7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 96)

September 10, 2010 | 62 comments

— 1 —

I’m heading out to Ann Arbor, Michigan next week for the taping of The Choices We Face (which will air on EWTN in a few months). I won’t have a whole lot of time, but is there anything I shouldn’t miss while I’m there? (Other than visiting the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, of course!)

— 2 —

Size 12 Shoe

Actual photo of size 12 shoe

I bought a new outfit to wear to the taping, but just today had the chilling realization: I didn’t order shoes! What was I thinking?!

As I’ve mentioned before, respectable establishments don’t carry size 12. I have to order my shoes from special Sasquatch stores online — and now I’m out of time to have them delivered unless I take out a loan to cover shipping! (I mean, there are a couple boutiques around here that carry my size, but they mostly cater to the local drag queen community, and five-inch leopard-skin platform heels won’t really work with my outfit.) Anyway, if you notice that I’m wearing old flip-flops on the show, that’s why.

— 3 —

The driver’s side door of my minivan is broken. Won’t open at all. Luckily, Twitter gave me the solution (click to enlarge):

— 4 —

The Dukes of Hazzard solution to my door problem seems perfect, right? I imagined myself sliding across the hood and jumping right in through the open window to escape the law (my version of Boss Hogg perhaps being a Mother’s Day Out administrator who needs overdue paperwork). Alas, I have learned the following:

  • My upper-body-strength to lower-body-weight ratio is drastically different than that of Bo and Luke Duke.
  • My minivan is much higher off the ground than the General Lee
  • Evidently the Duke brothers did not keep anything of value in their vehicle, hence their ability to keep the windows down at all times.
  • Evidently it never rains in Hazzard county. (But it does here, as I was reminded when I sat down in a pool of water from my open window yesterday.)

It really did not go as expected when I tried this technique after picking up the kids from Mother’s Day Out this week. The other people in the church parking seemed startled to see me hanging backwards out of the window of my car, lumbering around with my leg stuck in the steering wheel, yelling “Call 911 if mommy falls!” to my perplexed children inside the van. Also, when I get out of the car that way, it loses a lot of spontaneity when I have to go back around and climb in through the passenger side to roll up the window.

— 5 —

I’m finally getting around to reading To Know Christ Jesus, and, WOW. I almost gave up on it during the first 40-odd pages since it’s kind of dense, but I’m so glad I stuck with it! I don’t know if a single book has ever made the Gospels come to life so vividly for me! I’ll talk about it more in my next book review post, but if you’re looking for something to refresh and enliven your understanding of the life of Christ (that doesn’t veer off into unfounded speculation), this is it.

— 6 —

Last night, for the first time ever I gave a talk covering my entire conversion story. I have to say, I am thrilled with how well it went. It was a great chance to appreciate the power of the Holy Spirit: I only had a few days to prepare the talk, and only rehearsed it once. The rehearsal wasn’t good: I was 20 minutes over time and constantly lost my train of thought. I was horrified at how the actual talk might go. But I got there, and I felt filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit. Even though there were twice as many people there as I’d expected, I wasn’t nervous — and, amazingly, it ended up being exactly the right length. Anyway, I recorded it and will post it this weekend. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

— 7 —

I try to post this every few months or so. You’re welcome.

Have an awesome weekend.


Below is a linky list if youโ€™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.


  1. Megan

    That picture RULES! I’ll have to show my husband – he’s going to flip the frak out!

  2. Genny

    Have fun at the taping! Looking forward to seeing / hearing your Conversion Story… glad the speaking engagement went well!

  3. Brian C Jacobs

    I like the new blog design. Love Quick take 7 too!

  4. Nicole

    I would love to know where you buy shoes. My daughter’s a 13.

