Thursday, May 25, 2017

Relief Society Birthday Dinner

When we got moved into the Happy Valley Ward in February, I quickly was called to be the 2nd counselor in the Relief Society presidency. My first task was to plan the birthday celebration. Technically it was supposed to be in March because March 17th marked 175 years since the organization of the Relief Society. We pushed it back to April 18th since the ward's March calendar was already pretty full and I couldn't have put it together that quickly anyway. I didn't have a functioning committee, so it was basically all me. The rest of the presidency helped a lot.

I decided to do a favorite things theme and did a lot with "brown paper packages tied up with strings". I designed the invitation in Photoshop. (I basically copied this one.) I bought this pack of digital baker's twine from Etsy which was the best thing I did because I ended up using it so much!

I had the invitations printed at FedEx Office on paper that was a little better quality than regular printer paper. I used the paper cutter there and had major paper-cutter envy by the time I was done!

Then I taped the invitation to a brown bag for everyone to bring their favorite thing wrapped in.

I included some string in the bag to tie the package up with.

I bought some small items (all $1 or less) for anyone who didn't bring a favorite thing to exchange and had a table set up as they were walking in where they could pick one of the items and wrap it up if needed.

We're going to be forming some small groups for monthly activities (and only having a large activity quarterly) and we wanted to see which small groups would be popular, so I made a survey for everyone to fill out. Many had already filled out the survey, but we had them there for anyone who hadn't already filled one out. After the favorite things gift exchange, we had a drawing for the leftover items I had purchased.

I made a little display table to highlight some of our favorite things about Relief Society - sisterhood, friendship, visiting teaching, Relief Society lessons, service, learning new skills, and diversity.

We had everyone sit at the table of their birth month to mix things up a bit.

I kept the decorations pretty simple. We just tied a rock to a balloon and put it inside a gift bag with some tissue paper.

We had a salad bar with many different topping and salad dressing choices. If you are ever in charge of buying salad for a large activity, don't trust the serving size on the Costco container of lettuce. 5 servings is seriously misleading. I bought 8 containers (after texting both the president and 1st counselor for advice) and I ended up returning 4. (The Costco employee was not happy about it and said they would have to just throw them away, but she took them back. I told her they should fix the label, so people aren't misled and end up buying way too much!)

We also had croissant sandwiches (turkey and Swiss, ham and cheddar, and chicken salad). Costco had croissants for $1 off which saved us some money. I bought 8 dozen and we only used 6, but we just divided up the extra 2. (And no one was too sad that I bought too many of those!)

We had Italian Sodas which was fun. They were a huge hit! This printable from Our Best Bites is perfect for explaining how to make them. I had raspberry, peach, and blue raspberry syrups already and I bought blackberry, strawberry, and mango. Sadly I didn't think the blackberry was very good, but the rest are 👌.

I had people sign up to bring their favorite cupcakes and I made one of my favorites, orange cupcakes.

I took these picture before all the other cupcakes arrived which worked out well since mine were the only ones that matched the color scheme I had going. 

The cupcake I finally painted for my birthday coincidentally matching perfectly. (Apparently I'm really into these 4 colors together right now because I didn't plan that.)

After we ate, exchanged our favorite things, and did the survey drawing, the Relief Society president and the bishop said a few words and then we ended the night with these words from President Utchdorf (from his talk Living the Gospel Joyful given at the October 2014 General Women's Session of Conference):

"My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know:

You are loved.

You are dear to your heavenly parents.

The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you.

Yes, God loves you this very day and always.

He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.

And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own.

He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!

Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?

He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.

More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor.

I testify that the way to accomplish this is to place selfish desires and unworthy ambitions on the altar of sacrifice and service. Sisters, trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ; keep His laws and commandments. In other words—live the gospel joyful.

It is my prayer that you will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the beautiful love of God in your lives; that you will find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in your hearts, and live the gospel joyful.

I promise that as you do so, you will discover your best self—your real self. You will discover what it truly means to be a daughter of the everlasting God, the Lord of all righteousness. Of this I testify and leave you my blessing as an Apostle of the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

We really wanted the sisters to know how much Heavenly Father loves them and President Uchtdorf's words couldn't have been more perfect.

I was worried no one would show up, but they did. 😅 Other than forgetting to put out the salad dressing at first 😂, everything went off without a hitch and everyone seemed to have a good time. I was glad to have my first activity out of the way. It really wasn't that bad pulling it off without a committee, but I'm still hoping by next year I'll have a little more help!


tracy said...

This came out wonderful! What a fun idea and you did an amazing job! Way to go, Shauna!

It actually reminded me of a hilarious episode of "Will and Grace" "Vontrapped", where they go dressed up to a "Sound of Music" sing along...if you get the chance...

Love to all