24 May 2017

ten thoughts on a wednesday

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one.
just in the past week or so, moses has become a total bookworm! he is constantly pointing at the bookshelf and grunting, haha! this week, we've read all of the twenty or so board books that we own about twenty times each. moses could go on and on, but his mama needed just a taaaad more variety, so we had a little outing to the bookstore to pick out a new baby book for our collection (and we're going to check the library out tomorrow!). i'm so so glad that mo is developing a love for reading, and i hope to help cultivate that for many years to come. 

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two.
london continues to bloom like crazy. the daffodils and tree blossoms gave way to tulips, and then the wisteria burst, and now the roses are brilliantly unfolding. after moses fell asleep in the stroller on monday, i strolled him through "belgravia in bloom" - a series of floral displays in storefronts in one of london's most lovely neighborhoods. and then yesterday we took a detour on our way home from yoga to check on the progress of the roses in regent's park (queen mary's rose garden is probably my very most favourite spot in this city). 

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^^ all the rose varieties in queen mary’s rose garden have these name plaques. some of the names are just so delightful! ^^
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three.
on the tube yesterday, moses started waving and smiling at an older gentleman sitting across from us. our new friend asked me how old my baby is, and i told him ten months. he said, "wow, he seems so engaged for a ten month old - very aware of his surroundings." i replied, "yes, he looooves people, and pretty much always has a smile for everyone we encounter." as i was standing up to get off at our stop, the man waved goodbye to moses and then said, "i hope he's not disappointed when he learns how awful people can be."
"well," i said, "people are mostly really good," and we hoped off the train with smiles and a "have a great day!"
his parting comment was particularly poignant because of the news we'd all read that morning about the deadly bombing in manchester. it's true that people can be so, so awful. but as i walked home from the tube station after that conversation, i felt certain that there is so much more good than evil in the world, and that - at their core - all people are good. and i wondered how many fewer tragic events we would see if everyone treated everyone else as good, rather than awful, and if we all understood and nurtured the good in ourselves and others because we were sure it was there.

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four.
i've heard that it's really easy to home make beautiful artisan bread using a dutch oven (which we own), and i've always wanted to try it - but i just have kept putting it off. when my friend catherine was in town and saw my dutch oven, she told me i simply must start making my own bread!
so i found a recipe and tried it out. when i pulled my first loaf out of the oven, i was honestly gobsmacked! all i had done was stir together some ingredients, let the dough sit for a while, and put it in the oven - and here i was with a gorgeous loaf of bread that looked like i'd bought it at some fancy bakery! and then i ate a slice, and it tasted amazing! i was seriously in shock about it for a little while because it was so easy!
soooo, now i'm obsessed. i've experimented with different add-ins (dried cranberries, nuts, cheese...) and have decided i have to limit myself to making two loaves a week because it's perfectly easy for me to eat the entire loaf myself within hours! 

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five.
the weather has just been so delightful lately - so we've decided to eat dinner outside as many evenings as we possibly can! we take our food to trafalgar square or whitehall gardens or st. james park and have a picnic. it's the best! 

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^^ one evening outing to feed the birds at st. james park! moses loves the birdies! ^^
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^^ some paparazzi while we were waiting for our takeaway pizza for a dinner picnic :) ^^
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^^ at whitehall gardens they have these ping pong tables and i got ian some paddles and balls for fathers day last year, so we love to play together! ^^

six.
moses has started to communicate! he's mastered the sign for "more please" and does it pretty much constantly when he is eating. he knows that he doesn't get more food if he whines and cries, but he does if he says "more please" with his hands. he has also been saying "mama" and "dada" more, and we're trying to help him connect that those sounds are what he can call us! it's pretty funny - over the past couple of days every single time i say, "moses, can you say mama?" he really loudly says "dada!" i think we've determined who the favourite parent is ;) moses is obsessed with bananas and has said "nana" quite a few times while in his high chair or reaching for a banana. it's all pretty exciting! 

seven.
last week when we had a pretty free day, moses and i went to check out the hms belfast, a huge battleship that is now docked permanently on the southbank of the thames. we've passed the boat uncountable times and i've always wondered what it's like on board! it was quite cool to explore, although i did get really claustrophobic with moses strapped to my chest as we went up and down ladders and tiny passageways to see the boiler and engine rooms! a fun adventure between naps. 

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eight.
my discovery of call the midwife has turned into a near-infatuation. seriously, if you haven't seen this series, you've got to check it out. it is so inspiring. many of the stories depicted in the episodes have moved me tremendously and have stirred up deep feelings of gratitude, crystal-clear awareness of the beauty of human connection and love, and an intense desire to be better at helping to alleviate suffering in this world. 

nine.
this morning i sang the song "oh boy, i've got joy" to moses, and we both loved it. i am so excited to do joy school with that little boy when he grows up a bit. one of my dad's mantras, that he has passed on to his children and grandchildren, is "joy is the purpose of life and a choice you make." i love and believe that so much. 