  5. Angie @ Many Little Blessings

    I can remember trying to get into my aunt’s Pinto through the window a la Dukes of Hazard style when I was a kid. I couldn’t even do it then. LOL

    I’m glad to hear that the sharing of your conversion story went so well. I love it when I get a chance to tell mine. I have had a few chances to talk to a couple of groups about it, and every time I get to the part that goes a lot like this: “So, I checked out the book Catholicism for Dummies book from the library,” people are usually hooked. LOL ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Hi Jen, I hope you can fix my techie goof. The Linky does not work the same way as in the past and confused me. The first link is to an old, unrelated post, so #6 can be removed. #7 is the correct one. Sorry about that! (I hope you enjoy Michigan. I have relatives there, but on the opposite side of the state so I cannot tell you much about where you are going.) I’ve only been in Ann Arbor once; it was rather nondescript and, in the summer, buggy. I think you will find it more interesting in the fall.

  7. Lisa @ Cheerfully Chaotic

    OK, Jen… next Wednesday’s Homeschooling post is finally one (besides Lauren’s guest post!) really worth reading post-vacation! How are you holding up after all the rain? My backyard and kitchen floors (muddy dog prints every 4 hours or so) may never be the same.

  8. Jess @ Making Home

    Hey there Jen-
    Your shoe comments crack me up! Drag queens indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Somehow, I’m actually keeping up this 7 Quick Takes thing. Yay, me!
    Hope your week goes well, what with tapings and speaking engagements and such. You’re hitting the big time, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Maria Johnson

    Thanks. I so needed a laugh this morning, and it’s only 6 am here. I loved the whole General Lee scenario ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    Thank you for the suggestion of To Know Christ Jesus, I was looking for a new insprational book to read.

    As for your Conversion story, it is amazing what the Holy Spirit can do. Before children, I was part of the Landing ministry in our church. It welcomes inactive Catholics back into the faith. A large part of the program is people sharing their spiritual journey. Once I was asked to share my journey on a reconciliation weekend. As I stand up in front of 200 people, I thought I never can do this. No, I cannot but with th power of the Holy Spirit, I did.

  11. Joe M

    My wife had a similar “Shoe Emergency” (her term NOT mine) two days before we left for my sister’s wedding. She ordered the shoes online and had them shipped to the Hotel. They were waiting for her at the front desk. We just put our name – “Guest” in the address line.

    So, if the delivery timeframe would put you in Ann Arbor, and they would get there before the taping, give some thought to doing that.

  12. Carolyn

    Hi Jen
    One place you could visit in Ann Arbor is Zingerman’s. It’s a deli, bakery, creamery (I think they have a few other things, too, at various locations) in Ann Arbor. I went there once and grabbed breakfast when I was in town. I think it’s a pretty popular place there, is yummy!, and maybe would be somewhere to pick up a quick bite to eat.
    Best of luck with the taping! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sarah in MI

      I second Zingerman’s! I’m not a U of M fan, but the campus is kind of nice to walk around, especially if the leaves have started to turn colors. Bring a jacket; it’s getting chilly here! Also, right near the Sisters is Christ the King parish, which I have heard great things about.

      • Thomas from Ann Arbor

        I’ll second that CTK is awesome. Charismatic personal parish of the business. Beautiful building built in 2001. Perpetual adoration chapel. Sent most seminarians of any parish in the USA.

        Also, Ave Maria Radio and Domino’s Farms is right there too. Domino’s Farms has a chapel with 4 daily masses, and there is Catholic art on many of the walls thru-out the Domino’s farms office complex.

        Non-Catholic stuff: Ann Arbor is a great town to walk around. Try Kerrytown or Main Street. (Also in Kerrytown is St Thomas Parish, which is old and gorgeous! has an amazing tabernacle!)

  13. Tami Boesiger

    What I really want to see is video of the Dukes of Hazzard attempt!

  14. Claire

    Taping for EWTN–congratulations!! For the shoes online…www.amazon.com (overnight shipping included in the price…both ways if you have to return the shoes.) http://www.DSW.com (I think shipping is reasonable.) Interesting Quick Takes. Thank you.

  15. elizabeth

    Nice layout!
    I am not getting the photos…if I click on the box, I get an error message ๐Ÿ™

    I think I’ll have to print out that AWESOMW picture…my 5 year old is a Star Wars Fanatic! (we actually let him stay up to watch the Clone Wars show on Friday nights :S

    My Step-mom has the opposite shoe problem…she still wear a size 4 or a 5 if she is lucky…little girl shoes don’t often work for grown women, either…course…it’s better than Drag Queens : )
    Pax Christi & Congrats on the speech

  16. Margaret in Minnesota

    I pulled To Know Christ Jesus off the shelf just this morning. Great minds…or rather, would-be lowly minds think alike!

    Anyway, I have had a difficult time getting into it in the past and look forward to your review.

  17. Young Mom

    Thanks for the book link!

  18. Brandon Vogt

    I’ve read many ‘life of Christ’s, and “To Know Christ Jesus” has remained my favorite. For the last few years I’ve been mentored by an 87-year-old bookworm priest, who is a huge disciple of soon-to-be-saint Fulton Sheen. This priest has read each of Bishop Sheen’s 66 books cover-to-cover, and actually met him multiple times throughout his life.

    Bishop Sheen wrote his own ‘life of Christ’–aptly titled “The Life of Christ”–that is hailed by many as the best. Sheen’s book was the only one Mother Teresa traveled with wherever she went, and she made all of her sisters read it each Lent.

    Yet still, despite being one of the deepest lovers of one of the greatest Jesus-biographers, my mentor-priest considers Frank Sheed’s “To Know Christ Jesus” is even better than Sheen’s book. That’s saying something.

    A couple of people have mentioned that they struggled through the opening parts, but I consider them some of the best in the book. Outside of Anne Rice’s novel treatment of Jesus’s childhood, “To Know Christ Jesus” paints the most evocative picture of Jesus’ first thirty years I’ve come across.

    Read this book if you yearn to know Jesus more deeply.

  19. Stephanie

    Love the minivan story. I wish we had video of that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sorry about the double link in the linky link up there, had a bad case of the copy/pasteitis I guess. Thanks for the book recommendation.

  20. Helen

    Love the me blog design. Have a great week.

  21. Dorian Speed

    I’ve been in such a terrible mood all week, and now I see EXACTLY what I was missing. AWESOME.

    Oh, and also – spiritual reading.

  22. Barbara C.

    I LOVE the picture!!! I will have to totally share that!!

  23. Tracey

    I started reading your blog during my own journey back to the Church a couple of years ago. I recently started my own blog and decided to include 7 Quick Takes- what a fun idea!

  24. Bender

    In Ann Arbor, you MUST go get some FRESH apple cider, rather than that pastuerized, i.e. boiled, tasteless, stuff you get at the store. The cider is supposed to be especially sweet this year.

    Some nice fresh cider, some regular, i.e. plain, cake donuts. Mmmm.

    The Farmer’s Market would have some, but for really fresh, i.e. right off the cider press, head over to the Dexter Cider Mill.

    As for shoes for those feet, Peggy Hill, don’t worry. No one will even notice. I once was in court to argue a motion when I looked down and saw that I still had my slippers on. No one noticed, or if they did, no one said anything.

  25. Jessica

    Jen, check out Zappos.com – they carry size 12 for women, and offer free shipping both ways.

  26. Bender

    rehearsal wasnโ€™t good: I was 20 minutes over time and constantly lost my train of thought. I was horrified at how the actual talk might go. But I got there, and I felt filled with the peace of the Holy Spirit

    I know it’s rather trite to say so, but it really is true so many times. When you simply let go, and let the Holy Spirit work through you, things will just flow easily. Someone will ask a question, and an answer will be popping out of your mouth before you even had a chance to think of it.

