Thursday, November 21, 2013

Paint Your World in Personal Progress-Young Women in Excellence 2013

For our Young Women in Excellence this year, we had a theme of "Paint Your World in Personal Progress."  Our Young Women's President, along with our Activity Specialist, found this blog which most of our night was inspired by. However, in true "us" form, we were inspired to do a bunch of other things too. :) Lots of different details...

(A side note: I didn't create these invites.  Our YW President did and I haven't been able to get a hold of a copy. Good luck. I think she just found a template online.)

The blog we found was inspired for this theme by the talk from Elder David A. Bednar.  Our YW President gave a wonderful talk about this, explaining how we as individuals in Young Women are our own brush strokes but put them all together and they make a wonderful, colorful canvas.  Then we made our own Young Women canvas (more on this below).

"In my office is a beautiful painting of a wheat field. The painting is a vast collection of individual brushstrokes—none of which in isolation is very interesting or impressive. In fact, if you stand close to the canvas, all you can see is a mass of seemingly unrelated and unattractive streaks of yellow and gold and brown paint. However, as you gradually move away from the canvas, all of the individual brushstrokes combine together and produce a magnificent landscape of a wheat field. Many ordinary, individual brushstrokes work together to create a captivating and beautiful painting."

The invitation envelope was made with white crayon and then a brush stroke of paint over the top.
 Prep Time!

Painting the painting brushes. Heehee.

Only a few days before my parents from California, as well as my sister and her husband from Idaho came into town.  While I had rescheduled everything in life while they were there, this was something I couldn't. So they came to help!  Parties are their specialty. (I'm actually not kidding... go to this link to see their catering events business.)  I got a kick out of my dad using tiny glue dots to make mor epaint chip straws. He did a bunch of other bigger things like tables and chairs but would any of my family be surprised that after he did these crafty jobs he had to find an errand to run, even in a foreign country... running to McDonald's! :) Hey I wasn't complaining.  The McDonald's over here are game-changers.

Streamer wall was serious business.

Gotta love my dad!

My mom is seriously talented with decorating.

And the only picture I got of the girls setting up their displays (more pictures below).

Front Display

Our front display with a white background for our slideshow.

Soup cans covered in paint chips with the color of each value.  We use this for our program later.  Fun paint chip garland too.

I'm totally loving the paint splattered table covers.  The artwork can be found here.
Treat Table
As you can tell we based a lot of our decorations around all the paint chips we collected.  Being in Germany I'm sure you can imagine the difficulty in finding the right paint chips.  All the hardware stores had the long thin paint chips, which we utilized all over, but for the square ones we asked a guest coming  over from the states to bring a big stack.  We could only imagine what the airport people thought when seeing a big stack of paint chips going through the screening belt.

We also used the same idea of making/hanging paper pinwheels we used at New Beginnings earlier in the year.  This is a great how to on making pinwheels. SUPER easy!

I think the paintbrush rice krispy treats were my favorite thing of the whole night!
The paint pallet cookies were a take home gift for the girls

We tried to get cupcakes in all the colors of the Young Women Values.
Food Table

More pinwheels! :)
 Our Menu:
-Baked Potato Bar-
(we provided the potatoes, each girl brought toppings to contribute)
-Veggie Cups (see below)-
-Rainbow Fruit Skewers-
(strawberry, mandarin orange, pineapple, kiwi, blueberry, purple grape)
-Decorated Water Bottles-

Veggie cups were a hit!  Added a ton of color too.

I didn't get a picture when all the food had been set out. Can you see the fruit skewers?
Guest Tables
There's not much I can say about these tables that isn't sort of self-explanatory.  We sort of all just brought our home paint supplies and added them to the centerpiece (description below).   

The paint splattered tablecloths were the original plan but it was so wet outside the paint on the other paper didn't dry for two days.  So we improvised and made stripes of streamers down the center of some of the other tables.

We made these centerpieces with an empty paint can covered in paper.  We attached paint chips to tall straws and secured them inside the paint can with sand.  Then just added paint supplies and paint brushes I had bought and painted the handles. If you look closely inside the paint can you can see some tall paintbrushes that added a bit of depth.

Probably another of my favorite details of the night were the silverware holders made with a paint chip on front and a white piece of paper (a little taller on the back) sewed together. Each girl received a mini canvas with the temple outline on it because our theme was "Stand in Holy Places."
Just little details from around the room we brought from home or used extra supplies we had.

How cool is it this paint-by-number painting one of the girls (my Xanthe) painted.

