7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 82)

May 28, 2010 | 60 comments

— 1 —

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about books, so I’m just going to ask: Read anything good lately? Got any exciting books lined up for summer reading?

— 2 —

I love how various handheld email devices automatically include footers at the bottom of emails like:

Sent from my iPhone

It’s helpful to let people know that if the email seems abrupt, contains misspellings, etc. it’s because the sender wasn’t sitting in front of a computer and normal keyboard. I’ve decided I need something like that too. I try not to use the computer much when the kids are up, but sometimes I do catch a moment to jump on email, and I need an auto footer that says something like:

Sent while holding a squirming baby with one hand and hearing increasingly ominous shrieking sounds coming from the living room

That way if my responses seem scattered, incoherent, incomplete or contain random bursts of jklfdasfdsa from chubby hands banging on the keyboard, people will know what’s going on.

— 3 —

Anna Mitchell and I had another fun discussion for the SonRise Morning Show the other day. Our book this time was the super-short Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. You can take a listen here:

— 4 —

Here’s something I’ve found helpful for meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary: sometimes when I get stuck and can’t seem to “get into” the meditation, and I ask myself, How could this have played out differently, and what does it say about God’s nature that he didn’t do it that way? For example:

  • At the Wedding at Cana, when they ran out of wine Jesus could have announced that this was an opportunity for the hosting family to work on humility and not worry about superficial things like parties. But he didn’t.
  • At the carrying of the Cross, Jesus could have had winged angels come down and carry it for him. But he didn’t.
  • At the Annunciation, Mary could have told the Angel Gabriel that she needed to think about it, or asked for a few more details about what exactly would be involved in following this call. But she didn’t.

And so on. Then with each one, I consider, What does that say about God and his Son that these mysteries played out the way they did, instead of alternate ways they could have unfolded? I’ve found that little exercise to be a great help when praying the Rosary.

— 5 —

One amusing/unexpected thing I’m finding as I work on the book is that it’s kind of awkward that my maiden name is Bishop. Any time I refer to “the Bishops” as in my family, I need to make sure it’s clear that I don’t mean “the bishops” as in the shepherds of the Church. Kind of awkward.

Considering that Bishop is a pretty common last name, it makes me wonder if there’s ever been a Bishop Bishop.

— 6 —

A few years ago my family was asked to participate in a study of HNPCC, a genetic mutation that causes colon cancer. My dad’s family is known to carry it, so some researchers who combine genetics with genealogy wanted to get info from us to find out more about how this mutation has spread. Thorough the study we found out that my dad has it (hence his colon cancer 25 years ago); I had a 50/50 chance of inheriting it, but I didn’t get it (whew!).

What I found most interesting was the fact that they’ve traced all cases of HNPCC back to one man who came to America from Hesse, Germany in the early 1700’s. All of us who have or have parents who have the HNPCC mutation are related to one another. I’ve seen the researcher’s chart (names omitted) that shows all these thousands of people spread out all over the country, all going back to this one guy. I found that fascinating.

— 7 —

Happy Memorial Day!

And God bless all our veterans!

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. Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge
2. Roxane @ Peace Garden Mama
3. Rose (My Mama got fired for praying)
4. Angie @ Many Little Blessings
5. Flowers Round the Cross
6. Deborah needs advice! πŸ™‚
7. Sarah Reinhard @ SnoringScholar.com (Seven Summer Reads)
8. Kathryn (Bookworm)
9. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
10. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
11. Tami @ The Next Step
12. Lori
13. Jamie @A Rough Diamond
14. Therese: Aussie Coffee Shop
15. Pharmgirl @ Adventures in Pharm Land
16. NCSue
17. Jaime@ Under the Fig Tree
18. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
19. Mary @ Hope Echoes
20. Deanna@Notlukewarm but very random
21. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
22. Marcy K. at LiveCatholic
23. Becky
24. That Married Couple
25. Katherine @ Having Left The Altar
26. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
27. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
28. Mrs. Bubbles
29. Milehiama @ Mama Says (new blog carnival!)
30. Liesl @ The Spiritual Workout
31. Missus Wookie @ her wanderings
32. Transformed Hearts
33. Barbara C.@Box of Chocolates
34. Kathleen
35. el-e-e@hello self
36. Steph&Bogdan
37. Amanda @ Teasingly Diverse
38. Cassidy @ Praying Through Chaos
39. Maggie @ From the Heart
40. Sarah @ Fumbling Toward Grace
41. Sarah @ Simple Pleasures
42. Cheryl
43. Molly @ Just Simply
44. Sarah @ Passing for Normal
45. Mama Fuss
46. Tina @ Multiple Mom
47. Barb @ My Daily Round
48. Julia@ Blessed Obscurity
49. Erin@RunningatLarge
50. Katie @ Chronicles of KT
51. How are the Harmons?
52. Jen @ The Short Years
53. Nadja @ Patch O’ Dirt Farm
54. Daniel @ The 832
55. Sherry@Chocolate For Your Brain
56. Andrea @ Running with Perseverance
57. suburbancorrespondent
58. Box Full of Blessings
59. Jill@ClearestGlimpse
60. Melanie @ The Wine Dark Sea
61. Just a Minute
62. Catherine @ Adventures In Domesticity
63. SpitFire
64. Elizabeth Mahlou
65. Catholic Bibliophagist
66. Rebecca

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Kristen

    So funny you mentioned books because I just finished one so it ended up being my 7th Quick Take. If you haven't read Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes, it's worth it just for her descriptions of the churches in Italy. (She is actually a poet and her descriptions lend to that.) Plus I love how she has such deep love and respect for Our Lady and saints despite not being Catholic (she also is one of my parents' neighbors they just found out, but is selling her place by them). If you already read it, I apologize, but it's pretty good for others. A word of warning, if you loved the movie, the book is extremely different, but I loved it just as much!

  2. Amanda Borenstadt

    I'm just finishing Regina Doman's "Black as Night." I'm also reading, "The Tripods Attack" by John McNichol.

    I love the Rosary meditation ideas. πŸ™‚

  3. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jennifer, I like your idea of having various explanations at the end of each email that can automatically be inserted. πŸ™‚ Right now, mine would say, "Written by extremely tired mother of five who feels like she's been run over by a truck — five times." Thus, I have nothing inspiring for you this time. :)But do wish you a meaningful Memorial Day weekend!

  4. Maia

    Such a cool idea for Rosary meditation! Trying this one out tomorrow!

    Also, great segment on The Carrot Seed. I had to laugh as I listened. I posted on this in September and am excited I'm not the only one out there who saw a Catholic book (although you did a much better job at bringing that out!)

  5. Christopher

    I'm hearing a Great Horned Owl right now and imagining being out in the deep, ominous, enveloping darkness of Melkor in J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion, the creation story and early history of Middle Earth. I have Peter Kreeft's lectures on The Lord of the Rings to thank for inspiring me to re-read Tolkien – in fact I have him to thank for opening my mind to literature really for the first time… literally.

    I recently watched the Lord of the Rings movies on DVD, but I find myself in tears now that I am able to appreciate how full of truth and beauty the story is.

    I don't mean to advertise for Peter Kreeft – in fact I think he's been mentioned here before – but he has many excellent lectures on C.S. Lewis as well. I'm only beginning to read Lewis, starting with The Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, but I think he's a good giant on whose shoulders to stand, along with Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton too.

  6. Deborah

    I love that idea for the rosary. I also find applying the mysteries to my own life can be pretty profound. For instance, the scourging… how many times have I washed my hands of something I didn't want to deal with?

    I'm curious to hear how you got on with the Holy Spirit Novena. I did it for the first time and the difference it's made has been amazing. I always had a tough time grasping the concept of the Holy Spirit, but I feel a new sense of understanding and faith. Curious if you noticed anything! πŸ™‚

  7. Scott Johnston

    I recently read an extremely interesting book about the various subcultures of the contemporary art world. The book is, "Seven Days in the Art World," by Sarah Thornton. If you have any interest in art, and wonder about what it is like behind the scenes among the cultural elites of the contemporary art world, I highly recommend this book.

    Also on the topic of art, another great book (this one is philosophical and while not recently written, is timeless in its treatment of art) is, "Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation," by Josef Pieper (Ignatius Press). It's a short book, a collection of several talks in essay form. It offers some very thought-provoking meditations about art and what is so wonderful about art as a human endeavor, as a unique activity of the human person. Also highly recommended.

    Great idea about meditating on the mysteries of the rosary!

  8. Michael King

    Reading? Oh dear that's a toughie. Well I guess what I really want to dig into is (surprise surprise) some more theology and philosophy. The bonus this summer is that I will be meeting up with an old friend; a Mormon elder so we can share ideas. Other than that I REALLY want to finally read lord of the rings.

    I could never pray an entire rosary; I always found it too much so the way invented was to simply do one mystery a day from Monday to Friday. 5 mysteries and 4 sets. You can get through the entire thong in a month and by spending the day on it you can really dig deep. I love your approach – it is very meditative!

  9. Erin

    I find that interesting about your ancestor too, very interesting.
    Apologies about the incorrect linking.

  10. Tami Boesiger

    LOVE #2 Jennifer!

  11. Jamie

    You really set me to giggle with the idea of Bishop Bishop.

    I always wondered about the "Sent with my iPhone" or "Send by Blackberry" messages. You could be onto something there. What exactly is the subtext? I always think a bit differetly about it like "you are important for me to write back to, even thought I'm on-the-go".

    Enjoy your holiday.

  12. Lori and Brian

    This summer I am going to read Little Women, it has been on my list as a must read for a while now. And since my daughter just received it as a gift (see blog) I figured this is a sign to read it already!

  13. Pharmgirl

    I just finished "Blonde Roots" by Bernadine Evaristo, and man is that good! It's an alternate history that shows a world where Africans enslaved Europeans. Extremely thought provoking.

  14. Mary

    I have been guided to read Letting Go by Morrie Schwartz this summer. It has some different name, but my spiritual director suggested it.

    I somtimes meditate on things in my life that might in some small way echo what the mystery of the rosary is about and see where Christ was in the situation.

  15. Christine the Soccer Mom

    I didn't do my quick takes (again!), but I love your idea on helping you meditate on the Rosary. My favorite has been to ask, "What can the Blessed Mother teach me by her actions here?" The Joyful are easiest here, and sometimes, when she's not obviously in the "story," I meditate on "What is God teaching me to do? Who is He instructing me to be?"

    I might have to try writing about this. But for now, we're swamped with the end of ballet (recital tomorrow!) and upcoming travel plans.

  16. deanna

    Love "The Carrot Seed"
    Books for adults, "Francesca's Kitchen" and "Italian Lessons" both by Peter Pezzelli.

  17. Christine the Soccer Mom


    I've got several books, taking a page from Thomas Jefferson, who left books all over his house and tended to have one for each room, in case he didn't remember to carry one with him somewhere.

    The Once and Future King (about Arthur's beginnings as The Wart)

    The Two Towers

    What's Wrong with the World? (still)

    Mother Angelica's Private and Pithy Lessons &c.

    Read "The Shroud Codex," which was interesting, even if a little pulpy. (Not sure if I'm using that term correctly here, but it's how it struck me.) I liked it mainly for the factoids about the Shroud of Turin.

  18. Sharon

    Books–Right now I'm reading "Bringing Up Geeks: Protecting our Children in a Grow-Up Too Fast World" by Marybeth Hicks. I'm not sure what I'm going to read next, but I have tons of books to choose from since I keep buying them. Loved your Rosary meditation idea. I'm hoping to get my 7 Quick Takes post out today. God bless!

  19. That Married Couple

    I love the auto footer. And what a great idea for meditating on the mysteries – thanks for sharing that!

  20. Katherine

    I'm reading the children's classic Pollyanna. I've never read it before but I loved the Disney film.

    BTW, in college I knew a guy named Matthew Bishop. His brother was a priest. So the closest I can get is Fr. Bishop. πŸ™‚

  21. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    Loved your perspective on rosary meditation. I will try that!

    TRULY fascinating about the cancer gene and so thankful you did not inherit it! (Make me curious as I have a bit of German descent in my own heritage though)

    As for books: I'm currently enjoying CatholicMom.com's Lisa Hendey's new book "The Handbook for Catholic Moms" which I was happy to win in a Twitter giveaway contest and of which I'm preparing to "pay it forward" and do the same when I'm done reading by offering it as a give away on our website!

  22. Elizabeth

    Just finished reading the Lord of the Rings trillogy…again.
    (I think I might read the Tuscan Sun book previously mentioned)

    My husband made a set of dvd's with 10 images for each mystery to help our children to focus on the Rosary a little better. My 9 year old likes to announce the mysteries, but the 5 year old knows a lot of them (I didn't learn them until High School despite 8 years of Catholic Schooling).

    I love your idea for the automatic comments on the computer…Lumpy LOVES to grab anything and at 6 months is getting very good at it!

    I loved the cartoon πŸ™‚
    Blessings for a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  23. Paul H

    Considering that Bishop is a pretty common last name, it makes me wonder if there's ever been a Bishop Bishop.

    I often wonder something similar about the trend of turning last names into popular girls' first names. What happens if a girl named McKenzie or Madison or Taylor marries a man whose last name is McKenzie or Madison or Taylor?

  24. Wayne

    Great cartoon! By the way, did you notice the author/illustrator's signature is "Bish." Just thought that was a funny coincidence.

  25. Rachel B

    At first, the sorrowful mysteries were really hard for me to pray. Now when I am praying them, I imagine myself comforting Jesus in his sorrows… ashing his hed after the crown of thorns, cleaning his wounds, etc. That helps me.

  26. Anonymous

    Any mother or person who works with children must read "Endangered: Your Child in a Hostile World" by Johann Christoph Arnold. It gives great insight about the heart of a child. It provides a different perspective about how often they are not getting the love and respect they deserve and most of us don't realize it. Much of what children learn and pick up is not taught on purpose.

    "The Dark Side of the Light Chasers" by Debbie Ford is another one I would reccommend.


  27. Liesl

    somehow my blog linked twice…

    but I actually just posted a couple of book recommendations in mine! I also have a full out list of what I read with some reviews I will have to link to in my blog. But I just read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle and loved it, and I am reading People of the Book right now and am also loving it.

  28. Anonymous

    I recommend "Same Kind of Different as Me" by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I read a loaner book and purchased two copies after I read it!

  29. el-e-e

    I'm about to read "The Help," and "Commencement" by J. Courtney Sullivan. I think they'll at least be different from each other! Not very high-brow, but good for summer! πŸ™‚ Anxious to see what others have responded on that question.

  30. Stephanie Y.

    Book recs? Well I'm finishing Bleak House by Charles Dickens which has been wonderful.

  31. Juniper, a bean farmer

    Apparently, there was a Bishop Bishop, Vicar Apostolic to England in the early 17th century:


    In Philly, the newest Auxilary Bishop is Bishop Senior; but before that he got to be Monsignor Senior for a while, which is pretty cool.

  32. Jaimie

    The Bishop thing is a perfect chance for you to be witty. I'd make up a different name for your family, like The Bishop Family Not the Catholic Bishops and say that every time. Not THAT, but something like that. But it depends on the tone of your book, too.

  33. Abbot Joseph

    How about The Loser Letters, by Mary Eberstadt? It's hilarious, but also very much to the point, and as a former atheist I think you'd love it. It shows the arguments of atheists to be not only false but ridiculous as well. A quick read, but I wish it was twice as long.

  34. Cheryl

    I like the meditation ideas as well – I think they would work well not just for the rosary mysteries, but any event in which God intervened – or specifically chose not to.

  35. J. Steffenberry

    I'm a confirmed bookworm and there's nothing I love better than haunting the bookstores. I have a pile from my last visit, but the one I'm reading now is "The Four Witnesses." I love reading about the early church.

    I also love your idea for getting more out of your rosary meditations. I just wrote a poem on the Annunciation, and I hope to do a series on the whole Rosary as my own meditation.

  36. Nancy Piccione

    Jen, I'm mining all these great suggestions for summer fiction month at the Catholic Post Book Group. I've already planned reviews of Doman's fairy tale novels; they are excellent for teens and adults.

    Re: email signatures; I'm on an e-group where 1 mom's signature reads something like, "I wrote their either on my Blackberry or while holding/nursing a baby." So there's precedent for that…

  37. Judy

    I'm reading St. Faustina's Diary and a second book on Medjugorje.

  38. runningatlarge

    Have a lovely weekend, one and all!

  39. Joe

    Also re #2 if people get my 'Sent from my Blackberry' line they will hopefully know that I might not be able to open certain attachments, etc.

  40. HillS

    Love love love 2!!

    This is being sent from my itouch while feeding my 8 week old πŸ™‚

  41. a

    In response to Paul H…
    One of my favorite bosses ever was a woman named Frances Francis. So I guess it happened even with old-fashioned little girls' names!

  42. Rachel Gray

    I know a Fr. Bishop. We Catholics have also had a Cardinal Zen, and better yet, a Cardinal Sin.

    I also like Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, and Dario Cardinal CastrillΓ³n Hoyos, because those names are just cool. Oh, don't forget Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household. His last name means "sings the Mass", which is perfect for a priest. πŸ™‚

  43. Kelly the Kitchen Kop

    Jen aren't you all fancy getting the audio embedded right in your post all nice like that?! πŸ™‚ Gonna go listen in a sec…

    Hey, about the genetic thing, that IS so interesting. Don't you wonder where HE got it and whoever it started with, HOW did it start? We're they exposed to something environmental? What else could have happened I wonder?

    Have a nice weekend!

  44. Kate

    Re: the Mom footer, I belong to a forum where the ladies commonly sign their posts with BIA or KIA (for Babe In Arms or Kid in Arms) or NAK (Nursing At Keyboard) and it really is fabulous for providing an instant explanation for why one's message is abrupt or unfinished…I've often wished that those codes were more widespread so that I could use them when someone tries to open a chat with me when I'm nursing or when I need to send an email while the kids are climbing me!

  45. Jess

    The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. Very nice prose, very entertaining fiction.

  46. Jenny

    Thank you for hosting Jennifer!

  47. Catherine

    I'm listening to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (while I knit) and I'm reading The Divine Commodity, Plan B, A Rat Is A Pig Is A Dog Is A Boy, and another book that is a historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine among others. I don't have a basket large enough for all the books I'm currently reading. I either need a larger basket or a 12 step program!

    I liked your thoughts on the rosary. I'm an Evangelical (and very comfortable with my theology) and I just got a one century set of prayer beads. I knew nothing about praying the rosary until I started researching how I was going to use my beads. While I choose not to use the full set of rosary prayers, I definitely appreciate the usefulness of meditating on the different mysteries.

  48. SpitFire

    I'm reading a whole slew of books, because in a fit of temporary insanity I signed up for a bunch of reading challenges. Currently I'm working on Beauty, a retelling of Beauty & the Beast.

  49. Ann G.

    My very favorite books of all time are written by Bud Macfarlane,Jr.
    They are Conceived Without Sin, Pierced by a Sword, and House of Gold. These are Catholic fiction but with the Truth of the Catholic faith woven throughout. The characters pull you right into their lives. Each one of these would be a great summer read. I have re-read each of these at least 3 times.
    And the truly awesome thing is that these books are available FREE on Catholicity.com. Look under heading Free Catholic Novels.

  50. Douglas Naaden

    When I was a little kid there was a priest that was a friend of the family, Fr. Robert Bishop, but we only called him Fr. Bishop. For the longest time, I thought he was a bishop and I thought the proper way to address any bishop was "Father Bishop."

  51. Inspired Catholic

    I'm reading "St. Catherine of Siena" by Sigrid Undset – and it is the best saintly biography that I've ever read. I hang on his every word, and I don't have any particular devotion to St. Catherine. It's spectacular and I highly recommend it!

  52. Heidi

    LOVE #2.
    I think I may modify my email signatures (for both computer and phone)to reflect something along these lines!

    Also the rosary meditations–very neat idea!

  53. Catholic Bibliophagist

    If the name Bishop is proving awkward in your book, why not substitute a pseudonymous last name for that branch of the family?

  54. Rebecca

    I just finished "The Postmistress"…it was very good.

    I just received a great Catholic Study Bible that I plan to read lost of this summer.

  55. Anonymous

    I'm reading "The Closing of the American Mind" by Allan Bloom. Very interesting… especially how the Weimar Republic and U.S. have both been influenced by German philosophy. If you haven't already, I think you will like this book.

  56. Lana

    Love and Longing in Bombay by Vikram Chandri. Very cool book of short stories.

  57. Carolyn

    I have been trying out that idea for meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary this week – and I am loving it! Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  58. Anonymous

    On your comment somewhere about people named "Bishop" I actually found out the reason. In Medieval times actors specialized in roles; that person's likely had an ancestor who was a noted actor, not necessarily one who was illegitimate.


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