I have six minutes free!

For Seven Quick Takes.  See if you can figure out which one got the shaft, minutewise.  (Hint:  all of them.)

1.  You guys.  We got cookies!

The generous and talented Kate Essenberg sent us dozens of completely gorgeous cookies.  I took pictures.  Adorable, hilarious pictures of the kids in various stages of astonishment and glee as they discovered what was in the box.  Well, after three days of running various diagnostics and patches and rewiring and whatnot, my husband has discerned that everything on our computer expired at the same time.  Or something.  So I can’t upload any pictures (and they probably kind of sucked anyway, to be honest, because we’ve been losing colors, one by one, on the monitor.  Everything is glowing in Radiation Sickness Peach right now).  So you will have to imagine these cookies, which are astonishing — full of delicately molded detail, some gilded, some glittery, and all sweet, tender and entirely delectable (which I wasn’t expecting, since they are so beautiful).

The kids paused for a moment in their wolfish devouring and asked why she sent them, and I said, “I guess she likes my writing.”  So they howled, “Well, KEEP WRITING, Mama!”

2.  I can talk with my mouth!  Also, if I have a microphone in one hand and a sheaf of notes in the other, I don’t nervously pick at my face and ears  in a way that fills the audience with revulsion.  So, I think my first official speaking gig went pretty well.  I spoke about forgiveness, and nobody visibly lost consciousness or lit themselves on fire to get out of hearing the whole thing.  If anyone who was at Murphy’s on the 25th has a copy of the video or audio recordings, could you let me know how I could get my hands on one?  I’m doing the same talk in Keene, NH, sometime in November, and would like to see what I need to work on (more enunciation, less pants-wetting, or what).  Many thanks to Fr. Jon Kalisch of St. Denis in Hanover for hosting so graciously!

Oh, ha, and this was funny: before the talk, Fr. Jon asked me what I most liked to write about.  I didn’t realized that he also asked my husband what I most liked to write about.  So when he introduced me, he said, “Simcha’s husband says that she enjoys writing essays that encourage people to be themselves.  And Simcha says she likes to talk about sex.”  And thus, I had the full attention of a roomful of college students drinking beer.

3.  I had the pleasure of meeting Dartmouth graduate Peter Blair, who is the editor of Fare Forward, A Christian Review of Ideas.  I left my copy in my husband’s car and keep remembering to get it only once he’s already left for work, so it’s been traveling around southern New England very busily for almost two weeks now without me.  But the bits I got to read were intriguing, and I love the idea of Christians (yes, including Catholics!) working together to produce something thoughtful and beautiful.  Check it out!

4.  Catechesis of the Good Shepherd!  If you have little kids and someone in your area offers Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, GO TO IT.  Commit identity theft to get on the waiting list for next year.  Do what you have to do.  We’ve only been to one session so far (it turns out that all the other parents got all fancy and showed up at the church where it was being held, whereas we very reasonably spent our time hunting around the various buildings at the other church that we assumed it was probably at; and then after a while we went home.  So we missed the first one), but it is super duper.   It’s a Montessori-based program, and it is lovely.

5.  For the month of October, I’ll be posting at the Register only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, mostly so I can get caught up on my ebook (and probably audiobook), which is forthcoming, in the same way that the Parousia is forthcoming, like, okay, yes, eventually we all more or less believe that it will happen, but by no means would we be so presumptuous as to assume that we will see it in our lifetimes.  Humph.  So anyway, would you or would you not pay good money for an ebook called How’s Your Goop? And Other Burning Questions About Sex, Marriage, and NFP?  Or does the title need help?  I need help.

6.  Will is make you just shrivel up inside if I tell you about a craft that we did and it was fun?  Check one YES _____ NO ______

7.  We’re trying to think of something nice to do for our fifteenth anniversary.  We’ll probably go out to eat on the actual day, but we would like to do some kind of activity or day trip on the weekend, when we’ll “have” more “time.”  Bowling?  Canoeing?  Ping pong?  One anniversary, we tried to go to the adoration chapel and renew our vows, only to find that (a) it was closed, and (b) we couldn’t remember our vows.  But it was nice anyway.



  1. Hmm… In regards to #5, I think I would rework the title if I were you. Otherwise, people might equate NFP with burning goop (and that can’t be a good thing!). As an aside, I hope in your ebook you include some examples of NFP practitioners who don’t have 5+ kids. Everyone I know (or read) who espouses NFP has a bunch of kids. And that really scares me. I know the Church’s teachings on being open to life and NFP not truly being intended as BC, but still. I’m a Protestant who doesn’t want to use BC, loves the idea of NFP, but is frankly scared to even try.

    • Well, here’s a question (which may be too personal, so feel free not to answer it!): are you afraid of having lots of kids, or are you afraid of turning into the kind of person who enjoys having a bunch of kids? Because those might be two different things.

      • I’m a Roman Catholic using NFP. With two under two, I’m struggling with NFP. Ecological breastfeeding doesn’t work for us…and I feel like I yell and cry more than I smile and laugh. I’m exhausted nearly all the time and like the idea of seven or eight kids but am worried about how my sanity would survive, seriously. I’m really not helping the situation, sorry, but would love to hear from you Simcha!

        • I’m glad you posted this. I am so tired of mom’s of many telling mom’s of less than many that it just gets better and that actually if you just give in you will actually like this and like you say “smile and laugh more than yell and cry”. I took this advice when I had 2 under 2 and now have 4 under 4 and I can only say it just keeps getting worse. And worse. I definitely believe that many will grow by just having another and growing in humility and love but there are others who just won’t. HMC allows limiting for serious reasons like the mother’s mental health and the well being of current children and I think so many focus on limiting or spacing based on what they can afford or what their neighbor (or favorite catholic blogger) is able to handle. Ok, stepping off soap box now.

      • I’m afraid of having lots of kids. I know wonderful families with 5+ kids. Although I was raised as an only child, I appreciate the liveliness that many littles can bring. However, my oldest has Autism Spectrum Disorder and even good days are challenging. As Austism Spectrum disorders are more likely to run in families, the thought of two kids (or more) like my son, wonderful that he is, terrifies me. Right now, I have my son, my daughter, and I feel complete. Considering that I still have 15+ years of fertility ahead of me, odds are highly likely that there would be several more blessings.
        I imagine that I’m not the only one out there who is genuinely content with the kids I have. I think showing more examples of people who do practice NFP and don’t have many children would encourage more to try NFP. As it is now, it seems those that cheer NFP on have many kids. I know the argument that the older kids help and having many children is not like having five 2-year-olds simultaneously, But hearing that and living that are two separate things.

    • I’m an NFP practitioner with one child so far and know many who do not fit into the category of “mom of large family.” Is it possible another method may be a better fit for you? Each method has its pros and cons, and sometimes one method is a poor fit for a particular couple.

      And fwiw 2 under 2 or 4 under 4 does sound hard.

      • LOL- well I have come to the conclusion that NFP is a mindset more than a way to prevent or space pregnancy. I am unlike most Catholic women that practice this as I either have no will power or a sex addiction. I know several methods (Napro, Symptothermal and now trying marquette) and to be honest sort of knew that pregnancy was a possibility each and every time. The thing with NFP is pregnancy is ALWAYS a possibility and for those who it is not abstinence is the only answer and there are some of us who smile and laugh less when we have to abstain than have another baby- so really it’s a toss up 🙂 I have met soooo many women who NFP works wonders for, and for people like me who it doesn’t work as well for it also *works* as a pregnancy planned or not is always a part of it. Just remember all of you with self control and will power who have small families, you are going to have children who marry the large population of Catholics that are being born from those with insatiable sexual appetites. Warn your children 😛

        • I thought that would be our take! But my oh my how overwhelmed I find myself. Maybe I’m not a “baby” person…not sure. But thanks for the Catholic population increase!!

  2. I love the title and would pay American dollars for a book bearing it. But then again, I think using the word “Asylum” in regards to my home life is also funny and appropriate, so I may be waaaaaay off on the whole book title thing.

    I check “no” on six.

    Are you thinking of a childless day trip? If so, I say canoeing. With no kids, you may be able to sit in silence and enjoy the majesty of God’s creation. And when that gets boring, you can have intimate conversations in hushed tones. Oh my gosh- writing about the chance for “intimate conversations in hushed tones” that aren’t because there’s a baby sleeping in a crib at the foot of your bed just made me pass out with happiness.

    Happy anniversary, Fishers!

    • “Oh my gosh- writing about the chance for “intimate conversations in hushed tones” that aren’t because there’s a baby sleeping in a crib at the foot of your bed just made me pass out with happiness.”

      Laughing hysterically!! We have two under two and live in 1,000 sq feet! We have to watch movies sharing a set of headphones! Hahahaha

        • So glad to share a smile! Yes…no movie tonight though, hubby already fast asleep before 9:30. We usually opt for sleep over quality time…hahahaha No newlywed I know would believe they would ever be at this point but oh how it is so survival-ish!

        • And I should add that since some of my “under 25s” are actually of the age to be learning about NFP, it can be a rather hard-sell given the circumstances.

          • Wow! So it is possible even this day in age to raise a moderate family in a “small” home (which was the average home size in 1950!). Great! Thanks for the share!

            • It is possible. It is not always easy. Part of the problem (and I think this can extend to trying to practice NFP without resentment) is that the world around us, which may well affect our spouse, our older children and ourselves, does not encourage what we do. Swimming upstream can get tiring. We cannot do it on our own strength but need to rely, nay cling to, the strength we can gain from the sacraments…even if we do not feel that strength often.

  3. The Goop title might take some convincing to buy.

    Anniversary…we went kayaking (around year 3 or so). My first time ever…wife kicked me off shore with no instruction at all. Ended up tipping over and going all in the river halfway through. So if the Jerk doesn’t know how to kayak, I recommend it. Just don’t let him wear anything expensive. Maybe he is planning some sort of (yawn-inducing) fascinating opera trip or something. This year I just cooked for a large group and then once our son went to sleep, we let the magic happen. Danced to our wedding song while my wife tried on her dress again, I had already written an early morning note (including the vows! got them off our wedding video!) and all was well.


    Also: “Will is make you…” I vote that one got the short minute.

  4. I like the title of the book, but I’d buy it even with a boring title.

    Last year, my husband surprised me with a trip to a haunted house and we had a blast! I hadn’t been to once since I was in high school, and it was a really fun, silly night. I like canoeing too (actually, I think what I like is kayaking? I can’t remember the difference..) but seeing as it’s October I thought I’d throw the haunted house idea out there.

    Lastly – if you accept unsolicited baked goods, Simcha, I’m also a fan as well as an occasional professional cake decorator. Where would one find your address?

  5. On #6: I have actually started to look at new blogs before, say, links from other Catholic bloggers or whatever, and seen “crafts” as one of the words in the description….and that’s it for me. Close browser window.

    I actually feel that it is a sign of health that I know better than to read a blog with crafts on it.

  6. I’m looking forward to obtaining your e-book and your audio book. Also hope you get a copy of the talk at Murphy’s. Would like to know about it.

  7. 1. I agree with your kids: “KEEP WRITING, Mama!”
    5. The book title is “you”
    6. I love to read about crafts
    7. my vote for your anniversary outing – a nice (could be short) hike in a pretty place, maybe with a picnic, eaten in a spot with a view

  8. #7- For our upcoming anniversary my husband and I are going to a museum that we frequent with the kids, but this time we are going to be able to take our time and read all the placards (seriously. my husband loves to read every word). We are very much looking forward to it! Plus, I might even get to see the gift shop this time.

  9. Simcha, I will fall all over myself running out to buy your book as soon as it comes out–no matter what it’s called–but I don’t like the “Goop” so much. Conjures up images of Dr. Seuss….

  10. A suggestion for your anniversary weekend: The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough. Though I don’t know if they conduct tours.

  11. YAY! I’m so glad that you guys liked the cookies! I have photos on my Flickr page, and I tagged you on FB, too, so you can see them there.

    “Goop” is a great title. Sign me up! Ya gotta find the humor in NFP.

  12. I will buy a Goop titled book, but then, when I first got married my husband and I drew inappropriate pictures and slogans on our chart covers. Now we do Creighton and since there are more stickers, we don’t feel as much of a need.I love the idea of an NFP book Also, Kate is AMAZING-she made my baby shower cake. It had polka dots on the inside. She also volunteers to watch my four year old when preggo mama needs a break. And her family is lovely, too.

  13. Happy Anniversary!!
    Enjoy the goop…
    The word goop reminds me a bit too much of that green stuff called “Gak” that they sell in toy stores. (that ends up in the rug)… Or something that comes out of a nostril on the fourth day of a cold.
    I agree with everyone who voted for natural beauty and a picnic. This time next year, maybe just the two of you over night! 🙂
    NONONONO on the crafts. I’m with Corita and Cecilia. You must be far more patient than you let us know about if you do crafts with your kids. I do admire this from afar.
    I’m so glad your speaking engagement came off well. Did you get something on tap to help grease the wheel? I know I’d blush and blush and blush. I don’t even like to do readings, or take the girts up. They once asked me to do this with my family for a huge mass at the Cathedral in SF–I wiggled out of it.
    Good luck on finishing the e-book. What a juggling act! Make it juicy not goopy 😉

  14. About Crafts: I *love* beautiful handmade things made by the Mommies– not so much the kiddies (lol, unless they are made by my own). Kate’s cookies are works of art. One of my favorite toddler shirts was an Old Navy T-shirt that a Mom had sewn beautiful exotic designs on, that I bought at a stand outside a store. –Just thinking that maybe we can support other Catholic SAHM’s beautiful handiwork–like those Moms in Africa and India 🙂 by buying their stuff at an online site…:) …Crochet children’s cardigans, wool, or hand dyed silk scarves, jewelry, paintings for kids’ rooms, candles, first communion and baptism items…

  15. Anything you write, I will totally read whether it’s about crafts or goop. Also, if you could make a craft go well with the crowd in your house, surely that means I could make it go well in my much-smaller-crowd, right?

  16. 4) Yes! Catechesis of the Good Shepherd!

    5) Yes, I would buy and read your E-book of that title… but I would refuse to be seen carrying around an actual book with that title in large print on the cover. 🙂

    6) Although I would normally check “no” (as successful crafts tend to depress me)… in this case I am very curious and am checking “yes.” “Enjoyable,” you say? How many kids do you have? What kind of mess was left afterwards and who cleaned it? I am still loving the last crafty thing you posted about painting outside things with plain water in the summer. Golden time waster. Thank you.

  17. Best date ever: go to a book store. Preferably a large, independent, welcoming sort of bookstore, with couches. Each of you grabs a basket, and then you go your separate ways. Spend an hour or so wandering and collecting books that appeal to you. Meet up and share what you picked. Then each of you selects the book you MUST have (or books), and toddle on out of the store, interested in your new books and each other. Follow up with dinner out, if you can swing it, time and money-wise.
    *happy sigh*
    I so need a date night.

  18. ohhh this cheered me up no end – the quick takes and the comments. four days to go till baby is born and I am so grouchy. our craft today was making a quiver for arrows and i got so angry at that drill and piece of pipe. but my boys were stoked.
    Ha, Suzette, we watch movies sharing headphones too!

  19. If I had actually stumbled across a book about NFP called How’s Your Goop?, I would have actually spent money on it. And read it. Instead of the free one I downloaded, printed (OMGtwohundredpages!), sobbed over, and threw across the room in a fit of despair. (have I mentioned I’m not Catholic? The good news is, hubby and I have sorted things out in that area. NFP has worked like a charm for twelve straight months. Non-Catholic ladies married to lovely Catholic gents, take hope!)

  20. Suggestions:

    For your audio book choose salient blogs from the archives and give reactions of commenters to them.

    In your e-book go for original content.

    Perhaps titles could be chosen after the content is created.

  21. An idea—

    For a possible audiobook to sell: Compose original music using TONEMATRIX

    Could consist of several short pieces or an extended one.

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