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


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.



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.

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.05.21 PM


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.



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…


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


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.



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


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.


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.”


I visited Emily Dickinson’s home this weekend, a tremendous treat for me since she’s one of my favorite poets. It was a delightful way to spend a little time indoors on a rainy New England afternoon. I loved seeing the little bits of history they had there, but I especially enjoyed a little moment upstairs in her bedroom, where I stood at the window and looked out at the field she must have gazed upon a million times. The docent explained she was playful and would call to the neighborhood children playing out there and lower a little basket of gingerbread to them.

What a quirky thing! I loved the thought of a playful Emily, laughing in that room.

I also liked hearing about it — that somehow enough of her life was recorded that these kinds of stories could be shared. I wondered what people might say about me when I’m gone. I hope they say I liked to laugh. And I was kind.

What about you? What would people say about your life?

I had no time to hate, because
The grave would hinder me,
And life was not so ample I
Could finish enmity.

Nor had I time to love, but since
Some industry must be,
The little toil of love, I thought,
Was large enough for me.

a little stroll, a little moonlight, maybe a little kiss

bridgeI took this picture with an iPhone 4s last year, on Valentine’s Day at nighttime. My husband was on a business trip and he surprised me with a call at lunch wondering if I could get to the airport for an early evening flight that would put me in Jacksonville for a romantic late dinner.

Of course, I said yes.

I took this on our stroll. Blue happens to be our favorite color.

What’s yours?