Sunday, March 28, 2010

Learning from my break

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about the repercussions of taking a month off from church. Those observations helped me realize that I really am ready to start going back, slowly of course.  I have been to sacrament meeting the last 2 weeks, and tomorrow I am helping in one of my son's primary classes. But I have decided that I really do not regret taking a break.  It was what I needed to do at the time, and I learned several things from the experience.

1. One of the main issues I was having before my "break" had to do with the fact that Scott did not go with us any more.  I was resentful of him and felt embarrased or awkward at church as a single parent. In the first couple of weeks of not going, however, I came to understand personally why Scott stopped going, and how it could be so easy to stop.  It was much easier for me than I expected it to be because of the pain and bitterness I was feeling. As I have gone back the last couple of weeks, the anger and resentment I was feeling for Scott for not going with us was gone and I knew it was what he had to do for himself.

2. I had hoped that not going to church would help save my marriage, since it would give Scott and I one more thing to help unify us. The first couple of weeks, it really seemed like it was helping, but when I realized that it really was not going to make any difference, I also realized that I was going to desperately need the support system that the members of the ward could give me through upcoming changes in my life.

3. I have been able to observe first hand what works and what doesn't when dealing with someone who is inactive, and hopefully I have learned and can remember how to be a more Christ-like and loving member of the church toward others in need; how to be a sincere friend instead of just "I'm your visiting teacher or home teacher or other leader and so here I am doing my duty with my stewardship."  That doesn't mean I think any of these people were insincere in their efforts to reach out to me.  I believe that they believe they were/are truly representing Christ and that they really do care about me.  But some of them came across differently than others, and I recognized times in my own life that I have tried to be sincere in my efforts to serve others, but unbeknown to me had really just been acting out of duty to my calling rather than with sincere love.

4.  I was hoping that by taking a break, that the wounds from some of the pain I was feeling would heal better with separation from the source and also with the passing of time.  I believe it really did work as I hoped, and although I still have some feelings of bitterness, I am renewed and more determined to continue working on forgiving certain individuals.

5. I learned that I really am capable of letting go, of setting pain aside for a while and letting it not rule and control my life. I was letting the goal of getting my temple recommend sit in the forefront of everything else, and so everything reminded me about it and made me more frustrated that I couldn't get it. But letting it go a bit (not completely, just enough so that it could be a goal in the back of my mind instead of controlling my every emotion) was so liberating.  I huge weight was lifted from my shoulders immediately.  I no longer resented the fact that my children were attending the temple without me; instead, I just rejoiced that they were able and willing to go. My recommend is now creeping forward in my mind again, probably because my father-in-law suggested that I should continue to pursue it, and I've noticed again this week since mentioning it to the bishop that letting it be so important to me does nothing but cause me pain and frustration and bitterness.  I need to find a happy medium between giving it up completely (and not really giving a damn any more about staying worthy of it), and letting the thought and goal and obsession of getting it back control my life. I can still work toward trying to figure out what I can do to be worthy of it in my leaders eyes, and most importantly stay worthy of it within my own heart, and then have faith that everything will work out, that when the time is right, I might enter those sacred walls once again.

6. I learned just how important the church really is to me, and how important I feel it is for my children.  The church as an organization is far from perfect because the people in it are not perfect, but the gospel is, and the ideas and values that the gospel teaches us about striving to be like our Savior and also about letting the atonement work in our individual lives is so important. I was raised with this attitude about the church, but now I think I understand it better, and I am hoping that as I return into activity I can remember and overlook the imperfections a bit in favor of the benefits.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gratitude for good friends

I kind of feel bad that my readers think I live in a horrible ward, when I really don't. Even the worst of my ward members still have the best of intentions.

Day-to-day events today reminded me of all the great friends I have here and the little things that mean so much to me, so I started making a mental list of some of those things.

I am grateful for ward members who...

* Take my son to soccer practice and trust me to take their sons as well.
* Text me to remind me of cub scouting events.
* Offer for my daughter to join the youth symphony carpool, even though I only help on occaison when one of the other two families involved need a substitute.
* Drop by with cards and treats and time to visit even though they do not have a calling that obligates them to do so.
* Buy me cool things that remind them of me, like an apple-shaped pin painted in rainbow colors. :)
* Move our garbage and recycling bins on and off the street when our kids (or us) forget!
* Insist on returning baby clothes to us that we gave to them with no intention of getting them back, even though they are also expecting a baby boy in the near future.

I'm sure I've missed remembering a few things. I know many of them pray for us and hope for the best for us, even if they are too awkward about things to start honest conversations that let me know they really care, or offer us advice we don't want to hear ( like "keep praying about it and you will get an answer that the church is doing God's will with regards to gay marriage"), or talk to the bishop about their concerns with our blogs instead of directly to us.

Still, for the most part I am grateful, and I am going to try harder to recognize the efforts and the good within their hearts, and I am going to pray and try harder to forgive those who have hurt us, hoping that they will also try harder to soften their hearts and to understand and accept us for who we are.

Isn't that what life is really all about? Making mistakes and learning from them and trying harder just to love one another as our Savior asked us to do? I believe so.

I hope they will forgive me for anything I have written in this blog that has hurt any of them. But this is an honest recording of my journey, for myself and others to learn from, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Please forgive me for being publicly honest. Love you all. Thanks for being my neighbors and friends.

P.S. I still would like to know who in the ward is reading my blog, please. :D

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Welcome to my blog

I just wanted to let my readers know that they are welcome here, so thank you for stopping by.  I love your friendship, I love your prayers, I love your comments and your private emails. I love your messages of hope for me. I love your messages that tell me how I have helped you with something I've said in one of my posts.

I have mentioned before and have known for a long time that there are people I know personally that are reading. It has recently come to my attention that this fact has not changed, and that there are perhaps MANY people that fit this description.

You are also welcome to be here.  You are welcome to read and cry with me and comment and pray and learn something from my journey. I just have a couple of requests.  If you are someone I know, will you let me know that you are reading?  Will you comment with a "hey, I'm here!" or send me a message or yes, even tell me in person.  I hope that I have not offended anyone as I have blogged my journey, vented my innermost feelings, both as a way of coping and as a way of hoping that maybe someone out there can learn from and be uplifted by my journey, knowing they are not alone, or that maybe someone out there has something to offer me, not really in advice, but in support and friendship and love, as I seek answers from within my heart and from my Heavenly Father.

If you are not comfortable with what I write, if you feel you have to remain anonymous and/or report it to the bishop or principal or whomever you think should know, here is just a friendly reminder that even though my blog is public, this fact in no way REQUIRES you to read it. So rather than taking it hard, and complaining or crying to someone else about it, either stop reading, or better yet, come talk to me about it personally.  Chances are we will then have a conversation that will strengthen our friendship, that will help you know better what you can do for me and my family.

The one person I feel closest to in the ward is someone who has done just that, who has not beat around the bush, but has come right over, asked pointed questions, and loved Scott and I for who we are, with no judgement regarding our choices or parties or friends or struggles. That is all we want and need from any of you. Sincere friends that really do care.

I hope I am not in further trouble with this post. I really am just being honest, and regardless of the consequences of my honesty in this blog, I feel that the influence I can have in helping people understand that our leaders are not flawless, that the gospel is true and important to me regardless of what any of the people in the church have said or done, is greater than any damage that I could have done in the process.

I planned to blog about my uplifting day today as I attended a fabulous Sacrament meeting and then read outside in the sunshine.  About the wonderful people I talked to, and the awesome conversations I had, and the incredible people that are in my ward. I hope that it will still be forthcoming.

Thanks again for reading.  Love you all. (Yes, even you. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Math pick-up lines

Warning: this post is not for the math novice. But if you are trying to get the attention of another math geek or nerd or whatever they are called, you might try some of these:

(The first couple of them came from a conversation on the bus to the state math contest between teenage boys that are taking calculus this year...)

"If I was sine squared and you were cosine squared, together we would be one."

"I don't know if you're in my range, but I'd sure like to take you back to my domain."

"I wish I was your derivative so I could lie tangent to your curves."

"If I were a function you would be my asymptote - I always tend towards you."

"I don’t like my current girlfriend. Mind if I do a you-substitution?" 

"I'm not being obtuse, but you're acute girl."

(After the convo on the bus, I came home and googled the topic. Here are some of my favorites that I found at  Beware--some of the ones on the site are a little bit...well, you know. :) 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I'm out of the loop, and I know it is my fault. I posted on facebook that my ward had forgotten about me only after a month, but I realize it is more likely that in just a month's time, many have not had time to notice that I am missing, especially with the melding of new people in a ward with new boundaries at the beginning of January.

But here are a few things that have happened as a result...

At the end of February, after my not attending church the entire month, my visiting teacher called. She was going to come right after church on Sunday. That was the day the kids stayed home and we watched a movie. So as 2 p.m. neared and we were still in our pjs, I got dressed and ready, had the kids clean up stuff a bit, but she never came. Later that night I saw her at a meeting at the church with our daughters and told her I missed her. She is our youngest child's primary teacher, so since he wasn't at church she assumed he or I was sick and so she didn't want to bother me.

I told her that I was not going to church any more and had not been there for a month. She had no idea, which I guess makes sense since she is in the Primary.  But the RS presidency knew--wasn't that information to pass along?

The following Wednesday, our oldest son had scouts. I was at parent/teacher conferences and got home only a few minutes before he did. He immediately came in and pinned a mother's pin on me from scouts. I had no idea it would be a court of honor that night, and I probably could have arranged to get off early and be there had I known. :(

Then, this past Wednesday, a counselor in the RS presidency called about her girl scout cookies, since she had not been home every time we tried to deliver them. I had just been on the phone with my dad, who mentioned that my mom was going to a special relief society dinner in her ward that night to commemorate the birthday of the relief society organization. I had forgotten that it always happened in March. So while I had this lady on the phone, I asked her about it and she said, "Oh, that was last night. I guess there were so many sisters there and I didn't notice you weren't. It turned out really nice. You would have loved it." Way to rub salt in the wound. She went on to ask me who my visiting teachers are. She said they were making some changes to visiting teaching routes, but that when I had new ones assigned to me, she would be sure to let them know to keep me informed.

I posted on facebook that the whole thing made me kind of depressed. Interesting results from my facebook status--private messages from old friends wondering why I wasn't going to church, comments from ward members assuring that they haven't forgotten me.

The most interesting result was on Sunday. A good friend in the ward, someone who has actually not been afraid to approach the subject with Scott and I since he bore his testimony, said that she had planned to bear her testimony that day and read "this" (and she handed me a piece of folded note paper).

Her "script" started with how welcome she has felt in the ward even though her husband is innactive. Then it went on to say how ashamed and disappointed she is at how the ward has treated our family, specifically mentioning the relief society event of the past week. It included a scripture about not judging in Alma 41:14. I could not hold back the tears as I read, but I was also shaking my head and telling her not to do it. She said she had shown it to a counselor in the bishopric that morning at an interview. He asked her not to do it, but agreed that the ward could make a greater effort to reach out to our family.

I feel like most people in the ward itself have been great. And again, the whole relief society dinner thing was probably because people are not used to me NOT being there and hearing the announcements. Prior to the rs dinner, our next door neighbor did call and invite us to a ward dinner at her home (small groups ate at homes and then went to the church for dessert.) I thought that was nice, and I don't know if Scott enjoyed it, but I did.

And then there's the kids...

The main reason I went to sacrament meeting this past Sunday was to get my kids to church, since none of them wanted to go at all the last time. But after sacrament meeting was over, they knew I intended to go home, and they all wanted to come with me instead of staying for their classes. I reminded them that we would have our own lesson, and there would be no computer or nintendo for at least the two hours. But they didn't care, and I ended up being so depressed. What have I done? They started out so strong going without me. The didn't put up any or much of a fight about going to sacrament meeting with me. I don't think I'm ready to face Sunday school and relief society yet, and the last time I just sat in the foyer was the worst because that is when I ran into the stake president.

Maybe the weather will let me sit outside under a tree?


I will figure it out. They are good kids, but I guess my actions are more influential with them than I ever realized, which is obviously both good and bad. : \

Monday, March 15, 2010

I wonder...

In Scott's latest post, he lists many things that could help contribute to a successful mixed orientation marriage. At one point he discusses religion, and how if a man believes that his religion is correct in their teaching that homosexual relations are a sin, then that might give him motivation to endure and stick with a mixed-orientation marriage, for his eternal salvation if nothing else.

But if somehow his belief changes and he comes to the conclusion that it is not a sin, that God will love him just as much if he follows his heart and finds true love for himself, then enduring the MOM is not possible any more.

I know that he was studying this subject and praying about it fervently even before we had any run-ins with our church leaders, from the time he began to come to terms with everything 2 or so years ago. So I guess that answers the question I was going to pose here...

If our former bishop and stake president had been more accepting and loving and less judgmental, then would Scott have been more likely to stay in the church and in the MOM? Or did our leaders just expedite the process that was going to happen anyway? So then, did God allow our leaders to act this way so that the process would go faster? And, where does God think a new baby fits into all of this?

I am mostly just curious as I am trying to have faith. I was listening to some LDS music today to help calm my emotions, and a song I have mentioned before from the Women at the Well album came on my iPhone. The song speaks of how Jesus came too late to keep Lazarus from dying, and how sad his sisters were, and frustrated that the Lord was not there in time. But then instead, He raises Lazarus from the dead, and it has a much larger impact than it would have had He been there to prevent his death in the first place.

I am not patient enough to wait and find out why, why, why!

When Scott first stopped going to church, and I was talking to our friend (and former, former bishop) that is in the stake presidency about it, he said he felt like Scott would eventually come back, although he didn't know how many months or years that might take. I have clung to that as inspiration from a loving friend and leader. But I am not sure I have hope and faith in it anymore. It is almost easier to assume that he won't, and to let it go, than to cling to a hope that might never come, that keeps me in denial, hoping that my marriage will last, when it is becoming obvious that it won't.

I took the kids and stayed for Sacrament meeting yesterday.

Not sure what I will do next.

But I know I need the support of the church and the gospel in my life. I think the new bishop can play a major part in this healing process. If it were still the old bishop, I wouldn't even try. But he and his wife are now on a service mission, so chances of even running into him at church for a while is slim. And in the meantime, I need to find a way to forgive the Stake President and a certain sister that teaches Relief Society.  I know I told the Stake President that I am done, and so I am sure he never made the phone calls that he said were essential to approving my recommend. Wouldn't it be nice if he would feel inspired to follow up on those phone calls, and would email me and apologize and let me know that he was willing to approve me for a temple recommend even though I support gay marriage, and blog about that support?

But that might be too much to hope for.

So in time, when I am ready, I will go to the bishop and see what I need to do to get a recommend. And maybe, just maybe, he can be my advocate with the stake president. He or my father-in-law.  Something will work out. At least I have that much hope.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dear Scott

Scotty dear,

I am so sorry that everything has been so hard for you lately.

Lots of demands at work, having to work late on your birthday.

Children that more disobedient and messy and careless and disrespectful than ever. (You know how hard it is to be motivated when you are depressed. I think this is the kids' reaction to us having a hard time...not to make excuses for them...)

Pregnant wife that is still so emotional and hard to live with and has lots of demands and shares frequently how disappointed she is that you forgot to do something, or spent too much money, or whatever. (I'm sorry, by the way.) And then there are the hormones, and not knowing if I am going to be ornery or crying or wanting to seduce you. I wouldn't want to put up with me either!

The whole annoying mess with selling the truck. I will continue to fervently pray that the "check engine" light is just part of the replaced-3-months-ago-and-now-malfunctioning-again instrument panel. I really hope he doesn't bring the truck back for a refund in a week!

And worst of all, the lack of male touch, slowly losing the one person who was willing to cuddle with you. And over the last year, losing the friends you have chatted with the most, the ones who needed you the most, the ones that were part of our family and we were all so attached to and now they are gone. Change is hard on all of us.

Yes, I am selfish and I want you for myself forever. But it really won't be what either of us wants and needs if staying together means you being depressed and therefore impatient and withdrawn. I hate that more than anything.

So I have one request or proposal or whatever. Let's try to put this discussion and issue aside for a few months. Both of us need to put it on a shelf and focus on counting our blessings and taking care of our family and each other. Let's stabilize the children, help them with their apathy, spend more time with them, lovingly help them to be more happy and thus more willing and able to do their chores and their homework. Let's get this baby here, get my emotions stabilized. Let's continue to communicate instead of withdrawing and feeling angry toward each other.

And then, when things feel a bit more under control, we can pull the issue off the shelf. And if you need to go find the love you long for, I will let you, I will pray for you to find it and send you with my blessing. Hopefully putting this kind of effort on our family now will help us then to remain best friends, and give you a desire to continue to be part of your children's lives, not just because they need it, but because you want it as much as they do.

I love you. I want you to be happy and I know you want the same for me. I don't know what is going to make me happy, but I do know that seeing you like you have been off and on the last few months is not it. Seeing you struggle to figure out how to take care of yourself while still taking care of me has been hell. Let's try it your way...eventually...because my way is obviously not working.

And I am hoping that if you have this to look forward to, and in writing (to remind me to hold up to what I have said!) then maybe you can help me get through the tough times right here and now.

Loving you more than you could ever imagine; best friends forever,


Saturday, March 6, 2010


Major change is coming.  I don't know when and I don't know exactly what.  It scares me more than anyone can imagine.

But I know God is there. I couldn't sleep. So at 2:20 a.m. I went to my computer, and there is a plea for help from someone who understands, posted only a few moments before. And at 2:30 a.m. I found her number, and I called her and we cried together. Our situations are different, I am more than twice her age, but our situations are also much the same and oh so confusing.

I asked her to tell me what was going on first. I could have spoken the same words she said, "Why me? Why has God done this to me?" And then she said some wise things for someone her age, maybe us, because God knew that it had to be someone, and knew that we could handle it and had something to learn from it.

I agree.  But that doesn't make it any easier.

Prayers are welcome. We will figure it out.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shoulda Known Better

...than to think that letting go of church would be easy...

So much for my last post! But this is my continuing journey, so here goes...

As mentioned, the first three weeks were been rejuvenating. I attended a Relief Society service project the Saturday after my first absence. It was comfortable and I enjoyed being there.

The kids have gone to church every week (to their classes but not to Sacrament meeting). They continue to attend Scouts and Young Women activities, including Stake Temple day and baptisms for the dead this past Saturday afternoon. It has all been their choice to do so.

I went to a birthday social at the Relief Society president's house Tuesday night. Again, comfortable and fun, but even after only 3 weeks I realized how much I missed being in the loop, and found out that I missed the call of a new primary presidency, new young men's presidency, and who knows what other major changes.

I realized at the social how much I enjoy being with (most of) the people and miss seeing them every week. But I don't miss the lessons, the teachers' interpretations and the comments from class members. I don't miss running into the Stake President or former Bishop or a certain Relief Society teacher. I don't miss the panic attacks, and the frequent crying episodes on Sundays. I have enjoyed reading and pondering the lessons on my own. But still, I began to wonder if maybe I won't stay away as long as I thought. Maybe at least start going to Sacrament meeting so that my kids will go too.

Well, yesterday the kids didn't want to go at all. We watched Testaments, which ended up being kind of cool since our recent family scripture study has been in 3rd Nephi.

But I was kind of unsettled all day. Scott and I have spent Sundays hanging out and talking. This time was different, and I'm not sure why, other than the kids being around and us all being tired and lazy from the party the night before. I guess I have some other ideas too, but I don't feel I should mention them here.

As I wrote most of this last night, I was sitting in the chapel at "new beginnings", a church young woman thing that happens toward the beginning of each year. There is nothing that should bother me, just teenage girls giving talks on the young women values and relating them to real-women-examples of those values. But there I was, unsettled as usual as I realized that I am in a different place in my life than I ever would have expected to be when I was my daughter's age. And then there is the constant reminder of the "recommend," and the bishop speaking of how the main purpose of the Young Women program is to help them prepare to go to the temple.

It did that for me, but now look at me. I found out again this weekend just how inconsistent local leaders are. A friend of ours mentioned another friend that is in a monogomous gay relationship, and his bishop lets him keep his recommend because he is faithful to his partner. A friend's mother's Bishop told her to love her son, support and rejoice in his engagement and upcoming marriage to another man.

And then there is Scott and I, Scott being denied his recommend as he is asked "but do you ever fantasize about men?" And me, me being denied because I went to one affirmation conference, because I told the Stake President that if I had to choose between supporting my gay friends and getting my temple recommend renewed, that I would choose my friends.

And when we appeal to a general authority we are told to "listen to our wise and inspired stake president."

Does anyone else think it is all so F'd up?

And so I thought I let go, and I started thinking I was ready to start heading back for the sake of my children, for seeing my friends, for being in the loop.

But then I realize how bitter and hurt I still am, and I have no idea what the hell to do.

And the Stake President is confused why 30 seconds in his office a month ago could be "torture."

Oh, God.  Please help me.  Please help me let go and be perfectly okay with never going back, chopping all ties for me and my children, or help me forgive and forget so that I can go back.  Help me figure out what I need to do for my children, for myself, for my marriage, for our eternal salvation.

When will this nightmare be over?