12 Best Links of 2010

December 29, 2010 | 34 comments

It’s that time of year again! Even though I didn’t spend much time surfing the web this year since I was so busy with the book, I managed to stumble across some wonderful gems. Here are my 12 favorite links of 2010:

1. Fear and Grace

Mrs. Parunak admits that, like many of us, she has a bad habit of letting her imagination go wild conjuring up all the terrible things that could befall her family (“what if the house burned down?” “what if my dad had a heart attack?”). Then, she found herself in the middle of a dire situation that was one of her worst fears. What was it actually like? Read the post to find out. (Hint: It’s a wonderful illustration of the adage: God gives grace for the situation, not the imagination.)

2. When One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure (Literally)

If you need a slap upside the head with the Perspective Bat, watch this:

3. The Secret To an Extraordinary Life

I have to say, Carrien’s post actually delivers on its bold title. I think she really has discovered the secret to an exhilarating, extraordinary, God-centered life. (While you’re there, be sure to read about the amazing work her family is doing in Thailand.)

4. The Dynamics of Despair

Abbot Joseph’s blog is so good, it’s impossible to choose one post as his best. But if I had to, I’d pick this one. It’s an insightful analysis of how spiritual attack works — a subject not discussed often enough. An excerpt: ” If the devil had his way, he would lead us all along a progressive path that looks something like this: sin, despondency, despair, suicide. His ultimate goal is to lead us to despair of salvation, and then to seal our doom by forever cutting ourselves off from the Source of Mercy.” He then goes on to outline what exactly that process looks like. A very helpful post.

5. Contraception + Mobility = A Radically Distorted View of Family Life

Fr. Dwight Longenecker (a married Catholic priest who blogs here) hit the nail on the head with this article. Be sure to read the whole thing — lots of stunning insights toward the end. It’s one of the best analyses of recently cultural shifts in society that I’ve seen.

6. “Independence is Obnoxious”

Making a similar point to Fr. Longenecker’s article, Betty Duffy talks about the detrimental effects of the isolation of modern family life, and the importance of community. She writes: ” My aunt is fond of saying that ‘independence is obnoxious.’ Having dependence on others or living in community is how people rightly find their place and vocation in life. In community we serve others. In community we must discipline ourselves. In community we learn to forgive others’ faults so we can move on to brighter horizons like card games with friends.”

7. The Little Lost Marion

I linked to this article in a bunch of posts this year, but I couldn’t leave it off this list. It’s the summary of a story by Severe Mercy author Sheldon Vanauken, in which he recounts the search for the daughter that his late wife gave up for adoption after becoming pregnant at 14. Meeting the now-grown daughter gave Vanauken what he called “a wholeness of vision” on the issue of abortion. A touching piece that’s well worth reading. (Also, one blogger wrote a beautiful post inspired by this article here.)

8. The Very Short Distance Called Hope

An incredibly touching post with some excellent points, written by Bethany Hudson after her father’s suicide.

9. “I’m just here to love”: Katie Davis’ Story

I was inspired and challenged by this newspaper article about well-known blogger Katie Davis, who is a missionary in Uganda. I love the quote from Davis at the beginning of the piece, which I think perfectly summarizes what a Christian is supposed to do in the face of overwhelming suffering in the world: “I’m not here to eliminate poverty, to eradicate disease, to put a stop to people abandoning babies. I’m just here to love.”

10. Amazing Photos and Video from Inside the Womb

This site is a wealth of inspiring and amazing images of babies in the womb. Maybe it’s just because I’m pregnant, but I loved looking through it!

11. How to Pray With Small Children

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Abigail over the past few years (albeit only via telephone and email), and her family’s prayer habits have been a huge inspiration to me. I loved this post for its down-to-earth, practical tips for having dedicated prayer time in the midst of chaos.

12. Listen for Epaminondas’s Trumpet

Before you begin any creative project (starting a ministry, writing a book, redecorating your house, etc.) you need to read this post by bestselling author Steve Pressfield. An excerpt: “Each of us, as artistic and entrepreneurial warriors, must wade into battle knowing that the moment will come when total defeat is staring us in the face. It happens on every project. A movie, a record album, a new business, a philanthropic enterprise…at some point our funding will vanish, our star will run off to Argentina, our software will crash, the whole shooting match will go up in flames.” And then he tells you what to do next.

Which one of these was your favorite? What are some of your favorite links of 2010?




  1. Judy @ Learning To Let Go

    My favourite – Father Longenecker’s article. I’m old enough (69) to have lived through all that he describes so well, and have seen the many sad results of a culture of contraception. Let me add a side note from my memory – sometime early in the 1960’s I was listening to a priest’s homily. He was speaking against the birth control pill, and said that a society that made use of the pill was not far from seeing euthanasia as acceptable. Twenty years old at the time, I thought he was crazy, that there was no connection, that such a thing could never happen. How many times since then have I remembered my stupid reaction…

  2. Andie

    Thanks Jennifer, I’m on my way…a cyber journey ahead.

  3. syd

    How can I be a member of a community when I’m an introvert? It’s very difficult.

    • Lori

      Syd, I’m introverted too. I think for some of us “community” is more on a one-to-one basis, as introverts are often good at fewer but deeper relationships than extroverts. Both types are needed in communities. God made you as you are – your gifts are there for a reason. (I’m telling myself this too!)

  4. Barbara

    Katie Davis, who now lives permanently in Uganda with her 13 adoptive children has been my biggest source of inspiration since I discovered her blog early this year. The depth of her love and commitment (at such an early age) make me feel very small by comparison. But I do participate in her mission of love, by supporting her financially each month. What an amazing person she is!

  5. ~Ana Paula~A Católica

    Hi, Jennifer,
    a Big HELLO from………. BRASIL!!

    My favourite Link in 2010 is all that to lead me to Your Blog!

    Congratulations for your great job.
    God Bless your hands, mind, heart and words!

    Stay in the Peace of God!!
    You, Your Family and every one of your readers!!

    P.S. I am going to try each one of the links you brought to us in your Post.


  6. Pat

    I found Katie’s blog through your 2009 top 10 list. By far the most influential blog I’ve read this year.

  7. Judy

    I’m an introvert too – I always say I’d love to get a job that would pay me to stay at home and not have to interact with anyone but my family! What do I do? I’m a marriage counselor – hahah!! I joined a wonderful Bible Study (Walking With Purpose) in Oct ’09 and have really come out of my shell.

  8. Kristen Laurence

    Many great blogs out there and I know I’m missing some really good ones, but the two that have been most influential for me are Katie’s – The Journey -(kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com) and Ann’s – Holy Experience – (http://www.aholyexperience.com). These two women’s writings are literally changing my life.

  9. Sue from Buffalo

    Is Katie Davis Catholic? I know that’s an irrelevant question to some but I’m curious. I enjoy her blog, too, although I haven’t visited it in awhile. Had a lot on my plate.

    • Barbara

      No, she’s not Catholic. A real practitioner of love…

      • Alli

        She is Catholic. If you click on the link above it links to an article the Diocese of Nashville wrote about her.

  10. Shirley

    Oh goody! I love when you post all your favorites! Can’t wait to check them out!

  11. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s article was my favorite! I think he hit the nail on the head!

    It’s a good reminder to make a sincere effort to show our (future) children the hardships and sacrifices of married life, so as not to give them a false impression of this vocation.

  12. Brigid

    One of your posts, Jen, is on my best list: the one where you talk about the wall where facts, faith and feelings walk–and where faith will fall if it turns around to look at feelings and forgets to keep his eyes on facts. I can’t tell you how many times my mind has turned to this simple image to keep me on the wall. Many thanks!

  13. Theresa in Alberta

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/ it had to be the best blog for pictures and humor and food 🙂

  14. Julie

    I loved numbers 6 and 7 best– thank you for posting these!

  15. Michelle

    I like the principle behind #3 (say yes!) but I’m trying to figure out how to put that into practice, exactly. I usually feel like I need to say *no* to more in my life. There’s always plenty that’s being asked of me, and if I said yes to it all, I would be shortchanging the people who need the most of me- my husband and kids- in favor of those on the periphery. If I “say yes” all the time, my life becomes more adventuresome, but my routine flies out the window- and, much as I hate routine, I’ve come to learn that toddlers and small children thrive on it.

    Do I say yes to the invitation to join our parish prayer group, to the pleas of my 3 year old daughter to stop and talk to the old homeless man at the entrance to our subway stop, to our homeschool co-op’s call for a photography teacher? Or do I stay home in order to preserve some family time, nod a quick hello to the homeless man so as to get home in time to prepare dinner for my 13 yo before she leaves for soccer practice, and focus my teaching attention on my own children and ask someone else to teach the class?

    Obviously if what we are asked to do is inherently wrong, we say no. But what if we are being asked, or presented with opportunities, to do inherently good things? Clearly we cannot say yes to them all, clearly for those of us with children still in our charge, they must come first. How do you discern this? I need a copy of _Improv Wisdom_ in one hand and Francis deSales in the other.

  16. Elizabeth

    I am currently learning a message similar to your first example and it is so true. You don’t know how much you can handle and how available God is until you have to face struggle! Praise Him for His mercy and grace!

  17. Nina

    I bookmarked them all to read later. (You have that kind of influence on me.) I hope you are having a joyous season and are feeling well. 🙂 I

    • the Mom

      Thanks for remembering this! It really was the worst cleanser ever.

      It’s been an interesting year. I’m ready for 2011.

      My favorite was when All You Who Hope made her mad dash across the country to get her new baby, Clara. http://allyouwhohope.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-adoption-story-part-i.html I admit that I go back and read it whenever I need a pick me up.

  18. Kate

    1: Here is a very heart warming, 3 mintue video titled “The Simple Truths of Service”….http://www.stservicemovie.com/

    2: The blog “A Disciple’s Notebook” offers inspiring words and devotionals on many, many topics…http://www.adisciplesnotebook.com/

    3: Okay, this video will probably make you cry, but it’s worth it. It’s a clip from a movie titled “Most” (later retitled “The Bridge”). The clip represents the sacrifice that God made in order to save us all…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZN8HQ8vKNE

    4: This video serves as a really good, 1.5 minute reminder to stop worrying and to start trusting…http://www.crosswalk.com/video/11579820/

    5: Okay this one is 15 minutes long. It’s a video by Francis Chan, called “Just Stop and Think”. The camera follows him for a walk along a beautiful beach as he ponders God, the wonder of the universe and the fact that we are alive, and how it has become such common knowledge to us that we have such a loving God. It really is amazing, when you “Just Stop and Think”….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRi4VwcrYmA

    Okay that’s enough for now 🙂

  19. BettyDuffy

    Just wanted to say thanks for the Link! Honored to have made it onto your list!

    • BettyDuffy

      Also, I really enjoyed all the other links. But especially Abigail’s how to pray with children. Practical advice–and after the twelfth interruption, it’s golden. Loved it.

  20. Michelle

    Thanks so much for the links…expecially to Father Longnecker’s article. I am going to post that everywhere I can. I think so many in this world need to read it.

    God Bless!

  21. Jessica

    Jen, I am very sad to say this, but I feel that you should know that in response a recent post on her blog (a discussion on the history of Christmas) Mrs. Parunak permitted a comment which unabashedly criticized Catholicism and claimed that Catholics are “not Bible Christians” and that we “worship saints.” Obviously, the commenter is biased against Catholics to the point where he or she does not even bother to do his or her research, and Mrs. Parunak apparently had no problem with that (which is her right, as it is her blog). I will not be visiting Pursuing Titus 2 any longer.

  22. Catherine Dyan

    I grew up in the Philippines (and spent most of my life there), so your video post (#2) particularly stung me. I remember how real that poverty is in certain areas of the country.

    …I can’t help but share this with you (even if a charity plug in your blog may seem inappropriate):

    This is a bit personal because it’s the work my best friend Sr. Manaoag does today. I could tell you so much more about her crazy vocation story, but the relevant part is that after graduating in ’06 from the Catholic University of America (in Washington, DC), she went back home to the Philippines and taught music for a while…but, as it happened, God had other plans, and she was called to enter the local chapter of the religious order there. She is still in formation today, and writes to me every so often about her classes and the sisters’ apostolate (and relationship) with the poorest communities in the area. The work they do is amazing.

    A few months ago, her mother superior sent me a PowerPoint of their summer program for the inner-city children, and it made me cry to see Mass being held reverently in a shack, and several scantily-clad children role-playing the lives of the saints with smiles on their faces. Crazy.

    Some days when I feel discouraged in preparing programs for our little suburban parish youth group, I think of my friend and remind myself that there is ALWAYS more I should be able to do.

  23. Loretta S.


    I was trying to reference Abbott Joseph’s blog entry re:spiritual attack but the link only directs me to the entire blog not the entry. Unfortunately, the Abbott does not have a search function nor categories. Can you point me in a more specific way to where the entry might be?
    Thanks – Loretta S.

  24. Karl Leonor

    My Favorite is “I’m just here to love”: Katie Davis’ Story, I was also inspired by this story, I appreciate her kind heart at the age of 15 she already decide herself to go mission. Thanks for the following links above!

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