22 September 2015

Just Let Go

Over the last several years I have had some amazing opportunities fall into my lap, life sure is funny that way....keep reading to learn more about one such opportunity!

In February 2007, some of you may remember a very tragic accident...a young 17 yr old drunk driver hit a vehicle with a family. The pregnant mother, including the unborn child, the daughter and one son were all killed. The father and one son survived. There was another son that was not with them at the time. One of the most amazing things to come from this accident was the forgiveness of the father to that young driver! If you were anywhere in Utah, especially the Salt Lake Valley at this time, you most assuredly heard about this great story of....forgiveness!

Chris Williams, the father of this family went on to write a book, Let It Go, and I'm sure his life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs since that fateful night! Now, he is sharing his story with the world in a movie, Just Let Go!

In June 2014, it was my great honor to be an extra in this movie! Many of you will remember a Facebook post with my excitement about being at the BYU Law Library for the day! Sorry to disappoint all those that thought we were adopting...they were just filming there that day! So, keep an eye out during the courtroom scenes! This was a most memorable experience watching the process of filming and how many takes they do for each little piece of a scene. One of the crew told me that day that I won't ever watch a movie or even a TV show the same way again. I told her that I already say things like "I wonder how many times..." ...they had to shoot that to get it just right or to get it without the characters laughing or any number of things! I have to say that this day there were not a lot of retakes due to mistakes, these actors were amazing and very nice! Here are some pics from that day:

One thing I was not sure of was the protocol of approach, so I just stayed in the background, then Darin Southam approached me, we talked for a short bit between shots and, of course, had a picture taken. I was also seated behind the great Brenda Vaccaro and was able to listen to her many stories. Adam Berg was there to be an extra and was scooped up to sit in as an assistant to the District Attorney! The crew, especially Dan LaPray, (pictured below) was a wonder to watch! In the end, after all was done for the day, I had the opportunity to get a picture with Sam Sorbo, who is also very friendly!It was also great to see Jeremy Holm again, we met at the Anti-Bullying Fair! Needless to say, I would do this again in a heartbeat!
Darin Southam
Darin Southam
Brenda Vaccaro
Brenda Vaccaro

Adam Berg
Adam Berg

Sam Sorbo
Sam Sorbo
Jeremy Holm
Jeremy Holm

Also included were some great eats:

A bonus of being an extra included the opportunity to attend a pre-screening, last week! More amazing opportunities, meeting Chris William and Matt Townsend! Also took the opportunity to get a pic with Dan LaPray (mentioned above)! There were other bloggers in attendance and other 'extras' including Adam Berg and other cast members of Studio C, sadly didn't get a chance to meet them...this time!
Dan LaPray
Dan LaPray
Chris William
Chris William
Meeting Matt Townsend!
Meeting Matt Townsend!
Supportive family after the prescreening: Amber, Ray, self, Tyler, Steve
Supportive family after the prescreening: Amber, Ray, self, Tyler, Steve

That brings me to NOW....THIS COMING MONDAY, 28 Sep 2015, please do everything in your power to participate in a one night event, A Night of Forgiveness, with over 500 theaters participating across the county, you MUST go see Just Let Go! You will not regret it...but take some tissues! Click here to buy your tickets for this special event and in the meantime, here is the Official Trailer...

For more information please check out the following:
(If using social media at any time regarding this movie, please use the following hashtags: #JustLetGoMovie and/or #JustLetGo)

So, forgiveness....watsit2u?

13 April 2014

How honest are you?

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Today we had testimony meeting and several topics were covered, as usual...one that stuck with me is honesty. I think because it seems to be the theme for this weekend in my life!

