Sunday, July 23, 2017

Waves of family amidst the farm

LOVE to see these smiling faces sharing some time on the farm and starting our Sunday with mass.  Rose and Bernadette were putting up the kneelers one on each end. 

We have been having wave after wave of family helping us to have a mini vacation in the midst of our haying these days in between the rains.  Our long lost son, Breno, from Brazil followed by my sister, Paula, and family, and then daughter, Nancy, with her husband and 4 kids! 
This is so beautiful to me!  I would love to take meal pictures at the long tables in our cabin in Michigan with the lake out the patio doors.  Now I am enthralled by the beauty of the landscape of the rolling pastures and the corn field across the road.  Happy family meals - my sister, Paula, and her husband and granddaughter stopped in on their way to the Black Hills!  LOVE family time on the farm!
The porches have become our family time/vacation now with the cabin gone.  For Paula and Bill their new camper will allow them to have vacation experiences wherever their hearts takes them..  I am sad to lose our wonderful vacation home, but we are embracing the change and finding great joy when family comes our way!
Supper on our beautiful porch a few nights ago with Renata from Brazil to visit with us for the week.
A great article on their trip around the world!
Nancy and Bill arrive and John has his arms full of his two Goddaughters!  They are 11 months apart, and soon that will all disappear!
Hay racks ready to go, cows and calves grazing, and family supper shared on Ruth's wonderful porch!  Nancy and Bill report how oppressive the heat is in KC, and we are all breathing a breath of fresh air today as the humidity has cleared out and it is cool and breezy after a hot sweltering humid week here too!
So excited to have my first tomatoes yesterday and wonderful cucumbers! 
Love to say as we are sharing a meal..."this was growing just an hour ago... beans, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  For supper Ruth picked beets and had them on the table half an hour later!  FRESH!  We feel the vitamins and minerals zooming all around our healthy bodies!
The crew called Faith/Family/Farm!

Yes, Faith!  We sat amidst 10 grandchildren at 8a mass this morning, and all were very good including two baby girls - 14 months and 4 months!  Even the bigger ones that love to visit and giggle were quiet and respectful, too!  After mass Rose and Berna... just months apart in age were little busy caretakers of the church putting up kneelers and telling the littler kids to mind their manners.  Father's homily about how we are called to be loving and forgiving and not be judgemental and prideful.  I pondered how we share the Truth in a loving way, when you see it trampled underfoot all over the place.
A sight in the beautiful morning light in our wonderful church was such a delight to this old ladies eyes and heart! 
Family time supreme just moments after heaven came down to earth!  What JOY filled me as I was surrounded by my children and their children - 10 and we sang out with our deepest adoration for our Jesus coming to feed us his Body and Blood - "Holy, holy, holy...!!!!" 
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LOVE this and mass shared with my family!!!  A prayer of thanksgiving I pray every day - "Thank you, Lord, that we share our faith as a family."  It has been hard to see how hurt some have been when their kids turn their back on how they were raised. 
Genuflecting and kneeling towards the altar... recognizing Jesus there!
Another beautiful porch for Sunday breakfast on this beautiful day!
14 month old Josephine with a chocolate doughnut hole with sprinkles and dogs see her as an easy target... good thing she liked the dogs and accidentally let them have a few. 
Lots of bales to pick the midst..

Lord, may my faith even be the size of a mustard seed and be planted and grow to bear much fruit with JOY!  I am longing to join the chorus of Praise for all that you do for us!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

A rosary and a wonderful Sunday afternoon nap... the best!

Friday, July 21, 2017

"She appeared from the river" She bore The Lamb perfect "without blemish" into the world! Farewell til next time son, Breno!

How we have loved having our Brazilian son, Breno, and his fiancĂ©, Renata, here for the week!  As Breno has said and I have been experiencing..." it is as if I have never left."  It was so very easy and enjoyable to share our farm life with them, and to see our life through eyes that appreciate and respect our life here on so many levels. 

It was very interesting to have Renata explain to us the name of the black Madonna, which Breno gifted us with when he left 17 years ago.  We knew that she was found in a river and hence her dark coloring, but her name itself means that she appeared from the river.  It is such a bind that ties to have Our Lady bringing us together across the world!

She joined us on the porch for our final supper with them... Farmgirl beer bottle for the purple bells, and the red barn in the background. 

We all are filled with the reminder of the great gift we were given by someone asking us if we would host a boy from Brazil, who wanted to live with a Catholic family.  We had never thought of having a foreign exchange student, but it seemed like the Lord was knocking and we needed to answer with a "yes."  John said this morning..."Breno is my brother from another country.  We know that we love each other." 

Any apprehension I felt at their coming here, has long evaporated and we are so happy to know that our family has only grown larger with Breno and his wonderful fiancĂ©, Renata, whom we have similarly come to love.  Our prayers for their safety and future together goes with them.  He shall permanently join John on his decade of the rosary or maybe I will give them one of their own!
Pat was super sweet last night in grilling them steaks.  He planned the supper and brought over Ruth's grill and spoke with our expert cook son-in-law, Billy, and made us wonderful farm grown steaks with love and care.  So good as was the conversation and enjoying each other's company!

Breno prayed over our food and our time together expressing what we all know - we are truly family no matter the miles that separate us nor the years that we can't see each other and all that comes with LIFE.  A person cannot have too many in his family, and there is always room for more!  We now welcome our sweet wonderful Renata, too!
Brothers!  These two are close and for John to have his 3 wonderful brother-in-laws, and his Brazilian brother, Breno, before them.  A wonderful blessing for him. 

The first reading from Exodus of the original Passover... where the blood of the lamb without blemish on the doorposts and lintel of each house.. so that the angel of death would pass them over.  Reminds me of the Lamb/Jesus Christ/without sin or blemish and Mary, who brought him into the world in her sinless womb prepared for him by God.   How I love that she is all over the world to bring us all together in a family of LOVE!  Bringing us to her Son/the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.  Yet, Jesus reminds us today in the Gospel that "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." 

"So in this sea of God's mercy all sin is destroyed, but the sinner is saved."  St Lawrence of Brindisi (1619) whose feast day is today
Pat's sister stops in to be amazed by Breno's travel stories with many more to come.  Lord, give them safety on their journey.

Lord, no matter what we face we can get through it with your assistance.  We are weak and small and humbly ask that you be our rock and our help so that the love and mercy we are shown we may return to those we encounter.  Especially those closest to us in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
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May I keep my selfishness out of the way of my becoming your hands and feet dear Lord.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Fresh flowers after the inch of rain we got this morning... she is the tie that binds us all around the world!  Love her no matter what or where we find her!
So good to grow in our knowledge and appreciation of each other's lives.  Family has many facets as a beautiful gem to be held close to our hearts. 

Such a great picture and photo story supreme!

St Theresa of Calcutta and Our Lady having a talk!  She knows her Mother!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Come to me all you who" are irritated, angry, annoyed, frustrated, tired, yanked around, "and i will give you rest."

Love this!  Borrowed from Maria's blog... Father-Daughter Dance for Father's Day on base. 

Therese's beautiful hair for the occasion!  I love to do girl's hair after having 4 girls in a row, but this is a something out of my expertise.  I did love doing the girl's hair while they lived with us!

Maria has learned that I need to be able to see pictures to fill in the gaps of having them so far away!  I am sure Therese and Captain Joseph will treasure this memory for always!
Amidst the storm yesterday the kitten and the dog sought comfort under a towel together... too  cute to pass up.  "All those pictures"... I hear that often and it humbles me a bit. Yes, it seems that I want to capture it all and record all the good and precious moments along the way of a day. 

You would think that all is rosy and filled with sunshine and lollypops in my world, but it is not really so.  My faith is what gets me through and gives me hope and peace in the midst of the storms of life that seem to roll over me wave after wave.  It does help me to stay upbeat and happy in the face of strangers and those not very close to me, but with those closest to me... I am sullen and crabby and fight a lot of negative feelings flooding me! 

"Give it up, give it up."  came to me today in the midst of the litany of negative feelings I was battling..."irritated, annoyed, frustrated, angry, tired, and feeling generally pulled this way and that/yanked around!"  Guess what, Barb?  Your life is not your own.
Waiting out the rain, soaking wet, after praying hard that we would get some much needed moisture in the tractor.  We got close to an inch and a half, for that we are most grateful today.  Prayers of thanksgiving today. 

In my state of mind... I know that it does no good to find fault and to become annoyed and angry... I need to go forward and do the tasks at hand and try try try again to do them with a pleasant and smiling attitude.  On my own this is not possible and I will probably fail, but I understand that it is not about me, but loving and serving each other as we have undeservedly been loved by Jesus.  He asks us to lay our burdens at his feet and find comfort.
I walked past this in the grove at the farm yesterday.. the stations of the Cross that Maria made for me when she discerned out of the monastery in Sauk Rapids... the 4th Station where Jesus meets his Mother, Mary!  LOVE it!  The peace floods me whenever I take up my rosary beads and begin to walk the way with my wonderful loving Mother Mary.  Jesus through Mary is a powerful real answer for me to find a better place in the midst of my selfish feeling sorry for myself.  I am a great one for saying "poor me!"  All I need do is look to Mary's example of saying "yes" in the face of impossible odds and finding The Way, the Truth and the LIFE/Jesus!
All the new little ones in our family is a source of great JOY for us!  Joy is her name and that is her job in the family of Ruth and Paul..."the 6th child is a delight!"  Such a good and easy baby for very busy mom, Ruth Ida!  I sure learn at the feet of my daughter, with her easy going calm and Life-giving attitude towards her marriage and her family.  It doesn't get much better when you learn from your kids and they take you deeper in your Faith journey!
We sure miss this little sweet heart too!  She was here with us for over 4 months in our home and we miss her and her family a lot!  I am filled with lots of excitement to think that in the next year we can hopefully once again get the 3 new girls together!  I know not when, but those fake plans fill me with a lot of comfort.

9 year old big sister, Therese, with her almost 9 month old sister, Evangeline. 

Jesus stresses that in order to find that comfort and rest in the midst of our struggles and burdens/yoke/cross that we need to follow him in humility and meekness.  He is there with us and his "yoke is easy and his burden is light."

 Really!  When you really think about what is getting to you... it is pretty minor when you look at those that truly have life of death struggles with illness or violence due to weather or what is going on in your country or neighborhood.  Having Breno here from Brazil and realizing the danger due to poverty and those desperate to find food or other necessities - "The security is a big problem in our country."  A challenge we cannot really see or understand here in the prairie, yet mother nature had some violence we could do nothing about with neighbors being hit by a mini tornado yesterday. 

A wonderful beach they found on base for the kids to cool off in the summer heat in Washington State/Fort Lewis!  There are some fake plans that we will go out there with grandkids after we get through the county Fair!

Lord, I am longing to give all control to you and not cling to my selfish self-centered ways... to find comfort and rest in the midst of the ups and downs of life as we hope to serve without counting the cost!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Easy and Light I can handle and you promise me that.  Bless-bless, Barb

The three boys are filled with energy and lots of imagination in their play helped by Oma's costumes!  We had twice as many grandsons as granddaughters, which is very different for us.  But with the 3 new granddaughters in less than a year, we are just one away from being even.  Love them all!!! And always room for more!

From Nancy's blog... we will see them in a few days, but it is fun to see them growing up... Josephine is now walking!

14 months and walking!

Visiting Our Lady and grandma at work for the church in Pennsylvania.

Proof positive we have a new walker in the family!
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Loving the daddy - daughter pictures today... As John prays with thanksgiving each morning for the wonderful husbands and fathers his sisters have found!

I am getting carried away, but you know me and pictures!

Nancy's wonderful sharing today...
"If you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon our Lady. Just say this simple prayer: 'Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to be now.' This prayer has never failed me."
St. Mother Teresa