the last 5 Decembers

There hasn’t been much going on around here the past few days (I know, the end of the semester), so I decided to follow Bored in Vernal’s example and reflect on what I have been doing for the past [5] Decembers (yes, she did 10, but that would be a lot longer, and besides, my husband gets sad when I talk about old boyfriends in nostalgic ways). And unlike her, I’m going to go forward instead of backward. So here goes: Read More

Christmas Music

Dr. Seuss got at least one thing right: music is absolutely essential to any celebration of Christmas, perhaps even the most essential element; for me, the day the Christmas season begins is the day I bust out my collection of Christmas CDs (though I admit, I often cheat and start singing Christmas music in October or November, even though I refrain from listening to it that early). This year I recently compiled a list of about 80 most cherished Christmas songs, my favorite of which is actually not a Christmas song at all but an Advent song: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Of course, my choices are guided chiefly by music, but this 12th- or 13th-century Gregorian chant is the setting for wonderfully gloomy, plaintive, moving lyrics, answered antiphonally in the refrain by the promise of deliverance–as one popular translation from the Latin original renders two of the verses:

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Changing the Words to Hymns

When I put my boys to bed at night, I often sing them hymns. One of their favorites is “There Is a Green Hill Far Away,” probably because it’s one of the few that I know all the verses to and can sing in the dark. But part of this hymn has always struck me as odd. In the first verse, it says that the green hill is “where the dear Lord was crucified.” The dear Lord? That sounds so impersonal. So taking a page from “Upon the Cross of Calvary,” I always sing this line as “where our dear Lord was crucified.”

So are there any hymns that you sing nonstandard words to, or any for which you would like to see the wording changed?

Sisters

I’m sitting in my bedroom, and thinking about the fact that all five of my sisters live hundreds (and in the case of Kiskilili, thousands) of miles away. Looking around, though, I can see traces of them everywhere. On my wall hangs a giant poster of Aragorn–a recent surprise gift from Amalthea (who personally prefers Frodo). Over my desk is a calendar of “Nuns Having Fun,” courtesy of Melyngoch. Read More

A Movie Review and Some Thoughts on Communities

About a week ago I went to see the recently released documentary on The Dixie Chicks, Shut up and Sing! The movie was quite enjoyable, and much of the reason I enjoyed it was because it had a lot of good music. However, I think what I appreciated about the movie the most was that its messages emotionally resonated with me on a number of levels. Read More

Authenticity in Relief Society

Sally raised this great question on Eve’s “Relief Society Goes Berserk” thread:

I am teaching RS tomorrow on unity and have been thinking alot about what creates unity. One post mentioned that we don’t have “authentic voices” in RS, we don’t share our struggles because we need to put on our happy faces at church to fit in with the rest of the happy faces.
How can we mourn with those that mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort if those needs are carefully kept hidden? I love the “good new minutes” in RS because I feel like I get to know the sisters better, hearning of their joys. But how can we share bad news? I wouldn’t want RS to turn into a session for complaining, especially about others in our lives. So how can we open up to each other so we can better see in each other’s hearts?

Solving the Mormon Man Shortage

There has been an interesting discussion at Feminist Mormon Housewives in response to a guest poster’s request for advice on how she, as a single Mormon woman, should deal with her strong sex drive. Tangentially, I was interested by a comment made by David on that thread:

Let me just state the obvious that no one seems to want to say:

There are more decent, inteligent, active, spiritual single women in the church than there are men.

I dont know how it all balances out in the end, but right now, thats just the way it is

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Finding Middle Ground

Jessawhy recently posed this excellent question:

I’m wondering if there is any middle ground between being 100% behind anything that any living prophet has ever spoken, and rationalizing myself out of the church.

How do you find the middle ground? How do you stay active without feeling like you’ve given your brain up to the Borg? Is there a middle ground? (In the scriptures it really seems black and white, maybe Satan tricks us into thinking there are shades of grey).

“You must do what you feel is right, of course.”

The Gospel of Star Wars tells us repeatedly of the importance of trusting your feelings. (If you don’t recognize my title quote, it’s what Obi-Wan says to Luke in A New Hope, when Luke is deciding whether to come to Alderaan). Qui-Gon instructs Anakin at one point, “Feel. Don’t think.” Even those on the Dark Side of the Force recognize feelings as a way of discerning truth; Vader tells Luke that if he will “search his feelings,” he will recognize the truth of what Vader is telling him about his parentage. Read More