Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Medical Cannabis

Sooooo... I'm about to get political and Utah-specific. 

 I'm still trying to wrap my head around what my Church has done/allowed to happen in regards to a Proposition that is going on the ballot to be voted on by Utahns in November. Proposition 2 is a long fought, and in my opinion, relatively conservative Act to legalize Medical Cannabis for Patients in Utah.  What my church has done is incredibly confusing and demoralizing to me on so many fronts, I'm almost at a loss as to how to write a blog post about it.

But here goes.

My Church has sent out an email specifically "urging" all members to vote NO on the Proposition. 

I find myself in the interesting position of the fact that my husband and I give cashy-money to Libertas Institute, the think tank lobbying group that helped Prop2 become what it is. We donate to them every month. I agree with darn near everything that has come out of the institute, and most of the things that Connor Boyack (head of Libertas) has done or taught. I have, in fact, paid tuition 
for three of my kids to take a class he taught last fall at a homeschool co-op. A class on Systems of Government. 

Connor has, along with a few State legislators, tried to get a medical cannabis bill passed for over four years. Efforts which have been stymied for years by a combination of elected representatives refusing to move on it, and the interference by the lobbying arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My church.

The refusal of the Legislative body to move is extremely frustrating, especially since polls indicate that a substantial majority of Utahns support legalizing medical cannabis. Not just legalizing pot for recreational use, but only legalizing it for doctors (and only the doctors who also essentially have the right to also prescribe opioids) can have the ability to prescribe ("recommend"is the term because Cannabis is still illegal at the Federal level) cannabis as a therapeutic drug.  To be clear... this is not smoking pot. Smoking it is STILL illegal.

Look, I believe in personal liberty.

I come at this from the angle of a person who is a self-described drug addict/alcoholic in recovery. Coming up on 21 years clean and sober this October 7th, thankyouverymuch! I come at this as a person who has personal experience with the chemicals in question who now adheres to her Church's code of health and eschews use of any and all mind-altering substances, plus coffee, tea, and tobacco. 

I believe that keeping my faith's health code, the Word of Wisdom, is a great idea. But I also believe that making drugs, and I mean pretty much any and all drugs, illegal, makes the abusers of the drugs into criminals, and once criminal, they become our American Untouchables. It is hard to help someone who has to conceal their disease for fear of imprisonment. I see the USA's "War on Drugs" as a hellish travesty, one continuous, vile, overreaching  "unintended consequence."

I come at this as a person who has seen first hand the disaster that Opioid addiction (prescription primarily) has had on people in this valley as a Facilitator for the Substance Abuse Recovery Program of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints. I have seen the trainwreck it is for faithful members. 

I've seen this first hand through the struggles of my late Brother in Law. Every single struggle that man faced was exacerbated, not helped by his "criminal" status.

Two years ago I lost my nephew to Heroin overdose.  Honestly, this is a tender point for me. Please know that I'm fully aware of the costs of addiction. FULLY aware, and yet I fail to see how my nephew being a criminal in his drug use helped him one tiny iota.

I come from a medical history of rampant ignorance and harm done to me via medical doctors prescribing FDA "safe"medications and procedures to me that have trashed and permanently maimed my body. I've had surgeries that were complete cluster-cusses that ended up with medical doctors  giving me the equivalent of "erm, I dunno." I started far too late in trusting myself. I gave far too much trust to medical "science."  

On Friday of last week the church that I belong to sent out an email via their official church emailing lists, on official church email letterhead, so to speak. When I got the email I went into a tailspin. I desire to be obedient, and I desire to follow the word of my God as revealed through His ordained Prophet.... 

For me this is important. Of utmost importance. 

In the Book of Mormon, there is a story about a people who were bloodthirsty and violent. They thought almost nothing of murdering people, and they didn't believe in Christ, or that He (this was in approx 90 BC) would come. They were the enemy of the Nephite peoples, who believed in Christ.  The Lord sent missionaries to the Lamanites, and whole kingdoms of Lamanites were converted to Christ during some amazing and faith-filled events.  These people, in turning to the Savior and repenting, had a sore and difficult time of repenting of their many murders. So much so, that they literally buried their weapons of war.

They buried those weapons so far down, in the depths of the earth and in their Christian hearts, that they didn't pick them up to defend themselves or their families when an army of unbelieving Lamanites fell upon them. These believers allowed themselves to be slain by the sword as they knelt in a field. Over a thousand lost their lives that day, but an even larger number of the unbelieving enemy threw down their swords and joined them. These people who refused to pick up weapons, even in their own defense became known as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. 

