It's time to get back in the link-up game with SQT. I've been sorely lacking in motivation to join the bloggy conversation but I decided that the solution is to jump back in rather than quit (even if nobody notices one way or the other). So thanks to Jen for her consistency in providing 7 Quick Takes as a meeting place for us all.
 Ugh! Why do I always chose dusty places to live? Almost every house we've ever owned was next to (or had) a dirt road. And how is it that Carmella (you MUST check out her blog, Assortment), who lives at the edge of a meadow, seems to have a perfectly clean house with all white interiors, including furniture? Is the meadow dirtless? Is their driveway paved instead of being a dirt driveway as ours have always been? Do they actually live in a corner of Disneyland? If only I could figure out her secret for banishing dust and dirt from her home! (it's truly a beautiful home, and her blog is a beautiful blog).
 I'm thrilled to announce that starting next week my husband will be doing a post every Tuesday right here on this blog. He is truly the best essayist/story teller/poet I know and I'm sure that any of you who pop over to read his stuff will either be enchanted or bust a gut laughing (depending on the subject matter). I hope you check it out.
 It seems like every place has its down side, something to remind the inhabitants and any visitors that perfection is not to be found on this earth, at least not before Jesus returns and restores all things. The Northern California coast is definitely a paradise, except for banana slugs. Here's something to think about when critters gross us out.
 I was watching Northern Exposure again this past week while we were in the States (I have to watch the whole series at least once every couple of years) and was struck by an episode in which Joel is astonished at how Marilyn can "just sit" - in silence - for long periods. When he tries it, he doesn't last beyond one minute. That got me thinking about how our culture has led us down the path of continuous stimulation. I personally don't believe that people were made to multi-task, or to be doing something every minute of the day, or be "plugged in" to the universal chatter machine 24/7. How long can you sit without doing anything..."just sit"? I think it's a good test to give yourself.
 Humans need silence just like they need sleep or food, but somehow we aren't as aware of the connection between a lack of silence and irritability, confusion, ineffectiveness and failure to thrive. That's one great gift of eucharistic adoration: silence. If you haven't ever been to eucharistic adoration, and there's one at a church near you, try it. You'll be amazed at how restorative it is.
 For some reason, I'm currently reading SIX books. In the past I read one book at a time, but recently I've been likely to have 2 books going at once: a spiritual book and a lighter read. But now I'm partway through Commonsense 101 by Dale Ahlquist (on GK Chesterton), Knit One, Purl a Prayer by Peggy Rosenthal, When Donkeys Talk by Tyler Blanski, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis (which I'm reading with a friend), Consuming the Word by Scott Hahn, and Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle. And of course that doesn't count my daily devotional books! Most of these books were recommended on various blogs, and it's so easy to buy a new book on the nook (or kindle) that as soon as I read a great recommendation I just pop over and buy the book and start reading it. Better slow down, I think!
 I am SOOOO HAPPY to be home in Mexico...especially given the most recent news in the States. There doesn't seem to be any other way of interpreting our culture than to say that it's on the fast downhill slope to total breakdown. Well, Roman culture had to totally break down too so that a Christian culture could arise in its place.
After that happy note, you might want to go to Conversion Diary to find some happier Quick Takes.