Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ingrid Michaelson.... now my favorite.

Scott and I haven't been to very many concerts.  Before we married, I had been to zero concerts.  Within our first year of marriage, I bought us tickets to "the Nylons" and it was a lot of fun; a fairly small gathering at a venue in Ogden. Let's I think was Alanas Moriset. Scott won the tickets on the radio (at my prompting) by calling in and singing "Your sweater's on backwards and inside out and you say how-o-o-ow appropriate." The concert was huge and loud and annoying ("Garbage" opened the concert and I decided that they had chosen an appropriate name for themselves.) The lady behind us spilled beer on Scott.  Needless to say, we left early and were really glad we had not paid for the tickets.

Next, we bought tickets to "They Might be Giants." A couple of Scott's siblings even went with us and it was a blast.  We really want to take our kids to the upcoming concert, but we really can't justify the cost right now. :(  Next was a few summers ago when I bought promotional discount tickets to Erasure.  We were going to take our two oldest children with us, but ended up taking Scott's sister and her husband instead.  I was so glad, because I did not know that the "True Colors Tour" was a gay thing.  Erasure was awesome, but I was really uncomfortable most of the time as the announcer told really inappropriate jokes and there were gay couples everywhere. Very interesting experience to look back on and wonder what I would think of it now...

At some point someone gave us tickets to the Manheim Steamroller Christmas concert (because they had won them on the radio and could not use them).  That is the only music group that I actually considered buying a ticket to the concert when I was a teenager; the Fresh Aire albums were my favorite.  My brother talked me out of it, telling me that I could save the money to buy another record or tape instead. The concert was great, but not something I would choose to pay for at this point.

Many years past, and then recently we ushered and thoroughly enjoyed the Jason and DeMarco concert that was organized as part of the Affirmation conference last month.  Cute gay couple, fun and spiritual music. I was really upset that night with temple recommend issues, and the concert was just what I needed.  Jason talked a lot about feeling like he had a "calling" from God to sing spiritual and uplifting music while also making a statement on gay rights.  They are a unique music group; they don't really fit in with other Christian music groups because they are gay. and they don't fit in with other gay music groups because they are religious.  But they are willing to be unique and to make a difference with their incredible talents.

Then, most recently, was the crown jewel of my concert-attending experience: Ingrid Michaelson.  Wow. The concert was standing room only, but Scott found us some crates at the back of the room that we could sit on, and we actually had a great view of Ingrid.  Of course, I loved it when she sang "Be Okay".  I closed my eyes and let the words fill my soul with a message from God that everything (regarding our temple recommends and everything else in our lives) would be okay.  Her music was relaxing and fun.  I didn't realize that "The way I am" was her song, and I enjoyed really listening to the words for once.
The Way I Am
Written by Ingrid Michaelson

If you were falling, then I would catch you
You need a light, I'd find a match

Cuz I love the way you say good morning
And you take me the way I am

If you are chilly, here take my sweater
Your head is aching; I'll make it better

Cuz I love the way you call me baby
And you take me the way I am

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair
Sew on patches to all you tear

Cuz I love you more than I could ever promise
And you take me the way I am

You take me the way I am
You take me the way I am
I love the message, especially how it applies to Scott and I, how we have learned to take each other and love each other "as is". As I looked for the lyrics on her website, Ingrid had this "Twitter" -

The other song that really impressed me is the title number for her new album (and the title of the concert.

Written by Ingrid Michaelson

We have fallen down again tonight
In this world it's hard to get it right
Trying to make your heart fit like a glove
What it needs is love, love, love

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Happy is the heart that still feels pain
Darkness drains and light will come again
Swing open your chest and let it in
Just let the love, love, love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Everybody knows the love
Everybody holds the love
Everybody folds for love
Everybody feels the love
Everybody steals the love
Everybody heals with love

Oh oh oh
Just let the love love love begin

Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh
Everybody, everybody wants to love
Everybody, everybody wants be to loved
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

You know how when you buy a CD, sometimes there is music on the CD that you don't really like to listen to? Or, usually I don't like listening to a CD for a single music group because I get bored with the same voice for every song. But not with Ingrid.  I love how her music makes me feel relaxed and happy, and I am so glad we went to the concert.  It was worth every penny, the long line we had to stand in, and the uncomfortable crates we sat on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


For months, Scott has said that he feels nothing at church.  I have still felt the spirit now and then.  Today I felt nothing.  I tried to pray during the sacrament to feel the spirit.  I prayed during testimony meeting when I felt nothing to feel something.  I enjoyed listening to Scott's ordination blessing as he ordained our oldest son to the office of a deacon.  Normally something like that would have brought chills up and down my spine and tears swelling in my eyes.  It was nice and all, but I felt nothing.  During Relief Society, the lesson was on Eternal Families.  During the part on marriage, I became uncomfortable and annoyed (not that anything specific was being said or emphasized, just that the temple sealing of one man and one woman is required for exaltation).  Instead of letting myself get annoyed, I tuned it out.  Then, toward the end of the lesson the topic turned to family, children honoring parents, etc.  The words of the lesson were sweet, and I love my family so much, but I felt nothing.

Scott says he is ready to move on.  He is stuck.  Stuck between feeling nothing and pretending to be a faithful, church-going member of the church.  He says he has decided that he needs to move on, and that probably means leaving the church behind.  I am jealous.  I want to be at that point for my own peace, but I cannot do it.  Maybe if Scott moves on, I will be able to as well.  But I worry about what this will mean to our children, to our posterity and generations to come.  Instead of worried, maybe I should just be happy that I can give them a gift. A gift of leaving the LDS culture behind along with all of the guilt and pain and agony that I am currently facing.

My patriarchal blessing says I will find joy in living, for happiness comes from within. Everyone says true happiness cannot be found outside of the church.  I have always been in the church and have rarely been happy.  Maybe it is time to experiment with the alternative. This is the hardest decision ever. For now I will continue to take it one week at a time, following the spirit as I make a choice each Sunday. That is all I can do until Heavenly Father tells me otherwise.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blog Stress

When I first started blogging, it was amazing. I had already started reading a lot of blogs, and we had this fabulous community that read and commented and helped each other through the tough times of proposition 8. It was very therapeutic for me to work through my thoughts and feelings, and it brought me an amazing feeling of happiness and peace when I found out (through comments and emails) that it was answering other people's prayers, giving them peace and comfort to know that they are not alone, and even bringing some of them back into the church.

But lately it seems that my blog has become the source of all of my stress. Of course there is my temple recommend, and the main issue with that is this blog. And then I found out today that there are rumors going around school among staff members that read my blog. Of course I have chosen to make my blog public, and I have actually given the URL to some of my close friends at school when they have asked me for it or when I have felt it was the right thing to do (I think I have given it to 3 or 4 people.) I don't really care who reads my blog, but when it becomes something for people to talk about behind my back, then it bothers me.

When a couple in our ward found our blogs, they commented and thus let us know right away that they were reading. Others have told us at church or through emails. I appreciated knowing that they are there reading and knowing what is going on in my life. I would like the same from staff members at my school and other ward members and family (like an email or an in-person mention that they "found" my blog or that someone gave them the address). Even if they don't agree with my opinions, I think that is just respectful and "adult" of them to let me know. We can discuss it, or not discuss it, or agree to disagree. I just want to know.

I'm tired. I don't read blogs any more, at least not very much. One of my favorite things about blogging is the comments and conversations that result. Lately there hasn't been much of that. I feel invisible. I guess some of my readers don't comment because they prefer to talk about it behind my back. And those who used to comment are either too busy to read and/or comment, or they are afraid to because we are kind of "censoring" it for ward and stake leaders that read.

I am having a fabulous year at school. I love my husband and kids and we all get along great. I don't think any of my normal day-to-day life is causing me any more stress than usual. But I am at the end of my rope, on the verge of a nervous breakdown with everything church and blog related. I feel great at school, and then I come home and cry and yell the rest of the night. I can't get anything done that I need to do. I am not supporting my kids with their homework and lives like I need to, because I am mentally sick.

So, in an attempt to heal my soul, I am going to privatize my blog in a couple of days, and I am not going to send any invitations for anyone to read it. ( I've tried the private blog thing already, and no one knows when to read it and very few people comment, so why bother? ) I will be doing this so that I can go through and archive everything while I decide its fate. Maybe I can compile some of the most helpful posts into a new blog somewhere. Maybe you can let me know what your favorites are; the ones that have meant the most to you.

I am sitting here sobbing because I feel like I am saying goodbye to a whole bunch of friends that I don't even know. But I feel this is best to take care of myself and my family.

God be with you till we meet again!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Conference Scarf

While I watched conference, I knitted myself a new scarf. I tried a new pattern that I found online, and incidentally, the stitch I used is called the "faggot stitch" and it involves knitting 1 stitch, yarn over, knit 2 together across each row and every row, making the pattern reversible (so it looks the same on both sides). There, a new knitting pattern for you if you know how to knit. If you don't know how to knit, I am a very good teacher! Come on over.

Anyway, knitting is a fairly brainless activity and can usually be done without even looking, thus enabling the knitter to easily watch or pay attention to something else, with the added benefit of keeping the knitter awake while watching something else. :) I highly recommend it.

Scott and I had the privilege of watching conference with Scott's parents at the family condo this weekend, as I mentioned in my last post. There were many talks that I found to be very touching and I thought memorable. But now that conference is over, I am having a hard time remembering specific people and topics and quotes that I enjoyed.

Some of the "themes" of the conference, or at the least the ones I remember, were personal revelation, staying strong in the church, and setting a good example for our children (and avoiding hypocrisy). I guess maybe these were all things that I felt pertained to me in some way, and I want to re-read or re-listen to many of them so that I can remember things that might help me to be a better person, wife, and mother, with a more God-centered life.

I remember that I really liked all of the talks from the first presidency. For some reason, President Monson's stuck in my mind the best, with the stories of service that he received for his birthday. It gave me the chance to reflect on service both given and recieved by our family in this past year. I will honestly have to go look up Elder Eyrings and Elder Uchdorf's talks, because I don't remember them other than the fact I loved them.

The most memorable talk for me was Elder Holland, as usual. What an incredible man with such passion for the Book of Mormon and the gospel. Being reminded of just how strong my testimony is regarding the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith makes it that much harder for the part of me that just wants to give up on the church and end the struggle.

So the struggle continues. The struggle that includes a testimony so strong that I can't leave, but with the agony of my temple recommend just out of reach. The struggle that includes wanting my children to keep going to church and learning about the gospel, getting the priesthood, attending the temple to do baptisms, singing the songs and giving talks and prayers while at the same time, I don't always want to go myself, for fear that I will have to talk to someone that I don't want to talk to, or listen to a lesson that makes me miserable.

And so, even though I remember feeling uplifted during many of the conference talks, at the conclusion of the conference and as I continue to reflect on it, I am left with a feeling of sadness, with a feeling that this struggle will never end and that my life will constantly feel like a battle ground between the two things that are trying to coexist within my heart without success.

Is it possible that these conflicts will ever be knit in unity within my heart?

Meanwhile, what did you do during conference? If you stayed awake and listened as I did, which talks affected you the most? What common themes between talks stuck out in your mind?

Oh, and please try to keep your comments positive. My heart needs a lift today!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Homosexuality is like lice

Scott and I were just discussing the similarities between how people react when they find out someone is gay compared to finding out that someone has lice. One of our children has had lice this past week, and it has been interesting to observe the attitudes of others as we have shared this news with them.

This son had a birthday party (slumber party) to go to, and so I told the mother of his lice just in case, even though we combed through his hair carefully before he went and were pretty confident that there was nothing on his head to contaminate anyone else. The mother did not mind at all. She said that she has worked in group homes, and that lice come and go frequently, and it was no big deal to her.

Meanwhile, family that we were going to spend the weekend with to watch conference at a family condo were not sure they wanted us to come, because they were afraid of catching the lice or maybe thought that the condo would be infested with lice that would then become a burden for everyone in the family.


Before Scott came out to me and I read No More Goodbyes, I had very little understanding of homosexuality; it is hard to really remember how I felt about it because I wasn't aware at the time of how I was feeling. But I have been able to observe the reaction of others to Scott this past year, as well as hear many stories of how families and friends reacted to others' coming out. Often there is a lack of education and understanding, a fear and judging and making assumptions, etc.

Likewise, when I have heard about families with lice, I think I have been concerned about staying away from them to prevent catching it. But now that it is my own child with lice, he is my son, and I can't banish him from the house or stop hugging him just because I am afraid of catching lice. Instead, Scott and I have been learning everything we can in order to understand it and take care of our family.

So, we now have the unique opportunity to learn all about lice, about how it prefers clean hair, about how it is harder to catch than you might think (like mostly transferred by head to head contact rather than off of objects, since lice can survive for at most 48 hours when not on a human host.) About how it is not essential to bag up all stuffed animals and pillows for 2 weeks, about how vacuuming is better than poisonous sprays on furniture and carpet. You get the picture.

Because of people's misconceptions and misunderstanding (because they are uneducated on matters of lice), they let prejudice and fear influence judgments and assumptions against even people that they love.

Sound familiar?

(Of course there is the obvious difference that lice actually can be caught, as opposed to other things like homosexuality that aren't contagious, even though some people believe otherwise :-).


Lice remind me of my favorite story from the book The Hiding Place. (For anyone who hasn't read it, I highly recommend it.) In a nutshell, it is the true story of two Christian women in a concentration camp during WWII that secretly read their bible together every day. One day they read a scripture that tells them to be grateful in all things. They start listing things that they are grateful for. One of them mentions being grateful for the lice. The lice? The other sister cannot fathom being grateful for the lice, but tries to be grateful, with her sister's encouragement to be grateful for all things. Later they find out that because of the lice, the guards were less likely to enter their building, and therefore they were able to hide their bible and read it daily without getting in trouble.

Earlier this week, the children and I recalled this story (I shared it with them in a Primary Sharing Time a few years ago right after I had read the book) and wondered if we could find a reason to be grateful for the lice. Here is what I have come up with in the days since: I am grateful for the opportunity to learn about lice. I am grateful for the motivation to give the boys needed haircuts, the motivation to be a bit more thorough in cleaning our house (especially the kids' rooms and changing their bedding). I am reminded of how grateful I am that Scott is so willing to be a good husband and father in helping with the children, for cutting their hair, for combing through everyone's heads every day, for researching and buying the best comb out there. I am also grateful that we can enjoy conference alone this weekend with Scott's parents at the family condo because everyone else is afraid to come for fear they will catch the lice! :) I am grateful that extended family has had a chance to learn more about lice, just like they have had the chance to learn more about homosexuality in the past year.

What fun thing do we get to learn about next?