Warm Fuzzy Love
Once upon a time there was a land where every person was given a bag of ‘warm fuzzies’ when he or she was born. These warm fuzzies made them feel happy all over. People gave them to each other freely, and no one ever ran out.
“But one day a bad witch started telling the townspeople they would run out of warm fuzzies if they gave so many away. This had never occurred to them before—and they became worried. Before long, people were giving them out only once in a while. And as they stopped sharing, they became sadder and sadder until they began to shrivel up and die.
“Then a young woman came to this land. She gave her warm fuzzies freely since she hadn’t heard about the witch and wasn’t worried about running out. People disapproved, and they passed a law making it a criminal offense to give warm fuzzies recklessly.
“But the children liked the young woman and liked feeling happy and warm and fuzzy all over, so they followed her example. As of now, it is hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups stop the recklessness of the children? Or will they remember the days when warm fuzzies were abundant and start to give again?”
I told my family this story at home evening during a time when we seemed to be arguing and bickering often. Then I gave each of them a felt bag filled with a dozen pom-poms of one color—a different color for each person in the family. I challenged them to give their warm fuzzies freely, and promised that if they did, no one would run out.
This was quite a project, but family members rose to the occasion. Our children were quick to give warm fuzzies to someone who was sad or hurt, and often they simply said, “I love you.” They even helped our autistic, mentally retarded daughter, Jaclyn, five years old at the time, give her warm fuzzies out.
At the end of our one-week experiment, we evaluated the results. No one had run out of warm fuzzies. Each bag was full of assorted colors of pom-poms. Everyone was happy. It really worked!
Now, months later, we still find warm fuzzies on top of dressers, in pencil holders, tucked in drawers. We give them freely, and often the recipient is the only one who knows. Once, when Selina realized I’d had a rough day, she handed me a warm fuzzy and said, “Mom, I think you need a hug.” Brian slipped a warm fuzzy into Jaclyn’s hand following one of her seizures. One of my warm fuzzies went into Chich’s lunch sack with a love note. Chich slipped one to Brian after they had spent a few minutes talking father-to-son. Just the other day, I put my hand in my sweater pocket and felt a warm fuzzy Sara-Beth had given me long ago.
The warm fuzzies continue to bless our home with love.—, Amity, Oregon
Pictures of Reverence
Drawing from such sources as pamphlets and Church magazines, members of my family have collected small pictures of Jesus and have mounted them in a pocket-sized photo album. My small children enjoy looking through the album during the passing of the sacrament. The vivid illustrations help keep them quietly occupied as they think about the Savior’s life and atonement.—, North Edwards, California
Recreation on a Shoestring
Leisure activities don’t have to be expensive in order to be fun and worthwhile. There are many creative, cost-saving alternatives to some recreational pursuits. Whether you’re seeking to entertain your family, your friends, or yourself, the following items can help, whether used as suggestions or as examples to stimulate your own ideas.
Hobbies. Pursue interests that require little or no expense, such as hiking, writing, drawing, carving, and bird-watching.
Collect something. From barbed wire to wildflowers, the range of inexpensive collectibles is vast.
Enroll in community education classes to learn more about your special interests. You can study anything from computers to photography.
Read. Your public library offers an inexhaustible treasure at an unbeatable price.
Learn a craft. Woodworking, sewing, auto repair, and countless other crafts are handy skills. They can also be therapeutic as well as sources of extra income.
Rent or buy a used musical instrument. Perhaps a family member or friend will teach you free of charge.
Sports. Use local tennis courts, swimming pools, and other public recreational facilities.
Participate in sports that don’t require expensive gear.
Rent or borrow sports equipment that you use only occasionally. If you want to buy your own equipment later on, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed purchase.
Buy sports equipment at yard sales, or watch for good buys on used items advertised in the newspaper.
Join a local sports group for enthusiasts of bicycling, rafting, or running, for example. They sponsor competitions, keep you informed about upcoming activities (many of them at little or no cost), and usually rent equipment at discount rates.
Events. Take advantage of discount tickets for community events through credit unions, employee associations, community coupon books, and supermarkets.
Get a copy of your community activity calendar to find free and low-cost concerts, fairs, plays, and exhibits.
Attend firesides, devotionals, and other events listed on your ward or stake calendar.
Travel. When traveling, save money by taking along a cooler filled with sandwiches and snacks.
Camp out or stay in bed-and-breakfast establishments. Both types of accommodations can be less expensive than motels and hotels.
Before renting a room, compare its price with the prices of comparable lodgings in the area.
Shop for prices at several travel agencies and compare those costs with what you’d spend making your own arrangements. (Remember to include the cost of your long-distance phone calls.)
If you will be traveling by air, consider going on standby.
Visit nearby tourist attractions. There are probably many good vacation spots closer to home than you think.
Travel during the off-season to avoid crowds and to benefit from discount rates. You may qualify for discounts by ordering tickets well in advance of your trip.
Budgeting. A key to saving money on leisure activities is to set up a recreation budget and then stick to it. Budgeting will minimize impulse spending and encourage better planning. Once you’ve set up a workable budget, review your recreational interests and get together with friends or family members to brainstorm ways to beat the rising costs of entertainment. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll be surprised at how far your entertainment dollars will stretch.—, West Jordan, Utah
Beating the Scripture-Study Squeeze
There are days in my busy household when some things don’t get done according to schedule. Soup or cereal occasionally replaces a well-balanced meal. Sometimes I’m unable to finish the laundry and we have to make do. And once in a while the gerbils miss a feeding on the days of baseball practices and piano lessons.
One thing I like to do every day but sometimes don’t get to is my personal scripture study. I’ve accepted that there will be days when my scripture study will suffer because other important things will demand my immediate attention. But just as I don’t give up trying to have well-balanced dinners every day, I don’t give up trying to have daily scripture study.
The following ideas help me get the most benefit possible from my scripture study despite the distractions that inevitably come up.
I don’t mark my progress on a chart. I’m not competing in a race; I’m seeking to gain knowledge and strengthen my testimony. A progress chart cannot measure the fruits of my study.
I include scripture study on my daily task list as an item separate from the task of preparing for my Church calling. If my week gets hectic and I’m still doing Monday’s tasks on Thursday, I will not berate myself for falling behind in my scripture study.
I don’t predetermine my study time. As free moments occur in my schedule, I take advantage of those quiet, unhurried times when I can read and ponder the scriptures under the influence of the Holy Ghost. And free moments occur often. The difficulty is not in finding them but rather in scheduling them in advance.
I study by topic as well as by reading the standard works in sequence. Sometimes much of my study involves reading footnotes and cross-references. Whatever approach I use, I always make it a point to enjoy the scriptures.
I study because I love the scriptures. I am not preoccupied with commentaries about the scriptures. I believe it is important to learn the gospel from the scriptures themselves. I want to become familiar with the words of the Lord so I can hear his voice and follow him. (See John 10:27.)—, Houston, Texas