I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was full of delicious food, lots of family, a cat nap or two, and fun board games. And now, time to break out the Christmas music!!!
The very first book review I published on this blog was for Rachel Simmons's The Curse of the Good Girl almost three years ago. (Spoiler: I really liked it!) I just recently read this article on how being a "good girl" - i.e., one who doesn't rock the boat or make waves, one who is always nice and polite and doesn't speak up for herself even when she feels something is wrong - can be a literal health hazard.
On what being a "good girl" means and what it doesn't:
We’re told to be polite, be good, to not interrupt, to say thank you and fake appreciation even when we don’t like something, to be pleasant, not make waves, to be seen and not heard, to not question authority, not stand up for our rights, not be bossy, share when we don’t want to – the list of how we’re taught to “be good” is endless. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be decent citizens with good manners, but that’s different than not speaking up for ourselves and accepting what just feels wrong.
And on how that looks in a medical setting:
You see, the good girl thing translates into being a good patient. Good patients don’t question authority. They don’t challenge the need for the test, the diagnosis, or the treatment. They don’t say no, I don’t want you to examine me. Or thank you, I’ll just leave my clothes on for the Pap smear and I’ll cover with a drape, rather than wearing that insulting paper gown with my rear flapping in the wind. They don’t say I think I’ll labor for a bit longer, thank you – we can revisit the cesarean later. And while we’re at it, I’d like to walk around to help my labor move along rather than being strapped into this bed by a fetal monitor and an IV. Or hey, this symptom is not all in my head...
Now, I will gladly acknowledge that some difficult patients are not being difficult because they have done their research and are standing up for themselves. Some patients simply don't want to do anything hard or uncomfortable, regardless of how well their medical provider explains to them the need and the consequences of failing to follow through. (For example, a diabetic patient who refuses to change her diet to help control her blood sugars is not being a "Wonder Woman"; she's doing harm to herself.)
But at the same time, I have been frustrated by feeling steamrolled both for my own medical care and that of my children. For the most part we've had great medical and dental providers, but there have been a few I've had to face down occasionally and a handful we've refused to see again. How about you?
Photo Credit: Dimitris Michalakis/Reuters
The plight of Syrian refugees continues to tug at my heartstrings. This article from Public Radio International lists several organizations doing important work specifically to help these refugees.
Of course, do your own research into these groups to determine which (if any) you would like to support. Or choose a local organization helping refugees in your area. (Here in Spokane both Global Neighborhood and World Relief Spokane are great options.)
Love, love, love this article about history's complications. People are complex - never all good or all bad - and the decisions they make are complex, even when - perhaps especially when - they are in a powerful position.
The article focuses on a current controversy at Princeton University regarding Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson, as you may know from your history classes...was both a Princeton alum and the university’s president before he went on to become the governor of New Jersey and, in 1912, only the second Democrat since Reconstruction to win the White House. He led the country through the First World War, founded the League of Nations and established the Federal Reserve system as we know it, among other things.
Wilson can fairly be credited, along with Theodore Roosevelt, with having pioneered the modern concepts of American internationalism and progressive government...
What you might not have known about Wilson — and I admit, this was hazy in my memory as well — is just how execrable a human being he seems to have been. Wilson was a fervent segregationist who apparently went to some effort to separate the races in federal buildings. As president, he screened “Birth of a Nation,” the infamous film glorifying the Ku Klux Klan and its philosophy, at the White House.
So President Wilson had some great accomplishments and was an avowed racist who used his considerable influence to block racial progress. People are not all good or all bad.
...today’s students have grown up in a society that increasingly eschews moral complexity...But history is complicated, and so are the people who make it. The messy reality is that great people sometimes do terrible things, and terrible people sometimes do great things. To discard all the actors we find abhorrent, along with all the things they might have accomplished, is to deny the vexing contradictions of humanity — which is exactly what real knowledge is about.
It's a fair question, however, to ask how we should recognize and honor the "good" without either ignoring or praising the "bad". I appreciate this author's nuanced approach and suggestions on how to teach this up-and-coming generation how better to handle the moral complexities and shades of gray inherent in being human, while always striving for personal improvement.
Yeah, I know I missed last week. I actually had one all written, but I was (well, still am) processing a particularly fraught topic in that post and I'm not ready for it to be out for public consumption yet, so you'll just have to wait...
