Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Well it comes around each year, but for
the last four years I haven't looked forward to it.
Mother's Day has become a bittersweet holiday.

Don't get me wrong, I know how important it is to show appreciation and gratitude for the special people in your life. But now I just feel awkward and out-of-place on Mother's Day. I'm not a mother and my Mother is gone.

So walking through Costco yesterday grocery shopping was a little more than painful watching people buy flowers when I remembered the last time I gave my mom flowers, they were lying on a grave.

There are a few times specifically throughout the year that I miss my mom like crazy, and Mother's Day is one of them. I would do anything to drive to Alton and make her breakfast in bed (even though I'm a terrible cook.) I would give anything to call and chat with her for an hour to hear her talk about her church calling and how fast her garden is growing.

But as I was sitting feeling sorry for myself, I had the thought that Mother's Day is only painful for me because of how GREAT my mom was. I miss her so much because she understood me and I could talk to her about anything. She was the perfect example of how to LIVE the gospel because it was everything to her. She showed me how to have a strong family because she was strong. It didn't matter how tired she got, she was always on the front row at my basketball games yelling her guts out. She showed me how to love people because she put everyone's needs before her own. Me and my siblings knew she loved us because she took a picture of every moment in our lives - She was there for EVERYTHING. She taught me how to be proud and supportive because she couldn't wait to tell our neighbors and relatives when I achieved even the smallest thing in my life.

I think of all the billions of people on this planet and how many of them can say they have a mom like that? I'm sure there are a lot of people that are sad on Mother's Day, but it may be because they never knew their mom. Or maybe their mom abandoned them. Or maybe they had a neglectful or abusive mom. Or maybe those people will never get to be a mom because they can't have kids.

As I started thinking of why I struggle on Mother's Day, it made me realize that I have the greatest reason to celebrate Mother's Day of all. I miss my mom because she made the biggest impact on my life by loving me.

That is why I will celebrate Mother's Day.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A look inside an untraditional Easter tradition

The air was thick with smoke and the intense stench of burning hair. Easter season had officially arrived.

I grew up on a ranch in a tiny, speck of a town in southern Utah. I did anything and everything involved with farming and living the cowboy dream ranging from herding cows to baling hay.  Needless to say, as a result of our lifestyle, my family's holiday celebrations were sometimes a little unorthodox.

Our holidays and life were dictated by the cows and growth of the hay. Easter season just happened to also be branding season.

Every spring break growing up, we spent the week at what we referred to as “the Desert” which was actually a strip of land in Arizona bordering the north rim of the Grand Canyon. Our cows grazed there during the winter and had their calves in the spring. A few months after they were born, my whole family (grandparents, nieces, nephews and all) would make the three hour drive to help with the branding.

For the entire week of Easter, we would brand calves in the hot Arizona sun, giving vaccinations, castrating – the whole nine yards. On the day before Easter Sunday, we would take a break from working and color Easter eggs in large quart-sized mason jars with food coloring.

Then my older siblings would hide the eggs among the cacti, rocks, and cow patties and we would run around looking for them. After all the hard boiled, colored eggs were collected, the “Easter bunny” (my mom) would hide the baskets of goodies in one of our old tin sheep wagons and we would race to be the first one to find the treasure trove.

Our untraditional celebration of Easter has always been a treasured memory and since I have moved away and started a new career path, I can't help but feel that something is missing every Easter holiday. As strange as it sounds, Easter just isn't Easter without the cacti and baby calves.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Travel Fever

Yes, I have the bug. The Travel Fever bug. The "I need to get out of this town before my head caves in" type of feeling.

It hits me about every 6 months. And it's intense. I start getting super twitchy and it's all I can do to stop from kidnapping Bryce and just driving. And not stopping for about 7 hours.

I don't know if I just get bored of life or if I have a hard time settling down (that analysis could probably be its own Blog post entirely.) But, regardless of the reason, I just have the insatiable urge to travel. Explore. Do something to break up the monotony of everyday life.

I have been told that I am spontaneous. It may be true. But, it may also be a curse. It comes creeping up on me and I just need to throw all caution the wind and drive far away. Or buy a plane ticket to anywhere. But it has to be acted upon.


For instance, this past weekend my family called me and invited me to the Hunter's Expo in Salt Lake City at the last minute. And so I immediately packed a bag and caught the train and ended up  sleeping over (even though I already had plans.) Just because. I don't know if that makes me irresponsible or just restless. It's probably both.

And it's weird because I have tons of friends here that I dearly enjoy and I love my job at KSL and I even really enjoy being in Provo. I like the city, the culture, and the vibe of Northern Utah. But every once in a while I just get the strong urge to leave it all behind and just leave.

I am just thirsting for a good adventure I guess. I get bored of the mundane lifestyle I suppose and so I just need to roadtrip and explore every once in a while to make me feel alive.

Due to our current finances, my adventure will have to be relatively close and cheap. I am thinking maybe Mesa, Denver or San Francisco, three places that I have never been.

India will just have to wait for now.

Memoir of My Mom

(This Blog is lengthy and sad, but I felt it should be shared. I actually wrote it for a Magazine Writing Class in April 2011. My professor commended me for my honesty in writing which is something I have always strived for. I feel that you can often be your most, honest self on paper.)

                 “Girls, we went to the doctor. He had some bad news for us. I have breast cancer.” My mom seemed calm enough as she said these words, but I could see a quiet panic in her eyes. My younger sister, Hope, and I sat around our long, wooden kitchen table trying to swallow the news. Cancer? What exactly does cancer do to a person? How could my mom who has never smoked, drank alcohol, done anything bad to another person in her life have cancer? As a senior in high school on that chill, February day, I didn’t understand how my mother’s statement would impact my life three years later.
I had what some people could call the “picture-perfect” Latter-Day Saint family. I am the ninth youngest of ten kids. All of us are active members of our faith, good upstanding members of society, and best friends with each other. All my siblings are about two years apart, but we are all very close and have loud, boisterous, happy get-togethers during holidays and the summers. Everything in my life was basically perfect, up to the point of that February day.
            That night I remember crying by myself in my bed, scared senseless of what this could mean and how at eighteen years old, I was too young to go through something like this. I felt like a child that had just had a bad dream and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that a monster was crouching in my closet, waiting to pounce. So I did what any child would do. I went and crawled into bed with my mom and dad. I cried myself to sleep with my mom’s arms around me, and her tears falling into my hair.
 * * * * * *
Mom had to get a mastectomy. They lopped her breast right off, and she had to wear a special bra so she didn’t look lopsided. I remember thinking how nice it would be not to have boobs at all and deal with the hassle of bras and sports bras. Me and Hope would joke about getting ours removed as well, and how much easier cross country and basketball would be without all that jiggling and jostling around. 
            However, the cancer had spread and I was informed that Mom would need chemotherapy and radiation. All I had learned about chemo up to that point was that it makes people look 20 years older, and their hair falls out. All of these things turned out to be true. Mom showed me her “plug” one day. It was a port that they implanted under her skin right by her collarbone so she didn’t have to get an IV every time she got treatments. It was as though she was trying to make the experience seem scientific and safe. But to me, it looked like they were turning her into a robot or a lesser form of herself.
            Then Mom’s hair started to fall out. My mom used to have beautiful, straight, long black hair. Then halfway through having all her babies, she chopped it off into a short “grandma” haircut. Then it turned gray and slowly faded into a silver color by the time she was fifty. So the Mom I knew had always had short, thick grayish silver hair that swept across her forehead from a deep side part. My mom was very practical and down to earth. She never wore makeup, went to the salon, or any of that “high maintenance girly stuff.” But it was hard to see Mom bald with no eyebrows or eyelashes. And it bothered her more than we realized too.
            Me, all six of my sisters and three nieces decided to take a trip with my mom down to Las Vegas to see Phantom of the Opera in the Vanetian Hotel. On the three hour drive there, we all discussed Mom’s cancer, and how we all needed to have strong faith in God so that she could be healed. We believe in modern day miracles, and expected to see one with Mom because if anyone deserved it, it was her.
When we arrived in Vegas, we all got dolled up and fancy. We had decided to enrich the experience by dressing up in old high school prom dresses with red lipstick and white opera gloves. We were all laughing about the experience and the people that would stare at us, when my mom suddenly exclaimed, “Oh shoot. I forgot my wig!” She was really upset. I hadn’t seen her that bothered and irritated in a long time. “I just won’t go. I will spoil all the pretty outfits with my beanie. Just go ahead.” I was shocked that she would actually think about missing this event, and for the first time in my life, I saw my Mom who could wear gardening work clothes anywhere, feeling self-conscious about her lack of hair. We of course made her come, and made her be in the pictures as well, though she tried to be the one to just take them.
* * * * * *

I remembered still thinking that Mom was invincible. My mom was that person that would be baking bread, while watering the garden, working on a quilt, preparing a lesson for church, organizing picture books, and talking on the phone all at the same time. She was stronger than cancer. So why was she getting thinner and having to take naps during the day? And Dad was getting worried. But I knew that she would get better. If I had strong enough faith in Jesus, then He could heal her because she was a good, righteous loving person. And God always keeps His word when good people keep His commandments.
And Mom did get better for awhile. The summer after my freshman year in college, our miraculous healing came. The doctors reported that her white cell count was back up, and the chemo was working faster than they had ever seen. Her cancer went into remission, and I felt that we had won the battle. Life was perfect again, and the sun came out to fill the brilliant blue sky. Mom’s hair started growing back, and most of her energy returned.
Then during my sophomore year of college and after a six month break from PET scans, the check up tests came back with bad results. The cancer was back, and it had spread like wildfire through her body. There was a spot on her lungs, her liver, her ribs, her hip, and in her lymph nodes. I remember the family meetings where Dad would gather us all together around the long, wooden kitchen table, and he’d give us a “pep talk” to give us hope in the future, and that “we just all need to keep having faith in God and things will work out.” These talks always made me feel better, and I pushed the doubts out of my mind. Mom could not die.
            I decided to serve a mission for the LDS church like so many of my older brothers and sisters. I had been assigned to serve my eighteen-month mission in Mississippi and Louisiana. I remember feeling nervous about leaving my sick Mom in her condition, but I knew that if I was going to do God’s work, and dedicate a year and a half of my life to serving him and others, then God would definitely watch over my mom while I was gone.
When I hugged my family goodbye when my family dropped me off at the Training Center for missionaries, I was startled at how much my mother was crying. She always cried when my family members left on missions because you are basically cut off from any contact with your family during that time: You can email them once a week, and make a phone call on Mother’s Day and Christmas. But in my head I knew that I would see her again, and eighteen months wasn’t really that long.     
            My mission flew by, and I loved every minute of it. I had never felt so happy or fulfilled in my entire life. I saw people’s lives change as they accepted the things we taught them, and as they joined the church and made a fresh start. I saw so much happiness and growth in my own life, and I learned to love and serve these hospitable people of the south. I was in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and me and my companion, Sister Johnson, were getting ready for church on a bright Sunday morning in November. I was lying on the couch in the living room, and our cell phone rang. The president of our mission wanted to speak with me.
“Sister Heaton, I am afraid I have some bad news,” he began.
I instantly knew that something really terrible was happening with my mom. I felt the sheer panic begin to sink in, and I began to sob uncontrollably. Somehow I had pushed to the back of my mind that my mom had cancer while I was thousands of miles away, talking about Jesus in the ghettos of Mississippi day in and day out. My hands started shaking, and I could barely speak. I heard some words about how my dad had called him, and he wanted me to check my email because my dad had sent me more information about my mom’s situation. But it was not good, and she didn’t seem to have much time.
The words were hollow and faint. How could she not have much time? She had already beaten cancer once. I mumbled a few replies through my numb sobbing, and hung up the phone. The email was also a blur. The sobs kept wrenching from my chest as Sister Johnson held me while I read. The words rang through my pounding head. “Your mom isn’t going to be with us much longer. We will call in the afternoon so that you can say goodbye. She has gone downhill really fast in the last two months. She loves you and is proud of what you are doing.”
I struggled through church that day, trying to contain my emotions. Most people thought I was crying nonstop because I was getting moved out of Hattiesburg that week, and being relocated to different city, Meridian, Mississippi. I had been serving in Hattiesburg for almost five months, and I had grown close to the church members and converts in that city. But I let them think what they wanted. I didn’t want to explain myself to these people. They didn’t know my Mom or the impact this would have on my life, and I didn’t feel that they deserved to know.  
            Then the phone call from my dad came, just as church got over. I instantly cried when I heard his voice on the phone. It had been months since I had talked to my family, and I hadn’t realized how much I missed them until that moment. I felt like a homesick puppy dog that wandered off to play and just realized that it was lost, and didn’t know its way back home.
My dad explained that they hadn’t told me how serious Mom’s situation was before now because they didn’t want me to worry and lose focus on the work here. I nodded and tried to comprehend what he was saying. Death? Not gonna make it? What did these terms mean? I had heard them before, but now I couldn’t make sense of it all. He wanted me to say goodbye to my mom. “She hasn’t been able to talk for a few days now because the cancer has attacked her vocal cords, and she is too sick. Just talk to her and tell her anything you want to say. She will hear you, and she seems to be comprehending things pretty well today.”
My heart pounded in my chest, and my throat constricted with my sobs. I didn’t know if I would be able to speak at all. “Mom, I love you. I will miss you. Thanks so much for always being my best friend.” That was all I could choke out. I heard her raspy breathing that will be stuck in my memory for the rest of my life. My dad later told me that when she heard my voice, her eyes lit up, and it looked like she was trying to say something.
I couldn’t sleep that night. Words and thoughts and that raspy breathing kept pounding through my head. Finally, at 3 a.m. I couldn’t handle it anymore.
“Sister Johnson, are you awake?”
“Do you want to go on a walk with me right now? I can’t sleep.”
And because she is that quiet, loyal, understanding person, Sister Johnson replied, “Yes. I would love to. I can’t sleep either.”
We walked down the bike trail located right behind our apartment. It was dark, and humid, but quiet and still. I felt numb as we walked in silence down that narrow paved path. We reached a bridge that ran over the top of the freeway, and walked to the middle and stopped. I stood there side by side with Sister Johnson, and we watched the cars drive underneath us with their bright headlights zooming by. I realized as I watched them, that I felt a slight anger. How could these people’s worlds continue on just fine like this when my world had suddenly stopped and shattered? I thought about dying, and I wondered what it felt like. Ironically, several cars began to bright us with their headlights and honk as they drove by as if to say, “Don’t jump. Things will work out.”
My Mom passed away 2 days later. My dad called me with the news as me and Sister Johnson were in the ghetto walking off a splintered, wooden porch that was littered with cigarette butts. The old black man we had gone to teach a lesson to that day had flaked out on his appointment. I promised myself that I wouldn’t cry that day, and I didn’t at first. I felt a numbness begin to settle in my mind. This wasn’t real. I walked around like a robot for the next few weeks, numb to any emotion, just going through the motions, and forcing myself to breathe in and out.
I decided not to go home for the funeral. God needed me in Mississippi, and that is where I would stay. I wrote a letter to be read at my mom’s funeral, but struggled to find closure in the words. I wanted to hug her more than anything else. I didn’t sleep at night, and began losing weight from the stress. I lay in bed crying silently to myself one night so that I didn’t wake my companion. I finally got out of bed and walked into the living room. I sat down on the floor, and hugged my knees to my chest and stared at the picture of Jesus we had hanging on the tan stucco wall of the apartment.
How could she have died? Didn’t I have enough faith? Hadn’t she been healed before? The words rang in the silence, as the picture of Jesus stared back at me through my tears. Suddenly an overwhelming peace enveloped me. I knew that I would see my Mom again someday. The numbness was shattered, at least for that small moment, and I seemed to glimpse a sliver of sunlight.
It seemed that all the people I met and talked to in Meridian had just lost someone. I cried every time I heard the word cancer. I don’t know if I had never realized there was so much death in the world before, or if I just hadn’t been so acutely affected by it until now. I cried and prayed with strangers on their porches, and in their living rooms. I rarely talked about my own loss, because the less I talked about it, the less real it was, and the more likely it would be that my mom would be standing at the airport when I got home. But I tried to give other people hope as I talked about how there is life after death and families can be together forever.
* * * * * * *

Six months flew by, and before I knew it I was heading home from my mission. I left with great sadness because Mississippi had become my home, and the people had become my family. I bawled all during the plane ride, and I bawled when I stepped off the airplane and saw my family waiting for me. I instinctively looked for that grayish, white hair in the crowd, but it wasn’t there. This was real. My mom was gone.
When I arrived home with my family from the airport, I dragged my luggage up to my old bedroom, still the same after eighteen months of emptiness, just a little dusty. I paused in the doorway of my mom’s bedroom, as if waiting for her to appear out of her office, and to see that wide smile and crinkled hazel eyes. As the reality sunk in, I felt that same feeling of despair and numbness start to close in.
It has been almost a year now since the moment I walked into my house, and realized that my mom really wasn’t there. I still feel depressed when I think about it, and I feel the loss heavily in my life. There are still times that I feel she will be in her room when I walk by, sitting in her old, green armchair reading a novel, her eyebrows furrowed in concentration. I think I still feel that way because I wasn’t there to see her get really sick, or to see her lying in a coffin.
I have the moments of peace every now and then just like that dark night in Meridian. It’s almost a reassurance that everything is ok, and my mom is still alive, but we just can’t see her. But for me, it still hasn’t ended. And I want it to end on a good note because I don’t like sad stories.  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Married Life: Strangely Similar

