Healthwise at Home

“I love to eat! I hate to exercise!” This is how I used to think and act. But at age 29, after a visit to the cardiologist because of heart palpitations, I was forced to improve my poor health habits. To help me succeed, I involved my family in making some necessary lifestyle changes. The following two tips helped us to get started and stay on track.

Become healthwise. For a week we had daily, short lessons about a variety of health topics, including the Word of Wisdom (see D&C 89). Rather than focus on the “thou shalt nots,” we talked about the good foods Heavenly Father has provided us. A subsequent discussion of the food pyramid also helped us to better understand what constitutes a well-balanced diet. Using pictures from magazines and hand-drawn illustrations, we made a list of good and poor food choices to aid us in planning healthy menus. We also recorded what we ate for a day and discussed appropriate serving sizes for our ages, genders, and activity levels. We then discussed how many calories our favorite physical activities burned.

Work together to accomplish your goals. Dietary changes such as eating low-fat popcorn instead of buttered popcorn seem more doable when we have agreed to them in advance. Regular exercise also becomes easier when we help each other. I can enjoy a daily 30-minute brisk walk because my husband watches the children when he returns home from work. Sometimes I walk alone, but I also invite each child to walk with me once a week to spend one-on-one time together. And our children are encouraged to play outside more to boost their activity levels.

Though we are not perfect in our efforts to live a healthier lifestyle, we are improving overall. I feel less stressed, our family is happier, and I believe Heavenly Father is pleased that we are trying to take better care of ourselves.

Tacy L. Botkin, John Day Ward, La Grande Oregon Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Joe Flores

Making More of Our Fast Sunday

As a family, we felt we were not focusing enough on fast Sunday. Sometimes we forgot this important day until Sunday morning when someone would pull out the cereal boxes, and then we would remember. Other times, because we were concentrating more on our stomachs’ growls than on the true meaning of our fast, we became irritated with each other. As a result, our family was not receiving the blessings that can come from honoring fast Sunday. To help us do better, we pondered and prayed about our need, then made three changes in our home that have helped us.

  1. 1.

    The Saturday before fast Sunday, we remind each other what the next day is and ask if anyone has special needs or concerns that we as a family should include in our prayers and fasting.

  2. 2.

    We begin with a prayer dedicated to the purposes of our fast and give thanks for all we have, especially for blessings received that month.

  3. 3.

    Before church on fast Sunday, we gather for a special family time dedicated to tithing and our fast. We prepare our tithing and fast offering to give to a member of the bishopric. During this time, we also focus on our blessings by taking turns to express our gratitude for the Lord’s goodness.

By making these three simple changes, our family has been blessed. We feel the Spirit of the Lord more in our home, and we are more grateful. We also feel more peace and unity as we fast and pray for one another in times of need. Making fast Sunday more meaningful to our family has drawn us closer to each other and to the Lord.

Staci Swinton Brooks, White Oak Ward, Silver Spring Maryland Stake

Family Home Evening Helps: “I’ll Be Nephi”

A couple of years ago, my husband and I discovered an effective teaching method to involve our young children: dramatizations. Using items found around the house, we decided to bring to life segments of the “journey in the wilderness” made by Lehi’s family (see 1 Ne. 3:9).

Before the lesson, we sketched a cityscape of Jerusalem on a large piece of paper and attached it to one of our living room walls. Next, we found linens to create simple character costumes and kitchen items to resemble a Liahona. A card table draped with a blanket served as our tent in the wilderness.

Draped in our costumes, we listened as the lesson began to unfold from 1 Nephi. My husband, dressed to represent Father Lehi, shared a message about the importance of obeying Heavenly Father (see 1 Ne. 2:2–3). Then we departed from “Jerusalem” and camped in our tent (see 1 Ne. 2:6). Father Lehi then awoke from a dream and instructed our children to return to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates (see 1 Ne. 3:2–4). They returned, lugging their father’s set of scriptures. We then used our Liahona to wend our way slowly to the land of “Bountiful,” represented by our ficus tree and a dried fruit mix (see 1 Ne. 16:10–16; 1 Ne. 17:5). Our couch then became the turbulent ship that we sailed to the promised land (see 1 Ne. 17:1–4; 1 Ne. 18:8–25).

By weaving scripture stories with a hands-on activity, our initial lesson was such a success that our children immediately requested more reenactments. Our “journey in the wilderness” taught us that children crave experiences that draw them closer to gospel teachings.

Ellen Gregory, Preston Third Ward, Preston Idaho North Stake

For more ideas on creative teaching, refer to Teaching, No Greater Call (item no. 36123; U.S. $2.00), pages 159–84.

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker