Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Slice of Life

I’m graduating in April. I feel like I’m on the edge of saying good bye to a life I’ve been living for a long time—and I don’t know what my new life is going to be, yet. Teaching. I know that much so far.

I’ve been thinking about my whole life, not just next year. What am I going to do with my whole life? So I’ve been thinking of what’s coming next and what I want my life to be.

I want my life to be full of writing.
I want my life to be full of people: friends and family and neighbors and students
I want my life to be full of books and foreign languages.
I want my life to be a life of airports.
I want my life to be Mormon and Jewish at the same time.
I want my life to be full of the Bible, too full.
I want my life to be like the life of bell hooks. I want to fight something worthwhile.
I want my life to be a life of coming to voice, of saying something important.
I want to my life to be more simple, slower with more laughing moments.
I want my life to be full of music, another way of coming to voice.
I want my life to be within walking distance of Hurva Square.
I want my life to be lots of birthday parties with lots of cousins who are always around.

I want my life to be something I’m living now.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finding A Book Treasure

I really shouldn't have ever found this book. I just looking for some nice pioneer women's stories that talked about women working in frontier times. I just googled some random words and this book came up: Daughters of Light and had all these interesting things to say about women and the priesthood....and it was written in the 1970's. So I was combing through BYU's library shelves looking for that book when I found, sitting just a few books away, The Flight and the Nest by Carol Lynn Pearson.

I have no idea why I was looking around at the other books. They were all saying some very angering (is that a word?) things about LDS women's lovely place by the hearth. I probably put them back in all the wrong places because I was trying to close them and get them far away from me as fast as possible.

But...then this one, The Flight and the Nest by Carol Lynn Pearson, popped up and I kept reading and reading until I realized that this was a book I've been looking for and I didn't even know I needed it. It's a history--or a kind of collection of writing--that LDS women did in the church publications about "women's emancipation." Basically, it shows that LDS women thought that the restoration of the gospel was helping to free women from centuries of being shackled and subjected. With the light of the gospel, their role as women was being illuminated as one that was important, noble, and necessary. And they weren't just talking about motherhood under the assumptions we have today about gender roles. They were talking about a full development of women's potential. Here's a few gems I found today:

“I had always known that if I ever met the women of the Mormon pioneer past, they could teach me a great deal—quilting, soap making, giving birth on the prairie, singing through incredible hardships, having faith in God and seeing that faith rewarded. But I never knew that they could teach me about some of the more sensitive issues of womanhood. I had forgotten that they lived during the age of women’s “emancipation.” It had never occurred to me that they had already done battle with many of the questions that are pertinent today and that I might learn from their observations and experiences. And I had no idea that (most wonderful of all) they had written—with strength and balance and good sense—about their journeys into this other frontier on which they and other women were unquestionably pioneers.” (Carol Lynn Pearson, Preface xi-xii)

P. 12 “they saw the Spirit of the Lord working throughout the world, upon all people, bringing new light and new thought to the subject of woman. And to them this new thinking was an absolutely essential part of the redemption of woman made “necessary” by the fall of Adam and Eve from a better state.” (Pearson)

p. 14 “Man, in his might and blindness has wrested from Eve’s daughters their God-given rights in the dominion, hence this modern war which woman-kind is waging to obtain them back again. The struggle is surely divinely instituted and will ultimately succeed, for the world’s problems today are sadly in need of the decisions of pure, high-minded, God-fearing men and women.” (Ida S. Peay "Taking A Stand for the Right" Woman's Exponent June 1913)

p. 15 “Others, again, not only recognize that women’s status should be improved, but are so radical in their extreme theories that they would set her in antagonism to man, assume for her a separate and opposing existence; and to show how entirely independent she should be would make her adopt the more reprehensible phases of character which men present, and which should be shunned or improved by them instead of being copied by women”    (Eliza R. Snow, Woman’s Exponent July 15, 1872 “Woman’s Status")

p. 16 “They [LDS women in this time] were, however, undeniably thrilled to be living in the “women’s era” and devoted themselves with great energy to the things that they considered to be progress. They felt they could do much good in the world by moving into an expanded sphere that included levels of activity besides the home.” (Pearson)

p. 16 “to see woman from the homestead alone is to view her from a contracted standpoint, which retards her liberty. And I believe we thus hinder her progress, for there are social questions that will never be understood until woman shall stand by the side of man to discuss them. The one will always have need of the other; they will walk together, side by side, and find completeness in each other” (Lizzie Smith “The Equality of the Sexes”  Young Women’s Journal  March 1890).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Celebrating Writing


I like how much we emphasize celebrating writing and the writer in Dr. Dean’s class. I always wait until the writing is done and finished until I celebrate….but since writing is hardly ever really done or really finished I hardly ever celebrate...actually I never celebrate. But I want to celebrate being a writer. I want to celebrate doing writing. Usually I just end up telling everyone in closest proximity that I’m done writing. But their response, “Oh awesome” or “that’s good,” just never seems to be the full celebration I was hoping for.

Last week I had a real writing celebration moment. I’ve been working on an essay since August and finally, February 16, 2014 I had a whole complete draft of that essay. Whew. It was a lot of months of thinking about those ideas. I felt like I could eat cake and dance and sing and laugh all at the same time. It didn’t matter that there was more revising to come. For that moment, I was done and I was celebrating the writing I had done. I was celebrating that I was a writer and I had something to show for it.

So I decided that I want to enjoy writing more and that means celebrating more often. I like celebrating with food but I also like celebrating with running, with dancing, with sharing it with someone else.  It’s exciting that writing moves outside of its written form to create a community who all share in that writing. That’s worth celebrating to me.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

French Language Certificate

I found out this week that I’m going to have to the tests for the French Language Certificate by April if I want it to show up on my transcript….well, this is assuming I want those scores to show up on my transcript….but for some reason I just can’t bear the thought of doing all the coursework for the certificate and then not finishing it because I’m too scared to take the tests.

So I’ve pulled out my old French vocabulary notebooks and my old textbooks to study in little odd moments in my day. I’m remembering how much I really do love this language, it has this magic to it that I’ve forgotten. I had to go to Paris to find that beauty but I’ve realized that I’ve missed it. It's been fun bring these words back into my life again. So I’ll be reviewing word-by-word, conjugation-by-conjugation for the next month in a half....let's hope April doesn't come too fast!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why I leaving the cooking up to other people......

Let's just say I like eating food....when other people make it. When I'm in the middle of doing all that stirring, cutting, onion-crying, pre-heating, I'm always asking myself..why? Why I am cooking? This is taking so long....but I have this weird thing where I like looking at cookbooks and watching cooking shows and now with Pinterest I like collecting pretty looking recipes. But for some reason, those pictures always make it look so easy and so lovely to spend an afternoon making something delicious-looking.

This week I decided I was going to try making this:

Four easy steps to this lovely bread-broccoli thing. Uh-huh. Well since I didn't have croissant roles and just some scone bread this is what mine came out of the oven looking like:

Let's just say I had to do some explaining to my roommates...since they wanted to know what in the world that was....I wasn't sure how exactly what to tell them! A non-braided bread thing? The real  question was....how do I store this thing?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Picturing Asia

I got an email about entering a photo contest called “Picturing Asia” but it’s been sitting in my inbox for a few weeks. “We would like to give you the opportunity to tell a visual story,” they told me. A visual story. But I didn’t know if I could pull out that visual story right now, the one those pictures tell me, and just me. Those stories are so nicely lined up in rows of shiny photographs, but they seem so far away now. Those little photos all have their own smells and sound and chorus of eight-year old Chinese children yelling “Teacha! Teacha! Teacha!” at me and waving paper cranes in my face.  And sometimes it takes too much effort to live in nostalgia.

But for some reason I’ve been thinking about those visual stories lately. I’ve been worried that I’m going to forget some of them. I’m worried that I’m going to forget that little part of myself I found in Asia. I’m worried about losing that story I wrote in China with my experiences. I’ve been worried that it’s slipping away because it’s so far away from my life of homework and BYU and Americanness. But sometimes that little four-months-of-Asia experience surprises me and comes out when I’m least expecting it. Like this week, when I was walking down the hall of the JKB and I heard a whole group of voices speaking Mandarin. I don’t know how to speak Mandarin but I know those sounds. I don’t know what those sounds mean, not any of them, and yet I know those sounds. They sound like dirty train station waiting rooms and chopsticks and those beautiful slippery noodles that swished through black sauce and steamed up around our faces. They sound like women gossiping next to the bus windows, they smell like that long hallway where we lived. All those sounds were right there in the JKB and I couldn’t stop smiling. These American boys were making those sounds, these young BYU students, and I was so happy to find them. I sat on the bench and listened when they weren’t watching me. I was so glad that China was still there, deep down, deep inside of me and that it hadn’t forgotten me. I’ve been missing my China. Two years and six countries later and that’s the visual story that keeps asking me to tell it again. So here they are. Here are a few visual stories that have had the dust brushed off of them.

Monday, May 27, 2013