In reality, I'm pretty old. I've been dragging some boxes to and from the garage - up 18 stairs to my craft room . . .and that is after walking about 50 minutes - from 5:00 - 5:50 a.m. . . .and I'm feeling a tad old today. Not mentally (because I'm taking a day of much needed vacation to wait on workmen -- woo hoo!!!) - just a few aches and creaks and pains. That is what happens when you carry around way too much weight - yes, I know it. If you've ever wondered should you tell me that I'm overweight - no need to tell me . . . I know! BUT on Tuesday nights, starting around 6:15, I don't notice my age nor my weight nor my creaks and pains. On Tuesday nights, I am not old. It is the most amazing thing. It is as if God gives a mega vitamin with an extra energy shot to me as the young adults begin to arrive.
We have been studying "The New Rules of Love, Sex, and Dating" by Andy Stanley. Since we started this study, attendance on Tuesday nights has jumped way up again. If you are single - even if you are in a relationship but not married - watch his sermons online. Please. You won't regret it. You deserve to hear what he has to say!! Here is the link for Designer Sex (no wonder our crowds have been larger -- with titles like Designer Sex!!) - the one we watched on Tuesday night.
Back to feeling old vs. not feeling old. . . .there is just an amazing amount of energy in our house when 25 young adults between the ages of 22 and 29 walk through our door. I feel like I'm sucked right up into a vortex of "youngness." It is GREAT!!
We always have an ice breaker question. A couple of weeks ago, the question was, "Where is your hometown"? We only had a small handful of folks who called the Greater Birmingham area home. We have folks from Kentucky and Georgia and Louisiana and Mississippi and Illinois and Tennessee and Lineville, Al to Oneonta, AL and Gadsden, AL and everything in between. After everyone left that night, Mark and I tried to recreate the list - matching the names with the towns & states. It is just amazing. Sometimes I feel like we are living in "A Field of Dreams" - if you build it, they will come. I sometimes feel like God must have said, "if you offer it, they will come."
God has and is continuing to do amazing things in the lives of these incredible young adults. Remember that old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks"? Well -- that is wrong. God is teaching Mark and me (surely Mark is the only old dog . . .:-) ) so very much every single week. When I see the things these young adults are learning and when I hear their opinions, I am constantly amazed. They teach us so much. They look at the world in an entirely different way than my generation -- and I'm so glad. When we have discussion, my eyes are often opened to truth from God that I've never even thought about.
I want to share just a few pictures. (we now have plantation shutters on all our windows and the bolt of fabric standing in the corner by the window is now on those two wing chairs -- just had to throw that in there!!)
On this night (pictured below), Kelly was sharing about her recent mission trip to Mexico. Kelly is in seminary and she is a youth minister at a local Lutheran Church (you don't have to go to Trinity or be a Methodist to participate). She drove a van of students across the border and lived for a week with no indoor plumbing among other things.
On this night (pictured below), the group was making 100 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the church of the reconciler in downtown Birmingham -- a United Methodist mission congregation. Reconciler provides a warm meal everyday but Saturday -- they send a sandwich home with those who might go without otherwise.
We had enough folks to divide into two groups of sandwich makers. This is one of our ongoing projects. We probably make PB&J's for Reconciler at least four times a year.
A week or so ago, we made chicken sandwiches and packed lunches for Urban Kids -- a part of Urban Ministry. There are about 35-40 kids/leaders who attend a summer program at Urban. There are folks there to love on the kids; to let them know that someone cares. There are activities - lots of fun, also. Different groups provide lunch throughout the summer. We tried to make the lunches kid-friendly but we also wanted to include some healthy choices. Our juice boxes were 100% fruit juice - one whole serving of fruit! We also packed carrot sticks and small containers of low fat ranch dressing - everyone loves to dip!! We did include a serving of cookies and a serving of chips, along with the sandwiches. (I don't seem to have a picture from that night - probably because it only took them about 10 minutes to do the work!!)
Everyday, I thank God for this awesome opportunity. Yes, sometimes I feel old . . . and sometimes I feel tired . . .but oh my goodness, Mark and I are so very blessed. So . . .how old am I? Not too old . . .not too old!!