{SQT} AKA 7 Quick Takes, the first of 2015 (For me, anyway)

Here we are, 2015. But then I already had a whole post about new year type of stuff, so I will try to keep off of that topic. Let’s see, what is going on this week?

1.  I’ve been inching my way through an amazing book. Seriously, by the time the 4th friend of mine recommended this one to me, I knew it was time to pick it up. And I have not been disappointed. Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us is a teeny tiny book, packed with so much, I have been reading 1-2 pages a day and just stopping to journal a little, take some notes, and process it.

into your hands

It has pointed out to me (one more time) that I am still the same self-absorbed control freak, but instead of just making me feel bad and “decide to change” (with no idea how or what exactly to do about it) this book gives such a simple and beautiful way of looking at things. It is a complete change of paradigm from what I am used to. For now, at least it is sinking in and helping to transform my thinking. My favorite quote so far is this:

There is no need to distinguish carefully between what God Positively wills and what He merely permits. What He permits is also a part of His universal, all-embracing will. He has foreseen it from the beginning and decided how He will use it. Everything that happens has a purpose in God’s plan. He is so good that all that comes in contact with Him becomes in some way good. (p. 17)

Oh and one more I just can’t not share with you:

We often flee from the concrete, apparently banal reality that is filled with God’s presence to an artificial existence that corresponds to our own ideas of piety and holiness but where God is not present. (p. 24)

I am so good at fleeing from banal reality. It’s a special talent of mine, really. Dishes and laundry? Pushing a child on a swing? Those aren’t very holy or full of the presence of God, right? But this is the reality that God chose or allowed for me, and He means to use it for my good. Even the boring parts. They are not obstacles on the path to God, but the very path itself. More on this in #5.

2. And on the subject of trying harder to control my attitudes, I’ve been reading A Little Princess to my 7 year old daughter.


I know it is fiction and the characters aren’t real, but I am learning a fair bit about self control and thankfulness from little Sara Crewe. Here is an example:

She was so far away from the school room that it was not agreeable to be dragged back suddenly by a howl from Lottie. Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is not an easy one to manage.

“It makes me feel as if someone had hit me,” Sara had told Ermengarde once in confidence. “And as if I want to hit back. I have to remember things quickly to keep from saying something ill-tempered.” (from Chapter 6)

Uh. Guilty as charged. A few moments before I read this passage, Gus (age 3) had jumped on my bed and fell on my legs. It hurt, but not that bad. I responded in an ill-tempered manner, I’m afraid. Snapping at him to get off my bed and go out of my room.

I have a thing or two to learn from fictional British nine year olds.

3. A Little Bit of Bravery: Molly, age 5 has a natural fear of dogs. I don’t think one has ever done anything bad to her, other than the fact that some dogs are bigger than she is. I have seen other kids who are scared of certain animals, and they just try to stay away from them as much as possible. Not Molly! She is determined to like dogs anyway. I’ve seen her in one situation trying to get to know a dog, one who particularly liked to lick. Molly had her eyes closed and her body tense and was saying to herself over and over, “Licking means kissing, licking means kissing!”

Lily also did a brave thing the other day. When a classmate challenged her to jump off the monkey bars, she told her, “No, I don’t think that is safe.” I think it takes some guts to not be pushed into doing something like that on the playground. But then it probably helps to grow up in a house with a lot of older siblings who would trick a gullible younger sibling into doing something stupid. Except that never happens at our house. Oh no!

4.  The Complainy Take: I buried this one in the middle so that it wouldn’t set the tone for the list, and so that maybe you would forget about it by the time you got to the end of the list. But I am pregnant,and kind of old, and I’ve done this a lot of times, so I get to indulge in a little complaining sometimes. Bullet form for brevity.

  • I am so tired of being tired. I load half the dishwasher and have to go sit down and rest for a while.
  • Nausea. Blech. I have only thrown up once though, which is some kind of a record for me. (I had hyperemesis my first 6 pregnancies.) But, the one time I threw up was in public, on a school sidewalk, and the office was closed, so I just had to leave it there. I’m sorry. I really don’t know what the etiquette is for that kind of situation. Then I had to go back inside and let my kids finish gymnastic with throw up on my shirt. Aren’t you glad you know that about me?
  • New fun this time. Apparently my thyroid is freaking out, causing me to constantly shake and feel out of breath. And it makes me extra tired.
  • I tried to wean off my nausea meds, and quickly found that I am not ready for that step. All hail the Unisom/B6 combo!
  • Chocolate makes me sick to my stomach. People who know me well will understand the tragedy here.

5. Books I am not reading this year. Before I found out I was pregnant, I had big plans for the coming year. I was going to own my life, be a real writer, get my act together with my etsy shop, and even have a clean house, which would be eventually decluttered. I was going to be involved at school, and in the kids’ activities. I was going to do all the things, because it is amazing what you can get done when you consistently get enough sleep, right? I had a whole list of books to help me achieve this: Start, Who Moved my Cheese, Eat That Frog, The Happiness of Pursuit, and many more were on my little list. I was not going to let that banal mothering-housewifing stuff get in my way anymore. I was going to do real things, things I could talk about at a party with other adults, even ones who didn’t have kids. (Now go back and read that second quote from take #1, I’ll wait.)

But, as usual, God had other plans. So this year, I am not going to read those kinds of books at all. No Selfie-self-self improvement books. (Even though in a moment of weakness I still checked one out from the library.) My focus is shifting back to the banal, not only because I have to, but because I choose this. If I had my pick of a lot of different things, I would still choose this. (Though I might ask for a few more breaks.) And God agreed and chose it for me. This goes perfectly with my Word of the Year: Lean In.

6. Pei Wei and Other Magic Foods. If you are pregnant and in the middle of morning sickness, read this take at your own risk. I know how dangerous it can be to have food suggested to you when you feel bad. My husband has learned this lesson well.

My go-to, lifesaving foods this time around have been Pei Wei’s Honey Seared Chicken, with extra sauce AND hot mustard. Really, it is just a method for eating the hot mustard. For and extra bonus, I can order it online and send one of my kids-who-drive to pick it up for me, with strict instructions to not come home without the hot mustard. Because that will make me cry. I am also addicted to Honeycrisp apples, which are magic nausea killers this time around, but my kids keep eating them all. Sometimes I have a little glass of chocolate milk just to carry me through the nausea so I can eat something real.

7. Ben is going on his Kairos retreat this weekend. It is a Catholic retreat for kids who are juniors and seniors in high school. It can be a life changer. Please pray for Ben!

Now that I have dragged you all over my addled brain, take a trip over to This Ain’t the Lyceum for more Quick Takes!





  1. leilaatlittlecatholicbubble says:

    AHHH! The book!!! AMEN!!

  2. Margaret Chang says:

    I have not seen you posted for a while and am just wondering how you are doing. Congratulations to your pregnancy! I will pray for the bump of your sickness goes away soon. Thank you for the book recommendation and that sounds what exactly I need.

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