Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Thoughts on the Excommunication of Kate Kelly

I remember having a conversation with my parents when I was in high school, telling them how I envisioned my future. I described myself as highly successful in the business world, with a supportive husband who happily fulfilled his role as a stay-at-home dad, welcoming me home each evening with my favorite pair of fuzzy slippers and a beautifully prepared dinner. Fast forward to today, when I am a stay-at-home mom of three beautiful children, dutifully filling my days with laundry and homework assistance and even an occasional beautifully prepared dinner. So how did I get from point A to point B? In a word, I became a Mormon.

When I was 18, I was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was not a decision that I took lightly or came to easily. I grew up with a great grandmother who was a Pentecostal minister and I had been taught for pretty much my entire life that Mormons were evil and were all going to hell. So I read and studied and after much prayer and contemplation I realized that the Mormon Church was Christ’s true church, restored to the earth in these latter days. I came to know for myself that the Book of Mormon was true and that it was truly another testament of Jesus Christ, a perfect companion to the Holy Bible.

Over the past few weeks Kate Kelly, the founder of a group called Ordain Women, has received a tremendous amount of coverage in the mainstream media. Her organization basically calls for women in the church to be given the Priesthood, something that is currently reserved for men. In a nutshell, she has picketed at our Church’s General Conference, received letters from our church asking her to stop advocating for this position, and this past week she was excommunicated. Obviously that is the story very simply stated, but it’s the crux of what happened.  She has cried foul, that she was only questioning why things are they way they are and that she is a faithful member of the Church whose membership should not be revoked.

But here’s the thing. She wasn't excommunicated because she was questioning why women don’t hold the Priesthood. According to the Ordain Women website,

Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormons to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.

She is not advocating the questioning of church policies, she is advocating “the NEED for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”

To clarify, in the Mormon church we believe that we have a modern day Prophet who leads us according to the will of our father in heaven, or God. Twice a year we raise our hands to sustain this prophet, affirming that we will support and follow his council. His council at this time is that only men hold the priesthood. Now some may say that this is sexist. I say it is a division of labor. In “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” it says:

…fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.

That’s right, EQUAL partners. We are EQUAL in the church. We are not the same, but we ARE equal.

So back to Kate Kelly. She says she is a faithful member of the church. But she’s not. She doesn’t only have an opinion which is contrary to what the Church teaches, she is advocating that others follow her and attempt to change the structure of the church in which she claims to believe.

Here’s the thing. If you believe that the Mormon Church is true, you believe that we have a prophet who receives revelation from God the Father, and that he leads the church accordingly. As such, you follow his leadership and council because you know the source from which it originates. If you believe that women should hold the priesthood today, then you don’t believe that the church is true. It’s that simple. I say “today” because there is nothing to say that someday women won’t hold the priesthood. In the Mormon Church there was a time when the doctrine of polygamy was followed, but it was for a specific purpose at a specific time. Once that purpose had been fulfilled, the members of the church were instructed to cease its practice.

Some may say that the Mormon Church requires blind faith. Well, by definition faith IS blind so in that way I guess it does. But I can honestly say that over the years when I have questioned why things are a certain way, I have studied and prayed and found answers that address my concerns.

If Kate Kelly doesn’t feel her concerns can be adequately addressed within the current structure of the church, she does not have to count herself among its members. We are not handcuffed and forced to follow this religion. I know many individuals who have chosen to leave the church for various reasons—returned missionaries, people who have been married in the Holy temple, former Elders Quorum presidents. One of the very basic tenants of our faith is that our father in heaven has given us agency—the ability to make our own decisions. You can choose to believe or do whatever you want. But guess what? You can’t choose the consequences.

No one is faulting Kate Kelly for choosing to believe what she does. But as she is trying to start a “feminist movement” within the church and leading faithful members away, there is naturally a consequence. That consequence is the revocation of her church membership. If she doesn’t believe what the church believes, that is fine.  But let’s say she was a member of any other group and suddenly, as a card carrying member, she started trying to convince other members of the group to basically rebel against the said group. I’m pretty sure she would be asked to leave. That’s exactly what happened here.

After 18 years of membership in the Church, I can tell you that it is not an organization that belittles or minimizes the importance of women. Quite to the contrary, I know of no other group that so openly celebrates women and their divine contributions. This is not an issue of a church trying to exercise control over its members or to “show the women who’s boss.” So let’s not try to make this into something that it’s not.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Why the size on the tag brought tears to my eyes...

Yesterday was a pretty average Sunday at our house. We were getting ready for church and as my husband was helping Ryan get dressed, he suddenly announced, "This shirt doesn't even fit him!" And he was right. It didn't. After Ryan was back downstairs, Bryan asked me, "How did this happen? Remember when they were that little," and pointed to a picture of Ryan and Annie when they were 4 and 2 1/2 respectively. For some reason at that moment, it really hit me. My kids are growing up so fast. My baby isn't really a baby anymore. Ryan is 1/3 of the way to adulthood.

For me it was an eye opening moment. Not that I don't think that they're growing up too quickly on a regular basis, but it was like being hit over the head. As a mom I worry so much--am I teaching them the right things, am I helping them develop a testimony of their savior Jesus Christ, am I helping them understand the importance of kindness and honesty and work and family...the list could go on forever.

The one thing I am confident in is that my children know how much we love them. I tell them that every single day, often multiple times a day. I want them to have no doubts that regardless of the things they do and the decisions they make, their dad and I love them unconditionally. Yes, sometimes we might be disappointed. But it doesn't change our love for them. And it never will.

I will keep doing my very best on all of the other stuff. But in the interim, I will hope that my love is enough.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Bravest Girl I Know

Most of you know that our sweet Annie has had her share of medical issues. Never anything life threatening, but plenty to keep us worried. Earlier this year she had an endoscopy and from that we received some unexpected biopsy results that indicated her problems might be more serious. Specifically there were some indicators present that can indicate Crohn's Disease or colitis. Over the past few months she has had lots of tests and while we were able to rule out a number of other things, all of the tests for Crohn's and colitis were inconclusive. Her weight gain had stalled out over the last nine or so months so her GI doctor decided a colonoscopy was in order.

When we first told her what was happening about a week before the procedure we finished by asking her if she was scared. Her response? "No, I just want Dr. Montes to figure out why I can't gain any pounds." OK then.

On the way to the hospital she was pretty quiet. Bryan asked if she was worried or scared and she simply replied no. Once we arrived she got changed into the hospital PJ's, watched Super Why in our waiting room and then went out to the area filled with toys and played. She and Bryan played air hockey, and she found a little bike thing that she rode around until it was time to talk to the anesthesiologist. The whole time she was calm and mellow, like she was an old pro. One thing I love about Phoenix Children's is that they allow the parents to go back to the procedure room and stay until the patient falls asleep. We told her good bye, kissed her on the forehead, she fell asleep and that was that.

In recovery Annie kept asking when she could go home. She drank some apple juice and a little later they released us. She fell asleep on the way home but by two hours after the procedure you never would have known that anything unusual had happened that day.

That day the doctor told us everything had looked good, that he saw no signs of Crohn's and that he expected the biopsies to come back normal. Today he called and confirmed that all of her results were normal. There are no words to express how relieved I am. She will know go on an appetite stimulant and see how that works. Our fingers are crossed that its effective

Friday, August 02, 2013

Why I Will Never Have Plastic Surgery

It wasn’t that long ago that plastic surgery was something reserved for celebrities and the very wealthy. Today, however cosmetic procedures seem to be the equivalent of a participation trophy for middle class women.

I know more women than I can count who have had plastic surgery. Don’t get me wrong—most of these women look great. And my aversion to plastic surgery is not because it wouldn’t benefit me—I’ve had three kids, I weigh 35 pounds more than I did in high school and I have more stretch marks than a shar-pei puppy has wrinkles.

But here’s the thing—I have a daughter. I don’t want her to grow up thinking that her body is the be-all end-all of her existence. I grew up with a mother who was always on some fad diet and a grandmother who was bulimic until she died weighing less than 75 pounds. I’ve experienced firsthand the effect of that example. I have spent more time, energy and money trying to get the scale to convey some magic number that I have conjured up in my head than I have on many other worthy pursuits. When I think about it, it brings me to tears.  And I want more for my daughter.

A few months ago I was chatting with a gentleman as we watched our kids in swim lessons. He mentioned that his wife was going to have a “mommy makeover.” It made me wonder, when as a society did we decide that beauty involves erasing all signs of bringing children into this world? Why are we not cherishing the bodies that made us mothers and wearing those battle scars proudly? Why are we so obsessed with looking good in a bikini that we are literally willing to risk our lives? (You may think I am being dramatic, but there are plenty of deaths each year that result from cosmetic procedures).

I want to raise a daughter who learns to identify her talents and discover what she has to offer the world. I want her to learn to incorporate healthy eating and regular exercise into her daily life without obsessing over every calorie that passes her lips. I want her to cherish the body that God has given her, not because it’s perfect, but because it’s hers.

So while I can pretty much guarantee that you’re never going to see me in a bikini, I’m OK with that. My body has given me gifts far greater than I could have ever imagined. And for me, that’s enough.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to School Teacher Gift

This year I wanted to send a little Back to School gift to each of the kids' teachers. I looked on Pinterest for ideas and while I found some stuff that was clever, it wasn't particularly useful. So I decided I needed to come up with something on my own.

I decided on a Back to School Survival Kit. I put all of the items in cute little gift bags I found at Target, and personalized the tags for each of their teachers.

Here's what's on the tags:

Mrs. XXX's Back to School Survival Kit

Post-its: for all the things you have to remember
Binder Clips: to keep it all together
Chocolate: because chocolate makes EVERYTHING better!
Hand Cream: to negate the effects of all that hand sanitizer
Starbucks: caffeine to help keep you going (I included a $5 Starbucks gift card)
Lemonade: something to make if your day gives you lemons (I included a box of packets of Crystal Light lemonade)

I was happy with the end result and the teachers seemed to like it, so I'm calling it a success!

Back to School!

It's hard to believe our summer is over, but last week the kiddos headed back to school. Yeah, it's early, but really, how much can you do when it's 110 degrees outside?

Here they are all spiffed up for their first day back: 

Ryan, First Day of First Grade

Annie, First Day of Preschool
(her third and last year of preschool!)

Couldn't leave out the little guy! I'm sure he will enjoy having some time each day with Mama all to himself!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Summer, Part 1

So we Colby's have been thoroughly enjoying summer vacation! The kiddos only get 8 weeks off, which I don't really mind because they don't have time to get bored, and what are we going to do when it's 110 degrees outside anyway?

Here's a little peek at our summer so far:

Disneyland, getting ready to ride the canoes. Somehow in my gazillion trips to Disneyland I had NEVER done this before. We had a blast.

Annie before her dance recital. She had been literally been counting down for months!

Eric's first birthday. Boy did he love the cake!

Bryan on the water slide we rented for Eric's birthday party. Everyone LOVED this thing--it was FAST and so much fun! Apparently after 8 1/2 years I have officially succumbed to the Colby family motto that anything worth doing is worth overdoing!

We have also had lots of fun swimming with friends and Ryan just finished a week of golf camp.

Still to come: Science Camp for both of the big kids, Gymnastics Camp for Annie, Ryan's birthday party and a trip to Tehachapi to celebrate the 4th of July!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Plans for 2013

I have an aversion to the word "resolutions" but I'm big on goals, so here's a quick overview of some of the things I hope to accomplish in the coming year:

~Be more consistent with daily scripture study and Family Home Evening
~Say yes to my kids as much as possible. I'm not going to allow them to jump off the roof or anything, but I've found that I say no a lot, and I don't think that's a positive thing. If Annie wants to wear her Rapunzel dress up dress to Costco or Ryan wants to build a fort in the loft, I need to let them.
~Have occasional one-on-one "dates" with Ryan and Annie. I think they are at an age where they can appreciate time alone with Mom and Dad.
~Eat out less and eat natural, one ingredient foods (i.e. chicken, broccoli) more
~Go to Disneyland at least once a month (we bought annual passes for Christmas, so we want to get our money's worth!)

~Organize the garage
~Window treatments for all the downstairs windows
~Get a pool!

~Eat less carbs and more fruit and veggies
~Exercise at least 3X/week
~Read the entire Book of Mormon

Make or finish the following quilts:
~Giraffe quilt for Eric
~Floral strip quilt
~Postage stamp quilt
~Quilt for Grandma Shirley
~Quilt for Alex and Bronson
~Halloween quilt
~Christmas quilt for our good friends

Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 in Review

So it's pretty obvious that I'm not so good at updating the blog these days, so here is a rundown of our 2012:

JANUARY was a pretty low key month.

FEBRUARY was spent finishing our preparations to move. Packing, ordering new furniture, all that kind of stuff. That month Annie also had a GI doctor's appointment and we found out she was in the 50th percentile for weight, a HUGE accomplishment given her earlier difficulties.

MARCH brought our much anticipated move. We LOVE our new house, our new ward and our new neighborhood.

APRIL brought a change of schools for Annie. Kind of tough, she loved her teacher at Ashland Ranch but she made it through.

MAY brought us the arrival of our sweet baby boy Eric. He is the happiest, sweetest, easiest baby on the planet. We feel so blessed that he is part of our family!

JUNE brought the adjustment to a new baby (which was really a piece of cake!), and a visit from my parents to help with the madness.

JULY was a big month for Ryan. On the 1st he turned 5. We celebrated at Bounce U with lots of his friends. Later in the month he started Kindergarten at CTA Independence. He LOVES school and has an incredible teacher.

AUGUST was by 35th birthday which we celebrated with a night at the Ritz Carlton and dinner at The Melting Pot with our good friends Rachel and Ryan. We also took a trip to Tehachapi for my parents baptism.

SEPTEMBER was another low key month. We like those every once in a while.

OCTOBER was our annual trip to Newport Coast. We went to Disneyland and Sea World and celebrated Bryan's birthday. Bryan's parents joined us for part of the week which was a fun treat.

NOVEMBER was Annie's 4th birthday. We celebrated with a trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. She had lunch at Ariel's Grotto where she got to hobnob with the princesses, which she loved. We spent Thanksgiving at Bryan's parents cabin in Show Low which was lots of fun.

DECEMBER was full of lots of Christmas festivities, including Zoo Lights, the Mesa Temple lights, a ride on the Polar Express, our annual Red and Green Dinner with friends and of course Christmas with Bryan's family. For Christmas we got the family annual passes to Disneyland so a couple of days after Christmas we headed to California for a couple of days. We stayed at a hotel on the property for the first time which was a fun treat and a huge convenience!

Basically we had a very blessed year. I'm so grateful for my sweet little family and all the ways the Lord continues to bless us. Here's to a wonderful 2013!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Eric Mark

So, um, we had a baby. Almost three months ago. And here I am finally posting about it. Eric Mark Colby was born May 29 at 8:23 am. He weighed 7 pounds 6 ounces (just like his brother) and was 19 1/2 inches long (also just like his brother). He is a dream baby. As in he only cries when he's hungry or needs his diaper changed, has never slept less than 4 1/2 hours at night and started sleeping through the night when he was 10 weeks old. I am seriously spoiled. Ryan and Annie were good babies, but Eric is on a completely different plane. He smiles All the time. I am seriously the luckiest Mom ever.