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Author: Zahira Houghtelin

I actively seek out potentially better futures and simultaneously motivate everyone around me to believe and desire the goal ahead. By motivating myself, being extremely positive and proactive, I can empower others and help them visualize achieving a goal that is simply sitting in front of them just waiting to be conquered and dominated. My favorite quote, again by Gen Powell, says it all: "Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier."
MUDBOGGING!! Mt Massive Wilderness

MUDBOGGING!! Mt Massive Wilderness


This past weekend, Josh and I met up with some of his family members for some camping in the Mt Massive Wilderness area. We arrived Friday evening, set up our tent (yes, tent… we LOVE sleeping next to the sound of the water from the river rushing by), and hung out for a bit before crashing. We had looked into what the weather was supposed to be like and it was supposed to be perfect, with highs in the 50s and lows in the 20s, but no rain and no snow. Now personally, I am not a fan of mummy bags… you can’t move and you definitely can’t cuddle so we figured out another way to stay warm. The trick, is to connect 2 individual regular sleeping bags, to create a queen size sleeping bag. Do that twice, (this means you will need 4 individual sleeping bags) and put them inside each other so that you have 2 Queen size sleeping bags inside of each other. We laid down a couple of tarps both under the tent and inside the tent, a couple of camping blankets, the sleeping bags and one more comforter on top. With 2 bodies in the sleeping bag, it is super cozy and we had no issues with staying warm, it was PERFECT! You can also add a blanket inside the sleeping bags for additional comfort, as well as an air mattress or air bed underneath. I prefer to sleep with a beanie on my head so that I can keep my head outside of the sleeping bags but, if you don’t mind being in the sleeping bags throughout the night, you can just curl in and hold the top of the sleeping bags down in order to create your own little cocoon of toasty warmth.

Saturday morning, we woke up fully refreshed and ready for a wonderful day in the mountains. Some time after breakfast and a brisk walk, we decided to go search for fallen trees to use for firewood. Josh, the pup and I hopped in the Trailblazer, and his dad and uncle hopped in the pickup, while the rest remained at camp. We drove past the Mt Massive Trailhead and into the dispersed camping areas beyond the maintained road. There is a sign, just after the Massive Trailhead, telling the driver that the road is pretty gnarly and unmaintained. There are all sorts of little obstacles you have to drive through and it makes for a super fun time. I am still learning how to do the whole backcountry driving thing, so I was in the driver’s seat getting my practice in. We stopped at several places and filled the back of Uncle Scott’s pickup with fallen logs to take back to the campsite. A campfire is one of the best things about camping so we always make sure we have an awesome one. We had been leading the way but when we turned around to head back to camp, Uncle Scott was driving ahead of us. We were driving along nice and carefully when we began approaching a fork in the road. If you stay on the main road, it’s pretty tame, however if you take the right, it dips down and comes back up to the main road in a more gnarly fashion. Josh looks at me and says,

“Take the right”

“You want me to pass them?”

“FLOOR IT!”

Hesitant but excited, I took the right. I look over to the left and it looks like Uncle Scott might have sped up so I gun it in order to get in front of them. As I’m approaching where the detour meets back up with the main road, I notice I have a tree on my right. As I maneuver to the left of the tree, barely scraping by, I have a boulder on my left that I have to avoid as we come up barreling back on to the main road just barely making it in front of Uncle Scott. I make a hard right and we are back on the main road in front of the truck. We were going so fast, we went flying over an edge, came down and seemed to bounce back up, all while maintaining control of the vehicle to stay on the road. We hear Uncle Scott honk the horn but we were laughing so hard that all we could say was, “MUDBOGGING!!!” LOL!

When they returned to camp behind us, they told us that the entire rear end of the Trailblazer was off the ground and we all had a great laugh over it.

I am super excited for getting back out and camping again soon! I know that technically, the season for camping is over but… I just don’t believe the season should ever end! You just have to make allowances for weather and come prepared. I sincerely believe that with the proper level of preparedness, ANYTHING is fun.

When you wake up before everybody and would like to enjoy the warmth of a campfire with your sunrise <3
When you wake up before everybody and would like to enjoy the warmth of a campfire with your sunrise <3
Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY TO THINK ABOUT…….December 29, 2015 marks the 125th Anniversary of the murder of 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee Creek on the PineRidge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. These 297 people, in their winter camp, were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection”. The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms. The Calvary began shooting, and managed to wipe out the entire camp. 200 of the 297 victims were women and children. About 40 members of the 7th Cavalry were killed, but over half of them were victims of fratricide from the Hotchkiss guns of their overzealous comrades-in-arms.

