Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes

Sometimes you just have to take a break from reality. When 2009 started, I committed to getting my groove back and the last six plus months have been filled with unexpected blessings and God has done an amazing work in my life. After a long cold winter full of ice storms and snow storms, I was ready to break free. Whenever that urge hits, I know exactly who to adventuresome friend, the Thelma to my Louise...Amy. Her free spirit draws mine out and she is always ready for excitement. She told me "Sometimes, Rose, just getting a massage isn't enough." And the planning began. Through the wonders of search marketing, I found a little rustic resort spa in the North Carolina mountains that looked like a cross between Mamma Mia and Dirty Dancing. And, it was very affordable. Book it, Dano, we are there.

Amy and I go way back...well, our roots do. Her grandparents and my parents were best friends...taught Sunday School together and we have a mutual adoration for those four precious souls. Although I had known her my whole life, our friendship truly began when she went off to college and solicited people to write her. (The old-fashioned way, kids, pen and paper) Because I love writing letters, I took the challenge and it forever changed us both. She will admit now that my letters would sit on her desk at her dorm for days when she knew that reading them would be convicting. Our friendship is loving and honest and one I treasure. Amy is someone that can be goofy one moment and then get serious the next...a quality I love.

Summarizing this trip is almost impossible. Every moment is memorable and I'll just recap a few....

...Goofy discussions and vacation evening we brainstormed on names for churches you'd never want to attend (watch for a future blogpost)...

...Other discussions fell into one of three categories, deep discussions, soul searching, or true confessions (don't look for a blogpost on those)...

...Random stops...for Starbucks...and bookstores we see that have all books under $5!!...

...A resort that fits us to a tee....relaxation....reading....lots of coffee....Scrabble in the cafe....wonderful

....Two trips to Cracker Barrel...that restaurant is just right for traveling...good home cookin' and a gift shop to boot...

...Lunch on the way home with Mark and of those unplanned, unexpected blessings...that couple is oh so precious to me...and Amy got to have a taste of the Robinson wisdom...

I always get wistful and melancholy when trips like this come to a close. I ponder on the fact that we pass this way only once and we must make the most of the moments we have. Amy just read that sentence and groaned. She loathes change and I embrace it and most times find excitement and promise in the changes to come. Oh, she can rest assured that as sisters in Christ we will be eternal friends, but as our seasons of life come and go, the complexion of our friendship may change. Sometimes I have to remind my friends that I may not always be single, footloose, fancy free and at their disposal, but it doesn't change my love. All of our lives morph and evolve and that's why trips like these are treasured memories. And, I know there will be more trips down the road.

The theme for the weekend was Psalm 121..."I will lift up mine eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord." This passage was one of my Mom's favorite verses. She would inscribe it in the front of every Bible she ever gave me. And being in the mountains this weekend reminds me that she would look to those hills and think of her Master and Creator...the Maker of Heaven and Earth. She is with her Creator and I'm thankful that she taught me the beautiful words of Scripture that remind me Who I can give thanks for the moments, friendships, and road trips of my life.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spiritual Dusting

I hate to dust. Maybe it's because of the knick knack overkill in my house and the long time it takes me to thoroughly dust everything. But, I just think it's the meticulous effort it takes to get rid of all those tiny dust particles. This doesn't bode well when I prefer a non-dusty home...means I have to do it. I can hear my Mom say from my younger years "There's enough dust there that obviously someone must be coming or going!" (For those not getting that humor...Genesis 3:19..."For you are dust, and to dust you will return")

Thankfully technology has invented these electrostatic wonders called Swiffers to help ease the pain of dusting. Using the various dusting contraptions, even the tiniest of particles gets sucked into the web of electrostatic-ity. It still doesn't make me enjoy dusting, but it helps ease the pain of getting into every nook and cranny.

This made me think about my prayer life. When I pray daily, I have a typical process I use to make sure I "cover all my bases" and then I sprinkle in other things as the Spirit leads. But I know, just like when I dust, I don't get into every nook and cranny of my heart. I fail to pick up those lingering sins in the corners of my soul that I just don't want to look at because, well, maybe they'll just go away. Or maybe, there are things floating around in my heart that I can't get my soul around. Like a teeny tiny dust particle my dust rag won't pick up and I resort to that long-handled Swiffer, these soul particles are deep burdens and desires that my lips cannot lift to the Master. I need a Spiritual Swiffer. And, I have one....

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." - Romans 8:26

When the caverns of my heart are dusty and I've expressed all the energy I have to clean and purify my heart, it is so good to know the Father has provided us the Spirit to help us with that spiritual dusting. My unconfessed sins, burdens, hopes, desires and dreams are all drawn to the Spirit who "swif"-tly takes them to the Father in ways I could never express. What a glorious thought.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Kickin' it New School

True confessions...I'm analytical. Sometimes too much. But when it comes to major purchases, I typically research until I'm blue in the face, monkey with my budget (which isn't my favorite thing to do) and put everything on paper to see if it makes sense. This time last year I purchased a laptop and a new car out of necessity and it's only by the grace of God I didn't pass out from all that stress. I don't spend large amounts of money easily....small amounts, oh yeah!

Over the past few months, my cell phone of two and a half years had been acting up. I had friends tell me they texted me with no response (yeah, didn't get that text) and my phone would lock up and restart periodically. And one time during that event, all my contacts disappeared, then came back, in duplicate! I knew it was time to get a new phone, I just needed to do my research.

My phone was a simple Nokia. Flip open the top, push some buttons, and voila. I made calls, texts, and took an occasional picture. The fanciest thing about this phone was the ability to use a Bluetooth headset. Since I don't buy phones very often, I decided it was time to enter the geek world of which I'm entrenched and invest in a smartphone. My one holdback....I didn't want to pay for internet service and have to view it on a teeny tiny screen. Off I went to shop and test out phones.

My carrier is T-Mobile. Let the harassment begin. Say what you will about this company branded in pink, but they are top notch. I've been with them for 10 years and have received the best customer service around. I remember sitting in the hospital cafeteria almost 8 years ago with my Dad fresh out of bypass surgery and having billing issues. They not only credited my billing error, but bonused me a ton of minutes because of the stress it was causing in my already stressful situation. I could have kissed that customer service rep!

Aside from the various BlackBerry options, T-Mobile has a phone called the Sidekick, made by Sharp. The newest 3G Model has full keyboard and a nice big, swivel screen. Quite a drastic change from my little Nokia, but I thought it was worth pricing out. Bonus, it comes in one of my favorite colors, Purple! The sales rep priced out the phone, which I had already done the week before. (See my intense research above) Another bonus from T-Mobile customer service...when I called to price out phone options, the customer service rep noticed my long tenure with T-Mobile. She decided to change my plan to unlimited minutes for life at the current rate I was paying. Wow. Now that's what I call sevice. The final decision making move was for the sales rep to calculate my monthly bill. Paying for a phone is one thing, but the ongoing charge is another. As he calculated it, he said, "Who is your car insurance with?" and I replied "State Farm." Another a State Farm customer, I get 15% off my bill each month. So, to have unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet, along with insurance would only cost me $20 more a month. Within my budget....sign me up!

Yes, I love my phone, but I did have some buyer's remorse for a day or two. To get over that, I polled my Facebook friends to enlist help in naming my phone. Giving it a name would help me bond with it quicker. The verdict? Violet. In honor of her color....Violet from Peanuts, who is Lucy Van Pelt's best friend and 'sidekick'....and because the phone rings and alerts are so unintrusive, it reminds me of a shrinking violet, like the daughter on The Incredibles, one of my favorite Pixar movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've entered the 21st century.