Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Blessings

Thanksgiving with Family and Friends
Seeing all the posts on Facebook about what people are grateful for these past few days, I too appreciate all the abundance in my life.  I have loved the warmth of family and friends, the funny stories that made tears rolls down my face as I laughed without restraint and the shared memories of dear friends and family who are no longer with us, but still live in our hearts.  This year, Thanksgiving was extra special, because some friends I haven't seen for forty years, Chris Arpon and Ron Macabeo, came to my house to share our Thanksgiving dinner and help celebrate my brother, Marty's birthday.

Uncle Marty with best friends, Chris and Ron

Uncle Marty, is a very extraordinary human being.  Moving outside his comfort zone this year, he sat in the Arcadia Council room and supported me as I spoke before the Arcadia City Council when the Mayor elected to bring an anti LGBT organization, Focus on the Family, to his Community Breakfast.    Marty joined us at 6:30 am to wave a rainbow flag outside the Community breakfast where we protested the Focus of the Family speaker.  He likes to cook and often delivers some delicious meals to my home . . . .cooking with love as our mother taught us. And Uncle Marty and his family have stood by Aiden's side cheering him on and loving him unconditionally.

I hope all of you have an Uncle Marty in your life, who expresses his love and acceptance in all that he does and quietly gives  in ways that speak volumes on how much he cares.  I am so thankful for my brother and his amazing heart . . . . he is a gift that I treasure not only at Thanksgiving, but all year long.  Thank you, Uncle Marty . . . . . 

Uncle Marty supporting his nephew, Aiden!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

PFLAG National Convention

The Capitol Dome

Five years ago, when I walked into my first PFLAG meeting, I was a scared and uncertain mother filled with a heavy heart.  I was told at that meeting, I had entered a community that would guide, support and love me through my journey.  I didn't see how that was possible, but today I know with all my heart that this statement was the absolute truth.

Last week, I traveled to Washington DC to be with over 250 other individuals who were part of the PFLAG organization across the nation.  Some were parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals, others were family and friends who wanted to make this world better for the LGBT community.  All welcomed me as a first time attendee with open arms and an open heart.  I sat in amazement of their courage, their passion and their unwavering commitment to equality.

A New PFLAG Friend

On the first day of the conference I participated in Lobby Day. I walked the halls of the US senate office, meeting with Senator Feinstein's legislative assistant.  I met with Congressmen Brad Sherman and Henry Waxman thanking them for their support of the LGBT community.  I also met with my congressman's legislative assistant, where we received a very tepid, and short reception.  I don't think he is getting my vote in the future.

The highlights of this trip were shaking Dr. Jill Biden's hand, listening to Congressman Barney Frank speak, laughing at Betty DeGeneres' (Ellen's mom) humor and seeing three students from Opportunities for Learning & LifeWorks, Luna, Josh and Chris, magically transform before my eyes into individuals with passionate and confident voices.  I was also honored to be elected to the PFLAG National Board of Directors where I will serve the next three years.

OFL Students and Staff

I left DC determined to step to the next level of my advocacy and leadership.  I may not know what I will be doing, nor how I will be doing it, but I do know why . . . . it is for the Aidens, the Marys and the Stefens of the world who need to know that they deserve to live a life of joy, love, gratitude and contribution.  This has always been my dream for my children, but now it is my dream for all the LGBT children around the world.

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