Today while riding in the car on the way to work, listening to local radio Spirit of Austin (Spirit 105.9), I heard an amazing song I had heard many times before.

I’m not complaining that I have family, Christian based programming to listen to while on the road and even at work thanks to their live stream on their website at Don’t get me wrong, I love Matthew West, but something I realized was I haven’t heard anything new from Addison Road in way too long.

Singing “What Do I Know Of Holy” to myself, I pulled up their website on my phone and my heart broke! I honestly had not known that one of my favorite auditory addictions had broken up.

Following the link to lead singer Jenny Simmon’s blog, which I had followed before on an almost daily basis, I found myself in tears.

Not only had her band broken up, but major Christian Music broadcaster KLove had not picked up her new album. Without the steam from KLove, her debut solo album only sold 5000 copies.

My heart dropped. “Run”, “What Do I Know Of Holy” and “Hope Now” were two of the songs that helped me survive a lot of dark times in my life.

Well, today I am number 5001! Thanks to iTunes I was able to grab a copy of her new album and listened through and found myself sucked back into her beautiful voice and the stories that always touched me as she sang coming alive again.

I took a deep breath and texted my sister. Do you have a non-KLove Christian Station at home? And the answer was yes. WMHR Syracuse.

My mind started to get away from me. I definitely needed something to write about today that was not part of my anxiety/bullying series. I mean, well, I needed a break and something positive to listen to and think about while I chewed my way through the next entry in the series.

My sister has WMHR Syracuse, I have Spirit of Austin. And then I started wondering, who else has a local non-KLove Christian sation?

The answer, of course, is almost everyone!!!

So here I am, looking at Jenny’s Blog and her post about starting a Kick-Starter campaign and thought to myself, what a better way to help her campaign!!

I’m writng this blog entry today, to invite you to read her post ” ” on her blog about the music industry and her attempts to have her book published *and* to share this entry with your local Christian Radio station.

Lets work together to get the word out and maybe our local stations will pick up her story about Addison Road (who I know a lot of people are missing right now) and see if they will share her music.

This is my way of saying thank you to Jenny and her former band, Addison Road, for inspiring me during some of the dark times of my life and encouraging me without even knowing it.

In the wake of the recent storms we have all been facing this spring, her song “The Becoming” may be a rallying cry for those who are beginning to put their lives back together.

So, time to start emailing and facebooking and tweating your favorite local Christian Radio Station!!!! You can even use the template below.

Dear _______

My name is ____and I’ve been listening to your station for quite some time and realized today that there has not been any new Addison Road music played on your station!

After I checked out their website I found that they had split and that their front woman, Jenny Simmons released her first solo project and I didn’t even know it!  Her blog tells us that no one picked up her record and my heart broke!

With the storms that have been ravaging our country, the song “The Becoming” on her album could be a rally cry for those rebuilding their lives.

I ask you to consider picking up her new album and adding it to your play list and sharing her story and this amazing song.  I’m pretty sure that all of us who are voting on would agree!

I’ve even provided you a link to her song, The Becoming on youtube:

I hope to hear this song and others on your station soon!



Dear Jenny,

You are not forgotten!

Thank you for Broken Hallelujah.

Thank you for Becoming!

Thank you for your determination and strength.

Someday, I will read your book!



Part VI: A Devil In Disguise

For a time, as I finally chew through the gloom, I will admit that these posts become more and more difficult to write.

It also is not unexpected that writing about the reasons I still struggle with anxiety actually trigger anxiety?

I know that I am blessed with the ability to share this story, which is not necessarily an easy one, but that does not mean it is easy.  Some of you may already know bits and pieces of this story and while my posts are not inclusive of everything that occurred during that dark time in my life, I understand that they are a jumping point.


What follows may cause triggers for those who have experienced domestic violence in their life.  If you are concerned the descriptions, even mild ones, of my experiences could cause a trigger for you, I would like to encourage you to skip this post.



It wouldn’t be long before the Marine got into trouble with his unit.  I still don’t know what caused him to be restricted, only that he was in trouble.
It definitely made life easier and harder at the same time.
Everyday after work for the duration of his restriction go home, make dinner, and then drive it up to the barracks.
It wasn’t long before I began noticing that white car.  It seemed to be waiting for me when I left the back gate, after work, and always behind me.
Sure it was southern Calirfornia and a lot of people drove white cars, but this white car was everywhere.  They were always too close, always pushing me to go faster in the slow lane, and always weaving in and out of traffic to stay behind me every time I changed lanes.
That white car caused a few panic attacks on its own.
On more than one occasion I sped up into the rest stop between my work exit and the San Clemente Road Gate to pull into a crowded lot.
Soon the car was following me further.  All the way to the gate only to turn around when I pulled into the check in.  More than once the guard on duty would comment about the white car and ask if I needed the MPs.
Having mentioned my concerns about the white car to the Marine previously and having him strictly forbidding me from calling the cops or the MPs my answer was always no.
After the Marine was home from restriction, the calls started again and I was once again banned from internet and phone use.
He was excited, almost gleeful.  ‘She’ had gotten a new car.  Specifically a new, <em>white</em>, car.
At that point, I was paranoid about the white car.  It had been parking outside of my place of work for several weeks.  My hours were cut and I was asked to tell my friend to leave the property.
I never approached the car.
And after his response to mentioning the white car following me all the way to base to pick him up, he responded with his hands around my neck.  I was strictly forbidden to call the police.
He was so red and angry his face was burning red and when he let go I caught another backhand.  Screams, things being frozen again including a bottle of vodka, this time clipping me as it hit the wall by the door.
My neighbor, a family in our unit tried to get him out of the house and to leave.
That night, MPs were called.  By the time the arrived all was quiet and I was asleep in the bathroom trying to muffle the screams of the wife across our small patch of grass from our apartment.
My friend who lived next door would later tell me it was one of the most terrifying nights of her life.
I wish the deployment had been my wake up call.  It should have been my wake up and run like hell call.
Convinced I deserved every bit of grief and terror I had experienced I believed I was where I needed to be.
I had my head on strait as possible.  I was taking care of the wives in our unit and I blossomed without him present.
I finally spoke up about what had happened after the Marine was on his way home.  Read his rights in Germany, the world exploded into chaos.
While it was controlled chaos and I fell for him promising to never hurt me again.
Oh the lies I believed.


While you can never force someone to get help, you aren’t helpless to watch those you love be hurt over and over again.  Intervention can be frightening for you and a loved one you are confronting.

Don’t watch silently.  Encourage them to have a voice and reach out instead of hiding.

This series will continue in the next few days.  I just can’t dwell on this more today.

Thank you for your support!


Is the new Sunday School curriculum a step forward?

Changes are coming to the Adult Sunday School program. This exciting change will move our second hour of classes for adults closer to the way that we teach our youth.
My comment for this article is below:

I know that the youth in my class have enjoyed the shift in how we’re teaching our class. While I think it’s a great idea to have our Gospel Principles and Gospel Doctrine classes, it feels like this new curriculum would be a great in between step from Gospel Principles to Gospel Doctrine for those who aren’t ready for Gospel Doctrine.

I’m not sure if this makes sense?

That said, it would be great know that topics similar to the ones I cover with my students are being covered in the adult Sunday School classes. This would open up more conversation with my peers who aren’t teaching during our second hour.

By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

A while back I gave a sacrament talk about how the Restoration is an ongoing thing. It was tough to gather enough recent rhetorically requisite quotes from authority to uphold my main thesis, so I was particularly happy when President Uchtdorf delivered this one:
Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us—Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, he received priesthood keys, the Church was organized. In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.”
It’s wonderful (and for me, paradoxically egotistically self-affirming) to hear from the pulpit that we still have important things to learn as a Church, not just as new converts. But isolated statements like this…

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What Mormons Think When You Ask…

This blogger was inside of my head and never even knew it.

The Nef Chronicles

Mormons get asked a lot of really weird questions. All my brothers and sisters – you know what I am talking about. Can I get an amen?

LaurenNef-OaklandTemple Oakland Temple

I want to answer them nicely, but sometimes I get kinda fed up.

And I get snarky. Just a little.

Here is how I would love to respond to these commonly-asked, annoying questions.

Are you Christian? I thought you were Mormon.
1: Christianity is not one specific religion.
2: The real name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Connect the dots.

Mormonism’s a cult, right?
Yeah, because we are completely secretive like that. It’s not like we have tens of thousands of people all around the world that knock on your door to tell you about our religion. And we totally don’t have this website and, you know, this websiteoh, and

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Worry Wart

As you know worry and anxiety are two of my worse enemies.

Deeply Rooted in Him


“ Worry is like a rocking chair—it’s always in motion but it never gets you anywhere. ” Joyce Meyer

So are you a worry wart? Do you constantly find yourself worrying? Worrying is one of the biggest wastes of our time and energy. There are a lot of uncertainties in life, circumstances that are out of our control and people we care about who are suffering. But we serve a God who is all-knowing, sovereign and cares more about the people we love than we do. When we worry, we show a lack of faith.

Worry causes us to put ourselves in the driver’s seat and put our faith in what we can do. Worry comes from looking at a situation and trying to figure out all the possible outcomes and how we can avoid the ones we don’t want. It means putting our trust in ourselves and our abilities rather…

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Part V: A Knight in Kevlar Plated Armor

What follows may cause triggers for those who have experienced domestic violence in their life.  If you are concerned the descriptions, even mild ones, of my experiences could cause a trigger for you, I would like to encourage you to skip this post.

To give you an idea of the time and place, I can tell you that it was the first January in a post 9/11 world and it dawned with a crisp newness that was washing away the darkness that had followed my heart, including a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

I was back in Potsdam and I was making a lot of decisions even though my head was not exactly clear.

I had been talking to a friend of mine, a marine that at that time who had been stationed in Okinawa for several months.  During his post deployment leave he would be coming to New York and it was ‘love’ at first sight for me and obsession at first sight for him.

At this point in my life, with all of my ups and downs and self sabotage, I wanted to simply belong to someone.  That’s right, the girl that ran away from two healthy relationships in a handful of up and down craziness just wanted to belong to someone.  It sounded like a good idea at the time especially in my irrational state.  Belonging to someone meant that I couldn’t run and no matter how I tried to sabotage myself that I would not be able to actually get away.

This time, I wouldn’t be the one doing the sabotaging.  This time, I was in way too deep and way too far gone to know what was happening.  This match made in dysfunctional heaven nearly cost me my life.

It all came down to her.  In the end he married me to get back at her.  I would never be good enough for him because I couldn’t be her.  My identity in our fledgling marriage was dictated by a girl he was in love with and had left behind before joining the marines, a girl that until that point I had never met.

He had no control over her and how she interacted with him in her life.  Instead, he took control of mine.

Still trying to finish the school year, he began to slowly unravel my life from several thousands of miles away.

When I wasn’t in class or working, I was at my computer talking to him or talking to him on the phone.  At first it was great because here I was belonging to someone, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

If he called early and I was not back to my dorm yet, he would get angry.  If I was out of my dorm room doing anything but talking to him, he would get angry.

‘She’ would never miss any of his calls.

‘She’ would never talk back to him.

‘She’ would have left school and came home to him.

So I did.

Originally the trip was just for spring break, but I knew before I got on the plane that I wasn’t coming back.

And I didn’t.

Our housing was available.  There was no reason to go back.  Even through I wanted to finish school and thanks to my newly married to the Marine Corps status was eligible for grants and subsidized loans with grades higher than I had seen since my first semester in school, I stayed.

‘She’ wouldn’t risk loosing time with him in a post 9/11 world where he was preparing to deploy for the Middle East knowing it was possible that he wouldn’t come home.

I didn’t necessarily have to leave.  I could go to school in California once my residency came through and there was no reason to pay higher tuition costs plus campus residential expenses.

So I got a job.  I worked hard at my first real outside of school and retail job.  Things were okay for a time and I was looking at the world in newly wed rose color glasses.

And then he wanted to spend more time with me and there was less talk about ‘her’.  Relieved that he actually wanted time with me without being brought up in conversation was a boon to my confidence.  I believed he chose me!

I still didn’t believe I deserved for anyone to pick me and I didn’t see it coming.

At first it was simple.  “Hey, can you take me up for call and then drive to work? Because of all the training we haven’t been spending a lot of time together.”

I thought it was sweet.

Then it was, “hey, let’s get groceries together and I can help you cook dinner.  No need to waste the extra gas.”

I thought it was nice to have him helping me out around our little apartment.  I readily agreed.  I thought I was blessed to have a thoughtful husband!  Who wouldn’t want a husband that helps with the shopping and cooking?  It was thoughtful and things were going great even though the threat of imminent deployment hung over our heads.

It wasn’t long before the phone calls started and the don’t’s began.

Don’t call home and talk to your family.

Don’t talk to your friends back east.

Don’t talk to the neighbors unless I’m there.

Don’t talk to anyone online unless I’m home.

Don’t use the internet when I’m not home.

And then, “I’m talking to her, go to bed.”

It didn’t matter that it was early afternoon on the weekend when said we needed to spend time together.

And then the yelling because I wasn’t five and didn’t need to take naps or go to bed before dinner.

I hated when he yelled.

Soon he began to drink.  The first bottle of Vodka he through at my head barely missed.  That bottle wasn’t the only thing he threw.  His family crest on a shield, the sword he purchased, a folding chair, dishes, a keyboard, the phone.

The first time he hit me, he put a phone in my hand and dared me to call 911 and ruin his career.  I grew up with a father who was a Marine.  He may not have been a Marine when I was born, but one thing I knew is that you don’t ruin a Marine or tarnish their unit.

His company was the most decorated in the history of the core.

You do not tarnish the most decorated unit in the core.

I didn’t call 911.

I locked myself in the bathroom sobbing as I cleaned up.  The next day I called into work reporting that I had an ear infection and that I would be back on Monday which if my memory serves me was five days away.

With him on a hike and unable to keep me home, I sought medical care at the base hospital.  I fell.  In all honesty I’m as coordinated as a baby giraffe on roller skates so it was believable.

My x-rays were taken at the base hospital.  One broken rib, a couple bruised, and the associated rainbow on my chest caused trouble, but no one asked any questions.

I was a writer then, just like I am now.  I originally started writing about my tumble down the stairs and in a moment of defiance, I wrote the truth.  The next day comments came in from back east.

I was “making it up” and “seeking attention” because I got myself into a mess and married the wrong man.  I should “stop with the lies” and just “deal with it”.

In a rage I asked if they wanted to see the x-rays and then not only deleted the post, but my online journal as well.

I never felt so alone in my life.  When he came home from the hike, things were better again.  He was sorry I made him scare me and it would never happen again.  No one else could love me like he did and no one else would.

Wouldn’t you know it, I believed him.

While you can never force someone to get help, you aren’t helpless to watch those you love be hurt over and over again.  Intervention can be frightening for you and a loved one you are confronting.

Don’t watch silently.  Encourage them to have a voice and reach out instead of hiding.

This series will continue in the next few days.  I just can’t dwell on this more today.

Thank you for your support!


Guardian Angels on our Shoulders

I’ve been struggling with finalizing my draft of the next post in the anxiety series and found life throwing us a curve ball again.  My husband’s best friend was in an accident around 1 AM this morning.

To give you an idea of why we are convinced his best friend, who we’ll now refer to as Mr. K, had God watching over him is because of where the accident occurred.

Below is a picture of the Mopac 183 exchange in Austin.  For scale, the light posts are 175 ft tall and the ramp is 100 feet up in the air.


Last night, on an overpass much like this one, just as tall, and just as frightening, Mr. K. lost control of his car and struck the side of the overpass.

These marvels of modern day road construction are built in such a way that if you hit the walls, instead of being launched over the sides, your vehicle will roll over.

With a head wound, broken foot, broken shoulder, ribs and crushed lumbar he managed to climb out of his car as it was catching fire.

One surgery down to pin his foot back together, they’ll be taking him in to put his shoulder back together tomorrow.

During the wee hours this morning, those overpasses did exactly what they were supposed to do.  With a care schedule coming together for his family we’ve already dropped off bread and fruit for tomorrows breakfast and are planning to take dinner and snacks.

I’ve done the ‘live in the hospital’ routine before and know that it’s going to be frustrating and scary for awhile, but we’re thankful to our Heavenly Father for watching over him.

There are miracles, I’ve seen another one.

Part IV: Setting the Stage, An Interlude of Sorts

Before I start the next part of this series that delves into why I have anxiety, I need to express my gratitude and love for our armed forces.

The actions of this particular Marine in no way reflect upon the Marine Corps as a whole.  My father was and always will be a Marine and I believe in the Corps and am honored to be a daughter of a Marine.

Despite what went on behind closed doors, my time spent married to the Corps offered blessings for myself and the families that I came to love.  That reminds me, I need to write about the positive things swimming in my brain from that time in the future.

All of that aside, I mentioned that I was primed for some horrible things to happen in my life.  The effects of my combined live experiences to that point had me in a horrible place.

I’ll be the first person to point out that I wasn’t mentally or emotionally unhealthy and defined my sense of self worth or how others felt about me.  When I found myself feeling uncomfortable because things were going too good, I simply freaked out!

I have regrets, but now they’re the healthy kind.  I may have missed out on a different kind of life.  In the long run, without what came next, I never would have been in a place or situation where I would have to face the past and actually live with it.

Am I sorry that I hurt people that I honestly loved?  Yes, but I know I wouldn’t have what I have now if I hadn’t gone through all of the crazy.

Will I ever have a chance to make amends for what happened in the past?  Probably not, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that amends is for me, and not necessarily for the people that got caught up in it all along the way because it could hurt them.

Am I grateful that I survived and have an amazing life now? Honestly, words could not even begin to describe.