7 Quick Takes about South Dakota, The Shoe Song, rap battles, and why I should not ask people if I can pray for them

October 24, 2014 | 20 comments

— 1 —

By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to South Dakota! I’m speaking at St. Lambert in Sioux Falls on Friday at 7:00 and at Immaculate Conception in Watertown at 9 AM on Saturday. If you’re in the area, come say hello!

— 2 —

How is this for a crazy travel schedule? I’m flying in to Sioux Falls this afternoon (Friday), speaking tonight, getting up early to travel almost two hours to Watertown on Saturday, speaking in the morning, driving almost two hours back to Sioux Falls, then flying back to Austin that night. Within 30 hours, I’ll have traveled about 2, 500 miles.

Having a grandfather who is 100 years old really helps me understand just how mind-blowing that is. He remembers life before cars were in widespread use, and the day he saw his first airplane. It’s crazy to think that his great-grandparents spent months in covered wagons to get from the northern states down to Texas — some of them dying along the way — and I can do the same thing in a matter of hours with a latte in my hand.

I could spend hours lost in thought about that.

(…But don’t think that that’s going to stop me from complaining about air travel!)

— 3 —

Thank you so much for your hilarious and awesome responses to The Shoe Song. People who get my posts by email said the video didn’t come through, and some didn’t realize there was one — they thought we only had audio.

I can’t let such a tragedy stand, so here is the direct link to The Shoe Song video. (For those of you who missed the original post, it’s a song by Marie Miller where the lyrics are entirely drawn from the crazy texts that my husband and I send one another.)

— 4 —

The Shoe Song was originally recorded on my SiriusXM radio show. Another wonderful thing that came out of that same episode is that I earned the designation of being the only person in Catholic media to cover the BET Hiphop Awards* — specifically, Murda Mook’s call for a rap battle with Drake. I knew that the channel executives would want me to talk about the Vatican’s Synod on the Family that week, so I joined the two subjects to suggest that Church leaders work out doctrinal disagreements through rap battles.

I love having a radio show.

* …That I know of. Maybe Raymond Arroyo was all over it and I just missed it.

— 5 —

I had lunch with Kim Speirs from the John Paul II Life Center this week to talk about their upcoming gala (for which I’m the emcee!) When our food arrived, she did the most amazing thing:

When the server set down our plates and asked if there was anything else we needed, we both said no. And then she said, “We were just about to pray over our food. Is there anything we can pray for for you?”

He was so moved by her request, I thought he was going to cry. His entire demeanor changed, and he warmly told us of a couple of personal matters that were weighing him down. Kim listened so patiently and so attentively, you’d think that she’d come to the restaurant just to talk to him. Then, after he left, she led us in prayer for his intentions.

It was one of the most beautiful moments I have witnessed in a long time. It made me wonder why I’ve never done that when I’m out to eat.

— 6 —

Actually, I know exactly why I’ve never done it — because it would inevitably turn into a Jen Moment. I’m sure that 100% of the time Kim does that, it is the soul-stirring experience that I witnessed. I PROMISE YOU that it would somehow end up in disaster if I tried it.

“What could possibly go wrong?” you ask. Oh, TONS. The waiter would ask us to pray for his kleptomania issues, and the manager would overhear it and fire him on the spot. Or the server would be a spy, and “Do you have any intentions we could pray for?” would turn out to be the secret password, and, long story short, I’d end up running for my life in a Bourne Identity-style web of international espionage.

I assure you that these are the best possible outcomes of me asking random people if I could pray for them. (Which is why I think it’s probably best if I spend most of my time secluded in my home.)

— 7 —

I’m off to South Dakota! As usual, I’ll be posting all my travel escapades on Twitter and Instagram. Come join along! (My posts are all public, so you don’t have to have Twitter or Instagram accounts to view them.)

Have a great weekend, everyone!



  1. Kendra

    The Shoe Song and the JPII version of Dynamite have been waging constant battle inside my head for the past week.

    Where are the BA-lay shoes . . . I think *I* love you more . . .

  2. Margo

    I was getting all warm and sentimental as I read through #5….and then I got to #6 and uncontrollable laughter ensued as I pictured you as Jason Bourne hiding out in some foreign land all because you attempted to pray for someone!

