Let Go


“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”

Already Gone by Sleeping At Last

I found this version of Already Gone on YouTube tonight and it made me think about letting go. The song is so beautiful and makes my heart ache a little because I have had to learn to let go a lot in the past few years; whether that was parting ways with one of my best friends, the end of relationships, or changing my plan for my education and future career path. The truth of life is that sometimes we need to love someone else enough to let them go but more often we need to love ourselves enough to let go. At times we just need to let go of the need to control different aspects of our lives. Other times it’s the meticulously planned road map we once had for our lives. And yet other times we find ourselves needing to let go of pain and bitterness. The bottom line is that sometimes in life, we need to let go of things in order to reach our full potential.

There are going to be things that happen to each and every one of us that don’t seem fair. There will be times when we can’t help but fall to our knees are cry to the Heavens, “Why me!?” In those moments of weakness when we feel as though we cannot move on, when the weight of a fallen world seems to be on our shoulders… We must let go. We must let go and we must let God in, because in reality… Why not you? Our Heavenly Father knows what is best for each and every single one of His children and as we have the faith to let go and put our lives in His hands, we will find peace knowing we are on the right path. This does not mean that you won’t find yourself lost sometimes. What it does mean is that no matter what happens in your life, good OR bad, you are going to be alright.

In order for us to grow and to become all that we were meant to be, pain and trials are necessary. Pain is an interesting thing because it is something we fear so much, but yet it is an essential part of growing and being alive. Is there a purpose for pain and what does it tell us? If you think about it, pain has the ability to instill in us a feeling of hope. When we are enduring one of life’s trials and are able to see it as temporary, we develop a sense of hope for a brighter future. The pain we encounter in this life serves as a reminder that we are broken. We are imperfect and sometimes we need to endure some pain to realize that. Pain can also be a great motivator as we decide to be fighters instead of victims. Pain can be something that helps us to progress, but that is only if we choose to let it. It is up to us how we view each situation we find ourselves in.

Beach, Let GoIn Steven C. Hayes and Spencer Smith’s book Get out of Your Mind and Into Your Life, they say,

“People suffer. It’s not just that they have pain – suffering is much more than that. Human beings struggle with the forms of psychological pain they have: the difficult emotions and thoughts, other unpleasant memories, and their unwanted urges and sensations. They think about them, worry about them, resent them, anticipate and dread them.

At the same time, human beings demonstrate enormous courage, deep compassion, and the remarkable ability to move ahead even with the most difficult personal histories. Knowing they can be hurt, humans still love others. Knowing they will die, human still care about the future. Facing the draw of meaninglessness, humans still embrace ideals. At times, humans are fully alive, present, and committed.”

So what do we need to change in order to be “fully alive, present, and committed?” So often we sit as passive observers, rather than active possessors of our own lives. Making any change in your life requires action, especially when we are deciding to let go of something or someone and move on.

I really believe that the only way we can find that hope and healing through all the pains and suffering of this world is through our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ.  There will be times in life when the pain and the burdens are so overwhelming that we cannot carry them any longer. In those moments, we need, more than anything, to drop the burden, the pain, the heartache, the hurt, the unfairness, everything, at our Savior’s feet. We have to let it go. As we do this, the pain will be replaced with a peace that only our loving Savior can bring.

There is a poem written by Rev. Safire Rose titled “She Let Go,” that I found a few months ago.

She Let Go

“She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.Bird, Let Go

She let go of the fear.  She let go of the judgments.  She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.  She let go of the committee of indecision within her.  She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go.  She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go.  She let go of all of the memories that held her back.  She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.  She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.

No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.”

I love this poem bLet Go, Birdcageecause it portrays letting go as something that is beautiful, and it really is. When you choose to let go of something in your life, it needs to be a personal decision; it needs to be a matter of your soul. You need to want to move on in life more than you want to hold on to the past. For some people this is easier than for others, but it is still a struggle for most of us. Letting go and being humble enough to turn your life over to God really is one of the only ways we can find true happiness in the middle of the hardest trials of this life. It takes an immense amount of faith and trust to step into the unknown. These blind steps of faith are beyond difficult, but they have the potential to be some of the most rewarding. That is one of the reasons we are here on earth.  We need to live, to learn, and to grow and by letting go, we are enabling ourselves to do just that.

May we all have the courage to take the necessary steps to let go of the things that inhibit our progression in this life. May we feel the sweet peace and freedom that comes as the heavy weight of pain, weakness, trial, whatever it may be that is holding us back is lifted from our shoulders. I know that by letting go of the things that hold us back, we will find new life and happiness surpassing anything we could have ever before imagined. We must learn to let go and let God.


Money, Money, Money: How Can We Manage It Better?


Leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have counseled church members for decades to live within their means, to manage their money wisely and to stay out of debt. Carl Sandburg said, “Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.” So why are these influential men so concerned with money? People always talk about how you need to manage your money, but why is money management so important to our lives? How can we better manage our money?

Elder Marvin J. Ashton wrote in One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance, “How important are money management and finances in marriage and family affairs? Tremendously. The American Bar Association recently indicated that 89 percent of all divorces could be traced to quarrels and accusations over money. Others have estimated that 75 percent of all divorces result from clashes over finances. Some professional counselors indicated that four out of five families are strapped with serious money problems.”

With such a high percentage of marriages ending in divorce as a result of money arguments and accusations, we need to do everything in our power to develop and implement wise money management skills in our lives. This is something that anyone is capable of doing.

There are many ways we can learn to better manage our money. First, I would like to share with you 7 steps to take control of your money. These are what Dave Ramsey calls “The 7 Baby Steps


  1. $1,000 to Start an Emergency Fund
    • An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life you can’t plan for. Whether there’s a plumbing issue and everything but the kitchen sink is draining, or your brakes are squealing at every stop sign, you can be ready!
  2. Pay Off All Debt but the House
    • List all debts but the house in order. The smallest balance should be your number one priority. Don’t worry about interest rates unless two debts have similar payoffs. If that’s the case, then list the higher interest rate debt first.
  3. 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in Savings
    • This step is all about building a full emergency fund. It’s time to kick debt for good, with 3–6 months’ worth of emergency savings. Sit down and calculate how much you need to live on for 3–6 months (for most, that’s between $10,000 and $15,000), and start saving to protect yourself against life’s bigger surprises. You’ll never be in debt again—no matter what comes your way.
  4. Invest 15% of Household Income Into Retirement
    • Now it’s time to get serious about retirement. With no payments and a full emergency fund, put 15% toward the retirement of your dreams. Between your 401(k), Roth IRA, and Traditional IRA, you have a lot of options. Find the fit that is right for you. The money you were using to attack debt can now help build your future.
  5. College Funding for Children
    • By Step 5, you’ve paid off all debts but the house, and you’ve started your retirement savings. Now it’s time to save for your kids’ college expenses. College tuitions and housing expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.
  6. Pay Off Home Early
    • There’s only one more debt standing in the way of freedom from all debt—paying off the mortgage. Baby Step 6 is the big one! Can you imagine life with no house payment?
  7. Build Wealth and Give
    • This is the last step and, by far, the most fun. It’s time to live and give like no one else! Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations. You know what people with no debt and no payments can do? Anything they want! And it’s all because you had discipline for a few years. Now that’s leaving a legacy.

I really like these steps because managing your money can be a terrifying task, but when we break it down into smaller goals, or steps, it becomes much more attainable.

I am the kind of person who really likes being prepared. I was home for Christmas one year and I decided to have my dad teach me to drive a stick shift car. It was terrifying and amazing all at the same time! Now, as fun as it is (there’s just something about having that control of the car…), the real reason I wanted to learn was so I could be prepared. I had dated a guy the semester before that in college who drove a stick shift car. One day near the end of that relationship, it hit me that if something were to happen, maybe for example, we were out hiking and he sprained his ankle, or anything where it’s not an emergency, but he wouldn’t be able to drive home, I would have been unable and we would be stuck. The thought of being stuck in that situation with no way to get out terrified me.

This is why I love these 7 Baby Steps. The first and most important step is to set up an emergency fund so that you are prepared for minor road bumps. Because you are prepared, you can get yourself out of those situations. In my scenario, if I wasn’t prepared and that guy wasn’t able to drive home, I would have had to call someone to come pick us up. That would be money wasted on gas, and a lot of time wasted waiting for someone to come. If we aren’t prepared for financial road bumps, it will cost us even more money. You end up having to ask for help, take out a loan, or accumulate large credit card debts and you end up spending far more money than necessary with interest. In contrast, when we are prepared with an emergency fund, those minor road bumps don’t have to be devastating. Because I am prepared with my knowledge of driving stick, rather than having to go to others for help if I was stuck somewhere and needed to drive, I would be able to get out of that situation. Being prepared financially will save you a LOT of stress and unnecessary problems in the end.

Money doesn’t need to be something that holds us back. Money can empower us, but in order for that to happen, we need to be in charge of our money.

Now that we have our goals, The Baby Steps, how do we get there?

This brings me to what Dave Ramsey calls, “The dreaded ‘B’ word. Budget.” He goes on to say, “The other word that starts with ‘B’ that might generate a worse reaction in most people is the word bankruptcy.” The majority of households in the US  don’t have a budget. A Deseret News article says, “For many Americans, however, budgeting is not a strong point. A new poll by Gallup says nearly one in three Americans (32 percent) prepare a “detailed written or computerized household budget” every month. The flip side means that more than two-thirds do not make a budget.”

There are many reasons people don’t budget. Some people fear what they’ll find, some feel like they’ll be tied down with a budget, some just don’t think they have the time. In reality, a budget is simply a plan that helps you spend your money with intention. Doing this will liberate you and give you more freedom. You create your own budget, if you’re married this needs to happen with your spouse, and then you live the budget. The point is to know where your money is going so that you can make adjustments where needed.

If you are married, having a budget can save a lot of guilt and even prevent arguments related to finances. If you both agree that she gets $100 a month to spend shopping for clothes, then guess what… she gets to spend $100 on clothes! Or if you budget $100 for them to go to sporting events, then guess what… they can spend $100 going to sporting events! Once you have agreed upon things in the budget and you know it will work with your income, you are relieved from guilt associated with overspending, and you avoid arguments because your spouse has already agreed that the money will be spent on a certain thing. The hard part is that once you decide on a budget, you have to live within it.

Your budget is something that is ever changing. The down side is that you need to sit down each and every month to modify it because every month brings different expenses. The bright side is that once you have a budget in place, minor tweaks each month won’t take much effort. To get you started, here are some of Dave Ramsey’s pointers on budgeting:

  • Give it three to four months to start working. It won’t be perfect the first time you do it.
  • Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.
  • Over-fund your groceries category. Most people underfund that category. (This is so true! Learned this the hard way with my budget.)
  • Husbands (if applicable) need to loosen up and quit using the budget as a whipping tool on their wives.
  • If married, spouses need to do the budget together. The preacher said “… and you are ONE.”

When he says “spend every dime on paper before the month begins” that doesn’t mean you have $200 left over and Dave Ramsey said you had to spend it so you go and blow it on those surround sound speakers you’ve been wanting. This means that you allot every dime to something. Don’t forget to pay yourself each month (savings)!!

Money management is hard. That’s just the reality of it, but it is so worth it. Being in control of your finances will liberate you. Heber J. Grant once said, “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.”

Make the commitment today to change your life! Change is scary, but I promise, along with many others that it will be worth it.

More Information:

I have really enjoyed the Mint app on my phone for budgeting. If you’re interested, check it out here: Mint: Money Manager. There are also some really neat things you can do on Excel for budgeting. Find what works best for you!

For more information on the 7 Baby Steps or other tips from Dave Ramsey, check out his website by clicking on the following link: Dave Ramsey

To read more from One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance, follow this link: One for the Money

The Deseret News article I referenced can be found here: New Gallup poll shows two-thirds of Americans do not budget

The actual study can be found here: One in Three Americans Prepare a Detailed Household Budget

Dating: What makes us date who we date?


There are many factors that contribute to who we date. From physical attractiveness, to availability, to religious views, to personality, and much more!

Marriage and Family: The Quest for Intimacy by Laurer and Laurer says that “Propinquity, nearness in place, is a major factor in finding intimate possibilities. We tend to like people who live near us or who are close to us in some setting and at least some of them are likely to be candidates for an intimate relationship.”  It makes sense; we date people we are close to.

Along with propinquity, “physical appearance is one of the important factors in interpersonal attraction that social scientists have studied. Similarity is another important factor. This can explain a lot as to why dating and marriage is so common at schools like BYU and BYU-Idaho. When you put a bunch of young adults who are similar in their morals and beliefs in the same area, you have the recipe for relationships.

Dating is such an important step in preparing young people for serious relationships and eventually marriage.

Mindfulness is defined as “a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them.” This is vital. Dating should not be something we take lightly. You are preparing yourself to make one of the single most important choices of your entire life! It will affect everything! Please be there. Be aware. Be attentive. 

I’m going to address the men first. Take charge of your dating life! If you want a relationship that is going to progress towards marriage, it is important that you are mindful. When asked what constitutes as a date, many people say something along the lines of, “A “date” must pass the test of three p’s: (1) planned ahead, (2) paid for, and (3) paired off.” In the LDS church, we are taught that a father’s role also constitutes of three p’s: (1) Preside, (2) Provide, and (3) protect. I want to suggest that these six p’s are connected in the following way:

            Dating   —  Fatherhood

  • Planned  —  Preside
  • Paid For  —  Provide
  • Paired Off — Protect

As we date, men practice presiding by taking initiative and planning dates. Men learn how to provide by paying for dates. As couples are paired off for a night out, men consciously or not, take responsibility for the woman. Doing things like walking her home when it’s dark, making sure she gets into her apartment safely, etc. are preparing a man to be the protector in his future marriage and family. Don’t short change yourself. Now is the time to prepare to be the kind of husband and father you want to be.

Now to the women. It’s not as straightforward as with the fathers, but Planning, Paying for, and Pairing off are all related to your divine role as the nurturer in your future family. You will need to plan activities with a spouse, and most likely for children eventually. You may need to find a way to help the family out financially, and there’s a very good chance you’ll be helping out with the family budgeting. As you take part in planning dates, making sure they are paid for and pairing off, you are preparing to become a wife and mother.

How Do You Know Who to Date and Eventually Marry?

Knowing who you want to marry can be a difficult task! I cannot say how you will “know” but I can suggest three things that contribute to knowing that outlined by John Van Epp PhD, President/Founder of Love Thinks, LLC who is the author of How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk. The “Know-Quo” a La J. Van Epp

  1. Talk (mutual self-disclosure)
  2. Togetherness (sharing a wide range of activities)
  3. Time

These three things are what contribute to knowing who we will date and eventually marry.

Dating is such a wonderful way that we get to learn about others, but more importantly ourselves. It is fun, it is exciting, it can be hard, it can be frustrating, but it is worth it! Preparing is vital! Let me also caution that your priorities will play a huge role in your life, especially in dating and marriage. Put God first ALWAYS and as we put Him first, he will bless us. When you have a common goal in any relationship, it will bring you together and it will bring you eternal happiness.


The Transgender Movement Is Much Larger Than An Issue of Acceptance

gender-symbolsTake a few minutes to read the article attached below. It provides some vital insights into an issue that is very prominent in our lives today. This is something that will affect our entire nation. More importantly, it is something that will affect the family.

This is something that is too close to my heart and what I believe and stand for to not say something. The entire transgender social movement is not a matter of accepting people at all. It is a matter of where we came from and who we are as human beings. I believe that our sex is God given, that you have a loving Heavenly Father who created the beautiful body and soul that you have. I personally feel that to disregard who and what He made you is to disrespect God saying that He is imperfect and capable of making mistakes-which He is NOT. Yes, some men are more “feminine” than others, some women are more of “tomboys,” but that does not change your anatomy, or who God made you. It is okay to be different! Differences are what make human beings so beautiful and what make the world go round. We could never accomplish anything without differences in people, but just because you are different from most people of your sex does not mean you are the opposite sex. A man cannot become a woman, nor a woman become a man. It just cannot happen. You can pretend all you want, you can distort your body however you want, but that cannot EVER change the God given sex that make up your body and soul.

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and as a church we firmly believe that gender (Male and Female) is part of an eternal identity and that doctrine will never change.

Food for thought from the attached article:

“However, if the “transgender” soul exists, then souls exist, then an immaterial spiritual dimension exists, then God exists. And if God exists, He created us. And if God exists and created us, then He is both all powerful and omnipotent. And if he is both all powerful and omnipotent then it is impossible for Him to accidentally put a soul in the “wrong” body. Impossible. It cannot happen.”

Warning: The attached article is pretty bold, and could definitely be more considerate in areas, but I think some of the author’s final points, such as the one quotes above are pretty insightful.


What are those who do not agree with things such as same-gender marriage and transgender people changing their bodies to do?

Now, there is so much that we cannot fully comprehend about people who struggle with their sexuality unless we have been through it ourselves. To clarify, I do not pretend to understand the struggle they go through because I can personally only imagine. I can however empathize with the feeling of not belonging. I do not feel the need to go into details here, but I think many of us have felt like we don’t fit in at some point in our lives in whatever situation it may have been.


The most important thing to do when dealing with the transgender movement is to focus on Christ-like love and compassion. There is a lot of confusion that comes when people feel like they do not fit in to existing gender roles. They are trying to understand who they are, as we all do in one way or another in our lives (whether that’s with one’s gender, what school to attend, where you stand on an important topic, what career you will pursue, etc.).  No matter what people choose to do in this life, whether or not we agree with it, we should show Christ-like love to them, especially those who are going through struggles with their identity. That is the way of Christ, and that is the way of an accepting culture. However, being accepting does not mean we should stand back when things arise that are far more serious than people seem to think. I cannot even begin to imagine the effect this transgender movement will have on society, especially families. What about the children of transgender people? I am sure that this it not something often considered. Children are the future of our society, our country, our world. What are the long term effects on them? What are the long term effects on society?

You see, we just don’t know the effects. What I can tell you is that I am afraid. I am afraid of the far reaching consequences that people don’t think about. I am afraid for the future of a society of people who are forced to agree with change or be told they are being judgmental and close-minded. I am afraid for the children who will grow up in a time when anything and everything is accepted out of fear. I only pray that we will ponder the consequences of what is happening in the world right now. I pray for the families of those struggling with their gender and their identity. I pray for understanding.

Understanding Family Dynamics & Theories

Notes on Family Systems Theory

Families are vital for our development as human beings. It is common knowledge that a baby needs someone to care for him or her, a child needs someone to teach them basic skills, teenagers need advice with friends or *gasp* dating. It is usually easier to understand someone when you are able to look at their family. This is the basis of the family systems theory.

The family systems theory is a theory that suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit. 

In this theory, there are some basic assumptions:

  • The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. A family is much more than a collection of individuals who live together and are related to each other it has holistic quality.
  • The locus of pathology is not within the person but is a system dysfunction. Systems theory requires a paradigm shift in the way we think about the world. Locus of pathology is the location of the problem, is not within the person. Rather than saying that an individual has a disease, we say that the system of which he or she is a part is dysfunctional.
  • Circular causality guides behavior. With causality the focus is on content. The idea that with human social interaction there are a number of forces moving in many directions simultaneously. It is all about process.
  • Rules result from the redundancy principle and are critical in defining a family. Families cannot have an infinite reservoir of possible behavioral responses for every situation, so a few are selected and used over and over. This is the redundancy principle, which results in family rules.
  • Feedback loops guide behavior. A family system corrects itself or tries to regain homeostasis through the use of feedback loops. Negative feedback occurs when a family member begins to move outside the accepted limits of family behavior and others enact corrective measures to get that member back in line. Positive feedback is a rewarding response for the deviation. In this case, the person is encouraged to break out of the homeostatic balance.
  • Pathological communication contributes to relationship problems. Pathological communication refers to the various kinds of unclear and confusing ways of relating, which can cause problems in a relationship.
  • All family members take on roles. Family roles are defined as “recurring patterns of behavior developed through interaction that family members use to fulfill family functions.”
  • Family types are based on the rigidity of family boundaries. Some researchers have identified three basic family types based on the rigidity of family boundaries and rules.
    • Open families are basically democratic, and the rights of individuals are protected and interactions with outsiders are permitted. There is also consensus and flexibility, and family members are bound together by love and respect. This is often called mutuality, and healthy children and patterns of interactions are common in these families.
    • Random families have no boundaries; few rules exist about defending the “family’s territory.” The members are seen as disengaged, and their commitments to and investments in the family are transitory. Children often see this level of freedom as a sign of lack of love and concern from their parents, and social problems are common.
    • Closed families are where family members are enmeshed or overly involved in each others’ lives. Individual identities are not allowed, and family boundaries close off much of the outside world. Such families might value privacy, even secretiveness, and limit exposure to media or other external influences. Cannot think or function on their own behalf.

Social Trends and the Family

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Myths About Family Life

There are many myths when it comes to families. Some of these myths are that:

  • We’ve lost the extended family
  • Opposites attract
  • People marry because they love each other
  • Having children increases marital satisfaction
  • A good sex life is the best predictor of marital satisfaction
  • Half of marriages end in divorce

Today I want to touch on the last myth; half of marriages end in divorce.

“Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce.” I am sure that many of you have heard this statement, but hopefully you have also heard that this statement is inaccurate.

“Millions of Americans, including many professionals, assert that half of all marriages will fail. The statistic causes many people anxiety as they contemplate marriage. Ironically the statistic isn’t true.”

Predicting failure rates is very complex. You cannot just take the number of marriages per year and the number of divorces to get the statistic because there are still many couples who were married prior to the year in question that stay married. And then there are many who are single now because they were divorced in previous years. In order to get a better statistic, you’d have to use statistics from people who have died and see if they were ever divorced. It’s also important to take into account the different factors that affect marriages such as social background, education, income, religion, etc.

“If you have a fairly good education (some college or more) and a good income, come from an intact family, have a religious affiliation, and marry after the age of 25 without having a baby before marrying, your chances of divorce are very low indeed (National Marriage Project 2009:80).”

I think this is very important for young people to understand. Maybe we fall short in one of these areas, maybe we don’t come from an intact family, but the chances for having a successful marriage are high. Marriage requires selflessness, hard work, commitment, trust, humility, time and a lot of patience, but anyone is capable of having a happy and successful marriage.

Family Relations – Fellow Bloggers

Here are links to other blogs by people who were in my family relations class: