Saturday, December 31, 2011

New years... Hope and Peace and Joy and Love

I pray for the warmth of hugs from those that we love... just knowing that they love us and are praying for us even when an ocean seperates us... I know of their love, and am so confident that they are lifting me up in prayer daily, as they are in my prayers for them! 

The spiritual connection of LOVE and PRAYER is what keeps us going down the narrow path carrying our Most Cherished Cross, and following after our loving and forgiving Savior... we are surrounded by the army of the amazing Saints, that add so much to our family and our life on earth... pointing the way to Christ!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless

Two weeks ago...

The highlight of Christmas and of my year happened two weeks ago as my family gathered for CCC - Cross Christmas Camp.  It was so amazing for us to commemorate our becoming Catholic 40 years ago on Christmas Eve!  Christmas eve was nice going to mass with my husband and son, and mother-in-law, after a day of work at the nursing home.  Back to work on Christmas day, and then I allowed myself to be down about not seeing any of my girls or really having any kind of a celebration... it was a down day all due to myself!  When I think of Christmas... I am so touched and moved by our gathering 2 weeks ago, and knowing that all of my girls are with those that they love, and are attending mass with the True meaning of Christmas being their foremost concern and heart's desire... embracing Christ, come into the world to show us God's loving and forgiving face!  This morning sharing the wonderful gift of Truth in morning prayer - see http://www.magnificat.com/ - with husband and son!  "Christmas is a season for song, for God's love reaches from heaven to earth and earth to heaven in the incarnation.  Let us spend this last day of the year in profound thanksgiving and praise for the extraordinary gift of our salvation in Jesus Christ."
We remembered Hallel today as the psalm - 108 - used in morning prayer is a "grand Hallel Psalm"... John had not heard that there were places in the psalms with different Hallel psalms of pure praise to HIM! The ones around Psalm 100 are called "Grand Hallel" and it is kind of a joke in the Community as the word for Grand in French means tall in English also, and Susan/Hallel is towering over the small French sisters with her 5'10" height!  Allowing her to laugh with them at this "joke."
"My heart is ready, O God;
I will sing, sing your praise. 
Awake, my soul;
awake, lyre and harp.
I will awake the dawn.

I will thank you, Lord, among the peoples,
among the nations I will praise you,
for your love reaches to the heavens
and your truth to the skies.
O God, arise above the heavens;
may your glory shine on earth!"
Psalm 108

The Gospel for today is amazing John 1!  So powerful and I just groan at the beauty of his words of Truth, Life, Light and Love!  ..."through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."  So amazing to be reassured that darkness will not win, has not won, and will be defeated! There is so much that is disheartening when you get close to people!  There is so much hard stuff that people deal with in their families to start with.   When I pray the litany for Pat's family and mine... there is a lot to pray for - that the Light and the Life may dwell within! 
So many marriages and families are under attack... the darkness creeps in from the computer, TV, busyness, lies from Satan about the value of life and the marriage of one man to one woman, the lies of Satan about how we should be limiting our families... so that we can indulge our children and ourselves with material things and not siblings, which any person will tell you later in life that they regret not having had more children!  "... but the world did not know him... And the Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.... No one has ever seen God.  The only begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's right side, has revealed him."  John 1:1-18

Mary had to show me this beautiful banner in the sun - the Holy Spirit Dove- we have plans to make a watercolor of it soon.  It is such a blessing to have some special teachable times with my kids and grandkids -  ways that I can share the deep joy I have within at the blessings and graces I have received and continue to receive on my daily journey of faith/Catholic!  "Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ!" 
Jesus, I am so overwhelmed by this past year as we stand on the last day, and look back!  To think of the 40 years that started with my dad's listening to your call through His Word, and his resounding and unconditional "Yes!"  I can honestly and without hesitation say that every day since has been filled with YOU!  Yes, there are high points in the journey - my month of daily mass in the convent as I lived with them considering your call to me as a new Catholic, my growing at "the farm" reading Merton and A'Kempis, my meeting my Catholic farmer, who said that he would only marry a Catholic and his prayers for me, my children - all 11 - 5 here and 6 in heaven praying for me, my TEC retreat after 3 of my girls invited me to take this deeper walk, the Rosary each day and how I have Our Lady showing me the beauty of Motherhood and being a woman of God!  I could go on and on filled am I with all the Truth and Grace from Christ and His Bride the Church!  I lift up all those families that need to know you, and that the Light can continue to overcome the darkness.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"Willed by God in the very act of creation, marriage and the family are interiorly ordained to fullfillment in Christ and have need of his graces in order to be healed from the wounds of sin and restored to their 'beginning,' that is, to full understanding and the full realization of God's plan...
The family finds in the plan of God the creator and redeemer not only its indentity,what it is, but also its mission, what it can and should do... And since in God's plan it has been established as an 'intimate community of life and love,' the family has the mission to become more and more a community of life and love... Hence the family has the mission to guard, reveal, and communicate love, and that is a living reflection of and a real sharing in God's love for humanity and the love of Christ the Lord for the Church, his bride." 
Blessed John Paul II (2005)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Love for the taking...

