Archive | June 2015

Is Love Gay? 

Today, a historic event happened in our country. In case you somehow missed it, Gay Marriage was made legal throughout all fifty states in the U.S by the Supreme Court. There have been numerous Facebook and Twitter posts both supporting and opposing the decision, mostly supporting from what I’ve seen. But I’ve been silent on both my personal and my author page. 

I’ll start this off by saying that I went to a Christian College. I believe in Jesus and God and have some very traditional beliefs about family. I have my own personal, albeit rocky at times, relationship with the Big Guy. My husband and I have  taught our children about being thankful for our blessings and that prayer is important, and truly believe it.

I was raised going to church every Sunday and that abstinence was better than protection. I was taught that God was wrathful and vengeful and that there was no compromise, and I believed that. All of it. As a youth I was a judgey little thing, and as I look back at her now I just want to slap her. 

Flash forward many years and I haven’t stepped foot into a church for many years other than for weddings or funerals, and don’t know when I  will again.  This is for reasons that are very personal that I may expound on at a different time because this just isn’t the post to explain it. But I mention this because I saw a post about a pastor who threatened to set himself on fire if Gay Marriage was passed, and to say that I was disgusted was an understatement.

  
I haven’t posted about the decision because my gay friends know that I’m happy for them and that is all that matters. Posting a rainbow on my profile pic won’t change anyone’s opinion, though I wish it would. And since everyone is entitled to have their opinion, they will and do, but setting yourself on fire is ridiculous and doesn’t praise God in any way. I’ve had arguments with people I love,  who are close to me, who don’t have the same views as I do and we’ve never walked away from those conversations changed or different. Nobody cares what I think and since I’m straight and already married, it doesn’t improve my quality of life in any way. 

But it does give me happiness because it affects  many people I know and have loved throughout the years and I am incredibly happy for them. I’m over-the-moon happy that they can legally spend their life with someone they love. I’m glad they will finally have the rights that we, straight people, have assumed and taken for granted all of our lives.

  
While there are many who won’t agree with me, I’m perfectly okay with that. I’ve come to this conclusion by my own journey in this life. As an abandoned child, and there are many, I can’t help but believe that the love of a same-sex couple is better than being parked in an orphanage. Having two moms or two dads has to provide more stability than being  shuffled between foster homes. And with a divorce rate of fifty percent in this country, I can’t help but believe that gay marriages won’t  be any less stable or  consistent than any other marriage. 

When I had children of my own, loving them was not an option. I fell deeply and irrevocably in love with their beautiful faces and tender spirits. Gay, straight, whatever… there was no way that I wouldn’t ever want the best for them or their absolute and complete happiness. Many of my gay friends were afraid to tell their parents, and some of them I knew were gay, before they ever came out. As a mother, I can’t help but think that I would never want my children to live in the shadows, hiding from me, hiding from themselves, like that. I don’t want to know what they’ll do in the bedroom with anyone… ever. Because they’ll always be my babies and the thought of them having sex with anyone makes me want to cry. I decided a long time ago that if they ever have a day when they have to come out to me, that it’ll never change my love for them. I want them to know that I’ll always love them no matter what. 

I don’t think the world should be surprised or even care who people love. After all, wouldn’t Jesus love them too? Doesn’t He love everyone? Why do we get to judge who people love? I think there is enough ugliness and loneliness in the world to keep adding to it. I feel as though the only love I should be concerned with is the love I carry in my own heart for the people I love. Life and marriage are hard enough as it is.  Don’t we have enough to worry about than to obsess about who is loving up on who? If a gay couple wants to embark on that crazy journey with the one they love… then who am I, or anyone else, to stop them from doing so?

 
It’s a basic physiological fact that creatures like us need  love to thrive. There are enough lonely people in the world who have yet to find “their person.” Being gay or straight shouldn’t be the deciding factor for that basic human right. So is love gay? Absolutely! It’s puppies, rainbows,  unicorns, and all the rest of that fluffy stuff! Not because I say it is or it isn’t. 

But now, because the Supreme Court says it is.

  

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Ten Vacation Lessons

We recently experienced our first big away vacation. While we’ve had a lot of stay-cations and a few smaller road trips, for many different reasons we’d not yet experienced the true “road trip” as a family. When I was younger I did a lot of road-tripping on my own and with friends  but as a mom with younger kids, we’ve stayed homebound for many years for many reasons.

  It’s been entirely too long since I’ve laid on a beach or sat in the sun pretending not to have a care in the world. But going far away from home on vacation reminded me of a few things, so I thought I would share them.

  1. I have new respect for the hot-spot. The mobile hot-spot to be more specific. I don’t know who decided that giving phones the ability to share the Internet with multiple devices would be a good idea, but I’d like to give that person a big, fat, sloppy kiss and hug. Having three children who are kept occupied with Internet access is priceless. It sure beats playing “I Spy”, the license plate game, and breaking up endless fights about “who is touching who.” While we still did some of all of that, they were able to occupy themselves for the most part while still interacting and watching the scenery around them when it got interesting.
  2. Travelling with four males is both funny and smelly. I’ll spare you all of the gross details, but if you’ve ever lived with one male, multiply it times four and you’ll understand what I mean. There was a lot of inappropriate joking, bathroom jokes, and multiple inquiries of “Who farted?” 
  3. This brings me to the third thing. After being trapped in a car for twenty hours and sharing a bathroom with all of these males, I’m reminded that I’m thankful that I can’t smell. Anything. Ever. Enough said.
  4. Humidity and bathing suits are not my friend. While my Asian skin loves the sun and soaks it up turning it golden brown, I also sweat profusely from  the top of my head like a man. This has always been embarrassing, incredibly un-ladylike and very unattractive. Gross! I hear Botox cures this which is would be the only reason to consider Botox. After all, I’ve earned my wrinkles but I don’t like literally melting when it’s the least bit humid. And while I’ve somewhat accepted that the days when throwing on a bathing suit didn’t give me complete and utter anxiety, are long gone, I also realize it’s up to me to take some personal responsibility. I can’t just throw in the towel and blame it on age and gravity.  I need to eat better, and work out. Period. No excuses.
  5. The world is really big and it’s my responsibility to teach my kids about its vastness and their place in it. While I don’t ever want to imagine a time that they aren’t near me, I don’t want them to live their lives feeling limited. I want them to feel the amazing, incredible, and endless possibilities of what their young lives can’t yet imagine. I want them to truly feel that the world is their oyster and that they can go anywhere in it and be anything they want to. By exposing them to a bigger world and showing them bigger things, hopefully they’ll understand that. I want them to imagine big things for themselves.  
  6. Going below an 1/8th of a tank of gas when you’re in the mountains and have no idea where you are going, in the middle of a thunderstorm, is going to guarantee a marital spat no matter who you are. Period. Always fill your tank when you have the tank because sometimes taking that risk causes unnecessary stress.
  7. Fun is what you make it! After you’ve nearly run out of gas in the mountains in the middle of a thunderstorm and gotten into a spat with your spouse, making fun of yourself for freaking out during the rest of your vacation is pretty funny. The sooner you can start laughing about it, the better. Truly this is something to remember in life. Attitude is completely a choice in most situations and while being lost in unfamiliar territory sometimes isn’t a choice, how you deal with it most definitely is.  
  8. My children are not perfect. It’s not that I didn’t already know this but when you love them so much, it’s easy to overlook their faults. Seeing them in different situations reminded me that it’s up to me to continue challenging them, encouraging them, and looking for opportunities to help them build their character.
  9. My children are so different from one another, yet so amazing and I can’t wait to see what they will become. Watching them experience new adventures and enjoy life with one hundred percent effort and joy is such a wonderful thing to watch. 
  10. Taking a vacation is good and necessary. It clears out the cobwebs and rests your body. I was reminded of how much I love to swim, even though I haven’t really done it in a very long time (see number four). I’ve been a swimmer since I was a kid, even life guarding for a summer in college, and I love it. Vacation reminded me that I don’t ever want to take a vacation that doesn’t involve swimming again. Lying in a pool in the middle of the mountains does something for the soul that no stay-cation gas ever done. Going away on vacation, unplugging from life for hours at a time, gave me such peace of mind and erased some of the stress from an otherwise tense and frustrated body.   

While I realize that going away isn’t always possible, the act of unplugging, de-stressing, and indulging in your family is priceless. We spent many moments escaping the heavy responsiblities of regular life, laughing at the most random things, and actively “freezing the moment” so we could remember our time together. It’s important to focus on the good moments and not dwell on the bad or the mundane. Thinking about the laughter and the good times in life get us through the more difficult times, until you can get to the good ones again. And time spent together can ultimately bring you closer when you let it.

While none of these are earth-shatteringly new revelations, they have been refreshing reminders. And I will hold onto them until the next time we go away, because there will definitely  be a next time. 

For the health of my mind and body, that is also my choice. 

The Beauty of the Young Reader

There is something very special about children who read. 

Both of my boys are very good readers… now. But it didn’t come naturally which surprised me  because as a child I was inexplicably drawn to books. I devoured  so many that I can’t even come close to remembering them all. Some of my fondest memories are of walking to the local library and taking out as many books as they would let me. I remember going through the aisles for what seemed like minutes when it was probably more like hours, trying to figure out which book I would read next. 

I would pull my favorites off of the shelves: Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, the Sweet Valley High Series, Nancy Drew, VC Andrews, Mythology, Anne Rice… re-reading the books I’d already read, the ones I really loved. I spent hours and hours reading, imagining and becoming  the characters, all the while living and breathing with them. Reading was a way of life. I loved books so much that my punishment was that my parents would send me outside and ban me from books for the afternoon!

I hate to admit there came a decade in my life when I forgot my love for reading. I read but not with the passion and voraciousness of my early years. I was working… a lot… romancing, socializing, building a career, and having babies. But then my husband got me a Kindle for my birthday and I read three books in one week.  It felt as though I had found a long lost friend, my love for reading remembered and reignited.

When my children were given reading assignments and I had to practically hog-tie them down just to read a paragraph, I was surprised. I think I expected them to fall instantly in love with words, like I did. But getting them to read a page was torture and I felt like an utter failure. Even though I read to them when they were little, they fought reading tooth and nail. 

But little by little, word by word, it happened. 

We took turns reading to one another, we read every night before bed, we talked about the books they were reading in school, we talked about where they were with their reading levels, and we recognized when they hit their reading goals. Their teachers gave then goals and then rewarded them when they made their goals and I realized that my boys were finally readers! 

They learned to love reading and we were able to cultivate it with time and consistency. My youngest was the student who read the second highest amount of words this past year and my oldest made 200% of his reading goal. I’m so proud of them, but I know that this love has  to continue to be reinforced and fed. I’m planning trips to the library and trying to figure out how to continue to make reading fun.

Through my writing I’ve met some other young readers who share my passion for books and for reading. I love how it bonds us, making us instant friends because we share such a strong love. I love how it opens so many doors and makes me a part of such a strong community. It’s as though we have an unspoken understanding that reading opens our minds to a world where everything is infinitely possible. 

Children who read,  become adults who understand that the world is large and endless, beyond anything we can imagine. I love that children can imagine that. They are our future writers, inventors, teachers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs. Children who read understand that the world is limitless and so are they and I can’t wait until the moment that my children truly understand this. 

I’m incredibly thankful that they are well on their way.