Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

Online Daybook & 7 Quick Takes: Lake Tahoe 2016 Edition

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This week’s version of Online Daybook is a little different since it was written while on vacation, so welcome to the Online Daybook/ 7 Quick Takes Lake Tahoe 2016 Edition. (Linking up with Kelly for 7QT.)

 

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© revolution of love.com - tahoe_park1WGrateful…

  • For a safe trip to Lake Tahoe.
  • That my mom’s surgery went well.
  • For phone calls, texting and social media that keeps me connected with family even when I am far away.
  • For a date night with my Sweetie thanks to Bella babysitting.
  • For vacations in general. I need this recharge! (Even though I sometimes think it is more stressful than being at home!)

Praying for…

  • My mom. For her recovery from surgery and that she keeps her positive spirit as she waits to heal.
  • The tired, the weary and the overworked.
  • For the safety of all travelers.
  • For the person who was hurt at the lake yesterday and air lifted to the hospital.
  • Some special intentions.

Pondering…

Of course, my mom is on my mind right now. The trip has been nice so far but it is not as fun as last year when my mom and dad were able to join us. This is actually our first solo trip without a set of grandparents to accompany us. It was hard not having my parents with me, especially knowing that my mom would be having surgery while we were in Tahoe. I really wanted to be with her as she recovered in the hospital.

I thought about canceling our trip but in one of our phone conversations my mom told me that she did not want me to be sad or to feel bad that we were having fun without  her. She wanted me to enjoy this time with Brian and the kids and she said she’d be there in spirit with us and God willing, physically with us on next year’s trip.

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As it turned out, even if I was there I wouldn’t have been allowed in her room since visitors had been restricted so she could heal without germs from the outside. So for now, I am doing the best I can to enjoy this time with my family and have fun because I know that is precisely what she wants us to do. On the day of her surgery I wore my fight cancer shirt and we prayed our rosary for my mom, lifted her in prayer and took lots of photos so we could share them with her when we visit her in a couple weeks.

UPDATE: My mom is back home and recovering nicely. Thank you for the continued prayers! 🙂

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Around the Hotel…

It looks a lot like home…books scattered on the tables, action figures on the floor, fingerprints on the windows. 😉

 

Family Chit Chat…

Revolution of Love - Enjoying Lake Tahoe with kids (fam_tahoe_2002W)

The first time we came to Lake Tahoe was 13 years ago when Bella was just a year old.

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Thirteen years later and Brian is still my sweetheart…

RevolutionofLove.com - cwa_6_20_16_aHowever, the baby is now 14 and we’ve added three cute boys to the mix. 🙂

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In the Kitchen…

Thankfully our hotel has a good sized kitchen so we’ve been able to cook our meals. However, tonight is Mexican night and we get to eat out. Ole!

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Reading…

I’ve been reading like crazy but I am behind on writing my summer books posts so I will work on those this week! Hint: Some of my list is pictured above. 🙂

 

Watching…

Brian and I just saw the first episode of the BBC mystery/thriller Thirteen about a young girl who escaped after 13 years of captivity. However, something about her story does not ring true…so the mystery begins. I love the feel of British mysteries (and dramas.)  The show itself reminds me a bit of Broadchurch, minus the lovely David Tennant. (Parental note: This is rated MA. The first episode had some language and the story line itself is dark.)

 

(At the Movies)

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The last three movies I watched were Love and Friendship, Captain America: Civil War and The Jungle Book. Surprisingly, of the three my favorite was The Jungle Book.

The Jungle Book – I took Andrew to see this and I think I landed out enjoying it as much (if not more) as he did. The story was captivating and the special effects were enthralling. I was completely swept into the movie and it held my attention the entire time. It went beyond what I expected from a “kids” film. (Parental Note: The movie can be scary for younger kids. My 8 yr old loved it but my sensitive 6 yr old and 5 yr old skipped it and I’m glad they did. They’ll wait to watch it on blu-ray where it’s not as intense as a big screen.)

Love and Friendship – While it was not my favorite Austen story, the humor and wit of the dialogue left me smiling.

Captain America: Civil War –  I am fan of all the Marvel movies and while the movie was enjoyable I hated the “brother against brother” story. I can’t help it. I am not a fan of conflict and like when more peaceful means solve a problem. 😉

Next on my list of movies to see are Conjuring 2, The Legend of Tarzan and Star Trek Beyond.

I was also debating about watching the French film The Innocents but then I read Sr. Helen Burns review of the movie and decided to definitely watch it if it opens locally. The story, which is based on actual events, takes place in Warsaw in December 1945. A convent of nuns is attacked by Russian soldiers and many of the sisters are raped and consequently become pregnant. A young French doctor puts herself in danger to help the nuns. Sr. Burns says, “This is a very sensitive, non-sensational film of based on actual events (and many nuns have been raped and gotten pregnant during other wars as well) that manages to wrap itself around and enter deeply into the psychology of this very pointed and specific trauma” and “The Innocents is a truly religious film. Religious films are about God, not the trappings of God or His human mouthpieces.” (Read the full review here.) It is not light summer fare but sounds like a deeply moving film.

 

Listening to …

Summer is officially here. Here is the first song on my Summer 2016 playlist. 🙂

It’s Sweet Disaster by Dreamers.

 

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In the blogosphere…

Parents, Quit Lying about This by Team Whitaker

Three Martyrs for Marriage by Like Mother, Like Daughter

Writing Secrets: How To Be Your Own Editor by The Sits Girls

Some Good News by Positively Imperfect

 

Pinned…

callherhappy

Photo Credit: Call Her Happy

I love this super cute idea from Jenna at Call Her Happy.

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I haven’t posted anything since my last Daybook. Hey, it’s vacation time! Later this week I will hopefully finish my summer book post. In the following weeks it will be the return of Spotlight Saturday and bullet journal updates.

From the Archives:

Revolution of Love - Favorite summer activities with kids at Lake Tahoe (tahoe_logo)

Summer 2015Five Favorites: Summer Activities with Kids at Lake Tahoe

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If you follow me on social media, you have already seen these. If you haven’t, then here’s a peak into our vacation.

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I love walking through the tall trees. It reminds me of the Redwoods in NoCal.

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Fun at the Lake! I love the ocean but letting kids play in the calm lake is 100% less stressful than dealing with the unpredictable Pacific waves.

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We don’t have miniature golf close to where we live so the kids love to visit the local Magic Carpet mini-golf. There are dinos and pirate ships on 3 different courses, although Matthew sometimes looked like he was playing hockey instead of golf. Afterwards, the boys enjoyed playing a racing game with their dad.

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Playing at Tahoe Paradise Park.

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Andrew giving his sister a push.

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Despite the heat, there is still a bit of snow on the mountains.

RevolutionofLove.com - Lake Tahoe 2016 - cwa_6_20_16_tahoe_b3If you go past the park and though the grassy area towards the river, you’ll find this to the right.

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However, this year I discovered a little trail that leads to the left side of the park, along the river. When the kids were done playing I told them we were going exploring to see where the trail led.

RevolutionofLove.com - Lake Tahoe 2016 - cwa_06_20_16_rWThe scenery was gorgeous.

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And about a quarter of a mile down I spotted this lovely scene. I could hear the sounds of the water rushing and birds tweeting and for one brief moment life was completely perfect. Until I listened a little closer…to the whining voices around me saying, “It’s too hot!” and “There are too many bugs!” and “Are we done yet?” Sigh. Oh, well. I had my moment, brief as it was. We headed back to the park so the boys could spin themselves sick on the merry-go-round instead.

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I did keep up with my walking challenge of #rol100milesin100days while in Tahoe. Bella would join me in the evening when the weather cooled down.

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Other times we’d go as a family and the boys were more than happy to join me (well, when I promised them ice cream cones at the finish line.) 😉 Either way, I caught up on the days I was slacking before we left.

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When the sun set on our last day we had to say goodbye to Tahoe and promised to be back next year. 🙂

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Will you be doing any traveling? Do share.

Have a great weekend!

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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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 🙂


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 biopsy  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, 😉


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.  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 Lord’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,  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, PinterestGoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉

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Catching Up: Road Trip, Disneyland & A Baby Shower

RevolutionofLove.com - DL_logo_5_16_fThe last few times I posted it was about my father-in-law’s passing and his funeral. My emotions were bittersweet and tear stained. Thankfully, today I am feeling nothing but gratitude and joy after a great weekend road trip.

My sister Bridgette and brother-in-law Mick (the one you were praying for when he was stationed in Afghanistan last year) are celebrating the upcoming birth of their first child. We decided that Bella and I would attend the baby shower and Brian would stay home with the little guys to have a father-sons bonding weekend. The boys were so excited. There were plans for sleeping bags on the floor, sports outside and snacks that mom normally wouldn’t allow. 😉

RevolutionofLove.com - disneyland_5_16_aBella and I were excited to have a mother daughter weekend and since we are the two Disneyland junkies of the family, we left a day early to spend Friday at Disneyland.

Revolution of Love.com - disneyland_5_16_bWe were blessed to attend on a school day (we happened to be off) so the crowds were relatively thin and in the morning we hit all the major rides with less than a 5 minute wait time in each. (That’s a Disney miracle.) It was nice to do all the things we normally can’t with the younger boys.

Revolution of Love.com - disneyland_5_16_eWe had a blast and kicked butt with our fitbit walking – 20,000 steps in a day!! That’s a record for me.

Revolution of Love.com - disneyland_5_16_cI would have lost some weight had I not counteracted it with yummy treats like this. 😉

Revolution of Love.com - disneyland_5_16_gBy the end of the day I was so tired I could have cried but I had so much fun they would have been happy tears.

The rest of the weekend was spent with family and friends and it was just what I needed. I can only go so long until I need my familia fix – hugs from my parents and siblings and laughter all around. I was especially happy to spend time with my mom since she hasn’t been feeling well lately. (Please keep her health in your prayers.)

Revolution of Love.com - shower_collage_smOn Sunday we had Bridge and Mick’s baby shower. So fun!

Revolution of Love.com - shower_5_16_bBella met her new little cousins Gracie (above) and Keith.

Revolution of Love.com - shower_5_16_aMy sister Jacinta and her “mini me” Bella.

Revolution of Love.com - shower_5_16_fI was excited to get together with my sister Elena who flew in from Virginia. She is also a blogging buddy and is in the process of redoing her blog. Stay tuned!

The entire weekend was just what my heart needed but I was missing my big fella and three little guys. I was eager to get back home on Monday.

Revolution of Love.com - shower_5_16_gI drove into the driveway and saw Brian playing with the three boys. When they turned around and saw us the boys ran over to hug us. John-Paul even had tears in his eyes and I couldn’t help but tear up myself. It was so good to be home!

Life seems to go in waves of peaks and valleys. God blessed me with an incredible respite from all the heart ache but now it is back to reality and back to work. Hopefully I’ll also have more time to hang around here more often. 😉 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, PinterestGoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉


7 Quick Takes (1/24/15): Brian & Opa Updates & Lent Preparations

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Wow, yesterday was a hell of a day. For those of you following on Instagram and Facebook, you’ve heard the initial news, but I’ve included a few updates as well. I am also linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes Friday…but on a Saturday.

 

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(FRIDAY RECAP – If you haven’t already heard.)

Revolution of Love Blog - bv_os_6_2014Brian and his dad Bill sharing a bday party last year.

Okay, so yesterday morning as Brian was preparing for his cancer testing stuff, we got a call from my mother-in-law (Elizabeth) that my father-in-law (Bill) had a stroke. he couldn’t move and he was rushed to the ER. I freaked out. Brian freaked out. Bella (who was home sick) freaked out.

Luckily, our freak out was short lived. We got a grip and tried to figure out what to do next. Brian’s mom said we should continue with Brian’s testing since there was nothing we could do at the moment. I told Brian a cancer-free diagnosis would give his parents the boost they needed right now. (Also knowing the opposite diagnosis would pretty much do them both in and maybe me along with them.)

I left Brian at the testing center, told them I’d be back and headed to the hospital. I only got to see Bill for a couple seconds but he looked really bad. (Secretly, I am glad Brian didn’t see him in that state.) The docs decided to move Bill to Stanford Medical Center. They needed to preform surgery to get the blood clot out of his head. I kissed Bill on the head and prayed he survived the drive and then the surgery. ( I also pleased with God to let him survive the surgery otherwise Brian would never get to say goodbye if he didn’t.)

After picking up the kids from school I headed back to Brian to pick him up. When they led me into his room/cubby he had “that look” on his face and I wondered if he was worried about his dad or worried about the prognosis he was given. He immediately asked about his dad but I told him to hold up, what did his doctor say?? No cancer.

Siiiiiiiigh! A HUGE weight fell off my shoulders. He had one polyp but they removed it and it didn’t look cancerous at all. It’ll be tested of course but doc said everything looked good. I can’t tell you how relieved I was. Like the angels were singing from on high.

Now I could deal with my FIL and helping him get better. I filled Brian in on the details and told him that if anyone could pull through this, it was Dad. He is the most stubborn and feisty (as well as generously loving) man I know and he wouldn’t let this beat him if he had anything to do with it. Brian just smiled.

Fast forward to later that evening. Brian was not able to travel yet so a family friend drove my MIL to Stanford. They finally called in the evening and told us that the surgery was successful. The doc had been worried that it wouldn’t work but he got the clot out and Opa was recovering nicely. When he came to, his speech was a little slurred and he was a disorientated but my MIL said he was insistent that she call me and let me know that he wouldn’t be able to pick up the kids from school today. That touched my heart. It showed you where his mind was – thinking about his precious grandchildren, who were now asleep in bed. 🙂

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SATURDAY UPDATE

© revolution of love blog - opa_5_12Opa with John-Paul and Matthew a couple years back.

This morning Brian drove to Stanford with his mom. I decided to stay home with the kids since my  FIL is in the ICU and they can’t go in there. I just got off the phone with Brain and he said the MRI looked good, dad’s speech was much clearer and although he was still confused a bit (concerned about wanting to pick up the kids) he carried on a conversation and understood what they were saying. Brian said there are moments when he talks like himself and other times when he can’t figure out where he is and why we won’t give him his car keys to leave. We made him a Get Well card with photos of the family and he told Brian that was the only medicine he needed. Lastly, he starts physical therapy tomorrow and may be able to come home as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. Brian just kept saying, “Its a miracle.” Seeing how bad be was yesterday and considering his advanced age, I’d tend to agree! Now we just have to adjust to the new version of Opa and help him to cope as he heals.

 

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Gracias!!

A big part of that was due to all your prayers!! From the “I woke up in the middle of the night and had to pray for you but didn’t know why” to the sacrifices and rosaries and to the prayers from kitchens to the convents – all of these made a difference with both Brian’s diagnosis and his dad’s recovery. Thank you!! Blessed be God!! (Did I mentioned how relieved I am!!!)

 

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Blessed Is She Lenten Journals

The trials of the last couple of days has brought me to my knees, literally. Someone posted on FB that Lent is less than a month away. Is that possible?? I feel a like I am in Lent mode already (well, except for the fact that I ate a tad bit too much stress chocolate yesterday…)

bis_lent_journal_1But this morning I started preparing for Lent by ordering my Blessed Is She Lenten Journal. For those who enjoyed the Advent journal, this one is very similar but there are also a few more options, like the two beautiful 8 x 10 color prints that can be framed or placed where it will give you daily inspiration. I can feel the peace flowing already. 😉 Be sure to pre-order yours today! (The Advent journal did sell out!)

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Restore Workshop

restore_2015_1_640Photo credit: ElizabethFoss.com

The second thing I did for Lent was to sign up for Elizabeth Foss’ Restore Workshop. I took the course last year because I was physically and emotionally drained with Brian’s illness and trying to keep the family running smoothly. I did feel burned out and I wasn’t sure how to get out of it. The course was the balm for the soul that I desperately needed.

However, this year I debated whether or not I should take the course (for about 5 seconds) because I don’t feel burned out. Sure I still have my moments of stress and interior chaos but I feel like I am slowly working through it. However, the course did me such good! The essays. The meditations. The podcasts. The creative activities. (Can you say homemade granola??) Even now, I still go back to Elizabeth’s words and my notes and remind myself of the things God taught me.

No, I may not be burned out but I could definitely use a little TLC for my mind, body and spirit so I signed up this afternoon. The cost is $65 but it’s worth every penny. To find out more, visit NurturingJoy.com. If you click on Elizabeth’s post here, she also has a few words and a larger version of the above graphic that contains the schedule for the course.

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Martha’s Still My Girl

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I also wanted to mention that I switched my cleaning challenge. I’ll complete the more intense A Bowl Full of Lemon’s Challenge later in spring but for now I am doing the 31 Day to Clean: Having A Martha House the Mary Way hosted by Christian blogger and author Sarah Mae.  God has been putting Mary and Martha into my life left and right and since St. Martha is my saint of the year, well, come on! It was a no brainer. I can’t exactly follow the schedule since some days I spend more time in the hospital than home (ahem) but on the other hand, when I am home sitting by the phone, like today, I find comfort in scrubbing my kitchen. (From the looks of it, I don’t sit by the phone much.) 😉  I’ve already started and I must say, it is just what I needed. I’ll blog more about it next week.

 

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Well, I have supper to make and kids to bathe so I better stop here. Have a blessed rest of the weekend and thanks again for all the prayers! Much love to you…

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. 😉

PPS – This post may contain affiliate links.