Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The HEART/LOVE is beating at 8 weeks in our Savior of the World in the Womb of our Mother of Heaven and Earth!

Baby Joy is now 9 weeks old and the baby kitten is just two weeks old... lots of new life all around us these days with spring here along with calving 160 cows with their calves now going out to pasture day by day as they are bred for next year's calf.  It has been super special to have all 3 of my married daughters welcoming a new baby girl in the last year.
Now a gray kitten and baby Joy. 

LIFE is a gift and it is so powerful today on this Feast of The Visitation to realize that Jesus in Mary's womb was just 8 weeks old and that is when the heart begins to beat/such a sure sign of human LIFE!  With all the modern technology of looking inside the womb and seeing that between 6-8 weeks we see the heart begin to beat... for me LIFE begins at conception!  John and I were discussing the message of Mary only 8-9 weeks pregnant and visiting her older and further along cousin, Elizabeth, and the child in her womb leapt for JOY recognizing the Word made flesh/the Savior of the world in the womb of our Mother of Heaven and Earth!  "A mother might not even know that she was pregnant yet at this point."  "Yes, she might notice that she has just missed her second period, and a lot of women have abortions at this early stage thinking that it is just a blog of tissue."  No, it has arms, legs and a beating heart beat!  Even the child in the womb of Elizabeth recognized the coming of LIFE into the world in this most humble and miraculous way!  I have always held the powerful mystery of creation of LIFE between my husband and I to be the most wonderful of all!
Exciting times to have baby kittens to watch grow.

My love for having children runs very deep for me!  Pat and I shared our values on our first date... our Faith, open to LIFE/a large family, and the farm.  All the same so shortly we were engaged and married and then the Lord's plan was hard and a cross to be sure as we had 12 children as we had hoped only there are 7 in heaven and only 5 here with us to share our journey of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  Sharing the pain of Loss as a family made us all love and respect one another deeply and I see how close my kids are one to the other.   It also forged deep within the respect for all LIFE from conception to natural death!  How we all value LIFE from Ruth's work as a Creighton Model Instructor to Nancy's Small Things with great LOVE and her work promoting LIFE as she worked in an alternative school with American Indian girls, and Maria's work in a pregnancy center that had an Adoration chapel inside as well as being very close to a Planned Parenthood!  Praying all 15 decades of the rosary outside an abortion clinic in the Cities with the grandkids a year back and enlightening them that all babies are not safe in the womb and we must PRAY and share The Truth always!  How Jesus reveals that to us this day as he speaks to us from the womb of Mary... all  LIFE in the womb is a light that needs to shine to add more LOVE to the world and not be extinguished!
Sweet Joy is a delight to spend time with these days of grandma helping out with the grandkids and meals while Ruth watches for heat in the cows.  The farmers know that it is time for them to become pregnant with the calf for next year.  Their calves from last year just went to market last week, and so the cycle of life and growing food to feed the world goes on and on, and is a very big, hard and important job!
The 3 farmers with the meaty animals as they are being shipped to market.  They went hormone free this year and the meat will be shipped to Europe.  It is a small world now a days. 
Beautiful Ruth with her two youngest girls... a tribute to the beauty and of gift of motherhood and being open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS to make a difference in this world revealing the message that all LIFE is precious! 
My wonderful champion for LIFE, Patrick!  He sure loves having the little ones around to share his love for the farm life, too, as well as his insight thanks to the Holy Spirit at work... "The world needs LIGHTS."  His answer to me when all those around us said that the world was too terrible to bring children into... maybe 2 at the most.  "Are we being selfish to want a big family?"  "The world needs lights!"  So wise and now carried forth by our married daughters!
A work of art and brings so much joy to my heart and soul!  The title is most certainly... Open to LIFE and raising LIGHTS!  How we embrace this Truth on this day of The Visitation!

Jesus, life is such a glorious gift!  Yes, it takes sacrifice of our own selves to give all that it takes to raise children.  Isn't that what you call us to?  Mary's Magnificat this day is all about how we are to humbly love and serve you above all else...He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
"He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty." Luke 1
You make it pretty clear where we should be in this world... poor and humble and lowly.  Lord, may we share The LIGHT we have been given each day of this journey, most especially in our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
Nancy has asked for selfies showing us doing the small things we do each day... Each morning I share on my blog Family Soul Story, and it certainly is a small thing.  I receive very little feed back and know that only a few look at it and even less read it, but... it gives me a lot of JOY to share smally the Truth I have found in The Church and through the guidance of The Holy Spirit at work in my father and husband and within my inner temple.  Yes, I share my messages over and over, but I feel that they need to be shouted from my rooftop here on my humble farm in Southwest Minnesota prairie.  The few views keeps me humble and small, and I embrace that! 
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"I do not shrink from proclaiming... the entire plan of God"

This precious moment happened 4 weeks ago now... our 3 new granddaughters together for the first time!  Joy was just 4 weeks and Josephine was to turn 1 a week later, and Evangeline was right in the middle at close to 6 months. 

Grandpa Pat sorely misses his daily snuggles and whisker rubs with his Evie/Evangeline Mary as she is now 3 days away in Tacoma, Washington.  He spends all his days over at the farm which now has Ruth's young family living here.  He is getting time to get to know our sweet little Joy as she changes and grows with each new day.  It is a beautiful process to watch up close as the little ones grow more alert and smile and engage and flourish surrounded by a loving family, fed at the breast, and given the care and comfort they need to be safe and happy... developing in the wonderful way of LIFE according to the perfect and mysterious plan of God for his creation.  I will never forget my Anatomy and Physiology professor at St Catherine's - a little aging nun, Sr Teresita, saying;  "all you need do is look a the wonder of the human body to know that there is a God!" 
Our Little Sister Hallel with the 3 on her first home visit in 4 years. 

Pat and I had a late night time of visiting the cemetery on Memorial day as the sun was setting last night.  It was a good time of remembering and sharing memories of many fondly, and discussing how we need to get our own plot and stone, and what we would include on there.  Pat was saying that he would like to have beef represented somehow, so that will be kind of special and a tribute to his father, as he learned his love of cattle as a legacy of his father.  Pat also asked me if I would name all of our children living and dead.  I would probably list my two stillbirths, who have a small stone in the ground as we buried them at the cemetery.  I have named all my losses and pray for them every day, so it would be kind of wonderful to see them altogether on our marker... I appreciate that Pat suggested something that makes my heart sing for JOY!  There would be so much healing and sharing of the whole Truth to see all my 12 together.
How I pray that they will be close and good friends as well as cousins growing up together in our Family/Domestic Church!  We know not when they will be together again.  There are not even fake plans for us get together in the months ahead.  Pat and I do have some very fake plans for going out to see Maria and family in Tacoma after the county fair, and possibly bring some grandkids along.  We won't have the little ones along for sure!  We will have a dog as we will be taking Maria's dog back to them. 
Love in motion and step by step growth.  My girls have shared babies within a year about 3 times now, and makes for lots of excitement and fun, and grandma takes too many pictures to record moments like this!

Yes, I take too many pictures, but I share them a lot here to record and add beauty to my message of Truth!  Yes, The Church asks us to be open to LIFE and to raise those we are given to be LIGHTS to the world!  This message and truth has been altered by Satan and sadly many have been misled to think that children are to limited to 2 so that you can have more things rather than kids.  A sad replacement.  A truth contrary to modern day thinking... only use natural means to space children if we must. 
My wonderful 5 with me for my journey here on earth... and 7 in heaven!  This was taken in Michigan and Hallel was added to make it complete for the goodness of my heart, mind and soul.  After sharing the many losses as a family - it keeps our eyes on heaven and our goal to be there forever with Jesus, Mary, the Saints and our family!  We all share a profound respect for All LIFE from conception to natural death as a result of sharing the pain of loss as a family!  Jesus, you know the perfect plan and we trust in you.  May we never hesitate to share your entire plan with all those we encounter, most especially those in our domestic Chruch/family.  Bless-bless, Barb

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day... remembering our dead as we live the busy farm life

Here is our youngest sweet new granddaughter, Joy Jean Jellybean, as her siblings call her.  I am getting to know her much more now as I spend time over here with her while her mom is outside checking for heat or helping on the new porch or mowing.... she is one busy mom of 6 and a farmer right along side her husband and dad.  Joy is such a good baby and she "self-sooths" which is super nice for a grandma trying to help out and there is one thing I cannot do for her and that is feed her.  It was so fun to watch her listen to the music and watch the lights and mirror on her infant seat... she really seemed to like it.
No longer do we have our Evangeline Mary living with us, and now grandpa has his big arms full of his Joy.  Grandpa was suggesting that we have a Memorial Day celebration with Ruth and Paul, but my question is; "Are we around here too much and would they like to just have some family time?"  Family time is wonderful, but when you work here it can get to be a too much.  It is nice to do some fun things together too!
Getting ready for the new porch to get poured this week.  Exciting times around here!
family job!
all the way to the top!
Pat putting it in layer on layer then pack it down!  Soon they will have a wonderful new porch to enjoy for meals and some relaxing time in the midst of our crazy life!  There is talk of going to the cemetery to visit Pat's mom.  Time will tell.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Sunday, May 28, 2017

"treasure stored up" on this Ascension Sunday - we are not to know the time but armed with the Spirit go forth!

A dear friend reminded me of the "treasure stored up" we are blessed with after our 20 primo years of having a cabin on Big Lake Michigan.  Knowing that it is now in our past is very difficult for me to let go of.  So for this weekend/Memorial Weekend 2017.. I admit that I am wallowing a bit and sharing from my huge treasure trove.  This was 4years ago when Rose, who was 14 months was taking her first steps walking with the help of mom and dad on either side.

On our last night at the cabin we had a family tradition of going out for a meal and then walking out to the Manistique Lighthouse.  It seemed that the May grandchildren would be starting to walk for the first time in Michigan!

The view from above...
No lack of beauty to be found all around us... always the stunning backdrop of the Big Lake! 
 4 years ago... 6 month old Bernadette got her first taste of Grandpa Pat's ice cream cone.  Many ice cream cones were eaten in Michigan, and first taste of ice cream for the babies if grandpa was around! 

The Grotto of the Immaculate heart of Mary put in across the street from our St Francis Xavier Catholic Church with the donation of my parents when they lived there and dad served as a Deacon for the Church!  This has been a special place of prayer the last few years since it was built... how I would love to go there on the anniversary of my sister, Mary's death on July 3rd!
Starting with Simon, our oldest grandchild... every summer for a week or two we have shared supreme family time and stored up great treasure in our hearts and souls!  The pain of loss is huge for me this weekend and forward! 

Reading the first reading from Acts for the Feast of the Ascension/7th Sunday of Easter this morning... much of it answers the disciples questions about what he has come to accomplish..."It is not for you to know the times or the seasons" then he sends them forth to proclaim Christ to the world as the Holy Spirit gives them the ability to preach and teach and make a difference!  We are called to be active in our Church and our domestic Church/family sharing the unconditional LOVE of Jesus for all sinners, and not to get hung up on the times of the seasons.  Yes, we are to be prepared at all times, but always looking outwards and upwards and go forth and share our knowledge and love of Jesus!  We are sent forth!!!  We are not to close ourselves in and find fault with our Church, rather we are to go forth and get involved and make a difference in one small thing done with great love at a time.   We are called to worship as a family and share our Faith with JOY, and not to be a shopping cart Catholic, but rather embrace all that is given to us as The Church is there to help us get to heaven forever with Jesus, Mary and The Saints!
Yes, I do see the boys pushing their dump trucks in the sandbox, but the Big Lake will not be in the background any more!
The church where my dad served as Deacon for many years, now he is retired at 92 in Wisconsin.
Granddaughter, Mary, with my sister Mary's graduation picture, at the Grotto of Mary after mass last year on the anniversary of Mary's death from lymphoma when she was 28.  LOVE!

This morning at mass I had a special close moment with Pat's mom as the bells lightly chimed to remind us that the consecration was about to happen, and then 3 times when the Body and Blood are lifted.  I started to recall that Pat's mother did not get to experience this new old thing that Father has brought back into the weekend masses.  I had to smile then as I knew that Mom Verly was there with us and was smiling from heaven to experience this with us!  She knows and is gathered with us and the Saints as Jesus is lifted up for us and then we receive HIM!
A treasured closeness to my sister... we both grew up loving our Michigan times together!  She and I ( I was 7 years older than her) would walk arm in arm down the beach together collecting fossils and sharing closeness visiting about our shared lives as Minister's daughters and blessed with a large family to grow up in.  We continued to be close when Mary came to live with me and fell in love with the Farm while I was pregnant with my second child and on bedrest.  She then found her own farmer, Gerry, and they had a daughter, Audrey, who was 20 months when she died. 
Yes, that is the sugar sand on our beach this last year!

Lord, looking out my windows of my new home just 3 miles away from the farm... it is a very good life here and we are very blessed to live out in the country with lots of wonderful adventures each day filled with Faith/family/Farm!  May I let go and dwell in the present times and look forward to new adventures/family times we will have as we spend time traveling and spending time with our family now living in KC and Tacoma... maybe even Rome or France for final vows for our Little Sister Hallel!  We do have wonderful treasured memories to cherish, but it is now time to go forward and proclaim Jesus and share our Faith with JOY!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
4th of July sparklers as it seemed that week in July would be ours at the Big Lake
We do watercolor on the farm, too.  Cherished grandma/grandkids time to be sure!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Sadness and Joy...Our beloved cabin is no longer ours.

What a difference 3 years make!  Each of the girls has expanded their families by one or two since, and as of this week our wonderful cabin of close to 20 years is no longer ours!   Other than a few family items like moms paintings on the walls behind Ruth... we virtually walked out of our beloved cabin and left behind all the furnishings and so many memories.  The tears flowed today to think of another family (from Flint, MI) being there this Memorial Weekend, but also a prayer for them to have as much JOY as we experienced over our summers there.  I know many of my grandchildren and my kids would say that it was very good!
A bookcase full of wonderful books and the time to read them on vacation. 

 I admit that the Big Lake is in my blood much more than my farmer husband and my kids, who grew up on the farm in the summer consumed by 4H projects to finish and livestock to care for and get ready for the fair.  A tradition carried on now with Ruth's kids on the farm, and a wonderful way for kids to grow up.  They all tell me that they were happy to have our 20 years thanks to my folks and these last years thanks to their dad agreeing that we should become part of the association of us and 4 of my siblings to carry on with Michigan/Cross Winds.  But they do not feel the same loss and sadness that I am experiencing at this time!  I do think that when I ask the grandkids that have known and loved a week or more in Michigan each summer... I think they will be with me in feeling that it is a huge loss for them.

Patrick and Rose at about one taken 4 years ago looking out towards the lake... so many family meals shared here followed by our beloved tradition of ice cream cones!!!  So much sadness to have this loss today! 
Therese the baby lover with baby Dominic, who was just weeks old here! 
A picture I did years ago of Maria sitting at our table reading.  I now have this and much of my mother's art and mine decorating two of my new bathrooms!  I went with the beach theme in both, it seems now as a memorial to our cabin on the Big Lake!  How did I get so hopelessly hooked?  Growing up my grandfather had a cabin on Grand Traverse Bay, and living in the inner city of Flint, MI, we would spend many months of each summer there.  Love,love, love!!!
Most every day on our vacations at the cabin...I would sit and watercolor or sketch to capture the memories... now they decorate my new bathrooms and remind me over and over of the special family times we had there!
My mother's art and family times on the Big Lake! 
From our last year there... Ruth now has one in her arms, and what better place for the watermelon juice than out in the sand and then wash off in the lake?  Yes, as the Lake has a mind of it's own... there is now sand galore on our beach after years without.  I think it helped it to sell so quickly!
Rose doing watercolors on the deck.  All 5 years of her life she has had a week in Michigan with the family... many watercolors out on the deck and how I would love to lay on the strange metal chairs saying my rosary and watching the clouds and the seagulls sail overhead, as the waves crashed over and over to sooth and excite me.  My mind and heart and soul would soar with them and I would sigh a huge breath of the pine smells and the quiet and peace... "This is what heaven will be like!"  I would sense deep within.  How I pray that the new owners will find this a wonderful place to share Family time supreme!
I am now at Ruth's and I have fast internet, so I predict too many pictures will appear here as I pour out my deep feelings today at the selling of our cabin.  I just shared a farm dinner with Ruth and her family, and when I asked the kids to raise their hands with me if they were sad to not have our cabin anymore... all 5 raised their hands!  I know that they love it deeply as they have had their week or two there all of their lives.
Suddenly the sand reappeared over the last few years.  The beautiful beach right out in front of the cabin made it perfect with all the kids with sandtoys and trucks and dips in the cold Lake Michigan waters.  Beautiful blue waters, but mostly the Family time is cherished!
Michigan brought us together and that is the best part of it all!
The girls in the Big Lake 2 years ago.
Three 2 year olds and two chairs equals a battle for who gets the chairs three years ago on our miraculous sandy beach.  I am having too much fun with these precious pictures from our glorious times at the cabin.  Hard to imagine that we will not have our weeks this year. 
All together is the most special part of going 11 hours away from the farm.  It meant that you needed to stay for a few days to make it worthwhile!
Smores tastes better when you can put your toes in sugar sand! 

Story time always special!  Wildflowers galore when we were usually there over the 4th of July! 
As one of our members of The Association, who loved the cabin so much that we took over the payments and the work to keep it nice.   "Thank you everyone for the association and the love of Michigan. We had a good run!"

Yes, I feel a lot of sadness today as my love runs very deep for the beloved Big Lake, and it truly is amazing that my farmer husband allowed us to travel all that way for close to 20 years and have such wonderful family experiences.  Thank you, Pat, from the bottom of my heart!  I know that this was a sacrifice you made for us to have such supreme family time.  Now we will cherish those times we gather probably either at KC with Nancy and The Community of the Lamb as well as in Fort Lewis Washington with Captain Joseph and Maria! 

Jesus, how I cling to all the great joyful and beautiful family experiences we were blessed with over these last 20 years thanks to my parents and now working together with siblings to keep it afloat as long as it has.  May wonderful memories be in store for the new owners who now appreciate all that we have left behind for them.  Jesus, Family time is truly the Best!  Bless-bless, Barb
Watercoloring to have a small piece to hold close to my heart!
A new flag for this last year!
Joy will never know this like her sisters did...

The cat bedroom is still there for the new owners to fill with family!

A selfie in front of where our cabin was on Traverse Bay growing up.
Putting us all together in watercolor land 2 years ago!  It does my heart good to have us all together and I look upon this and find peace and Joy in my new bathroom now. 
Twin mermaids in the sugar sand I grew up playing in 50 years ago or more!

Too many pictures?  Yes, probably, but I was just trying to put it into a bottle and save it.  A true sign of LOVE for this part of God's glorious creation called The Big Lake.
Our view from the deck... sigh!
My last year in the red, white and blue bedroom!
Arms full of babies - 5 years ago when Rose was just two months old and Gus was just a year older.
All gathered around...

5 year ago version...
 Our great room...
The kid chairs now with new kids in them.