a cheap apartment in a college town to being real grownups in a house with a garage in a neighborhood full of other real grownups with children (plural) and real jobs and, and, and.  Please don't take this as whining or complaining.  I love my life.  I love our new home and I especially love our new neighborhood.  I'm just trying to say that with all the adjusting and trying to feel on top of things again my balance, and especially my writing, have suffered.  Terribly.  And it's terribly painful to write right now because I'm so out of practice.  So forgive me for that.  But the truth is, I need to write.  I need to put thoughts on paper (or screen) to get them out of my head where I can make some sense of them.  I need to exercise my brain before it turns into play dough.  So I guess I'm saying I'm back.  And I hope you'll be patient with me while I find my voice again.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Repeat Offender

I often find myself coming to the Lord in prayer repenting for some sin for the 800th time and telling him that this time it's going to be different.  This time, I really do want to change this behavior.  I plead for his help in doing so.  I ask to recognize the promptings of the Spirit to gain strength as I try to change these behaviors.  And then I do great.  For a day, or a week, or maybe even a month.  And then those stinky little behaviors worm their way back into my life.  Habits that can't quite be rooted out.  And I find myself on my knees again.  Serious this time, I'm sure.

I'm certain I'm not the only repeat sinner in the world.  And I'm also certain that I probably can't lick every sin I recognize in one try.  But watching conference this weekend I realized (have you noticed that this blog is turning into the things I realize blog?  Perhaps I should rename it...) that my approach is often wrong.  When Donald L. Halstrom said that it's possible to be active in the church, but not the gospel, he really caught my attention.  I often focus too much on behavior and not enough on the cause of that behavior, good or bad.  I thought about Elder Uchtdorf telling us last Relief Society broadcast to remember the why of the gospel.  Actions truly are a symptom of something deeper.

During the stuff they have on between sessions on Sunday I was also struck by a sister talking about her road to overcoming her addiction to food.  She talked about the 12 step program being focused on having a change of heart.  She said she initially went with the intent to change her behavior,  not her heart.  Light bulb!  I go to the Lord and ask him to change my behavior, but I keep that little corner of my heart that was causing it, closed.  So of course it creeps back into my life.  Asking the Lord to help me change my behavior and not my heart is like asking a doctor to only treat the symptoms of a disease when he has the capacity to cure it.

I read this morning from Alma 5 about the mighty change of heart that comes with being converted to the gospel.  I hope my actions are good, but not because I want to live the gospel like some checklist, not because I want others to see that I'm a good member of the church, not because I'm afraid of the consequences if I miss a step. I hope my actions are good because they are a symptom of my heart being fully converted to and active in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Even Nephi Needed Grace

A few weeks ago I had the chance to study 2 Nephi 4 in my personal study, our family study, and in Sunday school. I have always loved this passage of scripture.  The language is beautiful.  Nephi is honest and real.  My heart breaks for him in his tragic situation.  He just lost his father and now his brothers who he should be mourning with are becoming even more like enemies.  He starts his song in sorrow and ends by praising the Lord and reaffirming his faith. I've always looked up to Nephi as a perfect example.  I wish I had his faith, his obedience, his talent for pondering, and so many other things.

This time I saw something I hadn't noticed before in this chapter.  In verses 31-32 Nephi is asking the Lord to redeem his soul despite his shortcomings, "O Lord, wilt thou redeem my soul?  Wilt thou deliver me out of the hands of mine enemies?  Wilt thou make me that I may shake at the appearance of sin? 
May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite!..." I have always and will continue to always look up to Nephi for his strength; however, in this passage he didn't cite his strength as merit for his salvation.  He pleaded to Heaven to be saved because his heart was broken and his spirit contrite.  He didn't say save me because I was the only one who was obedient.  He didn't say save me because I never lost faith.  He didn't say save me because my trials have been so hard.  He said save me because I'm doing all that I can do and repenting for the rest.  He understood and relied wholly on the Atonement of Jesus Christ for his salvation. 

