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Bl. Thomas Pickering

So I keep reading this 7 Quick Takes Friday thing on various blogs, and thinking how handy it would be to clear out all the random little things I want to write about that aren’t quite right for a whole post. Except I’m never thinking this on Friday, and apparently I’m not enough of a rebel to ignore the rules of a meme entirely.  Also, since when have I ever been able to write only a little about anything?  However, by some magical confluence of things, here I am on a Friday, all ready to talk about things.  Seven of them.  Quickly.  At least in theory.  We’ll see how this goes.

— 1 —

I had a birthday last week (more on that later), and my parents took me out to the Chinese buffet.  I had an amazing time watching the Little Philosopher fling bits of hard boiled egg all over the floor while singing a happy egg song.  Afterwards, I exercised my Aunt’s Privilege of filling the small child full of sugar and then sending her home.  A good time was had by all (well, by me and the Little Philosopher at least).  Then, when I opened up my fortune cookie at the end of the meal, I found this.

wpid-cam00127.jpgFriends, that’s not a fortune.  At least I hope it isn’t.  That’s lyrics from Phantom of the Opera, specifically from The Music of the Night.  And, yeah, it’s a great song, but it’s also creepy.  There’s a reason they shelve that book in the Horror section.  I’m now re-reading the section of the Catechism on superstition, and choosing to believe that this only means the fortune cookie fortune writer loves show tunes, not any sort of portent for my future.

— 2 —

I saw this article on improving relationships by asking better questions, and it made me think of one of my sort-of coworkers.  She worked in our HR department for years until she retired to be a stay at home mom, but we keep her officially on the payroll so she can help out with occasional special projects, and come to our Christmas dinner.  She’s a sort of HR Emeritus.  Anyway, she has the most amazing Asking-Questions-Fu I have ever seen.  It’s incredible.  You know all the questions you’re always dying to ask, but you don’t because polite people don’t do that?  Stuff like: So when are you guys going to have kids?  Why are you not married to the woman you’ve been living with for five years who is the mother of your children?  What made you think doing that to your hair was a good idea?  All of those.  Except she does it so skillfully, and so kindly that people answer her and are not offended.  They even seem to like it.  It blows my mind.  I want to sit at her feet and Learn Her Ways.  I’m a little afraid that it might be one of those talents that is inborn, and not learnable.  However, since I read the article, I’ve been working on being a little more courageous about asking questions.  So far no one has gotten mad at me, so I think it’s working.  I think.

— 3 —

May and Mother’s Day mean strawberries to me, and I’m always looking for ways to enjoy fruit that don’t involve added sugar.  This recipe for Black Pepper Strawberry Butter almost qualifies, close enough that I bet I could fudge it. And it looks so pretty!

— 4 —

AnniPotts and Cuthbert did not get the house.  However, the owners of the house they had been looking at earlier offered them that house for the amount of their original bid.  So it looks like they’re going ahead with that house, which is a very nice one even if it isn’t as amazing as the one they were hoping for.

— 5 —

Sometimes when I get discouraged about the state of gender relationships in our world, it helps to see stories about really good men who are willing to do hard things to benefit the women in their life.  For example, there’s this man in India, who realized that his wife was enduring a lot of hardship and discomfort because she did not have access to affordable sanitary supplies for her monthly period.  So he set out find a way to make cheaper menstrual pads.  His sudden interest in menstruation made everyone think he’d gone crazy.  People thought he was a pervert, and began shunning him.  His wife left him.  However, he persevered, and built a machine that makes pads cheaply and easily.  He won an award, and his wife came back.  He now builds the machines and gives them to women at no cost, so that they can use them to set up their own small business manufacturing pads.  He says, “I have accumulated no money but I accumulate a lot of happiness.”

That’s a good man.

— 6 —

Speaking of hope for the future, here’s an awesome letter from E.B. White to a man who was losing hope in humanity.  My favorite line: “Hang on to your hat.  Hang on to your hope.  And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”

— 7 —

Last, but definitely not least, (and this one really deserves its own blog post), please pray for the Stolen Girls of Nigeria.  I hope most of you already know what I’m talking about, but for those of you who don’t, on April 14 an Islamic terrorist group which I refuse to name attacked a girl’s school in Nigeria and abducted 273 teenage girls who were there taking their final exams.  The government of Nigeria’s response has included denying that this ever happened, arresting people who protest their inaction, and blaming the girls’ parents.  The terrorists have released gloating videos in which they state their plans to sell all of the girls into slavery. At least two of the girls have died.

The groundswell of outrage from the rest of the world has been building, and various nations including the US have announced that they are planning to make plans to help Nigeria find the girls.  There is not a whole lot that we as individuals can do, except try to help spread the word about the girls’ plight, and to pray for them.  Many of the girls’ parents have been reluctant to share the girls’ names for fear that, when the girls return home, they will be stigmatized and shamed.  However, a list has been released by a local clergyman with 180 of the girls names.  You can find the list here.  In the words of David Curp:

If you follow the link, you will find listed the names of the identified kidnapping victims of [terrorist organization name redacted]. I challenge believers everywhere to lift up these girls, individually, by name, not in a mass prayer, but each child as if she were your own – whether Christian or Muslim – and intercede on behalf of them.
They are Daniels in the lions den.
They are Josephs, sold into slavery
They are Paul & Silas, in chains for the sake of the Gospel
They are Esthers and Sarais
They are our sisters and our daughters…

I have personally committed myself to praying for each one of these girls, one a day, for as long as it takes to pray for all of them, even after they come home (please, God, bring them home!).  Yesterday my rosary on the way in to work was for Awa Abge.  Today I am praying for Hauwa Yirma.  By doing this, I hope to not only send them the best help I can right now, but also simply to remember them, each young woman who is far from home and in danger.  I am asking you to do the same.

19 days until surgery (holy cow, that’s soon!)

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