Freckles in April

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Things I'm Good At

A couple months ago Janssen posted a few things she's good at. I started this post the next day and then walked away because apparently "sitting down and finishing blog posts" is a thing that I am NOT good at (you should see my drafts list. It's crazy right now).

Anyway, to give myself a little pat on the back today, here are a few things I'm good at:

1. Flossing. The last line in Janssen's post had me going, "Hey! I AM really good at flossing!" And oral hygiene in general. I floss, brush, and wear my retainers religiously. My dentist loves me.

2. Being adventurous with my hair. I have a sort of "eh, it'll grow out/back" attitude when it comes to my hair. I was showing my new stylist pics of my past haircuts and colors back in January and she said, "Wow, you're adventurous!" And I was like, "Hey! I guess I am!"

3. Making dinner. I went into marriage barely knowing how to boil water and now I'm a fairly confident cook who makes dinner 4-6 times a week. Like, with vegetables and side dishes and everything!

4. Being on time. I pride myself on my punctuality. If I'm running a few minutes behind I'm really good about texting and giving a time estimate for when I'll arrive. Once I was picking a friend up for something and her husband commented, "Kayla's late! She's never late!" My friend responded, "She texted and said she was running 5 minutes behind." He was halfway through saying, "Five minutes late would be right NOW." when I rang the doorbell. It's a gift.

5. Inviting. I have a friend from my last neighborhood who was always inviting people over for dinner or out to do stuff (she reads my blog sometimes...hi Jenny!) and I was always so impressed by that. Over the past few years I've tried to follow her example and be an inviter. I've gotten pretty good at it- we have people over regularly and whenever I'm taking my kids somewhere I try to text and invite a few people who I think might enjoy coming. On Monday we had a bunch of friends over for ice cream sundaes in our driveway and my neighbor said, "You're so good at inviting people to do stuff!" Success!!

6. I'm a very efficient driver. I usually know the best route (or I'll take the time to look it up) and like to spend a few minutes plotting my course if I have multiple errands so I don't have to backtrack. I also know how to use a traffic circle and I'm always in the correct lane way ahead of time.

What are YOU good at?


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Friday, March 27, 2015

My Story

I've had quite a few people tell me they'd like to read more about my faith transition and how we're handling life as a mixed-faith family. I know not everyone is interested though and my feelings won't be hurt one bit if you choose to skip these posts!

When you leave the church people tend to make assumptions about you and what you did or did not do to get to that point. I've told my story to anyone who has asked but decided to put it here too as background to any future posts I write about my faith transition.

I've always felt that I was blessed with the gift of faith. I believed easily and without question. Faith didn't require too much work or energy out of me- it was pretty self sustaining.

Shortly after Baby 2 was born that easy faith just sort of...stopped. In hindsight I wonder if it had something to do with post-partum hormones or something along those lines but at the time I thought perhaps it was a test from God. Maybe He wanted me to actually have to DO something for that faith that had always come so easily. I accepted that challenge, rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

I have piles of journals from that time. Scripture journals, gratitude journals, daily journals in which I wrote down the small ways in which I saw the hand of God in my life. With my daily scripture study I added in other books meant to boost my knowledge and faith- church history, memoirs of the prophets, Mormon theology. I attended the temple, planned weekly family home evening lessons, and spent hours and hours on my knees in prayer. I dove in with my whole heart and mind, fully expecting to feel that faith and surety flicker slowly back to life.

But it didn't. After 6 months my insides still felt sort of quiet and empty and I was really struggling to believe what I was hearing at church. I was starting to wonder if I was broken.

Then I got called to be the first counselor in the Young Women's presidency. That time fully opened my eyes to the deep-seated gender inequality within the church but I also discovered something else- teaching brought the fire back. I LOVED teaching! While preparing lessons and then standing in front of those girls, that feeling of faith and spirit came rushing back. Maybe I wasn't broken after all! I was still really struggling but at least I could feel something akin to faith and testimony and it gave me a lot of hope.

About a year into my time in the YW presidency came the first Wear Pants to Church Day. I didn't have any nice pants to wear so I made myself a little pants pin and stuck it to my shirt. It sparked a conversation amongst my YW that was, depending on who you ask, great, horrific, or not a big deal. A couple parents got very upset that I talked to their daughters about gender inequality within the church and I got in trouble (I don't blame those parents, by the way. I walked away from that conversation thinking, "Yeah, that didn't go well.").

A couple weeks later I posted on my personal FB page that I supported the BSA dropping the ban on gay scouts. Parents got upset again. I had a discussion with the bishop and he said he was thinking about releasing me from my calling.

While I waited for the bishop to make his decision I prayed. I told God that being in Young Women's and teaching those girls was my anchor and that if I was released I wasn't sure I would be able to hang on.

The next day the bishop called and released me.

I lasted in the church for another year after that. I wormed my way into a calling in the nursery where I taught the music. Singing silly songs with 2- and 3-year-olds made church bearable. Meanwhile, I really started researching. I couldn't stop! I found out about unsavory aspects of church history. I read about the corporate structure of the church and discovered that my tithing funds were probably not used in the way I thought they were. I read posts by women who felt like second class citizens in the church and I ended up crying quietly in bed while Aaron slept because I had seen and I knew I couldn't un-see.

