Thursday, July 31, 2014

A late pig show...

Arrived to discover that the pig show was still hours off.
Got to see the pigs with Mary.

They were happy to take a longer nap, but it was hard to wait so long.
Simon waiting and waiting... 
 Rose says goodbye to the pigs, because grandma took the little ones home.  It was just too late!
Happy Luke... bye-bye Piggies!
A family picture before I take the little ones home for a bath and bedtime.  Ruth will take pictures of the show that I can borrow.  Bless-bless, Barb
Say "Cheese" Bacon!!!!

"Following Christ in obedience to God's will discerned in prayer..."

A calm Mary and calf seem to be enjoying the support of one another shortly before Mary entered the show ring this morning.  On our trip in John and I prayed morning prayer from the Magnificat, and recalled all the many years of frantic getting ready for the beef show early in the morning.  Today I just helped out with Rose, and sat and watched.
Simon and Mary give grandma a nervous smile just before the show.  They both did wonderfully well.  The thing about the beef project is that it is a lot of work and is a very real way of learning about the farm and caring for the animals that feed the world. 
Today is the memorial of a very special Saint in my family history - St Ignatius of Loyola!   My father's call into The Church began at an Ignation retreat my parents were attending, so that runs very deeply into the roots of our Faith journey.  So true are these words - "Following Christ in obedience to God's will discerned in prayer was central to St Ignatius' spirituality."  In reading Isaiah 55:1-2 my dad was told to leave his ministry in the Protestant Church and become Catholic along with the other 12 members of our family!  This is the page I devoted to this story that laid the foundation for my LOVE for The Church!
Mary walks in the ring confident and beautiful! 
In the last 24 years there are only a few we have not had kids and now grandkids showing beef in the ring!  There is nothing more wonderful than to see Mary with that smile on her face and twinkle in her eye!  Between 4H and attending the Catholic School - there is so much the kids gain in ability to present themselves and have that good self-concept that will follow them through the ups and downs of life.  St Ignatius is so right in reminding us that we need to always be looking to Jesus' will and plan for us.  If we put Him first... all the rest will fall into place.
Mary with her head high and joy in her heart!
Speaking of JOY!!!!  Today is an Hallel Psalm for mass today - Psalm 146
How's this for the epitome of Praise?!
"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob."

Mary answering the judge's questions.
Today the first reading is from Jeremiah 18 - the clay and the potter.  Wouldn't it be wonderful for us and for all those around us if we could be molded by God into the wonderful vessel He has in mind for us?  We would be so useful and happy!
"Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand."  Jeremiah 18:6
Rose had to go and see the goats, while we waited for the beef show to start, and they had to see her too!
Simon showing for the first time as a 4Her!  He was worried after being kicked the night before, so an older 4Her held onto the end of his halter and gave him moral support.  Thanks, Cal!!!
Jesus, there are those times we are afraid and worried with the challenges that come to us with life.  The times we are weak and need help from you and from others... those times we are humble and small.  We are blessed with those that reach out and help us as well as the times You direct us on our path through the prayers and obedience to your will. 
Simon with his calf and a strong arm of support as he shows for his first year.  He did wonderfully!
Jesus, we see over and over that there is no shame in being small and needing help!  We are told over and over again that we need to be humble in our lives and look to You always.  We are blessed so often by your wonderful LOVE for us and unconditional forgiveness no matter what we do.  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah
 Simon concentrating so hard on his first time!
 Leaving the ring after such a good job!
 Simon and Mary were watched very closely by their 3 younger siblings - soon they will be showing too!
The hard things we do in life lead to a feeling of great accomplishment when we overcome our fears and go forward - doing our very best!  You did it Simon!!!!
Rose watching her big brother. 
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
"The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by do doing to save his or her soul."  St Ignatius of Loyola (1556)
Our Pope Francis is also a Jesuit - St Ignatius founded his order.
Matt Maher - Hold us together

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Garden time - Fair time - Thoughts of the Kingdom

There is much excitement in the air this morning... over to pick up Luke and Rose so that the older 3 and mom and dad could take in the pigs and calves to the fair this morning.  The beef show is in the morning tomorrow and then the pig show will be later in the day.  Tomorrow will be a very big day!   I spent the day working in open class on photography yesterday...  For the first time ever I only entered 2 pictures, and placed with both of them.
This picture earned me the Best of Show!!!  I have had it on my table since I took it over 2 months ago.  It is wonderful to know that it isn't only loved by me!  Of course, the cows add a specialness to it.  The judge also mentioned all the facial expressions and the long grass and the grain bin... Rose is the stealer of the show with her cute excited smiling excitement...
I borrowed this picture from their blog post today sharing the shocking loss of Sarah.
As I sat there for many hours taking in pictures to be judged - I found myself reading many entries by Sarah Harken on her blog -  She died suddenly two days ago along with her baby girl in her womb... leaving her husband and 4 children!  Tears were shed as I read her sharing of her at home birth a year and a half ago, and the discovery that her baby girl had Down's syndrome!  Little Faustina is special!  I feel such a kinship with this wonderful Catholic mother, and we cannot know why she was called from this world.  She had found the pearl of great price and knew that it lay in her Faith and her Family!  Now she and her daughter, Cecilia, are truly in His Kingdom and will draw many to HIM!
As I picked the garden with Luke and Rose this morning... Luke was content to chew on a yellow squash I had just picked - That is fresh and wonderful for him!
 Rose found apples to keep her busy and ate them even though they are green and not ready yet.
A little bit of a face telling me they are still bitter and tart.  We are in the apples this year!
Roger and Lilly, the dogs, are convinced that all the food we like is good for them too.  I have already shared that they eat my beans off the plants as well as the asparagus.  They also eat carrots out of the garden and apples.  I think you might not like these green apples though Roger.  Rose thought it was funny to have Roger trying to take her apples, and it made a special picture too.
 Next Luke got a cuke out of the pail, and was chewing on that too.  I think I will be making a lot of refrigerator pickles this year.  Also many loaves of zucchini bread.  I made  6 loaves a few days ago out of one big zucchini!!!!  There are 3 loaves gone already too!
Filled with so much freshness, vitamins, and minerals, and smiles!
Jesus, life is filled with all the ups and downs... may we always keep our eyes, hearts, and minds focused on You and Your Bride, The Church!  In this way we find a small slice of Heaven/ your Kingdom here in the midst of our domestic Church/Family!  "When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it."  Matthew 13:44-46  The Gospel for today is Truth we have found on our journey of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  Be with the family of Sarah and Cecilia - may they cling to You, O Lord, and be comforted by your Mother of God!  Sarah is known as the Clay Rosary Girl as she made a sold amazing rosaries made with clay beads she made.  She loved Mother Mary and promoted the prayer without ceasing to her - the rosary!  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Amen and Hallelujah!
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
"He said: 'I am the bread that has come down from heaven.'  He is the Bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the flesh, molded in his passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulcher, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars, which daily supplies heavenly food to the faithful."  St Peter Chrysologus (450) Today is St Peter's feast day... pray for us!
Newsboys - Born Again
Newsboys - God's not dead with scenes from Narnia!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Helpless? Questions with no answers?

While picking up bales the other day... John drove down into a ditch and a bale fell off his rack into the creek, down a steep bank.  Yesterday, I watched from the road as they put a chain around it with the tractor sitting facing down the hill and then slowly Pat pulled it out.  As I watched with my rosary in my hand... I had a helpless fear overtake me - allowing myself to think of all that could happen to my husband and son.  "I was surprised that you didn't come down there too, but there was nothing you could do there."  said John to me this morning.  Each step of the procedure I was praying to Our Lady to assist them and keep them out of harm's way.  As I watched that bale cooperate and move out of the water and up the steep hill - I rejoiced!!!!  I think we all were happy and surprised that it all worked out.
Out of the creek and soon loaded on my trailer and taken home!  As John thanked Our Lady for bringing him to Her Son for healing this morning at prayer..."I don't know what I would have done without your help, My wonderful Mother of Heaven and earth."  John prayed with a voice filled with gratitude and wonder.  I find her comfort and help on my journey with each new day!
I am off today to finish up my fine arts entry day and judging.  Ruth has started entering now with her beautiful camera and I only entered 2 pictures!  The tide has turned!
I had a conversation with one of my daughters that has filled us with a ever lingering question with no answer - "Why, Lord, did a young mother and her baby die after bee stings on a walk?  Why are there now 4 little ones and a husband left without them?"   A dear friend of our family lost her sister-in-law, pregnant with her 5th child, and the baby yesterday.   We are shaken to the core and all the inconveniences and issues of life seem to become so small and pointless in comparison.  Pat and I had to do the quick version of prayer this morning as the fair and hauling corn was making him get out of the house quickly.  One prayer/plea to God - "Why, Lord?"  There are no answers to such a tragedy, and we will not understand until we too leave this world. 

