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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Even when, from a purely human perspective, perfection can appear an impossible challenge to achieve, I testify that our Father and our Savior have made known to us that it is possible to achieve the impossible. Yes, it is possible to achieve eternal life. Yes, it is possible to be happy now and forever." (Jorge F. Zaballos, "Attempting the Impossible," Ensign, November 2009, 34)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--16 Key Principles for Overcoming Obstacles (Courtesy of the 2000 Stripling Warriors)

SO, I joined Weight Watchers again. Nope, I can't really afford it, but I figure at this point, it's an investment. I CANNOT afford diabetes, heart disease, etc. either. I started last week and tonight was my first weigh-in. I have stuck with my plan diligently, even measuring portions to make sure I'm getting them right. I have also continued doing around a mile/mile and a half each night on the elliptical, six nights a week, followed by a relaxing cool down and stretch. I've also found a wonderful website that is helping me stay motivated. It's www.dailymile.com. I love that under my profile picture it has the caption, "An Athlete." I love that! Me...an athlete. And at my first weigh-in tonight, I lost seven pounds!!! I lost somuch, that I have already had my daily points target adjusted. I'm thrilled to be back!

This morning, I was tempted to read a magazine while I ate breakfast, but the spirit reminded me of my commitment to start each morning off with meaningful scripture study and prayer, so I noshed on some yummy oatmeal while reading in Alma 57 and 58. I read about the stripling warriors. I love these guys. What courage, determination, and faith they had! As I was reading, I started really seeing a modern-day connection to dealing with adversity-to fixing things that need to be fixed and overcoming great obstacles. Here is a list of lessons from these two chapters. I highly suggest you grab your scriptures and read along with me. It's pretty powerful stuff. Yup, you heard me. Stop reading this and go get them. I'll wait ...

Are you back? OK. Here's my list:

16 Key Principles for Overcoming Obstacles
(Courtesy of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors)

1. Recognize your desire. (Alma 57:7)
2. Beware of the enemy. (Alma 57:9)
3. Be persistent. (Alma 57:11-12)
4. Unite with others. (Alma 57:13)
5. Fight with all your strength. (Alma 57:19)
6. Live righteously. (Alma 57:21)
7. Thank God for successes. (Alma 57:26)
8. Trust God to show the way and open doors. (Alma 57:27)
9. Be patient. (Alma 58:7)
10. Pray! (Alma 58:10)
11. Take courage. (Alma 58:12)
12. Go forth with all your might. (Alma 8:13)
13. Keep on moving. (Alma 58:26)
14. Be prepared. (Alma 58:29)
15. Recognize God's help. (Alma 58:39)
16. Always remember what God has done. (Alma 58:40)


I hope that I can take these steps and APPLY, APPLY, APPLY! I am so thankful for these valiant guys! Like the stripling warriors, if faithful, we may be injured in our many battles in life, but with God on our side, we will not suffer spiritual death. We will win.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"No matter the size of the issue, how we respond can reset the course of our life." (Elder Donald L. Hallstrom, "Turn to the Lord," Ensign, May 2010, 78-80)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Just do it." --Ezra Taft Benson

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--It's Time to Change

Tonight I did two things: 1. I visited a ward New Beginnings night (I am in the Stake YW Presidency) and 2. I watched The Biggest Loser.

At the New Beginnings meeting (which was lovely), I noticed three things that upset me. First, my tailbone hurt immensely, second, my posterior end no longer fits comfortably in the standard Relief Society room chairs, and third, because of the pain of my tailbone and the pain of the metal bars of the chair, I had a very hard time paying attention to the meeting. (Mom, please forgive me for the personal and self-degrading nature of this post).

As I watched The Biggest Loser, I noticed a few things as well. I noticed that I cannot sit on the couch comfortably because my tummy feels squished. I cannot sit on the floor comfortably either because I have to lean to one side or the other to avoid putting pressure on my sore tailbone. As I lean to the side, my hips start aching after several minutes. While, watching the show, however, I did NOT have a hard time paying attention. I paid attention to the way the contestants stood and walked and sat. They, too, seemed uncomfortable. They were in physical pain as well. Though most of them outweigh me, I found myself in the same boat. And like them, I want to bail ship!

I love Biggest Loser, not necessarily for the diet and exercise programs exhibited, but for the chance I get to see someone's journey. I love watching the small breakthrough moments, the individual stories and the AHA! moments of each contestant. Today, my not being able to concentrate in the New Beginnings meeting was an AHA! moment. How on earth, can I dedicate myself to serving the Lord in this, and other callings, including motherhood, if I can't even concentrate? How can I give life my best effort if I am uncomfortable and not feeling well? I need to lose this weight. That's all there is to it. I need to start now. I need to be deliberate and to set forth with all the determination I possess. And I need the Lord to help me and guide me allong the way. As Sheri Dew said: "He knows the way because He is the way."

So (now here's the part I'm proud of), following the episode, I calmly went into my room, got my running shoes on, and went downstairs and immediately got to work. I did the elliptical machine for a mile and did some cool down walking. I felt much stronger than I expected I would, and felt that I could have even gone further but I do have a bad cough right now and didn't want to be up all night, so I quit.

Here's the plan: I'm going to keep doing this each night, excluding Sundays. It'll be a little experiment: Can I stick with it? Can I get better at it? Can I see results from it? In addition to exercising, I'm going to return to a specific prompting I received a few weeks ago, to stop eating after 8:30 pm each night. (This is the time I feel most tempted to binge). I'll probably set additional goals down the line, but for now, I'm going to focus on these small steps. In essence, I'll be experimenting, just like Alma taught us to do. I'm having thoughts that these are good things I can do to lose weight, and I'm planting those thoughts, turning them into actions. We'll see if they grow from seeds of thought into plants of results.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FOOD FOR THE BODY


CHOCOLATE RICOTTA MOUSSE


Serves: 6
Points: 4
Points+: 5


2 c. part skim ricotta cheese

3 T. unsweetened cocoa

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

pinch of salt


In food processor or blender, combine ricotta and cocoa powder until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium heatproof mxing bowl and place bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. Cook and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is warm, about three minutes.


Remove bowl from heat and beat with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).


Using a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into cocoa mixture until well-combined. Divide into 6 (6 oz.) ramekins and refrigerate at least 3 hrs.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"When obedience becomes our goal, it is no longer an irritation; instead of a stumbling block, it becomes a building block ... Obedience leads to true freedom. The more we obey revealed truth, the more we become liberated." (James E. Faust, "Obedience: The Path to Freedom," Liahona, May 1999, 45, 47)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Like a Little Child

The scriptures admonish us to become like little children. I have been thinking about that this morning. I think of my own children. They are so full of love for others. They are forgiving. They live life with exuberance and zest. They love to learn. They help each other. They are submissive and (for the most part) obedient. They love to sit with me and hear my voice as I read to them. They love to spend time with each other and with Tyler and I. They love to create things with their own hands. They have so much energy. They live life with passion. They don't think of what they can't achieve, but wonder what they can do.

Am I like a little child? Do I love others as fully as my children do, or do I only see their differences and pick and choose who I will love? Do I readily and humbly forgive those who have offended me? Am I living my life with passion and excitement? My own children can hardly fall asleep at night because they just don't want to miss a single second of life. In the morning, they bounce out of bed, thrilled to face another day of adventure.

One thing about my children is that they love to learn. But they usually like to use a hands-on approach to learning. I think that's the preference for most children. Am I using a hands-on approach to learning gospel principles, helping others, serving my neighbors, and creating beauty all around me, in the same way my children experiment in and out of the classroom?

Kelsey fell down on the playground yesterday and had the wind knocked out of her. She told me about her friend, Ashley, who was there to pick her up and make sure she was ok. She was so grateful that her friend had been there to help her and comfort her. Am I there to help those around me when they fall? Do I offer them my own hand, and comfort them until they can get back on their feet?

Do I truly believe that I have a Father in Heaven and do I obey Him as a child would obey her own father? Do I spend time with Him each day? Do I have a relationship with Him as my children have a relationship with their parents. Do I love to spend time with my own brothers and sisters?

I hope I can learn more from my children. I realize that they can teach me so much about life. I am so grateful for them and for their sweetness and the examples they are to me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DEAR CRACKLIN' OAT BRAN,

I just want to thank you for giving me something to get out of bed for each morning. I love your cinnamony-coconutty goodness. I love that you stay crunchy in my milk, something which many of your peers struggle with. I love you. I'll see you tomorrow!

Love,
Me

FOOD FOR THE BODY


EASY EASY MARINATED FLANK STEAK
(adapted from http://www.kitchenparade.com/)

Serves: 4
Points: 3

1 lb. flank steak
Japanese soy sauce to cover

Combine steak and soy sauce in a large zip lock bag and refrigerate for 1-4 hours, turning periodically. Heat the grill. Cook on one side for about 10 minutes and the other for about 5 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Cover with foil and let rest for five minutes. Slice on the diagnol and serve with steamed vegetables and a small baked potato. (Adds points)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

"Joseph's question focused not just on what he needed to know, but also on what needed to be done! His prayer was not simply, "What church is right?" His question was, "Which church should I join?" Joseph went to the grove to ask in faith, and he was determined to act." (Elder David A. Bednar, "Ask in Faith," Liahona, May 2008, 94-97)

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Hard Things

What a whirlwind my life has been these last few weeks! First, the holidays, which were wonderful, simple and full of joy and love. Then, on New Year's Day, I slipped on the ice on my front porch and re-broke my tailbone. OUCH!

On the next Monday, my boss called me and our office manager into his office and let us know his business is failing. He told us that he would probably go under in the next few months and let us know that if we wanted to try and ride it out with him, we could, but he wasn't sure if he'd have enough money to pay us next month. I went home that night and tried to sleep on it, but I couldn't sleep at all. So, I got up and knelt in the living room for quite a while, searching for direction. I felt as if I should go ahead and quit.

I have mixed feelings about my decision. I am a little nervous about our family making it financially without me working. But, I do feel strangely at peace about the decision. I will be able to stay at home with my kiddos for a while, which I have missed SO much. Each moment home has been a blessing, and though I miss my job and my customers, I am so much happier now. I've been cleaning and helping with homework and decorating and cooking and trying very hard to never take any of these opportunities for granted. I am so blessed to be at this point in life, where I really, truly feel the importance and blessing of each aspect of motherhood. If nothing else, being a working mama teaches you to treasure every moment you're given with your family.

I am also so grateful that I will be more available to help Tyler as he heads back to school this semester. I may have mentioned earlier that he struggles with school as one with dyslexia. I am so excited that we will be more able to study together and that he will not have to worry about taking care of the children while I'm gone, in addition to all his other responsibilities.

So, pretty much the only con, is the whole financial aspect. Tyler called his old boss from several years ago and asked if there is potential to come back to work there, even part-time. He made pretty good money there, so if he could get back, it would be a tremendous relief for our family. He was told that they are short-handed, but not quite ready to hire, but to call back every month or so and check back. They are thinking that possibly they could bring him back on in the Spring.

So as you can see, our life is pretty much nuts. But honestly, we'll take it. It's not cancer. It's not divorce. It's not a loss of faith. It's just financial trials. That, we can deal with. That, we can conquer. Together.

At times like these, I'm so comforted to know that I have a loving Heavenly Father who understands and honors the desires of my heart. As I live righteously and with full purpose, I believe that I can achieve joy.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before on my blog, but I desperately want to have at least one more baby. Right after Macey was born, while the nurse was in the room washing her up, I had a strong prompting that there was another baby in heaven for me. It was very, very strong. I am so grateful for that prompting, given the financial and physical trials I've had since then, because it's given me something to work towards.

I have three things that are stopping us from trying for another baby now:

1. We have no insurance. (We do now, so this is taken care of)
2. We do not make enough money.
3. I weigh too much to have a healthy pregnancy.

Though I really want to get pregnant NOW, I know that I would be unwise to do so without first overcoming these obstacles. Bloggers, can you please offer a prayer for me? I can't wait too long, because I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which makes it harder to conceive and carry a baby the longer I wait. I've already had four miscarraiges and my risk for more increases with each pound I put on and each year of my life. I need the desire to do something more about my weight. And we need to make more money. I feel a little funny asking for your help, but I do have a testimony of the power of prayer.

Anyway, that's the latest installment in the Walton Family Saga. I love the gospel. I would be lost without its warmth and meaning. I love you all as well. God bless you each in your own endeavors. I'd love to "prayer swap." Please tell me what prayers you are in need of for your own lives. What are you struggling with? What is the desire of your heart?