Sunday, April 23, 2017

"I love you." It's used in all kinds of settings.

We say it to family members.
We use it as a humorous thanks.
We use it in mocking.
And we even seek it to gain validation and sense of self value.

We have the "I love you" from a child, simple and pure.. and sometimes a little fleeting.
There's the drunk "I love you," which doesn't mean little more than any other pickup line.
The "Well, I love you, too!" shot off at someone who has been rude or harsh.
And then there's the romantic "I love you," that singles seek, crave...
And fear!!

But if we crave it, why fear it?

Here's the thing- we all have history. Some histories are full of wonder and adventure. Other histories are peppered with hurts and struggles and brokenness.

That wonder and adventure can imbue a heart with joy and trust and joy.

And that brokenness can make a heart a little skittish and skeptical, fearful.

I've recently said, "I love you," to someone. And it scared me. While the sentiment is reciprocal, it still scares me. When I think about my feelings, I feel such a mix of emotions.

Butthe one feeling that seems overarching is fear. Because it has been so powerful, I've analyzed it:

What am I afraid of?
What do I fear?

Love is scary because it's a risk. You put your heart out there. It may get picked up and handled with care and tenderness.. or neglected and ignored.. or pricked and poked and beaten and crushed.

And that's the scary part. Fear of hurt. That fear comes from that history I mentioned earlier. If others have hurt me, what's to stop this new person from hurting me? That's scary. Terrifying.

As I've thought about my situation, I've come to realize that for me, it's a fear of loss:
What if I lose him somehow?
What if I tell him something about myself that scares him off?
What if he gets bored with me?
What if he meets someone who grabs his attention?

He's the best thing to happen to me in a very long time. Years, at least. Smart, funny, kind, good... And likes me! Loves me!

So I risk it. I choose to be brave and tell him how I feel.

I don't know what the future holds for us, for me. But I'm working like crazy to not free or freak pit about those things. I'm choosing to enjoy what we have right now.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Why Not a Cross?

I recently started dating again. He's not of my faith. Christian, but a different variety of Christianity.

Most Christians revere and display crosses to commemorate the death of the Savior of mankind.

Sometimes the cross is bare- just a couple of pieces of wood fixed together.

Sometimes the cross is hung on the wall, or affixed atop their buildings of worship.. or installed in front of the building.

Sometimes the cross is draped with a purple or white cloth to recognize the shroud left behind when Jesus rose from the tomb.

Sometimes people add a ring of thorns, the "crown" He was given by the soldiers.

Sometimes the cross is a little more realistic and includes a figure of the Savior- becoming a crucifix.

But we Mormons are different- we don't display these images and figures. My boyfriend asked why: Why don't we have crosses and crucifixes in and on our churches?

Because that's not how we choose to remember Him. Yes, He died for us:

He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, paying for my sins, allowing me the opportunity to eventually become perfect, as He and His Father are.

He died on the cross so He could rise from the dead, being resurrected, opening the gates of the tomb so I can also raise from the dead.

But He's not on the cross anymore. He lives! He's no longer on the cross, no longer in the tomb.

"Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen."

Disney Princesses- Revisited!

Some of you may remember my first Disney Princess post from way back in 2012!!

As I've thought and explored and re-watched these movies... and new movies have come out, I feel the need to revisit this post, at least the part about Belle and Beast.

Remember what I said about Belle?
"Belle lived in his house. They talked, did stuff together. They shared interests and thoughts. They interacted."
Some have pointed out to me that because Belle was the Beast's "prisoner", there's indication of Stockholm Syndrome. And I agreed... for a while. With that limited information, yes it was... but it wasn't. There are nuances to true Stockholm syndrome that don't fit the story.

So I don't think it was really Stockholm:

Maybe Belle didn't have anything. Maybe Beast was the one "afflicted." Maybe he actually had Lima Syndrome, where the captor bends his will to the captive, when the captor is the one who changes and adopts the values and standards of the captive.

See, Belle maintained her standards, her values, and her strengths. She sassed him, defied him, and even left! By contrast, Beast provided her with her own room, directed those in his employ to attend to her needs, and she got really quite a lot of freedom around the estate- except for the one wing, she had free run of the place. That's exactly NOT Stockholm!

Ultimately, it was Beast who changed to adopt Belle's standards, expectations, and values. Despite his emotional immaturity, he developed compassion, personal strength of will, and even courage and selfless love. Belle wasn't stupid- she saw this growth, and her heart responded to this new-and-improved Beast.

Sunday, April 9, 2017


For real??!?
Once upon a time, I was a foster mom. One morning as we were getting ready for school, G-10 got on her brother, B-11. This was nothing unusual as she had a habit of poking at him. I asked what the row was about. Apparently, she didn't like his fashion sense: he was wearing sweatpants.. AGAIN! I told her that I hadn't noticed. The pants were reasonably clean, and I was just glad he was wearing pants!

My daughter didn't understand that her focus on the negative affected other aspects of her life... and that focus was a choice.

I saw this video a few weeks ago:

Happiness is a choice.. and brings a tremendous advantage to your life:

The Happiness Advantage:
Better Secure Jobs
Better keeping jobs
Superior Productivity
More Resilient
Less Burnout
Less Turnover
Greater Sales

Mr Achor suggests some things we can do each day to increase our own personal Happiness Advantage:

* 3 Gratitudes- Get a notebook or open a new document in your cloud storage or get a big poster paper and put it up in your bedroom or kitchen. Each day, write three new and unique things you're grateful for.
* Journaling- Each day, write about one positive experience you have had over the last 24 hours.
* Exercise- This teaches the brain that behavior matters. How we act, what we physically do affects our brains and how we think.
* Meditation- Stopping and focusing on one thing helps overcome the "cultural ADD" of multitasking and allows you to focus on the task at hand and be present.
* Random Acts of Kindness- Whether it's writing one positive note or email to someone in your social network or complementing a friend on their cute skirt or doing a chore without being asked... Do one kind thing for another person.

I'm grateful for good friends who laugh with me.
And for my health.
And for indoor plumbing.

The internal combustion engine
The internet
My mother

Pork chops

My bed
Helen's insight- praying for protection against discouragement.

Laundry machines
My car

Christopher Columbus

Job interviews

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today's Testimony

I'm a good actress. I've worn the mask of Molly Mormon for a long time. But that isn't who.. what I always am. For the last about 2 years, I've really struggled. My testimony took a couple really hard hits... And those hits were at least partially my own fault.

Asking the wrong question, and not being patient, and not being open to "outside the box" answers.

There was a Thing in my life and I couldn't reconcile it with my own capacities and the principles of the gospel.

I prayed for a solution. Others involved also prayed for solutions. Leaders had no direction other than "pray about it".... Because we hadn't? The answers didn't come. And answers didn't come. And they didn't come and didn't come and didn't come. I felt abandoned by Father. I still knew academically that He was there, but it felt like He thought I didn't "need" or deserve His help as much as others.. or maybe my prayers got lost in the shuffle, or He couldn't be bothered by the effort or time to answer me.

If I didn't get answers, why pray? Or attend church? Or bother with the Word of Wisdom or Law of Chastity, or any of the other things we are asked to do?

Why even stay a member of this church?

After things completely fell apart, and the Thing was taken from my bundle of burdens, I was talking with a friend. She's young, beautiful, and wiser than I suspect she realized. And not LDS. I told her about these changes in my life. She said that my answer was the ability and strength to leave the Thing. It wasn't really my Thing to begin with, not my burden to bear.

Father didn't expect me to continue to live with that burden. He didn't not-answer. Rather, He guided me and directed me and prepared me to do what needed done for my protection from further collateral damage from the Thing.

I didn't always follow that direction, and I paid the consequences for those choices.

But my Rescuer still helped me get out.

And that was my answer.

I'm still not back... completely, but maybe I'm making progress.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Stress Kills!

I took a course a while back on stress management. The first thing we did was take a stressor assessment. This assessment asked about various major and minor life changes that cause stress in our lives- things like divorce, moving, losing or finding a job (yes, both, and they count as two separate events), promotion, demotion, having a child, losing a family member, having a family member move in with you, starting school, etc.

Me on one end, exhus on the other... and six dearly-loved stressors in between!

Then we added up the points associated with each event. Anything over a certain amount indicated a distinct risk of a serious health event in the next 12 months. My score was approximately 3x that amount. Ha! And that was another stressor!

The test was written a couple decades back. The authors felt it was NOT appropriate to adjust the scores for modern life: The human body hasn't changed enough to warrant any change to the health-event risk. Stress levels have changed, but human physiology hasn't.

The level of stress that grade school kids today face has been said to be comparable to what mental ward patients of decades past dealt with. No wonder there's acting out, bullying (some kind of stressor driving that behavior), anxiety, depression, suicide.. and that's just grade school kids! High school kids, and even adults are dealing with these and more!

Adults end up with moodiness, high blood pressure, headaches, body aches and pains, insomnia, gastrointestinal upset (through the entire tract), frequent illness, chest pain....

And really, it's no wonder. Today's world, with the speed at which life is happening, is just not compatible with stable mental and physical health.

The ability to slow down, de-stress, and find peace is invaluable.

So what are you going to do to de-stress today?

Sunday, March 19, 2017


A lot of people think I'm strong. So many have told me that I'm strong and amazing and brilliant and beautiful and independent.

I'm not strong. I'm weak. I'm insecure, afraid, resentful, desperate, anxious, hurt, angry. I'm not beautiful or sexy- I'm plain, basic, even dorky.

I feel powerless, inferior, less-than.

I can't have children. My first husband sabotaged us financially, and my second husband orchestrated a situation that makes it impossible now for me to have the opportunity to adopt or foster any time in the near (or possibly far) future.

I'm underemployed, behind on my bills, in at least $1500 debt, and living with my parents.

I want so much more. I want to support myself. I want to have my own place. I want a relationship- a man who thinks the world of me.

But what do I have to offer?

I'm told I'm all these things. I'm not. I wonder...

Sunday, March 5, 2017


Every time I think about it, I get angry. I feel betrayed. I feel rejected and neglected. I feel like I was set up.

I did things , made arrangements to try to protect myself- my physical safety, my emotional stability, my mental clarity.

And those things were completely sabotaged and destroyed. I was flayed and laid bare. I was raw.

I tried to get away to get peace and space to heal. And even that wasn't allowed me.

I became desperate, like a cornered animal, driven to find a safe place.

I was trapped attacked and I was served up to those in power, with no compassion or understanding, or even awareness, to be to be bruised, beaten, and used.

And there's no consequences on the other side. This has costed me money and my employment, both current and future. It has costed me my freedoms and rights. I have lost options and opportunities. And there's nothing I can do to get closure, or justice for what was done to me over the course of years.

I'm not renting out space in my head and heart... at least not on purpose. But these things are still very much a part of my life. There is no getting away from the fallout of the manipulation and abuse. I'm stuck with them.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

You'll do What you Want

I heard that line once at a seminar. The explanation wasn't quite what I expected though:

Say your teenage son declares at the beginning of the semester that he wants an A in history... but then spends all his spare time playing on his X-box. Did he really want that A in history? Apparently not as badly as he wanted to master the X-box game.

See, the reality is that each of us will do what we want... and if we watch what others do, we can find out what they really want.

The exwife who says she encourages the kids to spend time with Dad.. but Dad doesn't see them for months on end. Does she really want them to spend time with Dad? Probably not.

Or what about the dad who says he wants to see his kids, but doesn't bother to do anything about it- doesn't communicate with their mother, allows her to set the rules, doesn't do anything to provide a place for them to stay when they're with him. Does he really want to spend time with them?

The man who says he wants to earn more money, but rather than looking for a better job or going back to school, spends time with his buddies polishing his cue-skills at the bar. What does he really want?

The politician who tells his constituents that in his commitment to reducing crime, he's backing the latest gun control bill. Given the CDC data on gun ownership and crime rates, what does that politician really want?

Or we can look at the other politician who says (insert your choice) industry prices are out of control and we need more regulation. Does he really care about keeping prices down for his voters or does he have a hidden agenda?

Individuals in their private lives are pretty straight-forward, but when it comes to politicians, it's sometimes a little harder to figure out what they really want. This may be a little conspiracy-theorist of me but the reality is that politicians also "do what they want."

Politicians who push for gun control don't really want to reduce crime. They don't care about crime rates. They want a population that is afraid of owning or even holding a gun. They want a population dependent on law enforcement to protect them. They don't want citizens. They want cattle.

Politicians who push for more regulation on any industry don't want reduced prices (which are often caused by greater supply or lower cost). They want power.. and maybe higher prices. They definitely want justification for more and more oversight, regulation, government control... power!

What about your life? Are you doing what you REALLY want? Or are you doing something to sabotage yourself? I know I do.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sorrows That the Eye Can't See

Who am I to judge another
when I walk imperfectly?
In the quiet heart is hidden
sorrow that the eye can't see.
Who am I to judge another? --
Lord, I would follow Thee.

There are lots of sorrows that the eye can't see-
Physical ailments like fibromyalgia and infertility.
Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Heartbreaks, like a miscarriage or childlessness, financial challenges, waiting without answers, watching a family member or loved one live with any of these things.

Everyone has their own unique bundle of sorrows that they keep private, that are too embarrassing or painful to even talk about.

I know what's in my pack.

There is gratitude, certainly- there have been a few sorrows that have been taken from me. Angers that have been replaced with understanding and peace. The freedom that comes with letting go and knowing its not my problem to solve or my burden to carry anymore. Frustration that has been replaced with recognition and acceptance.
But there's also a lot of hurt-

Divorce, and the struggles and hurts and heartbreak that come with divorce. Twice. The looks that come with judgment.. and knowing those judgments are flawed, and knowing there's nothing to be done because those minds are made up, even sharing your side of the story won't get compassion or understanding.

Infertility. I've known since I was 18 that pregnancy was something I would never experience. The experience of falling in love with that little someone I've just met but known for months, of seeing my sweetheart in my baby's face. Nope, not gonna happen for me. And seeing others live this- oh, it hurts!! I don't begrudge their experience, but sometimes it's almost more than I can bare.

Social ostracism. I wasn't one of the cool kids in high school. But I was lucky enough to still find a group of wonderful friends. Since high school, though.. *shrug. I don't know that I've found my place. I'm not someone's wife. I'm nobody's mother. I'm nobody's best friend (or at least it feels that way sometimes). I'm nobody's mentor or hero. I'm not the one anyone really rushes to sit next to in church. I'm nobody. Who will remember me?

Misunderstood. Some who think they know me... well frankly they don't. Some, I don't really care. But others, it hurts. Those who should know me better have chosen to not listen, not see, and therefore they don't know. And it's not just their lack of accurate knowledge that hurts.. but sometimes, the magnitude of the misperception is what hurts more. "You really think I'm like that??"

So what do I do with it all? *shrug. That's the million-dollar question.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"Father, Thanks for this Talent..."

A very long time ago, a friend posted a thought-provoking question on her Facebook wall-
"How do you find your "hidden" talents?"

Sure, there's always the singing and dancing we see on that one show. But there are other talents, things that aren't always noticed, not put on display. But they're still things that you're just really good at.

It was an interesting conversation. Some said they had found hidden talents through the "necessity is the mother of invention" route- stuff just needs done, so they do it, and thereby discover that through doing, they kind of created a talent for the task.

Some find they have a talent for money- budgeting, couponing, sale-shopping (comparing in-store cycles, seasonal sales, and various coupons)

Others found talents for dealing with specific types of situations- difficult inlaws, awkward discussions with kids, or stress at work.

Of course some talents were discovered through what people have said, when compliments come because of something you find simple... "You're so good at that! I could never do what you do..."

What "hidden talents" have you heard of? What "hidden talents" do you have?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Rockstar and the Billionaire

I've been looking at the differences between our current/exiting president, Barak Obama, and our president-elect, Donald Trump. I don't know that any two men could be more different.

The exiting president took numerous vacations, nearly monthly, it seems. He and his family entertained numerous celebrities and other famous personalities. He was a rock star or maybe a rock star wanna-be.

The president-elect has declared that he will rarely vacation, that he won't be taking a salary (although he acquiesced and said he would be willing to accept the minimum required pay of $1/year). He has said that he has a lot of work to do, and won't have time to be away from his duties.

The exiting president has been using his lame-duck days to incite as much havoc and mayhem as he can, as well as rejecting and abandoning Israel (stupid, stupid, stupid!!)

The president-elect has already been at work making connections with the leaders of other nations, preparing for his place on that stage.

With the dramatic difference between these two men, I watch with fascination as power is transferred. We'll see how the new guy does.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Good Grief!

Handsome fellow!
Good grief!

Yes, more grief-talk.

Yesterday, I went to a funeral. It was a farewell and celebration of my grandfather's life. He was a man of great character.. and he was a character!

He was a farmer, a scouter, a husband and father. As the oldest grandchild, my birth made him a grandfather, and eventually others made him a great-grandfather.

A lot of people have said, "I'm sorry for your loss." And I don't really know how to respond. I get that they feel badly for me, that I've lost my last grandparent. But.. I don't know. I don't feel the loss. Maybe I've been grieving for years already, so I've processed a lot of the "loss" people are sorry for.

See, Grandpa has has been "gone" for so much longer than the last week and a half since his death. He's been gone since way before we placed him in the nursing home at the beginning of last month. He's been gone for so long, there's not much left to mourn.

I know there are those who feel differently, but this is where I am.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Grief is an interesting thing. It's only somewhat-observable, highly subjective, and uniquely personal. Each person grieves differently, and about a variety of things. What may be a mild disappointment to one, might be a heartbreak to another.

Here's what many psychologists feel about grief. My experience is that these stages aren't really steps on a ladder so much as points in a circle that are visited. They're not always experienced in this order, and sometimes a station is re-visited.

My experience in grieving the end of my marriage was a longer process. Some of these stages- I didn't even realize that's where I was until I looked back. Hindsight is  20/20! 

1) Denial- I was deeply in denial even during the whopping 6 weeks of our courtship. My excuse: love makes you stupid. He pushed for things to progress much faster than I was comfortable with. Friends warned me that this pushing was a display of flagrant disrespect for me and my natural (and completely healthy) sensibilities. I should have listened to my inner voice that screamed, "TOO FAST!!! SLOW DOWN!!"

2) Anger- For me, this came after the bargaining, when I found that bargaining didn't get my needs met. I was frustrated and angry that I didn't matter to him, that my needs and my unhappiness didn't matter.

3) Bargaining- I started this somewhere in our first year of marriage. I remember asking a month and a half before our first anniversary (the week of his birthday), how I needed to present my needs, how did I need to word things so that my needs were important enough to him. He said he didn't know. In other words, he acknowledged that I wasn't important to him. And that it was my job to beg for his attention. And that he wasn't going to do a darn thing about my unhappiness or his neglect.

4) Depression- I don't remember specifically feeling down and hopeless. I tend to be a person of action, so resignation, sitting and doing nothing is not really in my nature. At one point, I went on vacation, was away from home for a couple weeks.. and I didn't particularly want to go home. I certainly didn't miss him.

5) Acceptance came two and a half years in, when I realized that he wasn't going to change. When I realized that I didn't matter to him, and that he wasn't going to change, my first thought was that I couldn't stay.. and therefore I had to leave.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year, New Me

Going into a new year, I'm working on healing and becoming whole. But that seems to require... a definition of boundaries, where my accountability ends and his begins. I'm willing to accept my own accountability, but not his. I'm not responsible for his behavior and his choices, no matter the reasons.


Cluster-B personality disorders:

At 8:18-- Ex would bobble-head. That's what I called it. I would bring up something he'd done that was hurtful or not productive, what have you, and he'd agree- "Nod and smile, boys".. "Yeah, I should do XYZ to change and be better..." But the change wouldn't happen.

Or "Yeah, but you did ____ , so this is the pot calling the kettle black." The reality is that it doesn't matter who calls the kettle black, because the kettle is still black and needs cleaning! I'd tell him to bring up my stuff at another time, make it a different conversation, but justifying his behavior b/c of mine wasn't ok.

A lot of this has made me second-guess my own head- was I the abusive person?

Did I do enough to be the best wife for him that I could be and meet his (reasonable) needs?
Did I fight for "us" hard enough?
Did I expect too much of him?
Did I make my happiness his job?
Did I justify my behavior b/c of his behavior and how he treated me?
Was I manipulative toward him?
Did I shift blame?

Did I give up on our marriage too soon?

But videos like this help so much!!!

I tried to be enough. I fought for him against  his horrible exwife (as he painted her.. I know better now) who seemed to be doing everything she could to keep the kids from him. I put out when I didn't feel like it (more times than I'd like to admit). I tried to redecorate so that the house was more him/me than him/her. I cooked, cleaned, sorted, organized, loved, tried to be what I thought he needed in a wife.

I don't think I expected too much of him. He would say he was going to do something... but then he wouldn't. Was I not enough to inspire action?

Generally, I'm a happy person. It wasn't his job to "make me happy".. rather it was his job to do what he said he would.. and he never did. I wasn't unhappy. I was disappointed, and learned that I didn't matter to him.

To a degree, I justified. I was hurting. I had been made to feel inferior, worth less (not the same as worthless), not-enough, and eventually, I felt vilified. And I was angry about it.
I think I became manipulative once I realized that being honest and transparent, being clear and direct wasn't going to get my needs met.
I didn't/don't shift blame. I know where I messed up. I know what I should have done instead. I don't paint myself as a martyr. But I also refuse to allow him to get away with claiming to be a martyr.

I still, and maybe always will wonder about the timing of giving up on "us." I don't think I did it too soon.. but did I wait too long? Or rather, did I really give it my best effort? Did I fight hard enough while I was invested? (quality vs quantity)

Listening to this woman speak, I realize that yes, my husband is indeed bipolar (despite his rejecting the diagnosis). It may not be particularly severe, but it is there. I didn't see the movie-version of bipolar (crazy shopping sprees and risk taking vs crying and laying in bed all day). So without realizing it, I enabled his refusal, his rejection of treatment. I allowed him to become the abuser he was.

I'm moving on now. My only concern is about his next victim. Will she see it soon enough? Will she push him to get help? Will she get out before she breaks?