“There Is No Tomorrow, But Only Today”
By Carolyn Allen
One of my favorite hymns is “Each Life That Touches Ours for Good” (Hymn No. 293). It speaks of loving, devoted friends whose faith and gentle love enrich our days. When you stop to think about it, each life that touches ours has something important and good for us to learn and grow from.
Today’s message highlights three lives that have touched my own for good. By sharing with you, I have expanded their circle of influence and perhaps there are important lessons for you, too. (Names and details have been changed so that they may remain anonymous.)
Today’s Quote: “Not to decide, is to decide.” (Anon.)
After the birth of one of our children, my weight was at an all-time high. It had taken me nearly three years to find the motivation to lose the weight from the previous baby, and I had become pregnant within a few weeks of reaching my goal. Now, a year later, here were the exact same pounds, plus a few more … again!
My small children and a newborn made it extremely difficult to find time for cooking or exercise, but more than anything, I needed motivation. I simply couldn’t do it on my own, so started to attend community weight loss meetings for some structure and support.
Coincidentally, the mother of one of my children’s friends attended the same meeting and sat with me. Janice, with easily 75+ pounds to lose, was there mostly to please her husband and doctor, and spent the meetings whispering funny, sarcastic comments to me about the leader, members, food, and so on. She just wasn’t ready. (No pointing fingers! We’ve all been there.)
I loved Janice, but started attending a meeting at a different time when I could listen and participate 100%. (It worked. With the old Weight Watchers “Exchange” program and a terrific leader I reached my goal by the time the baby was 8 months old. It was a turning point in my life.)
We moved out of that neighborhood shortly after. Fast forward 15 years. One night Bob came home after running into someone from the old neighborhood and quietly said, “Remember Janice? She died a couple of days ago.” I was shocked! She was not more than five or six years older than me – her mid-50’s at the most!
I got on the phone and called a woman we’d both been close to. It was true! Janice had died shortly after turning 55. She’d had one of the extreme weight loss surgeries and lost too much weight too fast. She had passed away at home without warning. A family member had found her on the couch with the remains of a fast food meal in her lap.
She spent much of her time and much of her life overeating. Even the surgery did not solve the problem. In the end, it killed her. She gave so much joy and meaning to so many, many people with her great spirit, humor, compassion and sparkle.
The next friend is Sarah, a darling roommate from my single days. Although she now lives far away, we stay in touch by phone. She has easily 100+ pounds to lose – although it doesn’t seem to slow her down from being the hub of the wheel for many neat activities and people. She, too, is just not ready – although a phone conversation with her several months ago has left my heart and mind pondering.
“The problem is,” she mused, “It’s next to impossible to accept that it’s possible for one brownie (or soda, bag of chips, or whatever) to make any kind of a difference in my weight. Since this one brownie can’t cause that much damage, (or progress) then another one or two poor choices won’t speed up (or delay) things either.”
It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? It’s false in every way, yet it feels legitimate and is subconsciously part of every food decision we make.
Back to the first friend: Was it that last fast food meal that triggered the overload for her overworked body?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But this we DO know: In the end, not to decide is to decide!
My son Spencer, a missionary in the London South Mission, shared in a recent letter that a convert who was preparing for baptism was unexpectedly transferred to another part of the world with his work. When they arrived for his appointment and learned of the news, he told them that getting baptized at this busy time was not a good decision for the time being, and that he’d find the missionaries in his new location to be baptized when things settled down.
With great sincerity and love they told him that to delay things would open the doors for the adversary and for personal doubts that would rob him of his decision. Allowing procrastination to root would be the beginning of the end. They knelt and prayed with him to help him understand Heavenly Father’s plan for his spiritual and eternal life – and that the decisions of today, this very day mattered.
To their great joy, all their prayers were immediately answered. He was baptized a few days later, just before his move. At this time he is doing very well as a new convert.
It is the same with us: Not to decide is to decide. How do we apply that knowledge to the countless small decisions that go with creating and maintaining a healthy weight?
Number One: By being willing to turn to the Lord in prayer as this investigator was.
Number Two: By willing to accept that today, this very day does make a difference, as does this one brownie. (Please remember, as always, that there’s always room for a treat – we just make sure that they are included intentionally, and not mindlessly or compulsively. (For me that means eating it with other people, sitting down. Eating highly processed, refined, high-fat, high-sugar foods alone, while standing or walking around are key indicators that this is not a planned treat!)
Number Three: By finding the good example of someone you admire to follow!
For my old roommate, her inspiration came with a visit to a friend who also had a houseful of small children and a weight challenge that she was mastering. Sarah wondered how she had managed to be pretty much the same size after having five children.
Her friend made the astute observation: “I have only one life to live and only one body for that one life.” So she made time to eat a smart breakfast.
During the day, with all the little peanut butter and jelly sandwich leftovers, bites, licks and tastes that come with living with small children, she quickly removed them to the trash can while saying “My body is not a trash can! My body is not a trash can!”
When eating out, she passed on the bread basket, left food on her plate, asked for a doggie bag, and opted for the child-sized ice cream cones. At the playground, instead of sitting and chatting on the bench, she got up and was active with the children. They parked at the far end of the parking lot and did all the little things that burn all the little calories – and had a wonderful time!
Sarah came home from her trip a pound or two lighter in both body and in spirit with the lift this friend had provided.
What about you? Is there a friend who enjoys health and makes health choices that you admire? Although some are naturally slender, most of us, especially as we get older, must make healthy eating a genuine priority to create and maintain a healthy weight. Spend a few moments thinking of this individual; let his or her good habits be an inspiration.
Then think of those two missionaries filled with the spirit saying “Today! Today!” There is a joy that comes from accepting the truth that yesterday is gone, tomorrow has not arrived, but today is a gift, even the precious present, to make wise choices that bring a healthy tomorrow.
Today’s Empowerment: “I have only one life to live and only one body for that one life. I have made a decision to make healthy choices for the next 24 hours.”
Today’s Recipe: Green Greek Rice
This is delicious – and such a nice change. Enjoy with a Boca Burger or grilled fish.
Green Greek Rice
(Serves 6 at 250 Calories – about 1 cup per serving)
1 tsp. olive oil
One 10 oz. pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 pitted small black olives, halved
4 lemon slices
Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, Saut onions in oil, stirring as needed until softened. Add spinach, rice, broth and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish. Bake, covered, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour. Serve with olives and feta cheese sprinkled on top and garnished with lemon slices.
(5 g Dietary Fiber; 250 calories; 4 g Fat; 69 g Carbs)
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