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ten.
next wednesday for my ten thoughts, i'd like to share some of my perspectives around my religion - my personal faith and the culture of my church. so many of your comments on my triple dog dare post indicated a desire to engage more in this internet space on that topic, so i've decided to explore that a bit deeper! if you have specific questions/issues you'd be interested in hearing my perspective on, please do leave me a comment to let me know. my faith is the best thing in my life, and i truly love discussing it. 

happy wednesday! life is beautiful!

75 comments :

  1. Books are the best!! Reading with and to my six kids is undoubtedly my favorite part of motherhood--I've been so obsessed with really developing a culture of reading in our home that we decided before our children were born that we would not have a TV in our home so they'd be forced to spend more time reading. It's worked beautifully. 😉 If you're looking for book ideas, I've written up some pretty exhaustive lists on my blog over here: http://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/p/childrens-books.html?m=0

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    1. thank you so much for sharing, rachael! we also are decided that we won't have a tv in our home. i'm so excited about the list you shared, thank you!

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  2. My 16 month twins got Peekaboo Kisses, by Barney Saltzberg for their birthday and they LOVE it. It's a lift the flap AND touch and feel book and we had easily read it 10 times every day since their birthday. We read lots and lots of other books, but that is easily both of their favorite :) Also, if you don't have any books where there is "no" on every page (like Where's Spot? or It's a Book! or Are you a Cow?) consider getting one. He's a bit young now, but it's so fun to have my kids help me read (be saying "no!" at the appropriate times) books when we read.

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    1. thanks so much for the recommendations!!

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    2. As I was reading it this morning, I realized I should have said It's a Little Book! not It's a Book. Both exist and are by the same author. You want the board book It's a Little Book! The non-board book doesn't have little in the title and has a swear word on the last page, which is definitely NOT what you likely want to be reading your 10 month old :)

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  3. I would love for you to comment on your next Wednesday post about 'different levels of Mormon practice'. I have several friends who are Mormon and one of them does drink hot caffeinated beverages and has gone wine tasting with me. I'm not sure I understand how this fits in and she says that this is what she is comfortable with. I have another Mormon friend who is married and they are not planning on having children. Is Mormon religion supposed to be strict and therefore they are not in good standing?

    *I have absolutely nothing against my friends and their choices (I drink and am married and don't want children). I'm just curious how this fits in with Mormon religion.

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    1. thank you for your respectful question! i will address this in my post next wednesday.

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  4. Hi Charity,
    Don't leave out Dear Zoo! It's the best
    Little board book for that age and older. In my own Catholic family, I was able to overlook sexism and raise our children with weekly mass, religious education and weekly catechism classes. I rationalized that there was more good than bad. However, now that my smart, capable, amazing daughter is reaching teen years, I can't overlook it. My thinking is shifting as my children and family grow, and I wonder how you get passed these things. The kids can now go if they want to, but are never forced. Also, I saw a recent post by Saren mentioning that Eliza was 14, and I could not help but connect Joseph Smith taking a 14 year old wife as a grown man. The "it was a different time" argument falls flat and I can only think there is no way that is or ever was acceptable. Do you think about that, or that Joseph Smith married many women who were already married? Not trying to attack, I'm just genuinely curious if that is an issue discussed openly in your family. Mine certainly doesn't discuss the reformation over Christmas dinner :) No religion is without warts, but as a woman raising a daughter, that is a deal breaker for me. I have many many
    more questions, but feminism and polygamy are the most burning questions I have given you are so well educated and articulate and open. Thank you for opening up this discussion. I hope to learn a lot from other comments as well. Oh- one more quick and easy one: if the Mormon church were not true, would you want to know? Thanks

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    1. hi! thanks for the book recommendation!

      also thank you for sharing your perspective and your respectful questions. i will do my best to address them in next wednesday's post! we do discuss our faith very openly in my family (the one i grew up in and the one i'm growing now).

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  5. For next week, I've read that Mormanism started because Joseph smith found gold plates while digging in his back yard but never showed them to anyone? Is this true and the whole religion is based off of this, how do you find faith in that? It's only of the biggest things holding me back. Also the quick marriage. I follow a few young Morman people who meet their partners the year after high school, know them for 12 weeks and get engaged?? Surely you cannot know someone that well and be certain for life after 3 months. Why is the young and quick marriage so encouraged? I can't imagine Elle meeting someone tomorrow and marrying them in 6 months??

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    1. hi amy! i'm happy to try to answer your questions in my next wednesday post (thanks for asking them!)

