7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 129)

June 3, 2011 | 61 comments

— 1 —

It looks like we have a date! My labors are now induced due to factors related to my blood clotting disorder, and we’re finally close enough that we can pick a date. It looks like baby #5 will likely arrive on Wednesday, June 22, the feast of St. Thomas More. Only 19 more days!

— 2 —

I may never stop laughing about this video. This woman is me.

Around here, going to the lake is a big deal for everyone…except me. I sit in my air conditioned living room and look out the window as my neighbors spend half a day messing around with their boat to get ready to go to the lake, occasionally getting out my calculator to estimate their “Preparing to Have Fun” to “Actually Having Fun” ratio and thus denouncing it as ridiculous. And on the occasions that someone actually cons me into going out on a boat, I’m just like the lady in the video: dressed totally inappropriately for the weather, sitting there still as a board, not exactly sure in what way I am supposed to be having fun. Hilarious.

— 3 —

The Novena to the Holy Spirit starts today! I can’t recommend it strongly enough. I do it every year, and every year it has been tremendously powerful for me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with novenas, that’s just a fancy word for a nine-day series of prayers. Here is an example of the meditation and prayer for the second day of this one:

The Gift of Fear: The gift of Fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread nothing so much as to offend Him by sin. It is a fear that arises, not from the thought of hell, but from sentiments of reverence and filial submission to our heavenly Father. It is the fear that is the beginning of wisdom, detaching us from worldly pleasures that could in any way separate us from God. “They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and in His sight will sanctify their souls.”

Prayer: Come, O blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever, help me to shun all things that can offend You, and make me worthy to appear before the pure eyes of Your Divine Majesty in heaven, where You live and reign in the unity of the ever Blessed Trinity, God world without end. Amen.

If you want to print it out, here’s a plain text one-page version.

— 4 —

Veronica Mitchell is back! She used to have a blog called Toddled Dredge that was one of my favorites. (In a classic display of my terrible attention to detail, I referred to as “Toddler Dredge” for about three years). The “witty intellectual academic Christian mom” blog world has simply not been the same without her, and I for one am delighted by her return.

— 5 —

How have I lived 34 years and not known the story of Magellan’s attempt to circumnavigate the globe? I mean, I knew his name, and I knew that he attempted it, but the terms “Magellan” and “trip around the world” did not trigger in my mind the reaction of “HOLY $%&! THAT’S A CRAZY STORY!!!!” as it should have. Anyway, this is all fixed now, because I just finished Over the Edge of the World, a book chronicling the insane expedition. It cost me so much sleep, I was almost relieved when I finished it so that I wouldn’t be staying up half the night turning pages anymore. If you have even a passing interest in history, stories of seafaring, adventure stories, survival tales, or good books, you’ve got to read this thing.

(My only caveat is that the author writes from a certain secular worldview in which it’s taken for granted that a) deep faith in God is a relic of unenlightened times passed, b) nobody in the Catholic hierarchy was good or well meaning during the 16th century, and c) almost all other cultures were superior to Christendom in peacefulness and goodwill toward others. I didn’t get the impression that he had a specific agenda to further this view, just that those were his default assumptions. So there were a few comments throughout the book that rankled me, but the author is a very talented writer and the book is otherwise fantastic.)

— 6 —

I need two pieces of vacation-related advice:

  • What are some good beaches to visit here in Texas? The grandparents would like to do a family trip to a beach house on the shore, but since I’m not familiar with that sort of thing (see #2) I don’t know what city to suggest.
  • Yaya wants to go on an Alaskan cruise next summer. Can anyone recommend a good one? She loves a good game of blackjack, so one with gambling would be preferable.

— 7 —

For a long time my husband has been taking dinner leftovers to work to save money on lunch. Recently I started making extra portions for a friend of his whose office is down the hall, so a few days each week we provide him with a lunch. He also loves saving the money on fast food, and enjoys the home-cooked fare. I love having this simple way to give back: My hands are too full right now to volunteer at soup kitchens or go on mission trips, but through my little one-man lunch ministry I’m able to bless someone else in some small way each week. I love it when God sends opportunities like that our way.


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. Kendra @ The Nerdy Wife

    That’s so cool about your baby coming soon! I’m getting married on June 25, which is very close to that! 😀 I will say some prayers for your expanding family….for your health and wellbeing!

  2. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    Jen, all the best now that you’re approaching the due date! As much as we appreciate your excellent posts here and at the Register, I hope you’ll start rerunning pieces or pulling in guest authors soon to avoid straining yourself for our sakes!

  3. kerry wolf

    Hi Jen,

    Well, we at St. Thomas More parish in North Austin/Cedar Park are honored you will be having the baby on our saint’s feast day, lol! I will certainly be thinking of you as I attend Mass that day and praying all goes well for mom and baby.

    As for beaches, I know people will “boo” this, but for kids, I really just love Galveston, and Stewart Beach. You can’t beat the Galvez for hotels, but any on the seawalk will do, and there are so many neat family activities that appeal to little ones. I used to go there as a child when we vacationed in Beaumont from our home in California and I have wonderful memories as an adult as well.

    Have fun–and thanks for the book tip–sounds like my kind of read!

  4. Elisa | blissfulE

    How exciting you have an expected date for your baby! Enjoy these last few weeks before life gets even crazier! 🙂

    I looked at a calendar just this morning to find out when the next full moon is: 16 June. I had contractions strong enough to wake me last full moon, so I’m guessing we’ll get to meet the next little one on the next full moon! 🙂 (I don’t know what it is about moons, but hey, they seem to bring the babies!)

    Anyway, that gives us a little less than 2 weeks to rewire the kids room, repaint the kids room, and install bunk beds. !!!

  5. Judy @ Learning To Let Go

    You’ve given me several things here to thank you for: the novena to the Holy Spirit, which I didn’t know about, the link to Veronica Mitchell’s blog, which looks great, and the book recommend.

    In return, I can recommend the Holland America one-week Alaska cruise. A few years ago, all our (small) extended family went on this cruise out of Vancouver, BC, and we had a fabulous time. They do have a casino aboard. I won’t take up your time with more details, but if there is something you want to ask, just email me.

    Our prayers will be with you as you wait for the little one.

  6. Amy

    That book sounds really good. I’m going to check if the library has it today!

    And good luck with your induction. I’ll be praying for you!

  7. George @ Convert Journal

    Not really criticism, but maybe the Magellan book was not such a good idea! Staying up and reading it infringed upon your last chance for relatively good sleep before the baby arrives. Just saying…

    My entry this week… Girl Scouts work to expose their slide to pro-death. People in Texas live their faith. Tim Staples “Jimmy Swaggart made me Catholic.” Father Barron on papal infallibility. A mother learns to forgive her son’s murderer. What rapture? Talking dog.

  8. Jenna

    I literally LOLed at that video! I’m picturing you peeping out your curtains with a calculator!

    Also, I love novenas as well. I reccomend this book: ISBN #9780882714837. It’s one of my go-tos for every occasion.


  9. Mrs. Amen @ The Cypress Shall Grow

    So exciting about the baby birthdate! June 22nd would be a beautiful day to have a baby 🙂

    I am also really excited for the Holy Spirit Novena. I love praying Novenas and do them all the time. This one is one of my favorites (Divine Mercy is my absolute favorite!).

    My parents are going on an Alaskan cruise this summer, but they aren’t gamblers so they’d have no idea if the gambling on the ship is any good or not.

  10. Christie

    Wow, Saint Thomas More’s feast day? What a great day to be born on!

  11. Kathleen@so much to say

    #1: Congratulations! It must be so good to see the end in sight.

    #6: We took a Royal Caribbean Alaskan cruise with my in-laws a couple of years ago, and you know, as cruises go it was very good. It was my first cruise and probably my last, because cruises are not my thing, but if you like cruises, it was a good cruise. We went to Hubbard Glacier and worked our way back south through Juneau Ketchikan and S(crud, name is gone from my head. Sorry.) Anyway, they offered pretty good off-ship trips, and the food was good. And yes, they did have a casino.

  12. Erin @ A Full Heart

    Congratulations on the upcoming Baby Day!! That’s so exciting!

    And I am soooo with you on the boat/going to the lake thing! I like my air conditioning too much 😉

  13. -dweej HouseUnseen

    June is a lovely month to be born. In fact, I’ve heard that almost everyone born in June is really interesting, smart, smart and funny. True story! 😉

    Baby day, baby day, baby day is almost heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere!!!!!

  14. Trisha Niermeyer Potter

    I’m a 7 Quick Takes virgin, when it comes to writing my own, not reading yours, of course. I’m excited to join the club! Thank you for posting a printable version of the Holy Spirit Novena. I’d read about it but didn’t know where to find it.

  15. Angie

    It makes the nine months leading up more tolerable when there’s an end in sight!

    Your lunch idea for your husband’s coworker is great. What a simple way to touch someone’s day with just a couple extra minutes’ worth of time. 🙂

  16. Anne McD

    Hi Jen! Prayers for you and your little one these last couple of days!

    I’m joining in with my first quick takes– thanks for having me1 🙂

  17. Kimberlie

    I’m doing the Novena to the Holy Spirit and I’m so excited! It’s going to be my first time doing one.

  18. Christina

    If you think Magellan’s story is crazy, you should check out the voyage of St. Brendan. Some people think he may have even ‘discovered’ America looooong before even the Vikings made their supposed voyages. I’m constantly amazed by the feats people achieved (or attempted) with what we consider such rudimentary technology.

  19. Christian H

    I think the reason people like boating is that people like being on water. I don’t know why the latter should be true, but it seems to be so.

    @Christina: The Vikings made more than supposed voyages. They made real ones. There’s archeological evidence in L’Anse Aux Meadows, Newfoundland. I strongly doubt they made it to Maryland or whereever it is in the US that claims they made it that far.

  20. Tootie

    #2: Haha! I fear that I’m the lady in the video as well 🙂

    #6: I went on an Alaskan cruise with my parents when I was a kid, and we had a wonderful time! We went on Princess. Not sure if they have gambling options, but it was a very nice cruise line (or at least it was at the time).

  21. Carolyn Richardson

    I read your blog, but never comment. I really enjoy it even though I’m coming from a “liberal” Episcopalian viewpoint. However, I’m finally commenting to recommend South Padre Island as a beach vacation spot. I live in Houston and my family has been vacationing there for over 15 years. We enjoy the beachside condos, which are nice if you have a large group as you can rent as many units as necessary. I would recommend a small to medium complex, but the larger ones have more amenities if that is a factor.

  22. Melissa Spence

    How exciting you will be having your little one soon! We live here in South Austin and 2 summers ago we took our kids down to Port Aransas – beautiful, tropical-like waters. We loved it! You have to take the ferry over to get to it. But it’s a super cute beach town. Tons of beach houses and you can drive up on the beach. I posted lots of pics and videos of that beach here: http://spenceohana.blogspot.com/2009/07/spent-4th-in-port-aransas.html

  23. Kara

    Yay on a date! It’s always nice to have an end in site. (And a little scary, too!)

    We’ll be having our little sweetie next week for sure, but it’s not a scheduled induction (yet). My dr doesn’t want her going past 39 weeks, though. So we’ll likely schedule something if she doesn’t come on her own by then.

  24. Maria Johnson

    I’ve been reading everyone’s quick takes forever and finally decided to jump in and play. Thanks for the welcoming sandbox here 🙂

  25. S

    #1: Congratulations! My sister had the same issue with blood thinners and inductions with each of her pregnancies (after a massive clot during the first), so I know that routine!

    #6: My family loved our Alaskan cruise in 2005 – we’ve always cruised Royal Caribbean (always = three times), and had a wonderful time. They have lovely casinos, too! The Alaskan cruise circuit definitely had more “passengers of a certain age” than the Caribbean cruises, though that was a plus for us and probably will be for Yaya as well. Our friends also loved theirs a few years later – I don’t remember what line they took (a couple, one’s mother, and mom’s friend), but they did take our advice and maximized shore excursions – the helicopter glacier tour/hike/dogsledding were incredible, and other family members did whale watching, a salmon lodge, etc. One day at sea was spent watching Hubbard glacier claving (?), which was neat – worth factoring into itinerary selection if she’s interested. Some of the itineraries also embark and disembark in different cities (we did a round-trip cruise, but some run straight north or south along the coast) – just something to be aware of. We hadn’t run into that on prior cruises.

  26. Christie

    Hey! Danielle! You did it! See you next week?

  27. Martha

    I love how positive you are about ‘only’ 19 days to go… I’m always, ‘I’ll never make it 19 more days! What will I do??!!” So, here’s to your virtue of patience.

    My prayers go out to you and your little one (girl, I think you said?) for a safe, quick, painless-as-possible delivery! St. Gerard, pray for Jen!

    Be prepared for an extremely opinionated, stubborn but just child. Her sense of injustice under fire may blow you away. St. Thomas More was just a ‘tad’ bit that way, ya know.

  28. Paula Gonzales Rohrbacher

    Re: #7 – I live in Douglas, AK (across the Gastineau Channel from Juneau). The cruise ships visit here during the summer, boatloads of them (!). I recommend that Yaya take the Alaska Marine Highway to Alaska. The ferries are large, have staterooms, a cafeteria (the Columbia has a dining room with waiters), and are a wonderful way of cruising the Inside Passage. It is a great way to meet interesting people, and I’m sure she can enjoy a card game or two with her new found friends.

    The cruise ships are floating sweatshops. The ships are registered in other countries, so they don’t have to follow US labor laws. The crew, mostly Indonesian, Filipino, West Indian, East Indian, and Hispanic, are worked to death, are not compensated nearly enough, and spend months away from their home and families. If they are sick, or decide to quit because of the working conditions, they are not given their fare home by the companies. When there was a fire on one of the Holland America ships close to Juneau, 3 crew members died and their friends and coworkers were not allowed off the ship to attend the funeral that was held at one of our local parishes.

    I will never take a cruise, unless it is on an American-owned company that is subject to US labor laws.

    Here is a link to the Alaska Marine Highway: http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/index.shtml

    If she comes up, let me know and we’ll give her a personal tour!

  29. Marie

    Here’s something fun for you and the kids:

    Animaniacs – Ballad of Magellan


  30. Tracy

    June 22 sounds like a lovely birthday. Praying for a safe smooth delivery and healthy baby and mom.

  31. Michelle

    Thank you for posting about the Holy Spirit Novena! I’ve been meaning to look up the prayers for it, but I just keep forgetting…I will definitely be joining you in prayer! Pax et bonum.

  32. JoAnna

    Congratulations on the upcoming birth of baby #5! Perhaps her name should be Thomasina! 🙂

  33. Laura O in AK

    Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your child. If our family is blessed to have another child, mine will end up being scheduled as well.

    I’m not a big boat person, either. Too much motion sickness if it isn’t a HUGE ship.

    Wish I had a recommendation for an Alaskan cruise. My sister is planning to take one from Vancouver to Whittier, AK next summer to visit us up here (Anchorage area.) I think it’s on Princess, but I’m not sure.

  34. Caroline Tobin

    Ok, I posted my very first 7 quick takes. Also my first blog post since baby #3 was born. I’m going to try to keep blogging this time; wish me luck.

    Congratulations on your imminent new addition! and thanks for reminding me about the Holy Spirit Novena.

  35. Anonymous

    That is so cute about the work lunches! one-man lunch ministry, I love it!

    I do enjoy being on my husband’s family boat, but after a while it does get old and I get tired of it. He could be out there for hours!

    • Gillian

      Delete this one please, I didn’t mean to be anonymous!

  36. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    Congrats on having an arrival date for baby! I’m starting to get to the point where I’m ready for ours to be out too, but still have a few weeks until my due date. I’m wondering if she might come early though… I guess we’ll see!
    Definitely keeping you guys in prayer for an easy and complication free delivery!

  37. Louise

    Woohoo, you set a date! I know I’m biased, but I’m quite fond of June birthdays for little ones. You’re in my prayers. 🙂
    I love the story of sharing leftovers with your husband’s coworker. That’s a great reminder that we don’t have to make huge, grandiose gestures to do God’s work. “Small things with great love,” in Mother Teresa’s words.

  38. Gillian

    That is so cute about the work lunches! one-man lunch ministry, I love it!

    I do enjoy being on my husband’s family boat, but after a while it does get old and I get tired of it. He could be out there for hours!

  39. Fabiola

    Thank you for the novena! I will print it out right away.

  40. Ann-Marie

    We took a Princess cruise for our honeymoon. They were FABULOUS! Several other lines are popular more with the retired crowd; Princess had families, and young married couples as well. Also, I know it adds cost and money, but go on the overland portion as well. Go up and see Denali, etc. As our travel agent said, “Going on a cruise to Alaska and not going overland, is like going to Galveston and saying that you’ve seen Texas.” The overland part was amazing.

  41. Emily

    Congrats on your baby being so close!! Yay!! And that video made my day 😀 Thank you! Prayers and blessings for your pregnancy!

  42. Christine

    YIPPEE…a new bundle coming soon. Praying all goes well.

    I always make my hubby’s lunch. I also send a note with sweet words to him. I make the kids send one every so often.

    Now that I have teens in the home…leftovers are hard to come by!

    also so very sweet of you to send one for his co-worker.

  43. Amy B

    Prayers for a healthy delivery, mama!!!

  44. Erika Evans

    OOOH OOOH OOOH! You want to come to the coast; I’m so excited!!

    I’ll third suggestions made earlier and say Port Aransas or South Padre Island; they’re in my backyard here in Corpus Christi : ) If you stay in a condo out on the Island, you’ll still have the attractions of Corpus about half an hour away (we have a great museum with a kids’ area and a terrific aquarium) if you need a day away from the sun & sand.

    And I promise not to squeal fan-girl like if I see a rather tall redhead with a whole bunch of little kids : )

  45. Trista

    How exciting to have a date! Will say a prayer for you!

    Wish I had been more on top of this novena to the Holy Spirit.

  46. Danielle G

    We also live in TX! Last year we joined our best friends in Port Aransas for some beach time. Their family had a condo there and you just walk right down to the beach. My sister and brother in law also used to vacation in Port A. and really liked it. Hope you find a great place! I can’t remember the condo name they stayed at, but maybe this will help: http://www.portaransas.org/port-aransas-business-directory

  47. LuAnne

    So happy that you’ll be welcoming you baby soon! My prayers are with you!



  48. Anthony S. Layne

    Looking forward to the arrival of Number 5 (“Johnny 5”? You’d have to remember Short Circuit for that reference!).

    If motorboats don’t trip your trigger, then I’d hate to see you in a sailboat ….

    Alas, I know of no beaches in Texas save those on South Padre Island; since it’s “in season” now, you’ll have to chect to see how many arms and legs your family can spare. Other than that, I’m still a furriner here myself. As for Alaska, if you’d like, I’ll put you in touch with my cousin who’s a travel agent; he may have some good ideas for you.

  49. Lauren

    Saint Thomas More is my husband’s patron saint. Great day to be born!

  50. Natalie

    Thanks for the reminder of the Holy Spirit novena. It’s a pity I’m a day ahead here in Australia – I’ll be starting late. I think it would be useful to have dates like this on my calendar, as I never remember in time. It’s comforting to know that the Holy Spirit doesn’t mind if I start late 🙂

  51. nancy

    It’s very exciting to hear of your baby’s upcoming birth and the scheduled day. My birthday is June 23, so I’m between St. Thomas More (maybe that’s why he’s always been a favorite of mine) and St. John the Baptist (another favorite!)

    This week I posted images of the Visitation and the Ascension, and for today’s 7 Quick Takes, I’ve posted a links edition.

  52. Kat

    As a life-long Texan and avid beach-goer, I can say that South Padre Island is the best beach in Texas. Hopefully you can book for early to mid September when the prices go down and the crowds are gone.

    The other beaches can be filthy and covered with seaweed.

    South Padre is a longer drive, but in my opinion, totally worth it. And the kids would love the Turtle sanctuary (the Turtle Lady) and Schlitterbahn.

  53. troutmommy

    the lake thing cracks me up!! i live in a place where people literally get off work at 5 p.m. on friday drive 3 hours at least stay for 2 nights and drive home to be back at work monday first thing- not sure what the fun ratio is there, but sounds exhausting to me!!!

  54. lethargic

    I recommend S. Padre Island. Wonderful miles of beaches, condos or rental houses as well as hotels. Don’t miss Sea Turtle Inc (the director Jeff George home schooled his kids) http://www.seaturtleinc.org/

  55. Jennifer

    Took my first cruise this year – Royal Caribbean – and it was INCREDIBLE. Excellent value for the price. OUTSTANDING service. And I know they have Alaskan cruises among their offerings – in fact, the ship I was on – Radiance of the Seas – started her career in Alaska. And a nice casino with a good assortment of slots and table games.

  56. nicole

    You’ve got 58 comments, so I am very likely repeating myself. Friends of ours love Port Aransas, especially for families. Lots of houses to rent I believe.

    I went on an Alaskan cruise several years ago. My grandmother paid for it, it was a family cruise, but almost no young kids. We went on Norwegian Cruise Lines. It was lovely. My husband and I were mainly interested in eating good food without having to share and sleeping as much as we wanted, so it met our needs wonderfully. We did a cruise with a scheduled dinnertime every day and that you dressed nicely for (church clothes or whatever, nothing too fancy except for one night) and we enjoyed it. There is also what is known as freestyle cruises that are more casual. Anyway, my grandmother loves NCL.

  57. Jackie

    Oh my goodness, I can’t imagine seeing a scorpion. Then again, I guess other people don’t expect to see bears whilst walking through the park so to each their own!

  58. Maria Hess

    And that video made my day Thank you! Delete this one please, I didn’t mean to be anonymous! Too much motion sickness if it isn’t a HUGE ship. It was lovely.

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