Sunday, June 7, 2015

Homemade Rainbow Confetti, Slacks on Sunday and What I Know

On January 26th, two days after her 12th birthday, with a confusing and, quite frankly unclear (to some), card trick and a shower of homemade rainbow confetti our youngest daughter, Jillian, told us she was gay.

I would like to say that it didn't catch me off guard but that would be a lie.  As I asked Jillian a short time later that night what exactly the card trick meant, she looked at me and simply said "I'm gay".  Tears welled up in my eyes and I pulled her into a hug and told her that I loved her.  It was a natural response.  I didn't even have to think twice about it. 

I want to be clear here, didn't cry because I was sad or upset that she is gay.  I cried because I knew that this was going to be hard.  And I told her that.  I said "This is hard. This is going to be hard. 

 And she said "I know."

Our families have been incredibly loving and supportive and have thrown their arms around our family and especially Jillian. We have also found wonderful love and support through groups like "I'll Walk With You" and "North Star".

I am so thankful that Jillian felt safe enough in our family to shower us with her homemade rainbow confetti.  Unfortunately there are many people out there that don't feel safe sharing who they are with those that are supposed to love them the very most.  Since Jillian has come out to us we have had another dear person come to us and share their proverbial "rainbow confetti".  I feel incredibly blessed and honored that they did so.

One of the ways that I chose to show support for Jillian was to wear  pants to church the first Sunday that we attended our new ward.  She doesn't like dresses and prefers wearing a suit instead.  When I asked her if she would like me to wear pants to church with her she was all over that.  My husband wrote a wonderful blog about our first week that you can read  HERE.

That Sunday as I prepared to walk into the chapel in pants I was surprised by just how nervous I was.  And the thought came to me "If you think it's hard walking into church because you are wearing pants how much more difficult has it been for Jillian for so many years?"   How difficult must it be for anyone who feels like they don't fit "the mold".

I was only planning on wearing the pants that first Sunday but after that realization I decided that I would continue wearing pants.  Not necessarily every Sunday but it will be a regular thing.  In fact I wore slacks again today.

I would like to start a "movement" if you will to let people out there who may feel different or who are clutching a fistful of  their own rainbow confetti afraid that someone might see it, that there are people in the church that love you and want you there. If you care to join me I will be wearing slacks every second Sunday.  You can join me in this "Slacks on Sunday" if you feel like it. You can take pictures or write about your experience and post to social media with the hashtag #SlacksonSunday.

If you see me on a Sunday wearing pants (or a skirt) know that I love you for who you are no matter what, and if you need a hug or someone to talk to, I am here for you.

And if someone feels safe enough to let you catch a glimpse of their homemade rainbow confetti please know that your life will be richer, fuller and hopefully you will come to a deeper understanding of the second great commandment.

And, believe it or not, if you are showered with rainbow confetti your life will be blessed.
It most likely will be hard but you will be blessed.
This I know.







Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Moving

We are moving.

Three words that have rarely been strung together in my vocabulary.

We are moving.

For many people moving is the norm, a way of life, even, for some.
But not for me.
Where we live now is two blocks from the home where I was born and raised.
I never moved as a child.

I have seven siblings and some people have jokingly said that we have short umbilical cords.  We all live within either walking distance or a very short drive of our childhood home.  It was a good home. Not a perfect home but a good one. It was a safe place, as homes should be. It was full of laughter and tears and warmth and hugs.  And most importantly, love.

My mom used to tell me that I would be her child that was going to move far away.  That wasn't the case.  I settled down just two blocks North.  My children have gone and are going to the same grade school, Jr. High and High school that I attended.  Our youngest graduates from 6th grade this week.

We have lived in this house for just under 18 years.  Our two youngest were born here. And much of the raising of all four of our children has occurred in this little brown brick building.  It has been a good home.  Not a perfect home but a good one.  I hope my children remember it as a safe place full of laughter and tears and hugs and warmth. And most importantly, love.



I have lived in the Timpanogos 3rd ward for, I would say, 40 of my 43 (almost 44) years.  My grandmother was my primary chorister, my sister-in-law was one of my relief society presidents, two of my brothers served in different bishopbrics, one of my brothers was my bishop. And I have loved every minute of it.  I have seen people come and go. And now I am one of those going.

I love the people of this ward and they have loved me into the person I am today.  I am going to miss seeing their smiling faces, their warm handshakes and their gentle hugs on Sundays.

But now we are moving.

I will be honest with you.  I am nervous. Nervous about going to a new ward in a new neighborhood. And it's not even that far away.  (I am actually moving closer to my sister, YAY! although we will not be in the same ward.)  Will people like me?  Will they "get" me and my sense of humor?  More importantly, will they be there for my family, for my kids, like this ward that we have lived in for years?

How is this all going to go down? 

I don't know.  I just know that when my mom passed away last July there was a "loosening", for lack of a better word.  And I feel that this move is right, it is good.  We will take this new, larger, brick and siding building and make it our home.  And it will be a good home. It will be a safe place.  Not just for our family but for everyone. We will fill it with laughter and tears and warmth and hugs. And most importantly, love.

We are moving.








Friday, April 10, 2015

A Wobbly Safety Bar

Life is like a roller coaster.
You have ups, you have downs.
Sometimes it's super fun! Weeeeeee!!
Other times it can be extremely stressful or scary.
Lately I've been on the latter track, the stressful and scary one.  It's felt kind of like the safety bar is faulty and I feel like I'm slipping out of the seat and I'm going to go flying off of the ride.

When your mom dies from a disease (Pulmonary Fibrosis) that you know she has but the doctors failed to tell you is fatal in 3-5 years and then her brother dies from the same thing three months later you get a little paranoid. Especially when it can be hereditary.  My sister had a dry cough for a long time and that is one of the symptoms of PF, so she was rightly concerned that she may have it so she was tested.  Thankfully the test came back negative.  She did, however find out some other information about her health which, while good for her to know, still wasn't the best of news.

Then I started getting sick.  Basically it felt like a cold but it hung around too long so I went into the doctor who started me on antibiotics. The first two rounds didn't do anything so I thought maybe it was viral and I tried treating things with OTC meds which helped a little but I just wasn't getting better. I had a cough and my lungs felt really tight so I went back in to see my doctor.  He  put me on some steroids and the heaviest hitting antibiotic he had.  I felt better for about three days and then we were back to round one where I was feeling tired and out of breath and just plain yucky.  When my doctor learned that I still wasn't feeling well he was concerned because he said that the antibiotic that he put me on "kills everything".  And a little voice in the back of my head said "What if it's Pulmonary Fibrosis?"

My doctor and I have had this conversation before and I have had x-rays on my chest that had said that I didn't have it.  But I was still nervous and really, the best way to screen for PF is an MRI.  After we chatted my doctor agreed that I should have an MRI done to see if that might be what was going on.  I didn't say anything about it on Facebook or social media because, in all honesty, I was really, really scared.  I was coming home from work exhausted and passing out on the couch, I was out of breath just singing a song.

It felt like that safety bar was very, very wobbly.

Ty and I went to the temple the day before I had the MRI. I  needed to find peace and maybe some answers to what the future might hold.  As we went into the celestial room of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple I looked into the mirrors that are there, and I received my answers.

You are eternal.  No matter what happens you will go on. And I felt peace.

I went in for the MRI on Thursday afternoon at 4:40 and Friday at about 7:15 I got the call from the doctor with the results.  Thankfully there is no Pulmonary Fibrosis.  However it did show that I have fluid around my heart.  In medical terms it's called Pericardial Effusion.  I was informed that the amount of fluid around my heart was minimal and not to be too concerned about it. I was told to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluid and to exercise.

The safety bar feels a little less wobbly now.  Still not locked in place but definitely less wobbly.

I am still tired. It's still hard to catch my breath some days.   I get as much rest as I can but with having to work (thankfully it's not a physically difficult job), trying to get our house ready to sell, having four kids three who have varying degrees of crises whirling around them (who would have thought that my son with autism would be the one that I have the least amount of worry for?), selling my mom's house and getting ready to chaperon a bunch of high school choir kids in California... rest really isn't easy to come by.  Nor is exercise.  Fluids I can do.

Anyway, I just want to say that in spite of everything.
I am so very grateful to be on this ride.
I am thankful for the highs and the lows.
I am surrounded by amazing people who are on this ride that we call life with me.
I am blessed beyond measure with the best seat partner anyone could ask for.
And even though that darn safety bar still feels wiggly....

Everything will be okay.