7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 19)

January 30, 2009 | 58 comments

— 1 —

Go take five minutes to uplift your day by watching this beautiful video about the lives of the cloistered nuns of Our Lady of the Rosary in New Jersey. (via Creative Minority Report)

One of the older sisters said something that jumped out at me:

The only thing that would make a person stay in the cloistered life, as beautiful as it is, is a supernatural call and vocation. You cannot stay in this life for any natural reason or else it is not going to work. You’ll be fighting against a human element that is going to conflict every step of the way.

This is so interesting to me. When I was an atheist, one of the things that confounded me was the concept of celibate religious life, especially those who lived cloistered lives or took vows of poverty. To see people giving up so much and being so peaceful about it…it was almost like they saw something I didn’t…it was almost like they were in touch with something I wasn’t. It was one of the few things that piqued my curiosity about Christianity back then.

I loved this quote from one of the young novices:

As wonderful as my other plans might have been, they were my plans. We think we know what will make us happy. But God knows us way better than we know ourselves.

I could really relate to this; I never cease to be amazed at the truth of this statement. (I wrote about it in relation to my own journey with motherhood once here.)

For those of you who are as fascinated by the simple beauty of cloistered religious life as I am, here’s a great FAQ from the Poor Clares (who are not only cloistered but take vows of poverty). Don’t miss the sisters’ stories!

— 2 —

Speaking of which, do you ever wish you had a habit?

Maybe “habit” is the wrong word, but sometimes I think it would be neat if there were some sort of tradition where laypeople who took vows to conform themselves to Christ could wear simple habits that were subtle enough that they didn’t stand out too much, but that still reflected the inner transformation. I like the idea of having only a few simple items in your closet, of removing yourself from temptation to seek status or indulge in vanity through dress, of not getting to choose what you wear, and of recognizing other laypeople who had taken the same vows when out in the world.

This is a very half-baked thought and undoubtedly an impractical, wrongheaded idea…I was mainly just wondering if anyone else ever thinks about that.

—3 —

A quick Saint Diet update: I cannot believe how much better I feel.

You mean it’s possible not to spend your afternoons feeling like you’d blow up the world if only you weren’t about to slip into a coma? Both my hematologist and my obstetrician are also amazed at the positive ways that cutting out processed food has impacted my whole system. More on that later.

—4 —

My dad got me the BEST Christmas present ever this past year, one that I am very much enjoying as I sit in my sparkling living room: three sessions of professional housecleaning. I can’t think of a better gift for a busy mom!

—5 —

Speaking of which (the “which” being “why someone thinking of gifts for me might immediately have housecleaning come to mind”), people posting pictures of their children’s rooms are killing me. Posts like this one at Dooce and this one at Small Treasures keep shattering the cocoon of denial I prefer to live in in which I tell myself that nobody paints their kids’ walls or has a place for all the toys or owns fancy things like bookshelves with intact shelving and drapes. (Warning: I didn’t immediately see any but I’m sure there’s some profanity in that Dooce post somewhere. Some readers may want to just skip to the pictures.)

Although I have to say that Kristen of Small Treasures is one of those rare bloggers whose posts make me feel like a lazy, ungrateful slob…in a good way. I’m always so inspired to try a little harder to bring beauty to my house and count my blessings after reading her writing. Her blog was on hiatus for many months but is finally back, and it’s a pure delight. If you’re not already familiar with it, go check it out!

— 6 —

Do you ever find yourself tempted to send spammers critiques of their methods?

Sometimes I imagine replying with tips like, “You know, if you just used proper grammar in the subject and used a TinyUrl link instead of the obvious link to xxxhackerz.ru, you would get a lot more click-throughs.” I think it’s because of some combination of my web dev background and my control freak tendencies that I always have this initial gut instinct to offer to just take over their illegal fake Rolex scam operations and do it the right way.

— 7 —

Last Friday my husband and I took the kids (and one of the girls) to see the amazing African Children’s Choir perform. Other than all three of my children attempting to run up on stage at various intervals throughout the performance, it was a great time. And what a great organization: they take children from difficult circumstances in Africa (many of them orphans), teach them to sing and play instruments, and take them to tour the world to raise money for their educations, as well as for other children in troubled areas of Africa. Evidently it really helps these kids have a chance to build better lives for themselves.

They’re currently touring in the South. Check out their list of tour dates if you’re looking for some great, free family entertainment (a donation is requested but optional).

Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!

1. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos
2. violingirl
3. Megan, Half-Pint House
4. Venite
5. Amanda@pricelesspearls
6. Gillian
7. Kathy@10minutewriter
8. Catholic Bibliophagist
9. Erin@ Seven Little Australians Plus One
10. puella
11. Laura
12. Debbie
13. KimK
14. Sarah Reinhard
15. Edie @ lifeingrace
16. Ordinary Time
17. Katherine@ The Domestic Church
18. Sara
19. Charlotte
20. Aimee (The Mother Load)
21. Ann @ Holy Experience
22. Jen
23. Sara@Coffee Randoms
24. Kerry@ Ten O\’Clock Scholar
25. Kristyn@Hall Cottage
26. Lady Rather
27. Sandy C.
28. lvschant @ vox feminae
29. Tami @ The Next Step
30. Becca @ the Stanley Clan
31. Hanna
32. Hanna @ Ontology
33. amy@a square peg breaks free
34. Scarlett
35. Aubrey
36. Melanie
37. April @ SALT for the Spirit
38. Nicole @ As Many As We\’re Given
39. Elena @ My Domestic Church
40. Missy @ Grasp the Love
41. Trena @ The Third Prayer
42. Sarah
43. CheekyPinkGirl
44. Kristy at Prone to Wander
45. majellamom
46. Renee
47. Maria
48. Aubrey @ pilgrims at ashley ave
49. el-e-e
50. Pam at Beyond Just Mom
51. Baroquem
52. Jessica @ Homemaking Through the Church Year
53. theRosyGardener (Nzie)
54. Elizabeth Esther
55. Write From Karen
56. Becky
57. abroadermark
58. Heather in Madrid
59. Kate
60. Koala Bear Writer
61. stephanie @ LSL
62. So… now what?
63. Mrs. B
64. Sarah @ 3 little monkeys
65. MacyFron
66. Just a Minute
67. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
68. Sincerely Anna
69. Semicolon
70. Amy
71. Pam
72. Andrea
73. anna – the luxurious life of anna
74. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side
75. Elizabeth@Frabjous Days
76. Aussie Therese
77. Catherine
78. Rachel
79. Spacebooke
80. Amanda – The Mom Job

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Lerin

    Kristen inspires me too! It seems that everyone was SO excited about having her back online, they all posted links to her… Ihad to check out the blog and read the whole thing last weekend! πŸ˜‰ We homeschool, and our homeschool “clutter” isn’t nearly so gorgeous or organized!

  2. veniteadoremus

    Thanks for hosting again πŸ™‚

    I love your lay people idea. There used to be a system like that back in the Middle Ages (the Mantellata, to wich St. Catherine of Siena belonged, wore an adapted Dominican habit and also had married members or I would be very much mistaken).

    Of course, there is the (small) scapular, which is the lay people’s habit, but adding something simple and easier to see (for insiders) sounds very cool.

    Enough vowed religious already wear something like that, about which I refuse to form an opinion because no matter what it is, it’ll get me into fights.

    Also congratulations on the Saint Diet! It’s amazing how many people are enormously influenced by processed foods – it seems to be the norm. And yet we still make them, buy them, and eat them. There must be a powerful metaphor in here somewhere.

  3. pearlsoftruth

    Thanks Jen! πŸ™‚

  4. Catholic Bibliophagist

    “Speaking of which, do you ever wish you had a habit?” That’s basically what a scapular is, isn’t it?

    Wearing a devotional medal or crucifix would be another option.

