Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Big Boy



My baby is 4 today. My sweet, most cuddly child. I thought he would be jealous of a new baby but he is very excited to be a big brother and is emphatic that he is not a baby anymore. Simeon is very much a boy boy. He loves trains, trucks, super heroes and all. Before you say "Aren't all boys like that?" I will say my first is not really into the boy boy things. These things help define him as a person separate from his siblings. I am ok with him not wanting to write his name or such because he knows how to play better than our overly academic child. We have watched him grow from refusing to say I am sorry to feeling truly bad when he hurts someones feelings (well maybe not pain inflicted on his siblings). He can put on his own cloths, buckle his seat belt, on top of riding a bike with out training wheels. What does he need me for?? :)
Before I get too sad, I just look at his still dimply hands and know that he is still my little boy. No college for him just yet.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frosty the Snowman

This video had about 30 takes since he could not accept mistakes. You'll notice him hurrying at the end because someone rang the doorbell but he wanted to finish. We are very proud of his natural ability on the piano. I just noticed the paper covering his hands- oops. Go Josh! video

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight at Midnight!

Don't worry no spoilers here! I went and stood in line for 1 hr and sat in the theater chair for 2 just to watch Twilight last night. Some might call me obsessive. I don't really feel that way. Sure I can tell you every last detail about the books including the online part book Midnight Sun. I can talk your ear off about all of them, including their flaws.
It all started a few years ago when no one had heard of the book. My girlfriend had book club and chose a different book and said if you want to read this other book(Twilight) that my husbands cousin wrote you can. (Correct me if I am wrong Kirsten but I am pretty sure you had not even read the book?)
I was around the 4th person to get it passed to and I had no idea what I was getting into. I was around 100 pgs into it when my family went to bed and finished it that night, totally entranced in the book.
I really didn't know if anyone else liked the book. I wondered if I happened to get caught up in it but that everyone else thought it was lame. I went to park day the next morning exhausted but on a high. I quietly asked the couple people who had read it if they liked it to see the same crazed look in their eyes that I had. I was not the only one!
For the next year I still hesitated telling other adults(cuz I am one right?) to read the book. What if they thought I was immatuture (be quiet you people snickering) More and more people loved it but it still took another year for the craze to start. And boy did it start.
So here I am wondering why I am going to a midnight showing. Well, I was with 19 friends, for fun, and well geez, I read the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the middle of the night so why not watch the movie then too.

Saving seats
Most of us- I kept the red eyes for effect

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Boycotts

Believe me, I am sick of my posting about Prop 8 but what I am to do when I feel like there is nothing I can do? Sharing some of the things happening here so that more people can know and praying are about the only things I feel like I can do.

There are protests all over the US. What are they trying to prove? That we should not live in a country where majority rules? Interesting. Our "Republican" Governor has said that Prop 8 is wrong and should be overturned. Doesn't he know he is not speaking to the majority? Who is he trying to win over??

It sickens me how much people who donated over a certain amount (we donated, just not that much) are being dragged through the dirt. Here is an article by the LA Times which is actually joining the lawsuit against Prop 8 (LA had a majority for Prop 8). If they are reporting that this much hate is being issued against us, it must be bad.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-boycott14-2008nov14,0,7176761.story

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Prominant Gay Activist "Healed"

I am hesitant to post more on the issue but these articles are fabulous and I know the battle is not over.

http://www.massresistance.org/docs/events07/Michael_Glatze/index.html

Here is a letter written by a lesbian Mormon who overcame and was married in the temple.
PROPOSITION 8: A CLEAR MESSAGE FROM SOMEONE WHO'S BEEN THERE
I am going to attempt the impossible: I want to try to discuss Proposition 8 in an honest, equitable manner.
To demonstrate the divisiveness of the issue, let me first point out that I could only call it "Proposition 8." If I'd called it by its original name, "Proposition 8: California Marriage Protection Act," you would think that I want you to vote "Yes on 8." After all, who wouldn't want to protect marriage? If I'd called it by its new name, as determined by California's attorney general and legislative analyst in July, "Proposition 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry," you would think that I want you to vote "No on 8." After all, who would want to eliminate someone's rights?
And, to demonstrate how far-reaching its effects, I didn't even need to call it "California's Proposition 8." No matter where this email goes, to any of the 50 states that may have propositions up for vote, I'm confident people will know which state's "Proposition 8" I'm talking about.
Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times describes the Proposition with poetic imagery: "it is raging like a wind-whipped wildfire in California." More poetic still...from an article in Monday's San Francisco Chronicle:
"Michelle Sundstrom and her husband gave $30,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign and put a sign on their home. But in response, two women parked an SUV in front of their home, with the words 'Bigots live here' painted on the windshield. Sundstrom believes such responses must come from deep places of pain—and that gays and lesbians are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, just not the word marriage. Any animosity toward gays or lesbians is wrong, she said.
"There must be such deep, deep, deep hurt; otherwise there couldn't be so much opposition," she said. "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."
Wow. Perhaps all this craziness and hate-slinging is actually getting us somewhere. A heterosexual Mormon couple has a "Bigots live here" sign parked in front of their house, and what's their response? "They've lived with this. I guess we're getting a taste of where they live."
And she didn't just say "deep hurt." She said "deep, deep, deep hurt." I know the depth of that pain. I grew up Mormon and gay back in the 1970s. That was when we were shunned, ridiculed, bruised, battered, and discriminated against by nearly everyone, religious or otherwise. We hid in the closets because it hurt too much to come out. People who did come out were called perverts, child molesters, predators, queer, sick, you name it. For those of us who were Mormon, it was even worse. We were attracted to the same sex, yet Mormon doctrine stated we were supposed to get married only to a member of the opposite sex. It is a direct conflict between the two strongest, most significant desires in life.
When I was in college, I met a woman with whom I thought I'd spend the rest of my life. But after a couple of years, we broke up. That was when I had this feeling, an impression, to talk to my bishop. I had no idea who he was because I hadn't gone to church in years.
That bishop used the power of the priesthood in my behalf, just as the divine plan had been laid out. He met with me for almost three years as I struggled and faltered. Suicide was a very real threat. I feel blessed, or lucky, or both, not to be among the many who have already pulled the trigger. I wasn't suicidal because of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage, however. I hadn't been forced to believe, or guilted into it. I had not been brainwashed. My testimony came from the heart.
In time, my spiritual identity began to gain strength over my sexual identity. I was finally able to choose the right. But it was a troubling choice. I had no desire, whatsoever, to spend a lifetime with a man - much less an eternity. So that left me with celibacy. To this day, sacrificing same-sex relationships is the greatest sacrifice I have made.
Years ago, a friend said: "The sacrifice of a loved one for an attempt to live righteously cannot go unnoticed. The loss is real, the sadness is real, in a world where so few things are real." Now, the loss and pain are being publicly recognized by Church leaders. In a fireside for Latter-day Saints in California, Elder Quentin L. Cook said, "There are faithful temple-worthy members of the Church who struggle with this great challenge, often in silence, fear, and great pain. Our hearts go out to these good brothers and sisters even as we uphold the divine truths the Lord has revealed about marriage."
Back when I was struggling with same-sex attraction, I couldn't find any LDS resources that dealt specifically with the issue. I'd insist, "The Church doesn't understand. They don't even care enough to help." Finally I realized the Church I was critizing was not just "they", it was also "I". And perhaps "I" should quit complaining and start writing. So I did. The title of my book sums it up: Born That Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction. Few people were offering hope back then for people who wanted to overcome same-sex attraction. I felt compelled by the spirit to provide hope for others with struggles similar to mine.
The secular resources did more harm than good. Back then, the only claims you heard from the "experts" were: "Sexual attractions are a permanent part of who you are. They're indelible, unchangeable, and unavoidable." Fortunately, the "experts" are now realizing that, just like other aspects of who we are, sexual attractions are influenced by genetics, environment, upbringing, experiences - all of it. Nature and nurture are no longer pitted against each other.
I've had the unique opportunity to witness the journey of many people who struggle with same-sex attractions. In 1990, I volunteered as a phone counselor - originally referred through Evergreen, an organization established to help Mormons who face this trial. Over the span of almost 20 years, I've seen some Latter-day Saints get married in the temple, and others work to remain celibate - either because they have not found a spouse yet, or because they have not developed attractions toward the opposite sex. I also have friends, who once had very strong testimonies, who tried desperately to bring their lives into accordance with gospel principles, but finally gave up. At least for now.
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT: Some people, no matter what they do or how hard they try, will never find themselves attracted to the opposite sex, in this life. They deserve our utmost respect. So do those who identify as gay or straight or bisexual or none of the above. They all deserve our respect.
It's not difficult for me to understand how the body of the Church in California has become divided over this issue. I have felt divided, too. Our family lived in California in 2000, when the Defense of Marriage Act came up for vote the first time. My husband and I were sealed together for time and all eternity, and our children were born under the new and everlasting covenant. We, as an eternal family, were and are the direct beneficiaries of the Church's unwavering stance on marriage. What once created angst so severe I considered suicide has led me to a life I never thought possible. One in which I have been happily married - to a man - for 15 years.
However, I know all too well what it's like to be discriminated against. "Eliminating" someone else's rights seems wrong. And up until this past week, it seemed to go against my sense of fairness, democracy and justice as a citizen of the United States. It also seemed to run contrary to the core of my faith - the second greatest commandment - to love one another.
Despite my apprehensions in 2000, my husband and I acted in faith and supported Proposition 22 because the prophet asked us to. I hate to admit this, but it wasn't until this week that I was finally able to reconcile the opposing viewpoints I continued to debate with myself. I finally realized why the leaders of the Mormon Church have been taking such an active role in all this. It happened when I read a National Public Radio report entitled "When Gay Rights and Religious Liberties Clash". It says, "In recent years, some states have passed laws giving residents the right to same-sex unions in various forms. Gay couples may marry in Massachusetts and California. There are civil unions and domestic partnerships in Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Oregon."
I was astonished when I read: "So far, the religious groups are losing." They listed examples such as Catholic Charities in Massachusetts. They had to pull out of the adoption business because they refused to adopt to same-sex couples. Even individuals' religious rights are being revoked. A woman declined to photograph a same-sex couple's commitment ceremony, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. She was found guilty of discrimination.
When I read that article, it was like a light bulb went on. More importantly, I also felt a spiritual confirmation that the prophet truly is prophetic. Here is the impression that came to me as I read:
It's not that the Mormon Church is trying to get into politics. It's that politics is trying to get into the Church. And not just our church. Any church or congregation or individual who believes that only a marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God.
I'm sorry I couldn't see what the prophet could see—until this week. I'm sorry I'm not sending this letter out till now. And I'm sorry for my apathy - for being "lukewarm". Why, just last week I thought it was only a matter of time before same-sex marriages became legal everywhere. How wrong I was.
Yes, we're behind in the polls. Yes, it's the Friday before Election Day. So PLEASE, email this letter to anyone and everyone you think could benefit from it - as quickly as possible!
Unfortunately, someone has to lose with Proposition 8. Somebody's right to something will be limited at the end of the day on Tuesday. I, for one, do not want it to be my right to worship as I please.
Sincerely,
Erin Eldridge
P.S. For those who would like to respond to this letter – whether in anger or frustration or support – I will do my best to respond to every email I receive. But please, be patient. All our kids are still at home and I work part time. Email riverwalk8@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sporty

My kids have worked so hard at soccer and karate this fall. Can I take off my proud parent hat off for a second? I just need to vent about sports.
Remember at the end of last spring Rory was rocking at soccer. To quote, "I want to play soccer till I die!!" Both of them have enjoyed this last season and their teams played well but they got scored on constantly and rarely if ever won. This season has been a little different. They use a larger field as the first video shows and they play offense, defense, and have a goalie. The second video shows Rory as goalie.

video
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Rory was awesome at breaking away with the ball but when you play on a little field you break away and you already are at the goal which has no goalie. Now she breaks away (which she still rocks at) and then she hits defense and a goalie. Honestly, I am sick of "yelling" at my kids on the field "Own the ball" "Help your teammates" "Get in there"etc. At the last game I put my head down because I could not look anymore and Rory scored her rare score. Bummer. I asked her how she felt when we yelled and she said it helped her. That makes me feel a little better. Any advice from you sporty people out there (since I am not)? Should we keep at it? Should I stop yelling and hopefully stop getting frustrated? Is there something I can do to help them get better?

Rory's team was invited to be ball girls at a local university game. I thought this would be cool. Not so much. The girls could not concentrate on the game and when they played at scrimmage they were the same as ever.

Here is a Karate demonstration JT's dojo was in.


video

He has done Karate for 3 years now and is pretty dedicated. He has been moving up in belts at a descent pace. Then comes the tournament. I did not get a video of his kata because I was helping the judges. Here is him having issues with his mouthpiece while getting ready for sparring and then his sparring.



video

Poor kid got last in everything in his group. He never complains or shows much disappointment but I hurt for him. I guess I should not be suprised my kids are not very sporty, Roger and I are not. The point I guess is that they love it. Right?

Monday, November 10, 2008

LA Temple Protests

For those of you living outside of California I know you have been wondering what has been going on here. Here is an article about the protests at the LA Temple.

http://www.ldsmag.com/ideas/081110hate.html

This is very upsetting and it felt like everyone hated us until we started having members of other faiths approach me and my friends thanking us for the hard work we put in and their sorrow for the hatred we are receiving. That helps!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Some Facts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is taking quite a bit from the No on Prop side. They claim that we deceived people and stuck our noses into their business when a "church" should not have been involved in political issues. I am not a church. This is not a political issue, it is a moral issue that I have every right to be involved in and work hard for. No one needed to tell me to be involved.
My friend sent some interesting facts that I wish the other side would take into consideration before protesting outside my temple. I get it though- you want to be mad at someone- why not the Mormons.

1. Mormons make up less than 2% of the population of California. There are approximately 800,000 LDS out of a total population of approximately 34 million.

2. Mormon voters were less than 5% of the yes vote. If one estimates that 250,000 LDS are registered voters (the rest being children), then LDS voters made up 4.6% of the Yes vote and 2.4% of the total Proposition 8 vote.

3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) donated no money to the Yes on 8 campaign. Individual members of the Church were encouraged to support the Yes on 8 efforts and, exercising their constitutional right to free speech, donated whatever they felt like donating.

4. The No on 8 campaign raised more money than the Yes on 8 campaign. Unofficial estimates put No on 8 at $38 million and Yes on 8 at $32 million, making it the most expensive non-presidential election in the country.

5. Advertising messages for the Yes on 8 campaign are based on case law and real-life situations. The No on 8 supporters have insisted that the Yes on 8 messaging is based on lies. Every Yes on 8 claim is supported.

6. The majority of our friends and neighbors voted Yes on 8. Los Angeles County voted in favor of Yes on 8. Ventura County voted in favor of Yes on 8. (I will add San Bernadino, Riverside, San Diego and Orange County too- 3/4 of the counties)

7. African Americans overwhelmingly supported Yes on 8. Exit polls show that 70% of Black voters chose Yes on 8. This was interesting because the majority of these voters voted for President-elect Obama. No on 8 supporters had assumed that Obama voters would vote No on 8.

8. The majority of Latino voters voted Yes on 8. Exit polls show that the majority of Latinos supported Yes on 8 and cited religious beliefs (assumed to be primarily Catholic).

9. The Yes on 8 coalition was a broad spectrum of religious organizations. Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims – all supported Yes on 8. It is estimated that there are 10 million Catholics and 10 million Protestants in California. Mormons were a tiny fraction of the population represented by Yes on 8 coalition members.

10. Not all Mormons voted in favor of Proposition 8. Our faith accords that each person be allowed to choose for him or her self. Church leaders have asked members to treat other members with "civility, respect and love," despite their differing views.

11. The Church did not violate the principal of separation of church and state. This principle is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The phrase "separation of church and state", which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson, although it has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court in recent years. The LDS Church is under no obligation to refrain from participating in the political process, to the extent permitted by law. U.S. election law is very clear that Churches may not endorse candidates, but may support issues. The Church has always been very careful on this matter and occasionally (not often) chooses to support causes that it feels to be of a moral nature.

12. Supporters of Proposition 8 did exactly what the Constitution provides for all citizens: they exercised their First Amendment rights to speak out on an issue that concerned them, make contributions to a cause that they support, and then vote in the regular electoral process. For the most part, this seems to have been done in an open, fair, and civil way. Opponents of 8 have accused supporters of being bigots, liars, and worse. The fact is, we simply did what Americans do – we spoke up, we campaigned, and we voted.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I Wish I Was Elated

The subject of gay marriage has such strong rooted passion on both sides. So strong that neither side will ever be convinced of the opposing views. So strong that both sides feel that the other side is hateful and are lying. So strong that each feels like they are standing for the right.

I thought I would be so thrilled that Proposition 8 passed. I know if it did not pass I would be very upset. I am happy that we have won so far but I have a few reasons why I am not elated.

There are some people who are very hurt. A person is a person despite their choices and I am sad they are hurting. I believe that God did not want people to be gay. I believe gay people feel the way they do but that Satan is the one who started the whole thing. One on one I would be friends with a gay person but when it comes to drawing a line in the sand for my values, I will draw that line.

Our Religion and those who are against gay marriage have been labeled as those who hate. We have been targeted. No kidding I read a comment online to say that religious people are following an outdated Bible. Ok- I can show you another testament of Jesus Christ. Another comment was that there are other things in the Bible that we don't believe in like slavery. Ok- I can show you a Prophet on the Earth today that continues to receive revelation for our time. Please do not underestimate my ability to pray and receive my own promptings because I do. I don't feel hateful. Would I not feel hateful if I were hateful? Speaking of hate, all I ever heard of people who support marriage between a man and a woman was kindness. Another person opposing 8 said that the supporters were always kind to people who did not believe the way they do and that they were sad to be on the side with people who were not behaving.
  • Ours signs have been slashed and stolen which is against the law
  • A few of my friends had their houses toilet papered on the same night on the same street with theirs being the only signs and their signs were slashed
  • We have had things thrown at us on the side of the road as we were waving our signs
  • I have seen in the news homes and churches vandalized, death threats, and violence.
  • Protesters got out of hand yesterday in LA and are targeting our Temple tonight. Are the other churches and groups next?
Tell me really who is hateful.

Another reason I am sad is because I know this is not over. I have no doubt that in my life time I will fight this battle many times and that eventually evil will prevail and we will have gay marriage. It will come with other evils and life will be difficult for people wanting to live a righteous life. Many civilizations through out time have thought they could not fall. When more people wanted evil than good, God destroyed them.

So no, I am not dancing right now.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What a Croc!

So my 1st grade Rory had these shoes from Target and we called them Crocs.


When she came home after school one day I noticed how nasty and dirty her feet were from wearing these shoes outside. The shoes themselves were beat up too. I had just bought her a cute pair of boots plus all her other shoes so I threw away the nasty shoes she insisted on wearing day after day. A couple kids in her class were wearing real crocs so I guessed that was her motivation. After much begging I bought her these shoes for $8 at Target instead of say real crocs which are close to $30.

She goes to school and says "Hey ****, I have new Crocs" "Those are not Crocs" "Yea huh" "No, Crocs have the name Crocs on the bottom" I walked away laughing. Really how different are they?

Rory came home and said she wanted real Crocs. "Why you have those shoes?" "Because they are not real Crocs"

Are you kidding me!! I have never been into name brand clothes as long as they are cute. She is doing this in the 1st Grade!! Eye yeye yeye. What will happen when she is a teenager? Of coarse I am not going to buy real Crocs if only to make a point.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Break my Heart

As I dropped off Rory at a birthday party I saw other moms dropping off their kids and picking up signs that the owner has in the front of his store.
One mom said "I already have mine in my yard". Everyone was gone before I even realized what I saw.
I know I live in a bubble but I had no idea that moms I knew from school would actually support No on Prop 8. My heart literally started hurting and I started to cry.
I would like to think they are intelligent women who researched the impact saying no would have on our society. From what I know of these women they are not religious. If I were not religious and would therefore not need to defend religion and if I did not care that my children were taught in school that homosexuality is normal and perfectly fine, I guess I would be fine with homosexuals getting married.
But wait, would I not care that my friends who do care would be left unprotected? Gay people already have as many rights as we do with civil unions. Would I want them to have more rights and be more a more protected group than any other in America? Would I want our society altered in ways that other states have suffered?
I would like to think Not.