Friday, December 27, 2013

A few thoughts

With everything that is going on in Utah this month and for personal reasons the topic of homosexuality has been on my mind for a while and I would like to write my thoughts about it. I have read and seen much lately about the topic and I want to be very clear that the things I am about to say are my thoughts. They do not represent the doctrine of my church or the thoughts of my family. They are mine and I alone own them. This is a subject near to my heart as I have a very dear family member who is gay. This issue is something that has divided my extended family and there are many hurt feelings. This makes me sad as I do not believe this has to be an issue that divides families no matter their religious affiliation or personal beliefs. If you disagree with my comments, that is ok. We can still be friends and I can still respect you. I hope you can still respect me. Please read all of my thoughts before you jump to conclusions about what I believe and where I stand on the issue. 

My beliefs center around my religious persuasion and my educational background. I believe that marriage is ordained of God and that it is the will of God that marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe that children do best when they are born to and raised by two parents, husband and wife, who are legally married and prepared to have children. (This is not only based on my religious beliefs--but also in the work that I do--I see first hand what can happen to children who are unplanned, born and raised out of wedlock). I believe that the family is central to God's plan of happiness for his children on earth and that society is strengthened when the family is strengthened (again this belief is not only based on my religious beliefs but the research that has been done on two parent homes versus single parent homes). These are my personal beliefs. 

With my personal beliefs as a foundation I hope that what I say next is received with love. I love my gay relative. He is a huge part of my life and has been since I was a small child. I have never experienced anything but love and compassion from him. I genuinely admire him. He has so many qualities that I wished I possessed. He is kind and charitable in a way that I can only one day aspire to be. He and I have had discussions about our beliefs and where we each stand on the issues. I respect him and love him. He respects me and loves me. We agree on some things and we disagree on others. The thing that I love about our relationship is that there is enough mutual respect that we are ok with where we both are. He does not try and change my mind and I respect his way of life. In fact in year and a half that I lived with him and his partner he not only supported me in my church activities, but allowed me to hold church events at his home. He came on the day of my temple marriage and stood outside in the cold to be there for me. He supported my decision to serve an LDS mission. He has never once questioned or demeaned my beliefs. I am so thankful for that and respect him so much for that.  

I believe that God granted each of us agency. That being said, I do not believe that my uncle chose to be gay. I believe that he is biologically and physically attracted to other men. However he has the choice to live his life the way he deems best for him and I respect that. I honor his agency and I want more than anything for him to live the way that brings him happiness. I am comfortable in his and his partner's home. I take my kids there and I am not at all scared of that. My kids are going to be exposed to homosexuality at some point in their lives.  I cannot shelter them from that, nor would I want to. I want them to know that we can be different from others and still be around them. We can still love them. Being tolerant does not mean that I agree with the lifestyle, but that I love the human being, the person. I want to teach my children that we love everyone regardless of their race, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political views, or religion. I thank my uncle for being tolerant of me and my beliefs when they sometimes differ from his. He and his partner allow me and my family to be in their home and have treated me with nothing but kindness and respect. 

I do not understand why more people cannot live and let live. You get to believe, act, vote, and live the way you want to believe, act, vote and live. I get to do the same. If we differ in the way we do these things why can't we still respect, love, and associate with each other?  Why does it have to become a you're wrong, I'm right dialogue?  Why do we label each other as hateful, sinful, intolerant, and bigots?  In the end I believe that we will all return and stand before our maker. When I get there I hope that I can tell Him that I lived my life the way I felt He wanted me to live. I honored my beliefs and the covenants I have made with Him. My standing before Him will be about my relationship with him. I hope to tell him that I loved the people he put in my path, regardless of who they were and what they are. 

I am grateful for my faith. I am grateful for a loving, just and merciful Heavenly Father who I believe knows each one of us individually. He knows my heart and my desires. I believe that He knows my uncle's heart and desires. Therefore God is the only one that gets to judge each one of us. We can judge ourselves and decide what we want to do in our lives, who we want to surround ourselves with, and how we want to treat others. In the end if each of us are living consistent with the principles we believe than nothing else matters. Just my thoughts...please don't respond hatefully

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas!!  I love the holidays. I love having small children during the holidays! This was the first year that Britton really understood Christmas. We had a blast doing the advent calendar, teaching him about Santa, using the nice list to our advantage, and seeing his excitement Christmas morning. Here are the kids in their Christmas outfits for church:

The morning of Christmas Eve we got up early to make cookies for Santa. Britton helped me stir the batter and then left me to do all the cooking while he watched a movie!  Then we went on a walk to deliver a few cookies to some neighbors. I bundled the kids up and got them in the double stroller. As we were pulling out of the garage Britton said, "I am SO not in the mood for this mom.  My heart is going to break". I about died laughing. That kid says the funniest things. 

When we got home we had a quiet afternoon just spending time as a family. It was so nice. Jeremy has been working 6 days a week since Thanksgiving so we really have not seen much of him. He and Brit played Mario kart while Savy and I read a book and napped. At night we got the kids in their Christmas jammies and watched Joy to the World. We taught Britton that Christmas is really about celebrating the life and birth of Jesus Christ. It was a warm spirit that was in our home that night for which I am thankful. I love teaching my kids.  After that we read The Night Before Christmas. Brit loved it so much that we had to read it twice. Then the kids snuggled into their beds. Jeremy and I headed downstairs to watch our traditional Christmas movie: Batman the Dark Night, while we helped Santa put the presents under the tree and fill the stockings. 

Christmas morning was pure joy. Britton was so excited about everything and Savannah was quiet while she watched her brother tear through all the packages. Britton opened Savy's presents for her and then decided that they were his and got mad when she started playing with him. This boy is in for a world of hurt here in a few weeks when she starts crawling and becoming mobile. He does not like her touching or playing with anything. We are in for some fun times! We had a wonderful Christmas Breakfast with Jeremy's family. The food was delicious and the company was great. It is times like this that I miss having my family close. I wish we could be closer to them to enjoy the holidays together, but I am thankful for the families that we have and the sacrifices they make for us! 

Here are some pictures of our adventures:

Christmas Jammies! 

Savy's were way too big so we only wore them for pictures:)

LOVE these kids! 

Carrying Santa's cookies to the living room

Leaving them by the tree

Reading bedtime stories

The Night Before Christmas

Santa took a bite! 

We wrapped Britton's door so he could see his new bed inside

Britton's big boy bed with dinosaur bedding! 

Helping sister open her presents

Taking her present away and playing with it himself

His spoils...

Can't believe how big she is getting

Such a cutie! 

We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that the Holidays are happy for you and your families!