Emily M. DeArdo

writer

Seven Quick Takes

Seven Quick Takes--the book has a title, the Jane Re-Read, and summer kicks off!

7 Quick Takes, writing, current projects, booksEmily DeArdoComment

-I-

Hi everyone! Happy Memorial Day Weekend (if you’re in the U.S.)! It’s sort of the unofficial kick off to summer, so there will be barbecues and parties all over the place, and I begin the Great Jane Re-Read, where I re-read Jane Austen’s novels every summer. Want to join me? I’m starting with Sense and Sensibility.


-II-

In case you missed it, my book has a title! It’s a great one! I’m really excited! (Can you tell?) As soon as pre-orders open I will share it here. And, again, as a reminder: If you want book news first, before anyone else, sign up for the mailing list.


-III-

In other book-y news….

Better Together.jpg

Better Together is Take Up & Read’s new summer study! I just got my copy yesterday and she’s beautiful!

This book is all about Biblical Hospitality. Sometimes we get scared of hospitality, because we think we need to have the perfect house and the perfect food and the perfect playlist. That’s not what God calls us to do at all. Hospitality is simply sharing and gathering with people. We aren’t meant to do Christianity alone. Let’s get over the idea that hospitality has to be perfect!

This book would make a great summer study—I do hope you’ll join us!

-IV-

The big event of the summer is that my sister is getting married in Estes Park, CO, in June. So we’re all in the midst of preparing for that. I’ve got my packing list written but I haven’t actually started packing yet. And yes, I know I owe you a Denver travelogue, so that is coming, I promise!

-V-

This California bill is a terrible idea, on multiple fronts—if you live in California, email your reps about this?

The confessional has to be a place of absolute confidentiality. It just does. The state can’t mess with this, or it puts priests in a horrible position—they will either go to jail, or be excommunicated. And it put us, the laity, in a terrible position, because how can you be totally open in confession if you know the priest can repeat what you say? (Not that any priest worth his ordination would.)

No bueno, California! Stop it!

(article version of the video above here)

-VI-

Final edits for the book are being done! Well, not final final. Final as in, for the first draft. My editor will be getting me notes and I imagine next week will be a flurry of back and forth sending. :)

-VII-

And while Memorial Day is the kick off of summer in the U.S., let’s remember what it’s really about.




Seven Quick Takes--House Updates, Writing, Hockey

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, the book, Seven Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
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Linking up with Kelly!

I.

So, first, the Penguins are in the playoffs for the thirteenth year in a row. This makes me happy.

(If you’re new here—I’m a huge hockey fan. The Penguins are my “main” team. The Blue Jackets are my “home” team and I want them to make the playoffs too, which they will do if they win one of their next two games.)

II.

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Orchard House is in the stage of “personalization” or “zhushing” as they say on Home Town. I’m putting up pictures and other fun things, like my refreshed ribbon board in my bedroom:


III.

If you want to see how tiny Emily was in college, here’s my college ID closeup, along with one of my favorite magazine cutouts:

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IV.

And about the button. It says “Italians for President Nixon.” Now, obviously, I wasn’t alive to vote for Nixon. But one of my best friends, Branden, is an auctioneer (as well as about 5 million other things, including our county clerk), and he loves political memorabilia, so he thought I’d like it, since I’m half Italian. And I do like it. It’s funny.

V.
The big pink piece of paper is an audience ticket my friend Amilia gave me. She was lucky enough to attend a general audience with Pope St. John Paul II, and she gave me the ticket. You can tell I’ve had it FOREVER, it’s all sun bleached, but I love it.

VI.

The dog picture? That’s Liberty, who used to be Colonial Williamsburg’s mascot. I was so psyched to meet her when we visited two years ago! She was such a good dog!

VII.

I could keep telling stories, but I’ll wrap up with a writing update! (Maybe next week I’ll tell more stories? What do you think? Because everything on this board has a story!)

So I’ve sent chapters 1-4 to my editor. She has sent me edits for chapters 1-2. So we are really making progress! Yayyyy!





Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, behind the scenes, current projects, knitting, life issues, memoir, Seven Quick Takes, Tidying Up, writingEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly!

—ONE—

I haven’t done this in awhile, so, hey, time to do one! Especially since we’re supposed to get a big old snow storm with insanely cold temperatures this weekend, so if you never hear from me again, at least you have this. (I’m kidding. I’ll be fine.)

This cartoon made the rounds a few years ago, but once again it looks like I’ll be living in Hoth:

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—TWO—

There’s been a lot going on over here. I’m moving, so that’s the first thing—in March! So I have two months to get my place packed up. Which means that yes, I’ve been watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and I love it. (And no, she’s never said that you only need 30 books, where did people get this?! I have WAY more than 30> I have more than 30 cookbooks, probably—yes, I might have a problem.)

But I’ve really enjoyed the process. If you haven’t heard of her, the idea is that you get rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy”, or that you need (like, a screwdriver, for instance. Or copies of recent tax returns.). So you let go of things that you’re just holding on to out of guilt or uncertainty or “just because”, and it’s done in categories: clothes, books, papers, “komono “ (miscellaneous—she divides it down further), and sentimental items. I’m on “komono”, and it’s mostly household stuff and knitting stuff that’s left.


—THREE—

Speaking of knitting, here’s this week’s yarn along! I’m making a drachenfels shawl, again. :) Deets are at Ravelry, here.


—FOUR—

In other news, I’m very close to submitting my book proposal! Oh my gosh. This has been a few months in the making but I think I’m in the home stretch! Yayyy!

And you can help me!

Please subscribe to the blog! This is something that really helps me with publishers. It shows I have people who care about what I write! So do that, and then follow my author page on Facebook? Every follower/subscriber is important! If you already subscribe, thank you! Mwah!


—FIVE—

The proposal is a memoir about my life with CF and transplant and how it ties into the idea that life is always worth living, no matter what’s “wrong” with you. Today is the March for Life, so yes, I feel it’s a timely topic. I’ve had people tell me that I shouldn’t exist. But I DO exist and so there. :-p

—SIX—

I made a holy hour yesterday, since I might not be able to get to Mass this weekend depending on weather. If you don’t make a holy hour (Or holy half hour, or Holy Fifteen Minutes!), can I recommend that you start? It’s restorative, transformative, energizing….it’s time with the Lord who loves you so much! Get thee to an adoration chapel! Or get to Mass early, if you can. God wants to visit with you!


—SEVEN—

And, also, if you missed it, Take Up & Read has a new study! We’re starting on Monday but feel free to hop in whenever! It’s called Call Me Blessed (here’s my blog post about it!)—and you can get it at other bookstores besides Amazon! Yay!!!!! It’s all about our vocation as women, our dignity as women, using women in the Bible and the writings of Pope John Paul II. I do hope you’ll join us!

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Seven Quick Takes: Thoughts on the Single Life

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment
seven quick takes.jpg

Linking up with Kelly at This Ain't The Lyceum! 

I've been having thoughts about being single in this world lately, but unsure of how to write it out, so I thought, hey, Seven Quick Takes! :-D There are good and bad things about being single, so here are my thoughts: 

I. 

A good thing: All the food in the fridge is MINE. It's all what I want to eat. :) Also, I can get books without a text message from a husband of "WOMAN! Stop buying books!" unlike my friend, Liz. (Her husband is a great guy. He's kidding. I think. LOL) 

II. 

A not good thing: Everything in the house I have to do myself. The food? Doesn't get cooked without me. The dishes? Don't get washed unless I do it. The trash? The cleaning? Etc. Etc. I don't have a husband to help me do those things. So it's all on me. I can't say, hey, husband, please go to the grocery store so I can go work out. Or, please do the dishes while I shower. 

That is particularly a bad thing when I'm sick. Stuff still needs done. 
And this "stuff" also piles up. It's not so bad now, that I freelance, but when I was working, it was a LOT. I had maybe four hours of free time a day. I never got enough sleep, because there was stuff to do. One cannot go to work (at least not where I worked) with unwashed hair, for example. :) Hygiene is good! 

III. 
A good thing: I have parents who are very helpful in this regard. :) (ESPECIALLY when I'm sick.)  Also, a very very helpful brother and sister-in-law (My sister lives in Colorado. She is helpful--but she can't come over and help me clean. :-P) 

IV. 

Another good thing: I can watch Opera all day and no one can tell me not to. :-p 

I can also go to bed when I want, and decorate my house how I want. I may or may not still have my Stuffed Rabbit Caroline and Stuffed Bear Coach in my bedroom..... :-P 

V. 

A not good thing: You sort of get shafted. No one gives showers for single people. Housewarming parties? Few and far between. But married people get showers, which, OK, that makes sense--except now, everyone has the stuff they need, usually, before they get married. 

And this sort of leads to the larger point. If you're single, people just don't think about you, unless it's negative. I'm not bar hopping or going to clubs every night. Sure, I can do some things, like go to the movies, or the ballet, or whatever, on my own. I don't have to ask my husband if he wants to go or find a baby-sitter. But at the same time, a lot of people think that single people are just living footloose and fancy free. And we're not. it's often really hard being a single person.

(Especially a single woman. I have to dig out my house after snowstorms. I have to dig out my car. If it's bad, my dad will help me, assuming he can get over! But I am a smallish girl, with about 55% lung function. It's hard for people with NORMAL lungs to clear snow! And if the car is iced over, forget about it. There's no way.)

VI. 

And it's sort of lonely. I mean, sometimes I'd like a husband because, hello, I have feelings, yo! I get lonely and would like a guy in my life that's not a blood relative. (Love you, Dad and Brother!) 

VII. 
A good thing: I can entertain whenever I want. I can have people over whenever I want. Or not, as the case may be. :) I can sit around my house in my pajamas all day. No one's going to care. I can eat PBJ for three meals if I want to (I don't, but I COULD!). I can stock my cupboard with tea to my heart's content. I can watch Pride and Prejudice for like, a week straight, if I want. There is freedom in that. And I enjoy that freedom. 

 

So there are good points and bad points, just like everything else. But generally I'm fairly content being single. But--please don't assume that all single people are just partying like it's 1999. We have commitments and concerns and responsibilities just like every one else. 

Except we can also just hole up in our Hobbit Holes for hours without anyone needing us. Which is another good thing. 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

So, I don't really have anything to write about that makes up a big post, lately, so I thought I'd do some quick takes for your reading this week. 

Speaking of reading--MORE LIBRARY BOOKS

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I've recently become REALLY enamored with our local library, because it's joined the Columbus Metropolitan Library system, which is one of the best in the country (not kidding). So that means that I now have access to so many books that I've been wanting to read! So off to the stacks I've gone. I love that I can request online and have them shipped to the library of my choice in the system. So, yay libraries! (No, Amazon libraries. NO.)

II.
As a part of that--I adore physical books. There's just something about them that makes them special. Now, I have an iPad, and I have books on it. Heck, I wrote an ebook. But if you come to my house, you will see real books galore. They are what I love. Ebooks have their place (meaning, when I'm in the hospital, when I'm traveling, etc.), but I love and crave real books. 

Just a few of the beloved "real books." Just a few. 

Just a few of the beloved "real books." Just a few. 

III. 

Some of my favorite books that I've read this summer? The Shark Club, by Ann Kidd Taylor, and China Court, by Rumer Gooden. (This is out of print, sadly.) The Shark Club combines mystery, the idea of forgiveness, handling loss, romance, and, yes, sharks; China Court is about the lives of three generations of family in an estate in Cornwall (if you watch Doc Martin, then CORNWALL! Yay! Seriously gotten hooked on Doc Martin this summer. I adore it.) 

IV. 

And speaking of books....

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Y'all know I write for Take Up & Read. Our newest journal, True Friend, begins on Sunday! Yes! Yay!

This one is, obviously, all about friendship. We look at the Scriptures and see what it tells us about being a good friend, how to nurture friendship, and all sorts of friendship-related things. 

This book is beautiful

Coloring pages! 

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Every essay is brand new--all twenty-eight of them. I am privileged to be one of the writers! Kristin Foss, our art designer, designed the cover and did all the beautiful calligraphy and illustrations you'll find throughout. 

Each day has a Scripture verse (or more), an essay, and journaling pages. There are also lovely reflection questions and even a page where you can write your prayer intentions every day!

You can purchase the book here, and also check out the Look Inside feature! (Since Squarespace is being silly and I can't edit my photos....sigh.....) 

We also have a great blog to check out as well!

V.

Also, Christmas is less than five months away...if you start shopping early, maybe consider some of our studies or journals as gifts for the ladies in your life? We have so many lovely journals! Click on the Take Up and Read Page here and there are links to all of them. 

