7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 71)

March 5, 2010 | 62 comments

— 1 —

By last Friday afternoon, I thought we were finished with that stomach bug I mentioned last week. As it turned out, it was just taking a breather to get up some strength before it really showed its stuff. This thing has been epic — and with three children in diapers, I do mean epic. I feel happy to have just survived this week, and am glad it’s almost over!

— 2 —

On a positive note, last week a dear friend of my family called me to say that she had the day off from her job cleaning houses, and wanted to spend it…reorganizing my pantry. I tried to put her off, but she was absolutely adamant that she wanted to bless our family in this way. Long story short, she and I worked for almost seven hours in our pantry/laundry room, and we were able to accomplish this:



(Excuse the rough composite shot.) And yes, this is the same friend who once came and cleaned my bathroom because she thought I might need the help. She is truly one of the most selfless, saintly, inspiring people I’ve ever met.

— 3 —

I received some complaints in response to my last quick takes post, saying that my writing of late is self-centered and has degenerated into, as one commenter put it, “pablum about inane things.” (Yes, posting pictures of my pantry made me think of that particular remark.) I think there are two reasons for that:

  1. I’m only doing “7 Quick Takes” posts during Lent, and that format lends itself more to light notes about daily life than to deep thoughts about weighty subjects.
  2. I’m a self-centered person who likes pablum about inane things.

While I expect that my writing will be more directly on the topic of faith when I return to normal posting after Lent, I should warn you: if posts about scorpions, the “poop fates, ” wild mothers-in-law, Trucknutzβ„’, banana suits and the occasional picture of my pantry aren’t your cup of tea, this blog will probably continue to disappoint you.

— 4 —

Elizabeth Esther got a great scoop this week: she was able to interview The Raving Theist (formerly The Raving Atheist) about his conversion to Christianity. As far as I know, this is the first time he’s publicly offered any details about his conversion, which, as many of you know, sent shockwaves through the atheist and Christian blog worlds alike. Go check it out!

— 5 —

Anna Mitchell and I have been doing a a regular series for the Son Rise Morning Show on where we talk about Catholic themes in well-known children’s books. It’s such a fun topic to talk about. Here’s our most recent one if you’d like to have a listen:

— 6 —

If you know of any blogs by people entering the Catholic Church this Easter, please let me know. I’d love to stop by their sites and say hello, and I’m also putting together a list for an upcoming project I’m working on.

— 7 —

I will be especially grateful this weekend since I’m finally feeling better and we’re going to have some warm weather. Enough of these insufferable lows in the 30’s! (Just had to throw that out there for you northerners — sorry if I caused anyone to spit any beverages onto their keyboards.) Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Below is a Mr. Linky list if you’d like to add a link to your own 7 Quick Takes post. (1) Make sure the link you submit is to the URL of your post and not your main blog URL. (2) Include a link back here.

I look forward to reading your posts!

