Conceptual thought can be perceived as a miracle. Have you ever made the attempt to encapsulate a miracle? This is my attempt...

11 October 2015

2015: The Year of...

Today, for National Coming Out Day, I need to tell you some great news that many of you already know: I'm gay. Probably no surprise there, especially if I told you or if you've payed any attention to my social media. However, I don't want you to be fooled by a simple label. There's much more to my identity than those three letters: g-a-y. I'm a tattooed, gay, vegetarian Mormon, among a plethora of other things. But I must say that my gay Mormon identity is a big, BIG, fabulous part of my identity... one that definitely doesn't fit in a closet.


This morning I did a quick Google search on what kind of year 2015 is supposed to be. The UN has declared 2015 both the Year of Light and the Year of Soil. Two random online evangelical preachers have pegged 2015 as the Year of Restoration and the Year of Open Doors. I also found an organization that has labeled 2015 the Year of Evaluation. Needless to say, there have been high hopes for 2015. I couldn't help but get a little emotional as I found each of these declarations because there was an intimate and personal connection I instantly felt with each of them. But before I get into that, let me rewind to earlier this year.

In January, I honestly felt that this would be my last year alive. I was in a deep, dark depression. I had lost my faith. I cried out to an Unknown Being every day for a fatal car crash or freak accident. I was at the end of my rope and losing grip. Two thousand fifteen was going to be the Year of Escape and the Year of Rest In Peace for Peter. Death seemed like the only safe route for me. It was a scary place to be in.

Turns out, 2015 was destined more for the Year of Light and the Year of Soil. For sake of time and energy, I am going to spare you the miraculous details of how I arrived to one fateful day in February. I was sitting in my bedroom watching a movie called The Normal Heart (in my bedroom because I was a scared, closeted, gay kid watching a movie about gay people and gay issues, obviously). As I watched this movie, I felt Light. I felt God. I felt an overwhelming sense of identity. I felt God affirm my gay identity in a way that I have never felt God affirm anything in my life. I sat  on my bed, sobbing in the arms of a loving Father in Heaven. HE LOVES ME. Every part of me. While watching this wonderful, gay movie, God told me that He made me this way for a reason. That "neither hath [I] sinned, nor [my] parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in [me]." (John 9:3) Filled with His Light, I "came out" to myself and fully embraced this beautiful and sacred part of my identity - the part of my identity that I spent my whole life suppressing and hiding and trying to get rid of. "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (Acts 10:15) I felt whole. I felt genuine. I felt grounded. Light burning inside me while I finally planted my feet in the soil of authenticity on the path that God intended for me all along. Year of Light and Soil, indeed.

Turns out, 2015 was destined for the Year of Restoration and the Year of Open (Closet) Doors. In the weeks and months that followed, my spirituality was at a new high - a restoration, if you will. I "came out of the closet" to my parents, my siblings, my close friends, my bishop, and many others. The love I received was incredible and overwhelming. I can't thank you enough for your positive responses. Coming out to my parents, I heard, "this part of your identity is sacred," and "how can I help and support you?" My siblings loved me and continue to show that love by asking questions for understanding. My bishop was ecstatic and encouraging.
For some, I sent a video. Others, face to face. I went to LDS LGBT conferences and firesides and "family home evenings." Doors were opening to where I could be comfortable with who I was, and it was such a special, sacred experience. I have finally been able to be my genuine self, and it feels great. My confidence was restored. My faith was restored. Who would have thought that coming out as gay would bring me CLOSER to God.

Turns out, 2015 was destined for the Year of Evaluation. So often we assume that gay people can't be religious (especially not Mormon). I quickly found myself in two worlds that are seemingly polar opposites with a vast battleground stretched across it's divide. The Mormon culture doesn't want me to be gay and the LGBT community doesn't want me to be LDS. I once again found myself in tears as I prayed to my loving Heavenly Father for understanding. I needed help evaluating where I belong and where God wants me to go. He kept telling me that "it is not good that man should be alone." (Genesis 2:18) I turned to my patriarchal blessing, which told me that, "the Lord will bless [me] when it comes time to find a companion (not "wife") to go to the temple (not "marry for time and all eternity")." Repeatedly, I received spiritual witnesses that, while God wants me to stay as close as I can to the Church, I need to pursue a husband. I was confused, since the Church teaches contrary to what God was telling me. Then I was led to a talk by Elder Oaks. He taught, "As a General Authority, I have the responsibility to preach general principles... There are exceptions. ... I only teach general rules. Whether an exception applies to you is your responsibility. You must work that out individually between you and the Lord. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught this same thing in another way. When he was asked how he governed such a diverse group of Saints, he said, 'I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.'" (Dating verses Hanging Out, June 2006 Ensign) So, God wants me to find a husband, despite what the Church teaches. Got it. To be completely honest with you, this terrifies me. Not because I have commitment issues (serious commitment issues), but because I know that most, if not all, of my LDS friends and acquaintances will not believe that this personal revelation is from God. It breaks my heart. Alas, I look forward to the day that I can go to church with my husband and worship my Heavenly Father and thank Him for bringing us together. I hope and pray that my LDS brothers and sisters (and LGBT community) will look at this union as a sacred connection between two of His children and not as an abomination. So, perhaps 2015 is not simply a Year of Evaluation for me, but for all of us as we strive to understand the will of God and His love.

So, there you have it: 2015 is the Year of Light, Soil, Restoration, Opening Doors, Evaluation. Two thousand fifteen is the Year of Change; of Growth; of Understanding. I look forward to the day that people no longer need to pray for the Year of Escape and can see the Year of Light. I pray that churches can be a safe harbor for everyone to worship and that we can all feel welcome. May we replace judgment and resentment with charity, love, and understanding. It took 27 long, painful years of my life to accept this part of my God-given identity, and I sincerely hope it doesn't take that long for you to do the same.

Yours in faith and love,

Peter Moosman


*My testimony and prayer - from a Facebook post I wrote earlier this year*

I am grateful for a sincere and caring God who gives us the opportunity to experience the overwhelming power of love and the agency to pursue it. I thank Him for helping me see His plan for me and hope that I can have the courage and confidence in myself to pursue that plan - despite the painful opposition that lays ahead.
Now, more than ever, I am able to see that love is real and sacred. That God is more affirming of that love than His children or His Church. That the purpose of this life is to experience that love and express that love. And that love is best expressed in companionship, marriage, and family.
My heart is full for the opportunities now awarded to all to feel the Divine in their lives as they make commitments to one another to join in love and faith. My heart aches for those who are blinded from seeing that people can be sent down sacred paths that differ from their own. Lastly, my heart is full of hope that one day Christlike empathy will win. That everyone will arrive to that holy space of charity and unconditional love that supersedes judgment and hatred, so that we can all discover that everyone deserves to love and be loved - that love, and the expression thereof, is not sin. Love is of God.

08 March 2013

Inclusive Lexicon for 500, Please.

A long, long time ago - sometime last year - I was at the Utah Pride Center. I was there to support a friend's tobacco prevention organization to get LGBT young people involved in taking a stand against Big Tobacco. While everyone was standing around the pizza socializing, the conversation somehow shifted to how an individual wasn't afraid of doing something that the rest of the group wasn't willing to do (the details are obviously fuzzy...). This person ended with something along the lines of, "you guys are just p-----s" (Just trying to keep it G rated, but the word is a vulgar term for female genitalia that, today, is used as a derogatory term to tell someone that they are weak, unable, afraid, etc... if that helps figure out what was said). Another person quickly responded said, "let's unpack that word. What about this group is a vagina?"

While said somewhat in jest, the intent was to draw attention and critical thought to a commonly used word that others may find offensive, especially since it attaches a negative meaning (weak, afraid, etc) to an aspect of womanhood. This is similar to other common terms, like "gay" or "retarded." Of all the things to say, why pick something that is demeaning to a group of people? Granted, most people are using these words out of habit or because it is a common/popular term and are not intending to cause harm or dehumanize a group of people. They are used out of innocence or in an effort to fit in. But they often still make others feel uncomfortable and belittled.