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  6. Gotta love a little book worm. Here are some recommendations for the "almost 1" set you might want to check out that are available in board book.

    Jamberry
    Everywhere Babies
    I Would Tuck You In
    Dear Z00
    Larry Loves San Francisco

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  7. Hi charity,
    I'm a Christian, so the first time I heard of heavenly mother I was quite shocked. How does she fit into the picture and why doesn't she have a bigger presence? I don't usually hear mention of her from mormons except for very rare occurrences. If I phrased this in an unkind way, please forgive me! I enjoy learning about other religions tremendously. If you are interested in learning about Islam, I would definitely reccomend the book "Jesus and Muhammad" by Mark Gabriel. Incredible book. And for Moses I would reccomend "if you were my bunny". My mom cried every time she read it to me. I always felt so loved <3. She will still cry just thinking about it!

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    1. hi lynne! thanks for your not-unkind-in-the-slightest question :) i would love to check out the books you recommended - both for my personal study of religion and moses's enjoyment during reading time :)

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  8. Do you believe that evil is something that exists as an external force (like Satan) or something that is within us and enacted or not to a greater or lesser degree depending on the individual? Does the gender binary nature of Mormonism bother you, and if so how do you deal with that - both within yourself and how you plan to bring Moses up?

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    1. hi!! thanks for your question. i'm looking forward to addressing it next week!

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  9. Dear Zoo is an awesome little board/lift the flap book.

    Is it an apostasy to know about Community of Christ, the other branch of the latter day movement?

    I would love to just consider the LDS church one that believes other things about Jesus and interprets and abridged bible a little differently. There are thousands of denominations interpreting scripture a little differently. My problem isn't that members spend a few years on study and service. It's that I personally have had dozens of missionaries knock on my door uninvited to try and get me to convert. That is the purpose. I don't feel respected as a believer. Your religion also takes a ridculous amount of members time, not just select leadership, to a point that it causes the distance and exclusion of nonmembers friends and family in the believer's life. You may not need missionaries if your members actually got to spend a realistic amount of time outside of the bubble.

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    1. hi kms! no, it is certainly not an apostasy to know about community of christ. there are several other branches of the latter-day movement that i know about as well :)

      i'm so sorry that you don't feel respected as a believer when missionaries have knocked on your door. missionaries are absolutely instructed to to be respectful of others' faith while inviting all to learn more about their own. it really is an invitation, which OF COURSE you should feel absolutely able and comfortable to take or leave. it truly is about sharing something that brings joy and peace.

      you're right that the church often takes a lot of members' time. and i definitely agree that there are instances wherein members devote TOO MUCH time to church responsibilities, to the point of distance and exclusion. this is not what god wants. i also agree that members should spend more time "outside of the bubble," and i think god would be really pleased if we as a culture/community expended more energy engaging with those that are different than us.

      since this comment is grievances rather than direct questions, i'm just responding here rather than including a response to this comment in my next wednesday post. but please do let me know if you have any other issues you'd like to hear my perspective on!

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    2. It's the knocking on the door in the first place that is the act of disrespect.

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    3. in the case that you feel that way, i suggest you put a small sign on your door saying something along the lines of "no religious proselyting, please."

      i met many people as a missionary that were hugely glad and grateful that i knocked on their door and shared a message of hope and love with them. there's no way for missionaries to know if someone who would really benefit from their visit/message lives behind your door, or someone who finds their knocking disrespectful does. so giving them a heads up would be wonderful and would spare you :)

      also, you should be glad to know that mormon missionaries are knocking on doors much less than in times past.

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    4. And I bet you met many, many, many more that were not interested at all. So sad the missionaries are spending time proselytizing. If only they could focus on good works. The LDS church would get the same "isolated boot camp" experience and so much more actual good could be done.

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  10. If you love the TV show "Call the Midwife" (as I do too!), you should definitely check out the book on which it is based. It is a memoir, and the stories are incredible. Many of the episodes in Season 1 (and maybe 2 and 3?) are based on the memoir, but certain details have been changed to make them more believable on the show (for example - not sure if you've reached this episode yet, but there's one where the wife -- who speaks limited English -- has 12 children on the show. According to the book, she actually had 24! I found both the book and the show fascinating.

    I saw someone recommended Jamberry for Moses -- love that book too. My kids at that age also liked "Mama, Mama; Papa, Papa" and my son LOVED "I Love Trucks." We read it so much I memorized it, and freaked him out one day when I started reciting it from heart while changing him!

    Happy Reading :-)

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    1. hi kerry! thanks for the book recommendations!

      i know i need to read the memoirs! they're on my list, although i wonder if i'll miss seeing the stories come to life in film. the very first episode i watched included a story of a woman who didn't speak english and who was pregnant with her 25th child, maybe that's the one you're talking about?

      xo

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  11. Can you share the bread recipe you used? I want to try that! Do you guys have any books by Leslie Patricelli? We loooooved reading those (and our son loved listening to them). Great pictures too!

