October 26, 2016

The Moment You Stand

Ashley Hess performing her song The Moment You Stand. 

October 21, 2016


We clean. We run. We chase. We wonder. We struggle. We fail. We succeed. So many moments of their lives. But what will they really remember? What moments are going to make all the difference?

Do you ever wonder what your life looks like form the outside in? For two weeks I recorded our days to see what it would look like if I wasn't me. And though my life is crazy, and busy, and full of things I cannot do perfectly . . . I wouldn't change a thing. 

October 19, 2016


Well I have spent my morning packing every suitcase in this house. And I am absolutely still in my pajamas with my hair in a bun. It is nighttime somewhere . . .

So looking forward to spending the weekend in sunny St. George, Utah. A Reason to Stand is almost a packed house, so if you were planning on just showing up you better grab your seat on the website ASAP.

Also. I am giving a ticket away on my Instagram account and picking the winner tonight. I have done a two week series of giveaways on there, that will all be wrapping this evening. So go check them out and get in on some free stuff!! Maskcara makeup, skin care, dresses, decorations, essential oils, wallet, hair brushes, books, hair extensions, norwex cleaning supplies, yoga mats. Fun stuff!! Click on this link: The Moments We Stand Instagram

I hope everyone is having an amazing week. For everyone who is going to be in St. George this weekend, please come give me a big hug when you get there. See you soon!


October 17, 2016

The Moment you Stand

It's crazy how God puts people in your life. A few months ago Ashley Hess thought she was just reading a story about a stranger on a blog, but that night had a song come to her mind. We became instant friends. Now she has finished it and is ready to perform this Saturday at A Reason to Stand in St. George, Utah. I cannot wait for everyone to hear and feel the spirit that these powerful words, powerful voice, and powerful feeling of hope this song carries with it. 

This is just the first verse. I cannot wait to share the whole song! It will be available in iTunes once she gets it recorded! 

October 13, 2016

Afraid to Succeed

What if I fail?  What if it is hard? What if I am alone? What if no one loves me? What if I am always broken? What if I can’t find my way? What if I try and I ruin everything? What if no one sees my efforts? What if everything I do is for nothing? What if I succeed?

It often seems that just when we think we have life all figured out, something changes. And change is scary. For the most part, we are all comfortable where we are—because where we are now is familiar. Even if that place is toxic or abusive, it can still feel scary for something to change.  Failure is daunting, but in many of us—so is success.

So I ask you this one question: WHY are we afraid to change? Why are we afraid of the unexpected? Why do we panic when things don’t go our way—or feel insignificant and unworthy when they do?

Because stepping outside of what is familiar means letting go of our plan. And for most of us, that means we think we did something wrong—or something wrong was done to us. And many times when we succeed we still have doubts on if we deserved or can handle what comes next. 

So today I want to present a new thought. How can we become comfortable with living with the unexpected? How can we still find joy when our plans change? 

We must live with intention. How you ask? How can we live intentionally in a life that is constantly changing what we have planned? Here are some ideas . . .

We have to lose our expectations.

Too often we mistake what should be—or will be—with what we think has to be. We set unrealistic expectations for the people in our life, and for ourselves. And these expectations will almost always fail us. Because just like our life plan, when we expect a desired outcome out of someone else, they—more often than not—will not respond the same in real life as we had pictured them doing in our mind.

For example: Lets say today I spend all day doing the laundry and cleaning my house to show my family that they are loved, and have this image in my mind that when they walk in the door they are going to celebrate the efforts and time I put into a clean house . . . they are going to be loving and helpful and give me that same love in return. My thought is this—because I have made an effort and sacrifice in my love for my family—they sure as heck better come in with smiles and complements . . . or else all my efforts will feel like they were in vain. So I know how my love should be received and how I will receive love in return. Plan set. Ready go.

So with that expectation set in my mind, let me tell you how this kind of day really goes down . . .

I bust my butt all day. Laundry. Dishes. Beds. Toilets. Carpet. Dog poo. Water the bunny. Feed the fish.  Vacuum. Scrub. Mop. Plunge. Organize. Dust. Scour. Wipe. Sweep.

The house is shinning when the first child walks in the door. He is frustrated with the lunch selection that came from a pot of leftovers. Annoying, but we work it out. Homework. Art project. The twins are home before we know it. Remember they have homework to do. Fighting about who will use the computer first—mom is referee. Elementary kids get home. More homework. After school snacks. Breaking up small battles about Pokemon cards. Packing lunches for tomorrow. Cleaning up snacks. Soccer. Dance. Basketball. Scouts. Voice lessons. Home again. Send kids up to shower. Just then husband walks in the door from his own long day. “Hey baby. You look cute in those sweats. What’s for dinner?”

Dinner . . . I never forget about dinner. But I just did. Time freezes for a few seconds as I look around the house, hoping so desperately that he will notice all the things I did do that day. Knowing that his approval of them will help me feel important and loved.  I look around the kitchen, then over to the family room. Chaos. Messes everywhere. You would never in a million years guess that cleaning had been any part of my day. Not one square inch of the house looks like it had been touched in weeks. My heart sinks. Everything I had done to show my husband and kids that they were loved—was a waste. Nothing to show for it. Irritated . . . and hungry. Longing for just one of them to see my efforts.

Sometimes in this moment with my expectations so defeated, I have snapped back with a, “Dinner? Are you kidding me . . . do you not see everything I had to do today?” and then go about listing all the errands run and cleaning achieved. Other times I have silently—with an internal pity party, that no one had noticed my sacrifices—started heating up a can of soup. All the while feeling defeated, unloved, unappreciated, and invisible. Waiting around for someone to tell me that what I did that day was seen. As if that simple acknowledgment was my lifeline.

This is what I mean by living with expectations. And it can happen in literally every setting and any interaction we have with ourselves, or another person. Even simple things, like letting someone merge in front of us . . . expecting a wave or an acknowledgment of our kindness, can lead us to having a horrible day. Doing an extra project at work, and believing that our boss will notice and praise—is an expectation that will most likely lose.

Living with expectations sets us up to fail—because it puts power into a plan—our plan.

So how do we live intentionally, so that our own expectations do not become our very demise? How do we live so that we act and not react to life?

First off, we have to see others. Stepping outside ourselves does not take any expectations. Because when we are truly open to helping and loving another person, we don’t do it for ourselves. We do it for them.

If what I want to gain from scrubbing floors and cleaning up crap is a stroke to my mommy ego . . . then I am not serving my family—I am serving myself.  To live intentionally we have to do this life on purpose. Living with purpose does not require our own plan—but it does take a lot of faith.

The days don’t change much—the ones we live with intention—but our fears do. Fear of being unseen, fear of being invisible and forgotten . . . those are what drive us to live for ourselves. But the love of another person, that is what empowers us to live for them. We act, instead of react to the environments we are placed in.

Sacrifices made become less of a need to be acknowledged and more of an acknowledgment of another person’s needs. 

We cannot set out to serve, expecting anything in return. God sees our efforts. He sees the love we have given, and understands how hard it is when we feel we haven’t received it back. We have to turn to Him for that approval—ask Him what is next in His plan.

I can promise you—you will fail, but even more—you will succeed. Both of these can be scary in their own way, because in both, things will change. Change means we are growing. Some changes are hard. Some are exciting. But to become the refined and beautiful person we must become—we first have to live with intention instead of expectation. Success and failure will begin to be gaged on how we treat others instead of how we are treated.

With a purpose of living for God, we can serve others . . . even those who do not see us. We can love, even those who do not love us back. And we can use our words and our actions with clarity instead of fear.

He sees you. He honors you. He respects you. Do it all for Him. Then at the end of the day . . . thank Him for the blessing it was to serve . . . and to love on purpose. Our lives were meant to be lived with faith and intention, directed by His plan.

Don’t be afraid of failure—it will make you stronger. But even more, don’t be afraid to succeed. It is why you are here. To find your purpose in His plan, and your worth in His love for you. 

You are enough. Today, yesterday . . . and for every tomorrow to come.

So what are you afraid of? What is it costing you? How would your life be different without it? What is your first step to achieving it?


I got to interview with Lauri's Lemonade podcast a few weeks back. It just came out today. Go check it out.

Lauri's Lemonade Stand

October 11, 2016

For Kycie on her birthday

Kycie's family interviewed today about her story and the difference it is making in the world. A beautiful tribute to an amazing little girl on her birthday.

(click on the link to watch the video)

October 10, 2016

He already has

Sometimes my heart hurts. It used to be because of my own pain and embracing my own reality. Now my heart hurts for those I have to watch walk paths I have had to walk—spouses who have experienced infidelity or friends who have had to go through the death of a loved one. So many times in the last few years I have wished I could just do it all again—in their place—instead of watching them have to suffer. I see them struggle, and genuinely wish I could save them and take away the hurt.

So tonight I just wanted to share how grateful I am that we have a Savior; that—though we cannot take away another's pain—we know that they can make it through. For it is not our strength that will ease another's burdens and help them find their journey to healing . . . it is Christ.

And every path He leads us down to be His hands, or to see with His eyes, is a gift we get to be apart of. And He has given us each other to physically stand in His place at times. Tonight I am grateful for that miracle. That the Savior of the world will save us all . . . from each other, from the darkness, and even save us from ourselves at times. He is there. ALWAYS. All we have to do is reach out our hand and He will help us take that first step to standing.

So many hurting in a broken world. We cannot save everyone. But Christ can . . . and He already has.

We watched this video tonight as a family...

October 9, 2016

Sending light

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine. She goes by the name of Mrs. Smith. Her story and her mission have helped many see light in a dark moment, to help others remember they are never alone. 

Sending Light

My name is Mrs. Smith. It's not my real name. It's my pen name. I am the woman behind the The Light Keepers @thelightkeepers Instagram account. Three years ago my life as I knew it drastically changed. In an extremely traumatic way, I learned that my husband had been living a double life of sexual addiction. 

Early on in our marriage I had discovered that my husband was struggling with pornography. I didn't know then that it was an addiction, and neither did he. Over the years there were times I found pornography he had been viewing. Each time it was very traumatic and I wondered what I was doing wrong. Why wasn't I enough sexually for him? 

We married young and I couldn't wrap my head around the idea that someone could be addicted to pornography or sex. Several years into our marriage we learned more about sexual addiction and were lead to therapy and 12-step groups. This felt like an answer to my prayers. I began to learn more about the addiction. I learned that I didn't cause the acting out and I couldn't stop it. My husband appeared to really want to change and heal. 

Many years went by and we had several more children. We had struggles like any other couple: job loss, struggling to make ends meet at times, and small arguments. On a whole our family and marriage were happy. We did have some really challenging struggles as well: discovering that my husband had other addictions (food and gambling) and the grief of a sudden death of a close family member. 

Through all this my husband was supportive and loving. We sought therapy. We sought spiritual guidance. In my mind we were healing and making progress. My husband and I enjoyed being with each other. Our daily interactions were happy and loving. We read marriage and parenting books together. We had fun date nights. We had family vacations. Our holidays were happy and meaningful. Life was good. We had a happy marriage. I felt content and blessed. Life was far from easy, but in my mind we were facing our battles, head on, together. 

In September of 2013 we moved to a new state. I was thrilled with this move, getting to live in my dream location. My husband had a great job opportunity and I thought we were going to be putting down roots to raise our children. Of course I didn't think life was going to be perfect or easy, but I felt like we had worked through some extremely hard things and after years of struggle I felt like l was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Just a few short weeks after moving into our new home I made the horrific and traumatic discovery that my husband had not only never been free from his pornography addiction, but that the acting out had escalated. My husband was on a business trip when I made this discovery. I had children sleeping in my bed. I began crying and uncontrollably screaming. I could see the fear and confusion on my children's faces but I couldn't stop. 

I wanted to stop so badly but the trauma had hijacked my body. It was as if I had literally been hit by a bus. I remember trying to calm myself down but nothing would work. I finally was able to calm down enough to turn on a movie for my children and then I began to pace the house and sob and sob and sob. I didn't know anyone in this new place where we were living. I had no friends. I had never felt more alone. 

The next morning my dad flew into town to take care of me and my children. I don't even know how I made it to the airport to pick him up. I only remember falling apart in his arms. 

My husband and I immediately started therapy. Through an act of God I was led to a phenomenal therapist who I would come to learn would be an integral part of my healing journey. My husband sought recovery and help for himself through individual therapy and 12-step groups. 

I too began working a 12-step program. I began working with a sponsor and working the 12-steps. Each one of them was a life changing experience for me. As time went on, my husband eventually came forward with his full history of sexually acting out. This was horribly painful and caused me significant trauma. I really don't know how to describe the fire that was lit inside of me to fight for my healing and recovery. I had never wanted something more in my life--not to save my marriage but to personally heal from the damage his addiction had brought into my life.

Through therapy I began to learn more about family systems, and my fight and passion grew more as I learned ways I could be a "generation changer" in my family. I learned new ways of coping and responding. I learned tools for regulating my emotions, and for speaking my thoughts, feelings and needs. 

As I faced the pain of my husband's betrayals I was able to learn and grow in ways I never imagined possible. It was not easy. Most of the time it wasn't a pretty process. I cried buckets of tears. I took long drives so that I could scream at the top of my lungs. I turned to my Heavenly Father like never before in my life. 

I began to develop a closeness with him and the Savior that I didn't know I was missing. This process was a refiner's fire and it was brutally painful, but it propelled me into personal growth that was life changing. I still have many hard moments. I still struggle. I don't know what the future will hold, but I do know that no matter what happens I am going to be OK. 

A few months into my personal healing journey, I began to have the strangest overwhelming impression, "You need to start an Instagram account and share your story." I thought this was one of the most bizarre impressions of my life. I am not a writer or a blogger and I wondered who on earth would read something like this on Instagram, of all places. 

I began searching Instagram to see if I could find any accounts of women going through what I was going through. I didn't find any at that time. I decided to share this idea with a friend from recovery and I asked for her thoughts. One Sunday, while in church, the impression to start this Instagram account would not go away. I remember thinking to myself, "What would I even call it?" In that exact moment, a woman handed me a poem and asked me if I would read it as part of her lesson. I looked down at the slip of paper and read the title, Light Keepers. The spirit whispered to me, "This is what you will call the Instagram account." 

The poem perfectly described how I felt about the journey I was on and the "Light Keepers" my Father in Heaven had lovingly placed along my path to help light the way to healing. There have been so many Light Keepers along the way, so many beautiful people who have blessed my life--people who have been there for me in my darkest hours--people who have shown me that there is still LIGHT and HOPE, even in the darkest of circumstances. 

As I began sharing my story on Instagram I was astonished at the number of women who reached out to me with similar stories. Each woman that shared her story with me allowed me to partake in a scared trust. Strangers were sharing things with me that they had never shared with anyone before in their lives. Tears would roll down my face as I would read these emails and messages. 

I wasn't alone and I was blessed with the honor of having others share their pain and struggle with me. This was truly a life-changing experience for me. It also strengthened me and helped me to continue to seek my healing and to work my individual recovery. I began to pray for each of these women who reached out to me. They were my Light Keepers just as much as I was theirs. 

I would never have chosen this trial in my life since it has brought so much heartbreak and pain. But I also know I needed to go through it. Through this struggle I found myself. I have never been more certain of who I am and who I want to become. 

A few months ago I held a retreat for a group of women. We began to brainstorm ideas of ways we could reach out to others who were suffering in darkness, and ways we could be Light Keepers for others. For awhile I had felt the impression to make some kind of care packages for other women in trauma. We began exploring this idea and working as a team to have this idea become a reality. 

Not long after this, to my surprise, an amazing woman felt impressed to send me a large sum of money to help this project get started. I was humbled by her generosity. I knew I had an important work to do and that I was being trusted with it. In August several women and I gathered together and put together 107 boxes for women in trauma. We were able to get these boxes into the hands of other women in trauma.

I wasn't sure what was going to happen after that...

Enter Adam and Lindsay Moore

My name is Adam Moore. When I was first training to become a marriage and family therapist, I was astounded at how many people who, on the outside, seem to have life all figured out, can have such painful stories underneath the surface.

These are your friends and neighbors. They are there, doing their best to make it through each day, but they often have secret pain and trauma they're struggling with that very few people ever get to know about in most cases.

As a therapist, I sit in an incredibly sacred space with people--hearing the stories of trauma, and being present for very personal healing processes. Sometimes I am literally the only person on the earth who is invited into that space. It is humbling to say the least.

As heartbreaking as it can be to hear the painful stories, what allows me to do what I do is seeing the amazing resilience people display in the face of some of life's most challenging moments. 

About six years ago I began training to treat addictions--specifically sexual addictions. One of the very first lessons I learned was that connected to nearly every sex addict are family members, often spouses, in trauma. 

It's not just the out-of-control sexual behaviors that cause pain to family members of addicts. As with other addictions, sex addicts often get into a survival space where they lie, blame, and hide in order to keep people from finding out what is really going on. It's these behaviors that create much off the relationship trauma.

I learned that healing and recovery are necessary not only for the addict, but also for a traumatized partner. For married couples, healing the marriage requires that the betrayed spouse be given just as much care and concern as the addict typically receives.

As my wife and I have managed our counseling practice for the past few years, we've had a ongoing dialogue about what more we could do to offer support for the often-neglected people in trauma due to others' choices or because of life events that are out of their control.

I can't describe how our non-profit, Sending Light, was formed without talking about inspiration and superhuman timing. My wife and I watched (via social media) as the woman behind The Light Keepers Instagram account organized others around the concept of sending care packages to women in trauma.

When we saw that, we said, "Maybe that's where we can get involved in giving back." So we reached out to her and within weeks we were forming a non-profit organization to provide a process by which people who have experienced life's traumas can offer kindness to those who are still in the depths of their own pain. We offer a way to create Light Boxes (specialized care packages) and get them into the hands of people who need to know that they are not alone.

We started with the people we felt most connected to because of my therapy work--women whose husbands have sexual addictions. But pretty quickly we had people reaching out about many other types of traumas. These might be things like addiction, mental illness, suicide, divorce, pregnancy loss, eating disorders, and so many more. 

Sending Light's mission is to provide the structure and resources for ordinary people to do something extraordinary and to combine their efforts with people who have experienced traumas like their own--to reach out to people who may feel alone and isolated in their trauma.

Each Light Box contains thoughtful items that provide emotional support. education. opportunities for self-care, and a connection to others who have traveled the same road. When a person sends a Light Box, he or she becomes a Light Keeper and joins an ever-growing force of people committed to relieving human suffering.

The really neat thing about the way we deliver the Light Boxes is that in most cases, we are going to get the boxes into the hands of a gatekeeper--a community or church leader who has direct access to people who are suffering right now. Those leaders may not fully understand the gravity of the traumas people are experiencing. So the boxes are delivered with additional educational materials to teach those individuals about those traumas, so that they can provide better, more informed support, education.

Our organization is brand-new, but are already seeing incredible support from people all over the United States, asking how they can get involved. We are excited to watch as The Light Keepers spread into every community and stand with people in the most difficult moments of their lives.

A video about Sending Light: 

6 ways to choose happiness, hope . . . even when it is hard

A new article I wrote for Deseret News: 6 Suggestions to choose happiness, hope . . . even when it is hard


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