Wednesday, July 8, 2020

"Seek to serve him constantly"/Nancy coming for the day/dad praying for those living The Kingdom

 Joy in her mom's garden with a handfull of beans I picked to bring home for dad and I and Pat.  She just got back from her 3 year old check up and passed - healthy!

I had to run some tools and beverage on this hot day out to the men working on a fence, so I swung into the farm on my way by.
 Ruth's beautiful porch set up for the 4th!  How we all love to sit here and share family time!

Ruth informed me that Nancy is on her way for the day on the farm.  We hope she is bringing along her water slide, or I predict they will be heading out to Camden State Park and the pond there we frequented when the girls were growing up.
 Soon we will have tomatoes for eating and then the work begins!  Canning for 7 families!

First will be tomato soup as that is missed by my father very much.  I fed the last jar a month ago and have since done something that I haven't done in years - probably 42 years as that is when I came to the farm!  Buy tomato soup in the store! 
 I am humbled to see Ruth's amazing garden so clean and thriving!  Why humbled?  Because mine is a mess in comparison.  Pat has had to get on my case every one of those 42 years to keep the weeds out.  The plastic has helped, but still every opening has weeds that love to grow and grow and grow. 
 Ruth's luxuriant wax beans!  I got a big handfull off just a few plants!  She is a master gardener in my book. 

Ruth does say that she doesn't remember my gardening being that horrible growing up... probably because I had her to help me being the oldest of the 5, and I did have my kids help me weed and pick as soon as they were able.  I do miss the help now that I really need it!  I am grateful that Ruth and her 6 come and help me plant my garden as a Mother's Day gift of all gifts!  I can think of nothing better under the sun!
 Joy just back from her 3 year old check up!  She is wearing the stickers she was given.  Mom says that she is at the 99% for height and 70 for weight and healthy in every way...  I love her JOY smiles!
 It will be the year of many apples!  Joy getting ready to pick one, but left it to grow big and get sweeter.

Ruth was saying that the dread of all the work ahead takes some of the joy out of having so many apples!  Last year we had none, but this year we will be feeding many pails to the cows and spending days on applesauce and wonderful pie filling. 
 Apple JOY!

Dad is having an off day starting with a poor night of sleep.  We are hoping that it is just that - a small step back in his dance called dancing into the sunset of his life.  When we prayed this morning he asked mother to help him.  Along with the bad night, breakfast was poor, and he is requesting pain gel on his shoulder.  Each day is what we face as it is given to us...
 Dad on the porch where we share the rosary and chaplet each day at 3p!

Even on the poor days we still cling to our prayer time together and that is truly the "work" that we do together and keeps us reasonably calm and peaceful with one another.   Yes, we have those times where tempers flare, but they do not last long.
 Our view of the prairie landscape we gaze out at as we pray.

Even though dad had a poor night and breakfast was a failure... we still did morning prayer of The Church together.  It gives us the armor of God to face what lies ahead.  Dad also prayed for those that are sharing The Kingdom of God with all those they come in contact with.  Most especially he mentioned in prayer Little Sister Hallel and her Community of The Lamb, and how they live and share with all they come in contact with the life of loving and following Jesus in all you do and say and work and pray and beg from the poor!
 Love this of my Most Cherished Cross, farmer Patrick, a year ago with his 3 granddaughters, who are 3 going on 4 now!  Joy and Josephine will be together on this hot day on the farm!
 Visiting Mary while out pulling weeds from the mailbox.

These words from Psalm 105 from the mass today ring like a bell for me, who am given the strength from our shared work of prayer...
Look to the LORD in his strength;
seek to serve him constantly.
Recall the wondrous deeds that he has wrought,
his portents, and the judgments he has uttered.
R. Seek always the face of the Lord.
Psalm 105

I can say for a fact that I would have failed to continue on this journey with any kind of strength or willingness without the gift I am given of sharing with my father in his "religious life" as a permanent deacon for 44 years now.  it is my JOY and strength and allows me to weakly and poorly with poverty and humility serve him constantly.  Twelve weeks tomorrow and no way of knowing how long or how it will play out.
 Michigan from 6 years ago... those wonderful family times on the big lake are sorely missed by this old grandma.  There are fake plans to have us all together at the end of the summer! 

Today I will just relish having my two oldest together here on the farm... Maybe here for lunch on my porch.
 Sharing the office/morning prayer on Sunday with John and my father.  So powerful and special for me to have that kind of support from the men in my life.  Hubby and I pray morning prayer most days before we get up to face the day!
 A gift from Hallel on Sunday!  The chickens that will now give them eggs and...
 It looks like the source of a play about chickens.  As dad prayed today they share their message of how wonderful our Faith can be if only we share it with great JOY!

The Gospel from Matthew today... Jesus sends out the 12 to heal, and share that "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Matthew 10  Such powerful evidence of this LOVE for us is seen in those glowing faces!  Witnessing how Jesus can give us the fruits of His Spirit! 
Ruth has the vision and displays her beautiful newly remodeled farmhouse - over 100 years old and where she grew up on the farm - now filled with her 6 children!  Living the life she grew up with, and that fills me with so much happiness.  Knowing that she chose that and now lives it much more beautifully than I ever did.  I sit at her feet and learn from her how to be a farm wife. 

Paul and Ruth show me how to live married life also, by being LIFE giving and not LIFE taking.  All that is said and done is out of LOVE and gives LIFE!  I have adopted calling my Pat -"honey" and that helps me to be more loving in my voice and my actions.  It has taken me 41 years to learn that lesson and I still fail at the slightest provocation! 
9 years ago - 6 week old Augustine and his mom.  Today he might be out working with the men in the hot humid heat putting in a new fence.  He might wonder if it was a great idea to come to the farm today!

Jesus, how we need to have you with us each moment of each day!  May we die to self so that you may live in us!  So that we may give without counting the cost.  We are so grateful for the help that hospice has given us to stagger down this narrow path with our sights on heaven forever at the end.  To have mother there so recently truly keeps our eyes on you!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah

Wow!  I just realized that Maria has updated her blog!  So many pictures I could have borrowed today!  Such a special gift that our farm daughter with her 6 and our military daughter with her 6 could spend some wonderful days together sharing their lives!

The two red heads and the 2 three year olds sharing a military vehicle of some sort!

Checking out ocean life on the sound.  Seeing a part of the country that they likely will not visit again - all the way to the Pacific!

A night under their dome... More pictures to share another day!  Bless-bless, Barbara
How we love to have those precious family times to share... Pat has a ticket to fly out and bring back the military family to the farm for a couple weeks ending after Labor Day!  Maybe Hallel will come through on a road trip at that time?!?  Lots of hopes and prayers and "fake plans!"

Patrick's First Communion shared with the Lanoues!

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Saint Kateri portrait by Beverly Klucher.
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Ryan Stevenson - with lifted hands

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Lots to discuss today/Mom's final hours/The harvest is abundant- pray for more laborers

 Dad here for 12 weeks now.  He got weighed yesterday and that has not changed in his time here.  With the struggles we have had with food over that time... it was a nice way of feeling that we are not failing at our journey of keeping him safe and as well as can be one day at a time.
 An awkward picture of me with my parents at the beginning of March... two weeks later mom died in a day!
 A most cherished picture now that I only see mother's soft and good look.  Pat commented this day that mom was so good - she looked good and was very much her old self as we visited and shared together.  Such a gift to have had that final time with her now, and this most precious keepsake of her.

Dad has been going to her final hours a lot these last few days.  He was only there for the last hour of her life, thanks to the hospital loosening the covid rules of only one person.  There were 4 of us siblings and father there for her final peaceful breath of life.  Looking around we realized that it was the 4 that had kept them in their home for those last 8 weeks before we moved them into Assisted Living. 
 Thumbs up with the masks we were gifted with by a family member, who works for the Twins!

Dad had not realized that mother had suffered most of the 10 hours from when she fell in front of him and broke her hip and called out to him in her agony; "Help me Robert!" Till I arrived at Methodist hospital at 2p and my sister, Paula, and I met with the doctor discovering that she was indeed dying.  Mom begged me to "Help me Barbie, I cannot breath and I am in so much pain!"  Thankfully Paula had gotten her Last Rites/Anointing of the sick and she reported that mother had been aware and took part in the Sacrament.  Dad hadn't realized this either and was very comforted to know this, of course.
 Watching Pat and Paul bale the other day. 

I shared with him how mother was in such a state of suffering that any touch or saying anything to her or tears were not something she wanted to deal with.  She would tell tearful me to leave the room... And any touch was not desired.  At the same time begging me to help her over and over.  Paula and I decided with the doctor that we wanted her comfortable and must of the extra measures were ended, but the pain and anxiety meds were begun... mom became peaceful for the first time since she fell! 

It was then that 2 brothers, my sister Paula, and dad arrived to find mother peaceful.  They could touch her, kiss her, pray with her the chaplet and rosary, dad brought the Blessed Solanus Casey relic, and siblings called in to tell her their final goodbyes on speaker phone.  So important for them to be able to do.  With 9 living siblings... I had to go down the list and discovered that a sister, who was at work had not called yet.  I knew we were getting down to the wire, so I called her son and he handed her the phone just as she walked in the door.  Just in time to say her tearful goodbyes!
 Paula and husband, Bill, here for the 4th of July with dad.

A nice visit... now plans are underweigh for mom's funeral mass the day after what would have been mom's 91st birthday.  We are having it where my parents attended mass in Taylor's Falls, MN.  It will be a 4 hour trip for us one way and will involve a overnight with my brother in town.  It is nice to have a fake plan and to have my dad in a reasonably good place at this point 1 1/2 weeks out/11days!  My mother's birthday is July 17, and her funeral mass is at 1p on July 18th with a reception following at my brother's place in town.   
 Gathered around dad as he shared with us his happiness at the wonderful care he has been getting from hospice for these 3 months.  Mom has been gone for 4 months, so there was only one month when he was very much alone in The Assisted Living with no family allowed to visit. 

A routine trip to Vets for a doctor visit turned into a few days there, a new tube, and a "no' from his Assisted living... "we don't have the nursing care for him to return here."  So his prophecy of living with me after mom died turned into The Truth of our new life - living on the farm with Barb while on hospice. 
 I called dad the morning of March 16 as I hadn't checked in with them for a week or so..."Did you hear about mother?  She fell and they took her away in an ambulance."  Calling my sister, Paula, who is an RN and was with her.  "It doesn't look good, Barb, she has a broken hip and is not a candidate for surgery, and her BP is crashing."  I jumped in the car and arrived 3 hours later to a situation of covid restrictions, but they loosened when mom was actively dying.  Thank goodness!
 I told my mother; "mom, you are dying."  I prayed with her the chaplet and knew that she was preparing to meet her maker and her most Tremendous LOVER!
 Dad arrived and my brother, Dan! 
 Her final breath was soft and peaceful and we were there at her side - the day before my sister, Mary's birthday, who had died from cancer 34 years before.  We were comforted knowing that they are now together! 

When dad and I pray the chaplet each day on the final decade I see mom, Mary and my brother, Lincoln walking, talking and laughing together surrounded by all mom's wonderful big dogs that she loved so much and the beautiful flowers all around them that she grew wherever they lived. 
 As dad says - "She left us quickly but not suddenly!"  I was able to stay with dad for an overnight the next day, and to see her things left there and her not returning was shocking and painful and final!
Our Lady to Guadalupe over their bed... now dad looks up at her on the dresser in his room here when we pray the rosary together.

Jesus, just 4 months has passed with most of that time here with me for my father now left alone after 70+ years of marriage to my dear mother.  She is very much with us on this journey of walking into the sunset of his life.  Each new day with the sunrise and sunset of morning and evening prayer we are reminded of mother now more perfectly loving us from heaven.  We place our trust in you, O Lord, and know that you are in control.  Jesus, we trust in you.  May we do "the work" of prayer we are given and my we be laborers for your abundant harvest.  Bless-bless, Barbara

The Gospel today is powerful and filled with the Lord's message to us!
Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”
Matthew 9:32-38
 We are getting some rain and the zinnias are grateful!
 Thanks to Ruth and the 6 my garden has a row of flowers!
 Pulling weeds with the help of my kitty- he prays with dad and I on the porch daily!
 Special flowers thanks to Ruth planting them years ago.
 A fresh rose in the flower boxes Ruth planted for Birdie's Baptism.  Yes, my Ruth is amazing in so many ways - she is much like her grandmothers before her in gardening.
Another one of her touches - Yellow rose seems to like this hot humid weather and the rain.
Hills and Valleys
Danielle Rose - A saint that is just me
O God beyond all praising

Monday, July 6, 2020

Sunday gift from Hallel - their chickens!!!/To touch Him rather than be touched

 Oh my!!!  It looks like they had a play about chickens.  This is the only picture with my daughter in it, so I am sharing it first even though I have no idea of what she played or the deep spiritual message that I am sure they had to share...  Too cute to see Hallel now acting with her Community of the Lamb, when she and John did the Community theater each summer.  I remember her in Fiddler of the Roof and others.

I had a very special surprise on my email yesterday - A Sunday Gift!  With the pandemic I have shared that we were able to see our Hallel and her Community of the Lamb on Zoom.  We received messages from them on email, so that was a huge thing for me.  I now send messages complete with pictures of our family doings.  I try not to go overboard, but if you know me - even my holding back is still a flood!
 Hallel called us this spring with some questions about the chicken palace that they were building for them to have chickens... she tried to call her dad and Ruth first, and since they didn't pick up she broke down and called me.  It is true that they are much more knowledgeable than me. 

Now months later it is beautifully completed and now complete with wonderful rainbow chickens that Pat studied quite a bit from the picture collage she sent me.  Her question was if they should make the top closed or open, and it looks like they made sweet little doors that can offer both for hot and cold weather.  We have been hearing that KC is super hot and humid right now- the armpit of the country!
 Their superior and our dear friend, little Sister Judith, seems pleased to have eggs now.
 It was tricky for me to get these pictures - but for me that is what gives me joy and to have these wonderful insights into their life 7 hours away in the heart of our country- LOVE!  That might be Hallel peeking around the door.  She grew up with chickens some summers and helping butcher them.  The egg layers were what Pat grew up with and now Ruth has started bringing them into our lives.
 Ruth will soon have about a dozen eggs a day plus 4 duck eggs... with 8 mouths to feed she just might keep up!
Chickens in Marshall, MN with oldest daughter, Ruth.  She also is responsible for the 3 chickens I have here and give me 3 eggs most days.  I manage to keep up with those...
 What a cute mixture they have in KC.  That little one will also have a small egg, but evened out with the others - they should have plenty to use on a daily basis.
 An egg to pick in the laying basket.
Joy out with my chickens... I guess we are all sharing in the chicken experience!
 A cute picture from KC of their new garden shed by a some families of the workers... I would guess!  How I wish we could still be a weekly part of their lives through Nancy and Bill living there.  Not to be any more, so...
 The new garden shed and lush garden.
 The collage shared with me on email yesterday from Hallel shows the joy they are having with their new pet chickens providing food for them and the neighborhood!
 Much smiles and excitement - it makes me wonder if Hallel is taking the pictures as she is not in them.  That would also be appropriate as she took photography in 4H as did most of my kids winning and going to the State Fair.  I guess my picture obsession had some benefits for my offspring!

Dad and I did our marathon family prayer this day - as Monday is the day he names most all of our 140+ by first and middle name!  Combined with the morning prayer - we are at prayer doing the work for well over an hour!  Dad then asked me about mother's final hours - as I arrived at her death bed about 3 hours from when she peacefully died.  Dad did not arrive until her final hour.
7 years ago - year old Rose again with her beautiful mother, Ruth Ida..  How I am mourning my loss of Michigan family weeks on the wonderful Inland Sea - Lake Michigan!

Dad and I had just shared the Gospel - the Matthew version of the bringing back to life the little girl and the woman with the bleeding for 12 years coming up behind him and touching the tassel of his cloak and being healed! 

I was sharing with dad that when I would try to touch mother to comfort her - she wanted nothing to be touching her or no one. She did not want to be touched!  She did not want to hear talking or crying, yet she begged me to help her as she was struggling to breath and in so much pain.  I asked for her to be made comfortable and when she was we could then hold her hand, pray with her and talk to her, also my siblings could call in and say their tearful goodbyes!  She did not want to be touched but she reached out to touch our Lord!  He then took her to himself in heaven forever!

It is a busy day here with social worker and nurse coming to see dad, so I will end this today...

Jesus, how we love you and reach out to touch you as we struggle down the narrow path to heaven forever with you!  May we find peace this day and I am so grateful to be able to share in the life of my nun... such a gift truly!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
 St Maria Goretti today!  My kids used to ask for her story over and over when we would share the lives of the Saints as a family before bed.  Why that one?  Such a powerful story of purity and faith and forgiveness.  Bless-bless, Barbara
 6 years ago with Patrick and Maria on the big Lake!
 Our prayer begonia is thankful for the rain we are getting today!
 Birdie Barbara - my first namesake last week!  So precious is our 19 grandchildren!
Oh my!!!
Tauren Wells - Hills and Valleys
Lauren Daigle - You say