Stars, Stripes, and Rainbows

I don’t believe there is anyone over the age of five that doesn’t know about the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.  It’s a matter that has been discussed heatedly all over the world for decades.

I doubt it will come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I do not — cannot — support this decision.  Let me explain.

I’m a Christian.  I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  As such, I’ve made a choice.  There are two options here: agree with the world or agree with God.  As a God-fearing woman, the first is out of the question for me.  Could I really say to God, “Hey, I’m going to ignore what You want in favor of what these people wish me to believe?”  I can’t.

At the same time, we are commanded to love others.  And I do.  I have many loved ones and sweet acquaintances who either are gay or support gay marriage.  Mind you, I have nothing against the feelings that belong to a homosexual.  It’s the action with which I disagree.  Just as having desire for a member of the opposite gender is fine unless it leads to lust, adultery, or premarital sex.  There are rights and wrongs, opposition in all things, and certain rules that we should and should not uphold.  I love those that disagree with me.  They’re also children of God and deserve respect and kindness.  But that love does not transcend into agreement and support of their actions, for the simple but profound reason that I love God more.

Something that frightens me about this issue is that those who oppose gay marriage are being persecuted and silenced.  That’s not what America is about.  I understand we all have equal rights and I don’t mind at all that those with differing opinions speak as they will.  What bothers and genuinely scares me is that anyone who disagrees with gay marriage, transgender topics, or things also related to this are so heavily rebuked for exercising the same rights those who support LGBT communities enjoy.  This is an opposition of ideals.  Both sides believe they are right.  So why are those of us who disagree with the ruling being so persecuted?  We are belittled into silence, feeling shamed by the public, even the government.  This is not fair.  In a country that touts equality and civil rights as the basis for our every action, how can the public justify fighting tooth and nail for their wishes while simultaneously crushing ours into the ground?  America was founded on the God-given rights of free speech and freedom of religion.  These are part of the First Amendment of the Constitution.  The Constitution is what this nation is founded upon.  In shaming us into silence, they are denying us the very rights upon which the United States of America is predicated.  If disallowing gay marriage is unconstitutional, then this definitely is.

I ask you to think of this objectively.  Christians and others who oppose gay marriage are (or at least should be) kind and caring to those who disagree with our beliefs.  Please support giving us the same courtesy.

Sincerely,

Ana

Insanity at Home

So there’s this hymn we have in the LDS Church titled ‘Love at Home’.  I think it’s stupid.  The melody is trivial, the undercurrents of emotion near-nonexistent, and the lyrics are downright idiotic.  It goes on and on about how time softly, sweetly glides by and flowers bloom beneath your feet when love is in the home.

No.

When love is in the home, laughter rings so loudly you can’t hear yourself think.  When love is in the home, you know that when you walk through the door of your house your opinion matters and you’re treated like you’re wanted.  Love is even in the sarcastic comments and blunt statements about your personal problems that could be taken offensively when meant well.  If life with love were as unutterably dull as that song portrays, I would revolt.

But I know what it’s like to have love at home.  It’s beautiful in the way that an electrifying passage or a legato strand are.  It’s overcoming your mistakes together, growing together like grafted branches onto a mother tree.

My family is unorthodox.  We’re weird.  Only those closest to us know the full extent of that weirdness, but it’s something that’s kept us together, laughing, and happy.  It’s what gets us through the times that feel like our hearts are going to break.  I would be dead without my family — I’m sure of it.  I have confidence because my family taught me of my worth.  They are my strength.  I’m basically a little cherry on the tip of the tree that is my family.  They hold me up, nourish me, and prepare me to lift into the world in the most glorious of ways.

I want to do a post on how families are dissintegrating in today’s society — but not today.  Today’s post is on the importance and beauty of family.  True family.  Not that guy over there that is biologically related to you but has hardly ever spoken to you.  Not the woman that beat you until you wanted to kill yourself.  That’s not family.  Family is your security, the ones who make you feel safe and loved in a world that would strip you of everything good.  It is a gift from God.

Cheers!

Ana

“With a grateful prayer and a thankful heart!”

Golden Gifts    Gifts of all sizes wrapped in penny-saving kraft paper and embellished with ribbon, raffia and rickrack become part of the holiday decor. Vary the red-and-white presentation by including a gala mix of stripes, checks and solid-colored ribbons. Attach dried flowers, felt snowflakes, buttons or berries for extra pizzazz. Perhaps our favorite Christmas tradition is watching the Muppet Christmas Carol.  We’ll all curl up on the couch and turn on the movie, giggling and singing along.

Photo Gallery: Our Favorite Christmas and Holiday Movies/The Muppet Christmas Carol

Everyone knows the story of Scrooge and the three spirits that visit him the night before Christmas.  But my personal belief is that the Muppets and Michael Caine are the only ones who do it justice.  One of the most iconic moments is Christmas morning when Scrooge goes out into the city and becomes, really, the embodiment of Christmas joy — and how that joy should last throughout the year.  There’s the most charming song about having a thankful heart, and my siblings and I have gone around singing it for almost three days now!

Gratitude is happiness.  There was a study done a while ago, and one group of students recorded all the negative things they found in a certain length of time.  Another group recorded all the positive things.  At the end of that period, those that recorded the positive things were shown to be much happier and more content with life.

Sometimes it’s hard to be grateful.  Sometimes you receive something — a gift at Christmas, say — and gripe and complain about it.  How is that fair?  You’re just filling your heart with bitterness, but you’re also hurting the giver.  I encourage you to always look on the bright side and see beyond the here and now.  This moment is the merest speck in the complete range of things, so what cause is there to not be grateful?

President Uchtdorf gave a great talk on gratitude about a year ago.  Here’s a great quote from it:

“We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.

This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.

When we are grateful to God in our circumstances, we can experience gentle peace in the midst of tribulation. In grief, we can still lift up our hearts in praise. In pain, we can glory in Christ’s Atonement. In the cold of bitter sorrow, we can experience the closeness and warmth of heaven’s embrace.

We sometimes think that being grateful is what we do after our problems are solved, but how terribly shortsighted that is. How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?

Being grateful in times of distress does not mean that we are pleased with our circumstances. It does mean that through the eyes of faith we look beyond our present-day challenges.

This is not a gratitude of the lips but of the soul. It is a gratitude that heals the heart and expands the mind.”

(President Uchtdorf is awesome).

Love Uctdorf

(It’s not this weekend, just so you know.  I just thought the pic was cute).

I’ve been through things that have been tough — we all have.  But I have to say that those challenges have built me in ways nothing else could have.  I’m so grateful for the life I have been given, hypermobility and all.  God is my joy, my family — including my dear friends — are my happiness.  I pray that this Christmas season, and even forever, you will find peace and happiness even when trials hunt you down and try to hurt you.  You can win.

Love you, and merry Christmas!

Ana

I Have Arrived

Hello, there!

My name is Ana, and you have chanced upon my blog.  It’s basically ‘the life and times and blunt opinions of an LDS opera singer’ thing.  Meant to be fun, informative, and a little wacky, I hope it lives up to expectations.

Yeah, I’m LDS — we’re also called Mormons, but I tend to prefer ‘LDS’.  It stands for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Which means, yes, I’m a Christian.  And it’s awesome.  One reason I began the blog is to show people that we aren’t creepy, scary, daft, or any other negative term.  There are insane stories — magic underwear, anyone? — and I’m here to show you what it’s like to live my standards in a world that isn’t so keen on things like that anymore.

And opera singer.  I’ve loved opera since I was fifteen years old.  No, not the Phantom of the Opera (though that is an utterly amazing musical and I love it to death).  I’m talking Mozart, Verdi and Handel.  And lesser-known ones like Bellini and Meyerbeer.  I’m a lyric mezzo-soprano, and I don’t really know how to explain it in non-opera lingo.  I’ll think of that eventually.  I want my voice lessons back, but school comes first, unfortunately, so I do my sit-ups and sing as I walk home from work.  And Joyce DiDonato is amazing.  Look up her renditions of Rossini’s Una voce poco fa — the woman is beyond fantastic!

I’m also a writer.  I know that’s kind of a generic term, but I’ve been blessed with a mother that’s also an English teacher.  I just finished my first novel and am dreading editing it.  I don’t write fluff.  My stuff is gritty and emotionally warped, but I try to bring the characters from the lowest point possible back into hope.  Kind of like life.

And since I’m starving, I’m going to go put something together and eat it.  I don’t like cooking, but I think I can manage a sandwich and a cup of V8.  Cross your fingers that I won’t blow up the kitchen.

Cheers!

Ana