Sunday, May 09, 2010


The primary kids are singing "I Often Go Walking" today in Sacrament meeting. I am somewhat concerned about this. I know they can do it. But I am afraid they won't sing. I remember being in primary and thinking, "I didn't volunteer for this. I don't want to sing in front of everyone in the chapel. Especially since it seems like I'm the ONLY one who stands up there and actually SINGS." And it's true. I have found that, since my post-primary days, I think the funnest thing to do is to mouth the words like a clown, using EVERY muscle above my shoulders, to animate to the children how to sing. Some kids can't take their eyes off me. Some kids giggle. Some kids stare and sortof move their mouths a little bit, unsure of what they are watching, exactly.

Today I am standing there out of DUTY, though. Not just for fun. Weird. I don't know what to expect. I'm sure all the moms are going to be all happy, though. Right?

Monday, May 03, 2010

A Rock?

I heard recently someone say, "You can't crush rocks with your hands." I don't remember who said it, or in what context it was stated, but I have an image in my mind from my early childhood years that I never thought would cause me anything but laughter. I shall describe the experience:

I remember playing at a playground in my cousins' town. I was probably about 7 years old and I had not yet developed such a debilitating fear of "germs" yet. I played on the equipment with my siblings and cousins, got sand in my shoes, swang on the swings, played tag . . . Oh, I remember having so much fun. I still remember the dusty sandy gravel smell as we chased each other and laughed and had a great time.

So, we were playing on this gravel. One of my cousins, who was about 3 or 4, at the time, picked up an orange-colored rock (that was by some other same-colored rocks in a small pile) and crushed it with his fingers. He was impressed with his strength -- the rock just turned into dust. He brought our attention to these rocks that magically broke between his tiny tot fingers.

One of my older, much more mature cousins, was able to see what this young cousin had in his hands, pointing out that it was NOT a rock, but was indeed dried-out dog poo. When he realized this, he was horrified -- as was I -- and he threw the little orange pebble down and we didn't go around that part of the playground anymore. This situation entertained our families for years to come.

I thought about choices this cute little cousin has made in his life. I thought about the different choices I've made in my life, and I've thought generally about CHOICES and LIFE. (No need to make this paragraph any longer and more repetitive, right?) I thought about the wise man and the foolish man -- how they build their houses upon whatever they chose. The wise man built his house upon a rock. The foolish man may have THOUGHT he built his house upon a rock, but really, he built it on dried-up dog poo that a little 3-year-old could smash in his little fingers. When the rain comes tumbling down, at least the rock will still just smell like a rock.

This particular cousin is an adult now, approaching his 30s. He's got a good heart but has a lot of problems in his life. He has made some really foolish decisions and convinced himself that everyone ELSE is wrong. He has made choices that have made him miserable, all the while convincing himself that his former RELIGION and FAMILY were at fault. From an objective perspective of the situation, and fortunately not having to be directly involved, I've seen how this person has built his house on a foundation of the spiritual equivalent of DOG POO.

How sad is that?

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I love Daunell's youngest son, Thomas.

And he loves me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Are You?

Tonight I spoke with my older brother Aaron, whose beautiful wife just had a baby. We chatted for a little while, and he asked, "How are you doing, Bethani?" Usually, the answer is "good," "pretty well," "fine, how are you," or some other response that really means, I am obligated to say something, so I'll say something ~ even though it's meaningless.

But my brother asked me again, "Bethani, how are you doing, really?" It caught me off guard. I mean, I'm not physically ill, so you can't tell something's wrong by the scratchiness in my voice or something. I'm not slurring my words, so I'm probably not having a stroke or a myocardial infarction.

Isn't it interesting? I am full of so many emotions, I just didn't know what the "right" answer was. I'll be finishing school up in a week, I'll be off to Oregon for a month or two, don't know where I'll go after that, should I keep going to school? stay here and go to school? what about a job? where should I apply? where do I need to live? will it be snowing tomorrow? where's the nail polish remover and an emery board? how much will it cost to get my laptop fixed? how long will I have to save to afford a car? Then there's the boy troubles, of course: How do I avoid breaking one guy's heart and still keep a platonic friendship intact? How do I handle getting over this guy I was engaged to 2 years ago, who is also planning to get married to a girl who's more of a dude than he is?

I'm sure these thoughts go through EVERYONE'S head.

I am so protective of my feelings, I keep them close to my heart and guard them like I'd guard a little infant on a cold autumn day. I hold them in as I cross the street, as I eat pasta, as I type at school. Those feelings are precious. Even the ugly feelings.

There is a fear of sharing those feelings, and having someone else disregard them as being irrelevant or unvaluable. Some would even tell you that what you are feeling is WRONG. You can't feel that way, because it's BAD to feel that way. I agree with the scriptures with how you need to be in control of your emotions and feelings and passions, whatever. (What good does it do you to disagree, really? I'm not hopping on THAT train.) But feelings really aren't GOOD or BAD or RIGHT or WRONG. They are simply FEELINGS.

It's okay to feel, isn't it? It's okay to feel, but not to share. Or someone else will interpret how you feel and put a label on you. You know, those labels that say, "You have value" or "You don't have value." All because of what you feel. Is it a wonder why I don't share how I feel?

And is it a wonder that I don't even KNOW how I feel?

These feelings are kept under lock and key. The keys have finally started rusting, and who knows what "safe" drawer I stowed them in.

How do I FEEL? I just don't really know. I simply smile so people don't ask. That's better than wearing your feelings on your sleeve, right? Because then people would see you as the person who is too needy for attention, and they'll try to stay away from you. Because NEEDING something (ANYTHING) is BAD. Only WEAK people do that.

ARE feelings really GOOD or BAD? Is death good or bad? Death is an event. It is a tragic thing for us who are alive, especially if we had some kind of connection with whomever passed on. But really, it happens to everybody. And it's party time for people who die and those other dead folks who were friends with them. We assign a label to events. All the horrible things that are happening in the world CAN be really tragic. But it's the time when we WANTED to come to the earth, to witness the prophecies scriptures ACTUALLY BEING FULFILLED! I bet even the prophets who WROTE those prophecies down have been impatient about it all, after thousands of years! So it's GOOD, but it's also BAD. Can it be both? Or neither? Events happen. We are the ones who assign labels to the events.

My friend Josh died 2-1/2 years ago. I can't think about him without tears welling up in my eyes, I miss him so much. But it isn't a BAD thing that he died. I am sad because I miss him. But I am also grateful I got to know him and love him. And it's good that he's living with Jesus and helping out in the invisible world. The event itself is just an event I assign a label to, based on how I feel about the situation.

I think it's the same with feelings. Feelings just ARE. You aren't BAD for feeling a certain way. I mean, besides having EVIL feelings like homicide and inherently wicked thoughts (this is a G-rated blog post; don't use your imagination too much). I think that feelings BECOME bad if they motivate you to behave wickedly. Otherwise, they are just feelings.

And as children of God, we are endowed with His power to make feelings into whatever we choose.

So I guess it's okay to feel.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Journey of Snobbery

When did I become a fiber snob?

I remember learning to crochet when I was about 12-ish. I don't remember exactly how old I was. I wanted to learn how to crochet bedroom slippers and doilies. Our family knew this old lady who loved to crochet and sew, and I asked her one day if she would show me how to crochet. I went to some department store and got a skein of royal blue Red Heart acryllic yarn. (Blue was my favorite color back then.)

It took me two or three lessons (and practicing in-between) to learn how to get my tension right and how to make granny-square slippers. They looked like elf shoes, but granny-ish. I decided I'd make a pair for EVERY PERSON I KNEW! After about 10 pairs, I was ready to move onto something else . . . but that's not really part of what I'm talking about.

Acryllic yarn was cheap. I could afford it. After all, people started to just GIVE it to me when they learned I was crocheting. And you could find big huge bags of it at the thrift shop. And . . . wasn't acryllic yarn the only yarn that existed? (I think that in Aberdeen, Washington in the '90s, it WAS the only yarn that existed.)

I moved on from crocheting with yarn, to making doilies and crocheted edgings on blankets and necks on kitchen towels. Cotton was nice. It had a nice, comforting feeling to it. I learned that there was the stuff you could get at K-mart, and there was the expensive stuff (made by DMC) in the "Yarn Basket" (the shop in a spooky part of town, next to the tattoo parlor and some questionable hair salon and the pog shop -- maybe that was part of the tattoo parlor). The expensive stuff was WONDERFUL to crochet with! It was smooth and it behaved well and it made the most beautiful doilies! The cheap crochet thread was a little rough, like paper. The drape of the doily was stiff, not fluid like the expensive stuff.

I determined at that time that I did not want to spend countless hours using cheap crochet thread to make a project that I didn't like to look at or touch. It was also about that time that I realized that I didn't like crocheting with "yarn," because "yarn is yucky."

In 8th grade, I learned how to knit in Young Women's. We made dishrags, which had to be made out of cotton yarn. I remember my dad taking me to the Payless in Hoquiam, and picking out some blue cotton yarn and some blue #7 needles. I got Rachel some yarn and needles, too, which weren't blue. The needles were aluminum, and they clicked together when they touched each other.

Knitting with cotton yarn was AWESOME! It wasn't "yucky"! But it was expensive. And when it got wet, it got super heavy and lost its shape. So it was ONLY good for DISH RAGS. And dish rags were hard to make: the little loops fell off the needles and I didn't know how to fix it. Knitting wasn't as fun as crocheting.

I remember checking out about 50 books at the library on how to knit and crochet. As far as I was concerned, that's all the library was good for. You could reserve books and they'd come a few days later from some OTHER library. There is one pattern I found and loved -- I wish I'd made a copy of that lace pattern. Oh well. Lace was the only thing I wanted to make, because it used crochet thread that was cotton.

When I went to BYU, I had a roommate who loved knitting. The only thing she could knit was dish rags -- the same pattern I'd learned in Young Women's ten years earlier. She would knit during church to stay awake (she had some narcoleptic tendencies), and one day I asked if I could try, and she showed me how to do it. Way too many steps to make just one stitch, I thought.

There was a yarn shop in town that offered classes to you if you would buy supplies in their shop. I went in there and looked at all the projects on display. Cute blankets, baby sweaters, and lots of socks. I'd made crocheted socks before, which were somewhat nubby and granny-looking. But these knitted socks were GORGEOUS. "People still knit socks?" I wondered. And I noticed that the yarn they used had different fiber contents in it -- there were wool blends, silk blends, cotton blends . . . you could make warm, wooly socks for the winter, and light, airy socks for the spring!

I made my first (and, admittedly, only) pair of socks from yarn and needles I bought at that store. They had these special needles called "bamboo" needles. Yes, they were NOT slidy aluminum -- my stitches could STAY ON the needles without SLIDING OFF!! This was a miracle. A miracle I really loved! My yarn was a wool-acryllic blend, so they wouldn't shrink when I washed them.

I went there one afternoon looking for some silk yarn to make leg warmers out of. The owner suggested some other yarn, because silk stretches. The yarn he recommended was a synthetic something-or-other, which was kinda fun and stripey-- but they stretch out after one wearing, so I kinda grossed out over that yarn.

My final year at BYU, I took a textiles class. I learned in that class about how fabric was made, what the pros/cons of each fiber was, and really, why I liked what I liked or didn't like. I gained an appreciation for why some fibers are expensive and others are cheap, and how to get what qualities you're looking for in a certain garment/item. I think it was about that semester when I bought my final skein of acryllic yarn.

I wonder now, as I knit a mohair/wool capelet for my little sister, who can't appreciate how much the yarn costs to make, and will certainly not take care of it. It cannot be washed in the washer, or it will turn into a doll-capelet-sized rug thingy. But, how CAN I knit it in a cheap yarn? It would pill, it wouldn't block pretty, and in the sunshine, it would look orangey and cheap. And after all those hours of knitting it, THAT would be a DISASTER.

Why do I have to be such a fiber snob?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Lovestruck (Not Loves Truck)

A friend lent me a car for a week. She dropped it off at the house one Friday evening; her husband handed me the key and they drove off together in the twilight. The next day, I stayed at home to get caught up on my homework. I got a phone call from an acquaintance (I’ll call him “Dudly” or “Dud,” for short) that afternoon. I let him know that I had a car in my possession, and he asked me what make and model the car was. The car owner had told me that information before, but it was of little consequence to me; it functioned and it had fuel in it, and it was red. I knew the HISTORY of the car, but the make and model? Like I care.

When Dudly asked me about the car, I told him that it was a red car and I didn’t know the make and model. He responded, “No, now don’t get all girly on me that way – don’t tell me you don’t know.” Suddenly he cared more about the car than my sparkling, charming, and delightsome personality. In the moment, I was apologetic. But this situation has been bothering me since.

Does this guy know how to make bread? Does he know why you let the dough rise twice? Has he ever made custard? pie? roasted chicken and gravy? soup? marshmallows, canned tuna, graham crackers, croissants? Does he know how linen is made? The difference between raw silk and organdy? Why bias-cut fabric gathers so much prettier than straight- or cross-grain fabric? What about removing blood stains? What’s the difference between a salad fork and a fish fork? Why do blueberries and blackberries grow so well in moist climates and not that much in arid ones? How do you keep petunias blooming? Is aspirin an antipyretic? What are NSAIDS? Why do girls wear blush? What’s the difference between “hair cut” and “haircut”? Does he know what a possessive plural is? Why do you put a top coat and a base coat on your nails? Who played Mr. Darcy on the BBC version of “Pride & Prejudice”? What is the purpose of pinking shears? Which grocery stores carry Lindt truffles? What are the pros and cons of knitting with wool? How about acrylic? What is the difference between knitting and crocheting? What is the child pose in yoga? Where did yoga even originate? What colors of jewelry wire are available at the craft store? What cream/ointment do you put on a baby’s bottom if he has a rash?

I’m GUNNA get all girly. No, I do not care what type of car it is. And I don’t feel bad about it! Why SHOULD I? I’d be surprised if he could answer ANY of these questions! But until then, I celebrate my femininity. If I knew all the “manly” stuff, what reason would I have for a man in my life? I’m not a guy and I don’t hafta be. I don’t apologize for that. Not even a little bit. He can learn everything about being a girl and then tell me to remember the make and model of some random car someone dropped off at my house.

At the end of our conversation, Dudly said I was fun to talk to (which I already know). Yeah, it looks like my future with this kid isn’t going to go very far. I don’t really mind being single. In fact, it looks better than the alternative to me. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be old enough to marry one of the widowed apostles.

Saturday, July 18, 2009