Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

How Mr. Knightly Helped Me Find Mr. Right

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Like many women, my love of Jane Austen began in my teen years but it wasn’t until my 20’s that the lessons of her heroines and their leading men started to affect the way I viewed dating in my own life.

A Little Backstory

Back in the 90’s when I was in college and began to date more seriously, I had fallen away from my faith and dated guys without much thought to the type of men they were. If I were to relate to any of Jane Austen’s characters, I would definitely have been Marianne Dashwood dating a string of wrong-for-me Willoughbys. I had a knack for falling in love with man-boys who were poetically trying to “find themselves” and didn’t have any direction in their lives.

In my early twenties, I came back to the faith in a strong way and narrowed the dating pool to Christian men. However, when it came down to getting more serious, our differing faiths always stopped us from continuing the relationships.

During this time, God was also working on my heart at a deeper level. Specifically, I was wondering if I had a religious vocation. Frankly, the thought seemed absurd at first. I was Marianne Dashwood destined for romance and love!

However, after two years of turning my life upside down and seriously discerning, I reached a point of total surrender to God and accepted a call to a religious vocation. It was a time of deep spiritual growth and God wanted my unreserved “Yes.” Ironically, once I reached that point God made it known to me (and my spiritual director) that I was called to the married life.

This put me back into the dating scene, which scared me a little since I hadn’t had the best of luck. I remember my mom making an observation that I always picked guys who needed to be “fixed” and never a guy who motivated me to better myself. She said I needed to find qualities in a man that lifted me up and challenged me to be the best version of myself – a man who was seeking the Kingdom of God and who would work alongside me on our journey of faith. This was exactly what God had been putting on my heart and hearing my mom say the words out loud confirmed it.

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In Steps Mr. Knightly

During this time in the mid to late 90’s, there was a slew of Jane Austen movie adaptations – Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslette, Persuasion with Ciaron Hinds and Amanda Root, and Emma with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, to name a few. I loved those movies but the 1995 Emma really took hold of my heart.

A part of me didn’t like Mr. Knightly at first because he was so serious and judgmental of Emma. But another part of me admired him because he loved Emma enough to speak freely to her and to call her out when she was behaving badly. He loved her, faults and all, but challenged her to be a better version of herself. I watched the movie and read the book more than once and each time Mr. Knightly’s qualities shone brighter. There was a kindness and compassion in the way he cared for his tenants and rescued Jane Fairfax from her humiliation. He displayed quiet generosity in the way he did little things for his neighbors without fanfare. Plus, his maturity and wisdom allowed him to see beyond the obvious in situations, such as his suspicions of Jane and Frank.

I thought of all these things as I stared at the TV screen and thought – I need to find a Mr. Knightly!

It may sound like a joke, but the thought would not leave me. I was determined to break the cycle of dating the wrong kind of man. I knew I had a weakness for “needing” to be in a relationship even if it was a bad one. I knew I had to start dating with God and my faith in mind. I needed to understand that it was okay to be one my own and wait for the right kind of guy.

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So I sat down at my desk and made a list of all the qualities I should be looking for in a man I dated. I crossed out all the superficial things I loved (like he wore Doc Martens or Converse and listened to alternative music) and instead thought of Godly things that mattered.

All these years later, I still have that list. It reads:

  1. God is #1 in his life.
  2. He is Catholic.
  3. He actually lives his faith and is seeing holiness.
  4. He has a job capable of supporting a family.
  5. He loves his family and respects his parents.
  6. He loves my family and mom likes him.
  7. He loves children and is open to life.
  8. He has a beautiful smile and a sense of humor.
  9. We have things in common to talk about and discuss.
  10. He has traits of Mr. Knightly that will inspire and encourage me to seek greater holiness.

I copied the list onto a piece of paper that I would use as a book marker in my planner. I added a photo of Mr. Knightly from the movie as a reminder to stand firm and not give into the next cute agnostic poet who was out of a job and living in his parent’s basement. I knew I may not find someone with ALL these qualities but I needed to at least start working towards that goal.

How Does the Story End?

I wish I could say that after this revelation I found Mr. Right immediately but I did not. However, every day when I saw my little Mr. Knightly list, I prayed for my future husband. I asked that God strengthen him in his faith and prepare both our hearts for our future marriage. It was difficult, sometimes really difficult, to be patient and to trust in God when I saw no answer in sight, but I persevered.

What I didn’t know at the time was that my future husband (Brian) was in the seminary and he was going through his own vocational discernment. He was praying to God for guidance. He eventually discerned that he was called to marriage and left the seminary to return home. He prayed a nine-day novena to Our Lord asking God to help him in finding his future wife. On the ninth and last day of his novena we happened to “meet” online. (Talk about answered prayer!)

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There began a friendship that was to blossom into love. I had found a man who was unlike any other guy I had ever dated. (My mom still marvels over that!) No man is perfect, but Brian was a perfect match for me – he had the qualities I was looking for and challenged me and inspired me to be a better person. He gave me roots to tame my flightiness. In turn, I challenged him to love and laugh more and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We complimented one another. I had found my version of Mr. Knightly and I’m happy to say that 18 years later he still makes my heart skip a beat.

A Note to My Single Friends

If you find yourself dating the wrong kind of men, maybe it’s time to quiet yourself before God and ask him why. Is there a deeper reason you keep choosing the wrong kind of guys? Do you feel like you don’t deserve anyone better? Do you have the need to be a guy’s savior? Do you need healing from past hurts or bad habits? I’d recommend finding someone to discuss these concerns with you – a priest, a spiritual director, or a friend who is knowledgeable and strong in the faith.

Maybe there is no deeper reason and you just need to be a little more discretionary in who you date. If it will help, make a list! Ask God what qualities you should be looking for in a man – not superficial things like blonde hair and blue eyes or tall, dark and handsome – but the things that matter. Is he a Godly man? Does he take his faith seriously? Is he honest? Does he have integrity or are there red flags? Do you have things in common? Does he inspire you to love God more? These are the kind of qualities that will make a strong foundation for a relationship and eventually a marriage. No man is perfect (and you and I certainly aren’t) but you want someone willing to work towards holiness with you.

Or perhaps, you aren’t dating Mr. Wrong and you know what you are looking for in a man but you still haven’t found Mr. Right. When I was single, I hated when people told me to be patient and wait for God’s timing. It’s easy to say but sometimes it sucks to live it out. I knew I had to trust and be patient but it wasn’t always easy.

However, I found that the waiting was less difficult when I, first, keep myself close to God and worked on my relationship with Christ. Second, when I kept myself busy with life and doing God’s will for me at that moment. Lastly, when I prayed for my future husband. When the heart ache came to me I offered it up to God for my future husband and whatever struggles he was going through at that moment. This helped keep hope in my heart, knowing that my prayers could help him even though we were separated at this time.

As someone who felt like the least likely to find true love, I say wholeheartedly, don’t lose hope. God is capable of doing amazing things when you follow His path and trust his timing.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

 

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Online Daybook and 7QT: March 2017

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od_logo_quiet2Grateful for…

  • The love of my family and friends.
  • Spring flowers blooming everywhere.
  • God’s mercy and His untiring desire to pick us up when we fall.
  • Food on the table, a roof over our head and material blessings we often take for granted.

Praying for..

  • Many special intentions from friends.
  • Those fighting addiction and mental illness.
  • Those suffering from illness, injustice and abuse.
  • For peace in the heart of all men/women.
  • All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
  • The souls in purgatory, especially family, friends and those most forgotten.

Pondering…

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death. I was looking over my Daybook post I wrote a year ago and it brought all the memories and tears back. I wrote…

It was a Wednesday and I stopped by the nursing home to visit with him. After his third stroke he was no longer able to speak but I chatted with him about the kids and Brian. At one point I felt like an idiot, not knowing if he even knew who I was or if he understood what I was saying. I was hoping that my voice wasn’t like an annoying buzz in his ear. He looked at me and smiled but there was no connection when our eyes met. He drifted off to sleep and I was going  to leave but I thought I would stay just a few more minutes.

He woke back up and he looked at me and smiled but then he looked at me more intently and I saw it in his eyes, that glimmer. He smiled deeper and I saw the recognition. He knew it was me. I chatted a little and them he tried to talk to me. He grunted and tried to speak with emphasis but his words came out like gibberish. I listened then smiled and kissed his cheek and said, “I know, dad. That’s great.” He smiled back at me contently and I rubbed his shoulder until he dosed off again. Finally I kissed him good bye and let him sleep. I’d never see him open his eyes again.

© Revolution of Love.com - cwa_4_14_16__mvx_opaMatthew holding Opa’s hand.

The next day Brian went to see his dad on his lunch break and the nurse said he was not doing well. He was asleep in bed and unresponsive. They could not get him to wake up to eat or drink. They told us that he’d most likely pass away in a day or two. Luckily the kids were off of school for Easter break so we all went over to the Center to sit with him, hold his hand and just be with him. Afterwards we said our final goodbyes to Opa and told him we loved him in case he passed away in the night while we were gone. I took the kids home and Brian stayed with my mother-in-law. Later he came home and my MIL stayed until the nurses told her to go home and get some sleep and they’d call her if anything happened.

The next morning Brian took the day off work and instead went to sit with Opa. He had a feeling today would be the day. He took the first shift to sit with Opa and then we’d meet him there after I fed the kids breakfast. Brian texted me and said Opa was just the same as yesterday. He was still sleeping and his heart rate was still low. While Brian was there he prayed for Opa and read to him the scripture about the Jesus’ resurrection. When he finished reading, Opa opened his eyes for the first time in two days. He stared off into the distance and then turned his head and looked at Brian. Then he closed his eyes and fell back asleep. Then he passed away. Brian said the whole room was filled with peace. Moments later I arrived with the kids. Brian told us that he just passed so we went in and kissed him goodbye again one last time. I took the kids back to the car so they would not have to see my MIL grieve over my FIL’s body. It was a piercing scene that leaves me in tears whenever I remember it.

The grief completely drained me but later I was able to feel relief that my FIL’s physical suffering was over. I am glad that his last days were filled with smiles and his eyes lighting up when he saw the kids. Even if he could not speak, we treasured the moments when we could see his joy in the simple pleasures of a kiss on the check or a picture the kids drew for him. He will always live on as we remember his loving smile, his tenacious spirit and his generous heart. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

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Sometimes, I feel close to Opa and ask him to pray for us, as we pray for him each day. Other times I feel the emptiness of not having him around. I miss him.

 

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Around the House…

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You will find pockets of quiet prayer and pockets of wild abandon.

 

 

Family Chit Chat…

 

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Here are some of the things we did this month…enjoyed the warmer weather, got stomach bugs, planted spring flowers, took field trips, went to the movies, had library days, had mom and daughter days out, took walks on the beach and went on a out-of-the-house date. 🙂

 

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In the Kitchen…

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Earlier this week on Instagram’s instastories I made Spanish cauliflower rice. Some watchers wanted to know where I got the recipe. I used the recipe from Wholesomelicious.com. (See the pin below.) The only difference is that I also added a tsp of chili powder to the recipe. 🙂

 

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Reading…

Okay, I seriously need to sit down and write a post about  the last few books I’ve read, which includes these…

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

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The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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Truly, Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Watching…

(MOVIES)

I saw a number of movies in February and March. I wanted to see all the movies nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. I watched three more on the list. My favorite of the three was Hidden Figures.

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I went to see this movie on a whim since the movie was starting at the time I was available. After walking out of the movie it became my favorite of 2016. Hidden Figures is the story of three amazing women mathematicians working at NASA – Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They lived in a time when society viewed them as “less than” for being both African American and women. I bristled at some of the scenes of prejudice and it made me want to knock some heads together but their frustration did not squelch their passion. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary’s stories of perseverance and determination was able to shine thanks to a well written story, excellent acting and touches of humor. This is a must-see movie. (Parental note: Rated PG for thematic elements and some language.)

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After the death of his older brother, Lee is shocked to find out that he has been named his 16 year old nephew’s guardian. Lee moves back to his hometown where he must face his demons and a painful past. This is the perfect movie to watch when you want to wallow in some sadness and have an ugly cry. I rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars, Parental note: Rated R for some sexual content and language throughout.

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This movie is about two brothers who live a modern day story or David and Goliath or Robin Hood in the setting of a dusty Texan town. I found myself torn between rooting for the good “bad guys” or the likable sheriff trying to track them down. Franky, I was a little surprised this was one of the best movies of the year. I enjoyed it and Brian liked all the action but it didn’t seem like the typical nominee.  I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. Parental note: Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality.

On the tamer sides of things, I also watched…

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The Lego Batman Movie was hilarious. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or the kids. There are a few scary parts with the villains (some of the chosen villains are genius) that may upset the youngest of your little ones but otherwise, if you enjoyed The Lego Movie, make sure to watch this one too.  I rated it a 4.5 out of 5. Parental note: Rated PG for rude humor and some action.

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There was a lot of controversy surrounding Beauty and the Beast and rumbles that it wasn’t that good, but personally, I loved it. I thought it was beautiful as it stayed true to the story of love and redemption from the original and added more depth to the story line of Belle and the Beast in regards to their mothers. The music was wonderful and I enjoyed the added songs. For those who asked me about a gay agenda in the movie, there was innuendo done for laughs that would most likely go over a child’s head. Frankly, if I was someone hoping for a “gay moment” I would have disappointed that I received so little. (Granted that is just my opinion. If you are concerned, screen it before you take your children.) My boys had no interest in the movie since there were no light sabers or super heroes but Bella and I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to see it again. Parental note: Rated PG for peril, frightening images and some action violence. (If you want a more in-depth review, I found this one helpful.)

(TV)

Most of the usual shows we watch of winding down for the season. Tonight we’ll watch the final Grimm episode and continue with Ironfist on Netflix.

We also are looking forward to season 2 of Homefires, which I believe starts Sunday on PBS.

 

Listening to …

Human by Rag’n’Bone Man

 

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Recent Posts:

I’ve been on a blogging break so there’s not much.

From the Archives

revolution of love blog - quote_obedience_faustinaI Am the Handmaid of the Lord (March 2015)

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Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 1): Melt Downs, Being at Peace & Theme Thursday: Hear (March 2014)

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Five Favorites & Five Things & Liebster Award (March 2013) This was a funny one to go back and read. 🙂

 

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Pinned…

pin_cal_riceCauliflower Spanish Rice by Wholesomelicious.com.

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I love these new products in the Blessed Is She shop…

Grace before Meals Prayer Poster

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Blessed Is She Knotted Rosary (I just purchased this one!)

 

Around the blogosphere…

Here are some posts I’ve been reading…

Also, did you know that Blessed Is She also has a blog?? There are some great posts on their about faith, life, entertainment and more! Check it out.

 

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I’ve been participating in the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Challenge and these are my photos from February and March.

Week 5: Take 10 shots and choose your favorite.

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I love the water drop that almost looks metallic.

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Week 6: Candy

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My eye candy. #penandpapernerd

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Week 7: Forgotten

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You are guaranteed to find a forgotten warrior around the house any day of the week. #lifewithboys

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Week 8: One Shot

RevolutionofLove.com - photo_challenge_2017_week_8Dewdrops after the morning rain.

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Week 9: Still Life

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Lenten reflections.

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Week 10: Perspective

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Changing the perspective changes a mug and a cloud into a cuppa Joe. 😉

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Lastly, this one wasn’t part of the photo challenge but I snapped it on my phone during a walk this week and I’m smitten with the loveliness of God’s creation.

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So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Any recommendations? Do share.

I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes.

Have a great week!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – * Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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Unbound and Our Sponsored Child

During Lent, we focus on three areas – prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Today I want to share with you about one of the our favorite charities that we support through our almsgiving.

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Unbound, formerly known as CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children ad Aging,) began in 1981. Unbound has a beautiful history that started with three, brothers, a sister and a best friend.

The vision for Unbound began with Bob, Bud and Jim Hentzen, their sister Nadine Hentzen Pearce and their friend Jerry Tolle. Bob and Jerry were former missionaries who, while working in Latin America, witnessed the devastating effects of poverty on families struggling heroically to make better lives for their children. Guided by faith and rooted in Catholic social teaching, the founders envisioned a program that would invite people to partner with families to support, encourage and empower them.

Read more here.

Our family first learned about Unbound in 2011 from friends of ours that was sponsoring a child. I liked the fact that the program not only helped one child but their whole family and offered ongoing support for them to grow and better their lives. Unbound believes the following:

Poverty isn’t just about lack of money — it’s about lack of choices. We’ve found that families make good choices when they have support and encouragement. They invest in the education of their children. They develop livelihoods and become active community participants in the spirit of true sustainability. We work with families at the grassroots level with local staff. Our social workers visit the homes of the families and listen to their needs. They work with children to set education goals. They visit the elderly. They bring families together in small groups to support one another and improve their community.

I was impressed by the work that Unbound does and the percentage of funds that goes to the program vs the administration (92.6%.) I also liked the fact that we’d be able to write to our sponsored child and keep in touch with them through the program. (However, your personal info is kept confidential.) I talked to Brian and made sure the cost fit into our tithing budget and when it did , we prayed to the Holy Spirit to help us chose a child to sponsor.

Since we have so many boys in the house I thought it would be nice to sponsor a girl that Bella could write to as well. We chose the country of Mexico (since mi familia is Hispanic) and I picked a couple of cute little girls in need of help. Bella was ten years old at the time and I let her look over the profiles and pick the one we should sponsor. Of all the smiling faces and cute grins Bella chose a girl close to her age that looked more serious. Her name was Abigal, or as her friends liked to call her, Abi.

We took Abi’s photo and placed it on our home prayer table as a reminder to pray for her each day.

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In our first letter from Abi, she tells us about her life and her family but it is the closing paragraph that brought a tear to my eyes. The translation reads:

“I promise I will make a big effort in the school so that you become proud of me. I will pray every day for you from now on so that God takes care of you and pours blessings upon you wherever you are. I have to close for now. I love you. Your sponsored friend, Abigal”

As the years pass, Abi gets older and she shares with us news of her family – her mom, grandmother and uncles. We in turn share about our lives. This is one of my favorite letters from her.

Dear Bobbi,

Warm greetings to you and your family because you are helping me. Thank you! I love you very much and I pray for you everyday so that you may be healthy and you may always have a job and daily bread. I have the pictures of you next to my Virgin of Guadalupe so that she can take care of you wherever you are and she may cover you with her mantle.

I had a great time at Christmas because at the Foundation all the moms organized games for us so we could have fun and we could meet other sponsored children. My mom participated in the games. They gave us something to eat, gave us gifts, clothes and a small bag of candy. All this is possible thanks to you who give us our financial support. On the other hand, I would like to tell you that my mom and grandparents are very happy because you are helping me and they say that you are part of our family now.

Let me tell you too, that I am going to receive my First Communion. My grandmother goes to the handcrafts workshops that they give at the Foundation because they teach me how to make bracelets, necklaces, earrings and now they are making rosaries. My grandmother is teaching me how to make a rosary.

I am saying good bye and letting you know that I pray to God so that He may take care of you. I wish that with all of my heart. May He bless you wherever you are!

Abigail

I was so touched by her words and how our money was not only helping Abi but her mom and and extended family. It was having a positive effect on them and their community. As years passed, we continued to share about our lives in letters. When Brian was sick with cancer, Abi’s mom and grandmother were especially praying for him and placing him in the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This little girl touched my heart and it was a joy to watch her grow and do well in her schooling from a little eight year old to a teenager.

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Abi over the years and with her mom and grandmother. We finally see her smile. 🙂

We spent the last five years getting to know Abi and her family. Unfortunately, it had to come to an end. The Unbound program in her area had to close due to its remote location, the challenges of providing adequate supervision and support and the risks to the staff presented by the growing violence in the region. We are sad that we can no longer support Abi financially but we continue to pray for her and her family every night.

I her last letter she wrote:

I write these lines to thank you for all your support during these years. You chose me among many. Your support was useful in my life. Thanks a million for caring about us! I also pray to God and the Virgin and I will make an effort to get ahead. My studies helped me to learn to share my things and to be a better person. My family is proud of you. I have to say goodbye but I thank you for the support you gave me five years ago. It was a foundation that helped me a lot. Love, Abi

Our chapter with Abi has closed but she will always have a special place in my heart.

We wanted to continue to support Unbound and their work so we decided to chose another child to sponsor. This time I let the boys choose. I picked out a few boys from various regions and we looked at their profiles.

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They finally decided on Kevin Andres from Columbia. His profile states that he is an active five year old boy living with his parents and two sisters. He likes to explore and playing with his friends and toys.

We just received our first letter from Kevin’s father who says:

Dear Bobbi,

I greet you very affectionately wishing that when you receive this letter you are well of health and being.

I am Bernardo, Kevin’s father. I am writing this letter because Kevin is only 5 years old and he will begin school in January, God willing. Kevin is very affectionate. He likes to sing very much and to play with his toys. He is very intelligent and likes to ask many questions. He has a dog that he loves very much. Kevin does much and he does it heartily. Kevin lives in a rented house with his mother, his father and his two sisters who are 12 and 14.

I heartily thank you for having sponsored Kevin now that he needs it. Many, many thanks and God will bless you always. Cordially, Bernardo.

We look forward to our new adventure with Kevin. We pray he is blessed by Unbound just as Abi was.

For information about how you and your family can sponsor a child in need, visit Unbound.

Also, if you follow me on Instagram, on Friday 3/17/17, I’ll be on the Blessed Is She account talking about Almsgiving for Lent and our experience with Unbound. Then at 6PM PST/ 9 PM ET, I’ll be LIVE to anser your questions and to pray a decade of the rosary with you. Hope to see you there!

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

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Lenten Goals 2017: Put on Love

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Happy First Week (days) of Lent! In years past, I didn’t really buckle down until a couple weeks into Lent but each year I get a little better. Not perfect, mind you, but better.

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Ash Wednesday started out with a bang – a more stressful than usual morning with me upset and frustrated, the boys more wild than usual (or at least they seemed it) and I was already dreading Lent without making it an hour into it. Thankfully, I made it to morning Mass early and had some time to cool down and pray and get my mind and heart in the right attitude. And the rest of the day was lovely, right?? Well, yes and no.

If you follow me on Instagram and watched my instastories that day, you saw how I spent the first half of the day getting the house cleaned and decorating for Lent. It all looked so pretty! Yeah, it looked great but then I was given a little reminder that Lent is more than just getting the pretty prayer journal, and putting up the purple flowers and Lenten activities, it also meant actually putting my Lenten practices to work.

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What you didn’t see on the instastories was the second half of the day when things started to go downhill. I got a call from Brian about a work project that needed to be redone. Pronto. There was another issue with a family member that needed to be dealt with, also pronto. My car was on the fritz and they called to say the bill would be over $500. Add that to a number of other things that  went wrong in a few hours. Combine all this with being food deprived from fasting and well, let’s just say that mama had a meltdown by the time the evening was over. I hit that “don’t even look, talk or touch me!” zone, all the while thinking, “Damn it! I can’t even get past Ash Wednesday without screwing up royally.” Sigh.

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Thankfully, God is patient and his mercy is ready to pick us up and dust us off. After apologies and hugs were given to the family and after I checked the calendar to see when my next confession was scheduled (in a couple days) I was able to go to bed knowing tomorrow would be a fresh, blank page ready for me to start a new story. Happily, today was a better day.

I tell you all this because I know someone reading this will be a little encouraged that none of us have it all together and that we are all dealing with our own struggles and inadequacies. I also want to encourage you that no matter how many times we may fail, God never, never, tires of picking us back up.

Choosing My Lenten Fast

Each year I usually share with you what I am working on during Lent, mostly because I know my mom will read it and ask me how I am doing when she calls me. This holds me accountable. 😉

I was actually having a hard time narrowing down what I should give up or do for Lent but I was reading Kathryn’s blog post This, *This* Is Your Lenten Fast and her words kicked me in the arse. She said:

Rather than telling yourself, “Oh, Lent is coming, time to give up sweets and Dr Pepper,” let’s do something different instead.

Dig deep. Start with what you take to the confessional every time. Or, if you haven’t been in a while (hey, no judgment) start with something that takes your time away from God. Start with the thing that’s your barrier – maybe it’s social media, your attitude, the crap in your house or the junk in your heart.

Like a big neon sign was the words “Start with what you take to the confessional every time.” I know what that is.

Later I read Blessed Is She’s daily devotion for Ash Wednesday and Jenny said:

This Lent, don’t give up chocolate. Don’t set your alarm 15 minutes early. Not before asking Him what He wants from your heart. Ask Him how you can best make a sacrifice to become who He wants you to be. The fasting, prayer, and almsgiving of Lent are all for the sake of bring our whole selves, body and soul, closer to Him. Lent is about offering ourselves to God anew, asking Him to strip away the facade and, in His great mercy, to reveal to us those parts of ourselves that look the least like Him.

I opened up my Blessed Is She journal and it said in bold letters:

PUT ON LOVE.

Ugh, stop it, Lord! You’ve made your point. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Put on Love.” It makes a great prayer journal title and a great #hashtag for my IG photos but it is so hard to actually LIVE.

I’d rather just give up chocolate. (And for me, that’s saying a lot.)

However, when I look back at my little meltdown earlier, my self-love is glaring. Everyone was bugging me. Everyone was making me work harder. Everyone was stressing me out. Me. Me. Me. It’s all about me. Okay, so I was exceptionally selfish that afternoon (I blame it on the lack of food!) but I know myself. I know that I can be selfish and self-centered and that is what God wants to continue to root out of me. He’s been working on it for so dang long, and although I am better than I was in years past, I’ve still got a loooong way to go.

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So for Lent I am doing some things that will help me curb my self-love. I’ll not bore you with the specifics but I’ll gladly take any prayers you can send my way. I, in return, promise to pray for you this Lent too. We’re traveling this journey together.

How can I pray for you this Lent?

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. 😉

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February Fun: Letter Writing, Love Notes (& Free Printable) and Prayers to the Holy Family

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February is here and in my mind, I can’t help but think of it as a month of Love, when I especially show other people that I care about them, whether it is my husband, child, a friend or a stranger in need of an act of kindness. There are a few things I like to do to share that love. Here are some of them.

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Letter Writing

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Ever since I was a kid, I loved writing letters and having pen pals. I would collect stationary and stickers and well, fast forward a couple decades and not much had changed.I still love stationary and collecting stickers.

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That’s right! There are sticker clubs for adults! Just check out Pipsticks. When you sign up, you can get an envelope of stickers to decorate your planner, bullet journal, note cards or use them as treats for your kids. It’ll make your inner 10 year old squeal . 🙂

Although I love technology and always have my iPhone on me, I still love to write a love note to Brian or slip a note of encouragement to one of my kids or send a note in the mail to a friend. It may be a kindness to them but it is also beneficial to me because I love the sound and feel on pen scratching paper. It is a balm to my soul.  🙂

So imagine my excitement last year when I found out that February is the International Correspondence Writing Month (known as InCoWriMo.) Participants take this pledge:

“I, [insert your name], clearly see the benefits of InCoWriMo participation, not only to me personally, but also to those who will receive my correspondence. InCoWriMo is a beneficial endeavor and worthy of my full attention. I hereby pledge to hand-write and mail/deliver one letter, card, note or postcard every day during the month of February.”

 

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It was so much fun last year! Although, I have to admit that more often than not I was writing notes every three days and mailing them at once BUT I still sent out 29 notes (thanks, leap year) in February. I am joining again this year and made my bullet journal spread to mark the letters I write. If you want to know more about #InCoWriMo, visit the main site or Kara’s great round up of info. If you want to know more about writing letters in general, check out my previous post – The Joy of Letter Writing: 5 Favorite Things about Snail Mail.

Love Notes

For those who aren’t up to writing 28 pieces of mail, maybe this idea would work better.RevolutionofLove.com - love_notes_1

A couple years back when Brian came home after his cancer surgery, I really wanted to let him know all the little things I loved about him. So I made a list of 14 things I loved about him, then I made little love notes I could fill out and leave for him the 14 days before Valentines. I would leave them on his night stand, on his laptop, taped to the bathroom mirror. It was a little something to remind him each day of why I loved him. The idea went so well, I repeated it every year but instead of 14, I do the six days leading up to Valentines Day.

If you really want to kick things up a notch, you could pair these love notes with acts of kindness. For some inspiration read my previous post – 25 Acts of Kindness for Your Husband.RevolutionofLove.com - love_notes_2

I also wanted to do something similar for my kids so I made a different version to let them know what I love about them.

If you’d like to do the same, you can find the love notes printable for the hearts here and for the mama and baby owl here.

God Is Love

Lastly, because God is the source of all love, as a family we try to live that love out in our faith and in our prayer life. In the evening, when we sit down to eat dinner, we say grace, which includes each of us saying a prayer intention. That is followed by a litany of our family saints. (St, Joseph, St. Anne, St. Isabella, St. Andrew, St. John-Paul, St. Matthew, our baby saints Victor and Joseph, St. Michael for our military and policemen, St. Florian for our fire fighters, St. John Vianny for priests and religious, St. Gerard for pregnant moms, St. Peregrine for those fighting cancer, and St. Junipero Serra for our petitions.) Lastly, we end with an invocation that matches the Church’s monthly dedication.

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Photo credit: churchpop.com

January was the month of the Holy Name of Jesus so our invocation was – “Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

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Since February is the month of the Holy Family, we now say a simple – “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we love you.”

It’s a small way that we foster a love of God and our faith. In doing so, it helps us to have the right attitude in sharing that love with others around us, especially since we are six non-perfect humans living together as a family. We need all the help to be loving than we can get! 😉

What are ways you like to show the people in your life that you care about them?

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Periscope or Katch (past Periscopes), GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

PPS – Disclaimer: “Revolution of Love.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.”

In other words, if you click on my affiliated links and make a purchase, I get a small compensation that goes towards keeping the blog online. Big hugs to those who click and help support the blog! xoxo 🙂

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