Quote of the Week

"I assure you that if you have to wait even until the next life to be blessed with a choice companion, God will surely compensate you."
President Ezra T. Benson, To the Single Adult Sisters of the Church, 1988.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The LDS Church's "Dirty Little Secret"



March is just Marching right along and it's time to scribble another post for all 20 of my readers out there. I know you've been waiting with baited breath.

Darn, that was a cliche wasn't it? My Fiction Workshop professor at the U warned us to avoid that cheap writing tactic. I've taken a couple creative writing courses already during my 3 years at the U and this 5000 level is the last big one. The class enrollment cap is 20 so only the most serious writers of fiction need apply. It's fun to workshop and critique my classmates' stories like the princess story one girl wrote. For guys, the sci-fi telepathic fungus one was interesting. Finally, the ever popular growing genre of sex experimentation and exploring with one's current girlfriend or boyfriend for both the straight and LGBTQ crowds reminds me just how liberal the world has become.

I submitted a piece I originally wrote in longhand on notebook paper as a teenager back in 1993, when most of these young whipper snappers were first learning to write. It was exciting to transfer it to Word about a tween-age runaway on the streets of NYC who collapses in a snowbank and is found and taken in by a cranky Frenchman with both learning to trust again. It got lots of positive feedback. My narration, dialogue and character development was praised while the overall story still needs some work as most people were confused by the setting and age of my female protagonist. A good, polished beginning takes a lot of work establishing your basic story and it's a tricky plot to pull off because he's not a pervert and she's still a minority. Remember, this author was a lonely teenager mourning the absence of a father figure and it's scary that she still feels that way sometimes at 39. Since the original short story was longer than the seven page cutoff, the class confusion was understandable. My professor showed no mercy in his editing and red pen marking with my grammar, overuse of cliches and punctuation. I don't mind since that's his job and I'm a firm believer in the quote, "There's no such thing as good writing only good rewriting." I wrote the story for me and that's all that matters; it was fun and a little scary to pull it out, dust it off and share it with strangers.

One day I might just write that bestselling novel exposing the LDS church's "Dirty Little Secret" and, sorry to disappoint all Mormon haters out there, but it won't be about Polygamy from the disgruntled ex-Mormon with an ax to grind. My topic today is about exposing an even juicer secret, a subject even the men in the highest rankings in the church don't even dare touch because it's either that repulsive or just too abnormal.

I'm talking about the singles wards. Not the glorified high school YSA (young single adult 18-30 age group) but the truly scary, run-away-screaming, 30+ single adults. The true Mormon Divergents. (Roth eat your heart out!) The most extreme you can get from The Proclamation to the Family where normal is one-time-married-only-need-apply and anyone who wasn't born with that special talent to attract your significant other by age 31 is basically told to wait in another line until the Second Coming.

It's the epidemic in the church no one is talking about.

It's why the mission age was lowered: what to do with 10,000 accomplished women in their mid 20's looking for marriage in a world where a young man's greatest achievement (after his mission if he's Mormon) is sitting in mom's basement playing his X-box and eating Skittles. Since there's no dating or hooking up allowed in the mission field it'll be interesting to see how many years must come to pass before young women outnumber men in the mission field while primary and youth groups continue to shrink. I hope it never happens but if you haven't noticed, no one is really talking about the singles epidemic in the church anymore since President Monson made the Oct. 2012 announcement about the age change while the gay marriage and Ordain Women movements now trump any and all singles mourning for marriage along with all the blessings of the priesthood. Some children might be nice too, at least for me. I always wanted to be a Mom *ducks flying tomatoes and eggs from the left*

It really isn't fair, you know. We've kept the commandments, patiently awaiting our turn for a "roll the the hay" we just want to make sure it's done in the right time, in the right place with the right person. My future children's lives are at stake here and the only hope anyone can give me is some fairy tale about populating another planet in another lifetime with a man I've yet to meet. Heck, why can't I just leave now? Why am I still here? When God needed hell, He invented the 30+ singles wards. Am I right, ladies?

No one ever talks about just what caliber of people await you in that "second line" and every single woman in the Mormon church knows exactly what I'm talking about. The only princes here are the ones from "Frozen" who are sorry you have no one to love you for eternity but how bout a quick feel up on the dance floor?

April general conference is coming and every year I hope will be the year that this issue is addressed. Not since President Benson has any general authority in the church stood at the pulpit and officially spoken "To the Single Adults of the Church" with a revelation just for us. When The Proclamation to the Family was first read over the pulpits back in 1995 I was there, in my college singles ward lapping it up and loving every word I was hearing. I still believe those words. Even years later when my two Mormon roommates suggested that if I was so hungry for temple marriage just so I could be a Mom and have kids I should adopt (I made good money back then working at Wal-Mart to support them) but I reminded them of the Proclamation and besides I wanted to be a stay at home mom and I still do.

I've also been taking LDS Institute classes these last two semesters. One lesson was about the second coming. There's a little talked about prophecy or sign of the times about silence in heaven for half an hour before Christ comes again. Most Mormons joke this means no women in the celestial kingdom or whatever but I asked my teacher, Brother Brown, what it really meant and just how long, in the Lord's time, a half hour was. He said about 20 years. That means, if The Proclamation to the Family can be considered the last big revelation from heaven, then those 20 years are about up.

Hope still springs eternal!

Have a great day, everyone!


Friday, February 21, 2014

The Economics of Sex

The frustration I feel navigating the dating market is a frequent theme in my blog. I'm not very tech savvy so I'm grateful to the Austin Institute who created this video
which illustrates everything I've been trying to say for the last two years. Why buy the milk when the cow is free? That's essentially what this video is saying. A split in the dating market has occurred where marriage-minded women, who are demanding a ring before giving sexual favors, now outnumber men who can enjoy a marketplace where they don't have to pay anything for sexual favors. Nowhere is this more obvious than Mormon young single adult wards and online LDS dating websites.
As many young, single adult, never married LDS women are discovering, to their dismay, all the good boys willing to invest months in a courtship and two months salary on a ring for their girlfriend have already been to the temple and back and are now off the market. As the years pass,  these same LDS women begin to get desperate. If and when they decide to go online they will also find, to their dismay, there's not much dating or courtship leading to marriage going on here either. Why? Because only divorced Mormons or Mormons seeking cohabitation need apply and the majority of single men on these website are the ones "looking for fun" just like the young men in their young single adult wards.
It's a frustrating conundrum. What's a single Mormon girl with high standards to do? This is why I created this blog and here's some of the answers I have to offer in lieu of succumbing to social pressure and lowering your price for sex:

  • Continue to get all the education you can. If you already have that dream job, a fabulous career with great pay and have already bought your own house and lack nothing except that elusive dating relationship leading to temple marriage and an eternal family, consider going back to school or taking up a new hobby or service project. Even if you don't meet that special someone in one of these classes, or land an even better paying job, at least you spent your time wisely and productively. 
  • Continue to spend time with your best girlfriends (or guy friends) who are also still single If there are any single guys reading this, I'd be very interested to know what you do to keep your spirits up since this video is pretty adamant that single guys never get lonely. Single Mormon females already have a strong collusion potential. We can band together. We don't have to compete with each other. We can encourage each other to stay strong and value our virginity and set a high price for sex in the marketplace. In the meantime, we can get together and engage in lots of fun, wholesome activities since, as the video supports, the guys won't pay up or ask us out. I'm blessed to have a sister and a small group of single girlfriends to spend quality time with. The church is already encouraging this with the recent announcement of uniting LDS women across the globe in a newly organized board. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865595897/Mormon-leaders-announce-effort-to-unite-LDS-women-across-the-globe.html?pg=all 
  •  Continue to trust in God this is hard advice, even for me, and I feel like a hypocrite for preaching faith and hope that somehow, someway, God is saving a special Prince Charming for each of us who long for temple marriage and motherhood and He will lead us to that special young man in His own time be it in this life or the next. Well, I'm sorry, but there are too many days when I just don't feel like rejoicing or praising God for blessings that I may have to wait until the next life to fully enjoy and understand. Nevertheless, we mustn't let those dark days of frustration, loneliness, and the temptation to sink into a never-ending spiral of depression overcome us. Deal with them, have your cry, (believe me I've had so many these last ten years, I've lost count!) then declare the pity-party officially over and see the first two suggestions as to what you can do, as a single woman who must wait a little longer for marriage and motherhood, to keep on going.
I've always known what I wanted in a relationship and was never willing to settle for anything less. It's true that men want sex and will do anything to get it. It's also true that women are willing to lower their price for sex in exchange for love, security and the validation that we are desirable. Watching this video reminded me of the two times in my life where a young man was so desperate to have sex he: woke me up on October 30, 1995 at 4:30am threatening to rape me and that he would kill me if I screamed or tried to resist. I said, "No you won't," and screamed my roommate's name anyway. She sat up in the other bed and the intruder bolted. We never found out who he was. The second guy was a Mexican immigrant I met in 2004 when circumstances drove me to seek another form of employment. In desperation I took the first job offer I could find, a dishwashing position at 1800-CONTACTS where I was the only woman in a kitchen full of Spanish speaking men and the sou chef, who ironically was already married to a petite blond, began taking an interest in me. I was flattered at first, since none of the young men in my LDS single adult ward couldn't care less about me, but I was growing tired of his sexual advances: coming up behind me in the walk-in refrigerator and putting his arms around me, trying to get me to kiss him, joking about how I was going to eventually give in and let him ravish me. I complained to my boss but he was a chauvinist who wasn't about to fire his sou chef while I, a lowly female and a Mormon with standards, had no tenure with the company and by this point was already planning to return to school and change careers. On July 27, 2005, he completely surprised me by showing up at the house owned by my roommate from whom I rented my downstairs bedroom. She was out of town on vacation that day. I'd mentioned this today at work since we were friends and we'd had many conversations about other non-sexually related subjects, like my Mormon beliefs. Now here he was, standing on my doorstep and since I couldn't remember the last time I had a male visitor over to spend time with me and give me some attention, I invited him in (I suffered qualms later over what might have happened) but when it became apparent the only reason he was here was to follow through on his request to be the first one to "pop my cherry" I smiled, reminded him he was already married, repeated what that video said about what women want in relationships and that I had no desire to lose my standing in the church. I showed him the door and he left. Later, I couldn't believe how lucky I was he didn't try to force the issue but I've stood up to rapists before. He wasn't a rapist, he wasn't even my boyfriend, just a man who thought he could get free sex and take advantage of a woman suffering from a serious inferiority complex who'd never been in a serious relationship in her life. Nevertheless, all you ladies out there, don't ever try this at home! Inviting him in was a very very foolish gesture and since that day I've promised myself to never tempt fate like that again. Now that I'm 39, I'll probably never have the opportunity anyway. Yet, I try and take comfort that at least I can die knowing I was sexually desirable, even if it was by all the wrong kinds of men. That's just the world we live in, I suppose and we can only pray a better world will be ushered in one day soon. Hopefully with better singles wards.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Miracle of the U2 Ticket

Happy 2014! I have high hopes for this year because for me, 2014 is filled with uncertainty. I'm all set to graduate from the University of Utah with my second bachelor's degree in May. My first BS was in Elementary Education from Southern Utah University which never got me anywhere. I still have no idea what an English degree from Utah's most prestigious University might bring but it can't be any worse than food services or taking a job as a CNA.
I also have high hopes for 2014 that my love life might improve before the time bomb goes off later this year in September (that's when I turn 40) so stay tuned, faithful readers of this blog. I need a miracle (or two) this year and promise to keep everyone up-to-date on any major life changes like a new job or dating opportunity that leads to a serious relationship. Downton Abbey eat your heart out!

I decided if 2014 is going to be the year of the "Miracle Watch" I should acknowledge at least one current miraculous divine intervention that really strengthened my faith in God and became a source of great hope that miracles are possible and if I had to pick one major incident in my life that would have to be "The Miracle of the U2 Ticket," a story I never get tired of sharing. Let this be proof that miracles do happen, even to the least deserving.