I can and should look up to Nephi but I don't need to worry that I'm not as good as Nephi.  I'll probably never be as obedient and my faith will probably falter in ways his never did.  I may never learn to receive revelation the way he did.  But it doesn't matter.  The Lord asks for all we can do and then says his grace is sufficient for the rest.  My best and Nephi's best may not be the same, but the grace of Christ applies to us both equally.  I too can pray to be saved because my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite.  I can't be perfect on my own.  With Nephi I can rejoice in the strength of my Savior and pray for strength to become better.  The gospel of Jesus Christ isn't about comparing, it's not about being as good as someone else or meeting certain bench marks of righteousness to attain salvation.  It's about creating a partnership with our Savior and learning to live our lives with him.

Friday, February 24, 2012

clarity of thought, or wo unto the hyprocites, or my political repentance

The process of writing often helps me realize what it is I really think about something.  When I was a student writing papers it often occurred that I would finish up all 10 pages (why are papers always 10 pages?  And why was that never enough room for me?  Thoughts for another day...), write my conclusion, and then find my real thesis.  The next draft would start with the preceding draft's conclusion as introduction and the process would begin again.  Eventually I figured out what I really thought.

As I been pondered the last angry political post I realized, gasp, that I have some political repenting to do.  And not just about writing about a conversation without first asking the person (sorry sister-in-law's husband!).  I realized, although I think I've known it all along and just chose not to think too much about it, that my attitude is a big fat part of what I see as political problems.  I rant and rave about the blame game and polarization and extreme politics and then I sit on my tush and choose to do nothing.  I distance myself from voters who are willing to actively engage in the political process and stick my tongue out at them.  I won't play until they come to my playground.  I want a political party to look and think just like me before I'll step on board.  But here's the thing, it's never going to look or think anything close to me if I don't dive in and share what I think.  I complain about extreme politics, but people who are extremely conservative and extremely liberal are the only ones voting (hyperbole, I know).  Politicians appeal to the people who elect them.  If I want something different then I need to be loud enough that someone wants to appeal to me. 

So here's my plan: I'm not hiding from politics anymore.  I'm diving in.  I'm going to do something everyday to inform myself.  I'm not going to stop reading or change the radio station because I don't like the way someone is talking about something.  I'm going to push my anger aside and listen.  I'm going to try to see past the extreme way people talk about politics and see what the heart of the matter is.  I know I can't know everything, that's why we live in a Republic, folks.  But I can try to learn as much as is prudent for me in my situation.  And then I'm going to join a party.  And I'm going to vote in the primary.  And by a party, I mean the Republican party.  It's just that it still makes me a little queasy to think about and writing it makes it real.   This does not mean I will always vote strait ticket Republican and it does not mean that I love the Tea Party.  I'm joining this party because I feel it closer resembles me than the other alternatives.  I do plan on being as involved as I can be.  Like (eventually) getting involved at the local level and all that jazz. Because that's where my opinions can really be heard and actually mean something.  I'm going to stop letting other people's votes count for me.  

Maybe this isn't the best place or time, but I still do have issues with the party I'm about to join I need to get off my chest before I make the leap.  The hardest thing for me is that I feel like this party often misses that policy applies to people.  Social issues like immigration, abortion, same sex marriage, and even health care reform are not black and white issues to me.  I don't believe in abortion as a practice, but my heart aches for the woman who can't see another option.  I believe in the sanctity of traditional family, but it hurts when I see people who love each other and are denied basic rights that can be attained through a simple legal contract.  I believe in the law, but I also believe that immigrants are people, most of whom come here with noblest of intentions.  I'm not sure how I feel about health care reform, I do know that I'm an uninsured American and sometimes it sucks.  I don't necessarily disagree with Republican ideas on these issues, I do disagree with the way these issues are talked about.  Would it hurt to have a little compassion and recognize that we're messing with the way people make decisions and live their lives?  Can we acknowledge that these issues are complex and there's more than one side to the story and there might be more than one right answer and that any right answer will probably include compromise?  And can we please take notice that real people with real families live in countries with sucky governments we choose to go to war with? 
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. 

