Melody Newey

Melody earns a living as a registered nurse, grows a respectable garden, and writes when she's not building sheet forts with her grandkids. Her poetry has appeared in on-line journals, Segullah, Irreantum and small press along the Wasatch Front.

Hoping For A Wise Star

Some of us celebrate Christmas with surety about the truth of the Savior’s birth. Some of us feel lonely, isolated from the apparent joy that seems to come so easily to those who testify of what they know. Some of us are surrounded by loved ones, embraced at family gatherings, welcomed with open arms by neighbors at ward or branch Christmas dinners. Others of us feel the sting of disillusionment and sorrow amidst a crisis of faith (or any number of marginalizing burdens) most acutely during the holidays. We’re not sure where we belong or if we’re welcome at all. Some of us are clear about the path we have chosen. Others of us find ourselves slogging along what seems like a muddy road to enlightenment. Where ever we are, we keep looking, keep pressing on toward the thing or things that speak truth to our souls and bring us peace. I’m looking for words to express something that moves me deeply, but about which I have been unable to write. So, I wrote about that – about the journey to find the words, a journey to enlightenment. May we all find what we seek. That is my hope for you, dear reader, this Christmas season and always. At very least, may you find your star.    Waiting for Words   I listen to the song in my head about a manger, wonder how to write the Only Story. I wander through holy lands in my heart, patient pen cradled between fingers, descend beside a stream of tears into the silent night. Lambs bleating on hillsides disappear when I turn to look, their keepers gone with them. Men from the East move together toward redemption, their tale told in beams of moonlight, while I walk ancient roads, wordless, alone, watch dust blow away toward Bethlehem. Still, still in the long dark I hear a lullaby, lift my eyes, hoping for a wise star. . Melody Newey © 2013...

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Whom Say Ye That I Am?

Nov 11, 13 Whom Say Ye That I Am?

Posted by in Agency, Faith, Featured, New Testament

Luke 9: 18-25 From a journal entry March 9, 2011 It’s funny how moments of significant enlightenment can be marked by equally insignificant surroundings or events. This one for example: I was driving home from somewhere, who knows where. It doesn’t really matter. Anyway, I was heading south on Orem Main Street from University Parkway toward Provo, just beginning the descent toward the four-way stop before the Welcome to Provo sign near the orchards. [This is in Utah.] You’ll know the place if you’re local. I had been thinking about my Sunday school class: fifteen-years-olds, and lessons from the New Testament. Wondering about Jesus–about who he was to those who lived with him during his ministry, about who he was as a man, sitting on the Mount of Olives. The question had just begun to form in my mind when the reality of his life on earth came into clear focus for me. Here is how it went: From Handel and Isaiah: A man of sorrow, acquainted with grief. People in his home town: Is this not the carpenter’s son? (of low esteem, nothing special) No particular beauty or charisma to draw folks toward him. He does not look like the paintings. He did not “glow.” Probably very plain-looking. He was born in a stable with animals, poop, smells – the humblest and among the least desirable of circumstances even for that time. The ghetto. He worked quietly, in a tiny part of the globe for a very brief time. Had no titles, lands, riches, acclaim, fame or any such thing. Three years. Three short years of ministry. Then Gethsemane and crucifixion. Then a question came to my mind: Do I really want to be like Jesus– like that? And the answer: Well, yes, I do. . . okay then. What does that mean for me? The thoughts that followed left me quite stunned and, frankly, in a state of awe. And, although the idea may not be new to many people, it was new to...

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Broken Things

Oct 14, 13 Broken Things

Posted by in Disability, Faith Crisis, Featured, Poetry

Guest Post by Heather Duncan Note from Melody: My dear friend and poet, Heather, penned this beautiful verse many years ago. One of the recent general conference talks captured similar imagery, suggesting that being broken is a natural state for mortality. It is a holy condition, a blessed condition. God often dwells there–in our broken places. Thanks to Heather for this gentle reminder.     God Loves Broken Things   Like clouds that break to quench the earth and earth that breaks for grain to grow, God loves the broken things of earth.   The hands that do the kneading know good flour is made from broken grain and earth must break for grain to grow.   There’s good in sorrow, grace in pain— like supper graced by broken bread. Good lives are made from broken grain,   and we are just as richly fed by shattered life and broken heart as supper graced by broken bread.   When we are broken, torn apart he reaches out to make us whole— each shattered life, each broken heart.   He weeps beside each grieving soul like clouds that break to quench the earth. His hands reach out to make us whole. God loves the broken things of earth.     Heather Holland Duncan lives in Provo, Utah with five spirited children and an intensely affectionate golden retriever. She is a student at UVU, studying English literature, anthropology, and creative writing. Her chapbook, Mastering the Art of Joy, was published in 2011 as winner of the Edna Meudt Memorial Award. Her poems and essays have also appeared in The Found Poetry Review, Pulitzer Remix, Segullah, and Encore. Some of her favorite things are yoga, running, raspberries, trees, birds, and...

