“Double-Duty Letters,” Ensign, Aug. 1997, 72–73
Writing weekly letters to our missionary parents, helping our six children keep up their journals, and writing regularly in my own journal seemed an impossible challenge. Finally, after years of experimentation, I have a system that allows me to keep up with both letters and journals.
Each week I write a letter to our missionary parents on our computer. In summarizing the events of the week, I am careful to include a paragraph about each of the children with updates on their development and activities. I print out and mail the letter. Then, working with the version on the computer, I prepare the letter contents as a journal entry by deleting parts I don’t want to keep, such as the salutation and subsequent words of greeting. Then I date the entry and save it on my computer. During the week I also make other journal entries and date them. Once a month I combine all the entries in chronological order to create one document, which I print out and put into my three-ring notebook journal.
Every three months I review the journal entries on the computer and identify the paragraphs about our children and delete all else. I then print the file, which is now a group of dated paragraphs about the children, covering a three-month period. At the side of each paragraph, I jot down the initials of any child who should have that paragraph in his or her journal. Some paragraphs have all six initials, others only one or more.
Then I am ready to group the paragraphs by child and print the appropriate set for each child’s notebook journal. The notebooks also provide a place for the children to write their own entries.
Our journals have been more up-to-date and our letters to our missionary parents more regular since I found a way to write the information once and use it in several ways.—Elaine Salisbury, Riverton, Utah