Ordain Women and doing it wrong

Ordain Women ProtestLike 87% of LDS Church membership, I do not support Ordain Women. I believe both their goals and their methods to be deeply flawed and out of touch with how the Church operates. I want to lay out some reasons why I think they have set themselves up for failure.

Ordain Women strikes the immediate wrong tone in their name. It’s a demand for an outcome, not seeking an answer to a question of gender roles within church leadership and authority. Asking the question “why is the priesthood a male-only privilege” is a worthy pursuit and worth asking. I fully support seeking a response both personally and by inquiring of church leaders. I do not support asking if your only goal is to get a specific answer.

Speaking of inquiry, honest inquiry happens in a certain way. Sending private letters to church leadership seeking a response fits this mold. So does discussing it with your friends and ward neighbors. So is prayer. Note that these kinds of inquiry are all low-key and conducted in meekness. Doing it in front of a crowd of TV cameras and reporters is not seeking an honest answer; it is attempting to shame another party into caving to your demands. So is attempting to disrupt an important spiritual meeting to “be heard” when the problem not is that you aren’t heard, but that you aren’t getting what you want. It is flat-out bullying, and it has no place within this organization.

If you believe that the LDS Church is headed by God, and that God reveals his will through a chosen prophet of the church, then you can reasonably assume that should the ordination of women be of God, it will be done according to the Lord’s timeframe. Public pressure will change absolutely nothing in this regard. It is, at best, a non-productive activity with no effect on if or when a final answer will be received.

Regardless of what the answer is, Ordain Women has gone about seeking it in the worst possible way, one that alienates with confrontation and demands. It is entirely possible to get answers to tough questions without going this route. I hope Ordain Women supporters will realize this sooner rather than later. Those who do not may subsequently jeopardize their membership in the Lord’s kingdom as the so-called September Six did two decades ago.

Posted in Church | Tagged , | Leave a comment

In which I hate on the How I Met Your Mother finale

Warning: here be spoilers. Run the other way if you want to ruin, er, watch the show for yourself.

I’ve seen more than one source describe How I Met Your Mother as “Friends for Millennials”. After the train wreck of a finale this week (which was just the cherry on top of a bad season), I’m starting to see why. By the end of the series, most of the characters have done exactly zero growing up or maturing, only superficially learning necessary life lessons long enough to get past their personal crisis du jour. Instead of giving us some kind of ending with a hope for people being better than when they started, we realize they don’t really change at all.

But first, let me give kudos where kudos are due. Marshall and Lily should be the example of what people should strive for. They get into fights, often big ones, but they have a firm commitment to working through them. Aside from their broken off relationship when they were dating, I never once got the feeling that they ever considered splitting up to be an option. They learned better from their brief time apart. As they transitioned into family life, they adjusted accordingly to behave responsibly. Marshall often had a job he hated because it was good for the family. All of his hard work was rewarded when he got the judgeship positions he really wanted, but he did work for it. He wasn’t just handed the dream job because dagnabit he was just a beautiful and unique snowflake. They both cut back on going out when kids came along because really, that’s just how life works when you actually want to raise children, not merely keep them alive. Lily even grew up to no longer be pulling her family along for her quest for superficial self-fulfillment. In many ways, they embraced the work and social ethics of generations past.

The rest of the characters don’t seem to get anything out of these good examples of being a responsible adult, preferring an eternal adolescence. Barney is obviously a tragic figure, but he gets the comic relief treatment so we won’t be forced to uncomfortably acknowledge it. He never had a father or father figure growing up, and his mother was often absent. To cope with that kind of pain, he constructs elaborate lies about his life and past that are far more glamorous than the reality that he had no parents to speak of. The flashback to his coffee shop days show he had figured out a way to cope with it and be a more-or-less decent guy, but getting abandoned sent him into the spiral of self-destructive behaviors that came to define his life. Then Robin abandons him and he goes right back into it, never learning a lesson. Even seeing his daughter didn’t really force him to confront that he used other people to try and numb his own pain. Instead of trying to make amends or warn other men about his unhappy lifestyle choices, he jumps to blaming women for ruining his life. There was an opportunity for Barney to finally face his problems and the writers chose the cop-out.

Robin is at least as bad. She starts off as selfish and insensitive. By the end of the show, she’s still that same person. If there’s any kind of emotionally uncomfortable situation, she runs from it. She involves herself deeply in her work to avoid it in the first place. When she’s involved with Ted, she runs as soon as things start getting more than superficial. Just look at how she reacts to the idea of having kids, an emotionally intense experience she wants to avoid. When Barney is getting upset because he sees an encore of being abandoned by a woman, she reacts by running even further away, paying little heed to how much damage she’s doing in the process. By the end of the show, she still lives alone, still has a bunch of dogs that won’t challenge her, and is still making work, an ultimately meaningless pursuit, her top life goal.

And why exactly is Ted, the hopeless romantic looking for The One chasing down an emotionally unavailable basket case like Robin? Here’s a guy who is fully invested in the idea of true love: find a woman you’re head-over-heels in love with, marry her, have kids, and grow old together. Even career goals like having a building on the Manhattan skyline take a back seat to this kind of idealism in relationships. And this is where things start getting really sloppy. Ted, the guy who literally says “I love you” on first dates, meets The Mother, who is perfect for him, does a crazy amount of wedding planning, ends up with a “whoops baby” before the wedding… and then waits five years and two kids to actually marry her? When did Ted become a relationship slacker, just going along with the flow? And the idea that he’s completely hung up on Robin the whole time, who seemingly offers him nothing but the challenge of attaining the unattainable, instead of what appears to be the perfect woman? Are we really going to believe that the hopeless romantic was just putting on a show?

So what we have are “party hardy to numb the pain” Barney, “sabotage relationships and bury your nose in work to avoid hard things” Robin, and “hopeless romantic who can’t help but chase after something they can’t get” Ted. They’re eternal adolescents, never really growing up and embracing adulthood, teenagers that can legally drink. Marshall and Lily, instead of being presented as the responsible lifestyle to which their friends should have aspired, are a curiosity that their “friends” push away from as they refuse to confront their own issues. Why bother spending an entire season focusing on a wedding that would force Robin and Barney to both grow up (and Ted to move on from obsessing over the woman he doesn’t really want) only to flush all of those examples of personal growth down the tubes in a few minutes of airtime? If this was to be the ending the entire time (and the filming of Ted’s conversation with his kids from the get-go seems to hint at it), why would you intentionally refuse to develop the idea over nine years, much less spend the entirety of the last season moving in the other direction?

Friends has everyone grow up to pursue living like adults. Scrubs gave us an ending montage that hinted at the same. How I Met Your Mother just trolled millions of viewers for the ending they never wanted to see. If the point was to provide an uncomfortable mirror of how many of us don’t grow up and face our problems, you could have tried to develop that thought. Instead, you lead us on the road of growing up only to pull the rug out from under us for… what reason exactly? Beats me, but I doubt I’m going to watch any of the show again with this bad taste in my mouth.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A one car family, revisited

Bye bye, YarisSome time ago, we thought about maybe going down to one car. We decided against it since I was working in an office and Shauna would still need to go places with the kids. That ended up being a good choice since I later ended up driving down to Lindon for work. Since July, though, I’ve been a full-time telecommuter and put under 100 miles per month onto my car. For the last several months, I’ve also been trying to walk, bike, and use mass transit to get where I need to go more often than not. It’s to the point where I asked the question again: do we need a second car?

The answer is no. No we don’t. Between registration, insurance, and maintenance, we’re spending $100 a month on a car we just don’t use. Meanwhile, it loses value over time as it lies fallow. Even if I needed another car for a day, an occasional rental is going to be less than what we spend on just owning the car, much less operating it. It’s less convenient, but the money being saved (and pulled out the car) is worth it.

When I had called USAA a few weeks ago to see what it would save us to go down to one car, they suggested using their car-buying service to find a buyer. Amazingly, it took less than five hours to get an offer from a dealership for more than I had listed the car for. We’re driving out to Tooele on Monday to say goodbye to this reliable little workhorse. I feel a little nervous about cutting back like this, but I think we can do it.

Posted in Life | Tagged | 1 Comment

Springtime means park time

Springtime means going to the park. Yesterday, it was nice enough to take the boys to the park (and out of mom’s hair) for a couple of hours. They were pretty excited to be running around outdoors.

IMG_20140308_121502

 

IMG_20140308_121441

 

Liam even surprised me by climbing up some playground equipment that I didn’t think he could.

Posted in Liam, Nathan | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The secret to perfect bacon from the oven

Sourced from Wikipedia

Sourced from Wikipedia

As much as I love bacon, I hate pan-frying it. Yes, it’s always more delicious that way, but it takes a lot of time, creates a lot of mess, and usually burns me with splattering grease. I usually make it in the oven, but I had never been quite satisfied with the results. It was hard to get it crispy without burning, though I didn’t have to worry as much about cleanup. Now we’ve discovered the perfect way to make bacon in the oven.

The trick is all in the technique. I’d previously been putting it on a broiler pan on the middle rack at 400 F for about 15-20 minutes. That’s doing it all wrong. For starters, the bacon couldn’t cook in its own grease. That’s what makes pan-fried so delicious. I ditched the broiling pan for a normal cookie sheet (with sides, of course). I also dropped the pan to the bottom rack and kicked the broiler into high gear. That high heat makes all of the difference, but you need the distance from the heat to prevent burning. And since you’re cooking it in its own grease, you’d better be prepared to move it to a paper towel-lined plate when it’s done (which only takes about 12 minutes; rotate the pan halfway through).

The result? Bacon that is perfectly crispy and juicy with minimal curling and no burning, yet very little cleanup involved. Just wait a few minutes for the grease to cool and pour it into a jar (yes, to use later, not to throw away). The only downside is that you can make delicious bacon so easily at home that you just might find yourself making it for a late-night snack. It’s okay; we won’t judge.

Posted in Food | Tagged | Leave a comment

Everything comes down to poo… (a Nathan update)

So far, we have removed gluten, casein (dairy), egg, soy, oat, peanut and almond from Nathan’s diet. We are also limiting apple and rice. He is getting only a very small amount of processed foods at this point (I haven’t quite been able to give up his morning dry cereal… I am open to suggestions for breakfast). Nathan continues to improve slowly, but I am not confident that we have found all of Nathan’s allergies quite yet. Yesterday, however, Nathan said TWO WORDS (“hi” and “no”). He babbles nearly all of the time (he had previously been COMPLETELY silent) and we have had brief moments of eye contact. Toe-walking has decreased. I feel like if we can get rid of all the “bad” foods and heal up his little tummy, we may have a good chance at restored language. Today for the first time EVER, Nathan had a normal-looking stool. It seems Scrubs had it right all along…

I happened to get Nathan on video saying “hi” while he was playing in the tub. He was being so happy during bath time which is kind of rare. The thought occurred to me to get it on video because I remembered after his regression thinking I wished I’d gotten more video of him being happy and talking and whatnot… in case he never spoke again. I grabbed the camera to catch him smiling and splashing in the tub and he just happened to surprise me with one beautiful word. So glad I listened to my mommy gut and got the camera when I did!

We’re still working on getting additional testing done for allergies and some other stuff. Additionally, I’m also getting Liam tested for allergies since these things usually run in families and I’m curious to see if some of Liam’s self-limiting of food could be due to food allergies and just generally not liking to eat because food makes him feel yucky. So that’s what’s going on around here! Thank you for all of your concern and prayers. We know we are well-loved!

Posted in Autism, Food, Health, Liam, Nathan, Videos | Leave a comment

Destination 210: The Inevitable Plateau

I knew the day would come, but I didn’t think it would be so soon. I’ve hit kind of a plateau around 220 in the past week and it seems like the loss from diet alone is starting to slow down. This is where it’s time to really buckle down on exercising. Thankfully, Utah’s putrid winter air has begun to clear, so it’ll be easier to get that done.

On Monday, I walked 12,500 steps, a good bit over the recommended 10,000 per day. Unfortunately, I was 1) wearing the wrong kind of shoes (I was dressed up to be at the capitol) and 2) pushing myself a bit too hard. Now my left foot hurts pretty badly and is taking me out of the walking game for a few days. It makes me think of when I was biking to work and how much those first two weeks really sucked, even doing it just two days a week. My legs were sore, my hands were worse (go figure), and it didn’t feel like I would be able to do it long term.

But by the third week, it was getting easier. After a few months, even the uphill portion back home wasn’t all that hard. I’m going to maintain a few goals to make sure I walk more.

  • Walk to church. This is a no-brainer. It takes 10 minutes. The building is RIGHT THERE. I can spare an extra nine minutes each way to get some more exercise.
  • Walk to the store. Smith’s is only half a mile away. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be walking there and back if I need something.
  • Walk or bike around the neighborhood at least twice a week. This means I need to better plan my time. I stay up way too late. I need to either use that time to get in a night ride/walk or go to bed earlier so I can ride/walk in the morning before work. Or I need to start using part of my lunch break to get one in.
  • Sleep. Sleep is important. A lack of sleep is correlated with weight gain. I usually only get 7-7.5 hours per night, not all of it restful. If I’m tired, I’m not going to get moving.

Thankfully, the Withings Pulse I got for Christmas helps me stay honest on these goals. It monitors my sleep, so I’ll know if I’m getting enough. It also keeps track of my steps per day so I know if I’m being active or a slug. I can’t lie to the technology, so it keeps me accountable.

PS I’m still proud of my progress. I came in at 219.6 this morning. That’s 24.8 pounds since November 24. I can almost taste the goal.

Posted in Health, Jesse | Tagged | Leave a comment

Kiss THESE Grits

Dude loves his gritsIn the continuing quest to find some food that Nathan 1) likes and 2) won’t get explosive diarrhea from, I decided to trust the latest allergy results and give a bowl of grits a shot. He didn’t use the spoon to eat it (because of course not), but that didn’t stop him from eating an entire adult-sized portion for lunch today. He even went so far as to put the bowl on his face to lick it clean. It probably didn’t hurt that I added enough salt and buttery coconut oil to give the FDA an aneurysm, but I’ll take it.

Posted in Food, Nathan | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Nathan, I love your guts (even though they suck)

1625583_10152208831072079_758254222_n

If you’re on Facebook and don’t have me hidden or anything, you probably already know that last week Nathan went in for an endoscopy/colonoscopy to try to get to the bottom of some chronic GI issues. I finally got a call back from the GI specialist today with an update, so I thought I would share since many of you have expressed interest in what’s going on with him.

The GI doctor explained to me that the procedure went well and he didn’t really see anything super obvious to explain Nathan’s symptoms. He did see some “bumpiness” in the intestinal tract which he said CAN be normal in children, though Nathan had more bumps than what he would consider to be normal. He told me that there are doctors that may prescribe steroids to treat this type of thing, but that he doesn’t really see a case for it and does not feel confident in giving any diagnosis at this time. The bumps more than likely signify an allergic response, so his recommendation is to follow up with an allergist and have more extensive allergy testing done.

We are working on getting an allergy test for him that will cover a wider variety of foods and common allergens. His doctor is ordering a test that will look for something like 150 allergens. Previously, his pediatrician has done one test for like 7 foods and then the GI doctor did a test for 19 foods (some of the foods overlapped with the 7 food test, so we’ve probably only tested for about 25 foods). So far, we know that he is highly allergic to egg whites and peanuts. He is moderately allergic to oats and mildly allergic to wheat, milk, soy, rye and barley. There are several foods that showed reactions in the category that they say he MAY be experiencing reactions or may not be, so we’ll kind of have to guess and check on those. We may be able to let him have these foods on a 4 day rotation. These include beef & chicken. I also suspect he has an allergy to almonds, though this food has not yet been tested (he seems to be doing a little better with it out of his diet though).

My plan is to get the additional allergy testing done, remove allergens, and then give it a few months to see if his symptoms improve through diet alone. If they do not, I have located a GI specialist in New York that specifically works with kids on the autism spectrum and is very familiar with the many GI issues kids on the spectrum face and is well respected in his field. If Nathan’s symptoms do not improve through diet, we will take him to the New York specialist for a second opinion.

I am also working on cleaning up our home. I don’t mean vacuuming and whatnot, but we’re getting rid of chemical cleaners, replacing plastic Tupperware-type containers with glass, and switching out all bath products and pretty much anything that comes in contact with the boys or with the food they eat. It will be a long process and my dad will call me a hippie, but we just can’t take any chances. What I’m learning is that these boys of mine do not just have autism. Their little bodies are sick. And anything I can do to lessen their “toxic load” may help them. And I’m not really interested in debating this because it’s not like removing chemicals from their environment or food will hurt them, so really, if you think I’m being stupid or overreacting, you can keep that to yourself. I’ve always said I would do ANYTHING for my boys. That includes giving up some conveniences and a whole lot of my time (making food from scratch, mixing non-toxic cleaners when I need them, etc), but it’s an investment in their future I don’t feel like I can overlook. When you’re the parent of a child (or two) with special needs, you often feel pretty helpless. I cannot make Nathan speak or look me in the eyes (I know because I have TRIED). I cannot force Liam to stop scripting or flapping his arms or bobbing his head incessantly. But this? This is an area over which I have a reasonable amount of control. And if it helps them in any small way, it will be worth it and then some.

Posted in Autism, Health, Nathan, Pictures, Shauna | 6 Comments

A new kind of bedtime defiance

Every night, I lay down with Liam in his bed before he goes to sleep. Every night, I tell him “it’s time for night-night”. Every night, he usually protests in the same way: “no night-night!” Last night, he took a slightly different tack: “cancel night-night”. Because the computer has Cancel buttons, and that stops whatever you’re about to do, so of course that makes sense to a kid who’s always repeating what the accessibility tools narrator says.

Posted in Liam, Tender Lumplings | 1 Comment