7 Quick Takes (that are admittedly kind of phoned in because none of us have time to be online right now)

December 20, 2013 | 28 comments

— 1 —

The end of the year is drawing nigh, and the Fulwiler family is skidding in for a landing. I’m late for everything, behind on all deadlines, have put the kids on the Minecraft homeschool curriculum, and am telling myself through gritted teeth that our tree only has five decorations haphazardly thrown onto it (not counting the ten that the cat swatted onto the floor) because we’re good Catholics who don’t really get Christmas going until the 25th.

So here is an admittedly phoned-in, two-hours-late, off-the-top-of-my-head version of 7 Quick Takes:

— 2 —

I always make sure that my post is up by midnight so that people who are waiting up to add their names to the 7 Quick Takes link-up can do so on a predictable schedule. However, my own life does not run on a predictable schedule, which means that between the hours of midnight and 1:30 AM on Thursday nights, there is often some sort of bizarre, hastily dashed off placeholder post. Like this one from today:

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 10.57.25 PM

UPDATE: It occurs to me that my new title and content are actually not much better than the original.

UPDATE #2: Seriously, people: this is my best effort.

— 3 —

Next year we need to shut down the internet from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Eve. I’m okay with social media being left online, since any form of communication whose primary purpose is letting your friends know what you had for lunch and posting funny pictures of cats is about the right level of depth for this season, but all blogging and article-writing needs to go. Let’s face it: those of us who write are all feeling guilty because we don’t have time to update and we’re totally slacking on what we do write, and those of us who like to read worry that we’re missing good content because we don’t have time to do our usual web surfing.

Therefore, I’m going to spend next year searching for that elusive INTERNET ON / INTERNET OFF switch I’ve been looking for for a long time now, and I’m just going to shut the whole thing down for the entirety of December and put us all out of our misery. It might sound painful, but I promise you that you’ll ultimately be relieved when you turn on your computer next December 1 and see only a notice that says “Internet Shut Down Because Jen Says So.”

— 4 —

Another contributing factor to me being short on time this week was that I went to see my hematologist and mentioned that I had some pain in one of my legs. When you’re homozygous for a blood clotting disorder and have a history of DVT and pulmonary embolisms, that kind of remark buys you a trip to the hospital for an ultrasound of your leg.

After spending half a day dealing with that, we discovered that my right leg is kind of a mess. The good news is that there are no new clots in major veins, but there are some superficial clots, as well as narrowing of the veins due to the DVT and other previous clotting episodes. This explains why that leg is always swollen, frequently hurts, and why my ankle looks like something out of a medical textbook. I now need to go in for a follow-up ultrasound as well, just to make sure that it’s still all jacked up (actually I’m not sure why — there were a couple of kids yelling when the nurse called).

I was hoping that I’d be done with doctors for a while after our epic year of medical drama, but it looks like this may be a recurring theme.

— 5 —

Sarah of Amongst Lovely Things came up with a fantastic idea for an end-of-year blog roundup: it’s called “Most” Posts of 2013 and it’s where bloggers list their posts that fall into categories like “Post with the Most Clicks, ” “Post with the Most Comments, ” or “Posts that Was Hardest to Write.” If you’re a blogger it’s a great way to look back on your writing from this year, and if you’re a reader it’s a great way to discover new writers. LOVE this idea. Definitely check it out!

— 6 —

What’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine is What Child Is This? As an atheist-to-Christian convert, I find the lyrics to this song to be particularly poignant and powerful:

— 7 —

Yesterday I was holding my two-year-old and she happened to take notice of my Our Lady of Guadalupe Necklace (the same one from this picture with the baby):


“Who’s that?” she asked.

I told her it was Mary, and she shook her head no, indicating that I was mistaken. I repeated that it is indeed Mary.

She shook her head again, this time with emphasis. To explain where I had gone wrong, she looked up at me and explained: “No. Mary hold baby.”

I find it so touching that, to her, the Blessed Mother is so closely associated with cuddling innocent new life that she can’t imagine her without the baby Jesus in her arms.

Merry Christmas, everyone!



  1. Kendra

    Jen! Get some sleep!

  2. Bonnie

    Favorite Christmas song: O Holy Night

  3. jen

    My Quick Takes were actually dedicated to the topic of my “favorite Christmas song”. πŸ™‚

  4. B.

    My favourite christmas carol is “Lobt Gott ihr Christen alle gleich”. The music is wonderful and the lyrics are a beautifully poetic catechism of what Christmas really is.
    Youtube doesn’t really have a good rendition of it, this is the best I could find:
    (Incorrectly credited to Max Reger, in reality it is from Nikolaus Hermann, who lived in the 16th century.)

    I also found an English translation, which is pretty good IMO as in being faithful to the original text while keeping some of its beauty.

    I have no idea whether this is a widely known carol in English speaking countries (would be interested to hear about it).

  5. Sharon

    My favorite Christmas song: O Holy Night. Long story short, the first time I heard it was when my mother sang it. And I totally hear you about shutting down social media. I announced to my Facebook friends that I was staying away until New Years’, and then two days later I was right back on.

  6. Elisa | blissfulE

    That last take was so beautiful. Thanks for taking the time to write even during this hectic time… though I hear you about shutting down the internet. Maybe next December. πŸ™‚

  7. Joanne

    A. I had fun with the Most Posts

    B. Favorite song, hands down – Good King Wenceslas. It is only good when sung in parts with men and women and the men singing “Bring me flesh and bring me wine”. Totally cannot wait to sing that one!!!

  8. Peg

    Prayers for a complete recovery of your leg issues, in Jesus’ name, we pray.
    Have a Mary Christmas and a Blessed 2014!

  9. TracyE

    Great idea and certainly the holidays are a contributing factor to my nosedive of blogging and lack of participation in the 7QTs in quite some time! Blessings and take care of that leg so you can take care of those chirren!!

  10. Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

    Love the idea of the “Most” posts to end out the year! Great idea.
    Sorry to hear that you are planning to take a break from the Internet next year, but I totally understand it.
    You’ll just be missed so much!

  11. Kathleen Basi

    “(actually I’m not sure why β€” there were a couple of kids yelling when the nurse called.)”…..

    This is a priceless comment, Jen. πŸ™‚

    Favorite Christmas song: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear. That third verse makes me weep.

  12. Smoochagator

    I don’t know why I keep entering the address of my blog when I only update it every five months. But anyway.

    Our tree isn’t even up yet because my husband hasn’t dragged it down from the attic. I tell myself that the reason I’m not worried about decorating is because I’m a good Catholic-in-training, but the truth is I’ve been terrible about holiday decorations ever since we adopted our kittens, who not only play with ornaments and knock the tree over, but who have even been known to camp out IN THE BRANCHES of the Christmas tree. Add in having kids who could damage the tree or hurt themselves grabbing for shiny ornaments, and then having a grief-filled holiday season last year, and our house pretty much looks like we’re a family Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    I love your Guadalupe pendant! And I love it that your daughter had to correct you on Mary’s proper appearance… with baby πŸ˜€

    Keep us posted on medical drama! I will be praying for you!

    • Bonnie

      Hey, don’t worry about the Christmas tree being up yet. In our family the tradition is to put the tree up and decorate it on Christmas Eve, in the evening after 6 pm. Yes, it’s a little messy, but when everyone comes over it’s loads of fun, and it’s a fun family activity everyone can join in on, it’s something we can snack and drink eggnog while doing, and laugh talking about Christmases past. Anyway, my parents and my parents’ parents did it that way too. We don’t take the tree down until Epiphany. It’s really a lovely tradition. And so what the house isn’t immaculate on Christmas Day? We run the sweeper and straighten the cushions and throw the ornament boxes in the spare bedroom. Voila! Ready for Santa! Some go to Midnight Mass, the rest to bed. (And some harried mommies wrap presents into the wee hours!) Anyway, think about it. It really is fun.

