7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 29)

April 17, 2009 | 45 comments

— 1 —

I keep thinking about something that Laura at Homeschooling Joy said a few weeks ago, when she noted that sometimes you have to read certain books at the “right time” in order to really get them. (I chuckled at her joke about initially thinking she must have gotten the French version of Abandonment to Divine Providence; I recently tried to read it and that was my thought as well.)

Anyway, a little over a year ago I tried reading The Fire Within and could not get into it at all. After about 90 pages I gave up because I wasn’t getting anything out of it. Something prompted me to give it another shot recently, and now I’m finding it to be nothing short of life changing! On almost every page I shake my head in wonder that I could have missed all the incredible spiritual gems this book contains the first time around. Isn’t it funny how that works?

— 2 —

OK, let me see if I can wipe the tears of laughter out of my eyes long enough to type out this story…

One of the little neighbor girls was over here the other day and we were talking about selling houses. She told me that she has an uncle who really needed a house to sell one time, and he’d heard something about the practice of burying a statue of St. Joseph in your yard to get the house to sell. He was desperate so he decided to try it.

Unfortunately this uncle did not come from a culture where this was common practice, so he missed some of the details about this custom. Instead of the usual dimestore figurine, he ended up buying a life-sized statue of St. Joseph. Not only was this expensive, but its burial turned into a bit of a production that took him the better part of the day and lasted well into the evening. The neighbors caught a glimpse of it and became so alarmed at the sight of the nighttime burial of a large, human-looking object that they called the cops!

Long story short, he ended up sitting in jail while the police dug up his yard. My little friend wasn’t privy to any information about the cops’ reactions when they found the statue, but I got a good laugh imagining the looks on their faces.

I’ve been chuckling about that story all week.

— 3 —

Speaking of which, the neighbor girls have been here a lot lately. They’re almost always come over in the afternoons after school gets out, and when they have vacation days they typically spend them over here as well. Their frequent presence at my house is the very definition of “win-win situation”: they have a busy single mom who could undoubtedly use some help, and it’s great for us to have some older children around for my toddlers to play with. I’m able to sit in the living room and read blogs while they do all the work! (No, I’m kidding. I don’t do that all the time. Sometimes I sit in the kitchen and read email.)

Anyway, I never cease to be amazed at our friendship, especially considering its rocky start. They are a constant reminder to me of what the Holy Spirit can do to transform a bad situation into something beautiful.

— 4 —

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the good folks at my local HEB grocery store for their kind self-restrain upon seeing me at the grocery store on Monday.

It was my first trip with all four kids and I wasn’t sure how to arrange them all. (As a refresher, their ages are 4, 2, 1 and six weeks.) The plan was for the two “big” girls to sit in front, the baby to be in her carrier in the main part of the cart, and for my four-year-old son to walk. My four-year-old, however, decided that it would be fun to ride on the very bottom rack. The effect of this setup, especially once I had a bunch of groceries piled next to the baby carrier, was that it looked like my cart was so overflowing with kids that I had to stuff one of them into the overflow area next to the paper towels and diaper box. Quite a few jaws dropped, but nobody said anything.

— 5 —

Anybody want to guess what this means?

(Well, yes, it means I should declutter my fridge. But what else?)

That’s right, they’re back.

— 6 —

This is how the exterminator-calling process is going:

  • Talk about calling exterminator on Twitter
  • Talk about calling exterminator on blog
  • Talk about calling exterminator on phone with friends
  • Actually call exterminator
— 7 —

I keep thinking about that video I posted earlier this week about the desert hermits. My first reaction (upon watching it at the end of “one of those” days) was something along the lines of, “You cannot convince me that I would not love every minute of being in a silent cave for three weeks!” But once I took some time to really think about what it would be like — and why it would be so spiritually difficult — I began to deeply yearn for something like that for a different reason. Obviously I have no current plans to run off to a cave somewhere, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get a taste of that experience in my own life.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be talking more about that in the weeks to come. And if you haven’t read the comments to that post, I highly recommend it! They’re really interesting.


