Friday, July 30, 2010

The Couch

There have been several times that one of us has slept on the couch over the past 15 years. Usually the one that was upset would head to the couch, but generally would then come back to the bed after waking up partway through and realizing that sleeping in a comfortable place is more important than holding a grudge. Scott and I always thought that the marital advice to never go to bed angry was silly, since it is so much easier to work through things the next morning when we had both had some rest and could think rationally.

More recently, the couch has been used when our 5-year-old wet our bed, or this past week when I have quickly whisked the baby to the living room when he began to cry so that he would not wake up Scott and keep him from getting the sleep he needs to deal with his current stress at work. 

But tonight, it is so much harder to deal with him sleeping on the couch, knowing he intends to never sleep in the same bed with me again.

Normally I would have my kids clamoring to share the bed with me, but they are all asleep for once, and so I lie here alone, wondering why me.

So many blog posts in my head. So lost.  Don't have any idea how to sort through it all.

Must sleep, knowing that when I wake up in a couple of hours to feed the baby, that it was not just a nightmare, but my life.

God, please keep on helping me. I'm trying to have faith. I have been much stronger than I ever thought I could be, but I don't know if I can keep going.

"Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Churchy stuff

Church is starting to feel somewhat normal again. It kind of came on suddenly and I'm not sure why. 

I suppose I'm getting used to attending without Scott, and maybe the kids are too, and that makes it feel more "normal." I've started attending all of the meetings (for the most part) which is much easier now that I am feeling so much better. The baby is getting me lots of attention. Maybe that's it--the positive attention instead of the feeling that everyone feels sorry for me that my husband is gay, or that he doesn't come to church any more.

I wasn't sure if I even cared about blessing the baby, since I had been feeling so negative toward churchy stuff. But then it started to feel like the right thing to do, and at first as I thought about it I felt awkward and embarrassed that Scott would not be allowed to perform the blessing. But as he and I talked about it, he didn't seem to care and helped me feel like I shouldn't either.

So I called and asked Scott's dad to perform the blessing, and everything is set for this coming Sunday.

I even told the bishop Sunday that I was willing to have a calling again, if he felt inclined that I should. And I told the Relief Society president that I was willing to be a visiting teacher again, too.

There is still a definite change in the way I view certain things at church, but I think I am adapting. I guess time will tell, as I observe my thoughts and feelings during future lessons on certain topics.

Meanwhile, the kids are getting back into the groove, too. Each week there is less resistance from them to get ready and be willing to go. The 5 year old gave a talk in primary last week--he hasn't done that for a long time. And yesterday I got a glimpse that he really is listening and applying lessons to things he already understands. Here is what he told me last night:

"Mom, I have two dads, because Jesus is one of my dads."

"And mom, if someone has two dads, and Jesus is not one of the dads, then they have three dads because Jesus is their dad, too."

I was amazed at his logic, and I was amused at the possibility that he might have shared this thought in primary.

Out of the mouths of babes! I've said this before, but it will be really interesting to watch my children as they integrate the teachings of the church with the liberal ideas they learn at home. What if they are able to make it all fit together peacefully, instead of feeling the conflict and having to choose between one thing or the other? I think that maybe, just maybe, they will make it work. I have faith that they will, and that they can make a difference in bridging the gap between the two communities.

My sweet children give me hope! And hope is definitely something I need right now. We are getting really good at taking care of each other. I am strong for them when I need to be. I feel like I am becoming more and more patient with them (although I still have a long way to go.) And when I have a breakdown or a bad day, they have been amazingly strong for me, even though they shouldn't have to be.

Life is not easy, but I know that I am getting the divine help I need to muddle through.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


There is an incredible feeling of peace in the unity of the gay community.

Last night the feeling was overwhelming as we held candles, many of them having to be re-lit over and over because of the wind. (I grabbed battery operated ones for the safety of my children, but they had the added benefit of the wind not extinguishing their glow.) The backdrop of the lit Utah capitol was beautiful, accentuated by a gorgeous sunset and then later a display of lightning in the distance.

Along with the predominant peaceful feeling, there was of course mourning and sadness as we gathered to remember yet another gay suicide, Todd Ransom. Scott and I did not know him personally, but we shared in the sadness of the community and that of our friends that did know him. Words were said in his memory, a brother-in-law sang a stunning rendition of "Amazing Grace", a moment of silence and then more beautiful music played.

The thing I love the most, though, is that when the community has a reason to band together, even when it is sad, there is also much happiness. Such strong feelings of friendship and of happiness in seeing one another, hugging one another, and banding together in unity and support of each other. As friends came up to greet me, they celebrated with me the fact that I am skinny again and feeling well, and they oohed and ahhed over our beautiful little Sebastian, who slept peacefully throughout the evening, protected from the wind in his car seat and stroller combo.

The evening buoyed up my spirit, as I had struggled during the day with various frustrations and some depression. Everything from the appliance repairman recommending it best we buy a new freezer, to missing my two oldest children that are at camp this week, and of course the ongoing drama of my life in between.

I've actually written several blog posts lately that I have not posted. One of them was right before I left for the vigil last night. And then while I was there, the peace of the moment and situation spoke to me, as Scott put his arm around me and held our 5-year-old on his shoulders, and I knew I had done the right thing to hit the "save" button instead of the "publish" button. It can sit as a draft in my list of posts, there as a silent journal entry of how I was feeling at the time.

I am so incredibly grateful for the good friends I have in this community, that do so much for me and mean so much to me; that are only a text away, that spoil my children, and make me feel like a queen (even when I am bitchy.) Words cannot express the gratitude that my heart has for each of you.

And so, today I face the day uplifted, ready to accomplish some projects while enjoying my 3 little boys and striving for happiness and peace within my soul.

(Painting "Community" by Daniel Embree used without permission. I hope that is okay, since I have a framed copy in my living room and linked it to where he is selling copies. :) Thanks, Dan.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How can things change so fast?

16 years ago...
I love you with all my heart. I want to spend the rest of eternity with you. I want to be able to take you to the temple. I want you to be the one who, as stated in my patriarchal blessing, I will have the privilege of calling forth from the grave on the morning of the first resurrection. I pray that I will be able to use that love and that desire to motivate me to make these next 10 months the best I can, so I will be worthy to ask you to be mine forever.

15 years ago...

...I love you with all my heart, and though I wouldn't dare say anything is definite, I do look forward to sometime next summer when I can look across an alter into your eyes and know that I am yours and you are mine for eternity. I long for and look forward to that day...

I still believe it would be grand to spend eternity in the company of my family, but I'm no longer certain that I want the sort of relationship with them that the church tells me I could have (that is, I would much prefer to be eternally best friends with Sarah than eternaly married to her--and I hope she doesn't find it too hurtful for me to be so blunt about it). I want to find someone who I can love entirely and completely, and I hope and believe that I might spend forever with him once I've found him.

Sunday the lesson in Relief Society was on the Priesthood.  The oldest class in Young Womens joined us for the lesson, and the instructor said something to the effect of, "It is so important that you young women date and seek a companion that honors his Priesthood and can take you to the temple."

I refrain from ever commenting in Relief Society any more, but I did have the fleeting thought, "I lot of good that did me."

Yes, I am really struggling right now and have become a little bitter about my life, but I am trying to have faith that someday I will look back and understand it, and be grateful for it. I am watching myself grow stronger and more independent every day. I am learning to cherish my children more and more, including my precious baby that is entirely dependent on me. I am trying to appreciate the efforts Scott does make as husband and father, enjoy the moments I have with him, and I so wish that I could make his frustrations at work go away so that his life could be more calm and happy.