  5. Salome Ellen

    I belong to the Daughters of the King, an (originally Episcopalian) lay order for women. We wear a small, distinctive cross at all times. The founder of the order stated that this was to be our “habit”. Unfortunately, the modern members have taken this to mean “we should wear it habitually”, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the original sense.

  6. Debbie

    Oh Jen I can relate to the kids rooms! When my girls were younger their rooms NEVER looked like Leta’s room on Dooce. If they did it was only because I had cleaned them and then they stayed clean for about 5 seconds. I finally gave up and told them to keep their doors closed.

  7. Umm Yasmin

    Re: the habit.

    I know exactly what you mean! In my faith, we women wear a veil and I love it. I love how it marks me out as religious and there is even a tradition (although not many of us follow it) that we should only have two outfits – one to wear, one to wash.

    You could decided to sacrifice normal clothing for a simple ‘habit’ of sorts that you choose. Your intention being to remove yourself from the rat-race of fashion and consumerism.

  8. Kim

    Regarding the habit: I never thought of having my clothing reflect my religious life as a layperson (beyond a measure of appropriate modesty, that is), but I sure have thought that life would be a lot easier if I had some sort of “uniform” for my daily life that would minimize my need for decision making in the morning.

    I also like your hypothetical response to the spammers. Hilarious!

  9. becca

    Re: desiring a “domestic” habit – besides an apron (I’m only half kidding), there is a legitimate habit designed for us that we ordinary moms can wear with reverent devotion. It’s the scapular, specifically the Brown Scapular. Some folks wear it to enhance their private devotion to Our Lady, others may be members of a lay relgious order (in my case the Third Order Carmelite). This small wool scapular, which one gets blessed (then it becomes a sacramental) and then wears not as some lucky talisman but rather as a reminder of one’s faithfulness to its meaning, is a much miniaturized version of the classic, traditional wool habit worn by consecrated religious. It’s not meant to be flaunted or made obvious, for it’s meant to be a private, personal act of devotion. (Which, if lived out properly, would ideally be obvious in one’s public life that one is striving to live as a Christian.)

  10. Maria

    I was so excited when I happened on this video yesterday. My husband’s aunt (who is also is godmother) is actually a sister in this monastery! I can’t believe she hasn’t told us about the photo essay yet…though communication is slower out of the cloister! The sisters are just as beautiful in real life!

  11. edie

    Hi Jen!
    Thank you for hosting. I’ve ‘played’ before and it’s such a perfect way to document things that might never make it into their own post. Also, your button is adorable but it doesn’t link back to your blog. Just thought I’d let you know. You probably already know. And I love your list this week and enjoy all of your funny twitter comments.

  12. Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience

    Thank you, Jen… for everything you do in this place…

  13. Pam

    Boy did you speak right to my heart this morning. We did the NFP class in RCIA last week. It was amazing to see the struggle in classmates as we tried to come to terms with giving up a portion of control over their reproduction. I was thinking before I even read your post this morning about how our societal attitudes about children have developed into what they are today. And not that I am calling anyone selfish, because at 38 I am not exactly clambering for more than my current two-kids-three-and-under, I think the attitudes are from the culture of selfishness we exist in today.

    As for the habit, what about an apron? Not exactly what you were after — who would want to wear one outside the home all the time– but it certainly represents the chosen vocation. Of course that could be a bad idea. The clothes in my closet are far from anything to be vain about, but I find myself longing for a really cute apron.

  14. Charlotte

    So glad that eating well is improving how you feel, etc. & that your medical doctors are taking notice. I wish the medical community better embraced nutrition as a means to health & wholeness–not just for weight loss.

    Also-thanks for the link to Small Treasures. It's a beautiful site & I look forward to reading more. One thing I love about the internet is seeing glimpses into others' lives.

  15. Kristyn

    Whenever I see a large crucifix necklace, Miraculous medal, scapular, etc., I think of it in terms of a habit. Here is a person showing Whose they are. It’s easy to simplify your closet… it’s difficult to do it in such a way that people automatically realize you belong to Christ. (They may mistake simplicity for poverty or slovenliness.) I often wear skirts for femininity’s sake and get asked, “Are you Baptist?” πŸ˜€

  16. MemeGRL

    #2 made me giggle (in a good way)–on graduation day from college, my friends and I all said we thought we should have been required to wear those robes (without hats and stoles) to classes and the library all four years because we just felt so gosh-darned academic in them. (And this was waaay before Harry Potter beat us to the idea.) So yes, I have had the same kinds of thoughts. But I’m so style-blind (ironic, as I adore fashion magazines) that I can’t even pick nuns out of a crowd without a habit, so anything too subtle would not work for me!

  17. T with Honey

    Sure, I could make my daughter’s room look organized and gorgeous for the 2 seconds it takes to snap a picture. I wonder what those rooms looked like the next day.

    In other words, don’t be so hard on yourself. πŸ˜‰

  18. lvschant

    I’m enjoying this very much… finding some new blogs and learning new things… thanks!

  19. Tami Boesiger

    I’m so jealous of your Christmas gift. Don’t read anything into it. Just ENJOY it, you lucky dog!

  20. bearing

    Jen, re #2, there is. It’s called a scapular.

  21. Aubrey

    I read your comment about a lay habit. I know what you mean! I often wish that there was a Catholic greeting that we could share. I’ll see nuns or priests out in public or someone else I recognize from church and wish that there were something I could say to them that would mean, “Hi from a fellow Catholic,” without sounding so corny.

    Holy medals are one place to start–Christians of many denominations wear crosses but only Catholics wear holy medals or scapulars!

    Thanks for hosting Quick Takes. I’m really enjoying this meme! πŸ™‚

  22. a square peg (amy)

    What a beautiful video–thanks for sharing that. I like your idea of having a habit of some sort for people who aren’t actual “religious” but are deeply committed to a spiritual life. I think living in an area with a lot of Amish people reinforces that for me. It sets you apart as someone who is making a particular type of commitment, and I think would be a constant reminder to you that not only do you look different, you are called to be different.

    The link you posted for the African Children’s Choir didn’t work for me, but there was a link to the site on the “bad” page. Amazing! I’m not sure if they have been to our local college, but I may drop a hint to some friends who work there that they should…

  23. Jen

    I am intriqued by your “Saint Diet” and need to go back through your posts on it. I would give ANYTHING to feel better and more energized…and I know that would come if I’d be careful what I eat.

  24. Elizabeth

    Thanks for posting about the nuns in NJ! I was reading about them yesterday. I live fairly close and had no idea they were there. I’m planning a visit already.

    Your idea about the habit reminds me of one of my friends. She’s Persian and Zoroastrian. To my shame, I don’t know that much about her beliefs, except that Zoroastrian is dualism. Anyway, she wears a thin, white, woven cotton vest under her clothes as some kind of religious symbol.

  25. Trena

    Professional housekeeping!!!! That’s great. I so want that, even if it was just for a day.

  26. Becca Stanley

    Oh man I’m so upset that the choir isn’t coming to GA (at least not from what I can tell) — I bet they are wonderful! Have you heard Chris Tomlin’s song on his new cd with the African children’s choir? it’s amazing! πŸ™‚ (I think it’s called Hello Love) . . . thanks for hosting this!

  27. Sarah

    Thanks for hosting Jennifer! I’m so glad I found you. I do look forward to Friday, but now for a whole new reason!! Blessings!

  28. Thia

    What I found interesting was the young lady who said that she was madly in love with Christ crucified, but was slowly, very slowly finding out what that means. So often when we think of being madly in love with someone, we tend to think of something more in the lines of Tom Cruise jumping couches, not relishing the sweetness of love.

  29. Kristen

    Jen, thank you so much for your kind words. But please, know that my blog is one-dimensional, as are most. I show much of the good and little of the messes, sibling quarrels, moments of impatience at ST. Of course I picked up the room before I took that picture!

    Perhaps I should post on the subject. It’s actually been on my mind recently. I want my readers only to be inspired a little by some fun ideas, never discouraged!

  30. Melanie B

    Re the Dooce photo. My first reaction was wow, I think that kid’s room is bigger than my bedroom! Sure, I could get my kids’ room to look awesome if I had that much space. Instead, I’ve got two of them in about half the space. I love the shelving unit, that would solve half my clutter problems, but its way too big to squeeze in there with the baby’s crib, the toddler bed, the changing table, the chest of drawers and let’s not even mention the play kitchen my parent’s gave us for Christmas. not sure what we’re going to do when the third baby arrives. Of course, even if we had the space, I don’t have extra money to go out and buy lots of new furniture and accessories either. I suppose I have to work at being content with what we have and managing the mess of too much stuff in not enough space as best I can.

  31. Charlotte

    You know, Jen, there ARE lay people who wear habits. I’ve seen them, asked about them later (i.e. too late) and was told that they were NOT vowed religious, just wearing short little habits to signify some individual committment. Although I have to note that the only people I’ve seen doing this have been African-American. Wish I could tell you more.

  32. Mary Poppins NOT

    Sorry, I goofed on #46 and linked to you instead of me. #47 is correct. Sorry again!

  33. The Zapman

    While habits per se are more for professed religious, there are clothes that you can wear, and even do penance with clothing. The Confraternity of Penitents (http://www.penitents.org/) does penance through clothing by restricting colors and making sure they’re cheap. You can also devise your own ways of doing penance along those lines.

    There is also the Cincture of Angelic Warfare (http://www.newhope-ky.org/angelicwarfare.htm), which is worn in remembrance of the cincture given to Saint Thomas Aquinas in defense of chastity.

    (And, of course there is the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which, although mentioned several times already, I do have to chime in and recommend.)

  34. el-e-e

    Thank you for posting that link to the cloistered nuns! Beautiful! I used to subscribe to TIME but let it expire. Too bad I missed this!

    Also: the pretty bedrooms! Kill me!

    Have a great weekend, Jen!

  35. Jessica

    Okay, I totally know what you mean about the spam. It’s not very holy, but whenever I’m cleaning out my spam filter on gmail, I read the titles of the posts out loud to my husband and we snicker.

  36. Sandy

    I’ve always been fascinated by the Old Order Amish who live near us. They wear dark solid clothing and head coverings. Those are kinda like habits for lay people, aren’t they?

    Great for you on the Saint Diet. I’m glad it is helping you feel better.

  37. Nzie (theRosyGardener)

    I have mixed feelings on the habit – on the one hand, I think sometimes a habit really helps us to remember that we are called to be our best selves (sinning has got to be easier in jeans and a t-shirt, lol), but on the other hand, setting ourselves apart could lead to vanity (the covered-head-at-Mass crowd sometimes has really intricate lace coverings that kind of defeat the point). Tough question.

    In response to the person who said something about greetings, I don’t know about Latin Rite (although there probably was at some point) but I think there were/are traditional greetings (and a lot more interactive practices such as asking forgiveness before Ash Wednesday, etc.) in the Eastern Rite churches. A friend who is Greek Orthodox often begins his emails with the phrase, “Your prayers” (asking for them, basically).

  38. Elizabeth

    I love that the Saint Diet is helping you so much! That’s amazing.

    The habit: yes, yes and yes! This would be so much simpler, not to mention less expensive than always trying to keep up with the fashion trends. I have lots of thoughts on this, maybe I need to write my own post about it! Great idea!

  39. Ginkgo100

    Oh, my dear. Lest you start having delusions of inadequacy, here is a description of MY children’s room.

    First, the floor. Oh, dear God, save me from the floor. My 4yo went through a phase of intentionally vomiting when he was anxious, and that carpet will NEVER be the same. He also had several accidents while sleeping on the floor in front of the door. I don’t even like to walk in there with bare feet, and that’s AFTER cleaning the carpets.

    Second, the wall. Decorated with turquoise sharpie. I tried to clean it up but gave it all up as a hopeless task. One day I intend to go at it with Kilz, but there are no immediate plans.

    Actually, coming back to the floor issue, there’s turquoise sharpie on that poor carpet, too.

    There’s a raised bed from IKEA, the only “nice” thing in the whole room. 4yo only sleeps on it about every other night. The rest of the time he insists on sleeping UNDER it, on the floor, which does not gross him out at all. I make sure he has a blanket between him and the carpet.

    The other piece of furniture is a pack n play for the 1yo. Eventually the crib is going in there, but we moved the baby in before we moved the furniture. (He had his own room until recently.)

    There are lots of books and stuffed animals on the floor. And book PAGES. 4yo got the scissors one day. Also plenty of dirty clothes and mystery toys.

    The closet is a disorganized mess. It also contains a toddler bed that will eventually be given to 1yo. It was outgrown by 4yo last summer.

    There is a brightly colored ceiling fan that came with the house, a denim curtain over the window (casual and boyish), and a few random pictures on the walls, but no unifying theme, unless you consider “This room needs to be cleaned” a theme.

    I am still wondering if rooms like the one in your picture are mythical.

  40. Christopher Milton

    Re: #2

    Oh my goodness, yes! I’ve had a picture in my mind of a woolen, ash-grey cassock without the white color for ages now. Something plain but meaningful to wear on retreat or to Mass or something.

    I can’t remember where I heard/read this, but Christians at some point in the past would wear albs to Mass. Everyone. White Albs. They apparently recieved them at Baptism.

  41. abroadermark

    Ugh…I shouldn’t have clicked on those bedroom links. It’s best that I stay in denial when it comes to things like that. πŸ˜€

    Thanks for hosting 7 Quick Takes!

  42. Kate

    I’ve always thought of the denim jumper and turtleneck as a sort of religious homeschooler ‘habit’…which I thought was really funny until I met a religious order that really does wear a habit of turtleneck and jumper! LOL

  43. The Koala Bear Writer

    That’s an awesome Christmas present from your dad. One of my first jobs was cleaning house for a lady who’d just had her fourth baby via C-section, so her mom paid me for the housecleaning to help her get back onto her feet. πŸ™‚

    I’ve seen advertisement for the African Children’s Choir. They sound really neat! It would be interesting to follow the kids for a few years after they do the tour to see how the Choir affected their lives. Does it really help them personally?

  44. Stephanie

    I’ve thought about that too – what it would be like to live a simple life with a very few possessions, devote my days to prayer and service, trust in God to provide my needs. Somehow, I picture it as easy, which is silly, since I’m not even faithful in the small things – trusting God, making time for prayer and service, putting greed to death in my life now. Maybe I’ll start with that. Plus, I’m pretty sure my husband wouldn’t appreciate me running off to join a convent. πŸ˜‰

    Wow, the professional housecleaning IS a fabuous gift!

    Love the “Quick Takes” idea, BTW! I’m participating for the first time today!

  45. curlyheadedtuba

    I’m currently obsessed with HGTV and am constantly trying to make rooms over in our house! When decorating the nursery, I tried to do a Wynken, Blynken, and Nod/Night sky theme… complete with dark blue ceiling and the intention of decorating the walls with constellations. I’m now contemplating Noah’s Ark/safari or Winnie-the-Pooh. Both of those will require painting the ceiling a much lighter color, which will thrill my husband!

  46. Amy

    How funny – I couldn’t remember where I had first seen the link to the video for the Dominican nuns, and it was here! πŸ™‚ I have no brain lately.

    I’ve always wanted some kind of habit – more than a scapular – something “clothes.” Something to more visibly mark my vocation and mostly to take the guesswork out of dressing every day.

  47. Andrea

    Jen–I’m a new reader, and also an adult convert to Christianity. And a new mom. I love your writing and your take on things–and I’ll definitely be pre-ordering your book, when it comes out…in God’s perfect timing. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your blog and the many posts that have been so significant for me just over the past couple of months (especially “God does not call the equipped…,” “Quiet kids I’m trying to…,” “Dying to self/cat vomit” (these are paraphrases, sorry, but I have printed these out and read them many times) and many others).

  48. Shelly W

    I haven’t done this in a few weeks, and I’ve missed it! Thanks so much for hosting, Jen!

  49. Amy

    RE: #2: Yes, I think about a habit. Not a habit exactly, but I am drawn to the plain dresses of the Old Order German Baptists that are in my area of Ohio– cape dresses, simple headcoverings. Their dresses are made of the fabric of their choosing, so they’re not exactly alike, but still simple and conservative. I think that would be nice, to not worry about clothing (modest? trendy? price?) and to also set yourself apart from society just a bit, while still living with modern conveniences like electricity, cars, and shopping at Target. πŸ™‚

  50. pastprologue

    Closest thing I had to a habit was my Catholic school uniform. In high school, it was a simple navy blue jumper. You had a choice for shirt colors – white, blue, yellow, green, pink. Sometimes when I’m trying to decide what to wear to go to work, I REALLY miss that uniform.

  51. annabenedetti

    “For those of you who are as fascinated by the simple beauty of cloistered religious life as I am…”

    Have you ever seen Into Great Silence?

  52. Rachel Gray

    “I like the idea of having only a few simple items in your closet, of removing yourself from temptation to seek status or indulge in vanity through dress, of not getting to choose what you wear, and of recognizing other laypeople who had taken the same vows when out in the world.”

    That’s funny– I’m thinking of being a nun and my gut reaction to this was “If I have to live in the world, as least let me wear cute clothes!” I don’t know what that says about me. πŸ™‚

    The Missionaries of Charity Brothers don’t have matching habits but they all wear plain pants and shirts, usually plaid. You wouldn’t know they were religious unless they were all in a group and you noticed they were similarly dressed. A layperson could do something similar…

  53. Lindsay

    Did you invent 7 quick takes? So handy. By the time Friday rolls around I have given up on in depth recaps and resourted to any quip that will jog the memory in the future.

  54. Anonymous

    RE: #2 – I have thought about the habit for years. My reasoning is (in no particular order) 1. simplification, 2. not having to decide what to wear or shop, 3. having a visible sign of commitment and 4. taking away the power of having to dress ‘right’ for any given occasion. I think a habit would make it necessary to be careful about arrogance – either in my heart, behavior or others perception.

    I too am a member of the Daughters of the King (from my former Episcopalian life before I came home to the Catholic church), and wear my distinctive cross daily. If I had not made those vows, I would make my ‘habit’ a small crucifix, worn daily.

    I think the most comfortable, attractive and flexible ‘habit’ would be a form of dress worn by some people in India – the tunic to just below the knees, over loose and expandable ankle length pants, with a scarf around the neck. You could clean house in that, hike a trail, or go to a social occasion! But I think my family might lock me up if I started wearing that!


  55. odat_kim

    I have to agree with you on the clothing thing, although for me, I’ve always wanted to wear a jilbab and sari.

  56. Martha

    I am happy to tell you that since you want to consider homeschooling, you are in luck with the habit idea — it’s the denim jumper and white keds. πŸ™‚ (seriously – go to a homeschool convention sometime and count how often you see that. A LOT.)

  57. Amanda

    Jennifer – Thanks for commenting back over at TheMomJob.net! I don’t know if you noticed, but I made a typo in my link to your site. I’ve corrected it from “conversation diary” to the Conversion Diary. I should know better than to try and feed two children and blog simultaneously! Silly me. Good thing the kids were fed though!

  58. Gregaria

    Re #2: You should read “Happy Are You Poor” by Thomas Dubay. It doesn’t talk about habits for laypeople, but it does talk about frugality and simple lifestyles.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- SubscribeΒ on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates