Little mercies of today: And why you almost forgot them too

This blog reminded me of the blessings we do have in life. I’d like to try a little harder to focus on what I do have, instead of what I’m still waiting for or what I don’t have.

all our lemmony things

Today was a hard day.

And so, in effect, I started writing a blog post that reflected that. Pretty much the post turned into a full-blown list of all of the things going on right now that make life so downright hard. My dad, who has been battling stage-four cancer, is back in the hospital and feeling worse than ever. My husband, who is always my morning sunshine, is now in nursing school and starts leaving now before I even wake up. And after a grim diagnosis of Endometriosis, the pain decided it will unleash it’s full fury. *Oh yay*. You know–just things like that that really make someone tick.

And then, as I was writing up a storm and fighting back tears as I did so, I felt a little tickle on my toes and looked down to see my new baby bunny licking my big toe–begging to be…

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We can do better.

Unfortunately not all Americans are born into wealth. Surprising right? Who would of thought that there are poor, unemployed, homeless, hungry, and dying Americans in America?

Like my sarcasm? Yeah. I’m trying to make a point. There are truly arrogant people out there, and unfortunately they live in the United States. The mindset that  people do actually have is exactly that. If it’s not directly effecting YOU it’s hard to imagine life any other way than safe, employed, sheltered, nourished and healthy. I understand that. But that’s no excuse to completely shut out the facts that there are people in need.

We hear the horror of malnourished people in Africa and we pray for them. We even have programs to help send food and money. Maybe we like a picture or a status on Facebook about a cause we agree with and do nothing more. That’s the reality of life.

What will it take for our own people in our own country to support legislative bills, laws, etc. to feed the poor? (food stamps)

If there is one thing I’ve noticed throughout politics is that Republicans (conservatives) use fear to get what they want.

And Democratics (liberals) use hope to get what they want.

I don’t know about you, but how would you want to lead. How do you want to follow our country?

I lead with hope. I lead with the hope of a better tomorrow. I lead with a dream that there aren’t people constantly trying to bring others down.

I know plenty of people who fight to get and stay on food stamps. Not because they want to use and abuse it. But because if they don’t fight for the right to have it, they won’t eat. Their children will starve.

Come on. We can do better.

It disgusts me that this bill in congress currently has the ability to cut 40 billion dollars from the program in the next decade, causing nearly 14 million people to be cut from the program by 2023. If it wasn’t already almost impossible for people who need food stamps to get them, it will most definitely only serve the poorest of the poor from here on out. There are plenty of people who have jobs, but also need food stamps. There isn’t just food to pay for. Bills are endless, and add up, and by the time they are payed for…food is still left. And that’s a scary thing. I can’t imagine worrying constantly about feeding my children. We don’t all have trust funds and inheritances.

I know that this president knows what it feels like to be poor. Good thing he does, because the people that need this program are going to need him on their side.

I know the argument that people on food stamps abuse it.

But what about those that don’t. That’s who I’m concerned about. My family members who need them. Who need them to survive. I know I did as a child growing up. My mother had food stamps. It wasn’t something we were proud of. But it was something we were proud to have. We were lucky. We could eat. And we didn’t ever worry about that.

But people in the future will. People worry now. It’s going to be even more chaos if this doesn’t turn out the way it needs to.

Thank goodness for Food Storage businesses that do the best they can to help feed. But I’m afraid that’s not going to cut it, if food stamps in cut so exponentially.

I hope congress gets it together. I hope they realize cutting can be found elsewhere.

We can’t be considered the wealthiest and greatest country if we won’t even feed our own people, insure them with the best health care, and shelter them at least.

Miley isn’t Hannah anymore.

My favorite thing in this world is to listen to others express their opinions about celebrities. I get a kick out of how passionate people get.

I think people forget celebrities are famous. With fame, comes pressure. With pressure, comes insanity.This is no excuse for celebrities to become bad influences, but that is all very situational. What one person thinks is a bad thing, may be the coolest thing to another. I think people often believe just because celebrities are put on a pedestal they are automatically responsible for behaving perfectly.

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They are human.

With the recent events of Miley Cyrus, the word is out. She’s a “slut”. She’s a “whore”. 

Let’s take a step back. Madonna. Elvis.

I’m not in the slightest comparing Madonna (or Elvis) to Miley Cyrus. They are complete opposites. They are all their own people with all their own personality and talent. I simply bring them up because they were once looked down upon as Miley is experiencing now. Madonna and Elvis were both considered music of the devil. Sex icons. Whatever. And now…classics.

Fads change quicker than a baby’s diaper. People are going to love something one minute and hate it the next. That’s life. That’s the pressure celebrities encounter. They evolve with society and do the best they can to keep up and get the views they need to stay alive. To stay known. To stay famous. But also, to keep their fans excited and passionate.

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So hate to break it to you…but Miley isn’t Hannah anymore. She hasn’t been for a long time. Get over it. Do you think she cares if you call her a slut? (by the way, pretty sure slut means someone who sleeps around, her and Liam were together for at least 2 years) She’s so wrapped up in her own passion, changes ,etc. She doesn’t have time for haters. She thrives off them if anything. You are giving her motivation to keep going. Not keeping her from doing what she’s going to do anyway.

Yeah. She looked ridiculous on the stage at the VMA’s. She knows that. She doesn’t need 50 million Youtubers telling her it over and over again and adding derogatory terms on top.

And about her recent music video, that hit a Vevo record (by the way), it’s unique. Sure. It’s not what we are used to, or looking for half the time. But that’s not up to us to decide. Listen to the music, watch the video (or don’t) and shut up. We get it. You hate that she makes out with the sledge hammer. You believe because she’s naked that it’s artistic. Or you think it’s disgusting, either way…at the end of the day – your comments won’t make her change it. It got the views it needed to to be successful. Her name is in your mouth. And she’s getting even more famous. What did she do that was so bad? Did she commit murder? No. So I’m pretty sure she can be let off the hook. 

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And let’s be honest. We’ve all seen worse. Anybody watch TV? It’s filled with sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. So instead of freaking out about music, music videos or one damn performance at the VMAs – worry about the amount of television your child is watching each day, or the things they see and hear at school. Things you can actually change.

Thanks for hearing me out.

 

 

 

A better story.

My freshman year of college I attended a “Safe Place” seminar. It’s fairly self explanatory. It was a room filled with numerous people expressing their thoughts and feelings about life, without judgement. I was very impressed by the stories I listened to. It made me feel compassion for strangers and helped me come out of my shell a little.

(For the sake of confidentiality, I won’t disclose any names or details of the following.)

There was one particular story that I was able to relate to. It dealt with sexual abuse.

I have never been raped, sexually abused, or anything of that matter. I have however seen what it can do to those who have. It’s heartbreaking, and it can either make or break you. I was discouraged at the beginning to hear this person’s story; however, I ended feeling at peace. This person shared a story with the group. They were so confident. It was so real. I was in awe. This person was brave enough to share their story. I believe it’s important to share whatever story you want to share, because it gives a voice to those who never thought they could speak before.

I was not prepared for what happened next.

Once the story had been shared a comment was made.

“I wish I had a better story. Like being raped or something.”

I was shocked. I couldn’t comprehend what had just escaped this other person’s mouth. Were they serious? Who actually says something like that?

It was difficult to process and the entire room was silent. Finally the person who had shared their story softly spoke.

“I wish I had a better story. Like not getting raped or something.”

There probably wasn’t anything better anyone could have said. I can’t imagine what was going through the mind of the person who made that first statement, or even the person who shared their story.

I would never wish rape on my worst enemy. I feel bad for the person who wished they had a better story. I think that person was trying to relate to the storyteller. I think they were hurting for them, and were only trying to comfort that person, but in reality it got me thinking. Rape is gut wrenching to even fathom. I thank my lucky stars that I’ve never been put in a situation like that. I stand up for it. I know that people who are raped don’t ask for it. I know people who are raped are tortured (physically and mentally). I know that people who are raped will never be the same again. I also know that people who are raped have a choice. They have a choice to tell their story. They have a choice to find peace again. They have a choice to live again. 

They have a choice to create a better story for themselves.

I will always be an advocate for rape victims. 

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

 

 

And then they stopped talking to me.

Shortly after my parents’ divorce, my mother outed my father to my sister and I.

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She laughed. I cried.

At the time I didn’t truly know what gay meant. I was 7 years old. All I knew was that my mother looked sad and that wasn’t a good thing.

I didn’t want to tell anyone. For quite sometime I was ashamed. I would visit my dad every other weekend and it felt like a vacation every single time. It was stressful to leave, go to and from – but in the moment, it was wonderful. My dad was the happiest I had ever seen him, and maybe he was just trying to make up for breaking up our family – but he did things for my sister and I that we’d never had before. We were like his little trophy’s he’d show off. Being a gay man with biological kids felt like a circus. I felt like I was being watched by the outside world and people would look in with amazement or disgust. 

This feeling no longer exists in my mind. I was very sheltered living in Rexburg; therefore, I didn’t know what else was out there. It wasn’t until I was in 5th grade that I came out about my dad. I told one person. I told a person I trusted and sincerely believed would accept it. Coming out about my dad shouldn’t have been so scary – but in that town, it was. I wasn’t sure what would happen. I told my friend. She told everyone else, and then they stopped talking to me.

Her reaction to me : Ew, that’s gross!

I knew from that moment she didn’t want to be my friend anymore. It was the worst feeling.

At this time, I wasn’t just dealing with this – I was also dealing with my mother’s cancer.

Shortly after, I moved – THANK GOD. Because my mother was in the hospital in Utah causing my sister and I to transfer halfway through the year and moved to Pocatello, ID. (where my dad lived)

I didn’t come out about my dad again until I was a freshman in high school.

My reaction from my friend in HS: That’s cool. I have an uncle that is gay.

Nobody cared. Nobody shunned me. In fact, people embraced me.

To my surprise I didn’t want to burry my body in a hole and never see the sun again. This time I wanted to hug my friend, and I did. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. I was relieved. People still talked to me, and now I am able to say My dad is gay loud and proud!

I have come to realize that who my dad is isn’t who I am. I have also realized that being gay is as natural as being straight. We all come out about our sexuality whether we are gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight etc.

I also realized if people are going to stop talking to you because they don’t agree with you on something, their relationship wasn’t even worth it from the start.

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I’m thankful for this experience. It helped me see people in a different light. It also helped me feel truly happy that I have a gay father. He is unique and through him I have learned to embrace diversity, open my mind, and stand up for the underdog.

Thank you dad. I love you.

Your proud daughter ❤

Religion: Why I don’t affliliate

“Are you Mormon?”
No
“Oh.”

Being raised in an unbelievably conservative town, I’m not surprised by this question anymore. There have been times in which I wish I could respond, it’s frankly none of your business or, why does it matter? But I hold my head up high and politely respond, No. I don’t normally add to the conversation and I usually move on, but I thought I’d lay it all out on the table the best way I know how. Writing.

I was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho. a.k.a Mormonville. (based on my experience)
I went to church every Sunday like a good-mormon-girl.
I loved primary. It was my favorite thing.
I loved to sing primary songs, and give talks. I also liked saying the prayer aloud after Sunday School meetings.

Keep in mind, I was young. I attended church regularly until I was in high school. Even after my mother died, I still attended church.

I was 12 years old when my mother died. Many like to refer to her death as the main reason I disconnected with the LDS religion. They’d be wrong to believe that. I suppose that’s the easy way to respond, because statistically many remove themselves from religion or find themselves in religion after a loved one dies.

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My mother was, yes, the reason I attended church all my life. It was just something we did. I was never able to truly understand why we went to church, and to this day I still don’t. The only explanation is, everyone else did.

Growing up in the church; however, I didn’t do all the things the church required. Simple things like: eating out on Sundays, or playing with other children after church, or changing into regular clothes for the rest of the day, or going swimming on Sundays were things, all frowned upon by the church, but that my mother allowed. I never saw any harm in it. The church wasn’t a constant thing in my head. It was just something I did on Sundays. Maybe, in the eyes of others, I was raised in the LDS religion…the wrong way…whatever that means, but it provides me with a better understanding as to why I drifted away. Maybe if it had been a more prominent thing in my younger years, rather than just a thingdid, than maybe it would have panned out differently. Maybe. But I highly doubt it. Because of the things I learned later in life.

I quickly learned in life, I didn’t need a church house to attend every Sunday to practice religion. And even later I learned I didn’t need a religion to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father.

I know God. I know God on my own terms. I know his love for me is never-ending and constantly changing and growing. I know he blesses me daily. I know he provides me with comfort in knowing my loved ones who have passed are cheering me along on the sidelines. I know he loves unconditionally. And that is all I need to know about him. I don’t need to know details about anything else. I think that is why I drifted away from the LDS church. I remember sitting in Young Women’s one Sunday afternoon listening to my Young Women’s leader and realizing I was alone. I had no other family that attended church with me at this point in my life. My sister no longer attended, and for a long time I tried to get her to join me each Sunday – but when she would ask me Why? I didn’t have an answer, other than that I didn’t want to go alone. But as usual, I was alone and I tuned out my leader because of this. I thought it was unfair after Sunday school that everyone else went to meet their families and go home, and I had to wait for a ride from my father or walk home. (or get a ride)

By this time in my life, a teenager, I did some soul searching. I wanted to discover answers about myself. By doing this, I discovered I wasn’t happy attending church. I was tired of listening to things I didn’t necessarily believe in. I never did, and I never would. It took me a while to realize I didn’t have to continue to attend church. It took me even longer to realize I didn’t even have to have a religion to be content and happy with my relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong. There were plenty of Sundays where I would attend sacrament meeting and feel so spiritually uplifted that I would be brought to tears.
But then there were days when I would get so discouraged and down just thinking about the afterlife. Thinking about the LDS’ views on where I would go to after I died. Where my mother went to. And where my father, a homosexual, would go.

I was terrified to think I wouldn’t spend eternity with my family based on the fact that my dad loved men instead of women. This is probably a huge part in why I don’t affiliate with any religion.

I never pictured God to hate.

I never once in my entire life believed God was capable of such a thing. The LDS church instilled a kind of fear inside of me that I was no longer comfortable dealing with. I no longer wanted to feel anxious inside believing that God did not approve of a certain lifestyle. Especially one of my father’s. I never believed he would do such a thing. I believed he would accept, and that was all there was to it. Many times people, even my own extended family, would try and help me understand why God loves homosexuals, just not the act of it. I never understood. And as much as the church is growing with the idea of gays, they still have a long way to go – and I didn’t want to be a part of something like that.

I have removed myself from the LDS church, or from any church because I don’t believe in one or the other over another.

Another thing that bothered me was the hypocrisy I experienced. I would attend church weekly and go to school with the same young men and young women. Often I would see these people go against what the LDS religion believed and show no remorse for it. They’d attend church and partake in the sacrament as if what they had done the night before didn’t even matter.

I know we as a human race are imperfect. I know that people make mistakes. I know that as young men and women it is so much pressure to put so many rules, like the LDS church does, and not expect them to fail. Isn’t it proven that people want to do things they are told not to? Isn’t it in our nature to want to rebel? I believe so. I believe that forcing someone to do something only increases their desire to do it. I believe we as people need to come to our own consensus as to how we should lead our lives. Yes, I believe the church provides people with a guidance. But I felt pressured to live up to all that was asked. And I didn’t always agree, so I removed myself from becoming a hypocrite in that way.

I also felt consumed in the lifelessness around me. I felt many members of the LDS church were on a one way highway and didn’t account for all the others that couldn’t necessarily live up to achieving the goals the church required in order to go to heaven. The highest heaven. I felt many, who would express their testimony, were reading from a pamphlet. I didn’t feel like it was spiritual whatsoever, but rather a black and white highway to heaven. It was one way and not the other. There were no exceptions. I felt lost. And afraid.

I believe I am much  better off from feeling that pressure, hate, and hypocrisy that surround me from that religion. That’s not to say I haven’t meant kind and caring mormons in my life, because I have. I just believe that I am a person not meant for any religion, and I feel completely confident in saying I have a loving relationship with God, without religion. And I’m okay with that.

Thanks for hearing me out.