the less you have, the more free you are.
Check out my & John’s latest podcast where we discuss marriage, simplicity, spirituality, and the choices that have brought us closer together over the years.
Yesterday John and I attended E’s art show–the display of her summer art workshop. As we were thoroughly enjoying all of the projects that she showed us, her teacher came by to introduce herself. She zeroed in on me first, and asked if I was E’s mother. John, who had been standing next to me but was facing away from the teacher, turned around, reached out his hand, and identified himself as E’s father.
The art teacher sort of recoiled for a moment, then replied.
“No, you’re not…you really couldn’t be her father?”
Then the art teacher looked back at me again and sized the two of us up from head to toe.
“Are you sure?”
John was sort of baffled by her insistence that he couldn’t possibly be E’s father. This, despite the fact that E resembles John so much that there can’t possibly be any mystery about her parentage.
When we talked about it later he expressed his annoyance at the teacher. I told him he needs to come up with a snappy rejoinder for such situations (this happens quite often). Me, I need to come up with a comeback, too. I’m starting to get pegged as John’s *Mom*, and I don’t quite know how to deal with it. John suggested that a few strategically-placed body piercings would make me look young enough to belong to him. Unfortunately, I hated getting my ears pierced and can’t really fathom a ring through my nose or brow. Ditto for tattoes (ouch).
So, dear readers, help me here. What can I do?
Many of you have probably already heard the tale of our freecycle bed. It’s a queen sized Ethan Allen, cherry wood, four poster canopy bed. It’s a bed for people have who live in 2-story, 5 bedroom homes with a double garage. It’s not really the type of bed that ‘fits’ in our 750 sq ft apartment (yep, you read that sq footage number correctly, there are no missing digits there). Yet, it’s an extravagance that I’ve justified because of the joy that it brings.
Our bed is the safest place in the world to me. It’s so high that I have to vault into it (yah, the travails of one-legged leaping into a ridiculously tall Victorian style bed). But when I’m nestled it, with its canopy of pale peach silk (gifted in a bag of misc fabric remnants from friend Carole), the world is shut out and I am in my perfectly safe space, like a cocoon. Hanging from the canopy edge is a string of multicolored lanterns, whose soft glow is just bright enough to read by, but just dim enough to soothe (or snooze, as often happens).
It seems apt that John and I have taken to recording our podcasts while in bed. There’s nothing kinky about it–it’s the most sheltered space in the house. The sounds of our voices don’t reverberate around in the bed–they are muffled by the draperies and the wall along the backside. Last night when we recorded our latest ‘cast, I reclined on my belly, foot in the air, totally relaxed in my coziest PJs as I told the story of our changing marriage relationship.
When I am tired or discouraged, I retreat to this bed, where I can nap or lie and dream for awhile. John and I have our best conversations in this bed. Where nothing else can distract and we are completely focused on each other. Our bed, this space, is both haven and heaven.
As I mentioned earlier, much of my time this last month has been spent at the pool. The kids have two hours of swim practice daily, and then have 6 hour swim meets each Saturday morning.
The swimming, though time consuming, has been a delightful family activity. I join the kids in their daily practices (I am quite proud of the fact that I can still outswim the kiddoes, but I suspect this has more to do with my longer body than with my inherent speed). The Saturday meets, though they can be tedious–especially this last meet where we endured 100+ degree heat and all felt quite sick afterwards–are also great fun. I’ve included a few photos for you to see our family whiling away the time between races….
I think this vid is pretty funny. I can remember my brother John telling me all the crazy ways he and his missionary companions attempted to get their message across. Maybe they tried a few of these? (Perhaps the funniest part of this video is that it’s obvious that the actors aren’t LDS, but yet are familiar enough with the elders’ door approach that they can lampoon it oh-so-well)
I’m preparing to speak about Mormon feminist blogging in a few weeks. So as I’ve been mulling over various thoughts, I thought I’d make a list of the top 10 reasons why I blog….
1)For reflection. Each time I sit at my computer to write a post, I reflect on my life and cull the gems that I feel are worth sharing. This affords the opportunity to recall joy, blessings, frustrations. I like these moments of examination, they offer great insight.
2)For FUN. Often, blogging is play for me. I take an experience and try to render it in text. I experiment with phrasing, punctuation and pauses. I attempt to express humor and pathos.
3)To tell it like it is. I like having the uninterrupted space to tell my stories. No one us cutting me off mid-sentence or censoring my words. It’s probably the narcissist in me that enjoys the blog as both soapbox and pedestal.
4)To speak the unspeakable. On my blog I’ve often discussed my disability. This is a fairly taboo subject in mainstream culture. It’s empowering to me to tell the stories of my different body without framing them in terms of an inspirational or pity-full narrative. Yet, ironically, it is the parts of my life that are the most visible (my religious practice, my academic pursuits) that I discuss least often. I’m not yet sure why that is. (more on this in #10)
5)To share pictures. I’ve just started really enjoying photography. I know our camera sucks and my photos are amateur-ish, but they bring me great joy. I love sharing my ‘lens’ with you.
6)For community. Several of you, dear readers, know me only through my blog. Others of you are old familiar friends who like to continue to keep in touch through cyberspace. I cherish my virtual neighborhood. Your blogs and emails nourish me, your thoughts buoy me, and your comments affirm, challenge, provoke and validate my musings.
7)For memory. What joy it is to scroll through my blog history and remember the fun things I’ve done!
8)Because I’m a geek. Hmmmm….yes, I spend a good chunk of my day sitting at my laptop writing emails and composing blogposts. ‘nuff said.
9)To mimic John. I’m not really the jealous type, but I saw all the benefits that he’s gotten from blogging through the years, and I wanted in on it, too!
10)To be vulnerable. Though the personal essays and other opportunities I’ve had to share the intimate parts of my life over the past 10 years, I have often been afraid. I’ve been afraid to tell the truth as I see it, I’ve been afraid of offending, I’ve even been afraid of ‘discipline.’* But there is something so empowering about laying out truth bare. My truth-telling brings me closer to others, creates bonds with strangers, allows an intimacy that is both frightening and exhilarating.
*I suspect that the reason I feel reticent to discuss school and church are because of fear of backlash. Within academia there’s a pretty high barrier to becoming personal and vulnerable. The LDS church has a history is censuring its more outspoken members, especially feminist women. So far, no one in the Mormon ‘Bloggernacle’ has been disciplined by church authorities for what they’ve written on their blogs, yet I am still wary. I love the freedom of the LDS community on the Net. I don’t want to see that change.
Tomorrow A Voice in the Wilderness will be released. I’m not expecting this book to hit the top of the charts at amazon.com (our print run will actually be quite small), but it is still quite thrilling to have my interview with Terry Tempest Williams published in this anthology. :)
It has taken me a few days to think about how to respond to John’s post about the stoning of Malak, an Iranian woman accused and convicted of adultery.
I chose not to follow John’s links to images of stoning, because I have already seen such images and as the horror of them is indelibly etched into my memory I don’t need another witness to the brutality of such a practice. [Note: For me, such images spiral me into crisis. Am I the only one who can’t eat, can’t embrace, can’t hold fast to joy when I faced with such horrors? Is it wrong or naive to protect my own strength by not daring to look?]
So this morning as I meditated I recalled my mental images and I put myself in the place of Malak. In my mind I tried to feel the fear of my impending death. As I did so, I felt such outrage at the brutality and barbarism of being stoned to death. I felt I could neither comprehend nor find empathy for a culture who would sanction such torture.
And then I shifted my attention to those who would throw stones. I felt the rough weight of rock in my hands. I marveled at the power I have to hurl rocks at another person with the intention of harm. I looked around me and saw others throwing stones. I felt the pressure of doing the same. In looking down at the stone I thought of this post, and reflected on the power of such small bits of compressed earth. With the power to wound and kill and the power to open the heavens. And I thought of the boldness of silence. Of taking the time to pick up a stick and write in the sand. And how such an act not only acquitted the accused, but also condemned those holding the stones.
So I signed the petition against the stoning of Malak. And I am holding her and her accusers close in my thoughts today. And I have recommitted myself to finding solutions to torture that expose its barbarity. And when I am in my garden later today I will tell the story of Malak to the stones that circle my peach tree and rosebushes. I will pick them up and feel their heft and roughness. I will take time to gaze at them and think of my connection to the earth that formed them and my connection to the pain and torture that is a world away and yet so close that I must act. The stories that rocks the tell me allow a focus on what is most essential, most plain, most true. To see that rocks are meant for building bridges, for creating conduits to the divine, for reminding us of our own fragility.
I want you to live and long and fruitful life. I want you to spin lovely webs, eat gobs of tasty flies, and make many 8-legged babies with your beloved….
So please, please, stop climbing up my leg while I am driving the morning carpool to summer school! I am sure there are many much nicer places to make your life than in my car. Like those bushes that I parked nearby today. Don’t those bushes look much nicer than the hotter-than-Hades interior of my aging station wagon?
For the love of Arachne, please take note that my gearshift knob is not a nice place to sun yourself, and that the trauma caused by your two journeys up my calf this morning will not foster long life for either of us.