"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

July JOYs

Okay.  So maybe the end of June was not the best time to start a blog.  July has been crazy!!!  Three weekends in a row, we packed up the mini-van and trekked far and wide (okay, maybe not, but at least five hours each time, which is far and wide for a family of six). 

The first weekend of the month we traveled to Michigan for a wedding. On this trip I was reminded that one of the great joys in life is friendship.  My husband and I are blessed to have many good friends -- people who are supportive of our decision to live our lives in an intentional way, people with whom we can stay up too late, drink a good bottle of wine, and laugh until our faces hurt, people who also want to be saints and raise saints.  I am often convinced that there is nothing so important in the Christian life as the support of good friends.  (There is another bonus of attending weddings: the family photo op!)

The other great joy of this trip was an excursion to Lake Michigan.  We climbed an enormous sand dune.  The joy of this occasion was not, for me, in the climb itself, but in watching the children experience something new, the sense of accomplishment, the wonder of so large a pile of sand.

The second weekend of the month we traveled to Iowa for a family wedding.  We stayed at a beautiful retreat center on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.  The view was spectacular.  Again, there was great joy in watching our children have an absolute blast at the wedding reception.  I have never seen them dance so long and so hard.  

Finally, last weekend we traveled to Milwaukee for my two older girls to participate in two feisanna (Irish dance competitions).  Saturday started out rough.  The younger of the two forgot the steps to one of her newer dances.  She tried to find her place several times before running off the stage in tears.  As a mother, there are few things so difficult to watch.  A short time later, she was to return to the stage for her second dance -- one which she had much better command of.  But, alas, I don't think she had quite recovered.  She again blanked on her steps.  But this time, after failing to regain her momentum, she pointed her toe, bowed, and returned to the line-up, all the while smiling at the judge.  She didn't place, of course, but her parents have never been so proud of her.  And we told her so.  To us, the composure she showed in the face of disappointment with herself, meant more than if she had won first place.  Of course, we were also very proud of our oldest daughter, who has been working very hard as well.  She ended the weekend moving to the next competition level in two of her dances!

As for this weekend, I am finding great joy in staring at the empty spaces on my calendar!

Peace to all!

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