Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year, new blog!

I'm blogging again! A lot has happened in the last  year. Among other developments, I've joined the Episcopal Church. Read about that and more on the new blog, Via Media.


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's official: I need a new title.

Several times over the last few weeks, I've had thoughts or experiences that I wanted to blog about, but then thought, But I don't want to blog about that on a blog called "whore." So, I am declaring myself as having officially outgrown whoredom. I thought about Ginx's comment on my last post, about the danger of losing all but your most loyal readers if you switch blog titles/urls, and you know what, I'm okay with that.

So, new blog, coming sometime soon. I'll try to give some thought about the title over the Christmas break. (The list of stuff I want to get done over the break keeps getting longer...)  In the meantime, I'm open to suggestions. It will still be me. I see it as being rather random and eclectic. I'll probably reserve any urges to blog about Mormon-y things for Main Street Plaza. I'm sure I'll still have thoughts on religion though. Also a lot of music, stuff about my kids, maybe politics here and there. It'll be fun! I'll let you all know when it's up and running.


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Two Years

Hello, all. It's the two year anniversary of the day I launched my blog. I haven't posted in months, and it occurred to me that that's largely because things are going so well. I've used this blog often as a place to vent, work out difficulties, reach out for reassurance. All you wonderful readers have never let me down, and I'm very grateful.

I'm in a really good place in my life right now and largely don't feel the neediness that I often filled through this blog. Perhaps I should spew some of the positiveness, instead of waiting till things are tough to write something here. I'll consider it. I've been busy though. Graduate school and two kids take up a lot of time. I love it though.

Something else has been gnawing at me: the blog title. I've had mixed feelings about it lately. I like the sassiness and it was perfect for the vitriolic, anti-religious sentiments I felt when I started blogging, but I don't feel that way anymore. I'm not sure the title really reflects where I am these days. And, yes, you can change a blog title, but not the url. I find myself wanting to blog about "off topic" things too, from parenting to recipes to music history things I'm studying. I've considered starting a new blog, if I ever think of an appropriate title. I'll let you all know if I do.

Here's to two great years!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How universal is music?

I started work on my master's a few weeks ago (summer session moves at twice the pace of the regular semesters, hence the drought in blog postings). Right now I'm working on a paper on the influence of the Protestant Reformation on music, and vice versa.

One of the key reforms Luther made was to reintroduce congregational singing. He felt very strongly that musical participation should be a part of everyone's worship life and Christian education.

I think music and religion have gone together for as long as either has been a part of the human experience. Music was certainly a huge part of my Mormon upbringing and still plays a major role in my spirituality.

I've been singing and have had an ear for pitch as long as I can remember. Singing time is a part of Sunday School for Mormon kids every week. I remember even as a four or five-year-old hearing one of the teachers singing off key and wondering, Why is she doing that? Couldn't she hear the difference? Another time, we had a lesson about talents and we were supposed to list all of our talents. My teacher asked why I didn't list singing. I didn't list it because I didn't think it was a talent; it was so easy, I thought everyone could do it.

Musical inclination is something I was just born with. I've worked and practiced to develop it further, but it's also just an irremovable part of who I am. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say I would have given up on religion and spirituality altogether years ago if it weren't for music.

But I wonder, how much would music matter to me if I weren't musically inclined myself? Would I still be as moved by it as I am? 

At church, everyone is supposed to sing, regardless of how "good" they are at it. How helpful or moving or powerful is singing for someone who may not necessarily like to sing?

This is a genuine question. I'll try to draw a comparison. I appreciate visual art, but I'm not very artistically inclined myself. I can certainly be emotionally and spiritually moved by other people's works of art, but if someone asked me to draw my own picture in praise of God or the sacred or whatever, first of all, you'd have a really ugly picture, and second, I really don't think I'd get much out of it.

So all of you who can't keep a beat or carry a tune, what does music mean to you, particularly in your spiritual life?


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theology with Dad

One of my very earliest memories is playing in the ocean with my dad. I was probably four years old, must have been southern California. We were out in the water up to his waist. He was holding me under the shoulders, my feet dangling in the water, and as each wave approached, he'd ask, "Is this one too big?"

And I'd always insist, "No, Dad! It's not too big!" Then he'd hold me up so the wave would hit me at chest level and I'd shriek in delight. Again and again, "Is this one too big?" But nothing was too big as long as my dad was right there.

A few years later--I think I was eight or nine--we were hiking together. I don't know where we were. I remember a lot of trees and the visible rock was gray, not red, so it couldn't have been near where we lived on the Arizona Strip. My father is a fairly quiet man, doesn't typically talk unless he has something pretty important to say. So hikes with Dad were usually extended silences, punctuated with profundities.

