“We are all in this together. We need each other. Oh, how we need each other.”

(Marjorie Pay Hinckley)

Long overdue honest social media.

"How do you find happiness . . . really?"

"How Do you find happiness...really?

"There is some truth to, 'fake it till you make it.' I won't deny the effects of a positive attitude. But just for a moment, I want you to dig deep and ask yourself the question: how happy am I?

"So you have positive post it notes around your house, or all of your Facebook updates depict your perfect life, with your perfect husband/wife, and your perfect kittens (or children). Maybe this is really you. But it probably isn't.

"Happiness goes SO much deeper than any outward appearance, and just trying to be happy. You can force a smile, & bury your stresses with coping mechanisms such as food, drink, shopping, sports, or vacations. Sometimes this is a necessary~ but temporary~ fix. Everyone needs a break. However, the truth is nothing will ever make you happy if you don't solve the underlying issue. And nine times out of ten, the harder you try to cover up any pain or insecurity you are facing, the more you will exploit it. Those people that are superlative in their happiness for all the world to see, ALL OF THE TIME, are usually the most miserable.

"Now, it is good and absolutely acceptable to have things, possessions, that make you feel happy. But they are just things. They should be an additional BOOST to your residing joy in life, not what determines it. Travelling and going on vacation should be a huge stress relief, but if you can't handle day to day anxieties without having a panic attack, isn't something out of balance? 

"We all face obstacles and hardships. No one is exempt, whether you think they are or not. The people you think live flawless lives do not. If someone has not yet faced the torture of heartbreak, trust me, they will. Maybe you faced it first, but no one escapes life unscathed. 

"*It is time to break the habit: Never compare your worst inside to someone else's best outside.*

"Weight, beauty, finances, and health are the major issues where humans put on a facade. People have a hard time letting the world see them as weak or vulnerable, which is ironic because everyone is. Ps. Did you know anxiety& depression are two of the most commonly misdiagnosed disorders. (Feel free to get as angry about that as you please) but it's genuinely the truth. News flash: EVERYONE feels tired, panicked, and sad, all the time. Having real depression is different. My grandfather died of it. Most mental issues can be healed, if not improved, by basic physical functions. People have just become lazy, which leads to victimized behavior and perpetual unhappiness.
Excessive spending, eating, vacationing, or medication are typical crutches for curable unhappiness. Here's the cure: reevaluating your life and exposing your hurts, facing excruciating, sometimes embarrassing insecurities. Be a big grown up and deal with them without codependency.

"Going back to my question. How happy are you? You don't have to admit to me your darkest fears, but admit them to yourself. A good indicator of misery would be to ask yourself a series of questions like, Am I irritable often? Do I target these irritable notions towards other people? Do I bring people down, either verbally or with thoughts?  Am I jealous by nature? Do I envy others' successes? Do I talk about other people's failures, more than my own? Do I spread untrue remarks? Do I make more complaints than compliments a day? If others got to pick what my grave stone would say, would I want to read it? How often do I blame others for my feelings? Do you often feel an overpowering sense that your life is out of control?

"I want to pose a challenge that may help you discover happiness, or more of it if you're relatively happy now. Try these, then log your feelings at the end of a 7 day trial period.

"1. Pack a small carry on bag of belongings. Use only these items for a week.

"2. Females, go a week without any make up or hair tools or product. If you must accentuate your appearance for work, then try to at least go minimal. Men, drop your grooming regimen as applicable.

"3. Regardless of weight and fitness goals, eat a health-conscious, 2000 calories a day, exercise 30-40 min a day, for a week straight.
4. If possible, walk or bike the places within a few miles of your home.

"5. Christians, read the book, A Purpose Driven Life. If you're agnostic or atheist, go on a little journey, to a place where you feel peaceful and calm, into a state of meditation. For both parties: Ask yourself what you really want to get out of life. What do you want to accomplish and achieve? What can you realistically do to succeed in this? Make short term and long term goals.

"6. If you're facing residual pain, from a person, or an act caused by a person, first make an effort to forgive them as we all make mistakes. Then find means for restitution. If they didn't mean to hurt you, it is up to you to get over it. Holding onto resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick. If they did try to hurt you, you must still follow these steps, but you have the right to mistrust and avoid the person until you feel safe. In either case, this week I challenge you to do something nice for the person that hurt you. Buy them a slurpee or leave them treats. Do it! 

"7. Do some research on a third world country. Pick an organization within this country, whether it be a charity, a school, or a hospital, and donate to it. You can donate clothing, food, money.

"8. If you suffer from an addiction, Google an Addiction Recovery program in your city and go, they are free. 

"It is easy to blame others, or look for quick fixes, then it is to uncover the sting and ache of our unhappiness. Remember, there is nothing wrong with a positive attitude. But happiness is more than faking it. Take the challenges above and discover more about yourself then you ever knew possible. You may be surprised how unhappily you've been living, and look forward to a fuller life in the days to come!"

" . . . the lesson of the stolen bike."

"In future years I think this story will come to be known, at least by me, as the lesson of the stolen bike.
"Previous to this moment I had experienced silly trials and challenges that left me feeling wronged and frustrated. I've always tried to live a good life, be nice, do unto others as I would have done, you know,the usual contributing member of society kind of deal. So to have any kind of set-back always seemed unnecessary and unfair. I was never very quick to turn to God, it was a lot easier to just try and fix it myself...or so I thought.

"While serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, I was given another one of those moments to try my patience and my faith. Arriving home from church one Sunday, my
missionary companion and I abruptly halted in front of the stairs
leading to our apartment and just stared at the place where our bikes were once stored that was now completely empty.

"As missionaries we relied quite a bit on our bikes, they were our
common mode of transportation and they were too expensive to replace
at that point in our missions. I felt sick, and numb, and shocked all at once. 

"I've realized that in the midst of a challenge it's hard to see the
'why' and I'll admit, in that moment it was a very easy question to
ask myself--why me?? But in this case, as I stared at the now empty
space, I did something different than in times past. I stopped asking why, and I started to pray. I prayed for strength, clarity, a way to make this situation better; anything and everything I could petition from heaven.  

"No immediate miracle occurred, no sudden solution came, but an answer did; and with it a valuable lesson was learned: The Lord will spare no expense, waste no opportunity, nor pass by any chance to teach us to turn to Him. He should be our first response team, our right-hand Man, the Person we go to for everything.

"I don't think The Lord got my bike stolen, but He did turn it into an opportunity that allowed me to turn to Him and a lesson I would need for future times to come. I know that my Savior loves me, and is aware of me; and I have learned through lessons of a stolen bike that in the strength of The Lord I can do all things."

"I think about our debt every day..."

One of my struggles is with the weight of our student loan debt.

My husband's goal was to become a physician. Mine was to stay home with our children. We supported these goals for each other, not waiting until the end of training to bring children into our home. Thankfully, because that training continued for 9 years after a bachelor's degree. We both worked as much as we felt was possible at the time--in hindsight both of us wish we'd worked more.
Now we are in payoff mode. In four years we've made significant headway (read: tens of thousands of dollars paid off), but the road is long (still 6 digits).

I think about our debt every day, and usually LOTS of times each day.
I think about my debt each time I use money.

From gas & groceries to piano lessons & furniture. 
Do I need this or just want it?
Is this purchase worth more than paying off the debt?
With our discretionary dollars, should we invest or pay off debt first?
Or none of those options and spend it on our kids--more clothing, lessons, phones, and fun family vacations?

My mind is full of statements like this:
"When our debt is paid off we can __________."

The interest isn't what drives me crazy--it's the principal. We are indentured servants to our student loan. . . and I can't wait to be done with it.

(OK, the interest drives me crazy, too. While every mom around me pays $200/month for pre-school, I pay more than that much for interest every month and keep my pre-schooler home with me).

One thing I have learned is that paying the minimum payment gets you NO WHERE! We did that for about six months and then I read our statements. I discovered the loan company was pretty happy if I didn't reduce my balance quickly. From that month until now, we've sent more principal each month than interest. We send an additional large chunk every few months, and each time I think to myself, "Was that the right thing to do? It's barely made a dent!"
I struggle to remember the positives:
We are paying it off!
It will take less than the 30 years our student loan company wants it to take.
We have everything we need, and many of our wants.
The best things in life don't cost $.
We have an emergency fund, roof over our head, and no car payment.

The bitter: Paying it off will take much longer than I thought.
The sweet: My husband's earning potential changed. He tripled his earning potential. 
We can & will pay it off.  
(Perhaps in the interim I will learn patience).

"Here's a lesson I recently learned that I wanted to share ..."

"Here's a lesson I recently learned that I wanted to share with eveyone and shout it from the top of my roof.  Well, that would be silly and people would look at me strangely if I did that.  So, what better place to share my newfound knowledge than with RLMW?

"Maybe I'm a bit slow when it comes to learning the 'simple' things in life.  I'm not sure why, but I find myself re-learning over and over again small and simple things...things that I should (and sometimes DO) already know.  It's just nice to be reminded of them from time to time.  The thing I think I have re-learned over and over again in my life is that Heavenly Father knows ME and is guiding me along my journey here on Earth.  I have no doubt that he knows my thoughts, my feelings, my concerns, my worries....before I even voice them to Him.  He KNOWS me.  That lesson I kind of like re-learning over and over.  It never ceases to amaze me when I realize (again) that He is very aware of me and my circumstances in my life, whatever they are at the time.  

"But that's not the re-learning lesson I wanted to share.  My re-learning came from a few different experiences I would like to share with you.  Last month, we were able to listen to the leaders of our church speak to us.  I always feel like a few of the talks are directed to me and pertain to me in my life right now.  Different talks to speak to me at different times in my life.  Last month if was President Uchtdorf's.  His talk was titled, 'Grateful in Any Circumstance.' In an earlier post on RLMW, I referred a little to my current situation.  Long story short.....I am in the middle of a divorce from the man who I once thought was my everything.  After being lied to and betrayed by him in a most severe way, my life was drastically changed.  I was very hurt and angry and bitter for a very long time beacuse of his actions.  Well, I am happy to report that that has all changed, in part due to President Uchtdorf.  In his talk he states, '...I have learned that there is something that would take away the bitterness that may come into our lives.  There is one thing we can do to make life sweeter, more joyful, even glorious.  We can be grateful!'  He also says, 'Our loving Heavenly Father knows that choosing to develop a spirit of gratitude will bring us true joy and great happiness.'  He was speaking TO ME!!  It was the slap upside the head that I needed to hear.  I stopped seeing my current situation in terms of what I had lost, and started seeing the things that I was blessed with.

"I am blessed with four beautiful children who I love and cherish and who adore me.  I am blessed with a reliable job that provides a good enough income to support me and my children.  I am blessed with wonderful parents who have sacrificed a lot to help me.  I am blessed with a huge support system of sisters, brothers, friends, neighbors and extended family who would drop anything and come running if I needed them to (and some of them have!).  I have been blessed with a great Bishop and Relief Society President who support me and help me when I need it.  I have been blessed with an overabundance of the Spirit helping me and lifting me over the past year.  I have so much to be grateful for.....why dwell on the things I don't have?

"I also had an extremely powerful experience with a new-found friend.  My new friend was eight months pregnant and had just found out that her baby had died.  I was blessed enough to be the one that was chosen to help her through the very difficult process of laboring and eventually delivering that sweet baby.  In the short time that I was there with her, we bonded.  Our spirits spoke to each other and she knew that I was there supprting her, and I knew that she was there supporting me.  As we parted, my dear friend said words to me that I will never forget.  We held each other in our arms and she told me, 'I can't do anything to change my situation.  The only thing I have control over is my attitude.  I can either be sad, angry and bitter, or I can try to accept it, grieve and move forward.'  As she said those words, my soul was pierced.  Again, Heavenly Father was speaking TO ME!  It was the second slap upside the head that I needed.  I could not change my situation, but I could change my attitude about the situation.  This experience changed my life.

"A few weeks later, when the Relief Society President came to visit, the first thing she asked me as she walked through the door was, 'What happened?'  Unclear of what she was referring to, she elaborated.  She had said that multiple people had come to her and asked what was different in my life now.  These people could see a visual change in me.  No longer was I burdened by the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I related my experience to her and told her, 'I can feel a change inside of me.  I feel like I am lighter.  I do not walk with a heavy step anymore.  I feel like I'm floating on a cloud.  I'm HAPPY.'  

"No longer is my happiness dependent on other things.  I used to say, 'When my divorce is final, then life will be good.'  Or, 'When this or that happens, then I'll be happy.'  Happiness doesn't depend on things happening.  Happiness is a choice we make.  I choose to be happy.  If my situation were to stay the same and I remained a single mother for the rest of my life, I would still be happy.  I choose to be happy inside, regardless of what is happening around me.  I'm not sure why I had to be reminded of that, but I'm so grateful I was.  Choosing to be grateful and choosing to be happy has made me a better person."

"I feel like there is this unspoken rule..."

"I feel like there is this unspoken rule in the LDS culture where if you praise your body, and think of yourself as beautiful, you're being haughty and conceited. So instead we point out and compare 'flaws.' We put ourselves down, as if we're making sure we are staying humble.

"Seeing the beauty in your body does not make you vain. Tearing yourself down does not make you humble. It's just the opposite. We are God's greatest creation. Every time you talk negatively about your body, you are criticizing His finest piece of work. His greatest joy. His crowning glory. If I painted a masterpiece, and my child told me that it wasn't good enough, was too big, too small, too tall, too short, not the right color, or just plain ugly, I would be crushed. Why would Heavenly Father feel any different when he hears us speak so harshly about our bodies?"

"...I've been hung up on the Atonement..."

"For as long as I've been aware of the fact that I would need my own relationship with my Heavenly Father, as opposed to clinging to that of my parents, I've been hung up on the Atonement—that intangible thing that I can't entirely wrap my head around. What is it? How do I apply it? What can it do for me?

"A few years ago, I made friends with a girl in my singles ward who came straight from jail. She was a recovering drug addict who was on the first leg of her journey back into activity in the church after a long time away. We were fast friends who made the same jokes and had the same marathon endurance for a Saturday of shopping and patio dining. 

"One year, a dozen visits to the adult parole and probation office, and 100 hours of community service later, she was invited to attend a 12-step meeting on a Sunday night, and like so many other things, I was right by her side. There had been quite a few 'firsts' that came as a part of our friendship, but attending addiction recovery meetings was probably the most monumental. 

"We all had an opportunity to speak and as I listened to the other addicts, family, and friends speak around the circle, I was convinced I didn't have anything valuable to add. But when it was my turn and I bore testimony of the healing and redemptive power of the Atonement—the very thing I had worked so hard to understand and apply in my life—it occurred to me then that 'to some it is given to know... and to some it is given to believe on their words' (D&C 46). 
My best friend's life had been the very example of the Atonement I had been seeking. I watched her grow and struggle and reconcile, and worked right along side her at times, before I realized that I had been witnessing the blessings that only the Atonement could provide to heal her sins and bring peace to her soul."

"Coming home early from my mission..."

"Coming home early from my mission was honestly the hardest year of my life. I write this with occasional tears streaming down my cheeks, and a heart that will probably never be fully whole again. This is personal, but I get asked about it constantly. If someone can benefit from my story, then I am that much more grateful to share it.

"While on my mission, I was diagnosed with anxiety, which was really hard on me. I had no idea that anxiety could cause you to throw up, have stomach and chest pains, digestion problems, no ability to sleep, and panic attacks. 

"For everyone with an invisible illness: The difference between mental and physical illness is that one is seen and the other is not. It's hard to explain to someone who has no clue. It's a daily struggle being in pain or feeling sick on the inside while you look fine on the outside. We all need to realize we should never judge what we don't understand.

