Multi-Faith Easter Celebration


Photo: Mormon Newsroom

Last weekend the Seattle Stake participated in a multi-faith Easter celebration where Christians of different denominations came together to speak and sing of Christ. Marti Patricelli who spoke at the meeting said that he and the other pastor agreed that our similarities were more than our differences. Can I get an amen?

Click for a recording of a part of the evening including a rousing congregational rendition of Amazing Grace, a gospel choir (Seattle’s Total Experience Gospel Choir), a Mormon choir (The Seattle Stake Singers), a soloist (Kim Cooney) and violinist, and two remarkable speakers. A big thank you to all who participated in bringing the spirit.

Listen here: Multi-Faith Easter Celebration

Also, the Total Experience Gospel Choir is doing a fundraiser and selling their CDs to raise money for a trip to Tanzania. CDs are $25 each and can be purchased be contacting Pastor Pat at or 206-919-6130. Their website:

Happy Easter!

Book Review: Intuitive Power by Caroline Myss

intuitive powerRecently I picked up the CD set Intuitive Power by Caroline Myss — it is POWERFUL. She speaks profoundly on how we give away our power and how to call it back to us. When I was listening I literally had to write things down I was hearing because it resonated on such a deep level. She is no-nonsense, straight forward, and funny in her delivery. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

The role of self esteem is the role of everything. Your goal should never be intuition. Ever. [It is within you.] Your goal should be your sense of self. Your goal should be figuring out one: what is your definition of power and what do you need to feel good about yourself. What causes you to lose power in your life.

When you enter the fog it’s not because you’ve done something wrong. The gods send us into fogs. Guidance is to enter into the fogs. You go to find out what has power over other than you. What are the beliefs or the fears that you have that have power over you that challenge your intuitive voice that you hear loud and clear but that you don’t want to admit that you’re hearing. In order to get from the life you had to the life you want you have to enter the fog.

Have you got what it takes to truly live in a world that no one else may validate? If you are terrified of not having someone’s approval, can you truly live in your interior world with the light on all the time? You’ve unplugged a fundamental circuit that says I need to let my interior world expand without the need for your approval. That’s going to change a lot of things.

It’s an emergence, not an emergency.

what takes the power out of you and where? how come? how much are you losing? how easily do you lose power and how hard is it for you to call your power back when somebody or some circumstance has caused you to feel gutted? where are you other than in your body? where are you other than here energetically?

The object of health is to keep your energy contained within your energy field. To keep yourself contained. Most people, through the choices they make, they find that they distribute their energy outside of themselves all the time. One wonderful practice — pay attention to where you are other than in your body. As you get dressed, pay attention to where your thoughts travel outside your bedroom, your bathroom, your kitchen. Do you start automatically anxiety-ing about the day? Imagine you literally are literally slitting your energy field like a hemorrhage and to send it out and animate the target that is causing you anxiety.

how do you retrieve energy back? you know you’re hemorrhaging when you cannot control mood swings. psychically you are completely susceptible to mood swings and energy center-ships and one of the things that you have to recognize the rapidness that you shift your center of balance in one day. it’s very rare for you to be in the same mood all day long, that you fluctuate all day long. when you find a fluctuation, i’m slipping, not as energized — from now on, check your biology and do it systemically. check your stomach. what are you thinking about? am i emotionally stress and what is it about? did someone say something? do i want to say something? negative and positive. sometimes you lose power because you have a secret.

you lose power over what you would like to do, but you don’t. action == operate on the data, make choices aligned with energetic information. 

if you deeply have a contract, do you understand that a contract is a two way thing? heaven has agreed to provide you with. if you really understand that, then what in the world would stop you from living a high risk spiritual life? if you really understand that, what stops you? it’s not the the opportunities or protection aren’t going to be there, it is. It may take us to difficult places in life. a contract is a guarantee that you won’t stay there. a contract is a guarantee that bad things will end. what your job is to believe in every single moment of your life that i could change the whole of your life in one second. and i will distribute one second experiences in your life as you need them. that is truth.

giving away your power happens because we don’t really believe that. if i lose power, if i have an encounter and i am losing power, i’m hemorrhaging.

