Saturday, July 30, 2016

Life Lessons at Summer Camp: Being Pretty

For those of you who don’t know, my day job consists of working with young children. During the school year, I teach pre-K. During this summer, I supervise the Lord of the Flies at summer camp. Basically the kids run amok and I help make sure no one dies or gets hurt too badly.

This summer camp is at the same preschool I completed my assistantship at during grad school, so a lot of the children attending already know me. Especially since I requested the younger group, I know many of them from my two years as a GA when they were in kindergarten at the school, and the rest from their kindergarten and preschool years. These children are fairly comfortable with me, and in this casual environment I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to just hang out with the kids. I don’t have an ulterior motivation to push an academic agenda on them, there’s no lesson plans that I need to try to gear our interactions toward, I can just hang out with them and get to know them.

The other day, one of our youngest girls was talking with me. Our youngest group just finished kindergarten, so they are around 5-6 years old depending on their birthday. I don’t remember how it came up but she asked me if I ever wore makeup. I said that I did sometimes, but usually not.

As the conversation progressed, this little girl asked me if I had any pictures of me “Pretty.”

“Show me a picture of you pretty.”

Due to the conversation progression prior to this, I knew I had to clarify what exactly she meant.  I asked, “A picture of me where I feel pretty or a picture of me with makeup on?”

“Yeah, with makeup,” she said. “A picture of you pretty.”

I had to take a deep breath and process this. A six year old girl was associating being pretty with wearing makeup. In her young mind, one could not be pretty and not be wearing makeup. And it really bothered me.

In fact, recently I wore makeup to church. No big deal, I wear makeup to church. But the past few months I haven’t been feeling well enough to bother (more on this later). Putting on makeup for church was kind of a big deal. As we waited for services to begin my husband asked me a question.

“What’s on your face?”

“Ummm, it’s called makeup.”

“That’s makeup?”


He didn’t comment on it looking good, or bad. I think it just was out of the norm enough for him to wonder what was going on. Please note, that my husband has never commented on my makeup, or lack of makeup, before this. In almost three years together, the man has never noticed enough to say anything about it. As far as I can tell, my husband (and brothers and dad and grandpa) does not equate makeup with being”pretty”.

Back to this little girl. As she waited for me to show her a picture of me “pretty”, I didn’t take my phone out to show her a picture of me with makeup on. Instead, I told her this.

“Well, I have a lot of pictures of me where I think I look pretty and where I feel pretty. And most of them are of me without makeup on.” ( I tried to emphasize that the most important part of this was what I feel .)

I wish I could tell you that she learned a great life lesson at this point, but in all honesty I don’t think she did. She continued on to tell me about using her mom’s makeup to be pretty when she dresses up.

The best I can hope for is that one day this little girl will remember a teacher she had who tried her best to teach her that being pretty does not depend on whether or not a woman is wearing makeup. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I accidentally took a hiatus for a couple weeks from the blog here.

We got notice that a new apartment was available that we had been on a waitlist for. We'd been on this list for almost a year, and finally got it. So life has been all about getting home from work and working on moving. Not to mention the whole changing the utilities and not having internet for a few days. This time around, however, was the easiest transition to internet ever. The dude came, plugged it in, and it worked. Magically. We've always had some issue or another when it comes to internet. I'm super happy this wasn't the case this time around.

This new place has a washer dryer, but more about that later. It also has an outdoor space, and for those of you that know me this is a HUGE deal.

So, apologies for the absence, and keep coming back here. I've got some posts ready and waiting to be written and read!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On Writers Block

I sat down to write and completely blanked. Nothing. No ideas, no inspiration, can’t even remember what happened five minutes ago. This has been a problem for the past 3 weeks. 

                There are a lot of folks out there who try to help this sort thing. Ideas to overcome“writers block”  or lists of writing prompts to get you going. Stuff like that. I even found a list of blog post ideas recently. You’re supposed to use them when you don’t know what to blog about.

                And you know what? Sometimes you just have to write.

It can be horrible writing. It can make you depressed that you are actually trying to write about that topic and no one would ever enjoy reading it because you don't even like writing it. BUT you are writing. You have to slog through the slow times, the terrible writing, and the staring at the blank Word document for extended periods of time in order to get around to the good stuff.

You have to be able to write poorly in order to write excellently. Get the bad out, so there is room for the good to develop.

Get out there and JUST WRITE!

 (You may be wondering how I keep publishing while I can't seem to write. I write in bursts, three or four posts at a time, then schedule them. I'm often at least a month ahead on posts, and have a file of potential post ideas, outlines, and quick writes,  just in case this sort of thing happens.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Social Media Sins

I feel the need to post this, and have felt the need to do so for quite awhile actually. This week, yet another post on Facebook shocked and upset me to the point that I felt I shouldn’t put off writing this post any longer.

Elder Jeffery R. Holland tells us:  You never “check your religion at the door.” Not ever.
My young friends, that kind of discipleship cannot be—it is not discipleship at all. As the prophet Alma has taught the young women of the Church to declare every week in their Young Women theme, we are “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in,” 13 not just some of the time, in a few places, or when our team has a big lead.
“Check your religion at the door”! I was furious.

I understand that having standards can be perceived as being difficult, or hard, or even inconvenient. But I also know that they are only those things if you allow them to be. Those of you who are flaunting your disobedience on social media are hurting more than yourselves. You are hurting those who are in your family, and may need a strong example of being a believer in their life. You are hurting those who are not members, and look to you as an example of what a Mormon is, and are damaging their perceptions of the Church as a whole.

Elder Holland even tells us that you are giving up your privilege to be with your family eternally, and possibly receive the condemnation of “The sins of the children be upon the heads of the parents.” Why? Because if you teach those around you that sinning isn’t a big deal, that you can “check your religion at the door”, those people fall into the category of those unable to receive the fullness of the gospel in their lifetime.

Now, if you decide to sin that is up to you. Please, for the sake of the rest of us stop posting your sins on social media. Don’t post a picture of the coffee you bought today because you NEEDED it. Don’t post pictures of yourself wearing clothes that caused you to break covenants made in the temple, just because they were CUTE or STYLISH. Stop posting pictures of parties where you may not actually be consuming alcohol, but it appears you are.  Don’t tell us about a movie that you saw or a book you just read that is Pornographic. It’s not ok to “take a break” from church, even for one week or even one hour.  Just STOP.

Make a stand. It’s not hard. Just say, “No thank you. I choose not to…” Because it is a choice, you always can do something, you just choose to not do it. I know people who have done this countless times EACH DAY. Even if the decision is, “ok. I will sin.” Choose to not post it for all to see. Your relationship with God is yours, it’s private, and it needs to be protected, even if your relationship consists of the philosophy “I do what I want.”

I’m sorry you chose to give up blessings in this life. I’m sorry you chose to not be with your family eternally. I’m sorry you think that you are more important than God.

I need you to know one more thing. You are making more work for the rest of us. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your daughters about modesty in dress and bearing. It shouldn’t be up to me to teach your sons that those types of movies and websites are in fact damaging their spirituality. It shouldn’t be up to me to help a wayward person understand that just because you don’t have a testimony of certain principles, and don’t live them, that they shouldn’t forfeit the eternal blessings that you have because of your example. And even if my calling isn’t with the Youth, or with the adults, or anything at all. I still worry about them, I still want to help them, and I still need all the help I can get to be an example of faith, trust, and how to let God lead you in life. And yes, even how to love the sinner while condemning the sin.

To be very honest, I have had a very hard year spiritually. It’s been rough. And a lot of it is because of the reasons above. People have been checking their religion at a door, and I have been fighting tooth and nail to keep mine intact, as well as undo damage done by the examples of those who know better and strengthen the testimonies of those who I love.

I do not consider myself perfect, staunch, or a zealot, by any means. Far from it. But I am doing my absolute best and it is my sincerest wish that everyone else would too. Walk away from the coffee, put down the dress, don’t drink a ‘mocktail’, stop reading the romance novels and movies, and if you are struggling post inspirational pictures and quotes that will help you focus on what is truly important, instead of flaunting your sins to the rest of us.