DeVine Saints: An All Saints Day Project

During my time as DRE I looked forward to celebrating All Saints Day with the families.  I had big plans for a festive evening of games, crafts and food with all the children adorned in their saintly attire. My favorite activity developed from a last minute trip to the grocery store for the final provisions. The collection of decorative gourds caught my eye and a fun group activity was born: DeVine Saints (tongue in cheek moment ya'll).  I crack myself up. 
Any-who, here is what you need:
Minimal supplies for creative crafting fun
Seasonal gourds (the variety in shapes, sizes and colors add character to the project)

Felt pieces or other fabric remnants

Yarn/ string

Construction paper

Googly eyes

Saint cards or image
Glue sticks
Hot glue gun

DeVine Saint Cecilia
Use the saint cards as a basis for what the gourd saint might look like.  Seek out defining features of the particular Saint. For example in the picture shown we have a music note. You can use construction paper and clip art to come up with accessories for your saint.
Dressing your gourd can be as simple as draping the fabric around the gourd and securing it in place with yarn or string.  I used an 8.5 x 11 white sheet of felt as the undergarment.  Looking at the sheet of felt portrait oriented I made a fold about two inches down from the top and cut a small half circle to create the hole for the gourd to fit through.  I use remnants of colored felt and fastened it to the white undergarment using a stapler.  I wrapped a sequence string around the mid section for decor and to secure the felt to the gourd. Glue sticks work to secure construction paper to the gourd, however with the googly eyes and raffia your will want to use a hot glue gun to secure those in place.
After you complete your saintly crafting snap a pic of your DeVine creation and share it with others using #DeVineSaint and #AllSaintsDay. You will find my DeVine creation on Twitter and Instagram.
Note: These DeVine Saints can last for several weeks (as long as no punctures were made to the gourd) and add a heavenly presence to your Thanksgiving table.

Post-It: Best Technology EVER!

 Sorting, storing and flagging key concepts have held my mind captive in recent weeks. My database concepts course has proved to be quite challenging. In the thick of completing recent assignments I found myself constantly reaching for those post-its. My hands were busily compensating for my overclocked mind.

This week, having a  bit of a reprieve, as I looked at my book I couldn't help but laugh. The seemingly chaotic dominance of all those post-its directly reflected my mental state.

Even with my use of notetaking apps and picture snapping of graphs and charts the physical need to write down the information and easily locate it in the book proved necessary.  Call it nostalgia or call it primitive; I call it DONE!  Thanks post-it!

Can you count how many different styles of post its I used?  LOL! Each style meant something and made "at a glance" referencing just as robust as using a hashtag.  The mind is a crazy beast! Based on the pic do you have any ideas on what exactly held my mind captive?

Surrender to Service

I was once very happy enjoying the view from the pew. It is much easier (and much more comfortable) for me to be another face in the crowd. I for some reason don't do easy. Easy isn't very exciting. Easy is too...easy. I enjoy the adventure that comes with serving the Church and overcoming a good challenge. And nothing says challenge like "Go, in peace glorifying the Lord by your life".

I don't exactly live my life in complete opposition to this, however there is just enough self doubt to keep me striving for betterment. Like many things in life there is always room for improvement. When I examine carefully where most of my time and energy is spent I can confidently say it is spent serving others. With love in my heart and a joyful disposition...not exactly.

I walk that line between contentment and discomfort where trust and doubt reside. It is very easy for me to condemn myself for not saying yes to the latest request, or for being less than cheerful at an event when other responsibilities are being neglected. As stated above, I don't do easy.  

I dare to hold my head up high and challenge myself to trust that I am where I am supposed to be. When I falter with criticism, hatred, jealousy, and envy toward others I hold myself accountable for my weaknesses; my humanity. This is when things get uncomfortable. Doubt takes up residence within and fear enters my thoughts. Fears of inadequacy, acceptance, and making a fool of myself.  

This crazy battle within my being is one I have grown all too familiar with, but nonetheless continue to battle. I have learned to address my fears with self honesty. I hold myself accountable and I also forgive myself for being weak. But what I cannot do is surrender to the fear. I lay off the self induced guilt trip and faithfully allow my weaknesses to be my motivation. When things get uncomfortable for me I surrender my being to reside in the hands of the Lord.  

Fondo Complete!

MapMyRide Stats of Fun Fondo Course
I completed the 16 mile Fun Fondo course in 1:39:25 with an average speed of 9.8 mph, despite my bike chain issues.  A personal best!  

I rode the course several times before race day as part of my training.  As race day neared I focused on uphill endurance.  There was about a three mile stretch of the course that was particularly challenging for me.  With a total gain of approximately 713 ft for the full course; 440 ft of that total gain is achieved in three grueling miles! I felt good going into it and I rode strong.  I was comforted in seeing other riders stopping along this stretch of the course (quite cynical of me) as it validated the difficulty level, but mostly because I had great walking companions. I am an amateur cyclist and walking my bike up this hill is par for this course.     

With the most challenging stretch behind me I was geared up for the smooth gradual climbs ahead. My bike wasn’t as willing as I to conquer the remaining course.  As I made my way up those rolling hills switching into low gear my chain fell off. Feeling good I jump off my bike fixed the chain and pressed on.  A few peddles in and there goes the chain again.  This happened three more times as I attempted to switch through the gears.  A fellow rider witnessing my struggle with the chain stopped to help me get the chain aligned and offered some advice. “You’re going to have to stay out of those lower gears.” 
Fondo fun selfie of mom and me.

This made me laugh out loud. All I could think of was how once again those uphill endurance rides were paying off. I did not fear these rolling climbs in front of me as I was quite familiar with them and this was my favorite part of the course.  In high gear and high spirits I sped my way toward the finish line. 

As I neared the finish line I noticed a particular rider off in the distance that, prior to my chain difficulties, her and I had been alternating lead for a short distance.  I found new motivation to finish strong.  Peddling hard I was closing the gap.  As she made the final turn to the finish line I took it wide and swooped in for the lead.  Woohoo! I took it as a personal win. 

16 mile Fondo complete! Cool down in effect.
I realized later that she wasn’t even a competitor in the particular course I was riding. She actually rode one of the larger courses. Kudos to her; I should be so ambitious.  I just liked hearing my name announced with my stats over the loud speaker.  It was quite a rush flying through that finish line.  Being greeted with a medal for completing the ride and having my family there to celebrate this feat with me.