Monday, July 13, 2015

Jesus Didn't Make My Son's Body

photo by Tara Butler
After church a while ago, Graham proclaimed, "Jesus made my body! And trees! Did he make our house?"

After trying to explain how it was possible that Jesus was the creator of the whole earth and a carpenter, but not also a suburban construction worker, I realized another discrepancy in my four-year-old's declaration. I tried to clarify:

"Graham, I made your body."

"No, Jesus did!"

"Actually, I did, with the power of God. I grew your body with my body."

Then I can't remember what happened, but it probably involved Graham running away to get a snack (11 o'clock church is rough).

photo by Tara Butler
I don't fault my son's Sunday school teacher for this at all. I learned the same phrase, and I've probably repeated it. Of course, all life comes from His power, and all bodies are formed from matter from the earth He created, but I don't think it's accurate to say, "Jesus made my body." That's oversimplifying the truth and foreclosing an important discussion about the role and power of women.

I make an effort to emphasize the amazing contribution I have made to our children in creating their bodies. I don't do this to brag or impress my children, or usurp the roles of God or our Savior in their lives. I do it because I believe that the creation of bodies, however universal, is a uniquely divine process, a power and privilege given to women. It is one way I contribute to the eternal progression of God's children (there are, of course, other vital ways women participate in God's work). I want my children to understand that women and men have equally important roles to play in God's plan for them. I feel that I am glorifying God in acknowledging a concrete way that He allows me and His other daughters to participate in His work.

Would you ever say that Jesus baptized you? No! Because He didn't! A man, through the power of God, baptizes you. Just like a woman, through the power of God, creates and gives birth to your body.

Ruby on the day of her baby blessing
When we generalize that "Jesus made my body," we are missing an important opportunity to acknowledge the role of women in the Plan of Salvation. I don't think it takes any glory away from Christ when we recognize that women are serving Him and God's children by creating bodies through His power. Just like our reverence for the priesthood and the respect we show to those ordained to offices in that priesthood doesn't diminish our worship for our Savior. Acknowledging that women play a vital, irreplaceable role in His plan actually increases my love and deference for Him because I am humbled that I have been entrusted with such an important part of His work, I can see how He loves and entrusts men and women with His power in equal measure, and my experience with and knowledge of the process of procreation informs my understanding of the atonement.

photo by Andrea Oates
Next time you're discussing the importance, divinity, and origin of our bodies, consider acknowledging that it is women through whom this power and blessing flow (literally!). Instead of teaching your kids that "Jesus made your body," maybe try something like this, "God and Jesus gave me a very important job! I'm in charge of making bodies for the kids in our family. It's a really important job and God gave me a special, sacred power so I can make bodies. Our Heavenly Parents and Jesus all have bodies and they wanted you to have one, too, so you could be like them. With God's power, I make bodies."

photo by Andrea Oates
My husband agrees that this contribution of women shouldn't be minimized, and I love to hear him teach our children about the divine power of my motherhood. I feel supported and honored as a daughter of God and mother of our children when he teaches them that my gift of a physical body is just as important as his subsequent gifts of baptism, confirmation, etc. Our society often discounts the importance and miracles of birth and bodies, or dismisses the process as gross and commonplace. Changing the words we use when we teach important doctrines about bodies and birth, mortality, and the embodied nature of God reclaims the divinity of the procreative process, establishes that women are connected to God's power, and creates an empowering paradigm for our daughters to recognize their procreative powers as an important facet of their identities as servants of Christ.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ridiculously Easy, No-sew Baby Doll Carrier Tutorial, + Random Life Tips

I'm no Martha Stewart, but sometimes I have good mothering/housekeeping/crafty ideas. Here are a few random ones that have made me particularly delighted:

-When you're on vacation or an outing that you want to Instagram the heck out of to show that you actually get off your couch sometimes ... but you're out of memory on your phone! Curses! You don't want to spend ten minutes going through your photo stream to find and delete the forty pictures that your toddler took of her toes, because the moment is about to pass! The pony ride is about to be over, people! Instead, pick an app to delete. You can easily reload it later when you've had a chance to transfer your pictures to your computer. I usually delete my BBC or CNN apps. News can wait when you're making memories (make sure you read this in a grandfather-from-a-Nicholas-Sparks-novel voice).

-Instead of peeling the safety seal off your vanilla (or other extracts or liquids you usually only need a small amount of), cut a small slit in the seal so you have more control over how fast it comes out. If yours comes in a plastic bottle, you can even give it a little squeeze to fill that teaspoon a quarter-second faster. You'll spill less and will neatly sidestep your phobia of accidentally wasting half the bottle of your expensive Madagascar bourbon vanilla if your hand twitches.

-Here's how to make a super-easy, no-sew baby doll carrier with which your kids can adorably imitate you. Seriously, this project will last as long as Donald Trump's political career.

Lay out  an old t-shirt and mark it for cutting like so:

Note my summer toenails.
Cut through both layers. 

In case you skipped kindergarten and don't know what "cutting" means.
One of your scraps can be used as a chic dickie.

You have to make this face when you're wearing a dickie.

Your project should look like this now. I forgot to take a picture of the next set of cut lines before I cut them, so I added them in digitally. I love technology.

Cut on these lines, but THROUGH ONE LAYER.

Unfolded, it should look like this. I love that down arrow.

It's like a disembodied bunny coming in for a hug.

 More cut lines. Again, THROUGH TOP LAYER ONLY.

All done!!! 

Now to put it on. Tie the waist straps at the back.

Remember to support baby while you're securing the carrier. Just kidding, it's just a stuffed polar bear.

Cross straps across the back and tie in front.

Support the neck!!
 So cute. Make another one. Goodness knows you have BYU t-shirts to spare.

Baby carriers are practically clothes.

Little mama.
 Awesome! If you make one, send me a picture and I will put it on the blog along with an interview where I highlight how amazing you are at being a person.

Gotta go make some lentils. Adios.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

When I Die

I know some intense stuff has been happening around the world lately, so I'm going to write about something more light and fluffy to soothe your frazzled internet nerves: 


Why is a 20-something mother thinking about such morbid things as the passage of time? I'd argue that no one is more acutely aware of the speedy jaws of time than someone who has approximately four minutes to shower in peace until an enraged toddler starts throwing things at the door. Also, I'm a really deep person who thinks about metaphysical stuff all the time. Okay, so I was actually just looking at my arm and noticed a weird configuration of freckles/marks that may come in handy for the public to know about in case I go missing and die in a ditch and need to be identified later by the small town lady cop who finds me and works my puzzling case, all while she's in the midst of working through a divorce from her high school sweetheart, opening an e-bakery to fund her mother's chemo treatments, and managing her micro-farm. It'll be like Fargo meets Eat, Pray, Love, plus The Fault in Our Stars, for the cancer.

Here are the marks, on my right upper arm, FYI:

They needed a little something ...


Now when my missing person poster goes up on the cork board by the bathrooms at Panera, it can include such vital knowledge as "grimacing ghost face birthmark on upper right arm." You could substitute "melancholy" for "grimacing" because he looks a little frowny. Or maybe he's just whiny?

Over-legislation ghost.

Accidentally-transracial ghost.

Ironically-capitalist hipster ghost.

When I die, I'd also like everyone to know the details of my death, especially if it's untimely. Don't be vague about how I died, because that drives morbidly curious people like me crazy! If I choke to death in the pantry because I was pounding a cupcake too quickly in an effort to avoid my children seeing and asking for a bite, put that in my obituary! "She died selfish and happy, with the smallest smudge of chocolate buttercream nonchalantly smeared across her lips, once so warm and slightly-chapped in life, now so cold in death."

Other important details: bury me with a 32 oz bottle of DevaCurl conditioner because I'm worried Amazon Prime doesn't deliver to the spirit world, and I want my hair to be looking hydrated and fabulous forevermore.