Monday, February 29, 2016

Let there be LIGHT! Leap year festivities!

The electricians are here!  Lights galore where we have been stumbling through the dark!  Ruth and Rose pose on the old stairway with vintage linoleum uncovered - maybe a runner up the center.
Rose helped mom uncover it so the workers pose...
Pat's mom wiping dishes as we get all ready for the birthday girl to enter...  RaTerra to her mom this morning - "Thanks mom for sticking around for my birthday."
Happy Birthday, RaTerra!  We love you.  Sweet 16 X4= 64 with a leap year birthday it kind of is up to you, right?  Making a cake in someone else's kitchen = quite a story behind this orange cake... Made in a angle food cake pan with applesauce other than oil.  Because of you I found my way to Marshall, MN and the rest is history now 39 years long.  Bless-bless, Barb

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A bow gift...Christ present to us in the hardest times

Sweet Mary in her yellow jacket and yellow bow after mass today... " Mom, told me that you would like my bow with her sweet humble smile."  "Yes!  Tell me the story of your bow."  "I found the ribbon and mom helped me tie it in my hair, and she said that grandma would like it."  So True!  After having my 4 girls in a row, it seems like a personal gift when the girls wear a bow just for me!  Such a special gift reminding me of my nest years with my kids... the best!
Rose with a rose that I found and a snuggly kitty yesterday while slow and steady progress is being made on the house and the move draws ever closer. 
It felt a step closer and so exciting to bring in this table and chairs from the deck, wash it up with the sunlight pouring in the new windows and then...
Water color time!  Love these special times with the grandkids and getting a notion of what living on the farm will be for them.  Rose went out to bottle feed the orphan calf... Ruth took those pictures and I am looking forward to seeing them, too!
Grandma painted them while they painted, and we all had a great time in the new kitchen!
Mom working endlessly while the kids are enjoying some time in their new house doing a different kind of painting!
Back to Mary's special bow for grandma this morning - the 3rd Sunday of Lent with the readings starting with God in the Holy ground/burning bush in Exodus 3.  There are many times when we see God/Christ in the times of fire and shocking moments in our lives.  As Hallel writes to John in her card to him recently...Your story of finding Faith through brain cancer shows how the mercy of God was always present even in the hardest times.  It seems that during the storms of life we are filled overwhelmed with fear and turn to Jesus and give the control over to him!  Moses removes his shoes as he is on Holy Ground and "hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God."  We are weak and sinful and humbly beseech Jesus to carry us in his loving and forgiving arms... feed us with His Body and Blood so that we may become Christ to the world and unlike the fig tree - when the gardener "I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit for the future..." Luke 13:9 The Gospel today! 
The girls come along with grandpa and grandma for time with great-grandma and sharing Jesus in The Word, and in His Body/Eucharist!  Mary did a wonderful job reading the second reading from I Corinthians 10 as we gathered today!  "Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall."  We are not secure if we depend upon ourselves - we need to die to our selfishness and give our entire body, mind and soul to Jesus and with the help of His Bride, The Church, find our way down the narrow path carrying/dragging our most Cherished Cross!  The Church is there to help us get to heaven forever with Jesus, so do not pick and choose but hold all as Truth by which we are called to live our lives here on earth!  If we do this we can find a small slice of heaven in our domestic Church/family.
Mary will soon be 9 and a few weeks later Rose will be 4... 5 years apart and sharing sister time with their grandparents and great grandma.  They also now share a bedroom, but that will probably change when they move to the farm.  It would be special if they wanted to continue to share!
Mary showing that Rose is the right height for an arm rest... too fun!

Jesus, I am filled with the wonder at the small ways you remind me of the great gift of LIFE and raising LIGHTS for you with the help of your amazing wonderful glorious Church!
http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/my-most-cherished-cross-patrick-gerard.html I love, love, love The Catholic Church and how you called my family into your Church against the tide after Vatican II!  http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/the-amazing-story-of-13-becoming.html
I am filled with so much gratitude as you continually prune me, water me, feed me, cultivate me, fertilize me with more richness and Truth than I can ever take fully in - so that if I am humble and die to self you will bring forth Fruit/LIGHT/LOVE/LIFE for this world of sin and darkness and lies of Satan.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen
So much love surrounds us as we stumble down the narrow path... may we return that to all those we encounter on this journey.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke

ST Therese hear our plea....

