For those who desire to maintain traditional roles

I stumbled onto an old message while looking for something else, and it’s prompted me to bring together in one place a few different conversations I’ve had on this topic. It’s not organized in any particular way, and my newsletter is already long overdue, so I’m going to just share it “as is” for now, and (maybe) clean it up later. It’s my blog, so I can do what I want, right?

If maintaining traditional roles in a marriage is not important to you, then check out some of my other articles listed at the right.

Otherwise, here we go…

Dear Leslie,

I am in need of some ideas in regards to the Law of Attraction and am hoping you will address this in a blog so it will be easy to find. I have read the forums and haven’t come across anything like this from the wife’s point of view. Two years ago, my husband and I started learning about the law of attraction. It was exciting and empowering and life changing. We have read and listened to much and changed much about our thinking and feeling. Yet, we continue to be stuck in the abundance of poverty including making things much worse than ever. Now, I know this is not an unusual comment for you to hear so bear with me for a couple of paragraphs.

My husband has been in sales and marketing for 23 years. He is good at it but has lost a fair number of jobs along the way. Since we started learning all this, it seemed that things would change but they haven’t. Just last week I had an ‘ah-hah’ moment during a discussion. For many years he would say in the midst of a good job, “I don’t like working for someone else.” Oh, my goodness, there it was. No matter how much we were changing, his overriding feeling was that he didn’t want to work for someone else and guess what? He now wasn’t! So the law was still in effect in spite of our learnings and changings.

So my big question, shared by several of my friends in similar situations, is, can one person’s thoughts or goals override another?  If one person is truly getting it, and yet the other doesn’t believe strong enough, how can things shift? I see many women start to get this and shift things majorly, yet they end up being the breadwinner of the family. This is not our intention or our goal, especially with children at home. So what I would like you to address if you can is what kinds of affirmations should the wife be making, what kinds of thoughts and feeling should we be generating? If a husband’s pattern is self-defeating or self-sabotaging, what’s a wife to be, do or think to make this work? Help!

I appreciate all you are doing and especially your take on it since we share the same religious values.


Danielle T.

So I found that letter (which had been sent via snail-mail) as I was cleaning out some files, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if I ever responded. But I no longer have this person’s contact information, so in case she reads my blog, I’m going to respond to it now.

The short answer is yes, one person’s faith, intention, or goal can override another person’s thinking (or lack thereof). Here’s how:

Your faith can be enough to cause something to happen, even if your spouse is full of doubt, depending on if YOU think it is enough. If YOU believe his or her doubt will have no effect, then YES your faith can be sufficient. See how it always comes back to how YOU think?

Chew on that for a minute.

But, before you take that to the bank, I need to add a disclaimer:

Especially in a marriage, it’s important that we do not bulldoze our way to our dreams in spite of our partner. We need to be really careful about how we apply the principles, because it does not serve us to keep one law “well”, if doing so violates another. All of the laws can be kept in harmony, if we apply them in wisdom and order.

Your relationships matter. Your partner’s feelings matter. Your commitment to each other matters. Be patient and choose a pace that works for the both of you, even if it means sacrificing some of your wants. This is my advice to married couples who want to stay married.

As Thomas S. Monson advised:

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” 


Stay at Home Moms

Here’s another question I received, in a similar vein:

Hi Leslie! I am really struggling with what seems to be two conflicting ideas. I come to you as one who knows about both.

Here is my struggle that often brings me to tears. As a Latter Day Saint woman I am struggling with the conflict of following the council of our prophets and apostles to be a stay at home Mom while wanting to follow my dreams and become a motivational speaker for teens and women. I feel I cannot have both according to the council, why? Because speaking would pull me out of the home. I have studied our leaders words and they are very explicit on mothers staying home to raise their children unless circumstances arise where the mother has to work. I too am passionate about mothers staying home with their children. I believe it is of the utmost importance. The reason this is a conflict for me is because as much as I love being a mother and staying at home with my children, I don’t get much fulfillment – which breaks my heart. I wish just being a mom was fulfillment enough for me! I wish I could love staying at home all the time. Day in and day out I often feel depleted, forgotten, and alone. I feel like I am becoming more and more numb. I have forgotten how to laugh, how to have fun, how to smile because I feel I am not “allowed” to follow my dreams because if I did, it would take me out of the home.

What I really want is to make a meaningful contribution in the world. I want something I’m passionate about, something that drives me forward, something I love to read, study, and learn about. Something that brings me excitement, makes me want to get out of bed, gives me a reason to get cloths on, do my hair, exercise, etc.

