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Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Whoa...Dream Big!'

I had a lovely lunch last week with my fabulous daughter and a few of her friends. Her life is good and she is very happy. She is thriving at school and enjoys the independence of living on her own. She is challenged in her classes and loves learning in the college environment. Most of all, she loves the freedom to be herself and to express her opinions. Her fellow students come from all over the world. They are democrats, republicans and independents. They are Christians, Jews, Muslims, and Atheists. They are straight and gay. They are a rainbow of colors and backgrounds.

Debate and discussion are encouraged at her university. When students have differing opinions, they are talked about in a civil manner. Ridicule and name calling are not necessary in a place where respect for diversity is the rule of behavior.

I am so proud that she feels comfortable in that type of environment. It confirms that we raised her to be a loving, accepting and open minded human being. In hindsight, our move to Utah helped to strengthen the core values we taught her. It actually showed her exactly what kind of person she did not want to be.

Many of my closet friends are of different faiths and do not share my political beliefs. So what? We care about each other and we know that good people come in all shapes and sizes. My children grew up living that basic truth. Thank goodness they won’t ever settle for all the same! For the many young people who are afraid to branch out and accept others who are different, I say “Whoa…Dream Big!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"There's No Place Like Home"

Last weekend was the LDS General Conference. For those of you living outside of the Beehive State who are not LDS, you have probably never heard of this event. Twice a year, members of LDS church meet in Salt Lake and discuss various topics relevant to the church. These two Sundays, are the only two Sundays all year that members are not required to attend church. Instead, many families gather together and watch the conference on TV.

During General Conference a few years ago, my family went out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. This restaurant usually gets pretty crowded on a Saturday night. We were enjoying our pasta, when I looked around the dining room and realized the only two men in the restaurant were my husband and son. This seemed a bit strange and we all noted that this must be some sort of “girl’s night out”. Actually, we learned later, that on Saturday evening during Conference weekend there is a “priesthood meeting”. All LDS men and boys over 13 attend.

This, of course, is no big deal. It was just another evening where we realized we were different from most of our neighbors. That happens a lot in a place where the vast majority of people worship the same way. It is probably similar to Baptist communities in the South or Jewish communities in New York. There might be great comfort in living amongst people who are just like you. I wouldn’t know as until I moved to Utah, I have always lived in very diverse communities. Although Utah’s quality of life and beauty make it a nice place to live, I long to return to a place where I dine with all types of people. Everyone gets to decide for themselves which kind of place they want to inhabit. What should be true for all of us is that...
“There is No Place Like Home!”

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Lighten Up Francis!"

I love people with a sense of humor. Frankly, being able to laugh at all the things life is bound to throw at you is a great skill. We laugh in our house A LOT!!! We laugh at ourselves and those around us. Dave’s family has a tradition of really teasing those they love. It is considered a sign of affection. Dave loves me loads – hence I am the butt of many jokes. Over the years I have had to develop a thick skin.

That thick skin serves me well. Now, I am not going to lie. I am a sensitive soul who can get her feelings hurt, but within our family I know most of the banter is all in good fun. I guess I have even picked up on this habit, as I do poke fun at things that amuse me, irritate me, or just confuse me. I wish I could do it more often, as when I do, I am a happier person and clearly more fun to be around. Nothing feels better than making someone laugh.

I hope my readers will continue to laugh along with me and put up with my occasional serious side. Next time we feel angry or unpleasant, let’s all just take a moment, breathe, and “Lighten Up Francis!”