stable themed birthday parties

this is when i was cute and everything made sense
The older i become the more jumbled things seem to get. I think that is safe to say that most people go through this; i see my friends change how they eat, what they believe in, what they are passionate about, how far to one extreme with politics they can get (and preach about on facebook--you know who you are and you are lucky we are still friends) and the list goes on and on. I really should have gone into psychology because i am fascinated by people and what they do and what they claim is the reason.

i wore pants and a dress to church.
it looked better in real life, taking self portraits is hard work
that is why i am not a fashion blogger
(and for so many other reasons too of course...)
The last year or so has been super intense with regards to church. If you know me slightly and have read at least one post you are bound to realize that i am Mormon. A few months ago i wrote a post about the controversy of women wearing pants to church for one Sunday and i think that i was greatly misunderstood by many, especially my more conservative Mormon counterparts. What i meant to say in that post is that all of us have parts of religion that don't make sense to us and the fact that we worship together is what makes church more inviting and Christlike. I was trying to point out some issues that can be seen in multiple lights and push the issue that a lot of things (especially cultural things) don't matter and have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ and that we need to let people ask questions because it is only if you ask why that you can receive an answer.

In case you are like me, here is what i have learned over the past year.

this is me being okay with being a business
woman and not mom right now. i rock that fancy
pants blazer when i need to.
The LDS (Mormon) church has a double edge sword--we are taught by our peers. This can be the most fantastic thing and can help turn drab sunday school lessons into something inspirational when a person shares something that they understand that you had not thought about. On the flip side this can lead to people teaching things that aren't quite kosher and frankly weird. I have had to realize that even if someone says something in a church setting that is not what i believe or against my political/personal/what have you part of my life--it is merely their interpretation of something and neither of us is necessarily wrong. This helps me realize that some of the crazy conservative things that i was taught as a teenager about sexuality and being a women does not have to define who i am. Though my instructors might have pushed certain issues like not working as an adult in order to rear children i know that was important in their life but it doesn't mean that i have to only be searching for a husband right now. And lets be honest, none of them wanted me to fail at dating so obviously i took some of their counsel the wrong way and need to learn some new strategies...

Contrary to some popular belief the LDS church does and can change. I hate when i am talking to people about an issue that i don't quite understand and they try to tell me that i need to drop it because the church would never embrase something mainstream like (insert our topic here). The truth is that we not only change but at one point we were hip! If you think about, all the hymns (which i love and wouldn't really want to give a facelift to) that we sing were popular when the church was established. Members sang (at the time) hip songs and did things that were culturally acceptable anywhere in the US (except polygamy of course but lets disregard that...). We pushed the boundaries and wanted others to change too (now insert polygamy and the fight to let Mormons marry who and how they wanted)! We even had a prophet that ran for president. But look at us now, for some reason is has become a bad thing to stay with the times in the weirdest regards. When the church finally allowed blacks to have the priesthood it was a big deal, it was a big deal because we were WAY behind on the times AND because the prophet had wanted it to change for years but he kept getting the answer that the church was not ready. We have been told time and time again that change occurs when the members are ready, meaning change can and will occur and it is not bad to talk about things because how is anyone supposed to show they are ready if they are quiet and no one knows? People constantly talked about the priesthood and the need for blacks to have it, talking lead to awareness, awareness lead readiness and  readiness lead to revelation.

To be honest, especially with that issue (and some other issues) i feel that the church's growth is stunted by conservative American members. Hot button issues occur in the church frequently when they are an issue in the US. This is unfortunate that others around the world have to wait for so many people here to be ready for change. I am pretty sure the members in Africa wanted the priesthood...

I also like to think that some things that need changing can change because it wasn't really supposed to be a policy, it just got overlooked and became the norm--like how a woman has never given a prayer in General Conference. Surely with the awareness of this recently this will change since previous prophets have said that women should pray in church meetings.

remember that not only are vistors welcome, but ALL
members are welcome too
I have also learned that i think there is a lot of confusion about some church policy. I have been one of the people that has dwelled on the gay issue and wants an answer as to what gay members are supposed to do in the church. I don't personally know any member that is openly gay because they always leave the church. But i also know these individuals that believe deeply in God. I have always wanted an answer as to what their place is, but the real thing is that EVERYONE is welcome at a church for worship. People need to shop worrying about where people fit into the mold encourage everyone to be a part in the way they feel fit (though obviously i want an answer about this issue, i'm saying i need to patient to receive it). Obviously some things in the church are very sacred and you have to have a certain worthiness to take part, but everyone can be a part in some way, everyone can have a 'job.' Once i thought about this i realized that not much else matters. Everyone believes in different aspects of every religion--that is why LDS have testimony meetings once a month were people get to speak in front of each other say what they believe--we share our beliefs so others that don't have such a strong conviction in the areas we do can be exposed and maybe start to understand.

there are far more images than i expected when you google
Happy Birthday Jesus, apparently i am behind on the times.
I also realized that i need to change. I need to figure out what parts of Mormonism are important to me and dive into those. I need to dwell on things that matter instead of the things and culture that don't matter. Because of this i have decided to start a new tradition...

I have always thought that it was a bit strange that we believe that Christ was born on April 6th but we do not celebrate that, we seem to celebrate the birth of our religion more. Since i think this is something that is important i decided that i will start celebrating 'the real christmas' this year. Think about it, if we celebrate Christ's birthday there is no way that it can be confused with the material aspects of normal christmas, stores don't have any of their christmas merchandise out yet, there isn't even a holiday reeses for this (though i would not put it below them to create a Jesus shape...)! I haven't come up with a name for it because 'Happy Birthday Jesus' sounds a little sacra-religious... so i welcome all suggestions.
this is the cake i will be making,
pecan cake with brown-butter pears

So come to my house on April 6th for a birthday cake, perhaps some christmas carols (the more traditional ones about Christ and not about Santa), and spending time with friends showing them how much you love them because Jesus wants us to love everyone.

And since i am turning a new leaf and dwelling more on the important things like Jesus, if i start to talk to you about weird cultural things going down in Utah just tell me to shut up. We all know we got some strange traditions going down, no reason to beat the dead horse--and it just gets me agitated.  I think we can all be glad when i stop talking about dating, how much it sucks and how backwards it is in this culture.