{SQT} Life Changing Reads And Counting Down the Days to Camp

Welcome to June! Let’s belly flop into the deep end of the pool with some Quick Takes!

1. My #31DaysofMary series will start back up in October, the month of the Holy Rosary. I really enjoyed learning about all the international titles of Mary, but with all the other obligations this month, I quickly got behind and then felt overwhelmed and grumpy (about something that was supposed to be fun!) when I tried to catch up. I hate when I can’t live up to the grandiose ideas in my head, but after a brief bout of allowing myself to feel like a failure, I’ve forgiven myself and am moving on.

2. School feels like it will never end. Except for Addie. She wrapped up finals this week and is now a free woman until the end of August. Thanks to snow, and a fire at Teddy’s school, neither Fulton or Teddy finishes until June 26th. Edie and Byron are scheduled to finish schooling the same week as the boys, but thankfully, we all get a week off when MDA camp rolls around on June 17th!!!


The boys are actually admitting their excitement about another year at camp (this year in the same cabin!), my parents are looking forward to having the older three stay with them, and once again Tony and I are counting down the days until our return to Atlantic City for a few days of undisturbed sleeping, reading in total silence on a clean bed, and lying on the beach and not worrying about anyone drowning/ getting sunburnt. Since Tony no longer works from home everyday, I’ll also have a couple of days at home ALL BY MYSELF. I’ve created a mental to do list of home and craft projects but, I might also make time to watch a movie! Or read a book! Or leisurely eat a meal! The possibilities are endless –  I’m not sure I can wait. Although, if the kids ask I’m sure I’ll say something like, “Oh, it was so boring here without you! I missed you all constantly! My life is meaningless without you!”

Me all week:


Ha ha. JK


3. Fulton wrapped up his first Challenger baseball season this week. Unfortunately, rain and wet field conditions meant it was a shorter than expected season, but he really enjoyed himself and I think will want to play again next spring. The same organization offers soccer in the fall so we signed both Fulton and Teddy up. Since I still don’t have a date for Fulton’s surgery, I’m not sure how much he’ll get to play, but Teddy is looking forward to having a good excuse for driving full speed around a field and bumping into things.

4. Tan Publishing, the creators of some of my favorite history books, has started a new venture; the Catholic Courses Institute. The offered me the opportunity to sample a few courses and I jumped at the chance. We use a lot of online classes and learning tools in our homeschool, so I’m looking forward to trying CCI and seeing how it fits into our lesson plans. Addie is not taking a religion course through Queen of Heaven next year, so she selected ‘Introduction to Theology: Tradition, Doctrine, and Culture’ to work through at her own pace, as her academic work allows. I selected ‘Shakespeare’s Catholicism: A Critical Analysis of the Bard’s Life and Plays’ to share with Edie and Byron. We’ve read and watched about a dozen plays now, so in addition to simply watching more plays, I thought we would enjoy looking at Shakespeare’s work through the lens of our faith. The eight lecture series uses examples from a few plays we’ve read and a few we haven’t, plus it includes a study guide with discussion questions, and quizzes for review. There’s seventeen total courses offered currently, and CCI has a certificate program as well. I’m super impressed with the materials and production quality upon first glance; I will keep you posted as we move through the courses!

5. I little while back I discovered some older blog posts by Meg about different prayer types related to the Myers-Briggs personality test. After having a few dollars left on an Amazon gift card, I purchased a used copy of the book she mentioned, ‘Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms For Different Personality Types’,  and quickly read through it, folding numerous corners. I’ve since started using the Lectio Divina method of prayer, and the suggestions in the book for my personality type (ENFJ – Augustine Spirituality) and I’ve loved it! Which is not an exclamation I thought I would ever attach to a form of prayer. I found it so helpful to be told “this type of prayer will be easy for you” or “you won’t get much out of this type”, but also to realize how I can eventually, with practice, really embrace different forms of prayer that I may struggle with now. I’m still working through all the scripture suggestions in the book, but I’m probably going to jump to using Anne’s devotional ‘Nailed It’ next, starting with verses and reflections that struck me the first time I read them in her book,  but now using them as a starting point for deeper meditation and reflection. If you feel like you just don’t “get” prayer, learn your Myers-Brigg type and see if you don’t find the suggestions of ‘Prayer and Temperament’ a help.

