Rocket Fuel for Runners
Colleen is awesome and amazing! How did you like how quickly she responded to the Green Smoothie discussion that was posted yesterday with a video today? Don't you love modern technology? Enough with the small talk!
Today Colleen and I are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. We have ten amazing children, four amazing son-in-laws, and a bevy of adorable grandchildren. Colleen is not only a wonderful matriarch of many children and grandchildren, she has developed her talents in many ways and has provided support to me, that I'm told, few men ever receive. Although, working with as many women as we have, I have to say, you are all amazing, truly.
I want to share the untold story of how this website began. In 2000 Colleen and I sat next to each other on our bed just before our morning prayers. We lived in San Diego, California and we were speaking together of my recent healing experience and how to go about maintaining my improvements in health, while at the same time bringing our family along with us.
We felt impressed that a gulf separated Latter-day Saints from their present blessings of health and the blessings promised in the Word of Wisdom. Very few LDS understood how to cross that gulf or even knew of its existence. I had inadvertently landed on the other side of that gulf but knew little regarding how it might be possible to build a bridge that could support the crossing of many others, nor did I even understand how to stay on the other side. How to navigate in between was beyond me.
While on the other side of this gulf, my mind had cleared in a way that is indescribable. I met often with the board of directors of a fast growing company. Other board members had witnessed an increase of clarity and action in me over a six month period. A motion was moved, seconded, and passed to have me prepare the aggendas and direct all future board-meetings. This was strange.
My mind was clear, my physical strength achieved a level that surpassed anything I had ever experienced, and I had the capacity to work exceedingly long hours. In addition to work and family duties, I visited over 30 LDS families a month and went on missionary splits at least once a week. My family witnessed many miracles because I was so close to conversions that were happening in both missionary work and in the lives of people who had distanced themselves from the church. The pace was swift yet exhilirating and never difficult. I was experiencing the promised blessings of the Word of Wisdom and I knew it.
Having tasted the blessings, I felt that all Latter-day Saints should enjoy what I was experiencing. I was inspired by thoughts about what President Kimball spoke of years ago when he said that the faith and works of the early missionaries were so great that they opened doors to other nations, that we have since allowed to swing shut through insufficient faith and works. I had a vision of how we might serve the Master more fully, if only we could all experience the blessings I was enjoying.
Colleen and I felt that perhaps there was a greater purpose in the eleven years of chronic sickness I had experienced than mere drugery of stumbling to work and back each day, with no strength to do more. During that eleven year stretch I couldn't magnify service at all.
Prior to our conversation, Colleen and I had just encountered some dietary setbacks and I felt dissappointment. I reigned in my dissappointment and expressed a belief to her that we would help to build a bridge between the chasm that separates the two worlds, the world I was enjoying and the world that everyone believes to be normal. We felt it was going to take some time and we would probably encounter many setbacks along the way, but if we were patient with each other and the process, a time would come when the effort would benefit us personally, our family, and others.
We felt that our experiences needed to be as similar as possible to the experiences of others who would cross this bridge. We felt a need to stay completely grounded to the Word of Wisdom, because it was written for the weakest of saints and everybody needed to cross the bridge. I told her that I would strive to not criticize when we experienced setbacks, but would look at it in perspective, meaning, her mistakes and my mistakes would reflect the very reality that others would face. After all, what is there to criticize when you are pioneering the unknown. And, how could our efforts serve anyone if we dozered a path that no one else could follow. We knew that because of her commitment to the process she would shoulder much of the bridge-building load. Amazingly, even though dietary lifestyle is not "her thing," she agreed whole heartedly. You've watched our videos; you can decide for yourself how this wonderful mother of ten is doing.
I expressed my belief to her that if Latter-day Saints are ever to become successful in enabling the promise blessings of the Word of Wisdom, it will be primarily mothers who bring this success about. It will be the mothers who ultimately raise a new generation of youth who are raised up as Daniel of the Old Testament. Mother's possess the greatest power on earth to influence successful and permenant dietary changes in their homes. A mother's role is unique and distinct. We needed to go forward with faith in the amazing vision, sacrificing nature, and hearts of Latter-day Saint women. They are extraordinary and how they embrace this task will affect generations to come.
We agreed that because this was a worthwhile and difficult task, that we would pray for the patience with each other, to view setbacks as merely a training ground to experience similar mistakes and challenges others might face. We agreed to laugh a them as much as possible and to continue the journey. By not trying to do the impossible or to pretend that things were better than they were, we set about building a bridge, one plank at a time, within our own family. Honestly, we didn't have a clue what we were doing. You are aware of the confusion and division of thoughts on this topic. I believe it exists because the adversary knows that when we obtain the upper hand in this battle, all hope will be lost for him.
Our motivation and ambition to "Build a Bridge," that could be easily crossed was entirely supported from a desire to see the blessings I had experienced-- become far more universally experienced among Latter-day Saints. Well, we are further across the bridge than we were in 2000 and believe that with your help, and your great contributions of experience and knowledge, the bridge will be solidly built. It's so nice to have such awesome company now. Please accept my apologies for weaknesses I have in writing and communicating. You've seen the worse and the best is yet to come.
Colleen has helped me develop a variety of recipes; she has traveled with me to teach and to speak, and she has been the glue that has kept us moving in the right direction. She has brought me back to center everytime I become distracted from our true motivations.Without her, there would not be an LDS Health Today, or Original Fast Foods, or Daniel's Challenge.
LDS Health Today came about after Colleen and I taught over 5000 people in kitchen settings various recipes, weight-loss classes, and so forth. We decided that as fun as it was to teach in person, we needed to enable easier access to support solutions. She agreed to allow me to shoot and edit videos of her each week as we add new content to the website. We were stopped for a bit when our video-editing computer crashed and lost its hard drive.
Anyway, that's a bit of our story and how this site came to be. We have a testimony that the Word of Wisdom was given to enable Latter-day Saints with the endurance, strength, wisdom, and treasures of knowledge necessary to trod the path of holiness to become one with Christ, to build the city Zion and to receive the fullness of the gospel into our midst--even Christ. I also have a testimony that no one who struggles with illness as I did for eleven years can enjoy or run along this most important of all paths successfully. Brigham Young taught that the Word of Wisdom was given so that we do not have to experience diseases that prevent us from doing the work we were sent here to do. He even taught that we are deluded if we believe diseases are a refining process and that God doesn't want us to live that way because the work we have to do is so important. Again, I hope this post can help you understand our intent and to the extent you are able, to contribute good content and participate in discussions in a manner that will invite others to enjoy the process of learning, growing, and enjoying better health.
All Our Best
Jim and Colleen Simmons