7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 35)

May 29, 2009 | 49 comments

— 1 —

It occurred to me that it wasn’t my smoothest blogging move ever to make a big announcement on a Thursday afternoon, since it would immediately get buried by a 7 Quick Takes post. So if you missed the post yesterday about our big news, check it out here.

— 2 —

If you haven’t already seen it, check out this amazing speech by a mom with only a few weeks left to live (found via the always-interesting Making Home). It’s about 55 minutes long, and I actually haven’t had time to watch every minute of it, but what I’ve seen so far is amazing. Rachel Barkey offers life advice from the perspective of someone who doesn’t have too long to live, and it comes down to four key things:

  • Know God
  • Know yourself
  • Know the Gospel
  • Know your purpose

Really powerful stuff.

— 3 —

What, specifically, is a Cursillo retreat? Everyone I know who’s ever been to one has raved that it was one of the most life-changing things they’ve ever done, but I don’t understand exactly why or what’s involved. Anyone care to share?

— 4 —

I was singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to the kids the other night, and I was struck once again by the line that says “how I wonder what you are.” I mentioned this a while back on my links blog, but I think it’s so neat that I’m singing a song to my children that has been passed down to me by word-of-mouth all the way from 1806, when the average person didn’t have a lot of knowledge about celestial objects, hence the line about wondering what they are.

Another fascinating (to me, anyway) story about information being passed down generations through word-of-mouth in #2 here.

— 5 —

Sonic has the coolest toy in their kids’ meals right now. My mom took the kids there for lunch the other day and they came back with little packages of these:

They’re little gears with magnets on the back that you can put on your fridge and then turn one of them to make them all move. So creative!

— 6 —

My husband is the master at finding great wines that are cheap because they haven’t become popular yet. More than once he’s discovered awesome $7 and $8 bottles that we later saw being sold for $14 because they’ve gotten so popular.

His latest gem is Concha y Toro’s Xplorador Merlot (seen here sitting on our kitchen counter last Friday for an end-of-week celebration), which sells for $6.99 and can be found at most grocery stores. It has a mature character with notes of spice and apple over earthy undertones, with a hint of…kidding. My palate is so unrefined that I probably couldn’t tell it from Kool-Aid. I just know what I like when I taste it.

— 7 —

I was going to write one more thing but baby Joy is vetoing. That’s it for this week. Hope everyone has a great weekend!


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. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly
2. Monnie @ Fashioning a Fabric
3. Sarah Reinhard (Left to Tell)
4. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
5. Debbie
6. Laughing Lioness
7. Beth @ Blog O’ Beth
8. Stephanie @ Ready, Set, 40!
9. Trena @ The Third Prayer
10. Aimee (The Mother Load)
11. Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side
12. Charlotte @GTH
13. Venite
14. Lenae
15. Christine- Fruit in Season
16. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
17. entropy
18. How To Write a Better 7 Quick Takes
19. violingirl
20. Annemarie
21. Laura
22. Nicole @ As Many As We’re Given
23. Ingrid Airam
24. stephanie (LSL/Bold Avenue)
25. Milehimama (Mama Says)
26. Joy B
27. Tami @ The Next Step
28. Kristyn@Hall Cottage
29. Amanda
30. Alyssa/LittleMaryBT
31. Heather in Madrid
32. rebecca
33. majellamom
34. Elena
35. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
36. elise
37. Maria @ Call of Duty Mom
38. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
39. Ginkgo100
40. Aubrey @ Laughing
41. Mrs Wookie
42. Jenny @ Heart of a Mother
43. Jamie
44. Amanda @ TheMomJob
45. Jessica
46. Dawn @Sufficient for Today
47. Christine the Soccer Mom
48. Christy @ This Gun’s For Hire
49. Mandy
50. Cheryl (My Thoughtful Spot)
51. Lisa (Are We There Yet?)
52. Elena@My Domestic Church
53. Rebecca @ The Momologue
54. Peace Garden Mama
55. Mrs. Bubbles
56. Karen @ Needs New Batteries
57. Sheila@So… Now What?
58. Melanie @ The Wine Dark Sea
59. Amy F
60. Kelly @ Love Well
61. Em @ Gratitude. Simplicity. Frugality.
62. Kathy @ the Political Housewyf
63. Christi @ The Journey
64. Gill-Life of a Photographer
65. a broader mark
66. warillever
67. Therese

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  1. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly

    Have you sipped Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck? Good, cheap stuff.

    Have a wonderful weekend and again, I’m praying for you, your family, and Rita.


  2. deanna

    In regard to #3. I have been on a Cursillo, but will be going in June. I’ll let you know then!

  3. Stephanie

    So excited to read about your exciting news. What a calling! May you & your family be blessed by this experience.

  4. Brizo Brown

    Thanks, Jen! I love playing with you on Fridays. 🙂

  5. Charlotte

    1. Beautiful. And, I love the prayer you quoted.

    2. Thanks for that link. I’m going to set aside some time to listen and weep.

    5. I usually tell my kids, “No Way” to their request for Sonic because I prefer other fast food options (Chick-Fil-A). This might help me say, “Sure. But don’t count on it again any time soon.”

    6. Yay cheap wine!

    7. Yay babies!

  6. Christine

    I’m looking forward to checking out the video you linked to. Thanks for hosting!

  7. Charlotte

    I just listened to Rachel's talk. I'm so glad that she is sharing her journey and the truths of the gospel. I am praying for her and her family, and I am weeping for her.

    I disagree with her, though, when she says that frustration and anger over her cancer & the fact that she is dying soon are sin. That's off-base. Big time. Being stuck in frustration and anger might be sinful, but having those feelings and sorrowing over something that ought to be grieved is not sin. Godly sorrow is a good and right thing. I'm saddened for those who might take her words regarding sorrow to heart.

  8. nicole

    I’ve never been on Cursillo, but my understanding is that it is a retreat for anyone in a diocese, and is very moving. We do ACTS retreats here, which grew out of the Cursillo movement, but are parish-based rather than diocesan-based. It is about taking your retreat experience into your community. When you get an opportunity to go on, you should. The community aspect of it is well worth it.

    What an exciting summer you will have!

  9. Heather

    Part of the Cursillo weekend is that you don’t know much about it before you attend. But I can tell you that it is an intense weekend of encountering God and learning just how much He really loves you. If you have a specific question, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll try to answer without giving too much away!

  10. Anne Marie

    I am a Cursillista. I made my Cursillo during Lent in 2005 and I was a leader in 2007. The weekend is very intense and from my perspective exhausting. Every waking moment is accounted for and for me that’s not enough down time. The weekend consists of speakers followed by discussion, Mass, rosary, opportunities for confession daily, and a way of the cross, generally on Friday.

    Overall the purpose of Cursillo is an awakening of our Catholic faith via an outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Cursillo weekend, followed by weekly and monthly fellowship designed to allow for the continuing growth of faith in small groups. My personal experience has been a bit of a mixed bag.

    When I made my weekend it was great a wonderful time of fellowship and for me just coming back into the Church from an evangelical background a great transition and affirmation of our call to evangelize as Catholics, something that I had not experienced in the Catholicism of my childhood and something that I was lamenting the loss of leaving Protestantism behind.

    As a leader I had a very unusual experience of just intense darkness at the end of the weekend. At the closing I was almost catatonic and could only form a little prayer in my head that went, “Mother Mary shield me under your mantle, St. Michael defend me.” Very bizarre, and that funk lasted for several weeks. I haven’t been too involved with the Cursillo movement since then although I have spoken at Ultrya, a monthly gathering of Cursillistas a few times.

  11. Anonymous

    A Protestant friend of mine recently did a retreat that is based on Cursillo. He raved about it also. I can’t recall what they were calling it. This was at a large Methodist church in Texas.

  12. Little Mary

    woot i just starte 7 quick takes!

  13. Heather

    Thanks for hosting, as always! 🙂

  14. rebecca

    that is great news about the kidsave program! oh, and concha y toro is GREAT.

    oh, and the sonic toy looks like something i saw in a baby beethoven video.

  15. Hope

    Cursillo is a 3 day weekend (here anyway) where one gets an opportunity to deepen their relationship with Christ. My experience with it is that it includes good food, laughter, sometimes teary moments, great singing and best of all – Mass every day. I’ve made the greatest of friends through Cursillo and it has been a life changing experience. I hope you get the change to attend a Cursillo ‘retreat’.

  16. Shannon

    A Cursillo is a “little course in Christianity.” The college version is called “Search.” A weekend away, short talks on a variety of topics and time for talk at your table. Beyond that, you have to be there. Always a wonderful mix of people with a variety of life experiences. Be open and go.

  17. Shannon

    It was a pretty profound day around here when it occurred to me that the tune for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” is the VERY SAME as the “ABC Song.” Really, I’ve just never been the same. 😉

  18. el-e-e

    I have always wondered, too, about Cursillo. Hope someone answers! Happy weekend and thanks for linking back to yesterday’s post! WOW!

  19. Stephanie

    1. I did read your post last night when I was finishing up my Quick Takes, but I was tired and forgot to comment. That is so exciting and probably a little scary but so good that you’ve covered the whole thing in prayer. Rest assured that God will continue to direct your steps in this.

    3. I’ve never heard of a Cursillo retreat. Sorry I can’t help you out there.

    5. That is a great toy! How much fun!

    6. Thanks for the info on the wine. I’m like you – I know what I like, but I can’t always explain why. And I get all worried when I have to pick out wine for someone than my (very easygoing) husband and my(clueless)self.

  20. Robert

    I have been on a Cursillo…a 3 day course on Catholic Christianity. My pastor “made” me go, with about 5 other guys from my parish.

    I personally found it challenging, boring and interesting. Unfortunately, I am one of the few people from our parish that didn’t get a lot out of it…I actually – at several times – thought about going home early (also, it didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling 100% during the weekend).

    It is AMAZING, however, how many people go and it literally changes their outlook virtually overnight. I have seen so many people go and they come back looking for more.

    I think it’s really good for someone who (I’m generally quoting someone else here) knows the Church’s rules backwards and forwards but doesn’t know how to fully live the teachings.

    Cursillo did get me to work harder on my prayer life. But I personally got so much more having completed the Ignatian Exercises through my parish. That I recommend highly.

  21. Elena

    Hi, I just linked for the first time for 7 Quick Takes. Thank you.

  22. Paul

    I was blessed to attend a Cursillo weekend back in the 80’s. The retreat taught me fundamental ways to keep my Catholic faith strong and how to evangelize my environment (home, work, etc.).

    While the weekend was a Spirit-filled three days, the most important part of Cursillo is after the retreat, when you have the chance to meet with fellow Catholics who are trying to Christianize their environments and grow closer to Jesus through their faith. This was the real benefit for me. I met with the same group for four years and together we sought from each other advice, ideas, and support on how to bring Jesus to our world. When we moved here to Texas, I looked for and found a group of Catholics who would support me in my faith journey.

    BTW, when I went on my Cursillo, the Cursillo leadership required the husband to attend before the wife. I don’t know if it is a requirement in your diocese.

    Once again, thank you for sharing your and your husband’s journey in the faith. I know that every week I can come to your blog and learn something of my faith. You two are a blessing to me.

  23. Maria

    Our prayers are with you as your family changes. May God bless your new adventure!

  24. antonina31

    Thanks for the cheap wine tip. You should post your favorite labels more often! We’re always looking for good cheap wine. Our current favorites are Barefoot Merlot and Barefoot Pinot Grigio.

  25. Cheryl

    It is my humble opinion (maybe not so humble) that the best wine in Texas comes from two wineries in West Texas: Llano Estacado and Pheasant Ridge. It’s been a while since we purchased either, so I don’t know what the bottles go for, but Llano has our favorite Chardonnay and Pheasant Ridge our favorite Merlot, both dry like they should be (as opposed to the grape juice produced in our area of the world). Pheasant Ridge doesn’t have a huge distribution that I’m aware of, so you might have to actually go to Lubbock to try them out. =P

  26. Lenae

    Thank you for sharing the link to Rachel Barkey’s site and speech. Listening to her speak was like hearing someone’s most intimate thoughts over a cup of coffee, and several times I found myself stopping what I was doing and tearing up at her insight. I will definitely be sharing this around.

  27. Amanda - The Mom Job

    I almost didn’t have a #7 as well b/c Chase woke from his “sick nap”. I sat in his nursing chair, trying to rock him back down while talking to God in my head… which is what inspired my 7th Quick Take…

    Who prays in their head?

    I can’t get over this and I have a feeling God would rather me start doing it outloud… who knows… well, who knows OTHER than Him.

  28. Dawn

    7 Quick Takes – My Toddler’s Yells


    Thanks for hosting! I love those Sonic toys and was just wondering this week if they would bring those magnet back. Also, I’m the same way with wine. I only know what I like when I taste it and there is no rhyme nor reason to it. Let me go check out the good news now.

  29. agapeflower

    My hubby and I love getting wine when we can — it’s pretty cheap by us which is great. A friend of ours used to live right across the street from a wine connoisseur, so needless to say, we got awesome bottles of wine for our wedding from him. 🙂

  30. Jen Raiche

    I have been on a Youth Encounter–it is a Cursillo for teens (15-18). A friend of mine that is soon to be ordained to the priesthood described the movement as one that is ideal for Christian life. 1. Learn “Who am I?”, What must I do?” and “How do I do it?” 2. Develop a plan to grow closer to God through prayer and relationships. 3. Find an encouraging community to consistently meet with grow together. 4. Evangelize the world.

