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Spring blossoms, old photos, baking, and everything except what’s on everyone’s minds in 7 Quick Takes

Many of us have one topic on our minds right now, but my mother challenged me to write a 7 Quick Takes post that doesn’t mention it. And I do love a challenge—especially one that doesn’t require a frenzied trip to the grocery store and imagining how to keep children entertained at home and engaging in worry on matters beyond our control.Wait…did I just fail before I even began? Let’s see if I can pull this off.


Don’t you just love the first blooms of spring? I mean, unless they cause terrible allergies for you, of course. The yellow flowers might be my favorite. Our forsythia started blooming, and I’ve seen daffodils and this tree, which is apparently witch hazel.

Seeing the colors of spring always reminds me how creative our God is.


My father retired at the end of November, and I wondered how he was going to spend his time. He seems to see lots of my little nieces and nephews. In his spare time, however, he seems to be cleaning out the basement.

I’ll get a text with a photo of a dozen baskets and a note asking whether I want any. And I’ll write back, “The deer-shaped one and maybe the shamrock one.”

Last week he dropped off an enormous tub full of photos I did not remember taking. They’re from a time before I met John, and my younger siblings look so young. I went through them all last week and had a flood of memories come rushing back. Others, though, I can’t remember at all.

I may need to share some here in the weeks ahead. This one of me and my late brother-in-law Eric at Gettysburg made me laugh. He was a rule follower who would remind me not to copy CDs, but he also had this amazing sense of humor. This photo was staged. No relics were actually hunted in the creation of this photo.


I know it’s Lent, so making chocolate chip cookies is probably not the right thing to do in a liturgical sense. But my husband is taking groceries to his parents on the Eastern Shore today, and I wanted to send them a homemade treat, especially since my mother-in-law’s birthday is Tuesday. So, I think we’re OK.

And maybe we had to taste one or two to make sure they were safe for the birthday girl to eat.

But I really feel Lent has found us this year, and we don’t need to go looking for it.


If you happen to be housebound for whatever reason and you have a few caraway seeds and raisins, you should make Irish soda bread! Here’s my favorite recipe. I’m just realizing I may not have any raisins, and I don’t want to go back to the store. So, I might just have to imagine what yours will taste like.

I am excited for our corned beef and cabbage on Tuesday. And I’m forcing Irish music on my children because our Irish heritage is important here, even though I’m the only one in this family with actual Irish genes. But John’s mom was born on St. Patrick’s Day, which we all know makes her Irish even if the DNA results say otherwise.


This was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had at work, and it’s really getting in the way of my attempts to binge watch The Crown. It’s also interfering a little with my home cooking.

But I did manage to make a decent beef stir fry the other night. And for our Lenten Friday, I asked my family whether they wanted grilled cheese, noodles and sauce, or fish. Everyone wanted a different one.

So, I made some of each. Maybe that makes up for the failures in the kitchen for the rest of the week.


I filled the pantry with extra canned goods and felt so relieved. Then I went to open a can of salmon yesterday and realized our can opener died a few weeks ago and we never replaced it. Thank goodness I was able to get my hands on one.

I don’t even want to think about a Lent without canned tuna and salmon.


We have the best weather today. I am going to push the children outside and tell them to come back in when it starts raining. Or maybe we’ll get the bicycles out and go for a walk. Being outside during the spring is just such a pleasure.

Spring always makes my mind turn to new life and little league games. Sigh. Fingers crossed we have a baseball season this year. And prayers for all of us who are dealing with loss in small and large ways. Do something special for yourself today—and maybe something for someone else, too.

And join me in watching for all the little signs that God sends us to show how much He loves us.

P.S. I think my mother will say I failed. But I didn’t post a photo of the empty ramen shelves at the store!

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, where she talks about their plans to adopt (yay!). And I know we are all carrying special concerns right now. If I can pray for a special intention for you, please feel free to send it to openwindowcr@gmail.com.