7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 45)

August 7, 2009 | 54 comments

— 1 —

Our Kidsave child Rita left on Tuesday morning. Saying goodbye at the airport was tough. She was doing OK, but some of the other girls were hysterical; none of them wanted to leave. I’m still not quite ready to make any announcements about whether or not she’s found a family, mainly because Kidsave requires a two-week wait after the kids return to Colombia before anyone can submit adoption paperwork (and all the kids are required to return, regardless of whether or not they’ve found families) so it’s not clear if any final decisions have been made yet. I’ll update about it in a couple weeks when there’s more certainty.

Anyway, I’m still in the mode of re-adjusting to life without her. In some ways it’s physically easier since I’m not running around sightseeing all the time, but in other ways it’s harder not to have an extra pair of hands around. And, of course, we just miss her company. She is a wonderful, wonderful child. Please pray that she finds a home.

— 2 —

I don’t think I ever told the story of the day we picked Rita up from the airport: We were rushed getting ready to go to the airport but managed to get everyone out the door in time. When we parked at the airport and I took a moment to fix my hair, straighten the collar on my four-year-old son’s shirt, fluff the stuffed animal we bought Rita — after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! I went to take my son out of the car and saw that he had no shoes. NO. SHOES. We somehow forgot that little step in all the chaos of getting ready.

Mortified as I walked through the airport with my shoeless son, I arrived at the meeting place and saw the coordinator had bought these beautiful silver American flag balloons for each of the kids. She handed us the one for Rita. Since it had a weight on the bottom of it I thought it would be fine to let my son hold it while I got some other stuff ready. I heard someone shout “Oh no, catch it! CATCH IT!” and turned to see the balloon floating to the top of the 30-foot airport ceiling. My son had yanked on the string too hard and it came detached from the inflated part.

When the Kidsave children arrived and all of them started gushing over the beautiful silver balloons, I couldn’t figure out how to explain what had happened in Spanish. So I pulled Rita aside and pointed to her balloon on the ceiling, then down to my shoeless son who was holding a limp balloon string. The look on her face indicated that she understood the message of “We are crazy people who cannot even be trusted to take care of a balloon” loud and clear.

My only comfort was to tell myself that at least she got a realistic first impression of our family.

— 3 —

You guys. GUYS! Look what I found at the airport gift shop:

I’m going to get a stock of these for people who visit my house. As they hastily pack up their bags I’ll hand one to them and say, “Hey, I’m really sorry about that whole ‘scorpion getting wrapped up in your pajamas while you slept and repeatedly stinging you as you jumped out of bed in a blind terror in the middle of the night’ thing. But hey, check this out. A scorpion pop! HAH! Isn’t that just a hoot?!” Now if they only had one for centipedes

— 4 —

I had this really weird experience at Mass last month where the first reading hit me like a ton of bricks, but I have no idea why. It was on July 5th, when the reading was from Ezekiel 2:2-5:

As the Lord spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet,
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites,
rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have revolted against me to this very day.
Hard of face and obstinate of heart
are they to whom I am sending you.
But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord God!
And whether they heed or resist — for they are a rebellious house —
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.

Those last two lines especially give me chills every time I read them…yet I have no idea why. Usually when I feel moved by something from Scripture I know where God is going with it or what he’s trying to tell me, but this time I don’t know why this passage has had such an impact on me. Anyone else ever had that happen?

— 5 —

We have a new toddler discipline system at my house. None of our usual discipline techniques seemed to be working with my son, while his limit-pushing behavior was getting increasingly worse. So a couple weeks ago I wrote up an impromptu board listing out all actions he was supposed to avoid, and drew five green squares at the top. Whenever he continued misbehaving after a couple of warnings I’d erase a square, usually reviewing the various infractions that led to the erasing by pointing to the various icons Vanna White style. If he didn’t have any squares left at the end of the day, he couldn’t go outside to play (or, if it was raining, couldn’t have some other end-of-day treat).

I only planned to do it for a day or two to help me manage his behavior while I was so tired from all the running around with Kidsave stuff, but it’s worked so well that we’ve kept it up.

— 6 —

Those are some pretty impressive icons, huh?

I’m available for freelance naughty board designing.

— 7 —

Tomorrow I’m going on a Christ Renews His Parish retreat at our diocese’s retreat center. I’m so excited! Not only have I heard rave reviews of CHRP, but this will be my first-ever retreat. I have no idea what to expect. I signed up for it rather spontaneously after a Sunday in July when the Gospel reading was all like “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” and I was all like “YES LORD I HEAR YOU!!!!” They announced the CHRP retreat that day after Mass and I signed up without even checking my calendar.

