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 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 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!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Motherless

Yesterday was the thirteenth year I spent Mother's Day without my Mom.  It was also the first time in 11 years I spent it without my Stepmom.  I remember last Mother's Day so vividly.  My Dad had just passed away and his funeral was the Friday before Mother's Day.  On Mother's Day I spent most of the day with my Stepmom.  I think we were both numb from the loss and I truly grieved more for her.  She had lost her partner in life.  She didn't have children, and though she had nieces and nephews that were like her children, I always spent Mother's Day with her after she and Dad married.  Now Dad was gone and we both were sad.  I didn't fathom that it would be my last Mother's Day with her too.

I have a lot of friends who are 'motherless.' Many I know that spent their first day without their Mom.  Or many, like me, who have spent years without their Mom, but it stings just a little bit more on this day.  I also have many friends who, due to their inability to have children, are not mothers.  The sting is similar.  They 'mother' many in their lives, but never bore (or adopted) their own children.  I fall in this category too.

Lamenting over such things is not my normal modus operandi.  I have so many more blessings than losses in my life and I'm amazed and encouraged how God fills those empty gaps.  A Mother's Day rarely goes by where I don't get at least one message from a sweet sister in Christ who encourages me about how I have impacted their life.  I'd never would have had the time to do so if God had blessed me with a passel of my own kids.  And there are so many "Moms" in my life that look out for me and care for me that even though my Mom, and Stepmom, are gone, I don't feel as 'orphaned' as I could.

Recently I started a new devotional time reading through the book of Esther.  For those that know me best, you know I've probably read Esther no less than a kabillion times.  As I read and studied through it this time, I noticed something new (as I seem to always do with Scripture).  Yes, Esther was motherless.  Well, duh, I knew, that right?  Mordecai raised her, blah blah blah.  But, it hit me this time stronger.  Call it God's Sovereignty and perfect timing.  The mere mention "Esther's parents had both died and Mordecai, her uncle, raised her" struck a chord in me.  You have to love Mordecai.  This man probably asked "what am I to do with raising a girl?"  And yet he did.  And raised her to love God with all her heart.  As I read the story now, I read it through the eyes of one that was motherless yet had a Mordecai.  Scripture doesn't mention Mordecai having any other children, so Esther could have been his only one.  And hit a home run raising her.  God used her to save the Jewish nation, and in turn, the lineage from where our Savior would be born.

Every Esther needs a Mordecai.  And every Mordecai needs an Esther.  God's Plan is so perfect, even if it doesn't fit the normal mold of what we might expect.