you’re doing it wrong.

you’re doing it wrong.

I recently realized something.

I didn’t notice before because, generally speaking, I believe I live in a musical wherein I am the lead (with the best voice), and everything is amazing and the so-called “strangers” around me at the gas station or the grocery store are in actuality extras–supporting cast, if you will–just waiting to sing:

“Look there she goes, that girl is strange, no question! Dazed and distracted, can’t you tell?”

I am completely serious.

So, I tend to not really care what other people are thinking about me, because I am the star.

And also, because I assume people are just as excited as I am to have any part at all in “Misty: THE MUSICAL”.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a piece of that action?

So, it always comes as somewhat of a surprise to me when I discover the dark underbelly of first world suburban America.

This is a problem that is pervasive throughout store aisles and restaurants and historic downtown walking districts and parks and well, just about everywhere that people have been educated beyond their intelligence.

Complete strangers feel they are obligated out of some perverse sense of duty to tell others that they are doing it wrong.

Whatever “it” is, I guarantee, you are doing it wrong.

Here are just a few things I am doing all wrong in no particular order:

  • Food. No matter what I feed my children, it is wrong. According to popular health blogs, the only thing I can feed my kids is free range, gluten free, dairy free, vegan, non-GMO, cruelty free, fair trade oxygen from the Fiordland region of New Zealand.
  • Exercise. I am doing it wrong. And, even if I am doing it almost right, I’m not doing enough of it. Also, I’m not enjoying it enough.
  • Helping other people. If I donate to help a person in another country, what about people here who need help? If I want to help people learn to read, what about people who don’t know how to cook healthy meals? The list goes on and on. I think that it is pretty clear that no matter how I choose to help people, someone, somewhere, thinks I’m wrong. And they are not going to be quiet about it any longer.
  • Parenting. Attachment, cage-free, whatever–someone thinks I am wrong. And others who don’t agree with me will give me snide, condescending looks in the Target Dollar Spot area.

I know this is not a surprise to anyone but me, because I don’t often pay attention the social media stuff or people in Target (because, the musical thing), but it was surprising to me that people can be so ignorant.

I did want to take a moment to make it clear how right they are.

Often, I am doing it wrong.

Sometimes, epically wrong.

You know why?

Because I am willing to try even though I know I will fail sometimes.

And, sometimes you are doing it wrong, too.

Because we’re going where the snarky people aren’t willing to go: we’re willing to risk falling on our faces and looking like idiots because we know that’s the only way we get better and make the world better.

We are being unique. True individuals. And that’s what the naysayers are terrified of.

They’re scared of different. Afraid of trying something new.

I watched some of them at Arches National Park a few months ago. After giving condescending looks to all the people around them, they came to the edge of the paved sidewalk.

There was a clearly marked trail going down into a canyon. The parking lot was visible from most of the trail.

The three cool people just stood looking at the unpaved rocks and dirt and squirmed.

“Do we walk down the trail?” they asked each other uncomfortably.

“It’s not really a trail, is it? There is, like, dirt everywhere.”

Dramatic pause.

In the end they gingerly tip toed along the first three feet of rock and dirt and took a selfie to prove they had been adventuring at Arches.

I’ve thought about that a lot. I think they really were afraid of trying something new.

Afraid of different.

Afraid, of, “like, dirt…everywhere.”

So I’m not upset when people mutter under their breath about my weight or the kids or my poor food choices at Costco (I am NOT the one eating the case of Twix bars. No one there would guess that “family size” for us is actually at least two cases of anything. And no, I don’t usually condone corn syrup, but it was a special occasion. They were all out of non-GMO, free range pure oxgen).

I’m not upset because I realize, just like the villagers in Beauty and the Beast, that most of the time when people are critical it’s because they are either ignorant or afraid.

And being mad or offended back at them will never help ignorance or fear.

I find the cure is to be kind and, at times, act oblivious.

I just pretend I didn’t hear the comment about how my kids are hogging the swings (we have a 90 second time limit if others are waiting). Most of the time, I get that people are scared of seeing ten kids rushing toward the swings. I know I would be.

I keep smiling when the person behind me in line at the grocery store shoots me death rays because I always have at least 3,000 items. And then I sincerely ask if they’d like to go in front of me.

I’d like to say it’s just out of trying to build bridges, but it’s also because I don’t want to get home faster. I am alone. Outside. With unlimited fair-trade dark chocolate and Fiji water. Around adults. I am in no rush.

I don’t worry when people snicker at me when I am out “walking”. Yes, I look ridiculous. Yes, I am huge. The people snickering don’t know my story. That’s okay. Sometimes we end up friends, because I am willing to share my story and be oblivious to the snickering. Sometimes, I just keep moving.

What’s important is that I am attempting the impossible.

Like a star.

In hot pink Altras.

Don’t worry if you think you’re doing it wrong, because at some point you probably are.

I promise, you are doing better than you think.

Because you are still here, realizing you make mistakes, still learning and still trying.

making history

making history

I am making history.

And, I am not going to stop.

No, I am going to keep going.

It’s hard sometimes to be a history-maker when I am in the middle of history.

If only I had the benefit of being able to step out of time and go in the future and be able to see my history making from where it’s safe and sound. From where the sacrifice is just a nice story with a beautiful ending, where people can skip the bad parts if they want to.

Because right here and now I am in the middle of it, and it’s a mess, sometimes.

It really seems like most days I am outgunned and outnumbered and outfinanced, but I know I am going to win in the end.

Sometimes, I am in the laundry room folding the clothes and I suddenly remember how important I am to the world, and I have to catch my breath. I look down at the socks and the shirts and the trousers, and I fold them a little more carefully, almost reverently.

Because I am making history.

The fresh smell of clean linen on the bed, the picking up of the toys at midnight because they got too tired, the staying up late at night with the sick one, the endless listening to everything from rockets to fire engines to fairies to boys to games to pizza–driving, jobs and what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life: this isn’t just ethereal–it’s tangible.

It creates a real net of safety and security and love that conquers literally…all.

I look around at the ten people still at home who I have the privilege of loving and serving and teaching, and I see history being made.

I see people who are passionate and not afraid to question the status quo.

People who are fiercely independent and who love all humankind fiercely.

People who don’t forget to look up and dream about the stars.

I see people who seem to grasp something I didn’t when I was younger.

They have an innate understanding that they are not the center of the universe–that they are one tiny spark in the long history of the world, but that spark can mean something.

They are better than I ever was.

Sure, they have their faults. They are human, after all, but I still think it has been an honor to participate in the most amazing experiment.

I have been able to participate in finding out what happens when two people who love each other, even imperfectly, love something bigger than themselves.

We had dreams, you know. My husband and I. We wanted to Make A Difference. We had great, amazing plans.

And they were nothing compared to what we get to do.

I can’t take credit for this.

I am more like a bystander. All I did was love them and do their laundry and listen and be tough sometimes when it would have been easier to give in, and I stood back and watched that spark ignite.

And, wow.

Sometimes I wish they weren’t so independent and strong and courageous. Sometimes it scares me how courageous they are.

How willing they are to face anything to defend truth or to protect other people. Even if one of them is threatened at gunpoint.

Yes, that happened.

That’s who I live with. People like that. How could I want to do or be anything else?

I wish I could always have them near me. But, no. They will go.

They will fly.

And they will burn.

And they will leave their mark. Even if it’s just in a small house in a small town–a gunman and a boy who dares to say, “I am not afraid.”

“What will happen if I shoot you?”

“Well, I will probably die. But I am not afraid.”

Nothing else I could ever do–nothing–will ever be able to compare to the fact that I get to have a front row seat to watching my people light up the world.

And I am so consumed by it that I can’t seem to find time to do anything else.

I honestly get distracted when I try to do all the “important things” people seem to spend so much time doing. I can’t do other things because this is it for me.

I know it is. Everything else is so--ordinary.

Our people–our little children, our young people, our budding adults–I am telling you–they have the potential to blow us all away.

They just need us to give them safety and a purpose greater than what we sometimes give them. It’s more than getting into the right college or doing great in high school, or sports, or whatever it is, or having a great job, or even following “their dreams”…

They need to know that their purpose is to change the world. To rid it of hate and evil. Every other success and dream they have should be with that in mind–how it will help them to make the world lighter and better and good.

They have the power to change it all.

We just have to be there and give them that purpose and stand back and watch them burn like the sun.

And, yes, they will blow us all away.

vital records

vital records

Recently, we realized we had lost three birth certificates somehow.

I am absolutely almost forty seven percent positive that they are somewhere in the house, but I knew for sure they wouldn’t turn up until I got new ones, so I embarked on a journey to the Bureau of Vital Records.

I walked into the nondescript, ugly building and I could feel my heart rate increasing exponentially. As I heard the door close behind me, I have to admit I was having second thoughts. I have this irrational fear of drab carpet and sickening blue-gray painted walls that have never felt the touch of soap and water on them.

The walls were adorned with old, wrinkled posters, ripped 8/12 x 11 hastily printed papers that oozed disdain and contempt at the customers of the establishment. One said, “We will be happy to help you when you are done with your cell phone conversation.”

I felt my not-so-inner sassy self rising in protest. Perhaps the people who come to this establishment are on their cell phones because they know what they are getting into and they want to have some kind of contact with the outside world.

Just in case.

Just in case they can’t get out, they feel like if they keep contact, keep holding on, that someone might be able to rescue them in the event that time and space simultaneously collapse in a heap under the pressure of bureaucratic red tape and a honed sense of indifference that could at any moment turn the sun into a cold mass of ice.

The black hole represents the Bureau of Vital Statistics sucking the warmth of the Sun (represented here in blue)

The black hole represents the Bureau of Vital Statistics sucking the warmth of the Sun (represented here in blue)

I also had to fill out shot exemption forms, not because I don’t believe in some vaccines, but because I believe in taking my time with them.

So, I also got informed that because I am doing this, I am costing the state of Utah $25 per child in the event that my child infects the student body of their school with some vaccine preventable disease, or in the event that my child’s not-as-vaccinated self causes stress to the school nurse.

“I homeschool,” I said to the woman at the counter, “so this doesn’t make sense to me. We aren’t going to cost the state of Utah anything because we don’t take advantage of the government school system. This paper says the $25 is to cover the cost of school nurses and inconvenience to the school. So, shouldn’t that fee be waived for me?”

She looked at me, the indifference reaching new levels of apathy,

“That’s not my department.”

Oh. Well, that’s fine then. It’s not her department. As if that is the end of that.

I then added,

“We are vaccinated for most things, it’s just that I want to go slower than the recommended schedule.” To which she replied,

“I’m not here to judge you.” Then, “It will still be $25.”

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Ugh. I tried to examine my feelings as my hands started shaking as I completed the forms and tried not to touch anything.

I wondered if I could ask them to give me $25 to cover the cost of whatever flu or disease I was going to catch spending time in the building, but I realized that probably wasn’t anyone’s department.

I sat down gingerly, and looked around. It was so depressing. Here on the wall in dirty, scratched up plexiglass were forlorn looking signs for birth, death, stillbirth, and marriage certificates.

Then I realized.

I wasn’t nervous, I was angry.

And with the anger, there was a little terror.

It’s the terror you feel when you realize that something is very, very wrong and you feel powerless to stop it.

I wanted to scream at the heartlessness of it all. How dare they? How dare anyone diminish and trivialize the recording of human existence to this drab, dirty place? Why, there should be beauty on the walls and bright colors and vivid–everything!

This is life. The record of souls who have journeyed here.

Our glorious entrances to the planet earth, our deaths–tragic or well fought or lonely or magnificent–marriages that conquered dragons, children too pure to take even a breath…all here.

All around me.

There should be music.

There should be…something.

I escaped the jaws of the Office of Vital Records, after they picked my pocket and perhaps stole a bit of my soul. I wondered as I left, what could I possibly do to stop this kind of thing–this evil of indifference, this careless attitude that the greatest, most momentous events of mortality had been relegated to this, simply because they needed to be counted.

How ironic that the act of counting each life and death resulted in the feeling of it counting for nothing at all.

I wanted to shout to the people all around me, all of whom seemed oblivious,

“Every life matters and every life is worth the whole value of the universe, of infinite universes!”

And I felt I sort of had to warn myself to never, ever become indifferent when the mass of humanity and suffering and life and death seems too much. To never, ever, when faced with the overwhelming needs of humanity, to say, “That’s not my department.”

And to always remember that dealing with the whole of humanity starts with dealing with one. And letting that one be counted.

We are capable of so much more than we believe. Do you know why? Because we are worth the whole of heaven and earth and stars and galaxies and nebulas and–forever. You are. I am. Every single person who ever lived and who ever was even a thought in the mind of heaven is. We are capable of loving and caring and counting each life.

I shake my fist and stomp my feet at the Bureau of Vital Statistics in defiance of treating the vital with such disdain. In defiance I promise to care about every human being and the glory that they are.

So there! Will you join me?

random thoughts about being sexy or not

random thoughts about being sexy or not

I am all over the place with my thoughts today and I don’t even know if I should attempt writing, but you all are my friends, so I will share my very odd and eccentric mind with you.

I have been able to spend more time on Facebook this last week because I am on bedrest and I was bored and distracted and since I did that and have time to get it written down, I think something must be said about the dream of looking great, feeling great, being financially “free” and being “fit.”

I don’t know what happened, but it seems like lots of people I am following on my “feed” are really excited about cleansing drinks and wraps and oils and looking great and feeling great and having health and wealth.

Which is great for all of them, but I am starting to feel a little pressure. Probably because I usually don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook, but still–it feels like everyone wants me to be healthy and wealthy and fit and wrapped and cleansed and covered in oil and INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!

Not because my friends are pushy. They aren’t. They are actually pretty classy about the whole thing, but still…seeing so much of it really does seem to exert some kind of pressure. It’s probably mostly in my head, but there it is.

But, really, I don’t want to be wealthy. I have enough problems already.

And I don’t want any more opportunities. And I don’t want to look younger or feel better.

I do not feel bored and I don’t feel unfulfilled and I don’t even really feel like going on trips or buying a new car or paying off my mortgage right now.

Maybe later.

For now, I am pretty content with my financial bondage and having to stay home life. I actually like being home and not going anywhere right now.

I think my motto these days is:

My Motto

My Motto

First of all, I am like, past 40.

I am old and I don’t want to be sexy and I don’t want to be ripped.

I know it may sound shocking, but while I do have goals for my body, they mostly involve being able to use my left side and maybe work on bladder control after I have a baby.

Those things will more than likely involve medical professionals and I am really at peace with that.

I also want to lose weight, because hello, I am very, very round.

But, I don’t want to lose lots of weight. Here is my fitspiration:

My Fitspiration

My Fitspiration

I also have decided that I don’t want to do the supplement thing. It’s too hard for me.

Honestly, maybe it’s the brain damage, but there is no way I can remember to take supplements.

I forget about the magic powder that’s going to CHANGE MY LIFE and I also cannot be consistent with tinctures, oils, or even Vitamin D, for heaven’s sake.

I don’t know why this is. It’s easier for me to remember to make a green smoothie. And I’d rather chug down a green smoothie than pretend some nutrition bar tastes just like cookie dough or fudge.

Because it doesn’t.

It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to spend money on things I will forget to use. Or that take any amount of extra effort.

Making healthy meals is more fun and I don’t forget to do that because my children remind me constantly that they need to eat.

Obviously all of my friends who do oils and powders and nutritional supplements are probably feeling truly sad for me right now, because they are all thinking how much better I would feel, how much more energy I would have…how all of these things would make my life AMAZING!!!!!!

And I love that it works for them, and I am happy that they are happy, but it’s just not me.

I don’t want to spend money on more stuff because I am happy and content.

And AMAZING!!!!!! probably isn’t realistic for me 24/7.

Sometimes I think bad days and low energy and sad feelings and even pain are good for me. I don’t want 24/7 AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!

And, honestly, I think I have plenty of energy for someone who is over 40 and 9 months pregnant. For the twelfth time. I mean, I don’t really know what I would do with more energy on bedrest…probably go insane.

Also, I just don’t think I will ever feel like I am 20 again, and I think that’s okay. I am okay with it. Happy, even.

I like being a little slower. It helps me think before I act, which has always been virtually impossible for me. I don’t know that more energy would help me.

If I need more energy, I will take a nap, like other old people do.

And if that doesn’t work, I have a Chinese mother-in-law who knows more about herbs and natural remedies than anyone in the Western Hemisphere. Including DoTerra and Young Living and ItWorks! and Isagenix and everyone else.

I mean, my mother-in-law is almost 70 and she still plays at the playground and slides down the slide with my kids and she has never really used anything that she couldn’t make herself from ingredients she had on hand.

So, yeah, I am actually fine with sagging and looking old.

And, maybe other people don’t like that, but I have noticed that if I look old enough, I just become invisible to the crowd that is accustomed to eye candy. It’s like their brain cannot register the reality of me in all my glory because it would explode from being violated in such a way.

And I am content with that.

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Yeah. I Just Call It Summer, Too.

 

I don’t care about swimsuit season, and I don’t care if I will ever be able to run a 10K. I do want to run again, but I don’t think I need to buy anything to help me do that, outside of good food. I mean, one of my best friends has a gym in her basement and she lets me use it whenever I want, so I think I’m set.

I was thinking about that today in the shower. Why do I feel so comfortable with my fitness/energy goals when they are so far below what it appears everyone else is doing? Why don’t I want to look “hot” or whatever?

Well, I think part of it is because I have been waiting my whole life to be old so I don’t have to stress about it, and I really was looking forward to being able to let it go. 40 was the magic age I was looking for, so now I don’t want to worry about it.

And part of it is that John and I have this thing. Sure, we were slightly younger once and hot and steamy happened, but then something else happened–something that I never expected.

There came a time when we had been through so much together–death, life, and everything in between–that I could know when he was home and get sparks, even if I didn’t hear him come in.

There came a time when the butterflies came and never went away. We are almost always attracted to each other.

And, no matter what he looks like or does, there is a tangible link between us that is more powerful than distance or time and will not ever diminish, even in death.