Please pray that it’s a time of spiritual renewal for me. Anyone else have any prayer requests for this 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. Megan@Blueberry Scone
2. Gae
3. Venite
4. Tracy @ pursuingjoy
5. Diane@At Least Three
6. Kathryn @ The Bookworm
7. Sarah Reinhard @ just another day of Catholic pondering
8. Erin@Seven Little Australians Plus One
9. Kate Wicker@ Momopoly
10. Missus Wookie
11. Debbie@stophershesknitting
12. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
13. Mary @ Passionate Perseverance
14. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings
15. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
16. BecomeWhatYouAre
17. Erika @ effulgence
18. Tami @ The Next Step
19. Sarah @This Heavenly Life
20. Erin @ Coming Out Catholic
21. Rebecca
22. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
23. Kacie @ PapuaGirlinDallas
24. Jaclyn @ Home is Where the Heart Is
25. Lisa Sweet
26. Dymphna
27. NCSue
28. MamaT @ The Summa Mamas
29. Marie, Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
30. Elena
31. Trena @ The Third Prayer
32. Christine@Good Company
33. Valerie in Brazil
34. Nadja
35. entropy
36. Nicole @ As Many As We’re Given
37. Milehimama (Mama Says)
38. Anna @ Annalogue
39. Chelsea @ Roots and Rings
40. Sister Lynn at day by Day
41. Megan@SortaCrunchy
42. Busy With Blesiings
43. Saah@Rags&Figs
44. Dawn @ Sufficient for Today
45. Fencing Bear at Prayer
46. Roxane @ Peace Garden Mama
47. Holly
48. Mrs K @ The First Four Years
49. Charlotte (Matilda)
50. Katie @ Just Another Catholic Mom
51. Udubalum Mama
52. Fr. Christian Mathis
53. Heather Cady
54. Kathleen
55. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
56. Meika @ Wandering Aramean
57. Barbara C.
58. Scarlett
59. Kristine
60. The Keeping Time
61. Manda @ inside dog
62. Virginia Mom
63. Becky (Beck’s Three)
64. Kim
65. katherine ~ senor elefante
66. Renee@crazyacres
67. Sarah
68. JoAnna @ A Star of Hope
69. carrien (she laughs at the days)
70. Michelle Abernathy @ Living A Liturgy
71. Karen @ Flash Light
72. Catherine @ Adventures in Domesticity
73. Catherine @ Reflections of a Contemplative Mother
74. angie
75. Melanie @ The Wine Dark Sea
76. Charity
77. kim
78. Christian H @ The Thinking Grounds
79. Mary@HopeEchoes
80. Emily
81. Dorian Speed @ Scrutinies
82. Cheryl @ My Thoughtful Spot
83. Blair’s Blessings
84. Amy F
85. Mindy @ Chilly North Academy
86. Gill-Life of a Photographer

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Tami Boesiger

    Enjoy your retreat! It makes me tired reading of all your activity. You can really use a break!

  2. Marigold

    A line of Scripture that always hits me like a ton of bricks, although it's not read at church, is Jeremiah 17:9 –
    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

    Like you, I have very little idea why it makes such a big impression every time I come across it. It's beautiful in a poetic sort of way, but I don't understand it.

    (Next Sunday, the 16th, I begin the catechism for entering the Orthodox Church. It's very exciting and scary. If anyone can spare prayers, they are MUCH appreciated.)


  3. Dymphna

    I'm always amazed at how long your Quick Takes are! Mine are usually quite quick!

  4. Julie D.

    Woohoo for your Christ Renews His Parish retreat! Praying for you and for all who are on it … it was life changing for me as you may know.

  5. MamaT

    Jen, I have a prayer request. My compatriot over at the Summa Mamas, Micki, is 6 months along in her pregnancy. She originally had had some maybe scary news about the pregnancy and we have been praying hard. Things appear to be resolving well, but I'd appreciate a few extra prayers so that things continue to go well.

    Have a good retreat!

  6. Elena

    As always, thanks Jen. Also, the new headshot is great.

  7. Marie

    Thanks as usual for hosting. I've been trying to work my way through the last couple lists, now I'll start again!

    I love the shoeless boy story and the, "we're crazy people who can't even take care of a balloon." My mother in law who is the absolute best is constantly scandalized by my inability to sock and shoe my kids. There's something beyond me about it. Nice to see stories like this.

  8. Christine

    Best book I've read on parenting:
    Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay & Charles Fay

    I was struggling with my son when a friend loaned me this book. It really meshed with me & my style unlike so many other books. I highly recommend it. I'm sure there are reviews on Amazon if you are interested. Payback for Seven Storey Mountain which I just started reading yesterday. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Anonymous

    Prayers for you to have a renewing and refreshing CRHP experience. I went on my first CRHP retreat 2.5 years ago and it was LIFE CHANGING.

    May your time with the Lord be blessed!

  10. Emily G.

    I love your board! It's not only a good idea, but it's really cute. I know it's probably not supposed to be cute. I can't help but think it is, though, with all your little cartoons. And the list of offenses is so typically little boy.

  11. Anonymous

    Please pray for my marriage which is on the verge of collapse due to my husband's alcoholism. We have four young children and I am having trouble coping. I keep crying throughout my days. I am praying to Mary and St. Monica mainly. My mother-in-law is also praying intently for her son and our marriage. Any prayers will be appreciated.

  12. Anonymous

    Probably too soon to ask but I was just curious — would you do KidSave again?

  13. nicole

    I've not done a CRHP retreat, but I've heard great things about them. Retreats are always full of blessings, but not always in the ways we expect. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Anonymous

    CRHP rocks! Try hard to continue on with it after the weekend – that's where the real renewal happens.

    I highly recommend the BabyWise / ToddlerWise series of parenting books by Gary Ezzo. They are secular versions of his "Growing Kids God's Way" curriculum.


  15. Rebecca

    I'm with you on #7. My mom once went on a solitary retreat for a week and when she told me about that I thought it sounded heavenly. (I suspect the reality would pale after a day or so without my family, though.) Anyway, I hope that you enjoy it.

    I do have a prayer request, since you asked. One of the men in our parish (a real leader in the church and a father of five) has a pretty serious heart defect which has recently gotten much worse. He is on the waiting list for a transplant, I believe. Please, if anyone is willing to pray for him and his family, I know that it would be much appreciated. Thank you.

  16. Elizabeth

    As far as there being a prophet among you, I think your Naughty Board was seriously divine inspiration.

    I may just have to heed your example–although, I can probably come up with some better emoticons.

    Using red ink, of course.

  17. Lucy

    I have used a system similar to yours for my five-year-old daughter, only we use stars on the white board. It works really well and she wants to go back on it. For us, we started with, say, five stars. If she ended the day with five stars, she got dessert. She was able to earn stars, so if she ended with more than five stars, she got a little prize (like a pink pencil). If she ever hit zero stars she got a spanking (that probably only happened once).

    I like your drawings. I might incorporate that for my three-year-old. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Anna

    #4… yes. I sometimes have found that something that strikes me, but which I don't understand at the time, will make sense later on, if I remember it and think about it in relation to what's going on in my life.

  19. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    You are so funny, Jennifer. You always get me to giggling.

    Enjoy your retreat. I am so jealous! I could definitely use a spiritual retreat.

    By the way, I LOVE your head shot.

  20. Brendan

    I always love coming to read your Seven Quick Takes on Friday's. They are always so interesting.

  21. Dawn Farias

    "We are crazy people who cannot even be trusted to take care of a balloon"

    So funny! Have a great time on your retreat. Looking forward to hearing great stories of you being refreshed and renewed.

  22. TandemMommy

    My daughter has been forever scarred by our losing a balloon that we got from the store. She's two and she's been talking about it for six weeks. She doesn't understand why she doesn't get it, just like Rita didn't, I'm sure.
    Have a wonderful, restful time on your retreat.

  23. Cmerie

    I love your board! What a great idea. I may borrow it for my two year old son.

  24. Sarah

    I just did a CRHP retreat 2 weeks ago and it was fantastic! It was so great to meet so many fantastic women and now I have people holding me accountable. Since I just did it, I'm still a CRHP newbee, but I'm excited for what the whole process entails. Have fun!

  25. Banana

    I love your blog, but I am totally confused about the Quick Take Fridays. What is it and how does it work? Thanks!

  26. Katie

    Prayers for Rita! And I love your discipline board!

  27. Meghan

    Hey Jen! Do you guys have a particular discipline style/method you typically like? You mentioned that some of your other tactics weren't working as well–but I'd still be interested to know what they are.

