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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Small and Simple

            One of my favorite phrases is “by small and simple means are great things brought to pass.” I find great comfort in that, because I feel small and simple much more often than I feel great and powerful. There are days when even small and simple is a stretch. Miniscule and fragile would be closer. But I’ve finally begun to learn to recognize and appreciate small things that go right, especially when everything else is going wrong.
            Last night I had the opportunity to spend some time with kids that I love that weren’t mine. These three children are special to me, because the oldest was in my very first preschool class, the middle is currently in my preschool, and the youngest will be someday. I’ve spent time helping them and teaching them in my home, so it was fun for me to spend time playing with them in theirs. Their mom is a good friend of mine and one of my favorite mothers, and I know it’s especially hard for her to leave her kids with other people. I wanted to share some thoughts with her and with all mothers about how last night went.
            Our small children are the biggest things in our world. They take up the most space in our minds and hearts because they need us the most. Whether you’re a stay at home dad or mom, these little lives we’ve been given charge of fill our thoughts and prey on our fears and we can’t imagine life without them. That’s good. That’s healthy. We’re hardwired to care that much about our kids by evolution and design. But it’s a fine line we have to walk between nurturing our kids for them and nurturing them for us.
            Last night we read books, played hide and seek, sorted toys by shape, then color, then size, and had lots of cuddles and hugs. I’m not mommy or daddy to them, and that was a good thing. Our kids need time away from us with people we trust. It gives them more confidence in themselves and in the world around them, because it broadens their experiences and teaches them that yes, sometimes mom and dad leave, but then they come back. That base level of confidence does wonders for their self esteem- look at all the fun I had on my own! I can have fun on my own and be safe!- and increases their appreciation for you. I missed you mommy and daddy, I’m so glad you’re back. And I’m learning that you always come back.
            It’s good for you, too. You spent decades as your own person, learning about yourself and developing talents and tastes. Then you met, dated, and fell in love with a person who was also a complete individual. It’s easy to get caught up in the role of mommy and daddy, or in your role as worker at your job whatever your title there may be. Don’t let yourself get so immersed in that title of “parent” or “employee” that you lose “me,” that person you spent all those decades developing. The small and simple thing you need to remember is to take time to be you. Take time to be with that person you fell in love with and give yourself permission to be the person they fell in love with. That person was and is you. Not mommy/daddy, not co-worker, just you.
            Because you doesn’t want to be forgotten. Your children are made up of you and your spouse, whether biologically or by culture and love, and they deserve to know you. Your spouse wants to spend time with the person they love. And sometimes you need to step away from every other role, including the one as spouse, and be you.
To all parents, I hereby order you and grant you permission to STOP FEELING GUILTY. If you feel guilty, that means you care. Good! Well done! Now knock it off and recognize that you’re doing your best. Call your best friend or an adult you trust and get them to watch your kids for a few hours. Then call another friend and make plans to go to lunch, go shopping, go see that movie you thought looked good, buy a new outfit, look for shoes, go paintballing, go rock climbing, get out in the world and do something that interests you as a person. You will be a better parent for getting away from parenting once in a while.
And your kids will be happier, more confident, and more well adjusted for surviving without you sometimes. Sometimes your kids have unusual issues or health problems. I know several children with speech impediments, slower development, or other handicaps. It’s harder to leave these, both logistically and emotionally. That’s good. It should be harder. Again, that means you care about your children and you’re doing it right. But you need the break more. Your child needs and deserves your patience and understanding, but these virtues aren’t limitless and need time to recharge and reset. Even if the best you can do is go out and leave them with your spouse, do it. You need the break.
Or find a responsible teenager, preferably an older teenager, and pay them to babysit while you are there. Train them. Let your child grow comfortable with them while you’re still there to supervise. Then get out of the house for a half hour. Go for a walk. Run to the store. And come back. You were close, the time was short, and everything is fine. Next time leave for an hour. There will be challenges and hiccups, but remember that this is something good for them and good for you, both while you’re separated and once you get back.
I know I’m going over to that house to sit again in a few months. The second time will be a little harder, because the novelty will be gone and the tension will be slightly higher. The second time is always like that. The second week of teaching is the hardest. The second day of working out is the hardest. The second time is harder because you’ve done it once and it was fine, great, even fun, and so you’re expecting that same newness and excitement again but it’s just the same. Know that going in. And because I know that, I know how to combat it when I go back. I’ll bring some new games from my house. I’ll bring new kids music for us to dance and learn along with. And my good friend who is a great mom gets a break. And after her kids go to bed, I get time to write! Wins all around.
