Answering your questions: Part I

Here are the answers to the first few of the questions to this post:

Q: “How in the world do you have time to blog with all your kids?” - Kimberly

A: This is the #1 most frequent question I get. Heck, sometimes I look at my archives and ask myself that question. Here’s the answer:

- Naptime. My one-year-old and three-year-old usually take nice, long afternoon naps (and on the rare days they don’t I expect them to have quiet time in their rooms), so every day I have a block of time in the afternoon where it’s just me and the five-month-old. My husband and I agreed that with everything that’s on my plate I should use at least most of that time to unwind and relax, so most days the baby bounces on my lap while I read write posts and read others people’s blogs.

- I have help. When we first found out we were pregnant with our first child, my husband and I took great pains to make sure that we had a support system to help us out. Because of those efforts, my mom now lives in my area, and my mother-in-law comes to visit fairly regularly. So I have bits of free time here and there when, say, a couple times a week the older kids will go run errands with my mom, or when my mother-in-law comes up for a few days about every other month.

- It’s my main hobby. I have no talent for cool things like sewing, gardening, knitting, etc., so reading and writing are really my only hobbies.

- It’s easy. I think that part of it is that I’m just meant to talk about my conversion right now. I’ve done plenty of other writing in the past, and writing posts for this blog takes less than half the time it would take me to write anything else of the same length. At this point in time, I have the opposite of writer’s block: when you go from being a complete atheist to being a practicing Catholic, there’s a LOT to say.

Q: “I am curious about your husband in all of this as well. I think you mentioned he also entered the church at the same time (last Easter). Did he research and read, like you did? Were you on a similar time line?” - Jill

Q: “You said your husband converted at the same time you did…How did you broach the subject of religion with him? Was it hard to convince him that Catholicism is true? Were you convinced before he was?” - Sarahndipity

A: This is the #2 most frequent question I get. One of these days I’m going to put together a post that tells this story, but the short story is this: it would be hard to find someone more excited about the Catholic Church than my husband is today. But becoming Catholic was almost as much of a change for him as it was for me (just this weekend we were remarking about how funny it is that he wrote this email just a little over two years ago.)

When I met my husband I had no idea he really believed in God — I doubt I would have dated him if I’d known that. But the longer I knew him, the more I realized that, though he wasn’t involved in religion at all, he did firmly believe in some sort of Creator. He is extremely intelligent, so this piqued my curiosity and was one of the factors that made me start to open my mind to the possibility of God.

In the beginning he counseled me that there’s not much to know: the universe is obviously designed, there’s some sort of Creator, there have been prophets throughout the ages who were more in touch with some sort of spiritual realm the average person (Jesus, in his mind, being one of them)…but that’s pretty much all we can expect to know. He recommended that we just find some local church to join so that we could be part of a spiritual community. Since he was raised Baptist he wanted to stick with Christianity, so we began visiting Christian churches of all denominations — except Catholic. Because we were looking for churches that mirrored our own personalities and values, and we vehemently disagreed with the Catholic stance on certain issues, when we told friends we were open to joining any kind of church we’d always add, “Anything but Catholic, of course,” with a chuckle.

It was at some point during this process that I started reading and reading and reading. I remember one night after reading some apologetics book I set it down, and said to my husband, “You know those stories in the Bible about Jesus being the Son of God, and rising from the dead and stuff?”

Amused that this was actually new territory to me, he said, “Yeah, I’m familiar with them.”

I hesitated because I couldn’t believe I was actually saying this, but I went on: “I think they might be true.”

“What if it is? What are we supposed to do with that information?” It was when we began to try to answer those questions that he and I both had the same realizations: that there might actually be a lot on the line here; that religion might be about a whole lot more than just finding a nice group of people to hang out with on Sundays; that maybe real, objective truth about God and his relationship to humans exists and could be known; and that maybe we both needed to stop everything and start searching for truth.

To be continued… icon smile Answering your questions: Part I

Q: “Is there anything you miss about being an atheist?” - Anonymous

A: No.

Q: “How did your various doctors solve the dilemma of your blood clotting disorder vs. NFP?” - Rebekka

A: Another question that deserves its own post. Here’s my attempt at a quick answer: when I first had the DVT and was diagnosed as homozygous for Factor II during my second pregnancy, my cardiologist, hematologist and obstetrician all strongly warned me not to have any more children (even my midwife, whose services I could no longer use because of the DVT, hinted that maybe we should stop at two). When I told them about my issues with Coumadin and explained that I was in the process of converting to Catholicism and probably would not be open to taking contraception, my relationship with a couple of them became adversarial. I think they were annoyed with me, I was annoyed with them, and my trips to their office were usually tense. (My posts on those subjects can be found here).

Rather than addressing any one of the go-rounds I’ve had about being told not to have more children, not being able to afford the astronomical cost of Lovenox, the Coumadin issues, etc., I’ll offer a general statement about the entire issue: the more I’ve worked with my doctors, the more I’ve gotten to know them and they’ve gotten to know me, the more I have found that none of these issues are as black and white as they were once presented. At some point I began to approach my relationship with them in a different way: I was more confident and firm and my unwillingness to consider anything that was against this newfound belief system of mine; yet I was also sympathetic to their fears of doing anything other than the standard treatment for cases like mine. The more I approached our meetings with a confident, positive, friendly attitude, the more I found they were willing to “think outside of the box” for me. Everything has worked out surprisingly well.

Though my options were presented as being starkly black and white, I discovered a lot of gray area. I just had to go looking for it.

Q: “Sometime ago you mentioned (on your link blog) an inspiration that caught your attention. Something to the effect of…’unhurriedness is one of God’s characteristics‘. I’ve been waiting to hear your thoughts.” - Tausign

A: That was a very timely insight as I first began to try to bring peace to my daily life. The subject really needs a separate post. I’ll try to get to that soon.

Q: “How did you manage to get so many readers for your blog?” - Sarahndipity

A: “So many readers” is subjective — I don’t think of this blog as having all that much traffic. I’m no Amy Welborn or Curt Jester. But to the extent that it has grown over the past couple of years, it was an organic process. I’ve never made a big effort to publicize it. Actually, I try not to place too much value on the number of readers of this blog because it’s easy for me to get caught up in trying to write with an eye towards increasing traffic instead of writing to give an honest account of my thoughts and experiences.

Q: “How’s your scorpion problem?” - Adoro te Devote

A: To everyone who worried that I solved the scorpion problem once and for all, I have good news: it is likely that the only reason I haven’t seen a scorpion in the past few months is because it’s colder. Scorpion season starts again in about two months. I’m getting my Caps Lock key ready.

Part II coming soon…

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Enter the Conversation...

7 Responses to “Answering your questions: Part I”
  1. Rebecca says:

    Homozygous for Factor II!!!!! Wow that is seriously rare. I have been performing that test for 4 years and have yet to see a genotype like yours. I salute you in your specialness! Sorry that was probably inappropriate, but us geeky DNA types find rare mutations fascinating and we can forget that these mutations cause real trouble for real people. Stay healthy! I will pray for you!

  2. Jennifer F. says:

    Rebecca -

    I know! Can you believe it? When I asked my hematologist if it meant that the condition would be worse for me he said probably, but they can’t know for sure because there are just a few other people in the world with that genotype. I think he suspects that I’m not telling him that my parents are cousins or something. :)

  3. Jennifer F. says:

    Rebecca – I just remembered this as well: we’re also an HNPCC family on my dad’s side, if you’re familiar with that. The best coin flip I ever won is that I don’t have it. Crazy genes, huh?

  4. Rebecca says:

    P.S. You seriously lucked out on the HNPCC.

  5. Sarahndipity says:

    Thanks for answering my questions! It sure seems to me like you have a lot of readers – over 5,000 profile veiws is a lot!! I’m happy if I just get 1 or 2 comments on a post. :)

    Just wondering, how did you initially get people to read your blog? Was it just by commenting on other people’s blogs?

  6. Jennifer F. says:

    Rebecca – I know. I’ll never forget getting that call from the people at MD Anderson to tell me I didn’t have it. It was an interesting experience, though, to get a view into their research into HNPCC. Evidently they’ve traced it back to one immigrant from Hess, Germany in the early 1700’s. We’re all related to him. It was amazing to see the elaborate family tree they’ve put together.

    Sarah – one thing that gave me an initial influx of readers was that I was asking questions about Christianity (I will still basically agnostic), so I would sometimes go to others’ sites and ask if they would come over to answer a couple of my questions. Quite a few people stuck around, and the traffic grew from there.

  7. alicia says:

    Being the medical geek I am, I had to look up the HNPCC – for your other readers, wikipedia has a good basic article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hereditary_nonpolyposis_colorectal_cancer
    SO which form is in your family?
    Also, I have a good friend with Factor V Leiden, who decided in her last pregnancy to forgo the Lovenox etc and who actually had a home birth – a controversial but very well-informed decision. Email me if you want contact information with her. As you say, it isn’t black and white….
    Where I am getting a little miffed is having patients who are heterozygous for one of the MTHFR mutations being treated as a ticking time bomb in pregnancy – give me a break already!