Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"You are God's field..." St Paul to us and the Corinthians

Such a classic family picture on the occasion of Maria's first Communion!  Yes, I sewed for all 5 of them and made them as matching as possible! 

Why would I start with this picture now 25 years old?  The words of ST Paul in the 1st letter to the Corinthians grabbed this old farm wife with a shot of Wow!....  "You are God's field, God's building."  I Corinthians 3:9  Here are my 5 children all lined up in order of age, as though they were corn out in the field - in the 9 years between Ruth and John I had a miscarriage between Ruth and Nancy and two between Susan and John - one being a set of twins!  I had just lost 2 boys that I carried for 5 months each and are buried at the cemetery after John, and then another loss at almost 4 months!  My 12 children didn't work out according to plan - God's field on earth is 5 lights for the world and then 7 in heaven praying for us and allowing us to keep our eyes focused on heaven above all else!
A recent fake picture as I had to add Maria, who couldn't make it to KC for Thanksgiving about 3 years ago.  I am thrilled to know that they possibly all could be together in KC for the Labor Day weekend along with their families!

I could go on and on about how these 5 have truly become God's field bearing much fruit and sharing much light, but it is shared on these pages so I will resist today.  The story continues to evolve and change and grow, but that is what happens in a field here on the farm, too!  It never stays stagnant, but always grows and matures and yields a hundred fold!
My dad, Deacon Robert Cross... a convert to The Catholic Church along with our family - all 13, baptizing our oldest, Ruth Ida!  Talk about God's field... I have been so grateful to the Holy Spirit for speaking to my dad and bringing us into The Church!

St Paul speaks of how he is merely the one who plants and waters, but God causes the growth!  I am so fed by the Word each day on this journey called Faith/Family/Farm.  It is Christ alive and well and His Holy Spirit directing me to share His LIGHT/LOVE/LIFE which is given us through the Cross! 
Ruth's wedding in 2003... married 13 years in November and now welcoming their 6th child next spring.  God's field continues now in the families of our children!  So much JOY fills my heart, mind and soul that we share our Faith as a family!  Open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS - The Church asks us to answer this call and find the narrow path to heaven forever with Jesus and His Bride, The Church!  Yes, it is a hard road and we die to self for the sake of our family, but this is what we are asked to do.  Give without counting the cost!
God's field - my family just at the time of our conversion - 1971... 45 years ago!  We are now approaching 120 strong!  Jesus and Mary, we love you!  Save Souls!  Placing each one in the monstrance at Adoration, along with the close to 100 on Pat's side... that's a huge God's field!
Just before Susan/Hallel left for France to join The Community of the Lamb - 9/11/2008... our "real hugs" have gotten much more precious.  Our last one was a year ago Easter in KC at Lumen Christi - the Light of Christ Monastery.  The corn in the field - God's field - once again!  Our family is now approaching 25 members with the two new ones in the womb!

The Gospel has now moved to St Luke, and Jesus is actively healing and praying in a deserted place and trying to go forward down the path, but we want to hold him...  We do not progress in our spiritual life if we hold it inside - we must share and give what we have received to those around us... most especially those in our domestic Church/family.
This was a few years back, and such a beautiful stalk of grain in God's field... I love that she is considering this wonderful option for herself in the recesses of her heart!
My parents with grandson, Dominic, 2 years ago.  They modeled being open to life for all of us!  Mom just shared the other day... "I remember waiting at the back door to tell your dad that we were expecting #8!"  After losing one 2 days after birth and adopting 4 siblings - they raised 11 children, and brought them all into The Church with them 45 years ago! 

I just realized that it was my parents 67th anniversary yesterday!  Pat and I celebrating our 38th and all that has happened since... 67 is forever!  They have seen so much happen and change and grow with many ups and downs, yet they have each other still and that is amazing!  I am so blessed to have them both still together and making their way,  a bit more slowly perhaps, but still doing quite well.  Thank you, Jesus, and hold them close to your heart burning with love for them!  Mom and Dad, I love you and wish you a wonderful  68th year ahead.

Jesus, I am overwhelmed to be in God's field and the way I am cared for and nurtured and given all I need to grow and bear much fruit!  I am filled with your Truth - blessed by The Word that comes to me each day in The Church.  May I represent you knocking on the door of all those I encounter - most especially those in my domestic Church/family.  I yearn to follow you carrying/dragging my Most Cherished Cross and come to dwell with you forever in heaven.  I am weak and lowly and need you my Jesus.  May I find that deserted place to fall on my knees and give my all to you... dying to self so that you may live and work through me.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
A weak stalk in God's field - we will hold him up!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke in the famous Easter Hat/John falling down picture... Classic!
Romeo arrives 2 years ago on grandpa Pat's birthday, and now we will welcome Evangeline Mary in November!  God's field growing and blossoming in Missouri!
So precious is LIFE - Lord, please my ALL LIFE be protected and cherished from conception to natural death!
Pat's mother is on the other end of the spectrum, and we cherish our time with her!
Talk about a miracle - all 9 of her kids around her brings a rare huge smile to her face!  God's field is a gift to all thanks to her "yes"
On the farm you are truly planted - God's field, yet we were able to pass it on to the young farm family now!  I am yearning to make one of these but with Ruth and Paul and their growing family on the hill! 
Thanks mom and dad, St John Paul II, and Our Lady... my life is so rich thanks to all of you!

Danielle Rose - Pursue me

From Maria's blog today - sunburned family at Josie's Baptism.  I think they are heading over to KC this weekend for some super family time with both Ruth and Nancy and families!  That would be 19 in total!  Wow!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The beginning and the end... of summer. "spiritual realities/The Truth in spiritual terms"

Cheers to an end of summer sleep over with Uncle John!

Pat came home with 2 surprise overnight guests!  Mary and David came to sleep in their former home, and were so easy to have.  It reminded me how these 3 bonded at the beginning of the summer with sharing play practice as they were in The Addam's Family Community Theater.  They put themselves to bed and asked to join Uncle Johnnie with some tea with their eggs and toast this morning.  I used my special Teapot painted by my grandmother, and her cow milk pitcher, and two of her handpainted cups- one pink for Mary and one blue for David!
She's a bit drippy but so much fun!

John was just sharing that Mary is all pumped and talking about the musical next summer and being on the speech team at HRS when she is in 6th grade.  He had a huge smile on his face knowing that Mary appreciates the things John valued in school and since.  They have so much love and appreciation for each other!  It is wonderful to see how this relationship has blossomed through sharing the play.  It was fun to share some time with them here.
  These two are saying that they want to come back tonight and every night until they leave for Kansas City on Thursday morning.  Ruth and Paul's family are finally going to get down to see Nancy and Maria's families... all gathering in KC for Labor day weekend!   I am so excited for them all to have some great family time!  As my barn says - Family time is the Best!

Nancy's 4 just days after the arrival of their sister, Josephine!  I am feeling quite emotional today about my girls and their being open to life.  It struck me this morning that my husband is the 6th child in his family and just how important his being in this world is to me, and now we will approach 25 members of that family!  So powerful to think about in the light of Ruth and Paul having their 6th child and what that child will mean to them and to the world to come!   In prayer with Pat and John this morning I shared these thoughts, and John shared that he could say that he was #9 of 5 as I had 4 here with me and lost 4 before him and hence he would be #9 of my 12! ... for the entire story of being open to life and raising LIGHTS!
Maria's family welcoming Patrick home at 2 weeks after a traumatic birth and 2 weeks in NICU!  How blessed am I to be able to travel to be with my daughters and their wonderful families at the birth of each new grandchild!  Maria has since had Romeo and now in a couple months will welcome a daughter!  We are all so excited - most especially her older sister, Therese!  I was able to baptize a newborn Patrick in NICU... such a special bond!

How I love to join St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians today as he speaks of how the Holy Spirit from God changes our lives inside and out, but mostly how we think and feel and know and believe and see the Truth that leads to True Happiness - the Cross!  Over and over in the last years we have been lifted out of hopelessness and embraced Hope in Jesus and His Cross and His Bride, the Church, as we look at our Cross with spiritual realities and in Spiritual terms... In other words Jesus is in control in the storms of life and all we need do is call on him and give it over to him!
Gus so sweet with his new sister almost 4 years ago!  Now he has welcomed his newest sister, Josephine and a brother in between, Dominic.  Nancy and Bill celebrated their 6th anniversary on Sunday with 4 little ones!  So busy and so blessed would be a good way to describe Nancy - staying at home to care for her family!

I have heard from some, who although open to life - over 10 children - still share that they feel a perfect family would be 4...  They shared with me this idea often, through my childbearing years of loss and pain and finally the 5 that are here with me.  And has since about my kids having kids... I am baffled as I look at all their wonderful children and wonder how they can advise others to not be as open and as a result have each precious life here making a difference in their worlds?!?    It makes no heart/spirit sense to me, as I ponder how my husband #6 has now and continues to make a huge imprint on this world of sin and darkness with growing LIGHT!
So blessed to be present with my daughters and their families to welcome the new life!  Me with newborn Bernadette - November 13, 2012.  I had just returned from a month in El Paso and Maria's family with Patrick's birth!

Yes, life would be easier with 4 kids rather than double digits, but life is not about what is easy or comfortable.  We are called to die to self and welcoming life demands that we give of ourselves and leave our selfishness behind.  Not taking the control of our life into our own hands, and using NFP leave the door open to God to bring spiritualness into our families.  I have so much peace knowing that I have all my kids here with me - 5 -  and in heaven praying for me and our family - 7!  It keeps my eyes on heaven, and each day I ask to put my Faith first and foremost.
Love this!!!  Bernadette, Patrick and Rose - soon to be 4 together and now great cousin/friends!
The best!!!! 
The 3 little boys growing up together in a couple weeks they will all be 2 at the same time!  At the feet of Our Lady, and under her protection each day is my prayer/the rosary!

Jesus, life is such a precious gift, and how my heart is hurting at the mess of our country!  Please, Lord, can this election bring more respect for ALL LIFE!  May people see LIFE in Spiritual Terms - St Paul speaks to us this Truth/Spiritual Realities ... We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand the things freely given us by God.  And we speak about them not with words of human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit, describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms.  Yes, Lord, often times I feel that I am alone and not understood as I share the LIGHT of your Truth as taught and held out to us by your Church/The Truth to set us free!  Show me how to share The Truth and when necessary to use words!  I will embrace my Most Cherished Cross and carry/drag it down the narrow path as you show us the Way, The Truth and the LIFE!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
My 5 granddaughters standing with our Queen of heaven and earth... soon granddaughter, Evangeline Mary will join us, and another boy/girl (?) in March!  Those 3 will share life together within the same year!  So many prayers for each one from the moment we know they are here... surrounded by LOVE!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
So fun to think that they will all be together over the weekend!  It will be a lively place for sure!

St Therese sees all with eyes and heart and mind of the Holy Spirit!
Mother Teresa and John Paul II, May 25, 1983. Credit: L'Osservatore Romano.
Her Cannonization on Sunday!!!!

Mother Teresa at prayer breakfast in Washington DC.
"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.
And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to b...e willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.
By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.
And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.
Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
I was not there, but author and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan was. Here’s what she later wrote:
"Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes. As they clapped they began to stand, in another wave from the right of the room to the center and the left.
But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussaud’s. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way."

Monday, August 29, 2016

"I resolved to know nothing... except Jesus Christ" I Corinthians 2

Rose and their bunny just before I left after another tomato canning day over at Ruth's.  Only 2 1/2 pails today and we ended up with 34 quarts of stewed tomatoes for the girl's chili and hot dish.  Ruth and family could be heading down to KC to see Nancy and Maria in their new places over Labor Day, so the plan is to bring them some of our hard work/canning along. 
They just fit in the small red chair...

Today is one of John's feast days - the Passion of St John the Baptist, and we are all familiar with the Gospel for today of the beheading of John the Baptist.  A hard reading to be sure, and we are reminded numerous times that John the Baptist was good at decreasing so that Christ could increase and become his all in all!  The first reading today continues from St Paul to the Corinthians - the first letter and now to the second verse... I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom...  These words truly spoke to me and of me this day!
This bunny lost her sister a couple months ago and they shared a cage, so it must be good to come in and get some kid attention!

It was a good day of working with Ruth and her kids come and go.   We visit and have our canning machine down to a science.  We are quick and efficient, and I find so much delight watching her be a mother and farm wife in action.  Today she shared that it is good for them to be on the farm and allowing Paul to come in and have supper with his family in the midst of the late nights Pat likes to put in.  If there is daylight he feels he needs to be busy at something, and there is always something.  Now Paul doesn't miss out on family meals, and that helps. 
Luke and the bunny.

My rosary is calling out to me, but I just wanted to quickly respond to the words of St Paul today, which speak my heart in my desire to know nothing except Jesus Christ.  How do we do this each day?  By growing in love and knowledge of Jesus in The Word and Sacraments, through The Saints, and with the guidance and intercession of them and the Queen of Heaven and earth - Mary the Mother of God!  So much to help us on our journey down the narrow path as we carry/drag our Most Cherished Cross!  The Bride of Christ, The Church, is there to help us get to heaven forever with Jesus!
Rose washing the fresh eggs from the chickens this morning - she is always excited to see the green eggs... they are special!
Lunch break for the men and kids and canners..."Who's going to come out and help us put in some fence?"  David agreed.

It really blows my mind to read that St Paul spread the amazing message with "weakness and fear and much trembling."  The weak part really is true for me, too!  Me and Saint Paul, who would have thought?!?
Ruth and I were commenting about how green everything is this year... including the green peppers and the tall grass that almost chokes up he lawn mower.  Usually we can stop mowing by this time of year!
Lush and green this year, and lots of apples, too!

Jesus, all I want to know is you, and all else is so much stuff that continually gets into my heart, mind and soul and distracts me and pulls me away and runs me down and leaves little room for what I really want to concentrate on... you, my Jesus, and you alone!  I am reaching for my beads, which is my life-line of prayer through the intercession of your most amazing and humble Mother of God!  Each day is filled with the love language between me and you - PRAYER without ceasing!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Red tomatoes in the jars and ready for lasagna, hot dish or chili.  Home cooked family meals shared with our growing families!  Prayers being sent up for our newest grandchild #15!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Pictures on the wall... it looks like it is becoming their home on the farm!
"Mom, there is an animal in the house."
One more to add to the circle called "young new farm family."

All I want is Jesus!
We must pray for young men to say "yes" to the call to the priesthood!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"It's not a secret." Ruth

Rose Ida and Ruth Ida telling great-grandma that they are expecting a new baby in their family.  "I'm glad it's you and not me."  Said great-grandma, who can say it at 96 years old/young and after 10 children herself! 

We are praying without ceasing now for two new grandchildren in the next months.  Maria's little girl in late October and early November and now Ruth's in late March.  So many prayers surround each new life!
Grandma joins us for a family breakfast after mass with Pat's brother, Mel, and is wife.  Summer is coming to a close and it was a wonderful day to gather in the deck - the 4 generations sharing food and The Eucharist!
Paul and grandma sharing grapes and smiles!

Sharing the Eucharist with Pat's mom after Ruth's family went home... John prayed eloquently during the petitions about the huge does of humility he and grandma have been blessed (?) with or given through their illnesses and end of life stage for grandma Ann.  I could see a reaction at the Truth revealed by John.  So much of the readings today pertain to how we are called to be humble.... ending with the words of Christ to us in the Gospel from Luke 14..."For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."  Even when that humble state is something that happens to us in the scheme of life!

In picture form of this Truth... this woman so humbled by her needing help for all her cares - now seated in the midst of her 9 kids and beloved by them... the queen taking her place/exalted by those that owe their lives to her!   This is a most treasured keepsake for now and always!  Melvin just left for Nevada,  Paul is back in Colorado, and Grace will leave for Arizona in a few months... so getting them all together like this is not likely to happen for a very long time - not in the near future for sure and maybe not again in Pat's mother's lifetime.  Divine Providence indeed!  And the humble being exalted and her many prayers answered in a very real and powerful way!
I now have a copy in a frame for her... so cherished and brings so much JOY!

Jesus, nothing can replace the family and sharing our Faith one with the other.   May we not reject that opportunities we are given to embrace humility and to die to self so that your Holy Spirit may dwell in us and help us to be your hands and feet.  We thank you for the new life we welcome into this world and our family and we know that you are surrounding it with your LIGHT/LOVE/LIFE.  Psalm 139 says it all! 
Image result for psalm 139
It is wonderful to know of it there, and to surround it with our love and prayers!  How well I remember that feeling of bonding and love with all the lives I carried in my womb - 7 in heaven praying for me and this new life, and 5 here with me and praying also!  Jesus, we thank you and Trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Two of her 10 - Pat is just 13 months older than Paul... they and their 8 other siblings can say with great Truth - "Thanks mom for LIFE!"  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Sharing Jesus in his Word and Body and Blood is the most important part of our lives! 
May we be as humble as the Lamb slain for our sins - saving the world from sin and death!
St Augustine pray for us on this your feast day!  Happy 6th anniversary to Nancy and Bill!  Pat called them this morning - "It's your 6th anniversary today and you only have 4 kids?" 
I still am in the romance stage with my Jesus and His Bride, The Church!

 "Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee. - St. Augustine
Happy Anniversary!  We love you so much!