My Quiet Battle with Lupus

I feel great.

I know it’s backwards to write about a disease when I feel great, but feeling great seems so foreign now, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like.

I have Lupus.

Lupus is an auto-immune disorder which means my body doesn’t get along with itself and decides to attack different systems in completely random order that–ironically–fits well with my random, spontaneous personality. 

Speaking of personality…

In spite of having a blog, facebook, website, twitter, and a whole other host of social media platforms I interact with daily, I’m actually a private person. Extremely private. I’m borderline hermit. I love talking to and with people, but I keep a lot deep down. I live inside my head. Usually, my hubby is the only one who really knows what’s going on. (Poor guy). Which is why I haven’t talked about my disease before on here or any of the other places. But…for some reason I feel the need now.

I have Lupus. It stinks. It’s annoying. But oh well.

Continue reading “My Quiet Battle with Lupus”

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Mitt for Mormonism?

(politicizing)



My short answer is “No!” But maybe not for the reason you think.

I’m feeling a little political today, probably because my religion is hitting the papers again. And I know that of the three things you shouldn’t discuss in public, religion and politics are two of them. But hey, the media started it. Plus, this is my blog. I get to talk about what I want.

Every time I see a new headline with the words “LDS” or “Mormon,” I cringe, thinking, “Oh boy. What are they going to get wrong now?” Sad, isn’t it? I’ve turned into such a skeptic. In the media’s defense, I will say that the overall coverage on Mitt Romney’s religion has been more accurate this time around. 2008 was a major-cringe year for me. I’m sure it has to be difficult to try and define the LDS/Mormon religion to people who’ve either never heard of us, or have only heard the ‘dark,’ but ridiculously false rumors.

Still…

The funny thing is that I cringe almost as badly when I see articles written by Mormons, because, let’s face it, even some Mormons define my religion differently than I would or do. For example, there’s an article in the NY Daily today by Ken Jennings entitled:

“How Mormons See the World.” 
(my shoulder muscles are tensing up just typing that title)

I guess the article gains a little credibility because it’s written by a Mormon but, no offense to Ken Jennings, who is he to speak for 14 million other Mormons? Who are any of us for that matter? Obviously our leader, President Thomas S. Monson, would be the only definitive source, but I don’t picture him using such sweeping generalizations either. I mean, put any other group of people in that title, and see how it sits with you: 

“How Do Catholics See the World?” 
“How Do African-Americans See the World?” 
“How Do Middle-aged Women See the World?”
“How Do Martians See the World?” (That one might have a little credibility. Then again, maybe not. Maybe one Martian sees our far away world differently than the next.) 

It’s possible Ken Jennings didn’t create the title. I can see the NY Daily doing it to generate some readers. Either way, it still bugs me.


I personally think the article would have been better titled, “How a Mormon Sees the World.” Or “How some Mormons See the World.” I just really hate absolutes. If all 14 million Mormons saw the world in the same way, we wouldn’t have politicians on both sides of the US table.
For example…
Mitt Romney
Jon Huntsman
Harry Reid
Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader-Democrat) have very different views of the world and America, and yet they are all Mormon. As a Republican, I personally don’t agree with Harry Reid’s democratic view, but another Mormon friend of mine might not agree with Mitt Romney’s. And that’s fine. If you aren’t aware, the LDS Church is politically neutral. They do not and have not endorsed a specific candidate or political party. I like that. So if someone wants to write an article entitled “How Mormons See the World,” they better have an awfully large umbrella to lump us under.
One thing Jennings said that I agree with is that Romney’s rise “makes us (some of us at least) uncomfortable. What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move?” With few non-LDS people in the media actually having a good, accurate grasp on the LDS Church, it makes me squirm to have Romney as the ‘new face’ for the religion. I personally think he’s a good, decent guy, and even a good Mormon. But he’s still a politician. And even the best politicians get ripped to shreds. And make mistakes. I don’t like the thought of my church being ripped to shreds right along with him. So yes. Having Romney as the front-runner makes me a little nervous.

