Posted by Heather , 11.11.2015 11:20 AM

Image result for princess bride inigo go back to the beginning

This is my emotional response to the recent policy change.  It's been a long hard week and I still feel like I'm reeling a little bit.  I feel kind of like Inigo did at this point in the movie The Princess Bride. I have a hard time expressing myself logically when I'm in an emotional state, so I'm not even going to attempt to explain all the reasons why the policy doesn't make sense to me logically.  Here's a blogpost by a friend that pretty much sums up what I think in my mind..if you're interested.

What I want to write about here is more of what I'm feeling in my heart, so it's not really up for debate.

My response to the recent policy change is complex.  I have felt a whole gamut of emotions I never could have imagined feeling as a young idealistic twenty-something.  There have been some rocky patches in my journey as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but this one is especially disturbing and unsettling.

A week ago Sunday we blessed our newest sweet baby, Lizzie.  It was a idyllic fall day.  We were surrounded by our closest family and friends. The sacrament meeting was very inspiring with heartfelt testimonies and strong spirit.  I felt very planted and at peace with my understanding of the gospel and commitment to the Church. I felt excited and grateful to have our new baby officially named and blessed and recorded on the records of the Church. 

Today I’m feeling very torn and unsettled.  The new policy change and the way it was “leaked” to the general membership and public has stirred up so much dissonance in my heart.  My heart goes out to the LDS LGBT community to the point that I feel guilty about the blessings that are so easily available to me as a heterosexual member. I can follow my heart and love those I am naturally attracted to, and enjoy the sweetest experiences of building a family that is recognized and supported by the church I love.  I’m not sure, but if the policy change had happened a week ago, I may have made the decision to not have our baby blessed. How can I enjoy these blessings so effortlessly when they are being denied my brothers and sisters?  Looking back, the experience of last week seems a little tainted for me now, and that makes me very very sad.

When we adopted Emma and Eli we were thrown into the world of interracial families.  I was and still am very naive about race relations in this country, but I have really striven to learn more and understand the best I can how to support my children of color.  A term that I have run into again and again is “white privilege.” I have come to realize that I have in fact been a benefactor of this privilege my entire life. As I’ve come to learn about how my children’s experiences will be different than mine because of their race I’ve come to really resent “white privilege,” and have even felt guilty for the easy road I have been given in life.

Now I’m finding that I’m also guilty of “straight privilege.”  I will never be faced with the heart wrenching choices that my dear LDS LGBT brothers and sisters are faced with. This blog post articulates the dilemma so well. 

The least I can do is seek for understanding and commit to being a supporter of those who find themselves in this difficult place.  I understand the church’s commitment to defending traditional family.  The greatest blessings of my life come from the relationships I share with my husband, children, and family.  I get it. I don’t understand why the children of same-sex parents would be denied these blessings universally until they reach the age of 18.  It feels very harsh to me, and it seems to be based on some pretty unfavorable assumptions about the families the policy will affect the most. 

I appreciated Elder Christofferson's brother, Tom's reaction to the policy change.

I can understand logically how one could argue it protects children, but at the end of the day it just doesn’t make sense to me.  A better approach seems to have local leaders work closely with the individual families involved to determine what would be the best course to take for their children.  Children can handle complexity. I’ve seen it in my own adopted children.  Being separated from their birth families is a difficult part of their story they will always have to deal with, but we can find a path together.  I can’t help but think this is also the case for children being raised by same-sex parents.

I have been so thankful for and encouraged by the accepting and inviting tone the brethren have sought to portray recently, but it feels like empty rhetoric in light of this policy change and the way it was shared with the membership of the church.  I wish that it would have been done over the pulpit at conference.  I want to hear it directly from each of the twelve apostles that ratified it. I want to hear about the process and reasoning and revelation involved in making this decision. I want to be taught doctrine that will help us all see the path ahead more clearly.

At the end of the day I still have a testimony of Jesus Christ and His atonement.  I know Heavenly Father and Mother live and love me.  I know the Gospel has been restored.  I will hold on to this knowledge and wait as patiently as I can for further knowledge and understanding. I feel very unsure about how to teach my children to understand all of this when I certainly don’t.  I hate being in a position where I don’t feel safe trusting the leadership of the church.  I will continue to follow the best I can but I honestly do feel betrayed and a little embarrassed by this new policy.  And I feel REALLY guilty and uneasy about feeling this way.  I feel comfort that it is just policy at this point. I don’t understand how this policy reflects true doctrine, but I can hold on and continue to search for understanding.  I can reach out to those who are hurting.  I can strive to follow the example of the Savior.  

For some reason this clip from "The Princess Bride"  keeps playing over and over in my mind. Only the first part where Inigo is talking about waiting for Vinzini just until Fezzik comes. The quality of the clip is not so great, sorry.

I guess I'm feeling a little drunk and lost and all I know is that if I go back to what I know and stay there the answers will come. I just hope it's sooner than later and we don't have to wait for generations for change.

The words of the civil rights song keep ringing in my mind,  “We shall overcome, we shall overcome. We shall overcome someday.  Deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome someday…”

I know that through the atonement all can be made right someday for each of us, and our children.

Two Weeks in Sunnyvale, an iPhone Photo Dump

Posted by Heather , 6.17.2013 1:51 AM

Well, we've officially been here two weeks.  Miraculously, we are pretty much unpacked and settled.  In some ways it's felt like forever since we've been "home" in Utah,  but in some ways here is starting to feel like home.  Our house especially is feeling home-ish.  We're finding that wherever we all are together, with our stuff and the sounds and smells we generate--really is home.

It was such a whirlwind right at the end as we were preparing to leave that I feel like a lot happened without being processed or documented in any way.  I decided to do a quick photo dump to give a feel for what's been going on.


Honestly, this has been one of the most difficult experiences for me in almost every way.  Dismantling our house and saying goodbye to all the people we love the most has left me physically and emotionally beat. Now that we are here, it's getting easier...and I'm sleeping more and not bending and twisting and lifting everything we own all day, but I still feel the huge void left by the family and friends back in Utah.  I wasn't expecting to be so tender.  I've never really gotten homesick much before.  Maybe it has to do with being pregnant...

ANYWAY, on to the pictures and update.

The last few weeks and days before leaving we had a whole slew of performances and programs.

We had our last Asante performance.  Love these kids and families!
Emma's group, aka " The Littles" should see their rendition of Jambo Bwana

Eli's "girlfriend," Izzy....such a sweetheart. We're hoping she really will wait for him.

Emma's "soul sister"

Eli drumming with the boys.  He didn't love the drum at first, but he's gotten really good at it.

The kids also finished up their second season of ballet lessons with their performance of "Hansel and Gretl."  Emma's class was woodland creatures, and Eli was one of Hansel's friends and a gingerbread boy.  They both did such a great job.

Their cheering section on the big night.
Miss Shauna, their teacher
Max had a very sweet preschool graduation.  He's loved his teachers and has learned a lot this year.  Emma and Eli also had an excellent end of the year program, but the auditorium was too dark and the pictures didn't really work out.

A lot of work by a lot of people went into getting our house cleaned up and fixed up, ready to rent.  It seemed like it would never be ready, but after multiple trips to the dump and DI and the help of an awesome moving crew and Relief Society cleaning crew, not to mention all those who watched kids and helped me organize,  it finally looked like this:

Love this yard...

Just finishing up...
The carpet cleaner guy also cleaned out a few of our worst vents for us. This was from ONE of the cold air returns.  I warned him it would be bad, but even he was amazed.  "Wow, it's like a dollar store," was his reaction, I believe.

In the midst of cleaning and packing and performing, we also started saying our goodbyes to friends and family.

Not sure how we are surviving without these guys.

The "Cul-de-sac Gang" 
The "Three Stooges," who are impossible to get a good picture of. :)

I got to go on one last "Mother's Day" flings with my sisters, mom and aunts.  It was such a fun day that ended way too fast.

We had a goodbye party with friends from the neighborhood and ward, complete with yummy food, swimming, a pinata, and early birthday presents.

We squeezed in a Memorial Day celebration and a Shuler family goodbye party that I forgot to get pictures of.

I love the tradition of visiting graves.
Said goodbye to these cousins. (Sorry the picture is hard to see.)

Oh how we love our Coco and Mia! and Summer and Jeremy and Mitch and Aria.

A couple hours before hitting the road we got to see Baby Tess be blessed. 

The beautiful Johnson family.  I want to eat that sweet baby.

Said goodbye to cousin Davis who's on his way to Peru.
Love you Elder Rutter!
There were a few tears (Heather G., you're fired ).  Then we hit the road and drove all night long, beating the moving truck by a couple hours.

The moving guys unloaded our stuff and left us sitting in a maze of boxes.  And here we are!  

We worked on unpacking for a couple of days on our own, then Team Rutter arrived and helped us finish the job.  Addie and Kristen are awesome, and are constantly saving us when we are in over our heads.  We are so thankful for them! 

The kids are excited about their new rooms.  Emma now has her own room (that doubles as a guest room for all of you that come visit. Please come, please come).  It has a butterfly theme that turned out quite cute.  The butterflies on the ceiling flutter when the breeze comes through the window.

The boys have a "planet" room that glows in the dark.  Very cool.

I'm excited about our nautical themed bathroom.  I've always loved nautical themes, but they seemed so irrelevant in landlocked Utah.  We're rocking it now.

There are many things I really like about this house.  It has all white paint, which I thought I would hate, but it's actually very bright and cheery. I definitely like it better than beige, but would probably still choose some color.  We have a great little playroom off the kitchen that opens in to a nice backyard.  It is too small for two people, but there is a master bathroom that I quite enjoy NOT sharing with the kids.  And, we LOVE having a piano in the family room.  The kitchen is nice and spacious too, with a very efficient dishwasher.  All in all, it is a great little house in a nice neighborhood. 

We live a couple blocks from this park which shares the block with the school we hope Emma and Eli will be attending.
The neighborhood and ward seem quite nice.  It is amazing how quiet and sunny it is here.  It is very pleasant.  I know there must be people living in the houses all around us, but so far we've only really made friends with the neighbors across the street.  They are an awesome family from Ireland and we love hanging out with them. They helped us celebrate Emma's birthday a couple days ago.

She had a Lego friends cake.
The kids blew up water balloons and played on the slip-n-slide.
Emma got lots of fun presents.  She was especially excited for the Legos Friends and MP3 player she got. It seems even this little bit of technology has ushered in the beginning of the teenage years.  She will hardly put that thing down! Scary.

Of all the awesome restaurants around here, she chose to go to Carl's Jr. for her birthday dinner...yum.

To celebrate Emma's big day, and to  reward ourselves for finally getting the garage cleaned out enough to park in, we decided to go to the beach on Saturday.  We have the goal to have as many adventures as possible while here.

We went to a bay beach, as opposed to the ocean with hopes that it would be a little more little kid friendly.  Crown Memorial Beach had a cool little aquarium/museum, and the beach was nice...but it was WINDY and we were not well-prepared.  While packing our stuff, I was imagining basking in the sun on the sparkling sand.  In reality, we were more huddled under our towels and blankets trying to keep from freezing.

After a bit of that the kids got brave and ventured in the water.  The sand and water were quite warm, despite the whipping wind.  JT dug a big hole which he and Emma built a wall around.  Inevitably the tide came in and wiped out their hole, but made a nice swimming pool for Max.  All in all, it was a great day and a good learning experience.  We'll be sure to bring warmer clothes next time!  and full size shovels and buckets for some more serious sandcastle construction.

Wow, you must really love us if you are still reading.  Sorry this is so long.  I'm still trying to figure out how to pace this whole blogging thing.

Till next time....


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