A Happy Clappy Answer Me This

by | Apr 27, 2014 | Answer Me This | 25 comments

Welcome to another edition of Answer Me This. Here are this week’s questions:
1. Do you hate happy clappy church music?

Will you all throw me out of the club if I say that I don’t? 
I know I shouldn’t like it. 
Intellectually, I understand that the jazzy hymns of the modern era are inferior to the rich historical deposit of Catholic liturgical music. 
I know it makes many faithful Catholics (including the one to whom I am married) sad or mad or disappointed or distracted or infuriated.
But I mostly think I’m just not sophisticated enough musically to really appreciate the difference. Either is fine with me. I’ll try to follow along singing the many little up and down dots of a Latin chanty-type song (I told you I didn’t know what I was talking about) or I’ll tap my toes to some folksy abomination and not be bothered a bit.
And then there’s this:

which I don’t dislike nearly as much as I ought to, and will now have stuck in my head for three days.
2. What is your priority: eating or sleeping?
They both rank below accomplishing all the things, but between the two, I’d have to say sleeping.
Noël Hallé – Le Doux Repos

I have an odd schedule. I write in the middle of the night, because that’s the only time the house is quiet. So I need an afternoon nap, especially if I’m pregnant or nursing, which I have been for the last twelve years.

I figure I can always grab something to eat while I’m doing something else, but if I see a nap window, I take it.

3. What type of milk do you drink in your house?

Our family consumes whole dairy products. I try to make foods from scratch and choose the least-processed options available. I have a general ideological problem with diet or reduced calorie food in general (food is FOR calories, that’s its whole point) and current research seems to indicate that lower fat dairy doesn’t make for lower fat persons anyway.

4. What is a book that changed your perspective on something?

So, so many. I’ll try to narrow it down. Okay, I’m going to say this one:

Angel in the Waters
It’s a sweet picture book about a baby waiting to be born. My kids all love it, and I often give it as a gift to friends expecting another baby. It’s great for helping soon-to-be big brothers and sisters to understand how babies develop.

For me, it also had a much deeper significance. It helped me to understand Heaven. 

Obviously, I want to go to Heaven. I know that. I want to be with God and worship him alongside the angels and the communion of saints.

But sometimes, or all the time, it’s hard for me to yearn for Heaven, because of how wonderful THIS world is. I love my life and my faith and my family. I love the warm sun and the twinkling stars and craggy mountains and crashing waves and towering skyscrapers. I love the way goats walk on their tiptoes and how octopuses can jet propel and that there are such things as tiny tiny owls.

Photograph by JASON IDZERDA

I used to worry about why I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around wanting Heaven, but this book helped. In it, the unborn baby is perfectly content inside his mother. When his angel tells him it’s time to move on, he’s reluctant to go. But his angel assures him that the next world will be bigger and better than the one he’s in now, and he will like it more. And that eventually the angel will come to take him to an even bigger and even better world.

So that’s how I see it now. I’m content where I am, like an unborn baby is content. But the world outside of the inside of a mother is astoundingly, amazingly better and more complex and wonderful than that baby could possibly imagine. And that’s how Heaven will compare with this world.

I shouldn’t expect to understand it, but I believe in it.

5. Who is your favorite saint?

I like a lot of saints. All of them to be precise. But, my two favorite saints today are intertwined in my oldest son. Jack is named John Paul after Pope John Paul II, who is of course being canonized in Rome this very day! 

JPII is the Pope of my youth. He was elected when I was two years old, and when he died his beautiful and public death, I was a wife and the mother of two young children.

And he’s just so cool.

My other favorite is quite obscure in comparison. 

St. Nuno was a knight in 14th century Portugal, who renounced his title and family fortune to become a Carmelite priest. We learned of his existence as we attempted to get Jack into Pope Benedict XVI’s line for Jack’s First Communion on a family pilgrimage to Rome. Through the postulator of St. Nuno’s cause we were able to get Jack the very last seat in the VIP section of St. Nuno’s canonization Mass and our whole family has had a great devotion to him ever since.

We ask for his intersession on all sorts of crazy stuff and boy, does he ever come through for us. I’m guessing he doesn’t have a whole lot of other folks coming to him with prayer requests. 

You might want to give him a try, tell him the Tierneys sent you.

6. Introvert or extrovert?
I am an introvert. The Today Show says so.
But I’m making it work:



Here’s What I Wore Sunday, on Saturday because we went to the Vigil. We’re off to Chicago this morning to attend the funeral of Jim’s Aunt Maureen. She was loved by all. Please pray for the repose of her soul.

Dress: Old Navy Maternity, even though I’m not, because tags aren’t the boss of me
Scarf: a gift from my mom, because I’m nursing, and Haley is right
Necklace & Boots: Anthropologie
Jacket: Gap

For next week’s Answer Me This I’m tagging:

Kayleen at When I Grow Up. Post to check out =
my grandma’s house (You do not want to miss this tea set.)

Jenna at Wilber Huset. Post to check out = 
Top 10 Newborn Items (The recommendations look great, and there are some things on this list I’d like to try, but mostly there’s an epic family photo in there.)

