Monday, March 7, 2016

Unexpected Inspiration

When it comes to planning vacation bible school for our parish I try not to stress.  The first couple of years I directed it I acted as if everything depended on me and I essentially tried to do every bit of it that could be done by me, myself.  It was exhausting and it was largely due to me being a control freak and partly due to me not being able to trust that people would come through if I delegated a specific task to them.  Too many years of forced group projects at school had trained me that if you want something done right and you want to get an A it's better to do it yourself and slap the names of the other people in the group on it when you're done.

Managing a growing family and heading up a project that requires a lot of work isn't easy if you want to actually get sleep or maintain sanity.  So after year two of running VBS I started to listen to Bryan and a few of my other friends who were begging me to delegate tasks.  I did it, and it was amazing.  People came through and got the jobs that needed to be done completed.  The first year I delegated I was really on edge because I worried that things might not get done right.  Sometimes we had a hiccup, but when we did we were able to course correct it with minimal effort.

Right around the time I started delegating, I also started spending more time asking God to help me get the volunteers we needed or just asking Him to guide me to the right prayers, saints or devotions to introduce to the kids.  And that's when things started buzzing along beautifully.  I'd go to Mass, pray beforehand that I needed classroom teachers, or someone to pick up or bake a snack and most of the time before I left the church someone would approach me with what was needed.  Or, I'd come home to find an email or a message on my answering machine that essentially answered my prayer.  Nothing short of amazing, and I attribute it to me placing it in God's hands.  I really should take a lesson from that and apply it to other areas of my life.  When I do, I see equally amazing results, but I fail to exhibit that level of trust all the time.  It's something I'm working on, and I know it's something Our Lord is working on me about, too.

So the past week or so I've been focusing on VBS and praying about it.  I have a few positions I need filled, and I also need to pick the saints that will be featured and the crafts.  I know I'll get the volunteers we need.  I'm not sure who the new faces will be yet, but I'm sure they'll be exactly what we need.  Crafts, had me stumped.  I like to keep it fresh so people don't feel like their kids are doing that same things year after year.

My first wave of craft inspiration was courtesy of the liturgical calendar.  The first day of the program is the feast day for St. Benedict, so he will get featured this year and the kids will do a craft that involves the St. Benedict medal.  But the rest of the days were a mystery to me until today.  Now I think I have some clarity.

I help out with the crafts for Little Flowers Girls Club at a neighboring parish.  This month was my turn to come up with a craft.  St. Anne was the featured saint and I didn't have the easiest time coming up with a good craft.  After looking online, I got the idea to print a nice image of St. Anne with the Blessed Mother and put it in a wood craft frame.  I wasn't sure if the girls should just paint it or do something more.  So I thought about VBS and things that typically are simple but look very nice and that's when I thought that maybe gluing sequins to the frame would look nice.  I was going to leave the wood unpainted, but I decided this morning that it might look nicer if they were painted.  So as I sat in the kitchen painting 16 frames I got hit with an idea.  I could use these same frames with a photo of the Divine Mercy image as a VBS craft.  That would allow us to talk about the Year of Mercy in a video and have this as the corresponding craft.  The kids can paint the frame (because we have time for that at VBS) and then sprinkle it with glitter or sequins if they like.  But then I started thinking that this would also work as the Marian craft idea. (I always have one Marian craft day to help encourage a devotion to Mary.)  And that's when I got the idea of doing a rosary holder with an image of Our Lady of Good Counsel.  I just need to ask someone we know who does wood working who also volunteered his talent to help with VBS if I needed it, if he can cut keyholes into the backs of plaques and add a peg or hook to the front so it can function as a hanging rosary holder.  If that's the case, I will have three out of five crafts picked.  I never would have expected to have such amazing clarity on what the crafts might be this early.

I'll try to add pictures of the St. Anne craft later this week.  It's such a simple, yet pretty craft.

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