"Raising Souls"

"Raising Souls"

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Golden Birthday Reflection: 30 years

As a kid I always dreamed of my Golden Birthday on the 30th of November.

My first Birthday! Thanks Mom and Dad for giving me life!

30yrs old. Bummer, people won't even care about my birthday when I'm 30. Man, I won't even care then. I wish my Golden Birthday was the 15th of November.

Flash forward to today. I think this day is so special because I really remember thinking those thoughts. Year after year. 11/30/84. How well do I know those numbers. Now that the BIG day is here (and in the adult world 30years old IS a big deal!) I can't help but notice how different a person I've become. My hope for the day was that it would be fun, relaxing and full of surprises. My dear amazing husband is amazing at making things special. I mean amazing! He will burn himself out to make me feel special.


2am I am awakened by my crying 4yr old... His foot fell asleep and it hurts bad... but I can sleep in. So instead of rushing him and hushing him to bed as quickly as possible knowing I'll be up feeding my baby in a couple hours, I wrap him up in my arms and bring him downstairs to snuggle by the tree. We rocked for an hour while I reflected and enjoyed the peace.

"I welcome this new year in by rocking my 4yr old back to sleep by the tree in this Silent Night. May I bless and honor God and those around me. May I love and live fully for Christ today and forever! Happy New Year to me!" -FB Post

I slept in until 10am.... lazied in bed. Took a slow hot shower in the quiet house. Got dressed leasurly. Anyone with kids knows this is a pure gold start to the day!

And then I get greeted with this chorus of Happy Birthday GOLDEN joy!!

I love the quiet. I love the peace. I love to think and reflect and re-charge. But this... THIS is what makes me feel fully alive and fully joyful!

It only lasted about a minute but I had to take a picture because it will be my forever memory of this day. Jeremy's exausted sleep deprived face leading the kids in a chorus of song and cheer and love. It speaks volumes of his deep sacrificial love for me. Gianna's beaming smile that radiates love as if it really was pure golden sunshine. And then Augustine hands me a card he made for me and wrote. As I read it I laughed and cried at the same time. It was so meaningful. He is amazing with words and expresses them beautifully. I just wanted to read it over and over and over!

"Mommy -
I love you so much - I love playing with you and I love you saying jokes to me.* :) I know you. And I love you for your birthday and I love you cuz your heart is beeping (this is where I start to cry harder) and I really, really love you. And I know how you feel about me. Augustine (Back: We will get you an awesome treat!)"

*I just read a book to Augustine yesterday that asks questions at the end of each story. One of them was about how the little bear knew his mommy and him had fun together because they joked together about things. It was like Augustine wrote that just for me as an inside secret code.

Becket pretty much was desperately trying to get into my arms. Babies love like no one else. As the three of them rushed off to mass I nursed Becket while sipping my coffee and eating my "breakfast in bed." Becket stares up at me like I am God. Because to him I am. I am everything. I satisfy all his needs. He clings to me with joy and desperation. He melts into my arms and stares up at me with totally agape. It's amazing.

And then I reflect in our embrace as I'm still leaking tears of joy. This is what 30years has brought me.

 My wonderful family and parents who gave me life!

My "beeping heart"

... my life.

 My tears.



I've traveled to 15 different countries:


New Zealand
Ireland x2


Italy x5



I've been to almost every state in the US.

I've become a professional Actress and Ballroom Dancer.

I have a double major Bachelors Degree.

I studied abroad in England.

I graduated from UW Green Bay Summa Cum Laude.

I've worked in my dream job.

I have never wavered in my devotion to Christ and my faith. (Thanks to God's grace!)

I have failed. I have tried again. I have quit. I have never quit.

I am blessed.

I ran a half marathon.

My body participated in creating Augustine Joseph Paul April 2nd, 2010.

....and Gianna Rae Ann April 28th, 2012

...and Becket Robert Mark Francis January 24th, 2014

I married the man I have prayed for since I was a child. The man who calls me to greatness and helps me grow in holiness! My best friend!

My greatest blessings are my faith, my husband and my children. My worldly possessions and achievements pale in comparison to them. The world tells me that my last five years of my life dedicated to my family in the mundane pursuit of holiness are a waste. They are less important and less impressive. That the list of impressive things I could have achieved and roles I could have played would look better on paper. That's why paper doesn't matter. It's blood that matters. I know and often have to repeatedly remind myself that commanding hundreds of audience members with my performance or running a successful business is less important than raising souls. Not that the other is not important. However, God has called me to the diapers, cleaning, cooking and growing and protecting children in my womb and scarred and stretched body. It is valuable. To support my husband in prayer and love while he beats the pavement working for a cause we both are on fire about. To raise up my children day by day to contribute love to the world and to bless the world with their un-repeatablity. Whoa, what a huge job. Yet, it is so buried in dirty diapers and messy houses it's hard to see.

Thank you God for these 30 years. I am blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Getting Creative and Clean...

 Last weeks Chicken Pot Pie! Oh it was SO good!

I made this Pumpkin Cheesecake for my Norwex Party. Oh yum yum yum! 
Jeremy was like, why don't you make stuff like this for just "us." 
My response, "Because it costs as much as a whole meal!" 
That's true BUT it's also because I prefer to serve and have healthy food around mostly.

So I had under $20 to spend this week. I go between feeling inspired and feeling ... ug.

I kind of get inspired when I whip up AuGratin Spaghetti Squash and Pesto/Pepperoni/Lasagna out of thin air and it works and is surprisingly yummy.

I LOVE cleaning out my fridge. I get that from my mom too! Tonight we ate odds and ends since we had our main meal for lunch.

Becket: Coconut Quinoa/Ham/Broc/Rice/Green Beans

Gianna: Green Beans/Ham, Red Ants on a Log, Yogurt, Whole Wheat English muffin with butter, whole Banana (Big eater tonight!)

Augustine: Red Ants on a Log, Yogurt, W/W English Muffin

Me: Half a pan of coconut oil brownies and green beans (Um, I need to practice for thanksgiving...)

Beside cleaning out food from the fridge I'm turning a new corner in cleaning in general. I like keeping things tidy, I am really aware of chemicals in the food we injest and the stuff we put on our bodies. I switched to using coconut oil for "everything" quite a while ago.I LOVE coconut oil! However, when it comes to cleaning and cleaning products... I was concerned but just didn't go all on board ... until now.

I had a Norwex Party and it finally clicked for me. It's a natural next step on my holistic journey. It's simple and it might actually get me cleaning more! I'm extremely sold on their anti-bac products. Cleaning without using chemicals AND no more stinky rags. I have a hard time using a rag more than once before tossing it to get washed. It smells and looks gross to me. Not only do the Norwex rags not smell but they capture germs and don't allow them to grow. Die germs! I don't need to buy sprays or cleaners I just clean with water and a rag. Simple. AND they clean stuff very well and very quick. I could go on but I think you get the point. So, I've been scrubbing my fridge, walls, doors, light switches, and tonight -- even my blinds! That is really impressive for me. More than things being clean is actually the great feeling of getting rid of bacteria and cleaning more naturally. Keeping pollution out of my house. IF you want to learn more I'm happy to share. I don't sell the stuff but am happy to promote it!

I just heard on the news $49 is the average Thanksgiving meal cost... yikes! My in-laws are really into cooking and my sister in-law has Celiacs so it has to be uber gluten free. So if I bring something I have to prepare it at her house. Since she is a super amazing ambitious cook (3 stuffings are on the menu!) they have the whole meal planned and pretty much everything is covered! I am bringing a special spiced apple cider from Trader Joes. I debated making something more but it's to tricky trying to prepare it there so... cider it is! I really can't complain.

Meal Plan this week:

1- Chicken Dumpling Soup
2- BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
3- Au Gratin Spaghetti Squash and Pesto Lasagna
4- Thanksgiving with Family
5- Hummus, Pita and Veggies
6- English muffin ham and egg breakfast sandwiches
7- Mashed Potatoes, Ham and Green Beans

Augustine has been watching Master Chef with me and decided he wanted to make mashed potatoes by himself. I handed him a peeler and said you are on your own. He peeled a WHOLE pot of potatoes. PERFECTLY. Wow. It was pretty amazing! He's 4years old. I prefer to cook alone but it was a wake up call for me to let him in on more stuff in the kitchen and to trust him to actually just do something and do it right. I hover and want to hurry to avoid the mess. Lesson learned. I grow as a mom every day. Every minute.

I am so thankful for my children they make me SOOO happy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Say Yes to the Mess!

 Watching them in space. Watching their meaningful bodies interact with one another...

 Watching them at rest and in motion. Just taking in their perfect creation.

 Watching them share and care and give to one another.

Watching them touch hands, embrace, and delight.
 Delight in one another. Whisper secrets. Whisper "I love you Becket!"

 Celebrating differences and enjoying similarities.

Gianna (whispering to Augustine while they brush their teeth): "You are my best friend."
Augustine (whispers back): "You are my best friend too, Gianna."

Un-prompted. Un-inhibited. Love.

I read an inspiring quote recently about parenting. One of the lines said, 
"Say yes to your kids as much as possible." 

At first you go... what?! And then it sinks in. Kids ask to do crazy. messy, and wild things. Say, "Yes."
I often want to say 

"No, I just cleaned that."
"No, I don't want a mess."
"No, not right now. I have to get this done first."
"No, we don't have time."
"No, I'm to tired."

I'm not going to torture myself or you about how many times you say no.
 In fact, I have some serious 2yr old Sarah still in me because I quite enjoy saying "no" sometimes.

But, I celebrate the times I say, 

"Yes, let's forget my to do list and play in the snow."
"Yes, let's build a fort."
"Yes, you can cut paper up and sprinkle glitter all over your project." 

The clean house is for my sanity now...
But the mess and the yes are for my memories later.