On this particular hike, I remember him saying to me, "Right now is what's happening right now. It's not the future; it's not the past; it's now. And that's where we are."

That's present moment awareness, which Mormonism doesn't especially emphasize, but my dad was thinking about it, and talking to his eight-year-old daughter about it. Lots of good memories of hikes with Dad, especially the ones where good theological discussions developed.

Dad was more sympathetic and understanding than my mother about the depression I struggled with as a teenager, because he struggled with it too. I remember one day in particular during my junior year of high school, when the thought of going to school was just overwhelming. My mother wasn't home that morning. "Can I take a day off?" I asked Dad.

"You know better than I do whether you can or not. Do you have any tests or anything?"

I didn't, so I had permission to skip school that day. Dad invited me to come along with him on his route as a rural mail carrier. I did, packed up some homework to do along the way. "You still the smartest in your class?" he asked as I finished up a trigonometry assignment. Smart. Of all my insecurities, I never doubted that I was smart, because my dad had always said that I was, for as long as I could remember.

There were several times when I rode along with Dad while he delivered the mail, but this day stands out in particular for the discussion that developed. Ironically, I can't remember the specifics of what we talked about. I know the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac was in there, along with the Chronicles of Narnia. Mostly I remember the feeling, the connection with my dad that this was something important that we had in common.

My dad and I don't see eye to eye on much these days, religion and politics in particular. The theological discussions stopped long ago, but they are still some of my best memories. Hearing Dad speak at my grandmother's funeral last fall helped me realize--or perhaps just reminded me, actually--that my dad is a very spiritual person in his own way. It's drastically different from my way. I believe it's based on several inaccuracies. And yet it does still seem to work for many people as a means of evoking the sacred.

And I can respect that.


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Evening Blog Post

It's time again for the Saturday Evening Blog Post at Elizabeth Esther's blog. The first Saturday of every month she invites bloggers to share their best post from the previous month. I decided to share my special Mother's Day post about Honoring the Great Mother and the sacred feminine. Hop on over to discover some new bloggers and maybe share a post of your own!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comment Highlights 6/02/2011

 A couple of my favorite comments from the last few weeks.  

From Diana on Honoring the Great Mother
I venture, for myself, that the necessity for a female deity is rooted in the need to overturn our society's views and restrictions on women. The female body particularly has never been venerated in our lifetime; its functions, uses, needs, desires, and appearances have been controlled by men. Learnings about goddesses and coming to recognize the divine in ourselves is a significant part of many women's paths.

For me it has nothing to do with forcing a human gender identity on deity, since I am an atheist. It DOES have to do with the liberation of my sexuality, my physical appearance, my will, my voice, and my power. There is a reason that the modern goddess movement arose hand in hand with ecology and feminist movements.

My power (with all that entails), and that of many women throughout history and currently, has been squelched. Learning goddess lore and honoring these archetypes and legends is one way for me to get past that.
From Riparian Church on Why still use the word "God"?
I think that the statement that "God is love" is one that resonates with your post here.  The idea that this is flimsy-ish might not mesh with the striking hard-headedness of the statement.  If God is no more and no less than love, then this is simply a way of saying that of all the things / forces / powers in the universe, there is one and one only worthy of human worship: love.

And though it sounds sentimental, I'm not so sure.  Science is finding out things about the energies that hold things together that we might as well call "love" as anything else... what do you call it when the energies of the human race seem not only to be connected but to be effectual at accomplishing and causing and moving and even healing?

Love's as good a term as any, I guess.  

Call it Andrew if it pleases you.
If you haven't already, you can check out my most recent post at Main Street Plaza: "We do not need more members who question every detail." Thanks so much for reading!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My guest post at NPR: "Wishing for Less Time"

National Public Radio's program Being featured an essay I wrote as a guest contributor on their blog.
I never used to go anywhere without my cell phone. It was not only a means of communication, but my sole timepiece, and not knowing the time made me crazy.
You can read the rest here.


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Come visit my blog for Five Tips For Spending Less Time on the Internet!

How's that title for irony?

A few of you responded to my post about scaling back my blogging ambitions for the sake of my emotional and mental health saying you have similar struggles with spending too much time on the internet. In the immortal words of Sideshow Mel, "Applause is an addiction, like heroin--or checking your email." So I know I'm not the only one.

