Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

Lenten Goals 2017: Put on Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing My Lenten Fast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PUT ON LOVE.

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

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

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

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

How can I pray for you this Lent?

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

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Lenten Update: When We’re Carrying a Cross Not Meant for Us

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Well, ladies (and perhaps the one random guy who stumbled here by mistake), it’s been two weeks since Ash Wednesday. How is your Lent going so far? I have mixed emotions about mine. As my kids would say “it’s kinda good and it’s kinda not.” There were a few days where I felt like I blew it but thankfully there is still plenty of Lent left to make improvements!

This morning as I was reflecting on the Blessed Is She devotion of the day, Joan was talking about the cross and seeing it as more than a decorative fixture in our house, but rather, as something that we live. But then I started thinking that sometimes we give ourselves crosses that God did not intend for us to carry. For example, the other day I woke up extremely tired because one of the kids was sick with a fever in the night and I was up taking care of them. I finally got back to bed and it seemed like moments later the alarm clock was ringing way too soon. This was a normal cross of motherhood. You take care of your babies and sometimes it leaves you sleep deprived but God gives you the grace to endure.

Another morning I also woke up extremely tired but that was not because of a sick child. Rather, it was because I was binge watching The Walking Dead to catch on episodes I missed. I went to bed way too late on a school night and the next morning I was tired and grumpy. That tiredness was a cross I then had to carry but I was never meant to. I was supposed to go to bed at the appointed hour and get a decent night’s sleep so I wouldn’t be acting like a Walking Dead myself the next day.

Is That Cross My Own Making?

As I considered this, other moments came to my mind with similar outcomes. One afternoon I was busy helping my in-laws and by the time I got home I was rushing around to get dinner on the table. I knew God wanted me to be a loving and helpful daughter-in-law at that moment and I’d just have to deal with the stress of getting dinner on the table in time. It was the sacrifice God was asking of me at that moment.  Another afternoon, I was also rushing around frantic to get dinner on the table but that was because I spent way too much time on the computer when I was supposed to be cooking. That cross should never have happened. Instead my sacrifice should have been turning off the computer and getting my butt in the kitchen.

Or how about the day I was feeling ill because I came down with a flu bug? Sometimes illness is unavoidable. But what about the time I was feeling sick and run down because I was overindulging in junk food or desserts. That was not supposed to happen. Get what I’m saying?

Take a Second Look

So while there are unavoidable things in our lives that will go wrong or will be hard to deal with, sometimes it’s helpful to take a second look and ask ourselves if there’s something we can do to ease the chaos or lighten the cross.  Are we overly stressed because we are mismanaging our time or over extending ourselves with outside activities? Are we upset that our husband isn’t pitching in yet we don’t actually tell him specifically how he can help us out and instead are resentful because he can’t read our mind? Are we running around crazy in the morning getting ready for school because we don’t have any kind of morning plan or order in place? Are we angry because there is so much stuff to organize and put away and we’re not dealing with the fact that we might just have too much stuff?  Are we grabbing a pizza again because we failed to make a menu plan ahead of time? Are we going crazy at work or school because we are getting sucked into someone else’s drama?

Only you truly know your situation. You may be doing everything as well as you know how and life is still chaos simply because you have babies and toddlers running around the house. That’s pretty much comes with the territory. You are carrying the expected cross of motherhood. Or maybe you have a stressful job and you can’t really avoid it. Whatever the situation, it doesn’t hurt to ask God to show you if there are any areas in your life where things could be eased up a bit if you just changed a few things around or did something differently. That way we can put our energy into the following the path God gave us and not stray onto difficult roads that weren’t meant for us.

Well, here’s to a blessed rest of Lent! Keeping you in my prayers. Please remember me in yours. 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, Periscope or Katch (past Periscopes), GoodReads, Letterboxd, or Spotify, 😉


Lent Resources for Catholic (and Christian) Women and Moms

RevolutionofLove.com - logo_lent_2016Can you believe that Lent starts in less than a week?? There have been far too many Lents when I didn’t really get my act together until a couple weeks past Ash Wednesday. This year, I’d like to put in the extra effort to prepare before Ash Wednesday so I can make the most of these weeks of prayer and spiritual renewal.

Would you lie to do the same? If so, here are four resources for Catholic (or Christian) women and/or moms. I have benefited from each of these ministries in previous years so I can wholeheartedly recommend these women to help you on your Lenten journey.

