7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 38)

June 19, 2009 | 38 comments

— 1 —

We’re headed to Houston this weekend to visit Yaya, go to dinner with a friend who’s in town, and my husband and son are meeting up with friends at a Houston Dynamo soccer game.

I’m trying not to dwell on the downsides (demolished nap schedules, overtired kids who don’t sleep well away from home, a three-hour drive with lots of stops, my one-year-old’s love of screaming in the car, packing for six people, three of whom wear diapers) and focus on the positives (the inevitable plethora of hilarious Yaya stories, seeing our friend, Mass at the beautiful Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart).

No fear, right?

— 2 —

The guy we’re going to see while we’re in Houston is a dear friend whom we haven’t seen in a while. There’s so much I want to chat with him about! Gosh, I want to hear all about how his business is going, what’s new with our mutual friends, where he’s traveled lately! Yup, I think that’s about it…oh, wait, there might be one more thing…what could it be…? Ah, yes. He did just so happen to write a book that recently hit the #1 spot in his genre on the New York Times bestseller list. I guess I might have just one or two questions on the subject of HOW ONE GETS ONE’S BOOK TO BE A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.

(Unfortunately something tells me that the first tip would be, “Don’t write about Catholic stuff.”)

— 3 —

This morning I came across some old pictures from the best vacation my husband and I ever took. I thought it might be fun to post a picture and see if anyone could guess where it is. So take a guess about where I went for my favorite vacation ever:

In what part of the world was this picture taken?

I’ll post the answer in next week’s 7 Quick Takes.

(I realize that if I were a good blogger I would turn this into a fun little contest with a fabulous prize for whoever gets it right. Unfortunately I can’t deal with that right now, so if you get it right your reward is me saying, “You’re right!” Thrilling, I know.)

— 4 —

I have the opportunity to record my conversion story for consideration that it be turned into a CD. The problem is that in my adult life I’ve only given one speech, and it didn’t go all that well (as it turns out, when I get up in front of a crowd I get nervous and my skin breaks out in bright red blotches that makes me look like I have a horrible disease — lesson learned).

Anyway…I do fine with radio interviews and other conversational formats, but I don’t think that formal lectures or speeches come naturally to me. Anyone know of any good books or websites for speaking tips?

— 5 —

I’ve been following the story of The Charis Project with great interest, and was glad to hear that they’ve gotten some new sponsors on board. Blogger Carrien of She Laughs at the Days has been working hard to help children in Thailand whose parents were killed by the Burmese Army (a topic especially close to my heart after learning more about the condition of world orphans as part of Kidsave training). Click here to see the profiles of some of these children who need help — and maybe consider sponsoring one of them?

— 6 —

Speaking of tips for managing the chaos with a house full of little ones, here’s one little thing I’ve done lately that’s been nothing short of life-changing: Cooking dinner during lunch. That gives me the rest of the day to get the kitchen straightened up, we have plenty of time to hang out as a family when my husband gets home from work, and after dinner we only have to deal with the dishes we use for eating. So helpful!

(Let me not wait until the fine print at the bottom of the post to say that this is a picture by sonicwalker on Flickr, not a photo of something I cooked. Messy chicken broccoli casserole and chili slopped into a bowl are more my style these days.)

— 7 —

I do not know how much more “missing Catholic conferences taking place in my back yard” I can take. I had been planning to go to next weekend’s Catholic New Media Celebration since January, and then found out that that was the weekend of baby Joy‘s baptism. I tried to change it but her godparents are coming in from Mexico and that was the only weekend that would work for them.

Then I heard that the Fullness of Truth Conference would also be in San Antonio in August and a bunch of families in the local homeschooling group are driving down together. How cool! I’ve always wanted to see Scott Hahn speak! Maybe his wife Kimberly would even be there! After running it by my equally enthusiastic husband I called to make reservations…and the hotel had sold out of all the rooms reserved for the conference. Gah!

I’m really busy the first weekend in August — be looking out for a papal visit to central Texas around that time.