The Samaritan woman at the well!  So powerful!

"That moment when you try to explain to Jesus how hard your life has been lately." 
Doesn't this hit home?  So true!
Jeremy Camp - Christ in me
Natalie Grant - Burn Bright
Lauren Daigle - I am yours

Saturday, February 27, 2016

"Hail Mary" for the Holy Father on a public school bus and a basement...

If this looks like a happy little girl sitting on her princess throne... You just about have it.  Little Rose went out with grandpa after lunch and "was a good helper, and really surprised me."  She petted a newborn calf and fed a bottle to another one, who is just a few days old.  When grandma went out to take her over to her house - she wanted to stay with her grandpa, and so she did and gave grandma a smirky smile as if to say - "I am enjoying being a farm girl, so no nap for me!"  She knows how much her grandpa loves helpers that are interested in what he is doing out there, and now with the small seat with a seatbelt next to him in the loader they literally have a front row seat!
Talk about being up close... on cow TV the two kids watched grandpa and dad bedding the calving barn.  Perfectly safe and close enough to reach out and touch it!

There was a request on FB this morning for saying a "Hail Mary" for the health of our Holy Father as he missed the Wednesday audience due to running a high temp.  I called John and found him riding on a bus to a speech meet as he is the assistant speech coach for Tracy.  I wanted to read to him a wonderful post card that came here for him from Hallel yesterday... Amazing!  You show how the Mercy of God has always been present even in the hardest times.  God makes your story (and the story of each one of us) a salvation story!  For his Mercy endures forever!  She also shared that she had gone to the tomb of Saint Padre Pio on his birthday and said a special prayer for him!  Wow!
What a view on cow TV! 

Pat and I were in our basement temporary kitchen while I talked to John traveling in a school bus... together we shared aloud a "Hail Mary" for our sick Holy Father - Pope Francis!  Not ashamed of our faith after Jesus has shown us Mercy that endures forever, and as the Prodigal Son today in the Gospel... we have been shown endless unconditional love after we have squandered our inheritance over and over in our lives.  Do you ever notice that those who have been forgiven the most and brought back from the brink of death or hit rock bottom seem to be glowing with JOY and bursting with the burning desire to share their story far and wide and without ceasing?  This morning as I was reading Hallel's card to John and we prayed together - he was chuckling with deep JOY and happiness!  Hallel writes to John - "I love you John!  I pray for you, and I love talking and laughing with you.  God Bless, Hallel."  If you have ever heard their conversations long distance from Minnesota to Rome or wherever... it is always goofy, silly and filled with lots of laughter!
Luke wanted to go out and help...
 
The time for the family with the kids is getting closer for them to be living in this house on the farm! This old lady is ready to get out of the construction... long and dirty living like this.
If these steps could talk...
 
The Prodigal Son cannot be read as the Gospel too much in my opinion and today it is gifting us with the Gospel on a Saturday at the end of Feb!  Yes, we can feel resentful as the older son is, but it is so important to pray for our loved ones that have turned away or thrown away their inheritance after the lies of the world.  May they realize what they are missing and come humbly back to their Faith/loving and forgiving Father!  Yes, the Father will embrace him and put a robe on him and have a banquet in celebration, but the next day he will be called upon to get back to work for the Father and do the day to day needed to gain that place in his Kingdom.  Walk the walk and talk the talk and do the work needed and walk the narrow path carrying/dragging his most Cherished Cross!
So much wonderful new light and openness in the newly renovated farm house.  Electricians on Monday finally and then forward to the finish line!
 
Jesus, You have shown us mercy and forgiveness over and over... may we go forward with our changed hearts following after you and embracing our cross to find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  May your Holy Spirit dwell within us and may we be your hands and feet. May we give without counting the cost.  "Wounded, I will not cease to love." the motto Hallel and her Community of the Lamb live by each day.  May I take it to heart and humbly fall at your feet... Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen
 The bushes in front of the huge picture window are filled with puffy sparrows - they don't mind all the thorns obviously, and they seem to be called precious by the guardian angel which has graced this window for the last 20 years!  Today is to be in the 50s so much of that remaining snow will turn to mud.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Quite the sight just inches on the other side of the glass- talk about a close encounter with cute little birds all in a row.
Rose after an afternoon as a farmgirl... She is excited to be on the farm! 
 