And, really, it goes so far beyond us being a product or object…we are so far beyond whether or not something is toned or “fit” or plucked or moisturized or whatever…that stuff kind of belongs with the object that is a physical body with nothing else attached, and we cannot see each other that way.

We are not the sum of our body parts and how well maintained they are. We are one and we cannot touch each other and merely feel two bodies touching. No, it is more. It is a touch that is fueled with the sparks of stars and suns and galaxies and eternity and spirit.

That probably has something to do with it. We have connected with each other’s stardust and that is some powerful energy.

Powerful Energy.

Powerful Energy.

Maybe that’s why I don’t feel like I need an oil or a powder or a juice or whatever.

Maybe that energy between us–the same energy that spins this galaxy and creates solar systems and suns–maybe that is all I need.

Maybe I am so caught up in that and in my children who have the energy of new life and purity that everything else is kind of anticlimactic.

I don’t know.

Tomorrow my life will change forever…again. A whole new human soul will join mortality for the first time and the earth, the universe, will never be the same. It’s going to be amazing and awesome in a very individual, quiet way.

And just like that, without anyone really even noticing, I will have changed the world, or at least started to.

Maybe I have just really begun to understand that amazingness and the greatness that is simply being present and here and free of emotional baggage and unplugged and undistracted for my family and I guess I feel like jealously guarding those precious moments–they go by (sometimes NOT quickly), and those messy, beautiful, hard moments are what really matter.

And those moments can’t happen for me if I am spending all my time trying to be MORE AMAZING!!!!!!!! or trying to feel younger or whatever.

I don’t want anything distracting me from what really, truly matters in my life, not all the wealth or possible health in the world.

I am not that great at organizing my time and staying focused. I just don’t have that gift, so I have to let go all the stuff that I think is extraneous…and almost everything is right now.

I feel good. I feel better than I have in a long time, and it is unbelievable what feeling good about oneself and feeling peaceful and close to God and nature can do for the human body.

And I didn’t find it doing yoga or going to a seminar or webinar or a cleanse or a powder or an oil. I found it by seeing and feeling my life and my soul and my body and my stardust with my heart.

bliss

bliss

I recently had a lot of people writing me asking how my husband and I make marriage awesome amidst multiple pregnancies and all the children.

I have been pregnant and/or nursing for almost 18 years. So, I can say I have a lot of experience with babies and pregnancy and teens and tweens and toddlers and everything else plus trying to have an awesome marriage.

I used to think I could find someone to help me with this, but really, there isn’t a lot of realistic advice out there for people who have decided to spend over a decade in the trenches of pregnancy and children.

Most of the advice is given with the idea that the pregnancy and/or terrible twos or little children or teens will be over relatively soon.

Most of the advice from large family mothering blogs (or parenting blogs) seems extremely idealistic and a little too hard to achieve.

For example, most large family bloggers tend to exude the idea that they don’t have much trouble with their children who are 12-18–they are just a joy and help out around the house and love to take care of their siblings really, really frequently.

Which is great, but that’s not how we roll here. Yes, my children ages 12-18 are an absolute joy most of the time, but wow. There are times when they are a mess. And I am a mess. And there are times that they do not want to take care of littles, even thought they love them.

And most of the large family bloggers I read about are determined to really testify of their happiness to be serving their husbands in all kinds of capacities that I think are really too much for me, personally (I love my husband, and I love to serve him, but I also like to be spoiled, too. I am a weenie.).

I am not there yet. I may never be.

Maybe I’m not a great large family mother or something. I am not trying to emulate Michelle Duggar and I don’t have a sweet, kindly disposition a lot of the time.

I don’t really want my older children “helping out” a lot.

By the time they are sixteen, I want them out and about, doing their own thing, working or college or something more independent and certainly not helping me aside from some basic chores and learning independent living skills.

So this advice I am giving is from the point of view of a family that has altercations, tears, laughter, obnoxious behavior and struggles sometimes.

I am not giving advice to have an argument free, my-sweet-wife, my-darling-husband kind of marriage. Although that would be really great, I am not there yet,

I consider our marriage awesome, though.

Of course, my definition of awesome might look a little different than what you might expect. I am not expecting absolute happiness and flowers and fireworks.

I am expecting survival with a smile. And some smooching.

That’s it. That is my definition of an awesome marriage with kids.

So, here are my tips for those of you who might be considering a large family and a decade or so of pregnancy:

You Will Both Be So Tired.

You Will Both Be So Tired.

Recognize and accept that it is not a contest.

So, you know when you have children, everyone in the world warns you that you will never get great rest again.

It’s so funny when you’ve heard it over a million times, right? Oh, that never gets old!

But, really, it’s true. You won’t sleep. Ever. Again. And you probably kind of know that, and that’s okay with both of you. You both think it’s worth it.

Most couples tend to get into this contest of who is the most tired (most of the time it is a pregnant mom), but I decided a long time ago that we wouldn’t go there, because my husband actually believes he is more tired sometimes.

And it could be possible that sometimes he is.

I know he sometimes is.

But, we have saved ourselves a lot of grief by deciding before our first child was born that we would never do that contest thing, and we would try very hard to agree that we are both the same amount of exhausted, just in different ways.

And we both have a different level of tolerance for exhaustion.

That’s just the way it is. Don’t fight about it. You are both tired. It will be worth it.

Lots of pregnancy means lots of sacrifice.

Both of you should agree that all of these pregnancies are going to mean a lot of sacrifice.

Most women are a little discouraged when things start sagging and nothing is as it was before. It’s also discouraging to give up wearing pants with zippers for fifteen years. It’s also exhausting and draining to make human beings.

But it’s worth it.

And it’s important for both of you to sincerely see deep beauty in each other, not the kind that is only youthful skin deep kind of beauty.

Most men will find that learning to cook for your nauseated wife, the kids, and yourself is going to be more of a priority than sports or hobbies or…well, almost everything else.

Taking a portion of the household responsibilities (or making sure your other children are completing them), is going to take a lot of time and effort. Even when you are tired and exhausted.

Listening to your wife cry about random things and being comforting will be time consuming and emotionally consuming.

It’s worth it. But, realizing this ahead of time will save a lot of grief and make for a more awesome marriage.

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Make dating and sex a priority. And flirt.

Dating is really, really important during these years. It’s probably the only time you will be able to have a conversation without being interrupted three hundred times.

Make it a priority. Take the time to make a reservation every once in a while. Dates don’t have to be extravagant, but they do need to be without children. Go places that are child-free.

We like to take walks when I am not too miserable from the pregnancy, or just talk on a swing at the park. When I am too sick, we go for a short drive and park somewhere and talk. Or we lock the door to our room and have takeout while the kids stay downstairs without interrupting us for two hours.

We also try to flirt every once in a while. It’s sometimes funny because we are so pathetically tired, but sometimes it can really create sparks.

Sex should also be a priority. It doesn’t have to be epic, but both of you really do need it.

When I am pregnant, it is hard for me to remember this because, well, I am pregnant.

But, it’s important and really, most of the time, I just need time to wind down and let my husband get me in the mood. This is sometimes problematic because really, if we are not careful we can both end up asleep before anything else happens.

Husbands should be aware that sex and pregnancy are sometimes difficult. Wives don’t feel particularly gorgeous and often during pregnancy, sex is really not on the radar. But, if you are patient and go out of the way to think of how to help your wife relax (hint: it may take more than 2 1/2 minutes), it pays off.

And it could even end up being epic.

Remember you are just a conduit.

I remember once when my husband was so worried about providing for our family with money, I reminded him that everything we have comes from God. He is just the conduit for those provisions that really come from God.

Likewise, I am just the conduit for God’s nurturing love to reach my children.

But, in the end, it is God’s mercy and grace that keep us going day to day. Remembering that took almost all the stress out of the “how are we going to pay for…” struggles.

Get a sense of humor.

It’s inevitable that things are going to sometimes be really stressful and chaotic and the opposite of what you dreamed it would be. This is where a great sense of humor comes in.

When, for example, our children are working at dividing us and I see that it is effective, I like to remind my husband that it should never be me against him, but rather, us against them. It’s an old joke, but it helps us to remember that we need to stay unified.

One of the nicest things my husband did was to laugh when I wrecked the side door of our van.  It made me feel so loved and it made me remember that most things are not a big deal…it’s just life.

Pregnancy and raising children gives us multiple opportunities to laugh or cry. Choose laughter as often as you can.

Not Real For Most Of Us

Not Real For Most Of Us

Remember that the ideal is a dream.

When I read about people who never argue, wives who can their own fruit from trees they have grown themselves from organic seedlings and sweep every day and work out and make their own furniture and never gain weight and have painless childbirth, husbands who have never been angry with their spouse, bring home flowers every week, prepare gourmet meals and know how to dress the children for church in matching outfits and braid their hair, parents whose children listen and behave, and all of that, I try to remind myself that this is the ideal–a dream–but not my reality at this time.

Instead, I’ve tried to focus on what we do have going for us, and how we can take our problems and turn them into strengths.

Also, the ideal where couples are forever gorgeous and going on vacations to Fiji or whatever aren’t really going to happen when you decide to be pregnant for a decade.