VI. 

I adore getting books for Christmas, but they have to be worthy. Does that make sense to you? That generally means hardback, or hard to find, or a lovely cookbook....something like that. Really, one year I could probably have a Christmas of all books. Wouldn't that be great? 

VII.

And in a non-book thought--is anyone else ready for fall? Because I am!

 

linking up with Kelly at This Ain't the Lyceum

 

A Friday surprise--quick takes!

books, behind the scenes, current projects, Seven Quick Takes, travelEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I haven't done one of these in forever, so maybe it's time to do them again? :) Linking up with Kelly! :) 

1. 

Dad just got back from his trip to London for a DevOps conference (DevOps is IT related stuff, for you non tech geeks out there). I was a just a little jealous, especially since he got to go to Westminster Cathedral for Mass and see Buckingham Palace and just be in London, which is really the greatest city in the world. 

Westminster Cathedral 

Westminster Cathedral 

2. 

He also brought me back the papers, which delight me to no end. I love getting papers from other countries. The first thing I noticed is how big they are? No American paper is this big anymore. It's amazing!

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So yeah, I'm slowly savoring the reading of the papers. Because it's just fun, and that probably makes me a nerd. But a nice nerd. :) 

3. 

I always knew that London was fairly far north, but in checking the weather for my dad's visit, I noticed that it's a LOT farther north than I thought--the sun was rising at 4:30 AM! That's just amazing. But also, in the winter, London has to get dark pretty quickly. Sort of sobering. But I do think it would be cool to see one of the white nights, or even a sunrise at 4:30 (provided I could go back to sleep after seeing it. :-) 

4. 

Yes, my "desk"--my kitchen table--is a mess. I've got SO many things going on right now. I've started writing a new book (YES! Wheee! Let's hope someone wants it!) about churches and accessibility. I've been getting new library books like every day since the library actually has books I want to read, and they can be delivered to my local library so I don't have to drive all over creation to get them (our library system is huge).  I've been working more on my sketching, and I've been packing because we're going to Pittsburgh later today. So yes, it's nuts, and my table is crazy. 

5. 

Also, Catholic 101 is currently on sale for FIVE BUCKS! If you don't have it, you can grab it here. This is the cheapest it will be all year! 

6. 

I've been knitting, too, even though the hand thing took a bite out of that, but I finally got some more yarn for my scarf project so I'm back at that. I promise a Yarn Along next week!

7. 

And I also promise to do a reading round-up soon. I've been reading so many books that I need to talk about them. Soon, I promise!

 

Seven Quick Takes

7 Quick Takes, books, politicsEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I. 

I haven't done one of these in awhile, but I thought, since I had a lot of linkage to share, I'd bring it back! :) 

II. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been so excited about the launch of Lara Casey's Cultivate book! I'm so excited, in fact, that I'll be giving away a copy next month! So watch for details! Here is my preview of the book (my real review goes up soon!).  If you can't wait for the giveaway, you can get your copy on Amazon here or at your local bookstore!

 

III. 

Since we're talking Health Care (again), I thought I'd share some links on a series I wrote earlier this year: Parts one, two, and three. I might have something else about the Medicaid stuff next week. I know some of you enjoy my policy wonk adventures, but not all of you, so I try to keep it to a minimum. :) 

Essentially, what it comes down to is this--if we want to expand something--or even create something-- we have to make it solvent. I'm reading the Chernow biography of Alexander Hamilton right now (the one that inspired Hamilton, although the more I read the book, the more I am annoyed at the liberties the musical took....), and Hamilton wrote something I found prescient: "Creation of debt should always be accompanied by the means of extinguishment." 

Or, in other words--how are we going to pay for this

IV. 

As we're heading into the Fourth of July weekend, here are some of my favorite book/movie suggestions for you. They either talk about the revolutionary war, or revolve around July 4th: 

The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara, and the movie, Gettysburg, which is based on the novel. 

Laurie Halse Anderson's Seeds of America trilogy: Chains, Forge, Ashes

The movie 1776 (the musical. It's great! Mr. Feeney is John Adams!) 

The miniseries John Adams, and the David McCullough bio upon which it's based. Also McCullough's 1776, which is amazing. 

V. 

Also, read the declaration, and the preamble to the Constitution: 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

(And also realize the difference between the two--please?) 

VI. 

If you love candles, but have a hard time finding a good summer scent, then you need this candle from the Laurel Mercantile Co. (It's run by Erin and Ben Napier, of HGTV's Home Town.) It is a divine floral smell that smells just like being outside in the spring and summer

 

 

Not only does it smell great, but it also burns very evenly and cleanly--both big bonuses. And, in fitting with the American theme of this post, it's made in Mississippi, so go American manufacturing! (Which was also something Alexander Hamilton supported. He wrote an entire paper on manufacturing and the sort of things he thought we should make.) 

VII. 

Finally....

I've been seeing a lot of "lose" vs. "loose" on the Internet this week. Y'all know the difference, right? :-p 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 129: Happy birthday, Jane!

7 Quick Takes, Jane Austen, books, holidays, history, linksEmily DeArdo3 Comments

I. 
Today is Jane Austen's 241st birthday!!! Yay!

This is definitely something to celebrate. So here's some links to help you celebrate, too! 

II. 

Here is one of my series on Jane's writing, if you want to catch up: 

Jane, Aristotle, and Aquinas

Also, Jane's characters figured prominently in my Seven Characters post! 

III. 

A wonderful way to celebrate today is to watch Pride and Prejudice. The ONLY Pride and Prejudice. As in, the one featuring Colin F as Mr. Darcy. Because I do not acknowledge any others. :-P Keira Knightly is not Lizzie in my world. 

IV.

If you would like to watch a Jane biopic, there is Becoming Jane, which I recommend. Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy are fantastic. 

Anne Hathaway as Jane in  Becoming Jane

Anne Hathaway as Jane in Becoming Jane

V. 

You could also practice your instruments if you play any. Be like Marianne and play a "powerful concerto".  Or just listen to the Sense and Sensibility movie soundtrack, which is perfection. 

And since it's Christmastime (well, almost), we might wonder what carols would Jane have known? Here's a piece about Regency Christmas carols, and here's one from the Jane Austen Center. Also, Messiah was composed in 1741, thirty-four years before Jane was born, so she might have been familiar with some of the pieces. (It was first performed in Dublin, but had its London premiere in March 1743).  Her father was a clergyman, and the piece was performed in cathedrals around the country after the London premiere, so it might have been possible for Jane, or members of her family, to have heard it. 

