Thursday, December 10, 2015

Keep It Simple Sister

by Patricia Cates

In the spirit of the holidays, and with how crazy everything can tend to get this time of year, let me give ya'll a friendly reminder to pace yourself and to KISS. Any readers or writers out there who are LDS might be familiar with this phrase. We have an acronym for keep it simple, sister. We simply say KISS. I love that. I want to live that. 

A few people I have served with have done a fine job of demonstrating this notion. Let me give you a little background. It was probably eight years ago when I first heard this. I had just been asked to serve as a Miamaid Advisor and was at a meeting for our young women youth group. Our new YW president said that the bishop wanted us to keep it simple from now on. He wanted us to cut back on spending and some other things. She used that KISS acronym to explain how things were going to be. Luckily our leader had chosen a group of women who were very down to earth to help serve...basically a no frills group. (Being fairly new to the church, I personally was terrified of the calling.)

This change was a bit of a shocker for our young ladies. Their prior leaders over many years had truly magnified their callings. When YW events came up, they would adorn the cultural hall with lamps and plants and table decor so elegantly set, it would be suitable for a wedding reception. They would string lights, make incredible take home gifts, and gorgeously illustrated invitations and programs. The desserts they brought tasted and looked as if they had come from the finest restaurants in SLC. I only had a Beehive at the time, my oldest, and so she became accustomed to things being done in this fashion. 

But with this new presidency things changed. Our president was a 31 year old return missionary with 4 kids. She announced that we, as leaders, would do no decorating and make no food. She said the girls would do it all! They would have a budget. She went on to emphasize that our girls needed to learn; to set up, and organize events, and delegate, and make treats, and decorate, and use their own creativity. If the cookies weren't uniform in shape or tasted bad it really didn't matter. They would be the girl's cookies and that's what counted. They would own it! She emphasized strongly that this was all part of their personal progression towards becoming adults, wives and moms. This was their program...we were only there to lead and guide. I think she used the word guide a lot.

When asked what we would do if the girls forgot to make treats, phone calls, programs, or set up chairs by 6:45, her response was always, "Oh well, it's on them then." She felt they would learn from their mistakes, if any were made. It would be their responsibility, their choices, and they would be held accountable. Ah! 

The next president was one of the most humble and spiritual women to have ever lived in our ward. She also kept things VERY simple. Flash forward another three years and I am again in Miamaids. It is truly a great place to be. My youngest is now a Beehive and my middle girls are both Miamaids. We are all learning together. 

I wonder if the girls who did have to do it all themselves, are now more self sufficient? Are they possibly better at budgeting or party planning? It's probably a toss up, depending on the girl. I hope our former YW who are married now, or on their own, remember that it's okay to KISS, and that it actually feels a lot less stressful. I know am grateful that I have had amazing women show me the way. 

This year we have been spending less and letting the kids do a little more around the house. Hopefully that doesn't sound mean. Things are just lean. So I'm keeping it real for ya'll.

If anyone out there needs to keep it simple due to a cold or flu bug, or who is exhausted from staying on top of the daily demands of life, remember that the only thing that matters is the spirit of the season. Don't wear yourself out. Try not to compare yourself to your neighbor, sister or friend (even though it's hard some times!) Remember that they may have more help, money, time or energy and that's okay. We can just appreciate all of their pretty lights, delicious treats, and the time it takes to make that happen. If you want to keep it simple, do...and if you're feeling super fancy...go for it! 

As I close, from a distance I can hear one of my daughters vacuuming. I didn't even have to ask! Now that's music to my ears, or maybe that's a hint she wants to decorate the tree.         


  1. What a perfect message this time of year! I am currently serving in the Relief Society presidency, and we are definitely a no-frills presidency! We wanted to do a Christmas activity, but we didn't want to stress anyone out, so we served cookies and hot chocolate which we provided (cookies were store-bought and homemade- I did the homemade because I enjoy baking cookies) and we did a true white-elephant gift exchange. We invited the women, the young women, and the Activity Day girls, and we had HUGE turnout! Everyone had such a good time, and it was great because it was truly so simple. I loved seeing moms conspiring with their girls to get certain gifts- so funny! And this was from us having 2-3 sisters show up for our activities! :-)

    1. Thanks Kasey. I like what you guys did. That sounds so fun with everyone!! They are lucky to have you ladies in charge :)

  2. Great post about simplifying the holidays. I want to do that more and more every year. It's exhausting to keep up with the culture's demands and expectations. I want our kids to go against that. I'm tired of anything that does not have Christ as the focus!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I know it's crazy. Toning down Christmas is a hard sell :) But we can still stay Christ focused ourselves and hopefully it will spread...



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