Poetry and musings of a zany Mormon girl who is very proud of her Erda roots.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The 'M' Word


What is it?

Why does anybody want to do it?

And why is there so much controversy over who gets to do it?

Ready. . . Go!

While we're waiting for answers to accumulate watch the video linked below. It sums up most of what I think on the root of the subject.

We Believe in Being Chaste

But since this is my blog and I want to talk about it, we will resume the discussion at a later date.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 2013 CES Fireside: from a single persective

Tonight's CES Broadcast was a real gem. Replete with personal anecdotes from Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Bednar, it was  a spiritual feast with lessons for people of all ages and backgrounds. However, since this is my blog and I like to write about the things which pertain mostly just to myself, I will focus on my favorite topic: dating. Yay for being a YSA: Young, Single, and Aware of it!

Sister Bednar began with words focused on this simple poem:

We must have
Ears to hear the word of the Lord
Eyes to see His plan
Feet to follow in His path
Hearts to understand

She spoke about how many YSA become disillusioned and disheartened when blessings they feel entitled to receive have not been bestowed in a timely manner. They break covenants and turn their backs on the Lord as a manner of rebellion.

She was totally talking about dating! When people don't get to date someone they fancy, or they don't get married by a personally appointed date, many become dissatisfied.

I can remember thinking that I'd die of embarrassment if I were still single at the age of 25; a failure as an LDS YSA. At 26 I can laugh at my former self.

If I were to expand Sister Bednar's little poem it would read as follows:

We must have
Ears to hear the word of the Lord; to listen and comprehend His love and compassion for our individual needs
Eyes to see His eternal plan, with a perspective set higher than the immediate
Feet to follow in His path however long and far it may stretch because the journey is for our growth and development
Hearts to understand and become strong, unbreakable, and compassionate by learning to love all -- not just those who are exceptional

Elder Bednar  focused his talk on a seemingly small idea voiced by Elder Maxwell, whose passing opened a place in the Quorum of the Twelve for Elder Bednar. Elder Maxwell, preparing for an aggressive chemo-therapy treatment, told his wife, "I just don't want to shrink."

"To not shrink is more important than surviving," Elder Maxwell confided to the Bednars.

To shrink means to retreat or become small.

The Savior in Gethsemane pleaded with the Father that He might not shrink. And He did not.

To not shrink is the same as enduring to the end. To hold steadfast and continue despite terrible adversity and a desire to pull away from the pain of difficult trials.

It may seem trivial, but to many -- myself included at several times in my life -- dating is a very painful and difficult trial. We are taught that marriage and formation of a family is our ultimate goal in life. However, when that goal is put on hold or seems so far off as to be impossible, it is easy for despair to creep in.

Some shrink and settle for someone less than ideal, convincing themselves that they do not deserve anyone better.

Elder Bednar taught that in facing a seemingly unconquerable trial we must seek  "...to overcome, through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, the natural man tendency to demand impatiently and insist incessantly on the blessings we want and believe we deserve."

He went on to describe a trait shared by true disciples of Christ: "Strong faith in the savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives; even if outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted."

I have a testimony of the Lord's timing in our lives being anything but that which we would plan for ourselves. Every plan I have made has been slowly broken down. I have learned humility and compassion for others as the Lord has showed His will in my life.

In no aspect of life has this been more apparent than in dating. With a righteous desire to fulfill God's will for eternal marriage, I could not understand why dating was such a struggle. I saw others who seemed blissfully on the path to a life of joy in one another's arms. Rainbows and lollipops. I could not see how blind I was. With a narrow perspective focused on my timing and insisting on immediate gratification, I could not see the eternal blessings being showered on me daily.

When I learned to have, "...focused faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and complete submission to His will," I began to see the tremendous changes in my person; the ways in which the Lord had molded me.

While very far from a perfect understanding, it is abundantly apparent that the Lord has a plan with purposes that cannot be discerned by mortals such as myself. It is folly to shrink from that which is painful, but will soon pass. Instead, we must learn to fully submit to the will of the Father in all things, and trust that He will provide a path to victory.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Wedding Planner

My friend is getting married with only a six week engagement.

She asked me to be her wedding planner.

I said yes.

I'm glad I can do it.

We're DIYing this wedding and cutting costs using tissue paper pom poms to decorate instead of flowers. The paper arrived just two days after we ordered it and I started working on poms this evening. I've made 15 and have another 500 to make. Give or take.

This month is dedicated to movie parties where I will hold my guests hostage as slave laborers in my tissue paper sweat factory.

Hahahahaha! Try to avoid it -- I will hunt you down!

Three colors of poms. Lots of lights. Photos of the bride and groom. Three chocolate fountains with dark, milk and white chocolate. Fruit infused water.  Simplicity at it's finest.

I'll be posting pictures and keeping you all updated.

This is going to be fun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

As It Should Be

1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity enviety not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

In versions other than the King James Bible, "charity" reads as "love." But that's what charity is. Deep, abiding, true love. This verse is used in a lot of wedding services for the simple beauty and poetry of the words mingled with advice applicable to everyone but particularly to those committed to love each other for ever.

I think it's gorgeous.

During a conversation with a very dear friend this afternoon I asked, as I often do, what helped her to know that her husband was "the one."

She said, "Love is easy."

"If it's complicated or hard, then it isn't love. Not real love."

This resonates with me.

Whenever I think about the possibility of a dating partner I pray. I ask God to help it to be easy because I can't deal with complicated any more. I ask Him to help it come to a natural end soon if it's not meant to last.

And He hears me.

Love should be easy.

I've had people tell me that meeting their significant other was like finding their long-lost best friend, their other half, their one and only. There wasn't an event that let them know, they just knew.

This has always confused me. How can a person just know something? Isn't there some kind of formula by which this thing can be tested scientifically? Shouldn't your choice in life partner be based on something a little more substantial than a visceral reaction fueled by hormones?

Things finally clicked for me today.

Love should be easy.

It should be based on friendship.

And mutual respect.

A shared history; no matter how short that history may be.

Real love is not complicated.

It doesn't come with deadlines.

Or a check list.

It should be natural.

Like breathing.

Or stretching after a long sleep.

It should feel good.

It should be comfortable.

And joyful.

It's easy.

As it should be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Day of Love

As a Valentine's tribute I'd like to give a shout out to my main squeezes.

Jamie, Miles, and Allister, I love you!!

It's nice to have some cute nephews to love on and then send back to their parents. :)

Today my eyes were opened to many types of love that surround me. My parents, siblings, and friends are all amazing examples exemplifying love, compassion, and forgiveness. I can't help but to be lifted when I'm surround by people like these.

I love you all and hope that my expressions are noticed. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mormon Baseball Metaphor

In college my friends had a little game that roommates and close friends enjoy the benefits of those in love. It involves sharing food when some little progress has been made in your dating relationship. The expense of the food roughly equals the magnitude of the progress.

Like this:

Holding hands -- M&Ms
First kiss -- Ice cream
First make out -- Pizza party
Engagement -- Steak dinner

By the time the engagements started happening my friends were all long past this game. Unfortunately, I've never had occasion to share even a humble plain chocolate M&M with anyone.

*sad face*

Actually, I've saved myself a lot of money and heartache while enjoying plenty of ice cream and pizza parties! Hahahahaha, suckers!

Today, because it is the Week of Love and cupid is buzzing around, I was thinking of the baseball metaphor for gettin' some lovin' and of how it's so confusing for LDS people. Let's face it, if you're living the religion, you don't go past first base!

So I figured I'd revise this metaphor to be pre-marriage-Mormon-friendly.

Here goes:

First base: Hug
Second base: Holding hands
Third base: Kissing!!
Home run: Making out!! (Kissing for an extended period of time.)

Ooh, la, la! With bases like these, we should all hit the cold showers!

In all seriousness, these are things that we celebrate -- mostly in small ways -- because it should mean something. It should be a symbol of mutual respect and admiration.

For that matter, a hug should mean something, too. A symbol of friendship and felicity, a hug is often one of the most comforting gestures.

As a matter of fact, the hug should be added to our little food game. It should be a stick of gum. Because everyone needs gum and everyone needs hugs! And I've given a lot of hugs and gum to people!

Boo-ya! I have finally validated my efforts to get over my personal space bubble -- to hug and be hugged! Plus, I've given/received many sticks of gum.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Science of Love

I love science! And this little video is the science behind love! Sounds like a match made in heaven. :)

It's interesting to know that there's a reason behind that feeling of invincibility during a crush or the first throws of young love.

This article from azcentral.com highlights some ways which studying love can heal. Since love creates an actual addiction in our brains, a broken heart is actually withdrawals. It may be possible to give someone an external drug to replace that feeling and help with heartache during troubled relationships. Or it might be useful for people with autism who find it difficult to make emotional connections.

In any case, love is pretty cool!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Why I'm Still Single

The following is a post I began several months ago. Since it is the Week of Love  around here, I think it would be appropriate to delve back into that deep pool of dating "advice" that I can offer to all of you.


Advice, indeed!

Read on at your own risk; there is little but amusement in my words.

Why I'm Still Single

When single people first meet they go through the 'standard' questions pretty fast: What's your name? Where are you from? What do you do for a living? Where did you go to college?

But what they're really getting at is: Are you available? And if so, why?

Why, indeed.

Was it a recent break up? Here, let me comfort you.

You're too committed to your work/school/hobby? Oh, ok then.

You don't know how to date? Let's work on that together.

You just haven't found someone yet? Let's work on that together. 

You have a cripplingly low sense of self worth and can't see how anyone would ever love you but really hope that someday, someone, somewhere is going to shatter your self-imposed glass ceiling of social limitations and wisk you off on a brave white horse? He he...oh, wait... you're serious. Huh. See ya later!

There are a lot of reasons for people to be single.

It has to do with a serious lack of "another" person because, after all, it does take two to make a pair.

The thing is: every individual has a reason that is so totally individual that it's hard to compartmentalize and pin point exactly why someone is still single.

But this is my blog and since I'm the only individual who contributes to the content, let's delve into the reasons for why I am still single, shall we?

The Question

It takes about three conversations or one encounter with my cooking before a person will work up the nerve to ask me: Why are you still single?! And they usually aren't asking about why the "boyfriend" position is not currently filled -- no, they want the skinny on why the "husband" position is still up for grabs. They ask as though it is unimaginable that I haven't been swept off my feet and carted off into a sunset that banishes singleness only to dawn as a new day of marital bliss.

Apparently I possess communication skills sufficient to recommend me for marriage and cullenary wizardry potent enough to settle the matter.

Geez, if that was all it took I probably would have been a child bride! I was quite precocious at five, which consequently was the age my mother began allowing me to be her sous chef. By eight I had memorized my favorite chocolate cake receipe and would bake at least once a week as long as someone else would lift it from the oven because I was scared of being burned alive.

Actually, I was scared of a lot of things, including child molesters, so I don't think marriage would have suited me in Kindergarten.

By six years old I had regressed socially to the point where talking to another child was difficult and communicating with an adult was nearly impossible. Yes, I can carry on a conversation now that seems some-what intelligent but it has taken me years and years to be at all comfortable talking to a person I don't know well. In fact, it takes me about six months before I really start to open up. Most people give up after six days.

Not that I blame anyone for eschewing my company except to nibble on confections and share a few thoughts. While I think that I am delightful, it's understandable that some people hate sugar and loathe spice. Those types and I are better off in seperate social spheres anyway.

The Intimidation Factor 

Since this . . . issue. . . has been brought up many, many times in the years following my sixteenth birthday I'll give it some consideration here. When some cute young thang is sitting at home every friday night wondering when her daddy is going to live up to his promise to dissuade hordes of suiters with the help of a very large stick she sometimes turns the eye inward for a bit of introspective detective work. When that fails to provide satisfactory answers she begins to ask those who know her well. When they tell her that she intimidates boys because she's too amazing she goes in her room and cries it off. Who wants to be told that they are more than sufficent and thereby undesirable?

The thing is: I don't buy it.

 The last time someone made a point of telling me how intimidating I am it quickly became evident that he suffered some emotional damage from others and was still healing. Pointing out my flaws -- real or imagined -- made it easier to forgo commitment.

I am a strong woman. I have goals and plans to achieve them. I have many accomplishments. I will not be made ashamed of who and what I am. I will not apologize or be made to act less than my potential dictates.

If this is intimidating, then please man up and talk to me once you've gone through puberty of the brain.

The Dismissive Attitude

The last time my grandmother visited she gave me a garnet ring and made a observation: You're dismissive to the young men.

The ring was because we shared the same birth month and because I was one of her favorites.

The observation made me cry.

Heavy sobs that tore at my heart until my temples throbbed.

She was right and I hated to admit how dismissive I had been. I wear the ring as a reminder to try and give the young men a chance. 

While it doesn't negate the fact that I have been very guilty of not giving men a fair chance, I do have good reason for behaving in a dismissive manner.

I learned the hard way that unrequited love is the easiest type because it really only takes one. And no matter how devoted that one tries to be, it will not make up for lack of interest from the other.

So, without meaning to, I learned to settle. I learned to love from a distance and in my imagination. I learned to find gratification in masochistic heart break.

This vein of undesirable self discovery has led me to be far more patient with men and women alike and to make opportunities for others to get to know me and take advantages of opportunities to show my friendly side. I genuinely love to hear a person's history, thoughts, and dreams. Instead of self-consciously waiting for a Prince Charming to approach me and then focusing on why it won't ever work, I try to be as cheerful and content as possible while branching out and making friends.   This has influenced the way that I date and form attachments.

So, Why Am I Still Single?

While there is still more to the equation the simple answer is, "I don't know." But know that I've changed a lot because I've thought of why and what can be fixed and what must simply be accepted.

I used to think that I didn't have to worry about falling in love. It would just happen one day. Like waking up and realizing that I'd grown up, I'd simply be in love and know him when I saw him. It all seemed terribly romantic. Love at first site followed by eternal fidelity without a second thought.

What has become quite evident is that all relationships take hard work, tenacity, and forgiveness. I guess I'm waiting to find someone patient enough to get to know me slowly, build a history with me and fall gently into love.

And that, my friends, takes time.