7 Quick Takes Friday – 7 Quick Penances

As Kendra at Catholic All Year so helpfully pointed out, the requirement to abstain from meat on Fridays has been relaxed, BUT Catholics are still required to do some penance on Fridays.   So, if you’ve got some meat leftovers that really need to be eaten before they go bad but you still want to be penitential, read on!

1. Clean the bathrooms.  Fact: it is impossible to feel like a big shot when you are scrubbing a toilet.  Mother Teresa used to clean her order’s toilets for this very reason, and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me.

2.  Do a chore you’ve been procrastinating on.  That pile of bills you need to go through, the junk drawer that really needs to be cleaned out, that hedge that needs to be trimmed… you get the idea.  Christ defeated sin on a Friday; the least you can do is defeat a mess.

3.  Be nice to someone you dislike.  Jesus died to save everybody, not just the likable people.  Give a kind word to the office jerk, call or e-mail a relative who bothers you, or give up your seat on public transportation.

4.  Give to charity.  Ignore the Friday deals retailers keep sending to you and give money to someone less fortunate, even if it’s just a dollar to the homeless guy downtown.

5.  Read the Stations of the Cross.  It’s hard to attend Stations outside of Lent, but there’s no reason you can’t read and meditate on them alone.  Catholic Online has a great set of online stations.

6.  Give up something small.  Skip YouTube for a day. Drink one less cup of coffee.  Forego makeup.  Avoid blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and/or other social media.

7.  Embrace silence.  Turn everything off and just let God speak to you.   To assist you in this, I’m not posting a song for take #7 this Friday.

For more Quick Takes from Jen and others, visit Conversion Diary!

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for orphans!


I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve been struggling at work lately.   I’m frustrated with just about everything about that place, and I’m letting my slacker tendencies get the better of me.  As much as I hate that place, I can’t let things continue the way they’ve been going; I’m on thin ice as it is, and it’s not fair to my coworkers or the people we serve.*  I’ve been wondering how I can get my mojo back and stop the downhill slide I’m on, and today, while I was out walking and praying the Rosary, I think I found the answer.

The director of my church choir is a faithful man, (almost) unfailingly kind, and a joy to work with.  When I first told him what I do for a living, he said with deep sincerity, “I have the utmost respect for [your profession].”

And there it is.  Be worthy of his respect.  If someone like him respects my work, then I should have respect for it too.

*I have been looking for a new job, but pickings are slim, and it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to leave my current position by the end of the year.

7 Quick Takes Friday – Trying to Post More

1.  First, the only blog-worthy news I have: I did not get the job on the West Coast.  My phone interview went well, but I was not invited for an in-person interview.  Since we’ll be traveling a lot for the holidays, DH and I have decided no more job hunting until after the new year.

2.  Over the last few months, it’s become clear to me that moving is both the best thing for my career and the best thing for our marriage, and that led me to make another big decision: I am not putting in a garden in spring 2015.  Yes, this really bums me out; I love gardening and it’s one of my favorite stress relievers.  But if I have a garden, I have one more excuse to stay here, and we can’t stay here.  (More on this later – I just realized this topic needs its own post.)

3.  Yes, I start thinking about my spring garden in October.  Where I live, it’s best to plant garlic in mid-October and harvest it at the end of June.  The beds with the garlic won’t have space for anything else, thus the need to begin planning early.

4.  I was tempted to be like The Misfit and all the other people who are doing a post a day for the month of October, and then I realized it’s October 4th and I haven’t posted anything yet.  Also, I would need to come up with a theme, and I haven’t done that.  Oops.

5.  Anyway, I’m not upset about not getting the job.  October is one of the most beautiful months of the year here, and since this is (I hope) the last one I’ll spend in the Midwest, I’m going to enjoy it!  And that brings me to take #6, one of my favorite quotes:

6.  “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – Anne of Green Gables.

7.  It’s not Friday, but we still need a song!  Here’s Glove and Boots’ take on Blurred Lines (funny and clean):

For more Quick Takes from Jen and others, visit Conversion Diary!

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for orphans!

2014 Goal Update

I have been a bad blogger lately. A thousand apologies! But I finally do have something worth writing about, hurray!

When DH and I went to visit his family last month, the first thought I had when I hopped off the plane in their city was, “I’m home.”  

That’s when I knew it was time to take a risk.

The evening we returned from our trip, I searched for jobs that match my skill set in their area.  I found three, and after pondering it for 48 hours, I applied.  All three were kind of a reach for me, but they sounded like jobs I might enjoy.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

After a couple of weeks with nary a word from these employers, I figured they weren’t interested in me.  And then, late on Friday afternoon, I got the following e-mail:

Dear Mary,

Thank you for applying for [Awesome Job] at [Awesome Company].  I would  like to offer you an initial phone interview.  Please let me know which of the following time blocks fits into your schedule:  

[All interview times are on my days off]

President Business

On occasions like this, I’m really grateful to work at a place where a lot of people go home early on Friday afternoon, because if anyone had been around when I received that e-mail, they would have seen me do this:


So, uh, yeah, looks like I’ll have a phone interview with a company 1800 miles away later this week.  I still think I probably won’t get the job, but at least it’ll be good practice.

Thanks again for all your prayers – it really did help in making this decision!

I Grieve, But I Do Not Despair

Every year on September 11th, I watch this clip of Jon Stewart’s return after the 9/11 attacks. Maybe you’re not a fan of the Daily Show. Maybe you disagree with his politics. That’s OK. But even if you disagree, watch this. (After all, this is the one day of the year when we as Americans should try to put aside our differences.) Stewart’s reaction to the attacks continues to resonate with me because of his call to hope, and

“Chaos can’t sustain itself. It never could. It’s too easy and too unsatisfying.” – Jon Stewart

“You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.” – Matthew 24:6


I still have a job.

My sincere thanks to all of you for your prayers.  I did feel their influence while I was on my trip, and I think you all helped me crystallize my thoughts on the moving decision.  I’ll expand on this in a later post, but for now, everything’s fine and I’m going to relax after having been up half the night worrying last night.  :)

Prayer Request

Just giving you a quick update before I go on vacation.  I had a horrific day at work yesterday and I think I will not have a job to return to next week.  Please pray for my career and help me discern where God wants me to go next.