7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 122)

April 8, 2011 | 93 comments

— 1 —

I’ve been thinking again about whether I want an iPad/iPhone. (Not to make it sound like I can just go grab one on a whim; I’m trying to decide if I should save up for one.) This week I made the big switch to do all my email online with Gmail, and am thinking of switching to Google Docs as well. This means that it would be easier than ever for me to get use out of an iPhone/iPad, since none of my stuff would be confined to my personal computer. It sounds good in theory: I could catch up on stuff while I’m waiting for my son to get out of Religious Ed, while sitting in airports, etc. But here’s what I’ve realized: There’s an infinite amount of stuff to do. I could spend hours a day focusing on email alone and not get through it all. Add that to blogging, social media, writing work, catching up on news, etc. and I think that there would eternally be “something to get done” whenever I wanted to power up my iPhone and start “being productive.”

I’ve come to think that the name of the game is drawing boundary lines where you say, “There is more work left that I ‘should’ get done, but I’m not going to do it.” I think that that’s the only way to keep internet/email/work stuff from infringing on your spiritual and family life. Right now it’s fairly easy for me to enforce those boundaries because everything is confined to my laptop, which is usually confined in my office. So the key question is: If I had some iThing, would I have the self-control to leave it off when it’s time to disconnect and focus on real life? That’s what I need to keep pondering.

— 2 —

Anna Mitchell and I had another fun discussion about Christian themes in classic children’s books on the SonRise Morning show this week, this time talking about The Little Engine that Could. Here’s the audio if you’d like to take a listen:

(I should note that full credit for the clever analogy goes to Anna — I misspoke and made it sound like it’s something I came up with, but it was all her.)

— 3 —

I’ve mentioned before that our two-year-old Catherine is extremely excited about getting more time with Yaya‘s cats now that Yaya lives here. Maybe a little too excited. The other day someone asked her, “Catherine, what’s the kitty cat say?” Instead of the expected meow, she responded with this ominous guttural growling sound. Looks like we may need to chat a little more about how we play with Yaya’s cats.

— 4 —

Okay, fellow writing nerds, here’s a link you’ll love: a condensed version of the Associated Press style guide. I have a thick AP Style Guide book sitting next to my desk, and I refer to it all the time. Even when I’m writing a blog post, it’s nice to know what the accepted standards are for how to format certain words. E.g. do you write 20th Century or Twentieth Century? Nine or 9? 14, 500, 000 or 14.5 million? Inquiring nerds want to know. Go check out that handy guide to find out!

— 5 —

I think we’re scaring the neighbors. From their perspective, each night we keep bursting out the front and back doors and random intervals, looking up at the sky, then scurrying back inside. We do this a few times each night. The problem is that we’ve discovered the feature in Stelarium that shows the sky where you are in real time, including the movement of satellites. So we can sit there in front of our living room computer/TV, call up the sky for our specific location, and wait until we see a satellite come floating over the horizon on the screen. It’s just too tempting to go outside and see if it’s really there (which it almost always is), so each time we dash outside and try to catch it. It’s surprisingly addictive. It’s a great little educational thing to do with the older kids…but I think the neighbors might be getting a little worried.

— 6 —

The Faith and Family conference last weekend was wonderful! I even managed to drive a rental car around snowy Boston without anything going horribly awry. I haven’t gotten my act together to upload all the pictures, but I’ll do that soon. Meanwhile, here’s one of my favorites:

From left to right: Me, Hallie Lord, Linda, Melanie Bettinelli, Simcha Fisher, Rachel Balducci and Maureen (I can’t recall Linda and Maureen’s last names — sorry!)

— 7 —

Read any good books lately? It’s been a few weeks since I’ve asked, so I’d be interested to hear what everyone’s reading these days.

Have a great 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. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    I love using my iPhone because I do most of my news reading on Google Reader (plus the print version of the NYT). It keeps me off my computer for longer and thus away bigger timesucks, and I leave long meaty articles for later reading on my laptop.

    • Lori Elizabeth

      Have you looked at the color nook as an alternative to the ipad? we have one and I love it. My husband turned it into an andriod tablet =)

      • Dorian Speed

        Was that difficult to do? I find the idea of a jailbroke (or whatever you call it) nook very appealing. I have an Android phone and, as much as I don’t know about how to use it, I still like feeling like I am swimming against the iTide. That’s a terrible basis on which to buy a phone, of course. (Got it before Verizon had the iPhone.)

    • Leah @ Unequally Yoked

      I’d feel more uncomfortable about having an iPad instead of an iPhone because Apple tries to exercise so much control over what you can do on your machine. They can remove content, apps, and sometimes snoop on your data. It’s ok for a phone that I use only for essential browsing, but I want my options open for heavier internet use.

  2. the cottage child

    Good books? I’ve been reading excerpts from Chesterton, trying to get ready to jump in. It’s deep water! Loving The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. It’s taking me forever to read it, but he’s so pure, I have to reread when my mind complicates something.

    Yours in I-lessness….be well!

  3. nancy

    I’ve been resisting the iPhone/iPad for the same reasons, and I find myself becoming increasingly alarmed at the pervasive checking/use of iPhones in public situations. I don’t want to be that tied to my email, or the internet, although I can see that there are times where it would come in extremely handy to have internet access while away from home and/or my laptop.

    • Kathleen@so much to say

      Hear, hear! My husband has an iPhone for work, and I can’t get him to put the thing down. He checks his work email way more at home than he ever used to, and FB as well. That said, it’s got a lot of great features that have been really helpful to us, so I’m not knocking the product, just the difficulty of, as Jennifer says, setting boundaries. For myself, I’ll just stubbornly plod along with an emergency-only cell phone that doesn’t text and nobody has the number to. All these things we think are indispensible really aren’t; you just have to be more creative to get done what really needs to be done without having the thing on your person.

  4. Kelly @ The Startup Wife

    Oh goodness, I laughed really hard at #3 (with my apologies to Yaya’s cats ….)

    And I’ve been meaning to tell you, but I. LOVE. EVERNOTE. I am forever indebted to your suggestion to use it!

    I’ve been avoiding having an iPhone for a long time, and recently inherited one. If you buy one of the older ones, it’s slow enough that it’s not actually tempting to be online on it all the time. Does a friend have an old one or something that you could borrow for a week to see if it did make the work/non-work time boundaries blur?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That’s a good idea to borrow one. I have been borrowing my mom’s iPad this week…and it’s just confirming my suspicion that I don’t have a ton of self control when it comes to staying offline, not checking email, etc.

      And HOW GREAT is Evernote?! I keep joking that I’m going to get their logo tattooed on my arm.

  5. Kassie @ Secret Vatican Spy

    I just finished Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother by Xinran. It wrecked my life. No, it really did. One of the most gut-wrenching books I’ve ever read. Some of the imagery in that book will haunt me forever – but give me the fuel I need to keep going when I don’t want to wade through one more d**** social welfare policy analysis. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know what areas to pray for regarding China and womens issues.

    • Lauren

      Oh gosh- I’ve read The Good Women of China by Xinran- I totally understand you saying it wrecked your life. I felt like I had to pretend some of it was fiction just to get through and not end up in the fetal position behind a couch. But I agree that it’s really important to know what to pray for regarding China and women’s issues! Still, I am haunted by it like I’ve never been haunted by any other book.

  6. Lacey

    Good books: I’ve started reading As Always, Julia, which is a compilation of the letters between Julia Child and Avis DeVoto and so far I love it! Such an interesting look at both a well-known person and a very interesting time in both US and European history. Good stuff!

    Also, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is fascinating. The premise is hard to explain in a comment but I have loved what I’ve read of it so far as well!

    • Leah @ Unequally Yoked

      Just want to second how incredible Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is.

      • Karen

        Also read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I wouldn’t say enjoyed is the right word but it was interesting.

        • magda

          Bought this for my research inclined husband. He refers to it a lot.

  7. Dorian Speed

    I started reading Kristin Lavransdatter while on the plane home this weekend, and wow – I am LOVING it! I tried picking it up a few years ago and just couldn’t get into it, and now I don’t know why that was the case. But I left the book somewhere in Houston! I am going to have to go get a new copy from the library or something, as my repeated calls to the hotel have been to no avail. Didn’t think epic Norwegian novels were the kind of thing people just walked off with, but maybe I underestimate the criminal element.

    I can’t stand Google Docs, but maybe I just don’t know enough about how to use them? I also feel like if I stick with Microsoft for some things, I’ll be safe in the event that Google eats the universe. Which is weird, because I am all about the Android as a way of stickin’ it to Apple.

    • nancy

      Kirsten Lavrandsdatter is a great read; I loved it in the very old translation that I read years ago, but I hear the new translation is even better.

      • Trista

        I only got through 1/4 of that book…need to pick it up again, too. I stupidly began it during finals week of my senior year of college.

  8. Renee

    Just got a phone w/ slide out keyboard that uses the Droid system. I like it because it is open source and not controlled by Steve Jobs. But it’s been a week, and I spend the most time not checking thinks on the web. Rather I’m in the application store (most are free), I’m completely amazed at what has become of ‘a phone’.

    The local Catholic paper and radio (Boston) have their own applications on it.

  9. Natalie

    I love my iphone, but you are right – there is always something to do on it, and if there isn’t, you can still spend your time just checking for new emails, facebook posts etc. Sometimes I think I depend on it too much when I feel a need to be distracted. But I love the benefits of it.

