7 Quick Takes Friday: In Which I’m Never Home

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary

–1–

This week I was in the delightful little Texas border town called Harlingen. It’s right next to South Padre Island, which is apparently a destination. It’s also right next to Brownsville, which is a different kind of destination. I was hoping to eat some amazing Mexican food or maybe some Tex-Mex. Or beef.

Instead, I ate Italian. My hosts were ever so delightful and charming and hospitable. And in the course of a conversation, I discovered that the Italian place was apparently the place to take guests. Ok. I laughed a little and asked my host where she ate the best Mexican food. She said, “At home.”

Touche.

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–2–

I enjoy traveling for work, and generally it is a pleasant experience. Generally. Assuming all the stars align and I can get through the airports. Alas. This was not to be. I left Atlanta after two hours of delays because of the terrible storms in the Houston area. Of course, I was headed to Houston. Apparently, the airport actually closed — and my flight, which finally left Atlanta hours after it was supposed to, ended up diverted to Kansas City, where we flew around there for a while until we ran out of fuel and decided to brave a shot at landing in Houston. We did. It was a nightmare. Suffice to say I got stranded in Houston — but not before I sat around for hours. I used my handy rosary bracelet a lot that day.

Also, you can see I’m wearing cowboy boots. Because I enjoy being a cliche that way.

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–3–

I was put up for the night in a very nice hotel. Who can be upset about room service?

And beer?

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–4–

St. Anthony’s Church was across the way from my lodgings, and every day I thought I’d try to get to daily Mass, and every day I was whisked away to work at some atrociously early time, so all I could do was wave as my driver zoomed past.

Sadness.

I couldn’t even grab a quick picture :-(

–5–

Pretty much, this is what my week looked like:

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–6–

I did, however, drink plenty of water.

I just happened to supplement it with quite a few other delicious things.

–7–

And finally, I’m going to use this last spot to reflect on what I learned from this week and what I might do to improve my life next week.

It was busy. So. Very. Busy. I think I spent a lot of time playing catch up. I can blame most of it on the flight delays and the problems that caused, but really, it’s also because I do this to myself. I have a lot on my plate and I need to do two things, organize that time so that I can maximize my productivity, and remember to build into that some time to take care of myself.

I’ve been pretty sporadic about walking, so I think I’ll prioritize with that — carve out some time that is intentional for a daily walk.

It’s a plan.

 

dreamy time

night

One of my favorite things to do at the beach is sit on the porch late at night and just take in the whole scene. I love the sound of waves — the breeze at night.

That breeze is the best. The combination of the ocean and the heat from the day wipe me out. I tend to just sit on the deck and zone out into a dreamy state. It’s hypnotic.

It’s kind of surreal to be awake and yet in a far off state of such relaxation and peace that things seem to be … a little off.

Like this picture. It looks like a Dr. Seuss landscape, doesn’t it? I took it with a regular little point-and-shoot. No filters, no editing.

I keep expecting Horton the Elephant.

7 Quick Takes Friday: The Return of the Slacker

Check out the collection of other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts, hosted at Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog, Conversion Diary

–1–

I haven’t done this in ages. In fact, if I checked, I’d discover it had been months. Maybe even a year. But enough of that, I’m happy to be doing it. I’m happy to be getting back into blogging again, writing some poetry, maybe even trying something longer. In related news…I’m not particularly interested in returning to a hyper-present presence in social media. I mean, I’m tweeting and putting stuff up on FB when I have something to say or share, but I don’t get Pinterest. I don’t Instagram. Holy smokes, I’m just an old lady with a laptop. I think I’ll embrace that. And maybe get around to dying my hair after all. Or maybe I’ll figure out Instagram, and post pictures of Otis.

fifteen

–2–

I’m still traveling for work, which is part of the reason I’ve not been blogging so much. This past week took me to Boston for a great couple of days with a publisher. It’s alway’s hard work, these publishers. But it’s fruitful, and definitely worth it, for me, but especially for my students. I paid a little visit to Emily Dickinson’s home, and swiped a picture of her writing process to share with my students. Shhh. The docent told me no pictures.

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–3–

The bonus is that I got to stay in Boston and visit my dear friend Pat Gohn. So naturally, there were some hijinks. Regrettably, we didn’t think to take a picture of us together, but she did take this picture of me standing next to some gigantic pumpkins. I’ve never seen anything like that in person. She struggled to get a good picture because the light bounced off the pumpkins, but here’s something she managed to play with and rescue. I maintain those pumpkins are huge because of weird radiation treatments. Look at it glowing in this picture.

pumpkin

–4–

I ate  a delectable French dessert called profiteroles. Why oh why have I never eaten this deliciousness until now? The meal was already exquisite, and then, this…

dessert

The one I ate was swimming in chocolate sauce. To. Die. For.

–5–

I also paid a visit to the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. My father, who passed away this past summer, was devoted to the Divine Mercy, and I was grateful to be able to pray there, for him, and me, and all my loved ones. It was a special day that I share in this blog post at another cup of coffee.

DM

–6–

My new guilty pleasure is The Mysteries of Laura. Go ahead and judge me. I’m enjoying it.

–7–

Finally, I think I’m going to try a new approach to my week. I enjoyed reflecting on the past week but I don’t want to stop there. I think I’m going to look forward, too, and think about something I can do next week that will make me better in some way.

[pause]

Got it! I’m going to replace that glass of sweet tea or soda I have at lunch time with a glass or two of water. Let’s see what I have to say about that next Friday.

 

Signs [and wonders]

My mother tells a story about a visit with her mother after she and her siblings were grown up and living far away. In my mother and aunt’s case, far away in another country. The reunion was an emotional one. Overwhelmed by the immensity of having all her children together under one roof and the subsequent chaos of loud talk, laughter, and undoubtedly, tears of joy, my grandmother retired to a side room where she sat still and listened from afar.

Abuela claimed that she could hear and understand everything better from a distance.

I had that same experience recently, and it has stayed with me in the most amazing way. Last Saturday I visited the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. My dear friend and fellow pilgrim took me there in spite of some awfully sorry weather, but even through the rain, I could tell it’s an exquisitely beautiful place.

Our pilgrimage coincided with the celebration of St. Faustina’s feast day, so Mass and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy were held outside in anticipation of large crowds. It was wet. And cold.

Did I say it was wet and cold? We decided to sit in the small church instead of getting soaked. Had I asked, I’m sure my friend would have braved the elements, but it was far more intimate inside, and the better choice for us. We prayed at the relics of Saint Faustina and Saint John Paul II.

DMWe sat in the muted silence of the church, two sisters in Christ huddled together whispering the prayers of the chaplet, together, and yet, somehow, separately. We each have our own unique needs and desires of the heart that we poured into the moment, but there we were, side-by-side, united by the same Truth.

Eventually we sat back, finished with the formal prayer and now lost to our private thoughts and ponderings. I could hear parts of the Mass float up from the field — not the whole Mass, only parts. Two prayers, especially, came to me clearly like I had been sitting in the front row, and it was as if I were hearing them for the first time. It was my favorite part of the visit to the shrine.

Have you noticed how many times we ask for mercy in Mass? No? Me neither. But I might count, just because.

I’ve often thought I needed signs and wonders to believe, my heart giving my mind a soft rebuke for my lack of faith, but there, in that moment, I let go of my trepidation.

“Jesus, I Trust in You.”