Maybe, just maybe, then my life could also be more calm and happy. Or maybe it is what it is, and I must continue to find the calm and happiness in the middle of a storm. Some days are easier than others, and maybe it will be easier to find as time goes on and I learn to accept my life for what it is.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Scott and I were discussing the another couple and their decision to sell their business. He reminised about a discussion on their blog, where the husband mentioned that in the past, a decision like selling a business would be made after praying about it.  But, now that he does not really believe in prayer any more, how does he make this important decision? Scott commented on the post, saying that he could still go through the process similar to what he learned to do when praying about something--think about the decision and the pros and cons, and then go with what feels right.

While he was sharing this information, I couldn't help but wonder how people lose their testimony of prayer. I am not entirely happy with the Church's actions in the Prop 8 campaign, and it does make me question revelation and following church leaders a little bit, but I simply cannot question my testimony of God and Christ and prayer. I have had too many experiences with such things through my life to stop believing in them. Why don't Scott and others feel the same way?

A few days later, I read this article in the Deseret News and found it to be an interesting addition to this subject.  It has been so long since I cut and pasted it here, that I don't remember what my original impressions and thoughts were. (And now I need to go take care of the baby and will lose my train of thought again.) Maybe I will have time to read through it again later, or maybe I will just let all of you read it and hopefully share your own thoughts on this subject. Thanks!

PARK CITY — It may not be easy to be an LDS scientist, but it can be one of the most inspiring combinations, said Dr. Anne Osborn Poelman, a renowned neuroradiologist and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"We are fortunate indeed to have the gospel of Jesus Christ to give us a foundation from which we can be free to fly, investigate and ask, because as we know, all truth is circumscribed into one great whole and there is no difference between science and religion," she said Friday at the LDS Life Science Research Symposium, sponsored by BYU.

While some want to credit a specific "believing gene," Poelman said she favors the idea of spiritual instinct, or the light of Christ, which is given to everyone.

Yet despite a desire to believe, it's not always easy, she said, referencing the Bible story in Mark, where a father brings his ill son to the Savior and asks that he be healed, then tearfully pleads, "Lord, I believe, help thou my unbelief."

"No matter how much we believe, how hard we believe, we still have that element of unbelief in us," she told the group of scientists.

Poelman shared a conversation that she and her husband, Emeritus General Authority Elder Ronald E. Poelman, had with a woman who was learning about the church. Eventually the woman told them, "It's wonderful what you believe. I wish that I could believe. Where's the bridge between doubt and belief, between hope and faith?"

The bridge is built step by step through our faith, Poelman said, referencing her days as a Stanford medical student being taught by LDS missionaries.

She said she prayed to know if the church was true and received a "big, cosmic zero" for an answer. But she realized she had asked the wrong question, and prayed again, this time informing the Lord she had decided to get baptized and that he should stop her if this was a mistake.

It was only after she made the leap that Poelman felt the Lord confirm her choice and her faith, she said.

There's no reason such faith cannot coexist with science, added students and professionals during a subsequent discussion.

Dixon Woodbury, a BYU professor of physiology and developmental biology, said he views the counsel to pray over his "flocks and herds" a bit differently as a scientist.

"I've come to understand there's nothing wrong, and it's actually appropriate for me to pray over my experiments, that I will have insight and wisdom in directing them appropriately and interpreting the results correctly," he said. "It's a little different, but still appropriate to ask for the Lord's help in that."

Poelman's sister, Dr. Lucy Osborn, talked about inspiration in her work as a pediatrician.

"It happens to you once, and you go, 'What a coincidence,' " she said. "It happens to you twice and you say, 'Isn't that odd.' It happens to you over and over and over again and you realize that we have a source of information that isn't something you are going to find in your textbooks, or in your laboratory or in the laboratory tests. It simply comes from the Lord, … and it happens when you're open to it and when you're willing to listen."

Yet sometimes, answers to questions may not come quickly or even in this lifetime, Poelman said.

"One of the great things in the gospel is to feel comfortable enough in our spiritual skins, to say 'I don't know,' " she said. "But I do know that the Lord is consummately fair and that in the end, as C.S. Lewis says, 'All things will be fair, and there will be wonderful surprises,' (and that is) enough for me."

It boils down to faith, said Phil Low, a renowned LDS biochemist at Purdue.

"When we were in the pre-existence, there was no opportunity to develop faith," he said. "As a consequence, this is our one and only opportunity to really take that step forward in the darkness and experience the joy that comes by seeing the promises, which we believed in faith might be fulfilled, actually come to pass."

"There isn't a bridge," Poelman concluded. "We do our homework, we pray, we use all the resources we have, at the end we simply trust and step into the dark time after time after time again. And do we do it because we inherited a believing gene? No, we do it because we have something even better, which is hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Pastimes

I feel bad that the circumstances with having a new baby have made the summer a bit of a drag for the kids. No vacation plans, the new piano teacher I had lined up fell through. Never got around to signing the kids up for swim lessons. You get the idea. We have all been incredibly lazy. Yes, there are young women and scout camps, family reunions and youth conference, and dentist and orthodontist appointments. But day to day, we sleep in and take turns holding and tending the sweet baby, read lots and lots of books, try to get some chores done, play some video games, and sometimes have a friend or two over to play. But I think we might all remember best the shows we have watched together.

For example, during the past year, Scott and I have watched episodes of "modern family" after putting the kids to bed. But the last episode or two, the kids ended up watching with us, so then they wanted to go back and watch all of them. It became a motivator for them to get pjs on and do a quick few chores with the promise of a "modern family" episode or two when they were done.

It has been so good for the kids and I to laugh and enjoy them together. Then, the next day, they continue to quote their favorite parts and we laugh some more. Not only are the shows hilarious, but I like how they show a realistic side of families--structures both traditional and non-traditional (including a gay couple and adopted baby), individuals that sometimes get along and often don't, but they learn from their mistakes and work things out and it is always evident that they care for and love each other.

The last few days, Scott has finally been able to take a bit of time off work/work from home, so we began a "lord of the rings" marathon, watching the DVD extended versions, one each day for three days.

Though I've seen the movies once before and read the books once (about the same time, when they came out on DVD) I had forgotten many details. What an amazing story of friendship and loyalty, hope, adversity, humility vs. pride, family, honor, sacrifice, and never giving up. There are some great one-liners. I wish I could remember all of the phrases that touched my heart, like "there is always hope" or "I cannot carry it [the ring] for you, but I can carry you." It reminded me of friends and blog readers that have been most supportive, not by giving advice, not by complaining about Scott's choices, but rather simply by recognizing that what we face is hard, that there are no easy answers, but they will love us and continue to be our friends, supporting and being there for us regardless of what we decide to do.

I'm grateful for a therapist who, instead of saying "what you need to do is divorce", listens and sympathizes and recognizes that there are several options, and agrees that taking one day at a time is wise.

Now that we are done with all of the "modern family" episodes and the "lord of the rings" trilogy, I'm not sure what we will watch next. A couple of us want to see "How to train your dragon" again, a wonderful movie about how the young generation goes against tradition to solve an ancient problem in their community.  After we saw it the first time, I really wanted to blog about how it made me think of the young generation now, about my children, and how at the moment they are growing up with both the LDS church and our gay friends in their lives. Will they be able to break the tradition of generations before them and reconcile the gospel with their views on gay rights? I hope so. There is always hope, hope that they and others like them will be able to help change attitudes and conflicts within the membership of the church.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Bible says so!

I found this circulating on facebook, and could not resist re-posting it here. Enjoy!

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet. It's funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Looking for a reason?

Last night I saw some of my family as we casually gathered for a birthday. The discussion turned to a lady in the neighborhood that had recently passed away. She and her husband came here from another country many years ago, and at first they were both active in the LDS church, but then she was offended (the discussion was that maybe it had to do with people asking her to repeat herself because of her accent) and stopped going.

Apparently before she passed away, she called both her home teachers and some catholic priests to give her blessings. Someone commented with a smile that she must have wanted to make sure she was covered.

A comment I've heard many times from my parents was said again, "If everyone that gets offended at church stops going, there would be no one there." To which someone else responded, "I've heard that if someone stops going because they are offended, they were really just looking for a reason to stop going."

I wondered if the discussion purposely went on as it did for Scott and my sake, or if they even thought about that element in the room.

I don't know about Scott, but I definitely was not looking for a reason to stop going to church. I've been offended at church before, and it has never stopped me. But this one is too big, too encompassing, too personal. Yes, it is offense by a few individuals at church, but it is also offense by the hypocrisy of the church in general, the "love one another" and "become more like Christ" words that conflict with the impossible "love the sinner but hate the sin" attitude.

If anything, I am desperately looking for a reason to want to be at church, to keep it from being anxiety-ridden drudgery.

My daughter is at a church-organized girls camp this week, one similar to the one I worked at when I was 19. I am jealous of the experience I know she is having, of being entirely surrounded by God's creations and His spirit.  I long to have another experience like that, to renew me and help me remember my testimony and how strong it was at that time in my life. Will I ever be able to have that again?

There is a staff reunion for the camp I worked at coming up at the end of the month. I am hoping that I will feel up to going, at least for one afternoon, maybe. My life was in such a different place 5 years ago when I attended the last one. I had a new baby then, too, and he came with me to enjoy the day, strapped in a front-pack. I met a girl that was one of my "campers" and had since been on the staff. She was delighted to see me and remember how I had helped her to have a wonderful and spiritual experience when she was 12. What a great feeling it was to sing the songs again and remember the great times.

One of the staff members I worked with that summer long ago is also one of the reunion organizers. She read my blog for a while, but she sent me an email a few months ago to let me know she would no longer be my friend on facebook or read my blog because of my church-conflicting views on gay marriage. Does that mean that this camp, that is everything to me that is God and good and beautiful, will now become a place that is uncomfortable and guilt-ridden for me, just like my church building? Will it be painful to go to the reunion, or will it be just what I need? Will it give me a reason to continue my efforts with regards to church attendance?

Hopefully I will be able to go and find out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blog Therapy

Blogging has been my therapy, but now it just seems to get me in trouble and make my life worse.

So I suppose I should seek some professional therapy.  I will have met my insurance out-of-pocket maximum with the baby, so it won't even cost me anything the rest of the year. My children seem to be okay, but it might not be a bad idea to have a therapist check them out as well, especially the older two that know so much about everything and have stepped up to help take care of me and their brothers. My 12-year-old is especially a God-send. Scott and I were going to a great therapist prior to trying out someone from LDS family services, so I think I will start there.

Meanwhile, I don't know what the future of this blog will be. There are people that have told me this all along, but I suppose it is not right to publicly express personal details of my relationship with Scott and my interactions with church leaders. I guess maybe I will focus on good things that are going on in my life and in the world with regards to gay rights. My goal has not been to hurt anyone, but to vent and to document my journey. But it seems that hurting people has been the main result, and I just can't do that anymore.

So in keeping with my new goal for this blog, I will start with a message from the movie that the boys and I are watching tonight: the sun will come out tomorrow!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hospital Photos

So, all of my friends on facebook know the news, but I have yet to blog about it. Sorry for the delay, but I'm sure you will all forgive me.

Some days I wish that Scott had known he was gay before we married, and that we had decided not to, so that I could maybe have a family with someone else and not have all of these complications.

But when I sit and stare at my new baby boy and how beautiful he is, I am very grateful to have Scott's genes in the family. :) (I am grateful for him in many other ways as well, but I've blogged about those before...)

So here he is...Sebastian Scott...born Monday, June 28th (actually 3 days early!)

A couple of hours old.

Later that evening after his first bath.

When did the "professional" hospital photos actually become something worth buying? Here is a sample, but we have purchased the cd and copyright permissions because they turned out so cute!