7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 87)

July 2, 2010 | 46 comments


— 1 —

Our trip to Mt. Angel Abbey was incredible. The highlight was finally getting to meet my cousin, Br. Claude Lane. My husband and I have been wanting to visit him since we were first put in touch with him, shortly before we entered the Church in 2007, and hanging out in person was even better than we’d imagined it would be. He gave us a personal tour of the Abbey, ate almost every meal with us, and we even got to see his iconography studio (pictured here). The trip would have been nice anyway, but it made it something truly special to spend time with him.

— 2 —

Every time my husband and I got off the elevator at the Mt. Angel guest house, we would see this framed text and laugh:

click to enlarge

(Don’t miss the last sentence.) I kept thinking that it would make a great comments policy.

— 3 —

I just found out our babysitter is leaving. We did find one shortly after I wrote this post, but, alas, now she must move on. She has a Masters in biology from Stanford, and I keep trying to convince her that staying here would be the best use of her degree. “Have you ever seen mold like that?” I say when we pass by the bathroom. Throwing my hands up to the heavens, I add, “If only someone around here had the background to know if it’s cladosporium or alternaria!” Later, when the baby wipes her nose on her jeans, I point out, “Can you imagine the bacteria she must have gotten on you? I mean that’s, what, at least a thousand different species right there.” So far she seems unconvinced.

— 4 —

Who is your favorite public speaker? I’m working on brushing up my speaking skills and have been enjoying studying videos of great orators. Bonus points if you can provide a link to a video of them speaking.

— 5 —
The desk in our room at Mt. Angel where I did a lot of writing

I finished
the book! I mentioned it on Twitter last week and was overwhelmed by all the kind replies — thank you! There’s still a lot of work to do in revision, but I was so blocked on getting to the end that I took bestselling author Steven Pressfield’s advice and simply “covered the canvas.” It’s a great sense of accomplishment to have a completed draft, and I’m finding revision much easier than staring at a blank page. I’m glad I pushed through and got something down, even if it’s not perfect.

— 6 —

Since so many people asked, here’s why I abruptly ended take #2 a couple weeks ago, where I was doing my parody of that I’m on a Boat video: I actually had another paragraph all written up after my I’m on Retreat lyrics in which I cast my version of the original video. I dropped the names of some blogging buddies to play the parts of the two friends I take with me. For the friend who doesn’t get chosen, I wanted someone with a good sense of humor, so I cast Matt Archbold of Creative Minority Report. Then I needed a fabulous celebrity cameo for the role of T-Pain, so I suggested that we could have celebrated author and speaker Dr. Scott Hahn cover that role (and, yes, that marks the first time anyone has ever said “T-Pain” and “Scott Hahn” in the same sentence).

I had it all written up, including some additional lyrics substituting more Christian terminology for multi-syllabic profanity, and then I had a flash of just how horribly awry it could go: I imagined readers not getting the joke, my friends whom I didn’t list as being a part of the video being surprisingly offended, the ones whom I did list being more offended, my blog mysteriously missing from the Creative Minority Report blogroll the next morning, and it all ending with some reader’s brother’s mother-in-law’s uncle’s sister forwarding the link to Dr. Hahn and him scratching his head in front of his computer, equally disgusted and confused, saying, “Who is this bizarre woman?”

— 7 —

Happy 4th of July! I’ll be spending the evening holed up in my house like the joyless curmudgeon that I am, only creeping out of doors long enough to shake my fist at the neighbors and their fireworks-related merrymaking. If you would like to read more about my thoughts on fireworks — complete with a chart to support my case — you may do so here.

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. Thrifty Mystics
2. Kristen @ St Monica’s Bridge
3. Tami @ The Next Step
4. Leah @ Unequally Yoked
5. Dawn by Design
6. Rose @ Adventures In Savings
7. Defend Us In Battle!
8. Tina @My Pricless Fishers
9. Erin @ Seven Little Australians Plus One
10. Saila @ Considering the Lilies
11. Maria @ Call of Duty Mom
12. Kathryn (Bookworm)
13. DebbieQ @ stop her she’s knitting
14. Sharon@Musings of a Catholic Mom
15. Why my kids will hate me someday@so much to say, so little time
16. Judy @ A Thankful Woman’s Book of Blessings
17. Jaime @ Under the Fig Tree
18. Michelle @ Musings of a Catholic Lady
19. That Married Couple
20. Living with Three Hobbits and a Giant
21. Jenny@Just a Minute
22. Simcha Fisher
23. Jill @ ClearestGlimpse
24. Sara @ A Shower of Roses
25. Special K
26. Patch O’ Dirt Farm
27. Laura
28. Joy@ joy in the morning
29. Catholic Mutt
30. Mary @ Hope Echoes
31. Sarah @ This Heavenly Life
32. Mama Fuss
33. Lisa Sweet
34. Julie at Elisharose
35. Bonnie
36. Bonnie@Newlywed
37. Liesl @ The Spiritual Workout
38. Therese: Aussie Coffee Shop
39. Colleen
40. Sarah Reinhard @ SnoringScholar.com
41. Chelsea @ Roots & Rings
42. Elizabeth Mahlou
43. Aubrey @ Laughing All the Way
44. Jenelle @ Effortlessly Complicated
45. Elisa @ ElisaLoves
46. Milehimama @ Mama Says
47. Elizabeth @ Goodness Added
48. Sarah@Passing for Normal
49. Linda @ Curious Notions
50. Elena @MyDomestic Church
51. Patty@Sevenfold Blessing
52. Karen S. @ Imitation of Mary
53. Jordana @ Curmudgeonry
54. Kathleen (responsible one)
55. Dorian Speed @ Scrutinies
56. Jenny @ Lest I Forget
57. a broader mark
58. Kim @talklesssaymore
59. Mindyleigh @ The Devout Life
60. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond
61. Transformed Hearts
62. Donna@GrazBlog
63. Blair’s Blessings, “Toddler Theology”
64. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith
65. Miriel @ seeking Solomon
66. Rachel
67. Flowers Round the Cross
68. Monica @ Easy From Now On
69. Christian H @ Thinking Grounds
70. Jenn-Home is Where
71. Seeking Steward
72. Mrs K @ The First Four Years
73. Gill – Life of a Photographer

Powered by… Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets.


  1. Leah

    Congratulations on finishing the book!

  2. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    Great job finishing your book, that is awesome! And I am anti-firework unless it's a big public display. One of our neighbors who lives behind us is a firefighter and sets them off constantly (they're outlawed in this state) so I call the cops constantly. He pays the tickets and keeps doing it. If I didn't have a dog who is deathly afraid of them and we didn't share a fence it might not be such a big deal. But we do so it is.

  3. Rose Atwater

    LOL – your quick takes always make me smile! I personally LOVE fireworks, as long as they're very far away from ME!! hehe.

  4. Dawn by Design

    Oh, yes, for a good babysitter there is no substitute. Except a new one. Hope you find one!

  5. Joe (Defend Us In Battle)

    So stressful trying to do this every week! ๐Ÿ™‚

    But it keeps me honest!

    How come there are about 70 people that post every week, and yet I am one of about 5 guys that does it? Should I be concerned?

  6. Joe (Defend Us In Battle)

    Oh and btw– WE WANT THE IM ON A RETREAT full unedited version.

    Dr. Hahn will be fine, and the CMR boys will take it in stride…

  7. Tina Fisher

    Congratulations on finishing the book…happy editing.

    Glad you were able to meet your cousin!

  8. Debbie

    Hurrah on finishing the book!!

  9. Sharon

    Congratulations on finishing your book! Have a blessed Fourth of July weekend.

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

    #7– Hahaha! I get where you're coming from, although I personally adore fireworks…not just the annoying "goes boom" bottle rockets, but things that actually do something pretty. But I wish people wouldn't stay up till midnight messing with them!

    Congrats on finishing the first draft of the book.

  11. Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website

    Looking forward to your book:)
    You say that the Benedictine wall-hanging would be great for the comment box…I'm almost certain my husband would think it an appropriate "house rules-hanging" for our TEENS!

  12. Jenny

    Thank you Jennifer for hosting this every Friday.

  13. Laura

    Congratulations on finishing your book. Can't wait until it is ready to read!

    I love that sign from the monks. I can think of may uses for it!

    Have a great weekend.
    God Bless

  14. Jessica

    Our favorite speaker is, without a doubt, Father John Corapi! His entire heart is always in his words and he boldly speaks the truth.

    Here is Father Corapi giving a condensed version of his conversion story:


  15. Bekah

    Congratulations on your book! What an accomplishment! I can't wait to hear publishing details. LOL

    Completely off topic, may I invite you and other readers here to check out my new blog experiment? I will be reading public domain Catholic classic literature, one chapter a day, starting Monday. I'd love others to join me and discuss. I am starting with some Chesterton.

  16. Liesl

    Congrats on finishing the book!

    And I would have loved to see the rest of the lyrics to the "I'm on a Boat" parody. Scott Hahn as T-Pain would probably be classic.

  17. Roxane B. Salonen

    Jen, enjoyed your update, especially the photo of you and the monk, and the warning of being kicked off monastery grounds by two stout monks. Priceless. Glad you're back home in your mundane word, fist poised to fend off those who might b enjoying themselves. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and the book. Happy for you! That's great news. I knew you could do it!

  18. Christy

    Congrats on finishing the book, what a great accomplishment! It will touch so many people in so many wonderful ways, just as your site has!

  19. Steve T.

    OK, does your cousin the monk iconographer have a website of his portfolio available? And does he sell his icons to the public?

    I'd love to have an icon of St. Joseph. And one of St. Stephen. And one of St. Michael laying the beatdown on Satan. And one of St. Dismas!

    OK, OK, I'm calmer now.

    Thank you!

  20. Karen

    I read your linked fireworks post and had to laugh. Although I didn't think how the fireworks would effect my son this year. Yikes! And my husband hates the noise. I do, too. But I do like the pretty lights they make.

  21. The Sojourner

    Can I seriously use that picture as my comments policy? (With attribution, of course.)

  22. Elizabeth

    Congratulations on the book!

    This is my first Quick Takes. I love the idea. Thanks for hosting!

  23. Patty

    Wow, congratulations! I am amazed at your ability to write a book with four children age five and under.

    Thanks for sharing with us you visit to the monastery. So glad you got to go. Who knew they were bouncers?? My daughter went to a Benedictine college with an abbey full of monks, one of whom was her spiritual director. She is now in the Little Sisters of the Poor.

    Have fun on the 4th…I'll be thinking of you while we make things go boom and litter our street.

  24. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Number 3 is cracking me up! And makes me wish I lived in Texas so I could be your next babysitter.

  25. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary

    Thanks for all the comments!

    And Sojourner (and anyone else) – yes, feel free to use the picture!

  26. Nancy Piccione

    Thanks so much for the updates on Mt. Angel Abbey. One day this week I went to the post office to pick up mail, and there was a package of books from Mt. Angel! My husband, the theologian in the family, had ordered some books from there. Neat connection–I'm sure we'd both love to go some day, so thanks for giving a peak there. Also kudos on finishing the book. I for one, cannot wait to read it and feature it.

  27. Betsy

    As a fellow tall woman, where do you buy your clothes?! I was pleasantly surprised to see that your sleeves are long enough to reach your wrists!

  28. Mindyleigh

    Thank you for all your prayers while you were at the Monastery, and congratulations on the book!

  29. Jamie

    Congrats on finishing the book!

    I love fireworks in proper public events, but I fear them in the backyard. Why is it that my father gave us a huge pack of them this year? My husband won't even light our gas grill, so who in the heck is going to light these fireworks?

  30. E

    Your Bene Dictum note reminds me of Proverbs 23:17: "Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you." (NAS)

  31. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Thank you for hosting Quick Takes! This is my second week of participating, and it a lot of fun!

    Thank you also for your post on prayer this week. It was what I needed to hear.

  32. nuntym

    Congratulations on the new book!

  33. Maia

    Good work on the book — now revise, please, so we can read!

    Thanks for writing about your Mt. Angel stay. I think I may need to schedule time to stay the next time I am in Oregon.

  34. Melanie B

    I love the bit about the "two stout monks"! Also, I'd love to see the second part of your I'm on a Boat parody. Sounds like a riot.

    We've got a feud going with one of our neighbors about fireworks. They started shooting them off every weekend at the beginning of June. And it scares Bella, who is very sensitive. She collapses into hysterics until Dom yells at them. Every weekend. What is wrong with people? And did I mention that fireworks are illegal in the state of Massachusetts?

  35. Marian

    Finished with your book? What wonderful words those must be to write! Congratulations!

  36. Gina

    Two Stout Monks would be a great blog name. And there would be no doubt whatsoever about the comment policy. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Jason

    Hey Jen, I don't know if this is the style you're looking for, but here's a public speaker who can flat out set the roof on fire: Voddie Baucham:


  38. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Congratulations on finishing your book!

  39. truthfinder

    Congratulations on finishing your book! Loved the sign: I sent it to a friend who is at a Benedictine Abbey in Greenville. Four thoughts on fireworks in the neighborhood: 1) Garden hose 2)"white noise" machine for the babies 3) earplugs for you 4) tranquilizers (or something in a "tall, brown bottle" ๐Ÿ™‚ I, too, would like to see the parody of "I'm on a Boat".

  40. H. Williams

    Congrats on your book. Is there going to be a downloadable version of the book available?

  41. starrball

    I'm reading all the fireworks posts. I love the humor in your writing!

  42. Widodo Budi

    Like it. Thanks, I will visit your blog again.

  43. St Dismas follower

    I believe there is more to the story then we read concerning St Dismas. To be allowed to enter into paradise would mean he did have a good heart and accepted Jesus in his lifetime. I do not think Jesus would let a murderer and defiler of the innocent enter into paradise so easily.


  1. Ten images that tell you everything you need to know about this blog | Conversion Diary - […] (original post) […]
  2. 7 Quick Takes about Benedictine Beer, LinkedIn fails, and complaining with metrics | Conversion Diary - […] my cousin the Benedictine monk? His monastery is now making their own beer! The last time we visited Mt.…

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



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


- Subscribeย 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