Saturday, December 31, 2016

The 7th day of Christmas - reflecting on 2016

Just sharing prayer with Pat and John on this last day of 2016 led to reflecting on the year that was 2016!  One of the biggest gifts and blessings are our two new granddaughters!  One born in May and the other on All Saints Day - November 1st!  Enlarging our Family and our LOVE!  And now we enter 2017 tomorrow knowing that the picture will be complete at the end of March with the arrival of Ruth and Paul's little girl, so our joy and family continues to grow filled with more and more LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!
Also big for this last year was the peaceful passing of Pat's mother surrounded by her family!  Christmas came early with her house filled with many in her last week and a half of sharing her faith and love for family from her death bed!  She was such a huge part of our lives, and although this last close to 2 years was hard and humbling for her... we still feel a big loss at her passing, yet are happy that she found a way to leave this world and join her loved ones, Jesus and Mary and the Saints in heaven.
Having John here living with us, and his new job working in Tracy high school is the ongoing journey he is following as he asks The Lord to show him "the path."
Being a God father to 3 gives him a lot of joy and practice in being thoughtful.  God father suits him well!
Foremost in this last year is the BIG move!  2016 began with a huge remodel on the first floor of the farmhouse where Ruth grew up!  We moved and traded places on Good Friday, and it was the right thing to do!  Ruth and Paul and growing family are living on the farm and loving it, and Pat is reassured that he can continue to be very busy there, yet have the young and interested help that he needs.  I was ready to be put out to pasture, and we are all happy and settled into our new homes.
Our home welcomes our kids and their kids and spouses and we are all comfortable here!
We love to share our home with FAMILY!
It is now our little red barn... the sign remains on there and is The Truth for me!
Love the tears for mom... add one more with Evangeline's arrival on November 1st! 
Family time is the BEST!
Praying the rosary and reading The Word around their mother... she united us in prayer from her deathbed!

The Gospel for today is the beginning... The Word was God... and this life was the LIGHT of the world.  So true!
I have this in a special place in our home - the memorial plaque from our friends along with a picture of Susan/Hallel with her grandmother the day before she left for France to join her Community of the Lamb!  There is definitely a family resemblance and we know of Hallel's prayers for her grandmother and call to her just days before her death from Rome..."Don't be afraid, grandmother.  Run into the arms of Jesus!"
Breakfast with great grandma Ann on her porch this summer after mass.  "I am so happy that I could share the Eucharist with my mom each week.  That was something we both recognized as Jesus, and it was an honor to take her to mass each week after she broke her hip, and then bring it to her in her home when she went on hospice."  Pat this morning
smiles all around!
New farmboy on the farm!
Different for me was being a chicken farmer...
Now it is their fire pit and they enjoyed a lot more fires than we have in the last years.  It is just good to have a young family living on the farm!
The chickens could be going soon!  A new year without chickens...
Ruth nursed 4 abandoned kittens, but this year she will have her own little girl to nurse!

 I could go on and on... we all know that.  Life is good and we love family that is filled with LIFE and all that it takes to raise them as LIGHTS!  Jesus, we trust in you.  May 2017 continue to be filled our traveling down the path you have laid out before us!  May we die to self so that you may live and work ever in our lives/families/domestic Church.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke

Friday, December 30, 2016

6th day of Christmas - "Make all our families holy as you are HOLY FAMILY!"

Pat is talking about what is to happen next...
A kiss for me... and I am just now seeing the reaction of the rest of the family, because not only was our faces not visible, but I had no idea of this move nor of their reaction.... I just kind of overlooked it and now with the feast of the Holy Family and much filling me to overflowing of how FAMILY is my all in all! 

Sharing morning prayer with Pat in the dark this morning before Pat headed out for a day of hauling manure/cleaning out the barn and bedding the animals all comfortable, and then doing the office with John filled with powerful and beautiful prayers to the Holy Family... Suddenly my talk for this upcoming TEC took form in my mind, heart and soul...  My message to the world is FAMILY!
I think you can see where my heart is today - pondering the gift we have with a small slice of heaven here on earth in our domestic Church/family!  This was when we had spent some days all together in Nancy and Bill's home for Labor Day weekend.  I later added my Little Sister Hallel, as she is always with us in spirit, and I love to see her in the midst of our gatherings.  Since then we have added Evangeline, who is in our Christmas picture making it even more complete!
How I long for a real visit from Hallel, but we are blessed with nice long phone calls from time to time.  We talked to her lately about the passing and celebration of her grandma Ann's life!
I couldn't add Hallel for our Christmas cards done in an hour, but before this is done... I think it could happen just for me!

John prayed beautifully this morning for all the families in our lives to become more holy!  He mentioned our Family of the Lamb/Hallel's Community of the Lamb filled with over a hundred Little Sisters, Little brothers and families of the Lamb!  We also are praying long and hard for our TEC family, which has been so important to all of our family over the last almost 20 years!  We have our first retreat ever in Marshall coming up in a few weeks and we are so hopeful and prayerful that many will answer with a "yes" to a closer relationship to Jesus and his Bride, The Church! 
About 2/3rds of our family gathered the weekend before Christmas - we are approaching 120 strong with the arrival of almost a dozen new great-grands in the last year!  With this gathering so close and our sharing so recent, as well as the gathering around Pat's mom and her celebration of LIFE we had just the day before CCC this year.  Of course, the prayers for our families to become HOLY carry over to our huge amazing families and all those we can call FAMILY! 
I have been checking on my parents almost every other day since CCC, as they have been having some struggles with illness.  It looks like they are coming out on the other side finally with the help of some antibiotics now.  Mom was just saying today how miraculous it is for her and dad to be together and "managing" together in their own home.  "Most of our friends our age are in nursing homes now.  You know your dad will be 92 in a couple months, and we are just so lucky to be as good as we are and managing together with our little household tasks we share."  Yes!  I am forever grateful to have them still with me and all the ways The Holy Spirit has used them to bring me to where I am today - filled with LOVE, love, love for Jesus, His Bride The Church and the value of The Domestic Church/The family!
My camera isn't near as good...
I wish that we could see our precious Evangeline better...
I have been working on scrap books and have discovered what I already knew that she looks like my girls looked, and that is so special to have!

A work of art is a family open to life and raising LIGHTS!
I have shared both pages I have on my blog which describe two of the most dramatic times that The Holy Spirit took hold of my life and changed me forever!  Through my father bringing our entire family of 13 into The Church, and my fiancĂ©'s/husbands response to me about being open to LIFE in this crazy world - "The world needs LIGHTS!"
If you want to know more deeply where this all comes from and where it has led me... read it and believe!
These 5 will be welcoming a new sister in March!  Yes, when we all gather together with soon to be 15 little ones, and all the ups and downs they contain... it is a crazy zoo, but one filled with a lot of JOY and happiness in sharing our Faith with JOY!  We all know and see The Truth that our homes is the most important place to share our faith and to find True LOVE as we do "life-giving" things and say "life-giving" words and deeds one to the other.  This is lived out with Ruth and Paul and is something that I need to learn at their feet!
Yes, Nancy and Bill are a model of having 4 little ones 5 and under... This picture captures some of that busyness and happiness and teamwork they embrace in their making it work and filling it with the love they have which grows more with each new life!  Gathering for prayer with their family each night is so precious and is building a strong base - built on the rock!

Jesus, how we love to see The Family lived out in love and made holy by sharing our Faith with JOY.  Growing deeper in love as we embrace our Most Cherished Cross and finding LOVE/LIFE/LIGHT!  The family is a necessary good for peoples, and indispensable foundation for society, and a great and lifelong treasure for couples.  It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents... The Family is also a school that enables men and women to grow to the full measure of their humanity... O God, who in the Holy Family left us a perfect model of family life lived in faith and obedience to your will, help us to be examples of faith and love for your commandments."  Pope Benedict XVI
St Paul to us from Colossians 3
Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.  And over all these put on love, that is the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of Christ control your hearts , the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be  thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...
So much to take into our hearts, O Lord!  May we grow in knowledge and love of you as we die to self!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Singing around the manger...  singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Come Holy Family and fill us with LOVE!
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Nancy's Josie is soon to be 8 months!
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Those nest years are so wonderful - we love the snuggles and closeness to the little ones!
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Talk about family!  A year ago with Pat's mom, who just left this world.  Very fresh is our loss and after spending so much time with her through our entire marriage - this is huge for us to no longer have her here!
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Nothing more beautiful is there!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The 4th day of Christmas - "Are the holy innocents those lost through abortion?" John

Josephine is such a sweet tempered and loving little girl!  We never heard her cry once in our time there for Christmas!  Nancy would go up and find her happy in her crib after awaking in the morning or from her nap.  It so reminds me of her mom, Nancy.  So peaceful, quiet and happy and easy as a baby. 

This morning John and I had the gift of sharing the office with his week off of school for Christmas Vacation.  We shared the feast of the Holy Innocents, and John's question rang true as the taking of innocent lives continue to this day through abortion.  Yes, this feast is devoted to those boys 2 and under slaughtered in Bethlehem by order of King Herod, but our hearts continue to ache for all those ripped from the womb in pieces and thrown away or left to die when delivered in abortion procedures!  Many of us feel like Rachel weeping for her children... knowing the horror of abortion, and weeping for the loss of all the beautiful lives of the unborn!
So tickled by this wonderful special gift Nancy made me for Christmas!  It is one of her patterns from her Cross stitch Saints book!  Yes, St Barbara was locked in a tower by her father when she refused to marry other than Christ... Her long hair and the tower... reminds us of Rapunzel right?

I love the first reading from I John 1.  With the long drive home from KC and unpacking and laundry I could not give St John the Evangelist all the attention I longed to, so to find him again speaking his beautiful poetic light filled words to us today in the light of how these Holy Innocents are washed in the Blood of the Lamb, as well as all those lost to abortion... wonderful comfort and HOPE!
This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ
and proclaim to you:
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all...
But if we walk in the light as he is in the light,
then we have fellowship with one another,
and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin...
My children, I am writing this to you
so that you may not commit sin.
But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous one.
He is expiation for our sins,
and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world."
Reading this wonderful ending from St John - "the whole world" rang in my heart as the refrain from the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
"For the sake of the sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world." Such a powerful prayer to be included in our time in our inner temples today!
The chaplet of divine Mercy in song - I shared this often with Pat's mom at the end of her days.  The times I have said the chaplet since I have added her to the decade I pray for her husband over the years.  A special prayer I pray for my dead and all those that are facing death with no one to pray for them!
I had to call Nancy this morning - in our mail was this sharing of a new grotto that will be built at The University of Mary where she and Ruth attended.  I will always Nancy going to meet with the Sister who was the President at that time, and asking her where Mary was at her University.  She did not really get an answer, but now Monsignor Shea is placing this beautiful tribute to Our Lady in the middle of the Campus!  Wow!  The Catholic Church is alive and well at The University of Mary and Our Lady is being given the rightful place in their minds, hearts and eyes as well!

Very special and Nancy's prayers and hopes are being answered!
Jo Jo being introduced to her first ever licorice thanks to her grandpa.  A whole new world is opening up! 

Jesus, we are filled with so much hope this day and so much gratitude for your Mercy and forgiveness which flows out from your Cross - "washed clean in the blood of the Lamb."  May we come to you in prayer this day for all the lives of the Holy Innocents, who were helpless in the face of a brutal and totally undeserved death.  How we weep for them and long to stop the killing of new life in the womb!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Your will, O Lord, to be open to LIFE and to raise each child we are given as a light to shine in the world of sin, death, darkness!
My sweet Kansas City girls... I miss them!
Wonderful family time!

Borrowing some of Nancy's pictures from Christmas


The girls even better!

Dominic loved the straw!
Yes, Dominic that it straw!

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O my, does this give us comfort or not?  So special!  All those little ones in the arms of their spiritual Mother of heaven and Earth!
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