From the time I could put the letters together into words in the first grade, I have been a voracious reader and fascinated by stories of people and their problems. My mother says I discovered “Dear Abby”, the newspaper advice columnist, as early as the 2nd or 3rd grade. Though well-aware of the adult content, she decided that that since it was almost impossible to stop me from reading the Deseret News, that Dear Abby was as safe a place as any to learn about life and people.
Not much has changed for me! I still love Dear Abby and any source that provides human dramas, families, hardships and opportunities that both entertain and give birth to inspiration and perspective on how to approach my own life story. Of course, the key element to any story’s plot is the conflict, or limits, imposed by circumstance or nature upon the character or characters. That being so, One of my favorite scriptures has always been D&C 78:18
”Ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.”
Today I’d like to share three stories I have recently discovered that may lead you along, as they have for me, in more fully and cheerfully embracing and doing what is required to physically care for ourselves through healthy eating.
Story 1: Parley P. Pratt: “All Were Very Cheerful and Happy”
With Pioneer Day coming right up, and the terrible heat many of us are experiencing this summer, this gem, recently shared by my husband at dinner, is especially refreshing and inspiring:
”The Colesville Branch was organized in October 1830 and included the first settlers of the members of the Church in Missouri. Though often ill, at this time Parley Pratt was actively engaged in many activities to build the kingdom. He reports:
Many of the members had arrived late in the summer and cut some hay for their cattle, sowed a little grain and prepared some ground for cultivation and were engaged during the fall and winter in building log cabins, etc. The winter was cold and for a time about 10 families lived in one log cabin, which was open and unfinished, while the frozen ground served for a floor. Our food consisted of beef and a little bread made of corn, which had been grated into coarse meal by rubbing the ears on a tin grater. This was rather an inconvenient way of living for a sick person; but it was for the gospel’s sake, and all were very cheerful and happy. (Autobiography of Parley P, Pratt page. 72)
All were cheerful and happy – can you imagine living like this? And cheerfully accepting your lot and discomforts for an indefinite period of time?
In comparison: With the physical discomforts they experienced 24-7, choosing the right foods correct portions is well within reach of our abilities. The physical discomforts that may come as we address the cravings for foods and portions we are used to are nothing in comparison to what our early saints cheerfully embraced for a better future. It is a blessing to follow their enthusiastic example for our own healthy futures.
Story 2: Gabriel Adams, Kaysville Utah: “I Can Do It With a Smile On My Face”
If you have not seen the video of this precious little 8-year old boy, adopted by an amazing LDS family with 11 children of their own, then put everything aside and spend the three minutes it will take to renew your own ability to accept and expand your own limits, life and challenges. Born in South America without arms or legs, he had been abandoned in a hospital until the Adams family learned of him and were able to adopt him as an infant. Now he does everything, including climbing stairs, swimming, diving and break dancing! His motto is “I can do it with a smile on my face.”
In comparison: Few of us have the extreme physical limitations that Gabe experiences constantly. With his example, we can embrace the opportunity to exercise and move not only our bodies to burn the fat and exercise, but our hands and arms as they reach for foods that truly build, rather than just entertain our bodies and appetites.
Story 3: Jared Fogle: Author of Jared The Subway Guy “I Lost 24 Pounds -- Life Is An Adventure – For The Adventurer!”
This book hopped off the library shelf and into my hands a couple of weeks ago.