At his birthday dinner, Tony peeks past his gifts to see Tim.
A time for everything...time to be home now.
Our adventure to Bowron Lake Provincial Park behind us; thousands of photos and many, many happy memories (plus some exciting stories) to share; we jumped back into life at home with a family celebration of Tony's 5th birthday. Corn on the cob and watermelon, devoured by Luke & Leia (enjoyed by all) plus grilled teriyaki steak with sticky rice served "Collin style" (wrapped in Romaine lettuce leaves); it was a celebration not only of Tony's birthday, but also of being all together again.
On the birthday menu, a favorite recipe: grilled teriyaki steak with sticky rice
Peter reads to Tony
In our absence, the younger kids were cared for by loving adults, some paid, some volunteers; all greatly appreciated. Ezra stayed with a teammate, and continued varsity training with his cross country team. Coming back together again after our Canadian camping experience was complete with turbulence.
After all, any disruption in a normal routine will need some sorting out before it's back to normal again.
Tim teaches Tony about the Canadian Flag
Ezra enjoys the party for Tony's 5th birthday.
Jesus' words proclaimed in our Sunday Gospel provided a great boost in this difficult transition from wilderness exploration/outback relaxation to life at home: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." Receiving the precious gift of the Eucharist after being away for so long (our normal routine includes daily Mass) gave tremendous grace and inspiration to carry on. Words from Sunday's Magnificat reflection also hit right on the mark:
When our hour has really arrived, God's grace will also be there, and very small things may suffice to help in our simple acceptance of and co-operation with grace. What counts is the recognition of our real cross. Often is is much more difficult to recognize the cross Jesus intends for us personally than to accept it once we have recognized it. We are inclined to think, furthermore, that our crosses would not be so painful if we could immediately see them. There lies the rub which usually disturbs those who have opted for a life of detachment. Their temptation consists in imagining that they already know beforehand what their cross or time of testing will be. Unfortunately, a cross one knows in advance, even if it is fairly heavy, is no longer the cross of Jesus. Our real cross is always to some degree unanticipated and always seems to far surpass our strength. As a rule, we would never have chosen it. Passionately clinging to a cross of our own choosing and perhaps unconsciously but equally passionately to reject the cross that Jesus intends for us is perhaps the heaviest and most discouraging cross. It could keep us forever from taking up our real cross if Jesus did not at some time intervene.
For what is our cross other than Jesus himself? To accept this cross is to accept him. It is simultaneously "to take up our cross" and to follow him. Undoubtedly, if we could know God's gift, if we could see and recognize it, we would not have an easier time of it.
~Father Andre Louf, O.C.S.O. (+2010) esteemed spiritual guide and author; served as abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Mont-des-Cats, France for thirty-five years.
St. Lucy, pray for us!
St. John the Baptist, pray for us!