The venue was Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO and the original plan was to attend the U2 concert with my sister, Mary, and her husband who live in my neighborhood, just a few blocks away from my apartment. Then Bono injured his back and the tour had to be postponed until May 2011. They ended up selling their tickets to friends while I arranged my own plane ticket and rental car. I've seen U2 alone before so I didn't mind yet another solo trip to see my favorite band.
It wasn't until I was flying along I-70 in the rental car from the airport into the city (a very long drive allowing much time for reflection on life and all its responsibilities) admiring the city skyline on my left when, suddenly the thought hit me, like ton of bricks, Did you remember to pack your concert ticket? No! The ticket was still in my closet, in a box of keepsakes, until the time came when it could be redeemed. I'd held onto it for so long, I'd completely forgotten to bring it with me!
Now, I'm not very consistent when it comes to personal prayer. As of this post, I've kind of given up on it. I figure it doesn't matter what I do because nothing ever changes for me and God is probably tired of me bugging him about such trivial things as a career or experiencing a serious dating relationship here on earth like so many other single women my age take for granted. I'm independent.
So, on that Friday, alone in my rental car, trying not to go into shock, I'm sorry to say I was NOT praying to God for help. I wasn't cursing His name either. I was cussing myself out for being such an idiot instead. There was no else to blame.
But for those who understand the blessing of the gift of the Holy Ghost, as I struggled to keep the car in check, trying not to freak out over what I was going to do now, just one thought kept impressing itself in my mind, Call Mary. I took the next exit, amazed to find myself on Federal Blvd with the Motel 6 where I'd planned to stay right in front of me. I pulled into the parking lot and made the call, still wondering how this was ever going to work out because even if Mary could somehow get the ticket, my place was locked up tight, Mary doesn't have a key and I was still 500 miles away.
All it took was a few phone calls: Mary just happened to be at home and immediately jumped in the car to head over to my place while I phoned my landlord who told me the maintenance guy just happened to be outside over at the property doing yard work, this very minute, and he would call him and give my sister clearance when she arrived. Mary phoned the friends they'd sold their tickets to who just happened to be leaving town, this very minute, passing by on I-15. If she hurried, she could meet them with the ticket and they would be happy to bring it with them as they traveled by car to Denver.
So it all worked out: I made friends in line that Saturday morning with some locals who offered to share their shelter with me while we waited all day in the GA line for the concert to start. We talked pleasantly, played cards, listened to U2 on my iPod, and shared pizza and snacks. My Utah friends arrived with my ticket and I returned the favor by letting them cut in line with us (after hearing the story, my new line buddies were totally cool with letting them in) and I led everyone to prime spots right in front of the band. I was the only one who had seen the show before (Las Vegas, Oct. 2009) so I knew where to go.
Holding that forgotten ticket in my hand, I marveled that such a trivial thing had come to pass. It was just a silly rock concert, after all. I probably would've lived if I'd just spent that weekend in Denver shopping or sightseeing instead. Found a scalper on the street and bought a lesser ticket in the bleachers. But it did happen and I did get to be just a few feet away from The Edge, singing my heart out. It was a humbling experience.
Miracles do happen and so I'm resolved to spend 2014 doing all I can to make another miracle happen, because I'm getting to a point in my life where I really need something more than just a U2 ticket to make life worth living.
     
 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

What Child is This?


How easy it is at this time of year to view every precious child, especially little babies and toddlers, as the Christ Child we celebrate. When I kiss my favorite nephews and cuddle the youngest on my lap, I have a better understanding of why Jesus found children so easy to love. For me, all is right with the world whenever I have that opportunity. I'll turn forty next year and must begin to accept the fact that scenes like the one I just described are the only opportunities I will ever have to experience motherhood. Never mind the role of companion or helpmeet to a man who is good, kind and crazy about me. In light of recent events I'm afraid temple marriage is a fairy tale, something I can only anticipate in another life.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865592961/About-700-marriage-licenses-issued-in-Utah-since-judges-ruling.html

Against my better nature, I should keep silent in quiet dignity while the world, which now includes Utah, celebrates the freedom of lasciviousness but I'm sorry, I cannot. I cannot stand on the sidelines and applaud the gay pride parade, marching themselves to the alter, flaunting their coveted marriage licenses in my face like so many straight people. I must raise the question: How many of these couples are doing this for the sake of their children or future children? I'd like to believe my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters love and cherish children as much as I do and yearn as much as I do for the opportunity to create life as...fathers and mothers? Grandmas and Grandpas? Is that really what's foremost on their minds as they take their vows and kiss each other in a committed partnership that's most likely already been consummated? If I'm wrong, I'm begging you, please, prove me wrong and I'll change my mind. If not I'll continue to stand by my beliefs regarding the purity of a virginal marriage that may or may not produce children.

I'm not calling for a "stay" to stop this judicial proceeding. Governor Gary Herbert can work for a judicial resolution but the genie is out of the bottle. We all knew this was going to happen sooner or later. The other shoe has dropped here in Utah. There's nothing we can do now except hope and pray these celebrations will lead to a realization that these marriages are simply not the same as heterosexual. And for Mormons, certainly not for time and all eternity. Heterosexual dating and courtship leading to marriage is more important now than ever before. We must be strong, fellow singles. We must continue to encourage good parents like my sister and brother-in-law to keep up the good work in raising our nephews (and nieces too!) with the understanding of what is expected of them as they grow up and take their place in society as hard working husbands and fathers who will provide their wives and children, especially any daughters who might be born, with the support they will need to stay strong against so much wickedness as Satan continues his new war on the very creation of families. That's right, folks, no longer is Satan "waging a war on the family" as many of us grew up hearing. As a Generation Xer, child of the 80's divorce culture, I can testify we've already lost the war on that one and must turn our attention now on how to prevent cohabitation and out of wedlock birth from getting any worse. Mary and Joseph certainly set the proper example for us in these similar circumstances, didn't they?

How I yearn to be a part of that fight in raising up righteous posterity but perhaps my service as a doting aunt and my humble "keyboard warrior" skills will suffice. So, on that note, back to the most wonderful time of the year when we can reflect on the fact that with small things, like the simple, miraculous birth of a child, great things are brought to pass.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Giving Thanks for Being Single

 
 

   In case you haven't heard, Thanksgiving is being choked to death by the inundation of Christmas. By next year, it may well pass into extinction as we pardon all turkeys in favor of consumerism. Just in case that happens, I figured I'd better pay tribute to this blink-or-you'll-miss-it American holiday. For me, this has always been a time to gather with family and eat lots of good food. For us singles without a family, I've discovered over the years that Thanksgiving can also be one of the most depressing times of the year. So, I'm here to prove that no matter what kind of trials you might be facing right now, there is always something, SOMETHING you can be grateful for and here's my list:

First, I want to share this quote by Spencer W. Kimball

  

Now I want to alter that first part, just slightly, replacing "happiness" with "singleness"
        "Some think of singleness as a glamorous life of ease, luxury, & constant thrills;"

How many people do you know who believe your single life is filled with lots of free time and that being single, without the responsibilities of spouse or children means your life is just one big thrill ride? Mine is. Really, I'm serious! I live a life of ease and luxury. Take my cinder-block one bedroom apartment for example. A small castle compared to what people in some third world countries are forced to live in. I should count my blessings.
   Reason #1 My Favorite Activities


I'm happiest when I'm in the middle of at least three books and right now I have FOUR! I'm currently enjoying: Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey, The Fault in Our Stars (for the adolescent lit class I'm taking this semester at the U) Work and the Glory Vol 7, and the latest Anita Stansfield in case I get bored because her writing just isn't what it used to be ten years ago. Then there's all the DVDs in my private collection I'm trying to find time to watch. A life of ease and luxury to read and watch whatever I want in my free time means that, yes Michelle, you really do live a life of ease and luxury. So count your blessings!

Reason #2 Nephews! Anyone who knows me shouldn't be surprised so see this on my list.

Disclaimer: Calvin means no disrespect toward the Asian culture, he's six and this was the only picture we could get him to stand still for. His little brother, Charlie, (nineteen months) is still trying to figure out how he got stuck with these weirdos. ("Help me")
    I have been asked to babysit on Thanksgiving morning so my sister can run a half marathon to raise money for the Utah Food Bank called The Utah Human Race which sounds more like a fake charity from a Seinfeld episode. (The Human Fund anyone?) Her hubby, Aaron, will be playing touch football that morning with friends, an annual Thanksgiving tradition. I'm happy to help out. Any excuse to spend time with my favorite nephews means I have two more reasons to give thanks during this time of year.

Reason #3 Disneyland or Spending Time With Family

I've been pretty busy since my last post, living a life of ease and luxury means I had the money and opportunity to take a little trip with some of my family.


Coming to Disneyland with “the rugrats” beat every previous trip I’d ever taken. As we strolled along to the next ride, Calvin swung my hand and said, “You and Mike are my favorite aunt and uncle.” I was reminded why I hadn’t been here for so many years. Disneyland is for the kids and if you don’t have any of your own, go kidnap some and experience all the joy of the happiest place on earth. I never want to come here again unless I have children to share it with.
   I hadn't been to Disneyland since 1996! We took two days and since it was off-season I got to go on several rides more than once. I went on rides my single adult friends and I always felt silly being seen on without kids, like Peter Pan's Flight and the Teacups. I rode Pirates three times and loved the addition of the Johnny Depp animatronic. California Adventure was great. I rode the roller coaster twice. Star Tours is Calvin's favorite ride and I like the new feature of a different mission, much to the dismay of C-3PO, every time you go. The only ride I didn't enjoy as much was the new holiday themed Haunted Mansion. I like Nightmare Before Christmas but letting the characters from the movie take over the ride was a bad idea. I'll have to come back during the Spring off-season and see if it's the same ride I loved as a young adult with the ghosts projections and fun theme music. Taking baby Charlie on King Triton's Carousel and Winnie the Pooh really made this trip the best one I'd ever taken. My favorite brother, my sister's family and my favorite nephews. Not a bad trip and one of the best excuses to be grateful now that the year is almost over.

