I've been cheated on numerous times... but this last time was the worst... She got caught and still won't admit it, and she blames me.

It always seems like it's the people who have done the worst to you who think you're doing the worst to them.
It's the deceitful manipulators and the dishonest storytellers who blame other people for being deceitful and dishonest.
It's the cheaters and the liars who always assume they're being cheated on and lied to.
It's the sh*tty people who can't help but project all the sh*t they've done onto other people.
Why does this happen? Why do those who have wronged you feel the need to make you feel worse than you already do?
All of this seems counterintuitive since it's normal to think those who have hurt you -- someone they're supposed to love and care deeply for -- would show some kind of remorse and try to mend the pain.
Sometimes, however, neither of those things happen. And there's a real psychological reason.
On his blog "Guy Stuff," marriage and family therapist Kurt Smith discusses the real reasons men cheat and blame other people and the steps they go through when they're dealing with what they've done.
Smith's post is catered toward men who cheat on women, but in a disclaimer at the bottom, he emphasizes that anything he says in this post also applies to women.

Liars and cheaters pretend it never happened.

Smith writes:
How men [and women] cheat is by dealing with the reality that they’ve hurt another by denying it. You don’t have to deal with something that is not a reality to you.
People who f*ck you over deal with what they did by, of course, pretending it never happened.
They remove it from their memory, twist it around and make you feel guilty for even assuming they'd do something like that.
This is the first step liars and cheaters take to remove themselves from the situation. If something isn't real to them, then they don't need to acknowledge or confront it.
It's an even bigger "f*ck you" to you, sure, but it's effective for them.
Which, to a liar, is all that matters.

Liars and cheaters rewrite history.

After denying the truth, warping it becomes way too easy. By removing something terrible from their memory, liars and cheaters can create their own version of reality.
Smith continues:
Denial is one of the coping mechanisms that cheating [people] use to mentally make it okay to cheat, [so] rewriting history and blaming their partners shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. When cheaters rewrite history and blame everything on their partners, there’s even less that they have to deny.
Liars and cheaters rewrite their pasts to make them feel better about themselves.
They morph what really happened into something that conveniently casts them as the innocent party -- and, in turn, casts you as the perpetrator.
They'll do anything in their power to shift the blame away from them, even if that means doing something as horrible and confusing as shifting it to you.

Liars and cheaters will still blame you, even if you leave the relationship.

If you gather up the strength to leave your relationship after this unfortunate turn of events, Smith explains, expect to still be pegged as the one who did the wrongdoing, even if the affair is out in the open:
When [cheaters are] denying reality, seeking to blame others and avoid responsibility, then making [their] ex-partner the bad guy is really pretty easy and makes sense. Making [their] partner out to be the bad one, and the one who has done wrong, can make [their] wrong behavior seem right.
Continuing to place all the blame on the innocent party is just the natural next step in a cheater's rewriting of the past.
When liars and cheaters make up something to be angry at, it makes them feel like their behavior was justified.
It makes them feel like you deserved what they did to you, like there's a reasonable explanation for why they would hurt you.
After all, according to their version of the story, you hurt them first.

Liars and cheaters eventually don't even remember what they lied about.

Eventually, Smith says, liars and cheaters get so caught up in their web of deceit that they forget what's true and what's false, which makes it even easier for them to continue to perpetuate lies.
They start convincing themselves you really did screw them over, you really were the person who f*cked up the relationship -- and they suffered as a result.
It's easy for liars and cheaters to get absorbed in their own fabricated universes. In their world, they did nothing wrong, and you did everything wrong.
It's a tempting world to live in -- if you were them, wouldn't you want to live in there, too?

Liars and cheaters are really good at hiding any remorse they might feel.

According to Smith, the (somewhat) good news is liars and cheaters are aware of the messy dual life they created and do some feel shame for it.
They do feel guilty for hurting you, denying the truth and shifting the blame in irresponsible ways.
But they're just good at pretending they don't care.
They hide their true feelings under a thick veil of deceit. They conceal their true emotions beneath the complex, fabricated world they created for themselves -- a world in which you become the bad guy, and they become the good guy.

Liars and cheaters should never be forgiven.

None of this will make you sympathetic toward the person who hurt you the most -- and it shouldn't.
But maybe it'll help you spot a cheater before he or she hurts you. Maybe, if you start noticing unusual hostile behavior, you'll realize it means something else is happening beneath the surface, and none of it is your fault.
You should never, ever feel guilty for asking what's up if you suspect deceit, nor should you succumb to the version of the story the cheater will fabricate for him or herself.
Walk away from the experience knowing you are the bigger person. And the right people will know that


New Picture, new thoughts.

It's not the greatest picture of a parking lot, but as I took the picture I began to think that it represented my life.

I have so much to be thankful for.  My children have become the light of my life.  I feel stable and secure as their father.  I feel comfortable and secure in my employment.  Financially, I finally feel like I have a plan to eliminate my debt.  I also have met some incredible people lately.  My standing in the church continues to grow and be strengthened.  Lately I have felt that my sins are forgiven me, and that I am being blessed.

First, the sunshine.  The sun can represent a giver of light, a shining beacon, and something bright.  Not only is it the true candle upon a hill, but it also represents our future.  If you look to light, YOU WILL HAVE A LIGHT TOO.  The sun can also represent something else.  Something that when you get too close to, or stand in long enough, you get burned.  It's not to say that the sun is bad, but it also represents the part of life where you need to take care of yourself.  You need water, sunscreen, shade, sunglasses and many other things to avoid the harm the sun can do.  God gave us the sun, but he also expects us to protect ourselves from the harm it can do.  Overall the sun is good, but it isn't the only thing here for us.

The Clouds.  Clouds are all around.  Sometimes clouds can completely block the sun, and sometimes they can be scattered about like in the picture.  Sometimes clouds can be high up, and sometimes its as if they are just above your head.  Clouds can soak you and cause lots and lots of problems, and sometimes they just float on by temporarily creating shade.  Often lightning can be seen, and felt coming from the clouds.  It can knock people down, kill them, or just make the hairs on their arms stand up.  Thunder usually accompanies lightning, and can create the loudest and most fearful noise ever.  I can't remember being more scared than the time I heard thunder crack right above me (with the accompanying lightning strike).  Being fair skinned, clouds are my friends.  I feel energized when there is the right amount of shade.  The energy the sun takes from me, the clouds give it back.  I can spend more time outside and temperature is lower too!  Clouds can also symbolize a loss of hope and depression.  It's good to see a break in the clouds every once in a while.

Lastly, Rain:  For some people, rain is a good thing.  For some it can be too much, too quickly.  For others it can be a daily thing that gets old. In this case right here the rain was falling in gigantic drops while the hot sun was beating down.  I doubt the rain did much.  Perhaps it temporarily lowered the temperature, until the humidity kicks in from evaporation.  Maybe enough fell between the blades of grass to satisfy the lawns thirst.  Today I bet someone felt so much joy they wanted to dance in the rain.  Also on this day I wonder how many people used the rain to mask their tears.  Rain can be considered cleansing.  Who may have felt that this little storm was meant for them as a 'washing' so to speak?  How many people just watched the rain as they simultaneously shed tears? Only God knows and understands.

I've had so much go through my busy mind in the last 4 years.  I've thought a lot.  What I have learned, even in these last two weeks, is this: No matter what the weather pattern, No matter what size the clouds are, No matter the size the drops of rain are, and No Matter how loud the thunder and how massive the strikes of lightning are, ....the bottom line is I will know when it is time to seek cover, dance, or cry if I seek to be righteous.

It always creates an interesting moment when the sun is shining, but the rain is pouring down.  Seek sunshine, and dance in the rain and let it cleanse your soul.  I was fortunate to be able to do that this day.  August 5, 2017.   Br


Picture worth a million words...

The other day I had a choice.  I was heading home, but a detour changed my course and this new way home was longer and out of the way.

The detour was caused by an unexpected mud slide, which wiped the road and everything on it into a river below. No one was hurt but that would have been one poor soul that got swept away without warning.

I knew well before hand that I needed to take the long way, so in my mind I was prepared.  As I began to think about this unusual route it came to me that there was more than one way home.  I could go north and take a route which would split into two possibilities.  The first of those routes home included most of my normal drive once I got to a certain spot, then the trip home was mostly normal. I could also choose to take the other northern route, further north and take the unfamiliar road.  I could also go south, but I hate that drive.

I began my detour and as the fork in the road came close, I realized the weather further up north was nicer and so I went with the most unfamiliar drive.

On this northern route I would have the opportunity at times to drive faster, but it also included literally driving around, then up and over and back down a major mountain range.  Would this be a problem? "No," I thought, "as long as I don't get lost."

The truth is, with modern technology such as GPS and a great system of road signs, it would be hard to get lost.

Would the weather affect me on this strange route?  Nah, the weather radar says that the better weather is this way.  If I did hit weather, I was ready.  My car was just fitted with brand new all weather tires.

Was I scared?  Get real, why be scared?  I've been driving cars and following directions my entire life.

I had familiar mp3's playing on the stereo.  I had plenty to think about.  I was cruising along with life and heading home, ... a home where I treasured peace and quiet when I could get it....  Where I was near my children....  Where all my stuff was....  I guess you can call that home....  Either way its the best I have at the moment.

The drive home was no different than expected, until I saw it.  Being the only car on the road I had the assurance that I could just stop right then, so I did.  The road was clear but the shoulder was covered in a thick layer of snow.  Knowing I needed to keep at least one drive tire on the cement, my car was only half off the road.  The speed limit was 65, but at this moment I just didn't care.  I had to take it in.  While staring off into the distance... reality, mixed with a little spiritual understanding, hit me as if a snow plow sped by at 65 and thrust snow in my face.

         I'm alone.
         I'm on a well maintained road, but I'm alone.

My goal is to get home, but I'm taking an alternate way.  Despite the unfamiliar road and directions I know where I'm headed.

If I ever feel lost there are maps, road signs, GPS, and if I get desperate enough I can ask someone for directions.

This road is a lot more lonely, but you do see people every once in a while.  I'm sure that they would help, even if they didn't know me.

In order to travel this road you must be prepared with fuel, proper tires, and an emergency kit in case something happened to my car.

If you get distracted on this road you might just find yourself off the road, hitting wildlife, or at the bottom of a cliff.

There is always a chance that something unexpected would happen.  If that were the case and I didn't come home, would someone look for me?

What if I got stuck?  With freezing temperatures tonight, how long would I last?

Look at this view!  The trees with an enormous amount of snow on them, but a wind storm that happens just right can bury me with that snow.

See those clouds?  They are swarming around that mountain top just daring me to try it and not get stuck in the storm.

The road moves and turns left and I can't see around that corner.  Since I'm safe here, in this moment, should I just stay here?

I got caught up in the beauty of it all and I stopped my progression home.  Is this pause in my journey allowing the storms to catch up?

While I have been unable to take my eyes off of this sight have I forgotten my surroundings?  Is there a mountain lion stalking me while I stand in the middle of the road?  Are my senses aware enough to jump out of the way of a speeding car?

I've got to start moving!  Perhaps I can drive faster to make up for lost time.  Thank goodness someone has taken the time to clear the roads.  Here I go!

I'm driving, but I continue to marvel at the scenery.  I'm fortunate that I haven't lost track of the road and run off the side, because I'm pretty sure I'm out of cell phone range.

I'm still thinking of the meaning of these things when a law enforcement officer appears in front of me, and by the looks of it he is going well below the speed limit.

As I slow down and continually wash the dirty water off of my wind shield that he kicks up, I'm mumbling under my breath that he should pull over.

From one side of the mountain to the other I'm lucky if I went half the speed limit.  At first I had no clue why, but as we hit the blizzard the roads weren't so nice.

After quite some time I began to see that I was better off taking it safe.  When the blizzard was behind me the clouds parted and I could see home.

I thought that the route I was taking had the better weather, but nothing looked so fine than my home from 7,000 feet and the direction I would have come had I chosen that other route.

My descent off of the mountain went smooth, the roads again cleared.  As soon as my tires hit dry pavement, the officer ahead of me pulled over.  I could then proceed to go fast, but here I was far behind the time I thought it would take.

There are mudslides in life, and sometimes they devastate.  Mudslides affect more people than just the ones that might have been swept away.  From the mudslides that directly impact some people's lives, we can use the knowledge gained from those slides, and the diversions created to enhance our experience.  That day I planned to drive home as normal but I was forced to change my way.  If I had gone the familiar way perhaps I wouldn't have seen what I saw.  I wouldn't have thought what I thought, and I wouldn't have been impressed to take the picture and tell the story.

See,.. the road is clear, but bending off in the distance.  Even though you can assume it is clear there is no way of knowing what lies ahead beyond what the eye can see.  I can look above the road and notice the storm, so maybe it is safe to say that there is a challenge ahead.  There is also the possibility that I could ignore the clouds or just not notice them, then I go in completely blind.  If the cruise control is on and it has been so far so good, who is to say that it won't be like that the entire way.

We are fortunate that roads are paved, people have left behind maps, and technology can make things easier, but we still have to make the journey.  The more convenient the way, the more devastating it is when something breaks down. If I had been distracted enough to wreck or if my car's parts failed, I may have been stuck somewhere where I wasn't prepared to be.  On a wintry evening like this it can get below 0 degrees and, if I'm wearing my shorts and a t-shirt that provide a comfortable drive, it can be a challenging night.  Imagine if my GPS fails or my phone is out of range, then I will be in a sorry situation.

While coasting may seem like a great way to go, the roads could quickly change.  My impatience could be a deadly mix on those roads.  The only thing that slowed me down was a police officer ahead of me.  There is no way I would have passed him.  Isn't it nice in life when someone can slow you down, help keep you safe?  Sometimes you don't want that help, sometimes you do.  Either way, you always appreciate it after the fact.

I looked at the forecast and it said that this route was the best as far as weather goes, but when I came up over the mountain I saw better weather over my home.  The faster, less crowded, and unfamiliar way can be fun but you really have to stay vigilante.  No matter what the weather or forecast is, sometimes home just looks better.  Home sweet home.

I'm glad I'm safe. I'm glad I saw some of God's beauty. I learned something today.


My two shoulder angels.

Trying to do some easter colors :)


Quinten my artist

And airplane/space shuttle


My life is a gift

I've been listening to the audio book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. I referred to this book in a post a few months ago as I mused about my feelings about religions and how they interact. Since then I've continued learning and writing about this topic though so far I've kept it to myself. I guess you could say I'm on a personal journey that I want to share with others once I'm sure of my footing; In other words to adequetly express in writing what I really mean. Anyway, I wanted to share this fun video of Ryanna singing. This is one of my favorite primary songs and one I remember learning when I was a little bit older than Ryanna. I am the primary chorister right now in my ward and love teaching these songs to the kids. I was thinking just yesterday about the shift in America and parts of the world away from organized religion and toward personal spirituality. There are vast and complex contributors to this shift(something that takes over a hundred pages to explore in American Grace) and though I feel an absolute place for religion in my life I