by Lani

God is Not a Single Parent

February 27, 2014 in Dads, Divine nature, Family History, Heavenly Mother, Jesus Christ, Lani, Puberty by Lani

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A few months after I turned 12

During my “coming of age,” the years when I grew from girlhood to womanhood, I lived with my dad and stepmom in Massachusetts. At the time my dad and stepmom both had private practices as mental health professionals. My dad worked specifically with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, many of them referred to him by LDS bishops. Living with two therapists, talking about deep spiritual and emotional stuff was normal to me. I talked to my parents a lot about everything.

However, I don’t think I fully grasped until very recently how fortunate I was to come into womanhood in a home where we spoke often of Heavenly Mother. My dad talked about Heavenly Mother a lot. In working with his clients, especially his female clients, Heavenly Mother was frequently an important part of their healing journey. Many had been abused by male authority figures, so it was difficult for them to connect with God the Father. My dad always emphasized that both of our Heavenly Parents are involved in our lives and sending their love and healing to us when we need it. It was my dad who introduced me to the hymn “O My Father” and its mention of Mother in Heaven.

I am so grateful to have experienced my development into womanhood while being tutored by a father who had developed such respect and love for women and Mother in Heaven. I would guess that one of my dad’s first powerful learning experiences in that journey happened on his mission among the Cuna people in the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama.

Mola-211x300The Cuna people live in a matriarchal society. Daughters are prized and given elaborate celebrations when they reach puberty. The Cuna also have many beliefs and traditions in common with Latter-day Saints. Their greatest spiritual teacher Ibeorgun (“Man of Light”) descended out of heaven, taught them principles of honesty and chastity and respect for others, and organized their leadership (three top chiefs with twelve chiefs under them). That’s just one of many interesting parallels.

In my dad’s mission journal, he shared his discovery of another theological belief we share in common with the Cuna. Dad had been working with his companion and a Cuna young man on translating the first missionary discussion into the Caribe Cuna language. This discussion included teaching concepts regarding man’s divine heritage as children of God. Here is the rest of the story in his words:

We were in the middle of this project when our Cuna woman friend brought a load of laundry. She had her daughter with her and we stopped to engage them in conversation and decided to try our translated content with her.

After going over the discussion introduction, we came to one of the first questions [spoken in Cuna], “Who created the earth?”

“Pap Tumadi,” she answered. “Great Father” is their title for God.

The next question was, “And who created you?”

We fully expected the same response, “Pap Tumadi,” because that was the “correct” answer.

But, what she answered led me to know we had miscommunicated, “Andi pap e ome.” (“My father and my mother.”)

“No, I’m not talking about the creation of your physical body. I mean, who created your spirit?”

Her answer caused my hair to stand on end, “Pap Tumadi e Ome.” (“Great Father and His Wife.”)

“Are you saying that Pap Tumadi is married?”

“Of course! We have earthly parents, and we have Great Father and His Wife who created us spiritually. The Christian missionaries tell us we are confused when we tell about them. But our traditions are very clear – we have two Great Parents.”

I’m sure it gave my dad great pleasure to tell this woman that he agreed with her 100%. He went on to bring many, many Cuna brothers and sisters into the waters of baptism. His mission was, in part, a fulfillment of a prophecy given by one of the Cuna chiefs, Iguagindibipulele: “The salvation of the Cunas will arrive when Mergies [Americans] come two-by-two to teach the Cuna people.”

My heart is full of gratitude to be part of a Christian church with an understanding of divinity that honors both masculine and feminine. My heart is full of gratitude for an earthly father who instilled within me a knowledge and love for my Divine Mother. And I smile when I think of the young Cuna mother who helped to plant those seeds of respect for Heavenly Mother in my father’s young heart nearly fifty years ago.

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Dad and Me on my wedding day

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by Robyn

Inward and Outward Ordinances

January 31, 2014 in Menstruation, Parenting, Priesthood, Puberty, Rites of passage, Robyn, Symbolism, Temple, Uncategorized by Robyn

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Faith In God, My Gospel Standards, and The Gift of Giving Life

“That they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”

John 17:3.