However…

Having Romney in the spotlight has allowed many people around the country to sift through a lot of the myths and see our religion more clearly. And really, if I had to choose between those three politicians to represent my faith—Romney, Reid, or Huntsman—I would choose Romney because at least when he’s asked, “Are you a Mormon?” he gives a “Yes, and proud of it!” answer without worrying about the political fallout. From what I’ve seen of the other two, Huntsman and Harry Reid tend to stutter out an answer and try to change the subject quickly. And call me crazy, but I actually like that Romney donated a substantial portion of his money to a charitythat is known around the world for its humanitarian efforts

Ugh. The media.

Do any other Mormons out there cringe when you see headlines pop up? Am I just overly-sensitive? How about non-Mormons? Do you think we’re too sensitive on this? (Ha, you thought I just asked a sweeping generalization, didn’t you? I was testing you. If you answer choose to answer the last question, feel free to answer about me personally or another Mormon you know.)

Related blog post: Are Mormons Christian?
                           Mormonism 101

Why I Hate Sleep

(mothering)
.

I Hate Sleep.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping. In fact, I’m a sleeping addict. If given the opportunity — which rarely happens — I can sleep longer than anyone in my family, including my teenage son. I love to sleep. I just hate sleep itself.

Let me explain.

I hate that I need to sleep and that I need it so badly. I hate what a lack of sleep does to me. It turns me snarky; my personality, my brain, and especially my face.

I go from looking like this…

Nice Loving Wife and Mother
.
To this…
.
.
Snarky
.

I swear I need more sleep than the average human—or at the very least, more than my husband. We’ve been married 16 years and I’m always the first asleep and the last awake. Every day.

I’m like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Only instead of thinking Windex can fix anything, I think sleep can.

  • A weepy child? “Oh, you just need a nap.”
  • A failed test? “It’s because you didn’t go to be early enough.”
  • I even think all the fighting in the Middle East would end if people would just get enough sleep!

So here’s my snarky story.

(By the way, “snarky” is my new favorite word. It’s one of those words that defines itself the second you hear it. “Snarky.” It sounds snarky. I love it.)

Anyway, I have five kids, ranging from teen to toddler. Having teens and toddlers at the same time is a horrible idea, btw. The teens keep you up at night and the toddlers don’t let you sleep in. Plus teens and toddlers have the same types of emotional outbursts, only they have them at different times of the day, so you’re stuck dodging mines all day long.

This story starts with my teenage boy, who I actually really like. Early morning seminary is essentially a bible class for teenagers that meets before school at a church or someone’s house. They do it before school because teens often have activities after. The class my son attends is 12 minutes away from our house which means that my husband (the saint) is leaving for work at roughly 5:40AM each and every morning.

He and my son must be showered, dressed, and fed for the day by 5:40, so alarms start going off around 4:30. Yeah. Brutal! Especially for a naturally-born night owl like myself. We keep doing it because it’s worth it for what my son gets out of it, but that doesn’t make it any less brutal.

(A friend of a different faith once pointed out to me that the same church which asks teens and their parents to wake up at 4:30AM for seminary is also the church that tells its members not to drink coffee. Ironic, don’t you think?)

My husband had an over-night business trip last night which meant that I was on driving duty this morning. As such went to bed at 9:30ish. Since I didn’t have to get ready for the day beforehand, I calculated that I could sleep until 5:15. Almost 8 hours of sleep. Not great, but survivable.

There is something about my husband being out of town. It’s like the bewitching beasts come out and suddenly my kids forget how to sleep.

It started with the middle child. He woke up with a nightmare. He has them almost every night so this was nothing new, but he wouldn’t quit screaming this time. That woke up the 4-year-old who shares a room with him.

The 4yo started crying, which in turn woke the 7yo down the hall. She was in the middle of an already scary dream and if you hear one person screaming and another crying when you’re already having a nightmare it is really really freaky. So she started in with the screaming, which in turn woke up the eldest daughter.

(I have to note that my teen son slept through the whole thing because he attends seminary and is seriously sleep deprived. Just another benefit.)

I woke up and started on damage control. (It was 3:15am by the way)

I took care of the instigator first. I told the middle child he wasn’t dying and to go back to sleep.

Then I tried to convince the 4yo that it was still night and not time for breakfast — “See look, it’s dark outside” I said, parting the curtains — and then I tucked him back into bed.

The eldest daughter already figured out what happened and had gone back to sleep.