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Dear Mother, I Am Here

“If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” ~ Joseph Smith, Jr. I’ve always maintained that I am no scholar. When I compose a blog post for Rational Faiths my contributions are primarily a product of fifty-plus years of living — the culmination of experiential knowledge coupled with revelatory enlightenment. This doesn’t mean I don’t read scholarly articles and books. It just means that’s not how I have learned the most important truths about life. I’ve learned by my own experience and through gifts of grace. As a result, my writing is primarily an expression of the heart. This post is no different. I’ve shared some of my thoughts and feelings about Mother in Heaven before.  Coming to know Her is an ongoing process for me, as it will be for you if you choose to seek her. Even though my heart and mind have been open to knowing more about the nature of the divine feminine for many years, I feel like a newborn in this process. And, really, how could it be otherwise? Where in the world in past centuries do we find any reference to God the Mother — either in divinely inspired scripture or in mundane daily conversations? (This post answers part of that, but, really, it’s meant to be a rhetorical question.) Yet, I have felt her presence in real, almost tangible ways, much the same as I have felt Jesus Christ or God the Father in my life. For me, the simplest path to knowledge of the nature of God, including the nature of the divine feminine, is through one’s own heart. I found her by opening my heart to the possibility that she exists.  (See Alma, 32:27.) I’ve heard her voice at unexpected times and in unexpected places because I first had a desire to know her. “ . . . When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, He begins to unfold the heavens to...

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Baby Jesus and Bathwater

Recently I participated on a panel at the Sunstone Symposium. I volunteered because the panel had consisted only of men and the organizers needed at least one woman. Turns out, I was that woman. Jeff Burton, author of, For Those Who Wonder, chaired the session. You can read his Sunstone columns here.  Our panel discussion was titled Coming Out and Staying Alive: How Successful Borderlanders Stay Active and Involved. Each panelist had suffered the pain associated with doubt and spiritual crisis. Some were still suffering. Some of us had come through on the other side and each has found ways to remain true to the faith that nourished us as children, yet open to questions we have as adults. We talked about how we disclosed our doubts and to whom; what responses we recieved; how we’ve been helped in the process. Among the Sunstone sessions I attended, this session really stood out for me. Not necessarily because I was a panelist, but because it felt like an on-the-ground discussion of what was happening right now in the lives of those in attendance. I wish I could communicate the stories the panelists shared and the questions brought by the audience. I wish everyone who questions or doubts or wants to run away from the pain of a faith crisis could have been there. There was something for everyone. A lot of honesty and hope and love. What I can share today is part of my own story and a few points about how I have weathered the storm and found peace in the church I love. This is a poor substitute for the rich and textured conversation of the evening. But it’s what I have to offer. I hope it helps someone. * * * * * I moved into borderlands as I began to face the truth of an abusive childhood. At that time I made a commitment to be open to all truth, no matter how painful it was, (this includes truth about Mormonism)...

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Lord, Let Me Be A Wind Tunnel

Jul 08, 13 Lord, Let Me Be A Wind Tunnel

Posted by in Faith, Faith Crisis, Featured

Next month I have the opportunity to participate as a panelist at the Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. The panel will address the issue of being a “Borderlander.” Until very recently I’ve never really thought of myself in those terms. I’d always just thought of myself as, well, “Me.” I see the benefit of using labels to name what ails us or to qualify what sets us apart from others. I like the graphic image created for the Braving the Borderlands series. It’s a great visual. (I’ve read several of the articles and if you are struggling in any way with a faith crisis, I recommend them.) Furthermore, when we name a thing we can more easily hold it out in front of us, observe it, make sense of it, create better definitions and even, in the case of people, create community among other same-named individuals. On the flip-side, labels can serve to divide us. In the context of my faith practice, I prefer labels that are more inclusive such as disciple, friend or neighbor. I can see that in some ways I clearly fit the description for Borderlander, however, the label categorizes me from where I see myself in a much broader context, down into a relatively small community of brothers and sisters with whom I have a few things in common. Wait. . . how about Sister? Now there’s a label I can live with! I’ve always liked being a sister. Not just in my biological family, but in the family of the church and in the whole human family too. Hi. My name is Melody and I’m your sister! Here’s something I wrote about making peace with where I am at any given moment with regard to my faith. It’s for you, brothers and sisters, however you define yourself in relation to me or anyone or anything else, including Mormonism. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [This was originally published at] Often in spring and summer I perform an early-morning...

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What Eve Would Tell

    Something hissed in my ear that day, made it hard to hear Father say He loved me and I had done no wrong. I was His shining star, His brightest daughter. But when it happened, I tell you, I felt dimmed–   I didn’t know this was my desire unto my husband; that I would lead him to the Truth, to the place where my sorrow became the moon shining in the shadow of daybreak.   Soon I saw Error clear as morning, knew Light from darkness and I glowed with possibility, forever turning and turning again with the earth toward the sun.   I grew up that day–in the very hour. When I spoke my husband heard the new voice. What could he do but listen, take my hand and follow when I asked, Well, Adam, are you coming?     Author’s note: Poetry, especially religious poetry is often layered with multiple meanings. This poem represents not only a re-telling of the Garden of Eden story in the voice of Eve, but of the struggle for balance and communion between feminine and masculine energies within the Self. More importantly, it speaks to the relationship between feminism and patriarchy. The voice of Woman is entreating Man to consider a new model, the possibility of something better that has potential to lead us all toward our eventual goal of reunion with...

