“Blessed art thou for the things which thou hast done.”

Like every other devoted member of the Church, my mind and heart are filled with tender gratitude for President Hinckley’s life, example, leadership and testimony.  My first thoughts were of the great delight there must have been on the other side as he was reunited with his adorable wife.  (If you listen carefully, you can almost hear the laughter and the celebrating from beyond the veil.) 

hinkleyPresident Gordon B. Hinckley. Photo by Scot Facer Proctor.

Although we all knew his passing was inevitable, the actuality is a powerful reminder that we, too, will one day be gone and remembered for what we have done with the space of time allotted to us here in mortality.

Unlike the rest of the Christian world, as members of the Church we are blessed by the teachings and lives of many, many prophets of God (both ancient and modern) in addition to those of the Bible.  With the passing of President Hinckley and our Gospel Doctrine study of the Book of Mormon, I am personally drawn to the life of Lehi, where he gathered his sons (in 2 Nephi) and gave them individual counsel. Knowing that his time was short, even as President Hinckley has repeatedly reminded us at General Conference that his own mortal life had far extended his expectations, his was also a life of rich accomplishment and example.

The Book of Mormon starts with a dream where Lehi was told, “Blessed art thou for the things which thou hast done.”  (I Nephi 2:1) Then he was told that others were seeking his life and that he was to flee into the wilderness with his family.  In the following verse, it says simply that he “was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.” 

“And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness.  And he left his house, and his gold and his silver and his precious things.”

Each time I read the Book of Mormon, I marvel at the courage and simple complicity to such a demanding personal commandment.  My mind conjures up all kinds of images of the activity there must have been as they prepared to leave the comforts of their lovely home.  While but few of us have been asked to leave the comfort and security of our homes and can only try to imagine the circumstances, feelings and logistics, I don’t think there are any among us who have not at one time or another faced losing the security and comfort of a job.

Today’s Quote: “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.  The human spirit grows strong by conflict.”  (Ellery Channing) 

That gnawing feeling in your stomach of whether or not the timing of a deposit at the bank will cover a check for groceries, or waiting for a phone call or interview that determines one’s financial future are not anyone’s idea of a picnic.  Somehow, however, I don’t think life on this earth is complete without personal adventures into the territory of, “How am I going to pay for this?”

A woman I know who lost her job found the strength to cope financially by asking herself some important questions. First, she asked herself, “If I were in the wilderness (like Lehi and his family) what couldn’t I live without?”  She quickly had her answers – her family, her most trusted friends, and prayer.  It was clear these were things that had nothing to do with money.   With that breath of fresh air, she then asked herself with every financial purchase:

  1. Is this absolutely necessary? 
  2. Is this going to make me a different or better person? 

If not, then she knew she didn’t need it and didn’t buy it. 

Asking those questions in that difficult time was the beginning of life sorting itself out in ways she never dreamed possible. The questions and answers became a turning point to cherish forever.

Now it’s time to take those two questions two steps further for healthy living: Let’s put the two survival questions in terms of creating fitness and a healthy lifestyle (rather than financial survival) and ask them in terms of food, not money:

  1. Is this absolutely necessary for my health and fitness? 
  2. Is eating this going to make me a happier, better, healthier person?” 

Several years ago, an attractive, well-educated CPA came to my weight loss meetings.  In a major corporate cutback, she had been given her pink slip and unexpectedly became an at-home mom to her two little boys.  Unsure of her future, she determined to make the most of the situation.  It was time she’d needed for years to enjoy her boys, organize her home, exercise and get healthy.  Within several months she had lost more than 25 pounds.  How delightful it was to see her at the park more than a year later with her little boys, still trim and healthy (with a much better employment situation), enjoying a large salad.   As we visited, she used the words “forever blessed” to describe that special time she had been unemployed.

Difficulties, as stories like this show, often bring about the greatest growth.  President Hinckley, whose longevity and sparkling energy were testaments to his good health, often asked us to “stand a little taller.” He told us, then lived his own counsel: “this is a season to be strong, to move forward without hesitation and to be found knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission.”

With that thought, I add one more question to the two previously listed:  “Will eating (or not eating) this increase my abilities to fulfill my mission and help me to stand a little taller?”  Then, with President Hinckley’s warm smile to inspire us, we can easily, as President Kimball often said:   Just do it!”  And then, with joy, our loved ones can say of us, as the angel did to Lehi, “Blessed are thou because of the things which thou hast done.”  (I Nephi, 2:1)

Today’s Empowerment: “I take a moment to ask questions that make a difference in what I choose to eat.”

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters
:

  1. Reflect on President Hinckley’s great energy, both spiritual and physical.  What foods are you eating and exercise are you getting that are increasing your spiritual and physical energy?
  2. With President Hinckley’s counsel to “stand a little taller” check your own posture: 
    • Stand with your heels just a couple of inches away from a wall.
    • Press your shoulders and head back to the wall.
    • Tuck your abdominals under (also known as “pelvic tilt”) and press your low back towards the wall.

Notice how your body felt when you did this posture exercise.  Was it uncomfortable to hold your head and shoulders back?  Was it hard to press your low back flat?  If it felt very uncomfortable and very un-natural, then you could use some work in this area.  Before you start your day, take just 1 minute to do this alignment exercise.  The first step to improved posture is the awareness of what good posture would look and feel like.  By repeating this alignment exercise daily, your body will soon recognize when you’re slouching and you will automatically adjust to your proper body alignment.


Today’s Recipe:   Florida Salad

This recipe is in honor of my daughter Emily, now serving as a missionary in the Ft. Lauderdale mission. She wrote this week that she was thrilled to have been called by President Hinckley before his passing and to have her call letter signed by him.


 

Florida Salad
(Serves 4 at 135 Calories)

6 walnut halves
1 large bunch watercress
1/2 head lettuce (Iceberg or Boston)
2 medium pink grapefruits
2 navel oranges
1 Tbsp. chili sauce
1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. olive oil

  1. Place nuts on a small, foil-lined baking sheet.  Toast in oven (or toaster oven) for 5-7 minutes.  Let cool, then coarsely chop.  
  2. Peel, section and seed grapefruit and oranges.  Work over a small bowl to catch any juice in the small bowl you’ll use to make the dressing.  Place oranges and grapefruit in a salad bowl. 
  3. Add  lettuce and chopped nuts to fruit and toss.
  4. In the small bowl with the fruit juice, add chili sauce, vinegar and olive oil and blend.  

(2 g Dietary Fiber; 135 Calories; 5 g Fat; 23 g Carb)