Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

A Blog Hop about Writing


Sweet Niki over at A Catholic Heart for Home, tagged me for a blog hop about writing. It has taken me awhile (Sorry, Niki!) but I finally got to sit down and finish the post.  She asked me to answer four questions then I tag three bloggers to do the same. So here we go…

1. What am I writing?

I have always loved to write, even as a young girl. In my late teens and early 20’s there weren’t blogs. Instead there were underground magazines (or ‘zines), which were basically B&W self-produced booklets. After my reversion, I started my own called handmaid. The first half covered music reviews and photos from local shows in the Christian alternative music scene. The second half was a collection of thoughts about the faith, journal entries and poems. I loved the creative process and kept it up while I discerned if I had a religious vocation or not.

After Brian and I  were married, we decided to join our efforts since we both loved to write and we started Revolution of Back then I was newly married and Bella was our only baby. Brian and I both wrote about the Catholic faith and family life but the articles we posted on our website were more serious. I wanted a place where I could just chit chat about daily life so I started the blog. That was over a decade ago.

Nowadays I write mostly about motherhood, homemaking and family/ life happenings. My blog motto is “Little things with great love” because it is what I desire to do…to love God through the caring of my husband and family. God knows that dealing with all the little crosses in mommy life with a patient and charitable attitude is little a martyrdom. Writing about it helps me to keep my attitude on the positive side and to see the blessings disguised under the mess. I want to capture the simple joys of my life. Trying a new recipe or taking a pretty picture or making my messy house more homey, and then sharing it with other women online, feeds my creative hunger and builds new friendships. 🙂

Life is not all daisies and sunshine.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Well, I don’t know if it is very different since there are so many mommy bloggers out there but I hope I can be an encouragement to those moms who don’t feel like they measure up to the “perfect” moms. I love organizing blogs but I am so messy it’s just sad. (As I type I am trying to see the monitor over a mound of paperwork and random objects.) I am trying to tame the messy beast within me and get my home in order but it is a slow process. However, I like sharing the cleaning projects I do finish in order to say, “See! If I can do it, so can you!”

Also, while other moms post about their running marathons and cross fit classes, I am excited to share how I got off the couch and tried to walk a couple miles without having a heart attack. When they talk about trying to get back into their size 4 jeans, my eyes glaze over. I can’t even relate to the “normal sized” moms trying to get out of a size 14 or 16. Dang it, I’m trying to get into a size 16!

Sometimes I talk about struggling or having a bad day because I want other moms to know that it’s normal to struggle at times. Being a mom is incredibly hard work and it is physically, mentally and spiritually demanding! But God can use us – with our strong points, weak points and quirks – to change the world one diaper and one load of laundry at a time.

3. Why do I write what I write?

I have to admit that I first write for myself. I love the sound of the tapping and the feel of the keys beneath my fingers. I love the smell of blank paper and watching my pen dance across the page. Typing or writing things out helps me to reign in the thoughts that are running around my head. It allows me to express myself in a way that I sometimes can’t verbally. The creative process of blogging – finding the right things to say, taking photographs to suit the subject, and making it look pleasing to the eye, all those creative components energize me and make me smile.

The other reason I write is for the community it builds. There is a real joy when someone comments or tells me that they appreciate what I  have written or that they understand what I am saying because they have felt the same way. It builds a sisterhood and I love that. I love the bond it creates. Sometimes I feel like my online friends know me more intimately than some of my real life friends, but that’s a topic for a different post. 😉

4. How does my writing process work?

Well, it has been sketchy as of late but in general when a thought hits me and I want to expand on it but can’t write at the moment, I make a note on my phone, whether it is a word or a phrase or a few rudimentary ideas. Later when the kids are asleep or playing relatively quietly during the day I’ll go back to those notes. If it is an “easy” topic, I just sit and write. If it is something that is a little harder to express or close to my heart, then I say a prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Sometimes I need to stop typing and finish in the morning so I can have fresh eyes and mind to look it over. Usually, the post will “click” and I feel I did the best I could to express my thoughts. Life is busy and I often don’t have time to do all those steps. Consequently my thoughts will often sit in my draft folder for weeks. I am working on getting things out more often and hopefully this post is just the nudge to get me going. 🙂

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Okay, now the fun part! I get to nominate three fellow bloggers but I’m going to cheat and nominate four since I took so long to keep this blog hop going. Here are the ladies I nominate. (The first pick is a no brainer since she is my sis and an awesome mom. 🙂 )

Elena at Barefoot and Sometimes Pregnant

Elena says: I am mom to five little munchkins and one little saint in heaven. Edith is 6, Frank is 4, Greta is 3, Harriet is 2, Ike is 1 and our little St. Joan went to her Maker on July 11, 2014. I love every moment of being a mom…okay, okay, I admit there are times when I want to sell the kids to gypsies, but the thought never lasts long. 🙂

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Sarah at Fumbling towards Grace

Sarah says: My name is Sarah and I have a wonderful husband “Atticus” and three amazing children: Maggie, Charlie, and Mary Cate. We’re Catholic, by baptism and by choice. We love the Church, warts and all. We strive to follow all of the Church’s teachings. We love taking our scruffy, black dog Sirius to the park. Every Saturday from September through November is Notre Dame football. We’ve been known to conduct a culinary experiment from time to time.

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Erica at Saint Affairs

Erica says: Hi!  My name is Erica.We are a Catholic homeschooling family. We love the Lord, the Catholic Church, and each other.  I am married to my high school sweetheart. I homeschool our three children. In my free time, I enjoy reading, knitting, cross-stitching, gardening, and running. I cook and clean, too, but only because I promised my husband that I would take care of him and our children. I used to scrapbook, but I stopped several years ago. I keep this blog to record what is happening in our life, my craft projects, and the books that we are reading. Occasionally, I write about things like clothes, food, and my struggles with polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility.

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 Christina at A Catholic Reversal

Christina says: Hi!  My name is Christina and I am a Catholic wife to Greg and mother to 6 kids ranging in age from 14 to 7 months.  We are cradle Catholics married in our mid-twenties with a lack luster faith life.  Through a series of (divine) events we discovered Pope Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body were led back to the Church.  Our reversion/conversion has been ongoing for the past 7 years as we have gradually and sometimes feverishly tried to learn the Truths of the faith that we never knew or had barely been exposed to.

Our reversion led us to a deep change of heart as we learned about the Church’s teaching on marriage and contraception.  We had chosen to have a vasectomy after the birth of our 3rd daughter and would come to painfully regret this decision.  By the grace of God we were able to have Greg’s sterilization reversed and have since been blessed with four more children, three of whom are here with us.

I hope to share about the joys, struggles, and other what nots of going from a family of 5 to a family of 8.  We have had many reversals in our marriage especially since our conversion led to many new family members.  As if growing our brood to 6 wasn’t enough, we will also be homeschooling some of our children this fall!

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Okay, the writing torch has been passed. I hope you enjoy getting to know these Catholic blogging mamas. 🙂

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 (It’s set to private but I’ll approve you.) 😉

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Dear Diary: Chronicling the Last Few Days & An Update on Brian’s Cancer (1/26/14)

A new day brings new hope.

Previous cancer post – Theme of 2014: Work and Pray


Friday, January 24, 2014, 12:15 PM (Brian has surgery to remove cancer from his colon.)

Learning to Surrender – I am sitting here in the waiting room while Brian is having his surgery. I brought my laptop to the hospital because I knew that writing would keep me busy and help me to sort through the various emotions rushing around inside of me.

This morning after dropping off Bella and Andrew at school I went to the chapel to say a prayer. I quietly went in and slipped into the back pew. When I looked up I saw that Jesus was exposed in the Blessed Sacrament. It took me by surprise and gratitude filled my heart. It felt like a gentle reminder that Our Lord is there present and I need not worry. I poured my heart out to Him and just let the tears flow. As I sat there one question kept coming to mind – “What is the worse thing that you can imagine happening? My answer – Brian does not survive the surgery and  I lose him. Then a voice within my heart said, “Even if the worse were to happen, I would give you the strength to endure.” Something in me clicked. No matter what happened, I must love and trust God above all else.

It reminded me of when I was first dating Brian. There was a point where I was convinced that he was the man I was going to marry but he was still not sure if he was cut out to be a husband and father. I remember on one of my lunch breaks from work, I went to the local church and slipped in while it was empty. I poured my heart out to God. I told him that although I felt strongly that Brian was meant to be my husband, I had to accept that God may be calling him to Himself as a monk or religious. (He had already left the seminary before I met him but he was still debating about monastic life.) I placed Brian in the hands of Jesus and Mary and asked God for the grace and strength to accept His will, whatever it may be.

I had that same feeling in my present situation with Brian. I know God is completely capable of giving us a miracle, and we are praying for one, but I also know that sometimes God has other plans. Whatever the case, I had to reach the point of just letting go completely and know deep in my heart that no matter what, God will give me the grace and strength to get through it. Either way… however it ends up…  my trust and faith has to be in God. That is not the easiest thing to accept, let alone live, but I pray that God gives me the grace to do so.

Well, Brian has been in surgery for two hours now and they are about half way through. Time to close the computer and say another rosary.

Fri – 2:30 PM

The First Hurdle: The Surgery – The doctor finally came out around after 3 1/2 hours. He is very nice and very good at what he does but he is also a stoic man so when he walked towards me and my father-in-law with a severe look on his face I thought, “Ohmygosh, Brian died on the operating table.” Without change of expression he said, “It all went well.” It took a minute for the words to register but once they did, what a relief. The surgery was more difficult this time around since the cancer was embedded deep into his colon. Thank God that with the use of modern technology and cutting edge tools, they were able to get in there and remove it. While Brian was cut open he also inspected his other organs and saw that they were clean. He was pleased with the operation and said Brian looked clean but on the other hand, he looked clean after the first operation but the cancer still came back. He said it is rare for that to happen since most of the patients in Brian’s situation remain cancer free.

Next they will do a biopsy and we’ll meet with Brian’s cancer doctor to find out what stage the cancer is and whether or not he will need to to have chemo. We are hoping we can avoid it although they are worried that in Brian’s case he may need it anyway. But I can’t think about that right now. I am just happy that my sweetheart is alive and recuperating. So, so happy!! We jumped over the first major hurdle and we’ll handle the next hurdle when it comes.

I am also incredibly grateful to everyone that has lifted us in prayer. I cannot express how much it means to us to have so many people praying for us and caring for us. It is a true example of how we are all one family united in Christ – brothers and sisters looking out for one another. It brings tears to my eyes. 🙂

Thank you, God, for showing mercy on your son Brian and on our family. Please continue to heal him and make him strong once again.

 * * *

Sunday, January 26, 2014 – 11:30 AM

It’s Sunday morning and I am in the hospital room with Brian. He is really tired so I told him to close his eyes and get some rest and I’ll stay with him and do a little writing. He smiled and closed his eyes.

Yesterday was a difficult day. Brian was having a hard time with the pain and the stress of the operation was taking a toll on his body. He had gotten a fever and his heart rate was up and his oxygen down. At one point when they tried to sit him up he got the shakes and became ill. They said it is not uncommon considering what Brian has been through, but I felt so bad for him. I could see that it troubled him. I told him not to worry and that he just needs to give his body time to heal and get better. It was only the first day after the surgery!

The next morning (today) he seems in better spirits and in less pain, although he is still very tired. He will have his physical therapy later today and hopefully he does better this time.

Star Wars/Superheroes vs The Aunts (Photo by Bridgette)

Sisters, Sisters… – My sisters have been doing an awesome job at keeping the kids occupied, not to mention making my house sparkle! Bella and the boys were eager to finally go see Brian. He loved seeing them as much as they loved seeing him, although I could tell it troubled Bella to see her big, strong daddy sick in bed. John-Paul was a chatterbox and kept saying, “What the heck?! Daddy, why are you in that bed?” Andrew was quiet with wide eyes and Matthew wanted to know when Doc McStuffins was arriving. 🙂 It was nice that Brian could have a little taste of home in the hospital. 🙂

Sunday – 10:30 PM

I just got home from visiting Brian. We watched Downton Abbey together and by the end of it we were both tired so I kissed him good night and drive home. I hated saying goodbye and this bed feels awfully empty without him in it. I am praying for the day we can bring him home again.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and words of support!!! I’m not sure how long Brian will have to stay int he hospital but he won’t be able to eat for 5-7 days until everything heals up. In the meantime, please continue to pray for Brian as he heals – both for his body and his soul, that his spirits stay high and that he realizes how much inner strength he possesses. Have a good night. Love you guys. 😉

UPDATE: Dear Diary: Brian’s Recovery & Dealing with Cancer (1/29/14)

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 or Instagram. 😉


My Journey to God (Part 2): Me? A Nun?

This is Day 7 of Jen’s 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge.

Part 1 of this story is here: My Journey to God (Part I) – From Darkness to Light

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The summer of my 26th year had been a long and hard struggle. It began when my mom uttered the alarming words, “God may be calling you to the religious life.” My heart sank. As a renewed Catholic who just experienced a reversion to the faith, I had great admiration for nuns but did not want to be one myself. But the idea intensified when I prayed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that God might be calling me to surrender myself in this special way…as a nun. I tried to suppress these thoughts and ignore God, but I knew what life was like when I tried to ignore God. I realized that I needed to spend some time alone with God to get closer to Him and to re-evaluate where my life was going.

I stopped publishing “handmaid” and stepped away from the normal routine of my life. I explained to my friends (mostly non-Catholics) that they wouldn’t be seeing or hearing from me for awhile because I was thinking about the religious life. The reactions ranged from teary-eyed encouragement to gasps of horror at the realization that I was Catholic. The former gave their support and the latter turned their backs because they saw Catholicism more akin to a cult than Christianity. However, this “confession” of mine opened doors for people who were curious about Catholicism because they knew nothing about it or had a skewed version of it.

Photo credit: My bro Jacob

Meanwhile, I was still praying for discernment regarding a religious vocation. I spend almost a year living my own desert experience. I went without “fun”, without TV, radio, phone conversations, and the like. I had quit my job and was working for my parents who were thanking God that I was trying to discern God’s will. (Their motto is to give God and His Church the first shot as your spouse.) My brother Rob was going through a similar discernment process and had entered the seminary to discern a vocation.

I still had mixed feelings about the whole thing – one day I’d have romantic notions of me working as a missionary or penning spiritual diaries and then the next day I’d be filled with dread wondering, what the heck am I thinking? I decided to give it a try by “living the life” of a religious. I found out about a summer long retreat for women discerning a religious vocation that was run by a group of lay consecrated women. I prayed about it and signed up. I hate to admit that my mind was already stubbornly made up that I was not called but I figured once the retreat was over, I could return home with a clean conscience saying I had “tried”.

Life with the consecrated was not what I expected. It was a time of active missionary work and deep prayer – I think it was the prayer that got to me. I wasn’t one of those who loved to spend countless hours praying before the tabernacle. I didn’t like the quiet and being still. It made me think too much. I would struggle with my thoughts. I wondered if I could give up certain things to became a nun, particularly in the guy department. All my life there was always a guy I liked or a guy I was pursuing. The chase was like a drug. As a nun, there would be no more chasing. Could I live life as a celibate? And could I completely accept God’s will in the tiniest detail – go where I was told and do what I was told without question? I didn’t know.

However, praying in common with the others girls and especially spending time alone with Our Lord in the tabernacle melted my cynical and selfish heart. I realized how much God had given me. I thought about what kind of dark life I had been living before and how he rescued me. I slowly began to love the religious life and saw the beauty that outweighed the sacrifice. I wanted to embrace it wholeheartedly. I knelt in the chapel and begged God to forgive me for being so selfish and self-centered and for looking on a religious vocation with disdain, rather than with joy to be chosen as a bride of Christ. I surrendered my whole being and gave to God my life to do with as He willed.

Photo credit: My bro Jacob

Later I opened up my heart to my confessor and spiritual director, revealing all that I was going through. I knew that they were the tools God would use to guide me. I thought I was ready to join the novitiate of the consecrated women but surprisingly, they felt it was not certain that I had a vocation. I was to go back into the world for one more year and if at the end of the year I still felt called, then I was to return. I walked back to the chapel and sobbed. I couldn’t believe it. First I wanted nothing to do with living the life of a nun but God called me. Then I wanted nothing more than to live that kind of life and God said no.

I couldn’t help but feel betrayed until I slowly began to realize just what happened to me during those summer weeks. There had been a definite change in my spiritual life; it gained depth that had not been there previously. I thought about all the classes on spirituality I had taken – particularly the class on the Sacrament of Marriage. I was intrigued to learn how a wife and husband are called to sanctity within their vocation, just as a religious. Therefore a single woman called to marriage should be looking for a spouse that would help her reach heaven. I marveled at the idea! Looking back now, it’s rather funny that God had to put me on the path of a consecrated soul in order to show me the kind of man I should be seeking if I was called to married life. I guess God uses what it takes to teach us our lessons.

I realized the summer retreat was all a part of God’s divine plan and in the long run it would serve its purpose. My heart was filled with peace and joy, knowing that God was in control and that I had finally learned to let go and let God. My life no longer revolved around finding a man. For now, God was the only one I was supposed to pursue. As for the future, I would just have to wait to see what God had in store for me.

Many, many months later (I remember the day well) I was in church praying before Our Lord. It had been nearly a year since I tried the religious life and after a lot of prayer and spiritual direction I finally knew with certainty that God was calling me to be a wife and mother. I believe God had been testing me. By embracing the religious life with love, I had surrendered my life to God and only then could He reveal the true direction of my vocation.

I would love to say that shortly after figuring out my vocation I succeeded in the monumental task of finding a holy spouse that cared deeply about the same things I did and who saw our future marriage as our path to heaven. The reality is that it would take another looong two years. Although I was truly trying to accept God’s will and timing, it was an acute struggle to feel called to a vocation so strongly, yet not be able to “participate” in that vocation without the right partner. I had to learn how to stay focused on growing more mature and spiritually rooted, as well as trying to be patient, trusting that God would answer my prayers in His time. Like the lilies of the field, God was taking care of me.

Months went by and a friend gave me a novena* (see below) to Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, a holy Catholic wife and mother, that her sister prayed with the specific intention of finding the right husband. After the novena she soon met her future husband on the internet in a Catholic chatroom. I had already been praying to St. Anne, my patron saint, but I thought extra prayers to another holy Anne couldn’t hurt and decided to make the novena. The following week I attended my young adults’ meetings with renewed vigor – I was ready for Mr. Right to walk in the door any minute. By the end of the meeting I sighed and resigned, “Okay, okay, Lord. It’s obvious that it’s not time yet. I’ll be patient!” And again, I waited….

Part 3: Journey to God (Part 3): Our How-We-Met/Engagement Story

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 or Instagram (bobbi_rol). 😉

PPS – Here is the novena to Bl. Anna Maria Taigi that I prayed.

O Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, by that humble submission with which you believed in and adored the august mystery of the One True God in Three Persons, obtain for me from the Most Holy Trinity the favor which I confidently implore…(fill in your petition**.)

Glory be the Father… (three times)

O Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, by the great love and tender pity with which you honored the mysteries in the life of Jesus, obtain for me from Him the favor which I earnestly implore… (fill in your petition.)

Glory be the Father… (three times)

O Blessed Anna Marie Taigi, through your filial devotion to the Blessed Virgin, obtain for me from Her the favor which I humbly implore… (fill in your petition.)

Glory be the Father… (three times) Amen.

You can fill in your own petition. For an example, I said the following:

Petition 1 – That I may find the man God has chosen to be my spouse.
Petition 2- That he and I will both grow in the virtues needed to be a holy spouse and parent.
Petition 3 – That I may know God’s will and follow it with love and patience.

My Journey to God (Part I) – From Darkness to Light


This is Day 6 of Jen’s 7 Posts in 7 Days Challenge.

(I originally wrote this years ago but this is the first time posting it on the blog.)

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I could feel my feet sink into the damp sand as the waves nipped at my toes. I looked over my shoulder and saw my footprints being swept away by the ocean waves. Whenever I’m near the ocean I’m always reminded of the mercy of God – farther and vaster than the eye can imagine, more powerful than the crashing surf upon the rocks, yet as gentle as a lapping wave at your feet.

As I continue to walk, each footstep recalls a memory – some filled with joy and some with deep remorse. I wish I could say that I have always tried to follow God and live his commandments but it was a dark road that led me away from God. It started out innocently enough, but the real turning point took place after high school. I had moved with my family to a new town and made new friends. Previously, I had always been basically a “good” girl and had never gotten into major trouble. I was active in my church and in youth ministry but had a vague sort of love for God. As long as I felt “warm and fuzzy” inside with the knowledge that Jesus loved me, then I figured that I was a faithful Catholic.

Frankly, without a real relationship with Christ, with no solid foundation of prayer, no frequent sacramental life or an understanding of my faith, it was understandable that my rebellious side was fed a steady diet of discontent. I didn’t want to turn my back on God completely, because I still believed He existed, but I was bored. I was attracted to my new friends because they were “alternative” (when such a word existed) and they had a seductive edginess in their attitudes – as well as their clothes and music – that I liked. I started dating a dark and poetic agnostic and everything slowly spiraled down.

I wasn’t used to the life that my friends lived. There was such a casualness and acceptance about drinking, drugs, body piercing, sexual experimentation, homosexuality, the occult, and the like, that eventually nothing seemed to shock me anymore because my friends were all into it. I kept my distance for awhile, still having the fear of God in me, but the enticement of sin was more than I could handle. I began to care less about God and my family. I was tired of rules and restrictions and feeling guilty all the time, so I ignored God all together.

The months drifted by as I got more involved with my boyfriend and the scene. I considered myself much more loving and “Christian” because I accepted people for who they were and didn’t care or try to change them from the sinful lives they led. If my conscience dared to try and challenge me, I would just turn on my music louder and allow the voice of angst and anger to take over me with painful pleasure. I didn’t care about morals and values anymore because it was my own life and I could do as I pleased…but something was wrong with this road I was traveling.

My feelings of freedom and independence began to suffocate me and chain me down. I was slowly losing my self-respect and was swiftly gaining self-hatred and feelings of worthlessness. Everything that was once so enticing was now only adding to my depression. I thought I could change things myself by getting out of the scene and breaking up with my boyfriend. My problems were far from solved when I had to deal with an obsessive ex who wouldn’t let me go, but even harder, I had to deal with the realization of what I had let my life become. My parents and family were agonizing over me and they only knew a small portion of what my life was. Sadly, I was deceptive and covered my tracks well, but I also knew that there was Someone who witnessed my every moment.

I tried praying and going back to church but I was left empty. I had gotten so far from God that I was too ashamed to face Him without barriers and masks. I couldn’t handle the guilt of knowing that I had God’s love but I didn’t want it. I had thrown it back in His face so I could embrace sin. I couldn’t bear to ask for forgiveness AGAIN knowing that I’d most likely return to my sinful ways once more. So I walked through the days in a masquerade, pretending that everything was okay. At night, screaming voices in my head echoed anger and pain and refused to let me sleep. I didn’t know how much more I could take until this desperate, hopeless feeling would consume me.

I tried not to spend too much time with my family, especially my mom; one look at her was a prick of my conscience and I hated it. I avoided any discussions of Godly things but found myself trying to listen behind closed doors to what was being said. I’d hear lively conversations about God’s love, Jesus’ mercy, the Spirit’s strength, and the Blessed Mother’s holy example. A part of me was disgusted and cynical about anything religious yet, I didn’t want to admit that another part of me was intrigued and longed to be that on fire about my faith. It meant very little to me and now it seemed farther to me than ever but the longing for something more in my life nagged at me; the cynical walls started to shake as hope tried to take root.

As night once again approached, for some odd reason, my mind started thinking about the religious conversation I had overheard. My mind’s eye pictured the scene of the crucifixion and I zeroed in on one figure, the Virgin Mary at the foot of the cross. She seemed such a complete contrast to Mary Magdalene, whom I could relate to more. Childhood words flashed through my mind that the Virgin Mary was our heavenly Mother. I thought to myself that she must hate me because I sent her Son to the cross. I pictured her with tears in her eyes pleading with me, “He died for you…He died for you…He died for you.” The words echoed in my mind and a sudden wave of awareness swept over me that Jesus not only died on the cross because of my sins, He died on the cross to forgive and truly love me. It wasn’t some pretty little cliché you hear in church or Sunday school; it was REALITY.

Crumbled on the floor, it was more than I could bear. I sobbed uncontrollably because I knew my life was nothing without Jesus. All the bitterness, hatred, and cynicism were being washed away as I cried out to God not just with words but with my whole being. My soul ached for Jesus’ love and forgiveness. I realized that God never left me; it was I that walked away. God didn’t stop loving me when I allowed sin to tear me apart; rather, He waited for me so He could take my broken life and put it back together with His loving mercy. I rested my head on my pillow and for the first time in my life that nagging voice that usually said, “It won’t last; you’ll be back to your old ways in no time,” was gone. I closed my eyes knowing that my life would remain forever changed.

The next morning I knew I had gone through some kind of conversion because my attitude and thoughts were different. I had accepted Jesus into my life in a way that I never had before. I decided to make a clean break from everything of my past life, including old friends, habits, attitudes, and even my music. Some things were harder than others to let go of but God, in His mercy, brought into my life new Christian friends. They not only became a part of my life but introduced me to the Christian underground (in other words, not mainstream) world of alternative music and ‘zines (self-produced mini-magazines, the forerunner to blogs. ;-)). I was elated to meet people who looked like my old friends on the outside but who were, so different on the inside.

More importantly, by their example I was constantly encouraged to love Jesus and serve Him. However, one thing bothered me, I wondered why I had found the spirit of God so alive amongst these new Christian friends and the love of God so lacking among the Catholics I knew. Although I knew my family loved God and were very close to Jesus, I couldn’t be a Catholic simply because my family was. Besides, Catholicism never really appealed to me with all its traditions and rituals; it seemed so complicated, whereas a simple “bible-based” Christianity pleased my carefree spirit that wanted to worship God in my own way.

I didn’t want to make a hasty or emotional decision so I prayed with a sincere heart and asked God to reveal His truth to me. If I came to realize that it meant leaving Catholicism, then I would. I knew that as long as I was open to God and didn’t build walls of resistance, He’d show me the answer. I grabbed my Bible and the writings of Catholics and anti-Catholics. I wanted to hear both sides of the story. As I studied it bothered me that what the Catholic Church taught seemed to differ from what the Catholics I knew were doing. My view of the Church was being tainted by people who didn’t even follow the Church in the first place. As I puzzled over this notion, God brought into my life on-fire Catholics who had a deep relationship with Christ, who actually understood what Catholicism was about, and who lived their faith with a pure love for God. It shed a different light on things but I needed to find out more.

I began reading Scriptures more, not just taking a few passages here and there to prove a point, but I tried to look at Scripture as a whole, in order to get the fullness of God’s word. I also looked into the history of the early Church and the writings of the Church fathers. It baffled me that they were so….well, Catholic. I never knew that they defended the Catholic belief that the Eucharist is not symbolic but actually the Body and Blood of Christ. I didn’t know that they understood the Church to have hierarchical authority given by Christ, with Peter as the first pope and the following bishops of Rome to be his successors. I didn’t even know that for almost 400 years there was no Bible, as we know it; it was the Catholic Church, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who prayed and infallibly decided which books were to be included and excluded in the canon that we now read. I was awestruck.

The more I learned, the more I felt drawn to Catholicism and instead of walking away, I embraced it. My views of the Mass, the sacraments, even the Blessed Mother were radically changed when I opened my heart in prayer. The more my relationship grew with the Lord and the more I studied, the more I understood the meaning and purpose of these gifts. What once seemed like meaningless, ritualistic, “excess baggage” I now saw as sources of God’s grace. The Church I was ready to leave actually deepened my love of Christ because I realized that I was deceived by the bad example of a few people (religious included) who labeled themselves as Catholic but who were far from it.

As I continued to learn and study I shared with a few close Christian friends my growing convictions about the Church. They didn’t fully understand but they accepted me and my beliefs. My own heart was settled and I left it at that. In the meantime I got more involved with the Christian underground. I started doing my own zine called “handmaid” featuring the music scene and life from a Christian perspective. Later I started writing for a Christian music/skateboarding magazine. I loved my work and felt I was reaching out to many others but something was bothering me. As I was putting together one of the issues I realized that I was getting too caught up in all the fun and busyness of going to shows, interviewing bands, and doing the zine. I started it all with the intention of serving God and spreading His word but I was finding that I was beginning to serve myself and my pride.

Then my mom uttered an alarming sentence, “God may be calling you to the religious life.”

To be continued – My Journey to God (Part 2) –  Me? A Nun?!

* * *

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7 Quick Takes (1/12/13) & {p, h, f, r} vol 56: The Cancer & Surgery Edition

Hosted by Jen.


Hosted by Like Mother, Like Daughter

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 The view from the window of Brian’s hospital room.


~~ 2 ~~


It has been a crazy last few days and I am actually typing this now in the hospital as Brian is trying to rest. Here’s the scoop in a nutshell. Brian has been sick on and off for awhile. He had a few infections but antibiotics took care of them. However, he was still getting pain in his stomach and sides. On Friday he was scheduled to have some testing and procedures done to check everything out. They found three polyps (an abnormal growth of tissue) and were able to remove the two small ones during the procedure. The third was larger and suspicious for cancer. He would need to schedule surgery in the next week or so and have it removed and analyzed.

He came back home that afternoon but by the evening he had a high fever and severe chills. He went to the ER and they suspected a perforation from one of the procedures. They kept him overnight. In the morning his fever was down and the chills stopped but he was still in some pain. They decided to do surgery right away and take care of all the issues he’s dealing with. So tomorrow/Sunday morning at 7:30 AM (PT) he is having surgery. Please pray that all goes well, that he recovers quickly and that the polyp is not cancerous. (Update: It was cancerous but the surgery removed it all.)


~~ 3 ~~

As a side note, my sister BC called me Wednesday night and said she and my other sister JC wanted to make a last minute trip from So Cal to spend the weekend with us. I told them that we’d love to have them. I told her that Brian had some tests on Friday but he was scheduled to be back at work on Saturday so that wouldn’t be a problem. Little did I know I’d actually be sitting in a hospital room on Saturday instead!  The Holy Spirit must have prompted their trip because he knew I could really use their help with Brian’s unexpected situation. And thanks to my sister BC’s generosity, she rearranged her work schedule so she could take time off and stay here to help me with the kids while Brian is in the hospital. (His surgery’s recovery time is 3-7 days.) I told Brian God was making arrangements for us before we even knew we needed them!


~~ 4 ~~

{happy & funny}

I haven’t taken many photos this week but I borrowed these that my sisters took while I was in the hospital with Brian. I am incredibly happy to know the kids are in good hands while I am busy.

Matthew is exclaiming his new favorite phrase, “I did it!”

Andrew was having a blast.

 My sister said, “This picture was taken before Matthew had his feet in John-Paul’s food!” (JP was not very pleased!)

My sister said, “Matthew could not believe Captain America was in the house!”


~~ 5 ~~



This is an old photo but I brought Brian our favorite small icon to his hospital room. I asked Our Lady to watch over him and Our Lord to give him strength and peace of heart.


~~ 6 ~~

At 9:30 PM tonight Brian received the strength he needed at that moment. Our parish priest came by to see Brian and give him Anointing of the Sick. I am so glad I happened to be there so I could join them in prayer. Brian was really touched and I know it gave him peace.


~~ 7 ~~

Speaking of peace, I am not sure what is wrong with me. Normally I would be completely stressed out over all this and dramatically picturing the worse case scenario as a funeral scene plays through my head. (Remember when I thought Matthew was going to die?) But strangely, I have not been worried at all. I have been praying but haven’t freaked out once. (If anything, I am freaking out because I am not freaking out.) I told my sister that either God is pouring buckets of grace down on me or I am in a huge state of denial. I think I’ll go with the grace. At least it has allowed me to stay upbeat with the kids so they are not worried and just think daddy is having a reeeeeally long doctor visit.

Please keep us all in prayer and for those already praying, thank you so much! I’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE: An Update on Brian (1/15/13)