Sunday, July 31, 2016

"Think of what is above, not what is on earth." Colossians 3

Ruth left me some wonderful flowers here at my new place.  Along the picturesque red barn is a bank of daisies and black eyed Susans.  The kids stopped by with dad and picked some for their mom, of course grandma had to try to capture it all with such a special setting of the blue sky with white puffy clouds, the red barn, and kids picking flowers for their mom, and the flowers themselves...  a sight that moves the heart with gratitude for all that we have in the simple things of this world. 

The readings today caused us to pause and recall that this world and all in it are passing and we are not to devote our heart and soul and mind totally on gathering wealth or success or stuff or allow the things we want to acquire or accomplish to take importance over our looking to our Faith and love of Jesus and his Bride, The Church!
Flowers for mom...

There is such a busy life with many distractions that pull at us each day on the farm, how can we focus on our faith foremost?  By starting each day with prayer and giving it all to him as he is in control.  The weather is out of our hands and we have learned a big lesson here that we certainly are not in control.  Yes, you have to do the work and care for the land and the crops properly and diligently, but there are a lot that is out of our control.  I have seen many years with special masses just to ask for rain late in the summer, when drought has been looming.  Yes, I have seen million dollar rains, but I have also seen loss due to the lack of rain.  There are many ways that we have been humbled and reminded that we need to die to self and trust. 
The clouds, the ripening corn field which looks to be a bumper crop this year if we continue to have bountiful rains without hail or damaging wind, the barn, the cute girl picking flowers and the flowers - black eyed Susans always remind me of my Hallel/Susan!

After our big move in March - switching places with our daughter and her family - the thought of more things really leaves me cold.  Much was cleaned up and gone through and given away and I truly got in touch with all that I have and acquired over these last 38 years - our anniversary #38 is on Wednesday.  My days of being excited to go to the thrift store to find treasures filled my house up, and now to go there I probably will see my stuff on the shelves.  We moved in here and I really wanted and desired to do nothing to change or improve.  It just overwhelms me and makes me tired to think of going through all that. 
Two bunches of flowers for mom - she will need a big vase!  The beautiful cottonwood tree adds to the picture in this direction.

John made the statement today as we shared prayer and Eucharist with Pat's mom, that he is ready any time to leave this world behind.  I know the feeling in many ways.  There are struggles that come with our lives, and for me the biggest struggle is keeping my eyes focused on him and not allowing the pressures and distractions of this life pulling me off the path or my sins damaging our relationship.
Paul was helping me by pulling some of the weeds out of Ruth's flower bed.   Thanks!

Lord, I love to read and take in your Word each day!  I love to receive your Body and Blood each week!  I love to sit at your feet and place each one in our families in the monstrance with you in prayer each week!  I love that your Saints are always there to model for me how to keep my eyes on heaven and not care about what is on earth.  I love to share prayer with my family and most of all to share our Faith in you and your Bride, The Church!   I love the universal Church with all my heart, mind and soul and to see that Truth shared by millions of youth along with our Holy Father and many priests and religious at WYD including our Little Sister Hallel and her Community of the Lamb!  May your Kingdom come as all go forth to be Christ/The LIGHT in this world of darkness/the culture of death.  Change it into a culture of LIFE!  Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Hallelujah
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke - on my way into Adoration this week!  I prayed and placed all 200+ from our two families in the monstrance with Jesus including two new lives in the womb for the first time!  I feel the excitement build in my heart at the thought of this special hidden place of LOVE eternal! 
Yes, simplify is a good word for today!
Highlights in video form of World Youth Day which just ended in Poland!
About 40 years ago, Poland chanted: "We want God!" I'd say that prayer has been answered! #Krakow2016
Happy Feast day, dad.  Why?  My parents heard and answered the call to convert to Catholic while on an Ignation retreat 45 years ago!
While in Poland for World Youth Day, #PopeFrancis visited Auschwitz and stopped to pray alone in the cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe, Franciscan friar and Polish priest, was starved and killed by the Nazis. #Krakow2016

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"See, you lowly ones, and be glad... For the Lord hears the poor..." Psalm 69

John's shirt says a lot about how the fight goes on not only for him but for all of us... there is no finish line we cross in life and our battles, but we go forward down the narrow path ahead of us.  It is a goal ahead of us to be forever in heaven, and our earthly fight is with our own weaknesses, the snares of the devil and all that comes to us in the way of distractions and battles we are called to fight!  How do we keep focused and always strive for that finish line?  By starting and ending each day with prayer and focusing on Jesus in His Word and Sacraments with the help of our Spiritual Mother of God, Mary Most Holy, and all the Saints.  So much help is given to us if we only ask and receive!
After praying morning prayer with John and watching the commentary for WYD on EWTN with him as they talked about the devotion Saint John Paul II promoted and lived to Our Lady ... it is powerful to read these words on the back of John's shirt... I am strength, I am Hope, I am a survivor.  John has experienced much that has humbled him as the result of his brain cancer battle starting 7 years ago on Father's Day, and the pieces of humble pie continue to be served to him.
Rose and John working together yesterday...
It is special to see the close relationship John has with Mary.  He thinks the world of this kind and humble girl, who shared the Community Theater play put on this summer along with younger brother, David.  I think that the bug to be on stage performing has been given to Mary from her Uncle John. 

I will never forget speaking with my daughter, Maria, about how it seems that we are called to be humble every time you turn around in the Gospel.  "A famous saint once said; 'The three main virtues are Humility, Humility, Humility.' "   If there is one thing I have discovered and not learned very well is that in marriage and life in general we are to embrace humility and give without counting the cost.  Turning the other cheek - "Wounded, I will not cease to love."  Following the example of the Lamb is how Hallel's Community of the Lamb asks them to live their lives in community.

Mary, David and their precious Fudgy their kitten they raised.

Yes, being humbled in painful and we try to get around it whenever possible, but there are lessons in it in each new day.  But the Psalm from mass today should give us the desire to ask for humility to afflict us more and more... 
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the Lord hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
Lord in your great love answer me.

There is the Litany of Humility and it is crazy to pray it after we are inundated with the exact opposite from the world's standards!  Blessed Teresa, soon to be Saint, and her order pray this each week!

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…
Rose Ida and Bernadette...Cousins that love each other!  In a few days we are heading South to spend some time with 2 daughters and their families - the occasion is the Baptism of youngest grandchild, Josephine!  It looks like we will go with her Godfather, John, as well as Rose and Big Dave.  Rose has been very attached to her mother, but she is packing her bag to go and see Bernadette!

Lord, I will never forget when I had my hip replacement and called Hallel in France - "I am such a mess and I can't do anything for myself.  I am in such pain and helpless."  "Mom, when we are weak is when we need Jesus and turn to him."  "I guess I always want to be weak then, because I always want my Jesus!"  I am a mess old and overweight with a sore knee and a less than glowing attitude when I am put upon... I am truly humbled and it is not a pretty or wonderful sight.  Yes, I need you and long to be with you always and forever.  May I lay my burdens at your feet and then limp down the narrow path carrying/dragging my Most Cherished Cross and following after you to find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT through your Cross!  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Soon granddaughter #6 will join us!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
The 13 await her arrival - LIFE is a gift to be protected and cherished from conception to natural death!  Being open to life and raising LIGHTS for the world of darkness...

God is in control!

I need to remember this!
Danielle Rose - The Litany of Humility

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Martha kind of day - 200 quarts of corn and it was fun!

Luke got his first lesson on how to husk an ear of corn.  He managed two ears with some muscle help from grandma.  It is a beginning for a 2 1/2 year old, and his 4 older siblings all worked hard picking our goal of 15 pails of corn! 
It was such a nice morning to be out picking corn.  Thank goodness it wasn't a week ago with such heat!  I am realizing that with the crew that we have the job of day long sweet corn is much more fun with all the helpers and the comraderie we share working side by side and talking and listening to Disney on Pandora.  It was a fun day!
David picked a big pile and Mary sat and husked... teamwork!
Rose is a good worker for only being 4.  She has watched her mom work and learned from her.   Today being the feast of St Martha... it was good to have a big day of work and to be reminded that work is important and part of our lives, and if you can work cheerfully and being together really helps that to happen.  I can see that for Martha to be alone with all the "serving" to do that it was overwhelming.  To have our "crew" makes it a fun day!
Look at all our pickers!
Ruth's new farm kitchen primed and ready for its first big farm job- freezing 15 pails of sweet corn!  I sat at the sink and washed corn for 4 hours!
This spot which used to be our bedroom with our bed right here where the sink is now... it is now called the command center as we can view the entire yard from here... Mary was reminiscing... "I would lay right here on your bed and watch Mulan or Bug's life right over there where the counter is now."  We also brought up former corn days - the first year Pat and I froze corn we stacked it all in a box and set the box in the freezer - it all went bad.  The years that the coons would get most of the corn and we would have only 6 pails of small ears, or the years that the corn would be poorly germinated and spotty on the cob.  We are so spoiled now with pails of big beautiful ears to cut off and freeze!
The hard working cutting crew get started.  It got a lot more fun when we turned on the Disney music for all of us!
The smiles for grandma, Dave had to look so he didn't get cut but still smiled!

I must say that I start to get kind of anxious when big days come up like sweet corn is suddenly ready.  Today was a big lesson to me that sharing the job with others, who are cheerful and hardworking can really make it a pleasant and fun day.  There have been times in the past that were long and hard, and it is too bad that those are the memories I hold onto.  No, I need to update and realize this was a great time shared and it was fun!
Two of my kids worked the stove while I washed the 15 pails of corn.  I was able to sit on a stool and save my knee and that really made it pleasant for this old lady.  Ruth's wonderful new kitchen designed for this exact type of day was wonderful and truly made the job quick and fun.  I know I say "fun" a lot, but I am still allowing that to sink in.
Luke made a lunch of blanched corn out of the canner... about 3 ears and then took an early nap.
My washing station next to hard working Rose at the cooling station.  Ruth's farm sinks were huge and wonderful - they each hold two pails or two canners of hot corn to cool.  It was a fun day, did I say that enough times now? 

It is fun to think of this being St Martha today - the one you always think of as the worker in the kitchen!  I am sure that she is a hard worker and enjoys her time in the kitchen, too.  I am sure that from her asking Jesus to get her sister to help her... that she likes it better when she can have help and companionship accomplishing the big tasks!
We really had a boost when Pat and Paul showed up after some business in town!  Ruth was busy bagging and the grand total was 196 quarts with a few ears eaten here and there for lunch and Luke's... it would probably be safe to say that we reached 200 quarts this year!
I would wash on my side and Rose would cool on the other.  She was cute telling me about her going to the corn palace this summer and Mount Rushmore.  Yes, she is washing her ears with a washcloth.  We like our corn squeaky clean!
With the sun streaming in the wonderful new windows Ruth put into her Command Station - the corn looks like a pot of gold in her wonderful new farm sink.  I think you can tell that I am sold on her new canning farm kitchen.  Ruth had a vision and it worked out according to plan.  I am happy to have a new family fun work spot... right where our bed used to be!

Jesus, it was such a good family farm job day.  Thank you!  It was such a great lesson in how sharing work with a good attitude and under good conditions can make a job fun!  St Martha, you show the way to us - reminding us that a lot of our life is spent working and we need to do it without counting the cost!  St Martha you also said this to our Lord in the other Gospel option 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.” John 11:27  May we join Martha and never forget that you are our all in all.  Nothing else in life is anywhere near as important to YOU... Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
I was blessed with an unexpected hour of Adoration yesterday... a selfie with the pretty flowers outside church and the smile that went all the way to my heart and soul.  An hour at the feet of Jesus.. the best hour of my week, and I got to be Mary this time!  I loved putting two new lives in the womb in the monstrance with Jesus for the first time!  The Best!!!!!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
The clouds were reminding me to the LOVE of God for me and the wonderful world we are given to care for!
Did I mention that John helped this year and kept us smiling, too?  Yes, he's tall - 6'4" but the corn seemed shorter than usual, but the ears didn't suffer... they were big and wonderful!
Just out of Kansas City - Gus with his family portrait!

