Monday, March 24, 2014

Bath Nightmares

You know what's horrifying? Going to get your three-year-old out of the bath and finding the water full of little brown things ... especially after a week of said toddler battling a particularly virulent GI bug.

A mother's nightmare.

"WHAT is that, Graham?!"

"Ruby gave it to me." (Ruby did, in fact, pass the illness on to Graham, but I doubt he realized that.)

"What do you mean Ruby gave it to you? Did you poop?!"

"No. Ruby picked it up and put it here (gestures to side of the tub)."

Images of Ruby fishing poop from the toilet with her little bare hands swirl through my mind ... thank goodness she didn't try and eat it. At least I hope she didn't eat it. And who left the toilet unflushed and opened? Is Graham just fibbing?

I look closer at the brown bits in the tub. They aren't the usual organic shapes that poo takes on when waterborn ... in fact, they are rather planar, though with jagged edges ... almost like ripped, wet cardboard ... from a toilet paper roll.

I remember finishing a roll earlier in the day, saving the cardboard tube, thoughts of toddler art projects dancing with ambition through my mind. Maybe I'd help Graham fill it with dried beans to make a maraca. Perhaps I'd cut it in half and Graham would construct a charmingly goofy pair of goggles. Or maybe he'd seize it from the side of the tub where I'd lazily left it and proceed to shred it into hundreds of soggy bits that will clog the 70-year-old plumbing beneath our house.

Maybe I'll throw some glitter in the tub to really make it Pinterest-worthy.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women

For the past couple years, I have been studying the role of women in the plan of salvation, so when I read a review of The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women on one of my favorite blogs, I jumped at the chance to also read this book. In exchange for this review, I received an electronic copy of the book.

Anyone else think of this?

Written by Dr. Alonzo L Gaskill, an assistant professor at BYU with a Ph.D. in biblical studies, The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women is an examination of a portion of an extra-biblical text allegedly recounting teachings of Jesus. Indian merchants had traveled to Judea and heard Jesus preach, and their accounts were soon after recorded. Scrolls containing these records (reportedly including the words of Jesus) eventually made their way to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in northern India, where a Russian journalist encountered and recorded a translation of the discourse in the late 19th century. In this book, Gaskill examines a portion of the text that deals with the sacredness of women.

The book shares 13 verses of Christ's teachings on the role, worth, and proper treatment of women. These were fascinating, and I would buy the book just for these verses, in my opinion. Just a few of my favorites:

Verse 10: Verily I say unto you: Respect woman, for she is the mother of the universe, and all the truth of divine creation dwells within her.

Ok, isn't this awesome? For some reason it makes me think of the all the amazing symbolism within a woman's body (menstrual cycle=creation, fall, and atonement; lactation=living water; etc.).

Verse 17: Even as the God of hosts separated of old the light from the darkness and the land from the waters, woman possesses the divine talent of separating in a man good intentions from evil thoughts.

I love how this one hearkens back to Eve's decision to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Verse 18: Wherefore I say unto you, after God your best thoughts should belong to women and to wives, woman being for you the temple wherein you will most easily obtain perfect happiness.

I believe women's bodies are literal temples where the ordinances of conception, pregnancy, and birth take place (which lead to the joy of having a family). I love that Jesus specifically called women temples here.

The rest of the book is broken into sections examining small groups of like verses. Gaskill summarizes the verse(s), then offers "counsel to men and children" and "counsel to women," drawing on scripture and the words of Latter-day prophets. The information and analysis he offered was a great overview of the wonderful potential of women, their honored place in God's plan, and the ways we should treat the women in our lives. While I sometimes felt the "counsel to women" sections were a little patronizing, I do think a lot of women would appreciate his style and approach in those areas. I'm kind of in the middle of my own feminist awakening of sorts, so some of his "women-should-be-on-a-pedestal"-style rhetoric was a little off-putting, but again, I think the majority of readers would welcome his tone as one that is seeking to honor and inspire women.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were when Gaskill's insights as a biblical scholar came through, such as when he noted that the original Hebrew word translated as "mercy/compassion" is originally "womb love," or when he elaborated on the most accurate meaning of "help meet." I just wish there were more of this! I understand that the aim of this book wasn't especially scholarly, but I would have loved more insights into the deeper meanings of the text.

I was fascinated by the origin story of this text, and Gaskill provides two great appendices elaborating on sacred texts outside the canon (both known and yet-to-be-known) as well as a thorough investigation into the legitimacy of the Russian journalist's claims (apparently there is much controversy about the authenticity of the Russian journalist's account). The scholar in me wishes these had been included earlier in the book, but I can understand how this material might not appeal to most readers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this little book. It is a quick, enjoyable read with some lovely ideas on how Jesus views the importance of women. I would definitely recommend it as a gift for Mother's day or for a girl entering the Young Women's program, or else as an addition to your personal library.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I'm Going Pro

That's right ... I am a professional blogger now.

When did I get to this lofty status? Was it when I succumbed to my vanity and ditched the ".blogspot" from my domain? Was it when I published my 100th post (a gripping exposé on Graham's refusal to eat normal amounts of food)? Or what about that time I dared to blog about the ethical implications of peeing in my bishop's pool, thus catapulting the literary caliber of this blog from "random neurons bumping into each other within Kimber's brain" to "deep, sensual journalism that exposes the inner workings of small-bladdered mothers in the gritty metropolis that is Houston, TX"?

No. Because as wonderful as those blogging moments were, they didn't make me any money, which is kind of the standard criteria in determining whether someone is "professional" at something (except being a mom blah blah blah preaching to the choir!).

But all that changed recently, when I received a lovely email from Amazon informing me that they needed more information from me in order to MAKE PAYMENT for advertising fees, meaning someone had clicked an Amazon link on my blog AND ACTUALLY BOUGHT SOMETHING.

I logged into my Amazon affiliate account like a cheetah, curious to see what had been purchased and, more importantly, how big my payday would be. Maybe it would be enough for some trendy baby moccs (because we all know that is really the mark of a professional blogger). Or maybe just enough for the blue nail polish I've been lusting after as of five minutes ago when I was trying to think of a low-priced item that I would like. Heck, maybe a song on iTunes?

Or maybe 72¢. not even enough for a song.

And I don't even get paid until I've accrued at least $10, which will probably happen when I'm forty.

Do you want to know what the mystery shopper purchased on Amazon?

A Superman snuggie.

For some reason this seems very appropriate. I'd like to think my readers are lovers of art, fashion, and America, and let's face it, this snuggie embodies all three. It's not something I ever linked to, so I'm assuming it was found through a particularly treacherous Amazon rabbit hole, fraught with banana slicers and unicorn meat. I hope whoever has it is reading my professional blog right now, wrapped in their cozy polyester Superman pelt.