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I'm a female. I'm a Mormon. I'm fine.

23 June 2014
It's hard to live in Utah and not be sucked into the Kate Kelly / Ordain Women debate.  I have friends on both sides of the issue, and it seems to me that no matter what decision is reached at the disciplinary council, there are going to be some very angry and very upset people.  There are no winners here, my blog-friends.

From my limited viewpoint, it seems like both sides could have handled everything much better.  Kelly's disciplinary council should have been held before she moved out of the state, period.  But Kelly should have listened to the counsel of her leaders.  It's okay to question and to ask the big questions, but from my point of view, Ordain Women has gotten out of hand.

All I know is, I'm sure glad I'm not Kelly's ecclesiastical leaders.  Can you imagine being the one who has to make the decision?  I can't.  Shudder.

I can only speak for my own experience as a Latter-Day Saint female, but I don't want the priesthood.  I just don't.  I do believe that men and women are seen as different but equal in the Church.  I have never felt marginalized by the doctrine of the Church.  Although after I first got married, I did have one bishop who made me feel a little inconsequential, but in that case, I think he was seeing me as a very young person and treating me that way.  Which, young I was.  I was 20-21.  I was young and dumb.  He treated Hawk the same way he treated me, so I don't think it had anything to do with gender.

When I was growing up, I never really wanted to be a girl.  I was a tomboy to the max.  The only thing that I ever thought was unfair about being a girl in the church (well, besides having to wear a dress) was the fact that I wasn't allowed to go on a mission until I turned 21.  Since the missionary age has been lowered, I'm willing to bet my 13 year old self wouldn't find anything wrong with being an LDS female.  My 27 year old self certainly doesn't.

When I was 19, I underwent a disciplinary council.  It was one of the most exhausting, heart-wrenching, and spiritual experiences of my life.  I was scared, but I have never felt so loved in all of my life.  I didn't know the bishopric holding the council very well, but they treated me with so much respect and love that I came away from the experience a stronger, happier person.  I've just really never felt so protected and watched out for.  I knew then and I know now that they wanted the best for me.  They held the council to get me back on track to where I needed to be, not to browbeat me into obedience or intimidate me with their man-powers.

At my council, I was given a list of 4-5 things to work on.  Stuff like "meet with the bishop every month to discuss progress," "study the scriptures on repentance," etc.  One of the men involved at the council said to me: "this is not a requirement, but I have a suggestion for you. I'd like you to seek out and read a book on womanhood.  The Spirit will help you to find the right book for you.  Read it, and I hope it will help you understand more about your gender and what it means to be a woman."

That right there was some of wisest council I have ever been given, ever.  At the time I was like "...uh, what?"  And it was frustrating to go to Deseret Book and look at their "womanhood books" and not have the sense that I had found what I was looking for.  But one day I happened across A Quiet Heart by Patricia Holland.  I decided to buy it, and it changed my life.  For the first time I had a better idea of what being female meant, and why it was just as good as being a male.  It changed my life, that book.  I was happy in my own skin, in my own gender, for the first time in 19 years.

So when Kate Kelly says that women are not equal in the eyes of the Church, I disagree.  Everything I have seen, everything I have studied, says that women and men are equal but different.  Kate Kelly does not speak for me.

It's hard to watch so many people fighting and hurting over this issue.  I don't care if people ask questions.  But at the same time, I don't think I could ever presume to tell a bunch of people what to believe and it boggles my mind that Ms. Kelly seems to think she is speaking for every woman in the church.  Again, she's not speaking for me, that is for sure.

I don't have the answers.  I don't know what will happen.  I just hope that those who are making the decisions will have the Spirit with them, and whatever decision is reached will be the right one.  I also hope that no matter what the decision is, everyone will be able to see the wisdom in it.  Ultimately, I hope that we can all remember that we are children of the Most High, no matter what our personal stance is on the issue of women in the church.  And I hope that we can treat each other with love, kindness, and respect.  

A memorial, a hike, and a wedding.

10 June 2014
I'm finally starting to figure out my (not so new anymore) camera. I've had it for 6 months now, so it's about time! I've decided to post some random pictures from the last few weeks.   So much has happened!

We had our first Memorial Day where there was someone's grave to visit (my grandfather; Dan Reeder is sorely missed.)  His gravestone was placed very recently, so the whole family got together to visit the grave.  While we were there, one of the 18-22 year old boys (I'm not sure who, or how old they really were!) started singing "How Great Thou Art."  Then we all started singing it.  The Reeder family is extremely musically gifted, so it was a beautiful rendition.  And a fitting tribute to my grandfather, who was one of the first to sing that hymn in the Tabernacle after it was added to the hymnbook.

Sparrow investigating a grave.
My grandfather's grave.  I miss him so much. 

In happier news, Sparrow graduated from kindergarten!  He will be in mainstream first grade next year.  We call it mainstream - most people just think of it as "normal" school.  Sparrow has been in a diagnostic kindergarten which only has children with disabilities.  His classroom had nonverbal children, children with Downs Syndrome, children with low-functioning autism, children with high-functioning autism.  Sparrow was very likely the highest functioning autistic child in the classroom.  Most people do not realize he is autistic, because he can seem 100% normal when you first meet him.  But often he has emotional meltdowns and that's where the autism comes in.  He functions more on the emotional level of a 3 year old, while he's on the intellectual level of an 8 or 9 year old.  It's crazy.  But we're excited to have him be mainstreamed, and in a school which is close to our house!  The diagnostic kindergarten was about 30 minutes away by car - the school bus took even longer.

Sparrow's graduation.
We went on a fun hike last week!  We visited Sundance resort and tried hiking to Stewart Falls.  We hiked halfway there and then discovered that the trail was closed because of snow.  But at least we had a beautiful 4 hours outside!  It was seriously absolutely gorgeous, and Sparrow hiked like a little ninja.  

Sparrow-Ninja on a log. 

Hawk was also a hiking ninja.  

We also had an addition to the family!  My brother Peregrine was married on June 6 to a beautiful young woman from Layton, Utah, who we will call Robin (going with the bird theme and all.)  I absolutely adore her - she is freakishly gorgeous, for one thing (wavy red hair, man, and beautiful creamy skin with freckles.  I'm so jealous.)  She is also a huge fan of all the nerdy things I am a huge fan of, so I can tell we will get along very well.  She's going to make my brother watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so that right there tells me that she is, in fact, the perfect woman.  

Anyway, Peregrine and Robin invited Sparrow to be their ring bearer.  He thought he was going to be a ring bear, and wondered aloud when I was going to get him his bear costume. He also practiced his roar for growling at the bride and groom.  He was slightly disappointed when I corrected him, but Robin and I came up with the idea to have him carry a teddy bear with the rings tied to it.  It worked out perfectly.  AND!  Sparrow was an absolute ANGEL the entire time - during the ceremony he stood stock-still, handed over the rings without complaining, arguing, or doing other Sparrow-like things, then during the dinner he was well behaved, and he played and danced during the reception (with only two meltdowns, but we forgave him those because he'd been amazing the rest of the day, particularly while it was very important.)  Whew!  I can't wait to see the real wedding photos, but I snapped some with my iPhone and with my camera for funsies.  

Trying on his wedding outfit.
During the ceremony, being the perfect ring "bear"er.

Sparrow adores his Nana with all his tiny heart.  

Dancing with Nana during the reception. 

Uncle Peregrine carved his and his wife's first name initials into this tree, but they just so happen to be  Peregrine and Sparrow's first initials too.  Booyah.  
This is for you, Peregrine.  And for Robin too.
I figured I should probably add a picture of me on my blog somewhere.  So here it is, a selfie snapped while Hawk drove us to some random location.  Bam. 
And I just posted this one because it amuses me.  I hope it amuses you too.  And if it does, you're welcome.