24 November 2015

What It Was Like To Share That Post

Ha. I'm sure you can imagine what post I'm talking about. :)

Today I thought I'd share what this experience has been like for us...

How have your families reacted?

Our parents are both very orthodox Mormon. Danny's mom was very understanding and said: "Danny, you are ONE in a million and you married a woman who is ONE in a million. You deserve each other!!!" Isn't that the best thing you could ever hear?

I've had one or two conversations with my Mom & Dad. The Mormon religion is very meaningful to them (which I understand completely) and I know they wish my path was different. Though I think they're used to their 6 kids being extremely independent. So this is a dynamic that isn't brand new for them.

Did you receive any negative feedback from readers?

The truth is - only TWO Facebook comments seemed off to me. TWO!! And they came quite some time after the fact. This is unreal to me as this topic is EXTREMELY sensitive for Mormons and I've seen people write just horrible, disrespectful things to each other as they defend their identities on Facebook and elsewhere.

On my end, I'm trying to navigate this shift with a "heart at peace" instead of a "heart at war" - and I hope the post reflected that. Did it feel that way to you? I didn't want to shame anyone else or attack anyone's identity or push anyone's buttons as there is no need to do that. And I think it made a difference as no one seemed defensive. yay!

What About the Timing?

I've actually had a post in my drafts for over a year. The draft evolved over time. A few days before posting it, I had been in a discussion with a few people about gearing up to publish it in a few days. And then, coincidentally, a major shift in a church policy affecting gay families was made known shortly thereafter. It just felt like a good time to share my post, especially as many Mormons were eager to discuss and share their thoughts. So I posted it on a Saturday instead of waiting for the following week.

Why Did You Wait So Long To Share It?

I held back from sharing earlier in the year as I knew the topic was a sensitive one. I have many Mormon readers whom I adore and I wanted this space and our retreats to continue to feel like a safe space for them - and I'll admit I was worried they would feel otherwise. Due to a shared background, I know many of the experiences of Mormons and Mormon women, and I've always had a soft spot for teaching them my message. Our message helps people to be better Mormons. It helps Catholics to be better Catholics. And it helps Atheists to be better Atheists. I hope all will continue to still feel comfortable conversing here and being a part of this community.

Do You Regret Sharing It?

No. The experience has been better than I anticipated.

Also, it was beginning to feel like an elephant in the room for me. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable by not saying anything about it, mostly because this is a place where we all desire to connect in real ways. It feels SO MUCH BETTER to have shared my thoughts openly. It feels more natural to have it out there than to not.

Danny's Comments

Danny left some massive comments in the comments section and I love every word he wrote! We share in all of those beliefs. So you can see why we say we feel very united in our spiritual path. One thing that might be surprising to some is that the kind of spirituality we both try to live by can take place in a church, or not in a church. In a marriage, or not in a marriage. With a child, or without a child. With a job, or without a job. It's a spiritual life not based on circumstances. :) 

Also, many people had questions and I tried to answer them all in the comments section. We absolutely loved the discussion that took place there.



P.S. TODAY we have some family coming to town for Thanksgiving. They just barely wrote and asked if they could come and purchased tickets that day!!! How exciting is that!? We'll see how many blog posts I get out this week. Ha. I think I better say Happy Thanksgiving to you now just in case!  :)  I hope you have the most beautiful day with friends and family.

Also...some dear old Thanksgiving posts...

In Case You're Wishing You Were in Love For the Holidays
My Prayer for Today

20 November 2015

Exciting Orphanage Update

Do you know that feeling when you meet someone and they just exude so much LIGHT that it just makes your heart pound with awe and that feeling of being loved?

That is what happens when you're in the presence of this woman, the Director of Hogar Miguel Leon Orphanage. They call her "Madre." And she's a joyful woman of love and service.

She knows that our blog community is helping to raise money for the orphanage. :) And she will be EXTREMELY pleased to find out that so far, you generous friends have raised $2,055!! And since Danny and I are now matching up to $2,400, we're currently looking at $4,110 for the orphanage!!!

