Thursday, June 12, 2014

Body Image Breakthrough, Guest Post by Jaci Wightman

I'm thrilled today to welcome Jaci  Wightman, author of Body Image Breakthrough. She has an excellent guest post to share and I welcome you to check out more details on her fabulous book.

Words from Jaci:
I don’t remember when it all started, really. It’s just always the way it was. And I never thought twice about it. After all, don’t most teenage girls feel self-conscious about how their backside looks in a pair of jeans? Don’t most teenage girls diet and weigh themselves over and over in hopes that the numbers will change? To me, it seemed to come with the territory of being female. Throughout my teen years and on through my 20’s and 30’s, I was a woman on a mission—a mission to change my body. I thought the only way I could feel comfortable in my own skin was if I got down to a size 8. Or even better, a 6. Then I could put all the dieting and obsessing behind me. Then I could move on with my life and feel good about the person I’d become.

Only I was wrong. All that time, I was so, so wrong.

 The truth is that I was caught up in something much bigger than just a negative body image. I was caught up in the worship of a very powerful false god. But before you think I’ve lost my mind and move on to another blog, give me a chance to explain. To worship something simply means we’re devoted to that thing (you can look up the definition if you want). And what was I so “devoted to” for more than 2 decades? To modeling my body to fit the image of today’s “ideal woman.”

 Just look at the billboards along the freeway or the ads in the magazines or the celebrities that walk the red carpet . . . and you’ll come face to face with this woman. She’s a false god that really does reign supreme in our generation. No matter how hard we try, we can’t escape her intimidating gaze. She smiles back at us every time we watch TV. She follows us as we walk the aisles in Walmart. She even sneaks into conversations we have with other women. Not only is she extremely thin, but she’s also got thick, gorgeous hair, perfect teeth, bright, shiny eyes, full lips, and of course, flat abs. She’s everything we’re not, and for many of us, everything we think we need to become.

Well, I bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. Never mind that this particular woman isn’t even real. Never mind that the models in the magazines have been photoshopped right out of reality. I thought the only way to be happy was to look just like her, so I spent hours and days and years devoted to that very end. Though I would never have told you this is something I worshipped, my thoughts and behavior proved otherwise. I compared myself to that image almost every day of my life. Sometimes it caused me to hate my body, and sometimes it led me to obsess over finding new clothes or new makeup or a new workout that could help me lose weight. I lived in her shadow constantly, and did all I could to make her look my own.

But now, after years of torment and self-loathing and frustration, I can finally tell you that I’m at peace with my body. And it’s not because I learned to say positive affirmations in the mirror or because I adopted some sort of shoulder-shrugging resignation where I just accepted myself the way I am. I’m talking about something much more profound than that. I’m talking about being fully healed from the inside out. And this kind of soul-deep deliverance came in only one way—through the power of my Savior. Only He was strong enough to dig deep inside my heart and root out the lies I’d believed all my life. Only He could wrap me in a sense of peace and joy that completely eclipsed all pressure to look like the ideal woman. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. In fact, it’s been so liberating and life-changing that I’m now a woman on a new mission—to spread the word far and wide that Christ really can heal our negative body image. And He can do so in such a way that we’ll stay healed for the rest of our lives.

In the end, the power to overcome our negative body image isn’t going to come through the next weight loss drug or the latest plastic surgery technique or even finding a new haircut that makes us feel cute. It can only come if we turn the whole mess (meaning all our fear, inadequacy, self-hatred, addiction to food, or whatever we’re dealing with) over to Christ. Then we must listen very closely to everything He has to say. I did that, and it changed my life forever.
 ~Jaci

More info here:
 http://blog.cedarfort.com/blog-tour-body-image-breakthrough/ 
Jaci's author website is http://www.jaciwightman.com/

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fresh Courage Take, An Incredible New Novel by Dean Hughes

I just finished reading Volume 3 in Dean Hughes' Come to Zion series and it was wonderful! The very next day my mom snatched it up so that she and my dad could read it and share it with their friends.
Each of the books in this series have been inspiring and delightful to read. Fresh Courage Take is an incredible finish to the series. Dean Hughes is a master of historical fiction and in this series he has interwoven present day characters of Abby and Jeff with the stories of their ancestors Will and Liz. The details he incorporates make the books come to life. I feel such a deep respect for the pioneers who settled this great land--this marvelous state of Utah in which I now reside.
Fresh Courage Take brings the individuality of the pioneer's struggle to the forefront. The deadly march of the Mormon Battalion became real to me in a way that I had never appreciated before. I enjoyed talking with my children about the sacrifice that early settlers went through to find religious freedom and their own land to own. We talked about how soldiers marching across the California desert for the Mexican war sucked on pebbles to wet their mouth and help them keep going--walking thirty miles in two days with little more than a liter of muddy water to drink!
I'm fascinated by the stories from my heritage and grateful that such a talented writer as Dean Hughes created this series.

Purchase Fresh Courage Take here: http://deseretbook.com/Come-Zion-Vol-3-Fresh-Courage-Take-Dean-Hughes/i/5119486
Book Description:
The United States turned a blind eye when the Mormons were driven from Missouri to Illinois and finally out of the country altogether. How can the government—and Brigham Young—now be asking the Mormons to come up with 500 able-bodied soldiers to assist in the war with Mexico? And how can Will Lewis be asked to join the Mormon Battalion when it means leaving Liz and their two little boys on their own in the wilderness? How many sacrifices will be required in order for the Saints to create Zion?
And in modern-day Nauvoo, Jeff and Abby Lewis are facing challenges of their own. Juggling family priorities, professional responsibilities, and Church callings becomes and almost impossible feat. It is clear that building Zion in the latter days will require sacrifices, just as it did in the time of Jeff's ancestors.
In this concluding volume of the Come to Zion trilogy, beloved novelist Dean Hughes provides a unique perspective on the struggles and sacrifices—and ultimate joy—of faithful Saints in any generation.

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