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    1. yes, I would also love the bread recipe! :)

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    2. it's coming in a post very soon! :)

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  12. Charity- how is your Moses so cute?! I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon :). I am so glad that you are willing to share about our religion. I think it is so important that people of all religions feel free to respectfully share what they believe with others, as well as learn what others believe. And I applaud your blog readers whose questions so far seem to be both respectful and curious. This kind of interaction and dialogue is so important in the world we live in! Asking questions and seeking answers is so important for our growth!

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  13. Love this post....Your Ten Thoughts on a Wednesday posts are my favorite! And, I can't wait for next weeks! This week I really identify with #3. Been thinking of you, Ian and Moses since I heard of the attack on Monday. I, too, have always believed that people are basically good at their core. I was in Boston, working the day of the Marathon bombing. My brother was volunteering through a service program at work, at the Finish Line, when the bombs went off. I can't tell you the fear I was consumed with that day, not knowing what was happening, and not knowing if my brother was alive. It was shear terror. When I finally got word that he was safe, I cried for hours. In the days after, I found myself consumed with hatred and anger. But then something changed in me, when I realized that there were only some awful people in the world, and that they were really few and far between, and that the good ones outnumbered them. Since then, I made it a daily choice to live my life in Joy, and to surround myself with goodness. But, every once in a while, we are reminded of the bad and are tested by it. As the Book of Mormon says, "there must needs be opposition in all things." The bombing on Monday was another example of that....good vs. evil. With out one, we can never really, truly experience the other. And, in order to live in Joy and Goodness, we also need to experience the bad, and the awful. Thankfully, we can rely on our Faith to get us through both, and rest on and trust in Heavenly Father's Plan for us...and what an amazing and joyous Plan it is!

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    1. thanks for sharing your thoughts, sarah! :)

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  14. Call the Midwife is THE BEST! The season finale this week was one of the best episodes ever. Enjoy!

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  15. I am so glad you offered to do this! I have some questions that stem from some issues previously discussed on your family members' blogs - and as I read the comments, I often wondered - what would Charity say about this? You seem to be the most progressive (right word?) in your beliefs - so thanks.

    Are there degrees of Mormon-ness? Someone asked it above and I wonder too. How can some drink coffee and wine and have no problem with it and some are more strict? Is there that much of a free-will factor in your beliefs? Are those things really a matter of personal choice? I know no one can judge them but God, but is there really that much leeway as to which church standards to uphold and which to do if your conscience allows?

    Another question. Since you are married for time and eternity vs til death do us part, that means you are married in the afterlife as well, correct? How does that work if your husband dies young and you remarry? And have other kids with your new husband? Who are you married to when you both die? Also, I know you believe in a polygamist heaven. Men in the afterlife can have multiple wives. How will you feel when you and Ian are in the afterlife and he marries and has children by other women? Can women also marry multiple husbands in the afterlife? If not, why? Does Heavenly Father have multiple Heavenly Mothers?

    Thanks in advance for answering my specific questions. And I'd love to hear not only what the actual church teachings are, but YOUR OPINION on them and how you reconcile them to your own, more liberal ideology.

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    1. thanks for your questions! i will do my best to address them :)

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  16. Not sure how you could post pictures of that bread without the recipe????? Please share!!

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  17. Can't wait to read your next "ten thoughts on a wednesday"! I too am a Mormon and am so interested to see how you will answer some of the questions. I know how I would answer them in my heart and head, but I'm not very good at articulating it without being too wordy. I'm sure you'll do awesome!

    Our family also loves to read. I was super happy to see that my babies and toddlers loved books and reading. But now (several years later) it has come back to bite me because they are kind of reading addicts... they take after me. :) It can be frustrating when they are totally engrossed in a book but there are chores or homework to be done or they need to just get outside and have some fun. But I have to remind myself that there are worse things to be addicted to. :)

    It's so fun when babies start learning to communicate! I have a 21 month old and it's like trying to play mad libs sometimes. But so so cute!

    I too would love the bread recipe you use. Looks delicious and simple.


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  18. Do you have the book "Goodnight Moon"? It was always a favorite at bedtime for my son. He had it memorized by the time he was 2. He's now 23 years old and I still tear up when I see that book.

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    1. yes! we used to read that book every single night before bed. it's a classic!

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  19. I'd be interested to know more about garments! When do you start wearing them, when do you wear them, etc.

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    1. okay! i'll address this next week.

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  20. Echoing the requests for the bread recipe(s)! You can't post that and not tell us how to make it!!!

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    1. recipe coming in a post very soon!

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  21. I just love your attitude and zest for life! I share a similar optimism and love of life in general and it's always inspiring for me to read your words. Moses is such a darling and definitely a "happy chappy," which is an expression my mom uses all the time! I have two little boys, 6 months and almost 3 and they adore reading too. Check out Sandra Boynton books - they are so much fun!

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  22. I too would love to hear more about marriage and your faith. I think some of the comments here and elsewhere in the Mormon blogosphere can come across as a little judgemental with regards to quick marriage and engagement. I for one just think it is a different perspective and just a different culture, but one I am really interested in hearing about- especially since I am getting married soon and it seems like you and Ian have a wonderful and strong marriage, so even though I am not LDS I feel as if I can learn a lot from you.

    I seem to recall when you were writing about having a short engagement with Ian, you wrote about both of your firm commitment to not sleeping or living together before marriage. I would be very interested to hear how your faith impacts yours and those around you decisions related to marriage. I've observed that here in the Northeast, people tend to date longer and check off more relationship items before engagement/marriage (living together, traveling together, getting a dog, etc) whereas it seems in other places (in the South and in LDS communities, etc) these things are frequently saved for after marriage. I'd be interested in reading your perspective on how this impacted your relationship and how it may have made the dating vs. marriage distinction greater (and maybe even more rewarding!) and if you feel it has any downsides either. I have been with my fiance 7 years and we have lived together for some of that time so I already feel very married to him, but I know there will be something about committing to it in front of our family and friends that will make it so special and feel "real" once we are married.

    Finally, one last more frivolous comment- did you and Ian travel together before you were married? And if yes/no, are you glad you did or didn't?

    Thanks so much Charity! This is my second time commenting after your double dog dare! Even though I mostly read for your musings on motherhood, marriage, and travel, I do appreciate the chance to ask about your faith. My fiance was raised religious (Jewish) and I was not really raised religious at all so ever since we started dating I have become fascinated with learning about all different faiths!

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    1. hi natalie! thanks so much for your questions. i'm happy to answer them and will do my best in next week's post :)

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  23. Looking forward to next week's post! I'm LDS too. I appreciate the comments and questions about the many aspects of our religion. I'm still sometimes surprised at how little people know about the LDS faith until I remember how little I knew about it before I was introduced to it 13 years ago. In relation to some people's comments and questions about quick engagements, it isn't always a Mormon thing. I think it tends to be more of a common thing to have quicker engagements when the couple has set standards for not sleeping together or living together beforehand and they don't see a reason to put off starting their lives together for a long time. Other times it's that plus the timing. My husband and I were engaged for 3.5 months (disregarding the fact that we had known each other for 8 years before we got married) and he was going back out to school right after we got married. We planned it around him having to leave for school so we could go out together and still keep to our standards. Also, my best friend/cousin isn't LDS but has the same standards and she had the same length of engagement... so i guess it has a lot to do with standards. Anyway, i look forward to your post and I totally support you in putting yourself out there like that, thanks for being a great example.

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  24. Bread recipe pls!

    Would love to hear your thoughts on male and female roles that the LDS faith has established and your views on them. Women are primarily encouraged to be mothers and the heart of the family, correct? As an outsider it seems like education is valued for women through university and then the shift focuses to family. From my own life I have seen that families tend to function extremely well when one parent is a "specialist" in the family itself and not as focused on work. Do you find this to be true? After grad school I had a brief three month period of downtime and was able to really focus on home-making, cooking, and supporting my husband as he finished his studies. We both look back so fondly on that time and sometimes dream of one of us being able to play that role in the family again. Anyway, just curious to hear your thoughts on how the church sees women's roles and men's roles, and how both of those contribute to overall family harmony.

    Also I have to say I am really curious about physical/sexual relationships. Do women talk a lot about this at showers and leading up to the wedding itself? My LDS friends all seem really ok being open about sex and it's role in a marriage. Are women really open with each other before the wedding? Ie lingerie showers and general advice in this arena? So curious.

    Thanks Charity!

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    1. thanks for your questions! and the bread recipe is coming soon :)

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  25. I'm interested in the afterlife. Are you and Ian given a planet? And then you're basically equal to Heavenly Father? On your own planet will you have a Jesus? Will you send your son to your planet to die for the people there? I'm hoping these questions don't seem rude! I know a little of Lds theology and these questions have come up for me (perhaps because of my own misunderstanding!) Thank you for being so open!! Love your blog!

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    1. thanks for your questions! i will do my best to address them next week.

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  26. My 16-month-old son is obsessed with the book, "Whoever You Are" by Mem Fox. The illustrations are a little trippy, (maybe that's why he likes it so much?) but the message is fantastic, especially if you're committed to social justice. In the same vein, A is for Activist by Innosanto Negara and We're Different, We're The Same by Bobbi Jane Kates are also fan favorites over here.

