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. 

April 24, 2018

Footprints in the Sand

Every day I wear jewelry that has some sort of message. It is kind of my thing. And I just got connected with a woman who has inspired my passion for inspiration...I can wear... even more. And she has even offered to help us inspire each other by donating a portion of any of the sales with code "STAND" used for free shipping to bring A Reason to Stand to communities across the country. Go check out her website!! Anima Jewelry I know you will find a piece of jewelry that connects with your story. This one was mine. "Footprints in the Sand" It makes my heart smile every time I look down and see it on my wrist.

If you haven't read my "Footprints in the Sand" story here you go: Footprints in the Sand

Please send me pics or tag me in your pics on social media. I want to see what jewelry inspired you!! 

April 19, 2018

Show up for real

What does it mean to be real? We live in a world full of noise—everywhere we turn there is a new model of what yesterdays “cool” was. Every minute something new is created and marketed to us as if it was as important as the air we breathe. We are left wondering if we will ever be able to afford to fit in—if we will ever really catch up.

Many days we walk around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out which way is up—seeking to know what we should want to buy, and who we should strive to be—a consumer society that has trained us to never feel enough. Our kids tell us they are “the only person they know who has to live without it”, and our screens tell us that we must obtain to find happiness.

Pictures are altered to perfection. Lives are portrayed as flawless. Social media is our addiction, but with every swipe we wonder why we just can’t measure up. We know it isn’t real, but still set our sights to one day achieve it—a picture perfect, calm, steady, always thriving, always successful, always beautiful life.

So what is your real? Are you living life—or waiting to catch up before it begins? What are you waiting for? When will you know you made it there? If the world is always changing—cars are getting faster, phones are getting more high tech, and clothes are getting just a little more stylish every day—is there ever going to be a time when you don’t feel like you need more to be happy?

Are there voices around you that maybe you have the power to turn off? Can you put down your phone and play when your kids need you, or have you grown too scared that you will miss something when you do? Do you feel disconnected from everyone and everything around you because you spend your whole day trying to connect with the people and products in your screen? Do your kids look you in the eye when you talk to them, or do they always just look down into the device in their hand? Do you ever talk to your roommates, or do you always just scroll through your friends? Do you have time to show up . . . even for yourself?

Then lets take a stand. Nobody owns us. We are powerful, but we keep forgetting that we are in charge. If our children are so attached to a device, but don’t know how to respect us . . . it is our job to teach them that people are what matter. If we aren’t showing up for the people in our life, we are failing the most important part of our mission here on earth—to learn to love, to learn how to clean, and work, and have fun together. To create lasting and healthy relationships, filled with respect and honesty and light. To one-day leave the ones we love with memories, not just stuff.

Relationships—real people—are the only thing that can bring true joy. No amount of money or possessions will ever take their place.

So today—along with my family—we challenge you to show up . . . because that is what we are working on doing for each other. And it matters. If it weren’t so important, there wouldn’t be so many things trying to stop us all from remembering . . . each other.

Even in a noisy world, we have the power to take a stand and be the kind of person we want our sons and daughters to become—for we are teaching more by our examples than by the words that we say.

Show up. Life is too short. You don’t need a million likes to be someone they are proud of . . . one day all you will have left is the memories you made.

Come see me in person at A Reason to Stand: FEARless next Saturday in Las Vegas!!! April 28th! 

April 11, 2018


April 10, 2018

The power of Choosing Happy

What makes you happy? Like really deep down makes you happy? And I don’t want you to give me the Sunday school answers that you think I want to hear. And PS . . . I can’t really hear your answers even if you say them out loud. So this question is more for you to ponder.  What makes you HAPPY?

Because if you just stared at this screen and you really don’t know . . . you might be missing something. Are you a happy person? Do you want to be? Did you used to be, and have some how lost your way? 

Then lets start with a few other basic questions. What is holding you back from feeling happiness and seeing joy in your life? Is it another person—or lack of another person? Is it your job? Is your kids, or kids you wished you had? Is it the car that you drive—or hope to some day? Are you waiting for a new house to take away your messes? Are you waiting for a first date, to tell you of your worth? Are you waiting for your kids to grow up so you can start enjoying them? Are you waiting to lose some weight so you can start looking at yourself in the mirror? Are you stuck wanting something different, so you can smile again? How long have you been waiting . . . and how long are you going to be willing to wait? If your prize doesn’t come at all—will you die wishing you had found your happiness? 

Ok, imagine for a second a life with none of those things standing in the way—as your excuse—of your happiness. What does it look like? Just you and your smile. Content. Calm. Present. Look at that—you showed up . . . for yourself. Not for anyone else—just for you. 

Happiness is a choice. It is a decision we make every single day. And if you aren’t happy now, chances are . . . you aren’t going to find it no matter what. Do you like you? Do you see your worth and value when no one is around to tell you? Are you waiting for yourself to change before you start being your own friend?

Life is going to be full of changes, some for the better . . . and some unimaginably hard. If we can learn to smile right now—in the hard days, and the good—we will smile again. Because if happiness is a choice . . . it can always be part of our life. 

Happiness isn’t living a perfectly bright day. Happiness is choosing to find the perfect little light . . . in an imperfect life.

You deserve to smile today, and tomorrow . . . and every day you take a breath. Because you a miracle. You are rare, and precious, and your smile brings light. Choose happy. Not because it is easy, but because you deserve to shine. The world is waiting for your glow. Beam on. 

(As I sat down and these words came to my screen, I couldn't stop thinking about this moment at Emmett's funeral when someone told the kids to smile for a picture. At first I just felt annoyed. My eyes burned from the day. My heart was broken from the pain. My mind was cloudy from the betrayal and the trauma. But those five babies in my arms, gave me hope that someday I would find joy again . . . and that—in that moment—made me happy. )

April 4, 2018

Trials and Miles

I shared some thoughts on the Trials and Miles podcast this week. Here is the link if you want to check it out.

Trials and Miles

April 3, 2018


I need to apologize. In January I announced that Shawn and I had just finished up the process of a divorce.  I did it with no warning. I was so scared to be viewed as a failure—so afraid that I was letting everyone down. I was so afraid to even just write it. So scared to read the ‘see . . . we told you that this would fail’—s that I knew would come. And they did. Because that is who we are—human beings—all of us imperfect, trying to do our best to hold it all together—all the while judging those who cannot accomplish what we too fail to be. Sometimes we aren’t kind to each other. And in a moment when I already feared failure, some people were unkind to me.

But this is not anything new. Because I received similar attacks when I lost my husband to murder seven years ago. People blaming me, and putting me down. So today I wanted to share how it made me feel—both times—in a moment when I needed support, to have some people try to tear me down.

And I am not sharing this as a way to get anyone to change their feelings about what you view as my failures—because I don’t really care what you think. But there are people around you, whether in your real life—or your virtual life—who can’t see past your dark words. They feel like they are drowning. The things people say are hurting them so deep, they can’t stop the pain. They feel alone every single day. They have had to make grown up choices that they have felt unprepared to make. They are raising babies by themselves, not because it is easy . . . but because life doesn’t always turn out like we planned. Maybe their circumstances are because of their own poor choices, but maybe—just maybe—they didn’t have another choice to make. Maybe your put downs will help them see what a failure you think they are . . . or maybe they will literally send them over the edge of the dark cliff they are already hanging from.

We may think we have all the answers for everyone around us, but what I have learned to be true is . . . we don’t have one. Each person—whether rich or poor, tall or short, male or female—we are all capable of making our own choices. Unfortunately those ready to make choices will also have to stand accountable to God for their decisions . . . but too will they stand before Him in the choices they make that are not as black and white—decisions only He knows all the different parts to. And just like you, the people you see as failures . . . might just being doing their best. And maybe—just maybe—what you view as their failure, could be the very thing God asked them to do . . . to succeed.

So I just want to throw out a challenge to this big fat universe full of opinions and words. The challenge is that we use this gift of technology—of knowledge, of freedom of speech . . . to bring light. We have enough bullies in our own minds, we don’t need to keep hurting each other. If someone is going through a hard time . . . take the opportunity to lift them up. They already see their own failures, what they need today is a friend—because they may not even have one of those in themselves.

To be Christ like we don’t need to be the ultimate judge—but we have been asked to be the ultimate friend. And a friend is someone who doesn’t see differences as failures—but believes in the person who is trying their best to succeed.

Thank you to all my friends who have stood with me through all the roads I have been asked to walk. You make a difference in my life, and your light brightens my world. Thank you for your examples of love, support, and friendship. 

March 15, 2018

A Reason to Stand: FEARless in Las Vegas April 28th, 2018

Guys...good news. I have been given an opportunity to bring my conference to Las Vegas on April 28th. Come see me!!!!! www.areasontostand.com for more details.

A Reason to Stand: FEARless
Las Vegas, Nevada
April 28th
4660 N. Rancho Dr.
Las Vegas, NV 89130

March 6, 2018


Fourteen years ago today. Seven we spent together—the last seven...we spent without you. I didn’t know then that the decision to marry you was going to be full of so many blessings, and so much pain. I didn’t know that the family we dreamed of creating together...I would raise without you. I didn’t know that I could love so much, and hurt so deeply. I didn’t know that as we reached our seven year wedding anniversary—just weeks after giving birth to our fifth baby—that just five days later you would be taken from us. 

I didn’t know. I didn’t know about the affair, I didn’t know about the gun. I didn’t know about nights staring out into the darkness...too afraid to sleep. I didn’t know that I could lose so much in a moment. But I said yes. I took a chance. Some would say I failed...I chose wrong. And that’s ok. All they see now is a man who was an idiot...and lost not only his marriage—but also his life. 

It’s hard to understand the impact a single choice can make. It’s hard to feel the significance every decision we choose will have on the people we love—even effect the ones we barely know. 

Some people don’t get the chance to see the impact of their actions...but seven years ago we did. 

You know, Emmett was a man of many words. As an attorney he was a voice for those who had lost theirs, and as a friend...he was always there with encouragement.

We won’t ever spend an anniversary together, but I can almost hear your voice tonight as I think about all the lessons you would be able to share with those waking along a destructive path. 

“You don’t have to do this all on your own. You are not invisible, but you are incredible. You are worthy of the love all around you. You are capable of greatness. You are worthy of loyalty and kindness. You are magnificent. You can change. Believe in Yourself. Believe in the light. Believe in grace. It is for you too. He hasn’t forgotten you, and He never will. Even you are enough for Him. Go make it great. You only have this one life...don’t lose a moment. Fight for light.” 

Though this last fourteen years has not looked like I pictured as I kneeled across from a man who promised me the world...I am grateful for the decision I made—because it gave me five of the coolest kids I have ever met. It gave me a path that has strengthened everything I know to be true. It gave me a heart that has had to work harder than I ever knew possible...to get back up and keep beating. And I love the me—this journey has helped me remember—that I was all along. A daughter of a Heavenly Father, capable of giving and receiving love, light and truth. 

And so are you. Whatever road you are walking, I know if you turn to Him...God will help you find grace in your story. It matters. 

February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

Doing a fun giveaway on my Facebook Standing Beautiful group page. Go check it out. Happy Valentines/Galentines/Independence Day!!!!

Standing Beautiful Group

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