Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

31 Days of Gratitude (Day 27): Throwback Thursday – Cancer and the Grace of the Cross

The #write31days challenge continues. It’s Day 27 of my 31 Days of Gratitude 2016. In a new tradition, I’ll be having Throwback Thursdays and reposting past posts. Here is one I originally posted exactly two years ago. A few tears fell as I reread it and remembered the pain of the struggle and the joy of making it through. Blessed be God for his mercy and grace.

* * * * *

(From Jan 2014, after Brian’s surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.)

As many of you know, at the beginning of the year, God asked us to travel a difficult path. In January, my husband Brian was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. He went through his second surgery to remove the cancer and this time around he had to have chemo. They surgically inserted a port into his chest. He had chemo for six months and finished his treatments in July. They won’t take the chemo port out until he has been clean for three months after treatment.

Over the last two months he’s had bloodwork and CT scans and this week he went through his last round of bloodwork. We got a call from the doc yesterday and he said that everything looked good, his lymph nodes are clean and there’s no signs of growth. Brian can now schedule the removal of his port. Blessed be God!

I pray that this cancer chapter is over forever! Sometimes, I’ll start to worry, especially when he is not feeling well, that maybe it is back but I’ve got to tell myself to shut up and don’t even go there because worrying like that is no way to live. I’ve just got to enjoy each day we have together and not worry about what may or may not happen. Its not the easiest thing for me but I’m trying.

Now we are concentrating on helping Brian recover from the chemo. He started going to a new doctor that has a more holistic approach to medicine and together they are working on building his body and his immune system back up and working on getting the lingering chemo out.

scrip_rom_8_28You know, I hate the cancer that invaded Brian’s body. It brought physical pain, emotional heartache, spiritual questions (and not to mention late night binging on ice cream while I worried about being a widow.) But now that the dust has settled and our lives feel “normal” again, I can’t help but think of the Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” There actually have been positive outcomes to this whole situation.

First, we are taking much better care of our health with diet and exercise. Goodbye double cheeseburgers; hello, salads! Good bye pan dulce and glazed donuts; hello, black bean brownies! Goodbye, couch potato; hello, walking fool. I complain about it (shocking, I know!) but it feels good to feel healthier. (I’ll talk more about the improved health next week. ;-))

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This cross has also brought Brian and me closer together. We have shared such raw moments together that it was either going to drive us apart or cement us together. It brings me to tears as I type to think about just how much I love this man. He’s a gem. Funny thing is, he says the same about me. I always felt like he was the rock and I was the flighty one. To see him hold onto me for strength is disconcerting, and reassuring, at the same time. As a family, it has drawn us closer and made us more compassionate towards those who are suffering illness and their families.

Lastly, we have grown closer to God and more reliant on him. We have been reminded that life is precious and that we can’t take any day for granted. I’m trying not to get so caught up in the tedious chores of the day that I forget to see the beauty in the mess. I think we’ve also come to realize that, by the grace of God, we are much stronger than we think. I have no desire to be tested any further but that’s not the way life works. So for now, I lay it at the feet of Christ and celebrate in the blessings of today. For that, I am truly grateful.

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the homepage here.

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Want to join the writing challenge but are unable to write everyday? Join me for the Weekly Writing Challenge in October instead.


Quick Mom Update (5/13/16)

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Happy feast of the feast of Our Lady of Fatima. I just wanted to touch base, particularly for those of you who don’t follow me on social media but have asked about how my mom is doing. She went for her biopsyย  on Tuesday and the doctor confirmed that she has cancer and that it looks aggressive. They don’t know a stage yet. She will get a contrast cat scan on 5/15 (the feast of Pentecost) to look into her abdomen and pelvis to see if it went into any lymph nodes. Then she will meet with her oncologist on 5/20 to get the results and make a plan of action. All things considered, mom is really upbeat and positive and ready to fight.

We all thank you for your prayers so far and humbly ask for your continued prayers. It is very much appreciated! xoxo

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, ๐Ÿ˜‰


Asking for Your Prayers – Cancer Hits Our Family Again

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(UPDATES BELOW.)

It is a little ironic that a couple hours after posting about my weekend trip and sharing how it helped to heal the pain of the loss of my father-in-law, there has been a new cross presented to my family. I guess God wanted to make sure we had a wonderful time in each others company before we climbed the next mountain together.

If you may recall, I mentioned that my mom hasn’t been feeling well. She had her doctor’s appointment this week and the situation is much worse than we anticipated. She has cancer. The doctor couldn’t confirm it 100% but he was pretty sure it was cervical cancer and that “it looked bad.” This was a blow to all of us. I have already walked this road with Brian and don’t relish traveling it again with my mom. MY MOM.

I think I have been in denial since I heard the news. I have not cried yet. I have held strong for the kids who asked me if Grandma was going to die like Opa. I held it together so I could talk coherently with my mom and my many siblings. I haven’t let myself really think about it or I’d go crazy but now in the quiet of the house with Brian at work and the kids at school the tears can’t be held back… They are falling faster than I can type these words…

I don’t want my mom to have to walk this road, and more selfishly, I don’t want to lose my mom. She is such a rock and source of strength to me, I can’t imagine a time when that has to change.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I can’t help but think about mom and how she has shaped my life. She had a rough childhood and made mistakes in the early years of raising us up but she wasn’t content to repeat the vicious circle of dysfunctional families. She surrendered herself to the healing power of God’s grace and corrected her mistakes, and with my dad, raised up a family with a strong faith and love of God. She is now enjoying the fruits of her labor with children that are carrying on the faith and expanding the family tree – particularly with 4 new grandbabies within one year.

RevolutionofLove.com - ba_mom_16I admire my mom so much. I gave her a lot of grief and heart ache in my pain-in-the-arse years but she never gave up on me. She taught me to trust in God and believe in myself with God’s grace. She taught me that life is too boring without a little fun and a lot of laughter.ย  She taught me about inner strength because she is the strongest woman I know. She has faced fears and kept going forward even when she was unsure of the way. And she did it without losing her sense of humor.

As I am typing this, I am also realizing that what I admire about my mom is going to be what gets her through this trial. Her faith, her trust in God, her courage to move forward even when she is scared and her sense of humor will serve as the very tools she needs to fight this battle. Now I just pray that we as her family have the strength to trust in God completely and walk this road with her.

I keep thinking about this morning’s Blessed Is She devotion. One quote is stuck in my head.

“The Lordโ€™s Ascension means that Christ has not gone far away from us, but that now, thanks to the fact that he is with the Father, he is close to each one of us forever.” – Pope Benedict XVI

“He is close to each one of us forever.” I’ll be repeating those words over and over reminding myself that Our Lord is right by our sides, holding our hands and never leaving us.

Normally, my mom is very private and has reservations about posting personal business online for all to see (as you can deduce, that gene must have skipped me) but when I asked her if I could ask my online friends to pray for her she said, “Definitely, yes!” She wants as many people praying for her as she can get. So, please keep my mom (and our family) in your prayers. She is scheduled to have a biopsy taken tomorrow – Friday, 5/6/16 – and then we’ll know how bad (or not so bad) the cancer is. I’ll update this post when we get the results.

Thanks, guys. You have always been there to support me when tough times have hit us and it means a great deal to me. xoxo

UPDATE: My mom had the biopsy on Friday and we will get the results on Tuesday. I’ll keep you posted. Thank you or the continued prayers.

UPDATE #2: My mom’s biopsy confirmed that she has cancer and it looks aggressive. She will take another cat scan on Sunday, feast of Pentecost,ย  to check if it has gone into lymph nodes. We will know more next week. We both thank you for all your prayers!!

UPDATE #3 (Dec 2016): My mom had surgery in late June and the cancer was removed. So far there are no signs of cancer. She will continue to be monitored.

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,ย GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, ๐Ÿ˜‰

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31 Days of Gratitude (Day 24 & 25): The Grace of the Cross

The 31 Days of Writing Challenge continues. It’s Day 24 – 25 of my 31 Days of Gratitude.

I started writing this last night but fell asleep so I’m finishing it in the morning and counting it as two days. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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(From Jan 2014, after Brian’s surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.)

As many of you know, at the beginning of the year, God asked us to travel a difficult path. In January, my husband Brian was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. He went through his second surgery to remove the cancer and this time around he had to have chemo. They surgically inserted a port into his chest. He had chemo for six months and finished his treatments in July. They won’t take the chemo port out until he has been clean for three months after treatment.

Over the last two months he’s had bloodwork and a scans and this week he went through his last round of bloodwork. We got a call from the doc yesterday and he said that everything looked good, his lymph nodes are clean and there’s no signs of growth. Brian can now schedule the removal of his port. Blessed be God!

I pray that this cancer chapter is over forever! Sometimes, I’ll start to worry, especially when he is not feeling well, that maybe it is back but I’ve got to tell myself to shut up and don’t even go there because worrying like that is no way to live. I’ve just got to enjoy each day we have togeether and not worry about what may or may not happen. Its not the easiest thing for me but I’m trying.

Now we are concentrating on helping Brian recover from the chemo. He started going to a new doctor that has a more holistic approach to medicine and together they are working on building his body and his immune system back up and working on getting the lingering chemo out.

scrip_rom_8_28You know, I hate the cancer that invaded Brian’s body. It brought physical pain, emotional heartache, spiritual questions (and not to mention late night binging on ice cream while I worried about being a widow.) But now that the dust has settled and our lives feel “normal” again, I can’t help but think of the Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.” There actually have been positive outcomes to this whole situation.

First, we are taking much better care of our health with diet and exercise. Goodbye double cheeseburgers; hello, salads! Good bye pan dulce and glazed donuts; hello, black bean brownies! Goodbye, couch potato; hello, walking fool. I complain about it (shocking, I know!) but it feels good to feel healthier. (I’ll talk more about the improved health next week. ;-))

Revolution of Love Blog - ba_bv_9_14.jpg

This cross has also brought Brian and me closer together. We have shared such raw moments together that it was either going to drive us apart or cement us together. It brings me to tears as I type to think about just how much I love this man. He’s a gem. Funny thing is, he says the same about me. I always felt like he was the rock and I was the flighty one. To see him hold onto me for strength is disconcerting, and reassuring, at the same time. As a family, it has drawn us closer and made us more compassionate towards those who are suffering illness and their families.

Lastly, we have grown closer to God and more reliant on him. We have been reminded that life is precious and that we can’t take any day for granted. I’m trying not to get so caught up in the tedious chores of the day that I forget to see the beauty in the mess.ย  I think we’ve also come to realize that, by the grace of God, we are much stronger than we think. I have no desire to be tested any further but that’s not the way life works. So for now, I lay it at the feet of Christ and celebrate in the blessings of today. For that, I am truly grateful.

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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For more 31 Days of Gratitude, visit the home page here.


Online Daybook (7/30/14) & Embrace the Ordinary (vol 2) – Brian Update, Baby Joan Fund Update & Other Tidbits

 

Moments of Gratitude…

Today I am especially thankful…

  • That Brian finished his last round of chemo!
  • For this beautiful day with blue skies and a slight breeze – no fog and not too hot.
  • For the love and fellowship of family and friends.
  • For my father-in-law taking 3/4 of the kids to his house this afternoon.
  • For running water, stocked cupboards and a warm bed to sleep in at night.
  • For God’s mercy.

 

Embracing the Ordinary…

I’m linking up with Gina over at Someday Saints for Embrace the Ordinary. (Well, technically I was going to link up but I didn’t finish this post in time.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

ย After swimming lessons, the boys insisted that I take a photo of the swimmers. The impromptu shot has become a favorite of mine. There is a tiny glimpse of each of their personalities here – John-Paul is ready to jump off the bench and back into the car with his book, Bella is laughing at her little brothers’ antics yet plays along, Matthew is ready to pounce on the bad guys and be a super hero for all and Andrew is experimenting with his cool factor despite his quiet nature. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

In the Kitchen…

MondaySlow Cooker Carnitas, homemade refried beans and broccoli slaw. (It smells so good!)

Tuesday – Breakfast dinner.

WednesdayRoasted chicken, brown rice and asparagus.

Thursday – Grilled Tuna Melts & veggies.

Friday – Paleo Mexican Chicken Soup (with leftover chicken from Wed).

Saturday – Homemade pizza and salad.

Sunday – Leftovers

(From Jan 2014, after his surgery to remove the cancerous tumor.)

Praying…

  • For Brian’s continued recovery from cancer.
  • For those who are suffering physically, mentally and spiritually.
  • For all those who have lost loved ones.
  • For all those who are persecuted for their faith.
  • For a deeper love of God.
  • For some special intentions.

 

On the homefront……

Brian Update – I am happy to announce that Brian is officially done with his chemo! Yay! He was having some issues with his stomach and we were freaking out a little because they were the same kind of pains he experienced two years ago when it was first discovered that he had a tumor. He went in for bloodwork and a scan. We got the results yesterday and the doc said everything looked good and his scan was clean. No tumors or growths or any signs of cancer. The doc thinks the stomach pain was side effects from one of the chemo pills he was taking. Being his last round, his body was just having a hard time processing all the chemo and it will take a little time for it to clear out of his body. This morning Brian was feeling better and his stomach wasn’t bothering him too much. The hard part now will be to keep up with eating healthy and healthy living and not becoming complacent! Thank you so much for all your prayers and words of encouragement, you guys. It means so much to both of us. We appreciate your continued prayers for Brian’s recovery and that the cancer stays away!

Joan Iris Update – Today I shut down the PayPal button for donations to my sister Elena and bro in law Vinine and the Joan Iris Fund. You guys were incredibly awesome!! We gathered enough money to but tickets for both my parents to attend the funeral and we have almost $950 extra to go towards funeral expenses. THANK YOU!!!!!!

At the last minute my brother Rob was also able to fly out for the funeral and he told me that being at the funeral was incredibly difficult and incredibly beautiful at the same time. There is great joy in knowing that little Joan Iris is with Our Lord in heaven but there is still the pain of being physically separated from her. Elena and Vinnie have displayed such courage and faith in God, despite their pain, that anyone who has witnessed it is deeply moved.

Also a big thank you to everyone who sent in their prayers, well wishes and contribution for the spiritual bouquet. I am putting the finishing touches on the little memorial book for Joan.

ย Here is a look at the opening page.

 

Pondering…

There has been a lot of news about death lately. Besides all the international and political turmoil these days, people we have known (whether personally or virtually) have died, some of them tragically. Just last night we received an email letting us know that our beloved school principle who just retired this year to spend more time with her family had suddenly and unexpectedly died. We were shocked. The only small silver lining was that it happened at a family gathering in her home town so she was able to spend her last days with those she loved the most. Some of the other deaths (such as Sarah and her unborn child) seem incredibly senseless. It is hard not to get angry and wonder what the heck was God thinking?ย  Why would she be taken away from her husband and young children this way. I don’t know. Intellectually I know God is in control and there is a bigger picture so on and so forth, but emotionally, it just sucks. But I guess it wouldn’t be faith if it was easy to understand.

“I do believe, Lord. Help my unbelief.”

 

Reading…

Danielle Bean’s book Momnipotent.

 

Wearing the Cape by Marion Harmon

 

Listening to…

Itunes Radio – Weekly Top 50 Alternative currently playing the catchy Cool Kids by Echosmith. Downloading it now…ย  Do we ever get out of that “wishing I was a cool kid” mode? Just substitute the word kid for mom and I think not. ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Watching…

At the Movies – I went to see Chef the other night and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this movie. The character, a once promising young chef finds himself middle aged, divorced, out of touch with his young son and stuck in a job that is stifling his culinary creativity. Circumstances bring him to quitting his job and buying a taco truck. In the course of the movie he finds his joy in cooking, in being a dad and in being a better man. The food will make your mouth drool. The music will have you dancing in your seat. The father-son relationship will have you wiping away a tear. Loved it.

Side-note – The movie is rated R for language. You know, in this movie (as in the last one I saw – Begin Again) if they cut out the F-bombs and such, both would have been PG. Go figure.

On TVCedar Cove Season 1 (Hallmark), The Last Ship (This one is really growing on me and there are a number of faith moments on it) and the new Hercule Poirot on Masterpiece.

On YouTube – The Walking Dead Season 5 trailer. Are you as excited as I am? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

On the blog…

I’ve taken some time off so since my last Daybook and I’ve only posted three times:

Blessed Is She (Make sure to follow on FB, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and sign up for emails. Join the sisterhood!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Embrace the Ordinary (vol 1)

Pinterest Party & Link-up (Vol 26): Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Saladย  (This link-up is open until Friday so add your links!

 

In the blogosphere…

I wasn’t able to attend Edel this year but I have been enjoying reading all the recaps. Jen has a link-up for all those who wrote a review. Check it out and get your fill. When you are done, come back and let me know – Are you going to Edel ’15??

 

Pinned…

My pin of the week – I am going to try this recipe from Katie at Kitchen Stewardship.com next week – Cancer Fighting Asian Soup. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks to Teresa K for pointing me in her direction. Katie actually has a lot of recipes on her blog that I’d like to try, especially the ones with cancer fighting foods!

Photo credit – Kitchen Stewardship Blog

 

Plans for the Week…

Well, the week is half way done but tomorrow is our last swimming lesson for the summer. We may be doing some Saturday lessons for the boys in fall so they can keep practicing. Friday we are going to our church’s family night for a pizza party. The boys were begging us to take them. LOL. On Saturday I need to catch up on housework because not being home all week is really putting a damper on my chores. Ugh. Sunday we’ll try to go on a fmaily hike. We need to do a better job at making Sunday a day of rest and family time. Next week Matthew starts preschool! Where did the summer go??

 

Captured…

Here are a few shots from the past two weeks.

Taken at San Carols Cathedral in Monterey

(Same place.) Rose gardens get a lot of attention but I am falling in love with these hardy succulent plants. ๐Ÿ˜‰

While I was snapping photos on my phone Bella was attending her first youth group – praying the rosary, playing and eating rosary cupcakes. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of Bella, she just got new braces! This weekend she and Andrew attended a children’s symphony with their classical music loving Oma. ๐Ÿ™‚

Not wanting to be left out of the shot, Matthew did a donut on his Big Wheels, crashing into Andrew’s leg. Luckily Oma rang the door bell before they got into a scuffle. ๐Ÿ˜‰ #lifewithboys

 

Linking-Up with…

A Mama Collective’s Currently

ย 

Gina’s Embrace the Ordinary

(I don’t think she has a logo for it so I’ll use mine. ;-))

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.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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