TWENTY members of the 7th Cavalry’s death squad, were deemed “National Heroes” and were awarded the Medal of Honor for their acts of [cowardice] heroism.

We hear very little of Wounded Knee today. It is usually not mentioned in our history classes or books. What little that does exist about Wounded Knee is normally a sanitized “Official Government Explanation”. And there are several historically inaccurate depictions of the events leading up to the massacre, which appear in movie scripts and are not the least bit representative of the actual events that took place that day.

Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people.

Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When the United States Constitution was drafted, “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard of concept. Musket balls were a precious commodity and were certainly not wasted on “target shooting”. The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and it refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defensive purposes, should such tyranny arise in the United States.

As time goes forward, the average citizen in the United States continually loses little chunks of personal freedom or “liberty”. Far too many times, unjust gun control bills were passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for protection”. The Patriot Act signed into law by G.W. Bush, was expanded and continues under Barack Obama. It is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for “safety”. Now, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is on the table, and will, most likely be attacked to facilitate the path for the removal of our firearms, all in the name of “our safety”.

Before any American citizen blindly accepts whatever new firearms legislation that is about to be doled out, they should stop and think about something for just one minute-
Evil does exist in our world. It always has and always will. Throughout history evil people have committed evil acts. In the Bible one of the first stories is that of Cain killing Abel. We can not legislate “evil” into extinction. Good people will abide by the law, and the criminal element will always find a way around it.

Evil exists all around us, but looking back at the historical record of the past 200 years, across the globe, where is “evil” and “malevolence” most often found? In the hands of those with the power, the governments. That greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life can be attributed to governments. Who do the governments always target? “Scapegoats” and “enemies” within their own borders…but only after they have been disarmed to the point where they are no longer a threat. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was inferior technology and lack of arms that contributed to their demise. Ask any Armenian why it was so easy for the Turks to exterminate millions of them, and they will answer “We were disarmed before it happened”. Ask any Jew what Hitler’s first step prior to the mass murders of the Holocaust was- confiscation of firearms from the people.

Wounded Knee is the prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we should vehemently resist any attempts to infringe on our Rights to Bear Arms. Without the Second Amendment we will be totally stripped of any ability to defend ourselves and our families.

Johnny Depp to purchase Wounded Knee and gift it back to Native Americans

Adoptable Foster Pups – Janice – Adopted 2016

Adoptable Foster Pups – Janice – Adopted 2016

After many discussions of what we would like to do next, Josh and I have decided to foster pups who are looking for a good forever home :-) We have an adult Golden and we love having more pups around the house. Instead of acquiring a permanent new member of our family, we decided to help foster all pups who are looking for a good and loving forever home, one or two at a time.

We have partnered up with Shelley Osgood of Doggy Dog World Rescue in our fostering efforts, and encourage anyone who would like to foster animals to contact Shelley.

Doggy Dog World Rescue was founded by Shelley Osgood, owner and operator of Doggy Dog World Grooming in Littleton, CO since 1998.  Shelley created the rescue group in 2008 to rescue dogs from high kill shelters and find suitable families to provide forever homes for these dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.  Doggy Dog World Rescue does not have a shelter facility, but instead utilizes foster homes.  Our foster homes provide food, shelter and love for our rescue dogs in an attempt to rehabilitate them until they are adopted into their forever homes.

If you would like to help with donations, fostering animals, or even adopting one that you fall in love with, please check out her website at http://doggydogworldrescue.com.

We had such an amazing experience with Lacey and decided to continue our efforts. We are currently fostering Janice who is a pointer mix. She has a ton of energy and will do very well in a home with a large yard. She loves to play and is extremely cuddly when calm. Check out her profile on Petfinder and her album on Flickr. We will continue to add photos as long as she is with us. She is an extremely fun and energetic pup with beautiful markings and eyes you can get lost in. She is crate trained, house trained and we are actively working on her socialization with other dogs by taking her to the dog park every day.

PLEASE COME SEE HER IN PERSON AT PETCO ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS FROM 12:30 – 4:30PM!!

Petco
8100 W. Crestline Suite D
Littleton, CO 80123

Make today a FANTABULOUS day!!!

Adoptable Foster Pups – Lacey – Adopted 21NOV2015

Adoptable Foster Pups – Lacey – Adopted 21NOV2015

After many discussions of what we would like to do next, Josh and I have decided to foster pups who are looking for a good forever home :-) We have an adult Golden and we love having more pups around the house. Instead of acquiring a permanent new member of our family, we decided to help foster all pups who are looking for a good and loving forever home, one or two at a time.

