Sunday, November 23, 2008


Is now grounded from the computer.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Coming, Promise

I promise to finish up my little string of essays on marriage and rights.

Thank you so much to those who have responded both with encouragement and to prod my thinking along toward more clarity.

I am busy with four children and a husband who is working about 14 hours a day.

But the real reason that I'm taking a while on this (and the reason I am only now talking about this issue) is that the cognitive dissonance is about enough to make my head explode.

But I'm working on it.

Be back soon with more to say.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

An Important Principle Regarding Government in Our Lives

I plan to write more as the week goes on about marriage, proposition 8 and rights.

Tonight, I wanted to say just one thing that I've been thinking about and see what you think about it.

It is this:

If you consider your own freedom dear to you, you must regard the freedom of others as equally dear and work to protect it as you would protect your own.

Let me state that another way.

We are all interconnected. When we allow the government to restrict and define certain parts of life for others, we are opening the door for them to restrict our rights in the same ways and in the same areas.

For instance, the supreme court case of Griswold vs. Connecticut established that a Connecticut law regarding the use of contraceptives was unconstitutional and any enforcement of it would require a violation of a couple's right to privacy.

I have talked with many people who believe that the government should be in the business of regulating sex -- when, how, with whom, whether or not contraception is used.

In circumstances like this we often fail to follow our thoughts through to their natural or possible conclusions.

If I, for instance, believe that no person should ever be allowed to have extramarital sex I might want the government to make a law forbidding it. (Or enforce similar laws already on the books.) But, if I consent to let our government have power in this aspect of other people's lives I open myself up to their involvement in my own life. The door has already been opened. What keeps them, when the winds of belief change, from deciding it is okay to regulate my sex life. What if someone else believes it is wrong for people to have more than two children and decides there should be a law prohibiting couples with two children from having unprotected intercourse?

It is the same principle. I do not want the government in my bedroom. Therefore, it seems prudent for me to work to keep it out of other people's bedrooms.

If you consider your own freedom dear to you, you must regard the freedom of others as equally dear and work to protect it as you would protect your own.

Even if they would not make the same choices with their freedoms that you would make with yours.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Girl In the Doorway by Dorianne Laux

If I could write a poem that describes perfectly how I feel about Kaitybean right now, this would be it. She's not exactly at this stage yet, but oh I feel it starting.
Girl In the Doorway

She is twelve now, the door to her room
closed, telephone cord trailing the hallway
in tight curls. I stand at the dryer, listening
through the thin wall between us, her voice
rising and falling as she describes her new life.
Static flies in brief blue stars from her socks,
her hairbrush in the morning. Her silver braces
shine inside the velvet case of her mouth.
Her grades rise and fall, her friends call
or they don't, her dog chews her new shoes
to a canvas pulp. Some days she opens her door
and musk rises from the long crease in her bed,
fills the dim hall. She grabs a denim coat
and drags the floor. Dust swirls in gold eddies
behind her. She walks through the house, a goddess,
each window pulsing with summer. Outside,
the boys wait for her teeth to straighten.
They have a vibrant patience.
When she steps onto the front porch, sun shimmies
through the tips of her hair, the V of her legs,
fans out like wings under her arms
as she raises them and waves. Goodbye, Goodbye.
Then she turns to go, folds up
all that light in her arms like a blanket
and takes it with her.

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Can't Fight Hate Crimes With Hate Crimes

"A hate crime, also known as a bias crime, is a criminal offense committed against a person, property, or society that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin." Source:

Nearly a decade ago I wrote a paper for my English 2010 class arguing vehemently, adamant that hate crimes legislation must be expanded to include sexual orientation. Our country was standing in the wake of the Matthew Shepard incident, an atrocity that left me breathless, tearful and angry.

The names of the handful of gay friends I had at the time kept running through my head. Alan, Brock, Kyle, Danny...* I was helpless to protect them from the hate and evil that many in the world desired to inflict on them. I had no extraordinary influence on government. But I did what I could. I researched carefully, I framed my arguments with every ounce of ethos, pathos and logos I could muster. The giant A written in red marker on the front of that paper meant a little more to me than others I'd gotten. I, as insignificant as I was, could make a compelling argument for this change. Surely someone, somewhere who was smarter than I and had greater influence and power could make a strong enough argument to make it happen.

I thank heaven that now those two words "sexual orientation" take up their proper space in the FBI's definition of hate crimes. No person should be subject to another's hate and unkindness simply because of who they are. And when that hate and bias is what motivates a criminal activity, that crime should exact a greater degree of punishment. Why? Because, like terrorism, when a person is targeted because of an aspect of who they are, every person who identifies with that characteristic feels targeted as well. Matthew Shepard's death sent ripples of fear through the entire gay community just as the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon left much of America feeling shaky and frightened. Hate crimes can have a much more far-reaching impact than regular crimes.

Now I am a white, heterosexual Mormon and Utahn standing in the wake of Proposition 8 and the furor surrounding it. I am, perhaps, a pretty unpopular specimen of human at the moment.

There have now been protests near my holiest places. Though I find this distasteful and misdirected, I recognize and respect it as a legitimate and legal exercise of free speech. Gratefully, I have heard no reports of violence or criminal activity surrounding these events.

As Mormons have worked along with other religious groups and other Californians for the passage of Proposition 8, they have been subjected to vandalism, verbal abuse, threatened with physical harm. I worry that because the LDS church is the most misunderstood, most visible and most highly organized of the groups who took part in the push for Prop 8, they are those who will continue to be at most risk for continued threats and harm. Hate crimes perpetrated out of bias against their religion may have the added consequence of making all Mormons feel threatened and insecure.

Still, I feel the same way as one woman in California. She posted a yellow sign proclaiming her support of Proposition 8. This led someone to park a car at her curb with "Bigots live here." painted on the windows. She said something to the effect of "Now we're getting a taste of where they live."

And it's true. Gays have been living with hate crimes, misunderstanding and malignment for years. They have been threatened, harmed, discriminated against because of who they are and how they choose to live. And I can imagine that the passage of Proposition 8 felt like more of the same, only with the weight of legal legitimacy and exact numbers quantifying it. I can't even begin to imagine how painful that must be for them.

And regardless of the legitimately positive intentions of many involved in the push for Proposition 8, there is no denying that the campaign's success was partly tied to fear and misunderstanding. There were certainly many compassionate individuals who cast their ballot in favor of Proposition 8 because they truly believed it was a necessary measure to protect traditional, heterosexual families and their religious rights. Sadly, I am quite certain that there were just as many who voted the same way out of fear, hatred and misunderstanding. It would be naive and insulting for me to believe otherwise.

So, why shouldn't the gay community attack back -- boycott Utah, target Mormons because their church leadership was part of this, do to us what has been done to them for so long?

The first reason? Because it's wrong to hurt another human being.

The second reason? Because it may be ineffective and misguided, perhaps even counterproductive.

If we continue to harm one another because of our differences, we continue to polarize ourselves into opposite camps that may never be able to find a workable solution. And the one thing I believe most strongly about this whole situation is that there has got to be a win-win solution.

If we are ever going to find it we need for all of us, even those who disagree with us, to be able to see clearly.

And you know what they say about an eye for an eye.

Keep reading this week as I explore the ideas of rights, separation of church and state and what I believe might be a recipe for true equality.

And please comment and check back on the comments. I'd love for this blog to become a safe space for discussion this week.

*Names changed.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Little Bit Sad

We have two very large windows at the front of our house. In front of these windows are several trees.

So, during the summer when the trees are covered with leaves we have a great deal of privacy. I wander around my kitchen in my underwear without worrying that my across-the-street neighbors will see.

Fall temperatures have now reached the point that almost all of the leaves fell off yesterday. Almost all at once.

Darn it!

Now I'm either going to have to get dressed in the morning or buy some curtains.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Current Music Video Obsession

So, Jack's Mannequin has been a long-standing obsession for me. Something about Andrew McMahon's voice and piano and lyrics just speak to me, hit me somewhere deep. It's been that way ever since his Something Corporate days. (I wonder, BTW, if they'll ever really put out another album.)

Here's a music video from his latest album "The Glass Passenger." The song is "The Resolution".


Some Children's Poetry


There, I've said it.

Now on to poetry Tuesday.

Last week a purchased a delightful book: "The Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry." I have been enjoying it thoroughly and may even start reading some of it to my kids now. :)

So, on this cold, windy election morning. I thought I'd post a couple of light, fun children's poems. Enjoy!
by Christina G. Rossetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you;
But when the leaves hang trembling
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I;
But when the trees bow down their heads
The wind is passing by.

by Judith Viorst

If I were in charge of the world
I'd cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also
Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There'd be brighter night lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn't have lonely.
You wouldn't have clean.
You wouldn't have bedtimes.
Or "Don't punch your sister."
You wouldn't even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts
would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G.
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

As a Live Coal

"But all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea." -- William Langland
I've thought to write several posts today. One about body image that I really want to get to. One appropriate to election day that touts my feelings about federalism and the poor way we choose presidential candidates in our country and my misgivings about our two-party system.

But what's really been rolling around my head are thoughts of mercy, of salvation, of faith in a living God and in His son, Jesus Christ. I feel like this election cycle (aside from being WAY too long) has differed from many other elections I've witnessed in one way.

With everything that is difficult in our lives right now, it seems that so many people in our country are searching for a savior. Someone to lift them out of the toil and drudgery and uncertainty that come in a time of recession and war and urgent need. Whether it be a new congressman or a new president, it seems that people are in a frenzied search for someone to make everything better. To make it all right again.

But no matter who wins in the elections tomorrow, there will still be terrorists and foreign despots who threaten the freedoms we hold dear. Because we are not perfect in our compassion or wisdom, there will be those who are hungry, cold, poor, sick, despairing.

Simply put, because we are imperfect beings this world will continue to be riddled with imperfection.

Obama won't change that. McCain's putting of our country first won't nullify that truth. Nader won't invent a way out of it. A Baldwinian restoration of the constitution won't bring the solution. McKinney's careful plans won't pull us out, nor will Barr's restitution of personal freedoms.

But at the same time I face this immutable truth -- the fact that our continuing human imperfections make this world imperfect -- I am stilled and sure in the knowledge that all is as it should be. All will be well and it is this journeying and facing imperfection together that will teach us and shape us until we are all perfect beings.

Some might call me naive or foolish or superstitious. That is ok.

Because as this storm swirls and picks up momentum, I am standing steady and firm. I know who I am. I know why I am here. I know where I am going and how to get there.

I stand firmly with my Savior, Jesus Christ and know that no trouble in this world will ever touch me, really. Never permanently.

For all the imperfection in the world, all the sorrows and failings are to Him as nothing.

A live coal in the sea.