Friday, April 30, 2010

"I am the way and the truth and the life." Jn 14:1-6 Friday of the 4th week of Easter - April 30, 2010

A slight bit of rain overnight gave Pat a bit of a break in the planting... We have much going on within our family these last few days and many moments lifting them and their needs up to the Lord along with phone calls to update us minute by minute. My 21 year old son, John, who has been on a brain cancer journey for 10 months now, and I ended up going in to checked for pneumonia yesterday and both had questionable xrays and now are on antibiotics... so a warning that being a bit under the weather might be affecting me today... lack of sleep due to the prednisone given me to open the airways also... Bumber! Our daughter, Nancy, both set her wedding date to happen 4 months from tomorrow and also bought a house yesterday! Our daughter Maria's husband is signing the dotted line for the army this morning after a job here in Marshall didn't happen for them. We trust that the Lord is openning and closing the right doors for them. So many things going on not to mention the safety of our farmers as they put the crop in for the year.

I was out mowing in a sunny warm and minimal wind window that we had last evening... at the same time Ed, my brother in law, was planting the field around our house. I watched him put the planter in place and take off down the field right in front of our house and the dogs too were interested... as if they could sense that an important thing was happening... the annual putting the seeds in the black soil and trusting that the elements will cooperate with some minimal help from Pat and Ed to keep the weeds at bay. The two dogs and I watched Ed as he did the headlands of the field and seemed to sigh a sigh of relief that another crop was safely in the ground... there was a beauty and a peace about it in the midst of the hectec pace that Pat and his brother follow to put the crop in and to tend to it and to harvest it with a lot of prayers throughout for all the other things that are out of our control like rain and hail and....

I know that my father has a profound faith in his life and answer to the call to ministry both as a Protestant minister then to the Catholic Church as a Deacon... when he flew to Alabama and was on the show Journey Home on EWTN a few years ago... It remember him mentioning this verse from scripture in John..." I am the Way the Truth and the Life." as being profoundly fundamental in his spiritual journey. John and I have a plan to watch the show today as I bought many copies for each of my kids and for myself... It is a powerful witness to the roots of their own faith and their own spiritual journies! John somehow has never seen it... so we are going to do that today as part of our "sick day" together! I would know better what to say here as this pertains to my dad, but I did want to share some beautiful words from St John Chrysostom who died in 407 - he was a famed preacher and commentator on Scripture. Think of his words here as Jesus explaining to us what he meant when he said those words to Peter and the disciples.

"I am the Truth, then nothing is false on my part, and, if I am also the Life, not even death itself will be able to prevent you from coming to me. Besides, if I am the Way, you will not be in want of a guide; and if I am the Truth, there is nothing false in what I have said; and if I am the Life, even though you die you will receive the fullfillment of my words"... they took great comfort in the idea of "the Way". He meant: "Well,then, if I am in control of bringing men to the Father, you will come there, without a doubt."

Thank you Lord for the wisdom of your Church and your saints that allow us to dig deeper into your words. There is so much for us to learn and grow in our knowledge and love for you and we thank and praise you for all those that are everywhere we turn and look to take us deeper in our faith and knowledge of the Truth! You have the words of everlasting life! Jesus we trust in You! Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb

I thought today's pictures needed a little livening up... I am adding one taken probably around 1993 of the 5 kids out for a 4 H photo shoot in "farm costumes"... Ruth is flipping her hair and John looks in pain... but it is a crazy keepsake of a wonderful family adventure getting those prize winning photos taken for the fair! WE did love our photography!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

St Catherine of Siena pray for us! "I am who am; you are who is not," God to ST Catherine of Siena

We are very much in touch with - "you who are not" this morning around here. We are all sick with a very bad cold yet trying to do the "work" that is called of each of us! John is a special concern with his total lack of immunity and we are trying to get him in for a chest xray to be sure that the pain in his ribs is just from coughing and not from pneumonia.... WE just do not feel that well these days and with the stress that comes with getting the crop in... we are all a bit on edge and down. WE need you Lord to come to us and carry us in our weakness today! WE do need you so much for all that we do in our lives... we are only able to accomplish the "good work" with you there to guide us and show us the path!

