Author’s Note: In my continuing six-month “Conference to Conference” adventure, I’m gleaning inspiration for healthy living in the Book of Mormon, and recording everything in a simple composition book. My weekly weigh-in buddy (following the Weight Watchers Plan) is now down 13 pounds in 5 weeks, preparing for hip replacement surgery the first of 2012.
Happy Halloween! For me, the only truly scary part is all that candy. Oh, the videos we have of our kids (now all grown and gone) arriving home after trick-or-treating in our far-too-generous neighborhood. Reveling in their booty, they found more delight in pouring it on themselves, sitting in it, and pretending they were bathing in it than in eating it. For them the novelty was over in a day or two , whereupon it languished in their bedrooms. For me … well, let’s just say that by November 3, I was spending an unprecedented amount of time in those sugar-filled chambers “cleaning, making beds and putting away laundry.” Yea, right! My kids have grown up and so have I. A number of years ago I found some helpful strategies, and put them together in a Meridian article published last year. (“Creative Ways to Deal With Halloween Candy” CLICK HERE or here )
Memories Worth Remembering
Of course, there’s more to it all than just the candy! Far more important than the treats are the grand opportunities for creativity that Halloween brings and the happy memories that result. For those of us coping with the flood of sugar, it’s great to pop in a piece of sugarless gum (instead of candy) and focus on the joy of both making and remembering sweet memories of kids and costumes.
Our children greatly enjoyed the elementary school book character parade where each child dressed up as a book character, giving them a wonderful chance to become someone else for a bit, often with creative homemade costumes. Our daughter-in-law considers buying well-made Halloween costumes a wise investment as our cute grandkids wear them day and night year-round, creatively developing their imaginations with pretend activities and play.
A beautiful Mom I visit teach has found true homemaking joy in making a simple costume for the first time. Her little girl wanted to be Pocahontas, just like in the Disney pictures. Though she doesn’t sew, she was inspired with creativity on a trip to Walmart where she purchased a hand-held sewing machine-like repair tool for $13.00 and some brown fabric. She stitched together a simple Indian costume. Together they made the special necklace (out of Playdough) that the Disney Pocahontas wears. Now Hannah is fascinated with Indians and can’t wait for a trip to the Washington DC Indian museum. A love of American history is being fostered and they have added a precious memory worth remembering to their own family history.
Another little neighborhood boy was so enamored with a Peter Pan costume his mother had made (believe me, it was not much more than an over-sized green T-shirt she had cut off into a jagged edge on the bottom and then completed it with a belt of her husband’s she had cut down to size, and punched a hole in) that she found it difficult to go anywhere for several weeks, as he would cry and cry when it was time to put on “real clothes”. He wore it 24-7 and the hour or two that it took to launder it were especially difficult for the whole family. In that costume, there was nothing to fear! He could do anything! His mother explained that that costume was a very important tool for some challenges he was experiencing. And then, from one day to the next, he didn’t need the costume any more.
I’m sure your hearts and scrapbooks are filled with similar stories.
The message is that costumes and creative play are a critically important and safe way for children to “try on” different people, as they exercise their imaginations to dramatize and experiment with behaviors and characteristics that are not naturally their own. They learn, discover talents, figure out who they are as individuals, explore feelings to strengthen themselves and have a lot of fun!
The joy and success they find in this play makes a very compelling case for us to follow the Savior’s counsel in Matthew 18:3 to “become as a little child.”
With Halloween, the most difficult period of the year for healthy living has arrived. It is so easy to let the candy and treats determine our course for the next three months as “the holidays” proceed. What can we do differently this year? The Book of Mormon has an answer!
Instead of taking treats from the kids (i.e., me “cleaning” kids’ bedrooms ….I hope you’re laughing!) we can take their very good trick of putting on a costume to create powerful feelings and develop strengths. Which costume, you say? In the opening chapters of II Nephi, Lehi challenges: “Awake, my sons! Put on the armor of righteousness. Shake off the chains with which ye are bound and come forth out of obscurity and arise from the dust.” (II Nephi 1:23)
We can easily liken this scripture to ourselves. Replace the word “sons” with your name, the word “health” for “righteousness.” Then change the word “chains” with “sugar” or “ice cream” or whatever food item spells trouble for you, and then complete the verse … so that it now reads.
“Awake, Carolyn! Put on the armor of health. Shake off the Halloween candy with which ye are bound and come forth out of obscurity and arise from the dust.” Now THAT is a powerful, personal message from the scriptures!
An extremely helpful visualization is to mentally add the costume: a beautifully crafted, full-body metal armor designed to protect us from foods and health behaviors that do not serve us in any useful way. I’ve included a picture of my little grandson to help us visualize our armor of health. See how he’s protected from head to toe? He’s also ready to defend himself with that sword!
1) The armor: Represents surrounding ourselves with an abundance of healthy foods in the refrigerator and cupboards, then eating regularly to keep our metabolism functioning. We need to consume enough fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains so that our bodies feel nourished and satisfied. It’s in this way that we are literally protected from cravings that say “I’m hungry! Feed me anything now!”
2) The sword: Represents a plan to take action and get rid of Halloween candy ASAP. The link to last year’s article is at the bottom of this article, along with a delicious, “day-after” soup. The herbal tonic that I share at www.MyMIracleTea.com is very helpful in quickly eliminating sugar and also helps with cravings and bloating.
3) The breastplate: Represents getting enough sleep, water and exercise. All are FREE and make a huge difference in how we cope with tempting choices.
4) The helmet: Represents the knowledge of who we really are: Choice sons and daughters of a King with the atonement that applies not to just sins and transgressions, but also to help us become like him and fulfill the measure of our creation.
Kids know, just by being kids, the high-octane power of the good and postive feelings that come from wearing a costume. This is why they are so reluctant to take them off! Is there any denying the power and importance of feelings?
My weigh-in buddy, Christine, is a new member of the Church. We have shared many happy hours with her and the missionaries where they stress again and again, “Yes, there’s tangible proof for the reality of the Book of Mormon. But far more important than any intellectual or historical proof are your feelings! That’s what matters, and that’s where you’ll discover that it is true.” The Holy Ghost prompts us in feelings, and the scriptures whisper to us in feelings as well.
Feelings, which are no more visible than the wind that drives a ship, are also what drive our behaviors and our choices. Understanding where they come from and managing them is what earth life and eternal progress are all about. Next week, in my continuing six month “Conference to Conference” adventure, I will introduce an LDS author and her books on understanding and managing feelings that have made an eternal difference for me and many thousands.
Til then, I’m reading the Book of Mormon, wearing my armor of health and writing in my composition book every day! See you next week! Happy Healthy Halloween!
DAY AFTER HALLOWEEN SOUP:
1 medium leek
1/2 pound zucchini
8 cups loosely packed romaine lettuce
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt, more as desired
Pat of butter (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1) Halve the leek lengthwise and rinse under cold running water. Chop the leek coarsely, including white and light green parts. Scrub the zucchini and trim ends but do not peel. Quarter zucchini lengthwise and then cut each quarter crosswise into 1-inch cubes.
2) Stack the lettuce leaves on top of one another and, using a large knife, cut the leaves into thin strips.
3) Chop the parsley leaves and stems.
4) Place the leek, zucchini, lettuce and parsley in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil.
5) Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; uncover and set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
6) Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Return to the pot and heat just until it simmers.
Serve immediately, if desired with a little butter, parmesan and/or cream placed in the center of the soup and swirled to combine.
Carolyn Allen has been providing weight loss inspiration since 1999 both online and in community venues in the Washington, D.C. area. Her book, 60 seconds to Weight Loss Success, is available at Amazon.com Her favorite food is steamed broccoli (lots of it!) with a little butter and lemon-pepper. Learn more about her herbal health tonic at www.MyMiracleTea.com