Friday, March 15, 2013

Practicing Our Way Back

Last night, we had our Relief Society Birthday Celebration.  (a.k.a. Enrichment, a.k.a. Homemaking.) This was the extent of my amazing decor:

I was in charge and had a great committee to help me:

I think it turned out nice.  My motto is "do nothing until the last minute."  No.  Just kidding.  My real motto is "Make sure the food is good and don't worry about decorating."  We had soup, salad, and Fazoli's bread sticks and ladies in the ward shared temple experiences. 

As I came home last night and fell into bed, I remembered back to twenty years ago when I was 16 years old.  The Relief Society in my ward was doing a fashion show of antique dresses and outfits for Enrichment.  The lady in charge (who shall remain nameless but I remember her distinctly to this day!) decided to have the young women in the ward be the models.  We were all asked to come to the church the day before and get fitted in outfits for the show.

At 16, I was the same size I am now.  5'9, decent sized chest, long legs.  Do you see where this is going?  The antique clothes were made for ladies 100 years ago who were five foot nothing and probably flat as a board.  To say the clothes were short and tight on me was an understatement.  They had me try on outfit after outfit and they would sit and snicker and whisper about how inappropriate I looked.  Finally, I burst into tears and told them I wasn't doing their stupid show and ran for my car.

When I got home, my mom asked me what was wrong.  I explained what happened and I couldn't even finish before she was in her car heading to the church.  She marched in and told those ladies off and reminded them that the church is about people not programs and told them she wouldn't be coming to their lousy fashion show.  Boo-yeah!  And for those of you who don't know my mom..everyone loves her.  She was the toast of the ward.  So that was a big deal!

My darling mom:

To this day, I try to think about that experience when I plan things for church.  But I also know that people aren't any organization.  We all make mistakes.  We all get caught up in trying to make our event perfect.  We all want to succeed and we offend people along the way. 

Recently, I attended a testimony meeting where a woman spoke of God's grace.  Grace isn't a term we often use in the Mormon church but it basically means we all get to return to His presence because the Atonement.  She reminded us that the Atonement is a gift.  We are not EARNING our way back to Him--we are PRACTICING our way back.  I loved that. 

So as I go forward in the future, my goal is to put people first, events second and forgive others along the way.  Oh, and thank the Lord every night that I am no longer in cub scouts!!!


Jill said...

I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to see plastic utensils on the table! Our ward is always way over the top with elaborate table settings and decorations and even though it always looks beautiful I find it distracting. I swear I have PTSD from a couple years ago when I was on the committee and had to clean that stuff up! I remember sitting at a lovely activity feeling distracted and furious that I was going to have to stay there to clean it all up! Goblets for Pete's sake!

Hooray for your wonderful mom defending your 16 year old self!

melissa walker said...

This is why I love you and your mom! I don't even remember that activity and apparently I was not invited to be a model? Maybe I didn't fit into the vintage clothing either and I have to think that my mom would have been right there with your mom!

alexandra said...

I loved this. What nice thoughts, and what a wonderful mom. I love it when you write about her. What a great role model she is. You look really awesome, by the way, and I would appreciate knowing about every single item of clothing in that top photo, right down to the shoes.

SewSara said...

brooke, this brought a lump to my throat. what a sweet mom you have, and a great lesson to learn. plus, we are trying to prepare our lesson for youth sunday school for tomorrow and this was exactly what i needed to read. thanks!xo

lindsey said...

Totally teaching the Young Women's lesson on grace tomorrow and using this as a conversation starter.

You look hot, those soups look yummy, good idea using Fazoli's breadsticks.

Also, I read this post this morning while I was at an extensive dress rehearsal for the Ward Variety Show...and needed it to keep me from throwing eye daggers at everyone in charge.

Ashley said...

I knew Jill would love this post!

This is classic Mom at her finest. I remember this whole thing going down (I remember mom on the phone giving someone the business) but I can't remember why I wasn't involved. It was seriously so awful how they treated you. And so Mom to not take it!

I am totally surprised that you were in charge of this event bc this is the first time I heard about it. When I was in charge of one I whined about it for months. I feel like a fool now for every time I've wasted time on decorations. It's so true they don't matter (the level you did was perfect, which still was a lot of work with the framed pics on every table, the flowers, etc.) but I am totally all for not making it a burden on people and focusing on the people/activity. Well done.

Carolyn said...

Next time I am in a picture with you - I need to wear heels. :) It was a perfect night Brooke. You did a great job and I love that it was not over the top. It's the message and friendship between the sisters that is important! Glad it's over though - that was a crazy day!

Christie said...

I would sell my soul to Satan himself if I was the same size now as me at age 16. You deserve a medal for that accomplishment.

Your mom is a rock star. Way to go!

Elizabeth said...

Your Mum is truely wonderful :-)
I feel like I am practising my way back a lot lately (and its great).

Carolyn M said...

Great post Brooke !! What a great lesson from you and your mom ... you are both amazing women!

Linda said...

whoa, I just read this! Thank you, everyone who said nice things about "Brooke's mom." The "mama bear" instinct just took over, and I didn't do anything that any other mom wouldn't do to protect her daughter.

GNB said...

Brooke, you've had a lot of really great posts...some funny, some serious, and some thought provoking--but this one is my favorite of the year.

Hope it's a great year for you! Happy Birthday!