7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 55)

October 23, 2009 | 49 comments

— 1 —

A little public service announcement for fellow procrastinators: Christmas Day is only nine weeks away!

— 2 —

A while back I mentioned that I was musing about what the difference is between an essay and a book. “Why is a book not just a long essay?” I wondered. Thanks to that awesome Breakout Novel book, I think I finally found the answer: An essay has only one layer; a book has many layers.

To use my conversion story as an example, I’ve written quite a few articles on that subject, and each one comes at it from a different perspective: One talked about how, surprisingly, Christianity ended up being more of a fulfillment of (rather than a departure from) what I’d always believed as an atheist; one talked about I came to believe that Christianity simply presented a more reasonable worldview; another talked about how my daily life has changed; etc. Each one of those is a layer on a larger story. When you write a book, what you’re doing is taking all the layers of a story and weaving them together to form one multi-layered story. Just a thought for fellow book nerds.

— 3 —

I just got finished doing one of my least favorite things: Shoe shopping. “But I love shoe shopping!” you say. Yeah, well, you don’t wear size 12 and have to buy glorified clown shoes from special Sasquatch stores. There is never anything cute in size 12. Ever. On the rare occasions that you actually come across a shoe that looks just darling on the size 5 sample and find out to your short-lived delight that they actually have a size 12 in some dusty corner of the store, when you see it in your size it looks like some sort of conceptual art project gone wrong. Allow me to illustrate:

To put it in perspective:

Add to the fact that I’m six feet tall and therefore heels are out lest I seriously start to look like a hairless Sasquatch, and you see that my choices are limited to about five shoes in the entire world. Anyway, yeah. I really don’t like shoe shopping.

— 4 —

If you didn’t get a chance to read the comments to my post about what to do when you screwed up and went against God’s will, I highly recommend taking a moment to scan them. There were some great thoughts there. Thank you to all who commented!

— 5 —

Tonight (I’m writing this on Thursday) I’ll be heading out to the Texas Alliance for Life dinner to see Gianna Jessen speak. It should be a great evening, and I look forward to hearing her presentation. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gianna’s story of surviving an attempted abortion — the abortion doctor, ironically, having to sign her birth certificate — you can read the BBC coverage of it here.

— 6 —

Speaking of which, my husband did a little unexpected pro-life advocacy this morning. He somewhat spontaneously decided to stop by one of the local 40 Days for Life continuous prayer vigils to say hello to and see if anyone needed coffee or snacks or anything. There was only one guy there, and as soon as my husband arrived he said, “Thank God you’re here! The next person wasn’t able to make it and I’m late opening my business!” Since the goal is to have at least one person praying at all times, the guy couldn’t leave unless my husband agreed to stay. After a little hesitation he agreed to take over. And then it started raining.

His conversion on pro-life issues was about as dramatic as mine, but I don’t think he’d planned to do sidewalk prayer vigils just yet. But, nevertheless, there he was, standing under an umbrella in his suit and tie in front of an abortion clinic on a major road during rush hour. I have to wonder if anyone drove by and thought, “Look, some weirdo out in the rain…wait…wait a sec…that’s my lawyer!”

— 7 —

Yaya just rolled into town. Those of you who don’t know what that means can find out here. It just occurred to me that if God ever wanted to send me THE ULTIMATE BLOG POST, he could hook up it up where I’m driving with Yaya and we find a scorpion in the car while getting stuck behind someone with Trucknutz. Dude. I think that would be guaranteed to pretty much triple my blog traffic.

Anyway, have a great weekend, everyone!

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. Genny – Natural soaps, good reads, and Fall get-togethers
2. Tami @ The Next Step
3. Gae
4. Dawn Farias @ I Hate Socks
5. Venite
6. Paul A. Nelson
7. Kathryn @ The Bookworm
8. Elizabeth Mahlou
9. Mary @ Passionate Perseverance
10. Jen
11. David Marciniak
12. Missus Wookie
13. Sarah Reinhard
14. Mary @ Hope Echoes
15. Amanda
16. It Feels Like Chaos
17. Suz
18. Happy Geek
19. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
20. NCSue
21. Megan@Blueberry Scones
22. violingirl
23. Janet @ Domestic Bliss
24. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
25. Dympha @ The Well
26. Trena
27. Missy
28. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
29. The Keeping Time
30. Joy, One of Those Weeks
31. Exultet – 7 Bloggger Colleagues
32. becomewhatyouare
33. Dakotapam
34. majellamom
35. Darren and Sara Jones
36. Marie, Two Ways of Renouncing the Devil
37. Chelsea @ Roots & RIngs
38. Blair’s Blessings
39. Adria@Color of My World
40. Joy @ joy in the morning
41. Jen @ Happy Little Homemaker
42. Papua Girl
43. Katherine @ The Domestic Church
44. Tracy@The Secret of Living
45. Emily@My Song of Joy
46. kim@baby yahyah
47. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
48. Karla @ Ramblin’ Roads
49. Ranee @ Arabian Knits
50. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
51. Emily in NC
52. udubalum mama
53. Ladies for Life
54. Therese@Musings of a Mom
55. Transitus Tiber
56. Elena @My Domestic church
57. Christi @ Our Journey
58. KC
59. Sara @ AShowerOfRoses
60. Mrs Bubbles
61. Randy
62. Julia
63. The Cat in the Hat
64. Cheryl (My Thoughtful Spot)
65. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
66. Love2learn Mom
67. JoAnna @ A Star of Hope
68. Mama Fuss
69. Judy
70. Anna @ Annalogue
71. Krista @ Work in Progress
72. Mrs. Brightside
73. Mozi Esme
74. Very Sleepy People
75. Bill White
76. Amy @ From the Desk of Mom
77. Kate @ La Vita Bella
78. nadja@patch o’ dirt farm
79. Christian H @ The Thinking Grounds
80. natatomic
81. Jen @ The Short Years
82. Karen @ Flash Light
83. Christy@frugalcrunchychristy

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Genny

    9 weeks away? Agh! Now I'm officially stressed. I'm one of those people who likes to get things done ahead of time, so hearing that kind of freaks me out. Just kind of. lol. πŸ™‚

    Have a wonderful weekend, Jennifer. I always enjoy your posts!

  2. Tami Boesiger

    I think you should be slapped for #1. Couldn't I have lived in ignorant bliss for a while longer?!

  3. Dawn Farias

    I am a size 10 shoe and feel very similar to you. Converse sneakers look like clown shoes on me, but I wear them anyway. They definitely don't look hip, though.

    Hope your dinner went well. Thanks for hosting!

  4. ~Leyla~

    Oh, regarding #5: I keep meaning to get a post out myself, but I'm sure more people read yours. October is breast cancer awareness month. Most breast cancer research foundations give grant money to abortion mills like Planned Parenthood. Susan G. Komen is just one such example; here's an article with a bit more info, though a google search will yield many results: http://www.bdfund.org/breastcancer.asp
    I just wish more people had a heads up that by supporting women's health with this very important issue they are also funding the deaths of unborn innocents unknowingly.

  5. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Well, Jen, you and I have absolutely opposite problems. Might be interesting to trade for a day. I wear a size 4 1/2 shoe. That is called a sample size; in other words, it is generally only made to show around to get stores to buy real sizes. (I know because my father was a shoe cutter when he was not farming.) In the Army it was even worse. There were NO women's boots my size. I had to have special order men's size 3 boots!

  6. Anonymous

    Nine weeks? Eek!

    Please forgive me opining here, but an essay can indeed have only one layer – however it won't get particularly high marks from me if it does. A good essay has more than one layer and proves that the writer (be they student or professional) can think in depth on their subject. The best sort of essay is where the writer presents different, genuine perspectives and offers commentary on all before reaching a conclusion.

    I tend to think the difference between an essay and a non-fiction book such as a memoir can be generally that the former is written from the head, and the latter from the heart. Also, the former should be plainly written whereas the latter usually benefits from a personal writing style. There are many books which are in effect long essays.

    I know, blah blah blah. πŸ˜‰

    I'm with you on shoe shopping, but for the opposite reason. My feet are so small the last pair of shoes I bought was from the children's section.

  7. Gregaria

    Just had to say, I'm glad 40 Days finally came up in one of your posts! I've been wondering when it would.

  8. Love2Learn Mom

    Do you really wear size 12 shoes??? Sister! (I feel your pain.) I actually found a pair of Nike running shoes in size 13 (women's size, mind you) on a great sale once and bought them even though they're a little too roomy. So nice to have wiggle room in shoes!

  9. Leighann

    do you guys have a Nordstrom rack? I don't know if the shoes are cute, but I know they have the larger sizes. My husband's family is also related to Sasquatch… his mom is 6' as is his sister. He is 6'9" and his brother is 7'. So anyway, that's where we get his shoes and his mom and sister like to hit it when they are in town…I think they are size 11. Good luck!

  10. Therese Z

    I have a friend who is also 6 feet tall and has size 12 feet. She says she always feels like she's robbing a tranny of his shoes when she finds the rare nice pair that doesn't cost $500!

    As a size 10 foot myself, I feel at least the edge of your pain. Sometimes I think about just coloring the boxes with sharpies and tying them on…

  11. Tari

    Bravo to your husband!!

  12. Pharmgirl

    #3: As someone who's on the other end of the height/shoe size spectrum, exactly where do you find all these darling small shoes??? Most of the places I shop have all the cute shoes in size 7, and when I head for my size, there's a fat lot of nothing. Add that to the fact that I'm on my feet all the time at work and don't want to wear heels, and it's slim pickins.

  13. mrsdarwin

    Christmas Day is only nine weeks away!

    Aw crap. Why'd you have to say this to me?

  14. Heather

    It's always interesting to find out things about people that don't ordinarily come up in blog posts. I had always pictured you as short, but that's probably because I'm short myself πŸ˜‰ At least you have some lovely height to justify your shoe size; I wear a 10 and I'm a LOT shorter than you!

  15. Marie

    Fun tone this week.

  16. Chelsea

    I'm 6 feet tall too! Only I wear a 10. I used to wear heels all the time until I herniated my L4/L5 disc and now its torturous to wear hells. I still do it occasionally but I pay for it afterwards!

  17. Blair

    Yikes about Christmas! Need to get started! I heard Gianna Jessen speak several years back. What a testimony her life is! And what a testimony that prayer time of your husband's was. Have a great weekend!

  18. TaraS

    Haha! I am "only" a size 10/11, so I can usually find my size in a regular person store. But you are so right – those cute shoes just aren't cute anymore in my size.

  19. Rachele

    I've been an occasional reader for some time… however knowing you wear size 12 shoes makes you my hero! I wear size 11's and it is horrible. The advantage is at least you are quite tall…I'm not so tall. I feel your pain… shoes look horrible in big sizes. Especially if you wear skirts and dresses.

  20. Anonymous

    I wear a size 11, but I'm only 5'8" so I don't even balance the shoes out. I can totally sympathize in your plight to find descent shoes.

  21. Roxane B. Salonen

    Oh Jen, you crack me up! The shoe thing had me howling. I've seen your feet, dear, and they are not hideous by any means. They match your tall body perfectly. It's the rest of us who are short. πŸ™‚ I LOVED the story of your husband out in front of the abortion facility. I guess that's one way to get your toes wet, right? πŸ™‚ Have a nice weekend!

  22. Laurie

    I have opportunity to hear Gianna Jessen in two more weeks at a dinner for a local care center! I say "opportunity" because I haven't purchased my tickets just yet – but thank you for the reminder!

    And I LOVE the story about your husband ending up being the 40 days for Life rep! So cool where God puts us when we think we're obeying a simple little nudge!

  23. Christine

    Size 12???!! Wow! I will never ever complain about my 9 1/2 size shoe again.

