Friday, February 28, 2014

John is home...

Drove through snow over half the way down and back, moved stuff into cars and out again, quiet supper asking for direction and feeling tired and sad.  There is a lot to consider now and continued requests for healing and protection of John's brain.  Lord, we feel down, and this relentless winter is not helping our mental health.  The calves continue to come - two more today, and the cold does not seem to be having any negative affect on them so far.  Thanks for that, Lord!  Evening prayer shared is where we need to put our energy as we TRUST in the Lord's plan.  Jesus, we place this situation in your hands.  May John find his way - YOU, Jesus, are the Way, the Truth, and the LIFE!  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless, Barb

Marriage built on the Rock - children the cement!

John with Our Lady in Jackson Catholic Church 4 months ago the day I took him and helped him move into his apartment to start his job as 4H extension agent.  Today I am going to help him move out with a lot of emotions!

Just back from town and stopped at a local business - the woman waiting on me asked me about John and I was allowed to look back over the last 4 1/2 years and our journey.  I said to her that it is a funny thing she is asking me about him today as I am just on my way to pick him up and bring him home... asking God what fork his journey will take now.  He resigned his job in Jackson, after his world crashed around him with the news from Mayo that there are some changes in his brain.  That along with unhappiness at work and no one to meet in town added up to a very low birthday and the decision to quit his job and go back to discerning his call to serve the Lord as the new John.  As I was speaking to this interested person this morning - both of us mothers, who understand the needs of our children that keeps us, where we belong, on our knees!   That is my main profession in life - prayer for each of my kids, kids-in-law, and grandchildren, and lately I realized that my marriage would be much helped if I prayed for my husband, My Most Cherished Cross, Pat , each day also!  I do this in a very real way by having a decade of the rosary set aside for each of my 5 kids and adding one for Pat. 
John with a great prolife T-shirt! 
John has one sole desire... to share his cancer story with the hope and prayer that it will help others that are questioning their faith. Here is the page that I devoted to some of John's cancer stories - http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/johns-cancer-stories.html 
It seems that cancer has consumed him, and changed him, and made him into the new John, and now he is struggling with the effects of the chemo, radiation and stem cell transplant it took to rid him of the cancer.  He continues to feel that he was spared for a very powerful reason, and so he is back to discerning a possible call!  As his parents we are worried and prayerful and hopeful and also feel that there was a healing here and that the Lord has a plan for the new John! 
John outside his apartment in November.  It was a miserable place and added to the wrongness of his move there.  We had decided that we needed to find him a better place to live, if he had stayed there.  So it was just a part of the depressing place he found himself, along with the news from Rochester a month ago and poor work situation... it just seemed wrong for him.
It totally seems that the Holy Spirit has been in charge of how Jackson just was hard and not really right!   I know that I am being a mother here, and making excuses for John leaving this job and coming back with the question of his future.  One thing I will say without a pause is that John is always asking the Lord to show him where he is to be.  As a parent, who is along for the bumpy ride, that is really the bottom line for me.  As you can see, this has consumed our prayers and conversations for Pat and I and the rest of the family.  When we are parents united in the sacrament of Marriage - as Jesus reminds us today in the Gospel - it is for our lifetime!  We then are open to LIFE/children and to raising them to be LIGHTS!  That never ends and the joys and challenges and life issues of each of our kids keeps us cemented one to the other and in a constant need of sharing prayer to start each day together! 
John back just days after his move to Jackson to meet his new nephew, Luke, born on November 1st.  So many things pulled him back to Marshall, and hindered him meeting people there.  He just realized that home is where his heart is.
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, no human being shall separate."  Jesus speaking to us this day in the Gospel  - Mark 10:1-12
Jesus, we are looking to YOU this day to help us along the narrow path as we embrace our Most Cherished Cross and find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  All those lives we have been blessed with - our children here (5) and in heaven (7).  Now the grandchildren reaching 12 in a few months!  All those LIGHTS to bring us ever closer to YOU in prayer each day.  We thank and praise YOU for the healing of John of his brain cancer, and now trust in YOU to show him the path he is to follow carrying his Cross.  We place his brain in your hands and knowing you are in control we ask for continued healing and protection.  May he find the ability to embrace the new John and share without hesitation his story of cancer/healing/looking for direction to love and serve YOU, O Lord.  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Father's Day Sunday 2009 - John discovers in a CT scan in Marshall that there is something in his brain as we are home getting ready to head to Sioux Falls for an MRI we call France to let Susan know what is happening.  We get her on the phone!  "Mom, do you remember this Gospel for today?"  "Yes, it is Jesus calming the storm in Mark."  "Well, this is the storm and Jesus is in control."  Yes!!!!
Casting Crowns - Praise You in the Storm

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back on the air - cow and cowhand TV

We have been struggling with our Cow TV surveillance camera in the barn... tonight Pat put on a new cable and there it was clear as can be!  Pat's huge hand filled the screen crystal clear.  The TV is now back where it belongs and the cows are there for us to watch their every move!
So nice on these cold nights to get up and sit by the woodstove on the couch every few hours and watch the camera go back and forth a few times to check and see if any are calving.  With two calves today, and over 40 locked up in the barn that look close - it feels like we are getting into calving for sure! 
Admiring the flexing of muscles by the cowhand./farmer/husband as he spreads out the nice clean corn stalk bedding for the cows to lay on tonight and if any decide to calve - they have a nice dry place to have their calf.  The cold continues to be nasty and miserable!
The warming box helps and was used by the new calf born this afternoon.  Can you imagine the shock of coming into this frigid world soaking wet?  A true shock, but that mother cow starts licking all that wet off the calf immediately and licks them so hard that they are flipping all over the place a lot of times.  It stimulates the calf and keeps it warm a bit if that is possible.  They sure seem to be doing fine in this cold, but warmer would sure be nice, Lord, please!  Jesus, we ask you to be with calving this year.  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
A calf that is a few days old is looking pretty cute and frisky!
Covertly watching my husband work is kind of nice - one of my favorite things to do is watch my hunky farmer! 
Always fun to see cute Snowball - she will be having her 3rd calf this year.  Her first calf Snowflake will be having her first calf soon - Mary is excited!
Lilly meeting the newest calf born this afternoon. 

Cut off what keeps us from HIM - The Saint that is just me


Last night Simon and Luke sharing some time - super sweet!

A homeschooling friend/mother of 4 had this on facebook this morning with a sharing of her two oldest dealing with annoyance with each other.  They speak in terms of their journey towards Sainthood - "Mom, I need your prayers. I need to figure out how to actually love him when he makes me so angry."  The sharing led me to this amazing song by Danielle Rose - the Saint that is just me
I just watched the video while she was singing and found many pearls!  Usually I start the song and then read my blog to the background music... it is truly worth watching as there is much there more than her amazing words in the song.  The readings for today are also very difficult - St James in the first reading is pretty much fire and brimstone on the subject of wealth and how it leads to hell!  This is always a hard thing for me.  I admit that I am very comfortable in my life and just looking at me you know that I am overindulgent when it comes to putting things in my mouth.  I know that I need to give more and do without more!  This is a something that I need to cut off from myself as it is preventing me from being the Saint I am being called upon to be in my life.  Lord, I want to do better - help me!  Then in the Gospel Jesus also is very graphically hard on our sinful natures...  He is telling us to get rid of those things that come between His being in control of our lives!  "Cut it off"  "Pluck it out"  He tells us!  We all have those things which are selfish and wrong which we make excuses for in our lives.  My kids have been my conscience along the road pointing out to me things that I should not be doing.  Now that is humbling and really makes you pause and put a stop to those things!  I also have the 7 little angels in heaven watching over me, and that makes you pause when tempted also!
Simon is now 9 and his baby brother is just about 4 months.  It is kind of crazy that Ruth and I had our 5 children in almost the exact same amount of time - maybe a week or two off - talk about patterns from one generation to the next!  Simon has heard it said that he and Luke look a lot alike and he was showing me that they share the same eyes.  I loved having the chance to capture the two of them together.  They will share life always as siblings with all the ups and downs they will encounter.  Hopefully they will bear one with the other and always take their hardships to prayer having Faith in Jesus, and His Bride, The Church!
St Catherine of Sienna today in the Meditation of the Day spoke of how we are called - "Cutting off what is not God's LOVE"
"How true it is then... that within the cell of your soul you will find the whole of God.  And he bestows such sweetness, refreshment, and consolation that no matter what may happen we cannot be shaken, because we have been made big enough to hold God's own will.  How?  By getting rid of all selfish love, by getting rid of everything that is not God's will." 
Wow!  That is so amazing isn't it?  To realize that we are large enough to hold God in that temple/cell within us - that really makes me want to sweep it clean and to make all the effort in the world to cut off and pluck out the sin that I allow to creep in and dirty up the place!  May I take a hard look at myself, Lord, and make a move to cut, and pluck, and give without counting the cost!
Luke and his grandpa leaning on each other feels good!  It is so delightful to have our little Luke now here to share LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT with on the journey of Faith/family /farm!  It is humbling and beautiful to realize that God knew little Luke in the ways we are starting to from the moment he was conceived in the womb - see Psalm 139!
             9" If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you."
The 5 sharing a meal together... Each is a special child of God, and they are very aware of this.  Both Simon and Mary have had their first reconciliation and felt the LOVE and mercy of God!  Why hide our weaknesses and sins - Jesus, knows them already!
Jesus, the hard words in your Word today are like a spotlight that has been placed on our inner places where we have become lazy and think that they are hidden from you in the darkness in those shadowy places.  But YOU see all!  Nothing is hidden from YOU - You, who have counted the hairs on our heads and known us from the moment of our conception in the womb and before!  We cannot fathom your infinite love and forgiveness for us!  Help us to look critically at our lives and cut off and pluck out all those things that are sinful and lead us away from YOU!  May we give of ourselves and die to self so that YOU may live and move and breath within our inner temple/cell - may we contain God and then take that Spirit forth into our lives - may we come often to YOU in the confessional and lay all those things humbly and with great contrition at your feet!  Why try to hide anything from YOU - YOU know all!  Lord, I hear you calling me to come to be reconciled to YOU in the sacrament of reconciliation and then go forth from that healing to do better in my life.  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke - hiding from the wind yesterday - so cold - behind a small wall in the barn.  Lord, please bring the warmth with March!
"I tell you, you will find there the gentle mercy of the Holy Spirit, the aspect of God that gives and is nothing but love.  Whatever the Spirit does is done because of love.  And this movement of love you will find within your own soul, because our will is nothing but love, and its every affection and movement comes from nothing but love."  St Catherine of Siena (1380) is a doctor of the Church
1 " O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."  Psalm 139
Mary reading books to Luke...
Another wonderful song by Danielle Rose - Wonderfully made - Psalm 139

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Brothers and sisters - boy, girl, boy,girl, boy= a pattern!

We hear two things about our beautiful new grandson Luke - he looks like his older brother Simon and he looks like my younger brother, Dan.  Simon and Luke got together tonight - Simon was telling me that they share similar eyes...Yes, they do look similar in shape and size, and Luke's are still turning brown - not quite as dark as Simon's or Rose's yet.  His nose is more upturned than Simon's and that is where he does really look a lot like my brother, Dan.  He is a wonderful little guy and was super sweet and good for grandpa and grandma tonight while mom and dad taught faith formation. 
A sweet Lukey smile in his boppy as the kids gather around him for supper tonight.
The 5 gathered around and on the table for supper.  Luke watching it all very closely. 
Grandpa and Luke seem to have an understanding - they both love each other unconditionally!
WrestleMania after supper, baths, and showers, and a few games of uno - Mary beat me 3 out of 4 games.  When we left no one had gotten hurt and Luke was asleep in bed.  Seeing Mary wrestle with the boy older and younger than her... I could see the difference in the pattern of their family to ours where we had 4 girls in a row and not much wrestling there unless it was them sitting on dad as he lay on the floor reading or sleeping.  I guess patterns make a difference in families, and is a part of what makes them tick.  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke

"You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow." St James

There are so many things about this that is wonderful, but looking at it and sharing it last night on my blog brought me to ponder the way this teacher had asked the kids to consider their "call."  It wasn't phrased - what do I want to be when I grow up, but rather it was "God might be calling me to be a______."  So great for a 7 year old to begin realizing that they are looking always to God to guide and direct them and show them what he might be calling them to.  I was determined that all of my kids would consider religious life.  In order for the 4 girls to see a Sister in a habit - I had to send them to Schoenstatt camp in Sleepy Eye.  It was a very wonderful week for the girls!   There were those years when I would go to pick them up and they wouldn't want to leave there.  There were the colorful and descriptive sharing of praying in the small shrine for an hour and their knees slipping in the sweat in the non air conditioned chapel.  It was not all a bed of roses, but they loved it!  And it was when I was driving Susan home from there at about 10 years old that she made me stop the car by the power of the Spirit around us when she told me - "I think I am called to be a sister, mom."  It was always on the back burner for her along the way to her entering Catholic Studies at St Thomas, studying in Rome for a year where she was introduced to the Community of the Lamb, and then their arrival in the U.S. in Kansas City, where she told us in front of the altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe that she was going to France to enter!  Then our family expanding in such a wonderful and glorious way!  The power of their prayers as they have shared our journey with us!  All a part of that "call" to Hallel and passing it on now to her nieces and nephews!
Her two youngest nieces are sharing and recognizing that they are family and happy to see each other and chase around after each other and play.  It is wonderful to see them relating joyfully!  They have no idea how lucky they are to have an aunt, who is a little Sister and to share in that life with and through her.  But it will be their way of considering this wonderful call for themselves as well.  Mary already is asking God to show her the path He has for her, and knows that it could be to religious life.  How wonderful and exciting for her to already have that beautiful LIGHT guiding her path.  It is so contrary to the world telling kids that they need to get the big job with lots of money to get the big house and toys and maybe fit in the two kids...  So sad!  No!  We need to put God first in our lives, and ask him to show us the Way!  Then we take each day as it comes and place our trust in HIM!  St James reminds us that we cannot know truly where our life will be tomorrow... all things can change in an instant.  Yes, we work the job, we care for our family, we fit in our prayers with each breath that we take and with every beat of our hearts, and we see what each day holds and try to LOVE and serve HIM in our domestic Church/family and see HIM in all those that we meet.
One more of those happy girls in sunlight pictures - to see the LOVE and enjoyment on their faces is so heartwarming!   I just bought them matching dresses - spring dresses- and I can't wait to get them together again in about 3 weeks!  Dressing little girls alike is my total weakness, and takes me back to my nest like nothing else! 
Many of us think we can plan our lives and control all the parts and pieces that make it up... that is a sure recipe for failure and disappointment.  We are to give it all to HIM and try not to take it back too often.  Yes, we take care of those things we are given and are responsible for... being open to family means we are also being responsible for raising them to be LIGHTS to the world.  That means sharing Faith in our domestic Church/homes and also enthusiastically and joyfully attending Church together as a family.  It is a beautiful time at night to share prayers as a family - I remember in Michigan last summer as all of us would gather for prayer before bed in the big gathering space - about 15 of us adults and kids!  4 year old David would pray for his intentions at great length and was for some reason very much convicted to pray for among many things - "electricity"- every night.  We were just joyfully remembering how David prayed every night for "electricity" in Michigan!  A beautiful family prayer memory to be cherished!
Sweet brown eyed Rose reading a book with grandma in the sunshine!
Jesus, today you ask us to be for you and to work mighty deeds for you in the Gospel.  May those mighty deeds be done as we humbly serve those in our domestic Church/family without counting the cost.  When someone is suffering or ill, Lord, they lash out at those around them and we just want to be angry as we are only trying to help them and we are hurt by them!  "Wounded, I will not cease to LOVE."  Such difficult words to live by... may we take small steps in loving and serving without counting the cost.  As Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel (1964) shared this morning in the meditation of the day - "To triumph over evil The Christian has one weapon - his Faith.  The faith that he has to proclaim, the faith which transforms evil into good, if he himself accepts suffering as an energy for the salvation of the world; if death is for him the giving of his life; if everybody else's pain becomes his own.
In his place in time, both through his words and through his deeds, by his suffering and by his death, he works like Christ, he works with Christ and he works through Christ."  That is a pretty tall order, Lord, and I am failing miserably at it... may Your Spirit come and dwell in me and allow me to follow you more closely carrying my Most Cherished Cross and finding LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
A girl under each arm in the sun - one thinks her shoe is tasty!
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”
Thérèse de Lisieux
“Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.”
Thérèse de Lisieux   A further burden on us as we strive to serve with LOVE as our motivating factor!
A loving and protecting dad!
Chris Rice - Come to Jesus
Pope Francis: "The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ."

- Joy of the Gospel
Pope Francis says it much better than I!
 
A new one from Maria's blog of the 3 in Texas! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Thoughts to vocations at 7 years old

When we were in Kansas City a week ago we shared this with the Community, and they thought it was so great that they want us to send them a copy!  They loved her face of JOY, and they were so impressed at what a good job she did with the headpiece part of their habit.  I always struggle getting that right, but she did it all beautifully!
Equally beautiful is what she wrote about her "call" - super special that it was phrased this way.  How good it is to consider the fact that the Lord has a plan for us in our lives and He is in control of our lives, and that we need to ask Him always to show us the path that He has in mind for us!  It would have been interesting to see some of the other ones, and what some of them said in the light of this way of looking at it.  I have always felt that my granddaughters especially will consider a call to religious life having a little sister and her Community so much a part of our lives!
A work of art displayed on the refrigerator in their home!  Mary you make me smile ear to ear just like this precious little sister Mary!
Mary and Rose in the Mardi Gras masks they made with Nancy over the weekend... next week already marks the beginning of lent! 
Mary showing Luke that he doesn't need to be afraid of the new baby calf.  Maybe she can be a little Sister that has a pet cow and calf - you never know!  Mary has always had her special pets in the herd.  Soon her Snowflake will have her first calf!  I know she hopes it will be a girl/heifer and will continue on in the herd.  This one might have to be called Icy or Chilly after this cold winter we have been having.   Warmer please Lord!  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Luke looking up to his big sister - she is a pro with the calves and will teach Luke all he needs to know in a few years... a true 4H family! 
Mary watching Hallel in Kansas City in September!
Sunny pose!
Loves to help with dishes wearing her blue apron!
With her namesake - Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sat by Hallel when Marie took her habit and changed her name to Little Sister Inez!
So blessed!!!

Approaching 12 children!

A constant flow of kids fill my days lately, and it makes me pause to remind myself that although I wasn't able to have the 12 kids I thought I wanted... I have 7 in heaven and 5 here with me... that with the two in the wombs of Nancy and Maria we will be up to 12 grandkids!  Today in the Gospel Jesus takes a child and sets in our midst and "putting his arms around it, he said to us, 'Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.' "  This morning we have Ruth's youngest and it has been busy caring for Luke and keeping track of where Rose is and what she is up to.  It was most eye opening when I was at the sink brushing my teeth - Rose was there with her toothbrush doing everything grandma did.  It kind of humbles you to see how closely they watch us and do what we do.  Such a lesson on how we are to model for them how to live life well... on the path to holiness!  Yet, Jesus tells us over and over to watch the example of little children and to follow their example to us!
Rose and Luke can teach grandma how to love without counting the cost.  If they are hurt or crying - in a short minute they are smiling and forget the entire incident!  How many times does Jesus ask us to forgive those that have hurt us and not hold grudges?  70x7 times?  Always forgive just as Jesus does for us over and over and over!  Today is a busy one with only moments to share here and there.  With the window closing before we leave for town... Jesus, I never dreamed that the 12 would come in the shape of grandchildren, but it is so wonderful to have all of them coming and going on a daily basis in my Faith/Family/Farm and teaching me the lessons of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  May we continually forgive and forget as the little ones do from moment to moment.  One minute crying as if their hearts or finger is broken and the next smiling-laughing-running with utmost of glee!  "Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will support you."  From the psalm at mass today - Psalm 55!  Just as the little ones depend on us to feed and care for their every need - so we rely on YOU, O Lord!  As St James says in the first reading today - "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you...Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you."  It makes me feel like I can come close to the Lord and he will scoop me up and place me on his lap and teach me and kiss me and burp me and show me that He loves me unconditionally!  Abba, Father, I love you!  Jesus, I trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah
Rosie and grandma had coloring time together!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke with Rose and Luke to show me the path to Jesus!
One of those cool snowing pictures - the heifers out on the snowy hill with the sun rising this morning and the sliver of a moon in the sky. 
Do Small things with great LOVE - Danielle Rose
 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cow/bull/calf happenings

Daffodil and the bull with the sore foot hanging out in the calving barn - yes, the camera is now plugged in and watching over 27 cows that are showing signs of getting close to calving.  We get up and come out to watch cow TV to check on them through the night.  How did we get a bull with a sore foot?  In a fight with the other bulls when we were gone to Texas... for more on this situation you can read Ruth's blog - she wrote a very insightful sharing about  how bull's fight this time of year... http://familyfarmexperience.blogspot.com/
Snow covered cows tonight... getting tired of the winter much?  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless,
Barbara Luke