  27. Bella B

    About Ann Arbor (I grew up there): If you get a chance, yes, go to Mass at Christ the King (same parish Peter Herbeck, Al Kresta, Ralph Martin, etc. belong to). Charismatic zeal with absolute orthodoxy. Beautiful. If nothing else, visit the adoration chapel. Zingerman’s is excellent (though expensive for a deli). Don’t go there without trying the magic brownie, and don’t go there at Sunday brunch-time (waay too crowded), but do eat outside and take a walk around the area afterwards. Campus can be fun to walk through but can be kind of annoying, especially at the beginning of the new school year. Lots of great used bookstores on and off of Main St. and State St. If the weather’s nice, take a walk through the Arb (arboretum), right on UM’s campus.

    Oh, I have to stop before I get all homesick-like.

  28. LeeAnn Balbirona

    I loved Dukes of Hazzard as a kid! Boy, you could really do a whole spin-off on this theme. “The Dukes of Hazzard Guide to Mothering.” Best of luck getting that door repaired.

    And that poster is awesome! But where is Leia???!!!

  29. Amy

    Thank you for that photo!

  30. Anne Marie

    The Chapati at Pizza Bobโ€™s, kept me fed Junior & Senior years, and we still stop in for it from time to time when on campus. Agree with the Zingermanโ€™s suggestion, but its north of the main campus, a bit out of the way if you plan to see campus on foot, which can easily be done, but not in the shoes pictured in this post. The Law Quad is beautiful and conveniently adjacent to Pizza Bobโ€™s. The Student Union where JFK unveiled the concept for the Peace Corps is just up the block, the brick is just next door to that, not a huge highlight, but fun and no campus visit would be complete without a walk across the diag. Lots to see there, just cuz itโ€™s the U of M and every conceivable group sets up tables promoting every conceivable notion in the world, a sight to behold all by itself. Itโ€™s kind of like Berkley of the Midwest.

    Now take a โ€œright turnโ€ from campus and you come to Domino Farms home of Ave Maria Radio and Christ the King Parish. The adoration chapel at Christ the King has a first class relic of the cross which is cool just to be near. This particular chapel has perpetual adoration and is my go to location when in need of emergency time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

    If you go to Domino Farms stop by Ave Maria radio (you may be taping there). I popped in there with our son one day to ask for direction in the building, glanced back at my son and saw him wide eyed staring at Steve Ray and Al Kresta who where working the mikes for a fund raiser that day. The boy got a tour and a chance to meet the radio/EWTN personalities whose shows we have been watching together for a while and he thought that was too cool.

  31. Heather Cady

    Thanks so much for hosting!

  32. Michelle

    Congrats on your talk! I am fairly decent at public speaking…but I have never done it where the subject matter was personal. Good for you!

    And I LOVE Your AWESOME picture!!

    Have a terrific weekend!

  33. Calah

    Love the Awesome picture!!

  34. maura

    Yes, Zingerman’s is a must! And apple cider too! In Michigan the apple orchards don’t pasturize the cider and it’s awesome! Enjoy!

  35. Kris

    I am born and raised in MI. You definately have to go to a cider mill and have some REAL cider and fresh donuts. Perfect time of year to do so!!

  36. syd

    My husband used to work at Payless Shoes and they often stocked size 12 and 13. Of course, this was on the side of town that was a little…weird… ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. Catholic Poet

    I always love the Quick Takes Friday. But I have to say I’ve been thinking most about the post below about the people in your life and the odds on actually meeting them. Today someone beeped the horn behind me as I was pulling out into traffic (not fast enough for them apparently), zoomed around me and ran through a red light. I did think he was an idiot and then I thought about what the Lord said about calling people fools, and thirdly I thought about your post. So I had plenty of food for thought on the way to work!

  38. Kris Chatfield

    You have NO idea how much I needed a good laugh today! The mental image if you trying to climb in and out of the window of your car, yelling at the children to call 911 was hysterical!! Thanks for making my day!

  39. Kerri

    Thanks for the great talk last night!! I can’t wait to listen again once the recording is posted.

  40. the cottage child

    Oh gosh, I hear you on the shoe thing. Flip flops are awesome!

    I’m looking forward to hearing your presentation. Best of luck at your taping!

  41. Ed

    Hi. Thanks for book recommendation, To Know Jesus Christ (will put on my book list).
    Currently, reading Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen. I recommend it to others. I think it’s a brilliant book (theological / philosophical / human / poetic / thought-provoking).
    Was reading a review on To know Jesus Christ that discusses Jesus as carpenter. It’s extraordinary when you think about it, that Jesus (as part of The Trinity) played a role in creation. So Jesus was the Creator (as part of The Trinity). The Creator who created time / space / matter (and all that is beautiful, enigmatic, rational, powerful, subtle, and so on about it). And then He, the Creator, becomes a carpenter. A carpenter – having first humbled himself to become a man; at one point Jesus was, physically, just a couple of cells inside the womb of Mary; was born in a manger; suffered everything we suffer – was like us in everything except sin; rides on a donkey, instead of a fine steed, into Jerusalem; allows himself to be persecuted, tortured and murdered on the cross.
    A carpenter and the creator. It’s extraordinary. Extraordinary in the sense of the degree (without limit type degree) of humility – and closely connected to / inseparable from humility – love of God.

  42. Kerri B.

    Been following your blog off and on for a few years now and recently finally subscribed via RSS. Love the new look and love the 7 Quick Takes. Recently started joining in on the fun. Thanks for the laughs, love the minivan story!! And good luck at the show taping next week. Wish we got EWTN. ๐Ÿ™

  43. Di Aylward

    Hi Jennifer

    I love your blog – discovered it a few months ago & was moved to tears by your conversion story – you write beautifully & it’s refreshing to read. Frank Sheed was a good friend of my grandfather – they used to get up in Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia, and defend the Catholic Church. He came around once to my parents place and we brought out all his books for him to sign – He chose “What difference does Jesus Make?” in which to write: “If I had to be judged by one book, I’d take a risk on this one – Love Frank Sheed”. So you may want to get your hands on some others – he’s amazing, glad to see you’ve discovered him!
    God bless you and all your family & thanks for ministering to fellow catholics you’ll never meet, this side of heaven, who appreciate & are edified by your words.
    Di Aylward
    Sydney, Australia

  44. Sarah Oldham

    Love that picture – it keeps my life in perspective. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  45. KC

    I’m trying to picture the Dukes of Hazzard entry in a minivan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Jessica

    Have you heard of Zappos.com? They usually have a large selection of shoes for big-footed people like us (I’m an 11). Just thought I’d mention it, in case you’ve not discovered them yet. And, best part, the shipping is FREE and FAST- usually overnight. : )

  47. Rebecca L

    Hi Jen,
    I’m in AA alot, so if you’re just walking down the street and minding your own and someone in a really old and creepy minivan yells hi at you through the window, that’s me!

    Zingerman’s is really yummy, but you’re looking at like a $12 sandwich. They do have an ‘olive oil’ bar where you can get free samples, which is pretty cool. I really didn’t realize how different olive oils could even taste until I tried that. I would also like to second Nichols Arboretum. It’s free. They also have a children’s garden which is free. You only have to pay if you go into the greenhouse. I don’t know that there is much that would translate to the Texas climate, but every time I go there I’m inspired to turn my backyard into a green oasis for the kids (I’ve got like six tomato plants that went gang-busters this year, so I’m not complaining!) It’s a good place to get ideas for what to set up for kids in a backyard, and the rest of the gardens are nice to walk around, too.

    I would also 2nd getting cider and donuts at the cider mill. Oh, so good! I promise you, fried bits of bread drenched in sugar are NOT on your saint diet. But they’re SOOOO yummy!! Your hotel will know the closest one. I have to warn you, if you buy a half dozen donuts, thinking you will save them for later, that is, in fact, a dirty rotten lie, and you would be wise to simply accept the fact that you are about to eat a half dozen donuts.

  48. B.

    The awesome picture was so awesome that my broswer crashed when I clicked it.

  49. Jane

    As far as shoes…zappos.com to your hotel. Also, I am 10.5 which most shoe manufactures don’t make. They make 10’s and 11’s but skip 10.5. It is a royal pain

    I traveled with Peter Herbeck and Ralph Martin with Renewal ministries on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. They are wonderful men. I would suggest you see if you could interview Peter’s wife Debbie for your blog. She is a mom and a convert from Judaism. Although I don’t think she would say she has abandoned her Jewish roots at all. Such wonderful people.

    God Bless!!

  50. Betsy

    As a former Ann Arborite, born and raised, I just had to my love for Christ the King. I now consider myself a member of the (unofficial) Christ the King diaspora – it’s everything that’s been said and more. Recently, I had the pleasure to live with my husband on the campus of the seminary in St Paul, MN where there were many (11?) CTK minor seminarians. What a joy to see the fruit of my “home” parish 600 miles away!

    If you’ve never seen Bison, there is a herd located at the Domino’s Farms headquarters (same area as CTK and near the Sisters).

    I am also a wearer of size 12 shoes. It is SUCH a pain to find them. My suggestions are (sales!) at Nordstrom or Nine West – stores or online.

    As a University of Michigan grad, I have to add: GO BLUE!

  51. Jaibee

    Wow! You will be in Ann Arbor! ๐Ÿ™‚ It would be great to meet you! ๐Ÿ™‚ Since we have a lot in common: hypercoag, Atheist –> Catholic, name (LOL), etc. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s a church here, Christ the King, by Domino’s Farms near Plymouth Road and US-23, which has a lovely 24-hour Adoration Chapel. Our priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel has a radio show on Ave Maria Radio, Fr. John Riccardo. If you have a chance, and would like a nice, early morning start to the day, we have daily Mass in Plymouth (about 12 minutes east of Ann Arbor) at 6:30 am. Have a blessed trip here and Welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. Beth

    Cottage Inn Pizza. I’m surprised nobody has suggested this yet. Cottage Inn Pizza is a must in Ann Arbor. Also you should definitely visit UofM campus (and if you like football at all, visit the stadium). Otherwise I love Ann Arbor – you will be amazed at how much like Austin it is – you will think you are just in a colder Austin.

  53. Jackie

    Wow , I listened to your talk and I was brought to tears at the point where you said you prayed the first prayer ever . It was touching . Thanks so much for sharing it with us . I am excited that you are going to be on a TV show with Ralph Martin! Wow! I love that guy. I’ve heard some great speakers like Rosalind Moss on his show before . I hope you will get to post it on youtube or whatever so we can watch it too .

    Thanks for sharing your conversion story with us . God Bless you Jen!

  54. Ciska

    Hello Jen,

    I’ve been lurking on your blog for a few months and I just love it! I’m in the process of converting to Catholicism and am really looking forward to Easter because that’s when I will be received in the church.
    I decided to join 7 Quick Takes Friday, but I’m a bit late. Hope you don’t mind!


  55. Kate Wicker

    I needed a chuckle tonight and your “Awesome” poster delivered.

  56. Christine the Soccer Mom

    Um, you forgot to have your five year old take pictures. Come on!! Where’s your sense of adventure?

    (Yeah, I realize it’s probably all taken up with climbing in and out of the minivan window, but that isn’t very satisfying for the rest of us who can’t SEE you do that!)

    You don’t even need to wear the Daisy Duke shorts. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  57. Kara

    One of my closest friends joined the Dominican Sisters of Mary. Although we miss her dearly, we are so happy for her. She and I were baptized together on the same day in 2006 and grew closer and closer from then on. I hope you had a great time on this trip (I realize this is an old blog post, I’m just new to the site ๐Ÿ™‚

  58. Delphia

    I hardly leave a response, however after looking at
    a lot of comments on this page 7 Quick Takes
    Friday (vol. 96) : Conversion Diary. I actually do have 2
    questions for you if it’s allright. Is it simply me or do some of the remarks come across as if they are written by brain dead folks? ๐Ÿ˜› And, if you are posting at other places, I would like to keep up with everything fresh you have to post. Would you list of every one of all your shared pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?


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