    My Youth Encounter truly spurred my luke-warm upbringing into a closer relationship with God. I’m thankful I had such direction at an important time in life. =)

  31. Michelle

    Sonic has neat toys. I like that you can get a banana with the kids meals too because my son loves those.

  32. Roxane B. Salonen

    I made a Cursillo when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with my third child. It was a nice experience, and our group continued meeting for several years afterward. I haven’t been involved for several years now but have stayed connected to Marriage Encounter, which uses a similar structure. We’ll celebrate our ten-year ME anniversary this weekend. It has strengthened our marriage. Both of these experiences were valuable to me, but I do think each person will experience them differently depending on where they’re at in their lives. And, it would be hard to do if you’re nursing, unless you’re an expert at pumping and storing milk, and your baby is okay without you for a weekend. I hope you will experience one or the other of these at some point, though. They are helpful in nudging you deeper into the spiritual/Catholic journey.

    And now a question for you: how did you find your spiritual director? Have you posted on this yet? I might have missed it. You can email me, Jen, if you’ve written about it already. Thanks!

  33. happygeek

    It’s so good to see Rachel’s talk here.
    Her sister-in-law teaches my kids Sunday School and our lady’s Bible Study was asked to pray for this talk.
    I remember praying (along with many others) that Rachel would have the strength to stand (She was in tons of pain) and that God would use her talk.
    Now I see this video everywhere. God is faithful. Even in the midst of her dying He is proclaimed.

  34. Karen

    We don't have Sonic here, but we do have gears like that & my kids love them. They also work really well on a cookie sheet in the car, or at a restaurant, grandma's house, etc…inside a metal lunch box.

    happy, exciting Thursday news!

  35. Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin

    Another fun little fact about “Twinkle, Twinkle, little star,” is that it is one of the earliest known of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, written when he was some four years old.

  36. puellapaschalis

    Venite is away this weekend, on the annual walking pilgrimage from Paris to Chartres, so she asked me to link to her post for her. She’ll be back on Monday or Tuesday, and you can be sure she’ll have LOTS to talk about then! 🙂

  37. Elena

    This is off topic, but I always meant to say that the story about Baby Joy’s name was incredible. Thank you.

  38. Starrball

    It was really cool reading your discernment story. There were some good tips for others like me to use in discerning where God may be leading us. Anyway, I linked up, I realized I hadn’t been doing the linking back since march oops:, but it’s there today.

  39. abroadermark

    Love the Quick Takes! Love the whole durn blog! Thanks.

  40. Anonymous

    Hi Jen, regarding the Cursillo weekend: I've never gone and I don't intend to. It sounds like a nice thing BUT, I grew up Catholic in the 70's and I find myself rejecting anything that has a 70's feel to it. Like many of my peers, I actually am drawn to the more old school stuff. Like the commentor who mentioned getting more out of the Ignatian Excercises. I thought to myself, I bet he's around 40. We did hold hands and sing Kumba Ya in church in the 70's so you can imagine that for some of us anything that smacks of that we avoid. Like sharing and crying. I'm all touch-feelyied out! But I don't know what I'm talking about as I have not gone on this particular retreat. Love what you write!

  41. Anonymous

    I really enjoy your blog. I wanted to answer the anonymous commentor that the Methodist version of Cursillo is “Walk to Emmaus” talking about how we walk with God and don’t always realize that He is with us. Emmaus is taken from the Cursillo tradition so I’m sure it’s similar and as some commented, part of the weekend is you don’t know stuff. They tell us it’s not a “secret” because that would be cultish, it’s a “surprise” and I think that’s true.

    Enjoy it. I was meh about my walk but there were parts of it that were very very special and parts I’ll alway remember

  42. Tom

    I hope everyone will watch Rachel’s talk. I skipped it the first time I read this post. Sounded too depressing. Besides, who has 55 minutes?

    Big mistake. She has some really profound lessons for all of us. Don’t miss it.

  43. Anonymous

    In response to your question about Cursillo, I attended one in March of this year. I went not knowing what to expect, but it turned out to be an incredible spiritual experience for me. As I prepared to enter the building where we were to be for the next 3 days, I felt like I was starting my first day of school. And in a way, I was.

    Women from throughout the diocese attended and it was incredible at how quickly we bonded with each other. Even though we came from many different backgrounds and ranged in age from 20’s to 70’s, the Holy Spirit brought us together and showed us that we had many common experiences.

    It was a very intense experience, and our days were filled with talks from many women who shared their faith journeys with us. We were given a wealth of information on how to deepen our relationship with the Lord and share our faith with others.

    Six months ago, I would never have considered attending a retreat like this. I have been a Catholic all my life, but in December I had an experience which made me realize that I had pretty much been sleepwalking through my faith life. Looking back, I can see that the Holy Spirit was waking me up and giving me a chance to deepen my faith. Cursillo was the path given to me, and it provided me with “tools” to mature in my faith.

    One of the most important parts of Cursillo comes after the weekend. I was able to find a group of women to meet with each week. We talk about what we have done to share our faith with others and problems we have encountered during the week. It is such a blessing to be able to share my life with four very supportive women who are all struggling at times with faith. I never felt comfortable discussing my faith with others in the past, and it is still difficult sometimes, but it has made such a difference in my life.

    I was a little frustrated before I attended Cursillo when I would ask questions and people would tell me “you just have to experience it”. It is difficult to describe to someone what they will experience because each person brings unique life experiences with them to Cursillo. Had I been told what I’d be going through beforehand, I don’t know if it would have affected me the same way.

    As someone who NEVER attended programs like this, I found it to be a great aid in understanding and deepening my faith. Don’t be afraid of it.

    If you choose to attend a Cursillo, go with an open heart and no expectations.

    I also want to thank you for Conversion Diary. It has become an important part of my daily reading. We couldn’t have more different lives but I find great inspiration reading your blog and see many parallels in our spiritual journeys.

    Mary from Minnesota

  44. Tyler

    Cursillo is a movement where you go and follow Christ. It is a retreat that lasts between a thursday afternoon to a sunday afternoon with a sort of testimony at the end in the home parish. my mother is currently the secretary of the porutguese chapter here in Newark, NJ. I could give you some information if you would like it. =]

    Contact me at tistyman_dude@hotmail.com

  45. Sandy

    I went on a Walk to Emmaus, the Protestant retreat based directly on Cursillo, 12 years ago. I've since worked on 5-6 Walk teams and one Chrysalis, which is for teenagers. Each weekend was different but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed every one. When I was a "pilgrim", I encountered Christ in a more personal, profound way than ever before in my life.

    Interestingly, the communion ritual in Emmaus is similar to parts of the Catholic mass and opened my eyes and heart to ritual and liturgy and was one of the factors moving me toward considering Catholicism.

    I would be happy to answer any more questions if you want to email me.

  46. Pablo

    One commentator wrote:

    As a leader I had a very unusual experience of just intense darkness at the end of the weekend. At the closing I was almost catatonic and could only form a little prayer in my head that went, “Mother Mary shield me under your mantle, St. Michael defend me.” Very bizarre, and that funk lasted for several weeks. I haven’t been too involved with the Cursillo movement since then although I have spoken at Ultrya, a monthly gathering of Cursillistas a few times.

    During the hi-jacking of Vatican Council II by the Freemasons, they were able to gain control of much Church Administration and put forth their brand of ‘Catholicism’ The Cursillo is an attempt to replace Catholic Retreats with novel ways of bring faithful to ‘Christ’. It is complex and oblique at times, but for a convert or a confused Catholic, Holy Mother Church gives this direction: seek out the Traditional Church.


    Here is one site you may enter and go into apologetics and read some interesting things.


    has sermons from priests you may find edifying.

    The woman that felt the darkness should contact one of the Priest of the SSPX and relate here experience. As a properly formed Priest, as all Traditional Priests are, he will know what to do for her. (to keep darkness away, use the sacramental of Holy Water, not blessed water, Holy Water).

    On the .org website, there is a sermon entitled Saint Mary Magdalene; I recommend listen to it. These Sermons are intended for your soul’s benefit. No warm and fuzzy needed, no layman guiding you. Only Priests and Nuns are allowed to be on this site.

    No one comes to conversion or belief without God’s grace. Many of us pray God allow a poor sinner to convert, or a non-believer, and so on. Let us pray for those who prayed to the Lord for your conversion.

    Very good blog. May God increase your efforts. May many souls be saved by your efforts.

    May God our Lord in his infinite and supreme goodness be pleased to give us his abundant grace, that we may know his most holy will, and entirely fulfill it.


  47. Rosemary

    Cursillo: If you love hugging, lots of talking, frenetic busyness, and a more horizontal view of the church, you will love your Cursillo weekend. If you are more introverted, and your idea of a spiritual weekend is more like a silent retreat, you will find it very stressful. If I had fully realized what the weekend would be like, I would not have attended.

  48. Cara18Craig

    Different people in every country take the loan in different banks, because this is easy.


  1. 7 Quick Takes (Vol. 9) | Kate Wicker - [...] by Jen’s Conversion Diary for more quick takes and plenty of nuggets of fun, wit, and/or [...]

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