7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 24: Severe Weather Edition

1: Working for a Living

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve written a post. The reason is quite simple: I started a new job where I have actual work to do instead of playing on the internet. Well, I never played on the internet all day, but I spent at least, oh, 5 hours out of 8 with nothing to do. So, I had plenty of time to write and to read blogs. Right now my reader feed has about 30 unread blogs. Overall, I’m so grateful for my new job I could just burst. I went from selling cell phones to preparing zoning reports for commercial real estate properties. However, I must admit, I do miss my blogging time and I hope to start posting regularly again just as soon as I can get into a regular routine.

2: Sisters and Suffering

We currently live in Norman, OK which is so close to Moore, they’re practically the same. I think of Moore as our sister city. Good grief, I do all my grocery shopping in Moore at Aldi, and half the people I work with live in Moore. Moore and Norman share a vocational school–Moore-Norman Technology Center. Whenever I was job hunting, I included Moore in my search area because it’s so very close. My oldest friend lives there, as do several of the women from my guild at church. I could go on and on. This isn’t some distant, unfamiliar place–this is home. The devastation is just unbelievable. Entire blocks just wiped off the map. Whole housing editions reduced to rubble. There are no words.

3. Rubbernecking 

You’ll notice that I’ve posted exactly zero photos of storm damage. That’s because I have none, not one. For the first week after the first storms hit, it was nearly impossible to get into Moore, or so I’ve been told. I didn’t try because I didn’t have any business there, but so many people came to gawk. Now, a lot of people came to help out, and that’s commendable, but to have a look? Now, I fully intend to take a drive through some areas that are familiar to me to see how they fared, but in a few weeks, the damage will still be there, so it can wait. Right now, people need to keep out so that the folks that are trying to get help in–or just trying to get to and from work–are able to get around.

4: The Blame Game

Jennifer wrote a post the other day about the tornadoes that had me seeing red. Yes, I know people can be unimaginably cruel in comboxes, but I was just appalled by one bit in particular.


The tenor of almost all of the negative responses was that the devastation that the people of Moore experienced was ultimately their fault: They supposedly didn’t build their houses out of proper material, they probably supported policies that caused global warming, or they shouldn’t have chosen to live in that part of the country in the first place.


Not the bit about global warming. Or not choosing to live in this part of the country. It was the bit about not building houses out of the proper material. That was the bit that well, stuck in my craw if you want me to get hillbilly hostile about it. Do these people understand what tornadoes do? A tornado will reduce a brick house and a dilapidated shack to an equal amount of crumbs. Furthermore, it will reduce a brick house to crumbs and leave the dilapidated shack next door intact. That’s the horror of it. They come and go where they please with no clear path, constantly changing direction, dropping down in an instant and dissipating in another.

While we’re on the topic, though, this isn’t about where we choose to live. This is our home. Hiding out in makeshift storm shelters is how most of us learned to pray!

5: The Shame Game

I’m not going to name names, but people around here will know who I’m talking about. There are a fair amount of home builders that put up mass produced, cookie cutter homes at a rate that would make your head spin. These homes are good quality, too. If you go to their websites, they’re very energy efficient and have extensive warranties. One thing they do not include is a storm shelter. Now, storm shelters have evolved greatly over the years, and I know several people who have a very small shelter in their garage. These shelters are expensive for a homeowner to install, but they would cost far, far less for the home builder to install. Which brings me to the harshest thing I’ve ever said on this blog, and possibly the harshest thing I’ll ever say:

Any home builder that mass produces homes in Tornado Alley, specifically in the Moore/North Norman area where tornadoes are most common, and doesn’t include a storm shelter should be ashamed of themselves. ASHAMED.

That’s all I have to say about that.

6: Another Round

Tonight, we had another round of tornadoes. WOAH! It was something fierce, let me tell ya. A lot of people got on the road and tried to outrun it, which is a smart thing to do a few hours before the storms hit, but not once the clouds start brewing. Again, you just don’t know which way they’re going to turn, where they’re going to go, when they’re going to drop. You’ve just got to hunker down somewhere (preferably underground) and ride it out.

We had a few hours of anticipation and panic as the storms rolled in. Scott and I kept an eye on the TV as the storm came into Norman. I gathered the cats up in their carrier (much to their disdain), we set flashlights out around the house (you never want to be too far from one when the power goes out!) and Scott filled his water jug up. As we were waiting to see if we needed to go to the neighbor’s house and get in their storm cellar, I started to pray the rosary. Before I could finish, the storm eased up and suddenly, we were in the clear. Isn’t that how life goes? There’s so much to worry about, but all you can do is prepare as well as you can, pray as hard as you can, and before you know it, the storm has passed.

7: Our Lady of Charity

I’m not a bad Catholic, I’m just lazy! Is that better than being bad? Anyway, I’ve had an Our Lady of Charity prayer card for several years now, but I didn’t look up the story until last week. I bought a Lady of Charity candle at Wal-Mart, and I burned it during the May 20th storm, and afterwards, my curiosity finally got the better of me. If you don’t know the history, do not delay! Click on the picture below–you won’t regret it!


Was that an angry rant? I hope it didn’t sound to angry, it’s just been a long couple of weeks! In this calm between the storms, me and mine are all safe and well and I hope the same for you and yours. Pray for Oklahoma and when you’re done, go check out more, hopefully less depressing quick takes at Conversion Diary!

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Dear Rebecca: In Which I Answer Your Burning, Yearning Questions

I am constantly besieged by questions from readers such as yourself. Questions you’re not comfortable with asking me directly, so you type them into a search engine, and then, while looking over your search results, you click on my blog to find the answer! Well, answers you shall have!

who is the patron saint of indecisiveness?StM

This is the most common question I come across, and the answer is easy: there isn’t one. It’s just a clever name for my blog based on someone making a snarky remark about what a bad Catholic I am. Leave indecisiveness behind and make a firm resolution to follow Christ!

I’d also like to throw in, just as a bonus, a little word of affirmation. It’s not just you, it’s really hard to spell the word “indecisiveness!” In fact, that’s probably the number one reason I’m constantly wanting to change the name of my blog. I just can’t decide on a new name.

who is the patron saint of grave diggers?

I certainly hope you’re asking that question as a matter of professional curiosity!

The answer is absolutely fascinating! The first response I got was St. Anthony the Abbot–who was he? That’s a much better question! He was a hermit, who upon hearing the gospel message to give away what we have and follow Christ,  walked out the door of the church and into the unknown to live a life of prayer and fasting, giving away everything he had. St. Anthony wasn’t mere middle class, oh no, he was quite wealthy.

Whenever St. Anthony would learn of someone who was holy, he would travel to see them so that he could imitate their holiness and become closer to God.

Giving up everything wasn’t easy. There were many temptations and struggles, but God spoke to St. Anthony and told him because he persevered that He would protect him forever. At this time, St. Anthony was living in a tomb, so I suppose that’s where the grave digger thing comes from.

Many who came to see St. Anthony were healed, so naturally, more and more people came to see him. Fearing that he would become prideful, St. Anthony fled to the desert, where he was cared for by Saracens until his friends inevitably caught up with him again. He lived to be 105 and is the patron of basket makers, skin diseases, brush makers and gravediggers.

saint michael the arc angle birth and death date?

St. Michael the Archangel is, and has ever been an angel. While he was certainly created at some point, and may someday cease to exist, these moments would not fall within the confines of our modern calendar. I think perhaps you are laboring under the misconception that when we die, we become angels. This is simply not true. Angels and humans are two completely different types of beings and cannot transform into each other. That would be comparable to a dog becoming a cat or a  shrub becoming a rose bush. Your question, however, does give me another opportunity to extol the virtues of saying the St. Michael prayer.

after been gluten free for a week my arm started going numb?

Go to the doctor! ASAP!

cat dressed as pope



doesn’t mea culpa mean?

Mea culpa literally means “my fault.” It is part of one of the forms of the Penitential Rite during Mass (it’s not used very frequently, unfortunately) and the full text is:

Confíteor Deo omnipoténti et vobis, fratres,quia peccávi nimis cogitatióne, verbo, ópere et omissióne:mea culpa, mea culpa, mea máxima culpa.Ideo precor beátam Maríam semper Vírginem,omnes Angelos et Sanctos, et vos, fratres,oráre pro me ad Dóminum Deum nostrum.

Which translates to:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters,that I have greatly sinned,in my thoughts and in my words,in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,through my fault, through my fault,through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,all the Angels and Saints,and you, my brothers and sisters,to pray for me to the Lord our God.

is mazzio’s gluten free pizza safe?

Since it is prepared in a kitchen where products containing gluten are also prepared, it is not considered safe for those with severe reactions to gluten. I would imagine flour flies around and gets on everything so there you go. However, for those who can tolerate trace amounts of gluten, it is absolutely delicious! You may be tempted to eat the whole pizza, so no, it’s not safe at all!

what does repatronizing mean?

I don’t think it means anything–I’m pretty sure I made it up!

what saints practiced temperance?

I’m pretty sure the best answer to that is “all of them.” However, I did find a lovely gem of a prayer for temperance.

too much spinach soup?070

I only include this one because it has been asked FIVE BLOODY TIMES!!!!

Eating too much spinach can cause you to have iron absorption problems, kidney stones, or other digestive problems. You should have green vegetables every day, but it is important to have different vegetables so that you don’t have issues with mineral buildup. Variety is important to a balanced diet.

is st.clare a patron of something or someone?

Yeeeees…For one thing she’s the patron of television, so ask for her aid when you’re searching for wholesome programming on Netflix. St Clare spent an awful lot of time on her sick bed, and when she was too ill to go to Mass, she would see the mass projected on the wall of her chamber.  Though it sounds far fetched, Clare was able to confirm what people were wearing, where they were standing, who was present and other details that she would not have been able to know otherwise. She’s also the patron of eye disease, goldsmiths, laundry,embroiderers, gilders, good weather, needleworkers, Santa Clara Pueblo, telephones, and telegraphs.

Goldsmiths? The Clares are impoverished! Where did that come from?!?!?!

Those crazy patron saints!

imposter pope francis genuflect?


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A Quick Catch-Up

I had fully intended to post extensive reflections about Easter vigil and Easter Sunday because it was an AH-MAH-ZING weekend! Really fantastic, I tell ya. Despite staying up until 4:30AM cleaning the house in anticipation of the resurrection of my blessed Lord, (40 days and 40 nights I had to prepare and I wait until the night before) I went to bed Sunday night smiling and saying over and over again, “It was just a lovely Easter, wasn’t it?”

Well, due to a steady stream of circumstances, I never got around to doing it. In fact, it’s been almost 2 full weeks since I’ve been on here at all. I suppose I was meant to treasure my Easter blessings quietly in my heart instead of sharing them with the world.

So, how does one fail to post a single blog entry during Easter week when she took most of the week off? For one thing, I got myself a new job! It was quite unexpected. I had applied for a position at a commercial real estate zoning company a few weeks ago and had an absolutely tragic interview. I usually do pretty poorly at interviews, but this one took the cake. I was fighting back tears as I walked back to my car, repeating, “Jesus, I trust in You!” until I felt a little peace. It worked–I realized that if I failed in that interview, God didn’t want me at that job. If God did want me to be there, nothing could stand in my way.

Monday, I received an email asking me to fill out a formal application (they had just gone off of my resume before), Tuesday evening, I received a job offer, and Wednesday, I was up at the CellPhone Store putting in my notice! After 2 years of praying for a new job, after searching and searching, finding few prospects and getting even fewer responses, suddenly I’m starting a new adventure! I’m terrified and excited. It’s an 8-5 shift with weekends off, so no more retail hours for me. I’m the kind of person who needs a steady routine, so spending over 2 years on a constantly changing schedule has wreaked havoc on my productivity. The pay…is going to be a little less because I won’t have commission like I do now, but our store traffic is so low I’m hardly making any commission anymore anyway. Regardless, Scott and I have agreed that it will be better for both of us.

I received more good news on Easter Monday: I won Catholic Fiction’s facebook contest for March! I won a $100 Amazon gift card, which I promptly spent on a stand to hang my Topsy-Turvy tomato growers. Go and like their facebook page and maybe you’ll be next! 

Lent was just so stinking LENT this year, but it seems as if the clouds have lifted and the sun is shining through with more warmth than ever. Good news followed by good news. I was disappointed that I was unable to get my garden planted while I had time off, especially since I’ll be getting a lot fewer vacation days at my new job. I’ve been anxious to start growing so I can get some canning done this summer and fall. I was off work yesterday, and I got a lot of aerating and weeding done, but I still wasn’t able to get the planting done.

Just after I finished, a cold front moved in and we’ve had freezing rain all day. If I’d planted last week like I’d wanted to, or even last night, everything would be dead by the end of the day. Thank You, God, for Lent, the season of penance and ash. Without it, we wouldn’t clearly see the mercies You shower on us through Your death and resurrection.



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From the Byzantine Rite

For our Good Friday service, we were treated to a Byzantine Lamentation. It was so lovely, haunting, and true, I wanted to share it.

In a grave they laid Thee,
O my life and my Christ,
And the armies of the Angels were sore amazed
As they sang the praise of Thy submissive love.

Thou hast enjoined Thy commandments, that we should keep them most diligently.

O my dear Christ Jesus,
King and Ruler of all,
Why to them that dwelt in Hades didst Thou descend?
Was it not to set the race of mortals free?

I will confess Thee with uprightness of heart, when I have learned
judgements of Thy righteousness.

In a grave they laid Thee,
O my Life and my Christ,
Yet the Lord of death has Thou by Thy
death destroyed;
And the world of Thee doth drink rich streams of life.

In my heart have I hid Thy sayings that I might not sin against Thee.

O my sweet Lord Jesus,
My salvation, my light,
How art thou now by a grave and its darkness hid
How unspeakable the mystery of Thy love.

Make me to understand the way of Thy statutes, and I will ponder
on Thy wondrous works.

Thou, O Christ was buried
In a tomb newly made,
Thus renewing the whole nature of mortal men
By arising from the dead as God in truth.

Before I was humbled, I transgressed therefore Thy saying have I

“Who will give me water
For the tears I must weep?”
So the Maiden wed to God cried with loud lament,
“That for my sweet Jesus I may rightly mourn.”

Thou art good, O Lord and in Thy goodness teach me Thy statutes.

Savior, Thou wast hidden
‘Neath the earth like the sun,
And was covered as with shrouds by the right of death.
But more radiantly do Thou arise, O Lord.

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A Most Unwelcome Homily

Last Monday, my Kindle Fire announced a new post was available in my Google Reader (which I need to just delete and move on, but it’s tough) and the moment I glanced at it in my feed, I knew I didn’t want to read it. There was nothing in the title that was would cause offense, and I wouldn’t be following the blog if I didn’t enjoy the posts. However, despite the seemingly benign nature of this post, I was consumed with dread at thought of reading it. Was it a premonition or just a lazy bone? Who can say? I just know that I did not want to read that post!

So, I did what all good Catholics do when we there is a particular task we are avoiding and it’s right smack in the middle of Lent: I forced myself to sit down and read that article. And I was right–it was a message I did not want to hear.

Throwing the First Stone by 8 Kids and a Business is a transcript of Father Eric Mah’s homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent. Read it if you dare. Here’s a particularly unsettling excerpt:

The French philosopher René Girard has spent much of his career studying the particular psychology – and even spirituality – of the mob.  And he basically says this: human communities – whether we’re talking about families, towns, cities or even nation states – are typically characterized by a sense of tension, rivalry and conflicting desires.  In other words, there’s only so many things to go around – we all want the same thing – and so, we fight!  And so, again, there’s this ongoing sense of tension and conflict within the community.

Now, the question arises: how does a community deal with this sort of problem?  Well, according to Girard, one of the classic ways in which we deal with it is that we tend to scapegoat.  And scapegoating is essentially this: the town – the community – or the mob finds some person or some group upon whom they can project their own sense of tension and violence.  And so, the violence that would otherwise destroy the community is now channelled and transferred onto the scapegoat.

And what does this do?  Well, oddly enough, it does seem to effect a kind of peace and unity within the community.  In other words, we do tend to bond and come together – precisely through our common hatred of a particular person or group.  The down side, of course, is that it’s a very phony and unstable kind of peace – because it’s ultimately based on something that’s actually very evil.    

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me, this has been a long time coming. I have just been waiting to be scolded for this since, oh, Junior High? There was a situation where there was tension and unrest in my little circle of friends. This went on for some time before one of my friends was brave enough to say something. She was, therefore, declared the source of all of our problems and was shut out. The next few weeks, those of us that remained bonded like we never had before. There was no more infighting–but it was an uneasy peace, because I could not escape the reality that we had obtained this new strength by standing against one of our friends.

I’d love to say my worry stemmed from my love for my friend, but it didn’t. I was mostly concerned that I would become the next scapegoat. We all had our turn, I think, and learned nothing.

Of course, I don’t have to worry about such things anymore since I’ve crossed over into adulthood, right?

After going out with a friend a few months ago, I came home in a cloud of frustration. “We’re not really friends!” I told Scott, “She just wants to talk trash to me about XXXX and I don’t want to anymore!” What upset me most was that I was so easily led into temptation and said horrible things about people I love very much. And whatever for? I knew the answer: ENVY. That’s the big one. I envy what someone else has and I need someone to blame for what I lack. Envy leads to gossip leads to scapegoating and where does it go next? Scapegoating is a poor foundation for relationships, but how many relationships do we have that are based solely on tearing others down?

I decided to take a step back. If I can’t control my trash talking with certain people, maybe we should spend less time together until I can. I blame no one but myself–I know what is good to say and what is destructive, but I react so very poorly to temptation, it makes me sick.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold into slavery to sin. What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I concur that the law is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Romans 7:14-20

I want to cry and scream in frustration when I read this passage. In the moment, when my frustrations are boiling over, it seems just to point a finger, but almost instantly, I’m filled with regret. I’ve driven a wedge between myself and the ones I love, and by my poor example, I’ve lead others astray. Worse still, I’ve also turned my back on God. All so I could blame someone for something that was never really their fault.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

That homily cut like a knife, but we need a knife to cut the cancer from our hearts sometimes.

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