1. Michelle Potter
2. Genny @ MyCup2Yours
3. violingirl
4. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
5. Suz@ One Of Five
6. Elizabeth Mahlou
7. Stephany @ Stephany Writes
8. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
9. michiel@ Landscapes and Portraits
10. Anne Bender
11. Pam@mosaicsynapse
12. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
13. Sarah Reinhard
14. Mary @ Hope Echoes
15. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
16. Sheila @ Seasoned Joy
17. Ute @ FlowersRoundTheCross
18. Tami @ The Next Step
19. Becky
20. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time
21. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
22. Happy Geek
23. Deanna@notlukewarm
24. Nadja@ Patch O’ Dirt Farm
25. Kim@ talklesssaymore
26. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
27. MommyMonkey
28. Sara @ AShowerOfRoses
29. Janet in Toronto
30. Nichole @ 40 days of
31. Questions@YoungMom
32. Chelsea @ Roots & RIngs
33. Rose @ Adventures In Savings
34. Dakotapam
35. linda
36. Darren and Sara Jones
37. Milehimama (Mama Says)
38. Chelsey @ The Crouch Family
39. ThatMarriedCouple – My Titus 2 Women
40. Patty @ St. Monica’s Tears
41. Under the Fig Tree
42. Laurie @ redolent remarks
43. Marie @ Filling My Family
44. Emily
45. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
46. Shredded Cheddar
47. Barbara C.@Box of Chocolates
48. NCSue
49. Clare
50. Salome Ellen
51. Phyllis @ Life on Windy Ridge
52. annies home –
53. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
54. The Praying Mom
55. Jessica @ Church Year (CSA basket & Lent)
56. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
57. Tracy@The Secret of Living
58. Alice
59. Just a Minute
60. Mama Fuss
61. Melissa Wiley
62. A Broader Mark
63. Maggie @ From the Heart
64. majellamom
65. Jen @ Almost Domestic Mama
66. Erin @ Sky Blue Pink Roses
67. Missus Wookie
68. Marcy K. at LiveCatholic
69. Julie
70. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
71. Mrs. Bubbles
72. Emily@MySongofJoy
73. Amanda @ Teasingly Diverse
74. Christian H @ The Thinking Grounds
75. Katie
76. Jenny@ Home is where
77. Sherry at Chocolate for Your Brain!
78. deana
79. Training Happy Hearts (Acronyms etc for Home Learning)
80. Martianne @ Wonder and Will
81. Gillian – Life of a Photographer

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Michelle Potter

    I like inane pablum. I can't always think of anything cool to say back, but I like to read it. πŸ˜‰

  2. Genny

    So sorry you have all been sick! Hope you are feeling better soon.

    Thanks, as always, for hosting 7 Quick Takes.


  3. Anne

    Jennifer, I don't know of any blogs of anyone entering the church this year, but I do know of one from last year that is excellent. Jessica at My Silent Journey continues to write frequently about her RCIA experience and the impact her conversion is having on her life. Hope this helps!


    …and now I take that back, there is one who is in the process, Thou Art Jules


    Thanks for the quick takes-I like your pablum! In fact, the word verification is "pabledi" which must mean that after I have read Jennifer's pablum I am now satisfied and am pabledi! Have a great weekend!

  4. Pam Elmore

    What a blessing your friend gave you — especially in the midst of your family's gastrointestinal issues! I'm glad you allowed her to minister to you in such a sweet and practical way.

    By the way, your blog never disappoints. I look forward to lots more self-centered pablum in the future. πŸ˜‰

  5. LindsayRuns

    What a beautiful friend! And she does a good job too! Miss your regular posts, hope this Lenten fast is going well for you!

  6. Julie C

    Glad that you have tough skin for those unkind comments on your blog. Why don't those people just go elsewhere instead of showing their mean spirit online?

  7. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    God BLESS you for caring for your sweet, dear family as they suffer with this stomach bug.
    WOW!!!!!! Your friend has a tremendous talent for sprucing up a room…and apparently, a very generous heart too…you might enjoy stopping by Ruth's blog to celebrate your friendship on any given Saturday:http://celebratefriendship-ruth.blogspot.com/
    And PLEASE do not stop your pablum of the inane…we LOVE it! I was a little saddened, however, that in your tag links to past posts you did NOT mention your un-named friend who sends you Christmas cards!!!!!! ::SMILE::
    May all in your home GET WELL SOON…and thanks for hosting Jennifer…and providing the rest of us the opportunity to share our own unique pablum of the inane too!

  8. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time

    There's nothing wrong with being inane from time to time. πŸ™‚ And the pantry is FAR from inane. That's nothing short of miraculous!!! Now–can you keep it that way?

  9. Mary

    I LOVE pablum about inane things! Give me more! Congrats on the pantry re-do. Job well done!! I hope everyone is on the mend and feeling better soon.

  10. Jane

    It cracks me up that someone would take the time to write to you and complain abouut your blog. Its like the person who frequents the same resturant week after week and complains about the food. I am dumfounded.

  11. Phyllis

    Well, I'll be entering the Catholic Church this Easter, though I haven't been blogging about it. Any suggestions of how to go about that?

  12. Nikki

    I don't typically come out and comment on the blogs I read, but #3 in this week's quick-takes bothered me a lot. I will never, ever understand where people get the gall to insult authors with remarks like the one you mentioned. I suspect it's a combination of the internet's all-powerful anonymity (I mean, who would say that to your face?) and the gratuitous self-entitlement of most human beings.

    For one, I don't see a tip jar anywhere on your site. As far as I know – and I admit, I may be wrong – your readers don't make routine contributions to the upkeep of "Conversion Diary". But even if they did, your blog would still be first and foremost for you. If writing is cathartic for you, you can't be expected to use it to please other people all the time.

    It's good and all, but that isn't the only reason God gave you this gift.

    You're an incredibly talented writer, and I don't honestly think that Anonymous speaks for even a marginal number of your readers; I, for one, enjoy the stories straight from your silly side just as much as your riveting works on the Faith. πŸ™‚

    Many thanks,

    (Incidentally, my word verification is "ducit" – third-person conjugation of the Latin verb duco/ducere. "He leads". Funny how that works.)

  13. WheelbarrowRider

    I can't imagine the stomach flu-we had it here with our first (4 hrs of vomiting followed by 12 days of loose stools-only 3 days of crackers and bananas cured it). I think I lost years of your life. So kudos to you for surviving!
    By the way, shortly after I found your blog from a friend, I heard a son rise episode with you on it. Loved it! I have a 16 month old.
    I like pantry posts-it gives us a complete picture of you if we have both! Your friend def sounds like a saint!

  14. Anonymous

    I like your posts about bananas and poop….
    Perhaps that should not be mentioned in the same
    Sentence …..

    May God bless your poop and banana stories…One not affecting the other…..?


  15. Amy

    I personally enjoy your pablum about inane things (probably especially now that I'm no longer "seeking" myself–I probably would stop reading you otherwise).

    I think your willingness to discuss the "quotidian mysteries" (to quote Kathleen Norris) presents a fuller picture of who you are. I think it would be deceptive to present yourself as someone who only thinks about religion 24/7. I think part of your appeal is that you are a "regular" person who is greatly influenced by your faith life, but you aren't some inaccessible saint too holy to relate to everyday life. And I happen to like banana suits.

    Obviously I failed at Christianity, so I could be wrong, but I think if one is Christian it isn't something that can be separated out or segmented from the rest of their lives (despite what the machine of the Christian entertainment industry would have us believe). This isn't a blog about Christianity or Catholicism because you tackle faith issues, but because you are a Christian and a Catholic and you allow that to shine through in everything you share.

    Just my two cents. Now I'm off to read quick takes…

  16. Janet in Toronto

    Very gracious response to the comments about your blog. Really gracious. I'm all about inanity. Keep it up!

  17. KimP

    Thanks for linking to the interview of the Raving Theist. I had always wondered about the ins and outs of hid conversion, given his very public denouncement of God and his believers. What a gift!

  18. Young Mom

    Glad you're feeling better! We were sick the entire month of february and I am so glad to have that behind us!
    I look forward to your quick takes every week, and I wish that I could say I was joining the Church this Easter, but it's not going to be this year.

  19. Enbrethiliel


    On #3: Jen, I think I know who the first anonymous commenter/complainer is. At least, I know her trolling style. She likes to play gadfly when she thinks bloggers are being "self-serving," and she's always anonymous.

    And this might not be what you want to hear, but I come here only for your Seven Quick Takes! LOL! Well . . . those and your posts about writing. =)

  20. MK

    Jennifer, I love your personal stories — which are hysterical and far from inane. Hope your weekend is warm and free of illness!