Diane Lenz, who started a non-profit to help and is a lifeline to those girls, said:
"This is a gift from God! We are thrilled beyond words!"
It is such an honor for us to join in love and giving with all of you. THANK YOU for sending donations to help empower and educate these girls. THANK YOU for doing your shopping through our links so we can donate even more.

And, the girls gave us these little dolls as a thank you. I wish I could send one to all of you who are helping. But please consider this little photo a token of gratitude from the girls.

Action So Far...

-The shoe buying for the girls is in the works. The nuns are gathering the shoe sizes. I'll keep you posted on that as well as the sweatsuits for the elderly women.

-And TODAY, Danny and I will be representing you all by doing the grocery shopping for 100 people so they all can have a nutritious lunch tomorrow on Saturday with foods other than rice and potatoes. They look forward to that Saturday meal all week long. Meals like this are made possible because of your donations. So THANK YOU!! And wish us luck buying food for 100. That will be a first for us. :)

This Holiday Service Project for our blog community here will continue until Dec. 31st! So there's plenty of time to join in. 

I'll be posting a few more updates along the way. 

With all our love,

Mara & Danny

P.S. Here are the coded shopping links again. By buying through our site, we'll get a small commission which will be donated 100% to the orphanage. XO

19 November 2015

A "Language Of Love" Can Change A Life

PHOTO: Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher from Jacksonville, Florida, starts each day by complimenting his students.
From Danny

To me, there are few skills more important than learning how to use a "Language of Love." It's amazing to me how just a few simple words, sincerely spoken, can change a moment, a relationship, or a community.

What is a "Language of Love"? Well, Mara and I teach a whole class about it. I first learned it from a mentor of mine about 15 years ago, and have been studying and applying it ever since in just about every area of my life.

Let me give you an example of someone who has mastered sincere compliments, boldly spoken. His name is Chris Ulmer, he is a special education teacher that works with children with autism, traumatic brain injury, speech apraxia, or a host of other challenges. He spends the first 10 minutes of class EVERYDAY offering sincere compliments to each student individually. It has transformed them. See for yourself.

A+ TEACHER: Special education teacher begins each day by complimenting students, one by one. http://abcn.ws/1X5GWuY
Posted by ABC News on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

He started doing this three years ago when he created a theme for each day of the week. Tuesdays were "Toast Tuesday", and involved him complimenting, or toasting, each of the students. Chris said "I noticed the kids were always more motivated, happier and better behaved on Tuesdays. So we started doing it every day." He says their confidence and self worth has skyrocketed. After a few weeks of doing this, his students started complimenting each other. They never insult each other, and actively work to help one another.

All this from starting the day with sincere compliments and love.

The key here is sincerity. No flattery is allowed. Flattery isn't designed to empower or uplift someone, it is designed to manipulate and control them with your words. The goal of flattery is to gain power or favor of some kind. The goal of sincerity is to give power away and freely empower others.

I suppose a blog post about sincere compliments wouldn't be complete if I didn't offer one to each of you.

Mara and I absolutely LOVE you. And I'm not just talking about the collective "you". I'm speaking to YOU specifically, whoever has graced the pages of this blog today, or any day before. You amaze us! We're blown away by the kind of community YOU have helped to create. Because of the Love YOU bring to this page and to the comment section, this is a place where difficult things can be discussed with love and compassion and respect. Thank you for doing your part to make this space sacred. We are grateful for your presence.

With Love,

P.S. Our new mentoring/coaching practice has been growing and we've been LOVING it. For all of November, we're offering 2 for 1 mentoring sessions (by Skype, GoogleTalk, phone, or email). And if you don't love the session, we offer your payment back in full. Sign up HERE.

17 November 2015

The "Healing Hour"

(Photos today from the Andes. This are the scenes we see from 14,000 feet 
when we make our 4 hour journey to the airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador.)

How are you all feeling? Are you feeling the weight of the world these days? This world of headlines. And shootings. And ISIS. And planes going down. And attacks right and left. And refugee families. And hate for humanity. And continued inequality for so, so many.  :(

In my lifetime, it feels there has never been a more pressing time for LOVE and ONENESS with each other globally. There has never been a time when passivity and silence are no longer passable options. This is a time for outreach to the vulnerable; for us to see others as our own; for our voices to be heard; for our light to shine; for us each individually to send our vibration of LOVE into this world. It feels as though our current and future generations depend on it. 

To vibrate with love, my friends, I've learned it takes INNER HEALING FIRST. It takes INNER PEACE. 

Because how can you have the energy to help another when your energy is already drained completely by facing your own life? How can you use your voice if you do not have self worth that can stand alone? How can you feel at one with bold, courageous Love if you are crippled by fear? How can you contribute to world peace if you, yourself, are consumed with hate or anger or aggravation towards any human being?

There was a time in my life when I couldn't do ANY of these things.

Today, may I suggest a ritual that can help us all to heal, deeply. And if it helps you, trust me that it will help to heal the world, too.

It's called A 'Healing Hour'. 

Danny and I have been doing this as often as we can for the last few months. We learned about it from our wonderful holistic practitioners. It's ideally one hour a day set aside for YOUR INNER HEALING. It's designed to help you to face this world with arms wide open. Selfish, one might think? A full hour? Really?

Yes. Because this world needs our peace. 

Yes. Because our ability to love courageously depends on our inner strength.

Yes. Because our emotional stress and fatigue will lead to disease of the mind and body. 

Yes. Because it can transform our marriages, our families, our work.

Yes. Because there's only so much news and screen time a person can take. 

Here's what I've done recently during my Healing Hour:

-Meditation. This is no joke. It seriously can change the state of your energy in 10-15 minutes. Research is proving this again and again. But I think it's helpful to find the type of meditation that speaks to you. (It's like finding the right therapist. :) Personally, I get the most fully engaged and moved by guided meditations with music. My favorites currently are meditations by Belleruth Naperstak. And I'm dabbling with the Oprah & Deepak Chopra 21 Day Meditations. I know others prefer silent meditation, like the teachings of Vipassana (which I also HIGHLY recommend.)

-Yoga. We're still doing the free Youtube classes with Lesley Fightmaster, who is completely lovely. Our bodies have never felt better and we always feel so centered and full of intention and love when we do it. Sidenote: Her classes should be called "Love Your Butt Yoga" because it won't be long before you will love your butt. Not a bad side effect of The Healing Hour. :)

-Quiet Time. This one is recommended for 30 minutes a day. It's a time to rest with no input or output. I mean - 30 minutes. This one is HARD for me. Which means I probably need it the most.

-Music. I'm so deeply moved and healed by music - especially when it has a powerful vibration. Sometimes I just sit and close my eyes and soak it in. My retreat guests know these are two of my favorite healing songs: Mother Divine (Devi Prayer) and a mantra song called Ong So Hung, which means: "That Creative and Divine Force...I Am That." Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

-Essential Oils. I'm trying to use oils more often for aromatherapy, as a way to ground myself. I've been using Frankincense and Palo Santo during meditation and yoga. Rose or Orange Blossom (Neroli) all day every day because they're my favorites. Lavender for moments of relaxation. Orange or Lemon, for rejuvenation.

-Deep Tissue Massage & Body Work. Touch is SO healing to me! And, well, massages are very affordable in Ecuador ($20 or $30). So I've added this into my routines as well as some trigger point body therapy that is supposed to help align the body and release any emotional blockages in energy flow. I literally feel like a cloud after one of these treatments.

-Sitting in the Sun for 20 minutes (for Vit. D). Gah! This is one of my favorite things to do now! I swear, I barely saw the sun for over a decade while sitting at my desk and scurrying around amidst skyscrapers. So now I'm trying to make up for it. And that 20 minutes of sun seems to go straight to the bone. I'd say it's done wonders for my wellness!

-Brain Hemisphere Synchronization. This one is brand new to me and it's actually one of my favorite things on this list! You listen to specific sound waves. And they help to synchronize the two brain hemispheres, helping you to be happier, more optimistic, clear minded and more energized. I've been listening to this one (by Robert Monroe) with headphones and I can't believe what an effect it has.

-Sauna/Steam Bath. There's a hot spring spa that we go to here with hot pools, saunas, etc. (Similar to the Korean or Turkish Baths in NYC.) I feel RELAXED FROM HEAD TO TOE when we go.

And all this from a girl who used to work an insane amount of hours in NYC with hardly a second dedicated to health or well being.

A few readers said this about their self care rituals:
  • Terrel: "Rocking chairs on the front porch can do a body good." Ah, yes! 
  • Rebecca: "I take Essential Oil Baths. Perfect to cleanse, meditate, and relax. I use the Serenity Oil from Doterra." My dream. By far one of my favorite things to do.
  • Quinne: "I don't think you'd like my ideas of binge watching Netflix and drinking Diet Coke. :)" Haha. Love it. That's a start.

OK, friends, are you in? Do you want to try this? Does it seem impossible or guilt inducing? What would you love to do for an hour? Write a comment below and let us know. Even if you pulled this off once or twice a week, it would be an amazing thing. Certainly our bodies and minds need this. And the world needs us. So how about this: let's support each other in doing this. When you do a #HealingHour, take a quick pic to email to me so I can share it with the community here. 

With Love,


P.S. Our new mentoring/coaching practice has been growing and we've been LOVING it. For all of November, we're offering 2 for 1 mentoring sessions (by Skype, GoogleTalk, phone, or email). And if you don't love the session, we offer your payment back in full. Sign up HERE.

10 November 2015

Christmas is In The Air...For A Girls' Orphanage

Hello dear ones!!

First of all, W-O-W.

I can hardly believe the outpouring of kindness, love and acceptance that has come our way due to my last post. This has been and continues to be an audience we just cherish so much.

Our hearts just kept expanding more and more with emotion and gratitude as the weekend and days continued. We'd go on a walk, and then come back to more beautiful comments. LOVED your questions, by the way. It was really meaningful to converse back and forth here on the blog and on Facebook. Thank you for that round table and feeling of community. I listened to Mormon hymns while writing you!

Today, Danny and I have a delightful announcement and we hope you like it!!!

One of my great dreams for the blog has been to work on various service projects - together - as a community! 

And so today, I am giddy to announce that we'll be hosting a project for us all for the holiday season!!!

We found a girls' orphanage here in Cuenca, Ecuador, in the "old town" of Cuenca: Hogar Miguel Leon Orphanage. They house 31 girls, from 1 month old to 18 years of age, many whom have been abandoned or abused. They are raised by the most lovely nuns, like this one, who has raised orphans for 20 years! The orphanage also cares for 65 elderly women (abuelitas) whom would otherwise be homeless.

From now until the end of December, we thought it would be such a gift if we all could help provide them with some of their most urgent needs:
  • All 31 girls are badly in need of shoes and some clothes.  
  • The 65 elderly abuelitas need some sweatsuits as they are too cold here in the Andes. 
The funds needed for this are $1,400. 

Though the nuns told us that even if we just bought them rolls of fabric, they would sew new clothes themselves! Oh my goodness! I just about died when she said that! These nuns really are such good caretakers and they are used to making things work with an extreme budget.   

So my dear friends, don't you think we can help these girls and women?

Danny and I will match every dollar that comes in up to $1,400 $2,400 (updated!). 