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The Grown-up Modesty Line

Jun 10, 13 The Grown-up Modesty Line

Posted by in Featured, Modesty

After I read this fantastic post I started thinking again about modesty in the context of our lives as Latter-day Saints. Heaven knows, the Mormon blogosphere has been fascinated with the subject for some time now, but for the sake of the conversation, and partly to underscore how absurd it seems to be to focus on tank tops or shorts when speaking of children’s clothing, I submit the following: Are the people in this photo dressed modestly? I’m interested in your responses. All these folks are active, temple-married, garment-wearing Latter-day Saint adults. I’m the one in the middle with the SPF 30 clothing. (Call me old fashioned. And medically-minded in all things sun-related.) The others are two of my children and their spouses. Each person had his or her reasons for their choice of hiking gear in Moab. Each person felt happy and content. We had no discussion about what anyone wore. And I doubt anyone even thought about the modesty issue because, well, we are all modest people. None of us is dressed to draw attention to ourselves or to arouse sexual feelings in our fellow-hikers. It’s hot. People sweat. Chafing is involved. There may be a second issue here, which is: When must garments be worn and when is it acceptable to not wear them. I’m not addressing that here. But you are welcome to comment about that if you feel so inclined. That could be an interesting discussion. What I would like to put forth is my personal feeling that if these adults are all dressed modestly, (you’re welcome to your own opinion about that) a primary-aged child simply cannot be dressed immodestly in something like an orange tank-top. How can a ten-year-old be immodest in a pair of hiking shorts? Well, she can’t. That’s how I see it anyway. I know it’s been said before, but I’ll say it again. Let’s stop the prepubescent immodesty insanity. And for the record, I think the above-linked article had value. There were lessons taught...

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A Mother There. And Here.

In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal tells me I’ve a mother there. ~ Eliza R. Snow . Part 1 The Motherless Child My first concrete experience of the divine feminine happened about twenty years ago when I was mourning the loss of my mom. This mourning was not about her physical death, but about the tragic absence of her “self” from her own existence and subsequently from my existence as her child. She had been unable to mother me in ways that are essential for healthy human development. This is only part of the story. The other part involves a man (my father) who was partially responsible for my mother’s early demise. You can read about those things sometime if you choose—at this site. As a grown woman with young children of my own, I found myself at a certain time of life, working to fill the void left by my mother’s absence and my father’s destructive actions toward me during my childhood. There were times when I simply couldn’t reach in prayer for a “father” because of negative associations with my mortal father. Naturally, the next best place to find divine help for me as a devout Christian was in a loving brother-savior, Jesus Christ. Like so many others, I found comfort, healing, hope and redemption through the Savior’s grace. But I also found an unexpected link to my Heavenly Mother. Because, you know, an older brother can only do so much. Sometimes you just need your heavenly mom. So, occasionally I prayed to Heavenly Mother. Now, I have to admit, initially I felt somewhat heretical or blasphemous for praying to a female God. But at that point I was in such dire need of a parent that I didn’t care about real or imagined repercussions. Besides, in my heart I knew she was there and would respond to me, as any mother would. As I prayed I felt distinct awareness of both...

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Brethren and Cistern

May 06, 13 Brethren and Cistern

Posted by in Featured, Feminism, Poetry, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day is coming. I’ve heard it called Mothering Day and I like that better. We each experience mothering differently. Some of us don’t have children, yet we mother. Some raise children born to other mothers. Some of us are motherless children either literally or figuratively. Whatever Mothering Day brings for us individually, there is no doubt that collectively mothering takes heart. Lots of it. This got me thinking about women and our hearts. My mind returned to a gathering I recently attended where a dozen or so women sat around a table reading stories from their lives, written in their own hand, real and true about: being Mormon, mom and recovering alcoholic first-time thirty-year-old mothering little boys with hands in their pants spilled popcorn written in rhyme being daughter of a battered woman a baby never born “mean” mothers and mean mothers a Mormon mother’s tattoo in memory of her dead child I met these women only once. In two hours – maybe five or ten minutes per person – we shared our experiences with each other. Before the first words were read I felt my heart opening, expanding to welcome the souls in that room. As I listened and watched, I thought, “These are only a few of hundreds or thousands in this valley. . . any woman could sit at this table, any group of women could meet together and tell the truth about their lives and the result would be the same.” No matter our religion, our life experience or our worldview, we are sisters in our hearts. Collectively we mother everyone. There is a word generally used in a religious context: Brethren. It refers to a single body of multiple men. There is no such word for a feminine counter-part. There is no Sistren. Perhaps we are Cistern.   A Woman’s Heart grows far beyond its beginning   stretches over miles and days of loving   a droplet pulsing waves in mother’s womb swells to harbor the whole wide world   Melody Newey ©...

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