So I went to the 7yo who was still so freaked by the whole thing she was crying inconsolably in her bed. I patted her head, tucked her blankets, and hoped she’d sleep.

Four kids taken care of.

I climbed back into bed calculating. 7 ½ hours now. Not horrible.

That bought me five minutes.

Just as I was drifting back to sleep, I heard the 7yo still crying. I got up again and patted, tucked, and wished her goodnight — again. I got another five minutes. Then I heard the middle child scream. Again!

By now I’m losing my patience.

I went in his room and told him to knock it off because at 3:25 in the morning, my sleep-deprived brain reasoned that he can actually control his dreams and was just out to punish me for something I’d done to him some time in his life.

Middle Child started to cry, saying he couldn’t stop because he was still scared.

As he’s speaking, the 4yo ducked out the bottom bunk and said, “Is it morning yet?”

“No! Go back to bed. Both of you!”

Hear the snarky creeping in?

But there’s still a small portion of nice mother left, so I decided to see if the 7yo fell back asleep. She met me at her door. “I can’t do it, Mom. I can’t sleep. The dream was so scary. Can I sleep in your room?”

The hubby was gone so I dragged her behind me and climbed back into bed.

7 ¼ hours of sleep.

I was asleep no longer than 30 seconds when I heard pounding. Yes pounding.

The boys’ room.

I went in and the middle child was wide awake on the upper bunk, but not the source this time. The 4yo was on the floor with his hammer-toy thing, pounding away like it was the middle of the day.

I’ll spare the snarky details here, but let’s just say, I was turning part cat.

I put the youngest back in bed and shoved — not tucked — the covers underneath him, hoping to trap him so he would fall back asleep.

When I got back to my bed, the 7yo informed me she was going to stay awake the rest of the night. “That’s better than having another bad dream, Mom.”

I told her that if she didn’t go back to sleep I would never feed her again. (Maybe not quite that dramatic, but something along those lines.)

7 hours.

This kind of pattern continued for another hour. An hour!

Each time my threats got worse and the claws came further out. It’s horrible and I’ve since apologized to each of my children.

Bottom line?

I got 5 ½ hours of sleep last night, which might not sound too bad until you consider that A) I barely function with 8, and B) I went to bed at 9:30!

When I got up at 5:15 to take my son to seminary, the 7yo and the 4yo were up for the day. I don’t think they ever went back to sleep.

Which means I won’t be the only snarky one today.

Joyous.

Just to prove how bad of a night it was, as I type this post, the 4yo is sound asleep on my shoulder. It’s 8:30AM.

Now he decides to sleep?!

I don’t think he’s fallen asleep on me since he was a baby. I have to drive the 10yo and 7yo to school in five minutes, which means I will have to wake up this sleeping, innocent-looking child. Needless to say, I’ve already calculated how bad of a mother I would be if I let them sluff today.

I really hate sleep!

My plea to you: If I you see a snarky-looking cat today that somewhat resembles a mother, have a little pity. She may have had a rough night.

Are Mormons Christian?

(teaching)

Honestly, I’m growing tired of this question. I know I shouldn’t be because it is a privilege to proclaim my belief in Christ over and over again—plus, I have the feeling this question isn’t going away anytime soon. But in my experience, a large number of people who ask this question think they already know the answer. To me it’s ignorant to say Mormons aren’t Christian. The official church title is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Easy enough, right? I wish.

