Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I'm bringing it up

So about that equal sign thing...yeah, let's talk about that. I got on Facebook yesterday to see lots of equal signs. Then I noticed several people posting links to statements from the LDS church and the Catholic church. Then I saw signs of a man and woman. Then inequality signs, and all I can feel is a pit in my stomach. Do I find comfort in the statements from my church? Not really, if I am being honest. I guess this is why they say to never discuss religion or politics. This is why all Americans advocate for separation of church and state...or do we? What is separation of church and state and does it even exist? I attended Texas Tech University for my graduate degree. They pray at meetings sometimes. They have a Christmas Tree and Christmas lights every year. It is a state funded school. I know I'm in Texas, and things are a little different down here so no one minds. However, this would never have been okay in St. Louis.

If I am being honest, there are several things that influence the way I interact with others. My race, culture, family of origin, economic status, economic status of my parents, education level, personality, friends, my husband, therapy clients, and religion are among them. If I pretend that these things don't impact me, I would be lying. I would consider myself a religious and spiritual person. Religion and spirituality are a huge part of how I see the world. How I see the world determines how I feel about political issues. Religion can never be separated from politics. End. Of. Story.

So, when your religion produces a public statement about a political view, what does that mean for you? I don't know. Does this mean that I have to agree with the political view? I have seen people on Facebook feeds question the loyalty or conviction of church members of both the LDS and Catholic churches if they support gay marriage. That seems judgmental and way out of line.

Now, I do not understand the workings of homosexuality. I don't know if it is biological, emotional, mental, and/or developmental. But it is real. It doesn't make sense to me that a man should sexually desire a man (or a woman desire a woman) when physically a man's penis was made to fit in a woman's vagina for the purpose to procreate. I personally know the joy that comes with a sexual relationship in a heterosexual marriage. I know the joy of creating and birthing a child that is made up of mine and my husband's genes. So, I have followed the commandments and I can tell others that this has made me happy. But I can't legislate someone else to live a life similar to mine. Isn't that a theocracy?

I have worked with homosexual and transgender clients. They are really not that different from people who identify as heterosexuals. They struggle with depression and anxiety just the same. They long for loving and accepting relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. And as I sit with them in my office, my heart breaks because they never chose this. Many of us struggle with problems we didn't choose but we all have to live with the cards we have been dealt. One person wrote on Facebook about how the equality of marriage movement is about gaining acceptance and not as much about equal rights. I agree. Imagine if you were marginalized. Imagine that you found the love of your life in the same sex and you don't know why you desire that, but you do. Imagine that someone says, "you can't get married because your relationship will desecrate the sanctity of my relationship." If you are married, imagine that someone said that you couldn't marry your spouse. What would your life be like then? You can say it is different because you are heterosexual and you are obeying the commandments but I'm asking you to only think about feelings for just a minute. I'm no spokesperson for gay marriage but I truly wonder how many people have even made a true attempt in their minds, in their hearts, for one second, to walk in the shoes of a homosexual.

I learned a lot about myself in my two years of graduate school. I became painfully aware of what a privileged life I have lived. I'm white and was raised in an upper-class neighborhood. I've met with people of many different races, religions, economic classes, etc. It has opened my heart and my mind. In addition to my work experience, I married a man who was born in Mexico. So now I'm way more aware of race than I used to be. The funny thing is, I'm still not that aware. The other day, I asked Isaac, "Do you think people look at us when we are out in public because we are an interracial couple?" Isaac emphatically answered, "Of course, I see it all the time." Being white and never really having been discriminated against, I had not even noticed. And to be honest, if people looked at us, I thought they probably just thought we were a cute couple. But racism is real and alive in ways that many people don't see. I'm sure I will see it more as my children attend school and grow up. Why would I ever want anyone to feel marginalized or that they are not afforded the same opportunities for ANY reason ,be it race, sexual orientation, religion or the like?

