- The amazing story of the 13 becoming Catholic!
- Our marriage stories - "The world needs LIGHTS!"
- John's cancer stories
- Now the stories of John's 4 sisters...Ruth, Nancy, Maria, and Susan/Little Sister Hallel!
- Susan Angela Agnes/Little Sister Hallel - the story of a Call
- The story of little Lamb - grandson Patrick
Monday, January 31, 2011
Mary is a guage that the snow has grown much taller over the day... She looks to be diving under the snow into a snow castle... Imagining the beauty of the white world... all the imperfections, like yellow snow thanks to Roger the dog, are now buried under inches of glistening white...
The crazed and staring look of the cat, Herbert, reflects the feel of desperation that begins to set in with the inactivity of a winter like this. I am appreciating the fresh air and walk.... that going down our fairly long driveway yesterday to help drive the car out of the snow where it had gotten stuck! More work for Pat now as he is fighting the snow to feed his cows... It has been a challanging winter for him and the cows!
We had to call and cancel John's trip to Rochester tomorrow... Hopefully we can make it by Wednesday... only time and Mother Nature can answer that question. We plan to celebrate with John his two birthdays! His first birthday of his new rebirth on Jan 27th of last year, when his stem cells were replanted and yielded 100 fold! And his 22nd birthday which is on Thurday the 3rd of Feb! Both of them to be celebrated cancer free for a year!
The Christmas lights are still lit to glow in the darkness offset by the mountains of white... we are cancer free - our son is given a new life and we are rejoicing! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
With thoughts of warmer days to come... but still with those cow-calf type animals that we have around here... soon it will be grandkids instead of kids doing the push me- pull me actions!
A cow/calf/ kid parade... the lead one wants to nibble on the grass... will the rest follow?
"It is very possible that you will find human beings, surely very near you, needing affection and love. Do not deny them these. Show them, above all, that you sincerely recognize that they are human beings, that they are important to you.
Who is that someone?
That person is Jesus himself: Jesus who is hidden under the guise of suffering!"
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
"And wherever He went – into villages, towns or countryside – they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged Him to let them touch even the edge of His cloak and all who touched Him were healed.' Just a touch from the Lord and he'll be healed!"
It was very powerful for Pat and I to share this prayertime - remembering the army that surrounded and supported us as we were facing and in the midst of the surgery they did to find out what John's canncer was! Such a blessing to have that PRAYER - so real and all that we have to cling to and it is truly ROCK SOLID!This simple statement blew me away - "We are feeling at peace knowing he is first God's child and ours second and HE knows best." So beautiful in a concise way saying what I say in so many words - Jesus is in control! And why fear how a Father will take care of His beloved son? There is no doubt that all possible and right will be done! If you would like to follow along in prayer for his young boy and family - I will share his website on caringbridge - http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/dawsonkesteloot/journal/1
We had to change John's appointment at Mayo for tomorrow, because of the weather, and all is up in the air! The snow is falling, and could add up to almost a foot of snow over today... Things are on hold and we are called to prayer. There are many times that my grocery store girl comes to mind.. as the request for prayers come in. It seems that after coming through our year and a half with John, and now his cancer being gone for a year - people think that we have the corner on prayer. Wrong! We simply put all the glory in the Lord's hands, and all the prayer warriors, who stormed the gates of heaven with us for John's healing on all levels... as John says to people when they say that they are praying - "It worked!" Then he is always quick to tell them to continue to pray. "Don't stop!"
I will once again share this story that changed me forever... The Grocery Store Girl After about two weeks of waiting at John's bedside in Intensive Care to discover what was the tumor in his brain - One day he had all of his sisters there with him - Susan had even come from France. I decided to take some time away to cook for the family, and needed to pick up some groceries at Cub Foods on Snelling in ST Paul. I had walked around and filled up my cart, and was in the check out lane of a black lady, who looked to be about my age. She asked me the usual question about how I was doing, and I just couldn't say the usual answer of... "Fine." I said with tears in my eyes..."I am not doing that great." She quickly answered, that I at least had money for groceries unlike the man ahead of me, who had to use food stamps.
I nodded that she was right, and then I blurted out; "My son has brain cancer, and could you pray for him?" She looked at me with shock and nodded her head... Just at that moment a 20 something girl checking out in the lane next to me said; "Are you from Marshall? I think that I went to school with a couple of your girls, and did I hear that your son has brain cancer? Can I pray with you right here and now?" I was the one to be shocked this time, and hesitantly agreed. She started praying for John's healing, and the support of his family. I looked up to see the check out lady, and the man ahead of me, who was bagging his groceries, with their heads bowed with us - joining in prayer!
After this experience - I realized that saying the empty words of - "I will be praying for you." are just not adequate any more... I pray for them on the spot - email, phone, in the street, in the store... So powerful! So important! So Real! So healing! So Life giving! Prayer gets to be all that we have - it our love communication with our loving and forgiving Lord and Savior, and it is so much!
Jesus, we are forever changed by the Cross - cancer/healing. We are also very much aware of all that the family goes through as the waiting, and the surgery, and the need we have for the prayer support of all the amazing army of prayer warriors! WE come to you weak, and brought to our knees, and joined with all those that have only you to look to and trust in! You are in control, and your love for us is total! You are our LIFE, our LOVE and our ALL! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you." Jesus speaking to the man whom he had released from a "legion" of unclean spirits... he wanted to go with Jesus, but he told him to go back to his family and share his healing with them...today in the Gospel - Mark 5: 1-20
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Getting some constructive criticism this morning that I am too wordy....I will try to make this more concise today. Fr Pinckaers (2008) speaks of the beatitudes - our Gospel reading for today's mass- as "the responce of Christ to the question of happiness." To fulfill the beatitudes "is only attainable through the way of love... This love makes us free because it makes us act of our own accord,by our own inclination and spiritual enjoyment, in immitation of Christ and according to the preferences of the Spirit... This is the work of the Beatitudes which lead us from poverty and humility to purity and peace in hearts that have become entirely receptive to the action of the Spirit."
Our first calf arrives healthy and two weeks old...by trailer. "The Beatitudes express the meaning of discipleship...What the Beatitudes mean cannot be expressed in purely theoretical terms; it is proclaimed in the life and suffering, and in the mysterious joy, of the disciple who gives himself over completely to following the Lord." Pope Benedict XVI
Using little sister Marianna's photography - that shows in a small way - Susan's/Hallel's journey into falling in love with the Community of the Lamb, and then entering the Community.... I will concisely reflect on the wonderful gift that Jesus gave us in teaching us the Beatitudes as He taught us - The Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5: 1-12 - "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven." The less distracted we are by all that there is pulling at us in our lives, and all those things that we allow into our hearts and minds - the closer we are at each moment to Him, and the little piece of heaven we can find in His presence... deep within our hearts and minds. WE need to protect that simplicity with a vengence!
"Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The tears shed for the unborn that are killed by abortion every minute of every day comes to mind here. I am in the midst of reading the book Unplanned by Abby Johnson... she was a director at a Planned Parenthood in Texas, who came over to prolife now.... after seeing an abortion done while using ultrasound... a sister in full habit would stand outside her abortion clinic, and fall to her knees in tears as a woman would come out of the clinic after having aborted her child... All working inside were wrenched by the sight of this, and little by little it had it's life changing effect on Abby! We must continue to work for LIFE,and to weep and so many lights that have been lost!
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land." My nephew, Sam, is here and I put in a Danielle Rose's CD called, I Thirst... On it is the litany of Humility that she put to song, while sitting in the presence of the Euchasist in Adoration - in the Presence of HIM she writes all he amazing songs! The Litany ends with a plea to Jesus to teach us how to accept all the hard things that come to us in life, with the humility that Christ has due to the "meek and humble of heart, Jesus." In Him we truly are able to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven - life forever with Him!
"Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied." I am thinking about the book that I just finished about the life of Mother Angelica... She faced so many odds , but always clearly saw the Truth, and felt that Jesus, her spouse, was asking her to accomplish things that were crazy out of this world amazing! Like starting a printing business, or starting a Catholic TV network from nothing and with no materials, or equipment, or understanding of how it all has to happen. But she felt deeply led to educate and encourage the Catholic population to see the Truth of our wise and all seeing Church, and therefore no obstacle was too large to surmount even with numerous physical problems and handicaps... She surely saw huge results from her work, and even Pope John Paul II... appreciated her hard and tireless work, and encouraged her! What she accomplished through her perseverance is such a powerful lesson to us, that go forward with our small sharing in the ministry of our Church, and the Lord calls us to small stands for righteousness compared to her! Yet, we too are satisfied as we charge forward into battle!
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." The life story of ST Faustina is what speaks to me here as she was a powerful instrument, who was used by the Lord.... directing us to his heart burning with love and mercy for us - his endless mercy! The Divine Mercy chaplet is powerful for me... as I pray for those loved ones in my life that have gone before me into death! I feel that we all need additional prayers, as we face our maker in our imperfections - and I hope and pray that I will have many behind here on earth to be praying for me!
"Blessed are the clean of heart,for they will see God." Wow! This one is crystal clear to me... as I see how the two religious communities in our lives work very hard to keep the distractions of life from entering in, and taking their time with our Lord away.... NO TV, NO newspaper, No internet for anything other than buisness... so much clouding our thoughts, and minds, and hearts... keep us from clearly seeing God! Turn off the TV at night and do some amazing spiritual reading, and you will see God with new and open eyes!
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God." All children are happiest when they are getting along with their siblings, and their parent smiles at them, and gives them a hug, and thanks them for sharing or playing nicely... a lesson to us all!
"Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." How many times do we face the sad state of affairs in our lives? The many times that we "see" the Truth, and hear with disbelief from those that have no understanding of it, or desire to follow it... Our beliefs are trampled, and we try to speak up for them, or take to prayer the intention of this sad state of affairs! We need to put our voice behind the Truth more! We want the kingdom of heaven to become more and more recognized as a place that we all want to strive for! Heaven comes to meet earth when the sacrament of the Eucharist is shared!
"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven." How can this mean that we will find happiness by being ridiculed and persecuted for our following Christ? - it sounds like an awful existance... But where do we find eternal happiness - IN HEAVEN! Forever with the source of life and love - our Lord and Savior! Thinking of the Martyrs here and how we are too called upon to stand for the Truth no matter what! Will we be ready, and able, and willing?
How I adore this picture that was taken by little Sister Marianna... it speaks so powerfully of the journey that our daughter Susan/Hallel has started on... Jesus, thank you for all the ways that we are helped to find happiness while we walk the narrow path that you have laid out in front of us! We know that the cross is involved... as we cannot find life or love without that most cherished cross embraced in our lives... "You cannot find the resurrection without passing through the cross! May the fruit of the tree of life... fill us to the brim with all the courage and love we need to face all that life brings to us. Most especially with those the closest to us within our families. Sometimes we struggle the most with those that are the closest to us! We cling to you, and ask for your constant source of LOVE and LIFE... May we be found armed with your LOVE to spread your kingdom! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleuia!
"Let your face shine on your servant, and save me by your love. Lord, keep me from shame, for I have called to you." Psalm 30: 17-18
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Just as the snow was coming down heavily and blowing and drifting across the road - Pat headed out with the horse trailer in tow to look at some bred heifers at a farm about 20 miles away..
There was so much snow on top of the trailer that Pat had to push it off with the loader. There is so much snow this winter... with the warmth the last few days we got a crust to hold what was down in one place and now a few more inches of fluffy stuff to blow with the prairie winds.... And they do blow where they will with nothing to hold them at bay!
Arriving at the place where the heifers were in the midst of a snowstorm... The deal was made - 4 heifers - one that had a calf two weeks ago! So we now have our first calf of the season, and it arrived in the back of a trailer!
The heifers were chased out of the barn so that we could unload the new ones - 4 big ones and one little calf...
Lilly is there to be the welcoming committee and lick some new noses in welcome... WE are friendly on our farm!
The heifer with her little black calf go out to check out the new white snow...
Now the horse trailer goes back to accumulate the snow as it is parked outside for the winter... It did it's job of delivering the first calf of the calving season in the middle of a snowstorm!
Blessed Mother, on this your feast day we request that you assist us this calving season... may all the calves arrive safe and sound and may the weather cooperate with us! We know that you honor life and protect and nurture it... so we ask for your loving assistance! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"Love is, just like Christ himself showed with his death, the greatest gift."
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta
Today is Saturday and the Church devotes Saturdays to the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary...With all the kids together in Duluth to support John as he competes today in a speech contest for Farm Bureau, and knowing how much John has been supported by his sisters as we faced cancer over the last year and a half, and how much having Nancy for his English teacher and speech coach for his last two years of high school bonded them in a special way - I thought that to start this sharing today with this picture of Nancy caring for her brother, as he was undergoing his 3rd chemo, after we had just shared our amazing miraculous time in France with Susan/Hallel... as she took the habit of the Community of the Lamb and changed her name to little sister Hallel. The rivers of emotion, and family, and faith, and healing, and the Lord's hand in action in our lives, was so powerful at this time in our lives! We were carried along in the "storm" which once again is the Gospel for today...but we were at peace and trusting as the Lord was with us and in control! Christ says to us; "Why are you terrified? Do you not have faith?" They were filled with great awe and said to one another, "Who then is this whom even the wind and the sea obey?" Mark 4: 35-41
John... having been blessed with 4 older sisters... has always had such a peaceful life and found comfort in their midst. They have always cared for him and looked out for him...there are many pictures taken of the 5 of them and John has his head resting on the sister closest to him in a physical sign of his total acceptance of their love for him and lack of fear or worry when they are around him. They "saved his life" when as a young boy he was walking into a shed just as Pat was backing a tractor out! They have cared for his every need, and corrected his every fault with love and caring and sometimes annoyance! How they came to his side with the discovery of his brain cancer - the journey began on Father's day 2009, with the exact Gospel reading that we are having today- Jesus calming the storm! WE called France and Susan reminded us of the calming fact that, "mom, Jesus is in control." Once again John was put to peace, and found comfort in the arms, thoughts and prayers of his sisters and family! How real and powerful did his faith and his family become! And his family grew to become a huge family-army of amazing loyal prayer warriors!
Nancy has said that she so badly wants for John to do well this weekend with his presenting himself in this contest. Her heart breaks for her talented brother... he has always been comfortable on the stage and has been somewhat of a big fish in a small pond here in Marshall. He has been in many plays and speech is his love... he even started a speech team at the U of M! But he has had some big dissappointments lately, and we all can see that there is a different John, after going through the last year and a half. After the surgery to discover the caner, and the many procedures... there is a difference... and the fact that he will never get his beautiful thick hair back makes it obvious to the world that he is a cancer survivor. It is very possible that the gift that John thought would be his future - his ability and desire to entertain and to be in front of large groups of people - has now been changed, and replaced with something else. That the Lord is closing the door to what John thought would be his future, and has other plans for him! Hard for him to face -yet we have no doubt that the Lord has great plans for John. and that John will discover that as the doors open, and as he follows along the path ahead with eyes of faith and a heart of obedience!
It seems appropriate to use pictures from our time in Lourdes as part of my sharing today... with this being a feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary... here we are waiting to be let into the place where the Blessed Virgin appeared to Bernedette around 1850... they allow you to walk along the grotto, and place your hand on the rock wall on which is the moisture and running water that our Lady caused to start - thus the healing waters that continue to flow, and there are many healings and miracles that take place here since! John bathed, as did all of us for his intention of healing... they do not dunk your head in the cold waters, so he requested that they take some water in a pitcher and pour it over his head - "That is where I want the healing."
Over our heads the statue of the Blessed Virgin looks down on us just as she appeared to St Bernedette... we are filled with amazement that we are there in France - it all was too mirculous... that within 24 hours we could see that we could go to France, and be there for this huge and powerful step of Susan joining the Community of the Lamb! And then to spend the day in Lourdes - a place of such power and healing! To have Hallel with us newly garbed in her habit, and radiating with such joy and hope for her "Johnny!" How she has been the first and foremost one to care for her baby brother! She was the one, who saved his life, always looking around to see where he was at,when the rest of us were distracted... she had alerted us to his wandering to the shed in search of his dad and the tractor! Now she is once again responsible for John getting to France, as she follows the Lord's call in her life, and at this critical time in John's life and for his life - we find ourselves touching the place of an ongoing miracle - the place where our Lady appeared to give us healing and light! Too overwhelmingly powerful, and a story that I will tell over and over. John said of the day... consisting of bathing in the healing waters, as well as mass celebrated in a small private chapel in the church by Fr Craig Timmerman, and confession as well as a Eucharistic procession...."It was good, mom!"
"Listen , my faithful children: open up your petals,
like roses planted near running waters;
send up the sweet odor of incense,
break forth in blossoms like the lilly.
Send up the sweet odor of your hymn of praise;
bless the Lord for all he has done!
Proclaim the greatness of his name,
loudly sing his praises,
with music on the harp and all stringed instuments;
sing out with joy as you proclaim:
The works of the Lord are all of them good." Sirach 39: 13-16
With thoughts of my kids all together supporting and enjoying each other... this from morning prayer about "faithful children" and the thanking of the Lord for all HE has done! Too much and too appropriate for all that we have experienced in the last year of our most cherished cross - cancer/healing!
John's hair and head wet with the healing waters of Lourdes... so many hopes and prayers that now we can say that John has been healed with the cancer now gone for a year! A few days we celebrated his first birthday... as he was reborn with his own healthy stem cells were returned to his body, after bringing him to the brink of death with a lethal dose of chemo... never fearing and couragous in the face of all odds - John with his faith and his family found healing and hope for the future! We have no doubt that great things are ahead for him, and that the Lord will continue to use this in a most powerful way!
Jesus and Blessed Virgin Mary - we are filled once again with the powerful way that you have touched our lives in the last year and a half, but more than that we are reminded of your love and concern for us from the beginning of time! WE are loved and filled with joy to "know" that you have a plan for us and a love for us that astounds and surrounds us - the ways that we can "feel" that love within the loving arms of his family are very real and so powerful when we are weak! Jesus, we love you and Trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"So be immitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 5: 1-2
"It is so good, so sweet and above all, so beneficial to suffer." St Bernedette
After sharing a powerful morning prayer with my husband - see http://www.magnificat.com/ I want to share the meditation of the day by St Peter Damian (1072). He is a Doctor of the Church.
"Mary, Star of the Sea"
"A star... had four main characteristics: it has the nature of fire, it is bright and clear, it sends forth a ray, and it shines in the night. We can find all of these qualities in our star, the Virgin Mary. She is that burning bush in which the Lord appeared to Moses, which burned with fire yet was not comsumed; for though she was with child she was not consumed by the flames of desire. She is in herself bright and splendid, so that it was said of her in the Song of Songs: "Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, clear as the sun?" And she has sent forth from herself a ray which pierces to the secret places of the heart and searches the heart and the reins; this is the living Word of God, quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing assunder of soul and spirit. The meaning of her name is very fitting, for Mary means "star of the sea."
The sea is this world, of which it is written: "This great and wide sea, whererin are innumerable creeping things." And she is rightly named "star of the sea," for she shines on the world like and incomparable star, and her brightness makes the whole world light, and she has sent forth from herself the ray "which lights every man that comes into the world." And just as the ray issues from the star without destroying the star's integrity, so the Son came forth from the Virgin while her virginity remained inviolate, as Ezekiel prophesied: "This gate shall be shut, and no man shall enter in by it, but the Lord alone shall enter in by it." A star shines in the night, the Virgin shines in the night of this world with an incomparable light, so that it was said of her: "You alone have destroyed all heresies thoughout the whole world." Such is our star, brethern, such is the Virgin Mary, the star of the sea, and because she has left us an example, that we should follow her steps, of such kind should our souls be." St Peter Damian.
Friday, January 28, 2011
I walked out of the nursing home at 3:30p and there were puddles... I was carrying my winter jacket and only had on the hooded sweatshirt that I had worn under my jacket to work.. I turned off the heat and had the window cracked - the "warm" fresh air was wonderful! The sun was warm on my face and arms as I drove into the sun - head West young man - or old woman... AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! It feels so good to know that there can be a break in the miserable COLD! It will be back soon enough but now we can smile and be hopeful that there will be a wonderful end to the long winter and the mountains of snow! I almost feel the glow of warmth inside and out! Thank you Lord! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St Thomas Aquinas
Today all of our kids, except for Hallel in France,are gathering at a Farm Bureau Convention in Duluth! It gives me much joy to know that they all will be together sharing time and fellowhship and supporting one another! There is no pricetag too high for me to support this for my kids! How John loves to have his sisters with him - to support him as he competes in a speech contest that they offer! With the dissappointments that he has had lately... he is very hopeful and yet fearful of coming up short again!
The kitty parade has begun.... I am off to work today, and Pat and I will have a quiet weekend at home... Monday our daughter and two kids will return home. Little 2 1/2 year old Therese has been calling me for the last 3 days sweetly telling me...."I miss you, grandma. I love you grandma." So very sweet to hear her little voice on the phone...
The cats needed some kid time... they have gotten big and annoying around here with the run of the house and only adults to "play" with and jump on lamps, etc. It was great to see the kids for a bit too! Not much more in my foggy brain this morning before I head to work... It is the feast of ST Thomas Aquinas some of his quotes “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”
“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.”
“Good can exist without evil, whereas evil cannot exist without good....”
The reason that I am quoting him is because he is celebrated as a man, who was gifted with great wisdom. I think that with time spent pondering these good thoughts that we could take a lot to heart!
Dear Jesus, thank you for a new day and all that it will hold. One thing about your amazing saints is that they fill our lives with so much color as the sunset or sunrise starts the day with such beauty and color! Use us to your honor and glory and good to counteract the evil that is encountered in our day! Give all safe travels and wonderful times with family and friends. Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!