Hi everyone! I hope your weekend is going well! Today’s interview is with Marci from What’s for Dinner Moms? Marci includes several of her own recipes, her and her family’s Disney World adventures, along with posts about her life and family in Michigan. Marci is also part of the executive board of her local OutCenter. In today’s interview, Marci talks about her blog, family, Disney World adventures and Pride Month. You can take a look at her blog here. Please help me welcome Marci to Life of an El Paso Woman!
ME: How long have you been blogging? I started blogging a little over four years ago. The first two years were more starts and stops than anything else. We moved twice within a 12-month period. The first move was from our home of 15 years, half-way across the country and the second was from a rental house to our current home. So, I spent lots of time packing and unpacking during my first two years of blogging.
ME: Why did you decide to start a blog? We were stuck in a rut with dinners. I hated having that mid-day time roll around and having to start planning dinners so I would try to avoid it all together. We were eating out too much and I was falling back on hot dogs, pizza and tacos. My kids were tired of it and I was tired of it. So, I decided to start playing a game where I would make a different meal each night for a year. I wanted to hold myself accountable so I thought a blog would do it. The game has changed some over the years but I am still keeping the basic premise going. I make a different meal each weekday and post about it the next day. Some days, we do go out to eat now but it is FAR less than we ever did before. On weekends I can repeat some of my family favorites. My kids were upset because they would have something they really liked but we wouldn’t have it again and they asked me to start repeating some dishes.
ME: What is your blog about? My blog used to be strictly about the food but it has morphed into being about my family, our relationships with food, our adventures (with food), life with a child with Autism and just being a busy mom with two teens and trying to keep all the pieces together. In other words a bit of everything.
ME: How long have you been writing? I have always loved to write but I never thought I could do it. I have learned that as long as I try to tell what I am really thinking and feeling about something people will understand.
ME: What does Pride Month mean to you? To me, Pride Month is more a time to take stock of where we are as a country more than anything else. It is a time to look back to Stone Wall Riots to see how far we and society have come as a whole. But, it is also a time to take stock of how far we have yet to go especially during this time of backlash from the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality.
ME: You recently told me you’re on the executive board of your local OutCenter. What does the organization do for others? What has your role taught you about life in general? The OutCenter is a Social Justice Organization. With that, we are not just looking at LGBTQ issues, though those are always at the forefront, but we need to address multiple factors in our culture as they intersect LGBTQ issues – race, disability, ageism and misogyny are a few. Oppression is oppression no matter what form it takes. We look to serve the most vulnerable in our communities while changing the attitudes and behaviors of those around them. The OutCenter offers training to local corporations, organizations and government agencies in how to handle diverse communities with sensitivity. I am a mom, a caretaker. That is how I see myself. When I hear stories about teens in this area being thrown out of their houses for being gay or committing suicide for fear of being gay it breaks my heart. We have two children and I just cannot fathom losing my child because they felt the world and everyone in their life would be better off without them here. Just sitting here thinking about it I am tearing up. I understand parents and families are scared but we need reach not only these teen but their parents too. I guess that is where I see my role in this organization. My family is two moms with two teens. I am in schools meeting parents when I volunteer in the classrooms, library, book fairs, etc. They know who I am so I hope I can put a face of normalcy on a family unit they may not have encountered before. I may be the first person they meet that is gay and people are sometimes curious.
ME: In what areas, if any, would you like to see improvement in your local LGBTQ community? How about nationally and worldwide? When we moved here, we loved this idyllic little community. We jokingly said, “We are moving to Mayberry.” But, we realized this area is also 25-30 years behind the times in some ways. There are still businesses that are afraid to show public support to the gay community for fear of the backlash. They may donate money or give goods but they don’t want it publicized or an ad on a poster. This is 2016! Nationally, a stronger hate crimes policy for all groups. The fear of being hit on by someone does not give you the right to kill them. Worldwide, there are still murders, killings sanctioned by some of the governments and religious groups of the world, or life-long jail sentences for being gay or suspected of being gay. We need to take a stronger stance against these countries to stop this.
ME: I understand you and your family enjoy going to Disney World. Please tell us about some of your Disney adventures. My family are huge Disney lovers. From the parks, to the movies, to the music, we love it all. I have two favorite Disney memories involving my children. My son was four year-old and we went to Walt Disney World a week after we received his Autism diagnosis. We were worrying about his future. Would he ever be able to live on his own? What would happen to all our hopes and dreams for him? My son was a HUGE Peter Pan fanatic. He would quote the movie endlessly word for word (which we later found out was scripting). We were at the afternoon parade when we surprised him with a Peter Pan outfit. As the parade was crossing the bridge from Liberty Square into the hub in front of Cinderella’s castle my son saw Peter Pan on top of a float. He started jumping up and down yelling, “Peter, it’s me! It’s me!” Peter Pan made eye contact with him and pointed my son and then himself several times letting him know he saw he was dressed the same. My son was screaming, “He knows it’s me Mommy! He knows it’s me!” We sat there and cried for a bit but the stress of the last week melted away as we realized no matter where our son ended up in life he would be okay. It may not be the life we pictured him having but he would make a life where he would be happy. My second favorite memory happened last year when I was invited to go to the Disney Moms Social Media Conference in Walt Disney World. Because of the timing of the trip my then 15 year-old daughter was really the only one who could travel with me so we made this into the mother/daughter trip that I was always hoping to take but never thought would be possible. We were in Fantasyland one evening and my daughter wanted to ride on Dumbo. I went with her and it was just the two of us on the whole ride flying our elephants around and around. As we were riding I realized I had not been on this ride with her since she was 5! Just as the ride ended the “Wishes” fireworks show began. We sat on a wall near the ride and she laid her head on my shoulder as we watched the fireworks. Time stopped in those few minutes. I remembered my baby and here was a wonderfully sweet, teenage girl sitting next to me who is getting ready to take new steps forward into life. But, for those few moments my baby girl was still there with her head on my shoulder enjoying the fireworks and the music.
ME: What interests you the most about Disney and why? It feels like home to us. It is always the same but Disney keeps evolving enough from time to time that there are still things we have not experienced in the parks, hotels and restaurants despite having made more than 20 trips over the last 20 years.
ME: Which word describes who you are the most? Why? Caretaker (Mom). It is who I am. I want to help people, make things better for them and society as a whole. I want to help people work things out and get along. I want to make you dinner and bake some cookies with you.
ME: What’s your favorite quote in life and why? “Be who you are and say what you feel. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” Dr. Seuss. Don’t pretend to be someone or something you aren’t. The people who love you will love you no matter what. If someone is so concerned about your status in life, your appearance or what you can do for them they aren’t worth your time. Tough lesson for all of us to learn.
ME: What are your likes/dislikes in life? I love the beach and listening to the waves. I love art, music and a really good book that can make me laugh and cry all at once. I don’t care for people who hold their power over another just for their amusement, people who litter and those who abuse children or animals.
ME: What type of music do you enjoy listening to? Right now my go to stations are the Blend and the Broadway channel on Sirius XM. But, I will honestly listen to anything except rap and country music.
ME: Is there anything else you would like to add? Thank you for doing this. It has made me think, remember and laugh.
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