Friday, July 30, 2010

A oasis of silent retreat as I prepare for a three day retreat... Together Encounter Christ!

Nancy at age 3 1/2 with her new baby sister, Susan....she had just made her a crown as she had done for all 4 of the girls.."She was crying and you were busy mom, so I made us all crowns!"  On Nancy's computer... last night I learned how to use the pictures she has in her computer for my blog! So I am warning you... without any warning pictures of all periods in our lives might appear...

I am so blessed! I am sitting in the silent house of my daughter, Nancy.... I rolled over and slept in as she quietly dressed and went to work.  I am now sitting at her computer with windows open and fresh air streaming over me, and the delight of no distractions what so ever! I do have to say that just as I was about to write oasis... my cell phone rang, but with such joyous news from Nancy!  She had just talked to my dad and he not only agreed to be the Deacon at her wedding, but he will also preach!   We are thrilled at the wonderful news... as he also preached at Ruth's wedding 6 1/2 years ago now, and it was amazing!

Ruth and Nancy in the summer of 1983... chilling by the pool!

What is so wonderful about this wonderful silent is always such a zoo getting out of our place to get away for the over 3 days that are needed to work a TEC retreat... Yesterday morning I was frantically getting ready to leave for a wonderful shower that Nancy's Verly aunts put on for her!  From the minute I got into the car for the ride to the Cities... I could begin to relax and it has only gotten better and better!  Now to have this wonderful time to mentally, physically and spiritually prepare is such a luxury!  Thank you Lord, and please allow Pat at home to get all done and on the road!

Beautiful Baby Nancy Anna - about 6 months old - She was a delight and continues to be so.... How she loves her dad... to the point that she was looking for her father in the man that she married and now she has found him in Bill!

After the last year or more away from working our retreats...I am looking forward to this, but at the same time I keep telling myself that I want to listen with my heart to the others that are there with us and not get carried away with sharing our experiences of the last year... there are so many!  But one thing that I have learned very well along the way is that all of us have our crosses in our lives, and it helps to share them with others in prayer.  I feel that there will be a lot of PRAYER this weekend!

This is Nancy at just 4 months or so... She was so good and would never cry... she slept all night the first night home as a newborn... She got her voice and uses it to teach her deep wisdom and understanding of all that the world holds for youth as a wonderful teacher at an American Indian Alternative High School!

Nancy just shared with me the scriptures that they are using for their wedding mass, as she said that my dad was asking for them so that he could prepare his homily for the wedding.  She explained that Bill picked them out..."He was led to them because of the Theology of the Body by JP2 that we have been studying." Wow!  She mentioned that their second reading is from Ephesians and speaks not only of respect one for the other, but that the man must love his wife as Christ loved the Church!  This is going to be some amazing wedding sacrament and mass!  The most important part of the whole day!  All the other is just decoration and celebration of the main event!

This picture is appropriate for now... as the county fair starts at home next Wednesday, and all the preparation begins just in a few days... The pictures that I am entering will have to be taken in by one of my kids, because I am going to be gone!  This looks like it was about 7 years ago or so... the fair is always a highlight of the kids summers and beef and photography are the main projects they showed and did well in!

I think that this was shortly after we got back from all of us working the TEC that Susan/Hallel made...  It was one of those wonderful experiences that a mother gets only seldom in her life... I sat and had the honor and privilege of watching my oldest, Ruth, give a talk about saving herself for marriage....while my youngest daughter, Susan, sat at her table and wept... you had better believe that I was shedding many tears myself!

Ruth's college graduation from college at University of Mary in Bismarck, ND.... she graduated in Nursing and then went to Avera in Sioux Falls.... Another fair connection was that summer she took the week of the fair off from work... she came home and "flirted" with Paul Lanoue... her dad had always hand picked Paul for Ruth... "I wonder what Paul is doing... maybe you should call him Ruth."  Well, she seemed to figure out if there was any future with Paul... just to get her dad off her back. They shared a malt and looked at the equipment... the rest is history... they dated for 6 months and got engaged and about 6 months later were married!                                              

I love this picture of Ruth on her wedding day... it was Nov 22nd and we had the first ice storm of the season!  It was bad and many did not travel from Marshall to Tracy for the reception due to the roads... What was really iffy was getting up to the Cities the next day and flying to Rome for their honeymoon... but they did it! And then had their marriage blessed by the Pope!  WoW!

 I warned you that this is going to be a crazy ride today....  This is a wonderful picture taken after mass a number of years ago now!  The special bond that I have with my kids is such a blessing... so much of it springs from the fact that we share our faith!  Now my kids are teaching me and taking me deeper!

One that I never saw before... I have taught my daughters well... how to use a camera, so there are many surprises of some here and there that I have never seen...  I tried to share with you yesterday from the meditation of the day by St Edith Stein... she is huge in my mom's deeper journey as my mom has a ministry for years in the relationship of a wife to her husband in submission!  St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross is very much involved in this for her!  She has written much about her and with her help in her studying long and hard her intelligent and deeply spiritual writing!

The three in Rome - Maria, Nancy and Susan - while Maria was studying there for a year in 2003....  Now to St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross... and how appropriate it is for this quote with this picture as each of these girls attempts to fit in daily mass... Eucharist... in their lives!

"Whoever seeks to consult with the Eucharistic God in all her concerns, whoever lets herself be purified by the sanctifying power coming from the sacrifice at the altar, offering herself to the Lord in this sacrifice, whoever receives the Lord in her soul's innermost depths in Holy Communion cannot but be drawn ever more deeply and powerfully into the flow of divine life, incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, her heart converted to the likeness of the Divine Heart."

ST Teresa continues..."Something closely related to this.  When we entrust all our troubles of our earthly existence to the divine heart, we are relieved of them. Then our soul is free to participate in the divine life.  Then we walk by the side of the Savior on the path that he traveled on this earth during his earthly existence and still travels in his mystical afterlife. Indeed, with the eyes of faith, we penetrate into the secret depths of his hidden life within the pale of the Godhead."  St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein -1942) was a German philosopher and a convert from Judaism who became a Carmelite nun and was put to death at Auschwitz.

This is another special time for Nancy... She was at her roommate's wedding and she had introduced Bill to her dad... "Cargill Bill" she called him and told her dad that they were going to swim across Lake Superior to Madeline island in August... Her dad found Bill to be a standup guy and said to Nancy the famous..."What about Bill?"  as a possibility for her to date and consider for a possible candidate for husband material.... Once again taking the role of choosing a good spouse for his daughters... Once again the rest in history and now a year later they are planning to marry in 4 weeks!  I think our girls come close to the modern day "arranged marriages!"

As much as i am enjoying this today... there must be an end to memory lane here on my oasis... the palm trees are swaying here in the cool breezes... actually the maple trees in Nancy's back yard....Even the birds are quiet with an occassional contented chirp...  One final picture once again taken a few years ago and the county fair as Nancy and I worked at the Prolife Booth! This year will find us there once again!  WE want to do more than just say we are prolife!    Dear Lord, Thank you for the wonderful gift of this peaceful day... be with Pat at home... allow him to come for the weekend....rested and with the work done that he wants and needs to have done!  Use us as your servants this weekend!  Jesus we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!  Bless-bless, Barb                                          

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One last note before we head off like a herd of... St Martha pray for us and show us how to serve!