I mentioned the book “Outliers” in my last post (I think I’m going to skip blogging on Wednesdays pretty consistently, that worked well for me).  I’m going to mention it again. In the book the author, Malcolm Gladwell, postulated that people who are successful at something are the ones who are given the best opportunity for success at the beginning. His first example is about hockey players. He was watching a jr league finals game and looking through the program. He noted that most of the players on both teams had birthdays in the first half of the year. Now Gladwell knew that where he lived, hockey leagues were determined by year of birth and the kids started playing the year they turn five.
The kids who turned five in January were playing against kids who turned five in December. Who do you think was better at it? Those who were better, bigger, and faster were given more attention by the coaches. Parents saw their child being better and more coordinated than the children they played against gave their child more time on the rink and more support in the game. Those kids got more practice time and parents paid for better equipment. They were more likely to stick with it. And they were the kids who were chosen to participate in these all star teams.
Were those January babies actually more coordinated than their December peers? Yes. By 11 months. Were they naturally more talented? Likely not. But because of the way the hockey system was set up, it was weighted in heavy favor of older, larger kids.
What about school? The criteria is largely the same- eligibility is determined by birth date. Once in school, kids are expected to interact with other children of various ages and backgrounds and follow directions by people who aren’t their parents. Not just their classroom teacher, but PE coaches, librarians, computer lab teachers, lunch ladies, principals, and other school staff. Now you can do nothing about your child’s birth date, but you can do everything about their readiness for school.
Last year I had a girl in my preschool whose parents decided she wasn’t ready for kindergarten, even though she was old enough. After meeting her, I agreed with their assessment. Socially she was awesome; friendly, outgoing, and kind. Intellectually she was great too, already knowing her letters and sounds and being able to write her name. But she had a difficult time with self control. Sitting down and being quiet were especially hard. In kindergarten she would have been an issue for the teacher, who would have twenty other students to worry about and teach. In preschool, she was just like all the others, learning to sit down and hold still.
What is the downside of waiting? Your child will be older than the other students and will be more physically and emotionally prepared. So they will receive more attention and more opportunities from their teacher. Not a bad thing. They will be able to make friends more easily than some of the others. Again, bonus. There may be an underlying assumption of the “held back” stigma- they weren’t smart enough or had problems- but by being older, more coordinated, and being given more and better opportunities for education, those silent assumptions will vanish. Let them start school when it will give them the best opportunity to shine, not just because they’ve passed an arbitrary deadline.
Life is harder than I expected. I never assumed it would be easy or simple, but I did expect that there would be peaks and valleys, times of plenty and times of hardship. Instead it seems that those always happen- there are always good things and bad things going on and the trick is to focus on the good while fixing the bad. I’m not capable of that all the time yet, but I’m learning how to cope. My health issues are measured by “how bad is today,” and the goal is to get me back to a semblance of normal. I don’t get to be “better,” I fight for “good enough.” But small happinesses abound, and even if I have 3 huge things wrong in a day I’ll have twenty little good ones. Some days those little good things are the preschool kids. Some days less so.
Your children are the small and simple things in your life that will bring great things. It’s your job as a parent to make sure they have the best chance at success in life and success, remember, doesn’t mean money. It means happiness. Your children will be happier if you are happier. Take a break and be yourself. Give them the chance to grow on their own. Trust your children and rely on the people around you to help. We’re not in this alone, and you are never only one thing.
In your life, you are everything. Including the hero. Give yourself the chance to win, and the permission to take the time you need to be the best person you can be. I’m rooting for you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Children Armed with Science!

            I think I’m going to need to change up the format of these blog posts a little; I don’t have time to write a new post every day in addition to preschool, guitar lessons, taekwondo, my own writing goals, and all the mom/wife/ homemaker responsibilities. We’ll have to see how it goes over the next few days.
            Today is Tuesday, which means I’m going to talk about teaching and kids. I love science. Always have. I’m fascinated by biology and physics, chemistry and astronomy in particular. So I talk about those things with my preschoolers. Last summer I even taught a week long science camp. It was originally for kids ages 5-8, but it ended up being 3-8. We had a great time. The camp was five days long, and we spent one day on each of Newton’s 3 laws of motion, one day on natural science, and one day on space and aeronautics.
            By the end of that camp, every child knew that force divided by mass equaled acceleration and that meant how hard divided by how heavy equaled how fast or slow. They knew that a light ball pushed hard would go much further than a heavy ball pushed gently. They dug up dinosaurs with actual paleontology tools. They learned that a small child pushing a larger one on a skateboard (wearing a helmet and pads, of course) goes more slowly than a large child pushing a small one on a skateboard (again, with helmet and pads).
            We talk about mixing colors with food coloring in vinegar and more food coloring wrapped in a packet with baking soda. That way we learn blue and yellow make green while also learning that mixing an acid and a base makes a gaseous chemical reaction. Trust me, they don’t forget it. When acid monsters do battle for base candy, it’s memorable.
One of my favorite quotes from the Kids Quotes page is the little girl singing about photosyphilis and how plants are doing it. She only sang it like that once, and then got it right every other time as photosynthesis and knew that meant when plants take sunlight and turn it into food. We have probably 30 silly songs about all different aspects of life and science. And since I have a degree in theater, I have no shame in letting loose and being a goof. And the kids remember it.
Why do I spend so much time telling you all this? Because our children are smarter than we think. They understand far more than we give them credit for, and at this tender age their minds are still expanding rapidly. Not all of them excel in the same ways, but they are more willing to learn and be engaged right now than they ever will be again. And I love to exploit that. They can’t always articulate back to me what we’re talking about, especially if there are a lot of science words, but they can demonstrate the concept when given the chance. We play games all the time, sometimes only actually finishing one or two of the four printed worksheets I’ve prepared because we’re so busy with the fun.
Today, for example, we were talking about our sense of hearing. I love going through the five senses with the kids because there’s almost no limit to how you can demonstrate the power of each sense. The first game we played, I stood behind a wall and made sounds, and they would have to guess what I was using. Acoustic guitar was first, which they got right away, and then we sang the alphabet song while I played along. Then I played the flute. It took a few guesses extra, but they recognized it. I really ham it up when they’re right, asking “How did you know that? Could you see me?” in my most exaggerated voice. They laugh. Then we did electric bass, xylophone, doorbell, telephone, and I brought my dogs in to bark. They got it every time.
Then I blindfolded each child and stood somewhere in the room. I told them to point to me, and asked how they knew where I was when they couldn’t see me. “With our ears!” one little boy shouted, waving his arms. “My ears talked to my brain and told me where your words were standing!” Yep. That’s exactly right.
Don’t underestimate your children. The world is big and wide, with an abundance of sensory input. Some of it is scary, some wonderful, and some inexplicable to them when for us it becomes so much background noise. Children need us to talk to them about the world around us. They also need us to listen. The third game we played had one child blindfolded and all the others talking while I tried to give the blindfolded child directions. “Can you hear me?” I asked. No response. After I quieted all the children, I asked them, “Why didn’t he take three steps towards me?”
“He couldn’t hear you. We was too loud,” came the answer.
The point of the lesson was, for them, that if they were talking while I was teaching that the other kids couldn’t hear me. The point of the lesson for me was if I can’t quiet the background noise in my life once in a while, I’ll never hear the voices trying to give me, or ask me for, help. We are busy. Trust me, I know what busy feels like. If you ever want to feel better about your day or your life, ask me about my schedule. I need to be better about taking time to shut down the noise of the world and talk to my kids about what’s going on in their lives. What they feel. What they think. Find out more about things they’re interested in and give them opportunities to work on those.
Have you ever read the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell? Great book. It isn’t about parenting, it’s about people who grew up to be hugely successful. And it postulates that the reason they are so successful in a specific area is because of how they took advantage of the opportunities they had. Great book, very interesting read. I think every parent should read it. “Outliers” made me think about how I was teaching and lead me to expand my lesson plans. We don’t stop after triangle, circle, square, and rectangle. We go on past rhombus, trapezoid, and parallelogram. If you need a dose of adorable, get your three year old to say parallelogram.
Rock paper scissors is a great way to teach cause and effect. Rock paper scissors lizard Spock is even more fun. Play the alphabet game when you’re in the car, but play it for candy. Sing silly songs. Tell your kids strange but true facts. You will be amazed at all the random things you remember from school once you start dredging it up. Enjoy your children. They are awesome.
But put boundaries up for them. After my sons designed an inertia experiment which involved them crashing into each other headlong on their bikes, I taught them the hard and fast rule of "no human experimentation." Be specific.
And whoever put this sign up near Yellowstone, WY, is my hero. Even though J is harder to find than X, thanks to every EXIT sign.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Practicing one Paragraph at a time

 I had an interesting experience while writing my manuscript with my alpha readers. We were having a picnic outside on a beautiful June day, eating sandwiches and talking about my first ten chapters. My alpha readers are people I select carefully, whose opinions I trust. They are all intelligent people. And they each gave me completely different feedback.
“The beginning is too long,” said one. “You need to cut it down, rearrange it so your characters get to training earlier.”
“I like the beginning,” said another. “I think the characterization of some specific team members needs to be fixed.”
“I like the team members,” the third said. “I want to see more interaction between the two main characters. More dialogue.”
“I think there's too much dialogue. The main character talks more than he should. Guys aren't like that,” said the last.
Holy cow. The only thing they all agreed on was that the prologue needed a point of view character and more description. How do I sort through all this input?
We hear all the time in our writing classes and seminars the phrase, “Show, don't tell.” So we try. Instead of Janice running, we say Janice rapidly made her way down the narrow hallway. The dark blue tapestries loomed menacingly along both walls. She clenched her fists angrily. She was going to kill him as soon as she found him.
Then those same teachers tell us “Cut the adverbs. Get rid of all those 'ly' words. Show me more. Be descriptive” So we take them out, and now Janice made her way down the narrow hallway, the balls of her feet slapping against the hard concrete floor. The old carpet was a deep red with a confusing paisley pattern. The dark blue tapestries seemed to absorb the light and made the darkness thicker and more threatening. There were only small windows that flashed light on her tear stained face, although her sorrow was long over. Her fists and jaw were clenched, her eyes were narrow and she breathed rapidly through her nose. When she reached the room at the end of this long hallway, she was going to kill him. Her only hope was that no one else had done it yet.
Then our writing is turned it again to our teachers and editors. It comes back with red marks everywhere. “Too wordy. Try to cut it back.” And we tear our hair out because the rules seem so contradictory and no one explains what they mean, and no matter how hard we're trying it is always wrong. Too many words. Not enough words. Too descriptive. Not descriptive enough. Get rid of adverbs. Show me, don't tell me. It's enough to make any writer want to lock their work away and never show it to anyone.
Breathe. You're doing all right. There are a lot of rules, and they are all important, but they aren't all important all the time. Let's rework this paragraph with Janice now that we've done the most important part- we wrote it.
“Janice made her way down the narrow hallway, the balls of her feet slapping against the hard concrete floor.” Let's cut it back. Instead of “made her way” we can say “went.” Does it matter to the story what part of her feet hit the floor first when she's running? If it isn't, we can cut that. And do we need to call concrete hard? Isn't it hard by definition? Writers have a tendency to repeat themselves because they are trying so hard to show the reader what's going on. So now, “Janice went down the narrow hallway, her feet slapping against the concrete floor.”
Now let's see if we can combine the next two sentences. “The old carpet was a deep red with a confusing paisley pattern. The dark blue tapestries seemed to absorb the light and made the darkness thicker and more threatening.” These are about the same length and are both descriptions of the hallway. We can make one longer sentence. “The confusing paisley pattern on the carpet and the dark blue tapestries lining the walls absorbed the light, making the darkness thicker and more threatening.” We could work it more, because saying that the darkness is threatening is not as strong as showing how the darkness was affecting Janice. “making the darkness thicker. Janice tried to ignore the shadows that twitched and nudged the corners of her vision and her heart beating in her chest so hard it was painful.” Wordy is only wordy when you're repeating yourself or adding useless information. We don't need to know the color of the walls or how many windows there are in the hall. We need to know where Janice is and how she feels so clearly that we feel it ourselves.
“There were only small windows that flashed light on her tear stained face, although her sorrow was long over. Her fists and jaw were clenched, her eyes were narrow and she breathed rapidly through her nose.” Again, these sentences are the same length. Varying your sentence lengths makes your writing sound more smooth in the reader's head, and allows them to lose themselves in your story. “Small windows flashed light on the tear stains of an old sorrow. Her fists and jaw were clenched now, eyes narrowed, lips twisted in a feral snarl.” Are you seeing it? Does this paint a better picture than “angrily?”
“When she reached the room at the end of this long hallway, she was going to kill him. Her only hope was that no one else had done it yet.” These are all right on their own, but we can make them stronger. When writing you can usually remove “that” or “very” any time you type it. And we can give more information about the room at the end, depending on how we want the next scene to go. How does it feel if we know she's running to the kitchen? What if the room at the end of the hall is a bedroom? “When she reached their bedroom at the end of the hall, she was going to kill him. She only hoped no one else had done it yet.”
So here's our paragraph: “Janice went down the narrow hallway, her feet slapping against the concrete floor. The confusing paisley pattern on the carpet and the dark blue tapestries lining the walls absorbed the light, making the darkness thicker. Janice tried to ignore the shadows that twitched and nudged the corners of her vision and her heart beating in her chest so hard it was painful. Small windows flashed light on the tear stains of an old sorrow. Her fists and jaw were clenched now, eyes narrowed, lips twisted in a feral snarl. When she reached their bedroom at the end of the hall, she was going to kill him. She only hoped no one else had done it yet.”
If you give this to an editor or a teacher, they're still going to make red marks. That's fine, that's their job. My alpha readers still all have different opinions of what's good and what they love about my book and things they wish I'd added more about. Do edit. Go through your words carefully after you've gotten them down. Keep the rules in the back of your mind. But don't ever let them stop you from writing. If you do, what will they have to critique?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

No Monsters in the Closet

            It’s Sunday, so it’s time for a “whatever I’m thinking about” post. I admit that I’m nervous about this one, not because I haven’t thought about it much, but because I’ve thought about it a lot over the course of years and I know it is a very divisive topic. I want to stress right now that the views and ideas expressed in this blog are my own and are not representative of any other person or group to which I may belong. This is just me, talking about what I think and how I feel.
            Why all the disclaimers? Because I want to talk about something that has been bothering me for a long time. Something close to my heart. I want to share with all of you my personal views and beliefs regarding homosexuality, or same-sex attraction. But first let me give you some background about me, where I come from, and my experiences with homosexuality.
            I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We call ourselves LDS, but because of our belief in The Book of Mormon as a companion scripture to the Holy Bible we’re also called Mormons. Mormons hold many of the same beliefs that Christian churches have, Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Only Begotten of the Father, and only through him can we be saved in the kingdom of heaven, but we also believe that there are prophets on the earth today who continue to guide us as the prophets in the scriptures did. If you want more information about the LDS church and our beliefs, you can visit
            I was born and raised in Utah Valley, Utah County, Utah. Yep, happy valley Utah. But from a very young age I was exposed to cultures and people from all around the world. My parents stressed tolerance and love. We were encouraged to be understanding of everyone, and to seek for peace and friendship. My best friend my junior year in high school was a boy who confessed to me over the phone one night that he was gay, and was so afraid. He thought he was a monster. He thought his parents would disown him. I spent most of the night on the phone with him reassuring him that we were still best friends and that he wasn’t a monster or evil or anything, and that I loved him. We lived in a small town and he was afraid of getting bullied or beat up, so I was his beard until he graduated. I was fine with that, although I wished he didn’t have to worry about how people would accept him.
            Since high school I’ve had several friends who’ve been attracted to people of the same gender. I love them all very much. I don't believe being homosexual is something you choose. It's something you're born as and wired to be, just as much as anyone else. Second, being a homosexual or being attracted to someone of the same sex does not make you evil, bad, or condemned to hell. It doesn't make you anything, it's just a part of who you are. Third, I do believe in an afterlife and in a just and merciful Father in Heaven. And none of those things in my mind are contradictory.
Before I go on, I'd like you to read this blog post. If you've read it before, just skip through it as a refresher because I want to refer to specific things in it.
Okay, so here's what I believe. This life is supposed to be a test, and it's supposed to be a test that's difficult enough to put us through a refiner's fire. And we're supposed to go through a refiner's fire because the life after this one is filled with such endless possibilities and eternities that we need to be prepared to handle bigger consequences and receive bigger blessings. Being homosexual is hard, because no matter what lifestyle you choose, you're sacrificing something huge. If you decide to follow your passion and marry someone of your same gender, you're giving up the possibility of having a biological child that's made of both of you. That's enormous. And tragic. In many ways I'm still mourning my inability to have more children, and that's only a shadow of what it would feel like to not be able to have any.
If you decide to follow religious or societal conventions and marry someone of the opposite sex, you're giving up an integral part of the romantic relationship. Again, that's something that's such a huge sacrifice it's hard to contemplate. And whatever any individual decides to choose for themselves is their own business and I will give them nothing but love. They're already giving up enough. They don’t need me giving them a hard time about it and it wouldn’t be my place to judge them anyway. They live their lives as best they can. Who am I to think I would know better?
From a larger perspective, though, it isn't more than some other people are expected to give up. Not everyone's trials, not even half everyone's trials will be as difficult or as visible. But some people are born without the ability to have children. Some people are born, like me, with a myriad of genetic and autoimmune problems that will make life progressively harder. Some people, like other friends of mine, are born fine but then through circumstances beyond their control become incapable of having romantic relationships because of abuse and the betrayal of trust. Are we broken or evil for the way we were born, just because it’s different that the norm and will limit our choices?
From an eternal perspective, the perspective that The Book of Mormon is true and everything that goes along with that, there is the strong knowledge that families can be sealed in the temple to be together forever. My worst fear is losing one of my sons. Imagine how much more tightly then I hold that forever families belief now that I have children.  
And as part of the gospel, there is the Second Coming and the Resurrection when everyone who dies gets to live again and all the pain and afflictions we've suffered are past. I'll be able to walk and run and write and play with my sons and my husband forever, never have to say goodbye again. If that's real and that's available for everyone, how can I encourage people to make choices that will jeopardize that? Now this is an important distinction I want to be clear about- I will never judge or condemn someone for choices that they make. I will assume that everyone is trying to do the best they can with what they have been given and love them as individuals. If I overheard someone disparaging or demeaning homosexual individuals for their choices I would step in and make it stop. And I have before, even gotten punched in the face once doing it. But when what I believe, personally, for me, is that gay marriage can jeopardize the happiness and eternal progression of each individual, from a religious standpoint, how can I vote for it?
If the government steps in and mandates legal marriage between same sex partners, that's fine. I would not oppose it and I would openly welcome any life partners and their children to our neighborhood and our community. Personally I think they wouldn't make any better or worse parents than any other, and possibly be a lot more understanding to their children. I think they have the right to make their own choices and live their lives any way they want without anything from me but friendship, love, and understanding. And not passively. We would have them over for dinner, have play dates with their kids, and make sure they felt welcome.
But if the government says, "You vote what you believe to be right," then they are asking me to directly and personally take a stand for or against a principle. I wish they wouldn't. I think the question of marriage is a religious question, and I wish that those who choose that lifestyle would pull it under that umbrella, because then the government couldn't intervene. They would have to support religious freedom, and that doesn't mean they have to believe in God, they just have to believe in something. The first amendment would protect their right and they (the government) would stop harassing me about standing for or against something that makes me mix my church and state.
And maybe that makes me a coward, but I am tired of the catch 22 we’re being placed in. We are asked, as a people, to vote for or against legalizing same gender marriage, and then when we vote, we are made into villains for doing exactly what they asked us to do. Come out and vote for what you think would be best. And if you don’t agree with what we want, then you’re evil and narrow minded and we hate you.
I’ve heard of Mormons who vote for changing the definition of marriage, who march in gay rights parades, and who speak out about civil rights infringement. On the one hand, I totally get that. I think it’s unfair that the government would ever inhibit the rights of one group and not another. And I hate, I HATE seeing those who have committed no crime but existing as themselves being put down or shunted aside or being made to feel somehow lesser. That should not happen. But on the other hand I think that these Latter-Day Saints are being hypocritical. We have the promise that if we follow the commandments and believe in the words of the prophets, both in ancient and in latter days, that we can receive eternal blessings. And that everyone will be judged fairly.
And not by me. It is my job in this world to live my life as best I can. When I encounter someone who is suffering, I try to make it better. When I meet someone living a different lifestyle than mine, I love it. I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends who challenge me and help me to see the world in a broader way. The only things I will not stand are deliberate ignorance or violence.
Does this make sense? Am I rambling? All I want you to understand is that I think being homosexual means having to sacrifice something huge no matter which way you choose and I have a lot of sympathy and respect for that, and that since I believe in the Second Coming and in Jesus Christ I believe that the fire and trials and pains of this world are worth it. For me, I have to. I can't stand the thought of losing my boys or my husband, and the days when my autoimmune stuff is so bad that it's painfully hard to even get out of bed I have to believe there's a reason for all the suffering. But I also can't stand the thought of people believing that I'm stupid or bigoted or blindly following the path someone else laid out for me. I am not a villain and I am not a victim.
I am a person with problems who is doing my best to get through life the best way I can, and trying to help others along the way. Judge me for who I am, not who you think I am. Because the rhetoric of bigotry and hate has to end between us. We have politicians for that.