  21. Smoochagator

    I hope you know that one comment does not reflect the feelings of your entire readership. I don't know anyone who thinks deep theological thoughts all the time. Maybe Thomas Aquinas did, but I have to believe that every once in awhile he, too, passed gas and giggled about it. Why on earth would someone expect you to censor everything about your life that's not overtly "spiritual?" I think your blog should reflect your life completely – and that God values even those parts of our existence that are fluffy and "inane."

    Your organizing/cleaning friend IS a saint! The pantry looks great.

  22. Anne

    Hey, the inane is part of life. It is all part of the journey.

    Hope all are well soon.

  23. Laura

    Well, I for one love your writing! Hope your whole family feels better this week.

  24. linda

    our friend who helped clean your pantry IS a saint. that was amazing.

  25. shopannies

    girl you keep posting what you want to it is your blog after all. I love it!!! hope you all get to feeling better soon

  26. That Married Couple

    Wow, your friend and your newly-organized pantry are amazing!

    I went through RCIA last year, but don't know of anyone going through this year.

  27. Patty

    I agree with Nikki above regarding your incredible writing talent. I also enjoy hearing you on the Sonrise Morning Show. Also, if you or any of your readers have blogsites of recent converts I'd be interested in them as well…I am eventually going to focus on conversion stories as my primary blog posts.

    Thanks for hosting.

    Prayers for you and the family.

    God bless.

  28. Em the luddite

    Regarding #6 (not to ask for my own welcome), I'll be entering soon, but not at Easter. Perhaps if you want to pop in and say hi around Pentecost, I might be coming in then (though it's up-in-the-air, where it's been for a long time… no pun intended!).

  29. Jamie

    What a lovely gift from your friend and what a great person you were to accept her help. I'm sure she was thrilled to do it!! Some people don't take advantage of other people's kindness thinking that they aren't sincere, but some of us really are sincere and feel extremely happy and fulfilled by helping others. Imagine that!

    I hope you all are feeling better very soon.

  30. Jessica

    I like the inane pablum too. Life's not all the high and holy; lots of it's the low and holy.

    And sorry about my weird linky label – I don't know how to edit it. I forgot to change it from last time.

    Thanks for hosting!

  31. Anne Marie

    "pablum about inane things"? OK, that’s just rude. BTW, it was 19 when I left my house for Mass this AM. The lows in the 30’s is pushing it too. (Just kidding bout that one, the pushing it, not the 19.) Good news, the 15 feet high piles of snow are melting and we can almost see the ground!!!

  32. George @ Convert Journal

    Per item #6, me! (sort of).

    In my parish, candidates such as myself were confirmed on February 7th (only the Catechumens will be received at the Easter Vigil).

    I blog on my experiences at ConvertJournal.com.

  33. Alice

    It isn't really small child appropriate, I suppose, but have you seen the movie "Wit," with its treatment of "The Runaway Bunny"?

    I don't recommend the movie if you tend, as I do, towards the hypochondriacal– but it does treat the theology of The Runaway Bunny in its central (almost redemptive) moment.

    Other than that, it's generally like a kick in the gut.

    As for me, I like the everyday talk– although I only read my fiance the stories about scorpions and Yaya.

  34. abroadermark

    Thanks for the pablum, Jennifer! It really hit the spot! πŸ˜€

  35. MemeGRL

    Your "inane pablum" is better written than many "higher minded" things I read. I'm glad you were able to take it for what it is.
    Life outside monasteries and convents isn't all deep thought. There's pantries to blow through too. And it's nice to be reminded that there is room for both, even in the "help I'm raising small kids" chaos era of our lives!

  36. Anonymous


    Please ignore whatever complaints you've received! I look forward to you Quick Takes (and to the return of your regular posting). I hope you are experiencing graces this Lent.

    You are an honest, entertaining, informative writer who I learn much from on a regular basis. Thank you for doing what you do!

  37. Mary

    May I borrow your friend???

    You can keep the critical troll though πŸ˜‰

  38. This Heavenly Life

    Whatever you do, don't direct your anonymous commenter to my blog…because despite a few thoughtful posts here and there, I am ALL inane, all the time. And that's my prerogative πŸ™‚

    I consider it time well spent, too. Especially since I coined the phrase 'poop fates' that day in Sorta Crunchy's comments, and it has gotten some really good leverage on your site! I'm proud.

    Further, I'm going through RCIA right now, and will be joining the Church at Easter. Hurray! (Pray for me?!) I very rarely write about my faith, but I believe I'll be writing about my conversion around Easter. I just hope I can do so as understandably and approachably as you do yours –inane, everyday life and all πŸ™‚

  39. Lynn

    Jen, I love your blog. πŸ™‚

  40. Anonymous

    Re:stomach flu

    It doesn't always improve matters once they are out of diapers πŸ™

    I've one child who always, always, always ends up with problems with 'the other end'; the sort of problems where she doesn't always make it from her bed to the bathroom. Cleanup was easier before she was in undies and the sheer misery and embarrasment was much, much less.

  41. Jennifer

    I am a new follower of your blog and I think the 'quick takes' is a wonderful post! I was hoping you were going to keep them around! πŸ™‚ Something fun to join in on!

  42. brian carlson

    You probably already know this, but the only way I made it out of this stomach flu with my son in diapers was florastor. Get some and put in in everyone's yogurt twice a day. Seriously.
    Just in case you didn't know, I had to share that.
    This flu, oy.
    May God bless you with health and tidy diapers filled with solid solids.
    Erica, on her husband's account

  43. Christian H

    Um, the complainers are on the Internet, right? Reading a blog? What else do the expect to find, other than self-centred pablum about inane things? That's what blogs are for. It's a requirement of the genre. Deep thinking is cake under the icing; it's a bonus, but not really required.

  44. CM

    Grant and his wife are joining the Catholic Church at Easter. He's at youngevangelicalandcatholic.blogspot.com.

  45. Jen

    Please don't stop blogging about pablum about inane things!!! You make me laugh AND you make me think! Don't let one reader who might have a stick somewhere that it shouldn't be upset you!

  46. Susan

    Jen, I have often referred to you as the only living person I know of who may some day be cannonized. And I also love the "inane pablum." Please don't change a thing.:)

  47. Hen Jen

    wow, you did so much cleaning and organizing in that pantry! You have a great friend!

    I did a lot of cleaning today, too- we had a birthday party for my dd, the house looks great, but I wish it was always this clean, then I wouldn't have to kill myself cleaning before a party…!

  48. Martianne

    Regarding your "inane pablum", I like it. While "deep thoughts" are great soemtimes, so is sharing real life and all its trivialities, personal blessings and challenges, etc. Thank you for your honest sharing and commitment o helping us all commune and share!

  49. Courageous Grace


    In reference to your #6, after several years of discernment, I made the decision today to "swim the Tiber". While I'm not exactly entering the Catholic church this Easter, I am beginning my journey this Lent and would appreciate some encouragement. Also, if any of your lovely readers near Grand Prairie could recommend a parish to try out that tends to be more conservative, please send me a note via my blog.

    May the Lord be always with you!

  50. Anonymous

    I too have been bummed about your blog lately. And I am not one for "trolling" the internet.

    I hope you are taking time to care for your familly and prepare for Easter and I look forward to more thoughtful posts soon.

  51. Enbrethiliel


    "Samantha": You are so transparent, even if you do have a new name every time you get outed.

    Jen doesn't live to blog for you, you know.

  52. Anonymous

    This is Samantha again:
    I've never posted a comment on this blog. I don't know why someone would say I have.
    It doesn't seem very Christian of me to be so hostile. I just miss the posts focusing on catholic spiritaul life.
    I hope everyone has a good Lent.
    And I am sincere when i say I look forward to more thoughtful posts after Lent.

  53. Anonymous

    I must agree with 'Samantha.' I do hope you are able to accept feedback, and not fall into namecalling. I also hope this blog returns to a more spiritual focus.


  54. Kathy

    There's a vast difference between thinking, "Gee, I prefer her theology posts," and writing to insult the blogger.

    A blog is a freer form than, say, a book.

    And I'm going to have to disagree with the person who commented on monks and nuns thinking theology all the time. Have you seen the photos of the monks or nuns in full habit out playing soccer? Or the movie "Into Great Silence", where, in the middle of a whole lot of footage of praying, there are some very funny scenes of the monks sledding in the snow or going for a walk together?

    Our faith should (and Jen's does) shine through whatever we're doing, whether we're talking theology or cleaning up after flu-stricken kids or straightening out a pantry.

    If it only shows when you talk theology, you've missed the point!

  55. Emily

    Pablum about inane things rules.

    Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  56. Smoochagator

    In Samantha and Robyn's defense – I, too, really enjoy Jen's thoughtful, spiritual posts and look forward to more of them after Lent. I just happen to enjoy the more "inane" posts just as much as I do the deeper topics.

    Both of these ladies stated their preferences kindly and without judgement. There's nothing wrong with the fact that they'd rather read about Jen's spiritual journey than her pantry – everyone has difference tastes! I have a feeling that neither of them is the commenter that Jen originally referred to in her post, whose comment was more insulting and accusing in tone than "This is what I prefer to read."

    Let's remember, in our haste to defend someone we care about, to avoid the mistake of attacking someone whose only "sin" is honesty. As Kathy said, there's a difference between stating a preference and insulting someone, and there is no need to attack someone for doing one but not the other.

    Jen, I DO love reading your spiritual insights, and I can honestly say that I miss you when you don't blog during the week, but I understand your need for "down time." Until you "return," I'll just make use of your archives to get my "conversion fix."

  57. Lacey

    I am not currently blogging about it, but I am entering the church at Easter (it's sort of shockingly close now). I am contemplating blogging about my first Catholic year, but I worry it would consist of a "pablum of inane things" that's not be nearly as enjoyable as yours (which I love, inane or otherwise).

  58. Jim

    I'm another who enjoys your blog. I wouldn't change a word.

  59. Martha

    I am glad to not have to be the first to say, that while the inane things are fun (what could top the banana suit?), I miss the deeper ones. There are lots of places I can go to read or discuss silly things; there aren't a lot of places online to read deeper spiritual things. And I have no one in real life to discuss them with right now.
    I wonder if maybe, since you are so frank about your faults, Jen, people sometimes pick up on your tone and feel they can use it as well. Anyway, I assumed the lighter posts were a combination of book writing and Lent, and I will be back after Easter hoping to see them again. Hope your Lent is prayerful and fruitful.

  60. Anonymous

    yimcatholic.blogspot.com mixes fun and thoughtfullness.

  61. Enbrethiliel


    What's really peculiar is that, with one exception (who was, ironically, the one who gave us the "pablum" quote), everyone who has insulted Jen's decision to blog a certain way during Lent has been anonymous. I really think they're all the same person, who has been trolling Conversion Diary for months.

    So while I do see your point, Smoochagator, I also smell a troll! =P

  62. Smoochagator


    The troll theory is definitely a possibility. I wonder, though, what would be the point of a troll encouraging a blogger to write even more meaningful posts on spiritual matters? Most trolls seem determined to distract writers from their blogging purpose. And, to my mind, most of the anonymous comments were anything but insulting. They expressed disappointment that Jen's taking a break during Lent and that they look forward to seeing her back after Easter.

    Regardless of what's happening behind the curtain of anonymity, I think you and I are of one mind on this subject at least: reminding Jennifer that there's many of us who enjoy her "inane" posts just as much as we do the serious ones!

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