7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

— 1 —

I’m back! I haven’t been blogging much lately because I’ve been savoring my real life. I spend my mornings gazing out the window, prayerfully watching the morning sun filter through the clouds as I sip my coffee. In the afternoons, I bake healthful goodies with the kids before we do crafts related to the Scriptures we heard at daily Mass.

Ha, ha. I’m kidding, of course.

The reality is that having my book release and the Edel Gathering so close together made my to-do list snowball. Then I took a 10-day vacation with three of the youngest kids, and the snowball flew off a cliff and into a seething pit of lava. That analogy made no sense. But the point is that I’ve had to cut out every non-essential thing (and a few kind-of-essential things) to get back on top of my life enough so that I can begin the homeschool year with the annual delusions about how everything is going to run like a well-oiled machine this semester.

(Also, I’ve been working on a big new project and will have an announcement sometime in the next few weeks.)

— 2 —

7qt271 plane window 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

The North Carolina trip was great. When I say “it was great,” I am, of course, glossing over all the moments when I shook my fist at the heavens and solemnly announced that I would never, ever travel with a baby again. What I mean by that statement is that it did not actually kill me, and it was great to see my family.

We started by attending my cousin Melissa’s wedding in Raleigh, then drove four hours with my aunt and uncle to their mountain home in Black Mountain, stayed there for the week, then returned to Raleigh for my cousin Jason’s wedding the next weekend.

During the trip to the mountains, my aunt and I happened to find one of my late grandmother’s dresses from the 1950s. (For those of you who read Something Other than God, this is the grandmother I talk about in the book.) It was absolutely gorgeous, made with a quality that you can rarely find these days. I tried it on on a lark. To my delight (and very much to my surprise), it fit perfectly!

I ended up wearing it to my cousin Jason’s wedding.

7qt271 dress2 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

When my cousin saw me, we both started crying. It was so meaningful to have our deceased grandmother represented that way for his wedding.

— 3 —

IMPORTANT TRAVEL LESSON #1: Sometimes when you travel, your bank will allow you to make a few charges at your destination before their fraud detectors go off.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL LESSON #2: When their fraud detectors go off, they will freeze all the debit cards that you hold at that institution.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL LESSON #3: If you have a credit card that you keep around “in case of emergency,” and you don’t take it with you when you travel, you might end up standing in a checkout lane at Wal Mart and grinding your teeth in anger is you picture it safely tucked away in your office drawer at home.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL LESSON #4: When you have asked your aunt to take you to Wal Mart, and you pack the cart full of goodies, groceries, and supplies for her house as a way to thank her for letting you stay there, it is awkward when you have to ask her to pay.

IMPORTANT TRAVEL LESSON #5: When you’re at Wal Mart and you try and re-try every card in your wallet and they are all inexplicably declined, a long line will pile up behind you. When you turn to the crowd and announce, “I have no idea what’s going on! It must be because I’m from out of town!” they’ll all give you a look like, Mmmm-hmm. Heard that one before.

Ask me how I know this.

— 4 —

My cousin whose wedding I mentioned in #2 is a hip-hop DJ, and his reception was everything you’d imagine it could be:

The groomsmen wore black suits with Chuck Taylors. There was breakdancing. There were breakdancing dance battles. There were old-school boom boxes filled with flowers. There was an amazing DJ who served up all the great beats. And, in a move that seemed too wonderful to be true, there were forties of Old English served in brown paper bags.

7qt271 boom box flowers 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

7qt271 oe 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

Pouring out a little OE for your fallen homies:
the Communion of Saints in action

— 5 —

The best moment of the reception? When a young man in a wheelchair took the floor in the middle of the dance battle, and showed everyone how it’s done.

7qt271 dancing 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

— 6 —

7qt271 critical mass don bishop 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal MartSince so many of you had wonderfully kind things to say about my dad’s novel, The Last Mission, which is based on his experience has a Special Forces HALO and demolitions instructor during the Vietnam era, I wanted you to know that he’s put out a sequel! It’s called Critical Mass, and it’s just as fast-paced and full of fascinating, true-to-life details as the last one. If you like Tom Clancy-type books, I think you’ll love these.

— 7 —

Trying to avoid getting overcommitted this Fall? Have an ominous feeling that you’re going to fail (again)? Welcome to my world, kindred spirit. Maybe this advice will help us.

Have a great weekend, everyone!


7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes about a special vintage dress, a hiphop wedding, and that moment when all your cards are declined at Wal Mart

7 Quick Takes Friday

I couldn’t get my post together for this week (taking a 10-day vacation with young children probably having something to do with it), but I look forward to reading everyone else’s. Have a great weekend, everyone! Happy Feast of the Assumption! —————— //  Read More →

7 Quick Takes about hiking fails, questions about DC, the smells of the Bible, and the best baby photobomb ever


— 1 — Greetings from the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina! (At least I think I’m in the western part of the state. I keep trying to look up my location on a map, but every time I’m interrupted because my one-year-old has found a crayon and is writing on my aunt’s white couch or is pulling a lamp off the table.) Anyway, it’s absolutely beautiful out here, and my aunt and uncle couldn’t be more gracious and welcoming. They have a little guest house separate from their own house, and it’s... Read More

Four amazing talks from the Edel Gathering


I survived the flights out here to North Carolina, and am now at my aunt and uncle’s mountain cabin! I have to say, for all my prophesying of doom, the flights ended up being…EXACTLY AS DIFFICULT AS I THOUGHT THEY’D BE. But we’ll talk about that more on Friday. 2.5 seconds after this photo was taken, I had to run grab the baby before he hurled himself down the deck stairs. Meanwhile, one of the things I’ve been able to do here in my mountain hideaway is to clean up the audio files from the Edel Gathering! I know that... Read More