It seems like the LDS Church is tiring of this question as well because last week, when things heated up in the political scene and the Church was questioned on this topic—again—they simply referred people to mormon.org and told them to do their own research. (http://newsroom.lds.org/article/church-response-to-not-christian)
On a personal level, I’m the gospel doctrine teacher in my congregation—the Sunday School teacher for adults. This year we are studying the New Testament and right now specifically, the Pauline epistles. This has been so fascinating to me because I have been closely following politics at the same time. When I take something I love (my LDS faith, the New Testament, and politics) and throw it all together, I’m suddenly bursting with things to say.
In case you didn’t know, there are two Mormon/LDS candidates running for US President. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.
Because of their religion, there are some Americans who are questioning whether Romney or Huntsman would be a good candidate. I take offense to that. I greatly take offense to that. If you want to reject a candidate based on their social issues, foreign policy, or their economic plan, fine. But religion?
As I teach Sunday School each week and study the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles, I am seeing huge parallels between what happened to the early Christian Church—specifically with Gentile converts—and what is happening to Mormons today.
The Jews who had converted to Christianity were some of the early leaders after Christ’s death, and incidentally also the missionaries sent out to spread the gospel. But as the gospel spread, and as more and more people outside the Jewish beliefs joined Christianity, some of the Jews suddenly cried, “Outrage! They believe differently than us, therefore they are not Christian!”
For example in Acts 15, the people from Judaea were saying that “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses; ye cannot be saved.” (Sounds kind of like, “Except Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman believe our interpretation of the New Testament, they cannot be saved).  Chapter fifteen goes on to say that they had “no small dissension and disputation with them.” Sounds familiar.
In consequence, all the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem to settle this matter. Once the decision was reached, Peter then says that to the Jews, “God, which knoweth the hearts (of the Gentiles), bear them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.” In other words, God is the judge, and he judges them to be Christian.
Yet the contention continued. Many Jewish Christians couldn’t stand it and Christianity began to spread more quickly among the Gentiles than with the Jews. The Epistle to the Hebrews seems to be Paul’s firm warning to them: “You better be careful Jews,” was his basic message, “Lest in your zealousness, you completely miss the mark. You think you know what salvation is, but I’m telling you, you only know the half of it.”
Now…there are obvious differences between Gentiles and Mormons and Jews and mainstream Christians today, however, the story has many similarities.  And rhetoric.

“Hey! They don’t believe exactly like I do. What the heck?! They must not be Christian!”

I guess we never learn, do we?
So as a Mormon/LDS member, how do I define the word Christian? Well, a Christian is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and Son of God. Someone who believes He is our Redeemer and the only way by which we can return to our Father.  Since I believe all these things strongly, as do my fellow Mormons (see mormon.org), I state that we are resoundingly Christian.
(I have to add an amendment in here. For those not of our faith who are defending our faith either privately or publicly–Thank You!)

To end, I quote my favorite scripture from The Book of Mormon which, by the way, is sub-titled Another Testament of Christ.
“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophesies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)  If that isn’t ‘Christian’ I don’t know what is.
To borrow from the Mormon media campaign…“My name is Rebecca. I’m an author, a composer, a mother, a Mormon, and I’m a Christian.”
FYI…List of famous Mormons you may have heard of:

Politics:
  • Mitt Romney, GOP front-runner for the 2012 Presidential election
  • Jon Huntsman, GOP candidate for the 2012 Presidential election
  • Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader: Democrat
  • Glenn Beck, Political Commentator, Radio Broadcaster, and NY Times Bestseller
  • Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, and a whole slew of Senators, Representatives, and Governors across America (16 total).
Sports:
  • Jimmer Fredette, NCAA 2011 Basketball National Player of the year and current guard for the Sacramento Kings
  • Steve Young, former NFL quarterback
  • I know there are a bunch of others, but I don’t really follow sports. There’s a list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Latter_Day_Saints
Entertainment:
  • Gladys Knight, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
  • Donny and Marie Osmond, singers, actors
  • Neon Trees, rock band
  • Stephen R. Covey, motivational speaker and author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective…
  • Richard and Linda Eyre, motivational speakers and NY Times Bestselling authors
  • Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Jon Heder, otherwise known as Napoleon Dynamite
  • Rick Schroeder, actor
  • David Archuleta, American Idol Runner-up
  • Six contestants on last season’s “Biggest Loser” TV show
  • The 5 Browns, famous classical piano siblings
NY Times Best-selling Authors (this gets its own category since there are so many I follow):
  • Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series
  • Ally Condie, author of “Matched”
  • Richard Paul Evans, author of “The Christmas Box”
  • Orson Scott Card, Shannon Hale, James Dashner, Brandon Mull, Brandon Sanderson, Jason F. Wright, etc.
Business:
  • David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue airlines
  • Bill Marriott, CEO of Marriott hotels
  • CEO of Black and Decker
  • Former CEO of Dell
  • And a whole bunch of others.
Chances are, at least a few of those Mormons have influenced you in a positive way.