Let’s talk about you!

Not only would I love to know more about the people who are kind enough to drop by my blog, but I also think it would be interesting for readers to get a feel for who else visits this site.

So, whether you’re a regular commenter from way back or a brand new reader who just lurks, I’d be delighted if you’d take a moment to leave a comment and introduce yourself. Here are five questions for your consideration:

  1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
  4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
  5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

Those are some things I’d be particularly interesting to know, but all questions are optional. I look forward to “meeting” you!

*Yes, fellow bibliophiles, you can list a few if you just can’t keep it to just one.

New here? Take a moment to introduce yourself, or say hi on Twitter at @conversiondiary.

Enter the Conversation...

739 Responses to “Let’s talk about you!”
  1. Thomas says:

    Hi. I’m Thomas, I’m 24 years old. I’m a fairly new reader of this blog.

    · Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised non-religiously in a post-Christian family (post-Baptist, primarily). I went to a Pentecostal youth group with a friend when I was 14 and had a religious experience that led to my attending that church for the nest four years. Then I spent two and a half years in a non-denominational Evangelical Protestant church, before converting to Catholcism three years ago (R.C.I.A. Class of 2005!).

    · Where are you from?

    I am from Southeast Michigan. I’ve lived here all my life and probably always will.

    · What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    One of the books that has had a great impact on my life is “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic,” by David B. Currie. It had a definite impact on my decision to become Catholic.

    · Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a (final-smester!) college student, so my schedule varies quite a bit. Most of the days of the week are as follows: I stay up late, so I sleep late most days (10ish), and then I drive to campus. I park at the Catholic Student Chapel, and make it my base throughout my day, between classes. Four nights a week I work at the Chapel, keeping it open after office hours, 5-9pm, this is when I blog and do most of my homework. After work I usually go visit my girlfriend for an hour or two, and we watch television or a movie, or we hang out with her roommates. That’s my favorite part of my day.

    · If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I have a new blog, http://tomcatholic.stblogs.com. My “subtitle,” is “A young man tries to figure out life in the real world and the true Church.”

    • Suzanne says:

      Tom, the book that catapulted me over into the church was also David Currie’s book…it BLEW my mind–answered all my questions and overcame any objection. LOVE it and so thankful for it that I buy it in bulk and give it away! Hundreds of copies!

    • Albert says:

      Hi,I’m albert,29yrs old from Nigeria. I was born andd raised catholic but had my own personal convictions about the church while studying the penny cathechism for first holy communion when I was about 10 or 11 years old.Since then I told myself I’d rather die than leave the catholic church and I am still firm in that conviction to this day. I was and still is so sure that this is the church founded by christ and I will never be wavered by the scandaals that rock the church because I consider them the human aspects of the church which is also divine like christ who is fully human and fully divine. 2. Where am I from? Think I already answered that, Nigeria. 3. The one book that has had fundamental impact outside the bible is “Coming out straight” by Richard Cohen (he’s Catholic by the way,thank you) 4.My typical day starts at 5.30am when my alarm rings, I would like to say that I say my prayers but I’ve not been consistent in the recent past for a couple of reasons.Sometimes I wake up as early as 2am to study and from 5.30am, begin to prepare for work which starts at 8am and closes at 4pm except when I may have to work for extended hours,between 5pm and 7pm on certain days of the week I am involved in church activities(choir practice)on other days I rest or nap at this time and study later. My favourite time of the day is when I sleep or in the mornings of weekends when I play tennis.5.Don’t have a personal blog but ikve been contemplating on starting one for a while now. 5

    • Stephanie says:

      Wow! I just saw your story on The Journey Home and am blown away. I have not seen anyone so far away from God only to come back to God and the Church.
      My story is that I was raised Catholic in a very religious household. We said the Rosary as a family every night, went to church every Sunday, and had Jesus as an everyday part of my life. When I went to college i started missing church and then slowly started rationalizing that I could still pray and it would be the same etc. I never stopped believing in God or talking to him but wasn’t really practicing my faith.
      When I was in my late 20′s I started dating a guy who was Jewish, but by tradition only. He was really an athiest. If I married him then I would have to convert and I knew that I could never deny Jesus. That led me to ask the question of what do I really believe? When I was growing up I did all of the tradtions and believed, but didn’t really understand why? I’m a person that has to understand why. So I started watching EWTN, reading books about conversions and arguments for the Catholic Church and realized that it truly held all of the truths. I am still learning and love to read about people’s conversions because they give examples of why this faith holds all of the truths of Jesus. I’ve grown deeper in my faith & relationship of Jesus, Mary & the communion of Saints. I truly feel a peace that I’ve never felt before. I’m from New Olreans, La, which is a very Catholic city. There’s a Catholic Church every couple of miles. I am married & a mother of one child. I’m bringing my child up in the faith & hopefully he’ll grow up to be a faithful servent of God. That’s my story…

  2. Megan says:

    Hi, I’m Megan. I’ve been lurking (actually, reading via Google reader) for about two months now.

    I was raised in a liberal Methodist church, and am now an Evangelical with a liturgical bent; I was a member at an Anglican church when I lived in NYC and now I’m at a Presbyterian church.

    I’m from Boulder, Colorado. I went to college in New York City, and now live in Boulder again.

    One book? “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoefer, and currently, “Let the Nations be Glad” by John Piper.

    I’m on staff with The Navigators, and am raising support to be a missionary in Japan. My typical day includes extended Bible study in the morning and support raising in the afternoon. Support raising can be anything from phone calls to meetings to emails. I’m living with my parents, so we usually have family dinner in the evenings. I have really enjoyed being at home again, and while support raising is challenging, it’s also neat to see God provide.

    My blog: http://amishwolf.blogspot.com. I write about theology, Japan, missions.

    • Kenneth Fountain says:

      This is not far from where I am. I’m an E-Free Bible Church guy, just 75 yrs old. I’ve been 46 yrs with my wife Doris. We too spent some time as Lutherans so do have a litergical bent also. Now I’m a Christian Apologist based on the Bible and my deep knowledge of modern science and its claaims. Love to talk with anybody.

  3. Anne Marie says:

    1 Spiritual Journey: Cradle Catholic from a luke warm Catholic home, to new age nonsense to Catholic revert.

    2 Grew up in a Detroit suburb, went to school in Ann Arbor, moved out to LA, married an LA darling, then back to Southeastern Michigan. Now we live in a rural area. We also have a condo in Port Townsend, WA to deal with our west coast production facility.

    3 Favorite book is The Oddysey. I love Penelope because she remained faithful to Oddysseus and waited for him no matter who was trying to distract her from that mission. The spinning wheel trick, sheer genius.

    4 Daily life: Wake up possibly work out a bit, head into the office with my husband. We have a small manufacturing company. I run the administrative aspects of our company which involve everything from billing, to material ordering, to VOIP phone system, the VPN, web sites, sales leads and database management, HR issues, etc. My staff consists of 6 folks in two states. My husband oversees sales, design and production in our company and he has a staff of 20 or so folks in several states.
    Favorite part of the day is evenings when I get to be domestic and make dinner and take care of my house.

    5 My blog is East of Eden. It’s at eastofedentoo.blogspot.com. I began a little over a year ago with a blog about the process of adopting children from foster care. Adoption hasn’t panned out and the whole works was a bit painful so I transitioned to a blog about conversion and living the Catholic life as a woman who’s not been blessed with children. Kind of a different take from most Catholic women who blog about family life.

    Small silly factoid. Not being much of a blogger I didn’t realize anyone could even see my original blog until Jen posted a comment!!

    Second factoid. I found this blog on Blogger’s Choice Awards, and I’m glad I did.

    • Anne Marie says:

      How cool to re-read this 3 years later. I realize this post was aprox. 14 days before we got the call about the child, now our son, who is laughing with a friend in the next room.

      Our company is down to six people in this post banking crash era, but we survived and sometimes we even make a living!

      Wow, what a difference 3 years makes!! I’m a mom and a homeschooling mom at that!!

  4. Catherine says:

    I’m a born and sort-of-raised Catholic. My parents divorced when I was six, and my mother (understandably) kind of returned to her Congregational roots for a while after the divorce. I rediscovered my faith late in college, and was confirmed in 2001 before marrying in the Church in 2002.

    I’m a military kid, so I’m from everywhere. I have spent most of my life in Kansas and Missouri, and I’m sure I’ll die here since I married a Missouri boy who can trace his heritage to Bavarian (that would be the Catholic part of Germany, where Papa Ratzi hails from) immigrants. I’m a SAHM of two, so I would bet you already know what my days are like.

    I’d say both the “Good News about Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West and “Orthodoxy” by GK Chesterton had the biggest impacts on me.

    And I blog (sometimes) about just about everything at http://www.catholicstewardship.blogspot.com

  5. happy appy wife says:

    Female, Married 11 yrs, age 38 (on Friday). No children. 3 dogs. Favorite color is Red.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Cradle Catholic. Returned to Catholicism in 2007 after 20-yr hiatus. Even though my family is Catholic, I was raised in an ecumenical charismatic community (www.yeslord.com).

    In 20 years I’ve gone from Catholic to Existentialist to Atheist to Fatalist to Catholic. I eventually accepted that I can’t run from God.

    Ok, Well I can, but it’s futile and exhausting.

    # Where are you from?

    Hillbillburbia, by way of Deep South.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. There’s a lot there. (Willy Wonka is a metaphor for God).

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a Learning Consultant and I work from home, in my comfy clothes and socks, surrounded by three insane dogs of various breeds. Hubby and I purchased this Appalachian ‘fixer upper’ two years ago and have just begun to dig in. On sunny days, I go outside and play in the dirt (or with the dogs). Hanging out with Hubby is my favorite part of the day (usually!)

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My URL is: http://www.happyappywife.blogspot.com

    I blog about spirituality, my hubby and dogs, life in hillbillburbia, and soapboxes, and my walk back to God. Not necessarily in that order.

    ____

    My Testimony for You: Jen, I stumbled across your blog when I was in the grips of a deep dark fatalistic depression. Reading your conversion story (and the rest) helped me find my way home. Many nights, unable to sleep, I read your blog until my eyes hurt, because your voice was so calming, so rational, so logical, and so vulnerable and real. You gave me hope. Thank you for sharing your light with the world.

  6. Chloe says:

    Hi there! I’m Chloe. I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and absolutely love it! I’m 22 years old, in my last year of university studying political science and music (classical voice). I’m also a volunteer birth doula.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I didn’t grow up in a religious family at all, at best we could be described as lapsed Catholic, and worst agnostic. After years of atheism, I became friends with a fundamentalist Baptist preacher’s wife and she gently led me to Christ, two years ago next month. (Talk about an odd match!)
    I hope to convert to Catholicism after I graduate from college and get settled in one town with one church home.

    # Where are you from?
    Currently in Massachusetts, by way of Vermont and Maryland.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Usually I’m up no later than 7am, head to class in the mornings. The afternoons are reserved for practicing, studying, or watching the odd episode of House or Grey’s Anatomy. My favorite part of the day is singing and/or working with any pregnant mommies and babies that might be in my care.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    No blog at the moment. I’ve thought about starting one, but I can’t think of anything interesting to say!

  7. Denise says:

    Hi there–I’m Denise–Married Mom of three boys (I used to be able to say three toddlers–they were such little guys forever, but now they’re honest-to-goodness boys–ages 6,5 &3)

    I’ve been reading here for six months or so…maybe its already been a year.

    *Spiritual background–Cradle Catholic, but I’ve noticed two distinct points in my life that have really defined my faith. One as a teen at Catholic Summer Camp when I realized that the world was bigger than my little hometown and again once I became a Mom (sidenote, I don’t know HOW ON EARTH parents do this without faith to back them up!!)

    *I’m from all over. My parents moved frequently and so I most often refer to Florida as home, even though I don’t have family there anymore and I’d really rather not ever move back there. Currently I’m living in Northern Virginia…but only for a few years. I’m a nomad (that and married to the military).

    *Books-Man’s Search for Meaning(Frankl) The Alchemist (Coelho) and 365 Saints (Koenig-Bricker). All for different reasons obviously, but each touched a part of my soul–the saints one does almost daily!

    *Daily life–I’m a mom who has just relocated for the fourth time in five years. I have no routine :-)

    Actually I get up with my boys, I read blogs and the real paper, get my oldest off to school and then do morning stuff with my other two boys (errands, the gym, a bit of “preschool”, laundry). Afternoons are more of the same…we play, we read, we go outside, someone gets overtired and we bicker. I am blessed to live in a busy neighborhood with lots of kids, so most days end on a pretty good note for the boys with lots of free range time. We get everyone down for bed and then I try to have more free time to surf online and write. I occasionally catch a tv show—but I’d much rather be reading a good book.

    The last few weeks, I’ve noticed a real sense of feeling overwhelmed and out of balance, so I’ve put a temporary hold on my own blog and I’m trying out a new to=do list. My only goal of the day is to pray. If I get anything else done-GREAT! But my goal for the day is to just pray as often as I can. We’re still new to the area, so I don’t really have much on my plate right now, so I figured its now or never….before I get busy with PTA and T-ball, I need to find my own footing. I’m hoping to see some benefits and find some balance. My favorite part of the day is when I can connect with my family–either during dinner or bedtime books. I also love my tea and newspaper time in the morning.

    I do have a blog–and if I knew how to link to it I would ;-) but you can find it through my signature. As I said earlier, it is on hiatus right now…but I’ll be back.

    Thanks for this!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sylvia. 19. Student. Recently started reading it over Lent when I gave up Facebook.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    Roman Catholic growing up.
    But have become more and more involved and grown in my faith ever since entering college.

    Where are you from?
    Chicago, IL

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    LOVE BOOKS!
    Rediscovering Catholicism, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, The Soul of Money, The Purpose-Driven Life, Ultramarahon Man.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? College student so class, napping, homework, reading, and of course, Mass. :)

  9. Patrick says:

    I’m Patrick, originally from SoCal, but now living in a Washington, DC suburb.

    I was a cradle Catholic who just couldn’t shake a strange daily mass habit. Throughout elementary school my mother would take me on a regular basis, and at a Catholic high school, I would regularly attend with the priests and brothers before school started for lack of a better thing to do. Finally, ended up at a secular college in San Antonio. A Holy Spirit moment led me to transfer to Franciscan University in Ohio, and my faith really deepened there. I have a wife and a daughter and we are actively striving for sanctity. I still go to mass as often as I can, and it is truly the best part of any day that I can go.

    On an aside, I lived in Rome for a year studying, and frequented the major basilicas…after a while the first thing I’d search for was the tabernacle chapel: that red candle would life my heart more than any amazing sculpture or painting could ever do. I learned about God’s awesomeness firsthand when I could hurry past Michelangelo’s Pieta or Caravaggio’s Conversion of St Paul or Teresa in Ecstasy for a small nondescript gold box with a flickering red candle…

    I work in a job I hate to support the family. I get up extra early so that I can leave early and be home by 4 to spend the afternoon with the family. I’m a perpetual student, and after attaining a couple of theological degrees, am trying to get a doctorate in an interesting field…I want the freedom that a career in academia would provide. The best part of any day is playing with my 9 month old.

    I really enjoy John Grisham for fiction and Benedict for theology…although I’d have to say that Love and Responsibility by JPII is one of my favorites. It convinced me that there is rational basis in Catholicism.

  10. The Sojourner says:

    Hi, I’m Megan. I’ve been reading your blog for a while–probably over a year now.

    Spiritual journey: I’ve been officially Catholic since I was a little less than two months old, but about 5 1/2 years ago I made the conscious choice to believe in God, and ever since I’ve been trying (with greater or lesser success) to grow closer to Him.

    Where I am from: small-town Ohio.

    Great books: The Brothers Karamazov. I could list a few hundred others but that’s definitely one of my all-time favorites.

    Daily life: Get up, walk to the chapel for 6:30 am Mass, eat breakfast, study, possibly go to class, eat lunch, more study and class, eat dinner, study or work or the occasional blessed few hours of free time, not enough sleep. (Have you guessed that I’m a college student?) My favorite part of each day: well, Mass is the obvious one. Other favorite moments involve having deep philosophical discussions at late hours.

    My url: http://megans-digressions.blogspot.com
    I don’t know how to make that a link. You can also follow the link on my profile.

  11. Will Duquette says:

    Hi, I’m Will, I’m 44, and I’ve been reading your blog since some time last year.

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Catholic, got married, spent twenty years as an Episcopalian/Anglican, rediscovered the Catholic Church, came back last October, and am gloriously happy about it. I blogged extensively about coming home to Rome back in October.

    2. Where are you from?

    Los Angeles, more or less, born and raised.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I’d say, The Lord of the Rings, and The Screwtape Letters. Among many, many others.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I write software for a living, so most days I get up and head off to work. The best days are the ones when I get up with the details of a personal project buzzing in my head and and can dive into it before anyone else in the house is up. Second best is when I can dive into a project at work and really get into it.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I blog at The View from the Foothills. Historically I’ve blogged mostly about books; more recently, I’ve been blogging a lot more about my journey into the church.

  12. Heather says:

    You know, I have been reading along these but haven’t had time to comment since you turned comments back on.

    Heather, Western PA, Cradle Catholic turned Baptist now nondenominational Born Again Christian (Testimony here: http://untraditionalhome.com/?page_id=135).

    Geeky, unschooling mom to three, artist, and avid reader married to a super geek. My kids are older now so I spend most of my daylight hours pursuing random project with the kids, playing Gamecube with them, drawing, painting, and doing web design–when I am not just reading blogs.

    One book that had a huge impact? Um, Captivating and The Journey of Desire (yes that’s two but I can’t decide.) Ooo, and The Lord of the Rings, and Narnia, and Anne of Green Gables, and Passion and Purity, and The Shaping of a Christian Family, and Me? Obey Him?….never mind too many books.

    And you already know my blog–http://untradfitionalhome.com about life in our geek house with our crazy kids and my art aand lots of pretty pictures.

  13. Jill Davis Doughtie says:

    I’m Jill.

    I was raised Christian, and am pretty much not Christian at this point.

    I’m from California.

    Nothing Special: Living Zen by Charlotte Joko Beck had a big impact on my life. So did The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

    I’m a housewife and stepmom to two boys. I take care of one of the boys every afternoon. I bake a lot of bread. I garden a little. I’m starting to make preserves. I’d say my favorite part of each day is snuggling up with my husband.

    My main blog is The DHX — http://thedhx.com — where I write along with my stepkids’ mom about raising kids in two houses.

    • Hooo boy, Cally, sheesh :). Seriously though, well ‘met’. I’d welcome you, but this isn’t my ‘party’ or ‘house.’ I still maintain an appreciation of Buddhism, mostly through ‘adventures’ in zen > vipassanna > makkyo / mikkyo in that order. We don’t have a monopoly on truth, ‘it’ should have a monopoly on us.

      “The Artist’s Way” Useful book as I recall. Particularly correct in demonstrating how we tend to inattention in not looking, listening, tasting, etc. etc.

  14. Louise says:

    Hi Jen! My name is Louise. I have been a loyal reader since last summer.
    I am a cradle Catholic, but during the past year I have engaged in a much more concentrated effort to gain a deeper appreciation of my faith. The rewards are never-ending.
    My hometown is in northeastern Ohio, but my husband and I currently live in central Pennsylvania, were we are in graduate school.
    During the week, I typically spend part of my day at school either in class, performing teaching assistant duties, or doing other school-related work, and part of the day at home doing either school work or housework. My school workload decreases as the week progresses, so typically on Thursdays and Fridays I go to daily Mass. These are my favorite parts of the week, along with the evenings that I spend with my husband.
    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis has had a great impact upon my life, as well as Good News About Sex and Marriage by Christopher West and Love and Responsibility by Pope John Paul II.
    I have a new blog, Quid est Veritas, wherein I hope to explore current social issues in light of the Church’s teaching.

  15. Jen says:

    -Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised in various religions, converted to Catholisim when I was 15 with my family. I promptly left the Church shortly thereafter, and didn’t return until about 24 (too much partying). I am Roman Catholic now and trying to do my best to be a good one.

    Where are you from?

    Born in Washington, DC and raised in Maryland.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Peace of Soul by Fulton Sheen

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    A typical day for me is changing diapers (or a pull up), coaxing a three year old to stop wearing the pull up, serving massive amounts of apple juice, doing school work with my first grader, telling my four year old he can’t play video games again, cleaning, doing laundry, talking on the phone (too much sometimes), reading on the spiritual life, blogging, and enjoying coffee. My favorite time of the day is the morning. It’s quiet.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://this-family-of-ours.blogspot.com/

    I write about our daily life and try not to complain too much.

  16. Jen says:

    Oh, and I’m 32. Soon to be 33.

  17. Suzanne says:

    Hi, I’m Suzanne. I’ve been reading your blog since I started to get interested in Catholicism about 10 months ago.

    I wasn’t raised religious. My mother is a Quaker and doesn’t impose her religious beliefs on anyone. My father is an ex-Lutheran. I was officially an atheist by middle school, and very anti-Christian, even though I actually knew nothing about Christianity. I was an atheist all through college, but had a good friend who made me intellectually (not spiritually, mind!) curious about Christian religion. I started by reading “Mere Christianity” by CS Lewis, and was immediately drawn to Christianity as a rational/moral system. I didn’t admit to myself that I believed in God until about two years after that when I got down on my knees and started to pray for the first time in my life. I was just baptized at Easter!

    A lot of books were very influential, but what made me Catholic was reading the Catechism. It gave me a way to see the Truth as a whole, and convinced me that the Catholic church is the true church. I also love everything by Flannery O’Connor.

    I grew up in the suburbs of NYC, went to college in Chicago, and now I’m back living in New York City. I work at a great non-profit. Since Easter I’ve been trying to make it to mass every day and to pray the liturgy of the hours more regularly. I read quite a lot, I try to go swimming often, and go out to eat way too much. In the summer I’m starting an alternate certification program to become a high school science teacher.

    I don’t have a real blog =)

  18. Kerry - A Ten O'Clock Scholar says:

    Jennifer – what a fun idea!

    My spiritual journey – Hmmmm…well, raised in a “culturally Christian” family. Attended a few different churches growing up: mostly Methodist and Episcopal. But, oddly enough I went more regularly with a friend to her Catholic church. I often spent the night and went with the family the next morning. My grandfather was raised Catholic (Irish and Italian family) although he attended an Episcopal church as an adult (small southern town – no Catholic church nearby). Had a radical encounter with God at about 12, and then attended YoungLife in High School. Ditched Christianity in college…got married and found it again. :) Now attending an Anglican church.

    I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and now live in the Piedmont area of NC.

    My book: CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and “Screwtape Letters”.

