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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."

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Being Brave

What does it mean to be brave?

Being brave has meant different things at different times in my life. When I was younger being brave meant the same thing to me as making hard choices. Deciding where to go to college, if I wanted to serve an 18-month church mission,  what I wanted to major in college--all of these things seemed hard and brave.

Being brave has meant not being angry at God. Choosing to be grateful and positive despite lost dreams, hopes, righteous desire seemed brave. Watching friends emerge for Postpartum Depression stronger and more empathetic. Watching natural disaster devastate land and people's home, wars ravage souls, and enduring actual hate crimes and prejudice.

Bravery, at times,  means the same thing as change. Deciding to join AmeriCorps as a VISTA and move across the country, working in downtown Boston, being far away from family. Watching friends relearn to speak, walk, grow their hair back, and more. Great and small change requires bravery, doesn't it?

Lately, to me, bravery has meant being uncomfortable.  Meeting a good looking guy at Verizon (no, not Eric...see previous post) texting him, him giving me his personal number. Actually trying to have conversations on Tinder (rather than just validating myself with matches). Trying to figure out ways to let guys know I'm interested in them. Putting myself out there is seriously so exhausting and uncomfortable...and brave?

But when I look back over my life I believe, woven in between all these experiences, bravery looks more like vulnerability.

Allowing myself to let someone in, for them to see my genuine weakness and tears. Watching a friend vulnerably battle breast cancer at 28. Walking away from unhealthy relationships. Being honest with myself and others regardless of the outcome. Listening as friends are open about their dashed dreams, their loneliness, their righteous desires--unmet.

I would love to hear what being brave means to you?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ordinary Love

"I don't wanna be no star-have fame on the Boulevard. No, that's not what I'm looking for. I don't need shiny things or love from the movie screen. But, I tell you what I really want....Gimme  an ordinary love." (Ben Rector)

I love love!

I love when someone finds someone else that makes sense and brings color to their world. I love the giddiness that ensues, no matter the age, when you find someone who you can't wait to see/ talk to, even though you've been texting all day. 

I love watching a couple come into a room and seeing that look on the guys face--so proud to be with the most beautiful girl in the room. I watch her flit around the room all buoyant and buzzing like a hummingbird. He is happy to sit back, smile and steal glances at her now and again.

I love being shorter than a guy, with my high heels on, and having to get on my tiptoes to kiss him. There's something magical about the way a guy puts his hand on the small of the back of a girl and let's her know she's safe.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” (Jack Kerouac, "On The Road")

There are days when I want a passionate love affair, travel the world with a partner in crime, and burn the candle at both ends. Then there are days when I just want to sit on the couch on a rainy day and curl up next to someone and laugh a lot. We won't care what the rest of the world is doing because what we are doing is enough.

I still believe I can have it all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My 2 Week Relationship

Dear Eric At Verizon,

In the past 2 weeks we've been doing this back and forth dance and I've learned a few things. I figured I'd share them with you so you can improve your next relationship.

1. The first time we met you put on a good ruse with your kindness and walking me to the door when we were done. However, you tried too hard.  Me saying no to the first 3 additional items you were trying to sell me should have given you a clue to stop. Don't make a girl actually say, "I'm not interested"

2.You don't get to be disappointing and needy. You have to choose one.  When you make a mistake and disappoint a girl you don't then get to be all needy and ask her to come over multiple times to your office. Figure it out and fix the problem. Take accountability.

3. We have a serious problem when I see you, and have more face-to-face conversations, than the guy I was wanting to date or my roommates or my BFF. (Eric you are married...)

4. While people must like you (Each time I waited to speak with you for a minimum of 30 minutes behind at least 3 other people wanting to speak specifically to you) you are completely incompetent—time and time again.

5. Calling me purposely during working hours to leave nonsensical voice messages trying to shift blame is reserved for my Land Lord. Again stop.the.madness. Fix the Problem.

6. You knew it was over just by looking at me. You knew you blew it big time when the first words you say to me after having me wait for a 1/2 hour are, "I can see you're over it?" Yes. I am over it. We are done. Go speak to your Mom---err Manager to actually FIX THE MESS YOU CREATED.

Eric it was you—not me that ended the good thing we had going on day one.

Future Sprint Customer,
                         Kylee Shields

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dont Fix Me

There are some moments in our lives that seemed to be etched on the inside of our eyelids or in the walls of our hearts. Moments that change us—maybe we don't know it at the time but they are transformative. The first time you fall in love. The first time you come to intimately know Death. Your college acceptance letter and then graduation.

For me, there are so many.The moment I realized I was entire fluent in ASL. Standing on the balcony overlooking the City of Old Jerusalem. Sitting on the Piazza De Spagna steps in Rome. The day I adopted my piano. Holding my very own book and looking at my name on the cover. Reading bedtime stories to my niece. Playing trains with my nephew. Standing by a river I never knew before and feeling the ground move from underneath me.  Getting the 501(c)3 status of my non-profit. And one seemingly ordinary teenage moment when I was about 17.

I remember I was crying on my bed in my room. I was complaining to my mom about how making right choices didn't always mean that good things happened. I had chosen not to drink, have sex, do drugs, etc and as a result I quickly stopped getting invited to anything. And so I sat night after night, in my room, all alone. I was contemplating this whole idea of living righteously. I was in a very egocentric and negative place.

I remember my mom sitting next to me on my bed and just listening. Looking back I am sure it was agony for her to see me making good choices and suffering so much as a result. After letting me vent for a bit she rubbed my back and just sat there while I cried. She didn't say it was going to be okay. She didn't feed me any platitudes of blessings to come. In fact, I don't remember her saying much of anything. She just let me be in my pain in a close enough proximity that if I needed her all I needed to do was ask.

I am still learning from that moment.

I think more often than not when people are in pain we have this innate desire to fix the pain. We want to help. Most of the time we have no idea what that help looks like so we do our very best. The thing is most of the time people don't need your help or need to be fixed. They just need you.

Recently, I opened up and was vulnerable to a friend of mine. He sat and listened, while I made a mess of myself, and gave me enough signs that I could continue. I spoke some hard truths about myself that I know he knew were true. He didn't coddle me, try to fix me, or even really try to comfort me—and yet I felt loved. He let me sit there, tears coming down my face, in my stuff and just be. It was amazing.

Once again I learned a powerful lesson.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I Love You, But...

I don't—or haven't yet met—anyone who wants their love quantified or qualified.

No one wants to hear, "I love you, but..." "I accept you if only you will..." "I love everything about you but are you going to change...""I love you as a person but..." and so forth. Love, though at times complicated, is pretty simple. Either you love me or you don't.

The Sassover Rebbe said that he learned the meaning of love from overhearing a converstation 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 no know what gives me pain," lamented the first, "how can you say you love me?" (Rabbi David Wolpe, "Making Loss Matter", 1999)

I don't understand, and at times it has caused a lot of internal turmoil, the many facets of conditional love—it baffles me. People are complicated, messy, incredible human beings and because of this they love out of fear, passion, desperations, a need for connection, to leave a legacy, for romance, and so much more. Even the hardest and darkest of heart want to feel whole and accepted. 

Years ago I was dating an incredible guy and things were going really well. We hadn't dated that long and he asked if he could come over and take me for a walk outside. I was excited and thought it was a romantic gesture (boy was I wrong).  We held hands and walked for a while sometimes talking and sometimes just walking in silence. I loved it and thought that things were just as they should be.

He, on the other hand, was thinking about other things entirely different. At one point he stopped and we sat on a park bench or something and he launched into this diatribe about how he had been talking about me to his dad and thinking very seriously about us...I thought that was a bit intense (remember how we hadn't been dating very long). And then I had one of those life changing-turning point moments.

He said something like this, "Kylee, I really love you and I can see myself marrying you but there are a just a few things about you that I'm wondering if they are going to change?" I braced myself and actually thought, Kylee, don't shut down, listen, maybe he will be spot on about some things you need to work on and this could be good for your relationship. After taking a deep breath I said, "okay what things are you wondering about?"

He had a list—let's just say that it's never, ever, a good idea to have a list about someone else's faults. He started asking me if I was always going to be so happy (unrealistic in his mind), loud, talkative, optimistic, passionate about life, empathetic to everyone (he didn't like how much time I used to listen to other people's problems—and this was before I became a therapist), need to be the center of attention, etc.

It wouldn't be until years later during the movie, "How to Train Your Dragon" that I would get the right words to describe how that moment felt. I wanted to say to him, "You just gestured to all of me." How can you love me and yet want me to change all the things I value about myself. I looked up at him and he was serious. I said, "I am clearly not what you are looking for." Then I walked home by myself.

I thought a lot about what he had said. I was too talkative, too loud, to gregarious, spent too much time listening to others, and so forth but I was working on those things. God was aware of the desires of my heart. Him poking at my weakness and strengths hurt but it also allowed me to dig deep into who I wanted to be and it gave me a change to really think about love.

Since that moment I have had many dear friends change the dynamics of our relationship. Some have left the Mormon church, come out as gay, become Mormon Feminists, had severe depression, anxiety, bi-polar, gone to prison, etc. Each time I have thought to myself, does that change the way you feel about them or love them? and each time without fail the answer comes resounding back, no! you don't love them for what they do, how they change, how you met—you love them for who they are at their core.

And so tonight I want to be more like Lucia in Max Lucado's book, "You Are Special" where the dots and stars (the marks or qualifiers people place on us) don't stick. Where I am free to be loved, all of me, and in return I am welcome to love others, all of them.