Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Family give support

 The 5 grandkids we watch so mom and dad can teach FF(Ruth and Paul's kids), and I went down to support John in Tracy tonight and have a whopper at the Whopper feed there!  The kids were great!
 The Church was all lit up, and really pretty with fall d├ęcor out in front.
 The 5 give Uncle Johnny a hug and he loves it!
 Faith and Family is what life is all about!  Whatever we can do to help John know that he is loved and supported in his work for The Church and passing on the faith... we will do!  It was a good night to share the importance of faith and family and...
the farm!!!  Harvest continues to go well... passed the combine near our place as darkness sets in.  Jesus, keep the farmers safe and sane.  Jesus, be with the families John is working with and help him show them that Faith is the most important part of our lives followed close by family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Keeping our hand to the plow - The HOMEWORK of the Chrisitan LIFE!

 They day started out powerfully with much heartfelt prayer and sharing with my very busy farmer-in-the-midst-of-harvest.  So amazing that we could do morning prayer plus I could read tearfully this most amazing meditation in The Magnificat to him... The Year of Consecrated LIFE - The Homework of the Christian LIFE;
Cherish the desire to give one of your children so that God's love can spread in the world.  What fruit of conjugal love could be more beautiful than this?  St John Paul II
 I recall 2 years ago... we were heading to Kansas City to see Hallel here in the U.S. for the dedication of The Little Monastery - Lumen Christi/Light of Christ .  She called the day before we were to leave and asked us to bring some applesauce - "Little Sister Marie likes our applesauce."  We had no apples that year either, so I told Susan/Hallel that we didn't have any to bring.  Well, the next morning we found some we could get at the golf course and made 40 quarts and took them with us.  The Lord wanted his special Little Sisters to have applesauce and in a day we had 40 quarts to bring to KC!  They are one of our 6 families we supply with applesauce!  It is so wonderful to have their prayers, example and embracing of a life of Faith in our lives!
 I now have my table cleared and usable again... More from this amazing meditation which speaks of the blessing it is to encourage our kids to consider a call.. I know that both Therese and Mary are knowing that they will spend some time with the Little Sisters discerning when they are older.
 Luke and Rose like to help grandma wash all those jars of their wonderful applesauce...

As all parents know, they form their children in more ways than they could ever imagine.  The Gospel as it is lived at home shapes the lives of faith of the children.  Fidelity to Sunday Mass and the frequency of confession and family prayer draw a family together in Christ, sometimes for generations.  These are the families which best prepare a young person for a vocation to the consecrated life.  I could not have said it better and Pat and I were both wiping tears this morning as we shared this beautiful insight to how we were able to have our Little Sister Hallel and her wonderful Community of the Lamb in our lives!
 Such a picture of crazy amazing LIFE - kids, cousins and kittens make for FUN!
 Running free through the long grass on a cool glorious fall evening!

I must share the last paragraph of this meditation by Father James Sullivan -
Consecrated life is one of generosity, of responsibility, of attentiveness to the needs of the other, of compassion, and of being engaged with the world around them.  Very often, these are the virtues first learned in one's family, from one's parents.  We can pray along with St John Paul II:  "I pray that you, Christian families, united with the Lord through prayer and the sacramental life, will create homes where vocations are welcomed." 

Believe me - you will not be sorry and will receive so many graces and blessings and your family will grow a hundred fold!
 Kids and kittens, almost hidden in the tall grass, on the move with delight!
Kids and kittens are so fun!
 
Today in the Gospel Jesus tells us to put the hand to the plow and don't look back - in regards to the work we do at home sharing our faith... we turn off the TV and gather in prayer before bed, we do morning prayers before we rise in the morning, we go to mass each Sunday and share our faith as a family and with JOY, we embrace The Truth that The Catholic Church holds out to us and do not pick and choose what we believe or follow! 
Mary with purry Kateri by the beautiful cottonwood tree with the setting sun.... a picture of soft contentment and compassion.

 The two sweet loving females - like to get some attention - Mary named the other one Pocahontas.
 Kitten time!
Rose on the move with a kitten in her arms!  A study of joyful motion!

