Making Mother’s Day Matter

Every Mother’s Day while I was growing up, I noticed my mother begin to weep the moment we entered the ward building. I always took comfort in her tears, believing they were shed out of love and gratitude for her rewarding position as my mother.

It was not until I became a mother of four children that I finally understood the cause of her tears. Mother’s Day was approaching, and I shared with her my unexpected feelings of depression and self-doubt. My mother then told me her own feelings of being overwhelmed at times by the magnitude of her responsibility as a mother. I decided then that I would find a way to overcome the negative feelings I was experiencing.

Later, as I knelt in prayer and asked for help, a new idea came to me that helped me avoid Mother’s Day tears.

First, I designed a homemade card for each one of the children. Next, I listed inside the cards each child’s unique qualities and strengths and also added an expression of my love. Then I informed my children that each card could be redeemed for a special day with Mother—a “Mother’s Day”—at some time in the future.

As I prepared these cards and listed the gifts of character for each child, my appreciation of my children grew and I could see clearly each one’s divine worth. My Mother’s Day cards and the resulting outings I had with the children have become some of the best Mother’s Day gifts I ever received.Stacey C. Weeks, Carson City, Nevada

Replenishing My Spiritual Reserves

As I talked with my friends one day about maintaining personal spirituality, each one voiced the same lament: “I don’t have time!” Later, my husband commented, “We find time to do that which we really want to do—that which we love.” I realized then that desire is what motivates each of us to take the time to replenish our spiritual reserves.

Once I learned to recognize my own symptoms of spiritual thirst, I began to seek time in my busy schedule to drink from a spiritual well. Instead of trying to find time, however, I discovered that first I had to remove some of the “time gluttons” from my day, thus creating time. Here’s what I did:

Television. Watching television not only takes time but also can adversely affect my thoughts and feelings, robbing me of precious spiritual reserves. Inappropriate pictures, words, and music that come unbidden to mind require extra effort to resist. By curtailing my viewing and being more discriminating in program selections, I have fewer worldly images to combat and more time for activities that fill my spiritual reserves.

Waiting time. I have found ways to turn waiting time into a spiritual filling station. One morning while waiting in a dentist’s chair and listening to distasteful music, I closed my eyes and mentally walked myself through the temple. This took effort and concentration, but I felt relaxed and refreshed by the time the dentist arrived.

I also carry a book bag nearly everywhere, with scriptures, lesson manuals, paper and pencils, and a good book inside. I always have something uplifting to read while I wait.

Telephone calls. The telephone, as wonderful as it is, can really eat up time. While visiting with a friend for a few minutes can be refreshing, lengthy calls made just to chat or to discuss subjects that are not uplifting or necessary take precious time out of the day.

After “creating” more time in my day, I began using it to sip often from my well of spiritual refreshment and occasionally drink deeply from it in these ways: spending a full hour reading the scriptures, praying during long walks, pondering the problems of the day, and passing a whole day in spiritual renewal (for example, reading scriptures and playing hymns on the piano while setting aside all other concerns as in Sabbath-day observance).

In addition, great natural and artistic beauties are to be found in the world that can help build our feelings of reverence for our Creator. By seeking time to sip from the well of spiritual nourishment often, we can be spiritually full, better prepared for the droughts and dry spells in life.Deborah S. Kent, Moberly, Missouri

Teaching Moments: Helping the Hearing-Impaired

As a person with hearing loss, I know how much more those like me can gain from Church meetings if class instructors and other ward members are aware of our needs. Hearing-impaired persons should not feel uncomfortable about making their needs known to organization and class leaders so that any needed consideration and accommodation can be given. Some helpful suggestions for those leaders and other members follow.

  1. 1.

    Try to obtain a classroom with carpeting, cushioned chairs, and drapes for classes we will be attending. All these things help to soften distracting sounds that can be too easily amplified by hearing aids.

  2. 2.

    Seat those with hearing loss near the front. Since we hear with our eyes, we watch a speaker’s lips, eyes, hands, and body movements. The farther back we are seated, the more we can be distracted by other movement and sounds within the room. Also, hearing aids are of limited help because their optimal operating distance is only about ten feet.

  3. 3.

    Encourage us to participate in class discussions. Ask us to read or answer questions. Be patient and tolerant if we speak loudly or too softly. Ask, “Are there any questions?” to check that we have understood.

  4. 4.

    Speak naturally or even a bit slowly, and if you are teaching, try to face us while you teach. Articulate clearly, but do not exaggerate mouth movements. Speaking fast or shouting garbles the sound.

  5. 5.

    Visual aids are very helpful. Referring to handouts, making chalkboard notes, and using the overhead projector aid us in following the discussion.

  6. 6.

    When sitting by someone who is hard of hearing, you may wish to take notes and then let the person see them. I once had the special privilege of sitting next to a lovely sister who took notes for me all during sacrament meeting. I have always cherished that hour of sitting by her side. Sometimes a thoughtful ward member will show me the page in the hymn book if it is not posted, or let me see which scripture we have just been asked to turn to. These small favors are very appreciated.

Remember that it demands tremendous concentration for those with hearing loss to follow what is being said in Church meetings. The process of learning is sometimes frustrating and stressful. But as ward members kindly reach out in small ways to assist us in this difficult process, we, too, feel the Spirit’s presence in Church meetings, learn of the doctrine, and take joy in the love of our ward family.Aletha Gilbert, Salt Lake City, Utah

Fitness, Family Style

As a busy mother with young children, I face many challenges in finding time and energy to exercise daily, but a strong desire to stay physically fit, coupled with a love of the outdoors, has inspired me to be creative in finding ways to do it.

Daily workouts fulfill a need I have to get away by myself, sort out my feelings, and plan my day. If I can organize myself and get enough sleep, I find it works best to rise at an early hour with my husband. While he gets ready for work and the children begin to stir, I head out for an early-morning walk. I’m back in time for breakfast and family prayer before my husband leaves for work. Exercising helps me to start my day with more energy and patience.

When we have problems to discuss, my husband and I like to walk together. Often we go to our neighborhood elementary school early in the morning or late in the evening. Sometimes we include the children, who enjoy playing on the school playground.

The children like to join us in other activities also. We have found several short hikes the entire family can manage. When we reach our turnaround point, we pull snacks out of a backpack for a healthful treat. We have also used bicycles to do the same thing and have found several routes we enjoy exploring.

When weather won’t permit outdoor activity, we occasionally devote a family home evening to doing exercises and taking agility tests. We’ve even held our own living room field day, competing in the standing long jump, the high jump, and even the discus and shot put (using soft items).

I find that when our family participates in physical activity, we enjoy greater teamwork, have more fun together, participate in more meaningful conversations, and experience greater harmony. With determination and creativity, most families can enjoy staying physically fit—family style.Kristy Sawtelle, Phoenix, Arizona

[photos] Photography by Steve Bunderson

[illustrations] Silhouettes by Jerry Harston