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Basketball and Limiting Beliefs

Formative Years

Reflecting on my childhood, basketball played a major role in most of it. I loved playing basketball and honestly I was pretty good. I didn’t make the school basketball teams and as I write this post, I hope to analyze some of the reasons why and how that has affected my life for good or ill.

I was a church basketball star. In some areas of the world we might call church ball street ball because church ball is a bit rough and often less monitored than regular ball. We had games with refs, rules and time clocks but the passion of church ball far exceeded that of the more traditional school games.

In Junior High, I was confident that I had the skill to make the team and truthfully I did! In little league, I was a starter and contributed to the championship teams and even made all stars once or twice. Junior High was where my limiting beliefs began to manifest. I felt intimidated by the coach! He was a nice guy but for some reason I felt that he was critical of my athletic ability. I am sure that belief was perceived more than it was reality but it affected my ability to perform under the pressure of basketball try-outs.

Later in life, I recognized this phenomenon when I went back to play church ball as an adult. One team mate who was invited to play on our team by someone else was a very intimidating man. He was big and his ego was even bigger. He didn’t attend church so I had never gotten to know him personally. He was the self made captain/coach of the team and his tact was completely absent. When he was there, I played horribly. When he wasn’t there, I was once again a strong contributor of the team.

Limiting Belief

I have noticed this in my professional career and other areas of life. When I work with someone who is overbearing and critical, historically I have figuratively taken lousy, poorly timed shots. I couldn’t dribble or drive to the basket because I lost concentration on the ball and caused poorly timed turnovers. I have come to believe that when I am faced with a coach, a boss, a colleague, teammate, sibling or even my spouse, who are critical, overbearing or have a strong forceful personality, even when they have my best interest in mind, I fold! I fail and I fumble. This is my limiting belief. “I can not perform under pressure when working with a strong personality, ego, or vocal leader because my every move is criticized.”

New Belief

SuccessMy talents only increase! Things I do well in a low pressure system, I do better with stress! Stress and criticism are catalysts to elevate my game to prove to myself that I am capable! What people think of me is none of my business and I will take that shot when I am open! I won’t just take it, I will make it! Nothing but net! I will not aim to gain respect of the egotist but my aim is to achieve a personal best! Beat my best time, elevate my highest score, clear my highest jump or block the shot of a giant opponent. I thrive on pressure and live true to my nature and the talents God has given me and which I have developed. No person will ever define when or how I should shoot especially if they are the ones who want the ball or the glory! If I am open I will take the shot and make it! SWISH!!!!

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Our Journey in the Wilderness

Family SPVLI have so much to be thankful for! I am blessed beyond measure and yet the trials my family are going through seem overwhelming. I know that many of you, my friends and family, are feeling concerned about our well being, our comfort and our overall feelings of happiness and self worth. I thank you for your concern and I want to make sure our intentions and our state is well clear that we are exactly where we want to be, where we choose to be, and more importantly, where our Father in Heaven has beckoned us to go.


For those who may be reading this who are unfamiliar with my spiritual convictions, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the story I will refer to is found in The Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

Lehi was the first prophet in the Book of Mormon and the history is written by his son, Nephi, a faithful man who became the prophet after his father. Lehi, was a contemporary to the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament. In the year 600 BC, Lehi was commanded by God to take his family away from Jerusalem into the wilderness and they would be led to a promised land. Based on clues from the history, we learn that Lehi’s family must have lived a very comfortable life in Jerusalem. The persecution to the believers, including Lehi and his family, became increasingly threatening, especially to those preaching repentance and the eminent destruction of Jerusalem.

Lehis JourneyAs Lehi and his family journeyed secretly into the wilderness, they encountered a lot of hardships that caused some of the less faithful members of the company to murmur about their difficulties. Instead of living in a comfortable home, they dwelt in a tent. Instead of eating a variety of warm meals, they ate raw meat. Instead of staying put, they walked and walked and walked through some very rugged terrain for 8 years! After 8 years they arrived at the borders of the sea and lived in a place “flowing with milk and honey” called Bountiful. To some in the party, this seemed to be the promised land but it was not it. Nephi was commanded to build a ship which would take them across the sea to the real Promised Land in the modern day Americas.

Nephi’s family was not always kind or supportive to Nephi or his father Lehi. They were referred to as visionary men, or in modern terms, delusional or crazy. They took their family from the comfort of Jerusalem to wander in a dry wasteland for 8 years suffering, thirst fatigue, hunger and pain. But in the end they were all strong and even the women who bore children in the wilderness were “strong like unto the men.”


So why do I relate this story? Nearly 8 years ago, my wife and I were prompted to leave my comfortable job with Marriott and find our promised land. My daughter suffered from a social anxiety disorder that kept her from speaking in school and many other social environments through the 3rd grade. We decided to bring her to the only teacher in the world that we knew she would talk to, her grandmother, a 3rd grade teacher in Mapleton, UT. A few months prior to this decision, my infant son nearly died as a result of a reflux episode. In addition, we were leaving these comforts on the verge of our recent great recession. I was earning a great salary and had great hopes for my career. Coming to Utah would mean the end of that for now. Since then, I have progressively earned less money and am now finally creeping up again in salary.

We recently relocated from a wonderful home in Springville, an awesome neighborhood and wonderful friends, to move to the desert of Utah, the home of my youth. It appears to some that we were forced to move due to financial distress. But that is not why. GOD TOLD US TO MOVE HERE! My wife Erin is a city girl with many special needs. Rural Utah can not meet those needs! She has made that clear over the years so moving here was far from my radar. She had an experience 18 years ago (before she knew me) at the Castle Valley Pageant as she looked over this valley. She had the distinct impression, “I could live here if I had to.” If I had to has been the part she remembered for years. A special experience in the temple on my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary confirmed that feeling and she knew it was time move! So now we are here.

For 3 months, Erin and I and our 3 kids lived in a 5th wheel while we were working on fixing up my grandparent’s home, an undertaking which has caused many to question our sanity. We are in the process of thinning out our possessions in order to eventually build and live in a tiny home which has proven to be a challenge. These plans are exciting prospects to us and yet, plans change from time to time, as you will see.

IMG_20150428_184302[1]Erin, my wife is a trooper. She has found beauty in this area that usually takes a transplant several years to find. She is loving it here and is thriving in her new job as the Junior High Choir Pianist. She feels valued and appreciated by those she works for and has already made a huge difference in the lives of the kids, the choir director and the school. She lives with Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that causes chronic pain, chronic fatigue, muscle and joint stiffness and pain. She is prone to allergies and is currently suffering from severe asthma and yet, her resolve to fulfill her calling to come to Emery County is even stronger than before. She knows she is here to make a difference and by dang, she’s gonna do it.

Many kind and caring souls have offered suggestions of how to improve our situation and we appreciate the concern for us. We have witnessed that when on the Lord’s errand, the lilies of the field are clothed and the sparrow is fed. We have put our trust in God that the fast approaching winter would not be a trial we would have to face. We knew somehow, we would be warm and comfortable. As Erin’s asthma has worsened, I began to wonder if finding a place that is not “in the dirt” would help. The following Sunday at church, a kind brother came to me and offered us a place to live in the single wide trailer he has on his property. He said we could stay there for the cost of utilities and a few extra farm hands. The reason we haven’t looked for a rental is because we wanted to set aside as much housing funds to repair the house, and paying rent would nullify all our saving efforts. This scenario, will still allow us to save our investment money and live in a more comfortable place while we adapt our lives to tiny living. In the process, we have been released from fixing up my grandparent’s home and can now dedicate the resources to our tiny home business.

My Special Request

I am writing this blog post because I want all who know and love us to understand that we are not miserable! We are not sad! If we wanted to, we could still be living in our spacious home in Springville until we sell it. We have chosen to obey and leave the “comforts of Jerusalem and live in a tent!” We are happy! My relationship with my wife is better than it has been in months. My kids love their new schools. We are happy to be here and we love and appreciate all those supportive souls who have welcomed us home.

Our quarters are cramped and a bit disheveled and we are far from being past our financial struggles. My wife is earning a consistent supplement to our finances, we are getting some rent from friends in Springville who needed our space more than we did and we have other successful ventures on the horizon that we know will be fruitful.

I am asking you to please join us in our journey to the promised land rather than beckoning for us to return to Jerusalem! If only people could see the callouses on our hands and feet, the refined muscles and our survival skills we have obtained in our journey they would be envious of our blessings. It is as if we have just arrived in the land Bountiful and soon we will build our ship and embark to our promised land. Our seas will not take us on a geographic journey but will bring us closer to the land of our inheritance which means our long term goal of running a successful business, building tiny homes on our own land, and serving and growing this community. A land which to us IS already flowing with milk and honey!

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A while back, my wife and I participated in a marriage class offered through LDS Family Services. In this class, the teachers talked about being vulnerable in your relationship. This idea caused Erin to ask,

“How can one stay in control and avoid being hurt if they make themselves vulnerable? Wouldn’t that create an open door to being taken advantage of?”

We decided the answer to that is, maybe. But we also decided that in a relationship where two people are striving to make things work, they both have each other’s best interest in mind and their intentions are well meaning (I believe most marriages begin with this frame of mind). Being vulnerable incubates growth, respect and understanding.

So how do we become vulnerable in this positive nourishing way?

Recently Erin told me about a time in high school when she was in a Shakespeare competition and she was to give a dramatic reading. Her life experience to that point had not given her the skills to completely immerse herself into a role with complete abandon. However, while she was in her first performance, she felt something new, not an emotion like when one feels the influence of the Holy Ghost as a warm feeling from the head down but more of an opening from inside. Her eyes watered up as she spoke. She was in the moment. She was the character. She had become vulnerable to the feelings intended in the words written long ago. Why? Because she was able to abandon her fears, anxieties, concern for what others thought of her, the competition, the thrill of victory and agony of defeat and lay everything out in her performance.

“I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.”

(“The Man Prayer” The Red Green Show)

Men are often accused of suppressing their feelings. I have learned to suppress my feelings as a safety mechanism to avoid discomfort, embarrassment, conflict, fear etc. I have built walls for most relationships in my life that mask my true feelings to the point that when asked how I am feeling, I become speechless. Feelings are scary!


What is my point? I need to do things differently. I need to tear down the walls especially in my marriage and court Erin with abandon.


to yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation; give (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control:

a complete surrender to natural impulses without restraint or moderation; freedom from inhibition or conventionality: (dictionary.com)

I am sure that George Costanza isn’t what my wife wants in me but the concept is true. What I have gotten in the past isn’t enough and so I need to change things up. Say what I feel no matter what. No matter how clunky my communication.

I have recently listened to a BYU Devotional talk from Trenton (Awesome name) L. Hickman given in 2014. He describes Moroni in translating the writing of the Jaredites in the book of Ether to his “Clunky” reformed Egyptian. Moroni says:

Ether 12:24 And thou hast made us that we could write but little, because of the awkwardness of our hands. Behold, thou hast not made us mighty in writing like unto the brother of Jared, for thou madest him that the things which he wrote were mighty even as thou art, unto the overpowering of man to read them.

25 Thou hast also made our words powerful and great, even that we cannot write them; wherefore, when we write we behold our weakness, and stumble because of the placing of our words; and I fear lest the Gentiles shall mock at our words.

26 And when I had said this, the Lord spake unto me, saying: Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness;

27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

Moroni felt clunky in his ability to share the words in his heart and as compared to the abilities and language of the Brother of Jared. I feel clunky when I make attempts to share my feelings.

I just had in my mind the episode of Friends where Phoebe runs. She didn’t care what she looked like, she just ran with abandon, “yielding herself without restraint or moderation.” I can see myself expressing myself verbally and non-verbally communicating with abandon the feelings in my heart and the thoughts in my mind that create these feelings.

In our marriage class, there was a lesson that addressed the Primary Emotion, Anger. Oddly, that is the only one that was discussed so I have looked for a list of the other emotions. There is a wide variety of opinions and lists out there defining what are the primary emotions. Finally, I looked to the images results and found this handy dandy chart. Using this chart as a guide, I may be able to distinguish between feelings and thoughts. So often, I am asked to share my feelings about something and I respond, “Well I think…..” or I try to analyze and put into words logically the feelings I feel. So here is a test. A week ago, I went with Erin to see a play called “Standing not Standing.” It was a great production but to be honest, it was painful. There were too many parallels to my life and my marriage. The general gist of the play was about a young couple who were dealing with trials stemming from the husband’s health issues (most prominently chronic fatigue) and unemployment and the emotional strain caused by a lack of motivation on the part of the husband; and a feeling of exhaustion for carrying the load on the part of the wife. After the play when I told Erin how I felt, she said tell me more about why it was painful…………Blank!

So with my new found vocabulary to the right ————>, let me try to use my analytical brain to find a voice for how I felt watching this play.

Feelings I Felt

Anger- Resentment, Irritation, Frustration

There are days where I resent being “the healthy one” even though Erin works hard and contributes way more than the stricken husband in the play. I feel resentment and frustration from actions/in-actions and choices I have made that created distance in my relationship. Erin is always urging me to tell her the truth. “If you can’t do something, say so!” I have developed in recent months a stronger desire to be more assertive and say my feelings not just to Erin but to others in my life including my family that I grew up with.

Fear- Apprehension, Overwhelmed

Fear has always been a struggle for me. I have been afraid to try new things, do things that have an intrinsic danger to them, say what needs to be said and stand up for myself. I have been apprehensive to approach topics that may incite anger, hostility or even pain in others. I feared creating an uncomfortable situation for myself and others. Caring what others think of me has often created feelings of being overwhelmed. The play just brought these feelings of not being able to keep up with the task to be done and not being able to say something about it to the forefront. Brutal honesty hasn’t always been my forte.

Pain- Hurt, Pity, Sad

Recently, I have come to the realization through experience and counselling that I can only be hurt by someone that I let hurt me. I no longer am affected by mis-judgement or accusations on my character. This is when pain can turn to healing and growth. I have caused pain because of fear, and a lack of urgency to change behaviors and habits that affect others, especially my wife and kids.

Joy- Hopeful

I am glad there is a positive one here. I am hopeful for the future. I have once again put habits and addictions behind me and I am looking to the future. This blog site is a center for healing for me as I have found peace and healing in writing. I am not a literary genius, but I have found a voice in my words. The challenges portrayed in the play were resolved in the end but it wasn’t until the last 5 minutes that a resolution was made. Hope is the anchor to our faith and if we believe that hope will anchor us in the storms of life, we will stay in our place and not drift in the wind and the waves far from our destination. I am hopeful that I will see that spark in my marriage again as I seek to abandon my old, learned less effective patterns and adopt new, more effective ones.

Love- Compassion

I felt compassion for the characters in the play because I have been there. That is why it hurt so much to watch.

Shame- Embarrassment

In the eternities, when we are able to see all and stand before our maker, every sin, whether a sin of omission or commission, will be reviewed unless we have taken advantage of the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we do not repent and choose to obey his commandments, our shame would cause us to shrink and we might wish to have the mountains hide us from his face. Our shame would cause us to want to be removed from his presence. God will never shame us though! He will invite us to come to him. It is Satan who takes our sins and rubs them in our face so that we feel shame and disgust towards ourselves. It can however, be a catalyst to our deepest sorrows of godly pain that leads us back to our savior.

Guilt- Regretful, Remorseful

Along the same lines as shame, guilt is not given by God, but is part of our nature to drive us to repentance. C.S. Lewis explains that there is a standard of right and wrong called the law of nature that, like it or not, exists and all behavior is compared to this “yard stick.” When we deviate from the natural law, our being protests and our energy is affected. We feel guilt or a gravitational pull back towards the natural. I have made choices in the past that have thrown my own energy into a spin and created a wake around me affecting the spiritual growth and blessing of my family. Seeing my life played out in front of me on a stage brought those feelings and events to a real scenario. Although, my guilt is being removed as I wander back to the natural path, which by the way, Jesus followed perfectly, the secondary feelings of regret and remorse are still there, leading me to seek further peace.

Loneliness- Isolated, Remote

I am separated in more ways than one with my wife. I currently work in Price which is about 60 miles from home but I don’t have a vehicle to commute or I would. The year 2014 was one of my most frustrating and trying years I have experienced. These trials gave me excuse to stumble from where I had climbed for 3 years, and I claimed the excuse to fall. Now, after 3 months of working and only seeing my family on the weekend, I wonder what would be different had I remained sober and watchful last year? Where would I be? Legally and socially, my wife and I are still married and even still enjoy the rights of marriage but separation emotionally and in relationship is reality for us. I don’t like it and don’t want to admit it but it is real and I am lonely and isolated and so is Erin. This is the reason, she tells me to come to her with abandon. Don’t just step up the pace, “Phoebe run!” Make it hurt to catch up and resolve these feelings. In the play, the husband eventually went home to his mother (played by Erin’s sister) because he had decided that his wife, “deserved better.”  Hiding from our pain and struggles creates a serious feeling of lonely. All emotions can cause a person to retreat and find a place where their failures won’t be seen. See my previous blog “Alone” and “Distance” for more thoughts on this.

I know this blog is long and I really don’t care if anyone but my wife reads it. This site is intended for my personal growth and healing and so I have typed freely with very little editing. Usually I like to read and edit multiple times before posting but this feels like it needs to be a little more raw. (Unless my blogging OCD kicks in)

“With Abandon” (n) is the state of exuding the feelings and energy that allows others to believe your intentions. Last night as I watched the last of the blind auditions and the first of the battle rounds on the voice, I saw several examples of people methodically singing through their planned/rehearsed performance. Those trying to get the judges to turn failed because a good voice wasn’t enough, especially being the last contestants. Those who had the opportunity to be coached received advice that allowed them to step away from the rigidity of the years of music training to “becoming the song.” Those who approached their performance, like Erin in her competition, succeeded in remaining in the competition. I choose to stay in the competition!

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They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder (They: “Distance Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” P.1). Is that true? I understand the statement and agree with the concept. When you miss someone, your heart aches when you are not with them. You think of things that you might not think of when they are near.

SaudadesIn Portuguese, there is a word that has no single word translation in English for when you miss someone. “Saudades” are feelings you have when you feel home sick, or miss the one you love. It can also be used to describe missing a place or a time that is an important part of your life.

What if distance made the heart grow farther apart? Is that possible? Absolutely! I am happily married and have been for nearly 17 years. I have left home for a new job 3 times now while my family stayed behind to prepare to come join me. All three times were very difficult on both ends of the line. Unfortunately, I admit that I was the one causing the distance.


Loneliness is one of the most common triggers for addiction and self medicating. If a person has not learned to deal with their feelings in a  healthy way, they will medicate with unhealthy means of comfort. These are distractions that block the connections and feelings of love that create a stronger bond even from a distance. We must be anxiously engaged in a good cause, feed our minds and hearts with positive thoughts and emotions and keep focused on things that will bind hearts together over the miles.


Call your loved one every night and have an in depth conversation that digs at the root of your life together. Text them during the day or message them on Facebook. Ask more than how their day was. Ask them what they thought about or felt anxiety over during their day. Validate their feelings and express your joy or sorrow over the things they tell you. Use your best empathic listening skills to truly hear what is being communicated(Stephen R. Covey: “Seven habits of Highly Effective People” Habit 5 Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood).


When was the last time you courted your spouse? When did you do something that they weren’t expecting that made them quiver with delight? Courting creates endorphins that brings that story book feeling back to your marriage. You must know what makes your spouse delighted. If a dozen roses generates the question, “How much did these cost?” you chose the wrong surprise. A dozen roses are perfect in the right place and at the right time but if you surprise your wife by creating a bounced check you might be in the dog house instead of the tunnel of love!


Distance doesn’t have to be measured in miles. Have you ever rode in a car somewhere with your spouse and not said a word? This is your best friend, or it should be, and you don’t have anything to say? Yeah, I am guilty. How can you create that spark of new things to talk about. After 17 years there are a lot of subjects you have already covered. You might think you know her opinions, theories, and ideas already but don’t ass u me. Every day, make an effort to learn something new. Read a book or an article that you could share with your spouse and ask them their opinion. Watch an educational show or something you both know nothing about and talk about it. There are so many things to talk about and sometimes it takes effort.

Please don’t confuse this as a textbook for marriage. To be honest, I am talking to myself here. Blogging is something that I have learned makes me dig deep into the chasms of my cerebral carcass and identify who I am, who I want to be and who I will become. Please join me on my journey and if you ever have something I can learn, please share. Especially you Erin, the love of my life.

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Today I feel alone.

My wife and kids are far away and the distance is more than the miles.

I look for those around me to fill the gap, but the gap remains.

I wonder who will comfort.

As I wondered, my mind told me what I already knew.

The Savior in his darkest moments in Gethsemane, was sent an angel.

An angel to comfort him

Jesus in the Garden

If his suffering was infinite and eternal and he had to go to the lowest of lows; why was it that His Father sent a companion?

Wouldn’t that make it one tiny step from infinite?

No! Because the CONSTANT in the equation is that God is always near.

Jesus is my companion and I have the gift of the Holy Ghost.

My angels coaching me in my current phase of life.

Grandma and Grandpa Willson

Those who have eyes to see, my ancestors who are waiting for me to learn, are marching the trail with me, urging me on.

I will never be alone, no one will ever be alone, the Savior descended below them all and he was as close to alone as anyone in eternity will ever be.

I musn’t care what others think of me because I have learned that if my eye is single to the glory of God, and not those mortals in my path, I will succeed, those whose eyes have been enlightened by death will see where I am going, where I have been and who I am meant to be.

I know what I have been told, I know what I have been showed and I know that I have done my best.

Am I perfect? Heck no! Not even close. Am I trying? Absolutely!

I care no longer what others think, I care what my Father in Heaven thinks and He alone knows my struggles, my trials, my growth, my testimony, my love, my fears, my sorrows, my righteousness, my pride, my rebellion, my peace, my happiness, my strength, my weakness, my intent, my honesty, my sins, my empathy, my charity, ME!

We are never alone

They that are with us…

I am not alone! They that are with me are greater than they that are against.

So I will fight the good fight, I will finish the race, I will keep the faith and at the end, I and my wife will meet up at the throne of God to be forever, not alone!

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