March 11, 2019

Silence didn't break us

March 11th.  It is hard to believe it has been eight years. At moments it feels like it was thirty seconds ago, and others feel like it could have been a few hundred life times that have passed.

The fog always seems to try to find its way back into our hearts—I wonder if that will just always be a thing around March—yesterday I had more than one child struggle with the memories of this time of year. Memories can bring a lot of pain, anniversaries of trauma . . . those seem to be pretty instilled in the person that experienced them. It is hard to endure in your own mind . . . but nearly impossible to comprehend watching it in your child.


Since the moment I sat on my couch eight years ago—and was told many stories by detectives who had just left a crime scene, I have had more than a dozen people say to me how lucky I was that Emmett was killed, that I didn’t have to go through divorce and having him not want me as a choice.  And though I know they have meant well—and many of them only knew him from different murder mystery shows about our story (those never really portray the “body” as a human being)—I  have never once looked at that day as lucky. It was a moment that has tried to break me—and the five little people I was asked to protect—for the last eight years. I know if you asked them, they haven’t felt lucky, but blessed—we have been blessed. Blessed to have each other; blessed to see who are real friends are; blessed to see grace in our lives; blessed to fight for a relationship with our Savior; blessed to comprehend just how precious every moment of our lives really are; blessed to smile again; blessed to laugh; blessed to see each other, and share this journey together.


For them, I like to make this day about the love they had—in an imperfect man who died in a horrific way—and the love they get to carry with them through out their life . . . from each other.  So to my little warriors, on this day that is so hard . . . I want you to know you are my best friends. You did not deserve the pain you have had to face—but you absolutely deserve every blessing that has come as you have fought through it. Thank you for choosing me, believing in me, and holding me up on the days when I couldn’t stand. You are five of the bravest people I know, and by the amazing lives you are living . . . you are showing not only your Heavenly Father, but your father in heaven, just how brave you can be. Just like us—the parents who you hear cheer you on every day—I know they are too, and they couldn’t be more proud.






March 11, 2011: Silence Breaks

March 7, 2019

Special group for parents with Children who have suffered through trauma

 That is officially my longest title ever written on this blog. haha. But I wanted to invite any of you who have children who have gone through a traumatic event . . . we want to unite with you. I had an experience this week, I will share in this group, that not all parents would relate to, and thinking about the next steps for the non profit I want to unite some of the survivors on a little more personal levels and intimate ways. So this group will be closed and private and just for parents who need a team who get it, parenting in the new normal .  . . and helping their kids work through grief and pain. 
A Reason to Stand: for kids
Closed group · 10 members
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A place for parents, with children who have been through traumatic events, to unite and help each other through this different type of parenting. Givi...

True Healing



**After a long conversation with a new friend, I have felt the desire to share some of the things we opened up to each other about. So after getting her permission to do so, this post was created.




This week I got a chance to talk to a new friend, who had attended the conference, this past weekend. The conversation soon turned to this, “So what about those of us who God doesn’t love—or people like me who don’t even believe there is a God . . . anymore—how are we supposed to heal. You guys stood on the stage telling everyone how your faith in Him got you through, I am calling bull shit. He has his favorites . . . and I am not one of them. So how am I supposed to make it through this hell? How are the rest of us—the forgotten ones—supposed to heal?”

Her words caught me off guard. I had never thought that maybe God had favorites—and I can promise her, looking back on my life I would never consider myself one of them if He did. I didn’t even know how to respond. I asked for clarification, “ So tell me again what you are asking? You don’t believe in God . . . but you are afraid you are not one of His favorites?”

She responded with a stern voice, “Ya. If He loved me, I wouldn’t be here right now. He would have made things right by now. I wouldn’t be ten years down the road still fighting to make it every day. So how do I heal, without Him?”

I took a deep breath, and with a love for my new friend and my faith in our Father responded, “You don’t. We all want an easy answer, and can’t look past needing to know all the whys. There is no easy fix for the messes we find ourselves in. There isn’t always an answer to the why’s that we ask over and over . . . but that God you don’t believe in—but are dying to know that He still believes in you—He is the answer. You need Him. You need His Son. You need grace, and love . . . but first you have to remember your faith. He loves you. He loves me, and the best part is . . . He has the capacity to love us all. You are a parent, you know that your heart is big enough to love each of them, hurt for each of them, but genuinely work to protect each one of them. He feels that way about you. No matter how many days you spend mad at a Being you say does not exist . . . He is spending those same days loving you right where you are. So, you ask me how you can heal without Him. I want you to know—deep in my soul, I know—you cannot.”

It was very silent; when my friend finally spoke I had begun to think I might have lost her with my sincere honesty. The next few minutes she talked about a Being—her Creator—that was greater than us all. She shared her journey with me. It was full of trauma, pain, abuse, neglect, and death. Her life story—full of darkness and secrets and pain—and she shared with  me her journey to believe that she had always been—and always would be—forgotten.

We talked for some time and shared our hearts with each other.

Today I got a message that my new friend had said her first prayer in 10 years. “And I felt His love for me.”


She was willing to let me share this story with you guys, and she wants you to know . . . God is there. He is real. We need His Son, and with His grace we have the power to heal even the darkest of moments in our lives.  You are one of His favorites, not because of anything you have done, or haven’t done . . . but because of who you are and who you were created to be. His child. A child of God.





My favorite talk on this subject. His grace is sufficient by Brad Wilcox.

March 5, 2019

A Reason to Stand: North Ogden

Had an amazing event at A Reason to Stand this past Friday. My favorite one yet! The high school sponsored us and we got to put on an assembly that morning. It was so powerful. We felt blessed to have Kechi and Jennie Taylor come join us. Here is a news clip from the assembly. 

https://ksltv.com/409191/trauma-survivors-share-stories-tonight-weber-high/

And some pics from the evening:










Now that A Reason to Stand will be running as a non profit organization, we will be looking for quality businesses to collaborate with, and offer sponsorship opportunities. Please contact one of us at areasontostand@gmail.com for more information. 





February 22, 2019

Keep up the fight

 This morning in school Bostyn was asked to write about her first memory. When she told me what she had written—about her eye infection when she was almost four—I looked at my phone and realized that today marks 10 years since she sat in a hospital bed and fought for her life. I will never forget the miracles that took place that brought her home weeks later, and the many earthly and heavenly beings that helped her keep fighting.

The second day . . . when her other eye begin to close, I remember her begging for us to help her. She was gasping for air, and her neck was getting bigger by the minute. There was nothing we could do and the doctors had even begun to have fear in their eyes, as they talked about the infection’s rapid rate, every one of them coming to visit with little or no answers at what was taking over our little girl’s body.





At one point I found myself in the hall tucked into a little corner outside our room, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. A doctor walked into the room and brought another one out. “I don’t know if this one is going to make it, if that infection keeps spreading, we are going to have to put tubes all down her neck and try to drain some of it out in the morning, or she isn’t going to be able to get oxegen.” They didn’t know I had heard them. I sat there helpless, picturing my little girl with tubes down her neck and her other eye so swollen she could no longer see us.


I prayed harder in that quiet little corner than I had ever prayed in my life. Moments later I found myself standing in front of a whole room of nurses, at first I quietly started begging for their help, then words—I still don’t know how I knew what to say—began flying out of my mouth. I pointed at one and told her what kind of specialist to go call, and another to get me the town’s infectious disease specialist... and on and on until I had given everyone in that room a job to do. For a few seconds they all sat there and stared at me like I was crazy—and to be honest . . . I might have been. I looked around and said, “Now. She needs you to go now.” Within 20 minutes her room was full of specialists I didn’t know existed. They worked together and found the infection to be something different than she had been treated for so far. By morning she had stopped gasping for air and her other eye never did close all the way. 

Sometimes we have to just have faith, and other times we have to fight. I have never seen anyone fight so hard as my little girl did ten years ago. She was a little warrior. Her eyes have never been the same; she can’t go anywhere without her thick glasses or contacts, but besides a little scar that she still carries . . . you would never know the fight she had to battle to be here.

We don’t know what people are going through, or what they will yet be asked to endure. We don’t always know what their stories are, or the little parts of their journeys that make them who they are today. 

I am grateful for Bostyn and her warrior heart. I have watched her endure this unplanned life with so much grace and wisdom. I know this moment, when she was young, prepared her for many more fights she would be asked to champion just two years later. She is a light for us all, and probably one of the funniest people I know. So glad I know you Bostyn! Thank you for always reminding me that miracles are real, angels are near, and to always keep up the fight. 

February 14, 2019

To my broken friend on Valentine’s Day

To my broken friend on Valentine’s Day,

About a few times every week I get an email from one of you asking me the same question, “How do you learn to trust again?” So today I would like to talk about that, and explore some thoughts for you to ponder as you walk down that journey of finding trust again—ultimately your pathway to forgiveness.


Whatever we go through in life, there will be times when people do things—despite who we are—to lead us to question if we should trust. Infidelity and murder might be extreme cases, that you haven’t personally had to go through, but the concept of trusting another human being has, or will, most likely come into question at some point in your life.

For the purposes of exploring different concepts—and knowing we all have our own experiences—I am going to be talking about some of the extreme cases that I have encountered, or others have shared with me . . . and how they have effected us. It is my prayer that as you read this, the spirit will guide you on how you can remember your truths, and be able to apply them to your desire of seeking trust after you have been wronged deeply by someone you love.

As a woman in her third marriage, I can say for sure . . . this was not my plan. Devotion and fidelity have been strengths I have carried through all of the relationships I have been in, but I haven’t always been blessed to get that back. Reflecting on those times—when I found out about affairs, or caught, the one person who was supposed to be protecting me, doing things against that promise—every time it cut me deep, left me wondering what about me made them choose to look somewhere else for what I was willingly giving with love. I have spent a lot of time battling that fear—that something was just wrong with me. Many days I carried the blame—of another person’s choices—on my own shoulders . . . thinking that maybe if I was something different, they would have loved me as much as I was willing to love.

Then one day it hit me—it wasn’t about me.  Sharing those fears outloud, has not only helped me heal, those experiences have lead me to create relationships with thousands of others who have been there too. Each one of us at one time or another feeling alone, isolated, and forgotten, but eager to hear that others know the pain we thought only we had felt.

Over the years I have interviewed hundreds of people who have dealt with this sort of betrayal, most of the stories with common themes—even down to the words that were yelled at them during the darkest days—of fear, pain, and extreme heart ache. Each of them expressing how those words filled with so much hate and darkness—made them feel so small. Crazy—every single one of them felt crazy; the blame always shifting to them when they would ask for answers. Alone. Scared. Hopeless. Worthless. Depressed. Triggered by PTSD. Afraid to go into public. Hideous. Fat. Panic attacks. Suicidal thoughts. Lack of faith. Crippling fear. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Every story completely unique—yet so similar.

Many have shared, “I just wish I could have saved him.” “I just wish I could have changed so (s)he would have seen me.” “I just wish I could be the person I was before I found out. I am broken now.” “I must not have been good enough.” “Well she was younger than me . . .” “I still wonder if he ever did love me.” “Now I have to be a detective to make sure he isn’t out doing things he shouldn’t”  “My life is over . . . and everything I have done is a waste.” “I can’t look at myself in the mirror.” “I am in a fog.” “I have never felt so alone.” “My world went black when I heard the truth.” Men and women full of fear and now so insecure, because they were forgotten—they were not protected; no matter how devoted, loving, and supportive they had been—their life was now changed by the actions of another person, and yet they had come to believe it was all their fault.

And this is where the hope becomes a challenge—you step out ready and wanting to love, and then your fear tells you to retreat . . . tries to remind you of the times when your power has been taken from you. Your PTSD—and yes this a real thing and not just in military survivors who were in combat—kicks in and showers you with panic. What if  becomes your constant companion, and you start to believe that you just no longer have what it takes—to trust, to love, to be open and vulnerable, to let down your guard—to let someone in.

So here is the secret many of us have finally learned. Through my own detective years . . . and now removed from it all, but hearing the same stories over and over we are finding a common thread. The ones who are thriving have begun to believe in forgiveness—not to save the other person . . . but to save their selves. We aren’t here to save each other. We are here to be the best version of ourselves, and not everyone is going to protect that. Some people aren’t even going to be capable of seeing how amazing we are—or seeing us at all. Not because of anything we do, or don’t do . . . but because of their own personal insecurities, fears, and bad choices. We have to let them own it. We have to stop taking on their struggles as if they were ours, because the minute we do—we become worthless, and that my friend is the lie. If we live in the lies . . . how can we trust ourselves again, let alone anyone else trying to come and see the good in us? We want someone to love us, but we forget to love ourselves.

Being able to trust another human being is a personal ability we all have—nobody can take that away from us . . . though many will try. Narcissists exist, selfishness is real, and there will be those we care about who don’t care back, but they CANNOT take away our ability to love—and to trust again. There will be moments when love will be one sided—there might be a time when God asks you to stop putting your love out for someone, because He knows that your gift could be used better somewhere else—spending time remembering how to just love yourself, or He might lead you to a person who will honor that ability you have willingly been giving.


Forgiveness is the how . . . and it takes empathy and faith, and a whole heck of a lot of love. Forgiveness doesn’t have to include letting an abuser back into your world . . . but it does include letting yourself back in. It might not lead to that person ever seeing you, or the hurt they caused, but it gives you permission to see yourself and the powerful being that has been strong through a storm. You start to let go of the fear and for the first time see yourself as a brave survivor instead of a worthless victim—believing in all the good you are capable of, and letting go of all the lies that told you: if you were different this wouldn’t have happened.


So here is the bottom line. It wasn’t about you. Don’t let another person’s choices stop you from moving forward on all the paths you have tried to walk before—or the new ones that have been paved. You are worthy of kindness, love, and being seen for all the wonderful things that you are, but it has to start with you. Let yourself back in—have your back even when nobody else does. You are freaking awesome. This wasn’t your fault—and it does not change your worthiness of trying again.

Sometimes people just don’t see you. And that’s ok. You are too precious to be forgotten. So remember . . . you are enough. Say it out loud a million times today until it is all you can think about. Your worth is great in the sight of God. Your being is important to Him. Your life—your fears, your joy—matter to Him.  Go to Him in prayer, He will help you. He will send you what you need, and in many of these cases, we have been surprised at moments of exactly what that was, but as we have trusted in not only ourselves, but in God . . . we have found that light again.

If you are living in the darkness of another person’s shadow, today give yourself permission to step out into the light. They didn’t break you—they just spent a lot of time showing you how broken they were. Today you get to start living free of those chains . . . because they were never yours to carry anyway. Each of us has a Savior, and He will never ask us to do His job. We cannot force another person to use the power of grace, but—with Him—we are always capable of using it in our own story.  


To the brave survivors on this Valentine’s Day—you are not alone. You are way more than broken—you are brave. Trust that truth and it will become part of the stepping-stones to free you from the shadows. Your gifts are not dependent on the receiver . . . they will always be worthy of giving again. Get yourself a box of chocolates this year and celebrate your ability to love.









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Can't wait to see all of you brave survivors on March 1st. A Reason to Stand .org for tickets and more information. 




January 7, 2019

Gender reveal. It's a...

January 3, 2019

Big News

So, this has been a long time coming, and I am so excited to share my news with you. Four years ago I started putting together conferences for trauma victims to unite and know they are not alone—and frankly—I wanted to help get some of my new-found online friends to leave their house. I heard thousands of stories of pain and I couldn’t stand the thought of them hurting alone.

So an organization began. I called it A Reason to Stand, in hopes that it would give every person who walked in the door, a new reason to put one foot in front of the other—to remember their fight and why they were worth showing up for, and to help them find their worth . . . no matter what their story.

This week I received the official documents that A Reason to Stand will now be functioning as a non-profit organization. I am so proud to be able to build a team and connect with other organizations to bring more light to this community that started right here on this little blog.

Thank you to each of you who have encouraged me to share this vulnerable journey called life, and have given me strength when I felt so weak and broken. This blog started my healing journey, and I know that we can all help each other on that path.

Thank you for your support and love. Our first event—running as a non profit—will be held in North Ogden, Utah on March 1, 2019 from 6-10pm. Please share with anyone you know who could benefit and be uplifted. We would be honored to share the night with all of you.


To find out more or find out how you can get involved please visit www.areasontostand.org



 
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