Here are next week‘s questions for them and for you:
1. Are you becoming your mother?
2. Coffee or tea?
3. What foreign country would you like to visit?
4. Do you cry easily?
5. How often do you wear heels?
6. Do you play an instrument?
I look forward to reading everyone’s posts!
Next week’s installment will go live at 10pm Pacific Saturday night, and will be open until 10pm Wednesday night.

So, please, answer this week’s questions for yourself in the comments. If you have a blog, answer the questions there, link back to this post, and link your blog post up below. Thanks for playing along.


  1. Anonymous

    That Stephen Colbert video is AWESOME. I was c-r-a-c-k-i-n-g up by the end and had to go Google him (oh thaaat's why his face is familiar). Cool that he's a practicing Catholic, I wouldn't have picked it.

    And I only just noticed your husband's face in the top picture. WIN!

  2. Amelia Bentrup

    I totally agree about the diet/reduced calorie products. It is so backwards to me, that the sole purpose of some people's eatings seems to be the goal of eating more while getting less calories/fat. The crazy thing is, I used to be like that. Now, I just want to shake my past self and be all "what were you thinking" The biggest turn around in diet philosophy was when I realized that food is for nutrition/calories/energy and not for enjoyment, and if you eat with the #1 purpose of fueling your body and the enjoyment is just #2, you can't go wrong.

  3. Amy

    Oh my, that VIDEO!! I can't stop watching and laughing. Perfect.

  4. Tammie Everly

    Thanks for letting me join in ~
    1. I don't mind the mix of solemn traditional & 'happy clappy'. Just depends on my mood.
    2. I'm a cranky girl when I don't have enough of either, but lack of ZZZZZZ makes me cranky & loopy, so my answer is sleep.
    3. We don't drink a lot of milk, but currently I have a qt. of 2% on hand.
    4. Rome Sweet Home ~ I cried all the way through it, because it was answering my every fear at that time in my life.
    5. St. Martha- My patron saint. I chose her because I could SO identify with her. I can totally see myself griping to Jesus that there is so much to do…and him gently reminding me of what's truly important & loving me in spite of my lack of focus. [Luke 10: 38-42]. Actually that is still a daily struggle for me.
    6. Introvert w/ extrovert tendencies according to Meyers-Briggs
    ~ Voila' 😀

  5. Elise

    Love the perspective in no. 4. I heard a homily where a priest shared that perspective, and I found it very helpful & powerful. Thanks for reminding me of that, and thanks for hosting, Kendra!

  6. Kendra

    From last week!: Son Mom
    April 20, 2014 at 6:40 AM
    1. Happy clappy music? Depends on the song. I'm a more traditional gal myself, but growing up with grandparents living with us who only attended the Latin Mass, subscribed to "The Wanderer," and refused to believe that anything good happened in the Church after Vatican II, I keep an open mind 🙂 Grew up going to catholic school in the 1980s, so we had all the typical stuff, some of which I like and some of which I hate. My kids sing in the parish choir, which is definitely modern in style, but the choir director incorporates traditional songs as well – the kids learned "Panis Angelicus" for Holy Thursday.

    2. I like sleeping better than eating (I would live off of "Futurama's" bachelor chow if I could!)

    3. The younger two and I drink lowfat cow's milk (non-organic) and the older two had issues with dairy when they were younger so drink soy milk.

    4. I am a huge reader, so it's hard for me to think of one off of the top of my head, but I'd have to say, "The Power and the Glory," by Graham Greene. As a compliant and very religious child, it was easy for me to "be good" — not many temptations back then! So I think as I entered adulthood I definitely had a view that I could be righteous just be sheer willpower — I did not really have an understanding of God's grace and how we need it. This book made me think deeply about that and approach mine and other's weaknesses in a new way.

    5. It's hard to choose! But I think right now I would have to say St. Francis Borgia. Just look at his last name! I love his story, and love that this beautiful saint came out of a family so notorious for their sins!

    6. Introvert, for sure. My oldest is an extrovert, and it was a very interesting adjustment to motherhood!

    Happy Easter!

  7. Elizabeth@SuperSwellTimes

    If it has Stephen Colbert in it, I'm all over it.If he were a saint, he would be my favorite. Since it's less-than-likely that that's going to happen any time soon, I'll just say that he's favorite entertainer.

    I'm so sorry to hear about Jim's aunt. Travel safely and you'll be in my prayers.

  8. Joanne Kibbe

    Have you ever tried the 'whole' greek yogurt? It is not easy to find in stores out here but I don't know about CA. I have an uncle in food distribution who can get it and says it is good but I've never tried it.

  9. Endless Strength

    That Stephen Colbert bit always cracks me up! I have a copy of Angel in the Water and my children love reading it, especially when I am pregnant (and especially the younger children). It's been such a wonderful book to have around to help the kids understand what's happening "inside mommy's tummy" as well as the whole Earth then Heaven thing.

  10. The Sweet Wonder

    I'm still trying to get used to #3! I grew up in a nonfat/low fat household but completely agree with the logic (and research) behind full fat dairy. I'm fine with it in ice cream and yogurt but have a hard time drinking it still!

  11. Natasha Beckstead

    "But sometimes, or all the time, it's hard for me to yearn for Heaven, because of how wonderful THIS world is."

    I cried after reading this…. because I have completely the opposite problem. I really hope it's just a stage of life thing. I worry that I am a hopeless pessimist.

  12. E

    1. Hate is a strong word. I could probably sing move of the 'happy, clappy' stuff from memory. We mostly attend the TLM and prefer that but still go to the New Mass and participate (and I have a lot of happy, clappy stuff on my ipod).
    2. Eating. I love to eat and can't sleep real long.
    3. The 3 year old drinks whole lactaid milk and DH and I drink 1%.
    4. Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence. Everything I mean, everything is God's Divine Will, either passive or active. A hard lesson to learn especially when going through some serious suffering.
    5. I have tons of favorites, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Anne, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese, St. Jospeh, St. Gerard, and many others. Honestly, I can't pick just one. They all have a person road to heaven.
    6. Extrovert. I have high social needs and being a stay at home mom with zero friends that were home was killing me. But God provided me some fabulous devout Catholic moms to get together with. And we started a mom/caregiver and young child group at our parish. And designed our own program since we couldn't find one. It.is.fun. 🙂

  13. Jenny Cook

    "I used to worry about why I couldn't seem to wrap my head around wanting Heaven." Wow. I truly thought I was the only Christian who felt that way. I have struggled with that feeling since I was, oh, a preteen or so. Fear of the unknown, fear of something going on forever, love of people and things in this world…I guess I'll have to read that book! But also, I've had a deeper experience lately about the joy in unity that Heaven is sure to provide, and that is a very comforting thought.

  14. Hope

    Love that video at the top–too funny! And I feel exactly the same way about Heaven! Love your analogy.

  15. Lindsay

    I was a bridesmaid in a wedding at which Stephen Colbert was a guest, and I can attest that the man can get down. I need to watch that video every time I'm having a bad day.

  16. Caron

    1. I have strong feelings about all the people who get wrapped up in the type of music at any church. I've seen a church split in two over music. On the strength of that prejudice, I won't answer. I'll only say that none of us always get what we want.

    2. Sleeping. O! Heavenly sleep.

    3. I'm a whole fat dairy person myself, but we've moved to 2% mostly because I drink so much milk. Somehow that makes sense until I say it out loud! When I was 19, I could drink a gallon of whole milk by myself and be thin at the same time. Those days are gone, but I still love me a glass o'milk.

    4. The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance. Fantastic reading and it opens your eyes (if you want them open) to our modern ways of thinking that this must be a bad thing, yet it was often the kindest thing you could do for a child. Also, Moses was abandoned in the proper way – on the river where there were people waiting for children downstream…I won't spoil it. Fascinating book.

    5. St. Elizabeth of Hungary. When I was an infant, I was considered terminally ill. I was born and cared for and ultimately healed at St. Elizabeth hospital.

    6. Introvert. I need to recharge often and quietly.

  17. Jennifer S.

    I have found that music can be modern and still beautiful, ex. Your Love Is Extravagant (Casting Crowns), We the Reedemed (Hillsong), and This Is Amazing Grace (Bethel Music). Music can be such a beautiful complement to the mass. Music is an art form, and just like a beautiful picture or a carefully scripted book, it can be a way to experience God.

  18. Kayleena

    I finally got around to posting! Thanks once AGAIN for tagging me dear!

    I love love love that book – Angels in the Waters. Can't get through it without choking up. And I relate to your not wanting to leave "the womb" of the world sometimes. Great way to think about heaven 🙂


  19. Brigid

    My music preference at mass is all about context. Love to clap at the gospel mass at my historically black Catholic Church but not so much in a more traditional mass. I can pretty much be persuaded to enjoy any music in a liturgy in the right time and place!

  20. Abby S.

    1. Yes, I really kind of hate it.
    2. Eating. Even when I really need it, I feel like sleeping is a waste of time. Think of all those unproductive hours!!
    3. Younger four kids drink 2%. Lucy (10) and I drink skim. I considered switching everyone to the same thing for ease, but it's handy to have different kinds on hand for different recipes.
    4. A Return to Modesty, by Wendy Shalit. This is not my favorite book, or the most important book I've read, but it really changed my thinking about being a mother of girls and a woman today. It was really a good book to read when I was in my twenties and staying home for the first time.
    5. Hard to say. I'm really a fan of the church fathers, so maybe Thomas Aquinas? He was pretty awesome, which I realized again while explaining his life to Ceci (6) for her saint book. As she said, "He wrote lots of famous books about the teachings of the Catholic Church and hymns." Yes, he did.
    6. Introvert

  21. Nanacamille

    I most definitely am becoming my mom because I say her favorite word "behoove" more and more.

    • Kate

      not sure how to link up. Hope this works. Thanks!

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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