    We homeschool, so that sets our daily schedule. School in the morning, lunch, more school (as needed) and then the kids (3 of them: 11, 8, 6) go outside to play until about dinner time.

    Yes I do have a blog: http://www.theten0clockscholar.blogspot.com – I post a lot about the church year and family celebrations/observances of it…also about Anglicanism…and homeschooling…and lots more.

  19. Heidi Hess Saxton says:

    * Raised Evangelical, became Catholic at 30.
    * Milan, Michigan
    * “A Chance to Die” (biography of Amy Carmichael by Elisabeth Elliot). I took “Amy” as my confirmation name because of her example of fearless Christianity.
    * Work while kids are at school, then “momming” until bedtime, then blogging/hanging out with hubby. Best time: BEDTIME!
    * My primary blog is my parenting/adoption blog, Mommy Monsters: http://mommymonsters.blogspot.com. Also recently added a “Mary” blog about my new book “Behold Your Mother” (http://beholdyourmotherbook.blogspot.com).

  20. Kiwi Nomad 2008 says:

    Hi! I’m Margaret and I am from New Zealand, though I leave in two days time for four months walking in Europe.

    I was brought up Catholic. My father, who died when I was eight, was from a strong Catholic Irish family. My mother didn’t go to church often after my father died. Me… I have been lapsed for a long time, though I hang around somewhere on the edges these days.

    In the past few months my days have been quite flexible as I have been working as a relieving teacher. When I didn’t end up working, I have often been out walking. I am usually a ‘morning person’ and I loved walking as the sun was just rising.

    I am about to start walking some of the Camino of St James from Le Puy in France. I see myself more as a walker than a pilgrim, but you never know what surprises lie ahead.
    My main blog records walks, travels in the countryside etc. It’s at:
    http://kiwinomad06.blogspot.com/
    But I am not sure I will get to update it much in rural France!
    Margaret

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m Danny, I’m 23 years old (24 in June) and I recently stumbled upon this blog from Creative Minority Report.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’m a cradle Catholic from devout Italian parents but recently I have begun to be more involved in my faith (I’ve never fallen from it but I did not truly know it before).

    Where are you from?

    From Brantford, Ontario, Canada

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    If it counts as a book, Summa Theologia by St. Thomas Aquinas (my favourite saint!) and Life is Worth Living by Fulton Sheen (telecasts).

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I am in my first year of pharmacy at the University of Toronto. A typical day would be commuting to Toronto in the morning, followed by a few classes, spend some time with my friends and then head home in the evening. My favourite part of the day is getting to pass the time with my pharmacy friends at school.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I don’t have a blog now, but when I become a pharmacist I would like to start one up that combines my faith with my career (I’m very pro-life and hope to spread this message as a practicing pharmacist).

  22. Barb says:

    I’m Barb; I’m 50 years old. I’ve been reading your blog since last summer, I think…I’ve been lurking here.
    I’ve been married almost 30 years and have three children all through the miracle of adoption.
    I was born and raised Catholic, but really got into my faith about 15 years ago.
    I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. I still live on the land that has been in my father’s family for over 100 years.
    A book that has had a great impact on me is St. Therese’s autobiography. I also love St. Faustina’s diary and the diary of Elisabeth Leseur.
    I’m a homeschooling mom. My 21 year old daughter is in college, but I’m still teaching my 14 and 15 year old sons at home. I start my day with morning prayer, a bit of computer time, and chores, go to noon Mass, spend the afternoon teaching and doing housework. I end my day with evening prayer and rosary and some more computer time.
    My favorite part of my day is my prayer time and down time at night.
    I’ve had a blog on Xanga for three years, but have decided to start a blog on blogspot.
    http://mysoulshallliveforhim.blogspot.com
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog these past months…God bless!!

  23. j. christian says:

    - Son of a lapsed Catholic father and a sometime Baptist mother. Raised with vague notions of Christian ethical precepts and a few cultural trappings, but with some healthy disdain for “organized religion”. Wife is a cradle Catholic, and a trip we took to Italy got me thinking about the Church in greater depth. Entered the Church on Easter Vigil, 2000.

    - From “the OC” (no one there ever called it that), and still live in the greater LA metro area today.

    - My high school calculus textbook probably had a big impact on my life. Suddenly, all that abstract math stuff started to come together and have meaning.

    - I’m an analyst for a think tank, and I’ve done research work on defense policy, counterterrorism, and criminal justice. My favorite part of the day, however, is being with my kids.

    - I don’t have a blog.

  24. Tune says:

    Hi, I’m Atun. 21 years old. I’ve been reading this blog since a couple months ago.

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My parents are Buddhist/Taoism. But they did not really practice it. I attended a catholic school since I was in kindergarten, so in a sense, also grew up in the catholic environment. I questioned my life when I was in the 3rd/4th grade due to the death of my grandpa. Attended RCIA while I was in 4th grade. Was introduced into Charismatic Catholic in 7th grade. Had so many doubts about catholicism as I go deeper in my faith, due to lack of catechisms. Went to states for college. Got deeper in my faith through my older brother, my parish, and books.

    2. Where are you from?
    Originally from Indonesia. A small town called Cirebon in West Java. Now residing in Madison, WI.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The God Chasers by Tommy Tenney. It talks a lot about seeking God in our lives. Yet, there are things that I disagree with this book, such as: the importance of “experiencing God” as opposed to ordinary prayer.

    Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. It convinced me to stay in the Catholic Church. And I’m glad I did.

    The Mass of the Early Christian by Mike Aquilina.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    My life is a mess. I’m a last semester college students, trying to overcome my senioritis. As far as this week, I have started doing the LoTH (Liturgy of The Hour), and THAT has been my favorite part of the day.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.crazytune.blogspot.com
    I write mostly about thoughts that run through my mind; links that I found beautiful/interesting; answering questions about faith; asking questions.

    small factoids: I found this blog through Sheila Liaugminas inforumblog. The first post that I read was: why I became pro-life. Loving this blog ever since! Thank you Jen for sharing your thoughts to the world. Your thoughts hit my very own struggle that I have in living this life of sainthood.

  25. Steve says:

    Hello! I’m Steve.

    I grew up in Detroit. After my sophmore year of high school my family moved to the northwest part of Michigan where my Mother grew up. After I got married my wife and I moved to Atlanta (i prefer michigan to tell ya the truth).

    I grew up Methodist and hated it! Not being Methodist but going to church. I fought it tooth and nail. Once I left home for college that was pretty much it for church. I did however, get married in the church. I have never been an atheist. A more apt description would apathic. I always felt I had better things to do with my time. The turning point came after my Father died. For the sake of brevity I will cut to the chase. I found myself in RCIA class and a Catholic on Easter of 2005. The last to be brought into the Church under JPII. I still have many struggles with all of it but I feel I could be nothing but Catholic. I really felt like I was called to it. Maybe sometime I will write a blog about the whole experience.

    The book that turned on the light bulb for me was Scott Hahn’s “Rome Sweet Home”. I cannot get enough of Scott Hahn!

    My daily life is bit upside down. I am a Respiratory Therapist working the night shift. My day begins at 3:00 in the afternoon and usually begins with running. I am an avid runner. Then my wife get’s home, dinner, walk the dog, watch t.v. then off to work! I have one son who is about to graduate from Georgia Tech.

    To be honest I actually don’t recall how I came across you blog. I think I was searching a list of Catholic blogs and happened to click on yours. Glad I did! I do have a blog but I haven’t done much with it. Time is a problem and I find myself reading blogs more than I actually write. Probably much more interesting that way.
    Here it is anyway:
    http://arunners-muchadoaboutnothing.blogspot.com/

  26. Rebekka says:

    I’m Rebekka and I’m 29. I’m not entirely sure how long I’ve been reading your blog, maybe from last summer (2007).

    I was raised Catholic by a Catholic mom and a non-religious dad, but came away from the church in my teens. I never really managed to be truly atheist but sort of bobbled along in misery. Wanted to be a pagan, but something was holding me back. About a year ago I started going to Mass again and never looked back. My husband is a member of the Danish state church (Protestant), but we are in negotiations between us to be re-married in the Church this summer.

    I am born and raised in California, met my husband while I was on study abroad in Russia, and moved to Copenhagen in 2002. I have a bachelor’s degree in Russian and am currently in my last year of nursing school, which I never would have believed five years ago, but which has become a real vocation for me.

    I have no daily schedule because it varies from sleeping all day after a night shift to a day shift that starts at 7 to trying to renovate my kitchen almost-singlehandedly. (We haven’t been blessed with kids yet.)

    I can’t answer the book question. It’s just impossible.

    I have a blog but it’s mostly boring day-to-day stuff that I write for the benefit of my family (they are all in the States).

  27. Deborah says:

    Hey there Jen! I’ve been around for a few months now!

    Spiritual journey: I was born and raised Catholic in Ireland, but moved to the US in my teens and Belgium. Married an unbaptised Christian who “doesn’t believe in organised religion” but we did agree to raise the kids Catholic. I’ve been pretty disillusioned with the church over the past ten years, but every time I go searching for meaning elsewhere I find myself right back on the front door step. Your blog has been a great source of inspiration. If someone who didn’t believe in anything can see truth in the church, then what on earth is my problem? ;-) I think part of the problem is being back in Ireland. After our first was born in Michigan, we attended Mass regularly and enjoyed it. Here it’s awful. There’s no sense of community. Mass is a 30 minute affair with no music and the speed with which the creed is said would shock anyone. No one even takes their coats off. It’s just not what I want my children thinking church is. I miss the sense of community in the states.

    Am from Dublin, Ireland, but left when I was 8. I lived in the US (MI) for 3 years, then finished out high school in Belgium. Returned to the US for university, met and married a lovely “Yank” and moved back to Ireland in 2005. Big mistake. Saving up to move back.

    Book… hmmm… I’ve not read a lot of religious books, although I have written some of your suggestions down. From a life standpoint though I’d have to say 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has helped me, especially when I was a working Mum.

    Daily Life. Hmmm… I have two wee girls ages 2 & 4 so we usually play in the morning, get some housework done. Have lunch, go walking, do errands etc. Pretty standard really. My favourite part of the day is the quiet time when they are in bed and my husband is not yet home. Time to reflect and enjoy the peace.

    Blog. I blog about food over at http://blog.humblehousewife.com but am on a bit of a sabbatical at the moment. Lost my blogging mojo! ;-)

  28. BettySue says:

    Howdy!
    I was raised in an independent, pentecostal church. that church ended up closing, but the pastor (my father) moved here and opened a new one. This one has been so wonderful! My hubby is the assistant pastor. We have been married for 22 years and have 8 children (youngest is 5 months. Birth story http://homeschoolwwh.com/family/jane.html).Spiritually I have grown deeper in God every year and am excited about His plans.

    We are origionaly from southern California. We now live in northern Nevada.

    One book??!!! Umm, Mary Pride’s All the Way Home was a life changer. So was Chris Clicka’s Right Choice. Hmmmm, I could go on for quite a while here :-D

    My day begins at 4:30 with fixing hubby’s lunch and breakfast (he is also a warehouse manager as our church is still too small to support the ministry). then dress and personal devotions followed by MY school (I am studying to be a micwife and possibly an herbalist, both as home businesses/ministries). The dc are up between 6 and 7 and I supervise chores and clean my rooms. breakfast, the rest of chores, some PE and a walk up to the corner to burn some energy and clear heads. then we do school. I guess that is my favorite, though I like the whole day. emails at lunch, nap around 2:30 or 3, work on the computer (I am just finishing my second book, “Rubies, Silk and Chocolate covered Peanuts; a commentary on Proverbs 31 and Titus 2″) Then supper and I spend an hour or so reading to the dc (no I think this is my favorite). Tuck everyone in and its bed time.

    My blog:
    http://homeschoolwwh.blogspot.com/
    My web site is http://homeschoolwwh.com (For my book “Homeschool: Why What How”
    Right now I am sharing several years worth of favorite links and commenting on them. occasionaly I post about our everyday life.

  29. JimmyV says:

    Hi. I’m Jim. I’ve been a reader for just over a year now, though I don’t comment often.

    I was a cradle cafeteria Catholic who chose to be Catholic around Junior Year in College.

    I’m from just outside of Philadelphia, PA.

    Books: Catholicism and Fundamentalism was very important in my “re-birth” but I credit The Hardy Boys with instilling my love of reading, so they subsume all other books.

    I work as a cog in a giant corporate machine with excellent pay and benefits. I eagerly rush home to play with my girls and talk to my wife. I started a home-based business and my goal is to work from home.

    http://naturalfamilylife.blogspot.com is my blog I write about NFP, business, cosleeping, and family life.

  30. Sarah L. says:

    -I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools for 12 years. I really found my faith, however, at a public university (University of Illinois). The Newman Center there offered courses in Catholic theology for college credit, and I finally learned some of the truths of the Catholic faith instead of making felt banners (grade school) and being taught by dissidents (high school). Also, the Catholic community at the university was as vibrant and faithful as any I’d ever experienced, or have since. My faith has only deepened since leaving there 10 years ago.

    I was born in southeast Michigan (hi, other commenters from around here). Went to college in Illinois. Got married and lived in Cincinnati/Dayton for 4 years before moving back to MI just in time for the birth of our first child.

    At a certain time in my life, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged made a big impact on me. Now, I see how wrong she was, but I think it was important for me to go through that Ayn Rand phase before coming to see the truth and beauty in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

    I have a 5, 3 and 1 year old. and i do not work outside the home. My favorite part of the day is any time I can spend outdoors.

    I do not have a blog.

  31. Andrea says:

    Hi! I’m Andrea age 28 homeschooling mom of four (so far!) married for 7 years. I found your blog when I was starting to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, I love your Reckless Experiment with Prayer series!

    I converted to the Church 5 years ago, I was raised with no religion/new age leanings.

    I grew up in New Jersey but now live in Wisconsin, love the “midwest nice”!

    One book? I’d probably say “The Good News About Sex and Marriage” – that was definitely huge in my conversion.

    I have four kids and I homeschool, I’ll leave a typical day in my life up to your imagination :)
    I have a homeschool blog: http://www.grayfamilycircus.blogspot.com

    I also just started a new blog for moms who want to read the catechism in a year, please pray for me in this endeavour:
    http://www.catechismformoms.com

  32. Keith Bertelsen says:

    1. My spiritual journey has been a rocky and winding road. Being a product of divorced parents (one religious, one not) led me to following both of their philosophies at different points in time. At the moment, I don’t really know where I stand.

    2. St. Louis, MO

    3. “Shoeless Joe”, by W.P. Kinsella, although I can’t entirely point to why.

    4. I wake up, get ready, go to work, work for most of the day, come home, and see if any of my friends want to do something. Sometimes I just spend the evening by myself and write or play video games.

    5. http://www.frozentransparency.com

    I tend to range from little musings about life and the universe to essays about politics, economics, and other “serious” issues. I don’t really tend to talk so much about religion, but the philosophy of it surely shows up from time to time.

    6. I’m surprised you don’t have a question asking how/why we read your blog :) I don’t honestly remember how I found it, but I find it enjoyable to read, and I have things I like about Catholicism

  33. Jenny says:

    I’m Jenny, and I’ve been loyal to Et-Tu since this past summer. I’m a Catholic revert who had a couple years during college that were touch-and-go, but which have ultimately proved fruitful both in my spiritual maturation and as rich fodder for blog posts. :)

    I’m from Colorado, though I’m trudging through grad school in eastern Ohio at present. I’m moving to DC this summer in hopes of changing the world! (or at least paying a whole lot more in rent)

    My “one book” is undoubtably Perelandra, CS Lewis’ second in his Space trilogy. It really is a cleverly disguised treatment of the Genesis narrative, and it blew my mind and heart open. (Caution: reading CS Lewis will inevitably draw you to Eucharist Adoration, whether or not that was our good Anglican friend’s intention…perhaps this was Tolkein’s influence on his buddy)

    A typical day for me begins with coffee, a few hours of writing, and then a day in the office of the wonderful non-profit I manage. I have a couple of night classes during the week, and I try to hit the gym between 8-10 pm. I’m addicted to running; I try to do 2 big races a year, using the motivation of always “being in training” to get me sweating. I also spend a good number of hours theologizing and laughing with my amazing friends, with whom I do ministry work in bars of all places! It’s great, we talk about sex, contraception, relationships… all under the umbrella of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body… and then I blog about it on The Great Deception.

    Check out my blog at http://www.agreatdeception.blogspot.com

  34. Sandy says:

    Hi, I’m Sandy. I’m 48 years old and have been reading this blog for several months. I found it on the blogroll at Julie D.’s Happy Catholic.

    I was raised in a Fundamentalist Protestant home and was active in that church through my teens and attended Bible College for one year. By that time, I doubted all about the faith, even God’s existence. I wandered for almost 10 years and came back to the same church when my first child was born. Since then, I’ve been on quite a journey, through 4 Protestant denominations and now seriously considering Catholicism.

    I grew up in St. Louis, lived in L.A. for 3 years in my 20′s and have lived in rural southern Indiana/Illinois for the past 21 years.

    One book: Brothers Karamazov, too. I read it a couple of years ago and am ready to re-read it in another translation.

    Daily Life: I’ve homeschooled for the past 10 years and my youngest will graduate in 6 weeks. My daily life includes doing household chores, blogging and blog reading, prayers and reading, homeschool co-op teaching one day a week, planning graduation for 4 homeschoolers, planning homeschool testing for our group. If it can be done from home on my computer, I’m in! I am a CPA and still do a handful of tax returns and a bit of bookkeeping from home as well.

    My blog is http://maplegrove.blogspot.com. I talk about homeschooling, my spiritual journey, and daily life.

    Blessings,

    Sandy

  35. majellamom says:

    Okay, I’ll bite:

    Majellamom – born and raised in Colorado. Attended a Jesuit University in Denver, then attended CU in Boulder for some grad school, then moved to hubby’s farming hometown…still live in extreme rural Colorado, just not the same town!

    I was raised without faith. My mom is allegedly a protestant of some variety. My dad has never been baptized. My older brother was baptized, but my mom gave up by the time I was born. I learned recently from my Aunt and Uncle (mom’s sister and her husband who just retired as a Methodist pastor) that some of why my mom gave up is she ended up going to a church where they told people to take second mortgages out on their homes and give the money to the church.

    I was seeking for God for much of my youth (all my friends had religious conversions in our preteen years and tried to convert me.) I found nothing, so I became an atheist. Right before I graduated from HS, I began to search again, and I found something. I went to a Jesuit school because my dad worked there and I got free tuition. Now I know that the Holy Spirit was guiding my life. I converted during my first year of college, got married between my sophomore and junior years to my wonderful hubby, a cradle Catholic…and got a wonderful MIL out of the deal who has always been there for me, particularly spiritually.

    My daily life: I am a homemaker and a mom of two (Eva 3, Charlotte 1). I homeschool preschool for Eva, and plan to continue. I don’t clean as much as I should, I try to cook most of our meals at home, and I read way too much (but at least it makes my girls want to read, too!) I’ve been struggling with my prayer life recently.

    One book that really affected me: Well, there are so many (I probably read 6-8 books per month…I used to read at least a book a day before kids) I’ll stick with a couple more recent ones: “A Philadelphia Catholic in King James’ Court” was fabulous. I’ve really been struggling with the book “Dressing with Dignity” by Coleen Hammond. I am currently reading the Dairy of St. Faustina, and just getting so much out of it.

    My spiritual life now: It can be difficult passing on a faith to kids when you didn’t have faith as a child. I struggle sometimes with anger toward my mother, particularly when she tells me about her memories of her dad teaching her how to pray. We try to attend daily Mass when it is offered in our parish. I’m trying to make more regular confessions. I definately do spiritual reading everyday, and pray everyday (though have some dryness in my prayer a lot). I just struggle with a lot of what other people can take for granted.

    Finally, I do blog about everything and nothing all at the same time at http://www.majellamom.blogspot.com

  36. Jaibee says:

    Hi! My name is Jenn/Jennie/Ani, depending on what you want to use. I am 30 (!!), and have been reading your blog for a couple of months. I really like your blog, because many of your experiences are similar to mine (without the research part). :)

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised atheist, and really had very little impression of God. He was kind of on par with the Easter bunny and leprechauns and stuff like that. Not real, but maybe a nice idea. Growing up, even though I didn’t really think that there was a God, I came to think that the Catholic church contained Truth — I know that sounds funny, but here I was with faith in the church and not in God. A discussion with one of my surgeons put a spark in me to think that maybe science and religion could coexist, although for a few more weeks I remained the laziest agnostic ever. God grabbed me however, because one day I woke up and decided to be Catholic, I went to Mass the next morning (in January), and was baptized April 7, 2007.

    Where are you from?

    I grew up in Troy, Michigan, and currently am living in the house I was raised in (I bought it from my parents). I left home at age 17 and joined the Navy, and in the process, came to see Orlando, Florida as my “hometown,” but returned to Michigan for college.

    What is one book that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Oooh, hard question, I read so much! I would have to say that “Theology of the Body” will have the greatest impact, as soon as I get to the point where I can actually understand all that it’s saying (so this make take quite a while).

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    My typical day: I get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5 am, drive 35 miles to attend 6:30 am Mass, go another 10 miles or so and grab coffee, go another 2 miles to park and grab a bus to go to the hospital where I work as a secretary for 2 surgeons. Work 8 – 5 pm. Get off work, and drive 45-50 miles back home, usually for something at church (5th grade catechism, RCIA, Bible Study, etc). Then, I get home about 10 pm or so, and get something to eat for dinner and I am usually in bed about midnight. I also work as a photography instructor, and have a couple extra jobs on the side.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is Critical Mass at cadyly.stblogs.com. I will write about whatever comes to mind, but typically more of that which relates to the faith.

  37. Sandy says:

    Hi, I’m Sandy. I’m 48 years old and have been reading this blog for several months. I found it on the blogroll at Julie D.’s Happy Catholic.

    I was raised in a Fundamentalist Protestant home and was active in that church through my teens and attended Bible College for one year. By that time, I doubted all about the faith, even God’s existence. I wandered for almost 10 years and came back to the same church when my first child was born. Since then, I’ve been on quite a journey, through 4 Protestant denominations and now seriously considering Catholicism.

    I grew up in St. Louis, lived in L.A. for 3 years in my 20′s and have lived in rural southern Indiana/Illinois for the past 21 years.

    One book: Brothers Karamazov, too. I read it a couple of years ago and am ready to re-read it in another translation.

