Friday, June 30, 2017

Morning prayer... all about John and Susan/Hallel! "It's about all of us!"




I really did make an attempt to get some good pics of Susan/Hallel and John together while she was here 2 months ago, but...  So I swallowed my pride and went back 4 years to find this gem.  It is wonderful to see Pat's mother, too, who has been such a huge part of our family life as she has always lived close by, and was super interested in anything and all that was going on in our lives.  We miss her mightily!


To me Hallel and John go together hand in hand down the narrow path carrying/dragging their most Cherished Cross and following Jesus!  Why?  They are my two youngest children, bound together by all the losses that surrounded them... two between them including the one I lost when my sister, Mary, died and 3 after John including 2 boys which I carried 5 months each and are buried at the foot of Pat's mothers and father's graves.
http://familysoulstory.blogspot.com/p/my-most-cherished-cross-patrick-gerard.html
Susan was always so protective and really helped me with John... with the 2 losses between them it became a long stretch (3 1/2 years) and how she loved and cared for and saved the life of her baby brother!  There is a story in the family of us standing in the yard one day, and suddenly Susan said "Where's John?"  We looked up to see him going into a shed where he heard a tractor running as Pat was backing out.  We all ran and saved him in the nick of time!  She was always looking out for him, and it carried over to school where John would watch in awe of how Susan was such an example of Christian caring and gave to all!  He wrote a paper called Mama Bluey about how they would go to school in the old blue mini van and be "head banging" to Christian music. 
Seeing each other for the first time 4 years ago as John came home in between snow storms!

Of course, their two journeys of answering "yes" to their Faith... Hallel to become a bride of Christ and John embracing his cross called brain cancer... were so intertwined and tied them together and continues to be a deep bond.


John and Hallel with the 15 - 3 of which are John's Godchildren!

Morning prayer/the office today was filled with much Hallel and John this day, but John also pointed out that it applies to all of us as we seek to follow his narrow path laid out before us to find Heaven forever with Jesus, Mary and all the Saints!
We were thrilled to find the 3rd psalm today was an Hallel Psalm - 147!  The heading explaining the hymn was from Revelations 21:9 - Come, I will show you the bride of the Lamb.  After shouting with Joy - Hallel!  for the psalm and then to read that and say - "that is Hallel!"
The 5 with spouses and a cup on her face!

Then this was followed by this reading from Galatians 2:19-20
"I have been crucified by Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
John and I both marveled at how this described his journey of finding Faith through brain cancer.  John also reminded me that we are all called to this, and he longs to help others come to Faith through his sharing with them as a motivational speaker!  His time away in Chicago to make a splashy video to promote his calling is coming soon - July 11-14!
Godfather to new Joy!

The readings today are a powerful reminder that the Lord's timing and ours are not usually lined up or predictable... Abraham waited 100 years to have his son, and being one who cried through most of my cycles without a pregnancy... it seemed like an eternity waiting for your arms to have that little one to hold.  And the beautiful touching story of the leper today - "I will do it.  Be made clean."  in which we ask and it is done for us!  No matter the outcome we need to give our all to him without counting the cost and Trust!
Yes, it was a sunny day and they both were getting tired of me!

Jesus, yes we all need to be "crucified with Christ"/die to self so that we may go forth with "Christ living in me" and become your hands and feet and voice in the wilderness crying out how we need to find our "life of Faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."  May we share your Truth with LOVE and always trust in you having laid out the path before us.  If only we turn to you in our weakness  and cry out to you...   "Lord, if you wish you can make me clean."  Yes!  We can find that healing always in your Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Today John thanked the Lord for the wonderful parents his sisters and their spouses are to the children!  He too takes praying for them and being a loving and faith-filled uncle and God Father very seriously!  The home is our domestic Church where our Faith is passed on with JOY!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Walk this life with her in your home and helping you through the Rosary prayer!
"Hail Mary... help me from this crazy picture taking grandma!"
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"Real love is demanding. I would fail in my mission if I did not tell you so. Love demands a personal commitment to the will of God."
--Pope John Paul II
A life of love requires that we pour ourselves out.
...
That we give more than we thought possible.
That we deny ourselves again and again.
Love, as JPII says, is demanding. It is demanding in the big ways and the little ways.
But love is our vocation. And it is only when we pour ourselves out that God is able to fill us up again.


