Simple Man

I’ve been participating in Brene’ Brown’s online courses through her website, Courage Works. The lesson for this week was to select our own personal anthem to give us courage. An anthem is usually a song or piece of music that uplifts or encourages a group of people. Sometimes the anthem is a musical call for the troops to rally together before stepping onto the battlefield. Though typically, an anthem is associated with organizations or groups, I think it is important to have our own individual anthem selected and ready to use when our courage falters, when life seems too tough, or when it seems easier to just give up on life’s battles.

I like to listen to different music for whatever mood I’m in, so narrowing my song choices down was a challenge. After looking through my music playlists, it was easy for me to choose my anthem, “It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi. It’s a great reminder to trust my gut and live life “my way.” There is a bit of defiance in the song. I like that.

Sometimes I feel a rebellious defiance as I look for ways to rebuild a new life by kicking out old mindsets and traditions.

Basically, the song encapsulates my attempts to be present in the moment, to “live while I’m alive.”

I invited my family to participate in this activity and the results were both interesting and entertaining. I challenged my family to narrow their choices down to ONE song title, though Brene’ acknowledges that many people like to create an actual playlist of multiple songs. More than once, my son and I changed our anthem song choice. My husband, on the other hand, made one simple choice. Literally, it was a simple choice. He chose “Simple Man” performed by Lynyrd Skynrd. I hadn’t paid much attention to the lyrics before, but when I did, I thought this was a perfect selection for a recovering addict. The song is written as advice from a mother to a son. Here are some of the lyrics:

Don't you worry simple man“Oh take your time, don’t live too fast
Troubles will come, and they will pass
You’ll find a woman, and you’ll find love
And don’t forget that, there is someone up above”

“And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me son, if you can, if you can”

“Boy don’t you worry, you’ll find yourself
Follow your heart, and nothing else
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want from you my son, is to be satisfied”

After leading a double life for 50 years, it is reassuring to know that my husband now just wants to be a simple man, the kind of man that he can “love and understand.”

I think the lyrics give good advice to everyone, “Follow your heart, and nothing else.” It’s so . . . simple!




Source of Song Lyrics: MetroLyrics

Celestial Bodies

A beauty of the late 1800’s: Lillian Russell

I’ve often wondered if I was born during the wrong time period. My values and interests are more in line with earlier days. Even my body type seems to fit better in a time far from the present. Had I lived in the latter part of the 1800’s when voluptuous women were adored, I might have gotten a few whistles or admiring glances. As fate would have it, my idea of the perfect body was developed while the famous model, Twiggy, was at the tale-end of her career. Twiggy, as her professional name implies, was super skinny. My classmates and I wanted to look just like this model that society considered to be a real beauty. We cut our hair, wore short shift-style dresses, and tried to look skinny. Even at my lowest weight, I had curves.

I didn’t fit into skinny.


Twiggy Models Her Own Line

I don’t fault Twiggy for my warped vision of the perfect body type. There are many factors that contributed to my unappreciative view of my own healthy, strong, and youthful body. Discovering my husband was addicted to viewing pornography and lust added a whole lot more to my already failing sense of worth when it came to my personal appearance. I’ve had to grapple with this issue in order to find healing from my betrayal trauma. I’m nearing my 60th birthday so the hope of having a body that can compete with online painted and photoshopped ladies isn’t realistic. I’m working on making my body more healthy and strong, but I can’t change my body to look like the young models and celebrities on social media. I can, however, change the way my mind thinks about my body.

I’ve learned to recognize the inner dialogue that goes through my head as I look in the mirror. I go through a progression of thoughts until I finally come around to what I call the “celestial body” talk. I am of the LDS faith, so I believe that there are three kingdoms of glory that we can attain in the next life. These degrees of glory are often compared to the celestial bodies we find in the skies: the sun, the moon, and the stars. So, the phrase “celestial body” has multiple meanings to me. My  personal celestial body talk helps me focus on the truer sense of beauty.

Telestial Beauty: At the telestial level, my beauty is only about my appearance or what I see in the mirror. I often use the mantra,

“I may not be totally perfect, but parts of me are excellent”

as I consider the imperfections and flaws of my aging body while also acknowledging that I have some excellent features that have not changed so much: fingernails, eyes, lips, etc. Telestial beauty is dictated by the values of society that are ever changing. Without expensive surgeries and extensive cosmetic assistance, very few, if any, women are able to touch the impossible-to-reach and narrow view of beauty defined by today’s world.

Terrestrial Beauty: Terrestrial beauty takes on a more worthy perspective. This is where I see and appreciate the functionality of my body. My body works for me, is healthy, can take care of others and myself, and is therefore beautiful. My body enables me to perform the tasks I need to do while I’m alive on this earth. My body allows me to experience the gifts of movement and creativity. The miracle that my body is full of life makes it a thing of beauty.

Celestial Beauty: When I can see myself as God sees me, I have reached the understanding of beauty at the celestial level. It is difficult to have negative feelings about my body when I see myself as a spiritual being with a kind and loving Father in Heaven in whose image I am created. When I look in the mirror and know that my heart is soft and yearning for spiritual growth, I feel my inner beauty shine through.

Because of my age, it is an impossibility that I will ever find the physical beauty that is now valued by the world, so I am no longer seeking that type of beauty. Instead, I focus on what is possible: to live a righteous life so I will someday see the face of my Savior. He will see that I’ve done the best with what I have been given. I will feel his love and I will feel beautiful.



Source of Quote: “I may not be totally perfect but parts of me are excellent” is from the Brilliant Thought Series, No. 1, by Ashleigh Brilliant.

Photo Credit Lillian Russell:  Medical Daily. “History Of Body Image In America: How The ‘Ideal’ Female And Male Body Has Changed Over Time.”

Photo Credit Twiggy: Huffington Post. “Twiggy, 64, Models Leather Collection For M&S Proving She Hasn’t Lost Her Edge.”

Disclaimer: My experiences and opinions are mine alone and do not represent any public expressions of policy by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Cookie Connection

It’s the start of a new year and, like so many others, I have tried to focus on eating more healthy foods. I love food! I especially love ice cream, cookies, brownies, and cake! None of my favorite foods fit in the “healthy food” category. So, I have to maintain willpower and self-restraint as I work the sugar cravings out of my system. I have had some success over the past week until . . . two cookies were left on the kitchen counter! Gasp!


They were oatmeal raisin cookies. They were over-baked so the raisins had turned into hard little wrinkled pellets. I don’t know how long they had been sitting on the counter, but I’m sure the open air didn’t help the quality of the cookies. Their brown rough texture made them even less appealing.  Except. They were cookies! That’s all my mind needed to know. The tempting voice in my head kept sending me cookie thoughts: “They are so little. They can’t have too many calories.” “Nobody will know.” “You did take a walk this morning, so a few extra calories won’t matter.” “You can eat healthy tomorrow. Today, eat those cookies!”

My self-restraint lasted . . . oh, about a minute. Each cookie was devoured in two bites. The calories burned in my 90 minute walk was suddenly consumed in about the same amount of time it took me to put on my walking shoes. No matter. The pleasure of that sugar high lingered. And then I added the cookie data into the “MyFitnessPal” app. That’s when the self-loathing began.

“What is wrong with you? Those cookies weren’t even that great-tasting! You’ve wasted all your efforts toward healthy eating!” Interesting. The self-loathing voice sounded just like the one that told me to eat those darn cookies!

As I was in the midst of my negative self-talk and cookie remorse, a chilling thought hit me.

I expect my husband to use self-restraint to stay away from porn and lustful thoughts and yet, I can’t even control myself from eating two ugly little cookies!

My face suddenly felt hot and my throat tightened, the physical reactions I have when I feel shame. I felt terrible. I needed something to feel better. Obviously, eating cookies was not the answer.

Chips! Tortilla chips with salsa! Hey. They’re not sweets. Surely, the dipping motion of my hand to secure those chunky salsa bits on the chip will eat up some calories!

Stop! Get off the shame train! Eating cookies, chips, or whatever does not involve the same pattern of behavior as a sex addict who is fighting off cravings for lust! I don’t want to accept that idea. It can’t be true. Eating cookies does not destroy families (unless my health deteriorates to the point that I can’t function as a wife, mother or grandmother). Eating cookies is not a sin (unless I let my cravings consume me and keep me from focusing on God). Eating cookies does not lead me to strip clubs and places I shouldn’t be (like fast-food restaurants?).  Eating cookies does not break the commandments of God (unless you believe that your body is a temple and gift from God). Dang those parenthetical thoughts!

I am uncomfortable thinking that there might be some connections between my own weaknesses and my husband’s lustful addictions. Obviously, there are differences, but as I write this, the lines between them become more and more blurred. I don’t think my cookie experience should make me feel sinful or devalue my self worth. The lesson I need to remember from this is to have some understanding toward my husband as he works on his recovery and repentance from sex addictions and sins.

I think we’ll have grilled chicken and a green salad for dinner!

No dessert.

Whatever Jesus Lays His Hands Upon

I once made a poster for a lesson I was giving with these words from President Howard W. Hunter,

“Whatever Jesus lays his hands upon lives. If Jesus lays his hands upon a marriage, it lives. If he is allowed to lay his hands on the family, it lives.” 

I created that poster years ago while my kids were little. I’ve made countless posters over the years but this one, though the actual poster has long since been gone, stayed in my mind. I remember the comfort of the message. I remember using the words to help others, including my own children. Never in my wildest imagination (and I have a WILD imagination) did I ever think that this message would become a life-line for me and my own marriage!

Hunter quoteI know that my own personal healing from trauma and the rebuilding of my marriage will happen only through the healing power of Christ. I love the visual I see in my mind of actually inviting Christ to lay his healing hands upon me. It is interesting that President Hunter uses the word “lives” to describe the effect of the Master’s hands. To “live” is more than survival. It means to thrive, to be aware, to be part of something vital and organic.  Something that “lives” is able to change, grow, and heal.

I cannot live in the past and expect my life or my marriage to be the same as it was before D-day, when I learned about my husband’s transgressions, if I want to heal. I must embrace the opportunity to make a new and better life, to change and grow. I want to do more than survive my trauma from betrayal. I want to thrive and live! I want to heal and be whole.

The healing power of the Savior is exemplified in the story of the daughter of Jairus. The loving father, Jairus, with great faith makes his desperate plea to the Savior,“I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.”  President Hunter concludes the story:

“When they got to the home of the ruler of the synagogue, Jesus took the little girl by the hand and raised her from the dead. In like manner, he will lift and raise every man to a new and better life who will permit the Savior to take him by the hand.”

I think the next time I kneel in prayer, I’m going to envision the hands of the Savior reaching toward me. I’m going to work on actually feeling his touch. I’m going to see his hand in mine and let him lift and raise me to a new and better life.


2015: Things That Got Me Through

The past year of 2015 will go down in my books as the toughest time period of my life. It was especially challenging to get through those early dark days of trauma. Fortunately, I landed on some blogs and websites that helped me get through sleepless nights and anxiety-filled days. I could create an endless list but here are some of my favorites.



  • The Hope and Healing Blog and Forum is one of my life-lines. I love being able to ask questions and get advice from other brave women on the forum who have already walked this path. This site also has countless resources for women affected by a loved one’s sexual addiction. This site was created as a pure act of love to serve women who often feel alone in this trial.
  • I was a bit cynical about trying self-compassion meditations but I am now convinced that this stuff works. Self Compassion by Dr. Kristen Nef has guided audio self-compassion exercises that are easy to follow and very relaxing.
  • During a desperate moment, I tried this fun science-based site called Happify. There are inspiring stories, memes, and articles. It’s just full of happy things!

hope is a function of struggle

  • Brene Brown is one of my favorite writers right now. Her website, Courage Works, offers online classes and inspiring stories. I recommend her free online course The Anatomy of Trust.
  • The very first site I encountered while researching LDS sex addiction was Rowboat and Marbles. This is a must-read site for any LDS member dealing with sexual addiction issues. I keep extra copies of the book Sitting in a Rowboat Throwing Marbles at a Battleship at home and have already shared it with family and friends who are struggling. I’ve also given copies to some of my Priesthood leaders. Thank you, author Andrew Pipanne, for your courage and forthright discussions.