Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Offer to God your praise as a sacrifice..." Psalm 50

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, baby, child and closeup
I thought this find was perfect to start my sharing on this Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras 2017.  Nancy shared this from KC where they are having a final day of decadence with..." Happy Fat Tuesday! We are indulging in the best possible way: PJ's, chocolate and no errands!"  Things look similar at my house with Maria handing out hot chocolate with French vanilla creamer to the kids while we had some fun watercoloring together in the midst of home school.  Tomorrow Lent begins!

I was intrigued by the words of the Psalm today from mass as they caught me off guard with the declaration that we offer "praise as a sacrifice."  Why would praise be a sacrifice we would offer to God?  Life makes praise difficult on a daily basis with the illnesses all around us these days, the little ones away from their home and dad, the frustrations of getting cow TV ready and the curve balls that are thrown at us with the calving season, the weather warm one day and cold and windy the next, the beginning of Lent and the fasting and doing without and doing extra for others that comes with that... all of these can lead us to complain to the Lord and put on a unhappy face inside and out.  How much better for all if we offer a sacrifice of praise instead of one of complaint and anger and frustration!
An example could be the mud that comes with spring being sticky and dirty and you can complain about it, instead we get shiny rubber boots and have fun with it!  We give praise for the warm weather and the ability to get out and have fun jumping in the mud puddles!  Mud and manure and calving go hand in hand, so rubber boots are a must whenever we go out to see the calves.  With them on we can relax and help and enjoy the calving season.  The dirty boots are easily washed off with a hose and are a good as new!  Praise can be found in the midst of our challenges, and our whole world can take a positive turn and all those in our domestic Church/family will be happier, too!
Beauty can be found in most every part of our lives!  When you are open to LIFE and have the beauty of new life around you... we can praise Him as we see how precious life is and how it should be protected and cherished no matter the cost! 

It is so important to keep our inner chapel clear of evil influences and darkness, so that we are able to allow the LIGHT to flood in and see the beauty and Praise Him no matter what we are facing as challenges and hard times.  Yes, I can see that there are those times when praise is offered as a sacrifice when we really want to rant and rave and complain to the high heavens!
Mary is such a model for us in how we can offer to God our praise as a sacrifice!  She brings Jesus so lovingly to me in my prayer to her each day in The Rosary.... just as she said "yes" no matter the personal injury she was given in being pregnant out of marriage, and all she had to face in raising Christ as the LIGHT to the world He is!  She certainly had to raise him with Praise and sharing the Truth with JOY!  The Holy Family is there to assist us to share our own Faith with JOY, and in that way it comes into the heart where the seed is planted and much fruit can fill our lives with the Fruits of the Spirit!
Image result for images of the fruits of the holy spirit
Wouldn't our homes be the best they could be if this were the fruit we would produce and nurture?  Come Holy Spirit and fill us with all that is good and may we offer a sacrifice of Praise no matter what we face or experience to challenge our joy!
Therese sharing her love of little ones with the 4 year old girls!  Soon Rose will have her own baby sister!  Ruth is on her last month! 

Lord, how we long to be more positive and praise you in the midst of life's frustrations and challenges.  If we give up all for you we truly see that we are blessed with a happy family and a small slice of heaven here on earth.  You promised us in the Gospel today that if we leave all behind we will receive "a hundred times more in the present age."  We long to share your LOVE/LIFE/LIGHT with all those the closest to us that we can treat the worst.  May we offer a sacrifice of praise instead of hurting those close to us.  "Wounded, I will not cease to love."  the motto of The Community of the Lamb!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah (last time till Easter!)
Two girls and on March 31st they will be joined by a 3rd!  And two weeks after she is born we will all get to see our Little Sister Hallel in KC for Easter!  So excited and offering my sacrifice of not getting a real hug since Easter 2 years ago to make this the best hug and visit ever!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Soon there will be 3 little girls on Antie Hallel's lap!  So excited beyond words and praise is easy for this grateful heart!
I predict she will have enough hair to join in the topknot trio!
Image may contain: 1 person, beard and text

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, food and text

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Image may contain: night and text
Jesus is in control of our lives!
Danielle Rose - the Saint that is just me
Peter Mayer - Holy Now

Monday, February 27, 2017

"How great is the mercy of the Lord..." Sirach 17

Christmas day with the little Sisters in KC and with little Josephine on grandpa's lap during mass in the sun filled chapel.  So many of my thoughts and prayers as we are just 2 days away from the beginning of Lent is what lies at the end of our 40 days... our time with our Little Sister Hallel here for Easter in KC and a few weeks later a home visit!  This should be a incentive for me to fill those 40 days with real growth through what I do and what I give up, so that I may rise on Easter with my Jesus and find so much JOY with this intense family time ahead!
Another happening in just 30 days is welcoming Rose's new little sister!  So much excitement in our family and so many prayers needed for travel for Hallel here to the U.S., Ruth and her baby to be safe and healthy, for Maria and family as they are separated for these months, and for travel for Maria and the baby as they go to see Joe in a few weeks, for the cows and calves health and safety as we are entering calving season, and for peace and joy and love to reign in this big family experience we are in the midst of!  How we experience the "great mercy of the Lord" as he answers our humble prayers and needs and watches over us on this journey of Faith/Family/Farm!

Much of the morning discussion of Maria with her kids has been around what they will do for Lent as a family.  They have talked about doing a crown of thorns this year with acts of penance leading to taking out a thorn/toothpick rather than good deeds adding a bean to a jar which would convert to jelly beans on Easter.  There is also talk of no TV and giving up sweets.  I long to have some good old turn off the TV and gather around the Word and Lives of the Saints with family prayer time at night.  One family would turn off the TV and have some games out for the kids to play together when they wanted to enjoy themselves.  They would look forward to Lent to share the game time!
Soon there will be 5 instead... with the two in KC that means the girls have almost caught up to the boys.  7 granddaughters and 8 grandsons!  Life is the best!  It is one way that we give our all for Jesus, by dying to self in loving and serving our families and being open to LIFE and raising them as LIGHTS.  How I love that Lent is almost here, and another opportunity of grow in my love of Jesus and give every last bit of myself to him by loving those without counting the cost in my domestic Church/family! 

Jesus asks the rich young man that he loves to give up his wealth and follow after him.  Many of us have wealth of this or that including material wealth and it is hard to give it up.  How I long to come to a place where I am unattached and give freely to all that ask of me - giving more than they ask of me.  I know Lord that I am a poor servant and must give til it hurts and even then I will hope to live by this..."Wounded, I will not cease to love!" 
KC when Hallel was here for Easter 2 years ago... now Rose will be almost 5, and will probably celebrate her birthday with her Aunt little Sister Hallel, and Bernadette will be 4 1/2. 
Hallel's home visit 4 years ago... there will be 6 more and Hallel has yet to meet 4 of them!  What JOY and excitement and pictures fill my heart, mind and soul!

Jesus, all I want is to be forever with you in eternity.  May this Lent allow me to leave my attachments behind, and come to you with no ties that pull me away from you.  May I die to self totally and allow the Holy Spirit to work through me.  May the fruits of the Spirit pour forth upon our huge wild and crazy family filled with so much LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  May I say "yes" to all you ask of me.  Jesus, I am yours and I trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
(only one more day for my Hallelujah, and then it will be retired until Easter JOY!)
4 years ago was another huge family event... the traumatic birth of Patrick, followed a month later by the birth of Bernadette, and 10 days later Nancy brought her to KC to see Hallel as she came back for Thanksgiving in KC... the tidal waves of Faith/Family/Farm make life a true wild and crazy adventure and makes us give it all to Jesus as He is in control!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Having Hallel as an Aunt this is what the girls are looking at a real possibility!  So wonderful!
Image may contain: 1 person, hat and text

Image may contain: 1 person, text and closeup

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Joy coursing through my LIFE!

Walking down the aisle of The Basilica of St Mary on my wedding day in 1978 between my parents seems like an appropriate way to start today after just rereading my mom's section of the book, Spiritual Journeys, in which she shares our conversion story in a chapter entitled, A letter to Charlotte.  Why?  I had been Catholic for 7 glorious years at this point in my early Catholic days and gone through my discernment of becoming a religious sister...my nun years.  I attended daily mass here at The Basilica with my single Catholic friends and fallen head over heels in love with my Beloved Catholic Church!  My dad had left the ministry as a Protestant Minister to become a permanent deacon in The Catholic Church and married us!

In the home of my mother-in-law after mass we visited with 3 of Pat's sisters, who are going through her things.  We are invited to take back the things we have given her.  I noticed the silver icon of Mary with baby Jesus from Rome, which we had gifted to her 13 years ago when we visited Maria while studying in Rome.  Then resting in her bookcase was the book...Spiritual Journeys!
Yes, Mary took a tumble at some point, but I know she was always in a special prayer space my mother-in-law had in her sunroom.   Rereading the chapter written by my mother in 1987ish after our conversion in 1971.  I am reminded of how much I have to thank my parents for, but most of all The Holy Spirit, which brought us to the True Church, and yes, there is daily JOY as a result of that journey for me!
Deacon dad baptizing our first child, Ruth Ida in 1980!  How Patrick loves those babies, and has shared our Catholic Faith with JOY in our family!  So many graces and blessings all around us as we are filled with so much each day of our journey of Faith/Family/Farm!  Wishing your family a small slice of heaven each day with Jesus and His Bride, The Church.  Bless-bless, Barb

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A tub full of love... "Let the children come to me..." Mark 10

These two girls along with their 3 brothers in between them and their mom are sharing our day to day life with us here on the farm for a number of months.  The 3 olders are currently over with Ruth's 5 and dressed warm to be out spending some time with the new baby calves.  #3 was born this morning.  Cow TV is going and for months it will be our eyes on the cows and calves.  It has become a great helper for us.
Yes, that is nine kids in our new tub!  Our remodel is close to being done!  Just one more day of electricians and other than a few touches it should be done for our lifetime! 

The Gospel today... Jesus tells us to bring the Little Children onto him!
How we try to share Jesus with the kids!  Mass each week, Catholic school for two of our families, and Catholic homeschool for the other, an Aunt who is a nun and her Community which prays for the kids and shows them a beautiful life to consider and certainly that they look to Jesus to show them the path he has for each one of them, and that is the only path they long to take to find true happiness and everlasting life!  Lent will be here in a few days, and there is some planning and excitement at how we will make this a time of special sharing and growth as a family/domestic Church!
A tub full of lively love!  There is talk of swimsuits and crazy tub time at grandma's place. 
Our Lady has found a spot in my heart and by my Jacuzzi!
My heart is truly...gripped with the thought that everything is easier, more delightful, and progresses more rapidly in the interior life when we act in union with Mary.
A heart full to overflowing of filial confidence, come what may, in her whose gentle tact, and wise anticipation of our needs, and whose tenderness and mercy and generosity we experience;
A heart ever more and more on fire with love for her who is associated with all our joys, united with us in all our trials, and through whom all our affections pass.
Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard (1935)

I love Saturdays devoted to The Blessed Virgin Mary!  How I love her, and each day is filled with her graces and kind help on this journey of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!
Maria with her arms full of her two sick babies.  Did I mention that we are struggling with many bugs in our tub of love?  How we long to come out the other side, Our Lady!

Jesus, we look to you and long to bring our little ones daily to you... in prayer, through Your Mother, Mary Most Holy, through your Word and Sacraments that we share, through all that we do and say and how we act and carry you ever in our hearts, minds and souls.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: 9 people
Open to life and raising LIGHTS!
No automatic alt text available.
Danielle Rose - Pursue me

The Saint that is just me
Image may contain: text

Friday, February 24, 2017

Marriage... work of art or mell of a hess! Both at the same time! It's a miracle!

