7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 110)

December 31, 2010 | 57 comments

— 1 —

Happy New Year’s Eve! Anyone have any exciting plans for tonight? Our plans are pretty low-key, other than possibly taking the wooden “No Fireworks” signs from the neighborhood entrance and beating my neighbors with them when they’re out in the street setting off bottle rockets at 1 A.M. But other than that we’ll probably just hang out and watch a movie or something.

— 2 —

Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions: I’ve always loved to do this, but this year I just can’t get into it, and I don’t know why. Maybe I’ve slipped into a “why bother?” mentality after the Epic New Year’s Resolutions Fail of 2010. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve noticed that the ways I grow and change each year are never what I would predict, so I think that focusing on self-set goals might distract me from promptings of the Holy Spirit. Hmm. In case it’s the former, maybe I’ll just choose one small thing that I want to work on, and try to stick with that.

— 3 —

Ooh! After writing #2, I think I just realized what the problem is: I’m in survival mode again. I’m not totally overwhelmed (yet), but I am running at 100% capacity. Between homeschooling and writing and all my normal daily tasks, I simply don’t have the buffer of time and energy I’d need to make any changes or improvements. (When talking about words for the year, I joked to a friend that mine was simply going to be SURVIVE.)

Though being totally maxed out is considered fairly normal in our culture, I don’t think it’s a good thing. (I need to re-read my own posts about finding balance and the dangers of being overloaded.) Maybe my goal for 2011 will simply be to get some buffer in my life?

— 4 —

Speaking of choosing a word for the year, I seriously considered doing a Word Generator while I was at it. It would be so easy…the code is all there…but I thought that two generators in one week might be a bit much.

— 5 —

Almost everyone I know who lives east of the Mississippi has gotten this crazy stomach virus that tends to take out entire families at once. Have you heard of this? I’m really, really hoping that it bypasses Texas.

— 6 —

An interesting discussion resulted in the comments to my last post. Talking about the links about the importance of community, some people asked: “But I’m an introvert. How does that apply to me?” As I’ve mentioned, I’m an introvert’s introvert. (On the Birkman Method introversion/extroversion scale which goes from 1 – 100, I’m a 1. Meaning I’m as introverted as a human being can be.) So I get it.

But what I’ve found is that living in a community is no less important for us introverts than for anyone else. Unfortunately, in our super-fragmented society, community has become synonymous with socializing. But I don’t think the two necessarily need to overlap all that much. In the little community that my husband and I have built for ourselves, we do socialize; but it’s more about supporting one another in concrete, physical ways than just hanging out. Obviously this is a bigger subject than I could cover in a quick take, but I just wanted to throw my $0.02 out there as an introvert who’s seen great benefit to making myself part of a community.

— 7 —

And now for the perfect song to close out 2010 and ring in 2011, Miracle by Matisyahu (one of my favorite artists):

H A P P Y * N E W * Y E A R !


Below is a 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.


  1. Jaimie

    OMG, I just got that virus! It went through my whole freaking extended family. We visited them in GA. I live in Texas. I tried not to pass it to anyone here… (Got home Tuesday, got the sickness Tuesday night.)

    Yeah, everyone had it. Fortunately it’s short-lived.

    PS. You had this pre-set to post at midnight, and for a second, I thought today was tomorrow and I’d missed the New Year countdown! Haha. Can you tell I have no plans for New Year’s Eve?

  2. Holly

    I was just considering the fact that I use the word “survive” quite often to describe my life. Instead I thought I’d try “embrace” as in, “embrace my cross”. We’ll see how that changes my perspective. Although I am not doing resolutions, maybe I’ll adopt your idea of a word for the year.

  3. Blair

    We were hoping to go to a friend’s kid-and-adult friendly NYE party, but we’ve been plagued by the nasty virus here in Houston! 8 adult members of my husband’s family have all gotten it, but only 1 of the kids. We were all together on Christmas eve and then people started dropping on Monday. My kids have been okay so far, but one has been crying with a sore throat tonight so I’m preditcting we will end up having a boring night at home. Oh well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

  4. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    My family uses New Year’s Eve as an opportunity to watch really long movies that we can’t make time for in our day to day schedule. The best to date has been Gandhi.

    • Vicki

      That’s a great idea! Have you seen Gone With the Wind? I recommend it πŸ™‚

  5. Tami Boesiger

    Happy New Year, Jennifer. Thanks for providing this fun meme each week.

  6. Elizabeth

    To #5 — My poor gramma is in a nursing home PLAGUED with the stomach virus! She’s 100 lbs and really doesn’t need several days of not being able to keep down food.

    It’s sweeping through every nursing home in Richmond, VA. We need to keep them in our prayers!

  7. Roxane B. Salonen

    Hey Jen! New Year’s Eve used to be so boring for us. Not anymore. We have our own little party right here with our five kids. It usually includes a fun feast, with luxuries like shrimp cocktail, lefse with butter and sugar, smoked oysters and a simple main dish like chili. Oh, can’t forget chips and salsa and some desserts too. After enjoying this meal with sparkling grape juice, we play board games and ring in the new year together. It’s become a really cozy, nice evening for our family, and the kids have come to enjoy it as well.

    I understand survival. I felt permanently entrenched in that mode for many years, and sometimes still do, but mainly while pregnant. Hang in there and know you will not always be in a perpetual state of feeling as if you are merely hanging on by a thread. In the meantime, do give yourself a break. Growing a baby is exhausting stuff, and with many other small children besides? Well, dear lady, you’re a saint for getting up out of bed and facing another day.

    Hugs from blizzardy North Dakota, where we’ve just experienced some kind of bug that involves peeing, pooping and vomiting all at the same time (nice visual, eh?), but does, at the very least, make a hasty exit.

  8. Judy @ Learning To Let Go

    Plans for New Year’s Eve: a cheese fondue party with our daughter and son-in-law. They made cheese fondue for us on Christmas Eve, and we all enjoyed it so much we decided we had to repeat it! Happy New Year, Jen!

  9. Lucy

    I really like Matisyahu as well. I do pray that he encounters the Catholic or Orthodox faith and finds what he’s really looking for. In the meantime, I will enjoy his music and his love for God! And I really need to read the comments on your post about introversion. I’m homeschooling this year and man, I’m needing some alone time! Stat! Happy New Year to you! You have no idea how much you minister to me with your posts. Blessings to you! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

  10. Sharon

    Happy New Year, Jennifer! My parents are here for a visit–they arrived yesterday and are staying until tomorrow–and we’re spending the evening with friends. We have a tradition of sorts of getting together with the first friend I made when we moved here and her family (their kids are my boys’ ages) and after the ball drops we all watch some crazy daredevil in Vegas jump across some insanely large gulf on his motorcycle or whatever. I’ve also got TWO 7 Quick Takes posts today; one from each of my blogs. (Like I really have time for two blogs.) I’ll link the second one when I’m finished with it. Have a great day! πŸ™‚

  11. Andie

    Great post Jen. I had to smile with the introvert/community comments. I think of monastic communities where most monks are introverts and yet, they live in beautiful communities that work quite well. A Blessed New Year.

  12. George @ Convert Journal

    No plans for tonight myself, but I will join a lot of neighbors tomorrow for dinner at our non-denominational community chapel (a wonderful, unusual community resource).

    On resolutions, I recently read a piece by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur on Catholic Exchange that I highly recommend.

    My 7QT entry this week… Fr. Barron’s Catholicism Project. CatholicVote.org’s Top 10 Reasons for Hope. Fr. Manfredonia explains when judging is appropriate. Rick Santorum talks about the false “doctrine” of church and state. A solution to unwanted teen pregnancy. Children are the solution to, not cause of, poverty. A quote of the week.

  13. Debbie

    Jennifer, was wondering if the word generator was too much for YOU or you thought it would be too much for US. If it’s not too much for YOU, I say, “Bring it on!” I passed on your saint generator to several friends. The funniest one was my friend who got some obscure Korean saint. She said “I doubted I could relate to him, so I chose again and got St. Thomas–the doubter!”

    The stomach virus hit in my Georgian home a couple of weeks ago. What’s odd is that my husband did NOT get it. Was glad for him πŸ™‚

    As for tonight, I’m sure we’ll be asleep way before the firecrackers start going off. Maybe some takeout Chinese or something for dinner.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  14. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    New Year’s Resolutions? Frankly, we took a break this week and enjoyed Christmastide. Next week the Christmas decorations will come down, and I focus on and worry about the new year. My word for 2011, BALANCE. Last year we created a family mission statement, this year we will work to make it a reality. Happy New Year Jennifer. God bless you and your family!

  15. Cathy

    Happy New Year!!! All the best to you!! Cathy

  16. Joel Schmidt

    Was it bad not to list Conversion DIary in my “7 Blogs to Read in 2011” post? No disrespect…everyone already reads you, Jennifer! πŸ™‚

  17. Catherine

    1. Just gonna hang out with hubby and have a few drinks while the baby (hopefully) sleeps

    2. I’m going to start recycling. Yes, I’ve been throwing everything in the garbage since we moved here in September.

    4. My word for this year is PATIENCE. Which sucks, cause I have none. But it’s what God is asking from me this year. Boooo πŸ™

    5. We had that stomach virus over xmas (while traveling between NJ and FL). I threw up the morning of the 25th, the baby threw up the morning of the 27th and my husband threw up the morning of the 29th. So at least it was a little spread out.

  18. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    Ok, first I have to warn Catherine about praying for patience. I did that for years and the way He chose to teach me patience was giving me a child when I was 45 years old. I’m 49 now and headed into the big M word and she’s an independent, strong-willed 4 year-old. Don’t EVER ask for patience unless you really, really mean it. πŸ™‚

    #6 – Community isn’t an option for believers, it’s a requirement. Nothing about Christianity excludes community. God is community; Three in One. He created Adam and said it’s not good for man to be alone. The first thing Jesus did was pull community around Him with the twelve. Ok, not my original thoughts. My dad wrote a book called “Community 101.” I’ve pretty much been raised with it. πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year!!!

    • Catherine

      Mom Chef – It’s funny that a child was the answer to your prayer for patience – because that’s exactly what I need to be patient about! I have one daughter but feel that God has called me to have a big family (both biological and adopted children) but my husband doesn’t want any more kids.
      Every time I pray about it, I feel like God is telling me to be patient! Grrrr. . . so frustrating! So far I have been rebelling and trying to force the issue with my husband. It’s not working! (DUH!) So this will be the year of patience!

      • The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

        Oh Catherine, our Sophie is adopted because we are unable to have biological children. That’s another thing we’re called to do; take care of widows and orphans. It’s been the biggest blessing (and challenge) of our married life. I’ll pray for you guys as you work through this!

  19. Anne

    We all got the bug but I didn’t, maybe because I was pregnant? But we got it BEFORE Christmas, by the grace of God. Happy New Year!

  20. Amy

    Hope you have a wonderful New Year Jen!

    I think I could really use a random “Word for 2011” generator. I’m not coming up with much on my own.

    Thanks so much for the Saints Name generator, we are all going to use it tonight! (If I don’t fall asleep first, LOL)

  21. Julie @ The Corner With A View

    I am babysitting my 13 year old brother while he’s having a boy/ girl party. My other 5 siblings will be out, as will my parents… so I am clearly the cool oldest sister! πŸ™‚

    I like what you said about community not being the same as socializing. So true.

    PLEASE make a word generator! That would be awesome.

    Happy 2011!!

  22. Erin P

    Happy 2011!!!!

  23. Lisa

    Umm, there can never be “too many generators”. LOVED the Saint Generation, bring the Word Generator on!

  24. Suzanne

    I agree on the Word Generator. Did the Saint Generator and got a very unknown saint, but will stick w/ her and see what happens!! Would love to have a word for the year too…am too brain dead after the life=storms of my year to come up w/ one myself!

  25. Amy F

    Technically, I’m 2 miles west of the Mississippi, but it definitely struck here. Amazingly, I’m the only one at our house who got it (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), but my MIL and SIL got it, and my other BIL, SIL, and niece. And my sister. And my husband’s grandma. It’s a doozy.

    Happy New Year (and I hope the yuck bypasses Texas)

  26. Shirley

    That virus did NOT bypass Texas! A few weeks ago our family got it along with at least three other families that I can think of here in Houston. Beware! And if you get it, try, try to see the humor in it. I didn’t when it was happening to us, but my friend with five kids (including 6 mo old twins who also got it) and a husband in his neurosurgery residency managed to find something funny in the whole thing and it didn’t seem to rock her world quite so much! One way or the other, it’s major sanctifying stuff. Give until it hurts, they say, and boy did it hurt!

  27. Pam

    There’s so much here to comment on!

    #3: You have a LOT on your plate. Maybe your word for the year needs to be “breathe.” (I’m so much better coming up with them for others than for myself…)

    #6: I hadn’t heard of the Birkman Method introversion/extroversion scale, but I bet I’d be close to where you are on it. (Some days it’s more pronounced than others.) Maybe I need to think about a post on this.

    #7: Such a great video!

  28. deanna

    I don’t allow stomach bugs in my house.
    I do goals, not resolutions.
    A word for the year is good if you can remember it, I forgot mine. Maybe I should do a word a month?
    Happy New Year!

  29. Contra

    I’d never heard that Matisyahu song. I really like the Christmas imagery with the lyrics talking about Chanukah.

  30. Jen G

    #4 – Funny! After reading #3, I was thinking, “I wonder if she’ll do a Word of the Year generator!”

    #5 – My sister’s family of four has been struck by this stomach bug. All but one of them have caught it. I was with them this past week, so I’m holding my breath.

    #6 – My spiritual director is a Benedictine and I asked her the same question about being an introvert but living in community. She told me that most religious were introverts. Living with others does not necessarily mean socializing, but it does mean sacrificing your own wants and desires at times for the good of the community, and learning to live in harmony (as much as is humanly possible!) with others. I imagine it’s not all that different from being an introvert living in a family situation.

    Thanks Jennifer, for sharing all your thought-provoking posts this year!

  31. JoAnna

    gah! Could you remove the “Worst Xmas Songs Edition” from my link (#35)? It’s a holdover from two weeks ago and I forgot to change it. D’oh!

  32. Katie

    First off, oh my gosh, I love Matisyahu SO MUCH. AHEM.

    We live in Indiana, and got whacked hard with the stomach virus. BLEH.

    Oh, I did the Saint generator, and got St. Catherine of Sienna πŸ™‚

  33. Amanda

    Yes, its in Texas. just down the road in San Antonio. We’ve had it off and on since the 11th and missed visiting family in Houston, had a terrible bout ( me, the mommy!) on Christmas eve/Christmas, and then it took my husband out for 3 days and his parents have canceled their New Year’s visit to avoid picking it up. its a mess!

  34. Ragamuffin

    The stomach virus hit here and I’m east of the Mississippi. Fortunately, we semi-quarantined my wife in our bedroom, I slept in one of the other bedrooms for a couple of nights and anything she touched, we wiped down with Lysol disinfecting wipes shortly thereafter with religious zeal. The kids were kept away completely except to poke their head in the door and say goodnight to her for 2 days. By then she was better, we used lots of hand sanitizer and no one else got it.

  35. the cottage child

    We don’t have any plans this evening, I have a rotten cold. I can’t blame the cold, though, because we would have just been hanging out anyway. We alternate years with plans and years at home. Home feels really good right now.

    And thanks to another blogger whose name starts with Betty and ends with Duffy, my word is “homecoming”. And thanks to you and your saint generator (that tickles me for some reason) I’m anxiously awaiting finding home under the influence of a penitent desert dweller. Never a dull moment!

    • the cottage child

      and Happy New Year! Hope the bottle rockets don’t keep you up!

  36. Christine the Soccer Mom

    I’m late, as usual, but I’ve got a music video to make up for it! πŸ™‚

    Merry Christmas, Jen!

  37. Emily

    Re community and being an introvert.

    I’m also an extreme introvert (or as I put it when I was 19, I don’t naturally feel a *need* for people).

    [Fortunately, at nineteen I was also made aware that withdrawing from people wouldn’t actually be good for me, that I needed relationships with other people to avoid becoming complacent, self-centred and self-indulgent.]

    These days I have community with my family but also *through* my family.
    Simply being willing to be friendly and a support for the activities of the more extraverted of the family has caused a great expansion of relationships.

  38. Sally Thomas

    Plans: Making meatloaf. Going to sing for the Vigil Mass for Mary Mother of God at 11 p.m. with Holy Hour following. I always mean to have a party on this night, so that all of us can go to Mass together (and maybe I wouldn’t have to get up and sing by myself), but somehow . . . it . . . never . . . quite . . .

    Anyway, meatloaf. And solos.

    And around here, New Year’s begins on the morning of Dec. 31 with people shooting off black-powder muskets around town.

    • Dorian Speed

      Oh, Sally, that sounds nice! I was hoping to have a big party this year, too. I think I have watched too many movies about fabulous New Yorkers having fabulous New Year’s Eve parties.

      • Sally Thomas

        Whoa, there go some black-powder muskets now, and it’s almost 10 pm! Trying to wake myself up with coffee before this late-night Mass . . .

  39. Vicki

    Love the sound of that Matisyahu guy – never heard of him before!

    There’s loads of people east of the Mississippi are battling that nasty flu bug as well. I have a friend who was stuck in a home with 21 other family members over the Christmas holiday & couldn’t head home to Utah until all 5 of her family members were puke free. Then they had to stop overnight half-way home because their youngest got sick in the car – less than 48 hours after she’d already been sick! Miserable πŸ™

  40. Dorian Speed

    Forgot to add – HAPPY NEW YEAR, JENNIFER! And, since I’m an extrovert, I’m saying it with lots of ENTHUSIASM and maybe a HUG!

  41. Rebecca

    I am experiencing that stomach virus right now – it’s as bad as it sounds. I agree completely that being part of a community does not necessarily mean socializing – thanks for distinguishing this.

    Happy New Year!

  42. Kassie

    I got that stomach virus – but while I was in Oklahoma. It seems to have missed Texas – thankfully!

    Prayers for you and your family as you start your homeschooling adventure. I’m a homeschool grad, and my mom is still homeschooling six of my siblings, so I know how crazy it gets!

    Happy New Years to you and yours!

  43. Laura Devick

    I agree – this is not the time of the year for goal setting. Here’s what I did this year: I made some goals and resolutions at the start of the new LITURGICAL year – Advent! I will revisit and revise those goals at another liturgical year turning point – Lent. As long as we’re Catholic, we may as well become as countercultural as possible! Don’t go by the calendar or fiscal year calendar. Woohoo! But seriously, this has really helped my outlook. It is also very challenging to live here (we’re in the midst of yet another blizzard!) and think about changing my life when I can’t even leave my house due to the snow and ice. Goals seems more natural to be set and followed through, for me, at the changing of the seasons….

  44. Maia

    It might have been the same virus that made it all the way to our little military post here in South Korea! So terrible!
    And a “Word of the Year” generator would have been fantastic!

  45. Elizabeth

    Happy New Year Jen!

  46. Erin

    I love the word of the year. I usually start praying at the beginning of Advent and then by the 3rd week there is a word or a few words that just seem to keep on popping up and crossing my path. 3 years ago it was the word SIMPLIFY. Last year it was PEACE and JOY, in particularly Peace. I prayed all year and continued to seek peace and joy, but felt like they always escaped me. In my prayers and reading this advent and Christmas, it is FAITH and HOPE, Hope to be exact.

    I received 3 books for Christmas and this concept was weaving through every one of them. In one particular book (Interior Freedom by Father Jacques Philippe), it said that Peace nad Joy were the fruit of a strong, solid faith and the grace of supernatural hope. No wonder peace and joy escaped me. I need more faith and hope! I am very excited about 2011 and the graces (and most definitely struggled) that will come while practicing my increase in faith and HOPE.

    Happy New Year!!!! God Bless you and your family!!

  47. Kate Wicker

    I want a word generator!!! I’m having trouble coming up with a word for 2011. πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year!

  48. Ashley @ Seeking Steward

    #1 made me laugh out loud. You tend to have that effect on me.

    Maybe I should ask God for a sense of humor this year. Do you think He could grant that? Maybe you could intercede for me… Hook me up sista’!

  49. Ouiz

    SO FAR we have been spared the virus, even though our next door neighbors had a rather horrible case of it. Please Lord, have mercy!

    Our New Year’s Eve was great — Mass followed by a potluck with all the homeschooling families in the parish. We played games, ate a ton, and had a blast. Then we came home, played more games with the kids, and finally went to bed around 2 AM. (6:30 AM came awfully early for me this morning… so why am I up now around 2 AM again????)

    Thanks for the video… I thought it was great!

  50. Jennifer

    Never mind whole families – that virus took out A WHOLE SCHOOL. My girls go to a rural K-8 school – 235 kids. Two weeks before Christmas, kids started getting sick Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday morning, 104 kids were out sick. They closed the school for the rest of that day and the next and cleaned and cleaned. . . but this bug is NASTY. My little guy got it five days later and I got it five days after he did. DH managed to escape it, somehow. . . It’s horrible. And the adults seem to get it worse than the kids. . . UGH.

  51. Nancy (n.o.e.)

    I immediately though of you when I just read this post by Jack Cheng about New Years Resolutions; his approach is very interesting, he plans his goal out month by month: http://bit.ly/fUSmKE

    As for my resolution/goal for 2011? Participate in “7 Quick Takes”. I’ve already begun, by starting a blog, but no posts yet. Until now my other blogs have not been Quick Takes-able.

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