31 Days of Gratitude (Day 1): Feast of St. Therese

 

It’s Day 1 in the 31 Day of Writing Challenge. St. Therese has been on my mind lately and since it is her feast day today, I thought this quote would be a good start to my 31 Days of Gratitude.

Growing up, many Catholics I knew had a great devotion to St. Therese. Me? Not so much. I had nothing against her, I just preferred the less popular saints who wouldn’t be so busy praying for everyone else. ;-) However, in the last couple years, I have read more about St. Therese and her “little way” and have grown to love it and her.

When I redesigned the blog two years ago, her motto is what motivated me. I suppose for a mom busy in the trenches of raising kids and maintaining a home, it can be a little daunting with all the menial tasks that must be performed throughout the day… over and over again. Intellectually, I know it is important work, but psychologically, it can weigh on a mom’s hear when she is up to her neck in dishes, diapers, dirty laundry, spilled milk and toys all over the place. It’s hardly glamorous. Yet, God has a deep love for the humble… for those who follow the “little way.”

It’s easy to say, “Do the little things with great love,” but, at least for me, it is much harder to actually do. More often than not I’m uttering a groan and an “Oh, come on!” at a little cross than kissing it and saying, “For love of you, my Lord.” Thankfully, God is patient and merciful. He knows that I am trying to surrender to Him and trying to live in a spirit of gratitude.

Instead of complaining about all the dishes and laundry, I should be thankful that we have warm clothes to wear and plenty of food on the table. Not everyone is so blessed. I ask for the grace to keep turning my eyes to God throughout the day. To accept whatever cross I have at that moment in time – whether it is scrubbing a toilet or bathing a stinky munchkin or working on a school fundraiser – this is where God calls me. This is where God teaches me sanctity. This is my opportunity to be a witness of love to my little ones, to my husband, to my neighbor and to those in my community. This is my mission field. I am grateful for the grace to understand that. Now I pray for the grace to live it.

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.) ;-)


31 Days of Writing Challenge: Intro

Photo credit & host of 31 Days is Nester at write31days.com

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This year I will be participating in Nester’s 31 Days Writing Challenge. If it is new to you, here are the details from write31days.com.

31 Days is an online writing challenge started by home blogger, Myquillyn Smith (The Nester) where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day in October.

I just heard about it the other day and I thought it would be a fun challenge, although I wasn’t sure I could handle doing a post every day for a month. I decided to make it easier on myself by combining elements I am already working on right now – being more grateful for the blessings in my every day life, particularly on stressful days, and spending time each day being creative, particularly by taking photos.

So my challenge in October 2014 will be…

I’ll be posting each day on the blog but I also made a landing page with a link on the main menu above and a button in the side bar. I’ll post the links to each day for easy reference.

There are hundreds of blogs participating in the challenge. There are various topics including house & home, family life, simplicity & organizing, faith & inspiration, fashion & beauty, food/health & wellness, writing/blogging and more! Be sure to hop over to write31days.com and browse the other participants. :-) It should be fun!

See you back here tomorrow for the first photo and reflection. :-)

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.) ;-)


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 Love.com. 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.) ;-)

PPS – This post may contain affiliate links.


Pinterest Party & Link-Up (vol 30): Greek Salad

Sorry for the delay in this post but better late than never! Starting in October, the RoL Pinterest Party will be held once a month on the first Tuesday of the month. Have fun!

Welcome to the RoL Pinterest Party. Join me as we 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.

Not on Pinterest? No problem. Link-up your own creation to inspire us so we can pin in to our own boards. It can be a recipe, sewing project, Catholic craft, homeschool project, organizing/ homemaking tip, themed birthday party, whatever you’d like.

Don’t have a post ready? The link-up will be open for 10 days so there’s still time. Plus, feel free to link up a new post or an older post that hasn’t had much traffic lately. :-)

PLEASE NOTE: Because we are entering the busy season of Autumn and the holidays that follow, starting in October, I will be doing the Pinterest Party only once a month. It will be every first Tuesday of the month and the link up will be open for 30 days, so there is plenty of time to join the fun! :-)

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You can find me on Pinterest here.

The pin for this post is here.

Years ago I found a recipe online for Greek salad. I have adapted the recipe since then and it has become my favorite salad dressing. A friend asked for the recipe so I thought I’d post it here. :-)

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar

For the salad:

  • spring mix (or lettuce of choice)
  • red bell pepper
  • cucumber
  • red onion (thinly sliced)
  • kalamata olives
  • tomatoes
  • feta cheese

For the salad, quarter the cucumber and slice. Quarter the bell pepper and thinly slice. Take a small section of onion and thinly slice. Place in a large bowl with the lettuce, olives and tomato. Sprinkle with feta. Mix.

For the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, mustard and spices. When mixed, slowly add the red wine vinegar and whisk well. Pour overt the salad and mix well. Enjoy!

Note – A little dressing goes a long way. Better to under dress the salad and need to add more than to over dress and the salad puckers your lips. ;-) This recipe makes roughly 6 oz of dressing. Keep it stored in closed contained at room temperature for a few days. I store mine in a OXO Good Grips Salad Dressing Shaker.

These are great to store home dressings. It comes in the large ( 1.5 cups) or the small (1 cup). I use the small one for this dressing since I like to use it up within the week and make another fresh batch. It’s super easy and tastes great.

Since I am eating many salads these days and staying away from bottled dressing, I am always looking for healthier home versions. If you have a favorite dressing recipe, please share it in the comment box. I’d love to try it out!

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Now it’s your turn.

1. Choose your creation, share about it 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 &amp; 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 for 10 days. 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. (It’s set to private but I’ll approve you.) ;-)

PPS – This post may contain affiliate links.



My September 2014 Goals

It is nearly mid-month so I guess I had better finally finish this post about my monthly goals. ;-) It’s a little funny that my last few posts have all been about setting goals when two months ago my big daily goal was just getting through the day without losing my mind and maybe managing to wash and dry one load of laundry (and try not to forget to put the clothes in the dryer until they smell so bad I have to rewash them.)

Someone who just started reading my blog in the past week may think, wow, she has it so together with her planner and goal making. Well, girl, you have no idea how wrong that impression is! Seriously, this summer has just been super busy, super stressful and by the time August rolled around I felt I was going to explode. Everything was in chaos – the house, my spiritual life, my budget, my diet, everything! Top that off with a husband trying to get through the last difficult rounds of his chemo and, well, you get the idea.

My life was craving some order and direction. Thankfully, whenever I get like this God always sends just what I need to help me get back on track. As I mentioned in a previous post, I finished Lara Casey’s Powersheets and did all the prep work before choosing my five Main Goals I want to work on over the next six months.  My September goals are things that will help me eventually reach the Main Goals.

“Make known to me your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.” Psalms 25:4

Main Goal #1: To always have God at the center of my life and to deepen my love for Him. I want his will to be my will and motivation.

September Goals

  • I have done much better in improving my night prayer so this month I am focusing on bettering my morning prayer/devotion time. There is a small window of 20 minutes that I have between getting the older kids off to school and before getting Matthew ready for pre school when I can pray my morning devotion.
  • Monthly confession.

 

“With this ring, I thee wed…”

Main Goal #2 – To be a loving and holy wife to Brian and to work at keeping our marriage strong. I want to spend more time with him to strengthen not only our love but our friendship.

September Goals

  • Spend time each day to talk and touch base, preferably after the kids have gone to bed. Also, I’ll ask Brian questions and let him talk without monopolizing the conversation.
  • Plan weekly date nights. They can be at home dates but at least one date a month should be out of the house.
  • Find a second sitter since our normal sitter is so busy with college now.

 

My inspiration shot – This is what my kitchen could looks like when I clear off all the messy counters.

Main Goal #3 – To bring order into our home so I am not stressed out by the mess and chaos. When things are organized our family life runs smoother and there is more peace.

September Goals

  • Make a master list of all the areas in the house that need to be cleaned out or organized. Instead of getting overwhelmed by it all, I will tackle small bits on Fridays since that is the day I have a few hours at home without needing to be anywhere else.
  • Make a weekly cleaning schedule for maintenance. For example, the laundry gets insane if I don’t do at least one load every day or so. Wednesdays are the days I have an hour window at home so I can assign housework on those days.

One of the kids favorite outings is to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Main Goal #4 – To be a good mother that loves her kids and spends time with them and is not always “too busy.” I want to teach them about their faith and how to love and serve God in their young lives.

September Goals

  • Plan bi-weekly outings as a family. The off weeks can be spent playing with them in the backyard searching fossils or blowing bubbles or having a picnic on the deck.
  • Update the kids’ chore chart to give them more responsibility around the house. Go back to the sticker reward charts since they seem to work well.
  • Incorporate 1-2 church feast days into family life.

Along the Monterey Recreation Trail.

Main Goal #5 – To take care of myself physically, spiritually and mentally so I can be a happy and healthy wife, mother and friend. Taking care of myself mentally also means challenging myself to come out of my comfort zone and facing my fears.

September Goals

  • Daily hydrate, take vitamins and walk for 20-30 min. Use my Fitbit to keep track.
  • Now that I signed up as a room mom, use the opportunity to approach other moms and get to know them. There may be new friendships waiting to be made. :-)

It may seem a bit lofty but I have six months to make progress and at the end of each month I’ll evaluate what’s working and what needs to be tweaked. I have good days – like today – and bad days like yesterday when everything was going wrong and I was losing it big time. So goes life. Thanks to God’s grace and mercy, I have been able to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep going. I also scheduled confession for Saturday morning. The extra boost of grace is just what I need. ;-)

What are you going to work on this month?

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.) ;-)

PPS – This post may contain affiliate links.