Thursday, May 31, 2012

It's contagious - peaceful sleep...

Rose sleeping through little brother's attention.
After lunch big brother joins her for a nap...

Mary thinks they are pretty sweet, but decides not to join the sleepy bunch! 

How grandpa would love to join them for a snuggle, but too much to do! 

All the family joins in a cow job...even Rose bundled up in her stroller.  She can nap anywhere!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless

"Come the mother-maid with Child." openning hymn

How little almost 4 year old David loves to kiss his new little sister, and the special thing about it is that she seems to respond to his loving care for her!  This is the picture taken just before this one...
This was probably minutes before David kissed her...

And this is the one taken just after the kiss, and she looks like she misses his love already!  So special to have this recorded in my obsessive photo taking, but it seems to show us that she is very responsive to knowing that she is precious to her siblings.  Mary looks a bit concerned here - like she is heading for a tiny baby melt down.  How amazing on this the feastday of the Visitation - that the 6 month fetus - John the Baptist - the Voice... lept for JOY in the womb of his mother when Mary appeared with the tiny Christ - the Word - in her womb!  So responsive to LOVE incarnate!  How I love this part of the Gospel with still 2 of my daughters expecting babies, and a month ago all 3 of them were expecting!  So many prayers and love already are surrounding them in the womb!  There is so much wonderful sharing in the Magnificat today, that I think that I am going to use a lot of the wisdom that is to be found there - see ... Also the mass for today is extra wonderful from the Preface of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the Eucharistic prayer and the final blessings!
"Unlike a simple visit, a visitation is different owing to the purpose intended by the get-together.  A visitation aims to accomplish something.  Specifically, a visitation is an encounter that carries within it a meaning that is exceptional.  In the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that meaning is not a 'message' but rather the exceptional presence of the Son she carries within her womb.  We can be certain that the mystery of the Visitation is effective in our life if we do now, before Jesus is born, what Christ will command us to do as he dies:  'Behold, your Mother.' " 

Four different faces and responces to the request for a smile at grandma!  Too fun!  The first reading for today... Romans 12: 9-16
"be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in Hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer... Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
The Gospel is AMAZING!  Luke 1: 39-56
The Gospel words that we repeat in the rosary - entirely scriptural! "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, 'Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb...for at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."  Some of the most amazing words ever, and how much it stirs the joy in a woman,who is pregnant! 

Then,of course, Mary's responce with the Magnificat - which we repeat every evening with evening prayer in the Church!  Talk about the cry of the poor and the beauty of being humble in this world...The Prayer Of Mary

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel

for he remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children forever. "
(Lk 1:46-55)

Well, there is way too much to share today in this blessed feastday devoted to women and their willingness to say YES to LIFE!  ..."as we celebrate the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary... For truly even to earth's ends you have done great things and extended your abundant mercy from age to age: when you looked at the lowliness of your handmaid, you gave us through her the author of our salvation, you Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord."  Preface to the Eucharistic prayer in mass today!

Thank you, Lord for this amazing day of celebration of women and the wonderous gift we are given to carry and nourish life in our wombs!  How glorious that you chose to come to us as a tiny infant and be placed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of our spiritual Mother, Mary Most Holy!  These blessings at the end of mass to great to leave out.  "May you know always and everywhere the protection of her,through whom you have been found worthy to receive the author of life.  May God, through the childbearing of the Blessed Virgin Mary willed in his great kindness to redeem the human race, be pleased to enrich you with his blessing.  May you, who have devoutly gathered on this day, carry away with you the gifts of spiritual joys and heavenly rewards."  Now you have been blessed real good!  Jesus, with your glorious Mother, Mary Most Holy,  we are filled with wonder at the beauty and blessing of new life!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia! 

David ducked just as I took the picture... Bless-bless, Barb
"Again and again, to our astonishment, we discover that it is the poor, in those who need our help, that the Lord is waiting to fill us with the knowledge, the knowledge that we are loved.  And this knowledge is knowledge that heals.  If we, who know ourselves to be wounded in some way,  make an effort to help others who are suffering, if we 'share our bread with the hungry' and try to 'shelter the homeless poor' or make a visit to someone in need like Mary, then not only will we experience enlightenment of some kind, but our wound will quickly be helaed over. And why?  Because in those who are most  in need of help he will meet Christ himself:  "Whatever you do to one of these, the least of my brothers, you do to me.' "
Fr Paul Murray

Beautiful Rose with flowers in her hair by Our Lady!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A place of peace for the soul - the clothesline!

A few years ago my daughter, Maria,. told me that she would like me to make more of my paintings for different occassions with the kids growing... she told me that they could become keepsakes for her to have for her kids and for their family.  She gifted me with watercolor paper and paints to get me started... as watercolor is my very favorite medium.  This has launched me into the very simple joy of painting for the kids birthdays or other occassions that come up.  For Mother's Day I painted one watercolor with Mary out on the deck and then I scanned it and used the same painting copied off for all the mothers in my life - including my 3 daughters, who are the best mothers ever!  I love to have things to look at for my art work, and some elements of this one come from a children's book I found some years back with a clothesline and a cow frolicking in the field behind.  I used a picture I took of Gus's profile and then one of him with a white faced calf this spring out in the barn, and of course the ever present and photogenic, Roger, the dog! 
My Mother's day painting has my Mary of the Clothesline and the deck without the clothesline behind.  These bring so much joy to me.  A lot of my paintings are done with my granddaughter, Mary, and when Therese was here we did a whole book of paintings for her to take as memories of her winter on the farm.  We always start with pencils to sketch our picture, and then the painting makes them really come to a finished product.  I am not very good with the fine detail or the shading perspective, but I enjoy making them and feel like they give some joy to those in my family that I give them to. 

Lots of fun with the shadows on the sheets on the clothesline today.  I have just plain too much fun with my artwork and my pictures... it is just one big adventure for me!  When I have occassions and cards to make for them.... I get really excited and mostly use my pictures with scripture, but also can mix in some watercolor painting here and there. 

The sun, the birds flying and singing, the dogs laying in the sun watching my every move, the puffy white clouds making the shadows come and go and get darker and then disappear as the sun goes behind a cloud.  "Hail Marys" are always my companion as I am out putting clothes on the line always ending with the socks that settle into the bottom of the basket.  Many socks with the rock picking and other jobs in the creek, and the needed sock change that happens during the day. 
Mid afternoon Pat tells me that it is going to rain... what happened to the picture perfect day?  Watching the cool rain coming down gently now, and the sheets are clean and fresh and on our bed for a luxuriously wonderful windswept sweet sun/wind smelling night!  Our Lady of the clothesline watched over them for just enough sun and wind to dry them before the coming of rain.  The drought is gone - hopefully to never be seen again!  Jesus, we trust in you.

Bless-bless, Barb

Way too much fun for work! 

Mary - "imitate her humility!"

Only 2 days left to the amazing month of May!  A month devoted to Mary Most Holy, and her quiet humble witness to the world on how we are called to love and serve those in our lives, and bring Christ to them! 
This is a watercolor that I had the joy of working on for little Augustine's first birthday!  Our Lady of the clothesline is a special time for me to feel a closeness to her.  I have such a long way to go to accomplish what she shows us on how to live our lives!  But I feel so blessed to have her with me, and I feel genuinely sad for those that are prevented from knowing her, and loving her, and having her with us on our Journey!  I went back and found a sharing I did a few years ago on my blog - a prayer directed to Our Lady of the Clothesline...
Our Lady of the Clothesline... hear our pleas to you standing at the side of your amazing Son, the Savior of the World... Make us clean... Make us pure... Make us fresh... Make us Light to all those we meet... Make us free as the wind... Make us total lovers of the Truth... Make us faithful followers of the Wind of the Holy Spirit wherever it blows.... Make us fruitful witnesses of your love....Make us free of the fetters of sin... Make us whole... Make us washed dazzling white in the blood of the Lamb and the Martyrs.... Make our prayers sweet smelling incence raising to you in heaven... Make us see those around us that have no clothes or are thirsty or are hungry - so that we can tend to them as they are You Dear Lord in our midst!... Make us humble as a old dishrag that is useful but barely presentable for company when they come.. Make us strong and sturdy as those old work jeans that have had all the dirt and grease and manure and all there is connected with work on them... yet they are clean to be worn again and again and again!... Make us your humble and useful servants each and every moment of each and every day! Thank you for the beauty and the delightful weather that we were blessed with this day! Jesus and Our Lady of the Clothesline... your amazing Mother, Queen of heaven and earth...
Today in the Gospel we are told by Christ that..."Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."  Mark 10: 32-45  We see this example in Christ and in His Mother - they came to serve the world! 
"Where would we be without Mary as our Mother?  What if we did not have the Mother of God to cry out to?  We would go in search of her.  Without the Mother of God to love, we would feel a huge emptiness - a lack - in our life.  St Theresa of Avila tells the story about when her mother died when she was only 12 years old.  She writes, 'When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of Our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my Mother.'
"Through the gift of motherhood we are blessed with the assurance of belonging.  Blessed John Paul II points out that 'motherhood is a relationship  of person to person: a mother is not only mother of the body or of the physical creature born of her womb, but of the person she begets.'  We constantly return to the Mother of God through our devotion in order to become more perfectly the persons we are destined to be .  In speaking of the Mother of God, Blessed Guerric of Igny says that 'the womb that once gave birth continues to bring forth the fruit of her tender compassion.  Mary is the Mother of him who is the life by which all things live.' " Fr Peter John Cameron, OP

Jesus with your Mother, Mary Most Holy, we are filled with the burning need to follow your example, and command to serve one another.  It is so difficult, and we are so lacking in the ability to leave ourselves behind, and truly give of ourselves without counting the cost.  Show us how to be better followers of you, and your example of giving your all!  You, who are God, gave up all for us, and we are not really worth much in our state of sinfulness!  Yet you love us without reservation, and without end!  "Beloved: Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct...not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious Blood of Christ as a spotless unblemished Lamb.... through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God."  I Peter 1: 18-25 Jesus, we are filled with the knowledge of what we must do with your help and example.  May your Spirit give us the ability to die to self and LIVE in YOU!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"A humble heart always acknowledges the special favors of the Lord in order to humble itself all the more... It is characteristic of humility to serve others.  Mary did not hesitate to go and help Elizabeth for 3 months.  St Bernard aptly remarks:  'Elizabeth wondered why Mary had come to visit her; but - what is still more remarkable - that she came not to be ministered to, but to minister.'... On one occassion, our Lord showed St Bridget two women.  The one was all glamour and vanity.  'She is pride,' he said, 'but the other one whom you see with her head bowed, courteous to all, devoted to God alone, and considering herself as nobody, is humility, and her name is Mary.'  God chose this way of letting us know that Mary is the personification of humility.  There can be no doubt, observes St Gregory of Nyssa, that of all the virtues there is perhaps none more difficult for our nature to practice, tainted as it is by sin,than humility.  At the same time, we cannot evade the truth:  We can be true children of Mary only if we are humble.  'If you cannot imitate the virginity of the Blessed Virgin,' says St Bernard, 'imitate her humility.' "
St Alphonsus de Liguori (1787)

"Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another intensely from a pure heart.  You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for:
'All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.'
This is the word that has been proclaimed to you."
I Peter 1: 18-25 The first reading in the mass today!  Reminding us that we are nothing without him!

The litany of Humility sung by Danielle Rose - the first time I heard the litany, I thought; "Who could ever ask for this?"  The Missionaries of Charity pray this every week! 
Litany of HumilityO Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

"From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Basking in the Sonlight!

 I had so much fun yesterday with the requested photo shoot for Ruth and Paul and their wonderful family... here are a few more of the special ones that I had to crop out some of the others because they had eyes closed, tongue out, and with a total of 6 with 4 of them 7 and under - it was a challange, but a joyful one!  I did feel tired, and bit stressed when I was done, but it was small payment for the fun I had doing it!  With the cold today they look underdressed but it was sunny and warm yesterday morning.  Tonight I was out in the pasture in a winter coat and a stocking cap!  Make up your mind summer! 
Mary showed me some pretty special leaves...
An example of tongue out, but too cute to crop out or delete.  Cute alert!

It looks like Rose is a early learner of the tongue out from her older brother, David!

Just the girls - now they are even... 3 girls

And 3 lucky farm boys!

the 3 with brown eyes - Rose looks to be joining Simon and Ruth, but time will tell. 

Simon loves his Purrrrrrrs!

What a beauty bush!  Sweet gift from God - Rose Ida! 

Did I say - just plain crazy? 

Bless-bless, Barb

"Jesus is enough."

So much beauty surrounds me - I have to have my camera with me when I leave the house.  Would you leave the house without your right hand?
How do the clouds taste Roger?
How glorious was the day yesterday!  The clouds were a crowning to the masterpiece of the lush green world newly washed clean by the overnight rains.  The tame and friendly heifers were curious of me as I mowed close to the pasture they were in... they too are washed clean by the rain with their shiney healthy coats gleaming in the sun... a fringe of tall wonderful grass up to their chins.  Today the cool breeze is coming in through the window here and the sound of the wind as the branches are tossed around slightly.  I just had the joy of watching an oreal out in my lilac bushes.  Quite a sight and reminds me of a song - It is called Holy Now by Peter Mayer.  We first heard it used at a TEC retreat, and it speaks of our faith journey and making our faith our own! 

Having fun with pictures today.  I just read morning prayers and the readings with Pat, and then an article caught my eye in the Catholic Servant that is so very deep and close to my heart... The impact of Our Lady of Lourdes Shrine on modern-day society by Fr James Reidy
"You stand at the Grotto where Bernadette saw the 'beautiful lady,' and it is not only the reality of Mary and her Immaculate Conception that is so powerfully witnessed to , but all that these imply: the divine maternity, the Incarnation, the divinity of Christ, the Catholic Church where the infallible authority of the Roman Pontiff can define the doctrine that Mary was conceived without original sin.  That Mary's challange is being taken up and a vibrant faith lives in this secular age comes out loud and clear in Lourdes.... But the signature of this place is also a beautiful visible charity.... the stretcher bearers who meet the malades as they arrive and stay with them through all their days there, seeing to their needs and carrying them to the baths.  It is a miracle of love to this day!"

David sees the moon as the clouds clear away and the sun paints the tip of the tree and the top of the barn with light's paintbrush!

Fr Reidy goes on to share a homily that was given at Lourdes - "He spoke of the death of a young family man who had enjoyed just about all the gifts life offers in the way of a good marriage, children, and a very successful career.  As he was dying of cancer and near the end, he said to the priest who was with him: 'Father, I've lost everything, all I had except for one thing now, and it's enough.  Jesus is enough.' 
"The sick and ailing who come to Lourdes can't help but hope to be healed as have been so many.  But with faith they know that their Blessed Mother will do what is best for them, and that the best no doubt will be faith itself and the acceptance of their cross with the patience and trust that brings to their souls 'the peace that passes undersanding.'...."Jesus is enough."
Mary with snuggly Purrs eating blueberries off their new fun blueberry bush!  How I love to be over at Ruth's little farmplace just 3 miles from ours and to see that she is blessed with the same life that she grew up with!  I had always loved my nest years with my growing faith centered family/domestic church, and it is such an amazing delightful gift to be able to step back and experience it once again in the homes of my daughters!  There is a strong element of the faith and shared learning and adventures in the wonder of the world around them in all 3 of their homes, but due to Ruth being so close and actually on a small "farm" much like the one she grew up on... there are that many more similarities!  Such a special gift for me, as well as for the kids that are allowed to grow up in the countryside with their siblings as their best friends and playmates!  For them each other and Jesus is enough!

A small rainbow was a beautiful addition to the sunset last evening... a reminder to us of our covenant with God after He has washed us clean of our sins - we are His and no longer will he destroy us!  He will always be there to love and forgive, if we humbly come to HIM!  So many blessings are surrounding us with each new day!  Thank you, Lord for reminding us today of how there should be no discouragement in our lives as we realize that you are always there longing for us to turn into your arms wide open for us... your nailscarred hands reaching out to us showing us the extent of that LOVE - Jesus is enough!  All of the gifts we are given can be taken away from us, and we are humble, lowly, and poor yet we have it all - we have Jesus!  John discovered Our Lady in Lourdes and although his future looked grim with brain cancer - he left there smiling and filled with JOY - "It was very good!"  To see all those sick and dying cared for and taken into the baths with great hope for healing and some receiving the physical healing, but all receiving the spiritual and most important healing - realizing the "visible charity of those dedicated men and women devoted to Christ, His Church, His sick, His poor, and His Mother."  Such an amazing visible sign of those that have left it all behind and want to share the Truth - Jesus is enough!  Jesus, we are yours and all else is as nothing - may we come to share YOU with all those around us especially those in our domestic Church/family!  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"The age of mircles is passed," it was said.  Then one lovely day,upon a bare rock in Southern France, a fair lady spoke to a child... a fountain broke from the barren earth... miracles piled upon miracles... and Lourdes was born.  It was Mary's challange of faith to a world which had lost faith in her Son."  from a Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes

John showed his LOVE for Our Spiritual Mother when we revisited Lourdes last summer with Little Sister Hallel!
"Thank you, Our Lady of Loudes, through my cancer I now love you, and Your Son, and His Bride the Church - "Jesus is enough!"  John Verly

So blessed... His Love shining through!  Jesus is enough!