Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Great Welfare Plan

In my pre-mom life I worked for the Welfare Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in several of the divisions over the years (Production & Distribution/Bishops' Storehouse Services, LDS Employment, Humanitarian Service/s, administration). I forget that probably most people don't know that the Church reaches out to help people ALL over the world -- and not just members of our church.

I was delighted to see this great summary of what services the church offers.  Check out this link to get a better understanding:

I also loved the segment on the welfare program of the church on NBCs recent Mormon in America production.  In fact, I used to work with the guy driving the interviewer around in the golf cart!

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Sometimes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gets criticized for being so big and so centralized.  I realized a while back that this actually is the reason we can have such a huge impact around the world, and in such short time.  It's an exciting thing to be a part of.

What touched my heart the most, was that after watching the welfare segment, my 9 year old son said, "Mom can we do that?  Can we go to Welfare Square and volunteer?  I really want to do that."  You bet we can.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Beauty & Insecurity

I've really been enjoying the food for thought about women's bodies & shame over at Women in the Scriptures.  There are also many great comments.  Basically, yes, there are times when we may not be clothed in public, like in a locker room at a pool, but why the insecurity about our bodies in those situations?  Apparently, men don't seem to be all worried about being nude -- especially in a locker room.

I began wondering how beauty is expressed in the rest of the world.  I wish I had more global experience or studied more anthropology about now!

We know that in the US/Westernized countries, there's a general ideal for beauty. I won't go into what it is, but you can figure it out -- just look at the billboards/magazines. We also
 know there's this drive among (some) women to want to look like those images. Why? Is it because it makes her feel good about herself? Is it because it attracts men? Does it provide a feeling of power? Is it a combination of some of the above?

Is this tendency to want to be the most attractive also true in other countries, particularly the non-Westernized ones? Do women still try and be beautiful? Do they do it for themselves? Do they do it to attract a mate?

In other countries, what defines beauty? Are some characteristics the same things as we see here?

In countries where there are arranged marriages, is there still this attractiveness competition between women? In countries where women are covered, is there also a competition for beauty?

In European countries where are the nude/nearly nude beaches, where people seem comfortable with their shape, is there still seeking to be the most beautiful/perfect body the rest of the time?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mary & Martha

My friend, Hailey, shared "Mary and Martha -- Faithful Sisters, Devoted Disciples" on Facebook today from a 1987 Ensign.  There were some really good quotes:

The story of Mary and Martha, observes Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “reminds every Martha, male and female, that we should not be so occupied with what is routine and temporal that we fail to cherish the opportunities that are unique and spiritual.”
 ...are we so involved with learning or outside interests that we do not honor our domestic responsibilities? 
... the Lord has counseled all of us to be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” (D&C 58:27.) When determining the causes we will engage in, we need to weigh our values against our priorities. This will help us better judge what is important in our lives.Elder Maxwell concludes, “Basically, if we are properly motivated and are proper managers of our time, there is a time and season for various good causes in our lives. The contributing emphasis, of course, must be upon keeping the commandments and being effective in our family life.”
 ...when we judge someone as we have perhaps judged Mary and Martha, we have forgotten that strengthening the individual and the family, serving in Church callings, and providing for temporal needs are all part of gospel living. When deciding which aspect should receive emphasis at certain seasons of life, sisters would do well to seek the Spirit as a guide.
 ...“If the decision is right, they will feel at peace. That is the key. If they have made the wrong decisions, they will tend to feel troubled.” (Ensign, Mar. 1986, p. 21.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Parenting Taboos

My friend Jamie shared this Ted Talk entitled "Let's talk parenting taboos" with the creators of Babble.

It was pretty good. Their goal is to share some of the realities of parenting so people won't be left disappointed once they become parents. Four of the things we generally don't talk about are:

1. You may not have automatic love for your babies.
2. It's lonely to have a baby. 67% of women said they were most lonely when their kids were between the ages of 0-5.   In one country, a few months before a woman has a baby, she goes to live with her mother up to several months after the baby is born to combat this loneliness.  In our country where that doesn't typically happen, we should probably be watching out for/visiting each other more when there's a new baby.  (Thank goodness for Visiting Teachers -- it's a start!)
3.   It's okay to talk about miscarriage.
4. Average happiness declines when you have kids, but you have lots of happy peaks as you raise those kids!

I think it's good to talk about these things, but in my case, knowing at least some of those things beforehand made it harder to make the choice to have kids.  I'm just so practical. :-z

Friday, August 17, 2012

Set Up for Failure

I read "A Guilty Paradox" on Family Friendly Work about how women in our society are set up to fail no matter what, so we just have to ignore the "expectations" and it will make things a lot easier.  I really liked this quote at the end:

“The day I realized that the cultural ideal of femininity was, quite literally, unattainable? The day I realized that women are supposed to be sexy and chaste, undemanding and seeking commitment, meek delicate flowers and strong backbones of the family? The day I realized that if you're tall you're supposed to look shorter, and if you're short you're supposed to look taller, and if you're fat you're supposed to look thinner, and if you're thin you're supposed to look more voluptuous, and that whatever body type you had you were supposed to make it look different? The day I realized that every woman is insecure about her looks... including the ones we're supposed to idolize? The day I realized that, no matter what I did, no matter how hard I worked, I would always, always, always be a failure as a woman?
That was the day I quit worrying about it.”
--Greta Christina, Alternet 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Demographic Winter

My friend, Jamie recently told me about the show Demographic Winter. If you haven't seen it, you should.  It addresses some of the reasons for and potential problems of population decline.  It actually reminded me a lot of the Feminine Minority, which I liked parts of, but not others.  Demographic Winter actually made me think, sounds like we ought to have another baby!  It was eye-opening and nice to see so many other people interested in the survival of the family.  I wish I could write a better summary, but I'm pooped!

Warning:  I have to add that it does have a bit of a doom & gloom and propaganda feel to it.  Doom and gloom because of the stats (which can say anything, I know); and propaganda because of the constant dramatic music.  There's also a bit of repeat in part 2 that was in part 1.  I guess if you had to choose one to watch, I'd watch the 2nd, so you can get the conclusions.

If you watch it, let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fun Family Activity

I thought this was a great idea for a family activity.  I think they'll treasure this forever!

Smart from Chad on Vimeo.