7 Quick Takes for this Gray and Occasionally Sunny November Day

Today I am linked up over at Jennifer Fulwiler’s Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes. Join us with your quick takes for the week here:

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1.  My husband and I bought our first home together in May of this year.  We actually ended up in the town where our parish is located (long story as to why we drove 30 minutes to Mass…let’s just say “spirit of Vatican II” and leave it at that).  My husband now commutes every day, but we think that it is worth it.  We have been blessed with even more friendships through our church and have been able to get more involved.  We have become good friends with a family with four girls.  I teach junior high religious ed with the dad/husband.  They are our board game friends.  We have almost made Sunday dinner and games a ritual.  We chat after Mass and then end up planning to play games and have dinner later that day.  It has been a great blessing for us.  When we lived in Boone, NC we had a couple we used to play Settlers of Cataan and pinochle with.  Now we play all kinds of games with our friends from church, including a Star Trek version of Settlers (so awesome!).
2.  I am learning to enjoy reading the same book over and over again to my toddler.  One of my blog readers from CatholicMom.com pointed out that I  need to foster a love of “nonsense” with my child.  I thought about it and decided that she is right.  I used to have a great imagination and I am working on my first novel, so I should be able to read Pinkalicious to my daughter and enjoy it, even if it is not one of my favorite books.  Michaela is even “reading” to herself these days and that makes me so proud.
3.  Conquering my coffee addiction is not going so well (she says while slurping down a peppermint mocha).  Facebook was easy for me, compared to coffee.  I think that some of my readers are misunderstanding my conquering addictions.  Holiness is about letting go of the things we allow to control us, so that we are free to enjoy them in moderation.  Facebook was leading me to sin. Coffee is an addiction, not something that I merely enjoy.  God gave us these gifts as “pleasant inns” to borrow from CS Lewis.  That means we enjoy them, but not allow them to consume us.  If we read the works of the Saints, we will see how they call us to detach from those things that control us, which really means things that replace God in our lives.  Today, I did not do as well as I wanted with the coffee, but I will try again tomorrow and by God’s grace be freed from my addiction, and hopefully some day just be able to enjoy coffee, rather than feel I “need” it.  A priest told me that I needed to do this in Confession recently.   No one “needs” coffee he said.
4. I got to go on an impromptu date with my husband last  night.  My awesome friend Christine (you can check her blog,, Domestic Vocation, out here) agreed to babysit our toddler with 2 hours notice.  We had not been on a date in over two months.  I am sure all of you parents understand.  We had a nice dinner at a cafe downtown.  We even walked down the street holding hands.  Some day that will embarrass our daughter.  I think when  we kiss it already embarrasses her.  There are such similarities between a two year old’s reactions and a teenager’s.
5.  This past week our junior high religious ed class discussed vocations.  Have you talked about vocations with your kids?  The most important thing we discern is where God is calling us to.  Not everyone is called to marriage, even though that is what our society tells us.  We need to encourage vocations to the Priesthood or religious life.  Here are two great videos to share with your kids about vocations.  The first is for young men on the Priesthood and the second is for young women on becoming a sister or nun.

6.  I have a confession to make.  I do not make my pancakes from scratch.  I think about it, but the box of multi-grain pancakes at Kroger is so much easier.  I just add water, and then, whatever I want.  This morning I made sweet potato pancakes with the leftover mashed sweet potatoes from dinner two nights ago.  I followed the directions on the box and then added 3/4 of mashed sweet potato puree, and a dash of cinnamon.  They were so good.  I did not even use syrup.  You can add whatever you want.  One of my favorites is cottage cheese and blueberries.  Give it a try!  Sneak some healthy stuff into those pancakes for picky eaters.
7.  This song is so beautiful.  I hope it blesses you as you go into your weekend. My husband and I saw Casting Crowns in concert when we were dating.  It was a great show.

7 Quick Takes-Early October Edition

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This week we started Fr. Barron and Word on Fire’s, http://www.wordonfire.org, new Catholicism series that focuses on the New Evangelization.  Just like the first Catholicism series, it is rich and beautiful.  This particular study is much shorter and has a discussion and homework element.  The aim is to get Catholics sitting in the pews involved in evangelizing the world.  That word can have a negative connotation, but it is not the same thing as proselytizing.  We have been given the Good News and the key to Eternal Life.  We should joyfully want to share this gift by the way we live and in the relationships we foster with the people who cross our path.  Most importantly, we must learn to listen.  We must open our hearts to where people are on the journey.  That does not mean sacrificing our beliefs (think “the Spirit of Vatican II”), it just means working through the path with someone without expecting them to be where we are in our path to holiness. The Church must go out into the world and meet the world.  We are not to be formed by the world, but to bring the world to Christ.  This is a wonderful series and I recommend getting it for your parish.

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 Nothing makes my blood boil like injustice, and yes, I struggle with sinful anger.  It can be large or small.  When I was in the Navy and I heard they were building a World War II memorial in Washington DC, I sent them a donation and had my two deceased grandfathers added to the registry.  My dad’s dad was in the USMC and was on the initial assault at Iwo Jima and my mom’s dad was in the Army Air Corps and fought in the European Theater.  These men remain large in my memory.  Men of courage, devotion, and great love for their families.  That is why when I heard that this Admin maliciously closed the WWII memorial, especially in the face of Veterans, I was livid.  I lived in DC for 4 years.  The memorials are wide open and have no security.  This move was purely out of small minded and spiteful motives.  To make 80 and 90 year old men who gave everything to this nation come to tears because they had traveled so far only to be turned away, was unconscionable to me.  This may seem small to some people, but it is indicative of a government that cares for no one and that has become so entrenched in the Culture of Death and the principle of “me” that they cannot even grasp small injustices.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not happy with either Party.  I just think the Left is further along in the Culture of Death than the Right.  I don’t know how long that gap will exist, though.  If you have not heard about this story, look it up.  Of course the mainstream media, which is really a propaganda arm, did not show this story and the pettiness of the people in charge in this country.  In the face of my frustration, all I can do is pray for these people.  And as time goes on, it is becoming clearer to me just how much prayer they need and how much our country needs.
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On the same day that I was fuming about Washington, my daughter reminded me that I need to focus on the small blessings in my life, because they give me great joy.  Michaela was sitting on the porch with our small Mary and Baby Jesus statue with it on her lap and carrying on a conversation with them.  I told her they can hear her in Heaven.  I had gone to do something in the kitchen, when I discovered that she had snuck the statue in and was snuggling with it on the couch.  It melted my heart.  It was so sweet.
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This week I had to start giving myself my HCG shots to see if we can get my hormones to rise.  The goal is to make it possible to carry another baby and to help with my anxiety and depression.  I had a nurse friend show me how to do it the other night.  The needle is quite small, but I chickened out.  I have had countless shots and blood draws and the needles never bother me.  It is another matter, when you have to stab yourself and watch yourself do it.  I had her do the first shot.
Last night I had to do my second shot.  I was determined, but contemplated taking a shot of vodka beforehand.   I said a Hail Mary and stabbed myself in the stomach.  I was so proud of myself.  One down, and who knows how many, but a lot to go.   The shots don’t hurt.  It is just a mental block.
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My daughter is awesome.  Earlier this week, she put on her superhero cape and then proceeded to tell me that she was going to cook Baby Jesus dinner.  After all, He is hungry, she told me.  If she is going to desire to cook a meal for anyone, I would say Jesus is the best choice.
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As I suspected would happen, we had a cool September and now we are having a hot October in Southwest Virginia.  That means the stinkbugs have decided that our house is some form of retirement home.  The problem is, they don’t pay rent and my daughter yells at me to get rid of one every time she sees one, which is about once every 10 minutes.
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We grew sunflower this past summer with the idea that we would roast the seeds.  We discovered that it is a lot of work for something that we do not eat very often.  The birds got to some of the flowers first and then when we washed and tried to dry the seeds in the sun, the squirrels got into them.  As I went to roast them last night, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed that we could grow the flowers to feed the wildlife and enjoy their happy countenance in the garden in August.  As for roasting them, nah.  The squirrels are happy and so are we.
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