- I got to watch Stella, my friends' black lab, over the weekend. Good friends, and Stella is a great dog. We had fun napping and wandering the wet woods and eating popcorn and rewatching The Office.
- Saturday evening there was a gathering here at Decision Hills of a dozen or so people who have camped on the grounds for many years, some going back as far as 1986! Stella and I got to share in the potluck and the stories. How fun!
- Sundays have become such a reminder of the richness of living in community, and this was no exception. I had the opportunity to preach again, a bit of a different sermon (sermon starts about 32 minutes in) than I normally give, and I thought many times over the morning what a joy it is to have built friendships and ministry partnerships and so much more in this place.
- It was a rainy Friday / Saturday, so Stella brought more than a little mud (not to mention some dog hair) to augment my living quarters. I have to smile about that, though, and reflect on what a privilege it is to have a floor, a secure place to sleep (Stella's secure spot was RIGHT NEXT to my side of the bed. She was a little nervous to start with) and furniture to collect the dog hair. Abundance.
- Tonight our church leadership has the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful evening together on a boat cruise around Green Lake in Spicer. Should be a fantastic time with a great group of people who are united in a vision of what God is trying to build in this Jesus-focused community.
- I got my three quarts of blueberry harvest cleaned and frozen for later enjoyment. I dearly love a good blueberry pie, but being diabetic I might just settle for blueberries and cream. What a sacrifice. I'm toying with the idea of a lightning-fast run back to the shack to harvest a few gallons of chokecherries. Not for sure, but there are a few people here who have some interesting ideas of what to do with them, and I'm intrigued ...
- Wednesday morning I am running to the Cities for a doctor's appointment. What a privilege it is to have excellent medical care! This also gives me a great excuse to meet my daughter for lunch. Double win.
- My brother is hosting a 3D archery shoot in my hometown this weekend, and I'm hoping to drive north for that. He puts a ton of work into these shoots twice a year, and it's a joy to go take part, even if my scores are less than championship quality.
- In and around all the fun things and the running, there is joyful work -- planning for Alpha training for Sunday evening, a dinner Friday with a guy from Wycliffe Bible Translators to hear what they're doing all over the world, planning meetings to assemble details of fall ministries, and the ongoing tasks of grounds management, lawn mowing, cutting up trees, locking and unlocking buildings and more. Meaningful work is the dominant feature of my life these days, and it is truly a blessing. In this current phase of life, the everyday expression of love looks like the work I get to do and the community I get to be a part of and the land I get to live on, and God's abundant blessing comes through all of it.
The cherry on top of all this is an encounter I had Sunday morning as the sun was coming up over the fog-filled world. The heavy rains Friday night left a huge puddle along the road below my place, and as I prepared to go out to unlock the sanctuary for worship, I saw two fawns grazing in my yard who then minced down into the water. Their mother came wandering up, and all three of them stood, stately in the fog, drinking from the puddle. Suddenly one of the fawns jumped and bucked and sent a torrent of water over his mother, and the other fawn joined in, circling and splashing. They danced and dove and chased around in that puddle until finally the doe got into the action, bucking and splashing them as well. I don't know if they were intentionally getting each other wet, but it certainly looked like it. This was play -- unfettered, joyful exuberance. Dance like nobody's watching. I was awestruck, and completely forgot to get my phone for the first ten minutes I got to observe them. Eventually I did record them, but they glimpsed me moving through the window and suddenly got very, very dignified. Here are a few stills from the videos including their stately departure, all serious, flags waving and marching in formation, from the scene of their delightful play:
It is good to be reminded that God is generous not just when I can get away from home, but amid the everyday and routine. What a gift!