    Daily Life: I’ve homeschooled for the past 10 years and my youngest will graduate in 6 weeks. My daily life includes doing household chores, blogging and blog reading, prayers and reading, homeschool co-op teaching one day a week, planning graduation for 4 homeschoolers, planning homeschool testing for our group. If it can be done from home on my computer, I’m in! I am a CPA and still do a handful of tax returns and a bit of bookkeeping from home as well.

    My blog is http://maplegrove.blogspot.com. I talk about homeschooling, my spiritual journey, and daily life.

    Blessings,

    Sandy

  38. Jennifer says:

    Hi, I’m Jennifer. I’ve been lurking around your blog for the past few months. I cannot even begin to tell you the impact it has made on my conversion process. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    *My parents were lapsed Southern Baptists until I was about 10, when my mother decided I was a heathen and needed to be in church. I was “saved” when I was 12, but bad experiences with other members of my church made me cynical towards religion. To make a long story short, during college I started going to the Episcopal church but never was quite comfortable. Last Fall I started reading about Catholicism and knew that was where I needed to be. I am now in RCIA.

    *The book that has had the most impact on my life has been The Brothers Karamazov. I could read this book once a year.

    I do have to plug this great book that I’m reading right now called The Commonsense Book of Catholic Prayer and Meditation by Hilda Graef. I know the title sounds cheesy, and the cover definitely doesn’t help, but it is one of the best books I have ever read on living your faith.

    *There is absolutely no structure to my daily life (perhaps I need to incorporate Jen’s AREWP plan). I am getting my Master’s degree on-line because the closest program for Library Media Education happens to be on the other side of the state. I also work part-time at the local public library. Books are pretty much my life. The best part of my day though is when my husband comes home from work.

    *I just started a blog about my experience joining the Church. It is called Swimming Home at swimminghome.blogspot.com. Feel free to visit!

  39. Jessica says:

    Hi! My name is Jessica and I’m an occasional lurker on your blog.

    1. I was baptized Episcopalian as an infant. We attended a Baptist church a few times when we lived in the country so we could meet other people. My grandparents were somewhat religious but my parents were not, so we weren’t really raised to believe anything specific. In high school I got into Wicca and alternated between that and a poor understanding of Christianity that I gained from friends and a boyfriend. After high school I became a Christian. I married my high school sweetheart and we converted to Catholicism just before our second anniversary.

    2. I was born in California but spent a few years in Virginia. Currently in Colorado wanting to get back to California.

    3. Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. I’ve been reading it and changing the way our family eats.

    4. I homeschool haphazardly, clean, and waste way too much time on the Internet.

    5. I do have a blog: http://dominicanbungalow.blogspot.com/ I mostly write about happenings in my family, weight loss, etc.

  40. Martin says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’m a cradle Catholic, married with three children. Up until about 12 or so years ago, I really knew very little about my faith, I didn’t go to Mass much (although my wife went regularly … and she’s the convert), and thought, for the most part, that Mass was a bore. When I was very young, my mom and dad took us to Mass regularly (I think I remember some things in the back of my head about a Latin Mass – but it is vague) and I remember having to memorize some prayers and things from the Baltimore Catechism for my First Communion. I don’t remember anything about going to Confession before hand … if I even did it at all. Sometime around the time I was in junior high, we stopped going except maybe at Christmas and Easter. Mom and Dad didn’t like our priest, so we just stopped going.

    My first three years in college, the only time I went to Church was when our fraternity pledge class escorted our house mom to her service (I don’t remember which Protestant denomination). My senior year at college, I moved out of the fraternity house to live in a rent house with a couple of my friends from back home. A friend of one of these friends was getting married to a Catholic girl and he decided to join the Church at that time. He wanted someone to go to RCIA classes with and since I had never been confirmed, I went along. I remember almost nothing from those classes … although this time I do remember my confession. Both embarrassing and humbling.

    Anyway, I got confirmed … but looking back now, I didn’t have a clue about all the particulars of my faith. I led a fairly decent life, did nothing illegal to speak of, didn’t sleep around, rarely cursed, and did well in school (Finance major)…. pretty boring stuff!

    After I graduated and went to work in the City for a few years before I got married, I still rarely went to Mass and since few of my friends (mostly Protestant) did either, it wasn’t a big deal in my mind (I mean I believed in God and Jesus and watched an occasional service of some sort on TV ….. my attitude was kinda “Why do I need to go to church anyway? God exists outside the walls of some building. What’s the big deal?” =:^o

    Anyway, after a few years, I got married and my wife and I had three wonderful children. My wife converted a year or two after we married. Her parents had bounced around from denomination to denomination, so she didn’t have any strong allegiances to any one denomination. She liked the Catholic service and the fact that the priest didn’t slam bibles and yell and scream and some of the stuff she had been used to ….. so she went through RCIA and joined.

    Back to the start of the story, about 9 or 10 years ago, I got a piece of junk mail from a Catholic magazine (the now defunct “Sursum Corda”) and it had some stories of Protestant ministers that gave up their jobs and converted to Catholicism. I thought … “hmm, that’s kinda strange”. A few of the stories mentioned some guy named Scott Hahn (who at the time, I didn’t know from Adam). I tossed the junk mail in the trash. A few months later, I got a catalog from Ignatius Press (I had never before received anything from them or even heard of them), and it had Scott & Kimberly Hahn’s book “Rome Sweet Home”, and out of curiosity, remembering the other junk mail, I ordered it to see who this guy was. After reading it, I realized how little I knew about my faith and ordered some more.

    At first, I read a lot of books by converts … “Surprised by Truth” by Pat Madrid, “Born Fundementalist, Born Again Catholic” by David Currie, “The Hand of God” by Bernard Nathanson, “Evangelical is Not Enough” by Thomas Howard, and a few others. I continued to read, more and more books on different aspects of the faith and spirituality. I have a library full of religious books.

    Some would call that being a glutton for punishment, but I thoroughly enjoyed everyone of these.

    I remember going to our priest when I first started taking my faith serious, and realized it had been 17 years since the last time I had gone to confession, back in my senior year in college.

    I began reading the Bible, having now done a couple read-throughs from start to finish. And just by going to Sunday Mass, over a three year time period, the bulk of the New Testament and the key parts of the Old Testament are heard. Most non-Catholic churches could follow that example. I’ve taken several Masters level bible study course the diocese offers, a college correspondence course on the Sacraments, listening to many tapes, etc. While I still have much to learn, I do feel I have a good understanding of Jesus and His truth and have grown to love Him and His Church as I should.

    Where are you from?

    Oklahoma

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I’d probably have to say “Rome Sweet Home”.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Wake up, eat breakfast, morning prayers, get ready for work, go to work. In the evenings, I have been playing tennis several times a week. I just started last year and I am really enjoying that.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    No blog, but I do manage the Papal Encyclicals Online” website.

  41. nobis77 says:

    Hi Jen, thanks for asking! I am indeed a “lurker”-by-default, being a shy sort of person, and very new to the world of Catholic blahging, but your site is exceptionally beautiful among blogs, your links site is almost too rich, and I’m almost certain you’ll never have a chance to read this comment so innudated you’ll be:

    I’m 31; a cradle catholic who’s somewhat matured into an artist in love with the church.

    Tennessee

    The collected works of G.K. Chesterton
    Lord of the rings trilogy
    Chronicles of Narnia
    God’s Human face: the Christ icon-Cardinal Schonborn
    True devotion to the Holy Spirit-Luis Martinez
    Leisure the basis of Culture- Joseph Pieper
    The timeless way of building- Christopher Alexander
    The Contrary Farmer- Gene Logsdon
    and last but not least
    Summa Theologica- Aquinas

    As for the rest.. I spend my days doing artsy things with the web and computers ’cause I’m also an armchair theolosopherizing web-designer (critic and geek)

    Post on!

  42. Valent Richie says:

    My name is Valent. Indonesian, 22 years old. I have been lurking in your blog for past several months.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was baptized as Catholic when I was baby. Both my parents are Catholic, but in the past they did not really practice it. So I could not see the faith and I grew up as lukewarm Catholic. I was lazy to go for mass and thought that it was a waste of time.

    Then I moved from Jakarta to Singapore 4 years ago to study in university. That was the time I started to question my faith.

    That was time I was also introduced to Catholic Charismatic Renewal. At first, I thought it was silly and crazy, but now I end up believing in Catholic Church because of it. I could feel the love of Catholic community at my university and that was the one sustaining me for 4 years at uni life.

    Now I am trying very hard to live my faith daily in working life and also still thinking of what God really wants me to do with my life. :)

    Where are you from?

    I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. But now working in Singapore.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    St Augustine’s “Confessions”…

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    System engineer, watching over servers daily, just sit in front of computer and wait. Sometimes trying to design website too during free time. Favourite part: after working time, cos I sometimes can have bible study, meetings for the prayer group, etc.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.valentrichie.com/blog

    Just started to blog though. So not much posts as for now. I like to write about my daily life and also regarding my spiritual life in my blog.

  43. ashleyrae says:

    Hi, Jen. I’m Ashley and I am 24. I stumbled upon your blog thanks to a friend who emailed me a link mid Lent. I’ve been hooked ever since!

    1. My spiritual journey: I grew up in long line of German American Catholics. In that order. My parents were always Catholic, but I remember a time in my childhood when they started to delve more deeply into their faith. Our family sticks out a little bit from the rest of the aunts and uncles and grandparents. For example, my grandmother doesn’t really agree with the Catholic Church on any ground, but she was “brought up Catholic and will always be Catholic.” I was interested in my faith as a teen, but not very well catechized. The turning point for me was going to the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio for college. I had an incredible spiritual rejuvination, and I majored in Theology to learn more about my faith. These last 2 years I’ve been trying to figure out how to live in the “real world” and maintain the spiritual motivation I had at FUS.

    2. My home: I grew up in Northern Indiana, and I’ve ended up again in Indiana, an hour from my hometown.

    3. A great Book (or 2): I would have to say The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux and A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanuken.

    4. My daily life: I wake up later than I should; go to work on campus from 8am to 5pm – copying books and papers, chatting with professors, securing copyright permissions, and getting my internet fix – spend my lunch time with either my husband or baby sister; try to do housework after work work; usually just relax on the couch instead; and then I spend time with my husband or our neighbors or his family. On weekends I catch up on housework, scrapbook with my mother-in-law, have a couple of parish commitments, and love hosting dinner parties!

    5. My shameless plug: I write about being the wife of a graduate student and my desire for motherhood. It’s a pretty new blog, so I am glad for the free adverstisement! Putting Hubby Through

  44. Sarah says:

    1. I came to faith as an evangelical Protestant, went through a bit of a dark and ‘prodigal’ phase in college, and was then restored to orthodox Christianity. I identify once again as an evangelical and worship in a conservative Episcopal parish, though I don’t know where I’ll end up church-wise in the long term.

    2. I’m from Pittsburgh, PA. I’ve attended school in VA and CT and will move to the SF Bay Area after I am married this summer.

    3. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

    4. I’m in my final semester of divinity school, so much of my time is taken up with classes and my internship at a retreat center for overseas missionaries. My favorite part of each day is chatting on the phone with my fiance, and I also love relaxing with a good book whenever I can grab the time.

    I started reading your blog last month when I was searching for insights about natural family planning, and I’ve continued to really enjoy reading your thoughts on faith and family.

  45. Patty Arnold says:

    Hello, I’m Patty. I just turned 30 and I am a wife and mom of 2 little ones. I live in Kansas (where I also grew up). I’ve been Catholic my whole life, went to Franciscan University of Steubenville, and completed my Masters in Theology/Catechetics there a few years ago.

    One book? The Catechism I suppose. I use it a lot in my work and I just love reading and sharing the Truth.

    My daily life is much like your own I suppose. You can read about it on my blog, http://www.holybananahands.blogspot.com

    I take care of my babies and try to love my hard-working husband and keep my house semi-orderly all the while trying to grow in holiness and get us all to heaven! No big deal, right?

    I’m new to your site but have been reading and enjoying (and planning to steal) your discoveries about daily prayer and a peaceful home.

  46. SteveG says:

    What an awesome idea! I am thoroughly enjoying reading everyone’s comments.

    Looks like I am the old timer around here…not age wise… but in that I’ve been here since ‘almost’ when you began blogging.

    My first (of many) comment was on your old site (hope you don’t mind me linking to it) in September of 2005 (What! It’s been almost 3 years already!) , and I’ve been bugging you ever since. :-P

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    *Raised in a culturally Catholic family, parents divorced at 5 yrs old, mom became Born Again shortly after.
    *I left Catholicism after confirmation and became evangelical (mom’s influence) as a teenager.
    *Drifted away and ended up agnostic by early 20’s ended up marrying an atheist.
    *Reverted to Catholicism at age 29. Wife converted 2 years later. Three kids since the (7 boy, 4 boy, 2 girl)
    *Catholic for 8+ years now and can’t imagine being anything else.

    Where are you from?

    *The greatest city in America…Pittsburgh, PA! :-D

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    It seems that identifying one book per ‘stage’ in my journey is the only way I can tackle this.

    *Coming from Agnosticism –>Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis)
    *Overcoming my anti-Catholicism–>Fundamentalism and Catholicism (Karl Keating)
    *Embracing my Catholicm more deeply –>Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton)
    *Deepening my understanding –>Theology and Sanity (Frank Sheed)
    *Changing the way I view almost everything –>Hold On To Your Kids (Gordon Neufeld)
    *Deepening my interior life –>Appointment with God (Fr. Scanlon)

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    *Wake about 6:00 and pray the LOH and other morning prayers.
    *Off to work as early as possible to get home as early as possible.
    *Earn a good paycheck doing something I neither love nor hate at a big corporation.
    *Leave by 4:00 to get home ASAP
    *Play with kids…talk to wife…help get dinner on the table…clean up…play more…talk more prayers…bed *for kids…mom and dad time…bed…rinse and repeat.

    Favorite? Prayer time….then followed by evening family time.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    No blog…would love to, but just don’t have the time.

  47. SWP says:

    I was raised in a very liturgically abusive parish in the Detroit area, and where Catholic Social Teaching was the only magisterial teaching obeyed. My love of liturgy led me to seek the Real Presence elsewhere, and I try to go to Mass where the Eucharist is adored and confessors are always available.

    Reading papal encyclicals was an avocation in college, and they have made me fiercely committed to the teachings of the Church.

    I try to begin and end each day in prayer. The favorite part of my day is when I can speak to my fiancee over the phone before bedtime.

    My blog is catholicland.blogspot.com, and there I express my Joy at being Catholic.

  48. Duffy says:

    [/lurk]
    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Raised in a lukewarm Catholic household. Family stopped attending Mass when the interpretive dances started showing up (i am not making this up). To this day, felt banners make me break out in a cold sweat. Ended up at a Jesuit college and have been drawn back in since then.

    # Where are you from?

    Currently in Delaware via North Carolina and originally NJ.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I was enthralled as a kid by stories of Greek mythology. Action, excitement, adventure and fantastic creatures.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Very busy father of 4 boys (7, 6, 5, 15 mos) Compounding the situation is that our eldest is autistic and also OCD. Favorite part of each day is time with the kids.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://firststate.blogspot.com

    I write about say nothing about everything. My blog is so horrible I won’t show it to people who know me personally. I’d be mortified.

    [lurk]

  49. Amber says:

    Hi there -

    My name is Amber, and I have been married for 7 years and I have three children (6 yo, 2 yo, and one due in 2 mo)

    !) I was raised by a militant atheist step-father, a very skeptical agnostic mother, and a lukewarm evangelical father and step-mother (went to church, but didn’t talk about faith at home except to say grace before dinner). I had a weird forced conversion experience at a summer camp with my father and step-mother in middle school and that really soured me on Christianity (that and the horrid and vapid sunday school at their church). I turned to militant atheism in high school, than a pagan/wiccan sort of thing in college. I was rather numb and not practicing anything for several years after college, but still a seeker at heart. After my daughter was born I started seeking in earnest and was finally baptized in the Episcopal Church. I started having some serious issues with that church shortly after and ended up realizing I was being called into Catholic Church. I went through RCIA in 06-07 and was received into the Church at Easter in 2007.

    2) I’m a born and bred Californian, and I’ll probably always be here… not that I really want to be, but it seems too hard to leave.

    3) Mere Christianity. The first time I started reading in college it made so much sense I threw it across the room because I didn’t want it to make sense. I read it again after my daughter was born and was deeply changed.

    4) Daily life… Up, Lauds, breakfast, Latin, breakfast for the kids, chores, homeschooling, lunch, Sext (if I manage to remember *sigh*) errands or play-time at the property, home to make dinner, dinner, chat with my husband for awhile & ignore the kids, clean-up, bedtime for kiddos, reading time, Compline, then bedtime. I squeeze a little computer time in here and there whenever something is done early. Rinse, lather, and repeat. :-) Good thing I like routine. My favorite time? Either when I’m up before the kids or chatting with my husband after dinner. (Not that I don’t like my kids and all, but I’m an introvert at heart and I like peace and time to reflect)

    5) Blog – Rutabaga Dreams – I write about my life – homeschooling, raising kids, trying to build a house, gardening, that sort of thing. I wish I could write more about my faith journey, but I find that incredibly difficult for some reason.

    This is fun – what a diverse and interesting group of readers you have, Jennifer!

  50. Jennifer F. says:

    I just wanted to leave a quick note to thank everyone who has responded so far. I’m trying to find time to respond to some of your comments in detail, but until then I just wanted to say that I am reading every word of every comment and love hearing all your stories!

    …And my Amazon wish list just keeps getting longer and longer. :)

  51. Kim says:

    Hi. I’ve been lurking for about 3 or 4 months. I was born and raised Catholic in a little Catholic town (no more than 30,000 people, six Catholic churches). I’ve had moments of challenge and doubt, but am still Catholic. Now I direct the music ministry at our parish.

    I’m from the metro Detroit area — born there and returned there after college.

    “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” by Madeleine L’Engle has had a great impact on my life. I first read it in fifth grade, and I re-read it at least once a year. Great message about how tiny, loving acts can change the world. Pretty much anything else by her, too, especially her non-fiction stuff.

    A typical at-home day for me is pretty quiet. Get up early to drink coffee and talk to DH before waking the DD. Breakfast and playtime with said DD, lunch, nap, snack, etc. A church day is a little crazier, because if I have to go in on a weekday (for a funeral or staff meeting), I have to arrange for a babysitter — luckily I have a SAHM sister in town, as well as a retired FIL, as well as a very healthy grandmother — and sometimes my three-year-old doesn’t understand why I’m rushing her though our routine on those days. My favorite part of the day is when my DH comes home from work, because then we can have some family time, or I can leave for a half hour if I really need a time out.

    I blog — very irregularly lately — at fibercafe.blogspot.com. Mostly about knitting, but family too.

    Jen, thank you for your blog. I have found some really rich food for thought here.

  52. Rusty T says:

    I’m Rusty, 31 years old. I’ve been reading, mostly lurking for quite some time.

    * I was raised Pentecostal, experienced a period of practical atheism during my college years, and eventually found my way into the Catholic Church.

    * I’m from Mississippi.

    * One book. I was actually thinking about this last night. I would say, Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard. Absolutely altered my way of thinking about God and the sacramental life.

    * I’m a field engineer that supports small businesses. I drive around a lot so I tend to listen to podcasts. Thanks SQPN!

    * http://becominghinged.wordpress.com

  53. Shannon says:

    I’m Shannon, live in sight of Mt. Rainier, and work as the Catholic chaplain at a men’s prison in the NW.

    Grew up in a Catholic home but wasn’t active in high school. Made a SEARCH retreat as a college freshman, and went to charismatic prayer meetings. Switched to theology my sophomore year to learn and understand what I was experiencing.

    Spent my junior year in Rome at Loyola of Chicago. Had a great teacher who turned me on to historical trivia and suddenly church history made sense.

    Went on to be a high school religion teacher, then a parish worker in liturgy and religious education. I’ve always felt very lucky that I was in good parishes with pastoral people who understood and explained changes as they came along.

    Greatest insight when I was in college? After living through Latin in the 60s, discovering that EVERY language is holy when we went to English.

    Murray Bodo, ofm’s book “The Journey and the Dream”is the one that had a profound effect on me. Turned me into a St. Francis and Clare groupie.

    My daily life? Every day is different. Sundays I do four Word and Communion services at different places in the prison. Monday through Thursday I do a lot of personal counseling. Lately, there have been a number of deaths in the families of offenders and that is a whole other realm of time spent with people. I love the variety and the “close to the bone” work with both staff and offenders.

    My sporadic prison blog is at http://www.findinggracewithin.blogspot.com

  54. Mary Margaret says:

    Jennifer, This a great thread. I have read all the stories–you have an amazing group of readers here.

    My name is Mary Margaret; I’m almost 49 years old (eeeeek!) I am divorced and have 2 daughters (Andrea-24 and Anastasia-20)

    1) Raised Catholic in a very strong Catholic home, in a very Protestant town. (I was the only Catholic in my class–rather intimidating, to say the least). Drifted away from the Church after both my parents had died (Mom when I was 12, Dad when I was 13). Didn’t seem to be much point in religion when God didn’t seem to care about me.

    I came back due to my older daughter. When she was around 4 years old, she came to me because all her friends went to church–she wanted to know why we did not. I asked if she wanted to go to church and she said yes. So, off we went–to the Catholic Church, because that was the only Church I knew. I was surprised by my reaction to the consecration. Tears came to my eyes, and I knew I wanted to come home. But I had no clue how to go about it. Thankfully, one day there was a note in the bulletin, describing a new group beginning, called Remembering Church. I made the call, went to the classes, had the girls baptized, and I’ve been home ever since. Andrea probably had times when she wished she’d kept her mouth shut–now she HAD to go to Mass, whether she wanted to or not!

    2) Living in Wichita, KS since 1980.

    3) Ha! One book, indeed! I will have to go with Salt of the Earth by Cardinal Ratzinger, and all the works of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

    4) Typical day–work 7/8 to 5/6. Go home, spend some time with my younger daughter (in college and living at home), eat dinner, read, read blogs (try to listen to Catholic Answers Live as often as possible), go out to ride our horse a few times a week. Pretty dull existence, I suppose. Best time of the day is when Anastasia and I talk. She is a great girl and I am so blessed to have such a daughter. (I am also blessed to have Andrea, but she is living with her husband – a super guy – thanks, God! – in Tennessee. We talk on the phone quite often, and I miss more than I can say.)

    5) No blog, but I really love yours. I’ve been reading you since you were the “Reluctant Atheist”, or something like that. Your journey has been very inspirational for me.

  55. Almost Catholic Momma says:

    Hello. I am a married 35 year old stay-at-home mom to two preschoolers.