  10. Lisa

    I love that photo! Sounds like you all had a fabulous time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. George @ Convert Journal

    My wife is struggling on a buy or not decision on the iPad. Her focus – is it really worth the significant expense vs. other options. I am also concerned about Apple’s “an app for that” decisions that block Christian apps when they don’t agree with Christian teaching.

    My entry this week… a failed abortion yields life, pro-aborts say pro-lifers are “hateful” and “extremists” — you judge, not all governments align themselves with the culture of death, a glimpse into the folks we encounter in public, elementary school principal has determined that Jesus name is “offensive,” kids and the technology you used.

  12. Brent

    I would highly recommend going to the cloud with google docs. I’ve been there for 2 years and use it incessantly at work, home, and on other projects. (qualification: My day job is managing adult education (GED & ESOL) and I am a Web 2.0 presenter).

    If you are already fluent in office you will make the transition seamlessly. For power point, I recommend http://www.sliderocket.com. You can also compare docs to Zoho (www.zoho.com) but if you are already 100% browser for gmail than I would go with docs. If you are on a mac, the mail client integrates nicely with mail/calendar. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

  13. Jules

    I just gave up my iphone. I realized I was checking email before I went to bed and right when I got up, from my bed. I was checking email right before I went into Mass and right when I got out. Really, I don’t need to be *that* connected. It is just so addictive!

    • Lacey

      I did the same thing! I actually had an android phone, but I had the same experience. My compulsion to check the thing constantly was really worrying after a couple weeks. I had it for a month and got rid of it. Now, the iPad, the iPad I LOVED as a nursing mom. I could do all kinds of things with it with just one hand free! And think: 3am feeding, Netflix/Twitter/RSS Reader on your lap. It’s the best.

  14. Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge

    We are getting an iPad because my daughter is autistic and the apps that are best for communication, originated for the iPad, but, as others said the downside is who is looking over your shoulder. And, technically, that’s true of an iPhone too. The plans you get with Verizon and AT&T are not truly unlimited and high app usage will cause overage on data and that ain’t cheap. Usually comes to the tune of about .25/kb or mb. Oh and if you have very high usage, the company reserves the right to shut your service down without notice because you might be “throttling” the signal and causing other users to have degraded service. (Can you tell I once worked in that industry.)

    Love the story about Catherine/Joy (I will always think of her that way) and Yaya’s cat! Reminds me of my aunt and uncle’s youngest. He is almost five now (the same age as my oldest) and when he was about two a babysitter was keeping the kids a couple of hours a day between my uncle going in for the evening shift and my aunt getting off the day shift and the babysitter had a cat. A very tolerant cat from what I’m told. Anyway, one day my aunt went to pick her kids up and Daniel (the youngest) said, “Kitty cat, meow, hiss, bite me.” Yeah, there was definitely a talk about playing more gently with Kitty Cat after that.

  15. Allie

    1. As a technological nerd still touting around a very old school flip cell phone, I have reservations about every getting and iPhone/iPad. Like you said, I think I would feel more inclined to work more often. Also, I think I would be less inclined to be adventurous. As it is right now, if I’m out and need to stop to eat or something, I just take a chance somewhere. If I had the phone, I don’t think I would do that as much. I know they’re becoming mainstream, and that one day I’ll be forced to buy one, but I’m holding out as long as possible. ^_~

    4. Ah, I love the AP Styleguide! I don’t even consider myself a writer, but it’s just interesting to flip through it sometimes and see how the press wants to project itself on certain topics. And perhaps more interestingly, how they sometimes choose to blatantly ignore the Styleguide for their own preference. Also, may I recommend the FakeAPStylebook on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APStylebook I personally don’t follow, but some of my friends retweet some classics from there.

  16. Anne

    Children’s lit! Love it!

  17. Julie Culshaw

    Thrift Store Saints, Meeting Jesus 25cents at a time, by Jane Knuth.
    Re the iphone, don’t – your kids don’t need a mother whose mind is constantly thinking elsewhere. Most of us don’t have the self-discipline to regulate this, and you are probably like most of us.

  18. That Married Couple

    Oh man, I know I would be too distracted if I had internet on my phone. It’s bad enough having the laptop in our living/dining room – we can’t wait for the day where we have an office and can close the door on the temptation!

  19. Kimberlie

    I was just telling a friend the other day how I am “so 20th century.” I don’t have an iPhone, iPad, or Kindle and just barely learned how to text another person. I feel like a bit of a “geezer.” Sigh.

    • Susan

      LOL, Kimberlie I’m the same as you. I say when you find a century you like stick with it, no matter what the calendar says. =) Geezers unite!

