7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 36)

June 5, 2009 | 60 comments

— 1 —

Voting has begun for the Catholic New Media Awards!

If you’d like to vote, click here to create an account (the only info they ask for is a valid email address, presumably so that certain unscrupulous bloggers — cough-cough — don’t sit around repeatedly voting for themselves all day). Then you can click here to vote. If you’re not familiar with some of the categories, it’s OK to leave them blank.

— 2 —

Occasionally I’m asked where I get the photos I use on my blog. Usually I go to the advanced search page on Flickr, check the box at the very bottom that says “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content, ” and then search for pictures that might fit my post. I then make sure to give the photographer credit at the bottom of my post. (Before using it I also click the link that says “Some rights reserved” on the bottom right to make sure I know the conditions of its use.)

I’m sure that there are other ways to get pictures that I’m not aware of. For those of you who have blogs: Where do you get pictures for your blog?

— 3 —

In response to my last post, a couple people asked if anything like that has ever happened to me. The answer? All the time. Here’s how it usually goes:

  • I go out with my four kids under age five.
  • Someone makes a comment about how many kids I have.
  • I say that my husband and I both converted to Catholicism, and make a joke that that’s what happens when you become Catholic. (I know, I know, I should throw in something about the effectiveness of NFP and make it clear that it is not Catholic teaching that you have to have a big family. Still working on that part.)
  • They ask what my religion was before I converted.
  • I say I was an atheist.
  • They seem sincerely interested and ask why I converted.

Nine times out of ten, when someone comments on my children, that is exactly how the conversation plays out. Hence the helpfulness of having a good “elevator pitch” ready, since these conversations often come up in line at the grocery store, out at the park, with nurses in doctors’ offices, etc. where there’s not a lot of time to go into detail. Although I once ended up in a 45-minute discussion with two bank tellers who had both lost their faith and were bombarding me with tons of questions about reasons to believe.

— 4 —

Internet, I need your help: My lips are killing me. They’re flaky, dry and cracked. Sometimes it actually hurts to smile. I’ve never dealt with this before. Other than temporary remedies like moisturizers, is there any way to get rid of this?

— 5 —

Last weekend was the big premier of my friend’s community theater play that I mentioned in #5 here. It was a great success! Over 200 people turned out, everyone bringing picnic blankets and food to watch a 45-minute production of Jack and the Beanstalk. I really think she’s on to something with this idea.

— 6 —

On Tuesday night my husband and I went to see a talk by Mother Antonia, a nun who lives in a cell in one of Mexico’s most notorious maximum-security prisons and ministers to the prisoners, particularly those who are dying. She’s the subject of the book Prison Angel, which I’ve been wanting to read for a long time (which gets some amazing reviews on Amazon).

I plan to do a post detailing more thoughts on her talk and her mission, but one thing she said has stayed with me ever since I heard it. She was imploring us to show mercy to others as our Father is merciful to us and, in particular, to make sure never to gossip. The quote that has stayed with me is:

“Remember that every single word you say to someone will either curse them or bless them.”

I’ve been thinking about that all week.

— 7 —

I’ve finally started reading The God Delusion after being asked about it by readers many times. I was going to do a post on it, but realized that it’s such a long, dense book that to cover every topic would require writing a whole separate book (as quite a few people have done, with books like Greater Than You Think). Since I don’t have time to write a book-length response, I was thinking about doing a series of informal posts where I just write up my rough notes with musings on each chapter.

Would anyone be interested in that?

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!

UPDATE: It looks like the Mr. Linky list isn’t showing up for some people. I’ve submitted a help request! Sorry about that!

1. Peace Garden Mama
2. Blair’s Blessings
3. Christi @ The Journey
4. puella
5. Venite
6. Mozi Esme
7. Renee @ End of Nihilism
8. Jennifer @ Here I Stand
9. Debbie
10. Laura
11. Tess
12. Tami @ The Next Step
13. Happy Geek
14. Trena @ The Third Prayer
15. Cath
16. Charlotte
17. Marianne @ Minding Our Manners
18. Charlotte @GTH
19. el-e-e
20. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
21. entropy
22. Heather of the EO
23. Tina @ Multiple Mom T
24. Amanda
25. Hannah Tuimala (Stubborn Fish Tales)
26. Nicole @ As Many As We’re Given
27. Elena
28. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
29. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
30. MrsDarwin
31. Rebecca
32. Kaycee@in the moment
33. WeaverMom
34. Milehimama (Mama Says)
35. Lenae
36. Joy @ joy in the morning
37. Renee @ crazyacres
38. Hannah @ Mulberry Spot
39. Laura@Life, Faith, Home, School
40. Erin @ Light of My Life
41. Maria D. (First Time!)
42. Kim @ Party of 7
43. Katharine@10minutewriter
44. Amanda @ The Mom Job
45. Annemarie
46. Mrs. B
47. NCSue
48. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
49. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
50. The Someday House
51. Elise@Anything Goes
52. Betty Duffy
53. Enbrethiliel
54. TraderTif
55. Amy Jane (UntanglingTales)
56. Amy Jane (Family News)
57. Elena@My Domestic Church (pregnancy resources)
58. Em. @Gratitude. Simplicity. Frugality.
59. IngridAiram
60. Tonggu Momma
61. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
62. Mary
63. Deedee
64. Laughing Lioness
65. Donya
66. Emily
67. Rebecca @ The Momologue
68. Stephanie @ Ready, Set, 40!
69. Sheila@So… Now What?
70. the luxurious life of anna
71. Catherine @ To Mark Time
72. Catherine @ Adventures In Domesticity
73. Heather in Madrid
74. Gill-Life of a Photographer
75. Alyssa/LittleMaryBT

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

Camera photo by Arwen Twinkle


  1. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jennifer, I wish my "elevator pitch" story was half as interesting as yours. Being a cradle Catholic who is still a Catholic is not nearly as intriguing as an atheist turned Catholic. Perhaps I've planted a seed or two anyway — you never know. I haven't gotten as many "pitch" questions as my children have grown a little older. Maybe because I am not seen out in public with all of them nearly as often, since I have kids who are babysitting age now. Anyway, I loved this post — very information. Yes, I would be interesting in your musings on that book. I am curious about the talk regarding the nun in maximum security prison. Did you hear HER talk, and if so, how? Video? Keep up the great writing/sharing, and good luck on the awards!

  2. Serena

    #4 – Try olive oil.

  3. Rebekka

    Re: nr. 4

    1. Are you moistening your lips with your tongue instead of applying lip balm? If so, stop. Once your lips are dry you're going to have to put lip balm on ALL THE TIME until it goes away.

    2. Are you getting enough fluids?

    3. Are you congested because of cold or allergies and breathing through your mouth?

    4. Are you on any new medication?

    5. Are you sunburned? See #1.

  4. the lords sheep

    For your lips: try vaseline. 99 cents at the drug store and it really helps. You can put vaseline on your lips and use a soft toothbrush to get some of the dead skin away if you want- just be really REALLY gentle.

    Are you sure your lips didn't get sunburned? You might want to look into a chapstick with SPF.

    Hope they feel better!

  5. marie

    Vaseline every night before bed. Sunscreen stick during the day. Drink lots of water and avoid licking your lips.

  6. Tami Boesiger

    I don't often use pictures, but when I do, I do it the way you do. Thanks for assuring me it is credible.

    Mother Antonia sounds fascinating.

    Have a great weekend, Jennifer!

  7. Martin

    Jen, in regards to your lips, you really need to give these lip balms made by the Dominican Nuns of Summit New Jersey (Their Blog pagea go. I first heard about it this past summer from this blog post by The Anchoress.

