Heavenly Father constantly reminds me that it is ok….He’s got this.

24 Jan
January 24, 2014

For those of you struggling with the ex…I think many of us have dealt with “fairness in the Church” issues. I had a very wise bishop counsel me with some very important advise about this same issue. He reminded me that agency is sacred and therefore, God allows individuals to have the responsibility for their actions, including within the Church. Those choices, including the deceptions, will stand as a witness against those individuals.

It would be a good reminder to your children that your ex is responsible and will be ultimately accountable. It’s not the Church’s responsibility to extract fairness and judgment. Each of us have a personal relationship and accountability to God. Only God knows their heart and their circumstances. Only God can heal your heart and your children’s hearts.

My ex married, and I was requested to write “the letter” you know, the Cancellation of Sealing letter. I told them I wished for him to have that opportunity to be sealed in the temple. They also needed to be aware of some factual information regarding his obligations. And then I let them decide what to do. It’s a freeing thing when we can let go and allow that most important principle of agency and accountability to take force and know that God will ultimately make all things right.

My responsibility was to search and release anything in the way and forgive, find grace in the strengths that emerged from my experience with him, and cultivate my own personal relationship with Heavenly Father who constantly reminds me that it is ok….He’s got this.

PHOTO: From my garden. A moment I look forward to each year when the autumn clematis blooms for a couple of weeks juxtaposed with the harsh lines of the zebra grass in the background. Its a favorite spot.

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“Finding Hope in Troubled Times” – Fireside

27 Sep
September 27, 2012

SINGLE ADULT FIRESIDE (31+)
Sponsored by the Battle Creek 6th Ward Pl Grove East Stake (825 S Loader Dr.)

You are invited to attend a special fireside
on Sunday, September 30th
At 6:30 p.m.
Stake Center Relief Society Room
Guest Speaker: Brother Chris Brown
Theme: “Finding Hope in Troubled Times”

Brother Chris Brown is the 2nd Counselor in the BC 6th Ward Bishopric. He served a mission in London, England where he first met Elder David S. Baxter, now a member of First Quorum of the Seventies. Brother Brown became closely acquainted with Elder Baxter, serving in the area where Elder Baxter was the Stake President and later, in the last six months of his mission, Elder Baxter was called to serve as a counselor in the mission presidency. This personal experience in addition to Elder Baxter’s talk in April 2012 General Conference addressing the single members of the church and the subsequent publication of his book A Perfect Brightness of HOPE have inspired the topic of this fireside.

BRING A FRIEND!

 

Thanks Angie for sharing this announcement.

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The Merits of Vulnerability

16 Aug
August 16, 2012

I’m a big fan of Brené Brown. I first saw her lecture on TED and it hit a resonate point in me. Her perspective and language reframed an issue into new understandings and I immediately wanted to embrace all that she said with full purpose of heart. It rung true. It felt good. But Mormon’s don’t always do vulnerability all that well. And knowing my own tendencies  toward numbing away pain through a myriad of efforts, I also set out with an exuberance to “overcome” my numbing protective behaviors and get this thing figured out, and fast. I guess you can tell that I relate to Brené’s initial approach to tackle a challenge by taking the proverbial bull by the horns and “gettin’ ‘er done”. It didn’t work for me either.

As I’ve “sat with it” for a period of time and worked to give up each numbing element as it was ready to be released, I’ve enjoyed a much gentler process. Today, I noticed that I am far more forgiving of myself, far more patient with my follies, far more hopeful about where I intend to take this creation of mine. I see far more wonder in other’s individuality and what they have to offer at any given time. I see the miraculousness of circumstance and of interactions. I allow and tolerate and enjoy so much more of the process of living.

I was reading over a talk by Bruce R. Hafen, given actually the year before I married, 1983. What a journey that suffering wrought in my life. The pains we choose to go through together can lead us ultimately along a pathway that results in a forging together or a tearing apart. I foolishly thought that somehow in my earnestness to succeed at forging together, I could bear the burden for both of us and I held fiercely to that hope for nearly two decades. Ultimately in the end, I learned agency is a gift that must freely be given by each individual to not only the Lord, but also committed to each other.

When one withholds their agency in a relationship, progress is halted. As I think of the temple covenants of sacrifice and consecration, ultimately it is the gift of committing ones agency to the purposes of God where that offering of agency actually becomes the evidence of that covenant. I think that if you would ask any single LDS divorced person they would agree that  withholding the offering of that gift was ultimately a downfall in the relationship. It becomes the avenue whereby many of the other problems being to creep in. And with that creeping in comes the suffering and ultimately the teaching begins.

Elder Hafen quotes Anne Morrow Lindbergh, who wrote:

“I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.” (Time, 5 Feb. 1973, p. 35.)

When you think of it, that perfectly describes the stages of healing from a difficult marriage or relationship experience. It begins with suffering, then moves to mourning. (Far too many singles get stuck there.) Next comes understanding. Then patience, not only for yourself, but for the ex spouse. For me, love was a difficult step, because of years of disappointment, pain, and hurt. But I learned to  love the experience from a gratitude space. From that marriage I had two wonderful children. I also felt gratitude for the experience and learning and development of myself. So I could at least love for the blessings of the refiner’s fire. It was when I learned to love, that much of the pain of the past relationship transformed to gratitude.

Openness…now that was a tough, tough stage for me. It became a matter of re-establishing trust in myself. I didn’t and still don’t want to make the same mistakes. So there’s a lot of self-scrutiny and self-awareness I went through. I’m trying really hard to keep my heart open and aware. But that very act of openness says that there is also a very real possibility of pain. Pain is going to be part of the process. So I think we need to embrace that part, too. Not that pain should be the objective, but that we are not moved to inaction by our own fears.

But to allow ourselves to be vulnerable? Who on earth wants to be vulnerable? To take the walls down? To allow another into my space, my life, and ultimately my heart? To believe that I am loveable and ready for giving on that level? That may always be a daunting task. But it is a task I will use my agency to willingly undergo. As many times as I need to, and I truly hope it isn’t many, I will try. In my initial tip-toes into vulnerability I have discovered exactly what Brené Brown discovered. It’s where the possibility of joy lies. It’s where we feel the completeness of the experience. It’s where we can allow another to tread on the “hallowed ground” of our creation. The interactions of that caliber are what I’m interested in experiencing. So I will bravely practice not holding back my heart.

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Leave a trail

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Kindness shift

13 Aug
August 13, 2012

Sometimes an act of kindness can change everything. I watched my son do that recently. We went to City Creek and were at the Nordstrom. My daughter was drooling over a Coach purse on clearance. Even on clearance I could never have “justified” purchasing such an expensive item. My son reached for his wallet, handed his sister a credit card and said, “Go buy it.”

We both stood there dumbfounded. I could see the second-guessing….the look of confusion. He kept urging . She was trying to figure out why. He just looked at her and urged her to take it to the counter to buy the purse. She ultimately did. And the joy was palpable. And over the past couple of months, I watched what that act did for my 16 year old daughter….what it meant for her heart, her self-esteem and her memories of her relationship with a brother who was willing to spontaneously show her that she was worth it to him. It’s just a purse (well, ok..it’s a cute pink patent leather Coach purse with a way cool buckle)…or is it? I was so touched by his “message” to her and her response back. I’ve been thinking how we create “value” experiences with others that let them know how much that person means to us. I don’t think it is always buying something. And although that was the vehicle for the transaction, the real part of that transaction was love and honor.

Our interchanges with each other are really an opportunity to create an experience, either positive or negative. I often wonder that if we engaged in each exchange with the intent  to edify, create hope, raise confidence. That cumulative effect would alter lives. I want to be part of that experience.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

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The LDS Singles Fireside Moment

23 Jul
July 23, 2012

I attended a great fireside last night at the Utah County Multi-stake Singles. A BYU police officer spoke of several interesting stories and his responsibilities on the Dignitary Task Force to protect visiting Ambassadors and the LDS General Authorities. Interesting. Eye-opening. Provoking. He was also part of one of the most successful online task forces in the nation that brought child predators to justice. He’s also a great friend and that was the reason I attended.

It was the first fireside I had attended in over a decade.  And I enjoyed it. Because it was sponsored by my stake, I gravitated to people I knew and had an amazing conversation with a caring priesthood leader wrestling with how to best address the needs of singles in our stake. He really wanted to know what the Stake can do to meet our needs.

That’s a tough question to ask—.and an even tougher question to answer. I admit, I do not feel comfortable at the firesides. I don’t feel like I belong there. I enjoy the content, but I don’t feel like there is really any “real” opportunity to create connections or relationships in a fireside environment.

The part that strikes me most is that LDS Singles are such an incredibly diverse group with incredibly diverse life experiences, interests, and life goals. It just seems so odd to throw us all into a few activities such as a fireside, or a temple session and expect the magic to happen. Oh, and I do not believe that the magic happens at an LDS Singles Dance—the thought of which sends many singles into a complete cold sweat.

Standing there talking with our priesthood leader, who earnestly sought input on what is, what should be, what can be, and how to culturally enhance our stake’s caring and inclusion of singles was a refreshing and hopeful conversation. He talked to a widow, a never-married, and a divorced woman. We all had differing perspectives and a singular perspective that it is impossible to build trust in these types of events that would lead to a relationship experience. It often seemed liked “just one more” meeting to attend.

There were also deep concerns about online avenues of relationship building, because it is so easy to be someone else online and there were inherent risks of venturing into those types of relationships.

I’m trying very hard not to feel discourage about the possibilities, but one thing the singles we were talking with agreed upon was a desire to be a part of and feel a part of the family wards. We want to contribute. We want to feel accepted and useful. We want to have relationships with our ward family. Invite a single member to go to dinner with you and your spouse…or better yet…include them for a Sunday Dinner or Family Home Evening.

It’s time to build that culture of caring throughout the membership of the LDS Church. Creating that kind of value will go a long ways in meeting the needs of our LDS Singles….much more so than having another awkward dance.

Finally, we all agreed that as a single member of the LDS Church, you must choose to be active, to contribute, to be involved in a family ward. We all agreed that more than anything, that choice and the resulting experiences of callings and service, contribute the most to our own happiness and connection.

If you have ideas to add, I would love to hear them. Leave a comment.

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All women are mothers

12 May
May 12, 2012

This morning the ad from Deseret Book screamed from my email featuring a book for Mother’s Day. Oh…I sometimes cringe at Mother’s Day. Excess baggage from a difficult marriage can make those types of holidays difficult. In the years since my divorce, I’ve worked hard not to be my own worst critic. To remove those “old tapes” of inadequacy is a constant and vigilant effort. To replace them with the more accurate tapes of who I really am is the more worthwhile, if not continuous effort. As I look around, this world is full of beautiful, bright articulate women.

All of them deserve to be beautifully honored on Mother’s Day. For you, my friends that are single mothers, or single want-to-be mothers, or single woman who never had children but so beautifully nurture the rest of the world, thank you. Your goodness fills a world with more goodness, more love, and more tenderness. We can all use more of the nurturing that women seem so easily to manifest.

Elder M. Russell Ballard’s says it so well: “Of this you may be certain: The Lord especially loves righteous women—women who are not only faithful but filled with faith, women who are optimistic and cheerful because they know who they are and where they are going, women who are striving to live and serve as women of God…While women live in homes under many different circumstances — married, single, widowed, or divorced, some with children and some without — all are beloved of God, and He has a plan for His righteous daughters to receive the highest blessings of eternity.”

So to all you beloved, righteous women…Happy Mother’s Day. The world and eternity is better because of you.

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Where Courage Lies

09 May
May 9, 2012

There are days when it feels like sloshing through the mud of my father’s horse corral. I remember donning the big rubber boots and sludging through sloppy, suctioning muck, which is really a nicer word for something altogether not so nice. Slogging through to bring a horse over to be doctored, or given some medicine mixture, was precarious at best. The boots didn’t fit quite right. Heels sliding up and down as the suction of the mud closed in with a vice-like grip. On one particular occasion, the mud won and the foot slipped up and out launching me forward face down and up to my elbows in, umm….well muck.

Some days as an LDS single mother feel like that. Responsibilities weigh heavily. Resources seem scarce. It becomes bone and spirit wearying to pull against the suctioning mud of life. It’s at those times that I have to remember that there is fertility within that muck. Throw it on a garden and the flowers bloom.

I’m hoping that muck is fertile in life, too. It seems to be. Just when we get the boots on and think we can head across life’s corral, we learn another lesson…whether it is how to hug those boots tighter, or getting back up after falling in the mud, the point is to try, I suppose. And trying is where Courage lies.

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“12-Steps to Getting Spiritual” Checklist

08 May
May 8, 2012
  1. An increased tendency to let things happen rather than force them to happen.
  2. Frequent attacks of smiling.
  3. Feelings of being connected with others and nature.
  4. Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  5. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fear based on past experiences.
  6. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  7. A loss of ability to worry.
  8. A loss of interest in conflict.
  9. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  10. A loss of interest in judging others.
  11. A loss of interest in judging self.
  12. Gaining the ability to love without expecting anything.

Someone posted these to Facebook today and it was worth passing along. I work on them all the time….some day’s more successfully than others.

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Facebook guy

04 Apr
April 4, 2012

Will you be my Facebook friend? And so began the dance that took me a couple of weeks to figure out that he was merely swaying, all the while, trying to convince me he was ready to Rhumba.

We spent hours instant messaging. He sent me love letters, poems, love songs all seemingly deep professions of his heart. He spoke of marrying me in the Temple and an incredibly elaborate future he intended to experience, with me.

As I went through the dizzying offers of affection and promised devotions, I forced, literally forced my heart space to stay open, trust myself and experience this. I fiercely soaked it all in. I noticed the excited feelings. I noticed the thoughts. I allowed myself to feel hope and anticipation. That’s a good thing, I observed…I can still feel something. I want more of that.

But then the real defining guide—or at least one of the true defining guides of a relationship—can they make and keep commitments? Is this real? Are we equally authentic?

It was a magnificent three-week lab experiment. I learned he couldn’t actually deliver. Big talk, but couldn’t execute on the smallest of stuff. I learned I couldn’t expect less. I learned my heart could open up and feel ready for the potential of a Rhumba. I learned I could really give my all to the experience and emerge pretty much ok knowing I chose how I would feel about it.

So thank you Facebook guy. I’m glad to move on with lessons learned and a heart that is still wide open and ready to receive.

Is 100% authenticity important to you?

Leave a comment and tell me your story.

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