My Hearts Forever Taken – For my Beloved Karla



“My Hearts Forever Taken”

For my Beloved Karla


Love & Joy & Happiness

With fairy tales come true

My Dreams & Hopes & Wishes

In Life that’s led to you

My hearts forever taken

With your Beauty, Grace & Charm

Your love has wrapped around me

Where my heart is safe from harm

Each day’s a celebration

Of our love so pure and true

Two hearts that beat in rythm

As my heart now beats for you

A Valentines day celebration

For most one day a year

That now I celebrate daily

With my love so true and dear

© 2014 James Isbell

The State of Utah’s ongoing abuse of children and its destruction of families.


I have spent more than a decade fighting for my children and my belief that I should have a right to see them. My ex wife upon choosing to step out of our marriage with another man, took my kids and treated them as her property.  The state of Utah allowed this and granted extremely minimum visitation for me as their father.  This visitation many times was denied by my ex depending upon her mood and desire to manipulate the situation.  The courts never put a stop to it and emboldened her to continue this abusive behavior.  The complicity of the State of Utah, with my ex wife and its highly corruptible judges have deeply impacted my ongoing relationship with my children over the years.  It is only through my own laser like focus with my children and spending highly quality time when we are together that we maintain the relationship we do today.


The state of Utah is guilty of child abuse. The failure on the states part to protect children from the abusive, emotional manipulations of the mothers combined with the empowerment they create through the rulings of the judges have destroyed many families along the way. The laws and policies towards fathers creates an extremely emotionally abusive situation for the children that are caught in the crossfire of this states actions towards fathers and its failure to protect the child and their relationship with their parents.

These nightmares that I have lived in fighting to keep my children in my life were once again revisited today when I heard of the dozen men suing the state of Utah over its adoption practices.   The family courts in Utah have waged war against fathers over the years.   They will quickly throw a father who lost their job in jail for failure to pay child support, yet will never notify a father whose children are being abandoned by the mother and put up for adoption.  Adoption is an amazing thing!  While many children benefit greatly from adoption, it should only be done with BOTH parents consent.

The state of Utah needs to be stopped, punished and prosecuted for its ongoing abuse of children and destruction of families!

Here is a link to:

Fathers sue Utah over law allowing mothers to secretly give up babies for adoption



Just Give up in your Marriage!

Marriage is hard work. There are many challenges that couples face and these challenges can bring with them much discord and disharmony.  From household chores, to time management, to children and the in laws, many of the most common reasons why marriages fail is because of the work involved in keeping your love alive.

If you want to find happiness, joy, love and peace,  It’s time to Just Give up!

  • Give up your need to be right all the time!
  • Give up your selfishness!
  • Give up your need to control!
  • Give up talking and start listening!
  • Give up the games!
  • Give up the friends who create interference!
  • Give up the laziness!
  • Give up your unwillingness to forgive!
  • Give up the boring routine!
  • Give up being so stubborn!
  • Give up your unrealistic expectations!
  • Give up your annoying habits!
  • Give up your desire to be judgmental!
  • Give up your arrogance!
  • Give up anything that prevents mutual love and respect!

My life is amazingly happy with a remarkable woman as my wife!  As we have learned in our relationship to give up the negative barriers that get in the way we have continually drawn closer to one another.  Our life is more fulfilled and complete than either of us have ever experienced prior to our marriage.  We find strength in our differences while confronting the negative pressures that I believe occur in every relationship.  Our focus stays on the other one and not on our self as we solve difficulties that arise. 

We have learned that for marriage to be successful, you first have to be willing to give up!


A Child’s Restless Nights and the Answered Prayers for Help


The late night silence was broken with faint whimpers and wheezing as my precious little one struggled for air.   Restlessly she lay sleeping on my chest as I, unable to sleep, kept a vigilant watch over her.   My wife, equally as restless lie next to us, her hand gently holding that of our daughter as we helplessly tried to comfort her. 

There had been five visits to the doctor and emergency rooms over the past two weeks with no relief in sight.  It was a virus we were told and had to run its course.  Each night as the fever would spike upwards of 102 and with her breathing more labored each day we worried more and more. 

We had experienced ear infections, strep, colds, the flu and other common illness with our other children.  This one the doctors continued to repeat that there was nothing they could do for it and it had to run its course.  My wife and I continued to pray and make our daughter as comfortable as possible as her 13 month old body struggled to fight off this “virus”.  Each night we watched as her fever spiked and her breathing became more labored. We knew that something had to be done.  Somehow the doctors were missing something and she was too small to take chances waiting for the doctors.  If it was a virus, then which one?

One of the most frustrating feelings I have ever felt in my life are when my children are ill and I cannot do anything to make them better.   As she would look into my eyes crying from pain and discomfort, watching her chest heave up and down gasping for air I find myself fighting the tears of anguish for my daughter and my overwhelming helplessness.

Finally, as we could take no more of this we headed back into the doctors office.  This time my beloved wife had taken video of my daughters labored breathing at night and early morning while attempting to sleep.  We had been telling the doctors of this for weeks and nothing, upon seeing the video they ordered a chest x-ray and surprise.  Pnuemonia!    I felt releived at having a diagnosis and also irritated that after this many visits and more than 3 different doctors why none of them would rule this out in the beginning. 

It has been 5 days since my wifes video of our daughter finally made the doctors act.  It’s amazing to see her improvement now that she is properly being treated.   I dread to think what could have been with our precious little 13 month old daughter had my wife not acted upon her impressions to record it. 

I do believe that our prayers were answered in this process.  My wife was guided in knowing what to do to get the help we needed.  After nearly 3 weeks, our daughter is back in her own bed, no fever and sleeping through the night.  I still can’t help but be frustrated at the lost time and the danger my daughter was in had it not been properly treated soon enough.

The divergence of these emotions and my gratitude for answered prayers has created quiet a conundrum for me to resolve within, yet the gratitude I feel for my daughter getting better overshadows all of it.

Hiking the Trails of LIfe


My wife and I love spending time outdoors, especially hiking.   The opportunity to spend time together, outside,  while climbing along a mountain trail provides great moments to grow closer to each other and gain a deeper love and appreciation for this earth and the wondrous beauty around us.  We have hiked many trails throughout the western states and Hawaii.  Each one is unique and offers something the others do not.  I would find it difficult to identify my favorite trail or hike.

As we hike along the different paths, they all share one thing in common, the farther along we get the more majestic and beautiful the scenery becomes. The more challenging the hike, the more beautiful they become.  The reward is always worth the effort.

Many times people will stand at the base of the trail deciding whether or not to begin the journey.  The assumption is made based upon how difficult the journey looks or at times the obvious lack of beauty at the beginning.  We judge the outcome of the journey by where it starts instead of where it leads.  Beauty is always found in the journey and where it leads, not by standing still at the bottom.

Our lives too resemble these hikes.  If we judge others based upon the outward appearance instead of investing the energy necessary to take the journey required to know them we will never know the beauty that each person brings.  If we choose to stand still and not invest the energy to take the journey necessary to find the beauty in any aspect of life, be it love, family relationships, school, work, religion, friendships, or anything, we will never discover the beauty that lies deep along the path.

While beauty is all around us, the ability to see it in its fullest grandeur requires effort on our part.  Those who choose the take and complete the journey always find the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment.

Childhood Memories – Rafting the Green River


We spent many summer vacations traveling by camper around the west coast with our family, aunts, uncles and cousins.  These wonderful opportunities to be with our cousins have provided many of the great and amazing memories of my childhood.  My cousins and us were very close friends growing up, that closeness can still be felt today at those rare moments when we are all together.

One such memorable trip was to Flaming Gorge and river rafting the Green River.  River rafting can be such an exhilarating experience, especially for young children.  We would launch the raft below the Flaming Gorge Dam and ride the current, with its many rapids for seven miles, all the way to the first stop at little hole.  We would unload the raft, load it on top of the truck and do it again.

Oh wow us kids had fun!  We would fish along the banks of river as we anxiously awaited for our turns to ride.  These were wonderful times we spent together in nature and great opportunities to build friendships.

My dad was a avid fisherman so we would also fish along the river as we gently floated along.  My dad fished this river often and knew all the best fishing holes to stop in along the way.  We would pull off to the shore and eat our sandwiches and have ice cold soda.  Afterwards we would all head to the campsite where we would eat dinner in front of a roaring fire, roast hot dogs and marshmallows. 

One trip down the river was uniquely memorable and extremely different for us than all the others.  I remember I had to have been about ten years old.  We floated gently along river in one of my dad’s fishing holes, when a couple of the fishing lines became tangled together.  I can still vividly see my father as he sat on the back edge of the raft working to untangle the lines.  He was wearing his faded blue fishing hat, his tan fishing vest and his legs crossed in front of him at the ankles as he worked to untangle the mess we boys had made with our fishing poles.

My dad, being the expert fisherman he was, quickly untangled the lines, replace the hooks and bait on the first pole and handed it back to us.  He then went to work on the next pole, replacing the hook and the bait.  While we floated gently along the river, the raft suddenly dropped a couple feet as we went over the first of many rapids ahead of us.   My dad had his head down of course while working on the fishing pole and was unaware that we had gotten to the next set of rapids, as minor as they were.

As the raft dropped out from below we watched in panic as my father fell over backwards out of the raft.  Everything moved in slow motion as I watched my dad first reach for his precious fishing hat and then the fishing pole.  He gathered himself and prepared to ride the rapids with his hat in one hand and the fishing pole in the other.  There was no sign of panic in his face whatsoever.

I turned to watch the rapids and in wonderment watched my cousin Deb, who must have been about sixteen at the time as she paddled her little heart away attempting to reach my dad.  The amazing thing is that as fast as my cousin Deb was paddling you would have thought that she would have defied the current of the river and moved us upstream faster than any propeller could have.  Sadly, Deb forgot one little thing as she paddled her little heart out…… she forgot that the oar had to go into the water in order to be of any benefit. 

My dad could see her paddling and missing the water.  He laughed as he caught up to the raft and held on.  Safely we made it through the small rapids and over to the shore where my dad made certain we were all safe and then climbed back in to complete our journey.

This image of my dear cousin as she frantically tried to reach her Uncle Dave and save him while missing the water all together has stayed with us over the decades.  It’s a memory I treasure, not only for the humor, but for the amazing times with my mom and dad, my aunts and uncles, and my cousins and the love for the outdoors I developed as a result of these amazing trips.

Random Thoughts from a Facebook Friend


I have a friend who frequently posts the most random thoughts on Facebook.   The witty posts often make me laugh out loud.  I decided to share some of these with you today care of Amber Smith:

  • Sorry about when you asked me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day and I asked for the last 5 years back.
  • I just got kicked out of a Whole Foods store for wearing deodorant.
  • Shout out to everyone who just kicks the dropped ice cube under the fridge instead of picking it up and throwing it in the sink.
  • Daisy Dukes should come with an application, an interview and a letter of approval
  • Does anyone have plans to stare at their phones somewhere exciting this weekend?
  • One problem with autocorrect is that you always end up posting some thong that you didn’t Nintendo.
  • Since there’s no wrong way to eat a Reeses, I eat mine while still in the store so I don’t have to pay.
  • I feel like every time I go to Walmart I automatically witness the contradiction to their slogan being: ‘save money, live better’
  • So apparently airport security doesn’t like it when you call shotgun before boarding a plane.
  • Stop playing the victim. That’s not even a real instrument.
  • If you tell a woman to “relax” prepare for the least relaxing day of your life.
  • Give a woman a compliment and you’ll eat for a day. Force a woman to fish for compliments and she’ll feed someone else.
  • I know at least three people who are alive today, because I just didn’t want to go to prison.
  • I’m not sure how many problems I have because math is one of them.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond would be a great name for a hospice care center.
  • Chivalry died right around the time men started wearing womens skinny jeans
  • I got up early this morning so I could be late for work without rushing.
  • Married sext: Please remember to bring your Tupperware home from work today.
  • Hey bill collectors, nice try, but I don’t even call back people I know.
  • Hugged my ex at Walmart. If he thinks he’s confused now, wait till the alarm goes off when he leaves with that magnetic strip on his back.
  • That awkward moment when the person who just made the elevator notices you were holding the ‘close’ button
  • If I was a waitress, I would plant fake engagement rings in every girls champagne glass, just to watch the boyfriends panic.
  • Whenever I see 2 names carved into a tree, I just think it is strange how many people take knives on a date
  • My friend left his laptop on the floor in my living room. My other friend thought it was a scale. Conclusion: She weighs $950.
  • You really don’t need to drive me crazy…..I’m close enough to walk.
  • Just replaced the cat litter with 44 packages of pop rocks…And now we wait.
  • My life is about as organized as the $5 DVD Bin at Walmart….
  • Pro Tip: If you microwave a hot dog long enough it becomes a Slim Jim.
  • I just replaced the can of air freshener in the office bathroom with an air horn.And now we wait…
  • I hinted to my boyfriend saying that I wanted a gift with diamonds in it.
  • He got me a deck of cards. In other news, I’m single.
  • I had social networking when I was a kid too. Back then it was called ”outside.”

There are No Rules in Domestic Violence – My Story


 I was asked to speak today to some of our state senators and representatives.   Here are my remarks:

I am a survivor and former victim of Domestic Violence.

I have been mentally, emotionally, verbally, physically and financially abused by my ex wife.  I have been bitten, hit, kicked, cut, and bruised.

There is a lie in our society that men cannot be victims of abuse and that if a woman abuses a man the man is somehow weak, or they did something to provoke her and deserve it.

There are no rules in domestic violence.  It is not conditional based upon gender or age.   It is not specific to your level of education, race, income, religion or social status.  It is a plague that is destroying families and our children and we must act to put an end to this scourge.  Abusers will blame the abused for making them into the abusers they are.  This is part of the manipulation process abusers use.  Sadly, many of us fall victim to this lie and believe it.

If we falsely believe that domestic violence will go away by ignoring it, or if we fall victim to the many lies about this plague we are abandoning our children and grandchildren to continue perpetually down this evil path in our society.

Domestic Violence impacts every one of us in this room.  Whether or not it is public knowledge or anyone outside the victims immediate family knows about it, such as in my case, we all know someone who lives this hell.  It could be your daughter, your son, father, mother, grandchild, or neighbor.  It could be a leader in your church or a teacher at school or your coworker and friend.  Most victims are silent, looking for help and not knowing where to turn.

In Utah we are surrounded by many who by outward appearances have great and amazing families.  From an outward perspective, I had it all, a great family, a great wife, a great job, a beautiful home and great kids.  No one ever suspected the hell I and my children were living as a result of her abuse.

Many have asked me afterwards why if things were so bad would I stay in the relationship for so long.  First and foremost I will tell you that I love my children and am a deeply devoted father.  I worried for their safety and well being if I left.

Remember I had been told by the many police officers and those in the legal profession that I turned to for help, that a man cannot be a victim of domestic violence and if it is happening then he provoked her to it.  Utah has a terrible history in family law, one that quite frankly we should all hang our heads in shame over and that is the blind obedience of the judges to mothers and custody.  This was the single largest issue that kept me in this abusive relationship.  I didn’t want my children to suffer without my protection for them.

In the end, like most abusers, she left when she found someone new.  My relief at this being over was minimized as the courts gave custody to her.  My biggest fear in leaving came true.

My other primary reason for staying is abuse doesn’t always start off being physical.  Abusers manipulate and make the abused feel worthless and that they don’t deserve anything better and that they deserve what they are getting.  This lie held me hostage for years.

It was upon finally being freed from this abuse that I began to know about the resources in the community like the Domestic Violence shelters and what they do.

I have spent countless hours volunteering to help with anything the local shelter was in need of, from painting, to moving furniture, to fixing toilet seats and washing machines.  I have spent the time to know and understand what they do and why they do it.    While a handful of the shelters will take in men, and shelter them from abusers, there are many that do not primarily due to funding issues.  I don’t believe I would have sought shelter as financially I was in the position to leave if I needed.

What I wish with all of my heart and that would have saved me and saved my children from witnessing the abuse is the knowledge available through the community outreach efforts of the shelters.  The education and resources they provide that would have given me direction and support were not known to me.  I was unaware that anyone could help my children and I during this nightmare we were living.

The South Valley Sanctuary currently operates a community outreach center in West Jordan to assist those in need of resources and support prior to the need to seek shelter.  We need more of this in our communities.  We need to ensure that our children are protected and that the resources are given to those making a difference on the front line of this plague everyday!

The domestic violence shelters need your support to continue to operate and not only provide the shelter from the violence, but the ongoing community outreach, training and resources to those in need prior to the need to flee. It is far less expensive to make certain that resources are available to those in need than it is to prosecute and house the perpetrator and bury the victims when the violence turns deadly.

We cannot end the violence if we are merely reactionary.  We must provide the resources in addition to just shelter that many in this community are in dire need.

As you review the funding this year, I hope that my story resonates with you and opens your eyes to the need for additional resources that will help these shelters continue to provide safety as well as resources to your daughters and sons experiencing violence at home to get the help that they need, before your need to plan their funeral.