Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 filled with so many blessings for our families!..."Our Lord spent three hours in redeeming, 3 years on teaching, and thirty years in obeying..."

We are awaiting word and hopefully a picture of the Lanoue bunch with their Aunt Hallel!  They will be seeing her around 2p at Lumen Christi!  I am using Nancy's wonderful pictures taken a week ago when we shared Christmas with our nun.  Love this one of year and a half year old Josephine after mass with the humble glowing light of Christ filling the monastery behind them.

Love that I can use the girl's pictures taken with their beautiful cameras on this special feast day - The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!  Such an amazing example and giving all our human families hope to have them with us each day! 

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote these amazing words of Truth:
Our Lord spent three hours in redeeming, three years in teaching, and thirty years in obeying, in order that a rebellious, proud, and diabolically independent world might learn the value of obedience.

Grandma Bandzuch's matching jammies for the family!

Venerable Sheen continues:
Home life is the God-appointed training ground of human character, for from the home life of the child springs maturity of manhood, either for good or evil.  The only recorded acts of our Blessed Lord's childhood are acts of obedience - to God, his heavenly Father, and also to Mary and Joseph.

Nancy's great family picture - only missing two... Captain Joseph and Little Sister Hallel! 

I am sorry but this is just too amazing and I want to continue to share Venerable Sheen...
If Jesus was sent on a message to a neighbor by his parents, it was the great Sender of the Apostles who delivered the message.  If Joseph ever bade him search for a tool that was lost, it was The Wisdom of God and the Shepherd in search of lost souls who was actually doing the seeking.  If Joseph taught him carpentry, he who was taught was one who had carpentered the universe and who would one day be put to death by the members of his own profession.  If he made a yoke for the oxen of a neighbor, it was he who would call himself a yoke for men- and yet a burden that would be light.  If they bade him work in a little plot of garden ground, to train the creepers or water the flowers, it was he who was the great Dresser of the vineyard of his Church, who took in hand the water pat and the gardening tools.
Wow!!!!  I am blown away!!!!

Grandpa in his happy place - arms filled with LIFE!

"Put on, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection."  Colossians 3 was the amazing second reading from mass today.  It was -17 as we drove to mass this morning.  Pat went over to do chores and said that all was well and so thankful that there was no wind to contend with...

His sweet baby Evangeline - who will be 14 months in tomorrow.  She spent 4 months living with us a year ago, and spent a lot of time on her grandpa's lap!

Pope Benedict XVI has amazing thoughts for this feast too... what can I say in comparison except that I am lifted up by this wisdom?
The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love... the family is the intermediate institution between individuals and society, and nothing can completely take its place...  The family is a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society, and a great and lifelong treasure for couples.  It is a unique good for children, who are meant to be the fruit of the love, of the total and generous self-giving of their parents.

The granddaughters all 7 together at CCC!!! 

Love Benny XVI!  The family is also a school that enables man and women to grow to the full measure of their humanity... O God, who in the Holy Family left us a perfect model of family life lived in faith and obedience to your will, help us to be examples of faith and love for your commandments.

Soon Joy and Evangeline will be spending time with Hallel!!!  So happy for our farm family to be having family time supreme!

John and Bobbi are having a wonderful holiday together!  A new year lies ahead bright and beautiful!!

"Wives, be subordinate to your husbands,
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything, "  Words to live by and wonderful to sit next to Pat and mass and know that we are trying to give of ourselves one to the other - dying to self so that Christ may live in us!  Embracing our Most Cherished cross to find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!

The girls in red...

Bless all families, O Lord, may we find a small slice of heaven here on earth sharing mass and having Mary and Jesus and Joseph in our homes to lead and direct us in obedience to your Way, your Truth and your LIFE!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barbara Mary Luke

Holding this in my heart... a warm and happy and contented place!!!
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4 years ago... lots have changed for us... 2018 lies ahead and we trust!
Reminding me of Maximilian loss on Thanksgiving, adding to our other 4 grandchildren and our 7 in heaven. 

"Three miscarriages does not necessitate that we will have no more babies, but it does make the idea of being open again to a new baby slightly terrifying. They remind us that when we are open to life we are also open to death. We are open to this heartbreak again. Every time we choose to hope for a baby we know that it is a real possibility. But we also know the joy of a newborn, and long for those sleepless nights, the sweet smell of the warm head, and weight of a sleeping baby in our arms.

Each of these babies has an eternal soul—each of these babies is incomprehensibly good even if they are never born. And, perhaps, that is why the pain is so deep."
Susanna Spenser

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Years excitement/memories/precious family time/intimate humble LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT/baby Jesus!

Our Military family pose in Christmas finery!  Miss them a lot!

A memory from 2 years ago today.  Pat's mother, Anna, was on hospice in her home for almost 2 years.  She passed away on Dec 11 a year ago now.  She had been such a huge part of our lives and taught me all that I know about being a farm wife.  Now Ruth follows much more closely in her example than I ever did, and that is a beautiful sight to behold. 

So much has changed in 2 years... mom is now gone from our midst, all three; Ruth and Maria and Nancy have a new daughter, and John is engaged to Bobbi. We have all moved now... Nancy to KC, Ruth and Paul to the farm, Maria lived with us for 4 months last winter and now they live in Fort Lewis, Washington!  We were also soon to begin our big house remodel and switching places.  Yes, our lives have certainly changed so much with hardships and then the joys of life.
She would always smile for the little ones! 

The Gospel today reminding me of another Anna, who was a widow, and spent her time in prayer -"she never left the temple, but worshiped night and day"  Mom was a widow for 20 long years and certainly lived her faith with prayer.  It was a beautiful sight to behold her sharing her faith with all those around her on her death bed for all those months. 
Love this from 2 years ago... the 4 poster bed is where Ruth has her sink now and her windows looking out over the yard/her command station.  A reminder of all the changes we have been through to reach where we are today.
In the gathering space 2 years ago.

Ruth and Paul are on the road heading to KC to stay with Nancy and family and to spend some time with Hallel for the first time since she came to KC in October!  I would love to be a fly on the wall, but Pat and I are here to hold down the farm in these frigid temps.  Thankfully there is no wind to make it too miserable.  Pat can take most all cold, but the wind is what makes it unbearable.
Pat's mother collected angels and so she had a number of tree toppers.  I have been eyeing this one and had fun putting it on the top of the tree with the snow falling making our world white cold and beautiful!
It has been special to have John around with school vacation - the beauty of working in the school is the wonderful holiday breaks you get along with the kids!  We have managed to do morning prayer together most mornings and went to Ghent in the middle of the snow yesterday to attend mass in this wonderful special setting!
The sisters of Mary the Morning Star had straw covering their entire chapel making it as though you were allowed to be there in the stable with Mary and Jesus and the newborn King of Kings in humble form of a newborn child!  So intimate and holy.
There is something so cozy and special to have snow drifting down and the trees dressed in their white softness were the best kind of stain glass windows to behold.  The voices of the sisters were as though angels had arrived to sing their praises for the newborn king!

The words of the Collect spoken by Father; Almighty and invisible God, who dispersed the darkness of this world by coming in your light, look, we pray, with serene countenance upon us, that we may acclaim with fitting praise the greatness of the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son...
Father then reminded us that just as Simeon was promised The LIGHT, so are we and we must look for it and follow it!
Sitting in the straw before the Nativity icon in KC on Christmas day!  Now we are very excited to have Ruth and Paul spending time there for New Years/The Solemnity of Mary!

There is something so beautiful/revealing the deep love they have for their spouse, Jesus Christ, and his Mother, Mary Most Holy... when you spend time in the humble yet glorious chapels of both of these Communities.  It touches the soul deeply and powerfully and makes me long to leave the world behind as Anna did and never leave the temple!
How I love this picture!!!  For one thing Pat asked for it to be taken and that is impossibly wonderful!  We are standing in the straw  in front of the altar in Lumen Christi/LIGHT of Christ Monastery in KC with our nun, Little Sister Hallel!  The smile of my daughter is like a beam of bright winter sun today so blinding on the white newly fallen snow!
The straw of the stable with my farmer, who does clean and bed his barns for Christmas and the coming of the Savior!
Adoring Jesus!

Jesus, give safe travels to those on the road this day, and protect all those out in the cold.  How we love and thank you for all the ways you have touched our lives in the last year.  What will the new year 2018 hold?  Excitement builds in us as we look to you to show us the narrow path we are to follow after you carrying/dragging our Most Cherished Cross and finding LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Our Washington family/military family have not seen Hallel yet, but have fake plans to see her when they are here for John's wedding in June.  What would be do without those fake plans?  They keep us happy and excited and joyful and giggly to say the least!  Bless-bless, Barbara Mary Luke
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"Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did."

