“Seas the Day and Adjust the Sails”

The thought has been lingering well over a year to write on a particular matter. However, the matter touches every star in my little universe. It may also touch on one of your stars. My hesitations come from wanting to protect my privacy. I also don’t know how to write about this so it won’t come across as too self-indulgent and whiney. So it is what it is, let’s begin by talking broadly about a few of my blessings in life: Jake has a good job that allows me to stay home with my children, I attend Palomar College, I have three children and a dog, and I live in San Diego! Each of these bring me great joy and I like it just the way it is. These blessing are not here because of only myself. Everyone in my life has helped put me here. These blessing don’t come from one solitary choice and acted out only by me.

Blessings also come with heartaches and challenges. Jake travels every other week, leaving me to be a single parent. Learning my school material is harder because my brain isn’t as absorbent as it once was and I’m a lot busier. My children each have their challenges. My dog, well… she just causes a lot of unwanted hair all over the house. Living in San Diego, means I’m away from family and their possible help while Jake is out of town.

The other day was one of these challenging-blessed days. Often I feel there are so many different opposing sources being thrown into my life and I cannot keep up. During this reflection in a doctor’s waiting room, I looked up and saw these signs on the wall.

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My body settled down and attained a bit a stability. I cannot direct the wind, but I can adjust my sails. One of my sails is that Ayzia has ADHD and Autism. Some say these are disorders, and I find myself saying that as well. However, hear me loud and clear it is NOT. These are blessings in my life and just like any other blessing, it comes with challenges. I remain physically active because of my Ayzia, I keep my brain learning new things because of my Ayzia. But how do I really feel about the diagnoses? As Donald Trump would say, “The relief was HUGE!” But so was the self-inducing guilt. I was happy and blessed to have an ADHD, Autistic child and that all her beautiful and challenging eccentricities had a name. The guilt came from, “I had a feeling it was this all along and not until 8 ½ years old is she getting a diagnoses.” I am angry, frustrated and impatient! I am protective and defensive. I also feel refined individually and in my marriage. My impatience and frustration comes from this rough estimated time line:

  • January 2015: Scheduled an appointment with Rady’s Children Hospital at Autism Discovery Institute to be evaluated. They picked the date of the appointment and my job was to agree it’s timing, August 2015. Say What?? 8 months away!!
  • March 2015: Sitting down with her school and talked about getting her some extra help. We came up with a plan, but getting her an IEP was held off.
  • August 2015: Evaluated and diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Wahoo! All things sail straight from here right? Nope.
  • April 2016: 1 year and 3 months, she finally started speech and behavioral therapy and the school is working on getting an IEP.

Around the time of Ayzia’s diagnoses, I was to restart school. Somehow I got the start time confused with my kids and missed the first two weeks of class. Consequently, I took fall semester off. Which proved useful because it allowed me more time and energy towards family and myself. Reading articles on learning disorders; many of the articles felt deeply familiar and I related to most of them on a personal level. It was then, I admitted to myself that I too, have a learning disorder. It may not be the same as Ayzia’s, but I have something, I just don’t know what exactly. I vowed to myself then, I would not leave Ayzia in the dark about this part of herself and this is why. My prior school years burned a self-belief in myself that “I was stupid.” I genuinely felt and knew I was stupid. Not because anybody told me I was, but that school and friendships were an extreme challenge. I didn’t understand most of my social interactions and friendships. I self-taught myself to read people’s mannerisms. To this day when people talk, I mostly read what their body and face are saying and little of what words they choose. I can look back and understand why, in high school, my friend was frustrated with me because I wouldn’t talk with her as we walked to our next class. During a math test, I couldn’t answer any of the questions because one of my guy friends was chomping on his bubble gum. Near the end of the period I blew up and yelled at him to stop “Smacking his gums!” I cried and laughed to my best friend all during lunch about how stupid I acted and confused I felt. If I would have known what was going on and why, if it had a name, maybe I would have had a stronger self-esteem. I couldn’t and didn’t know how to tell my parents. You may be thinking, what did her parents do? They didn’t know. Because like Ayzia, I didn’t tell them most things and unless you are watching every intricate detail in someone’s life…..it’s still nearly impossible to understand internal problems. For the most part, I look and act ‘normal’ and so does my girl. But if you want to have a conversation with us? Brace yourself because, it is going to take a lot longer than the typical. It is difficult to get thoughts out. I stuttered as a young child and as an adult, if it’s urgent and I have to talk fast the stutter comes back. Learning and dealing with Ayzia’s challenges forces me to deal with myself and my own learning problems. Now that Ayzia is getting therapy, she knows her autism and that I can relate to some degree. I’m helping her believe and feel she is beautiful and extremely smart. She is highly motivated in learning and has an amazing memory with scientific facts and creativity. Our family enforces we are here to help each other build our strengths and overcome our challenges and with this we have times of success and times of failures.

Learning is difficult for me and always will be. I am smart and dealing well with being a slow learner. Given the right topic and the right amount of studying time, I can do well. I received all A’s and 1 B in massage school. In the last 2 ½ years I’ve taken 7 college courses and achieved 6 A’s and 1 B. There are 2 supplements (Phosphatidylserine and Huperzine A) that I take every day that help me absorb new information, retain memory and help me verbally express my thoughts. I should add that my fibromyalgia causes brain-fog and these supplements help with this as well.

To those who come across this blog entry, may God bless your little universe and know that I am here with you striving to be the best kind of star in His big universe.

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After we had a heart-to-heart talk about some of her challenges, she was teary and a little upset. She didn't want to talk and wanted to be alone. She gave me this after some time passed. I truly cherish these gifts from her.

After we had a heart-to-heart talk about some of her challenges, she was teary and a little upset. She didn’t want to talk and wanted to be alone. She gave me this after some time passed. I truly cherish these gifts from her.

 

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Maui Family Trip 2015: Cemeteries and Churches

Ka'ahumanu Church Maui, Hi

Ka’ahumanu Church
Maui, Hi

Makawoa Union Church

Makawoa Union Church

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Roman Catholic Church

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Roman Catholic Church Maui, HI

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Wailuku Church Maui, HI

Wailuku Union Church
Maui, HI

Japanese Cemetery Lahaina, HI

Japanese Cemetery across from Hanakaoo Beach Lahaina, HI

Japanese Cemetery Lahaina, HI

Japanese Cemetery
Lahaina, HI

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Makawoa Cemetery

Makawoa Cemetery This was the most unique one we have been to. When comparing how peaceful it is, Jake ranks it the best.

Makawoa Cemetery
This was the most unique one we have been to. When comparing how peaceful it is, Jake ranks it the best.

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Maui Veteran Cemetery

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Boiled Eggs and Poopy Diapers: A Life Lesson in Jokes, Religion and War.

It’s Sunday morning, the day of our church primary program. Our family and many others are excited and anticipating how our children will do. There is a wonderful feeling children bring when they sing about Jesus. On the car drive over Ivy poops her diaper. There isn’t a clean one because I’m planning to leave early due to a head cold. Brainstorming synapsis fire away. I can make it work! Go to the bathroom inside the church, clean out the poop, fold lots of toilet paper inside the diaper. We are good-to-go, problem solved!

Directly turning into the crowded church parking lot, a car is parked in a non-designated stall; along a curb where everyone who enters can see! The trunk is opened. Just below, on the freshly tarred lot, are at least 10 white manikin limbs, each having a section of bloody red dye at the base! I’m not Ann Rice or Tom Clancy, but try to imagine in your own words a disturbing scene. Completely caught-off-guard lightly palpitates what my heart feels. Thoughts occur: this is supposed to be a place of refuge, a place to heal my spirit, a place to enjoy my child’s primary program-where they sing about Jesus and feel His love. Wow! That’s one way to kill the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Could this be a joke? No, it can’t be. It must have been an accident. Someone was trying to get something out of their car. Their career is giving seminars teaching First Aid and they have these props that coincidently fell out. Right? Fiction or Non Fiction, the initial reaction to the ‘stage’ has been felt and imprinted into the sinews of each person affected.

Luckily the awful scene leaves my mind during the few minutes of Ayzia and Eden’s parts. Eventually Ivy is too active during the program and people sitting nearby are trying to enjoy the performance so I leave. In the car, I exit the parking lot the same way I entered. Three men stand by the car of the incident. The trunk is still open, but no bloody limbs scatter the ground. I pull out onto the road without an episode, but my eggs are boiled and they need to be shelled! I turn around, back to the men. Our exchange goes something like, “Were your guys involved with the bloody limbs?” A man answers, “Yes, this is my car and my friend thought it would be a funny joke. We have thrown the parts away. In the service of the joke, my tire got popped.” To my calculations they are standing around, waiting for the tire to be repaired. I don’t know if it is him or I who spoke next, but an apology is made. My feelings are relayed, “I had kids in the car, it was a disturbing image and most likely the people walking out of the church with their kids were also disturbed.” He admits, “It was too graphic of a scene for young kids.” Then he turns to one of the men and says, “He shouldn’t have done that.” I can only assume this was the ‘friend’ who played the joke. The ‘friend’ hugs close to a tree, with his arms folded and head down. His body language portrays his remorse, but his snickering face says he enjoys my complaint because it fits perfectly along with his joke.

I love to laugh. Years ago, I was the one to play the April Fool’s joke too far! I have since then learned my lesson. This man was older than me. One would think being wise in years gives the knowledge as to where and when these kinds of jokes are played. I say to the group, “I’m all about playing jokes and having a good laugh, but this was the wrong place at the wrong time.” Driving away, more thoughts come to mind. The bloody limbs aren’t just obscene for young kids. Real crime scenes look like this that afflict trauma on family members and friends. What about the people who fight in war and come home struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of the members in our church congregation serve our country. Recently I was in possession of a graphic picture of a family member with an infection in their leg from a surgery. I am able to look subjectively at these kinds of medical photos. Unfortunately I tried showing a friend this picture, who incidentally fought in the war on terror. Shamefully I remembered his service too late. As I replay the scene over in my mind, I see on their face the trauma of war and will for the rest of their life. Of course, my phone-photo of an infected leg is real and the manikin legs aren’t. But it doesn’t matter whether it is fake or real, each person is affected differently with or without past trauma.

Reasons over shadow each other as to why this post is necessary. To the reader it is based upon their interpretation. Personally, some would be: repenting for what I did to my friend, to keep my kids innocent as long as possible, to be aware of my actions, respect people’s life story that isn’t similar to my own, to check myself before I think a joke ‘would be’ funny. One thing is certain, the reasons for war, an act of crime, and PTSD cannot be resolved simply by stuffing a diaper with toilet paper. When we share or re-share a video, a picture, a news clipping, a joke or display a dreadful scene; let’s ask ourselves, “Who’s hard boiled eggs do you really want to crack open?”

Homage to Mindy:Happy 40th Birthday

July 28th Would be Mindy’s 40th Birthday

Memories of Mindy:

From Sister Heidi

  • As a teenager, Mindy was admiring a Michael Jackson poster up on her wall when I walked into her room. I’m not quite sure of her reasoning; a crush or to get a reaction out of me, but she leaned in and gave the paper MJ a kiss! Whatever her reasoning was, I remember how it made me feel; my sister was daring and maybe just a little kooky. So a few years later a friend and I were watching the movie Newsies. From Mindy’s inspiration, I went up to the TV and gave the guy I had a crush on, a big kiss. My friend’s reaction didn’t disappoint!
  • I’ll use my thumb or big toe as a microphone and my girls will smile when I try to get them to talk into it. It makes me smile because Mindy created the ‘microphone’ and did the same thing to me.
  • We would have leg wars and of course she would always win.
  • Mindy loved scary movies and ghost stories. Consequently, as children she loved to scare me and always made me turn out the last light in a room.
  • I have fond memories of wearing our pajamas while eating our dinner on TV trays and watching the Muppets.
  • When we gave back tickles she made me do her first then pretended to fall a sleep.
  • The fall before Mindy died, my dog got lost. Mindy gave me advice and comfort. She went with me to animal shelters in hopes to find him.
  • As little girls, Mindy had a Benji the dog sleeping bag while I had a Snoopy the dog. We would have sleepovers at our grandparent’s and lay on the floor by their fire.
  • She was good at ice-skating, water and snow skiing. She took dance and piano. She was a Girl Scout and seminary president. She went to girls’ camp and youth conference as a young woman in the LDS church.
  • She met the LDS prophet, Spender W. Kimball

From Brother Austin
“Mindy and I have quite a few years between us; so as a kid, she and I didn’t have the most connected relationship. Nevertheless, I have nothing but positive memories of her. She was always laughing and smiling. Her light-heartedness made me feel very comfortable with her. Although I know she had her struggles, she seemed to remain positive. The night I got set apart as a missionary, I was pleasantly surprised to hear her remarks. That night I felt our relationship grow stronger. It was unfortunate that was the last time I saw her. As I set out on my adventure, I once again was pleasantly surprised to see how often she communicated with me. In all honesty, she wrote me the most out of anyone else. Without fail, I got a letter in the mail from her every week. I loved hearing from her, she was so positive about what she was doing. She was great at telling me about the small things in life, which was exactly what I wanted to hear. I wanted to know all the details about home. As she continued to write me letters, our relationship grew more than ever before. She continually bore her testimony to me, and told me about the positive changes she was making. I was so proud of her.

Then one morning while I was in my companionship study in Cairns Australia, I got a phone call from the Mission President. As I looked down at the phone, my heart began to race. It is usually not a good thing when the President calls. I went into another room to get some privacy from the three other Elders in the apartment. Being at a loss of words, the call ended quickly. As I laid on the floor in tears, I looked over in the mirror seeing myself sob. Then a peaceful feeling came over me. I thought to myself, If Mindy saw me right now, she would tell me to cut it out and get back to work. That’s exactly what I did. To this day, that thought continues to bring me peace with where she is.

Mindy has inspired me on many levels. She had so much love for people. I wish she could have been given better opportunities in life, because that’s exactly what she deserved. I love her so much, and I am thankful our relationship got much stronger in the last 6 months of her life.”

Excerpts From Talks Given at Mindy’s Funeral:

Mother, Bev’s
I am glad to honor my daughter Mindy today by expressing deep gratitude to her for being her mother. She was kind and patient and so full of love for everyone she came in contact with. I will never forget when she was born. I had an undeniable sense that many loved ones from beyond the veil had come to bid her farewell. They were there and I knew it. I know she was important to many people who loved her very much. I sensed that very strongly. I knew she had been valiant in the preexistence and that I was lucky to  be given such a special child. She was a tender and  kind child. Mindy loved anyone who would spend time with her. I am glad the last years of her life I spent a great deal of my time with her. She would often apologize to me and  say “ Mom, I am sorry for taking so much of your time”.  I always  told her ‘ I love the time that  I spend with you and I always will.’ Having a dad was really important to Mindy. I overheard her talking to a friend right after Alan and I got married. Mindy was beaming that she could tell her friends, “I have a dad  now.”  Everyone knows she loved dogs and loved grooming them. She enjoyed helping dogs feel good about themselves and it brought her much joy. I look forward to the bright day when I see Mindy face to face again. Mindy is in never ending peace and love . She will continue on growing brighter and stronger in her progression; I am happy for her. I pray we will all look forward to do good each day, be kind to each other, and take time for each other.

Father, Alan’s
It’s been mentioned that when Bev and I got married, Mindy was happy to have a dad. I was equally happy to have a family. I have been asked to talk about Mindy’s relationship with her brothers. Brady recently bought something that he had wanted for some time. Within a minute or two after coming home with the purchase, he was talking to Mindy on the phone about it. She was so proud of her brothers and their accomplishments. We called Austin, who is serving an LDS mission in Australia, the day Mindy passed away. When we talked to Austin, he bore testimony of the Plan of Salvation and Eternal Life. As soon as Austin left on his mission, Mindy was so excited. She wrote to him weekly and sometimes more often than that. She had his picture beside her bed and his missionary picture in her cupboard where she could see it. When we went to Mindy’s house, there was a stack of handwritten letters from her Missionary brother, whom she loved very much and was so proud of him. She waited for his emails every Sunday night. She would call us if the email had not been forwarded to her by 10:00 pm. She loved her Heavenly Father. Austin told us of Mindy’s testimony she bore to him. Mindy is a daughter whom I love very much. She has many of her mother’s qualities. We know that Mindy is in the hands of He that heals each of us and loves us more than we can comprehend. 

 Brother-in-Law, Jake’s

The thing that stands out the most to me when I think about Mindy is her sense of humor. She was the first to tell a joke, or drop a wise crack. Her distinctive laugh confirmed the joke had just been delivered….even if she was the only one laughing. That’s something my wife and her sister have in common; the ability to laugh at their own jokes. When I really step back and think about that, I realize what a gift it is. Mindy found joy in life because she was able to look at it with a smile and an optimistic attitude. Even when things weren’t going so well, she wouldn’t complain much—if at all—and she would shrug it off. Mindy put others first and would have a defense for another person, even if that person wasn’t her favorite. She was quick to see all sides of the story and to let that side be seen to others, even if it was in conflict with her. She found the good in people and would quickly provide the benefit of the doubt. There weren’t many times I saw Mindy in an argument, in fact I don’t really recall any time I saw her in one. I’m thankful for the friendship Mindy shared with her siblings. She was (at least as long as I knew her) kind to Heidi and I. We felt a great sense of friendship and love from her.

Poem read with the eulogy

Poem read with the eulogy

Understanding Trangender I-VIII

 

Understanding Transgender I: Black Hairy Limbs

Reading and writing is entertaining when funny stories lead to the main topic. But this time you will be brought to the subject of Transgender. Also mentioned, are helpful ideas about how to respond to a family/friend/co-worker who is LGBT.  Most people dislike reading lengthy posts, or at least want a quick pick-me-up when blog- scrolling. Time on this plateau will NOT be quick, more like a meander, trying hard to stay on the path and not trample on delicate flowers. This documentation is divided into 8 parts. I will post this as one complete body of work, for those who want to read it all at once. Then I will post each section separately for those who need/want a shorter read.

Learning about the LGBT community is a process for me. My feelings and findings may evolve during the next decade. Most people know what it means to be homosexual, heterosexual and bisexual. Lately the word queer hasn’t been used in the familiar context of being attracted to the same sex. In recent years the word has evolved, in Ann Dohrendwend’s book, Coming Around, she explains queer thinking: “Queer has been reclaimed by today’s generation…Those who refer to their sexual orientations as queer reject traditional labels of heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. They see such labels as limited and limiting, because they are majority conceptions shaped by majority biases and mores.” (8) Growing up the words, ‘Gay’, ‘Lesbian’, and ‘queer’ were used for taunting. In my 36 years of living, I have never personally used it to taunt. However, to write about LGBT is still a bit daunting for me. By worldly standards, I am conservative. Within my LDS religion, I am liberal.

The dial on the iron is turned to cotton-press. Quickly the iron slides over the yellow polka-dot sleeveless blouse. Slash-like holes are burned through the side of the back. Clearly the blouse is not cotton. A thought occurred, necessary precautions were taken so this wouldn’t happen again. All well, if a cardigan is worn, the blouse will provide its function; to match the color scheme for our family photos. Family and ironing prompt the pondering question- what are roles of masculine and feminine? Ironing is not my strong skill-set nor is being a delicious cook; I fancy performing neither of the two. Since my skills of such lack the luster and shine, does this make me an incompetent female or house wife? A pale part of me says yes, at least to the latter.

In grade school, mother let me dress myself. She took me shopping and spent a great deal of money. Disagreements over which clothes to wear or buy, never occurred. Mother has my honor for leasing the right to self-govern my image. However, my style never seemed to be the same as my classmates. Occasionally she offered that I make more an effort on my short-haired perm; to not let it flop flat and wet. Up until High School I was the odd boy… oops, girl. The word ‘odd’ is used because my teeth said it all: crooked, too big, and a major over bite. Lucky Me had such a huge mouth my teeth hadn’t a chance to hide, so I got braces. I desperately wanted glasses, so in 7th grade, dear mother bought me a non-prescription pair. I loved having braces and glasses. Looking back, my mom was probably thinking, “Whatever keeps the kissing and hand-holding at bay.” The word ‘boy’ is used because I was flat chested with black hairy limbs. In church once, my older sister leaned over and instructed that I shave my mustache before coming to church. One morning in 8th grade I used a Nair-type product. Time was limited. So half my upper lip was complete and consequently it burned the skin. So imagine in a classroom setting, a half-burned, half-haired lipped girl engaging in shallow conversation with a hairless boy nicknamed Egg. Somehow he got her on the topic of mustaches. Hmmm, wonder why? She couldn’t help thinking that the joke was on her.

 

Understanding Transgender II: Society is to Blame

Dad is a perfectly-pressed ironer. He enjoys a good conversation in person and on the phone. A curse word has never been muttered by him in my presence, nor has he raised his voice in an argument. Maybe an eyebrow, but never a tyrant vocal. Does this make him a feminine man? My father’s roles around the house are: mowing and edging the lawn, taking care of the car, doing the dishes, and paying the bills. Do these characteristics make him a masculine man? Mom does most of the renovations to our home: tiling, painting, wood working, and cabinet resurfacing. I view her as self-reliant and an autodidactic champ at accomplishing hard things. Do these characteristics suggest her a masculine woman? Mother’s roles around the house are: cooking, knitting, sewing, and decorating the yard with birds and flowers. Do these traits make her a feminine woman?

I find myself wanting to blame society or institutions where people are put into one of the two traditional gender roles. Well guess what? Forcing one to fit within the modern societal role of a particular gender is going to create irregularity, because gender doesn’t come in just pink or blue. Growing up the color purple made me kind of sick and I didn’t quite know why. As an adult it’s in my top three favorable colors and that’s due because I like its rays of diversity. The book, Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. helped me understand how the brain works in males and females. The author accredits everything he says with scientific research. I’m a little skeptical with statistics because most times the tests have a rooted agenda. However, this doctor’s results has helped me understand why institutions stereotype genders.

At first I had written the next paragraph about my distaste for institutions segregating males and females with certain activities such as: physical education in schools and in my three hour block at church there is an hour class time where they separate males and females who are older than 12 years. However, Dr Sax teaches that having separate learning activities for each gender is a good idea. Raising children pro gender neutral has its setbacks. Dr Sax points out that one of the reasons why children today have more anxiety than children in the 1950-60’s is because they are less rooted in their gender. (236) Boys need to have activities where they learn from men and girls need activities where they learn from women. When I think back at times I felt most feminine, was when I went out to lunch with my mom and her sisters, or being with girls my age where women were in charge of us. But if I could add, to not limit a gender specific learning environment to their stereotypical interests.

 

Understanding Transgender III: Dress or Tie?

I want to understand why is it so weird to see a man in a dress, or a woman in tie? Personally I love Diane Keaton’s look when she dresses in a suite and a tie. She wears masculinity and femininity beautifully. Steven Tyler is another person who seductively incorporates masculine and feminine into his style. I love his long hair, feathery- fringed jackets and tight pants. To my knowledge however, these two examples are comfortable with their gender identity. But I can’t help to think, if a dress is related to women and a man wants to wear a dress, then it would make sense for him to think he is a woman.

Why do American bathroom signs say pants are for boys and skirts are for girls, when Kilts and loins are being worn by men elsewhere? When were these earthly temporal boundaries established? Styles have changed so dramatically over time. Why has our fashion ended with where it is now? Is it possible to make the change again? If so, let’s make it happen sooner rather than later!

Department stores should have an open floor plan that together showcase male and female clothing. I’ve purchased boy clothes and haven’t felt weird about it. But I imagine it’s a different experience when a man wants to buy women’s clothing. Wouldn’t it be nicer to not have the Sesame Street lyrics playing in the back of our minds, “One of these things are not like the other?”

Song on Sesame Street Television Program-

Steve Tyler!

Diane Keaton on Jimmy Fallon!

 

Understanding Transgender IV: Pliable Perception

What is my role in and around Transgender? For each of us, the answer will be different. “With greater self-awareness, you will be less likely to make statements that may inadvertently hurt your child. With insight, you will be more likely to offer sound, empathic advice.” (Dohrenwend,xiii) For me, educating myself will help give support to a family member and/or friend. Imagining my child identifying as LGBT has visually motivated my understanding. My LGBT family member or friend and I don’t need to agree on religious beliefs to be sympathetically connected. It’s perfectly obtainable for my spiritual views to honor and respect beliefs that differ. “You need not change your religious affiliation nor reject deeply held beliefs.” (Dohrenwend, xiii) To those of us who are Christian or at least respect Jesus as a great leader; what did He say? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The final product of motherhood for me will never be obtained in this life. It’s a fluid, workable goal that’s always reaching for higher grounds. I need to allow my perception to be pliable. My family and friends have helped me understand how to have unconditional love. In my younger years, people’s decisions and lifestyles went into one of my strict black or white categories. Thankfully time and people have broadened my perception. If my girl(s) are Transgender, I want to see them for their entirety. Even though my eyes cannot see their spirit, I want spiritual connection with them to not be set off-course by their earthly tabernacle.

The Whittington’s story of how they helped their child transition-

 

Understanding Transgender V: Fitting Into the Box

The difficulty with knowledge about Transgender or LGB will be fitting it into a shapely, decorative box that looks nicely in all the institutions I’ve associated myself with. The secret card folded into my sleeve is: I have never fit into any sort of shapely box. So if I don’t find one, that’s fine by me. The book, Coming Around has given me helpful tools if my child were to ‘come out’. Here are bullet points I’ve taken to heart:

  • Don’t confront or tell your child they are Gay, Lesbian or Transgender. (13)
  • Listen and understand their language and words. (8)
  • Guilt serves one purpose- to change course. After that it’s destructive. (13)
  • Get beyond stereotypes. Find time to evaluate perceptions. (15)
  • It’s important that their self-esteem remains intact. Discussing sexuality/gender with a parent exposes the child’s vulnerability. (16)
  • When your child comes out to you, saying these three words are essential. 1- I love you. 2- I’m proud of you. 3-I’m glad you told me. (23)
  • If you are baffled, focus on their feelings until you can get a hold of yours. (27)
  • Hold, hug and kiss them while they are coming out. (29)
  • It’s okay if a parent doesn’t always say the right thing. But it’s best if we are prepared to apologize when we are wrong. (29)

I’ve often wondered why the need to ‘come out’. This quote resonated with me, “Disclosure is an important aspect of intimacy and connection. If we are to be authentic and truly present in a relationship then it is necessary to disclose who we are and what matters to us.” (20) It is of my opinion that living an honest life is benevolent. Also, everyone deserves respect on what they want to keep private and to whom they choose to share certain information.

Music- I Stand All Amazed

 

Anything Box Living in Oblivion

 

Understanding Transgender VI: The Most Important Institution is Family

Non Fictional literature has always taken more energy for me to read. To further my research I feel some grounding needs to take place. This section is intended to put oil in my lamp, and hopefully it will do the same for the readers. My religious views are deep seeded and have 36 years of growing. In regards to LGBT, my beliefs and opinions sometimes conflict with one another. It can be difficult and heart breaking. Keep in mind, I am definitely okay with readers not agreeing with me. Also, even though I link the LDS website in my blog, the LDS faith isn’t responsible for anything I write.

Opinon: When referring to male and female roles, the word ‘role’ feels like a negative concept. It suggests I dress, act and like certain things. However, roles are meant to be empowering not confining. Once we understand our roles, we feel empowered. Once we view roles as empowering, then we are to understand how they apply to us. Responsibility and duty are some synonyms for the word ‘role’. When I think of fulfilling our roles, I also relate this to fulfilling the measure of our creation; which then reverses the implication from negative to positive. I struggle with the right perspective, and maybe there isn’t one. Do we teach our child who sees themselves as the opposite gender that their spirit is the gender they were born with? Or do we help our children transition? I think with either of these options it is best to really meditate on what is best for each person.

Beliefs: A Parent’s Guide is an interesting article found on the LDS website that helps us learn and teach our children about families and our roles. In chapter 1, Intimacy and the Purposes of Earthly Families teaches us the eternal roles of men and women. There is much I loved about this article. I suggest taking the time to read its entirety with a humble heart and open mind. In short, here are bullet points from the article: https://www.lds.org/manual/a-parents-guide/chapter-1-intimacy-and-the-purposes-of-earthly-families?lang=eng

  • In the pre-existence we were all brothers and sister, having one heavenly mother (I added her in) and father. It’s important to help each other to attain immortality and eternal life with our Heavenly parents.
  • Everything we do must bring the blessings of righteousness into the lives of our children.
  • Prayer is the source of communication to our Heavenly Father.
  • When we receive the Holy Ghost and seek gifts of the Spirit, we become Christ-like in his nature –kind, pure in heart, meek and charitable.
  • The Priesthood helps the Lord’s sons receive revelations, inspiration and understanding for their family. A father’s responsibility is to provide for their family’s needs: Shelter, food, clothing, compassion, counsel, comfort and direction. A father willingly accepts responsibility and is responsible for the outcome.
  • The Lord gives equal amount of responsibilities to his daughters. Women give mortal tabernacles to the spirit children of God and then nurtures them to return to live with Heavenly Father.
  • Women receive inspiration and understanding for their family. During pregnancy, she nurtures the child with her own body. “The child is literally flesh of her flesh, and the natural affection that exists between a creator and his creation exists in its strongest earthly form between a mother and child.”

Family is part of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Happiness and therefore shouldn’t be sacrificed. We live here as families and will continue to when we return to heaven. (A Parent’s Guide Chapter 1) Jesus Christ is the light and savior of the world. Opposite of this light is darkness, or Lucifer. At different points in my life, I have felt the works of Lucifer and therefore cannot dismiss he exists. I believe Lucifer knows God’s plan of happiness. Lucifer doesn’t want anyone to obtain it. If Satan destroys the family unit here on earth, then he destroys God’s plan. By destroying God’s plan, Lucifer wins the great battle. Satan makes the good look bad, and the bad look good. He reverses lies into truths. I feel, if we have a close relationship with God it will be easier to see His truth. When someone is Transgender, lets defeat Satan and do all we can to keep our family unit strong.

Music- Families Can Be Together Forever

A Child’s Prayer by Janice Kapp Perry

 

Understanding Transgender VII: Feeling ‘At Home’ Within Our Earthly Tabernacle

Having a female body feels comfortable to me and my spirit enjoys caverning here. But what about those spirits who feel a guest inside their body; how come they don’t feel ‘at home’ in their tabernacle?

God made us in His image. Our spirits match ( or in likeness) that of our earthly bodies as do our bodies match our spirits, as said in D&C section 77 verse 2. We were made spiritually before naturally placed here on earth, as said in Moses chapter 3 verses 5 and 7. It feels to me like we are mocking God when we say He made a mistake when he sent His spirit child into the wrong body. God making a mistake doesn’t fit His position of perfect, omnipotent and omniscient.

If one is in the belief that there are only two genders and also believes in a Christian view of resurrection, Transgender can be confusing. After being resurrected, the Spirit goes back into the same body it was born with, but is healed from all its imperfections. Well, what exactly counts as imperfections and does that include any that our Spirit might have? This is where my information and all my pondering will not fit into a nicely, decorative box. I simply don’t know; and need to exercise faith.

Dr Sax quotes Dr. Gaya about how the brain is a sexual organ and gender of the brain is a huge part of determining the human gender identity. (11) Dr Sax also mentions a study done in the Netherlands that may or may not be accurate, but states the brain of a transsexual man resembles the brain of woman without receiving any feminizing hormonal treatments. (213) Is it fair to ask our child, even though their body is female, and possibly their spirit; to live a life that conflicts with the functioning of their brain? If a born female thinks and feels male, wouldn’t they be more effective and productive by transitioning their bodies to match the way they mentally see themselves? This is a very personal decision. Respect and integrity should be given to either choice of transitioning or not. Free Agency was given to everyone.

I have used the source of prayer to help discover who I am. Heavenly Father is better equipped to guide me than man or society. I feel He wants us to know about our sexuality and gender. He is the one who created our bodies, therefore He knows best on how they function. He knows the effects earth life has on the mortal body and the reactions spirits may have dwelling inside His tabernacles. Using our faith in God will help us not be confused and will help us feel peace with our choices, even if that means we won’t receive our answers.

Scripture Verses-  https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/77?lang=eng  https://www.lds.org/scriptures/pgp/moses/3?lang=eng

Music- The Lord Gave Me a Temple

 

Understanding Transgender VIII: Coming Together

It would be nice if all my religious beliefs and political views came together in harmonious watermelon crunch. There is much more information about LGBT that needs discussing. My research barely skims the surface. LGBT rights are progressing and thankfully is no longer a hush-hush topic. The web links provided in this document show that religious institutions are becoming more aware and sensitive to the diversities of their congregations.

Why would I care about the LGBT community? Because their rates of suicide, victims of bullying and depression are high. LGBT children who are accepted by their parents are less likely to be self-destructive (Dohrenwend,141). They are my brothers and sisters. I care for them and their happiness. They have their journey and I am but yet a personage who will either help them or hinder them in their happiness. America is supposed to be a place where all people are allowed freedoms. Many people have sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom. When Joseph Smith was Prophet of the LDS church, Mormons struggled to find a place they could live their beliefs. Joseph’s life was taken because he was a seeker of truth. I give back the same generosity that has been bestowed upon us (me) and allow whomever the right to, or not to believe what they choose.

Why do we need to learn about Transgender? Recently I spoke briefly with a religious leader about this topic. His demeanor was respectful, but yet at the same time he seemed aloof to my interest. Maybe his detachment was because of his generations above me. But age aside, I’m guessing the number of people who do feel connected towards Transgender is less than the ones who don’t. I felt like telling this person, Haven’t you even let your mind ponder the idea? What if all this ‘gender’ business is because our eyes are not yet opened…and they need to be. Compassion has widened the walls of my heart. Having more knowledge about gender helps me know myself better. Knowing more about the masculine brain helps me better understand my husband and males in general. I am glad to have allowed my mind to go through this process and will allow it to continue…

Inspiring non-religious devotional-

Russell Brand-Awakened Man

 

Here are the resources that helped me with Coming to Understand Transgender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light of Christ

The church I go to lasts 3 hours. The first hour is sacrament meeting which usually has announcements, baby or baptism blessings, 3-4 hymns, maybe a musical number, and people take the sacrament. After this there are usually two youth speakers and two adults speakers. On April 28th I spoke and each of the speakers had the topic, The Light of Christ.  For those who are seeking the Light of Christ maybe this will help you along in your journey.

 

The songs we enjoy are usually ones that resonate with us. The interesting thing is, that most songs don’t last more than a couple of minutes, however within those 2-3 minutes it creates a change in our being. The Light of Christ also has this power.

At first the idea of giving a talk on the Light of Christ was exciting. What a wonderful topic and so much resources to draw from. Surely I have seen and felt the light of Christ in my life. But then something happened. Questions formed in my mind such as: Why was I chosen this particular subject? Maybe I lack the light. How am I to compound such a vast amount of information into such a short time frame? Do I personalize it or not?

My impression about researching the Light of Christ was that it fit perfectly with my New Year’s Resolution; to know and feel the Grace of Jesus in my life. But there was a week when my schedule got busy enough to lead me off the path of Finding Grace. This brought me to a lowly state, mentally and spiritually. Surely without Grace in my life I can’t prepare a talk about the Light of Christ?

This the way Satan snuffs out the light of Christ in each of us. Through self-doubt and losing the Grace of Jesus. We were given a paper in Sunday School last week, during Ward Conference. On it was a quote by James E. Faust, “Satan is a coward and if you stand firm against him, he will retreat.”

A friend of mine posted this on her FB page in regards to the Boston Marathon. QUOTE “…there always have been and probably always will be those who selfishly seek to extinguish the light of others to serve their own evil purposes. Yet, there always have been, and hopefully always will be, those who are brave and strong enough to pick up the torch and refuse to let the light die. By so doing, those who pick up the torch, move forward not only to light the way, but to remember the light of those whose life has been cut short by evil doings….we will pick up the torch when one of our fellow brothers or sisters are no longer able to carry on. I know we are not alone in this way of living, as there are many brave and beautiful souls all over the world who refuse to give way to darkness and let their lights shine forth. There is darkness all around us, but there will always be light enough to lead the way if we are willing to carry the torch, to finish the mile when others can’t, to give when others take, to love when others hate.” (Maria Lewis)

I like to think that just by walking through these church doors it fills the invisible torches we carry. This is why we partake of the sacrament. By remembering Christ we are able to have God’s light. When we go back outside, we are a more able to light the path for others who may need help.

The Light of Christ is the divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ and gives life and light to all things. The Light of Christ influences people for good and prepares them to receive the Holy Ghost. One manifestation of the Light of Christ is what we call a conscience.

President Boyd K. Packer said: QUOTE “The Light of Christ is also described in the scriptures as ‘the Spirit of Jesus Christ.’ … The Spirit of Christ can enlighten the inventor, the scientist, the painter, the sculptor, the composer, the performer, the architect, the author to produce great, even inspired things for the blessing and good of all mankind.” 5

Robert Streuer, second quorum of the seventy, gave a talk in 2008 called, The Power of Light and Truth.

QUOTE “The Light of Christ “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” It is “the light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed” (D&C 88:12-13; see also D&C 88:6-11). This power is an influence for good in the lives of all people (see John 1:9; D&C 93:2). In the scriptures, the Light of Christ is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life.”

“For us to prosper in these times, spiritual light must burn within us”, He suggests three ways we obtain this spiritual light:(1) learn true doctrine, (2) gain pure testimony, and (3) live the gospel courageously.”

1)President Henry B. Eyring stated: “The word of God is the doctrine taught by Jesus Christ and by His prophets. Alma knew that words of doctrine had great power. They can open the minds of people to see spiritual things not visible to the natural eye. And they can open the heart to feelings of the love of God and a love for truth.” Recent scientific thinking on the fundamental properties of light describe light as a “carrier” 6 or “messenger” 7 or “mediator.” 8

2)Our testimonies are strengthened as we reverently observe the great universe God has created for us. The Lord declared to Enoch, “All things are created and made to bear record of me.”

3) we must live courageously in accordance with the light and testimony that we have received. We are promised, “He that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”

The summer of 2009 to the fall of 2010 was hard on me. It started with two of my siblings struggling with addictions, and then continued with: my grandfather passing away, the loss of our dog, my dad’s best friend-someone whom I looked up to- passed away from a heart attack, Jake’s best friend died from ALS, my sister died, we had financial hardships, we moved, Jake lost his job, we moved again and then lastly the fall, we had a traumatic accident in our family. Up to this point in my life I had sad things happen but I was able to recover. But this time was different. I knew the only way of not losing myself was to hold on to Christ. Enough time has passed where I feel like I’m in a good place in all aspects of my life. I’m grateful God filled me with light by putting Christ-like people in my life and surrounded me with diversity. I debated whether to share this with you because our family holds these events tight to our hearts, but it segues into-

President Uchtdorf’s talk this last conference about, The Hope of God’s Light.

“There may be some among you who feel darkness encroaching upon you. You may feel burdened by worry, fear, or doubt. To you and to all of us, I repeat a wonderful and certain truth: God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things.1 It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.

This is “the Spirit of Jesus Christ,” which gives “light to every man that cometh into the world.”2

Nevertheless, spiritual light rarely comes to those who merely sit in darkness waiting for someone to flip a switch. It takes an act of faith to open our eyes to the Light of Christ. Spiritual light cannot be discerned by carnal eyes. Jesus Christ Himself taught, “I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”3 For “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”4

Uchtdorf give us three ways to help us open our eyes to God’s light. “First, the perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how unqualified you may think you are or how far behind others you may feel. The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to enliven your soul.

Second, turn your heart toward the Lord. Lift up your soul in prayer and explain to your Heavenly Father what you are feeling. Ask that your ears may be opened, that you may hear His voice. Ask that your eyes may be opened, that you may see His light.

Third, walk in the light. Your Heavenly Father knows that you will make mistakes. He knows that you will stumble—perhaps many times. This saddens Him, but He loves you. He does not wish to break your spirit. On the contrary, He desires that you rise up and become the person you were designed to be.

If you’re up for a challenge or a -I dare you- Maybe the next time we see or hear disheartening information from the media we can envision being on the national news singing to the people who have lost their humanity the lyrics from, Like Ten Thousand Legions Marching, “Come ye nations, out of darkness; Tis the time of Christ’s return. Heed the Restoration’s message; Let its light within you burn.”  Or for the ones whom we see that has had their light dimmed by the hardships of life, envision the second verse to Press Forward, “Press forward, Feasting on the word of Christ. Receive his name, rejoicing in his might. Come unto God; find everlasting light. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Resources

Like Ten Thousand Legions Marching (The way that it is sung on this website is completely disappointing! Reading the lyrics, I image strong boisterous voices with a marching band.) http://www.lds.org/music/text/hymns/like-ten-thousand-legions-marching?lang=engShort

Press Forward http://www.ldshymns.com/lds-hymns-76-100/81-press-forward-saints

The Hope of God’s Light  http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/the-hope-of-gods-light?lang=eng

The Power of Light and Truthhttp://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/the-power-of-light-and-truth?lang=eng