Friday, September 30, 2016

"My journeys you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar..." Psalm 139

"I love the sun!" Mom sitting on the sun porch reading her daily prayers books just 2 days away from her 97th birthday! 

I have noticed that she adores laying in the sun in her bed or on the sun porch over this last year and a half on hospice care, but I imagine that it goes much deeper than warming her aging bones.  As a forever farm wife and girl growing up on the farm since 1919... the sun is hugely important to her!  I am sure that the hot sun was there all those 97 years for her to toil in - working hard in garden, home and field, but I am sure she relished it upon her face and back knowing that the sun was important to make the crops and garden grow to feed her family.  We all get down after days and days of sun hidden behind clouds, but for those that make their living from the land... it goes very deep indeed.  Yes, we need the rains, but the Sun is so very needed and important to us!
The Christ tears/Hoya plant that came with me when I married Pat 38 years ago!  In my apartment it had grown through wicker furniture and climbed my walls, too!  Mom got a cutting when she moved to town in 1989, and over these last 27 years it has loved this sunroom and filled it with shiny healthy green life!  A few times a year is blooms and puts out clusters of soft velvety blossoms with a sweet smell and a dew drop on each blossom - hence the name Christ's tears!  You smell the blossoms and tears before you see them nestled in the leaves overhead!

Much to ponder today in the readings and also the Saint for today - Saint Jerome is mind boggling in what he accomplished for the entire world... the translation of the entire Bible!  Crazy to consider doing that and how much effort, prayer and time it took him to accomplish this by hand!
Beans being harvested last evening... a wonderful crop this year!

The first reading from Job38-40 in which God basically puts Job in his place good and proper...  Have you lit the sky with the day or comprehended the earth or the darkness or commanded that there is light in the world... in my own words he is asking Job if he has any input in how this world works.  Job answers with sorrow for missteps and humility...  much as we are called to do each time we come to our Lord in Reconciliation!
Ed dumping the beans from the combine into the grain cart on the "fly." 

Speaking about Reconciliation... Psalm 139 from mass today is the bomb!  It speaks of how God knows everything about us, so why try to sweep it under the rug and hide it?  One verse that jumped out to me was about our journeys because this is what we are all on.  My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.  Where can I go from your spirit?  From your presence where can I flee?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I sink to the nether world, you are present there.  Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb.  I give you thanks for I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works.  Guide me, Lord, along the everlasting way. 
Ruth showing Luke that Baby is our pet cow and you can pet her!

When the ponder the idea of "journey"... it really became a powerful personal one for me with the brain cancer that struck our 20 year old son, John, 7 years ago!  The path was there to go down with the words from Hallel as we started to take our first steps that Father's Day 2009..."This is the storm and Jesus is in control!"  Just as God the Father pointed out to Job today in the first reading from mass... God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit/The Trinity/Three in ONE is in control of all that comes our way in LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT which comes to us through the Cross!
Luke eating ice cream in the clouds!

Yes, Lord, you are truly in control of our lives and each time we attempt to try to run things we get ourselves separated from you and your LOVE and unconditional forgiveness.  We long to come to you in The Confessional and lay our burdens and sins at your feet - why hold any back or try to hide them?  You see them all and know us inside and out!  We leave there free and forgiven and given your Mercy!  We then are asked to take and return that to all those in our lives - most especially those the closest to us in our domestic Church/family!  dMay we continually give ourselves over to you and die to self so that we may serve without counting the cost.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
David in the clouds!

Lilly sees a chance for some ice cream or at least a face to lick!
Mary is now swimming with the swim club!  Her mom and aunts did that before her, and that will be a good thing for her.  You just compete against yourself and work at improving with time and practice!
Imagine the warm sun and the wonderful oxygen thanks to this amazing healthy plant filling the sun room!  The best medicine! 
Such glorious weather!
Hard to do, but the Cross does bring LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT into the world!
I have so fallen in love with The Scriptures these last years.. thanks to The Magnificat, The Community of the Lamb, and Seeing Jesus in The Word!

These two were away helping a friend with splitting and stacking wood when I arrived there a week ago!  Doing the big jobs with a smile!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Unexpected invite to mass - Arch Angel Feast day

How about a half hour notice for your grandson's mass at school?  I knew that I would have Luke today, as Ruth worked overnight and needs some peaceful sleep, but suddenly I was informed that I could go to mass this morning at school... Simon's 6th grade mass on this beautiful feast of the 3 glorious/ or should I say giving God all the glory Archangels... Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel!  Simon appropriately sang like an angel as he led the singing through mass.  Ruth worked on her volunteer job of decorating the chapel.. using soybeans and corn out of the fields along with some leaves.
There is a special place in my heart for this beautiful statue of Mary over the years.  All 5 of our kids spent about 18 years here from when Ruth started in Kindergarten and John graduated 8th grade.  And now we are there again with Ruth's.  With #6 now she will have kids here even longer than we did!

It was such a gift to find myself in this beautiful chapel today with Ruth, just off of work, and Luke happy to see mom for a while!  A great addition to our day!  It was great to spend morning prayer with Pat and John while they ate breakfast and then headed off to work.  The wonderful angels at our side and at war with the evil that is in this world.  Learning that St Raphael is who is to be prayed to for "defender of adolescent chastity."  John mentioned that he needs to tell his siblings about this with all their little ones to protect from harm and misguided worldly notions that are all around us this day.
Simon leading the singing during the mass... a sweet newborn there with mom as his brother is involved in the mass, too!  So wonderful to see families grow and this wonderful Catholic school sharing Faith with generations!  This little baby's dad was a classmate of Ruth's and now their children will worship and grow here basking in the LIGHT, and protected by the Archangels and Mary and Jesus with all the Saints!  An army of good to keep us on the path. 
A special sight to these old grandma eyes. 

A class picture when they are all dressed up for mass!  They are 6th graders this year, and just 2 years left in HRS!
Believe... all things are possible... Nice job, Ruth, and the farm certainly did provide for the fall decorations. 
Sweet Simon sings so beautifully and uses his voice like an instrument, which is truly is!

Luke is soon to lay down and give grandma some rosary/rest time after our busy morning in town.  He certainly is a very advanced talker, and was interesting to be in the store with.  "What is her name?"  "What are they buying?" 
Luke showed me how he played hide and go seek in the confessional yesterday while mom was decorating.  The confessionals are fun now, and a reminder that both of grandsons, Davids, are having their first reconciliation soon, and will both be receiving their first Communion this year!  Exciting times with 2 first reconciliations and 2 first Communions, and 3 baptisms this year!  The best!  Then to have this most special mass and Sacrament - Eucharist on this glorious day of the feast of the Archangels!  So much to give us what we need and then some for this journey of Faith each day!
Each window sill had a special arrangement made more beautiful by the bright sunlight coming in the frosted windows.

Jesus, your blessings and graces abound and we are given so much more than we can ever take in and make a part of us.  May we become more and more yours and die to self so that the Holy Spirit can work through us.  May we become your hands and feet in this world of confusion and darkness.  We are called to be open to LIFE and to raise LIGHTS to shine forth in the darkness.  May we always embrace our Most Cherished Cross and follow after you.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
I see you... Luke.  You are so lucky to be #5 and will be a big brother to #6... showing your sibling how to grow in Faith in our wonderful Catholic School!  Faith is taught foremost in the home/our domestic Church, but it is so wonderful to have Catholic School to assist us in teaching and living The Truth!
Luke crossing himself with holy water after we greeted his brothers and sister.  Rose is in preschool all day Tuesday and Thursdays now.  Growing up so much!
Mowing the lawn as the sun was setting... it was so beautiful, and many times I would stop mowing to try to capture it!
The last rays of the sun and the violet clouds on our special cottonwood tree, and the corn field golden ripe.
The two cows followed me around to eat the fresh grass from the mower!
Keeping me company while I mowed in the beauty of sunset!
A little carried away...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

the journey down the narrow path...

Just minutes before I started for home... my military family out on a gorgeous day!  Maria had just discovered that she will have her daughter in 4 weeks - October 25th!  We are all very excited and prayerful that all goes well.  We are trusting as we are asked to by Jesus today in the Gospel. 
Family Time is the Best!!!!

I love this sign on my barn... it has been there since June when all the girls, minus Hallel, came home.  Now I have been gone almost 2 weeks spending time with my parents, Nancy and Maria and families.  Bean harvest started around here yesterday, but today is dreary and damp, so on hold due to the weather.  Pat put 2 cows, one of them being our pet cow, Baby, in the pasture around our little red barn.  It adds to the specialness of being home.  They watched me as I went out to pick 15 eggs and half a pail of vegetables from the garden this morning.  The 2 dogs and 2 cats also joined me on my rounds.
Some cow companions this morning instead of little ones filled with the ups and downs of little ones.
The chickens seemed to do OK with out the old chicken lady here to care for them. 
Two weeks away and the crops are very much ripening... Pat says that when the corn pushes out the ends that it is the sign of a great crop!  The rains certainly have been here this year, so we are hopeful!
Cats in the corn field, and dogs begging for an egg, and tomatoes, peppers, onions and beets fresh from the garden.  Ruth stopped in with Luke and Rose - her job is to do the decorations in the school chapel.  She will use leaves, corn stalks and soy beans... we think they represent fall and are beautiful!
They sure are a great family!  It was great to share in their daily life. 

It is good to be home for my two men, and we caught up some before bed and prayed together this morning - morning prayer and the Gospel before they headed out to their jobs.  Both report that they are happy and doing well. John is very excited about how well his 8th grade girls volley ball team is doing, and in awe of the varsity team.  It is good to see him happy and enjoying being back in the school setting.  Thank you, Lord!
I returned home to discover this amazing gift straight from Rome from a sweet cousin!  She had been in Rome over the time that Teresa of Calcutta was sainted!  On Sunday September 4th Pope Francis had her mass, and it sounds like all Rome was filled with people around that time...  My cousin writes: "My friends and I tried three different times to go into St Peters Basilica but after several hours in line we walked away!  But we got up very early on the 11th ( the day before I left Roma) to try again.  We arrived to find the Pope was giving a Mass and Blessings to all who were there!  I ran to the corner store in front of the Basilica and bought this Rosary with you in mind!  The rosary was blessed by Pope Francis on Wednesday, September 11th at the Vatican.
  Later that day we returned to the Basilica and we were able to walk through and touch the Holy Doors (opened this year for the special year of Mercy), and walk into the Basilica.  People ask me for my favorite experience in Roma and I must say it was the moment I touched the doors and walked into this beautiful tribute to our Lord!  I felt the Holy Spirit touch me and go through my whole body!!  It has changed my life forever!!  I don't have an emptiness of walking alone and I can handle anything that he wants me to do." 

I love the blue - it reminds me of my week with my Community of the Lamb and to have these blessed beads with St Teresa of Calcutta remembered as she intercedes with Mary the Queen of Heaven to our Lord!

When I asked my cousin, if I could share this here... she wrote me; "Absolutely share my wonderful experience in St Peter's Basilica!  He wants us to share HIS wonderful love!  My experience has truly changed my life!  Before this experience I was always afraid of being alone.  I knew and believed the Holy Spirit was always with me, but now... I felt is sweep through my body standing there in The Basilica!!  My life has forever changed!! Life is good!  God Bless you, you cousin." 
 A call for lunch has ended up in a few hours away, and the need to quickly end this for today. 

Jesus, I love you and am so glad that I can share it with every beat of my heart and every breath that I take!  How wonderful to share the story of my cousin and her amazing wisdom of The Truth - "He wants us to share his wonderful LOVE!"  Yes!  You are so right and this is the exact message of our Pope Francis in announcing this being the year of Mercy!  WE are to return  the LOVE, Mercy and unconditional forgiveness we have been given to all those we encounter... most especially those the closest to us in our domestic church/family!  The Beauty of The Church truly does lift our spirits and souls to YOU, O Lord.  Daily I call upon you, O Lord; to you I stretch out my hands.  Psalm 88 from mass today.  After listening to Christian music for 11 hours in my car yesterday coming home... I feel that my hands are lifted up in total praise for my wonderful Savior!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleujah
A great harvest is underweigh... praying for safety for all those working long hours taking out the crop.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Over to Ruth's to pick apples and get one of Luke with the pumpkins...
Easy to pick, but hard to mow under especially now that the branches are loaded with huge apples! 
My blessed Rosary is calling me and my sweet cousin will be included in my prayer time on her gift to me! 
Dear younger me - Mercy Me
Casting Crowns - One step away
7th time down - God is on the move

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On journey with Jesus through faith/family/farm!

A huge container of hair bows and ties will now have sister to share them with!  We have the date for Evangeline's arrival - on her dad's birthday, October 25th!  "She will be here 4 weeks from today!"  Therese was jumping for JOY!
Gifts for the shower.  I thanked Therese for giving me the JOY of making my watercolor cards and giving special gifts to my military girls.  Therese said that the boys said they will teach her how to play war and fight.  I am sure "T" has plans to play her dollies with her new sister.  I wonder who will win?
A watercolor I did for Maria's birthday in highschool - I think it was her 14th birthday.  I use children's books to help me come up with ideas and then make them my own.
This was made for her when she left for college with many prayers for her Faith journey with Jesus.  She had plans to leave The Church, but after a conversation with a seminarian... she not only did not miss going to Sunday mass but started to go to daily mass and became a Catholic Studies major and studied in Rome for a year, then joined the Poor Clares for 7 months and discerned out... finished college including a masters and then married Joseph... now expecting #5 in 4 weeks!
"Do you think I loved doing this?"  Yes!

It seems that I get away from home and I need to capture my time through watercolors.  At home I don't feel the need to watercolor unless there is a birthday or occasion of memory.  I am about to head out on my journey home!
Pat says that soon this will be happening at home, so I am needing to get there and do my part.  Love this and yes, my prayers are with safety and a good harvest.  Dear Lord, Keep us safe and sane!
Chores start the day - Therese washes the floors - one each day except for Sunday!  Today was grandma's room while she packed her car.
David doing the vacuuming each morning.

Lord, gives me safe travels to my busy farm home, and be with the farmers keeping them safe.  Thank you for Family time and for the blessings we receive one from the other.  The Mercy we have been shown may we return to those in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
Saying goodbye to mom and dad - mom to see the doctor and all is well, and dad off to work for the day.
Grandma got to help with home school...
One on my right and one on my left!