I got news earlier today that a guy a dated 9 years ago passed away yesterday. It was a murder/suicide. He killed his ex-girlfriend and then himself leaving his daughter behind. Unbelievable.

He fought a hard battle against a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and its effects for most of his life. During our relationship I got to know a very sweet and tender man who was dedicated to serving others and a great dad to his little girl, who at that time was just a cute 4-year-old monkey who would hang on my arm.

Not to relieve any personal responsibility or accountability for devastating actions, but it is hard for me to not blame our society, the very professional world that I've been working my butt off to be a part of for the last 4 years (a frustration for another post). The western way of doing things--the medical model that psychology has so desperately tried to follow to give itself "credibility"--sticks people in boxes by labeling them with a diagnosis and prescribing a certain system for treatment. I believe that system is seriously flawed. When you label someone as "bi-polar" or anything else, it limits them to living a certain way--a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. (Emotions are strong for me right now, so I hope you'll forgive my scattered thoughts...but I just think this is such an important topic.) We have come to accept the way things are "done" as factual rather than theory and it DRIVEs me CraZy. I cannot tell you how easy it is for me to invite frustration in when I hear people deifying pop psychology and talking in labels. I think of my friend. If someone had allowed him to challenge unquestioned assumptions of what he was going through, allowed him to have his own voice about it, maybe he could have been given some hope in options, rather than being stuck with a problem-saturated idea of "self".

In the works of Michal Foucault, a French philosopher, he refers a panopticon, a circular prison that allows for invisible surveillance. The prison cells are all on the outside while the guards remain in a tower on the inside. Because of the way that it is built, the prisoners cannot see the guards, but can be seen at all times. Eventually, the guards didn't even need to be there anymore just because of the threat that the prisoners were being watched all the time. The theorist who designed this type of prison described it as a "mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." Well, Foucalt's idea is that society creates a panopticon effect with its "discourse" which is defined as "what can be said and thought, and also who can speak and with what authority". There are all these taken-for-granted ideas out there, most of the time unspoken--because of the panopticon effect, the guards do not need to stand watch, we as prisoners will follow the rules of discourse anyway. We get shackled by what we are "supposed to do/be/feel". Ian Law & Stephen Madigan explain that "Foucalt suggests discourse refers not only to the words and statements themselves, but to their connection with the complexities of social and power relations which prevail in a given context, and which constrain what is said."

I think a lot of this could be left over from the Puritanical perspective of God as a cruel warden. We limit people. But God is not a cruel warden, he is a loving and perfect Father. I am so grateful that He is also the Judge and understands with omniscient compassion and will take care of my friend.

Juxtapose that with what I witnessed right after getting that upsetting phone call, the baptism of my cousin's oldest son, Taylor. This is Taylor (8) and Josh (6), brothers not by blood, but by the sealing power of the priesthood of God. My first cousins-once removed ;).

like a drifter I was born to walk alone

Oh geez. I was just checking in on some friends' blogs and while doing so, kept mine open to listen to the tunes. So, while reading Aub's post, laughing with sincere empathy, it's only appropriate that my blog decides to play Here I Go Again. I totally forgot that I added this gem of a song to the playlist and I still hold to my opinion that music has an ironic sense of humor. Maybe I should take it off shuffle and set it as my theme song. Not that I want to put any negative vibes out into the universe! I guess there's hope in not knowing where I'm going :).

I'm just another heart in need of rescue, waiting on love's sweet charity...oh wait, shouldn't there be a dude out there somewhere singing that part?

Such a good song.

PS, do you want to see something unnerving?

Weird fish...stares at people!

You've had a birthday shout hurray!

...One year older and wiser too.
Happy Birthday to You!

Little Em,

Happy birthday today. I just want you to know how much I love you and want you to have the best year of your life yet!

Thanks for being so cute when I was going through my awesome awkwardness. It always made me feel better knowing I had a super cute younger sister ;).

You are my fashion muse (even if I don't follow through with the inspiration and am still stuck in the 90s a bit) and my example for multi-tasking.

Your quirky sense of humor is enriching and gets me laughing when nothing else can. Your determination to forge your own way is inspiring.