6. in the midst of this spiritual awakening, I finished reading Rebecca Frech’s new book ‘Can We Be Friends?’ and felt like the relationships I’ve formed with others needed a similar upheaval. I could see where I’ve been spreading myself too thin for years, trying to maintain friendships with ALL THE PEOPLE which is ridiculous and exhausting and not possible in the least. I simply can’t form deep friendships with all my readers, followers, and social media “friends”, and doing so depletes the energy I have for those people who really matter in my life. I’ve always had a large circle of acquaintances, and several close friends at any given time, but I think my tendency is always to try for quantity over quality. Not because I don’t enjoy the friends I have, but my extroverted side just loves meeting new people! Even when I’m introduced to those I ultimately don’t click with, I find I often maintain a relationship with them even when hanging out isn’t that fun or enjoyable for me. Motivated by all the great, no-nonsense advice in Rebecca’s book, I’m pruning my social media followers. Not unfriending, but only unfollowing the 150 or so family and friends I can realistically hope to stay actively involved with, and then make a better effort to nurture the in person relationships that matter most to me, while not worrying so much about growing my list of followers. At least, the desire to grow my social media presence has to come from a purely practical (it will help sell my book) standpoint, vs “Look at this perfect flat lay of everything this lady uses for her morning circle time!! I want to be her new bestie!”

7. There’s really not much written about the importance of friendship these days, which is surprising given how apparently lonely everyone seems to be. I think there’s also talk of the importance of community, or a large group of supportive friends, but I appreciate Rebecca talking about the intimate, one or one friendships we all need to find and grow (or end) to fulfill our lives.
Have I convinced you to read this yet??? How about a giveaway?! (Open to readers 18+ in the USA.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where does maintaining friendships fall on your daily to-do list? Comment below, or write down your own post and link it up below! Be sure to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Seven Quick Takes! I look forward to reading your posts!




  1. I am ashamed to say that maintaining friendships falls pretty low on my day to day to-do list :(. I am NOT extroverted…and interaction with people literally exhausts me. Ever seen that meme of the cat sprawled out on its back looking like the end was near? That’s me after socialilization. Only give it some wine or a beer because if I’m going to recover, Ima need that too! Not to say I don’t have a deep love for my friends – I often pray for them and think “Oh, I should call/text/write to so and so”….but then just -don’t. Sigh…one more thing for the didn’t get that done today pile???

    1. Oh that sounds exactly like me. Maintaining friendships does not come naturally, and I’ve found over the years that the friendships that last tend to be with significantly extroverted people who are willing to do more than their fair share of the social work… sigh. I heard a sermon once also in which the pastor implied that introversion was a sin, which only added to the guilt I feel about struggling to maintain friendships and be engaged in community (and guilt totally decimates my motivation, which then increases the guilt, in a vicious loop).

  2. I really want to read this book! I heard her on the Fountains of Carrots podcast and I got rid of instagram not too long afterwards (well, there were many other reasons too!). I honestly think the dynamic that leads to social media making you feel sad, is when you follow many many bloggers/celebritites that don’t follow you. Then according to Rebecca French, it’s like you’re invested in the lives of someone that is not invested in you. I think the imbalance can lead to the loneliness she talks about. That is why I think the advice of finding your tribe both in real life and online can make social media positive, not a negative. For me, I realized Instagram wasn’t great for me, but I really love the Facebook groups I am in. They are a great resource and support. I’ve noticed a lot of big bloggers announcing that they are unfollowing people as a result of this book, which makes sense, you can’t follow the lives of everyone! I don’t know if she mentions this in the book, but on the podcast I thought it was fascinating that she said that TV characters on a show you really like can take up one of your 150 people! Crazy town!

  3. I would love to read this book! I dropped Instagram cold turkey a couple months ago and I’m still trying to sort out where my attention and time should be directed. It’s so easy to get our people priorities upside down. For me, the flattery of likes or comments can often easily distract me from the people closest within reach. Just being honest. And not that people would need to drop Instragram to figure that out… but it has been extremely fruitful & eye-opening for me so far.

  4. Maintaining friendships? I’ve never been good at that. I blame it on my Army brat childhood, because I just couldn’t maintain friendships back then when we moved or a friend did. I want this book!

  5. I think interacting with friends is probably one thing on my daily to do list, whether it be a text, email, phone call, or in-person interaction. But I do get lonely if I lack the in-person interactions for too many days, and homeschooling can lend itself to that! I want to be more conscientious about fighting that tendency. Thanks for hosting this giveaway; the book sounds great!

  6. Kelly, so much I want to say about this post but don’t want to leave a novel, so I will try to be brief. Horray for the boys! Praying for Fulton, as always, and for you! ENJOY YOUR TIME OFF, GIRL!!!! Want to check out those classes. Most importantly, I love what you said about friendships. They are so hard to find and keep it seems, especially with a busy, homeschool family. The pressure to have lots of people to keep up with online doesn’t help, either. I also understand about trying to keep it all going. I’m the type to keep investing in people and relationships that aren’t going anywhere but I just don’t want to give up. However, over the past few years, I have stepped back from that a bit and tried to really evaluate these relationships. I have cut ties with some people, not in a mean way, who were not contributing to my life in a positive way. There are sacrifices and loving your enemy moments, for sure, but I have come to realize that adding drama and unpleasantness to my life for the sake of “friendship” is uncalled for. Praying you find those couple close friends. I have always enjoyed out online “friendship” but have tried to focus on real life relationships recently, too, I guess it is like a Renaissance or maybe a mid-life crisis! 🙂 Have a beautiful June!!

  7. I really would love to read this book – I need help in this area! Every weekend, my husband and I are like “we need more friends” because we want to hang out with people, but everyone seems busy or not accessible last minute. It’s too hard to make plans in advance when you have a big family and tons going on, it’s those last minute meetups that are realistic but then they are hard to come by!

  8. I’m probably not eligible, since I already won a book from you, but I definitely want to read this one! We moved almost two years ago and I really miss my circle of friends in my old town. I have not been good at meeting people here. #introvert

  9. I believe there’s also a book written by two friends (how appropriate) called the Friendship Project and they also have a web presence. Must admit, haven’t had a chance to read it, but it seems that there are some new initiatives pushing for recognition of friendship around the internet. Just writing about it here definitely keeps the conversation going. Enjoy your break — sounds like it will be amazing!

  10. I am not good at maintaining friendships. I get overwhelmed and want to bury my head in the sand! I hope you enjoy your vacation time!

  11. This is a discussion my husband and I have had a lot lately. How we want to cultivate a few really good friendships for both us and our kids. It’s just hard finding them to cultivate! And I agree with Colleen, it’s easier to do last minute with a big busy family, but then hard to link up as everyone else is busy too. Would love to read this book though! I think not having a sister or close family, good friendships feel extra important and needed. It seems an area of my life definitely in need of reflection and improvement.

  12. Hmmm. I’m not sure how to answer this. I had very close friends a long time ago, but we’ve all moved far apart. I still feel that we are friends even though we don’t interact much, but maybe they don’t feel the same. I don’t know. I’m not very good at making new friends, so I’m not overwhelmed by the number of friends that currently have

  13. I definitely struggle to maintain friendship – especially my long distance friendships. Snail mail has become my go-to way of intentionally reaching out to old friends, though!

  14. I am closest to people at work and to those in my family. My adult daughter chides me for not having friends that are not family or work-related. It’s hard to make and maintain friendships independent of these aspects.

  15. One way I maintain friendships is by texting at least one person each day just to check in with them and say hi. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn out conversation – but sometimes it turns into that and that is great, too!

  16. I saw that book a while ago and have been wanting to read it! Since graduating two years ago from college, my closest group of 5 other women has kept in touch well via Facebook messenger, video chats every so often, and visits for a wedding and just because. But forming new, real-life, friends since entering this season? That’s way harder and I don’t have it figured out at all!

  17. It’s sadly very low on my list, crowded out by other things and also it’s so hard to tell when a friendship has potential to become “close” vs always more superficial or professional

  18. I’m terrible at maintaining friendships–I should get that book, because I definitely need help in this department! I have a big family (five sons–four of them married–and 12 grandchildren, not to mention lots of siblings, in-laws, etc.), and it seems that just keeping up with all of them takes all of my energy. Add to that the introvert thing, and it’s a challenge for me to make new friends or keep up with old ones. We recently left the town where we’d lived for 27 years and raised our boys, in order to move closer to them (four of them somehow ended up in the same area of VA, fortunately), and now we live in a neighborhood where we know NO ONE. It’s kind of strange. When our kids were in school and sports, it was easy to make parent friends. But here, we’re sort of on our own. Lucky for us that we think of our family members as our best friends! However, I really would like to figure out how to make some connections in our new hometown.

    By the way, when you mention having the house to yourself in #2, I can relate! Sometimes it’s so nice to be all alone, with time to just indulge in some guilty pleasure (like spending the whole day reading a novel! Maybe while eating chocolate).

  19. Thank you for the info on the Catholic Course Institute! I just clicked on the link, and I can’t wait to study the options in detail (we are also a homeschooling family). I hope you and the hubby all the fun times in your well-deserved vacation 🙂

  20. I have work friends – but we don’t see each other after work. I’m pretty introverted and use the kids to keep from thinking about loneliness. I used to be close to some other moms when my older kids were young, but they’ve moved on and I don’t seem to blend with the moms in my younger kids’ classes. Oh well, not every one is meant to be social.

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