7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 77)

April 23, 2010 | 40 comments

— 1 —

I never cease to be amazed at how important it is to have dedicated planning time each week. Every Sunday evening I take an hour go through the following routine:

  • Go through my desk inbox, open mail, look at the “add to to-do list” file that I keep on my computer, etc.
  • Look at my Google Calendar, transfer that week’s events to my awesome paper day planner.
  • Create a to-do list for the week, print it out.
  • Plan the week’s meals, update my display template, print it out.
  • Take my day planner and the printouts of my to-do list and weekly menu and put them on the kitchen counter. (It helps me resist temptation to waste time on the computer to have everything I need on paper.)

Since we were traveling last weekend I didn’t get any of that done, and this week was chaos. I was reminded the hard way that some people can fly by the seat of their pants and stay on top of things; I’m not one of them.

— 2 —

Anna Mitchell and I had another fun discussion about Christian themes in classic children’s books on the SonRise Morning show this week, this time talking about The Giving Tree. Here’s the audio if you’d like to take a listen:

— 3 —

All the comments to my recent post about the Rosary were so great. I wanted to highlight one in particular since it came in late and many people may have missed it. Suzanne said that someone offered her the following suggestion:

Think of it as sitting down with Mary and she is showing you her scrapbook of events in the life of her son. That totally blew my mind, because I am an avid scrapbooker and have scrapbooked every single event of my two now-20-something boys. So I GOT that! When I pray, I meditate on the “photo album” that she is showing me and “listen” to her tell me the story behind each “photo.” Totally MADE the rosary for me!

I loved that “Rosary as looking through Mary’s scrapbook” analogy and just had to share!

— 4 —

Every time we hang out with my grandfather I always wish I had some great questions to ask him that would really mine the depth of his life experience and wisdom. He’s almost 96 years old and is still doing very well (he regularly cooks us gourmet meals like the ones I shared in #6 here!) We’ve had some fascinating discussions about what it was like for him to see a plane for the first time, how exotic other parts of the U.S. seemed before modern transportation, what life is like without electricity, etc. and I always wish I could think of more cool stuff to ask him along those lines.

Anyone have any suggestions for cool questions I could ask my grandfather? A brief bio: he was born in 1914, grew up in Texas, but lived most of his adult life in Mexico and Colombia. If you could meet him, what would you ask him?

— 5 —

I’m part of this great ministry at our parish where we take turns cooking dinners for the priests. My grandfather usually does the cooking for me, and he looks forward to it for weeks ahead of time. He spends days sketching out possible food combinations that he could concoct for “the padres” (as he calls them, since his main experience with priests and Catholicism is from when he lived in Mexico). It makes him feel so good to have a way to contribute.

The priests actually have so many people offering to cook for them that we’re having to cut down on portion sizes so that they don’t waste food. There are a lot of people out there who, like my grandfather, love to have the opportunity to be able to help someone else by sharing the gift of homemade food. I really love the way that ministry brings people together.

— 6 —

I keep thinking about Bearing’s recent posts about co-schooling (scroll down to see them all). It sounds like it might eventually turn into a full-fledged homeschooling co-op, but I like the way she’s started small and let it grow organically. I’m going to keep that in mind as an option as we venture into homeschooling in the Fall.

(I have to mention: Bearing also has a great series about rethinking her relationship with food. Her posts are everything that you would expect from an engineer: detailed, thorough and wonderfully analytical. The annotated index of all her posts on eating, weight loss, food and spirituality, etc. is here.)

— 7 —

I’m going to have to ask God for an extension on April. I just looked at my calendar to see that May starts at the end of next week. Where did this month go?

