Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dog pee on the floor

This post isn't really about dog pee on the floor.

It's about making mistakes.

With many dogs in our house, it's inevitable that once in a while one of them pees on the floor. When that happens, there is no yelling or screaming, no punishment, no harsh judgment. We simply clean it up and continue loving on them.

If only this could happen with humans.

We all make mistakes.

We all fall short of someone elses expectations at times.

We might say something "wrong", or in a way that someone else misinterprets.

I try to live in the thought pattern of best intention. With friends and family I love, when their behavior or communication seems off or maybe even borderline offensive, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

I at least start there.

I try to honor the humanness in another. 

So perhaps I can accept that my high expectations in another might not always be reached. And when they're not, I need to let go and not judge.

Perhaps I can come from love knowing that the other person loves me too.

Perhaps I can treat everyone else as I treat our dogs when they pee on the floor.

Sometimes we need to gives others a break.

And sometimes the one we need to give a break to is the one staring back at us in the mirror.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Don't fear the vegans

Having been vegan for 18 years, I have been fortunate to see the world change in regards to veganism and animal rights.

Many of these changes are good: Vegan ice cream, vegan mac n cheese, felony animal cruelty laws, etc.

I digress.

If you are not vegan, you have nothing to fear from me or my kind.

I do not hate humans. I actually spend a good deal of my life trying to help humans.

I do not hate you. You might "like" meat and to that I say that we are all on our own path. If you ask me about why I am vegan I will certainly tell you. If you don't want to know, don't ask.

No, you cannot visit me and eat meat in our home. Our home is a sacred place to us. You can dine on my husbands delicious cooking, but it doesn't include meat. You can go out for that if you really have to.

We have more in common with what you eat than you might think. Consider that vegans and non vegans eat black beans, broccoli, carrots, Navy beans, spaghetti, linguine, stuffed peppers, kale, Swiss chard, beets, bread, crackers, cookies, ice cream, potatoes, rice, cauliflower, brownies, doughnuts, cereal, oatmeal, apples, oranges, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, tofu, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple, almonds, cashews, peanuts, macadamia nuts, celery, peppers, lentils, parsley, sweet potatoes, yams, soup, spinach, tomatoes, dates, figs, Popsicles,  pinto beans, guacamole, avocados, onions, etc. Whew, so many things in common.

OK, I admit it. I snuck in tofu knowing many people haven't had the pleasure of creating a delicious tofu dish.

We eat "real food". I have heard from folks who do not want to visit us because they can't eat real food. Seriously, you will get plenty of real food from a vegan.

People choose to be vegan for a variety of reasons. Mine is that I love animals and want to live my life in a way that does least harm to all living beings. The only ones who need to fear that are the ones who profit from killing and torturing animals. And that fear is really only around money.

We go to work, plant our gardens, volunteer, and try to add to our communities. Nothing to fear there.

We want a world similar to the world you want.

And just like that world, we are as diverse in our beliefs and how to make change than any other community.

If you would like more information on veganism in its many forms, check out any of the links on our main blog page.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Marriage equality in Michigan!

Grissom Middle School, Sterling Heights

Midland High School, Midland

I grew up in Michigan.

I grew up gay in Michigan. Some time in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights and a couple of years in Midland, further north.

All of my family is still in Michigan. Mike and I visit at least every other year.

I seldom talk positively about Michigan. That's my flaw. I just think it's dreary and don't have fond memories.  I remember the intense self-hatred. I remember the secret. I could never be honest with anyone. I could only survive day by day with my shame. Many days I didn't want to survive.
Fortunately for me I have recent awesome memories of time with old friends and vegan adventures. I have also realized in my adulthood that bigotry and hate are everywhere, not just in my home state. I actually get excited these days when Mike and I talk about a visit to Michigan. 

So this morning when I say photos of gay couples in line to get marriage licenses and of couples getting married, I bawled.

I bawled for quite a while.

The world is changing. Freedom is coming to many who previously had only dreamed about it. I honestly never thought the day would come when I could be legally married. Or would be legally married. I honestly never thought that marriage equality would ever come to the state that for me was synonymous with shame, brutal bigotry, and hate.

And here we are.


Let's celebrate. And then let's continue to work towards full marriage equality throughout our country. Let's continue to speak out against bigotry and hate at every level.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hating gays because of religion

He died this week. He spent much of his life spreading hate towards gays and lesbians. He became famous for colorful signs with big letters that read such nice things as "God hates fags" amongst other things.

If you don't believe in Jesus or heaven, his meaning to you might just be that he spoke out against gay people all of the time.

What I have always talked about in regards to this man and his band of people who traveled around the country with these signs is that what he is saying is no different than what many pastors say in the pulpit every Sunday.

No different.

Yet he got all of the attention. Maybe it was the colorful signs. Maybe "God hates fags" has a more offensive meaning than " if you are gay and have gay sex you are going to hell".

In churches, synagogues and mosques all over the country religious leaders condemn gay people. We are called sinners. We are called unnatural. We are called deviants. In some religious places we are called fags and faggots.

Regardless, there is no difference. The man who died this week said horrible things about gay people, and horrible things about anyone who came close to saying anything nice or supportive about gay people. The same things are said about us by other religious leaders.

So can we start calling them out too? Can we start telling them how awful the things they are saying are and how hurtful they can be.

If you believe in Jesus and you believe that what the Bible says regarding homosexuals means we are all going to hell, that's one thing. Vile hate or supporting laws that take away our freedom and liberty just doesn't work for me.

And please, do not hate in the name of Jesus. If you hate on gay people either with words or actions, please distance yourself from Jesus.

Mr. "God hates fags" has met his maker. In my belief system he sure has been surprised.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A (crazy busy) vegan life

I find myself describing my life as "charmed" when chatting with people.

Indeed it is.

As one who spends his work day raising money to support homeless young people, I am very well aware that I have so much in my life.

A loving spouse who I am in love with.

A wonderful roof over my head that I get to share with my husband, four dogs and two chinchillas.

I have a job I love.

I have an incredibly amazing group of friends who are always there with love and support.

I have the opportunity to eat very well.

I could keep going.

With this blog I have the opportunity to share things that are important to me, like veganism, animal rights issues, equality and about how we all have more in common than not.

And I lead a life that is just a regular life.

I got up close and personal with this thought this week when life just seemed so crazy. Work was crazy busy. As I realized this I also remembered that it wasn't just this week, but the last couple of weeks. Sixty hour work weeks as I prepared for our largest fundraising event of the year. One night I didn't gt any sleep and got back to the office the next morning pretty exhausted.

Add in home life, blogging, and everything else that we do as part of life and I was completely wiped.

I'm sure you can relate.

So this weekend I am completely chilling out. I have time planned with my little brother (from Big Brothers/Big Sisters) and that is about it. Maybe some gym time. Maybe some writing time. A book sounds good? And I think Mike and I are due for a date night.

These are the things that relax me, that make me feel like I am alive.

Life can get crazy. Sometimes I have to stop, take a breathe, and just smile. Or take a nap.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Coming out vegan

In 1990 I came out of the closet. That is the year I told family and old friends that I was gay. I knew earlier, and there were a handful of very close friends who knew.

I'm not sure where the term came from regarding the closet, but my life before coming out was dark, lonely and I always had a feeling of being trapped.

I believe there is power in coming out. Not only power that one finds, but power in changes that it makes in the world. I have always felt that people who know and love gay people find it harder to hate them, kill them, vote against their rights or condemn them.

These days I use the term coming out of the closet for all sorts of different things. I think when we as vegans come out as vegan we can totally change the world. What I mean by this is basically be open to talk about our veganism with complete strangers. Not in an annoying, condescending way but in  a matter of fact way.

It's a great way to be a voice for the voiceless and you never know who you might meet and befriend. We get emails from vegans all of the time who live in areas where they are the only vegan. I wonder if they really are, or if they just don't know all of the other vegans. I remember feeling the same way when coming out and being somewhere in the world or even on my ship when I was in the Navy and thinking I was the only one.

There are a lot of us out there. Imagine the changes we can make in the world when we meet each other and grab a meal together. Or plan a potluck or meetup. Or ask our local market to carry more vegan products. Or plan a protest.

As many of us who are out and about and  talking about our veganism and why we're vegan, there are many who go about their plant-based life with little conversation about. We can be a voice for the voiceless by letting the whole world know.

Thanks so much for reading. And to our readers who feel alone in their vegan adventure: You are not alone. There is an amazing vegan community, however big or small, out there.