Week Three, Stop Two (or for those of you doing new math, stop number 5) Fundraiser @Savana-Channelle Winery, Saratoga CA with the LGBTQ Youthspace
Okay, I’m starting out now with straight-up telling you, I am blessed. By now, you know how I have the unbelievable support of Mylove (as many are saying the star of my book, and rightly so!). But I have also had more than my share of guardian angels on this tour and this stop, I was… well, all of the hyperbole that comes to mind still doesn’t do justice to shower of magick and love that poured down on me from my bestest big sister, Laurie. She single-handedly created out of whole-cloth a memorable event at this incredible location in the Santa Cruz Mountains, complete with a silent auction, (which included a private tour of the winery for 10 people that is valued at over $300.00) and three raffles of baskets of high-end gourmet food with all of the proceeds going to The LGBTQ YouthSpace of Silicon Valley. Laurie put on a spread of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments and the guest sipped the winery’s finest as Christmas lights glowed. I can’t thank this magical woman enough for her love support and sisterhood… and her beau Karl WithaK was a constant loving attentive man, that took care of every little need. Missy Polk, our dear friend (and part of my original review team) braved Bay area traffic to pitch-in! Thanks my dear!
The evening started with Laurie welcoming her friends and book lovers from the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, and then turned it over to Mylove to set the stage - tonight was a little bit different than past stops on the tour – we had a partner. Cassie Blume, the director of programs for the YouthSpace told everyone of the mission of this great organization -- founded in 2008, the LGBTQ Youth Space is...
click here for more
... a drop in center and counseling program for LGBTQ youth and young adults ages 13-25, serving more than 400 youth and, through outreach and education activities, more than 5,000 community members annually to educate and empower young people across Santa Clara County. Beyond mental health and wellness, the program serves as the primary resource for LGBTQ youth and young adults seeking community, peer support, leadership development opportunities, and a safe, supportive space to hang out.
Cassie introduced two great individuals who are living breathing success stories of the YouthSpace’s great work - Erika Cisneros the current LGBTQ Youth Space Outreach Worker and Intake Coordinator, who’s involvement began at the age of 24 when she attended the Youth Space Summer Leadership Camp, as well as receiving counseling services. She later became a consumer intern, and then an outreach worker. And Frank Pena, a Chicano-Transgender man has been coming to the LGBT Youth Space since he was 14 years old. He quickly got involved and shortly after coming out, became an active member in the Speakers Bureau. Frank later became an intern and now works full time as the Outreach Worker and Volunteer Coordinator. He also is one of the facilitators of our Trans* Group.
Then Scottie began to read the chapter that cut to the heart of her connection with the special guests – Chapter 3 “It’s Like Déjà vu all over again.” Where Scottie describes candidly and emotionally the point in her journey where professional therapy changed her and Marcy’s life forever. This set the stage for a lively Q&A that has to be the most amazing yet. Several members of this astute and literary audience, were also involved in or had been involved in long term marriages – and they wanted to know how in God’s name did Marcy plow thru her own fears and confusion to keep love and marriage first. Scottie was able to give a first hand account of love and faith and then Marcy gave her side. (for the step-by-step process, you’ll just have to read the book!)
Suffice to say – book sales were great! And after another half-hour of lively discussion and laughter, the evening continued as Scottie signed books giving her a chance for one-on-one chats - the highlight was the confession by one man who had simply been told by his wife that he was going to a book signing, (without being told the subject matter) when he read the poster at the entrance he prepared himself for a wasted hour of his life. BUT he found the writing of my book and the honesty, clarity and humor by which it was shared fascinating and he thanked me for opening his mind. Now that’s worth all the effort!
Once again, my dear friend and SJ native shutterbug Nancy captured it all and we are so grateful! To everyone who braved the mountain pass (and the return after a few glasses of incredible wine) thank you!
Next stop we’re home in LA, literally – Marcy and I can actually walk to this one – In our own neighborhood here, in Woodland Hills as the home of good friends and party/event masters Jack & Ruthie Samonte-Hayback. Please come all my Angelenos – it’s a book signing AND a Christmas Cookie Exchange as I put my cookies where your mouth is… or something like that – Wednesday, December 16th at 7:00 pm
But for now, I gotta go -- got cookies to bake!
Click here for their side of the story - Laurie Kehl
From Laurie Kehl -
"I am a fairly classic California hippy chick. I work in the natural foods industry and so the operative word here is "natural." When I saw my friend Scott in December of 2014 wearing hoop earrings, a stylish pantsuit, hair and makeup subtle yet clearly feminine I though, "Okay. Look at that. She looks natural."
In the food industry, it's a hard won battle to receive your FDA organic certification. it takes years of work caring for the field, removing layers of what man has poured into it in order to yield what looks like a perfect product. The would be organic farmer must strip down the field to its original, natural state which is a painstaking labor of love that can then yield the most delightful gifts as nature intended. Scottie has received her organic certification.
Fast forward and Scottie has written a book, and folks, we now have a book tour! Scottie and Marcy came to stay with my boyfriend Karl and I for the Nor Cal visits and before their arrival, I took a good look at my heart. Any judgements, thoughts, weirdness lurking? Anything? Honestly, seeing Scottie back in December really just seemed so natural. So much so that I have to remind myself that these two are going through a life changing, life altering, mind blowing event! I want to respect that and yet, it all seems so easeful.
Because Scottie and Marcy have spent years, lifetimes really, working that field, honing wisdom and unconditional love within themselves as human beings, they are beautiful reminders not just for the LGBTQQ(D) community, but for all of us. While this life changing, life altering, mind blowing process is in full swing, life continues to be a celebration of triumph and tragedy and love, love is the body we all wear. Love transcends any label we wish to attach to our human race and the story's we live. So naturally It seems to me, the real message is just that."
Click here for their side of the story - Frank & Erika of lgbtq YouthSpace
(a collaboration with Frank and Erika)
"As a wine connoisseur, I was ecstatic to try new wine and most importantly I was excited to hear the story behind writing a book that is full of so much raw emotion. The wine tasting room, nestled in the Saratoga hills was warm and inviting and full of Christmas spirit. We as Youth Space staff have spoken in many environments but never to such a warm crowd in a picturesque setting.
We were a little nervous, and one of our two cars got lost on the way, but once we were all settled in the wine tasting room Scottie was able to lead a group check in and review the way in which we are all going to speak. After our check in and once people were able to roam snack, drink and explore a bit, everyone settled into their seats and the event ensued.
With Scottie's direction and her wife’s help, the transition into the event went very smoothly. The crowd was welcoming and listened intently. While we spoke about our experience within our program I noticed the crowds heads nodded softly, almost rhythmically. After the formal part of the event had ended and we were once again left to socialize, I noticed that many people from the crowd approached us and thanked us or asked us questions about the program or our experiences. Many of those who approached us also asked for specific outreach materials for their own kids or their children’s friends.
With donations from that evening the Youth Space was able to arrange an ice skating field trip as well as purchase paint and clay for our art group. Thank you Scottie; for travelling to share your story, shining insight into your life and personal experiences, and for connecting with us and helping to make a change."