We have partnered up with Shelley Osgood of Doggy Dog World Rescue in our fostering efforts, and encourage anyone who would like to foster animals to contact Shelley.

Doggy Dog World Rescue was founded by Shelley Osgood, owner and operator of Doggy Dog World Grooming in Littleton, CO since 1998.  Shelley created the rescue group in 2008 to rescue dogs from high kill shelters and find suitable families to provide forever homes for these dogs that would otherwise be euthanized.  Doggy Dog World Rescue does not have a shelter facility, but instead utilizes foster homes.  Our foster homes provide food, shelter and love for our rescue dogs in an attempt to rehabilitate them until they are adopted into their forever homes.

If you would like to help with donations, fostering animals, or even adopting one that you fall in love with, please check out her website at http://doggydogworldrescue.com.

We are currently fostering Lacey, who is the most adorable little puppy at 7 months. Check out her profile on Petfinder and her photo album on Flickr. We will continue to add photos as long as she is with us. She is an extremely calm and mild mannered puppy. She is crate trained and we are actively working on her socialization with other dogs by taking her to the dog park every day. We will post updates as often as we can.

Make today a FANTABULOUS day!!!

We’re Married!!!

We’re Married!!!

A few weeks ago, on June 6th 2015, I married my best friend at the Grand View Overlook in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs. We were married on the 3 year anniversary of the day we met and at the location where we first met. The day was, for lack of a better word, PERFECT.

Our ceremony took place at Palmer Park’s Grand View Overlook in Colorado Springs and we held our reception at Lazy Land in the same park. A Piece of Cake Catering took great care of us at the reception with an amazing spread and Marvelous Images Photography was there to capture our EPIC day.

THANK YOU to all of our family and friends whom attended! Our special day was made even more special with your presence.

After the reception, we had a party bus rented from Denver Limo, Inc. ready to take 33 of our guests to Garden of the Gods for pictures and fun on the town. The bus traveled through Garden of the Gods, Rock Ledge Ranch, scenic overlooks and downtown Springs. Our driver was AWESOME… THANK YOU KEN!!

We decided to have our honeymoon here in CO hiking our favorite mountains. Pictures of our adventures can be viewed here.

These are the vendors who helped make our day INCREDIBLE!! Any of them will take care of you and are extremely accommodating.

Photographer: Marvelous Images
Emailmarvelousimages@yahoo.com
Phone: 303-991-0656

zhoughtelin, zahirahoughtelin, z houghtelin, zahira houghtelin, joshhoughtelin, josh houghtelin, houghtelin wedding, z and josh, josh and z

Caterer: A Piece of Cake Catering
Email: apieceofcakecaterings@hotmail.com
Phone: 719-310-7683
720-309-8071
Address: 1865 Peterson Rd.
Colorado Springs 80915

a piece of cake catering

DJ: Anderson Entertainment
Email: CDJOCKMAN@aol.com
Sean Lynch, our DJ, set up at the Grand View Overlook in Palmer Park for the ceremony, only to tear down and re-set up in Lazy Land for our reception.

dj

Transportation: Denver Limo, Inc
Email: info@limoservicedenver.com
Phone: 303.360.0283
Driver: Ken

denve

Our Wedding DJ!

Our Wedding DJ!

Anderson Entertainment, based out of Littleton, CO, was hands down, the BEST DJ we could have possibly had! For our wedding, we had 2 locations where we needed music: The Grand View Overlook in Palmer Park for the ceremony and then afterwards for the reception, almost 2 miles away at Lazy Land in the same park.

When we started chatting with Sean about the wedding and the type of music we wanted for everything, he always had the idea or solution we needed to move past a hiccup. He was always professional, courteous, energetic and knowledgeable. We met with him a few times before the wedding to iron out details and song lists. Every time we met, the level of preparation and dedication we received from Anderson Entertainment was beyond impressive. My husband and I are extremely energetic and fun-lovingly happy people… we desired the same thing out of a DJ for our reception. Sean has the energy, the fun-loving attitude, the drive and the know-how to appease an audience. He was able to keep the energy level high, fun and get people on the dance floor at our reception.

He arrived early to set up at the reception area in Lazy Land for when he returned, then went up to the overlook to set up for the ceremony. There is no electricity at either of these locations. Sean provided us with a generator, wireless speakers, wireless mics, etc.

At the overlook, he had a generator powering all of his DJ equipment, setup complete, and playing seating music by 11AM. The ceremony was supposed to begin at noon and circumstances had us all waiting there for an extended time of 40 minutes before we could begin the ceremony. Sean had extra music that he began playing, once all of the music choices we had made for our beginning arrangement had played through. He didn’t miss a beat and everything flowed perfectly! Once we were able to begin, everything played the way it was supposed to and right on cue, once we were announced as husband and wife, our exit song played. It was PERFECT!

My new hubby and I stayed with the photographers while the guests all began to head down to the reception area for appetizers. In this time, Sean tore down his equipment completely and headed down to the reception area to setup for our arrival. When we arrived for our grand entrance, music is playing, guests are enjoying appetizers and I had to have my bustle tied up. Once we were done, Sean was made aware that we were ready and our grand entrance song began as we started our way across the field to the stairs. We were announced and from then, on until the end of the reception, the music only stopped for speeches and announcements. The pavilion was set up with wireless speakers all around, Sean had a canopy to stand under so that he wasn’t directly under the sun on the edge of the pavilion, the speeches were all done using wireless mics, and to top it all off, he had 2 different backup contingency plans in case something didn’t work out. THAT is what I call being prepared!!

When it was time to begin heading to the party bus, Sean made all of the necessary announcements, tore down his equipment, loaded up, congratulated us sincerely and said their goodbyes.

Anderson Entertainment provides a quality of service that is desirable in a vendor. We could not have been happier with our day and Anderson Entertainment, THANK YOU for helping make our day that much more special! We would recommend Sean Lynch of Anderson Entertainment to anyone who would require a DJ for ANY event.

Our Party Bus for the Wedding!

Our Party Bus for the Wedding!

When we started planning for our big day, we wanted it to be EPIC! So, we embarked on a new adventure. We chose to be married on the 3-year anniversary of the day we met and eventually chose the location of where we met as the venue. It had a special meaning to us… Our ceremony was up at the Grand View Overlook in Palmer Park because that is where we sat down and had our first conversation. The reception was at the same park because we spent a healthy amount of time mountain biking, hiking and running at Palmer Park during the beginning stages of our relationship. This part was easy.

Now, having a reception in a city park has its pros and cons… the sites are beautiful and it is an amazing location. However, there is no alcohol allowed and we were having a wedding reception. So, we pondered this for a moment and decided what better way to end the day than with a Party Bus! We decided we would have the ceremony, have a short reception, and embark on a fun tour in a party bus with 33 of our guests.

Thus, the research for the best company had begun. We called around all over Colorado and spoke with several companies. We finally chose to go with Denver Limo, Inc and I am very glad we did. They had the most to offer for what we were looking for and the people on the other side of the phone were professional and courteous. They wanted to make sure we had the BEST experience, and we sure did! We had signed up for a six-hour block in a 35 passenger bus with an open bar and it was AMAZING!

On the day of, we all arrived at the pickup location and met our driver, Ken. He was AWESOME!! He was extremely flexible, accommodating and an all around cool person. We ended up making several unscheduled stops but each time a request was made, he complied and with a smile! If anyone had a question, he had the answer. If the photographers saw a nice photo spot, we were able to stop. He had a fun personality and we certainly enjoyed working with him. We couldn’t have asked for a more professional and appropriate individual as our driver.

The bus was super clean, comfortable and air-conditioned. We had a fully stocked bar and beautiful glasses to enjoy the rest of the day with. The lights on the inside were all functioning, the pole was sturdy, the upholstery was all smooth and plush, and all in all a WONDERFUL experience!

We do not have a single complaint or ANY negative feedback about Denver Limo, Inc., the services offered OR the driver provided! They provide a high value and high quality service that is worth utilizing and we would recommend them wholeheartedly.

Our Wedding Caterer

Our Wedding Caterer

Our wedding was going to be in Colorado Springs and I wanted to make sure we had AMAZING food for our guests! After interviewing several caterers in Denver and Colorado Springs, I was beginning to feel like this was going to be never-ending. Finally, I came across A Piece of Cake Catering. The owner Jason made an appointment with me almost immediately and set up a tasting for the next week. Some of the other caterers I had contacted didn’t even reply to me till 2 weeks before the wedding. I met with Jason in January and the wedding was in June. Needless to say, whether the other caterers were more cost-effective or not, I didn’t feel like my business was important to them. Jason is one of those small business owners who treats each and every client as if they were his only client. My sister, who was to be my matron of honor, came with me to scope things out. OMG was the food delicious and his cupcakes are to die for! After meeting him, getting to know him and tasting the dishes he prepared for us, I was sold. I had been looking for a caterer for 3 months and none of them impressed me. I reserved his services for our big day during the meeting and before we left, we had the entire menu picked out. He is extremely professional, laid back and super accommodating. I have a niece with Celiac and he helped me decide on a menu that was healthy, delicious and mostly gluten-free. A Piece of Cake Catering grilled everything on-site for us and provided 2 gentlemen who were courteous and an extreme pleasure to work with. They manned the grill and the buffet with such professionalism and respect for all of our guests. Everybody who is employed by and represents A Piece of Cake Catering, whom I have interacted with, have been topnotch. They truly represented their company in an impressive manner that was definitely recognized by all of the guests at the wedding. We had several appetizers, 3 meats grilled on site, several sides, salads, an edible arrangement made by Jason himself, and cupcakes (we went with the strawberry champagne and the carrot cake cupcakes). Jason made sure all the colors matched our wedding colors and everything looked beautiful! On top of everything, a little side note about the food: Jason makes EVERYTHING from scratch whether it is the ranch dressing or the edible decorations on the cupcakes. And, to show how great the food is, we had food for 10 extra people and enough cupcakes for everyone there to have more than 2; almost no food was left! The food and cupcakes were all gone by the end of the evening. Everyone was satiated and happy :-)

In addition to the catering, Jason also took care of all the rentals we needed for the day. He was my one-stop shop for the catering and rentals and he did it all with a smile and a great attitude. I didn’t have anything to worry about and he will do that for all of his clients. The way I see it, they are the professionals and we hire them for a reason… let them do their job and you won’t be disappointed :-)

I would definitely recommend A Piece of Cake Catering for ANY catered event. THANK YOU for helping make our day that much more incredible Jason!

Our Wedding Photographer!

Our Wedding Photographer!

Marvin, and his business Marvelous Images, are AWESOME!! When Josh and I started looking for wedding photographers, we interviewed several before we came across Marvin’s portfolio. After reviewing his portfolio we were excited to meet him and set up an appointment to see if his personality meshed with ours. We are extremely easy going and fun loving people… we wanted the same in our photograher. After meeting Marv, we decided to reserve his services before the end of our meeting. We loved the fact that he “likes to capture the moments between the moments” and were excited. We added an engagement session to our package and waited for the big day. Our engagement session went beautifully and we were so happy with the results, that we were certain the wedding photos were going to be epic. You can check out our photos for the engagement session here. Sure enough, the images of our wedding day came out BEAUTIFULLY!!! Everyone had so much fun! Marvin and his assistant photographer Jackie captured so many of the unique little moments we were hoping for.

Make sure you reserve your dates as early as possible… Marvin is booked pretty quickly because he is such a pleasure to work with. THANK YOU Marvelous Images!!!

PROTEIN: YOUR BEST FRIEND DURING THAT DIET

PROTEIN: YOUR BEST FRIEND DURING THAT DIET

We’ve all done it… limit what we can eat, how much we can eat, when we can eat… it’s a perpetual cycle that generally leaves us all cranky, hungry, and unsatisfied. What is the main purpose of a diet? Is it to be healthier? Skinnier? More muscular? Whatever your reason for dieting, calorie restriction always rears its ugly head and reminds us that in order to reach our goal, we must create a deficit. Within that deficit however, you don’t have to be hungry. High quality protein foods like dairy, soy, or eggs, for example, are extremely crucial during calorie restriction.

High quality proteins are the building blocks our bodies utilize to maintain lean body tissue in muscles and organs. During a diet, since we all know that along with the fat we unfortunately lose muscle in the process, an adequate supply of high quality protein provides a healthy supply of essential amino acids therefore, loss of muscle mass is minimized and vital organs are protected.

High quality protein foods assist in providing the proper balance of amino acids and nitrogen essential for the body to effectively improve and maintain. Protein is associated throughout the nutrition world with increased satiety, better maintenance of our metabolic rate, effective supply of necessary amino acids and so on. All of these elements help our bodies maintain lean muscle mass. The amount of protein we consume during the day affects our food choices later on in the evening. By consuming more protein during the day, you will feel less hungry at dinner time and eat much less since your body feels satisfied.

Another gripe with calorie restriction is the drop in energy. High quality protein foods can definitely conquer that simply because protein assists in preserving a higher metabolic rate. Maintaining a higher metabolic rate translates into a greater calorie deficit and that means… drumroll please… GREATER WEIGHT LOSS!

Protein is vital because any diet that contains limiting amino acids will surely have restricted protein synthesis since specific amino acid sequences of a protein could not be formed. The deficiency of any one amino acid, despite an excess of other amino acids, develops a gap and the body does not process the way it should.

High quality protein foods generally come from milk, eggs, meat, fish, etc. Foods containing proteins from unrefined sources such as grains or vegetables, other than soy, are considered not suitable as primary sources of protein when restricting calories. Again, I must stress, on a calorie restricted diet, it is crucial that there be no limiting amino acids because once that source is depleted, we automatically restrict protein synthesis. Insufficient amounts of essential amino acids, despite an excess of other amino acids, will cause a glitch and our bodies cannot synthesize specific amino acid sequences.

Your main goal should be your health and well-being. Be good to yourself… Think Healthy & Think Smart!!

Social Penetration Theory Applied

Social Penetration Theory Applied

Social penetration theory asserts the concept of metaphorically, peeling back more and more layers of an individual’s emotional, psychological, and deeply personal psyche, through the journey and active pursuit of constructing a strong foundational base; therefore perpetually solidifying the orientation phase by progressing and assuming the opportunity and risk of beginning the exploratory affective stage. We, as individuals, begin to slowly merge our individual worlds into a combined effort of seeking out the deeper layers in our significant other by beginning to broach topics previously considered unacceptable to discuss.

 This theory is about the development of a relationship through a gradual exposure of one’s self, beginning with socially acceptable levels of self-disclosure and moving towards the most intimate level of full disclosure between two people.

Social penetration theory appealed to me because I have experienced some events in my life that have affected the way I socially connect to others. Long story short, I married at 26 and after a long heart-to-heart with myself, I chose to leave and filed for divorce.

The relationship I fell into after that resulted in a detrimental threat to my health and personal well-being. With both relationships, I had allowed my counterpart into the innermost level and freely offered full disclosure under the blind assumption that my dedication to the relationship was being reciprocated. Unfortunately, in both relationships, self disclosure was not reciprocated. The voluntary permission I had lovingly and willingly offered without question slowly became a weapon against me. Due to these relationships, specifically the one that ended with a traumatic life-altering event, I chose to construct and establish my layers of security and self-preservation. As a result, I emotionally shut down. I had shut everything off because it was the only way (from proven experience) that I could blindly convince myself that I could prevent being manipulated or abused again. Unfortunately, I had convinced myself that going to the complete opposite end of the spectrum was the healthy thing to do and in turn, resulted in complete alienation because I refused to allow myself to reciprocate emotions.

After approximately one year of focusing on me and learning who I was again, I felt like the healing process was finally beginning to show improvement. Thankfully, one day I realized that by allowing these situations to affect me so drastically, I was giving the negative memories power. Nobody was forcing me to feel this way but myself. That was the day I made the decision to start over. I went through all of the negative and hurtful memories taking up precious real estate in my head and I simply dumped it all out behind me and chose to dedicate my energies from then on to positive thoughts and actions. I became proactive in creating, maintaining, and improving who I am and who I have the potential to become.

I chose to reflect on past experiences and learn from the decisions that I was responsible for. I learned that by taking responsibility, not for the entirety of the negative experiences, but for my part and decisions that resulted in negativity, there is no regret. There are only life lessons learned and the best course of action to take next, I decided, was to focus on success and achieve it.

Later, I met someone whom I began to spend an increasing amount of time with. We initially began our acquaintance as running buddies and began to spend more time on outdoor activities to include mountain biking and hiking to the summit of Pike’s Peak. Our relationship had been strictly platonic for several weeks. I had been upfront, honest, and direct in my intention to stay single. My security walls were still holding strong and I feared allowing them to open at all.

After several weeks, I began to notice that his walls were beginning to come down and he had begun to develop emotions that were more than platonic friendship. This realization caused me to ask myself why was I hanging on to my security walls so tightly? I was not allowing even the exploration of the first level of reciprocity.

After confirming my suspicions of his feelings, I continued to ask myself questions and realized that I had no answers. If I can’t answer my own question for something, then I concluded that it must not be a valid fear or concern and I forced myself to adapt to the situation in a mutually beneficial manner.  After several talks and more time spent with each other, he won me over. My walls of security began to shed quickly.

We agreed from that point on to begin a relationship on the basis of full disclosure. I have learned that I have the power to change the way I feel or my place in a situation and, I choose to be AWESOME. :-)

Communication Theories Defined

Communication Theories Defined

Defining Communication Theories in a technical environment is simple enough, if one’s knowledge base has a solid foundation. Applying or acknowledging the utilization of each theory into one’s daily existence however, produces interestingly thought-provoking results due to the human variable… an entity of perpetual analysis and transformation.
 
Communication is essentially a process, the production and exchange of more than just information; as a term, it encompasses such a wide variety of definitions.
 
 
“Communication” can be labeled as an expression, dependent on exponential variables; intended as an umbrella description to encompass a myriad of diversity and interconnectivity levels, to further engage and involve encoding, sending, receiving, decoding, synthesizing information, interpreting meanings, translating signals, and so on, to the infinite power. 
 
The following, however, are the official and technical terms of the theories to encompass the concept of communication.
 
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Cognitive Dissonance Theory argues that the experience of dissonance (or incompatible beliefs and actions) is aversive and people are highly motivated to avoid it. In their efforts to avoid feelings of dissonance, people will avoid hearing views that oppose their own, change their beliefs to match their actions, and seek reassurance after making a difficult decision.
 
Communication Accommodation Theory
This theoretical perspective examines the underlying motivations and consequences of what happens when two speakers shift their communication styles. Communication Accommodation theorists argue that during communication, people will try to accommodate or adjust their style of speaking to others. This is done in two ways: divergence and convergence. Groups with strong ethnic or racial pride often use divergence to highlight group identity. Convergence occurs when there is a strong need for social approval, frequently from powerless individuals.
 
Coordinated Management of Meaning
Theorists in Coordinated Management of Meaning believe that in conversation, people co-create meaning by attaining some coherence and coordination. Coherence occurs when stories are told, and coordination exists when stories are lived. CMM focuses on the relationship between an individual and his or her society. Through a hierarchical structure, individuals come to organize the meaning of literally hundreds of messages received throughout a day.
 
Cultivation Analysis
This theory argues that television (and other media) plays an extremely important role in how people view their world. According to Cultivation Analysis, in modern Culture most people get much of their information in a mediated fashion rather than through direct experience. Thus, mediated sources can shape people’s sense of reality. This is especially the case with regard to violence, according to the theory. Cultivation Analysis posits that heavy television viewing cultivates a sense of the world that is more violent and scarier than is actually warranted.
 
Cultural Approach to Organizations 
The Cultural Approach contends that people are like animals who are suspended in webs that they created. Theorists in this tradition argue that an organization’s culture is composed of shared symbols, each of which has a unique meaning. Organizational stories, rituals, and rites of passage are examples of what constitutes the culture of an organization.
 
Cultural Studies
Theorists in cultural studies maintain that the media represents ideologies of the dominant class in a society. Because media are controlled by corporations, the information presented to the public is necessarily influenced and framed with profit in mind. Cultural Studies theorists, therefore, are concerned with media influenced and framed with profit in mind. Cultural Studies theorists, therefore, are concerned with media influence and how power plays a role in the interpretation of culture.
 
Dramatism
This theoretical position compares life to a drama. As in dramatic action, life requires an actor, a scene, an act, some means for the action to take place, and a purpose. A rhetorical critic can understand a speaker’s motives by analyzing these elements. Further, Dramatism argues that purging guilt is the ultimate motive, and rhetors can be successful when they provide their audiences with a means for purging their guilt and a sense of identification with the rhetor.
 
Expectancy Violations Theory
Expectancy Violation Theory examines how nonverbal messages are structured. The theory advances that when communicative norms are violated, the violation may be perceived either favorably or unfavorably, depending on the perception that the receiver has of the violator. Violating another’s expectations may be a strategy used over that of conforming to another’s expectations.
 
Face-Negotiation Theory
Face-Negotiation Theory is concerned with how people in individualistic and collectivistic cultures negotiate face in conflict situations. The theory is based on face management, which describes how people from different cultures manage conflict negotiation in order to maintain face. Self-face and other-face concerns explain the conflict negotiation between people from various cultures.
 
Groupthink
The groupthink phenomenon occurs when highly cohesive groups fail to consider alternatives that may effectively resolve group dilemmas. Groupthink theorists contend that group members frequently think similarly and are reluctant to share unpopular or dissimilar ideas with others. When this occurs, groups prematurely make decisions, some of which can have lasting consequences.
 
Muted Group Theory
Muted Group Theory maintains that language serves men better than women (and perhaps European Americans better than African Americans or other groups). This is the case because the variety of experiences of European American men are named clearly in language, whereas the experiences of other groups (such as women) are not. Due to this problem with language, women appear less articulate than men in public settings. As women have similar experiences, this situation should change.
 
The Narrative Paradigm
This theory argues that humans are storytelling animals. The Narrative Paradigm proposes a narrative logic to replace the traditional logic of argument. Narrative logic, or the logic of good reasons, suggests that people judge the credibility of speakers by whether their stories hang together clearly (coherence and whether their stories ring true (fidelity). The Narrative Paradigm allows for a democratic judgment of speakers because no one has to be trained in oratory and persuasion to make judgments based on coherence and fidelity.
 
Organizational Information Theory 
This Theory argues that the main activity of organizations is the process of making sense of equivocal information. Organizational members accomplish this sense-making process through enactment, selection, and retention of information. Organizations are successful to the extent that they are able to reduce equivocality through these means.
 
Relational Dialectics Theory
Relational Dialectics suggests that relational life is always in process. People in relationships continually feel the pull-push of conflicting desires. Basically, people wish to have both autonomy and connection, openness and protective-ness, and novelty and predictability. As people communicate in relationships, they attempt to reconcile these conflicting desires, but they never eliminate their needs for both of the opposing pairs.
 
The Rhetoric
Rhetorical theory is based on the available means of persuasion. That is, a speaker who is interested in persuading his or her audience should consider three rhetorical proofs: logical, emotional, and ethical. Audiences are key to effective persuasion as well. Rhetorical syllogism, requiring audiences to supply missing pieces of a speech, are also used in persuasion.
 
Social Exchange Theory
This theoretical position argues that the major force in interpersonal relationships is the satisfaction of both people’s self-interest. Theorists in Social Exchange posit that self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing and that it can actually enhance relationships. The Social Exchange approach views interpersonal exchange posit that self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing and that it can actually enhance relationships. The Social Exchange approach views interpersonal exchanges as analogous to economic exchanges where people are satisfied when they receive a fair return on their expenditures.
 
Social Penetration Theory
This theory maintains that interpersonal relationships evolve in some gradual and predictable fashion. Penetration theorists believe that self-disclosure is the primary way that superficial relationships progress to intimate relationships. Although self-disclosure can lead to more intimate relationships, it can also leave one or more persons vulnerable.
 
Spiral of Silence Theory
Theorists associated with Spiral of Silence Theory argue that due to their enormous power, the mass media have a lasting effect on public opinion. The theory maintains that mass media work simultaneously with Majority public opinion to silence minority beliefs on cultural issues. A fear of isolation prompts those with minority views to examine the beliefs of others. Individuals who fear being socially isolated are prone to conform to what they perceive to be a majority view.
 
Standpoint Theory
This theory posits that people are situated in specific social standpoints-they occupy different places in the social hierarchy. Because of this, individuals view the social situation from particular vantage points. By necessity, each vantage point provides only a partial understanding of the social whole. Yet, those who occupy the lower rungs of the hierarchy tend to understand the social whole. Yet, those who occupy the lower rungs of the hierarchy tend to understand the social situation more fully than those at the top. Sometimes, Standpoint Theory is referred to as Feminist Standpoint Theory because of its application to how women’s and men’s standpoint differ.
 
Structuration Theory
Theorists supporting the structurational perspective argue that groups and organizations create structures, which can be interpreted as an organization’s rules and resources. These structures, in turn, create social systems in an organization. Structuration theorists posit that groups and organizations achieve a life of their own because of the way their members utilize their structures. Power structures guide the decision making taking place in groups and organizations.
 
Symbolic Interaction Theory
This theory suggests that people are motivated to act based on the meanings they assign to people, things, and events. Further, meaning is created in the language that people use both with others and in private thought. Language allows people to develop a sense of self and to interact with others in community.
 
Uncertainly Reduction Theory
Uncertainty Reduction Theory suggests that when strangers meet, their primary focus is on reducing their levels of uncertainty in the situation. Their levels of uncertainty are located in both behavioral and cognitive realms. That is, they may be unsure of how to behave (or how the other person will behave), and they may also be unsure what they think of the other and what the other person thinks of them. Further, people’s uncertainty is both individual level and relational level. People are highly motivated to use communication to reduce their uncertainty according to this theory.
 
Uses and Gratifications Theory
Uses and Gratifications theorists explain why people choose and use certain media forms. The theory emphasizes a limited effect position; that is, the media have a limithe effect on their audiences because audiences are able to exercise control over their media. Uses and Gratifications Theory attempts to answer the following: What do people do with the media?