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Definitely Different

We just finished the first-ever Hill Country Stake Youth Conference. It was a great weekend with dances, service, workshops, and a testimony meeting that reminded me of the real reasons we work to put on events like this for our youth. Having said that, I’ll just highlight one of my more memorable moments….

Thursday night we realized that we had a few extra volunteers available for Friday. Earlier in the week we’d decided not to decorate for Friday’s dance because we didn’t have the time and resources to take care of it. However, with a few extra volunteers (one of whom has a great gift for decorating) we decided we might be able to pull something off. The theme the kids had discussed was a country dance of some sort so we decided to go with a cowboy/western theme. I talked with Sister D (the gifted decorator) at 9 pm on Thursday and we were able to pull off these decorations by 6 pm on Friday:

It’s hard to appreciate the authenticity of the fire in this picture with the lights on. We used an emergency reflective blanket, some twinkling white Christmas lights and colored cellophane to make this little beauty. It looked so real I almost threw some trash into it. The idea was to swing the benches around to flank the fire but the kids pulled chairs up to the fire before that could happen.

Anyway, now that you know the end of the story, I’ll fill you in on the middle. After I talked to Sister D on Thursday I realized that there were some things I needed to bring from home for these decorations. I had the whiskey barrels, rocks, firewood and extra planks but I didn’t have any “trees” or “cedar posts.” When I told her I didn’t want to buy them she suggested that we might find some on our way to the Stake Center. She had already suggested cutting the grasses and flowers from the side of the road. I was a bit apprehensive about collecting dance decorations from the roadside, but that would be a cheap way to do it. I had just pulled onto the highway leading to the Stake Center when I noticed some fallen trees on the side of the road. A few yards further there were some more trees. I decided to make a u-turn and make a closer inspection. As I pulled off to the side of the road, in my already heavy-laden truck, I realized that these trees would be too large to add to the back. However, I did have a handsaw (in case I needed to pare down the boards I’d packed)…so picture me, in my lime green shirt with “Different” emblazoned on it, cutting the branches off of dead trees with a handsaw on the side of the road in the middle of a hot and humid Texas afternoon. When I made another U-turn to tie down my trees I decided it was funny enough that I’d take a picture for y’all. It was pretty great and I was definitely different :).

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