This morning I shaved John's head as the hair continues to grow in uneven and not in some places... in preparation for the weekend retreat... John is writing his dad a letter... I took the occassion to record his scar a year later... It was surprising to see that the hair grows in the thickest in that exact spot!  Probably more because there was no radiation that low as it would not hit his brain... but also somewhat symbolic of his body protecting that area.  As John and I found ourselves yesterday... traveling and sitting in another doctor's waiting room on the anniversary of his brain biopsy... the reason related directly to that event!  It was to see a young girl... she graduated just a year ahead of my youngest daughter, Hallel/Susan.   I told John going there that it was his decision, but we were both a bit on our defensive as she started talking about acupuncture and that she feels that she has the gift of "healing" in her hands.  I openly told her that we were strong Catholics and this just seemed too "out there," and that it brought the Budhist and New Age thinking too close to home.  She did not deny it, but defended it by saying that she could help people with the needles in points of energy... Yikes!   Bells and sirens were going off major for me!  I am too wary of that stuff and felt that our going to yoga for John had sent out signals that the door was open a crack so push for more!  NO!  I know that there is some good maybe, but the ways that the other spiritual starts to work its way in is just not worth it!  My warning to people... go with your gut and rely on the Church's wisdom to show you the way in this complicated world... Satan is trying to worm his way into our lives with a lot of harmless or helpful things that open the door to "spirituality" of the evil kind - and to  me anything that is not of Christ is that kind!  This gal did suggest some basic things that John can do on his own... like get down on the ground and start to crawl to reteach his brain, but some of the other things that she with great emotion suggested... just was wrong!  Just as I felt throughout this last year that I wanted to do this with the Catholic Church... we must approach life in that way too!  WE must not be led down other paths, no matter how "good" they look to be, and must look to our faith and the wisdom of the Church!  Today on this feast of ST Martha - happy feast day to my wonderful sister 14 months younger than I - Martha/Marty!  You taught me how to share and to love.... being the first child and knowing that I was loved and precious... it was then good for me to know that there would be others equally precious and that it was better to have many siblings to love and share with through my life!  Now with 9 others here with me on earth and our precious Mary in heaven... my life is very rich and you started it all!  I guess that there was some adjustment on my part, but all for the best and at least I just turned a cold shoulder and never harmed you!St Edith Stein - St Benedicta of the Cross (1942) was a German Philsopher and a convert from Judaism who became a Carmelite nun and was put to death is Auschwitz... writes today of the Grace of St Martha

"Whoever wants to preserve this life continually within herself must nourish it constantly from the source whence it flows without end - from the holy sacraments, above all the sacrament of love.  To have divine love as its inner form, a woman's life must be a Eucharistic life.  Only in daily, confidential relationship with the Lord in the tabernacle can one forget self, become free of all one's own wishes and pretentions, and have a heart open to all the needs and wants of others."  There is so much... it will have to wait for a more peaceful time as I am trying frantically to leave here in a few hours... and I will not return until late Monday.  I might find a chance to write from Nancy's tomorrow... I ask for prayers for this weekend.  Pat and I working together is always a reason for prayer... as we hope for patience and to be good servants! 

Lord, we love you and need you and you are always there... all we need to do is with humility and love to embrace you there standing with your arms wide... your nail scarred hands wide with love and forgiveness!  WE love you and praise you and every Hallel psalm is now in our hearts!  Amen and Halleluia!   

Bless-bless, Barb

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The one year anniversary of John's Brain biopsy - "Strong is God's love for us!"

