Thursday, 28 June 2012

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

President Obama’s Calls to Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach


HE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2012
Readout of President Obama’s Calls to Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach
Today, President Obama called Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper as well as Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach to receive an update on damaging fires that are impacting a number of communities across the state, including the devastating Waldo Canyon fire that is affecting families, homes and businesses in Colorado Springs, CO. The President expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area, and informed both the Governor and the Mayor that he plans to travel to the area Friday to view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire.
The President reiterated his administration’s focus, through the US Forest Service as well as the Department of Interior and FEMA, on continuing to bring all resources to bear to assist local responders in Colorado and a number of Western States currently being impacted by fires. Seventeen air tankers have cycled in and out of firefighting action over the last 48 hours across the western states. More than 8,400 personnel, 578 fire engines and 79 helicopters are operating on wildfires around the U.S., with more than half of active federal wildfire-fighting resources are currently staged in Colorado.
Federal support is also being provided to local officials battling fires in Alaska, Arizona, California, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
The President made clear that he has directed his team to remain focused on the fires. He asked the Governor and the Mayor to identify any additional resources that could be provided and informed both that his thoughts and prayers are with responders and families impacted by these and other fires burning across the western United States.

Lunch from the garden

WONDERTWIN POWERS: ACTIVATE!



this guy was my favorite super hero.  i don't remember why, i just loved him and identified most with him.  but i wanted a twin to have special powers with.  now i feel lucky to have tons of super hero friends.  join us on a crusade to help all the little underdogs out there.

what this video to find out how...



Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Bountiful

This is today's bounty from the back yard! Sorry you can only see it and not smell and taste.

Changing the Mormon conversation on homosexuality


Changing the Mormon conversation on homosexuality

By Donald Fletcher| Religion News Service, Updated: Monday, June 25, 3:28 PM

I am going to use heartfelt, strong language as I stress the importance of a new, groundbreaking publication that has — in my opinion — the ability to save lives. Its subject matter is far too important to be ignored or taken lightly, especially when we regularly read about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and adults that leave the Mormon Church, never mind the senseless loss of many to suicide.
“Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-Day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Children,” co-authored by Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the family Acceptance Project (http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/) and Bob Rees, Ph.D, former Mormon Bishop, may well be the tool that gives LDS families what they need to accept their LGBT children.
I am a physician and have provided clinical care to patients for 30 years. I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and love my religion. I was recently released from my calling as a counselor in our stake presidency so that I could serve as a bishop — my third opportunity to do so.. How members of this church treat LGBT people is in many cases not in keeping with what I feel is the doctrine of Jesus Christ. This must change.
My wonderful ward is very diverse and may have the distinction of having more gay Latter-day Saint members than any other on the planet. Though I am straight, I have family members who are gay and who have patiently helped open the eyes of my understanding. It seems clear to me that while they have been here in mortality their only “choice” related to their sexual orientation is to be honest about who they are — sons and daughters of God who are gay.
My executive secretary is a wonderful member who is very open about being gay. His recounting of the bullying he had to endure as a youngster has moved me more than anything in my memory. Check out for yourself this powerful link: http://www.mitchmayne.blogspot.com/2012/05/lgbt-anti-bullying-rally-video.html.
Working as a bishop in the Bay Ward, I have heard first-hand the stories of members who are gay and felt their pain as I work to bring them back into activity in the Church. The emotional pain and isolation of LGBT members rejected by parents, friends and loved ones after coming out is more severe than any other I have yet experienced in my ministering and it motivates me to continue in the work I am doing.
As a physician, I have learned the importance of evidence-based practice, and the critical role of science in informing our understanding about human development, interaction and care. There is an urgent need to provide evidence-based guidance for LDS families with LGBT children and also more generally for our congregations as well. These new educational materials from the Family Acceptance Project are aimed to help LDS families and our church family support LGBT youth and adults, to reduce serious risk for suicide and HIV, to foster wellness and keep our families together. I feel strongly compelled to recommend these new materials to you — much good will come if you take the time to carefully study these well researched documents and consider their application in your life.
We often use the term “closeted”, relative to issues of same gender attraction. Because of the very real fear of bullying and prejudices this concealing of identities and inclinations continues today — especially among those who belong to our church. Good, solid epidemiology makes the math quite simple. Multiply your church membership numbers by four per cent and you will have the number of gay members in your ward.
It is apparent to me that within the “culture” of our religion, widespread bullying is still occurring — and this extends across all age ranges. This is often done without malicious intent, but none the less, it inflicts serious and unnecessary emotional wounds.
One of my family members who still has a strong, abiding testimony, has not attended church in several years. He states, “If they knew who I was, they would not want me there”. Unfortunately, that is a reality. This ought not to be. Is this what Jesus would do if he were a member of your ward?
As Elder Jeffrey Holland has said, “Some members exclude from their circle of fellowship those who are different. When our actions or words discourage someone from taking full advantage of Church membership, we fail them-and the Lord.”
With humble hearts we all need to look inward to see if there are prejudices the Savior would have us cast off. Unconsciously, we may be guilty of bullying, ourselves.
Donald C. Fletcher, MD
Bishop
Bay Ward, San Francisco Stake
Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Universal Uclick.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Mormon Guide for Parents of LGBTQ Kids


FAMILY ACCEPTANCE PROJECT RELEASES FAMILY EDUCATION MATERIALS TO HELP MORMON FAMILIES SUPPORT THEIR LGBT CHILDREN
1st “BEST PRACTICE” RESOURCES FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION FOR LGBT MORMONS

SAN FRANCISCO – June 14, 2012 – For more than a decade, the Family Acceptance Project (FAP) at SF State University has been studying the impact of family acceptance and rejection on the health, mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people and developing research-based tools, resources and interventions to help diverse families support their LGBT children. This includes developing culturally and linguistically appropriate resources to prevent serious negative outcomes like suicide, HIV and homelessness and to promote well-being, and helping families balance deeply held values and beliefs with love for their LGBT children. The first of these faith-based family education resources -- Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Latter-day Saint Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Children – was published today by the Family Acceptance Project.

One of the most challenging issues for many families is learning how to support their LGBT children in the context of religious and cultural values. The Family Acceptance Project has been working with families from a wide range of cultural and religious backgrounds to develop a series of family education materials based on FAP’s groundbreaking research which shows that family accepting and rejecting behaviors are linked with both serious health and mental health problems and well-being in young adulthood.

Written by FAP Director Dr. Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker with nearly 40 years of research and practice experience on LGBT health and mental health, and Dr. Bob Rees, a former Mormon Bishop who teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union, this is the first research-based educational resource to help Mormon families support their LGBT children. As with other family education booklets from the Family Acceptance ProjectSupportive Families, Healthy Children has been designated as the 1st “Best Practice” resource for suicide prevention for LGBT people by the national Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention and is the only such resource for Latter-day Saint (Mormon) families. The Best Practices Registry, coordinated by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), maintains an expert-reviewed compendium of approved “best practices” to prevent suicide that address specific aims of the national suicide prevention plan and have met objective review criteria.

Said, Dr. Caitlin Ryan, Director of the Family Acceptance Project:  “Many parents and families think they have to choose between a gay child and their deeply held beliefs – a choice no parent should ever have to make. We wrote this booklet to show Mormon families what our compelling research has found -- how families react to their LGBT children really matters. This booklet provides critical, specific information on how to support LGBT children and youth, how to build their self-esteem and well-being, reduce their risk for suicide, substance abuse, HIV and homelessness and keep their faith. Our hope is that every Mormon parent, bishop, and religious leader reads it and uses it.”

Dr. Robert Rees, co-author and educator and former Mormon bishop, noted: “Supportive Families, Healthy Children will save lives, keep families together and give Church leaders a resource for helping families support their LGBT sons, daughters and other family members. This booklet and the research that supports it mark the dawning of a brighter day for Latter-day Saint families and congregations.”

The newly-released version of Supportive Families, Healthy Children for Latter-day Saint families is available for download on the FAP website at: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications  Printed copies are available for distribution from the Family Acceptance Project in orders of any size. FAP provides guidance and training on using these materials and FAP’s research-based supportive family intervention model and other resources and tools. Contact https://owa.hhs.gov/owa/redir.aspx?C=1d1a1518f54f44b586179a66b86f21cc&URL=mailto%3afap%40sfsu.edu to obtain printed versions and for information on consultation and training.

Information on Supportive Families, Healthy Children’s “Best Practice” designation for suicide prevention is available on the Best Practices Registry’s webpage hosted by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org .

About the Family Acceptance Project

The Family Acceptance Project is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative that is designed to: 1) improve the health, mental health, and well-being of LGBT children and adolescents; 2) strengthen and help ethnically and religiously diverse families to support their LGBT children; 3) help LGBT youth stay in their homes to prevent homelessness and the need for custodial care in the foster care and juvenile justice systems; 4) inform public policy and family policy; and 5) develop a new evidence-based, family model of wellness, prevention, and care to promote well-being and decrease risk for LGBT youth. For more information, please visit:   http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day @ White House

To commemorate the 7th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the White House Office of Public Engagement, in collaboration with federal partners from the Administration for Community Living/Department of Health and Human Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice, is hosting a day-long symposium on June 14, 2012. The event will highlight the problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. To watch live, beginning at 9:00 a.m. EDT, go to http://wh.gov/live

The new hashtag to ask the panelists questions on Twitter is #ProtectSeniors.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

nun who may convert me

i was raised catholic.  i went to mount carmel elementary school in tempe, az for my 1st grade.  i hated it.  we had to wear skirts (barf!), had mass every morning (with incense), nuns in habits, the whole thing.  my teacher wasn't a nun, which was my saving grace.

one day, in our math section, we were learning to add 3 numbers together.  1+1+1=3; 2+2+2=6 and so forth.  it made sense to me.  no problems.

then two nuns came in to prep us for our first communion.  they had there habits on, which just terrified me.  they started explaining that God the Father, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit we all one.  it was a bit abstract for a 6 year old, and it didn't add up.  i'd just learned that 1+1+1=3.

being teabelly, i couldn't let it go.  i eventually was sent to our head master's office.  it felt like i was in trouble, but i was just confused.  he was nice, but eventually landed on "its a mystery of the kingdom" which felt like a really lame excuse for not being able to explain something as essential as the nature of God. 

i went home and was visibly upset.  i felt like i'd been punished for being confused about God.  i told my dad the story and said "it just doesn't make sense, dad!" to which he responded ... "that is because it doesn't" and SPLAT! there went my belief in God. 

for the next 10 years i talked to everyone i knew about God.  what did they think.  the catholics must be wrong.  i learned from buddists, evangelicals -- watch some terrifying films about the end of the world, muslims, etc.  after reading issac asimnov's guide to the bible, i decided God was a figment of my imagination ... but i couldn't stop talking about it/him/her/them.

i guess i'm still in the same place i was when i was 6.  i don't know totally God's nature (except i do know that God = Love).  i still can't seem to stop trying to figure it out and i spend too much time thinking and talking about it/him/her/them.

so when i saw sister simone on colbert it felt something ... probably sisterhood.  none of the churches are right, in fact they are all wrong together.  but when we work to promote love and happiness, we can stand sure in the belief that we are on the side of good.

sister simone -- you may have a convert!!!



The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Radical Feminist Nuns - Simone Campbell
www.colbertnation.com
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Sunday, 10 June 2012

mormon pride! aka: I LOVE A PARADE!!


yesterday i marched with mormons for equality in the capital pride parade.  it was an amazing experience for me.  i almost didn't go because i wasn't sure i wanted to be identified as mormon again, yet in the middle of the parade i was jumping up and down with a bunch of people in rainbow boas cheering for mormons.  it was beautiful!


i cried as i cycled over.  i was on the edge, and it felt much the same way it felt driving to my baptism, i kinda didn't want to do it, but i felt like it was the right thing to do.  the result was the same as it was my baptismal day, i felt legitimately and physically lighter.  i felt love and understanding.  i felt like i had become part of a cause that was on a mission to spread love.  i felt like i could help just by being my most loving and optimistic self.

so i decked out my bike in obama wear, snacks, water and sunblock and headed out.  we were all going to wear sunday dress, but i just didn't want to.

  1. i wanted to wear my new prideful shorts
  2. it was saturday 
  3. i don't go to church and i'm not sure i want to look like i do
  4. aren't i misrepresenting myself if i look like i go but don't?
it was probably just being defiant.  i'm just so glad i went.



the greatest american hero ... is the name of my bike.  then its just me and cheryl looking like a cute couple ... ;)

this song was going through my head all day:
The day dawn is breaking, the world is awaking,
The clouds of night’s darkness are fleeing away.
The worldwide commotion, from ocean to ocean,
Now heralds the time of the beautiful day.
Beautiful day of peace and rest,
Bright be thy dawn from east to west.
Hail to thine earliest welcome ray,
Beautiful, bright, millennial day.









one night in bangkok and the world's your oyster



i get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine!



can't be too careful with your company
i can see an angel flying up to me


he called himself the angel gabriel.  then he decided the archangel michael.  
i told him as mormons, we believe he is the same guy.
he led the armies of helaman
and paved the way
for mormons 4 equality

armies of helaman?




me and the armies of helaman?
they were wearing carpets and they didn't look particularly blood thirsty ...??

we were a happy throng!



just before blast off


i was asked why i marched on the facebook site for the event.  i responded quickly just from my gut with:
  •  i want to set the record straight
    6 hours ago · 

  • i'm also a libra and i believe in fairness and equality.
    6 hours ago · 

  • and also because i believe that my rights end where yours begin. your rights end where mine begin. i just can't see how the government or someone else's dogma can have any impact on how or who i love.


Cheryl came with HEAPS of pride!
and reminded us what it was all about

there were so many amazing moments.   i really didn't know what to expect.  i hadn't really thought through what it might be like.  it was like when i did my first century ride, no prep or forethought, just do it.  when we first got on the parade route i was standing next to john the organizer in the front with my bike.   people started cheering!  i heard people shout "THANK-YOU!"  "We love you Mormons"
i saw others turn to their friends in amazement and say, "look, the mormons are hear?"  and then this shock and surprise settle in to see that they weren't dreaming ... it happened over and over and over again.  when people realized it was real, they would jump up and shout MORMONS!! it was nuts.


this happened alot.
people hugging and thanking us







this southern baptist minister was thrilled to see us.
he brought the sacrament and grape juice (specially for us)
it was a sweet gesture!

i felt like a cheer leader.  i was hooting and hollerin' like a cowgirl.  we chanted "Love is Love!"  "Come from the Heart or Don't Come at ALL"

i have to confess. (because of these little ones) i said a swear. i said a few swears actually.  

each time someone would ask where mitt romney was, which happened about a million (exaggerated estimate) times.  each time they'd ask i said something to the effect of "FUscrew MITT ROMNEY".  people seemed to resonate with that idea ;)  

wha? HUH?!
i was pretty spaced out the whole time.  it felt so surreal!






this was the most amazing moment!

when we were on 17th near P st (if i'm remembering right) a beautiful man in a blue shirt (above) lept through 2-3 rows of people jumping up and down with tears in his eyes shouting "I'M A MORMON!!!!" he hugged this one guy for a really long time saying how grateful he was to see us. we all stopped and cheered and told him we loved him and that we were his brothers and sisters. it felt like a deep deep wound healed a bit more, just by us showing up. it was humbling to see that pain. ridiculous, useless, misguided culture, religiously inflicted pain. the shunning and the condemning of identity is deeply painful. if you haven't experienced it, its hard to describe. its like salt. it does something that nothing else does. it is a pain like unto no other. i think it is because it is such a large number of people unified against you as you. they are shunning the core of your identity.



one of the other marchers in this picture described the scene like this:


The most moving moment: when one guy in a dark blue shirt ran up to us, gave me and a few others HUGE hugs and with tears in his eyes said, "Oh my gosh, the Mormons are here!... I'm Mormon! I can't believe you're here. THANK YOU, SO MUCH" He just kept repeating, "I can't believe it... thank you!" as he cried softly on my shoulder. 
It felt like he'd probably been estranged from his heritage for a while, and had doubtless experienced much rejection in the past. Who knows when the last time was that he had proclaimed, "I'm Mormon!" But because we were there, it was a sudden and unexpected homecoming. I held him for several seconds that felt like a blissful eternity and just said, "Yes, we're here and we love you." 
What a beautiful privilege that was. It made me recall Joseph Smith's words of reconciliation to W.W. Phelps, "Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, for friends at first, are friends again at last."








i got a few kisses, which were surprising!  corbin saved me from being mauled.  thanks corb!!!
i also gave so many high fives and told so many people i loved them, i'm still buzzing.  it was just amazing.

marriage really is the unifying of souls.  you are to become one in purpose and in love.  you are a team, fighting against the world for your cause ... which ideally is just love anyway so no big deal, right? which means who you love is an indication of who you are.  it is core to one's being.  being shunned because your identity is soul crushing (at least) for many.

MARVIN!!!!


it was an amazing day!  thanks everyone!  the crowd and the people who i marched with.  it was a day i will never forget!  thanQ for sharing it with me :)









Sunday, 3 June 2012

Happy Fast Sunday!

From the garden.

Seeds are an amazing thing!

From random pieces of waste to this ...

All on it's own. Amazing!!