St. Maximilian Kolbe

The feast of the Holy Family today!

New Year Blessings!

A Prayer For Peace
by Pope St. John Paul II
O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy; send forth your Spirit that he may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge.


"The Holy Family is the beginning of countless other holy families!" – St. John Paul the Great #FeastDay
Hear our prayer, O Holy family.
John's promo video is amazing and what he burns to do!
Casting Crowns - Glorious Day

Friday, December 29, 2017

Intimate, humble stable, baby Jesus, Simeon sees the promised LIGHT of the world, and holds him in his arms!

John and I were told about the chapel filled with straw with the intimate experience of being in the stable with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus!  It was the beautiful newly remodeled chapel for The Sisters of Mary the Morning Star in Ghent. 
Snow drifting down out the windows... love the natural windows using nature for the beautiful stain glass.  The angelic voices of the sisters throughout the mass!  A stable made out of wood picked up around and some greenery. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

"God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all." I John 1 Holy Innocents/Childermas

3 years ago... we had the live nativity using 3 month old Romeo for baby Jesus.  He was so precious peaceful and gentle and glowed up in loving smiles of happiness as he was surrounded by shepherds, Mary, Joseph, angels and sheep.  Another baby might have found it all quite unsettling, but he seemed to know that his role was to be peaceful and loving.
Today being the sad feast of the Holy Innocents... this special moment in our family history came to mind.  We were blessed with time after CCC with our family around us, and could take the time to really get into the scene of Jesus birth with a wonderful baby acting the part so well!!!
Baby Dominic was about 6 months and was a sheep if you caught him quickly...  It looks like Therese was a sheep too.

It seems a sad day indeed with recalling how the holy innocents were slaughtered and the pain for the parents!!!  The antiphon for The Canticle of Zechariah today:  At the King's command these innocent babies and little children were put to death; they died for Christ, and now in the glory of heaven they follow him, the spotless Lamb, they sing forever: Glory to you, O Lord.

Imagine the prayers they said for their parents to join them there, and how their parents kept their sights on heaven after they were taken from them. 

Today in prayer John and I prayed for all those holy Innocents, who have been torn from the womb of their mothers in abortion.  The mothers are misled to think they will have a quick fix from their problems by taking that life, yet they suffer as a result.  Lives taken from innocent little ones in the womb!
Baby Jesus laid still and peaceful while craziness happened all around him.

"Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers' womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers' bosom, are justly hailed as "infant martyr flowers"; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief." ~ St. Augustine

Patrick and Dominic the Sheep!!!
Simon and Mary... Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus...
Jesus, my eyes are looking towards heaven where my holy innocents are gathered around your throne!  My 7 children and 4 grandchildren were to be with you and their prayers are felt helping me down the narrow path.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barbara Mary Luke
A tender moment...
His halo and his grandpa Patrick!
So special to cherish...

So Holy Communion is a delight to your Infant Savior; because He loves you, oh, how immeasurably! He tells you in His heart-to-heart interview that He has become a little Infant so that you may love Him with a human love without fear."

St Katherine Drexel
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3 years ago...
We started a new tradition for our family Christmas - a living Nativity while grandpa read the story from the Bible. Mary was able to be her namesake, Romeo was a precious peaceful joyfully loving baby Jesus with assorted shepherds and kings and a few sheep here and there too. How we adore Jesus! Bless-bless
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"A woman is capable of more sacrifices than a man. Man is more apt to be a hero, through some great passionate outburst of heroism. But a woman's love makes a thousand small sacrifices, sprinkling them through the days and the months; their very repetition gives them the character of the commonplace. Not only her soul, but her body, has some share in the Calvary of Redemption; furthermore, she comes closer to death than man, whenever she brings forth a child." Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Life is Worth Living)
Maria's crew dressed for Christmas!!!
John's promo video
Jordan Smith - Mary did you know
God spoke to Joseph in dreams and kept them safe and informed when they needed to be. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Describing Christmas... intimate, humble, snowing, little ones (big and small), FAMILY sharing Jesus!

I was told no pictures as we walked through the snow in to share glorious morning prayer with Hallel and The little Sisters and little brothers yesterday morning.  Watching the snow drift past the windows and listening to the beautiful voices singing, praising, worshiping... all around us the candles lit of many candelabras and beautiful flowers around the icon of the nativity.  It was such an intimate and cozy and beautifully Christmas feel to our times together. 
Sharing prayer before bed on Christmas Eve with Nancy's 3 oldest... song and prayer and reading Bible stories.  Only one night for the 4th Advent candle this year!  Sharing extra prayer around the Advent wreath was a special time for our family growing up and there is such a cozy special feel when the candles are lit on the cold long nights of Advent.  Wonderful to share in that tradition carried forth now with our children and their families. 
After morning prayer... Pat was impressing on Little Brother Clement, who grew up in Florida, about how impressive our winters are in Minnesota.  Pat has decided that the worst part of the cold is the horrible winds we deal with.  "I can work in 20 below with no wind better than 10 degrees with wind."  As he gets older the wind is his enemy. 
How I love to have my bowl of coffee!!!  This is so French and something that I have come to embrace with JOY!  Not for cereal but for our coffee!  We had the gift of breakfast with just Hallel!  We had such a special visit before we headed down the road for Christmas with Pat's siblings in the Cities!
We had a wonderful French breakfast with bread, meat and cheese, oatmeal with apricots, and wonderful fresh fruit and lots of sharing about our marriage and the farm!  We feel her prayers for us, and depend on them.  Sharing prayer and a meal with her reminds us of how deeply they live their life of poverty, chastity and obedience and adore her Spouse, Jesus Christ!
Josephine in her special chair, dolly and all the accessories!

It was very special to be there in the morning for opening of presents with little ones, and also sharing special times of prayer, worship, Jesus, and meals with the little/poor/Little brothers and Sisters of the Lamb!  We are called to be little/small/humble and it was a Christmas filled with all those living this Truth!
The snow falling looking out from the warmth and light of Lumen Christi/LIGHT of Christ little Monastery!  We are with our family and the LOVE/LIFE/LIGHT is aglow in Jesus within!
In the snow and cold they found a stable for warmth and the Holy Family came to be with God as the center of our families!
Hallel saying goodbye in the snow in KC.  Luckily we drove out of it quite soon, and had great roads for our trip up to the Cities!
Wintry scene... Hallel has her wonderful family of the Lamb and her Spouse, Jesus, always there to fill her with The Way, the Truth and the LIFE!
7 hours of travel on good roads, and listening to The Hobbit in it's entirety!  Then great time with Pat's brothers and sisters.   Margie and Ida... two most special sisters to us!
Thank you, Ida, for hosting a great evening!  The food and love shared is what Christmas is all about...Faith/Family/Farm!!!  Mom was there in our midst!
So beautiful!!!  Humble is beautiful too!!!  My soul is lifted up in all the ways we share our Faith with our entire family!
A year ago in KC... Nancy and her family!  John and I were just saying that for Hallel to come for the year... I have prayed long and hard for 9 years for this to happen... but now it is so perfect as we have a wonderful comfortable home filled with family to stay with while we come to visit Hallel.  We only spend a few hours here and there with her, and staying in a hotel for the rest of the time over days of being there would be less than wonderful in so many ways!  For the Lord to transfer Billy and family just to KC and now for Hallel to be there for the year.  Next coming is Ruth and Paul for New Years with their family, and then John and Bobbi over the weekend of the 20th, and then I am needed to baby sit for Nancy and Bill the next weekend, and when not watching the kids I am sure that I will be blessed with some moments of special closeness to Jesus and His Bride, Hallel!
A tribute to Pat's mother... her dishes at Ruth's for Christmas dinner! 

Jesus, I feel so loved and thankful for all the Blessings we are given if only we stay small and humble and die to self so that you may live in us!  We carry you forth into our day to day lives as the new year begins once again!   Today we are joined by St John the Evangelist... how he loved you and brings us into the LIGHT of your LOVE in his wonderful books of the Bible!
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life"  I John 1


- Unveiled Mother’s Day 2015 -
St Mary Magdalene Parish, St. Louis, Missouri.

"We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas time, not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility, in a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another."

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

this really describes the inner warmth we experience with the Christ child in our midst!

"It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you."

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Wow!!!  LOVE!
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The mystery of the Incarnation, when the eternal Son of God became the son of Mary, still fills the heart with joy and awe and thanksgiving.

The real christmas tree with living "decoration" created by bald eagles in Brackindale, British Columbia.