So it happened. I got married. Weird, right?
But weirder than that, my whole life didn't stop. I didn't turn into a submissive, knitting, stay-at-home--and-cook-dinner wife. Actually, not much changed at all. Well, there are the obvious, now-you-live-together-and-can-get-more-cozy-than-before changes, but honestly everything else about my life was very similar.
I didn't fall down a dark marriage hole like a lot of my other friends and disappear for 6 months. In fact, I still see all my old friends (married and single) just as much as I did before.
This all came as quite a surprise to me. From my years of seeing friend after friend get married, I really thought that your whole life has to change and the Magic Marriage Fairy casts a spell on you that changes everything about your personality, social life, and interests.
But.... it was a myth. I am still the same fiesty, stubborn, feminist, spastic, social butterfly that I have grown into over the last 24 years. And I am glad.
I still have the same ambitions, goals and dreams and Bryce supports them. He is totally down to travel the world, volunteer in 3rd world countries, and go on millions of missions with me. He is supportive that I want to have a career and move all over the country.
I have discovered in the 2 months of being married that it really is what you make of it. So, I hate cooking and Bryce likes it? He cooks us meals. I love cleaning and doing laundry? I take care of that. I love working and am terrified of the thought of having children? That is ok too.
I realize now that I didn't have to turn into a domesticated, 1950's housewife over night like I had always imagined when people get married. This realization was a sigh of relief.
I think it helped that we dated for so long too before we got married because it has been a smooth transition. Everyone I talked to said that "The first year of marriage is the hardest." But, it honestly has been just the same. And yes, we have argued and our lives aren't perfect. But, I think we both knew exactly who the other person was and so the walls of infatuation didn't come crumbling down after the honeymoon ended.
We are both the same people, and life has stayed the same. And I am glad.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Engagement! (A shock to us all)

This is a shocking post, especially JUST after my Marriage phobia blog. But miracles never cease! So, the relationship had started to get to that point. Me and Bryce either needed to break up or get married. Of course, I would have  been happy to date for another 5 years, but it just wasn't realistic.

So on Wednesday, February 29, Hell froze over. (It really did. It snowed like 4 inches that night after not snowing all winter.) It was Leap Year Day, and I wasn't really paying it any heed. But Leap Year would not be ignored because all the planets had aligned on that special day. (My friend John wrote on Facebook that something crazy would happy on Leap Year day because the planets were aligned...who knew that he was pychic?!)

I finished my internship at KSL that night around 9 p.m. as usual. But Bryce wanted to take me out to dinner because I was leaving the next morning to fly to Seattle for a Journalism Conference. So in the middle of the blizzard, we drove to Bombay House in SLC. It is totally my favorite restaurant. We ate dinner in record time, and then Bryce took me back to get my car and we dropped it off at the airport so I could drive myself back after my trip.

Then Bryce turns to me and says, "We should go on an adventure." And I was like, "No way! I am super tired and I still have to pack and it is snowing like crazy. Let's just go home and hang out." But he would not be deterred (this is where I started to get a little suspicious.)

So we drove to a hill overlooking the SLC temple, and Bryce pulled off on the side of the road. I was starting to get a little bit puzzled when he pulled a big box from his backseat and gave it to me. I opened the box to find a homemade card on top of lots and lots of confetti paper. The card read: "Happy Leap Year Day Faith." Then the inside said: "Let's take a LEAP of Faith."

My heart began to pound as I realized what this meant. I fished around inside the confetti and then grabbed onto it. A small box. I pulled it out of the paper and just stared at it. Then I slowly opened it. Yep. There was a ring.

It was like somebody had electrocuted me. I was in shock. And for about 5 minutes I couldn't say anything at all. For the first time in my life.... I was speechless. Then it wore off and I began to freak out.

"Bryce, are you freaking serious?! Are you sure you are ready for this? I don't know if we are old enough for this! I don't think I am ready to do this. We can't DO this! Do you know what this means?!" And on and on and on. And all the while, Bryce patiently sat in the drivers seat watching me come unglued. Then after I finally paused for breath, he quietly asked me if I would marry him.

I continued to stare at the ring in my left hand and the box in my right hand. I felt the thoughts creep into my mind of what this ring meant. The ring that I had feared for the last 24 years of my life. The ring that represented my lack of freedom. The ring that meant I couldn't have a career and pursue my dreams. The ring that I had detested and made fun of for the past 6 years. The ring that had taken away so many of my siblings and friends. The ring that would change my life forever.

But then I remembered Bryce. With him things had always been different. He had never forced me, or rushed me, or held me back. It would be different with Bryce and he would let me be whatever I wanted to be. He would encourage my goals and dreams and understand my insecurities. So after making him wait for almost 2 years, I finally said "Yes."

We are getting married June 1, 2012 in the St. George Temple. And with that, Miracles never cease.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I am taking a Feminism in Philosophy class this semester. It is absolutely fascinating, and the things we discuss and the authors we read have really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I would say that I have already been considered a feminist by many, and in some ways this class may be fueling the fire (Heaven forbid.) :)

But some of the things we have been discussing lately is a book by Beauvoir called "The Second Sex." It basically discusses how females are considered "the other" sex, and have always been second place to man. It gives examples of how Adam was created first, and then Eve was like a "sub-species" taken from his rib. And if you think about it, humanity is referred to as MANKIND. (obviously emphasis on MAN.) It is fascinating, and disturbing in many ways.

So now I see feminism in everything and it is fascinating to me. But more blatantly was when one of my friends posted on Facebook something about women not being married or mothers being "most possibly psychopaths." (This is taken out of context, and I understand why he said it and what he was referring to although it was still a ridiculous statement.) But it really got me thinking. People get sick of all those "Feminists" out there stirring up trouble, and beating a dead horse over this same issue, but I believe that it is still very much an issue in society and that is why it is discussed so much.

Some of the members of my Feminism class made comments about how the LDS church is sexist. It disturbed me greatly....BUT.... at the same time I could understand some of where they were coming from. However, I don't believe that God is a sexist or chauvenist, but many people interpret the Plan of Salvation and the Proclamation on the Family to mean that. And that is sad to me.

Heaven knows that although I am an active strong member of the church... I also have my issues with it. (But that is just my own personal problem.) I do think that having kids and getting married is a monumentally HUGE and very very important and central part of God's plan. But my problem comes in when people cast their judgments as well. And when it is declared that it is the ONLY purpose for your existence and the ONLY thing that you should do (which yes, I hear church members say alot.) I have to be honest that those things rub me wrong.

I don't feel like God designed the plan for women to be barefoot and pregnant shoved behind a stove all of their life. And yet some church members really feel this way and it freaks me out. I don't think their is anything wrong with a women wanting to travel, get an education, have goals and dreams other than being a mother. I think if they put off getting married forever because of these things, then yes that is a problem.

But just because a woman ISN'T married before she is 20, doesn't make her a sinful person or defective.

I do think there are lot of these generalizations of women in the church, and it does rub me wrong. I hate the idea that "You aren't really whole or complete until you are married and having kids is your only purpose." (You laugh, but I promise I have heard these statements SEVERAL times from good strong members of the church.) Well, what about the women who never get married or who can't have kids? Are they in some way "less of a person" or living their life incomplete? Are they not fulfilling their destiny? I think that the God I serve would never cast these kinds of judgments on a person or punish them because of things that are out of their control. They can be just as happy and have just as much fulfillment in their life.

Trust me I have heard all about it because I have taken a path different from many of my peers and friends by going on a mission and being 24 and still single. And yes, the idea of having a career and working does strongly appeal to me. Does that mean I am going to burn in hell for ions to come? No, I don't think so.

God knows that each of his children are unique and have different circumstances and I believe that he will account for that. He knows that maybe some people will gain ultimate fulfillment in getting married at 18 and having 10 kids, and staying home all of their life, and some women just won't be completely fulfilled by that. Each of us have different drives, interests, motives, etc. for what we do and what makes us tick. Yes, I think that each woman that is able should be a mother someday WHEN the time is right and WHEN they are ready. But do I think she is an awful person if she ISN'T married by the time she is 21 because she wanted to go on a mission? Not at all.

Because I served a mission, I saw the value in agency and motivation. I saw those boys that came on a mission for the sole reason because they were supposed to. They felt obligated or pressured. And they were not good missionaries because they didn't WANT to be there. Period. They didn't accomplish much, and they brought others down because of their lack of interest and effort. It disgusted me because I wanted to be there more than anything!

Now on the flip-side we can compare this to women getting married because as we know (men are supposed to go on missions, women are supposed to get married.) :) That is why I say I think women should get married and have kids WHEN they are ready and want to. Otherwise if they just get married out of obligation or because they are "supposed" to.... It could potentially end in divorce or their kids will suffer because of having a neglectful mother that doesn't really want them. (I have seen examples of this in my life as well, and it is sad.) I feel very strongly if you are going to make the CHOICE to bring children into this world, then you had better love them and take good care of them!

Anyways, enough with this rampage. I just feel very strongly about some of these things, and I feel that members of the church are often too quick to cast judgments and that each individual has to try THEIR best (not anyone else's best) to do what God wants them to do. We all want to be happy and return to God, and we each go on our own path to get there. And you know what? That is Ok.
The End. :)