Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

Connie Anast-Inman
Executive Director, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah
Greater Salt Lake City Area
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's been two years?

Apparently so! Two years ago I said I would start blogging everyday. HA! Life has a funny way of getting in it's own way, doesn't it?

So much has been going on, so I will start by saying that the past few years have changed me a great deal. I have seen ordinary circumstances bring out amazing things in the people I love. I have seen more love and generosity in these couple of years than I think I ever have. Maybe it's the manifestation of what I try to live by, "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded." (Emerson)

I think this was made plain to me this weekend. Saturday was a super busy and painful day. My Dad has esophageal cancer and had appointments and treatments at Humtsman Cancer Hospital all day on Friday. Of course, Saturday morning, I was a hurtin' girl. But, up I was at 6:45 to pick up my Bountiful Basket! It has helped me stay on track for Weight Watchers having all those fruits and veggies in the house - not to mention how much money we save on groceries. I came home, prepped all the food (my head pounding the entire time). Lindi offerred to buy me breakfast (!) if I ran a few errands with her. We went to the pharmacy, a few other places, and then stopped by our local "Quickey-mart." As we were sitting in the parking lot, a woman tapped on my window. It was obvious she was in distress, but she was trying to hold it together. "I hate to ask, but do you have any money you can spare? I'm trying to get home and don't have enough for gas."

I look over and her truck is parked by the gas pump - loaded with things as if she's homeless. And as I look, instinctively, I reached in my pocket. Now, most people would tell me that she's using it for drugs, or booze or whatever. But somehow, I knew what it took for her to ask. Somehow, I knew she had to swallow a lot of pride to tap on my window. And it didn't matter to me. I pulled out my cash and handed it to her. "It's only 5 dollars, I hope this helps." She smiled at me as if I'd given her a million.

Then, to my left I heard, "I've got two more dollars coming, one sec," and Lindi handed me the bills she received as change. I handed the money to her and she grabbed my hand and said "God Bless you," and, in that moment, I've never believed anyone meant those words more. I watched her walk into the store, come back out, and add two gallons of gas to her tank.

As we drove home, I said to Lindi, "Thank you for helping me be a better person." She asked why I thought that. "Well," I explained, "some spouses would tell me not to give money to the homeless or the needy because they would throw it away on soemthing. Instead, when I feel the urge to help, you tell me 'Here's two more dollars.' I'm lucky to have you."

And it's true. I am lucky to have people around me who see that giving of self isn't about what you lose, it's what you gain.

For example, I was lucky enough to be part of Steph Chow's Jam Exchange. I asked for two partners and received partners from Oregon and Georgia. We sent one another two jars of our homemade jams, so I have four jars of BEAUTIFUL jam from two lovely ladies. I sent two of my best away to them, and also sent jam to Steph for being amazing and partnering us all up.

When Karen, my darling "sister-wife" from New York, told me she was having a bake sale to raise money for her mother's non-profit, of course, the first thing I thought was 'I'm going to send her some jam.' The next thought - what if everyone who participated in the Jam Exchange sent only one jar? Wouldn't that be cool, too?

Fingers flying, I sent an email to Steph, who in turn not only posted it on her blog, but sent jam to Karen as well! So far, Karen has received 36 bottles of jam - it was like a little support from all over the country. At $3 a piece, that's $100 for the Judith Parrotte Memorial Literacy Fund to help children and adults learn to read.

It's the little gifts that can mean the world to someone. To me, it's a jar of jam. I have many others. To Karen, it's hope. And you can never put a price on Hope. Or Generosity. Time after time, I am amazed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And so the Autumn is here

Pumpkin Spoice Latte and Pumpkin Bread from Starbucks sure starts out a season right.

I know I haven't been blogging. I've been infused with the Facebook bug for some time now, but Facebook just doesn't have everything or every avenue or ROOM for all I want to say. So I am going to try blogging everyday for 30 days - let's see where it gets me.

Tonight will be an amazing evening. Lindi, Sarah and I will be heading over to Shane and Chet's tonight for some finger foods and to watch "Glee." Now, if you don't know what "Glee" is, you are sadly one of the people that picked on me in High School. It's a show based around a Glee Club, basically show choir. I absolutely love it.

I have a lot in my brain right now and I am sure of the course of 30 days (give or take a Sunday off) it will start to come out. Bare with me while the blogs are small and not very entertaining nor informative. I'm just a simply girl, really.

Quote of the day: "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream." — George W. Bush

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Never Forget

Hi Friends,

Over the last three days, I have been learning a lot about the Holocaust. With the 21st being Holocaust Remembrance Day, the 28th being Oskar Schindler's (Schindler's List) birthday and May 1st being the day of German surrender, it's been at the forefront of a lot of our minds, I am sure.

I happened on a website that really opened my eyes. A gentleman took a tour in 1993 of the sites of the camps in Poland and took many pictures of how they stand today. He relays his personal stories of his encounters with the people and the overwhelming feelings and sites he experienced.

Many things stuck out in my mind, but nothing more so than the end of his story on his last day.

If you have the time or the inclination, it is an amazing read. I would encourage you all to read through it and learn, as I did.


Never Forget.

Anteroom to the gas

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Lesson

This has been a trying week. A friend's husband was removed from the heart trasnplant list becasue they have found liver disease as well. So, for the past 3 days, I've been gathering information for funeral expenses and seeing what can be done to help this family.

It's amazing to me - I send out an email asking my friends for help and suddenly, I have a $100 donation, a free location for a wake and food for the asking. My friends and Auxiliary Sisters are amazing.

As I am perusing my emails for the day, I come across one from a High School acquaintence, BS. I get emails from him every month keeping all of us apprised of people in our graduating class. It's kinda cool. Well, this month, he sent one out about his wife, who has a terminal brain tumor, which was both uplifting and very sad to read. He's currently unemployed, and she's been a stay at home mom, so she doesn't get any kind of assistance except Medicaid. He was talking about some of the things he wanted to do for her before she passes, like, he would love a Disneyland vacation for their family or a big TV so she could watch her shows. They have no money for a funeral and the first thing I am thinking of is how I could help.

He directed us to his personal website to read more about her journey through Cancer and as I am reading his blog, up comes a nice blog about why Marriage is only for a Man and a Woman.

I've been asked by a few friends why I don't support same gender marriage. I'll give a few reasons here in my blog. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It has everything to do with what is right for our country, and for children everywhere. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a Christian, and as a scientist, I must say marriage is for a man and a woman.

God follows a pattern. He calls witnesses. We call these witnesses prophets. Amos 3:7 says "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets". These witnesses, or prophets testify of truth. They testify in the same two ways anyone else does: by speaking orally, or by writing it down. The written word has become scripture. The oral word comes from modern prophets. In order for us to know that one who speaks God's word is a prophet, there's one more step. The Holy Ghost gives us knowledge and testifies the truth to our hearts and to our minds. A modern prophet has testified that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Holy Ghost has testified to me that he is a prophet. The church is not a democracy. We don't tell the prophet what to do, God does. God speaks. His prophet speaks. The Holy Ghost tells me he's a prophet. I listen.

That was the Mormon perspective. Mormon's don't stand alone on this issue. Most Christian faiths believe the same on this issue. The general Christian is similar, minus a modern prophet. God created Adam and Eve. Adam was a man. Eve was a woman. God married them, and set up the family blue-print. Matthew 19:5 says: "...For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?". Mark 10: 7 says: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife". Paul also wrote this to the Ephesians in Ephesians 5:31: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."

God condemns the taking of life. The powers that create life are equally guarded. Two men cannot create life. Two women cannot create life. A man and a woman can. The life created by a union between a man and a woman should have a father and a mother, equally committed to that child's care. That's why we have marriage. Marriage is a formal recognition before God, a government, and between the man and woman making the commitment that the partners will support each other and their children. We guard this life-creating unit we call marriage with care because that unit, and that unit alone can create life. Misusing the power to create life is perhaps as bad as taking life. Not all marriages turn out well. Some are even abusive, but creating a new definition for marriage will not resolve this problem. It will only make it worse. This holds true for anyone who believes in a Supreme Being. Whoever you call God, He (or or even She) created men and women so that only male-female relationships can create life. He obviously intended it that way.

Some will argue that this is a religious issue, and has nothing to do with law. In fact, law evolves from social folkways, to mores, to laws. Take murder for an extreme example. People don't like their relatives getting killed (folkways). They polarize against it (mores). They make laws against it. Murder is a moral issue, and a religious one. It's also a civil one because of that natural evolution into law. Marriage has always been understood as a union between a man and a woman. We didn't choose the legal arena for a battle about what marriage is. People (certain judges come to mind) decided to try and change the definition of marriage. Now we must step forward and defend what has held true for thousands of years and defend against an unproven idea that will not work.


I take a deep breath and read it, keeping in mind, they are very LDS. He doesn't out-and-out say anything bad about gays, so that's a plus, but it is obvious he is very narrowminded about same-gender marriage.

So, now, I have a choice. I can help them because they are in need, but why should I when he doesn't respect my family?

Instead, I wrote him a letter.

"Dear BS,

I am sorry to hear about J. I have some information on funeral arrangements and things when the time comes if you need it. I am assisting my Partner's friend with arrangements for her husband who was denied a heart transplant and also has only weeks/months with us on this earth. J may qualify for a $255 burial benefit and could also qualify for assistance with a cremation through Salt Lake County if you are residents. I have access to a lot of information that I am more than willing to share. Please let me know if you need it. I am happy to help in any way I can.

On another note, I was reading your personal site and came across your post regarding Marriage. While I don't take things personally and allow others to have their own opinions, please realize that there are families that exists outside of the traditional family that you enjoy.

My partner and I have a daughter, and without the protections of Marriage, our family is in constant jeopardy. Without paying an attorney thousands of dollars, I cannot claim my partner's body for burial, as you can claim yours. I am not automatically allowed into the hospital room when and if my partner is dying, as you are allowed for yours. The fact that we have built an entire life together, created our family, are dependent upon one another financially, emotionally, etc means absolutely nothing. I have one two occassions, not been allowed to see my own daughter, that I have helped raise, until my partner has arrived.

There are no differences between our families. Both of our unions were blessed by God, yours in the Temple and mine by the Church of Christ. We both take financial, physical, and emotional responsibilities for our families. In fact, I pay more in taxes to have my family on my health benefits than you would to have your family on yours due to Federal Tax laws. I am actually penalized financially for who I love and committed to for eternity.

For just a moment, I would like you to consider going through this ordeal without the rights and priviledges you are afforded by being legally married. It would not only be devistataing, it would be compounded by the laws which only recognize you as a "friend" and not her next of kin. Imagine being barred from your children because you are not considered their "parent."

These are the issues I struggle with in my family every single day.

I support your faith and the expression of it. I also encourage you to realize that same-gender marriage does not erode the Institution of marriage - it strengthens it. My family prays for our family to be protected like yours in this way every single day.

Thank you, and God Bless J and your family during this time. You are in my prayers. "

Thursday, March 26, 2009

10 Years seems like Yesterday

His blond hair was cut short in stark contrast to the last time I saw him in High School. Back then, his hair was wild and long. But that afternoon, he was sitting in my kitchen with a Marine 'do and a guitar on his knee.

I remember the day was exceptionally hot, so he wasn't wearing a shirt. He proudly showed me his beautiful tattoos - ink he had earned, not just bought for fashion. I always knew he had a remarkable talent for music and I had heard him play before. But today, it was just him and I in my kitchen.

