7 Quick Takes: The Smörgåsbord Edition


I keep reading about people who choose words for the year to help them work on developing new skills during the upcoming year. 

Elizabeth Foss chose surrender,

Jennifer Fulwiler

chose go, and C

ari Donaldson chose mercy

and those words encapsulated, for them, some aspect of their life they feel called to work.  I've always appreciated this idea but the idea of picking only one thing to work on....overwhelms me.  I could give you a list a mile long of areas where I need "help".

I'm lousy at resolutions--the New Year's kind or otherwise.  My attempts at self-improvement become pet projects, something I try to control in order to eradicate some particular weakness from my being.  But this type of white-knuckled approach to change never works.  The only way I have ever experienced any type of true conversion is when I've sought help through prayer and the Sacraments.  I'm limited by my sinful tendencies and my humanity and I have accepted that I cannot overcome weakness on my own.  I need God's grace.

During Sunday Mass a few weekends ago, I was telling God how I thought choosing a word for the year was such a cool idea when I felt inspired to ask Him directly what my word might be.


That was the word that sprung immediately to mind.  And I was immediately reminded what Jesus said in the Gospel of John (14:27)

 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."

So often I feel fearful about the mistakes I make with my children and the effects they will have on them.  I fear the educational decisions we've made and the consequences.  I feel frazzled about accomplishing All The Things, and annoyed when I don't get any of them done.   Instead of gently approaching my to-do list, I attack it and everyone/thing in my way.  While I know I've grown in some ways and don't worry about certain things like I used to (money, family size, etc.), the truth is there are many areas in my life where I have no peace.

And here's the thing about peace:  it's not something I can acquire randomly.  It's not something I can earn or something I can achieve by reading a self-help book.  Peace is a gift.  It's the fruit of a deep prayer life and from frequent reception of the sacraments.  Peace will be given to my only when I do what I need:  get on my knees and ask for it. 


Like many places around the country, we've had record breaking temps.  Our wood burning furnace has been working overtime to keep up with the frigid weather and a few days this week, we saw early morning temperatures below zero.  I hate to be one of those people who complains about the weather but this kind of cold, after so many years in the south, is a shock to my senses.

Which is why I remain completely perplexed Camille as to


discovered this particular ensemble in the deep, dark recesses of her drawer (I thought I had done gone and hidden that thing good) and


she isn't at all concerned about frostbite as she freely cavorts around the house.

Hurts me just to look at her is so cold.


image lifted from


 We used the

Fulwiler Saint Generator

again this year and picked saints for each of the kids and ourselves.  My patron saint for the year is St. Lucy, patron saint of eye disease (I'm trying not to read into that one, especially since one of the kids also received a  saint--whose name escapes me right now--who is also the patron of eye disease.  Hmmmm.)

John's notable saint pick was Saint Damien, patron Saint of chemical manufacturers.  This randomly generated assignment was pretty cool since John sells industrial gases.


Murphy, the obnoxiously large mutt

 While walking his dog, Murphy, this week, the Colonel (aka my dad) slipped on some ice and broke his elbow and three ribs.  He's such a docile and meek patient, it only took my mother a full 12 hours to convince him to let her take him to the emergency room.

"Poor Murphy!" Camille said, when I told her what happened.

"Poor Murphy?"  I replied.  "How about poor Grandpa?"

She giggled and said, "No, poor




I've been making a concerted effort to lay down with Camille during her nap time.  While she adores Edward, she definitely needs a little bit of tlc right now because his arrival has kinda rocked her world.  So one day this week, while the older kids were working and Edward and Christopher were napping, we snuck upstairs and hunkered down under the down comforter for a middle of the day respite.

Camille has just discovered television and she loves

Daniel The Tiger

.  As we lay in bed she started singing, 

Close your eyes and think of something happy

Think think think about your favorite things

Close your eyes and think of something happy,

a tune from

this Daniel The Tiger


" What are your favorite things?" I asked her.

"Ed-wood," she said and my heart melted.


Here's a crazy thought I had this week:  I'm in survival mode, which means in I'm just trying to

keep myself and everyone else alive

.  This was an earth-shattering realization for me because I was able to let myself off the hook when I didn't get a shower for two days straight or when I didn't change out of my pajamas until 3:00 pm or when Camille and Christopher didn't ever change out of theirs.  (There's nothing like spending a full 24 hours in fleece footie pjs.)

Survival mode means my standards aren't the same as they are when we are functioning somewhat "normally".   Survival mode is temporary and much easier to endure without unrealistic standards/expectations. I'm embracing survival mode because the truth is, I've lived in survival mode more often than I haven't.

This too shall pass....one day....I



On a different topic, how about some pretty pictures to showcase the cute houses the kids made?


Judge me if you must but the Duggan's have been having raging dance parties to the music of

lyrical genius of KeiSha and Pitbull

(whose names say it



It's going down, people, and I'm yelling timber.

I dare you not to dance to this catchy





Happy Friday.  Go check out

Conversion Diary

for more.