"While on my mission, I went to the doctor several times. It was frustrating not knowing what the problem was. It was thought for awhile I had IBS, but when the doctor suggested mental problems, I was beyond confused. I talked to my mission president's wife, our medical advisor, and it was decided I had anxiety. I received permission from my stake president at home, and my parents, to start taking medication. I was really against it at first because I didn't want to rely on medication, but it was suggested that this was the only thing that could help, and I really wanted to stay on my mission, as hard as it was becoming to keep serving.

"This is a journal entry from my mission on June 27, 2012: 

"‘I couldn't sleep tonight, my companion told me to write and let all my thoughts and feelings out, so that's what I'm going to do. 

"‘Well... I'm shocked to be quite honest. I never thought this would happen to me, and least of all places on my mission. It's heart breaking. To have wanted to serve a mission my whole life, to dream about it, and to get here and have it be the hardest thing I've ever done, and it to be so hard on me that I have to take medication to cope... it hurts. 

"‘It's like I'm not strong enough to do this, to be a missionary. Any missionary could come in and do what I do, so what am I needed for? I'm stuck, at least that's how I feel. I'm a little scared too. What if I can't get over this? I don't know how to handle it and fix it. I also feel as if I'm losing myself.

"‘I don't understand why I have been given this trial, but Heavenly Father does, and I guess that's what really matters. Sometimes I wish I could borrow His spiritual eyes and see what He sees. Hopefully one day I'll understand why all of this is happening to me. Is it because Satan is trying to stop me? If he is, am I going to let him win? 

"‘I don't know if I have much fight left in me. I'm lacking faith in myself. Can I really do this? It's just this never ending spiral and I don't know how to make it stop so I can climb back up from how far I've already gone down.’

"(That’s how I felt, and sometimes how I still feel. It still scares me at times. It hasn't necessarily gotten any easier. I have just learned how to deal with it and accept—for the most part—that this has happened and I may have to deal with it the rest of my life.) 

"After that journal entry in June, things just got worse.

"I was transferred to the valley to be closer to the mission home so I could get the help I needed. I was able to see doctors and a counselor once a month, although that proved to not help my illness, but it was nice to cry to someone who was trying to understand and help. I was prescribed medication that was supposed to take up to 6 weeks to work, but after more than 6 weeks had passed, I wasn't improving. 

"I went back to the doctor and he prescribed something else that I wasn't allowed to take as a missionary because of its maintenance. So I was  referred to a psychiatrist. That was really hard on me. I was there with a bunch of kids who had obvious mental disabilities, and felt like I should be put in a mental hospital or something. It was a stab to the soul. The psychiatrist gave me another prescription that was supposed to take 3-4 weeks to work, and after that time had gone by, I still wasn't doing better.

"At this point I was just a wreck. I developed depression with my anxiety and struggled with almost everything. I always thought that mental illnesses were choices, and that you could just snap out of it, but I couldn't have been more wrong. It's not like that at all. It almost controls you... it's not you. I would wake up in the morning with no desire to do anything or see anyone. I didn't care about a thing, not missionary work, not the people. It was horrible because I knew I should and I was disappointing so many people but I didn't care about that either. I had no desire to do anything. And I could never sleep for more than a few hours at a time. I was emotional all over the place. I couldn't sit still to save my life, I wasn't me.

"At this point I had discussed going home with my mission president. At first that's all I could really think about. After talking to him, he helped me realize that it wasn't my decision to make. I will forever be grateful to him for giving me a kick in the butt when I needed it most. He let me talk to my mom, which was more of me listening and crying as she tried to speak strength and love to me. A couple more weeks went by and it was finally decided I should go home. I knew I wasn't going to get better in the field, but that didn't make coming home any easier.

"For the first few days of being home I was doing so much better. It was beyond wonderful to see my family again and have their support. I was able to see my doctor and be put on a medication that finally helped me! But those days didn't last very long. I was still pretty sick, physically and mentally. I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, there was no point. I didn't want to do anything because I had no desire to, and I just didn't know what to do with myself. I was afraid of talking to people for what they may think and the questions they would ask. No one really understood. Others would try, and I appreciated that, but it didn't help. It was no one's fault, but it made me feel alone and apart from the world. I was ashamed of what I felt I didn't accomplish, and that others assumed I came home because I did something wrong. It was as if I was a failure. And no one likes to feel like a failure, especially when you feel like you failed your Savior.

"I started seeing a counselor every week and that I think made the most difference in the end. He taught me how to deal with my anxiety and realize what was causing it. (Now that I know what causes it I can control it more, but that doesn't mean it's completely gone. I still have it. It's not all just about my thoughts, some of it is just how I'm wired.) I saw improvement over weeks, and eventually was able to stop seeing my counselor, but continue with the medication.

"For a long time I wondered if I would ever feel like my old self again. Through e-mails I sent home while on my mission my mom could tell that I wasn't myself. She wished people from my mission could know the daughter she knows. I don't think I'll ever completely be that person again.  You're not necessarily supposed to be the same person you were before your mission, but I changed in a different way. I feel like that gets rubbed in my face constantly, not on purpose of course. It’s every farewell and homecoming, every time someone asks about my mission or talks about theirs, church lessons, etc. It's like I'm getting salt sprinkled in that never fully-healed wound. 

"I didn't come home with that fire return missionaries return with. My homecoming wasn't the typical homecoming. It was one of happiness but not the happiness I wanted it to be. My mission president said it'd be something I'll always have to live with, and I knew that, but I thought maybe it'd get easier. 

"I talked to one of my cousins who came home early from his mission because of his knee. He's been home now for 8 years, and it hasn't gotten easier for him. That wasn't what I wanted to hear, but talking to him about it helped. 

"Maybe that's why things like this happen to us—so that we can share our experience with others who go through the same thing. There have been a few people I’ve been able to talk to who have gone through similar experiences, and feel I like I have been able to help them. In multiple blessings I received on my mission, often it was promised that this trial would help my future family, so I'll cling to that as well.

"The most important reason this may have happened was for me to grow closer to my Savior. He has done so much for me, for all of us, and if I have the opportunity to experience just a little of what He did, then I am grateful and better for it. There is nothing greater than being able to walk in His shoes, even if it's just a step or two. I have a greater appreciation and understanding of His love and sacrifice for me. He experienced all that I have experienced, and will experience, but it is privilege to say the same about Him. And I'm not saying that I get what He did or know fully, because I don't, but I am just that much closer to Him because of the trial He so lovingly placed before me. I couldn't have made it through this without Him.

"I wouldn't change anything I've learned from this experience. I am who I am today because of it. I'm stronger and have been refined into the woman Heavenly Father wants me to be, and that is all that matters."

Passing this information on to you:

TO READERS OF RLMW. I received this email and am passing it on to you. Perhaps you, or someone you know, would be interested in participating. I am not endorsing this, nor do I know these people personally, I am just passing on the information. Proceed at your own risk:

Hi there - I am in writing to you in hopes of posting on your page. My name is Patti Karnes and I am working on a documentary series about women and religion. For the series we are featuring women in their 20's who have converted to a religion they had not grown up with. We are interviewing women who are either in the process of converting or have recently converted (within last year) to hear what called them to their new path, how is has changed their life and how it has changed their relationship with God. I have attached a posting that we have been sending out. We will be featuring all religions and are currently searching for 2 Women in the Mormon faith to interview. If you have any questions please feel free to call me anytime - thank you! Patti 267-221-7313

Seeing the Light: 20 Something's share their stories of conversion.

For many women as you reach your 20’s you begin the process of creating the building blocks and choosing your path in life. Questions emerge and hopefully are answered - which career will you chose? Will you marry and have children? Where will you live? What is truly important to you? This may also be the time you reflect on what it means to have a higher power in your life and what tools does religion provide you in having a relationship with God? More specifically have you chosen a religious path that is different from the way you were raised?

What does it mean to become Mormon? What are the core beliefs of the faith that match your own? What was the driving force that called you to the church? How has this choice impacted your life? And how has converting or thinking about converting changed your relationship with God?

A new docu-series pilot is delving into these questions and is looking for women who have chosen Mormonism. If you are in the process of converting or have recently converted then they are looking for you!

If interested in sharing your conversion story please email contact below.

Patti Karnes
Watercooler Casting

"I suffer from anxiety..."

"I suffer from anxiety, and for the most part, I function 'normally' without medication. But there are days I feel so weighted down by worry and fear, that I want to do nothing but stay in bed where I can avoid pain and heartache. 

"A part of our Gospel belief is that trials are a part of this earthly life. We believe those trials are to help us grow as individuals and help us grow closer to our Heavenly Father. We knew when we chose to come down to earth, as part of the Plan of Salvation, that we would face hardships and challenges–some that would try to break us—yet we bravely chose to come down. I believe this with all of my heart, but despite my belief, this is a concept that haunts me. 

"I often find myself going through day-to-day life waiting for the next trial to hit. I am sometimes afraid to let myself be truly happy or soak in the beautiful moments. There is a voice in the back of my mind quietly reminding me not to get too comfortable, be too happy, or love too fiercely because a new trial is bound to come soon. At times I let this fear overshadow all the good and the beauty that is in my life. 

"I have faith in my Heavenly Father—faith that He is guiding my life. I believe He is providing me with the best opportunities to learn and grow and become a better version of myself, but sometimes that faith is hard. It is hard to not feel afraid, or worry about what my little family is going to face. It is hard not be overcome with all that life brings. 

"We are getting ready to expand our little family again, but I have been struggling with this decision. Not because I don't want another sweet little one to lighten our lives, but because I fear for that little one. I fear for what their challenges may be, or what pain they may have to experience, and right now that fear is winning." 



If you're a follower of RLMW, or just a once-in-a-while casual reader, I'll bet you've thought, "I would like to share ___________________, but I can't write [or feel comfortable sharing, or not sure anyone will be interested, or what will others think of me, or a number of other reasons]." I am here to assure you all of these reasons can be dealt with.

If you don't write, send me your thoughts and I will work with you to compose an entry you will be pleased with.

If you're not comfortable sharing, do it anonymously.

I promise that whatever you are wanting to share, there is a reader who can identify with your thoughts and will appreciate reading them.

As for what others might think, you might be surprised with the fact others do not judge what's in RLMW, but they appreciate the courage it takes to share.

Check the right hand column of this page to see how easy it is to send in an entry.

I know I have readers, but I am lacking contributors. A couple more, and I'm out of posts. And if that's the case, okay then. I'll leave the blog up for others to glean from.  But it would sure be nice to keep adding to the pool that has been changing lives.

Thank you for supporting this blog. I am truly humbled to be part of it.

Let's be real,

"Different can be so good, but it can also be exhausting."

"I can’t make anyone else truly love or value me by trying to be what they want."


"I’m not my Mother. Our views, talents, triumphs, deficiencies and failings are very different. Different can be so good, but it can also be exhausting."

“I've been thinking lately about parenting ‘methods’ and advice..."

“I've been thinking lately about parenting ‘methods’ and advice.  These little two foot humans we birth can be intimidating, even to the most confident parent.  There are still times I look at my baby when she fusses and wonder, ‘What is it you want?’  In the night at 6am after being up for three hours, I ask that through tears.

“Even worse than wondering what it is your child wants, is a deeper confusion that lies to you saying, ‘You've messed your child up.  You're doing something wrong.’ Or, ‘If only you'd done this or that, then you and your child would be better off.’  

“I think that's part of the problem.  The assumption that BECAUSE my child is having a hard time, I must have done something WRONG. 

“I think of other moms I know and so many are bathed in feelings of self doubt, wondering if they are failing their children.  These are horrible feelings to carry and I don't believe they come from God. In my heart I feel and know that God honors mothers.  He so appreciates every sacrifice and effort that mothers make to bring children into the world and raise them. He doesn't look down on me as I rock my precious daughter at 3am and think, ‘If only you had followed Baby Wise methods more precisely, you wouldn't be in this mess.’  Rather I believe He looks at me with love and compassion—as a new mother, still healing, giving so much of herself to care for her daughter, His daughter too.  He knows I am doing what I can and that I love her. I believe that is what matters most to Him. I imagine He cares very little about whether I choose to follow this method or that.  Those methods are more for my sanity and have nothing of eternal significance in them.

“It's far too easy to be judgmental and critical of ourselves and of each other.  We often fall prey to thinking there's a right or wrong way to do things.  In very few cases there is a right or wrong way that applies to each and every family, each and every mother, each and every child.  No, in most cases, there are just options and we all get to choose.  We get to try.  We get to learn and we get to try again.  The last thing we need is to be hard on ourselves or hard on each other.

“So when you look at the mother with a child who is acting out, rather than thinking, ‘Oh, if only she would only do this or that,’ how about instead you extend her the same love and compassion that you yourself need in your own mothering.”

"I have two siblings who are so angry at each other..."

"I have two siblings who are so angry at each other, our family hasn't been in the same room together for more years that I can remember. As far as the eye can see, we'll never have a family photo, we'll never have a holiday together, and things will always be just a little bit broken among us. 

"They've both been so firmly planted in their position, it's no longer a contest to see who will outlast who, or who will bend first. I fear that they're stuck; atrophied in their pride. The mean feelings and hateful words have transcended generations by now, which hurts the rest of us—probably more than either of them are able to recognize."

"...I was told I had been forgiven...."

The atonement is REAL. 

Driving home from my parents late one night, I felt impressed to turn off my radio and drive in silence. My first thought was so I would be extra alert in case there was danger ahead. As I drove on, a voice entered my mind, much like I'd heard others experience before but never for myself, and as clear as day, fully aware it was not my personal thoughts, I was told I had been forgiven. 

I continually questioned the voice. Could it really be? And I was told over and over again for the remainder of my drive, "You have been forgiven."

After years of painful repentance, many tearful visits with the bishop, soul-searching appointments with a therapist, occasional times of slacking because I didn't feel worthy of forgiveness, pain stricken days with my heartbroken husband, and wondering so many times if I'd ever truly feel like the Lord has forgiven me...and it happened. Heavenly Father had granted me forgiveness for the affair I'd had. 

Never in my life had I thought I'd one day be the wife that had to sit her husband down professing my love for him, something I'd really only become acutely aware of after the indiscretion had been done, and confess that months earlier I had become involved with another man. 

The months I spent preparing for that night of confession were filled with so many emotions, but mostly fear. I was convinced he was going to leave me, or demand I leave. When I was faced with the realization that I could not live my life with this secret, and I would never want him to find out from anyone other than myself, I had to move forward, accepting that this may end us. 

That night the Lord was very much aware of my delicate heart, and the pain I was inflicting upon my husband. So much was destroyed that night, but I choose to focus on what was not lost. Our marriage.

My sweet husband decided within days that he didn't want a divorce, and he wanted to fix us. I thank the Lord every night for such a forgiving, even sympathetic, partner. I am constantly reminded by the Holy Spirit that my dear husband understands the atonement, and with that knowledge and so much more, he has been able to forgive me as well. 

The journey of forgiving myself has not reached its end, and I don't have a clue as to when it will. But, knowing my Father in Heaven has forgiven me gives me hope I may reach that internal relief soon. 

The atonement is REAL.

"It has been difficult for me to watch..."

In my own life I have learned I am TRULY not in charge. Sometimes it is hard to accept that all things are done on HIS timeline, not ours.

It has been difficult for me to watch my grown kids struggle with real life, serious issues. But a victory I have witnessed is that one of my daughters is finally able to marry the man of her dreams; and her son will have a dad who will take care of him. 

Something I would change in this world is the hatred people so often have for one another.