The girls and I returned home yesterday morning (after a rather grueling red-eye flight). We had a lovely visit to Thomas Aquinas College and chilly Southern California. Highlights of the trip for me included finishing The Everlasting Man on the flight out. It only took about 14 months. :) For me it was a good book to savor slowly. Perhaps I'll catch up on blogging the book one of these days.
It was really nice to return to my Alma Mater for a few days. I had a nice visit with my nephew and his girlfriend, met several children and siblings of online friends and enjoyed hopping in and out of numerous classes with "my" high school students. The girls' favorite class was a Senior Lab class taught by Kristen's brother, who invited them to join in the class experiments with static electricity.
I was surprised at how comforting it was to return to the beautiful mountains for a short time. I understand better now why Our Lord, St. Francis of Assisi, Pope John Paul II and many others would go to the mountains for rest and reflection.
On the way back to the airport, on a very cold night, we managed to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean (the sand was even colder than the water) and practically run through the Icon exhibit at the Getty (we brushed off the sand first, LOL). We had 25 minutes before the Museum closed. One of the docents teased us that we were doing what they call the "tennis tour" - bouncing our heads back and forth as we quickly moved through. We had just enough time to look at each icon for a moment or two and read the name of the Saint or event portrayed and how old it was. It was beautiful and memorable regardless - be sure to visit if you have the opportunity!
By "coincidence" the Friday night lecture we attended at TAC added an extra dimension to the Icon exhibit. The lecture was on "The Dormition of Mary" (I hope I explain these details correctly) - a name given by the Eastern Church to the event of Mary's Assumption into heaven. Fr. Brian Daley of Notre Dame explained Church teaching and tradition on this event, including beliefs about whether Our Lady "fell asleep" and then was assumed or physically died first. He showed us an Eastern icon of the Dormition of Mary (here's an example - not the specific one he used)and explained some of the symbolism. This made it easy to pick out several representations of the Dormition of Mary within the exhibit. Neat connections!
It was a real pleasure to share these experiences with young people (including Margaret - the other two aren't doing any blogging yet) who are so enthusiastic about Faith, culture and life.
John was a real trooper with tonsillitis running through the house during my absence (fortunately Frank was mostly better before I left and Kate didn't start getting sick until I was back - the older kids are a little easier to manage). None of the kids have been spared this round, which is rather surprising because the oldest two often don't get sick when the others do.