My name is Margot. I was raised in rural southeastern Washington state, the oldest of nine children. I’m a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but my husband is a convert. In truth, even as a lifelong member, my own conversion is tied up with his. Of course I thought I believed, but my feelings had never been tested until he (my boyfriend at the time) started meeting with Mormon missionaries at age 18. His questions became my questions, and I finally examined my testimony. I’ve discovered that a testimony is a lifelong process, needing continual renewal and ongoing conversation with God.
I married Art shortly after he came home from his mission. We are the parents of seven children. I’ve got married kids, college kids…down through elementary school; in fact, right now I have a child in every level of schooling, from elementary school on up to college and graduate school! One of the best parts of my life is my two grandsons.
I’m interested in everything. I feel I was blessed with a bright, curious mind. For example, I love music. I have a degree in piano from Brigham Young University, and have taught piano lessons for many years. I currently serve as the organist in my ward [local congregation]. (I also am in charge of ward activities.)
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and although I’ve done some technical and commercial writing, my favorite is storytelling. I adore old stuff, whether it’s antique furniture or little old ladies. I love the idea of preserving the old skills our grandparents used to have that are falling into disuse. This love has translated into a blog created to capture some of these skills I learned from my mother and grandmother. I suspect that there may come a time when we’ll be glad we hung onto some of these old ways of doing things. [Editor’s note: We featured her blog on a recent Links We Like post.]
My grandmother had a huge influence on my life. She was a beautiful spirit, chock full of compassion and faith, and the fact she knew how to do all these cool old things was sort of just rolled into the package. I would count myself blessed if I could grow to be even a little bit like her.
Perhaps something that has burned this love for Old School ways comes in part from an experience I once had; it’s very hard to explain but has never left me. I was visiting the Brigham Young house at This is the Place monument in Salt Lake City, UT (USA), when I was in the thickest of the thick with my seven kids. I was probably pregnant (because I was pregnant a lot!). I was with a big group of people but it was like I was all alone for one moment. I stood looking into something they called the “work room.” The sun came through the curtains so the room was filled with this gorgeous natural light. The room was almost bare. There was a rocking chair, with a bag of knitting beside it, and a cradle nearby. To the side was a counter/shelf unit that had plain pottery bowls for making bread, and baskets holding yarn up on the very top. I instantly fell in love with the serene feeling of this place. There was no clutter — no cords, no papers, no remotes, etc. etc. etc. I could picture myself sitting in that chair, knitting, rocking the cradle with my foot, and I had an overwhelming sense of peace.
I know it’s a skewed view of what a woman’s life was like back then (I know they survived through hard, HARD work, all the time) but that feeling, that image just BURNED into my mind and I’ve never stopped craving it.
I am grateful in the craziness and complexity of life to know that God is a responsive, loving being. Nothing in my life taught me this as much as having cancer four –almost five years–ago. I’m thinking a lot about this right now because I had my regular six-month checkup recently and it brings back a lot of thoughts. Through that experience I learned that God is aware of me personally; I’m not just a member of a vast family. I learned that the Atonement is not just about the fact that Christ paid for my sins, but that he suffered to be able to understand all my pains, even physical ones that don’t relate to sin.
I had several priesthood blessings during that time, and I always sort of wished I’d hear the words telling me it was all going to go instantly away, and I wouldn’t have to have any more painful, scary treatments. But instead I received feelings from God telling me that He’d give me the strength to get through it, that He knew how hard it was for me, and that He loved me. Thinking of it all brings tears to my eyes.
There was plenty to hate about having cancer, but like many cancer survivors, now I say I’d never want to give up the experience, because the lessons learned mean too much to me. It drives me now to be better, so that the experience will not be in vain and the lessons forgotten. That thought makes me shiver.
I love being a Mormon woman. I am grateful for the fact that God has given us revelation for now, to go along with what He gave long ago. I love that my religion makes sense to my mind as well as my heart. I love that our heritage is full of heroic, brave souls–they make me proud, they inspire me. I love that there is a community of women I can turn to for ANYTHING I need, and that I can feel an instant bond with no matter where they live. I love that there is diversity there as well–that Mormon women can be believers and still have a variety of opinions and backgrounds.
Margot just completed a young adult novel, entitled Real, currently under consideration for publication.
For more Portraits of Mormon Women, see here.