Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Run for the Rose' ....Redneck Style

I love being from Louisville. No matter where I may roam this great world and plant my roots, this will always be the Motherland. One of the joys of Louisville is Derby Week. This festive week before the most notable two minutes in sports, The Kentucky Derby, is filled with all sorts of activities understood only by those who reside here. We have Balloon Races, Steamboat Races, Mini and Full Marathons, Parades, and all sorts of other oddities. The oddities range from Bed Races, where teams push a bed around an arena, to the Run for the Rose', an obstacle course where people race with trays of wine-filled glasses, attempting not to spill a drop. Any excuse for an event, we do it.

Yesterday afternoon while we were working away in the office, we noticed an interesting sight out our window. We overlook a park in front of one of the many Humana buildings downtown. Affectionately called "Smoker's Park," we observe some pretty interesting happenings in our voyeuristic moments. The vision we experienced yesterday was an employee parody of the Run for the Rose'....what I like to call "Redneck Style." So here's how it all shook out...from our assumptions on high. Teams were paired into twos. Trays of little ramekins were filled with some red liquid....kool-aid?...we can only hope. And two office chairs were sitting at the starting line. (I guess to do it in teams, you need props) The race begins with the one seated holding the tray, while the other ran and pushed them down the sidewalk. At the end of the sidewalk, the team members switched places. All while keeping the tray and "rose'" intact. We saw two very predictable, but not quite killer wipeouts. People, you are pushing an office chair down a sidewalk....injuries will ensue.

This provided some great afternoon entertainment. We're not really sure who won or what the prize was....maybe just the joy of bragging rights that you can run and push an office chair without killing someone. I can't wait to see what other parodies will occur out our window the rest of the week. As a matter of fact, right now those Humana employees are conducting a Derby Hat Fashion Show down the middle of the park. Isn't it comforting to know how your insurance premiums are working for you?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Judges' Save

This year on American Idol, a new rule has been instituted...the "judges' save." I'm a creature of change and embrace it openly, but after adding a fourth judge this year and now this rule, I wasn't sure I was so keen on the concept. The rule goes into play after America votes. If the judges' panel deem the singer voted off worthy of a second chance, they receive the save and return for another week. The downside? The following week two folks get voted off. This "save" can only be used one time during the season. My initial flag-waving personality felt like this was an incringement on socialism comes creeping in the door via the Fox Channel. But I hate to been an extremist, so I decided to give change a chance.

Week before last, the "save" was used on Matt Giraud. I have to say, I like Matt. He reminds me a bit of Michael Buble' (sigh) and although not a consistent performer, when he shows out, he really shows out. As much as I was against this new rule, I have to say, watching it unfold was powerful for me. Matt sang his supposed swan song as the judges debated on what to do. Matt's life is hanging in the balance. When the decision had to be made, Simon said "Matt, you have very little chance of winning this competition" (Agreed) "But, it's good news, we're saving you." The crowd went wild, Matt hugged Ryan and he lived to see another week. And, amazingly, he made it through the double elimination week as we saw Anoop-Dog and Lil Rounds say sayonara to the show.

Why was this so powerful for me? It reminded me of my eternal salvation. I can stand and sing a beautiful song. I can do good things and be applauded for what I've done. I can be as obedient as I can be during this journey on earth. But, the bottom line is, only the Ultimate Judge, the Savior of the World can save me. Because the truth is no matter how beautiful the song may sound or good the deeds that are done, I'm sinful. I have no way of working to achieve this salvation on my own. The Judge is the One who saves me.

Matt's life was hanging in the balance. The words of Simon rang so true in my ears "You have very little chance of winning this competition." My life was hanging in the balance. And, I hear Christ say, "You have no chance of eternal life without Me." I hear Simon say "It's good news, we're saving you." And, I hear my Lord say, "I bring you Good News, I died for you and I'm saving you." Although Matt may never make it to the final round and win American Idol, I know that my Judges' Save has secured me an eternal home with Him forever...where I can sing His Praises throughout all eternity.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Table Topics - Voicemail Quirks

As I've recounted on my blog before, I leave rather lengthy voicemails. I chalk it up to the fact that if I don't reach the intended party, my goal is to give them as much information as I can. You'd think they were never going to speak to me again and I needed to tell them everything. But, that's just my personality and all part of what makes me Rose.

Being an observer of human behavior is an enjoyment of mine. Even observing my own, such as the length of my voicemails. (I won't go into the diatribe of how I can be so obsessive with important messages that I utilize the "press 2 to review your message" option before sending at times) One of the other things I've observed about my message-leaving habits is I always leave the time of my call. For example, "Hey, this is Rose, it's 6:45...." I've realized that every message begins with identifying myself, then giving the time. It's not that odd, but given caller ID and most voicemail systems or missed call logs having the time of call indicated, it's a sign that I was trained how to properly leave a message long before phone technology was this advanced.

So, here's today's table topic....

Do you have quirky habits when leaving voicemail messages?

....leave your comments at the sound of the beep....

Monday, April 06, 2009

Welcome to the Open Arms Fellowship

Some of the funniest things in life happen unplanned and spontaneously. And I love those things. Those moments are ones that you never forget. The birth of the Open Arms Fellowship is just one of those moments.

On Sunday nights after our evening service at church, there has always been a group of friends that go out to eat. Honestly, this tradition has continued almost my entire life. When I was a child, we'd go out as a family and when I got into youth and college, I sprang out on my own and did it. Some of the greatest friendships have been birthed and the best conversations have taken place at these Sunday night events. Unplanned, yet scripted beautifully. I can still remember some conversations from more than 10 years ago.

A few weeks ago at one of these weekly events, one of our attenders, Matthew, donned it "The Open Arms Fellowship." Just a fun way to describe a friendly group of people gathering at a local restaurant that can hold a large party (and is cheap) after a day of worshipping the Lord at church. The name stuck and two weeks ago, the official "Open Arms Fellowship" was constituted. Well, not like your normal church, of course, but with a Facebook group where all those in attendance can belong and interact with each other during the week before our next gathering. Our tagline? "We integrate, not segregate" showcasing our ability to welcome visitors. In fact, we elect the "Visitor of the Week" and they get special recognition on our Facebook Group page.

A vital part of the OAF (yes, we know it spells what is normally defined as a stupid, awkward person, but at the OAF everyone is welcome...and that acronym is just plain funny) is our weekly table topics. You faithful blog readers know I love those and incorporate them whenever I can, even on this blog. The beauty of our table topics is the wide span of variety that flows through those discussions. From the deepest of introspection to the silliest of questions. Or, even better, a silly response to a deep question. One OAF attender (who will remain nameless for his protection) when asked his qualities in a member of the opposite sex said, "She needs hair." You just can't make that stuff up. In our most recent gathering, we discussed "When is something 'enough'?" ..."Can Christians ever not be remorseful over their sin?"....and "Should women get to smoke stogies with the men?" Seriously, I don't think any topic is taboo.

I post Table Topics on my blog periodically and will probably bring to this table some of the more vibrant discussions we have, although leave the real deep ones (and incriminating ones) for the OAF table, and see what my blog audience has to say. Your comment could make a special guest appearance at the next OAF gathering.

If you come to our church on a Sunday night, we'll invite you to come join us at the Open Arms Fellowship.....good food, good discussions, and side-splitting laughter.