Also, men who have lived with pregnant women for a decade are running a little ragged, so it’s hard to expect them to really be like all sweeping you off your feet and talking with a gorgeous accent and making vegan food that tastes fantastic.

Instead of pining away wishing my husband were more romantic or soft spoken or whatever it may be, I try to think of how I can love him the way he needs to be loved and how cute he is when he does laundry.

Love

Love

Love.

I know it probably sounds silly, but love really is the answer to almost every problem. Even though we have had some really hard times, I have always been very confident that my husband will never leave.

Even when I have felt like bagging it and just going to an island and living in a cave, I have always known deep down that I will never leave him.

Love really can conquer all. And love suffers long. Sometimes a really, really long time. Love sticks with us through depressing and discouraging circumstances, when we don’t look or act nice, through thick and thin and through sickness and health. It doesn’t waver.

And, sometimes we just need to remember that love is the greatest power of all when we are on no sleep, the kids are bickering, the 16 year old wrecked the car, the job isn’t going well and the pregnancy is difficult.

We just need to remember that these moments are what make love real and tangible.

When I am irritated with my husband, I often look at him and remind myself that this was the person who helped me go to the bathroom when I was sick, the person who got up with barfing kids so I could sleep, the person who held my hand when I was scared and told me it would be alright, even though he was just as terrified as I was.

The most important thing is that we keep going. No matter what. We just keep going and hoping that eventually we’ll reach the top of the mountain together and have enough energy to get down–or that maybe Heaven can send a chopper and airlift us off. And that’s how we keep our marriage awesome.

ordain women? we don’t know what we have.

ordain women? we don’t know what we have.

Sisters, some will try to persuade you that because you are not ordained to the priesthood, you have been shortchanged. They are simply wrong, and they do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to every righteous man and woman. We may all receive the Holy Ghost, obtain personal revelation, and be endowed in the temple, from which we emerge ‘armed’ with power. The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness. Most significantly, the fulness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” Sheri Dew

This post may shed some light surrounding a website in the news that wants women to be ordained to the priesthood.

A lot of people wanted to know what I thought, and other people just want this to go away.

I wouldn’t have said anything at all, but after researching, it appears that the creator of this website may be a silly woman (as defined in the scriptures) who is preying on the emotions and pain of women of the church for her own agenda. 

These leaders have led away some really nice people by convincing them that all they are doing is asking about ordination, which is a lie.

The leaders of this website are calling for the dissolution of key doctrine in The Proclamation on the Family. I don’t think most people even know this.

The Proclamation on the Family is a living, breathing document to me. It is my banner.

And so I have to say something, because, well–that’s who I am. 

Ordain Women?

Ordain Women?

I actually read through the website, trying to understand the “why” behind this. I don’t know if very many people have.

Most bloggers weighing in on this issue sound a little exasperated.

They are tired of this debate because it paints us as somehow victimized, when in reality, most of us are empowered, sassy, amazing, forward thinking women who work in an equal partnership with our husbands.

I understand some of why the women identifying with this group want to be ordained to the priesthood. And for me it’s not a stretch of the imagination to posit the question, because endowed women already have access to the priesthood power.

I think that’s what our leaders have been trying to get across to us recently. Here are a few quotes:

We sometimes overly associate the power of the priesthood with men in the Church. The priesthood is the power and authority of God given for the salvation and blessing of all—men, women, and children.

A man may open the drapes so the warm sunlight comes into the room, but the man does not own the sun or the light or the warmth it brings. The blessings of the priesthood are infinitely greater than the one who is asked to administer the gift. –Elder Neil A. Andersen

Here is something else to consider:

Elder M. Russell Ballard said: “When men and women go to the temple, they are both endowed with the same power, which by definition is priesthood power. … The endowment is literally a gift of power.

So we already are endowed with the same power. We just use it differently.

Because we are different.

Also, for those who have been adamant that there is no precedent for ordination of women, and who are stating that the prophet would never get revelation to ordain women, please, I advise you to never say never.

President Joseph Smith said to the Relief Society on March 30, 1842:

[I am] going to make of this Society a  kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Pauls day

From minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society:

Respecting the female laying on hands, [Joseph Smith] further remark’d, there could be no devils in it if God gave  his sanction by healing— that there could be no more sin in any  female laying hands on the sick than in wetting the face with  water— that it is no sin for any body to do it that has faith, or  if the sick has faith to be heal’d by the administration….

these  signs, such as healing the sick, casting out devils &c. should  follow all that believe whether male or female. He ask’d  the Society if they could not see by this sweeping stroke, that  wherein they are ordained, it is the privilege of those set apart to  administer in that authority which is confer’d on them— and if  the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold  their tongues, and let every thing roll on.

Two women were also formally ordained in the first Relief Society meeting.

Women indeed have administered the priesthood in the early church, presumably, I would guess, because the men were dead, serving missions, or in hiding during the polygamy situation.

Maybe it was a mercy, as so many of the women had been raped and assaulted by mobs. Perhaps many of them had psychological trauma that made it difficult to trust men.

For whatever reason, women have done that.

Deborah, Painting by the incomparable Elspeth Young

Deborah, Painting by the incomparable Elspeth Young

And Deborah held a predominantly male title of “judge” in the scriptures because of the wickedness of the men at the time.

A lot of women seem to not understand that we are already endowed with priesthood power.

After having done years of research on the phenomenon of pornography addiction, I sometimes wonder how we will find men to lead us . According to Elder Andersen’s recent statement saying that men who look at pornography must repent and change and forsake that sin before they are worthy to administer and officiate in the priesthood, I mean, who knows?

But we’re not there yet, in great part due to the wonderful 12 Step Programs available for those struggling with pornography addiction.

And of course, because of the Atonement.

And, because of the Proclamation on the Family. It’s saving us, I tell you.

That there are abuses of male authority within the administration of the church, there is no doubt.

Abuse is a problem everywhere. President Hinckley said:

Such abuse is not new. There is evidence to indicate that it goes back through the ages. It is a most despicable and tragic and terrible thing. I regret to say that there has been some very limited expression of this monstrous evil among us. It is something that cannot be countenanced or tolerated. The Lord Himself said, ‘But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea’ (Matt. 18:6). That is very strong language from the Prince of Peace, the Son of God.

The above quote is taken from the church’s official statement regarding child abuse. It is comforting to read those words from President Hinckley. At the same time, it is disheartening that many other paragraphs in the official statement are often not implemented at the local level, and often even the regional level.

I wish the church public affairs office could talk with some of the hundreds of people I know of who have had different experiences than what are described on the official statement. 

Perhaps some of them are behind the Ordain Women website.

Perhaps the creators of this site have seen women in pain and saw a way to take advantage of it, manipulate, and gain a following. Ugh.

And, you know, I wish instead of just issuing statements and opinions, someone would just thoughtfully sit down with these women, who do appear to be very brave (I don’t agree with this at all–but I think what they did still takes courage)–and simply ask them the question no one is asking:

WHY?

Why?

Why?

There is a problem with some of those in authority enabling perpetrators, covering up criminal acts, and, at the same time, ostracizing and aggressively attacking the victims and their families. I have seen it. I have talked to LDS counselors, Relief Society presidents, law enforcement personnel, district attorneys and victims of such abuse–and it truly is a tragic problem.

Many of the problems seem to stem from the fact that within the priesthood leadership, there is a fraternity of good feelings. It is important to work together for the good of all, and important to feel a genuine love and unity to receive revelation and help others.

Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to male priesthood leadership turning a blind eye on one of their own when allegations of criminal abuse or other wrongdoing is brought up (usually by a woman, but sometimes even by the courts and law enforcement).

In many instances, male priesthood leadership have unintentionally (most of the time), blamed the woman and sought to exonerate the man.

The fact that there are any followers of this website at all probably stems from many instances described by President Uchtdorf last conference:

And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

The church is still true, and it still goes on, however, in spite of wicked men (or women)…President Uchtdorf continues:

It is unfortunate that some have stumbled because of mistakes made by men. But in spite of this, the eternal truth of the restored gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not tarnished, diminished, or destroyed.

I think if the women who created this website are in any way manipulating victims of abuse for their own agenda, they should be ashamed of themselves and called out on it. If this is true, they also are no better than the males with whom they have a problem. 

I believe some women in this group feel  desperate because perhaps they have been severely traumatized by or have seen women getting hurt through the wickedness of men in the church. 

And maybe they are tired of hearing things like they can just call a home teacher for a blessing if they don’t have a priesthood holder in their home.

Do you know how hard that is? To find someone who will come with whom you have trust and are comfortable?

What if you have been a victim of rape or other abuses and have a difficult time trusting any man?

What if the very thought of being alone with men puts you on edge because of past history of abuse in your life? What if the very thought of having a male touch your head would be a trigger?

In all my years as a member, I can think of a small handful of men I would trust in my home at that level of intimacy.

I believe that is one reason these women want the ability to give blessings to each other, as faithful women in the beginning of the restoration did.

There may come a time when there truly aren’t enough worthy men and women may be called upon again to do this, but in the meantime, Ordain Women is missing something.

They don’t know what they have.

They already have the ability to call on heavenly angels to minister to them.

 I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. --Elder Holland

I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. –Elder Holland

They don’t need to feel like they are uncared for and cast off if there isn’t a man available to administer the priesthood to them personally or if they are going through a period of recovery from trauma and cannot psychologically deal with men.

If they are in a desperate circumstance, current doctrine suggests the blessings from angels are just as valid and helpful:

Elder Ballard also taught: “Our Father in Heaven is generous with His power. All men and all women have access to this power for help in our own lives. All who have made sacred covenants with the Lord and who honor those covenants are eligible to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, [and] to commune with God. (Carole M. Stephens, Do We Know What We Have?, italics added.)

I don’t believe that it is in any way wrong to petition the church leadership for change if we feel inspired to do so.

In fact, I think some of the voices (not necessarily Ordain Women), which have been raised have resulted in change–mostly based on the fact that I think it got people thinking.

For example, we now have women saying prayers in General Conference. And we now have the portraits of female leadership displayed at the Conference Center.

And I think it wasn’t about changing revelation, just about realizing that it was the right thing to do, but they had just never thought about it.

Yes, it is good to question, like President Uchtdorf said.

But there is something wrong when the questioning is just a method to cover up a denial of established doctrine–important established doctrine.

And this is where Ordain Women got lost.

They apparently can’t see that they are in a degree of apostasy if they are actively denying the truthfulness and validity of LDS doctrine and seeking to destroy it.

(And, to be honest, maybe some of them are not even aware that this is the real agenda of this website. Perhaps many of them don’t know.)

The website states that the proclamation is antiquated and demands to abolish eternal gender roles. A snippet from their FAQ page:

The Church’s Proclamation on the Family declares that men preside over their wives and families, thus preserving an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms.

My problem is Kate Kelly’s desire to erase the gender role found in the Proclamation on the Family. That men are to preside in righteousness in the home is actually doctrinal. The proclamation is clear when it says that individual adaptation may be necessary in adverse circumstances, so I don’t understand why this would be an issue at all.

The Proclamation on the Family is the doctrine of the church. Said President Hinckley before he read it in 1995:

“…we of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles now issue a proclamation to the Church and to the world as a declaration and reaffirmation of standards, doctrines, and practices relative to the family which the prophets and revelators of this church have repeatedly stated throughout its history” (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,”Ensign,Nov. 1995, 100).

It has been continually spoken of at every conference since it was proclaimed. It has been referenced as doctrine by the current prophet and apostles.

Official Doctrine.

Contains Official Doctrine.

It is constantly referred to in official church publications as doctrine and revealed truth.

It is our doctrine that gender roles are eternal.

It is our belief that the problem is not the “unequal model”. The model is not unequal.

It is our belief that the problem is not the priesthood. The presiding priesthood is not “antiquated.” It is eternal.

The problem is that men are not perfect and sin. Sinful men and women create inequality, not God or his prophets or His doctrine.

(Women also sin, and are imperfect, too.)

I wish I could shout that truth from the rooftops! It would stop so much contention and hand wringing and maybe then we could start actually fixing problems by fixing individuals. We could try living the actual gospel the same way Christ did, to enact change.

Christ enacted change through love, not by hiring a human rights lawyer.

The Atonement is real. Men can change. So can women.

That is where advocating for change has the greatest worldwide effect–in the confines of the human heart.

I can completely understand why a woman who has had negative experiences with males (or has only been taught negatively regarding eternal gender roles), would feel so antagonistic toward this proclamation of the ideal way of life.

So, for someone of our faith to demand that the eternal, God given roles of mother and father be abolished–to demand that men no longer preside in the home–it would be like demanding that the prophet make the earth flat. It goes against eternal truth.

Not everyone may live the ideal in this life. There is far too much of wickedness. But the only way to improve our lives is to actually know what the ideal is.

What Kate Kelly is demanding is that we dissolve the doctrine of the church and institute her doctrine, which is, by definition, apostasy.

It is contrary to what faithful and even questioning and even sassy pants Latter-day Saints believe is eternal truth.

Even if women were ordained officially (we already have the priesthood power), someone needs to preside in the family, and we believe that someone is the father.

Rather than add to dissonance, I find that the fight to stop wicked men in the church can be done in a different way.

Levi Savage, My Hero

Levi Savage, My Hero

I was so heartened by the story of “17 Miracles” and the situation with Levi Savage.

He was right.

The rest of the leadership was mistaken, including a General Authority, who prophesied that the handcart companies would make it to Salt Lake before the snow fell. Either ignorant of all the facts, or just inexperienced, or confusing emotion with the Spirit, they were wrong to believe that there would not be serious consequences in trying to get the handcart companies to Salt Lake. Levi Savage is quoted as saying this:

What I have said I know to be true; but seeing you are to go forward, I will go with you, will help all I can, will work with you, will rest with you, and if necessary, will die with you. May God in his mercy bless and preserve us.

I feel the same way with regard to abuses of power in the church. I will express my opinion–sometimes obnoxiously–and I will help all I can and  then pray that God will have mercy on all of us.

I know that the Lord knows what He is doing, and that He walks with those who face severe situations of injustice, even if they cannot see Him. He is there.

To the women who have gotten involved in this thing, I say, even if you have been wronged and even if you are utterly alone and feel cast out–just remember that God counts you. And realize what you already have. If you keep your temple covenants, you already have the priesthood power.

Also, remember that while the Lord asks us to attend church regularly in order to receive the ordinance of the sacrament and have a temple recommend, that is not the only way we can worship our Creator:

Behold thy brother hath said, What shall we do?—for we are cast out of our synagogues, that we cannot worship our God.

Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?

I say unto you, it is well that ye are cast out of your synagogues, that ye may be humble, and that ye may learn wisdom; for it is necessary that ye should learn wisdom; for it is because that ye are cast out, that ye are despised of your brethren…that ye are brought to a lowliness of heart; for ye are necessarily brought to be humble.

If we can feel, in effect, cast out, and still maintain a testimony of Jesus Christ and the saving ordinances found in the holy temple, then we are truly learning wisdom and humility.

Good can still come out of this for us. We can take even this experience to become more holy.

I wish my sisters and brothers associating with this website could have found a better way to gently raise awareness of these kinds of things without smacking people over the head with demands to change what we believe to be the sacred roles of mother and father and openly rebel against and deny the doctrine of the church found in the Family Proclamation.

Perhaps we could have truly found ways to progress and move forward in love and light rather than create contention and divisiveness over such a sensitive, personal and sacred issue.

And I have waxed eloquent (or maybe not so eloquent!) long enough! I will end my sassy pants post with these words from Sister Carole M Stephens:

We all need each other. Sons of God need daughters of God, and daughters of God need sons of God.

We have different gifts and different strengths. First Corinthians chapter 12 emphasizes the need for sons and daughters of God, each one of us, to fulfill our individual roles and responsibilities according to the Lord’s plan, that all may benefit.

Sons of God, do you know who you are? Do you know what you have? Are you worthy to exercise the priesthood and receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do you embrace your roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as fathers, grandfathers, sons, brothers, and uncles? Do you show respect for women, womanhood, and motherhood?

Daughters of God, do we know who we are? Do we know what we have? Are we worthy to receive the power and blessings of the priesthood? Do we receive the gifts given to us with gratitude, grace, and dignity? Do we embrace our roles and responsibilities to strengthen homes as mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, and aunts? Do we show respect for men, manhood, and fatherhood?

Yes, let’s remember that. We all need each other.

frozen.

frozen.

I thought about making some catchy title to my post, like “You Loved Frozen, But What You Don’t Know Will Shock You And Change Your Mind Forever!” and putting it on social media and watching it go viral. And, maybe if I added a cover of “Let It Go,” I might well be on my way to fifteen seconds of internet fame, but ah, well…I can’t lie.

This will hardly be shocking.

And I probably wouldn’t be writing about it here except for that fact that another Mormon blogger wrote about it (someone much more famous than I am), and it caught the attention of the media. I think it was because she dissected the movie to show it had a gay agenda, which I thought was overreaching.

Before I begin, I understand that this may be a huge disappointment to some of my long time readers. I also admit freely that I am completely aware that watching fireworks over Cinderella’s castle on a weekly basis may have impaired my judgment, so please be patient with me and try to love me in my weakness.

Universal Themes.

Universal Themes.

Frozen is a story that deals with universal themes.

Almost every human being on this earth has sometimes felt alone–unable to share a deep pain or hurt–unable to even feel like the ones that love them most could understand.

Almost every human being has also experienced the feeling of being on the other side of the door–wanting to reach out and help someone and love someone but there is this wall between them.

Hidden Pain

Hidden Pain

Almost every girl I’ve ever know has briefly dreamed at some point in her life of meeting a great guy who would love her and sweep her off her feet.

And there are lots of girls who have been swept off their feet, only to realize when it really counted, that the great guy was just a selfish jerk.

Pet Reindeer. Every Guy's Dream.

Pet Reindeer. Every Guy’s Dream.

Almost every guy I have ever met has dreamt of having a pet reindeer. (Just kidding.)

Being misunderstood, or feeling like you are born and/or cursed with something is not a “gay” thing.

It’s something common to the lot of humanity from the beginning of time.

I have found far more “progressive gay moments” in Pirates of the Caribbean, Tangled, and others than I did in Frozen.

Hope For Fairytales.

Hope For Fairytales.

In fact, I left Frozen thinking that there might be hope for Disney after all. I mean, it wasn’t perfect–but it was getting there.

Vampiness? Yes. Oh, my yes. Trolls? Why?, and sadly, yes. (Let’s just say the trolls weren’t my favorite part of the film.)

But, gayness ? A gay agenda? No. Not even remotely. The Lion King had more of a gay agenda than this movie.

I do remember thinking:

“Oh, my goodness. There are people who are homosexual I know who are going to completely relate to Elsa!”

And then, I thought that would be a good thing, because it would be something we could point out that gay and straight people have in common–this theme of hurt and hidden pain–and that we could have a great dialogue about it and we could actually consider building on common feelings.

Without contention for once.

But, no. That was not to be. No, now it’s just another contentious debate.

I mean, let’s consider this for a second. If gay people relate to this movie–that they have hidden pain that they are afraid to tell their family, why is that bad?

Nowhere in the movie does anyone condone eternal winter or Elsa’s “no right no wrong freedom.”

I believe that marriage is a holy rite and that particular word should not be redefined out of respect for those for whom this word is sacred and supernatural. I believe that sexual relations should be between a man and woman who are legally and lawfully bound in a marriage covenant.

But I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I feel threatened if a group of people take from this film the message that “coming out” means your family can love you unconditionally and you don’t have to run away or live in fear.

Quick Engagement A Jab At Same Sex Marriage? I Don't Think So...

Quick Engagement A Jab At Heterosexual Marriage? I Just Didn’t See It That Way.

The author of the “Frozen has a gay agenda” post also stated that she believed Hans and Anna’s quick engagement was a jab at people who believe in heterosexual marriage.

I honestly think that the major purpose of this part of the movie was to poke fun at the idea that is so prevalent in fairy tales–and especially in Disney fairy tales–that people can spend 3 minutes together and then fall in love and get married 24 hours later. It was self-deprecatingly funny.

A lot of people are concerned  about preschool girls singing “Let It Go,” and worried that they will all embrace a life of “no rules” and celebrate sexuality because of it.

They should be.

I thought the 3.2 seconds of vampiness was way out of line for a children’s movie. It also confused the plot point with the overt sexuality. The words “no right, no wrong, no rules for me / I’m free” repeated over and over again without context are not a good idea for little girls.

I understood what the animators were going for–Elsa is no longer restricted and can have a less restrictive dress. Elsa finally is empowered and the animators could not escape our pornographic culture that says a woman really can’t feel good about herself unless she is sexy.

In their defense, I doubt very seriously that some of the animators even knew how to portray a confident, powerful woman without making it all about sex. Because that is the culture we live in.

And Elsa is not the first time we’ve seen this. How many “good girls” are getting makeovers, not to attract a man, but to to feel empowered? How many moms? How many women have plastic surgery just to feel sexy, not for their husbands, but, they believe, for themselves? I think we are uncomfortable with it precisely because we are guilty of doing what we are charging Elsa with doing.

A Little Too Sexy For A Kid's Movie

A Little Too Sexy For A Kid’s Movie

Elsa’s animators choose purity at the end of the movie. Why? Because it’s the perfect fairytale ending for everyone who lives in our pornographic society: she is loved–really loved–not for what she looks like or how “perfect” she is. Loved unconditionally. She doesn’t need the vampiness anymore because she is no longer objectified.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be considered powerful and lovely and wonderful without being sexually objectified?

Maybe we are also uncomfortable with that because it begs the question why we feel the need to get vamped up to go on a date or to land a job interview–because we don’t have enough confidence in our own worth to others without being sexualized and objectified.

But, I digress and am far too verbose! Suffice it to say, a mere costume change and letting her hair down would have added to the movie, rather than detract from it, like the sexuality did.

I believe the point of the entire movie was that you cannot just run away from those you love to live with “no right, no wrong, no rules” without causing pain and suffering in a big way. Another point lost on some people is that the “freedom” she sang about in “Let It Go” was not true freedom.  In the end she just ran from one prison to another. Elsa’s “no rules” rampage put her entire country in an eternal winter and was responsible for her sister’s icy demise.

Elsa's Ice Castle Prison

Elsa’s Ice Castle Prison

Musicals, by definition tell stories with songs. This song was only part of a story. If the song is sung in context with the story, it is not a bad message.

I think part of the reason girls are belting out this song with reckless abandon is because they deeply identify with Elsa. I think to believe it is just about the strut and the sex is to underestimate our children.

I think girls are trying to tell their parents they are tired of hiding secrets they feel they can’t share with their too busy, uninterested, plugged in parents.  Are they being bullied at school? Do they have body image issues? Most parents wouldn’t know. They are just too tired. Life is crazy.

I think these girls are smart enough to realize that many of the rules in their lives are arbitrary and condescending. They crave real responsibility, and are given free time and an iPhone instead.

They want to explore and test their limits in a safe environment and they are then required to nix recess, wear safety helmets to run in the grass, and play on  “extremely safe” (and consequently, not fun), playground equipment.

Are they tired of adults oversupervising  and micromanaging every aspect of their playtime in order to make sure they are always safe?

Letting It Go

Letting It Go

How many of these kids wish they were free from all the sometimes idiotic time constraints and chaos  imposed on them by this culture so they could actually feel spiritual power?

Spiritual enlightenment can only happen in quiet and peace and in time–something that the adults in their lives seem to have stolen from them in their efforts to crowd their lives with activities and endless events to keep them the good girls they always have to be.

The Snow Queen Elsa

The Snow Queen Elsa

Maybe they are actually disgusted with the fact that starting at age 5 they have to watch what they eat, worry about cellulite and be concerned about attaining a state of physical perfection. And if you are reading this and think moms and dads and other adults aren’t out there pressuring their girls about this, you would be wrong.

Maybe this isn’t a gay coming out or even a  “moral relativism” anthem more than a universal plea to be understood and loved and valued within the boundaries and rules of faith, not the rule of fear, which Elsa is clearly casting off in “Let It Go”.

Too bad the vampiness confused and took away from what would have been a pretty great children’s story.

Most good works of literature deal with universal themes, and as a consequence, portray evil or wickedness in some way.

The trick is to know the line and not to cross it between telling a story and being gratuitous. Sadly, in a morally relativistic society, it is hard to know where that line is.

Frozen was, however, far, far better than most, if not all, of its predecessors. 

A Girl Letting A Guy Carry Her: Completely Unusual in Today's Movies

A Girl Letting A Guy Carry Her: Completely Unusual in Today’s Movies

Frozen portrayed women as smart and capable, but even better and nearly non-existent in any movies or television today, it portrayed men as smart and capable, too. Too bad all of that is being overlooked. I wish people would talk about that, too, so that Disney knows what was really great about the movie.

Kristoff Is The One Driving! Amazing That She Gave Him A Chance!

Kristoff Is The One Driving! Amazing That She Gave Him A Chance!

It was one of the healthiest portrayals of gender roles in any film I have seen in a while. (Admittedly, I don’t watch too many movies, though.) 

Is That Kristoff Helping Anna Again? And Trying To Protect Her?

Is That Kristoff Helping Anna Again? And Trying To Protect Her?

A few years ago, I would have had different things to say about the movie. I would have blasted it. But, you know, I have been to the Magic Kingdom, the heart of Disney-dom on earth. And you know what I found there?

I found wholesomeness. No alcohol. No crudity. I found kind clean, modest, kind cast members who love their jobs–who adore their jobs–even if it’s cleaning up trash.

(I also noticed that all the Anna and Elsa merchandising I saw at Walt Disney World is heavily geared toward sisterly love, not Elsa being sexy and powerful….)

People are nicer there most of the time. They remember their manners. They try to help each other. They don’t mind screaming, tired kids–they empathize and offer assistance. There is a lot of good happening there everyday, let me tell you.

I have seen little miracles there every time I go.

Did you know that Disney’s college program has an honor code very similar to BYU’s? Did you know they strictly enforce it?

I don’t know. I have seen so much good there, so it definitely colors my viewpoint. A lot.

I think it could be possible that Disney was just trying to tell a good, clean, fun story and they were trying their best with the light and knowledge they have.

 

Is that shocking?

Maybe.

In the end, however, our culture just doesn’t understand that slits and highly charged sexy struts are not age appropriate for little children.

And, unfortunately, that message that it was not age appropriate is being lost in the furor of an imaginary gay agenda that really, for the life of me, I cannot find in the movie. Just because gay people like the movie and see their own struggles in it doesn’t mean it was made specifically for that audience. If KKK members thought it was about them, would we be looking for a white supremacist message in the movie? Probably not. I hope not.

Sisters.

Sisters.

Because of the Elsa strut scene, Disney’s Frozen is not really appropriate for a general audience, in my opinion.

But Frozen is a wonderful grown up fairy tale, one that made a great date night. One that made me laugh and cry and…I have to admit…sing.

_____________________________________

As an update, I was writing this last night when a friend of mine gave me a heads up that the Lopez’ Oscar acceptance speech might prove that there really was a gay agenda. Here is what was flagged as possibly being an agenda by more than one person:

“Katie and Annie, this song is inspired by our love for you and the hope that you never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are,” Anderson-Lopez said.

I just see that a mom wants her daughters to never be afraid or shamed to be unique.

Isn’t that the message we want our young women to have?

I think when some people read this, they assumed that Katie and Annie might be a lesbian couple instead of her daughters. At this point, if we are reading that much into this and automatically making those kinds of assumptions, we might be acting like a whole bunch of moral pygmies….just a thought.

 

surprised by joy in the midst of sorrow

surprised by joy in the midst of sorrow

I am glad I don’t have a television, because there is something that newspeople do not seem to understand about the sacred.

Especially the sacredness of grief.

From what I have heard  regarding the media’s coverage of this tragedy, it can best be described as “frenzied.”  I think we should all just not watch it.  Read about it.  That is different.  It does not impose on the sacred grief that video does.

I am grateful that I know what happened in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday morning–but I do wish more people would understand that there is a holiness to grief that should not be intruded upon, if possible.

I saw their pictures, though–those beautiful little children.  And I wept, because I have one that age.

And I wept because of Joy.  I felt all those feelings rush back–I felt the agony–and I felt her close.

And I sent out prayers for the moms and dads and brothers and sisters.  And I felt helpless for a moment–and angry and frustrated and finally, the sick feeling in my stomach was too much to bear and I cried out for my Savior, because He has always been there for me in these moments when I face the abyss of what it means to have lost a child.

For Of Such Is The Kingdom, Jared Barnes

For Of Such Is The Kingdom, Jared Barnes

And I held on to Him.

And I felt her.  Close.  And my heart was swollen.  And it hurt.

And she whispered to me the words of Joseph Smith:

We have again the warning voice sounded in our midst, which shows the uncertainty of human life; and in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, and asked the question, why it is that infants, innocent children, are taken away from us, especially those that seem to be the most intelligent and interesting. The strongest reasons that present themselves to my mind are these: This world is a very wicked world; and it … grows more wicked and corrupt. … The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again. …

“… The only difference between the old and young dying is, one lives longer in heaven and eternal light and glory than the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world. Notwithstanding all this glory, we for a moment lose sight of it, and mourn the loss, but we do not mourn as those without hope.”

And then I was caught off guard.  Surprised by the feelings in my heart–the sure knowledge that I mourn again for all those who have died so suddenly and horrifically, but not as one without hope.

Angels Ministered, Walter Rane

I was also comforted by something that has been a source of strength since Joy left us.  I never got to say goodbye to her, not in mortality.  I wasn’t with her when it happened.  For all mortal eyes could see, she was alone.  But, I know she was not.   I know God was with her, as He was with those little ones in Connecticut–as He is with all little ones who suffer because of wickedness and violence in this world:

And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them…

I know all little children die in Him, and I believe that somehow, they do not taste of death–that the pains and agonies are somehow swallowed up as Jesus Christ Himself fills those little ones with His radiance and life–and they slip through to the other side in peace and perfectness–no matter what it appears to our mortal selves.

I can see that people are shocked and angry–angry that this happened–and that, in itself, is not a bad thing.  We have been given enmity as a gift to know when something is not of God–when something is evil.   But, after that initial recognition, it is best to hand it to the Lord, and to remember that the greatest protection for all little children is to do good to make things better.

And, I want to do something.  I want to be better, as a tribute to those beautiful little lives, and as an act of defiance against the darkness of this world.

I read in lots of places on the internet that everyone was going to hug their kids a little tighter in the wake of this horrific tragedy.

That is good, but  I felt like I not only needed to hug them tighter, but actively love them better.

What do they see? What do they hear? What do they feel?  Am I paying attention?

Do my children experience enough beauty through music and nature and loving and serving?

Do they feel moved to help others, including their family members, do they want to spend time with each other?  Do my husband and I treat each other with love and kindness?

Are we, as a family, gentle and kind, or do we spend too much time noticing faults, making sarcastic remarks in jest, or doing other things that make it harder to feel the closeness of God in our lives?

Do I really know what my kids are up to?  Or am I too busy or too exhausted to pay real attention?  And do I care enough to do more? To love them a little better?  To say no when it’s hard, but the right thing to do?  To put aside “guilty pleasures” in deference to light and love?

I know I can do better.  And I will.

Because, more than anything, I want my children to be safe…

There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!  –Corrie Ten Boom

I hope everyone will be able to listen to what the Spirit is telling them to do in the wake of this event–because we can all do something--even if it is just a prayer of faith–but I believe we can do more than that…we can do better in honor of all those who have suffered.

Christ Gives Us Hope

Christ Gives Us Hope

And, we can mourn with hope:

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away…

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…

I wrote about how I feel about the Savior’s role in the death of a child here, if you are interested.

reverence for life.

reverence for life.

One of my heroes is Dr. Albert Schweitzer.

He could be stubborn, disagreeable, and moody.  He made mistakes.

He was very human.  He was also extraordinary.

He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952 for his philosophy.   He had been struggling with the dilemma of how human beings could be moral.  He had come to an impasse.  He seemed to be blocked–but just on the verge of understanding.  He was on a boat, going down a river to visit a patient, when he was struck by the beauty of a sunset on the water as a herd of hippos went swimming by.  It was at that moment that the thought came to him, “Reverence for Life.”

…Schweitzer’s mind suddenly struck on a simple three-word phrase: Reverence for Life. In Schweitzer’s concept of the universe, all living things – mammals, reptiles, fish, birds, insects, plants, fungi, bacteria – were united by their will to maintain that common status: to keep on living. “I am life that wills to live in the midst of life that wills to live,” he wrote. In translating this to an ethical viewpoint, he believed in the simplest terms that “it is good to maintain life and to promote life; it is evil to destroy life and to restrict life.” Those who are a part of the chain of existence have a duty and a responsibility to maintain and promote other life, and above all respect and cherish all other organisms’ right to exist. Reverence for Life. Such a simple philosophy; such a revolutionary idea.”

Dr. Schweitzer

And that is my philosophy.  All living things want to live.  I believe it is good to maintain and promote life.  I believe that in a perfect world (not a fallen one), we would be able to live this fully.  However, in our world, there are times when we are justified in killing animals and often, bacteria and fungi–if they are dangerous and aggressive toward humans or bent on destroying other life,  and for food (but eaten sparingly).  I believe that at times, it is humane to euthanize an animal.

I believe it is alright to defend our homes, families and religious freedom to the death if necessary, if others are attempting to destroy life.

Also, if I could kill the flu, I would.

I also believe in human exceptionalism.  I believe that human beings are exceptional.  I believe that human beings, as the only living creatures created in the image of God, are stewards and caretakers over all living things on this earth.

Why am I writing about this?

Well, you see, I am not a political person.  Oh, I used to be.  I managed a blog and wrote for a popular conservative talk radio host for a few years.

But, I don’t like getting my blood pressure up all the time.  And I have come to the conclusion that “talking politics” does very little for anyone except making people (including previously good friends), want to smack each other upside their respective heads.

I don’t really like that.

But, I realized that I don’t have to be political.  I just have to be moral.

And, there is only one issue that I care about that happens to have (unfortunately) become politicized.  Because, it’s not really political in reality.  It’s moral.

(I don’t know that young people these days understand the difference, though.)

It’s reverence for life.

And, to be honest, I have patiently endured many, many of my friends  political rants (on both sides of the aisle), and held my tongue, when I really want to say is we are just, as Elder Holland so eloquently put it, “a whole bunch of idiots acting like moral pygmies.

Oh, everyone knows his or her candidate is the right one and everyone else is wrong.  Everyone gets worked up about this or that freedom being eroded or taken away, when in reality, the reason why we are in such a mess is not political, it is moral.  We, as a society, have become self-absorbed and self-serving.

And, I have washed my hands of all of that nonsense.  The bickering about foreign policy, the value of the dollar, who lied to whom and when, rich and handsome versus rich and…not handsome?  I don’t know.  Blech.

I’d rather make pancakes.

And that would be okay, except for there is that reverence for life.

And, we can’t wash our hands of that.

Because if we support someone who does not have reverence for life, we are, in effect, a part of the problem.  Especially if that someone would require people to go against God’s current counsel to His children to “encourage and pay for” ways to destroy life.

And that’s where I have to write something.

Because it’s not about politics.

It’s not about who is more charismatic or fabulous or worried about the homeless or concerned about health insurance or whatever.  It’s not even about getting a free phone or a sovereign America or saving the Constitution as it dangles by whatever it’s dangling from, and it’s not about what’s in it for me.

It’s just about reverence for life.

And, as members of the church, we don’t have to arbitrarily decide what “life” actually means.  We have the words of modern prophets and apostles to help clarify that for us in the midst of a debate that should never have been politicized in the first place.  Elder Nelson has stated:

Nearly all legislation pertaining to abortion considers the duration of gestation. The human mind has presumed to determine when “meaningful life” begins. In the course of my studies as a medical doctor, I learned that a new life begins when two special cells unite to become one cell, bringing together 23 chromosomes from the father and 23 from the mother. These chromosomes contain thousands of genes. In a marvelous process involving a combination of genetic coding by which all the basic human characteristics of the unborn person are established, a new DNA complex is formed. A continuum of growth results in a new human being. Approximately 22 days after the two cells have united, a little heart begins to beat. At 26 days the circulation of blood begins.  To legislate when a developing life is considered “meaningful” is presumptive and quite arbitrary, in my opinion.

Elder Oaks gave a thought provoking sermon, currently cited at the church’s official website as additional information in the gospel topic, “Abortion”.  In it he says:

Some Latter-day Saints say they deplore abortion, but they give these exceptional circumstances as a basis for their pro-choice position that the law should allow abortion on demand in all circumstances. Such persons should face the reality that the circumstances described in these three exceptions are extremely rare. For example, conception by incest or rape—the circumstance most commonly cited by those who use exceptions to argue for abortion on demand—is involved in only a tiny minority of abortions. More than 95 percent of the millions of abortions performed each year extinguish the life of a fetus conceived by consensual relations. Thus the effect in over 95 percent of abortions is not to vindicate choice but to avoid its consequences. Using arguments of “choice” to try to justify altering the consequences of choice is a classic case of omitting what the Savior called “the weightier matters of the law.”..

If we say we are anti-abortion in our personal life but pro-choice in public policy, we are saying that we will not use our influence to establish public policies that encourage righteous choices on matters God’s servants have defined as serious sins. I urge Latter-day Saints who have taken that position to ask themselves which other grievous sins should be decriminalized or smiled on by the law due to this theory that persons should not be hampered in their choices. Should we decriminalize or lighten the legal consequences of child abuse? of cruelty to animals? of pollution? of fraud? of fathers who choose to abandon their families for greater freedom or convenience?

I watch in dumbfounded disbelief as many of my dear friends cry out in defense of protecting turtle egg colonies (and rightly so), but have no such urge to defend unborn human beings from elective abortions.  It is painful.

What A Little Miracle!

Something amazing has happened in the past five or six years with the advent of new technology that gives me a view of my little one’s heart beating away when I am only seven weeks pregnant.  It is one of the reasons I love bearing children.

It is life.

Reverence For Life

And I have a profound reverence for that life.

And, I believe, as Dr. Schweitzer did, that once that little heart starts beating, it beats and sings those words he penned in Lambaréné:

“I am life that wills to live in the midst of life that wills to live.”

And I have heard that song as I look at the ultrasound machine and marvel at that beating heart.

I don’t have to spend a lot of time researching most political candidates and sifting through all of the double talk and campaign promises and claims to having sterling character and morals.

Usually, I only have to investigate where they stand on one issue–that of reverence for life–or as they have politicized it–their stand on abortion.

And if they would in any way encourage, pay for, or arrange for an elective abortion for personal or social convenience, then I have my answer.

I cannot vote for that person.

Even if he is going to Make A Difference.

Even if he is nice.

Even if he feeds homeless people and helps the poor.

Even if he has great foreign policy.

Even if he looks dashing in a tuxedo.

Even if he is a member of the Church.

Even if I agree with every single other item in his political platform or agenda.

Maybe that seems naïve or idealistic.  But you have to draw the line.  You can’t check your religion at the voting booth.

Someone, somewhere has to stand up for choice–the right choice.  Like Elder Nelson said:

“As Latter-day Saints, we should stand up for choice—the right choice—not simply for choice as a method.”

In doing research this year on the two major political parties and their candidates, I am a little frustrated.

Mitt Romney was a pro-abortion governor of Massachusetts.  I am guessing it had something to do with the fact that Massachusetts is not a state that is known to adhere to the principles of reverence for life, and he had great political aspirations.  Mitt’s wife, Ann, also gave Planned Parenthood $150 in 1994.  Currently, Mitt Romney is running as a pro-life candidate.

President Obama is an extremely pro-abortion candidate.

President Obama and his advisors see no moral dilemma with  “after birth abortions.”  President Obama’s advisors and people in leadership positions, believe that if it is ethical to abort a fetus, it stands to reason that it is ethical to abort a newborn baby.  One member of Obama’s transition team believes that it is ethically acceptable and sometimes even favorable to kill any infant up to the age of two years.  Especially if the infant is disabled or handicapped.

President Obama voted against a bill that would protect babies who survived abortions from being put in a box to die on a shelf, or thrown in a trash can to struggle for life and then die.   He didn’t vote against it once.  He voted against it four times.  President Clinton, Senator Kerry, and Senator Kennedy all voted for the bill.  NARAL was neutral on the issue.  In Illinois, the state version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act repeatedly failed in large part because then Senator Obama was against it.

Not only did he vote against it, this is what he said about it:

As Illinois state senator Barack Obama…put it, there was “movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead.”

I can hear the words of Dr. Schweitzer, whispering from the heart of Africa: “I am life that wills to live...”

He said that would be a burden to both the doctor and the mother to try and protect the baby born alive, and then he later lied about it.  When the records were clear and he couldn’t keep from being found out, he admitted to the truth.  (Included here is a link to the voting record and audio of Obama’s testimony–while it is a prolife blog, the links go to the original sources.  Here is another link to the audio of then Senator Obama.)

President Obama and his wife also want to continue partial birth abortions, calling them a “legitimate medical procedure” and Mrs. Obama actually sent out a letter asking for people to give money to support keeping partial birth abortions legal.  I am not going to detail what barbarism is involved in a partial birth abortion, but perhaps you should find out what one is, if you just assume it is a regular abortion or a “legitimate medical procedure”.

It is definitely not showing any reverence for life.   The ban, by the way, was deemed by the Supreme Court to be constitutional.

Our laws for animals say that we must kill them humanely.  Why is President Obama so adamantly opposed to giving babies or fetuses that same compassion?

I don’t know.

And, it doesn’t really matter, I guess.  And it’s not not true.  I know it seems impossible that a person in a leadership position would not oppose infanticide, but there it is.

His own words condemn him.

And all the free phones, free healthcare, free food, or fabulous parties…all the great foreign policy or environmental policy or all the sea turtles or polar bears or icebergs we save isn’t going to save us if we don’t have reverence for all life.

This Is Life at 24 Weeks

Especially human lives.

Dr. Schweitzer once said:

Our culture divides people into two classes: civilized men, a title bestowed on the persons who do the classifying; and others, who have only the human form, who may perish or go to the dogs for all the ‘civilized men’ care.

Oh, this ‘noble’ culture of ours! It speaks so piously of human dignity and human rights and then disregards this dignity and these rights of countless millions and treads them underfoot, only because they live overseas or because their skins are of different color or because they cannot help themselves. This culture does not know how hollow and miserable and full of glib talk it is,…and this culture has no right to speak of personal dignity and human rights…

We may not want to protest at abortion clinics.  We may not feel comfortable with the tactics of many pro-life groups.  We may not feel the need to politically advocate for life.  But, we must do something.

Even if it is as small as simply voting for candidates who have reverence for life, regardless of our own self interests or wisdom of who we think would make a “better” President.  Regardless of how we feel about health care or fiscal responsibility, or even how we feel about “choice”.

In this election, I feel like it’s a Pontius Pilate (Mitt Romney who felt political pressure to be “pro-abortion” in order to further his career, and later washed his hands of it and is now pro-life), or a King Herod, who supports infanticide and abortion for any reason.   The third party candidates, Gary Johnson (whose political stand on abortion is that it’s okay until the fetus would be viable outside the womb), and Jill Stein are also pro-abortion.

I am grateful that there is at least one candidate who is currently pro-life.

For those of you who are interested, I also found in my research that the Democratic Party has also changed their platform on abortion.

In 2000, the Democratic platform said the party’s goal was “to make abortion less necessary and more rare.” The 2004 platform declared, “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.”

In 2008, the Democratic Party removed the word “rare” from their platform.

I am not one of those people who identify as part of any political party.

In fact, I think most people these days are kind of fed up with all of this nonsense.  The political system does not resemble what the Founding Fathers had in mind, and is gluttonous and corrupt.  Most people who are busy trying to do good and be good don’t want to identify with the childish and contentious antics of party politics.  Or, really any politics.

I don’t think most Mormons think you have to belong to a conservative party to be “righteous”.  I don’t really like the conservative party any more than I like the liberal party, and I am unimpressed with the extremism of most third party candidates.

But, I do think we have a moral obligation to stand up for the right choice–to have reverence for life.

I think most very good people would rather look to God and worship Him as the leader of this land.  That’s how I feel.  I wish more people would remember Him.  I wish He were acknowledged as someone in whom we trust on something more than old coins.

Can’t we trust Him to make a way for those who become pregnant and are not prepared for it?  If we would just trust Him more and money (and education and social status, etcetera) less, I think miracles could happen.  They often do.

So, when you are at the polls, remember Elder Holland’s battle cry: that we never leave our religion at the door.  And remember what an apostle of God recently said at General Conference:

Many laws permit or even promote abortion, but to us this is a great evil.

He didn’t say it was a great evil unless the maker of this law was helping the homeless, or giving away free insurance, or a great humanitarian.  It is a great evil. Period.

This above all, Reverence For Life.