7 Quick Takes about Edel 2015, the impending doom of me traveling with a baby, and why there’s a man in a banana suit on the IP website


— 1 — The official pictures from the Edel Gathering are up! You can check them out at my uncle Kevin Geraghty’s photography site here. My sweet uncle generously offered to come out and handle all the pictures, and I’m thrilled with how they turned out. You’re welcome to use them on your blogs or social media  – just right-click on the images to save them (and I’m sure my uncle would love a link back to his photography site if you think of it). — 2 — Hallie and I have been flooded with questions... Read More

Fill the Cathedrals: What I learned from dancing like a fool at the Edel Gathering


I had this dream that I was on a dance floor with dozens of new friends, and I suddenly saw Abby Johnson to my left, and a unicorn in a dress to my right. Oh, wait. That wasn’t a dream. That was the 2014 Edel Gathering.  There was singing. There was wine. There were talks so powerful that the Omni staff had to scramble to get enough Kleenex for all the sobbing women. There was my amazing family — my mom, aunt Lisa, aunt Claudia, and uncle Kevin – who paid their own way to come and work the entire weekend, just to bless... Read More

7 Quick Takes Friday – off at Edel edition!

I can’t believe that after all these months, the Edel Gathering is finally here! I’ll be updating on Instagram and Twitter, and you can follow the fun by checking out the #edel14 hashtag. 7 Quick Takes will be hosted by Carolyn Svellinger, so head on over there to read everyone’s posts! Carolyn is a super-talented artist and photographer in addition to being a funny and insightful writer. For those of you who aren’t already familiar with her, you’ll love checking out her blog. Have a great weekend, everyone!  Read More →

7 Quick Takes that involve book nerdery, visions of nightmarish travel, conference jitters, and the video that made me sob for an hour

— 1 — The Edel Gathering begins one week from today! For those of you who don’t know the backstory, this conference came into being suddenly and unexpectedly. In November of last year, I wrote a post telling the story of how Hallie Lord and I took a risk and committed ourselves to this idea somewhat spontaneously. On paper, pretty much nothing about the two of us hosting a conference in this particular season of our lives made sense. Yet we couldn’t escape the sense that we were called to do it, and our husbands even agreed,... Read More

The ecstatic joy of knowing you have a soul (and why I loved The Fault in Our Stars)


A fun and surprisingly intense debate has broken out among my friends over the past few months, and it revolves around this question: The Fault in Our Stars: depressing or uplifting? One of my friends summarized her impression the book by saying, “It’s a sad story where everything is bad and then more bad stuff happens. Why did I need to read that?” She is on Team Depressing, and a lot of people I know are with her. A note my babysitter found in her copy of the book, left by her friend. I, however, am on the other team. I loved... Read More

7 Quick Takes in which I demand beverage service during turbulence, laugh way too much on the radio, and try to decide whether to root for Argentina or Germany


— 1 — Last week Lino Rulli brought his SiriusXM radio show down here to Austin, and I co-hosted it with him all week. For your listening pleasure, here is a “best of” audio clip: Podcast (catholicguyshow): Play in new window | Download (129.2MB) As you can hear from the multiple moments when I was laughing so hard I couldn’t speak, we had a ridiculous amount of fun. (Here is everything you need to know about what you’ll hear if you listen to that audio clip: about two-thirds of the way through, we talk about... Read More

7 Quick Takes – Happy 4th of July!

I’ll be out doing 4th of July stuff — none of them involving fireworks — so I don’t have a post for this week, but I look forward to reading yours! Happy 4th of July! ———- //  Read More →

Tell me about your theme songs!

I’m co-hosting The Lino Rulli Show on SiriusXM while Lino’s in Austin this week, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to let you all do the talking! As a special treat for this week, I’ve saved a question I’ve wanted to ask you all forever: What are your theme songs? What I mean by “theme song” is a song that reminds you vividly of a specific time in your life. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a favorite song, or even a song whose lyrics you find perfectly edifying — just a song that you will... Read More

7 Quick Takes about clearing churches out of food, admitting that I can’t figure out podcasts, and moving our couch RIGHT in front of the TV for the World Cup


— 1 — I had so much fun at yesterday’s talk and book signing at the Cathedral here in Austin. Remember how I made the joke about stuffing food into my purse for the kids? I guess nobody would be surprised to hear that that kind of ended up happening. At the end of the event, the organizer kindly asked me if I’d like to take any of the leftovers. There was a time in my life when I would have politely declined out of pride while covetously eyeing the food. Those days are long gone. This time, I replied immediately, “I... Read More

Austin book signing, DC dates, and co-hosting with Lino Rulli (I can’t say anything else lest my blog explode from awesomeness)

Some breaking news I wanted to share… AUSTIN, TX: Fellow Austinites, come join me at St. Mary’s Cathedral this Thursday (6/26) after the 12:05 PM Mass. I’ll be giving a short talk, signing books, and hoping nobody notices if I tuck some of the free food into my purse to bring back for the kids. SiriusXM RADIO: The one and only Lino Rulli is bringing his NYC-based radio show aaaalllllllll the way down to Austin for the week of June 30, and I’ll be the co-host. We’ll be broadcasting live from St. William in Round Rock,... Read More

What I learned from painting a wall


I’m back! My summer break was great. I did a lot of good stuff during my offline time, but the most interesting — and unexpected — endeavor was that I painted a room. It all started with reading The Nester‘s book, The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful, which I picked up just before the break. I expected it to be a coffee table book with some decorating tips I might enjoy looking at over my morning cup of coffee. To my surprise, it turned out to be a more of a kick-in-the-pants manifesto about... Read More