Jesus, we are helpless and reminded that there are not answers in this world.  Where would we be without our faith in You and knowing that this mother and child are with You is all we can cling to for comfort.  We place this family in your hands and may they find comfort in their Faith and Family through the life ahead of them.  We pray for the soul of this mother, and her baby, and her family left behind.  Jesus, we trust in You.  Amen
Bless-bless, Barb
The feast of St Martha today..."Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."  Martha today in the Gospel - John 11: 19-27 She ran up to Jesus after her brother, Lazarus, had died.  Jesus did raise him from the dead, but eventually he did die again.  Twice! 
Lord, may this tragedy with this family touch many, and may they turn to you and believe that you are The Christ!   We turn to Christ and His Bride, The Church!
The Lord works in amazing and miraculous ways - give it to Him in prayer!
Francesca Batistelli - lead me to the Cross

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fair week - kids learning to work on the farm called abuse?

Pat reported that Simon was looking more confident walking his calf last night... it is his first year in 4H and he will be showing his calf alone - without his dad or mom holding onto the halter with him.  In discovery the parent walks in the ring with their child, but once you graduate 3rd grade you are big enough to start doing it on your own.  A big step for the 9 year olds!  Mary is just a year behind Simon and is ready to be in his shoes next year!  I came across an article in Beef Daily about whether making kids work on the farm/ranch is a form of child abuse...;postID=6542486921811535247
Ruth walking the other calf out - she along with her 3 sisters and brother all showed beef at the fair during many years in 4H and now the grandkids are involved.  They all felt that showing and learning to do  the work on the animals with their farmer dad has been very positive in their development and work ethic.  Here is part of a blog post shared in this article...
Jackson responded with a very good blog post entitled, “Farms: The Abuse Of Children.” Here is an excerpt:
  • The daunting task of feeding calves EVERY SINGLE night taught me responsibility. 
  • The unforgiving smell of manure on my tennis shoes in math class taught me humility.
  • The field full of hay bales that had to be loaded on a trailer then unloaded in a barn taught me work ethic.
  • The stubbornness of cattle not wanting to move pens taught me the value of team work.
  • Newborn calves born in the snow who just didn't want to eat taught me gentle patience.
  • Sorting 2,000-lb. bulls before I got into kindergarten taught me courage.
  • And, at the end of the day, the sunset beaming streams of warmth down on a green field full of cows taught me happiness.
After mass on Sunday putting the calves in the barn and then walking the pigs. 
There is a lot of stress these last weeks before the fair, and at times it seems to be more than we can handle with all the haying and everything else that needs to be done on the farm this time of year.  Yet, this is the time when the kids are really involved and learn so much about the animals on the farm and all they need to provide food for the world.  I am very excited that my oldest daughter, Ruth, has a blog promoting the farm and understanding the truth about this big and complicated LIFE that we live here.
I borrowed this great picture of the oldest 3 walking their pigs.  Imagine the exercise, visiting and learning they are doing through their times out feeding, caring for and walking their pigs and calves.  Mary doesn't want to stop there... they have egg laying chickens and she wants to get into rabbits too! 
It will be a new fair for me... I have shown endless pictures over the years in open class, and I know that surprises no one that knows me.  This year Ruth is showing and she has a beautiful camera and blows me out of the water.  I am showing only 2 pictures and she is showing "in most every category."  Times they are a changing for the better!  This is one of hers' that I borrowed from her blog today... so good!  Simon's cute face full of concentration and the alert and sweet face of the calf... so special through her beautiful lens! 
Running pigs, smiling kids and sticks to try to keep them out of the corn or under the fence, and grandpa and daddy there to share the fun.... we have a new appreciation for the pig project.
That joyful element is so big in making the work on the farm a shared family time that can be enjoyed and learned from.  Even when it is tense with the working with lose large cattle... it builds character and work ethic.  I thought that the blogger shared some very special and important values she gained from sharing work on the farm as a family.  It certainly was embraced by both Ruth and Paul, who now have the life they grew up with in their own family.  To me that it the height of a compliment to us, their parents!  "They must have thought it was a good life... to want it for their family now!"
Luke watching and learning in his mom's arms.
The Gospel today is the faith of a mustard seed... a tiny seed/apparent meagerness and nothingness of our life becomes a tree/bush that birds can rest in.  "When we obey God's words, we come to realize that in divine providence nothing is 'good for nothing.'  We become 'his people, his renown, his praise, his beauty.'" Jeremiah 13 - the first reading from mass today
Our faith needs to grow and grow from our nothingness tiny seed of saying yes in our humble and small way.  Baby steps of faith in the right direction can get us down the narrow path carrying The Most Cherished Cross!  Last night at mass we read about the Kingdom of God and selling our all to possess that Pearl of great price!  How do we give our all?  On the Cross as Jesus showed us and then asked us to do likewise!  This really struck me when we sang this amazing song during the presentation of the gifts - Lead me to the Cross!
Lead me to the Cross by Francesca Basttistelli
This sounds hard and scary and makes us want to run, but after experiencing the hardships of life day to day we realize that in humbly accepting them we go forward into the LOVE/LIFE/LIGHT of our journey!
Pat and I shared a most wonderful wedding this weekend... a mom with her 3 kids joined the farm world/life!  It truly was a testament to the power of prayer and healing!  Hearing the stories of how the kids love the farmlife they have found through their new dad, Bruce.  I know that many prayers have been answered in a most wonderful way! 
Congratulations Bruce and Kristen and family - welcome to farm life and much happy years ahead sharing not a job but a life - Faith/Family/Farm!  Sharing with a friend at the wedding..."To me Faith and Family are so close that they cannot be separated.  Yes, faith is first and foremost, but family is so intertwined that they cannot be separated!" 
Jesus, we adore you and thank you for the Cross and how it is truly the tree of LIFE filled with such glorious fruit and flowers and all LIFE that is wondrous and beautiful!  We see over and over again how the Most Cherished Cross brings us LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  We need only turn to you in our weak and lowliness and you are there to comfort and make our yoke easy and light!  When we are too weak to walk on our own - you carry us in your arms as the Good Shepherd.  If we only allow the smallest seed of faith - it can become  large enough to share and give shelter to others in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
I can find peace and prayer as I put clothes on the line and pick up bales - rosary in hand and Mary always taking me to her Son!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
"By waiting and by calm you shall be saved, in quiet and in trust your strength lies." Isaiah 30:15
"I would carry two pails one on either side and my two younger brothers would help me.. one on each side of me.  This was how we would help feed the chickens - sharing the work as little boys."  Pat Verly  One of the most precious pictures I can imagine of Pat's early farm life.  The 3 little boys carrying 2 pails.
Danielle Rose - The Saint that is just me
Thinking of my Vandendriessche family during this sad time. Wish I could be there for you. 󾬕
How this man will be missed!!!!  Bobby, you showed us how to give without counting the cost!  You will be missed! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dancing for JOY - our small slice of Heaven/The Kingdom of God

We are in full getting ready for the fair mode around here... mostly over at Paul's.   There is a lot of excitement as the kids are preparing and hopeful for what they can do at the fair this year. 
Powerwashing off stuff so that things look good at the fair is underweigh...  They get to be in the barn this year with their beef calves!  Lots of excitement!!!!
Pigs, calves, pictures, cross-stitch, robots, a rabbit project that does not involve a real rabbit - just pictures, so much fun and work and parental help involved in 4H and the fair!  Ruth out there with Luke makes a complete family experience!  So blessed!
we dance for Joy when we give up our all for The Pearl!!!  Jesus, we trust in YOU.  Bless-bless, Barb