Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Who Eats Leg Warmers Anyway?


There is very little that cracks me up quite like fads. Don't get me wrong, I lived my childhood in the 80's and have great memories. It gave us some of the greatest music. The fashion however cracks me up. How could something that was so cool 30 years ago look totally ridiculous today? Those leg warmers!! They had no purpose but for looks. They were a total fad. I remember wishing as a young girl to have them, but now I'm so glad I didn't fall for it.

I do not wish to start a fight with those who still might be stuck in that decade, again...it had some great things to offer. Journey, Mork and Mindy, VCR's, and hair wings. Priceless. There were some crazy food fads though.. what was it back then? Oh, that's right. Fat free. And the other? The introduction of aspartame.

Clothing fads will come and go. Food fads will come and go. Many food fads leave much more damage to our bodies than all that Aquanet and high bangs ever did. Those fads can also effect the generations that come after. Fat free sounds like it would help us loose weight. Sadly, depression skyrocketed in the 80's because our brains...are made of fat. Aspartame (bless its little heart - it sure tries) has been proven to be linked to a lovely list of nasty side effects like:

migraines/headaches, weight gain, rashes, fatigue, insomnia, hearing and vision problems, anxiety attacks, loss of taste and speech, memory loss, respiratory problems, muscle spasms and heart palpitation. Aspartame could also increase the chances of chronic diseases such as Parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, birth defects, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and brain tumors." - See more at: http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-foods/aspartame-saccharine/#sthash.ti8AAUaU.dpuf
There is so much misinformation about what a good diet is and what it is not. Even "whole food" people will argue until the sun goes down what is good and what isn't. Food can divide almost as much as the current political arenas. This brings me to my next question.

What does God say about what we should eat? I often go to the story of Daniel in the Bible. I found this interesting take on Daniel's experience of being captured and taken to the be educated in the king's court:

"Now seeing that Daniel was a prisoner, one could reason that he should settle in and count his blessings. For the most part, it appears that is what he did. But there was one issue over which Daniel risked his life. It wasn’t the insulting new name he was given that attempted to negate his allegiance to his God. It wasn’t the education he was to receive for 3 years which would fit him to better serve the goals of the Babylonian ruler. It wasn’t even the fact that he was made a eunuch. The issue that Daniel chose to risk his life over was none other than the issue of not eating the king's food.

This was not a hunger strike. It was a well thought out decision based on the type of food being served. The King's diet was rich in wine and meat. Daniel, a likable fellow, went to the man who was in charge of the prisoners and requested pulse and water. He was flatly refused. He persisted and received permission to trial his request for 10 days."


Pulse literally translates to vegetables. It is also known as seeds and legumes.
Does that mean that we never eat things like meat? I feel a riot starting boil among some readers. Meat tastes sooooOOooo good!! Especially BBQ chicken, slow roasted pork, and a good ol' fashioned medium well steak with all the trimmings and a little A1 sauce are a meat lover's heaven!! A little more clarification to the question of meat might be needed. I am so thankful for the Word of Wisdom found in Doctrine and Covenants 89. Meat is said to be eaten "sparingly". What does that even mean? In our Standard American Diet (or SAD), we are encouraged to eat meat two to three times a day! If I were to eat Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake that many times a day, it would not be sparingly (it would taste good, but would not be good for me).

Here are verses 12 and 13:

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;  13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

John A. Widsoe (a scientist and Apostle in his day) and Hyrum Smith both suggested part of sparingly meant to spare the life of the animal. It was ok for Noah and Lehi's family to eat meat more often than "sparingly" because, that's all there was.  Plants were not available. President Ezra Taft Benson said this :

"To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours.... We need a generation of young people who, as Daniel, eat in a more healthy manner than to fare on the 'kings meat' ---and whose countenances show it." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson pp. 476-7) 

So, not to eat a dead horse...I mean beat a dead horse, I would like to touch on the number ten. Why was ten days so important? Is that number significant for some reason? My eight year old son has chosen to learn Hebrew for his foreign language. So we are working together to sift through this unique language. Every little piece of each letter represents something. The smallest letter is called "Yod" (pronounced "yode"). Yod is small to suggest "humility" but is a part of every letter in their alphabet. It is also part of each number. Ten shows up in the scriptures often and is a symbol of things that will affect all people. For instance:

- God gave ten commandments
- God asks us to pay "tithing" or a "tenth"
- There were ten plagues preceding the Exodus from Egypt (How would the Exodus affect all people?)
- Ten things were created on the First Day, Ten things were created on the sixth day
- There were ten virgins

If you do a search on lds.org for how many times ten shows up in the scriptures, you'll likely be blown away. Ten was not a number used by chance. The way that we eat is so important, and Daniel set an example for all people by standing up.

I love that our food storage suggestions are things that fall very nicely into this category of eating as Heavenly Father would have us eat. We are encouraged to purchase and store:

- wheat
- rice
- a variety of other grains
- beans/lentils
- seeds (for planting too)
- dried and canned fruit
- dried and canned vegetables
- and more

Fads will come and go be it food or fashion. If the "world" tells us, "no fat, no carbs, high protein, blah blah blah" we know that they Lord has prepared for the people who will listen a way to eat from the beginning. Leg Warmers might have been fancy back in the 80's, but I am so glad today that I never partook. I've heard they don't taste very good.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Fear or Faith?

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My kids and I just watched this amazing documentary on Netflix called "Emperor's Ghost Army". This PBS show was very eye opening in more than one way. It is the story of the Terracotta soldiers found in one of the most ancient burial spots in China that covers many, many square miles. Over 8,000 clay soldiers have been exhumed and pieced together. This army is equipped with everything a real army would be armed with from 2200 years ago swords, chariots, and horses. The technology and workmanship that these people displayed is utterly mind-blowing. The main body was made in a very similar manner that Native Americans, Africans, Australian Aboriginal people and many others across the globe made clay pottery. They had huge kilns to fit several of the 400 pound clay figures to bake for days.  Total numbers for artisans and workers totals around 700,000 . The legs and arms were made in a mold, and the heads first molded and then carved by hand and no two faces are exactly alike. There is even speculation that these soldiers were copied after actual people. 

Why would someone go to such lengths to create something of this magnitude? What was the purpose? According to this documentary, Qin Emperor was a cruel ruler. The historical documents found said that life for the people in this part of China was very hard. Imagine the most strict Communistic life and multiply it times 10. Torture, prison, and even death was used to keep everyone in line. War after war to conquer Chinese lands made it virtually impossible to live a normal life. When Qin Emperor died, he was buried in the mount near to where these soldiers were discovered. The reason the Emperor was so afraid of what people would do to him after he died, he wanted an army to protect him. He knew the way he ruled would likely come around and bite him in the hind end. The Emperor's actual burial site has yet to be excavated. You can bet there are so many hoops that archaeologists are going to have to jump through before they open excavation because he has such a high profile (kinda beside the point...but you know)...

What does this have to do with the price of strawberry crepes in France? 

The point I would like to make is that sometimes we make decisions based on fear. We can waste precious resources. We can waste precious time. Even if we aren't the ones that made a bad decision, other people's bad choices can affect our lives in a negative way. How can we make decisions based on faith instead? 

Here are a few ideas:

#1 "They Hushed Their Own Fears"  In a post  last year I reviewed how we can "hush our own fears" with advice given by Elder David A. Bednar. He gives GREAT advice. http://runningfoxes.blogspot.com/2015/05/self-reliance-tip-of-week-i-aint-skeered.html

#2 " Be of Good Cheer"  In 2007 Elder Quinten L. Cook gave a conference talk entitled "Live by Faith Not Fear" He shares this scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 68: 5-6: 

“Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
“Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.”
I love watching videos on Facebook that highlight something good someone has done. When I see others doing good, it influences me to want to do good. When we focus on good, it lifts us and then we in turn can lift others. 
#3 " Do Not Fear" President Boyd K. Packer delivered a talk called, "Do Not Fear"He says that if we are constantly looking to keep the Holy Ghost with us, fear fades. Pure love casteth out all fear. In order to do that, we must keep the commandments. We must hold strong to the values that are being tossed aside so easily today. It is an excellent talk. I strongly encourage you to read/ listen to/ watch it. 
#4 One of my favorite quotes of all time is given by President Monson. He repeated it more than once during General Conference. It goes like this: 
We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.
We already know the things we need to be preparing. Make sure that your money, time and energy are being put toward things we have already been told to prepare. The basics. Food, water, fuel, alternative cooking, medicines, and other necessities (deodorant for sure). Follow the Spirit and then you'll be coming from a place of faith. Its better up there. 
So, what if the conclusion that the documentary makes is wrong. What if the Emperor was just a little (ok, alot) eccentric and it wasn't because he thought this army would protect his resting place? These soldiers were facing east which was the direction of his kingdom. East is significant in the scriptures. It is the symbolic direction in the scriptures where God resides. Kind of a cool thought. Who knows for sure? What I do know, that in a coming day the King of Kings will rule and it will be a much better place to live. That's the future I want to focus on.