Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Gospel According to Robinson Mountain

This past weekend I made a return visit to the place I call Robinson Mountain.  It is the home of Mark and Sharon Robinson in the Nashville area.  If you follow my blog, you've heard the goodness that makes up a visit to this sea of tranquility and true balm for the soul.  I had been way overdue for a visit (the last one being in July 2011) and Sharon wrote on my Christmas card, "We're very proud you are getting your MBA, you need to schedule a visit."  So the planning began and between our busy lives, we landed on this weekend.

When I've tried to communicate in words what going to Robinson Mountain is for me, I fall way short.  It's refreshment for my soul.  It sharpens me in every way and is physically relaxing.  If our souls had a reset button, mine gets pushed when I visit.  It's almost like having a weekend long massage.  I feel more than blessed for such friendship in my life.

As I made my plans for the visit, I explained to Sharon that there was no need to plan anything major.  My life is going 110 mph and I need to take it to about 20 mph…and we had lots to catch up on the past three years.  The weekend fit my requirements as perfectly as a custom leather glove.

The food is always good at the Robinson B&B and conversation even better.  I left full both with food and soul nourishment.  On Saturday, we spent the most leisurely day I've had in a while.  We had a late breakfast (with Mark's famous blueberry pancakes) and spent a few hours at their favorite local coffee shop that would be a favorite of mine if I lived there.  Then we came home to dinner and the movie Planes, because we all love Pixar.  Sunday always starts with church, and we were going to head home and meet up with our mutual friend, Toby, for lunch.  That's when the gospel went into action.

On the way home, Mark said we'd drop off the movie at Redbox.  That required us to drive past the entrance of their complex and head to Redbox.  Not far after we passed their complex, we were driving behind a car that turned off the road and, Sharon noticed, ran right over the curb down the side of a slope.  She immediately thought the driver had a heart attack or seizure and Mark whipped into the parking lot adjoining the embankment where the car had landed.  We got out and Mark went to the car.  It was an older woman by herself and he eased her out of the car being careful it didn't roll and got her over to our car.  Her name was Barbara and she had turned off thinking that was the entrance to Barnes & Noble, but it wasn't, then she just turned the wrong way and over the curb.  She was obviously rattled and about that time another truck pulled up and advised to call the police.  Barbara was fine and the car seemed ok, but it needed to be towed off properly to avoid any further damage.  While they discussed this, I was talking with Barbara and realized she just had spinal surgery 4 weeks ago, so this was a blessing that she wasn't hurt.  

I could write much more about the remainder of that experience, but the short version goes like this.  The police came and didn't ticket her for reckless driving.  Blessing.  The towing company came and the young tow guy seemed nice, but in the midst of getting her car pulled out, he lost her car key.  From the beginning, she refused to call her husband, which caused Sharon to feel there was something amiss here.  Either she wasn't supposed to be driving, or her husband was controlling or, worse, abusive.  When everyone left the scene, the towing company owner had pulled the car out safely and guaranteed young tow guy, Ben, would be paying to create a new key for her.  Sharon got her contact info so she could follow up later.

So how was this the gospel in action?  Aside from attending to her immediate need, Sharon prayed for her.  Sharon and Mark were wearing their "Serve My Church" t-shirts from the service that day, so that opened conversations about church.  Sharon so smoothly and in a very real way explained to Barbara how she would pray and prayed aloud.  Anytime any of us said anything about God in this situation, she teared up.  I sense she isn't in church and so we were not sure of the state of her soul.  It was 100 degrees that day and we spent a good hour or so waiting, praying and ministering to this woman, that if we hadn't been taking the movie back, we wouldn't have had this opportunity.  

The one thing among a kabillion that I love about the Robinsons is they don't just talk about the gospel, they live it.  Sharon is planning to follow up with Barbara and who knows what this incident will bring to pass.  I always leave Robinson Mountain challenged spiritually.  After this trip, the gospel according to Robinson Mountain is to not only soak it in, but to live it out.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Why You Should Work VBS

My last blog post was on the lessons I learned at VBS, and clearly God is continuing to show me why working VBS brings extra perks.  Let me share an encounter I had last night with one of my preschool crafters...

After our evening service, Leah came over to my row and said "Hi Miss Rose!"  She proceeded to move my purse and hop up next to me to chat.  And here's how that chat went...

Me:  How are you Leah?  Tell me what is going on in your world?  What's new?  
Leah:  Well, hmm, let's see.  We just got back from vacation and I had a Birthday!!!
Me: Oooo, exciting!  How old are you now?
Leah:  I'm FIVE!
Me: Wow!  Five!  That means you'll be starting kindergarten soon!
Leah:  Yes!  And Emma will turn four.  So, she'll go to my VBS class next year and I'll go to the kindergarten class.  What is our theme for VBS next year? 
Me: It's "Journey Off the Map!"
Leah:  Oooo, what does that mean?
Me:  We'll be going a lot of places and learning about Jesus!
Leah:  Oh that sounds fun!  So what will we be making?
Me:  Well, they don't tell us what our crafts will be this early, but I'm sure they'll be great!
Leah: OK!!  See you next July! (and she hops down and off she goes...and I'm sure I'll see her before July.)

Why should you work VBS?  Because moments like this happen and the things a child learns at VBS are indelible.  I had Leah in my class about 20 minutes a day and she can't wait for the crafts at next year's VBS.  What makes this even more monumental?  Leah was adopted.  She came into her family as a foster child and then became forever their daughter.  And so did Emma.  And because of that, they both are learning about Jesus and may someday change the world for the sake of the gospel.  If that doesn't make you want to work VBS, nothing will.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lessons Learned from VBS 2014

The past two years I have taken time off from work to serve during Vacation Bible School at my church.  I love VBS.  My Mom worked in VBS for years and any time I do something to carry on her legacy that I also enjoy, it warms my heart.  My position during the week was in Preschool Crafts...two words I love...Preschool and Crafts!  Preschoolers are the best.  They are young enough to still want love and hugs regularly but old enough to carry on some pretty stellar conversations.  Crafts are one of my favorite things to do in life.  It's therapeutic and accomplishing.  Mix the two together and you have a week of exhausting fun.  This year, I'm compiling my lessons learned from the week.  A glorious week.  I truly will miss it next week when I'm back at work.

I'm good with crafts, not so good with room decor - This year's theme was Agency D3 (Discover, Decide, Defend) and we were all agents in training.  The craft room was known as The Lab where we would make exciting things to help tell about Jesus.  Tessa is our leader and does a phenomenal job decorating our room.  I was helping her hang a few test tubes and bubbles coming out of the concoctions when I placed one incorrectly.  You see, it was a pyramid-shaped flask and I hung it upside down.  Picture it.  The flask upside down with bubbles coming out of it.  Tessa was kind enough to point out that I needed to turn it upside down, otherwise it looked like a martini glass.  Whew, close one!  Don't let me decorate a room unsupervised.

Craft ideas are educational - Of course, the point of crafts is to continue the theme of the week and the lesson learned each day.  Day Two we talked about how Jesus wasn't just any man.  He could do things nobody else could do...like walk on water.  On that day we made a Jesus Walked on Water Bottle.  The kids filled their empty water bottles with beads, glitter and sequins and then we filled them with water, a little food coloring and baby oil.  The baby oil made the items float to the top...and "walk" on water.  Who knew?  Not only was that a cool craft, but we all smelled good at the end of the day and had very soft hands.

My co-workers should be required to work VBS every year - These 3-5 year olds were exceptionally good this year.  We had very little whining and most of the issues were minor.  So many of them helped their friends and on the last day when new people came, they befriended them and made sure they weren't left out.  The hardest part of the week was when the little ones were exhausted and just flat tired from the rigorous schedule.  One day when I left I was monitoring my work email for any disasters and saw more than one email that shook me back to reality.  Whining and complaining...throwing blame at others....you would have expected that from preschoolers, not employed adults.  Many of my co-workers would benefit from a week being humbled by preschoolers.  And shown how a person should act and play well with others.

It Takes a Village to Do VBS - We had 4 workers in our craft room.  Each of the five preschool classes that came in had 5-6 workers.  That comes to about 40 workers, just for preschool and the craft room.  You factor in all the other aged rooms, and rotation rooms, like crafts and your number exponentially increases.  One group that gets the award for amazing work was our Snack team.  About 16 people worked tirelessly crammed in our kitchen making tons of wonderful snacks for all the kids and workers.  And not just any snacks.  Their "food replicator" created "disguised" food for everyone.  My favorite snack of the week were the disguised sushi rolls.  A rice krispie treat rolled around a jelly bean and wrapped in a fruit roll-up.  Yummy!  The snack crew not only made the food, but delivered it as well.  They kept the workers' snack room full and for those of us who couldn't break free, they delivered our snacks to us.  Once all of our classes were done at the end of the day, we'd enjoy our plate of snacks.  Beyond those of us that were working all week at VBS, there were countless others who cut out crafts, donated items and prayed for a successful week.  It takes a village for VBS.

Every child has a soul that will never die - This isn't a new lesson for me; our pastor reminds us regularly of this truth.  But after spending a week with preschoolers who soaked up the truth about Jesus and learned their memory verse by the end of the week, it became even more real that this truth is the foundation of why we do VBS.  The seeds planted in the hearts of these little ones, we pray, will grow into having them accept and follow Christ one day.  I haven't heard all of the results of the week that was VBS, but I know of at least two girls who decided to follow Christ.  That is worth all the exhaustion, stickers, messes, paint spills and plaster clean ups we did.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Used to Enjoy Going to the Dentist

I have always been the only person on the planet who enjoyed going to the dentist.  Aside from all my health challenges, my teeth have been stellar.  Only one cavity my whole life and I have 3 of my 4 wisdom teeth.  Going to the dentist was somewhat of a treat because it was painless and I always got a good report.

Even though I no longer live on the south side of Louisville, I still go back to the original dentist office where I've gone for years.  The dentist has since retired, but the new one that took over serves my purpose.  He comes in, looks at my x-rays, pokes around my mouth and says "no complaints; see you in six months." Plus he's pretty cute.

Today was my six-month checkup and I arrived all smiles with my pearly whites.  I was greeted by a new hygienist and should have known this was trouble.  I went into the exam room and she indicated it was time for my pan x-ray so I followed her to the machine.  I got seated and had my face contorted to bite down on that white stick perfectly when she remembered she hadn't donned me with the iron blanket.  Sigh.  Everything unhooked and un-contorted.  She asked "is there a possibility you are pregnant?"  Um, that's a no, thank you for the reminder of my single, childless life.  After re-contorting and gripping that white stick with my teeth, she took the x-ray.  Off I went back to the exam room.

As I sat down in the exam chair, I almost fell out.  The chair was literally lowered to the floor.  Miss Hygienist replied, "Oh, sorry, my chair is kind of finicky."  Once I composed myself, I laid back and prayed this would be over soon.  She started by explaining how my pre-appointment protocol wasn't needed.  Aside: due to a joint replacement, I have been instructed to take antibiotics prior to the appointment to avoid infection.  I explained to her I understood that, but since I'd been doing it for years, I felt more comfortable continuing.  Next quiz.  She asked if any of my health conditions had changed.  I said no.  Then she asked what medications I took.  I paused and said, "Do you have the list from the last appointment?"  She indicated she did not.  I sighed and said that I confirm each appointment so there should be a list.  She asked if I had a list written down (which today I didn't), so she had me fill out a new patient form.  The exam hadn't started and I was already in pain.

When the procedure started, she explained everything she was doing.  First she was going to use an ultrasonic sprayer to remove my plaque.  She set up a water sucker in my mouth, but wasn't all too sure how to place it, meaning that periodically I would stop and vacuum my own mouth.  Unfortunately, I didn't grab that vacuum fast enough as I had water running down my neck.  Next she used her manual hand tools to clean the rest. And finally she polished my teeth.  After the polishing, she sprayed my mouth to clean out the granules.  This was when I knew she was new to the profession.  I was sprayed on my forehead, cheek, ear and, eventually, my mouth.  I literally needed a towel when she was done.  This poor hygienist had no idea of my angst.  I was as sweet and kind as possible knowing that she probably had a long day with much less patient patients.  

I got the normal "you need to floss more" lecture.  Flossing is of the devil, yet I do it periodically.  This time, Miss Hygienist explained the goodness of an electric toothbrush.  A couple of years ago I contemplated buying one and opted against it but now that she's recommended it, I think I'll take the dive.  If at the next check-up I get the infamous lectures, I may be able to deflect some of it with my wonderful use of my electric toothbrush.

As I left, I got my normal goodie bag, filled with floss, travel toothpaste and a toothbrush.  (Wouldn't replaceable brush heads been better for my new toothbrush purchase?)  I still enjoy the dentist better than most doctors.  Next time I'll just bring my swimsuit and a towel.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

Table Topics: Glorified Body

I've had one of those weeks where, though I am blessed beyond measure here on earth, I'm looking forward to the day when I have that glorified body in Heaven.  You know, no aches, no pain, no more blood sucked by vampire nurses, all the food you feast upon with zero weight gain.  It'll be glorious!  Though I'm not a fashionista, I have given thought to what I'd don on my new glorified body.  Now before the theological gurus come and post hate comments on how that isn't biblical, relax.  However the Lord dresses me will be fantastic.  But a girl can dream this side of Heaven.  Nothing I can fathom here would come close, but it's fun to think about it.  

What would I wear?  Many might think I'd want to be the image of Cinderella.  Or another Disney Princess, such as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  Or, even Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind for that Southern Belle charm.  Any of those would be great.  But, if I had to choose a look, it would be Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas.  No, not in that closing red Santa Claus frock, but in that amazing black dress that is just stunning.  She sings the song "Love Didn't Do Right By Me" (sing it sister and amen!) and is just classy in that black velvet number with the sweetheart neckline.  Bing Crosby sat in the audience realizing what a goober he was.  Beautiful.

So, that is today's table topic.  

How would you don your glorified body?  

Go ahead folks, in the words of Tim Gunn...make it work!