I hope that you will read today’s message with an open mind and remember that I am speaking for the general population who can lose weight by eating less and moving more. If you have physical limitations that prevent weight loss, I encourage you to go back to my article archive and read “But If Not” from three weeks ago.

Today’s Quote:“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo

Several weeks ago, our Primary president asked me to play the role of an investigator in a Primary sharing time. I was given a large gold question mark made out of cardboard wrapped in gold foil to wear around my neck, then introduced to the children as “Sister Golden Question.”

With a script to guide me, I was to ask the children various questions, and they were to answer with a Primary song. When asked, “Who are you?” they answered and sang quite simply, “I Am a Child of God.” The other questions, “Where did I live before I was born?” “Do you believe Jesus Christ was resurrected?” “How should I pray?” and half a dozen more were answered just as completely with the songs such as “I Lived in Heaven,” “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” and “I Pray in Faith.”

By the time we were done, I was in tears with the spirit of the songs, the power of the gospel, and the beauty of life itself that had been manifested through their sweet, pure voices as golden rays of the late afternoon sun streamed through the windows.

They, of course, did not understand my tears, but the message to me was clear: the whole gospel has been neatly packaged into a complete musical learning library for children. I am quite sure that many of the composers and songwriters came to earth with a special commission from Heaven to create these songs as dynamic, unforgettable vehicles to make the gospel live and radiate in children’s hearts for their entire lives. These songs create and train behaviors, then strengthen choices that result in eternal salvation, peace, and happiness.

The preface to the Children’s Songbook : says:

Someday you will be leaders of the Church and of the world. What you learn from these songs will help you to be faithful and to serve righteously.

Of course!

Although we sing in church, as do most religious organizations, scientifically it goes beyond the spiritual uplift into documented benefits through what is called “music therapy.” Music therapy is both a science and an art. It is the use of sounds and music to support and develop an individual’s physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Most of us respond to music, even when ill, injured or disabled. Even people who find it difficulty to communicate tend to be affected by music and can express themselves through it.

Health care professionals are increasingly aware of the sometimes dramatic improvements brought about by music therapy for people of all ages with wide ranging needs. Music can benefit children and adults with physical, mental, emotional and language problems such as autism, cerebral palsy or depression. Recent research has shown that music therapy can increase vocal activity, increase attention and social interaction, help organization of movements, aid relaxation, release tension, and improve mood.

If music can change these behaviors, why not the tendency to stress eat, or to treat the use of food as a medication for emotional pain, disappointment or boredom? Or to change overeating that is the nothing more than just plain old bad habits and indulgence?

Trained professionals aside, we have the voice of President Boyd K. Packer to confirm music as a valid tool for behavior modifications. In his October 2, 1976, general conference talk “To Young Men Only,” he provides specific instructions for LDS music therapy: Although he is referring specifically to temptations for young men, it is equally effective for mastering any of they physical temptations and over-indulgences. He says:

The mind is like a stage. Except when we are asleep, the curtain is always up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing on the stage of the mind.

Have you noticed that without any real intent on your part, in the middle of almost any performance, a shady little thought may creep in from the wings and attract your attention? These delinquent thoughts will try to upstage everybody …

If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits. If you can learn to master them, you will have a happy life.

This is what I would teach you. Choose from among the sacred music of the Church a favorite hymn, one with words that are uplifting and music that is reverent, one that makes you feel something akin to inspiration. Go over it in your mind carefully. Memorize it. Even though you have had no musical training, you can think through a hymn.

Now, use this hymn as the place for your thoughts to go. Make it your emergency channel. Whenever you find theses shady actors have slipped from the sidelines of your thinking onto the stage of your mid, put on this record, as it were.

As the music begins and the words form in your thoughts, the unworthy ones will slip shamefully away from your mind. Because it is uplifting and clean, the baser thoughts will disappear. For while virtue, by choice, will not associate with filth, evil cannot tolerate the presence of light.

In due time you will find yourself, on occasion, humming the music inwardly. As you retrace your thoughts, you discover some influence from the world about you encouraged an unworthy thought to move on stage in your mind, and the music almost automatically began.

Once you learn to clear the stage of your mind of unworthy thoughts, keep it busy with learning worthwhile things. Change your environment so that you have things about you that will inspire good and uplifting thoughts. Keep busy with righteous things.

It is interesting to note that the Savior and the disciples sang before entering the Mount of Olives. ( Matthew 26:30) Could this be a tool for us – to sing a hymn before facing difficulties? Even with those shortly to come with holiday eating?

There are many excellent hymns to spark us into finding something to do instead of something to eat when food is not the answer: From the hymnal, I love:

  • “I Have Work Enough To Do” p. 224
  • “God Speed the Right” p. 106
  • “Put Your Shoulder To The Wheel” p. 252
  • “Though Deepening Trials” p. 122

From the Children’s Song Book:

  • “Dare to do Right” p. 158
  • “My Life is a Gift” p. 164 (never fails to stir me to action)
  • “Heavenly Father Loves Me.”p. 228

In “Heavenly Father Loves Me,” note how it lists things in nature that proves God’s love. Food, though surely one of them, is not listed – could this be a clue to its importance?”)

One song where food is listed is “Autumn Day,” p.

247. How well I remember this one, because my mother was the Primary chorister when I was a little girl and taught it to me there. Her beautiful, glowing smile and sweet, clear voice leading closing exercises in the chapel are among my earliest memories of her. How proud I was as she stood before the other children on those long ago Wednesday afternoons when Primary was held after school. This song still makes me smile, think of her, and go hunt for an apple to eat.

Here are the words:

Autumn Day
Frances Danielson and Gail Conant

Autumn Day,
Bright and gay.
God gives precious gifts today.
Look on every side and see
Precious gifts for you and me.
Apples red, and apples yellow,
Round and juicy sweet and mellow.
Load the trees til they bend over –
Til their branches touch the clover.
Child, be glad for all that lives,
But forget not God who gives.

Well, apple is the food of the week! At about 70 calories each, the expression “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is not in vain.

apples071112iStockphoto.com/Gene Barickman

Benefits of Apples:

  1. Apple cleans teeth and strengthens gums.
  2. Apples detoxify the body and have an antiviral property. Drinking an apple juice, 3 times a day, is said to prevent virus from settling in the body.
  3. Apples prevent constipation because they help digestion.
  4. One large apple supplies almost 30% of minimum amount of fiber that should be consumed daily.
  5. Eating 2 apples a day will reduce your cholesterol level up to 10 %.
  6. Another benefit of apple is for those who have problem with their stomach. If you have problem with indigestion, eat apples before meals.
  7. Grated apple, when mixed with live yogurt., may be helpful in cases of diarrhea.

Some buying/storing tips:

  1. Never buy apples that have not been kept cold because they can be over-ripe in a few days.
  2. Apples should be hard. If you can dent an apple with your finger, DO NOT BUY IT.
  3. Keep your apples refrigerated. If not, they will decay fast.
  4. To prevent browning, rub the cut surfaces with a mixture of lemon juice and water

Well, enough said! It’s time to go sing a song and let it fill you with joy. Eat an apple! Hear it crunch, taste its marvel, let the juice drip down your chin – and know that all is well.

One day, one pound, one choice at a time – with a song on our lips and in our hearts.

Today’s Empowerment:
“My life is a gift! My life has a plan. I find something to do instead of something to eat with a song in my heart that fills me from the inside out.”

Today’s Journal Prompt and Discussion Starters:

  1. What are your favorite hymns that inspire you to activity and lift your spirits?
  2. Look up the song in the Children’s Songbook: “Hum Your Favorite Hymn” (152) by Marilyn Price Adams and K. Newel Dayley. I have changed the words of the second verse for us:

    If on occasion you have found your language is in question
    Or ugly thoughts come to your mind, then here’s a good suggestion
    Just hum your favorite hymn
    Sing out with vigor and vim
    And you will find it clears your mind
    Hum your favorite hymn

    Before you eat a fattening treat,
    Think “Will I regret it?”
    For once it’s gone, the harm is done;
    The scales won’t soon forget it.
    So hum your favorite hymn
    Sing out with vigor and vim
    And you will find it clears your mind.
    Hum your favorite hymn.

Today’s Recipe: Baked Microwave Apples
This is a fast and easy snack – perfect for a family, or just reduce and make it for one! Plan on about 45 seconds on HI for each apple.

  • 6 medium tart apples, cored and peeled 1/3 of the way down
  • 3 (4-inch) slices of orange zest, cut into thin julienne strips
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
  • Water
  • 6 gingersnaps, crushed

Place apples in a microwave safe dish. Fill the centers with the strips of orange. Rub the pared flesh of each apple with a cut side of the lemon. Squeeze juice of both halves over the apples.
Sprinkle each with cinnamon and brown sugar substitute. Fill the dish with water 1/3 the way up the sides of the apples. Cover with plastic wrap, venting at one edge. Microwave on HIGH for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully remove plastic wrap and transfer each apple to a small dessert dish. Sprinkle with the crushed gingersnaps and serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.
(3 g Dietary Fiber; 104 calories; 1 g Fat; 25 g Carb)