Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

Online Daybook and 7QT: May 2017 Review of Happenings, Movies and Fave Links

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od_logo_quiet2Grateful for…

  • The coming of summer vacation.
  • The teachers who taught and cared for my kids these past 10 months.
  • Family time.
  • That Brian’s cancer check testing came out clear.
  • All the little things in life that I usually take for granted.

Praying for..

  • Many special intentions from family and friends.
  • Those fighting cancer, illness and mental health issues.
  • Those living in violence.
  • For peace in the heart of all men/women.
  • All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
  • The souls in purgatory, especially family, friends and those most forgotten.

Pondering…

The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Spirit and how often I neglect Him. Yet, when He makes his presence known, there is no ignoring Him. I don’t want my encounters with the Holy Spirit to be sporadic. I want to be open to the Spirit and go where He leads me without fear. I want my life to reflect the fruits of the Spirit and to do my small bit to bring love and mercy into my corner of the world.

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Around the House…

It is the end of the year mayhem with paper bags filled with artwork and schoolwork coming home. Just beyond that are the suitcase waiting to be packed for our annual trip to Lake Tahoe. We leave a day after the boys get out of school which means next week will be filled with end of the school activities (the boys get out late compared to the public schools) in between packing for the family. I will try hard to make it as stress free as I can but don’t hold your breath. 😉

 

Family Chit Chat…

Last year in May, Bella and I drove to So Cal to attend my sister’s baby shower. It was out first mother/daughter road trip and we had so much fun, we decided to do it again this year!

We are both love Disneyland so a day spent there together was mandatory. 😉 Then we headed to my family’s house where I had some one on one time with mi familia. (I needed it!) Unfortunatley, my parents weren’t there (they were in VA visiting my sister) but that’s okay since I’ll see them in 10 days when we go to Lake Tahoe together. Woohoo!

Here are some of the things we did this month besides the Rol girls road trip… I enjoyed a lovely Mother’s Day (John-Paul’s poem was a favorite), we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Famita, I took lots of beach walks, played with these three handsome fellas, went on a date with my Sweetie (who also was clear at his 3-month cancer check), attended a May Crowning, missed Brian while he was away for a conference and virtually connected with my Blessed is She sisters for a team meeting. (Having all of us online at once was crazy! I loved it!) 🙂

 

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In the Kitchen…

This week I have been trying to clean out the freezer so don’t be surprised if I am serving Lenten fish sticks with Cinco de Mayo tortillas. 😉

 

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Reading…

Later this (or next) week I’ll post a review of the books I read in April and May, which includes the latest one I finished.

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen (Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited)

 

Watching…

(MOVIES)

 

Wonder Woman – Everyone had high expectations for this movie and when it came out I cautiously looked at the Rotten Tomatoes rating to see if the critics panned it. Remarkably, it got rave reviews. I went to watch it on opening night to see if I agreed. So did I? Oh, yeah! I loooved it. Gal Gadot is a wonder to behold. Not only is she remarkably gorgeous, but she plays the character itself beautifully. She can be both strong and powerful yet (at times) naive and thoroughly empathetic. Her empathy does not hinder her but rather empowers her to be a fierce warrior for those in need. At one point, when a painful truth rocks Diana’s worldview and almost topples her, she is able to overcome as she sees the good and positive effects of sacrificial love.

The movie has it’s share of violence, being set in WWI, but I thought it less violent than some of the darker Marvel movies. I thought Chris Pine was great as the male lead and the banter added some nice touches of humor. (Next time, let’s have a little more of the secretary Edna. I loved her.) I would also have liked a little more backstory to connect better with the three friends in the story but they were lovable none the less. All in all, I loved the movie and hope to see it again soon!

I rate this  4 1/2 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, and some suggestive content. / My note: Usual war violence but nothing graphic. There’s a shot of Chris Pine naked but he covers his man parts with his hands. A conversation about sex and marriage with lots of double meaning but may go over kids’ head. Wonder Woman and Chris Pine kiss alone in a bedroom and the camera pans away to the bedroom window so you don’t see them (or know if they) do anything more.)

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Everything, Everything – I admit that I am the age of the parents in these stories but I enjoy YA books and movies. I’ve had this book on my shelf and planned to read it first before I watched the movie. However, one evening Brian told me I should take the night off and catch a show (you don’t have to tell me twice!) and the only two movies starting at the current hour was this or Bay Watch (which I heard was raunchy and bombed at the box office) so I went to see Everything, Everything instead.

