"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Years Resolutions

Hello All!

So, I know, in terms of blog posts, I've skipped over the last two days of Advent and Christmas but they are coming. Right now I'm pretty pumped about New Years Resolutions and just couldn't wait to get them down in writing and have my Blogging world keep me accountable. :-)

2011 brought me a lot of exciting new things on my New Years resolution list...

  • Sign up for adoration -- DONE! (Thanks to my friends Taryn and Sara!)
  • Get Pregnant -- DONE! (I don't know if that is fair to have as a new years resolution, more just a hope!)
  • NEW car by next Winter -- DONE! (This was God's hand and has been a MAJOR blessing!)
  • Run a half marathon -- DONE! (This was actually someone elses New Year's Resolution that I completed, so again not of my own design!)
An interesting theme resounds when I look at each of my completed resolutions. They were not necessarily of my own will power or design. BUT I did them. I DO give fair total credit to God!

So here are 2012 New Year's Resolutions: (here goes nothing!)

  • Family: Eat one meal per week together as a family (on Sunday).
  • Family: Go to daily mass once a week (on Friday as a Family).
  • Personal: Organize a do-able cleaning schedule and follow it (see below).
  • Personal: Have a baby (not to take anything for granted, but, dare I say duh?)... and lose the baby weight.
  • Personal: Paint, organize, and set up Augustine's new bedroom before the baby is born. (April)
  • Personal: Organize the toy situation
I may add to this list in the days to come but please feel free to ask me how I am doing on my resolutions and help keep me accountable. I really feel that simple and year-long attainable goals is the way to go, so no crazy elaborate things this year. Starting small and hopefully growing in the theme of Faith, Family, and Organization.

Here is my weekly cleaning schedule:

  • Monday: Vacuum Downstairs
  • Tuesday: Bathrooms (alternate)
  • Wednesday: Vacuum Upstairs
  • Thursdays: Dust/Wipe down tables
  • Friday: Clean and Organize Desk and Office
I will, of course, have other things around the house related to cleaning and organizing that I will need to do each week but if I can do those as I currently am and really stick to the basic cleaning listed above (even when life gets CRAZY BUSY) I feel that will add a lot of order and cleanliness to our home and lives.

You know how (at least for me) when you say I will do 10 sit ups per day you actually usually do more than 10 (which is great!) but on the days you are really busy or tired you still can "at least quick do 10" and so its realistic. That's my mentality. Why make resolutions if you can't be realistic. The fun is knowing and hoping in the realistic and great changes that can be made!

Good luck on your own goal making this month and do try to be realistic and save yourself the usual breaking of that New Year's Resolution.

and... MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

7 days to Christmas ... Day 4

What's more Christmas than a great fun and funny Christmas production with a heartwarming message about the value of keeping Christmas in our hearts the year long?! Tonight I ran the Box Office at our Theatre for this show (title above) and we were sold out! Yeah baby! Not just sold out but I had to turn people away at the door!! Talk about relating to the Christmas story... that Inn Keeper who always gets a bad rep for turning away a pregnant woman... MARY the mother of GOD! Well, if your Inn is packed its packed... I bet they felt as crummy as I did tonight when people walked away with droopy sad and irritated faces at not getting a ticket. I can't say I was feeling Christmas very much tonight. I love having a sold out show. I hate turning people away, and squeezing people into a house that has more seats than people. Its rather stressful actually. I don't mean to complain but some people can be pretty rude when they don't get what they want.

Oh, well... moving on! We have been getting RAVE reviews from those who are attending our shows and that is great! We still have tickets available for tomorrow night and Dec. 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th. So, give me a ring and I'd be happy to sell you tickets in advance so that I do not have to turn you away. Please don't make me do it! :-)

With that said this daily blog leading into Christmas is really helping me focus on Jesus. As I drove home tonight I desperately wished that along with our glowing Christmas tree, in our bay window, that you can see as you drive by... that we also had a glowing sign that said, "Jesus is the Reason."

Fill my heart with peace, joy and forgiveness tonight Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

7 days to Christmas ... Day 2 and 3

As I start this post I see out the window a lovely soft snow is falling. I know this has been a Christmas hope for many this year and it is a wonderful way God is blessing me on Day 3 of my countdown.

A fresh snow reminds me of what it does to our blah brown winter cold. There is that pure white covering that makes things all fresh and new.

"See Mother I make all things new!" -Jesus

Yesterday (day 2) was a busy day of work and drama classes in the evening which I did on my own since Jeremy's back has been out of commission. However, we have a neighbor family that watched Augustine and they are pure joy to me! They are a beautiful family with lots of vibrancy, joy and love! Augustine LOVES, and I will repeat, LOVES this family. They have 5 kids and their youngest is 8 years old. This is the one place I can leave Augustine where he doesn't flip out when I leave or return. Last night I went to pick him up and he hardly acknowledged me before heading off to play some more... did I mention it was close to 10pm and way past his bedtime? He was not ready to go and they all played along by pretending to go "nigh nigh" themselves. I know they are so kind and loving and good to him as they are to Jeremy and I and we are so blessed to know them.

I have lots of mindless work (prepping Christmas cards) to do tonight so maybe I will celebrate the lovely snow and time of peace with watching "The Nativity Story" (I think that's the name... just need to figure out where I can find it...)

God is blessing me with peace this day and Augustine slept in until 9:30am... wonderful surprise! We also have an almost sold out show for tonight and tomorrow night, God is GOOD!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The 7 Days Before Christmas... Day 1

Today was a pretty stressful day with glimmers of hope. I can't help but reflect on the sate Mary and Joseph were in on the week before Christmas. The fear, concerns, worries and glimmers of peace and joy melted into the hope of new life and Christ's birth.

I feel like last Christmas was not this dramatic but the year before I reflect on our homeless situation. First Christmas as a married couple with a baby on the way and - homeless not knowing where we would be or where we would go. It was a difficult time.

This year, it is much the same as that year... with child and at a breaking point. Our Theatre has been doing amazing (for a start up theatre). The last weekends and those shows to come are close to 50 - 75 tickets pre-sold EACH performance! That's pretty darn great, and yet... we can't seem to get ahead... why? I know its all in the growing pains of a new business but this feels a bit more like that torture by stretching they used to do in the olden days. That torture appears to still be in practice in our home.

And yet, with all that... there is joy!

How did Mary carry a child at 9 months and ride a donkey for hours? How did Joseph deal with the uncertainty? Why does God allow pain and suffering especially when great hope is coming?!

Advent is a time of waiting... and its so clear God is asking us to wait and trust and HOPE in what is to come even when everything seems so hope-less. I am called to embrace the un-known and trust as Mary did.

So tonight, I packed up Augustine and headed to mass. Nothing gets me like an evening mass in Advent. Its like there is glimmer in the air, in the church on the streets! Yes, Augustine was a very good boy and I could focus on mass except at the end when he started singing loudly (after communion when everything is SO quiet) "Dada da da .... Tata taaaa ..." Darling. But it was so loud that I couldn't help but try to stifle giggles at his sweet innocent voice. I didn't even have the heart to shush him. He was singing in God's house and it was lovely! If the people don't sing God's babies will sing out! After enjoying Christmas lights on our way home listening to - none other than - Lion King we feasted on this rather Christmassy looking soup. It's called "Cowboy Stew" or "Poor Man's Stew" because it is so cheap to make but tonight its Advent Soup and it was warm and delicious and healthy!

Peace to you all as you wait for the great hope!

Christmas Week Meal Plan!

I was up from 2am-4:30am and could not sleep for a variety of reasons. Since I could not fall asleep I decided to organize my Christmas shopping and meal plan for the week among other things. So I guess it was time well spent.

This is the first time in a looooong time (or ever?) that I have not spent the week before Christmas with my family in Wisconsin. I'm pretty bummed since the week will be all work here in MN. What's new? - despite my attempts to liven things up around here. Oh, well.

I'm not giving up yet on making this week special so maybe I'll post latter on what I will do each day this week to make it special and Christmas focused. One daily mass and adoration time are on the agenda!

So for the menu plan...

Monday: Cowboy Stew/Soup (Christmas Shopping and Oil Change in the evening... maybe I'll even go look at lights   by myself!)

Tuesday: Broccoli Quiche with Brown Rice Crust (I love this recipe and have made it 2 times in 2 weeks! It's easy and I have drama class that night so it will be quick to heat up and go!)

Wednesday: Meatloaf, Potatoes, and Green Beans (Adoration maybe?)

Thursday: Chicken something

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: OUT TO EAT!

Sunday: Cheesy Potatoes and Ham (In crock pot overnight so we have a yummy breakfast waiting for Jesus' Birthday!)

I pray you all can make this week special and that we all can truly remember what is important about Christmas. JESUS!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tower of Beans

It is not uncommon that I find a "can tower" growing on the kitchen floor. Augustine stacked this all by himself - 6 cans high!

He is always proud of his accomplishments but once I get the camera/phone out to take a "piture" he goes crazy...

...and this is why I haven't had many pictures posted lately.

I managed to get this picture by asking him to say, "please" since when he does it usually makes him smile.

Still not a smile.

So the question is:
Was this post about stacking cans OR about my inability to get a good picture lately?

If you guess correctly you get 50 points.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Mother's Grace

The feast of The Immaculate Conception was last week and usually it comes and goes fairly un-eventful.

Not this year.

This year there was some serious Mother grace flowing! I have been having a really hard time going to mass with Augustine for quite some time now and Jeremy and I finally decided to start going to mass alone so we could participate in the Mass better. I've really struggled with this because I want to go to mass as a family but due to Augustine's conflicting nap times and "issues" as well as our now "forced" work on Sundays with our new theatre.... we decided it was time to go separately. If I was with Augustine all day on Sunday alone I would even (gulp) skip mass to avoid the dreaded squirming. I just don't have the strength and even ability with being pregnant now. I know God understands but I wasn't happy with the situation.

I grew up in a family that marched to the front row of a church all 5 kids toddlers and all. My parents say we were good in church. Ideal, I know, right??

I often have felt that Augustine is the only unreasonably squirming kid in church and I just couldn't find a solution. Hummppf.

Well, getting back to some serious grace. On the feast of The Immaculate Conception I was to meet Jeremy at St. Olaf in Minneapolis (being downtown it is a church known for their lack of children - but it is still my favorite place to go to mass and is near our Theatre.) When I arrived for mass... Jeremy was no where to be seen. Shoot I was on my own. Augustine had a cracker in hand and quickly made a disaster as I wrestled to keep him behaving. That's when the grace kicked in.

I grabbed my purse and Augustine and ducked into the entryway of church.

I gave Augustine a toddler "talking to" and picked him up and stood outside the closed church doors. He was still and calm. I waited a few minutes and asked him if he was going to be a good boy and was he ready to go into church. He heard the church music and quickly and sweetly said, "Uh huh." We went inside and a miracle happened. If your a parent you totally get this! Augustine sat quietly on my lap for the entire mass throughout the standing and sitting. I decided to skip the kneeling with the belly and toddler which was perfect and peaceful since I get light headed when I kneel anyway. I had the most grace filled mass holding Augustine sweetly in my arms and reflecting on my heavenly mother and her love for Jesus her son (and Lord!) It was a truly profound mass and evening. Augustine even sang when it was time to sing and it was oh, so sweet!

...and it doesn't stop there I have had a break through in general with discipline with Augustine and he is becoming pretty obedient (for a toddler) and polite. One minute time outs work really well and he stays in the chair where I put him. He gets it, and we are all happier for it! Although he usually needs to be reminded he is glad to say, "Please!" with a huge smile and the latest is his version of Thank You, "Thnk Thnk!"

Thank you Mother Mary for your Mother's blessing!

Its a lion, its a bear its a GIRL!!

Yes, this Stanbary family is going to be blessed with a bundle of girl joy in April.

If she is as punctual as her brother she is due to arrive April 28th the feast of St. Gianna. It also, just so happens that Gianna is our top girl name choice so I can't help but feel that God's hand is especially blessing this baby and pregnancy! Of course He blesses all but I love God-incidences and this certainly is one of those.

We had our 20 wk ultra sound and everything looked normal. Gianna was pretty curled up though so although we saw some fun images I can't say we got any great pictures. Sorry baby girl! I may get some free 3D ultra sound pictures coming in the next few weeks so here is hoping we get some better shots!

Jeremy and I were pretty excited about the new thoughts of a baby girl entering our world and filling our hearts with that special feminine touch that girls can bring! Augustine seems to be enjoying his "I'm a big brother" book and cuddles with the baby in the book. He even will sing to the baby in the book as it mentions the big brother does. I'm so excited for him to meet Gianna since he seems to have had a special affinity for babies (and little girls) for some time. He is going to be such an awesome "big brother"!

St. Gianna, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Augustine and Baby in their 20s...

Its just a coincidence, I suppose, but Augustine is 20 months old and our new baby is 20 weeks old (in the womb).

I haven't posted a picture of Augustine in a while and as I flipped through Jeremy's pictures on his phone I found this precious picture he took recently...

This is Augustine at our latest favorite hang out... The Open Window Theatre! Augustine even received the unofficial title of, Assistant Director by "daddy" when he ran to daddy and sat attentively watching rehearsal of, The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge. He is pretty adored by actors and crew alike but he's pretty much a Mamma's boy. No matter how often he sits in "time out" or gets told "no" he still is so eager to give me a hug and cling  to my hand or legs. He is such a little sweet heart and I just love him so much!

My heart (and baby bump) is growing day by day with the precious gift that I carry. Knowing how much I love Augustine and knowing I have a gift just as wonderful within me makes carrying this new baby such a tremendous experience. With Augustine I didn't know what being a mother fully felt like until I held him in my arms. I seem to get it just as much with my new baby this time.

I can't wait to meet my little sweetheart! Today I was holding Augustine before digging into our St. Nick's stockings and as I held Augustine "little sweetheart" start kicking around and it was pretty awesome.

My two babies - how I love you!

Since Augustine got a 20s picture I will soon post about our 20 week ultra sound and the great reveal about whether we are having a boy or girl and maybe even an ultra sound picture! (Yes, we found out the sex and we are pretty darn excited! No surprise there!)