Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Don't Do Centerpieces

Being a Relief Society teacher can be an intimidating calling. In addition to preparing your lesson, cultivating a spiritual atmosphere, and encouraging the sisters to contribute to the lesson, you are expected to create a breathtaking centerpiece. I have known many women who were born with exceptional centerpiece-making talents. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. Not only do I stink at centerpieces, but I also have questionable cooking skills, my daughter’s pigtails are never symmetrical, and I haven’t volunteered for a Mormon Handicraft project since the great quilting incident of ’98, when I somehow managed to tie my quilt into a figure eight. Apparently a large rectangle is the traditional shape for quilts, and more “creative” shapes are frowned upon.

I think it would help all of us artfully impaired individuals if the Relief Society manual came with centerpiece ideas and instructions to go with each lesson. Instead of Teachings of Presidents of the Church, the manual could be called Teachings and Fabulous Centerpiece Ideas of Presidents of the Church. But since we’ll probably never get such a manual, I’ve put together a few tips of my own, specifically geared to my sisters who don’t know the difference between chiffon and …see, I can’t even think of the name of another fabric to finish that sentence with.

Step One: Begin working on your centerpiece at least a month in advance. If possible, it’s recommended that you sit down and plan out a full year’s worth of centerpieces when you first receive your calling. In fact, consider adding “Centerpieces” to your list of things to accumulate for your year’s supply.

Step Two: Consider the theme of your lesson. The centerpiece MUST match the lesson, or you risk receiving an icy look from the pianist, who planned prelude music that matched the lesson 3 weeks ago. Sometimes this can be harder than others. For example, one lesson is entitled “The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times”. This is a hard one, because you don’t find too many porcelain figurines depicting the fullness of times at the LDS bookstore. So, my suggestion would be to display a photograph of yourself right after you’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner, because that suggests YOUR dispensation of fullness. Embellish the photo with a decorative swag, of course.

Step Two: Call around to find someone who owns a tablecloth that doesn’t suspiciously resemble the sheet set in your daughter’s bedroom.

Step Three: Figure out what types of flowers are in season. This can be accomplished by reading Martha Stewart magazines, calling your local nursery, or peering over your backyard fence to see what your neighbor has that she wouldn’t miss if a few happened to disappear.

Step Four: Display your wedding photo. I don’t care what the lesson’s about, the wedding photo can always be worked in. For example, the lesson “Journals: Of Far More Worth than Gold,” can easily be turned into a discussion of the time your husband (point to wedding photo here) found your old journal from high school and got upset about the 3 pages filled with "Mrs. Christian Slater". Hey, he was cute back then.

Finally, pull all the pieces together by wearing an outfit that matches your flower arrangement. This will allow you to blend in visually with your centerpiece so that you, and your lesson, won’t take away from the magnificence of your creation.


Kent and Jan said...

Lecia, You are a clever writer. You made my day by making me laugh with your Relief Society centerpiece ideas. I connected to your blog through Melissa's blog. I will be a regular reader now. Have a good week. Jan B.(Melissa's Mom)

Kristin said...

You are hilarious! I think you've missed your "calling" as a writer! Kristin :)