Today is the red letter day that sends chills down the spines of John's family, but of which John has no memory of at all!  We knew that he was very sick, but knowing that he was not truly with us in mind makes us realize just how bad it was!  The readings today were so amazing to us as it spoke of not our trust in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but "He is unfailing, faithful, true; His trust is everlasting!" From the opening hymn in morning prayer... it resonated in me as I always end each prayer in "Jesus I trust in you!"  To then hear that His trust is everlasting makes it take on the Wow factor!  One more thought from morning prayer that I thought was amazing on this day...."God is true: he has a long memory for his own promises and a short memory for our failue to keep ours."  (see )
It was a grand Hallel psalm today im morning prayer... Psalm 89.. Little Sister Hallel/Susan explained to us that the psalms of praise found in the middle of the psalms - around 100 - are called the "grand Hallel psalms" and the word for "grand" in French is the same as tall and she is very tall compaired to the small European Little Sisters in the community!  Hallel gives them joy in many ways!  Her name means praise and how she accomplishes that with her life as John prayed for her yesterday... is done in many ways... just by saying her name is a form of praise!  She was here with us a year ago and very wonderful to her brother and a positive support to us as we gathered around John on this day!  She spent the night with him and cared for his every need!  Just as she came for a week and drove him to radiation for a week before Thanksgiving.  How she has always loved and cared for her younger brother!  When she called to say that she was leaving for France... he was the one that she asked to come and "say goodbye" to her.  The tears flowed at adoration last night as I felt so sad at the loss of not having Susan/Hallel here to share with us in our day to day lives... yet I know that she is bringing much joy and praise of Him to the world in her vocation!  It is definitely a sacrifice for her family, who loves her so much!
John continues to struggle with his ataxia on his left side as a result of the bleeding at the site where the brain biopsy was done a year ago today.  I thought that this picture of Fr Craig annointing his hands during the annointing of the sick done just before he went to surgery... reminds us that the Lord is in control and as morning prayer reminded us that;  "I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord; through all the ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.  Of this I am sure, that your love lasts forever, and that your truth is firmly established as the heavens."  Psalm 89... John and I go to meet with a chiropractor today and see if she can help him regain his mobility... Jesus we are reminded that we can totally trust in you.... Your trust is everlasting and you are in control!

How we cling to our faith and it was what we had to hold onto a year ago...on this anniversary Pat and I are preparing with prayer and many other odds and ends to serve as spiritual directors at TEC that starts in two days... We know that we are going to serve from a much deeper place than ever before after the experience of the last year.  Yet we also are very aware that all of those coming for the weekend as well as all those that have faithfully followed us on this journey have their own crosses and how we long to listen with our hearts and our souls to them as they share with us!  We have so much from our Church to help us on our journeys and as we look at Die day, Rise Day and Go Day and how it follows the Paschal Mystery of Christ and how our Church gives us reconcilliation, Eucharist and all the devotions to help us on our way!  Thank you Holy Mother Church!  You are amazing!  You fed us and nourished us and comforted us and loved us as we struggled with such fear a year ago!
Dearest Lord and your Bride, the Church... we cannot begin to "know" all there is for us to grow in love and faith for you... we never can come to the end of our growth within your wonderful amazing Church... we are fed with the sacraments and learn and follow your example with the help of your wonderful Mother and all the saints!  Thank you for all that we have received from your endless love and knowledge in the last year and to see John looking so wonderful with the light of love in his eye... a new compassion and depth thanks to the cross called cancer/healing in his life for the last year.  Continue to walk with us of that we are without the least bit of doubt... Jesus we trust in you and your trust is everlasting in us!  Amen and Halleluia!  Bless-bless, Barb

After morning prayer with husband and son... the springs are bursting forth!

This is the 3rd time I have gone and picked out the 4 pictures that are allowed with this type of entry on my blog... I appologize for the choppiness of it, but it is all I can figure out with this photo program that has the pictures of a year ago... Now with John's ataxia on his left side... this photo of Fr Craig blessing his hands as part of the annointing a year ago today... it seems like an ongoing prayer for the continued healing that John strives for every day since... It seems that to have this handicap as a result of the surgery has not allowed us but especially John of course to forget or truly get away from the realization that we embraced the cross of brain cancer in the last year! He still is reminded every day when he has to work at therapy or when he realizes that he is unable to do something that he took for granted before. Yes, we were devastated to see that he had damage to his brain - the coodination center of his brain - as a result of going in to find out what the tumor was! But on the other hand... it has kept the cross close at hand and never far from our thoughts and as a result we cling to Him and take courage and heart from our prayers shared each and every day! I told John this morning that I was writing to Hallel today and if there was anything that he wanted me to tell her..."Just tell her that we pray for her every day." That is so true and for her I know that it will give her joy and encouragement! Today John prayed; "That Susan may show praise in everything that she does!" Wow!
From the start of morning prayer with the hymn... I could see that although it was no special feast day... it was a day about how the Lord heals us! "Thy diseases all who heals; Who redeems thee from distruction, Who with thee so kindly deals." It was interesting to see the reaction of John and Pat to the realization that today was the day that we decided to do the brain biopsy... Pat was noticeably shaken and John simply stated that he has no memory of that time... "Make us know that shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart." (Ps 90:12) We were looking death in the eyes a year ago, and how we grew from the experience and continue to do so! "In the morning, fill us with your love; we shall exult and rejoice all our days. Give us joy to balance our affliction for the years when we knew misfortune." (Ps 90) How these words were a bell of truth for us this morning as we gathered around our breakfast in deep rememberance of all that the year has held and meant and continue to means to us! John prayed for Pat and I and the "remembering of a year ago and their continued care of me today." There was never any doubt of this in the last year..."you are precious in my eyes." (Isaiah 43:4) Then another gasp as one of the petitions of the day; "O God, we fear the mortality that we cannot cure: -grant insight and faith to all those who do the work of medical research." Pat and John continued to share time together watching the Twins... although John said that suddenly it struck him that he was watching 2 TV screens with his double vision...From the mass readings for today... Jeremiah 14 - "We wait for peace, for a time of healing. Remember your covenant with us. Is it not you alone, O Lord, for whom we look?" There was no place we were looking other than our faith a year ago, and it has continued over to this day! If John had literally walked away from his biopsy with no ill effects... He would be off working somewhere other than here with no backward glance, but now he is still here with his parents and working for his dad and at therapy every day! He is still at our table for meals and for prayers and knows with each step that he takes and every thing he tries to do with his left hand or foot that he is different from what he was, and with the scans every 3 months... we are reminded that we are on the edge and need to continue to ask for prayers of healing... every day! From the psalm from mass today - Psalm 79 - "Let the prisoners' sighing come before you ; with your great power free those doomed to death. Then we, your people and the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to your forever; through all generations we will declare your praise. For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us." We are daily reminded and glad to be together to face the continued journey of cancer/healing... how we need to continue to find our strength and our hope in prayer! The memories of a year ago are deep and hard, but also very life changing... we know that we need our Lord as our shepherd cradling us in his loving arms and carrying us back to the fold as we looked into the eyes of the prowling hungry wolf... as he crept towards us in the dark! We could feel his warm breath on our necks as we shook with fear! We must keep reminding ourselves that we are now safe!

Finally this was the meditation for the day.... written by Fr Alfred Delp, SJ (1945) who was a German priest condemned to death by the Nazis during WWII.... "It is hard enough to meet the ordinary hazards incidental to every existance; but the Godless person has no defenses and is delivered up, bound and disarmed. Left to cope with them in this defenseless fashion he falls back on the excuse that fate is against him and the world is all wrong. He is a failure and it takes very little to keep him bogged down in depression and despair. The world becomes a cheerless place, not worth living in, although there seems to be no way out of it... There is only one remedy for such a state; each person must return to God, listen to his inner voice, consciously make contact with him. The great conversation will invariably win a blessing, one which will make our wilderness blosson... A surrender without reserve is essential; then 'these things' are given back to us. Our eyes are opened and acquire a new perception. His earth regains its fruitfulness under the healing streams, which strengthen us for our appointed tasks and give us mastery as they carry the ship of our life on its way." How we cling to Our Lord now and always... we are forever changed and reminded that the depths of depression and loss are not going to allow us to regain and grow and go forth to love and serve the Lord and one another! Jesus we thank you and trust in you! Amen and Halleluia! Bless-bless, Barb and family

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The family support and Our Faith got us through this hardest part of the whole journey - surgery of John's brain!

The long hours in the waiting room and back and forth to John's room were made more pleasant by the times we enjoyed and laughed with little 1 year old Therese! She didn't understand our fears and so with her sweet innocence we took comfort and allowed ourselves to smile and hug and love! Our love one for the other was pure comfort! ( I can only add 4 pictures from the photo program that has the pictures of this time last year.. so that is why it is kind of choppy sharing)
All of Joh's sisters were there for him and the differences of their personalities and how they deal with the critical situation was very interesting... each mininstered to John in their own way and the love they had for him was so evident!
Long hours in the waiting room outside of the neuro intensive care.... The decision was made to do surgery on John's brain on the next day - July 28th! We were given to our surprise and thanksgiving... two areas to choose from. The surgeon was not encouraging of getting the answer from a new small area in the back of the brain... rather than going in from the top of his head and down through so much of his brain and all that could happen to him as a result...there was a slight possibility that they could get the answer from going through the back of his brain to a small area there... we had to choose that one! So we prayed.......
The time we spent in the gorgeous chapel at ST Mary's that day and during the surgery was something that I will never forget in all of our 32 years together! The tears that flowed and the prayers and hugs that we shared at the altar and later sitting in a pew... pleading with God to spare our son from any harm and allow the answer to be finally gotten! After 5 weeks we needed an answer to what the tumor was in John's brain! I have never exeperienced such a feeling of total agonizing fear and need to fall into the loving arms of my Lord along with the physical need to hold onto Pat's huge farmer hand and know that we were in this together... on our knees and weeping for the Lord to comfort and hold us in his arms as he did the Lost Sheep! The thought of our son on the altar of the operating table came to us! Jesus we trust in you! Bless-bless, Barb
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July 27th, 2009 was the day that the decision was made to do the brain surgery on John!

John looks at this picture and has no memory of this time! These were put on his head while in having an MRI... they guide the surgeon to the exact spot in his brain to try to get the tumor cells. WE were given two areas to choose... we Had to choose the one in the back of the brain as there was less chance of severe problems! JOhn was so sick and we all gathered around him!

His vision was very bad... with his eyes going in two different directions and he slept all the time! He does not remember this time at all! We were in a state of terror and panic and I was in a constant state of prayer~ A rosary was never out of my hand, and I was always saying "Hail Marys" for support and comfort! WE prayed and went to daily mass there at the St Mary's chapel...

I should say that this is the one year anniversary of John's receiving for the second time the annointing of the sick with Fr Craig! Just as he started to annoint him... Susan/Hallel and Benedict arrived and were there to join their prayers with ours for John to be healed! Yes, miraculous would have been amazing, but we see that he was healed and in the process many were touched and changed and learned in a deeper way the power of prayer... so the journey of John's healing was all in the Plan! Thank you Lord!

Throughout this journey I have clung to my Catholic Faith to get me through! It has done that and then some and I think that if you ask John now... He has a new deeper understanding and respect and trust in the Lord and how His Church is there for us at our darkest and most terrifying hours! John does say that he is healed as the result of prayers and the fact that he was annointed 4 times in that year is certainly all part of that... I will never forget how sad my mom was as her mom lay dying in the nursing home up in Michigan... My mother and father and all of us 13 kids had all converted to the Catholic her mother was not understanding of us and our decision and remained in her Protestant church. "It is so limited what I can offer her now... I can't have her annointed by the priest or bring her communion every day or sit and say a rosary with her... our Church has so much to offer!" I agree and only wanted to get through this with my Catholic faith, and it was there for me and John and his family! Jesus we trust in you!
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Monday, July 26, 2010

An after supper dessert.... Invitation to come and do a photo shoot...

WE noticed some large cement tiles ready to go into a waterway under the road up from Ruth... I had done a photo shoot of my kids in some similar tiles when they redid Hwy 59 years ago... so Ruth got the idea that they would go there after supper and grandma could come and try her hand at some pictures.  Fun!They are huge!  But it did make a wonderful "frame"with the bean field in the partial sun behind them!  The kids were cute and cooperated as kids do... in their own time and that is different from the other one.  Thanks Ruth... it was great!How about half a frame?  This one was too cute... I had to get closer!  Mom was pretty funny to get them all to look and laugh!  We work on the art of photo taking on a regular basis around here.  Ruth even coordinated their outfits!  We take our photo shoots seriously!

"The gift of family life - to reflect on the mutual responsibility parents and children have to love one another and lead one another to holiness."

On this feast day of the parents of The Blessed Virgin Mary...Sts Joachin and Anne - Happy feast day to both of our mother's and our daughter, Nancy ( the nickname for Anne)... !  It certainly was true for Mary's parents!... as morning prayer stated today that not only are we resposible for leading them in holiness with our children, but they in turn for us!We had another pasture experience last night with Pat's 90 year old mom, Anna Verly - I guess that you celebrated the vigil of your feast day, mom, with your favorite.... family farm time!  we had also along our daughter, Ruth and her 3 kids and the dog Lilly too!Ruth remembers when Pat first rented this pasture and she helped him come out and fix the fence around it for the first time...  She was probably about 11 or so... then there were all those wonderful evenings like this one...when we would all pile in the pickup and go out to enjoy the cool evening breezes and "watch" the cows and calves eating and watching us watch them!The kids were interested and their mom was filled with appreciation and emotion at the joy of her life growing up on the farm..."Mom, aren't you so grateful that you married dad and lived here rather than in the big city?"  Yes, Ruth, I am and thank God with all that I do, and many times over the years with my words and my prayers!The Virgin Mary's namesake, our little 4 year old Mary Lanoue... loves her cows and calves and says that they are from "my dream."  She has names for many of them and is very interested in them... as she has been since very young... walking in the feed bunks right up to their noses.... she says very prophetically that she will be taking many cows and calves to "show."  Yes, Mary that is a true statement!It gives me so much delight to share my life with my daughter, Ruth, and her wonderful family!  I see that she is now living in many ways the life that she grew up with and how much she honors it and loves it and is happy to have it!  What parent would not find that a wonderful testimony to the fact that it was a good life for them and now they want it with their own children?!  As Pat and I will leave on Friday to work this TEC retreat as a spiritual team on this weekend of a deeper walk with our Lord... it reminds me of another major way that our children in turn led us deeper in our faith... By asking us one after the other to make a retreat after they came back from theirs!  It took the 3 oldest to each ask, but finally saying "yes" was life changing for both of us!  The kids thought that this cloud that looked like wings was pretty neat... later it looked like a mustache or a '"w"...the light was truly a "paintbrush" last night out there just as the sun was ready to set for the day... it went out with a glory of Gold!  Back to my thought of my children taking me to a deeper place with my faith!  Each has and getting us to TEC and sharing it as a family has been so huge in our last 12 years!   We had to take the last year off for the largest growing and deepening experience of our entire family's existance - Our 21 year old son's brush with death - brain cancer!We have had two daughters study in Rome for a year each... two daughters enter convents... a daughter marry and have wonderful babies and come back to live life on the farm not far from us... daughters live here and attend adoration and embrace all that our faith holds for us and wait for the right man and for a Catholic man!  All of the girls did this!  But it was the most lifechanging and powerful for us as a family to look death in the eyes and to embrace the cross called cancer/healing with our youngest child, John Patrick Agustine Verly at the age of 20-21 for us to truly be aware of what the Paschal mystery is all about!  How the life-death-resurrection of our Lord enters our lives and makes them all that they can be!It's not quite the way that you would ask the Lord to help you "lead one another to holiness."  But it at the same time is as powerful as it can get...and truly being put upon that cross... in a few days we will face the one year anniversary of when John went into the hands of the doctors in surgery of his brain to find out what this tumor was in his brain!  How we fell to our knees and wept for the safety of our son and healing on that day, and Fr Craig Timmerman came to annoint him at the same time that Hallel and Benedict came to be with him for the surgery!  So powerful, and our Church was there to fill our needs!Now a year later we are without cancer and now recovering from the brain surgery is the job at hand and staying hopeful and trusting that this cross has now become the resurrection for John and for his family!  Ruth was speaking of the lone tree and it's beauty..."It truly is something that means that we live on the prairie,"  So true... it was a sight as we left the pasture last night with the sunset on the horizon... a lone tree silouetted in the last rays of the blazing sun! 

Dear Lord...thank you for the family and all that it means to us as we go through life!  May we support and encourage one another with hope!  Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb