Thursday, December 26, 2013

Homemade "Poopourri"

First things first: If you have never heard of poopourri, please take a moment to watch this, ok?

Now that you know what it is, I will just say that it works, and is a real savior of a product for a household with only one bathroom!

However, it is $10 per 2oz bottle, and that struck us being a smidge on the spendy side. So we did a little research into whether we could create our own. (Do take a minute to look at the official website and note the amusing names for their various scent combinations though, they are hilarious!)

Test 1: putting a few drops of plain essential oil into the toilet DOES do the job. However the bottles can be a little messy or easy to spill, and it did seem like it gave more oil than we really needed...which makes me mildly concerned about pipes and so on.
Verdict: functional but not ideal

Test 2: witch hazel with essential oil. This works fabulously!
We used 4 oz bottles, filled them most of the way with witch hazel, and then added 20-25 drops of essential oil. (If you do a different size, just use 7-8 drops oil per oz of witch hazel.) You can add any oil you like, whatever scent combinations you find appealing. We did one with equal parts grapefruit and lime, and one with about 15 drops orange and 8 drops clove, and one with close to equal parts fir and juniper which my Hubby thinks smells just like a christmas tree.
Each oz is good for 75ish uses, depending on how much you use, so the whole bottle is 300 uses, give or take.

And, the best part was that this recipe cost us about $4-5 per bottle (depending on the oils), and that included the glass bottles! So that's 1/4 the cost of the commercial stuff (half the price per bottle x double the bottle size). Alaska is not the cheapest of places either, so I imagine that in some parts of the country would be even cheaper.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I Claim You

I vividly remember the day that I listened to Joanna Brooks' speech at the 2011 Mormon Stories Conference in SLC.  She talked about her Mormon heritage, and then about how many different kinds of people there are who have Mormonism in their bones. She celebrated the diversity, and then said loudly and passionately "We Claim You!"

At the time I was feeling quite awkward about my relationship with the LDS church. My husband had disaffiliated from Mormonism just a few months before, and I suddenly found how disenfranchised I felt now that I was in a "part-member home" and had "no priesthood in the home." The kids saw daddy staying home from church and they didn't want to go either. I found myself often going to church alone. I found myself missing church more than I ever would have in my youth. My husband's faith transition had been happening simultaneously with my own, but our conclusions had been different: he was done with it, but I could not be. Mormonism is in my bones. I'm not the same kind of Mormon as I once was though. For so many reasons I cannot return to the safe, sweet way I used to live.

Being an outsider is nothing new though. I have always been an outsider. As a kid I was homeschooled. Now I'm a hearty supporter of homeschooling, but it made me an outsider at church because I was the only one.

And I realized that we make many kinds of outsiders.

And here's the thing. A lot of people have looked at the PANTS event and concluded that it is about female ordination. Or that it is about LGBTQ something or other (because of the suffragette purple I suppose). Or that it's about feminism in general. Or trying to attract attention and create contention. Or trying to put down women who wear dresses or are satisfied with the status quo. Or about trying to prove a point.

I will grant that last one. It IS about trying to prove a point: It is about proving that we believe that love is bigger than judgment. It is about saying to all those outsiders WE CLAIM YOU and we love you and we count you among our brothers and sisters.

  • To the young person who is homeschooled and always feels left out; I claim you.
  • To the one who is 'weird'; I claim you.
  • To the one who is whispered about behind his or her back; I claim you and promise those whispers will never come from me.
  • To the one who is overweight; I love you.
  • To the one dealing with an eating disorder; I love you. 
  • To the one who has ever felt awkward because your clothes were 'wrong' or 'not stylish' or 'uncool'; I claim you and I understand.
  • To the sister who is disenfranchised because she is unmarried, divorced, or otherwise "does not have the priesthood in her home"; I claim you and support you
  • To the sister who wants children but cannot have them; I love you, I understand you, and I support you more than you realize.
  • To the sister who does not want children; I claim you and respect your choice.
  • To the sexual abuse survivor; I accept you, love you, and do not blame you for what happened to you.
  • To the one who is the only member in her or his household; I claim you and support you.
  • To the one who is struggling to find her or his place in the church; I claim you and I am your sister no matter what.
  • To the one who has been so hurt that you cannot bear to come to church anymore; I claim you and I love you.
  • To the one who wears pants to church because the weather is cold, because you have small children or a calling in the nursery, because you play the organ in church, because you have a health condition, because you don't have a dress, or simply because you feel more comfortable or confident in pants; I claim you, I support you, and I stand with you this year and last year and every year.
Pants for church in 2013

This is me actually 'in church' today via conference call. Cuz that's how it is in the Alaskan bush.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear

Last year, on December 16, women around the world joined in wearing pants to church. I had mixed feelings about it. I supported the idea of feminists doing something instead of just talking about it, but I had been more in the mood for a letter writing campaign or something. But pants was the choice and so I supported it. I still had mixed feelings about wearing pants myself, but I decided to go with it because I remembered having felt judgmental towards pants-wearers in the past, and decided that it was worthwhile to take a conscious stance against judgmentalism. As I said then:
I have never ever worn pants to church. It so happens that I love wearing dresses and skirts, and often wear them on weekdays. I don't particularly want to wear pants to church. BUT, I will be doing so because of this experience. I will be wearing pants to church to be an example to my children that I really do believe that "the lord looketh on the heart [rather than the outward appearance]." I believe in walking the talk. Is wearing pants to church a big deal? No. Will this single event bring about any of the other changes that the All Enlisted movement is hoping for? Not really. But we hope that it will help people to take a look at themselves and their socio-cultural prejudices, and take the opportunity to practice a little non-judgment.
Wow, I had no idea what would follow. Dozens of people (family and friends and total strangers all in chorus) told me that wearing pants was a total non-issue, and that there was no point. Then they told me that I shouldn't do it because it was a point of contention and that contention is of the Devil. Aside from being confused about how pants-wearing can be simultaneously a non-issue and a point of contention, my attention came sharply into focus on two points.
  1. All the contention came from outside the pants-wearing group. (This seemed to prove that it was NOT a non-issue.)
  2. I was scared to wear pants to church.
Scared!! Of wearing pants!! Wow was that a realization. Especially with the knowledge that I was living in a tiny branch in rural Alaska where frankly nobody would care what I wore so long as I showed up. But I was doubly nervous about it because I was supposed to sing in church on that day, and in a congregation of 15 that meets in a room the size of a typical primary room... my pants would be as bold as could be.

But then a scripture came to mind. "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). I remembered that fear is the opposite of faith. I remembered the reasons why I supported this whole idea. And on Sunday, December 16, 2012, thirty miles above the Arctic Circle at -16 Fahrenheit, I wore pants to church.

The blouse had pink and purple embroidery so I had my purple too
Can you what happened? Absolutely nothing. I sang in church. In my pants. People told me how well I sang. No one said a word about the pants. Because it was a complete non-issue for all of them.

Except that it was not a non-issue for me. I practiced faith over fear, and love over judgment. And I will do it again.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Warrior for Peace

Nelson Mandela died this week. In response, the interwebs have lit up with quotes and (in our graphic-heavy culture) memes featuring quotes. Yesterday as I saw my facebook feed fill up with these images and quotes I was struck by something.

Do you see it? Do you see the pattern? Warrior, conquer, victory, front lines, weapon... A man famous for his efforts toward peace is constantly using the language of war. And for good reason.
As another blogger put it
News outlets around the Western world are hurrying to publish obituaries that celebrate his electoral victory while erasing the protracted and fierce guerrilla struggle that he and his party were forced to fight in order to make that victory possible. Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical. Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t. For this, during his life they called him a terrorist, and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist — all to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy, and the lessons to be drawn from it.
As Mandela himself explained
"I followed the Gandhian strategy for as long as I could, but then there came a point in our struggle when the brute force of the oppressor could no longer be countered through passive resistance alone...Force is the only language the imperialists can hear, and no country became free without some sort of violence."

As a man who loved and wanted peace, Mandala also had the wisdom to recognize that there are times when conflict and force are necessary. He spoke of using sabotage rather than outright attacks whenever he could, in order to preserve human life whenever possible. But he did not hesitate to do what needed to be done to achieve the goals he had in mind. 

This man of peace was a warrior, because he made the choices to do what had to be done in order to effectively get the results he wanted. Now I'm not saying that most of us will ever face a time where physical violence is the appropriate approach, but there is a time for talking and gentle civil disobedience, but there is also a time for confrontation and outright rebellion. I always advocate using the gentlest measure that will accomplish the task at hand, but if persuasion has no effect then yes, there is a time for action.
Women in this country asked for the right to vote for twenty years. Then they stood in front of the White House with signs that threw the president's words back in his teeth, Alice Paul handcuffed herself to the White House fence, and she and others went to jail and participated in hunger strikes because they were willing to become martyrs if needbe. Not all confrontation has to be violent, but it is confrontation nonetheless, and can be powerful in places where gentle persuasion was not. Discussion is GOOD and sometimes it is effective (and when it is, hallelujah). But action is also GOOD and even aggressive action has a place when other means are unsuccessful.
Over time some things improve, but do not be so complacent as to think that the world is perfect yet. There are battles still to be fought; are you willing to stand and participate?

And for good measure, a few final thoughts from a man who should be remembered for both aspects: his desire for peace and equality, AND his willingness to stand up and literally fight to achieve those goals.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”(Margaret Mead)

Do not be blind to your own privilege. Prejudice is everywhere, and that is a battle that can be won more effectively in individual hearts than in legislative chambers.

Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Linked Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...