Following her parents’ divorce, Courtney Rich experienced depression for the first time. Doctors called it situational but in the years since, depression has become an ever-present obstacle in her life. However, in recent years two things have transformed and aided her fight against mental illness.

“I prayed at the beginning of that summer and said, ‘I will do everything you need me to do. I am giving you my all because I need this from you. I need to know that you’re there. I need to know that you see me when I’m going through these moments of trial and I don’t feel you, I need to know that you’re there…'"


Find the Gospel Day by Day workbooks at deseretbook.com and in Deseret Book stores. 


EPISODE REFERENCES:

Take the challenge President Nelson issued and Courtney accepted: Downloadable PDF

Link: Cake by Courtney website

Link: Cake by Courtney Instagram (@cakebycourtney)

Link: The Kelly Clarkson Show

Link: Huggermugger Game

Video: Don't Miss This—Looking for God's hand in the scriptures



Show Notes

2:40- The Kelly Clarkson Show
5:00- Beginnings in Broadcast
9:31- A Child of Divorce
17:23- Depression- “The First Day I Felt Different”
23:15- The Guilt of Feeling Ungrateful
24:45- Coming to Christ Vs. Waiting for Him to Come to Us
32:04- Looking for His Hand
37:17- When You’ve Had Really Great Cake…
42:40- A Point of Desperation That Led to Light
45:26- What Does It Mean To Be “All In” the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Transcript:

Morgan Jones  

Courtney Rich first remembers experiencing depression following her parents divorce. Doctor's said it was situational and she thought maybe she could just power through. But feelings of inadequacy, darkness, and discouragement lingered. A belief that she was actually ungrateful only made things worse, that she felt guilty for the sadness she felt. But while those feelings still come, a recent focus on coming unto Christ has given Courtney glimpses of God's love for her. 


Despite not making her first cake from scratch until the age of 26, Courtney Rich has spent the last nine years perfecting the art of cake baking. Her goal is to now inspire others to give baking from scratch a shot, through teaching cake classes. Prior to starting "Cake by Courtney," she received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University in broadcast journalism. She has now been featured on The Today Show," in "Oprah Magazine" and on my personal favorite, "The Kelly Clarkson Show." 


This is All In, an LDS Living podcast where we ask the question, "What does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" I'm Morgan Jones, and I am so pleased to have my friend Courtney Rich here with me today, Courtney, welcome. 


Courtney Rich

Hi. It's good to be here. Thanks, Morgan. 


Morgan Jones 

Well, I has been so looking forward to this conversation. And I think it's because we've met several times, but I've never had a chance to like really learn about you. And so thank you for being willing to come.


Courtney Rich

Oh, I'm so excited. I mean, I told you earlier I'm an avid listener of the podcast so I feel honored to be here. I'm just so excited.


Morgan Jones

Well, we are honored to have you. So let's start out. You are no stranger to a microphone. You studied broadcast journalism in school. How do you think—you've had a lot of opportunities. Actually, we need to start with this. You were just on the Kelly Clarkson Show, which anybody that listens to this podcast knows I am a Kelly Clarkson fanatic. So how was that?


Courtney Rich  

It was everything you would hope that it would be. And she was everything that you would imagine. I think we sometimes will see people, celebrities especially, and kind of have a vision of what we'd expect them or help them to be like in person. And you sometimes hear that they're not and they don't meet your expectations, or you're a little disappointed, or you hear negative things. And I'd heard only positive things about Kelly, and then meeting her and her whole team, and it was a dream. And she was just as genuine and kind as you would think that she is or that she even you know, comes across on television and social media. Even at one point, we're getting ready to do my segment and we had nine people on stage. So it was me, Kelly, Little Big Town. 


Morgan Jones

I watched. You did so good! 


Courtney Rich

Thank you. And then a couple other guests that Kelly had who were not celebrities. And so she starts to introduce and she's reading off the teleprompter. It introduces me, and then it introduces Little Big Town, and then it starts going. And she stopped right after that and she said, "Wow, why aren't we introducing—" I can't remember their names—"Jane a Molly and we need to do that. They're on here with us." So she started all over. And I just, I don't know, that moment struck me because I was like, "Wow, every moment like that matters to her. Every person, no matter who they are, matters." You know that she would stop and say, "No, we need to recognize everyone no matter who they are."


Morgan Jones 

You know, it's so funny, I watch her show and I feel like I get nervous for her because I'm like, this is new to her. And I'm like a mom, you know, so when you're telling me this, I'm just like, I'm just so proud. I mean, she has a mom. She doesn't need me to be her mom.