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. Trena @ The Third Prayer
2. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
3. Laura
4. Venite
5. NCSue
6. Christine the Soccer Mom
7. Linda-One Voice
8. Jennifer @ Here I Stand
9. Erin@Seven Little Australians Plus One
10. Emily in NC
11. Aimee @ The Mother Load
12. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
13. Laura@Life, Faith, Home, School
14. Renee @ End of Nihilism
15. Sarah
16. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
17. Amy @ From the Desk of Mom
18. Megan
19. Scarlett
20. Lerin @ Beautiful Chaos
21. Betty Beguiles
22. entropy
23. Peace Garden Mama
24. Sarah @This Heavenlylife (Now with more hormones!)
25. Ingrid Airam
26. Laughing Lioness
27. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
28. Kate @ A Simple Walk
29. Tami @ The Next Step
30. Missus Wookie
31. Becky (Beck’s Three)
32. majellamom
33. Milehimama (Mama Says)
34. violingirl
35. Brandilicious
36. Amanda
37. beckygiggles2
38. Annemarie
39. Charlotte@ GTH
40. joy@joy in the morning
41. Not Strictly Spiritual
42. Amongst Lovely Things
43. Veronica – Making Gumbo
44. Jamie
45. Rebecca
46. Nili
47. Creative Camille
48. Sing Me the Old Songs
49. need chocolate
50. Elena @My Domestic church
51. JoAnna @ A Star of Hope
52. Dorian Speed
53. Lenetta @ Nettacow
54. Mary
55. Amy F
56. Steph @ My Country Haven (Crock Pot Yogurt)
57. A Broader Mark
58. Elena
59. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker (K-Mart Doubles Diaper Deal!)
60. Erin @ Coming Out Catholic
61. Sarah at MamaLong
62. Jen @ The Short Years
63. MommyMonkey
64. Kimberly (Selkie1970)
65. Elise@Anything Goes
66. Sarah Reinhard (Moms as Super Heroes)
67. Diane @ at least three
68. Jenny @ Heart of a Mother
69. Dymphna
70. Tina @ Multiple Mom T
71. Political Housewyf- Homeschooler Conference
72. Deedee
73. Constance
74. Betty Duffy
75. the luxurious life of anna
76. Annie @ Land of Burps&Farts
77. Catherine @ To Mark Time
78. Julie Stiles Mills
79. sarah@ fumbling toward grace
80. Lisa
81. Simply Catholic
82. Kathleen
83. Gill-Life of a Photographer

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.

Microphone photo by hiddedevries; Suitcase photo by malias


  1. Laura

    Thanks for hosting. I'm horrible at guessing games, so I can't even imagine where that is from. How about New Zeland? (I figure it is probably someplace faraway and exotic instead of, say, Colorado). Once you give the answer, however, I will hit my forehead and say "Oh, right!" Have fun this weekend.
    God Bless.

  2. Jennifer

    I'm not nearly as curious about the picture as I am about which bestselling author you're friends with! And who his agent is. πŸ˜‰

    'Course, it might be best for me to start with actually writing the book.

  3. NC Sue

    Nothing like the nuke to help with "cooking dinner at lunch". Sometimes – especially if I have a dinner planned that has multiple side dishes and want to spend time with family/guests rather than with stove/dishwasher – I'll prepare meals earlier in the day, place the side dishes in nuke-proof serving dishes & refrigerate, and stick the cookware in the dishwasher. By the time dinnertime arrives, I can rewarm things quickly and the pots, pans, and cookware had already been put away.

    This is especially effective if you can ban guests from the kitchen.


  4. Emily

    Oh my, yes, we MUST know who the bestselling-author-friend is!

    On the pic… first thought was somewhere in South America (Peru?) but the mountains aren't high enough… next I'd say somewhere out West (U.S.) like Idaho or Wyoming or Montana, but I don't think that's right either… third I'd guess somewhere in Northern Europe?



    (Do this again, I love guessing games!)

  5. Laura

    Don't write about CATHOLIC STUFF? *gasp* Okay, now that THAT information is out there, I'm going to do just the opposite, AND have a bestseller. Because that is just the kind of person I am! πŸ˜‰

    About public speaking, I don't know of any sites or books, but I know prayer and practice work. We had a parish mission a couple of years ago from a man whose biggest fear was public speaking — still was. And what did he do? Traveled around the country…speaking. His big story was he prayed that if God wanted him to deliver his message, he would live through his speech. (Very comforting, I know). But, I really couldn't tell he was still so nervous, and though he said he still does get nervous, each and every time, God still has a job for him, so….
    There ya' go…I would imagine God would do the same for a story like yours!!

  6. Megan

    Thank you so much for such a great idea!