Not familiar with some of the regency carols? I've provided some audio for your listening pleasure. 

VI. 

A little bit about Jane's family: her father, George Austen, was a clergyman who married Cassandra Leigh on April 26, 1764. Jane was the seventh of eight children and the second (and last) daughter--her sister, Cassandra, who was her best friend, was two years older than she was, and outlived Jane by twenty-eight years. 

The rest of the siblings were: Rev. James Austen; George Austen (who was severely disabled--either with epilepsy or cerebral palsy, we're not quite sure); Edward Austen-Knight (he was adopted by the Knight family as their heir, thus his last name); Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother; Francis (Frank), who became a vice-admiral in the British Navy (giving Jane plenty of knowledge about the navy for her novels, especially Mansfield Park and Persuasion); and her younger brother, and youngest sibling, Charles, who also joined the Navy. 

Edward ended up being instrumental in the care of his widowed mother and unmarried sisters after their father died in 1805; he provided them with Chawton Cottage, where Jane did most of her writing, and where she died on July 18, 1817 at the age of forty-two.  (All of the brothers, though, helped support the women in the family after the reverend's death, with money and offerings of housing, etc.) 

VII. 

And finally, we must have tea! if you really want to drink tea like Jane did, get some Twinings, which was the brand she and her family drank! From the Twinings website: 

A century later, writer Jane Austen was a devoted customer because, at a time when tea leaves were sometimes mixed with tree leaves by unscrupulous vendors and smugglers, Austen could be sure of buying unadulterated leaves at Twinings. In an 1814 letter to her sister Cassandra, she mentions: “I am sorry to hear that there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining til later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply.” 

She visited the shop to buy tea for herself and her family when she was in town (meaning London) visiting her brother, Henry.  So, we must have tea on Jane's birthday. Their Lady Grey tea is an excellent choice for afternoon tea drinking.

 Here's a piece on tea in the Regency Era , and one on tea in her novels. 

There is also the delightful book Tea with Jane Austen as well as At Home With Jane Austen.  One day I WILL get to England and do the Jane Austen tour. My entire bucket list is basically that. 

Happy birthday, dear Jane!

Seven Quick Takes No. 128

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo2 Comments

This week's seven quick takes: Seven of my Favorite Christmas Songs (Carols and non-Carols!)

I. 

O Holy Night

I mean, really? We can't forget this one. 

II. 

In The Bleak Midwinter

III. 

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (And DO NOT CHANGE THE WORDS, y'all)

IV. 

The Seven Rejoices of Mary. You've probably never heard of this one, but it's great!

V. 

O Come All Ye Faithful

VI. 

Carol of the Bells (two versions, for your listening pleasure!)

VII

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (If you're not familiar with the history of this one, go here. Judy Garland just slays it in the movie, which I can't put here, but it's on TV like every day during the holidays.) 

And bonus: I was never really a fan of this carol, but I Love Loreena's Version of it!

What are your favorite Christmas songs? 

How to be an Awesome Person (Inspired by Kid President)

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo2 Comments

This is Seven Quick Takes, but it's not a usual one. 

Have you heard of Kid President? I found a video of him the day after the election, and it seemed oddly....appropriate. 

 

So I've spent a lot of time since then watching his other videos. He encourages people to "be awesome." So I'm doing the same thing here, because people, we need a bit more awesome in our lives. 

 

NUMBER ONE!

The Thumper Principle: If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all. 

NUMBER TWO!

Say please and thank you, like your parents and grandparents taught you! Thank everyone! The lady who bags your groceries! The kid at the drive through! The waiter who brings your beverages! THANK PEOPLE!

(And since today is Veterans' Day...thank Veterans? Good idea.) 

NUMBER THREE!

Be helpful! Hold doors for people. If someone drops something, pick it up for them. Etc. 

NUMBER FOUR! 

SMILE AT PEOPLE. Seriously. Smile. It's nice. 

 

NUMBER FIVE!

Send people notes! Real notes! In the mail! 

NUMBER SIX! 

Don't be a jerk. Turn on your lights when you're driving and it's dark outside. Use your turn signal. Return carts to the cart corral! Throw away your empty popcorn container after a movie! 

NUMBER SEVEN!

From the video: Treat people like people!!!!! Use the Golden Rule! 

Come on, guys. We're big adult humans. (Most of us who are reading this, anyway. I guess there might be some kids out there.) Let's be mature, reasonable, responsible, AWESOME PEOPLE. 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 128

7 Quick Takes, health, transplant, writing, fictionEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

ICYMI: I wrote other things than the 30 Days series this week! Here's a post on the Four Last Things--in time for Halloween. (Or it was when I posted it!) And part II of my Houston Postcards.

II.

I had clinic on Monday. The X-ray is good, the PFTs are in their normal range, so that's all happy. The biggest happy, though? I got to go off prednisone! Yayyyy!

Prednisone is a steroid that does some nasty things to your body. It keeps inflammation down, and it's widely used in the transplant world. In other types of transplant, people can go off this drug after a few years. In lung transplant, that's much less common. So I knew that there was a good chance my doctors wouldn't let me go off it. But I'm 11 years out, I'm stable....I might as well ask!

"These lungs are basically yours," my doctor told me, so he didn't see a problem with me trying it. I have to go back for lung function tests (PFTs) in December, to make sure that nothing evil is happening in my lungs. But right now, I am off prednisone. 

III. 

I'm not going to lie: the first few days of this have been rough. After only seven days, your body adapts to prednisone and makes changes in a lot of ways. I've been on it for eleven years. Tuesday, Wednesday, and yesterday were a bit tough as my body adjusted to being off it, especially in the muscle/joint department. They liked steroids. I'm hoping that now that I have good lungs that are not full of Evil Bacteria, my joints will be happy without the prednisone. (CF people often have a sort of quasi-arthritis--it's not "real" arthritis, but joint pain, stiffness, etc. happens.) I really didn't miss all that insanity, so I'm hoping that they're going to be happy without the pred. 

IV. 

On Wednesday I got to see one of my favorite singers, Canadian artist Loreena McKennit. If you're not familiar with her music, here's a few tastes: 

 

 

She's hard to categorize; sometimes she's labeled "Celtic", sometimes "new age", and sometimes "world", but I just say she's great. She rarely tours, and very rarely tours in the U.S., so when tickets went on sale for her one concert in town, my friend Suellen and I jumped on them.

Our AP English teacher, Mrs. Low, had introduced us to Loreena's Music, with "Lady of Shalott" and "The Highwayman"--so we've been fans for a long time now. (Yikes, 17 years!) Hearing her sing "The Lady of Shalott" in person has vastly added to my lifetime happiness. 

V. 

I'm also doing NaNoWriMo! This is my fifth year. I'm writing a story about a girl who enters a monastery. I've been wanting to write a novel about nuns for awhile, but having seen a lot of recently released novels that paint nuns in a less than flattering light made me move this story forward over other NaNo ideas. It also has a strong ballet component, so I'm writing about two pretty rarefied worlds in one novel. (And no, it's not like the ballet in Trouble With Angels. Ha!) I'm going to hit the 10K mark today. 

(If you're not familiar with NaNo: The objective is to write a 50,000 words novel from start to finish during the month of November.) 

VI. 

As soon as I hit 10K today, I'm watching The Crown on Netflix. Seriously. I love Claire Foy, I love the Royals, I love Netflix....it all works together for pure binge watching enjoyment! (And there's going to be a second season! WOOOOO!) The goal is to have 60 episodes over 6 seasons. So Claire Foy is playing Queen Elizabeth II in the early part of her reign. I'm so excited. Seriously. Royal geek, right here. 

(And Stephen Daldry is directing episodes! He directed one of my favorite movies, The Hours.) 

VII. 

OK, wow, that's enough fan-girling for one post. Sorry guys. :) Have a great weekend! 

Next week--my October reading wrap post. It's long! It's fun! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 127

7 Quick Takes, drawing, family, travel, Jeopardy, hearing lossEmily DeArdo3 Comments

I.

In case you missed it: Thirty Days of Beauty continued this week. It was really all I wrote this week, since I was in Houston visiting my sister, and didn't bring the laptop with me. So go enjoy those posts. :) 

I will be updating my Houston Postcard next week with the places I did this trip, so it will be more Comprehensive for all you Houston-bound people!

II.

When I was in Houston I did a lot of sketching, including making a point of taking my supplies to the beach at Galveston. I knew that the paint would dry faster in the heat, but I wasn't prepared for how much faster. Still, I'm pretty happy with what I managed to get. 

III. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you are aware that my sister has a cat. Bella is a pretty sweet kitty, who flicks her tail whenever you say her name, and likes to try to get extra kibble out of the automatic feeder. (My sister is a nurse who works night shift, so automatic feeding for Bella is a good thing!) She discovered that by moving her paw under the slot, she could get extra kibble to drop down. Sometimes. Never having lived with a cat, I was hugely amused by her behavior. 

IV. 

There were FOUR bookstores visited on this trip, guys. FOUR. One of them, yes, was a Barnes and Noble, and I wasn't there for very long, but still. FOUR! 

Brazos, of course. I introduced Melanie to its beautiful-ness. Small but mighty. 

We checked out Galveston Bookshop--didn't buy anything, though. It looked like it might be a decent place to prowl around and look for books. It's mostly used books, with some new, and they have an excellent collection of books about Galveston and Texas, if that's your thing. They also have a shop cat!

IMG_4074.JPG

The last shop we visited was Murder By the Book, which was excellent. It's a lot more than mystery novels (at first I was like, mystery novels are not my thing), but I had a lot of fun here. More about this guy later. 

V. 

This chocolate cake, people. THIS CHOCOLATE CAKE: 

Does it remind you of this scene in Matilda, or what?!

It reminded me of that. :) And Mel and I love Matilda. So extra bonus points. 

And no. I did not eat that entire piece. Do I look crazy? But it was magically delicious. 

VI.

One of the things that I'm terrible at vis-a-vis traveling is unpacking. My suitcase sits in the main room and is gradually unpacked over a series of days. The longer the trip, the longer it takes to sort everything out! 

VII. 

And finally....

 I wrote a piece for the Cochlear Website about my Jeopardy! experience. You can read it here

It went up on Tuesday when I was in Texas so I didn't have time to write about it. :) But here you go! 

Seven Quick Takes No. 124: Describing Myself in 7 Fictional Characters

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdo3 Comments

There was a meme on Instagram/Facebook this week, asking you to describe yourself in THREE fictional characters. I found that really difficult, but I did it! But I thought seven might be a more well-rounded image. So, here we go. The first three are obviously the ones I used for the meme. :) 

I. 

First up: Rapunzel, from Tangled

Besides the blonde hair (mine was NEVER as epic as hers, however), Rapunzel and I do have a lot in common. We both like to draw, paint, knit, read, and cook. We both love cast-iron skillets. But other than that, we both spent a lot of our lives waiting for something; in my case, waiting for transplant/better health. After my transplant, my life opened up in broad, broad strokes. It's been amazing the things I've done in the last 11 years that I couldn't have imagined in the first twenty-three. Rapunzel's life changes drastically once she gets out of the tower.  We both hesitate over leaving what is safe and known for the unknown (which could be a lot better, or a lot worse). 

We're also obedient. Both of us tend to believe that people want the best for us. We think that people always have good hearts. That's not always true--which we also find out. 

And I'd also like a chameleon as a sidekick. 

 

Second: Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

No, I'm not an orphan. But Anne and I are both bubbly, somewhat intense personalities that you either like or you don't.  We both have big imaginations, are fiercely loyal friends, want to be writers, and generally want to make the world a better place. We have tempers! We also don't mind standing up for what we think is right. And we both may be a little bit dramatic. ;-) 

Third: Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

It was actually hard for me to pick one Austen Heroine. You'll see why in a bit. But I'm probably the most like Lizzy. We "take pleasure in many things", we like to laugh (especially about our neighbors' foibles). Wit, common sense, good conversation, and intelligence are important to us (and are to be cultivated in ourselves). We have a somewhat critical view of humanity. We both think that people should be more like us--to the exasperation of others.

 "There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconstancy of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense."
"My dear Lizzy, [said Jane] do not give way to such feelings as these...you do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper." 

We are both somewhat quick to judgment, and often have our judgments reversed on closer acquaintance. We also, though, both know what we want, and don't want to settle for anything less than that. 

Fourth: Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey

OK, I realize that Lady Mary is not universally loved. And I will say I would not have made all of her choices (namely, screwing around at the hotel before getting married; Mister Pamuk.....). But that being said, I identify a lot with Mary.

We're both oldest children. We both want to be seen as women of substance, and not just pretty things. We are extremely stubborn and strong-willed. We have definite views of Right and Wrong. We can be a bit blunt. When the chips are down, we step up and do what we have to do to make sure everything comes out right--or at least, that the best possible outcome is achieved. Our softer side can be hard to find. We don't take any nonsense/whining. But sometimes, yeah, we have a little pity party and go up to our rooms. But then we bounce back and proceed to Set Things Right and Move On With Life. 

And sometimes our tempers/feelings get the better of us, and we have Very Bad Moments at the Breakfast Table.

Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor Dashwood

Marianne, Margaret, and Elinor Dashwood

Fifth: Elinor Dashwood, (right) Sense and Sensibility

 

I'm like Elinor in that I have a practical, logical side. I have an imagination and I like to daydream, but eventually, facts be facts, and we have to deal with them (same as with Lady Mary). Some things I tend to keep bottled up inside me, and I'm good at being in charge, even when I don't want to be. We can both be considered cold, when we're really just being practical/logical, or trying to protect ourselves, in a situation where love might be involved. (Also like Lady Mary. So really, Elinor, Lady Mary, and I could have a party.)   

 

Sixth: Eowyn, Lord of the Rings

Oh, Eowyn.  A lot of the time I feel like Eowyn is my spirit animal, in a sense. Both of us have been shaped by circumstances we wouldn't have selected. Both of us are brave (but we don't see bravery the same way--she desires great deeds, and I never really had that desire). We both want to prove ourselves to other people, and make people see us. And we will defend our family to the death! (Although I haven't had to prove this yet. Hopefully no Nazguls are waiting outside my door.....) 

Seven: Belle, Beauty and the Beast

Obviously, the book thing. Devotion to family, and a willingness to help them out of tough spots (are you seeing a pattern here?). A craving for adventure and a big life. Temper when roused, and a mind of our own. A willingness to change our minds and opinions if the situation warrants it. A bit of curiosity killed the cat, as a flaw. But knowing what's the right thing to do, and doing it, even when we might not want to do it. 

 

So those are my seven. Who are yours? 

(honorable mentions: Marianne, Sense and Sensibility; Esther Summerson, Bleak House)

Seven Quick Takes No. 122

7 Quick Takes, food, books, writingEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

Happy Friday, everybody!!!!

Here's what I wrote about this week, ICYMI: 

Hospital Hair Salons (With a follow up next week!) 

Catholic 101: The Eucharist

II. 

We FINALLY had rain! Lots and lots of rain! My plant doesn't look like it's going to die now! Yay!!!!! (Even when you water a plant copiously, when it's 90+ degrees for many days in a row, the plant will look very sad.) Just in time for school starting, the weather has become less hot and more normal--70s and low 80s. I can handle this. In fact, this is sort of my perfect type of weather. I am ready for my sweaters!  

III. 

This was this week's Kitchen Adventure: 

This is the Guinness Cake. The Cake of My Heart. And next week, it'll get its own Food Stories post!  (It's been awhile since I've done one of those!) 

IV. 

I'm falling down on the reading this month, but I do have the new Mother Teresa book, A Call To Mercy on my iPad, as well as Shauna Niequist's Present Over Perfect.

V. 

In my own writing: I'm working on some submissions and still editing the memoir. Always, right? And NaNoWriMo 2016 is over the horizon, so I need to come up with a novel idea to write this year!

VI. 

After a long hiatus, I'm back to the knitting, because my new yarn bowl arrived. So back to those knits and purls. I'm using up some odds and ends of yarn so this is definitely a project for me, and not a gift. And I need to start thinking about Christmas gifts too, yikes! And birthday gifts for my fall people!

VII. 

Has school started where you are? I remember when it started at the end of August. The beginning/middle of August feels so odd for school start dates. Course they also get out a lot earlier than I did, too.But starting on August 16 (when a lot of schools here started) seems wayyyy too early for me. 

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 121

7 Quick TakesEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

Ohio weather is extreme. 

In the winter, we can plunge to Hoth-like levels of cold, when everyone wishes they had a Tauntaun to stay warm inside, and hibernation in the order of the day. 

In the summer, hibernation can ALSO be the order of the day--because it's SO DARN HOT. 

We don't quite hit Houston levels of heat (100+ for the temperature), but we've been in the upper 80s for a week now, and I'm about done. With my skin, I generally hibernate whenever it's super sunny (and almost always from noon-two), but when it's super sunny, AND hot AND humid? No. 

I would pay a lot of money for a decent rain storm right now. 

I love summer more than winter--I'd rather have this heat than freezing cold. So I'm trying to embrace it and remember that this will be something I want when I can't even take the trash out without putting on boots and scarves and hats and gloves and my Puffy Coat. 

II. 

Did you know there was a right way to put bobby pins in your hair? I didn't. But apparently you're supposed to put the crinkly side down, not up. Whoops. 

I'm such a hair fail. Fortunately my friend Andrea showed me this website, and now I'm going to try to become less hair impaired.  This style, especially, looks like it will be good for when the weather makes me want to shave my head. 

III.

School officially starts around these parts next week. In other parts of the state, it started today. I can't believe how early school starts now, but I have to say, when I was in school, I was "done" with summer by now. I wanted to be back to a routine. Routine is my friend, even as an adult. I do like some spontaneity, but generally, if I don't have a routine, I end up sitting at home in my pajamas mindlessly watching Fraggle Rock, and that's no good (as much as I love Wembley and Red). 

I've finally disciplined myself enough to have the start of a good morning routine: get up, start the coffee, say Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and read my daily devotionals, get coffee, have breakfast. It's finally reached a point where this is just what I do--it's become a habit. Thank goodness. 

IV. 

Habits experts tell us that routine is a great thing, because it saves us from having to make decisions and use willpower. If we know we're going to get up and do X, Y, Z right away, then bang, it's done. You don't need to think about it. It's become like brushing your teeth or getting dressed. You just do it. 

The next step is when to work in my workout. I've found that doing it before lunch is actually a really good spot for me, but it's not automatic yet. I'm working on getting it to that point, whether I actually leave the house for barre class, or do a workout video at home, or whatever. 

V. 

Italian is a strange language. Verbs can be nouns. Nouns can be verbs. You can completely leave the subject out. But I'm on track to be 50% fluent by the end of the year, which is one of my Powersheets goals, so I keep practicing. I love the Duolingo app.  

VI. 

I will OFFICIALLY be a Children's Hospital volunteer really soon, which is exciting. After spending so much of my life there, it's nice to give back a bit to other patients and families. And it gives me an excuse to find a cool lanyard for my volunteer badge. 

VII. 

If you've read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, what did you think of it? Spill in the comments. 

Seven Quick Takes No. 119: 23 Rules for Sane Eating, and Dragons!

7 Quick Takes, Catholicism, family, foodEmily DeArdo2 Comments

I. 

The weekly recap: 

Intro to the Sacraments

Seeking Motivation

II. 

Last weekend, I visited my grandma with my parents. My grandma is 86 years old, and she's my last remaining grandparent--and I love her to bits. She raised eight kids on a music teacher's salary, and all 8 kids are married (STILL married! Not divorced!--several of them in the 30+ years category of marriage), and all have had children. There are 25 of us grandkids, and 9 great-grandchildren. Grandma gave me my lifelong love of piano. (And listened to me play even when it was more like....random noise.....than music.) 

Me and my grandma, celebrating her 85th birthday last year. 

Me and my grandma, celebrating her 85th birthday last year. 

 

Anyway, Grandma's house always has good reading. I was reading her back issues of Catholic Digest, and found some food columns written by Emily Stimpson, whom I love to read. And then I remembered that Emily had a blog about Catholic food and friendship and entertaining called The Catholic Table

So I went home and read through her archives, where I found this gem: 

23 Rules for Sane Eating. 

Really, don't we need these? Eating, one of our most basic tasks, has become so complicated, hasn't it? It was so refreshing to find Emily's level-headed advice, here. 

And I am definitely going to start entertaining people again. I love dinner parties, and though my place is small, I love having people over to eat. 

III. 

Today is the Feast of St. Martha. DRAGONS, people. DRAGONS. (Click the link for Dragons!) 

Seriously, I love St. Martha. She gets such a bad wrap for the "Martha, Martha" story. But geez. She is really a pretty awesome lady. 

Some musical inspiration, as well: 

IV. 

This week I've been crazy into my painting and sketching. I'm working on adding some SoCal trip pages to my "big" sketchbook . Here's some of this week's work: 

Charcoal movement sketches as part of a SBS assignment. The idea was to catch people doing things, or in poses. So it was mostly line drawings, but I'm glad with what I caught here. The goal wasn't to be realistic. 

Charcoal movement sketches as part of a SBS assignment. The idea was to catch people doing things, or in poses. So it was mostly line drawings, but I'm glad with what I caught here. The goal wasn't to be realistic. 

A page in my big watercolor sketchbook detailing the SoCal trip with two maps--a larger (and wonkier) one with the general area, and then a more detailed one of LA and environs proper. I do have a travel sketchbook, but sometimes I want the larger pages. 

A page in my big watercolor sketchbook detailing the SoCal trip with two maps--a larger (and wonkier) one with the general area, and then a more detailed one of LA and environs proper. I do have a travel sketchbook, but sometimes I want the larger pages. 

This is a watercolor version of my grandma's flower bed. I put the paint blocks in first and then drew in some flowers in ink once the paint had dried. The flowers are sort of successful, but I wonder if it would've worked with just the paint blocks. I think it might have. And obviously, my green got away from me. Too much green! 

This is a watercolor version of my grandma's flower bed. I put the paint blocks in first and then drew in some flowers in ink once the paint had dried. The flowers are sort of successful, but I wonder if it would've worked with just the paint blocks. I think it might have. And obviously, my green got away from me. Too much green! 

I'm trying to work with my watercolors and brushes, to get to know them a little better, and see what they can do. But I really had fun with the charcoal pencils. 

V.

I'm on snapchat now as emdeardo, if you're in to Snapchat. I think I have the hang of it. Maybe? Not sure. But I do see how it can be fun. I haven't used any of the silly filters yet. :-p 

VI. 

One of my favorite Columbus Summer things is next weekend--the Dublin Irish Festival! And thank goodness, it looks like decent temps for the day I want to go. I love going and hearing the Irish bands, eating the good food, and it's a great time for sketching. I brought my sketchbook for the first time last year and I had a lot of fun with it. I can't wait to sketch some more this year! One of my favorite bands is Cassie and Maggie, sisters from Nova Scotia. They don't just sing and play; they dance, too. Seriously. They are fantastic!

VII. 

Does anyone else really like the month of August? I like June because it's like the unfolding of spring and summer. It's full of possibility. July, I don't really like. I don't know why. And this has even been a particularly good July, with all sorts of fun things happening. 

But August just seems like such a lovely month. A slow month, a month to sort of enjoy the summer and prepare for fall. I remember when I was going back to school and I was always ready for school to start come August. August is like that slow transition from summer to the demands of fall. (But I do love fall.) 

Seven Quick Takes No. 118: Aftermath

7 Quick Takes, JeopardyEmily DeArdo1 Comment

I. 

OK, so if you missed the wrap up on Tuesday: 

here you go. 

If you want more Jeopardy things, then click the "Jeopardy " link under the title of this post, and you will see all the goodness!

II. 

I was at a party, graciously hosted by Tiff and Bill, on Monday, so I wasn't tending to my social media. However, that didn't mean that social media didn't have thoughts about me....

So, um, I don't know what that means. 

BUT it did give me a great title for my memoir: Absurdly Happy. What do you think? :) There is a subtitle coming. I just don't know what. 

And some Tweeters did do a nice job sticking up for me: 

Matt wins the prize! :) 

Should I change my ringtone to Hello, Dolly? :) 

III. 

What Alex said to me after the show: He was impressed that I wrote down my answer for Final Jeopardy so quickly. "That was the fastest writing I've ever seen!" So, that can be my claim to fame, beyond all other things. 

He also explained why that was the Final Jeopardy question--the Tour is going on right about now. So, it's pertinent. 

(I mean, somewhere. Maybe not here--in Columbus it's All Convention, All The Time....)

IV. 

Someone did recognize me in the grocery store yesterday....

I had a craving for cereal, so I made a quick run to the store. In the cereal aisle, a woman stopped, looked at me, looked at the cereal, looked at me....

Her: Can I ask you a weird question?

Me: Yes.

Her: Were you just on Jeopardy? 

Me: Yes. 