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    1. thank you for the recommendations!

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  27. Hi Charity,
    A few questions for next week:

    Before you were married did you ever feel you didn't fit in at church? (Mind you, it might be different for Young Single Adults than for Single Adults)

    Are all your friends members of the church?

    At what age did you gain a testimony of the gospel?

    Did you ever go through a rebellious time in the church/gospel while you were growing up?

    Have you never wanted to go to church?

    Hope my comments aren't too negative.:)

    By the way, I'm still shocked & saddened by what happened in Manchester on Monday night. All those poor innocent people, including children.

    Remembering them & their families & friends in my prayers at this sad time. x

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    1. hi julie! thanks for your questions. they are definitely not too negative! :) as they are more focused on my personal experience than doctrine (which is what i want to focus on in next wednesday's post), i thought i'd answer them here, if that's okay with you!

      -because i was in a singles' ward from ages 18-28, i didn't really get that feeling of not fitting in at church (because i was surrounded by people like me). i can totally understand how that feeling is real for single people in family wards. we as a community absolutely need to do more to make sure that no one feels that they don't fit in at church - because everyone fits in in god's church! :)
      -no, not all my friends are members of the church. most of my really close friends are indeed, i think mostly because we just have so much in common since our faith is such a huge part of our lives. but i have many dear friends from all chapters of my life (including now) that are not members of the church.
      -i don't think i can pinpoint exactly when i gained a testimony of the gospel. to be honest, i think i had one from the womb ... and i've built on that throughout my life. the first really powerful personal answer-to-prayers experience i can remember was when i was nine and i asked god if the church was true (although i also remember being quite discerning about it all before i was baptized at age eight). i think everyone has their own journey to faith, and this is just mine.
      -no, i didn't go through a rebellious time in the church/gospel. that just wasn't part of my story/journey.
      -no, i've never not wanted to go to church. of course sometimes i'm more enthused about it than other times, but i genuinely like going to church for many reasons.

      i hope that answers your questions and let me know if you have any others! xo

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  28. Hello,
    Thank you for answering questions on your faith. I really like the tone of the comments so far and I hope mine is read as curious and kind and not negatively.

    Did you feel comfortable as a teen doing worthiness interviews with your bishop? (Forgive me if there is a more official term- I have no idea what they are called) I had Mormon friends in high school who talked about those interviews and I just about died from second hand embarrassment and awkward feelings. Does everyone have to go through those, and from what age? It sounds a little like getting called to the principal's office, but maybe it's friendlier than that? Will you feel okay about Moses or future daughters having these interviews, particularly questions related to sexual habits?

    From an outsider's perspective, it seems really wrong for an adult male to speak to girls (and boys! But girls feels more icky) about such personal things.

    Can parents sit in on these interviews to protect their children?

    I'm kind of surprised people aren't asking about the whole coffee and tea being banned (strongly discouraged?) while sodas, hot chocolate, and energy drinks are not. I guess I will :) I love my morning coffee so so much! It's so hard for me to wrap my head around a loving God denouncing something that grows naturally from His own earth. I rarely drink wine, but if something is good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. Have you ever tried these forbidden things? No need to defend your choices. It's not my business what you eat and drink. I'm just curious if you discuss and weigh these issues openly, or just follow the rules because those are the rules. If ice cream and pizza were added to the list, would you comply? Would brewing some morning coffee at Bear Lake raise eyebrows or be accepted as personal choice/free agency?

    Would you feel comfortable speaking in a church meeting if you saw that the girls had a smaller budget for activities than the boys? Or if a gay member was denied temple access for being in a healthy loving same sex relationship, would you speak up about it? I struggle with similar issues in my own community. It's hard to strike a balance between trouble maker and blind sheep. You seem open minded and progressive and normal on this blog. I wonder if you have a comfortable space to be so in church amongst fellow LDS people, or do you dial it back and take extra care with your words so as not to stir the pot.

    Sorry to inundate you with questions. These things are hard to ask without sounding like I'm criticizing.

    Have a wonderful day! Thank you ��

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    1. hi! you don't sound critical at all - thank you for the questions. i will do my best to answer them in next week's post.

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  29. Hi Charity! I find your religion very fascinating and quite intriguing. There are many things that I like- focus on family and service, the culture, inspirational talks, etc. Since you asked, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on two things...

    1) Undergarments. Sorry if this is a personal question but do you really wear them!? I always thought of this as something that only super strict mormons do. I can't picture you or any member of your extended family (especially Shawni and her family) wearing undergarments. Perhaps only when visiting the temple or for religious ceremonies? The honor code around dress seems to be a bit relaxed for some people, especially if you live in a warm climate.

    2) Young marriages and quick engagements. I'm just astonished when I see these super young mormon TEENAGERS or college students get married (when I say teenagers, I'm talking about 19 like one of Max's friends, not still in high school)! I understand why they are rushing it - to be able to sleep in the same bed and live together but it just seems so so young to me to get married. I'm wondering if you had a daughter, if you would like to see her married really young or explore life a bit on her own post college like you did (mission, career, living in an exciting city with friends, etc.).

    It seems that this is way more common in the mormon culture, to be married while still in college (side note: I would really feel the pressure to find my life partner between 18-22 years old!). Whereas outside the mormon culture, it is definitely wayyyy more uncommon to be married this young.

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    1. thanks for your questions! i'll do my best to address them next week.

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  30. Im from Australia and I know quite a few Mormons who follow the Sabbath (I think that is what it is called) where they stay at home from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. Do you do this?

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    1. hi ellie. this is not a mormon practice. we observe the sabbath on sundays and do not believe we should stay home to observe it. i think you may be thinking of a different religion...?

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  31. They are Seventh Day Adventist - is that not Mormon? And they definitely practice this well they do in the town that I live which I always found strange.

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    1. no, seventh day adventists are not mormons.

      i think it's quite amazing that seventh day adventists are so dedicated to their faith. i'm sure we all do things that those different from us might find "strange." :)

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  32. First off, you seem like such a lovely and positive person, Charity. The way you respond to criticism on your blog is truly impressive and inspiring.

    As I read your blog, I find myself wondering sometimes if you truly believe the LDS church is the "one true church?" You seem to be very open minded and accepting and you seem to find the beauty in all expressions of faith -- not just in LDS expressions of faith.

    As you are marveling at the beauty of how the Balinese, for example, live and express their faith, are you simultaneously sort of sad for them that they aren't LDS and won't be going to the top tier of heaven (celestial kingdom)? Are you sort of sad for them that they will only be able to go to a lower tier of heaven?

    I must be honest that I have a hard time reconciling so many aspects of LDS theology. The one, true church part is especially harmful (in my humble opinion). It is such a prominent theme and it is so driven by your leaders that it seems to engender some cult-like behaviors among members. I am not saying mormonism is a cult, however, there is a very high price to pay for members who choose to leave (which is why I say cult-like).

    The church's stance on gender roles and gays is also so harmful (again my humble opinion). For someone who seems so open and accepting, again, how do you reconcile these issues?

    I am afraid I sound terribly negative and while my overall impression of the LDS church is not very positive, I don't mean to ask these questions impolitely. I am truly curious how someone so well traveled, so curious, and so open continues to want to be part of a church that can be so ostracizing (to gays, to unsealed women [they also do not get to go to the celestial kingdom], to members who choose to leave, to members who choose not to follow all the rules to a "T," to blacks in the past, etc.)?

    I suppose I am so curious about this because I am also well traveled and have
    spent a large part of my life living in other countries. I also have a husband and children and my experiences witnessing other cultures and religions have only cemented my belief that there are truly many paths to god, to happiness, to fulfillment. The idea of "lower tiers" of heaven for people who live beautiful and faithful lives -- but who do not share my theology feels so very condescending (not to mention a tad silly).

    Again, just very curious how you reconcile all of this. Thank you so much for being so open to questions. :)

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    1. hi! thank you! for the compliments and for sharing your perspective and questions. i will do my best to respond in next week's post. don't worry -- you didn't sound terribly negative :) only genuinely interested, and quite polite.

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  33. Hey Charity:

    I had meant to comment on your "triple dog dare" but my attempt to do so had a glitch for some reason. I've followed your blog for a few years. I think I found it originally from reading one of your parents' articles in the Des. News and I think something they posted led me here. I was also in the same stake in NYC as your brother Talmage for a few years, and that also spurred a connection with your family. Interestingly enough, several years ago when you were still in your single days you and I exchanged emails a few times. So a life motto of mine is "Recognize your privilege, recognize your responsibility." You express this well on this blog--I think you recognize well some of your unique privileges while also recognizing the responsibilities that accompany them, and how you make an effort to humbly fulfill those responsibilities. This blog is an excellent beacon in that regard. You weather the critical comments well--I can tell some of them probably rile you at times (As they would anyone) but I admire how you address them. I also especially appreciate when you display vulnerability/imperfections on here. I'm sure you're aware (as some of your subscribers have also noted) that "mommy blogs" (though I'm not sure your blog fits that category as of yet, though perhaps it's heading that way--which is fine) have been a source of considerable stress for many people--for the obvious reason that when a blogger portrays only the rosy parts of life without the thorns, readers may question the worth and value in their own lives. Seems the easy antidote for the blogger is to make a conscious effort to include, even, highlight, some of those thorny parts from time-to-time. So I really appreciate when you do that (one of my favorite posts of yours was when you and your husband returned from a trip, and you commented about how there were "growing pains" on that trip between the two of you, or something to that effect. Really glad you chose to include that part of the trip).
    So I do have a question for you, if you don't mind a question from another active Mormon--I distinctly recall when you and I exchanged emails years ago that we discussed the most recent General Conference at the time. It was around the time when Ordain Women was getting a lot of media coverage. Elder Oaks spoke about Priesthood purposes and gender differences in that regard, and I got the sense (maybe I misunderstood) that you didn't love the talk--and perhaps parts of it may have even upset you (again, maybe I read too much into some of your words)--I remember you saying that some of the pains the Church was dealing with on that (and other) issues would make it much stronger in the long run--I really liked that perspective. To my question: what are your current feelings about women's roles in the Church? I believe the Church continues to have growing pains here. A lot of people outside (and inside) the Church (including I imagine a lot of your subscribers) really take issue with some of the ways women are treated by the Church. One of my own issues for which I believe there is substantial room for growth and change regards what callings can be extended to women, e.g. are we certain a Sunday School President is a "Priesthood Calling", or how about a Ward Mission Leader? (Have never seen a female SS president, or a female ward mission leader serving solo, though I have seen husband and wife called as co-ward mission leaders, which I thought was cool). Or a zone leader on a mission? (though not technically not a calling). And, though also not callings, how about a woman serving as an Institute Director (I've never seen this) or as a president of a Church-owned University (pretty certain this has never happened). Anyhow, interested to hear your thoughts on how the Church is doing in regard to women of late, and I bet a lot of your readers would, too. Thanks for sharing your light!

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    1. hi adam! i saw your comment on the dare post! you may have not seen it show up because you have to click "load more" at the bottom of the page, several times, to see all the many comments on that post.

      appreciate your thoughts in both places :)

      i'll address women's roles in the church in next week's post!

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  34. My opinion isn’t quite as “humble” as Anonymous 1 – you’re sure the best is yet to come, but what if there’s a May in the future when a tearful Mo tells you he’s homo? Seriously, what will you do? Continue to subscribe to a worldview that consigns him to a life sentence of second-class pity and scorn? That’s when all the platitudes that you’re surely brooding over at this very moment for next week’s post would start unraveling. It’s one thing to say, “oh, I have no problem with gay people and they are welcome to sit next to me at church”...quite another when your own son – who’s been fed a childhood of “joy is the purpose of life” – is forced to decide between a joyless, pointless life within the construct you have brought him up in, or a life of estrangement outside of it. Make no mistake, Mormon doctrine and culture drives LGBT youth to depression and suicide.

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    1. hi. thanks for your comment. i will try to address your specific question in next week's post. it is definitely a fair one.

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  35. I just have to say I think you are so brave volunteering to answer people's questions. That take a courage and faith. I'm excited to read your thoughts. The past 8 months my husband has been struggling with his testimony (2 lifetime active Mormons here). We've had many talks about many hard issues in the church and I feel lime it has made my testimony stronger. I think it's a discussion that will happen more and more. He is still struggling and I believe he will struggle for awhile, which has led to many heartwrenching cry sessions in my closet, but in the end I know it's something he has to work through at his own pace. It has definitely brought us closer in a lot of ways. Anyway that wasn't really relevant... but way to be brave!

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  36. I am an active member and I really admire you on taking on some of these questions! Good for you!

    Even as a member I personally struggle with a lot of the things that have been asked and are some of my questions which I will be looking forward to asking on the other side.

    One of the biggest things I can say is that although I struggle with women's roles in the church, our answers for our dear brothers and sisters in the LGBT community, and our history, I stay because I feel like it's easier to help foster change from the inside. There is enough truth that I have to stay and enough to change that I need to stay to help future generations.

    We are a church of constant, modern revelation and so change can and will come :)

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  37. It might be too late, but I would add one question. I'm a mother from Europe, where we have several weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave (it vary among countries, in Spain we have 16 weeks). Being the States the only industrialized nation without paid family leave and since Mormon people are so family focused, I'm curious if working for Mormon companies is better in terms of having more facilities to attend family issues. Thanks for being so open and be willing to answer our questions!

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  39. Hi Charity,

    I'm sorry if someone has already asked this, but could you please share the recipe for the bread? It looks delish and I am a big fan of homemade bread.

    Thank you!

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  40. I'm late to the game here but love that you're talking about your faith. Here are some things I'm curious about...

    What is the "priesthood"? Can you tell us more about the blessings that are prayed over people? What happens if a family member decides they don't believe the ways of the Mormon church and decide they don't want to be Mormon? Do teens struggle with their faith and what is done to help them through it?

    Love your blog (and your family's blogs). Looking forward to reading your upcoming faith post!
    ~Tracy :)

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