potpourri image courtesy of Shantishop.com For many of you in blogland it is time for VBS, Vacation Bible School. I was thinking of my years as teacher in bible school a while ago, and one memory just stands out as a lesson to be learned by me, not by my kids. I was always fond of teaching either seven year-olds or the two's and three's. And most usually, I chose the little ones because as a high school teacher and junior high, it was such fun to take a summer switcheroo and teach the babes. I had such great helpers, usually students from high school. My son helped me a couple of years, and he was fabulous with the young ones. I also had a gal who could read my mind. We worked together for about five years, and I think when she moved away, I only taught a couple more years. One summer's morning we introduced the idea of a nature walk and took along a box and a sack for the wee ones to fill with dried leaves, grasses, and plant materials. We had them crunch little sticks and create the most unusual medium for potpourri we'd ever seen. Thirteen little ones trooped back into the room to create potpourri bags for Mommy... Uh, well,.... that was the plan at least. The fans flipped and flopped the flimsy netting all over the room, making it nearly impossible to set out the base for the bags. Finally using our elbows, extra hymnals, and whatever we could find, we anchored enough of the netting to fill with this brambly mess of weeds, hay, and dried goop. Ah... time for the icing on the cake. We, being a young mother myself and my girl only a high school junior.... knew nothing of the properties of oil of cinnamon.... Yeah. We poured a lovely dollop on each bundle, and began the task of tying them up with pretty satin ribbon and a silk flower. What deliciousness we were making for MOMMY.... Until we noted the oil of cinnamon had eaten the paint right off the tables. My assistant quickly telegraphed a look of panic to me. Too late. As I mouthed.... get the bags away, they each took a whiff... in the endearing way only three year-olds can do anything. They grabbed their little bags and held them to their noses. Immediately, and I mean now... they began screaming wildly and their lips and noses turned a hideous shade of purply red. The oil of cinnamon burnt their baby skin and felt like liquid fire. As my helper and I surveyed the room, I know I felt like I was witnessing some kind of surreal horror shot in a movie... What then seconds ago had been happily chattering toddlers had turned into little banshees with bright red faces and the loudest, most heart chilling screams... I was sick, immediately begging for mercy and for this not to be happening.... We each grabbed about three or four babes under our arms and shepherded the rest upstairs to the two bathrooms and began dousing them with cold water. It worked. Praise the good Lord, it did. The red miraculously went away and they began to point at each other and giggle. We were washed in the blood of the lamb that morning as we felt so pardoned for our lack of knowledge ..... What a memory..... Those kids are all graduated, and many of them have little two or three year olds of their own. Luckily they are safe from me this year as I am not a helper in VBS... Have a good week. Don't forget to stop and smell the roses.... the non-cinnamoned ones, that is.