It’s not about this person. it’s about you.

that’s how you collapse your intuition. you transfer it to 30-40-50 time zones other than yourself.

Check out Intuitive Power.

General Conference from a Mental Health Perspective

General Conference can be a wonderful thing. But it can also be triggering and isolating when you’re going through a faith transition.

Recently I happened upon this wonderful blog by Natasha Helfer Parker, The Mormon Therapist, who has really healthy perspectives on the gospel that resonate loud and clear. She blogged all about the Saturday morning session of conference, the things that she thought rang true, things that required additional discussion, and things that were unhealthy and not in alignment with the gospel. My husband and I literally had an impromptu FHE just because she had so many phenomenal insights.

General Conference from a Mental Health Perspective – Saturday Morning Session

Update: Saturday Afternoon Session is now available as well.

Natasha’s blog has been a phenomenal resource for me — I’d completely recommend it.

Lost Cell Phone = Mandatory Unplug Day

The last time I remember having my cell phone in my hands was yesterday during the last hour of church. Later while I was cooking dinner, my brother (visiting from out of town) made a phone call with it and left it on the coffee table. That was yesterday at dinner time and no one has seen it since. We’ve turned the house upside down, looked all the usual cell phone haunts (5+ times) and even searched the unconventional places, too (top of the fridge, kitchen cupboards, makeup bag, under the car) but no dice.

After freaking out, reading every “seek and ye shall find” scripture and trying desperately not to swear (because I’m trying to call in a favor, ya know), here are some radical thought processes I’ve tried to embrace:

  • Trust. I trust I will find my cell phone. I trust I will find my cellphone… well, at least hope. Don’t you get blessings for wanting to trust? 
  • Attract. I was looking at pictures of my phone online. Half tempted to print one out and look at it so the Law of Attraction can help me find my phone. 
  • Release. I suppose it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I had to buy a brand new phone to replace it.  Sure there’s 1500 photos that I never backed up on it… So I found my phone online and added it to my Amazon wish list, just in case. Inconvenient? Yes. Expensive? Yes. The end of the world? No. (Note to self: next time back up your images. And have one of those “locate” apps that starts screaming when you lose your phone.) 
  • Learning. Okay, universe. Apparently this is a sign that I need to unplug from my cell phone for a day. Roger that. I’m okay with that! Just please let me find it afterwards! 
Photo: Samsung

Authenticity vs. Anonymity

For a while I’ve been wanting to talk about things of the soul, speak authentically, and share my story. But when I created Owl Refinery, it was to create a place where I could do this anonymously — I didn’t want my name attached to it. In fact, I was close to just picking an alter ego and blogging under her name instead. (I like the idea of Stella or Penelope.) That said, I feel like I’m always back and forth about this so here are some of my reasons for currently choosing to speak anonymously:

  1. I value privacy. I’m a very private person and only share my heart with my inner circle. I don’t want people who I don’t have personal relationships with to know what’s going on in my life. 
  2. I want to draw a line between personal and professional. The lines between personal and professional are constantly blurring, but there are certain things that I’d prefer to speak about in private rather than sharing with everyone. 

And then there’s part of me who wants more alignment and authenticity in my life. So here’s in favor of authenticity.

  1. I want to be a complete person. Currently I have a professional fashion blog that deal with things more style oriented and this blog for things of the soul. I read blogs from women like Danielle LaPorte, Brene Brown, and even Elizabeth Banks and I yearn to be able to merge my identities in one place and be a complete person. Like the quote from Virginia Woolf above, I want to tell the truth about my life. 
  2. I want to own my ideas. It’s important for me to get recognition for the work that I do and being able to put a face to a name would allow me to have ownership of my ideas online. 
  3. I have an I’m a Mormon video coming out and I want to post it here. Back in November, the I’m a Mormon folks came to Seattle to follow me around for 2 days to create an I’m a Mormon campaign on me. And when it comes out, I really want to be able to share it here. 
Do you blog authentically or anonymously? Or have you found a way to happily marry both?

She Prays

On April 6, 2013, Jean A. Stevens of the Primary Presidency made history as the first women to pray during General Conference.

I couldn’t bring myself to close my eyes. I was riveted. Seeing a woman pray in #ldsconf brought a peaceful feeling of acknowledgment that God knows his daughters & hears our prayers.

What you loved to do when you were young.

Dr. Christiane Northrop is a doctor of holistic health – an OB-GYN – and one of my favorite authors. Several times I’ve heard her speak about how if you need to come back to yourself or find something that nurtures you, or something you love, to think of something you used to do when you were a young girl of 10 or 11 before you had your period. Time and time again I’ve thought about this advice and come up short. I wanted to be an actress, singer, and model when I was a kid. Nothing particularly revealing about that.

But then over New Years it hit me.

I took a line from I Am A child of God and ran with it. Considering I used a Bic pen, our turned it pretty good and after sharing it on Instagram I got some pretty good feedback.

But I didn’t think anything if it until later that night, when Chris Northrup’s advice started ringing in my ears and my “a ha!” moment hit me.

When I was in grade six, my class had a student teacher who decided to add calligraphy to the curriculum. She drew fancy letters on the blackboard, teaching us about nib height and the proper 45° pen angle and each of us inner city kids got our own calligraphy pen and practice notebook. And I took like it to a fish in water.

Something you loved to do when you were 10 or 11? Bingo.

Though I’ve barely given calligraphy a second thought over the years, in my time of need, what I needed came to the surface and gave me hope, purpose and joy. Since then I’ve been taking favorite song lyrics or quotes and writing them out in calligraphy. I’m tickled pink.

What is something you loved to do as a child before you had your period?

Call and Answer: Wear Pants to Church Day

This week with everything swirling about in regards to Wear Pants to Church Day, I decided to take action (thank you Stephanie Lauritzen for inspiring me to act) and reach out to my Stake Relief Society President and Stake President in the Seattle stake so they were well aware and sensitive to the needs of women who choose to wear pants to support this cause. Here is my email:

As you have probably already heard, there is a woman in Utah who has invited Mormon women everywhere to wear pants to church this Sunday, December 16 to demonstrate how women desire gender equality in the church. As you can imagine, this has not gone over terribly well in our patriarchal religious community. As a Mormon feminist who sees inequality in the church and who has cried bitter tears behind closed doors, I view “Wear Pants to Church Day” as an opportunity for us to recognize and embrace our sisters who may feel like they don’t belong. While there have been a lot of people saying that church is no place for this type of political lobbying, I have taken heart from a blogger who said:

“It’s not a protest, it’s an outreach. …. You haven’t experienced the pain of not seeing more women speaking/praying at General Conference? Great! Can you use the power of the Holy Ghost to reach into your well of empathy and show understanding for those who do? You don’t know what it has felt like to be belittled because you are a woman? Then surely you will have the strength to help wrap your arms around a sister who experiences this daily. You don’t understand any of this? Look for the woman wearing pants for the first time on Sunday and ask her to tell her story, take her burdens and help lift them for awhile. This actual makes charity quite easy. And charity, as well all know NEVER FAILS.” (

The reason I am reaching out is because I wanted to make sure that the leadership of our stake is aware of this and sensitive to the trials of women who may choose to wear pants on Sunday (Since, I do not have President Pederson’s email address, perhaps you could do the kindness of passing this onto him). Church should be a place for us to heal, for us to bring our burdens and lay them at the Savior’s feet. I hope opportunity this helps those of us who suffer to present our vulnerabilities to the Lord among our fellow believers so that we may all better mourn with those that mourn and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.

And here is President Pedersen’s response to the Relief Society President (cc:ed to me. He addressed our Stake RS President as “President”!):

“Please let me know if you hear of any of us in this stake, including me, speaking in anyway which you feel is degrading to women.

“Anyone in the Seattle Stake is welcome to wear whatever they feel is consistent with the spirit of the sacrament on Sundays including pants for sisters. I can find no where in the General Handbook of instructions that advises otherwise. I have certainly never as a bishop or stake leader ever received council delineating what someone should wear to our meetings. We seek to be inclusive and invite all to come unto Christ.”
The Book of Mormon warns us that when we start to judge one another by our outward appearance, we are in fact, the ones who need to repent.
27 Behold, O God, they cry unto thee, and yet their hearts are swallowed up in their pride. Behold, O God, they cry unto thee with their mouths, while they are puffed up, even to greatness, with the vain things of the world.
28 Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say-We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.
“I agree with Sister Ward that church is a place we need to heal, and to reach out to one another in love.
“I hope our meetings and leadership send that message everyday.”
I’m grateful for a remarkable Stake President who listened and validated me (and you). Positive things come when we act. There is hope.

It’s Not a Protest, It’s an Outreach

“It’s not about the pants. Women can wear whatever they want to church. I suppose it’s a gesture of showing up with vulnerability. It’s a way women, in solidarity, can come to church with their hearts on their sleeves. Not so much a protest but a peaceable way to say, “I have mourned/I am mourning”, “I have burdens that weigh heavy on me.” And maybe we don’t all share those specific burdens, but let’s be human about this, we ALL have something that has hurt us. We all have a burden, we all are mourning. Like Christ, we have these emotions so that we can understand each other and apply compassion.

“You haven’t experienced the pain of not seeing more women speaking/praying at General Conference? Great! Can you use the power of the Holy Ghost to reach into your well of empathy and show understanding for those who do? You don’t know what it has felt like to be belittled because you are a woman? Then surely you will have the strength to help wrap your arms around a sister who experiences this daily. You don’t understand any of this? Look for the woman wearing pants for the first time on Sunday and ask her to tell her story, take her burdens and help lift them for awhile. This actual makes charity quite easy. And charity, as well all know NEVER FAILS.

“I keep thinking about Christ coming to the people of the Book of Mormon, the first thing he does is shows his people the scars on his hands and feet. After he heals them–with those scarred hands–he blesses them and later offers them the sacrament. Following the pattern of Christ, I do think showing up with our scars to church to be healed and heard, to renew our love of God, is very much reverent and very sacred.

“It’s not a protest, it’s an outreach. And if by chance my nieces pray about it or your neighbor prays about it and the answer they receive is, “Yes, wear pants on Sunday” then who am I, or who are you, to say it’s not a valid answer to prayers? Our only option at that point is to put our arms around these women and girls to say, Here I am. I see you. Let’s take the sacrament together and promise to do better.

“It’s about our hearts. It’s not about the pants.”- C. Jane Kendrick, The Worst Thing is Pants, Part II

Crazy Love: Domestic Violence Only Thrives in Silence

Today Mr. Refinery and I were listening to TEDxRainier here in Seattle. It was strangely reminiscent of  General Conference with all the inspiring paradigm-shifting messages. One of the ones that really hit home was a talk on domestic violence by Leslie Morgan Steiner where she shared her own remarkable story. (You can watch it here.) The takeaways:

  • The first stage in any domestic violence scenario is to seduce you. The next step is to isolate you.
  • One in three women in the US are involved in domestic violence or stalking at some time in her life.
  • The question “Why does she stay?” is code for “It’s her fault for staying.”
  • 70% of domestic violence deaths occur after the abused person ends the relationship. Once an abused woman leaves the relationship, the last step is to kill her. The abuser has nothing left to lose at this point.
  • Break the silence. Abusers thrive on silence. Talk about what you heard here today.

While I feel extremely blessed to be in a healthy marital relationship, Mr. Refinery brought up the point that after we got married, he did steps one and two of domestic violence: he seduced me, and then he took me away. A year and a half after we were married, we left my hometown to move to a remote suburb in Utah for school. It never went any further than that in the domestic abuse cycle for me, but it happens to women every single day. My Life Coach Lisa J. Peck is a survivor of domestic violence and has shared the shocking statistic that one in four Mormon women are in an abusive relationship. Because she lived with it for so long she can literally see it in women’s faces when they are being abused.

The way Leslie Morgan Steiner got out of her abusive relationship was to talk about it. To everyone. She told the police, she told her family, she told her friends. Break the silence. Abusers thrive on silence.