7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 133)

— 1 —

Monday marks the end of my “maternity leave.” I used the three weeks I’m off from writing for the Register as vacation time, where I felt no obligation to do anything that might remotely stress me out. Interestingly (though I didn’t plan it this way), that meant spending very little time online. I only checked email once every couple of days, and even then only replied to urgent items; I wasn’t on Twitter at all; I didn’t read online news, etc. I was surprised to find that I had a natural draw to do more physical things like straightening the house, taking walks, doing some simple exercises, and so on. I would have thought that surfing the web would have been “fun” and exercise and housework would have been “work, ” but when I paid serious attention to what brings me peace and what doesn’t, it was the opposite.

— 2 —

I think I need a Pinterest intervention. The one exception to my offline maternity leave has been that I signed up for a Pinterest account earlier this week. To borrow from the way Veronica Mitchell once described Facebook (“crack for nerds”), this site is CRACK FOR PROCRASTINATING HOUSEWIVES. I cannot tear myself away. Every time I’m about to close my browser, I see some new eye candy picture that I must add to one of my pinboards.

Since a lot of the stuff I pin has to do with the house, it gives me this vague feeling that I am actually doing something related to my vocation. To the untrained eye it could look like I’m mindlessly surfing the web, but, nay, I am actually pondering poetic words of inspiration, preparing for homeschooling by looking at pictures of homeschool classrooms run by competent people, and realizing that perhaps our “random pieces of furniture tossed into rooms with white walls” decoration motif could use a little upgrade. I would write more about this but I just saw some more stuff I need to add to my pinboards.

— 3 —

I’ve decided to put my book on hold for a while. To bring new readers up to speed: I’m writing a memoir and have a literary agent and interest from a few publishers, and in November of last year I finished a second version after completely scrapping the first version. My agent came back with epic changes that will take me a long time to complete. Anyway, I had hoped to have the changes done and kick it back to my agent by the end of the summer, but with a new baby, two blogs, my husband studying for the CPA exam (and, umm, Pinterest) there’s just no way I can get to the book right now. As frustrating as it is to have the timeline pushed back by months and months — AGAIN — I know it’s the right call. I’m going to get back to it in the Fall, when the baby will (hopefully) be on more of a schedule, and my husband will be done with his exams.

— 4 —

Speaking of books, The Church and the New Media is coming out in just a few weeks! You’re going to love it. Check out this trailer:

I have a chapter in there, and just recently got a chance to see a sneak preview of some of the other contributions. I’m so excited about how well it turned out! You can pre-order it here.

— 5 —

For those of you who’d like to hear about my husband’s conversion but missed the live interview earlier this week, here is the archived version. It’s 40 minutes into Hour 3.

— 6 —

Once again, we’ve been so blessed by friends bringing us meals to help out with the newborn period. I’m always amazed at what a huge help it is not to have to think about dinner, and Care Calendar makes it so easy to keep track of who’s bringing what and when. And, man, we know some good cooks! My kids are going to be so sad when they have to go back to meals made by mommy.

Sometimes I’m asked what the biggest difference is in my life since my conversion. This sort of thing is definitely one of them. As people from church gather round to offer support and celebrate with us, I really feel the Body of Christ. There are different community groups in the secular world, but I never encountered anything quite like this. There’s a sense of connection and camaraderie within our parish circles that you just don’t find apart from God.

— 7 —

What are you reading right now? I’m just finishing up The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring the Sabbath by Mark Buchanan, which I’ve really enjoyed, and am about to start Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman.


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  1. says


    Congratulations on the new baby! How precious!!

    I haven’t heard of Pinterest… I’ll have to check it out. Or maybe I don’t want to; it sounds dangerous, lol!

    As far as what I’m reading: Max Lucado’s Fearless (a great book). I also just finished The Help (and loved it), Holy Discontent (and was incredibly inspired and moved), and Just Too Busy (a great book for moms, written by my friend Joanne. A lot of good tips in it!).

    Have a wonderful weekend,


  2. says

    I’m sure the book will be all the better for getting more of your attention in the fall, so I hope you enjoy your time with your family guilt free! Between this blog and the Register, we’ll all muddle on somehow. πŸ™‚

  3. says

    My quick takes post is totally not ready but I had to say: virtual Pinterest fist bump!

    Oh my gosh, the first week after I joined that crazy site, I don’t think I wrote more than three coherent sentences. It is so magical and addictive but seemingly PRODUCTIVE….how is a girl supposed to tear herself away?!?!?!

    Happy Friday, mama πŸ™‚

  4. says

    Note to self: Do not go anywhere near Pinterest…. Do not go into the light….

    But back to you: Good for you for putting the book on hold. It will be just as wonderful if we have to wait a few more months, and you have some other things to do first. I just realized I needed to pull myself out of a major obligation if I wanted my life to run (semi) smoothly. It was a hard call, but I feel better.

    Ohhhh, the meals from the Body of Christ! Nothing, nothing like it. I didn’t have that community until my fourth child. I tell people now that I have the babies just to get the meals. I, like you, am not an icon of domesticity. My kids enjoy the meals as much as the new sibling.

  5. says

    I am looking forward to Brandon’s book. For those who haven’t seen the description – it is a collection of new media insights from a a dozen very interesting folks (including Jen!)

    My entry this week… A passionate explanation of the Eucharist. Worship the Earth and be forgiven. Planned Parenthood caught in lies, yet again. The nature of pro-aborts demonstrated, yet again. The black genocide in America today. Stephen Colbert, Catholic and proud of it. Saturday Evening Blog Post.

  6. says

    Never heard of pinterest. Checked out yours and wow those homeschooling spaces are BEAUTIFUL. Hoping that if we homeschool I can create a similar beautiful space for our children.

    Hope baby Pamela is doing well. My oldest just turned 3 yesterday and our other little girl is 10 months. Can’t believe how the time flies!!!

  7. says

    I’ve used pinterest a little, but I’ve found that it just encourages me to spend money. ^_^ It seems to be an all or nothing things; if I have time to use pinterest, I have time to do the said shopping too!

  8. says

    I’m trying to find a new book to read (or a new hobby.. I talk about it in my 7QT)
    I look forward when your book is published because I’d really like to read it!
    And I listened live when your husband was talking. Such an amazing story! I thank him for sharing!

  9. says

    Ah! I just put priceless on my list of recommended summer reading! It’s perfect for summertime–fun, different, engaging–and a nice change of pace for this classics-and-nerdy-nonfiction-loving girl! It’s not the most well-written book in the world, but for a good plotline, I can deal with that. Enjoy!

    Thanks for giving us a window into your family life here!

  10. says

    It’s amazing how much you find to do when you don’t have technology distracting you! I’m glad you took advantage of that while you were on leave πŸ™‚ I’m about to start up the Mitford Series…although I am also having a baby any day now. Maybe I shouldn’t get engrossed in something like that!


  11. says

    I wonder if it’s postpartum energies or simply stepping away from the Internet that gave you the urge to do more “real” things. I just heard on the news this morning that the obesity rate in America’s thinnest state (Colorado) is higher than the rate in ANY state was in 1995, and one thing that’s changed in America since 1995 is widespread Internet use.

    I’m going to get back to it in the Fall
    For a moment there, I thought you meant the Fall that happened in the Garden of Eden. πŸ˜€

  12. says

    Thanks for the link to Care Calendar! I am in charge of organizing meals to new moms and this will be so helpful!!

    Right now I am reading “Signs of Life” by Scott Hahn. He talks about 40 Catholic traditions and how they came to be. It’s a great read and each chapter is really short, so it’s a great book for busy moms.

    Congrats, again on baby Pamela!!

  13. says

    Okay, I’m back and this time my post is actually done! And I’m thinking that everyone I know and admire seems to read actual books, as opposed to me, who just reads blogs and Harry the Dirty Dog. Perhaps I should have a better response than that to your question in #7.

    New resolution: read an actual book.

    Have a great weekend!

  14. says

    You know, when I had my son and my sister saw how my Christian friends brought meals, that was one of the things that persuaded her to consider Christianity. It seems such a simple thing, but for those who grew up outside that type of community, it’s pretty amazing.

    At the moment, I’m reading Wendell Berry’s “The Way of Ignorance.” Very good. I have a few more books I’d like to get to before the fall semester begins and my time is consumed with textbooks… but maybe I can add The Church and New Media to the list.

    And I’m glad you’re still writing your memoir. I know the break is important, and I’m not meaning to convey impatience, but I’m really, really looking forward to your book. Really.

  15. says

    Can’t wait to come back later and read birth story haikus and your QTs!! Off to swimming lessons I go….

  16. says

    I love pinterest too! It is really addicting. I had to take a step back from it after the first week or two of having it and spending, literally, hours adding things to it. πŸ™‚

    I’m with you on the feeling of community that comes through the Church. When we had our baby, we had friends from church coming to bring us meals for several weeks. It’s so wonderful, and great to know that you’ll be able to return the favor!

  17. says

    Hi, I”ve lurked for awhile but never commented. I just wanted to say that I love your blog. It was very inspirational to me when I was converting.

    Also, I’ve never done this whole linking thing before, so if I messed up, have pity on me.

  18. says

    I love your book recommendations; I just downloaded that book for my Nook. Thank you!

    Also – Pinterest sounds like fun and I’m going to join. I may not appreciate that. πŸ™‚

    Belated congrats on the newest family member. Cheers for years of joy.

  19. says

    I’m on Pinterest, but am finding it ‘another thing to turn on’ so am mostly continuing to add things to Evernote. Part of my reluctance is that time sink problem….

  20. says

    I recently finished a book called A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist by Abbot Vonier. SO GOOD. Seriously. Please read it πŸ™‚

    • says

      About #4: that book looks phenomenal! I’m very excited to read it. And about #7: I’m reading “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, S.J., and “Cutting For Stone” by Abraham Verghese. Both great. Also just finished “Alice Waters and Chez Panisse” by Thomas McNamee – great story of how the Slow Food movement started in the U.S.

  21. says

    I just signed up for Pinterest too. But I’m having problems logging in (apparently you need either a Facebook or Twitter account, of which this girl has neither). Darn. Maybe that’s a good thing?

  22. says

    I definitely believe you’re following the Lord’s Will in continuing discerning when is best for you to move forward on your book. He calls all of us to ongoing discernment for all of our vocations. His timing, not ours!

  23. says

    Thanks for including the book trailer! That looks great. I’m definitely going to read it!

    I’m about to read The Council of Dads, a book I recently was given by Elizabeth Esther. Oh, and I’m reading Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To, and if I remember correctly, you’ve praised the author here in the past. What simple, encouraging writing! I love it!

    I’m going to put The Rest of God.. on my reading list. I almost always put your suggestions on my reading list. [In fact, I’m reading Over the Edge of the Wild right now too! :)]

    Enjoy those sweet newborn needs. πŸ™‚

  24. says

    You know how the recipe for good barbecue is “low and slow”? Your book is going to be like good barbecue, since it’s had all this time to cook. It’s going to be complex and satisfying and delicious!

  25. SusanE says

    I’m reading “A Monk in the Inner City,” the ABCs of a Spirtual Journey, by Mary Lou Kownacki. It is a collection of beautifully written, heartfelt reflections about a variety of topics. It’s been a perfect bedside book; I can read a selection or two before I go to bed, then let them ponder in my heart as I fall asleep.
    I’ve just finished “With Open Hands,” by Henri Nouwen. Anything by Nouwen is beautiful. This is a very little book about prayer. It fits into my purse, and I can pull it out and read while I’m waiting in line at the motor vehicle department, the doctor’s office, the grocery store. . . . Waiting has become a calming experience.

  26. says

    I just finished Unplanned by Abby Johnson… it was very good!

    I am now starting “State of Wonder” by Ann Patchett. It is a fictional novel, but she is one of my favorite authors. If you’re looking for a good fiction book, check out “Bel Canto” by her – it is one of my favorite books and a very quick read!

  27. says

    I love the Care Calendar from a provider side. It was nice to see what others were bringing so I didn’t repeat the same meal! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the link up and you have a wonderful blog!

  28. says

    I’m so enjoying this…and glad to see your 7 quicks as well.

    I’m currently reading some Flannery O’Connor stories to get ready for a literature class I’m teaching, but I’m always looking for good recommendations.

  29. Kathleen says

    Hmmm…Pinterest…I want to go to there. But, I think that I’d better not even start. πŸ™‚

  30. says

    I Love the care calendar. It makes it so much easier when the family can add likes or dislikes and such. Good luck with the book. I wonder what new thoughts and insights will come to you while it is on the back burner.

  31. Erika Evans says

    I guess I’m maybe not cool enough for Pinterest….I “requested an invite” and got told I was “on the list” ??????

  32. Karey says

    I will pray for your husband in his CPA preparations. I am hoping to do the same in about a year.

  33. says

    Congratulations on your newest blessing! Enjoy!
    Those books sound interesting, particularly the first; I will have to look into them.

  34. says

    I keep hearing about Pinterest. I am intrigued and yet afraid. I do not need one more thing to help me procrastinate on the things I should really be doing.

    I am reading Contemplating the Trinity by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa. I am finding a lot in the book to chew on. I have especially been pondering the theme of unity.

  35. says

    So true about the effects of the internet. Thank you for the reminder!

    And I am amazed at the effort involved taking the CPA exam these days. It is so wearing. My daughter just finished and her husband is half done, planning to pass one test this month and the last in August. I think I prefer my take it all at once three day long test from 32 years ago.

    Good luck, and may he get just the right mix of questions on every part!

  36. says

    Congrats to your family on a sweet new addition!
    I too am addicted to Pinterest… I almost hate to send invites to my friends for fear of later retribution! HA!

  37. says

    I’m reading Scattered: How ADD Originates and What We Can Do About It and as many Tomie DePaolo picture books I can get my hands on, theoretically for GeekBaby, but mostly for me.

  38. says

    Mahalo for the heads up on “The Church and New Media” book. I’ve pre-ordered and tacked on more books. My husband thanks you as well. πŸ˜‰ God bless you, and, congratulations on your newest addition. πŸ˜‰

  39. says

    I am looking forward to the book, β€˜The church and New Media’. Can anyone here teach me how to order the book because I am from Asia. Do I need to register first on amazon website?

    Between, thanks Jennifer for the archived version of your husband’s conversion stories. God bless.

  40. Amy says

    Love following your blog! Congrats on the baby! I have an infant and am also struggling with ridiculous nursing pain. (baby #3 and never had this problem with the other two) Worked with lc’s/ob’s and am finally convinced that at this point I need to just “offer up” this pain for the time being.

    God bless! Oh, and after reading about Pinterest I was intrigued. I’m on the waiting list and DYING to get on! Anyone want to invite me? I hear that’s faster.

    Looking forward to the book πŸ™‚