It all started Friday night. My mom and I go spend our Friday nights at St. Therese Catholic Church playing bingo with MANY friends and some other family! I have been playing here my entire life and it is like going to a family event! Now, I have a big trip coming up, that I could really use the extra money for...and it seems like every time I have this need, I actually win one of the big pots! Everyone is cheering for me this time around, it's rather fun..even this adorable young woman who has been coming for a few weeks, although she isn't old enough to play, she helps clean up and such. Well, on this particular night, she asked if her aunt could sit by me so I could help her throughout the night. Of course, I said yes! So, we played Bingo. Well, come to find out this aunt had to leave at 8:30 and bingo goes on until about 10. So, I had the niece ask if the aunt wanted me to play her remaining cards for the night, with the understanding that if her cards win, I'd send the money with her niece or let her bring them another week and try them then. She opted to have me finish them off for her! Anytime someone plays other peoples cards or any similar situation, you take the risk that if your card wins and theirs don't or such...you could be accused of all kinds of things!
bingo seat

In bingo lingo, being "on" means you are one number away from winning. With that in mind, her cards were 'on' several times including the big pay blackout at the end of the night! This week if you won the blackout bingo in 53 numbers or less, you would win $250, if after that, you get $75! Her card was on at the 52nd number and won it on the 54th number! There was one that asked if this card won if I'd really give the money to the niece for her aunt. I said, "I have to be honest"  Yes, her card won $75, which is equivalent to a tank of gas for my trip...and yes, I did give her money to her niece to take home to her! I would love to have seen her face when she was given the money! Of course, I felt very good, not just for being able to yell Bingo, but even more for being honest!

The honesty theme continued through the day. For many months now, Steve and I have been listening to or watching LDS General Conference talks, starting with those available online, which happen to start with April 1971, so by the time we are done, we will have listened to or watched all general conference talks in our lifetimes! We have been doing this during our Sunday meal, we watch one or two each week, depending on length! Many weeks they have been so applicable to things in our lives, it's crazy! Tonight's talk was Honesty, a Principle of Salvation BY Mark E Petersen. The line that caught my attention from the beginning is: "...we do not believe in honesty merely as a matter of policy. It is far more important than that. Honesty is a principle of salvation in the kingdom of God."

Honesty is important, no matter how big or small the stakes. I was later surprised by a message from a cousin, who was not there that night, saying she was proud of me and that I'd get good karma in return. There were other members of her family there that shared the story with her. My cousin is right, no matter what you call it, being honest or most any good, kind act will come back to you!

For me, it always goes back to my first job, which was at Lagoon. They had a slogan we were expected to live by, especially in position that dealt with cash..."Honesty isn't the best policy, it's the ONLY policy!"

This is honesty to be, especially in big situations....watsit2u?

22 December 2013

Christmas story characters

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Today is the last Sunday before Christmas thus for Sacrament meeting we had our Branch's Christmas program. Something a little different in the signing branch, there was a focus on music! It was awesome! Inter mixed in between the songs were talks about different characters in the Christmas story.

The meeting began with Hymn201 Joy to the World. What a wonderful song and a great one to start this program meeting!

The first talk about about Shepherds. Read Luke 2: 8-20 for details on their part in this story.

Followed by one of the brothers in the Branch signing Hymn 211 "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" Have you ever seen signed music? It's really cool.

The next talk was about the Wise Men. This speaker encouraged all of us to follow their example. Meaning to look for Christ, keep him, cherish him then go "home" a different way.

We all sang Hymn 210 "With Wondering Awe". The Holy Ghost attends all spiritual meetings and often other meetings, too. Music is a great way to bring in this spirit! At this point, one knew the Holy Ghost was here today...but we were about to feel it in a way that would leave no doubt!

The next talk was about Joseph! The strength of the Holy Ghost grew exponentially during this heartfelt talk! He said that Joseph is a great example of who he wants to be: brave, strong, smart, spiritual, hard worker, etc. He talked about how when Joseph was told by Mary about being pregnant, Joseph didn't want to dishonor her by breaking the marriage contract. Instead Joseph prayed to know for himself what to do and if this was right and when he received that confirmation, he didn't hesitate to follow the plan for him in this role. This talk ended with what I feel is the quote of the day: "My children are examples to me. My wife is an example to me. It's easy to love them." Thank you, brother, for your example and faith, you give all of us who know you strength!

Then the Young Women in our Branch sang Hymn 202 "Oh, Come All Ye Faithful" as they were accompanied by flute and piano. Just beautiful!!!

We then heard about Mary who was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Why? She was pure, obedient, etc. This sister wants to be like Mary and help her children spiritually prepare to face their role in life and their problems.

We all then sang Hymn 204 "Silent Night". The spirit continues to attend this meeting!

The last talk was about Jesus. This speaker looked at it from a little different perspective. That of the Nephites/Lamanites in the Book of Mormon. 3Nephi 1:13-21.

The meeting was closed with the primary kids singing Away in a Manger from the Children's Songbook. A different kind of program for the signing branch, but most wonderful perspectives and spirit! Thank you!

The above video was not part of our program, but I recently viewed it and felt it appropriate to share here now. The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the REAL reason we celebrate this holiday. I pray we all can remember that and have this spirit with us not only now but throughout the year! This is what Christmas is to me...watsit2u?

24 November 2013

Heart of friendsihp

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! There are so many blessings that have come my way because of my involvement in the different auxiliaries and organizations as a member of this Church. One of these was back in my college age years. I had to leave Snow College because I ran out of money for school. I had practically lived at the LDS Institute there and really missed it, so I went to the Salt Lake Community College campus LDS Institute and began taking classes even though I could not afford college anymore. Here is where I got involved in an organization then called Lambda Delta Sigma. This was the sorority for the girls at the Institute; the guys had the fraternity Sigma Gamma Chi. As a Lambda Delt, there were many friendships formed and many more great memories made. Those alone could fill several blog posts, which may or may not eventually happen. The purpose of bringing all this up today is to celebrate one of my best friends I met during my days with Lambda Delta Sigma and even more blessings of good friends that I have now because of this wonderful ‘sister’ of mine!
Heart of Friendship - best friends
One of the last pictures taken of Lorilee and I...
Today would have been Lorilee’s birthday! She had many health issues, which sometimes made it hard for her to be involved in all she wanted to do…but she made up for it in sweetness, love and generosity! We were friends from the day we met and only got closer over time and until the end. I am sad to have to include here that 3 ½ years Lorilee graduated from this life. She is greatly missed by her family and friends! I am sure that many of us can attest to the fact that she instantly became a guardian angel to those she left behind and more…

The main reason for today’s post, though, is one of the “even more blessings” mentioned above. During those years, I also became friends with Lorilee’s family, especially her baby brother, who later married and now has the most precious little baby girl of his own! This baby girl is only 7 months old and has had her own set of serious health issues. You can read more about her story at her mom’s blog, View From the Upper Valley. I will let you read more details as you wish…although, this one is specific to the defects in this case…also during this time, her mom posted this link for an article regarding research for such defects.

Needless to say this sweet baby girl had heart surgery last week and, for anyone, this is major surgery, but imagine for one with such a young heart! Her family received so many requests from others asking what they could do to help, her family came up with a wonderful idea. They created an event with the following description:
“So many people have asked about what they can do to help, and we are so appreciative!
We know that the day of surgery and the days afterward will be tough. Tough for and tough for us. Something that would be nice is to see how far we can spread some kind thoughts and good deeds all in her name.
So, between now and the date of surgery, add some positive vibes back into the universe. It doesn’t have to be anything big, from a kind word to giving blood to whatever you want to do.
Or, if you don’t have time, could you post something funny or inspirational to give us a boost?”
neighbor heart
Heart placed in a neighbor's window!
In watching the posts on the event board and such, so many things were done this last few weeks in honor of this baby girl and many more are planned still for the holidays! Of course, everyone, even some who don’t know this family, said prayers and kept them all in their positive thoughts! Several posted things that were humorous and a few inspirational. Some took part in other service projects in their local communities. One young person even made and posted a video speaking of his support and blessing of knowing this family! It has been wonderful to see so many things in honor of this special event! Not just here locally, but all over wherever anyone that knows this family lives! Just to close this section of this post, baby is home and doing better all the time! As I typed this up, this slogan came to mind and I thought how appropriate it is for this situation: “GE…brings good thing to life” and, in this case, so many good things have been brought with many, many more to come for a whole lot of people!

For the record, Lambda Delta Sigma and Sigma Gamma Chi no longer exist in the form of a sorority and fraternity. They are now just covered under what, even then, is known as LDSSA, Latter-Day Saint Student Association. I encourage everyone that is college age; even those that can’t afford regular college/university classes, to take classes at the local LDS Institute and become involved in the activities and service projects! There are friends to find and memories to make! It will be completely worth it and you will never forget things like people from Georgia or blue dots seen out of nowhere! Ok, maybe not those exact things, but I promise you will have your own things you will never forget!

