I couldn't WAIT to get back with you today. I have been keeping a list of things I wanted to write about, and am anxious for your tried-and-true input and your personal experiences. I have loved the comments that you've left here on the blog, as well as emails, messages on my facebook page, and face-to-face insights that you've shared. After just one week, I am convinced that we've got something goin' on here!
So, first things first. Following, in italics, are some of my thoughts about "spiritual creation", as promised from last week's post:
When we commit ourselves to work toward a goal, there are things we can do before we start, and in the early stages of accomplishment, to better our chances for staying on the desired path long-term. Some time ago, while in the temple, the Spirit began to teach me about preparing spritually before starting a task physically. If we use God's creation of the world as a template, we see that He Himself did just this:
"...For I, the Lord God, created all things of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth...And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water or in the air;..." (Moses 3:5 - Pearl of Great Price)
For me, to "spiritually create / prepare" means to spend a good deal of time pondering my goal: what EXACTLY is my ultimate desired result? What are the tools I will need to get there? Who in my life could be a support to me? What steps will I need to take, large and small, to get to the end that I desire? What will I do when this temptation or that overpowering urge confronts me? How can I have joy in the difficult journey ahead? How will it feel when I begin to progress toward success?! Visualizing (in great detail) myself succeeding can be a whole lot of fun and can propel me forward.
A natural next step after deep pondering is to begin to write. This is something I have always loved to do: my mom says from the time I was tiny, I walked around the house with a notepad and pencil, asking her to write down words that I could copy. I am often able hear Heavenly Father speak to me through this practice, and I try to write down promptings I receive, day or night. Before long, a solid plan can start to take shape, tailor-made just for me. I have had success tackling other big projects by starting first with its spiritual creation.
Something I am trying NOW is to take a little time to spiritually prepare for each day in the early morning. I pre-plan my meals, my exercise, and the other things I want to accomplish that day. I find that I am SO much more likely to accomplish the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS if I plan ahead. Then, as I "check back in" with Heavenly Father at the end of the day, I can report on how I did. Imagine, a personal daily plan created for us by the Creator Himself!
On a lighter note! I had two MAJOR TEMPTATIONS this past week, and both involved cookies. The first: my daughter and her friends decided to bake chocolate-chip cookies in my kitchen. The old me: "Sweet! Cookies for Mama!" The new me: "Dang! This is going to be tough!" As I stood momentarily paralyzed by the fridge, and starting to imagine the chocolatey goodness that would soon be before me, I put my hand on my hip, and, (to self) "Wait! What was this?! I do believe that my hip feels a little less chubby!" That was all I needed ... I bolted upstairs, making The Great Escape ... physically removed myself from temptation, calling dramatically downstairs to the girls to wrap up any extras and "Take them away!" and attributed that brief moment with my hip a tender mercy from God. Whatever it takes, right?!
The second sketchy moment? Girl Scout cookies purchased by my sweet husband as we were out-and-about on Saturday. I caught my hand in mid-air reaching for the Samoas, and instead oh-so-quickly unwrapped a Clif Bar. (made with brown rice syrup) I actually enjoyed several bites of the bar, and whew, I was over the sugar hurdle. These successes went into my mental file of "What To Do When Tempted By Cookies": 1. Physical removal of self, and 2. Have a healthy snack alternative handy!
Other tools that are becoming important in my 40-Week Excellent Experiment: a pair of GOOD running shoes, Harry Doodle and his leash, my yellow tablet and a pen, my Camelbak waterbottle, the bathroom scale, a cozy, private area for morning spiritual prepping (complete with a lovely little antique Chinese stool), my hometown gym membership card, an orderly kitchen pantry, and a clean fridge. Also, a folder for inspiring things I come across. Click HERE for what I'm studying this week...fabulous!
Finally, in case this could be of help to you, here are our dinner menus from last week. I am eating what my family is eating, only in smaller portions. I would love to know what your favorite healthy dinners are!
Slices of baked BBQ chicken breast
Smashed red potatoes with parsley and chives
Asparagus with fresh lemon juice
Whole wheat Spaghetti Pomodoro with fresh basil
Beef Soft Tacos (corn tortillas)
Black bean/corn/cilantro salsa
Foil-steamed Red Snapper with lemon and herbs
Brown and wild rice mix
Mom's Caeser salad
There you have it! I'm now into Week 39 of my Excellent Experiment and am feeling strong. Truly, thank you for your support, and if you're joining me in any way on this journey, let me know how things are going and what is working for you! Until next week.
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