I Changed My Mind, the Internet is Awesome: 7 Quick Takes XVIII

by | Jun 28, 2013 | 7 Quick Takes, First Communion, It's Party Time, Sacraments, Writing | 16 comments

Two weeks ago, I had a quick take about how the internet can bring out the worst in people. But this week, oh THIS week, the internet has brought out the best in us. The fundraiser that Cari is running for Dwija is hands-down the awesomest thing I have been a part of since I joined the blogging world almost seven whole months ago.

I keep clicking back over to the update page to smile and smile and smile as the total keeps going up and up and up.

And it happened because, on the internet, people from all over the world and from all walks of life can find each other and share the things we love: like parenting, and books and movies, and our Catholic faith, and stories about poop (about that, would you guys all please stop, please? . . . where was I? oh yeah . . .), and the best things in our lives, and the hardest things. And somehow, just sharing it makes it better. But when that’s not enough, sometimes people will send you $7,000 so you can fix your laundry room.

Three cheers for the blogosphere: hip, hip, hooray!

And if you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time. The fundraiser ends on Sunday, so don’t delay. You don’t want to miss this chance to be a part of the awesome. It’s okay, you can go over there now. I’ll be here when you get back.

this is exactly what it looks like when
I’m writing, except for everything

I’m on track with my writing goals for the novel, which really feels great, and it’s due in no small part to the advice I got here, from Rachel Aaron, thanks to Jennifer’s spectacularly-timed 3rd quick take last week.

The bad news is I have nothing new to report on Netflix streaming, since I haven’t watched anything in as long as I’ve been an aspiring novelist (nor have I made much progress on either of the two books I’ve been trying to read, North and South and Kristin Lavransdatter) because I am trying to do some non-Wikipedia-based research for once.

So . . . I am currently in the middle of all of the following books:

Martha Washington: An American Life
Well written, well researched, but
never manages to become a STORY rather
than just a list of THINGS THAT HAPPENED.
Charlotte Temple
Perhaps the story of Charlotte Temple
is an interesting one, but I feel like I
might never find out because of the
near-constant preachy interruptions
of the author. SOOOO bothersome.
The Infortunate
Written in a wry style, this one is
a surprisingly entertaining and
interesting peek into the lives
of lower-class colonists.
The Travels of William Bartram
Good details about eighteenth century travel,
but aargh, so. many. descriptions of plants,
I think there’s a reason this guy traveled
George Washington, Boy Leader
A fun, easy read for early grades,
probably too propagandish to appeal
to most adults.

Some are definitely more readable than others, but so far I don’t think I’ll be recommending any of them to your summer reading list.

And now, I have some news to share about a book I wrote that is going to get published! It’s a non-fiction book for kids about the Sacrament of Confession and it’s going to be published jointly by Ignatius Press and Magnificat, so you’ll be able to buy it on the Ignatius website and your grandma will be able to mail order it from the Magnificat catalog. Everyone wins.

I’m working on revisions now, which is super-exciting to me and feels very professional. If I didn’t do all my writing in the middle of the night, I’d hire Betty to be my secretary and answer my cell phone for me and go get me lattes because THAT is how professional I feel.

It is supposed to be coming out in 2014 in time for First Communion season. I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of First Communions, Bobby had his in Rome a couple of months ago, but we hadn’t had our family party yet. So, last weekend, I whipped up some First Holy Communion Mac & Cheese (yes, that’s a thing, well it is now, anyway):

and we got an ice cream cake from the Original Rainbow Cone, a south side of Chicago tradition since 1926:

for those of you scoring at home that’s: Orange Sherbet, Pistachio, Palmer House (vanilla with cherries and walnuts), Strawberry, and Chocolate. That’s what a Rainbow Cone is. No substitutions.

Sounds crazy, tastes delicious.

In other celebration news, our oldest son, Jack, celebrated his eleventh birthday on Wednesday.

Jack: you made me a mother and you test me everyday to make sure it’s still so. Our temperaments are so similar — my journey of self-awareness and self-improvement was mostly kicked off when I began reading a bunch of books trying to figure out why you were so darn difficult and stubborn, only to realize that while the stuff in the books might be true about you, it was just as true about me! You are rough-and-tumble with big kids and gentle with babies. You are smart and loving and sincere. You are an enthusiastic leader and an invaluable asset to our day to day operations around here. It’s freaking me out a bit that I don’t have to look down very far to make eye contact with you anymore, but I look forward to seeing what God has in store for you and what you’ve got in store for us from here on out.

Okay, back to writing for just a minute. Is there anyone out there who would be interested in creating a blog-based critique group with me? I can start us a dedicated blog (okay — I already did, just in case) and we could post chapters or stories on it and members would read them and comment on them.
It wouldn’t be open to the public, just viewable by the blog authors and invited guests.
I’m sure there would be details to work out, but it seems to me like it could work.
OR, is anyone reading this a colonial history buff who enjoys reading and commenting upon unfinished YA novels?

— 7 —

And finally, I wrote a post inspired by some Facebook friends yesterday. Check it out, if you’re so inclined . . .

An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends Who Have This as Their Profile Picture

The post was, by this blog’s standards, insanely popular. By mid-morning it had made it into my all-time top ten, and isn’t slowing down yet. I’ve been fortunate with the comments so far too, everyone is being nice.

But, here comes the take . . . the last post that got more than my normal number of views was my discussion of Sherlock. Haley from Carrots for Michaelmas recommended it to her readers, and I got a bunch of new visitors.

In that case, about 10 percent of the people who clicked over from Haley’s blog started following my blog. But even though my Facebook post has been shared all over Facebook and it got three times the number of views in a day that the Sherlock post got, I got ONE new follower. And even though it was a Facebook-themed post, I think I only got four or five new likes on Facebook.

Which isn’t to say I would change anything about either post. And I’m not making money from the blog, so it really doesn’t matter. But a few new followers or subscribers are a lot more important to me than a bunch of one-time page views. I’m going to get to share ALL my future musings with those new followers, whereas all those people who saw this post were just here and gone. So the lesson, I guess, is that I should try to write fewer posts that appeal to Facebookers, and more posts that appeal to established bloggers.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure I know what that would entail. I’m kinda winging it here.

Happy weekend everyone!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. nancyo

    Congrats on all of the writing achievements and also those that involve CAKE – that rainbow one looks amazing!

  2. Erica Saint

    Congratulations on your book! That is wonderful news! 🙂
    I have been trying to read Kristin Lavransdatter for years and have been unable to make it past the first third of the book.

    • Kendra Tierney

      I have read it before, but it took fits and starts for me to do it. It's definately a book you need to be in the mood for. But if you are, it's amazing.

      Thanks! I submitted the edited version last night, and am waiting to hear from my editor again (I have an editor!), hopefully it'll be good to go.

    • Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas

      Erica, do you know which translation you have? I read the new Tina Nunnally translation and loved it but I've heard the older translations are less readable.

  3. Patty

    I LOVED your open letter to friends who changed their profile picture…very hard subject to talk about but you did it with grace and class! 🙂

  4. Heather

    Congratulations, Kendra, on your book being published! I have a few kids' books in my brain, but they haven't gone any further yet.

    I love what everybody is doing for Dwija! I must admit I've never read her blog, so I guess you can add me to that short list you mentioned the other day 🙂 I wish I could do more, but as you know, it's just not possible.

    Also loved your post yesterday. I agree with Patty, you did it with grace and class. Great job!

  5. JoAnna Wahlund

    Yay about the book! My oldest is going to receive FHC this spring and it sounds like it'll be a great resource for her (and us!). Can't wait 'til it's released!

  6. Marisa

    Hi Kendra! I found your blog via Conversion Diary, and I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm a literary geek and I was an English major in college, so I always appreciate book reviews and recommendations! 🙂 Always nice to "meet" a fellow Catholic mama and blogger.

  7. Curt Dose

    So sorry I missed the FHC mac and cheese as it is delicious. Palmer House is also the best ice cream ever as it brings back fond memories of my 1st layover hotel in Chicago. I got snowed in there in Jan 1974 2weeks before my wedding and bought a trousseau on the "miracle mile".How fun.

  8. Juliana

    I'd be in for the private writing feedback blog! I'm still getting my feet under me after baby #4 was born 5 weeks ago, but probably in a month or two, I can get back to the novel I shelved just after I found out I was pregnant!

    • Kendra Tierney

      Awesome! Your account isn't linked to an email address, would you send me an email catholicallyear @ gmail . com so I can keep track of interested parties?

  9. Bonnie

    Ahhhh! Congrats on the book! That's so great, Kendra! 🙂

  10. Anonymous

    Kendra, thanks for your blog and for you post yesterday. I came over from Conversion Diary.

    Why all the snark for William Bartram? He was, after all a naturalist, what would he do besides write about plants?

    There's a great book on him and his father John (another naturalist) by Thomas Slaughter, The Natures of John and William Bartram.

    best, elizabethe

    • Kendra Tierney

      No, you are absolutely right. But I'm NOT a naturalist and I find his lengthy descriptions of absolutely everything to be a challenge to get excited about. He's also a bit of a name dropper!

      But I know he was a pioneer in his field, so if you like that sort of thing, you'd probably love this book.

  11. Megan

    Kendra, as a fellow Catholic Mama blogger who stumbled upon your blog recently, I am loving it! I was an English and History major in college (and secretly/not-so-secretly love good YA fiction), so your YA novel sounds right up my alley. I would love to be a part of a group writing project or just to give you feedback. Thanks and keep up the good work!

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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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