    I’ve always believed in God, raised Protestant but always loved the Catholic faith. My mom is a cradle Catholic. I’m currently taking RCIA and loving it.

    I know this is silly but one book that came to mind as having some sort of impact on me was Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume.

    My typical day is caring for my two children. We have fun but some days I want to pull my hair out and run for the hills. I often wonder what possessed me to quit my job and stay home. But it’s those special and precious moments I get to share with my kids all day long that I normally wouldn’t if I were working. So I remind myself to cherish those moments because that’s what makes it all worth it.

    I started my blog, Almost Catholic Momma,in January so I’m pretty new to blogging. It’s basically about my RCIA journey, family life and random stuff. Nothing that is going to change the world, but it’s a fun hobby for me.

    I live in California.

    I love your blog and how interactive it is. Thanks!!

  56. Maria says:

    28 year old Catholic wife and mom in Northern Virginia.

    1. I’m a cradle Catholic who was blessed with saintly parents. I recieved wonderful formation in the Faith from my parents and later in college at Franciscan University of Steubenville. From a young age, I felt called to the religious life and even had a date chosen to enter the Order of the Visitation (awesome order!). The Lord intervened, however, and lead me to my vocation as a wife and mother. He was right. Shocker.

    2. Though I live just outside Washington, D.C. currently, I’m from a very, very small town in western Ohio.

    3. Toughie. C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” were the first books I remember reading and were a gateway into a whole host of good literature for me.

    4. Three kids in four years of marriage – enough said. My days are probably alot like yours!

    5. I blog about motherhood, religion, politics, and culture over at

    http://ordinarytime-bremberg.blogspot.com/

  57. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I’m a loyal reader of your blog, though I’ve only commented occasionally. My name’s Elizabeth, I’m 27, and a cradle Catholic. My dad converted to Catholicism when I was about 11 years old, and my mom is also a cradle Catholic. I’ve always been a faithful Catholic, but sometimes it has been more of a struggle. I think I really learned the most about my faith and made a full decision to follow the Church when I was in college.

    I’m from Jeannette, PA and currently live in Latrobe, PA with my wonderful husband, Ben and our two kids a soon to be 4 year old daughter and a 1 year old son.

    Lately, a typical day is absolute insanity. I’m really struggling to keep my head above water with housework, and my kids are driving me crazy. It is a constant struggle for me to be a halfway-decent mom for them. Right now, I don’t have much of a daily rhythm or a prayer life. But, I’ll keep on struggling (at least most of the time–other times, I eat a bag of Hershey’s kisses and watch Pride and Prejudice!)

    Most influential books: The Lord of the Rings, anything Jane Austen wrote, Mere Christianity and Till We Have Faces both by C.S. Lewis, Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn (really led me to learn more about my faith in high school). There are many more I could name, but that’s probably long enough!

    I don’t have a blog, but I kind of want one and am always toying with the idea. I started reading your blog last year–my mom forwarded a link to a post about potty training, just when I was really struggling with potty training my daughter. I’ve been reading ever since (though I’m disappointed at the recent lack of scorpion-related content!)

    Love your blog–God bless!

  58. Sarah says:

    i’m not much more than a lurker and have probably only been reading for a couple of months. my name is sarah.
    1-i was raised catholic but not very well. ummm…we’ll leave that for what it is. while my husband and i were dating, i began going to church with him and on my own regularly. i found peace and solace and felt like i was re-discovering something or maybe discovering something new. i was finally confirmed just weeks before our wedding – he was/is my sponsor.
    2-pennsylvania
    3-i’m only just actually reading the bible for the first time. i’ve read little bits in theology classes. but i decided i didn’t want to be one of those catholics who’s never read the bible…so i’m trying. as for other books – well, that’s hard – there are books i devour b/c i love them. but books that have had a profound impact…definitely chronicles of narnia for all of its symbolism and beauty. this is probably controversial but while not profound i appreciate the classic good vs. evil story of the harry potter series. i learned to daydream and appreciate the beauty of words reading the anne of green gables series. and what woman’s library would be complete without little women or the red tent(which i read while in labor with my first)? other than that i have a serious addiction to historical fiction and gorge myself on phillipa gregory.
    4-my typical day…my preschooler wakes me up at 630 asking for breakfast. i try to send him back to bed for a little bit longer. it’s a futile battle while i try to snag a few more minutes of sleep. when hubby is done in the bathroom it’s my turn. when he leaves, the day is a flurry of chores, errands, playtime until lunch. then the baby naps and the preschool rests. the afternoon is either time for some more chores, playing with my preschooler or snagging a little computer time while he plays on his own. evenings are a muddle of dinner and the music lessons that i teach. after our bedtime routines with the kids, my hubby and i usually spend the evening watching some favorite programs or fiddling around with whatever hobbies we’re working on at the moment. we’re homebodies and would rather stay at home in our jammies in the evenings watching mash reruns, playing games or wii than most anything else.
    my blog…i’ve just recently started a public blog called rat i’m not. i’m writing about trying to feed my family healthy food on as tight of a budget as i can make. i’m not sure if it’s at all entertaining or interesting. but my hubby laughs when he reads it so that’s enough for me to keep playing with it.

  59. lyrl says:

    My mother was always an organist/music director at a church, so I was very exposed to worship services, Sunday school, the whole bit. Neither parent identifies with a particular religion, and I never felt particularly religious. As I got into college and started thinking about it more, I decided I was agnostic.

    My husband identifies strongly as Jewish (although he’s also agnostic). We’ve become fairly active in a local Reform synagogue, and the worship services and Bible study has become very meaningful to us.

    When I first started reading (and commenting), there were two or three other regular commenters from an agnostic-type point of view. For a long time now, I’ve been the only one. It feels very lonely and I’m sometimes hesitant to comment at all because of it. It’s good to see in the previous replies a couple of other readers from outside the Christian path.

    I moved a lot as a child: Texas panhandle, New Mexico, Dallas area, finally seven years in Galveston (near Houston). Went to college and now live in the Midwest.

    My book choice: Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. It’s amazing how many areas of my life have been positively impacted by better understanding my fertility. I wish I had been taught this stuff when I was twelve.

    My weekday routine starts with getting up about 5:30. I eat breakfast while reading a magazine or book, then hang out with my birds for 5-10 minutes, and finally head off to work. I cut up and examine and talk about steel for eight or nine hours, then come home. Do home stuff (which might be dishes or exercise or cooking dinner, although none of these are daily activities). Usually a few hours on the internet, hang out with the husband and the birds. Bed by nine. Well, not really, but my well-being suffers on days I stay up past my bedtime.

    I have two blogs. One’s just political and might be inactive now. The newer one (About Lyrl) is just anything I feel is important to me; a major topic so far is being a female engineer. I’m hoping that writing out my thoughts in these blogs will help me get them straight for myself, even if my readership remains in the single digits.

  60. Sarah says:

    I’m Sarah, a lurker for many months now.

    I was a cradle Catholic, born and raised in the Church. My family has always been close to the Lord, but I would say I continued on a steady deepening of faith, especially in college. When I met my husband, I think my steady conversion deepened even more.

    I am from south Florida, but now live in the Dallas area.

    2 Books: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton and A Severe Mercy.

    I was a working mom with a 9 month old up until about a week ago when we moved. Since I still feel like I’m on “spring break”, I’ll go with that. Alarm goes off at 4:30, hit the snooze once. Get baby out of bed, nurse him while praying my Hail Mary’s for a smooth day of teaching. Shower, dress, pack punch, make sure bottles are sterilized. Make it to school by 6am so I can get my grades in and lessons planned before school instead of after so that I can get home and be with baby and husband. 7:05, first bell rings and teaching begins. Until 2:10, I teach 6 classes, including 10th grade Reading, 10th Grade English and 12th Grade English. After school I try and make it home as soon as possible. That usually is about 3pm. The rest of the next few hours are baby time. Playing, feeding, walk, bath. Also, figure out something for dinner during that time. Put baby to bed somewhere between 6 and 7pm depending on his mood. Breathe a sigh of relief. After he’s in bed, I usually take a few minutes to check email, blogs and relax. Eat dinner with husband when he comes home from work. Try to make it to bed by 9 – normally ends up being 10 or 10:30. Uhg. I never thought I’d be a working mom. But somehow it all works and I have a happy healthy boy. Praise God!

    Blogs:
    I don’t have much time for my own right now. I did have: http://www.graceaplenty.blogspot.com before married life and baby.
    Now, I do just pictures http://www.augustinebaby.blogspot.com. And occasionally contribute on my husband’s http://www.aragoweb.com.

  61. Laura says:

    My name is Laura and I am 42 years old. I found your blog this past Lent and I love it! I was raised Catholic, taught to go to church every Sunday but that was about it. I had my conversion experience 14 years ago in my car on the highway while the song “I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Has Gone” was playing on the radio. (That wasn’t what caused my conversion, it was just one of those neat “Christ”-incidences:) The past 14 years have been quite a spiritual journey.

    I was born, raised and live in the Land of Lincoln.

    There have been many books that have shaped my beliefs and changed my life over the years. If God wants me to learn a lesson, He usually puts a book in front of me. Three that I can remember from the last few years are “A Mother’s Rule of Life” by Holly Pierlot, “Mother Angelica” by Raymond Arroyo and “Created to Be His Helpmeet” by Debbie Pearl (somewhat controversial because it is not Catholic, but I sure learned A LOT from it!)

    What is my daily life like? Well I can say that we do these things every day: I get up, pray, shower, get the kids up (we have seven) and we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beyond that, no two days seems to be the same. My husband is self-employed and we homeschool, so you never know what you’re going to get!

    I just began blogging in February. My blog is entitles Homeschooling With Joy at hsjoy.blogspot.com. I write about all kinds of things that help me to be more joyful and more at peace – whether that means something spiritual, organizational or something directly related to homeschooling.

  62. Catholic Bibliophagist says:

    I am a cradle Catholic. Vatican II took place while I was in grade school, so I can remember the old Latin Mass. I was confirmed when I was in fourth grade after intensive catechisis, so unlike my younger siblings (who were confirmed during the Age of Felt Banners) I actually knew what the Church taught. I never left the faith and tried my best to hand it on to my kids. Recently I’ve been getting more into the Liturgy of the Hours.

    I consider myself to be from Southern California even though, as a Navy brat, I lived in many different places when I was growing up.

    Little Women was a formative book in my childhood. Lord of the Rings was the most important book of my adult years. (Had I not read the latter, I would never have met my husband or most of our best friends!)

    I’m a 55 year old widow and a retired homeschooling mom. My days are pretty unstructured right now. Reading, writing, cooking, housework, quilting — and I’m taking a class in garment sewing at the local junior college. I live next door to my elderly parents, so I help them out a good deal.

    My blog is Catholic Bibliophagist where I write about books and reading.

    I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve been reading your blog. I originally found my way here through Darwin Catholic.

  63. Ouiz says:

    Has anyone else besides me scrolled all the way down this list? There are some great stories here!

    I’m Ouiz (nickname, obviously). I’m 40 yrs old and have been reading your blog for at least a year now. I am blessed to be a homeschooling mom of 7 children ages 10 down to 5 mths.

    I was raised Roman Catholic — Mass every Sunday, grace at dinner, and parochial school during the day. I was given a great background, but it didn’t seem to sink in at the time. I was desperate for a meaningful relationship with God, and tried to live it vicariously through reading the stories of the saints. I was blown away after reading A MAN CALLED PETER by Catherine Marshall. For the first time, I saw that an “ordinary” person could have that relationship with God that I had been seeking.

    Thinking that Protestantism had discovered the great truth I had been lacking all my life, I bolted from the Catholic Church as soon as I could. I was a happy Evangelical Protestant during college, and remained so until my friend (then… now husband) asked me to “walk him through a Mass.” I thought he was insane, but I took him to the daily Mass at our parish.

    He was hooked.

    He went through RCIA and joined the Church in 1996. When we got engaged, I made a decision that I needed to follow his lead and go back to Mass… even though I wasn’t happy about it at all.

    It wasn’t until my first child was born 10 years ago that I started to earnestly beg God to show me where He wanted me to be. I didn’t want to be a lukewarm Catholic. If we were a Catholic family, I needed to be able to agree… or at least obey… 100%.

    I started digging deeper and now, 10 years later, I have come to appreciate and accept all that I was taught when I was younger.

    The book that started it all:
    A MAN CALLED PETER (Catherine Marshall)

    Typical day: You can see it on my blog… http://www.chezouiz.blogspot.com.

  64. Patrick O'Hannigan says:

    My name is Patrick. I’m a cradle Catholic who was born and raised in Hawaii, spent more than 10 years in California, and now lives in North Carolina with my wife and two children (one boy, one girl, both adopted).

    Rather than diluting my faith, college actually helped to grow it, thanks to a couple of interesting theology courses and a few pretty coeds who weren’t shy about their affection for Campus Ministry.

    I’m a technical writer and editor by trade. I’ve been influenced by many books, but my favorite is Richard Bradford’s novel “Red Sky at Morning.”

    I’m a self-styled “paragraph farmer,” so naturally I run a blog called The Paragraph Farm. It might have been Julie at Happy Catholic who first tipped me to “Et Tu?” and I liked this place the moment I laid eyes on it– Jennifer’s title reminds me of “Quo Vadis?”

  65. Pipsylou says:

    I’m from the Midwest!

    A book that has had a great impact on me is “Sophie’s Choice” by William Styron. I’m not sure why – trying to figure that out.

    I chase a 1 and 3 year old around, quite unsuccessfully, at that.

    I blog about vodka on the rocks, my intense dislike of all things socialist, lip gloss and changing diapers at pipsylou.blogspot.com.

  66. ElaineT says:

    Yes, Quiz, I read all the stories. Good bunch of people here!

    Hi, I’m Elaine. I found your blog, following a link from someone else several months back. I’ve been reading reguarly ever since, and inspired by your ReWP, am trying to do similarly: put hard stops in the day to pay attention to God.

    I’m in my late 40s, homeschooling a daughter with health problems. Born Catholic, was lukewarm in early adulthood, came back and trying reallyhard to cooperate with Him.

    I’m that rarity, a second generation native Californian, still living here.

    Several books – Chesterton’s _Everlasting Man_ helped bring me back to Catholicism. Other Chesterton, too. LOTR. Some Pratchett, especially when he’d talking about belief.

  67. Tausign says:

    Hi, I’m Tausign, (I’m from the planet Tau…I’ve been trapped here since the fall of last year.) I have an awesome earth wife and two children; one son 29, who makes me feel much older than I am, and one adorable daughter, age 8 who makes me feel much younger than my 56 years.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Cradle Catholic who vaguely remembers pre-Vatican II church. I was a reasonably devout youth until I was liberated from all sources of authority in some confusing college years. I drifted away from the church and explored myriad other relations with God (finding nothing) and eventually returned with a powerful reversion in early thirties. Something of note was that due to a strange set of circumstances I missed my teenage Confirmation with my peers. I was Confirmed as an adult and experienced what I latter learned was ‘being slain in the spirit’. Sensing a ‘calling’ and a deep hunger to grow in faith I joined the Secular Franciscan Order in 1986 and was professed a year later.

    My profession as a lay Franciscan has been seminal in my relation with God, the Church and others. When I began to understand the meaning of different spiritual ways or paths within the one Catholic Church, much of my faith life began to gel. I’ve had the opportunity to receive spiritual direction and formation and also to share this with others who were inquirers in the Order. Conversion and formation is continuous and ongoing.

    Where are you from?

    I’ve lived my entire life in CT. After attending UConn I stayed in the eastern half (actually kind of rural as the last green area on the eastern seaboard from Washington to Boston). This area has grown immensely in my adult years here as we have had two Native American Casinos (Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun – which may be the largest casinos in the world) explode in popularity.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Too hard a question – I’ll pass except to say I enjoy spiritual reading and insist it’s vital for growth in the life of faith.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Prayer is foundational: I start each day with 7am mass; followed by Rosary with a few who hang around. (Funny though it sounds, I can’t sustain the habit of Rosary without a group.) After that I say my morning LOTH in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed and pray for the whole wide world. At 8 am I’m on my way. (That’s the most beautiful part of the entire day and the source of all my spiritual energy.) Note to Jen: That one hour is the ONLY structured part of my entire day: evening prayer is less rigid, but I’ve kept at it for two decades.

    My wife teaches 2nd grade at the Cathedral School next door and my daughter is in Mom’s class (a mixed blessing). I work in my own business so I have plenty of freedom. I had a heart attack when I was 50 so I’ve given up the intense drive of life and decided to take things slowly and unhurriedly. I work perhaps 5 or so hours a day and that’s enough for my daily bread.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is called ‘Perfect Joy’ which is a buzzword phrase for those who understand Franciscan Spirituality. http://tau-cross.blogspot.com/ is the url. I began writing reflections to force myself to get things out into words and help my own spiritual growth. I write with the idea that someone is listening and try to write in a way that anyone picking up a reflection on the sidebar can enjoy it on any day they are drawn to it.

    Why do I enjoy coming to Et-Tu?

    I’m just a sucker for conversion stories and this is the best I’ve encountered on the blogosphere. For me it’s not just watching Jen grope along, it’s also the joy of watching the Holy Spirit’s hand in the entire matter with all the participants. I confess to being a little ‘paternalistic’ about this whole scene (She get’s it…She doesn’t get it) but I’ve been pleasantly surprised and have learned new things while listening to others. As much as I hate to admit it…this is a spiritual soap opera for me.

  68. Colleen says:

    Hi, Jen. I’m Colleen, a 30 year old stay at home mother of three children ages 6, 3, and 10 months.

    I’m a cradle Catholic from a fairly devout family. My parents were great examples of faith, though that does not mean that they did not have their struggles. My faith grew even more when I went to college at Texas A&M. The Catholic student body there is very active and alive with the faith and my desire for more knowledge about the Catholic church exploded. Also, my boyfriend (who later became my husband) went through a conversion from Church of Christ to Catholicism while we were dating. I went through the entire RCIA process with him, which had a profound impact of my faith. I’ve had a special love for converts ever since and that is one of the reasons that I so enjoy your blog. Another reason is because the struggles you are going through as a wife and mother of three small children are the same struggles that I am having. You seem to articulate those struggles much better than I can, though!

    I was born in Nebraska, raised in West Texas and am currently living in the Houston area.

    Some of my favorite books are Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserables, Lord of the Rings, and a bunch of Scott Hahn books (The Lamb’s Supper is one of my favorites).

    My typical day begins by getting my oldest fed, dressed and out the door for school. I then read my Magnificat (a habit I’m trying to begin after reading about your fruitful experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours). After that my days become less structured. There is usually lots of nursing the baby, reading books to my three year old, laundry, and trips to the grocery store or library and a little time blogging. In the afternoon I pick up my son from school and then begin the evening routine of homework, supper, baths, prayers, etc. After the kids get to bed is time for my husband and myself together and for evening prayer.

    On my blog I write about things happening in my life and struggles and triumphs in my life as a Catholic wife and mom. Blogging is also how I recharge my batteries and connect with other Catholic moms.

  69. Rob says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Born and raised Catholic and then drifted far away in HS and College. Got deep into drugs and drinking. It bottom and go cleaned up around age 22 and returned to the church and married my soul-mate.

    Where are you from?

    Maryland. lived here for most of my life.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The Second Coming by Walker Percy

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    When not working, lots of activies with all the kids and I like to work out: running, biking, swimming

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://sardoniccatholicdad.blogspot.com/
    Where my inner annoying self comes out

  70. Sean, Stephanie and Hattie says:

    I am a 27 year old stay-at-home mom with an almost 2 yr. old and another on the way.

    I came across your blog a couple of months ago when you posted a comment on my husband’s Catholic blog.

    I enjoy reading your entries. Your so honest and very inspiring. Finding your blog has been a blessing to me.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: Cradle Catholic, met and married a Presbyterian who was pretty hard core and helped convince me to leave the church, though I was already out the door because of some experiences I had and friendships I had made in college. I left the church for a while, became protestant for about 3 yrs., and then by the grace of God, my husband was led to the Catholic Church through scripture reading and research. I’m sure my very Catholic, deceased Grandma, along with other family had been praying for me to return to the church for those 3 years. It’s good to be HOME!

    # Where are you from?

    The great state of Texas!

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Angela’s Ashes. The Power of One. Both are great coming of age stories that touched my heart.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you?
    Taking care of my daughter and another infant for some friends during the day; household chores. Probably very similar to your days. The good days are great and the bad days are REALLY ROUGH!

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My URL is: http://blogahon.blogspot.com/

    I blog about my life as a stay at home mom, mostly about my daughter, though I also blog about my spirituality from time to time….I can also get on one of my soap boxes every once in a while.

  71. kb says:

    Hi, I’m Kathy. Also a fairly new reader of your blog. I’m a recent college graduate in Tennessee.

    Spiritual journey: Raised in a Methodist home, attended churches ranging from pretty traditional to Metho-Baptist (in my high school years). Though that was a formative time for me, I’ve moved away from that, attending a Reformed Presbyterian church for 3 years, and currently attending a Lutheran church with my Catholic husband (who might have had some influence over my current love of the liturgy).

    From? A little bit of all over. Back in the South after 4 years in New England.

    Books? Ooh. Sometimes I think that the book that has had the most profound impact on me is the one I’ve just read (I have a short memory span like that). So recently, I’m revisiting some much beloved childhood favorites and savoring the clear-cut distinction between the good guys and the bad guys, or even the simple stories (Little House books, Little Women, Dark is Rising series).

    Life? Recent college graduate, working at my first job, and learning to be married, and a grown-up, and thinking about the future.

    Blog? I just started one (or actually, I started just after Christmas, but I haven’t really figured it out yet), http://www.aspiringameliorant.blogspot.com. I oscillate between wanting to give out the address because maybe it will motivate me to post more, and wanting to put some more content up before exposing myself.

  72. Amy Jane (Untangling Tales) says:

    Wow.

    We all like to talk about ourselves, don’t we…

    To Answer your questions:
    –Spiritual journey:

    I was born a 3rd-generation Nazarene (Protestant denomination) and their core theology still heavily influences my beliefs. Currently this creates a bit of internal conflict as I now attend a non-denominational church with Baptist leanings (Main conflict is the common one of where the balance falls between God’s sovereignty and Man’s free-will.)

    My parents have always been in leadership, so I have a hard time (even now) separating the “church” experience from a sense of being watched and how I make Christians/the church look: both in- and outside the Body.

    –Where are you from?

    I am still living in the town I grew-up in. We came here when I was 5 to support my already elderly grandparents (two questions, two references to family– can you tell where I find my identity?)

    –What is one book?

