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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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Executive Director, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah
Greater Salt Lake City Area
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's been two years?

Apparently so! Two years ago I said I would start blogging everyday. HA! Life has a funny way of getting in it's own way, doesn't it?

So much has been going on, so I will start by saying that the past few years have changed me a great deal. I have seen ordinary circumstances bring out amazing things in the people I love. I have seen more love and generosity in these couple of years than I think I ever have. Maybe it's the manifestation of what I try to live by, "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded." (Emerson)

I think this was made plain to me this weekend. Saturday was a super busy and painful day. My Dad has esophageal cancer and had appointments and treatments at Humtsman Cancer Hospital all day on Friday. Of course, Saturday morning, I was a hurtin' girl. But, up I was at 6:45 to pick up my Bountiful Basket! It has helped me stay on track for Weight Watchers having all those fruits and veggies in the house - not to mention how much money we save on groceries. I came home, prepped all the food (my head pounding the entire time). Lindi offerred to buy me breakfast (!) if I ran a few errands with her. We went to the pharmacy, a few other places, and then stopped by our local "Quickey-mart." As we were sitting in the parking lot, a woman tapped on my window. It was obvious she was in distress, but she was trying to hold it together. "I hate to ask, but do you have any money you can spare? I'm trying to get home and don't have enough for gas."

I look over and her truck is parked by the gas pump - loaded with things as if she's homeless. And as I look, instinctively, I reached in my pocket. Now, most people would tell me that she's using it for drugs, or booze or whatever. But somehow, I knew what it took for her to ask. Somehow, I knew she had to swallow a lot of pride to tap on my window. And it didn't matter to me. I pulled out my cash and handed it to her. "It's only 5 dollars, I hope this helps." She smiled at me as if I'd given her a million.

Then, to my left I heard, "I've got two more dollars coming, one sec," and Lindi handed me the bills she received as change. I handed the money to her and she grabbed my hand and said "God Bless you," and, in that moment, I've never believed anyone meant those words more. I watched her walk into the store, come back out, and add two gallons of gas to her tank.

As we drove home, I said to Lindi, "Thank you for helping me be a better person." She asked why I thought that. "Well," I explained, "some spouses would tell me not to give money to the homeless or the needy because they would throw it away on soemthing. Instead, when I feel the urge to help, you tell me 'Here's two more dollars.' I'm lucky to have you."

And it's true. I am lucky to have people around me who see that giving of self isn't about what you lose, it's what you gain.

For example, I was lucky enough to be part of Steph Chow's Jam Exchange. I asked for two partners and received partners from Oregon and Georgia. We sent one another two jars of our homemade jams, so I have four jars of BEAUTIFUL jam from two lovely ladies. I sent two of my best away to them, and also sent jam to Steph for being amazing and partnering us all up.

When Karen, my darling "sister-wife" from New York, told me she was having a bake sale to raise money for her mother's non-profit, of course, the first thing I thought was 'I'm going to send her some jam.' The next thought - what if everyone who participated in the Jam Exchange sent only one jar? Wouldn't that be cool, too?

Fingers flying, I sent an email to Steph, who in turn not only posted it on her blog, but sent jam to Karen as well! So far, Karen has received 36 bottles of jam - it was like a little support from all over the country. At $3 a piece, that's $100 for the Judith Parrotte Memorial Literacy Fund to help children and adults learn to read.

It's the little gifts that can mean the world to someone. To me, it's a jar of jam. I have many others. To Karen, it's hope. And you can never put a price on Hope. Or Generosity. Time after time, I am amazed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And so the Autumn is here

Pumpkin Spoice Latte and Pumpkin Bread from Starbucks sure starts out a season right.

I know I haven't been blogging. I've been infused with the Facebook bug for some time now, but Facebook just doesn't have everything or every avenue or ROOM for all I want to say. So I am going to try blogging everyday for 30 days - let's see where it gets me.

Tonight will be an amazing evening. Lindi, Sarah and I will be heading over to Shane and Chet's tonight for some finger foods and to watch "Glee." Now, if you don't know what "Glee" is, you are sadly one of the people that picked on me in High School. It's a show based around a Glee Club, basically show choir. I absolutely love it.

I have a lot in my brain right now and I am sure of the course of 30 days (give or take a Sunday off) it will start to come out. Bare with me while the blogs are small and not very entertaining nor informative. I'm just a simply girl, really.

Quote of the day: "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." — George W. Bush

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Never Forget

Hi Friends,

Over the last three days, I have been learning a lot about the Holocaust. With the 21st being Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 28th being Oskar Schindler's (Schindler's List) birthday and May 1st being the day of German surrender, it's been at the forefront of a lot of our minds, I am sure.

I happened on a website that really opened my eyes. A gentleman took a tour in 1993 of the sites of the camps in Poland and took many pictures of how they stand today. He relays his personal stories of his encounters with the people and the overwhelming feelings and sites he experienced.

Many things stuck out in my mind, but nothing more so than the end of his story on his last day.

If you have the time or the inclination, it is an amazing read. I would encourage you all to read through it and learn, as I did.

Never Forget.

Anteroom to the gas

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Lesson

This has been a trying week. A friend's husband was removed from the heart trasnplant list becasue they have found liver disease as well. So, for the past 3 days, I've been gathering information for funeral expenses and seeing what can be done to help this family.

It's amazing to me - I send out an email asking my friends for help and suddenly, I have a $100 donation, a free location for a wake and food for the asking. My friends and Auxiliary Sisters are amazing.

As I am perusing my emails for the day, I come across one from a High School acquaintence, BS. I get emails from him every month keeping all of us apprised of people in our graduating class. It's kinda cool. Well, this month, he sent one out about his wife, who has a terminal brain tumor, which was both uplifting and very sad to read. He's currently unemployed, and she's been a stay at home mom, so she doesn't get any kind of assistance except Medicaid. He was talking about some of the things he wanted to do for her before she passes, like, he would love a Disneyland vacation for their family or a big TV so she could watch her shows. They have no money for a funeral and the first thing I am thinking of is how I could help.

He directed us to his personal website to read more about her journey through Cancer and as I am reading his blog, up comes a nice blog about why Marriage is only for a Man and a Woman.

I've been asked by a few friends why I don't support same gender marriage. I'll give a few reasons here in my blog. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It has everything to do with what is right for our country, and for children everywhere. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a Christian, and as a scientist, I must say marriage is for a man and a woman.

God follows a pattern. He calls witnesses. We call these witnesses prophets. Amos 3:7 says "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets". These witnesses, or prophets testify of truth. They testify in the same two ways anyone else does: by speaking orally, or by writing it down. The written word has become scripture. The oral word comes from modern prophets. In order for us to know that one who speaks God's word is a prophet, there's one more step. The Holy Ghost gives us knowledge and testifies the truth to our hearts and to our minds. A modern prophet has testified that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Holy Ghost has testified to me that he is a prophet. The church is not a democracy. We don't tell the prophet what to do, God does. God speaks. His prophet speaks. The Holy Ghost tells me he's a prophet. I listen.

That was the Mormon perspective. Mormon's don't stand alone on this issue. Most Christian faiths believe the same on this issue. The general Christian is similar, minus a modern prophet. God created Adam and Eve. Adam was a man. Eve was a woman. God married them, and set up the family blue-print. Matthew 19:5 says: "...For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?". Mark 10: 7 says: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife". Paul also wrote this to the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:31: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."

God condemns the taking of life. The powers that create life are equally guarded. Two men cannot create life. Two women cannot create life. A man and a woman can. The life created by a union between a man and a woman should have a father and a mother, equally committed to that child's care. That's why we have marriage. Marriage is a formal recognition before God, a government, and between the man and woman making the commitment that the partners will support each other and their children. We guard this life-creating unit we call marriage with care because that unit, and that unit alone can create life. Misusing the power to create life is perhaps as bad as taking life. Not all marriages turn out well. Some are even abusive, but creating a new definition for marriage will not resolve this problem. It will only make it worse. This holds true for anyone who believes in a Supreme Being. Whoever you call God, He (or or even She) created men and women so that only male-female relationships can create life. He obviously intended it that way.

Some will argue that this is a religious issue, and has nothing to do with law. In fact, law evolves from social folkways, to mores, to laws. Take murder for an extreme example. People don't like their relatives getting killed (folkways). They polarize against it (mores). They make laws against it. Murder is a moral issue, and a religious one. It's also a civil one because of that natural evolution into law. Marriage has always been understood as a union between a man and a woman. We didn't choose the legal arena for a battle about what marriage is. People (certain judges come to mind) decided to try and change the definition of marriage. Now we must step forward and defend what has held true for thousands of years and defend against an unproven idea that will not work.


I take a deep breath and read it, keeping in mind, they are very LDS. He doesn't out-and-out say anything bad about gays, so that's a plus, but it is obvious he is very narrowminded about same-gender marriage.

So, now, I have a choice. I can help them because they are in need, but why should I when he doesn't respect my family?

Instead, I wrote him a letter.

"Dear BS,

I am sorry to hear about J. I have some information on funeral arrangements and things when the time comes if you need it. I am assisting my Partner's friend with arrangements for her husband who was denied a heart transplant and also has only weeks/months with us on this earth. J may qualify for a $255 burial benefit and could also qualify for assistance with a cremation through Salt Lake County if you are residents. I have access to a lot of information that I am more than willing to share. Please let me know if you need it. I am happy to help in any way I can.

On another note, I was reading your personal site and came across your post regarding Marriage. While I don't take things personally and allow others to have their own opinions, please realize that there are families that exists outside of the traditional family that you enjoy.

My partner and I have a daughter, and without the protections of Marriage, our family is in constant jeopardy. Without paying an attorney thousands of dollars, I cannot claim my partner's body for burial, as you can claim yours. I am not automatically allowed into the hospital room when and if my partner is dying, as you are allowed for yours. The fact that we have built an entire life together, created our family, are dependent upon one another financially, emotionally, etc means absolutely nothing. I have one two occassions, not been allowed to see my own daughter, that I have helped raise, until my partner has arrived.

There are no differences between our families. Both of our unions were blessed by God, yours in the Temple and mine by the Church of Christ. We both take financial, physical, and emotional responsibilities for our families. In fact, I pay more in taxes to have my family on my health benefits than you would to have your family on yours due to Federal Tax laws. I am actually penalized financially for who I love and committed to for eternity.

For just a moment, I would like you to consider going through this ordeal without the rights and priviledges you are afforded by being legally married. It would not only be devistataing, it would be compounded by the laws which only recognize you as a "friend" and not her next of kin. Imagine being barred from your children because you are not considered their "parent."

These are the issues I struggle with in my family every single day.

I support your faith and the expression of it. I also encourage you to realize that same-gender marriage does not erode the Institution of marriage - it strengthens it. My family prays for our family to be protected like yours in this way every single day.

Thank you, and God Bless J and your family during this time. You are in my prayers. "

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Years seems like Yesterday

His blond hair was cut short in stark contrast to the last time I saw him in High School. Back then, his hair was wild and long. But that afternoon, he was sitting in my kitchen with a Marine 'do and a guitar on his knee.

I remember the day was exceptionally hot, so he wasn't wearing a shirt. He proudly showed me his beautiful tattoos - ink he had earned, not just bought for fashion. I always knew he had a remarkable talent for music and I had heard him play before. But today, it was just him and I in my kitchen.

He told me I was special... a very special friend to him. We didn't know each other well, we had only really met in passing. But when he came home from Iraq and found out his name was on the Soldier's tree in front of my house, and when I greeted him with yellow roses at his home, he knew I was "cool."

He remembered the last musical he saw me in. I had forgotten he played in the band for that production.

His voice was sweet and hung in the air, the notes of his song wrapped around me like a comforting blanket. His toughened finger strummed the strings and I smiled without thought. I can't even remember the songs he played, but I remember how he made me feel. In that moment, I felt that he and I were kindred.

I had a glimpse into what would make this high school friend such an amazing man. Compassion. Humor. Valor. Fierce loyalty.

10 years ago, three men took him from me - from us all. 10 years ago, a wife lost a husband, a boy lost a father, a mother lost a son. And the world lost one of those amazing souls that graces us for only a moment, but changes it forever.

We lost you, Marc, but we didn't lose your memory. And we are all better people for the journey.

I miss you.

In Loving Memory
Marc Todd Atkinson
August 16, 1970 - March 26, 1999

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Check this out on

Hey There!

You must see this on

OMG! I KNEW I loved Cat Cora for a reason - Greek AND a lesbian! WOOT!