  20. Camille

    I will say, I have the iPhone and tend to use it FAR TOO OFTEN. Yes, it does keep me off the computer but at the expense of minutes throughout the day that really could be better used by paying more attention to my kids or my home. It is very convenient for stretches of time where you really would be doing nothing else and can get something done (traffic jams, waiting rooms, etc) but self-control can get tough with it. Good luck!

    Good books?
    Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning by Nancy Pearcy. Very good. I really liked her approach of showing how we went from a society that craved wholeness and truth to one that went to embracing dualism to justify our sins. I also just bought Total Truth by the same author since she expounds on that theme within that book.
    Also, The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett. It is a tome, but it is a collection of short stories so it is easy to pick up whenever and just read a bit.

  21. Pam

    You’re so right about leaving boundaries — I once read that the ability to do work anywhere means that work is everywhere. I guess now that the boundaries aren’t pre-formed for us, we have to work a little harder at forming them for ourselves.

    I too use the AP Style Guide for everything — though mine lives in my head, not on my desk. But I have questions frequently, so thanks for the link!

    Books: just finished The Blue Parakeet (reviewed on my blog yesterday), which is a book about understanding the Bible. I also just read Evolving in Monkey Town, a book about a young woman’s journey from strict evangelicalism through doubt and eventually to faith. Great book.

  22. Laura

    I had internet on my phone and found it to be a huge distraction. My kids picked up on it immediately that I was connected at the finger to my phone. Not good! I know I don’t have the discipline! The computer is hard enough since I pass by it quite frequently throughout the day.

    A great book I just read is “When God Writes Your Love Story” by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Your kids are a bit young to be thinking about this, but it is a GREAT story and it made me think a lot about trusting God completely with every facet of my life.

    I also just finished “God’s Smuggler”. Great recommendation, thanks. It was also a good follow-up to the book I just mentioned.

    God Bless.

  23. Liesl

    I really want an iphone… but I know I would never put it down. I have an ipod touch and when I’m around my apartment with nothing to do, it comes with me everywhere. Good thing it has to have wifi, otherwise it would be in the car with me too! I’ll stick to my plain old phone that makes phone calls and texts for now.

  24. Elizabeth

    I struggle with whether or not to get an iThing, as well. I’ve concluded that I would never turn it off. Until they create an iDoesYourWorkForYou, I’m keeping my money where it is.

    The cat growling made me laugh out loud!! Oooooooo thank you so much for the Stelarium link, that is SO COOL!!

  25. Julia at LotsaLaundry

    I recently read Country Driving by Peter Hessler. Fun book. Hessler is a journalist in China, and the book is a travelogue of three long trips: one out along the entire length of the Great Wall (hysterically funny), another where he spent weekends in a house in a tiny village for several years, and the last following the development of an industrial complex in southern China. It’s a very enjoyable and low-stress read in which you inadvertently learn a lot about Chinese culture. I find myself telling people about anecdotes from it frequently.

    As for iPad/iPhone, the bottom line is that we’re called to account for how we use our time *for God*, not just how efficiently we use our time to get stuff done.

  26. MemeGRL

    Best reason for an iPhone or something similar: having everything in one place that’s backed up to the cloud. Biggest issue: once kids figure out there are games on it, they immediately want to use it ALL THE TIME, including when you are, you know, on the phone. And iPod Touch (iPhone without the phone or camera) came with my computer, and when my phone goes, I think I will go iPhone just to have everything in one device so I can stop carrying three things around (camera, iPod, phone). But it is nice right now to just be able to pass the iPod to a child when we’re in a situation that makes sense without thinking, now what if I get a call? (Of course, I’ll still have the iPod, I hope, if I get an iPhone, but it’s something to think about.)

  27. Louise

    I’m so glad you posted that photo from the Faith and Family conference! You ladies all look so beautiful and happy!

    I was really interested in your discussion of the Little Engine That Could. I can still remember reading that book in first grade, and our teacher focused on the angle of believing in yourself. She said that she wished that the engine had said “I *know* I can” instead of “I think I can.” How amazing it would have been for us children if she had tied in what you mentioned — the “I think YOU can, Lord.” (Yes, this was Catholic school.) I don’t hold it against her that she didn’t — I feel like my entire K-12 education was entrenched with the “I’m awesome” message, without much mention of the “because of Him” part. But I think it’s really important for children to realize that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), and that’s certainly something I’ll focus on when I read this story to my daughter (along with the Good Samaritan analogy, which is brilliant!). Thank you for the inspiration!

  28. Kris, in New England

    Well, we are the iHouse – iPods, iPhones and an iPad. I do love my iPhone – helps me keep our home schedule up to date and because it synchs to both my iPhone and my husband’s – he always knows what is going on as well. I do like being able to stay caught up on my personal e-mail during the day; when I get home from work it’s nice to know that I don’t have to wade thru it all late at night; I do it during my lunch hour at work. There are plenty of other distractions so you do have to exercise quite a bit of self-control to avoid being tied to it 24/7. All that said – I love the thing and it has simplified my life in many ways. My husband has the iPad and he just uses it as an overprice toy.