In July of 2013 my worries and concerns had taken over my brain and I was sinking. I knew I had to start talking to Aaron about it all or I might explode. I got lucky- he brought it up himself. He had a super brief weird moment with the church that year and started the conversation. I didn't flood him with everything but at least the lines of communication were open. He quickly made his peace and went back to his normal relationship with the church while I continued to struggle but at least we were able to talk openly.

That year my physical and mental health tanked. Aaron said later that he thinks I literally worried myself sick over it all. There's a saying in the church that, when something doesn't sit right, you're supposed to "put it on a shelf" in the back of your mind and not worry about it. Except I had piled too much on that shelf and it was starting to creak ominously.

Finally, in December 2013 I went to see Frozen with Aaron and my boys. I know everyone is heartily sick of "Let It Go" but the first time I heard that song that day in the theater I burst into tears. I was exhausted. I didn't want to hide my hurt and doubts anymore. I didn't want to force my brain to do any more mental gymnastics. I wanted to let it go, dammit!

In the car on the way home a very tiny voice in my brain started speaking.

 "What if it's not true?"

The thought was too terrifying to acknowledge but over the next few days it kept returning. One sunny morning after Christmas I sat quietly on my couch and thought, "Ok...maybe it isn't. Maybe it's not true."

My brain unclenched. My whole body flooded with relief. The lights in my head flickered back on and that night I slept well for the first time in months.

People learn in different ways. There are kinesthetic learners and auditory learners and visual learners and all kinds of combinations of the three. I think the various religions and philosophies of the world are God's way of teaching eternal truths to His children according to their own specific learning styles. Mormonism doesn't suit my learning style. For me, it isn't true. It brings light and hope and peace to many, but I am no longer one of them.

I am, however, completely surrounded by Mormons who fall all over the faith spectrum and I do my imperfect best to love and support them in their belief and love of God and most of them are trying to do the same for me. It's a learning process and we are learning together.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

International Day of Happiness

The Twitterverse has just informed me that today is the International Day of Happiness. You can be sad the rest of the days but NOT TODAY PEOPLE!

So here are 5 things that make me happy:

1. Google.

I'm the sort of person who needs to know things and I need to know them RIGHT NOW. The ability to Google any time and anywhere is one of my life's greatest pleasures.

2. Babies.

Caboose with Grandma

I am a baby person. I get babies. Babies like me. Babies don't sass and they are generally on board with snuggling. Bring me ALL the babies!!

3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


I've been singing the theme song nonstop for 2 weeks now.

4. This.


5. Memes

My brother-in-law said "totes magotes" once and now I send him memes like this from time to time and I probably think it's WAY funnier than he does.

I have seen the words "boughten" and "pressidure" (procedure), and "firstable" (first of all) used on FB in the past week. I'm not a huge jerk so I didn't actually post this meme but its existence makes me happy.

Bonus 6. Cookie Butter.

I've been dipping chocolate chips in it because fitting back into my clothing is overrated.

What makes you happy??

(and if you want to share your fav memes I won't be mad)

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stretchy Pants Forever

When Stinky was a baby we had some friends over for dinner and the wife said, "Whoa you look amazing!" I had been back to my pre-pregnancy weight for AGES at that point and I was like, "Well...he was was born five months ago." Like, hello, who WOULDN'T be all skinny again at 5 months post partum?

I want to punch that Kayla in the face.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Links I Love

I LOVE vocabulary words (Aaron and I introduce a few new vocabulary words to our kids each week over dinner and now our kids love vocab too. It's awesome). This post from Buzzfeed about the most beautiful words in the English language gave me all the warm fuzzies. Plus a good list of new words to introduce to my kids!

A couple months ago Aaron and I had a conversation about whether or not we believe in a literal Adam and Even. I don't, but I honestly don't think it had ever occurred to Aaron to wonder. It led to a conversation about how I need evidence and Aaron needs faith and how that goes to the very root of our religious differences. I saw this article, How Critical Thinkers Lose Their Faith in God and thought, "Bingo!" I like how the article doesn't really make any value judgments; they're both valid ways of thinking.

*Language warning like whoa* I debated even sharing this due to the excessive number of f-bombs. But for those who don't particularly mind language, I thought this post on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a **** was fantastic. It's about giving our time and energy to the things that really matter and ignoring the things that don't and he has some great (expletive-filled) points.

If you happen to have a few spare million bucks laying around (like...40ish) the house that inspired Pride and Prejudice is for sale. I desperately want someone to buy this and turn it into some kind of B&B so I can come visit.

You guys. Janssen pushed out a 10+ pound baby with no epidural. As someone who rolls up to the hospital dilated to a one and whining about the pain, I am sort of boggled by that.

I've watched this little girl playing on an ice puddle like 18 times. I snort laughed my nursing baby awake about 17 of those times.

Happy weekend!


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