Friday, June 28, 2013

TROUBLE - that starts with T and it rhymes with P - and that stands for POOL

Yes, yes, we got trouble!
Right here in Arizon-y...
It starts with T -
and that rhymes with P -
and it stands for POOL!

(Courtesy of Meredith Wilson's The Music Man)

We have a pool. One of the best parts of buying our house was the backyard: real grass AND a pool.

One of the thorns in our sides of buying our house: the pool.

We moved into a beautiful, pristine, clear pool. Everything was working. We thought it'd be a breeze to take care of.

Within 2 weeks, it was green.

We got a pool service to come in (Living Social deal, yea!). The day they were to come, they didn't. Dan took a day off - called, and was told that we were put on a 'different calendar.' They offered to come sometime the next day between 12 and 4; he said that wasn't good enough - he needed a smaller window, given that he had stayed home for an entire day already, waiting. They did their service to us given the deal (2 weeks) - pool was sparkling again. We bid them adieu for their poor customer service; they did nothing to stop us.

We skated by on what they did for a week...and then the pool started turning again. We then decided to go with a chemical service that came very highly recommended by my friend & colleague. They came, the pool started to clear up. They come every week, and we were happy to know our pool would get the consistent service it needs.

Last week, they didn't come at all. By the weekend, our pool was pretty cloudy and 'dark teal' in color. We called to complain and demand better service. They came twice this week but did little to apologize. Our pool is still cloudy. We have run the filter non-stop as instructed.


Oh, the good parts of owning a pool?

It's a freakin' pool! I can get in it, anytime I want! ...oh, yes, that is the upsetting part about when it's green...because then I wonder if I am putting myself at risk for developing a rash.... And then, I get in anyway - because it's a POOL - and it's over 100 degrees outside!

A few years ago, I started doing water aerobics with my friend Lindsay. I loved those workouts; 1) I got to spend time with my friend, 2) they are awesome workouts! I love "working out" in the pool. I hate "working out" anywhere else. I love it in the pool.

My newest work-out is "deep-sea running." Okay, okay, while our pool has a deep-end, it's not like I'm in the middle of the ocean. "Deep water running" is a better description. I do this for a while - there's no clock outside, so I just count to myself while doing different reps...I do this for about 25 - 35 minutes, I think. Then, I do an arm workout - pull-ups using the diving board, push-ups and tricep dips using the 'bench' in the deep-end. Then, I do some of the ab workouts we did in water aerobics.

This, along with my desire to invite our friends to swim in the pool and share our 'wealth', is why the sketchy pool service frustrates me.

The "fun" part about the pool (even when it's turning green): Dan's pronunciation of algae. Al-jay. I pronounce it Al-gee. Whenever he says, "Aljay," I smile inside. It's so cute.

For my ag friends out there, let me create an analogy about owning a pool:

Owning a pool is like owning a horse.

Clear enough for you, isn't it??
Awesome for its recreational purposes and the hours of entertainment that can be provided; excellent at burning your resources (hay/money).

Also, when you spend a 30-minutes every day 'sweeping' the poolsides and steps/benches (to keep algae from sticking), you have really no desire to come inside and sweep. So, folks, when you visit and the pool is pristine, but the house isn't - just remember, it's one or the other! ;-)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The week of P-posts

Last week, I had just a ton of ideas for letter P-related posts. So, I'm going to share them.

1) Pork Princess

Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook may have seen this status update:

Dan just uttered those 6 little words every Pork Princess longs to hear: "I can't wait to eat pork."

Dan had just spent 10 days in a Muslim country where pork is forbidden. ...and all he wanted was a pork chop, or ribs, or anything coming from my beloved commodity: pork. ...and it honestly delighted me. Dan is not one I would call a 'natural' lover of pork; he says that pork is only good when it's doctored up with a marinade. I disagree. long as he eats pork, it's a happy compromise.

What's with the pork, Jessica? Why would that be so important to you?

Hello? Do you not know to whom you are speaking?

THE 1998 IOWA Pork Princess.

That's right. For the whole state.


Yes, I had a crown. and banner.

Yes, I think it's an honor.

In fact, for a while it was listed under 'Awards & Honors' on my resume. No joke. I think it's one of the reasons I was asked to interview for the ETS job. Because, REALLY, who considers being a Pork Princess, an honor?

Well, you're reading her blog. ...and yes, even 15 years after being crowned, I still think it's an honor - and am still answering questions like this:

1) "So...what did you have to do to become Pork Princess?" (The phrase is usually uttered with some type of disbelief that this title actually exists.)

2) "Did you have to wrestle a pig, or something?"

3) "Have you ever butchered your own hog? with your own hands?"

4) "Did you have to raise your own pigs?"

The answers....

1) First, you had to be chosen as your county's Pork Queen. To be eligible, your parents must be members of the county Pork Producers Association. The selection process involved an interview with some of the county board members and then giving a 5-minute speech to the members of the county association at the annual banquet.

After being selected as county queen, you get to do a lot of fun stuff - like ride in parades, serve at promotions, serve at different events where your county is grilling & serving up pork, hand out ribbons at the county fair, apply temporary Pork. The Other White Meat tattoos, serve at the Iowa Pork Producers Association promotional booth at the Iowa State Fair, and take customers' orders at the Iowa Pork Tent. Essentially, you live the dream.

The selection of the Iowa Pork Queen and Iowa Pork Princess happens during Iowa Pork Congress in mid-January. Over the course of three days, county queens gather to compete. Our competition involved giving a 2-3 minute extemporaneous speech on how a randomly-selected item relates to the pork industry; completing a 15-minute interview; delivering a memorized, 5-minute speech about the pork industry. Besides these 3 events, we ate all of our meals with the judges and other women, and promoted pork and IPC events in the skywalks of Des Moines.

When I competed, there were 19-20 other women competing. As a senior in high school, I was the youngest. (There were about 3 other high school seniors, but I was actually the youngest.) The majority of the others were freshmen in college, and one sophomore in college. I believe that the contest rules require the Queen/Princess be between 18-20 years of age at the time of the competition. I LOVED it. It was so wonderful getting to meet all of these women, hang out...and start to visualize just what college could be like. The experience also cemented my dedication to agriculture and satisfaction with my choice of major.

After the 2.5 days of competing, we all gathered for the big event - the banquet. During this banquet, all queens were introduced. Then, the big moment - the field of 20 was narrowed to 6.

I MADE IT! As I was from Adair County (the first county, alphabetically), I was the first announced. I was also the first to answer the 'final question.' The other contestants were taken into another room (this really is very similar to Miss USA/America).

Our question, "If you could promote pork by preparing a meal for ONE person, who would it be; what would you prepare; how would you prepare it?"

Two people flashed into my head: Governor Terry Brandstad or Oprah Winfrey.

My answer: Oprah Winfrey. I then explained how Oprah was currently being sued by the Texas Cattlemen after comments she had made regarding eating beef after the Mad Cow outbreak in England. I noted that her comments represented a lack of understanding about the safety of our food supply, and that it was a call to action for all commodity groups to be proactive. Therefore, I would be proactive, invite Oprah (I don't know if I said to the farm - but if I didn't I should have), and prepare her a grilled Iowa Chop with sides of grilled broccoli & mushrooms, and potatoes. (If that doesn't scream IOWA, I don't know what does!)

Then, I sat down in the audience and listened to every other contestant answer. When Sarah Edwards, the representative from Story County (and college sophomore, Communications major), stated that she would choose Governor Brandstand AND invite him to her farm to see their operation....I knew that she had sealed the deal.

When the votes were tallied, Sarah was Queen and I was Princess. ...and I was elated and honored. The top 6 candidates were all deserving women. One, I had worked with for 2 years as Speak Out For Agriculture planning committee members, and knew her devotion to the pork industry; Another, a State FFA officer - and I had beaten both! I was truly surprised and honored.

...I can't even beging to relate what a blessing it was to serve alongside Sarah. She is so warm, welcoming, outgoing, hilarious. I learned SO much from her (and still do)! It was such an honor.

I loved serving the pork producers of the state of Iowa. It really was an honor to serve. ...and to wear a crown. I mean, really, what a girl doesn't dream of wearing a crown?!

2) No. No pig wrestling. I have never done this, actually. Unless, grabbing them by the hind legs to administer shots, notch ears, clip teeth/tails, and put in ear tags counts.

3) H-to-the-L No. Seriously, where do you think we are, Mexico?  I have never butchered a pig with my own hands. I actually have never seen it done; I have judged carcasses, though.

4) Your parents needed to be members of their county Pork Producers Association. Having your own pigs was not a requirement to be selected county or state queen - but, I think it helps.

Yes, I did raise my own pigs. (My brother/father might contend that the word 'raise' is used loosely here.) My parents had a 70-sow, farrow-to-finish operation, and I helped. I had my own 4-H and FFA pigs. My preferred area of helping was in the farrowing house. LOVED skills now are pretty rusty. A couple of years ago, my brother asked me to help him give shots to some of the pigs getting ready to be weaned. I was pretty slow. He looked at me incredulously, "Have you FORGOTTEN how to do this? J-Girl, you did this for YEARS!" ....yes...but, I also hadn't done it for years, either..... Skills get rusty when not used constantly.

...and there you have it. Pork Princess 4 LIFE!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

In-law; in-love


When Dan and I first got married, his mom made it a point that they weren’t my in-laws; they are my parents-in-love. I really like this description. While we are connected by law, our true connection is rooted in love.

When Dan and I were dating, it was his family that sealed the deal. I knew that I liked Dan. Then, I met his family…and I was in love. Meeting them and befriending them seemed to be the most natural thing in the world. I just felt…home.

Our first trip to Michigan was very telling. We spent a week with his family, meeting the extended family, and seeing the ‘real’ Dan. In my opinion, family is the true test. In Ames, few people really knew Dan; I wanted to see how the people who really knew this guy felt about him. It was apparent that these people really love Dan. …and not only did they love him, they value and respect him.

…and out of love and respect for Dan, they welcomed me like I was family. In fact, from they way that ALL of them (Kieslings, Rileys – everybody) welcomed me, l could tell that Dan was special to them. I also knew that they were special people, to be so warm and welcoming. In one week, I felt like I was part of the family. As we turned off of Britton Road and onto the highway, I started crying. I loved these people – and I didn’t want to be so far from people who were so good, kind, and loving.

Given that today is Father’s Day, I wanted to write a post dedicated to Dan’s side of the family, my “in-loves.” Let’s face it; given that we just moved, I cannot find all those Father’s day cards I bought in advance. So, blog dedications are about as close as people are getting to an actual gift. I have spoken collectively about the Kieslings/Rileys, now I will speak to Dean.

I remember when Dan told me that his Dad was an Extension agent, I was sure that we would be kindred spirits. Dean is a true provider; generous; caring; self-sacrificing. He is adamant about not interfering with his kids’ decisions and lives. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have an opinion – but he refuses to impose his opinion, and will only share if asked.

This quality is one that Dan also possesses. There are times that Dan has frustrated me in his refusal to tell me what to do. I hate making life decisions; I just want someone to tell me so that I can do it. Dan has encouraged me to make decisions and stand by them, while refusing to tell me what to do. It’s really the most loving thing he could do – by helping me ‘own’ my life, by making decisions. He learned this from his dad; I am thankful to you both.

Thank you, Dean, for loving your family more than yourself. Thank you for being supportive. Thank you for being welcoming, kind, and generous.

May you be blessed this Father’s Day!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J = Jessie

This is just a fun post.

Last night, a group of friends and I headed out to support the Rotaract Club of Tucson in their fundraise for Ben's Bells. They held a "pub trivia": Disney style competition. The competition was held at the restaurant/pub that my friends and I frequent, and my former preceptor helped arrange the night. Translation: I couldn't NOT go!

As part of the evening, a person could dress up as a Disney character. One of my friends initially suggested that each of us dress up as a Disney princess...this didn't get much traction. A couple days ago, I decided to repurpose my shirt from my Halloween costume, Dan's hat, and my boots and go as Jessie from Toy Story.
Howdy folks!

I would never do this in real life, but for the sake of authenticity, I had to tuck! :)

I thought the "dress up" portion was only for fun. Then, I was informed that I had to pay $5 to enter the competition. Um...ok? Whatever, it's for a good cause!

During the 'competition' - those of us who chose to dress up had to introduce ourselves, our character - and then the audience voted on who was best based on the volume of cheers. The winner? The only guy (of course) who dressed up in a store-bought costume of the Beast. 2nd place? The Evil Queen - also in a store-bought costume. I think Evil Queen and I had about the same amount of cheers, to be honest. I'm sure that she threatened the judges with an evil spell to ensure the win.

I didn't dress up for the competition - or to win - but, just because I could get some more mileage out of that AWESOME shirt! I was really humbled by the amount of cheers for me, though. I thought my only support would be from my table of friends - and it wasn't. So, that's a win in my book.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

N: Novenas…more than you ask or imagine


Not sure what a Novena is? Neither was I before becoming Catholic. A novena is a devotion consisting of prayers (or services) for nine consecutive days. You can pray novenas asking for the intercession from particular saints; you can pray novenas to get you spiritually prepared for a ‘feast day’ in the Church. As you pray for each day, you should have a specific intention in mind.

I mentioned in the post earlier (M: Marriage….) that in the middle of May, I was participating in the Novena to the Holy Spirit, when God really started convicting me about my lack of belief. In fact, I was suffering so much from lack of belief that I didn’t have an intention in mind for the Novena because I wasn’t convinced that God would answer (or care).

This past Thursday, I concluded a Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. (This is a really Catholic post.) Smile  This is a particularly long novena; with an opportunity to focus on (at least) 3 different intentions throughout the prayer. As part of my new commitment to daily, early morning fellowship with Christ, I also want to be much more intentional and purposeful in praying for others – especially Dan.

Dan plans to pursue his PhD through the U of A (one of the big reasons we decided to buy a house). I had very specific intentions that I was praying for Dan’s acceptance. On Tuesday, Day 7 of the Novena, Dan received a call from a senior faculty member inviting him to serve as a Livestock Consultant on an international project in Qatar.

As soon as Dan told me about this project, I could recognize that this opportunity was truly a gift from God. It was an amazing answer to my prayer – and a far better (and BIGGER) answer than I was even asking for. It is incredibly humbling – an immense blessing, and such motivation to me, to continue to be on my knees for my husband. It’s really great to be able to share in his blessing…when he is blessed, so am I. (Isn’t that a change in my heart?!)

So – I decided to pray another novena while he is gone to St. Isidore. If you would like to pray with me, the details are here: St. Isidore Novena.

If you are interested in praying novenas, I am part of this group: Praying More Novenas. It is headed by a husband and wife who simply wanted to grow in the discipline of praying novenas. Every month (or so), they choose a novena. During the novena, they send an email with the prayer for each day. It’s a great way to actually complete the novena.

M–Marriage, Martyrs and Me


You know, one thing that most people are unaware of – or are told repeatedly before entering – is that marriage is hard. …In the last blog, I established that in general, I try to avoid “HARD” as much as possible. So, if I hate “hardness” – why get married? There are others who, to avoid saying marriage is just plain ol’ hard – will instead say that marriage makes you holy. Well, how does it make you holy? BECAUSE IT’S HARD. =)

…and here is what I have learned in my 2 years of marriage: life is hard. There are circumstances outside of our control that can make life even harder. Don’t be the one that makes your marriage hard. There is a reason why God has given us guidelines for living…and shockingly, abiding in Him by following said guidelines, really does make your marriage easier. Because you aren’t the obstacle anymore.

I am the obstacle. I was making life hard – and our marriage hard – because my heart was hard.

What I have come to realize, via the Holy Spirit opening my eyes and convicting me of my sin and also of Christ’s righteousness, is that for the past 2 years (on and off; but, basically our entire marriage), I have spoken, acted, and reacted as dictated by my feelings and thoughts – completely ruled by the circumstances of myself (feelings) and what I thought ought to be true/right. Essentially, I have been operating as thought I am God – not taking any of my feelings or thoughts captive to the mind of Christ…because, well, I didn’t want to. I valued being right over being…righteous.

What I thought or felt were truer, more correct, and more righteous than any one else – especially Dan. For a long while now, I have been suffering from the Yabbit disease.  You don’t know the Yabbit disease? Sure you do: it’s when you respond to anyone, in any situation/conversation with this phrase, “Yeah, BUT….” 

It’s an extremely arrogant response. You are essentially admitting what the person has said is true – but you don’t want to accept that truth. Yes, they may be right – but you are rejecting it. …What makes it even more arrogant is that you are doing it right to their face, without even considering, pondering, or letting their thought/idea/comment sit for a while.

Yabbit’s disease was taking over my life.  In fact, I was a walking Yabbit. [Note: not the same as a wasically wabbit.]  It came to a head when my parents were here helping us move in. I was stressed, trying to take care of everything, yet asking for help and then completely shutting down any suggestions or offers. My dad called me on it. Called to the carpet, I cried…for about 30 minutes straight, completely ashamed that this is who I had become. It certainly wasn’t who I wanted to be.

Shortly thereafter, I began a nine-day prayer commitment (novena) to the Holy Spirit. Each day focused on a different spiritual fruit, and I realized just how far I was from exhibiting any of these fruits in my life. If I were plant, I would have been completely shriveled. One that I probably would have thrown out (I’m not too good with plants – and when they start looking dead, I give them more attention – but it’s often too late). I think that is why I tend to get ‘scared’ when I realize just how far I am from ‘where I should be’ spiritually. I am afraid that God will take one look at poor, shriveled up Jessica, and say, “Well, I tried. Throw her out and onto the next one.”

Thank you, Jesus, that you are not a gardener like me! Thank you that you are faithful to work the soil of our heart, to prune, and to nurture life. It’s so funny to me because at the times when I am most apparent of my sin and feel farthest from God – it is not God that is far from me. I am the one strong-arming Him – believing that He has no interest in a worthless subject like me.

As I examined what thoughts had led me here, I believe that part of my downfall started here: I believed that my sacrifice in this marriage was greater than his. I became very concerned with “justice,” “equality,” “fairness” – tit for tat. I think, subconsciously, I wanted to ensure that he, too would know sacrifice – that he would pay for it. At various times, over the last 2 years, I have recognized that I am just not respectful like I think I should be; or very kind or gentle…but I haven’t known how to stop. …and after the Novena, and spending time in reflection…I saw that my actions were causing me to lose the joy of my husband.

Part of the problem was also the fact that I started viewing God as my boss – and not as who He is. I viewed God as one concerned about my output and not WHO I am; that he was keeping track of whether or not I was doing things…but not concerned with my response or me. Since I was no longer seeking the fellowship of God, I became even more reliant upon Dan to supply what only God can…which, again, leads to unhappiness in the marriage. Dan feels like he can’t measure up – and it’s because he can’t. He’s not God; the problem isn’t Dan, though; it’s ME. I am the one putting him into positions of power and expectations that he isn’t designed to meet.

So, what is different with this recognition? I am committed to NOT letting sin rule in my body, mind or words. Part of my struggle the last 2 years, when I have noticed that I am not respectful, gentle, kind, etc. – is that I haven’t recognized that I have the power to reject sin. I felt like I was just waffling between sin or righteousness (and that sin was winning). As I read Ephesians 2, a couple of weeks ago, I was just so encouraged by this fact: we have been MADE ALIVE with Christ, even when I was dead in trespasses and sins.

I was just so encouraged and moved by that reminder. I wrote this shortly thereafter:

I have been MADE ALIVE with Christ. Sin does NOT need to reign in my body, mind or words. I have been MADE ALIVE WITH Christ. He has spoken life into me. His life IS my life. His heart is my heart. Until I live like He did, I will feel discord. in order to feel alive, I must live as He did. First, and foremost, I must spend time alone praying and communing with Him.

…the tricky thing about the Truth setting you free is that you must first submit to it.

LMN…Lessons on Marriage (me) via Novenas


When I set out on this alphabetical journey I had planned that my “Ls” would be “Lenten Lessons” – because for the first time in YEARS I gave something up for Lent. (Normally, I take the Lazy route and say that I will add things to my routine – that I am usually already doing or trying to do.) Not so, this year! I gave up COFFEE. If you know me, you know that I love my coffee – and I always love it in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon! It was a struggle, but I learned a lot. Namely, that I can do hard things.

[Okay, well, this looks like it’s turning into a post on my Lenten lessons – let’s go with it.]

I can do hard things.

I hate doing hard things. In fact, just yesterday, my mom and I had a conversation where she remarked, “Yeah, you hate doing things that are hard for you.”

I do.

But, come on, folks, who out there really loves challenging yourself? If you had your druthers, would you choose the challenge? If so, congratulations! You are a far higher individual than I.

So, willingly giving up coffee – something that I don’t just love, but kind of depend upon – wasn’t easy. When I told Dan what I was giving up, he responded with, “YOU – are giving up COFFEE?” Like Jessica is synonymous with coffee. So, when I heard that, there was that little voice that said, “Well, I suppose I could just say I am going to have a consistent quiet time…” and then the voice of resolve (which is stronger and louder, because it is resolved) said, “NO. You are going to DO this.”

Are any of you scared to do things? I totally am…and yet, I am also scared of not doing things. The fact that I was so comfortable in my laziness was starting to scare me. I was becoming really good at justifying reasons for not doing things; for not exercising discipline; for avoiding all manner of hard things. I was becoming so good at this – that I became the hard thing.

Whatever can you mean, Jessica? I became my greatest obstacle. The obstacle wasn’t the “doing” – it wasn’t the coffee (though, I do just love the taste of it! …so, I did allow myself decaf on Sundays)…it was me. The challenge was not just listening to the voice of God, but then believing Him, trusting Him, and relying upon Him.

I was in my own way to live the life I desire – to be the best version of myself (Catholic-ese for holiness).

This is really the perfect segue for the M & N discussions…so, stay tuned.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Q …more than we can ask or imagine

[I realize that it’s been more than a month since I last posted – and that the letter I left off on was I. I’ll get to those posts – SOON! And maybe even one of those posts that begins with a letter before Q will include pictures of our new house!]

Why, Jessica, are you getting back on the bandwagon and starting with the letter Q?

Today, Dan headed to Q country to serve as a livestock consultant on a project that the U of A is coordinating for that nation.


If that line surprised you, well, both of us were equally surprised when Dan received a call on Tuesday (yes, of this past week!), asking him if he had a current passport and would be interested in serving as a sheep and goat consultant on an international project. After saying, “Sure.” He found out that the trip was scheduled to leave on SATURDAY. Needless to say, our last few days have been busy prepping for his journey. After agreeing to be on the project, he soon found out that he is not just the sheep & goat consultant, but will be consulting on ALL the animals they want on the farm: dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, CAMELS, PIGEONS, RABBITS….

I have far more backstory to share about how (I believe) all of this came about – and it all has to do with a Novena.

This morning, as I was searching for some appropriate prayers to send off Dan, I came across a Novena to St. Isidore. Saint Isidore is the patron saint of farmers. Since the aim of this project is to develop a model farm that the nation could use to educate farmers – and thus, increase the country’s subsistence – I feel that this is a very appropriate prayer for Dan while he is away. I am sharing this on the blog to invite you to pray the Novena (nine-day prayer) with me.

Day 1: Partnership with God (Read Genesis 1:25 and 2:15)

Lord, through the intercession of Blessed Isidore, farmer and confessor, not let us be vain with the wisdom of the world, but by his merits and example, let us in all humility always do what is pleasing to You. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Followed by the Prayer of St. Isidore:

O God, who taught Adam the simple art of tilling the soil, and who through Jesus Christ, the true vine, revealed Yourself the husbandman of our souls, deign, we pray, through the merits of Blessed Isidore, to instill into our hearts a horror of sin and a love of prayer, so that, working the soil in the sweat of our brow, we may enjoy eternal happiness in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord, Amen.

Followed by the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer), Hail Mary and Glory Be.

Day 2: Family Life in Christ (Psalm 26:4 – 5)

We offer the sacrifice of praise, O Lord and humbly pray that through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of God and of St. Joseph, You may establish our families in peace and grace. Through the same Christ our Lord, Amen.

Follow with the Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Day 3: Love of Neighbor (Romans 12: 9 – 12)

O God, You who make all things work together for good for those who love You, give to our hearts an abiding love for You: so that the desires we conceive by Your inspiration may ever remain unchanged in spite of every temptation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Day 4: Dignity of Work (2 Thessalonians 3:8-12)

O Lord, let us follow the blessed farmer Isidore’s example of patience and humility, and walk so faithfully in his footsteps that by his intercession in the evening of life, we can offer You a rich harvest of merits and good works. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Day 5: Walking in the Presence of God (1Timothy 4:15 – 16)

Breathe into our hearts, we beseech You, O Lord, a desire for heavenly glory, and grant that we may pass, bearing in our hands, the sheaves of justice, to where the Blessed Isidore is resplendent with You in glory. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Day 6: Stewardship of the Soil (James 5:7-10)

Pour down Your blessing, we beseech You, O Lord, upon Your people, and upon all the fruits of the earth, so that when collected, they may be mercifully distributed to the honor and glory of Your holy name. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Day 7: Rural Works of Mercy (Matthew 6:19 – 20)

May the grace of the Holy Spirit, we beseech You, O Lord, enlighten our hearts, and refresh them abundantly with the sweetness of perfect charity. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Day 8: Trust in Prayer (Philippians 4:4-7)

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who has said: Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you; grant, we beseech You, to us Your supplicants, the gift of Your most divine love, so that we may love You with our whole heart and in all our words and works, and never cease praising You: who live and reign, world without end. Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)

Day 9: Sacrifice of Praise (Hebrews 10:12 – 14)

Protect us, O Lord, who offer sacrifices to You, and sear our hearts with the flame of Your divine charity, so that they may be ever more fervently prepared for sacrifice. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

(Prayer of St. Isidore, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be)