Tag Archives: Genshai

A Follow Up to A Very Real Matter: Same-Sex Attraction

It’s only been two weeks since I held my breath as my finger hovered over that publish button to “A Very REAL Matter: Same-Sex Attraction”.  My stomach ached as I dug even deeper, to muster additional courage to share to Facebook and Twitter.  Fear of how the public would react to my son’s vulnerability and to my motherly plea to the world to reinvest in kindness.

The response has been over-whelming. Our inboxes inundated with positive emails, messages and phone calls, along with a long stream of comments beneath the many social media shares.  We thank you from the bottom of our heart for your kind and supportive messages, your openness, AND for sharing the video and post with others.

(If you have no idea what I am talking about, STOP and take a few minutes

to watch the video and original article.)

The message we had hoped would shine through was validated with comments such as…

“Thank you so much for sharing this video. It touched our hearts, and we cried all the way through it. This is exactly our son’s story as well. We are learning everyday as a family. Thanks for your words and lessons. It has helped so much!!!”

“I agree that whether we agree or disagree with same-sex attractions, we can ALL be kinder and more compassionate about it.”

“Wow. I was deeply touched AND educated. Thank you to you and Sean for taking the time to open up about this subject. I needed the lesson on being less judgmental and more loving.”

A great number of the responses mirrored my son’s story having received an outpouring of  love, empathy and compassion. Others experienced  rejection, and still others live in fear of telling their parents, or sharing their secret with anyone.

Hundreds thanked us for helping them see things in a different perspective.

One father confessed,  “I haven’t spoken to my gay son in four years.”  He humbly added,  “I can see I have been doing it wrong.”  He committed to send his son a text that simply said, “I love you”.

Bullseye! That was our intention!

It’s rewarding to hear that hearts are healing, families reuniting and lives being saved.  It’s a start.

Some people questioned the need to even have this discussion asking, “Why would anyone not accept a person just because of their sexual orientation?”

Another person confessed, “I was brought up to believe you only accept gays if they do not act upon their desires.”

I must confess…

I cried as I read the many heart-wrenching emails that claimed they had often gone to bed crying and pleading with God to please not let THIS be their challenge. Praying “Please take my eye sight, my hearing, my legs, ANYTHING in place of being gay.”

Heart wrenching.

The most common patterns I noticed within the mass of emails were… 

1) The internal conflict between their natural feelings they did not choose, and their religious beliefs.  Leaving them wondering, “Does God love me?” 

2) The most difficult step seemed to be admitting to him or her self that number one, this was not going away, and number two, this was a real part of who they were.

Then REAL fear steps in…

 “Who do I tell?  Do I tell my parents? HOW do I tell my parents? How will they react?”

And the biggest fear of all – “What if they reject me?”

This leads to the next big dilemma…

Is it okay to date someone I am attracted to, or do I continue to date someone of the opposite sex to appear normal?  Do I live a life of celibacy? Is it possible to meet someone of the opposite sex who will marry me?

Many emails (too many) contained confessions that ending their life seemed like the best and only option. And many shared they had already attempted to take their life.  No one should feel ending their life is their only or best option. Never. Ever.

It was heartbreaking to read the many emails from parents and gay young men and women who expressed they had become disillusioned and angry with God and many claiming to be atheist.

                 I wish I had a magic wand to calm the hearts of those who live in fear of telling their parents or sharing their secret with anyone, fear of  disappointment and of being rejected. 

The happiest and most positive emails were from gay young men and women who believed in God and had loving family support. 

The happiest expressed gratitude in having parents who loved them unconditionally. Just knowing their parents loved them seemed to make a huge difference.

My heart is full and I fight back the tears. I never imagined this is what I would learn and experience when I pushed that “publish”. But I am grateful. Grateful to know that hundreds and perhaps thousands now know they are not alone and they have a friend in me and my son.  My inbox is filled with people who just want to fit in, to be understood and feel loved.

My plea to the world is to reinvest in kindness, compassion and charity. We all could do a little better don’t you think? I know I could.




Not only did I have the amazing privilege of helping orchestrate Emmanuel Kelly’s first concert in the USA

…..It was Eman’s FIRST concert ever!

