Today’s Scripture: “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:5)

Do you receive the Church News ? If so, you may have seen a fascinating article in the August 18, 2007 edition about Sister Amelia Costa Dos Santos of Brazil. She was baptized at age 111, and is now 119 years old.

Yes. You read that right. 119 years old! She can still walk, feed herself, and enjoy her family. Her favorite activity is to lie on her hammock and listen to recordings of Church hymns. She has outlived four of her 15 children and is blessed with 96 grandchildren and over 100 great grandchildren. The article shows her sitting with one of her baby granddaughters, looking quite justifiably pleased with life and herself.

Kip Lambert, who met her while serving as a missionary, has submitted Sister Costa dos Santos’ name to the Guiness Book of World Records for consideration as the world’s oldest living person.

Though not 119, we have a senior citizen in our ward who, at 93, is also a mini-celebrity. We had Leland McCants (lovingly called Mack by one and all) of the Springfield Ward, Annandale Virginia Stake, over to our home last Sunday for a 93 rd birthday dinner with our family.

He doesn’t need glasses, he hears and catches every nuance of a joke and responds with a quick wit and many clever jokes of his own. He still drives during the day and arrives promptly for appointments and every sacrament meeting, where he has many, many friends. His personal adventure stories of the Great Depression and World War II keep teenagers on the edge of their seats and he had an exciting, successful career with the U.S. Air Force. He has, and I promise I’m not exaggerating – fewer wrinkles than I do!

Ruby, his cherished and sweet wife of more than 60 years, died 14 years ago, so he cares for himself and still lives alone, doing his own cooking and shopping. He is always perfectly groomed, usually wearing a white shirt and tie, and sets quite the standard of excellence for the rest of us on many, many things. Last spring, I passed by him in the foyer where he was having a lively discussion with several others on the implications of some new income tax laws. Needless to say, he’s quite a guy!

As we all enjoyed his birthday dinner, my husband Bob asked how he has managed so well physically throughout all these years.

Mack cleared his throat and said, “Well, I’ll tell you. When I was a teenager working outdoors with my Dad one day, he watched me working up a pretty good sweat and pointed to my heart.”

“Son,” said my dad, “The Lord can only give you one body. And only you can take care of it. Do it!”

“That has stayed with me all my life,” said Mack. “I’ve had my problems, of course, but not from things that were within my control. I’ve asked the Lord to help me take good care of myself – and He has!”

When Sister Costa dos Santos was asked for her advice on longevity, she replied, “Drink milk and obey your parents.”

Isn’t that amazing? Both of them cited obedience to their parents as a secret for a long and healthy life.

At the end of Lehi’s own long life, he gathered his family about him. (See II Nephi Chapter 1-4) Though we don’t know his age in years, we do know it was long enough to raise a large family and to watch them have their own large families. At this time, (and I imagine it must have been over an extended period of time with all that was shared and taught) he recounted his life, its perils and its joys, its highs and its lows. Beseeching his wayward sons to put aside their disputes, he counseled them to put on the armor of righteousness and to be obedient to the commandments of God. With joy he was able to express gratitude and concern for those who had been obedient to him and who had made the Lord and righteous living a priority.

These rich chapters bring forth the important principle of opposition:

For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness, nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must need be a compound in one (2 Nephi 2: 11).

A compound in one! Is there another phrase anywhere that more succinctly defines the challenges of healthy living in a time and age where there are as many appealing and tempting unhealthy foods and choices as there are healthy ones?

It is easy to imagine Lehi’s family gathered around his deathbed. And though that may seem a long distance for ourselves personally, the mental exercise is a good one: What will we say to our loved ones as it is time to sum up our days?

Will we, as Sister Costa dos Santos and Brother McCants can, be able to tell of obedience to parents? Will we be able to recount the blessings of health choices that have lengthened our days both in number and in strength and energy? Will we have set a health example that is worthy of following?

Today is a perfect day to memorize today’s scripture and commit to leaving our posterity a personal legacy of health choices that make a difference today and for years and generations to come.

Today’s Empowerment: “The Lord gave me only one body. Only I can take care of it, so I do!”

Today’s Journal Prompt/Discussion Starts:

  1. Our Heavenly Father is remarkably forgiving, and so are our bodies. What areas of healthy living do you need to focus on this week? Portion control? Mindless/stress eating? Lack of accountability? Choose one or two and commit to following them.
  2. Write down what you would like to tell your posterity about your body and how you cared for it when it is time to leave them.
  3. Memorize today’s scripture and make a commitment to make healthy choices that are a blessing for yourself and your posterity.

Today’s Recipe: Soft Cheese Tacos

This makes an easy lunch or supper or after-school snack for hungry teenagers.

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat grated cheddar cheese
Chopped lettuce and tomato (of course!)
Two 6″ fat-free tortillas

In a 1-quart measuring cup or microwave-proof bowl, cook onion and bell pepper for two minutes on high with 2 tablespoons water.  Drain extra water and add salsa.  Stir and heat for another minute or so.

Place each tortilla on a paper plate.  Divide cheese between each and microwave separately on Medium-Hi for about 30 seconds, until cheese is melted. 

Top with veggie/salsa mix.  Fill with lettuce and tomato if desired.  Fold in half to eat as a taco, or open-faced with a fork.

How delicious!

(2 g Dietary Fiber; 185 calories; 4 g Fat; 28 g Carb)