When Mom Needs Help

Have you ever wondered whether the family whose mother is confined to bed recovering from an illness, an accident, or surgery could use some help? The answer is definitely yes—although family members may insist that they are doing fine. Here are some suggestions to make a difficult time more pleasant for the family and to help lift some of the burden from the father and older children.

Dinner is always appreciated at the end of a hectic day. Ask if there is a family favorite that they would like you to prepare or if there is anything that family members cannot eat. If at all possible, take the meal in disposable containers, such as foil pans and paper plates, to minimize cleanup time. If you take the meal in dishes that you want returned, mark your name clearly on them and mention that you will drop by in a couple of days to pick them up. An extra special treat, especially if there are young children in the home, is to take cookie dough or cake batter and bake it on the scene, filling the air with delicious aromas.

Meals are not the only way to help. Give children rides to school or activities, mow the lawn on a Saturday morning, or hold a young child during church services. Have your family spend an hour or so at their home dusting, vacuuming, and doing other household chores. As a special treat to the parents, take their children away for a couple of hours on a Friday or Saturday evening so that they can have a “date” at home.

You can also do many things to boost the sister’s spirits during her long hours in bed. Take small gifts that will double as productive time-fillers: mini jigsaw puzzles, small needlework projects, or stationery. Pick up a favorite library book or two, drop off an interesting article, or help her get rid of the “bedridden look” by bringing her makeup, curlers, and nail polish to her bedside, then putting them away when she has finished with them. If you take her treats, be sure to take small portions since pounds and inches accumulate quickly when she is not able to exercise. The best gift is simply a visit, but be careful not to stay too long, since she will probably tire easily.

Giving this kind of service may not always be easy or convenient—especially if the family is hesitant to accept at first. But the burdens that will be lifted and the joy that will be shared make even the smallest efforts, given with love, greatly appreciated and long remembered.Carrie Ludlow, Modesto, California

Reverence Cards

Now that our children are old enough not to need constant supervision through sacrament meeting, but not old enough to listen to and understand all that is said, I have started taking along a project to keep them occupied. What is different about this project is that it has a purpose.

Before church, my children and I fold several pieces of paper into shapes to make blank greeting cards. Then, during sacrament meeting, the children quietly decorate the cards with drawings and stickers. During the next week we anonymously deliver the cards to families in our ward who need a cheery note.—Name withheld upon request

Keeping Your Mission Language Alive

“To work!”


“To read the scriptures!”

“Leer las escrituras!”

Remember the hours of language drills in the Missionary Training Center and all the time and effort you put into learning that new language? Through diligent study and prayer and constant practice, you learned it well enough to preach the gospel with power.

But now that you’re home, are you gradually forgetting the language you worked so hard to master? Do you feel embarrassed when you try to speak the language to others? You don’t have to. If you continue to use your acquired language, you can keep your fluency level surprisingly high. Reading, writing, or speaking the language requires only minutes a day, does not impose upon your busy schedule, and requires no special classes or textbooks. Try activities such as:

  1. 1.

    Reading your scriptures regularly in your acquired language.

  2. 2.

    Keeping a dictionary in your second language handy. Look up words when you have forgotten their meanings or when you come across unfamiliar words.

  3. 3.

    Subscribing to and reading the Church’s international magazine published in the language of your mission.

  4. 4.

    Writing letters—in the language you used—to former missionary companions or to friends in your mission area.

  5. 5.

    Attending your mission reunions and speaking the language you learned.

  6. 6.

    Finding a friend, neighbor, or ward member who speaks the language and conversing as often as possible with him or her in that language.

It is not easy to learn a language in the first place. But with continued practice, even in small amounts, it really is possible to keep your skill alive.Terry J. Moyer, Salt Lake City, Utah

Getting the Word from Dad

While my husband was recovering from surgery, I asked him to tape-record himself reading the scriptures. Now, as I iron, mend, garden, can, or do other chores, I keep my mind active by listening to the tapes. Our children, especially our two youngest who cannot yet read by themselves, enjoy using the tapes for scripture study. My husband’s voice makes the time even more memorable.Barbara Riley, Arvada, Colorado

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer

[photo] Photography by Philip S. Shurtleff