What Two Little Jewish Girls Taught Me about Being a Mormon Male Leader

by Miki Yoshihito through Creative Commons license on Flickr

by Miki Yoshihito through Creative Commons license on Flickr

I used to teach piano lessons in my house. Every day after school, I had five to six kids coming in and out. These kids were great—thoughtful, well-behaved, if not the most diligent at practicing the piano.

In the month of December, we always did a Christmas recital. After all, the majority of my students came from my LDS network, and once my oldest started a Church of Christ preschool, I thought it was still a safe bet that everyone was Christian.

In November, we began picking our music, and I gave two sisters who were also relatively new students their songs. We found and agreed to go with “O Christmas Tree” and “Silent Night.” They returned next week having not practiced their songs…at all.

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Sacred Music: Glorious

I’m a little ambivalent about the movie, Meet the Mormons, and I’m afraid I don’t quite keep up on the latest pop stars like David Archuleta. But, someone put this song on their Facebook feed months ago, and I love it. This chorus sung by these children gets me every time:

It’s like a symphony just keep listening
And pretty soon you’ll start to figure out your part
Everyone plays a piece in their own melodies

In each one of us, oh, it’s glorious


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Poetry Sundays: Short Roots

Gustave Le Gray (photographer) [French, 1820 - 1884] from the J. Paul Getty Museum

The Beech Tree by Gustave Le Gray (photographer) [French, 1820 - 1884] from the J. Paul Getty Museum

2014 was a tough year for many Mormon feminists. While there were some great positive changes in the Church, for me, they did not outweigh the hard truths I’ve witnessed.  I’ve found comfort in looking to Mormon women of older generations as spiritual role models than I have lately. Women who have weathered storms like the ERA and the 1990′s excommunications of feminists and intellectuals, women who have created their own spiritual paths in and out of the Church.

I’ve loved this poem by Carol Lynn Pearson in particular lately. This past year, I’ve felt so thirsty as I ponder my place in the Church and my own spiritual path.

“Short Roots”
by Carol Lynn Pearson

The tree
At the church next door to me
Turned up its roots and died.
They had tried
To brace its leaning
But it lowered
And lowered,
And then there it lay–
Leaves in grass
And matter roots in air,
Like a loafer on a summer day.

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Christmas Series: an Exponent II Merry Christmas Playlist

by Aimee Evans Hickman

by Aimee Evans Hickman

Click on the picture to the left to go to hear a playlist of our permabloggers’ favorite Christmas carols. Merry Christmas!

In no particular order…
All the Emilys: “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree”

Two out of three Emilys say, “I like the verse, ‘This fruit doth make my soul to thrive it keeps my dying faith alive.’ Because Christ is the center of my reason for staying.

Melody: Patty Griffith’s “Mary”
Because Mary is the closest thing we have to divine feminine. And in my mind her humanity somehow provides a link between heaven and earth. She lived, she wept, she “stayed behind and started cleaning up the place” like so many of us do-out of love and reverence and necessity. And she knew God.

JessR: Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song”
My favorite is Nat King Cole’s version of The Christmas Song. It reminds me of my grandfather. It was his favorite. It also talks about all my favorite parts of Christmas: being home around family and the excitement of kids around this time of year.

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Remembering Emma Lou Thayne and Her Ability to Love

Emma Lou Thayne (2)I will consider my life a success if I am able to master the talent that Emma Lou Thayne had to make people feel good about themselves. It must have been so second-nature to her that I, at first, didn’t realize that I felt better about myself every time I was able to talk with Emma Lou. I felt invigorated (she always had good advice for new directions and paths along with a willingness to help however she could) and happy (she had such great stories and a zen-like outlook on life). It took me some time to see that I felt these things because I felt her love.

She had this talent, an innate ability to love and cherish complete strangers so quickly, to make us feel like we would always be good friends. And, I feel blessed to have been one of the thousands to call her a friend.

I admired Emma Lou from afar for years when one day, I screwed up my courage to write her an email, asking if we could reprint something she had written for Exponent II. I was hoping for a quick “yes”—she’s a busy woman after all.

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