Jesus, I am filled with so much gratitude for how we are blessed by our Little Sister Hallel and her Community of the Lamb!  As a Benedictine sister said to me - "You have your Hallel because you listened to the call in your life."  So true!  I looked at religious life for me and thought it would be wonderful, yet it was not to be for me but for my sweet 4th daughter!  To be able to have that in our family is such a gift!  I now see that the HOMEWORK is going on in our daughter's families, too!  And each one of their children will listen to your call, and look for the special plan you have for each one of them.  We will not look back but always go forward down the narrow path following you and carrying/dragging our Most Cherished Cross!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
 One of the few harvest pictures I have managed to get - harvesting beans across the road.  Pat's prayer of thanksgiving this morning for wonderful weather and things going well!
 Luke loading out canning rings today.
 Smiling Luke, cat up the tree, clothes on the line - Luke had to identify each piece and found two of his, too - dogs on the ground and wonderful shadows on this glorious day!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Digging into tomato soup and applesauce for a wonderful farm lunch...  this is why we do the work!  Even dad stopped from hauling manure to eat with us!  The best!!!

Today is the feast of St Jerome, who translated the entire Bible into Latin!  Wow!  His quote, which Hallel would totally agree with - how she loves Jesus in His Word!  I beg of you brother to live among these books, to meditate upon them, to know nothing else. to seek nothing else.  Does not such a life seem to you a foretaste of heaven here on earth?  St Jerome

Cute, and probably true!

St Jerome seems to be to the point!
Danielle Rose- Pursue me, Lord

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stories that make you warmly smile

 The thing about canning with my girls and their kids is the fun of hearing their family stories as we share in the ongoing stories of adventures on the farm!  Luke loved our fresh applesauce so much that he had to take off a lid and get his hand in there.  "Yummy!" was exclaimed each time he put those fingers in his mouth! 
 Luke woke up from his nap in the crib upstairs to find his cousin/friend, Dominic, here!  They quickly got together at the window to watch Paul go by with the tractor and the manure spreader, and to comment with; "Brummmm!" about the 4 wheeler out the window.  Two boys through and through sharing their own motor language!
 Rose is showing Berna how to use the colander while she fills jars... so fun to have the little girls finding the fun in helping out in our BIG day of canning... the unofficial count is just short of 200 quarts - about 193!  I just put #112 on the stove for processing.  I am lining them up on my table to see them all together if they will fit when we are done, and Ruth mentioned that the weight could be too much!  14 pails of apples now into jars of sauce!
 The girls learning the joy of sharing work on these big days of Family and Farm!

Ruth shared a precious story of how they enjoyed some special family time watching the red moon and the eclipse two nights ago.  Dad told them all to grab their blankets and pillows and lay out on the trampoline on a beautiful night without bugs and perfect temp..."This only happens every 30 years and you will be the age of mom and dad with kids of your own the next time this happens."  Ruth described who fell asleep first and how the youngest, Luke, laid between mom and dad.  "Paul has a special way of sharing and educating the kids in a fun way."  A special family time shared as they stood up the kids in one by one as they fell asleep.  Finally it was 11 year old Simon and dad... "they were talking and then Simon got quiet... he was asleep, so Paul walked him in to bed."  Sharing the wonders of our amazing world as a family. 
 Rose loves to do small things with her fingers... she is starting to string necklaces and was so excited to make one for her cousins, Bernadette and Gus.  She gave them to them and they both were happy to get her special gift!  This is the one that Rose made for herself. 

Today is the feast of The Arch Angels!  They have many wonderful stories that truly make you smile to know of how they are messengers of God for the salvation history of our world!  St Gabriel "strength is manifested as tenderness; Do not be afraid, he tells Mary (Lk 1:30).  And to the shepherds: I proclaim to you good news of great joy.  see www.magnificat.com
 Luke is my poster boy for how much all our hard work is appreciated!
Rose likes to help!
Berna shows grandma how Luke slid down the hill and ended up by the "cow water"... Gus and Berna came running to the house to get Aunt Ruthie to come to the rescue.  Stories continue as we are gathered to finish up our largest ever canning job! 
 It is fun to see Luke and Bernadette having fun together in the new shop outside, while...
 Ruth and Nancy help me out on the inside.  My favorite times are with family sharing our stories on this wonderful feastday in our Church!
 My table is much more full now... I will record it when we get done! 
 A beautiful fall day - Our Lady seems to glow under the tree framed by such beautiful wonder inside and out!  Bless-bless, Barb
the new shop holds many stories and adventures! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's 9:30 at night and all are in bed but me!

 Starting our 14 pails of apples at about 8:30am and I put the last applesauce in the jar - almost 200 quarts - 12 hours later!  My feet are throbbing and I am almost too tired to think straight!  Nancy came to help with her 3 and they have all gone to bed... Nancy is expecting #4, and still pitched in over fatigue and sick... thank you!
 The first two canners of at least 14 throughout the day.  Tomorrow we need to process them all and that will be a big job, too!  Ruth and Luke and Rose started the day and then Nancy came and helped out, too!  So grateful to be able to work with my girls, and..
 the grandkids helped and made yummy sounds as they licked their fingers.
 "Yum!" says Luke, and that makes all the work worthwhile.
 Luke loves the fresh applesauce - it was growing on the tree less than a day ago!
 Nancy and Rose side by side working the colanders... all the help from 3 generations is much appreciated.  To see the grandkids loving it along with grandpa Pat and great-grandma Nancy... making applesauce for 6 families! 
 Rose shows Bernadette the ropes and they enjoy learning our family traditions.
A portrait of a family canning day making a record amount of applesauce!  Now I am off to bed, too!  Such a huge day of family on the farm.  The men were out combining beans and hauling manure, so they too are early to bed as they have been working long hard hours.  Lord, keep us all safe and sane!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The same life your mom grew up with...a good fit for John...sharing my journey

 Farmlife is heating up around here with bean harvest going forward.  Paul and the boys checking on the cows in the pastures to make sure they have the grass they need, and the calves are fed... now off to combine beans!
 John came for supper and the night so we had Ruth and the kids over for supper and rescuing a cat from the apple tree by the garden.  The scene sure looks fall like with the golden corn fields and the bean fields and the leaves starting to turn.  I love fall, and it is a glorious day today!  It started with wonderful mass shared with Ruth, Paul and their 5 - filling a pew at mass with family is a wonderful amazing gift!
I thought we would eat outside last night in the wonderful fall evening, but the Pope was on and we shared that experience together.  6'4" John did get one of my few apples for Rose to eat, so I did get to enjoy my pretty centerpiece... 

7 year old David is invited to a birthday party for one of his classmates today, but he isn't sure if he will go or farm with his dad.  Paul's boys take their farming seriously.
 Mary and Rose eating apples at the fall decorated picnic table... love the facial expressions of sisters interacting.

 Rose looked so pretty for church, and she posed for grandma at breakfast after mass.  I was very touched, once again, by the fact that Ruth's kids are having the same life she grew up with.  Simon was talking about how they went to Camden and swam in the pool and went for a hike.  "Simon, you have the same life your mom grew up with."  "Why?"  "You live on the farm, you go to the same Catholic School, you go to Camden all the time just like your mom..."  "Do you think that your mom had a good life growing up?" "Yes, I do." says Simon smiling.
 No more high chair for Luke - he sits up and the table and is so charming.  Pat and I were so smitten by a little 2 year old boy walking up the Communion line ahead of dad with his little hands folded and getting a blessing from Father.  Luke is just about as sweet and charming in his sweet happy smiling ways!

Can you imagine how glorious it is to have Ruth and family so close and to see my family life when my kids were around me lived out again?   How l loved my nest years and to see Ruth and Paul embrace that life - shows how much they loved it and desire it now with their kids.  What is really mind-blowing about the patterns of LIFE is that our 5 kids - mine and Ruth's - are each within 9 years from oldest to youngest!  I am humbled by the ways and patterns of our life. 
 Another special time sharing Eucharist with Pat's mom this morning.  Pat holding her hand while he leads the Communion service and reads the readings and shares the homily...

We were visiting about John's new job as DRE for Tracy/Milroy/Walnut Grove... It just seems to be such a good fit as he is working in The Church, with youth, and able to share his story.  He eats lunch with the grade school kids each day, he can go to daily mass now, he has many opportunities to share his light as part of his "work."  He seems to be excited and happy and feeling like he has found a good fit for his call to love and serve The Lord!  How we have prayed for this to happen for John, and we continue to pray and trust.
 Talking today about how mom is ready to go and see all those awaiting her in heaven, "but all we can do is wait - I am a tough old bird!"  We mentioned dad and her son, Donny, her parents, her brothers and sisters... when you are 96 in a few days you have many awaiting you.  One thing mom doesn't look at quite the same as me is the losses we both had in our childbearing years and seeing them in heaven... I think of it often and it keeps my eyes focused on heaven, but for mom it is of minor concern.  I will smile thinking about those lives she will encounter there - at least 3 that I know of!
 "The Body of Christ."  "Amen"

I had the powerful experience of sharing with a closed group of loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, infertility about my journey.  I feel that I am at a different perspective as I am through them and now able to look back and reflect... Here is what I had to say...

Dear sisters of loss...
Where do I begin? I must share with you that I am at a place I prayed so hard for at your age in the midst of my childbearing years. How often after one of my losses - 7 in heaven and 5 here with me -would I long that I could see ahead 10 years and see how it was all going to turn out? Familiar? I now can see with eyes of Faith as I am now the grandmother of 12 with one more in the womb.
The stage was set on our first date sharing the same values - Our Catholic Faith, openness to family, and the farm. I will share my blog page devoted to this story rather than share all that I long to share with you... http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/my-most-cherished-cro… The motto for our marriage is truly this - "The world needs lights!" It gave us the strength to take each life in the womb - 12 of them - love them openly... sharing their existence from the moment we knew they were there, sharing the pain of loss as a family, and as a result we now value each other on such a deep level and ALL LIFE!
Our 4 daughters are the ages of many of you women sharing here... the 3 older are married and carrying forth Catholic homes - open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS. The youngest is a nun in Rome! After the 4 girls came John... there were two boys after him that lived in the womb til 5 months. William and Robert are buried in the Catholic Cemetery - stillborn and joining the other 5 to welcome us to heaven someday. Our eyes are truly looking to heaven and their prayers are assisting us there. I must need a lot of prayers! Yes!
I would love to correspond with any of you who would like the perspective of one now looking back and seeing the Lord's plan was truly a Cross in my life which brought me to a place of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT! Sharing that as a family has brought us to a shared Faith in the True Church and all The Truth it holds out to us... as The Church is there to help us get to heaven forever with Jesus, and each of our sweet angels Saints that have gone before us.
Jesus, may our sharing in this group of loss from which we gain LIFE be a way of supporting one another on this journey of Faith and Family. May we find The JOY of loving you and sharing The Truth in the midst of our domestic Church/family... where we are called to raise LIGHTS for the world of sin/darkness/death. Jesus, we trust in you. Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
 When we arrived home - I found this sweet picture on the table from John.  He found it while cleaning the basement at Milroy church.  It speaks to me of his love for his mother -both me and Our Lady!  He had to call me and tell me about it with great joy in his voice.  I wish he would put it in his office, but I humbly love it and appreciate it.  When I look at it I will send up a prayer for my son, who was transformed and found Faith through brain cancer!  My son, who fell in love with Our Lady of Lourdes while visiting there twice with his sister, Little Sister Hallel!
 In the Gospel for today Jesus speaks of giving a drink of water "because you belong to Christ," and "causes one of these little ones to sin," or if one of our members causes us to sin to cut it off... There are many that we can touch in our lives by doing small things with great love!  Watching the Holy Father reach out to these small, poor, sick, weak, down trodden... may we follow suit!

Jesus, thank you for the example of The Holy Father in how we are to forgive and love and give a drink of water to those who thirst for the Truth.  It is so obvious that Pope Francis sees you, O Lord, in these suffering sick and the little ones - he wholeheartedly embraces them with so much love and concern for them!  Jesus, we love you and are so hopeful for your Church that many may come back or come for the first time into The True Church!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
With so much goodness and joy from my life before, now, and to come - looking to heaven forever with my little ones, sister, and Jesus with our Spiritual Mother of heaven and earth... I am overwhelmed with LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT! 
Yes!  It is truly hardest to love those closest to you in your domestic Church/family.
Yes!!!  This is where I get my strength each day!
Laura Story - Blessings
Laura Story - What a Savior
Danielle Rose - Small Things with great love
Bishop Barron is good at getting these out there!
 
Jordan Feliz - the River