I am thankful for the friendships, blessings and memories of those days! They are all still providing service opportunities like this blog post! It continues to provide testimony building experiences of service about prayer and faith. This is what it is to me…watsit2u?

08 November 2013

Shadow on a Tightrope 30th Anniversary

Welcome to FLABULOUS FRIDAY! No, that is not a spelling error; it is my new focus for my Friday blog posts. What it means to be fat in this thin focused society!  Today’s post is part of a blog carnival of which I’m proud to be a participant! So, here goes…

30 years ago several people got together and helped in the gathering of facts and real life stories to bring us Shadows on a Tightrope:Writings by Women on Fat Oppression Edited by Lisa Schoenfielder and BarbWieser Forward by Vivian Mayer.  A couple months ago the wonderful Marilyn Wann of Fat!So? fame presented the idea on Facebook to honor this anniversary. The challenge to those, like myself, who chose to be involved was to read the book, if not already done so and share the following:  How has weight-related attitudes and fat activist community changed in the last 30 years? What changes do you still want and need?
I am relatively new to the fat activist community and really just getting started in some minor efforts. In all honesty, I had not heard of this book before this opportunity arose and am now ever so grateful. I found it most interesting that a lot of the information has not changed, except maybe in numbers. For example, instead of millions going to the ‘diet’ or ‘reduction’ industry, it is now billions!

HOW HAVE WEIGHT-RELATED ATTITUDES CHANGED IN THE LAST 30 YEARS?  I don’t see much change in the “weight-related attitudes” of society in general. As I read this book, part of me couldn’t help but feel that I never stood a chance. I was only 12 years old when this book came out and had been fat for half my life at that point. I don’t know what happened between the first and second grades but my memories of being fat start in second grade and my fat experience continues today. I have lived with almost constant ridicule from family, so-called friends, teachers, religious leaders, coworkers and bosses over these many years. From remarks of what I should or shouldn’t be eating to pressures to try this or that diet or weight loss method to my clothes not being good and the list goes on…

HOW HAS THE FAT ACTIVIST COMMUNITY CHANGED IN THE LAST 30 YEARS? For me, personally, I don’t know if I can really answer this question. As mentioned before I had not heard of this book until a couple of months ago and until 11 years ago had not known there were other people out there that felt the same as me. How is that you ask? Well, in spite of the constant ridicule and such from all the above mentioned people in my life, I always felt like there wasn’t anything wrong with me and that made something extra wrong with me.  In 2002 my bestest friend loaned me a copy of Fat!So? by Marilyn Wann and I devoured it in a matter of days! The entire time I was reading it, I kept thinking that every person I have ever met in my entire life needs to read this book! Sadly, only a couple of them have done so…but that is beside the point here and now. Since the time of reading this book, there have been many things I learned that I would love to become more active in helping others, of all ages, in learning to love themselves and not be ashamed of who they are because of a number on the scale. THERE IS NO SHAME IN A NUMBER! Why so many people in the world are scared of a number is beyond me! My role in fat activism has really taken off this year, including the introduction of my new blog theme! There will be more details to come in the coming weeks of what I’ve been up to this year!
A new generation is introduced to Shadow on a Tightrope. Photo Credit: Substantia Jones
WHAT CHANGES DO YOU STILL WANT AND NEED? There is still so much to do! The above picture says a lot, we need to continue to share and educate those in our lives about fat acceptance. As I read this book, I could not help but feel that in many ways, some things have not changed at all in the last 30 years.  I would love to see everyone just get along! I’m not saying that everyone has to love everyone else, although what an amazing world we’d live in if this were the norm, right?! I’m just saying that people should worry more about themselves and lose the negativity. So many people are missing out on some great relationships by exercising so much fat hate! More specifically, I would love to see size discrimination be added to the unacceptable discrimination list, starting with employment. But in general, society has so much to learn about the realities of fat people and the ineffectiveness of fat shaming!

Follow the links below to read what many others have to say about this special 30th anniversary:

As an unashamed fat person, I hope those who know me would agree that I am a good friend, a good worker and a student! Although, I really have no idea how me being fat has anything really to do with any of that! So, that’s what it is to me…watsit2u?

03 November 2013

Just one word - LOVE

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! Today was the monthly Fast and Testimony Meeting in Sacrament Meeting. This is where anyone who feels so prompted by the Spirit are welcomed to bear their testimonies. Sometimes there is a theme and sometimes, like today, there are several principles talked about, but one was very short and sweet. She started by saying it was all about one word: LOVE!

cute blanket of some neighbor kids - thought it went well with this post

Other topics mentioned were baptism, tithing, obedience, missions, parenthood, Joseph Smith's first vision, Book of Mormon, the gospel is the same no matter where one attends their LDS Church meetings, blessings, Lord's plan for each of us, repentance. That's what it was all about in our Branch today....watsit2u?

10 October 2013

Anti-Bullying Fair - End Bullying Now

What did you do last weekend? I spent last Saturday at the Midvale City Park for the Anti-Bullying Fair organized by the Dolls & Gents! This was the first of what they hope to be an annual event! Might I add that it is my hope that we can eventually not need such events!

There were many booths, most of them were focused on some applicable topic to support the theme of Anti-Bullying! For example, End Bullying Now (more info below),
Suicide Prevention, Be a Buddy Foundation,
another booth was a group that partners such organizations together with schools, No Story Left Untold yet another booth was a girl scout project to raise money to buy the FOR curriculum for Brockbank Junior High School. FOR = Friends of Rachel, who was the first one killed in the Columbine incident so long ago! There were also booths that sold products like Inside and Out Cosmetics,
crocheted items, Retro Betty Vintage Boutique, wood art, Pampered Chef, Marykay, spray paint art, Tyler Lamph, photography, food and more. There were activities and fun entertainment for the kids, like clowns and superheros and hula hoops and more. Also, the kids from the Midvale Boys & Girls Club presented a talent show with some cute acts!
HEY! I thought this was an ANTI-Bullying Fair!!!
A little chastising followed by teaching about End Bullying Now...
yes, the Jester signed the pledge to End Bullying Now!
One of my favorite booths was actually by an Olympian, I love the Olympics! One of the reasons this booth caught my attention was because Jeremy Holm is a bobsledder, which happens to be my favorite and he had a bobsled there! I spoke with him for some time and he works with The Athlete Outreach Project. He was at this event to talk about anti-bullying and suicide prevention as he lost his best friend to suicide in junior high due to bullying!
Jeremy C Holm, Bobsledder, Author, Motivational Speaker
Admittedly, my favorite booth was the one I had for End Bullying Now! I was honored to have this opportunity to bring this specific campaign to Utah. First, I thank my mom for coming to help man the booth!
I was first exposed to End Bullying Now on a recent trip to Las Vegas for a conference. There will many other blog posts for this conference! Today, I want to talk more about the End Bullying Now Campaign! You can go here to find out more about why End Bullying Now was started by NAAFA! It was wonderful to speak about this topic with so many people. One lady that I had the priveledge to talk with works for Woodrow Wilson Elementary and works with training to be Safe at School, Anti-Bullying Training! It is my goal to bring more events and awareness of this specific campaign to Utah! I would love to see more events like this one in California!

I don't have a number of how many people attended this event, but I do know that they came from all over the Wasatch Front, not just Midvale! We did have 127 pledge cards signed by those in attendance. It was way awesome to watch as some of the parents got on their knees and read the list of things the kids would be pledging to do and made sure they understood each and every one of them. In the end we had the Dolls & Gents gather for a group picture with their End Bullying Now Pledge Cards!
Dolls & Gents pledge to End Bullying Now
It comes down to these questions...were you bullied? are you being bullied? OR were you the bully? are you the bully? I was definitely bullied and sadly, even as an adult, still experience being bullied! That was one thing talked about by several people that it doesn't matter your age, bullies exist! How sad is that? Are you ready to pledge to End Bullying Now? Contact me, leave a message, etc for more information on presentations and possible events! So, anyway...I'm passionate about this effort and that is what it is to me...watsit2u?