It is the most wonderful hour of my week... sitting at His feet in Adoration.  With the Church adorned so beautifully for Christmas, it was a very special time finding HIS LOVE!  There is so much peace and calm as I just sit in His presence and dwell in the knowledge and LOVE of Him!  Jesus, we trust in you!  Bless-bless, Barb

Jesus, Mary and Joseph - the Holy Family

Dearest Holy Family... we need so badly to have you in the heart of every family.  The family is under attack and has lost sight of the values of LIFE and LOVE.  The sacrament of marriage between a man and a woman has been minimalized and given little value.  Marriages are cast aside too easily, and not embraced as the "Most Cherished Cross."  That Cross that brings us to eternal LIFE, if we would only see that it is helping us to sainthood.  Our children are not learning the morals and values and Truths... as they have become shades of gray and not black and white and clear for all to see!  Show us how to love without counting the cost, and to put others needs ahead of our own.  May we find a little slice of heaven in our domestic Church - our homes!  May we gather for prayer together and look to YOU - our loving and forgiving, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  May Mothers and Fathers look to you for guidance and an example of being the parents to raise LIGHTS for the world!  Protect the unborn from Satan's lies... may the parents see them to be the LIFE and LOVE that they truly are, and give them LIFE.  We need you, Holy Family, on this your feastday to save the family from all that is trying to destroy it.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph we trust in you.   Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love... the family is an intermediated institution between individuals and society, and nothing can completely take its place... The family is a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great lifelong treasure for couples.  It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the first fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents... The family is also a school which enables men and women to grow to the full measure of their humanity...'O God, who by the Holy Family left us a perfect model fo family life lived in faith and obedience to your will, help us to be examples of faith and love for your commandments.' "
Pope Benedict XVI

"For all of you are children of the light and children of the day."  I Thes 5:5

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blue - thinking of Hallel

Today I had to look for blue socks to send to France... I think that is carrying it a bit far, but that is what she needs to go with her blue habit, so... I did surprise myself and found some, so I stocked up on them and will mail more than Hallel needs thinking that she can share them.  I had the option of making my black and white picture taken of myself at adoration this morning any color, but blue just suited... Thinking of you, my sweet Little Sister Hallel!  Bless-bless

Reading my life in a book...

We are gifted at least once a year with a book to allow us to read and grow at Church.  The one that was set out on tables for us to have is now....My Life with the Saints by Fr James Martin, SJ 
Pat started reading it ahead of me, over Christmas weekend, and the things he told me about it intrigued me!  He spoke quite a bit about Thomas Merton, who I know has not been officially sainted by The Church, but was huge in my early Catholic days, and in the days that I considered "a call" to religious life... as I have shared... when my dad told me that he was becoming Catholic along with my mom and the younger 8 kids... he allowed the 3 oldest to make this lifelong and life-changing decision on their own.  I had been led to consider becoming a nun... after living a similar life of prayer-chores-and sharing scripture in a Christian commune in Colorado.  My "famous" immediate answer to my dad..."I want to be a nun, so yes I want to become Catholic!"
In those early years of discovery... that have now turned into 40 years of daily being fed and growing, including now the journey of shared faith that this memoir is blessing me with, I am ooooohhhing and aaaaahhhhing over Fr James putting into words the deep feelings I have for the saints and how they have changed and colored my world like the most glorious stainglass window or the most glorious masterpiece of art! 
Today's Gospel is the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple where he meets Simeon, "this man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Isreal, and the Holy Spirit was upon him." This is the decade that I pray for Hallel on the days of the Joyful mysteries, and I always feel that we did give her to her spouse, Jesus Christ.   We got a call from her yesterday, and her dad always has to ask her if she is happy and where she belongs..."Yes, dad."  She told us of the almost continous prayer and masses that were said for Christmas vigil and beyond.  John told her that she probably laid down in her cell for a short rest in between each.  She is now somewhat caught up on her rest after celebrating HIS birth in every way that they possibly could!  ONe thing about being part of the Community... you are always deeply a part of what is going on in the Church, along with many saints, the Church Fathers, the Pope, and all that makes The True Church the Truth and the Light!

