7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 75)

April 9, 2010 | 56 comments

— 1 —

Oddly enough, I’m not very enthusiastic about returning to some of the things I gave up during Lent. For example, I drastically limited my recreational internet time from Ash Wednesday to Easter, and the result was that the time I did spend online was purposeful and focused. Now that those restrictions are gone, I’ve quickly learned that, nine times out of ten, randomly clicking around on the internet ends up making my state of mind worse rather than better. I’ve decided to try to make a more lax version of my Lenten restrictions a permanent part of life. Anyone else trying to make long-term changes based on what you learned during Lent?

— 2 —

We’re going to the ARCH Homeschooling Conference in Houston next weekend (April 16th and 17th). We were going to be in the area to visit Yaya anyway, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to check out all the cool stuff they have going on and see Danielle Bean speak. Anyone else going to be there?

— 3 —

Speaking of which, a few people have asked what we decided about school choices for our children. We found a cool part-time Catholic private school, where the kids will go to school (uniforms and all) two days a week, and we’ll homeschool the other three days. We start with that this fall.

It seems like such a great solution, so I’m praying that it works out. If it doesn’t, I’m not sure what we’ll do: as we discussed here, I’m daunted by the idea of full-time homeschooling; but I’m also not excited about the idea of the kids going to full-time school either, only because I do love the idea of having the time and flexibility to do some home-based education. I try not to worry about future problems, so I’m just going to take it one day at a time and see how it goes!

— 4 —

I recently finished the classic memoir A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. I was Googling around for more information about Vanauken and came across this beautiful, must-read essay about having “the wholeness of vision” on abortion. The piece is about Vanauken’s final book, The Little Lost Marion and Other Mercies, in which he details his search for the child whom his deceased wife gave up for adoption. Now I really want to read the book, but the cheapest copy on Amazon is over $60 and my local library doesn’t have it. Anyone know where I can buy a copy of The Little Lost Marion for less than an arm and a leg?

— 5 —

I am not always modern art’s biggest fan, but I have to say, this is cool: an artist set up a fake Prada store in the middle of nowhere in west Texas (we went to that area for our honeymoon, and it was a nine-hour drive from Austin, across mostly empty roads). The installation looks like a real Prada storefront, but the artist plans for it to get vandalized and for the building to fall apart as a statement. I’m sure it’s symbolic of all sorts of stuff about capitalism that I don’t understand. Pretty awesome.

— 6 —

On Wednesday I finally had lunch with Stephanie from La Vie Catholique. I’d been reading her blog for years and knew that we lived in the same area, so it was a long-overdue meeting. She has a great conversion story (that involves meeting French husband in an online chatroom) and writes all sorts of deep posts about stuff like sanctifying grace and reception of the Eucharist that are like smart and stuff. She is also an unbelievably talented seamstress, as you can see from her sewing blog. Given all this, I brought nothing to the discussion, but she was kind enough to chat with me anyway.

— 7 —

I just love my rosary from Rosary Army. They give away free rosaries made of twine that are super durable; I can throw mine in the jumble of my purse without worrying about it getting messed up. I used it all during Lent to pray when I was out and about. Best of all is their one-page sheet with all the prayers of the rosary, a list of all the mysteries and which days to meditate on what, etc. I think their mission is fantastic. If you’d like for them to send you a free rosary, just fill out the form here!

Happy Easter, everyone! He is risen!

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19. Just a Minute
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24. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
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26. {just} Lenae
27. Peony Moss
28. Marcy K. at LiveCatholic
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30. Alice @ Accidental Grad Student
31. Milehimama (Mama Says)
32. Kim @ Love Letter to my Kids
33. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
34. Barbara C. @Box of Chocolates
35. Kim @talklesssaymore
36. Anne@Imprisoned in my bones
37. Louise
38. Terri @ The Very Latest Thing
39. Aubrey @ Laughing All the Way
40. Maggie @ From the Heart
41. Marie @ Filling My Family
42. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
43. Becca (7 Lessons from Lent)
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48. Emily @ Addlebook Rambles
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  1. Catholic Bibliophagist

    You forgot to mention that Rosary Army will also teach you how to make those knotted twine rosaries! You can send them your finished rosaries to distribute or you can give them away yourself. Everyone always thinks they are cool.

    I started making them years ago. Unfortunately, I haven't made any recently because of an arm injury.

  2. Elizabeth Mahlou

    I gave up frustration for Lent, Jennifer. I know it is sort of an odd thing, but it was one of the few things I could give up. To answer your question, now that I know that I don't have to become frustrated, I have indeed continued with not becoming frustrated post-Lent. During Lent, I learned to recognize my frustration button and worked out ways to shut down the button and find alternative ways to deal with circumstances that cause frustration. It was a great Lent, and, like you, I do want to continue it.

  3. Kerrie @ TFK

    I've been thinking recently about the Rosary Army and their message. I think I'll be ordering one of their rosaries this weekend. Thanks for sharing the link!

  4. Mary

    I have kept up some of my detachment practices and hope to prepare better for next year's Lent by Friday mini Lents.

  5. Tami Boesiger

    I took a complete computer fast from last Thursday until Easter Sunday and was surprised to find I actually got more rest and found it quite relaxing. I am making some changes as a result too. I will take Sundays completely OFF my computer, will only check e-mail at set times of the day and will set aside an afternoon a week to concentrate on blog writing so as not to spend too much time in the evenings doing it. I found the experience very beneficial!

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

    #1–I don't think it's odd at all. I had that on my list for today, too!

  7. Janet in Toronto

    We gave up TV for Lent and have decided to remove the TV from our living room and just have one in the basement and one in our bedroom. I am very happy about this, and particularly that DH suggested it as he resorts to TV when he's stressed/tired/bored, which is a lot of the time! Now we'll have a quiet space in our home to read and study.

  8. Katie

    I HATE modern art with a passion, though that's kind of intriguing!

  9. Blair

    I plan to be at the ARCH conference! Hope we get to meet! Cool that you got to meet Stephanie πŸ™‚ and the part-time school option sounds really neat!

  10. Jeana

    I've homeschooled 9 years now, and it's like a lot of things: When you've never done it, it sounds intimidating, but once you start it's not near as big a deal as you thought. This is especially true if you start early, because the early grades take much less time and are much easier, so the effort increases gradually. As the teaching gets a little more difficult, your kids get old enough to help more with household work, so it still evens out if you delegate wisely.

    I find I have times where, for a short time, I'm completely overwhelmed (usually starting something new) and then it evens out and flows well for a while. (Much like life in general!) Now even the overwhelming times aren't so bad, because I know it's a temporary feeling and once I tackle what's ahead of me it will get easier.

    It sounds like you have a good plan for now, I just thought I would throw in that encouragement. I'm sure it will apply to your situation too.

  11. Christina

    I find this happens to me a lot. One year I gave up TV and afterwards only watched it occasionally, I now no longer even own a TV. Last 40 Days for Life I gave up added sugar (sweets, sugar in tea, tried finding foods with no added sugar, etc) and by the end of those 40 days found that even a little added sugar turned my stomach.

    This lent I gave up looking in the mirror (it was a last minute inspiration by the HS). I covered the mirrors in my apartment and tried to avoid looking at my reflection outside of home. As a side effect, having a piece of fabric over the mirrors invited me to pin quotes to them.

    I gained a lot of spiritual insights. But the most amusing thing that happened was when I saw myself less I thought I was prettier, probably because I didn't spend so much time focusing in on each little "flaw" that I could see.

    I have uncovered a couple mirrors (full length to make sure cloths match and a side mirror in the bathroom that I have to pull out to view), but have left the rest covered. I've also kept the quotes up, as I've started to gather an interesting collection.

  12. Marcy K.

    You might want to try Interlibrary Loan for the book you are looking for. You won't get it in two days, but ask your librarian how to do it. You order the book and they get it from any library in the US. It is shipped to your library to pick up and it costs you nothing. I do this all the time and actually order the books online. If your library has a website that you can access WorldCat, you may be able to do this too. It is very evil πŸ™‚ Catholic books are sometimes hard to find but this is a great way to get them.

  13. That Married Couple

    Great quick takes! I was hoping to continue in my Lenten exercises, but it's been a week and that hasn't happened yet. I'd still like to make it a more regular part of my routine, though!

    Your part-time Catholic school/ part-time home school situation sounds awesome!! Really, what a great opportunity. Best wishes as you educate your children!

  14. Peony Moss

    I gave up dessert for Lent. I did not like what it showed me about myself.

  15. Milehimama

    I'll be at the ARCH conference too!

    We should have a blogger party and meet up!

  16. Mama Bean

    how do u suppose rosary army feels a/b requests for rosaries from protestants? i am looking for something to make my prayer life more tangible, and the rosary seems…well, the best way πŸ™‚

    also, love the prada store idea. will the artist be posting updates somewhere online?

    happy weekend!

  17. TaraS

    Such neat comments!

    Giving up frustration for Lent sounds amazing – I need to do that next year.

    The TV thing: yesterday I plotted a redesign of our garage-annex-office into a man-cave for my husband, all so I can get our monstrous TV out of the living room.

    For Lent this year, I gave up all internet social media (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc). I realized that of the 10 blogs I was subscribed to, I really only missed this one. And that I only like Twitter because it lets me read what funny things the former cast of "Firefly" is saying. πŸ™‚

  18. Stephanie

    Yes, ditto #1! But you knew that already.

    BTW I burst out laughing at your last line mentioning our meeting. Everyone who reads and loves your blog knows that couldn't possibly be true. πŸ˜‰

  19. Kim

    I so agree with #1! I'm starting to think it should be year-round Lent around here.

    And your part-time school option sounds perfect. I also want to second the other commenter that homeschooling starting gradually makes a huge difference!

  20. Jamie

    I love Rosary Army! I listen to their podcasts as well. So great!

    I gave up and took on a few new things for lent. While I have eaten some chocolate, my total mindless habit of eating it all day long is gone (this is a recurring fast each year). I have increased my prayer time as a result of trying to pray Lauds and Vespers. I find that I enjoy even just listening to them (I downloaded an app to my iPod touch, so I will relax on the requirement of doing both daily, but I think they will become a forever habit).

  21. Maggie Dee

    I took a fast from all non-business internet use during Lent. It helped me realize how addicted I have become to escaping real life with web surfing. After Easter, I've already fallen off the wagon- Hard! I think one of the fist lessons God is going to be teaching me as a new Catholic is discipline. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step right?

  22. Jules at FCTS

    I gave up whining and Facebook for Lent. One was way easier than the other! It would be nice to continue to do less of both.

  23. Kathryn Heltsley

    I gave up rejection for Lent, which is to say that I gave up automatically assuming that I was rejected in any given circumstance. It really changed my life. In doing this I realized how heavily dependent I was on my fantasies of being rejected. Assuming rejection gives you the perfect excuse to quit, sit on the bench and not participate in the life that God is calling you to live.

    For some reason, I found it to be more of a struggle the moment Lent was over. But I definitely intend to continue that practice – struggle or no struggle. It would be crazy not to. It was actually crazy to live under that yoke for so long. But that is the problem with lies that keep us enslaved, so often, we don't even realize that they are there.

  24. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Milehimama – sounds great! Shoot me an email if you get a sec.

    Mama Bean – I'm sure they wouldn't mind at all! And the little one-page flyer that comes with it should give you all the info you need to get started. I started praying the rosary before I was Catholic, and it was a *huge* help to my spiritual life.

    I was going to respond to a couple more but my children are dismantling my office as I type this (what is the allure of pulling books off shelves???) so I need to run. Happy Friday, all!

  25. LP

    definitely also trying not to "go back" to anything that keeps me from Christ, especially not during the Easter Octave!!! My college chaplain used to (jokingly) yell at students, telling them they couldn't give up sinning (like sex or drunkenness) "for Lent" at the risk of returning to it after – they'd have to give it up for good! I find that even when I give up things not objectively sinful, I know that they have come to play a subjectively sinful role in my life in keeping me from making Christ my All in All. So I appreciate the encouragement to navigate my internet and eating habits in a way that incorporates my Lenten changes/realizations. Forge onward! πŸ™‚

  26. Amber

    I'm going to keep abstaining from a lot of things I eased off during Lent – meat, Internet, nonsense websites that just waste time, being critical of other people.

    By the way, I also make cord rosaries, and will send one free to to whomever wants one. Just email me at holyrosaries*gmail.com

  27. Roxane B. Salonen

    Same thing happened to me over Lent. I am going to try really hard to keep up with my weekly hour in Adoration. It's the same night I'm out doing my writing and ended up being my favorite hour of the week. I've been doing this a couple years now and finally realized it was not real sound to give it up when I'm getting SO much from it! So I'm excited about that. I also feel I'm more realistic about online use. What a nice break it was, and what wonderful perspective it brought.

    Thanks for the memoir title — will definitely pick it up. And I'm going to check out the blogger you mentioned (and met). Thanks. That said, I don't think you could ever be dry company, dear. Your light shines too brightly for that. Good try though!

    I'm REALLY excited for you about the Catholic school/homeschool combo! That is really wonderful and I have a good feeling about it. Will be waiting to see how it turns out. I think it will be a really good balance for you, Jen.

    Peace in your weekend!

  28. Katie

    I am torn the same way – Catholic school like I attended and loved, or homeschool?

    How did you find a part time Catholic school? That sounds amazing!

  29. Lauren

    Pray tell- WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT SCHOOL?!? That could be exactly what we are looking for. I've seen the Protestant version of that in the Classical and Christian school system (which are fabulous and often times more Catholic than the typical Catholic School) but never a Catholic part-time school. Is it a stand-alone or part of a new movement? Is it Classical as well? Can't wait to hear about the conference!

  30. 'Becca

    The Lenten fasts I chose this year didn't work out all that well for me, but I learned some other things that I'm going to keep. See my post for details.

    The two-days-a-week school sounds very interesting! I think it's funny, though, that you're worried about making time for home-based learning–my five-year-old is only at home a few hours a day, yet he's constantly learning things, both with his dad or me and on his own! Kids do that. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend How Children Learn by John Holt.

  31. Rebecca

    The part-time home-school/Catholic School sounds really interesting. I'm looking forward to read how it goes.

    The rosary really comes with a one-page sheet with all that information? Wow, I have a Rosary made out of the roses from my Grandfather's funeral, but the one-page sheet would be great. I'm off to check it out.

    Have a great weekend!

  32. Can I Change A Life?

    I read the "Little Lost Marion" article. I was struck by the comment about the generations that would have been lost if she had aborted because something similar happened to me, only it concerned the issue of artificial birth control.

    I was a cafeteria Catholic for years. Once I changed, becoming what I described as "hardcore" Catholic, I was still using ABC and never gave it a second thought. That is, until one day after Mass God showed me in a rather dramatic way that this had to change.

    Once I saw how wrong it was, I almost immediately saw with horror not just the kids I didn't have, but the generations that would not exist as a result of my decision.

    Ironically enough, I am only here to tell the tale because my mother refused to use ABC.

  33. Michelle Potter

    I really understand how you feel about limiting your internet time. I find that I am happier and enjoy my free time more when I limit my internet time. It's very easy for me to get sucked in and spend hours online every day; since I suffer from an anxiety disorder that makes it hard for me to make friends, I tend to look for friendships online. But I don't usually find what I am *really* looking for online — I find it when I limit my online time and spend time with my husband and kids.

  34. Kristin

    I'll be at the conference too. I'm so excited to see Danielle Bean in person. I love all the vendors too.

  35. Anonymous

    I've read A SEVERE MERCY several times, including just a few months ago. I've always loved it.

    That said, I was stunned to learn about Davy's surrendered child and the fact that Sheldon sought and found her after Davy's death.

    It is interesting that Davy and Sheldon never had children. They didn't want children when they married as pagans. There is a tantalizing sentence re: C.S. Lewis's comment on contraception; one wonders if Sheldon asked Lewis his opinion because he and Davy continued the practice after their conversion.

    At any rate, the book was wonderful and I, too, would love to read THE LOST LITTLE MARION AND OTHER MERCIES. The Interlibrary loan approach might work.

    ~ Nona

    PS: The advice re: home schooling from Jeana is on-the-money based on what many new homeschooling moms have told me. In fact, the advice applies widely when we hesitate in life.

  36. Kristin

    I'll be at the ARCH conference too. I'm so excited to see Danielle Bean. It's a great conference!

  37. Betty

    Try Loome Theological Booksellers. The let you set up a want list and when your items come up the let you know!

  38. Lenetta @ Nettacow

    I checked Paperback Swap and it's not there (no surprise) – try contacting your diocese, many have a library and you might be surprised at what they have… Good luck in finding it!

  39. Laura

    Aw, yay, Rosary Army! The founders are good friends of my family. It's been awesome to watch RA grow by leaps and bounds over the years. Since Greg and Jen started their podacst- turned- radio show, I hear less about RA, so it's good to hear they're still alive and kicking πŸ™‚

  40. KC

    I'll be at the ARCH conference. I can't wait to meet Danielle Bean.

    Hope to see you there!

  41. G

    Jen, You & Amber & others here are right to re-eval Internet use in light of our faith. Like anything else, its subtle (the devil's middle name!) but corrosive influence can be easily felt by anyone who is discerning about their relationship with God. Fact is, even "Catholic" sites are far from that many, many times. In the bigger picture, we're all being "entertained" right into our graves and we're happy, far too often, to let our kids walk that wide road too. So, while I love your site, I applaud your efforts to 'curb the surf'!

  42. JimmyV

    I started a dedicated prayer time every day during Lent and it was a great 10 minutes. I want to incorporate it into my ordinary routine but I have failed miserably so far. Usually I save my failures for during Lent. It is weird to be successful during Lent to fail afterwards.

  43. Wonder-ful

    I just wanted to let you know that I left a Sunshine Award for you on my blog.

    I really do enjoy reading your posts. They are very thought-provoking and have a sense of peace about them.


  44. Anonymous

    Thinking about Can I Change A Life's comment above about artificial birth control:

    Indeed, many children who would have been deeply loved and treasured are never born because their parents used artificial birth control. Better than outright killing them, of course, but still….

    I even have a problem with natural family planning (NFP). It, too, can be used to avoid welcoming a child in to the family when there is no serious reason to avoid the gift. I favor leaving this monumental decision to God via ecological breastfeeding as described in Sheila Kippley's excellent book BREASTFEEDING AND NATURAL CHILDSPACING. (Book ordering and NFP information here: http://www.nfpandmore.org/)

    All of us walk this planet as the current generational progeny of a fifth, sixth, ninth –who knows which? — child in the distant (or recent) family's past. In my own case my father was the youngest of 13 surviving children. (My grandmother had miscarriages, too.) My grandparents survived their country's revolution — and still had all those children.

    Sometimes I look at my youngest sibling, the youngest of 12 of us, and remind myself: She is the 12th child of a 13th child.


    I wonder if my youngest sibling's own six children will someday marvel about this reality and their great fortune in being alive. If their aunt has anything to say about it, they will!

    ~ Nona

  45. Em.

    Those are pretty cool looking rosaries. Now, for me to figure out what to do with one … πŸ™‚

  46. Anonymous

    great article love it keep up the good work

  47. Lucy

    I love the idea of a part time school! I'm intimidated by full time homeschooling (I was homeschooled – I know how much work it is!), but I hate having my kids gone all day. I wish there was something like what you descibe near where I live!

    Also, for hard to find used books, check out Abe Books or Eighth Day Books. I just looked and Abe Books has copies, but they're all about $60, too. That just might be the going rate for that book, unless you happen across it at a used book store that doesn't know what it has (not likely, but possible). I love A Severe Mercy (in fact, I took my blog title from it), and I'd love to read the book you mention!

  48. Erika

    Re: Your schooling choice for next year. So COOL! I've been teaching at one of these "hybrid schools" in Norcross, GA, for the last five years. It's been a great experience, and I'm so glad to hear that there are more of them out there.

  49. 'Becca

    Mama Bean: There are Protestant rosaries, too! I started using one during Lent this year. My post linked above tells a little about it, and you can e-mail me if you want to ask more.

  50. Sara

    How do you add your link? I'm sad and confused πŸ™

  51. Michelle

    I am HIGHLY intrigued about the idea of part-time Catholic school and can't wait to read about your experience. My children are in full-time Catholic school, but if I found a part-time Catholic school in my area, I would try to rearrange my life (I think) to work it…

  52. 'Becca

    Sara, if you were trying to link to this Friday carnival on Tuesday, the reason you couldn't was that it had closed. Once Jen puts up her post, it's open for links for about 24 hours. So try it on Friday next time.

    You also can link your post to your comment by clicking "Name/URL" and then putting in your name and the URL of the post you want to link to. (That's if you are coming here from the open Web…I don't know what sort of user interface you may have if using a blog reader, etc.)

  53. TXMom2B

    I limited my internet time during Lent, too, and found it going from frustrating to pleasant. I kept some of the best restrictions while going back to what I still missed at the end of Lent. I spend much less time on the internet daily while getting more out of it.

  54. Lilly

    As someone who went to a private catholic school in Texas, I am proud to see a difference my upbringing has over others. Even if it is part time I’m sure your kids will greatly benefit moreso with the homeschooling.

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