And if even more monies are raised...here's where it would go:

-A Holiday Dinner for the Girls and Abuelitas on December 12
-Materials and Support To Train the Girls in Reading, Computers, the English Language, Cooking, Sewing, Artisan Crafts (they have no education and need ANY skills for possible income potential)
-Self-Esteem Classes (so very needed!)
-Sex Education (sooo needed here!)
-Reading Classes
-Books for the Orphanage (until recently there wasn't even one book on the property for the girls!)
-First Aid Classes
-A Big Meal Every Saturday (once a week they give the girls a meal more nutritious than rice and potatoes, which is their normal diet during the week.)
-A Job Placement Program (for the girls who are turning 18)
-A Halfway House (for the girls who are turning 18)

Two Ways You Can Help:

**1. Do Your Holiday Shopping Through Our Site!!** 

Websites can receive a commission if someone buys an item by clicking a link on your site.

We plan to donate 100% of those commissions to the orphanage between now and Dec. 31, 2015!!

All you have to do is make your holiday purchases by clicking these links, below. (These links are coded so they can track purchases back to this site). We'll receive a commission percentage varying up to 12% of your sale.

So easy, right?! Friends, this feels like free money and I think it could really add up if many joined in! And it could just add an extra spark of joy and purpose as you do your holiday shopping:

**2. Send A Donation.**

There is a local non-profit called Ecuador Cares that recently got set up to orchestrate all the classes, Saturday meals, training, job placement program, and halfway house for the older girls (these initiatives wouldn't happen otherwise). It was started by a fellow American expat here who is my neighbor and happens to be one of my all time favorite women I've ever met. Her name is Diane Lenz and she has dedicated her retirement to helping orphanages.

You can send a donation directly to Ecuador Cares HERE.
(Leave a note under "Special Instructions" and write 'A BLOG ABOUT LOVE' so we can track the donations.)

Diane's past life: working in NYC in tech on Wall Street as well as raising millions to buy computers for NYC kids in need. She organized a system where Wall Street techs were bussed into schools to train kids (!) She is a REMARKABLE woman. She is most passionate about children, economic empowerment, education, human rights, and poverty alleviation. She has organized (from scratch) a team of volunteers here who are helping to feed, nurture, emotionally care for, and teach life skills to these orphan girls before they turn 18. She's doing all she can to stop the cycle of poverty and help these girls be qualified for jobs. Before she came on the scene, there was not one single book on the property for the 31 girls!

Diane once told me this: "Helping kids is just what I do and have always done."

And it wasn't until much later that I learned this:

Diane was an orphan herself! And due to her circumstances, she got pregnant at a young age.

I have no words. Just a lump in my throat. And a heart that bursts with admiration for this woman. 

Send a donation directly to Ecuador Cares HERE.

Since we're matching donations, please write "A Blog About Love" in the "special instructions" section when you make the donation so that we can track it. 

If you'd like to do a little research, read this detailed article about Diane and Ecuador Cares. And listen to the most heart warming radio interview with Diane where she discusses the needs and the efforts.

NOTE: The only overhead for Ecuador Cares is $100 per month for an accountant! Every other cent goes to the girls as the non-profit Board and volunteers give their time, phones, gas, taxis, and office space for free. 

Here's the kitchen area where the girls learn to cook on Saturdays.

They each have a silverware pouch:

This is where they wash many of the clothes by hand.

We saw this ball on the property and it looked 100 years old!

For the Saturday meal, Ecuador Cares has organized guest chefs to come in and teach the girls some skills. 

Are you in??

Let's help empower these girls!!!

Without training and education, their cycle of poverty will continue. The grave reality for them here will be prostitution and selling candy on the streets, which will lead to pregnancies and the next generation of orphans.

One more thing you can do: share this post on Facebook & social media. Perhaps it might encourage others to make donations or make all their purchases here. Let's take this to the next level!

Don't forget: Every time you make an online purchase, see if you can do it through these links above. This will raise more money for the orphanage.


Thanks for all you are trying to do - all that you are - all that you represent. We truly have a good-hearted community here and I'm so excited to see what we can do together. 



P.S. We're going to a fundraising event TONIGHT where the girls will be performing some music they've been rehearsing. I'll share photos on Facebook!!

07 November 2015

Lots of Love As I Shift From Mormonism

You ready for this? 

I'll start off by saying that this post is meant to be a celebration! Yes.

It's about a journey and about a life.

It's about great PEACE, JOY, and finding TRUTH.

It's also a celebration of connection. I write this post with a desire to connect with YOU and sit around the table with you and share authentic life stuff with you. And, also with a desire to address several questions that have come in over the last year in regards to me being a Mormon.

So if you'd like, grab a cup of tea!


I grew up Mormon in Arizona, in a large Mormon family with deep Mormon roots who lived in pioneer homes and went to historic Mormon churches. No matter how hard I tried, though, I couldn't get the Mormon "testimony" to work for me. I was supposed to just know that the church was the one true church, but it didn't work. At age 18, I was asked to be a keynote at a Mormon graduation event at a high school in Mesa, AZ. I told them no. "Why?" they asked. "I don't believe in this. I can't fake this anymore."

I grew up again in NYC in my twenties and it turns out that I did return to Mormonism many years later. This time, I had a spiritual awakening under my belt that took place outside of the Mormon church. That awakening included meditation while walking the streets of Manhattan and smiling from ear to ear while reading Eckart Tolle on the train (all the while with divorce docs in my bag and fresh infertility drugs in my fridge that would go unused) - and through it all, I began to seem some beauty within the Mormon church...beauty that I hadn't seen before.

During those years, some of the BEST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE took place because I was a Mormon. Yes, it's true. The Brooklyn Mormon community is pretty rock star, as far as Mormon communities go. Most of the people are open and accepting and feel like family. Combine that with opportunities for teaching, learning, soul searching, connecting, speaking, stretching, planning, shoveling, painting, feeding, mentoring, serving, loving and you just might feel absolutely rich with experiences and friends and community. I did. And it truly, truly was extraordinary.

Honoring it All

After my divorce, I used to stand and sing hymns with Brooklynites so dear that tears would just stream down my face at the beauty of life and the beauty of humanity.

*   *   *

I used to mentor young girls and feel all the purpose in the world as I taught them and mentored them. The very day I got word that my divorce was final, it kinda didn't phase me because my home was packed with a gathering of Brooklyn kids and Christmas decor and baked ziti. (A hip hop dance-off was also definitely involved.)

*   *   *

I had the opportunity to start a Women of Faith Lecture Series in Brooklyn that led to THE. MOST. INCREDIBLE. evenings of our lives as women spoke openly and authentically for the first time about their journeys with faith - in and out of challenges such as money troubles, a failing marriage, anorexia, being gay in the LDS community, twins who were born prematurely, breast cancer, suicide of family members, infertility, depression, motherhood, or being a feminist woman in the Mormon church. There is moreAnd I cherish every word. It was raw and real and the connection felt between us all and the stories of faith were so empowering I can hardly describe. It was history in the making.

*   *   *

The women in our Brooklyn congregation cared for a woman and single mother dying of cancer. We'll never forget it. Coordinated pick-ups and drop-offs for chemo at Kings County Hospital became sacred. Rotating caretaking for her 15 year old autistic daughter became our world. We held a gathering for the woman to honor her during the last weeks of her life. She insisted on making soup for all of us even though she had few resources (and very little energy) to make the soup at all -and she made it special for me with no gluten. I truly have no words.

*   *   *

After Hurricane Sandy, the New York Mormons cancelled church and went full force into the hardest hit areas. It was literally the National Guard and the Mormons in those early days. Weekend after weekend, people went out. They even came by bus from areas as far as Pennsylvania. We ended up in a truck with some guys that had driven all night to get to Staten Island. We were headed to rip out a house full of wood floors. Um. Us city folk were in over our heads. The men laughed. They were full blown carpenters from the sticks with country accents and a truck full of real tools. And off we went to rip out wood floors and dodge rusty nails.

*   *   *

Every Sunday in Brooklyn I would walk or drive across the Gowanus Canal from the Mormon church on Court Street and feel like my heart was just ripped open to the max - like I had just been filled to the brim with friendship, fellowship, and the beauty of people giving their best to the world. Nothing else mattered more. Nothing else was more beautiful than connection with humanity. 

*   *   *

With all my heart, I honor and cherish every experience I've ever had associated with the Mormon Church. Even times in my life where I felt spiritually inadequate according to their models. Or felt confused. Or in turmoil. Or embarrassed. Or spiritually not fulfilled. Or deeply disappointed. Or shamed. Or treated as 'less than' as a woman. Or censored. Or silenced. Yes, there has been that, too. 

But it has ALL made me who I am.

It has ALL led to greater growth and spirituality; a stronger voice; greater human development; greater opportunities to learn how to live and speak my truth. 

I couldn't be more grateful. 

The Shift

As I continue on my spiritual path, for quite some time I have found myself feeling not as moved (and even repelled) by many of the teachings, principles, doctrines, beliefs, phrases, proclamations, practices, culture, policies, structure, and procedures that once were just so much a part of my life and conditioning that I barely noticed them, like freckles on my hand. Yes, I believe in serving others and singing hymns. But it's the words spoken in between that are now vastly different than the truths I want to align with.

And so, I honor the fact that it doesn't resonate anymore. For me, I easily and freely follow that part inside me that doesn't yearn to participate like I once did. Going against my own grain is not something I really ever do. So I am at peace.

What does that look like for me?

-I remain curious. I remain a seeker more than ever. There is good to be found all around in this big, beautiful, wide world and I want to continue finding it. I want to seek after experiences that feel true to my own spiritual path and the truths that I hold near and dear. Energy is too precious to do anything else. 

-My spiritual path is this: I want to cultivate peace from the inside out, regardless of circumstances. I want to do what aligns with LIGHT, TRUTH, SEEKING, INTERNAL & SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT, INTUITION, ACCEPTANCE, and most of all, LOVE (vs. fear, shaming, excluding, manipulation, judgement, control, silencing, excommunicating).

-Currently my spiritual path does not involve church attendance, and hasn't for over a year. The church culture and environment here in Ecuador doesn't speak to me currently. I felt the same way when we attended church in many cities in the west during our U.S. Tour. On the other hand, in the past I have loved the church culture in Brooklyn, which traditionally has been a very accepting/open culture within the Mormon church. There's a chance I'll continue to partially participate to some extent in the community there when we return. We'll see how that goes. Though I know many open minded people are actually leaving the church, too, in massive numbers these days. It's quite possible the church environment in Brooklyn may also be quite different when we return.

-Participating at the highest level of worship (in the temple) is not something I'll be doing as they do have strict questions in place in order to enter the temple. I have had some very beautiful, spiritual, and uplifting experiences in the temple. Though based on my beliefs, I no longer fit the profile they desire for temple worship and would not be considered "worthy" according to their standards.

-For about a decade, I've been cleansing any conditioning out of me that I find doesn't serve me and others. Most things I can easily drop like a hot rock. One or two things were a long process over many years. Though there's one cultural belief that has some complex lingering affects. It's the belief that says: I was supposed to get educated, but not really focus on a career - because, you know, motherhood. So a meaningful career was truly never even a thought in my mind. I find that mind boggling now! And I'm now working on that and forging a path.

-I want to accept and have love and forgiveness for ALL those around me. That includes the Mormon institution and believing Mormons, even when I disagree deeply on many accounts. I know they are doing what they believe to be righteous, and they are doing what they have been taught.

-I desire to connect with people in every religion or spiritual path. I want to explore other communities and also form an even greater community here and with those around me. I simply delight in our retreats, as it brings together people from so many different backgrounds. Stay tuned for a retreat in 2016.

Is it hard to share about this shift?

It actually feels really natural and normal to talk about it. I'm ok forging my own path.

I will admit, though, it IS a bit strange to be a blogger and a known Mormon while making a shift. I have many dear Mormon readers here and I know many of you may be saddened by this news. So my heart is definitely full for any of you in those shoes as I know it can bring on feelings of disappointment, sadness, or betrayal. I've heard from some Mormons already - some who have even said they can no longer read my blog or consider me an online friend. It's as though their trust in me has been lost. Well, what can I say? I truly hope that we can still be friends! And that we can continue to share stories about our path through life and our path to live with more LOVE. This blog will carry on as it has before. It has been life changing for many Mormons and non-Mormons alike. I hope that all will continue to feel welcome and included here. I love all of you and accept you - exactly as you are!

Is this a crisis for you?

No, this isn't a crisis for me. I see it more as exciting and empowering; a new chapter.

Since my spiritual awakening took place outside of the Mormon church, I always knew that the spiritual part of myself was my own and it wasn't intertwined automatically with a third party like the Mormon church. Unlike most believing Mormons, I have never seen the church as THE way or "THE one true church", but as a tool that could possibly be a stepping stone. And it was a beautiful one for me. For that I am grateful.

Is there loss?

Yes. I used to rely on the church for quite a bit of inspiration throughout the year. So now, I'm filling those gaps with other things. This loss is actually great as it's stretching me more and more. I've been seeking out new books, people, discussions, meditations, yoga, workshops, nature, retreats, podcasts, etc. And I know there is so, so much out there to explore!! Heck, I may even check out a church gathering of expats here in Cuenca. I've never done anything like that! haha. By the way, if you have ANY spiritual recommendations or explorations for me, I would so love to hear from you. Any Brooklyn recommendations will be especially noted. :)

Also, I feel loss of the community. Yes, I miss the fellowship. For now, may you know how deeply I appreciate this community here on the blog and the gatherings that we've had with so many of you. The care and conversation and connection that takes place here is truly enriching to my life. I hope it is enriching to you, too. It's my DREAM that we can all gather more and more in the future!

Will you still consider yourself Mormon?

You know, it may look more like this: "I grew up Mormon, but I no longer attend. My spiritual path doesn't fully resonate with it at this time." Though much of my family and many friends are Mormon and my husband still attends, so I'll still be in touch with it to some degree and I welcome that. You'll probably still catch me at church if someone I know is speaking. Or if there's a chili-cook-off to be won. Or if there is an opportunity to join with the community through an activity or a charitable outreach of some kind. Hurricanes, bring it on.


I send love to ALL of you! I send gratitude for your friendship and kindness. I send sisterhood to all of you. I send JOY to all of you who are on a spiritual path of some kind. Isn't it beautiful? I think it's one of the most beautiful paths there is and I'm grateful to be on this journey with you as we make our way.

It is my hope that this post brings more connection and less distance as we are all sisters in this together. There is room for all of us around the table. I say we all take a chair!

Also, I'd love to hear what your reaction is to my post or if you have any questions.

Ask and comment away!

With all my love,


P.S. See the comments to see how my dear husband feels about it!

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For all of November, a free session will be added to each session booked!

04 November 2015

For All Of November...

Hello friends! We've been mentoring many of you by Skype and it's been going SO well.

For the rest of November, we wanted to host a Gratitude Sale for our Love Mentoring Sessions. The truth is, we really like all of you. And we'd love to be able to help as many of you as we can. What we are teaching is helping people, a lot. There is so much more happiness to be had. And so...

For each session booked, you'll get an additional session FREE. That will make the price $75 for each.

Also, if for some reason the first session doesn't appeal to you, we'd be happy to refund your money in full. We want this to be a win win. It's worth trying out, right? You really do get the goods.

Book a session here.

Love to all,

P.S. Does anyone love color palettes like me? I think the pale pink, dark green, and oyster in this picture could be a pretty color palette for November.  :)  (This is also where our seamstress lives. She repairs all the holes that the puppies make in things. Also, Pip & Rue just shared an update on Facebook. You can see it here.)

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