SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

110_0735After spending a short time at the Dealey Plaza, Roger and I headed over to the SBTS in Fort Worth. This is the largest Southern Baptist Seminary in the world and this was the third time I had been  there for a conference. One of the good things about being at the school is that they have “motel” rooms, so we stayed right on campus. That meant the ride to the conference the next morning was less than a mile.

Between 700 and 800 leaders had registered and everyone arrived happy and full of chatter. I could tell from the start that this would be a good conference with responsive leaders – people simply seemed happy. Later I said something to one of the staff and his reply was, “People in Dallas are alive.”  I would agree.

I did two Modern-day Joseph workshops and two Tween workshops in Scarborough Hall!  After my last MDJ workshop a lady said,  “Oh, your Tween one is in room 115, right?”

“I think I’m in the same room all day,” I told her.

“No, the program says you’re in 115.”

Sure enough, so I went down the hall to find room 115 and discovered it was the Ladies Room!  Yes, my workshop had been scheduled to meet in the bathroom.

They quickly fixed that by putting a sign on the door:

110_0736My brother (whose room was across the hall) just stood out there and laughed. People who WERE looking for my room would walk right by it because it WAS the Ladies Room and Ladies Rooms don’t usually have room numbers.

People who were looking for the bathroom wondered why there was a sign on the door telling them where I was!

We all got a good laugh out of it.

After the conference was over we went to Spring Creek for some Texas Barbecue. 110_0738

110_0743Rog and I left fairly early the next morning to fly home.

Remember how I sat next to someone who used to work at Awana on my last flight?  Well, besides my brother, I knew three other people on the flight from Dallas to Chicago.

Small world, you know.

BACK FROM FORT WORTH

I’m once again back from a conference – this time in Fort Worth and this time with my brother – who also did workshops.

I like conferences. I like meeting the people and getting an opportunity to talk with leaders from all around the country.  But sometimes going and coming goes and comes so quickly, you don’t even know where you’ve come and where you’ve gone. And conferences are actually a lot of work.  They take major preparation and on the day of the conference, I usually talk for four – to six straight hours.

Friday I got up at four o’clock a.m. to be ready for the limo and to get to the airport in time for the flight.  We landed in Dallas and immediately headed for the Dealey Plaza – the place where Kennedy was shot. Of course, I’ve seen a lot of pictures of the plaza. I think the thing that surprised me was how small the area is that you always see in the pictures. The Texas Book Depository now has a museum on the top two floors – called The Sixth Floor Museum.  The cost to get in was a little high and probably not worth it – but still – because I saw it on the news, it was interesting.

The Texas Book Depository - Oswald was at the window on the sixth floor (obviously the tree wasn't quite as tall).

The Texas Book Depository - Oswald was at the window on the sixth floor (obviously the tree wasn't quite as tall).

The spot where the shot hit.

The spot where the shot hit.

The grassy knoll  - many books have been written about the "shots" heard from this area.

The grassy knoll - many books have been written about the "shots" heard from this area.

The underpass where the cars sped away.

The underpass where the cars sped away.

The view up the street.

The view up the street.

We thought this sign on the door of the Texas Book Depository was sort of "after-the-fact."

We thought this sign on the door of the Texas Book Depository was sort of "after-the-fact."

Across the street from the book depository and the grassy knoll.

Across the street from the book depository and the grassy knoll.

EDISON AND FORD

Sunday morning was very warm and very humid which I would not want to live in, but was perfectly content to enjoy because very warm and very humid is exactly how Florida is supposed to be. Knowing I would have several hours on my own, I looked up the area attractions. The ocean was tempting, but I didn’t know a safe place to go and I wasn’t quite sure how to get there. The Edison/Ford Winter Estates was my final choice. I asked several people at the conference and they all agreed it was a good choice.

One of the ministry team members gave me directions and I had no trouble finding the estates tucked away on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River with the high rises of Fort Myers in the background. (One of the workers explained to me that you weren’t even able to see the houses from the road before the recent hurricanes – meaning in the last few years. The estates lost lots of trees.) The museum and lab was on one side of the road – the house and the gardens on the other. At 9:00 in the morning, I was the only visitor on the house/garden side – so I enjoyed simply wandering around looking at everything. The sky was rather stormy and I wanted to do the outdoor part before the rains poured down.  The yards were full of unusual plants and trees since Edison was constantly experimenting (In fact, do you know he invented the curling iron?)  One of his focuses was rubber, so lots of the trees have some kind of rubber-type material.

Anyhow – here’s what I saw.

BACK FROM CAPE CORAL

110_0596This weekend I spoke at the Awana Ministry Conference at the First Baptist Church of Cape Coral.  Fun workshops and friendly people. Seemed to be good enthusiasm for starting MDJ (Modern-Day-Joseph) plans in their churches. I also met Elizabeth who is actually attending the Florida Conferences. (For those of you who attend Ministry Conferences – Elizabeth is the mom of James – the boy in the video.) Sweet lady.

Although I’ve been to Florida many times – this was the first time I have been to the Southwest coast – nice area.

110_0599The keynote speaker encouraged leaders to be good examples and to take their responsibility seriously. I had met him before during a truly memorable experience that I had before I did a blog. Maybe someday I’ll write about it – talk about a once-in-a-lifetime-experience!!!!!  (In summary – about ten years ago when T&T first came out, Awana sent me to Atlanta to introduce the program to the missionaries and ministry team members. After the presentation – the lead missionary invited me to sit in on a meeting (which had nothing to do with me), or, he said, “The South Florida Ministry Team is sightseeing in downtown Atlanta this afternoon and wanted to know if you’d like to go along.”  Having never been sightseeing in downtown Atlanta and not being all that excited about meetings, I said sure. Let’s just say going to a city which a bunch of people who don’t live in big cities was truly an experience. I still refer to it as the “most fun I’ve ever had with people I didn’t know.”)

Anyhow, the conference had gone well. The workshop leaders went out to eat at Ruby Tuesdays, stood around afterwards and talked and then I drove back to my hotel. Most of the other people were heading home. My room was on the third floor and had a balcony, so I thought “Think I’ll take advantage of that balcony, sit out there in the Florida heat and humidity and read.”  Good plan and something I’ve done in many other hotels. I opened the door, but then (fortitously) I put down my book and picked up my Blackberry, deciding I should call my mom. I closed the balcony door behind me and heard a frightening click – yep, I was locked out. (Now I know enough about motel balcony doors to know that they don’t usually lock behind you and indeed, when I tried to get it to lock when I closed it (from the inside) the next morning, I couldn’t do it – so this was truly a malfunctioning lock.)   I was locked out on my balcony, on the third floor. The door would not budge!  But like I said, I had my Blackberry and my Blackberry has internet, so I looked up the hotel, got the number and called the front desk.

“Someone will be right up.”

Twenty minutes later, I was still waiting. Finally I see a desk-clerk-looking person walk out to the parking lot with a maintenance-looking person. She is pointing to me and trying to explain to him to let me out, but he doesn’t speak English.

“We’re coming,” she calls up.

Twenty minutes later, I am still on the balcony. Suddenly, someone calls to me from the next balcony.  “We can’t get in your room because the deadbolt is locked.”

Duh! Of course, you’re going to lock the deadbolt if you’re in there by yourself.

“I have to call the head maintenance man and get him to come over. Hang in there. We’ll get you.”

So, I waited … and waited … finally after about an hour, they got me in the room.

Here is the view I thought maybe I would be looking at for the rest of my life.

110_0603My plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until Sunday evening. (Unless I wanted to morph a three-hour flight into a ten hour flight with layovers), so I had a day to wander around the area – which I did, which I’ll write about later.

A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE

I began my Labor Day vacation day by scrubbing my floors – and listening to the radio in the background.

The topic of discussion?  Oprah shutting down the Magnificent Mile (ie Michigan Ave) for an entire day and a half.  The host was making snide, but funny comments about all the taxis, buses, traffic being rerouted and people were calling in agreeing with him.

Then one lady called and said, “Well, what’s the problem? Traffic can just go one street over.”  I rolled my eyes, but only the dog was there to see me. Anyone who knows the area knows that the “one street over” is already traffic-laden and having four lanes of additional traffic would create a nightmare.

The scrubbing of the floors and the conversation went on.

Another lady called. “Oh, I would give anything to be there. It would be a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.”

Which made me roll my eyes again as I started thinking of the once-in-a-lifetime-experiences I’ve had that meant so much more to me than standing for eight hours plus with no food (and the bathrooms three blocks away).  Experiences like the day I trusted Christ, the day Ken asked me to marry him, the day I got married, the day I found out I was to be a mom, the day my kids/grandkids were born … the day I …

Suddenly, in making my mental list I had a not-very-ingenious thought, but a new way of looking at an old concept – every day of our lives is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

So, don’t think you have to get to Michigan Avenue today to have that o-i–a-l-e. You can have it right where you are, doing whatever it is you’re are doing.

Face your day, intentionally desiring to do all to the glory of God and have a GREAT day!  Because after all, this day IS a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.

FOLK ART FESTIVAL

After a great lunch, some friends and I spent a few hours wandering around the Folk Art Festival at Island Park this afternoon. Lots of storytelling, music and crafts. Beautiful afternoon for wondering around a park.

CONVERSATION

I had a conversation with the munchkins tonght that went like this:

7yo (pointing to my necklace – an “L”): What is that?

ME: It’s a typewriter key made into jewelry.

7yo: (puzzled) What’s a typewriter?

9yo: Oh, I know what that is. I learned it on TV.  A typewriter is a finger-powered laptop.