Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"He laid hands on each of them and cured them." Luke 4: 39-44

John is selling life insurance this summer, and needs to dress in suit and tie each day... this is a familiar look for him after years of speech.  He also had in junior high taken the preppy look wearing dress shirts and ties to school... then it became the fad to wear dress shirts... so he quit.  He has always wanted to follow his own beat as far as dressing - stand out from the crowd.  The other morning he came down - very proud of the tie he had found at a second hand store, but also wearing the glasses that remind us of the scary time 2 summers ago... when we discovered that John had cancer in the center of his brain! 

He thought that the glasses added to his "educated/nerdy" look, but they remind us of the desperate couple weeks that we tried to discover why he had increasingly bad double vision.  He had an old eye injury that we thought was flairing up, so we had made 2 visits to eye doctors and ended up with glasses and contacts...yet it continued to get worse! Finally on Father's day 2 years ago... we found ourselves in the ER here in Marshall, and after a CT scan heard the terrifying news that there was something in his brain! 

How wonderful to be now over 2 years later, and to have a year and a half of that without cancer!  While we were in the trenches of the battle from Father's Day through his stem cell transplant January and February... we were being carried and lifted up into strong arms by all the prayers that surrounded us!  We were as it is stated in the Gospel today..."At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases brought them to him."  We felt such peace and acceptance and trust and hope as we were placed before Christ by our friends and our prayer warriors by the thousands!  There are many powerful things about caringbridge.org... the way that people wrote us about their prayers for us... one big high point was the week of prayer in the first week of December.  There are still stories of people's prayer experiences that touch us deeply from that week!  But also to see the numbers, day after day, that checked in and represented much prayer and concern that absolutely was mind blowing.  For John it allowed him to be a strong and confident David in the face of the Giant Goliath - Cancer! 

Then there was also his family... How we came together and cared for his every need - most importantly placing him in prayer and through the amazing sacraments of Our Church... we brought John to HIM!  It was "sunset" - the end of the day- in many hearts and minds to hear that a 20 year old man has lymphoma of the brain... well, it is a death sentence!  I had a sister die of lymphoma at 28yo, and for me to hear that John had it in his brain was out of this world scary!  How could he survive?  We discovered early on with the help of Susan/Hallel - "Mom, this is the storm and Jesus is in control...give it all to HIM!" 

PRAYER... so many prayers took us before Christ at sunset!  Now we embrace the healing and so many rejoice with us!  "It is a miracle!"  Yes, we see in John a deeper faith and joy and acknowledging the Truth that has set him free!  He struggled to know in his heart and mind and soul the reality of faith in Christ and in His Church, and that is now replaced with sure knowledge and love of HIM!  Our Spiritual Mother also has touched John deeply, and he now loves her and honors her profoundly! 

John can say now without hesitation - "Thank you for your prayers, and please continue... because of them and because you brought me to HIM - I am healed!"

Lord Jesus, with Our Lady at your side, we love you, and thank you, and praise you for the healing we have experienced in our lives through the prayers of our friends and family!  We are so deeply touched by you, our loving Savior, Your Mother, Queen of Heaven and Earth, Our Church that blesses us with the Sacraments and the Your Word, and the prayers and faith and hope of all those - our family and friends!  The world has changed to one of healing, and Light, and Life.  We embrace the "new normal" that has become our lives of healing.  WE now go forward "proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God!"  Christ is within us, and loves us with his life, and wants to show us the path to heaven!  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb
"I will trust in the mercy of God for ever."

"I like a green olive tree
in the house of God,
Trust in the mercy of God
forever and ever.
I will trust in the mercy of God for ever

I will thank you always for what you have done,
and proclaim the goodness of your name
before your faithful ones.
I will trust in the mercy of God for ever." 
Psalm 52
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed,"
Luke 4: 18

All but Gus... just wanted to "see" the family together.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blessings on your 62nd Anniversary, mom and dad!

My parents on my wedding day... 33 years ago on August 3.  Now 33 years later on the 30th of August...they are celebrating their anniversay of 62 years of married life.  Thank you mom and dad for the amazing Spiritual Journey you started for me, and have modeled family and faith life for me as well! 
This past weekend at their grandson, David's wedding.  Jesus, hold them close to your heart burning with love for them, and thank you for the LOVE and LIFE, I have received through them.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia

The family table... love passed on from one generation to the next.

Ruth has done some home improvements, and actually is in the middle of more... she now has a wonderful new eating island in her kitchen, and the old table... the same one that we had in our kitchen when the kids were young... is now out on the porch of their home... With the summer weather, she discovered that this is a way to keep her kitchen clean, and has started moving meals outside as often as possible.  I loved the backdrop of their adorable and picturesque red barn, and listening to the kids tell about their first day of school, over tacos on the porch, at the table their mom sat at and told us about her first day of school, many years ago... it was a great thing.
Simon is now a first grader and has no front teeth... over the weekend he lost the other one... Mary caught a moth in her hands and told us that she now knew what a moth felt like..."all buzzy."  The joy of family sharing with little ones at a meal... on the table of our own young family!

"Happy Birthday, dear daddy!"  The girls are singing to their dad in the glow of 32 candles.  I just had to go and find this picture of Pat's 32nd birthday, on the table of memory... in our little farmhouse where all 4 girls lived until 1988.  Many great memories around the table and in the house that will probably soon be leveled... after the storm it is in bad shape after all these years.  Our memories will always stay, however, and pictures like this are very much a part of keeping the JOY and HAPPINESS within us.

Today in morning prayer - a grand Hallel psalm!  Psalm 104...  Praising Him for the wonder of his world, and how it continues on from generation to generation.  How delightful to be able to experience the "small times" with family - the mealtimes with the insights of your little ones... they remind us of those little ones - now their parents.. that we had beside us to uplift and educate us in the ways of your Truth and your Light.
Psalm 104
"Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
clothed in majesty and glory,
wrapped in light as in a robe!

You stretch out the heavens like a tent.
Abover the rains you build your dwelling.
You make the clouds your chariot,
you walk on the wings of the wind,
you make the winds your messengers
and flashing fire your servants."

"I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord. 
Bless the Lord, my soul." 
Psalm 104

Lord, thank you for all the joy that we have experienced with Family!  For the little things and the little ones that remind us of the blessings that come with a growing and loving and faith centered family - a "domestic Church."  We place our trust always in you, and our lives in your hands.  For as St Paul reminds in the letter to the Thessalonians today - "All of you are children of the light and children of the day."  May we remember that and also as in the Gospel today after you commanded the unclean spirit to leave the man...."What is there about his word?" (Luke 4:31-37) All we need do is place our lives in your hands and trust... all the rest will fall into place, as we follow the narrow path towards eternal LIFE with you!  Jesus, hold our families close to your heart burning with love for them.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia! 

Bless-bless, Barb   Canning time on the table 2 years ago... shortly after John was diagnosed with brain cancer...
"Christ suffered for you,
and left you an example
to have you follow in his footsteps.

He did no wrong;
no deceit was found in his mouth.
When he was insulted
he returned no insult.

When he was made to suffer,
he did not counter with threats.
Instead, he delivered himself up
to the One who judges justly.

In his own body
he brought your sins to the cross,
so that all of us, dead to sin,
could live in accord with God's will.

By his wounds you were healed."
I Peter 2: 21-24
Lord, may we find your path of humility and trust.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Anniversary pictures from Nancy and Bill...

Their one year anniversary family picture taken at St Croix Falls Park yesterday!  They are counting their blessings and one little 3 month old is number one!  It looks like he is pretty content to be here, and give them so much JOY too! 
Its pretty up there, but don't get too close to the edge!  Everyone is home safe and sound and happy,after celebrating a anniversary on a beautiful postcard day in Minnesota - oops Wisconsin. 


Love and prayers showering down on you as you enter your second year of marriage! Jesus, hold Nancy, Bill and baby Gus close to your heart burning with love for them.  Jesus, we trust in you!

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Today is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist... such an interesting comment on how he became "shortened" - by losing his head (decapitation); "but Christ died raised up by the lifting up of the Cross."  St Thomas Aquinas, doctor of the Church points out this graphic example of decreasing so that Christ can increase... Truly the Cross is the way we are lifted up from the darkness of the world and brought to the Tree of Life... fed with food that will bring us to life everlasting.
I can never listen to this and ponder it too often...Philippians 2:6-11  
"Though he was in the form of God,
Jesus did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped at.

"Rather, he emptied himself
and took the form of a slave
being born in the likeness of men."

"He was known to be of human estate
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death,
death on a cross!"
"Because of this,
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
above every other name,

So that at Jesus' name
every knee must bend
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth,
and every tongue proclaim
 to the glory of God the Father:
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!"

More to ponder in line with this thinking... Words from Christ to us; "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."  (Mt 16:25)  Give it all to Him with Trust!

Looking at the false happiness that the world holds out to us... wealth, beauty, pleasure, etc... these words from Christ to us also are very "cutting off of our heads."  "What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  Or what can one give in exchange for his life?"  Mt 16: 21
True happiness is not a life without any hardships - the cross - rather it is filled with those chances we are given to leave it all behind and follow Him down the narrow path - through the doors that are opened before us- showing us His Plan for us in life.  "The Cross looks like unbearable suffering, but, seen through the eyes of faith, it is the doorway to eternal glory."  see http://www.magnificat.com/
Jesus, fill us to capacity with your LOVE and your LIGHT!  We want to be empty of all the lies and distractions that lead us to sin and darkness.  It might seem wonderful and beautiful, but anything that seperates us from you is deceiving us from the Truth.  Your words once again..."I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6  We see this over and over as we fall and you help us to our feet, or we are weak and overwhelmed by life and you carry us in your loving and forgiving arms!  How many times must we forget and turn away?  May the time spent in prayer, reading your Word, and taking advantage of the lifegiving Sacraments... allow us to stay close to you and allow you to fill us with Your Life and Light.  May your Strong Words ring in our hearts, minds and spirits... Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in men:
it is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

I was hard-pressed and was falling
but the Lord came to help me.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he is my savior.
There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just." 
Psalm118

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A beautiful day to be alive!

We had my brother and his family visit the farm today... I caught some special pictures that I want to share.  This one of my husband visiting on the swings with the little girls on both sides of him... he is taking a break from pushing them... I LOVE this picture of my hunky husband!  He didn't know that I took it and that is always a good thing!
Here is the full shot... it's good alright, but I have to say that the closeup is really really good!  The fact that it was about as beautiful day as you could ever ask for doesn't hurt either! 

Don't ask... it is just so healthy and colorful - squash for my sister in law makes a colorful setting for those big arms again...  Trying to get those covert pictures of my husband added up to some really unique shots... I guess.



Cute little girl - puppy picture is always a nice one to get!

A visit to the bulls was on the schedule for the visit to the farm... all they wanted was some hay to eat.

More Hay... Farmer Pat!
Healthy snacks - so fresh - just picked green bean from the garden, and apple from the tree.  Lilly is the poster child of... fruits and vegetables are good for you, and so yummy to eat!

The dogs loved the fresh off the plant green beans too!  Roger ate bean after bean ---  crunch, crunch, crunch... I love my green beans!


















So from Verly Castle...we bid you goodnight on this most wonderful day to be alive on the farm!  Jesus, we trust in you.

Happy first anniversary Nancy and Bill!

Nancy and Bill with 3 month old, Augustine... at the wedding of Nancy's cousin, David to Kristy, and sitting with cousin, Audrey, and fiance, Josh... their wedding is coming up in October!  Marriage is in the air, and with 35 cousins on both sides... it should continue to be the case for years now.  
David is our Godson and we are thrilled at his marriage to the special girl we have gotten to know over the years of their courtship... wonderful Kristy!  May blessings pour down upon them... we take our Godparent role very seriously and pray for them daily! 

Today is the day Nancy and Bill were married 1 year ago.. they had a most beautiful and powerful mass... it was the center and focus of their day.  All was so planned and was the epitome of prayerful thought in the readings they chose - centering around all that they had learned about marriage in the Theology of the Body.  Waiting for marriage made the event so rich with LOVE and obviously their openness to LIFE was rewarded as they are celebrating their first anniversary with their precious GIFT from GOD, Augustine! 

I was thinking tearfully the other day of the first few days that I stayed with them after Gus was born...  He was less than a week old... we were at mass together, and Bill was holding his new son with tears at the wonder of this new precious life and gift from above!  Such a wonderful husband and dad... all Nancy's years of waiting and hoping for the man of faith has been answered powerfully and beautifully!  Thank you Lord!

So on this feast of ST Augustine - yes, Sunday of ordinary time takes over, and it is a Sunday rich with the command to take up our cross and follow after him!  Nancy and Bill...We love you, and extend to you prayers every day for you and your family! 

Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful Catholic Family - a new domestic Church!  Shower your blessings down upon them today as they celebrate with great JOY and LOVE their anniversary on this 22nd Sunday of Ordinary time - St Augustine's Feast day too!  Fill the next year with much happiness and contentment as they grow and discover the riches that dwell within.  Give them the patience to put up with those things that annoy and challange.  May we embrace the beauty of that "Most Cherished Cross"... the spouse we have been given through the sacrament of marriage!  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia.


Bless-bless, Barb
"When Peter tries to deny the Lord his passion - 'God forbid that such a thing should ever happen to you!' - he in effect, is denying the possibility of happiness itself.  'It is only by freeing himself through suffering,' says Pope Benedict XVI, 'that man finds himself, that he finds his truth, his joy, his happiness.'  Therefore we eagerly offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God.  For, no matter how much our sharing in Christ's cross make us an object of the world's laughter and mockery, we know that our need to live our relationship with the Lord will become like fire burning in our heart.  "The cross forces us to look upon the fact that we are loved by God.  The Cross becomes our new center of gravity for the bringing together of what is divided.' " Pope Benedict XVI - see http://www.magnificat.com/
In reading this I thought the idea of the Cross being a "new center of gravity" was so amazing - thinking of the Cross that is named cancer/healing and how John has literally found a new normal including a new center of gravity with the resulting ataxia!  Wow! 
"I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak of his name no more.  But then it becomes liek a fire burning in my heart..."  Yes, Lord, I must share your Light and Life!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

At the state fair, in the beef barn without grandpa...

Bill just sent us this picture on his Iphone of 6 year old, Simon, and little 3 month old cousin, Gus at the Great Minnesota State Fair in the 4H Beef Barn.. Pat saw it, and felt sad that he wasn't there with the grandkids today enjoying the beef barn... He walked away saying.."Lots of nostalgia,and memories." 

Pat, soon your grandkids will be there with their own cows and calves, and you will be in your glory!  Little Gus, for being a city boy, will certainly stay tied to the farm and livestock thanks to his mom, Godparents on the farm - Ruth and Paul, and cousins.  I think that you will show a cow or two in your day, Baby Augustine.  Happy feast day tomorrow... as well as first anniversary for your mom and dad!  Jesus, we trust in you!