    I don’t have one jumping out at me. I don’t finish books that aren’t paying their way, so everything I do finish seems significant at the time. You’ve read some of my blog so you’ve got an idea of how everything I read weaves into my current happenings.

    –Tell me a little bit about your daily life:

    I am home with my children daily, and don’t work outside of my home. But I have always placed a very high value on independent-play among siblings, so I still have times when there are no demands from them and can write if I ignore the house ;o)

    –what’s your URL?
    UntanglingTales.com

    –What do you write about?
    Stories (mostly traditional tales, occasionally movies/shows), the process of my writing a YA fantasy novel based on such a tale, and my ponderings on the issues and debates of our culture where they intersect my life at home.

    It’s the place where I organize my thoughts so that they will spill in a more organized fashion when they escape my mouth.

    Blessings on your Day!

  73. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I’m Sarah. I’m a college sophomore, majoring in French Education. Have been following this blog since sometime last semester :)

    I grew up Catholic, and just very gradually got more involved and more knowledgeable about it…especially after becoming part of my church’s amazing college student organization!

    I’m a native of Auburn, AL.

    Book…hmmm I want to say Rome Sweet Home because I read it so fast, it made me really want more – more books on Catholicism!

    Daily Life: I mostly…walk to the coffeeshop to finish up homework before classes, go to class, work in our library lugging around books, check facebook and email and sometimes blogs, go home for real food and to see family, and go to church.

    And I don’t have a blog, only facebook :)

  74. Anonymous says:

    Hello, I’m Lady of the Lake. I live in Minnesota (God’s Country).

    I was raised Catholic, and in college my Fundamentalist friends asked why Catholics worshipped Mary, prayed to dead people, never read the bible, etc. All the silly things they believe about us. So I subscribed to Catholic Answers magazine, and became a campus apologist for the Catholic faith. Not only did they come to understand all things Catholic, but I fell in love with Jesus in the Eucharist, and with confession, the most under-appreciated Sacrament! Admit it. You crave to go, your heart yearns to release your past sins, but somehow you never get there more often than Christmas and Easter. My family goes 2x a month. Then we have a party afterwards! (Kids love it!) Clean souls feel so light, so fresh. For a short while, we are free from sin. Party time!

    After the bible, my favorite book is probably The Imitation of Christ. Years ago, a convent was being demolished to make room for a church expansion. Since all the holy nuns had died, the church had an “estate sale” and I bought thousands of books from their Catholic library at 10 for a $1. Lots of saint biographies. Needless to say, we have lined our walls with bookshelves. A house full of Catholic books is an early heaven!

    I once read an article about how a Catholic family home is very similar to a monastery. Lots of God, lots of family, lots of fun! So that’s how we run things around here.

    I’ve tweaked my daily routine to live peacefully, orderly, and joyfully with my hubby and family. We get up with the sun, exercise, eat breakfast. Hubby leaves for work. We do 20 min. schooling, 20 min. cleaning, 20 min. playing together all morning long. 20/20/20 every hour.

    By lunchtime, the little kiddos have been schooled, the house has been cleaned, and everyone has played/tumbled with mommy. Afternoons are free for schooling advanced subjects with older kids, music lessons, doctor appointments, etc. My oldest kiddos are on sports teams, so lots of driving to practices.

    While we make supper, the kids take turns reading aloud to me. We try to eat supper together as a family 5 nights a week. Everyone helps to clean the kitchen. (It takes only 15 min.)
    Then family rosary, followed by an evening project. This could be remodling our old house, taking a family walk, yardwork, hauling firewood, etc. On Friday nights, we watch a Catholic video together.

    Our budget is tight. We don’t do spendy vacations, and we drive older cars (1993 & 1995), but we have everything we need to make a good meal and enjoy life.

    We teach confirmation, do pro-life work, visit neighborhood shut-ins, anything that teaches the kiddos humility and serving others.

    A Catholic family life is the best way to live.

    Jen, I really enjoy reading your blog. You have such deep thoughts for being a new Christian/Catholic. Hugs to you, and God Bless.

  75. Sarah says:

    Hi! I’m Sarah and I’ve been reading your blog for a while (probably over a year . . . sometime near the scorpion episodes? I don’t recall how I found it, I think via Suburban CEO? Anyway . . . I am 28, have been married to my college sweetheart for two years, have a baby boy who just turned one this past Saturday and live in Los Angeles but I’m originally from Alaska.

    I grew up in a very faith-full house by Evangelical Christians (and my parents and sisters are still very faith-full!). We attended various churches, Southern Baptist (though we didn’t like the hierarchy and left – funny now!), Independent Baptist, Evangelical Free, Community Churches, start-up churches held at Christian camps and Senior Citizen homes – pretty much non-denominational Christian that wanted nothing to do with any currently established Christian identity (i.e. Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, etc.) My husband grew up as a cradle Catholic in a relatively lukewarm Catholic home.

    When we were dating and as we decided to get married we went looking for a church home, one week in one of “my” churches and one week at a Catholic church. Every time I’d go to Catholic church, I’d cry. EVERY TIME. And everytime we’d go to one of “my” churches it was disastrous. The sermon would be horrible, the people all old, not friendly, too friendly. We didn’t feel right anywhere. I began to read about Catholocism (and so did my hubby) and continued to get more and more interested in it. We got married in the church and then the following Easter (2006) I entered the Catholic church. Since then, I’ve been exploring my faith and the Catholic church (still getting use to the liturgy, liturgical year, everything from the rosary and saints to the hierarchy to confession . . . and sometimes I still feel quite lost, but I know I’m home). Oh, and I don’t cry anymore.

    Where are you from?
    Lived in Northern California until I was 13 when we moved to Alaska. Lived there until college, and then kept moving almost every year thereafter. New Mexico, Texas, back to Alaska and now back in California. We now live in Santa Monica after a two-year stint in San Francisco (which I miss!)

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Oh dear, I’m going to be one of your asterisks. Books are my life. I love to read. I’m probably one of amazon.com’s best customers. I think ONE book that has influenced my life recently has been “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, but favorite authors include John Irving (especially “A Prayer for Owen Meany”), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Morrison (I love “Song of Solomon,” hate “Beloved”) and have been working on reading all of the Pulitzer Prize Winning literature books. Two fiction books I’d recommend include “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides and “The Time Travelers Wife” by Audrey Niffengegger which always makes me cry. I credit Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in teaching me to challenge myself cooking; you probably will find out it is easier than you think (except for her 3-day French bread), and for religion, I love all Scott Hahn books, am working my way through C.S. Lewis and really found “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” by David Currie a help with my background. I’m currently reading “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI and find it fascinating and easily readable, and hope to delve into the Theology of the Body by JPII this summer. Phew!

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m now a housewife and mama to my dear boy, Lloyd. Typical day involves waking up, deciding whether or not it is going to be a coffee day (I’m trying not to drink coffee everyday, augmenting with both black and herbal tea) which invariably is a decision directly related to both a) how many times Lloyd woke up last night and b) what day of the week it is. The probability of coffee increases as the week progresses. This morning (Friday) was a coffee day. Make breakfast, play, nurse, snacks, naps . . . somewhere in there I read e-mails and blog and try to spend time doing something that makes me happy while he naps, and then try to make the house presentable! We hop in the stroller and go to the park at the end of our block a few days a week.

    I spend a lot of my time cleaning up and putting away random items that he takes out of non-(yet)-child-proofed cabinets and pantry, including box graters, a box of sandwich bags (which he has pulled all of them out), empty toilet paper rolls, baby wipes scattered about, plastic jars of Smoked Paprika and Thyme, various stacking blocks, cups, books, halves of Easter eggs, tiny bits of paper that he has found and shredded, pieces of peas and Cheddar Bunnies that he has thrown on the floor, rediscovered and brought into the living room. . . I feel like half my life involves me carrying around a little broom and dustpan. But it is fun nonetheless!

    My favorite part of the day is probably when my husband comes home and I get to see how excited my son is to play with him, I get a brief reprieve from the little guy and make dinner (did I mention I enjoy cooking? This is fun for me!) while I watch them play and then we eat as a family. Lloyd is even learning how to pray a little (or at least he isn’t resisting holding our hands as much any longer!) Then playtime, bedtime routine where daddy reads a story, I nurse him and we put him to bed, and then a few special hours of quiet time with hubby, maybe watching TV or a movie, maybe reading quietly together, maybe sharing a bottle of wine. Just quiet time. It’s nice and cozy!

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    Do I have a blog? Absolutely! I write primarily at

    http://sarahs-musings.blogspot.com

    and if I could think of the primary things that I write about, it’d be all F-words . . . Family, Faith and FOOD! Sometimes more of one than another! I often do food challenges or write about new recipes for big people and baby food, I write about my faith and being a new mom with renewed faith trying to live the liturgical year in my little domestic church, I write about what books I’m reading and projects I’ve begun . . . I write about me!

  76. Mary Poppins NOT says:

    Hi, I am Renee, or Mary Poppins NOT. I tried for about 5 minutes to remain anonymous when I began to blog, but I just couldn’t pull it off.

    I am a 41 year old mother of seven, married 15 years. I have home schooled for 10 years and am growing weary of it, but for now will continue. I was raised a Roman Catholic, and formally became a Byzantine Catholic 4 years ago.

    I am an iconographer, a gardener, love music and reading and hanging brightly colored glass in windows.
    I have colorful bottles on my window sills, collect vintage aquarium decorations, I have about 60 statues and pictures of Mary (Theotokos) from all over the world, my desk is piled full of papers and empty coffee mugs, and I love to drink Maker’s Mark on the rocks.

    My favorite book is usually the one I am reading, but one that stands out is My Antonia by Willa Cather, and another is Jane Ayre.

    My daily life is fairly unstructured, but falls in to blocks of time that surround meals. Home schooling allows us a lot of freedom to have our days unwind in a unique way each day, and while this is nice in many ways, I think it has contributed to my growing weary of home schooling.

    I usually get up around 8:00 a.m. and go to bed around 1 a.m. I pray irregularly in a formal way, but informally, all day long. I go to church as often as I can, and find the greatest peace when I am in the presence of the Eucharist.

    I think that is more than anyone wanted to know about me, but it was fun to write!

    My blog is crazyacres at 3acres.blogspot.com. Come on over and say “Howdy”! I write about my life, spiritual reflections based on the liturgical cycle and daily events, and occasionally a social commentary or two.

    Blessings!

  77. Bonnie says:

    Bonnie’s my name; I pop in about 1-2 times a week.

    Cradle Catholic, I’ve never fallen away from my faith (thank God) and it was greatly influenced by Newman Centers in the Peoria Diocese and my 3 very good friends who all entered religious life.

    Arise from Darkness or Healing the Original Wound by Fr. Groeschel. (I have a hard time letting go.)

    Born & raise in Central IL, where my husband and I now live.

    Right now I work for my alma mater, but very soon I will deliver my baby at home and then be a SAHM. My hubby and I are living in a dump we bought and are slowly turning into a home. My husband’s amazing. I am trying to learn as much as I can about motherhood.

    learningtobeanewlywed.blogspot.com

    Very nice to meet you.

  78. CherBear says:

    I hope I’m not posting this twice, but it didn’t seem to do anything after I clicked publish besides change the word verification letters.

    Wow. Reviewing all these new blogs is going to be insane, but I can’t wait!

    I also have to confess that I’m super excited about the chance to talk about myself, so please forgive me if I ramble – I don’t like to think of myself as a lurker so much as the quiet kid who doesn’t say much until someone asks a direct question.

    I was raised in the Texas non-denominational milieu by a sort of ex-Catholic (not that she disagrees with the teachings, just that she can’t seem to figure out how to get back in) and a John Wayne Christian (nevermind that there are rumors that he became Catholic, I’m talking more about his movie persona – especially in the Westerns). I think I’ve always been a Christian, but I was “saved” in 3rd grade at church camp, though I never knew how a person could know without a doubt that they were going to heaven. I entered the Church 6 years ago at St. Elizabeth’s at Texas Tech.

    Obviously, I’m from Texas, more specifically I was born in Houston but raised (sort of) in a little town called Caddo Mills. I now live in Chicago. It sucks (when I found out you were from Texas, I really wanted to comment – I always get excited about fellow Texans, even when they’re Aggies).

    I can’t pick a single book that radically changed my life, but these books have provided really important nudges: “Fire Within” by Fr. Thomas Dubay (I didn’t actually finish it), “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort, “The Praktikos” by Evagrius Ponticus (I also didn’t actually finish that one) and “Praying Self-Abandonment to Divine Love” by Slawomir Biela. Maybe the others would have radically changed my life if I’d read them all the way!

    Three days a week, my husband and I pray Morning Prayers together, and I go to work at the Catholic center at the university where my husband is a PhD candidate. I go home in the early afternoon to do lectio divina and/or take a nap (I frequently fall asleep when I pray) and do some housework. I schedule dinner according to my husband’s phone call saying he’s coming home, dine with my husband, do the dishes (theoretically), and either blog, study something about the Church or teach myself some web development stuff. The other two days I swap the afternoon with the morning. My favorite part of the day is probably going to bed – it’s the only time when my husband isn’t distracted by food or work (though sleep overtakes him pretty quickly), but I really just look forward to Friday night and Sunday.

    Blogger does most of the shameless self-promotion I usually want to do automatically, but I have three blogs: Design-Err (I write about web design, because that’s what I eventually want to do for Catholic non-profits), WakinHrs (I started this blog to keep up with friends, but I rarely blog personal stuff, so it’s mostly whatever is on my mind) and my favorite one Betwixt Mine Ears (I practice writing fiction by writing insanely short stories, but eventually I want to write a serial).

  79. Anya says:

    Hi, I’m Anya…
    1. Came to know Christ when I was a child, and have journeyed with him, both the ups and down, since. I was raised in a conservative non-Catholic church. Since being married, my DH and I have been members of a Westminster Presbyterian Church and non-denominational church. Currently we are enjoying a more ‘emerging church’ model – just doing life with a bunch of Christians and seekers who are all at different stages. We just share our lives, pray and discuss the bible together. Personally, I’m keen to learn more (and experience more) of prayer and enjoyment of the presence of God…

    2. I’m from Australia

    3. One book: Chasing Francis, published by the Navigators, I think. It’s a fictional story of a mainstream church pastor who has a crisis of faith and undertakes a pilgrimage through Italy. he learns from the life of St Francis and is changed from the inside out.
    And a thousand other wonderful books. Anything by Elisabeth Elliot for some good old-fashioned wisdom…

    4. Daily life – I was a physiotherapist, now a SAHM with 3 children and another due in August. I homeschool and run an editing business. My favorite days are the ones that include meeting up with friends or having down-time with my DH…

    5. I have 2 blogs – our family life is journaled piece by piece at http://www.mckeeslifejourney.blogspot.com
    and my own little place for scribbling about communion with God is at http://www.sanctuarymoment.blogspot.com

    I came across your blog through a link from a friend’s blog, and it resonated as I looked into your prayer experiment. Looking forward to being a regular visitor…

  80. Ragamuffin says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I’m a Christian mutt. Grew up in a church-going Methodist family. After my parents divorced at age 14, I started attending an Assemblies of God church. At this point I thought Christians were weird and wanted no part of it. Just before my 17th birthday, something changed. Can’t explain it, but I knew that God was calling me to surrender to Him and I did.

    Since then I’ve been part of an independent Charismatic church, Presbyterian, non-denominational evangelical and now am something of an Anglican/Methodist who is also reading and discussing Catholicism with a close friend (long story, see blog below)

    2. Where are you from?
    Forgive my paranoia of the internet, but allow me to be vague. I’m from the Southeastern US and have lived in this area all my life.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Wow, that’s going to be hard. Probably to this day, for the cataclysmic change it caused at the time, I’d have to go with The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll. It seems sort of quaint now, but it was life-changing at a time I was all but ready to give up due to the suffocating legalism I’d been indoctrinated in.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    Wake up a 6:30, shower and get dressed for work. Work from 8am-4pm. Hang out with my wife and kids. My favorite part of the day is coming home and hearing “Daddy!” from my kids and getting hugs.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    My blog is Thoughts From A Ragamuffin and I started it to “think out loud” and get input from others on the changes in my beliefs over the last year that have led me away from contemporary evangelicalism and resulted in me being drawn toward Christian tradition, ancient practices, liturgy, hymns and church history. I wrestle with how this affects my family as well as some of the claims of the Catholic church.

  81. Marian says:

    I flagged this and put it off, hoping to have time later to actually answer your questions. Just can’t do it, so let me at least say:
    I’m 38 years old, an evangelical protestant in a vibrant urban church, married almost 15 years, mother of four children aged 3 through 11… the youngest adopted from Ethiopia, the eldest on the autism spectrum with many special needs… consequently, I am also now a homeschooling mother of this crew. Amazed at how well you articulate several things that go on in my head!

  82. Jeana says:

    Hello, Jennifer! I’m Jeana and I blog at http://www.daystocome.net. I grew up in a Disciples of Christ Church but now attend a Bible Church–very similar to Southern Baptist. I’ve lived in Texas most of my life, apart from nine months in Salt Lake City and right now, as we are spending seven weeks in London on my husband’s job assignment.

    I am a homeschooling mom and normally babysit a three year old. Asking me to identify a few books that changed me is like asking me to identify which breaths changed me most. I read constantly, and I think each thing I read changes me just a little bit.

    I found your blog through Veronica at Toddled Dredge, and I have so enjoyed reading you ever since. YOu are very thoughtful, and I appreciate that.

  83. Annabel says:

    I’m Jennifer Z, 38 year old convert (3 years ago). I found your blog because you commented on mine after hearing my radio interview.

    1 Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I wasn’t really raised in any particular religion. I experienced mostly Baptist churches (was saved 3 times) but also visited my aunt’s Episcopal church. I converted to Catholicism 3 years ago.

    # Where are you from?
    I’m a native Texan. I’ve lived in the Amarillo area (The square part at the top of the state) for most of my life. (32 years)

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie and Catholicism for Dummies were the two that helped me in my faith journey. Also, the books by Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, and For one more Day) have all impacted me as well.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    My life is school. I get up, get ready, go to school, teach 5 classes (speech, debate and oral interp), usually work after school for another 45 min. to an hour, come home, make supper and then I often have evening things… band rehearsal, choir rehearsal or something involving my son. I’m out of town for speech tournaments quite a bit as well. I stay pretty busy and never have time to clean my house.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL?

    http://www.coasterlover.blogspot.com is the main blog. I have a Catholic blog, but I don’t write in it often.

    What do you write about? Daily stuff… just my life such that it is. Sometimes I rant, sometimes I brag about my son, sometimes I just tell about my day.

  84. Alicia says:

    Hi! I’m Alicia, 37.

    I’m a cradle Catholic, but you’re much ahead of me in your spiritual journey. I’m so grateful for all the things I’ve learned with your blog and all the things you’ve made me think and pray about!

    I’m from Uruguay, South America.

    Books that have had a great impact in my life: Marie Curie’s biography when I was a teenager and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (this is not intended to be read but to be used as a guide to make the exercises. I’ve done them a few times and they’ve pretty much shaped my spiritual journey in my adult life. I’m always amazed by the psychological wisdom in them.

    I’ve been married to Francisco for almost 14 years and we have 4 children. I have a degree in Agricultural Engineering and another in English>Spanish translation (my mother tongue is Spanish).
    I work from my home as a freelance translator, mainly in the biological/agricultural fields. My children go to a Catholic school just a block away from our house. We get up at 7 and my children leave for school (the toddler goes to a day care center in the morning) and my husband for work at 8. I work until 12:30 when I pick up the youngest two and have lunch with them. I have some more time to work in the afternoon while the children have some quiet time (I have some help with the house work). The oldest two come from school at 4:30. My husband comes from work at 7 and we all have dinner together. After everybody goes to bed I work a few more hours, and read your blog!

  85. Karen says:

    # My spiritual journey
    It has had lots of twists and turns. My parents both grew up in church (Methodist and Presbyterian), but stopped going to church soon after they got married. I grew up essentially non-religious. In high school I started going to church (Baptist) with a friend and “got saved” and started getting involved. Throughout college I floated around using the lovely Protestant philosophy of find a church that you like and go there. After college I joined a United Methodist Church and was quite happy there. Then just over a year ago I went to Mass for the first time, out of curiosity as best as I can figure. I fell in love with it and that set me off searching. Four months ago I was received into the Catholic Church.

    # Where are you from?
    originally Oklahoma, but now Tucson, AZ

    # A book (or a few)
    The Younger Evangelicals by Robert Webber – it started me considering the value of traditions
    Church History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley – Reading through all of church history help convince me to become Catholic
    Swimming with Scapulars by Mathew Lickona – He is a true post-modern Catholic, faithful to the Magisterium while still full of questions. Reading it convinced me that I could be Catholic like that.

    # daily life
    Mornings are a bit varied. I wake up, pray, usually play online a bit. A couple of times a week I try to go to Mass. Other days I do random baby-sitting jobs at my old church or for friends. And some mornings I get to relax and do stuff around my apartment. In the afternoon I head to work. I work at a preschool/after-school program, mostly with 2nd -5th graders. I love them! Most days anyway. ;) :D I work until close at 8pm and then head home, pray, chill on the computer, read, and sleep.

    As for my favorite part, Mass is always good, quiet times just reading or whatever, and the great hugs I get from “my” kids is wonderful. :D

    # shameless self-promotion
    I have a blog at karenelissa.blogspot.com I haven’t posted much lately, although I keep thinking about starting up again. It is mostly just random thoughts on faith and life.

  86. asv says:

    Wow you have gotten a lot of answers, it’s so nice to know about all these people and their faith.

    I’m Angie, originally from Ecuador and living in The Woodlands, TX a truly beautiful place, specially in spring…

    I’m a cradle catholic, I’m 41, single, I was for 8 years a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary, (that was almost 10 years ago) and that beautiful experience really shaped my faith.. I belong to that catholic Movement http://www.schoenstatt.de

    I started reading your blog right before you were baptized, and you know I am a fan waiting for your book to come out some day.

    I manage a purchasing office for a south american construction company, and I am studying to become a CPA, but my true passion is writing, journalism and photography.

    So, my day deals with work and studying. On weekends I visit with my friends and enjoy riding a bike (love it!)

    Books (in spanish) a compilation of newspaper columns by the Spanish priest and journalist, Jose Luis Martín Descalzo (Razones para el amor, para vivir, etc)

    My blog in spanish is http://www.puertadelcielo.blogspot.com

    Sorry I didn’t answer before, but don’t know other catholic bloggers in spanish

  87. Matthew N. Petersen says:

    1) I was raised Evangelical. I gradually drifted to a sacramental Reformed position (though even then I seemed really Catholic to my Catholic friend), came suddenly to believe in the physical presence, and am now…Reformed. But everyone who knows what I believe wonders why I’m not Catholic or Orthodox since I more or less agree with them.

    I’m a very good friend with Cheryl at fromheavenwithlove, whose blog I think you are at least somewhat familiar with.

    2. Moscow, Idaho.

    3. C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.. Charles Williams, The Figure of Beatrice, Descent into Hell, Dante, La Divina Commedia, St. John of the Cross The Dark Night of the Soul, G. K. Chesterton St. Francis of Assisi, J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion Cantus Christi. But if you must take one, take the Lewis one.

    3b. Heinrich Schutz, John Eliot Gardiner conductor, “Musicalisch Exsequien.” Ralph Vaughn Williams “Mass in G Minor.” J. S. Bach “Jesu Meine Freude”, “Singet dem Herrn”, Hugo Distler “Totentantz” (and Geistlichchormusic, and Maria durch ein dornwald ging).

    4. I teach highscool math in the mornings. Some afternoons I work as an office assistant. Evenings I am usually in choir, or at an orthodox Vespers service. At lunch I go to Mass as often as I can (but sigh, look, don’t touch). My highlight: probably seeing Christ in Fr. Bill’s hand, or sometimes talking with friends.

    My blog is colinclout12.blogspot.com” and I usually write my meditations about the Mother of God, the Sacrament, the Cross, the Resurrection, Scripture etc. (Though of late it’s been a bit sparse.)

  88. Emily says:

    Hi My name is Emily and I am 26. I live in Amarillo tx and am married with three kids. I grew up chatholic and took a 7 year I dont want to be this anymore break. Recetnly I have called back to the catholic church. Its like a huge mangnent pulling me and my family closer to the faith of both mine and my husbands child hood.

    Recently the Book that has impacted me the most I “The good news about sex and marrage” by christoper west

    My days are moderatly crazy with three kids. I am a full time student and a recovering drug addict(I have been clean for 802 day just over 2 years) so school kids husband and 12 steps keep me busy. Not to mention that i am a littl obsessive when it comes to my house. My favoriate part of the day is sittind down with a cup of decaf and enjoying my morning readings and prayer

    my url is http://thisgirlscalling.blogspot.com/ I write about my calling back to the church and my qestions and struggles as a young mother trying to figure out how to sucessfully raise catholic kids and still have good catholic friends to discuss my questions struggles and faith with.

  89. Jon says:

    I’m Jon from Indianapolis. I’m 26, single, and a Hooser born and bred. I’ve probably been following your blog since sometime in the middle of last year. I blog sporadically at Thinking Out Loud. I mostly post theological reflections.

    Spiritual Journey

    I was baptized in the Evangelical Orthodox Church (EOC) as a baby (yes that group is as wierd as it probably sounds). The only thing I remember about that church is that it had lots of fun music and art, since some of its parishioners were talented in those fields. That’s also the setting fkor my earliest memories of prayer, since “Sunday School” included something that, thinking back, was basicly the liturgy of the word complete with acolytes and the creed. Eucharist was upstairs with one’s family. Since EOC churches were few and far between, when we moved to a better school system we left that church and ended up in the Episcopal Church (TEC). It was much less fun since it only had a youth group sporadically. Probably the only reason I’m still religious at all is that I went on a mission trip to Quito, Ecuador while I was in HS. It was so fun I decided to do more events put on by the diocesan youth folks which is why that fall I trundled off to the renewal weekend for high school students where I accidentally ran into God. I’d just been looking for fun and the renewal weekend itself was fun and not a huge amount else. I ran into God (it almost felt like physically running into him even though there was no body to run into on that occasion) in a bit of free time when one of the other guys at the event gave me a cross that had been given to him. It’s been close to ten years since that encounter, and I’m still not sure I’ve worked out all the ways that encounter has changed my approach to life. One of the most obvious changes was that I became far more passionate about God, TEC, and the rest of the Church. Before I’d been a lot like those catholics Jen mentioned who have a portal to Narnia and can’t be bothered to use it. I’ve never really doubted that God is present in the same room as me, but before I ran into God I didn’t see that God made much of a difference to my life. Now, who knows, maybe I’ll wind up in an Anglican monastic order.

    Books

    The two authors who have influenced me the most are C. S. Lewis and William Placher. I couldn’t pick one of Lewis’s works as most influential, but I think one can probably learn more about being faithful by sitting with “A Grief Observed” than from reading and rereading “Mere Christianity”. Placher’s influence is at least partially due to his being an exemplary Wabash man, and as a third generation Wabash man my alma mater has had lots of opportunity to shape how I approach life. The only other authors I can think of are Hans Urs von Balthasar and Rowan Williams. I found Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Mysterium Paschale fascinating, although I hear that some people find his prose rather dense, and Rowan Williams has also struck me as particularly insightful, although I’ve heard complaints about his writing being dense and hard to follow as well.

    Daily Life

    I work nights stocking shelves with yogurt, so my day normally starts off sometime in the middle of the afternoon, except when my day doesn’t end til noon. When I’m not working I’m generally reading blogs and web comics, although the high points of my week are when I can get to Mass, normally that’s Sunday and early Friday morning.

    Jon

  90. Carrien says:

    I’m from a small town in Canada. I currently reside in San Diego county with my husband and three children.

    My mother was raised Catholic. She was going to be a nun. She loved the movie Sound of Music because it was the first inkling she’d ever had that she could serve God in other ways also. She received the Holy Spirit in her religion class in Catholic school after a presentation by the Charismatic Catholic movement. She couldn’t find a way to fit that in with her local church. She found the Jesus people movement, it was the 70s, and joined a pentecostal church. She eventually left Catholicism because she was convinced that some of the traditions had no Biblical basis. I was raised protestant.

    I am still protestant. My husband is a protestant pastor’s son. My husband studied theology for his masters degree. I study theology for fun, and because I care deeply about it.

    My best friend is Catholic. My MIL is a messianic Jew. I have a broad ecumenicism.

    When I was younger I thought that Bible worked like a contract. If I did my part and was good I could somehow manipulate God into doing what I wanted him to do, keep me safe, give me a happy life, never ever experience pain ever…I outgrew that way of thinking. :)

    I eventually learned that the choice to trust God is the choice to let go of the control I so desperately wanted in order to find the peace I so desperately needed.

    Books:How bout authors?
    CS Lewis (How I love Till We Have Faces.)
    NT Wright
    Gregory Boyd
    Mother Theresa
    Henri Nouen
    St. Francis

    and I loved Christianity Rediscovered by Vincent J. Donovan

    shoot, now I’m on a roll…
    Brushko-Bruce Olsen
    Chasing the Dragon-Jackie Pullinger-To
    A Mighty Wind

    And of course, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

    I wake up in the morning and make breakfast for 3 children. Then I make them do unpleasant things like brush their teeth, put on clothes, put away their pajamas and make their beds.

    Then I teach them how to read and write and add and subtract and sing and dance and play piano and Torah and Biblical history. I try to sneak in a bit of time reading my e-mail in there.

    Then they are always hungry again. So I feed them lunch, and make them do unpleasant things like clean up after school before they can go outside and play.

    I spend the afternoon trying to keep an eye on the big kids outside, get the laundry, cleaning, sweeping done, bake some bread or muffins and start dinner, if I haven’t already. I almost always have friends, mine or my children’s stop by. A few afternoons a week we walk to the library and farmer’s market, and run all our errands. On foot.

    We eat dinner and I get them all into bed and then try to clean the kitchen, make my husband’s lunch, find some time to write and work on any other projects that I have brewing. I often go to bed far too late. I am trying to change this behavior. I am not doing very well.

    My favorite part of each day is either dinner time, if everyone is present and happy, afternoon tea with my kids. (We’re civilizing snack time, they love it.) Or story time when they all curl up on the couch as I read. There is that huge sigh of relief though at the end of the day when they are all finally asleep though that feels pretty good too.

    I blog at She Laughs at the Days

  91. Judy says:

    Hi,
    I’m Judy, 34 years old… hmm… what else? Given that this is comment #91, I’m doubting anyone has read this far down the list anyway so this is probably all a bit redundant…

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Born, raised and still (sort of) am Catholic. To be honest, if I was to start a blog right now it would probably be titled along the lines of ‘diary of a former catholic’ as I’m not so sure that my being a ‘cradle catholic’ (baptised at birth) has left me with anything resembling ‘faith’ depsite the best efforts of my parents! I don’t feel like my religious beliefs have gone anywhere over the course of my life – mass was (and most of the time still is) a habit – something we ‘did’ and something I still ‘do’ for some reason unknown to myself. I think it’s just a hard habit to break. I don’t feel any real connection to any of it.

    Where are you from?
    Sydney… Australia.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    I’m not sure that any one book has… Don’t get time to read! (see below)

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    I’m a mum to two small children and am expecting my third in about four weeks (ahhh!). My typical day is anything but typical as that’s the way my kids are. I spend a bit of time keeping my house in some sort of order as well as providing the kids with some sort of ‘social interaction’ (playgroup) but otherwise.. don’t get up to much. My fav. time of day at the moment would be any time that I can sleep or just have time to myself….

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    I have a blog – but it’s all about my kids – nothing specificallyl ‘religious’ about it… it’s at http://www.alinfletch.blogspot.com

  92. Jennifer F. says:

    Given that this is comment #91, I’m doubting anyone has read this far down the list anyway…

    I’m still reading every one! :)

  93. The Sojourner says:

    Judy,

    I’m still reading!

  94. SteveG says:

    Still reading Here!

  95. 'Becca says:

    I grew up Unitarian in Oklahoma. We went to church an hour away. All my peers were Christians, many of them evangelical, so I was the odd one out. Over time, I began to feel that while Unitarianism was telling me I was free to believe anything, the minister and teachers were implying that certain beliefs were wrong and stupid, and they were unwilling to stand up for any belief as *true*. I also felt that the Unitarian services weren’t meaningful enough and weren’t bringing me closer to God. I had always believed in God just because I knew He was there–I remember hearing something about God when I was very little and thinking, “Oh, so that’s the name for that.”

    The 9th grade Unitarian curriculum was “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning” which meant we studied other religions and what they believe (but with a tone of our being above believing in any such thing) and visited other religions’ services to observe them. It made me ache for faith and rituals and something to believe in and a community gathering to worship something more than their own enlightenment. So I went on my own “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”: I read about every religion in the encyclopedia. Episcopalianism sounded good, so one Sunday when my parents were skipping church I got them to drop me off at the local Episcopal church.

    In the lobby was a rack of tiny metal crosses with pins and a sign: “Visitors, please wear and keep a cross so that we can greet you.” I had never worn a cross before and felt nervous, but I wanted to do the right thing, to participate and not just observe, to give God a chance at getting through my armor of cynicism. As I put on the cross, I was greeted by a very warm and welcoming lady who made me feel as if I had come not to a banquet of strangers where I wouldn’t know which fork to use, but to a family dinner where there was already a place set for me. That feeling stayed with me even as I fumbled to find page numbers and kneel at the right times. Intellectually, I liked what I heard and what I read in the pamphlets the usher gave me after the service, but what really grabbed me was the sense of being held and loved even as I sat alone in a room of mostly strangers. I was afraid to keep the little cross–I didn’t deserve it because I wasn’t really a Christian–and hung it back on the rack before leaving. It wasn’t until several visits later that I took the cross and kept it.

    Slowly, through high school and college, I found that “practicing” religion by following rituals was helping me to “tap into” God both when I needed help and when I wanted to help. Bit by bit, I felt more sure that Christianity was true. After college, I moved to a house across the street from an Episcopal church and thought I might as well start going there instead of to the one I had been attending–and that’s how I stumbled into my parish home! My faith had been almost entirely between me and God; becoming part of a community of faith has done so much to expand and deepen my experience of the Holy Spirit and my understanding of Jesus and His teaching.

    I moved to Pittsburgh, PA, for college and have been here ever since–16 years now!

    I love books and have read many great ones, but I think the one that made the biggest difference to my view of the world and the way I lead my life is The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff.

    On a typical weekday, I take my 3-year-old son to school via city bus, then walk to my job as data manager for a research study that has interviewed the same guys since they were in grade school 20 years ago; we are studying crime and the factors that make people more or less likely to be involved in crime. I don’t meet the guys, just their data, but I pray for them a lot. I work at the computer and spend most of my break time on the Web. My son and I take the bus home to Daddy (my happily unmarried partner of 14 years, who also works full-time) and the three of us spend the evening trying to have dinner, play outside, catch up on the housework, talk to each other, and read lots of stories, all in a few short hours! I’m also a Girl Scout leader, so I have a meeting once a week and lots of planning to do, but I love it and so does my son, who is my troop’s mascot. :-)

    My favorite part of the day varies, but at least once a day my son does something wonderfully weird. A recent example: He climbed up on me announcing, “Mama, this is a termite.” I showed fear of the termite. “No, wait and see what he does.” He gave me a big hug and smile. Awww, a loving termite!

    I have a Website where I put up an article whenever I get around to it–much more often now that I use blogging software. We set out to make a sort of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” for people who want to do the best they can on Earth. I write about the environment, tips for better living, social issues, and now parenting.

    Thanks for having such an interesting blog!

  96. Meta says:

    Found your blog a few months ago through a friend who described your writing as very “raw.” I was intrigued and have not been disappointed. I check for new posts about 5 times a day, at least (not really into subscribing).

    My name is Meta, 23, currently living in northern Indiana working for a local insurance company while my husband goes to law school. Favorite part of the day is probably dawn or dusk–both usually spent with him. I spend most of my time wondering when/if the Lord will grant me children (trying for almost two years now).

    Technically I’m a cradle Catholic, but my parents belong to a non-denominational, charismatic, Christian community as well as our parish, so alongside my education on the sacraments was experience with laying hands on people, praying in tongues, resting in the Spirit and such. Very awesome, though my knowledge of the saints and Church history could be better. I’ve come to find that God has granted me an amazing gift of faith throughout my life in that I’ve never really faltered from the Church or doubted its Truth, despite the trials that have come my way. I don’t think it’s ignorance or naivety, just a simple gift. My faith as a Catholic was really solidified in my 4 years at Franciscan University of Steubenville where I experienced what they like to call “dynamic orthodoxy”–pretty much the melding of my church and community experiences from childhood.

    I also discovered there the two books that have probably impacted me the most:
    1. Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
    This book taught me a lot about femininity, actually, which I was lacking, as my mom had died when I was 12 and I have no sisters. Favorite line: “Do not ask for more crosses until you have born well those already given you.”

    2. A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
    In response to that line above, this book taught me how to bear those crosses well.

    No blog yet, but I’m getting the itch. I studied writing in college (specifically creative writing), but haven’t done much with it since I graduated. My husband is always pushing me to get back into it, but my procrastinating self says, “maybe tomorrow.” I’ll let you know if I start one.

  97. Anonymous says:

    + grew up in working class section of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; have resided with My Man in Southern California for eighteen years. stay-at-home-mama to four little boys ages 3, 5, 6 and 8.

    + born Catholic, but raised in a cult (long story); experienced a *dramatic* conversion to Christ in 1994 (longer story).

    + floated around evangelical protestantism, anabaptism, and eastern orthodoxy for well over a decade. (the photos of me in the Amish garb are the best.)

    + finally had my marriage convalidated in the RC Church in 2003!

    + “Catechism of the Catholic Church”
    + “Jesus of Nazareth,” by Papa Benny

    + every day begins with blessing my school age children with holy water, and, after my prince drives away with them, i pray the Rosary and other prayers, and read the Mass readings for the day, and sip hot tea (orange pekoe) w/milk and honey or another sweetener. by that time our two littlest ones have arisen, and things begin to get noisey and messy around here.

    + my prince/husband and i email each other several times during the day. i miss him so.

    + my conversion story begins on the right-hand side, under “About Me” (warning: it’s s doosey):

    http://www.myspace.com/donna_ellis
    (hang in there for the happy part! :-)

  98. lp says:

    Hi Jen and everyone!

    I’m a 31-year-old mom of 3 boys ages 5, 4, and almost 1. I’m a cradle Catholic, and for as long as I remember I’ve loved Catholicism. Although at some points I’ve felt God very intensely in my life (and other times not at all!) I’ve never had a specific moment I can point to when my faith began to deepen. It’s been more like ve-ery slowly, ploddingly coming to know Him . . . or Him trying to bring me closer to Himself, with me throwing up a ton of obstacles along the way!

    We, along with just about all of our extended family, live in the mid-Atlantic states.

    No one book in particular–a favorite from my teenage years is the Don Camillo series by Giovanni Guareschi. My favorite spiritual book (so far–I have a lot on my to-read list!) is, despite the somewhat corny title, Holiness for Housewives by Dom Huber van Zeller (hope I’m spelling that right!).

    I stay home with our boys, although I just quit a job that I’ve had for the last 5 years doing freelance copyediting from home. Anyway, my days involve lots of trucks, lots of trains, and, since my 5-year-old wants to be a plumber, lots of pipes and water. Oh–and never-ending wrestling. Even the baby is getting into it now.

    No blog, although I’ve thought about it–if I had one, I’d never do anything else!

  99. Occasus says:

    #1 Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was baptized into the Congregational church but never attended church except occasionally at Christmas. I joined the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) when I married my wife. We joined the Catholic Church last Easter. (Tiber Swim Team c/o 2007!)

    #2 Where are you from?

    I live in West Michigan.

    #3 What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.

    #4 Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Off to work in morning. Coach tennis or swimming in the afternoon. Home around 6:30-7pm. By far my favorite time of the day is giving my kids their bath. Or going for a walk with them. Or Mass. Especially Mass. But taking Holy Communion to my local hospital is unbelievably awesome too.

    #5 If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I no longer blog. I’m a professional lurker and occasional commenter. (Too many late nights blogging. That cartoon you posted really fit me for a while!)

  100. Anonymous says:

    My name is Jason, and:

    1. I was raised Catholic and have stayed that way. My parents and grandparents didn’t talk much about faith, but were good models: they always went to Mass on Sunday, always said grace, and always had a few religious things around the house. My one grandma would greet us with a rosary in one hand and a highball in the other, so I never felt the need to rebel.

    2. I was raised in Pittsburgh, which is where I live now. From 1991-2001 I had 22 different addresses and lived, worked, or studied in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Arizona, Quebec, and England, and traveled to all 48 contiguous states. But I always knew I’d come back home to the ‘Burgh. It’s an amazing and beautiful city, and is relatively affordable too.

    3. “Lost in the Cosmos” by Walker Percy.

    4. I am a lawyer at a big law firm. I wake up at 6 am and get the house ready for my wife and kids, staying until my wife is done showering. I then take the bus to work and read and write about law for the next 10 hours, with occasional breaks for a meeting or for lunch. I get home at 6 pm for dinner and kid chaos, which usually ends around 8 pm. My wife and I then clean and putter until around 10 pm.

    5. No blog.

  101. Sarah says:

    Hi Jen! It’s Sarah from not-so-sunny-today Ohio. Though I was raised Methodist and some flavor-of-the-month Christian by my parents, before I became Catholic (due in large part to the influence of my then-boyfriend (still-boyfriend now-husband) and his mother), I was a “Bible-burning” atheist. But now I’m all Catholic. Or trying to be. :)

    Books of note:
    – Theology of the Body
    – Life Giving Love, by Kimberly Hahn

    A typical day is too much for the combox; I’ve been cooking up a whole post about it. (Don’t know if or when I’ll ever get that posted…we’ll see.) Through the week, I get up (depending on how the baby’s slept and whether I can handle it, I try to write and have quiet time early (but this is a sometimes thing)), get my 3yo and 6 month old ready and head off to work at the parish (I’m the administrator and the kids come to work with me). On the weekends, things are whopperjawed and we hang loose. In the evenings it’s fireworks and baby drool. :)

    I’ve never emailed you (though I have meant to), and I haven’t yet posted about it (though I’ve meant to), but thanks to you, I have been praying Morning and Evening Prayer as part of my day, and it has changed my life. No, really. Seriously. Evening prayer especially – that is my hardest time of the day, when things are sparking and flaring and I’m melting fast. It seems that when you turn things over to God FIRST, instead of coming back to him (a theme you’ve mentioned many times), what do you know – IT WORKS! Anyway, I have been meaning to also THANK YOU for that. I was at a point of renewing my Magnificat and read your post about the Book of Christian Prayer, bought it and, wow, it’s great. I only do Morning Prayer with the Office and then Evening Prayer around 6 or so (I do Night Prayer if I miss it), but someday, I’m sure, I’ll take on more of it through my day.

    My blog is just another day of Catholic pondering and I write about whatever strikes me. Mostly I ponder about things Catholic or things that my kids or family have brought to my attention. Other times, though, I just look outside my window at the laundry on the line and I sigh happily with a camera in my hand, and that’s what gets posted.

  102. Phillip Platz says:

    Sorry about not reading every other comment on here.

    I understand if it takes you a while to get to this one!

    I was raised a cradle catholic. I never really understood my faith until I started making and working on TEC (Together Encountering Christ) retreats in the New Ulm diocese in Minnesota. It took until I was 17-18 for me to understand the truths of the Catholic church among others and to own my faith. Now at college, I’ve gotten involved in Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). It’s a Protestant group, and I often find myself missing the Catholic truths and sacraments, but no biggie, I guess. ;o)

    I’m from Minnesota! But am attending college in Chicago!

    No books have really had a huge impact on my life that I can remember. I suppose the Harry Potter series would be an okay answer for this – I really got involved in online Harry Potter communities, and they shaped parts of who I am today.

    Every day? Meh, usually I sleep in waay too late, have classes some days, go to daily mass on the days I do not have classes, and spend WAY too much time on the computer (which I am working on toning down).

    I’ve started jotting down my thoughts and externally processing in a blog of my own – “Maturing Catholic”. Check it out! It’s just a basic blogger template at this point, and I’m really only just getting started. But, there you have it.

    http://www.platzproductions.com/phillip/blog

  103. Patience says:

    Hi. I’m Patience and I’ve been reading your weblog for a few months now. It has been tremendously helpful as I make my own spiritual journey.

    For most of my life I was either a pagan or an atheist. About ten years ago I came back into a relationship with God. Since then we’ve been negotiating things. God has sent me some supernatural miracles and I’ve done a lot of religious reading.

    Because I spent years deep in the pagan arguments and mythologies, I tend to believe in a creator God (who is beyond gender) and a divine Christ child whose existence has been spoken of in different mythologies from dozens of ancient cultures, including Christianity, with uncanny similarities, since the beginning of storytelling. I feel God has been telling us all the same story, and the OT is one culture’s version of it. The OT doesn’t speak to me personally in the way these old myths do. So I’ve been resisting Christianity for the longest time. It hasn’t helped that I was raised to believe only morons and weak-willed people use “the crutch” of Christianity. I’ve also felt (and still do) that the Christian Church isn’t the only way to experience God.

