Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"Shepherd your people with your staff..."

This was not planned at all... the three youngest grandsons were getting tired of the picture frenzy.  Since Romeo has very few words yet.. the speak no evil is implied and how could a sweet little "ginger" like that have any evil to speak at 1 1/2 anyways?   Can you tell that I am still holding close to my heart the week we had together at the end of June?  So wonderful and I left in such a whirlwind that I really have not had the chance to digest it all.  We have come down with colds since, but there were no runny noses among the 13 kids, and only a mystery fever which lasted a sleepy day for the ones that came down with it starting with the oldest, Simon!

The readings today were read in some tension and fatigue around here, so going back there the first line from the first reading in Micah grabbed my attention.  How often do I consider the often mentioned "staff of the shepherd?  I am sure it was not a comfortable thing for the sheep to be grabbed around the neck and pulled out of thistle patches or from where they have fallen or gotten stuck.  There is a crook at the top to grab them around the neck and pull them.  Working with cattle I know that the staff or rod is used to swat them on the noses to turn them or on the butt to get them to go ahead where you want them.  I have heard that sheep are not very intelligent, so I am sure that the staff is used to direct them, protect them, motivate them, save them from tight spots and disasters, and separate them from their lambs when they are weaned, a lot of unpleasant things for their own good and safety.
Our Lady looking lovingly down upon these three born within 10 months of each other...  That is not a black and blue lip it is a mulberry stained lip!

Yes, the picture of the Good Shepherd in the pasture with his staff herding and tending to his sheep is not quite the one we love to read about in the 23rd Psalm!  There are a lot of painful and miserable things we need to go through in our journey as the sheep!  The staff is used to keep us on the path and away from the prowling wolf, who is always wanting to steal us away from what is good and right!
Another mulberry face that I love!

Working with my husband on our gardens from sunrise this morning... I have experienced the staff in the verbal reprimands for my poor gardening.   This happens every year and I don't change or improve.  Ruth and I have started to use tarps to keep the weeds down between the rows, but I still am very poor at keeping them out of the plants until I am reprimanded.  I guess I am a dumb sheep, when it comes to keeping a clean garden, that needs that staff to get me moving in the right direction. 
A kitchen filled with family eating!!!  Then it poured out onto the deck, too!

Why is it that year after year I don't get better?  I am weak and sinful and now I am struggling with a sore knee after the two weeks with the girls and their kids and then Ruth and I in Michigan.  Year after year I think I will keep ahead of the weeds - "if you just work 15 minutes a day pulling weeds you would keep ahead of it."  I do pull some every day, but probably more like 2-5 minutes and then I start picking the vegetables that are ready to eat, and the weeding takes a far second place.  I am not in love with gardening - I love to share my Faith here on this blog each day, and my pictures.  It goes much deeper than a person thinks.  Even the "staff" year after year of firmly reminding me that I have a dirty garden and what have I been doing with all my time... I don't change!
How Therese loves the little ones!  She is busy crafting her time away until her new sister comes in Mid October!  I have a wonderful potholder with the cross stitched Mary with her Immaculate heart and Jesus with his Sacred heart on it, and a bracelet she made for me and for many!

What am I learning from all this today?  The Gospel could have the answer for me... whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.  Matthew 12:50
I am not a dumb sheep.. I am a sister to my Jesus if only I die to self so that the Holy Spirit can work in me and make every attempt to do the will of the Father!  I do from time to time need the staff to help me get out of the messes I find myself of to get me back on track!  We all know that life is not easy or cushy or filled with only good/rainbows/lollipops/hearts... there are times of difficulty and discipline and justified criticism and even insults and injuries to our body, mind and spirit... how are we to respond?  "Wounded, I will not cease to love."  The spotless Lamb slain for our sins, did he resent of hold it against us?  No, he continues to love us and asks us to return that love - "take up your cross and follow me!"

In black and white how I love to see the 13 together!

Jesus, You shepherd me rightly with your staff of correction and protection and motivation... three things that I need to have reinforced in my life.  I do thank and praise you  for those few things that I love and burn to do, and the opportunity to share your Truth whenever I can!  Yes, there at those things that I don't love to do that I am lazy about, and I do need correction and the staff of motivation to tend to my responsibilities.  How I love, love, love you, my Jesus, and your Glorious Bride, The Catholic Church with no reservations!  How I love to hold onto my rosary beads each day and ask your Mother to walk with me in prayer for all the needs - most especially those of my family/kids/kids-in-law, grandkids/SPOUSE!  So many great gifts and blessings and graces come with that staff of yours keeping me on the narrow path to forever in heaven with you.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Still have this sign on my barn... I love to be reminded of the Truth it shares.  Yes, there are some hard and challenging parts to all being together, but the good outweighs the bad by far!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
A picture of the struggle is always good to have!  Life is certainly not picture perfect!
Talk about picture perfect!  This family is growing so wonderfully - Gus just turned 5 at the end of May and they now have 4 kids!  They will celebrate their 6th anniversary at the end of August with 4 kids... that's open to life and raising LIGHTS! 
Eating outside tomato soup!
Mulberry faces - how about mulberry feet?
Look at this!  Someone used Nancy's pattern to make this for a Godchild!  How special and amazing - this could share faith with great JOY and make a huge impression on love for The Church!
Lauren Daigle - Trust in you

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