  7. Roxane B. Salonen

    As always, an engaging, fun post, Jennifer (love how you throw in the humorous — you always make me smile). Bummed about the lost chance for you to see the Hahns. If they come back to town ever, tell me and we can go together. I think Toastmasters International might be a good resource for overcoming your public-speaking nightmares. I'd maybe start there. http://www.toastmasters.org/
    I don't know where that photo was taken but I'd like to go there. What a lovely, serene image. It looks like heaven, perhaps? I will be waiting to hear more about your best-selling author friend too, if you're able to give us a little more. Blessings in your travels this weekend. I'll think of you while I'm on my out-of-town journey with the kids. No fear, no fear…

  8. Pharmgirl

    #3: I'm guessing Colorado, simply because that reminds me of Rocky Mountain National Park.

  9. Lerin

    Making dinner during lunch is GENIUS!!!

  10. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Jen, Dale Carnegie wrote an excellent book on public speaking. I'll have to look for our copy of it. One thing to remember is that you don't want to write everything word-for-word; it is much more natural to have some bullet points written down, but allow your talk to flow more naturally.

    Now, Travel Man says that this might be blasphemy (ha ha), but I think that the president is a lousy public speaker. Everything is scripted and telepromted, which makes him a very stiff and stilted speaker. Honestly, I can't see how anyone sees him as an eloquent speaker. There's much more to eloquence than fancy words, IMO. There's flow and feeling, neither of which I see/hear when he speaks.

    But that's just me.

  11. erin

    I often make lunch (for the next day) while I'm making dinner. So much easier to only have to prepare food once a day!

  12. Ginny

    Hey Jen — fun post!

    I also have a book to hustle (Mary and Me; click on my link for more) and have heard the "don't write about Catholic things" line. It's somewhat disheartening, true.

    But when you think about how Catholics and lapsed Catholics together make up a staggering percentage of the U.S. population, it kind of makes you think that the interest IS out there … if only we knew how to harness it …

    Perhaps a prayer or two to Our Lady of Marketing? πŸ™‚

  13. Anne Marie

    Don't be to sure about writing bout' Catholic stuff. Look what it's done for Dan Brown and he can't even get it right. Imagine what the Lord can do with the Truth.

  14. Amanda

    My guess on the photo is Scotland.

  15. Mary DeTurris Poust

    This is my first time joining 7 Quick Takes Friday. Thanks for hosting. FYI: I think I screwed up the first time I tried to do the linky thing. I put my name instead of my blog name. So…if you have two links for Not Strictly Spiritual, please delete the one that uses my own name instead of the blog name. Like you need to deal with this. Sorry! Won't happen again.

  16. Kim

    I highly recommend the book "I Can See You Naked" by Ron Hoff:
    It was a life-saver for me back in my corporate existence.

    Also, I am so with you on making dinner at lunch! That way, the little energy I have after 4 p.m. can go to the LOTS of energy that my kids seem to have at that time. It makes ALL the difference–the book "Fix It and Forget It Lightly" http://www.amazon.com/FIX-FORGET-LIGHTLY-Healthy-Low-Fat/dp/1561484318/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245426105&sr=1-1
    has lots of great crock-pot things that only need to go for 2 or 3 hours, that are perfect.

    Have fun in Houston!

  17. V

    Thanks for inviting new readers to do 7 Quick Takes. This is my first time, I hope people enjoy it. I dont know where the picture was taken. um… Snake River.

  18. Rebecca

    I am curious about the author, too.

    Have a great time in houston! i love houston… next to galveston, it is my favourite texas city.

    p.s. LOVED your post on the baby/toddler years, but i was so overwhlemed with a baby and a toddler that i never commented. i did in today's quick takes though! thanks.

  19. Nili

    Thanks for hosting! Toastmasters is a wonderful venue to help public speaking. I should start dinner at lunch that would be helpful around here.

  20. Creative Camille

    If you're coming to Houston we should do lunch. I mean, I know you don't know me from Adam, but it would be so cool for me. πŸ™‚ I did my first quick takes this week! Hopefully I can keep it up from now on.

  21. Catherine

    Have a great trip! Maybe we'll see you at the Co-Cathedral (it's our parish!).

  22. Mary DeTurris Poust

    One more thing — about public speaking. I HATED speaking in front of live people. I, too, love radio, but put me in front of a crowd and suddenly I'm sweating and shaking and talking even faster than I usually talk. However, this past year, I took several speaking engagements to promote my book, and after being terrified at the first conference, I have finally reached a point where I actually enjoy speaking. I can't believe it. The best advice I have is to practice the talk over and over again, BUT, build in places where you leave your prepared text. I would write out most of my talk but I would use a marker to make notes to myself in the text where I wanted to break into a story off-the-cuff. Being so well prepared and yet not being tied to the script the whole time, made a huge difference for me.

  23. Mary

    Thanks for hosting this. Best selling author? I cook dinner in the crockpot as a way to save time and energy.

  24. Anonymous

    Recently found your blog & love it!
    As for public speaking, check out Dale Carnegie…great tips for speaking in public! πŸ™‚
    Have a great trip & like everyone else, I am soooo curious about "the author"! πŸ˜‰

    Patricia in nyc

  25. abroadermark

    Thanks for the Quick Takes!

  26. Elena

    I'm guessing that's the Upper Ottawa Valley in North-Eastern Ontario, Canada. No, that's where I live and am shamelessly plugging as cheap and the home of Madonna House where you could go to a free Catholic family camp – Cana Colony.

  27. Melanie B

    Strange. The last two posts didn't show up in Google reader. I was starting to wonder if you weren't doing quick takes this week. Not that I have any to post. Maybe later inspiration will strike…. Have fun in Houston!!!

  28. Erin

    Looking at the picture… my first two guesses are New Zeland or Colorado. (My spell check is going crazy on New Zealand… doesn't like any version of it, so forgive my spelling please.) Of course, it could be somewhere in the British Isles too… I have no idea, but it looks like somewhere I'd want to go!

  29. Anonymous

    I'm going for New Zealand, too, but I'm spelling it correctly πŸ˜€

    I'll go a step further and guess it's the road up to one of our skifields – Ruapehu, maybe?

  30. antonina31

    I agree. I am totally interested in who the friend is and if I should read his book! Tell us! Tell us! Pretty, pretty please?!?! πŸ™‚

    As usual, thank you so much for hosting and lifting my spirits with your honestly and cleverness.

  31. Lana

    I think it's somewhere in Eastern Europe. Or it could be Turkey. Can I guess twice?

    #7: I can totally relate. Once the kids are grown and moved out we'll have more time for conferences than we'll care to have. Sigh. Or maybe we'll just be busy with the 60 grandkids, I hope. πŸ™‚

  32. simplycatholic

    This is such a fun thing to do. Thanks for hosting it.

  33. Dawn

    That's too bad about not making it to the conference. I wouldn't have even known about it if you hadn't mentioned it a few months ago. I live in San Antonio so am registered to go. Maybe now I'll register for the FOT conference, and if so, thanks!, cuz I wouldn't have known about that either. (Actually, maybe not true, the churches have a tendency to promote that kind of conference.)

    Cooking dinner during lunch is really genius. Maybe I can figure out how to swing that!

  34. Callahan Clan

    I didn't even know those Catholic conferences were planned, and they are within minutes of my home! For the Fullness of Truth conference, while the Hyatt may be fully booked, there is another hotel just around the corner (used to be a Radisson, now I think it is a Hilton?). Also, the next freeway exit also has a new hotel. Perhaps there is room at those and you could still attend?

  35. Carrien

    Jen, Thank-you, thank-you, for mentioning the Charis Project. We really appreciate it.

    I'm not sure what to tell yo about public speaking. I got comfortable on a stage by majoring in music and being forced to try new techniques by profs in master classes with many other students in the same field watching. Talking in front of people now, phhht, no problem.

    I always practice before I speak to eliminate the uhs, and hmms, and ers, and keep the notes really simple.

  36. Tellie

    Oooo have fun in Houston! And I am too looking forward to the answers to some of those mystery questions. I have absolutely no idea where that picture was taken, but I am certain it wasn't Antarctica πŸ™‚

  37. angela michelle

    Love the idea of making dinner during lunch. I try to at least identify what will be for dinner, get out some ingredients, lay out te recipe, and do the breakfast and lunch dishes at lunch. I also try to do a little gospel teaching for the little kids at lunch. They're a captive audience, so I tell a little scripture story or seomthing.

  38. Michelle Trudeau

    The mountains look like parts of Japan to me. Kyushu?



  1. 7 Quick Takes #14 – - [...] That’s all for this week. Find more quick takes at Conversion Diary. [...]

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