    Well, I’m going to pray for your travels and hopefully no mischief comes of it 😉

  3. mary

    Number five is amazing. And I will incorporate it into my life.

  4. Annie Deddens

    I looove what Kim did for your server out at your restaurant! So beautiful! There is just so much suffering around us, but I think people don’t know how to communicate it — unless you first ask them. What an awesome moment!

  5. Kate A

    The shoe song… Oh my, that’s a gem. I’ve been known to leave without kids’ shoes even in South Dakota winters!
    We’re ready for your message in Sioux Falls!! Maybe especially with the headline in our local paper. Check out ArgusLeader.com. I was going to invite our local Atheist group to your talk, but I couldn’t find any contact information on their website. Maybe that wouldn’t be the right approach to bring God’s love to them anyway. Now that I see the headline, I’m thinking I should have pursued it more! Safe Travels!

  6. Kristin

    What a wonderful story of opening our lives to let God in by asking the server if you could pray for him. I might have to try it next time we’re out to eat. Although I share your tendency to have simple things turn into disasters! So very excited to meet you tomorrow in Watertown!!

  7. Adrie | A Little Wife's Happy Life

    You’re so close to me, and yet so far! Only about 2 hours away, which is probably the closest that anyone will ever be… because Sioux Falls is the biggest city within a 2-hr radius. But alas, busy weekend.

    If you have time: Go to Falls Park. Seriously. It’s really nice, and the waterfall is cool.

  8. Tammy

    I also emcee the gala for a local foundation that serves pregnant women in crisis and I would also NOT ask a server about prayer intentions lest I be confronted with social awkwardness of Biblical proportions but good for the lady who can pull that off graciously. I do often say extra prayers of thanks for the cooks and the servers since I couldn’t pull that task off on my best day.

    I want to be on your radio show someday… I cant sing shoe songs though

  9. Elise

    No. 5. Wow. Can’t tell you how much I love that. Thank you for sharing that beautiful idea.

  10. Jenny

    Oh my gosh number 5 almost made me cry. I know Kim and she is such a gracious, warm-hearted woman, I can totally see how she could pull that off. I feel like I’d crash and burn. But maybe that’s all the more reason to give it a shot some time… I hate how hamstrung my overly analytical introversion makes me sometimes.

    And buon viaggio. I wish you hours of uninterpreted reading time, a smattering of seat-back reality tv, and plentiful gin and tonics with a minimum of turbulence.

  11. Martha

    Yeah, number 5 is awesome, but it has SUPER propensity to turn into something SUPER awkward. It sounds lovely, though. I totally know people who could pull it off.

  12. Monica

    You shoe song was too funny, I loved it! You daughters self hair cut reminded me of when I cut my older sisters doll hair off, boy, was she mad!
    This 7 quick takes is hilarious. Especially #4, 5, and 6. I am laughing as I write this, I agree with you on # 6 if tried that too. By the way I am a big fan of the Bourne Identity trilogy!!!

  13. Gina

    I love Jen Moments. 🙂

  14. Becky

    I am so excited you’re speaking in Sioux Falls! Since you didn’t ask, if you have time to go out to eat- Crawfords is #1 on my list. Beautiful, unique, and an excellent drink menu. Safe travels!

  15. Amanda

    Gosh, it’s been forever since I’ve commented and I recently got back into a better blogging routine and have joined quick-takes twice in a row! Who am I? Gosh you are so busy! But doing so many wonderful things! I loved that video and shared it with my husband for some great laughs! And, that moment in the restaurant. So beautiful! Made me get teary over here just reading it! Why don’t I do that? Probably bc I’d be incredibly awkward and my husband would get awkward and give me funny face which would just be awkward. Thanks for still hosting this a midst your busyness!

  16. Heather

    Oh, The Shoe Song!! That is so great! Love it!

  17. Tracy Bua Smith

    I loved the SHOE SONG! Ha!HA! It’s like that in my house too! And I’ll have to remember that #5 prayer tip! So beautiful! God bless!

  18. mariel lindsay

    awww, I love Kim!! I can totally see her doing that.

  19. Ang

    Your visit was an amazing success! Here’s hoping the flights were peaceful & uneventful. You were so engaging, I will be praying for your story to touch many hearts!

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