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NEW: Life Coaching

I am starting a new adventure of Life Coaching. I will only be doing it on a part-time basis but If you or anyone is interested in making things happen in your life please contact me. Click the "Life Coaching" tab above for more information.

Book Review: FORTIFY: A Step Towards Recovery

"...My favorite line in this book actually happens on page 5. "Our aim is to help you reclaim and become again who you are and always have been, even if you forgot that for awhile." At ANASAZI we believe every child has a seed of greatness within them. They just need to remember. Both philosophies mean that the strength to overcome negative behaviors lies within."

INSPIRE: music.service.hope

At INSPIRE we are determined to make our dreams come true! We want you to be a part of our success. Please take a moment to check out our website:, FB page, join us at our next service project, or come to one of our upcoming Musical Firesides in the Valley to learn more about us.

"Make It Happen"

"Make It Happen" is a collection of principles, blog entries, stories, and conversations had on couches, floors, kitchen tables, and at many single-adult gatherings. It is filled with practical ways to make changes in your life, find hope, increase faith, strengthen relationships, and build the kingdom."

I Am My Sister's Keeper

"I am my sister's keeper. It is my responsibility to hold her heart and be aware of her concerns. I may not understand why she decided to wear pants to church or why she wants to go to the Priesthood session, but I can certainly learn about her cause and concerns before I demonize her."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Lions, and Horses, and Babies....Oh My!

I  keep seeing posts about how people should worry about "more important things" than #cecilthelion and #wildhorses in the Tonto National Forest. People are saying that everyone should be more in an uproar about starving children, babies being aborted, and human trafficking.

I am a freaking social worker/therapist who has a special interest in incredible groups like Fight the New Drug​ and Operation Underground Railroad​. I am very interested and passionate about diverse subject. I also happened to be a Wilderness Programs​ Therapist in the Tonto National Forest for 3 years and I LOVED every moment I got to see the wild horses run free. So I posted about how I think they should remain where they are and free.

The great thing about life and the big world wide web is that everyone can raise a voice to whatever cause they want to with as much passion as they can muster. If you are outraged by the killing of a lion or how a certain organization is treating unborn fetus' then you get rant & rave all over social media about it.

"Comparison is the thief of joy"

Comparing one cause or event over the other--and condemning people for not choosing your cause it just stupid. There are  plenty of grievous things happening in our society to go around. So let those who are grieving Cecil-grieve. Let those who worried about what is happening at Planned Parenthood do their thing and let me be worried about the wild horses I love so much in Arizona.

If you want more people to raise money for human trafficking then get out there and raise your awareness, raise money, and be a voice that will be heard. If you are appalled at what is happening at Planned Parenting then stop blaming people who are concerned about other things and get out there and vote, sign the petitions, etc. There is a lot of good to be done and change that needs to happen.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Grant: If I Died Today

Today is the death anniversary of my brother Grant. I decided to write him a letter about my life if I died today.  This is for you Granty

Dear Grant,

If I died today the thing I would be most excited about is seeing your face and giving you the biggest hug. I would have lots of questions but just being with you would be more than enough for a while.  Then I would take turns hugging Grandpa Shields, Grandpa & Grandma Brinkerhoff, Aunt Lisa, and all those I love and had the honor of hearing about their stories. I think I would be sure to spend some time with Holly Cottle and Lucy Jackson and tell them their families miss them greatly and still celebrate their birthdays with balloons and pink ribbons.

If I died today little brother I want you to know that I have lived a life filled with love, adventures, heartache, passion, and so much joy. Your death helped me to, at an early age, understand that there is not much in life that matters more than that the people you love KNOW that you love them. I call this my "Grant's Gift". I have spent my life since you died trying my best to communicate to others how much I love them and how grateful I am for them.

If I died today I want you to know that I have no regrets--that has been my biggest fear- to have regret. So I have tried to be honest, real, present, and to soak in all the moments I can. I have tried to be fearless, brave, and go big or go home. I have swung and missed plenty of times but I am so much stronger for all that swinging!

If I died today I'd want you to know that your big sister spends most of her day time working with teenagers who struggle in life. Once in a while I see you in the face of a struggling young man and  I pray that somehow I can help them to feel love, that they matter, and that their life can change. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do for a career in my life but in the end I think I always knew I would be doing this.

If I died today I would tell you about your best friend, dad, and also about how incredible mom has been through the years. I think you would want to know that dad tries to go to all the motorcycle trips, still LOVES BYU, and built a house with his bare hands. I would tell you that your mom is one of the most amazing women I know. She has been raising 8 kids for most of her life and she is rocking it! In addition she was the General Contractor on the new house, has made a ton of amazing dresses for us girls, and has been the greatest support ever. Dad continue teach the gospel and changing lives but these days he watches a little more TV. He has traded in his running shoes for a bike and loves riding outside these days.

Then, I would tell you all about your brother and sisters and how they have grown into such amazing people. Your sister Chelsea is a mom and she adores her little Eden. I think you and Eden would have had a blast together. Chels is a rock star in her life. She does Ted Talks, travels around the world for work/school, and has a gazillion followers in social media when it comes to her ideas on feminism and equality.  Your sister Dani is seriously the funniest person I know and she is the mom of 2 little munchkins.  She is incredibly talented with design and she looks like a model in all her pictures. Your sisters Kate & Ali are popcorn in life. They just got back from a stint together in Hawaii and no matter what happens they seem to weather the storms together. Kate is loving life in Colorado and Ali is finally ready to start a music career. Your brother Clay is living the life out in Ohio selling home security systems. He's already won cruises, been the top seller, and he's having a blast with his team of guys. Clay is getting ready to start college and he is best friends with dad (so you don't have to worry so much about dad).  Your baby sister Camryn or "lizzie" as mom used to call her has grown in a beautiful young women. She loves to be with friends, serve others, and basically lives on sugar. Once upon a time she broke almost all the bones in her body but now she good as new. We all still talk about you, watch family home videos, and wonder how life would be different if you were around.

If I died today I would tell you that there is huge beautiful tree on the side of the road in Orem, Ut that is yours. It started off scrawny and small and has weathered every storm to become a beacon of hope for many. I visit your tree often and find comfort and solace there. It is a constant reminder to me of grace--line upon line.

Every day I wake up and breathe and lay down at night to close my eyes I am grateful. I know what it feels like to have someone in my life one moment and then gone the next.  I am so grateful for the moments I got to love you and be loved by you. I am not afraid to die for many reasons but one of the biggest is I know I get to see you again. I miss you brother and today I celebrate your life and death and hope that I can make you proud.

Love Always & Forever,


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Freedom Fighter

Freedom Fighter

Today I sat alone and thought
Of all the blessings I've received
And of the trials I didn't choose
And why I still believe

I thought of all the slaves
All the tears and pain and grief
How heavy the darkness seems to loom
And press upon my belief

I thought about the children
Some free of fear and some not
My heart filled up with gratitude 
For everything I've got

And then I thought about freedom
A gift that was given to me
And I wondered how I'm doing
In this home of the brave and land of the free

I thought about my purpose
And all that I can do
To be a freedom fighter
And to ask you to be one too

I thought about liberation
How justice and mercy win
When abolitionists work together
to bring bring freedom back again

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Pros & Cons of my First Whole30

I did it! I finished my first round of Whole30. I admit I cheated a bit but mostly I was very strict and followed all the rules. I don't eat/drink much dairy so that wasn't too hard for me. I also am picky about my sugar/sweets intake so that wasn't much of a struggle. The thing that surprised me was how much I wanted to eat carbs. I wanted to eat bread all day almost every day from day one. I wanted noodles, sandwiches, toast, garlic bread, rolls, etc. 

I also decided to really work out every day except for Sundays not matter what and I was able to accomplish this. It was a struggle sometimes with my schedule and with feeling really sore on week 3 but I kept my goal and I know I'm better for it!


  • I have self control
  • I lost 9 lbs. and 6 in.
  • I actually cooked for myself almost every night
  • I bought good food for my body instead of frozen/fast food
  • I worked out 6 days out of every week
    • 1st week: run 1 mile/bike 1mile add some abs work
    • 2nd Week: run 2 miles/bike 2 miles add some abs work
    • 3rd Week: run 3 miles/bike 3 miles (get really sore) add lifting (30 min) circuit
    • 4th Week: run 2 miles/bike 4 miles add abs & lifting circuit
  • I have helped to heal my gut and give my body a restart
  • I have rid myself of my Diet Coke addiction (I don't plan to drink soda again)
  • Due to my allergies I'm and kind to my body by not eating/drinking dairy 
  • I feel great about my commitment to my body
  • I have a lot more energy and stamina than I had before I started Whole 30
  • There is a lot of #whole30 support on social media (thanks Instagram supporters)
  • Because I was in the kitchen all the time at home I got to talk with my roommates a LOT more during meal times.


  • I've been having crazy dreams of sweets and bread and the fatty in me is screaming like never before  I  just want to eat them all--even things I didn't like or crave before Whole30
  • I prefer intuitive eating over rules and restrictions
  • I've never eaten so many eggs before in my life--ahhh!
  • I wasn't expecting to lose a ton of weight or inches but I would have preferred a bit more noticeable difference before/after.
  • People think I'm weird for doing whole30 so sometimes the lack of support or understanding was hard.
  • Food is never fast. The buying, prepping, cooking, eating process is a long haul.

I think I'm going to take a few weeks off and reintroduce a few foods but then I plan to do another round soon. 

Anyone want to join me?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Invisible Drowning

So many people are drowning in the kiddie pool these days. They are literally dying, killing themselves, and depressed while surrounded by so many people that care about them. They are walking around with smiles on their faces while they are crying and screaming on the inside to be loved, cared for, touched, taken care of, listened to, etc.

I believe that more often than not the way to show people they matter--that you care about them isn't about anything big or flashy. It's the simple gestures over time that let them know they are of worth.

We currently life in a society that is constantly connected yet quite often desperately disconnected.We start to base our worth on how much money we make, how many followers or "likes" we have, or even on what type of technology we choose. All of which are empty hollow things posturing to take the place of human connection. 

Money can't buy love and no amount of Twitter or Instagram followers can make you love yourself.

Sometimes it seems obvious that all we need to do is tell them what they need to do for help. To scream at them that all they have to do is stand up and they won't be drowning anymore. Don't they know that they are in a kiddie pool and that all they need to do is put their feet down? 

The problem is that most of the time we have no idea who is actually drowning.

So what can we do to help those who are invisibly drowning?

  • When you listen to someone, really listen, and don't feel the need to rescue them or solve their problems you help them to know they are capable of doing hard things.
  • When you call, text, email, message someone  out of the blue when something reminds you of them you help them  to know you care about them specifically.
  • When you spend time with someone and they  NEVER see your phone, not even for one minute, then they know you are present and engage--which means, if they need to, they can be vulnerable.
  • When you take the time to write down some words for someone on a sticky note, letter, card, etc. They know that not only are you thinking about them but you took the time to write it down for them read later--which they will need on dark days.
  • When you decide to dig in, to be honest, truthful, and actual help someone be their best, even if that means saying hard things, they know you are in it for the long run and not just their because things are easy.
  • Knowing that someone cares for you or loves you is NOT the same as them telling or showing you. Everyone needs reminders that they are loved and worthy of love.
I am sure there are many other ways to help those around you know you care , that they are loved, and that they do matter. Do what you can where you can and with whom you can to let the people in your propinquity know you see them drowning and are willing to help.

I am so grateful for the people in my life who let me know I matter, that I'm loved, that I make a difference, and that they care. I need it just as much as anyone else!