St Catherine wrote this wonderful poem that is published in the Magnificat for the first time in English... It is called - Lord for Whose Love

Lord for whose love
We are disposed to die
Give us strength and power
To acquire your honor and victory.
Your honor almost lost
Give us strength to be able to acquire it
That among people you are not known
Make your holy name renew
And eveyone cry out
Long live blessed Christ
Who makes each one saved
Who believes in you, highest Lord.
Highest Lord, you are Jesus Christ
Who gave victory to your saints
Give it to us so that with fixed heart
We are constant martyrs for you
And make each and all
Following your voice
Each pick up his cross
Following you above all banner.
It is you, Lord, we want to follow
Who so much love you have shown us
For us you wanted to die on the cross
So dear the vile commodity cost you
The soul rebought
Out of mercy
And yet in agreement
The brigata wants to die for your love.
To all magnaminous and great zeal
Give us, oh, our Lord, and strengthen genius
On us send the great zeal
Oh, our Lord, make each one worthy
To enter into your kingdom
After our passion
And so the crowns
Of the holy martyr we wear for your love.
Oh, our Lord, may the whole brigata
By you guided be in every way
May you be the way, the guide, the conductor
To keep the promises made to us
WE have the documents of paradise
Done by St Matthew
To possess heaven
And you who are the gift of it, the giver."

"ST Catherine's spiritual teaching is rooted in her experience of the cell of self knowledge. She learned there an honest knowledge of God and herself that bore fruit in an acute awareness of the diffence between God and the human soul but also the love that binds one to the other." Morning prayer in the Magnificat

Sweet loving Lord... how we need you in our lives as we walk through the dark vallies and embrace the crosses that come to us. Give us the strength to follow after your example of Love! Jesus we trust in You! Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb

Pictures today of the Community of the Lamb when we visited them the end of March - on the left side of the tabernacle in their chapel is ST Dominic and St Catherine of Siena... their two patron saint due to their Dominican roots!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wenesday April 28th,2010... "When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God." Gen5:1

Yesterday began the final leg of planting with the beans starting to go into the ground. Pat describes the digging ahead of the planter as "very rough" this year for some reason... the way that mother nature worked out this year I guess. Our 21 year old son, John, who is home with us after almost of year of brain cancer and all that has brought with it... just got back from the State FFA convention in ST Paul last night complaining of a headache for two days... that scares the willies out of me, but he is feeling that it is related to a cold that he is coming down with... since Pat and I have both had it... I am focusing on that as the problem and nothing related to the cancer. We are so trusting and hopeful that we have seen the last of that as his MRI was totally clear after Christmas and then we went into Stem Cell transplant after that... now we are approaching the 100 day mark and we will have all the tests to see if all is well in there after the "rebirth" of his stem cell transplant date of Jan 27th! His second birthday! We will be highly nervous on the 12th and 13th of May, but continue to hope and pray and trust!

After yesterdays rampage with the help of another mother about the lies of artificial birth control... I was reading last night the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy... as I was starting to read a booklet on the Divine Mercy Message and about ST Faustina. I had read her diary this summer as I was at my daughter's house in ST Paul and driving John back and forth for radiation and chemo. I found it all so amazing to get in touch with how deep and profound was her spiritual life and relationship with our loving and forgiving Lord! One especially garbbed me last night... "Be patient with those in error." Yes, Lord... When I really look at who I am so mad and angry at it is Satan, and how he has lied to the world and made them believe all these damaging things to women, families and to marriages... That is who I am impatient with... Satan!

I am on a short time constraint today. SO I would like to list the works of Mercy, because they are good to have before us and we are asked to do them!

1. Feed the hungry
2. Give drink to the thirsty.
3. Clothe the naked.
4. Shelter the homeless.
5. Comfort the imprisoned.
6. Visit the sick.
7. Bury the dead.

1. Admonish sinners.
2. Instruct the uninformed.
3. Counsel the doubtful.
4. Comfort the sorrowful.
5. Be patient with those in error.
6. Forgive offenses.
7. Pray for all the living and the dead.

Dearest Lord and Savior... we see in your life here on earth and when you returned that you lived all of these wonderful merciful acts in all that you did! May we filled with your Spirit and Love continue your work here on earth now and forever. The world would be a better place and come closer to your glory if we all embraced these with our whole lives! We love you and praise you now and forever. Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My mom shared this with me...Another mom speaks up for the openness to family we are called to by pointing out the "lies of the world"!

Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 05, Number 15 | Friday, April 23, 2010
HLI welcomes Mrs. Jenn Giroux as our Spirit and Life guest writer this week. She is a dynamic mom of nine, a registered nurse and former Executive Director of One More Soul. She has been fighting birth control and the contraceptive mentality all her life and is therefore perfectly suited for HLI's mission!

The Dawn of Demonic Deception
By Jenn Giroux

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of "The Pill" the Wall Street Journal ran a lengthy and misleading article ("The Birth Control Riddle" April 20, 2009) by Melinda Beck, calling the arrival of The Birth Control Pill the "dawn of dependable contraception" which "ignited the sexual revolution, ended the post-war baby boom and helped millions of women enter the work force." Ms Beck then proceeds to lament all of the "unplanned pregnancies" which still occur today before detailing for us how safe it is now to use new and improved birth control methods.

Marshall McLuhan, the late, great expert on the media, who converted to Catholicism before he died said, "The major media are engaged in a Luciferian conspiracy against the truth." How true! Ms Beck's column is a prime example of this conspiracy, including such blatant lies and misrepresentations as:
"the benefits outweigh the risks" when taking "The Pill"
"...the longer a woman uses the pill, the lower her risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer", and
"...the pill does not seem to increase the risk of getting [breast cancer]".
Beck then goes on to reassure the readers with sources such as the Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood's own research arm) and a quote from Planned Parenthood's VP of Medical Affairs who explains away the damaging side effects by saying, "We have to keep these things in perspective. A woman's risk for problems is substantially higher during pregnancy."

"The Pill" and the widespread use of other contraceptives in reality ushered in the 'Dawn of Demonic Deception' in America. One needs only to review some of the bitter fruits of "The Pill" to appreciate why.
A Mayo Clinic study said that women who use hormonal contraceptives for a minimum of 4 years prior to their first full term pregnancy have a 52% higher risk of developing breast cancer
Women who use a hormonal contraceptive for more then 5 yrs are 4 times more likely to develop cervical cancer
Prior to the sexual revolution and "The Pill" there were known to be 5 sexually transmitted diseases: Today there are more than 30.
There are over 50 medical studies which indicate that use of oral contraceptives and Depo-Provera place women at higher risk for almost all known risk factors of HIV.
As we look around today, we see how accurately Pope Paul IV predicted what would follow if contraception were adopted on a wide scale: a general lowering of moral standards, an increase in infidelity, ever-greater objectification of women, and the use of contraception as a weapon. Smaller and more broken families, rampant homosexuality, pornography, and China's coercive one-child policy are just some of the sad and obvious reminders of Pope Paul's wisdom in reaffirming the Church's perennial teaching against contraception in Humanae vitae.

Exposing the lies of contraception is, indeed, the great moral challenge of our day. It is not only a battle for life, it is a battle for souls.

When asked recently by a major publication to name her greatest regret, Martha Stewart replied, "Not having a dozen offspring." This neatly summarizes the widespread "post-contraceptive regret" that weighs heavily on the hearts and souls of women who bought into the lies of the abortion industry. Even Catholic families have since the 1960's dropped from 5.5 to 2.1 children today, increasingly rejecting the joys and challenges of larger families for the lesser goods of greater material comfort, "freedom," and professional accomplishment.

The 1920's-era story (ironically, the same time that Margaret Sanger was beginning her efforts to legalize contraception and abortion in America) comes to mind of the small boy who was peering out a window at dusk as a man came along to light the gas street lights.

His mother asked, "What are you looking at?"

As if explaining the obvious, the boy replied, "I am watching a man poke holes in the darkness."

Today as confirmed Catholics this is all that God is asking of us - to stand in bold witness and poke holes in the spiritual darkness that surrounds us. Encountering the demonic deceptions forwarded by Ms. Beck and others who ignore the devastation wrought by contraception, we must answer with the light of truth.

Our daily faithfulness to God's perfect plan for sexuality and marriage through the rosary and sacraments is the only way to reclaim the culture and our nation. Only by using these gifts can we help bring about a countercultural comeback of chastity and the family.
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Glorious Sunny Tuesday of the forth week of Easter! "And all shall sing in their festive dance:'My home is within you' " Ps87

Starting at mass on Sunday at the Our Father... when I was engulfed with the fact that my Susan/Little Sister Hallel is not able to join with her family on the occcassions that we find to be together... I have slipped into one of my reminicent times when I review some of the "family times" with pictures and memories... Yesterday the morning prayer brought rushing back the initial discovery of John's cancer journey and that did bring us together...

Last night I had come across a continuous letter that Maria had written from when we picked her up from the monastery in Sauk Rapids and put her on a train to travel to Alexandria, Virginia near Washington DC... she had decided that the monastery in Sauk Rapids was not where she belonged and was going out to check out this community that had younger women in it and they spent time translating Latin, which Maria thought would be something that she would feel more "called" to do. She started writing on the train and then each day as she arrived and met the "mother" and novice director. She lived outside the enclosure and they sent her 13 hours by train for a retreat and they put her through a battery of psychological testing.... Each day she sounds more and more convinced that she will take it the next step and enter.... the letter ends with that feel to it, but the end of the story is that the mother asked her to write a letter saying that she is ready to do this with her life...

WE received a phone call from Maria telling us that she could not write the letter and that she was returning home to us... We had just spoken to her a few days before and she had said that she was going ahead with the plan to go in. So many mixed feelings... happy that she had heard the Lord's call in her life and seemed happy to answer, but so hard to think of her enclosed so far away from us... we would have to travel to see her and it would be behind an enclosure! She would not come out! We knew that the many that are enclosed and give their lives up to prayer for the world... I would hate to think of the state the world would be in without them.

In the 5 years since Maria came home... we have called them numerous times to ask them to pray for big issues that we are facing and most recently it was for John's cancer/healing journey! They sent us a relic of John Paul2 that is up on the mirror in John's bedroom and also a picture of him laying hands on a young girl with a brain tumor that was miraculously healed at that point! So many amazing ways they have and continue to minister to us! Their sweet loving voice and words of wisdom on the phone are an answer to prayer so many times!

I will never forget the morning of my hip replacement - I called them and the phone rang and the sweet voice on the other end of the phone is always so excited to be hearing from Maria's family! I told her that I was asking for prayers as I was to have my hip replaced that day...."Did you know that this is the feast of ST Barbara today?" She asked me... I was overjoyed and so lifted up to think that my patron saint was celebrated that very day! Everyone that I was able to share that with was likewise lifted up by the wonderful spiritual gift that it was! Certainly St Barbara was with me! I experienced such a peace and new acceptance that this was truly part of the Lord's special plan for me, and the grace would be there for me to make it through just fine! Such a blessing!

The deep prayer that they live and work is so evident in the deep wisdom and love that they share so effortlessly! It says so much of how they are blessed for all they have given up... not so much the material but the family that they give up! I still see in Maria's life a simplicity and lack of attachment to lots of material and a willingness to sacrifice to stay home with her kids by not having the TV and the internet and keeping her purchases to second hand.... Such a lesson to us....

I am rambling today... I do know that we are so blessed to have had the experience of Maria with the Poor Clares and see how that experience has carried over into her marriage and family. It was all part of the plan and now we are so prayerful that there could be a possiblity that Joe could get a law job right here in Marshall, Mn and another one of our little families could live close by! WE are soooooo prayerful! Jesus, we love you and ask you to direct and orchestrate the wonderful plan that you have for each one of our families and communities in our lives.... Jesus we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb

How to call the Poor Clare Community? - Their entire life is devoted to prayer and they pray for your needs, but also have wonderful things to share on the phone... so loving and wise! They take the phone off the hook when they are praying, so if it rings you will talk to one of the sisters... 1-320-251-3556. If you have a need or prayer request they would love to hear from you.... that is what they are there for! If you would like to write them... Poor Clare Nuns, Poor Clare Monastery,
421 4th ST, Sauk Rapids, MN 56376-1898

Monday, April 26, 2010

John's sudden brain cancer brought our family together - as a united force we faced the "storm" with faith and hope! Jesus we trust in You!

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Monday of the 4th week of Easter - April 26,2010 - "From your dwelling you water the hills; earth drinks its fill of your gift." Ps104

After a family filled weekend Pat and I found ourselves alone in the house for the first time in a long while... with John back home with us... our empty nest is now filled with another full grown offspring with a uncoordinted wing and foot that are slowly recovering. The ataxia and of course the recooperation from a total rebirth with the stem cell transplant that occured on Jan 27th, along with the cancer journey that started around Father's Day a year ago has caused John to drop out of his life for the last year almost.

A year ago he was wrapping up his sophomore year at the UofM and was looking to a job in South Dakota for the summer checking crops. He got his huge pickup to drive around in and a 4 wheeler that he would unload to go over the fiels checking for weeds and crop growth... In mid June he came home for the weekend and we all took a trip up to the Cities to help his twin cousins celebrate their HS graduation... John was complaining of his vision and proceeded to go into the house and fall on a couch and sleep through the entire affair! I thought that was very tacky, and told him so.

A few days later I had him come home to see the eye doctor that had seen him after a serious eye injury about 7 years before. He had been chasing a boy who had a stick and gotten the stick in his left eye barely missing the optic nerve in the back of his eye. I thought in my mind that being exposed to all the wind and dirt out in the fields that the injury had flared up or worsened. The check up did reveal some worsening or his sight, but not that much different in the back of his eye. We got a new pair of glasses and even some contacts... the eyes got worse by the day and the Saturday night I went to bed thinking... It's behind the eye not in the eye.

With trepidation I climbed the stairs Father's Day morning and asked John if they were worse... Yes was the answer, and I packed him up and went into the ER in Marshall. The night before he had led the singing at mass with his sister, and stumbled walking around behind the altar! I felt foolish sitting listening to people coming in for heart attacks and we were there for double vision and tiredness! WE had the scan and waited! The nurse and doctor came into our room with long and serious faces... "There is something abnormal in his brain...he needs to go to SF for a MRI." We left there numb and in shock... by chance I had read an article in the magazine there in the waiting room about a young girl, who discovered that she had brain cancer from vision changes... it is just a coincidence... it couldn't happen to our 20 year old son!

On our trip to SF - we called our daughters and we got ahold of Susan in France... It was the day that the Gospel was Jesus calming the storm... it was also used in the morning prayer today in the Magnificat and is probably the reason for all of this pouring out of me today...Mark 4:35-41... Susan although shocked like the rest of us pointed out to all of us...."Mom, this is the storm and Jesus is in control." How that helped us to hold on from the very beginning and how I continue to think of that today!

Our time in SF was just a few terrifying yet powerfully prayerful days! WE heard the word tumor for the first time as the surgeon told us of the horrific surgery he wanted to do to get a diagnosis of the "tumor". With the possiblity of death or permanent damage to John we had to take him from there to the Cities to a neurosurgeon that we had heard of and get a second opinion! Yes, we did finally have to go with surgery, but then a second option was given us and it was less invasive and dangerous and hiding in some blood cells that had been removed from the site were the few cancer cells that finally gave us our diagnosis! The Lord did calm the sea and we had to trust in him through some terrifying weeks and months and the ups and downs of the waves tossing us....The disciples said to him in the midst of the storm..."Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" His answer to them after he had rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be Still!" Then he said to them, "Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?"

Jesus, it is good today to remember just a little over a year ago and see how far we have come with you at our side and for the most part carrying us in our weakness and our fear! We want to continue to trust and know that you are in control of all in our lives -"Who then is this whom even the wind and the sea obey?" "From on high he reached down and seized me; he drew me forth from the mighty waters." Ps 18:17 We must trust and be not afraid! Jesus we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb

Pictures today are going through my mind and heart of this journey called cancer... I have added a slide show with them as well as on caring bridge site - johnverly... They are powerful images of hope and trust and yes of fear too! Yet the way that it brought our family together was a gift! We faced it as a unified and prayerful force along with thousands of prayer warriors that continue to lift us up! Praise Him! I will add a few from yesterday with Bill and Nancy by my statue behind the lilac bushes of our Lady- many rosaries have been said there. As well as the 4th station of the cross made by my daughter, Maria, after she decided that she was not called to the Poor Clare Monastery... After having a powerful experience discerning spending time at the outside stations of the cross - she returned home and made us some for our grove. With weather - they have darkened and it is hard to read... but the 4th station is so special being the station where Jesus meets his mother, Mary... Looking past we see Mary standing there filled with love and acceptance!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

4th Sunday of Easter already! March 25,2010 - "We, your people, the flock of your pasture," Ps 79:13 "My sheep hear my voice."Jn 10:27

Such a delight to attend mass with three of my children and their families - Good to find that place of deep peace and joy that comes with each and every part of the mass after Easter... the Halleluia is back! At the Our Father... I now hold my hand up as the community of the Lamb does and that brought Hallel to me and with me... she always reminds us that we are together in the Eucharist.... It made me miss her and at the handshake of peace... i had tears in my eyes to think of how hard it is to not have her here and taking part in all that we share as a family. Sometimes... it is just hard and I really feel it... Yes, it is good to know that she is happy, but I also know how much she loves her family and most especially the little ones... Lord sometimes I just think that it is hard, but from the crosses in our lives comes the resurrections!

It was a fun time after church taking some engagement pictures for Nancy and Bill. It is special time together... trying to capture their joy and happiness and excitement for their future together. Those are some of my favorite pictures to take... much more fun than the graduation or birthday pictures with just the single person in them. When you get the two of them and watch their give and take and sweet moments and silliness... it's a lot more fun and special! It is like you can see before your eyes that this couple that has been called to be together has now found the completeness that the Lord had planned for them. The two halves have become a whole... the picture is now complete! With their relationship centered on Christ as the mortar that holds them together... always looking to Him and putting Him first in their lives and decisions... They will find the way and the truth! Jesus we trust in You! Bless-bless, Barb

I will add some of the engagement pictures for my three girls... Ruth and Nancy are both in late April- May, while Maria was in October...