  28. Fr. Christian Mathis

    I have had the same thing happen to me at mass on a few occasions. I saw it as a message from God that I should pay attention!

  29. Heather

    Thanks for hosting!

  30. 'Becca

    Enjoy your retreat! (What about your baby? Can you bring her, or are you pumping some milk for her?) Please pray for my friend Lynne in Virginia. I looked at her blog a month ago and learned that she'd developed pre-eclampsia and her labor was going to be induced the week of July 26 if not sooner. So I've been praying for her, but she hasn't updated her blog and hasn't responded to my e-mail several days ago asking for an update, so I'm worried that something terrible has happened…but maybe she's just busy with her newborn and 3-year-old…. Please pray that she is getting what she needs, whatever that may be right now!

    POINTING is an infraction for your son?! I'm sure that must mean not, "Look at that cloud, Mom!" but some particularly annoying form of pointing, but what is that exactly?

    I was extremely irritated with my own 4-year-old this morning, but looking at your chart has cheered me up by reminding me that there are bad things he DOESN'T do or at least not often enough that I would think to list them!

    Read ezzo.info before you even bother looking at his books.

  31. sigrunc

    Do people actually eat the scorpion pops, or is it just meant as a joke?

    Not sure I'd actually want to try one…

  32. Meika

    Love the photo of the balloon!

  33. Manda

    I'm sorry, did you say SCORPION?

  34. Hope

    Take this with a grain of salt – I know you've written about your simple carb fixation – just a thought that I read once – when your child misbehaves – just in case they have a sugar sensitivity of their own – give them a protein (say a cheese stick) and a complex carb (a slice of real whole wheat bread) and that might help on a purely biochemical level.

    Wish I'd known that bit when I was raising my kids. Would have saved a lot of frustration for everyone. I could have used a cheese stick and a slice of ww bread many times myself. Might have helped my own behaviour problems!

    I hope you have a great retreat.

  35. Carrien

    re: #4 Often. Though usually it turns out to be just a response to what that says about who God is. Which is as it should be I think.

  36. Anonymous

    Ah, your commenter 'Becca mentioned the anti-BabyWise website in her comment. If you do look into the BabyWise / Growing Kids God's Way approach, you should also look at the pro-BabyWise site http://www.ezzotruth.com.

    The Ezzo approach has seriously changed our lives – our 3 kids are characterized by obedience and concern for others, giving our family much more time to have fun together.

    The approach isn't for everyone (like 'Becca, apparently), but it is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

    I pray that the you feel Holy Spirit walk through the room during your CRHP weekend.


  37. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    Enjoy your retreat!!!

    I went on a CRHP retreat in the late winter of 2008, and then our group put on our parish's retreat this year. It was so great! The year of formation was amazing. And, the weekend when we put on the retreat for the next team was so much fun and so enriching! There were a few times when I thought about not continuing on throughout the year, but I was so blessed for having continued.

  38. Amy

    I was turned on to your blog a few weeks ago and have been reading it ever since. I'm a new mom of 3 months, and I've gleaned some very helpful perspectives from your writing, especially regarding family life and motherhood. I hope the retreat is refreshing for you!

    Prayer request – my maternity leave ends soon and we have been trying without success to get my daughter Chloe to take a bottle. She is such a champ breastfeeder, but has refused the bottle for the last 2 months of attempts! I need to return to work in September and 1) the bottle has to work, and 2) we need to find child care that we trust! If neither of these happens, then I am taking this as God's calling to be a stay-at-home mom. If anyone has any ideas or prayers, they are appreciated.

  39. Linda Maggioncalda

    Hi Jen,

    The reading from Ezekiel also hit me like a ton of bricks. For me it was the part about how the spirit knocked him to his feet. Wow! I have felt that once in my life–a literal pushing on my back to do something. But to be knocked to your feet–cool!!

  40. Kathleen

    There are two kinds of retreat, and both are wonderful. The first kind is peaceful, reflective, silent, serene, restful, and an opportunity to hear the still small voice of God.

    CRHP is the other kind. You won't get a lot of sleep or even much of your beloved introvert time, but you'll hear stories of faith that will resonate with your own, and you'll be inspired to share your own adventures in the presence of God the next time 'round. As "Anonymous" says, the "afterwards" is the best part.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  41. Cherry

    i've been doing 7 quick takes for months and never knew it came from here!

  42. babyyahyah

    our family is just like that too. I always end up without shoes on my kids in public.

  43. Emily

    Naughty board–love it! Is it like Supernanny's Naughty Chair? Maybe you need that too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Dorian Speed

    I did that same chart thing. On a whiteboard, no less. I had five categories, I think. And I did this with a room full of seventh graders.

    I kept a chart of each class period's points for the day, and at the end of a month, whichever class period had the most points earned a pizza party, and I'd buy them all pizzas.

    And it was all part of my seriously flawed Dangerous Minds period, which I realized at the time – glaring impotently as I erased my little marks next to "Respect the Teacher," but I can see how it would be absolutely perfect for small children in a loving, albeit balloon-challenged home.

  45. Amity

    I love that "God's all like" this and you're "all like" that. So comfortable! So funny! So quick!

    About Ezzo/Babywise: I'm glad it worked for Jonathan's family, but it has caused babies in other families to become seriously ill from dehydration, and I am convinced that, at least for some (likely most) children, it crushes their spirit, which is surely not what God would want. If anyone reading this is considering using their books, please pray (and do research) before you do. Thanks.

  46. LizC

    On your #4: I knew a fellow once (big guy–6'5", 250 pounds) who was being introduced to the Gospel by a very blunt and bold man, who just flat out told him that several things he was doing were contrary to God's laws, and he ought to stop immediately. When Jim stared down at this little man telling him what to do, and asked if he was really sure he wanted to say all that stuff to Jim, the man replied, "You may be big enough to pound me, but it's my job to warn you. You've been warned. It's on you, now."

    Jim did change. God gives us agency, but we're always free to hear the prophets and act, or hear and ignore–either way, we will KNOW there has been a prophet in our midst.

    (I really enjoy reading you. THANKS.)

  47. Mindyleigh

    Thank you for sharing your life with us. It has been a blessing to read about Rita.

  48. monica_divineoffice.org

    Great 7 Quick Takes post, as usual, I have a background in educational psychology, you should try to encourage good behavior more than punish bad behavior. Make a board, like the one that you have already, and draw a happy face for every good action, make a sad face for every bad one. At the end of the day he gets reworded if there are more happy faces. Try to encourage competition, use the same board for his brothers, it works every time :). Patience and courage and faith! God bless!

    Liturgy of the Hours

  49. cecilia

    is the squorpion in the lollypop real or is it some sort of candy?

  50. Susanne

    My 13yo son ate one of those scorpion pops when Hubs brought it back from a business trip. He said the scorpion tasted hot (spicy), but not bad.


  51. Laura F.

    @ #3…. Hey Jenn, when reading this item I just remembered something I heard that might help with your scorpion situation… try leaving lavander leaves/flowers (like a whole branch kinda thing) in your window sills and doors… appareantly that keeps scorpions out of the house…. never tried it as mercifully I don't have that problem, but heard somewhere that it works!!!

  52. 'Becca

    Amy: Are YOU trying to give your baby a bottle? My son would have nothing to do with a bottle if I was even in the house, but when I was out he took it eagerly. It's weird because I pumped for him twice a day, 5 days a week, for 10 months but NEVER saw him drink from a bottle!
    Another thing to try is a sippy cup. I've heard that some babies will take that but not a bottle.
    I'll pray for you.

  53. Anonymous

    Amity commented that the Ezzo method might crush the spirit of children. I don't understand that conclusion. Here is a typical exchange heard in our house a dozen times a day:

    "Michael." (the child's name is a command to immediately stop what they are doing and touch my hand)
    "Yes, Daddy, I'm running." (touches my hand and looks at me)
    "You left your legos on the stairs. Your baby brother could step on them and fall down the stairs and hurt himself. You need to put away your things and protect your brother" (always give a moral reason)
    "If you leave them on the stairs again, you will lose the freedom to play with them" (make sure the consequence fits the offense and is understood)
    "Yes, Daddy."

    90% of Ezzo is that first step, called "first time obedience". Once it's automatic for them to stop what they're doing and run to you when they hear their name, you have undivided attention to correct them with a moral explanation and a consequence.

    No yelling, no threatening / repeating, no "if you don't come before I count to three…".

    You put the onus on them to make the right decision. Kids relish the freedoms they earn, and they work to regain freedoms they lose.

    This doesn't crush their spirit. It fills their moral warehouse and makes you a more effective parent.



  1. 7 Quick Takes (I have no idea what volume I’m on) | Kate Wicker - [...] by Jen’s Conversion Diary for more quick takes that are sure to have the sparkling wit I seem to…

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