Monday, December 19, 2016

Watching the snow blow, listening to the construction sounds again, and a heart full of love/joy/peace!

I am so lucky to still have my wonderful parents with me, and heading up our huge family!  They were willing and able to join us for our three day Cross Christmas Camp - CCC!  We gathered each morning with a rosary after a family breakfast served to close to 60 of the "die hards" or those that love to come for every waking minute from Friday night to early afternoon on Sunday!  Most of the rest arrive at some point on Saturday afternoon into the evening - if we all came we would number close to 120, so it can become loud and crazy good!  The beauty of CCC is that everyone is there for the time that they want, and so we are all content and happy!
Ruth has better ones on her camera, but this gives an idea of our numbers this year.  Down a bit due to the cold, but growing with each year.  Many new great-grands this year!
I am looking forward to seeing Ruth's pictures of our family picture...  John got to hold his Goddaughter, Josephine!  Thanks to Kara for organizing the CCC 2016 shirts!  I have been waiting to do my Christmas card after we all were together since we have a new 6 week old granddaughter, Evangeline!
The family rosary followed by a teaching by my dad, Deacon Bob Cross, is a wonderful tradition and how we prayed for the storm to stay away, and it truly did!  Yes, it was cold, but many including my Patrick were able to travel on good roads to join us!  Pat stayed at home overnight to care for the cows and feeder cattle - clearing the snow and feeding and bedding them with many corn stalk bales so that they could be comfortable.  He takes wonderful care of his animals, and they in return are happy and healthy even in this cold miserable snowy weather.  We really felt that our prayers were answered and the storm was not near what they talked about. 
New little Evangeline listening to our shared Prayer to Our Lady to intercede for our family and our needs!
My brother, Dan, did this for the kids to color and place in their homes... The reason for the Season and this was made by granddaughter, Mary.

Both the first reading from Judges and the Gospel today from Luke tell of how the Lord has a plan for each of us even when it seems impossible!   For Zechariah it was that in their old age they would have a son, John the Baptist!  Luke 1:5-25  It is a beautiful story and we stand in the sanctuary of the Lord and witness this encounter with an angel of The Lord, Gabriel, "who stand before God."  I love the way St Luke describes this close encounter and how we see the Lord dealing with one that questions dim and has their doubts.  But why not, when you are past the age of fertility?  It just stresses that we are to trust and know that nothing is impossible to The Lord! 
Simon's special snow man and the theme of the cookies this year was get as much stuck on that frosting as possible!  It is obvious that the age of those decorating is pretty young for the most part.  All of these were eaten by those same little ones throughout the weekend!
A new tradition after our big supper serving about 100, and then family picture, singing Christmas carols, Santa arrives and we lift up prayers of thanksgiving and petition to baby Jesus, who is the reason for our gathering, and then the giving of gifts, and finally a new tradition is the dance with finger lights for all the kids!  What fun!

The crafts are special keepsakes for us to cherish from year to year!
The babies are always welcomed into many arms for snuggles...

We started some work on our house today - remodeling our two bathrooms and adding one on the 2nd floor... so I am listening to dismantling of walls and ceilings and floors as the wind is blowing the snow outside.  I need to finish this up for today and long for some quiet time to meditate and share more fully from my heart which has been through a lot over these weeks with the dying of my mother in law, the time with Pat's family to care for her, and celebrate her life, then the close time with my family sharing our most special tradition - Cross Christmas Camp with all the 2016 held for us.  I always cherish time with my kids and their kids - all but Hallel, and I have been given that in this last week, but now they have dispersed...  It was hard to say goodbye, but we could be seeing Nancy's family sooner than later with a trip down there for Christmas possibly on the horizon.  My life is in flux, and always we look to Jesus and Mary to follow...
The dance of JOY and all the little ones coming together.  Yes, even adults had some time on the dance floor!

Jesus, you definitely have a wonderful plan for our lives and we look to you and trust in you even when it all seems to be too much or impossible.  May we go forth carrying our Most Cherished Cross and following after you.  May we carry forth the small slice of heaven we find in our domestic Church/family sharing prayer, work and fun/joyful thanksgiving in dance and art and food!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
My newest granddaughter is so much like my baby pictures and like Maria and her sisters.  It was so special to share her first CCC with her and all the rest of our family.  Pat had to come later due to the weather, but he made it and we were all together!  Our prayers were answered!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Simon, Mary, Therese, and David Librande...
Both Evangeline and Josephine had their first CCC, and some of it was together.
Rose showing great-grandpa her new rosary from Nancy and Bernadette, and also telling him how her name is now "Rose again" after hearing that in the creed each Sunday. 
Josephine doing some toe tickling!
On my tree from Therese - a picture of grandpa and grandma with our red barn and tractor, trees and flowers... the tractor was here today to clear out the snow that continues to blow but the trees and flowers are a long way off!
The time flies by - but our hearts are full of love/joy and peace as we await the arrival of the God made man!
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