7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 118)
— 1 —
I can’t believe that Lent is just around the corner. It’s interesting how some years I’ve felt drawn to make a lot of serious changes in my life during this time, then other years (like this one) I think I should just keep it simple so I don’t get overwhelmed. Either way, Lent always tends to be a period of great spiritual growth for me, so I’m looking forward to it. If you’re not familiar with this season, Marcel has an updated “all about Lent” post over at his blog. Great stuff.
— 2 —
Over at the National Catholic Register, I’ve been getting a surprising number of comments about my bio. A lot of folks have offered the constructive criticism about the part that says that my family “currently includes four young children (with one on the way).” Some people say that it sends the wrong message that I didn’t include the baby on the way in my kid count. It’s made me realize that stating the number of children you have can be a surprisingly tricky issue. If you’ve just found out you’re pregnant and aren’t ready to announce it, should you go ahead and include that child in the number? If you’ve lost children to miscarriage, while of course you include them as members of your family, do you add them in when people ask how many kids you have?
Since the common parlance is to list the number of kids you have interacted with and actively taken care of, I had said “four (with one on the way)” to avoid confusion. But maybe it sends the wrong message. What do you think? Should I change the bio?
— 3 —
I can’t stop talking about Evernote. I discovered it via this post by speaker / writer / executive Michael Hyatt, and my life will henceforth be categorized as “before Evernote” and “after Evernote.” This is the most useful software I have ever seen. Basically, it’s a simple system for organizing ideas. You create a note for each new idea, and can organize them by creating “notebooks” and adding tags to each note. It also has a browser plugin so that you can easily capture ideas you have while surfing the web. If you write, blog, or do anything else that involves keeping a list of ideas, you must have this software. (And it’s free!)
— 4 —
Before I say what I’m about to say next, I want to state for the record that I admire and respect Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss). His contributions to the world of children’s literature were inestimable, and I am sure that his lovely books will continue to delight children and adults alike for generations to come. But. Umm. Do you come across certain books of his where you feel like he was just phoning it in?
Because I am a deeply cynical person who is obviously in need of prayers, whenever I read One Fish, Two Fish to my kids, I always imagine Mr. Geisel calling his agent and saying, “Write this down: ‘At our house we, umm, open cans. We have to open many cans. And that is why we have a — heck with it — Zans.'” He rattles off a few more lines, and calls it a day after creating the word “Yop” to rhyme with “hop.” Then he tells the agent to have the massive royalty checks directly deposited to his bank account.
UPDATE: Well, I’m wrong, turns out he worked very hard on One Fish, Two Fish as I discovered in this interesting article called 10 things you didn’t know about Dr. Seuss.
— 5 —
My husband and I are still making our way through all the episodes of Jeeves & Wooster. One of the many things I love about it is that I recognize my cultural roots in these English characters. Many of their mannerisms and habits remind me of the way my grandfather does things, even though his ancestors have been in America for as far back as we can trace.
It reminds me of a fascinating book I once bought called Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America, which talks about how there were four distinct migrations by four different British socioeconomic groups, and how you can still see their influences in American culture today. Unfortunately I did not check the page count before purchasing the book, and at 972 pages I haven’t quite been able to get through it. But the subject is really fascinating, and I hope I can learn more about it one of these days.
— 6 —
Here is something inspiring to start your weekend. It’s a talk by a young seminarian named Philip Johnson who has an inoperable brain tumor.Seminarian Philip Johnson from Deacon Watkins on Vimeo.
His insights about the meaning of life and what cancer has taught him are amazing. God bless him. (And you can follow his journey at his personal blog here.)
— 7 —
I’m going to spend this weekend relaxing (to the extent that that’s possible around here, anyway) since I’ll be traveling to Illinois for the Behold Conference next weekend. What are you up to?
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