In that spirit, I thought I'd share a list article I wrote a few years ago, but then was too lazy to find a market for. Just staying off the computer altogether isn't an option for most of us in our modern world, but here are five tips for not letting the internet take over your life:

1. Make a list.  We all know that if we go shopping without a list, we end up buying things we don’t need and spending too much money.  Instead of running to the computer every time you get the impulse to look for a recipe or a deal on eBay, try writing down the specific goals you want to accomplish on the internet and add to that list throughout the day.  Which brings me to...
2. Have designated e-mail and Internet time.   You know how much time you truly need to be on the Internet each day.  Give yourself a limit and stick with it.  Use that time to accomplish the specific goals that you’ve written down.  Set a timer if you need to and when time’s up, close the Internet and get back to your life.
3. Only open the Internet if you need to use it for something task-related.  Get in the habit of closing your Internet browser when you’re not using it, the same way you turn off a light when you leave a room.  That way when you get on the computer to enter receipts in Quicken, you won’t have tabs for e-mail and social networks open tempting you.
4. Set your homepage to something other than your e-mail.  How many times have you wanted to look up library hours or the address of the recycling center and then see that you have messages and before you know it, the library’s closed and you’re still on the internet?  Try setting your homepage to Google for easy information access.  If your e-mail doesn’t automatically open up every time you open the Internet, you’ll be less likely to get sidetracked.
5. Don’t forbid yourself from fun.  There’s nothing wrong with a quick chat with a friend or the occasional game of Text Twist.  These can be great little breaks in your day.  Just be sure you don’t get so caught up in the cyber world that you forget the real three dimensional world!  So call your friend and meet for coffee instead of writing on her wall.  After all, {{{HUGS}}} can never replace hugs.


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"Haven't written much lately," blah, blah, blah

I'm not going to promise to do "better" because I've been rethinking the way I approach blogging.

I do have long term serious writing goals, and having a blog is an expected part of making a name for yourself as a writer these days. So building a platform and a readership base are part of my goals here. I've read various articles on tips for building your blog, attracting and retaining readers, maintaining high traffic. Two of the points that always get repeated are to post regularly and to be faithful about replying to blog comments. So I have tried to do these things, with varying degrees of success.

But I've discovered something when I try to get really ambitious with the blog: It's psychologically not good for me. I get too attached to checking my stats, checking for new comments or new subscribers. I start feeling anxious if the numbers aren't where I want them. At the risk of sounding pathetic, I let my sense of self-worth get caught up in how well my blog is doing. I end up wasting large swaths of my life sitting in front of the computer hitting "refresh" and in between refreshing pages, mindless internet memes keep me occupied. At the end of such a day, I feel utterly unsatisfied and depleted. 

I was offline for several months immediately after I separated from my husband. It was good to go through an internet "detox." There were many reasons why I decided to get reconnected at home, but one was that, while one of the reasons I hadn't gotten internet was to try to save money, I was worried that it was actually costing me more not to have it, because when I'd go to Barnes & Noble to use the WiFi, nine times out of ten I'd walk out of the store with a book in my hand.

But when I didn't have internet at home, I actually read almost every book I bought. All the time hitting "refresh" lately, like a rat hitting a food bar hoping for a pellet, could be time spent reading, journaling, praying or meditating, exercising, giving fuller attention to my children, gearing up for graduate school, working on writing pieces to submit for publication in places other than my blog. I know I felt clearer in my head and lighter in my heart when I wasn't online so much.

It's hard to blog about a spiritual life when you don't feel like you're living much of one.

So I'm not going to promise to post more frequently, in fact probably less. I'm not going to publish minimal effort filler posts just to keep traffic up. This will probably be bad for my Alexa ranking, but good for me. The feedback I've gotten from several readers is that my writing is what keeps you coming back, not the videos or links that I post, and wow, thank you for that. Trusting solely in the strength of my writing runs contrary to all the advice I've heard about what it takes to get your blog noticed among all the millions of other blogs out there, but I'm gonna give it a shot. I want to keep posting comment highlights, because I feel like it's a way to show my appreciation for my readers. I may share some external links here and there, but that's not going to be my focus. As I've said in my newly posted Comment Policy, "I do my best to reply to all comments and am usually successful, although a reply may be delayed by several days. Your patience is appreciated."

So my new blogging philosophy is less is more, quality over quantity. I'm hoping to work my way into a regular posting schedule, probably once a week, but I'm not sure when or if regularity will happen. The easiest way to be sure you don't miss anything is to subscribe. There are links at the bottom of each post that will tell you how to do so. And you know what, if you do miss something, it will still be in the archives when you get around to it. I don't want to contribute to internet obsession and, besides, I trust that you all have the ability to lead full and meaningful lives without visiting my blog several times a week. If you really, really miss me that much, as of this writing, there are 265 posts in the archives for your perusal.

Ah, I feel better.

Related Post: 5 Tips For Spending Less Time on the Internet


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.