"We are all in this together"

December 31, 1969

Michael, a participant in the Voices of Hope project, wrote this today on his newly created blog:

Life is like Christmas everyday. we just need to notice the presents that Heavenly Father delivers to us on a daily basis.

I hope everyone feels the same way. I hope that you wake up everyday seeing the beauty of the world. Seeing how lucky and fortunate we are. To have the privileges we do. To have the amazing families and friends that we have. the freedoms....the luxuries. It's amazing! He spoils us rotten! I say we thank him as often as we can! we need to be better at seeing all our many wonderful blessings! life is wonderful. i truly believe life is supposed to be hard and grueling.. but we're supposed to find joy in it. That's our task...to live righteously, and to find joy in the tough times.

It is no secret that I have battled what many call "Same Gender Attraction" for many years. I still to this day hate that name. The name has an uncomfortable feel to it. It also makes it sound like that is all you're attracted to. Am I attracted to males? Yes. I am just as attracted to females. What is attraction? What defines it? Can you only be attracted to one thing? I say, no. I am attracted to many things... kindness, patience, tolerance, humility, strength, and compassion. The list could continue. Am I also attracted to physical things? I sure am. I find fitness to be attractive. People who make an effort to present themselves in their best light. All of these things are "attractive". So I don't like to label myself with "Same Gender Attraction" otherwise I would need a big deep breath and fast tongue to label myself that I have.... "male-female-kindness-generosity-faith-optimism-honest-caring-thoughtful-cheerful-serving-attraction". Many years ago I decided to open up and reach out to those who were battling this "Same Gender Attraction". That was over 3 years ago. During that time in my life I was facing many false rumors so I decided that if people wanted to talk about my life and the way I chose to live it, I would tell them about it in my own words and not allow others to taint it or spread faulty assumptions. Since then, I have met some of THE most incredible people. I am honored to say that I have formed healthy relationships. I have been able to reach out and find those who felt they were suffering alone. I was able to make then feel comforted...make them feel loved. Let them know that there is someone else out there who understands the confusion and fear. I know that, through these bonds with others, my life has been blessed. I know that in return, I have blessed theirs. I truly believe that through being open and honest about the things we weren't sent to face and struggle with in our own lives... that we should reach out and find those who are in the same boat. We are REQUIRED to lift one anothers burdens. We are ALL brothers and sisters. We are all sons and daughters of a loving and gracious Heavenly Father who created us and allowed us the wonderful opportunity to come to Earth and gain a body. Heavenly Father knew that when we were sent down here to Earth that we would suffer. That we would feel pain and anguish. He knew that Satan was going to do all he could to try and make sure that we dont return back to live with the one man who loves us most. So I ask you this. Have you been trying to be Christ-like? Or have you been influenced by the powerful adversary who will not sleep until we are brought down to his level? Have you been tricked into forming unhealthy or unkind habits that could be hurting one of your brothers or sisters? Think about that.

Everybody loves a good story. Everyone loves a juicy tid-bit of information. I am one of those people. However, there is a difference between a good story and gossip. One uplifts and provides entertainment, the other, destroys relationships and reputations. Gossip is the poison of mankind. Gossip is the one thing that can spread faster and hurt more people than a fire or natural disaster."

My name is Michael Scott Sandberg. I am not a perfect individual. I am flawed with weaknesses and temptations. I have been spoiled rotten by all the many blessings I have received. I have incredible talents. My abilities in tennis, cooking, baking, photography, and being a good friend have all surpassed my expectations. I have been blessed with an incredible family who is a loving support system for me. They are my rock. They are my source of comfort and strength. I have been blessed with the worlds most amazing friends. People who see the individual as a whole, and not just as something that is a part of me but doesnt make me who I am. I choose to be, who I want to be. I set the rules. So who do I choose to be? I am a defender of truth. I am an example. I am a light and a source of strength. I am fearless. I am caring, thoughtful, generous, fun, resilient, faithful, and strong. I am a firm believer in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the knowledge, guidance, and comfort that I have gained from going to church faithfully each week as well as the direction provided from my patriarchal blessing, I KNOW that I will succeed in life. I know that I will become an incredible husband and father. I know that there is someone special out there for me. Who will look at me, and love me for who I am. She will be a source of comfort and love. She will be my rock and will be the remaining pieces of the puzzle that I am missing in my life. She will complete me. She will be the mother of my children. I cannot wait to be a father. I can't wait to be in love or to share my life with someone for eternity. Do I come with weaknesses and flaws? I do. Who doesn't? I deserve to be happy.

"We are all in this together. Don't waste your time trying to bring down others or make their life harder. Seek out to help those who might need help or a friend. Be the type of person you wish was in your own life. Stop the suffering. Love One Another."

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