    But this Jesus guy, he’s got a toe in the door now, and he just won’t go away! Trust me, I don’t WANT to believe in Jesus. But it looks like he’s giving me no choice.

    I’d love to join the Catholic Church, I agree with a long list of Catholic creeds, but unfortunately there are a couple of major things I can not accept – and over which I would not be accepted in the church. So I’m going my solitary way … although I should not say that, because I know my mother God (and that annoying Christ guy) are walking it with me.

  104. Lizzie says:

    Alrighty then – lets dive into this (this is very long – I’m so sorry but once I started I couldn’t stop!)

    Hi, I’m Lizzie. I live in Australia with Hubs and three kids – J (who is 9½ and autistic), B (who is fast approaching 8) and Miss Moo (who is 6).

    Much like Jennifer, until about this time last year, I was a confirmed atheist (although agnostic would probably be more accurate). My entire childhood and up to the age of 27 was completely devoid of any religious instruction save for a bible storybook I was given as a child (I thought it was a regular storybook) and the odd funeral in a church. Christianity made me feel icky. Christians were weird, freaky people. I avoided the poor Christian gal in our grade at school (who, incidentally, I found via Facebook this year and she lives very close to me now). My Dad was raised Catholic, Catholic schooling, the works, but then went to Vietnam and things kind of went pear-shaped from there I think (all before I was born). I’ve never discussed it with him (there are lots of burned bridges there) as it was very much like that old Fawlty Towers episode – “Don’t mention the war!” (I hope the Americans got that joke, LOL). At any rate, no religion for me growing up (as an aside, my Dad was of Irish Catholic descent and my mother was the Protestant divorcee with two young children – imagine my grandparents’ reactions!)

    As for coming to faith as an adult. Without a word of a lie, I cannot fathom how it happened. I honestly can’t. During Easter 2007 my son came home from his secular, public school talking about Jesus and how he rose from the dead and I distinctly remember having a debate on an online forum about the validity of teaching children in public schools about the Bible. Australia is nothing like the US in this regard – religion is kept completely out of secular schooling except for the odd ‘opt in’ religious education sessions (RE or RI) which happen *maybe* once or twice per year. If you want your child to have a religious upbringing you choose a Christian or Catholic school and pay a little more for the privelege (although as ‘private’ schools go, they are still much cheaper – public schooling is still the cheapest option). Even homeschooling is fairly rare. It happens of course, but nowhere near the extent of the US. Anyhow, I’m off track again!

    Not that long after Easter I was convicted, through a process of reading many homemaking websites with Christian content and – I know now – the Holy Spirit, to read the Bible. At first it was a case of, I’ll just read along here and there on BibleGateway so I know exactly what these bloggers are referring to, kind of like in order to better arm myself for debate. I found I was quite interested in the reading (the floodgates had opened) but reading chapter after chapter on screen was hurting my eyes so I secretly went into the city, to a Christian bookstore with a friend, and bought a Bible. I say secretly because my husband was (and still is) a confirmed atheist.

    Stepping into that bookstore was strange. I felt like I had a big fat neon sign on me that said “THIS WOMAN IS GULLIBLE! SHE JUST BOUGHT A BIBLE!” I didn’t look at the books near the window, for goodness’ sake, in case someone saw me. If this seems odd – it is! But I’m nothing if not honest.

    Jennifer said something in her post “On Having Proof” that was completely true for me:

    There was no big “come to Jesus” moment, and even few times that I could say I “felt” that God was there, but it was as if some deep, powerful magnet had been activated within me that began pulling me in one direction.

    And that was exactly how it happened for me. I didn’t go through a disaster – no death of a loved one, no life crumbling around me – and I didn’t have a massive ‘phew!’ moment either – no disease or condition from which I, or anyone else I knew, was cured, no ‘wow, there really IS a God!’ moment.

    The first few months reading, asking questions, discovering websites (some of which steered me in the wrong direction totally) was tough. I actively fought AGAINST everything I was feeling compelled to do. I’d go in phases – I’d be excited about reading more, posting on boards etc and then I’d get that ‘Christianity is icky’ feeling again and I’d not read for two or three weeks at a time. I really feel (now) that God knew the battle that I was fighting and allowed me to step back before gently calling me back each time. I was worried, initially, that this was another ‘pet project’ of mine, kind of like when I tried getting into once a month cooking, or sewing, or scheduling my day, or… after the millionth ‘wooing back’ I finally realised ‘Oh, I get it, this is what’s going on.’ After that, it got easier.

    The last six months or so have been a gentle process of working through some personal stuff – when you have racked up 27 years of non-belief there’s an awful lot of reconciling you need to do with one’s scientific mind. My husband now knows I believe in God but I’m still hesitant to fully describe everything I’m feeling/reading because I know for a fact he completely disagrees. We’ve spoken, of course, and to be fair he has been really respectful of my thoughts and we’ve had some really good discussions, but on the other hand, he must be a bit confused and I often feel like I’m being painted into a corner because usually some aspect of apologetics comes up and I feel underqualified to answer him.

    I’m going to skip over the book question because honestly, I haven’t had much of a chance to read many Christian books other than the Bible and even then, I’m behind – I keep starting then falling away from it. I will say though that in the beginning I discovered a wonderful little podcast called Wrestling With The Basics (http://www.kfuoam.org/WWB_Audio_page.htm) which is just a couple of goofy guys doing a fun little Bible study and it really helped. In actual fact the pastor on that show – John Lukomski – and I have shared a few emails and he helped me to understand the God a little more in reference to my son’s disability.

    Shameless Self Promotion:

    My main blog is http://www.lizzieshome.com It’s your typical personal blog, where I natter on about my daily life as a housewife. What I’m more excited about though, is that on May 1st I’m going to launch a new blog for new Christians called A Whisper of Grace. The URL for that will be http://whisperofgrace.blogspot.com/ but at the moment (I’m writing this on April 22) it is set to private while I’m still working on it. I’m an info-nut and during this first year of faith I found there wasn’t much out there in terms of true newbies, ie, those who were not just backslidden but weren’t raised with religion at all, had never read the Bible, and were really struggling. There’ll be lots of sections like Podcasts/Audio, Websites, Video, recommendations for books – resources that helped me as a newbie etc etc. Actually, in getting this all up and running I need testimonials (another thing I searched for but never really found what I wanted) from folks who come to faith in adulthood.

    If anyone has one they’d like to share (or a link you think would be good for a newbie), please email me at lizzie1681(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    Thanks Jennifer – I never really wrote that out before :)

    Cheers,
    Lizzie
    http://www.lizzieshome.com

  105. allyouwhohope says:

    Hi, I’ve been reading your blog since late 2007.

    Spiritual journey: I’m a cradle Catholic who attended Mass each Sunday but would have told you that my favorite part of my religion was goofing off in church school. I never went to confession, used birth control, did all the typical things teenagers do. At age 18 I began to experience a great deal of debilitating anxiety all centered around the fear that there is no God. I desperately wanted God to be real, I just thought that the concept seemed too good to be true, therefore it couldn’t possibly be. I was consumed by this anxiety night and day for months (it was bad – I even cried uncontrollably in school), until it slowly went away. I soon started college, fell into all the bad things that college students do, attended Mass once a month (if at all) and forgot all about my anxiety. Fast forward ten years, and I found myself having the same anxiety all over again. Once again, it was centered around a fear that God didn’t exist. This time, with my new husband’s help, I decided to drastically change my life and set out on a quest to prove God does exist. Still not a believer, I threw myself into matters of faith, signed up for a weekly hour of Perpetual Adoration, started a ministerial formation program and prayed like crazy. After more than a year, this “dark night of the soul” came to an end and I am forever a changed person, thanks be to God!

    Where are you from? Upstate New York, but currently live in Richmond, Virginia.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: I currently don’t work (it’s a long story but involves moving and having a long recovery time after a recent surgery for endometriosis)and my husband works until 11:30 p.m., so we usually don’t wake up til around ten a.m. I watch a lot of t.v. and spend even more time online. When I feel inspired, I work on a documentary I’m producing about Perpetual Adoration. The rest of my day is spent playing with my dog, praying, blogging, cooking, baking and then watching more t.v. when my husband gets home (I sound like a real loser). My favorite part of the day is anytime of the day on my husband’s days off.

    My blog is allyouwhohope.blogspot.com. It’s an infertility blog (we’ve been trying for nearly four years), which I started due to a lack of support out there for Catholics dealing with infertility (the rest of the world sees no problem with in-vitro fertilization and that can leave a girl feeling completely alone). I write about my day-to-day struggles, my ever-changing moods, my faith, treatment updates, pro-life issues, more about my moods, and whatever else is bugging me.

  106. Creative Clayer says:

    1 Well, since you asked I guess I’ll say Hi. :) I’m Camille 25yrs old and mother to a spirited 5yr old girl. I was raised Cafeteria Catholic and fell away from the Church in High School. Replacing my faith with drugs and various other destructive behaviors. I came back to the Church after having my daughter baptized (at the age of 3). When the baptism class leader said I was making a commitment to raise her in the Church I took it seriously. I was confirmed at Easter Vigil this year and am thrilled to know the Truth, to receive Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday and to have God in charge of my life now. How liberating!

    2 Where are you from? I am from Knoxville, TN and Huntsville, AL but currently live in a suburb of Houston, TX. :)

    3 What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? After I had my daughter baptized I read Bud MacFarlane’s Pierced by a Sword. It pointed me in the direction of NFP and the rest is history!

    4 Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? My daily life is anything but structured. I’ve been working towards having more discipline in my life but am nowhere near where I want to be. Last weekend I attended an ACTS retreat with 40 women (80 if you count the volunteers) from my parish and it was the most wonderful experience of my life. I feel I have a greater understanding of God’s love for us than I ever thought possible. It has inspired me to do my daily chores and responsibilities for God. He loved me enough to send His Son to die for me, the least I can do is wash dishes. hehe.

    5 If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? I have two blogs which you should be able to access through my profile. I have no idea what the URLs are. haha! But I will plug my clay website: http://creativeclaybycamille.com :)

  107. Firefighter says:

    Hi, my name is Tyson. I live in Ohio, enjoy reading your blog and plan to vist often. I added your blog to my blog role, I hope you don’t mind. I am a contributor to another blog, the owner is an atheist. I fight back and forth with him alot over religion. I don’t go to church because I am not a people person, I stay to myself. I am searching for the truth about god and read as much as I can. Some times I start to doubt a little and need a boost. Most atheist use logic and science to try and sway me form god but I hold out in hope. Not out of fear of death but out of hope that my life means something. I feel without god my morals and life are a waist.

  108. Sta says:

    I’m Sta from Detroit. I became a Christian in 2005 when I was 25, although I was also raised in the Catholic church. I hated going to church as a kid and teenager–I found it very empty and hypocritical. I thought all they wanted was everyone’s money. I was so bored at services I would go hide in the bathroom. And my family practiced its “faith” only on Sunday; during the week, religion, God, prayer, the Bible were never discussed. I thought the whole thing phony.

    When I was 25, I did a lot of reading on Christianity, had a lot of long talks with a close Christian friend, started praying and had an intense encounter with Jesus in a dream. I’ve been a Christian ever since. I attend a non-denominational church.

    I read a lot, but I’ll list two books that helped me in my conversion — The Case for Faith and Mere Christianity.

    I’m a writer. My days are nutso. My favorite part is breakfast. I love breakfast. The calm before the storm.

    My blog is stalicious.typepad.com. I used to write about “whatever.” For the last seven months, I have written about being unexpectedly pregnant.

    Love your site!

  109. Liturgy Guy says:

    Hi I’m Robert, 52, married. I have used your writings several times now as starting points in CCD. I am very impressed by your insights, your openness to the Holy Spirit, and the clarity of your writing. As a life-long Catholic, I have found much on your blog that has enhanced my own faith and the living of it.

    Aside from lamentable lapses requiring the sacrament of confession, I have held the same traditional Catholic beliefs my whole life. I was an altar server as a boy, and have served also as an adult. I’ve been a lector since my teens, and have found daily spiritual nourishment in the Mass, the Rosary, visits to the Blessed Sacrament and the Liturgy of the Hours. Currently, I am a Choir director in my little parish. The choir sings chant and sacred polyphony. If I’d made as much progress in my 52 years as you have in your 2, I’d be very happy.

    I am from north western Massachusetts, not far from the border with Vermont.

    Aside from the Bible the most influential books in my life have been the Imitation of Christ and the Liturgy of the Hours.

    My daily life: I am a clerk at university. I pray on the bus ride to work, take a break at lunch and make a visit with Jesus in the Newman Center, pray on the bus ride on the way home, meet my family at our Church for Mass in the evening, teach my kids their catechism while my wife makes supper, and then have an hour or two after supper with my wife. We are both members in formation of the Lay Missionaries of Charity, part of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity family. http://www.laymc.com

    I have a blog in which I share some meditations on different aspects of the Faith and the world we live in. It is: http://piisima-virgo.blogspot.com/

    Thanks so much for sharing your faith and your journey.

  110. "JEANNELLE" says:

    I was led to your blog for the first time just yesterday via a link on my Google Reader page. Your insightful post on art simply blew me away.

    This is a nice idea, having your readers introduce themselves….thank you! I’m old compared to most of your readers; I’ll hit the half-century mark this summer.

    ******Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?******

    I was raised Baptist and joined my husband’s rural LCMS Lutheran Church when we married.

    ******Where are you from?******

    A farm in northeast Iowa is my home. I’ve never lived in town.

    *****What is one book that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?*****

    I enjoy reading books that link science and religion, such as Gerald Schroeder’s “The Hidden Face of God”, “Genesis and the Big Bang”, and “The Science of God”.

    *****Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?*****

    I live on a dairy farm, so livestock chores are in my schedule every day. My favorite part of the day is taking a long walk down our country road or out in the fields. Its a great time to pray for my family and others. Also, I truly believe God speaks to us in nature, but we rarely pay attention.

    *****If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?*****

    Yes, I’ve been blogging since February of 2007, on:

    http://www.midlifebyfarmlight.blogspot.com

    I love to write about everyday occurrences, to attempt to find meaning in them. A few months ago I acquired my first digital camera and enjoy putting photos on the blog now, too.

  111. Melanie B says:

    I’m Melanie, 33 years old, mother of two girls under two.

    I’m a cradle Catholic, went to Catholic school from first through eighth grade, public high school and then Catholic college. In college the holes in my religious formation started to show. I started missing mass on Sundays, not every Sunday but many. And as I’d never developed a habit of confession, I didn’t confess it at all. I never left the faith; but it took second place to the rest of my life until I was in grad school and several things came together to jar me out of my complacency. I still have to struggle with going to confession but I think I’m growing in my faith.

    I’m from Austin, Tx and live in the Boston area where my husband grew up.

    The Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings were foundational for me and I give them much of the credit for keeping me Catholic even when I started to drift. Lewis and Tolkien made faith a part of my imaginative landscape, they are simply a part of who I am. Several books by Scott Hahn and Orthodoxy and the Everlasting Man by Chesterton were responsible for prodding me toward a mature reconsideration of my faith.

    My days are pretty tranquil. I wake up when the baby or the toddler cries. Feed the kids and myself, pray, read to the toddler, make lunch, take a nap if the kids let me, make dinner, read a bunch of blogs and maybe write some posts in there somewhere. Right now I spend a lot of time breastfeeding and change a lot of diapers with the nursing newborn.

    My favorite moment of the day is when I spy my husband pulling up the the curb and tell the toddler that daddy’s home and watch her face light up.

    I blog at The Wine Dark Sea, writing about books, faith, family life, especially my beautiful daughters, books, education, homeschooling, art, children’s books, the Catholic Church, educational philosophy, literature, poetry, and especially books.

  112. truthfinder says:

    Wow! It’s been wonderful reading all of these. I don’t want to take up too much space, but I’ve enjoyed “lurking” at your blog for a few months, now. I was born near Pittsburgh, PA in 1948, so I MAY be your oldest reader. Dad was raised in the Church of the Brethren in Indiana. His father (who died before I was born) was a Quaker and did some ministry — after he gave up raising mules. He said the two couldn’t be done together! Mother was mostly Church of the Nazarene: everything I wanted to do as a teenager somehow was judged to be a “sin” — dancing, going to movies, wearing makeup, etc. I grew up in a church called the Christian and Missionary Alliance, but started attending the Baptist Church with my best friend when I started high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. I got “saved” and was baptized by immersion when I was 16. Actually, I’d gotten “saved” multiple times as a child, but was never baptized; the churches I was part of didn’t baptize infants. My best friend introduced me to a young cradle Catholic guy my Senior year in high school. He converted to the Baptist church and was also “baptized” by immersion, since they didn’t believe his infant baptism was valid. We met in March of 1966 and married in August of the same year after he received his draft notice. We hope to celebrate our 42nd anniversary this year. Wherever life took us, serving God was uppermost in our minds and hearts. We wanted to be as close to God as possible, and to serve Him always. From Baptist to Charismatic Baptist, to Assembly of God, to Nazarene, to Presbyterian (drawn by the liturgy), to Episcopalian in Southwest Missouri and now, to Catholic Convert (me) and Catholic revert (husband): what a journey!

    Favorite books — too many — but The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris really influenced me, and Madeleine L’Engle’s books, and of course, dear, dear C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.

    Typical day: Up at 9:00 AM (maybe) brief prayer plus scripture/devotional. Coffee, news, emails, read favorite blogs, check my eBay listings. Check progress of our new college library building on webcam, do some housework. Get ready for work, arriving at 1:30 at our small (old) college library and working ’til close at 8:30 PM. Weekends; run, run, run — except for the joy and wonder of mass on Sunday mornings. And of course I followed the amazing and awesome visit our “Papa” made to the U.S.!!
    No blog at present but working on one. I think I found yours from Happy Catholic. Thank you for being such a gracious host!!!!

  113. Mandy says:

    Hey…I’m Mandy, 31 and a very new reader of your blog. BTW, I love it.

    1. I was raised Catholic and attended Catholic school for 8 years. I met my husband, who was a practicing Baptist, in 1998. We were married in the Catholic Church in 2000. We started going to a Methodist church about three years later because we wanted to worship together, and neither one of us (at the time) was willing to convert to the other’s religion. In January of this year, Brad decided to convert to Catholicism. He will begin RCIA in Sept. We are currently attending Mass at our local parish.

    2. I am originally from Pittsburgh, Pa, but live in South Carolina now.

    3. Life Giving Love, by Kimberly Hahn. Changed my way of thinking about EVERYTHING!

    4. I teach part time in a public school until 11. Then, I pick up my three and two year old boys from the babysitters and start our day together. My favorite part of the day is being with them. :)
    5. I do have a blog. I typically write about our daily happenings because most family and friends are far away.

    http://theponds.wordpress.com

  114. Anonymous says:

    Good Morning! My name is Sheilaelaine and I am a parish secretary. I have attended church all my life, however, I did not become Catholic until 1996 and the last thing I ever thought I’d be is a Administrative Assistant in a Catholic church!

    I just wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your Scorpion adventures!

    There are several books I’ve enjoyed and that have impacted my life, to name one would be impossible. However, here are two that come to mind;”The Five People You Meet In Heaven” and “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”.

    My favorite part of each day is early in the morning when I’m the only one awake and I have the whole day ahead of me and the last hour of my day when I can look back at my day and feel good about any accomplishments I may have made.

    I have a son in the Air Force and he has a wife and baby on the way. I have a daughter at UNLV and she has a beautiful daughter and husband and I have a 7th grade son who is a site to see on the basketball court.

    I love to write in my spare time.

    One last note – I too am deathly afraid of bees! They are bigger than the average eye realizes!

  115. Tom says:

    Hi Jennifer, I’m Tom from Northern Virginia, just about 30 minutes west of Washington, D.C. I’m a 41 year old father of 3, soon to be 4 in October, and have been married for 10 years (as of next month).

    I am the youngest of 3 kids, by about 8 years, and was raised nominally Catholic, meaning I never attended Catholic school, but did go to CCD; attended mass most but not all of the time all the way through high school, and received the sacraments growing up, but didn’t do a lot of reinforcing of it at home. It was probably your typical 70s/80s cultural Catholic upbringing.

    My nominal Catholicism lasted most of my life, but looking back now, I can see that I was somehow protected from leaving all the way, I always stayed just connected enough to the Church. I met my wife in a young adults group in our parish that I almost didn’t even go to the first time, but here we are 10 years later. She was a cradle Catholic too, and even though we met at church, we were both content to continue on the same way, without really deepening our faith life much at all.

    Somehow for me, that changed after I turned 40 and had 3 kids, I decided I either needed to “do this Catholic thing” or stop pretending and find the truth somewhere else. Probably largely due to the prayers of my mother, friends and I’m sure JP II up in heaven praying for new recruits for the church’s springtime of evangelization, I started studying the faith for the first time, reading a lot of , listening to Catholic Answers and various other podcasts, and began taking my prayer life much more seriously. It’s still a work in progress, but much farther along than it was.

    I credit my recent reversion with reigniting my love of reading again, including lots of apologetics and church history, but well before that, I was already a C.S. Lewis fan. Back in my late teens/early 20s, when I was searching for something but didn’t realize it at the time, I enjoyed reading Lewis, especially Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters. For me, Lewis was my confirmation that faith was not only plausible, but rational, points that Pope BXVI reiterated on numerous occasions this past week. I also love to read conversion stories, and who doesn’t love a good conversion story? I haven’t read yours yet, but plan to later today. I’m generally a blog lurker, content to read in the shadows, so consider it a great (ok, small) honor that I’m commenting on yours. Oh, and I love to read lots of blogs, especially Amy Welborn and Mark Shea’s.

    My typical weekdays are spent working at a large, internet company as a Program Manger and my weeknights are spent doing everything I can to help evenings run as smoothly as possible where 3 kids under the age of 8 are involved and mom is pregnant. Also, as if that’s not enough, my oldest son has a rare genetic disorder known as Angleman Syndrome, and as a result, he does not speak or walk independently, needs full assistance for all daily living skills, and takes lots of medicine and has lots of doctors appointments. And thank God He sent him to us! This is all to say that life is very full and I’m learning more and more to depend on God’s grace to make it.

    I don’t have my own blog yet but after discovering so many great blogs (including yours) while following the Popes’ visit last week, I’m somewhat inspired to start my own. I’ll let you know what comes of it. Thanks for your comments and insights, very much appreciated. Keep up the great work.

