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A full life, a good life.

Tonight is one of those nights where if I were someone who actually planned out their blog posts I might have something to write about.  LOL  But I’m not.  The fact of the matter is that my muse is pulling me in a few different directions and I’m feeling somewhat scattered because of it.

I want to write about the fabulous Father’s Day crafts the girl and I have been working on…  but if either my Dad or hers actually read the post it would ruin the surprise.  I want to write about a MW friend of mine who’s ghost hunting stories got me thinking about all the things out there we don’t really know about.  I want to write more about Skippyjon Jones, and my surprise at how few people I know have heard about this fabulous series of books.  I want to write about the fact that kid-kid is going to be “graduating” from pre-k this month, and what choices we’ve made about our next step.  So… yeah…  kinda being pulled in a few too many directions just now.  😉

Do you ever have one of those days?  When you’ve spent time working on so many different projects, and thinking about so many different things, that you’re just left feeling kinda scattered at the end of it?  The girl and I do so many fabulous things (today we actually drew our own chalk zoo on the sidewalk in front of our house – complete with lion, 2 crocodiles who’s heads we created by tracing our butts and legs, a baby elephant who’s nose is too big for her face, a hippopotamus, a bear wearing blue jeans and loafers, and a bunch of people who came to see them all), and I always have so much on the go that the problem is rarely coming up with something to write about – rather it’s narrowing down to ONE thing to share.

I really do love everything I’m involved in, and the fact of the matter is, I’ve actually cut back a great deal.  I’m no longer the President of the Green Party of Saskatchewan, nor am I associated with Camp fYrefly, and I haven’t been dedicating the time to scrapbooking that I used to.  I’m also done with dog shows (at least for the next month or so – I doubt I’ll ever actually be done with them, I love them too much).  Yet my plate is still happily full.  And of everything I do?  I love the things I do with, or for my daughter the best…  and that includes a LOT of things.  😉

Whenever Lily-Ann and I get talking, I can’t help but emphasize to her how lucky we are…  in so very many ways.  But one of the simplest is that our lives are full of love.  We both have so many people who love us and care about us.  And that is a very big deal.

Yep.  It’s a good life.

The girl, posing on her “sitting rock” on our way to school today.

A2Z – Family

Blogging our way from A to Z on sexual and gender identity - Family

One of the most difficult things in the world is coming out to our families.  There is so much emotion wrapped up there, that it can be hard to separate our own fears from reality.  And listening to the coming out stories from previous generations only reinforces that sense of fear.

I had the privilege of serving as coordinator for a youth retreat last Summer, for Sexual Minority, Gender Variant youth.  During an exercise led by our Artist-in-Residence, Spencer J. Harrison we all got the chance to share coming out stories while in small groups.  One young man’s story in particular made me cry – and not for reasons you might suspect.

At first he didn’t feel he should contribute to the discussion, he didn’t feel that his story was worthy of sharing.  Upon encouragement, he opened up and told his story.  The story of coming out to a family who loved him and supported him – a family to which it didn’t matter what his orientation was.  Unwavering love and reassurance.  And that is what moved me to tears.

More and more people are realizing that orientation doesn’t matter, a person’s sexual desires don’t change who they are as a person.  More and more families find it easy to accept the idea that one of their children may be pansexual, bisexual, asexual, homosexual et al.  More and more young people have GOOD stories to share – and those stories are so worth hearing.  And in those instances where the outcome isn’t so positive?  That’s where community comes in.

If your family doesn’t accept you for who you are, they don’t deserve you.  Family is a choice, and is built on love.  So whether family of blood or family of choice – surround yourself with people who know how amazing you are.  Because you really are incredible!

 

 

a to z, april blog challenge

Help Lexi Help Former Child-Soldiers

Lexi is a pretty amazing person.  She’s a young woman with a true heart for children, and believes deeply in doing what she can to help aid those in need.  I met Lexi this year at Camp fYrefly.

Before seeing her for the first time, Lexi and I had many conversations.  Seriously, we talked on the phone pretty much every other day for the last couple of weeks leading up to camp.  So when I saw her standing in the lobby a big grin spread across my face.  I felt like I already knew her, and was so thrilled to meet her in the flesh.

During that amazing weekend, Lexi and I had many chances to talk, and I always enjoyed hearing her point of view.  Like many of us, she hasn’t had an easy time – yet instead of focusing on herself, she chooses to invest her energies ensuring others have a better time of it.  So, when Lexi told me of her plan to help former child-soldiers I really wasn’t all that surprised.

Lexi is hoping to raise $1000 in the next two months.  If she succeeds, she has pledged her head… well…  her hair anyway.  So let’s help Lexi face Winter in Saskatchewan with a freshly shaved dome.  Whether you can contribute $5 or $100, it will all go to a great cause!

Lexi, what first drew your attention to the need for a rehab center for former child-soldiers?

What first drew me to the need for a rehab center is that children that are coming out of the LRA need someone there to help bring them back to be the child that they were before they were taken and forced – brainwashed in a sense – to kill many and steal away more children. Every child needs to have a good life without fear.

What made you decide this was important enough for you to take action?

I always wanted wanted to help but never really knew about it too much. Now I know that me, even fundraising, will help children out in Uganda. I am wanting to raise 1000 dollars to help contribute to the building of a rehab center.

In addition to making donations towards YOUR campaign, what can others do if they too want to get involved?

Anyone who would want to help shoud go to invisible childrens website, and go to their build a fundraising page. Start doing small things like bake sales, car washes etc.

If you would like to contribute to Lexi’s fundraising campaign, or if you are simply interested in learning more about the former child-soldiers and the hopes for this rehab center, head on over to http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise/ic?fcid=135944.  To learn more about Invisible Children (the non-profit Lexi is fundraising for) visit their website and learn about their projects at http://www.invisiblechildren.com/protectionplan.

Lexi, I am super proud of you, and am rooting for you (get it…  rooting…  as in the roots of your hair?  okay, bad hair joke.  and yes, that was another one…  get it?  bad hair?  okay, I’ll stop now).  Very honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of you.  This is a truly fabulous thing you are doing, and I am behind you 100%.  I know it’s not much, I wish I could do more, but I am thrilled to be the first donation on your way to your fundraising goal.  Good luck!

Another youth lost to suicide…

How many of our youth need to die before enough people take notice and make change happen?  This weekend another young person took their own life after experiencing all the homophobic bullying they could handle.  Tonight we had our wrap-up meeting for Camp fYrefly 2011…  and all I can think is that if this young man had the kind of community we’ve built here, perhaps things never would have gone that far.

Tomorrow, please wear purple.  It’s a small thing we can do.  October 20th is wear purple day.  Wear purple in a show of solidarity against homophobia.  Wear purple for equality.  Wear purple to let our youth know that there are options.  We can make things better RIGHT NOW.  We don’t have to wait.

Don’t wait.

Someone in this young mans life may have been waiting for the right time to talk to him….  for the right time to tell him that he wasn’t alone.

Don’t wait.

Make it better.

———-

read more about Jamie Hubley at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/10/19/ottawa-suicide-gay-teen-folo.html

Tobi-Dawne Smith for Saskatoon-Meewasin

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her daughter, Lily-Ann, experiencing the joy of finding a baby snake out in the green of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her Daughter Lily-Ann

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Tobi-Dawne Smith is proud to be running in her home riding, a riding that boasts incredible diversity. As a member of a multi-racial family, she believes in the strength found in an open sharing of cultural and religious traditions. An open and honest dialogue is the best way to bridge gaps and bring understanding. The candor found in a quiet moment of respect is something all people should seek.

The search for authenticity isn’t something that ends when Smith, a professional photographer, puts down her lens. It’s a part of everything she does. Whether she’s busy in her most important role as mother to an incredible four year old, helping families create a legacy through photography, or cultivating initiatives to create safe spaces for at-risk youth.

Ms. Smith spent the last eight months working with Camp fYrefly, which celebrated it’s third year in Saskatchewan with it’s retreat this August. Camp fYrefly is a life changing program designed to help foster leadership skills and resiliency in gender variant and sexual minority youth, youth who are at the greatest risk of bullying and suicide. Now that Camp has been wrapped up, she has accepted a role on the Board for Breaking the Silence – an annual conference in support of the LGBTT2QIA community at the University of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne’s role as a mother has strengthened her resolve to be socially responsible and to help build a better future for her daughter, and all the children of Saskatchewan. She recognizes that our children depend on her to fight against inequality, and to help create with them a more genuine safe future for our province. TD also realizes the only political party within which she can truly achieve these goals is the Green Party of Saskatchewan.

The Green Party’s six guiding principles: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.  Guiding principles we should all strive to uphold.

Back to School (and then some)

Today I’d intended to write about the girlie heading back to school…  and nothing else.  I mean, honestly.  That’s big enough a topic, isn’t it?  But then, like everything in my life the last few weeks, it just seemed to be one thing after another today.

Ever since Camp fYrefly wrapped up, it really has been one thing after another keeping me from finishing up camp associated work.  It’s a little frustrating.  And today was no different.  Just one more thing added to the heap.  Today I got the news that Larissa is stepping down from the provincial Greens.

I don’t know all the details, but I imagine it is health related.  Larissa and I have many of the same diagnosis, and for her age and maturity level, she has handled them better than I did at the same point in my life.  Today most of my physical issues don’t weigh very heavily on me – but it’s only because of years full of coping experience.  Six or seven years ago, I wasn’t in the same place I am now and I know Larissa must be drained.  Being the leader of a provincial party can take a lot out of a healthy individual, and it can have a brutal effect on someone who’s health isn’t tip top.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan is losing a great leader today.  Larissa’s passion, vigor, and knowledge served us well for these last years.  Her dedication and dreams of a better Saskatchewan inspired many.  Thank you Larissa, for everything.  You will be missed.

The executive will now have to gear up for a special leadership race and election – in addition to gearing up for the provincial election coming in November.  As the President of the party, I can assure you, we will all be working very hard to ensure every member of the party has a chance to voice their concerns, and to have their thoughts heard.  If you are interested in possibly running, do let me know.  I’ll make sure your name is brought forward to the board.

So…  back to school.  LOL  It would have been plenty to attend with today.  But that’s just not how the chips fell.  Here’s the girlie on our walk to school today.  Sling pack on, and ready to go.  And yes!  We totally glittered up and embellished the pack – just how she wanted it.  😉

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Nothing on the horizon

Going through iCal today, figuring out what I need to do next, I’ll admit to getting teary when I realized there is nothing relating to Camp fYrefly on the horizon.  I’ve been so focused on camp the last six months, it’s an odd feeling seeing NOTHING on iCal in purple (purple is the colour I chose for all things Camp fYrefly related, I’m big on colour-coding it’s the only way to keep organized).

I truly feel that everything I’d done in my life, somehow lead up to my position as camp coordinator.

  • My work with youth, and winning the “youth for youth” award in high school.
  • Personal experiences and interactions throughout high school, university, and beyond.
  • All of my equal rights activism
  • My life in politics
  • The experiences I’ve had running a political party
  • The time I’ve spent in front of the camera at media events
  • My time behind the camera, appreciating the inherent beauty in all people
  • The negative and positive experiences of owning my own business(es)
  • The fact that I’m so crafty/artsy
  • My being so “sex positive” and open to talking about pretty much anything
  • All of the years I’ve spent studying and teaching operant conditioning
  • Even becoming a mom

All of it, it all led to the moments at camp.  Those vital, amazing, life changing, life AFFIRMING moments.  And now, looking at my calendar, knowing that it’s over…  well…  I’d admit to there being an immense sense of loss.  Sure, I still have lots of work before camp stuff will actually be done with.  Lots of little detail things, invoices, bills, receipts, paperwork, reports, etc.  And I still have all of my amazing, incredible, stupendous campers – none of whom I intend to lose track of, and all whom I hope will be up for the occasional get-together/reunion.  But there is still a part of me mourning, seeing nothing actually scheduled in.  Nothing purple on my calendar.  It’s a feeling I didn’t expect, but there it is, just the same.

I feel lonely.

To my fYreflies!

To all of my fYreflies, the alumflies of 2011 (both Saskatoon and Edmonton):

Be strong, be brave, be safe! …and know that wherever you may go, you go surrounded by love!

Home from Camp fYrefly

Well…  I got home last night around 7:00.  And crashed at the same time I put my daughter to sleep (I usually stay up for another four hours afterwards).  Then today?  Today I slept.  All day.  I’m sick.  So it’s not just that I was being lazy or that I was feeling depressed.  I’m sick, and my body needs to begin repairs….  so I slept.  A lot.  And I’m super grateful to my husband who took the girlie to the zoo, and then out again shortly after supper so that I could have the multiple power naps I needed.  And yes, I’m now preparing to sleep again.

What a crazy week, and even crazier weekend.  I really do need time to just process everything.  But, I can say two things for certain:  Camp fYrefly Saskatchewan freakin’ rocks!  and I miss my campers and my leadership team.  You guys are freakin’ amazing!!!!  Love you all!

Now, off to bed.

CAMP FYREFLY IS TOMORROW!

Just got home about an hour ago now, put the girlie to sleep, and am now starting to crash myself.  It was a super long day starting at 5:30 this morning and doing some mega intensive training and bonding with the pod leaders, pod volunteers, and live-in adult volunteers.  After I hit “publish” I’m going to sleep.  It’s another super early morning (though I may try to aim for a 6 am wake-up over the 5:30).  But then it’s here!  Camp fYrefly!!!!  YAY!!!!!!!!

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