29 April 2012

Because Knowledge is Power

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The Salt Lake Tribune just released to the public a series of emails Susan Cox Powell had written to friends before her disappearanceWhile little can be done now, I think an important lesson can be learned from the release of the emails that Susan wrote to friends before she disappeared. If you know someone who is a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence, make sure you know--then let them know-- of the resources available to them. The decision to leave definitely has to come from the victim and can't be forced, and even then, a victim usually returns to her/his abuser several times before permanently leaving. But it's important that they know the resources available, that they have a safety plan, and that they know that they have friends who have their back 100%, no matter what.

Here are some resources for your consideration:

Creating a Safety Plan

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE(7233)

YWCA San Diego Crisis Hotline: 619.234.3164
or through email: ineedhelp@ywcasandiego.org

28 April 2012

"How I Stay in Shape" by Marilyn Monroe

Loved this. Sometimes we forget the basics, but that's really all you need 
to keep yourself healthy and happy, as Marilyn reminds us. Read the article here
(Found on Sarah Wilson's blog, a worthy read in itself).

27 April 2012

Preschool and Motherhood

I am not a mother. Not yet. No where close. And that's completely fine by me. Because right now, I have something close, and that is pretty darn cool.

Last week I started working at a preschool. Just helping out, shuffling through the different classes so the teachers could go on breaks throughout the morning. It started as more of a favor- some of the staff are family friends, and I like helping people out. My responsibilities are pretty light, too: I'm basically getting paid to push kids on the swing set, and make sure they don't die.

But as the days go on, I seem to understand a little bit more why motherhood is so beautiful.
And weird. But mostly beautiful.

The other say as I was pushing a little girl on a swing, she started singing a song about how great "Ms. Allie" is. My heart just about melted.

Random little kids come and give me hugs when they see me coming. They wrap their little arms around my hips, look up, and give me these huge magical smiles. They radiate. I love it.

And who knew knock-knock jokes were so funny? Or maybe it's just how cute the 4-year-olds look when they're telling them. Either way, they steal my heart every time.

On a similar note, check out these sweet love notes from a soon-to-be big brother to his yet-to-be-born baby sister.

23 April 2012


As we work to create light for others,
we naturally light our own way.
- Mary Anne Radmacher

- photo by gary barnes

22 April 2012

To be whole:

Last night I had an amazing conversation and I wanted to share some of it with you. The woman I was speaking with had been married for about 20 years to (what sounds like) a compulsive liar. It was a draining relationship for her, but she is so happy now. She is free and learning to love the world around her again.

I then shared some of my own story with her, some of what I have been working through lately. She then said "Someday you will find a man who will love you no matter what. Even when you are having an 'off' day, he will still see you as whole."


What a beautiful thought. Here is a woman who has had her heart betrayed so terribly, but she still has hope. There is someone out there for everyone, and in the meantime, we can keep learning and growing from the relationships that don't quite work out.

Side note: don't rush into things. I think she would have wanted me to say that as well. Trust me, this woman knows her stuff.

19 April 2012

pulling myself back up

Practicing Calligraphy
(Listening, Making)
Clean Room (Thank you, cleaning fairy!)
Alone, but Less Lonely
& Considerate Friends.

It's going to keep getting better.

16 April 2012

Pinterest, I understand now.

As with just about everything relatively worthwhile, it took me a while to catch on. But now that I have, I understand. There are some treasures to be found on Pinterest:

*Some sources probably aren't the original links, and I'm sorry about that. I tried to go as far back as I could from where the pinterest user pinned it from, but I'm just not that technologically savvy.

14 April 2012

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street...?

If there's one thing I learned from the musical/movie Sweeney Todd (and there is basically just one thing I learned from it), it's that nothing is simply black and white. I heard someone state the opposite this morning, and my skin has been crawling ever since (it could also be because I had a large Diet Coke for breakfast, but I'm going to keep it with the moral issue at hand).

As probably everyone knows, Sweeney Todd was a barber who, out of revenge, became a serial killer. Not a very pleasant plot. But he started out as a really reasonable guy. He had a wife and daughter who he loved dearly, a profession that he excelled at, and everything was just peachy. If you took the black and white approach to things, either: Todd was justified to kill all those people because he had to get his revenge; or Todd was a terrible man and the worst person ever to live. You see the problem here? There is no black and white.

10 April 2012

07 April 2012

Happy Easter + Free Song Download

We hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of family, friends, and remembering our Savior. As a gift to you, here is a free download of the song "I Need Thee Every Hour" that I (Allison) and a friend recorded last autumn. It's not the best recording (it's live), but there's a lot of love in it, and I hope you can feel it.

Get your free download here.

05 April 2012

on conquering bad habits

A little while ago I wrote about my bad habit and dare I say addiction to watching TV. It was out of control and honestly, taking over important parts of my life. I needed to change but was unsure where to start. Over the last few months, little articles and things have been making their way into my life, leaving marks and giving me ideas and courage to live my life with intention and purpose. It has been hard but the benefits have been very obvious. I wanted to share some ideas of things that have helped me.

+I watched this talk about how tv affects our brains and the development of children's brains. Millie wasn't watching a lot of TV by herself or anything but I always had something on in the background. This really made me think about what it could be doing to her development and how I have the power to spend more quality time with her.

+I read this and this about turning off all the noise and distractions and finding time for the things we love. This was difficult. Being a stay at home mom with a child who can't really talk to me gets a little lonely. I constantly had the radio/Pandora on or something on Netflix playing in the background just to make me feel a little less isolated. When I tried to turn off the noise for at least a few hours during the day my head started to clear up and I found that Millie was talking to me. I can't understand a word of her baby jibberish but that jibberish has meaning to her. So now, without all the distractions of TV, music, phones, we have our own little conversations.

Those things really laid the ground work for me. Then it was time to take action.

+I decided that I would not turn on the computer until Millie went down for her first nap, usually around noon. That can be a long time to entertain a child so I put more of an effort in going to our neighborhood work out (I have lost weight because of it too, another plus) or to take Millie on a walk. She is very observant so the walks are fun for her and me, along with the sunshine and fresh air that we are both in need of.

+When I was little and I would be scared of something or have bad thoughts, my mom taught me to push those bad thoughts out by replacing it with something happy. So... instead of just not watching anything and being drowned by the quite while I was doing the dishes or cleaning, I turned music on. Now, I know that I said before that I tried to turn all the distractions off. What I meant was that instead of always having some sort of noise in the house, to let there be some time of just our noise (talking, laughing, singing, reading). But during those times when I am most tired and worn out, I tried to fill it with something fun, like good music to dance to or that uplifts. (My favorite radio stations on Pandora are Rachel Portman Radio, Disney Radio, St. Vincent Radio, Ingrid Michaelson Radio, and Beirut Radio.) This made it so that I didn't have to feel so lonely and tired at the hardest time of day (the hour before Billy gets home and I am working on dinner and Millie just wants me to hold her and I just really want to sit on the couch and eat ice cream).

+With the same idea, I tried to not just veg out in front of the TV. I tried to make sure that, at least a couple of nights a week I veg out with a good book. Much more pleasant.

+Interesting enough, when I started to be more aware of what I was doing throughout the day, it has made the night time easier. I have not stayed up for hours by myself watching silly TV shows like I was. I feel more satisfied throughout the day, having spent quality time making Millie laugh and playing in the dirt with her, and more time talking and just being with Billy. I have not been overwhelmed with the need to veg out for hours upon hours while the world peacefully slept.. (Maybe a couple hours but not until 2am like it was before.)

I don't want you to think that I think I have it all figured out and that you should do exactly what I do. Different things work for different people. Millie still watches Dora when I just can't take the whining anymore and I have to get something done. I stayed up until midnight last night watching Pollyanna (I love that movie). But the point in all of this is that I believe we can change. It has hard and takes  time (sometimes our whole lives) but we can take those bad habits and turn them into good ones. Now I am a much happier mother, a more attentive wife, and more satisified in this great life that I have been given.

What things work for you?

04 April 2012

Resources: Stay Strong + HalfofUs.com

Last night I found some links that I wanted to pass on to you, primarily more information about depression and other similar conditions.

Demi Lovato's "Stay Strong," where she addresses her struggles with healthy eating, depression, self-harm, substance abuse, and ultimately rehab. (Yes, I got to it through Perez Hilton. Whatever works). Regardless of whether or not you have struggled with any of these issues, this is a very inspiring documentary for all women. If you have a few minutes, you should definitely watch it.

In the middle of the videos, there was a link for halfofus.com. I wish everyone knew about this campaign. If you have even a minute to spare, please jump on the website and watch even a single PSA. So many people don't understand depression, and therefore don't know how to help those around them, or even themselves. I believe this campaign is essential in increasing the public's understanding of these issues.

03 April 2012

02 April 2012


I don't believe in black and white. I believe that we all have had something in our past, or will have something in our past, that defines who we will become, the path we choose to go down, and even defines how people will see us.

If the world were black and white, the labels that I would be stuck with would shatter me. I wouldn't be able to progress. I wouldn't be able to become. I am grateful for my past, for my hardships, for any ounce of pain I have experienced, because it makes me who I am today.

I don't know much about the "People of the Second Chance" campaign, but the concept is inspiring.

From their website: "We are a global community of activists, imperfectionists and second chancers committed to unleashing radical grace everyday, in every moment, for everyone. We challenge the common misconceptions about failure and success and stand with those who have hit rock bottom in their personal and professional lives. We are a community that is committed to stretch ourselves in the areas of relational forgiveness, personal transparency and advocate for mercy over judgment."

I believe in all of those things. Wholeheartedly. And if nothing else, this campaign has caused me to reflect a bit more on my own labels, the ones I put on myself, and perhaps on others. It has strengthened my resolve to love others unconditionally, and to allow the concept of grace into mine and others' lives.

How have your trials shaped your life? Feel free to comment here, or shoot us an e-mail (allisonabarnes [at] gmail [dot] com). We'd love to hear from you.

01 April 2012