Monday, October 19, 2020

Snow on the roses/Prayers all around the world, and love voiced gives dad more time to do his work of prayer.../you have been saved through faith

Daughter and grandson came from the Cities to see dad... many calls from his many children - I am the oldest of 11 - that is a lot of love that poured all around him yesterday after a very scary start to the day!

A sweet fall arrangement from Glencoe for dad made dad smile the night before his looking like he was ready to leave this world..
After mass the family came to spend time with great-grandpa and maybe say their "good-byes" after mass.
Rose and Joy knows that he can hear them even though he looks like he is asleep and not responding.
Lots of prayers and pumpkins and surrounded by the angels and Saints!
Susan/Hallel called from France and we would gather around dad and visit with her including dad in the family sharing.  Hallel told us that all the Little Sisters were gathered together when they got news of her grandpa looking like he was dying.  "We all prayed for him."

At just about that time... dad woke up and sang the first 3 lines of Joy to the World to our amazing Hospice nurse, who was kneeling beside him!  We were amazed and have continued to be surprised at how he can wake up from a deep sleep to tell this one or that one that he loves them right back or sing and smile!
Joy to the world!!! The words are so amazing to come from him just an hour after we thought he was dying right before our eyes!

Prayers surrounding dad from all around the world!  Those prayers got him much better by evening!
Birdie Barbara here with mom and dad and Ruth's family of 8 for a big family breakfast and love and prayers surrounding me and my father!

7p last night he ate a popsicle and watched football!
Oatmeal and yogurt this morning!  
Watching mass and the rosary while eating breakfast... 
He then did morning prayer with me in our farm monastery.  I thought that we had shared that for the last time the day before!  I am in shock with this bumpy ride we are on together!  
God is not through with him yet!  He also did our Monday litany of the family with the 150 of The Cross Clan that depend upon his prayers!  He prayed for each of the 58 great grandchildren first and middle name with hardly any help!
Hospital bed is arriving soon, and so we start the next chapter, but I would not wager that he will not be coming out to the dining room soon again.  He is like a rubber ball that bounces back ... the words from St Paul in Ephesians 2

'...brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them."  Ephesians 2

Dad doing morning prayer in his well worn prayer book - He continues to do the "good works" the Lord asks of him as he led us into The Church of Truth and now shares that in example and prayer!  So often yesterday I heard words of LOVE and gratitude for dad bringing us into The Church and his example of Faith!  "You have been saved by Faith!"
Catching his breath to pray for the 58 great-grands!!!    Prayers were so powerful today when I thought they would be no more on this earth, but coming from heaven!  

Jesus, we trust in you.  Thank you for this journey with hospice into a "natural death" which is totally in your hands and according to your plan for dad!  Yes, twice while I was getting dad in his Sunday shirt while mass was on TV - we heard the priest say "from conception to natural death."  "Dad this is natural death we are living out!"  I said, and he agreed just before he lost consciousness for a few hours and then he sang "Joy to the world" to me and the nurse!  Just as Hallel was praying for him with her Community of the Lamb in France!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless. Barbara

Snow just as we are about to finish with harvest!

"Dad, I guess you wanted to see the first snow."  He then made a face!

Saturday, October 17, 2020

"Everyone can't love me, after all I am not a taco!"/Jesus..." head over all things to the Church, which is his Body..." Ephesians 1/Crop out!

Brother, Jim, stopped in to share a dark beer with dad, have a late supper with farmer, Pat, and I, spend the night!  At this point as we enter our 7 month and things are declining we hope for more sweet visits from dad's huge family to spend some time with him this last time in this world before he passes on into the next with mom.
Using oxygen last evening at supper for the first time.  Still sharing prayers, but he is very short of breath and also getting fuzzier in his thinking.  I find that I have to read it to him and he cannot be involved as he has been up to now. That and other family dynamics are making me down and sad.

I had a chance to talk out my feelings with a dear close friend, and she told me this motto/sign she came across.  It made me laugh and lifted me up, and I used it today for my title..."Everyone can't love me, after all I am not a taco."  That along with a mouth watering picture of a taco, which we ALL do LOVE!  This was the same friend that gave me her mother's quote concerning carrying our heavy cross... "when it is too heavy and we are too weak - Drag it!"  That would be me!

