The $10 Savings Plan

In 1985 I had to find employment to provide for myself and three teenagers. With my minimal earnings, I was able to meet our basic needs but worried about saving for the future. Soon I discovered a solution that works on any income: saving money from yearly raises. The first year I saved $10 per paycheck; the next year, $20, and so forth. In just 10 years I was contributing $100 per paycheck ($200 per month) to a deferred compensation account. Regardless of what type of account you choose, it’s important to save when your income increases, because you don’t miss money you never had. With the earnings from my retirement savings and pension, I hope to someday serve many missions for the Church.

Leslie Lake, Toledo Second Ward, Toledo Ohio Stake

Promoting Unity

Church activity provides us many opportunities to work with people of varying ethnic and cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic levels, marital status, educational levels, career paths, and religious experience. With these differences come opportunities for spiritual and emotional growth as we learn new ways to work with and be of service to others. The following suggestions have helped me fellowship members of my ward:

  1. 1.

    Greet everyone, especially new or unfamiliar members. Take time to learn their names and something about them. We are all more likely to attend Church functions when we know we have a friend in the ward.

  2. 2.

    Be faithful home and visiting teachers. These visits provide excellent friendshipping opportunities. Offer to help people to become involved and to meet other ward members.

  3. 3.

    Avoid jokes or comments that may be offensive. If you realize you have inadvertently said something hurtful, be quick to apologize and resolve any concerns. In turn, if you see that an individual feels alienated because of something careless someone else said, help reassure that no offense was intended.

  4. 4.

    See opportunities to serve and include everyone. When appropriate, ask new members how you can involve them. One way is to ask for their input if you are organizing an upcoming ward activity. Be open to as many suggestions as possible.

  5. 5.

    Build genuine friendships. Invite others to your home or to an activity. If you see a newfound friend shopping at a local store, eating at a restaurant, or attending church, take time to visit for a few moments.

    Although it takes effort to get to know someone whose background may be different from yours, the experience enriches your life too. When you think about it, we all come from diverse backgrounds.

Kimberley C. Hirschi, San Diego 12th Ward, San Diego California North Stake

One More Story, Dad!

One night my son, Adam, asked me to read him a bedtime story. As I looked around his room for a good book, I decided to read instead from a journal I had been keeping for several years. It contained entries I had written weekly about Adam. Each entry took only about 10 minutes to write. To my amazement, my son was fascinated with what I had written about him. As soon as I finished, he begged me to read more.

From that evening on, the journal became his favorite bedtime storybook. The entries usually noted Adam’s experiences each week, especially any good choices I had seen him make. Focusing on the positive helped him continue to make righteous decisions.

I used to think that the journal would be a priceless gift for my son when he became an adult. Then I realized I didn’t have to wait until then; it’s priceless to both of us now.

G. David Nassief, Greenway Ward, Paradise Valley Arizona Stake

Family Home Evening Helps: Two Fun Family Traditions

You could say our family likes to celebrate our heritage, and we’re often in the “hot seat.”

Since I like to cook and serve international meals, I’ve prepared several cultural nights for our family to learn more about where our ancestors came from. Without leaving home, we have enjoyed flavorful dishes, dances, songs, and other aspects of those cultures. Sometimes we have even decorated our home with available souvenirs and photos. In addition to featuring our heritage countries, we have also learned more about where our children served their missions. With a little research at your local library or on the Internet, you can easily find a variety of ideas to get you started.

And when we’re not learning about our heritage, we don’t mind being in the “hot seat.” This simple activity gives us a chance to focus on one another’s positive attributes. We simply invite a family member to sit on a chair (the hot seat), and we take turns saying nice things about him or her. Since we have a large family, it takes some time for everyone to be spotlighted, but we love boosting each other’s confidence.

These family night traditions have strengthened our family. Not only do we focus on the blessings of our heritage, but we also focus on the things we love most about each other.

Teresa Shaw, Lake Arrowhead Ward, San Bernardino California Stake

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker

[illustrations] Illustrated by Joe Flores