Steven is pretty much finished with class and has a few weeks off. It's been a fun few days. Last night we got to visit with a dear friend who just took his final vows as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (the CFRs). He's been a missionary in Honduras for a few years and will start in the seminary next fall. It was so much fun to hear his stories and see the true joy he exudes because of his love for Christ and the Church.
When he first arrived, the girls were a little scared of this man dressed in a grey robe with a long beard. But a few minutes later he was reading books and playing games with them! Mary Clare was climbing into his lap and trying to get his attention. It's amazing how children are drawn to holiness.
One thing that really encouraged me was how he described his novitiate year being the hardest year. He said there was so much quiet and reflection that God was really able to reveal things deep within him that he needed to work through. That's how I've been feeling for awhile now. Every day I recognize a new sin, a new tendency, a new habit and how it's affecting my life and my family life in a negative way. It tends to happen at night when it's quiet and I have time to think and reflect.
It's easy for me to get frustrated and discouraged with all these problems brought to light. But instead I should be thankful. This is God purifying me, making me more holy each day. He's making me a better wife and mother, and drawing me closer to him, to know him better. I didn't know this work at holiness would be so hard!
Anyway, today we went to a water park nearby. It was funny because Steven doesn't really like swimming but has been wanting to go to this water park. I almost stayed home with Ellie and even tried to change his mind on the way there, wondering if it'd really be worth the extra money and be better than the pool around the corner. But we had so much fun! Ellie played with her buckets (it's hilarious, real work for her where she doesn't crack a smile) and Mary Clare was sharing her diving rings with other children as Steven threw them all over the pool. I taught her and a little boy how to play Marco Polo, and we watched Ellie delight in the little frog slide (Mary Clare is a little paranoid about slides after a scare on her first swim of the summer). It was a really joyful day, and the back spasms I started with this morning have now gone away. I'm looking forward to a few weeks of fun with Daddy!
Below are some pictures with Brother, and from swimming today: