Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Postcomment for Jake Abhau: - A Mormon Dad of a Gay Teen

While I was reading  this post, my mind flooded with ideas for a comment I might leave – but there were too many thoughts racing through my mind that my fingers couldn’t keep up with what I thought I wanted to say – so while trying to condense my comment (so that it did not come out to be longer than the Jake’s post) I made errors with spelling and smooth transitions.  My comment sounded disjointed and stupid – to me anyway. 

Perhaps not all of it sounded unpolished and sloppy.  My thoughts were flying faster than I could get the words out. When I reread through the first comment that I left, I realize I should have just stopped at the second paragraph. I copied the first two paragraphs and deleted my original comment and tried again – with just the two paragraphs and a link for my brother’s blog. I’d like to share my ideas and hope that they are valid and helpful.  But I don’t want to sound preachy.

Some of the thoughts that went through my mind were words I had already written in such posts found here, here and here among several others.  I had also thought about the lesson given in Relief Society, several of Corey’s posts, and a talk I had given in Sacrament meeting.

The lesson in Relief Society was chapter 15 of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow in which we learn that sometimes things don’t go as we had planned but that we need to make the best of it and realize that perhaps that was part of the plan all along – that Pres. Snow was destined to be in Malta rather than India, that we ourselves may have another mission that doesn’t seem compatible with what we’ve been taught all of our lives.

Corey had been taught to go on a mission, get married in the temple, honor his priesthood, etc. etc.  But that isn’t the path he chose for himself – nevertheless believed it was expected.  And then God allowed for Corey and Joh to cross paths.  Corey is now on a mission through his blog.  He has a strong testimony of the Church gospel.  But he also values gay awareness. 

My belief is that his calling right now is to assist in bridging that gap between the LDS Church and the LGBT community.  But his records had to be removed from the Church in order to get the following that he did (and continues to get) And I think he has done an amazing job – though that was not his intent.  Corey is a happy and complete person – neither of which existed before he came out – before he found Joh.

I gave a talk in Church.  The subject I had been given was on forgiveness.  I didn’t want to come right out and say, “Corey, I’ve been assigned a talk.  Allow me to be your proxy; you write the talk and I will give it.” Though that is what I wanted to do.  I emailed the three paragraphs which I had been given and told him that I needed to make a talk out of it and was looking for his ideas – which he shared.  But not a complete talk’s worth.

Ironically about half of my talk came from some of the posts that he had created about a friend who had been sent to prison.  So unbeknownst to him, I actually did make most of it his talk rather than my own.  Just because he’s been excommunicated doesn’t mean his relationship with God is over.  Quite the contrary.  It has gotten stronger.

We don’t always understand why we’ve been given certain trials.  We don’t often understand why God would give a commandment (“Thou shalt not kill” for example) that we accept and imbed into our brains and strongly agree with and then tells someone (Nephi, for example) “Kill Laban” and we’re like “What?”

There are some people who I believe have been chosen – yes “chosen” to marry outside of their faith or not serve a mission or leave the Church to build strength in either their own character or become an example for others to follow.  I truly believe that. 

I do have a testimony of this church gospel.  I do.  But I have strayed from the strict teachings I grew up with and have ventured outside the box into a world where I want to understand others – what their viewpoints are.  And I’m seeing the flaws of men – mankind who are church goers – some are Pharisees, some try their hardest to fit into the perfect Mormon mold, and others explore.  There are some mighty strong members who have strayed and returned – and then there are others (like my brother) who remain strong but cannot return – at least for the time being.

I think so many of us feel discrimination at one time or another.  And yet Jesus did not or does not discriminate.  So why is it we may feel that when we are attending His Church?  Because there is still leadership run by imperfect men.  None of us is perfect.  We're not expected to be perfect in this earth life - just to stay on the path that will lead to perfection. God isn't going to discriminate because Jordan is gay - just as he will not discriminate against my bother. It's his mission. You can see it in his blog.

I hope that Jake does not give up on the Church.  But I do understand where he is coming from.  The Church teaches values.  It builds foundation. But it is hard to live the concept of “Families are Forever” and then have imperfect leaders tell us that unless we repent of the unrepentable that we can’t be together forever.  We have to have hope and faith and realize that God’s love and perfection is so much mightier than any man’s.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Brain is Spilling Over

My head is so full that the words are spilling over and I can’t write or type them in as quickly as I think I’m thinking them. Not to mention that Jenna continues to interrupt my every thought.  School starts tomorrow!  I think much better when I am by myself.

There was too much I had wanted to respond to as I posted a comment to a blog I had read yesterday.  I certainly didn’t wish for my comment to be larger than the post itself and so tried to sum up everything that was going through my mind.  Didn’t work.  I did a copy paste and deleted my original comment and reposted a few paragraphs – though there still exists an epistle in my mind.

I am overwhelmed with ideas for post subjects (though not many titles) and I’ve been brainstorming and adding sentences and moving words around.  Thus far I have at least six different post ideas.  That doesn’t count the fifteen plus ideas that I already have in my files. 

So I have elaborated somewhat on my comment to Jake Abhau (which I won’t post on his blog but my own), but still nowhere complete. 

Just returned from a back-to-school night featuring “the Leader in Me”.  I was so proud of Jenna as she preformed the seven habits. (I have written absolutely nothing about this subject yet)

Another book review

Biff’s major personality adjustment

Analyzing the constant weeping of women (at least this one)

How awesome it is to step outside and pick a fresh tomato

And then there will be the events of whatever today brings.  Jenna’s last day of summer vacation. My head is spilling over.  I’m overwhelmed right now.

I just hope that I do actually go through with what’s in my mind and somehow get it sorted.  I remember Corey had created a post when his head was full and said he would like to create posts for various subjects.  Never happened.  I was so looking forward to reading his thoughts about Jenna’s baptism.  But it never got written.

I suppose I can always delete this.  Right now I seem to be posting this just for the sake of posting.  I’m not really saying anything . . . .

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Take on “Alabama Moon”

         There is always a risk factor involved with selecting videos I have not previously seen or may have never even heard of before.  For the most part I have read the description, visualize the setting of the story and may check it out.  But most often I have made poor selections as there have been many that I cannot be drawn in due to bad acting or poor dialogue or lame writers or what have you.  I actually haven’t been successful in my gambles.  But on Saturday we checked out a video I rather enjoy and will have to look into reading the award winning novel by Watt Key (as books are generally much much better than the movie)

         “Alabama Moon” was great.  I enjoyed watching Moon grow and allow himself to make choices and find strengths in those he associated with.  The story starts off with Moon burying his father, and as he is digging we see the flashbacks in his mind about how and where Moon and his father lived.  When his father realizes that he will soon die, he encourages Moon to remain living out his days in the same manner.

         But the “law” interferes with Moon’s plans – or tries to.  Clinton Howard plays a sleezeball constable who’s out for vengeance.  The more Moon tries to honor the wishes of his father, the more ruthless the constable becomes - so much to the point of satisfying his own egotistical pride rather than upholding the law.

         I LOVE John Goodman’s character.  From the first moment he asks Moon if he’s okay and offers him a sweet roll – which Moon devours.  He does this with genuine concern and is quite careful NOT to help Clinton Howard’s character. 

         Moon learns what it is like to have friends and to be a part of a world his father had kept him from.  There is good and evil – not just evil as his father had led him to believe.  Torn between wanting to honor his father’s wishes and not wanting to continue alone, Moon is faced with a fate that only he can decide.

         That leads us to the climax of the movie.  I could go on, but choose not to so as not to spoil the ending for anyone who wishes to see (or read) it. The end of the movie was more than satisfactory.  I loved the movie as a whole and highly recommend it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekends in Syracuse

       Jenna is loud!  Even when she is quiet for her, she is still loud by definition.  I think that's one reason Biff is gone.

       My eldest son, Biff, has a girlfriend in another county.  He says 45 minutes away.  I haven’t driven it. But it is where he current girlfriend lives.  He drives there on Saturday afternoon and doesn’t return home until late Monday night – I would guess at the same time that Jeanie leaves for work . . .

         He works on Saturday nights which means he is commuting from Syracuse to Sandy – that’s quite a commute.  And expensive.  Good thing Biff is using his own gas and not mine and Roland’s.  Not that he’d have our permission.  If you’re an avid follower you may recall from this post that Biff is supposed to be out of the house.

         Before he started driving his car again (which I still don’t know whether it’s registered or not) I had a dream that Biff brought Jeanie and her parents came with him – not to drop him off, but to help him move.  Biff introduced Jeanie as his wife and her parents – our new in-laws.  Now, my sister-in-law Sunny would be mortified if one of her children came home and announced he or she was already married.  Sunny would be hurt and heart –broken that she hadn’t been a part of her child’s marriage. 
         In my dream I showed no remorse, but total happiness.  I hugged Jeanie and her parents and welcomed them to the family – each was somewhat taken aback.  Biff went with his new father-in-law to rent a U-Haul and I helped Jeanie and her mom pack Biff’s belongings.

         Our visit was pleasant – as I recall – though I don’t know the exact conversation.  I did tell them about how Roland and I had met and that we were engaged for nine months before we were married and how we had a “reception” a month later.
         I woke up before Biff and his father-in-law returned.

         Roland doesn’t think it is a good idea to start marriage under the same roof as parents – but that is how Sunny and my brother Patrick started out.  Living in the basement of her parents.  Her father helped push Patrick into liking Sunny as much as she liked him.  That is my understanding anyway. Her father had invited Patrick to go with their family to California for their Disneyland vacation.  I believe that is where Patrick developed a love for Sunny.

         Sunny would have never eloped.  I had thought about it.  My mom made me promise that I wouldn’t.  But if we hadn’t already been married when terrorists crashed the planes into the Twin Towers at New York on September 11, 2001, I would have broken that promise.  I would have had Roland drive me to Las Vegas just after I got off work.  I thought the world was coming to an end.  I wanted to be legally married before the end happened.  But we were actually married two days before.

         The world didn’t end in the same sense that I had in mind.  But many of the comforts of the world I had once known were lost.  The economy started its downfall and regardless of oral reports that the economy has gotten better – not everyone sees that it has.  So many still struggle from day to day.  Struggle to put food on the table, to pay bills, to survive.  The world didn’t end but I think a lot of respect for it did.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Communicating In Code

Jenna has always had a fascination with “secret codes”.  She enjoys translating and sending coded messages.  She has rewritten the alphabet and created characters for each letter.  
For a while we were doing picture characters, but drawing an octopus got tiresome after attempting to draw it the last six notes or so. I am okay with stick figures and symbols – but when it comes to drawing, many of my animals end up looking the same.

So I changed some of the characters from the code that Jenna had and wrote a note and told her to translate without using the key.  An early introduction to cryptogram.  More clues.  More puzzles.  How fun!

Jenna’s last code was symbols drawn at random – but it’s something I can/could learn.

L 7 O £ ÷ © ∞ π × " # % + \ [ ^ ] ¦ ¤ ◊ ∂ √
for example

I am so grateful for her enthusiasm and her desire and willingness to learn and create. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Did You See That Red Sun Last Night?

         Jenna and I came out of the library to see a brilliant red ball hanging in the sky.  

         There’ve been a lot of fires in Utah.  Many in the nation. The smoke makes the sun appear to be red.

         I’m sorry for the many whose homes have been lost.  

         I enjoyed seeing the sun.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pixie Sounds and Fairy Ringtones

Most people have heard that “pixie music” whenever a fairy waves her wand or sprinkles her dust – or even when a child knows he or she is supposed to turn the page whenever they hear that magical sound.  Imagine that as a ringtone.
I don’t remember Kayla’s phone bearing anything that resembled fairies – yet when she turned it over to Roland (who is still without SIM card usage on his once-upon-a-t-mobile phone) all those fairy tones were present – an assorted variety of pixie music.  I don’t think there is a normal ringtone included on the phone.  I believe Roland has checked it.
For the most part I am not even aware that his phone is going off. The ringtones are hidden by any other sound that may be going – the air conditioning, the humming from the laptop, Highness snoring . . . sounds that I don’t even notice usually.  They all blend in to our atmosphere.
          When I am aware that Roland’s phone going off and actually hear the very soft fairy music, I laugh. It’s just so unlike anything that Roland would purposely choose of his own free will.  I think we need to find a more masculine (or at least powerful) sounding phone.  Or Roland needs to work harder at finding the volume and perhaps another tune.  One that doesn’t sound like a wish is being granted.  Though it would be really awesome if our wishes were granted every time that phone plays this “happy dusty”  tune

Sunday, August 11, 2013

He found her through an Accidental text messaging

Roland ended up picking Biff up at the airport – which really didn’t do him any favors.  There have been many times that I have told Roland to stop holding his hand, but yet he continues.  Unfortunately Biff has remained clueless and it has been damaging to his persona.

Biff has struggled with being short, being slow and being single.  Hard to watch both of his brothers get their driver’s licenses while they were still sophomores and he did not even take drivers ed. until his senior year.  Hard to see them both marry before he even had a girlfriend.

He had posted on Facebook that he was in a relationship.  He was referring to Hailey from this post.  But now he is saying he wants to marry Jeanie who is only 45 minutes away instead of 18 hours.  

 Roland doesn’t want to discourage him, but sat him down yesterday and laid down the facts – although it is still Biff’s decision.  And as Roland told Biff that he wants him out of the house, he may just be pushing him further into Jeanie’s arms.  But I don’t know.  I wasn’t here.  I just got Roland’s side of the story.

I was still single and living with my mom when Roland met me.  But I was also doing chores on a daily basis.  Each person that I lived to prior to my marriage was responsible for cleaning up after himself or herself.  We didn’t just leave things where they landed – well, occasionally my mom did with shoes. 

Kayla and I once found twelve pairs of shoes in the back room – granted they didn’t all belong to mom – just most of them.  We set the shoes next to one another and made a circle of shoes.  That was the extent of our “naughtiness” Overall we’ve always been a tidy family.  "Tidy" is just not a part of my current family’s vocabulary.  If Randy and I had our way, our rooms would always be spotless  - but after nearly twelve years, I realize that it’s just a pipe dream.  Roland and Biff are too set in their ways to pick up after themselves (let alone anybody else). I’m still working on Jenna, but it’s frustrating.

Anyway, Biff has been borrowing our cars because his is still not registered (oh, there’s a surprise for you – NOT) and on Friday Roland asked Biff to mow the lawn and he put up a big stink about it and I couldn’t believe he could be so disrespectful when we have control over his ability to drive (legally) and haven’t had to house him since he turned eighteen and Roland told him he had to move out.

He’s still here.  I think he may have taken the car last night (without permission).  Or perhaps Jeanie dropped him off and picked him up this morning and drove him to our house.  I don’t know if he and Roland will work things out or if he plans on moving in with Jeanie and her parents (Roland says he doesn’t encourage going in that direction) Roland had also told me that he wanted all three boys out of the house when they turned 26.  He told them that before they had even met me.

And Biff says he wants to marry Jeanie – who he didn’t even know when he went to Texas less than two months ago.  Not that Roland has set a really great example in that department either – he had met me three days before he proposed.  Of course Roland and I were both older – perhaps for him it was old hat.  I still say it was too quickly on his part.  But then maybe it wasn’t his part.  We believe that God had a large hand in our getting together.

Kayla and Bill had known each other for only three weeks.  And Bill is constantly thanking Roland, as his proposal happened in little more lengthy time frame - when compared to ours. Randy had only known Carrie for less than four months when he asked her.  And according to Carrie, she thought Randy kind of nerdy when she first met him and was probably less thrilled about his extraverted behavior than I was with Roland’s.

I don’t know what the answers are.  Nor can I decide for my children.  If I could, my house would be immaculate and a lot more spacious.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I’m Grateful for the Conveniences of the County Library System

I don’t know how it works in other states or even other counties.  In Salt Lake there is a City Library and several county libraries.  Corey prefers the city library because there is a greater selection of books.  But I don’t enjoy the commute.  I’m also overwhelmed with libraries that have more than one floor.  But I do understand why Corey likes it.  The city does offer a much huger selection than the 18 plus libraries that are a part of the county.
I’ve had one library card for each place I’ve lived.  The same one that worked in Midvale worked in Kearns and West Valley.  We’ve also checked out at West Jordan and Taylorsville. 
Most of those libraries are just one level.  Some obviously carry more books than others.  What’s nice though is nice to be able to go online and reserve a book – regardless of which library the book may call home.  So if I look online for a certain item, I type in by title or author or subject or whatever and there will be a list of books that come up.  I can narrow it down to and see that there are seven copies of the same book available.  The site will tell me what libraries carry the books and the status of the book itself – if it’s checked out, if it’s on the cart, if it’s on the shelf, etc.
Like I have time (or gas money) to drive to each library that may have it.  So I can actually request a book and have the library bring it to me – or the closest library that is.  I can reserve up to ten items on each card.  The library will find the book for me and let me know when it’s in.  I THINK THAT IS SO COOL!  Likewise we can return books to any of the libraries within the county system and they will make it to their proper “home”.  I like that A LOT.  But it’s just a county thing.  City Library books have to go back to the city library.  And county library books have to be returned within the county library system.

I like having the opportunity of attending various programs through the library system – such as craft workshops or puppet shows with Jenna or downloading to electronics or scrapbooking for adults.  There are a variety of activities offered through the library and if there is gas in our car, the library fits nicely into our budget.
Every year when school ends, the library offers a kick off program – usually at a park or similar location – in which booths and entertainment are provided – sort of like a carnival or fair.  Children (as well as adults) are encouraged to sign up for a summer reading program and given the opportunity for collecting prizes throughout the summer.  Our final reward: a book of course. 
I’m grateful for libraries and for the opportunities that come with it. 

Monday, August 5, 2013


         My most favorite ways of eating vegetables are steamed and smothered with cheese or as a raw salad with dressing – though some vegetables don’t seem to work in salads for me – such as zucchini and other squashes. We learned that eggplant has been planted in the community garden as well.  What’s that all about?

Roland and I have tried various recipes for the zucchinis, squash, cucumbers and beets that we have picked.  He found a recipe of using an olive oil base and breading and throwing cheese on top of sliced zucchini. But I am getting so sick of trying to disguise or appreciate my vegetable and continue with what I thought started out as boring in the first place.  I do like zucchini cookies and zucchini bread. But I should be able to eat my vegetables in other ways.

My mom had a recipe for glazed carrots.  I don’t know if it will work on squash or zucchini, but am willing to give it a try.  I’ve tried several other ways.  I did a beet and bean salad which I ate by myself – so that got tiring.  The roasted beets were good by themselves.  I should have just kept them separate.

Last night Roland and I tried a tomato and cucumber salad as seen here:

My favorite part: the croutons. Wish I had Claire Robinson's enthusiasm.

         Not only do I think they are boring, but vegetables actually stimulate my appetite – along with rice.  Seriously.  I eat the vegetable dish with whatever else has been prepared – but I am hungry within two hours.  Vegetables (at least for me personally) make a lousy snack.  They just don’t fill me or satisfy me for more than two minutes.  A Girl Scout cookie on the other hand can chase away the hunger a lot longer than a vegetable can – not to mention that it just tastes 100% better.

I think that placing the vegetables in a pasta casserole is my best solution.  Then I am getting vegetables and grains at the same time.  Add some cheese and I am also getting dairy.  I’ve had broccoli and chicken.  I like cauliflower – and actually is one of the few vegetables I would rather eat cooked than raw.  But there are just some vegetables that I would prefer not eat at all: okra, Brussels’ sprouts, egg plant, celery . . .

I’m not a big fan of legumes either.  Kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans.  My mouth has broken into “yuck” just thinking about it.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Harold’s Bucket List

The other day I went to see my mom.  There were several senior citizens gathered around the TV ready to watch Harold’s recorded plane ride.  He had ridden on a bi-plane just a couple of years ago.  His ride was filmed from the ground.  The camera man had lost the plane for just a few minutes.  Sometimes the CD itself would freeze.  Harold told us that when the plane was out of view that is when it would be doing its loop-to-loops.  I don’t think so.

He also would like to ride a glider and jump out of an airplane.  The jumping will not take place.  His doctor says he’s in good enough health – but Harold is hunched over and if he lands the wrong way it could paralyze him.  So realistically he has decided not to attempt that one.  He would still like to ride on a glider though.

I learned that his last name is Mull as Desa (the activities coordinator) kept on calling him Mr. Mull – which I thought was odd as I have always heard her address every other resident by his or her first name.

I went over to sit with my mom.  I sat in a hard chair and mom sat in the couch next to me.  And then someone moved Harold to my other side.  I offered to trade mom places, but she said that was okay. 

Harold took my hand and then laughed about it as he looked over at mom and realized that she was not attached to the hand he had grabbed.  Mom introduced me to him for the umpteenth time and said she had decided to trade places after all.  The couch was comfortable to sleep in, but not to sit up and watch a movie.  It didn’t seem conducive for senior citizens – perhaps they’d been brought in for the visitors?

Harold took out a piece of candy to give to Jenna.  Mom ate it.  I don’t think Harold noticed.  He usually expresses concern as my mom is diabetic.  He lovingly scolds her and she gets upset and that is the point in which Harold becomes “That Guy” but when he’s affectionate without sounding preachy, he becomes Harold again.  Thus I can always tell whether she is on the outs with him or not.

When the DVD’s and slide show had ended, we all went back to mom’s room – Harold included.  We visited for a bit – though Harold seemed to be doing the majority of talking. Desa says that someone picks Harold up every Thursday to take him to his guitar lessons.  How I admire that.  I hope that when I get to be his age I am still actively involved.

Jenna and I were just getting ready to leave when Desa announced that they were playing Bingo and Jenna wanted to stay for that. Harold doesn’t like to play Bingo but sometimes mom will play and so he will play because mom is.  Neither one of them wanted to play Bingo while we were there.  But Jenna did.  So Jenna and I used the cards that were assigned to mom and Harold. 

Nellie wandered in and Desa invited her to sit down, but Nellie is NOT happy to be there.  She sat only because her back’s been bothering her.  Gradually Jenna became bored and we left. I could sense Nellie getting ready to jump up to follow us out.  Her physical condition slowed her down and Jenna and I were able to get away.

Poor Nellie.  Her situation is so much like my own mom when she first arrived.  Except for Nellie is further gone.  But she wants to escape like my mom once did. She’s not packed however.  Or has her purse in hand.  I wonder if the day will come when Mom and Alice realize that they don’t need their purses anymore.

Mom’s purse is heavy.  It always has been.  Once it was keys that made it heavy.  I have no clue what’s in there right now.  And except for a couple of items, mom has no clue what’s in there either.  But as long as she has it, I know she’s still in stage five.  When I see mom without her purse, I’ll know that stage seven will soon be on its way.  NOT looking forward to that at all.