Sunday, April 1, 2007
Close to Invicible
I sat down with Rachel Phillips, wife of successful orthopedic surgeon Dr. Blake Phillips, over a cup of hot chai tea, her all time favorite drink, at Starbucks last week. She looked like any other thirty-year-old Dallasite in a white tunic, jeans cut in a capri style and Haviana flip flops. Currently, she is taking a break from her eight year teaching career to raise her nine month old daughter, Carly Rose and three year old son, Bryston Lee. She says she misses teaching and interacting with her brilliant students, but also loves being home with Carly and Bryston and the extra time she gets to spend with Blake. Although her career is on hold, the humanitarian and mission work she and Blake participate in is just taking off. They run a clinic and tutoring center in downtown Dallas for underprivileged children and families. Rachel says God has given her a heart to serve people, and next to being with her family, the center is her favorite place to be. "Our mission is to show people to Christ through a holistic approach," she says about the clinic. The center also encourages students to go to college and helps them with the resources they need to get there.
Rachel is also a world traveler. She and Blake are planning to go to Botswana, Africa next December and Rhodes, Greece the following summer. "I just love to experience many different cultures, learn their histories, and of course, try their food." Art and creativity are never far from her mind either. Rachel has already started a scrapbook for Carly and Bryston. When her children are sleeping she paints pottery in the studio behind her house. She also keeps in touch with many of her friends from high school and college throwing parties for every holiday, and writing letters on a weekly basis. One of her favorite ways to relax is to cuddle up on the couch with her husband to watch the seasonal Aggie sports games; basketball is her favorite. "I don't know how relaxing it is for him because he gets so into the games, but I enjoy just watching."
Although I wasn't invited to her home, I was curious to see where she lived. Last week, before my interview with her, I spotted Rachel leaving the grocery store so I decided to follow her home. I knew she wouldn't mind. As I casually drove passed her house, I noticed it was a modest two story on about two acres with beautiful gardens surrounding all sides. When I asked her if she likes to garden, she looked at me with childish curiosity, as if to say, "how did you know?" She smiled and answered that gardening was a hobby her grandmother taught her to love when she was a child. They would go into the garden and smell all of the different herbs she planted. Rachel took a horticulture class at Texas A&M and found that she also had a green thumb. She takes 30 minutes every day to tend to her gardens, which helps her to feel in touch with nature, an admirable trait to say the least. She said the only problem she has right now is that her puppies and rabbits keep getting into her flower beds. Although most people might be perturbed by this, Rachel finds it quite amusing and laughs to herself. "I absolutely love animals. I am so lucky because my husband doesn't mind that sometimes our house feels like a zoo. We have ducks, pigs, rabbits, dogs, and guinea pigs right now."
It might seem like Rachel would have a hard time keeping everything together, but she is extremely organized. When asked how she does it all, she says, "through prayer, patience, love and laughter."