Grandma's glasses on the two 4 year old girls last week.  Of course, the pink ones were the pair they both wanted, so the happy scene quickly became one of whining and grabbing and pulled apart glasses.  No, not quite that bad as Grandma has learned to put them back in her purse and walk away.  Picture perfect is rarely the case, and I do a lot of editing and picking and choosing from my many pictures.  This is true when you are dealing with our large family growing with each new year with new members.  It is also true of our marriages involving two people that have left father and mother and "become one."
Not so warm today... last week grandpa had his arms full of baby girls.  How I love his love of LIFE and call him my champion of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  How much I long to see him with the 3 baby girls in a month when Ruth has hers join the family!

Today the Gospel talks about the permanence of marriage, and we all know that it is hard work!  The story of St Teresa of Avila being shown many crosses big and small...."I will take the big one."  "No, that is reserved for married couples."  When my mother-in-law heard that she loved it and brought it up over and over since.  We would smile and share The Truth in our hearts, minds and souls!
Therese is the sweetest and best ever example to her younger siblings!  Family Time is the Best! is on the barn, and for the most part it is true.  The thing about the hard/difficult/miserable/hurtful/sick/sinful/down times is that they make the good times that much better!  This morning they brought the sweet 3 month old, Evangeline, in to her grandpa and she smiled and cooed and gave us a special start to our day.  With Pat's arm around me... I savored our sharing a close moment after some days of being on edge about getting all our taxes figured out.  This is a special closeness that makes the hard times bearable.  We don't throw our hands up and give up... we take the good with the bad.  If life were always happy and flowers and butterflies... it would become boring and dull.  The hard times make the good times so great!!!
Sharing mass and love for Jesus and His Bride, The Church, is the wind beneath our wings!

Lead me in the path of your commands,
for in it I delight.
Guide me, Lord, in the way of your commands.
Psalm 119 from mass today.
Where do we find the strength to bear the "big Cross" set aside for married couples?
By sharing our Faith and Family and for us Farm together!  Faith and Family are very closely related and give us the strength to carry/drag our Most Cherished Cross down the narrow path to heaven forever with Jesus!
My girls minus Hallel sharing family time at mass on Sunday!  How I love to share The Way, The Truth and The LIFE with them in The True Church!  We are united in the Eucharist with our Little Sister Hallel in Rome!  There are many times throughout the mass that I think of her and it truly does give me comfort to share our Faith with her!  Soon she will be here for Easter in KC and then home for a few days of crazy family time for a contemplative nun!  A few days every 3 years is her dose of Faith/Family/Farm! 
Visiting St Joseph, and his example and intercession for families, which are so under attack this day and age!

Jesus, with your Mother at your side, we love you and look to you always on this journey of Faith/Family/Farm!  May we reflect your Truth in all we do and say and act and live in our day to day lives in our domestic Church/Family!  May we carry our Big Cross and when we need to drag it as we are weak and sinful and sorrowful (I have a big tendency to feel sorry for myself), and may we live out the motto of The Community of the Lamb - "Wounded, I will not cease to love."  So hard, yet exactly what that Big Cross means for us in marriage.  Jesus, give us the strength and fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may die to self and live for you alone.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Allowed to be a contemplative nun from time to time... I am so spoiled and know his love so deeply through His Word and Sacraments each day.  The Sacrament of Marriage is a daily sacrament that allows me to drag The Big Cross!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
May we be the Lamb in our marriages. 
Image may contain: text
O my!!! How I love this!
Image may contain: text
I am yours!
Image may contain: one or more people and text
Getting ready for Lent to begin on Wednesday
Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and text
Baby Josephine visiting Lumen Christi/LIGHT of Christ in KC this summer.  It will be a special place in her life where her family is expanded to include Aunt Little Sister Hallel and her Community of the Lamb!
All the girls with one in tears, of course.  I never all 14 together because of illness and life getting in the way.  For sure the then 15 with Aunt Hallel!  But how can anything be so certain when you are dealing with so many?  Lord, hear my prayer.
Danielle Rose - See you in the Eucharist
No automatic alt text available.
Image may contain: 3 people
No automatic alt text available.