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 @ MyCup2Yours
2. violingirl
3. Roxane @ Peace Garden Mama
4. Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge
5. Elizabeth Mahlou
6. Mrs. Bubbles
7. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
8. Suz@One of Five
9. Tami @ The Next Step
10. Phyllis @ Life on Windy Ridge
11. Mary @ Hope Echoes
12. Saila @ Considering the Lilies
13. becomewhatyouare
14. Patch O’ Dirt Farm
15. Rose @ Adventures In Savings
16. Michelle aka Catholic lady
17. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
18. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
19. Flowers Round The Cross
20. Happy Geek
21. Addlebook Rambles
22. Sarah Reinhard @ SnoringScholar.com
23. Jaime @ Under the Fig Tree
24. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
25. Kathleen@so much to say, so little time
26. Tina @ Multiple Mom
27. Tracy@The Secret of Living
28. Deanna@Notlukewarm
29. The Praying Mom
30. Barb @ My Daily Round
31. Sheila @ Seasoned Joy
32. Cheryl
33. Mrs K
34. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
35. Jessica
36. Miriel @ seeking Solomon
37. Esther @ The Mommy Diaries
38. Milehimama @ Mamaa Says
39. byzymom
40. Sherry@Chocolate For Your Brain!
41. majellamom
42. Margaret in Minnesota
43. Karen in Mommyland
44. Transformed Hearts
45. Christian H @ Thinking Grounds
46. Charlotte
47. Mindyleigh
48. Hand Me Down Heaven
49. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
50. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
51. SpitFire@OneStepJourneys
52. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
53. That Married Couple
54. Lindsey @ Love is Triune
55. Julia@ Blessed Obscurity
56. Sharon
57. Terri @ The Very Latest Thing
58. Hand Me Down Heaven
59. Teasingly Diverse
60. Christina@Mrs. Broccoli Guy
61. AnotherCatholicLady
62. Jen @ The Short Years
63. Katie @ Song of a Sunflower
64. Elena @MyDomestic Church
65. Gillian – Life of a Photographer
66. Alice @ Accidental Grad Student
67. Summer @ Home
68. TradCats
69. Catherine @ Adventures In Domesticity
70. Jillian @ Welcome To Jillville
71. Sarah @ Simple Pleasures

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Genny

    I'm such a planner! I love your dedicated planning time.

    And I love the meal ministry at your church. I've been on the giving and receiving end of meal ministries and I think they are awesome.

    Hope you are well!


  2. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jen, I like the idea of printing out your to-do list. I do this when I'm leaving town for the weekend, but never at the beginning of the week. And as you guessed, I'm constantly running to my computer to check on my list. Unfortunately, it changes by the hour, it seems, so…I'm not sure I could keep up with that. But I still LIKE the idea of finding ways to minimize computer time. The food looks delicious. Oh, and my grandma was born around that same year. I just ask her general questions about what it was like when she was younger, and it's always entertaining. I, too, want to collect as many stories as possible. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Nicole

    Just started the roll as a SAHM. Love # 1 for this week….I feel lost right now and not sure what day of the week we are on…looking toward to trying out some of your tools!

  4. Rose Atwater

    I need to start the weekly printing habit. It's so easy to open up the laptop to check my menu for the week, and then I get 'stuck' checking email, reading blogs, etc.

  5. Jaime

    Love #7! Also…I passed my mother your post on the rosary and I think it was really good for her. Thank you!

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

    I always do better on the weeks when I plan that kind of detail–the weeks when I even plan what blog posts I'm going to write on what days are definitely more productive!

    I've been thinking about the Rosary thing a lot lately. I have trouble sleeping and often use the Rosary as a way to lull myself into a quieter place…oh, who am I kidding? I use it to go to sleep. (Shamefaced admission.) Last night I tried to think it through differently b/c of your post.

  7. bearing

    I don't think my friends and I are going to expand to a full-fledged co-op — except maybe by having more children!

    But watch for more on the subject. Today I think I'll write about the littlest children.

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

    BTW, Nicole–I empathize with you. I had a lot of trouble adjusting to how to keep myself busy with a baby at home. Have no fear, it will come. Just feel your way through it.

  9. Barb

    I'm with you on that planning time! I used to be an office manager back when I only had one kid, and I did pretty well. But fast forward to five kids, and that ability to fly by the seat of my pants just doesn't work anymore. I've been working on sitting down for 30 minutes each week to plan out the next week. I frequently end up spreading that planning time over a few days because I still haven't disciplined myself yet for a dedicated time. But…when I do map out the next week, I don't overwhelm myself with tasks and it's easier to be flexible.

    Before this post gets too long, I love the idea of a meal ministry! It's such a great way to give back to one's pastor.

  10. Cheryl

    I like the co-schooling posts – it reminds me a bit of co-ops and of University-Model Schooling, but smaller and more intimate (and thus more flexible and more able to meet the specific needs of the folks involved). Very nice idea with lots of benefits.

  11. marie

    My grandmother is almost 99. I ask her questions about her parents. Her grandparents. Her earliest memory. How Christmas and birthdays and other holidays were celebrated. I ask her about clothes, shoes, hairstyles. I ask her about funny stories she remembers about her siblings. I ask her about food and meals and wat they ate for lunch at school. I ask her how many children were in her classroom.

  12. Jessica

    I love how you have everything planned out a week ahead of time. I could never do that. I get so distracted by the computer. Like right now… I'm supposed to be studying.

    Also, that meal looks amazing. Just thought I'd share that.

  13. SherryTex

    Cannot function without list. Glad to know it's not just me.

    I'd ask a man who'ld lived 96 years three questions:
    What was his best day?
    What haven't you done that you wish you had?
    What would you hope I would learn from your life?
    and I'd write everything he said down.

  14. Sarah Boyle Webber

    Love your blog!

    My husband and I are trying to be consistent and use Google calendar for everything for the family so that each of us knows where the other (and the kids) are going to be. On Saturday, I print out the next week and put it on the fridge to remind me. This has helped me to organize my errands for the week, although since I have my mornings free with both kids in school, I have a lot of flexibility.

  15. TRS

    Oh… you bless me.
    I first read The Giving Tree as an adult… and I've always hated it. Selfish, selfish boy. Horrible story.
    Thank you and Anna for showing me this perspective. Now I understand clearly why I am bothered by the story… because it goes so against my faith beliefs. Now I can appreciate the lesson within. Whew!

    And I love the idea of going through Mary's scrapbook with her. Beautiful!

  16. Mindyleigh

    Thanks for the reminder about planning. I needed to remember how productive it is to do so.

    Also, I thought about this post while praying the Rosary today, imagining Mary showing me her scrapbook. 🙂

  17. Julie Cragon

    I used to love spending time just talking with my grandparents. Those from the early 1900's are true survivors. We talked a lot about how it was trying to raise my dad and his brother and her "allowance" to run the house. The other side of the family talked about how lucky they were to have a two holer because their dad was a plumber and how he use to give to any and every one. Cherish the time. It passes way too quickly.

  18. Jamie

    I'm going to have to think more about your hour-of-planning idea. It seems totally obvious, but I think that hour of planning would help my family immensly. We use a shared Google calendar, but sometimes things just get missed anyway.

    Also, I think it is a great ministry to cook for the priests. We participate in a program called Aid for Friends with my church, that delivers meals to shut-ins. I do it with my kids so they know that not every person gets a hot meal every evening. I do out of my way to make soups (that I know elderly people enjoy) and I love seeing my kids share in that charity.

  19. Suzanne

    Jennifer…thanks for highlighting the Rosary thing…glad to know it helps some else! Kathleen, I also have a hard time sleeping (lovely menopause…sigh) and started praying the rosary. I felt somewhat bad, but I think that Mary is our Mother and she knows that we need a good night's sleep (what did your mother always tell you??), so anything she can do to help is ok w/ her. Another friend told me that she asks her Guardian Angel to finish the rosary for her in case she falls asleep….loved that one too!

  20. Heather

    My last remaining grandparent died right before my 13th birthday, and I realize now that I would deeply love to have the opportunity to talk with them as an adult.

    If I could ask my grandparents, I would love to hear their thoughts on today's woman/mother/wife as compared to women 50-60 years ago. Particularly as relating to gender roles, behaviors and values.

  21. Anonymous

    Hi Jen,

    If your grandfather went to see movies when he was a small boy they would have been silent films. He could have seen Ben Hur when it was first released! I would ask him what it was like the first time he saw a talkie. I would also ask if he remembers the titles of any movies he saw as a child, and see if you can rent them on Netflix and watch them together.


  22. Bonnie

    My grandfathers are both alive, and I had two great-grandfathers alive through high school. Cool stories I still remember:
    – most important day of his life (tie for First Communion and marrying Great Grandma from Great Gpa W)
    – how they celebrated different holidays when they were little
    – what they were known for in high school
    – hardships of starting a family during the Great Depression
    – how to wipe your butt in an outhouse (it involves different colored corn cobs)
    – how to swear in German
    – what their parents were like
    – what they did for fun (square dances… baseball games…)
    It's amazing the other stories that spring off of these prompts.
    Have fun!

  23. Katie O.

    Have you ever thought about getting a getting a digital voice recorder (or a tape recorder, I suppose!) to record your grandfather answering your questions? Ask him about the basics – his parents, his grandparents, what it was like in the town where he grew up. Did he ever get really sick before modern medicine? (I know my grandmother had to re-learn how to walk at age 5 after being hospitalized for a long time for scarlet fever, and my grandfather wasn't allowed out of the house for 6 weeks after aural surgery.) Ask if he'd do anything differently, ask what he thinks the future will look like based on the changes he's seen in the past, ask him to look at your kids' lives how they're different from his life growing up.

    If you look at a site (like this one: http://genealogy.about.com/cs/oralhistory/a/interview.htm) that suggests oral history interview question, you may get some ideas. They're more about personal details and less about the deep profundities of his experience and wisdom, but you never know where they may lead!

  24. Paul

    Jennifer, here are some questions for your grandfather. What was the greatest invention during his lifetime? What did he do as a child to entertain himself (no television or texting and maybe little radio)? Also, I know he was young, but did any of his family die from the great influenza epidemic (~1918)? (My Nana wrote how it took a friend of hers.)

  25. Julie D.

    Jen, the "snapshots with Mary" is powerful imagery which I also love. It can be found in Gary Jansen's book which I highly recommend, "The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved." It is part of the excerpt used in the review, which can be found here.

  26. Angie

    Jennifer, one thing that we did with my mother-in-law before she passed away was to get her a book to write down (or in this case I played scribe) her memories. I found many on line but the one I ended up getting and liking was called A Grandparents's Legacy. It is a real treasure now that she's died- there were lots of stories my husbands siblings hadn't heard. And since our family is still growing I am so glad to have somethings to share with our kids about the grandma they'll never meet but will certainly know.

  27. mrsbroccoliguy

    That's so cool about your grandfather and the meals. Wish I had a grandfather to cook meals for me – I always *want* to cook for new moms and others in need at our church, but I'm so overwhelmed at the idea of cooking an additional meal my family won't even see and worrying that it's good enough for strangers to eat… bad excuses, I know.

  28. Katie

    I've never heard the Rosary described so well! Thank you for reposting that description! It motivates me to want to pray it right now!

  29. Jessica

    The suggestion that Suzanne was given most likely came from the book The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved, by Gary Jansen


    Your beloved knocks. The door opens. You meet Mom.

    And she turns out to be the nicest person you've ever met.

    She welcomes you into the family, and she radiates kindness and beauty. All that worrying, all those moments of self-doubt subside, and in a matter of seconds you feel excited to be in her presence. You look around and don't see the father, but you sense that he is everywhere in this home.

    Now let's take a step back. You have never experienced a love like the one you have with your beloved, and, while you feel an openness, you admit to yourself that this person can be a mystery to you. You have questions. It's not that you don't feel close to your beloved, it's just that you begin to hunger and thirst to know everything about this love that has come into your life. And to be perfectly honest, you feel intimidated, because your beloved is such a complete person, and you feel, more often than not, less than whole.

    What were you like as a child? What were your parents doing before they had you? What were your friends like? Did you ever get lost? What were some of the loneliest times of your life? Why did you come into my life?

    You've held off asking some of these questions of your beloved, but here in front of Mom, you feel strangely comfortable to let loose. It's as if she is standing there ready to embrace you and help you understand everything. Who better than your beloved's mother to answer all these questions swirling in your mind? Who better to provide insight than the woman who carried your beloved in her body for nine months and who experienced the pain and joy of bringing her child into the world?

    You begin to ask all your questions, and this woman who you've just met seemingly transforms into your own mother. She smiles and takes down a scrapbook and the two of you begin looking at pictures.

    This is a picture of me when I first found out I was going to have a baby, she says.

    This is a picture of my cousin and me. We were both pregnant at the same time.

    Here's one right after the birth. So many people came to visit us.

    Here are a few pictures of a wedding we attended, and this is a picture of . . .

    So you sit in her presence and page through the scrapbook of their lives. These pictures tell stories, and you begin to understand what was once a mystery. You feel this family's happiness, their sorrows, their illuminations, and the glory of their lives. All of a sudden, the worries, the fears, the doubts, the brokenness, the distractions that you seem to feel on a daily basis fall away, and you are transformed by love.

    That is the Rosary.

    From The Rosary: A Journey to the Beloved, by Gary Jansen

  30. Anonymous

    Oh, Julie, you beat me to it! How did I miss your comment? . . .

  31. Rachel Gray

    Jen, I would ask your grandfather how he met your grandmother, and all about what courtship was like when he was single, and how it had changed by the time his kids were dating. Thanks for your blog; I always enjoy it!

  32. Summer

    This is my first time commenting and doing a Quick Takes.

    Thank you for your wonderful and insightful blog. I have laughed out loud so many times. I have also gone to bed pondering one of your posts just as often.

    Thank you and God Bless,

  33. Lindsey

    One #1: Wait, what? You can do all that in an hour? I'm so scatter-brained, it feels like sometimes it takes me a whole morning to plan a week of meals and make a shopping list. It's why, lately, I've given up on basically any planning whatsoever (and I homeschool, so this is very sad). And consequently, my life is, like you said, chaos.

  34. Anna

    I worry a lot about the state of the world today, and if it can get any worse. But I know that every generation has felt like that. I'd ask your grandfather about that- the world, if it's better or worse, if he had any particular fears and if they came true.

    Cheery, isn't it?

  35. Jillian

    I can't believe #1 on your list!! It sounds so amazing and so foreign to me to be that organized and dedicated!! I YEARN for that ability – I think I am going to print out your #1 on a post-it note and stick it to my fridge or my bathroom mirror as motivation!! 🙂 I've added my url to the link for today – thanks so much for hosting! 🙂

  36. JoAnna

    Regarding #4, would this list help?

  37. starrball

    That rosary thing is awesome! I've only just dabbled with the rosary because I haven't gotten a whole lot out of it yet but I hope to delve deeper in the future. And Ive got that cd on my wishlist!

  38. Mrs. C

    I wish I was more of a planning kinda gal….but I just don't do it. I always fly by the seat of my pants. I was much more organized when my kids were smaller. Now…I just have my son who is almost 14 to tend to and my hubby. I am very routine in my day. I do plan meals every week and thats about it. Life is slower now. It is great. 🙂

  39. Mrs. C

    I love the idea of how your church takes turns preparing meals for the preists. I'm not much of a planner. Never was and I don't think it's in my blood. I always fly by the seat of my pants. I am not organized either. I was more when the kids were small….but now they are older and I just have my 14 yr.old son to tend and hubby. I do plan my meals every week….if that counts? LOL!
    Gr8 blog!!

  40. Manny

    How about asking your grandfather at what year did life really seem to change to be modern? And why.


  1. Seven Quick Takes: Volume V « From the Scriptorium - [...] Seven Quick Takes: Volume V April 23, 2010 by Morfudd Another Friday with the lovely ladies at Conversion Diary. [...]
  2. 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 78) : Conversion Diary - [...] whether or not I think I have a man-voice. I decided that I don’t think I do (you can…

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates