Month: November 2018

LDS Unmarried Life Podcast Episode 11-First Post-Divorce Breakup

Julie Johnson and I talk about the first post-divorce breakup and why it’s so bad. We also explore why men don’t bring us things even when we ask. 🙂 Please subscribe and comment. I’d love to hear from you! I recommend the book Rebuilding for those of you who think you’re ready for dating. You can buy it on Amazon by following this link:

LDS Unmarried Life Podcast Episode 10-The Joy of Depression

In this episode, I talk with Jim R. Jacobs, LCSW, CDWFC, about depression, loneliness, and sadness and how to deal with those feelings when they come along. Please subscribe and comment below. This podcast can also be found at iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and Spotify. Jim can be found at

LDS Unmarried Life Podcast Episode 9-Men Only Round Table Discussion Part 1

Please subscribe so you can get each episode when it’s published! This episode is part 1 of all men (and Annette!) discussing what they are looking for in relationships, what scares them about women, etc. Please comment here or email me using the contact page. I look forward to hearing from you. Next time I’ll be discussing depression, loneliness, and sadness with a mental health professional. You can also find these podcasts on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Spotify.

Finding Pivotal Parenting Moments

Last week I had one of those moments you pray for, watch for, and occasionally are blessed to have. My second daughter and I were standing in the kitchen and we were talking about how she has been having problems with her ear holes and didn’t know if she wanted to keep wearing earrings. She had gotten her ears pierced at age 8, because her older sister had done so the year before. You see, this daughter is a major follower. She won’t do anything at home unless she sees one of her sister do it first. Her teacher tells me it’s the same at school. She never initiates any activity. She always waits for other students to begin an assignment, line up for lunch, etc., before she’ll do anything.

So she and I were talking about whether she should take her earrings out, let the ear holes close up, and get her ears re-pierced when she’s older and better able to take care of them. She said, “Did my sister take her earrings out?” This was a typical question for her. I looked at her, could see I really had her attention and proceeded to tell her earnestly that she was a unique girl and that she didn’t need to do what her sisters or anyone else would do in her situation. I pointed to her heart and then to her head and said, “Listen to these. And listen to Heavenly Father. What you want, and what He wants for you are all that matter.”

“I don’t know why I follow my sister,” she said then. This self-reflection of hers was a big one. I could see the wheels turning, and I could tell that she took what I said to heart. She didn’t shrug me off, she wasn’t walking away. She was fully engaged, listening, and actually hearing me. I was in one of those magic teachable moments that don’t come along very often. Since that conversation, I have tried to bring up the topic again at appropriate moments to be sure she was still reflecting on why she’s a follower. I want her to understand that she’s entitled to make decisions for herself, that she knows her true worth. I think I also need to help her to know how to make decisions on her own. Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

So how do we find these teachable moments? I believe it’s through prayer, listening to the Spirit, watching your kids, listening to them, and waiting for openings. I pray daily for help parenting. I know for a fact that I can’t do this parenting thing on my own. And as a single parent, it often feels like I am. But there have been countless instances where an answer was provided to me when I needed it that allowed me to reach a child in a way I could not have done as effectively left to my own devices.

Paying attention to our children is key. You need to be keenly aware of what their needs are if are to help them. Watch how they interact with each other. Watch when they do their homework. Are they struggling with something? Is there something you’re missing? Along with watching them, you need to have regular listening opportunities. One of the best times I find to listen is in the car. They don’t realize that when I ask them how school went, I am hoping to hear what their concerns are. They think I’m just making conversation. These conversations often lead to some nugget of information passing to me that I can then store away to be addressed in the future, when one of those openings comes up. And when your kids approach you with something they want to say, put down whatever you’re doing and let them see that they have your full attention. Even if it’s something trivial, really pay attention. They will remember this when they have something important to say.

Then you need to watch for openings. If I had been too busy with my phone or something else when my daughter gave me that opening, I would have missed the chance to say some really important things to her. I’m afraid I have probably missed many such openings. I pray that more will come. I trust that they will as I know my Heavenly Father loves me and loves my children and will give me second, third, fourth, indeed endless chances to help them. I think as long as I keep trying, Heavenly Father will keep sending me help.

Pray. Watch. Listen. Take the openings when they come. Repeat. Heavenly Father will bless you as you do your best to watch over your little ones. They are His little ones as well. As are you. He cares deeply about how you raise your children. He cares deeply about you. Allow Him to guide you in your most important work on this earth.

