Friday Favorites for July 20

July 19, 2007 | 9 comments

What great stuff! Twelve of the best things I read this week:

  1. 101 Quick Meals: If I had created my own list of super simple recipes for last-minute meals, it would have been like, “Open box of Cheerios. Stick hand in. Stuff Cheerios into mouth.” Luckily, nobody asked me to do that, and instead the NY Times has come up with 101 great ideas to share with readers. Most of the “recipes” are less than 30 words long.
  2. A convert’s thoughts on papal infallibility: Aimee Milburn offers some thoughts on papal infallibility from a convert’s perspective. Great stuff. (via Chez Ouiz)
  3. Resources for difficult prenatal diagnosis: I discovered (via Mary Meets Dolly) and was immediately impressed with the wealth of resources it offers for parents facing a troubling prenatal diagnosis. Also, the tons of stories from parents who defied the culture of death and carried their children to term are so inspiring. I’ve bookmarked it to have handy in case I or a loved-one is ever in that situation.
  4. He has borne our griefs: Jessica had one of those moments we’ve all had, where you read something in the news that leaves you feeling horrified and depressed. She shares some beautiful thoughts on what to do when you feel overwhelmed by all the suffering and the sadness in the world.
  5. A pro-choice couple keeps their baby: Ronda Kaysen and her husband have been on my mind ever since I read this article. Kaysen offers a candid account of her very unexpected pregnancy and how close she came to having an abortion. Her baby is due any day now, and I often wonder if meeting her new son or daughter will change her heart on abortion. I also wonder if her child will ever read this, and what he or she will think. (via one of my favorite new blogs, The Deacon’s Bench)
  6. Two weeks at a contemplative abbey: Edith has some fascinating thoughts on what it’s like to live in a monastic community. She points out that seemingly simple gestures like observing silence, chanting, bowing, serving one another, etc. “are not empty practices, but ways of forming different habits in our hearts and minds.”
  7. My five year plan: I loved Karen Edmisten’s thoughts on balancing planning with being open to God’s will. I must have had this in the back of my mind when I wrote that post on worry.
  8. What happens when you separate marriage and procreation: Hope points out that contraception has separated the connection of marriage to procreation, and lists some of the crazy things this has led to, including the fact that “even faithful Catholics seem to think that married couples who are having babies are simply making a lifestyle choice.” Read the whole thing, it’s great.
  9. Saved, by the gentleman in the back: I laughed out loud at this story…and can I hire this man to come with my family every place we go to distract attention from my children’s behavior?
  10. A sobering look at the real failure rates of the Pill: When you take middle-aged, middle-class married couples out of the picture, the failure rates skyrocket. Looking at the failure rates among the young and the unmarried, it’s hard to believe that there are people who are actually opposed to abstinence education. (via #!/usr/bin/mom)
  11. “American culture has mostly become one vast infomercial”: A thought-provoking commencement speech by NEA chairman Dana Gioia, where he discusses how real culture has been replaced by vapid entertainment. (via Burke to Kirk)
  12. Making the Welcome Bag: I feel a little bit closer to Christ every time I read a post from the blog Steppin’ Heavenward, and this post is no exception. Here Renee recounts putting together a “Welcome Bag” for the six- and eight-year-old boys they’re adopting from Ghana (more on that here and here). They already have nine children (six biological, three also adopted from Africa), and are looking forward to having eleven. What an awesome family.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Tienne

    As always, I love your Friday recommendations. I’m sending the convert’s essay on infalibillity to my mom, who despite attending St. Mary Catholic Church every Sunday is more Protestant than Catholic. Thanks for the great links.

  2. Amber

    Great links, as usual, thank you for posting them. The ingredients required for the NY Times things are a little hoity-toity in some cases, but I printed it out because there’s definitely some good stuff there!

    OK, I have definitely wasted enough time on the computer for my little packing break – back to work! 🙂

  3. Patty in WA or Rover

    Someone on a board I frequent mentioned seeing a scorpion, so I linked her to your blog/scorpions. You are such a gifted writer–and on a lot more than scorpions! I see God’s hand on you and am filled with wonder and gladness. And gratitude that I don’t see scorpions!

  4. lyrl

    On effectiveness rates of contraception – remember that “typical failure” rates include couples who sometimes don’t use the method at all. Pill failure rates include women who forget to take pills. Condom failure rates include couples who frequently leave the condom in the drawer.

    Groups of people who do not have the discipline to remember to take a pill every day, or to actually put on a condom every time they have intercourse, also do not have the discipline to remain abstinent.

    Denying these people information about family planning is not going to solve their issues with self-control. Teaching them about their bodies to increase self-respect might do that (see TeenSTAR). But abstinence-only education denies people information on all methods of family planning, including NFP, so TeenSTAR would not be welcome there.

    Teaching people about common situations where discipline is required to stick with their chosen method of family planning, and giving them techniques to stick to their decision, will result in lower surprise pregnancy rates. For all methods, including abstinence.

    Most people believe teenagers should be given information on sexuality and how to use it responsibly. (Wasn’t there a recent post on how our society needs to trust teens with more responsibility?) But our society cannot agree on what positive information to provide for teens, and so many people seem to have settled for the information blackout that is abstinence-only education.

  5. Melanie B

    Another great list of links. Thanks, Jen. My husband especially appreciates the 101 quick meals.

  6. Anonymous

    Ironic that you posted the quick meals article on a Friday. Bookmark this for next Lent. You may have to call it “75 quick meals” then.

    Thank you also for the “borne our griefs” link. I just don’t have the heart for the news anymore. Flannery O’Connor wrote a short story about a woman who takes the newspapers and puts them in a hole and lays on top of them, praying and weeping. Of course the whole town thinks she’s crazy. I don’t remember the name of the story, but you can find it in “Everything that Rises must Converge” — have your Catholic friends turned you on to O’Connor, yet? Well, I’m your friend. Consider yourself turned on. I mean that in a wholly Christian way!

    Speaking of which, Lyrl, I think there is a spirituality to sexual self-control. I can see your point that abstinence-only or nfp-only programs that neglect the spiritual aspect of self-denial of any sort may not achieve the success that is desired.

    Pushing contraception as a replacement for the ideal, Christian Spirituality-infused self-control program seems to be an attempt to ignore the elephant in the room (the elephant being that you shouldn’t be having sex with someone you aren’t willing to raise babies with).


  7. M_David

    Great links.

    Take exception with #11, though. I was forwarned by the NEA connection, but unfortunately bit :-).

    Telling part:

    Not to mention scientists and thinkers like…Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

    Ah…I would love to take a poll of NEA officers on the abortion issue…I bet it’s 90+%.

    Not to mention it’s sort of ironic to the subject at hand in that the NEA spends more cash every year to sell us a product than most commerical outlets.

  8. m_david

    I wanted to comment on #8 as well. What an excellent post. She hits on the real problem with American families – that we feel children are a lifestyle choice. It’s telling Catholics have the same size families as everyone else.

    What was also interesting is that the title Contraception Works, could be replaced by NFP works, and the article wouldn’t change. In the end, Americans generally desire to control their fertility, and place themselves in the procreation drivers seat instead of God.

    Actually, many Catholics (Popcak etc?) feel that to not control your fertility via NFP is irresponsible, sort of like how one is irresponsible to not plan their financial budget. One might choose to have a large family, but in the end it must be a choice, deliberately made.

    This is why I agree with Hope that many faithful Catholics have fallen into the trap of believing family size is a lifestyle choice, not a natural condition of marriage.

    (please note I am NOT talking about people who have, as HV says, “serious” reasons to control their fertility. One might argue that they do have an obligation to control fertility)

  9. alicia

    I’m surprised that you have just now discovered Be Not Afraid – it is one of the resources I use the most in counseling pregnant moms with bad dx – including most recently my daughter,

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