Revolution of Love

Revolution of Love

Do small things with great love.

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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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.”

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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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What are you reading? Or what do you recommend?

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How Mr. Knightly Helped Me Find Mr. Right

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Like many women, my love of Jane Austen began in my teen years but it wasn’t until my 20’s that the lessons of her heroines and their leading men started to affect the way I viewed dating in my own life.

A Little Backstory

Back in the 90’s when I was in college and began to date more seriously, I had fallen away from my faith and dated guys without much thought to the type of men they were. If I were to relate to any of Jane Austen’s characters, I would definitely have been Marianne Dashwood dating a string of wrong-for-me Willoughbys. I had a knack for falling in love with man-boys who were poetically trying to “find themselves” and didn’t have any direction in their lives.

In my early twenties, I came back to the faith in a strong way and narrowed the dating pool to Christian men. However, when it came down to getting more serious, our differing faiths always stopped us from continuing the relationships.

During this time, God was also working on my heart at a deeper level. Specifically, I was wondering if I had a religious vocation. Frankly, the thought seemed absurd at first. I was Marianne Dashwood destined for romance and love!

However, after two years of turning my life upside down and seriously discerning, I reached a point of total surrender to God and accepted a call to a religious vocation. It was a time of deep spiritual growth and God wanted my unreserved “Yes.” Ironically, once I reached that point God made it known to me (and my spiritual director) that I was called to the married life.

This put me back into the dating scene, which scared me a little since I hadn’t had the best of luck. I remember my mom making an observation that I always picked guys who needed to be “fixed” and never a guy who motivated me to better myself. She said I needed to find qualities in a man that lifted me up and challenged me to be the best version of myself – a man who was seeking the Kingdom of God and who would work alongside me on our journey of faith. This was exactly what God had been putting on my heart and hearing my mom say the words out loud confirmed it.

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In Steps Mr. Knightly

During this time in the mid to late 90’s, there was a slew of Jane Austen movie adaptations – Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslette, Persuasion with Ciaron Hinds and Amanda Root, and Emma with Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong, to name a few. I loved those movies but the 1995 Emma really took hold of my heart.

A part of me didn’t like Mr. Knightly at first because he was so serious and judgmental of Emma. But another part of me admired him because he loved Emma enough to speak freely to her and to call her out when she was behaving badly. He loved her, faults and all, but challenged her to be a better version of herself. I watched the movie and read the book more than once and each time Mr. Knightly’s qualities shone brighter. There was a kindness and compassion in the way he cared for his tenants and rescued Jane Fairfax from her humiliation. He displayed quiet generosity in the way he did little things for his neighbors without fanfare. Plus, his maturity and wisdom allowed him to see beyond the obvious in situations, such as his suspicions of Jane and Frank.

I thought of all these things as I stared at the TV screen and thought – I need to find a Mr. Knightly!

It may sound like a joke, but the thought would not leave me. I was determined to break the cycle of dating the wrong kind of man. I knew I had a weakness for “needing” to be in a relationship even if it was a bad one. I knew I had to start dating with God and my faith in mind. I needed to understand that it was okay to be one my own and wait for the right kind of guy.

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So I sat down at my desk and made a list of all the qualities I should be looking for in a man I dated. I crossed out all the superficial things I loved (like he wore Doc Martens or Converse and listened to alternative music) and instead thought of Godly things that mattered.

All these years later, I still have that list. It reads:

  1. God is #1 in his life.
  2. He is Catholic.
  3. He actually lives his faith and is seeing holiness.
  4. He has a job capable of supporting a family.
  5. He loves his family and respects his parents.
  6. He loves my family and mom likes him.
  7. He loves children and is open to life.
  8. He has a beautiful smile and a sense of humor.
  9. We have things in common to talk about and discuss.
  10. He has traits of Mr. Knightly that will inspire and encourage me to seek greater holiness.

I copied the list onto a piece of paper that I would use as a book marker in my planner. I added a photo of Mr. Knightly from the movie as a reminder to stand firm and not give into the next cute agnostic poet who was out of a job and living in his parent’s basement. I knew I may not find someone with ALL these qualities but I needed to at least start working towards that goal.

How Does the Story End?

I wish I could say that after this revelation I found Mr. Right immediately but I did not. However, every day when I saw my little Mr. Knightly list, I prayed for my future husband. I asked that God strengthen him in his faith and prepare both our hearts for our future marriage. It was difficult, sometimes really difficult, to be patient and to trust in God when I saw no answer in sight, but I persevered.

What I didn’t know at the time was that my future husband (Brian) was in the seminary and he was going through his own vocational discernment. He was praying to God for guidance. He eventually discerned that he was called to marriage and left the seminary to return home. He prayed a nine-day novena to Our Lord asking God to help him in finding his future wife. On the ninth and last day of his novena we happened to “meet” online. (Talk about answered prayer!)

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There began a friendship that was to blossom into love. I had found a man who was unlike any other guy I had ever dated. (My mom still marvels over that!) No man is perfect, but Brian was a perfect match for me – he had the qualities I was looking for and challenged me and inspired me to be a better person. He gave me roots to tame my flightiness. In turn, I challenged him to love and laugh more and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. We complimented one another. I had found my version of Mr. Knightly and I’m happy to say that 18 years later he still makes my heart skip a beat.

A Note to My Single Friends

If you find yourself dating the wrong kind of men, maybe it’s time to quiet yourself before God and ask him why. Is there a deeper reason you keep choosing the wrong kind of guys? Do you feel like you don’t deserve anyone better? Do you have the need to be a guy’s savior? Do you need healing from past hurts or bad habits? I’d recommend finding someone to discuss these concerns with you – a priest, a spiritual director, or a friend who is knowledgeable and strong in the faith.

Maybe there is no deeper reason and you just need to be a little more discretionary in who you date. If it will help, make a list! Ask God what qualities you should be looking for in a man – not superficial things like blonde hair and blue eyes or tall, dark and handsome – but the things that matter. Is he a Godly man? Does he take his faith seriously? Is he honest? Does he have integrity or are there red flags? Do you have things in common? Does he inspire you to love God more? These are the kind of qualities that will make a strong foundation for a relationship and eventually a marriage. No man is perfect (and you and I certainly aren’t) but you want someone willing to work towards holiness with you.

Or perhaps, you aren’t dating Mr. Wrong and you know what you are looking for in a man but you still haven’t found Mr. Right. When I was single, I hated when people told me to be patient and wait for God’s timing. It’s easy to say but sometimes it sucks to live it out. I knew I had to trust and be patient but it wasn’t always easy.

However, I found that the waiting was less difficult when I, first, keep myself close to God and worked on my relationship with Christ. Second, when I kept myself busy with life and doing God’s will for me at that moment. Lastly, when I prayed for my future husband. When the heart ache came to me I offered it up to God for my future husband and whatever struggles he was going through at that moment. This helped keep hope in my heart, knowing that my prayers could help him even though we were separated at this time.

As someone who felt like the least likely to find true love, I say wholeheartedly, don’t lose hope. God is capable of doing amazing things when you follow His path and trust his timing.

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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Online Daybook and 7QT: March 2017

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od_logo_quiet2Grateful for…

  • The love of my family and friends.
  • Spring flowers blooming everywhere.
  • God’s mercy and His untiring desire to pick us up when we fall.
  • Food on the table, a roof over our head and material blessings we often take for granted.

Praying for..

  • Many special intentions from friends.
  • Those fighting addiction and mental illness.
  • Those suffering from illness, injustice and abuse.
  • 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…

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my father-in-law’s death. I was looking over my Daybook post I wrote a year ago and it brought all the memories and tears back. I wrote…

It was a Wednesday and I stopped by the nursing home to visit with him. After his third stroke he was no longer able to speak but I chatted with him about the kids and Brian. At one point I felt like an idiot, not knowing if he even knew who I was or if he understood what I was saying. I was hoping that my voice wasn’t like an annoying buzz in his ear. He looked at me and smiled but there was no connection when our eyes met. He drifted off to sleep and I was going  to leave but I thought I would stay just a few more minutes.

He woke back up and he looked at me and smiled but then he looked at me more intently and I saw it in his eyes, that glimmer. He smiled deeper and I saw the recognition. He knew it was me. I chatted a little and them he tried to talk to me. He grunted and tried to speak with emphasis but his words came out like gibberish. I listened then smiled and kissed his cheek and said, “I know, dad. That’s great.” He smiled back at me contently and I rubbed his shoulder until he dosed off again. Finally I kissed him good bye and let him sleep. I’d never see him open his eyes again.

© Revolution of Love.com - cwa_4_14_16__mvx_opaMatthew holding Opa’s hand.

The next day Brian went to see his dad on his lunch break and the nurse said he was not doing well. He was asleep in bed and unresponsive. They could not get him to wake up to eat or drink. They told us that he’d most likely pass away in a day or two. Luckily the kids were off of school for Easter break so we all went over to the Center to sit with him, hold his hand and just be with him. Afterwards we said our final goodbyes to Opa and told him we loved him in case he passed away in the night while we were gone. I took the kids home and Brian stayed with my mother-in-law. Later he came home and my MIL stayed until the nurses told her to go home and get some sleep and they’d call her if anything happened.

The next morning Brian took the day off work and instead went to sit with Opa. He had a feeling today would be the day. He took the first shift to sit with Opa and then we’d meet him there after I fed the kids breakfast. Brian texted me and said Opa was just the same as yesterday. He was still sleeping and his heart rate was still low. While Brian was there he prayed for Opa and read to him the scripture about the Jesus’ resurrection. When he finished reading, Opa opened his eyes for the first time in two days. He stared off into the distance and then turned his head and looked at Brian. Then he closed his eyes and fell back asleep. Then he passed away. Brian said the whole room was filled with peace. Moments later I arrived with the kids. Brian told us that he just passed so we went in and kissed him goodbye again one last time. I took the kids back to the car so they would not have to see my MIL grieve over my FIL’s body. It was a piercing scene that leaves me in tears whenever I remember it.

The grief completely drained me but later I was able to feel relief that my FIL’s physical suffering was over. I am glad that his last days were filled with smiles and his eyes lighting up when he saw the kids. Even if he could not speak, we treasured the moments when we could see his joy in the simple pleasures of a kiss on the check or a picture the kids drew for him. He will always live on as we remember his loving smile, his tenacious spirit and his generous heart. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.

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Sometimes, I feel close to Opa and ask him to pray for us, as we pray for him each day. Other times I feel the emptiness of not having him around. I miss him.

 

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Around the House…

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You will find pockets of quiet prayer and pockets of wild abandon.

 

 

Family Chit Chat…

 

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Here are some of the things we did this month…enjoyed the warmer weather, got stomach bugs, planted spring flowers, took field trips, went to the movies, had library days, had mom and daughter days out, took walks on the beach and went on a out-of-the-house date. 🙂

 

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In the Kitchen…

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Earlier this week on Instagram’s instastories I made Spanish cauliflower rice. Some watchers wanted to know where I got the recipe. I used the recipe from Wholesomelicious.com. (See the pin below.) The only difference is that I also added a tsp of chili powder to the recipe. 🙂

 

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Reading…

Okay, I seriously need to sit down and write a post about  the last few books I’ve read, which includes these…

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

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The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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Truly, Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

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The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Watching…

(MOVIES)

I saw a number of movies in February and March. I wanted to see all the movies nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. I watched three more on the list. My favorite of the three was Hidden Figures.

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I went to see this movie on a whim since the movie was starting at the time I was available. After walking out of the movie it became my favorite of 2016. Hidden Figures is the story of three amazing women mathematicians working at NASA – Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They lived in a time when society viewed them as “less than” for being both African American and women. I bristled at some of the scenes of prejudice and it made me want to knock some heads together but their frustration did not squelch their passion. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary’s stories of perseverance and determination was able to shine thanks to a well written story, excellent acting and touches of humor. This is a must-see movie. (Parental note: Rated PG for thematic elements and some language.)

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After the death of his older brother, Lee is shocked to find out that he has been named his 16 year old nephew’s guardian. Lee moves back to his hometown where he must face his demons and a painful past. This is the perfect movie to watch when you want to wallow in some sadness and have an ugly cry. I rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars, Parental note: Rated R for some sexual content and language throughout.

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This movie is about two brothers who live a modern day story or David and Goliath or Robin Hood in the setting of a dusty Texan town. I found myself torn between rooting for the good “bad guys” or the likable sheriff trying to track them down. Franky, I was a little surprised this was one of the best movies of the year. I enjoyed it and Brian liked all the action but it didn’t seem like the typical nominee.  I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. Parental note: Rated R for some strong violence, language throughout and brief sexuality.

On the tamer sides of things, I also watched…

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The Lego Batman Movie was hilarious. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – me or the kids. There are a few scary parts with the villains (some of the chosen villains are genius) that may upset the youngest of your little ones but otherwise, if you enjoyed The Lego Movie, make sure to watch this one too.  I rated it a 4.5 out of 5. Parental note: Rated PG for rude humor and some action.

beautyandthebeast

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Beauty and the Beast and rumbles that it wasn’t that good, but personally, I loved it. I thought it was beautiful as it stayed true to the story of love and redemption from the original and added more depth to the story line of Belle and the Beast in regards to their mothers. The music was wonderful and I enjoyed the added songs. For those who asked me about a gay agenda in the movie, there was innuendo done for laughs that would most likely go over a child’s head. Frankly, if I was someone hoping for a “gay moment” I would have disappointed that I received so little. (Granted that is just my opinion. If you are concerned, screen it before you take your children.) My boys had no interest in the movie since there were no light sabers or super heroes but Bella and I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope to see it again. Parental note: Rated PG for peril, frightening images and some action violence. (If you want a more in-depth review, I found this one helpful.)

(TV)

Most of the usual shows we watch of winding down for the season. Tonight we’ll watch the final Grimm episode and continue with Ironfist on Netflix.

We also are looking forward to season 2 of Homefires, which I believe starts Sunday on PBS.

 

Listening to …

Human by Rag’n’Bone Man

 

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Recent Posts:

I’ve been on a blogging break so there’s not much.

From the Archives

revolution of love blog - quote_obedience_faustinaI Am the Handmaid of the Lord (March 2015)

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Restore Workshop – Lessons Learned (Vol 1): Melt Downs, Being at Peace & Theme Thursday: Hear (March 2014)

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Five Favorites & Five Things & Liebster Award (March 2013) This was a funny one to go back and read. 🙂

 

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Pinned…

pin_cal_riceCauliflower Spanish Rice by Wholesomelicious.com.

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I love these new products in the Blessed Is She shop…

Grace before Meals Prayer Poster

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Blessed Is She Knotted Rosary (I just purchased this one!)

 

Around the blogosphere…

Here are some posts I’ve been reading…

Also, did you know that Blessed Is She also has a blog?? There are some great posts on their about faith, life, entertainment and more! Check it out.

 

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

Week 5: Take 10 shots and choose your favorite.

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I love the water drop that almost looks metallic.

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Week 6: Candy

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My eye candy. #penandpapernerd

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Week 7: Forgotten

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You are guaranteed to find a forgotten warrior around the house any day of the week. #lifewithboys

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Week 8: One Shot

RevolutionofLove.com - photo_challenge_2017_week_8Dewdrops after the morning rain.

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Week 9: Still Life

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Lenten reflections.

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Week 10: Perspective

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Changing the perspective changes a mug and a cloud into a cuppa Joe. 😉

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Lastly, this one wasn’t part of the photo challenge but I snapped it on my phone during a walk this week and I’m smitten with the loveliness of God’s creation.

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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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Unbound and Our Sponsored Child

During Lent, we focus on three areas – prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Today I want to share with you about one of the our favorite charities that we support through our almsgiving.

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Unbound, formerly known as CFCA (Christian Foundation for Children ad Aging,) began in 1981. Unbound has a beautiful history that started with three, brothers, a sister and a best friend.

The vision for Unbound began with Bob, Bud and Jim Hentzen, their sister Nadine Hentzen Pearce and their friend Jerry Tolle. Bob and Jerry were former missionaries who, while working in Latin America, witnessed the devastating effects of poverty on families struggling heroically to make better lives for their children. Guided by faith and rooted in Catholic social teaching, the founders envisioned a program that would invite people to partner with families to support, encourage and empower them.

Read more here.

Our family first learned about Unbound in 2011 from friends of ours that was sponsoring a child. I liked the fact that the program not only helped one child but their whole family and offered ongoing support for them to grow and better their lives. Unbound believes the following:

Poverty isn’t just about lack of money — it’s about lack of choices. We’ve found that families make good choices when they have support and encouragement. They invest in the education of their children. They develop livelihoods and become active community participants in the spirit of true sustainability. We work with families at the grassroots level with local staff. Our social workers visit the homes of the families and listen to their needs. They work with children to set education goals. They visit the elderly. They bring families together in small groups to support one another and improve their community.

I was impressed by the work that Unbound does and the percentage of funds that goes to the program vs the administration (92.6%.) I also liked the fact that we’d be able to write to our sponsored child and keep in touch with them through the program. (However, your personal info is kept confidential.) I talked to Brian and made sure the cost fit into our tithing budget and when it did , we prayed to the Holy Spirit to help us chose a child to sponsor.

Since we have so many boys in the house I thought it would be nice to sponsor a girl that Bella could write to as well. We chose the country of Mexico (since mi familia is Hispanic) and I picked a couple of cute little girls in need of help. Bella was ten years old at the time and I let her look over the profiles and pick the one we should sponsor. Of all the smiling faces and cute grins Bella chose a girl close to her age that looked more serious. Her name was Abigal, or as her friends liked to call her, Abi.

We took Abi’s photo and placed it on our home prayer table as a reminder to pray for her each day.

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In our first letter from Abi, she tells us about her life and her family but it is the closing paragraph that brought a tear to my eyes. The translation reads:

“I promise I will make a big effort in the school so that you become proud of me. I will pray every day for you from now on so that God takes care of you and pours blessings upon you wherever you are. I have to close for now. I love you. Your sponsored friend, Abigal”

As the years pass, Abi gets older and she shares with us news of her family – her mom, grandmother and uncles. We in turn share about our lives. This is one of my favorite letters from her.

Dear Bobbi,

Warm greetings to you and your family because you are helping me. Thank you! I love you very much and I pray for you everyday so that you may be healthy and you may always have a job and daily bread. I have the pictures of you next to my Virgin of Guadalupe so that she can take care of you wherever you are and she may cover you with her mantle.

I had a great time at Christmas because at the Foundation all the moms organized games for us so we could have fun and we could meet other sponsored children. My mom participated in the games. They gave us something to eat, gave us gifts, clothes and a small bag of candy. All this is possible thanks to you who give us our financial support. On the other hand, I would like to tell you that my mom and grandparents are very happy because you are helping me and they say that you are part of our family now.

Let me tell you too, that I am going to receive my First Communion. My grandmother goes to the handcrafts workshops that they give at the Foundation because they teach me how to make bracelets, necklaces, earrings and now they are making rosaries. My grandmother is teaching me how to make a rosary.

I am saying good bye and letting you know that I pray to God so that He may take care of you. I wish that with all of my heart. May He bless you wherever you are!

Abigail

I was so touched by her words and how our money was not only helping Abi but her mom and and extended family. It was having a positive effect on them and their community. As years passed, we continued to share about our lives in letters. When Brian was sick with cancer, Abi’s mom and grandmother were especially praying for him and placing him in the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This little girl touched my heart and it was a joy to watch her grow and do well in her schooling from a little eight year old to a teenager.

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Abi over the years and with her mom and grandmother. We finally see her smile. 🙂

We spent the last five years getting to know Abi and her family. Unfortunately, it had to come to an end. The Unbound program in her area had to close due to its remote location, the challenges of providing adequate supervision and support and the risks to the staff presented by the growing violence in the region. We are sad that we can no longer support Abi financially but we continue to pray for her and her family every night.

I her last letter she wrote:

I write these lines to thank you for all your support during these years. You chose me among many. Your support was useful in my life. Thanks a million for caring about us! I also pray to God and the Virgin and I will make an effort to get ahead. My studies helped me to learn to share my things and to be a better person. My family is proud of you. I have to say goodbye but I thank you for the support you gave me five years ago. It was a foundation that helped me a lot. Love, Abi

Our chapter with Abi has closed but she will always have a special place in my heart.

We wanted to continue to support Unbound and their work so we decided to chose another child to sponsor. This time I let the boys choose. I picked out a few boys from various regions and we looked at their profiles.

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They finally decided on Kevin Andres from Columbia. His profile states that he is an active five year old boy living with his parents and two sisters. He likes to explore and playing with his friends and toys.

We just received our first letter from Kevin’s father who says:

Dear Bobbi,

I greet you very affectionately wishing that when you receive this letter you are well of health and being.

I am Bernardo, Kevin’s father. I am writing this letter because Kevin is only 5 years old and he will begin school in January, God willing. Kevin is very affectionate. He likes to sing very much and to play with his toys. He is very intelligent and likes to ask many questions. He has a dog that he loves very much. Kevin does much and he does it heartily. Kevin lives in a rented house with his mother, his father and his two sisters who are 12 and 14.

I heartily thank you for having sponsored Kevin now that he needs it. Many, many thanks and God will bless you always. Cordially, Bernardo.

We look forward to our new adventure with Kevin. We pray he is blessed by Unbound just as Abi was.

For information about how you and your family can sponsor a child in need, visit Unbound.

Also, if you follow me on Instagram, on Friday 3/17/17, I’ll be on the Blessed Is She account talking about Almsgiving for Lent and our experience with Unbound. Then at 6PM PST/ 9 PM ET, I’ll be LIVE to anser your questions and to pray a decade of the rosary with you. Hope to see you there!

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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