There are even more incredible stories about what happened to these people in the writings of Alma in the Book of Mormon, but my point here is that in some ways I consider myself an Anti-Nephi-Lehite. I have buried my weapons of war, and like them, I fear if I ever take them up again, I will never survive the repentance.  I dare not return to my weapons of war. My disobedience. My self will.  My favorite drugs. My favorite sins.

So here I am.... 

You should know also, that in recent years I have had a serious struggle, and I wrestle with certain points of doctrine that frankly, hurt my heart and confuse me. I have been wrestling for over three years and have found no rest, nor understanding past the answers that I have received to my prayers. The answers have been essentially "it is as it is, sorry you don't understand, and sorry you don't like it."

I am used to answers like this.

When I got the email, I was sure that this was another case of the above. As I wept bitterly, I hit my knees and prayed for guidance because everything in my mind and my heart says YESYESYES to Prop 2. I hit my knees, willing to be wrong. Willing to vote NO if that was the Lords will. Heck, the Church and the Gospel does all sorts of thing that I cannot wrap my head around, that hurt my heart even. I am okay with obedience. I WANT to be obedient. In many ways I must be obedient. 

I asked with a broken heart and received a personal revelation that I must vote YES on Prop2.  The answer was unmistakeable and unequivocal that I MUST. 

I know that the Holy Ghost requires me to vote what I know to be true, and I know it the same way that I know President Nelson is the Prophet of God on the earth, and the same way that I also know the the Church is for reals the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His Church. 

I figured that this was enough. This was my answer, and only MY answer.  I sat in discomfort for several days before I finally asked if I was expected to say out loud and publicly what I have had revealed to me.

After all, I'm not a prophet. I certainly DON'T receive revelation for anyone but myself and those I have stewardship over.... basically my family. Plus I really don't want to make a target of myself. But I am seeing people all over the internet essentially saying that the email that was sent basically means that it is prophetic revelation from President Russel M. Nelson himself.

I don't believe that.

Why would I have received the answer that I did if it was?  I can hear people now, trying to convince me that I am wrong, or that I was mistaken in my answer. 

No. I know what I know, and I know the means by which I know it. 

It became clear, to my great discomfort, that I was required to speak.

But take my word for it? Please don't. I claim nothing past my stewardship, and I have zero stewardship over you.... but I do plead for you to do your homework. 

Here is the legal "analysis"  that the Church has based it's stance upon.

Here is the rebuttal.

plus more information.

This whole cluster-cuss is made even more complex by the fact that now the church apparently supports Medical Cannabis, but only if certain impossible standards are met. What exactly does this mean for faithful LDS members in one of the other 30 States that have legalized (and far more liberally, I might add) medical Cannabis, and are taking doctor recommended medication that contains marijuana? Does this mean they should stop? 


So as far as I can tell, my church has been the victim of some very poor information. Hey, back in the day they thought that Hitler was doing some pretty great stuff.... before the truth was discovered. Wayyyy back in the day, Joseph Smith practically bankrupted the Church and many members through his uninspired, non-prophetic and crappy money management. Not everything is Revelation. I'm sorry that they moved in the way that they have. 

I'm positive that this (email and stance of the Church) was not prophetic, yet if the Prophet does, in fact, come forward with an actual statement I will revisit the whole thing.

There. I have done what I was asked to do... If you choose to comment, please keep it above the waist. You should also know that I am COMPLETELY uninterested in anything that smacks of bashing my faith, my Church or my Prophet. I don't ask you to believe me, or agree with me, or vote any particular way. But if you are a member of the Restored Church, I would hope at least, that you'd take some time to educate yourself and ask the Lord your God. People are on the line here. Suffering and sick people who can be helped. 

Full disclosure.... I don't have a dog in this race. I have NO medical issues that Cannabis can help, neither do I have any family members who will be helped by having access to medical cannabis.


Friday, August 17, 2018

Cheeser Wobbin

I didn't grow up with Winnie The Pooh. Sure, I probably could have identified the character if shown a picture of him, but the movies and books weren't a part of my childhood lexicon. But boy-oh-boy was the Pooh family a large part of my children's lives, starting with Birdie. 

For her first or second birthday (maybe Christmas?) I went online and found super cheap VHS copies of both The Many Adventures of Pooh, and Pooh's Grand Adventure. The songs became our songs, and to this day many of the quotes are still heard in the Halls of Chaos.

You never can tell about bees!

I don't suppose you have a balloon about you?

Tut-tut! It looks like rain!

I think the bee's S-U-S-P-E-C-T something!

Heave Ho! Heave Ho! Heave, Heave, Heave, POP! Hooooooooooo!

The gentle theme song was sung nightly as part of the bedtime routine, and I can still remember how the Bird mispronounced some of the names when she was very, VERY young.

Mee dah Pooh, Cheeser Wobbin, and Pliddit for Piglet, while both LaLa and Pearl both called the little pink guy "Piggit." They all called Tigger "Tidder."

Even Henry, who has eschewed all thing cute and "little kiddish" from the age of five, will still sit and chortle through nearly any Pooh movie. Mind you, not the insipid little TV programs that have been bastardized from the originals...but they will all watch the movies with a grin of expectation and joy on their faces. Springtime With Too, A Very Merry Pooh Year, The Tigger Movie, Piglet's BIG Movie, the Heffalump Movie... there is just something so gentle and funny about them. 

Enter the new live action film Christopher Robin.

Life has been moving on in the House of Chaos. Everyone has been growing and growing up at a prodigious pace. Birdie is 16 now, old enough to drive and date. LaLa is 14 and Pearl is 12... they are all three in the Young Women's program of our church. Only Henry is still in Primary... but even he will turn double digits at the end of this year. 

Honestly, I'm not terribly sentimental about their young childhoods... not often in any case.  It was in some ways a rough time for me.... going through having four babies within seven years as an older mother. Trying to get everything figured out and to be honest, I lost whole sections of myself in the process. I'm still not clear whether the parts I lost will ever be found and whether it's a good or bad thing.

But oh. That movie hit me in a spot I didn't know existed. 

So, this summer Birdie got her first real-and-for-actual "Jobby-job" at the nearby movie theater. It's been hard on her. The shifts are longer than anticipated, the place isn't big on actually training their employees, and it's a little overly "big corp" for my tastes, but it has been a growing experience. One of the perks of the job is that she can go see movies for free, and get one other person in for free as well. So far she's taken her siblings to see shows, but when Christopher Robin came out, we both knew that show was mine. 

A no-brainer, Mama and Birdie event!

No spoilers... But the film kept true to the original Pooh gentleness and managed to keep the sweetness while never stepping over the line into saccharine. But it was also a little heart-breaking and just a little dark in places. Growing up is one thing... but being a parent, a good parent who provides the important things for little humans, things like a home, and food, and boundaries, and regular bedtimes... that changes us all, doesn't it? Sometimes I kinda wonder, does it kind of dim us as humans? I don't know. I'm not really one to romanticize childhood much. My own was in no way terrible, but I for sure don't miss it. 

At all.

But, erm.... well, I may miss my own children's childhoods. Maybe a little. Perhaps I will miss it bitterly.

I sat in the darkened theater, courtesy of my employed oldest, and thought of how she had just gotten her drivers license the day before. Thinking about how I pushed her into it, that last bit. 

Pushed hard.

How she really didn't want to grow-up and drive herself places. I recalled the relief on her face when earlier, as we were leaving to see the movie I offhandedly said, "Oh, I'll drive us to the theater."

The growing up does have to happen. The driving pretty much does too. Eventually everyone really is potty trained and apparently, for the Mama, the ugly crying is gonna be happening right along with some of these events, once the reality hits. And holy crap, the weeping may continue off and on for days.

Hello, uglycry headache, what a pleasant surprise. How 'bout lunch?  And, help yourself, Pooh.

Monday, July 16, 2018

This and That

So. Not a perfect family. So what?

Honestly... my family of origin is pretty great, and I love them. Just hadda get that off my chest I guess. In a strange way I see that what I wrote in my last post could be taken to mean that there was some abuse going on in my family, by comparing some of my sibs fighting styles to a stone cold abuser. I don't think that... I was just surprised to find myself back in some old emotional places, and I was finally able to see some things I hadn't before.

Not great, but hey, I'm an adult now, and I'm better equipped to deal with what's coming my way. Mostly.

Speaking of being an adult... I didn't start having babies until I was in my 30's, so I think I might have been under the impression that I was gonna skip the identity crisis once the kids grow up and move out. Ya know, the empty nester crisis of "who am I now?"

I'm no where near the empty-nest stage, but the Bird has a real jobby-job at the nearby movie theater and will be a licensed driver by the end of the week (assuming it all goes as planned) and I can see that eventually this is really gonna happen.  She's sixteen and I can see it.  The end of raising children.

...and I don't recognize myself anymore.

In some ways I am pretty all right, but in other ways I look at myself and feel like, "Really? I'm really still dealing with this crap?"

Better spend a little time this summer and see if I can dig out from underneath the mommy-identity and figure out some of who I've become over here. To that end, I'm grateful for a goofy little disaster we had at the beginning of summer.

When our house was being built it looks like there was a mix-up with where our water main was to come into the house. For some reason (prolly water main) there was a 3-4 inch hole either drilled or left in our foundation that got "patched" by someone shoving in a glob of tar and then covering the whole mess with insulation. This spring the "fix" failed at the same time as we had sprinkler leak right on top of the hole.




Water... in a carpeted closet in the basement for at least a week before it was found.

The carpet and padding had started to mold, the baseboards were swollen and ruined, as was a goodly section of drywall. I dug the mess out and cut away the drywall till I discovered what had caused it, then promptly called the builders.

They informed me that the house was well out of it's one year "workmanship warranty," and I informed them that if a foundation cannot hold up for more than a year, that ain't "workmanship." The foundation is actually covered for ten years... but I guess builders want to pay up about as much as a health insurance company.

Eventually they agreed that a giant hole in the foundation does constitute a "problem" that they ought to fix... and with some back and forth they even agreed to fix everything but the flooring. They, right or wrong, want us to take on some of the damage fix because of the sprinkler leak. SO, the upshot is that by the end of this month the (rather large) closet will be refinished only with no flooring and that will be the PERFECT place to paint. Year round!

On an interesting note, a painting I had done of Calvary's Hill is going up at a local Christian Ministry homeless outreach center. I am sooooo stoked!


Monday, July 09, 2018

Outliers

In the first part of January I wrote the following post and never published it because I was afraid of starting family drama. Now, a half a year, and not one single post later.... I find that I don't care anymore. 

I. Just. Can't. Even.

I've made some sort of nasty trade-off that I wasn't aware of. I'm stoppered up. Can't write, can't draw, and can't paint. I have sat down time and time again and the following post glares at me from my "drafts." It mocks me every time. I sit down to write and see it there, then I have to re-read it and discover that it's still killing me.

Honestly, I hope my family no longer checks this blog, because I still don't want to start drama, but my sanity comes first.... and the following rings true.

Christmas was lovely in many ways this year. 

Saw the movie White Christmas for the first time and had a few very welcome gut laughs... an activity that was made all the more delightful since I could hear my kids laughing along with me.  We had Gingerbread cookies and gluten free Ninjabread cookies, fudge, and english toffee, and endless amounts of popcorn. Did a fun activity where we dipped red plastic spoons in chocolate and then rolled them in teensy marshmallow bits and wrapped them up in cellophane bags, so we could have extra fancy hot chocolate at our big Christmas Eve party.

Birdie's Aunt T'amy bought her a ticket to go see the Foo Fighters in SLC as an early sweet sixteen birthday gift, but then couldn't take her because of a mandatory rehearsal that night (T'amy is in the Mo-Tab) and so I haaaaaad to take her using T'amy's ticket. Woe is me. They played three long hours of awesome.

Caroling, an amazing party for our church congregation, lights and just enough snow in the wee hours of Christmas morning to qualify as a White Christmas here in Newtown, Utah.

There were some amazing take-aways from the season... but there was also this one thing.

At one of the gatherings, I had a conversation with a sibling about how things are now so very different from how they used to be in our family. She talked about how peaceful (relatively speaking) our family gatherings are, how our interactions are so much kinder than one would guess from how we grew up. She reminisced about the toxic sarcasm and viscous jibes that we used to deal out to each other. We loved each other, but it was a biting and rasping sort of a love.  Without pointing too may fingers, lets just say that we were a family of six smart-ass kids being raised by a very high functioning autistic woman and an emotionally absent father.

That conversation, and a few family interactions really opened my eyes.

You see, I think I have this strangely idealized vision of my family of origin. Like we all get along so famously and well.  Like all of that pain and viscousness is in the past.

Sweet fiction.

***

In my mid twenties I met and married a guy, I hesitate to call him a man. I see now that he was mostly a hurt child in a man's body... let's just say that he was abusive in nearly every way a man can be abusive to a woman. I'm not going to list it out right now, that's not really the point. 

The point is, until recently I have viewed this person and the relationship as an outlier in my life.

There was that one conversation that I will never forget, because it so perfectly encapsulates the mess that was he, and I, and that messed up marriage.

   "Themama," he said one day after a particularly bad fight. A fight where he hadn't laid a hand or a boot on me, but managed maximum damage nonetheless.  Anyone who has been through a violently abusive relationship can tell you, the real damage is rarely done with fists. It's the words that landed that you're trying to slip decades later. "Themama, we just argue very differently." He wasn't being unkind at that moment, he actually was explaining like you would to a little child. "You see, you argue because you think you are "right" about whatever it is we're fighting about. So you try to explain to me why you are right. But when I argue, whoever hurts the worst at the end, loses. You'll always lose to me. Always."

Really sucks, and I'm not saying my family was some horrible or abusive mess.... 

           ... but I AM saying he was not the outlier I thought he was. As a matter of fact, in some ways- he made perfect sense. The whole idea of "whoever hurts the most at the end is the loser" was not some new experience for me. I had just never heard it said out loud before.

The thing is, I really am that thick. When I engage in an argument, I really do think that I'm right, and I tend to be pretty good at explaining why I think so. Later in life I have even made a bit of a study of the logical fallacies of argument, and I try to remain balanced and rational... but I realize now,  I never did have a freaking clue about the rules of engagement when it comes to my family of origin. 

I'll always lose. Always.





Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Older

Getting older is interesting. On the one hand, there is all the suck involved with my body starting to break down in earnest. My day is bracketed with pills I take immediately upon arising, the pills I take an hour to an hour and a half after that, the pills I take with dinner, and then that last pill directly before laying down at night.

Seriously. The conversations I have with the geriatrics in my neighborhood.

One bonus of age, is that my ability to do and to serve has been increased. My comprehension of what needs doing to run a home and a homeschool, and the organization to make it happen has been supercharged.

And that's great. It really is. But now I have reached the end of everything. The end of my abilities and the end of my spiritual and emotional stamina, along with the meager physical stamina of a body on the wane.

I am staring down the barrel of my 50's, and I have a niggling fear that I have made a grave error. I suspect that raising teenagers is a younger woman's game. 

I have more thoughts. But it's time to go and stir the beast. Time to start the day.

I miss coffee.


Thursday, November 02, 2017

Gratitude

Tonight was a gathering of the ladies in my church congregation the theme was gratitude.



In my gift bag I took:
Tube of Orange Mango Blistex
Pack of Minty Gum
Small Bottle of Scented Lotion
Travel Size Spritzer of Poo-Pourri
                                 ...and a poem.




Gratitude

I am grateful for mortality,
I give thanks, I really do!
But some "smells" come with bodies
Like…. Take for instance “poo.”

Sometimes bodies can be bummers
Like with headaches
And chapped lips,
Stomach flu and colds and such
That cause unhealthy drips.

Bad breath, B.O.
The list goes on and on,
But eight bucks was the limit
So a line had to be drawn.

Fruity Blistex and some lotion
Gum and Poo-Pourri
Enjoy this little gift of scents
Just for you,

From me!



Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Happy Freaking Halloween



I don't know what happened.

This is the day after Halloween and I have a costume hangover. I swear off the fancy stuff, the elaborate and the time-consuming. 

The time I spent helping kids and actually making the costumery this past month and a half was unreal.  It was fun and the results were cool... but I will never do it again. 

Check it out....


Pearl

Lala



Y'all... those kids designed their own costumes. I made those lace up aviator boots with steam punk detailing by hand. We tracked down all of the pre-made bits from second hand stores and cos-play eBay sites. I learned how to make armor from EVA foam and a heat gun and paint. 

Even with all the DIY and the second hand, I can't bring myself to think about how much money was spent.


Henry is wearing the same mask and carrying a knife just like Dadguy did last year. Birdie is wearing most of the elements from her last years Death Eater costume.

Do you know how much more the above two loved their costumes than the other two who just used these bits from other costumes?

Henry



Birdie



I'll give you a hint... the Steampunk Angel? Took off her costume (including the aviator boot-toppers) and dug around in the costume box last night when it came time to go trick or treating. She put on a black cloak and accessorized with a hot pink hair bow and a hot pink belt. She called herself a "vampire" and that was that. 

We had spent so much time getting it "right" that she was bored with the stupid thing by the time it mattered.

I. Am. So. Done.


*Edited to add: Really? I was showing these pictures to a group of women at my church, and an older woman just informed me that LaLa's outfit is too sexy. After I had explained how long it TOOK ME TO MAKE IT. Too sexy? Not! Sorry. Whatever. Shut up. Who says crap like that?