Friday, April 11, 2014

our visit to moab was wonderful. we took friday off work but found ourselves leisurely moseying on down. we were banking blm camping which is first-come, first-serve, but we got there too late and there was absolutely nothing left. it must have been spring break weekend for every school district in utah and colorado because moab was packed. all campground were packed. we finally found one tent spot left at a commercial campground not dissimilar to the koa. i was super bummed about that because camping in moab in the middle of the desert is basically the reason you go. or one of the top ten reasons to go. i was stupid for not just reserving a campground in one of the national parks to begin with.

saturday morning two of jared's bike friends called and said they were in moab with their inflatable kayaks and invited us to float the colorado with them. without too much thought we drove into town and rented a tandem inflatable kayak for a really reasonable price. we parked our car at the bottom of the river and drove up the river in their car up the river. we ended up floating about 14 miles and hit about 5 rapids. the first two hours were soo dreamy. paddling the colorado river, sunny, and 75 degrees. but jared isn't the fondest of water and he sort of hit this point where he was done. i'm not going to lie, i had definitely had my fair share of fun by the time we were going on three hours. finally we pulled off to the side and our friend hitch-hiked up the hill to the car. we only went about 2/3 of the way that we originally planned, but who cares! we had so much fun. there were these gorgeous cranes all along the river that were unbelievably beautiful, i kept wondering why they weren't caged up in a zoo. how sad is that?

we ended up camping with our friends on free land. which basically meant, three amigos style roughing it camping. walking far enough away to pee or poop. smores. talks about the meaning of life and bikes and guys wearing long hair, while jared and i politely declined their marijuana invitation. sunday was supposed to be rainy and useless. but lucky for us, it was actually 70 degrees and overcast, literally the perfect weather to hike and bike. except for five minutes when the sun came out, as is evidenced by my one blue skies photo. we started out the day, which happened to be my birthday, with the an amazing mountain bike ride. it was the perfect trail. i wish i could ride it to start my day every day of my life.

we bee-lined it to delicate arch which was packed per usual. before leaving, we grabbed some delicious milt's stop-and-go which was even tastier than i remembered the first time, like so tasty i would drive back down to moab just to eat it again. and then we headed home, into an ice storm and back to our daily lives of work and school for me, and work and more work for jared. we are just trying to figure out how to make the vanlife work for us, because we wouldn't mind living this weekend every day of our lives.

health insurance is a nightmare. it's one of those things i'm hoping we can look back on in twenty years and all communally appreciate as being a problem of the past. i like the affordable care act from the perspective of a consumer of healthcare. however, even the best plan for us that includes vision feels beyond our means. i can't imagine having kids to cover, sheesh! or having some outstanding medical expenses or health concern? i. cannot. imagine.

my mom told me that she did the math and realized in the last decade, she has spent one hundred thousand dollars on health insurance. ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND. $100,000! and that doesn't even include all that she has spent on top of just the damn premium, like prescriptions, doctor's visits, etc...and on top of all that, she is a relatively healthy person. and her story is not just evidence of the healthcare problem in america, she would not have paid near that much if she and her partner could be married. another reason i support same-sex marriage!

it's a problem. it's a huge ass problem. and i hate it. jared and i made the deadline for coverage under the affordable care act in 2014, but i'm dragging my feet choosing a plan because i am mad. under the affordable care act, mediocre coverage is not affordable. i am not mad at obama, or god, or any one person. i am just sending my feelings of frustration with the system into the air.

if you are asking yourself if you just read a blog post entirely complaining about healthcare, the answer is yes. (for some reason complaining about it makes me feel better! fancy that!) my blog is not la vie en rose. it's la vie en reality.

Monday, April 7, 2014

i am overcome with the beauty of human intellect. the fact that people can use their minds to discern and come to a belief or conclusion, whatever that belief may be, is where i see the divine in humankind. i truly believe that each person, living life in their own unique way, is beautiful. truth lies within each of us. no person is a waste, their life, their mistakes and missteps, their successes whether familial or financial, matter.

Friday, April 4, 2014

hey there, internet! jared and i went down to moab for the weekend partly to get away, partly because he had never been, and partly to celebrate my birthday, which was sunday. by the way, i am now 26. what? as we were driving down i remembered my very first real post on this blog was in 2008, recapping a pretty epic trip to moab with some pretty sweet friends. so i thought, is this it? is this the end of an era? moab trip to moab trip, my blog has run it's course? and then i laughed because i can't imagine not having my blog to share when sharing is due. is that weird? i love this little space.

anyways. i'm wondering about stress. last night (or this morning, however you want to look at it), i woke up at 3:30am because i was hot, i had to pee, and i was dying of thirst. oh and our cat was meowing (oh yeah, we got a cat. weird). so i got up, peed, opened the window, stripped off a layer of clothing, and chugged an entire water bottle from the fridge. when i laid back down i felt a million times better. i was laying there thinking about how freaking comfortable my bed is. i have slept with the same down comforter for the last five years (excluding a year and a half for my mission) and it never fails me, all year round, it is the comfiest thing in the universe. i was exhausted. i was comfortable. it was regular sleeping hours. but my brain was unfortunately flipped ON.

do i hate my hair color? i am still mad about our wedding photos situation, oh deeeear what do i do about the wedding photos situation that i have completely forgotten about for two years? is that expensive plant dying because it's in a north window but should be in a south window for optimal sunshine? is our cat still in pain after getting fixed? will i ever get the 20 pages of research papers done that i have to write in the next two weeks? can we afford health insurance? should i have not bought that dress? can i pull it off even?"

why? why do i stress? and over inconsequential things, at that! and i know i'm not alone in this. we all do it! especially during that half-awake-half-asleep state. it's the stupidest! i am only taking 4 classes but i'm also working part-time. it's the best, non-stressful job ever, but it still takes up time during the week. i know other people are juggling way more than me and seem to do it with grace. what? i am not that person. so far in life, my stress trick has been to take on the right amount of things. but inevitably you will hit that point in the semester where you feel like you don't have enough time or motivation to do all your homework, or you will for some reason or another be crunched for money, or love, or patience, or any other of life's necessities.

i've learned that deep breathing really does help me fall back asleep faster than you can say melatonin. consciously reminding myself that all that really matters is lying in the bed next to me, does wonders as well. when i'm awake and stressing, i've found that exercise very often puts it all in perspective for me. but most often, taking my stresses head on usually makes me realize they aren't that big at all, they just cast a big shadow. it's funny how when you finally force yourself to just get started on a task, it's not nearly as impossible as it felt before you began. what are your tips, if you have any?

ps, more pics from moab coming soon! and coming of age posts about nail polish and gender identity and yada, yada, yada (:

Monday, March 17, 2014

women's ordination in the LDS church

hey guys! so i just did something i have been thinking and pondering about for quite a while. i submitted a profile to Ordain Women. before all my orthodox mormon friends and family who happen to be reading have a heart attack and send emails pleading me away from apostasy or random strangers call heresy, i would like to quote Hugh B. Brown:

"Preserve, then, the freedom of your mind in education and religion, and be unafraid to express your thoughts and to insist upon your right to examine every proposition. We are not so much concerned with whether your thoughts are orthodox or heterodox as we are that you shall have thoughts."

i appreciate that each one of you has thoughts. if you have an opinion about female ordination in the church, congratulations. truly. no venom or sarcasm here. that my thoughts happen to swing heterodox of the mormon status quo, is not necessarily evidence that i am estranged from the Holy Ghost or deceived by satan. in fact, it should be evidence that i have pondered the topic and struggled over the question in prayer akin to joseph smith on many accounts. if you have an opinion, whatever it may be, i applaud you. thank you. if you don't, that's okay, too.

when i first heard about the group about a year ago, i thought it sounded a bit extreme. it felt too flashy and grabby and loud and i didn't like it. i told myself that if/when the time came that i wanted to "agitate" for women's ordination, i had the channels i needed through the church. i thought it seemed silly and disempowering to have to ask male leaders for female ordination. if you have to ask for it, do you really have any power? but i've continued to ponder the ordination of women in the church and i realized that the church gives it's members no prescribed avenue to discuss this topic.

there is always the option to send a letter, but isn't that the weakest way to reach leadership? you know, the big VIP's at the top of an organization? i mean anyone who has been upset with an organization and has sent a letter knows the kind of results those efforts receive. they don't receive results. you have no idea if the person to whom you sent the letter ever actually read the letter and chances are, they probably didn't. you don't feel heard. and i realized today that this, for me, is about feeling heard.

so i poked and prodded at Ordain Women until i kind of just couldn't blame them anymore. i just couldn't find a better way to congregate the voices of men and women who desire women's ordination and the gender balance that will come with it. i couldn't find fault with the peaceful and respectful way the group has approached church leaders and sought to attend the priesthood session.

and then a couple months ago i started following Ordain Women on twitter. which sounds random. but every once in a while i would read via twitter the profile of someone who posted their feelings to about why they believe women should be ordained. the stories broke my heart for their pain and helped me feel surrounded by others who desire true gender equality in our church.

today, sitting on trax on the way to campus, while doing my usual smartphone routine of instagram, pinterest, and twitter, i read the church's response to the letter sent by Ordain Women requesting tickets to the upcoming april general conference. and i just couldn't have disagreed more with the church's response. and i know it's not signed by "The Brethren" and it could be reduced to a simple PR move, but it was still the church's official response.

particularly, i was inspired to write a profile and join the ranks of people who have posted profiles on Ordain Women, by the comment in the letter that, "Women in the church, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for priesthood ordination for women and consider that position to be extreme." without any prescribed avenue to share their opinion on this topic, and the only conversation that is happening formally by the church is happening by higher-ups behind closed doors, i ask, how would leaders know? on what basis does the church's public affairs department claim to know how the large majority of women in the church feel? has there been some large collection of women's (and men's, for that matter) thoughts and feelings of which i have not been aware of or apart?

i came home from school and work and sat down and wrote a profile that i submitted to Ordain Women to be posted on their site. i posted not to ask or beg leaders for ordination, but to let them know, i am out there. the church has not provided me the avenue to share my opinion on this topic with church leaders, and this group is being heard. and i guess when the church says that the overwhelming majority of women do not want ordination, i just need to share that i am not part of that group. and that my experience has been the opposite. i know many women who would gladly accept the opportunity if priesthood ordination was available. i know many women and men who are saddened by the gender imbalance in our beautiful, otherwise respectful and loving church.

i am sad to see my church so defensive about something so important. i look forward to the day that priesthood ordination is fully based on worthiness, and not on anything superfluous like race or gender. i believe that day will come. so on the one year anniversary of Ordain Women, here is my submission:

My name is Kelli Anderson, I am 26 years old and a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a direct descendent of Wilford Woodruff and his wife Mary Ann Jackson. I served a faithful full-time mission when I turned 21. I married my husband in the Salt Lake temple.

Mormonism has taught me the significance of human life and the divine, eternal potential within each person. I firmly believe in a God who loves and cherishes all people, which I have learned through prayer and scripture study. 2 Nephi 26:33 states, "He denieth none that come unto him...male and female...all are alike unto God". As I practice gender equality in my marriage, and experience the joys of gender equality at school and work, I am disappointed and disheartened by the gender inequality I experience at church.

I support Ordain Women because gender equality in the church matters, and this group is leading that discussion. I want church leaders to know I desire priesthood ordination to be available to all faithful members, regardless of gender. Additionally, as a faithful member, I want church leaders to know that I do not consider this an extreme position. Incremental steps toward equality are terrific and encouraged, but true equality will not exist until all faithful members may be ordained. I add my voice to Ordain Women because I appreciate the avenue this group has provided me to contribute to the conversation surrounding gender equality in the church, which unfortunately has not been available to me in my formal associations at church.

I support Ordain Women because in all my communion with heaven, I have never received the message that God desires male-only ordination. I truly believe a gender balanced church leadership will benefit all current members, as well as strengthen and increase the growth of the church. I hope to see the doors of the Priesthood Session of General Conference open to women and men, parallel to the annual Women's Meeting.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5

I believe women should be ordained. I look forward to that day.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

me holding a feral cat at my parent's storage unit. because why not.

i have hit that point in the semester where i am ready for it to be over. #shitgirlssays. it doesn't help that it was spring break this last week and that i have to go back to school tomorrow. does anyone else agree that college semesters are just three weeks too long? teachers make the first six weeks really easy and then all at once they dump a bunch of big papers on you. i have this constant looming, "i have to write several long papers" dark cloud that is really hampering my vibe.

i am taking summer and fall classes and then magically, i will only have 20 credits left. and they will be whatever the hell i want credits. which means i could do online classes and we could be halfway to san diego by then. i mean, why not? i don't know. but i would be lying if i didn't admit that jared and i are planning our escape from this state all the time. the place, the time, the reason, all of it. we are plotting. in the meantime, i am constantly reminding myself to enjoy each day as it comes, because i am lucky to be living the life i am and triple lucky to have jared living it with me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

i've been thinking a lot about exercise and nutrition and body image (among other things, my mind is a never-ending stream of deep thoughts). and i just want to say that i freaking love to workout. not because of all the evil calories i'm burning but because it makes me feel strong. yes, it literally makes me stronger. but it makes me feel strong. it makes me feel like i can do anything in the world. it makes me feel invincible. it makes me feel like my life is my own and i do what i want. it makes me feel like an active participant in my life rather than a passive rug upon which myself and others walk. if everyone had that relationship with exercise, i think a lot less people would hate it.

another thing i've noticed along the lines of body image...i realized the other day that when i look in the mirror i consciously and subconsciously ignore the "flaws" and look for whatever i can find that is flattering or that i like. it wasn't always this way. in my younger teen years i would focus on anything that was looking out of sorts and then obsess and agonize over the parts of my appearance that weren't up to (a ridiculous and unattainable) par. i had a beauty regime in high school that consisted of regularly spending a lot of time whitening my teeth, applying anti-cellulite cream, and doing pilates (that i only sort of enjoyed). i spent tons of money on tanning, makeup, and clothes. how i looked was up there on my list of most important priorities in life. not only did i need to look good, but i had to look one certain way: tan, skinny, and well-dressed. and not surprisingly, i never quite obtained the "ideal" appearance.

i never really had a total body crisis that sent my self-esteem plummeting to rock bottom. i have always been a pretty confident girl. but i did choose to let it affect my self-esteem quite a bit more than i ever should have. body image for me was more about priorities than anything else. it was important to me to spend time, money, and THOUGHTS (oh, the thoughts) on my appearance. i was constantly battling my naturally pale complexion. my curvy hips were just waaay too curvy for my liking. i carried my makeup with me in my purse and made sure to touch it up for sure at least half way through the day. you could say this is all just normal teen girl stuff. and yeah, it is. but for many people, the self-conscious obsession with appearance sticks into adulthood and sometimes for a lifetime.

it didn't happen all at once, but a few years ago i really started to respect myself. like, i realized i am pretty freaking awesome. and it has absolutely nothing to do with how i look. or how 'bangable' i am. i realized that i am a good friend. i am smart. i am loyal. i know how to problem solve. i know how to get stuff done. i am reliable and responsible. after that realization, suddenly, i was my own best friend. it didn't matter at all what anyone else thought because i had won over myself, for all the things i am, and all the things i am capable of.

like i said, it didn't happen all at once. but slowly, it mattered less that i touch up my makeup after dinner because i was in a hurry to see people i cared about and i'd rather spend those ten minutes with friends than finding flaws in front of the mirror. it wasn't the end of the world if i ran into someone at the grocery store right after a workout. in fact, i became proud of my healthy habit. and i became proud of the fact that i was not embarrassed about my appearance. i just liked myself too much as a person to be embarrassed of myself because of the way i looked. clothes seemed to fit better (i'll chalk this one up partially to no longer being an awkward teen). going an entire evening without looking in the mirror or even entertaining an appearance-based thought, because i was just enjoying myself too much, felt pretty good. not surprisingly, these habits have stuck.

all of the sudden, my body rocked. when i looked in the mirror, all i could see were healthy legs that took me on a run through the canyon, arms that allowed me to drive to work, eyelashes that helped my vision, ohh the beautiful things my optic system did behold! my body was my most treasured possession and with that realization everything started to change. i ate better. instead of rigidly counting calories, i began to feed my body nutritious, whole foods. if i cut out junk, it was because the junk was slowing me down or affecting my mood, not really because of the weight. i started getting more sleep, and now i get 9 hours almost every night, because that's what i need to function my best. i started to exercise when my body craved it, which turned out to be long jogs about once a week. i stopped stressing the small things, because my body really took the hit. my body was my treasure, and life became about protecting it.

so here i am today. i'm in a really good place. much of my happiness and satisfaction in life stems from my self-respect, but especially from my self-respect for my body. and i'm writing this post, which turned out to be something totally different from what i originally intended when i began writing it (those are always the best kinds of posts). i know that not everyone is as lucky as i've been on the body image journey. however, all the work required to gain self-respect is completely worth it. look in the mirror, tell yourself 'i just love you', look at each body part and find one thing it does that helps you LIVE. give yourself some time, but eventually shopping for clothes won't be a total nightmare and you'll maybe even be comfortable walking around the house naked (given you don't have roommates or family members that would freak out!). your body is a gift!