You are one of my heros!

sick day

I took a sick day yesterday. But really, it's not like I have a job to go to or PTO or anything (do not fret, dear ones, that will soon be rectified!). So, I guess it technically wasn't a sick day except that I stayed in bed all day with a box of tissues, lots of water and orange slices, and read a 500+ page book. Much like Bastian from The Never Ending Story, minus the blanket over my head and one-man candlelight vigil, I got sucked in. To the point that as I started to get drowsy, my friends were popping up in the storyline. The mind is a weird and wonderful thing.

I only paused to meet friends for dinner to celebrate the birth of this cute girl and to create a fairy friend to be blogged about later. As a side note, I'm sporting a very sultry Stevie Nicks type voice right now.


I'm a big believer in the mind-body connection. I love, love, love modern revelation regarding the spirit and the body.

And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
Doctrine & Covenants 88:15

• • •

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit is element,
inseparably connected receive a fullness of joy.
Doctrine & Covenants 93:33

When I get sick, the first thing I do is wonder why my body is trying to get my attention and what I need to do about it. I've had a sore throat for the past few days, the kind that burns and hurts a bit to swallow. You know what I'm talking about? To me, a sore throat means that there are things I need to say, that for the meantime, remain unspoken. Much like back pain and injury is related to carrying heavy burdens (we think we carry alone), or an earache means we would rather not hear something we've heard, or headaches are simply the mind trying to get us to stop thinking a specific thought or a certain way.

*By the way, I write as if I know things when in reality I don't, I just write what I'm thinking at the time. I hold the right to edit, change or denounce my own writing at any time.*

This is a simplified way of looking at illness and physical pain and/or discomfort, I know. AND the fact that I could start taking an antibiotic and in a couple days start feeling better, doesn't eradicate the fact that I indeed have something that I need to say to someone (I just am unsure what and to whom, though I have a pretty good idea and I'm not ready to say it...yet). For now, I will just live with my sore throat and revel in my own quackery.

(references: The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain, John E. Sarno, MD; Molecules of Emotion: the Science Behind Mind-body Medicine, Candace Pert, PhD)

Leveling the Playing Field

"Things are changing. I cannot say how or what form they shall take eventually, but the change is the thing. It is what makes me feel that all things are possible."
~ Gemma Doyle, Rebel Angels p. 532 Yes, I just finished book 2 and loved it.

In my limited work with families and through talking with friends and relatives, I've come to believe that some of the most challenging times are those of transition and change. We get used to doing things a certain way: our family rules, processes, and expectations whether spoken or underlying. When something significant changes (good or bad. i.e., death, changes in health, birth of a baby, change of employment) oftentimes we find ourselves either scrambling to restore balance or confused because we aren't conscious of the significance of the change and don't know why we aren't happy.

I was raised in a baseball family, spending a lot of time at the ball park watching city/little league games, hearing about the game, or watching long (and boring) innings on TV. I watched my brothers take grounder for hours on end, my dad coaching them to be quick and predict where the ball would go to ensure their glove was in the right spot. I also remember them voicing frustration about how the baseball field in high school was used by the football team in the off-season for drills. This was a problem, because the football cleats tore up the field so when Spring came around, it became impossible to predict where a grounder would go, as the ball would often hit an invisible hole and bounce unexpectedly.

There are a couple options in this scenario. First, you can tear up the grass and level the field, re-sod and wait for it to be ready to play on again, thus restoring the field to the way it was before. The first option takes a lot of energy keeping things the way they were, avoiding change and getting stuck in a rigid way of doing things. Second, you can learn how to play on this new field. The second option takes a lot of patience and practice--taking hours of grounders knowing that at first, a lot of balls will miss your glove and errors will start racking up. However, as time goes on and you are quick on your feet and expect the unexpected, you will learn how to negotiate this new playing field and experience a lot of personal growth, becoming a better player than you were before. But, be aware that in the off-season, the football team is going to practice on your field and make a whole new field for you to play on in the Spring that you'll need to re-learn and re-negotiate.

Maybe you can already see where I'm going with this. Maybe this metaphor won't be meaningful for everyone. Life is full of change and we have endless options of how we want to look at that change. The key, I believe, is being aware of how significant change is in our lives. A promotion may be a good thing, but is still change, adds stress and requires a family to re-negotiate life together. It's so important to talk about how family dynamics, processes, and rules need will to be updated to enable success--a win on the new field. This will take hours of practice until, as a family, those unexpected bounces are easily managed.

I was talking to a friend yesterday on the ski lift (one of the best places for a deep and quick conversation) about how our generation has collectively changed the dynamic of the LDS single and how the line of demarcation for age at marriage has moved up with us as we remain unmarried. We talked about the possible "whys". He mentioned that he thinks it's because we see so much divorce around us, our parents, family members, colleagues, and even best friends. That spurred thoughts in my head about how we can prevent this phenomenon ever increasing in prevelance. I am definitely not an expert in the area of marriage and how it works, so please take this with a grain of salt. I think that it comes down to being able to be quick on your feet and negotiate change. Marriage is one of the biggest changes we face in life, right? Two people who in essence speak different languages and come from different countries, coming together to create a life together. We can either choose to create a whole new language together, new traditions, a new culture OR become bilingual--and I mean really bilingual. Like the missionary who comes to love the new land and people even more than he loves himself, his own land and culture and even reads his scriptures and prays in the new language for the rest of his life. I don't know, but it makes sense to me. BOTH partners leaving the "home of their parents" and cleaving to each other and the life they create together.

How we negotiate change is all a choice and it's totally up to us.

the baby isn't a baby anymore!

The whole crew got together to wish you a Happy Day!

I can't believe you're 16!! That means I'm really old.
Watch out world!!! Here comes C-JoJo. I'm so glad you've made it this far! I love you little bro, you're really growing up to be a cool kid! *sniff sniff*

sunday dinner personality test

apples to apples has been a favorite of my family for the past few years.

did you know that the cards you "win" reveal your personality?? could this be me? probably depends on who you talk to...

the bachelor: season 13

Dear Jillian,

What does it mean if he dresses his hot dog in hounds tooth?

Just curious,


2009 will be mine

New Year's Rizzos:

I'm going to start 2009 by cleaning the slate. I love that a new year is an opportunity for a fresh start! Start over from day one deciding to do things differently. To do things differently thoughts, feelings and actions need to be alligned and directed to the change. As I've been thinking about what I want to work on this year and really accomplish, these five areas of attention come to mind: Financial, Relational [self & others], Intellectual [mental & emotional], Physical [the physcial world including body and objects], and Spiritual [personal relationship with God].

The focus of my life is changing this year from what it has been in the past three years. I'm no longer in school. I'm in a different state. I'm not romantically attached. It's the perfect time to be in charge of where my focus is directed. I'll share a few with you.

Intellectual | New Job: Monday's are great for starting out, too. When Monday comes, I'm hitting the pavement, getting my internship application in to DOPL and finding a great paying job that will allow me to experience what I need to become the practitioner that I need to be. A few of the things I'm going to do is get an appointment to talk with MFT faculty at BYU, get my resume out there to private practices as well as clinics and residential treatment centers. My waking thought this morning was of me talking to a professor at BYU (or UVU) who looks at my resume and transcripts and decides that he needs me on staff to teach a class on Narrative Therapy, work as a research assistant and in the clinic as a therapist. That idea totally excites me.

Practical Hours: Complete a minimum of 1,840 hours toward licensure. That will bring me close to the half-way mark in just one year. The faster I knock out those hours, the closer I'll be to opening my dream clinic.

Relational | Release Baggage: I won't go into a lot of detail on this one, but I want to enter the new year--or at least experience as much of it as possible--with no baggage. Carl Jung, an existential philosopher and theorist said, "When an unconscious issue is not made conscious it shows up outside of us as fate." I'm done with making the same mistakes repeatedly, of learning the same lessons over and over again. How am I going to do this? Well, I am currently excavating my soul of resentments and bitterness that I may still have from past relationships. In just a few days, I have already been amazed by what I've been storing up and holding on to, including self-blame and self-resentment. So, one by one, I'm going through my old flames and cleaning house. My step-by-step process will be published (completion of which will be a NYR for another year). The effect of this release will open space for me to grow as a person therefore making me a better partner. It will also help me identify the things I have loved and learned.

Financial | Start paying myself: When I start bringing home a pay check again :), I am committed to paying God first and myself second and saving/adding to my IRA.

I'm still working on making my other intentions super clear and attainable. Yes, there will be one about getting in shape, maybe something about visitng the gym, defintitely something about giving my body a lot more attention...

God bless 2009!! I am so looking forward to a new year and a clean slate.