I was recently released from serving in Young Women. My new calling is to teach the Valiant 10/11 year old girls.  In addition to that I am also their Activity Day leader.  I have been studying the Faith in God program with new eyes, looking for ways in which it prepares a girl (or boy) to give life.

The entire purpose of the Faith in God program is that each girl and boy of the age of accountability is set on a path that will bring them to know God and Jesus Christ.

The program is split into four sections: “Learning and Living the Gospel,” “Serving Others,” “Developing Talents,” and “Preparing for Young Women or the Priesthood.”

All of the requirements are identical for a boy and girl until you reach the section on Preparing for Young Women or the Priesthood.  The choice of scriptures for these sections is not a coincidence:

For the soon to be Young Women: “Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come” D&C 87:8.

And for the soon to be Young Men: “The Priesthood of Aaron . . . is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances” D&C 107:13-14.

Did anyone else catch the significance of comparing these two scriptures next to each other? These young priesthood holders administer in “outward ordinances,” which begs the question, what about the “inward ordinances?”  Inward ordinances happen inside a holy temple, in “holy places.”  There are the washings, anointings, endowments, and sealings we have all been taught about that take place in holy temple buildings.  But we are also told that our body is a temple.  If you have read Heather’s essay, “The Two Veils,” you are aware of some of these inward ordinances: intimacy, conception, pregnancy and birth.  I would add to that list, menstruation and lactation.  These girls are preparing to shed blood as did the Savior.  They are a holy place where ordinance work will take place beginning with menstruation and continuing through other the other inward ordinances.

As our girls become young women we must teach them the sacredness of their bodies and that they are places of holy ordinance work symbolizing the mission of our Savior. (Boys need to be taught their bodies are sacred too.  This could be a whole other post. I’m just concentrating on the role of girls preparing to be young women.) The point I am trying to make is that if we do not teach them what that means they will be confused as to why and how to express the power they hold within them.  Why be modest?  Why avoid harmful substances?  Why keep the Gospel Standards?

It is easy to misunderstand the importance of inward ordinances.  It is easier to understand outward ordinances and their significance because of their apparent visibility but that does not mean they are more important than inward ordinances.  The fact that inward ordinances are so misunderstood speaks to how sacred they truly are. 

As a girl becomes a woman she experiences changes in her body that are symbolic of the Savior’s life giving properties.  Hair begins to grow and is symbolic of life.  The curves she develops give her body the strength and shape to carry life within her and bring it into this world.  Hair begins to grow and is symbolic of life. Her breasts grow so that they may eventually be filled with living water to nourish her baby just as the Savior’s living water is meant to nourish us. Her body begins to ovulate and shed blood as did the Christ.  Whether inward or outward we should always, ask ourselves, “in what way does this ordinance testify of Christ and His Atonement?”

Each of the sections within the Faith in God program is preparatory to coming to know God and Jesus Christ.  In order to truly know God we become like our Heavenly Parents.  Part of that is reverencing inward ordinances.  We must help our boys and girls keep baptismal covenants, learn and live the gospel, serve others, develop talents, and prepare for more ordinance work in the young women and priesthood programs.

How do we help our boys and girls understand inward and outward ordinances?

  • Utilize A Parent’s Guide. It is a manual by the church for parents to help with teaching our children about their bodies and intimacy according to their understanding and age.
  • Participate in Faith in God.  Attend scouting or activity days.
  • Celebrate and teach them about the inward ordinances. Consider a coming of age party for your daughter as she nears puberty.
  • Put together a special binder/book of information for your daughter about the changes she will experience. 
  • Attend the new General Women’s Meetings with your daughters (or boys the General Priesthood Meeting with their fathers). It seems God has much in store for our girls and we must be ready to help them understand what is coming. Study both the Women’s and Priesthood sessions.  Teach your daughters and sons what was discussed at both.
  • Listen for those informal, spontaneous moments when you can talk about these topics and bear testimony of their significance.  Don’t have this conversation just once. Leave the lines of communication open for questions.
  • Go on “dates” with your child. They need not be extravagant, they just involve one on one time. 
  • Be aware of how you talk about your body, motherhood, and fatherhood, etc.  Our children tend to mirror our insecurities.

I have already been learning a great deal from these powerful girls who are on the cusp of becoming women.  They are smart.  I have to prepare for their lessons studying not only the primary manual but the adult Sunday school lesson as well.  Their questions are thoughtful and reflective.  I feel a great responsibility to give them what matters most.  I seek the spirit every week as I prepare to teach them.   

I would love to learn from you. What have you done to teach your children or primary kids the significance of inward and outward ordinances?

 

 

by Lani

Preparing Our Daughters

September 30, 2013 in Atonement, Birthdays, blessingway, Divine nature, Eve, Faith, Lani, Menstruation, Motherhood, Parenting, Preparation, Puberty, Rites of passage, Symbolism, Temple, Young Women by Lani

Last week I celebrated the 10th anniversary of my birth into motherhood. It kind of boggles my mind that I’ve been a mother for a decade. It also boggles my mind that this baby…

126_7693141899_4545_n…just had her 10th birthday. Double digits?!

For the past couple of years, I’ve been pondering what I want to do to help her prepare as she nears the milestone of menarche. Over the years I’ve taught her little by little (through casual conversations) about her body, her reproductive organs, how they work, what will happen when she starts to bleed, how babies are made, etc. Being the daughter of a birth junkie has its perks! She knows more about women’s bodies than most girls her age, I’d wager, and certainly more than I ever knew before I reached menarche.

I wrote a bit about my own journey into the world of menstruation and my hopes for my daughters in my post “Red and Powerful” HERE. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted my daughters’ experiences to be more positive than mine was. So a month or two ago I started creating a book for my daughter.

It’s not so much a book about periods or vaginas. It’s a book that I hope will prepare her to be an empowered and courageous young woman with profound respect for her body and the beautiful things her body can do.

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It includes seven rainbow-color-coded sections (coordinated with the seven chakras) with values I hope my daughters will develop. The values may sound familiar to some of you…

  • Integrity
  • Virtue
  • Individual Worth
  • Good Works
  • Choice & Accountability
  • Faith & Knowledge
  • Divine Nature (white) 

With each section, I have given my daughter a…

  • Value and color
  • Symbol
  • Scripture
  • Description/definition of what the value means to me
  • Song/Mantra
  • Positive “I” statement affirmations (printed from this site)
  • Woman from the scriptures who exemplified the value (most of the text taken from Heather’s blog)

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(For those who are familiar with the LDS Young Women Values, in most cases the colors, symbols, scriptures, and descriptions I’ve chosen are different from those used in the Young Women Personal Progress program. I won’t go into all the reasons I did this, but I think this book will help my daughter to become familiar with the values and prime her for the Young Women’s program.)

Interspersed I have also included some poems I wrote about Eve and menstruation. At the end of the book I included a revised version of my “Red and Powerful” essay, diagrams of the menstrual cycle, and a print-out explaining the various menstrual product options so she can start thinking about which type she wants to start with. In addition to the binder/book, I am giving her a c.d. with all of the songs/mantras for each value on it. And I made her a charm bracelet containing charms of each symbol and the coordinating colors.

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My plan is to sit down with my daughter and go through each section of the book together a bit at a time (over the next several months) so we can discuss the topics and so she can ask any questions she may have. I think it will be a special bonding time for us, and by the time we get to the end of the book, my hope is that she will feel confident and prepared to face the coming adolescent milestones with grace and joy. Maybe she’ll still be awkward, embarrassed, and moody. Maybe that’s inevitable? But a mom can hope for the best, right?

If you’d like to do something similar for your daughter(s), I’m happy to share what I put together. Let me know in a comment below, and I’ll email you my file(s) and sources so you can make it your own.

by Robyn

Rites of Passage: Planning a Red Party

September 16, 2013 in Menstruation, Puberty, Rites of passage, Savior, Traditions, Uncategorized, Young Women by Robyn

utah fans

What is a red party?  No, I’m not referring to a tailgate party for Utah fans.  It is a celebration in honor of menarche, or the onset of a young woman’s period.  You can read a little bit more about that in Lani’s post, Red and Powerful.  One of our readers was willing to share with us how she prepared her daughter for coming of age and how they celebrated it together.  She asked that I not share her name in honoring her daughter’s privacy.  – Robyn

“I remember when I started my period.  Luckily, it was during Christmas break.  No embarrassing event at school marked by red thankfully.  But I was still horrified.  I thought I would start when I was 15, like my mother.  But there it was, right before my thirteenth birthday.  I told my mother who reacted so positively.  She gave me a hug and asked me if I wanted to tell my dad or if she could tell him.  I was so distraught I blurted out, “you better not tell dad and I’m not telling him either.”  She helped me navigate the world of pads, tampons, and cramps.  Looking back, I’m grateful I had a mother that I could go to and who was happy for me.  In her own way she helped me embrace something I didn’t understand.