He told me I was special... a very special friend to him. We didn't know each other well, we had only really met in passing. But when he came home from Iraq and found out his name was on the Soldier's tree in front of my house, and when I greeted him with yellow roses at his home, he knew I was "cool."

He remembered the last musical he saw me in. I had forgotten he played in the band for that production.

His voice was sweet and hung in the air, the notes of his song wrapped around me like a comforting blanket. His toughened finger strummed the strings and I smiled without thought. I can't even remember the songs he played, but I remember how he made me feel. In that moment, I felt that he and I were kindred.

I had a glimpse into what would make this high school friend such an amazing man. Compassion. Humor. Valor. Fierce loyalty.

10 years ago, three men took him from me - from us all. 10 years ago, a wife lost a husband, a boy lost a father, a mother lost a son. And the world lost one of those amazing souls that graces us for only a moment, but changes it forever.

We lost you, Marc, but we didn't lose your memory. And we are all better people for the journey.

I miss you.

In Loving Memory
Marc Todd Atkinson
August 16, 1970 - March 26, 1999


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Check this out on Perezhilton.com

Hey There!

You must see this on Perezhilton.com: http://perezhilton.com/2009-03-10-lesbian-iron-chef-pregnant-and-her-girlfriend-is-pregnant-too

OMG! I KNEW I loved Cat Cora for a reason - Greek AND a lesbian! WOOT!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Fwd: FW: I bet the guy was just going to take the cat's picture



Neb. deputies say man stuffed cat inside 'bong'

March 2nd, 2009 @ 12:43pm
Associated Press Writer

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A man who tried to mellow out his cat by stuffing her into a homemade bong is facing criminal charges - and catcalls from animal lovers.

Authorities cited a 20-year-old man on suspicion of animal cruelty Sunday after catching him smoking marijuana from a contraption that had a cat stuffed inside its 12-inch by 6-inch base.

The man told Lancaster County sheriff's deputies the 6-month-old female named Shadow had been hyper and that he was trying to calm her down.

The cat was taken to the Capital Humane Society, where she appeared to be in good condition Monday, executive director Bob Downey said.

"What the human mind doesn't invent, huh?" Downey said.

The suspect did not return voice or text messages left on his cell phone by The Associated Press.

Deputies discovered the cat trapped in the device after responding to a domestic disturbance call at a residence the suspect shares with his grandfather, Sgt. Andy Stebbing said.

Deputies resolved the dispute and left the house, but they returned minutes later after discovering there was an arrest warrant on the suspect for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Upon re-entering the house, Stebbing said, deputies saw the suspect smoking marijuana through a piece of garden hose attached to the duct-taped, plastic glass box, in which the cat had been stuffed.

"This cat was just dazed," Stebbing said. "She was on the front seat of the cop car, wrapped in a blanket, and never moved all the way to the humane society."

The suspect was cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty and taken to the Lancaster County Jail on the arrest warrant. He was released after paying a $400 fine.

Now he faces new charges for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia stemming from Sunday.

Stebbing said the animal cruelty charge could be raised to a felony if the cat dies or is found to have suffered injury.

Downey said tests would be done to determine whether the cat suffered lung damage.

"To the eye, the cat looks OK," he said. "It cowers in the back of its cage like it's a little bit afraid but, obviously, given the way it's been treated, that's not surprising to me at all."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Why I heart Sean Penn

After accepting the Best Actor Oscar last night for his role in Milk, Sean Penn had this to say...

"Finally, for those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, I think it's a good time for those who voted for the ban on gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame in their grandchildrens' eyes if they continue that way of support.

We've got to have equal rights for everyone.

I'm very, very proud to live in a country that would elect an elegant man President and a country, for all its toughness, creates courageous artists."

Well said, Sean. Thank you for being an ally.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Love Keith Olbermann

By Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'
updated 7:13 p.m. MT, Mon., Nov. 10, 2008

Keith Olbermann
Anchor, 'Countdown'


Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."