Now that we have that established, I want to change pace a little and bring up the response: "Let's unpack that word." I tend to hear this phrase often when associating with "inclusive circles" and those attempting to create safe spaces. It is an effort to dissect a commonly used word or phrase and understand its true meaning and whether it was accurately used in the situation. Perhaps a better, less offensive word, could be substituted: a euphemism. So, when someone says, "that's so gay!" a common response would be, "let's unpack that word... What about this conversation/activity is homosexual? How is this topic dealing with anyone's sexual attraction? Did you mean...?"

You get the idea.

That critical thought is a soft approach to help minimize or remove future offenses. We all want to feel included and not many people want to be outright offensive. So, we talk about things.

And now to my main point: I feel that the majority of my friends and associates who are seeking to be inclusive tend to look past a few offensive words. While being quick to "unpack" how "that's so gay" can be offensive, these people are also quick to use often offensive swear words in their casual conversation and brush it off as "free speech" or "a matter of expression." Many people find swear words offensive, otherwise they would not be categorized as a swear word. Yet because it isn't directly affiliating a descriptive word of a group (i.e., retard) to a negative connotation (i.e., stupid, incapable, broken), it does not need to be "unpacked" and removed from one's lexicon for an unoffensive euphemism. Like I mentioned earlier, generally speaking, most people are not saying these things to be offensive, but many people are offended. Perhaps we can all work on being more inclusive by what we say...?

I hope I am making sense. Is this a valid concern? Is it a valid point of discussion?

Let's unpack this.

03 July 2012

I shall call you, Evey.

9 pages in my journal today... you know something crazy is happening... especially since the last time I wrote was January 2011.

The end.

PS: I bought a new car yesterday! She's a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid. Her name is Evey. In the words of my niece, "it looks like a spy car." She is black with dark tinted windows... Keyless entry and push to start... I feel like I am driving a luxury car! AND, if I drive eco-friendly (get a high enough average mpg for the drive), she congratulates me! It's like playing a game every time I get in the car... On the way to work this morning, I got over 40mpg almost the entire way... I got an, "EXCELLENT!" from her. She makes me feel good about myself. :)

19 June 2012

Ten Months Later, or, To Share Or Not To Share

It's crazy to think that the last time I posted on my blog was ten months ago. Life was terribly different back then as compared to today - though many of those around me will not recognize the difference in me, my life, or anything else for that matter.

But things are pretty different.

My current feeling goes something like this: a blend of fear, anxiety, excitement, and childish giddiness are burning in my chest, while my stomach turns with a sense of hunger and stirred butterflies. I want to smile. I want to laugh. I want to cry and throw up a little bit. But, I want to talk to someone about the great things of life and the joys of Jesus and the intense aloneness I have felt in the past.

I want to share it all.

And then, of course, that leads me to a greater fear that my words will fall on ears closed and boarded up, a mind unable to understand the excitement and absurdity that is my life. 

The reel-to-reel in my mind plays it out perfectly. I dish it out on fancy plates with silver spoons. It's devoured - with the guest begging for a recipe and the intricacies its existence! And the giddy fear with a side of excitement and a glass of anxiety are no longer kept to myself, but has been consumed and absorbed by someone else. Mutual confusion, euphoria, and honest terror of what the future brings. 

The experience is one for the record books, let me tell you!

The performance in my mind enhances the previous emotions to the point where I am comparable to a teenybopper who just got backstage to her heartthrob's concert.

Yet, without fail, the fear of a miscalculated sentence or a fatefully closed mind overcomes the delight of the played and replayed scene.

What is a troubled soul to do?

If it was anyone else sharing this experience to me, I would be ecstatic to say, "Go for it! What is there even to question!?" But, since it is me who has to do the talking, the faith has yet to overcome the fear.

On a lighter note...

My life is incredible. Aside from the battle waging in my heart and soul as described above, things are going pretty perfectly. I am overcoming odds and challenging systems. And, as cliché as it may sound, The Man Upstairs is all to blame.

If you would have compared the Me of June 6, 2012 to the Me of June 19, 2012, we would be doppelgängers on the outside, but antonyms within. I guess you could say that Who I've Been has claimed vengeance on Who I Am, so that Who I'll Be can rise to fruition. It's like a Hollywood blockbuster. For real. Maybe we could call it September Came.

There is something to be learned in His wise words: "Pray always, that you may come off conqueror." (D&C 10:5) "...Lift up your heads, and rejoice, and put your trust in God..." (Mosiah 7:19) "...Walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them..." (Leviticus 26:3)

Call it snake oil, call it placebo, call it the Truth of the Universe. Whatever you want to call it, it works more than you would ever begin to imagine. Go ahead, give it a shot. I triple dog dare you.

Confused yet? Good.
PS: Ecstaticism isn't a word. I tried.

15 August 2011

Come September

Who I Am is not Who I’ve Been
And I wonder if Who I’ve Been will return
‘Cause Who I Am is under my skin

I tend to worry in times like these
If Who I’ll Be is anything like Who I’ve Been?
If he’s like Who I am, I’ll be quite displeased.

To another dimension that others don’t see
Something needs to happen to Who I Am
He needs to go so I can know Who I’ll Be.

Come September, if Who I’ll Be is like Who I Am
Who I am is Who I’ll Be, and Who I’ll Be won’t be
At least that’s the prayer: May Who I Am be free.

This Is Getting Out Of Hand

This week will mark the last leg of The Vagabond Tour... Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota. With that said, I still haven't finished writing about the previous adventures. I get writing SO MUCH, that it is exhausting. So, I think I will just do bullet points to finish... That way, everything gets done AND nobody gets exhausted writing/reading (hopefully). Here goes!

Day 25 - July 5:
- Took pictures in Cemetery
- Volunteered rebuilding a home ruined by Hurricane Katrina through the St. Bernard Project.

Day 26 - July 6:
- Volunteered @ same home, this time meeting the owners of the home. What an experience!
- Hit the road to Angleton, Texas to visit with an old friend (shout out to Jovana)! While there we went to dinner, and visited a farm where I got to pet a horse and a cow. So cool!
- Went home and watched Invisible Children's  "Black is for Sunday" Documentary

Day 27 - July 7:
- DROVE! I must brag that I drove from Orange, TX to Angleton, TX to Dallas, TX on one tank of gas... I felt pretty accomplished!
- Visited with the Wisemans (Mission companion)! We watched a documentary on some street artists (Sorry IC). Good stuff!

Day 28 - July 8:
Today was a great day for picture taking, but I didn't take pictures... I drove through a couple dozen little towns that didn't even have a stop sign - let alone a stop LIGHT!
- Met family descendants of Geronimo at a gas station as I was trying to get into Fort Sill (My map led me to a dead end...)! What an honor!
- At Fort Sill, I saw where Geronimo's jail cell was, as well as the burial site of many Native Chiefs, including Geronimo.
- On the road again, I followed Route 66 to Amarillo. Before I made it there, I stopped in Groom, TX to see their infamous leaning water tower and giant cross!

Day 29 - July 9:
- Made it to Albuquerque, NM
- Visited with the Sanders (friend from mission).
- Went to do FREE HUGS, but was rained out... :(
- Visited Old Town, including attending a church service in the oldest church in Albuquerque! Holla!

Day 30 - July 10:
- Woke up early so that I could make it to Thoreau, NM for church - It was a cool little town in the middle of nowhere. Loved it! One of the missionaries there tried to hook me up with his sister.
- Hit the road again and ended up driving through a bunch of forests and national parks in Arizona, trying to get to Mesa. I have some super great family in Mesa that I got to stay with for a while! We played pool and a bunch of card game. Good times for sure!

Day 31 - July 11:
- Visited another friend from my mission (Reidheads)
- Then, my aunt's family came over for dinner, which was a blast. They had thick New Yorker accents. I don't think I have ever heard a real New Yorker accent... and it was great!

Day 32 - July 12:
- Headed off to California
- While stopped by border patrol, I shared some Vagabond Tour flyers and talked about what it was all about. Schweet.
- BEACH!!!

Day 33 - July 13:
- First thing in the morning, I headed over to the Invisible Children office, and had the time of my life. SERIOUSLY. Story time:
When I got there, I visited with my "tour guide" (Holly) and explained the Vagabond Tour. While we were talking, one of the founders (Laren) of IC casually walked by. It was crazy! It was like I just saw a superstar or something! We joked about it, and then were on our way with the tour. Our first stop was the Roadie Intern area, where all the interns were planning the Fall tour. Holly gets everyone's attention and introduces me and explains what I have been doing on the Vagabond Tour. They were all stoked and tried to get me to be a Roadie, while I casually laughed it off... not thinking too much about it. We go on with the tour and I meet a bunch of fantastic people in the various departments. We stop by the shipping department (where all the merch is), and as we are leaving, I ask about getting a new bracelet, since I lost mine in Florida. We go back and I ask them about it... and they commence giving me a TON of stuff! Bracelets, flyers, stickers, etc. So, now I can do stellar major screenings!
Next, we were in the hall looking at pictures of past events, talking about how we both got involved in IC, when another founder (Jason) of IC walks by! This time, Holly stops him and introduces me and tells him about my tour. Not only was he impressed, but he asked if I would be down for an interview! AN INTERVIEW IN AT THE INVISIBLE CHILDREN OFFICE! The next thing I know, I am in a room being interviewed... What is going on?! SO COOL!
But it gets better...
I finish up the interview, and am about the head out, and figured that it would be cool to get some pictures! I ask if I could get a Vagabond Tour picture with the Interns. They agree to it, and we get a way cool picture in the office. Then the thought came to mind to get a picture with Jason and Laren. Holly wasn't sure about it, but decided to take me to find out if it were possible. We go back and... IT WAS. We take the picture, and then Jason explained to Laren what I was doing. We started just talking about random stuff, and then Jason stopped and said, "Hold on, I will be right back." He runs into his office and comes out with a book. He hands it to me and says "This guy is one of my favorite authors, I think you would really like this book." I had recognized it as a book talked about by the founder of To Write Love On Her Arms, Jamie Tworkowski. It was called "Blue Like Jazz." I told him I would check it out, and tried to hand it back. "You keep it." What??? The founder of Invisible Children just gave me his book?! OK?! How cool is this?! Then to top it off, they (along with everyone else in the office) tried to get me to be a roadie. I asked lots of questions, and was ready to do it... Seriously, it all felt like a blur.
A little more conversation was had, and then I was out the door - walking on a cloud. Thank you Invisible Children for such an amazing experience!
- After leaving the IC office, I headed up to San Pedro to see another friend from the mission (Arie Santana).
- We went to the Hollywood sign, Hollywood Blvd, and to the Hard Rock Cafe

Day 34 - July 14:
- Headed to Santa Monica to see the TOMS Headquarters.
- Back into Hollywood, I visited with a friend (who was on Broadway, mind you) for a little bit, and then was on the road again.
- Landing in Las Vegas, I spent the rest of the day and night (till 1:30ish) on the strip with another mission buddy, Sam Tualatamalelagi.

Day 35 - July 15:
- St. George!
- Visited some family (the Rogers)
- Visited a friend, Anna, and played some racquet ball, mini golf, etc. at her family's day spa
- Went to the St. George LDS Temple visitors center and as I walked in, the missionary that greeted me ended up being the sister of one of my missionary companions! What are the odds?! Small world...

Day 36 - July 16:
- Headed north to visit my first mission president and his wife, which was such a great time! Shout out to the Brimhalls!
- Then to Hurricane to visit some family of my neighbors. We even got to go hiking a little bit!
- Lastly, I visited some more family who happened to be in Hurricane as well. Its nice to have everyone so close by!

Day 37 - July 17:
- Woke up early so I could make it to Sandy to hear my second mission president and his wife speak in church. After the service, it was like a mission reunion! There were a TON of missionaries there, and it was great to see them all!
- Then... I drove home.

03 August 2011

Isn't It About... Time?

So... it has been 2.5 weeks since I have been home from The Vagabond Tour, so I figured I better finish writing about the last half of the adventure. Sorry it took so long, but here goes!

Day 19 - June 29:
If you remember, I had just picked up my car from the shop yesterday (June 28th). As I was driving around, I noticed a strange humming sound... So, the first thing I did was take my car back to the dealer that fixed it. I told him what the problem was, and headed into the waiting room to spend my day... HOURS PASS... The guy comes in and informs me that he checked, double checked, and triple checked, and found nothing wrong. The good thing was, I didn't lose any money over it!
I return to my trusty vehicle and hit the road to Chipley, FL to spend my last night in Florida. When I got there, I headed over to the McDonalds and met up with Travis Nellums so he could get online. Good times at McDonalds. Thats about all I remember of that day!

Day 20 - June 30:
I slept in and then headed over to the missionaries place. I visited with them for a little bit - seeing as they just returned from doing some service and one of the missionaries wasn't feeling well. I interviewed them for The Praise Project and then was on my way. They were some way cool cats, thats for sure!
Upon leaving their apartment, I hit the road for my next destination: Tuscaloosa, AL. I had found a facebook page by the name of "Rebuild Tuscaloosa" and had asked about service opportunities while I was there (for those of you who don't know, Tuscaloosa was hit by a pretty big tornado a few months ago, and are in need of some service). I got a response with some direction, so I figured that I was needed there.*
*Side note: About a day or two earlier, I was planning on heading to Cocoa Beach and Miami Beach, FL, but one of the great things about The Vagabond Tour is that I had really tried to leave everything in Gods hands and let him direct me. I had been looking into opportunities in Cocoa Beach and in Tuscaloosa, and God sent me to Tuscaloosa instead - and thank Him for it!
I arrived in Tuscaloosa as the sun was getting low in the sky. I found my trusty golden arches and set up camp in the dining area. One of the first things I did was get on the Rebuild Tuscaloosa page and see if anyone knew about volunteer housing! Unfortunately that wasn't in the picture anymore. Fortunately, people are amazing and have hearts of gold. A wonderful lady got ahold of me through my "volunteer housing request" and informed me that she had paid for a hotel room for me to stay in that night to figure things out for while I was here. INCREDIBLE PEOPLE LIVE IN THIS WORLD! To top things off, when I got there, the hotel room was NICE! King size bed, a little kitchen area, living room space... DANG! God is good.

Day 21 - July 1:
As great as the the king sized bed was, I left extremely too early. I headed to the main volunteer center to register, and was lucky enough to be sent to the TES warehouse that does all the main sorting. Sure the sorting wasn't the most exciting thing to do, but it was definitely a rewarding experience.
When the time came for the volunteers to go home, I decided to take some time to look around the path of the tornado. Pictures don't do justice for what a tornado is capable of. I was shocked...
I found my way to Mr. Tree, who is a symbol of endurance and hope through all the destruction. Afterwards, I walked around the neighborhood and took some pictures, looked around, and prayed for the people affected by the tornado. Lets hope that the rebuilding is quick, and those affected will find peace.
When it got too dark to wander any more, I made my way to a church parking lot to get my rest for another day at the warehouse!

Day 22 - July 2:
Bright and early rolled around, and I headed back to the warehouse to work! It was a nice long hot day. As time went on, the volunteers slowly trickled out, until I was the only one there. At first, I didn't really notice it, but I just continued to work. Finally, I started to wonder... I grabbed something that I had a question about anyway, and headed to the front where to ask about it. When I headed up, I got a warm, "hey Utah!"
I asked my question and then we got chatting. The conversation slowly headed to where I was sleeping that night. When they weren't satisfied with me sleeping in my car in a parking lot, they insisted on me staying at the warehouse. AT A TORNADO RELIEF DONATION WAREHOUSE! How great is that!? And how great are they?! Amazing people; amazing experiences.
The warehouse lights stayed on all night long. The warehouse was extremely hot. I went around the warehouse and grabbed a few fans and a tie. The tie to block out the light, and the fans to cool things down. I set up the fans around my sleeping space - a pile of donated beds - and tried to sleep. Hot. Loud. Bright. Uncomfortable. But I had a smile on my face the whole night. :)

Day 23 - July 3:
Church time! Church was an interesting experience, since the main service was in english, and the next was in spanish. Too bad I wasn't learning spanish back then!
After the service, I had the opportunity to go work with the missionaries for the rest of the evening! We met some great people that night. I gotta say that everything is great.
When I got back to the warehouse, everyone was already asleep, so I decided to volunteer myself to do night watch. You see, there are things all over the place at this warehouse. The parking lot is full with STUFF. All around the building there is STUFF. One of the volunteers watches the place at night, but had fallen asleep, so I thought I would make a few calls and watch guard while I talked. It was great! While being a security guard, I also felt the need to move on to my next location... So, I headed off to bed so that I could get ready for traveling!

Day 24 - July 4:
Happy Independence Day!
I hit the road and landed in New Orleans, LA, after nearly dying in a rain storm in Mississippi. And... I have a funny story as I was pulling into Nawlins. I had my map set for the French Quarters, but as I was getting close, nature called. I kept driving into downtown to look for a restaurant that I could use a bathroom, but there were none to be seen! I kept driving and driving and drove right through downtown and out the other side into a rough looking neighborhood. I figured there would be no restaurant around there, so I turned to start heading back toward the city. As I turned, I noticed a great big lady out on the sidewalk with a cooking pot bigger than me. She was cooking up a FEAST in that pot right there on the sidewalk! I was desperate, so I pulled over and shouted over her music, "Excuse me ma'am! Excuse me, do you know where I could find a restroom around here?"
"A restaurant?" she asks in her scratchy Nawlins accent. "Oh, like a... a..." as she made a flushing type hand motion.
"Thats the one!"
"Oh, son, you can use mine! Just pull over here."
So I pull over and she shows me to her bathroom. As I am walking to the door to head back outside, I just had to laugh at the situation. I am in Nawlins, using a strangers bathroom, while she is cooking on the sidewalk out of a pot that I could fit in. Things like this JUST. DONT. HAPPEN! It was too funny.
After a little chat, I was on my way to the French Quarters. Let me tell you, this place was PACKED! I should have known, but whatever... I drove around for a while looking for a free parking spot, and I think that if it werent a holiday, I never would have found one. Nevertheless, I parked a block or two off of the infamous Bourbon Street in a nice little neighborhood. The architecture was AMAZING! I loved it. I walked around to take a look at what was happening (I also snapped a few pictures), and was planning on getting my free hugs sign, but I just had a feeling that I shouldn't... So I didn't! Instead, I headed back to my car and had a little dinner. When it was late enough that I could go find myself a spot on the river for fireworks, I got out of the car, and was going to leave, but got sidetracked visiting with some nice people who were out visiting and enjoying the nice evening weather. The sun went down, and I made my way to the Mississippi. I found my spot, sat, and waited. I wasn't going to bother with the fireworks, since I am not a fan, but I kept hearing great things about the firework show that is put on every year... the Dueling Barges. Two barges come out on the river and put on the exact same firework show, a half mile apart. I wasn't too impressed...
After the show, I headed to my pre-determined sleeping space: A church parking lot. When I got there, I was quickly disappointed with a fenced off parking lot. :( Ok... I will just find another one... not. Every church that I could find was fenced off. Who does that?! It was getting late, and I was getting worried that I wouldn't find anywhere to sleep. Then I found it! Free parking! Granted, it was on the street and right outside a cemetery... but it was free! I pulled over, laid the seat back, and sweated myself to sleep (it was HOT and HUMID!)

Since I am so far behind on writing, I will break up my updates a little bit. Hopefully this is a good long update that will keep you entertained until I get around to my next one... I also hope that it will go a little faster than the current speed! I write too much! Sorry!

Anyway, God speed. I hope I haven't bored you to death... and... g'night!