Fast forward many periods later.  My daughter was trying to grow into her body.  I could tell how uncomfortable it felt to her for it to change.  I knew that within the next couple years she would likely begin her period.  I wanted her to embrace this essence of her womanhood and not be horrified by it.  I wanted her to feel how wonderful it is to be a woman.  I ran across blog posts on the subject and determined to have a fancy little red party for her when the day came.  Throughout those few years we talked about periods and how she would recognize it.  I attended her maturation class at school with her.  We talked more.  We even discussed the symbolism of shedding blood, the Atonement, the Savior, and the gift of giving life.  We talked about pads, cramps, and the realities of mensturation.  We made sure she had a stash of supplies. I told her we would have her own red party someday. She was ready to go.

So when the time came, I was grateful that she felt comfortable enough to come to me.  I hugged her like my mother did me.  I was excited for her like my mother was for me.  She didn’t act horrified but not exactly excited either.  I was looking forward to inviting other significant women/girls to her red party. I was ready to plan a fantastic little red party. Only, I had forgotten one important factor, it was her party.  She didn’t want some sort of big celebration or even a medium one.  She wanted it her way without a lot of to do.  I had envisioned decorating the house in red, making a red velvet cake with other decadent red treats and giving her a beautiful red dress all while surrounded by significant women in her life giving her their love, wisdom and support.  As I talked over my plans with her she quickly stopped me, ‘no red dress mom!’  Of course, I should have known that.  She was never a sparkly pink bedazzled kind of girl, of course a red dress and big froofy party would not be her thing.  And most of our family lives far away so when her favorite aunt was visiting we opted for her favorite pizza place and carefully navigated the essential womanly topics related to puberty, sex, and boys.  Instead of a red dress, I found her a red shirt with her favorite sports team. It was the perfect red party because it was perfect for her.”

I’m grateful that this mother would share this experience.  I have four young daughters myself and know that I will soon be trying to help them navigate through the changes of womanhood.  I think what I take away from the story above is that it really is about planning an event that is comfortable to your daughter.  Here are a few more ideas you can suggest to your daughter when planning it together.

Who do you want to invite?  Your daughter should only have people there she feels close and comfortable with discussing this passage. That likely means a smaller list of women in the family or close friendships.

Where do you want to celebrate? At home, at a favorite restaurant, at a park, grandma’s house?  It is good to have privacy if you think she would be embarrassed by the theme of the party.

How do you want to celebrate it? Your event might be small and intimate like in the story above or a larger gathering of women.  It can be informal or formal.  It can be nice to assign a matriarch that she looks up to give a short talk about womanhood offering advice.  Another idea would be for it to be like a mother blessing with each guest bringing a wish and bead for your daughter to be shared at the party.  Lani’s post suggests wearing red to the party and making a quilt or red dress together. You can also present her with a special scrapbook, read poems, and even share scriptures.  Maybe she would prefer a more fun approach with a game like pin the pad on the panties blindfolded.  Even better, make it a mixture of both.  What kinds of things does she like to do?  How can you tie that in?  One of my friends and her daughter enjoy letterboxing so they plan to make a letterbox stop with a special stamp as part of their celebration.

This is just the beginning. Hopefully, her red party is just one of the times in which you discuss this kind of stuff.  The door opens at this rite of passage and should continue to be open as she comes to you with her ups and downs, hopes and dreams, and questions and answers.

I would love to hear how you or someone you know celebrated this rite of passage with their daughter.  Please share in the comments below.

 

 

by Lani

First Blood

August 9, 2013 in Adversity, Atonement, Death, Divine nature, Eve, Fear, Fertility, Lani, Menstruation, Motherhood, Old Testament Women, Pain, Preparation, Puberty, Rites of passage, Savior, Symbolism, Temple, Young Women by Lani

Photo on 2013-04-08 at 20.30For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about preparing my oldest daughter for menstruation and puberty. She will be turning ten next month, so I know these milestones are quickly approaching us. This past week I started compiling a book I intend to give her for her birthday in September. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning several nights ago, planning and writing. I can’t wait to share the book with her.

Included in her book will be some poetry. I’d like to share some of those short poems with you. “The Fall” and “Sacrifice” I wrote earlier this week. “Menarche” I wrote tonight. It was inspired, in part, by my visit to the temple today. I was able to see the new endowment film, and (as friends had told me I would) I loved the portrayal of Eve.

Dear First Parents, I honor you. Your courage is awe-inspiring.

 

The Fall
By Lani Axman

She fell from Eden-womb,
A sapling
From whom
All the temples on Earth
Would be built,
Their blueprints
Pulsing through her
Like songs
Waiting to be sung,
Whispered in the language
Of her Mother.

 

Woman in Red, by Dina Argov (Source)

Woman in Red, by Dina Argov (Source)

Menarche
By Lani Axman

When the first blood appeared,
Did you scream,
Fearing that you would surely die,
That the fruit had opened your eyes
Only to close them for good?
Or did a familiar whisper
Call to you,
Embrace you with
Love, made audible:
“Fear not, Eve,
For I bring you tidings of great joy:
The Mother of All Living
Has emerged.”

 

Sacrifice
By Lani Axman

Adam spills blood
On holy altars
Where lambs and doves
Bleed hope of reconciliation
Again and again.
And he waits.

Eve spills blood
From the temple
Of her womb,
Where life and death
Mingle in sacrifice
Again and again.
And she waits.

"Empty Nest," by Bethany DuVall (Source)

“Empty Nest,” by Bethany DuVall (Source)

by Robyn

Neither Hair Nor There

February 22, 2013 in Fertility, Menstruation, Puberty, Robyn, Uncategorized, Young Women by Robyn

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I go in cycles with loving and hating my hair.  A year and a half ago I even blogged about throwing out my straightener and traditional shampoo and re-embracing my curly hair.  It may not seem like a big deal to others. But for me I felt like I was embracing the beauty that God gave me instead of trying to make it over.

One of the many aspects of pregnancy that I enjoy is that my hair gets thicker and healthier.  It is wonderful that for at least nine months my hair is fantastic.  I don’t look forward to losing my hair postpartum but I came to realize that this too is symbolic.  The use of hair in the scriptures can mean many different things but the “overarching meaning of hair in the scriptures . . . is that of life” (The Lost Language of Symbolism, 41).  After pondering this meaning I realized that maybe I should embrace this transition a little more rather than dread it.  On a biological level the thickening and then losing of our hair is a result of a shift in hormones.  On a spiritual level it is symbolic of the life-giving transition of our bodies.

In pondering this symbolism it appears not an accident that upon experiencing puberty our bodies begin to grow more hair, symbolizing the transition that our bodies make to prepare to give life.  I have to be honest and say that I really did not like the changes my body was making as an awkward adolescent.  I struggled to understand it.  What point is there to pubic hair for heavens’ sake?

So forgive me but I looked into that. I guess since I am a childbirth educator I have become more comfortable discussing such *ahem* tender subjects. From a medical standpoint the purpose of our pubic hair is to block bacteria from entering the vagina, protect from friction (during intercourse and in general), provide comfort and warmth, provide a home for pheromones to reside (for more on why pheromones are important read this post from Birth Faith), and even protect us from STDs*.  Believe it or not but in years past lush pubic hair was considered a sign of significant and abundant health, a lack thereof a sign of poor health and disease.  Syphilis was a common STD, the treatment for which caused pubic hair to fall out.  This brought to style the merkin, a pubic hair wig (think toupee for the southern regions).  No, I’m not kidding.

For a time our mothers and grandmothers were required to be shaved before giving birth.  This became the norm without any real research to back it up.  The reasoning was that there would be less infection when in fact the opposite was true.  Shaving before birth increased the risk of infection.  When research confirmed this, the practice slowly died out.

It seems that the style today is that less is more as it pertains to our legs, armpits and even our yoni**.  The Brazilian is becoming more and more popular particularly among the younger generation.  I’m not trying to make a statement on how you should wear the hair on your head or even down there but I do find it interesting the trends and fads that have found their ways into women’s beauty regimens.  But isn’t it our additional hair that separates us from being girls?  Some have commented that the trend for less is influenced by the increased access to pornography and its emphasis on hairless objectified bodies.  Some wonder if it has carried over from child porn.  Whether that is true or not, I’m not sure, but what I do feel is important here is to not loathe our matured life-giving bodies but to embrace them and celebrate them.

As I look at my daughters I feel a deep responsibility to teach them to respect and revere their God-given bodies.  I want them to feel their body is a sacred gift to be honored through virtue not revered as ugly and flawed and valued only as a sexual object that has been made-over.  Was not the embodiment of woman the crowing event of the Creation?  Gordon B. Hinckley reminded us,

Woman is God’s supreme creation. Only after the earth had been formed, after the day had been separated from the night, after the waters had been divided from the land, after vegetation and animal life had been created, and after man had been placed on the earth, was woman created; and only then was the work pronounced complete and good.

Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful, none more inspiring than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth.” (“Our Responsibility to Our Young Women,” Ensign, Sept. 1988, 11.)

We do so many things to alter our image.  And I have to admit, as I find more and more gray hairs on my head I’m tempted to do something about it.  However, I find myself pondering that “white or gray hair was most often a symbol of aging, wisdom, maturity, and honor***”  (The Lost Language of Symbolism, 42).  And so every time I see a woman with her white or silver hair, I don’t think “old” anymore, I think of wisdom, maturity and nobility.  How beautiful to age with such honor and grace.  I want to be clear that I’m not criticizing anyone for changing their appearance.  I like a little variety too.  I just think it is good to keep things in the proper perspective.  I like to keep in mind what Jeffrey R. Holland said,

In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance—tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled—those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children. At some point the problem becomes what the Book of Mormon called “vain imaginations.”  And in secular society both vanity and imagination run wild. One would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us. Yet at the end of the day there would still be those “in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers” as Lehi saw,  because however much one tries in the world of glamour and fashion, it will never be glamorous enough. (“To Our Young Women,” Ensign, November 2005)

I much prefer this standard of beauty,

A woman not of our faith once wrote something to the effect that in her years of working with beautiful women she had seen several things they all had in common, and not one of them had anything to do with sizes and shapes. She said the loveliest women she had known had a glow of health, a warm personality, a love of learning, stability of character, and integrity. If we may add the sweet and gentle Spirit of the Lord carried by such a woman, then this describes the loveliness of women in any age or time, every element of which is emphasized in and attainable through the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “To Our Young Women,” Ensign, November 2005)

How do we teach our daughters to embrace their changing bodies? Lani wrote a fantastic post, “Red and Powerful,” about the symbolism of menstruation and celebrating with our daughters this change.  I look forward to taking part in celebrating this change with my daughters.  The most significant way to pass on a healthy attitude for our bodies comes by example.  If we are constantly preoccupied with our appearance, our daughters will be too.  If we speak well of our bodies we will feed our daughters with positive thoughts about their bodies too.  I hope you will share some of your ideas here too.  I know there is vast knowledge out there among you mothers and I want to learn.

In conclusion, I just wanted to express my love for the women who have surrounded me, gently showing me how wonderful it is to be a woman. One of which is my beautiful silver-haired mother.  I love you Mom, you exemplify this definition.

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Three generations: with my mother and grandmother.

 

*“Some clinicians are finding that freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals. It follows that there may be vulnerability to spread of other [sexually transmitted infections] as well.”

**”Yoni (Sanskrit: योनि yoni) is the Sanskrit word for the vagina.[1] Its counterpart is the lingam, interpreted by some as the phallus. It is also the divine passage, womb or sacred temple (cf. lila). The word covers a range of meanings, including: place of birth, source, origin, spring, fountain, place of rest, repository, receptacle, seat, abode, home, lair, nest, stable.” (wikipedia)

***see Leviticus 19:32); Deut. 32:25; Proverbs 20:29