Revolution of Love Blog

Revolution of Love Blog

Little things done with great love...

Loving Until It Hurts

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It’s been a long and stressful week. My father-in-law is recovering from his stoke, although he is having heart issuesw which has not allowed him to leave the ICU. We are pleased he is getting the best care at Stanford but it makes spending time with him difficult since we are 90 miles away. My mother-in-law is unable to board up there so Brian drives and stays with her at Stanford on the weekends and we’ve been trying to round up enough of her friends to help drive during the week so Brian does not have to miss too much work. I feel bad for my in-laws and I am doing what I can to make this situation easier on them.

However, that also means doubling my current busy workload. That would be fine if I was a saintly woman who loved to suffer. It is not so great for a selfish sinner who hates to be put out. By Monday evening I was drained. Brian came home and we had a conversation like this.

Brian: You won’t believe what I just saw outside. There are four wild turkeys in front of our driveway.

Bobbi: Are you sure those aren’t just our kids?

Brian: No! There are huge turkeys walking up the street.

Bobbi: What the heck are turkeys doing in the neighborhood? That’s weird. So is that a good omen or a bad omen?

Brian: Well, it could be that we are in a time of Thanksgiving.

Bobbi: Or it could mean we are about to be shot, beheaded, plucked and cooked.

Brian: (Sighs)

Yeah, I was not in the mood to be looking on the bright side. Later that evening, after apologizing to Brian for being so grouchy, I started thinking about a Hallmark movie I recently saw. (Don’t hate on Hallmark. I love those sappy love stories.) ;-) In the movie, A Novel Romance, two characters were having a discussion. The young woman Sophie was talking to an older friend Harris. They were recalling his wife who had died. The conversation went like this:

Harris: I don’t pretend to know much about relationships. I only loved one woman in my life.

Sophie: You found your one true love.

Harris: I know that now, but when Lola and I were together it wasn’t always so clear. Loving someone is the hardest work there is. Oh, I messed up plenty. So did she. We disappointed each other sometimes. We said things we regretted later, but we never let it keep us apart no matter how bad things seemed at the time. It wasn’t true love because it was easy. It was because we worked at it. We fought for it.

I love that.

It wasn’t true love because it was easy. It was because we worked at it. We fought for it.

That little piece of dialogue pretty much sums up our life lesson as wives and mothers. I have found my true love but it isn’t always kisses and love notes. There are also disagreements and annoying habits and the monotonous day to day chores. I have four sweet babies but it isn’t always hugs and kisses and drawings for mama. There are also messes, laundry, tantrums, sleepless nights and an endless stream of toys on the floor.  There are seasons of joy and celebration and there are seasons of heavy crosses – illness, job loss, miscarriage, infertility, (or no break between pregnancies,)  a death of a loved one. These big and little crosses stretch us and test us to the core. We find out if our love is only pretty words or the real thing through thick and thin.

I admit there are times when I can’t take it and just want to scream. Why am I so stressed? Maybe because I spent too much time goofing off on the computer and then I had to rush around in a tizzy to get dinner on the table. Or maybe I am tired and cranky because the night before I binge watched too many episode of my favorite show. Times like that, I have no one to blame but myself. I know I am capable of doing what I need to do but I am just being very self-centered and not wanting to love the way God is asking me. My priorities are askew and I need to make corrections pronto.

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Monday was one of those days. I made matters worse by not doing first things first – ie. prayer and daily duties. The following day I made sure to put prayer first. I opened up my daily meditation and began to pray.

Sometimes God is every so gentle with me and sometimes He just gives me the swift kick in the arse that I need. This was a swift kick day. The line that jumped out at me was

‘Taking up our cross’ might have a little more to do with love of neighbor and a little less like playing the martyr.

Ouch. This kept echoing in my head – “Pick up your cross without playing the martyr.”

But I am so good at playing the martyr, Lord! Huffing and puffing and rolling my eyes because nothing is working out the way I want it. At those times I can almost hear Jesus say, “Really? After all that I’ve done for you, this is how you are going to act? Like a spoiled child? Is your love really that fickle?” Sigh. Our Lord knows me too well.

However, there are those days, when I am seriously giving 110% of myself and it is still not enough. I am overwhelmed by the weight of whatever cross I am caring. That is when Jesus is most gentle with me. He comforts me and gives me the grace to love even when it hurts. That is when He reminds me to slow down long enough to look at the blessings around me, despite the difficulties.Revolution of Love Blog - love_bearsTo love someone, whether a spouse, child, parent or friend, means to be there in the good and the bad. To lift them up and carry them when they are weak. As I type this, I’m getting a mental picture of Samwise Gamgee as he carries Frodo up the slopes of Mount Doom. That is love. Right now God is calling me to be Samwise to my family. I need to stop whining and get to work.

I’ve been in this position before and I know what I must do to survive it.

1. Drop to my knees.

  • My day goes so much better when I pray in the morning, whether it is long of brief.
  • Talk to God throughout the day. I need to ask for God’s grace and for the strength and courage to follow his will in my life right now.
  • When the complaining starts to enter my mind, I need to give it to God and ask for his grace to see the good around me.

2. Take care of my physical needs.

  • Eat. (No skipping breakfast then binging at lunch because I’m starving.)
  • Take my vitamins and drink. (Water, that is.) ;-)
  • Exercise. Sure my beach walks are awesome but those are getting more difficult these days. Even a 10 minute walk up and down the driveway is better than nothing.
  • Sleep. I am a night owl and I have to force myself to not stay up until the wee hours of the morning.

3. Know my limit and not be afraid to ask for help.

  • I can do a lot (when I am in the right frame of mind) but when I reach the point of losing it, I have to do whatever I can to step away or take a break. If Brian cannot watch the kids for a little bit then I need to find someone who can give me a hand.
  • Sometimes even a call from my mom and just hearing her voice is enough to settle my spirit and give me strength.
  • There have been many times people have offered to help but I always tell them, “oh, that’s okay” because I feel like I need to do it myself. People want to help. I need to humble myself and let them.

These are a few steps I take to help me love and live my vocation as a wife and mother. What about you? What things help you when you are loving until it hurts?

* * * * *

restoremyheartSMPhoto Credit – ElizabethFoss.com

I know I mentioned this before but if you are in a difficult season of life or you feel like you are struggling to find joy and peace in your current chaos, I strongly recommend Elizabeth Foss’ online Lenten Retreat – Restore. I joined last year when I was struggling with Brian’s cancer and caring for the household and it did wonders for me. The daily meditations, the essays and the podcasts were a balm to my soul. A year later, I still go through my notes and remind myself of the lessons God was teaching me.

Currently, I am not experiencing the burnout I had last year but I signed up for the retreat anyway because I know the Holy Spirit will use it again to continue to guide me and draw me closer. I understand that the cost of $65 is more than some people can afford. If that is the case, but you feel like you need to go, then lay it before the feet of Jesus. Tell him that if you are meant to go, then to please provide the means. He just may surprise you.restore_ef_logo_1bPhoto Credit: ElizabethFoss.com

I hope you’ll join me so we can make this journey together. Have a blessed 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, Pinterest, GoodReads or Instagram. ;-)


Downton Abbey, Season 5: Episode 4 Recap

Sorry this is late but as you can imagine, life is a little busier these days. I was solo this weekend while Brian was with him mom at Stanford Medical Center where his dad is still recovering. Today I was busy running errands and helping my MIL with some things. My FIL is doing well, although we were hoping he would come out of ICU today but he was having some heart issues so he’s still there. His recovery is going to take some time and a lot of effort (from each of us.) As such, this may be shorter than normal.

downton_abbey_5_4aPhoto credit: itv.com

Okay, where to start….

She Love Me, She Loves Me Not

Mary decided that she was not in love with Tony and planned to break it off. Although she likes him, she wants him to be her children’s godfather, not their father. I hear a chorus of “I told you so” from #teamblake members everywhere. (Myself included.) Tony is nice and certainly easy on the eyes (wait, can I say that as a married Catholic woman?) but there was no spark. No fire. It was all too vanilla. Now compare that to when Blake and Mary are in  the same room. The sparks are definitely flying. More importantly, they do have a lot in common, they have a similar backgrounds, they work well together and they complement each other. But, that’s just my opinion. ;-)

Tony, of course, disagrees. He was shocked and angered that Mary broke it off with him. I was a little taken aback that he was going to fight her on this. Maybe he’s not all vanilla. The one thing I didn’t understand is when Blake told Mary maybe she could soften the blow. What did he mean? My first thought was to get Gillingham back together with his former fiance. (Her  name escapes me at the moment.) Or maybe he wanted Mary to tell Tony she chose Blake instead. That would seem to aggravate, not soften. What did you think he meant?

Unrequited Love

Rose continues to surprise me that she prefers to spend time feeding the Russians in a soup kitchen instead being out on the town. Her character is developing into someone with much more depth than the flighty girl of seasons past. At the soup kitchen we met Violet’s old beau once again. This time we find out that Prince Kuragin once asked her to run away with him. She was tempted to do so but Lord Grantham subtly gave her two picture frames of their children. She declined the Prince’s offer but it seems she never quite ended her love (or fondness) for him.

This was an interesting bit about Granny. I always picture her a little like Mary as a young woman, opinionated with a sharp tongue and definite ideas of how she will lead her life. Knowing she had the opportunity to run away with wild abandon, yet she decided to honor her marriage vow, makes me admire her more.

Now Violet has set it upon herself to look for Kuragin’s wife. It was discovered that many of the Russians ended up in Hong Kong, where they found work as servants, taxi drivers, milliners and prostitutes. Violet commented, “I will not suggest which of those callings the Princess Kuragin was most suited.” It’s obvious Violet did not like the woman yet she said that she owed her.  Why did she owe her? Did something happen between them? Did the Princess know about the Prince’s plan to run away? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, Violet’s gal pal had her own romantic intrigue. As expected, Lord Merton proposed to Isobel. What was not as expected was how eloquently and beautifully he expressed his regard for her. Well, not just regard. He was in love with her. I never gave him much mind but for the first time I really felt for him. I still prefer Isobel with the doctor and she seems to be more suitable for him but now I hope Lord Merton does find happiness with someone.

In the downstairs quarters, Thomas is looking for happiness and seems to be taking extreme measures to find it. He came back from “visiting his dying father” looking like he was dying himself. Baxter, who I admire for trying to be kind to him despite his nasty behavior to her, found him screaming in his room with what looked like a syringe and heroin. Later she saw an ad in a magazine he was reading about “choosing your own path.” I can only assume he is undergoing treatments to supposedly cure him of his homosexuality. It will be interesting to see if he eventually opens up to Baxter and shares his ordeal.

Baxter’s side-kick was not at her side last night. Instead he was doing the numerous jobs of “first footman.” I had to laugh at Carson trying to rid him of holding onto to no longer relevant titles since he is so resistant to change himself.

The Calm before the Storm

Robert was not having a great episode. First he had to deal with his jealousy over Mr. Bricker’s infatuation with Cora. Then he had to once again be jousted by Sarah “I-send-people-to-the-confessional-for-their-thoughts-about-me” Bunting at his own dinner table. Omg, is that woman incapable of shutting her bloody mouth? I have no problem about how she feels. I have a big problem with how she expresses it! It is one thing to hold your convictions but another to insult the man that is feeding you, not to mention humiliating the very man you supposedly care for and who just asked you to behave. If Tom does not distance himself from her after this last episode, I will really lose respect for him.

Back to Robert, I must say that I was touched by how kindly he dealt with Edith as she opened her heart to him about Michael and her fear to know what really happened to him. He explained that knowing the truth, as ghastly as it might be, was better than not knowing. Poor Edith, cannot get much lower. The pain of Gregson’s death was only magnified by being banished from her little girl’s side. I am just waiting for that storm to blow and for her to crack and take her child back.

The other storm that is about to blow is the Bates situation. Not only is Bates under suspicion but now Anna is too! Beloved Anna. She innocently delivered a note to Gillingham’s and then went to where Green was killed. She didn’t know that she was being followed by a police officer who was watching her moves. So now they both are going to be in trouble. Shall I say again how much I detest this dragged out storyline? Shall I explain how much I loath the thought of another “is Mr Bates going to hang” cliffhanger? Shall I express my disdain at the thought of having to watch Anna’s pained expressions again?? No? Fine, then I shan’t mention another word.

 

Random Thoughts

— I admired Cora for not going further with Bricker when she had the chance last episode but she is treading dangerous ground as she enjoys his flirtations. I’d hate to see her make a mistake she’d regret. (And Brian does not like Bricker one bit!)

— Kudos to Daisy for expressing herself so eloquently to Robert. Kudos to Robert for accepting defeat so gracefully.

— Kudos again for Robert for not jumping over the table and strangling Bunting on the spot. For once I appreciated Mary’s icy response when it was directed to her.

 

Favorite Quotes

Lord Merton: “I should really get down on one knee but I fear I’d never get up again.”

Robert: “We can talk about it [selling the land] tomorrow.”
Mary: “Not me. I am going up to London first thing. Aunt Rosamond is taking me to a dress show.”
Robert: “It’s good to know you have your priorities straight.”

Blake: “I wish I could work you out.”
Mary: “I wish I could work me out.”

Violet: “Oh dear, Susan has been in a rage since she was playing with her dolls. I am proof against her tantrums.

 

Okay, your turn. Tell me what you think!

Find other Downton Abbey Episode recaps here.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. (It’s set to private but I’ll approve you.) ;-)

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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.

 

~ 1 ~

(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. :-)

~ 2 ~

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.

 

~ 3 ~

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!!!)

 

~ 4 ~

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!)

~ 5 ~

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.

~ 6 ~

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.

 

~ 7 ~

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.


Online Daybook – January Days 2015: A Wedding, Awards & Thoughts about Paul Coakley

Moments of Gratitude…

Today I am especially thankful for

  • A last minute breakfast date this morning with Brian.
  • The beginning of longer days and warmer weather.
  • Family and friends, near and far.
  • My father-in-law for taking all four kids to his house for a couple hours on Friday. They love it and I enjoy the weekly down time.
  • A warm home, running water and food on the table.
  • Sweet hugs and precious kisses.

 

Beauty in the Ordinary…

© revolution of love blog - cwa_ocean_morning_W

I’ve been loving Blessed Is She’s photo challenge #projectblessed. Here is one of my favorite shots for the theme “morning glory.” This is what I saw that morning on my walk.

In the Kitchen…

It’s an off dinner week since Brian is working the late shift tonight and will miss dinner. On Thursday he is fasting for his medical tests and Friday he has to eat very light once his tests are over. So mostly clear broth for him and soup and sandwiches for us.

 

Praying…

  • For all those suffering from cancer and other illnesses.
  • For those who have lost loved ones, especially those that died suddenly.
  • For the depressed, lonely and mentally ill.
  • For all the pregnant mamas and those trying to get pregnant.
  • For all those who have asked for our prayers.
  • For the souls in purgatory.
  • For some special intentions.

 

On the homefront……

 cwa_jake_wedJacob and Amanda

Life has slowed down just a tad now that the holidays are over. A couple weeks ago my younger brother Jacob was married to his sweet bride Amanda.

© revolution of love blog - cwa_cake_wedThe wedding cake. Amanda used the wedding figures from her parents’ wedding. So sweet!

The trip to SoCal went surprisingly well and it was a JOY to be reunited with all my family members. I am the oldest of nine and we were all there.  Even my sister in VA was able to fly in with her husband (and their youngest) to attend the wedding.

© revolution of love blog - cwa_sis_wedMy beautiful sisters. It’s funny how Bridgett and Jacinta in the middle look alike while Elena and I on the ends look alike. :-)

© revolution of love blog - cwa_bros_wedMy handsome brothers.

© revolution of love blog - cwa_mat_wedCan you believe that I FORGOT my big camera?? Well, Matthew told me not to worry. He took shots with his Leapster camera. Aw, a boy after my own heart.

© revolution of love blog - cwa_boys_wedLuckily Amanda’s mom took this great shot of the boys at the wedding. (Thanks, Carol!)

Now that we are back home, it is back to school and I am busy with my room mom activities. (Wait, tell me again why I volunteered for this?) The rest is just life in general.

 

Brian Update…

Brian had to go into work later for an evening meeting so we decided to go out to breakfast.

© revolution of love blog - ba_1_2015I took extra time to get ready and look nice for Brian. Matthew saw me and explained, “Mama! You look so clean and shiny!” It was a nice compliment until I wondered, well, what the heck do I look like the other days?? ;-)

Walking hand in hand downtown reminded me of our early years of marriage. I still sometime pinch myself to see if I am really dreaming. How did I deserve such a man.

© revolution of love blog - ba_bv_1_2015Not the best picture because we both kept laughing that I was too short and had a hard time getting in the shot but I like it because it reminds me of how much fun we have together. :-)

A couple of people have asked me how Brian is doing and if you don’t follow along on Facebook or Instagram, on Friday he goes for his big annual testing for cancer. (He also has bloodwork done quarterly.)  In 2013 is when they first found the cancer. In 2014 is when the cancer came back. We are praying that in 2015 he is cancer free! We truly appreciate all your prayers and messages you leave us. Brian is amazed that so many people are asking and praying. I assure you he is on his knees every day praying for you too. (Me too! I just don’t stay on my knees as ling as I should!)

 

Pondering…

Praying for Brian and knowing that his test is coming up has me a little worried. Part of me is just leaving it all in the hands of God but the other part of me is still a little worried.

paul_cPhoto Credit: Team Paul and Ann Coakley

It has especially been hard today (Tuesday, Jan 20) since Paul Coakley died this afternoon. If you don’t know him or haven’t been following along on Facebook, Paul was a young dad and Franciscan University alumni married to Ann. They have three young children and Ann is pregnant with their 4th. (They also have 4 babies in heaven.) It was just a month ago that they found out that Paul had cancer. It was already advanced and Paul fought valiantly but he was called home today.

Through it all Ann’s faith and trust in God has been amazing. In one of her posts she shared that at the end she told Paul, “If God was calling him home we both had to accept that. I would take care of our babies here and he could go play with our four angels in heaven.” That just breaks my heart. I pray I would never have to say that to Brian (or he to me) for many, many years to come.  But if I did, then I pray that I can have the same grace of surrender. Please remember the Coakley family in your prayers. I can’t even imagine what they are going thought right now, especially Ann and the little ones wondering when their Daddy will come back home. (Now, excuse me while I go get a kleenex to wipe the makeup I just cried off.)

Okay, I’ve composed myself and am back at the keyboard. I struggle with situations like these. I can’t help but think, why bother praying for a person’s recovery if God is going to take them away anyway. What use is our prayers? Deep in my heart I know our prayers are valuable and that Paul and the family received much grace – grace of a peaceful death and strength to endure the cross they are bearing. I know that I cannot see all that God sees and the countless lives and souls that Paul’s death has touched. Even now, as I sit hear crying to God, God has taken this opportunity to draw me closer to Him. To remind me that this life is fragile and that we are not our own, but children of God. He knows the bigger picture and the blessings that this particular cross will bring.

Paul sparked that. A man I didn’t know existed a week ago and yet he has touched the lives of all of us in the family as we prayed for him. God knows exactly what miracles that will take place because of Paul’s life and fight at the end. So while, I still struggle with it, I do accept that our prayers are efficacious, but only God knows exactly how. I can only imagine how many more lives Paul will help now that he is united with God. (Okay, I need another kleenex. I should just keep a darn box on my desk.)

UPDATE: Just as I was about to publish this, I saw this beautiful post from Paul’s’ close friend Mary – Did God Answer Our Prayers…

 

Around the house…

Ugh, there are many problem areas!  I just finished putting away the last of the Christmas decor last week. Now I have the spring cleaning bug. (In Cali spring arrives in January.) As I mentioned in my 2015 goal list, I signed up for A Bowl Full of Lemon’s Home Organization 101: 14 Week Challenge. This week I am working on the pantry. (I think my record so far has been finding a food item that expired 5 years ago.)

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UPDATE: I’m actually switching my cleaning challenge. I’ll complete the more intense ABFOL 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! I’ve already started and I must say, it is just what I needed! I’ll blog more about it soon. :-)

 

Reading…

I know I said that I wasn’t going to buy any more books until I finished the huge stack of books I started last year, but I had to get one more to help me with my Theme of 2015. I lot of people have said it was good but I just started. I’ll post about it as I go along.

book_mary_heart_Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy With God in the Busyness of Life

 

Listening to…

Silence. (This can’t be good. I better check on the kids.)

 

Watching…

Well, you already know I am watching Downton Abbey and commenting on the episodes here but Brian and I just started two new shows.

grantchesterThe first is Grantchester. We only say the first episode but Brian and I both liked it. We are big mystery fans and it reminded us of the Fr. Brown Mysteries only with a cuter clergyman. It stars James Norton (who was also on Death Comes to Pemberley)  as Sydney Chambers, a young clergy man who doesn’t seem like your typical man of the cloth. He enjoys jazz music, drinking whiskey and spending time with a female best friend (whom he secretly loves but she doesn’t return the feelings.) Yet, he also seems introspective, spiritual, has a heart for helping people and is fighting some PTSD from the war.  The first episode has the usual violence with a murder (nothing graphic) and a flashback of a couple having an affair but again, nothing too graphic as long as no kids are in the room. Anyway, if you already saw it, what did you think?

agent_carterThe other show we started watching was one of the Marvel “comic book shows” Agent Carter. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I love the 40’s setting and the clothes and hairstyles and ruby red lips and the butt-kicking lady in a skirt and heels was a nice touch too. It was a fun diversion. :-)

 

On the blog…

In the past two week I posted:

Pinterest Party & Link-up (vol 34): Epiphany Party Add your post. It is open until the end of January!

TV Talk: Downton Abbey, Season 5, Episode 2 Recap

Theme of 2015: Be Still

Goals for 2015 & Mini-Goals for January & February

Downton Abbey, Season 5: Episode 3 Recap

 

In the blogosphere…

It’s that time of year again! Time for Bonnie’s 2015 Sheenazing Awards. Yours truly was nominated for “Best Under Appreciated Blog.” (I have mixed emotions about that title. ;-) )

15 Nominee SA 500If you want to make me feel like a school kid picked first on the soft ball team, go give me a vote! ;-) You can read the full post here or just go straight to the voting page here. (You can skip any categories you are unfamiliar with.)

I am privileged to be nominated. (Thank you, whoever you guys are!)  I know I am just a small blog with a small audience of friends but it’s still nice knowing that others appreciate the work I put into the blog. Ultimately I do it for fun and to connect with other Catholic women and to share my love of Our Lord. There are so many other small bloggers who are touching lives but aren’t as well known. Erica over at Saint Affairs had a great idea to do a link-up cerebrating our favorite lesser-known blogs. She says:

But what about all of the amazing Catholic blogs that didn’t make it onto those lists? Surely you know a few because I know I do. I would love to support all of them, let them know that their words are being read, that they are making a positive difference in the blogosphere, so let’s do a link-up.

Let’s do this!

Blogs That You May Not Be Reading, But You Should Be link-up

readthis

Visit Erica’s post here for more details!

 

Pinned…

I’ve been wanting to organize my books so I can lend them out (after I finally finish reading them.) When I do, I am going to use these Free Printable Library Cards.

pin_lib_cardPhoto credit: clementinecreative.co.za

cwa_pray_trsutMy sister just posted this on Facebook this morning. It seems very appropriate considering the thoughts that have been going through my head lately.

 

Plans for the Week…

Brian’s test, paying, attending a friend’s’ baptism and party, doc, ortho and dentist appts, and numerous school activities, especial during Catholic Schools Week.

And looking ahead, I am making plans to attend the Catholic Women Blogging Network California Conference in April! I am so excited that there is something I can attend on the west coast since I couldn’t make it to Edel this year. Will you be joining me???

cwbn_conf_logo

 

 

Captured…

© revolution of love blog - cwa_star_wars_1The prompt for the #projectblessed photo challenge was Childhood. I love the signs of childhood around our house. (The toys and Legos on the floor I can do without, but this was cute.) In the scene Darth Vader and Kanan are battling it out for the last remnants of banana bread. ;-)

Have a blessed 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, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. ;-)

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Downton Abbey, Season 5: Episode 3 Recap

downton_season_5_3_aPhote credit – itv.com

So what did you think of last night’s DA? The storylines seemed to go a bit slower but it was still enjoyable.

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

The show opens up with Mary and Gillingham in bed after a week of playing house. Gillingham is smitten and Mary plays along but as soon as he is out of the room Mary’s expression shows that she is only playing the part and her heart is not in it. (Didn’t I say that Tony was not right for her. He was too “nice” and she needed a man like Charles Blake that would challenge her and keep her on her toes. And hopefully, without having  to get her into bed first. But I digress.)

Unfortunately, Violet’s butler, Mr. my-facial-expression-are-priceless Spratt spotted Mary and Gillingham outside the hotel. Being the little rat that he is (okay, maybe that is harsh but I still can’t forgive him for sabotaging Mosley) he told Violet what he saw. Violet’s jaw nearly dropped but with lightning fast speed and she crafted the perfect excuse and feigned shock that Spratt could think anything so undignified and Spratt gave some of his best facial expressions yet. Grandmama saved the day and kicked butler butt at the same time

Now Lady Mary must face the music with Granny. I am glad someone tells Mary that times may have changed but most people would still be shocked at this behavior. I still think it is odd, particularly after how she suffered when her previous fiance found out about Mr. Pamuk. Mary tried to justify her actions but she really only succeeded in looking like a bratty teenager, complete with haughty looks and eye rolls.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, Mary had the gall to ask Anna to take her diaphragm and sex book and hide it in her cottage. Seriously? But then again, she also once asked Anna to help her carry a dead naked man from her bed so maybe that’s not so far fetched.

On a side note, I am assuming the birth control is going to be found in Anna’s room. Will Bates find it? Will he think that is why they haven’t been able to conceive a child? Will this tie back into Green and the rape and somehow make it look like Anna was guilty of… I can’t even finish the sentence. I don’t know. It just seems like more drama is going to come out of that one.

Speaking of Bates,  a witness has come forward and she heard Green say, “Why have you come?” Apparently Green knew that Bates may come after him for what he did to Anna. He made sure everyone would be suspicious of Bates if anything were to happen to him. Bates gave his alibi but technically he still had the opportunity to get to London. (And there was that ticket to London that Mary burned last season.) You know, all I can think about this did-he-didn’t-he storyline, is two song titles –  Let it go and shake it off! It is getting old and I cannot take much more of looking at Anna’s anguished face as she suffers from worry. After all that she has been subjected to, please let her have some happiness!

(Spoiler alert!! If you don’t like sneak peeks of what’s to come, skip this paragraph……… I was getting a photo for this episode and I accidentally saw a photo for an upcoming episode in which  Bates AND Anna needed to prove their innocence. What the what?? This can’t be good for my blood pressure!)

Rose and Her Russians

Here is another example of behavior that seems out of character. What has happened to Rose? Last year she was scandalously involved with a jazz singer and then sneaking around dance clubs disguised as a lady’s maid. Suddenly she is organizing teas for Russian refugees. I don’t begrudge her charity work but it seems like a big leap without much explanation as to why she has had such a change of heart. Am I missing something?

The one good thing about this storyline is that it gave us an opportunity to see Granny speechless when she came face to face with an old Russian friend (flame?) she knew years ago. Mary teased her about it but she insisted there was nothing to it.

Secrets Revealed

Baxter continues to agonize over whether or not she will tell Cora the rest of her story. I wanted to kiss Mosley when he firmly told her that she should tell the truth on her terms since either way, the outcome would be the same. Baxter had courage and shared the story that she allowed a bad man to change who she was and stole for him. In the end she was left to carry the blame but she has learned her lesson. Cora forgave her and let her stay. Baxter looked obviously relieved and overjoyed that the weight was lifted off her shoulders. (Now go give Mosley a kiss of thanks, Baxter.) ;-)

It has already been established that lately Robert has been displaying more love and affection to Isis than his wife. Cora expressed her feeling of uselessness, longing again for he days when she was busy and making a difference in the world. At times Robert treats her more like an accessory than a partner in marriage. Meanwhile, Mr. Bricker is more than infatuated with Cora, not only paying her compliments but he genuinely values her opinions. After their evening at the art gallery, Bricker is about to burst with want to kiss Cora but he lets Cora take the lead. Cora is flattered and enjoys the attention but she knows that she cannot step over that line. They are treading on dangerous ground but I am happy they showed some moral restraint. Cora went back inside Rosamond’s home only to find Robert fuming that she was out with Bricker. He speaks cruelly to her and she goes to bed.

It’s interesting that in the previous season when Robert was feeling useless and unloved, he had his fling with the maid. Now it is Cora’s turn to be temped to do the same. Whenever I see these scenarios play out, I am reminded of the importance of couples to nurture their friendship and romantic love. It is so easy to get bogged down by the routine of the day that we forget that our spouse still needs to feel loved and desired and appreciated. It is something you must constantly work out whether you are newlyweds or married 20 years. When that is not available in the marriage it is much more tempting to acquire it elsewhere. Okay, and that is a completely random thought. Did I mention that it is very late and I am feeling a bit punchy for want of sleep. So let’s wrap this up. Who else haven’t we discussed…. Edith!

Oh, Edith. I can’t help but hear The Smith play whenever you are on screen – “Please, please, please, let me,” “How soon is now,” “Heaven knows I’m miserable now…” It could go on and on. I have no idea where this storyline is going. Will she finally tell the truth? Will she kidnap Marigold? What was Robert saying to Edith in the preview about telling the truth? I have no idea. Where do you think the storyline will go?

Okay, let’s stop there. If I forgot something, please add it in the comments!

 

Favorite Quotes

Isobel: “Surely servants are human beings too.”
Violet: “Yes, but preferably only on their days off.”

Mrs. Patmore: “Sympathy butters no parsnips.”

Violet: “An unlucky friend is tiresome enough. An unlucky acquaintance is intolerable.”
Isobel: “You’re all heart.”

Violet: “Can we be confident that there will be no unwanted epilogue.” (I cringe at the thought of a baby being refereed as such , but it is a classic Granny quote.)

Violet: “In my day a lady was incapable of feeling physical attraction until she had been instructed to do so by her mama.”

 

Okay, your turn. Tell me what you think!

Find other Downton Abbey Episode recaps here.

PS – You can follow RoL on Bloglovin, Feedly or another news feed. If you are a social media fan like me, we can stay in touch through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, Letterboxd or Instagram. (It’s set to private but I’ll approve you.) ;-)

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