7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 182)

July 27, 2012 | 26 comments

— 1 —

If you know anyone at Mt. Angel Abbey or Seminary up in Oregon, you may want to tell them to start preparing themselves now. Because the Fulwilers are going back to Mt. Angel in November, and this time we’re bringing the kids. I’m not sure how, exactly, to advise them to get ready for this. Prayer, certainly. But investing in some noise-cancellation headphones, a carton of Magic Erasers, and a few extra fire extinguishers couldn’t hurt either.

I am counting on being able to get there through some kind of teleportation device, so I need the science community to step up their game and get one ready for public use within the next 15 weeks or so, because there is no way that I can fly across the country with a bunch of little kids. We did book all the airline tickets last night (with much help from generous grandparents who had extra air miles), but that’s just a fallback on the off-off chance that we can’t beam ourselves there. In fact, I’m willing to discuss the range and safety of a large catapult as an option. Anything but flying in an airplane for five hours with overtired kids.

— 2 —

Of course I’m excited to take in the beautiful scenery, hang out with the amazing people, and drink their wine, but the main purpose of the trip is to visit my cousin, Brother Claude Lane. There’s a very cool story there, which I’ll repeat for those of you who aren’t familiar with it:

A few weeks before Joe and I came into communion with the Church, a relative from my dad’s side emailed me to ask if I knew that we were both related to another Catholic. This was shocking to me, since that particular branch of my family tree is so deeply Protestant that I always kind of pictured that every single ancestor on that side of family happened to be in Wittenberg, Germany in October 1517, and hadn’t been Catholic since they all collectively walked up to see what those papers were on the door of the All Saints’ church. I figured that my relative must be referring to someone who had converted for a spouse but didn’t really practice the Faith…so I was just a liiiiiiittle bit surprised when she elaborated to say that we were related to a Benedictine monk. I was further amazed to find out that he’s an iconographer, and had written the icon for the cover of the Bible that I had just bought.

In the following years we’ve become quite close to Br. Claude, who is the son of my grandmother’s cousin (or something like that; I usually just say we’re “second cousins once removed” as a shorthand for “it’s complicated”). It’s so great to be able to take a trip to one of the most beautiful monasteries in America and get to hang out with my long-lost cousin as well!

— 3 —

Joe is going to the Texas Thunder demolition derby this weekend. I feel like this puts him in a rather unique demographic, in that he spends his days listening to Teaching Company CDs about Minoan art and the history of Western philosophy, and spends his evenings at demolition derbies (complete with emails to his friends with the subject: Texas Thunder! Texas Thunder!! TEXAS THUNDER!!!!!!) (That subject line was copied and pasted verbatim.) He’s also a big cricket fan. Wouldn’t that be crazy if he happened to run into another cricket fan at the demo derby? I mean, if he saw some guy wearing a Durham CCC Dynamos jersey, he’d pretty much just have to walk up to that dude and say, “Hey man, let’s be best friends forever.”

— 4 —

All my life, I walked around believing that there was not a single sport that I could ever be compelled to play. All of the major competitive sports were out for obvious reasons, since the idea of running around outside and keeping track of some ball while simultaneously interacting with people made me need to retire to my fainting couch just to contemplate it. But even indoor activities like bowling or pool didn’t do it for me either, for reasons I never quite identified. And then I discovered darts, and a whole new world has opened up.

Finally, I have found my calling in life. For a brief period I was messing around with this writing stuff, but now I understand that God’s true plan for me involves dominating dartboards. All my life I have been waiting for a sport that you can win while standing still, and now I have found it. The sport has kindled within me a competitive streak I didn’t even know I had, and I’ve gotten fairly good at the game in an alarmingly short time period. I keep saying that I’m going to become a darts hustler as a side income: When I travel for speaking, I’ll go to the nearest pub and announce that I’m just a humble Catholic lady blogger here from out of town who just got back from a mommies’ prayer group, and was wonderful if the nice folks here would be up for a game of darts. My husband’s role will be to “spontaneously” suggest that we put some money on it to make it interesting, and, long story short, I’ll clean house.

Anyway, all this is to say, don’t be surprised if my LinkedIn profile suddenly changes to, Jennifer Fulwiler: DARTS SHARK.

— 5 —

We’re having a priest over for dinner for the first time ever! Fr. Michael Sullivan will be coming over next week, which is super exciting since I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. He occasionally visits our parish, and I was so blown away by his insightful and eloquent homilies that I went out of my way to get his name so I could know who this amazing priest was (I mentioned him in a post here). As someone who has the anti-charism of cooking, it makes me mildly nervous to be providing a meal for him, but my husband has made me promise that I won’t cook anything off of Pinterest so it should be fine.

— 6 —

This past Lent I tried to give up putting my usual tablespoon of sugar in my morning coffee, and it proved to be a great trial. I would loudly tell Joe or whoever else was around to please write this down for my cause for canonization as I gritted my teeth and whispered, “All for you, Lord!” before I suffered through one sip after another of coffee that was not prepared exactly how I like it.

I need to file this article away to read before next Lent: It’s Ramadan right now, and it’s been getting up to 122° F in some places in the Middle East. This means that a lot of Muslims are going all day without eating or drinking anything. In 120° heat. Wow.

— 7 —

Those of you who were around at midnight may have noticed that my own quick takes were up a bit late tonight. That’s because Joe and I got sidetracked watching videos from some best of Youtube podcast he subscribes to, which includes Frankenkitty, as well as this I-N-S-A-N-E underwater fishing video (check out the footage at 1:20):

Now you understand why I was running late.



  1. Kara

    Cue Jeopardy music! 🙂

  2. Eva

    As an Oregon resident (14+ years), your plans MUST include: a) waterproof shoes, b) rain jackets, and c) Evergreen Wings and Waves in McMinville!!

  3. Hevel

    How funny, I have a cousin who is Father Michael Sullivan, and one that is Father Michael O’Sullivan. 😀 Yep, I’m Irish. As in Republic of Ireland, not some great-great-grandparent moved to the States. So I’m Irish. And Jewish. With lots of Irish Catholics in my family. Several nuns and priests in my generation.

  4. Contra

    If you post more pictures of Mt Angel, you should post a picture from the north side view of Mounts Hood, Rainier and St Helen.

  5. Sarah

    As a born and bred Oregonian, I second Eva’s recommendations! I would add that you should try and make it to the Oregon Coast, because the scenery is spectacular and the coast is lovely in stormy weather. It’s a little over an hour away from the valley, so well worth your time 🙂

  6. ceciliamaria

    I too have a second cousin who is a Benedictine Monk!!!! It’s awesome! My cousin, Br. Paul, just made his simple vows in June. I love having religious in the family!

  7. Laura

    Sounds like a wonderful adventure to Oregon! I have to say, though, that after reading your blog for many years now, I have to keep asking myself who “Joe” is! Thanks for hosting.
    God Bless.

  8. Colleen

    We have the pleasure of having priests over a couple of times a month!! We have some GREAT ones around here, and I’ve come to realize they love visiting families and relaxing in a home. Plus my kids get to see Priests as “real” people who are funny, interesting, and love to eat!

  9. Sarah Scherrer

    Wow that’s a cool video! But I think it broke my brain…
    I love icons, too. I didn’t realize how many we have scattered throughout our house, but a new handyman commented on them, turns out he’s part of the Antiochian church, and our mutual love of icons has sparked a pleasant friendship!

  10. Dwija {House Unseen}

    I need in on that catapult idea. Not so much so I can go on a trip WITH my kids, but rather…well, you know.

  11. Karianna@Caffeinated Catholic Mama

    I have a few friends who are Muslim and Jewish… and I’ll tell you, they can make our Lenten Fasting look pretty paltry. I do love how the Fasting shows the interconnectedness of our faiths, though.

  12. Lisa Schmidt

    Hey, we are kind of living parallel lives here (well, except for the Demo Derby thing). If I would have done QTs this week they would have included a couple similar things.

    My husband Joel and I will be traveling to Conception Abbey in Missouri soon for a week of diaconate formation at the seminary. Kids are coming along, too. Could be an interesting case study in how long it takes to admit me … and I’m not talking admission to the Abbey!

    We are also hosting a priest for dinner this week. He is a retired Monsignor and was a page/intern at the Vatican II Council. What questions would you all ask him? I plan to ‘interview’ him – he just doesn’t know it yet! We are grilling loin back ribs and all the works. Very excited!

  13. Kaitlin @ More Like Mary

    I’ve always wanted to have a priest over for dinner! I WILL get the courage one day!

  14. Grace

    I would pay a lot of lettuce for airlines to start providing childcare services on planes. I think it would actually put some years back onto my clock — or whatever.

  15. JC

    “If you know anyone at Mt. Angel Abbey or Seminary up in Oregon, you may want to tell them to start preparing themselves now. Because the Fulwilers are going back to Mt. Angel in November, and this time we’re bringing the kids.”

    We’re going there next week. Consider them duly warned. 🙂

  16. Trisha Niermeyer Potter @ Prints of Grace

    My husband and I were both in hysterics reading your 7 Quick Takes! I’ll be very interested to hear how the trip goes. I’m sure everyone on that flight will wish they’d made alternative travel plans that involve beaming, catapulting, etc. I have confidence that you and your husband will be able to handle it creatively and that the write up about it will be priceless once you’ve recovered.

  17. MB

    okay, but here’s a recipe off Pinterest that you can’s mess up, is perfect for summer, and the kids gobble it.


    My kids actually requested it last night for our Opening Ceremonies party. And it has vegetables in it!

    Maybe the padre will will love it , too!

  18. Rhonda @ A Naptime Novelist

    Couldn’t manage to write Quick Takes this week (we packed up our moving crates today!), but I wanted to put in another plug for Mt. Angel. So beautiful, so peaceful, so… well, Benedictine. And I think it’s awesome that your cousin is the iconographer whose work we admire so much!

    If your kids need a little outing while you are there, try driving over to Silver Falls State Park, about 20 minutes away from Mt. Angel. Bring warm clothes and good sturdy shoes, since it’ll be November (there might be a little ice up there, depending on the weather). Shameless plug, I’m sure, but I have some pics from Mt. Angel and the falls at my blog – we went to the Abbey for the Feast of St. Benedict and hiking afterwards. http://naptimenovelist.com/2012/07/17/some-pics-and-reasons-why-ill-miss-oregon/

    – Rhonda

    • Rhonda @ A Naptime Novelist

      Actually, let me take that back – there WILL be ice up at the falls. But it’ll be open, and it’ll be beautiful, regardless. And they have a cafe with hot chocolate and coffee, for afterwards (because Oregonians can’t go anywhere without coffee!). 🙂

  19. Fr. Gabriel Waweru

    God bless you. I watched your episode of Journey Home on EWTN. I am encouraged. Thank you for your witness. I promise my prayers for you and your family. Enjoy your prayer and time at the Abbey.

    In Christ our hope

    Fr. Gabriel

  20. Patrick

    “Anything but flying in an airplane for five hours with overtired kids.”

    Well, there’s also the 36-hour drive. 🙂

  21. Emily

    Darts are so fun!

  22. mandamum

    Well, my brother *was* at Mt Angel, but when he heard you were coming, he headed to Rome…. j/k 🙂

    Thanks for the linked description of retreat at the Abbey–I grew up in Salem and have gone to various liturgies there, but never to stay. I’d love to hear how a family retreat goes with littles–maybe I could talk my family into it…. Too bad Uncle won’t be there in the near future….

  23. Kirra

    I have been contemplating whether or not I can come up with seven quick takes every week, but I noticed that every blog I’ve seen do it is Catholic related. I am Christian but not Catholic. I don’t want to jump into something I’m not exactly suited for. Please let me know. Thanks!

  24. Becki

    Wait wait. .this post is old but dang it. . .I live so near Mt Angel! A celebrity here?? AND I MISSED IT! DOH! Hope you had a marvelous visit!

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