  13. Caroline M.

    Awww…. That is so precious. It’s wonderful that your 2 year old already “gets it.” Have a Merry Christmas! (From someone who doesn’t have even one ornament on the tree yet, for laziness reasons).

  14. Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

    Yikes on that leg! I added quite a few feeds to my reader from the Most Post Link-up. One request – could you please send me a link to that Minecraft homeschool curriculum? I am feeling the need for it here.

  15. Rosemary

    My favorite Christmas song is What Child is This, also. πŸ™‚

  16. Leslie

    You can’t shut off the internet in December! How will I do my Christmas shopping?? πŸ˜‰

  17. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    #7 – you are a good momma πŸ™‚

  18. sheila

    sorry to hear about your leg, Jen. you’re in my prayers. my favorite Christmas song is Gabriel’s Message. Sting, the Good Shepherd Band and the Winchester Cathedral Choir each have lovely versions on youtube.

  19. Amy

    I couldn’t come up with seven takes at all at this point, so I just did one long one πŸ™‚ I just wrote yesterday about my new love for Christmas music. I’ve always been a lover of Christmas music, and even when I was an atheist I still loved and sang along with the religious carols, I just didn’t pay attention to their meaning. I am so in love with the music this year! O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Little Drummer Boy, and O Holy Night are my favorites.

  20. Bonnie Way

    Merry Christmas! Thanks for hosting, even with your busy schedule. I can understand busy… although I’m feeling less busy at Christmas because it’s a break from university classes for me. πŸ™‚ I’m taking the next week off (and going mostly offline) so I hope you can find a blogging break too. πŸ™‚

  21. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    My favorite tune…O Holy Night by Josh Groban, although now that my bestie pointed out that it sounds like in some places he is singing O Holy Knife, I have cartoonish images of a music video. My mind needs help. Second fave is the Silent Night/Night of Silence mashup. That is my favorite to sing. Favorite nostalgic song is On That Holy Mountain written by my college choir director. So you see, that is how “favorites” go in our house.

    So excited about the pre-order going live! So very excited. I have a feeling it will be one of those “don’t bug mommy/wifeys for a day or two as I inhale this book” books.

    Merry Christmas to all of you in much warmer Texas! Here is hoping that slide into the end of the year brings with it a heaping helping of blessings too, and perhaps a miracle cure for those health woes. We will be praying for you in these here parts. πŸ™‚

  22. ouiz

    Favorite Christmas carol HANDS DOWN is “O Holy Night,” and here’s why:

    “Long lay the world
    In sin and error pining
    ‘Til He appeared
    And the soul felt its worth.”

    “Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth” is a line that slams me in the gut EVERY.TIME. We are worth that much to Him, that He would put aside the glories of Heaven and become one of us. For the first time, we learned how much we mean to Him…

  23. Carolyn Svellinger

    We’ll be praying for your health, Jen! I hope there’s something you can do for relief… Though it may just have to be your cause for sainthood. Oy vey.
    My favorite Christmas song, ever since I was a little girl, is O Holy Night.

    The Priests do a beautiful rendition: http://youtu.be/G38B5nmS1Hg

    and I just came across these ladies who gave me shivers: http://youtu.be/cZ-8jYpa1-o

  24. Jessica

    Jen, God bless you and your doctors, and may you be healed; may this suffering bring you closer to Him and closer to your place in Paradise.

    I knew there would be much love for O Holy Night! πŸ˜‰ And rightly so!

    Here are a few others . . . Beautiful version of O Come O Come Emmanuel (credited to “Hymns for All Saints: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany” by Concordia Publishing House.)


    And the Italian classic, Tu scendi dalle stelle (From Starry Skies Descending) – a lovely version with translation of the lyrics:


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