Saturday, September 21, 2013


I just need to say this.

I really don't care about football.

Just really, no.

There. I did it.

I know I should. I went to two colleges and that are big football schools. It's like a major religion at both of them, and I have been to one game at each. I enjoyed myself, but it's really just whatever. I know that so many people who I love (maybe even you?) care SO much. It's cool. But I really really, sincerely just could not care less. I understand the game, I grew up watching it... I just don't care, and I am incredibly tired of feeling obligated to care.

I just don't.


Monday, September 16, 2013


I have gotten bad at sleep again.
It comes in waves.

Sometimes I arrange my pillows in my bed so that they are like another person under the blankets with me. 

I snuggle the crap out of them.

Sometimes I get scared that it will always be pillows and never a person (this is a confession).

Also, there is a cricket who lives a few millimeters away from my window, who likes to watch me sleep and really likes to whisper the sweetest nothings to me all night long. I hope she doesn't die when it gets too cold out there.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Hey guys. Um... I got a job. I am happy and nervous. But mostly happy.

I am teaching an art history course at a private university in Lincoln. It's Ancient to Medieval, which isn't my main specialty or favorite period (I DO LOVE GOTHIC ART AND ARCHITECTURE, BUT THAT IS AT THE VEEEEEERY END!!), but I am still excited. And nervous. Did I mention that I'm nervous?

Remember when I was planning on moving to Maui? That was hilarious. Everything is in the timing of heaven, and more than anything I am grateful that I get answers to my prayers, even if they are trying in the meantime, and that they often come in super unexpected and nick-of-time ways. More on this thought later- It's a pattern in my life that I am more fully trying to wrap my mind around. Suffice it to say for now: I feel extremely blessed.

I got a delicious blessing from my bishop this week, and I feel confident that I will be okay... In the meantime, I am nervous. And happy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

On Women and the Priesthood: Finally

This post has been a long time coming, and it has been a labor to get to it. It hasn't been without its rewards, and I hope that I can help in lending my voice; at least in a small part. 

In April of this year, I put a request for discussion of women and the Priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as my status. I wanted to hear from my friends what they were thinking about it, and I wanted to find a means through which to formulate my own opinion on the matter. I was blessed with an outpouring of thoughtful and well reasoned conversation from men and women of a multitude of opinion.  I haven't actually heard any news about the discussion that was officially begun and carried on in an institutional manner since a few months ago, but some of the things that were brought up in discussing this topic with some friends have been weighing heavily on me. I want to share those and talk about my own experiences. 
I finally feel like I can talk about this. I finally feel like I should weigh in. This post is freaky-long and filled to bursting with more freaky-long links. Take your time, it'll be here forever. Sorry if you are already past it and you live in Idon'tcaresville already; skip this post and read my thoughts about nature or gardening or art or crushes or grass (those ones are good too). Or better yet, get a drink of water and go outside. Your bicycle probably misses you.


In March of this year, I went to church with my aunt in Ogden, Utah. During Relief Society, an elderly sister raised her hand and made a non-sequiter comment to the effect that the "good" sisters of the church are not advocating for change. They don't ask a million zany questions, they aren't disruptive in their appearance, they don't ascribe to gifts or callings, they are sweet, they are good cooks, they are submissive, they are pleasant, they are gentle and meek, they are educated as a backup plan, they are quiet, and they do not wear pants to church (this was shortly on the heels of what had become called "Pantsgate," about which you can read more here, here or here). It would have been easy to put this sister's comments to rest for curmudgeonly state, but her comment reached down deep and made me think. Her attitude was one that created a real "us/them" dichotomy that made me uncomfortable and actually excused the spirit from that meeting. I know many women who are seeking after righteousness and the Spirit in their lives who fit precisely in the crosshairs of this woman's frustrations. I know how deeply these sisters defy all that she has been taught was good and true, but they are still her sisters. I include myself on many points. While this experience happened before the Ordain Women movement really hit the ground (April 2013), there was a foment in the air. This sister's comment became linked, inextricably in my mind with the question of women and the Priesthood and it is the thing that has bothered me most deeply in the discussion at large: it is divisive. 

I sought first to dismiss the whole issue because of its potential to tear apart the tender and vital ties that create a sisterhood within the church- that is something that I believe in and value greatly. We are asked to serve one another, and we are very good at it. My mother is no longer active in the Church, but she often inquires, gratefully, about the service that the sisters in my Relief Society in Nebraska have offered me. They treat me, without hesitation or guile, as one of their own. They enjoin me to their hearts as any sister would, and the enquire after her. I rejoice in detailing the goodness of the women (and men) with whom I am blessed to associate. Service and charity always first.  Our work is service in the work of perfecting the saints. This is a part of the four-fold mission of the church, which is: to proclaim the gospel, redeem the dead, care for the poor and needy and the perfecting of the saints. I love that the emphasis is on the ACTION of perfecting rather than the admiration or adoration of the already perfected. That emphasis allows plenty of space for impetuous, imperfect, me. What greater principle can there be?

Our second responsibility as members of the church, is to ask questions and respond when prompted in the name of coming unto Christ and becoming Christlike in our attributes and in our attitudes. We seek further light and knowledge always. The entire church is founded on a question. We believe in continuing revelation even when it is hard to bear and the changes we are asked to make seem strange or incomprehensible. We have a very long history of making those changes anyways. It is a SUBSTANTIAL part of our faith narrative, and one which I embrace wholly. I admire the spirit of Mormonism for which the veil is thin and the Heavens are open, for which the tenacity to approach the God of the Old and New Testament is a daily practice. That is the geist to which I seek to join myself; this is faith enacted. It is faith that compels action and moves a people across a continent, across oceans in an attempt to make promises with their God in holy temples. It is the power of healing and of blessing and the encircling comfort of angelic sweetness. It is the vehicle of forgiveness. This is the power by which we are enabled, our faith finished. There are evidences of this faith that I cannot deny, and this is what keeps me in the church. 

If questioning is such a substantial part of our faith, then I applaud those who have fostered the Ordain Women movement. I wish only that they were carrying on a continued conversation about it. Perhaps there is a conversation going on, but it hasn't reached Nebraska yet (If you know/are an answer to this, please comment). I am grateful for the opportunity to ask what Joseph Smith meant on founding the Relief Society as a "Kingdom of Priests." I am grateful to ponder the thinness of the veil and the willingness of my God to hear my concerns and treat my questions.  I have been blessed in asking questions about the power and authority that come through receiving an endowment in the temple. It has been a noble course of study to seek to more deeply understand the priesthood at large as well as in the specific (I have LOVED Joanna Brooks for leading this). I believe deeply in questioning.

But somehow I'm not satisfied with the ordination of women as an answer to all of that questioningness (If you were looking for a simple take-away message, this is it: I am not satisfied with the ordination of women to offices in the priesthood as it has been presented). A persistent concern for me in this entire conversation and in the buzz surrounding mormon feminism's upsurge in the last few years, is a disquietude for other cultures and traditions. I believe that God is big.  Bigger than I can fathom. Yes, I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the location of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I do not, however, believe that Mormonism has a corner on the market of righteousness or of correctness in principle or faith. I easily dismissed the "wear pants to church day" as a day for a very specific subset of Mormon women in the western United States to voice their concerns and demonstrate their opinion and feelings. This was not an important day where I live- there hasn't been a Sunday that a woman hasn't worn pants to church in the two years I have lived outside of the Western U.S. Nobody has ever batted an eyelash. I believe that there are more important things about us, as children of God, than what we look like or wear. I wore a dress on that day.  I am still a Mormon feminist. 

I recently had the opportunity to travel to northwestern Montana to learn from the Assiniboine tribe, from which I am descended. I learned so much in my time there, and a study of gender was a crucial component. of my thought process (so much more to come on this later). As it pertains to this topic, I was entranced by the exclusion of women in the performance of ceremonial functions. The Assiniboine are a traditionally matriarchal society, but even still, women are not participants in pipe ceremonies or in the Sun Dance except as dancers. The women make the food and watch the children. Watching this gender normativity play out in an indigenous tradition provided a means for me to both greater understand, and forgive the misgivings of Mormon gender relations. There may be a leap in logic there, but my point is that the supposed exclusion of women in priestly office is not singularly the fault of the LDS church, but rather a larger practice that I do not purport to fully understand. I didn't understand it in the context of my tribe, and I don't understand it in the context of the church (my other tribe). I will continue my study on this topic, but I will do it with a gentle heart. I will do it with humility and forgiveness in mind. 

Two final thoughts and I will wrap up this longest-ever-post. 

One: I am not certain that women aren't priesthood holders. I don't know how to quantify this here, but I think that women are not excluded from authority. We do not hold office, but is this separate from holding the priesthood generally? We wield authority in the temples of our God in both initiatory and endowment work for our selves as well as for the dead. We have power when we bring humanity into existence (and yes, I believe that fatherhood, NOT priesthood is the equivalent of motherhood; I also believe in a Heavenly Mother. She is a major part of my belief system although I do not know her well; these are the questions that I am still seeking answers for, still studying). We have authority in our callings and the magnification thereof. I believe this and I have done this. We are qualified for the work to which we are called. I have been blessed by women both inside and out of our temples, and I can't deny the power that I have felt from them. I have learned about the Levites in Exodus, who were washed and anointed, set apart as priests unto God. We inherit their tradition. All of us. Certainly it is frustrating that I entered into this when I was 25 when my brother was ordained to an office in the priesthood when he was only 12. Yes there is a tinge of disparity. And yes, I feel that too. 

But that brings me to my second and closing point. Many of the people I talked to about this topic were women who felt already-burdened by the cares they are asked to have in the daily functioning of the church and their lives. How many times did I hear sweet, over-burdened sister say that they felt filled up in the demands of running their houses, their education, their travels, their concerns for the future and their negotiations of the past? We feel like we are running at capacity perhaps, and that an office in the priesthood would be nothing but an added level of care. To them, I acquiesce and wish them the help and comfort they seek in the held-by-men-offices in which they invest meaning. Others wish that there were more of an opportunity to serve. I echo this and I find ways to do it. I make the bread each week for our sacrament service. I provide service in planning uplifting activities for my congregation. I pay my tithing. I ask questions. The church is remarkable in the way that it works with individuals. If you haven't found this to be true, move out of the Western United States for a year and try to do your visiting teaching 100%. Your testimony will quadruple and YOU WILL BE CHALLENGED.  I recommend that we re-examine the basics before we demand the complexities. Milk, then meat. My wise friend reminds me of this often. And then she texts me nightly to see that I read my scriptures. It's really fun to get wrapped up in the complicated, heady matters of the gospel, but I think we need a moment to breathe and take in the simple purity of the gospel. The small and simple things, after all, are the means by which greatness is brought to pass. 

This is my friend Dana, modeling a shirt made for her birthday by our friend Justin. I love the message on it- "Real feminists visit teach 100%." Amen sister. Amen. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Remind me later:

Please help me never to forget how much I love the wild things.
I need to always know how rain smells when it kisses the prairie floor.
And what sage brush smells like in hot.
And the anxiety of not- knowing, the spirit feels ferocious.
And the pitch of a mosquito near your ear in the shade. It's its own brass section.
And that I no longer believe in"fly-over country."
And how sometimes there are stars that leave streaks in the night sky that you can feel in your bones.
And the clap sounds that aspen leaves make.
And how my hands look after touching the ground too much.
And the dark of turning over dirt again. It's almost always surprising.
And the ripples of the tall grass.
Those waves.
And how needful and demanding it feels to be loved and welcome.
And how a desert is exploding and alive.

And the subtlest contrast of that near-dead-purple and the brightest green of spring and the not-yet-spring/still-winter-grey, foreboding sky. It's almost invisible to detect.
Push me to remember this.
I can't afford to let it go.

And the unbearable glitter of fresh snow.
And the determined eyes of a scared animal. Especially a mother.
And the drunken laziness of bees after noon.
And the bitterest little fight that garden-fresh spinach gives back.
And the velutinous rub of baby maple leaves.
Their translucence and verdancy.
And that maybe God is real and evident after all.
And the silence of rocks.
And that pollen rests on the ocean in mile-long skeins.
And how the moon sometimes only whispers that it is a sphere-
And how other times it can't help itself but shout to remind you when it sits down close-by.
And the zealous wink of turned leaves on a still-green mountain.

And how it feels to see your neighbors going outside into the sunshine for the first time.
It's like we meet each other and fall back into love.

And the absolute deafening roar of thunder that bounces off your skull and tempts to shatter whatever walls you have around your self.
What is thunder, really anyways, the physics of clouds?

And how my heart sounds in my head when I walk faster or wake up scared or alone.
And how harshly the skin on my legs burns when I get out of the ocean.
Maybe one day I will stop getting out.
And the rush of sugar from Grandpa's apples.
          (mmmm, mmmm, rotten)
And how spider babies fly on spun silk that glows in sun.
Are they ever afraid of heights or of landing?
And how raw and fast I think I need to push myself when I think I might be in love a little, even thought I'm not sure I ever have really.
And how ferociously my hair will whip in the wind. It punishes my eyelids and cheeks and makes temporary tendrils, promises to give me broken, split ends. I couldn't care less or love them more.
I wear them as badges of freedom and trust.

I am the most alive when I am free.

remind me if I ever forget to tell you.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Month On-

I went for a long walk last night and talked to my mom for a long time about our own selves and about how we become the people that we are. It is a good thing to do: talking to your mother about your person. I walked the 4.5 blocks to the community garden in the dark and I met a squashed snake on the road. There was blood everywhere and I cried after I got back home. Soemtimes death doesn't bother me, but last night I was feeling raw and exposed already.
I have been graduated for a month now and I have learned so much in that time. I feel fortunate to have time to recover from grad school and from academia in general. That sounds like I am ungrateful for the education I have, and I know that that's how it sounds. I don't mean for to sound that way because I am actually quite grateful for precisely that. But there must be a reprieve. Why isn't that in the scripture someplace? It feels like natural law.
I am working at a cupcake bakery, a thing for which I am also very grateful. The work is easy and mindless and allows me the time and space to have private Robyn dance parties. I am an introvert, but I like people. The cupcake shop is ideal. That being said, I have had more dates since I graduated than any month prior. It has led me to the conclusion that I am less intimidating (A problem I have often struggled with throughout my life) now that I have a silly job. I think boys are more interested in less promising women sometimes. I'm not sure what to do with that, and maybe I am missing something. Maybe they just like cupcakes, or maybe I have gotten more pretty since I graduated. Those things seem external.
Two Christmases ago, I was in Utah with my dad's family for to celebrate the holiday. I had just completed my first semester at Nebraska, and there was a distinctive flavor of intimidation and lack of interest from my family. I am the only person from either side of my family to receive a Master's Degree in at least three generations and I got the vibe that my membership in the pack was being called into question because of my education(not to mention my marital status). As though attending BYU for my undergrad wasn't enough, the Master's sealed the deal and I was perceived as something I didn't want to be. I told my sister about my thoughts and she advised me to act dumber. It was like a revelation when I did, because suddenly I was back into the adorable position I had been in before- beloved and wanted by my family. I don't think it's really fair to ask someone to be what they aren't. This last paragraph sounds so awful and complainy, but I want to say it so that I will remember to value the accomplishments of others for the future.
I can safely say that I am friends with my mother. It is one of the most rewarding relationships in my life right now. I am working really really hard to get to that place with other people too. Mostly my dad. I need to figure out how to be kind, but also to say what I need. I am learning a lot about temperance... Study it if you can. Then tell me what you learn, ok?
My sister and my brother are remarkable people. I learned so much about and from them. I am missing them sincerely lately... which doesn't really make sense. I saw my brother less than a month ago, and I will see my sister in less than two weeks. Somehow I  feel entitled to much more time with them that I am permitted. My sister is only 18 months older than me, and so growing up, she was never very distant. Our personalities enabled us to earn from and protect and lean on one another in a very close way. I don't think I have ever learned how to be very good at being alone yet.  My brother is the one who shines at that. I need to learn how to be better at that, I think. Most of my life is alone. I need to learn how to like it better.
The question on everyone's lips now is where I am headed next. People seem shocked at the capacity I have to uproot myself and fling my life across the country. It's funny to me, but also a little astounding how little people understand my position. I sincerely love finding roots and digging deep in a place. life-flinging is not my preferred mode of living, but there is just so much world to embrace. And so I do. Maybe I need heavier anchors.
My response is never as bold as it probably should be and I more than likely sound reticent than I need or want to. I’m not sure why I do that; react that way. I guess it’s because I’m still not certain that it’s what I should be doing. 

Mostly I want to be called somewhere and to some work. I want to be wanted and needed somewhere. So I’m a normal human. I keep telling people that I am working for now at a bakery where I peddle cupcakes, but I am moving to Maui to live with Kara at the end of the summer. And I am going to drive to California before I do it and I am going to see at least seven national parks along the way. The conversation always turns out the same way: When else will there be time for this? And the answer really, is always. I think we make time for the things we love. I don’t yet know how to use the things I have learned, but I am carrying them with me even still.
I feel like that dead snake a lot of the time. I don’t think it knew what was coming and it was bigger than it probably realized (It was certainly bigger than I realized at first. All of that blood.) it was. I sometimes catch myself thinking that I have my whole life ahead of me still, but that means that I forget that I will be 28 this year and being 28 this year somehow means that I don’t actually have all that much time left.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

and now

I graduated from the University of Nebraska on May 3. It was my half birthday; exactly 27 and a half and I felt every year of it.

I don't know what to do with myself anymore. My life feels not- empty, but no longer compelled now that I don't have school to demand my attentions. I have no more milestones to overcome and I have no more deadlines to meet with gusto. In some ways I might flounder for a while. I can't quite concisely assess why the prospect of this is so disquieting, but I can't sleep any more anyways.

Something about a divine and innate need to make progress, to keep growing, to keep learning and to keep gaining. This is the worrisome and uncomfortable part.

Beets and peas are growing in the back yard so I guess things are ok.

And sometimes I get to touch boy's forearms and hands so I guess things are ok.

And I have a plane ticket and a strong heart that knows a lot of different weather so I get to hope that things are ok.

I go for much longer drives alone now than I ever did before. Never mind. I have always gone for long drives; the difference is now I can do them unrepentantly and without restraint.

We're going to have a baby and it's really really scary and a little sad, I think (maybe more on this later).

Nebraska is the most pretty when you can forget all of the sprawl and just see the clouds and dirt and grass.

I think I will always find a way to love tall grass.

This is all I can muster for now.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

mostly geronimo

reading about old warrior chiefs living docile lives makes me so mad sometimes.
like... right now.