And yeah, I know this one should have been up yesterday, but it's been a busy week here. Tuesday evening we had a windstorm that resulted in 71 mph winds, two fatalities, and the worst power outage this area has ever seen. And then temperatures dropped into the 20s Wednesday night.
Our family was actually very fortunate in that we never lost power, internet or cell phone service, but most other people in the area did. As of Saturday morning, I have several friends who still don't have power.
We did have two trees come down. The first missed our van by inches:
And the very top hit one small section of the fence around our pool:
This was the view from our house:
And then we spent the next two and a half hours biting our nails, watching the next one (in the center of the picture above) sway 45 degrees in the wind, with its roots swelling up through the ground, and then stand back up until it finally fell over. The top got caught up in the maple tree, so it didn't cause any damage or even hit the ground.
It could have been much, much worse.
Here are a couple of angles on the two trees the morning after:
A friend came over on Wednesday with his chainsaws and Gene was able to get most of the day off, so they were able to get the trees limbed and cut into chunks. We've got it mostly cleaned up at this point, except for the stumps. As we drive around town, though, there are still trees down all over, though most aren't blocking roads anymore. Trees on top of houses and cars, fences blown over, downed power lines, trucks holding up power poles, whole neighborhoods still dark. School was cancelled for three days this past week and I'm not confident they'll have them open again on Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving break.
Alanis Morissette provided the soundtrack to my late high school/early college years. I can't believe it's been 20 years since "Ironic" came out, but I love her updated version:
My business partners at Me2 Solutions (i.e., my dad Frank and sister Meredith) and I have launched a new podcast called "The Hidden History of Business". It combines all sorts of subjects that we love to geek out about including, of course, history and business, but food and feminism and warfare and other random topics. Click here to go to the facebook page and "like" it to receive updates. Or go to the website here to listen to all of the episodes in order. We're also on iTunes!
I avoid posting knee-jerk responses to controversial issues. I generally try to take time to read and study and ponder and pray and work to understand different perspectives, to give people on all sides of an issue the benefit of the doubt.
It's been about 24 hours now, and I'm still reeling.
My facebook feed has practically exploded with expressions of pain and anguish and yes, anger, from those who are directly affected by this change, and those who care about them. I spent an hour last night messaging with a gay LDS young adult who received the message loud and clear that she isn't wanted in this Church. Several other friends have reached out to me in confusion and heartache about what this means for them. I have heard of children's baptisms scheduled for this weekend being suddenly cancelled. And what of those children who are already baptized or ordained or planning on a mission or even currently on a mission? What about those who are in joint custody situations, splitting time between two parents, one of whom is in a same-sex marriage while the other one is active LDS? Does this policy apply to them as well? This throws them and their lives into complete chaos.
I am heartbroken. I have so many questions and very few answers.
Even if you believe this is a good policy, please recognize the very real pain and loss it causes for people who already feel marginalized, who may be hanging on by their fingernails. Please remember our baptismal covenants to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who need comfort. Please honor and validate the stories and feelings of those directly affected. Please choose love and charity when you interact with those who may disagree. Please.
I needed something light today, so I binge-watched the 5th season of Little Mosque on the Prairie, created by the fabulous Zarqa Nawaz, who I met at the Parliament of the World's Religions. (You can watch her comments, as well as those of the three other Muslim artists who performed as part of "Laughing All the Way to the Mosque" here.)
Little Mosque is set in the fictional town of Mercy in Saskatchewan. After a long search, the town's small Muslim community has finally found a place to worship - in the local Anglican church. Interfaith shenanigans ensue, of course. Nawaz has created fun characters that belie the stereotypes and represent a wide variety of practicing Muslims. Hulu has the entire 91-episode, 6-season series available here.
I also recently discovered the TV show iZombie, from the creator of Veronica Mars. It is likewise a fun, campy show with great characters, snappy dialogue, and an intriguing premise. A smart, ambitious medical student goes to a boat party and is scratched by a zombie, becoming one herself. She breaks up with her fiance, leaves med school, and takes a job in a morgue to give herself easy access to her required diet, human brains, without killing anyone.
The entire first season is on Netflix, and the handful of episodes that have aired so far in the second season are available on Hulu.
And here's some baby kittens. They always seems to make life a little brighter. The little guy in the tissue box at about 0:55 is pretty darn adorable.
The staff at Sesame Street has always worked toward making the show inclusive of diversity of every stripe, and I'm glad that they are still striving for that goal. Sesame Street recently released a series of videos highlighting children with autism, across the spectrum. They are done beautifully, lovingly, and with joy and understanding of each child's unique qualities. I've embedded one of my favorite videos below. Check out the full series here.
I really enjoy those fun "100 years of fashion" videos that have been making the rounds lately. This link has a half dozen short videos, including a side by side comparison of women's and men's fashion during the same time periods, men's swimwear, and a century of wedding dress styles.
It's been a week and a half since I got back from the Parliament of the World's Religions and I'm still going through withdrawals, mourning my return to the "real world" a bit. I loved the environment of inclusiveness and curiosity and welcome and learning that pervaded the entire conference.
One of the presentations I didn't get to see was titled "Teaching Children about World Religions" presented by Ron Madison, the author of a children's book that does just that. Luckily, I found this youtube video of him and several of the children he profiles in his book:
And in case you're interested in learning more, here's a TED-Ed video that provides a brief chronological introduction to the five major world religions: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.
It was an incredible experience! From Native American smudging, to the Sikh langar, to Muslim comedians and artists, to a Baptist gospel choir, these five days were packed full of fascinating, uplifting, educational experiences, of people sharing how they worship and connect with God - however they identify that Divine Power, and of the innate goodness and power of people choosing to step outside their comfort zones and make a difference in the world. I'm so glad I got to be a part of it!
I got to meet and hang out with some of the coolest people. I didn't get nearly enough pictures...
Native Americans in full ceremonial dress
Sonja J. Wratten of the Church of England,
the first female priest of her parish in Bedford, England
Andrea Radke-Moss and Carol Lynn Pearson
Two Jain women chatting at the Parliament
My sweet friend Emily & her daughter Cherylyn!
And her husband (and my good friend) Kenyon
My freshman-year crew from BYU: Dan, Ben, Cristie & Brian
HH Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji
Meredith & I met Zarqa Nawaz, the creator of
the Canadian sitcom "Little Mosque". It's on Hulu - go watch it!
Ajisebo and Wande Abimbola, Yoruba high priestess & priest
Met an online friend in person, Betsy Vanderberghe (C)
and a new friend Becky Farley (L)
SpokaneFaVS folks celebrating after a successful presentation.
Some of the best people I know are SpokaneFaVS people!
Tresa, Sara, me & Meredith - we've got big plans!
FaVS road trip buddies! Kim, Tracy, Skyler, me, Meredith, & Laura
Of course there were many others that I didn't get to personally meet, but whose words were powerful for me this week. Karen Armstrong, Tariq Ramandan, Jane Goodall, Grandmother Rose Pere, Ilyasah Shabazz, Ruth Messinger, Rabbi David Saperstein, Valarie Kaur, Jonathan Brown, Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Bernard Freamon, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Bishop William Swing, Rev Jim Wallis, Police Chief Devon Clunis, Dharma Master Hsin Tao, Sister Maureen Goodman, Metropolitan Nikitas, Danny Blackgoat, the list goes on and on...
And my reading list has exploded!
Coming back to reality after the interfaith high of the past week is not always fun and smooth. I'm definitely experiencing withdrawals! But these faces ease the transition a bit.
I'm here for the Parliament of the World's Religions, the largest interfaith gathering in the world! 10,000 people from 80 different countries and 50 different religion traditions have converged here to learn and teach and share and commune and be inspired and uplifted. And I'm so lucky to be one of them!
SpokaneFaVS is presenting on Monday. Our workshop is on 'Creating Meaningful Interfaith Dialogue in Your Community in the Digital Age' and it's going to be great!
In the mean time, I'm overwhelmed by the options - so many difficult choices! There are three or four sessions I'd like to attend during every time slot. It's impossible to catch everything, so I'm just trying to see as much as I can. I've already met amazing people and had so many wonderful experiences after only one day!
The place we're staying doesn't have great wifi, so if you'd like to see pictures and read more about my experiences here, trot over to my Facebook page (https://facebook.com/emily.geddes) where I've made all of my Parliament posts public.