It kind of reminds me of his saying about sharing your faith and when necessary use words.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"I will praise the Lord all my life!" Psalm 146 - A Hallel Psalm!

This gentle yet deeply felt smile on my Little Sister Hallel 5 years ago as she is repeating her first vows as a Little Sister of the Lamb in Saint Pierre, France... fill me with a mother's peace knowing that she is saying "yes" with love to a call from Jesus to be His!  This came up today!  A post on my blog as we had just returned from spending 10 days in France with our daughter as she took this important step in her profession as a nun.  We are watching World Youth day in hopes of catching a glimpse of her blue habit, but it could pass for blue jeans and that is everywhere!

Today the Psalm in the midst of the readings at mass is a Hallel Psalm... 146!
"Praise the LORD, O my soul;
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
R. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob."
What is a Hallel Psalm?  Total praise for God!  It is the first part of Hallelujah.  "Whenever anyone says my name they are giving God total praise."  Susan/Hallel with great JOY!  Hallel in her name is in many ways praising the Lords all her life!  How I long to do that also and I am helped in that by my wonderful children's taking me deeper in my faith!
Many prayers for son-in-law, Joseph, who took his bar exam the last two days...
Mom's oldest daughter here for a wonderful visit! 
Precious time spent with their wonderful positive and loving mother, who truly praised the Lord with her life!  She even joined us, amazingly, on our trip to France 5 years ago!  She was 91!

A step back to 5 years ago  - the 4 of us sharing in the great JOY of Hallel - our hearts were truly lifted in PRAISE - Hallelujah!

A selfie just after a group of 5 had taken their habits and changed their names the night before Hallel's vows... Pat and his mom wiped tears to see the transformation and realizing what John and I had witnessed here 2 years before in the midst of John's brain cancer battle!  So powerful and we were taken out of this world into the REAL world of being with Christ and leaving self behind!  Looking into our moist eyes wide open and clearly seeing The Truth of what really matters in our lives - knowing and loving Jesus with our entire hearts, minds and souls!

Hallel and Hosanna!

Today in Jeremiah we read the words of the potter and the clay..."like the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand."  Yes, we long to be formed by you, Our Lord, and to get out of the way - dying to self so that you may live in me and make me what I am to be!

John with his Godson, Big Dave, at Michigan 5 years ago!  How John is longing and praying that the Lord shows him the path he is to take... he is a pot on the wheel of life.  One thing he longs to do is share that JOY and praise with all his energy, time, and enthusiasm of his healing and finding Faith through his brain cancer!
That life of praise keeps me laughing and smiling.  We are now watching for Hallel in WYD!  There are many blue rain parkas that are the exact color of their habits, so it is a challenge we are up to!

Our family 5 years ago minus Hallel and Pat and I, and Joe and Paul...  We will be having our 14th grandchild in a few months up from 6 here - a lot of life in 5 years!

Jesus, today in the Gospel you remind us, once again, that the Kingdom is our home and we need to continually give our all without counting the cost.  May we PRAISE you with our entire life!  I am eternally grateful that I am helped as I limp down the narrow path by my children and husband and grandchildren!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah

5 years ago...

Now today with LIFE happening!  Jesus, we praise you with our entire LIFE!  Family time is the Best!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke

John at Lourdes totally head over heels in love with Our Lady!  It continues to this day and hour and minute!  How we love to have Mary the Mother of God always with us!

Pat and John bathed in the healing waters where Bernadette dug and a spring flowed since healing many!

In line for a bath- "I had them pour water over my head, because that is where I need the healing."

Adoration at WYD last night!

Encountering Jesus!!!