Words to Live and Write by

I am willing to fall Because I have learned how to rise.

I craft Love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure.

I am among the brave and brokenhearted, and I am rising strong.

(credit to Brene Brown)

Thursday, October 30, 2014


I did that thing they kept telling me not to do, called "standing up," and it was totally easy. So I thought I could take it to the next level - literally, by standing up on a chair - because nothing says "I am so over being sick" like Halloween decorations and cobwebs with spiders hanging from the ceiling around your front door, and since I am only 5 feet tall the ceiling is at least an-arm-and-a chair's-length away from me. Inevitably, the thing they kept warning me about standing up happened. I fell.

It wasn't a slip-and-land-on-your-feet fall. While stretched out on my toes, on the edge of the chair, I lost all vision and muscle control, but not awareness and not sensation. One second I was working my hardest to get that pin to stick, and the next I was toppling sideways and knocking the back of my head on the edge of the kitchen counter and landing soundly on the floor on my hip without any brace for impact. I screamed as sight flooded in just behind the pain and saw my dazed husband dash across the room. And then, Pain. There was no blood, but a lot of pain, which is probably how I convinced my husband I didn't need to get medical attention, and now it's some four days later. I'm not sure of all I did in those four days, but I know I talked to several people on the phone, drove my car, and even kept appointments; I have a lot of piece-meal memories that I can't string together linearly. I remember the moments of trauma and ones preceding and following it, but there isn't the usual coherency between them. My souvenirs are a sensitive place on my head that I keep forgetting about and an enormous bruise on my hip.

I think this sort of sums up the life experiences I'm supposed to have learned "the hard way." I think the hard way is about as hard as the floor, maybe harder, and regardless of how hard I knocked myself upside the head those experiences don't stay. I remember them about as well as I remember hitting my head: yeah, it hurt, a lot, but if it weren't for my bruises the memories would be as fleeting anything else. So when I share a story and point to my bruises, you can bet I only retain the lesson for as long as my body is still actually bruised; after that, it's just a story. And this is a really good analogy, but I can't quite clear the cobwebs out of my head enough for it to make sense.

I'm bruised enough to remember not to stand on chairs, and dazed enough to still believe it. In a week, I will tell you I know not to stand on chairs, but I'll do it anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I've had many reactions to how and what I write on my blog. I write about real things - some sweet, some funny, and lot of messy and hard. I write my stories - real ones. When you read one of my posts, you are seeing a part of me that most people don't - you see the strong me, the scared me, the proud me, the imperfect me - you get to read my life as an open book.

"They tell us from the time we're young to hide the things that we don't like about ourselves, inside ourselves... Well I'm over it. I don't care if the world knows what my secrets are. So what?"

It was so hard for me to open up and be brave and honest and real and raw at first. It was scary. It's scary to show the world your weaknesses, your vulnerabilities! But I found it to be so relieving. I don't go around all day telling everyone about my troubles - that would be annoying. But I write about them. I write about my truths - the good and the bad.
I've found there are precisely three reactions to daring truth-telling: 1) The appreciators, the ones who say "me, too!" or feel a little bit better about their messy life because they're not alone in imperfection. 2) The ones who just don't know what to do with my truth. They back away from me, and that's okay. 3) The defenders, the ones who feel my writing strikes too close to home, or gives a voice to demons that they don't want to acknowledge. They feel the need to protect themselves and often do it with criticism; I've come to understand that that criticism has nothing to do with me, really, and everything to do with the defenders.

In the end, brave honesty shows me who can be a good friend to me and who to avoid sharing truths with. And it's okay that some people back away - I'm messy and some people can't handle messy. It's also more enlivening and more honest than going around always saying, "I'm fine" even if I'm not.

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

All dogs (and people) go to heaven

 Recently, I shared this video on Facebook. It is a simple explanation of what we - members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons") - consider to be sacred and holy clothing. Like symbolic robes or garments worn in many other religions, they serve to remind us of our covenants and commitments to God.

Note: the one thing they didn't include that I wish they had is that when we are in the Temple, we wear the Temple Robes OVER other white clothes - women white skirts or dresses and men white shirts, tie, and pants. We don't wear just the robe.

THEN I was asked this great question from an extended family member, born, raised, and proud of being Catholic. The question was: Hearing that the Mormons think they r the only ones to go to heaven is that true??

I tried to give a simple but full answer. It was later requested that I post my answer to my blog for future reference. So, here is my answer to her question - do Mormons believe only they go to heaven?

Not even close to true. But it is a good question, so here's my best attempt at a simple answer.
Our faith actually doesn't believe in hell in the traditional sense. We believe there are three "degrees" of heaven, like the difference between the stars, moon, and sun. Depending on our faithfulness and acceptance of Christ's gospel and atonement (which can also happen after death - everyone gets an equal opportunity to hear and accept or reject Christ's gospel), we will go to one of the three heavens. The highest degree of heaven is where Heavenly Father and Christ live - so that is our ultimate goal. But no matter what we do in this life or the next, we all get to go to a heaven that is better and more beautiful than the world we live in now.

It is true that we believe the "keys" we need to enter the highest degree of heaven are given in our temples, and we keep them sacred (not secret - we want everyone to have a chance to receive them, which is why we send out so many missionaries to share our faith). 

Because our temples are literally houses of God, we believe we can only enter when we are our best selves (not perfect), doing our best to keep God's commandments, and, yes, active and believing in the LDS faith. There would be no point in entering an LDS temple unless you believed in its purpose
, which is to give us those keys to heaven, and seal the bonds of family - husband, wife, parent, child - together eternally. No 'til death do us part - the promise is forever
Finally, because God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful, he allows every single person the opportunity to gain these keys and eternal family. That is why we perform the ordinances like baptism by proxy (in physical place for someone who's passed on) in the temples for ancestors and others who have lived and died before us. They do not have to accept these ordinances, God will never force anyone to do it, but we do our best to ensure everyone gets the chance to make their own choice.

Don't ever be afraid to ask me about my faith. I am so happy to answer questions, and I always try to do it respectfully and simply. And I will never put any pressure on you to change your own religious beliefs and practices. I just think it's always best when we know the truths about each other. 

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Messy IS Beauiful

I still love Glennon's word "brutiful." It describes life and relationships so entirely. Love this little video where she explains brutiful:

 "The messiest parts of our lives are also the best parts of our lives, always. The beauty is in the mess."

(I just love Glennon - she is my truth-speaker.)

Leave your thoughts and comments please!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Eyes to See

 Broke my heart open at Costco today.

I went to pick up an rx and wet wipes and nothing else (the "nothing else" was very important and very hard because the wet wipes are at the verrry back, past all the delicious, easy, pre-made meals). Pushing a cart carrying Lana and a box of wipes that weighs as much or more than her is tough for me right now - but I can do it because I can NOT do no wet wipes - and I was panting by the time we got out the door.

Then, I notice a little old lady get out of her car, pulled up next to the doors, hobbling like one leg was in enormous pain, and she opens her trunk and walks over to her cart piled so high I have no idea how she pushed that around. And my heart ached, and I said out loud to no one, "Oh, Honey!" Because I know what that's like, literally. 

I peek into the car to see if a husband or someone is with her. Nope. And then I watch, panting and slowly pushing my cart away, as person after person, able-bodied man after man, passed RIGHT BY HER. And no one stopped. Some looked and turned their heads, but kept on walking. And my heart just BROKE. Why was no one helping her???
So I turn my cart around and walk up to her and ask if she needs help, and can I help her load her groceries into her car. (My body was insisting that it was impossible for me to do that much work, but my heart was demanding that it was impossible to leave her like that.) She said, "Bless your heart." but wouldn't let me help. "There was supposed to be someone here to help me." I looked around again - no one coming to her, none of the employees paying any attention to her.

So I turn my cart around again, really panting now, and go to the employee at the door and tell her someone needs to help that lady. She radioed for someone. I asked her how long it would take. She shrugged and said it would be several minutes because none of the cart-helpers had radios on them. (What was the point of radioing?) I frowned a little at her, Lana held up our smiley-face-marked receipt showing we'd paid for wet wipes, and finally she called out to another employee close by to ask him to help the tiny old lady load her car. And I waited there until I was sure he was doing it.

And then I panted and pushed my cart towards my car again, nearly in tears wondering how on earth this lady was going to UNload her groceries. But there's only so much I could do, so I said a prayer for her, and prayed some of those people who passed by would learn how to look around and SEE. Maybe that's part of what Jesus meant when he said, "Those who have eyes to see, let them see." I wonder.

 And now I'm at home, breathing better, and letting Lana watch "Go Diego, go!" because he's less annoying than Dora. And I just heard, in the theme song, "Helping out each other is good for everyone." I think maybe they should play that on the radio now and drive us all insane because we can't get the lyrics out of our heads, but at least we'd know that "helping out each other is good for everyone."

Leave your thoughts and comments please!