May 31, 2019

Our greatest purpose

Baby girl is here! Kennady Isla Boyson. Born May 24th, at 10:34 pm. I promised a few ladies I would write up her birth story. So stay tuned! She is amazing and perfect!!!! In this post I wanted to share some thoughts about motherhood, but here a few pics of little baby girl before I do. 

This week we have been working on our super powers. So far our biggest accomplishments have been nursing, sleeping, changing diapers—for both of us equally😜—late night parties, and there was even a moment a few days back I washed my hair. One thing I wish someone prepared me for—before I was a mom—was that some of these accomplishments in the weeks after you have a new baby are pretty hard and painful. Before birth they prepare us for the pain of childbirth...but I didn’t hear a lot about what comes next. All I remember thinking is that I might be one of those moms who slides back into her skinny jeans before she leaves the hospital, LOVES everything about nursing, or runs a marathon a month later. Let me tell you...reality—at least for me—is very different. I gain 60 pounds every pregnancy. I leave the hospital in sweats (and swollen legs), and rock them for weeks. Sometimes I am too sore to walk around; I tear up when she is hungry because my chest is so full of milk it hurts just to think about nursing. Some nights I am so exhausted I seriously wonder if I can do it all again the next day. And I know I am not the only one. So why do we do it? Moms. Why do we sign up to push a human out of a small hole; why do we sign up to wake up one morning to boobs that have quadrupled in size (think Dolly over night)? Why do we sacrifice sleep and time to do anything for ourselves without having to plan out time to go pee? When we have feeds of perfect bodies to compare ourselves too, and stories of people living “perfect” party lives...why do we sacrifice a “perfect” carefree story for one full of pain, cracked nipples, stitches, cellulite, little sleep, and an extra 60 pounds? I want to tell you why...because it is amazing. Because there is no greater calling we could be called to do. There is no purpose or award we could obtain that would even come close to the joy these little people bring our souls. We do it because for every picture of a perfect body our social media feeds feature...we have one of a tiny little face that in a matter of seconds changes our lives forever. I don’t have any amazing transformation pics...and I don’t care to anytime soon. I will not be ready for swim suit season this year, but I love my body for everything it has given me. I choose this. Being a mom is hands down the greatest accomplishment I have ever dreamed of living. This job isn’t for the is a sacrifice on every level—of body, mind, and spirit. And it is worth every minute. 

Being a mom is a super power! Shoutout to all of you who do it with so much strength. You are my heroes!  

May 19, 2019

Always the plan

I have been ghosting all of you the past few months. What started with giving some freedom to someone I thought I could trust . . . ended in a reevaluation of what and who I want to be, and what I want this blog and my non profit A Reason to Stand to become. I have never been surrounded by so many “business” people driven by power and money, than I have the past six months; masked in the form of genuine hearts willing to help.

It has been healing to step back and compare watching others try to take something that didn’t belong to them, and realize that I still had a lot of pain from another time someone came and took from me something that didn’t belong to him. I have felt like my walls went back up, leaving me too afraid to be vulnerable—and in protection mode all over again.

After a month of preterm labor, and now a few weeks engulfed in all my efforts being used up in a desperate fight to no longer be pregnant . . . it is no surprise to me that I sit here at six in the morning, feeling a need to get out of my head what has been on my mind.

Protecting our children.

I am about to give birth to a child that is coming into a different world than the other five have lived. The last time I was here, I didn’t know it, but my world was about to shatter. There have been many moments through the last nine months that I almost felt inadequate to give her a home that she deserved. A pure—un-traumatized—baby why would she want a mother who has been so broken? The dude in my head has had a great time brining me back to the fear that I couldn’t protect my other kids . . . why would this time be any different? He has been truly creative at bringing back inadequacy to a new kind of level.

So I as I have pondered these fears, and worked through some of the trauma I thought had long since passed, I have realized a few things . . .

In this world—though she hopefully won’t experience first hand what her brothers and sisters went through—she will still need to be protected from it.

We live in a world obsessed with two things. Sex and Murder. Glorified at every turn, our children are constantly bombarded with marketing full of images depicting the Hollywood version of these two sins, but what they don’t tell you is how murder really feels for the kids who live it every day.

What they don’t tell you is that both of these choices—affairs and murder—shatter hearts. What they don’t tell you is that these kids effected by losing someone close to them at the hand of another person . . . lose their childhood—their innocence—in a single moment. What Hollywood fails to portray is the years that follow. They want us to think that murder is intriguing, they want our children to think that it is just part of life. Little do they know is how it really feels when it happens to you.

So what does growing up in a world of murder feel like? It feels like panic attacks at school when a Hollywood version book about murder is read out loud to a group of 8th graders. It feels like anxiety for weeks after a 12 year old plays a shooting game with all of his friends. Haunting nightmares after accidently seeing a commercial during a football game—a commercial about a cereal killer. Little kids scared to go up to their room alone. Kids afraid to go to school after a lock in drill. Tears in the night after someone says a simple phrase when not wanting to do a task at school,
Just shoot me in the head.” Words that in any one else’s world seem so simple—to children of murder—brings about an image that is all too real.

So to those in Hollywood who make light of taking a life . . . I want you to know that murder isn’t just a cool topic that—as my daughter’s eighth grade teacher put it—“keeps their attention because kids like this stuff”. Kids only like this stuff, because we have let it become commonplace in their life. I know for a fact that we wouldn’t let them read books about 10 different ways a sex addict raped someone—so why is it ok to have them read a book about 10 different ways a serial killer murdered people?

Our kids are being told lies. They are playing games that take away their view of the preciousness of every life. They are watching movies that glorify and give power to sex and violence. They are surrounded by images that take away the importance of fidelity and protection of life. Then we wonder why young kids bring guns into schools; we wonder why they do it in a way that they have no empathy for anyone else . . . it is because we have taught them that it is ok . . . and not just ok—we have let them come to believe that it is cool.

Our kids deserve more. They need us to care about what we let the world put into their heads. We need to protect them from the numbing effect of stories and games that fog their view of reality and fantasy. They need us to filter out the world, and teach them right from wrong. They need to learn empathy.

I learned the importance of this by parenting what the world might call “broken children”. But guess what . . . the world is the broken one. God wants us to have empathy. And my unlucky children learned that the day their father was shot in the head. They care about what others are going through and how things feel for them. They care about every emotion I feel—sometimes to an obnoxious level. They cry when their friend’s parents get divorced, because they don’t want them to hurt. They ask for an extra ten bucks when their school is raising money for a student with cancer—not because they know him well—but because they ache for another in pain.

Emapthy is what we have to teach our kids, to care about every life that is around them. Empathy—heart for another person’s needs—is what changes everything. Empathy is what this pure child who hasn’t felt the effect of trauma is going to learn from her siblings who have lived a life full of it.

So little baby. You are coming to a family that some days has felt a little broken . . . but what I finally figured out: this was always the plan. You won’t see them as your broken brothers and sisters—you will see them as brothers and sisters who learned at a young age what it is like to care. They will protect you on a fierce level at every turn, because they will never want you to hurt. They will be your warriors, because they learned a long time ago that life is precious. They will give you their hearts, because they know what it feels like for hearts to be broken. You won’t see them as broken, because it is in their broken past that they learned how to love.

Empathy is love—caring about the life and needs of another person. In a world full of empathy there is no room for the world’s view of what makes us broken. God doesn’t make any mistakes . . . so little baby, I am ready to be your mom. I am worthy to be your mom. This was always the plan. My heart is ready to do it again, and I have faith that this time it will be different. It won’t be perfect—no life is—but what I can promise you is that it will be beautiful. A perfect kind of mess. The world isn’t what we are bringing you into . . . you are coming straight into our hearts—and we can’t wait.

God’s plan is beautiful . . . and I am so glad you choose us. This was always the plan.

March 28, 2019

From 0 to 5 kids in one day

My cute hubby was interviewed on a dad podcast last week. Go check it out! He shares his journey  of being a bachelor for 20 now raising soon to be six kids.

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
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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.

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 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. 

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