7 Quick Takes Friday

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!

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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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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 23

 

 

1: Nothing to Fear

I have some outstanding news this week! I officially have a new fear to add to the top 10 list! YES! Ever since I got over my fear of swimming in the ocean, I’ve been worried that an empty spot had been created that would never be filled. However, last Friday, Jennifer shared with us the details of having filters placed in her veins and it really struck a chord with me. I read the description, then read it again, then read it aloud to Scott. Then, I just sat on the couch with my Kindle Fire in my lap, put my hands over my face, and screamed and screamed. I certainly hope the procedure will help dear Jennifer not to have such dreadful issues with blood clots anymore, but I have to stop thinking about it now because my veins hurt and I want to cry.

2: Suffering, Schmuffering

Since Lent began, I have struggled with every one of my commitments, broken every one, and I’ve been hit with one attack after another. A few days ago, while working at The CellPhone Store, I was dealing with a particularly nasty customer. She made it a point to find error in everything I did, demanded that I adjust fees that I could not adjust, threatened to cancel her account if I didn’t do as she said, and stated that she would call in and complain about me for refusing to do everything she asked. I just wanted to bawl. I was running on 4 hours of sleep, so I was already exhausted, and after arguing with her for over an hour on every single step of her phone upgrade, I was ready to just walk out the door. Why? Why have I been chosen to suffer constantly like this??? As soon as I was finally able to get the customer out the door, I fixed myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk for a pout. Why does everything have to be so difficult? That’s when I pulled up facebook and…

 

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Point taken.

3: Put on Your Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

Dr. Taylor Marshall is one of my favorite people evah!  I read everything he posts, and I thank God for him, I really do. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a blog. The time and effort Dr. Marshall puts into catechizing the masses can never be fully appreciated.

That being said, I must say he is absolutely obsessed with the Pope’s shoes. I mean, really, really obsessed.

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Can’t a man wear black shoes without causing a fiasco?!?!

 

4: It’s Not a Popularity Contest!

However, it is nice to be popular! And Pope Francis is, with 73% of American Catholics approving of our new Pontiff! The other 27% are apparently C&E Catholics who did not realize that being Catholic was the one qualifier for being elected. Well, that and being male (gender roles!).

See what I did there? I linked to a highly reputable Pew Survey, then in the next sentence, I linked to the highly satirical Eye of the Tiber. Most bloggers couldn’t get away with that, but I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time, so I can make it work.

5: Behind Barsfeet2

Pope Francis will be celebrating Holy Thursday by giving Mass at a juvenile prison.  I was delighted to hear such wonderful news! Until I read Simcha’s post which highlighted the ramifications of the pope’s actions.

You see, when we were hearing about the example he set by preparing his own meals, I said, “Yes! That’s something we all need to do!” When they said he lived in a small apartment, I said, “Yes! Downsize! Minimize! When we start looking for a house to buy, we’re going to get something modest and inexpensive!” Even when they said that he washed the feet of drug addicts, I said, “Yeah, I could send them some money I’m sure….”

But to embrace criminals? People who have hurt others? Raped others?
Killed others?

This is why we need Pope Francis. He’s determined to lead us out into the deep.

 

6: Follow the Leader

That leads me into my next pondering. How can I follow, not the mere footsteps of Pope Francis, but the deeper footsteps of Jesus? How can I reach out to the sick and the poor, the addict and the criminal? Within the confines of my constantly changing, completely unpredictable work schedule?

St. Therese????  What was that you were saying about a little way for little souls? Because I feel really tiny right now!

 

7: The Home Stretch!

Can you believe we only have a week left of Lent? It’s been a rough patch, and it hasn’t been at all like I wanted it to be. I gave up all the wrong things, but by doing so, I learned what I should have given up; the things that are coming between me and God. Once again, I’m wrapping up Lent full of regret for disciplines lost, and that’s fine. It’s regret that leads me to ask forgiveness, that drives me to chase after God with greater passion.

Have a blessed Holy Week!

And of course, check out Conversion Diary for more quick takes!

 

 

 

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 22: New Pontificate Edition

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Thank you, God, for our humble Pope Francis! I’m afraid humility will be our biggest lesson in the years to come.

1. We Have a Pope!

I just can’t stop saying that! It seems like it’s been much much longer than 2 weeks since we became popeless. It seems like it was months at the very least! I’m just tickled pink with our new pope! We’re just blessed beyond belief! It’s the most exciting thing since…I don’t know what! My wedding? Scott and I converted in 2007, (apparently 2 years to the day after John Paul II’s funeral) so Benedict was already pope, and he’s been our only pope. This is the first time we’ve seen a new papal election! I watched from work, but poor Scott didn’t find out until he got off work at 5:30! I hated that Scott didn’t get to watch it live like I did (as well as his parents in Saudi Arabia!) but he was able to watch the whole thing (with the waiting period highly abbreviated) on….

