Friday, August 18, 2017

Hello! I just wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU to any who may have followed or read this blog. I've absolutely loved developing it over the last few years. I also wanted to let you know that I've decided to move this blog to my website, I'll keep blogging over there and I also have a bunch of other resources available there too, so I'm hoping it'll work better to have it all in the same place now. 
(If you'd like to sign up for email updates, there will be a place to do so in the sidebar.)
Thanks again and hope to see you on my website!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Fun New Project :)

I posted this on my website but I thought I'd also post it here just in case. This is the official announcement so forgive me if it sounds a little too formal. ;)

I’m excited to announce that I’m finally putting a long-held dream into action: I’m starting a CHRIST-CENTERED SUGAR ADDICTION RECOVERY FACEBOOK GROUP. I recently certified as a Holistic Life Coach (Holistic just means I believe wellness has an emotional and spiritual component, not just physical). But even more importantly, I’ve now been free from my own sugar addiction for 12 years and I’ve also worked for several years with the LDS Addiction Recovery program in the area of Food Addiction. So I truly know how much help and encouragement it takes to accomplish such a challenging journey. With this group, my hope is to create a community where the members will have access to amazing resources that unfold the healing process step by step (I promise, you don’t have to go cold turkey!) as well as the loving support of others who are walking the very same path. I’ll explain more in the group as we go along. Overcoming sugar addiction radically changed my life physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and I want nothing more than to share that journey with others who may be struggling. Freedom really is possible! If you’re interested (or even just intrigued), I invite you to join us and we’ll get this life-changing adventure underway. 🙂

 Here’s the link if you’d like to request to join our group:

It's been so exciting already! 170 members have joined us in just over 3 days, and the conversations have already been really enlightening and inspiring. I think what I love most is the sense of community....that we're all in this together. And that now, there's somewhere safe to talk about this particular struggle and get answers and support. Anyway, I just had to share my fun new project and invite any who'd like to join us to come along for the ride!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Some beautiful words

I haven't had much time to write a full blog post (still moving in and getting settled), but I wanted to take a quick minute to share a verse I absolutely love. I don't hear it quoted very often, perhaps because it's from the Old Testament, but I read it again tonight and I feel like I need to memorize it so I can let the words wash over me again and again.

It's from the book of Zephaniah:

"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing" (Zeph. 3:17).

Just for fun, listen to the way it's phrased in a couple other translations:

NLT: "For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

ESV: "The Lord God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you with his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."

Do you think for just a few minutes, you can imagine that those words are true about you? Imagine that the Lord really does rejoice over you. That He takes delight in you. That He wants to not only quiet you with His love, but exult over you with loud singing. Can you picture Him joyfully singing at the top of His lungs? For some reason, I love that visual image so much. It's a picture that I'm going to try very hard to savor in the days ahead.

He really does love us. I hope we never forget it. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Tough Week

A week ago, my in-laws were involved in a terrible traffic accident when a car turned into their lane and hit them head-on. Thankfully they avoided any life-threatening injuries, but it’s been a very difficult recovery process for both of them so far. Greg’s 80-year-old dad required surgery for a shattered hip and will be in a rehabilitative care center for at least a month. And while his 78-year-old mom only suffered a concussion, she’s covered with deep bruises and gashes from the force of the hit, and has needed home nursing care in order to recover. Needless to say, we’ve rallied as a family to do all we can to support them as they try to rest and heal from this awful trauma.

We were surprised when the texts and calls started coming in almost immediately. We soon learned that the accident had been featured on the local news (which means it also showed up on social media), and the love and concern began pouring in like a flood. Because Dad served as both a mission president and a temple president, comments literally came from all over the world. It meant a lot to read all the sweet words from friends and loved ones who so kindly offered their faith, prayers, and encouragement.

However, as I read all those texts and comments and even talked to friends who stopped us at Walmart, I noticed a theme that kept coming up again and again. It’s the idea that something like this should never have happened to them. That they shouldn’t have to go through something like this at their age. That they don’t deserve it after all the good things they’ve done. And I totally get it. We’ve all asked why when confronted with some sort of awful or unexpected adversity. Sometimes these kinds of horrible trials just don’t make any sense.

But even though I understand the sentiment, I’ve learned to think twice before entertaining those kinds of thoughts and beliefs. If I believe that serving enough or being a good enough person or even reaching a certain age means I’ll no longer have to go through any trials, then it’s really easy to blame God when those types of things do happen in my life or the lives of those I love.

Besides, I’ve never found a promise in the scriptures that if I do x, y, and z, then the Lord will remove all my hardship and adversity. That adversity is one of the most important things I came to earth to experience, and like my in-laws, it will most likely follow me until I take my very last breath. So to say that someone shouldn’t have to go through something or that they didn’t deserve something really seems to miss the whole point of mortality. Just look at what some of the Lord’s own apostles have experienced, like the death of a beloved spouse or cancer or severe illness. Elder Maxwell’s brutal battle with leukemia—not once, but twice—proves that no one is immune to challenges, no matter how righteous they may be.

If I’ve learned anything from our own adversity over the last year, it’s that our hardest trials often turn out to be blessings in disguise. The Lord truly hides some of His greatest treasures in the most daunting and difficult circumstances. That's definitely happened to us this year. Now that our life is settling down and we can look back on all we’ve gone through, every single one of us has said that we wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. There’s been too much growth, too many tender mercies, and too much heart-softening and life-changing and faith-growing. We’re all profoundly different, and we would choose to do it all over again just for that one reason.

So as hard as it has been to watch my in-laws struggle, I believe with all my heart that there will be great treasures hidden in the midst of their pain. The Lord wouldn’t have allowed this to happen unless He had a good reason—and I know that reason will manifest itself eventually. It reminds me of the song “Blessings” by Laura Story. If you’ve never heard it, take a minute to soak in the inspiring lyrics and see if they help you look at your own life challenges in a whole new light. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wedding Fun

Another Wightman wedding in the books! We love these two so much. 
Welcome to the family, JaLynn!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

One of Those Unmistakable Moments

It’s been quite an adventure over the last few weeks trying to decide where we’re supposed to live now that Greg has a job. Because his new position is partially remote, it gave us a lot of flexibility in where we could settle. We thought about staying here in Rexburg so Lexi could finish her senior year, but we soon began to realize how much time Greg would spend away from home, so that lost its luster pretty quick. We also talked about moving to Orem where all our adult kids live (as well as our grandson and soon to be 2 more grandsons!), but the commute from Utah County to north Salt Lake is such a beast that we couldn’t wrap our brains around that option either. So we moved on to Plan C and started looking around the Layton/Odgen area where Greg’s job is actually located. It seemed that would be the least hassle and allow us the greatest time spent together as a family.

Eventually, we felt ourselves drawn more and more to the Syracuse area (I won’t bore you with all the details – it was just a really great fit for a whole bunch of reasons.) And yet, I could tell Lexi was really struggling with the idea of moving. The high school in Syracuse is almost double the size of Madison here in Rexburg, and she was having a hard time picturing herself there for her senior year. As much as I wanted to cajole her and do all I could to talk her into it, I felt a quiet restraint come over me and I decided to put the whole matter into the Lord’s hands and see how He wanted to handle the situation.

To my great delight, my daughter’s heart soon began changing all on her own. First, we found some really cool options at Syracuse HS that we don’t have here in Rexburg, so that definitely got the ball rolling. But even though her heart was softening toward the idea, I could tell she still wasn’t fully convinced. And that’s when the Lord stepped in and sealed the deal. It was the day Lexi came to me and said, “Mom, you won’t believe what just happened to me.”

In a nutshell, she told me she’d been reading her homework for seminary in the book of Acts, and suddenly she came across a verse that she could hardly even believe existed in the scriptures. Here’s the picture she took of the scripture to text to her Dad (it’s verse 12):

“And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days….” (Acts 28:12).

It was one of those moments where the Lord just seemed to be standing there smiling and nodding His head. I mean, what are the chances of her coming across a verse listing the very town we’d all just been praying about?? I don’t believe for a second it was a coincidence. No, I believe He let us all know through Lexi exactly what His will was for us as a family. And the best part was watching her attitude transform as a result of this beautiful moment of personal revelation. From that moment, it’s like she was all in. Syracuse was her new home, and she was completely OK with it. In fact, since then, she’s become so excited about it that she can hardly wait until school is out so we can move. (Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she and Kalli also got lifeguard jobs at Lagoon Amusement Park for the summer, which I believe is another tender mercy intended to make this whole transition easier for both of them. I love when the Lord lets everything come together like that. It doesn’t always happen, but it's pretty amazing when it does.)

Anyway, I just had to share this story to rejoice again in the fact that the Lord is there and He really does know our situation intimately. And every once in a while, He communicates with us in ways that are incredibly jaw-dropping and unmistakable. In ways that are so clear and so awesome we can hardly take it in. I love that my daughter had one of those moments. I know it’s something she—and the rest of us—will never forget. So bring on our new life in Syracuse! Just 5 weeks and counting and we’ll begin a brand new story in a brand new home.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do you have a secret something that you do obsessively?

Yep, that’s the question I’m throwing out into the blogosphere today.

Do you have something that you find yourself turning to again and again throughout the day to the point where it’s become a personal obsession?

If you're like me, I’m guessing whatever it is popped into your mind immediately as soon as you read those words. After all, we know ourselves better than anyone else, and deep down we know exactly what we spend our time doing, especially in those hidden moments when no one is really paying attention.

I know this isn’t something we talk about much in Relief Society. And it isn’t something we’re likely to chat about over lunch with friends. It’s just that quiet little something we keep to ourselves . . . that something we crave every time we have a spare minute . . . that something that’s become our own private obsession or addiction.

The thing is, it’s probably not even something all that bad. Maybe it’s just a bag of Reese’s we have hidden in the back of the cupboard. Or that TV show we’ve grown overly attached to recently. Or a game we just can’t stop playing on our phone. Or a little more cleaning than is actually necessary. Or some mental fantasy that continues to crop up in the back of our mind. Whatever it is, it’s just that thing—that thing we can’t seem to stop doing, no matter how hard we try.

Even if we attempt to downplay it as harmless, we still occasionally end up feeling guilty about our obsession (especially after General Conference or a really great lesson in Sunday School). So we make a plan to help us kick our secret little habit. We delete that app off our phone or throw out our entire chocolate stash. We invent ways to distract ourselves or tell our family about it so they can help keep us accountable. But most of the time, those strategies don't work for very long. Though we may make it a day or two or maybe even a whole week, eventually we just can’t help ourselves—we go right back to our favorite obsession and find ourselves doing it compulsively all over again.

And it’s in that moment that we get hit with a recurring sense of shame. Shame that we can’t control ourselves any better than that. Shame that this habit seems to have so much power over us. Shame that we don’t have more willpower to overcome it on our own. It’s a cycle that keeps repeating over and over, no matter how hard we try to break free. Despite our best efforts, we continue to carry this thing around with us—this obsession we both love and hate at the same time. On the one hand, we’d love to give up for good, but on the other, we can’t imagine living life without it.

Maybe it would help if we stop all our efforts at behavior modification and instead ask ourselves what’s fueling this private little habit. What’s driving our secret obsession? What is it that this thing does for our heart? I mean, there’s got to be a reward of some sort or we wouldn’t be turning to it so compulsively throughout the day. Determining what need our obsession is meeting is the first step to truly overcoming the power of our personal addiction.

It reminds me of a woman I met a few weeks ago while speaking to a group of Young Women and leaders about body image. In the middle of our discussion, she brought up her struggle with emotional eating (an obsession I've experienced myself). She said she knew very well why she did it—because food had this way of soothing and pacifying her negative emotions. It gave her a little rush of happiness, a moment of bliss, an escape from the stress of the daily grind or the realities of whatever difficult situation she may be in.

I believe that’s actually the motivation behind most (if not all) of our secret obsessions. No matter what form they may take (be it a credit card, a personal hobby, or a place we like to hang out online), the results are still the same: they really do give us that little rush of happiness, that moment of bliss, that escape for a minute from whatever difficult thing we're experiencing. These are our coping mechanisms. The happy place we run to when we’re feeling low.

But even though we may understand that idea in theory, we may have never considered that what we're really doing is using these things to feed our restless heart. That we’re trying to satisfy a soul hunger that we may not have even put into words. That we’re trying to fill an emptiness that we may not even realize we’re feeling.

It would certainly explain why that particular thing has become such an obsession in our lives. If it’s actually been feeding our heart’s deepest needs and longings, then of course we’re going to turn to it over and over and over again. That thing may be validating us when we’re feeling inadequate or insecure. Or it may allow us to live in a fantasy world that helps us forget about our failing relationship or that difficult child or an overly stressful job.  If that’s the case, the truth is that behavior modification is never going to be enough to overcome it.

Imagine what happens when we try to remove that thing from our lives without replacing it with something that truly fills our need. Won’t the resulting emptiness eventually drive us right back to our special little something? Making ourselves stop our habit out of sheer willpower doesn’t even come close to addressing the real problem. The real problem is that inner need (whatever it is) that keeps driving us to find relief from our obsession. If we'll pinpoint that need, we’ll finally be on our way to true and lasting healing. For once we understand what our heart is truly longing for, we can take those pressing needs to the One who really, truly can satisfy us (Psalm 36:8). And once our hearts are filled with His grace and His glory and His love, that little obsession will suddenly feel like small potatoes in comparison to the exquisite taste of the fruit of the Tree of Life.

So maybe the next time we feel a need to invent some strategy to help us overcome a personal obsession, perhaps we could focus instead on the true “bread of life,” a nourishment that promises us that we’ll “never hunger” and “never thirst” ever again (John 6:35). It’s the only thing that can fill us in a way that is “everlasting” (John 6:47). Once our heart is truly that satisfied and content, our secret little obsession will simply no longer hold the same appeal and will drop right out of our lives. And we'll wonder why we ever even tried behavior modification. ;)

“Yea, he saith: Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely” 
(Alma 5:34).