My sweet grandchildren by the light of the advent wreath last night...   Fr James in his book wrote a chapter about Thomas Merton, and how reading his book - Seven Story Mountain - was instumental in his leaving a life of big business, and eventually becoming a Jesuit priest!  I just read another biography about Merton, and to know of this man, who went to Gethsemani in Kentucky, and revently visited his grave and sat in the chapel where he was ordained a priest and said prayers throughout his cloistered life.  It felt like I was there with him and was a very wonderful and deeply touching to me... sharing the way that Merton awakened us to our Catholic faith and journey that never ends!  So amazing to find a comrade on the JOURNEY!  Now he has gone to St Ignatius of Loyola, and he was so instrumental in our listening to His Word, and hearing His Call to come into The Church!  I am groaning with deep thankfulness to this certain saint that spent years formulating the Ignation Exercises... The retreat is explained this way... "During the time retreatants ponder the love of God, pray over the decision to follow Christ, contemplate events from the life of Jesus, and experience God's creative activity in all things."  I can so see how the Exercises enabled my father to hear Christ call to him - "Come and embrace my Bride, The Church!"  My dad said, without looking back at his Protestant ministry, "Yes!"

Jesus, another day has arisen in which I am filled with such wonder at all you have given me and blessed me with every day of my jouney with you in your True Church!  How I love your Saints and all that they show me!  I am overjoyed to reconnect with some old friends that were instrumental in our journey and shed light on the many possibilities for each of us to consider.  As Maria and Jospeh said in their Christmas letter: "Well, we just wanted to let you know, that we still are in the fight.  We want to be saints.  We love Jesus, and we want Jesus Christ to be in everything we do.  We're not here to quit.  We are disciples of Christ.  So, as your Christmas Season goes by, pray for us... Let us be saints together - to be anything else is not to have lived."  With words like that as the wind beneath my wings, and all of the amazing "Saints" in my life past, present and future... I am filled with such wonder and AWE!  Jesus, I trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb
"I thought of everything I would like to say to Thomas Merton:  That there was probably no other person other than Jesus so responsible for my vocation.  That, thanks to his writings, I still carried within myself the pull toward the monastic life in the midst of an active world.  That his life of contradictions and complexities helped me see that all of us, no matter how crazy our lives seem, can be holy.  That he helped me understand what he called my 'true self,' the person I am before God, and the person I am meant to be.  And that, though obviously flawed, he remained one of my great heroes.
But nothing seemed right.  So I said simply, 'Thanks,' trusting that he knew all I meant..."
Fr James Martin SJ as he stood at the graveside of Thomas Merton in Gethsemani Kentucky... I join you with so many, "Thanks, Thomas Merton!  I am forever changed by your sharing your journey!"Bless-bless, Barb Verly, the grateful

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gathered around the Advent wreath...

After sharing a nice meal with Ruth's family and Pat's mom... the table was cleared and the advent wreath was put in the middle and Ruth lit the candles.   It was fun to have the kids gather around it for one last time after they had put on their jammies for bed.  It has been a good Advent and a Christmas like no other... kind of lonesome with the girls spread far and wide.  We got a call from Hallel in France today, and it was just nice to hear her voice, and to know that she received her package in time for Christmas.  "You did it right mom... get me the same gift that you get dad every year... underwear.  But you can send socks the next time... Yes, they need to be blue."  I think I will invest in some blue dye.  Those nice athletic socks that come in package of 6... would be just right if I could figure out the right color of blue!  Some of the Belgain cookies got there in some pretty big pieces too!  We love to gather together in any way that we can.  The Advent wreath will soon be put away, but it has been a good thing for us to share prayers and prepare for HIM!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless

The Holy Innocents...

We are getting updates from Pennsylvania about little Gus... he has been sick with a bad cold and ear infections, and now he has a new 1st tooth in the front on the bottom!  I am thinking that he is experiencing a lot of pain in his head, ears, mouth and who knows where... Nancy says that he is sleeping or fussing, and that is understandable considering all that he is going through.  Too bad that it has to be over Christmas, and probably good that he wasn't here to expose two sets of twins with his cold at Verly Christmas.  Today we are thinking about the little ones... it is the feastday of the Holy Innocents - the Flight to Egypt!

This was my gift from Nancy this Christmas... it is on the table with a candle lit by it..."When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.  Herod is going to search for the child and try to destroy him."  Joseph took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt..."Out of Egypt I called my son."  Mt 2: 13-18  The Gospel for today!  It is striking me today that my youngest grandsons - David and Augustine would have both been the age of those boys that were killed "2 years old and under"... Too hard to think of them being massacred to try to rid the world of Christ!  They are called the tiny martyrs..."Herod orders the massacre of all who resemble Jesus in gender and approximate age.  This barbaric case of 'mistaken identity' becomes the source of incomparable exaltation for the Holy Innocents.  For there is no greater glory than for a person to be mistaken for Christ himself... The blood of the Son Jesus that cleanses us from all sin begins to reach us and transform us today in a powerful way through the blood of the maytryed Holy Innocents."  see http://www.magnificat.com/

Jesus, how hard it is to think that anyone would want to take the life of the tiny innocent children!  The only way that we can see any kind of good in it is to know that they are with you in heaven and through their blood we are brought closer to you.  How the parents of all these little boys had to look to their faith to make it through!  There is no other way to find the strength to go forward with empty arms and the knowledge of the horrible end for their precious child!  You have to realize that being martyred brings you to the place of eternal life and peace.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"... Joseph's example teaches us an earnest perseverance in a godly and blessed way of living , together with an ever growing love of God's will.  By such virtues did he most faithfully guard the little Child and his Mother from those who would have killed him.... Herod, who had hunted the Child and would have killed him, may be compared to the world, which would kill the divine infant in our souls.  From the world we must flee if we would preserve the Child alive within us.  Indeed, our own soul is the Child."
Fr Tauler(1361)


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Snowman - watercolor rainbow...

So fun to compare the two watercolor pictures... this one the day after Christmas with Mary dressed for the Verly Christmas party and a Christmas apron over the top of her dress to protect it, and a cute snowman looking on...
Then this one of the two girls on the shore of Lake Michigan painting on the sugar sand using lake Michigan water to paint with.  The watercolors are always a bright beautiful rainbow of color that add such wonder to the picture.  Dip the brush in the water and then rub it on the color of choice and paint using your imagination... I have gotten both of my granddaughters hooked on painting and time to time the grandsons will jump in... Right now little Dave is into YELLOW!


Only YELLOW!  At least it isn't black - for a while Mary would paint and beautiful picture and then cover everything with black = a thing of beauty that turned black.  From then on there was a new rule that black could only be used sparingly.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless

"...he saw and believed." John 20

The Church was so beautiful on Christmas Eve - John exclaimed that it is more beautiful at night, and all the beautiful poinsettias and lit trees made it a glorious sight to behold as we celebrated the birth of our Savior!  Today is a most special day as it is the feastday of the main John in our lives, and probably the biggest namesake for our son, John.  Our only son after having our 4 wonderful daughters and 3 losses.  I had always thought that for some unknown reason that I could not carry boys, so his lost brothers were named... Christopher, Thomas ( who I lost at the same time that my sister, Mary, died of cancer at 28), and Joseph.  For all of those pregnancies I had the name, Luke, my patron saint, for my boy's name.  But when my 8th pregnancy looked to be girl #6... Luke had lost a lot of it's luster due to it being overused in movies and TV with Luke Duke, and Luke Skywalker... and now looking back and how huge Blessed John Paul II was in our marriage from the beginning... John was the name, and when we were overjoyed by the arrival of our first boy..."His name is John!"  It has been good and right for him, and there are many saint John feastdays which we call his... Why not?  They are all great and wonderful examples for him, and celebrate in the length, width, and depth of his wonderful namesakes... today being St John the Evangelist and his glorious and amazing Gospel that..."Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person." Pope Benedict XVI  That is why the Evangelist John coveys not an idea but an event:  "what he looked upon and touched."  John's personal encounter with Christ blessed him with the ability to read the sublest of signs:  "he saw and believed."  "Through John we know how we are to participate as our destiny in the life of Christ."  St Edith Stein
Mary reminded me that an upside down candycane was a "J" for Jesus and also for John today on his feastday!  In the Magnificat this morning we learn this about ST John..."St John is the evangelist of the incarnation.  He proclaims the glory of the Word coming forth from God to take on human flesh and dwell in our midst."  "He saw his glory, the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."  John 1:14  Reading the first chapter of John is so amazing!  You feel so uplifted, and the JOY of the LIGTH settles deep within us! 
1" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it. "
Jesus, we are forever grateful and thankful for your coming to us through the Word of God... the amazing evangelists give us the Words of Your Holy Spirit, to give us all that we need each day to know and to follow after YOU, carrying our cross!  We are rejoicing today as we embrace the Truth that St John shared with us... his openess to your Spirit of LIFE and LOVE comes through to us in the Gospel of St John!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia!
Bless-bless, Barb
1 John 1: 1-4


