Tuesday, February 2, 2021

While My Brother Sleeps


When her city is captured by her sworn enemies, the last thing Keziah expected was to battle feelings of forbidden love for the military captain of the Lamanite army. 

Along with the pain the Lamanites had caused her people for generations, Keziah had a mark of hatred burned inside her heart for intimate reason. 

They were the Blood Hunters.

Follow along as she learns lessons from her ancestors of courage, love, forgiveness, and fighting for what she truly believes in.

I am CRAZY EXCITED to finally share with everyone my new book, WHILE MY BROTHER SLEEPS.
I love you all and I am so, so grateful for all of your support.

Click HERE to order my book from Amazon!!
Or HERE for the eBook!

Romeo and Juliet melts into the Book of Mormon, turning classic scripture stories into something that breathes with a warm, beating heart.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Mother of Man

We have stretched ourselves through April and have finally made it to the month of May, friends. And with Mother’s Day on the horizon, I find my mind wandering through more of the universe’s great mysteries and once again pouring my thoughts onto paper… er… typing on digital paper I guess.

Below are the lyrics to the children’s hymn our ward primary sang last year for Mother’s Day:

Words: Phyllis Luch, Music: Jeanne P. Lawler

My mother taught me to love the Earth. She taught me to climb a mountain and yell into the sky once I reach the top. She taught me how to be still as my eyes soak up the scenery of an open valley. She taught me to walk beside a river and listen as it whispers wisdom to overcome my life’s challenges.

As I’ve grown older and allowed layers and layers of life to wrap around me like a flavored onion, the wild “earth child” inside has shrank deeper underneath those layers. The young tomboy who once spent her day climbing trees and wrapping herself in the tossing ocean waves now spends her day consumed in house projects and wrapped in sweatshirts because it’s simply too cold to go outside… I once buried my little body under the dirty beach sand and reached out on floating logs to catch water snakes, now I bury myself in excuses for why I don't have time to go hiking and reach out instead for my phone to check my texts.

I'm getting better though.  The seed of love my mother planted inside of my soul towards Mother Nature has begun sprouting again. And I’m noticing that as I now consciously strive to give the Earth my undivided attention, she has reached out and pulled me back into her welcoming arms. 

For this post I wanted to focus on HER and here is what I’ve discovered as I’ve sought out who Mother Nature really is.

The word NATURE is “to give birth”. How appropriate to give such a name to that which creates, is mothering, and nurturing!

When I inhale the pure air of the forest, my heart inhales pure healing, and my spirit inhales pure heaven.  I’m drawn closer to God inside of her quiet peace.

The hymn says it best as the lyrics to ALL CREATURES OF OUR GOD AND KING encourage:

Dear Mother Earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way, 
Alleluia! Alleluia!
The Flow'rs and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them his glory also show,
Alleluia!  Alleluia!

As I ponder of Mother Nature and her connection to the Savior, my grasp of His atonement expands into a new dimension. I think back to the New Testament where Christ goes sorrowfully into the Garden of Gethsemane.

As his closest friends lay fast asleep and left him alone to suffer for the sins of the world, there was one who did not abandon Him. Mother Earth was there and supported Him during His pain. Through the blades of grass beneath Him and the fists of dirt He may have clung to, He was not alone.  

I have always wondered what it would be like to meet someone like John the Beloved and picture myself overwhelming him with questions about what it was like to walk with Christ. I’d ask about His personality, His mannerisms, if He did indeed smile all of the time the way I have always imagined...

Yet the thought recently sank in deeply and hit me that SHE knows Him. She lifted Him across the water with every step that He took and obeyed as He hushed her stormy breath. She listened to every sermon, watched every miracle, and knew what no one else knew as he knelt and cried in agony, “if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”

From the moment of her birth when the Earth opened her eyes, it was His face, her creator, that she saw first. A loving bond that I believe we mortals are incapable of fully understanding in this life.  

If we take a step outside of our front door, we are surrounded by the one who witnessed it all. And I believe if we reach out and ask, she will draw us closer to Him.

The earth considers us her children. The Mother of Man. Enveloped in that same heavenly love, she is the womb we develop in before our birth into immortality.

I’ve always believed that if I make it to heaven I would race directly over to the Holy Ghost and give him the biggest embrace (Is He huggable in heaven??? IDK) and thank Him for always being there and getting me through this crazy, wonderful, confusing life. I am now realizing that she has always been there with me too… watching silently with the greatest of wisdom, just waiting to be given permission to teach.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

You Are Never Alone Alone

Wow!  What a week, yeah?  

This virus has made me feel like I'm living through one of those end of the world apocalypse films . . .  Which has totally been on my mind lately.  I feel like I've been having lots of subconsciously complicated zombie dreams throughout the month.  And I have no idea what it means . . .

As we all awkwardly stretch through these growing pains of adjusting to a new normal, I wanted to share a thought or two about our new church-from-home studies.

I was so cheerful as the church announced suspending member gatherings on the sabbath.  Looking through my faith lense, it is so remarkable seeing the Lord's preparation as the church implemented the Come Follow Me home study manuals through the last year and a half.  Thinking of God's love and President Nelson's inspiration, the heart of my testimony doubled in size the day of the announcement.

But then my emotions started to shift as I read reactions from members excited for their new family sabbath study plans and received an email from our bishop stating that priesthood holders may now perform the sacrament ordinance in their homes each week.  As everything became real, things really struck a nerve for me and my unique situation.

In our mixed faith marriage there are a lot of great days.  Mitch and I have never been closer and there's nothing that I love more than having deep, connecting conversations with him about life's big mysteries.  But we both have acknowledged that every now and then one of us will have a dark day where the weight of our differences piles on our shoulders.  

Just a week ago I was having one of these days and I remember telling Mitch how I was experiencing this weird loneliness at home feeling "alone" in my beliefs.  Each Sunday in my ward I was given that rejuvenation being surrounded by others who shared a common faith.  It helped me charge my batteries.  

After the church cancellation announcement was made (obviously) those feelings amplified.  The thought of that "alone" feeling ignited my emotions again and I realized as we remain home and my personal study each week becomes solo I would be, quite literally, alone in my religion.
But after a while a single thought brought me peace and rested my worries.  I thought of Moroni.  

In high school I still remember well the year we studied the Book of Mormon in seminary.  When we reached the lesson where we learn of Moroni being hunted by the Lamanites who spent years wandering through the wilderness alone, my wonderful teacher, Sister Caldwell, assigned each student to their own, individual classroom and made us quietly study our lesson in solitary to understand the isolation Moroni had to experience.  

He was someone who knew what it was like to be alone in his faith.  And that thought is giving me the strength and the spiritual energy to press on . . .  at least to make it to our next general conference. πŸ˜‰ And Moroni is now the popping picture background to my phone gracefully reminding me that I am not alone. 

. . . and a constant reminder of my uncomfortable Angel Moroni zombie dream 🀦‍♀️

But I also had to remind myself that, no, I am not alone.  And I realize that there are a lot of church members out there in similar circumstances to mine which Moroni didn't have.  And I have the internet which Moroni also didn't have.  

So as part of my "personal study" on my sabbath days I am really hoping to post a spiritual topic on instagram that I would love, love, LOVE participation from each of you.  You can all be my virtual Sunday school buddies and we can lift each other up from our individual, lonely wildernesses.  


Thursday, December 5, 2019


I’m diving deep today.  Ocean deep…

As I fall to my knees every night there is this cemented truth inside of me that a Heavenly Father is listening.  I am His daughter.  And I realize that the overwhelming love I feel pouring down from heaven is only a tiny portion of the unimaginable grace He truly has for each one of his children.

This had always pacified me.

… And then I became a mother.

It doesn’t take an expert to convince anyone that a mother’s love for her child is an incommunicable, astronomical power that overflows from the heart-organ like the broom-filled fountain of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.  

It was Elder Jeffery R Holland who said, ““No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for Her child.”

A spiritual stirring began inside of me and I wrestled with the understanding that if the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children and the home is patterned after the heavenly dwelling of our Divine Parents, why does my spirit lack that motherly-connection?

I knew that I had a Mother in Heaven, and I’ve been taught that She loves me, but I genuinely could not feel that love.  If you spend a lifetime listening on a phone-line conversation of your dad telling you, “I’ll tell Mom you said ‘Hi’.  She wants you to know she loves you too.”, could one be blamed for feeling so disconnected?

Now, as I sit and picture God I see a protector, a teacher, full of wisdom, cautioning me, wanting me to succeed, being patient when I fail, and strengthening me to pull myself back up again.

All of these loving traits have reflected in my relationship with my earthly father as well.  I remember going off to college and calling my dad almost daily, excited to tell him about my day and sometimes in tears venting to him about my challenges.  I truly needed him as I skipped and twirled (and sometimes stumbled) through that chapter of my life.

BUT...  There have been other times when I have just needed my MOM. 

It was interesting to me as I recently read Joseph Smith’s record of the First Vision.  After the most incredible experience a mortal could possibly be exposed to, seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ, the first person that young Joseph turned to was his mother.

