Sunday, September 29, 2013

A message from God

I'm telling this tale because my friend Jeffy hasn't told it himself yet (hint, hint) and I need to associate something fun with church today.  All inaccuracies to the story are my own.

My friend Jeffy was once the custodian at Old Church.  He had to quit after his shoulder started giving him trouble and he couldn't manhandle the chairs and tables anymore.  The church hired someone new.  Old Church has gone through a lot of custodians.  A couple have been good and actually cleaned.  Most were nightmares.  Serious nightmares.  I was once accused of not liking homeless people because I pointed out that the current custodian wasn't doing his job. He wasn't homeless and it's a LONG story.

Anyhow, the newest custodian is one of the those custodians that needs a little assistance in cleaning the restrooms, so Jeffy has been going in and cleaning the restrooms.  Recently, Jeffy was at the church cleaning the night after the kids program had been held.  He was in the women's restroom checking the "little boxes" that tend to stink to high heaven if they aren't emptied within a day. He opened one box, peered in and noticed something in there but not what he expected.  That happens from time to time. Those little boxes sometimes just hold regular trash.  He pulled out the bag and at the bottom was an offering envelope.  Yes, you read that right, an offering envelope.  One from the pews in the Sanctuary.  It gets better.

On the front of the envelope was written.  "God has something good to tell you."  Jeffy chuckled a little, turned the envelope over and opened it up.  Written on the inside was this message:

"God thinks you are nice."

Sometimes God shows up in the most unexpected places.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Random Brittany fact of the day

I'm sure it says something about me.

I'm not sure what it says about me.

It's not the first time I've noticed it.

It might distract people.

I know it makes some people laugh.

Here's my confession:

I talk with my hands.

If someone forced me to sit on my hands while talking, I could do it but it would be reallllly difficult.

I manage to contain the free hand movement while talking, at times.

It's not very professional to be waving one's hands about in the air with fervor in polite company.

But when no one is in the office and I am on the phone...WATCH OUT!!!

I guess the good news is that no one else is around to watch me talk on the phone and gesture ferociously with my hands...unless they are walking by my open office door.

And the person who's eye would get poked out by my wild gesticulating would be me.

The other piece of good news is that I don't tend to talk a lot when with a large group of people.

And that, my friends, is a random Brittany fact of the day.  =D

Sunday, September 15, 2013

From Youth Pastor to volunteer

This post was started a few weeks ago...

I went to Youth Group last night.  I sat around the fire pit and talked with people.  I ran after the dodge balls that flew past the group.  I gave and received hugs.  I sat in the back on the ugly and uncomfortable seating and listened to the youth volunteer speak.  I listened to God say "It's not about where you are going, it's about who you are going there with."  I stayed afterwards and talked with a couple of others and was one of the last to leave.

I also watched the group.  The youth knew what was happening.  They had the routine down.  They went with the flow.  They did what they were asked.  They laughed, they played, they listened, they prayed, they interacted with their friends...sometimes with the others.

I watched the leaders.  They engaged the youth, they joined in the fun, they talked to each other and then they left.

I watched my friend, the Youth Pastor.  I knew he had put hours in beforehand setting things up.  I saw the weariness on his face.  I saw him enter into the game, letting go and playing for a few seconds, the tiredness on his face easing.  I saw him specifically go sit next to kids just to talk.  I saw him sit next to the one kid who needs just a little bit more attention while the volunteer youth worker was speaking.  I watched him head outside, as the group ended, to sit around the fire, talk with kids and greet parents as all his volunteers stayed inside...talking with each other.

Just the night before I had sat and listened for awhile as he shared the burdens on his heart.  I heard my own story in his words.  I heard the weariness, the frustration, the disillusionment with church people, the burden of too much on his plate.  I heard it all and understood.  I see the signs and I pray, oh how I pray, that God reveals the path ahead of Youth Pastor friend soon...and selfishly hope that path doesn't lead him away. 

Sitting in the back, joining the group for the first time, being in a youth group setting for the first time since I left my own two years ago (wow, that seems so long ago!), knowing the back story, I made a decision.  I made a decision not be the typical volunteer leader who comes just before group starts and leaves just after it's over.  I may have worked all day, commuted up to 3 hours round-trip and have to get up early the next morning to do it all over again.  I may show up just before group starts just because I can't get there any sooner but I will be one of the last to leave.  I will be the volunteer who hangs out and listens to Youth Pastor when he needs to download the nights events.  I will be tired at work the next day but that doesn't matter.  The spiritual and emotional health of Youth Pastor friend is more important.

It's been a few weeks since I started attending youth group.  I'm slowly finding my way and I think that God may have put the desire to volunteer on my heart, not for the benefit of the teens, but to be an encourager and supporter of the volunteers.  Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some teens that need some one on one attention I will gladly give...but a couple of the volunteers, they may actually be the people I am at youth group for.  It's a new road, a new journey, a new tale to tell.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Adventures with nature

We live in the mountains, next to a sand plant and nature is abundant.  Sometimes nature is unexpected, such as the day I returned home and wondered when we moved to the zoo.  Or the time when Creative Guy and I were heading out to the car and the biggest coyote I have ever seen came out of the bushes about 10 feet away from where we were.  I honestly thought for a minute it was a wolf.  Long time blog followers may remember the rodent invasion of May 2011 at Shangri-La O.

Sometimes nature is welcomed, sometimes not so much.

Cute birds on the bird feeder, welcome.
Squirrel on the bird feeder, not welcome.

Ants roaming around the yard, welcome.
Ants in the kitchen and bathrooms, not welcome.

Bats flying through the sky at night, welcome.
Bats stuck between the window and, yeah, not welcome.(The question we want to ask but are afraid to ask is how did it get there?)

Termites indoors, never welcome.
Scorpions indoors, never welcome.

Snakes in the garage, as long as they slither out without causing harm, tolerable.
Whatever ran out of the garage when I got home last night, again, as long as they run away without causing harm, tolerable.

Deer lounging under the cedar trees, welcome.
Rabbits hopping by, welcome.

The neighbors dog that is allowed to wander at will, really irritating.
The Siamese cat that scampers away the minute it sees a human being, well, I hope it's catching the rodents and snakes...and blue jays (the screechy, annoying ones).

Raccoons knocking over the garbage cans, decidedly not welcome.
Whatever animal keeps walking across the front porch in the wee hours in the morning, that is heavy enough to cause the porch to creak and moan and that wanders around the front year snorting like a pig, REALLY not welcome.

We may be investing in an animal cam or night cam or, as I will call it, "what the heck kind of animal keeps waking me up in the middle of the night" cam.  Then again, maybe I don't want to know...I might never leave the house at night again.