A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, March 29, 2010

"The Life of the Soul"

I was thinking about this poem today:

Hyacinths to Feed the Soul
If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,
And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
- Attributed to Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi (From Best Loved Poems of The American People, pg. 78)

Mormons sometimes talk a lot about what we don't do (one of the reasons I hate the shirt slogan "I can't, I'm Mormon"). However I think it's important to focus on the positive things that make us happy - the things that "care for the life of the soul" (D&C 101:37). So, be happy - and do the things that make you happier!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy International Women's Day!

С междонародным женским днем!!! Поздравлаю вас с 8оро Марта! Although you may not know it if you've never lived in a country that celebrates it, today is International Women's Day. It's a big deal in Russia, and I love it because it's not exclusionary like Mother's Day, it's a day to celebrate all women. To me, it's the perfect holiday for Russia, because I met so many great women in Russia who were examples of faith, courage, and joy to me.

So, take today an tell a woman (or women!) that she's awesome. People all over the world are celebrating the effect of noble womanhood to uplift and inspire humanity. Rock on!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ain't I A Woman?

How can you not like someone who picks a name like "Sojourner Truth"? This was the self-chosen name of a northern slave who became a vociferous opponent of slavery and adept campaigner for Abolition in the years leading up the the civil war. Her most famous speech (which she may or may not have given in the form we most recognize -read the two versions here) has the following lines:

"I want to say a few words about this matter. I am a woman's rights. I have as much muscle as any man, and can do as much work as any man. I have plowed and reaped and husked and chopped and mowed, and can any man do more than that? I have heard much about the sexes being equal. I can carry as much as any man, and can eat as much too, if I can get it. I am as strong as any man that is now."

Feminism doesn't have to mean that men and women are physically equally strong, but I admire Soujourner Truth - because she was truly a man's equal. In a time where women were second class citizens, and African Americans weren't even citizens, she stood up for her rights as a proud Black Woman!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Debauchee of Dew

Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poetesses. Women's History Month honors the achievements of women in all fields, and I especially admire talents I do not possess - the literary and artistic ones.

I'll let Emily speak for herself.

I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue.
When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove’s door,
When butterlies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches, — a noted clergyman, —
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I’m going all along!

Monday, March 1, 2010

"General Tubman"

One of the first school assignments I remember is a fictional short story I wrote about a girl who escapes from slavery in the South and walks to freedom. I think I was inspired by Harriet Tubman, one of the most famous conductors on the underground railroad (and called General Tubman by none other than John Brown himself). You can read more about her story here. She is a great example of courage and bravery in rescuing not only her family but others as well!

We probably have an over-idealized and hazy view of Harriet Tubman - a kind of gentle loving woman who had compassion on the downtrodden. But, she was a tough cookie - you can read on Wikipedia about the military expedition she helped guide during the civil war. General Tubman, I salute you!