    Cloister Gift Shoppe

    The store page wasn't working when I tried, so you might try contacting them via their Contact Us link

  8. Alexis

    About your lips. I can't say that I have a well-researched explanation but I have some anacdotal solutions. Last winter my lips started burning and peeling and eventually oozing. After months of having bouts of this I narrowed it down to the fact that it seemed worse when I wore ANY kind of lip gloss or even any brand of chapstick other then Chapstick brand (which I have found out is really just glorified vasoline). It was especially bad when I used Burts Bees or any "medicated" moisturizers. Once I became scrupulous about not putting anything on my lips it cleared up after a while. So, I don't know if it's an allergy or just a weird reaction or if it's even related but when I read that I thought I'd tell you what I found out after weeks of trying the wrong things :). Good luck. It sucks.

  9. Thia

    Lips: lansinoh now and drink a lot more water.

  10. Jennifer

    Hi, Jennifer,

    For your chapped lips, make sure you're drinking enough water. That, or sun and wind after I've been outside for an afternoon, are usually the culprits with me. Maybe try some lipstick or Chapstick with sunscreen?

    Thanks for your blog. I don't comment often, but I read (and think) often.

  11. Charlotte

    I use Google Images to find pictures for my blog. I think there are less copyright issues. Although I have, too, occasionally used Flickr.

    Your dry lip thing could be post-pregnancy hormones, if it hasn't happened before.

  12. Heather of the EO

    What do you mean you don't have time to write a book? Are you sure? šŸ™‚

    Yes, I would love to hear (read) your thoughts on The God Delusion.

    And your lips–most chapsticks don't really work when it's that bad. I use some heavy duty lotion when it's that bad. Then I just try not to eat it šŸ™‚ Eucerin is a good one.

  13. Rosita

    I have the same problem with chapped lips when I am nursing – cracked, bleeding, peeling. There is nothing much to do except to stay super hydrated. Lip balm is temporary, but it is better than nothing.

  14. This Heavenly Life

    Try Vaseline on your lips before bed at night. That stuff stays put forever – longer than any chapstick- and my lips are always still very moist in the morning. I swear by it!

  15. Dave Mueller

    That begs us to ask the question – what do YOU say after they are genuinely interested about why you converted?

    It's fine to use your line about "that's what happens when you become Catholic" as a conversation starter. You can't state the entire Church teaching in one sentence! šŸ™‚

    As far as _The God Delusion_, there was recently an article reviewing the best of the books which have been responding to this barrage of atheistic apologetics. I'll see if I can find it.

  16. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    If you've had a hundred people tell you this already, just delete this comment instead of approving it.

    For your dry, cracked lips, drink more water. If you're hydrated from the inside, it will help a lot. Also, in the old days, they used bacon grease. That might be a bit strongly flavored, but it might do the trick.

  17. Elena

    As always, thanks for hosting, Jen. I really enjoy this.

  18. Red Cardigan

    On the dry lips thing (and others may have beaten me to this) my doctor years ago told me my problem wasn't lip moisturizer, it was dehydration. Don't know if you're nursing, but if so, nursing mommies need lots of water!!

    Hope this helps. šŸ™‚

  19. mrsbroccoliguy

    Hi, hope it's okay, I jumped on your bandwagon! I've been reading Mighty Maggie's Quick Takes for months and decided I wanted to join in the fun! Glad I found your blog in the process! šŸ™‚

  20. Susan Thompson

    Regarding #4, I have found that when my lips get really super dry there may be a virus involved. You may want to try one of those tiny, expensive little tubes of medicine widely available in stores. I can' think of the name of the medicine right now.

    By all means write down your thoughts on The God Delusion.

  21. Anonymous

    ok, so I have a solution for #4… the dry lips… I get ready chapped lips all year long, if not for the cold, then because it's too hot… so I've tried every chapstick I could find… the best one is on from Mary Kay… The Satin Lips Lip Balm… you can buy it individually or with a lip mask, which really works to get rid of the flakiness… I rarely use the mask, since I continually use the balm, but you might want to try both…
    Hope it works

  22. Rebecca

    Okay, I am loving the seven quick takes! Thanks. I had some thoughts…

    #3 — Do you find that people always make some comment like "wow, you really have your hands full"? I get that all the time, even when it is only the two littlest (just because they are so close in age I think). (I then like to say "yeah, I have two more at school" and watch their eyes bug out.)

    #4 — Sleep with vaseline smeared on your lips. I know it sounds gross, but I tend tove ha dry lips and this really works for me. It has to be vaseline (or generic petroleum jelly); regular lip balm doesn't touch it.

    #7 — I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on Dawkins.

  23. Stephanie

    2. I use the same method for finding photos (when I don't take them myself).

    3. I think that's a great "pitch!" You want to highlight your faith more than NFP anyway, right?

    4. Drink more water! šŸ™‚

    7. Sounds like fun, kind of like a virtual book club. (Only we're not required to read the book.)

    PS I didn't see Mr. Linky, so I'll just share my link here: http://littlestuffoflife.blogspot.com/2009/06/quick-takes-free-to-funny.html

  24. Kaycee

    I've been wanting to read the God Delusion, but I'm not sure when I'll ever have the time. I would love to read your thoughts on it.

    I have dry lips too. In the morning I scrub them softly with a wet toothbrush to remove the flakes then I douse them with vaseline and use Softlips throughout the day. It helps a lot.

  25. Anne

    I'd be interested in the God Delusion posts. I read the book and I really enjoyed it. I thought it provided a lot of "food for thought". I always think it's positive to challenge our thinking. I think a lot of good things can come out of this book! (even for believers….)

  26. Christine the Soccer Mom

    1. I just can't seem to remember my password to get into that! But I'll have to look it up and vote for you a bazillion times. šŸ˜‰

    2. Most of my pictures are mine lately, though I occasionally look through Google and credit back via link.

    3. I think it's great that you have such opportunities to share the Faith. I don't always, esp. w/ my little family, but for me, the elevator thing is usually for homeschooling. I should post about that elevator response sometime.

    4. Blistex is the closest I can come for you on the lips thing. Usually it helps me with chapped lips within half an hour, and in the winter I just keep several tubes of it around the house, plus a couple in my purse. They make one that's like Chapstick now, so you don't have that messy squirt-out tube, but the squirty stuff is really quite awesome, if you can stand the taste. (ick!)

    7. I would TOTALLY love that. By all means, please feel free to use your precious time to make a cliff notes for lazy ol' me. šŸ˜‰

  27. Milehimama

    The lips – brush gently with your toothbrush or with a washcloth, then apply Crisco. That's what works for me!

    Then, notice how many times a day you lick your lips. Usually that's my biggest culprit for dry lips!

  28. Milehimama

    I'm an Amazon affiliate, so some of my blog pics come from there (ok if tag it with a referral link). I also get pics from the Library of Congress, which are free use.

    Most pics on Wikipedia also are Creative Common license and are free if used for non-commercial purposes (but check each image to be sure.)

    Did you know that screen shots of videos are not copyrighted, either?

  29. Solveig

    No thoughts on the dry lips, but I'd appreciate to read what you have to say about The God Delusion.

  30. Mrs. B

    for your lips…
    have you tried Mary Kay's Lip Mask? it takes off the dry dead lip skin. it sounds like you need something like that. just putting stuff on top of the dead skin isn't going to help. you have to get the skin off of your lips to make them feel better. btw- i don't sell Mary Kay. I'm just a fan of this product.

    btw-i'm going to resume doing 7 Quick Takes today. i've got big news if you haven't checked out my blog in a while.

  31. Laura@ Life, Faith, Home, School

    Hey, about the lips, I would check with a good naturopath before putting anything on — or even a natural website. I'm no naturopath myself, but I would suggest drinking more water, and perhaps taking a vitamin e or d supplement — fish oil capsules perhaps? Just some thoughts. I abhor chapped lips, too, but some of the commercial products out there just nastify the whole thing more.

  32. Amanda @ The Mom Job

    You've really got one awesome "elevator pitch"…

    Mine would be Chase… ask the whether you would've ever thought he was born with a Grade 4 (also known as a "Fatal bleed"…) and is now without one single complication as a result.

    Explain THAT without a Divine Miracle?

  33. NC Sue

    My post for the day is at http://acts17verse28.blogspot.com/2009/06/guns-and-god.html. I'm seeking opinions from others, because the news story – dealing with a pastor asking folks to bring guns to his church as part of the July 4 celebration – makes me really uncomfortable, but I find myself having problems articulating why.

    Please let me know what you think?

  34. Maggie

    pictures: I get most from Google's image search.

    dry lips: use Bert's Bees. It's amazing.

    God delusion: I would certainly be interested in your take on it. I've read Scott Hahn's response, and would love to hear yours!

  35. JoAnna

    I would love to know your thoughts on The God Delusion. (I'll have to check out Prison Angel, too.)

  36. Janessa

    I can help you with your lips!!! Take an old toothbrush and coat it with vaseline. Gently scrub the dead skin off of your lips. It will feel so good. Then moisturize with Eucerin or some other strong lip moisturizer. Do this twice a day until your lips are back to "normal". It really works. You have to remove the dead skin before you can moisturize!!!

    Yay!! And I love your blog but I'm a follower, not a commenter, til now!

  37. tradertif

    I just wanted to say that I love your blog! (And I decided to make my own Quick Take list today.)

  38. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)

    I am still thinking on your "elevator pitch" question. I've had opportunities too, and while God proves himself faithful in those situations I always wonder how I could have been better prepared.

    The problem is I can't say Why I love my husband either– my typical ability with words is stymied that close to my heart.

    This is a disappointing weakness, I admit. The best I can do is tell story, or paint a picture like this. And that's hard for me to do verbally or in a snippet of time.

  39. beyondhomemaking

    For the lips- Aquaphor. My kids both have really bad eczema and this stuff takes care of dry skin like you wouldn't believe. It takes a tiny amount to cover a very large area. Drinking more water is definitely the longer term solution. šŸ™‚

  40. Catherine

    #4–Lansinoh. Amazing. Constitutional classical homeopathy for long-term dry skin issues.

    #6–thank you for sharing that quote. Something to really think about when choosing what to say to children when correcting them!

  41. Memphis Aggie

    About the chapped lips – try to eat more fish & seafood. The Omega 3 fatty acids in these sources are good for your skin not just your arteries. They are depleted very quickly if you're nursing by the way.

  42. Michelle

    #4 – Lansinoh I've been using it since I breastfed my first child 9 years ago. Nothing else will do!

  43. Kingdom Mama

    I have about two seconds, but…

    LOVE your elevator pitch!!!

    and put olive oil on your lips.


  44. runningatlarge

    On the lips–you may be dehydrated, especially if you're breastfeeding. That's the only time I have real lip problems.

  45. Ginkgo100

    I recently wrote an article about using images from the Internet. It's aimed at students looking for pictures to illustrate assignments, but it's all equally useful information for bloggers. In a nutshell: check Flickr (the way you described), Wikimedia Commons, and U.S. government websites, all of which have free images. Or you can always ask the owner of a copyrighted image for permission to use it!

  46. Mary

    Number 4–Drink lots and lots of water. If your lips are like that, you are dehydrated.

  47. Deedee

    I am really inspired by your blog… I'm not Catholic, but I find your insights apply equally well to my Protestant faith. I've been reading for a while, and I've done 7-quick takes before… but this is the first time I've commented šŸ™‚

  48. Emily

    I would LOVE your thoughts on the God Delusion. Post please! šŸ™‚

  49. Kimberly

    Re: lips. Ditto on the dish oil or flaxseed oil. You need the good fats.

  50. Jess

    Try the Satin Lips Mask (exfoliates your lips) and Satin Lips Balm by Mary Kay. It works for me very well when my lips get dry.

    I had an u/s today to date my pregnancy and the u/s tech asked me how far along I was when I entered the room. I told her that the u/s was to determine that very thing. And somehow we got to talking about surprise pregnancies and then somehow it moved on to, "Well, just be glad you aren't Catholic, those women have lots of babies!!" I was stunned to be honest. I just mumbled that I am indeed Catholic but I wasn't really sure what to say after that (I am going to use the excuse that the baby on the monitor distracted me!). And then she asked if the pregnancy was due to NFP failure and I just felt like I am such a poor example of NFP and how well it can work. I just told her it was user failure, not method failure.

  51. Rebecca


    I love your blog. I never comment because your posts get me thinking about so many things that I can't ever seem to package it all into one neat paragraph. I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share your faith and thoughts with us. Keep up the good work!


  52. Josephene

    I especially appreciate you quoting the Sister re: gossip. A friend defined it to me as *also* indulging or "sharing" information you have no authority to be sharing. Gossip is a monster.

    Have you heard of First Things? It was edited by the late Fr. Neuhaus (died February 2009). I promote it whenever I can. I think you'll fall in love with this monthly periodical: it's orthodox Christian and Jewish.

  53. Amie

    Haven't seen this posted yet…for the dry lips try switching to Gatorade or other electrolyte-replacement drink (you can even make your own frugal version with iced tea, sugar, and salt). My friend swears this cured her dry lips/dehydration problem.

  54. Anonymous

    Great Blog… you have me coming back for more!

    Hey about the dry lips…I'm one with the same problem and have Vaseline in every part of the house, bags, etc. I find that the Vaseline in the container is better the Vaseline in the tube! I put it on overnight EVERY NIGHT (even when I don't think I need it) and that helps with the worst of it. But I use it often in the day too.

  55. Anonymous

    "Remember that every single word you say to someone will either curse them or bless them."

    Mother Antonia is so right. Just recently we had our home painted and all the wood floors redone. It is like a brand new home. I've never been a good house cleaner before…I always did it but it was pure drudgery. Now I am the cleaning machine and I look forward to it and do it with joy.

    I told my mother about my new found love for cleaning and she responded by saying "well that won't last long." After that I spent 2 days in a funk…very little cleaning and snapping at my kids and husband. Then I realized that she had cursed me by her words. I renounced the curse with the blood of Jesus and am back to cleaning and loving my family with joy.

    Many blessings to you and your family.

  56. Toni

    I just had to write one more opinion on dry lips even thought you have gotten so many. I am well hydrated and get plenty of healthy fats in my diet but I still have to put Aquaphor on my lips every night. I did see someone else recommended it as well. It is far superior to plain vaseoline

  57. Jean

    Vaseline – once it's really bad, vaseline or constant (think hourly or more), liberally applied chapstick (brand name) are all that will heal mine. After one awful bout about 10-12 years ago, I've been able to catch it in earlier stages and frequent, heavy chapstick application takes care of it. I also use vaseline when I go to bed – I have to year-round on the corners of my mouth to prevent/heal cracking, but will apply on my lips when necessary. (I've found that doing it too often causes me to break out around my mouth, so I don't apply much to my lips overnight unless they're really dry.)

  58. Clare

    About the lips.
    Here in the UK we have this:


    You must have something like it over there. I think the 'magic ingredient' is ammonia. I think it 'traps' the water in your lips, or smething like that.
    It feels instantly cool and soothing. It's not a heavy 'waxy' salve, but a very light cream. It gives relief instantaneously ( although there can be an initial stinging, which I assume is the ammonia)
    I couldn't be without mine.

    I found this:


    It's much more expensive than the Blistex we have here, and it looks as though there are a lot more ingredients. It does have the magic ammonia however, and the reviews look good, it may be worth a try.

  59. Heather

    Lips: drinking more water, like most have already said. I would avoid Vaseline, however, as it is a petroleum product and not really good for human skin. Some have suggested olive oil. Another oil to try would be coconut oil…it has all sorts of curative properties and if you are dealing w/ a virus of some sort, it will help w/ that too. For sun protection, I have Burt's Bees chapstick w/ the red lid…it has zinc oxide in it, which makes my lips look white šŸ™‚ but you can always put a Burt's Bees shaded chapstick on top of that!

  60. chain saw

    Thank you for this info. I was looking for this.

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