Friday, April 10, 2015

What Would I Do? Current Day Question #1

Bruce Jenner, an Olympic Athlete, a reality tv star is having an interview with Diane Sawyer airing on April 21, 2015 on the show 20/20.  It is being rumored that he is going to announce that he is transitioning from a man to a woman.  I believe that is truly what the interview is about, and I have thought this news was a long time in coming as I have watched his appearance change over the years.

There will be a lot of people laughing behind their hands, and some outright guffawing and making jokes about Bruce leading up to, and during the interview. So I find this is a good time to ask the question "What would I do?".  Or maybe the question to all of us should be "What SHOULD we do?"

Why would a famous, good looking, athletic man CHOOSE to become a woman?  I'm not going to even imagine any logical answer that declares that he "feels"he  has a choice.  We don't even have to consider the religious vs LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) rights or wrongs, because I don't believe HE feels he has a choice.  Let's discuss some terms I have researched here:

  • A cross-dresser is someone who wears clothes and accessories particularly associated with the opposite gender.
  • A transvestite is also a cross-dresser.  Trans = Cross, Vestite = Dresser
  • A transgender is someone whose gender assignment (body parts) do not match their expression.  
  • A transsexual is someone who has actually changed or started to change their sexual identity to match their gender identity.  
  • Someone who is intersexed has a mixture of male and female anatomy.  This could be as a hermaphrodite which has an anatomical structure that is part male and part female,or it could be as someone who has the definite body structure of one gender but the chromosomal make up of the other gender.  
  • A eunuch is most frequently thought of as a man who has been castrated.  I find it interesting however to read in Matthew 19:12  For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Another question that might come up is; Does this mean that Bruce Jenner, or other transgenders are gay? Gender identity is a brain occurrence not a sexual occurrence. It is often said "Gender is between the ears and sex is between the legs."  Transgenders usually begin to realize they are different around age 5.  They recognize they don't fit with those from their own gender, but identify more with those of the opposite gender.  Certainly sexual interest doesn't start at that young an age.

 I don't know if Bruce Jenner or anyone else should try to be a gender opposite of the body parts they have, but I do know that it is none of my business.  I think we know that Jesus Christ would not mock, laugh at, tell jokes about, or guffaw at someone who is in obvious pain.  It isn't up to us to determine if Bruce Jenner wants to be the way he is by choice (though I can't imagine why he would want any notoriety like this if there wasn't some inner voice telling him to risk everything for this internal need).  Is the internal need a physical one, could there have been a mix up in his inner workings?  Is it because he had an emotional childhood that for some reason caused him to need to be a woman?

Many people say, "This has to be a choice, God wouldn't do something like this."  God has allowed us to suffer all kinds of trials and challenges.  I'm sure he is so saddened by someone who is born with all kinds of problems at birth.  Some babies that I know were born with heart defects, I have known a baby that was born with the brain outside the head, some are born with Down Syndrome. I don't know why babies are born less than perfect but I do know that God doesn't cause it, he just allows things to occur naturally.  I find it interesting that the scripture in Matthew says some eunuchs were so born from their mother's womb.  This seems to tell me that God knows that these things are possible.

I am not a Dr. or a theologist.  This is just my blog giving my opinion.  I have done some study and have learned that we all start out as females in the uterus. In months 2-3 there is a hormone wash that determines our gender and our anatomy.  It can be disrupted and can create problems. How can it be disrupted?  Probably a multitude of ways, the mother may be on medication that interrupts the hormone flow, there could be an accident or trauma that causes it.  Again, not being a Dr I can't even imagine the number of things that can happen in the miraculous 9 months of gestation.  The point is, most of us can't imagine it, and therefore we shouldn't judge.......and we certainly shouldn't mock, joke, or point fingers.

When you are watching the program take a look at it from a different perspective, "There but for the grace of God go I".  Would you laugh at or mock someone who was born with no limbs?  Would you laugh or mock someone who had an emotionally scathed childhood?   Would you laugh or mock someone with a mental condition?  Would you laugh, mock, or throw stones if Jesus was in the room with you saying "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

Well I guess it is pretty apparent what I will do, so What will YOU do?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

If you have a bad day, hug your Olaf, and Let it Go!

Before Grampa Bud died of lung cancer (Large Cell Neuro-Endocrine Carcinoma) he kept reminding us of the money he had been saving in a jar at home for his grandchildren's Christmas gifts.  He thought it was about $300 by now.  He was having some trouble remembering things, but he always seemed to remember about that jar of money and wanted us to be sure to look for it.  

As his cancer was progressing, his six year old granddaughter, Leah, who lives in Utah sent her Olaf with her Dad to California "so you can hold him and feel better".   He really did find some contentment with the Olaf wrapped up in his arms.  


Papa Bud with Olaf  11/14/2014
One night shortly before Grampa passed away the Olaf was put in the corner of the room so he could see it.  In the morning it was with him in his bed, wrapped in his arms.  Everyone in the house was asked if they moved it for him, no one had.  He had side rails up so he couldn't move from the bed even if he did have the strength, which he didn't.  So there was no earthly explanation how that Olaf ended up enveloped in his arms, but there he was.

After Grampa died Leah got her Olaf back filled with hugs from Grampa.  The grandchildren, particularly the oldest, Hailey, wondered what could be done with the money in Grampa's coin jar that would be a memorial for him.   It was decided that it would be used to buy Olaf's for children with Cancer.  The obvious reason was that Grampa had Cancer and he loved children.  What a wonderful way to honor Grampa/Papa Bud.  
Leah with her Olaf

Leah and Dax with their Olaf's

Dax with his Olaf


When we found the coin jar it didn't have as much money as he thought it did.  It only had $148.34.  After sharing with friends and family they thought it was a wonderful way to honor Raymond "Bud" Trosper too.  There was enough money donated to purchase 80 Olaf's.  It was decided to donate the Olaf's to Loma Linda Pediatric Oncology patients with a little note that says "If you have a bad day, hug your Olaf, and LET IT GO!" 

All of Bud's grandchildren Hailey (16), Madyson (14), Leah (6), Grace (4), Jane (3), Dax (almost 2), and Lucas (1) will cherish forever the Olaf's they got from Grampa/Papa Bud and the memory of sharing Olaf's with all the children who get the special hugs from their Olaf's too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What WOULD i do? Historical Question #1

I know there is a television show asking the question "What would you do?",  also many people see the anagram WWJD or What would Jesus do.  We know we are supposed to follow Jesus example and he gave us many parables, admonitions, exemplary miracles to teach us what we should do.  Another thing is that history gives us the opportunity to look backwards knowing the "WHOLE" story in hindsight and we can learn and imagine how we would respond to certain consequential events.  It is what we should do, examine what we would want our behavior to be in these situations. We may face the same or similar situations in our lives.  


A couple weeks ago as I was getting ready for church I watched a documentary on BYU television called TRUTH AND CONVICTION. There has not been a day pass since then that I have not considered this  significant presentation. 

I want to give some minimal background information to the story that created TRUTH AND CONVICTION. It was 1941 and Hitler had spent years responding to the fears and economy of the German people after World War I.  He built a powerful propaganda machine that told those in the country what they wanted to hear, then he cut off all access to a different truth.  Slowly Germans became isolated as a message of national unity was desirable.  As the brainwashing continued he was able to direct all the problems to the Jewish people. Without hearing any other information to the contrary some German people began to not only accept, but were grateful for an answer and solution to all their problems.  Of course some didn't believe, but they were taken care of, and so fear ensued and kept others from taking on the Nazi regime.  Friends began reporting friends and family so they wouldn't be questioned themselves as being treasonous.  


Many would not know or believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ("Mormon church") was functioning in Nazi Germany.  It was.  In Hamburg there was a 16 year old young man named Helmuth Huebner who was part of a small branch of the church.  He was a Boy Scout until Hitler banned the organization.  He and his friends joined Hitler's Youth.  He enjoyed the involvement, campouts, etc.  He and his friends became disenchanted when they saw the treatment of the Jews on Kristallnacht in 1938 when Jewish people were attacked in a 24 hour period.  The name "Crystal Night" was given because of the shards of glass all over the streets from broken windows of the shops owned  by Jewish merchants and homeowners.  


The propaganda machine worked through radio broadcasts.Radio broadcasts played home the Nazi ideals – national pride, patriotism, pride in Hitler, Aryan pride etc.   However, Germany was not immune from radio broadcasts from abroad and this proved a real issue for Hitler.Therefore, true to course, the Nazis made it a treasonable offense to listen to oversees  broadcasts. Anyone caught doing so faced a spell in a feared concentration camp and in the first year of the war alone, 1500 Germans were imprisoned for listening to London-based broadcasts.  


It is difficult to imagine how the gratitude of some German's that Hitler had been able to return the nation to a healthier economy, or the fear of being accused of treason and thrown into the dreaded concentration camps, or that your  friend or family member might become your enemy reporting you to the Nazi party for treason.  Helmuth was able to obtain a radio and connect it to BBC in London.  As he listened he realized that the information that was being given to fellow German countryman were half truths and outright lies.  He had always been taught the importance of truth and decided that he needed to share the truth.

He invited two of his friends who were also members of his church congregation to listen to the broadcasts with him.Karl Heinz-Schnibbe and Rudi Wobbe also were surprised at the differences in the BBC broadcasts and those things they heard from the national broadcasts  Helmuth determined he needed to disseminate the truth in the form of pamphlets and fliers.  He enlisted his friends to assist in putting the leaflets in mailboxes,on bulletin boards and in coat pockets.  They were very frightened doing this because they knew that this would be considered treason if they were caught.  Helmuth's early fliers just shared the differences in the BBC vs the Nazi radio broadcasts, but eventually he became bold in accusing Hitler and other Nazi leaders of being criminals.

The branch president/leader of the congregation Helmuth attended was an avid Nazi party member.  He had even posted signs on the church door forbidding Jews to enter.  Imagine how completely brainwashed people became. Or was the Branch President merely protecting the members of his congregation?  It's much easier to determine which side of the line we would stand on now with an understanding of the truth in hindsight.


What would I do if I was in the same situation in Nazi Germany?  Would I have even risked listening to BBC even if it was available?  Would I have challenged my church leader?  Would I have accepted the greater threat to myself, my family, friends, and congregation by distributing the truth?  What would I do if I found out my 16 year old son or grandson was involved in "treasonous" activities?


Helmuth and his friends, Karl and Rudi were discovered.  Karl and Rudi were imprisoned for five and ten years respectively, and Helmuth was sentenced to death.  He was beheaded as the youngest dissident to Hitler and the Nazi regime.  I would like to believe I would stand up for my beliefs like Helmuth, Karl, and Rudi, but without the gift of hindsight I don't know.

At first I was aghast to know that the Branch President and 5 other members of the congregation sided with the Nazi party, but how many German's were brainwashed by the almighty propaganda machine.  We know that the church encourages us to honor the laws of the nation in which we reside.   Also, is it possible that the Branch President chose to outwardly accept the Nazi party to protect his flock?  I do know that when Helmuth and the other boys were discovered it normally would have caused all of the church family to come under attack, and that didn't happen.  I don't know.  It isn't as simple as I thought initially. Again I think that I am so grateful I do not have to judge.  But I can wonder......What would I do?

Helmuth was beheaded on October 27, 1942 when he was 17 years old.  He asked to send 3 letters before he was executed, one is still in existence.  It said in part:

"I am very grateful to my Heavenly Father that my miserable life will come to an end tonight--I could not bear it any longer anyway.  My Father in Heaven knows that I have done nothing wrong. I know that God lives and He will be the Just Judge in this matter.  I look forward to seeing you in a better world!

Your friend and brother in the Gospel,

Helmuth

Helmuth Huebner is a new hero of mine as are his friends Rudi and Karl.  I have a deep admiration for them and their understanding of the importance of truth.  They lived by that understanding.  I hope I would be able to be that hero as well. Because of his example I will have a greater chance of doing so!!

What would you do?


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pondering

I am not a person who suffers many downs emotionally.  When I do have them however, I find they cause others as big an upheaval as they do me.

Remembering a time we were on the Bliss Family website and there was a picture posted of me with several family members. I was eight years old,  eight years old, and the thread about that picture was all about "I wonder what was wrong with Leslie because she isn't smiling and Leslie is always smiling."   When I was about 35 I remember someone else telling me something similar,  "Leslie, you are always smiling, I don't remember ever seeing you without a smile."  At our family reunion one year there wasn't a doubt when they awarded me with the "Pollyanna" award.  My sister, Lyn, tells me that she thinks of me when singing the song "Scatter Sunshine" because she believes the song fits me.    I am so grateful for all of these comments and I'm so grateful to my Father in Heaven for blessing me with a happy spirit.  But, guess what??!!  Some days you don't feel like smiling!!

Yep, that's true!! We know for sure when I was eight years old it happened, and there have been many more times than that I guarantee.  Social media along with trying to not keep things bottled up have let people in on my little secret more easily. I'm a little more open with my bumps and bruises along the way, especially if I think they will help someone else.  Sometimes I've wondered if I have said too much, and I have actually been chastised for it in some cases.  I am not a person,  however, that does things on impulse...ever.  So even if I am making a mistake it is a well thought out mistake not just "open mouth insert foot" sort of mistake.

That was just a little sidetrack, but for all you people out there who know positive people who always have a smile on their faces, don't let it rock your world if they need a break, want some space, or actually are not happy.  They will survive and so will you.

My world has tipped upside down since 1995.  I sent a newsletter out at Christmas that said "Our life is a little routine".  Please don't ever say that.  Our life was not boring it just hadn't changed a lot since the last Christmas letter.  Right after it was in the mail I think Heavenly Father said  "We  will just change it up a little for Leslie and her family."  Wow, for the last 19 years it has been anything but routine, we all the sudden found ourselves on a roller coaster ride.  I'm going to list just a few things that happened in the past 19 years... good and bad, and I'm not saying which is which, but you can probably figure it out:  Seven moves in three states, seven grandchildren, our three son's  marriages, eight jobs for me, Bud's loss of his lifetime career, depression, new job,  psychologists, marriage counselors, psychiatrists, loss of identity, bankruptcy, new homes, lowered hours and pay, house foreclosure, divorce, heart attacks, stroke, Lupus, parathyroidectomy, hysterectomy, scare of ovarian cancer, fibromyalgia, heart valve issues, degenerative back disease,  Large cell nueroendocrine carcinoma, dying, death, extended family members with addictions, death of a niece, guilt for not being capable for living up to vows at the altar, an illness creating undependability and guilt, dying, care giving, death, laying to rest, watching children and grandchildren grieve, mother going through care  giving and losing her second spouse, and the list could go on and on.  I don't pretend in any way that this list is in any way more horrendous than any one else's. We all could enumerate the things we go through and the list would be as long or longer.  My point is, there are those things in the list that bring a smile to my face every single day.....my kids and grand kids most especially.  I am so blessed to have the testimonies of God and the Savior to help me understand the "why's" of the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet.  But sometimes I have to back up and take a moment to breathe in BAD as well as the GOOD.

My friend and I have talked about how quickly we plant beautiful flowers on our pile of poop.  But sometimes you have to just stop and smell the poop.  Another friend and I talked about not just putting a band-aid on the wound.  It requires taking some time to  clean the wound out, find just what is really needed to heal it.

Funny I used this analogy because I just had some skin cancer removed from my leg in January before I went up to my Mom's to help her care for my step dad.  Even though I put polysporin and a band aid on it , it wasn't healing. I sent a picture of it to the Dermatologist who told me to stop the neosporin and put another medicine on it.  This helped, but soon i could tell the band aid was causing it to get infected so I stopped putting a band aid on it.  It was in the back of my leg so I didn't have to look at it so I chose next to ignore it. That didn't work either and at the end of my stay in SD I went back to the Dr. and he gave me some additional advise.  I won't say how invested I was in following that direction but I went back to my mom's in February after my step father passed with the sore still there and still infected. When I got home three weeks later I went back to the Dr. and he determined that the wound was still not healing correctly and gave me an antibiotic.  Three months have passed since the original surgery and I will tell you how happy I was to find that the scab finally fell off the other day, and the wound is looking much better.

This story ties into the way I usually treat my negative life events. Try to ignore it, when it doesn't go away go to the physician (a friend, Dr. or the Lord) for some advise, use the advise for awhile and when things don't seem to be working, ignore it again, wait for a miracle without putting the effort in, without using the advise given, or without even looking at the problem seriously.  I'm not stupid it isn't that I would just purposely ignore good advise, I am just too busy applying band aids to other people's wounds to heal mine.

This week I wasn't happy.  I had a cold, my back was out, my house was a mess, I had some blood tests that  were troubling, I started some new medications, I even felt a little angry (I NEVER feel anger, well very rarely).  This anger wasn't directed at anyone or even myself, it was just kind of a surface thing.  I had an MRI the other day, actually a couple which put me in that tube for almost two hours and when I came out all my feelings were exacerbated hugely, I felt like I was going to flip into the hinterlands (not Holland, but into nowhere).  I wanted to escape, but I didn't know where I wanted to escape to.  I know I'm an open person, I tell all, there are no secrets about me, but not at the moment I am going through something.  Digging a hole into my soul is where I go.  I don't pull up my sheets over my head, I don't find a friend who is also suffering because "misery loves company", I just bury myself in me.

Two things I have learned is that I don't get in funk very often, and I always know I will come out of it.  I know there are others that suffer from major depression and I honor them for their courage, because it is really tough stuff if this is your life day in and day out.  My friends, family, and acquaintances seem to tell I'm in a funk very quickly; if I see them it's because I don't have that characteristic smile on my face, if they don't see me then it is because they don't see me, or hear from me.  They worry.  I thank them for worrying, but they needn't because I am doing what I probably should be doing much more often.  I'm examining the wound, discussing it with the master physician, writing about it, applying the medicine and band-aids suggested, going back to Him for advanced treatment, and then setting priorities, goals, and "righteous desires of the heart" that will allow the wounds to heal properly and for the bitter to become sweet once again.

This wound wasn't anyone's fault, and it isn't my desire to leave anyone out of my life.  My desire is just to allow me to stretch myself the way the Savior and my Heavenly Father want me to.  I can't serve anyone if I'm not okay.

I am so grateful especially this Easter week that I can say not only is Jesus Christ my Savior, He also takes time to bless my life because He loves ME!  Happy Easter!!