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. violingirl
2. Venite
3. Peace Garden Mama
4. Falling Upward
5. Em. @ Gratitude. Simplicity. Frugality.
6. Julie
7. puella
8. Heather in Madrid
9. Laura
10. Denise @ Full Nest
11. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly
12. Karen @ Needs New Batteries
13. Chloé
14. Gillian-Life of a Photographer
15. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
16. Sandy @Maple Grove
17. Sarah Reinhard
18. Debbie
19. Charlotte @ GTH
20. katherine @ The Domestic Church
21. Peony Moss
22. Getting Serious about Being Single
23. Linda-One Voice
24. Veronica @ Toddled Dredge
25. Kerry @ Ten O\’Clock Scholar
26. April @ SALT for the Spirit
27. Elise
28. Missy @ Grasp the Love
29. Semicolon
30. Becky
31. Amy @ Tiny Blessings
32. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos
33. Ingrid Airam
34. Dawn
35. Scarlett
36. Tracy@The Secret of Living
37. MrsDarwin
38. alissa
39. WeaverMom
40. Annemarie
41. Christine the Soccer Mom
42. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
43. Milehimama (Mama Says)
44. So… Now What?
45. majellamom
46. Lenae
47. CheekyPinkGirl
48. Tina @ Multiple Mom T
49. Kaycee (In the Moment)
50. SortaCrunchy
51. Nicole @ As Many As We\’re Given
52. LauraD@Life, Faith, Home, School
53. Jen
54. Amanda – The Mom Job
55. Tami @ The Next Step
56. katherine at senor elefante
57. The Someday House
58. Christi @ The Journey
59. Kelly @ Gratiae ut Deus
60. Casa Sosegado
61. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)
62. Amanda – The Mom Job
63. Baroquem
64. Aubrey
65. Aimee (The Mother Load)
66. Nili
67. Emily
68. Alice@Supratentorial
69. Mindy
70. Catherine @ To Mark Time
71. Rachel
72. Lisa (Are We There Yet?)
73. Catherine
74. Elena@My Domestic Church
75. Erin@ Seven Little Australians Plus One
76. mary
77. Blair\’s Blessings
78. Christine @ Good Company
79. Amy @ Buffaloes & Butterfly Wings
80. Many Little Blessings (1st time with 7 Takes!)
81. Kathy @ The Political Housewyf
82. Maria @ Call of Duty Mom
83. Linda @ Ramblings of a Southern Belle
84. Melanie @ The Wine Dark Sea
85. Party of Eight

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  1. Roxane B. Salonen

    I am always late with my quick takes so decided to try to get a head start this time. Still, two others beat me to it!

    I have become a huge fan of online grocery shopping. Seriously, it is heaven. If you have the service, give it a try. I do less emotional shopping, and I don’t have kids hanging all over a cart begging for everything they see. It has been my sanity. For $7 delivery charge, is it worth it? SO worth it.

    I spent a week last summer at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Collegeville, Minnesota, and will do the same this year. It wasn’t quite a desert experience, but I got a taste of life in a cave, peeking out to eat with the sisters, going back in, peeking out to pray, back in again. It was wonderful, but I had a hard time falling asleep at night without all the usual distractions. I’d recommend something like this when you are no longer nursing your little one. I spent most of my alone time writing…without interruption. It was VERY odd, but so good for the soul.

  2. Julie

    Jennifer, I love reading your blog. You are really quite talented. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gorgasal

    Re No. 2: I think the most important question is whether a life-size St. Joseph did actually help…

  4. becomewhatyouare

    I had to laugh at your first quick take…

    it took me ten years of trying to read Fire Within. I need the secret decoder ring. I read 2 of his other works first and then it all became clear and yes, life-changing. (The two books are Seeking Spiritual Direction and Prayer Primer.) Once I started it, having the decoder rings and it being the right time, I read that huge book in a 48 hour time period.

