“Out of Small Things”
By Carolyn Allen

Today’s Scripture: “Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work, and out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” (D&C 64:33)

Our ward recently used this scripture as a theme for Ward Conference. Enlightening talks by Stake President Erick Erickson (down 40 pounds – see the article about him here) provided refreshing perspectives and strategies for enduring to the end.

The talks piqued my husband’s interest to dig a little deeper. Later that day, he came to me with an open dictionary and a sparkle in his eye: “Honey! Listen to Webster’s definition of the word weary ! Yes, the first definition is tired and worn out , but” (and he read with emphasis), “it also means without further liking, patience, tolerance, zeal, and bored . Then it goes on to say irksome, tedious and tiresome .” In other words ” weary ” in addition to being tired, also means bored and annoyed!

A light went on for me. ” Weary ” is the perfect word to describe not only the mundane aspects of accountability for weight loss (i.e. keeping an eye on what we’re eating), but also the indisputable and not so appealing fact that our bodies – like sponges and water pitchers – have absolute limits on how many calories can be consumed without the excess flowing into extra pounds and problems.

What can we do to reduce the irksome weariness and increase the immediate rewards of the “small things” required for healthy living and weight loss success? Though the Lord’s law is one of limits, it’s also one of great abundance. Here are several ways to decrease reduce weariness and increase weight loss success.

Increase Our View to the Eternities

I have recently re-read Larry Tooley’s fascinating book I Saw Heaven (Horizon Publishers, 1997). This quick glimpse into heaven makes day-to-day earth life much less wearisome and much more worthwhile!

As a young father who was slowly returning to Church activity, his tour beyond the veil after falling from a 30-foot scaffold onto a concrete floor revealed that his earthly progress was far from complete. Seeing the opportunities on the other side for those who had magnified their earthly experiences left him feeling desperate to return to earth in order to take his family to the temple.

When given the choice and warned of the suffering he would experience as his body healed, he willingly returned, knowing that whatever was required on earth would be well worth the effort – and that in reality earth life was much, much shorter than he had ever dreamed.

In Elane Durham’s book ” I Stand All Amazed ” (sadly out of print by Deseret Book, but used copies are available online), her medically documented sudden death after a stroke allowed her to go beyond the veil for quite some time. Not yet a member of the Church, she watched from the top of the hospital room as a Catholic priest came and sat with her dead body. Then she was allowed to proceed to the other side where she saw and experienced unexpected things.

She, too, was allowed to return earth and came with a confusing new vocabulary of LDS words and understandings. She spent the next ten years trying to find someone who knew what she was talking about. Needless to say, both she and the missionaries who were easily able to answer her questions, were overjoyed.

What do experiences such as these have to teach us about earth life and healthy living?

That our bodies are temples! Though flawed and susceptible to illnesses, accident, and health issues both within and outside of our control, quite simply they are the vehicles that carry us through our earthly life and are of inestimable eternal value.

Both authors expressed vastly increased respect for the importance of their physical bodies in the eternal scheme of our Heavenly Father’s plan. Both authors and other accounts of these experiences dwell on the great feelings of love and peace extended by our Heavenly Father and also the accountability of earthly deeds while we have our bodies.

Increase our View of the Immediate with Visible Rewards

Though the earned rewards of our eternal status and progress are beyond our view, it is easy and fun to create a reward system for weight loss progress.

Here are simple ones!


  1. Print out the letters S-U-C-C-E-S-S-F-U-L on pieces of paper. Put up one letter for each pound lost somewhere where you’ll see them often. When the entire word is up, you’ll be down 10 pounds!


  2. Print out the acronym below:


    S – To feel and look SO much better
    U – To UNIFY body and spirit so both are healthy and at peace

    C – To hear COMPLIMENTS from loved ones who care
    C – To increase self-CONFIDENCE and CAPACITY to serve
    E – To ENJOY EXERCISE and to increase ENERGY

    S – To Learn to manage STRESS without food

    S – Step into the future with a smile, strength and smaller sizes


  3. Decide on a meaningful collection that you’ll reward yourself with at every 5 or 10 pounds. i.e., a collectible figurine, decorative item or jewelry. Keep the price range affordable so you won’t hesitate when it’s time to reward yourself!

    Years ago, I watched a precious neighbor slowly collect a set of designer decorative plates for a wall in her kitchen. The complete set of six perfectly fit one wall. One by one, with each 10-pound loss, she put them up in the space required for all six. The wall, with its blank spaces waiting to be filled, looked odd at first, but within the year, all six plates were up and all 60 pounds were gone!

    Similarly, another friend collected small sterling silver charms for each five-pound loss. She bought the link bracelet as she started her program and wore the bracelet every day. As she slowly reached her goal, the number of charms increased. What fun to see the loaded charm bracelet as she neared, then maintained her goal.


  4. Keep a five-, 10- and 25-pound bag of flour or dog food handy. When discouraged about your progress, carry one for a while as a reminder of how much you’ve lost, and a reminder of how much your body is carrying with the extra pounds. It’s especially helpful to load a backpack with 4-5 bags of flour and to carry it for an hour or so. You’ll be delighted, amazed and rewarded!


  5. A simple sticker chart and calendar on the refrigerator is as helpful to adults as it is to children! Buy some fun big stickers for pounds lost, and some smaller ones for daily achievements.


  6. Buy attractive new clothing as needed! Don’t wait until you’ve lost 50 pounds. You need things that fit at every increment. They need not be designer quality. A consignment store where you can easily buy smaller sizes, then return clothing as you grow out of it is a wonderful source of feeling rewarded.

    Don’t forget the importance of casual clothing, underwear and sleepwear!

So – Weary? Bored? Annoyed? Tired? The Lord’s counsel to us is to be of good cheer, no matter the circumstances, no matter the current condition, no matter the challenges. “Out of small things proceedeth that which is great ….” For us that GREAT is a healthy weight!

His rewards are around us each and every day as a reminder of his love. We can follow his example by rewarding our efforts and one day, one pound, one choice at a time progress towards the health and fitness that will help us progress both in this life towards the next.

Today’s Journal Prompts and Discussion Starters

Read through the above six choices and commit to a shopping trip for a reward system.

Today’s Recipe: “Perfect 10” Dilled Tuna Salad or Sandwich Filling

I learned to love tuna with mustard instead of mayo way back in the 70’s with my first experience with Weight Watchers. It’s still how I like it best (along with lots of dill pickles) – although Miracle Whip Free, or reduced cal mayo or plain low-fat yogurt give it that good old creaminess that makes life sweet. 

This is great as a salad, or as a filling for sandwiches. I like it on toasted, lite whole wheat bread, with a pile of cucumber slices and a bit of low-fat ranch dressing for dip (instead of potato chips).



2 Tsb. low-fat yogurt, reduced-cal Mayo, or Miracle Whip Free
4 tsp. snipped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dill weed
2 Tbsp. mustard, your favorite kind
dash of black pepper
1 can water-packed tuna
1/2 cup diced celery
1 small green onion, sliced thin

Lettuce leaves and fixings

Calorie count without bread for sandwiches:

(1 g Dietary Fiber; 170 calories; 5 g Fat; 12 g Carb)


Return to Top of Article

Click here to sign up for Meridian’s FREE email updates.

2008 Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.