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Messages - LMAshton

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News of the Church / Re: Church Worthiness Interviews
« on: July 08, 2018, 08:20:46 pm »
I am a recovering addict. It took me until I was 44 to understand what it meant to be an addict. Before then I thought I just had a "little problem" that with enough faith and effort I could overcome. After decades following that approach I finally realized it was no little problem, it was infinitely stronger than I was, and the only way to deal with it was to turn my life upside down. Praying, fasting, attending the temple, counseling with bishops didn't help because I fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the atonement and my relationship with the Savior. I was trying to do it on my terms. When I let go of any conditions, only then did I get out of the Lord's way and let him in. I have learned to rely on my Savior in a way I didn't comprehend before. For almost 5 years I have been attending weekly 12-step meetings, doing daily step work, having daily phone calls with other recovering addicts, working with a sponsor and sponsoring others in turn. And I expect to do this for the rest of my life. Before I thought this was too high a price to pay, but it is a very small price for the peace and freedom the Lord gives me each day.

Addiction is both physiological and behavioral. It is progressively destructive, sometimes slowly and sometimes rapidly. And it affects everyone around the addict, whether they are aware of it or not. In reality this “little problem” breaks hearts, destroys trust, ruins relationships and corrodes faith.

Whether or not it's an addiction, whatever sin we persist in will keep us from God's presence now and forever. And encouraging people who persist in sin to use their temple recommends only cheapens the temple and its covenants.
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General Discussion / Great news :)
« on: June 27, 2018, 10:10:51 am »
I'm sure I've mentioned over the past few years how my family has struggled. My husband has been trying to make it as an independent contractor, and a series of bad deals and "learning experiences" had us in a tough place. I went to work a couple of years ago (in addition to teaching piano), and while I'm so very thankful to have an amazing job that gave me the flexibility I need to be a mother, it hasn't paid the bills and our family has suffered for it: my time and energy divided, working mom guilt, not enough to go around...

The company I work for has been struggling and we came darn close to going out of business. As things grew more and more precarious, we got more nervous. DH hasn't had demonstrable work for awhile, he was worried about his age, and we added lots more worries to the pile that may or may not have been valid. As he started to look for a job that would take care of us, I prayed for some very specific things for him and his prospective employers. Miracles unfolded quickly and my prayers were very specifically and directly answered. Some things I didn't even ask for but Heavenly Father knew we would need materialized.

Today, my sweetheart starts a new job that is going to change everything for us. One that was seemingly wrapped in a perfect package and placed in front of us. These years of struggle and worry are over, for now. I just pray that he'll find joy and fulfillment in this position.

In the meantime, a benevolent investor (they do exist) swooped in to the rescue and is doing miraculous things for the company I'm at. Our mission is a noble one; we just haven't had the reach or resources to keep going. Now we will. AND, I'll be able to only be in the office when my kids are at school, and quit teaching piano. When they're home, I get to be Mom.

Heavenly Father is good and wise and I'm just bursting with gratitude. You've all heard my grief and worry, so I wanted to share my joy.
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General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« on: June 17, 2018, 05:54:36 pm »
Honestly, it shouldn't take a pediatrician or psychologist to grasp this. It seems very simple. I am not a health professional or a teacher, or even a parent, but I get it. Any normal human would. The Republican Party considers itself the defenders of traditional family values, & what could be a more fundamental family value than keeping children with their own mothers or fathers, or other relatives if there is no health, safety, or child welfare reason to separate them?

Those kids are getting 3 hots & a cot in that converted Walmart, but are they getting the less tangible things that kids really need?

Two questions have just popped into my mind: What if these kids were from Northern Europe, which we know DT prefers over ****hole countries that have mostly non-white people? And, if you got the kid all alone & vowed never to quote him, what would Barron Trump really think of all this?

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General Discussion / Re: Current Events - US Politics Edition
« on: June 17, 2018, 04:38:33 pm »
Colleen Kraft, president of the American Association of Pediatrics, visited a shelter for immigrant children on the Texas border.  Here is what she said about kids who are separated from their parents: “The really basic, foundational needs of having trust in adults as a young child was not being met. That contradicts everything we know that the kids need to build their health.” She went on to explain that..."Such a situation could have long-term, devastating effects on young children, who are likely to develop what is called toxic stress in their brain once separated from caregivers or parents they trusted. It disrupts a child’s brain development and increases the levels of fight-or-flight hormones in their bodies. ... This kind of emotional trauma could eventually lead to health problems, such as heart disease and substance abuse disorders."

Nearly 4,600 mental-health professionals and 90 organizations have joined a petition urging President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and several elected officials to stop the policy of separating children from their parents. The petition states:
"These children are thrust into detention centers often without an advocate or an attorney and possibly even without the presence of any adult who can speak their language. We want you to imagine for a moment what this might be like for a child: to flee the place you have called your home because it is not safe to stay and then embark on a dangerous journey to an unknown destination, only to be ripped apart from your sole sense of security with no understanding of what just happened to you or if you will ever see your family again. And that the only thing you have done to deserve this, is to do what children do: stay close to the adults in their lives for security. ... To pretend that separated children do not grow up with the shrapnel of this traumatic experience embedded in their minds is to disregard everything we know about child development, the brain, and trauma.”

You can read the full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/06/16/america-is-better-than-this-what-a-doctor-saw-in-a-texas-shelter-for-migrant-children
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General Discussion / Re: Cabin & Porch
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:10:08 am »
Did everyone see the stories & videos of the raccoon climbing the 25-story building in St. Paul? By the time I saw it, he was already safe, but it was still nerve-wracking to watch him inching up the vertical wall, stopping on ledges occasionally to rest. The wall must not have been totally smooth but maybe had something like a textured surface that he could cling to. Seeing him on the narrow ledges 20-plus stories up, looking down at the city, is enough to give you vertigo.  :o

Our critters watched it & they were terrified. Cats & some dogs can climb, but not like that. He was literally holding on to the wall with his claws.   

Here are a couple of links. There are many different versions - this practically collapsed the internet.


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Speaking from the perspective of a bishopric, please do go and see someone about it. The person extending the call does not know what the calling requires of you, because each calling will make demands that relate to conditions and personalities now, not in the past or the future; that means that only you know what the calling is demanding because only you are experiencing it now. Your bishopric are correct to say that people are only supposed to have one calling, and that is a church-wide policy, so you shouldn't be expected to carry three at once. There are occasions where that can be varied, ie there is a pressing need (lack of available alternatives) or there is a particularly good fit between the callings, but you really should not have three callings at once. It does you no good, and it does the calling no good
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General Discussion / Re: Cabin & Porch
« on: May 25, 2018, 09:06:59 pm »
With all the serious & ponderous topics going on here, I thought I’d pop into the Cabin with this lighter story about a cat who sails the ocean with his person & serves an indispensable purpose on the crew, which consists of just the two of them. I figured our critters would especially enjoy this, but I hope it doesn’t give them ideas about flying the coop. Most of them would be smart enough, but I doubt any of them would want to give up the easy life to actually go to work on deck. :D

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General Discussion / Re: Abuse
« on: May 24, 2018, 11:38:23 pm »
Yes. Although, the hotline is for legal considerations, not for counseling training. For example:  Different states have different requirements for reporting abuse. While priest/penitent confessions may be protected communication in some states, other states may require confessions of abuse to be reported if they involve children, elderly, or handicapped victims. The hotline has legal experts to help guide bishops wherever they are located.
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General Discussion / Re: Abuse
« on: May 22, 2018, 09:27:29 pm »
Thank you, Jana.  That reminds me of some other things I've learned in this area.

1.  IT'S NOT A SIN TO BE BROKEN.  So what if you're flawed?  So what if you make mistakes in your marriage?  YOU CAN HEAL AND BE HEALED.  Sometimes the part of us that is broken is the part that wants to stay.  SO. FREAKING. WHAT.  Admit that part, own it, and DO SOMETHING to stop it.
2.  Some people say that divorce is 50/50 in the fault arena.  I'm sure that's true sometimes, but MOST of the time I would say it's not.  Now, along those same lines, it's almost never 100/0, either.  Again, and this adds on to #1, SO WHAT.  You can't control your spouse and their 90% of the problems, but you CAN control your 10% of the issues.  Don't use your 10% as an excuse to say it's 'partially your fault' like that's an obligation to stay.
3.  I wish all cases of abuse were as black-and-white clear like they are in the movies, with a practically satanic abuser, but they are not.  Sometimes abuse, especially the psychological kind, crops up only enough to make you wonder if it really qualifies as 'abuse.'  This is especially hard when you know the in-laws enough to know where the behavior comes from, and even WORSE if you can see them TRYING to change but not enough to completely stop hurting you (I've described this as going from cutting 4 inches deep to only  2.  It's better, but it still hurts). 
4. Sometimes the victims develop really bad coping skills to deal with the abuse (on top of the issues that put them and kept them in the abusive relationship in the first place).  These often damage the abuser, the abusee, the relationship, and everyone else involved.

Those last 2 are tricky situations that I don't have answers for, but I have personally observed. 
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General Discussion / Re: Abuse
« on: May 22, 2018, 08:06:10 pm »
Hugs, JanaLynn. I am blessed to know you as the strong, intelligent, elegant woman you are.  I hope we get to visit again in the near future.
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General Discussion / Re: Abuse
« on: May 22, 2018, 04:16:12 am »
*clears throat*
I will share this.  When one is abused by a partner that you swore to be faithful to til death, you have to become mentally ill to convince yourself to stay. ALL of the reasons above are valid. Some women never resurface. You become tightly wound. Everything is your fault. Everything is your responsibility.  It is too exhausting to think your way out of the box you are in, especially when there are children you have to protect.

It took a surgeon saying "you will report this to the police, yes?"  and then a middle of the night visit to the parish priest who asked "Do you want to stay with him?"  Me: No.   Priest: "Then don't."  He gave me the permission to break my vows.

I survived,  but it took the Gospel to heal me.  And it still took time. 

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Dear young Grasshopper,
I have been around this perfect Gospel within an imperfect institution  long enough to say this with all the love in my heart:  your election and glory are not based on your hours of service, but on your willingness to serve.
How can it be that your leadership is so uninformed about your needs and responsibilities?   May I suggest a visit with a PH leader? Lay it out. Be frank.  Be clear.
They may not realize how many hours is takes, never having the calling.  They may not realize your on going challenges. 
They have keys but are not mind readers, they have the power to heal but they are not magicians.
This is not meaning to assign fault or blame.
Its time for you to have a good old chat with the Holy Ghost and then go speak to a leader.
Really,  when a calling becomes no blessing at all and youd rather stay home than do it, it is time to speak up.
I will be praying for you!
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General Discussion / Re: Abuse
« on: May 21, 2018, 10:22:09 pm »
I showed this thread to my wife.  She worked in the counseling office for a women's shelter for about 18 months.  Here is what she had to say:

Most women will make up stories to cover abuse because of fear:

- They're afraid they won't have a place to go if they leave.
- They're afraid their kids will get taken away.
- They're afraid their friends and family won't believe them, or say they have "mental problems."
- They're afraid that if the abuser finds out, it will get worse.
- They're afraid about being judged:  They're not strong enough to leave on their own, or they're just trying to get attention.

Some women won't leave because they believe they deserve it.  Some women stay because the "make-up" afterwards seems good enough--expensive gifts, flowers, special dates, lavish apologies and promises, etc.

When we talked about why other people don't ask, she said that most abused women have adopted several avoidance techniques and non-verbal behaviors which, in essence, say, "Stay away from me.  This is none of your business." You have to be willing to push through that with care and sensitivity.  Even if you can get someone to engage with you, be prepared for all the cover stories.
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General Discussion / Abuse
« on: May 21, 2018, 06:28:00 pm »
I started this thread because I did not want to hijack Jen's, which is very important.

Last week I had eye surgery and it left me very swollen and bruised. It looked very much like someone lit-in to me. After about 4 days, I went with my husband a couple of times to Walmart. One time with sunglasses because the light hurt my eyes.The sunglasses did not hide anything, as the bruise went down under my chin. The other time without, because I was trying to get used to the light.

What concerns me is that no one asked this very bruised lady if everything was alright. Yes, most of the time I was with my husband but there were plenty of opportunities when I was alone. With me, I'd explain that I had surgery  but what about the truly abused woman? Perhaps and probably she'd respond with something like 'I hit a wall' but at least she'd know someone care. True, there are others that would ask you to mind your own business. But are we really meant to walk by people who look so hurt and then feel at peace with ourselves?

One day I noticed a bruise on a woman's upper arm, covered by her shirt. I asked what happened. She ended up crying and telling me that her husband did it. She said no one else knew and begged me not to tell anyone. Over time, no one has asked her about her bruises. Two weeks ago she had a black eye. When I asked about it she said that her husband didn't mean to do it. One day, she had a swollen foot. She told everyone that would listen that her husband accidentally stomped on her foot while dancing. No one said a word, but instead changed the subject.She said she went to the branch president to ask for counseling through LDS social services. The branch president then went to her husband about it and he just told the BP that she was crazy. When I suggested she get counseling herself, she said she wasn't crazy. She has no friends because she hangs on so tight, is very angry and seems a little neurotic. I can't make her leave, get counseling, call the police, etc.. Oh, one day the police were called to her house. A LDS neighbor called the woman's daughter and told here the police were at her mother's house but she never went over to check on her neighbor. There really is nothing I can do, but at least I can tell her she can call any time and come over to our house when she needed an escape. We would take her to a shelter, for her own (and ours) safety. I doubt she will because she says "I love him"
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Forum and Member News / Admiration and appreciation
« on: May 21, 2018, 05:33:43 pm »
Dyany, you are an amazing person. I enjoy your wisdom that you share in your comments.
I am taking a course in marketing your books and it keeps saying "network, network", then I look at your FB page. You are such a natural at making friends - I admire it so much. Your friends which include many authors aren't your friends because they want something from you, or you from them. They are you friends because they truly like you. Wow. That is a real talent: that of making true friends.

Those are the things I really admire about you: Your wisdom that you are willing to share and the ability of making true, lasting friendships. As I said, you really are an amazing woman.
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