I feel that a lot of people have a very different, but JUST AS STRONG relationship with their mothers.  I couldn’t grasp the idea that my Heavenly Mother wanted to silently watch me journey through this life without Her influence too.

So, I have spent months and months and MONTHS on this spiritual quest, trying to interpret this beautiful mystery.  It has been a sacred, wonderful, exhausting experience.  And after searching and studying, fasting and praying, attending the temple and meditating, and searching for answers from friends I trust, I finally feel ready and EXCITED to share how far I have come!  

I can now truly say with an honest heart that She knows me, She loves me, and She wants to see me succeed and to be a part of my earthly journey.  My bond with Her has never been stronger.

When I first desired to do this I felt so, so lost.  Spiritual leaders have guided church members to follow the example of Jesus Christ and only pray to the Father.  There are hardly any scriptures or manual lessons that teach in depth about Heavenly Mother and the church culture itself has adopted the taboo that She is not to be spoken of at all.

I even noticed this among the friends that I tried to open up to.  I would say about a third of the people were excited and passionate to discuss the subject, one third had truly never considered my questions, and the rest kind of… pretended they didn’t see my question I messaged them…

“… Sorry, I’m going through a tunnel…”   It’s cool.  I get it πŸ˜‰

My first piece of advice would be to THINK about it, TALK about it, and HUNGER for MORE answers!!!  I was so relieved to find while researching that the sacred silence people tend to gravitate towards isn’t doctrine!  It was a recorded opinion of a seminary teacher that many have embraced over the years.*

Because of the lack of material we have, my second recommendation is to heavily rely on personal revelation!  

President Nelson gave the BEST ADVICE in his 2018 General Conference talk on personal revelation:

“Through the manifestations of the Holy Ghost, the Lord will assist us in all our righteous pursuits.”**

As I’ve quietly and prayerfully sat down to write, as the prophet has encouraged, these are some of the inspirational thoughts that I have recorded:

  • Focusing on the simple that I already know to be true makes things clearer and unclouded.
  • Look at your children and measure your love for them.  If you are able to feel the love of your Heavenly Father, just imagine what SHE feels for you.
  • Develop Her attributes and find them through the women and friendships around you
  • Feel the Savior’s love in your life and put in an extra effort to keep HIM in the foremost front of your thoughts. 
  • Meditate for Her.  Take time and find a quiet place alone.  Dive into your art: writing, drawing, music, etc
  • It will all be shown to you in time.
  • Continue seeking that which uplifts God and the Savior.   
    • I think this is so key!  As I ponder this mystery, it’s easy for feelings of frustration to naturally occur because of the lack of attention Heavenly Mother receives.  If I’m ever reading material where the writer is venting and throwing out those injustice vibes, I have to stop myself.  My Heavenly Parents are one in heart and purpose, and my objective while learning of Her is to help bring myself closer to God, not draw away from Him.
  • Turn to the women in my life that I admire most and learn from them.

Here is what I have discovered as I have asked some of the cherished women around me, in all different walks of life and faith, what they do to strengthen their relationship with Heavenly Mother or with their version of a feminine universal figure.

  • I believe her to be all the women strength I admire wrapped into one of perfection.  As we come to know our Savior, we come to know her better.
  • We can pass down spiritual gifts to our children.  In 2 Timothy 1 it talks about how Timothy was passed down the spiritual gift of faith from his grandmother and his mother and then he had very strong faith…. Just recognizing the women in our lives and the influence they have on us can help us have a stronger pull and connection with our Heavenly Mother.
  • Women in this life tend to have extra special help from Heaven in many things.  Wouldn’t it make sense that that is influenced by a heavenly, feminine figure?  
  • Draw closer to the Savior to draw closer to Her.
  • Strengthen my relationship with my own mother as well as grandmothers and learn more about my great-grandmothers.
  • I've been content (well, more than content...in awe really) with a relationship with my Father in Heaven and with Jesus Christ, but when I stopped to give it some thought, I felt a lot of love.  As moms we all know that our children are everything to us.  I'm sure it's the same (a million times over).  Cool to think of that love and an additional set of arms to welcome us home!  

 I love the quote from Glen L. Pace that says, “Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your Heavenly Parents in those royal courts on high and you look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any questions you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich, celestial air because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny.”

Learning of my Heavenly Mother has been such a rich journey.  As She makes Her way into to the center of my thoughts, I find myself gleefully asking Where was She? 

Where was She standing when we all rejoiced in heaven as we were presented with the great Plan of Happiness?  
Where was She when Adam and Eve confessed they had partaken of the forbidden fruit?  
Where was She as Her Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, suffered for the sins of the world?  
Where was She when Joseph Smith knelt in a grove of trees in search of spiritual answers?

