Sunday, February 26, 2017

I'm Back!

It has been an incredibly long time since I have posted anything about me or my life.  So much has happened since I first created this blog.  I’m a single mom now, my husband filed for a divorce in September 2016.  I have two children, J and L, who light up my life and keep me on my toes.  I moved back to my hometown to be closer to my parents.  I graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree and now work for a financial planning company.

Those are just the superficial things.  More has happened inside of me.  As I’ve looked at the course my life has taken I honestly never thought I would be here.  I never wanted to be divorced, I never wanted to work from home, I never wanted to move back to my hometown.  Despite my desire for the perfect family and perfect life, I find myself in a different situation and guess what?!  I’m happier than I’ve ever been.  I’ve never felt so full of joy and gratitude.  I’ve never thought the world was so bright before.

With the step to separate myself from my toxic husband, I have liberated my spirit and I fly free!  I was married to him for 4 years and during that time I progressively lost myself—who I was, what I liked, what my dreams were, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do, everything!  My life and soul were consumed with worrying about my family and trying to fix my marriage.  I spent years “improving” with no actual results because of how twisted my marriage was.  Now that I do not have the day to day struggle, I find that there are pieces of me that I haven’t seen in ages that are reappearing.

On the outside I look like a young mom who is perhaps haggard and stretched but still relatively happy.  I look like I’ve got things handled and that I’ve transitioned into the single mom role with grace.  I imagine that I look like I have everything under control.  That’s certainly not how it feels!  Being a mom is difficult; being a single mom is even more so.  J is 2.5 years and L is 10 months.  I can’t keep up with them.  They literally run circles around me and pull my hair out for me!  I’m often at the end of my rope by the end of the day and still have to find more rope because I have more things to do PLUS a night of multiple wakings to get through.  I am a mom.

However, on the inside, I am in full bloom!  I can sing again!  My love for dancing has resurfaced with all of its untrained glory!  I feel my adventurous, vivacious, silly side reappearing.  I want to try new things and retry the old things I used to love.  I feel my confidence coming back to me in great strides and that makes me want to aim high.  I feel a renewed sense of life return to me and push me toward doing things I’ve always wanted to do and becoming who I’ve always wanted to be.  My divorce has been a catalyst to loving myself and opening my arms to living again.  To me, that’s pretty amazing and I want to shout it from the rooftops! 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Parenting: Protect Your "Peeps"!

                Like any good parent, you are constantly aware of dangers that might affect the well-being of your child.  You don’t let him cross the busy street without you.  You keep all the small, hard to swallow objects out of her reach.  But what if the danger was less obvious?  How would you protect your child from something that you don’t always pick up on?  Would you finally admit defeat or would you work even harder to be cautious and aware?
                There is a danger that often makes its way past the ever-watchful eye of good parents.  It enters homes hiding in books, wafting through music, and displaying itself casually in movies and on internet websites.  These subtle entrances make it difficult to catch but the quality of media that enters your home is nonetheless important to look for.
                Many of you are saying to yourself that your children aren’t exposed to the worst things like violence or sex or drugs.  Children’s programs on television are safe; they’re geared to educate children, right?  And you never let them watch your “adult” shows because you don’t want them to know about adult themes yet.  You buy all their books and you are usually in control of the radio in the car.  There’s no possible way that media containing unworthy material is entering your children’s lives.  You’re there; you’re on top of this.
                You, as the parent, could run yourself ragged keeping your children from poor media quality.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that your children are protected.  In a 2011 study adolescents were interviewed on whether or not they sought out sexual content.  The adolescents ages ranged from 13 to 18 years old and over half of them went seeking for sexual content!  Their primary forms to gain this content were movies, television, and internet websites.  These modes of entertainment are incredibly hard to censure because of their easy accessibility.  So difficult, in fact, that occasionally you and I miss the danger entirely as it presents inappropriate material like verbal abuse and physical violence.
                Think back to the last movie you watched.  Was anyone hurt physically or emotionally?  Do you remember if the characters did anything more intimate than holding hands?  What about their topic of discussion and their language?  Was it vulgar and derogatory or uplifting of others?  Can you see how easily the quality of our media can plummet without us even realizing it is happening?  So, now that we know, what do we do?  How do we protect ourselves and our families from this constant and sly onslaught? 
Limit Free Time
                In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation compiled a large amount of data on media in the lives of children.  They found that when children don’t have any media rules, they spend about 13 hours interacting with media in any given day (this is for combined media usage, i.e. surfing the internet plus watching television., etc.) compared to 10 hours for those children who do have some media rules.  While this isn’t a huge change, it does show that parents are more involved in their children’s lives.  By limiting the time that children use media, we’re also limiting what they have time to view.  Parents and caregivers can do better at enforcing media usage and content on all devices, from cell phones and laptops to iPods and televisions. 
Keep it Public
                Growing up my parents always made sure there was a space in public areas for the television and computer.  They did this because they didn’t want us to be tempted to view inappropriate material.  However, it seems like this trend is no longer very popular.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation data set from above, 71% of all 8- to 18-year-olds had their own TV in their rooms as well as having video games, cable, or even a computer with internet access.   This trend has increased even more since the study was done in 2010.  With “private” and “personal” televisions and computers, parents may feel that their children will exercise wisdom in their use.  However, unless children are raised knowing what is good for them to view and what is not, they are not capable of monitoring their own intake of media.  Parents have a responsibility to do what they can to help children.  Keeping media sources public is one easy way of doing this.
Take Appropriate Public Action
                Television programs often gather data to let them know how many people are watching their shows and how they enjoy them.  We can make it clear through petitions and letters or emails that we do not appreciate nor condone what is being displayed on children’s television and adult programs.  Earlier this year, One Million Moms used their energy to speak out against Disney Channel’s choice to include a lesbian couple on “Good Luck, Charlie”, a popular show on their channel.  People who were against Disney’s decision weren’t afraid or deterred from letting them know exactly what they thought.  Although Disney disregarded their opinions, the group and its supporters continue to do what they can to fight against “trash in today’s media.”  We have an obligation as parents to speak up and speak out against material that we don’t want our children exposed to.
In the End

                I asked you in the beginning what you would do if the danger that threatened your child was less obvious.  I have only suggested a few things to change that can help you help your children.  While these actions may seem small, it’s important that we, as parents, get involved with our children’s lives.  We need to stay alert and take any opportunity that comes our way to protect our children.  It’s up to us to raise them to be good people and we can do this through teaching them about appropriate media and how to manage their own content.  No parent wants to know that they stood by and watched as their children, both young and old, were faced with material and temptations that could have been avoided if a more active role had been taken.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What Are Your Options?

When a woman got pregnant out of wedlock in 1950, she had two realistic options.  The first was to marry the man who impregnated her.  The second was to give birth to the child and put it up for adoption.  There was hardly ever an abortion.  In 2000, when a woman got pregnant out of wedlock abortion became an option along with keeping the baby with or without a husband.  Putting your child up for adoption didn't seem like the best thing to do anymore.  

While there has been a move towards adoption once more, there is still the threat of abortion.  "3 out of 10 women in the U.S. have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old."  (Planned Parenthood)  That's a surprising number when coupled with this statistic from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life's website:  "One baby is aborted every 26 seconds in the United States alone."  If these figures are true then there are many babies dying every year because they are unwanted.

Why might a mother not want her baby?  As a class we came up with a woman not wanting the physical changes that come with birth.  These changes happen both during the pregnancy as the body makes room for the baby and after the birth when the body has been changed and can't quite recover.  A woman might also wish to keep her sexual activity a secret because she feels she shouldn't be participating in it.  There is also the feeling of a child holding you back.  "74% [of women] say having a baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities.  73% say that they cannot afford to have a child."  (Minnesota)

Having a child is a huge change and the uncertainty can be daunting but abortion isn't the only option when one is undesirably pregnant.  Adoption is a very plausible and selfless option that also allows you to maintain your current lifestyle.  It is an option that can bless others who yearn for children.  While some may say that they don't consider adoption an option because it feels like giving the child away, it is an option because they are giving it away.  They are allowing a person to have a life even if it's not with them.  This link is to a video which features a woman who lived through the abortion process and was put up for adoption.  This woman was able to have a life because the abortion didn't work.  This woman lived happily with parents who love her.

If a woman is committed to giving the child up, I would encourage her to seriously look at adoption as the answer instead of abortion.  Consider what you have to offer the child just by letting it leave until it is delivered.  Think of the unknown good that the baby in your womb could accomplish if it was able to live and thrive into adulthood.  If you feel inept or unable to be a parent, look to others to fill that role who wholeheartedly desire children.

Speaks for itself.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


I found this wonderful article called “The Hidden Benefits of Being an Involved Father” on written by Garret D. Evans that very nicely outlined the benefits of fatherhood and who they benefit.  This article was split into four sections and I will follow these sections as I talk about what I read.
Benefits for Children
            Fathers who are involved produce higher scores on cognition tests for their children than uninvolved fathers.  Their children are considered smarter and more successful in school because their father is involved.  Being an involved father means that the father is taking action in everything from play to childcare to being there for his child.  Children who have a father like this are more likely to head to college, have greater success in their career, and exhibit “positive child characteristics such as empathy, self-esteem, self-control, psychological well-being, social competence, and life skills” (Evans).
Benefits for Children with Non-resident Fathers
            We know from other studies that divorce has a huge impact on the family, one of which is often the separation of children from their father geographically.  However, this does not mean that fathers should give up contact entirely.  In this article, Evans discusses the benefits that children have from having a dad who maintains contact even if he isn’t living with them.  These kids still have higher grades than kids who have uninvolved fathers.  They have better social skills because they learn to make friends more easily and deal with difficult social interactions.  Children who live separated from their father but stay in contact don’t have as many behavioral problems including those inside the home.  These children, especially the daughters, also have “fewer mental health problems as adults” (Evans).  Fathers are important in a child’s life no matter what the circumstances are.
Benefits for the Family
            Fathers don’t just help their children.  Having them in the home can best display loving and nurturing relationships between spouses/parents.  There is often better communication between family members and the father because he is obviously involved.  There is less distressing conflict with teenage children because there is a solidified relationship between the father and the child.  There is also a greater sense of commitment and harmony in the family when the father is involved.
Benefits for Fathers
             Fathers also benefit from being involved which is wonderful because the best things in life should help everyone.  Fathers seem to be more comfortable and more successful in their work.  They are confidence in their ability to do well at work, in parenting, and in social relationships.  Fathers who are interested and engaged in their family relationships find that they have secure attachments with their children and feel that they can rely on others for help.  They also report an easier time in coping with stress and life’s difficulties.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Making Decisions as a Couple

In every intimate relationship there are times when decisions must be made.  There are many processes that people use to make decisions.  Some involve the misuse of power over the others to override their decision-making skills.  Others involve making no decisions and shutting down communication.  However, there is a happy medium that can be found.  Each person can maintain their "power" and still communicate.  Decisions can be made as the two people come together.

Making decisions is not necessarily about finding a compromise.  Compromises are interesting because they involve one person giving in to the other, whether we want to view it that way or not.  When my husband, David, and I come together, I often feel like I'm giving in.  Granted, sometimes I do give in because I love him.  However, that isn't always the case.  Sometimes I want to avoid a fight or just don't have a solid opinion.

Consensus, on the other hand, is about seeking an outcome that satisfies everyone.  No one is meant to feel cheated or undermined when a consensus is reached.  Consensus involves discussion, working through something until all the bits fit together to suit everyone.  There is a joint decision that takes in the opinions and voices of everyone who is involved.  This is the ideal way to come to a decision.

Stephen R. Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and his fourth step is "Think Win-Win".  This is the same idea as consensus in that it seeks for cooperation and interaction between people.  Mutual benefit is the end goal and a person strives for integrity, maturity, and an abundance mentality(plenty for everyone).  Remembering our need to be honest with ourselves and with others while expressing ourselves in an orderly fashion is what helps the Win-Win to be so effective.

Russell M. Ballard, a theologian and spiritual leader from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has explained how couples can be successful in communicating and making decisions.  First, express love and appreciation before even starting.  This lets the couple recognize that each one is important and has something to offer.  It reminds them that they can contribute too because they are appreciated and loved.  Then, pray for the Holy Ghost to descend and lend understanding.  This is important for Christians because we often want to know the will of the Lord on different matters.
Next, be methodical in your approach.  Don't skip corners and stick to boundaries.  Some families/couples get creative and have a talking stick while others just let the person speak without interruption.  It's important to take turns and really listen to what the other is saying.  Be open and honest with one another while still keeping the discussion a discussion.  Don't let hurt feelings or passion shut down the paths of communication.  It's important to keep the lines open and let understanding reign.  Close with a prayer and then continue to build a relationship through talking about other things, expressing more love, or even eating some food.

By following this method and remembering what we know about consensus and compromise, we can make better decisions as a couple in the future.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

God's Not Dead

This is a trailer for a movie that looks really great!  I love the story line and the need that this movie will fill in reminding us that God is involved in our lives.  As a Christian, this movie helps me feel courageous and makes me want to share what I believe about God.

God's Not Dead

I know that God is a kind and merciful God whose deepest desire is to bless and love us.  He asks us to do our best in this life and prove our love for Him.  Without God, it is impossible for us to obtain everlasting life.  He sent His son, Jesus Christ to suffer all of our pains, illnesses, heartaches, and afflictions so that Christ could empathize with us perfectly.  (  There is nothing that he doesn't understand and nothing he can't help us overcome or endure.

God, my heavenly Father, loves me.  He cares about my success.  He will not abandon me or leave me friendless.  I know that God lives!

Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse with God

This is an article written by a Christian theologian.  I found his remarks to be deep and pertinent.

There is a need for the victim to seek complete recovery from abuse in a way that includes the Lord.  Elder Scott has said “unless healed by the Lord, mental, physical, or sexual abuse can cause you serious, enduring consequences.”  If left untreated, these consequences can span from blaming life on others or one’s self to deep emotions like hatred and anger. 
The first step that can be taken towards changing this outcome of unhappiness is recognizing that another person’s unrighteous choices are affecting your life.  This can help a victim understand and cope with their temporary restriction of freedom.  There is always a choice in something that happens to the victim and that is the choice to overcome the results of the abuse.  Controlling one’s thoughts and attitude can make a world of difference as the victim seeks to find opportunities within eternal laws. They can then turn to the gospel and the priesthood to find complete relief. 
                Turning to the bishop is an option for those who have been subjected to abuse.  He is an instrument of God in helping the soul heal.  He can guide us along a path of doctrinal application and deeper understanding of how Heavenly Father works on our behalf.  He can help victims regain self-confidence and self-esteem as well as identify professionals who are best able to help.
                The victim needs to do what they can to stop the abuse and admit to any responsibility in allowing it to happen if there is a need.  Both the victim and the abuser can need forgiveness and forgiveness is available to all who are involved.  The victim also needs to stay away from revenge.  Revenge will not change what happened but will only deepen the cuts.  Trusting in what we know of the Lord as a just God can help us in fighting against our desires for retribution.

                This one was a little hard for me to apply because it seemed very focused on what the victim can do.  I guess the best way to share what I know would be to talk about it and encourage victims to seek the Lord and the gospel for healing when managing the effects of abuse.  I think it’s very easy for us to forget that Father is there to help and to bless us.  As emphasis is put on the power of God, I can help a victim approach her pain and devastation from a better outlook.