Now that the confession is over, I need your help.  Where do you get your information?  What's your favorite way to stay informed?  I don't have all day to read, but I don't want to only read one perspective either.  Do you have a favorite news station or political blog?  Is there a great podcast I can subscribe to?  Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hi, my name is Kayce, and I'm not a Republican

A few weeks ago at a birthday party for my husband's grandfather, my sister-in-law's husband (holy smokes that was a lot of family relationships) asked me who I would be voting for in the upcoming Republican Primary.  I wrongly told him I hadn't yet decided and then proceeded to launch into all of my political frustrations and anger.  I feel kind of badly for the way the conversation went.  He had no idea (nor did I for that matter) what was coming when he asked me such a simple question.  But I also feel badly that I gave the wrong answer.  I told him I hadn't yet made up my mind because I was on political hiatus and knew nothing about anyone.  Oops, the correct answer is: I won't be voting for anyone because I won't be voting in the Republican primary.  I'm not a Republican.  Please don't stone me.  At this point in my life I choose to not affiliate with a political party.  My ideas are all still young and my frustrations with parties are much too intense for me to make that kind of leap.  If it were an open primary, I'm certain I would vote in it.  I voted in the Democratic primary in 08 because I could.  Please, put your stones down and hear me out here.

One of my biggest frustrations with party politics right now is the big fat blame game.  I've come out of my political hiding and started listening to the news again in the mornings when I go to the gym.  This is only a small step I know, but it is a step.  Let me sum up for you what I heard this morning.  Republicans say that every single thing bad that has ever happened since 2008 is a direct result of President Obama.  Republicans also say that any good thing that has ever happened since 2008 happened in spite of President Obama.  Really, folks?  Is this how we're talking about our world now?  I'm not in love with President Obama's politics, and I'm not dismissing any blame (anyone else see my blame as ironic in this post?) from democrats.  What I'm saying is, WE NEED TO GROW UP!  I'm guessing that a large part, maybe even most, of what happened good or bad since 2008 has little to do with President Obama.  I hear people saying the President can't create jobs, but they'll only vote for someone who can create jobs.  The President has to cut spending and balance the budget, but please don't take away any services or find ways to increase revenue (I get that a lot of money is wasted, but I still think voters are a little ridiculous in their demands here).  May the man who stands in front of the most American flags during his campaign speeches win!  I don't love President Obama, but I don't think he hates America either.

I hear both parties touting their love for the Constitution and railing the other party for destroying it.  I think we've all started using the Constitution as a crutch and a means to make the other guy look bad.  We read what we want in it and conveniently disregard the rest.  In part of the conversation I had with my sister-in-law's husband he said that he didn't agree with one candidate's stance on abortion or some other social issue like that.  (please, don't misread this either, he's a great guy who is very involved and understands the importance of local and legislative politics, I highly respect his opinions).  Last time I looked at Article 2 of the Constitution, the President really has little Constitutional power to deal with social issues.  Maybe he can talk about it in his State of the Union address (which, by the way, was never intended to be a giant campaign speech, either).  He is not granted the power of chief legislator, or America's dictator, or God, or fairy godmother.  What he believes will not always come to pass in his presidency (please note that I refer to him and his because I'm lazy.  I think a woman president would be super cool and perfectly capable).  Honestly, I think it's high time we stop giving the President so much darn credit (good and bad) and see him for what he is, one man in a large government.  I think if we put the President in his place as voters then a lot will happen to put him in his place in the government.  But that means we have to stop looking at one person to fix all of our problems.  It also means we have to stop blaming one person for all of our problems.  Maybe that's just too much responsibility to take on.

I wish we could pay this much attention to our local elections and the elections of our representatives and senators who do have real power to deal with things like social issues..  I wish we could stop talking about who is the most conservative and who had an affair so we could find someone to be our president who has a decent head about foreign policy and can be a great Commander in Chief of our military.  I wish we could stop looking for someone to fix every single little problem so we could find someone with common sense instead.