Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wrapping houses... in Christian love

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published November 23, 2005

Because my husband Chad is a youth minister, we spend a lot of time with the young people at our church.

We know the teen years aren’t easy, and Chad and I try to ease the turbulence of the 6th-12th graders in our youth group by offering prayers, spiritual guidance and listening ears.

And sometimes, we wrap a house.

I wouldn’t exactly call this a church-sanctioned activity, but there’s something about church youth groups and large amounts of toilet paper that just seem to go together.

Our latest attempt took place a few weeks ago as part of our annual video scavenger hunt. Each team gets a video camera and a list of things to videotape. Past challenges have included grocery store antics (standing by the dairy case and mooing whenever a shopper gets a carton of milk), hugging police officers, and knocking on the door of church member Bob Roland, sex education expert for Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District, to ask him about the birds and the bees.

(The one time we did that, his answer was quite shocking. I’m not about to print it here.)

This year, our fearless team was made up of Hanna Myers, Stephanie Whitley, Lauren Whitley, Becky Read and Brice Read. And, because she’s the youth minister’s kid and gets to enjoy such perks, 6-year-old Julia Nall.

The scavenger hunt list included wrapping a church member’s house. I suggested the home of Bill and Margaret Ehlig. In addition to working as associate minister at our church, Bill is also a respected community leader. Margaret is a knowledgeable and wise librarian at Lamar Elementary. Both of them have a pretty good sense of humor. Chad knew Bill was performing a wedding that night. No one was home. The yard, for the moment, was ours.

After pulling up at the house in the church van, we quietly hopped out and got to work while Chad captured the mischief on video. I must admit it was a strange feeling to hand a roll to my first-grader and say, “See, honey, you just let a little of it out and then throw it up into the tree...”

We worked quickly and got back into the van. Just as I was starting it up, we saw a flash of headlights. Then the headlights slowed. It was a silver Taurus. The Ehligs have a silver Taurus.

Two words came to mind: Cold. Busted.

Chad’s first inclination, as a man of God, was to get out and take responsibility for what we had done. My first inclination was to get outta Dodge. I hit the gas, and a chase ensued.

It’s hard to have a chase when your pursuers are between you and the only way out of the neighborhood. I took a couple of turns and the Taurus disappeared. Then I saw a figure up ahead. It was Margaret. She was standing in the street with her hands on her hips. We were done for. I got out as Bill pulled up behind us.

“I had nothing to do with this!” I cried. Then three rolls of toilet paper fell out of my shirt.

As we had hoped, Bill and Margaret had a good sense of humor about the whole thing.

I believe God has a good sense of humor, too. At least I hope so.


  • At Wed Nov 23, 04:35:00 AM, Blogger GraceSaves said…

    I can totally picture Margaret with her hands on her hips and that look on her face. I'm laughing sooo hard because it's too funny. Hope ya'll had fun. wish I coulda wrapped someone's house. I woulda done the Nall's while you guys were wrapping the Ehligs. ;-) hehe

    ><>In HIM<><

    P.S. All I did was drive the car that time we wrapped your house. I really didn't help with the car or anything.

  • At Wed Nov 23, 06:14:00 AM, Blogger Jacinda said…

    Growing up in Atlanta, we called it "rolling" and we did it alot! It was so much fun! Good memories!

  • At Wed Nov 23, 07:25:00 AM, Blogger Deana Nall said…

    That's right, everyone -- Michelle (aka "Gracesaves") was part of the "Charmin assault" that took place on my house one Mother's Day weekend. No less then 72 rolls of toilet paper found their way onto my house, mailbox, trees, Julia's tricycle...if it was out in the open, it was wrapped. She and Paige drove the getaway car.

    Oh, and Michelle's brother's initials are still on our driveway!

  • At Wed Nov 23, 02:04:00 PM, Blogger Mae said…

    When I read "wrap" a picture of you actually putting wrapping paper around the house came to mind... really I'm not stupid! In TN it's called rolling yards, 'cept you say "row-lynn sum-buddyz yuhard." Bless us all. :)

  • At Wed Nov 23, 02:31:00 PM, Blogger SG said…

    Our preachers daughter was in on such wrapping event a year or two. These people took it very personally almost called the police and confronted the poor girl and family in a local Mexican food place one friday night insisting there were damages to pay for! Lesson learned, be sure those whose house you choose to pelt with potty paper aren't stiff tight wads! I've never felt sorrier for a sweet teenage girl who was just partaking in good clean fun!

  • At Fri Nov 25, 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Linda said…

    Deana, I recently discovered your blog. I hope you don't mind if I drop in to visit once in a while.

    Where I grew up, in Michigan,,we called it TPing (as in toilet papering). I work with the youth at our church too. I loved your video scavenger hunt idea. Could you share some more of the "items" on the list for the hunt. I think our group would really get into this. I don't feel very creative with ideas on this.

    Visit my blog sometime.


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