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. 

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

Forgiveness


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

Failure

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. 



















 
Blog Design By: Sherbet Blossom Designs