These were some other paint chips we had found and didn't have a use for. So we sewed them together and used them over the girls' displays.
Young Women Displays
Each girl was asked to bring things they had worked on throughout the year with Personal Progress. They wrote little cards they could describe the items.  Then they each received a card relating to the theme with their name on it (can you see it next to the temple picture below?) where they described one of these values and then used this card to speak about it later on.
This is my daughter, Xanthe's display.
This is my other daughter, Xoe's display.  Yes, they're twins.  And yes, the coloring is different.  I got this picture from the YW President.
And overview of one of the corners of displays.  Take note of the cute chalkboard clothespins.  Found at a local store.  I have a more detailed picture below.
These are the girls' tracker cards.  The person we ordered the framed value artwork from (above) sent them to us free!  So nice!  

I didn't post all the pictures I had of the guests. Those went up on our group Facebook page. I only posted those from my close family so those back in the states could see them. :)

Uncle James and Aunt Heather Georgianna visiting from Idaho.

My twins Xoe and Xanthe and their friend Mailee.
Program Cover

Inside Cover

(A side note: I didn't create these programs.  Our YW President did and I haven't been able to get a hold of a copy. Good luck. I think she just found a template online.)

Yes, that's me.  I don't usually post pictures of me but I thought it'd be fun to post this candid for my sisters.  I guess I'm known to feel comfortable talking in front of people so I "got" to conduct. Haha. At least I didn't have to prepare the talk, which I was MORE than happy to let Melanie do. Heehee.

We don't have anyone who plays piano.  So my mom jumped in! :) I love how involved my parents were.  And of course my dad was pretty much the caterer that night.  I didn't do any refills or prep back in the kitchen.  I pretty much just got to sit back and relax.  Everyone should have their events catered! It's kinda nice! :) Thanks mom and dad.

Melanie, Young Women's President, giving her talk I described above.
 At this point in the program, each girl was given a value to describe... i.e, what color it was represented by, the scripture and value description, and how it has been important in their life.  Then they took the paintbrush in their color and created some brushstrokes on a canvas to make our Young Women's painting that is now hanging in our YW room.
My daughter, Xanthe, describing Integrity, Purple.

Again I didn't post pictures of the other girls, but you can see all those that came before who created brushstrokes.

My Xoe describing Virtue, Gold.

Didn't this turn out amazing?!  Their own each individual brush strokes created a beautiful painting.

And here are our Young Women! I'll try to go in order from left to right... Lisa, Ashlenne, Aubrey, Sara, Tatiana, Xoe, Xanthe & Mailee.  We were missing 3 girls.

And add the crazy Young Women Presidency and advisors.

And it wouldn't be true Wiesbaden Military Ward form without a crazy picture too!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Integrity- Attitude of Gratitude - Purple Personal Progress Party

Month: November
Value of the Month: Integrity
Color: Purple
Value Experience: Personalized #8 "Learn about the value of being grateful and 
keep a Gratitude Journal for two weeks.  
Write 5 things each day of what you are grateful for.  
Do not repeat any item on your list from day to day. 
You must think of something new."

Sugar Cookies w/ Purple Icing & White Sprinkles
Purple Hawaiian Punch
Purple Grapes

Everyone dressed up again!  We've decided to make this a tradition.  
Every month they dress in the color of the value experience! They love it.  

Here are the pictures of our girls, just to get it out of the way. :) 

Prior to the Mutual:  Ask the girls to bring their Young Women Journal. If they don't have one, you can build in making a journal (see below). Also, ask one of the girls to read the story of the Ten Lepers in Luke 17 and be ready to retell it to the girls.

Object Lesson: (From Mormon Share)... When the girls first arrived they were given a pebble to put in their shoe and a candy cane to eat while they mingled with the friends and during opening exercises.  

The girls mingled, we had Opening Exercises with the Young Men (Opening Song: Count Your Many Blessings), we took fun pictures... all while the girls were hobbling around with a pebble in their shoe and eating their candy cane.  The girls then all took their seats.

Gratitude Definition: I asked the girls what they thought the definition of Gratitude was...
Definition (from Webster's Dictionary): "the state of being grateful.... feeling or showing thanks to someone for some helpful act... appreciative of benefits received."

Ask these questions:
"Why is it important to be grateful?"
"Who does it benefit" (both people, you and the person/thing you are grateful to)

Object Lesson Define:  I asked them what were their thoughts about our object lesson at the beginning.  All their responses were how bad the rocks in their foot hurt and "can we pleeeease take them out?"  And not one of the girls said how good their candy cane was and how thankful they were.  I then pointed out that sometimes we cannot recognize our sweet blessing because we are dwelling on the "pebble in our shoe."

Sometimes we are like the pessimists of the world, only seeing the glass as half empty, rather than half full (You could actually do this as an object lesson if you want).  I explained how when we are grateful we receive more things to be grateful for.  

I asked them, "How do you feel when you have put a lot of work into a gift and when you give it to the person, they only nonchalantly thank you or don't even thank you at all?"  (They all answered, "That stinks!" Or "I'd be hurt.")  "Do you think you'd put as much effort into their gift the next time?" (No.) 

On the flip side: "How do you feel when someone makes a big deal about a gift you've given them?" "Do you want to keep doing things for them?"  (Yes!)  Well, that is how your parents, your friends, your teachers, random people on the street, and even God feel when you aren't thankful for all they've given you. If you aren't grateful for things, they don't want to keep giving to you.  If you are grateful, you will begin receiving more positivity and more from others and God.

The Glass is Half Full

Luke 17:  I had the girl tell about the story of the Ten Lepers in Luke 17.  Jesus had healed them all but only one came back to thank Him.  Jesus then said "There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole).  

I explained to the girls that yes, even if you don't say thank you, life will go on.  You will still have positive things happen to you, but when you have faith in God and thank Him for things, you will be made whole.  If they are struggling at school, or struggling with depression or sadness, or confusion for their life, or any other problem.  If they can just be grateful for what they do have, and not focus on the bad too much, God and Christ will make them whole. They will help them find answers.  

Read this quote: "Like the leprosy of yesteryear are the plagues of today. They linger; they debilitate; they destroy. They are to be found everywhere. Their pervasiveness knows no boundaries. We know them as selfishness, greed, indulgence, cruelty, and crime, to identify but a few. Surfeited with their poison, we tend to criticize, to complain, to blame, and, slowly but surely, to abandon the positives and adopt the negatives of life." [An Attitude of Gratitude, Thomas S. Monson, Ensign April 1992]

Another quote from the same talk: "We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues."

Another object lesson: (We didn't have time for this but it's a great one if you want to do it.
Web of Gratitude
Ensign June 2006
We feel it is important for our family to visualize the many things we are grateful for. A simple activity that helps us to remember our blessings is called “the gratitude web.” One person holds a ball of yarn or string and identifies one thing for which he is thankful. Holding onto part of the yarn, he then tosses the yarn ball to someone else in the circle. That person then repeats the process, also holding onto a portion of the yarn. The activity continues until everyone has had at least one turn. Depending on the size of your family, you may want to play several times until a web is formed, connecting the group.  Sometimes life’s challenges can hinder our ability to focus on our blessings. Activities and lessons that help us realize how much Heavenly Father loves us can bless us individually and as families.

Gratitude Journal
This concept of a Gratitude Journal is one that I first heard of from Sarah Ban Breathnach but I have seen many times since.  I read to them from her book Simple Abundance, A Dailybook fo Comfort and Joy.

"While many tools I give you will help you become happier and more content and will nurture your creativity, this first tool could change the quality of your life beyond belief: it's what I call a daily gratitude journal.  I have a beautiful blank book and each night before I go to bed, I write down five things that I can be grateful about that day.  Some days  my list will be filled with amazing things, most days just simple joys."

I then told them, this is your value experience mission… Your task is to keep a Gratitude Journal for 2 weeks.  Each night write 5 things you are grateful for.  Easy, right? The catch? You cannot repeat anything you've written down.  Why do you think this is? (Let them answer). Then say something like “because once you get the typical, but still great, things you are thankful for (family, friends, church, school, house), you’ll have to start getting really creative and seeing the little things you are grateful for, things you might normally overlook.  What are some things you think you are grateful for but you might overlook each day? (Some of our answers were: mom making dinner, the flowers, the bus driver, toilet paper). After the 2 weeks, write online or in your journal how you felt about this activity, whether it changed you and then bring your Gratitude Journal to show one of your leaders.  Then you will get your jar.

Having an attitude of gratitude is a complete attitude shift.  Sometimes it’s really hard when things are going wrong. But choosing to have a happy attitude about things is something that will change your life 

We had asked each girl to bring their camp journal because they already had one, but if you needed your Young Women to make a journal, this is what I did.  It’s the typical Composition Notebook covered with paper then print the words “Gratitude Journal”, cut it out then paste it on the front.  On the inside I pasted cutouts of gratitude quotes you’ll see below. I've made these for my Visiting Teachers but I forgot to take a picture.

At that time, we had them write their first entry.  They each took a few moments to write 5 things they were thankful for.  

End with this Quote and Bear Your Testimony:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

Keep Calm & Have an Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is what turns what we have into enough.

The More you are Thankful, the More You Attract Things to Be Thankful For

Attitude of Gratitude

Never Let the Things You Want Make You Forget the Things You Have.

Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart

Gratitude is heaven itself.