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"If there are amazing graces on this earth, I believe that there are these good children sent to us by God and not yet soiled by the knowledge that their nation does not love them." Jonathan Kozol

Those Teabaggers Sure Are "Morans"  

Posted by Jessica

Good grief! Do people believe anything they read or hear if it reinforces their beliefs?


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Greetings from Salt Lake City, Utah.  

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I am in Salt Lake City for the Sunstone Magazine Symposium. As soon as I received a preliminary program in the mail, I knew this was the place for me. I can wear an Obama or Hillary shirt without fear of judgment amongst Sunstoners. I can invite my friend who lives in Salt Lake City, who is gay, to a session and not be worried that she will be offended. This is at least part of what our religious experience should be; free from judgment.

I've often lamented how religion has become a weapon instead of a tool. We mere mortals are so dense, it's almost as if we need our religions to spend 11 out of the 12 months focused on the Beautitudes and the last month doing a rehash of the previous 11 months.

The other reason I enjoy Sunstone and Sunstoners is the fact that this is on the program, "This symposium is dedicated to the idea that the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ are better understood and, as a result, better lived when they are freely and frankly explored within the community of Saints..."

It's perfectly normal to have some doubts and questions about a religion or beliefs. Dealing with the doubts and seeking answers to the questions can make our beliefs stronger. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

How many more days?  

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I just watched an episode of "30 Days," where someone is placed into an home/place that is contradictory to their beliefs, lifestyle, upbringing, etc. It is very good and interesting and I definitely recommend watching it.

The episode on tonight (rerun) had a conservative woman go and live with two men who are gay and the children they are foster parents of (maybe adoptive? I missed the first 15 minutes) . This woman obviously believed that gay people should not be allowed to marry, enter into civil unions, adopt, or even be a foster parent. It was a very difficult episode to watch.

Many people who are opposed to gay marriage will usually, upon learning of the over 1000 rights granted to couples who marry, be open to civil unions. If only because they believe in the foundations of this country; freedom and equality. It isn't special rights that gay people want, they simply want what I can get if I were to marry a man, over 1000 rights dealing with property, taxes, insurance, Social Security, etc.

Many gay couples have been together for more years than we can imagine and yet if one of them is hospitalized, their partner won't have the same rights that a married straight couple has who have been married for a day, a month, a year, or more. It just isn't right and there is no rational argument against civil unions. For the record, I support gay marriage, but realize that civil unions will be much easier to accomplish.

It isn't just civil unions where a compromise could and should be made. Our foster care system has many problems. Many children bounce from house to house (many of these houses are filled with abuse, neglect, hunger, extreme poverty, and more). Many of these children have never known the embrace of a parent who cares for them, or a family dinner around a kitchen table, or a adult figure helping them with homework, a parent watching them practice soccer, cheering them on in a basketball game, or smiling from ear to ear as they sing in the choir at school. When you think about how many children are never given these life experiences, it is heartbreaking and frankly, SHAMEFUL.

My heart breaks even more when I think about how many gay couples long to foster and/or adopt these children. Most of these gay couples will provide stability that these kids will never experience, love these children dream about every night, and support that will ease their worries and calm their hearts and allow them to experience what every person should experience, a happy childhood.

But unfortunately, many people do not believe that gay parents will provide good homes and so these children are forced to suffer. Suffer because of misconceptions, lies, distortions, homophobia, and fear. No person or couple who can provide a good home to a child/ren, should be denied that opportunity based on their sexual orientation. NEVER.

One day, I truly believe, we will live in a country that allows everyone EQUAL rights. I rest easy knowing I was on the right side of this issue. Will you?

Mother Teresa Quote of the Week  

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I wanted to start this feature and obviously failed in this regard, so I am going to restart up my Mother Teresa Quote of the Week feature. I will try really hard to stick with it this time!

"We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop." Mother Teresa

I'm a bad blogger.  

Posted by Jessica in

My life is relatively boring (but that is a nice change) and I am usually very opinionated, but there are a lot of things I've reserving judgment on. Because of this, there hasn't been much to blog about. Here is a rundown.

I won't know if I am returning to school until the end of August. My backup plan is just trying to find work that my Master's degree prepared me for.

I am currently house shopping. Or should I say condo shopping? It will be my first place, so my budget is limited and I do live in Seattle and will be shopping NEAR Seattle, so it could be slim pickins. I'm looking in Kent, Auburn, Des Moines, Redondo, Federal Way, Renton, Tukwila primarily.

My softball team I've been playing on since late May has ended its season. We ended up being in fourth place in the league, which is pretty impressive seeing as how we were pretty similar to a Bad News Bear team! My other two teams end their season soon. These other two teams are part of the Underdog league and they have not been enjoyable. I much prefer my City of Seattle team. It's a huge gamble when you play on an "Underdog" team-I lost.

That's it!

Yellowstone and Glacier Here I Come!  

Posted by Jessica in ,

Regular readers of my blog will remember my trip across the country 11 months ago. I drove from Maryland to Seattle over a period of 10 days or so, with about 60 hours of drive time. It was long, tiresome, but amazing! The definite highlight of the trip was seeing some of my besties (Diana and Chris) in Yellowstone. They are devoted friends who drove from Pocatello to Yellowstone to spend a few days with me.

I fell in love with Yellowstone and saw most of it (I just missed the northwestern part). I drove around the entire park about 1 1/2 times. It is beautiful and I will never forget falling asleep in the tent, with the mesh top and seeing that many stars. I am serious, you cannot even imagine how many stars you see. After I spent some very productive time in Yellowstone, I vowed to return. And by the time I return, it will have been about a year since I last saw it-I am hooked!

This time, instead of camping at the campsite nearest the western entrance from Idaho, we (a few friends and I) are hoping to stay near the lake. We are going to add in some hiking and I cannot wait to eat some of that bison chili I had there last year!

After Yellowstone, we will head to Glacier National Park in Montana. I have only seen pictures but it looks INCREDIBLE (go here for some pics).

On this 4th of July holiday our country celebrates, we celebrate our freedom and our country, but I also celebrate the beauty of our country. I've been to almost every state (still missing Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Alaska) and I can attest to the fact that every state is beautiful; some more than others. lol.

I encourage you to get out and explore this country because life is short and we should make each day count.

And if you have any suggestions for Yellowstone and Glacier, post in the comments!


Posted by Jessica in ,

I'm hoping to go back to school this Fall. If I don't get in, I will be devastated.

I went to Missouri/Kansas for 5 days and LOVED it.

I think I'm returning to the Mormon Church and the thought scares me for two reasons.
1. I'm an enigma and there aren't many Mormons like me. I feel lonely and out of place when I go to Church.
2. Because of the aforementioned and other issues, by returning to the Mormon Church, I will significantly reduce my chances of doing the traditional thing; getting married and having kids.

I am really tired of politics.

I live in one of the whiniest condo buildings in Seattle. Not a week goes by without some note whining about not recycling properly, or complaints of noise, footsteps, parking, etc.

I like Twitter, a lot, and I "tweet" occasionally, but I prefer Twitter as a means of getting breaking news and keeping up with friends, associates, etc.

I am bored to tears and would love to find a part-time job that I enjoyed.

Utopia doesn't happen in 5 months or less.  

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I was hanging out with my Grandma since she is in the hospital and while she was getting a test, I spent some "quality time" with Grandpa. Grandpa is a diehard Republican. I had wrongly assumed that the disaster that was/is the Bush Administration and the havoc they wreaked would tell people that maybe, just maybe, the Republican Party is lacking and that a Democrat should be given a chance to right some wrongs.

Well, Grandpa just does not agree. There are a few different camps of Republicans right now. Those that are infuriated over what took place from 2001-2009, those that ignore what happened, and those that are mad, but blame Obama for as much as possible. Sigh.

This whole thing makes me so annoyed with politics and really annoyed with people who can't keep an open mind to a different approach. Obama hasn't even been President for 5 months, did you expect everything to be perfect?

Social Constructs.  

Posted by Jessica

I am thinking a post about the social construction that is race is in order! I am sure a lot of you who read this blog have no idea what I am talking about and that is precisely why I must write about it. It will open up a whole new world to you. Give me a few days to figure out how to explain it and present it.

Mother Teresa Quote of the Week.  

Posted by Jessica in

A friend of mine had an amazing quote by Mother Teresa up on her quote of the week last week. In case you haven't realized, Mother Teresa has many many good quotes, so I would like to introduce a new feature on my blog: Mother Teresa Quote of the Week.

When I run out of Mother Teresa quotes, I think I'll move to Martin Luther King Jr., then Gandhi, JFK, and so on and so forth, in no particular order, mind you. If you have any suggestions, be it a person, or a specific quote, drop it in the comments. I have a huge collection of quotes and have always found comfort in them.

Let's start out with a Mother Teresa classic and one quote we should all live by.

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."

Growing up in the Mormon Church, I heard talks and lessons all the time about not judging people. I suspect a lot of people growing up active in a religion heard similar admonitions. But still, it's so difficult to not judge. I suspect it's one of those battles we never win.

Social Networking Etiquette  

Posted by Jessica in ,

I joined Myspace several years ago and found it a great way to communicate with friends and family. I was usually on the sidelines observing the Myspace drama that enveloped friends and every so often, likely rarely, found myself caught up in the drama with friends over top 8, 16, or 24 friends placement, etc. There was other drama, but it usually revolved over friends placement. I thought it was so silly that friends would fight, friendships end, and time wasted over these silly fights. But still, it was pretty lame when you had thoughtfully placed a friend at a certain position expecting reciprocation and finding none.

Then Facebook came along. I joined and knew very few people. I had about 42 friends for a few years until more and more people starting joining, now I am at 274 and feeling pretty good about it! I've met a lot of people through Facebook that I would have never known without it!

I've started enjoying Facebook more and more as each year passes. A cleaner look than Myspace, no spam, fun features and such made it a great tool to meet new friends, become closer with existing friends, and all sorts of goodies that Facebook offers. I log onto Myspace once or twice a day to see if I have any new comments or mail, but I am always logged onto Facebook if my laptop is on, it is that integral to my life!

And yet, just as the drama with Myspace came to be, so has the drama of Facebook. A friend request goes unanswered, a friend request is answered and then you are deleted as a friend, etc.

With the advent of social networking, a social networking etiquette has been created. The etiquette is continually evolving with new features being added to websites all of the time. A great feature on Facebook is the "ignore" feature.

For instance, I have some Facebook friends who post things all of the time. It tends to clog up my news feed. So, some of them have been placed on ignore. This means I don't get their updates in my news feed, but we are still friends. Another reason why this feature is great is when I am friends with someone who has radically different political beliefs than my own. I enjoy hearing opposing views, but not obnoxious uninformed ones, so some friends have been placed on ignore to keep my sanity level in check! I feel that a lot of people aren't aware of this feature and can be too quick to delete someone as a friend. This is unfortunate because feelings are hurt and it is really just so unnecessary to delete someone that could be placed on ignore.

We live in an age with amazing technology that has opened doors we never dreamed about 5, 10, or 50 years ago. With the blessings of technology comes the responsibility to remember etiquette. This is something for us all to remember, myself included.

John Edwards Speaks to University of New Hampshire  

Posted by Jessica

Watch the first 30 seconds and see if you can spot someone familiar. LOL.

Animals and Humans.  

Posted by Jessica in ,

Did any of you watch Oprah on Friday? It was an amazing show demonstrating the bonds between humans and animals, and also animals and animals. There were many touching segments, but my favorite was the first.

The first segment dealt with a program wherein prisoners train dogs to be service animals to Veterans of the Iraq and/or Afghanistan wars. I've seen similar programs and they are all fantastic, so I was not surprised to see yet another program that is amazing. You can check out the program here.

I have a particular interest in the criminal justice system. It stems from my early college career when I almost majored in criminal justice. Despite not majoring in it, I took many classes including Criminal Justice 101, Juvenile Deliquency, Criminology, as well as many Sociology classes which dealt with criminology.

One of the first things I learned in my classes, almost all of which were taken at BYU-Idaho, was that our prison system has many many problems. It attempts, very poorly I might add, to rehabilitate people who have never been habilitated, it teaches criminals to be better criminals, and often times turns addicts into worse addicts by allowing them to be introduced to different drugs.

But, it's through programs, such as Puppies Behind Bars, programs that allow inmates to get education, programs that teach prisoners skills, and other similar programs are vitally important to the prisoners and society.