Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something to Giggle About

This past school year, I've been teaching Relief Society in my ward. Out of all the church callings I have ever had, it has been my favourite. There have been difficult lessons, awkward pauses where I suspect even if I did a tap dance people would still stare at me with the same dazed expression, and tricky topics; like when I had to teach my peers about drug addictions. However, none of my experiences relate to what happened to a friend of mine today.

Whenever there is a fifth Sunday in the month, we have a combined meeting of our Relief Society and Elders Quorum (ie - rather than split up for that one lesson block, the guys and girls are in the same lesson). Usually this is a chance for our bishop to teach us whatever he thinks we need to hear most that month. Today was a fifth Sunday.

Apparently, the bishopric forgot what Sunday it was, and so they assigned my friend Mike (who just moved into the ward last week) to teach the next lesson in the Gospel Principles manual same as usual. Upon arrival at church, the bishopric sees women filing into the Elders Quorum room, and suddenly remembers how many Sundays have already happened in the month of May. They pull Mike aside and tell him that he will not just be teaching the guys. The girls will be tagging along as well. What is Mike's lesson again? Oh yes. The Law of Chastity.

Welcome to the Ward, Mike! Sundays are always filled with lessons, inspiration, and moments of gratitude. Today I simply marveled at our way of welcoming the new guy, and profoundly gave thanks that I have never had to teach the most uncomfortable lesson in the book to a crowd of mixed gender twenty-something year olds of whom I know maybe a handful.

And for the record, once he stopped staring at the bishop in horror, Mike did an excellent job.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Methods of Feeling Fabulous

When Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement, I like everyone else, glanced over the articles and promotional photos in the grocery store checkout. When Janine brought home MacLean's commemorative issue, I poured over it. Studying the pictures, the stories and the wedding plans, there was one thing that Kate Middleton had that I really wanted.

Her hat. Every time I saw those photos of William and Kate walking along in that blue dress, I looked at that hat and sighed with envy. Man I wish I had a hat like that. It would define my wardrobe.

In contemplation of our future monarch's coming nuptuals, my friend Leah and I decided we needed to celebrate. We determined the best way to do this would be to PVR the wedding so we didn't have to have our party at three in the morning, invite all our girlfriends over, drink tea, and eat cucumber sandwiches. Dressing up was mandatory. Hats were recommended.

My dad of course told me it was a silly purchase, but I saw this as a perfect excuse to make one of my silly dreams come true. I remembered a store I'd visited in Edmonton called Head Case. It sells practical hats like toques, berets and cowboy hats, as well as an array of classy society hats. I have been eyeing those hats for years wishing I could justify buying one, but I could never think of anywhere to wear it. Leah's tea party gave be a perfect excuse.

On a recent day trip to Edmonton, I stopped by Head Case with my sister Katey. It didn't take us long to find it. It was exactly what I wanted. I hadn't got far out of the store before I started to doubt my purchase. Had I just spent money on something I only had an excuse to wear once? Was this going to be one of those purchases I regretted making because it took up space in my closet and moved with me from home to home until I started to hate it and threw it out? Suddenly I felt incredibly silly.

It's on shopping trips like this that you need a sister or friend along to keep you in the right frame of mind. Katey asked me three questions:

1. Did I love it?
2. Did it make me feel pretty?
3. Had I made any indulgent purchases recently?

If my answers were yes, yes and no, I had nothing to worry about. By the time I was showing off my hat to my mom, I felt great again. Surely I could think of places to wear it other than Leah's tea party. I just had to have the confidence to pull it off.

The tea party was fantastic. Leah went all out, watching the wedding was fun, and I looked fabulous in my hat. The next day at church, we were all talking about how fun it had been and how much we had loved the excuse to wear a fabulous hat. We all agreed it was a shame people never wear hats in our society. Wanting to rectify the situation, we came to an agreement; the next time our ward had a lunch after church, we would all wear hats.

That day in sacrament meeting, our bishop announced the next Linger Longer would be the following week. We spread the word and gathered all the hats we had. The next Sunday, half the Foothills Relief Society was wearing hats. Most of us were too excited to wear them to wait till after our meetings. After some debate, we determined the correct etiquette allowed women to wear hats in church, and seeing our bishop had no objections, we wore them all through our meetings; sitting in the back row so we didn't block anyone's view. Did we get startled looks? Yes. Did the people in the other ward wonder aloud what was with the hats every time we passed them? Yes. Did everyone eventually smile and tell us we had some great hats? Absolutely.

We ran around all Sunday feeling fabulous in our hats. Every Linger Longer Sunday has now been declared Hat Sunday. The Foothills Relief Society is bringing hats back in style!