7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 72)

March 12, 2010 | 48 comments

— 1 —

By the time you read this, I will be chilling. In a big, big way. My husband and I are visiting my dad in El Paso for a mini-vacation this weekend, and after Stomach Bug Madness 2010 on top of the usual chaos of having four kids under six, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I am so unbelievably excited abut it, my mind flashes to the “I’m on a Boat” video every time I think about it…though I suppose it won’t be exactly the same, seeing as how El Paso is a landlocked desert city and our main activity is going to be sitting around reading books in the silence of my dad’s living room. Nevertheless, it will have that level of fabulousness.

Anyone have any suggestions for where to go to Mass in El Paso? (Also, I tried to look up some of the local folks who left comments to my last post about going to the area but couldn’t find contact info. I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about your kind comments!)

— 2 —

I’ve started reading Jesus-Shock by Peter Kreeft, and it’s fantastic. How fantastic? I had just started it on Day 4 of The Stomach Bug O’ Doom, when things got really bad. I was up from midnight until 5:00 AM because I was getting sick every ten minutes or so, and in between bouts of illness I’d sit on the bathroom floor next to the toilet and read Jesus-Shock. I was so blown away by the book that at one point I found myself thinking, “This isn’t a bad way to spend an evening!”

— 3 —

A while back, world-famous programmer Linus Torvalds mentioned on his blog that he was baffled that there were still people out there who believe in demons. It reminded of a part of my faith story that I’d forgotten about: that the Christian explanation of evil was very influential in my conversion. Once I was open to spiritual concepts, the idea of a “Father of Lies” made a lot of sense to me. When I heard about official Church exorcisms, reading accounts like this one from a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College, over and over again it just seemed like there was a real, very powerful force at work there. Now it’s hard for me to understand how people could not believe in evil.

— 4 —

Speaking of Mr. Torvalds, please tell me that someone else out there thinks it’s as funny as I do that he hacked his wife’s embroidery machine. (#!/usr/bin/mom, I’m counting on you here!) Back when I was first using the Linux platform, I heard whispers of the famous Linus Torvalds as if he resided in the clouds atop Mt. Olympus; I never dreamed I’d be reading posts about him using his skills to create embroidery designs so that his wife could better put patterns onto his children’s Tae-Kwon-Do uniforms! Love it. 

— 5 —

I’ve been trying to avoid bringing this up. I have. It’s been my experience that people can be very sensitive about this subject; I should discuss something less controversial like health care reform or politics. But I’ve experienced something so dramatic that I feel like I should put it out there. I’m going to say it quickly and then duck out of the subject before people start grabbing pitchforks and torches. Here it goes:

I used to love coffee very very much and then I started to notice that I was having some pretty intense anxiety / rage issues and I suspected that coffee might play a role because of the way it messes with insulin levels so I gave it up five months ago and my anxiety / rage issues are GONE and a friend who was suffering from nightly panic attacks found that they too are gone after she gave up coffee but I’m not saying that everyone should give up coffee and/or that it’s always bad.

Moving on to another take now…

— 6 —

If you love making soup, you’ll enjoy this article where Austin’s “soup peddler” shares five tips to improve your soup (he elaborated more on his blog here). He has a cool story: he was a frustrated career guy who was stuck in an office job, and ended up leaving it to create delicious soups and deliver them to local customers on his bike. He now has thousands of customers and is a local celebrity. You can read the full story here.

— 7 —

Monday was an exciting day: our parish had the honor of hosting the installation Mass for Bishop Joe Vasquez (you can read his inspiring story about being the grandson of migrant workers here). With the Governor, Attorney General, lots of bishops, and leaders of other local faith communities in attendance, it was a huge event. I got a chance to watch the media setting up, and was even caught off guard for a quick TV interview. By the time I left, the parking lot was filled with media vehicles and there were police cars all over the place. I watched the Mass itself on the live broadcast at home and it was a beautiful event. Our diocese is very excited about our new bishop!

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. CourageousGrace
2. It Feels Like Chaos
3. Amongst Lovely Things
4. Kelly @ The Startup Wife
5. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
6. Saila @ Considering the Lilies
7. carrien (she laughs at the days)
8. Heather Cady
9. Sarah Reinhard
10. Kerrie @ the Forgotten Kitchen
11. Under the Fig Tree
12. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
13. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
14. michiel@ Landscapes and Portraits
15. Maia@Flowers Round the Cross
16. Pam@mosaicsynapse
17. Mary @ Hope Echoes
18. Elizabeth Mahlou
19. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time
20. Anne Bender
21. Judy
22. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
23. Deanna@notlukewarm
24. Sara @ AShowerOfRoses
25. Sherry at Chocolate for Your Brain
26. {just} Lenae
27. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
28. Emily @ Addlebook Rambles
29. Rose @ Adventures In Savings (first time!)
30. MyLinks@YoungMom
31. Brandi
32. Dawn Farias @ No Heavy Lifting
33. NCSue
34. ~liz@smithical
35. Milehimama (Mama Says)
36. becomewhatyouare
37. Love2learn Mom
38. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
39. Kristyn@Hall Cottage
40. Janet in Toronto
41. Sarah @ SoJo & Co
42. Darren and Sara Jones
43. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
44. Jenny
45. Phyllis @ Life on Windy Ridge
46. Tracy@The Secret of Living
47. Elena @MyDomestic Church
48. Amanda @ The Mom Job
49. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
50. udubalum mama
51. Hanna @ Ontology
52. Ashley Siferd
53. the 832
54. Life from Pippy’s Perspective
55. Sarah
56. byzymom
57. Curious Notions
58. Kim@ talklesssaymore
59. A Broader Mark
60. Sarah @ Simple Pleasures
61. Kim @ Love Letter to My Kids
62. Marcy K. at LiveCatholic
63. Lisa (Are We There Yet?)
64. Christine the Soccer Mom
65. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
66. Laura@Life, Faith, Home, School
67. The Praying Mom
68. No Wealth But Life
69. Betty Beguiles
70. Gillian – Life of a Photographer
71. Maggie @ From the Heart
72. Tami @ The Next Step
73. Sheila @ Seasoned Joy
74. Tiffany
75. Deedee @ You get used to it…
76. Marie @ Filling My Family
77. Nicole @ As Many As We’re Given
78. Lucy The Valiant
79. Queen of Carrots
80. Esther @ The Mommy Diaries
81. Jen @ The Short Years
82. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
83. Megan
84. Catholic Mutt
85. Katie
86. Jenny@ Home is where
87. Jill @ Old Skool
88. Amy
89. ThatMarriedCouple
90. Kelly

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Kelly @ The Startup Wife

    I always love reading this, and this week I finally got it together in time to participate! πŸ™‚ I hope you have a great trip, and also, "I'm On a Boat" is my favorite video ever. And also, a Grammy winner in my heart.

  2. berenike

    Drink tea, everyone πŸ™‚

  3. Heather

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend away!

    Thanks for hosting.

  4. Pam Elmore

    I'm looking forward to reading those links later — thanks! Enjoy El Paso… even though you're not on a boat.

  5. Maia

    Mmmmm…take #6 is making me drool. This Lent is all about the bean soups. I am thinking of scrapping the whole ham tradition and going with a homemade-stock-turkey-soup-with-rice for Easter. *wipes drool of keyboard* Thanks for including this!

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

    That's so interesting about the coffee! I can't stand the stuff myself, so I have no perspective to offer. πŸ™‚ Happy "chilling."

  7. Anne

    You've given me lots to think about with the coffee quick take! Thanks for that! I may be giving up coffee next year for Lent!


    Now this "7 Quick Takes Friday" is more like the 'old you!' Thank for some great thoughts for the weekend. Pax Christi.

  9. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    Coffee and insulin? Hmmm…interesting…any handy links to good reading on that one?
    Thanks for Quick Takes!
    And your interview photo is LOVELY!
    God bless you with a WONDERFUL, RELAXING vacation:)All that time off should give you PLENTY of time to think up LOTS of new "pablum of the inane" for your blog!!!

  10. Yvonne @ StoneGable

    Jennifer, I just happend upon your post and read your profile. Well, Praise God! God tells us that if we seek Him, we will find Him. You sought and when you found Him you said, Yes Lord! I just love your profile statement.

    Thank you for the endorsement of the book. I'll look into that.

    And I'm going right over and checking out Linus' blog. I am a soup makin' gal!

    I'll be back to visit. Your blog is great!

  11. Sarahndipity

    I had a similar experience with coffee. I love the taste of it, but I think I'm really sensitive to the caffeine. It was making me really jittery and even panicky sometimes. I switched to decaf and that seems to have solved the problem. There's no way I'd give up the decaf though!! I love the taste of coffee in the morning.

  12. Dawn Farias

    I have recently begun giving up coffee, also. I was successful for a while, but started taking it again. I am now trying to wean off it again. I'm inspired by what you shared.

    I've also been eating protein regularly as it is supposed to help with serotonin levels. I read Potatoes not Prozac and that's where I got It from. It's been very helpful with my moods.

    Have a nice trip!

  13. Young Mom

    Have a great time away! I hope that we can pull off an overnighter at some point in our near future. I think I'll be back to look at some of your links after breakfast! πŸ™‚

  14. Charlotte (Matilda)

    As someone who has battled panic attacks for years and has successfully managed them without medication, I can tell you with 100% certainty that caffeine has a direct effect on panic attacks. I have been caffeine free for 4 years now and it has been a huge help to managing my anxiety level. Tell your friend, who also battles panic attacks, to be aware of other stimulants that mimic the effects of caffeine like cinnamon teas and novacaine with epinephrine at the dentist's office (they are alternatives without the epinephrine).

    I'll go ahead and jump into the fire with you…

    People defend their love of coffee with a passion when what they really mean is they LOVE caffeine. It's a drug, granted a relatively mild one, and a socially accepted one. How can you prove this? Offer them decaf and listen to the protestations. Decaf offers all the warmth, smoothness or bitterness if that's what you like, and fills you up just like the "real stuff" but with none of the caffeine (actually it's a miniscule amount) or the caffeine induced side effects but it gets blasted by coffee drinkers everywhere because it's not the "real thing" or they claim it doesn't taste the same. Hah! Caffeine has a very bitter taste. Barqs Root Beer adds it to it's recipe to counteract the very sweet flavor. Trust me… if you like bitter, there are plenty of bitter decaf coffees out there!

  15. Ray Ingles

    Regarding #3… why would one have to believe in demons to believe in evil?

  16. Salome Ellen

    There is a documented correlation between caffeine and anxiety-spectrum disorders. (Sorry, I don't have a link.) I went off all caffeine for about six months after developing panic attacks, and am now able to have two cups of tea in the morning if I am careful. The research does seem to show that certain people are more physically prone to be affected in this way. And it's caffeine, not coffee — I must avoid all caffeinated soda (even some orange flavors have it added) but can enjoy a decaf mocha. Oh yeah; some people are similarly sensitive to the theobromine in chocolate πŸ™

  17. Amy

    I see lots of evil in the world but I don't attribute it to demonic forces. I don't attribute good and evil to anything. They just are–they're bound up with the nature of the universe. We have choices in how we behave–sometimes we choose to do good and sometimes we choose to do evil. There are all kinds of completely non-supernatural factors that play into the choices we make–environmental, psychological, cultural, but in the end the decisions we make are ours. I would rather take responsibility for my actions than blame/credit some outside entity for what I do in this life.

    Suffering and destruction existed way before humanity came on the scene and they'll continue to exist long after we're gone, along with the amazing creativity and beauty of the universe.

    Hope you get to enjoy the amazing beauty of El Paso over the weekend!

    When you come back to posting regularly after Lent, I for one would love to see a post about your relationship with your dad and how/if it has changed now that you are a committed Catholic and he is still an atheist. Or maybe he's not?