Because of this spiritual journey, my love and understanding for this great and eternal plan becomes more whole.  I have been given another flawless role model to strive to live my life to become.  It has helped me to love myself more and has fueled me to help others around me feel that love as well.

As I’ve put together this post I have spent a lot of time searching through my journals.  I’ll conclude with this entry: 
“I was rocking Skye to sleep in the dark, staring at her adoringly and evaluated my love that I have for her.  I sat in awe and became overcome with my emotions.  It was then that a peaceful thought entered my mind… “This… This is how I can talk with you.”

Sunday, September 1, 2019

"Come and See"

I was at the beach months ago when I received word of one of my very dear relatives discovering unfortunate, life-changing news about her health.  We had grown up close in age with only a few weeks separating us at birth.  And as I walked alone, staring out at the mystical ocean and inhaling the stuffy, salty air, my naive mentality that life goes on and on dramatically melted away.  None of us are invincible.  And this life is truly the only chance we have to live.

I reflected on the news and mirrored her struggles into a different version of my life, wondering if I would be able to handle this trial as gracefully and courageously as she was doing.  Whether I live to be 32 or 102, I realized that everyone of us will eventually have to take a final living breath.  I pondered, in that last breath for me, will the taste on my tongue be a sweet sensation of contentment or a choking bitterness of regret?

Because of this turning moment, and the amplified intake of BrenΓ© Brown books on vulnerability, I have challenged myself to have a bold, exciting year with an extra dose of courage.  I’ve tried to truly embrace the blessings I’ve been given and focused on saying yes to things that have held me back by fear in the past.  From committing to a bleached pixie-cut to hitting an open mic on comedy night, it’s been a bucket-list roller coaster thrill for me.

In the bridge of my absolute favorite song, Omnia Sol, the lyrics go, “Let courage be your ore.  Let passion be your sail.”  Such beautiful words that ring truth have brought a new, unseen strength into my life.

So…. There’s the back story behind today’s post.


I was discussing some important life matters with the Big Guy the other day and had a distinct impression to flip open the latest general conference talks and read President Utchdorf’s recent address.  The words confidence, courage, and humility caught my attention and I knew whatever his message was, I needed to act on it.  What was the subject on, you ask?  Missionary work.  And oh gosh.  Missionary work.  

I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, or if it’s just my current season of life, but missionary work is my Achilles Heel in the church.  I gave a high school friend of mine a Book of Mormon once and it was just so awkward.  Even as I write this post my negative thoughts are wrestling inside of me and whispering, “Some of your close loved ones have separated themselves from the church.  What right do you have to bring your religion to others when your own family has taken a different path?”  Ouch, demons… Ouch.

But you know what, Universe?  I have one life to live!  Brene Brown is my spirit animal.  Dieter F Utchdorf is my spirit’s spirit animal.  And I look like Tinker Bell and Draco Malfoy had a baby.  So, being vulnerable and valiant is wonderfully and exactly where my heart desires to be right now!

The missionary attempt…

I could sit here and preach to you about religion.  But I’ve read about Nephi.  Every time he tried being a missionary to his brothers, it seems he usually ended up bound with cords or beat with a stick.  The times when his family truly were converted were through acts of God: Angels, being electrocuted, and magnificent ocean storms.  So, I’m gonna leave that part to Him.  The religion itself is between you and the Holy Ghost.  

All I want to share is how my heart is feeling right now.

We are all dropped into this life when we are born: naked, helpless, afraid, cold, and lost.  Our entire existence is an unfinished puzzle with missing pieces.

If the spirits embedded inside of us are all blinded by the unknown, we instinctively reach out scrambling for a lifeline, for something to help us understand who we are, where we are, and where we might be going.  

Here is what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has done for me:

My soul has reached into the darkness and grabbed hold of something.  Something warm that soothes my shivering.  It feels strong enough to shield me from what danger might linger in this unknown.  And it’s leading me to a place my heart trusts and is beckoning me to go.  Above all, I feel like if I squint just right, it has helped my eyes begin to adjust to the blackness and notice the light.

To me, for my unfinished puzzle, I see it as truth.

If you were more curious about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and all the unique things that make us us, you can ask the missionaries, visit churchofjesuschrist.org, pm me if you’d like, or better yet come and see. 

And to everyone else, I hope you can trust that I am truly in the best place for me and at peace in my heart.  And wherever you are, however your lifestyle or spirituality may differ from mine, I trust you and know you may feel that too in your own way.  And I wish you the best.

Here’s to courage and vulnerability, to unfinished puzzles and finding peace, to taking our last breath joyfully and discovering the beautiful truth that follows after.

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