Friday, March 28, 2014

My First Quick Takes!

-- one --
our little Nashville getaway


I love going to the symphony. So when I found out one of my all-time favorite musicians, piano pop expert Ben Folds, was writing and performing his own piano concerto at the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, I just HAD to get tickets. And we just HAD to go. So a few weeks ago, we made a quick trip out of it and had an absolute blast. Nashville's a fun town on its own, but mix in some seriously talented classical musicians, and of course, a trip to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, and it was just a killer getaway. My favorite part of Ben Folds's concerto was when the whole orchestra took out their cell phones and played their ringtones all at the same time. It actually sounded really pretty! Kudos to Ben for thinking outside the box on that one. And to the musicians for playing along.


-- two --
Airbnb.com

Still related to our Nashville getaway, I wanted to mentione the awesomeness that was our Bed & Breakfast for the weekend. Have you heard of airbnb.com yet? If not, you need to check it out, pronto. Especially if you love traveling, especially if you are bored of hotels, and especially if you're up for an adventure.

Airbnb is basically an online marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accomodations around the world. (Yep, stole that line directly from their website.) So, for example, the house we stayed in during our Nashville trip was owned by a nice couple with a cute kid; they rent out 3 bedrooms in their house to folks just like us and charge us a fair price for the night. The pic above is of John hanging out at the breakfast table in their beautiful home (the wife was an interior decorator). We had a fantastic time staying at their place. Getting to know new people and staying in a part of town that isn't really touristy made for a great adventure. We'd totally stay there again.

We also used airbnb.com one other time during a trip to New Orleans. There, a nice couple owned 4 apartments that they rented out exclusively on airbnb.com, so we got a whole apartment to ourselves for that weekend! Again, a great experience and we'd totally stay there again.

I know you're worried a little about safety and such. And that's ok. I get that. But I'm here to tell you that the whole site is super regulated and super safe. So check it out! And let me know if you end up going on any awesome airbnb.com adventures.


-- three --
a ridiculously awesome youth group fundraiser

We've got some great priests at our parish. How great, you ask? I'll tell you how great! They're SO great, they've all agreed to participate in a fun little youth group fundraiser I'm calling "Turn A Priest Into An Ice Cream Sundae." Sound ridiculously awesome yet?

Last weekend, I sat out after all the Masses with a group of teens and we asked the parishioners to make donations into the bucket of the priest they'd like to see turned into a sundae. And boy did they! We've raised so much already! And the priest who's currently in the lead, AKA the one who's going to become all sundae-i-fied, is in the lead by over $200! The main event will be tonight at our parish's fish fry. Can't wait to see which priest we'll be covering in fudge, nuts, bananas, gummies, caramel, oreos, whipped cream, cherries. Gosh, they're good sports!


-- four --
Candlelight Stations of the Cross

Speaking of the youth group, we're presenting a Candlelight Stations of the Cross in a few weeks that is going to be heartbreakingly beautiful. Normally we do a living stations, but I thought it would be nice (and a little less cheesy -- no kids wrapped in bed sheets this year) to represent the stations in an even more meaningful and spiritual way. The night will include gorgeous live music, wonderful spoken reflections for each station, and thoughtful prayer, while the whole church is only lit by candlelight. That striking poster of Jesus you see above will be the only visual for the evening. After each station, we'll sing a verse of "Were You There?" and then blow out one of twelve candles. After the 12th station, when Jesus dies, we'll blow out the last candle and the church will be in complete darkness. It's going to be so powerful.

I must give a shout out to youth minister Scott Anthony for inpiring me and writing the script for the whole evening.


-- five --
Empowered to Connect

We still need to attend a few adoption classes to be completely approved to adopt. When we mentioned this to our new agency, the director recommended checking out the Empowered to Connect website. Much to our surprise, we found they were hosting a conference in St. Louis next weekend! So we're headed to St. Louis (using airbnb.com again for our accomodations) and we're pumped about what we're about to learn! According to the website, "This two-day conference is designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with 'children from hard places' in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be." Sounds perfect to me!

And yes, I'll be sure to write a "My Life was Changed Because of This Conference" review once we return. Promise.


-- six --
Jesus Christ Superstar


I think I've mentioned this before, but my husband's parents bought us season tickets to Theatre Memphis for my birthday back in December! We snagged two tickets to Jesus Christ Superstar using those sweet season tickets they bought us and now I'm pumped because the show's this Saturday! I've always loved this musical -- not because it's incredibly accurate, because it's not. But it is very entertaining. The music is wonderful and the approach is interesting. Many folks say it's like the gospel according to Judas. And I agree, it's definitely the whole story through his eyes. Can't wait to see this live! And so soon!

-- seven --
a Little Happies heads-up


Am I allowed to mention my own link-up in someone else's link-up? What is proper link-up etiquette?!

Our Monday Little Happies link-up has now been up and running for four weeks. Weeeeee! I love reading all of your happies, especially on drab old Mondays. They just cheer me right up! So thank you for that. Thanks for supporting my little link-up idea. It's really been great fun so far!

The reason I mention it here and now in someone else's link-up is as a heads up! This Monday, my Little Happies are going to have a theme -- joyful pictures! I'm going through all my old iPhoto albums to find my top favorite pictures (that I've taken or been in) that bring me joy when I see them. And, of course, I'll be telling sweet stories to go along with each one. I figured I'd throw this out there in advance in case any of you were inspired to do the same with your Little Happies this coming Monday. You can certainly still do a regular Little Happies list if that's what you're feeling. But you're also very welcome to make it a Joyful Pictures Edition along with me. :)


Like what you read? Then head on over to Jen's Conversion Diary for even better Quick Takes from even cooler people!


17 comments:

  1. Stopping over from Conversion Diary. Welcome to the Quick Takes family! Your trip to Nashville sounds fantastic. I am intrigued by the idea of staying with families. Sounds like a lot of fun. The Stations sound really beautiful and reflective. We do Stations with a group of 1-5 year olds on Friday. Not so reflective!

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    1. Hi Ann-Marie! Thanks for the sweet welcome. :) It's nice to e-meet you!

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  2. Yay! First QT's! Just reading about the candlelight stations gave me goosebumps. I so wish I could come to that! I also love the idea of the joyful pictures for Little Happies. I'll have to see what I can come up with.

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    1. If you're up for a trip to Memphis on 4/11, you *could* come to the candlelight stations. Butttt I would understand if it's not possible. :) Hope you can find some happy pictures! I just love photography. Can't wait to see what everyone comes up with!

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  3. I was going to write my first little happies last week however with my friend's dh passing, I just didn't think that was a "happie". Maybe next week! I so want to just concentrate and focus on the positives in my life...I like the pic idea too!

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    1. Definitely understand holding off last week. That news was just so heartbreaking. I hope that family is feeling comforted now by the love of family, friends, and God.

      I'd love to see your happy pictures! Or just hear your everyday happies. :) Looking forward to having you join in!!

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  4. Hi I'm Kate, here from Conversion Diary! Congrats on your first Quick Takes! Thanks for the airbnb inspiration, I've heard people talk about it, but I've never felt bold enough to do it!

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    1. Hi, Kate! Nice to e-meet you! I bet you'd LOVE airbnb. It's my new favorite way to find places to stay when we travel. I probably should have mentioned that I only stay at places that have really nice pictures and several reviews (all positive). Generally those places tend to be a little more expensive, but still cheaper than a nice hotel room. If you ever use it, you MUST tell me how it goes! :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Love the joyful photos idea for little happies! I've been wanting to jump on the bandwagon but never have my act together! Maybe I'll be able to pull that one off! I thought the pic of Ben Folds was your hubby - they look kind of alike! Speaking of which you never told me your thoughts about Zoe from House of Cards. The Airbnb thing sounds interesting! I'd never heard of it. Love all the quick takes!

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    1. Would love to have you join Little Happies this week! :)

      Hahaha -- I told John you thought he looked like Ben Folds. They do kinda look alike. I think it's the hipster glasses and the form fitting suit.

      I thought I responded to your Zoe post! Sorry!! I didn't reeeeally see a resemblance, but I'm flattered that you think I look like her. She's really pretty!

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  6. Hi, Stephanie! I was glad to find your blog through 7QT. Your trip to Nashville sounds awesome. My husband and I are dying to take a road trip down there. Fun to find another blogger with a Rhode Island connection, too -- I'm a transplant to Providence and have loved living here for five years. Still haven't adopted terms like "cabinet" for milkshake and "gravy" for pasta sauce, but at least I can understand the lingo now.

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    1. Hi, Annie! Great to e-meet you! Thanks for stoping by. :) LOVE the Rhode Island connection. I really miss it at times, especially when I say things like "wicked" and "bubbler" and people think I'm from another planet or something. Though, I have to be honest, never used the "gravy" term before. Have you discovered coffee milk and pizza strips yet?

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  7. Sounds like a great trip to Nashville!!! I'm glad you mentioned airbnb, totally going to look into it for our next trip. We typically use vacation rentals, and vrbo.com, because I'm so over hotels. It's great to have a new place to look.

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    1. Totally looking into vbro.com now. Never heard of it! Let me know if you end up using airbnb. I'd love to hear what you think! I mentioned this in another comment above -- my best tip is to go for places that have nice pictures and lots of reviews. I'm sure there are some on there with mediocre pictures and less reviews that are still good, but I feel safest with the others.

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  8. Found you via 7QT...thanks for the airbnb recommendation! I'll definitely check them out next time we travel. Also, I would love to join in on your Monday Little Happies link up...I too, don't really like Mondays at all! :)

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    1. Hi, Heidi! It's great to e-meet you!! I'd LOVE to have you join in on the Little Happies link-up! The more the merrier! Mondays are definitely rough, but looking for the little happies in life make Mondays just a little easier. :) And if you ever end up using airbnb, please let me know. Would love to hear about it!

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