Today has been nearly perfect in the most unassuming, noneventful way. We went to church like we do every Sunday. We drove separate this time because Dan was filling in on the Welcome Team for the early service. I was grateful the kids and I were able to sleep the extra half hour. The service was amazing as it often is, and today I didn't take it for granted that we live in a country where we are allowed to drive freely to the church of our choice and hear the Word of God boldly proclaimed without persecution from the government or anyone else for that matter.
We stayed through the second service as we always do to participate in a group called LIFE Connections that is basically a bunch of small groups in the same room that discuss the sermon we just heard to dig a little deeper and then pray for each other. I've been prepared to lead a women's group this year as I have done in the past, but up until today the only women who have participated have preferred couples or mixed groups. So just as I was sitting down at the mixed table I see Dan (who has joined the men's group) escort two women in for the first time and I quickly move to join them.
It never ceases to amaze me when a group of relative strangers can come around a table for a common purpose and encourage, challenge and bless each other in under 90 minutes. I'm hoping they both decide to come back each week and believe God would use that time to grow all of us in our faith if they do. I'm exicted about the possibility of forging new relationships in a solely female setting. However, I also know God will grow us all in our faith even if they don't return and unlike a month or so ago, I don't feel it's up to me to make sure I have a group of women who regularly attend. It's a very peaceful feeling to be surrendered to God's plan...willing to play the part I'm called to without playing God myself.
We came home and ate wonderful leftovers - Lou Malnati's pizza - and watched the Bears game while we ate. The Bears won and are now 3-1 which was another treat! I napped a bit on the couch right after the Bears game ended and when I woke up Dan had just returned from throwing the football around with Ryan and his neighborhood buddies on the perfect 60 degree and mostly sunny fall day.
After my nap I had some energy so I cut down some plants in the garden (it's like the one time a year I get involved in the landscaping) and cleaned out my train wreck of a car. I was thrilled to have accomplished something so rewarding in under 20 minutes.
Together Dan and I made chicken on the grill, rice, salad, green beans & rolls and all sat around the table and laughed together (which we do most nights because of all the quirky little inside jokes and odd languages that exist in our family). Then Dan and I cleaned up together and he went off to the park with Maggie and Ryan to make the most of the little light left after dinner these days.
Caitlin and I stayed back and I'm listening to hear play the French Horn which she switched to from the Trumpet at her Music teachers request a mere two weeks ago. Not because she wasn't good on the trumpet -she's great at it, but there were no French Horns, so she and one other boy are now on the job. She is sounding remarkably good.
I know there aren't many of these special autumn days when the weather and the colors and the football all come together after encouraging worship services to bring me such pleasure. So I'm reveling in them while they are here.