Category Archives: Random musings

Leading Lady

What a week it’s been! I was privileged to be the recipient of the “Metromorphosis” Award at work for leading with patience, perseverance, and good humor in the midst of change. Suddenly I find myself being reminded almost daily that I’m the most senior member of the team and it is both gratifying and uncomfortable. I guess you just rub long with these two feelings as well as you can.

The semester ends next week and I am excited to be sharing one of my projects! We are traveling to Utah to visit my family, so next week will probably be another quote and then you’ll get a “real” post.

I’d also like to invite you over to The Relationship Blogger to talk about spoons.

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Beings of Love

April 14 quote

You may have noticed that I have had two weeks in a row of quotes. I feel it’s important to maintain a presence here, but I am buried in the end of the semester. My final paper and research proposal will be about the place government programs have in a changing workforce. I think they will both be incredible and I’m excited to link to them on my LinkedIn page. But it is definitely a topic that is taking me deep down the rabbit hole!

I am also a syndicated columnist at The Relationship Blogger and I hope you’ll visit me over there! My first post, Keeping your Marriage Alive in Sickness and Health, is pretty stellar (even if I do say so myself).

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.

november-2-image

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.

#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.

September 13 Birthday.jpg

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.

September 13 Be Yourself.jpg

As I Have Loved You

Originally, my post this week was going to be about supporting the positive decisions of those around us. I have postponed that post until next week to talk about the sorrow in my heart over the tragic events that took place in Orlando during the wee hours of Sunday, June 12th.

I will be honest, following the shootings at the University of California at Santa Barbara in 2014 I have done my utmost to ignore the mass shootings that seem to plague our life here in the United States.

This particular shooting took place shortly after E was born and I was an absolute wreck.

How could I raise my daughter in a world where refusing to have sex means risking her life?

It is that question, more than any other, that makes me afraid to raise my two girls. These precious little beings that have been entrusted to us are beautiful, smart, and tenacious. I love them so much it hurts.

That said, I do have some opinions that I want to share.

Every single one of those people that died have someone out there who loves them so much it hurts.

The shooter has someone out there who loves him so much it hurts.

Every one of us has someone out there who has so much love for us that he (or she) would do anything to stop the hurting and show us a brighter path.

It is truly my belief that remembering this love, almost more than anything else, would stop us from hurting one another.

Sadly, many do not feel this love and that is why I believe it is critical that other measures need to be put into place.

We need more robust gun control laws. Yes, the “bad guys” are still going to get weapons, but. . . dammit! we can make it harder for them.

We need a better mental health system. A system that recognizes the diseases of the mind have effects just as real as diseases of the body.

We need to have open and honest conversations about what it means to be a man in our society.

We need to get people across the table from one another to start to build some understanding (link to an 18 minute TED talk, you will love it!).

June 15 Pres Obama Quote

 

You’ve got to change, change, change the plan

I’ve spend the last six month thinking long and hard about what my goals are for myself in 2016.

To be honest, quite a few things have happened in the last few months.

I decided to throw my hat into the ring for the November 2015 election and I was successful in being elected to a seat on the school board!

I was successful despite doing almost no campaigning owing to the fact that N and I found out we are expecting our second child and I felt that doing no campaigning would be preferable to the slogan “Vote for Rachel Hanson: She Might not Throw Up on You.” And that’s pretty much what was going to happen if I tried to do anything.

Our family went on a delightful Disney Cruise about a month ago – I was definitely grateful for Zofran during that time!

First Day at Sea
We had a really fun time!

You may have also noticed from the picture above that little E is becoming a lot less little! Some of her favorite activities include “dancin'” (we have, of course, introduced The Beegees to help this along), playing with balls, trying to pants mom, and doing pretty much anything that involved Curious George.

 

Her favorite food is pizza (she is her father’s daughter!) and she has recently developed a mean impression of Cookie Monster. Just today she figured out the best way to eat an Oreo (eating the stuff in the middle and the handing the slobber covered cookie portion to your mom).

With all of this, writing has definitely taken a back seat and I think it’s time to get back into the game.

My goal for 2016 is to write a short story every week, probably all around one theme or character, and two blog posts a month.

I think it’s super important to be aware of your limits and I think this goal is 100% manageable for my pregnant, work-away-from-home, mother to a crazy toddler self right now.

Please join my on my journey this year to discover new things about myself, and maybe set some goals of your own!

Bouncing Back

Bouncing back.

Bounce (verb) – to move quickly up, back, or away from a surface after hitting it.

Back (adverb) – toward the rear, in the opposite direction from the one that is facing or traveling.

Also known as resilience.

As a society we prize a resilient individual. The person who is able to come back from a challenge or traumatic event.

Following September 11, 2001 the ability to be resilient in the face of terror was a prized ability.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with being able to bounce back from a tragedy.  But sometimes I think we take it a little too far.

I recently had an experience that really made me think about what bouncing back really looks like. This experience made me question if bouncing back is possible. Should it be possible?

One of my coworkers recently attended a 4 day training on preventing sexual violence. One of the days was a half day, so she and I had lunch together and chatted about the training. She shared with me that one of the things they talked about was how important it is to not alienate the perpetrator.  To make that person feel that there was some coming back from the terrible act hir had committed.

I kept my breathing calm – partially because I do believe that we can be forgiven. Indeed, forgiveness is crucial. But also because I did not want to come out to my coworker as a survivor. I know that “coming out” has a completely different context to survivors of abuse when compared to those who come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender and I applaud those that have that bravery. The thing they have in common is how scary it can be to tell someone what you are or what you’ve experienced.

Thinking about my own experience, exclusive from greater social trends, is not something I have done for a long time. But the conversation we had sent me reeling back to that time. That, along with the new “memories” feature on Facebook, had me thinking about exactly what had happened. It was not pleasant. It was not cathartic. It made me realize that I have not fully healed from that experience. I have not “bounced back” to the person that I was.

This thing with the bouncing made me think about another part of my life that the phrase “bounce back” applies to.

I’m sure it is not shocking to you, dear reader, that my thoughts went to motherhood. There is so much talk about getting our bodies “back.” As though your body, my body, was stolen by this little child. And sometimes that is true, especially in the United States. Here, 51% of pregnancies are unintended. For me, this was something that was 100% intended. But still, I’m not the same.

After such a tremendous event, how can you go back to the way you were in any sense of the word? Your body is changed forever. Even if the scale says what it did prior to your pregnancy weight is distributed in new and unusual ways. Skin is stretched, it does not go back to it’s original tautness. How can your mind go back to the way it was? Chronic sleep deprivation, spending hours on end clapping and exclaiming “Hooray!”, and trying to get some time to yourself all ensure that you will never think about things in the same way again. And yet, there is so much pressure to be the same!

Now, it is true, I am slightly melancholy today. That said, here is the conclusion I have come to.

We need to stop!

There is no joy in staying the same. Relish in the changes.

Even things that were terrible, they made you who you are. And you are incredible!  You are someone who has traversed through adversity and made it out. You are someone who as brought life into the world. You are someone who makes a positive impact on those around you every day, whether you realize it or not.

Don’t keep wishing you could go back to being the same.