  18. 4ddintx

    While in El Paso, there are lots of Catholic parishes you could visit. You went to Queen of Peace last time (my parish). I would recommend that again πŸ˜‰
    There are at least 3 of us in our Catholic homeschool group that follow your blog and we all attend Q of P. We aren't stalkers, I promise! If you need more information on parishes or want to meet after Mass for coffee…err…tea, you can email me or leave a comment here.

    Queen of Peace is on the Westside, by the way. If your Dad's place is in another part of town you might want to find a parish closer to his house. I'd be happy to help!


  19. Jamie

    Oh, thank you for the link to the soup tips! Have a great "CHILL"!!

  20. Anonymous

    Regarding the controversial coffee issue: one Lent a few years ago, I gave up caffiene. I noticed that by the end of it, that I felt a lot more relaxed. I do tend to have anxiety/panic issues and am a big coffee drinker. I need to consider going on another fast from it! I'll be curious to see if you have more readers that have experienced the same thing!

    Jen G

  21. Rebecca

    About the coffee, I gave it up cold turkey three and a half years ago when I got pregnant for the first time because the smell and taste were all of a sudden gross to me. And I hate to disappoint y'all anti-coffee people out there, but I have noticed zero improvement in my panic/anxiety issues. If anything, they are worse now. So while coffee might play a role for some people, I'm pretty sure it doesn't for me.

  22. becomewhatyouare

    Yes, we are VERY excited about our new Bishop!

    Habemus Episcopum! May God bless him greatly as he shepherds us!

    I didn't realize that was your parish. It is a beautiful church. I know one of your priests quite well.

  23. Betsey

    So, how did you quit coffee? I know I'm addicted and SO tired all day without it. How long did it take to get past that?

  24. Charlotte (Matilda)

    Caffeine is not the ONLY anxiety trigger. There can be many others that might be nutritional, psychological, emotional and even physiological in nature.

    All I am saying, is from my personal perspective, the jittery sensation that caffeine creates in my body are so similar to the beginnings of a panic attack that then my brain decides that that suggestion is a good idea!

    If you are having recurrent anxiety issues and panic attacks, I would heartily encourage you to talk to someone about the underlying reasons and get some help to get them under control.

  25. byzymom

    I stopped drinking coffee when I was pregnant with my first and haven't gone back. Except for my occasional indulgence in high calorie mocha-frappa-whipped-topping treat πŸ™‚

  26. abroadermark

    Concerning #5 – laalaalaalaalaa, I can't hear you!!

    Can't wait to read Jesus Shock! Thanks for the recommendation.

  27. Kim

    Coffee…scary…it's a drug…love it…

  28. Ashley

    I'm usually just a lurker on your blog. But it is nice to know there are other Linux fans out in the blogosphere. πŸ™‚

  29. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Just jumping in for a sec while I have a few minutes on the internet at my dad's house…

    Betsey –

    One thing that really helped me make the transition was to switch to tea. I was never a big tea fan, but I found that having a cup of something warm and slightly caffeinated in the morning really helped me psychologically make the transition. (And the caffeine levels, which are much lower, don't seem to bother me.)

    4DDinTx –

    I'd love to go to Queen of Peace again. I couldn't find an email address for you — drop me an email if you get a sec.

    I was going to respond to a couple more comments but I'm out of computer time for right now. I'll try to drop back in later. Thanks for your comments, everyone! I always love hearing from you.

  30. Christine the Soccer Mom

    I'm late to the party, but I made it! Enjoy your time away. Be safe traveling!

  31. Douglas Naaden

    You live in Austin!!! I'll be there this weekend for the Diocesan Youth Ministry Director's birthday (a personal friend from FUS). It's unlikely, but I would love to meet you!

  32. Juliet

    El Paso:

    St. Patrick's Cathedral near downtown is beautiful and our priests are inspiring. The 11:30 is in English.

  33. Agnes Regina

    Have fun in El Paso. I'll suggest the SSPX chapel:

    Jesus and Mary Church
    1401 W. Yandell Drive
    Sunday 8:00am & 10:00am (High Mass)

  34. Jamie

    Anything by Peter Kreeft is good I think.

  35. jillbarnett

    ahh, the coffee. I've gotten a little hooked on the coffee lately. Wish I hadn't, I'd been "off the stuff" for at least six months. The crazy thing is that it doesn't really even give me the "perk up" I need in the mornings. It might if I drank like a whole pot or something, but I probably shouldn't go that route…

  36. Laurie

    Thank you. Your thoughts to include your coffee experience in this "quick takes" was for me. Divine confirmation, if you may. Now I am feeling the nagging of whether I should go "cold-turkey" or at least finish off what I've got in the fridge (not to mention the new bottle of flavored creamer I just bought today… never even had it!).

  37. Josephene

    Jennifer, could you explain what you mean by rage? The comments here describe anxiety, but I am wondering about the rage.

  38. Anonymous

    Diabetes; Fight it with the blood type diet by Dr. Peter D'Adamo
    not for everyone, (it has helped me MS and my husband diabetes)

    Says coffee is only benificial for those with an A blood type and should be avoided by all others

    so If you have negative issues with coffee and possibly an addiction, drink tea like berenike says

    except for blood typ A DRINK COFFEE πŸ™‚

  39. catherine

    When I got to your second post, I immediately clicked on the link for the book and ordered a copy. Thanks for the recommendation…yours are always good! As for the coffee…my husband and I were both BIG coffee addicts. For a number of health reasons, we decided to be radical and GIVE UP coffee and make the switch to tea. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be, finding new and different teas has turned into a fun little adventure of it's own, and there have been some big health pay offs.
    I also noticed that my energy level is much more steady through the day, instead of all the ups and downs driven by large amounts of caffeine. Anyway, best travel wishes to you and your family and looking forward to next weeks Quick Takes.

  40. Elizabethe

    Hmm… Coffee post is making me think. I have noticed I am angry a lot lately, but I drink decaf. I also have tried to give up this on occasion because I drink lots of milk and sugar with my coffee, and have tried to switch to tea, but switching to tea after decaf coffee is NOT a good idea. It's a big caffeine bump. Also I always have other problems with all kinds of teas, herbal, decaf, whatever

    anyhoo, to bring two of your posts together, I also recently had a stomach flu bug (not my kids, thank God, just me) and for two days now haven't felt much like eating but have been drinking broth. I think that chicken or vegetable broth is just as comforting a warm cup of something in the morning or evening or anytime as tea or coffee, for me. So it might be nice substitute. Since it's salty, not sweet, it doesn't trigger my sweet tooth. So, I'm going to start a broth movement.

  41. Anonymous

    I'm partial to Queen of Peace, but for something different for you, check out St. Patrick's Cathedral. There's also a church that has a Latin Mass on Sun. I can't think of what it is called, but that's also a good experience.

  42. Josephene

    I wanted to leave a message for Laurie, who's decided to give up coffee but wonders if now is the time, or after she's used up all of the coffee in her fridge.

    Give it up now! You sound like me, another coffee addict, feeling an almost moral dilemma regarding that leftover coffee (or cake or piece of chocolate). Having leftover coffee isn't a dilemma: give it away to someone who likes coffee.

    : )

  43. Anastasius Widjaya

    Thank you for linking, nice post and i hope we can share together. Jesus is always bless you

  44. Still His Princess

    I am looking so forward to silent uninterrupted reading. People without kids really don't understand their everyday blessings. lol

    Thanks for the book review I love reading and I'm definitely looking up that one.

  45. truthfinder

    About the coffee; I have no anxiety or rage issues, but I did go completely off coffee for about 2 months a few years back. But I became a total zombie and couldn't function at all the way I should. I was so distracted that I just kept wandering from room to room trying to figure out what to do first. I later found I have adult A.D.D., and the caffeine helped me focus. And yes, Anonymous 10:44, my blood type IS "A+".

  46. writing For life workshops

    It’s nearly impossible to find educated people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!


  1. 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 112) | Conversion Diary - [...] Keurig coffee maker for Christmas. I had seen them advertised and never had much interest (I talked in #5…

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