Her: (Squeal--no, I didn't make that up) We watch that every night! We were so happy someone from here was on! 

She was very nice. But it was very surreal, being recognized in the cereal aisle. 

V. 

After my episode wrapped, Mary and I went to the Santa Monica Pier and had lunch. I could've stayed to watch the rest of the day's episodes, but I thought it was time to get out of there....and I really didn't want to see another show that would've had "better" questions air. I didn't need that sort of thing. So we decided to leave right after I signed all the forms. One of the lovely producers called me a taxi, and we headed off to explore.

VI. 

I don't know if I get a tape of the episode. I sort of hope I do? It's currently on my parents' DVR. :) 

VII. 

It was definitely an excellent experience--one I'm glad I got to do, and I'm so glad that you all got to watch it (or at least, most of you.) It was also nice to bring some positive coverage to the CF community! 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 118: Transplant Celebration and Jeopardy reminder!!

7 Quick Takes, JeopardyEmily DeArdoComment

I. 

OK , first of all--

Jeopardy on Monday. 

Check your local listings and all that. :-p 

II. 

Second: 

I'll be on Jen Fulwiler's radio show on the Sirius XM Catholic Channel on Monday! 

If you have Sirius, tune in. If you don't, there might be an iTunes link. I will try to post. 

III. 

On Sunday, my parents took me out to celebrate The Anniversary. We wanted to go to Fado, the place where we had eaten dinner right before I got my call, but it's an Irish pub that shows European Soccer, and there was a huge game on. So we went to PF Chang's instead, which is just as delightful.  

After that, my parents surprised me with a super-duper treat. 

Chocolate fondue, people. 

Sadly, I have no pictures of the Gloriousness that was Chocolate Caramel Toffee fondue, with magical pieces of fruit, a blondie, rice krispy treats, pound cake, and a brownie. Yes, all of that, per person. You got a lovely little tray of items to dip in the bubbling, magical chocolate. 

Guys, I would've married that fondue. Or at least licked the bowl if it wasn't so crazy hot. I didn't feel like burning my tongue. 

But it was so delightful. Right now, writing about it, I'm salivating. I want more! MOREEEE! 

IV. 

And if you're not an organ donor, and you have an iPhone, you can sign up RIGHT FROM THE PHONE, people! RIGHT FROM YOUR PHONE! You don't even have to go to a pesky website!

Do it. Really. Sign up. 

Oh, you want to know why? 

Well, if not knowing me isn't cool enough.....here's a list of some of the things I've done post transplant. 

V. 

Gone to California; gone to Boston; gone to NYC and Chicago; discovered the epic-ness that is the Outer Banks; been in a ton of theater; tried tofu; been on Jeopardy!; been to Disneyland; eaten in Beverly Hills; started pin collecting; gotten my own apartment; had several jobs; left the job to be a freelancer; written a few novels and a memoir (that eventually someone will want to publish....) 

VI. 

Seen my godson graduate from high school; seen my sister graduate from high school and college; seen my brother graduate from college and become a Steeler sportswriter; Penguin Stanley Cups!; been my cousin Paige's confirmation sponsor; pinned my sister at her graduation from nursing school; seen multiple small children be born that I never would've seen other wise (and that would have made the guy below SAD)

No transplant, no meeting Justin. He's only seven. 

No transplant, no meeting Justin. He's only seven. 

Been in my other cousin Justin's wedding, and met his adorable kids....

 

Been in a million OTHER weddings, including this couple's....

These people rock my world. A lot. 

These people rock my world. A lot. 

Met hundreds of people I wouldn't have met otherwise; been to Edel with awesome, awesome people; become a Lay Dominican; read the Outlander books (this would've made my life so sad, people....to not know Jamie and Claire!).....and about a thousand others....seen the resurgence of the Pirates into a good baseball team!....

VII. 

Organ donation doesn't just save one person. It saves families. It saves friends. It saves entire networks of people. I mean, not that I'm all that or anything, but I do have friends and family that would miss me (I hope!). I would've missed so much without these 11 extra years

Guys. Be an organ donor. Save lives. Give people joy and grace. 

Seven Quick Takes No. 117

7 Quick Takes, CatholicismEmily DeArdoComment

I. 
Per usual....if you missed them (posts from the long weekend are here, too!)

My Country 'Tis of Thee

When In the Course of Human Events

Summer Reading: What I Read in June

I'd Like Your Vote

II. 

In the area of Catholic news this week, here is an article about Cardinal Sarah asking for ad orientem worship everywhere, starting in Advent. 

For those of you who aren't into technical liturgical details, "ad orientem" means "toward the east"--basically, in this style of worship, during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest is turned toward the east, or, with his back to the congregation. Everyone is facing the same way, as it were. 

Ad orientem does not mean "in Latin". You can offer ad orientem worship within the confines of the "normal" English Mass. The only difference would be the direction the priest is facing. 

I'm not a huge fan of the Mass in Latin, I gotta be honest. I feel like I'm just sitting around watching the priest do things. However, I realize it might take time to get acclimated to it. 

But ad orientem worship seems like something we should try. So many Catholic churches don't even look Catholic these days. Yes, some moving the altar work might be involved, if you don't have an older church, like mine, which still has the high altar. But I think making the Mass more reverent isn't a bad thing, and it's probably sorely needed. 

III. 

The 11 year transplant anniversary is on Monday. I will have my annual retrospective post up that day. Just some FYI. ;-) 

IV. 

And also in the FYI category: Jeopardy! July 18th. Watch it. It'll be more fun than the convention that starts that day....eyeroll. 

V. 

I found this on the SITS girls facebook page this week, and I just adore it: 

 

I mean, right? Isn't that the way it works? 

Me and Tiffany--randomly doing stuff together since 1996. (holy cow, that's TWENTY YEARS.....) 

Me and Tiffany--randomly doing stuff together since 1996. (holy cow, that's TWENTY YEARS.....) 

VI. 

What's the longest friendship you've ever had? I gotta say I'm impressed with twenty years. That's more than half our lives at this point. 

Tiffany and I met in a theater class in high school--alphabetical seating is our friend. Amilia and Sue I met in freshman choir. My friend Tom I met in Freshman French....and I've known my friend Branden since we were three years old. No kidding. 

That's sort of amazing, if you think about it. 

VII. 

And since I have nothing else, I'll leave you with an Ann Voskamp image. :) 

Have a great weekend!