The Widow’s New Dress

We were discussing our spring sewing when the dear little old lady spoke up. “I have some fabric I would like to have a dress from, but I can no longer see well enough to sew.” Most of us knew only rumors of this widow’s life of sacrifice. We had never heard her ask for anything until now.

Someone had to make her that dress. I didn’t have the time, and I wasn’t a good seamstress, but I knew I had to do it. When she gave me her fabric, I knew there would be just enough for the dress she wanted if I made the cuffs and collar from a contrasting material. As I sewed, I tried to raise the neckline to her liking, but after numerous attempts I still couldn’t get the contrast strip and facing to attach properly.

In desperation, I knelt by my sewing machine and told the Lord how important it was that this sweet lady get a new dress, how badly she wanted this particular fabric, and how it was being ruined as I picked out stitches over and over. To my astonishment, as I worked I could see how to attach the collar to the altered neckline—although I did not know how to do it before I started. A sweet spirit was with me as I sewed into the night, completing the dress perfectly.

She cried when she tried it on. It was just what she wanted. I cried because I knew the Lord wanted her to have that dress as much as I did. Told by a visiting teacher to Susan Zmolek, Aurora, Colorado

[illustration] Illustrated by Scott Snow

“It’s Not Like You”

A man I worked with once told me that his hectic week had put him in a terrible mood. “Janet couldn’t get over it,” he told me, referring to his wife. “She said, ‘George, it’s not like you to be so ornery. It’s not like you at all.’” George happily repeated his wife’s statement several times.

Her criticism had been a compliment. By adding “It’s not like you,” She had let him know that she knew he was usually agreeable. I have tried to use that phrase when a member of my family is “not himself.” It has given me a better relationship with my husband and children and helped them see themselves more positively. Anya C. Bateman, Salt Lake City, Utah

Nephi Helps Me

“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life” (2 Ne. 31:20).

It’s when I’m most discouraged that I savor Nephi’s words. He reminds me that merely pressing on isn’t enough. I must press forward, not in circles or byways. And not by plodding, but pressing forward in eagerness.

He also admonishes me to feast on Christ’s words, not snacking on the crumbs left over from someone else’s banquet, but consuming the scriptures hungrily as I seek to know the Savior as Nephi did.

I’m glad that Nephi also reminds me to have “a perfect brightness of hope.” When the world is full of so much to grimace about, it’s glorious to recall all there is to grin about.

Nephi convinces me there’s much to enjoy on the way to eternal life. How can I be less courageous than he? Carol Clark, Relief Society General Board

Keeping a Meeting Journal

Sometimes it’s difficult not to let attending meetings deteriorate into a perfunctory exercise. I’ve discovered a way to make meeting attendance more personal, more enjoyable, and more meaningful. I keep a meeting journal.

My journal has reminded me that listeners are as responsible for making good use of a message as speakers are for providing it, and that finding things of value in each meeting keeps me attentive—not a small boon for someone who, while her body matured, maintained the attention span of a preteen. Also, the commentary provides a record of what I consider worth remembering. That record will be available to my progeny—a start toward the journal I’ve not so far been able to maintain.

Sample entries include an insight from a Sunday School class that praying is useless without charity (see Alma 34:17–29) and deepened gratitude for a good marriage from a testimony borne on Fast Sunday. Sherilyn Cox Bennion, Bayside, California