The world knows Emmanuel for his inspiring X-Factor Australia audition clip “Imagine” by John Lennon, a clip that is just shy of 8 Million views on YouTube. The story of being born in Iraq under chemical warfare conditions resulting in Emmanuel and his older brother Ahmed born without limbs. The story is told of being found in a shoe box, rescued and placed in Mother Teresa’s orphanage to be raised by nuns. Emmanuel later tells us “being found in a shoe box” is a term used for abandoned. Across the way in Australia, founder of the Children First Foundation, Moira Kelly heard about these two adorable boys in Iraq. Emmanuel describes the first time seeing Moira entering the room; “It was like seeing an angel.” Of course she fell in love with the boys. After two years of red tape, Moira was finally able to bring the boys to her home in Australia and start them on their journey of surgeries, prosthetics and encouragement to follow their DrEaMs.

In October 2012,  I was exposed to the inspiring-tear-jerker video clip of Emmanuel Kelly’s X-Factor audition clip on facebook and had to “share” it on my FB wall.  I watched it over and over.  About a week later, my boss, author/speaker Kevin Hall called me with a new assignment; to tract down the contact info for Emmanuel Kelly.  Kevin felt impressed to invite Emmanuel to sing at the upcoming Genshai Life Mastery Retreat in Coronado Island January 5-7 2013. I found this assignment to be a little more difficult than a previous assignment given only five days early which was to connect Kevin with Immaculée Ilibagiza, the survivor of the Rwanda Genocide and author of “Left To Tell”.  It took only 3 days to make the connection and get a reply response from Immaculée. (that’s another incredible story for another blog) Finding Emmanuel was a little tougher….not as much to go on since Emmanuel has not written a book, did not have a speaking agent, no place of employment, Facebook page etc …all the leads I used to track down Immaculée – didn’t apply to Emmanuel.

What I did have going for me was that 30 years ago while attending school in Hawaii I met a news reporter, Rick Arden, from Australia who is still a news anchor for Channel 7 Perth. “Perfect” I thought, “If a news reporter was given the assignment to ‘find’ someone …they would act like the world depended on it and get the job done.”  I shot Rick an email with my request and waited and waited and waited for a reply. hmmm…..plan B.  I then emailed every news station in Australia and FINALLY got a response from ABC News giving me the info to Emmanuel Kelly’s mother Moira Kelly’s charity foundation.  Bingo!  I emailed Moira, who promptly replied. Kevin was then able to call and speak Moira on the phone for 30 minutes and sealed the deal to fly Emmanuel to the Genshai Life Mastery Retreat. Woot! Woot! Side note: the next day came the reply from Rick…thank you Rick, but one day late. 🙂

Once in Coronado it took only a fraction of a second to fall in love with the boy with the amazing voice, witty sense of humor and maturity beyond his teen years. Emmanuel “hung out” with the six teens at the retreat, five teens had won the opportunity to be there from entering an essay contest “Imagine If….” and the sixth teen was my daughter who was not eligible to enter the contest….just fortunate to come:) My husband and I were the lucky teen chaperones, therefore spent a lot of quality time with Emmanuel.

Little did we know that when we said our good-byes it didn’t really mean good-bye. The following week brought a series of events which lead to Emmanuel Kelly and his assistant Peter staying in our home, and with only a few days notice we were able to facilitate all the details needed to put on a concert. A special thanks to Laurie Olson, industrial film director and my India traveling buddy, for using her magic to book the Scera Theater in Orem, Utah for not one, but TWO concerts.

Emmanuel was a joy to have in our home. Those that were able to see Emmanuel LIVE for his first ever Concert’ were privileged to be entertained by this talented, humorous, can-do-anything young man for 90 minutes.

My life has been forever touched by this amazing young man!  My NEXT goal and personal assignment: To meet his AMAZING mother Moira Kelly.

A Clip from Emmanuel Kelly’s first USA Concert

The Secret Word

Have you read the book Aspire; Discovering Your Purpose Through the Power Of Words, by Kevin Hall?  It’s a MUST read. It was life changing book for me.  Chapter one divulges a word I had never heard before, Kevin calls it the “Secret Word” which upon hearing it became my new favorite word!  What’s the word?  Hold on, I will tell you in a minute!

Each chapter focuses on a new word and Kevin shares stories of inspiring men and women who exemplify that word.  One of my favorite stories was about Dr. Viktor Frankl, a man who “survived the horrors and inhumanity of the Nazi concentration camps as prisoner Number 119,104.”   Viktor wrote a book in nine days following his ordeal, entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning.”  In his book he writes:  “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.”  Viktor chose to be a VICTOR not a Victim!

I was inspired by Viktor to be more conscious of “My Attitude” – how I react in any given situation.

Okay, now to my new FAVORITE word, the Word that has made me more conscience of the words I use and how I treat others is…………drum roll…………. “GENSHAI” which means “Never treat another person in a manner that would make them feel small……and that includes YOURSELF!”  Why did this hit me so hard?   I had heard it my whole life, just worded differently. My mother drilled “Do unto others as you want them to do unto you”  “Love one another”   “Be kind to everyone”  but for some reason “in a manner that would make them FEEL small”  sunk deep.

I posted the word Genshai and its meaning on a sticky note on my bathroom mirror.   It’s a reminder to choose my words wisely.  Being kind to strangers and friends is comes naturally, but for some reason I can get inpatient with those I love the most…my family.  How could that be possible?  ….too often having a clean house, tidy bedrooms, over shadows the fact that my kids are doing good things…..they aren’t out doing drugs and alcohol or sleeping around.  How did  “pick up after yourself” become more important than “I walked away from a potentially bad situation today”?

Back in the day when I had five teens living at home at the same time,  I could get a little crazy trying to keep some kind of order in my home.  I was constantly nagging someone to clean their room, clean their bathroom, get out of bed, get their chores done, etc…  Mornings were the worst.  My boys did high school sports and were usually up and gone to practice before the girls were even awake. That left THREE teenage, tired, moody girls fighting over the bathroom and who was wearing what of theirs without asking was a normal occurrence.  The good thing is; by the time they came home from school they were best friends again.  If I were to go back and do it all again, I would have closed their bedroom doors more often so that I couldn’t see their mess….ignored the over flowing garbage can in their bathroom AND would have hugged and praised them more for the Good things they were doing and the bad things they were NOT doing.

Okay I’ve gotten a little side tracked.  Here’s a couple of examples of how taking to heart the word Genshai helped me become a more patient mom:  My youngest boy Skye is usually an early riser during the school year….he jumps out of bed and goes through the morning routine before catching the bus for school without any nagging or “coaching” (that’s a nicer sounding word) from me.  One morning he was just not getting out of bed. I knew he had gotten to bed late and was now paying the price.  THE OLD ME would have said, “GET OUT OF BED!  I’m sorry you chose to go to bed late. NOW GET UP!  If you MISS the bus you will have to WALK to school!”   Those were words that came out of my mouth on occasion when I had the 4-5 teens living at home….and several times they WALKED the two miles to school…one time on cold snowy winter.  Lesson learned, but “Bad Mom Award”.   But on this morning, the word Genshai was at the forefront and I said, “Skye, would you like to sleep longer and I will drive you to school?”  He sat up a bit and looked at me strangely then thanked me and laid back down.  To him those words meant he could sleep another half hour….and thats a big deal to a teen.  As I walked away from his room I felt REALLY good, unlike the raunchy grouchy feeling I would feel after I yelled at my child and punished them for something so trivial.

Another morning I opened Skye’s door and said “Get up Skye, Today is going to be the BEST day of your Life and  YOU don’t want to miss a single second of it”   He sat up, again looked at me funny, and said “Why?”  I answered,”  Because YOU are going to be a part of it! You are going to walk down the halls and smile at people you have never smiled at before….you are going to say “Hi” to people you have never said hi to before and YOU are going to make them feel good about themselves and in return you will feel better about yourself.  AND when you crawl back into bed tonight you are going to say “Today was a Great Day!”   He just smiled and had the look of “you are weird mom” on his face.    A half hour later as I was driving my daughter Myley to school…wait…DRIVING?….Yes, because she attends a HS that is not in our boundaries, therefore no bus to ride:(  As I was pulling up to the front of the school I said, “Myley today is going to be the BEST day of your life!”  She turned to me and said, “I know! I heard you telling Skye this morning”  We laughed as she got out of the car and I said “enJOY the Best day of your life!”   YEP! it was a lot nicer feeling parting ways that morning!  Lesson Learned…..Be NICE! “Good Mom Award”

Is my life all a bed of roses now that I have digested the MEANING of the word GENSHAI?….NO, LIFE HAPPENS and I still have to make a conscious decision of how I will respond……it’s up to ME and no one else….I choose my attitude!  I’m really making an effort to NEVER make another person feel SMALL, and that decision has made me a HaPpIeR person!