Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year In Review

2015 has been a good year. A year full of change and adventure. 


*I decided to apply for an "educators only" trip to Finland. It was a last minute decision, mainly for the fact that if I got it I would need to get a passport and that would fulfill something on the #my26by26 list. Best spur of the moment decision ever. 

*Right after coming back from Christmas break, drama at work hit the roof. 7 other teachers decided to give early retirement notice (including every teacher on my team) which prompted me to start applying for every single opening for an elementary teacher in the state of Utah. By the end of January I had turned in 9 applications and that number would continue to grow by the end of February to over 20. 


*Remember that application to Finland I turn in at the last minute? I was accepted to the program!!

*Usually Valentine's Day isn't my favorite (you know, the whole being single thing puts a damper on it sometimes...) but this year my best friend and I had tickets to the Glorianna concert in Ogden and had a blast.


*Another spur of the moment decision to go to Logan for the last Aggie Basketball game of the season- Stew's last game. They lost, but that is one of those moments you can't get back. 

*My birthday rolled around which meant the end of #my26by26. When I made the list of 26 things to do in a year before I turned 26, it was just a silly list. By the end, my life had come to revolve around it. It grounded me and made me grow in ways I never could have foreseen. After my birthday, the first few weeks felt kind of empty, like I had no direction, nothing to guide me. 


*Easter is always one of my favorite times of year. The Saturday before Easter is a long standing tradition with the Jensen/Gardner clan- picnic- rain or shine!

*I accepted a 4th grade teaching position in the Canyon School District. (I would later give that up, but at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.) 


*May started off with a trip to Logan for graduation. I am so thankful that this cute girl and I were roommates 5 years ago. I am SO thankful that we have managed to stay best friends even though most of our friendship has been spent living more that 100 miles apart. I am so proud of her for graduating and becoming the best kindergarten teacher in Davis School District. 

*I was talked into applying for a district level job mentoring interns and students teachers. By some miracle I got the job, packed up my classroom, put most of it into storage, and jumped into the unknown. (I love it by the way.)




*Just a few days after getting back from Finland, Jessi and I headed back east to spend 10 days with Tiff and Curtis. As much as I hate them living so far away, it was fun to go back and spend time with them. 

*Because my great-uncle passed away, my family made a quick and unexpected road trip to southern California. Even though it was a sad occasion, it was great to see extended family and spend some time together as a family. 


*Camping! I love spending time outdoors with my family. 

*Because of the crazy job situation I ended up moving out of Provo. And it is wonderful. 


*Daphne and I went to a Bee's game. This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but I missed this girl so much while she was on her mission. No one understands my love of baseball quite like she does. 

*Dad's moose hunt ended opening morning with the perfect hunt. 


*Dad's big event as fire chief was purchasing a new ladder truck for the Tooele City Fire Department. Growing up in a fireman household, this was exciting for all of us!

*Deer hunt weekend comes in a close second to Easter weekend. I didn't have a tag this year, but for the first time in a long time we filled multiple tags.


*While I have loved my new job as a CFA since I started, I really came to LOVE it. I have settled in and kind of know what I am doing now. It has also led me to apply for graduate school in administration. 

*Thanksgiving this year was wonderful this year. Aunt Jamie has moved back to Tooele and so the whole family is together a lot more often than it has been in the past 20 years. This picture is over a year old- at the time it was one of the only times we had all been together in a LONG time. Now it happens almost monthly and I love it. 


*I was called to work with the young women in my new ward and it is fabulous. The decision to attend the family ward was a difficult one, mostly because its not what "young singles" do in the church. But it has been such a good move- for the first time in a long time I feel like I am going to church to build a testimony, not to find a husband.

*Christmas. I love Christmas. I love the spirit around Christmas. I love the lights and the decorations. I love shopping for Christmas presents. I love Christmas break. I love it all. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Women in the Church: Part 3

Just in case: Part 1 and Part 2

I hope many of you caught the themes in my previous posts. Part 1 was based on the Young Women theme and standards while part 2 was taken from the Relief Society Declaration. As I thought about my beliefs about women and our place in the Gospel and in the Kingdom of God, I realized that everything I felt was based on those two documents as well as The Family: A Proclamation to the World. It was important to me to share my testimony based on these inspired words and the hope, purpose, and vision they give to me each and every day. 

The following is MY opinion, what I think, what I believe. I am not asking you to change your views. I am not asking you to convince me I am wrong. I am simply sharing my thoughts.  If you agree with me, great. If you don't, great. However, most of what I see readily available to the world, through blogs and Facebook posts, are not in harmony with what I believe. I want to provide another voice, another viewpoint, another testimony to those out there who might be thinking the same things I have thought. 

The world today would have women believe that in order to be of worth, to be important, to be valued we must have what men have, do exactly what they do. We must be "equal." Can I tell you a secret? I hate the word equal. Equal belongs in math problems and that is where it should stay. None of us are truly "equal." Each one of us has a different personality, a different background, and different viewpoint to everything in life. Each one of us are different by divine design. That is how we were created. Each one of us has a different purpose on this earth, a different mission to fulfill. 

Along with the word equal, I am not a fan of the word "fair," at least as many people use it. Every year at the start of the school year, my students and I would have a little chat about the word fair. Most children (and most adults for that matter) equate the word fair with the word equal, or the same. Guess what, fair is NOT equal. Fair is NOT the same. Fair is getting what YOU need to be successful. 

Is it fair that I wear contacts and my sister does not? Absolutely. I am blind without my contacts and she has 20/20 vision. When I wear my contacts I can see just as well as she can. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

Is it fair that Joey gets to sit at the front of the room all year long while Sally only does once? Absolutely. Joey needs to be close to the teacher to receive the help he needs. Sally is capable of working on her own and does not need constant supervision. They both are able to succeed throughout the year and show improvement. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

When I was at Utah State, the semester I was student teaching one of my roommates was required to take an anatomy class. I remember many nights the two of us spent together, her anatomy book and notes open studying her little heart out, while I sat across the table with the Utah Core spread out in front of me, crayons, construction paper, popsicle sticks, etc writing lesson plan after lesson plan. Is it fair that she spent hours studying while I hardly studied for anything? Is it fair that I spent hours creating anchor charts and worksheets and fun activities while she didn't? ABSOLUTELY. We were each being PREPARED in our education for what we wanted to do in our lives. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Why was this earth created? "God's whole purpose - His work and His glory - is to enable each of us to enjoy all His blessings. He has provided a perfect plan to accomplish His purpose... Under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth as a place for us to live and gain experience. In order to progress and become like God, each of us had to obtain a body and be tested during a time of probation on the earth... Our purpose in this life is to have joy and PREPARE to return to God's presence." (Preach My Gospel, Lesson 2: The Plan of Salvation)

Let's go back to my example of my roommate and I- we took different classes, had different assignments and tests, but our end goal was the same. We both wanted to graduate with a degree prepared to enter the adult world as a working, contributing member of society. How does this apply to our purpose on earth and our reason for being here? My end goal, after this life, is to return and live with my Heavenly Father, to receive all the blessings He has promised me. Hopefully, having followed the commandments and made the necessary covenants, to become like Him, having an eternal family. I am pretty positive my brothers ultimate goal is the same- return to Heavenly Father, become like Him, etc. Will we take the same path to get there? No. He served a full time mission. I did not. (Although many sisters in the Church choose to do so, good on ya!) He went through the Boy Scouting program and received his Eagle Scout award. I did not. I went through the Young Women's program and earned my Young Women Recognition award. He did not. We have held different callings, participated in different programs. We were both baptized at 8. We have both gone through the temple and received our own endowment. (He went through first, I might add, even though he is 4 years younger than I am and we went through under very different circumstances.) We are both currently single. He attends the local YSA ward, and occasionally the Spanish Branch. I attend my local family ward. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

At the age of 12, he received the Aaronic Priesthood. At the age of 12, I entered Young Womens. Between 18 and 19, he received the Melchizedek Priesthood in preparation for his full-time mission. Between 18 and 19, I left the Young Women's program and started attending Relief Society. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal. 

How is it fair that he had the priesthood conferred upon him by someone who had the authority to do so but I have not, and will not? We need to receive a different education in this school of life. He needs the priesthood in order to fulfill that special mission, in order to progress, in order to learn. I do not. I have a different mission to fulfill. I have a different mission to accomplish. "By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World) Our different roles require us to do and be different things. No where does it say that one is better or more important than the other. It specifically states that we are to work together to accomplish these roles. 

So is it fair that I don't have the priesthood? Absolutely, BECAUSE I DON'T NEED IT. Just like my sister doesn't need glasses, like Sally doesn't need to sit at the front of the class, my roommate didn't need to spend hours writing lesson plans, and I didn't need to spend hours studying anatomy. 

As long as we each strive to follow the commandments, follow the prophet, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and strive to fulfill God's individual mission for each of us (even if only revealed step by tiny step) we ARE in fair circumstances. Fair, but not the same. Fair, but not equal.