November 16, 2017

Light the World

I have been asked to host a community event for this years #lighttheworld campaign. I am so excited to bring together people of all religions and back grounds and celebrate our community and the birth, life, and service of the Savior.

The event will take place on December 14th, from 5-9 PM at the LDS church building by the new Meridian temple. I am working with a few local, and some global non profits to raise awareness of their programs and hopefully bring together some donations for them to use this holiday season. 

If you are local please come by and bring donations and enjoy the program and food. If you are not local and want to take part please email me! Let's light this world and help those who might need a little extra light in their life remember Christ this Christmas. 

I am using this blog to update info and share what will be happening for the event in December, but also will continue to write my articles and share other peoples stories, so if you can't find the info you need please feel free to email me.

Please take a minute to watch this little video on what we are trying to do and share. Also there is a cute little face you might recognize towards the end of the video. 

November 13, 2017

Too close to the fence

(Caution: graphic pictures are included in this post)

It all started two weeks ago. Our four girls were off at activities and the boys and their friends were jumping on the trampoline and playing in the grass with our dog Sadie. My friend and I were talking as we watched the kids run around in the back yard.

Sadie—as she usually does—began running along the fence line playing with the neighbor’s two German shepherds. An activity I had always encouraged in hopes to get her at least five minutes of exercise each day. She always got a rush of energy when they were running the fence with her. I have always just assumed they were her only friends—and I think she did too.

So for the millionth time—on her own side of the fence—Sadie got a jolt of energy and booked it down the fence line . . . playing their usual game. Prepared to run a race she would never win, be defeated, go back inside and fall asleep on the couch. It was the same every time . . . until that day.

Sadie was only half way down the fence line when all of the sudden she appeared to be stuck on something. At first I didn’t comprehend what was happening, but as I ran towards the commotion—of Teage’s panicked cry and dogs making noises—I could see that the two German shepherds had both stuck their noses between the slats in the fence and were clamped down with their jaws tight on our dog—their bodies still in their own yard. They began to try to pull her—in opposite directions—through the slits between the wrought iron posts.

I knew in that moment she was gone. She wasn’t making a noise—as one of the dogs was pretty much clamping down on her airway—and her eyes were rolled back in her head. But I also knew I wasn’t going to let them destroy her body—any more than it already was—in front of my babies. So I did what any mama bear would do . . . I decided to fight.

In complete shock, Teage and I began punching, kicking, yelling, and crying . . . begging these animals to set her free. To no avail Sadie was still being pulled through two separate openings—she would never fit through—by two different mouths.

I began to scream at the top of my lungs, hoping for anyone around to come and help me set her free so we could give her a proper burial. Soon, a few neighbors came running to the rescue. It took 3 adults and one ten year old punching and kicking for a few minutes to get the other dogs to let her go, and once they did . . . she took a breath.

She was still alive! Mangled, bleeding, and full of holes and shaking with fear—but alive.

The whole left side of her body was covered in blood and teeth marks—some so deep you could see her insides. Sadie got a lot of stitches that night. The doctor in the ER vet clinic said her extra fat saved her life (A lesson we might want to consider this holiday season. “I am eating for my safety!”.) Then—with the help of some miracle worker doctors—she was sent home to recover the very next morning.

For someone who has suffered with PTSD for the past six and half years, I can’t say I didn’t fall into a state of intense fear most of that night.  The “WHY US”—“why my son who already struggles with fear of the unknown” ate at me for the hours I sat waiting. I covered the gamete on victim pity parties in my mind. I quickly went through the grief cycle as I waited in a room for hours, to see if the dog—I bought for my kids as a therapy healing animal—was going to make it.  And I sobbed even harder the next morning when she came home with a heartbeat, but looked like she wished she was dead.

I cried for her pain, for the struggle—I feared—this moment of trauma was going to play in the lives of my already hurting children. I struggled with a belief racked in fear that has tried to haunt me many times before. I do not have the ability to protect them. The evidence had never felt so strong as this scene had played out in the safety of our own property . . . while I stood by.

I know now that those fears that came into my mind—as I thought I was failing yet again— . . . they aren’t true.

So two weeks later I want to share a few things I have learned from a moment of fear.

#1. We are not promised tomorrow. Literally the day before, I said—out loud and on Instagram—how grateful I am for such a perfect dog. I thought in that moment, those words left my lips, that maybe she was God’s way of blessing us for all the hell we have been through. Then—not even 24 hours later—I thought we had lost her forever. Not because of anything we did or did not do . . . but because life is full of bumps in the road and fences we must not walk too close to.

#2. There are going to be “German Shepherds” in our lives. Obviously I am not talking about the breed. There are many of these dogs that have saved lives and been life long companions for people. I am talking about traumatic moments—someone or something coming out of nowhere and tearing you down. Some—we might not ever see coming. Some are merely the voices we hear in our minds—threatening us to just give up. Some are going to be real life bad guys with guns—others might be threats to our marriages, or bullies at school. Whatever our “German Shepherds” have been or will be . . . they are unique to each of us individually. They can either cause us to give up . . . or they can give us a reason to fight—a reason to stand a little taller . . . or for me this week, stand a little more grateful.

#3. Sometimes we might not see the wolves in sheep clothing, and learn through a lot of pain that some don’t want to be the friend we hoped they were. Other times we might gain a friend in someone we thought was out to get us.

#4. Sometimes—just like Daniel in the Bible— we will be thrown into a lion’s den. Sometimes God will calm the lions, and other times He will send a miracle in a different way.  On this day in my backyard . . . I saw hundreds of them.

#5. We cannot walk too close to the fence. There are some things in this world that just make sense. We can clearly see the consequences of walking along the edge of a cliff . . . because we can easily see what can go wrong. But how many situations do we encounter each day that the outcomes are not as clear?

If there is something in your life that you keep taking a risk for—that maybe isn’t really going to be worth it in the end—take a few steps back, it just might save your life.

#6. No matter how hard we work, or how much money we spend to help someone heal—we don’t get to decide how they will receive it. We cannot force them to accept our “love” and our “knowledge” of what is best for them.

Sadie was stitched up from head to toe. She didn’t eat much for days. She hardly moved at all. But once she started healing and those stitches started itching, she decided, one day, to use her back leg to not only dig out her stitches but to reopen the biggest wound she had received from her attack. Blood everywhere again. More pain.

#7. If we want to heal, we can’t keep reopening our wounds. We have to let others do their jobs to help us. We have to let stitches heal before we try to take them out ourselves. Some things do take time. And others  . . . though in the moment seem to feel good to make it hurt again—maybe aren’t worth digging back up.

#8. Some fences are not built well enough to keep the darkness out. But some of the fences and walls—we create for ourselves—are the very things that are not letting the light in.

You guys know my story. There have been other “German Shepherds” . . . and fences that should have been avoided. So today I plead with you—those who have the ability to take a step back. Run. Find fences and company that are worth living for . . . and are not posing as a friend in a safe back yard.

Our relationships, our decisions, our integrity . . . they matter. Don’t walk too close to the fence. Decide now what side you want to be on, and don’t let anyone try to pull you through to the other side—first of all, you don’t fit. Second of all . . . the grass isn’t always greener over there.

And when those “German shepherds” come—and they will come—just don’t forget who you are. It isn’t what we go through, but what we become after the pain that makes all the difference. Yes we may carry scars, and have wounds we are tempted to open up again and again . . . but we can heal.

(Here she is snuggling me while I type)

If you feel like you have been attacked, belittled, humiliated, and the “German shepherds” around you seem to have forgotten your worth, don’t you dare give up. You aren’t broken. You have so much yet to live for. The world still needs you. And as you heal those fears of all the moments you were not shown the love you deserve . . . just remember—you are still enough . . . broken and all. 

Sometimes we trust, and get hurt any way. Doesn’t mean we didn’t do our best. Having faith in a plan, and having that plan fail us does not have to be evidence of our worthlessness, or a reason for us to loose faith in others. For every “dog” that has attacked, there is another that has brought love and companionship. For every plan that has changed and failed, there is a plan that has changed and brought so much success . . . even joy.

We have to be there for each other. God doesn’t send us one another by accident. An animal that was brought to our family to be a therapy dog . . . is now taking her turn teaching us how to be her “therapy people”.  The circle of life doesn’t always have to bring death.

Healing isn’t easy, but it is possible. So Sadie, though I know you will never read this post. Thanks for being strong—for fighting for another day. For reminding me—AGAIN—how I need to make the most of every moment and never take advantage of all I have been given. Also, thanks for showing these kids how to fight—and giving them a new hope that not every attack ends in death.

Today as you assess the fences you walk . . . just remember as wounds heal, the pain does too. If you are holding on to a pain of a wound that has long since healed physically, maybe today it is time to stop digging in a letting it hurt you emotionally or mentally. Ask for the help you need, there are people who can help you stitch it up once and for all. You will see miracles as you pray for grace.

Life is too hard to do it alone. We need each other. And we don’t just need each other’s presence . . . we need each other’s love. Perfectly imperfect love. Don’t walk too close to the fence, but don’t be afraid to make room—on your side—for the people who need you the most.

He never said it would be easy . . . just worth it.

November 7, 2017


I got to participate in a podcast a few weeks back! Go check it out!! 

October 24, 2017

Making Your Burdens Lighter: Doing All Things Through Christ

Thank you Kristen for sharing. I loved these thoughts and ideas on building our relationship with the Savior. I look forward to sharing more articles written by anyone who has an uplifting message to share! 

Making Your Burdens Lighter: Doing All Things Through Christ 
by Kirsten Metcalf

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

You probably know this scripture verse found in Philippians 4:13. You’ve probably said it a few times. You may even say it every time you’re going through something difficult.

But what does the phrase “I can do all things through Christ” really mean? Have you ever wondered, “Can Jesus really strengthen me? Will my problems really be made lighter through Him?”

The answer to both of those questions is yes. No matter what challenge or trial you face—whether it’s going through a divorce or dealing with financial struggles—you never have to face it alone. Jesus has promised that if you come to Him, He will be with and strengthen you through your trials. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

So how do you come unto Jesus? You learn of Him. You ask for His help. You try to be like Him.

Learn of Jesus

The best way to learn about Jesus is to study about His life and teachings in the scriptures. The scriptures are filled with stories about His birth, ministry, death, and resurrection, as well as testimonies of Him.

Ask Jesus for Help

When Jesus asks you to “take my yoke upon you” He wants you to rely on Him, but He also wants the two of you to work and pull together, like two animals yoked together do. A wooden yoke cuts the weight of the load the animals are pulling in half. While you may feel like a small, weak pony compared to a mighty thoroughbred, if you trust in and ask Jesus for His help, and do your part, He will stand by your side. He will share the weight of your burden and help you pull through it.

In most cases, Jesus doesn’t immediately take your burden away. Making your burdens light doesn’t mean He simply takes away every trial you face. But He will give you the capacity and strength to get through it and to make it lighter and easier to endure.

Be Like Jesus

There is no other perfect example to follow than Jesus. If you really want to come unto Jesus, and make your burdens light, you need to become like Jesus. This isn’t a one-time thing. Becoming like Jesus is a lifelong process. But each day you can try to become more like Jesus by living as He lived. You can be a little kinder. You can be more patient. You can practice humility. You can serve others.

When you rely on Jesus and believe that you can do all things through Him, your burdens will be made lighter.

October 19, 2017

Just up the street . . . It's going to be ok

After the greatest trial in your life, what would you say if someone told you that you were going to be ok?

Would you be relieved? Ticked off? Not believe them? Scared? Excited? Would you create in your mind what “ok” you would be ok with? Would you be willing to go wherever you felt prompted . . . or would you be too prideful to accept that “ok” didn’t look ok to you?

I remember a few promises given to me—in the months after the murder—that I will never forget. Silent promises—in my closet—on the darkest night of my life . . . that I was going to make it through all of this. I was going to be ok.

One promise came in the form a blessing—my church leader laid his hands on my head and told me that my Heavenly Father was going to watch over me. I was going to be ok.

Promises from friends and family saying they would always have my back.  I was going to be ok.

Letters written by my babies “to people of Japan” . . . as I read, I felt their truths for my own story. I was going to be ok.

Promises from strangers across the world—messages of hope that they were praying for me. I was going to be ok.

But guess what . . . some days it felt impossible to believe. No matter who the source of the promise, I always doubted that life would ever be the same. And guess what else . . . it never has been.  My definition of a traumatic event is a moment in which time freezes and you think, “My life is never going to be the same”.  Many of those make it hard to believe anyone’s promise that “Everything is going to be OK!”.

One of those promises came on a very dark week. (“Bailed out” . . . I wrote about parts of it in my first book) . . . but what I didn’t share was after a powerful talk about grace helped me remember that I wasn’t alone—during that same conference—it was announced that a new temple for my church was going to be built in my town.

That announcement—to me—less than one month after losing my spouse, was a promise that everything was going to be ok. That He was remembering how alone I felt, and He was giving me a light at the end of my black tunnel. In my mind, that promise was going to be fulfilled ASAP! But as the months turned into years the light started to fade—a timetable of unmet expectations had me wondering about His plan.

Yesterday I got the chance to be an usher inside the walls of the building that was promised. And as I sat alone in a silent stairway—during one location of my shift—I was overcome with gratitude for the light that I felt. It was so much brighter than a glimmer at the end of a tunnel. What they didn’t announce six years ago . . . was that the location for this promised light was only one block from the location of my darkest night—on the same street even.

As I reflected in that stairway I felt a love so strong I had to wipe a few tears. What once was a small glimmer of light now stands as a magnificent glowing building—
for me . . . a symbol of His love just right up the street from the pain.  

In another spot in the temple—during the open house yesterday—I could over hear a volunteer sharing a story. In the early months of construction the building had undergone some graffiti by an uninvited trespasser. As workers showed up the next day, many suggested they just paint over it. The boss finally told them the final plan, “We can’t just paint over it . . . or else it will still be there. Just because we cover it up—it doesn’t mean it is gone. We are going to have to start on this space again. It will take more time, but it will be ok.” So they redid the whole wall.

We each have parts of us that feel like graffiti—secrets and lies, false beliefs and fears. For the most part, we spend our time trying to cover them up. But that doesn’t take them away. It may take a little scrubbing for us to get rid of the pain. It may take a little reconstruction—but just like the buildings that are dedicated to help us strengthen our relationship with our Savior . . . so are these temples that hold our spirit. If all the yesterdays you spent covering up the pain aren’t making it go away, maybe it is time to get help. Don’t be afraid to talk about it—just because you cover it up . . .doesn’t mean it isn’t still there.  Friends, family, counselors . . . all promise to have your back. And even more than all of them—you have a Creator and Savior who always will.

He doesn’t always do everything on our timetable—but the little promise of light He sent long ago . . . He hasn’t forgotten. Just wait, maybe instead of a little light at the end of the tunnel—maybe He is going to take a whole mountain and make it glow . . . just right up the street from the fear. 

Are you ok with ok? When God says it is going to be ok . . . are you still going to smile if it looks different than what you had planned—you still going to believe? Are you still going to pray, even when the world has failed you? Are you going to remember that the only advise that matters . . . is His?

We cannot be blinded by fear, or feel forgotten because it hasn’t been easy. We have to figure out how to be ok . . . with ok.

I am ok. And most days I am even better. What a difference six years, seven months . . .  and one block makes.

I know He didn’t just announce—or build—that sacred building right there for me . . . but it sure has helped me feel remembered. So many people have told me they have thought of us every time they have passed THE Walgreens. I hope from now on as they drive down that street another block and see a place that is full of light . . . they remember Him. The One who doesn’t see us as separated by religion, or governments, or race. The One who created all the beauty of the earth—everything that promises light.

I know every time I drive down that street I will remember the promise that even the darkest moments . . . if you keep going down the road a little further . . . will turn to light. Don’t you give up.

He loves us. He loves us regardless of all our graffiti . . . or the graffiti we have left for others to clean up.

And . . . He promises . . .

It’s going to be ok.

Shawn and I took a bunch of pics the other day before it was open when we were walking the grounds. Here are a few of my favorites. We are taking the kids through next week before it is dedicated next month. I will get some good pictures to ad to these.

 All welcome for the open house! Go stop by and check it out. 


I have quite the lineup for Provo. Some new faces, and some you will remember. Go check out who will be there! And please come see us. These presenters work hard and it is so amazing to watch them put all their heart into these conferences. I always humbled to be part of something that is so much bigger than me.

A Reason to Stand Presenters

October 11, 2017

The hundred dollar bill that changed my life

Working on Book 3—like a boss—today. Feels kind of good to stop avoiding it. Scary. Out of my comfort zone...but good. Came to the chapter about the hundred dollar bill.  
That day in the grocery store—after the murder trial had ended—was one of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father could have given me.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. Looking for a few stories to highlight on the blog for the holidays coming up. Please send in your "I will stand" surviving victimhood story for a chance to be featured on here. 

Link to the story on the blog:

Here is a video about that story as well.

September 28, 2017


Family Share published on of my articles today!!


September 25, 2017

Happy through the story

I have done a lot of soul searching the past few weeks. Asking myself questions to which I didn’t know if I wanted the answer. Why am I the way that I am; why do I do things the way that I do? Am I happy? What would I have to change to become the person I want to be? What in my life needs to be different for me to be happy? Questions keep rolling through my mind—challenging me to be better, hoping to make sense of the parts of me—and others—that are harder to love. Some of the answers have been simple. Fear has been at the core of them all. Beliefs racked with this fear . . . motivating frustrations and destructive patterns.

So here are some of the beliefs I have been reframing:

1. Everyone but me feels joy all the time

We have this expectation in our mind that if our days are not filled with joy . . . we are not truly happy. If bumps in the road come along—we feel as if life is not truly worth living. We have a standard set for what happiness looks like, and if that standard is not met in ourselves—or in those around us—we are miserable.

2.  Everybody but me has it all figured out

As our lives feel as though they fall apart daily, we look out to others for a standard at where normal should be. We compare our imperfect lives, to other’s perfectly portayed Instagram/Facebook realities. Only—while we are at home feeling everything but joy—we do not see what is going down on the other end of those perfectly posed pictures.

3. When I become _____________ . . . I will be happy

It is worthy to have goals—finish lines of something worth achieving. But the more we live, the more we will realize that the goals are not what is going to bring us to a state of happiness. Happiness is what is found along the way—realizing that the journey is what makes us who we will become.

4. If we were normal . . . we wouldn’t have issues

Normal: the standard for which we all measure our lives—ironically a made up scenario of perfection in others—a status at which we believe we will never achieve. “Normal” is a dream we sometimes dream . . . a quiet, simple life with no hiccups or battles—a version of our life without the messes to clean up . . . but full of constant joy.

So what really needs to change for us to be happy? Is it everyone else? Is it our story? . . . Or is it just us?

If happiness is a choice, how come it feels so hard to choose?—maybe because if it was easy, everyone would do it.
We have to find those beliefs that are holding us back. As simple as they sound in our head, they may be the reason we are not living to our full potential. We don’t have to wait any longer. The choice of happiness is in our hands.

I want to be happy. I want to find the little glimmers of joy in my days. I want to make a difference for others—even those that seem a little harder to love. Because that is what Christ did. He loved. He forgave . . . and He lived. His life wasn’t perfect, but He was.

Our lives are not perfect, and unfortunately neither are we. We are not going to achieve perfection . . . not ever. But we can feel joy. We were created to find it—in the little imperfect glimmers of light on this path we call life.

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