Nancy and JPII's message for today!  So good!  LOVE it!
Danielle Rose - Small things with great love
Peter Mayer - Holy now

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul... what JOY! "We don't need that."


7 years ago today we were in KC with Hallel and her Community of the Lamb!  Paul and Simon (Peter) had just made this icon to celebrate their shared feast, and we were there to say goodbye to our Little Sister Hallel as she was heading back to France.  A year later we would be going there - Pat, I, John and his mother to share with Hallel as she took her first vows!  Going back to our 2 days there have brought to mind some of the powerful events we were experiencing just a year later, as John and Hallel had both been going through life-changing experiences at the same time!  John facing brain cancer and defeating it, and Hallel becoming a Little Sister of the Lamb!

Moving the table and the feast outside on The Solemnity of St Peter and Paul 2010 complete with coke and green beans and grapes!  Truly a feast day and a meal much like we experienced the two times we visited Saint Pierre in France. 


From my blog post 7 years ago..."On the way to Mass on the first morning there - the Feast of St Peter and St Paul - Hallel reminded me that on this day a year ago she traveled from Rome/St Peters to St Paul to see John in St Joseph hospital as he awaited the diagnosis of the tumor in his brain!  Of course... I was deeply touched by the memory and the power of the feast day that brought Hallel to join her family."  How this makes these Apostle Saints at the feet of Our Lord in heaven come close and personal to me!  How blessed are we to have the Saints Army with us on this journey?  I love them so much!

Ice cream to make it a wonderful feast day indeed!  On this spot is now the Little Monastery/Lumen Christi/The LIGHT of Christ in the heart of our country!


I shared this story 7 years ago..."As we had lunch on this feast day of Simon and Paul - St Peter and Paul... there was a 30 something man named, Mike, in the kitchen talking to the little sisters... We were introduced to him and Simon was impressed because he had on a John Deere shirt... After he left the sisters joyfully shared that they had met him a few weeks before... he came with a friend.  Afterwards he had said to his wife for whom he had bought a classic mustang -"We don't need it... I think I will sell it and give the money to the little Sisters."  She agreed and that day he had handed them a check for $25,000!"


Stories like this led by the Holy Spirit is the reason that they raised the money and built their Monastery, and now the Little brothers are beginning to build, too!   Archbishop Naumann has admitted that they both surprised him with their efforts and ability to put down their humble and beautiful roots in the heart of our country!
It is an exciting day on the farm... they  are starting to put in the roof and railings on the porch... Little Joy is learning at the feet of her amazing mother and in the midst of it all!


I suppose that someone could say that they don't need that, but it will be the hub of family life from spring to fall on the busy farm and that is something that is important to is to be cherished and nourished even if it cost us some money.  It seems that our summer vacation spot is now a thing of the past and as granddaughter, Mary, said yesterday... "I now have my 4H projects and the county fair to fill my time for the rest of the summer."  Yes, that is what our kids filled their summer with, too!
Rose calling to me from the upstairs window and Luke from the patio door... it is an exciting day on the farm! 


Lord Jesus with St Paul and Peter, who gave up their all to love and serve you without counting the cost, may we come ever closer to you this day of Feast!  Off to such a powerful and wonderful start with morning prayer with Pat from the Magnificat and with John doing the office on our phones!  May we divorce ourselves from things and stuff and more of this or that and realize that all we truly need is you, my Lord, and your Bride, The Church, which is there to help us get to heaven forever with you.  Off to spend the best time of my week sitting at your feet my Lord in Adoration of You!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
I don't know where she got her love of these huge projects!?!  Not from me... I get very nervous and anxious when I am called upon to do the big changes in homes.  I am thankful that Ruth did so much to this house and now with the bathrooms done... I should be good for years to come, and I am happy with that.  Bring on the Peace that passes understanding with my best girlfriend, Mary the Mother of God!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke


"Virgin Immaculate lead us along the way of pure love in the footsteps of the unblemished Lamb."  A song sung by the Community with their voices of angels, and my prayer for this day and always!

Hallel with her Simon 7 years ago...
About 2 months ago when Hallel was home for her first home visit in 4 years!  It was the Best!!!
Simon will be a teenager in just a few short months, and deals with autism in a sweet way but still a challenge he has been given for life's journey.  Knowing of Hallel's prayers for him and all of our family is a huge blessing for us all!
This is what we need when you take all the superficial stuff away... Faith/Family/Farm!
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The Gospel is Jesus in our midst!!!
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We owned this T-shirt and Hallel made a T-shirt quilt when she went off to college and put it on it... it is the only one that is now tattered on it... It was loved and worn too much, obviously!
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Love them with Mary as they are in heaven !
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A memory John shared today... I call it the Easter Hat/ John Falling down picture from 1991.  A family treasure to be sure!  A good laugh too!



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hospice/Michigan/France... touching heaven and bearing fruit that will last.

This was taken about 6 years ago in France... our faces aglow with the powerful experience of watching 6 take their habit and change their names in The Community of the Lamb!  Not our daughter, Hallel, she was to take her first vows the following morning and the reason for us making the trip.  John and I had made the trip 2 years before to see Susan come in in her habit for the first time and to hear her new name, Little Sister Hallel, for the first time!  Pat was unable to join us as it all happened in 24 hours, but he now knew the power of the transformation and had tears come to his eyes.
Time in a sunflower field just next to Saint Pierre...

Why am I dipping back into this time?  It has been a morning of great waves of memories starting with one of Michigan 3 years ago today, when I arrived to find Maria and her family at the Big Lake for our 2 wonderful weeks of family time supreme!  I had been thinking with the 4th just days away that we would be going to Michigan just about now... and so the memories come rushing back.  I also came across a sharing about France I had done on this day about 4 years ago, and that mingled in filling me with more touches of small slices of heaven we are given on our journey here on earth!
Yes, Pat's 92 year old mother made the trip!  We miss her always willing and excited to be a part of our lives!

I had a lot of errands to make this morning, so enjoyed my beads traveling through my fingers in my chapel on wheels!  I accidentally took a road that added 10 miles across country to my trip, and brought me past a house where I had a patient for hospice years back and sat with her family as she passed from this earth.  I found myself making the sign of the cross as I passed it, and the deep memoires of all my years in hospice flooded me, and finally I was able to be part of my dear beloved mother-in-law for her 20 months on hospice.  I knew early on in my nursing that I loved hospice... I am a deep person and like to get down to deep sharing and get the superficial out of the way!  Looking death in the eye certainly does that... it gets down to Faith and Family at that point, and that is where I am comfortable and like.  Death is merely a part of life that we all will face.
John and I in the shadows... John's second trip to France and now 2 years cancer free! 

Today is St Irenaeus and the Gospel from Matthew about the good tree bearing good fruit/"by their fruits you will know them."  So many of the feasts and readings each day remind me of our clinging to Jesus and trusting in our early days of realizing that we had no control after John got brain cancer and grandson, Patrick, was born dead and brought back to life... cross after cross!
I apologize if it seems like I go back to this too much, but that Cross has brought us to a place of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT with each new day!
Hallel introduces two 92 year olds to each other... Little Sister is still alive, and mom is now gone for 6 months!

Jesus, how I love you and am so blessed by the powerful moments when heaven is touching us on this journey!  It seems as though my path has been climbing a narrow steep mountain pass this day twisting back and forth through many powerful experiences I have been given through my deep and powerful years of hospice work, my wonderful glorious family bonding crazy times sharing our cabin in my beloved Michigan and also France where our daughter became a Little Sister of the Lamb/your bride/a contemplative nun/your Word came to LIFE in our lives more and more as they "chew" your Gospel with each new day starting the night before!  My cup is overflowing this day and the fruit is ripe and good and filling me to overflowing with so much good and happiness as I embrace my Most Cherished Cross and find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
Our Lady of Lourdes helped John come to her Son and His Bride, The Church!  We share that love, and this mother is not jealous one bit when he tells me.  "I love you, mom, but she is the best mom of all!"  I agree 100%.
Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Doing morning prayer with John and Pat this morning and reading from John 1 as St Irenaeus was a disciple of St Polycarp, who had followed St John the Evangelist... how I love this canticle they used for morning prayer!
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.

All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race:

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone.
was coming into the world.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only Son,
full of grace and truth.
So amazing on this powerful day of LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT/the good fruit which shows the world the Way, the Truth and the LIFE!
Yes!!!
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“Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being what God want us to be.”
--St. Therese

Today glory in the simplicity of it all. A blade of grass is not called to be anything other than what it is. And neither are you.
...
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Just as you are. Right in this moment.

Rest in the arms of the Lord today. Ponder his will for you. Ponder the plan he wrote on your heart when he created you.

And grow in the warm, abundant love of God.
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Nancy's beautiful sharing today!
Therese on the beach 3 years ago... the sand had appeared!
It is hard for me to say goodbye to this part of my family life... Lord, help me to trust in your new plan for our vacation family time.  As Big Dave asked a few days ago; "Now where will be go grandma?"  There is always the county fair David and grandpa is talking about a big trip out to the West Coast to see Maria and Joe and family... lots of days in the car for that, but family in between.
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Both give us what we need to go forward down the narrow path. 
Just because it is so pretty -a street in Portugal
Danielle Rose - Memorare
Hills and Valleys



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

"You let your emotions rule" "Do to others whatever you would have them do to you." Matthew 7


I was so happy last night!  I had a bag with matching outfits for Ruth's 3 girls in my closet for weeks now... awaiting a chance to have my first photo shoot with baby Joy!  Well, I finally had them at my house for supper while Ruth was doing an intro session for her natural/Creighton Model.


 I had little Joy and she is so sweet and good and I got found a long sleeve top with lots of pink and ruffles in my drawer and put it on her under another frilly top with the matching coral color of the theme.  Then the hat!  Looking at her now... I can see why the girls including her mom thought I had done beautiful little Joy a great disservice to say the least!  Talking to Maria a bit ago... she pointed out to me that I was carried away with the emotions of it, and didn't really take time to look at the result.  I am sure with all my photos... I have hurt many with my emotions on my sleeve!
Another crazy attempt... Joy was not very happy with being on her tummy and with the crazy hat I found digging in my baby headband drawer. 


The Gospel came strongly back to me this morning thinking about how I really do not like to see myself in pictures these days and when others put a picture of me... I tend to cringe at the shocking sight.  Look what I did to baby Joy and I was so excited and happy... carried away with the emotions of it!  Baby Joy got her first taste of her crazy grandma, and my obsession with pictures...  Just ask Mary, who did not want to take the ones I wanted by Mary when I saw that the color of the geraniums matched their outfits...
Joy can be very smiley and happy, and she seems a bit shocked at this crazy grandma in her face.  Her older sisters are putting up with me barely.  My excitement and happiness of last night is now hitting me in the face like a cold glass of water...  I would not be nearly as sweet and agreeable as these 3 if asked to go through this for someone like me.  Why would I do to them what I would hate to have happen to me? 
The hat came off and she looked hugely relieved, but still the crazy outfit, grandma!


After Hallel being here and my kids were very kind in allowing me to take picture after picture of us together, knowing that she only gets home every 3-4 years.  I do cherish them, but I also know that I am a bug about them, and it would be hugely good for me to let go!  Lord, thank you for a dose of reality and eyes opened to my faults and weaknesses.  May I consider the feelings of others and honor them with respect and not purely emotions.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
"Grandma, I forgive you.  Just please don't dress me up like a frilly clown again, OK?  Now we have this as a picture to remember always!" 
This will pass the test... we had a fun night with supper, picking mulberries for sundaes, and a bath in the Jacuzzi.  Joy was such a good baby girl for grandma and Godfather, Uncle John.
Purple feet from picking mulberries... and mosquito bites while picking.
Mulberry ice cream Sundae!
Washing purple hands and feet in the bubbles - they bring their swimsuits and pajamas to grandma's house... a great new tradition has begun!  So happy with my wonderful new bathrooms now that all the work and mess is done! 
Beautiful baby Joy loves her home and her family! 
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A familiar image from our church here in Marshall.  I was reading today that the loose sandal is because when the angels showed him how he would die... he became so scared that he ran so hard and fast and jumped into his mother's arms, and there next to her Immaculate heart,  "His own heart was strengthened" to look upon them.  May we find that hope and strength as we are close to the Immaculate Heart of our Mother of heaven and earth!

Joe in training in Virginia... now a lawyer/JAG in Fort Lewis, WA!
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Love it!!! She is my best girlfriend!