A year ago for MEA Nancy, I and the kids went to Kansas City to see Hallel and The Community of the Lamb and we stayed right with them for the whole time!  Love this of Hallel and George a year ago in KC!  '

I admit that I am sad not to have Hallel close - we are spoiled indeed!  Nancy had plans to be there now, but...
Bernadette is a worker and helped with dishes after the meals we shared with them.  In her blue apron, and how I love that the grandkids can be exposed to this wonderful option of vocation.  I pray daily that they will consider it as a wonderful possibility to say "yes" to!
Jim and dad hanging out - dad doesn't have a lot to say these days, but we all like to see him and share about our lives with the chance that we will not see him again... say our goodbyes, and speak and show our love.
Nancy came to the farm for a few days and 1 1/2 year old George got to see his beloved grandpa as harvest was in full swing!  It could be that all the crop will be out today!  The the bale mover team is busy bringing home the corn stalk bales - 500+.  Many prayers for safety!
Last night Ruth and Nancy had a MEA fun night in Wilmar at a water park hotel!  Looks like they had the place to themselves!
Rode along with Pat yesterday... a Mountain of Corn!!!  Dominic said; "That's so big!  It's bigger than our church!"  Sweet words from the mouth of babes!  
Driving around the mountain one of our last times.  Pat thought that one more day and our crop would be out!
Lunch and a visit... I was shocked that he made it home to share a late supper with my brother, Jim, and I!  The first meal we have shared in a long time, other than in the truck or car while he unloads a truck by the grain bins.
Our corn conveying on the mountain.

This morning as I was attempting to pray with my father after breakfast... I read to him the readings from mass today.  As I was reading the words of St Paul to the Ephesians the words about Jesus being the head of The Church, His Body rang like a bell in the shared love dad and I and all 31 of my family has for The Church!  My greatest JOY is the shared Faith/Family/Farm that we hold dear in our hearts with no reservations!  

The 13 just about when we all came into The Church!  Dad and I pray for them daily along with their families!  We are 150 now!  

My most cherished cross with our corn on the pile!  Harvest is serious business, and we pray for the safety of all!

Jesus, we love you and long to serve you with our all!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barbara

A year ago when I got back from MEA in KC... I went to see my parent's in their new assisted living for the first time!  They had just moved there a week before!
My first overnight in The Lodge - they lived there for 6 1/2 months till mom died after a fall in their home on March 13th.  Dad moved here a month later - so the Assisted living only lasted 7 1/2 months!
Short and sweet!
Eating with them in the dining room in October 2019
Joy and bales last year about 2 weeks later due to a much later harvest.
Missed out on bale pictures much this year...
Picking up the bales today  - lots of prayers!
The Handmaids from New Ulm and Duluth

Zach Williams 

Tauren Wells


Friday, October 16, 2020

Lots of hairs to be counted in his full head of hair..."Do not be afraid"/Sealed with "The Holy Spirit"/Time with Nancy

Great to spend time with Nancy and her kids for a few days over this MEA Holiday!  She comes here for the night with the 3 youngest, and leaves Gus and Bernadette on the farm with their cousins.  How we love to share our life on the farm with family!  
Grandma got to do puppy ears for Josephine this morning and got her in her pink coat by the pumpkin before they headed out for some time on the farm with Ruth and all, and then on the road for a mini family vacation at a water park hotel!  

If Hallel had come back to the US in Kansas City, they had fake plans to go there for MEA and stay with The Community of the Lamb.  Our trips there will be less with Covid and Hallel in France for the year!

Sweet 4 year old with pumpkin and kitty...
Always great to have some deep conversations with my Nancy!  Such a blessing to learn at the feet of my daughters.  Nothing better than to share our Faith as a family... all 31 of us LOVE Jesus and His Bride, The Church, with no reservations!  

Nancy and I have also shared the deep experience of LOSS with 5 month - 20 week losses!  I with William and Robert buried a short ways from her Maximilian.  "It was excruciating to go through, but also brought me such an amazing closeness to Mary, the Mother of Jesus."  She carries that with her now for the journey - the pain of loss and sharing in the Cross of Christ and His Mother given to us from the Cross!

Here is Nancy's amazing story from her loss of Max 

Mary is Real, and She Loves You

Growing up Catholic, I have always known about Mary.  But, if I’m going to be totally honest, I didn’t really know her.

I had gathered lots of facts and admired her as I might admire anyone from history that had done remarkable things. I enjoyed reading about her apparitions, I was perfectly willing to defend her doctrine and I loved seeing how beautifully she fit into the story of our salvation.

But all these facts and knowledge didn’t make me feel particularly close to her.  She seemed to be little more than a distant, interesting figure, despite the fact that at one point in particular I clearly saw Mary at work.

Back in 2009, my little brother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form a brain cancer. For a while, things looked pretty bleak. He endured a biopsy with catastrophic side effects and there was much debate about how to, and if they could, treat him.

Right in the middle of the worst of it all, my youngest sister was scheduled to take her habit and officially join an order of nuns…in France. Although it was completely crazy, my brother, mother, and I made the trip to France to watch my sister take her habit, wheelchair and all.  Watching my little sister get her habit was a beautiful, powerful thing and a few days later, with my sister in full habit and brother supported by a walker, we journeyed to Lourdes, so that John could bathe in the miraculous waters.

(In Lourdes)

Lourdes is an incredible place. The streets are littered with abandoned wheelchairs and crutches, but the most remarkable sight is the vast crowd of sick people that stream out of the hospital each day to use the baths, each so very hopeful and faithful.

We all had an opportunity to bathe in Lourdes that day. My brother asked that they pour water over his head as well. I felt privileged to visit Lourdes, to bathe, but I can’t say that what I felt that day went much beyond a feeling of privilege.

(headed into the baths at Lourdes)

We left Lourdes still supporting my very sick brother. He returned home to rounds of chemo and radiation. He underwent stem cell replacement and an army of people continued to lift him up in prayer.

And in the end, praise be to God, he was healed. It wasn’t an instantaneous healing, but it was a healing none the less.

Against all the odds, my brother’s cancer receded and he is here today, healthy, and planning a wedding this June.

Now, I am very happy about all of this, and I can intellectually see the role Mary played.  She gave John hope, she renewed his faith amid this suffering and, I really believe, she directly interceded for my brother. After being to Lourdes, I respected Mary and admired her for all she did for those that came and bathed at Lourdes.

I was grateful, I respected her, but I continued to not really know her. And I was far from genuinely loving her.

Life continued on, as it does. I got married, welcomed 4 babies and was preparing to welcome a 5th.

The 5th pregnancy, as I have shared, was unplanned and a bit hard to accept. And yet, as all parents do, we had fallen in love with that little one. We had thought of names and become quite attached to what we had dreamed life would be like once he was here.

But, at 20 weeks, on Thanksgiving Day, my water broke and the baby, our little Maximilian, was lost.

(20 weeks pregnant with Maximilian, just days before we lost him)

The sudden trauma of a stillborn baby is hard to describe. While there is the shock of what has happened and the complete reordering of the future, there is also the physical reality of loss. A reality that requires induction, labor and delivery.

Simply, it’s awful.

I was ushered up to Labor and Delivery, given a robe and a room, just as I would have if I was there to deliver a full-term, healthy baby. The doctors and nurses were kind, but they generally just let me be. No need for monitors, there’s not heartbeat anyway. No need for checks or game plans. It’s just a matter of waiting and enduring.

And in that silent, dark room, the drugs started to drip in and my body started to slowly, painfully respond.  The hours ticked by and we waited, not really knowing what to expect, except that the baby inside of me was dead and that the future we had fallen in love with was never going to be.

The hours we spent waiting for Maximilian to be delivered were some of the darkest I have experienced. I wept until I was completely dehydrated and numb, and yet, in those moments I also received one of the most profound gifts of my life.

I was allowed to experience Mary.

Thanks to all I had been taught growing up Catholic, I knew to call on Mary in my pain. I began to pray the ‘Hail Mary’, aloud and silently, and when that seemed too much, I fell into simply saying her name. “Mary, Mary, Mary,” and as I did, I could feel her presence in that room. She did not come gradually, but suddenly and all at once, as if she had been just waiting for me to call.

Thinking back on those moments I can visualize exactly where she was standing in the room, just to the right of my bed, looking directly at me.  I never doubted that she was really there, right there.  But more than anything I remember feeling a deep stillness emanating from where she stood. I knew she was there gazing on me with love.

My experience of Mary was really quite simple. There were no bright lights or premonitions or words from heaven. Just a feeling of peace and love, and the comfort of knowing that she was there and she loved me.

The weeks and months following the loss of our little Maximilian have been difficult, and I expect more struggles as we attempt to get pregnant and once more open ourselves up to the pain of loss. But the gift Mary gave me in that hospital room has endured. I no longer feel her presence as strongly as I did that day, but I am left with the knowledge of who she is.

And I can honestly say that I know Mary now. I tasted her love for me. I was able to touch, for just a few minutes, her tender hand and I know now that those same hands are holding my little Maximilian up in heaven.

The knowledge that Mary is really there has changed everything. I cling to my Rosary and attempt to carry her with me everywhere.

And not just that, it has set me on a mission.

It breaks my heart to think that so many people face pain and suffering without Mary at their side, especially when she is so willing to fly to their side, if only they call. So, I am on a mission to increase Marian devotion through the Rosary.

The mission has begun with me. I have committed to a daily Rosary for the rest of my life.

Next, I’m working to build Marian devotion in my family. This will be a central focus for us during Lent.

And finally, I’m going to do my part of bring the whole world to Mary (aim high, right?!?). This has been one of my top prayer intentions and, as a first step, I created a book to help the faithful go a bit deeper while meditating on the Rosary.

This beautiful little book, with custom art, will be ONE SALE TOMORROW, February 6th, for $8 because I want it cheap enough that it is accessible to all, just as Mary is accessible to all.

Check back tomorrow for more details.

Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us!

Your sister in Christ,

Harrison, on of my father's 58 great-grandchildren that he prays for every day... came to visit yesterday and gently held a sweet baby kitten at Ruth's

His sister, Addie, also got some kitten smiles.
Now with the little pumpkin that went with them and will join the pumpkin on their steps in Delano...

The Gospel today begins with those harsh warnings from Jesus, but then he gives peace and comfort by reminding us how much we are valued and loved by God!  With my father here amazing people that he is 95 with his full head of hair making him appear much younger.  The words of the Gospel share the richness of how we are looked after...

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins?
Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God.
Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.
Do not be afraid.
You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Luke 12

With their little gourd/pumpkin to remind them of how grandma loves them and their time visiting us on the farm in their family!  Nancy grew up in the house that Ruth and family lives in now, and always appreciated her life on the farm and wanted to share that with her kids!

Yes, even Hallel comes for home visits to the Farm and loves her background - here she was in her work habit feeding the calves a bottle a few years back!

We love sharing our Farm as a family just about as much as we love to share our Faith... Faith/Family/Farm is our JOY and life-breath!  Farming is a life to live not just a job!

Rose and Berna about 5 1/2 years ago when they were 2 in some antique dresses and the cows in the pasture!

I know this is random, but I just found this gift of love in my pictures of May of 2015 about 5 1/2 years ago with the lilacs that I love so much!  Mom is my helper here with dad, and with us all throughout the day as dad and I and mother pray together and do our work!

As I read to my father prayers this morning as he was too tired from his shower... every time the Holy Spirit came in starting with the first reading today from Ephesians 1...

In him you also, who have heard the word of truth,
the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him,
were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
which is the first installment of our inheritance
toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1

Dad and I share the Holy Spirit at work in our lives on a very REAL level as Protestants we had hands laid on us to receive the Holy Spirit, and my father has listened to the prompting of that Spirit over and over in the 69 years of my life and the 95 of his!

Shaving this morning - two steps back and one step forward... losing ground slowly...

Yes, my father has led us into The Church - all 13 of us 49 years ago!  He also brought 4 more children into our family - saying "yes" to the Lord's prompting when their parents were killed in a car accident!  Such powerful and life-changing decisions led by the Holy Spirit! 

Jesus, how we ask that we may die to self so that you may live in us - Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth and may that begin with me!  May I give without counting the cost and be your hands and feet, O Lord!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah

2 1/2year old Bernadette with kitty in the farmhouse that is now Ruth's.  Grandma hair - no doubt!  I find great JOY in doing girl's hair after having 4 girls in a row! " Than you had that boy!"  Bless-bless, Barbara

St Gerard is such a special saint to me with all my losses!  Also hubby's middle name after his father!


Danielle Rose

Zach williams
Casting Crowns - If we are the body