Monday, December 31, 2012

SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't tell Pat that I put this on here.  It was just too cute, and Pat finally got Rose to let him hold her by distracting her with the silly santa/snowman hat!  We toasted the New Years at about 9:30p with Ruth, Paul, the kids and great-grandma!  Four generations all wondering and hoping that the New Year, 2013, will hold health and happiness for one and all!  So much LOVE for one and all!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Great Grandma Anna with Bernadette Anna

In the dress that her Great-grandma Anna Verly sewed for her Aunt Ruth 33 years ago... little 7 week old Bernadette poses in great-grandma's lap on her baptism day on the feast of the Holy Family - Dec 30th, 2012.  We are always delighted that Pat's mom continues to put in the effort it takes to get in the car and travel up and back to the Cities with us for these occassions!  What a trooper she is, and it truly means so much to her grandchildren, and children, and now great-grandchildren! 
So peaceful in the loving and caring hands of her great-grandmother! 

Jesus, we thank and praise you for the kindness and support we have been blessed with by our wonderful grandma Anna!  She helped me to be a city girl come to the farm, and taught me all that I know about gardening, canning, baking, and cooking and sewing, and on and on.  She gives and gives without counting the cost... a true example of service!  May she continue to have more time with us in this journey of LIFE, LOVE and LIGHT.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb
I would encourage all to get a copy of the book - The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis...It is a wonderful book to have right along with your Bible as a guide on our life with HIM.  Commenting on the purpose and nature of the Imitation, one writer says:  "The philosophy of the Imitation may be summed up in two words.  It is a philosophy of Light, and a philosophy of Life:  The Light of Truth, and the Life of Grace... This life consists in the practice of the Christian virtues; the practice of the Christian virtues lead up to union with Christ; and union with Christ is consummated in the Holy Eucharist.... Following in the footsteps of Christ, heeding his Words, living in intimate union with Him, loving Him with a love that counts no sacrifice too great, trampling underfoot all things displeasing to Him, bearing one's burden cheerfully for His sake - such is the Life of the soul revealed in this wonderful book."  Brother Azarias
I just got John a copy for Christmas!!!  I am picking it up again and sharing with John how instrumental this book was to me as a young 20 year old convert to Catholicism along with my parents and 10 younger brothers and sisters 41 years ago!  I fell in love with the True Church from the first day forward and all tied into that love affair is this glorious book.  The old copy I wore out had "thee" and "thou" - this newer translation is going to be fun to read a more modern version. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

A very special day!!!

What better way to celebrate the feastday of the Holy Family than to have a brand new member, Bernadette Anna Bandzuch?  Gus looks over at his sister, that just had the waters of baptism poured over her head, as if he knows that something profound has just taken place!  You don't see a man in a white robe pour water over your sister's head three times in a row every day of the week.  It was a most beautiful service between masses with Bill's family here from Pennsylvania, and the farmfolk from Marshall to help celebrate this glorious event. 
Our Mother, Mary Most Holy, looks on as Nancy is given a beautiful blessing for mothers, as she holds her newly baptized daughter. 

St Joseph looks upon Bill as he is blessed as a loving and life-giving Father or little Lamb, Bernadette!  Such a beautiful event to happen in our family this day of the true celebration of FAMILY! 

This touching quote by ST Therese of Lisieux... The Joy of the Holy Family
"Saint Joseph:  Mary!  Let me spend my energy in the service of Jesus.  It is for him and for you that I work; this thought gives me courage and helps me to bear fatigue.  And then, when I return in the evening, one caress from Jesus, a single glance from you make me forget the day's labors.
He wipes the sweat from his brow, then sits down by Mary and looks at the Child Jesus.  The Blessed Virgin puts him on St Joseph's knees, then his face takes the expression of Celestial JOY, he pressed the Divine Child to his heart, kisses him lovingly and says to him:
Little Child!  How sweet Your smile is!...Is is really true that I, the poor carpenter Joseph, have the happiness of holding in my arms the King of heaven, the Savior of humanity?... Is is true that I have the sublime mission of being the foster father to him whose presence satisfies the ardent seraphim and who nourishes every creature?  Is it true that I am the spouse of the Mother of God, the guardian of her virginity?...
O Mary!  Tell me, what is this profound mystery?...  The Desired of the eternal hills, the Emmanuel for whom all the patriarchs have sighed, sit on my knees and looks at me, his poor, unworthy servant.
The Blessed Virgin:  Like you, Joseph, I am astonished to be able to press to my heart the Divine Child whose Mother I am;  I am astonished that a little milk is needful to him who gives life to the world. (After a long, contemplative silence, Mary continues:)  Soon Jesus will grow up and will have to teach the Creator of the universe how to work....  With you, he will earn his bread by the sweat of his adorable brow...."
St Therese of Lisieux (1897)

Jesus, thank you for the beauty of Family and Faith!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Her namesake presenting her to Our Lady on her baptism day! 

So beautiful!!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bernadette's Baptism on the feast of the Holy Family!

There was something very powerful about mass this evening with my husband and son.  It was so beautiful as it was the feast of the Holy Family - the readings were so wonderful, and all the prayers and parts just spoke so eloquently of our amazing Faith and Church!  To know all the great minds, and prayers, and toil goes into every part of the mass... it all shows in the beauty of each and every word!!!  It reminds me of the how glorious every word of the mass was after I returned from France, and going to Lourdes in August of 2009 for Hallel's taking of her habit and changing her name.  I could tell that I had just undergone a deep spiritual experience, much like when I come back from a TEC weekend, and the tabernacle is just glowing so strongly that I can't take my eyes off of it!  Tonight I just wondered why it was one of those clear bells ringing with each glorious word of the mass... maybe because I am just a week from my confession/reconcilliation, or maybe just from all the times I have had with John in prayer, mass and Adoration in the last week, plus, of course Christmas season we are in!  The singing tonight just seemed so good, and the Christmas hymns are such a delight for all those at mass.  People just seem to sing loudly and joyfully the wonderful Christmas songs!  John and I sat in the van and sang together tonight - "Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria in excelsis Dio.  Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria in Excelsis Di-i-i-o."
"O God, who were pleased to give us
the shining example of the Holy Family,
graciously grant that we may imitate them
in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity,
and so, in the joy of your house,
delight one day in eternal rewards.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen"
The Collect in mass today
Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
We are off to the Twin Cities and baptism of our youngest grandchild in the morning.  A joyful day as she enters our amazing Church! 

"What did those parents pass on to their kids?"

Grandpa with our 3 new grandchildren!!!  His big hands make it look easy.  Today is the Presentation in the Temple as Mary and Joseph bring their newborn son joyfully to the temple..."Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate of the law of the Lord."  Luke 2: 22-35
You have all heard me share from the rooftops... how my husband filled with the Holy Spirit directed our marriage and life of our family, and now the families of our daughters and son... "The world needs LIGHTS!" is the motto of our family in answer to the world telling us that we should not be open to family and LIFE.  How do you counter the mess and darkness of the world - not by limiting our children in number, but by saying "YES!" to LIFE and then with great care and effort raise LIGHTS to bring the darkness to an end!  We were blessed with 11 - 6 in heaven praying and helping us on our journey down the narrow Path carrying our Most Cherished Cross, and the 5 that we so appreciate and LOVE that are here with us on earth!  The best thing ever, as a parent, is when they in turn take you deeper and deeper in your FAITH!
The 9 grandchildren - two screaming after a long day at Christmas Camp...  Sharing the nest years openly with our children.  Grieving the loss of the 6 together... it just makes you appreciate the siblings you do have that much more.  Our children are terrifically close to each other, and it is very true that you have one foot in heaven as you anticipate meeting the others someday, and knowing that they are with us in Spirit here on earth!  Little Therese was so cute when she spoke of her two siblings in heaven, and all of them being united someday (Maria has also now had two mischarriages).  "When we get to heaven we are going to have to have a big van for all the kids!"  There is no doubt that those kids will be so close, and be aware of their family in heaven! 