One argument I do not understand is that allowing gay marriage destroys the sanctity of the institution of marriage. The definition of sanctity is "the quality or condition of being considered sacred." My marriage is sacred because Isaac and I were married before God. My marriage is sacred because Isaac and I made a commitment to each other for eternity. My marriage is sacred because every day Isaac and I make sacrifices for the good of one another. We sacrifice our time, our wants, our money, and our pride for the betterment of our union and family. NO ONE can take that away from us because we decide EVERYDAY if our marriage is sacred. I see heterosexual couples enter marriage frivolously.  Divorce is rampant whether you are Mormon, Christian, or any other religion. We desecrate marriage when we lie, cheat, disrespect our spouse, or allow our addictions to take priority over our families. There are many ways one can desecrate a marriage, so I refuse to blame homosexuals for the desecration of traditional marriage. Heterosexuals have done it to themselves. Each individual is responsible for the way he/she treats her relationships. No one else is to blame for that.

Another thing I don't understand about the "sacred" argument is, then why don't we have laws punishing those who have sex outside the bonds of marriage? That is a doctrinal belief. Sex is sacred. Sex creates life. Sex is a beautiful expression of love and union. But two people having a one night stand doesn't take away the sacredness of my sexual relationship with my husband. That is their choice. Now I wouldn't recommend having a one night stand but in the end they have the right to act according to their own conscience.

I didn't write this to change others' opinions or political beliefs, and I would love to hear others opinions. I just wanted to discuss some of the thoughts in my own head. I believe that true religion requires charity and in my eyes charity requires empathy. So regardless of political beliefs, I hope that each person is truly seeking to understand why this movement might be so important to a gay couple.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tribute to Buttercup

Well, I had originally intended to write a post laden with lines of humor to portray the events surrounding the recent addition to the Lucero household. But alas, my post now has different tone because our beloved Buttercup died today.

Isaac works at a feed yard and they have no use for calves there, so if a mama cow is pregnant and gives birth while in the feedlot, they have to get rid of the calf. For this reason, Isaac was able to bring Buttercup home. Isaac had actually pulled the calf from his mother. Unfortunately, Buttercup was never able to nurse because his mother didn't get anywhere near him after the birth. So, when Isaac brought him home we gave him some colostrum replacer. At first Buttercup had some trouble sucking on the bottle but he seemed to get the hang of it once he got hungry enough. On his second day, Buttercup didn't walk as wobbly and I gave him the bottle myself. I had to throw my leg over him to make sure he didn't get away while I tried to feed him. He would sometimes bite down on the nipple and try to yank the bottle away. We wrestled a bit, but eventually he would start to suck and drank up the bottle pretty good. It was kind of cute how he would rub his head against me. It was also disgusting because cow saliva is pretty thick. He also had a purple tongue which I thought looked kind of gross. But he would kind of follow me, and that was pretty cute.

Well, today we went out to feed Buttercup but he was pretty weak. Isaac was able to get him up on all fours but he wouldn't eat and fell over. I went out to try to feed him again just a couple hours later only to find that he was in the same spot and hadn't moved. His breathing was labored and he looked weak. I tried to get him to stand up by pulling his tail and basically his whole bottom came up. I tried to lift his torso up but to no avail. I knew we were losing Buttercup. When we got home from church, Isaac went once more to check on him. Buttercup was dead.

My brother asked me if I cried but I didn't. We were raising Buttercup to eventually sell or butcher him, so I knew I had to be careful with becoming emotionally attached. However, this experience has helped me gain a greater respect for animal life. I was raised by a mother who did not like animals, so the only pets we had were rabbits that had to stay in outdoor cages. Now, I have two horses and a dog, and I did have a cow. I see why Isaac likes working with animals so much. It is definitely not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of time, energy, patience, and sacrifice. Sometimes when Isaac leaves early to work he asks if I will feed the horses. I know you might think, "feeding horses can't be that big of deal" but when it is cold or windy, sometimes I think, "I wish I didn't have to feed those animals." And horses are big animals and there was a time when I felt that the horses were no longer respecting me so I had to carry a broom out with me to make sure they didn't get too close. The horses would start to rub up on me thinking I had food for them. But every time I walk outside and feel the air, I always feel better. And each time I would go to feed buttercup, I would have to change my clothes cause he would probably rub his snot all over me. And when I came back in the house I would have to be careful to change and disinfect before handling my baby. And when eating, Buttercup didn't just devour  his bottle. I once spent over an hour trying to get him to take his bottle. It felt like a had another baby. Well, the point of me sharing that isn't for pity but to show that caring for animals is a huge responsibility, and even if the intent is to eventually eat the animal, the time, energy, and care given isn't that different from the time, energy, and care you give to a pet. I have more respect for animals now but that doesn't make me want to become a vegetarian. I have nothing against vegetarians or vegans who abstain for humane reasons but I'm not sure they can judge caretakers of animals who later sell or eat those animals. It makes me reflect on what I have heard about Native Americans and their relationships with animals. I have gratitude in my heart for these creatures and greater sense of responsibility and respect toward all life.

I will miss my little Buttercup, but I hope we get another chance soon to try to raise a little calf.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A trip down south

So, Wyatt and I had the opportunity to go see my mom and my brother, his wife, and his newborn daughter. 

Here is the crew!

Because the flight wasn't full, Wyatt got to ride in his car seat on the plane. He behaved for the most part. He got a little squirmy towards the end, but at least there were no breakdowns.

Wyatt and Kayla became instant friends. Wyatt is double her weight, and I think these pictures show it!

  I'm not sure whether Wyatt was trying to cuddle with Kayla or eat her, but either way  it is inappropriate to  spoon with or bite your cousin. 

 This is my adorable niece with Grandma Jean. I love that little smile!

Kayla makes some great faces!

Wyatt got to take a bath in a pink tub and use Kayla's cool duck towel. Pretty cute!

My mom put this headband on Wyatt to show me that it will fit Kayla when she gets bigger. 
This reminds me of Chiquita Banana!

I love this photo of my baby!

Wyatt wanted to play airplane with Kayla...I loved that game as a kid.

And then, he had enough of her babbling.

She didn't like his attitude, so she let him know that two can play at that game.

One day we drove down to South Padre and decided to pay the beach a visit. 
Too bad the water was ice cold and the winds were 30 mph. 

This is Heather and I on the beach.

So, we took it as an opportunity for a photo shoot with some very cooperative babies!

Wyatt seemed so natural with his arm around little Kayla!

I think that Wyatt is thinking "Where's the milk I asked for? Bring me my drink!"

"A water bottle will do!"

"Who bought these ridiculously large but fabulous sunglasses?!"

Here. Wyatt is trying to peak through my nursing cover. Wyatt never wants to miss a moment of fun.

My little man and his mama

"I love the sun!"

"Let's turn this into a dance party! Everybody do the sprinkler!"

"Um, yes. I will take another drink."

"Yolo! Spring break 2013. South Padre Island. What up?"

Wyatt loves his grandma!

Don't mess with Texas...or Wyatt!

I think my son is just the cutest thing ever!

Take a trip back to the 80's with the sideways cap.

Cutest. picture. ever. 

Second. cutest. picture. ever.

"People watching is the best on the beach. It's like a cooking show for babies."

I love the way he looks at her. He loves her!

Kayla and Aunt Rebecca

"You talkin' to me?!"

 Family picture at the beach!

Some pics of the kids in their St. Patrick's Day outfits.

Wyatt: "And, this is exactly why I don't want to watch chick flicks with you."

Kayla: "I just hate when Rachel and Ross break up!"

Wyatt: (to himself) "Just remain calm. Agree with anything she says."

Wyatt and his pretty grandma!

 Some close ups 

 Wyatt and Uncle Brett


Wyatt: "You had me at hello."

We had a fabulous time with Grandma and Brett and his beautiful family. 
I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful family. I can't wait till the next family visit!