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Tolerance – a core strength

Tolerance – A Core Strength

Tolerance — respecting human dignity — seems like a particularly timely topic.  Is it that people are allowing religion to do more of their thinking for them?  Has our educational system failed too?  How can I continue to model tolerance for our son and do my part to help create a more inclusive society?  When confronted with intolerant behavior, how does our family remain strong?

While organizations like, and are fairly well known, the following are some sites I use as resources that provide outstanding information and/or support and do not come up in discussion as often. : This article #LGBTQ: How to Support LGBTQ-Owned Small Businesses & Resources at Finimpact is a great resource for LGBTQ owners who need support, offering some of the best ways to support LGBTQ-owned businesses right now.  :  We L O V E this organization and its outreach efforts, and we donate 1% of our sales to this non-profit so we may be a bit biased. The Matthew Shepard Foundation provides educational resources for schools to encourage greater acceptance of individuals different from ourselves and manages a website for youth to find programs and shelters that are welcoming regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.  Judy and Dennis Shepard also speak about bullying and hate crimes at schools, college campuses and organizations.  :   Though focused on educators, this creation of the Southern Poverty Law Center has well written articles and an exhaustive list of resources covering a wide variety of topics.  The one that caught my eye this past week:  “Don’t Threaten My Religion” by Sara Wicht, discussing lessons educators can use to help students deal with content that may threaten individual belief systems. :  Way to go Michigan!  Created by the Strengthening Families Initiative, a part of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation,  this is a great resource for straightforward and “readily consumable” information to share with friends, parents-to-be, and families with young kids.  It outlines methods for promoting personal resilience and healthy family life behaviors.

When confronted with intolerant and sometimes aggressive behavior,  I want our son to have learned to recognize the insecurity behind the action and have the skills and strength to handle the situation in a healthy way.  We aren’t there yet, but we’re working hard.  Now if we could get him to do his chores without being reminded…

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Santa Margarita Ranch Wedding: Alexis & Lisa

Alexis and Lisa were married on February 20, 2016 at Santa Margarita Ranch in Santa Margarita, California. Photographed by Nadine Cheetah of Cheetah Photography.


Who proposed to whom? I, Alexis, proposed to Lisa.

How did you get engaged? I had a hotel room, lined the entrance with candles and in the room had 25 balloons with reasons why I love her attached to the bottom of each one. The ring was in a big gift box and when she opened it I took it and proposed.

Wedding date? February 20, 2016

Venue? Santa Margarita Ranch

Coordinator? We coordinated and planned our wedding.

Catering? Dickies BBQ

Cake? Sea breeze cupcakes

Photographer? Nadine Cheetah of Cheetah Photography

DJ? DJ Brian Cheetah – DJ Cheetah

Florist? Bought and put together our own flowers and centerpieces.

Hair/Makeup? Hair and make up was done by Lisa’s sister Amy Friesen and our friend Ruby Rodriguez.

This was a totally DIY wedding. We loved planning, building, and decorating everything. We would do it all over again if we could! – Alexis

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We thought it’d be cool to celebrate our 10th year with our wedding. Well guess what?

David and Derek from Taylor Street Favors

Derek and I have been partners for almost 10 years. Our ten year mark is somewhere hidden within the 2016 year so we thought it might be cool to celebrate our 10 years with our wedding date. We’ve never quite pinned down the exact date because we can’t find “THE” date that made sense to celebrate. Gays have had to be creative with anniversary dates. Rent U-haul /move in day or our first debut at the club as a couple day… and on they go. Good times. We needed a wedding date so we had to decide. As we wandered through the year of our meeting we considered:

  1. The date we first met. We met sometime in the spring of 2006 at the gym. For a while we probably just said hi or smiled at each other before making actual conversation. Neither of us could remember an exact day, so that one was out.
  2. Our first full-on conversation: I won’t go into any awkward details here but I will say it lead to our first “date”.
  3. Our first “date”. We can’t remember the actual day but boy do we remember the “date”. Two hours of actually watching a DVD, “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”; slowly finding our way to a cuddle which then lead to kissing and well you get the picture. We do know this was sometime in April just before my, now our, son’s first birthday.
  4. Our 2nd, 3rd or 4th date. Sometime in October. These were actual dates. One of them was Dinner at a Sushi restaurant on Beverly in LA —thank you Noshi Sushi! We saw Colin Ferguson from Eureka there and he became our touchstone to the moment. Chopped fish and Jack Carter. Pretty romantic. Cash only.
  5. The first time we said “I love you”. This one we do know. January 1st, 2007 at 12:01:01 AM. Some moments deserve their own special date, so we left that alone too.

The point ends up being we could not really choose one overly romantic moment over the other. So we decided to pick a date that has meant something to us as long as we’ve known each other. A date that combines much of who we are — a family. We chose June 19th, 2016 – Fathers Day.

We are dads. It’s something we love being. We love being a family, with us, our son, two dogs and a water bug named Shawn our son keeps in a jar. We love having family dinner together [most] every night and talking about our day even when our son doesn’t want to talk…especially then. We love movie nights with the three of us on the couch staring at the TV; dogs sleeping on the floor next to one of us. We love flying kites and game night. We love shuffling our son to school or soccer. We love all of it.

Ok so I just re-read all that and it does sound a little perfect pollyanna. So don’t get me wrong, we don’t love it all – all the time. Those “other” moments are for a separate blog post – a bottle of wine and a quiet & kid-free house post.

Anyway, It’s who we are. We are dads. Fathers Day seemed like the perfect fit. It will be the best father’s day gift ever.

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Marriage Equality vs. Kentucky

Maria Blevins of Morehead, Ky., waves her sign at passing cars during a protest on the lawn of the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. The rally, held by the Rowan County Rightas Coalition, brought roughly a hundred people to celebrate same sex marriage. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Maria Blevins of Morehead, Ky., waves her sign at passing cars during a protest on the lawn of the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. The rally, held by the Rowan County Rightas Coalition, brought roughly a hundred people to celebrate same sex marriage. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Dear Ms. Davis,

I am sorry you have decided to not perform your job with the state of Kentucky and postponed the celebrations of a number of your residents.  I understand you are to process marriage license requests, issuing these to applicants from your state, not first determine who is worthy of being granted a license based on personal views.  You have not been asked or instructed to insert any particular requirements based on religiously held beliefs, have you?  You are paid to do your job with tax dollars, not church donations, right?

The individuals you are refusing to serve are not attacking your religious views, asking for your blessing, or inviting your church to be involved.  They simply are asking you to do your job as a public servant.

The U.S. Constitution is the rule of law in our society; we are not ruled by a collection of religious teachings.  Religious liberty is a guaranteed right in the U.S., and acts of civil disobedience have played an important role in our nation’s history.  But if you truly believe that what you are being asked to do is a violation of your faith, then I do not understand why you would want to stay in a job with clearly defined responsibilities that are in conflict with these cherished beliefs.  This makes me wonder what other motivations you may have.

We remind our son to use words to express his feelings.  In that spirit, know that your actions hurt.  Your decision to not issue marriage licenses is a form of disapproval.  Gay men and women are equally worthy and legally entitled to the rights and protections of a civil marriage license.  That issue has been decided.

I wish I knew how to help you appreciate that I sincerely do not believe same-sex marriages are a threat to your religious teachings or concept of marriage.  I believe quite the opposite.  There are many different meanings and interpretations of marriage and yours and mine do not have to agree for us to coexist.   To me, marriage is a defining ritual in our society, it’s much more than sex.  It includes friendship, child-rearing, companionship, and most importantly – a public declaration of love and commitment.

David and I strive for our business to be an outward expression of our desire to help encourage, inspire and celebrate declarations of love and commitment in all their diversity, including yours.  What are your actions an outward expression of, Ms. Davis?