- 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
Friday, August 31, 2012
The work crew gathered today to make quick (?) work of the 4 pails of tomatos we had from our two gardens. The job for the day was spaghetti sauce and we made 60 quarts! So great when you have many hands pitching in. Pat's mom taught me as a newly wed how to can. I had a new wife today learning about canning for the first time. Sam's wife, Kara, got in on all the different jobs it takes to do a big canning project. I told her that one of the canners we used well today was given to me as a wedding present from Pat's brothers and sisters. It has worked long and hard over these last 34 years! So it was kind of fun to have a new bride here learning what is involved in canning as I am now the seasoned veteran... and to still have my wonderful mother-in-law here and working along with the rest of us! Spaghetti sauce is something new that we have added over the years, and it one of the most popular things that we make among my daughters and their families. These 60 quarts filled up all the jars that both Ruth and I could find, but there will probably more to can in a few days again.
I had fun yesterday making this for Sam and Kara... kind of Ruth and Paul's farm. It is kind of good to think about the Gospel today of the 10 bridesmaids. What are bridesmaids by todays standards...they are the family and friends of the bride's that are there to cater to her every need, and to celebrate with the bride as she marries her Bridegroom! They wear beautiful dresses and are leading in the bride to her bridegroom! They are a very important part of this day of all days for the couple getting married - a lifetime of sharing LIFE and LOVE! They need to be there and ready for the big day with their lamps lit! Their inner lamps of loving support for the couple. I think you can tell that I am reaching today after being on my feet for many hours in the canning craziness. I have also been asked by my husband to stop sharing here, so I am feeling a bit guilty about still writing my random thoughts here. I admit that it would be very hard for me to quit, but I do feel that I need to listen and attempt to follow what my husband asks of me.
Kara the new bride with most of the fruits of our combined labors! I had shared with her the potato fork story of my early marriage... There was a garden left by the couple that lived in the small house that Pat and I moved into after we were married. My mother-in-law was there helping me harvest it, and there were some potatos to dig. She asked me if I had a potato fork, and I said sure and went in and got a fork out of the drawer in the kitchen. I took it out and handed it to her... she took it from me and dug in the dirt in a bit and then without laughing in my face told me that a potato fork was a very large tool! Just showing that she was such a wonderful and kind teacher to me, and I was very dumb! Thanks, mom Verly, for still being here to help us pitch in on this big project! You are my teacher, and still can work circles around me! I am the farmwife I am today thanks to you, and I know that I still am a far cry from you. I know that I still have a long way to go!
Jesus, help me to be a better person.. I need you to help me along the way. I am filled with wonder at all those that surround me and make these big jobs an enjoyable time of sharing and helping each other. I need you to walk with me, and yes... I need to embrace my Most Cherished Cross and learn from him. Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleluia
"But as for me, I trust in you, Lord,
I say: 'You are my God.
Let your face shine on your servant.
Save me in your love.' "
"The person...who truly loves God and Christ, even though he may perform a thousand good works, considers himself as having done nothing because of his insatiable longing for the Lord. Even if he should tear down the body with fasts and vigils, he considers himself as though he never yet begun to develop virtues. Although various gifts of the Spirit of even revelations and heavenly mysteries may be given to him, he believes that he has acquired nothing because of his immense and insatiable love for the Lord.
But daily he perseveres in prayer and a hungering and a thirst in faith and love. He has an insatiable desire for the mysteries of grace and for every vitue. He is wounded with love for the heavenly Spirit, having a burning desire for the heavenly Bridegroom through grace which he always possesses within himself. This stirs him to desire perfectly to be regarded as worthy to enter into the mystical and awesome communion with him in the sanctification of the Spirit.
The face of the soul is unveiled and it gazes wtih fixed eyes upon the heavenly Bridegroom, face to face, in a spiritual and ineffable LIGHT. Such a person mingles with him with full certitude of faith."
Pseudo- Marcarius (390) was an Egyptian monk and hermit
Sam and Kara starting their journey with the Bridegroom leading the way!
Thursday, August 30, 2012
This morning I am borrowing a phrase of our Grandson, Augustine. He loves water and one of his endearing phrases said with his sweet baby voice - he is just 15 months old - is "water-water-water." He usually repeats it the blessed 3 times - Pat, my husband, has noticed that there are things in mass that are repeated 3 times for example the Lamb of God or beating our breast 3 times at the "grievous faults" in the Penitential Act. He feels that this is a desirable number in the Church and with our Lord, so when he prays for John and Susan he always prays for them the 3 times! So little Gus is now picking up that special repeating of 3 and how he lights up when he can play with water! Cousin Dave was spending some time with Gus, while his parents worked at the State Fair, and Gus took him to his favorite splash park! If you want to check out more cute pictures that Nancy shared - here is her blog - http://thegreatgusadventure.blogspot.com/
Nancy and Bill discovered how fun having 2 can be, and that is good since Gus will be a big brother in a couple months now! Thinking about water today after reading morning prayer in Magnificat which spoke about the gift of the "living water" He quenchs our thirst with HIS lifegiving waters!
In the midst of a drought here and seeing the once gurgling stream now without any water...except for a very muddy hole the boys found to throw rocks into... It is a sad sight to see no water, and more work for the farmers that have to put water tanks out for the cows and calves to come and get a drink. The cows coming up for a drink last night got us out on an adventure in the pasture with the setting sun. "Forgiven, freed, befriended, the Feast of LIFE is ours." from morning hymn
I was overjoyed to read our famous verse - Isaiah 55:1 "All you thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come,without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!" Famous because this verse led my dad to join the Catholic Church along with my mom and 11 kids! And we have never been thirsty since! We have been given the Living Waters to drink! We are poor and humble and have absolutely nothing to give HIM except our very selves. "You are the rock in the desert from which the waters flow: - cool our weary souls with the living waters of your Holy Spirit. Give us living water to drink!"
Jesus, we are drawn to your LIGHT as we drink of the lifegiving waters of faith! We are forever grateful and unworthy of your endless and everlasting LOVE and LIFE! We rejoice with all those in our domestic Church/family - those that are on this journey with us always. May we find the patience and love to love and serve them as you would have us.... without thinking about our needs and desires - rather yours and those of our family. Jesus, we long to find the ability to care for the world as you do! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleluia
Little Rose was eating her beautiful mommy's arm with love for her! That is my favorite thing ever. I know that if she were holding her up by her chin- she would be eating her chin with LOVE! The love of a mother and child cannot be beat! Bless-bless, Barb
"Like the deer that yearns
for running streams,
so my soul is yearning
for you, my God.
My soul is thirsting for God.
the God of my life;
when can I enter and see
the face of God?
Deep is calling on deep,
in the roar of the waters:
your torrents and all your waves
swept over me.
Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God; I will praise him still,
my Savior and my God."
loving cousins - Dave and Gus!
A picture that says it all!
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
No! We started something new - Pat and I watch Ruth and Paul's kids on Wednesday nights so that they can go and teach faith formation! Brilliant idea? Yes! I would rather walk the baby round and round the circle in her stroller rather than have to be told that we and learning about their faith is boring. It sounds like Ruth and Paul gave their kids a fun and exciting night with bonding and catapults! Pat and I just said we had finally figured out how to do this right! Newly weds Sam and Kara stopped by to get in on the craziness, and little Rose got us all outside on a beautiful summer evening. Thanks, little girl!
Some of the cows came up for a drink, and the next thing you know we are heading out for some time in the pasture...
Sam and Kara on the 4 wheeler and the kids on foot as the sun was a glorious paintbrush of light.
The creek is dry now with the drought.
So beautiful is our world!
So beautiful is new life!!!
Davey points at the beautiful "glowing moon."
The beautiful moon and two beauties - Rose is so happy and calm in the arms of her beautiful mommy! She was even trying to eat her arm out of love... there is nothing more special than the love of a mother and child - one for the other! Jesus, we trust in you. bless-bless, Barb
The tears of joy and farewell and the beginning of a new chapter are dried on my cheeks... I really wasn't so much sad or upset rather I was emotional at the hugeness of this for and for John! This was the feastday of the Passion of St John the Baptist - his martyrdom, and so the name John was very prominant at mass today. Reminding me of the day just a few days after John's fateful CTscan showing his tumor in his brain. John and I shared morning prayers and the Gospel for the day on the nativity of St John the Bapist! How we wept together remembering the miracle for Mary's cousin Elizabeth of this son in her old age after being childless of all her years of childbearing! John being my only son, after 4 girls and numerous losses - I thought that I was unable to carry boys and those were the ones that I lost. All my 6 losses except for the last one are all named boys - Christopher, Thomas, Joseph, William, Robert and Mary. The two I lost at 5 months were boys and are buried at the cemetary with a small service there provided by my father, Deacon Robert Cross, and our immediate family. So in many ways the fact that our 5th child was a boy was an unexpected time of great JOY! And to have bonded - I said that the umbilical cord almost reappeared - over the last 3 years of our cancer/healing journey. We have shared so much, and it is with great joy and excitement that we send John forth on this new leg of the journey!
A very beautiful blessing was given to John this morning! At the end of the petitions - Fr Paul had all those assembled hold their hands out in blesssing over John and he prayed in a very beautiful way over him! It was wonderful that Pat and I could be there with him, and have our hands upon him! Fr spoke of how this was a special day for John being a feastday of this most amazing saint John the Baptist. He prayed that John would be blessed on his journey and thanked God for the young men from our parish, who are answering the call to discern the priesthood. I wish that I could have the words to listen to again, but it is deep in my heart and soul and it is continuing to give me much joy and happiness! Of course it was so much of a reminder of the day that John was in the center aisle at Sunday mass 8a on a weekend in November 2009. Fr Paul annointed him as well as he was prayed over with a relic of Venerable Solanus Casey! The church was packed with people all with their hands over John in blessing and prayer for healing! And all those prayers were answered! Not with a miraculous instantaneous healing, but in a healing just the same - now he is 2 1/2 years without any cancer! He is healed and goes forth to answer the burning question - "Why was I healed? What does God have in mind for me?"
In church this morning was another young person, Sarah,who is entering the Handmaids today! She is John's age, and they have known each other most of their lives. She was at mass with many from her family, and there were many hugs and tears among us as we are all so touched and moved by the faith and love of Christ we see in these two young people! I think that is the most powerful part of all this - to see LOVE in action as they leave the world behind and possibly the thought that they will ever have their own families... as they answer the call to discern! I hear that Sarah has only a small amount of items she is taking with her, but John is taking much more to "college-seminary."
I had to get one last silly face to tell me to stop taking pictures, but I thought I would put it on here to teach him a lesson!
Jesus, we are so filled with such gratitude as we are blessed by the army of prayers that are already sending John off to consider your call! The memories of your army of prayers and how they surrounded John and led him to be healed... so they continue now! Our family is once again being blessed by all that your Church has to give us. There is no end to what we are learning and growing with each moment of each day. May John rejoice and retain all the wondrous Truth there is to learn about our Church! So exciting to begin a deeper and deeper journey into understanding and wisdom - come Holy Spirit and be his guide! Our prayers will continue to be shared in the Spirit and in the Truth! Jesus, we thank and praise you for sparing our son, and we trust that you are leading him down the narrow path carrying your Most Cherished Cross - cancer/healing! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleuia
Bless-bless, Barb"In his Precusor, St John the Baptist,
we praise your great glory,
for you consecrated him for a singular honor
among those born of women.
His birth brought great rejoicing;
even in the womb he lept for joy
at the coming of human salvation.
He alone of all the prophets
pointed out the Lamb of redemption.
And to make holy the flowing waters,
he baptized the very author of Baptism
and was priviledged to bear him supreme witness
by the shedding of his blood..."
Preface to the mass today!
This is the song that Susan played over and over before she left to join the Community of the Lamb - it speaks to me through my tears of that LOVE for HIM above all else!
Go with God John-John! We love you and will miss you here in the arms of your home! We will be surrounding you with PRAYER!
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Tonight is John's last night here at home... he leaves tomorrow morning to start his discernment process in the seminary. I know that it will be a wonderful growing time for him, and am thrilled that he decided to test the waters of looking at the possibility of a call. This could be a wonderful answer to the question of... "why did God spare me?" Time and lots of prayer will tell...
John and I had a great conversation a few days ago... We were talking about the icons I love of Jesus "eating Mary's chin out of love for her." John then asked if there were any of Mary kissing Jesus. "I would love to see one of Mary blowing kisses and blowing on Jesus stomach! Wouldn't that be the greatest?" I then told him that I had something I wanted to show him...
I went and got this small icon out of my curio cupboard... Mary kissing her infant son, Jesus. I gave it to John to take and put on his desk at the seminary - a reminder of how close we have become through the journey called cancer/healing. I think that I have a picture I want to do a watercolor of Mary blowing on the stomach of her little baby Jesus, and Jesus is smiling and cooing!
John has discovered that he folds clothes with much more care than I do, and has cheerfully taken over that job when the fresh clothes come in off the clothesline. He will be missed by me for the ways he has cheerfully helped me around the house and yard. And I will miss him also for all the things he has been doing for his dad...now it will probably be my turn to help out more. But mostly we are happy and excited for this step in his journey!
Lord, we are so grateful for this exciting step John is taking in his faith journey. Hold him close to your heart burning with love for him. Thank you for his healing and for your endless love for him no matter what. He asked that he may come to know you in his life and you answered him. Jesus, we are forever grateful! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleluia
"Our Hearts are Restless Until They Rest in You" St. Augustine
"do with my life.Lead me. Guide me.Give me a listening heart,ready to hear what you are asking of me, and prompt to respond.
Give me a heart on fire with love for you
and for those whom you wish me to serve."Amen
First off - Happy 2nd Anniversary to Bill and Nancy! Married on the feastday of the Doctor of Grace - St Augustine - just 2 years ago, and soon to welcome your next child. Wow! That is certainly a blessing and grace is flowing over and around you like a great ocean of LIFE and LOVE! How appropriate that your first child should be named after this amazing man - Augustine! A very powerful and beautiful man to be aware of and fill your heart and mind with the wisdom he had through and within Christ! That is why John's sisters suggested to him that he take Augustine for his confirmation saint - so Happy Feastday to you too, John! Augustine is getting to be a very important part of our lives, as well he should be! Who would not want the doctor of Grace to make a visit to our heart and minds and souls? I sure do! I need to read his Confesssions someday!
A painting I made for Augustine's first birthday...
"Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. " St Augustine This is a tought provoking quote telling us that the wonder of the universe is nothing compared to the wonder of ourselves and our relationship with Christ and his Bride, the Church! I long to jump into the ocean of faith and float on the surface of the boyant water of LIFE and LOVE!
After dropping the two grandkids off at school ... I slipped into adoration and was filled with the wonder of this gift and grace that we are allowed to partake in twice a week now. I have shared that I considered a call to religious life as a pre and new Catholic. The sense within that I wanted to be a bride of Christ - a nun - is what made me say to my dad without hesitation - "I want to be Catholic, because I think I want to be a nun!" He gave me the choice as I was the oldest of 11, and 20 years old, when my entire family converted to the Catholic Church. My dad left his ministry as a Protestant minister, and a few years later became a permanent deacon. I did discern a call, but it was not for me... yet, I still have that longing for HIM! It is such a grace to be able to have a small piece of that life of prayer when I am able to attend mass daily, and also have those Holy Hours in the presence of Jesus in the monstrance on the altar! Sitting there in our beautiful church today - I remembered the many graces and blessings I have been given with 3 of my children considering a call to the priesthood or religious life! My time spent with Hallel's community in Kansas City and France are so amazing and unearthly angelic! Thinking of the acronym I made for the word - BEAUTY - Beyond Everlasting Angelic Unearthly Trillion Years-with-HIM! That is a way of describing how I feel His Grace all around me when I can have that quiet space in time with Jesus!
"Love is the beauty of the soul. " St Augustine
Beauty - Beyond Everlasting Angelic Unearthly Trillion Years-with-HIM! That sound like LOVE to me!
"If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. " St Augustine Augustine would say that about the Church too! There is not the option of being a shopping cart Catholic - all the Truth is required as the Church is there helping us to Heaven and Eternal LIFE!
Monday, August 27, 2012
Then Simon got to hold her first in the barn door... she liked it just fine!
Then Mary's turn by the silo in the shade with daisys. Rose is seeming to think that is OK too!
She's starting to use her hands and get things - she took her daisy out of Mary's hand and held onto is all by herself! Too cute and sweet! Next she will figure out how to get it to her mouth.
Then it was David's turn by the soybean field. She adores her big loving brother, David, so she was just fine with his tight squeeze! She also was having fun with her adorable tongue!
She is used to a lot of activity and a lot of different siblings holding her as well as...
Grandma. Bless-bless, Barb
Each one of these beautiful children has been surrounded by daily prayers from the moment we knew they were in the womb! There is a promise that this will never end! I have a beautiful story about 6 year old, Mary. She was spending the night with great-grandmother and her great Aunt... they had been on an adventure walking downtown and back in the evening. They got back home very tired and the plan was to go straight to bed, but Mary told them that they needed to pray first! She then shared with them the litany of prayers that she shares every night with her siblings and parents, including the intentions on their hearts. It was a very beautiful testament to the home of prayer and faith that she is being raised in! When I heard this - I told my daughter that she is doing a wonderful job - showing her children that they need to turn to God with all they face in LIFE and LOVE! Ruth has seen the fruits of prayer, in realizing that her last two children would not be here without her faith and prayer, and those prayers of many others, that prayed them safely here. She was told by her doctor here in Marshall that she should have no more children, after she ruptured her uterus having Mary. But she returned to the Catholic woman surgeon, who saved her uterus in Sioux Falls, and she told her that if she gave her uterus a year to heal and with close monitoring - there was a 90% chance that all would go well and she could have more by C-section! Now she has 2 more beautiful Gift-of-God children, and how she praises God everytime she looks at them! The prayers were constant and trusting!
Mary and her younger brother by 2 years, David! St Monica is a mother, who didn't ever give up on her trusting tearful prayers that her pagan son, Augustine, would come to know the Truth! There are many mothers, me included, that find constant need to be praying for their children, children-in-law, and grandchildren! In my life over the last years, I have prayed for my son, John. He struggled with his faith and said often that he didn't have any because it hadn't been tested. "I don't know what I believe." Well, on Father's Day 3 years ago, he discovered that the double vision and lethargy he was experiencing was due to a tumor in his brain - in a few weeks we heard the diagnosis - Lymphoma of the brain - brain cancer! Many were with us in prayer as we battled and won cancer! He is now 2 1/2 years cancer free, and now he knows the power of prayer and the Christ is alive and actively working in his life! His faith is found and strong, and he is the first to say that it took the 2x4 cancer to hit him beside the head! No, I didn't pray for that horror of all horrors to hurt my son - he will never be the same John - he is the new John with wounds from the cancer journey! Yet, this changed young man is in a better place and now looking at entering the seminary in a few days to discern a vocation to the priesthood and answer the burning question - Why was I spared, when so many others died?
Little Rose sure loves to be with her siblings... all the activity and the closeness.. while I was over there last night, the older two were doing homework, and Rose was in her swing fussing. I asked David to come over and spend some time talking to her, and she responded to him with smiles and joy right away! Ruth is so thrilled to have her new baby girl, as are all in her loving and active family! She is a symbol of all the many prayers we say for our children. But I know that in my family there are generations of PRAYER! I know that my parents pray for each one of us and all of our offspring and theirs every day as they gather together in morning prayer! My dad being a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church, does the office morning and night with my mother! Each of us are prayed for by name and we are into the 70s now in number! I too pray for all of my children and their family daily as I say my rosary - a decade for each of my children and their growing families are prayed for with them, of course! And I know that each of my family is praying and going to mass daily - Maria and Nancy - and that they too are praying constantly for their families. Maria with her two mischarriages in the last few years is now praying and trusting moment to moment for the safe arrival of little Patrick in the next month! I know from experience that the losses along the way, make the ones you have that much more precious and prayed for without ceasing!
Rose loving the attention from her older brother, David. She lights up!!
Jesus, this is such a glorious day as we are reminded of the power of prayer and tears of a mother! Did I mention tears, O Lord? You know that I am a virtual river of tears always! "O God, who consoles the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of St Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon." openning prayer from mass today. I now can rejoice in my tears and know that they are watering the seeds of faith that Pat and I planted in our children! We took to heart the message of Faith and Truth - "The world needs lights!" We thank and praise you,Holy Spirit, for showing us the Truth to follow carrying our Most Cherished Cross - each other in marriage! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb Life doesn't get any better than on a beautiful summer evening to be holding a sweet baby as he little hand touches mine in prayer and PEACE and BEAUTY of nature all around! Thank you, Lord! Our Lady and all your women saints there to show us the way to happiness... we are so blessed as women in your True Church! I am filled to overflowing and yes - that becomes a river of grateful and joyful tears too! Life would be dry and dull without TEARS!
Ruth's two Miracle children! They are PRAYER in the flesh!!!!!
Christ speaking in the words of Thomas a'Kempis
"Follow me; 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life' (John 14:6). Without the way there is no going; without the truth there is no knowing; without life there is no living. I am the Way that you must follow; the Truth that you must believe; the Life that you must hope for. I am the Way inviolable, the Truth infallible, and the Life interminable. I am the straightest Way, the sovereign Truth, the true life, the blessed life, and uncreated Life. If you continue in my way you will know the truth, and the truth shall make you free, and you will attain everlasting LIFE.
'If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments' (Mt 19:17). If you wish to know the truth, believe me. 'If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions.' (Mt 19:21). If you wish to be my disciples, deny yourself. If you wish to have a blessed life, do not get lost in this present life. If you wish to be exalted in heaven, humble yourself in this world. If you wish to reign with me, carry the cross with me. No one but the servants of the cross find their way to the light and happiness of heaven."
What a joy to be reading a book I found at Leaflet in the Cities - Solace in Suffering - excerpts from Imitation of Christ by Thomas a'Kempis - my wonderful friend from my early Catholic days! Isn't he the best????!!!!!
All I had to say was - "If you kids don't look at me there will be no TV!" Miraculously they were all looking and most of them smiling!
a'Kempis reminded me of this song by Danielle Rose - the humility litany! Blessed Teresa's order - the Missionaries of Charity pray this prayer weekly! So hard to ask for this to be answered in our lives, but Christ desires this for us! Hear our prayers!
A beautiful bouquet of LIFE and LOVE! Thank you, Lord!!!
Please continue to pray for all in harms' way - especially our son-in-law, Joseph! Jesus, protect Joseph and all in harms way! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen