Dear Mom and Dad, I am gay.

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Once a month I blog for Northern Lights, an LDS blog site for Mormon conversations on Sexuality, Gender and Faith. If you follow Becky’s Mack’s Blog of Mild Chaos, or follow me on Facebook or perhaps know me in real life, you know I am very passionate about my religion, faith and family. They are the foundation and core of who I am.  Today I once again speak from my heart in my latest Northern Lights blog post…

dear-mom-and-dad

Dear mom and Dad,

I am gay…

This blog post is to all the mothers who are grateful none of their children are gay. And also, to the fathers who know all the gay jokes and don’t hold back letting their sons know how they feel about gays. ”Can you imagine anyone choosing to be gay?” they gasp.  I’m embarrassed to admit, I once shared those same views.

I write to you parents because my inbox is filled with messages from young men describing all the reasons why they fear telling you – their own mom and dad.   They have gone over every possible scenario of coming out verses continuing to keep their same-gender attraction a secret. They have come to the conclusion that taking their life is the better option.  Then as a one last ditch effort to find answers, they stumble upon my video and feel a pull to reach out.

We talk. We cry. I do all I can to give them hope, sharing resources and reasons to live one more day, week, month  But unfortunately I can NOT promise them that their father will not beat them.  I can not promise them that they will not be kicked out onto the streets.  I can not promise they will be accepted and loved by their family.  Why? Because this is happening right here in our communities.

If people just simply lived the golden rule my job would be so much easier. People often ask me, “What do you do?” I rattle off , “I’m a mom, grandmother, speaker, author, BUT do you REALLY want to know what do? I SAVE lives!”

It might be YOUR son, daughter, brother, sister, father, son-in-law that I am corresponding with – YOU don’t know and I will never tell, but I promise you if you REALLY knew them and you REALLY loved them you would see them as God sees them and you would LOVE them all the more, AND they would not be wondering if checking out of this life is a better option than telling you of their struggles.

They are some of the most spiritual, compassionate human beings I know.  If I had the means and the way, there would be no homeless teens living on the street, they would all live in my home, feel loved, needed and valued.

If you are true disciples of Christ LIVE it – SHOW it!

When was the last time you put your arm around someone you know is gay, and asked, “How are you doing?” When was the last time you invited them and their boyfriend or girlfriend over for dinner? They are NOT contagious, they are NOT pedophiles, they will not teach your children to be gay – they are people – Just like YOU! They fear you as much as you fear them. Sad isn’t it? They don’t know how you are going to respond – will you react with kindness and Christlike love or hatred and fear?

One of the most asked question I get from same-gender attracted young men is, “Why did God make me Mormon and Gay?”  a seemingly no-win situation that they have contemplated, pleaded and prayed over.  When I don’t know the answer, I resort to what I do know, “I know God lives and I know He loves all of His children.  He did not send anyone to earth to fail or to carry an unbearable cross. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that Thomas S. Monson is a true and living Prophet today. I know that Christ bled from every pore for me, you and yes, even our gay brothers and sisters.”  God has not given us all the answers, and I’m okay with that, I trust Him.

An Eternal Perspective  As stated on the official church website mormonsandgays.org“We live in an imperfect world. Not all the pieces of the puzzle seem to fit. But having an eternal perspective and believing in a just and merciful God gives us hope that all will work out in the end.”     

Two of the most asked questions from parents with a gay son or daughter are, ”How do I embrace both my gay child and my LDS faith?” and “Can members of the church support marriage equality and still hold a temple recommend?”  The first question for me is easy to answer, the second question not so much.

Until…

Elder Todd Christofferson of the quorum of the twelve apostles, answered those questions and many others in an interview with KUTV, following the passing of the Utah Non-Discrimination Bill.

Parents, miracles happen when you emulate love and kindness – it heals hearts, reunites and strengthens families and truly saves lives…

Dear mom and dad,

I am gay. I love you.

Please walk with me.

Your son.

 

*Visit LDS Voice(s) of Hope to hear our journey, along with many other Voices of Hope.

5 Sure Ways to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

Choose to Be HaPpY

 

I walked the streets of Kolkata India, fighting the tears as I observed poverty far greater than I could fathom.  I noticed something peculiar as I looked beyond the trash, makeshift shanties and barefooted children, I saw smiles and heard laughter!

How could this be possible?  Didn’t they know what they were missing, lacking and deprived of?   Yes, many of them did know, but you know what?  They chose to FOCUS on what they DID have, which included each other and an ability to CHOOSE to be happy.

Be HaPpY

Holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frankl,  and author of Man’s Search for Meaning said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Game changer…

I went to India to inspire, teach and change the world, but instead it was ME that was inspired, taught and changed.  Forever.  

I realized that if  I desired to live a JOY filled life it was up to ME – it was a choice. My choice.

“When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.” ~Wayne W. Dyer

I have never been a materialistic person, well at least I thought I wasn’t.  Money didn’t grow on trees at my house, but I never felt I lacked any of the essentials.  There were days I stood in my closet staring at a long rack of clothes uttering “I don’t have a thing to wear.” Pathetic.  And there were days I opened the refrigerator, you know the big ice box that keeps food from spoiling for days and sometimes weeks on end, and while staring at shelves filled with food I mumble, “We don’t have a thing to eat – let’s go out.” Embarrassing. 

Right then and there on the streets of Kolkata, I  made a conscious decision to be HaPpY.

Yes, it’s no secret that life’s a rollercoaster with many twists, turns and loop-de-loops.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who is challenge and trial free. And I would never pray to have less trials or to have my challenges removed – I feel that’s all part of the journey.  If  Viktor Frankl is correct and the only thing I am really in control of is my ability to choose my ATTITUDE, then gosh darn it, I’m choosing to enJOY the journey every step of the way.

I’ve discovered in my almost 52 years of life there are 5 sure ways to ensure HaPpY-ness.

1. Be Grateful.  Appreciate the little things.  Keep a gratitude journal at the side of your bed.  And at the end of each day write ONE thing that you are grateful for and FIVE reasons why.  This exercises creates a mind shift, training our brain to scan for happiness.  Being grateful adds beauty to life.

2.  Be Others Focused.  When you look for opportunities to serve expecting nothing in return, a beautiful thing happens; you forget about your worries and woes, endorphins are released, thus creating a shift in your mood. Being others focused brings joy to life.

3.  Be Creative – being creative adds pleasure to life – it puts the FUN back in life and relationships. I love the dad who cut his jeans into short shorts to show his daughter that short shorts aren’t that cute – he demonstrated creative parenting.  I love him not just because he is my husband (smiley face), but because he is creative and looks for opportunities to lighten up tough or difficult situations.  That doesn’t mean to not take life serious, it just means to DO something each day that makes you and others smile.

“Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.”

4.  Be YOU

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Everyone is an unrepeatable miracle.  Share your gifts and talents to lift and serve others.  Being you adds VALUE to life.

5.  Be Forgiving.  Forgive yourself and forgive others.  This is not always easy and it does not mean you are condoning whoever hurt you, it means you are CHOOSING to move forward, and a better person for it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  ~Louis B. Smedes

As I incorporated these five actions into my daily life, a paradigm shift happened just as it did when I was in India. I began scanning the world looking for good and actually seeing the positive in people, places and things. Automatically.

Life’s Short Lesson: If you CHOOSE to be HaPpY – You will be.

 

Home2 Suites Hilton Making A Difference

The Home2 Suites Hilton, making a difference in the life of a young man who dreams big.

Bryson

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  ~Maya Angelou

By Becky Mackintosh

I’ve done my share of traveling, from a five star hotel in San Juan, to a bed and breakfast in Edinburgh Scotland, I’ve been to Dubia, India and Mexico to name a few, and have sailed on more than a half a dozen cruise ships. What I remember and cherish most about my travels are the friendships made, the relationships strengthened, and the way people made me feel.

It’s no secret that first impressions form immediate thoughts and feelings leaving a mental image.  I have stayed at many Hilton hotels, but had never heard of Home2 Suites, UNTIL a few months ago and what an impression it has made.

It was an unusually warm November day,  I was helping a young man, who had recently moved in with our family, on his quest for a new job. We had just began our journey of dropping off resumes.  As we entered the front lobby of the newly opened Home2 Suites at Thanksgiving Point, only ten minutes from our home. we were greeted with a warm smile and an enthusiastic,

“Hello, Welcome to Home2 Suites.  How may I help you?”

With an equally broad smile and enthusiasm, this young man extending his hand as he replied, “Hello, My name is BRY-son Cornaby. I am a hard worker.  I need a job.  Are you accepting applications?”  the words flowed from his mouth just like we’d practiced.

Bryson handed her his single-page resume, put together by his job coach Terri Ann from an organization called RISE, including a summary of his many qualifications and employment such as: Chick-fil-la, Costco, Hilton Garden Inn of St. George, Utah and the Cliffrose Lodge outside of Zions Park. A pretty impressive resume for a young man who since birth has faced challenges associated with mild retardation.

More about Bryson…

Bryson grew up in Utah, yes he’s Mormon, yes he likes green jello and yes one of his goals is to marry and have a family just like every other young man.  I’ve known Bryson for several years, and if you know Bryson you know that if he dreams it, desires it, he works hard to achieve it! Accomplishing the impossible, is something he is good at. Everyone who knows Bryson loves him – he’s just that kind of a guy. He’s quite the character and just plain amazing!

I am often asked, “How did Bryson come to live with your family?”  One of our son-in-laws introduced us to Bryson several years ago.  Then one day, in the middle of October, Bryson called me from his home in Saint George, Utah and with enough enthusiasm to fill a colosseum he blurted,

“I just put in my two week notice and then I’m moving up North!”

I knew this to be code for; “I’m moving in with you and your family and I need you to help me find a new job!” I was perfectly fine with this arrangement …my family too!  We welcomed Bryson with open arms, but FIRST…

I cleaned out the bedroom of one of my grown married children to make room for Bryson and his prize possessions which included; 37 new bottles of  lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond. (Let’s just say he is a little obsessed with smelling good.) Many bottles of used and never used cologne, countless numbers of shoes, a snowboard and a coveted gift from Dr. Dre.

That’s RIGHT!  Dr. Dre!

As Seen On Instagram,  posted by Cliffrose lodge owner Breck Dockstader,

 Bryson sporting his NEW pair of  Dr. Dre Beats! 

Bryson sporting a pair of Beats ”Bryson received a gift from a guest today at the Clliffrose!  Turns out he made an impression on an executive VP that stayed with us from Beats! ”  `Breck Dockstader

His first week after joining our family, we got busy helping him look for a job, dropping off resumes to higher-end hotels and restaurants, Bryson likes the best, because he strives to be his best.  We practiced saying “Hello, My name is Bryson Cornaby. I am a hard worker seeking a job.  Are you accepting applications?”  Those weren’t always the exact words that came out of his mouth, but whatever he said, worked.  He made an impression. He got a call back for an interview at the Home2 Suites Hilton at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah.

Bam! He did it! He got the Job! 

For the next hour Bryson scrolled through his iPhone 6 Plus calling contact after contact…

“Hello, this is BRY-son, and guess what?”

“What?”

“I – got – a – job!”

“Where?”

“At the Home2 Suites Hilton at Thanksgiving Point!”

“Yahoo Bryson! That is amazing!” was the repeated response!

Now, five days a week, Bryson wakes up early, showers, eats breakfast, reads for 10 minutes, brushes his teeth, sprays a squirt or two or three of his favorite cologne and then WAITS watching the clock until it’s time to leave for work, never late, always early.  He loves his job, it’s rewarding to feel appreciated, valued and needed and that’s what he experiences from the entire staff at Home2 Suites Hilton, recently awarded Lehi, Utah’s 2014 Business of the year!  With a long list of charities they have contributed to in their short time of being open, is a reflection of their values and desire to make a difference in this world.  I know our family is grateful for the difference Home2 Suites is making in this young mans life and our HomeTOO Sweet!

P.S.  When you book your vacation at Home2 Suites say HELLO to Bryson!

IMG_9135Bryson Cornaby with Home2 Suites Lehi, Utah General Manager Devin Slorah

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Bryson and staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We DO What We Do

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Why we Do what we DO…

When Scott Mackintosh wore the shorty-shorts we were inundated with interviews, phone calls and emails, the message that stood out and drove us to SPEAK were the many that said,

“I wish someone cared that much about me to do something like that.”

THAT tugged at our hearts and spurred us to talk about issues surrounding self-esteem, self-worth and the confidence to dance the dance, even when others say you can’t.

Scott and I have had many cool, inspiring and motivating experiences in our life, along with lots of hard lessons learned. THIS equipped us with many true life stories that EMPOWER others, Build CONFIDENCE and MOTIVATES real change. It’s rewarding to see someone’s eyes light up when they are able to see themselves as God sees them.

When our son told us he was gay and two years later we decided to go public, the response was mind-bogling, again inundated with hundreds of emails opened our eyes to the GREAT need for us to continue to be open, honest and REAL about our experience and lessons learned. Not everyone wants to be an open book, but everyone I meet desires to feel loved, respected, accepted and valued for who they are and the diversity they bring. We choose to be their voice.

Therefore…

using humor, courage and a whole lot of LOVE, we SPEAK from our heart in an effort to motivate YOU to put the FUN back in LIFE and Relationships.

AND

THAT is why we DO what we DO.  

 

P.S.  To see where we speak NEXT, follow us on Facebook or visit us at LifesShortLessons.com

 

What Happens Next?

Let's Keep I Touch!
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What Happens Next?

Let's Keep I Touch!
DOWNLOAD a FREE audio of the REAL Short-Shorts Story! Plus a FREE monthly Newsletter of what's happening!