LDS Unmarried Life Episode 8-Ladies Only Round Table Discussion

Please subscribe and comment. In this episode, the ladies talk about what they’re looking for in men and what they’ve experienced dating. These can also be found at itunes:

What I Learned from My Interview with a Comedian

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing LDS comedian Steve Soelberg when he was in town for his show with Dry Bar Comedy. (For those of you not familiar with Dry Bar, they are a fairly clean comedy show that bills itself as “Funny for Everyone.”) Steve was kind enough to spend an hour chatting with me for my podcast (listen to the episode here: We talked about his career, what it’s like to be single in the Church, and his dating life.

Steve had a lot of funny stories, but the following is the one the struck me the most. Probably because I related so strongly to it. When Steve was in college he performed in musicals and other productions but after college and before he embarked on his comedy career, he missed having an audience and so found himself doing something kind of silly for attention. He apparently learned how to sing in ‘belting’ style. One time he came home to find his roommate with a date in the dining room. He went over to them and said “Look what I learned how to do!” He then proceeded to belt out a song for them, which they politely thanked him for. Looking back on this situation years later, he realized that he missed performing and that the need to perform was bubbling up in awkward ways. This told him that he needed to find an outlet for this need. He needed to pursue this passion to perform. He had a talent that was being neglected.

I related to this because a while back I had been feeling a need to perform as well. It hit home when I moved to a new ward and lost my gospel doctrine instructor calling. After a few months of not teaching that class I realized, “Hey! I really miss being in front of people!” Fortunately our stake restructured and my new bishopric gave me my calling back! I have since found other ways to be heard, such as my podcast. I also re-discovered writing and wrote a book and articles such as this one. My old passions and talents have been bubbling back up in my life over the past few years since my divorce. For me, reassessing my life reminded me of needs that have gone unmet for several years. I’m now exploring those needs and developing talents which have remained dormant.

We know from the parable of the talents that when we fail to use our talents, we may lose them. “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (Matthew 25:29). Based on Steve’s and my experiences, sometimes our ignored talents will pop up and remind us that they are there, waiting for us to develop and share them.

We have been commanded to not ignore our talents: “…I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.” This scripture helps me to remember that my talents are not just something to develop if I have some free time to get around to them. I am commanded to develop them.

And they aren’t just for my own benefit. “For the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talents, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold” (D&C 82:18). It seems clear to me that our talents were given to us for a few reasons. First: to benefit the church; Second: to benefit others; Third: to give us joy. I believe that the greatest gifts that we have to give are our fully-developed talents. I think that is what it means, in part, to ‘fill the measure of our creation.’

If I don’t share my talents, someone is missing out on what I could have created, performed, or shared. If you don’t share yours, someone else is missing out. What if there is someone right now in need of something that you could share with them? Are you ready? Have you developed the talent to do whatever it is that will help that person? Be it performing, writing, athletic ability, teaching, cooking, painting, sewing, crafting, spiritual gifts such as bearing testimony or lifting the head that hangs down. The list goes on and on.

We are given these talents for a reason! A few examples. I learned some valuable parenting skills several months ago through reading an excellent parenting book and putting the tools I learned to use. I then decided to write about the tools and my success using them. I had some friends read my article and put those skills to use for the good of their families. My writing ability and my new-found parenting skills were helpful to someone else because I shared. The book I read was written by a talented psychologist and author who developed and shared her talents. My children were blessed, I was blessed, and my friends were blessed.

And then there’s Studio C. Those are some seriously talented actors and actresses. They have lifted my spirits more times than I can count. Or the many books that I’ve read over the years which have entertained, educated, and delighted me! Had those authors not developed and shared their talents, my life would have been much less rich. I’m sure if you think about it you can come up with a long list of talented folks who have enriched your life through the sharing of their talents. Imagine if they had ignored their talents.

So I thank Steve Soelberg both for developing his comedy talent and sharing it with the world, and for sharing his experiences with me and reminding me that ignored talents will pop up and remind me of their existence. I’m grateful when that happens as it means I’m being given another chance. It’s a reminder that I have God-given gifts that I can be developing, enjoying, and sharing. I would much rather be reminded that they exist, than have them go away because I neglected them for too long. I know that we are all talented in many ways. It’s our duty to find those talents, cultivate them, and share them with the world.

LDS Unmarried Life Episode 7- Men Only Round Table Discussion Part 2

Please subscribe so you can get these when they’re released. This is the third round table discussion. The discussion continues about dating singles who’ve never been married and don’t have children. Please comment. We want to know what you’re thinking!