The Pro-LIFE saint!
I love it!  I am a Mama's girl right with them!  We are so lucky to have her always with us - Our Spiritual Mother - Mary, the Mother of God!
For Lent, here's a beautiful & traditional prayer to recite before your crucifix. Memorize it in steps and add an Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be at the end to start or finish your day. Hopefully it will be a new practice you can continue even when #Lent is over!
Gianna once again today!
Danielle Rose - The Saint that is just me
Lauren Daigle = Trust in you
God's not dead - Narnia - Newsboys

Friday, February 26, 2016

Love that grows/Cow TV

Rose discovers Cow TV in our bedroom..."That one hasn't had it's baby yet."  It seems just like yesterday that we were watching Cow TV, but we have had almost 9 months off.  Our nights are less restful with the glow of the TV in our eyes throughout the night plus the sounds of the barn. 

Nancy shared a blog post that I just read this morning and it reinforced for me the miracle of love for my own children and now we are expecting our #13 grandchild in a few months! 
http://www.dosmallthingswithlove.com/2016/02/life-with-kids-living-in-the-mess.html
I know that LIFE itself involves the most amazing miracle of all, yet as Nancy shares our hearts are changed and our love made bigger!
"There is no doubt that motherhood and being around these children has changed me, body and soul.  My fears and dreams and hopes have all changed, mostly in ways I never would have expected.  With each new child our family is changed as well.  Each new personality wedges it’s way in among us, pulls more love out of us than we thought possible and squirms their way into the deepest corner of our hearts."  Nancy
Nose to nose with a cow!  "Rose have you learned to love cows?"  "They are more scared of me than I am of them..." said Rose wisely.  It has been fun to watch Rose learn from her older sister, Mary, that cows are pretty cool and interesting.   When she was small she was terrified of cows, and now she is much braver and has developed a sort of like/love for these huge creatures!  The calves are special and cute and a special new LIFE that fills our world for the next month.
Cleaning up the house today and doing some fun jobs of uncovering the staircase down to the 70+ year old linoleum under the layers.  Ruth showing Rose how to do the work, and finally Rose told mom - "go and sweep, mom, I can do this."  And she did too!

New Life certainly does change things in this world, and foremost in our domestic Church/family!  We are so excited to welcome our newest member in May.  Rose and I were talking that her baby girl cousin could come close to her birthday, and we were just talking about going down to see Nancy in her new home and Maria in hers in Missouri in early summer when Nancy's little girl will probably have her baptism.  "That is when I think it will work out to get down there.. the kids will be out of school and we will all want to go and meet the new baby, and to celebrate the baptism will be a wonderful celebration for us to share as a big family!"  So true, Ruth!
Rose loves to do work like her mom, and her arms did get tired, so now mom can do the work and stop sweeping.  Right, Rose?

Much today in the readings is about valuing LIFE... producing fruit and then giving it to God as He is in control!  In our family it is called being open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS for the world...
http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/my-most-cherished-cross-patrick-gerard.html
May we give the fruit raised in our vineyard to the Landlord, Jesus, and know that he will bring it to bear more fruit - the Way, the Truth and The LIFE! 
Time for the electricians and the flooring and then the kitchen and the bed in the bedroom and the bathrooms can be put together and we can live once again in a nice new home!  I am so ready to get out of the dust and the noise and no lights and... did I say I am ready for this to come to an end!

Jesus, love makes the world go round and gives us what we need to go forward down the narrow path carrying/dragging our Most Cherished Cross and finding LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
A step back in time...



Want a good book to give you Truth - this is it!

Love is the answer and comes from our Faith in Jesus and His Bride, The Church!
True Love - Danielle Rose
third Day - Cry out to Jesus... for wonderful Joseph!

Patrick in their tree house in Missouri - I hear it has been in the 70s there!

In the tree house!
Rose and I just noticed a new calf is born when we look at Cow TV on the computer! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

"the human heart... who can understand it? I, the Lord..."

Sweet Mary is in the 4th grade class at Holy Redeemer School and her class put on the mass today.  Mary led the singing.  Grandma waited in the back of church to give her a hug and tell her of her good job up there.  "Thank you, grandma, but I kind of got confused at first." "It didn't show Mary, you did beautifully.'  My heart melted with her humble sweetness and true happiness to see her old grandma at her mass this morning.  There is nothing more wonderful than having your Faith as part of your school each day.  I heard a teacher thanking an elderly couple for coming..."It is always such a wonderful special mass here at the school."  Yes, it is indeed!
Little brother, David, in the front row with the first graders wanted to wear a tie to mass today... talk about sweetness!  Big sister Mary up front leading the singing with her cousin.

There are very powerful readings in mass today... the first one from Jeremiah 17 speaks of how we are loved and find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT in our following of Jesus and with the help of His Bride, The Church!  More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy, who can understand it?  I, the Lord, alone probe the mind and test the heart, to reward everyone according to his ways, according to his deeds.
Leading the responses during the mass - The "Amen" at the end of the consecration of The Body and Blood.

Do you ever realize that Jesus knows all that we do - even the stuff we are ashamed of and try to keep secret in the recesses of our souls?  This verse from Jeremiah today is a strong reminder that in trying to stuff some stuff into the dark is only hurting ourselves and our relationship with Jesus.  Why not humble ourselves and bring those things to the LIGHT in confession and allow Jesus to give us unconditional love and forgiveness?  We are only hurting ourselves by hiding and burying and sweeping under the rug and putting in the dark closet under the bags and boxes... can you tell that I am in the midst of living in a remodel with all the constant mess and boxes and bags and dust and craziness?  Jesus, sees our hearts and minds and souls... so why not clean things up and leave our mess and dirt and sins and darkness and evil habits and selfishness behind? 
The stations of the Cross are so powerful during Lent as we recall the journey that Jesus humbly made to death for our sins on the Cross!  My most favorite statue of Mary has blessed my life of now the second generation of kids at the Catholic School.  For Pat it is his 3rd as he himself went to school at HRS and his mother before him!

The Gospel today is the beggar, Lazarus, outside the rich man's door, who would have loved to eat the scraps from the rich man's table and the dogs licked his sores.  Father talked today about how when we do the small things for people like visiting the sick, or donating clothing, or feeding the hungry we are doing them for Jesus, and making strides in holiness.  Sometimes the hardest to do those small things for are those the closest to you in your domestic Church/family!  Why do those feelings of anger and resentment well up inside of us so easily when we are maybe asked not so nicely by those closest to us to do this or that?  Then we snap back and around and around and messier it gets.  Lord, help us to smile more and say a kind "yes" more.
Luke notices a new baby and is charming - "Going in the car?"

Jesus, may we work towards having a more clean and holy heart for you and filled with your LOVE one for the other.  May we give without counting the cost, and when we are forgotten or thought less of may we rejoice that we may find some measure of humility - knowing that we are nothing without you.  We cannot do this loving and forgiving on our own... we need to have your help and mercy so that we may return that mercy to those around us. Most especially those in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in  you.  Amen
Reminding us of the desert we have entered for these 40 days of Lent.  Dry and lifeless we fall on our knees and lay our burdens down... all the rocks that we are carrying and that we constantly trip over as we stumble down the narrow path carrying/dragging our Most Cherished Cross towards the LIGHT.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Sweet Mary Angela fills me with much Joy!
Such a stunning moon greeted me when I left Ruth and Paul's last night! 

St Therese says it much better than I!

Fun to find some pictures of my military family today enjoying beautiful weather!

"I LOVE how our kids enjoy each other's company and (even though there may be a fuss to start -
they definitely aren't saints yet!) really play well together."  Maria
Tree house picture... my prayer to their guardian angels looks pretty important when I see this!
May his  heart be ours beating with LOVE!
http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/Lifestyle/People-Profiles/Meet-Mother-Mary-Clare-RoufsOne-of-the-Youngest-Nuns-in-America/  A sweet article about Mother Mary Clare, who was with Susan/Hallel in the discernment house in St Paul about 9 years ago.
 
The Litany of Humility
 
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should…
Can you imagine praying for this/asking for this?  Wow!
Danielle Rose - Litany of Humility
Danielle Rose - Small things with great love
Laura Story - What a Savoir
JJ Weeks Band - Alive in me