Courtney Rich 

And she's done really great. I'm really proud of her. Not that—I mean, we've met once. But I'm just excited that her enthusiasm, her positivity is just been like so well received, and the way that she's doing things and her production and just all of it. It's all good. It's good feeling positive energy, and people are loving it. And the show's doing really well, I think.


Morgan Jones 

Yeah, so exciting. So you were on that show. You've had other opportunities to be on television as a result of your cake business, which we're going to get into. But you originally studied broadcast, so I'm curious how you feel like that has prepared you for what you're doing now.


Courtney Rich 

Oh in so many ways. I mean, back in the day when I was at BYU studying broadcast journalism, I had the, you know, the dream and the hopes to be a Diane Sawyer or a Katie Couric and do the news. And I loved reporting and I loved being on camera, but I also loved writing and I ended up just kind of through life, going on to the writing side and doing production. And I did like producing, but I got into media consulting right after I was done with college. And that is like the research of all the television that you watch and all the talent that goes on TV. Before they're even on air, audiences are looking at them deciding if they should be on air or if a show should be on air. And so I started working for a company that did all of that kind of consulting and that research and ended up spending nearly 13 years doing focus groups and going around the country moderating focus groups with all sorts of people, all different cities, talking about all different things. We would talk about, obviously, pilot shows that had been on and we'd talk about marketing for season two, branding, apps, we talked about websites, talent. And just a lot of interviewing, and just being around all different types of people and just kind of—I loved gathering information. I think you and I relate so much like being able to hear people's stories and connect. and 


Morgan Jones

It's like fuel.


Courtney Rich 

It is. It is fuel and so I always had that passion to be working with someone, right? And so now that I'm doing my cake classes, and I get to kind of bring things full circle as I'm doing TV segments and being in front of people and speaking engagements, it all has just come full circle. It's brought all of my passions together. And now I'm still—I'm not doing focus groups anymore but I'm still in rooms of people kind of fueling off their energy, and being able to teach them and connect with them and hear their stories in like a very intimate personal way, kind of like I did for 13 years with focus groups.


Morgan Jones 

So cool. It's like all the experiences that you had combined for your good. Super cool. And I just want to note, for those listening, that when Courtney says the Kelly Clarkson Show is really good, she knows what she's talking about. And this is not an ad so we're going to move on. I noticed as I was prepping for this interview, your dad worked in media as well. Which is interesting. Like, is that why you were kind of interested in that in the first place?


Courtney Rich 

Oh, yeah, definitely. Both of my parents were actually broadcast majors at BYU, that's where they met years ago. My mom did kind of the TV side, she did some on-air stuff. My dad's always kind of been behind the scenes at a station. And I just loved it. I can remember the first time going to visit my dad's station in Pittsburgh at the time, and just thinking it was the coolest place. And my friends will tell you from a young age, I was like, I am going to work in TV, I want an office. I was like, those are my dreams. And my mom, she did that, but she also was an entrepreneur, she developed a game when she was 26. She had three kids under four years old, had this game idea developed. The game, she was on the Today Show going around the country and marketing this game called "Hugger Mugger." By the way, I knew my husband was the one for me because I saw that game at his house when we were dating and I was like, "Wait, that's my mom's game." And he's like, "You're kidding." And I said, pull out the game, look at the back, it has her signature on it.


Morgan Jones 

That's amazing!


Courtney Rich

Anyway. So I just had really great examples. One of being into the industry and just kind of really loving it and just enjoying being around it. And I would watch tape with my dad at his station and look at talent. And then, you know, my mom was always the one coaching us on school plays and being articulate and talking in all our speeches and everything and so I just really have always admired them. And just I think part of the passion is definitely from them. 


Morgan Jones

That's so, so neat. So how long did you live in Pittsburgh? 


Courtney Rich 

Oh, well, we lived all over. So Pittsburgh was five years, that was the longest I lived anywhere. So I was born in Chicago, Pittsburgh, LA. We lived in Salt Lake for a little bit, then back to LA. So I consider Los Angeles home. And I've since moved a bunch with my own family, but yeah, so Pittsburgh was just a little bit of time there.


Morgan Jones 

Okay. And you have talked—I've listened to a lot of interviews with you. So you've talked about how you were really close with both of your parents. And that then they were separated when you were 18?


Courtney Rich

Yeah. So my Junior year is kind of when I started to sense that something was off. And I remember approaching my mom and just saying, "What's going on?" She was like leaving in the evening for appointments. And I was just like, "What's going on?" That feels weird. So I would just ask her, and I just was concerned. And I did, I've always had a really close relationship. And it's been a huge blessing in my life to just feel very close to my parents. And finally, I kinda just pinned her down and wouldn't let her leave her room until she told me what was going on. Because there got to a point where I was like, "What is going on mom? Like something is off with you and dad. Or you're leaving like this is not normal." And so she told me that she and my dad were kind of struggling and that she was going in the evening to go see a therapist and try to work kind of through some things. And so that's when I first got wind. But both of them were just like, "But we're going to work it out. It'll be good. You know, don't worry. Don't tell your brothers or anything." So I'm the second oldest. I have an older brother, we're about a year and a half apart, a little brother, and then my sister's a caboose, she's 10 years younger. So she was really little at the time. And so I kind of just held on to all of that. And then it was about a year later, the middle of my senior year of high school out there in Southern California, that my parents sat us down, and my dad said he was going to move out. And my brothers were completely shocked. I think my sister was still like, very young and kind of processing it, she was about seven. And it just, it rocked everyone's world. Everyone at that time I didn't have—I can't think of a friend that had parents that were separated or divorced, whether they were my Mormon friends or not. I couldn't think of one. And all of a sudden this was happening to my family. And you would look at my parents and they are truly my heroes. But at the time, you're like, they're such a powerhouse, they're an awesome couple like, how can this be happening? And especially, you know, growing up being a family together for those seventeen years I was just like, "What? I mean people fight like what's going on?" Anyway, so that's when they separated the middle of my senior year, and then divorced a year and a half later. It was a long separation.


Morgan Jones 

So I think that this is so important because like you said, you didn't know other people that had been through that. And I think that as common as divorce is in our world, sometimes within the church, especially, we feel like "I'm the only one this is happening to." So for you, how did that change you and change your role in your family? And then I want to ask, and I'll ask it again, I'm like, please take notes of all the questions that I'm asking you right now. But I also want to know like what advice you would have for people in that situation because I think it blindsides people.


Courtney Rich 

I think it does, and I think on the inside and the outside. I think growing up in the church, I mean, the church is built on the foundation of a family, right? And an eternal family and the idea that we are here together to grow together. And for me at that age, I still didn't have a lot of insight into more mature things of the gospel. And it was all of a sudden rocking my world in the sense that like, what is happening to our family unit? What does this mean for me? And as I went off to college, not too long after their separation, and you know, there were ups and downs where there were times where I was like, parent trap moment. I'm like, I think maybe they're going to get back together like this could work out.


Morgan Jones 

I think there's always that hope.


Courtney Rich

I was 18 still having that hope, you know, like still thinking that that could work out and they were going to work things out. And then there were moments that I was thinking there's no way and eventually when my mom did tell me that they were filing for divorce, all that hope was gone, and there was nothing I could do. Because that whole time, that year and a half I wanted to fix things I wanted to help them. That was kind of my role in the family because a while I was like the middle child, right? And I just was a little bit of the peacemaker, and I was the happy one. And I was like, Yes, no glass half full, and that was always my role. And then all of a sudden, when all that positivity and what I thought was kind of hard work, talking to my parents, and praying and not having those prayers answered, and for nothing to work out the way I thought it was going to, it kind of destroyed me. It destroyed me. It destroyed our family for a minute, for longer than a minute. And I think that's what was unexpected is that the personal effect that it had on me would be so long-lasting. And I always felt like I could be a fixer and I could make peace with people and with things. And when I couldn't do that, I felt like a part of me—and it makes sense because a part of me was my family—got ripped away and torn away from me. And we all handled it so differently, the four of us kids at different ages and different stages and my older brother was going off on a mission. And then he was on his mission while they were, you know, got divorced. So he was down in Paraguay doing his thing and serving the Lord and wasn't really gonna deal with it until he got back. And I was off to college by myself, you know, dealing with that. And I had my brother and my sister home, you know. And so it just, I did, I felt very alone because I couldn't talk to my older brother, really. My younger brother was home, we weren't quite there on the same page, you know. And because I was so close to my parents, I think they relied a little bit too much on me at that age, to confide in me and to talk to me. And they never said anything mean about one another. But it was still personal, it was still hard and a lot for me to take on at 18, you know, when I'm still a kid.


Morgan Jones 

You're like, "I've been married."


Courtney Rich 

Yeah, that's a lot. You know, and really, then too, as I thought about it more in relation to God's plan and His plan for me and an eternal family, you know, I really started to question like, "Well, what does that mean about my covenants with my family?" And all the questions about they were married in the temple and now that is taken away, that family unit and the covenants that they made, are those broken? There were just so many questions and doubts and insecurities that all of a sudden hit me like a big wave.


Morgan Jones 

Yeah. So looking back on that time, and I want to talk about how now you can see, you know purpose in it and what's happened to your family in the years since. But in that moment when this is happening to you, what advice would you give to somebody that's in that space right now?


Courtney Rich  

Oh, that's a hard one because there's always so many different circumstances of divorce and families. And mine, looking back if I could talk to me, I mean I would just give myself the biggest hug and say, "It's gonna be okay." You know, because you're just like the foundation of everything I believed in and kind of looked forward to and looked to as like truly the foundation of every I believed in, was really rocked. And I think it's just so important that people don't feel alone in their trials no matter what it is. Because I think it's so easy to feel like you are alone or to compare your trials to someone else, you know, and say, "Well, mine's not that big of a deal compared to so and so. I just won't to talk about it, I just won't share it," right? And to feel like you need to hold things in and not share them and not talk about it. So I think that's one of the things I've learned over the years is that this was a trial then, but it led to 17 years of depression on and off. That is something that I've learned that needs to be talked about and to be shared, and we have to be able to open up to one another to heal ourselves and to help other people heal. 


Morgan Jones 

Let's talk a little bit about that depression. So when did you first start—was it immediately after that, that you started to see signs of depression?


Courtney Rich

It was after their actual announcement of divorce. I was home, I can remember the first day that I felt different. It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college and I was home. And my mom and I think my little sister was with us too. We had gone out for like a girls lunch. Great day, it was a summer day, I remember being in tank top, and I remember, you know, just having sandals on and we came home to drop something off and I went upstairs and my mom was like, "Okay, we'll leave in 10 minutes," or whatever it was, you know, we're living in a minute. And I sat on my bed. And it just hit me. And I couldn't move and I felt different. 


And it's so hard to describe. And I think that's been part of the process for me over the years and being able to talk to people about it, or even tried to confide in people because it's sometimes so hard to describe how you feel that it's like, "Well, how would if I can't even describe it to Morgan, how would she understand how I'm feeling and be able to relate to me? I just look silly." I shouldn't be sad right now, but all of a sudden, I can't feel anything but sadness, and melancholy and darkness and anger and whatever all these emotions are. And so I sat there on my bed and I remember how scared I was because I did, I grew up and my family kind of would always joke around, "Courtney's the president of the happy club," like just I did. That was who I was and by nature, I am more of a glass half full. So all of a sudden, to just feel so distinctly different scared me to death. And I'll never forget that day because I was just like, "What happened?" And I laid in bed and my mom came in totally shocked that I was in bed and I was not moving. And she just looked at me and I said, "I can't go. I can't go anywhere." And I don't remember how long I was there for, or kind of when that moment passed. And over the years, it's—back then I remember seeing some professional and talking to some people, an LDS therapist and different doctors and they thought it would be situational, is what they called it, situational depression. And I thought, "Okay, I can deal with this situation. I can handle that if it's just for a moment, maybe this time, right?" And so I think that was hard for me too because I would expect that I could fix it. And I would expect that it would go away. And maybe it would for a little bit. But then when it came back, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I was all of a sudden this different person again, and I felt the darkness and a wave of sadness that I couldn't even control or I couldn't pinpoint where it came from, was really defeating and discouraging and scary.


Morgan Jones 

Yeah. So from there, Courtney, can you kind of just walk us through a little bit of what that battle was like for you? And then we'll talk about some things that have helped.


Courtney Rich  

Yeah, it was a constant battle. And there were like I said, I think for years, I really was like, how do I fix this? How do I fix this? And there'd be days that you just couldn't, I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't muster up the strength, physically, mentally, emotionally. I think the hardest part for me during that time, and it was many years, just on and off, was figuring out and finding my relationship with Heavenly Father. Because I felt like a lost sheep so often, and I would pray, I would cry out to Him and just ask for like, a sign like, "Let me know you're there and that you see what I'm going through right now." And I wouldn't feel anything, and I would feel lost and I would feel like prayers weren't being answered. And I can look back now and we can talk about this too, kind of more in the years just recently how I've kind of discovered Jesus Christ, had my moments with Him and found my relationship with Him. And it's taken a really long time of my life, but I wasn't really looking for the tender mercies. I wanted a big, "Courtney, I'm with you," moment. You know, I wanted to feel Him, I wanted a miracle, I wanted Him to fix me. You know, and it wasn't until actually like three years ago, I'd had a really bad moment and a really bad panic attack. And I had been talking to my dad about it and telling him what was going on that week. And he said, "Well, Courtney, what can we do to fix it?" And in that moment, it just dawned on me, it was like a light bulb, and I'm in the car talking to him and I said, "Dad, I don't think we can fix this. I don't think it's something that can be fixed." I said, "I think I have to learn to manage it." I have to learn to live with it and be my best self with it, to recognize it, to understand, like, what to do, when it happens, and when those moments occur, and how to, hopefully, you know, make sure that there's not too many of them when I can. And so, you know, kind of just figuring out more of that. But then at that same time, I was kind of going through, like losing myself in the Gospel in the sense that because I felt—I think the hard thing too, in the moments of, like a really bad kind of moment of depression or a week or a month or whatever, however long it may last, there's a lot of guilt, or at least for me there was. Where I felt like I shouldn't feel this way. You know, I have all these great things and when things are good, they're really good, right? And I have all these blessings I should be grateful for. 


Morgan Jones   

So you feel like the depression is like, a sign of being ungrateful?


Courtney Rich

Yeah. Yeah, like and I just felt, and I couldn't even help it. I couldn't even say to my mom—my mom would ask, like, "Well what do you think triggered it this time? Or what triggered that panic attack? What triggered this bout of depression?" And I would just say, "I don't know." Sometimes I could tell you, sometimes I would be like, I think it might have been this. Or I think there was a lot of stress going on and I could kind, you know because I always write things down and I try to keep track, try to figure it out, right? But there's a lot of times I couldn't and that's what was like so discouraging. And I just felt like lost in those moments. And because I just didn't have answers for myself or didn't know quite what to do, and I just felt like, I know, other people would look at me and say, "Oh, you've got two great healthy kids, and you're healthy, and you're, you're working, you got a great family," and I shouldn't feel this way. And so it's like those moments of guilt and that's when the adversary could seep in and make things even worse, you know, and bring you down the rabbit hole of, "Well, you're doing this to yourself. This isn't a real thing., you're worthless." And all the other negative thoughts and take you down a really bad path. So it was a really kind of vicious cycle. And it's hard to feel the spirit in those moments, or it can be I noticed. But it's also the moment to, more recently, that I can feel the spirit the strongest now. And I think it was a difference how I was like, in my relationship and how I going about it with Heavenly Father. Because I think for so long, I was just like, "Come to me, come to me." And I wasn't going to Him enough. And the same time that my dad said, "Court, what can we do to fix this?" I was kind of going through a faith crisis. And I've always, you know, would say that I've had a testimony of the gospel, and have always, you know, felt that it is true, but about the same time like three years ago, I was just feeling like, "What's my purpose?" And I had started my Instagram account, I was starting to teach people, I was starting to share a little bit more about myself on social media. And I just was thinking, "Well, do I start to share about the gospel? How do I feel about the gospel? Like, where's my place here? Do I even feel like I have a strong enough relationship with Heavenly Father to be able to share him in any kind of way with people?" And I had that comparison game at church like, I'm no scriptorian, I don't know how this works and I don't read my scriptures like that, and all of a sudden feeling like well, maybe I'm just not right for this church, right? Like feeling like if I'm not doing x, y, and z the way that someone else was doing x, y, and z, should I be here? Should I be doing this? You know, and I just came to a place of like desperation, where I was like, I've got to figure this out for myself, for my family, mostly for myself, you know, to know like, I need to have that relationship with my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. 


And about that time a couple of months later, I got an invitation to go to kind of an intimate women's conference for church and that's where I think you and I first met actually.


And I went with a lot of questions, a lot of self-doubt. But the challenge going into that couldn't have been more timely for me, was to really get to know the Savior. And if you remember, we were given all the scriptures and an outline for the summer to read all the scriptures related to Jesus Christ. And just go through the topical guide, right? And go through all the scriptures related to Him. And so I took on that challenge and I prayed at the beginning of that summer, and said, "I will do everything you need me to do. I am giving you my all because like I need this from you. I need to know that you're there. I need to know that you see me when I'm going through these moments of trial and I don't feel you, I need to know that you're there. And I need to know kind of how to move forward with what I'm doing in life as a mother and a business." And just, I don't know, I felt all out of sorts. And so I just, I needed guidance. And so I did. I followed the challenge and I went to that conference and there were moments that I just felt like, "Wow, every speaker is talking about butterflies and rainbows and I've never had that kind of experience." And again, this like feeling of well, no one's talking about the hard stuff. Did you ever have a time that you prayed and you didn't feel like you had an answer and you didn't feel comforted right after? Like, is that just me? Am I the only one? That's how I felt there. And it wasn't until the last day, nearly the end, and I can't remember what they were talking about, but it so clearly came to me. "Courtney, there is a place for you. There's a place for everyone. We need you." No one said that. It was just that was literally like I wrote it down in my notebook. And I just went home with this spirit of, "Okay. I'm not perfect." I'm so far from I think what I thought the ideal church member was, but it was just that I got that answer. There's a place for you. And I thought, "Okay, I'm gonna stick with this for a second, you know?" 


And since then, because I felt that spirit so strongly and did feel Him in that moment, it's just really helped me to realize that my relationship with the Savior is so important. And since then in the last three years, I've really tried to draw closer to my Savior. And not even so much like reading the scriptures from front to back, but literally just learning about the Savior and I loved "Come, Follow Me." David and Emily were just recently talking about looking for the Savior's hand in all the stories throughout the scriptures and like hopefully, being able to relay that into our own lives and see His tender mercies in every day of our life. I think just in the last like couple years, all of a sudden, my perspective has changed and even though the trials haven't changed, because I'm looking more for the Savior's tender mercies each day, even if they're not related specifically to my trial and what I'm going through, or in a moment of a panic attack or something, that I can still know that He's there. And I can feel him and see him because I'm looking in a different way now.


Morgan Jones  

There are so many parts of that that I love so much. And I was actually thinking, I was like, can I reach over there and grab that pen so that I can like make note.


Courtney Rich 

And I'm so long-winded, I'm sorry.


Morgan Jones

No, it was wonderful. But I think that you touched on something that I feel like is so important, and that is Satan's ability to make us feel isolated. So whether it's when dealing with your depression, you were like, "Well, I don't know that anybody feels it the same way that I feel it." And I have several friends that also struggle with anxiety and depression. And I've noted that in them that there are like similarities that they can talk with other people about, but nobody experiences it just like they do. And so then that makes you feel like well, I can't tell anybody exactly how I feel. I can't even put it in words, but they wouldn't understand even if I did. And so there's that aspect. But then also within the church, I think that so often, we, because we play this comparison game, we think that no one would be able to relate to what we're going through or what we're feeling. And I just hope that people listening will note that and recognize that they are not alone. Because despite the fact that other people may not be able to connect entirely, I had a moment a few, probably a year ago now where I was talking to a friend, my friend's married, I'm single, and she was talking about something to do with trying to have a baby. But I was listening to the things that she was saying about that experience for her, and I was like, I've felt all of those same feelings and I've never tried to have a baby. And so I think sometimes like we do ourselves such a disservice when we think that others can't relate. And then there's that aspect of when people can't relate that we have a savior who knows exactly what we're going through. And I love that you talked about like coming to Him rather than waiting for Him to come to you. Over the last few years since that experience, how have you noticed that changing the way that you approach life?


Courtney Rich   

I think it's just given me a better perspective and intention with what I'm doing because I want Him to be a part of my life. Because I have felt so much closer to Him in the last two and a half years than I have in the 34 years previous to that. I don't want that to ever go away. And so now I look at it and I think each day, kind of at the end of the day, during the day, where do I see Gis hand? And I'm just looking for it more often. And the more often I'm looking for it, the more often I see it. And just the little things and just thinking to myself and kind of training my own brain over the last couple years, you know, even before coming here, Morgan, I had feelings of inadequacy and feeling overwhelmed with the feeling that "Courtney, you're not the type of person that's supposed to be on this podcast." You know, just the self-doubt, I felt inadequate. And I was in my office and I said a prayer. And I went upstairs to grab a jacket and just kind of clean up a little bit. And while I was in my room, I just had the feeling, "You need to kneel down and pray." So I knelt down on my unmade bed, messy clothes on the floor. And I just said, "Heavenly Father, I know that I need to be on my knees and verbally out loud say to you please be with me. Please show me a tender mercy and just help me to speak okay, help me to see the things you'd want me to say, help me to feel the spirit." And as I did, the gray clouds outside parted and sun on this one window in my room hit my face. And there was the old me, years ago that what it just said, that's a coincidence. And then my perspective today is that's Heavenly Father. That's a tender mercy to feel that warmth in that moment. Like we could look at it and say, "Oh, that's a coincidence." Glass half empty. Or we could look at it and say,  "That's a tender mercy, I felt His presence in that moment." And be glass half full, right?


Morgan Jones 

Yeah. I love that so much. And I think, you know, we think about when we know someone, and we like see someone that we know, and we recognize their face. And we talk sometimes about like that with Jesus, having his image in our countenance and recognizing Him and coming to know Him. But as you were talking, I was thinking about, like, "What does His hand look like? And how do we know when we've seen it?" And I think the way that we know it is by taking time to be with it, you know? And so it makes sense to me that the more we search for and seek to understand Him, then we know not only His face but His hand. And I think that that is so inspiring. So thank you so, so much for sharing that. 


You mentioned that you still deal with depression and anxiety and those things. I am curious about why you believe God continues to allow us to go through hard things like depression?


Courtney Rich 

That's a hard question because He is a God of love. He's a God of compassion. And I think people would argue then why would He let you do this? But I don't think we can grow and truly come unto Him and to His son and understand our relationship with them and our purpose, without going through the trials of this life, whatever they may be, and they're all different, and they're all hard. You know, like we talked about the comparison we can't compare our trials to one another because they're our own hard, you know? I've never experienced some really serious things like illness or death in my immediate family. But I have my trial and I'm having what I'm going through. And it's my heart and I have seen a lot of personal ups and downs. And it's, I think Heavenly Father's hope for us that through those trials, though, they may be ongoing and who knows how long they last, that there's continual growth and opportunities for us to turn to Him and to strengthen our relationship with Him and to learn more about ourselves. But then also to use those same learnings to teach and help His other sons and daughters. And that's part of the responsibility that we have, is we kind of have our like, "come to Jesus" moment to then share it with other people.


Morgan Jones 

I think it's so cool that you just said that because I was gonna say, so you have this business where you learned how to make really, really good cakes. And you now share that knowledge with other people. Now, this is a side note, but there's a girl in my stake, and she's a Relief Society president in one of our wards and her name is Carla, shout out to Carla. 


But she took one of your classes and I said—somehow we started talking about your business—and she said, "I have been so impressed by her because every time that I have a question when I'm trying to make one of these cakes, I just send her a message and she always replies." And I was like, "That is so nice!" Because I think a lot of people like our tendency is to learn something and feel like "Oh, I'm ahead of the game. Like, I'll just keep this to myself." But you've built this incredible business on this principle of sharing what you know, to bless the lives of other people. Courtney, what role have these cakes played in this journey of yours?


Courtney Rich 

Hi, Carla. 


A huge one, a huge one. And just briefly, like I made my first cake 10 years ago it was for Weston's first birthday, just really truly to impress my in-laws and have a fun party and it turned out to be 


Morgan Jones

I would never do that to impress them. I'd be like that would be the way to run them off. 


Courtney Rich 

No, I was trying to really prove myself in the kitchen at the Rich house. But I loved sharing that final creation with them. And I was so proud of myself. And I remember being in the kitchen and just feeling joy and happiness. And I was in the middle of starting a family, and I was working and on the road and Ryan was working a ton and he was about to start business school. And, you know, there was just so much going on. It was another moment that I felt lost in my life. And I needed an outlet, I needed a place, and I think without even knowing it needed that. And all of a sudden, I did this first cake and I wanted to make a second one, and I wanted to make a third one. And every time I did, I felt joy and I felt peace. And it just became this fun, creative outlet for me. And I just wanted to keep doing it and learning and without even realizing, it turned from a hobby to a passion. And then I loved it so much, I wanted to share it with other people. And I think it was more than just saying, "Oh I've come up with my own recipes, I want to share my recipes with you." But it was more about, "I have found something that has filled my life with so much joy and satisfaction, and peace and happiness, I want to share that with you." And that's the part that kind of, like pushed me to start my blog four and a half years ago, and to share it. And a year into it I started teaching classes here in Salt Lake at Orson Gygi. And I have an online class and we've gone around the country and done some and it's been so fun to see people learn and to see people take this on as also a hobby or a passion, whether it's to make a cake for their kid's birthday just a few times a year. But they get to do that, they get to say to their kids, "Whatever cake you want, I get to make you." And it's like the biggest ordeal at the house, right? The kids pick out the cake. I mean even at mine, it's like Avery had a bear unicorn cake last year. I was like, "Okay, whatever your heart's desire, mom's gonna make it." You know, and a fun gift that we can give other people. But it's been really incredible to share very intimate experiences with men and women, as they've, you know, started getting in the kitchen and experimenting and being creative and finding an outlet for themselves. And cakes, just it became my saving grace and a lot of ways. It just was giving me joy. And teaching me that, you know, there was something for me and I could be creative, but also was a way for me to feel the spirit. And I didn't even know that. Like looking back, I can think of all these moments in the kitchen with my kids and my family, and the spirit was there. And even though I was like in a dark place, and I was having a hard time, that's where the spirit was for me. And that's why I think I loved it so much and wanted to keep doing it, it's because I felt the spirit there.


Morgan Jones

Why do you think it's important, Courtney, when we have something that brings us peace and joy to share it with other people?


Courtney Rich

Oh, well, it's like you'd have a great tasting cake. And you're like everyone needs to eat this peanut butter frosting because it's like the best thing ever. And you're just so excited to share, right? And I just want other people to feel that joy. And I get it, like I didn't serve a mission, but I get like the feeling, I listen to missionaries as they come back, like a homecoming talk. And they're just like, "I just loved sharing, I wanted everyone to hear it, I want to scream about the gospel from the rooftops." Because they felt so much of that joy that the gospel brought to them. And I get it now. Like I do that with cakes, I feel that way about the spirit of the gospel and the light of the gospel. It's like I just, I want people to feel that joy because it has brought me so much peace and happiness to myself. So if you're finding that joy through cake, through, you know, whatever hobby it may be. But it's been because of my Heavenly Father that I've been able to develop this talent and to be able to share it. Certain doors that have opened up to allow that I wouldn't be able to do that without Him.


Morgan Jones   

I think, on a personal note, it's kind of interesting. So the first time we met, I remember thinking, "She's darling." But like two years passed before I saw you again. And I remember thinking that next time that I saw you, I was like, "She just seems so full of light." And I think it's interesting like hearing this now I'm like, "Oh, that makes sense." Because you had gone on this journey over that period of time. So thank you for putting in the work to have that, because I know that that does take work. That's not something that just happens by chance.


Courtney Rich  

And I think you have to want it. I think you get to—thank you, by the way for saying that. I think you get to a point of desperation. And you have to pick, are you going to just be all in and figure it out and stick with it? Or Are you going to give up and just forget about the hope that there could be? And I think because I did have such a strong gospel influence in my home, I saw it. I just would always think back because there were times where it was like really hard to hang on. And I would think about my mom, and so much growing up, especially high school, I would remember so often walking into her room and interrupting her on her knees in the middle of a prayer. That was a lot. I saw her pray a lot. And being home during the separation, and then afterwards in the divorce, seeing her anchor, I think got me through a lot because my mom never gave up. And my dad never gave up and they both just, they've grown and to see them grow, but I think particularly to watch my mom go through a lot of hard things and just say "Okay, she didn't give up." And she was kind of that like anchor for me and that hope. And I, you know, I wanted to be a good example for my kids and for my husband. So I just was like, "I gotta figure this out." And so it's truly been like the last two and a half years, I feel like my relationship with the Savior has completely gone in a 180, in a totally new direction. And I have so much love and appreciation for Him. And I just want to be able to share His light. However, I can, even if I'm not feeling it at the moment, because it's changed my life.


Morgan Jones  

Well, I feel like in many ways you have taught us about what it means to be all in but, you know, this is the last question always. So Courtney, what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?


Courtney Rich 

I think it means just that for me. It means not giving up. It means not giving up hope, it means not giving up on Heavenly Father, even when you feel like He doesn't see you. It means hanging on to maybe just one ounce of that testimony that you knew that you had, that one ounce of hope, that one moment that you do remember feeling His spirit, right? And just hanging onto that until you can build it even further. And just having trust that even though that trial isn't over, and it's still going and you're still in the thick of it, that you'll be able to get through it. When we turn our heart and we're just turning ourselves over to the Savior and to Heavenly Father and saying, "All right, I trust whatever path you have. I'm going to just keep doing everything that you want me to do." And I'm going to keep trying to just draw close to the Savior and do what He would do. And then hope for the best and trust. But to not give up. Don't give up.


Morgan Jones 

Thank you so much. Thank you for being here with us. 


Courtney Rich  

Thank you. 


Morgan Jones

We are so grateful to Courtney Rich for coming on today's episode. To learn more from Courtney about cake decorating visit cakebycourtney.com or find her on Instagram @cakebycourtney. Also, if you haven't already, you should definitely check out our Instagram account this week, which is @allin.podcast because we have some special bonus content from today's episode, including a taste test of Courtney's cakes, an assignment I did not mind doing at all. And my attempt at a Cake by Courtney class. As always, thanks to Derek Campbell from Mix at Six studios for making this sound so lovely. And thank you for listening.