7 Not-so-quick Takes

1.  I’m overwhelmed with gratitude right now.  God is so good.  I was sitting on my porch tonight, the weather perfect, my citronella candles warding off any scary bugs, and I was overwhelmed with my life.  In fact, my life is so wonderful that I began convincing myself that something awful was just around the corner.  And then I realized — or maybe He reminded me — that God is good, and His blessings are bountiful.  I should be thankful for them rather than assuming life is too good to be true.  So thank you, God.  I’m not sure what I did to deserve this, but thanks.  (Spoiler: we did nothing to deserve anything.)

Earlier this evening I was in a kind of a funk.  I even made a playlist called “Cheer Up,” to listen to while I did the dishes.  But sitting out on my porch, saying my rosary in the dark, something changed.  And I’m glad.  I guess I’m grateful for feelings of gratitude.

I don’t have any news – nothing has really changed in my life – so maybe this praise seems out of left-field.  But when I look around and realize how much other people have to suffer, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the gifts – even the smallest- that He has given me.

2. This year is a bit of a milestone birthday for me, so I’m trying to make big plans.  I may not be where I thought I’d be at this age, but I’m not sure I ever really thought about where I’d be at this age.  Isn’t that kind of funny?  I guess I never thought about growing up and doing anything.  I never dreamed about having ten kids, becoming a doctor, writing the great American novel.  Does that make me a loser?  Perhaps.  But maybe that makes birthdays easier.  I don’t have to blow out candles thinking, “But I didn’t discover the cure for cancer this year.”

Despite my low expectations, it’s still going to be weird to leave this decade of my life, so I’ve decided to celebrate in a big way.  I’m going to the Big Apple.

Maybe if I write it here, it’ll happen.  Because right now I’m having my doubts.  But think of the things I can cross off my bucket list!  Broadway shows!  Bobby Flay’s restaurants!  New York at Christmastime?  Yes, please!  Isn’t it a magical land of store windows, perfect snowfalls, and maybe John Payne walking down the street in a fedora?  No?  Hm. Well, surely Neal Caffrey will be there, right?  Oh, that’s fake, too?  Hm.  Well, it will still be magical.  I know it will.

The only problem is… New York is expensive.  Since most of the friends who could go with me are also single and either students and work for the Church, well, we have our work cut out for us.  But I’m going to make it there.  Somehow.

3. On a completely different note, has anyone else seen American Ninja Warrior?   I heard about it from our new priest on campus, Father Kevin, after he declared to me that he was going to be the first American to conquer Mt. Midoriyama.  I didn’t really get it until I stumbled upon it myself while sick on the couch.  It’s amazing what you watch when you’re feeling too sick to do anything but blow your nose and drink orange juice.

American Ninja Warrior is an obstacle course… for ninjas.  There are various qualifying rounds around the country, but no American has ever completed all four stages of the course.  It’s a spinoff from a Japanese show, and that’s all I really know.  Other than the fact that it’s awesome.

The following clip doesn’t show you half of the insane things these guys have to do, but it shows the salmon ladder, which is my favorite:

The upper body strength of these guys is incredible.  (This is a good example, too; and this is the closest anyone got this year– and is the stage that really got me hooked.) They pull themselves across ledges with only their fingertips.  If you hear about a Catholic priest qualifying, remember you heard it here first.

4. Speaking of things you’ll watch while on your couch sick … did you know the Duggars are still on TV?  I used to watch them all the time.  And now Josh and Anna have three kids!  Where has the time gone?

5. Did I mention I’m leading a trip to Rome next week?  I beg your prayers… not only that we make our connection, but that there are no major mishaps and that we are all open to the graces waiting for us.  I’m counting on your prayers.  And in return… I’ll pray for you!

6. Do I make you suffer through two more of these, just so I can call this 7 Quick Takes?

7.  Happy Birthday to my brother — and happy feast day a day early.  You know, St Matthew – patron of accountants. ; )

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