Family and LOVE involves the happy and the sad.  Without the down times and the hard times... the good times would not be nearly so good!  When you embrace LIFE and are open to family, as the Lord calls us to... it just doesn't mean that you end up with 10 kids or more.  Yes, you will probably end up with a large family, by today's standards, but you are also taking very seriously passing on our Faith values/morals to our children.  There are numerous examples of how we were strongly directive in our children's lives... One very large one I would like to share today.  Our 3rd daughter, Maria, was looking at colleges.  She was only going through the motions in her Catholic Faith, and we knew that she would be looking to leave it as soon as she got away from home.  We looked at two colleges one Lutheran and one Catholic.  She decided that she wanted to attend the Lutheran college.  We put our foot down, and told her that if she was going to attend a private college it would be Catholic, and that she would not have the option of choosing.  She did not fight us on this, and we were very firm!  So off she went, and within the first week she asked a seminarian where she could find an Efree church as she was going to leave the Church.  "We have to talk."  Led into a conversation that changed her to the point that she wrote me a letter at the next TEC retreat I worked thanking me for my prayers for her, and assuring me that she had not only not missed a Sunday mass, but was now going to daily mass!  I have the letter forever taped in the front of my Bible!!!  She entered Catholic Studies, studied in Rome for an entire year, entered the Poor Clares for 5 months, discerned that was not for her and is now married to a strong Catholic man she met there, and has 5 children - two of which are in heaven!  Her life would have been so much different without that strong direction she received from her parents... I will say that without hesitation!  There is also the constant prayer we are called to as parents in there too!  That is my true calling as a mother - Parents Real/Truth All-tell Yearning Exclaming Reaching-to-Heaven24/7 - PRAYER 24/7!  Yes, we have to use our mouth sometimes and give firm direction, but praying for them, and with them, and sharing our FAITH with great JOY is so important in raising LIGHTS!
Lord, today in the psalm for mass - Psalm 96, A grand Hallel Psalm of the highest Praise to you... You tell us to
"Announce his salvation, day after day. 
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"
Lord, when we do this within our domestic Church/family the JOY, and Peace, and LOVE surely do abound to the highest heavens!  Our families become the place of growth in YOU, and we are filled with Your Spirit of Truth and LIFE!  We go forward filled with the knowledge and LOVE for you, and sharing that is the way we live and act towards all those around us.  May it truly start in our homes, O Lord, where we can allow all the JOY of knowing and loving you to overflow to our children, children-in-law, and grandchildren!  We thank and praise you for your Church and how we are helped in our quest to raise LIGHTS/Saints for the world.  May the darkness be no more, and may parents pass all the beauty of FAITH on to their children.  We need your Spirit to come and show us the narrow path we are to follow in your steps towards LIFE eternal.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"Behold this child is destined for the rise and fall of many in Isreal, and to be a sign that will be contradicted ( and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."  Luke 2  The Gospel today!  Mary, Mother of ALL, help us to bear your Son to the world this day - most especially those in our domestic Church/family!  We yearn to model our families after your Holy Family.

Mary with her Godmother, Maria, saying goodbye til next time... always knowing that she is surrounded by PRAYER!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PANiveIKVX0    Come to Jesus by Chris Rice!!!  Yesterday at a funeral.. this song was beautifully sung - John sat between his dad and I and took both of our hands - we wept at the miracle of John's Faith journey called cancer/healing/seminary!  Lord, we are overwhelmed by YOU!




Friday, December 28, 2012

Hugs and licks and kisses from Rosita.

Ruth has adoring children.  They have been known to chew on her chin like baby Jesus is shown doing to his Mother, Mary Most Holy, in many icons!  Watching her first 3 hold her around the neck and chew on her chin... I realized that they just love her so much that they want to eat her chin out of LOVE.  Why should Jesus be any differently towards his perfect and most wonderful Mother ever?  Of course, he loved and adored every single thing about her.  Rose loves her mom too, but she tends to lick and kiss her mom rather than chew on her chin.  She is a bit different in how she expresses her total worship of this beautiful woman who cares for her every need and feeds her holding her close in bed all night long!  That is one special mommy you Lanoue kids have been blessed with, and you sure think she is the BEST! 
"I love my mommy sooooooooooooooo much!" 
Mary devouring her mom with LOVE 6 years ago!
Jesus too!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

John's book - Holy Innocents

Two Holy Innocents - little Rose Ida meets baby Jesus in the Nativity scene that has been part of our family Christmas in Marshall from the beginning - 34 years ago.  It is probably twice that old or more!  Today is the feastday of the Holy Innocents, the tiny martyrs, who gave their lives to protect our newborn Savior of the world.  Such a brutally hard thing for the parents and families to see their small ones slaughtered as the "furious" Herod ordered all the boys 2 years old and younger to be massacred.  Two weeks ago today the killings occurred in Connetticut.  My family gathered for Cross Christmas Camp and as we prayed the rosary each morning we recalled vividly the horror of this killing of 20 young children... At one point my mother compared it to the Holy Innocents, and that truly seemed to put it in a place of common pain and loss.  Yet it is hard to find this justification of bit of sense to be made of their loss as we read this today may it give us some peace and hope..."This barbaric case of 'mistaken identity' becomes the source of incomparable exultation for the Holy Innocents.  For there is no greater glory than for a person to be mistaken for Christ himself.  Perhaps the Lord has this in mind later in life when he declares that the only those who change and become like little children can enter the Kingdom of God.  In our childlikeness, we are most like Jesus Christ.  The blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us from all sin begins to reach us and transform us today in a powerful way through the blood of the martyred Holy Innocents."  see www.magnificat.com
A beautiful birth scene of the Savior of the world shortly becomes a place of slaughter and horror, as Joseph is warned in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to protect him from harm!  John is starting to work on an outline of his book he wants to write about his cancer journey/healing.  It will truly be his life story as he strayed away from his faith and asked the Lord to bring it alive... brain cancer did that with great gusto!  Reading over the outline yesterday I was struck with the funny stories that John lived with each staggering step that he took from discovering the cancer through treatments and PRAYER WITHOUT END.  I see that his book, that he so yearns to share, will be a wonderful sharing of his humor and the very humbling stories... I could just laugh they way that he stated his thoughts in the outline- "The urinal in the airport -holding onto the dividers so humbly."  was one he had for our trip to France after his second chemo!  Then I recalled his falling into the creek in the back pasture when he tried to jump over it... Just thinking that it could be such a good and uplifting book showing us how we are called to be little children once again!
Well, Lord, we thank and praise you for the beauty of finding HOPE in your Truth.  May we embrace the humble state of a little child and be open to YOU more and more in our lives.  Jesus,we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Purple girls...

Mary age 6 got a doll with the same hair color and blue eyes... then they were both dressed in a matching outfit at Christmas morning mass!  Well, grandma with her purple had to join them for a photo.  Today when I was over there Mary's mom was talking about making some clothes for her little girl - Laura Jean, and I think she wanted to make them matching with Mary.  Too fun!
With Baby Jesus, and yes Mary has lost her first tooth on the bottom adding to the cuteness factor!   I think Mary has a new baby in the family to go along with little Rose!

Yes, now there are two babies in the family picture!  It broke Simon's pattern - boy, girl, boy, girl, and girl!

"This is John..."