The Incarnation of the Word of Life

1 "Beloved:  That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete. "
The first reading in mass today... Wow!  We are so changed by the way that we "see" you, "touch" you, and how we "hear" you, dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Praise always!

Baby Jesus, I was reminded on my birthday that I was called to a year of praising you in all things...  Well, I majorly failed yesterday, and it was the one day that I had every reason to praise you as I knelt before your humble manger and gazed upon the miracle of your tiny perfect form of new life!  I grumbled and complained at work about the hard things that I had to deal with.  I came home and cried for my girls and not being able to see them.... making the two people that I was with miserable too!  It was a hard Christmas because I was selfish and would not praise you in all!  I ask your forgiveness and help to turn things around this first day of Christmas, and to put a smile on my face, and find the JOY in my heart.  I am nothing wtihout you, and you are in control of my life - I give it to you and praise you for all!  Jesus, I trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"The grace of God has appeared, saving ALL!"  Titus 2: 11
"Lord Jesus, as I kneel before your manger in adoration, let my first Christmas word be :thank you.  Thank you, Gift of the Father, for coming to save me from my sins.
Without you I do not even know how to be human.  The characteristics of my human body express the divine person of God's Son.  And in that wondrous expression, Lord, you reveal me to myself.  Thank you for that saving revelation in your sacred humanity.  As the Christmas liturgy proclaims, 'in Christ man restores to man the gift of everlasting life.'  Thank you for coming as one like myself to save me from myself.... You come as a baby as babies are irresistable and adorable.  You come as a baby because you want our first impression of God incarnate to be that of one who does not judge... May I love you always, at every moment, with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.  May the tenderness, the dependency, and the mercy that you reveal in your infancy become the hallmarks of my life... AS I kneel before you, Newborn King, I surrender to you all my selfishness, self-asorption, self-indulgence, sef-righteousness, self-assertion, and self-exultation."  Fr Peter Cameron... see http://www.magnificat.com/
The day would have been totally different yesterday... if I could only have gotten past feeling sorry for myself and remembered the beauty of YOU, and given you the praise on humble knees that you command from me!  Command as a precious infant can receive nothing else from us!  I praise you, and go forth today changed in heart and mind!  Jesus, thank YOU!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Kneeling before the manger..."

My gift from John... Our life is altered by John's cancer journey - cancer/healing.  All fears and concerns are as nothing now that he has conquered, what appeared to be certain death at 20 years of age, and thousands of prayers!  He is the only child that comes home from college at his breaks to live with us for a week here and there, and we are filled with delight to have him "living" here at home.   It is a very quiet Christmas day here... I am heading off to work in a few minutes at the nursing home, Ruth and Paul will be going to early mass with their family... as Paul is leading singing.  Then they will be heading to Siox Falls to see a new baby born yesterday - Abigail arrived to Paul's brother and his wife... congratulations Tony and Julie with your wonderful gift from God Christmas gift of LIFE and LOVE- little Abigail! 
Nancy, Bill and Augustine are in Pennsylvania with his family... here's a funny picture from Nancy of Gus covered with frosting after "decorating" his first cookies - I think he is the decorated one.
Frosted the Baby...it looks like Gus is having a wonderful time!  Maria, Joseph, Therese and David are in Texas with snow - due to Joe's being a new Leutenant leave is not possible.  Hallel is in France, and sitting by two of her classmates last night at mass - made me think about her and yes miss her.  But someone reminded me to enjoy those that you are with, so... I did!  I am forever grateful for all the family and the wondeful times both big and small that we are blessed with.  As the person next to me at mass last night shared that all she really wanted for Christmas was for her family to get along, and that she didn't think that I had to hope for that!  She's so right... our family loves and cares for each other and there is no division!  That is all that truly matters! 


Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to love and to serve following your example of coming in all humility as a newborn infant... Use me to your honor and glory today, and be with all of our family as we cannot be together today.  May we count the blessings we have been given in our love one for the other and the faith that we share without reservations.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb
"No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child."  CCC 563

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"And wonders of His Love..." From Joy to the world

The final hymn at mass tonight with John, Pat and his mother was Joy to the World... I was struck at the beauty of the words.  We had a wonderful time at mass and later we enjoyed supper out together... I told John that all I want for Christmas from him is a special picture, and he gifted me with that! 
He gave me the most wonderful gift ever... my son, healthy and cancer free!  A wonderful time together celebrating Christmas Eve - forever grateful for tis huge blessing and answer to so many prayers!  Jesus, we trust in you!  We are filled with wonder of his LOVE!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!


Let earth receive her King;

Let every heart prepare Him room,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven and nature sing,

And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.



Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!

Let men their songs employ;

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.



No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.



He rules the world with truth and grace,

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

And wonders, wonders, of His love.

We shall see HIS face...

I am so into thinking about the birth of our Lord this year... wanting to remember the "face" of a newborn babe... I am going back to the end of May when baby Augustine, our youngest grandchild surprised us a few weeks early and very small... under 6 pounds!  Here he is just days old at his first mass with mom and dad, and wonderful St Therese of the Holy Face of Jesus!  There is no doubt that his Catholic faith will be always foremost in his life, with all the prayers and lessons from his parents, and most of all the mass every week and even daily. 
The priest that married them just 9 months before was thrilled to see their little Augustine!  Being open to LIFE is a blessing that Nancy and Bill are experiencing every day... They are so blessed to have him enriching their lives!  Thinking once again of Mary and Joseph and their knowledge of Jesus being God come to earth in the form of a tiny helpless infant... totally depending on them to care for him and bring him into the stages of growth and developement.  So much harder back them to find the necessities and the ways to do them were much more difficult.  Giving the baby a bath involved getting the water, heating the water, and then drying the baby and keeping it warm... much more complicated.

This is the furnace that kept the baby Jesus warm in the stable...the cow and the donkey and the sheep that were probably in the stable... gave off the earthy warmth from their bodies, and their breaths, and their excretions.... earthy! And, of course, humble!  We all know that humble is good, and for God to enter the world in a stable as a helpless infant in that time of history without any of the modern conveniences... one thing is for sure... Mary and Joseph were not distracted by TV or the internet.  They had to work harder to do the simple things that we take for granted, and that kept them somewhat preoccupied, but it was always with their son in mind!  So much giving and caring without thinking of themselves - only HIM!  He wasn't bundled in a blanket sleeper, but was wrapped in swadling clothes... or pieces of fabric that we wrapped around him for warmth and to make him feel safe.  Mary a young new mother was learning on her new Son of God!  He grew and became strong, so she did just fine!

Jesus, we love you and are filled with wonder at your coming into this world through your mother, Mary most Holy.  Walk with us this day and forward... may we look outside of ourselves to "see" your face in all those around us - especially those in our domestic Church - our family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb
May I see Baby Jesus there with the residents of the nursing home this Christmas Eve day...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Therapy Dog...

Johnny is home, and Lilly is so happy to have some attention from the person, who saved her life at the same time John was fighting for his life - beating brain cancer's butt!  Lilly had a "mysterious farmdog disease" and was dying before our eyes... on ther farm that is just the way of life and death on the farm.  But John's girlfriend at the time, Aileen, made John take her to the local vet and Lilly was put on a cocktail of many pills, which we fed to her morning and night in a chunk of velveeta cheese... She recovered, along with John under the careful medical watch of doctors in Mayo, and hundreds of thousands of prayers!  I know that John's thoughts go back to those times, where Lilly helped him look outside of himself and care for another creature of God.  It was good therapy and lifechanging for him... he has become a much more compassionate and caring person after the humbling called cancer/healing. 

Splitting wood with his dad... the fire is warming the house and our hearts as we share some family time together.  How we love to have our wonderful son healthy and back home with his parents... home on break from his college for a couple weeks!  It will be interesting to see if we get tired of each other... I doubt it!  We so enjoy being together!  Thank you, Lord for the way that our sharing this healing has made us so close.  Jesus, we thank you and trust in you. 
Bless-bless, Barb
All the animals in the stable soon will be the witnesses to the birth of the Light and Life and Love of the world...I bet there was a dog there keeping warm in the stable by the heat given off by the cows and the sheep... just as they warmed the air for the tiny baby Jesus... I am so enjoying putting myself in the story of our salvation and the wonderful saving grace of Family - the Holy Family... Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for all families now and always!  Amen and Halleluia!