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Blessed Is She

bis_on-the-way-sneak-peak-1_zpsf4wtavasPhoto credit – Blessed Is She.net

Some may call me biased since I am one of the contributes at Blessed Is She but let me tel you, I receive far more out of BIS than I give. The daily devotionals and the community of Catholic sisterhood has been an enormous blessing in my life. They have awakened a desire to read God’s word more and to apply it to my every day and sometimes messy life.

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There is a beautiful Lenten journal that contains the following:

  • Goal setting every single week of Lent
  • Reflections to help you pray through the week
  • Journeying with and learning about Saints
  • Gospel readings every day of Lent
  • Journal space for prayer and tracking your personal Lenten sacrifices and goals

The hard copy of the journal is sold out but the digital download is available. You can print out your own copy and stick it in a binder or take it to your local office supply store and have them print and bind it into a hard copy.

For more information and to order your digital copy, visit here.

Cost $15.

 

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Waiting in the Word: A Mother’s Lenten Journey

Lenten_20Study_20Book_20coverDuring Advent I participated in Waiting on the Word: A Mother’s Advent Journey and I have to admit I was a little intimidated at first. The study was based on lection divina and although I had heard of that from my prayer-loving husband, it definitely was not something I had ever tried. However, I just loved the women who wrote the study – Nell from Whole Parenting Family.com, Laura from Mothering Spirit.com and Nancy from Do Small Things with Love.com – so I decided to give it a try.

I am so glad I did! They explained the process so clearly and beautifully that I was soon meditating on Scripture in a deeper more meaningful way. Plus, the fact that the reflections were written towards moms with young kids only made the points all the more relevant to my life.

I am pleased to see that the lovely ladies have written a new study for Lent!

They describe it this way:

Join us this Lent as we dive into scripture and deal with some of the struggles we all share as mothers: selfishness, frustrations, judgment, envy, failure and anxiety. This study is based on lectio divina, an ancient practice of slowly and deliberately reading scripture, a practice that can be so fruitful! Together let’s work to leave these sins behind and instead embrace sacrifice, forgiveness, love, gratitude, humility and surrender.

The Mother’s bundle includes:

    • A 55 page study that will guide you through lectio divina as well as offer you reflections from mothers who are right there in the trenches with you.
    • Journal pages.
    • Bookmarker

This is a digital product.  You can print out your own copy and stick it in a binder or take it to your local office supply store and have them print and bind it into a hard copy.

For more information and to order your digital copy, visit here.

Cost $11.

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The Restore Workshop is a seven and a half week online course geared towards adult women who have struggled or are struggling with or want to avoid burnout. It is for any woman who wants to nurture joy within her life and the lives of those around her.

When Elizabeth Foss first created her Restore Workshop it was a couple of years ago and I desperately needed it. I was burnt out with the stress of Brian’s cancer and the toll it had on our lives. Restore renewed my spirit and strengthened me to keep fighting without losing my sanity.

This year Brian is still cancer free and although there is the normal every day stress, I am not experiencing burn out. However, I am going to register for the workshop because the content is so rich and edifying and I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to not only avoid future burn out but to unite my heart more fully to God and his will this Lent.

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This is what you will receive with the Restore Workshop:

  • Exclusive online access to the author and the Restore community for support and encouragement.
  • All the content in Talking Together About Restoration.
  • All the content of Quiet Time for Lent.
  • 11 heart-to heart craft tutorials.
  • Printables with quotes and organizing templates for your home and your life and lock screen reminders.
  • 7 Downloadable podcasts with transcripts.
  • Community after the workshop ends.

I’ve got to say I am especially looking forward to the podcasts! And the transcripts make taking notes so much easier. 🙂

For detailed information about the Restore workshop and to sign up, visit here.

Cost (reduced from last year’s $65) now $49.

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Think, Pray and Act for Lent 2016

crossOkay, so maybe the thought of workshops and blank journal pages to be filled is making you break into a cold sweat. Maybe you are in a phase of life when you literally only have 5 or 10 minute snippets of time to yourself but you still want to make an effort during Lent.

For you, I  recommend Danielle Bean’s Daily Emails with short 5 minute reflections. If you are familiar with her book Small Steps for Catholic Moms: Your Daily Call to Think, Pray, and Act then you already know her Think, Pray, Act format. I subscribed to her 40 Days of Lenten emails because they are perfect for those super busy days when I only have 5 minutes to pray before I have to head out the door.

For more information and to order, visit here.

Cost $7.

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What Lenten resources will you be using this Lent?

(Note: For ideas of things to do as a family or with your kids, refer to last year’s Lenten Post.)

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

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

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


Create in Me A Clean Heart: My Lenten Goals 2015

Happy Ash Wednesday! I already posted about things we will be doing as a family for Lent but I haven’t shared what I’ll be doing. To be honest with you, I usually don’t buckle down until a couple weeks into Lent but I want to break that cycle!

I went to the morning Mass at the kids’ school and the theme of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving has been on my mind. How can I apply that to my busy mommy life?

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Prayer

Prayer is what I need the most now, especially with the stress our family has been under lately. I am still having trouble being less like Martha and more like Mary. But Lent is the perfect time to get serious about making improvements.

My prayer plan is pretty much already in place. I have my Blessed Is She prayer journal and I joined Elizabeth Foss’ online workshop Restore. I’ve got the tools now all I have to do is make sure that I USE them in more than just a pretty photo! I arranged my schedule so I could have 15-20 minutes in the morning to pray. Then in the evening after the kids go to bed, I’ll spend 20 – 30 minutes on the workshop. I did it last year and it was sometimes hard to carve out time and I was always behind the scheduled days, but it made a huge difference in helping me get through a difficult season of life with Brian’s cancer.

Fasting

In order to accomplish the prayer time for Lent, I need to cut back on screen time – the computer/ phone in the morning and TV at night. I’m not going dark like some friends, but there will be some black out stretches during the day. I’m hoping the increased prayer will also help me to fast from impatience. In the morning of this holy Ash Wednesday I was yelling at one of my kids to stop fooling around and get their school shoes on. That is a logical request but yelling it like a lunatic is not the same as saying it like a sane parent. I could hear God whispering to me, “Yeah, you see that there? That’s what you need to give up for Lent.” Oh, man. I think it would be easier to give up the chocolate.

Almsgiving

This one was a no brainer because since Christmas I have been walking around the house, stepping over toys and moving piles of junk from one corner to the next saying, “Ugh! We have too much stuff!” So it’s time for the annual 40 bags in 40 days. We’ll be sharing our possessions with friends or St. Vincent de Paul. I would really like it if I could also get back to my 31 Day to Clean: Having A Martha House the Mary Way cleaning challenge. I started it a month ago but when Brian’s dad had the stroke, my normal routine went out the window and I put it aside.

Revolution of Love Blog - lent_psalm_51I share these things with you, not to brag or “blow a trumpet.” Quite the opposite, I know my weakness. I am prone to start strong then give it up. I want to hold myself accountable. By sharing this with you, I know you will be there to offer encouragement when I am feeling discouraged and there to give a swift kick in the rear when I am being a stubborn brat. I know there are some moms that spend Lent like John the Baptist with a locust snack. I look at them and think, “Damn, girl! How do you do that?!” I’m still working on things like… not saying, “damn.”

We are all on different paths and at different levels.  Some of you can accomplish a lot. Some of you forgot today was Ash Wednesday. Some of you don’t need to give up anything because you are living Lent in your current family situation. However, all of us are seeking to cross the same finish line. We want to grow closer to God and love Jesus more at the end of this Lent. So to you, my fellow sisters, let’s take this journey together and encourage one another.

Is there something you want to work on this Lent? Do you have a special intention you’d like me to pray for during Lent? Do share. (And say a prayer for me too.) 🙂

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. 😉


Pinterest Party & Link-up (vol 35): The Lent Edition

Revolution of Love Blog - pinterest_lentWelcome to the RoL Pinterest Party. Normally we would link up and share how we made, cooked, baked, crafted, planned, organized, followed or created one of the pins on our Pinterest boards OR share something original that others can pin onto their boards.

This month we will be sharing our Lenten and Easter crafts, ideas, meatless recipes, posts and reflections.

Not on Pinterest? No problem. Link-up your own creation to inspire us so we can pin in to our own boards.

Don’t have a post ready? The link-up will be open until Easter Sunday so there’s plenty of time. Plus, feel free to link up a new post or an older post that hasn’t had much traffic lately. 🙂

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It’s hard to believe that Lent starts in a couple weeks! I saved all my items from last year and I actually remember where I stored them so I’m ahead of the game. 😉

I have been wanting to incorporate learning about the saints with the kids and I thought Lent would be a good time to start.

happy_saints_1I purchased the Happy Saint flashcards and I thought they’d be perfect for a simple introduction.

revolution of love blog - happy_saint_2Each week we will take one saint, read about them, and ask for their intercession that week. Week 1 we will start with A for St. Agnes.

happy_saints_WayCoverI’d also like to order the Happy Saints Way of the  Cross.

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As for our other Lenten activities, we’ll be doing some of our usual family traditions. I am reposting them here for new readers.

I love putting wreaths and welcome signs on our door. For Lent, I made a simple Lenten wreath to mark the season.

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We have our regular family altar in the entryway of the house and that stays pretty much the same all year. However, we have a shelf in the family room by the table where we eat that we decorate according to the season. Here is where we keep our Lenten things.

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We set up a candle centerpiece using a long rectangular tray filled with six votive candles for the six weeks of Lent.

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I purchased tiny wreaths from Michael’s that fit around the candle. We add a wreath to a candle on each Sunday of Lent.

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We printed off Catholic Icing’s Lenten Calendar and I placed it in an inexpensive frame from Ikea. I use a dry erase pen to mark a cross on each day as it passes. It is great for the kids, who have no sense of time, to see how many more days until Easter.

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One of the kids favorite activities for Lent is their Act of Love and Prayer jars. The Act of Love jar has different things they can do each day such as share a toy with your sibling or be extra nice to someone at school or do an extra chore. The Prayer Jar has a special intention for each day. With our evening schedules, we have found our best prayer time to be before dinner since we are already gathered together. Since the altar is right next to our table, we light our candle, Brian leads us in prayer and then we chose an act and prayer intention for the next day. (The morning of the following day I remind the kids what our act of love and prayer intention is for that day.)

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This year we also added Kendra’s idea of using Sacrifice Beans. Every time the kids complete one of their Acts of Love or makes a sacrifice they put a dried kidney bean in the bowl. On Easter Sunday the dry beans are changed to jelly beans or some other treat. (I’m thinking a visit to the library or the Aquarium.)

UPDATE: Last year, this was the kids’ favorite activity. They loved collecting those beans!

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In case you think we are a holy family with heads bent in prayer, let me also give you a dose of reality. I also had to add a “prayer helper” of the day sign. When it comes to who gets to offer their prayer intention first or who gets to blow out the candle or who gets to choose the Act of Love that day, we have had the boys literally come to blows and screaming, which ends in me yelling at them and Brian sending them to their rooms for misbehaving. (Aw, peaceful prayer time.) Since they are used to having a “Student of the Day” in school so we took that same concept with the “prayer helper of the day.” The name rotates and we have greatly reduced the yelling and body blows. (Now if we can just get John-Paul to stop praying for things like “more Star Wars toys” as his prayer intention. 😉

Lastly we added our Stations of the Cross pictures to the altar. If we say the Stations of the Cross as a family, we follow this book The Way of the Cross from Magnificat/Ignatius. (Reality check: we actually have yet to do the stations. We’ll try again this year to do it at least once…)

 

Here are some other Lenten activities we will be doing as a family.

  • Turn off the TV and the computer/iphone more. I have a basket of religious type books that the kids can look at or we can read together. I am also using the Lenten Adventure Activity Books from Holy Heroes, which are great! There are activity pages and coloring pages for the young ones for each day of Lent up until Divine Mercy Sunday.
  • Visit Jesus – Make more visits to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Let the kids light a candle before they kneel and pray.
  • Donate – Spring clean the toy box and donate toys they don’t use anymore to our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store.
  • Crafts – Make Lenten crafts such as one of these Resurrection Crafts. (Reality check: Yeah, this never happened last year. I’m not sure if we’ll do it this year but I’ll leave the link for you more creative moms. 😉 )

For more ideas for your own family, check out these sites.

My final note – Don’t let the sheer number of activities available overwhelm you! Chose just one (or maybe two) things that your family can realistically do. It is better to do something simple and well, than to try to do too much and feel like a failure because you couldn’t possibly get it all done! (Believe me, I’ve learned that the hard way!)

Okay, that was my idea for the month. You can find me on Pinterest here – http://www.pinterest.com/rol_bobbi.

Does your family have a favorite Lenten tradition? A favorite meatless meal? Maybe you wrote a reflection about Lent. If you have a blog, link-up! If you don’t blog, share in the comments. We’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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Now it’s your turn!

1. Choose your creation, recipe or Lent/Easter related post and snap a photo if you can.

2. In your post, link back the original blogger/idea, rather than your Pinterest pin. That way credit goes to the proper person. 🙂 (But feel free to add your Pinterest profile link so we can follow you!)

3. Add a link back here so others can play along.

4. If you want to use it, here is the html code for the logo:

<a href=”http://www.revolutionoflove.com/blog/?p=2157″><img title=”Revolution of Love Blog – Pinterest Party & Link-up” src=”http://www.revolutionoflove.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/pinterest_2_medW32-300×240.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”240″ /></a>

5. Link up below. Make sure you’re sending us to your actual post, and not to your general blog address.

The link up will be active until Easter Sunday. Have fun!

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.