    I’ve been feeling that I need to read it again.

  5. Laura

    Great set of quick takes today. I got a good laugh out of that statue story, too. Thanks for the link!
    God Bless!

  6. Kate Wicker

    I haven’t braved the grocery store yet since our baby was born. We did go to the zoo yesterday and boy, did it wipe me out.

    Good luck destroying the scorpions. And I thought a few random roly-polies in our home were annoying!


  7. Karen

    I think about your rocky start with the neighbor girls quite frequently. It gives me hope in some pretty ugly situations at times!

  8. Anonymous

    I’ve seen Moms with many kids pushing two carts in the grocery store–or pushing one and dragging one. Seems to work.

  9. Starrball

    Hmmm… I’m considering the St Joseph thing myself, we have an apartment we are trying to sublet and since the super introduced a no kid rule (as we’re on the top floor) it’s turning into a real challenge. (we have a child ourselves but that happened since moving here so it doesn’t affect us :?) Only problem is, I don’t have anywhere to bury it… Do you think putting it on my prayer table would help?

  10. Sarah Reinhard

    #1 is so, SO true, Jen. I have found that to be the case with a lot of books, though it seems to be more true for non-fiction and spiritual type of works than other things.

  11. Charlotte

    2. Hilarious. Really kind of unbelievable… 🙂 My father-in-law gave me a small St. Joseph because we were talking about his feast day when I was at his home a couple of months ago. You have reminded me to fish it out of my bag & pass it along to our close friends who have just put their house on the market…

    3. Love that. It really is a beautiful picture of community.

    4. Oh… A great visual. 🙂

    6. I'm always fascinated by the things I procrastinate on… That means I spend a lot of time fascinated.

    7. Totally missed that one. Will go find it now… I daydream about spending extended periods of time in a monastery. One week out of every month would be fabulous.

  12. Peony Moss

    That story about the St Joseph statue? TOO FUNNY.

  13. Linda

    I’ve tried to read Captivating by John and Stasi Eldrege several times over the last few years. I know it is an amazing book, but I haven’t mustered my way past page 176 yet.

    I’ve enjoyed reading quick takes for a while, now it’s time to join the fun. Thanks for hosting.

  14. Pansy Moss

    You are not alone. I have tried on several occasions to get into Fire from Within. I always thought it was over my head.

  15. Michele Quigley

    God bless you my dear. I have a 4 yr. old and 2 yr. old (and a bunch of older kids of course) and cannot imagine how exhausted I’d be to throw a 1 yr. old and 6 week old into the mix and go to the grocery store BY MYSELF! OK I could have done it (did it!) when I was younger but now . . . whew!

    I am so glad those girls have you to hang out with. I had a kindly neighbor who let me hang out at her house like that while my (single) mom was working. She was always very kind to me and kept me safe.

  16. Solveig

    Thanks for mentioning your neighborhood girls again. I find that story a special example of God’s grace and mutual provision.

  17. Dawn

    7 Quick Takes – This Week I’m Thankful For…


    Thanks for hosting! The best part about having lots of littles at HEB is that they carry your groceries out to your car for you!! God bless ’em. For this, at the least, they get my business over Wal-Mart everytime.

  18. Anonymous

    Was the house sold?

  19. alissa

    i don’t know how you can possibly handle scorpions. i think i would have to move to a state where there were no scorpions. otherwise i would never sleep.

