February 28, 2013

The Book of Mormon Girl

That's when i realized that through all the years of searching, from the time I was a small girl kneeling at the bedside on her orange prayer rug, I had learned what the voice of God sounded like. I knew what the voice of God felt like, and it did not feel like rocks against the side of the house. It did not leave a sting of shame burning across my temples and in the pit of my stomach. The voice of God I knew was gentle, kind, and deliberate. And that voice was not forbidding me to write or speak, as long as I did so honestly and without malice. Even if I made mistakes from time to time, as a write or as a Mormon, that voice would not condemn me. It would guide me firmly and gently through.

I have been in such a reading slump this winter. It seems that most people's reading habits ramp up in the colder months; I appear to be the opposite. Although it might have to do with the series of books I've attempted over the last few months. I'd like to blame The Casual Vacancy (zzzzzzzzzzzz) for beginning this streak of books I've started and not finished. Even Tim Gunn's new book couldn't save me from my slump. And as excited as I was to get Wolf Hall from the library, one look at the 5 pages of family trees and list of characters and I knew I wasn't going to make it through.

So here's to The Book of Mormon Girl, the first book I've managed to finish since..... November? (sooo embarrassing) It's a super fast, super easy memoir about growing up Mormon, falling away, and figuring out how to come back on one's own terms. I appreciate memoirs about spirituality, especially those whose faiths are different from my own. There is always common ground and I enjoy finding it- in this case, the paragraph quoted above about the voice of God being gentle and kind. And how it's okay to make mistakes. 'cause it is.

February 25, 2013

Church mural


if you are in Washington, DC, please find this and bask in its awesomeness for me. according to the artist Hense's website, it's in Ward 6, and is across the street from where a new art museum will be built. there are more pictures on his website of this commission, some of other murals, and a little of his graffiti past.

so cool. i love to see art reclaim and enhance urban environments. there are a lot of really cool murals here in Minneapolis, but nothing of this size and scale and impact.

i want to go to church here. or live here. or just live on the same block, so everyday when i leave my house i get to see it. 

February 22, 2013

Sworn Virgins

i found out about this from Kottke, of course. Photographer Jill Peters traveled to Albania to capture the "Sworn Virgins", women who assume a male identity fot the rest of the their lives in order to secure their basic rights and privilages. Peters explains it best on her website:

"Sworn Virgin" is the term given to a biological female in the Balkans who has chosen, usually at an early age, to take on the social identity of a man for life. As a tradition dating back hundreds of years, this was necessary in societies that lived within tribal clans, followed the Kanun, an archaic code of law, and maintained an oppressive rule over the female gender.The Kanun states that women are considered to be the property of their husbands. The freedom to vote, drive, conduct business, earn money, drink, smoke, swear, own a gun or wear pants was traditionally the exclusive province of men. Young girls were commonly forced into arranged marriages, often with much older men in distant villages.

As an alternative, becoming a  Sworn Virgin, or 'burnesha" elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name.  Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. Most importantly of all, she took a vow of celibacy to remain chaste for life. She became a "he". This practice continues today but as modernization inches toward the small villages nestled in the Albanian Alps , this archaic tradition is increasingly seen as obsolete. Only a few aging Sworn Virgins remain. The number of new cases are scant and tend to be considered less authentic by younger generations.

we live in such a fascinating world. Check out Peters' site for more photos of these intriguing women.

February 14, 2013

best valentines ever.

aaaah, how amazing are these? found here. the top right is my favorite.