Comfort and Strength

In the Bible, Adam and Eve are described as naked and unaware of their nakedness. They are as little children, not understanding their “shame.”

I have been considering this recently, as I spend a significant amount of time with my own little children. While these aren’t the pictures that make it onto Facebook (usually) they are often pants-less at home. They’re so dang cute, we photograph them in their environment and there is no shame in their nakedness.

By extension, there is no shame in my (relative) nakedness.

Nakedness is comforting. When E got her two-month shots she cried and cried and cried. Nothing soothed her until we got skin-to-skin.

A is currently getting her first teeth – truly a terrible endeavor for all involved – and that skin-to-skin contact soothes her in a way that my milk or acetaminophen does not.

Nakedness is honest. If I am feeling too lazy to give both girls a bath (and it’s really just E that needs cleaning up anyway) she and I will just have a shower. It saves me time – I’m getting cleaned up too – and it teaches my little daughter what she’ll look like when she grows up.

I’m not saying we should be running around in a state of undress all the time. There is also power in covering yourself. What I am saying is that there is a place and a time for both.

 

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For the Strength of the Hills

Despite this mythical notion we have in the United States about a separation of church and state, “The Church” has always had a place in politics.

Everyone was afraid the Pope would run the White House when JFK ran for president.

Nobody wanted the president/prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have the ear of the president when Mitt Romney ran.

Although there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there are those that say President Obama is unfit for the highest office in the land because he is a Muslim (spoiler alert: he’s not. But it wouldn’t be a big deal if he was).

I’ve always taken this fascination and repulsion of religion with a grain of salt. Of course, we would be interested. For many of us, our faith and religion define who we are on the most intimate levels and we want to know who is leading us.

But I’ve also viewed this repulsion with some level of confusion. After all, we all know people who are of different faiths than we are and we are friends with those people. Even in the smallest of neighborhoods, religious differences abound.

As a person who was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Mormons because of our belief in the Book of Mormon as Another Testament of Jesus Christ), I have been extremely disappointed when I see those who are members of this church persecute those of a different faith. While I do not practice the religion, well, religiously, it is still part of who I am. My ancestors still suffered deeply for their faith, being driven from place to place. Seeing their hard work burned down time and again. Seeing their leaders be tarred and feathered. Losing children, possessions, and relationships in the perusal of something that was desperately important to them. Members of this church are still historically very close to the first members of the faith (certainly more so than Catholicism or Lutheranism) and for many of us the call “Come, come ye saints” is very strong.

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It is members of this religion who were ultimately driven to the most undesirable location in the West – Utah. It was there, through hard work, that they made the desert “bloom as the rose.” It was in this place, where the mobs did not attack, that they built something beautiful.

So now, when I see those who raised me (not all though, hi Mom and Dad!) I am so sad to see many who advocate turning away those in need, those who are looking for a better way, those who are different from us.

Election day is coming upon us, only 6 days to go. I urge you, when you go to the polls, vote for the side of love. Vote for those who are committed to working together for a better world. We all deserve it.

Civic Engagement Stream of Consciouisness

I recently had the privilege of going to Game 5 of the WNBA playoffs (Go Lynx!) and, as has been the case over the course of this WNBA season I had the opportunity to reflect on the national anthem.

I’ve never considered myself to be a “sports person”, and I think that although I am a serious Lynx fan I am still not strictly a fan of sports. Instead I am a fan of the incredible women that make up the Lynx team.

This season, although they did not kneel, they took a serious stand against police brutality. I have never been more proud to be a fan.

But still, I stand and hold my baby while they play the national anthem at the beginning of each game. I stand and my heart swells with pride in knowing that I am a citizen of the United States.

I am proud to live here, proud to pay my taxes, and proud to do my part to make this an incredible place to be. I am proud of the incredible men and women who work so hard to protect our interests at home and abroad.

But I am also disappointed in my country. I am disappointed that a xenophobic, ethnocentric, misogynistic. . . terrible excuse for a human being has risen to be considered for one of the highest offices in our land. I am disappointed that the militarization of law enforcement has led to extreme violence and a loss of life. I am disappointed, and quite frankly terrified, that my daughters live in a culture that will someday expect them to be everything for everyone and need nothing for themselves.

The United States is like a bad boyfriend. Taking and taking and taking

Until

There

Is

Almost

Nothing.

And then giving you a little nugget that makes you think maybe this isn’t so bad.

This really is just a stream of consciousness post. But if you take anything from it, please get out to your polling place on November 8 and vote. Vote for a president who will lead from a place of sincerity (or as close as you can get). Vote for Representatives and Senators who know how to work with others. Vote for state, county, city, and local representatives who will work hard for your votes and make where you live a great place for everyone.

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Losing My Religion

Recently my mind has been swimming with all the insanity out there. So much so, that I’ve been unable to write. I missed posting this past Wednesday because the feelings I’m experiencing transcend words. The paltry words I have are inadequate to express my soul.

I am deeply worried about the presidential election, I’ve truly come to think of it as a circus. I am worried about the messages my daughters are getting. I am worried about the messages I am getting.

I simultaneously feel that I am in the spotlight, in a way losing my religion, and that I am invisible.

My religion, more than anything, can be summed up in a Paul Wellstone quote that I have talked about before.

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I mean, we really do, don’t we? It’s not a dream, we are all in the spotlight. Are we going to help others do better?

Content Warnings: Why I Appreciate Them

There has been a lot of talk recently about trigger warnings, content warnings, and safe spaces. I’ve seen it in my Facebook and Twitter feeds, I’ve experienced it working in a public higher education institution.

I am someone who is extremely appreciative of content warnings, so this is something I’ve really given a lot of thought to. Why do I appreciate them so much?

**Content Warning: partner violence, sexual assault. **

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As a survivor of partner violence and sexual assault I appreciate content warnings. I appreciate them, not because I want to avoid talking about the hard topics, but because we live in a society that is full of triggers that are unavoidable.

I appreciate trigger warnings because every day, at least a few times, I have to work hard to keep it together when E is crying and shouting “No, stop, stop!” as I change her diaper and brush her hair.

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I appreciate trigger warnings because sometimes (but not always) I get really angry when I’m washing dishes. I was sometimes forced to while he and his friends played Rock Band.

I appreciate trigger warnings because I never know what kind of apologist language I’m going to be exposed to driving to work.

I appreciate trigger warnings because there are some people in my life who take, without any thought to what the consequences might be for the person they are taking from.

I appreciate trigger warnings so that if there is a day where I know a hard conversation is going to be had, I can think about the experiences I have already had and make a conscious decision to avoid specific content that day.

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I need trigger warnings where I can get them because a lot of my emotional energy is devoted to keeping it together when a trigger crops up without warning.

So no – I do not ask for content warnings because I want to avoid talking about the hard things. I ask for them because I do want to talk about challenging topics but I also need to be a functioning member of society.

 

#LinkYourLife Birthday Celebration

I’ve talked about Link Your Life a couple times over the last few months when they had a birthday and responding to an emergency prompt to help a member of our community.

At first, it was just a weekly event where I would link up a blog post I had written that was applicable to my life in that week. Shawna and Shareen were (and continue to be) fantastic and gracious hosts.

Over these past months though, Link Your Life has become so much more to me than the link roundup. It has become a community where I belong.

Today is Shareen’s birthday and to celebrate, Devon Hall (another stellar host that has been added into the fold, she rocks!) has asked our community how Link Your Life has changed your life as a parent, writer, blogger, or human.

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How can I even begin?

Truly, I would have to say that Link Your Life and its fantastic hosts have lifted the feelings of inadequacy I often find myself faced with. We are a group of imperfect people sharing pieces of our lives, offering compassion, and building a community of friendship and understanding.

Linked Your Life shows me, almost daily, that it is okay to feel overwhelmed. It is okay to step back from things and take care of yourself. It is okay to just be you. And being comfortable with yourself is radical and life changing on every level.

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The Lyrical Stylings of Rachel

On a relatively regular basis, I receive demands to sing songs. If you are the parent of a toddler, you know exactly what I’m talking about there.

The problem is, the requests I get are for songs that often do not exist – or if they do I certainly don’t know them. While I’m not even close to being as talented as my brother, Caleb, I think I do okay.

It’s true that sometimes I cop out – when asked to sing “The Donald Song” I simply belt out:

Who’s the leader of the club

That’s made for you and me?

D-O-N-A-L-D D-U-C-K

Donald Duck

Donald Duck!

Forever may we hold your banner high, high high!

But other creations are slightly more inventive. I share them with you now in the hope of inspiring you to develop your own songs, or at least to make you feel better about your own lyrical skills.

The Carwash Song

I was driving down the highway just the other day

Then a bug hit my dash and I said

“Hey, no way!

I’ll take you to the carwash

That is what I will do

I’ll polish off the dash until it’s free from poo”

At the carwash, yeah

At the carwash, yeah

At the carwash, yyeeaahh

Hard of Hearing, Joy Killing, Rage Raptor

You might think I’m just a regular mom

I give you cookies with a smile

And I’ll sing you a song

But then daddy asks for some sausage

He’s just gone too far

This is when I turn into a

HARD OF HEARING JOY KILLING RAGE RAPTOR

HARD OF HEARING JOY KILLING RAGE RAPTOR

Daddy’s learned his lesson

He knows better than to ask

He can make his own sausage

Or he’ll get a

HARD OF HEARING JOY KILLING RAGE RAPTOR

Kicking his. . . butt

August 31 hard of hearing joy killing rage raptor

Motherhood in a larger context

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