See How Much I Love You

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By Sister Camy Eisentrager

We held our Enrichment Night with the topic strengthening families in mind...We used the theme "If you love them, tell them!" Our night was very successful!

Our ward is small so we do not separate for different mini classes. We had 3 different areas we wanted to cover. The first was showing love to your spouse, the second was showing love to children, and the third showing love to your friends and neighbors.

We asked 3 different women in the ward to each take a topic and talk 5-10 minutes on how they show love in these areas. I learned many new and fun ideas in each area! We concluded the evening making notebooks (LOVE NOTES)!

We began the evening with a story... and gave each sister a copy along with her first love note to leave for someone to find...The story....SHMILY:

My grandparents were married for over half a century, and played their own special game from the time they had met each other. The goal of their game was to write the word "shmily" in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving "shmily" around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was their turn to hide it once more.

They dragged "shmily" with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. "Shmily" was written in the steam left on the mirror after a hot shower, where it would reappear bath after bath. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave "shmily" on the very last sheet.

There was no end to the places "shmily" would pop up. Little notes with "shmily" scribbled hurriedly were found on dashboards and car seats, or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. "Shmily" was written in the dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents' house as the furniture.

It took me a long time before I was able to fully appreciate my grandparents' game. Skepticism has kept me from believing in true love-one that is pure and enduring. However, I never doubted my grandparents' relationship. They had love down pat. It was more than their flirtatious little games; it was a way of life. Their relationship was based on a devotion and passionate affection which not everyone is lucky enough to experience.

Grandma and Grandpa held hands every chance they could. They stole kisses as they bumped into each other in their tiny kitchen. They finished each other's sentences and shared the daily crossword puzzle and word jumble. My grandma whispered to me about how cute my grandpa was, how handsome and old he had grown to be. She claimed that she really knew "how to pick 'em." Before every meal they bowed their heads and gave thanks, marveling at their blessings: a wonderful family, good fortune, and each other.

But there was a dark cloud in my grandparents' life: my grandmother had breast cancer. The disease had first appeared ten years earlier. As always, Grandpa was with her every step of the way. He comforted her in their yellow room, painted that way so that she could always be surrounded by sunshine, even when she was too sick to go outside. Now the cancer was again attacking her body. With the help of a cane and my grandfather's steady hand, they went to church every week.

But my grandmother grew steadily weaker until, finally, she could not leave the house anymore. For a while, Grandpa would go to church alone, praying to God to watch over his wife. Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone.

"Shmily." It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother's funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time.

Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother's casket and, taking a shaky breath, he began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby. Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment.

For I knew that, although I couldn't begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.

S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You. Some of the ideas discussed are as follows: 

Showing love to spouse

Mail him a fun card or love letter--Have a weekly date--put a fun note in his lunchbox, shoe, or coat pocket--meet your husband at the door with a hug and a kiss--write a song for him--give him a call and say I love you--give the gift of time and self (turn off TV, internet)--do something out of the ordinary--make him breakfast--think of marriage as an empty jar waiting to be filled--make eye contact while speaking to one another.

Showing love to children

Show love and affection--HUG,HUG, and then HUG again--give encouraging remarks--Really listen to your kids (remember God gave you two ears and only one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk)--Smile--Let your children feel what they feel...Don't try to talk them out of being angry or sad.--Don't always point out mispronunciations--put down the newspaper, laundry, turn off the TV--"Know what, Mom?" is an invitation to which you should definitely RSVP

Showing Love to Friends and Neighbors

It is hard to get to know neighors...just be friendly...say hello when you have the opportunity, wave, be courteous..Visit them.

The sister decided that with the world as it is today she wanted to focus on making the ward a more friendly ward. She started a ward friendship basket. In her crazy life she loves quick dinners, so she wanted to give someone a quick meal. She had a basket full of spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, french bread. She gave the makings for a dinner to a sister who will take the items in the basket, use them and then pass the basket to another member in the ward with items from her heart.

Along with the basket is a bookmark-type paper that has a poem...A basket of love I give to you, Enjoy it, and when you're through. Fill it again with a small treat, The next sister will sure think it's neat. The bookmark is to sign before passing the basket along. We had a wonderful evening full of enriching and inexpensive ideas, lots of laughter, and plenty of sisterhood! I think all who attended walked away with a greater knowledge of how to strengthen their family.