2. EWTN!!!!  

I just want to remark on the fact that I seem to be mentioning EWTN all the time. It’s like I’m an EWTN hipster. Every time I turn around, I’m all like, “Oh no, I don’t watch that channel. I watch EWTN. It’s totally in between my gas and electric bill. With my electric bill first because I’d rather have my gas turned off and not be able to have a hot shower than have my electric bill turned off and not be able to watch EWTN.”

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I’ve been so grateful for EWTN’s coverage of the conclave and the new pontificate. Just a friendly reminder, this wonderful coverage from Rome is quite pricey, so if you can spare a dollar or two, please consider donating. If not, they have the live stream on their website, and just about everything they air goes straight to YouTube, so you can stay in the know on our new Pope Francis!

3. A Funny Picture with an Emotional Twist

Maybe it’s emotional to me just because I’m so emotional after this week’s events! Certainly you’ve seen this picture:
7c4e808a807b47f171a6594d82b3412fIt makes me smile every time I see it! However, if I look at it long enough, I just want to cry!

Up top, we have John Paul the Great. Just the look on his face–that knowing look! I never got to be a John Paul Catholic. No, while he was pope, I was still convinced that the Catholic Church represented everything that was wrong with Christianity. John Paul II is the pope I wish I had, the one I missed out on because of my stubbornness!

Next up, Benedict XVI, our beloved Pope Emeritus, the only pope I’ve ever known as a Catholic. I’ll miss that smile! That seems like such a funny thing to say. I’ve only ever seen him in pictures, and I can pull up a picture of him anytime I want. It just won’t be the same, looking at that jolly smile and knowing he’s not our pope anymore!

Then, we have Pope Francis, in whom we placed our absolute trust before we even saw his face or knew his name! Of course, we trust him because we trust the one he serves!

4. In Other News…

I can hardly recognize “other news.” As you may know, I work at The CellPhone Store, and Samsung had a big launch event for their newest Galaxy phone tonight. So, all my coworkers were just dying, waiting to punch out so they can go home and watch live coverage and I was like, “Whatever. It’s not like it’s POPE FRANCIS!!!!”

5. In the Garden2012-10-21_19-09-34_262

I’m starting work on my spring/summer vegetable garden tomorrow! I’m growing tomatoes, squash, eggplant, spinach, green beans, carrots, pumpkins, potatoes and who knows what else! I’m super stoked about it. Hopefully we’ll be eating more vegetables and spending less money! I also fully intend to use my pressure canner to can all sorts of wonderful things! Is anyone else starting a garden? Anybody got any tips for growing in Oooooklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain and it’s 110 degrees all summer?

6. Copyright Laws and Me

A few weeks ago, I had a bit of a conundrum. I was reading a book about Divine Mercy and suddenly became horrified that we did not have a Divine Mercy image hanging on the wall. I bought a picture frame and some photo paper straight away and set about rectifying the situation when my printer, a Canon, went haywire and leaked ink all over itself until it no longer worked.

These are difficult moments.

I don’t want to be superstitious, and I certainly don’t want to give the impression that I’m leaping at shadows and blaming everything on the devil. It’s just that, well, if my printer goes dead when I try to print a picture of Jesus, what else am I supposed to think?!?!?!?!?!?! So, I became more and more determined to print that photo. And one for everyone I know. Just to be safe.

I ended up spending a lot of money on a new printer. When I told my half-converted sister, Betsy that I was sending her a picture, she got on to me of course and told me I could not print it off without permission or I would have to deal with copyright laws. I told her that Jesus told Faustina he wanted this image shared with the world. There’s my permission right there.

Betsy’s response was…..”Jesus doesn’t usurp copyright laws.”

Every time I look at my “illegal” Divine Mercy image, I chuckle at that one. As long as I’m not selling them, I think I’m alright.

7. #catladyproblems

Last week, it was all about my poor Penny Lane and her big surgery. She is doing so much better! Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers for my furry little angel.

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I’ll bet that with all the quick takes that are sprouting up on Conversion Diary this weekend, you might find another mention or two of Pope Francis!

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 21: Cat Lady Problems Edition


Once again, I’m way behind. Perhaps I should have given up blogging for Lent after all. It’s been…well, it’s been Lent around here, that’s all I can say. Sorry I’m so far behind. Here’s a meme to make up for it.

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1: Poor Penny!

We’ve had a trying week in the Fletcher home. Last Friday, our beloved cat, Penny Lane, went in for an appointment to check out a bruise on her belly and the vet found 2 tumors: 1 on one of her mammary glands and 1 in her armpit. Penny and I have been together for nearly 11 years, so I was crushed, to say the least. We set up an appointment to have the tumors removed Monday, and I proceeded to go home and bawl my eyes out….while Penny, Sylvia and I shared a Fish & More combo from Long John Silver’s.

Penny’s surgery went just fine, but she was miserable when she got home Monday afternoon! I couldn’t find our soft cone we bought when Sylvia chewed her stitches out, so I bought Penny a new one at PetCo. I have raved for years about the simple wonder that is the soft cone, so I didn’t mind paying $32 for an easy way to keep Penny from taking out her stitches. It wasn’t exactly like the one we had before, but I figured it was close enough.

2. The Cone of Shame

The cone I bought at PetCo was so darn complicated and downright HEAVY that I couldn’t get it on Penny without holding her down and hurting her. It didn’t take me long to give up on the new cone and start panicking. Visions of Penny Lane laying lifeless with her insides spilled out kept flying through my head and my chest started to tighten up.

Let me just take a moment to wonder why it is that anytime I worry these days, I go straight into flip-the-truck-out mode and turn into an asthmatic? Good grief!

So, anyway, I’m looking for the old cone again, even though we’ve scoured the house 3 times over, and I see my sewing machine cover in the closet.

Which makes me remember that my old sewing machine is still in my trunk, waiting to go to the thrift store. With its vinyl cover on it.

And here’s some sparkly pink princess fabric.

And a shoelace.

And these mad sewing skills of mine.

TA-DA!

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I know, I know! It’s so fabulous, you almost don’t notice the hideous wound where they scooped out a chunk of poor Penny’s belly!

But how does it compare to Sylvia’s cone?

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You may not believe this, but they both scowled like that on their own. I didn’t have to provoke them in any way to get them to glare at me like that. Aside from, you know, putting the cone on.

I also want to note that PetCo refunded the full amount of the cone with the receipt and packaging. I was afraid there would be a fuss since, well, the cones are only used temporarily and I wasn’t able to take it back until a few days later, but there were no questions asked. So, thank you, PetCo!

3: You can’t go to the casino during Lent!

But I sure thought about it when the vet called me with the results of Penny’s biopsy! A mammary tumor in a cat is pretty much a death sentence. They are very rarely benign, and even if you remove all of the cancer, they don’t typically live very long. Against all odds, Penny’s biopsy came back benign! However, because that is so rare, they’re going to run it again on another piece of the tumor just to be sure. So far, though, it looks REALLY good!

4: Is the Pope Catholic?

Now that Penny Lane is on the mend, I can get back to watching all of the news from the Vatican whilst doing this number…

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…while the media is incredibly confused as to why, with the conclave so near, we haven’t had a single televised debate. This is a fight for power, right?

Just kidding! I’ve been getting my papal news exclusively from….

5: Ray of SUNSHINE

Raymond Arroyo is my new favorite person. If you’re not getting your news from The World Over on EWTN, well, no wonder you’re disappointed. I’ve been catching up on my YouTube app on X-Box just every chance I get. Ray and crew are at the Vatican so that they can provide us with the very best coverage possible, and folks, that costs a little more money than usual. So, if you have a dollar or two to spare, maybe you could put EWTN between your gas and electric bill? It’s ever so nice to have news from a Catholic perspective, especially when it comes to the conclave!

Did you know that EWTN is provided 100% free of charge to cable companies? They operate exclusively on donations. Of course, that begs the question: why does my (former) cable company only include EWTN with their premium packages?

6: Giving Up

I’ve given up a fair few things for Lent. Adding additional meatless days to the week and going meatless for lunch hasn’t been too awful. I’ve messed up a few times, but made up for it for the most part. Avoiding alcohol and doing without my smartphone have been annoyances, but nothing that I’m having withdrawals from. I had considered having my nails removed (I keep them as perfectly manicured as I can) but decided not to. However, Scott was laid off this week (he’s an ironworker, it happens, we’re fine) and it just didn’t seem right to spend money on my nails right now, regardless of how bad they look. If we have some money left over, shouldn’t we be giving alms?

So, now we’re getting down to the things that matter. Alms-giving, prayer, fasting. Fasting from food–or the things that we gorge on. Such as TV, and I’m not talking about EWTN. I spend way too much time “relaxing” and watching my shows on Netflix. Giving up TV would mean so much more than giving up meat.

There’s only a few weeks of Lent left, but it’s not too late to get things right.

7: We Are Catholic

I saw this on Catholic Cravings the other day and thought it was worth sharing!

Have a great week and enjoy more quick takes at Conversion Diary!

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7 Quick Takes Friday, Vol 20


Yes, I’m running awfully late on this–it’s been a heck of a week!

1: Behind the Times

I use Chrome web browser at work because our work computers are currently still on Windows XP (nope, not joking). If you’re familiar with Chrome, you know that it gives you little mini screen-shots of your favorite pages so you can easily point to the one you want to visit next. What’s wrong with that. Well, the WordPress screen shot is from February 1, as evidenced by Simcha’s post in my feed. Pinterest updated yesterday, Facebook updated yesterday, based on the low number of digits on my checking account, I’d say that was week before last, around Tuesday, and Amazon offered to let me watch Downton Abbey for $Too.much about 2 or 3 weeks ago. OpenHouse OK and Douay-Rheims Catholic Bible don’t really update their home pages, so they’re all pretty current. Except Google. There in the upper left corner is Google, with a screen shot from HALLOWEEN!!! HALLOWEEN!!!! It was a haunted house interactive animation, and it was just as cute as it could be, but it’s LENT!!! Good grief, even Valentine’s has passed! HALLLOWEEN!!!! It’s been driving me crazy since the week before Thanksgiving!

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#firstworldproblems

2: Mmmmm, mmmmmm, LENT!

I was absolutely delighted to see this pop up on Pinterest a few days ago.

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Ever since we converted, my eyes have been opened to the “silent Lent” marketing campaigns that crop up everywhere this time of year. Well, either they’re catering to Catholics or they just happened to bring out a limited-time-only fish sandwich just in time for Lent. It’s nice to see an old ad where they just come out and say it: We want you to buy this because it’s Lent!

The pea soup is wonderful, by the by.

3: Andy is Dandy!

This week, I have discovered that I love and adore Andy Warhol! After seeing that wonderful Lent ad for Campbell’s Soup, I started looking for more, and, of course, Andy’s paintings of soup cans came up. I’ve seen them a million times before, but never gave them much thought before. After looking at some of the paintings, I Googled something along the lines of “What was up with Andy Warhol and all the soup paintings?” and discovered that there are several different tales as to why he painted soup cans over and over again. The one I believe is the simplest: he ate soup for lunch every day and had the cans laying around, so he started sketching and then painting them. I love it!

One more word about this topic and I’ll move onto something more irrational: If you haven’t read Bad Catholic’s piece on Andy Warhol, you need to go read it right meow!

4: I Keep Getting Crazier

I’ve been seeing a lot of knitting stuff on Pinterest lately, and knitting in general does not bother me. It’s “arm knitting” that’s driving me crazy. Maybe it’s part of my claustrophobia, but the thought…*gasp*…..of tying yarn around my arms….*gasp*….and trying….*gasp*….no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!! Don’t get me wrong, the finished products look great, but, but,….I just can’t.

5: How is Lent Going?23ksubb

BAD. I’m not freaking out about swapping my smartphone out for a flip phone. Really not at all. It’s such a minor inconvenience, I’m upset with myself for feeling like I need a smartphone to begin with. Other than that…well, I’ve been saying my rosary almost every night. However, I’ve hit some major interference, which is certainly to be expected. Ash Wednesday, I was flying high, and spent the entire evening in prayer and study. A week later, I was as low as the dust and spent the entire evening sobbing and crying and praying that God would send me to a hermitage, anything to take me away from the constant attacks that were suddenly coming at me from every angle.

I was ready to give up altogether, but then I remembered something from Sunday’s Gospel Reading:

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.  

–Luke 4:1

Jesus was led into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Not to tie-dye Easter eggs or work on His novel. Not for quiet reflection and meditation. To be tempted, to struggle, and to overcome. The same thing happens to us. If I’m downtrodden, it’s time to get on my knees. That’s been hard to do when all I want to do is curl up in bed, for, oh, FOREVER, but quitting won’t get you anywhere.

I fully intend to dive much deeper into this topic in a later post. Stay tuned. Worried about the quality of such a post? Share your thoughts in the comments or email me at patronsaintofindecisiveness@gmail.com and give me a hand!

6: Pintastic!

I’ve gone a little pin crazy lately. I’ve cleaned our microfiber couches with rubbing alcohol (the slight odor that goes away in 15-20 minutes is suffocating and lasts at least 12 hours, but the couches look great), made homemade “febreze,” which I am obsessed with spraying on the couches, and cleaned all my jewelry with a homemade solution in a foil-lined bowl. Turns out, I don’t need a new crucifix after all! The old one was just covered in Rebecca grease–ew!

7: Vatican II, Actually

For my final take, I’m going to simply link up to Pope Benedict XVI’s intimate and unscripted talk about Vatican II. It’s much better than anything I could say!

If you haven’t made it over to Conversion Diary, please stop by for more (and more timely) quick takes!

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