Monday, April 15, 2024

Culture and Doctrine and Beliefs -

Lots of scuttle going on the past few weeks regarding the mandates given by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

These mostly surround women and their callings and what they are allowed or not allowed to do in this arena. 

Interestingly, I was going through boxes of my memories at the same time as LDS General Conference was being held, and I found an article from 1989, that I'd saved (must have been profound for me at the time) that discussed something that was once again on the docket for conversation - some things never change, some voices never heard. 

Of particular interest these past few months has been the issue of the "stand" in the chapel where leaders who are presiding, and those who are speaking, sit. At one point, an LDS region in California invited women leaders to sit on the stand, along with the male leaders (who are typically the only ones sitting on the stand - because they preside). When this info went from region to district, to area, the regional and congregation leaders were asked to remove the women from sitting on the stand. This created quite an unquiet discourse about who has authority, who gives authority, and the benefits of women being seen. 

Along with this, an LDS women's organization leader, was quoted (after speaking at an LDS women's conference), and posted this quote on social media - She said, "There is no other religious organization in the world, that I know of, that has so broadly. . . . My dear sisters, you belong to a Church which offers all its women priesthood power and authority from God!

This definitely hit a sour note with thousands of women, with one stating, "This statement is laughable at best and thousands of women are being vocal about it, as they should be." 

I responded, "I'm not sure who chose this quote - I most definitely feel differently and find this rather condescending. I'm just not understanding why I have to be "given power and authority." However, I love the painting and the sisterhood portrayed; I feel this, but not within my religious organization.." 

Another, "President Nelson, you plead, 'Sisters, we need your voices,' and yet have you heard our voices? It will not work to simply tell us this anymore. It's disrespectful and belittling. It's misleading and harmful. We need actions, not words." 

More than 10,000 comments in similar and harsher strains, with only a handful validating the statement. (

And with this, along with doctrine regarding LGBTQ families and celestial families and room for everyone, yet requiring BYU students to read a talk given by Jeffrey Holland in 2021 stating that "the doctrine of the family and defending marriage as the union of a man and a woman. . . . We have to be careful that love and empathy do not get interpreted as condoning and advocacy." Many queer students, and straight, see this having significant implications, suggesting they don't belong at BYU and this may be an unsafe environment for them. (This is called the Musket Fire speech.) 

I look my child in the face

And tell them with my eyes

I love you

Every part of you.

And if musket fire 

Is ever pointed toward you

It will have to go

Through my body

First. (@unpackingmormonism)

There's also been talk about Mormon women and the wearing of garments that do not fit, cause physical problems, are uncomfortable, and are not practical in many cultures. 

With all this said, there was a glimmer of hope that some changes would be made and/or announced at General Conference the first weekend in April. 

Well - there were 5 session, approximately 7 speakers per session, 2 prayers per session. Out of this, two women prayed, three women spoke, all of the rest were male. 

The wearing of garments was discussed twice, once by the woman I mention above, once by Elder Oaks. Neither addressed to men, but to women and the temple covenants made. 

As for women on the stand - nothing. And for my LGBTQ friends - always, there's a seat at our table for you, and yet marriage is between a man and a woman and families are forever. I do not know a single parent who would leave their child sitting at a table by themselves; I heard one mother state, "I'll go to hell with you." (See David Archuleta's newest song:

Lots more temples were announced - I do not get this, and an official statement came out yesterday regarding the wearing of garments. More grinding in on the old law rather than listening and making changes.  Statements regarding garments lead to policing by do-gooders, shaming, blaming, and guilting. 

"The more an institution tries to control how you wear your underwear the more you should question why they feel the need to control you so much in the first place." 

In our home we have a framed saying on our wall: "Seek to understand before being understood." We make this a conscious habit - what am I missing, what am I implying, what more is there to know, what questions can I ask, listen, listen, listen. 

I understand culture, I have studied, taught, written about, and experienced differences for my entire adult life (with that being encouraged even as a child). 

If a culture does not adapt and adopt, evolve over time, it will die. Squeezing tightly to the old, particularly older patriarchal men and women, when not bringing in youthful fresh voices, and listening to them, will only make the old-guard seem more irrelevant. Giving young adults and newly graduated high schoolers responsibilities without explanations, will ensnare, but will not educate, rather commit and shame and guilt into staying. Holding on, tighter and tighter will kill (rather like Lennie in Grapes of Wrath, choking his pet mouse because he loved him so much). 

Give us some air, give us room to grow, room to explore, room to express our thoughts, room to be heard, validated, and implemented, room to receive personal revelation - like the Church has taught for years, trust us to make wise choices, let us practice integrity rather than sneakiness. 

My peace did not come peacefully. 

I had to excuse chaos from the table

Before I could sit with peace. (Unknown)

Otherwise, death is imminent. 

Monday, April 1, 2024

Ted Lasso and Throwing Darts -

 Just watched the Apple TV Series Ted Lasso for a second time. It's amazing all the goodies that can be found in this series. 

Below is one of my most favorite scenes with one of the many lessons Lasso teaches. 

Be curious my friends, be curious. 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Hurting and Holding Space -

 There's physical pain - and I've had my share particularly this past 12 years - yet you go to the doctor, surgeon, chiropractor, massage therapist, acupuncturist, rest, meds, etc., and most likely that physical pain will heal, or at the least, bearable. I'm still dealing with the repercussions of cancer treatment and accidents exacerbated because of cancer; one more surgery to go, and hopefully I'm finished. 

There's also physical pain brought on my trauma - physical or emotional, and yesterday at the dentist, he told me my jaw clenching was speeding up the corrosion of my molars, and I would need crowns or bridges. As well, sleep and I haven't been acquaintances for years, and typically my sleep only happens with a pocket-full of well planned and well staged sleeping meds. I get a routine down, sleep well with that, things change, begin again. 

I know where this trauma comes from; I've been here for years, marking the years, months, weeks, until I can be free of some of it and truly heal my physical, brought on by emotional, pain. 

And then there's moral or emotional or spiritual pain. And I think I'm healed and moving forward, until something is said, posted, shared, and the pain comes leaping forward, from the other room where I set it down. And when that door is opened, all sorts of pain leaps out and comes to visit me. 

For the most part I address it, acknowledge it, examine it, breathe through it, then excuse it. And that works; it's what I preach, it's what I practice. I've certainly sat with all of this - whether that's in the operating room, on a journey, with a therapist, or in prayer and contemplation. 

And yet - 

I'm sorely afraid that twenty years of moral, emotional, and spiritual pain is waiting at the closet door, for me to open, and it's a door I must open in order to rid them from my house, rather than move them to another shelf. 

And how do I do this?  NT, Luke 4:23, states, "Physician, heal thyself." Can I expect my clients to listen to me, if I have not taken care of what ails me? Yet I think I have, until I realize I haven't. 

I've worked through so much the past two decades, and I'm proud and pleased at what I have removed from my closet; yet like clothes that no longer fit, but sit in the closet, waiting, wondering, looming, always there, it's time to open the door, sort, and move them out forever. 

Perhaps these past decades of keeping trauma in the closet has been my way of holding space for myself, knowing the time will come, letting go of judging myself, and moving forward with love - for myself, my trauma, my others. 

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Tarot Cards and Eyes on the Prize -

I pull out my tarot cards upon occasion. Just like someone would read their horoscope, a positive daily thought, or their scripture of the day to motivate them through the day, tarot cards do similar - pull one, two, three, five, depending on your desire. 

I have animals and woodland plants, the housewife's recipe deck, goddesses, and sacred journey cards. Depending on how I'm feeling about our session, I will choose a deck, upon the client's request. Never without consent. 

My clients like the cards; they receive some direction, a little validation, and some clarification as they move forward. 

We typically pull for relationships, being stuck and moving forward, as well as looking at the past, present, and future - short and long-term. 

I pulled an interesting series of cards in Sedona, AZ last May. Laying on the table at a crystals store was a deck of Sedona sites cards. I pulled a card for recent past, real-time present, and moving forward. I asked for validation of my path. 

I don't remember the pictures on the first or second card, just that they validated where I'd been and where I was, at that moment. However - the last card really threw me - it was a clear white space, nothing more. And what it said to me was - forge your path moving forward, the world is yours, do with it as you'd like. 

I have definitely done this over the past year, with my Wren House practice as well as the journeys I've traveled. Having that blank card gave me permission to create my own story. 

This past week I pulled cards as well. These came from my Sacred Journey deck. I pulled these for my career paths - have I been where I was supposed to be, am I doing what I need to be doing, and is my forward where I'm supposed to be going. 

I'm feeling pretty good about the message I received. 

Thank you, Robbin for introducing me and gifting me my first deck of cards.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Thumbs -

 So this happened 2 1/2 weeks ago. After more than 2 years of attempting to cure a terribly arthritic thumb, without surgery, I had surgery on my left thumb on 1/22/24. 

Feeling better already, particularly knowing the pain I have now is moving forward pain! 

Biggest issues with no thumb - typing, blowing my nose, washing my hair. And yet - 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Never a Dull Moment -

 Let's begin this blog with a magic-filled mid-January run-down: 

Jan. 14 - Church with Knudsen Family, Pizza party at our home with Knudsen's, Holm's, and Birkeland's. Ended with a couple of great games, some sardine eating, and the cutest boy puking. 

Jan. 15 - MLK Day, worked, so many hospital patients, then WrenHouse clients at home. 

Jan. 16 - Work, WrenHouse clients, MM webinar. 

Jan. 17 - Work, WrenHouse clients. Pack for SLC

Jan. 18 - First meal together, although quick, then to Tyli's Drill Team competition. So precise, so magical. 

Jan. 19 - Long awaited weekend in SLC. Looking forward to all activities and time alone, together. 

Psychedelics in the Beehive, featuring Paul Stamets. Attended with a couple of friends, and made a few new friends. 

Jan. 20 - Good night's rest, time for a little shopping - fabric, flour, food, and great conversation with my honey. Came back to the motel and watched a BB game. Early to bed, looking forward to a nice breakfast and The Six! 

Jan. 21 - Scott is sick - food poisoning, 24 hour flu - but he woke up with a stomach bug of some kind. Attempted to rest, hustled to find someone to take our Eccles Theatre The Six tickets (purchased nearly 4 months ago, and so wanting to see) - shared with a friend. Packed the car, headed home with a stop at the grocery store. Scott went to bed, slept 12 hours, then most of the night. I made soup, muffins, cleaned the house, in preparation for tomorrow's surgery. And looked for the magic in the opportunity of coming home earlier than expected. 

Jan. 22 - Thankfully  Scott was feeling  well enough to drive me to the hospital for surgery. Surgery?  Yes, for the past 4 years the pain in my left hand has gotten increasingly worse. It was exacerbated with a fall where I grabbed onto a bar to catch myself, and the past year it has become unbearable. My left hand is my dominant hand (except eating and writing), and my thumb is worn out from years of creating and working. So from cortisone injections to PRP, braces, more cortisone, therapy, it was time for surgery (although I swore of surgeries after my elbow rebuilding). Thumb joint replaced (creatively) by a hand surgeon, and I was home to rest off anesthesia by 1pm. 

Jan. 23 - Scott and I stayed in recovery mode through Tuesday, happily eating soup, muffins, and resting, as well as attending an online retirement workshop (three months!). 

Jan. 24 - Washed hair in kitchen sink, dried and straightened with minimal help from Scott, yet showering is a fiasco - can't do it myself, and we have no tub. Back to work and WrenHouse clients as well. Fun to watch reactions to "thumb surgery." I must say, the pain is nasty, yet I know this pain is beneficial - aargh. 

Jan. 25 - Work and work! Busy day - 11 hours, then leftover soup for dinner. Good news is that I'm sleeping pretty well. My pain was the worst at night, and often kept me awake. This pain seems to subside at night, for which I'm incredibly grateful. 

Jan. 26 - Today! Learning how to manipulate my two fingers on my left hand to be pinchers and holders. Oh, and the blow-dryer between my knees as I dry my hair! Grand-daughter's cheer competition that I've missed, patient visits instead, checking in on my WrenHouse clients, and going to attempt to have a normal evening (that means dinner before 7pm, perhaps a Friday evening movie).

Jan 27-31 - Julie's Birthday tomorrow, Dentist and work and WrenHouse on Monday, my birthday on Tuesday, and the month is over!!! 

Life is good, experiences, planned and bonuses, are the theme of our lives, and yet - there is magic everywhere. From some phenomenal experiences with clients, to networking and making new friends, to enhancing friendships and strengthening family, to waiting and watching, and laughing out of absurdity and joy, as magic continues to unfold. Being curious is so much better than being fearful or indifferent, makes my life so rich.