7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 6)

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Last week I asked for recommendations for a new camera to replace my broken one, and I heard from so many people! Thank you. One friend who wrote rated her camera high and it happened to be available for $45 on woot.com. I figured it was meant to be. I ordered it and cannot wait for it to arrive. I hope it comes before our sons grow too quickly. They have been looking especially tall.

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Speaking of cameras, I was upset mine was broken on Tuesday. Former prime minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair visited Loyola University Maryland, where I work.

As it turned out, though, I have a wonderful memory from that evening. I wrote about the benefits of not having a working camera that evening on my magazine editor’s blog. (And this photo was taken by my friend Theresa Wiseman.)

It was one of those days when I wasn’t sure how gracefully I was balancing motherhood and my career.

At 3:30 p.m. I was chasing our 3-year-old son through a sandbox at his preschool, trying to persuade him it was time to get in the car. Two hours later I was waiting with the press for Tony Blair to arrive to deliver a statement to the media. And shortly after that I was shaking his hand and he was smiling and saying he remembered me.

I wish I had thought of something witty to say or a good question to ask. (And I wish I had realized I would be having my picture taken that day. Somehow you can tell that Mr. Blair wasn’t running through a sandbox shortly before this photo was taken.)

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I also wish I hadn’t panicked when my husband called me last night. I was on a work assignment in Chevy Chase, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. John was on his way to pick up our sons.

“What time does the school close?” he asked—and I could tell he was upset.

I looked at my watch. The answer was “now.”

A road was closed and John had to create his own detour on unfamiliar back roads. I was 90 minutes away from our sons in good traffic—and this was at the peak of rush hour.

Add this to the list of times I could have used a helicopter.

I managed to reach one of the teachers on the phone and she assured me that the boys were with her, and it was fine. But I didn’t calm down until I knew John had the boys in the car and they were on their way home.

I almost always handle dropping off and picking up Leo and Daniel, and those can be some of the best—and also some of the craziest—moments of the day. But last night as I worried about where John was and when he would reach the boys, and whether he was as panicked as I was, I was especially happy to think that our sons have each other. They weren’t alone.

Meanwhile, I’ll need to be extra generous during Teacher Appreciation Week.

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I haven’t purchased groceries in 10 days. We are trying to cut down on our grocery spending, so I am trying to limit myself to one weekly trip, instead of going two or three times for smaller trips each week. As we limp along to the weekend, I was thinking we might be able to last until Sunday. I have a feeling, though, that I’ll give in and hit the store on the way home tonight. How often do you shop for groceries?

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Ever thought of creating parishmatch.com? After offering advice to a new-to-town friend who was hunting for the right parish for Holy Thursday and Easter Mass, I’m thinking there might be a need for a website to help people figure out which parish fits them best.

You would answer questions about what you are looking for in a Catholic church—décor, atmosphere, community, child-friendliness, homilies—and you’d receive a list of a few parishes in your area that best fit your wish list. It would be sort of like ratemyprofessors.com, but for parishes. Then when Catholics return to the fold, they might be more enthusiastic about the experience and be more likely to stay connected.

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Are you on Twitter? I have almost as many followers as my brother-in-law does, and I am trying to catch up with him. You can find me @openwindow_cr. Of course, it’s only fair that I tell you that George—my brother-in-law, that is, not my parents’ tree—is @ReviewMatysek.

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During his homily on Divine Mercy Sunday Fr. Gene Nickol told us that the Divine Mercy Chaplet had saved his life. “Yes,” he repeated, “I said, ‘It saved my life.’”

Father described being abducted at knifepoint back in 1994 and saying, “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world,” over and over while he huddled in the trunk of his car, as his abductor drove. And he described how he managed to escape.

It was quite a story. And I have to admit that I’ve only said the Divine Mercy Chaplet once. But now I’m thinking it’s probably time for me to give it a try.

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Jen isn’t hosting the quick takes today since her baby boy was born on Monday and he is in the NICU. Please keep him and her family in your prayers. You can read other quick takes on our guest host Grace’s blog.


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