  29. Jessica

    I recently read two good books on marriage, Spousonomics and Committed. I am currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which will mess with you, in a good way. It totally turns the idea of nutrition on its head by showing how it’s not what you eat so much as where it’s from (and when) that determines how much nutrition you’ll get from it. All of the above are recommended.

    • jen

      “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” is amazing. If you like the book, look for the interview with Barbara Kingsolver on “Speaking of Faith”.

  30. Jess @ Making Home

    Well, I’m really enjoying being inspired by “The Gentle Art of Domesticity” by Jane Brocket! Very colorful and imaginative. And I’m reading Josh Harris’ “STOP Dating The Church” and finding it a good instructive text (especially for a Protestant) about what our commitment as part of the church should be.

  31. 'Becca

    As a person who doesn’t have ANY kind of cell phone, I’m getting more and more disturbed by what I see people doing in public on their smartphones and how much it distracts them. Last year, in the space of two weeks I had 4 pedestrians walk out in front of my moving car while poking at their phones, AND while walking myself I dragged a guy out of the street as he started to walk into traffic focusing on his little screen and listening to earbuds connected to a separate iPod! I mentioned this in conversation with a city bus driver, and he told me he’s had a near miss with a screen-gazing pedestrian almost every day since 2008.

    Safety aside, I see that people feel obligated to keep up with everything all the time because they can, yet most of them don’t actually succeed at getting the important stuff done because so much time gets sucked into constant small-talk and monitoring every detail of “news” and being distracted by fun stuff. With all this constant communication ability, the average reliability with which people return my calls and e-mails, RSVP to invitations, or remember things I’ve told them (like, “When is the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper?”) has gone DOWN. Even if rays from cell phones don’t physically affect the brain, I suspect the use of cell phones encourages habits that make people dumber. Many people don’t have their OWN phone numbers memorized anymore, let alone anyone else’s.

    I also don’t have a laptop. The Internet is distracting enough on a desktop computer!!!

    How did you get 31 comments with nobody telling you how un-pro-life it is that you failed to mention the babies when naming people in the photo?? ๐Ÿ™‚ Naming only the adults, I think you must have someone out of order, since that’s Simcha 4th not 5th from the left. I’m so tempted to click on the other links to look for pictures to figure out who’s who among the others…good thing I can’t do it on my phone….

    • Jessica

      ‘Becca, I thought the exact same thing about the babies! I decided it must be somewhat of a privacy thing–not everyone shares their kids’ names on the Internet–but I was also surprised no one else mentioned it before you!

  32. Kim D.

    I am loving all these book recommendations!
    And you have made me seriously doubt my desire for an iThing–I have no self control w/my laptop already, so more connected-ness could not possibly be good for me.
    Jen what a beautiful picture of you!
    Happy Lent–
    Kim D. in WI

  33. Missus Wookie

    Currently rereading “The Happiness Project”, garden books whilst planning a veggie garden and a bunch of relatively boring things for work.

    I’m considering an iPad because I want to be able to read pdf/mags without having to print articles off. Not sure about carrying it everywhere and definitely not whilst walking or crossing roads. Concerned about safety of Google Docs we only keep non confidential items there. Otherwise look at Dropbox or somethings similar.

    Cool satellite website, here in London there’s too much light pollution sadly but we like seeing what is beyond that somewhere…

  34. Stacy

    Resist the I-anything! Don’t carry an internet cell phone! I am 33 and resisting this movement. It gets so old to sit at religious ed, sports practice, the museum, music lessons, whatever – and the other moms and dads are hooked to their internet devices, laughing at emails or chatting on the phone. And there I sit next to them, a chance at a normal human-to-human conversation with real eye contact. A chance to make a friend or connection, and they miss out because the internet is addictive. Don’t forget to tweet or facebook about where you are! Gee whiz. Come on people, look up from your aps and your games and live real life.

  35. Julie @ The Corner With A View

    I have a crackberry… one day, I might break down and get one too. I’ve heard great things! Then again, it depends on why you want/ need one.

    SonRise radio! Out of Sacred Heart radio in Cincinnati! My dad helped start that station and program, so it always makes me happy to see if plugged. Yes, Annie is the nicest!!

    Big fan of the AP book.

    Meow! ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Theresa

    Trapped way up here in Scandinavia, I was long-distance envious of everybody who had the opportunity to participate in last week’s Faith and Family Conference. Thanks for posting the photo. I hope fruits from the conference will long be harvested – also by me, through reading some inspired postings!

  37. Emily

    I read Christian Courtship In An Oversexed World: A Guide For Catholics (which I’m sure you’ve heard of) and absolutely loved it (even though it may not apply anymore to some of you!) I read Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned most recently and absolutely could not put it down (in fact, I read it in 4 hours in one sitting!). This really opened my eyes and I loved it.

    In regards to iPhone/iPad… they are useful. I have an iTouch and love it. I also just bought a Droid phone and it hasn’t left my pocket since I purchased it! It’s nice to be able to read my email and everything right on my phone! (plus I can also do that with my iTouch!)

    The picture is wonderful and you ladies look gorgeous! I love the babies ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a wonderful Friday!!

  38. Kendra

    I just love that picture of all of you ladies and babies, so beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m going to start reading Light of the World by Pope Benedict XVI, I’m hoping that it’s good!

  39. Katarina


  40. Michelle

    My husband and I are planning to get the new iPhones this summer. We’ve waited it out as long as we can stand. I would love an iPad, too…but we’ll save up for that next!

    Love your takes, as always. What a great picture of all you ladies!

  41. Jessica Snell

    “Iโ€™ve come to think that the name of the game is drawing boundary lines where you say, โ€œThere is more work left that I โ€˜shouldโ€™ get done, but Iโ€™m not going to do it.โ€ I think that thatโ€™s the only way to keep internet/email/work stuff from infringing on your spiritual and family life.”

    I think you’re so right about this. Thanks for putting it so clearly.

  42. Christine

    Jen, I just read Testimony to Hope on retreat. It’s the spiritual exercises that Pope John Paul II did in 2000, presented by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. They were awesome, and just what I needed for Lent. They were also an easy compelling read for spiritual exercises.

    Based on some of the other things you like, I kept thinking how much you would enjoy them.
    Here is the amazon link if you want more information, it describes the book much better than I can.


  43. Lisa Schmidt

    In at # 49. Come read about The Pope of the People, the John Paul II musical in my quick takes!

  44. Giuseppe Ambrose

    I must be the only guy posting on this other than George. Makes one feel a little out of place.

    I just finished reading “Storm of Steel” by Ernst Junger. It is an excellent account of the front lines during WWI. A German perspective, unique and intense. The book reminded me somewhat of E. B. Sledge’s “With the Old Breed,” which is about WWII. They are both very straight-forward as they saw it accounts with nothing by way of opinion on the reasons why or why not of the war, and the politics of the time.

    Both books, Junger’s and Sledge’s, kind of make you realize how nice we have it.

    • Giuseppe Ambrose

      Oh yeah, if you like Steven Pressfield, whose books are awesome, you would also like Junger’s and Sledge’s. They both get to the heart of warfare, and in that heart is Man. There is good reason we describe spiritual struggles as spiritual warfare! So, I highly recommend you buy and read them, or at least get an e-copy when you get your i-pad.

  45. Susan

    I have the same cat story with my niece! When she was a toddler and you asked, “What does a cat say?” she would hiss like an angry cat! So funny.

    I’m reading a book of quotes by Mother Teresa. I can’t remember the exact title but it is something like Where There is Love, There is God. It’s good.

  46. JoAnna

    I have an iPhone and I LOVE it… but then I’m biased as my husband works for Apple. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a lot of handy Catholic apps. Yes, I probably waste more time on it than is necessary… but it’s so handy to have Internet access and Google maps available all the time. Plus I’m able to hook it up to my car stereo and listen to Catholic podcasts during my commute (1hr+ each way).

  47. Mrs. G
  48. Karen

    old school flip phone here. no data plan. dh has a crackberry for work and that is enough smart phone for this family. my teens don’t have any phones at all. We all manage to function just fine.

    I do LOVE my Kindle though. Love, love, love that thing. Single best Christmas present I’ve gotten in decades.

    Good books?
    Since I’ve gotten the Kindle I’ve read:

    The Help
    The Passage
    The Hunger Games Trilogy
    Still Alice
    Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
    Emperor of All Maladies
    Understood Betsy
    Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
    Look Me in the Eye
    Catching Babies
    Madame Royale
    Golden Bones
    Weapons of Mass Instruction
    The Nights Dark Shade

    Ranged from OK to Excellent. Catching Babies was a disappointment. Unbroken was probably the best book I’ve read in 10 years. The three Vidal books (Trianon, Madame Royale, Nights Dark Shade) were wonderful. Emperor of All Maladies was fascinating but got a bit heavy on the bio-chem but it was worth the effort.

  49. Mary

    Oops – I think I just did the linky thing wrong…. sorry about that… I’ll try again… ๐Ÿ™

    Love your fridays!

  50. Margaret Martin

    You suggested Donald Miller’s books. I am reading Masters in the Air. Great Book!!

    Makes you realize what hero’s our soldiers are.

  51. Anna

    For the record, I find working in Google Docs on an iPad to be frustrating.

  52. Kathleen

    While we’re talking about books, I’ve been looking for something to read about Eucharistic theology. Any suggestions for something that has basic Catholic teachings, but also delves into studying the topic more deeply? (Or, if not both, I guess I’d have to primarily look for a book focusing on the first part before I could move on to the second!)

  53. Sandy C.

    My husband is addicted to his iPhone. He wakes up in the middle of the night and starts reading, emailing, etc. I am too sure I would be the same way so I’m not getting one. I do enjoy using it when we are traveling together.

    I also love my Kindle. I actually got it for my husband over a year ago but he’s too busy reading his iPhone. Ha. So, I “borrowed” his Kindle and recently read the best book:”Island of the World” by Michael O’Brien. I actually read it through TWICE in about a month. Such a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful book. Spiritual, historical, exciting, beautiful,and poetic. It has moved into first place on my all-time favorites list.

    • Mary Anne Konizeski

      Father Elijah is my favorite Michael O’Brien book. I read it when it first came out in the early 90’s and reread it recently and it was like reading today’s newspaper. I’ve always hope he would write a sequel to it.

  54. Catholic poet

    I’m a fellow suffer from Internet addiction and also have an iPad. I have to tell you it could be a fatal addiction. I love it and am constantly discovering new things I can do on it. It’s hard to say no to something so marvelous. On the plus side it might save you some time compared to a laptop simply because it is so handy. You can pick it up at odd moments and it is ready to go.

  55. Andrea

    Just a quick comment to say I did quick takes for the first time!

  56. Rebecca @ The Road Home

    3 – maybe she was trying to imitate purring???

    Have a great weekend!

  57. GeekLady

    My iPad is showing up on Easter Tuesday, but I’d been saving for a while. I’m not going to pretend it will make me productive, successful, and slimmer, though. It will be great for Skyping with the inlaws, and for reading books, and it is a satisfactory replacement for my 6 year old iMac. And that’s enough for me.

  58. priest's wife

    maybe it id for the best that I couldn’t go to the mom’s day- TOO MUCH AWESOMENESS!!! (said in the voice of Kung Foo Panda)

  59. Deborah

    Ending Abortion by Fr. Frank Pavone, an easy but inspiring book to read during the current 40 Days for Life campaign!

  60. Kortni

    I have an iPhone and I couldn’t function nearly as well without it — but I use it a lot for work, in a pinch with the kids at daycare… But you do have to set yourself boundaries and realize there’s life outside the phone. I keep some fun stuff on there, but a lot of it is functional, some Catholic apps I love, a few games, flashcards for kids, music… The map function alone has paid for itself, Ms. Directionally Impaired I definitely am. I’m waiting for the 5th version to come out before I think about upgrading…

    Nice to “meet” you!

  61. Brittany

    Islam Rising by Dr. James Murk is a really good read. I’m in Malaysia so the book seemed appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s hard to believe how uneducated and naive Americans are (me included) about Islam. It’s definitely a “need-to-know” subject these days.

  62. Melissa

    Granted, I’m writing this comment from my iPhone when I should be in bed, but… My husband and I bought factory refurbished iPhones 4 (the newest one) for $79.

    Then, we got the cheapest AT&T data plan required and just turned off the 3G capability as well as the cell data through the settings. This way, we can still make calls regularly, but we only use the phones for internet when we are near a wireless Internet connection and can be online for free.

    And I love evermore, too!

  63. jen

    I’m reading “I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist’s Eyes” by Hemant Mehta. It’s an interesting read. Hemant doesn’t convert as a result of all the church attendance but it’s really fascinating to see liturgy through the eyes of an atheist from a non-Christian background.

  64. Barbara

    Not books specifically, but poems. I’m really into the poetry of Denise Levertov who, turns out, was a Catholic convert. She has some beautiful poems on religious themes which I’m enjoying immensely as Lenten reading. (Is it really lenten if you enjoy it?)

  65. Marcy K.

    You might be interested in watching the International Space Station fly over your house – and the Space Shuttle when it is up. We do this all the time and it is SO cool. Go to: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html Read the “Sighting Help” section to learn how to use their directions to find the ISS in the sky and then look at “Sighting Opportunities” to find when and where in the sky you can expect the ISS and/or shuttle fly over your city. It is like a large star in the sky moving across it and you can tell it is high and fast, but it is not an airplane. It is really nice when the shuttle/ISS are connected. To think there are people up there in space going so fast is really neat.

    I’m literally saving my birthday and Christmas money for an iPad. I’ve wanted one since the first time I heard of it. It will be a long time but I’m looking forward to it. I might save enough by 3rd generation.

  66. Jen

    Finally got another quick takes up. Thanks for the venue, Jen!

  67. Clare

    My mom won’t stop talking about Tattos on the Heart by Fr Greg Boyle. She says it’s a collection of powerful spiritual reflections. I haven’t read it yet, but I have met people who have changed their lives through Homeboy Industries, and their witness was amazing.

    If you’re unfamiliar with Fr Greg or Homeboy Industries, he’s been working with young men and women who were involved in gangs in LA (and now Oakland, too, I think) for more than two decades. Here’s a video that’s a good overview of what Homeboy Industries does, on youtube

    PS. I’m a daycare teacher who works with 2 year olds and your daughters’ cat imitation made me actually laugh out loud. Love your blog!

  68. Anna

    I’m reading Steven Pressfield’s “Gates of Fire” about the Battle of Thermopylae and the warrior culture of ancient Sparta. Pressfield is an excellent writer and the look inside ancient Spartan culture is fascinating. I enjoyed your review of his “The War of Art” and look forward to reading it soon.

  69. Michael King

    For my two cents, I’d hold off on iPad/iPhone, if only because you can centre yourself more easily with a netbook and Google Chrome. The touchy-touchy tappy-tappy nature of them is great for the little things like reading the news and playing games, but as for productivity, I would recommend getting free apps for Chrome like Feedly, and using Google services like Docs and Gmail with a proper screen and keyboard.

    On the book side of things, I have Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Book’ gathering dust like a champion on my shelf, so I want to crack that open.

  70. Rebecca

    I like the iPad but it is a total time suck. And I think mostly I waste time on it. But it does work great for internet radio!

    Also, this is a few weeks late but thanks for the link to that guy who is doing the beer fast. I find this fascinating. I cannot imagine attempting such a thing, though.

  71. magda

    Peter Seewald’s three books of interviews with Pope Benedict XVI before and after he became pope, are great. There is something profound and concise in every answer to the pointed questions of Peter Seewald. I can pick up any of the three, read two pages and have plenty to think about – or just one question, if that is all I have time for.
    Benedict is an amazing teacher.

    • magda

      They are, in order of publication, “Salt of the Earth”. God and the World”, (written while he was still Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith)and “Light of the World: The Pope, The Church and The Signs Of The Times”

  72. Christine

    Jennifer you’re so right about setting boundaries but will it work? My husband’s had a smart phone since day one & it doesn’t leave his side/hand. He’s got an “app” for everything. What’s up with always being connected? He looks at the weather channel before lifting his head to look out the window. He’s addicted to technology… But he’s not alone. Seems like everyone with smartphones are slaves to the technology they have instant access to. Take a look around you in restaurants. Few people seem interested in each others presence – they’re so busy with their phones. Good luck with setting boundaries! Once you have that device in your hands with it’s limitless capabilities, you’re hooked!

  73. carrien (she laughs at the days)

    I just read A million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller on your recommendation. THanks. It was an easy, yet thought provoking, read.

    Then I read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. My, that was a walk in someone else’s shoes. As well as being a really good story it was a thoughtful commentary on Islam and the west.

    Right now on my reading desk, A Failure of Nerve, Leadership in the age of the quick fix. I only just started but I already love. I think you will too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. Kaye Swain

    Thanks for a very interesting article. I fought the iPhone for a couple of years – mainly because I didn’t think I could get used to the screen buttons. After two major FAILS with other cell phones (including the Blackberry that kept calling 911 in my pocket), I finally broke down and borrowed an AT&T iPhone from a friend to try it out. I’ve never looked back. It’s WONDERFUL!

    I, too, switched to gmail and it’s so easy to check your email in a hurry. It’s NOT easy to work on your blog on it (too small for those of us baby boomers with aging eye issues) but it is fairly simple to occasionally approve a single comment or something basic like that.

    It has such great apps! The best iPhone apps for the kids and grandkids I’ve found include my grandkids beloved Webkinz stuffed animals app – Polar Plunge and some great LEGOs apps – including one that gives instructions to build things with the old LEGOs they already have.

    They even have apps for writers including MY MLA and Chicago Style apps as well as Strunk and White (go with the cheaper choice – apparently the 1.99 version is missing chapter 5 ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

    Not only did the iPhone turn out to be easy to use (though not perfect – no cell phone is, not even my elderly mom’s simple and basic cell phone), it’s got a terrific digital camera in it that is wonderful for those times you’re out with the kids or grandkids and have no camera easily available – not to mention video camera. And the pictures come out great! One of my kids doesn’t even use her regular camera much anymore thanks to the camera in the iPhone 4 (I have the 3gs)

    All in all, if you are still on the fence, I would suggest seeing if you could borrow a friend’s older model. I bet that, within a month, you’d be like me saying, “Why did I wait so long!” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ll look forward to visiting back and reading more to see if you ever get one. Have a blessed day during this season of Lent!

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