Saturday, July 2, 2016


Many people have expressed appreciation for what I shared in my last post and I wanted to do a bit of a follow up. It will be one month today since Jay was killed in a car accident. It might seem a little strange, but one of my predominant feelings is still gratitude. I had a lot to be grateful for before, but now I'm more grateful for many things that I took for granted.

I'm more grateful for every day and moment that I have with my family. I'm more grateful for every day and moment that I have. I'm more grateful that angels and the Spirit World are so close. I'm grateful for the amazing and thoughtful support I've received some so many people. I'm grateful for all the true principles I've learned throughout my life that have prepared me for a time such as this. 


 What Are You Growing?

This is a piece of a rose from Jay's casket.
I found out you can plant a rose cutting and
it will grow roots! I was also introduced to
root hormone. Awesome!

Summer is in full swing over here and lots of things are growing. Some are invited and carefully tended (like my tomato plants). Some are uninvited, but welcome (the volunteer carrot in my garden), Then there are the ones that are not growing where I want them too (some of which I only want growing in open fields and abandoned lots far from my home) .

If you've ever had a yard, you probably realized that plants can propagate in many ways. Some send out runners underground and you have a whole network of plants in no time. Some send out seeds. And I recently started learning about using a cutting to start a new plant. 

All the weeding and cultivating mixed with a lot of introspection has got me thinking about what I have growing in my soul. Left unchecked, a yard or garden can turn into a beautiful wildflower meadow, or maybe it will turn into a field of tumble weeds and prickly plants, or likely it will be somewhere in between. The mind is much the same. You can hope you get lucky and only desirable seeds get in, or you can take a little extra effort and be aware of what is growing and be picky about it.


I've been planting a lot of seeds and starts this year. It is so exciting to watch a plant grow up and become yummy food or a beautiful flower. I try to provide good soil and nourishment for the seeds so they can grow healthy and strong. And while I haven't been able to keep the wild birds out of the yard, I make sure the chickens don't enter the garden.

There are also some plants coming up that I don't want. Last year I made the mistake of waiting a little to long to pull out compass plant(prickly lettuce) growing in my yard. This year I get to reap the results of it going to seed. But expereince has taught me that even though it might be edible, its prickly and therefor not worth it to me. I've pulled up buckets and buckets of prickly seedlings so I can prevent them from spreading further.

Recognize and Release

Learning to recognize where a thought will lead while it is still a seed or seedling can be invaluable. Dealing with a life changing experience like marriage, birth, death or even moving to a new house can be the spiritual equivelant to have a freshly cultivated and fertilized plot ready to grow any seeds. Thought seeds can be blown in from the radio, tv, movies, internet, social media, conversation, books, blogs and so many other places. Recognition may not always be fun, but it is a crucial step in order to have long term success and happiness.

What are the fully matured plants you want to avoid? I want to avoid murder, stealing, lying, adultery, suicide, depression, addiction, hate, doubt, despair, regret. demonic possession, fear, loss of testimony, and others. Some of those are easy to recognize at an stage and thus are easy to avoid. Some are things I'm not predisposed to-its like the soil of my soul wouldn't provide the necessary nourishment.

What do the seeds or seedlings of those plants look like? Pretending everything is ok, and hiding thoughts and feelings may be beneficial for a while. Just like I can pretend my lawn is green with grass until all the morning glory buds open and dot it with little white flowers. If we pay attention to a thought, it helps it grow. Here are some of the thought and feeling seeds and seedlings that get weeded out as soon as I see them:

"I'm not good enough"
"God doesn't care about me"
"it's easier to be numb"
too much facebook
too much screen time
avoiding people that care about me
blaming (of self or others)
depressing music and movies
avoiding things that will help
focusing on my weakness or hurt
being around negative people
being idle

Look at patterns in your own life and recognize what seeds lead to places and situations you don't want. Its much easier to pull out a seed or seedling than a tree. Pretending it isn't there or trying to bury it won't work. Use the atonement and get that sucker gone. (I've attended and taught many hours worth of classes as well as personal mentoring on how to do that, there isn't room on a single blog post, but feel free to contact me if you want ideas of how).

Recognize and Replace

Now that you've recognized and released what you don't want, there is room for the plants you want to thrive. So first, recognize what you do want. What does the fully matured plant look like? I want happiness, success, quality time with family and friends, joy, peace, gratitude, freedom, testimony, faith, hope, charity, virtue, patience, endurance, good memories, angels, enduring and meaningful relationships, a close relationship with God and Christ, an understanding of the atonement and more. I recognize that some of  these plants go through stages that look kind of unpleasant. Have you ever prayed for patience? You get what you pray for, but usually through experiences you may not have hand picked.

Here are some of the seeds I plant and cultivate and how I nourish them:

Regular scripture study
going outside
church hymns
other inspiring music
temple attendance (even on the grounds)
playing with kids
time with good friends
inspiring movies
writing down tender mercies
counting blessings
having an eternal perspective
"God loves me"
"God is watching out for me and knows my needs"

There have been many occasions that I recognize that I'm slipping into a trap (often just sitting on the couch thinking negative) and at that moment I get to decide if I want to feed that seed or nourish positive ones. Its so much easier to make changes when everything is a seedling. Learn to recognize the seeds.


I've discovered that one of the trickiest parts of gardening for me is dealing with the parts I can't see. I don't see what is going on underground, so I don't get a full picture of how my plants are doing. I've planted more than one plant only to have it look beautiful for a while and be dead after a month. I also have been blessed with a mint and comfrey that have appeared dead (the mint has been accidentally pulled up at least 3 times) and then magically reappear with new growth a few weeks later. Its all about the roots.

I'm waiting for the roots to grow.
In the mean time, I'm carefully nourishing and
tending the rose cutting.
Their growth is very important to me.
In our mind, roots are growing but we may not be seeing fruit. If the bad stuff is rooted in deep, it may take a lot longer for it to die off. Blasting church hymns and conference talks for 5 minutes or even 5 days may not be enough. If you've got a yucky stump that is 5 feet across in your mind, using a spiritual shovel or waiting for it to decompose aren't going to get results as fast as you may like. You need the right tools.

The good news, is that we can get (and probably already have) some trees that bear good fruit growing in our mind. Maybe we're stuck in the dense underbrush of negative junk and can't see the redwoods towering around us, but they are there. Each of us has a divine light in us. We each have a personal connection to God(the master gardener). And we can plant more trees of light and truth. It may take time and effort. But the fruit is worth it. We planted some fruit trees a year and a half ago. No fruit yet, but I'm not about to tear them out because they are taking so long. I'd rather wait another year or a few years and enjoy loads of fruit for many years to come.

The Lord keeps his promises and he promises all things will be made right. If you are getting tired of waiting for your spiritual trees to grow, ask God to send you some tender mercies and some spiritual zucchini seeds. It will all work out. I can have what I want or I can have something better.


There are a lot of amazing resources available. I've gained a lot from many freely available resources and I've also paid for many of them. At times like this when I can stay afloat even though the world is falling apart, it is completely worth all the time and money spent studying these things. Here is a list of a few of my favorite resources I've personally had experience with (some are affiliate links, but I only share because they've changed my life).
LDS Addiction recovery program
Like a Broken Vessel (video)
Vibrant Hope
Thoughts Alive 
Hidden Treasures
Freedom Catalyst
Light Therapy

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