What a day and what a morning!!!  We awoke early to attend daily mass and adoration and to discover that it is one of John's feastdays, as it is now St John, the evangelist's special day!  As the Entrance Antiphon says today..."This is John, who reclined on the Lord's breast at supper, the blessed Apostle, to whom celestial secrets were revealed and who spread the words of life through all the world."  We all know that he was one that Jesus loved as a special friend, and it is quite evident to us that John is feeling a ever closer and closer knowledge and LOVE of Jesus and his Bride, the Church!  "St John is the Evangelist of the Incarnation.  He proclaims the glory of the Word coming forth from God to take on human flesh and dwell in our midst."  If you take some time to read his Gospel it is spectacularly beautiful to read the LOVE he shares for Jesus - the Word made flesh!!!
Such a blessing to have my son here with us for this Christmas time... he keeps reminding me that it is now Christmas and no longer Advent.  We lit the votive/Christmas wreath for morning prayer, not the Advent wreath any longer.  But I do love to light it, and enjoy it for the Christmastime we have now until the Epiphany!  It does truly become my Christmas wreath... filled with the warmth and LIGHT of our newborn King of Kings and Lord of Lords... a humble helpless baby, showing us how to love and serve our Lord with total selfless LOVE!

For John, up at Seminary, there is prayer morning and night - at night it is in a chapel just across the hall from his room.  They gather there, and sing night prayer.... I had the joy of listening while John sang in the empty Church in Minneota yesterday.  So beautiful, and there is just something about the song which allows our deepest feelings to come to the surface for our God.  John says that it is a part of his time spent asking the Lord to show him HIS path and Way for John to follow.  He is struggling with the studies, but has been encouraged by many that mention those great saint/priests that were less than smart when it comes to the studies, but are gifted in other powerful ways... He mentioned that the patron saint of priests, St John Vianney was one such person.  Another John that gives John guidance and encouragement on his journey called Call/Faith gained from cancer healing!  This morning in prayer shared together - he thanked God for his cancer, and all that it meant to him in the new and faith-filled John we now have with us.  Wow! 

One thing that John and I love to share is hymns to begin and end prayer!  We had a wonderful morning with Paul and his children, and Nancy and Bill and their two, along with great-grandma Anna on Christmas Eve morning... We shared morning prayer led by John from the office, and we did sing quite a bit with the kids! 
Simon and his siblings led some beautiful singing, and we ended with Away in a Manger sung to two different melodies.  This morning John and I sang all 5 verses of
O Little Town of Bethlehem
"How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
the dear Lord enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
decend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!"
That pretty much says it all for this feastday of John, who was the best friend of Jesus - his beloved Disciple!  Now through the Spirit we are all able to come to him even more closely!!!

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us in such a personal way.  Your love knows no bounds, and is without end and totally absolutely forgiving and unconditional.   We are so humbled by how unworthy we are - we ask forgiveness, and are forgiven and within no time at all we are making a mess of things again.  We are human and weak, yet you came to tranform our humanness with your LIFE and LOVE, which entered the world through Our Lady's YES!  We are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we are YOURS, O Lord!  St John, your beloved Disciple, shows us the beauty of Your incarnation as The Word of God became Man.  We fall at your feet with all the angels,Saints including St John the Evangelist!  Your Mother stands at your side interceding for us, as we ask for YOU to give us LIFE, LOVE and that we may be LIGHTS in our world.  Break the spell of darkness, and bring the Truth into the LIGHT for all to see, most especially those in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
"O God, you filled St John with Love for your Word and for Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh.  Through his intercession, may the Word fill the hearts of all your people, so that we may proclaim the Gospel by the love we bear for one another, through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen."
Closing prayer for morning prayer - see www.magnificat.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5npOxjWOhUI  A Mother's Song by Danielle Rose!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holy Hour with my seminarian, John.

We thought that there was adoration at St Edwards in Minneota, so we drove over there to find the church beautifully decorated for Christmas and all alone we shared a rosary, and then John shared his personal way of praying - singing alone to the Lord.  I told him to go right ahead, and act like I wasn't even there.  So special to hear my son singing to the Lord!  We had just shared morning prayer together at breakfast, and his prayers of asking the Lord, who was born for us and died for us, to remain always in our hearts burning with those Truths!  As a parent to be carried to such heights of prayer and faith by sharing worship with our children... nothing better under the sun!
I have started climbing the mountain of God today. 

The window of the stoning of St Stephen reminded us of the feastday for today!  St Stephen, pray for us.  You show us that all those that follow the innocent Lamb of God must be prepared to give our all to HIM!
Jesus, we love you and praise you for this time with my seminarian, John!  He is growing in such a sweet way in love with you and your Mother, Mary Most Holy!  He told me that he has made up his own way of praying the rosary, and that is right after his mom's heart.  I kind of made it my own by praying for each of my 5 kids on each of the 5 decades of the rosary.  I do know the mysteries on the proper days, but I also use it my way to pray as I know a mother is supposed to - for each of my children each and every day!  I have now added 5 more decades to pray for other needs that are very big for me and my loved ones.  Foremost is my husband and those that have prayed with us loyally through John's cancer and now little Patrick's battle for LIFE after being born dead!
Joseph wrote this Christmas Card after returning from Alfghanistan to be at the bedside of his critically ill son after a traunatic birth in which he was born 20 minutes without oxygen!
"Dear family and friends-
Our family has had some very dynamic experiences in the last months.  These have been saturated with suffering, deep sadness, and moments of near despair.  Yet, they have led us to a single, all convicting conclusion: life is about one thing, and one thing only: love.  It is love that is worth doing, having, being.  Period.  And it's not the 'good feelings' part.  It's the real stuff - the dirty stuff - the fighting stuff.  Why is this?  Becaus it is our nature.  God is love.  Not in the cheesy sense of the fly-by-night Sunday school session, but in the real sense of gift, of sacrifice, of service - of-death-to-self.  God's nature compels Him to want good things for us - and He infused this construction in us at our creation - and continues to grow it by grace.  No matter the suffering, no matter the evil or be had, there is nothing more powerful.  There is no power in hell, no devise of man that can overcome this.  The extreme anxiety had over a newborn's traumatic birth or the horror of the battlefields of Afghanistan can only be authentically engaged by a single act of love.  This is a most beautiful reality."  This was the evangelization... that was the card sent out by Maria and Joseph and their family!  Wow!

With that I will once again marvel at the depth that my children and their families take us on our FAITH JOURNEY! 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas snuggle

John loves his Lilly, and every time I see her healthy and happy I think of John's good friend, Ailene.  She was dating John when we suddenly came down with brain cancer 3 1/2 years ago, and at the same time our big black dog, Lilly was wasting away from a "mysterious farmdog disease."  She and John put Lilly in the back seat of John's car and took her 20 miles away to the Vet.  They started her on a huge number of pills to cover many possibilities including prednisone, and other familiar meds that my patients take.  So while John was fighting for his life against the enemy, cancer - he was feeding Lilly a chunk of velveeta morning and night full of her pills!  It was so good for him to focus on someone outside of himself, and she recovered to the point that now she is fat and frolicky as a puppy!  She loves the cows and calves, and they in turn love her.  She lays under the fence and licks the noses of the calves that Pat is feeding out this year, and she goes out in the pastures with the heifers he is keeping for breeding and they chase each other around the pasture.  John will be needing a shower and there is a blanket on the couch to protect it, but it was a sweet sight to behold as the two of them enjoyed the warmth of the wood stove after some cold time out bedding the calves. 
"Thanks Johnny and Ailene for saving my life, and for the LOVE you give me too!"

Lilly and a heifer out enjoying a beautiful November morning in the pasture, in front of the house.  Now there is snow out there, and she has to go to the barn to visit them. 

A game of chase the puppy!  These heifers will become cows in the herd and will be friends of Lilly for many years to come, and their calves will get their noses licked under the fence in a couple years too!  Wishing you and yours Christmas snuggles with your loved ones in your life too.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Shiny and soft...

"I love you, Baby Jesus!  You blessed the Farm... with your birth in a manger in a stable."  Little Rose Ida on her first Christmas.  Life is a GIFT!