September 17, 2018

Orem, Utah "A Reason to Stand" November 10th, 2018

Hey guys. I have some fun news I wanted to share...

A Reason to Stand: Enough
November 10, 2018
1641 N. State Street 

Finally. A Reason to Stand. Just like last Fall, we are heading back to Utah!!! Orem, Utah to be exact. Come and see us! Can't wait to catch up with everyone. It has been too long.

This conference is going to be extra special, as we have a few really BIG announcements!!! So please don't miss it. We need all of our supporters there ready to celebrate with us. See you in a few months!

September 13, 2018

There is hope

I have received many messages from people asking me what my story is. So if you are new here—welcome—and let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Ashlee. I am a mother to five kids (13,13,11,9, and 7 years old). The Moments We Stand is the name of my blog that started as a healing journal for me after a month long murder trial didn’t lead me to the peace, I spend almost two years, imagining it would. 
After the birth of our fifth child my husband Emmett was shot two times—once in the heart and once in the forehead—by the husband of a secret mistresses I didn’t know he had. I spent the next two years waiting to take a breath as the murder trail got pushed back month after month. As the trial finally ended, I realized the magnitude of the chains I was wrapped in. I had become a victim—literally on the bench in a courtroom and by the fears in my own mind. Then one day God gave me a gift. He asked me to own my story. To write my fears and vulnerably share my insecurities with anyone who asked me how it felt. And that is the mission I have been on ever since. Seven years later I am a remarried, divorced, widow on a mission to help others know they are not alone, find their worth, and remember their truths. And guess what? I am happy. Widowhood, divorce, parenting, remarriage, and murder are not the things that make me who I am—they are just parts of my story. Who I am is a daughter of God who has learned so many lessons—on a path I didn’t choose—that was created just for me, to help me keep striving to become the best version of who God sent me here to be. I am enough. And so are you. Whatever your story, whatever dark paths you have walked—YOU are loved, valuable, unique, and YOU are enough. Heavenly Father makes no mistakes and I believe if we remember Christ on all the paths we walk—our story will be filled with His grace. 
We can be a light no matter how much darkness we have had to endure. You can find my story on my blog or books. Start at the beginning! I hope you feel the grace that has been part of your journey as you read about mine. Miracles, are real, they don’t always take away the pain, but they always bring the light! There is hope. 

September 11, 2018

Read it

My sisters and I are reading a book for a "The Finer things club" (The Office). Read a long with us? This months book . . . The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.  I started today and am half way through it. You won't regret it. I love her perspective and love her view of owning our own happiness and being the happy woman our partners deserve. So great.

Let me know your thoughts and feeling in the comments. Happy reading.

(Click on the book to find it on Amazon.)

September 10, 2018

What does betrayal feel like?

What does betrayal feel like? Let's talk about betrayal trauma for a minute, since none of us like to. Have you gone through betrayal? Do you find yourself stuck in those emotions and fears? Has it made you feel alone?

Well I just want you to know you are not. And this was not your fault or even about you. It was about them. Time to give yourself permission to move forward and start loving yourself and trusting again.

August 31, 2018

A call to all fathers

A few months ago I met a new friend —after speaking at a church—who approached me and asked if I would be interested in sharing my message with a big group of business men. At first I thought, “what would I have to offer a bunch of men?...” and then he proceeded to tell me about a statistic he keeps finding every where he looks. When asked what is most important to them...he finds most business men instantly say, “my family” but after more conversation he learns that most of these same men only spend about 1% of their time with their families. 

The past few days I have been reminded why that statistic is something I am passionate about changing. Fathers...we need YOU. This video and post are about a little car ride and a note in the night that helped me remember a message I can’t hold back any more. 

After a car ride with six thirteen year old girls I spent the next two days struggling with some hard truths. There are a lot of kids with the same story.

This message is to all Fathers. You are valuable and your kids need you.

They  need your strengths and your gifts. They need you to wrestle them and throw the ball to them. They need your time and your love.

They  need you to show them what a real man looks like. If we want our daughters to find a man that treats them right and honors their promises, then we have to show them what that kind of a man looks like.

Love their mothers. Be kind to the woman in their life.

Respect and honor your family. Not by working your life away or running from your problems, but by showing up every day.

With love and honor and virtue. Live your truths. Be the kind of man you want your daughter to want to marry someday.

Yesterday would have been Emmett's 38th birthday. If he were here I know there are many things he would say to all the fathers in his life. And I am sure as he watched his five children celebrate, for the 7th time, without him . . . Emmett wants all Father's to remember this:

We only get one chance to raise them. Don't waste your days making extra dollars or bigger muscles, use your days making extra memories and more smiles. 

Children deserve a father who teaches them how to use grace, we don't need to be perfect, just humble. Children deserve a father who is there for them. Chose choices that keep you safe and go home every night. Children deserve to see their parents as often as possible. Children deserve peace. Do all that you can to give them stability and consistency. 

Be their friend, but also their father. Teach them to love others over themselves. Show them how to find their purpose, tell them every day that being their dad is one of yours. 

Believe in your kids. Encourage them, tell them they are good. Use words to lift them up, but always use actions to help them believe your words. Don't spend your days wishing they were different, I promise you will wish this time back someday. 

Live for them now, so you don't regret the life you didn't get to give them. Don't let the darkness make you loose sight of what is important, no amount of money, or flattery, or praise from the world will make up for the broken hearts who needed you. 

Never put another person, including yourself, above your family. They deserve the best parts of you. Your family will always remember the person you are today, but the man you show up to be tomorrow, they will never forget. Don't die with regrets . . . that is hell. And to live with purpose, that is how you find heaven. 

God gave you this gift of fatherhood, make it count. Take control of what really is important to you, and be that man today. We have enough fatherless children, go home and tell them you love them. 

Now is your time, please, please don't wait. Before it is too late. Make it right. No matter how far you have gone away, turn back and start again. 

No regrets. Love them unconditionally, that is the greatest gift they need right now, not money. The most important gift you can give your children today . . . is YOU. 

Be the man you always wanted to be. I promise you won't regret it. 

What do you want your children's story to be? Today they are writing it. No matter where you have been, I urge you to figure out your crap and go show up as the one they deserve. I know it is possible!!! Fear will tell you it doesn't matter. But it does. Today we act for ourselves, instead of living out of fear. Fear is what takes a father away. Fear they need to make more money to be valuable. Fear they need to be perfect before they can go home and be the father their kids deserve. Fear they aren't enough, stops them from being anything.

To the many children who have felt abandoned, forgotten, or alone. This was not your fault. You are still lovable, and worthy of an amazing life. Forgive the one who didn't give you all you deserved and believe in the future. You didn't choose this story, and you can decide how it ends. Be everything for your children, and the people in your life, that they weren't for you. Turn it into good. You have the power to change their story.

The parts of our stories we can't control, are only a fraction of the ones we are meant to live. You can make a difference, in your story, and in the story of all the people you were born to love.

August 30, 2018

Hi 5 Live with Ashlee

I was asked to be on a Facebook Live show called Hi 5 Live. Somehow my phone saved the recording. So bonus. I posted it on Youtube. It is Emmett's birthday today, thank you all for sending love for him. We will take it on to his family this weekend at their annual birthday celebration. Have a great weekend.

To read more about these stories I shared on this episode click on the link below:
A few hard days and then faith in the plan

August 28, 2018

Miracle babies

Going live on Facebook for an exclusive interview with an amazing family with a story full of hope, miracles, and faith in a plan. Go watch at 2:00pm mst for my interview with the Utah family who forty years ago gave birth to twins conjoined at the top of their head. 

Here is an article about that experience 40 years ago . . . 

Hansen twins

August 25, 2018

Best Ribs Ever

Been thinking I wanted to start sharing fun things on the blog in between my regular posts. My kids spent the night throwing down things like "best ribs ever", so I have to share this recipe I made up this morning.

Best Ribs EVER
Take your favorite style of ribs (I used pork short ribs, two huge slabs) and take out of the packaging. Take two huge pieces of aluminum foil and lay them criss cross making a large T. Fold the sides into a cup shape to make a bowl shape.  So the tin foil looks like a huge bowl shape to lay the ribs inside without leaking. Put naked ribs inside.

Pour over or set on top
1/2 cup of Coconut oil
1 cup of orange juice
4 T. sesame oil
4 T. liquid aminos (it is like soy sauce)
1 T. of your favorite seasoning (I used Tajin)
2 or 3 sweet banana wax peppers

Cover top with the tinfoil sides that were cupped up until there are no gaps. Sealing the liquid inside. So the entire meat is locked inside of tinfoil.

Put on cookie sheet in the oven or cook in a turkey roaster. Cook between 250-300 for 6-9 hours.
The longer the more tender they will be. We like ours to slide off the bones.

Open up and serve hot. They fall off the bone! We loved eating them with Sweet baby Rays BBQ sauce and a loaded baked potato and salad. So yummy.

Just FYI. This is not a paid post . . . just had to share because they were amazing. Here are some links below if you have any trouble finding the ingredients or are like me and just don't like to run to the store if you don't have to. Click on the picture.

July 25, 2018

Light it up

Lately I have been noticing some themes in the emails I receive, so I was thinking it would be fun to write my thoughts about these topics in posts on the blog as well as try to answer people personally. And though I truly believe in groups of people that can support each other, I know that todays topic is one that can help us find strength in ourselves. 

Today I wanted to talk about the power of personal revelation. The key word is PERSONAL—revelation that is just for you—insights into your life that you receive in a personal way.

How does personal revelation come?

It comes in many forms that are just as personal as the answers one receives: ideas that just pop into your mind, answers to prayers that show up at just the right time, or promptings to take a different path. Some people tell stories of hearing a certain song that helped them feel the truth to a message they needed to hear. Sometimes answers come in an inspirational talk or a podcast.

Some people hear words in their mind when receiving personal revelation. Other people describe it as a light feeling that won’t go away. In scriptural times, angels came to deliver messages from God and there are many recent stories that help us see that angels are still part of our every day lives.

Prayer is the key in starting our communication with God in hopes of receiving inspiration and revelation in the things He wants us to do.

So you pray. You listen . . . and then you wait. With a promise that all our prayers will be answered, we have to make sure we go into prayer knowing that sometimes the answers will be different than what we think we want or need. Just like in scriptural times, sometimes that answer will take longer than we had hoped in our plan—and sometimes they will come before we think we are ready. But when we go to God—with a sincere desire to do His will—we will always get an answer. He has a plan for each of us.

So lets say you start gearing your prayers to something you feel strongly about and soon you get a prompting for a new relationship, a life change, or a new career path  (or whatever it is you feel is time to change or do differently). You feel good about it in the moment. You feel brave, excited, and a little scared, but pumped up with this idea that you just know is an answer to many prayers. You start making plans in your head and just can’t wait to share it with your partner, or your parent, or someone you love. You are ready to take it all on and you can’t wait to have someone to celebrate with.

Here is where a struggle can come. In your excitement, you share your prompting with people—or the person—you couldn’t wait to share it with. Sometimes your change, your new idea, has not been anticipated and is greeted with doubt or questions that make you start to wonder if you really did receive personal revelation or if you just had a hair brain idea pop in your head that you really shouldn’t waste your time on.

Defeated, you walk away full of doubt, feeling a little dark, even doubting if you have the ability to receive inspiration for yourself at all. Thinking maybe your mom, or your co-worker is the one who is right. You start thinking about all the times you have failed in the past and realize that starting a new path will probably just end the same. So why try?

You let that idea fade away. Sometimes you look back and wonder What if? But never really feel brave enough to ever go there again. So you don’t really fail . . . because you never started . . . but you don’t really feel like you are succeeding because where you are is just safe . . . not because it feels right, but because it has just been what was easy.

Fear of failure. 

Maybe this hasn’t been your story. But I have heard thousands of stories just like this. And you know what? It makes sense. What better way to keep us from success than to send those we love to make us doubt? Especially ourselves. Satan is a clever one isn’t he? For a lot of us—in these moments—it just takes one doubter to stop us. Or one fear to keep us stuck in our tracks.

So today, I am proposing a new way. Maybe it won’t work for you, but it is something that I have learned the last few years that works for me. Before you turn to another person for advise in your life, first ask in prayer for your own personal revelation to know where He needs you to be. So when you are secure in your plan and turn to others for their support you won't be blown back and forth by the noise —their fears, their thoughts, and their expectations of you. 

Personal revelation is a gift—for you—from God.  It is answers to your prayers to strengthen your faith and help you make decisions on your path. Once you find that answer, you have to move forward with the knowledge that there might be many who are sent your way to try to stop you from using your gifts to do good. Mean comments on social media, doubts in your abilities from people you thought would be excited for you (this one happened to me when I was pregnant with the twins), fear, frustrations, doubts that come into your mind, and even the fears others share with you in their belief in you as a person, can—and will—try to stop all of us from walking on our own path of light.

Fear. Anger. Hate. Struggles with forgiveness. These are all part of the process—opportunities for us to get back on our knees and ask for more light to help us grow in our own unique way. Sometimes we have to fight for light on our own. We have to be able to be humble enough to admit that we need grace—the strength that cannot come from another mortal person—the light that can only come from Christ.

Nobody ever got big muscles asking others how to lift weights, but never lifting anything. We have to do the work. Spending our time asking others what they would do—if they were us—doesn’t help us figure out where God needs us to be.

As sons and daughters of God, we can communicate with Him, through prayer. We don’t need another person to use that gift and we don’t have to do anything perfect in our lives to earn that blessing. He will hear you, no matter where you are or where you have been because you are His son or daughter and He cares about YOU.  It is never too late and you have never gone to far to say His name. His grace is enough. I promise that if you are seeking an answer from Him, you will find one. Maybe not the answer you were hoping for, but it will be the answer that is right for you.

You have unlimited potential. Do not let the fears and hate of others hold you back from becoming everything God sees in you. You are worthy of His love because . . . you are you.

God doesn’t get us to change by sending fear. He leads us to the light.  Follow that light. It will never fail you. And remember, nobody can give you more love than the love they feel for themselves. If someone is sending you hate, it isn’t you they can’t stand . . . it is themselves.

You don’t need to listen to the noise. To be genuine is to be you. You are one of the greatest gifts God gave this world. So go be bold and let your light shine. You were made for this life thing. Light it up.

July 11, 2018

A few hard days . . . and then faith in the plan

There was a time when I thought I had this life thing all figured out. I followed the list—the one I thought I had to obey in order to receive everything I wanted . . . in the order and way I wanted it. 

And life kind of played out according to that plan . . . until it didn’t. I thought I had seen it all living through betrayal trauma and a murder on the same day. I thought I had been through all my hard battles. I thought life was going to go smoothly from there on out . . . until it didn’t. 

I did everything in my power from “losing” again. And then one day Heavenly Father told me I needed to be done fighting. How? After seven years of promising I would have stood by Emmett’s side and fought for our marriage—through anything—I was standing in a similar place and getting a different answer.  It was like Heavenly Father was saying, “I know you always said you would have stayed . . . but now I need you to have faith and show me that you trust me—I need you to leave.”

For seven years I had judged those who still had a husband living and walked away. To be honest, parts of me had come to believe that divorce was the coward’s way out. I truly thought—in the back of my mind—that they were just giving up. I prayed many times for answers to why these women had a chance to make things right with their husbands, and mine was taken away. Why would they just leave?

I am humbled to say that I was wrong. For months I fought it, afraid to fail. And then one day proved it was time to go. And as I have heard many women describe—and now know for myself . . . divorce is sometimes God’s answers to our prayers.  It is just as brave as staying, just a different kind. With the same leap of faith required of us to love, sometimes He asks us to move forward in ways we never thought possible—or right. He asks us to bravely walk away from something He once gave us strength to fight for. Sometimes the things that feel like a curse, are really a blessing. 

Blessed? Yes. Answers from our Heavenly Father, though they don’t always make sense in the moment . . . are always right. 

So I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah sure God told you to get divorced—l am sure He wants to break up families.” And that’s ok. I have thought that many times too in the past. And hopefully one day you won’t have to go through such a humbling lesson as I have the last seven months. But what I want you to know is that God has a plan for each of us, and they all look different. And that is beautiful. 

So today I want to tell you some of the stories of the blessings that have followed my leap of faith to move forward—again—down a different path than I had planned. 

It started the night I knew I had to get divorced. I left Teage’s basketball game with a car full of five kids, not sure where we going to sleep that night. My heart hurt, but I was full of peace. I text my sisters and asked them to meet at Ali’s house. My brother-in-law Will gave me a blessing. In more than one way the blessing told me that I was going to have a few really hard days, and then I needed to have faith in the plan. That was one thing I knew I could do. 

The next month was full of some really hard days—some a little scary. Finally the divorce was final and the kids and I got to move back in the house. The next weekend my friend Alesha Penland came to visit. (You guys might remember her. She has told her story a few times at A Reason to Stand. She lives in Utah and her infant son Lincoln was killed four years ago at a day care center). She and I actually became friends through email after Lincoln’s murder and met for the first time at the Ogden “A Reason to Stand” conference a few months later. 

But anyway, she came to visit with her cute daughter. On the way down she called and said, “Ok . . . I have been thinking all day and when I was in the temple this morning I kept thinking—You have nothing keeping you in Idaho, and lots of reasons why you should move to Utah. Just going to throw that out there. I think you should move to Utah.”

I replied—totally joking—, “Haha. Yeah. Maybe someday. You know what? Yeah. OK. You find me a nice guy in Utah—one who would want a divorced widow with five kids—and I am so there.”

Then she practically jumped through the phone and giddily said, “You know what? Oh my gosh, that’s what I am supposed to do. This guy—who lives by me and goes to my church. Ya. I am supposed to set you up with him.”

I started laughing, “Guy. Haha . NO. I was just kidding, I am not doing that whole dating thing for a LONG time. I was totally joking.”

She didn’t let it go. The whole weekend she talked about this friend of her husband’s named Scott who lived in her neighborhood, “He is 39, has never been married, he is the Elder’s quorum president in our ward, he is like the nicest guy I know. I know he has dated like a lot a lot, but has saved himself for the right one. Seriously, you have to come visit me and meet him.”

Finally I was like, “Honestly he sounds hideous, but maybe when I am ready I will humor you and come and meet him someday.”

Sunday morning she left my house, and by Monday night I got a text from her neighbor Scott. A few days later we talked on the phone. Every night that week we stayed up late talking and laughing, and by the weekend he was driving to Idaho to take me on a real date. 

You bet I was nervous. That day I checked in with my widow group and told them I had a date. They reminded me that I had made a vow to them that I would kiss at least 10 guys before I could officially start dating anyone. I laughed at the thought. I didn’t plan on dating anyone seriously for at least a year or two. 

And then there was a knock at my door. My date—who had traveled four hours—was here. He was adorable, way cuter than any of the pictures Alesha had shown me the weekend before. And he smelled amazing. 

We didn’t have a quiet moment the whole night. We laughed and talked until midnight like we had known each other for years. He told me the stories of dating for twenty years. And I told him my story of being a divorced widow with five kids—which ironically he had seen on TV a few times. Our paths were so very different, but we had so much in common. We had so much fun together. 

And the next day was the same. And so was the next day after that. 

So every weekend he made the trek to take me out. Everything was so natural, and the minute he met the kids they took him right in. He felt like a missing piece to a puzzle we had given up hope to complete. 

At the end of February the kids and I decided to drive his way. We went to a Jazz game and took a train down to temple square. We got to meet a few of his siblings and his parents. They were all so loving and made us feel right at home. 

One night his brother-in-law Chris pulled me a side while we were all cleaning up dinner and said, “Ok you want to know the truth about Scott?” I was thinking oh finally someone is going to tell me the deal why this amazing guy is still single.  He continued, “I have been in this family for thirteen years, and every time I hang out with Scott I think ‘How the hell is this guy not marriedHe is the coolest guy I know . . . and we kind of always just figured God was saving him for someone great . . . and we . . . we all hope that it is you.”

 (Double date with Alesha and Chris)

 Every week I fell a little more in love with him. Every night we talked on the phone until the early hours of the morning and every weekend we got to see each other. He would come down and stay at my neighbor’s or we would go to see him. 

We met up in Bear Lake for Emmett’s grandmas 90th birthday and he met all of Emmett’s family. I think the moment I fell the most in love with him was watching him stand by Emmett’s graveside with us while he asked Emmett’s mom about everything on the grave and all the nicknames she had for him and her favorite memories of when Emmett was a kid. 

You never think when you are a kid you will ever have to stand at the grave of the man you created five kids with and hope that another man will be able to be confident enough to know you have a whole part of your life he wasn't apart of, but he can still love you. That weekend Scott showed me what that looked like. And I can say, it takes a real man to do this job. Those of you stepping in after death or divorce and loving, you are a brave and nobel group of individuals. I can't say I could do it so empathetically and with so much honor. But you do. Thank you. 

Another weekend we met in Las Vegas for the twins birthday and A Reason to Stand, and stayed with Emmett’s mom. One night we were sending balloons up to heaven and Bostyn handed hers to me. It said something like:

Dear Daddy Emmett,
We miss you every day and love you so much. Thank you for always watching over us. I know it was you that sent Scott into our lives. Thank you for being our angel and sending us one to be with us here on earth. He is so kind and good to us, and I am so glad you found him for our mom . . . and for us. I know Heavenly Father let you pick him for me. 

(Las Vegas A Reason to Stand)

Scott is made from a different mold. He is so kind. He is so steady. One of the weekends after I introduced him to the kids as he was driving away Tytus started crying. I was taken by surprise. I said, “Buddy why are you crying?” He said, “Because I want Scott to come back.” I said, “Oh man me too buddy. What do you like about him so much?” Tytus’ response made me cry, “Mom . . . can’t you see all the light angels that are with him?”

And that’s what I feel when I am around him. Light. Peace. Love. I feel whole. 

On Mother’s Day my people proposed to me.

And on June 22nd Scott and I were married in the Ogden, Utah LDS temple. 

 I didn’t follow through with my vow. I didn’t kiss my ten guys, or go on dates for years. But I found my person. And the kids and I have never been this happy.

It’s pretty easy to stop believing in love, because love doesn’t always last on all the paths that we walk. And those we love aren't always kind. But your ability to love never dies, because we were created to love—as Christ does. 

A few hard days . . . and then faith in the plan.  When God closes a door, He opens a window. He is so good. He has blessed me in ways I never knew were possible. I have seen many miracles in the midst of what I assumed was failure. I am so thankful for a Father who knows more than I do. I am humbled by His plan. 

We are so blessed. I keep telling Scott one day we will write a book called Patiently and Impatiently Waiting. A divorced widow and 39-year-old single guy’s journey to love. He doesn’t think I am funny . . . but man what a ride we have been on to find each other. I am just so thankful he had the determination to wait for me, because there has been nothing in my life that has been so sweet. 

So you are now updated. OH and we moved to Utah. So there you have it. Life keeps moving forward and love is still possible. We are creatures worthy of giving and receiving love, no matter what our story.

Here is to new adventures and faith in a plan. God’s plan.  I trust Him and see His hand on all the broken roads that have led me here. A perfect mess that has been abundantly blessed. 

Now that I have updated you, I am going to be better about sharing my thoughts here. I took some time off to live life for me, but I am ready to share the light I have in my heart. I hope your roads have found you peace and light and I can’t wait to see everyone at my next event—which I haven’t planned yet, but still will be continuing with. And I am still working on my third book. Ok that’s a lie . . . I still plan on finishing my third book, and who knows maybe she has got a few more in there. 

Thank you for your support and love. It has been a nice break taking a step back, but man I have missed you guys. 

And Alesha, thank you for listening to that prompting to introduce us! You started something great. And Scott Boyson. Thank you for loving us. You really are an earthly angel and I am so glad you are ours. 

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