Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I Support Equality

Have you been around Facebook lately?
There's a lot of red and pink on there today.

The Human Rights Campaign asked anyone who supports marriage equality to post this picture to show their support of marriage equality:

I am a Mormon.

I am also a supporter of marriage equality.

I am also taking a risk at outing myself like this, which, quite frankly, is a crying shame. I feel like I'm coming out of the closet (so to speak) outing myself as a bleeding heart liberal and someone who really, truly believes that everyone who wants the opportunity to be married can be married.
Or in the words of Dolly Parton, "I believe EVERYONE should have the opportunity to be unhappily married."

I may lose readers, I may even lose friends, but before you go, I'd like to tell you why I support marriage equality--and it has nothing to do with the Family Proclamation, the history of marriage, the Bible, the Constitution or even California's Prop 8.

Instead, I want to tell you about an afternoon I had four years ago that shifted my perspective on everything, and it has to do with people.

At the time, I was serving in my congregation as the leader of a youth mentoring program called the Young Women's Program. Ironically, I was in the church building preparing for an evening to celebrate the accomplishments of the young women in our congregation. There's always a lot of decorating for these things, and it was just me in the church plugging away.

Suddenly, there was a voice at the door.
I turned around and saw a woman standing there. She asked me if there was a bishop around that she, "Needed some help."

There was no one there except me--and I told her so.
"Is there something I can do to help you?" I asked.

She told me that her name was Dawne and that she and her friend had been asked to leave the motel where they were staying and they needed some financial assistance as they were driving across the country for Dawne to speak at a Human Rights function. They had been driving for two weeks and had run out of money.

Dawne was transgendered. Meaning: Dawne had been born a man but had always felt that she was born into the wrong body. Dawne had several surgeries to change her physical body to match the spirit she felt that had always been there. Dawne's friend--and I'm so sorry, I can't remember her name-- had been born with both male and female genitalia. At birth, her father chose to surgically remove her penis and thus condemned her to live life as a female. Unfortunately, she didn't identify herself as a female.

There was so much sadness.
As we shared lunch together, my heart hurt.
My heart hurt for Dawne's journey, the pain of not knowing where she fit in--of always feeling like she never belonged. She was raised in the same church I was. In her hour of need she turned to the church of her childhood seeking help.
My heart hurt for her friend, of the obvious sadness of just being that she carried with her every waking moment. You could see it in her eyes and in every single line on her face, the exhaustion of just existing.

My heart hurt that they had been asked to leave a motel where they had paid for their room and were being discriminated just because they didn't (in the words of the manager) "fit in". My heart hurt because of the blatant and blind hatred they had endured in the town that I called home.

I walked away from lunch with Dawne a different person. I walked away better.
Was Dawne gay?
I don't know...
                       ....and I don't really care.

I don't care if people are gay or straight or married or not. Being gay doesn't tell me if you pay your taxes or are nice to your mother. (Incidentally, being gay also doesn't tell me if you cut people off in traffic or are mean to your grandmother either.)

For me, supporting marriage equality boils down to the fact that I want all of God's children to be able to share the kind of relationship I have with Mountain Man. I love being married to him. I can't wait to get my hands on him. I love talking with him and no one can make me laugh like he can.
I just love being with him. I also like the way he smells (just in case you were wondering) and I've lately thought: It wouldn't matter if Mountain Man was a Mountain Woman because I. Just. Love. Shiloh. (Which is Mountain Man's name, in case you didn't know.)

My attraction to Shiloh isn't because he's male--it's because I am in love with Shiloh the being-- Shiloh the person--he just happens to be male, and I female.

But what if we weren't us? What if we couldn't enjoy the marriage that we now have?

This is what I came away with that afternoon with Dawne.
Dawne and her friend were people. Beings with feeling hearts and marvelous minds. Divine spirits with Heavenly Parents who loved them. I could feel these loving Parents shining through me to Dawne and then right back onto me. We weren't three ladies at lunch. We were three people, three spirits, sharing a brief moment of great beauty because all there was was love.

All equal.
All real.
All heavenly.

How can I not support that?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The A to Z Challenge

April 1st begins the A to Z Challenge! One blog post every day for twenty-six days begining with the corresponding letter of the alphabet.

This will be my third year participating. One of the discussions among A to Z challengers is "To theme or not to theme?" Last year I themed all of my posts under KNOW THE SIGNS. I covered hot button topics such as knowing the signs of accents, claustrophobia, being sassy, etc.

This year, I have chosen a new theme: Portland, A to Z.

We've recently moved here and we are trying to get to know this fabulous city a little bit at a time.
Of course, my ramblings won't be through the lens of a "cool Portlander"...but I'm o.k. with that. I'm not afraid to be the new geek in town.

So, here's to the A to Z Challenge! I can't wait!

Are you in? If so, are you writing under a theme?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Best Words I Read Today...and a Pep Talk.

A brilliant high school friend posted this on Facebook today,

"Isn't it nice that grace, love and beauty are infinite?
Yeah. For real.
You can have as much as you want."

Then I came upon this video:

Embrace your magnificence.
                                             .....enjoy your evening.
What sage advice did you stumble upon today?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bloggers that Became Friends

I had the awesome privilege to have breakfast with one of my favorite bloggers yesterday morning. She also happens to be a personal friend, but we started out our friendship through the blogosphere.

It got me thinking about the blogs I read and how many of the bloggers I know have turned into true friends. Friends who support, uplift, give awesome advice and share their joy like sunshine. We've traded emails, met in person, or we have friended one another on Facebook.

What ever the connection now, it started out as a blogging connection. So I though I'd share with you a few of my favorites:

Sweet Tea & Sunshine My friend, Sherilee writes this gem of a blog. We began as blogging buddies then branched out into "real life" friendship, which includes going out to breakfast, eating scones, and taking pictures of our food. She has a wicked sense of humor and sheds her love on others freely. Her blog has a little food and a little gratitude-- She is also really good at checking us "in" on Facebook and now my online life looks more glamorous thanks to her.

The Modest Peacock Jenny and I became friends when we started sharing snail mail. I'd followed her blog for a while and what struck me is that every person that commented on her blog she commented right back. She is incredibly creative and shares her love of music, sewing, tea and books. I'm comvinced that she is responsible for keeping the art of letter writing alive and each of her letters is a gift!

Life on the Muskoka River Cathy is the first person I told about Mountain Man leaving his job. (I know this sounds random, so hang in there--) There was something about telling someone not in my immediate vincinity that made it less terrifying. Her kindness stopped me cold and held me back from the edge. She's a damn fine writer too, and I have been known to start laughing out loud in the wee hours of the morning (lying in bed) while reading her posts. Mountain Man will roll over and mutter sleepily, "Are you reading Cathy?"

A Heart 4 Heaven This is my friend, Elaine's blog. I have gone to it over and over and EVERY TIME I come away feeling peaceful, lifted and focused. She has a gift of taking the ever day and turning it into a call to come closer to Love. Who wouldn't want that?

Delightfully Ludicrous Kellie cracks me up--and anyone who can make me laugh over and over I know is a true friend. Her posts are as random as mine (probably why I like her) and she covers a myriad of topics with humor, candor and thoughtful wit. Enjoy her blog and I dare you not to laugh out loud!

Blogging For Brenda This blog is the only one that is breaking my rule here--Emily and I were friends in junior high. In fact, you could say I've been "following" her for a while now--but don't, because that now just sounds creepy. Anyway, Emily and I go waaaaaaaay back. She truly LOVES people--and I love her blog. Her kindness, caring and delight in others infuse every post. She began this blog as a result of her work as a teacher and meeting a Congolese refugee, named Brenda. In addition to being a teacher, Emily and her husband also run a company called  ON--Originally New. For each tee you purchase, they give one to someone in need.
Everything Emily does is to serve others. In her "about me" on her blog it reads, "I love people."
Yes, indeed, she does.

If you get a moment, I hope you check these blogs out--they lift, inspire, encourage and just bring joy!

Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's Make a Deal

I can't close my wallet.

No....there's not too much money in it. It's all those stupid reward cards, like Walgreen's "wellness" card. Every store under the sun gives a card that you present at your time of purchase and you get points, or rewards, or ten percent off your next purchase, or a discount on your birthday, or a baby pony....or whatever.

Now my wallet is so full of the offending cards that I can't close it. I also can't find my keys, phone or lipstick in the mess that is my purse. That wasteland only seems to produce chewed gum, lintly lollipops and those damn cards.

Which leads me to this internal dialogue every time I buy something:

Me: (Said in a Scottish accent because having voices in your head is way more fun if one of them has an accent.) Awww crahhp! Ah've fergotten me carhd.

Annoyed Me: What's the point of those cards anyway?

Me: Ets just en case yew geht a deahl.

Annoyed Me: But I never get a deal.

Me: Buht ye mighht.

Annoyed Me: (Sighs Scottishly, and digs through my abomination of a purse to find the appropriate card....which of course, I can't find.)

Really, why do I hang onto the idea that these cards will help save money? I've had a Shopko Rewards card since the beginning of time and the only thing it has given me is 10% off on my birthday....which is the day after Christmas, and you couldn't pay me any amount of money to go shopping on THAT day.

Hastings, Maurices, Shopko, Walgreens, Rite Aide, Albertson's, Safeway, Sears, Staples, Blick, Sally Beauty, Ikea, OfficeMax, Auntie's Pretzels, the frozen yogurt place, the local pizza chain....the list goes on and on and ON FOREVER. So why do I hang on to them, sifting through the endless pile?

Because I might get a deal.

What's your retail pet peeve?