 Reason #4 Enjoying God's Creations


 In the quiet solitude of my second story apartment, I recently hung a small birdfeeder outside my kitchen window and have become quite an expert birdwatcher. I can identify male and female house sparrows and finches. Warning: those birds are pigs! Capable of emptying the feeder in just a few days! I've also seen black capped chickadees and I've startled many mourning doves who like to glean the ground below for any scraps. The guidebook Backyard Birds of Utah is one of the best resources for learning more about these small creatures who remind me that I'm just as important in God's eyes as they are.

and finally Reason #5 Dating: One Long, Constant, Thrill Ride

   His name was Michael. The blind date was arranged by my female boss at work. When you get to be my age, any matchmakers with good intentions are convinced that if he's "really nice," has some kind of steady income, is still upright with a pulse and still not married that we're perfect for each other. I hadn't been out on any kind of date, let alone a blind one, since 2009 and because my life is one constant thrill ride, I agreed to meet him. She suggested we attend the annual IHC Food Service Workers Employee Appreciation Dinner where we could meet and be properly introduced, just like something out of a Jane Austen novel. When I called to let him know where to meet me, I had to explain to him exactly where the thirteen story flagship hospital, visible from all over the valley, was located. Ok, maybe he was new to the area, give him a chance, Michelle.
"How was the date?" You ask.
 Well, the food was good.
"Yes, but what was he like? Did you hit if off? Did sparks fly? Did you hear heavenly choirs of angels sing as your eyes met across the crowded room?"
Well, he was tall.
He also owns his own house. That's an important plus for singles but having common interests should also rank high on the list of "Potential Qualities I'm Looking For in a Future Husband" and, I'm sorry to admit, he came up lacking in a lot of ways. He took some classes many years ago at the U but dropped out, served an LDS mission but was shy admitting just how long ago that was. He has two jobs: one working nights at the neighborhood Chevron gas station while the rest of his free time he spends caring for his neighbors' miniature horses in the equestrian neighborhood he resides in. It was obvious he loved his job with the horses, bragged about how they were just like children but I discovered he's no Robert Redford. I asked him, straight out, outside of taking care of these darling horses, did he have any other hobbies or outside interests to which he frankly replied, "No."
I was tempted to ask if he acted out scenes from Equus for the horses but he probably wouldn't have gotten the reference anyway. The date ended and I probably won't loose any sleep if I never see him again.


So, I can be grateful for opportunities to meet lots of...um, interesting? people and even more grateful that I'm not expected to marry any of them. I'll just keep telling myself that one day I'll have lots of entertaining stories to tell my future grandchildren for many Thanksgivings to come.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Pushing My Wheelbarrow


I'll admit it right now. I stopped watching General Conference years ago. When you've lived alone as long as I have, the last thing I need is reminders of what I'm missing out on and long to be a part of. I'd rather rip off my fingernails with red hot pliers than subject myself to the torture of listening to how essential my duties as wife and mother to a family in a home of my own will affect my eternal salvation while I sit alone on my couch, surrounded by the emptiness of my one bedroom apartment sans any husband or children to share in the miracle of modern day prophets speaking for our time. Don't get me wrong. I follow and sustain our leaders, even when I feel they're ignoring one of the largest groups of second class citizens in the church. That's one reason why Elder Oaks has become one of my favorite apostles. His wife was an old maid like me until someone set them up on a blind date. My mom is convinced any day now one of the widowed general authorities of the church is going to halt general conference and pop the question to Sheri Dew. Then she can pounce on me with, "See! Sheri Dew had a good attitude, served faithfully in the church, never gave up and looked how God finally blessed her!" I always smile because my mom has no idea who Warren Jeffs is and I haven't reached menopause...yet.

Lest I find myself on the slow decent into hell, I do make the effort to catch the report of that day's session on my local evening news and go online to read the highlights posted on Salt Lake's two rivaling newspaper websites. It was the words of Elder Dallin H. Oakes that inspired me to write this newest post on being single. He was speaking on the challenges and pressures of living in a decaying world that would have us forget the importance of God's commandments of chastity and fidelity "We should remember our first priority-to serve God-and like our pioneer predecessors, push our personal handcarts forward with the same fortitude they exhibited."

I started chuckling as I realized that if our 18th century pioneer ancestors, secure in their traditional nuclear family units, had handcarts, then all the 21st century single, unmarried women are stuck with wheelbarrows. It's true! Handcarts have two wheels representing the man and his wife pulling the load equally, side by side facing all the challenges of life together while yonder stands the lonely wheelbarrow which only requires one person to maneuver it. I'd include single men in my brilliant metaphor, but who do you think is enjoying the free ride! For those that aren't currently dating, our wheelbarrows are most likely filled with all our comfort foods that help us endure our solitary lives until...what? That is the question I'm still waiting for one of the good Brethren of the church to address. Until then, don't let your wheelbarrows be filled with a lot of junk that will hinder your ability to push it down the straight and narrow path, however wobbly it becomes. Mine is filled with books and will probably tip over any second. I'd trade it in for a handcart any day, however rickety, but I don't want to pull it alone.

Until that time comes, it's always nice to lay the wheelbarrow aside and spend an evening celebrating my late September birthday with friends and family. I might be clumsy with my metaphorical wheelbarrow  but I can bowl a pretty mean strike!

From left to right: my brother Mike, stepdad Alan Scholes, sister Mary Williams holding my nephew Charles, me in the red shirt, my mom, good friends Lauralee Broschinsky and Whitney Holdsworth and my nephew Calvin who was getting impatient to leave for the pizza and arcade next door.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years


I showed this senior year photo to my stylist at the salon. "See, I used to be blonde! You have to make me look just like this for my twenty year high school reunion! Minus the permed hair and teased bangs, of course or I'll be like that woman on Seinfeld with the outdated hair Elaine made fun of." She laughed and promised she'd do her best.


And HERE, ladies and gentleman is the woman who was voted "Who has changed LEAST in appearance" I was both proud and flattered to take home the prize, a handful of fun sized candy bars. I'd like to thank the academy, my hairstylist, clean living and Elizabeth Arden.

Looking at that old photo of me, I see a young, wholesome, eighteen year old girl looking into the future and pondering the wonders in store for her. I've never told anyone this but I remember exactly what (or whom actually!) I was thinking about just as the photographer captured the softened expression on my face. I was imagining the boy I liked had suddenly appeared behind the camera, and all those months of waiting for him to flash me his most flirtatious smile had finally come to pass. He's married with kids now and he never even took me out on a date. I won't reveal his name but for those I grew up with in a small town in rural southern Utah, here's a hint: His little sister was also at my twenty year high school reunion.

Life has since taught me that being desirable is good but it also depends on the kind of attention you're seeking. That smirk on my face, twenty years later, and those empty spaces on either side of me at the table show my courage in making my appearance at a reunion attended by people that value marriage and children as the capstone of your life's goals. I think all the divorced and single classmates were too ashamed to show up. I don't blame them, getting married, staying married and raising a happy family are the bread and water of the Mormon religion I was raised on and still believe in. Still, it would've been nice if I'd at least had some kind of career to hide behind, "Yes, I'm an elementary school principal now," or "I was just made head nurse in pediatrics at Primary Children's" or my all time favorite, "Oh, I just finished writing the screenplay for Fifty Shades of Grey. My agent promised me at least twelve percent of the royalties." Ok, that might be a little too crazy.

I was proud to be able to say I'd be graduating with a second bachelor's degree next year and maybe doing something with my writing will bring fame and fortune, you never know, hence that smirk on my face. It could happen. The piece I shared with my adolescent literature class the other day was met with thunderous applause. The assignment was to rewrite a scene from To Kill A Mockingbird, one of my all time favorite books. I chose Boo Radley's perspective which blew everyone away. As I returned to my seat, the teacher remarked my future book should be titled, How to Kill A Vampire. It really made my day. Just imagine. Me, the next Stephenie Meyer!
I'd like to thank all the little people who took a chance on me and my delusions of grandeur...