Just Gotta Share

1. From Anthony at Evangelical to Catholic this story of what made him leave the Baptist Seminary…and then decide to become Catholic. 

 

After two farewell cakes and many kind gifts and hugs a year later, I pulled up to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in early January 2012 and began a three week, day-long course on Biblical Hermeneutics. I loved it. The past fall I had struggled for hours and hours over reconciling church history with Protestantism, likely spurred by my dad’s reversion to the Catholic Church and my deeper studies of the Bible, and in this classroom I found community, certainty, relief. My roommate was right–I knew the temptation to cross the Tiber would ease once I was surrounded by Truth at seminary.

 

So read on to find out why that didn’t happen.

2. Priest’s Wife ponders the future of Eastern Rite parishes in the US and she asks for suggestions here.

Some of my readers already know that my Byzantine-rite priest husband is permitted to celebrate in the Roman-rite in our local Roman-rite archdiocese. The last daily Mass that he celebrated in the Roman rite that I attended was on Monday. There were more lay people there on Monday than at our Sunday Divine Liturgy.
The Eastern Catholic Churches in the United States will always be minuscule compared the Roman-rite, but I would love to get to the point where our church was full enough that I wasn’t always worried that no one would show up.
3. From the “things we take for granted” desk comes this Jen Ambrose piece about the difference in appreciating water in the US and in China.
This summer, one thing I realized that in our life in China we miss water, and how water can be such a casual part of our American lives.
5. From Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary on how Breaking Bad helped her get closer to God.
So let me throw in this caveat right now: Breaking Bad is about meth dealers. And it, umm, contains exactly the kind of content you would expect from a show about meth dealers. This prompted me to ask myself, “Why do I watch this show, then?”, and I quickly came up with an answer: because my life is insane and by the end of the day I am so desperate to relax and turn my brain off that I have no standards because I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE. Then I thought about it some more, and came up with a longer answer. It turns out that I do, in fact, have standards for any art that I consume, whether it’s a TV show, a book, a movie, a blog, or anything else.
Find out what those standards are and how Breaking Bad fits them.
…the fact that we get to celebrate one more year of loving you is such a miracle I have tears in my eyes as I type this…

Ten Fave Catholic Blogs

I was perusing a facebook group when I saw a local Catholic blogger mentioned she had “stumbled across” Jennifer Fulwiler’s blog Conversion Diary a few times. I had to stop and check myself. Jennifer Fulwiler is not only the host of one of the largest and longest continuous running memes in the Catholic internet, she is also a blogger for National Catholic Register and had a three-part web series done about her conversion and life.  And she’s been at this for a pretty long time in blog-speak. It seems, to me at least, completely incomprehensible that any Catholic blogger might not be be aware at least of Jen and her undeniable mark on the Catholic blogosphere. So, I decided I’d list ten of my favorite blogs and why they appeal to me. Because I know you are all dying to know this, right? I think there are a lot of awesome bloggers out there who deserve as much credit as Jen for spreading the faith and some are big and some are small.

1. We’ll start with Conversion Diary. Jen’s blog started as Et tu, Jen? a blog that chronicled her conversion from material atheism into conservative Roman Catholicism. Her archives are full of amazing stories and truths. She also chronicles life in Texas, encounters with scorpions and her mother-in-law Yaya. Jen also hosts Seven Quick Takes Friday, a weekly meme that encourages bloggers to share seven segments that don’t quite make up full blog posts. This meme is great for introducing people to any number of Catholic  blogs big and small.

2. Catholic and Enjoying It! is Mark Shea’s blog at Patheos. Shea is a no-holds barred, pull no punches kind of blogger. Which I love. His style in confrontational in some regards but he also publishes prayer requests. And funny youtube videos. He’s not afraid of any topic but is also man enough to apologize if he finds he is in the wrong.

3. Simcha Fisher’s blog I Have To Sit Down. Simcha made me realize I wasn’t the only Catholic out there like me. Does that make sense? Well, to me it does. I’m the one who doesn’t have it all together all the time and who likes The Black Keys and well, who has children who cut up, a lot. And crack me up when they are cutting up. Simcha is not only hilarious and satirical, she’s real. And you can’t make ’em like that. And, like Mark, nothing’s off limits.

4. Passionate Perseverance is Mary’s story of her life and faith and, in particular, her life and faith life with her daughter Courtney who is blind, confined to a wheel chair and has a seizure disorder amongst other things and just turned 21 yesterday! Mary has chronicled Courtney’s story, including a pilgrimage to Lourdes. I have an obvious connection personally to Mary in being the mother of a very special daughter. Neither Shelby nor Courtney can tell their mamas much in the way of words but both of them have shown us love and made us better people. Mary has also shown, through her blog, that sometimes real strength means telling God you’ve reached the limit and can’t do it without Him anymore. I love her honesty in both the joys and frustrations of all of life.

5. A Woman’s Place is Cam’s record of her life. Cam’s life is what I like to call “super-infused” with Catholicism. She has a lively sweet girl named Sadie who at the ripe old age of five is professing her intention to become a Carmelite. She has a tornado of a girl named Mae who makes every day an adventure and a beautiful infant son named Patrick. She has chronicled her conversion as well as her daily life. She also delves into politics and faith and recipes. Oh her recipes!

6. Having Left the Altar is Katherine’s blog about her family, faith and life. Katherine’s blog, to me, is especially interesting as she has a house full of girls as opposed to the boy-heavy families at Testosterhome and Blessed Among Men. Five little girls, to be exact. Katherine also has a series dedicated to the Year of Faith that is informative and instructive. She also has a tab dedicated to pregnancy to help anyone who comes across her site who is in an unintended pregnancy with accurate, scientific knowledge as well as encouragement.

7. The Wine Dark Sea is Melanie Bettinelli’s contribution to the blogging world and what a contribution it is. Melanie writes about her family and homeschooling but art and music and faith as well. She has been hosting an on-going series dedicated to the Nicene Creed in which she invites other bloggers to blog on particular parts of the creed. Melanie has thoughtful commentary and her blogs often leave me feeling peaceful but with a new perspective or a new twist on a familiar one.

8. Fear Not Little Flock is a delightful blog written by Priest’s Wife. And she’s not an Anglican priest’s wife. Fear  Not Little Flock is a blog that introduced me to a part of the Church I was aware of but not at all versed on, the Eastern Rite. Popes Benedict and Francis have both been shining a brighter light on Eastern Rite Catholicism and I believe Priest’s Wife is doing the Catholic blogosphere a huge service by being one “in the trenches” teaching the laity about how beautifully complex and diverse our tradition is.

9. Coffee and Canticles is Daria Sockey’s blog dedicated to the saying of The Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours. Daria hosts a weekly Q &A session and she shares articles and blog posts dedicated to The Divine Office. She even has a Breviary Boot-Camp. This is a must visit for all Catholics.

10. Moxie Wife is Hallie Lord’s blog that was once Betty Beguiles. What I love about Hallie’s blog is that she focuses on the vocation of wife and how being a good wife makes a better mother and person. She offers lots of interesting discussions on the topics of marriage, honoring ones spouse, working through dry periods in marriage and growing in your marriage. She also hosts Five Favorites, a weekly meme that allows bloggers to choose any five favorite things (themed or otherwise) to share.

These are my picks, I love tons of blogs, but these 10 are must-reads for me and that I feel that if you’re Catholic and don’t read, are worth at least trying out. So, now it’s your turn to share, if you so choose to take this challenge, in the comments some of your favorites or even tout your own blog.

Vacation Time

This past week we went on vacation. As vacations go, it was good but very short and somewhat rushed.

We traveled north to southern Delaware and what is known as the Delmarva Coast. Jeff parents own a home there and Jeff had taken the boys last summer to visit and after visiting felt better about Shelby being there this year.

We drove up on Tuesday. I have been through central and Northern Virginia and even lived in Charlottesville but had never been on the eastern shore of Virginia. While we weren’t able to go to any islands (Chincoteague is on our must visit list now), it was a very interesting drive. We also counted four churches that looked like castles on our way up.

And we got to go through this:

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The Chesapeake Tunnel and Bridge is pretty fun for the kids and I admit, I think engineering feats like bridges and tunnels are cool too.

We made it to Delaware late in the evening Tuesday. It’s about an eight hour drive and we got a late start thanks to Joey having kindergarten screening and Shelby having her school that morning.

Wednesday morning, we decided to go to the pool at my in-laws neighborhood. The temps were unseasonably cool and it was windy and cloudy, so I stayed out of the water, but Jeff and the kids really enjoyed it that morning. After lunch, we decided to head to Rehoboth Beach up the coast a little.

Rehoboth is both Boardwalk fabulous and family friendly. We took the kids to Fun Land Amusements. They had a great time and since it wasn’t too hot, even lines were wait-able.

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Shelby even got to ride some rides and staff was super accommodating about letting Jeff strap her in. I rode the Tea Cups with Shelby which was a blast for her but my stomach was not pleased with me. Joey rode the Gravitron by himself and loved it. Will got a special tea cup ride with Jeff and after Joey got off the Gravitron he made Jeff take him on the tea cups too. The boys also rode a couple of other rides.  Shelby did well with the crowds and short lines she waited in. Next year, hopefully Will will have grown a couple of inches and we can ride more rides with him.

We had dinner on the boardwalk at, of all places, Hooters. The food was good. I got a Big Fish sandwich that I swear was two fish. The kids liked their wings and we got to watch some pre-season football.

Thursday morning we were up early. It was Shelby’s best day ever. We joined the crew in Ocean City, MD for Surfers Healing. Our local chapter of Surfers Healing holds their event tomorrow which Jeff can’t attend because he has to report back to school so we decided to try Ocean City this year. The air was chilly. Shelby surfed at 9 AM and it was barely 60 degrees out and the water was colder. But we drove the short drive and met outside the Castle in the Sand hotel that morning for prayer circle to bless the children and surfers and off we went. As always, it was an emotional and beautiful experience. We were joined this year by Jeff’s dad and step-mother as well as his step-mother’s brother and his wife. It was the first time Jeff and I had seen them since our wedding ten years ago and the first time they met our children. They are long time Ocean City residents and were deeply moved by the event.

Surfers Healing co-founder Israel "Izzy" Paskowitz introducing himself and his crew

Surfers Healing co-founder Israel “Izzy” Paskowitz introducing himself and his crew

 

One of Izzy's seven brothers, Adam, who traveled to document the event and surf with kids with autism. The eight Paskowitz brothers, their sister and their parents, Doc and Juliette, are known internationally as the "First Family of Surfing"

One of Izzy’s seven brothers, Adam, who traveled to document the event and surf with kids with autism. The eight Paskowitz brothers, their sister and their parents, Doc and Juliette, are known internationally as the “First Family of Surfing”

 

The awesome guys who donate their time and talent to surf with children with autism, coast to coast and in Hawaii

The awesome guys who donate their time and talent to surf with children with autism, coast to coast and in Hawaii

 

Shelby and her surfer CJ braving the lack of waves and cold temps to make it "One Perfect Day"

Shelby and her surfer CJ braving the lack of waves and cold temps to make it “One Perfect Day”

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Shelby and CJ...she was cold but upset she was done surfing!

Shelby and CJ…she was cold but upset she was done surfing!

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Shelby and “Uncle Izzy” negotiating, “Just one picture!” (this was actually one of two)

At Surfers Healing we were also blessed to meet a family of twin girls on the autism spectrum and exchange information. Because autism disproportionately affects boys, we rarely encounter girls on the spectrum so it was an extra special blessing to meet a family with two who share many of struggles.

After Surfers Healing we were ready to eat and at the suggestion of Jeff’s Uncle Ken and Aunt Cheryl, we headed to Dumser’s Dairyland restaurant up on 120th St in Ocean City. They serve breakfast til the afternoon but we were hungry for lunch (except Will, who got pancakes) and being that I was on the coast of Maryland, I had to get a crab cake with my meal which I split with Jeff.

After lunch we said good-bye to Ken and Cheryl and headed back to Delaware. Shelby was content to chill out in the house and watch videos while Jeff took the boys back to the pool and playground. While they were there, my in-laws and I watched a blue heron fish for his dinner in the water outside their home.

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I was also able to capture some pics of the boys on the doc from the balcony of the house.

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After a yummy dinner of steak and local corn on the cob and salad with local tomatoes, we watched the DVR recording of Duck Dynasty’s season premiere. The Robertsons did not disappoint. We laughed, we cried and we felt the love for sure.

We left early on Friday for home. We decided to stop for lunch at the Chesapeake Grill which is at the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel along with the store Virginia Originals. The restaurant is small but there is also a lunch counter and larger dining area that most families of small kids would find family friendly. We enjoyed our lunch and are trying to recreate at home an awesome pasta salad I had as a side item there. The gift shop area is kinda touristy but you can get some items from Viriginia artists and craftsmen there. We also walked out on the pier at the tunnel. Shockingly, no one tried to jump in the water.

077After an over one hour detour we hadn’t planned to make through downtown Norfolk, we got on the right track and made it home. We were exhausted and wished we had had more time for, well, everything, but we definitely have an excuse to go back again.

We also made a pit stop before leaving Delaware for a local family run farm’s produce stand, primarily for tomatoes and corn. This was our bounty.

001Those are tomatoes, Ginger-gold apples, heirloom tomatoes, a cantaloupe, cucumbers and corn. And there was more I wanted to get while there for sure. Tomatoes and corn from that corner of the country are ah-mazing!

We can’t wait to hopefully spend more time next summer exploring the area and enjoying it.

We always need St Joseph

After a brief vacation this week (more on that in another post) I got a message from a friend that warranted a phone call. She warned me she just wanted to vent. She was let go from her company a year ago after her branch was closed and the company felt it was better to give her entire branch severance packages than offer to pay to relocate any employees. She was disappointed that a company she invested 12 years into could let go of so many so easily, but she soldiered on, determined to get back on her feet. In the past year she has sent out over 1300 resumes all over the country and even to Europe. She is single, no children, no pets and willing to relocate. She has sent them for jobs like her previous one as well as in just about anything else related and even not. Her original degree was in education and she has applied for teaching jobs. She’s applied at the big box stores and fast food joints. She’s had only five interviews, zero offers, and no interviews in the last six months. She signed on with a temp agency that has never placed her.

She is, to say the least, discouraged. She’s gone through her severance and savings and is losing unemployment insurance. Her parents assured her she would not be homeless and her dad even offered to “hire” her if she moved in and could not find a job to do odd jobs around the house. But she doesn’t want to move back in with her parents after so many years of living independently and making her own way. She is heartbroken. She never thought it could happen to her.

I know her pain. I know it well. I am currently under-employed. I work for a good company, but hours at my store are slim. And they are becoming slimmer because now that school is going back in, I can’t work during the day. No, you read that right. Shelby, Joey and Jeff are going back to school. But Will did not get into the pre-K program because unlike the previous year, I had income and it pushed us over the income limit and because we are married, we speak English, and he has no developmental delays, he did not meet the eligibility requirements necessary to get into the program. We can’t afford pre-school, so I have fewer options for my working hours. And even if I were to be offered some kind of position, my entire check would go to daycare. But, I have been applying for jobs. Lots of them, hoping against hope something would work out. I’ve not gotten any interviews in the last year and did not get acknowledgement but once of receiving my resume. It is kind of soul crushing, I will admit. I’ve applied to schools, doctors offices, hospitals, small businesses, the state…and no reply. I like my job, but I can’t get hours if I can’t give the company hours. It’s all kinds of crazy catch-22 but even so, I’ve come to realize, even if I had the hours to give an employer who could pay me more, I have little chance of being considered a good candidate.

I know how my friend feels, when you need a job, either something to support you part time or something full time, and no one gives you the time of day or just an interview, you feel completely and utterly dejected.

I’m asking people with a devotion to St Joseph to please ask his intercession on behalf of the people out there like my friend who are looking for and running out of options on the job front. It is tough out there for so many and so many deserve the feeling that comes with receiving a well-earned paycheck.

A Mild Rant

I attend a physically beautiful church. It’s a shrine to the Blessed Mother and last week was named a minor Basilica. It has gorgeous Spanish style brick work and stained glass and beautiful areas dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Black Madonna. It has an amazing pipe organ. Liturgically, we stand very much on the straight and narrow. Alas, no chant, but Pope Francis is not a chanter, so I get over it. We have TLM offered once a month at our parish.

And for the most part, I will always say my church is a beautiful church. But sometimes, the liturgy can be “uglied” a little. I try very hard to be charitable and I ask St Joseph (who sits on my physical side of the church btw) and the Blessed Virgin to help me with charity during my chosen mass time.

I like to go to mass FIRST THING in the morning. If there was a 6 AM mass on Sunday, I would be there. I want to greet God fresh and start my day that way. Our earliest mass is 8 AM.

Our church is very diverse. Which I think is a major plus. We have vibrant African American communities and Hispanic communities. We have many, many people from other countries and cultures. I have met Chinese, Nigerian, Arab and Filipino Catholics at our parish. And our diversity extends to music. We have a Gospel choir, Children’s Gospel Choir, Renaissance Choir, Children’s Choir and even a Resurrection Choir for funerals and 2 Latino bands for our Spanish masses. And we have a Contemporary Choir. They sing at 8 AM mass.

Now, I’m  not a Marty Haugen or David Haas hater. At all. I actually like On Eagle’s Wings (ducking now as things are being thrown at me all over the Catholic internet). And I don’t even mind the piano or the acoustic guitars at mass. And our Contemporary choir now has a violin that does solos before mass during meditation/contemplative prayer time some Sundays that is lovely.

But we’ve had some recent additions that are, to say the least, distracting.

Electric guitars. Two of them. And, apparently, I’m not the only Catholic in the US having some issues with this. Like I said, I want to be charitable. It is, however, difficult to sing and “pray twice” when the church we happen to be in is not acoustically made for electric guitars so they literally rattle you. Not to mention when they do not play the melody and are so loud they drown out the piano AND the choir so you’re not always sure what the tune of the song actually is. More and more, I’m seeing congregants around me put their hymnals away and stop even trying. I actually had to leave 2 verses into a four verse recessional hymn because my jaw was shaking so much last week. And I’m a “sing til they stop” type.

I have some theories as to why electric guitars have replace acoustic at this mass. One is that they are easier to play and two men want to play them at mass. Another is that we are trying to attract millenials who are filling the mega-Evangelical-churches in our area. I’ll address the first issue in a moment, but for the second I will quote one of my fictional heroes, Hank Hill,

Our Lord and Savior doesn’t need your help keeping people’s interest.

And it goes without saying that the majority of folks at this mass, at a mass this early, are in the retirement age bracket for the most part, so, yeah…

Going back to the fact that two men want to play electric guitars in mass. Deep Breath. Is is always necessary to give every person who wants to contribute a way? (Duck, and cover) I mean, we clearly, in other ministries, do not allow just anyone to contribute their time and talent. Eucharistic ministers, I’m looking at you. Lectors, I’m looking at you. Heck, nursery workers and Catechists, I’m looking at YOU. We can’t and don’t just allow anyone to serve in those ministries. But the music ministry seems very, very different. Someone wants to contribute and no matter what, when, why or how, we tend to allow them. Now, it is kind of ridiculous to tell people they can’t sing in a group, like a choir, as the entire congregation is expected to sing the hymns. But, for instrumentation, it seems a bit different. And I’m not talking about a parish where there is limited talent and limited ability. As I’ve demonstrated in our diversity, we are quite talented. No short supply of it. So, two guys say they want to play electric guitars in mass, sure, go ahead.

So, here are my options:

1. Continue going to my desired mass and offer it up for people who cannot attend mass and make it a chance to further my growth in the virtue of charity.

2. Attend another mass at our parish.

3. Complain to the priest.

I’m not doing #3. Because while it’s ugly liturgy, it’s not abuse. And I know I will sound as petty and peevish as I already do in this blog post. And soon enough, as in, a few weeks, I will be attending a different mass anyway, one without a regular choir but with a cantor because Joey will start Faith Formation and it is after that mass not the earlier one so, it makes sense to not be sitting around for over an hour. At least, that’s my most likely scenario. In the mean time, I’m stuck with #1. Dang it. And for good measure, Joey and I will start attending TLM once a month. Once I get something to cover my hair with because while I’m not really thinking of doing it at the NO, I will never show my face (or hair) at TLM without a veil or mantilla or snood or something. Yeah, he still has to go to NO that day too. Clearly I’m going for mother of the year with him on that! 🙂 Next year Will is going to both too.

But back to the matter at hand. God has decided I need to learn charity and it looks like electric guitars at mass is how I’m learning it.

 

Light in Darkness

Hey, it’s Monday, so I’m actually “on time” with my Light in Darkness post this week with Maria.

This week, again, comes from my own Parish, St Mary.

Our parish was designated a Shrine to the Blessed Mother about 8 years ago and last Thursday we got this awesome news:

 

Press Release from:
Very Reverend Robert J. “Fr. Bob” Kus

On August 2, 2013, St. Mary Church was officially declared a minor basilica. 

The new official name of the church is now: 
The Basilica Shrine of St. Mary.

St. Mary Church was built by Rafael Gustavino (architect) and his son by the same name (an engineer) between 1908-1911. Gustavino built much of New York City.

Cardinal James Gibbons blessed the church in 1912.

St. Mary Church is on the National Registry of Historic Places

In December 1995, St. Mary Church became the one and only shrine of the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, now, in August of 2013, it is officially also a basilica.

A “shrine” is the designation given to a church that is a spiritual destination for pilgrims.

A “basilica” is a church of particular historic, artistic, or devotional importance honored by the pope.

There are only 4 major basilicas in the world, all of them in Rome. All of the others are named “minor” basilicas.

St. Lawrence Basilica, also build by Rafael Gustavino, is in Asheville in the Diocese of Charlotte.

On Sunday, September 8, 2013, we will have a special Mass with the Bishop of Raleigh at Noon. On that day, our usual 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Masses will be cancelled. The noon Mass will be bilingual (Spanish & English).

 

That’s right, we’re now on the National Registry of Historic Places, a Shrine AND a minor Basilica. 15 years ago our parish was in a very sorry state of affairs and none of us saw any of this coming. As our priest said when reading the letter from the Bishop after the Homily yesterday, now that we’re all three, we’re the place to be, we’re “where it’s at.” But what this represents is much more than bragging rights. It represents a community that has come together to save ourselves, as a community. We’ve risen from the ashes and been stronger. God told St Francis of Assisi to “Go, Build my Church.” And under the guidance of our Blessed Mother, our patron, we had done so. And under the first Pope named Francis, our Parish has a full acknowledgment of what that means, and what we did to get there. Christ tells in the Gospels that He will tear down the Temple and rebuild it in three days. There was a lot of uncomfortable “tearing down” at our Parish over the years, but we have been rebuilt stronger and better.

Seven Quick Things That Happened on Vacation

 

So, last week we went out of town on vacation…here’s how it panned out

— 7 —

I had no internet. No email, facebook, twitter, blogging. I didn’t mind it. Well, when the Duchess had her baby I did a little, but we had cable tv there, so I was never out of the loop.

— 6 —

I found this new confection while on vacation called creamsicle fudge. It was everywhere. Now that I’m home, it’s time to make some. Yummers.

— 5 —

In a brilliant moment of genius, I decided to start running while on vacation during bikini season. Couch to 5K, Jack.  Which I did week one of for five days last week. While on vacation. Do I have any regrets, no I do not.

— 4 —

I live at the beach. Last week was my first time in the ocean all summer. Shelby’s too. We had no thunderstorms or rain all week. Impressive considering the summer we’ve had thus far.

— 3 —

I slept on the top bunk in a room with 2 sets of bunk beds last week. Every time I climbed up or down, my head was perilously close to a ceiling fan. Somehow no fan related injuries occurred all week.

— 2 —

Our vacation was in Emerald Isle, NC which is located on the “Crystal Coast” of NC. We love it there. All little  beach town feel with some entertainment factors and great restaurants. Family beach and boardwalk collide I like to think. We decided to take a day trip to Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks one day. Best day of the trip for me. Loved the drive up highway 70 East to Cedar Island through so many lovely small towns all so full of pride and small town awesomeness. Found a beautiful Methodist church that deserves to be in a movie. (I couldn’t get a pic because we were on a time crunch to get to the ferry which we had to have reservations for and the kids were less than cooperative.) Then the 2 1/2 hour ferry ride which was so fun for the kids. The ferries are very well run and spacious and well-kept. Finally we approached the island.

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We only had a couple of hours before we had to head back on the ferry. We ate lunch, visited the Ocracoke Lighthouse (pictured here), Mater and the British Cemetary.

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— 1 —

The very first day of vacation, the very first time I set foot in the ocean all summer, I stepped on a crab. In the water. I couldn’t see him. He pinched my foot. He broke the skin. He would NOT let go. I yelled and said a very bad word (don’t judge, dollars to doughnuts it’s never happened to you). I sat down and put my leg in the air. My dad ran over and ripped it off my foot (that was the least painful part of the whole procedure) and promptly got pinched himself. No one knows how to kick off vacation like me. NO ONE.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!