  20. Anonymous

    So, not to be a wet blanket, but it’s not okay for a believing Catholic to bury a statue of St. Joseph (or anyone else, for that matter) in the yard to sell the house. I’m trying to sell my house too, and boy it’s been a big temptation, with every one telling me to do it, but it’s just not okay. It’s superstitious not to mention sacreligious and disrespectful of St. Joseph. (jen, not saying you were advocating this practice, I just wanted to give a counterpoint to the tenor of some of the comments). Here’s a website with a short summation of why: http://www.unhealthydevotions.com/new-age/saint-joseph-capsule-sell-real-estate.htm

    Again, I don’t want to be a downer, but I’ve sincerely struggled with this issue for the past two years that we’ve wanted to sell our house. In the end, I decided that if I did it, it would be signaling a lack of trust in God as well as a profound disrespect for St. Joseph, whom I turn to often for comfort and help in sacrificing for my family. I couldn’t do it. (non-Catholics, please note I don’t actually worship Joseph or think Joseph somehow resides in the statue — the statue is a reminder and a way to help focus prayer, but burying it in dirt is still disrespectful).

    re: grocery store. I think about this all the time. I have one due in 1 month and a two year old who is not capable of being out of the cart in the store yet. I’m thinking of wearing the baby and keeping the two-year old in the cart. has anyone tried that?

  21. Milehimama

    I haven’t made it through “Abandonment to DP” either, despite starting it several times over several years! I thought it was *me*…

    #4 – yeah, it takes two of us to go grocery shopping together. A cart for children and a cart for food. Husband has to push the kid cart because all those little bodies added together are heavy!

  22. Jenny


    I am pretty sure that the “no-kid” rule is illegal. You may want to look into it.

  23. Kaycee

    I’m totally with you on #1. I’m reading the New Testament now and am absolutely riveted by it.

    The funny thing is that I have tried to read it several times before and could never make any sense of it.

    I guess now that I have a few kids and some life experience behind my belt I’m ready for the message.

  24. nicole

    My brother gave me that book in the fall, and I tried reading it recently. I didn’t make it past the first few pages. I chose a bad time to try to start it, at night at Adoration, when I was exhausted. I will give it another chance when I feel more awake. Reading it takes more brain power than I usually have.

    Way to go with the grocery store! It can be overwhelming. One time Husband and I were at W-M, with our 3 kids and me pregnant with the 4th. We had two buggies, because that was easier since we could both push one. Husband was waiting for me to grab something in an aisle, so he had both buggies. As I returned to him, I heard a man say “you know you have too many when you have to have two carts” as he walked by. He didn’t know I was with Husband, and I was tempted to stop him and say some uncharitable things. But I took the high road and kept my mouth shut. Sometimes I wish I didn’t, though.

  25. Amanda - The Mom Job

    HAAHA! The to-do list procrastination blog!! My husband tells me all the time that I’ll blog about doing something months before I’ll do it. He’s right. SO SAD!

  26. Tami Boesiger

    Wow, that’s quite a story about the statue of Saint Joseph. This is really true? Wow.

    Happy Friday, Jennifer!

  27. Jim T.

    #6 This is how the exterminator-calling process is going:

    That one made me crack up. I do the same thing.

    I’m going to check all those comments on the desert fathers video that I watched. It was a great experience and I have been carrying it with me all week.

  28. Double D

    Scorpions are why I’m glad I never moved to Austin. Seriously, I can’t even read your posts about them all the way through. The lure of the Hill Country is strong, though! Good luck with everything!

  29. Kelly

    That St. Joseph story was hilarious! We’ve sold several homes through the devotion to St.Joseph though. It does work. But I recommend using the little
    .50 cent plastic statue instead. LOL!

  30. Dawn

    I received “Fire Within” from a seminarian friend. I TRIED (so hard!) to read it but quite about a quarter of the way through. The next time I saw him I was embarrassed to tell him, “I’m not getting anything out of it.”

    I believe it was a bad time to be “forcing” myself to read that book. I will try again this summer and see if it goes better.

    Thanks, Jen!

  31. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)

    My only experience w/ an exterminator was for Bedbugs, but as all my resources were ~400 miles away I actually had trouble proving to him he ought to come do his job for me.

    He kept trying to convince me to wait till it was a bigger problem– and I could pay more to cover his travel expenses. (Not that he verbalized that last part.)

  32. Amanda

    I just realized that the last 4 quick takes I’ve done through Mr. Linky have all linked back to my first Quick Takes!



  33. Nili

    I was able to get my quick takes in this week…I have not made it to the grocery on my own yet…made a quick dash into Target the other day though…getting my Mama legs is a little more overwhelming then I thought it would be.

  34. Emily

    I’ve wanted to read Fire Within, too. But I was intimidated by it! Good to know that I can overcome that.

  35. Mindyleigh

    Just leaving a comment. Gotta go!

  36. Catherine

    Gotta love HEB’s SUV style multi-child carts. Ours has some that seat four kids!!

  37. MemeGRL

    Your other quick takes were great too. But #4 (the grocery cart) made me laugh so loud I woke up one of my napping kids! (It was time, and what better sound to awaken to than your mother’s laugh, right?)
    Thanks for the giggle to start the weekend. And good luck with that! Seconding (or third or fourthing) the online shopping idea!

  38. Lisa

    So commiserating with ~ and can’t help smiling at the picture of you with all your Little Blessings and the groceries in the shopping cart. If I’d been shopping at the same time with you, we’d have chatted, I just know it.

    I have a particular image in my mind now in my middle age that I pull up whenever I feel “harumphy” about the hassle of having to go grocery shopping. Makes me feel like life’s pretty easy in comparison. The picture: Me with a newborn in her carseat hooked onto the front of my basket and a 5 y.o. in the back; my 9 y.o. son with a 2 y.o. in the front of his basket and a 4 y.o. in the back. And my 8 y.o. pushing the basket with the groceries in it. Now that they’re grown up, I usually leave a big kid home to babysit the Littles so I can go out with less hassle. But, strangely… believe it or not, I miss those days.

  39. Lisa

    Oh, oh… A couple thoughts on the burying of St. Joseph statues. It’s an old custom in the Church to bury sacramentals such as medals. It’s not sacriligious or even disrespectful to bury a statue, if it’s done out of devotion and not superstition. It is in fact, a certain form of sacrifice to “offer up” an object in this way ~ which makes the life-size statue a monumental sacrifice made for a petition! It’s always good to remind ourselves that a statue is nothing more than a representation of a saint, even if it’s blessed.

    We personally have gotten good results in home-selling by leaving our statue of St. Joseph on prominent display in our home to be sold. And feel we’ve had the best results, still, when we’ve prayed a novena to St. Joseph.

  40. truthfinder

    Juat a quick thought on the desert fathers and caves in the desert: where better to find scorpions!
    😉 Rosemary

  41. Mary

    The St. Joseph story was too cute. They sell those little statues advertizing them for selling houses in the Catholic bookstore in my area. I debate the whole superstition aspect of it.

  42. Maria

    You caught my attention with Fire Within – I attempted to read this a couple years ago, and found it under my bed the other day – maybe I should give it another try- And I LOVE the grocery store adventure! I also routinely have 4 kids in/hanging onto the cart with groceries packed around them. Comments range from kind inquiry, encouragement, and the occasional sad negativity. Either way, I wouldn’t give it up -maybe it’s because I like the challenge, but mostly because we become a witness to life and it helps others to see it can still be done – with God’s grace!

  43. Wendy from Zoom

    I can’t help it! The juxtaposition of the posts were such that I could only think: those desert caves are probably all infested with scorpions!

  44. LW

    I’m a little late to the party on this post, but I just had to tell you that I too am reading Fire Within – and isn’t it funny how often a book I’m reading will pop up on someone’s blog. Obviously everyone else is having great ideas before I do. 🙂

    I recently finished Fr. Dubay’s Happy Are You Poor. Easy to read, hard on the conscience. I recommend it highly.


  1. The Solemnity of St. Joseph | In The Everyday The Solemnity of St. Joseph | Catholic. Librarian. Colorado. - [...] here and here for more about this. And Jennifer over at Conversion Diary has a great story about this.…

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