The movie is reminiscent of Fault in Our Stars, having one of the characters living with a serious illness. Basically, Maddy has a rare disease and she must live 24/7 within the confines of her hyper sterile home. In moves Olly, a sweet, misunderstood boy next door. It has all the elements of young love and themes of love conquering all, including the risk of death. Now, I’ll admit that I love sappy, romantic movies as much as the next romantic and I did enjoy the movie (and the surprise twist) but I also can’t help but watch them through a “mom lens” as well. On the one hand, I love the sweet innocence of young love blooming. On the other hand, I hate how each movie must propel the young couple into sleeping together, although at least they were 18 and not 14. It gives such a skewed one sided look at love, sex and marriage. Besides that, I found some of the details a bit beyond belief – Maddy didn’t know how to swim yet she was snorkeling and jumping off of cliffs? Um, hello? So the story was sweet and there were some funny and touching moments but there definitely should be some deeper discussions afterwards if your teen is watching it too. I rate it 3 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief sensuality.)

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Guardians for the Galaxy, Vol 2  – When Bella and I went on our road trip, one of our nights in SoCal, we went to watch this movie with my sister in a huge movie theater and it was quite the experience. I have to be honest and say I did not love it as much as I did the first one but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. There was plenty of action and humor but there were also some tender moments when characters opened up and were vulnerable about issues they were dealing with. That said, Guardians is a little more dicey than some of the other super hero movies I let the kids watch. (Granted, I watch it with them and mute out a few cuss words.) While Guardians is basically as violent as other super hero movies, it also has more sexual undertones and more language. There are a few harder cuss word here and there but there are lots of “lesser” cuss words like – a-hole, douche bag, bastard, crap, jackass – throughout along with a few scenes (like the robot hookers) that give the movie a more mature vibe. It was okay for Bella to watch but the younger boys will have to be older to see this one. Rated 4 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.)

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Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – When the boys were younger, we avoided “potty humor” shows and books but let’s face it, there is a natural draw towards boys and potty humor. We basically can’t get through a dinner conversation without someone laughing over some ridiculous body function. Thankfully, they do not act like this with company but in the confines of our family, they feel more at ease. I’ve also eased up on my ban of Captain Underpants and allowed the boys to read some of the books. When the movie came out and they begged us to take them, I saw little harm in it but gave the job to Brian for some male bonding. Surprisingly, the boys wanted me to take them. (Was this the result of my participating in their “who can burp the loudest” contest?)  Whatever the reason, Brian laughed as he closed the door behind us on our way to the theater.

Once there, I sat down with my carefully rationed raw almonds and contraband peanut M&M’s prepared to be bored silly. Fast forward an hour into it and I was actually enjoying the story. I loved watching the brother like bond between George and Harold with their pranks that reminded me faintly of Ferris Bueller’s ability to outsmart adults and rally the people. With that said, there was plenty of potty humor – from the aptly named Professor Poopypants to the scene of the fart symphony, which had my boys in such laughing hysterics that I couldn’t stop laughing just listening to them. (Seriously, I cried off my eye makeup.) So if you are looking for an hour and a half of ridiculous low brow humor to share with your kids, this may be the ticket. (Warning, I am also the kid who used to get in trouble for burping out loud and grossing out my mom with TMI stories so my opinion may be challenged.)  I rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Rated PG for mild rude humor throughout.)

 

(TV)

Our usual shows are on hiatus until Fall so it’s time to catch up on a few shows that have been on our watch list but we haven’t tried yet.

I am thinking of trying Breaking Bad. Any other suggestions?

We finally finished Netflix’s Ironfist and although there was a lull in the middle of the show it did pick up at the end. It’s our least favorite of the four superhero shows but we are still excitedly awaiting The Defenders, which arrives on my bday August 18th. Yeah, baby!

 

Listening to …

Don’t Take the Money by The Bleachers. Perfect music for a road trip along the coast. 😉

This is also on heavy rotation on my playlist…

Feels Like Summer by Weezer (The first time I heard this song I thought it was 21 Pilots.) 😉

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Recent Posts:

Blogging has been light these days.

The New Blessed Is She 2017-2018 Liturgical Academic Planner

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RevolutionofLove.com - 100 Miles in 100 Days(logo_100_miles)2nd Annual Summer Walking Challenge 2017: 100 Miles in 100 Days

You can follow along by following my Instastories and the hashtag #rol100milesin100days

It is not too late to join and adapt the challenge to your life. A big thanks to the ladies joining me! 🙂

 

 

From the Archives

ss_jenna_1Saturday Spotlight: Jenna at Call Her Happy (May 2015)

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Operation Clean & Organize (vol 19): Weekly Menu Board (Revised)  (May 2014)

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Pinterest Party & Link-up, Vol 4: Pineapple Mango Salsa (May 2013)

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Pinned…

Photot credit: Oh Sweet Basil.com

With summer weather here, I want to try this one – Easy Greek Pasta Salad.

 

Around the blogosphere…

Here are some posts I’ve been reading…

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I’ve been participating in the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Challenge and these are my photos from May so far. (I am a bit behind.)

Week 17

Technical: Loop Lighting. I was only allowed three shots before Matthew ran away to play. This was the best of the three.

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Week 18

Artistic: Purple

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Week 19


Story: Back Yard. I’m blessed to live in a place where I’m surrounded by the beauty of the ocean, mountains and forests. God is a master Creator.

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Week 20

Technical: Sky Overlay. This is the original photo.

 I replaced the foggy sky with a clear one.

You can see my other photo challenge entries here – #rolphotochallenges.

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So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Any book, movie or TV show recommendations? Do share.

I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes.

Have a great week!

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

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2nd Annual Summer Walking Challenge 2017: 100 Miles in 100 Days

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It’s time for our second annual Summer Walking Challenge 2017!

Last year I completed my Summer Walking Challenge and it went so well I wanted to make it an annual thing. I have made it a habit to take my morning walk after I drop the kids off at school but once summer starts and the kids are home I can’t just put on my earphones and take off. It takes more planning and I am more prone to just skip my walk altogether.

As an incentive to keep moving each day, I made the 100 miles in 100 days challenge. This will motivate me to at least walk a mile a day, or if I do skip a day, walk 2 miles the next day. If I can’t do my usual beach walk then I’ll have to improvise and walk up and down our long deck, the driveway or around the park while the kids play.

Only committing to one mile a day may not seem like much to the fit and moving chicas out there but for me, it’s an accomplishment. 😉

I made a progress chart in my bullet journal to keep track of my miles. Plus my Fitbit Blaze has been a huge help in motivating me to walk more!

Okay, let’s pause for a commercial break…

Speaking of Fitbit, someone asked me where I got my pink Fitbit band. I bought a regular Fitbit Blaze but didn’t like the black, manly band and couldn’t afford a fancy replacement band. However, I found this pink/rose gold band (there are lots of colors available) with a regular watch closure (not the circular push clasp) for only $32. I’ve had it since January and so far it is working great.

Second, I’ve gotten messages on my instastories asking about my Blessed Is She water bottle and rosary. You can find them in the Blessed Is She shop!

Okay, back to the challenge. It starts June 1 and runs until September 7th. And if you don’t start on June 1st, no worries! Jump in whenever you can! Every little bit counts!

Want to join me? Snap a photo of your walk and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #rol100milesin100days. You can follow me at @bobbi_rol.  🙂

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

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 🙂

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The New Blessed Is She 2017-2018 Liturgical Academic Planner

Photo credit: Blessed Is She

Hey planner lovers, many of you have been asking when Blessed Is She will get their new planners again. Well, the time is here, my friends! The new 2017-2018 Liturgical Academic Planner is now available for pre-order and they will start to ship out in a few weeks! (Mid-June to be exact.)

I am no longer in school but I have four kiddos in school so my life pretty much revolves around the academic year. For this reason, my “new year” (and new planner) starts in August and not January 1st. This planner has come at a perfect time since I am ready to cast off the current school year and leisurely set up my new planner over summer.

If you would like to do the same, I recommend ordering sooner rather than later because I can GUARANTEE that these planners will sell out. And after they sell out, I also GUARANTEE that I will receive emails from readers who want to know why I didn’t warn them. So consider this your warning. 😉

Photo credit: Blessed Is She

The 8×10 Blessed Is She Liturgical Planner runs from August 2017 – July 2018.

Photo credit: Blessed Is She

The monthly layout.

Photo credit: Blessed Is She

The weekly overview.

Photo credit: Blessed Is She

Weekly view with an hourly layout for every day.

Features include:

  • place for to-do, groceries, meal planning, notes, prayer intentions, goals, and more
  • a folder in the back for loose papers
  • blank lined pages
  • reminder to start specific novenas
  • liturgical colors for the entire year
  • handlettered bible verses for inspiration / memorization
  • Saints of the day and month
  • helpful prayer reminders

The planner is beautiful, handlettered and designed by Erica of Be a Heart with favorite prayers added from Blessed is She writers. I can’t wait for it to arrive!

The cost of the planner is $60.  The price may seem high but it comparable to other name brand planners and unlike some less expensive ones, this was Made in the USA!

When the Blessed Is She planner first came out last year, I loved my bullet journal and had no intention of switching. However, it won me over and now I use the planner for my day to day planning and I use my bullet journal for all my lists, trackers and monthly memories. You can read about it here – How I Use a (Blessed Is She) Planner and a Bullet Journal. That post also has links to my favorite planning tools – pens, magnetic book markers, saint charms and more.

Happy planning!

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

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Online Daybook and 7QT: April 2017 Review

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od_logo_quiet2Grateful for…

  • A new day, a new week and a new month – it feels like a fresh start.
  • Gorgeous spring weather.
  • Precious time spent with the ones I love the most.
  • Road trips.
  • A loving hubby that will take care of our boys so Bella and I can have a mother-daughter weekend away.

Praying for..

  • Many special intentions from family and friends.
  • Those fighting addiction, depression and mental illness.
  • Those suffering from from violence, whether within their home or their world surroundings.
  • For peace in the heart of all men/women.
  • All pregnant moms (especially family members), those trying to get pregnant, those who have lost their babies and for moms contemplating an abortion.
  • The souls in purgatory, especially family, friends and those most forgotten.

Pondering…

Mother and daughter time. This afternoon I leave for a weekend road trip with Bella. Last year in spring we attended my sister’s baby shower in SoCal and we had so much fun we decided to make a mother-daughter weekend an annual thing. So we’ll take off after school tomorrow and head to Disneyland for a day before heading to see my family. (You can follow along on instagram.)

I am blessed that Bella still wants to spend time with me (you know how dicey the teen years can be 😉 ) and I’m looking forward to some familia time as well. Please say a prayer that we have a safe trip and for Brian and the boys while they enjoy a boys weekend together at home. 🙂

 

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Around the House…

The decluttering and spring cleaning I wanted to get done has been going sooo slow. It seems like every time I had a moment to work on it I had to set it aside for a family issue or work thing that came up. I have been weeding through closets and have a lot of bags of things to donate but it is slow going. Sigh. However, I suppose a little bit at a time is better than nothing!

 

Family Chit Chat…

Here are some of the things we did this month…we remembered my FIL/ Opa on the 1 year anniversary of his death, we put together our deck garden, Matthew celebrated his 6th birthday, we made the most of Holy Week, we celebrated a lovely Easter, I went on a much needed date with Brian, we played baseball in the driveway and I baked with my aspiring pint-sized chef. 🙂

 

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In the Kitchen…

Photo credit: 100 Days of Real Food

Now that the weather is warmer and we spend more time outdoors, I am craving summer time meals. For a side dish, I have never made homemade baked beans so I want to try these Slow Cooker Baked Beans from 100 Days of Real Food. Yum!

 

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Reading…

I finally posted about the nine books I read from January to March. You can read about them here.

Now sitting on my night stand are these…

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II by Rhys Bowen (Read it for free if you have Kindle Unlimited)

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Edith Stein: The Untold Story of the Philosopher and Mystic Who Lost Her Life in the Death Camps of Auschwitz by Waltraud Herbstrith

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The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

 

Watching…

(MOVIES)

The Zookeeper’s Wife – This book has been on my reading list for awhile but I broke my rule and watched the movie first. I love books and movies that take place in WWII, especially ones that portray the strength of the human spirit. I enjoyed The Zookeeper’s Wife, despite the grim subject matter. The stark contrast of the tranquil beauty of the zoo and the animals at the beginning compared to tragedies after the invasion was heart wrenching. There are some difficult scenes to watch (not so much graphically but emotionally) but in the end a beautiful story emerged from the horrors of war. Rated 4 out of 5 stars. (Parental Note: This movie is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, disturbing images, violence, brief sexuality, nudity and smoking. My note: There are obviously war related scenes including a brief but heartless execution (not graphic), attempted rape, off screen rape of a young girl, no language that I can recall, foreplay between a married couple and a brief view of bare breasts while a husband and wife are talking in bed.)

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Kong: Skull Island – I’d consider this one a popcorn flick – a fun diversion but nothing substantial. The retro 70’s vibe and soundtrack was fun and watching Loki Tom Hiddleston is always a treat but a little forgettable. Rated 3 out of 5 stars. (Parental note: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.)

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The Promise – This movie may not have done well at the box office, but I really enjoyed it. Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, it portrayed the genocide of the Armenians by the Turks. It was a part of history I was only vaguely familiar with and this movie was eye opening. The suffering of the Armenian people was heart-rending. There were scenes that were difficult to watch and I was sobbing during one that was particularly difficult. It was similar to watching a movie about the Jews and the Nazis and wondering how anyone could survive such atrocities and heart ache. It is amazing how strong the human spirit can be, especially when relying on God. The movie touched my heart and I’m glad I watched it. (Parental note: Rated PG-13 for thematic material including war atrocities, violence and disturbing images, and for some sexuality. / My note: Definitely has war atrocities and disturbing images. Two characters have sex but it is not graphic.)

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Boss Baby – Two of my boys wanted to watch this one so we went over the weekend. There were some funny moments but definitely not for those who want to stay away from rude or potty humor. The “I want to be an only child” and “this baby is ruining my life” attitude was annoying but eventually the joys of having a sibling was acknowledged. Thankfully, my boys commented that they’d hate not having brothers to play with so that made me happy. 😉

(TV)

Most of the usual shows we watch will be winding down for the season. We’re almost done with Ironfist but don’t like it as much as we did Daredevil and Luke Cage.

I’ve been enjoying  season 2 of Homefires. I just wish there was a season 3!

There has been a lot of talk about 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. If you are unfamiliar, it is the story of a girl who commits suicide and leaves 13 cassette tapes of the reasons why she chose to kill herself. It would take a separate post to really analyze it and show the pros and (many more) cons. Since this is only a paragraph (or two) I’ll just say this –  The purpose of the book/series was to show how our actions can affect another person but many have complained that the show instead glamorizes suicide. I don’t know if I agree that it glamorizes it but I understand that Hannah can almost seem like a hero to have taught all her “oppressors” a lesson. On the plus side, it shows how our words and actions (or inaction) can affect another person. (Although, some of the 13 reasons may have seemed like “minor” reasons compared to something like rape or inadvertently causing someone’s death but again, that’s a whole other post.)

Unfortunately, the show itself, while addictive, is not appropriate for teens, at least not the teens in my life. If a teen is already living the kind of life portrayed, then they should watch it was a parent of trusted adult. There seems to be little hope and possible triggers for anyone suffering from depression on mental illness.  Besides that, there is language throughout with f-bombs all over the place. (I have a hard time watching  movies with a lot of bad language since I used to talk that way and it is hard to not slip back into that bad habit.) There is teenage drinking, drugs and sex. There are two rapes that are not super graphic but show more than you want to see. Hannah’s suicide is also shown and that was way more graphic (and difficult to watch) than I expected.

All in all, there is a big difference between a 40 year old and a 14 year old watching this. The show completely sucked me in but afterwards I was emotionally drained. It was a sober lesson, especially as a parent. Many students in Bella’s school have been talking about the show and Bella wanted to watch it. I told her what it was about and what it contained. I didn’t want her to put those kind of images into her head. However, if she still really wanted to see it, I would let her but only if we watched it together and I fast forwarded the inappropriate scenes. Thankfully, after we discussed it she said it was not the kind of show she’d want to see. Regardless, we will continue to discuss the themes of the show, especially as she gets further along in high school.

If you want more info, Sr. Helen Burns has many helpful links about 13 Reasons Why on her blog Hell Burns.

Another good article is from Lifeteen – Before You Watch 13 Reasons Why.

 

Listening to …

Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man

 

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revolution of love blog - od_logo_blog

Recent Posts:

Blogging has been light these days.

Book Reviews for 2017 (Part 1): January – March

How Mr. Knightly Helped Me Find Mr. Right

From the Archives

Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Kale(pasta_spinach_logo)In the Kitchen: Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta with Spinach and Kale (May 2016)

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RevolutionofLove.com - Five Favorite Natural Health & Beauty Products (ff_natural_beauty_logo2)5 Favorite Natural Health & Beauty Products (May 2015)

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Despite What You May Think… You Are a Good Mom (May 2014)

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Pinned…

The new 2017-2018 Blessed Is She Liturgical Academic Planner (Aug 2017 – July 2018) is now available for pre-order! I can’t wait! 🙂

 

Around the blogosphere…

Here’s a post I wrote for the Blessed Is She blog – When We’re Carrying A Cross Not Meant for Us

Here are some posts I’ve been reading…

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I’ve been participating in the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Challenge and these are my photos from April.

Week 11: Split Tone

On my morning walk.

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Week 12: Orange

There is a blaze of color in our garden and this coral orange is one of my favorites.

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Week 13: Golden Hour


The setting sun.

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Week 14: Panning

This was tough because I didn’t know what it meant! This is the best I could do at first try. (The slower shutter speed blurs the background as the subject in motion is clear.) #learningasigo_

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Week 15: Hard

The cross is hard both physically and emotionally/ spiritually as you carry your own.

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Week 16: Leading Lines

Leading lines. Taken at my favorite mission.

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So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? What’s currently happening in your life? Any recommendations? Do share.

I’m linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes.

Have a great week!

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

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Book Reviews for 2017 (Part 1): January – March

I am doing the 2017 Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge (the “reading for fun” version) this year and I pledged on Goodreads to read 24 books in 2017. I am on schedule with 9 books so far. Here are the books I’ve read from January to March.

 

The Shoemaker’s Wife

  • Author: Adriana Trigiani
  • Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; 1 edition (August 21, 2012)

Amazon Summary:

A breathtaking multigenerational love story that spans two continents, two World Wars, and the quest of two star-crossed lovers to find each other again. The Shoemaker’s Wife is replete with the all the page-turning adventure, sumptuous detail, and heart-stopping romance that has made Adriana Trigiani, “one of the reigning queens of women’s fiction” (USA Today).

My Thoughts:

The Shoemaker’s Wife takes place in Northern Italy (and later in America) and follows the life of Enza and Ciro. We meet them as children and follow their separate lives filled with some joys and more than their share of tragedies. At the age of 15, Enza and Ciro meet and they are emotionally bonded by a heartbreaking event in Enza’s life. They share a kiss but they go their separate ways, eventually immigrating to America. I especially loved Enza’s story and how she struggled through many trials but managed to keep her faith and her spirit. With the help of her best friend, she accomplishes her dreams and makes a better life. Eventually, Enza and Ciro cross paths again and at times their “on and off” friendship/ relationship gets frustrating, but eventually they figure it out. The author based the story on her grandparents and I was intrigued with their lives as immigrants since my father-in-law and mother-in-law are also immigrants. There are heart breaking moments and testimonies of love. I really enjoyed reading this book. I rated it 4 stars out of 5. (Parental warning: The book contains some adult subjects and a little language.)

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Lady Maybe

  • Author: Julie Klassen
  • Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (July 7, 2015)

Amazon Summary:

In this novel by the three-time Christy Award-winning author of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, a woman’s startling secrets lead her into unexpected danger and romance in Regency England… 

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness… Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie. But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy Julie Klassen’s books, although some more than others. I didn’t care for this one as much but that is mostly because I don’t like stories where a character is lying about something and keeps the truth from everyone around them. I’m always stressed waiting for them to come clean before someone finds out their secret and makes things worse. Some of the plot and the love triangle also left me with mixed emotions. Overall, it was okay but not my favorite.   I give it 3 stars out of 5. (Parental warning: The book contains adult subject matter such as adultery and an unwed pregnancy.)

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North and South

  • Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
  • Length: 490 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 3, 2017); Original book published in 1855.

Amazon Summary:

North and South is a wonderful blend of social comment on the dramatic changes in society brought about by the industrial revolution and a compelling love story. Written from the author’s first-hand experience, the novel follows the story of Margaret Hope, the young heroine, in her move from the tranquil setting in rural southern England to the raw and turbulent northern town of Milton. Margaret takes an instant dislike to her new home and its people. She hates the dirt, noise and lack of civilisation. Her distaste extends to handsome and charismatic cotton mill owner John Thornton whom she believes epitomises everything unpleasant about the North. However, as Margaret gradually begins to settle in Milton, she learns about the poverty and workplace struggles. As events conspire to throw Margaret and Thornton together, the two spirited characters have to overcome their repressed physical attraction for one another and conquer prejudices of class and circumstance. The passion and the history embedded in this narrative is as appealing and engrossing today as when it was first published.

My Thoughts:

I’ve watch the Masterpiece version of North and South more times than I care to admit. It’s a favorite “go to” when I am in the mood for a period drama/ romance. However, I had never read the book. I decided to finally remedy that this year. While the gist of the book was familiar there were so many scenes and parts of dialogue  that brought a whole new dimension to a story I already loved. This is definitely a book I will also re-read again in the future. Some of the chapters of the book I read traditionally and some I listened to audibly. If you do get the audio book I recommend this version with Juliet Stevenson as the narrator. She did a brilliant job. I rate this 5 out of 5 stars.

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Orphan Train

  • Author: Christina Baker Kline
  • Length: 278 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (2013)

Amazon Summary:

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse… As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Thoughts:

The book Orphan Train tells the story of two different girls. Young Vivian, an Irish immigrant and orphan who was one of the children aboard the so called “Orphan Trains. Between 1854 and 1929 these orphan trains traveled to various cities on the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest. The lucky orphans were adopted by loving families. The unlucky ones became mistreated servants, sometimes in abusive house. Vivian was one of the unlucky ones suffering many hardships. The book was difficult to read at times as my anger rose at her mistreatment and my heart broke at her anguish. Difficult but worth it.

Vivian shares the book with Molly, a 17-year old troubled girl who is assigned community service that brings her into the life of Vivian, now an elderly woman. I found Molly’s story less compelling and the ending was  unsatisfying (as if a few chapters were missing) but reading about Vivian’s life made the book worth reading. I rate this 3.5 out of 5 stars. (Parental warning: The book contains adult subject matter including an attempted rape and some language.)

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Truly, Madly, Guilty

  • Author: Liane Moriarty
  • Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books; First Edition edition (July 26, 2016)

Amazon Summary:

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty turns her unique, razor-sharp eye towards three seemingly happy families.

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other. Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite. Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.

 

My Thoughts:

I loved Moriarty’s Big Little Lies and was eager to read her latest work. I wish I could say that I also loved it but I didn’t. The story seemed to drag and I was constantly waiting for the “big reveal” only to be dangled once again. I didn’t like the characters as much as her other stories and finished it just to mark it off my reading list. I still have hope for her other books, however and will read The Husband’s Secret next. I rate this 3 out of 5 stars. (Parental warning: The book is definitely written from a secular worldview. There is language and much adult subject matter but nothing explicit.)

 

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The Blue Castle

  • Author: L.M. Montgomery
  • Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire; Reprint edition (March 4, 2014); Original book published in 1926.

Amazon Summary:

All her life, Valancy Stirling lived on a quiet little street in an ugly little house and never dared to contradict her domineering mother and her unforgiving aunt. Then she gets a letter―and decides that very day things need to change. For the first time in her life, she does exactly what she wants to and says exactly what she feels.

At first her family thinks she’s gone around the bend. But soon Valancy discovers more surprises and adventure than she ever thought possible. She also finds her one true love and the real-life version of the Blue Castle that she was sure only existed in her dreams…

My Thoughts:

When I hear the name L.M. Montgomery, I automatically think of Anne of Green Gables. I did not realize that she wrote other books until The Blue Castle was chosen by Fountains of Carrots as their next book club read. I started it and frankly, at first, I thought I would have to skip the book. Valancy’s life was so depressing with her uncaring family and her suppressed life that I was getting depressed just reading it. However, there is a turning point in Valancy’s life that pushes her out of her comfort zone and allows her true self to emerge. This is when the story really picks up. The Blue Castle turned out to be a delightful story with the happy ending that I craved. I rated it 4 stars out of 5.

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

  • Author: Helen Simonson
  • Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks (2011)

Amazon Summary:

In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition?

My Thoughts:

This is not normally a book I would pickup but I enjoyed the author’s other book The Summer Before the War so I thought I’d give it a try.  Surprisingly, I was completely drawn into the life of the Major and Mrs. Ali and their unconventional love story. The Major’s dry humor continuously left me smiling and I was rooting for them throughout. (Spoiler alert: My only disappointment was when they broke from “tradition” and slept together before marrying. There are some “traditions” that I don’t like to see broken.) With that said, I still thought the book was lovely and enjoyed reading it. I rated it 4 stars out of 5. (Parental warning: There is some adult matter such as racial attitudes, an unwed mother dealing with the father of her child and a couple sleeping together but nothing explicit.)

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