So the conflict in me often eats me alive. I cry because I want to follow a dream and a passion but feel I can’t and I cry because I feel I am bad or wrong because being a mother doesn’t feel like enough. I feel I am drowning in the monotony of every day life. And the conflict is, I want BOTH! I want to be a stay at home Mom AND I want to follow my dreams and start becoming a motivational speaker. But how can I do both? I know the brethren talk about seasons. Yes, I could wait till my kids are all grown but to me that feels like it would take another 10-20 years of drowning before I could actually surface. And who knows if I would ever surface after that much repression. Do I do both? Do I set boundaries where I am not out of the home very often? What is your insight on being a Latter Day Saint stay at home Mom and following your dreams and goals??

Thanks so much!!


Hi Heather – I have so much to say on this topic! I’ve kept your message flagged for a time when I could give it the attention it deserves but things are crazy right now with my 5th grader needing help with her speech for student council elections, my 15 and 18 y/o sons’ double eagle court of honor, helping my college son find a car to replace the one that just gave up the ghost, and helping my daughter get ready for her mission in a few more weeks. Case in point, I guess… I’ve needed to make a conscious decision to set business aside for a while and just handle what’s right in front of me. I’ll be back in full swing again soon 😉

In the meantime, look at it like shifting your weight from one leg to the other. Back and forth. You can’t walk without the swing. There is no such thing as balance, as Sharon Lechter describes it. If you’re perfectly balanced over your two feet, you can’t move at all!

Anyway, if and when you come to any conclusions of your own I would love to hear what you’ve deduced. This may be a great topic for another blog post… 🙂

Thanks for your understanding!


Related: How to Establish a Shared Vision That Will Lift Your Family (Ensign magazine, March 2018)

Hey Leslie! I totally understand! And I am sure you have much wisdom on this topic. I am excited to hear what you have to say.

I love the analogy of balance. That is so simple and profound. That helps a lot. Thank you!

I talked to a friend about this subject as well and she is an lds mom who owns her own business and is a top youth speaker and even singer. She won the lds Pearl Awards several years back. You may know her from her music – her name is Jessie Clark Funk. Anyway, as I was talking to her she said something that helped me a lot. She said, we often think we have to do all these things, follow all these steps, listen to all the experts right now to “make it” in whatever it is our dream is. But we often forget that there is no set timeline. The timeline is what is perfect for you and your family and savoring the seasons you are in while preparing for the next. We can do all we can now, but we don’t have to bust our butt thinking we have to do everything right now. I don’t know what it looks like to follow my dream while still enjoying the season I am in, especially with a new 4 week old, but I am determined to have “joy in any circumstance” and to me that is loving being a mother as well as following my dreams.

Thanks for your willingness to answer my questions and help me in this. I appreciate your perspective very much!

Thanks again! Heather

Heather, did you ever read my super long post about when I felt conflicted with goal achievement and marriage? The details aren’t exactly like yours, but the principle and feeling is very similar I think… I’m realizing I probably won’t ever get around to writing my whole collection of thoughts on this, but much of it has already been written so maybe the following can help. I realize it might not give you the answers you need, but it might spur some new thoughts that can bring you there, if this conflict is still a concern:

Hope this message finds you well! Leslie

Oh my word Leslie! Thank you for sharing that blog post with me. I finally read it and you put words to the huge ah ha’s I have had this year! It makes me want to giggle and gasp because it is now a second witness to what I have been experiencing and what I am coming to understand is true!A few years ago I got deeply into the self help realm reading books, going to a bazillion Kirk Duncan events, attending all sorts of classes and in the process wanted to start a business with a friend all in the name of, “dreaming big” “living my purpose” “serving others” “following my dreams” etc. I was deceived into believing that I am powerful enough to make anything work and to create my life however I want it. While that might be true, just as in your post – it doesn’t mean I should. Well, during that time of lots of self help stuff, I became more and more confused, my vision and clarity got darker and darker. I couldn’t understand why. Especially when I would even wake up at 5am (I am so not a morning person) and study my scriptures and exercise and go to the temple weekly. I realized it was all to gain the things I wanted in my life rather than a desire to come closer to God. So needless to say, my spiritual practices were anything but spiritual. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t feel light, peace, or even a fraction of the Spirit from my spiritual practices. After about a year of going through all of this I paused. I looked at my life and realized it was not better off with me going after my goals and dreams. I was more miserable, more depressed, I felt I had lost the spirit for quite some time, I couldn’t feel gods light or peace. I was lost and in the dark. I felt that I was literally a reflection of the scripture “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” 

I had lost myself in the pursuit of finding myself through growing my skills and talents and going after my dreams. I had never felt so lost. Ever! I couldn’t understand why. I was doing all the things the prosperity experts told me, why was my life so dark? Why were my relationships with my loved ones more distant? Why wasn’t things happening for me? Well, I realized that I quite honestly didn’t care what God wanted me to do because I was too excited about the life I was going to create. So, he let me alone and let me trod down a tough path until I was desperate enough to truly let go of what I wanted and then turn my heart to him. 

I, like you, stopped listening and attending anything that had to do with prosperity training. I let go of everything and didn’t even want to look at it or touch it. I had to find out the truth and I needed so badly the Lords light and peace back into my life. So I left everything alone for almost another year. It wasn’t until early this year that I started to pick things back up with a totally different mindset. One with more caution and much more aware for gods plan for me. In fact, your stuff is the only stuff I trust enough to pick back up. So I did. And I see prosperity principles in an entirely new light in a way I could never see them before. 

Anyway, I too felt that I had to be a martyr and give up on me and that my dreams just weren’t important. I cried about that a lot. But as I said before, I also cried a lot because I wanted to want to be ok with just being home and being a stay at home mom. But I just couldn’t, so that’s why I reached out to you for help. 

In the weeks of pondering and searching for answers I realized that as members of the church who have made temple covenants, I think we are a bit different from the rest of the world in that we covenant to serve and follow God. Thus it hit me, “my life is not mine, it is the Lord’s. I have made that covenant” so in a way I am not free to just say what I want my life to be like. I have an obligation to be a tool in his hands so therefore what I want ISN’T as important as I wanted it to be. But that is the beauty of it all, giving up what we want to serve God is really one of the highest form of joy. I never experienced that until I completely let go of what I wanted and let him direct me. He directed me to do something I was terrified of and literally fought him a year on, and that was having another baby. As you know, I gave in again to what he wanted (you saw my giant belly). The minute, no! the second I gave in I felt immediate peace!! And now, here my baby is, 2 1/2 months and I am so full of joy I can’t even express. God knew what I needed and wanted more than I did! In fact that statement has gone through my head any time I started to want to achieve a goal, “God knows what you want more than you know what you want.” It’s so true!

So, in regards to wanting so much to fulfill my dreams AND be a stay at home mom I realized I can do both. How? By changing my mindset. You see, with all the trainings I went to I was taught to think big, constantly think about it, envision it, make a vision board, etc. Basically, put all your focus into this thing till you have created it. So it caused me to believe that I can’t achieve something unless I am constantly working on it and thinking about it. Not true! A good friend who is also a successful business owner said to me, now may not be your season to totally jump into your dream but in the meantime, hold on to it and start digging in. Read about the topic, study it, but most of all have fun with it. Enjoy it! 

The next profound thing she said is, YOU HAVE TIME! You don’t have to accomplish it by any certain time, if it brings you fulfillment just by thinking about it, that is enough because eventually you will be called to do something and when the time is right it will be shown to you and then you can take off! 

That advice has literally changed my life! The realization that I have time!!! That just because it’s not up on my vision board or I’m not networking or whatever, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my dream. In fact two things you guys said at the bootcamp that has made a huge impact on this very thing is “Dreaming big doesn’t have to be big to the worlds standards, it can be big because even a small change is a big deal!” That has impacted me so much! That I don’t have to dream about 1 million dollars, I can take the small baby steps toward my dream and that could be as small as just smiling a real smile when you see strangers. And then the other thing that was said at bootcamp was, “you don’t have to know your dream or life purpose to start working on it.” That was so profound to me. 

So as I let go, and I move forward. I am a happy camper. I trust in God’s plan and timing and I also know that God will grant my dream if it is wisdom in him and if I am obedient.  But if not, then I know God will create something even better than I could imagine. 

So, what I am saying is yes! I have received my answer to that dilemma. And I am continuing to receive answers.. But seriously, that blog post is almost identical to the journey I went on! So crazy! And perfect for the answers and clarity I have been seeking. Thank you so much for sharing!!


More Tender Mercies and Miracles

Photo credit: Vanessa Kay, Vanessa Kay Photography

You may remember my previous article about Vanessa, and Tender Mercies. Even when we don’t get exactly what we want, noticing the little blessings can help us qualify for more. As I said before, she has suffered a run of unfortunate events, but notice her attitude. She notices, documents, and calls attention to all of the things going WELL. I’m convinced that this is why she can say: “Somehow I make it through every month.” (Click here to check out her amazing photography site…)

Why does she write? In her words:

“I was challenged recently to regularly write and record the many blessings I have received, and the things I am learning from the current set of challenging circumstances I am now living through. And maybe even to write a book. Well, that was a little overwhelming, but I have had promptings to the same effect…because honestly, there have been so many tender mercies and small blessings that even now, trying to remember them all is a huge challenge. If I can write a little something every day…and look for the things I have to be grateful for….I have a feeling miracles will take place. I feel like living in gratitude, in spite of challenges, is the key to making it through these difficult times.”

Vanessa, I agree. Thank you for sharing.

Here are some tender mercies she recognized at Christmastime:

“I still have a LOT Of work to do implementing these principles … because for every big blessing comes a pretty big (sometimes bigger) setback. In the last month I’ve had both of my cars’ transmissions die and the state board of equalization place a levy on my account for some past due taxes. My husband’s condition [Lyme disease, mycoplasma pneumonia, h. pylori, epstein-barr, multiple parasites, etc.] seems to be getting worse, but there’s a silver lining to that – his appointments with the disability appointed doctors went ‘well’ – as in they saw him at his worst and I am hopeful that he may have a chance of being approved for social security disability.

“It’s funny though… although I’m completely carless at the moment – and I have no idea how I’ll have any gifts at all for my kids this year, I am feeling the Christmas spirit stronger than ever before. I’m really loving the #lighttheworld campaign, and my kids and I have been watching the videos every night at scriptures and taking on the challenges. We have been blessed to be the recipients of so much – it feels really good to be on the other end of things for a change:

“While lately I’ve often been focused on working ’round the clock to get orders out for clients, and add more shoots to my schedule, today I dropped all of that. A friend of mine knows a single mom, a victim of domestic violence, who recently lost her home and everything in it in the recent California wildfires. My friend has been trying to help by paying for her hotel and a gift card for some clothes, but was feeling overburdened as the only supportive person her friend has. She started a GoFundMe account for this friend but had no response.

“I have another struggling friend who happens to be moving back East this weekend, and just found out 3 days ago that the person who was going to take over her apartment and all of her furnishings backed out. She needed to get rid of all of her furnishings/ kitchenware/ bedding/ etc. right away. My mom had come down to help me for a couple of days since I have no transportation right now, and between her, a friend’s truck, and our local missionaries, I was able to move all of this furniture and household supplies to storage for the single mom of 4 who lost everything in the fires, thereby helping 3 families – my friend who needed to get rid of her stuff, my friend who felt overburdened, and the woman who lost everything.

“Another tender mercy: At a recent ward activity they had a tree with ornaments for the local orphanage/foster group home for kids who don’t have any families that have a little wish list. I didn’t even really consider looking, because most the kid’s have wish lists that would take at least about $100 or so to fill and I don’t even have that much of a budget for my 4 kids put together for Christmas this year. But something told me to look anyways, and the first ornament I saw was for a child who wanted a tablet, art supplies and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Something told me to pick it up. I just so happen to have a tablet that I’ve been trying to sell on Craigslist for the last 4 months now, and have had no takers. And my daughter had an excess of art supplies she’s been given over the last 2 years, because that’s all she asks for for her birthday and Christmas. Some were brand new, never used. And my son has been given Barnes and Noble gifts cards for every gift giving occasion for the last few years and he had 3 saved up. All the kids were able to contribute something of their own to help this girl, and I bought an art set at Michael’s for 60% off and it only cost me $12. So we will be able to do what so many have done for us and make Christmas happen for someone less fortunate, and that feels like quite a blessing.”

“…behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes . . . (Alma 37:6-7).

This has been another installment in a series of articles about Tender Mercies. Stay tuned for more coming soon…

What about you?

Maybe you’re not a millionaire. Maybe you haven’t yet realized that big vision for your life. Maybe your relationships aren’t what you want them to be. Maybe you’re still waiting for that breakthrough that never seems to come. Maybe you struggle with your health, or maybe you’re caring for someone else who is. But even so…

Have you seen God’s hand in your life today? Have you noticed Him sustaining you from day to day?

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in ALL things, and obey not his commandments,” (D&C 59:21, emphasis added).

Submit your stories here!



Prosper By Degrees

Originally published Jun 8, 2012

When my husband and I learned about the principles of prosperity and began to consciously live by them, we experienced dramatic results, tripling our income in just 3 months. But the ‘good fortune’ wasn’t going to last forever.

Trying to be super-smart with our new-found wealth, we anxiously invested it in a number of wrong places. A combination of inexperience and haste led us to invest poorly, and get in over our heads to a dangerous level.

Add to that the fact that we had involved ourselves with business people who eventually slipped into hiding or went to jail, and perhaps you can get a glimpse of how quickly a fortune can be lost, even with the best of intentions.

In the wake of our poor decisions, needless to say, we were left with a big mess to clean up. But no worries – we understood the principles that had brought us the wealth to begin with, so we would just practice them again, and turn things around in short order.

Or so we hoped.

But we discovered that sometimes the consequences of our decisions have a more far reaching effect that can’t be turned around with just a snap of the fingers, so to speak. Turning a corner like that is something like turning a massive cruise ship around. You might get the rudder turned in the right direction, but it can take some time before the effects are noticed.

We had erroneously believed that we could “make” those bad decisions into good ones somehow just by “thinking right.” While it may be true that in every adversity there is a seed of equal or greater benefit, that doesn’t mean the adversity will go away with right thinking. It only promises that something good can be born from it.

In a determined push to create another massive financial breakthrough like the first, I locked on to the vision of a quick rescue, another big windfall. I’d seen them before, experienced them more than once. Many, many times we had used the principles to produce tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short period of time, so that’s what we were running for.

But something was different this time. For some reason, the mental discipline and goal setting strategies weren’t paying off like they had in the past. It seemed that something was preventing the blessing. The formula wasn’t panning out.

In time, I stopped trying so hard, out of sheer exhaustion. I started to accept whatever was, just as it was. I decided to find peace and happiness even in our mess, and begin focusing again more completely on my family relationships.  It seemed I no longer had real influence or control over our finances (since I kept failing to meet my goals), so I directed my attention to the little things in my world over which I could make a difference.

It was during a Sunday School lesson at church that I had my next great epiphany. The class discussed a story about two groups of people who lived more than 2000 years ago, comparing and contrasting their experiences:

The first group was led by a man named Alma. Alma and his people were devout believers who worshiped God and were diligent in keeping the commandments.

The second group was led by a man named Limhi. Limhi and his people relied just a little too much on their own strength and wisdom. Both groups were in subjection to the same oppressive government.

When the government sent an army to destroy Alma and his people, they were warned by God ahead of time and were able to escape.

When the army came to attack Limhi’s people, they were given no warning.

Limhi’s people tried three times to deliver themselves from the oppression, and each time, they failed. Eventually, they began to reevaluate their approach, and decided that they needed to pay more attention to the commandments, and rely on God for their success with patience.

The record then states:

“…the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of [their oppressors] that they began to ease their burdens; …The Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage [yet]… they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger.”

That description – that the Lord did not see fit to deliver them, but allowed them to begin prospering by degrees – was my answer.

I had been expecting a big miraculous rescue, and was dissatisfied with anything less. I had thought I was being obedient to the commandments of God all along, but recognized I could do better.

What I feel that God wanted me to learn was simple: to not run faster than I had strength as I had been, but to take it at a pace that I could maintain throughout my life, so that I don’t burn myself out and become completely useless to Him.

So I slowed down and began to envision Him opening doors and preparing the way for long-term success. I lost interest in anything that promised big, quick bucks, because we had already experienced that kind of success. Instead, I became increasingly interested in principles that would allow us to rebuild on a more solid, long-lasting foundation.

It’s just a matter of getting back to the basics. It’s making smart choices, and sacrifices. It’s being smart with what we have, and anticipating gradual improvement. It’s watching more closely how we spend our money, and watching for evidence that we are being prospered by degrees.

We started noticing and celebrating each little bit of evidence, and realized that were were being prospered by degrees. I stopped lamenting the lack of a massive windfall, and started being grateful again for every simple blessing. The growth has been gradual but consistent. Our good fortune has been added upon every day.

When the needed rescue doesn’t come by one miraculous windfall,  look for evidence that you’re prospering by degrees.

It’s been a humbling process, but one that I am grateful for. I know we’re wiser for the experience, and that it will make a big difference for our future. Our family is already much happier, too, because I’m finally living at a pace that I can maintain.

Read The Unexpected Cure for Doubt

There’s time to build your life right. There’s time to build your business right. There’s time to build relationships right. Looking for shortcuts can become an addiction. As you slow down and prayerfully live receptive to God’s guidance, you’ll find that there is no greater shortcut than that.

And when that guidance says, RUN!” then by golly, you’d better run!

But sometimes we run when we’re really supposed to stop and take the time to sharpen the saw, and reconnect with God.

Originally posted June 8, 2012

Read more details about our experience here. And as always, I appreciate your comments!