What Every Parent Needs to Know:

For the past month our Retreat has been reaching out to teens and we have uncovered something every parent needs to hear.

Teens have been sharing the big pressures they feel. The list includes pressure to excel in school, having friends, concerns about dating/sex, image, body image drugs… the list goes on. We have also been asking the teens to pinpoint what helps them get through the pressure. They have shared things like having self esteem, hanging out with friends that make good decisions, finding fun activities to fill their time, but the biggest solution we have seen written over and over is

“it would help if I could talk to my parents about this stuff”

Sometimes parents don’t know how to start the conversations, or worry that your kids aren’t paying attention anyway. Talk to your kids. They are listening! They are craving your leadership and counsel.

The Power of Music

I had the great opportunity last month to share a presentation along side singer and song writer Amy VanWagenen. I am continually amazed at the power music has to help convey messages words can not share alone. I just wanted to take a minute and thank Amy for writing such powerful music. You can rock out to her music and get more information at http://www.amyvanwagenen.com/ (my favorite song of hers is “Tiny Graces”)

KSL Studio 5 Interview: Healthy Body Image

On January 30th I was able to share resources with KSL Studio 5 on Body Image. Brooke Walker, co-host of the show shared a very moving interview on media images. I love seeing the media pick up stories that inspire us all! Below are the tips I talked about on air


1- Start with your self: In order to help a daughter, mothers should first evaluate how she feels about her own body and self esteem. It is very difficult to help someone when you feel low yourself. Mothers often get put very last and find themselves depleted and looking to exterior changing things to find a sense of identity. Mothers should go through the process to find self acceptance. If a mother is confident it will help her daughter to be confident.

2- Believe in unseen potential: Treat your daughter as the amazing woman she will become. Create a self fulfilling prophesy by building her up and telling her positive comments about her potential. If she hears something enough she will begin to believe it and become it. During the times you feel like she is not listening and doesn’t want your advice don’t give up. Those are the times she may need you the most. You may try sharing personalized notes in her backpack, or stuck to her bathroom mirror that share her positive traits. “I just wanted you to know you are great at art, you are fun to be around, I love the kindness I see in your eyes, and I am glad you are my daughter.

3- Create a healthy environment: What atmosphere is in your home? Think about ways you can make your home a safety zone from all of the bombarding messages. Get rid of or lessen the exposure to fashion magazines, scales in every bathroom, diet books, or diets pills. Focus on health verses “getting skinny”

4- Identify criticism: Take a step back a look at the conversations you have had with your daughter. Think about comments you have made in effort to be helpful but in turn may be making her feel unaccepted. You may be encouraging her to look her best by ironing her clothes, or to be healthy by not going overboard on the pizza. She may be interpreting that to mean my mom does not approve of me and my body. When you recognize what comments make your daughter feel attacked you can make the necessary changes to help her feel safe.

5- Celebrate our body for what it can do: Remember our bodies are what take us through life. We should be able to celebrate being able to dance, skip, jump or move verses feeling “fat.” We can learn to appreciate our health verses compare our body size to others. We can replace respect for our bodies instead of self loathing when we remember to focus on what our bodies do.

Official Announcement

"Feel your purpose. Feel your worth. Uncover YOUR passion for life."

You heard it here first!! This is the official announcement of my 2nd BOOK to be released this year. I don’t think the word excited begins to express my emotions as I reflect on how much I believe in this concept and how much I know it will change lives…
After interviewing you and hearing you tell me about your life burdens I have been able to put together a “theory of purpose” for you to apply to your life. I discovered I have been tracking all of this information in my journal and found it to be a natural process to put those journal entries into a captivating story for you.
No matter what burdens we are going through there are two things everyone is always evaluating… you’ll have to wait for the book release to read more about it. I'll keep you posted.


The Parable of the Laundry Room

I thought you might enjoy this.

About a year ago my husband was out of town and I thought I would paint my laundry room as a surprise for his return. I saw a fabulous stripe design contrast for the wall, in a home décor magazine and thought I would try it.

I am not afraid of color, strange patterns or prints on the wall. In fact I love trying bold things. This just turned out a little more bold, colorful and strange then I had in mind. I thought I would try a cost effective route to home décor and purchase the price reduced mis-tint paints. They didn’t have much to choose from so I grabbed a light yellow and light purple. I started painting the yellow and…

YIPES- it was loud! I started to panic but figured the other color will tone it down. So, I spent two days taping stripes while my kids were asleep. The night I started the purple was a catastrophe. After about 5 minutes the paint started to drip, crack and run. I started to panic. I thought the purple paint was defective… blasted purple paint…

I knew I couldn’t leave it atomic YELLOW and half painted dribble purple so I got out a stash of white and finished the stripes. The same thing happened. After about 5 minutes the paint started to drip and run. I looked at the can and discover they had had a different paint base. It was 11:00pm I was sitting by my self on the laundry room floor and just started laughing.

How can we change catastrophes into laughter and learning?

In this situation I created the “10 Reasons Not to Re-Paint.”
This list is posted on the wall and reminds me to smile even when things don’t go your way.
- Because tacky is subjective
- To have a conversation starter
- You can choose to laugh or you can choose to cry… “I would rather laugh crying gives me a headache” (quote from Marjory Hinckley)
- Easter eggs in fall
- You get the feel of Mardi Gras without king cakes, and beads ( I went to high school in Louisiana for a year)
- Another reason to put off doing the laundry
- Sometimes it drips and it is okay
-“It sure is bright and shiney in here” quote from my son
-2 days worth of tape
-It doesn’t look too bad… from a distance

Things to Laugh At

Here are 3 things I found to laugh at this month

1- Daddy’s elephant exploded. My 4 year old got my husband a pack of soda for Christmas. I trained the little guy to call the gift an “elephant” to keep the surprise. We wrapped it and put it under the tree. A couple of days later we found it leaking. A can exploded and we had oozing sticky goo combined with bright red wrapping paper residue all over the NEW carpet. After scrubbing for a while I finally just decided the red exploding elephant stain is a great conversation starter for company.

2- Alzheimer’s and Chocolate Delight: a good combination. My wonderful grandma taught me how to live life to the fullest and she is now battling memory loss from the awful Alzheimer’s ailment. On Christmas Eve she was so excited to have a piece of our traditionally dessert. Apparently, she kept forgetting she already had a piece and went around asking the family serve her up some of this decadent moussie treat. By the end of the night we figured she influenced all of us to serve her up at least 5 big pieces. We love her so we have to laugh so we don’t cry. If you are a chocolate lover, maybe memory loss is a good thing after all.

3- I nicknamed my nursing bra “Optimus Prime,” Yes, just like the transformer my son got for Christmas. (If you want the whole story you can come listen to me speak at the Successful Mothering Convention at the South Towne Expo center on Sat January 24th 11:00am)


What day would you never want to re-live? A disastrous day that comes to my mind is when I got hug the toilet food poisoning, on my 25th birthday, in Park City and had to drive home early, disappointed and miserable. Another unfortunate day is the time my car transmission failed while heading to a college class…my car started rolling down the hill in the middle of busy traffic and class changes.

On a more serious note, I have watched people around me survive devastating moments… loss, abuse, depression. Not to mention things like daily monotony, inadequacy, insecurity, stubbing your baby toe or feeling like you just don’t have the strength to conquer your tasks. Sometimes we feel life is impossible.

However, we all have a deep down ability to overcome hard things…

After interviewing teens and personally speaking with thousands of women in different life circumstances it amazes me how strong we all are. You may not recognize how strong you when you are going through tough times, but you can do hard things.

It keeps me going to remember the strong and gracious women I am surrounded by. Last week, I’ll be honest, I was struggling. I have been getting little sleep (my infant is still not sleeping through the night). I had a pile of work to catch up on. I was getting anxiety about not having the ability to do all my tasks among some other more pressing things… It felt hard. But I took strength from each of you… I think of the teen with no family support while struggling to kick a drug abuse habit. I think of a mother who broke the cycle of abuse for her family through much sacrifice… I think of the woman who is finding balance amid a health crisis, while financially supporting her family. I think of the single woman who through no fault of her own was left with a big mess to clean up…

The list can go on. But the point is- these women have gone through really hard things. Not only are they surviving their burdens, but they have been able to take their experiences and pass on strength to another person who is struggling.

The next time you have a hard day, big or small, remind yourself… I can do hard things!