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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."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bring BackYour Boldness & Bravery

Dear Single Men,

First of all, let's agree that dating sucks but so does being single.

Second, let's make a truce for just a few minutes and be on the same team when it comes to wanting to be in a healthy relationship.

It seems to me that by the time you hit your 30's you can assume that there has been a good share of hurting, vulnerability, divorce, shame, self deprecation, people judging your mistakes, people judging your accomplishments, weight gain/loss, hair loss, people-pleasing, laziness, over-achieving, under-achieving, grief, and so much more.

I imagine you are exhausted.

It seems to me that you might be tired from trying to make women feel good by pretending over and over that you are clueless and oblivious to their interest--so as to not hurt their feelings. Also, you may be tired of hearing how many incredible women there are out there for you to choose from.

I figure by know you are pretty settled into your day-to-day life. You have family who support you and friends that you spend time with and most likely you not only have a job but a career--that you love and where you work hard. The thought of dating just seems futile.

I get it. I really do.

Remember how we made a truce and we are on the same team fighting against loneliness and the awful parts of being single (because we all know there are wicked awesome parts). So here's the deal let's mix it up and bring it back old school.

Please bring back your boldness and bravery.

I know in a world filled with technology that it is much easier to slyly get my number from a friend or add me on Facebook but I can't tell you how awesome it is when you just ask me for my number or ask me out on a real date. No "let's get a bunch of friends together and eat sushi" or "let's talk about your new entrepreneurial business idea while we eat food."

Bring it back simple, bold, and brave. There just isn't enough of that today.

Let's go on adventure. Let's make mistakes. Let's be awkward at first and then land in that space where we can't get enough of each other and everyone hates us. Let's choose to have hard conversations that make us think and change us. Let's share parts of us we have been dying to share but had no one who listened long enough.

Bring back your boldness and bravery and I will match it with my confidence and caring.

Love, All the Single Ladies

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Do You Really Know?

Do you really know the people around you?

Do you know what makes them happy, what they do most of the day, what drives them as a person, what pains they carry, and how they became who they are today?

The Sassover Rebbe said that he learned the meaning of love from overhearing a conversations between two villagers. One asked the other, "Do you love me?" The second replied, "I love you deeply" The first asked, "Do you know my friend what gives me pain?" The second protested that he could not possibly know. "If you do not know what gives me pain, " lamented the first, "how can you say you love me?"  (Rabbi David Wolpe, Making Loss Matter, 1999)
 Most of the people around you who appear strong, confident, courageous, and fearless have lived a life filled with loss, grief, pain, and disappointment. They have had to make some very important decisions in their lives that led them to the person they are today.

Have you asked them about their story?

I love hearing people's stories. I am continually amazed, and shocked, at times, the things people have overcome. I learn time and time again that most people, when tested, learn to fly.

This past year I learned that one of my friends had a girlfriend that was killed while they were riding their bikes and just one year earlier his previous girlfriend committed suicide. I couldn't believe that he carried around all that with him as part of his story. I would still not know this about him if I hadn't asked him to tell me about his story.

A while back another friend of mine told me, while we were on a ferris wheel, that he was struggling with a crippling addiction (I had no idea) and that he was finally getting help. He actually thanked me for sincerely wanting to know how he was doing. He was grateful to tell someone about his story.

The other night I shared dinner with another friend that showed me her 2 year sobriety coin and told of some of her ugly past that she regretted and how grateful she was for Grace and the opportunity to change.

Another friend shared with me, after years of knowing her, that her father was in prison for killing her mother in a domestic violence situation. She told me this after asking me about my brother's death. When I was willing to share with her parts of my story she felt free to share hers. She was relieved to finally share her story after years of not talking about it to anyone.

I'll never forget sitting one day in grad school, after a huge group assignment was over, there were a bunch of us sitting around at my friend's house and we started sharing why we decided to get our Master's in Social Work.  Later, when we were cleaning things up and everyone had left, I asked the host why she decided to study Social Work. She told me she that when she was younger she had been raped and it was a social worker that helped her in her process of healing.

It is amazing what we learn when we ask and listen to people as they share their stories.

After the dark comes light

If you ever want to be inspired, feel compassion, be grateful then all you need to do is ask someone you know to tell you their story. You might be amazed and how much you really don't know.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ask For What You Need

I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately. What makes friendship work, how siblings communicate love, why people fall and grow in love, and much more. There is a lot of information out there but lately I've been specifically thinking about the idea of asking for what you need in relationships.

I work in a job, as a therapist, that is entirely relationship based. It is pertinent to have a good therapeutic alliance with my clients. I can't do my job if my clients don't trust me. As a human being I think the same thing is important. To be in a healthy relationships means that you take care of yourself and the needs of others--two whole people that learn to trust each other and become vulnerable.

I love studying *positive psychology, The Arbinger Institute, and recently listening to my friend Nate Bagley's "Loveumentary" podcasts. All of these people teach about a principle of self care, serving others, asking for what you need,  healthy communication, treating people as people not objects, etc. It got me thinking...

At my current job I am required to used a research based outcome measure tool called My Outcomes before and after every individual session I do with my adolescent students. There are 4 questions my clients rate on me and how the session went at the end of each of their individual sessions. It works on a sliding scale sort of like 0-10.

  • I felt hear, understood, and respected.
  • We worked on and talked about what I wanted to work on and talk about.
  • The therapist's approach is a good fit for me.
  • Overall today's session was right for me.
I've had to be accountable to these 4 important questions for the last 18 months. It has created opportunities to talk about my therapeutic relationship with my clients. Some of these conversations have been uncomfortable and hard to hear where I wasn't meeting their needs.  In each of the 4 above questions I get to check in with my clients and adjust to what helps them feel more heard, respected, focused on what they want to get out of their sessions, and so forth. We are consistently adjusting the way we communicate with each other. They ask for what they need and so do I. 

Having to adjust my communication,  the way I go about approaching hard conversations, and so forth has made my relationships much more intentional.  A thing of which I think is vital to healthy relationships. Asking for what you need isn't selfish-it actually means you may get what you want and a better, stronger, healthier relationship.

* To be more intentional when it comes to love check out my friend Nate Bagleys's Loveumentary & Unboxed Love and tune into his podcast: Loveumentary.

To learn more about self betrayal, treating people like people not objects, and great leadership skills check out, "The Anatomy of Peace" by The Arbinger Institute.

To look into Positive Psychology I recommend you check out these books: "Quiet" by Susan Cain, "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor, and  "Authentic Happiness"by Martin E. P. Seligman to begin.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Middle Mormon Voice

Recently there were 2 opposing articles that were published about opinions on women and equality in the Mormon church. In reading both I felt there was a large group of Mormon women left out of the discussion. 

One of the articles,"This Fearless Mormon Feminist is Doing Something Very Brave and Very Dangerous" publish in Tech Insider quoted Chelsea Shields, "I gave my religion a free pass because I loved it, "Shields said. "Until I stopped. And I realized I had been allowing myself to be treated as the support staff to the real work of men." The other article  "In Response to The Mormon Feminist" published in LDS Smile quoted Kera Birkland, "Now when it comes to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I have always been treated equal." Both articles state opinions of women's equality in the LDS church. Is it possible that both women are right?

I know there are many women in the church that feel sidestepped, marginalized, and suppressed. I also know there are many women in the church who feel supported, honored, and that they have different, yet important roles, than men. How do I KNOW both of these kinds of women exist? They are my mother, my sisters, my roommates, my cousins, and my friends. So it is true that one woman can feel she is "support staff" while another feels "I have always been treated equal."

It seems that in our society  the outlier voices are much louder than the middle voices. The dichotomy of, things being great just the way they are in the LDS church when it comes to women and, the voices shouting that women should have the priesthood, is not representative of the majority of women in the LDS church. I want to go out on a limb and say that the middle voice, or those who can see that there are still some equality issues in the church yet women, in general feel good about their place, is under represented.

I long for a discussion of how we can as women (and men too) start working together for the common good instead of seemingly working against each other. Telling women to leave the church if they aren't happy just isn't the solution. Also, making women, who don't desire to hold the priesthood, feel like they are stupid  or brainwashed, doesn't help either. I believe the power lies in the middle ground.

And while we're on the topic of black-and-white-thinking let's take the Planned Parenthood situation as another example. You can read articles, blogs, videos, charts etc. about the outlying sides of whether Planned Parenthood should be funded or defunded. Depending on which article or which side you choose to believe there is a LOT of seemingly great evidence to support your feelings.  One side is shouting that we should close it all down and the other side is screaming about the greatness in all the services Planned Parenthood provides. To me this isn't an all or nothing situation. 

Like most things in life there is a grey space between these voices or sides.  I think the middle voice is closer to the idea that there are a lot of great services at Planned Parenthood that help a lot of people AND there are some huge moral issues, such as abortion, when it comes to life and death. It isn't as clear as the media or the loud voices seem to portray. There are parts and pieces of good just like there are parts and pieces of bad in many polarized topics.

I don't get too involved publicly or personally with the issues above or others, not because I don't have an opinion or because I don't care--most of the time it's because I tend to be somewhere in the middle of the conflict (and there's no fun in that argument, haha). 

People  are complicated, passionate, opinionated, vulnerable, and so much more. We bleed, we cry, we love, and we all die. We live most of our lives in the grey, not in the black-and-white, and yet the middle or grey never seems to be splashed across any media, blogs, or articles youtube, etc.

 I  feel like the middle voices needs to be heard in the middle of all the conflict! 

What do you think?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

5 Real Reasons for the Mormon Dating "Crisis"

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the responses/comments on my FB wall when I shared this article, "Are Single Mormon Women "Screwed"? the other day. I truly believe these words, as I commented, "I don't put much stock in any one reason why we, as Mormon Singles, are in a dating "crisis".  All you need is one person and I see it happening all the time. #istillbelieve." The truth, however is that while I still believe in love and marriage it does seem difficult to date these days.

 I get asked all the time why I am still single and feel instantly caught by the question. If I tell this truth, that I hardly date at all, then the person asking feels sorry for me or the need to validate me and then say something trite like, "you're so great it will happen for you." If I tell the other truth, that I'm pretty happy single, then they usually choose one of two responses. "That's right just live your life, be happy, and it'll happen when it does." or "Maybe you just need to put yourself out there more and be less picky."

I would just prefer that no one ask me why 
I'm single and avoid all of the above

So here are five of the real reasons why I think Mormon singles are struggling in this dating "crisis". These are from my experiences and opinions and in no way an exhaustive list.

1. We Are Picky
Watching the people you love the most go through terrible divorces, awful abusive relationships, and lowering their standards to feel loved and not lonely is incredibly heartbreaking. It's not wonder we, as singles, are picky!  Many of us want Temple marriages and along with that comes worthiness, commitment, obedience, and much more. This mean we are looking for someone with specific qualities--thus being picky.

We want someone that not only makes us feel safe and happy but that we are attracted to as well. This makes it hard to just line us all up and match us together.  We can see couples that are miserable together and don't want anything to do with this kind of love. We know marriage isn't perfect but we'd like to at least start off believing we got a catch.

2. We Compare & Compete Instead of Working Together
I don't really understand why we, as singles don't protect and care about each other more. Why we aren't looking out for each other--trying to work together for love. Instead, it seems we compare ourselves to others, we call "dibs" or "territory" on people that aren't ours to own. We're competitive instead kind. There seems to be a scarcity of good Mormon singles left so instead of working together we trample each other on our quest to not be so lonely.

I keep waiting for some kind of Mormon Dating App that is basically singles setting up other singles with their friends that are single. Like nominating your top favorite girlfriends with your guy friends' top favorite dudes. We know our great single friends but rarely think, he/she would be awesome for you-know-who b/c we are actively looking for people to date ourselves. I think maybe we'd have more success this way. Someone figure this out please...

3. We are Tired
Seriously though, I have been actively "dating" now for 19 years--ugh just the sight of that number makes me want to take a nap! We are tired of "putting ourselves out there", getting rejected, spending money, coming up with great date ideas, and the list goes on and on. We are still doing all these things b/c no one has come up with a better idea but let's be honest--we mostly hate it.

Most of us singles have full-time jobs, part-time jobs, work for non-profits, volunteer at incredible organizations, own homes (that need work), take care of children (or nieces/nephews),working on hobbies/talents, go shopping, get groceries, etc. We have full lives and then we are expected to "put ourselves out there" by being social. It just is hard to find the time/energy sometimes.

4. We Want to be in a Healthy Relationship
Mostly Mormon singles I know don't believe in soul mates or even finding the "right" person. They are wanting what everyone basically wants in a companion. We want to be with someone who is healthy mentally and spiritually. I can't tell you how many people have told me to just "settle" or "lower my standards" in order to get married. This is how I feel about those two options:

It's hard enough nowadays to navigate life, religion/spirituality, health/fitness, jobs, responsibilities, family, etc. while being single it makes sense that adding another person (or more if they have children) into the mix is going to complicate things. This doesn't mean we aren't up for the challenge but it needs to make sense and feel right.

5. We Can't Seem to Get on The Same Page
I remember a time when dating was just getting to know each other and have a good time (just lunch kinda thing). Then it got all complicated by what appeared to be needy people who put too much thought into why people asked out certain people. Then dating become a sort of game where you had to chase or balance the "I like you" with "I don't like you too much". Then we went through that "Close you cupboards" stage.  You can imagine that dating would complicated when the roles or who does what gets all jumbled.

For ever person that tells me that I should start asking guys I'm interested out there is another person who says that is a terrible idea.  Some people say I am intimidating and others say I don't get out socially enough. It's a sort of damned if you do and damned if you don't sort of world. All that second guessing, over analyzing, self deprecating, and so forth causes a lot of noise and confusion in the dating world.

Next time you want to ask me why I'm still single--stop. 
Instead just tell me how awesome I am for still be in the dating scene and believing in love!