    But I am only 5'4. I should really have a perfect 7. sigh.

  24. The Sojourner

    I wear size 10W, i.e. "We make it so that mayyyybe you can find something in a normal shoe store if the phase of the moon is right." If not, I wear men's shoes. Becuase I am that fashion-unconscious.

    One thing that helps: Going barefoot. πŸ™‚ Don't need to worry about the shoes matching your outfit (as if that matters to me anyway), and the impossible-to-find buggers last about 2 or 3 years.

  25. Elizabeth

    Being a former and still sometime procrastinator, I usually start my christmas list in the summertime…
    My Fall/Winter is particularly hectic with birthdays etc, so I start early. Yard Sales are my favorite place to find Christmas presents…I am almost done for the daughters…Since I have one child with a late Nov birthday and another due on Thanksgiving, I'm doing A LOT of gift cards this year!!!

  26. mrsdarwin

    Just had to come back to say I've been laughing about your "real" size 12 shoe all morning.

    But someone mentioned Nordstrom Rack for larger shoes, so I thought I'd mention that a Nordstrom Rack is opening in Austin, at Mopac and 183.

  27. JoAnna

    I would love to read a post as describes in #7!

    Nine weeks 'til Christmas… four weeks 'til we close on our new house and have to start moving (but, thankfully, our lease on our current house isn't up for ten weeks, so we can move in gradually)… 19 weeks 'til my due date with baby #3. Aughhhhhh! πŸ™‚

  28. Dawn

    Great Blog! Very funny. Love the shoe pics and the truknutz comment.

  29. Ginkgo100

    See, I knew the scorpion thing was an exception! We reslly ARE alike! You see, I also wear Size Boat on my feet. And consequently am not fond of shoe shopping. (In fact… my feet are not even the same size as each other. Sigh.)

  30. Trena

    I read Gianna's book-great story!

  31. mrsbroccoliguy

    9 weeks? That sounds very very soon. ack.

    My quick takes are up, thanks for hosting again!

  32. Kathreja

    I feel for you on the shoe front. I am 5'9" and have size 11 double wide feet.

  33. Judith

    You make me feel "small" — I'm 5 foot 11 inches, with an 11 wide shoe (also not easy to find; I feel your pain)! Luckily, the hubs is 6'4". And my sons are 6'3" and 6'5' so I'm the shorter one!

    Thanks (I think) for the heads-up on Christmas Day being 9 weeks away; I read that and could feel the stomach acid kick in instantly. That'll motivate me to get my rear in gear!

  34. Blondie

    I am only 5'8", but I wear an 11 WIDE. Forget heels and cute shoes – most of my shoes come from the men's department. I'm with you on the loathing…

  35. Krista

    Hi, I wrote another 7! Thanks for hosting.

  36. jenny

    I've always felt through your writing that we must have been separated at birth, but now this clinches it. I also wear a size 12 shoe (13 for running shoes) and am just shy of 6 feet tall (I'm also the one who related to you the bizarre coincidence of John C. Wright calling about joining the RCIA program I coordinate the day after I read your blog post "like feeling a beating heart.") Anyway….have you discovered Zappos.com? It is the best thing ever for ladies like us and it's free shipping and free returns. It's like you can order the shoe store to come into your living room….best thing ever! And, there are super cute shoes and just plain practical shoes. Also, Nordstrom Rack is nice, but it's a hit or miss what you find and if you're looking for "blue 2 inch heeled strappy sandals" then you can do a search for such on zappos. So great! Just had to share…thanks for your blog!

  37. Lana

    #7: Ha ha!!

  38. Amy

    I am a size 11.5 shoe and I feel your pain! I've even gotten nasty looks from shoe sales people for daring to ask them if they carry my size (which inevitably they don't). Shoe shopping is one of my least favorite things in the world. πŸ™

  39. Kate

    As usual, Jen, your posts make me laugh AND think. I absolutely LOVE your blog, thank you!

  40. Susan M

    OK Jen, you have to ere this. After reading your post the other day I had a nightmare that there was a scorpion in my bid. In the dream I got enough of a look at it to think, "Well, at least it isn't as big as the one Jen saw."

  41. Jake

    That's quite an insightful comparison you made between writing a book and a religious conversion. Everything is multi-layered; it takes a true artist to make it all work.

    I'm enjoying my visits here; there is something totally appealing in your honesty that begs one to listen.

    Grace and Peace–

  42. Christian H

    There are no shoes that fit my feet. It's not that my feet are all that large. They ought to just be 10 or 11 men's. It's that my feet are so wide. (Actually, everyone else just as freakishly narrow feet.) Either I have shoes that go way out in front of my toes, or I have shoes that are too tight around the ball of my foot. Or, just as often, they're tight around the ball and they are too long.

    And I must agree with the first Anonymous poster. A good essay will have layers. Like cake. And onions. And ogres. (Sorry.)

  43. Lisa V.

    Help! I still don't know who/what is Yaya. I've been following this blog for a few months now. What am I missing?!! I tried to follow the yaya category and fell flat. I feel really dumb, so pretty please, tell me who is yaya.

    Lisa V.
    Washington, NJ

  44. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Fellow women with hard-to-fit feet: Welcome to my blog, my sisters. It is SO GOOD to hear from other women who do not enjoy shoe shopping.

    Lisa V – Yaya is my crazy mother-in-law (I say "crazy" in a good way).

  45. Christy

    I linked up for the first time – what a great way to "see" into others lives. I really enjoyed reading everyone's lists.
    Way to go hubby!!!! I am sure that man was very thankful he showed up and STAYED!

  46. Jessica

    I wear an 11, and my feet have gotten wider as pregnancies have happened, so I feel your pain about cute shoes. I do thank God every day for letting me stay in an 11.

    I saw Genna speak at the Dallas Catholic Pro-Life dinner. AMAZING!!!! A-mazing.

  47. Rock Star Ma

    I'm a size 10 and I totally know what you meant about shoe shopping! I was cracking up. πŸ™‚

  48. elizabethe

    I feel your pain with shoe shopping. My feet expanded out during pregnancy so now I wear either a 9 W or an 8.5 WW depending on the shoe style and brand. Plus I have a bunion so I can't wear shoes with over an inch heel or too narrow/pointed of a toe.

    For weird feet sizes you must shop at Zappos especially if you have small children who don't find shoe shopping fun. YOU MUST! They have frankly been a life saver (or foot saver maybe) since I got my bunion and bigger feet. Free shipping and free return shipping means you can try shoes on in the comfort of your own home and with all the outfits you want them to go with and you can wear them (on the carpet) for longer than 5 minutes to make sure they really are comfortable enough.

    Plus you can search by size.

    No I don't work there, just love them. Also theres a website called Designer Shoes that caters to large shoe sizes, but as far as I can tell they don't have as good a shipping policy as Zappos does. Good luck finding shoes!

  49. Critterknit

    To all these folks who have hard-to-fit feet, I can't say enough good things about Brucette's in Houston. So, if you ever make it to Houston, this is a destination. I have a size 7 foot….but it's 4A width! This is literally the only store at which I can buy anything that isn't a tennis shoe (at least, assuming I want to try it on first). This store caters specifically to all of us who normal shoe stores don't. Copied from their website: "We Carry Sizes 3-14 and Widths 4A – WW". I know I usually have several options for just about any shoe type there. And, they're great about modifying shoes slightly – as in, stretching in certain places, adding padding in the right places, etc, so your shoes actually fit YOU well. Things you don't get from a department-store shoe section! They can be expensive (prices vary from reasonable to "what is it made of, gold?"), but even the lower-end shoes (the ones I buy) are the "good shoes" that you can re-heel and re-sole and make them last practically forever. I've had one of their pairs for, um, 8 years or so now, and they're about due for the 2nd or 3rd re-heel, and they've been re-soled once too. Just another option if you live or travel in this area!


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