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Lighten Up

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,431 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
Lighten Up! brings Sister Okazaki's fresh perspective and sparkling personality from the podium to the page. Each chapter is filled with insights. Sister Okazaki's straightforward, practical, and cheerful view of life has brought strength to people all over the world. A leader with both feet firmly on the ground and a twinkle in her eye, she believes without equivocation t ...more
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published February 1993 by Deseret Book
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Sep 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
I liked this book because, even though she is devout LDS, she doesn't focus on being a good Mormon at all. It is ALL about being a good christian and a good human being. I found this a breath of fresh air after so many nauseating church books:)!!!!!!
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
A refreshing and different (yet doctrinal!) book. As someone who holds themselves to high standards and tends to see things as black-and-white, Sister Okazaki had plenty to teach me! I think we all need to "lighten up" -- to turn to the Savior, the light of the world, and drop our heavy burdens and be yoked with Him whose burden is light.

"That's all the Lord wants of you -- you, yourself. And that's all you can give. You can't be someone you aren't. You can't give someone else's gift. Who and wh
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lds
I don't have enough praise for Okazaki. As I mentioned in a comment while I was reading, her words are a balm for wounds and weariness. It spoke to me in very personal ways about every dozen pages, reorienting some long-standing narratives in my head through healing.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
What a wonderful book! Normally, I'm not a big reader of spiritual or self-help books. I shamefully tend to lean toward the shallow, easy to understand fiction. I've been trying hard to change this. So when a friend of mine suggested this book after I was berating myself for being a bad mom, I decided to throw caution to the wind and give it shot. While I will admit that it didn't exactly keep me captivated the whole time (which should be obvious since I've been reading this book for months on e ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
It is interesting that this book is a compilation of various talks, devotionals, and firesides of Sister Okazaki. She is a good speaker and very motivational. I love it when some one tells me I am doing better than I think I am, but that I can do better. Has anyone heard that before? I guess I am getting too old. I have heard the same things over and over again. I guess it is good that after the 5th time I finally get it. If you belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, then I think it is gre ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I loved reading a book by this believing, female Mormon author who served in the General Relief Society Presidency--but who was not the type of GA we're used to hearing from. Okazaki is of Japanese-American heritage, a working mom, and a convert. I found her insights on balance and diversity so, so refreshing, and her positive outlook (when there were many things in her life that could have potentially been crushing) not only an example, but actually sincere. What a woman she was.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I feel like Chieko Okazaki was really ahead of her time in her way of thinking and so in her life during the 1950s-70s and at the time of publication (1993) a lot of her ideas probably seemed more enlightening and new than they did to me reading it today. I still enjoyed the book though, she has a spunky personality and a lot of great things to say; her perspective just didn't seem as novel and different as I was expecting it to be based on the good things I had heard about the book.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mormon, nonfiction
Okazaki is just the kind of Mormon I aspire to be - rock solid in her testimony of the atonement, embracing diverse life experiences, forgiving, service-oriented, a thoughtful reader of the scriptures, wise, and hopeful. It is always a treat to learn from her words.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Sister Okazaki was my 1st grade teacher and a good friend of my parents. But I didn't appreciate her then as much as I do now. I love her straight-forward approach to life. All of her advise makes very good sense to me.
Anneli Hardy
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
She is amazing!
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best LDS book I've ever read! Chieko has a wonderful way of making you accept who you are and what you are doing right now as ok and yet still inspire you to be better. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book.

“Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. Be wise during intensive seasons of your life. Cherish your agency, and don’t give it away casually. Don’t compare yourself to other
Summer Meyers
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love reading inspirational Mormon books like these. So often we see short little essay books, that can be rather redundant. Those are special in their own way, but I like something a little more thorough--a discussion rather than just a Sunday talk expanded.

Like a lot of LDS women, I feel guilt. Lighten Up! is a cheerful reminder that its okay. There are times and seasons in our life where we will excel in some things and others may fall to the wayside. Does this mean we have failed? Not at a
Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spir-tual, inspire-me
I loved this book! I sincerely believe that Chieko Okazaki is probably the coolest and most tuned into women woman that I've ever read. She exhorts women to let the Savior carry their burdens or even just let other women help you on your journey because we all need each other to "lighten up". Fabulous!

"Let's stop competing with other women and stop criticizing them, too. Let's stop competing with ourselves and stop picking at ourselves. Let's relax and enjoy who we are. Who we are is enough. We
Feb 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds
I like her upbeat and decisive attitude--she had some great ideas on decision making and priorities, but her outlook on raising children and her family dynamic with her husband, while valid, was somewhat different than my situation, hence not helpful: she raised two boys while working full-time as a teacher/in the education field and her husband shared responsibilities at home equally. Ha! Not my experience!

I did like her perspective coming from non-LDS families and balancing staying true to he
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was definitely not what I was expecting. It was surprising and quite like a breath of fresh air. Other than scripture, I don't read many religious books as they tend to put me to sleep. This book, while it's basically just a collection of speeches, is easy to read and not at all stuffy.

I had never even heard of Chieko Okazaki, but now I want to go find every talk she's ever given and read it! She is an incredible woman with an incredible life story and a unique perspective. (She was t
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it
"I wonder if some wonderful Mormon mothers are missing out on much of the joy in motherhood because they have picked up unnecessary burdens. We need to make the best choices we can, with the guidance of the Spirit, and then lighten up!"

"Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. ... Don't compare yourself to others--nearly always this will make you despondent. Don't accept somebody else's interpretation of
Lauren Davison
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Whew! I've been trying to finish this book for... something like a year? First off--it is a fabulous book. I love Cheiko Okazaki's grounded, down-to-earth view of life and Christianity. She is a breath of fresh air among so many perfectionistic and judgmental women. This book didn't take me forever to finish because it was lacking in quality content. In my life right now, I tend to read books 10-20 minutes at a time, here and there, with the rare exception of books I occasionally come across tha ...more
Kay Carman
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
In about 2000, the spring Kate and I attended women's conference at BYU, we were coming out of the Church Distribution store in the basement of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and saw Sister Okazaki in the hall. She was smiling, saying hello to sisters, shaking hands. It was a thrill to meet the member of the general Relief Society presidency who, at the time, I most admired.

Her book reminds me of that warm smile, a greeting of recognition, the personal touch of her hand. She offers so much
Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If you are wanting to read a good stress reliever, this is the book for you. Chieko Okazaki really encourages us to remember that we are all different and that if we are doing our best, that is all we can do, and that with the Savior, it is enough! Just what I needed. Some of my favorite parts of the book talked about how our differences bring strength to our relationships and the world and how we can and should use them for good and not judge others for being different and "relishing" each seas ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was published about twenty years ago, but is as timely as if it had been written yesterday. The author, Chieko Okazaki, writes of her own experiences as a Hawaiian American of Japanese ancestory during World War II. She and her husband fought poverty and discrimination and became leaders in their community and in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Okazaki shares her amazing life story, emphasizing the theme that the Gospel of Jesus of Christ is for everyone in every situa ...more
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious-lds
I loved how inclusive Okazaki is, especially to working moms. I read this book sometimes in place of my evening scripture study, because sometimes I get stuck in a rut of not actually thinking about scriptures that I read--but reading others' commentary on scriptures helps me think about them more productively. Okazaki focused on how we can share our light and help others while accepting them and ourselves.

The book was mostly inspiring for me. A few of the stories were a little overly sappy or s
Aug 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love the insights that Sister Okazaki shares in this book. For example, the title Lighten Up can mean to not be so hard on yourself, or it can mean to let go of your heavy burden, or it can mean to look to the light of the Savior. When you look at Matthew 28:30, "For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light," I've always thought of a load that is not heavy. Sister Okazaki, however, helped me think of a load that is made up of light instead of darkness. Hmm. The Savior's burden is light. That wo ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Chieko Okazaki is pretty much my favorite Mormon leader to ever walk the planet. This book is engagingly written, kind, and generous. Chieko never makes you feel bad about yourself--hey, and a few times there she almost managed to convince me that God likes me, too--and talks about real women's issues and feelings. If I had my druthers, we'd pitch the TotPotC manuals out the window and teach Chieko's sermons in Relief Society instead. I don't recommend church books lightly. I recommend this one.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual-lds
Another perfect book for me right now in my life. I've been trying to figure out how to not feel so "I have to be in control" and stressed out all the time. I saw it on my mother-in-law's shelf and thought, "I bet that could be a good read for me right now." I'll probably finish it end of Feb because of our upcoming trip but if you want to borrow it I could ask Sherry and I bet she wouldn't mind.

I read it before when I was in college and of course it has a very different meaning to me now that
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
I actually give this book 4.5 Stars. I really liked this book. Chieko Okazaki's philosophy is basically that we all have challenges, we all have busy lives, and as long as we keep trying and doing our best, things will work out. Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy and succeed. Lighten Up as a title refers to the fact that we need to not get so bogged down with the things we are not doing or feel we need to do...we just need to pray, follow the commandments, and do our best. I reall ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book was a delight to read. There were so many messages that I needed to accept at this time in my life. The biggest message that I came away from this book with is that I need to stop beating myself up and find more joy in my life. Jesus Christ's gospel is one of hope and joy. I think we sometimes lose that joy in the midst of all the responsibility we place on ourselves. I'm so thankful that I read this book and for Chieko Okazaki's way of making me feel like I am doing better than I give ...more
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My mother-in-law bought me this book about ten years ago, and it shaped the way I think about church. There is so much beauty and love in her words, and I wish it could be required reading. If you have ever been wounded by the judgment of others, or of yourself, this book can help you remember where to have those wounds healed. I've been thinking about this book a lot lately, and a friend mentioned it again tonight. I think I'll reread it for about the twentieth time, because there are few books ...more
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe that I have never read this book before. It took me awhile to get through it because I was reading something else at the same time but I loved the insights that sister Okazaki had for me in that book. She made me feel like I am doing better that I thought I was doing in the Grand scheme of things. I really felt and understood the things and thoughts that she was trying to get across. There is so much information in that book I feel like I could read it over again in a few months ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
What an amazing lady with a unique upbringing! Her story is fascinating and her insights and perspectives are definitely a breath of fresh air. She did not lead the typical life of a Mormon woman. She had two boys and she and her husband both held important jobs. I enjoyed reading how they made it work in their family and the wisdom she imparts to the reader from her experiences in life and as a member of the General Relief Society Presidency.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Tara by: My Mom
Favorite thought: Rather than thinking of spirituality as a room in the house where we go to "do" religion (which will always make us guilty for now spending enough time on it), we should think of it as a delicious smell that drifts through the home, influencing our thoughts and actions. We don't need to take a break from our responsibilities to focus on Christ. We can go through all of our responsibilities as Christ-centered women.
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Chieko N. Okazaki was the first non-Caucasian to serve on a general board of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was a counselor in the general Relief Society presidency from 1990 to 1997. She is the author of several bestselling books and tapes. She and her husband, the late Ed Okazaki, have two sons.
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“Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. Be wise during intensive seasons of your life. Cherish your agency, and don’t give it away casually. Don’t compare yourself to others — nearly always this will make you despondent. Don’t accept somebody else’s interpretation of how you should be spending your time. Make the best decision you can and then evaluate it to see how it works.” 35 likes
“If you're doing the best you can, that's good enough.” 13 likes
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