Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What I'm reading - actually what I just finished reading!

Eliza and Hannah have recommended this book to me - so I got it on my Kindle and read it this week.  I wold love to discuss it with my daughters - I imagine we'd have an invigorating discussion.

Years ago, I subscribed to Exponent II, a modern take on the old Exponent that was published for years for mostly Utah Mormon women.  At the time, I think I felt a little isolated emotionally from many of the women around me. It seemed that I didn't have others around me who read the same books I did or had the same concerns I did.  Exponent II became that circle of friends.  In addition to writing about issues that concerned me, I found myself exploring issues I'd never even thought about.  

Reading the magazine opened up avenues to books, articles, poetry, and true-life stories that I found compelling.  One month the discussion focused on the issue of women holding their babies while they were being blessed.  Women pointed out that, at the time, non-member and non-Melchizedek priesthood holders were allowed in the circle when a baby was blessed, but an active, recommend-holding woman could not be there and hold her baby.

I'm not sure why, but that issue truly resonated with me.  I recall asking Harry what he thought our then Stake President would say if I asked him if I could hold Hannah while she was being blessed.  (My years of reading Exponent II coincided with my "second family" - that is, the years when I had Eliza, Hannah, and Noah - while I also had "big kids" in high school and middle school.)

Harry's response was a thoughtful one.  He said he thought President Merkely would want to know my motive.  Did I truly feel left out of the event?  Did I want to "make a statement?"  Did I want to "shock" or "impress" others with my daring?  Was I thoughtful and prayerful about the idea?

Upon reflection, I realized that I was mostly intrigued by the novelty of the event.  I had sat in the congregation and listened to the blessings Harry gave each of our children - and had found it a spiritual experience.  I guessed I didn't need to "make a point."  But I also understood at some level that for some women, it would be a make or break kind of deal.

In this book by Neylan McBaine, the author explores the role of women in the LDS church.  Her research is thoughtful and thorough.  Many of her suggestions are excellent - and not earth-shattering.  She does not advocate any kind of rebellion or "stirring of the pot," but instead she has gathered, through interviews and others tools of research, a lot of data that is full of possibilities and ideas for improving the way women are represented in the church.  

Her major thesis is that as a majority in the gospel kingdom, women often do not have any "presence" or influence.  She sees this not as a condemnation of men, but as a natural result of cultural and social influences.  And she sees the need for women to look for ways to increase their visibility in the gospel setting.

She has interspersed her commentary with stories and quotes of members of the church - men and women - that lend credence to her thesis.  And many of her proposals and suggestions have apparent merit - and as she often notes, there is nothing in the official handbook preventing them from being done.

One practice she reported on especially touched my heart.  She said that in a ward she attended, when the bishop was released, the stake president had the bishop's family stand also for the vote of thanks.

I thought that was a nice touch.

Let me know what you think.  I truly wish I could have a big group discussion with all of you!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sister Act!

Alice was here for 10 days or so, but it coincided with our travels to Oregon for Ry's funeral, so we were not able to spend as much time together as we had planned.  We did enjoy an outing to JoAnn's - it's always fun to fabric shop with Alice.

But we did head out to Claremont to visit Aunt Mercedes, Byron's wife.  We had a delightful visit, and I plan to visit her again soon.  She had lots of great stories to tell - not just about Byron, but about her own life and background - much of it I had never heard before.

We especially enjoyed oohing and ahhing over Byron's '69 Camaro!!  Apparently it's something Dale had dreamed of owning!

Hopefully I can plan a trip to Utah at some point - and Alice will come again.  Hopefully she will miss any planned heat waves when she does come again!  (I must say, she is a really good sport about ghastly hot days - probably because she's had experience with so many kinds of weather!  Didn't hear her complain!)

Monday, September 08, 2014

More Nebeker memories

Harry, in an email to Sarah Nebeker,  "I wore a Jerry Garcia tie all day yesterday. I might have also shaved my head in homage but did not want to spend the whole day explaining."

"My hope is that you will not go one day without recognizing some special new blessing that will have come from all this grief you have endured recently.  That the pain will become pure joy."

"Our hearts are still crying with you and hope you're feeling somewhat comforted.  We all loved him."

The service is this Saturday - we are flying up for it.  I will try to take good notes.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Friendship and Sorrow

This photo is from the first year Harry ran Hood to Coast.  It was the year Agnes was born - which would be 2007.  It was so fun for Hannah and I to stay in Nebeker's basement - in the wonderful Norwegian bed - and then bike over to Seaside to see Harry finish.

Ry and Sarah have been part of our lives for so many years - it will be hard to realize Ry is really gone now.  We have lost other good friends - and time heals the sorrow - and we are so grateful for good memories - but it is sad.

Very soon after I got to know Harry, I got to know Ry - and he was at BYU for a time after Harry left on his mission.  My sister Alice and I drove to Covina to attend  his missionary farewell in summer of 1965.  I picked him up at the SLC airport when he came back to Provo after returning from Norway.

I wish I had photos of some the great adventures we had in those BYU years - I will just have to describe them I supopse.

I love the above photo of Ry with a baby Agnes - he had her charmed that day - in typical Nebeker fashion.

Ry was a one-of-a-kind - and I am so grateful we could call him friend.