  116. Big Tex says:

    Howdy!

    Generally a lurker here and there. Introduced to your blog by the Darwins. My wife and I are friends and former “neighbors” of theirs (We lived in the Kensington Place subdivision).

    Also, I am a former brewing partner Darwin himself. We crafted several delightful beers together until a dreadful (at least at the time) happened at my former employer… cutbacks. Fortunately, I found a great job. Unfortunately, it took me away from Texas.

    Let’s see… I’m 31. Originally from Dallas. I was born, raised, and spanked Catholic. Attended Catholic school for 13 years until college. Electrical engineer by training. We have four kids: “Bubba” is just about 5, “Sissy” is 3, “Belle” is 18 mos., and TBD is due in early December.

    We live north of Seattle, WA. We’ve found a wonderful group of friends that share common values and help us to grow in our Catholic faith. I still brew beer, albeit no longer with Darwin. I have new, local brew partners. (I’ve got an Imperial IPA sitting in secondary waiting to be bottled…)

    We still make it back to Dallas and Austin just about annually for Christmas and New Years to see family and some old friends. Darwin and I generally find some time in there to share some good beer during these visits. We’ve also been known to go shoot some guns too.

    Gig ‘em

  117. Thea says:

    Oh my! It took some stamina to reach the bottom of the comments here, but at last! I made it.

    Spiritual Journey. In a nutshell, I converted to Christianity at 17 (I’m now 25). Since then I’ve been involved in a couple of church plants in my very liberal, apparently “un-churched” town.

    I was not raised in the faith (my dad is, in fact, resolutely opposed to Christianity), but God has worked wonders large and small in my life over the course of the last eight years.

    Location. I was born in the midwest, but have lived in the uppermost northwestern corner of the country for my entire life. I have spent all that time in the same beautiful town, as a matter of fact, and so I feel blessed with deep roots and a strong sense of community.

    Books. And here, the bibliophile will out. Walking on Water, by Madeliene L’Engle; A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken; anything by C.S. Lewis, though The Great Divorce and Mere Christianity deserve special mention. Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship. Edith Schaeffer’s L’Abri (a recent find). There are more that I’m forgetting, I just know it.

    Daily Life. For the last four years, daily life has involved going to work (in a dental office), enjoying the company of my husband of 5 years, and pursuing various artistic side-endeavors (mentioned on my blog).

    Now, though, I’m home on maternity leave, waiting for our first baby, a baby that could be born any minute, and it’s delightful. What my daily life will be like in a month, I can’t say, but I’m looking forward to it.

    Blog. I do have a blog! The Little Bird.

    I’ve been reading your blog regularly for the last few months – though I’ve been lurking, as they say, and not commenting much – and I’ve enjoyed your posts immensely. Yours are the ones I save for last in my reader because I know that they are sure to be the best.

  118. Sarah says:

    Hi, I’m Sarah, I’m 20 and grew up Catholic. Though my family never missed Sunday mass, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I began learning more than the skeleton/basics of the faith…

    I’m from Auburn, AL, and I’m a student at AU now, in French Education.

    As for a book, the Catechism has had a big impact for me (yes, I know it’s a kind of basic too…oh well.) And recently Rome Sweet Home. I have big plans for reading many religious books full of impact this summer.

    My daily life is spent in classes and coffeeshops, and I usually go home for free dinner and to the Catholic student organization (the best!) for whichever nightly activity.

    I have no blog, but I do have a facebook (on which I link to you :D).

  119. Sarah says:

    Oops! I have already left a comment… [The first one is under amy jane (untangling tales) I think...]So, you can delete one of mine…haha didn’t mean to be a comment-hog!

  120. Kate says:

    First a Caveat: This is a long-winded, rambling “comment” or should I say commentary? I am a tired mom (mombie) who should be in bed right about now. Please forgive its length as well as overlook any typos or strange thoughts. Finally, know that your blog is a must-have for cradle Catholics like myself who will never really stop seeking. God bless you.

    Spiritual journey: I’m another one of those cradle Catholics out there. I haven’t always been true to the Catholic faith (even when I thought I was), although I’ve always gone to Mass, even in college. Not because I’m some pious, holier-than-thou individual. I’ve had ulterior motives. As a teenager, I wanted to please my parents. There was a time in college when I went because I had a crush on a guy who played the guitar in the choir with me. Sometimes I’ve gone out of guilt instead of my love for Christ – like other day when I found myself at Mass with two cranky kids. I’d been really tempted to skip Mass. My husband was on call and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to handle a teething baby and a cantankerous 3-year-old, but then I remembered the a priest’s reference to the early Christian martyrs in Rome who literally chose brutal deaths over missing Mass. “They’d rather die than be without the Eucharist,” the priest reminded us. Geez and I just wanted to skip out because I was feeling a little ragged. So I went, but I admit I was hoping for a break. I even may have made a little deal with God: “Look at me, making this noble effort to go to Mass when I have two sleepy kiddos. Cut me some slack, okay?”

    But like so many prayers – or hopeful, one-way conversations – God has a different plan. Cut me slack, He did not. Instead, I was faced with a wiggly, drooly, crying baby and an equally distraught (minus the drool) 3-year-old. I finally threw out the white flag of surrender and retreated to the vestibule with throngs of other tired parents trying to pay attention to what was going on over the whining, crying, coughing, giggling, gurgling and babbling of little ones. Surrounded by the loud cacophony, I felt anything but peaceful. I also had a hard time focusing on anything that was going on beyond the insanity surrounding me. I honestly have no idea what the Homily was about. I didn’t hear one single word. I started to really wonder why I was there, why I’d endured the rushed morning, the fight over brushing my preschooler’s wild hair, the futile search for the only pair of socks that actually stayed on my baby’s feet…

    I got my answer.

    When it came time for Holy Communion, the baby snuggled close to me in the Ergo. My preschooler walked piously ahead of me with her arms crossed in front of her chest in preparation for her blessing. I bowed before my Lord, my Savior. The Eucharistic Minister blessed both of my quiet and motionless children, looked to me and said, “This is the body of Christ.” I replied, “Amen.” I believe. I received the Eucharist and for a brief moment, I felt Him. I knew why people would rather die than be denied of the gift of Mass. Jesus was there with me, pouring his love down on me. This – the Eucharist – was the reason I was there despite all the odds (AKA pernickety children) against me, which, by the way, began fussing before the host even fully dissolved in my mouth. Nevertheless, that sense of peace, that sense of Christ’s presence, which I’ve only discovered in the Eucharist, is the reason I keep coming back even when I don’t feel very inspired, even when my closeness to God is as fleeting as Hollywood romances, even when I doubt God’s love for me. It’s the reason I fervently pray for a unity of faith between my husband and me (he usually goes to Mass with us and is committed to raising our children in the Catholic faith, but he is not Catholic. I almost didn’t marry him because of this fact, but that’s a story for another day or another blog). As I wrote in a blog about a particularly powerful moment in Adoration, “Honestly, it seems I spend far more of my life grasping than feeling like God is with me and deeply loves little, old sinful me. But it’s these moments – when I strongly experience his presence, when all my doubts disappear, when not one naysayer could convince me that practicing my faith is a foolish pursuit, when I’m acutely aware of his strong, intense love for me, as rare and brief as they regrettably usually are – that make me keep coming back.”

    So anyway, in a nutshell, that’s why I’m a proud Catholic and why I’ve always gone to Mass, even though I haven’t always LIVED the faith as I should. I am always in the seeking stage and the blogosphere has opened up a whole new world for me. It’s given introduced me to brothers and sisters in Christ that I would have probably never encountered and has also really helped sharpen some of my convictions – like being open to new life.

    My Origin: I’m originally from Illinois, but I’ve been Down South for a long time now.

    Books: I know this is really lame to say, but I just can’t pick one book that has profoundly changed my life. I will say that it was reading Mother Teresa’s A Simple Life while sitting on a subway on my way to a very corporate, flashy job when I first experienced out of nowhere an extremely strong calling to be a mother. I wasn’t even dating anyone at the time, but I remember praying to God that if this was his will to give me what I needed to fulfill my vocation. My hubby and I, who had briefly dated in high school, were reacquainted and started dating again soon after that and the rest is history. We’ll be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary in May and we’ve been blessed with two little girls so far (a 3-year-old and soon-to-be-1-year-old).

    Typical Day and Some Other Stuff, Too: I’m 29 and a wife and stay-at-home mom/freelance writer, although I don’t do nearly as much as of the latter these days. I do try to write every single day – whether it’s for my blog, in my journal or to work on some fiction. However, being a mom of the two precious souls God has presently entrusted me with – comes first (in theory anyway; I can be a selfish mommy who doesn’t always live up to this profound task of raising two children and nurturing two souls for heaven). Not always easy for a Type-Aer like myself.

    My husband is a medical resident, so his hours can be bad. Thus, both of our days can be really long. I try to stay awake after my baby’s early morning nursing (between 4 and 6 a.m.) to pray and write over a cup of coffee if time allows. Oftentimes I can’t drag myself out of bed because I’ve been up with the baby or my nocturnal preschooler. And to think I used to be a morning person and never even pulled an all-nighter in college! Sleep is my drug of choice, but I’m a poor junky, always going through withdrawal. I don’t spend much time horizontal these days, but I consider it just one of many sacrifices parenting demands. (I truly believe motherhood and marriage are sanctifying.) Despite my lack of shut-eye, I have boundless energy once I’m up for the day (I stay up far too late; that’s something I have to work on because I know I’d be a better mommy if I went to bed before midnight). I love to do things with the kiddos. We sing and play and act goofy. I homeschool, although my oldest is only 3 so it’s not like we’re following a rigid curriculum or anything. (Admittedly, my Type A tendencies initially sent me into overdrive and I was planning all of these ridiculously elaborate lesson plans based on a wonderful program called Little Saints when I realized this was really, really silly – and exhausting for both my child and me – and our time would be better spent being outside looking at wiggly caterpillars or watching the clouds drift in the sky or inside reading books or pretending we were riding magic ponies.)

    We often go on outings – to library story time, to a park, to the zoo or to visit friends or grandparents (we are blessed to live by both sets). We belong to a wonderful Catholic homeschool co-op that meets at least once a month.

    We have quiet time in the afternoon (the baby naps in the morning as well). I should spend of my time sans kiddos praying, but I usually end up doing things around the house, clambering away at the keyboard or resting beside my antsy preschooler who hates to be alone EVER. Then I start dinner and we wait for Daddy, if he’ll be home.

    I suppose my days, like most SAHMs, are filled with what some would call menial tasks – wiping snotty noses, spreading PB on bread, cajoling preschoolers to go poopy on the potty, nursing babies, folding laundry, baking muffins – but I’ve found that sacramental moments are to be found everywhere. St. Therese of Lisieux wrote that holiness can be achieved in the little things in life. Thank goodness for that! My days can be filled up with a lot of “little things” that add up to a life – and a holy one if I choose to do everything out of love.

    Ah, but I digress once again. (Sorry!)

    The point is (or at least one of my points in this rambling mess), as I try to reflect upon a “typical day,” I come up short. I can’t even really decide what my favorite part of the day is. I love it when my husband returns home to all of us, not only because I’ve missed him or because I’m ready for reinforcements but because it’s like Christmas morning for the girls. My 3-year-old wants him to call to say he’s almost there so she can wait out in the driveway for him. Today she was in middle of going potty when he called, but this didn’t stop her. She ran out in just her shirt, shouting, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” Meanwhile, the baby vibrated with excitement and squealed at the sight of his car. When he approached her, she frantically waved and said, “Hiiiiiiiiiii!” What a reception! (It sometimes makes me want to go away just so I can come back to that; I wonder if that’s how reverts feel when they return to the faith after a lapse.) I love it when we’re all together. I try to wait to feed the girls until my husband’s home so we can all eat together as a family. This isn’t always possible given his hours, but when it does happen, it’s definitely one of the highlights of my day.

    The Writer in Me and Some Blatant Self-Promotion: I love to write. (Can you tell?) I’ve been writing in journals since I was 6. I have a whole box brimming with notebooks and journals. I was a journalism major and have been freelancing for a little over 5 years. I’ve recently cut back on some of my paid work, so I can get more sleep and be a better mommy. I have two blogs, both of which I started about one year ago. My main one is KateWicker.blogspot.com where I write about things pertaining to my faith (or sometimes regrettably lack thereof), my mothering, my writing and my life in general. Then I have a blog called Momopoly.blogspot.com that has much of the same content as the other one; however, I sometimes include a few more snapshots of the girls for the grandparents and I don’t focus on my faith quite as much. I have a few books in me, including a few novels, that I’ll write one of these days. For now my fiction is sorely ignored. I can’t do it all, although I’ve often tried to.

    Writing is so many things to me – catharsis, entertainment, fun, scary, a source of self-doubt, a source of confidence, energizing, draining, a way to be more open to the Holy Spirit and to deepen my faith, a creative release. Blogging has given me an outlet for writing outside of freelance work, journals, or novel ideas. It’s also given me an opportunity to connect with like-minded moms and to be inspired by their insight and wisdom. You, Jen, have been a leading inspiration. Thank you for sharing your conversion story, your faith, your wisdom. Above all, thank you for your humility and honesty. I believe we are invited to see the presence of God in all things – even in the blogosphere. You make that easy.

  121. Sarah says:

    Yet another Sarah here . . .seems to be a popular name for my age group! I started reading Et tu? in the summer of 2007, and check it now almost every day. I love this blog in part because it eerily reflects my own thoughts on a lot of topics, like the veil issue or praying in contract terms!

    I’m 28 years old, about to graduate law school in three weeks, and getting married on June 14th.

    I’m the youngest of five kids in a staunchly Catholic household. I’m from Kentucky, but due to a sad lack of Catholic High Schools in the area that are faithful to the Magisterium, (tons of non-faithful ones) I went to high-school at Seton High School in Manassas, Virginia. It was a fantastic school and really cemented my belief in what I had always known to be true. I graduated from Christendom College (Front Royal, Va) in 2002, and after a few years bartending for a living, (it was fun, also in NoVa) I decided to go to law school (back home, in Louisville, Kentucky). Law School has been challenging, in part because I always feel like I am the “Catholic example,” so whenver I am harsh to people, which happens more than I like to admit, it is generally attributed to my religious beliefs, rather than to me.

    I love so many books that to point out one that has influenced me is a toughie, although I particularly enjoyed Love and Responsibility, (we actually read this at Christendom in a Philosophy of Love class) and I also really enjoy reading This Rock magazine which is put out by Catholic Answers.

    Since I’m a student, my days are filled primarily with school work, and I also have a very very part-time job as a clerk. Wedding plans also have been taking up some of my time, but I generally manage to save a few hours to spend with my honey!

    My blog is http://www.morialives.blogspot.com

    I generally blog about stuff at school, pro-life, some politics, but it’s been lacking here lately. It’s at the low end of the totem pole, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs much more than writing my own!

  122. Ashley says:

    - I’m Ashley, 23 years old. I’ve been reading your blog off and on since a little before Lent.

    - I’m a cradle Catholic from a fairly “conservative” Catholic family (i.e. Birth control is bad, politics and abortion are intertwined, etc). I am still Catholic, albeit a bit more “liberal” now – social justice and Catholic Social Teachings are central to my sense of religion and faith. If my religion does not call me to look outside myself, it is pointless. That said, with my changing philosophical views of my faith, it’s been difficult to maintain my sense of spirituality…to the point of feeling a complete absence of God in my life. (And subsequently getting angry at God, of course :))

    - I’m from Ohio. I’ve lived in 2 other countries and Hawaii, though – so I’m pretty much from everywhere.

    - The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day. I love that woman.

    - I work at an afterschool center with urban youth, so I work on lessons and administrative tasks until around 2, and then I play outside, go on hikes, and hang out with kids. My favorite part of the day is Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:30-8. I work with a group of 4th and 5th graders, mostly boys. We share about our day and our week and discuss really important issues – like violence, gangs, and the environment. It’s fascinating to see how these kids grow and how mature they can be. I love them to death.

    - My blog is:
    ourlittleapartment.blogspot.com
    I write about my life, and lots of environmental (aka: “green”) tips and ideas. Check it out!

  123. Kerry says:

    Hey Jen. I read your blog on a regular basis, and I find it so helpful- I love the variety- spiritual issues, day to day items, family issues. Your journey is really interesting.

    I grew up the oldest of 8 kids in a Catholic family. I recieved very solid formation through activites of Opus Dei. When I was 20 I saw God was calling me to be a member of Opus Dei, and I have been struggling to find God in my daily life and work ever since. Most of all, I have been so very happy living my faith.

    I grew up in a suburb of San Francisco, California. My husband and I are stationed on the Central Coast of California with the military.

    Best book? At the moment, “Marriage- a Path to Sanctity” Read it when engaged. Just re-read it. I need the reminders- going on 4 years of marriage and dealing with my husband’s current deployment to Iraq. Marriage means living and embracing Christ’s Cross. His loveable, wonderful, and sometimes very difficult Cross.

    I am home with my one year old daughter. I try to balance daily prayer and daily Mass. Just started incorportaing excercize on a regular basis- joined the Y! I love to cook, also.
    Favorite part of the day-
    I love it when my daughter wakes up and babbles to herself in her crib, and I just listen.
    Another favorite part of the day is a call from my hubby. (I realize all the things I took for granted before. I’d give a lot right now to just go on a walk with him!)

    No blog. Just an avid reader of quality blogs.
    I had a blog in my head where I talked about “Life” issues- NFP, birth control and abortion- from a natural law perspective….maybe I’ll create that in the future! :)

  124. Anonymous says:

    hello fellow souls. I am aged 61, male, divorced, and have made a decision to have faith. After looking into other denominations and other religions, the only place I want to be, in the Catholic Church.
    Currently I also want to be free of alcohol and drugs.

  125. Susanne Barrett says:

    Gosh — what a readership you have!

    My name is Susanne, and I found you through your posting on the Catholic Spitfire Grill Yahoo Group. I come from a non-churched home — moral, believed in God, but no practice. Became a Christian at age 8 through Mormon neighbors taking me to their church. Attended an evangelical college, married an evangelical, attended a Catholic grad school, taught at both the Catholic and the evangelical universities. Married in a Disciples of Christ Church, attended a Presbyterian Church for many years while dh remained burned-out on church. Then we found an evangelical church that we’ve been at for 15 years. We have four kids — dd16, ds13, ds10, ds8, and we have homeschooled all the way except for one year when I was very ill.

    I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue symdrome, Addison’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. I’m on prescription painkillers to function daily.

    I began to be interested in the Catholic Church when a friend on the SL forums converted. I started reading some books she recommended and became interested, too. Then my husband FREAKED. However, he does allow me to attend an Anglican Church (APA — very conservative) on weekdays which I have been doing for nearly four years.

    God has “told” me that I’ll become Catholic — and so will my husband — but to just wait and He’ll take care of it. So I wait.

    Book with greatest impact: Evangelical Is Not Enough by Howard

    I live in eastern San Diego County, in a small mountain town.

    Daily life: Homeschool four kids and also teach writing at co-op (high school college prep and honors classes), online, and co-taught a community-college class. Starting to teach a Shakespeare class with bravewriter.com on Monday. Write as much as I can otherwise: journal, blog, poetry, and nonfiction — working on a book on liturgical worship written to evangelicals that stemmed from a contemplative retreat I led a few years ago. Just don’t have much time to write it, though….

    I’ve been blogging for nearly two years at http://www.meditativemeanderings.blogspot.com — come and see!

  126. Anonymous says:

    Hi, I’m chaik. I’m 32 years old, have a BA in English and History, and homeschool my two kids.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My whole extended family, discluding my mother and one uncle, are Catholic. My mother was an evangelical when I was small and so I grew up with an odd mix of evangelicalism and Catholicism.
    I considered myself Catholic, even though I was not practicing. The birth of my first son caused me to doubt, not God’s presence, but his ways. I wondered how a loving and just God could let real-life nightmares happen. This led me on a search and I ended up a very devout Catholic. This in turn led me to Orthodoxy, and my family converted in 2005.

    I’m originally from one of the eastern states, lived in MN for a time, and am now back in my homestate, living in a very rural area…which I am slowly coming to terms with.

    I’m a true bibliophile and it would be really hard to pare down which books have had the greatest impact on my life. From childhood, the Chronicles of Narnia and the Emily series by L.M. Montgomery. I find it harder to choose somthing from adulthood because so many books have had a huge impact on me. One would definitely be The Orthodox Way by Kallistos Ware. Another isn’t a book, but the living “books” of my children, urging me on to become a better person.

    Wow, this is really dry, and not much like my real personality! I just learned about your blog today from a forum I frequent, and find it very interesting. I’ve never been an atheist and it is extremely educational to read about someone who comes from such a distinctly different way of life than I have had. Thanks!

  127. Starving Econ Grad says:

    Hi, I’m Doug.

    1)
    I was raised a Catholic. After my father died (at age 11) I began to doubt Christianity. By age 13 I was a nonreligious evil person. I stayed that way for 6 years. At 19 I experienced a life threating illness that led to being bedridden for 8 months. During that time I read the Bible along with anything else. A Lutheran priest happened to be a neighbor and he would come and sit with me while my mother worked. I became a Christian during that time.

    2
    I’m from Maryland but I’ve lived in Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky.

    3
    Christ and the Media

    4
    I wake up and pray each morning. I sometimes read the Bible. I’m a graduate student so it varies from there. I usually check the computer and get to work going to class or working on my thesis. I spend dinner with my wife and we clean up the dishes together. I check the computer again. I lay down and read when it’s bed time. When I’m about to fall asleep I repent of my sins for the day.

    5
    http://boundedirrationality.blogspot.com
    About 2/3 Christian topics and 1/3 personal or economic topics.

  128. Aliocha says:

    I am what you would call a “cradle catholic”, also the experience is a little different in Portugal. We are all Catholic, I couldn’t understand the difference between catholic and christian until my twenties, the 2 words were synonyms to me.
    I started deepening my faith by the age of 20, and after graduation from college, I have spent a year in Rome, at the Emmanuel School of Mission, a 1-year course for lay missionaries.
    Have been struggling with living the faith in daily life ever since!

    I’m from Portugal, from a small city called Fatima. Yes, that Fatima! The apparition took place about half a mile from my parents’ place.

    I am a book addict, so it is very difficult to name just one. At the time of my deepening faith, it was important for me the 3-volume “Life and Mistery of Jesus of Nazareth” by the spanish writer “José Luiz Martin Descalzo”.

    My daily life right now is a nightmare, since I am having 3 jobs: I work for chain of shoestores, being the head of office; I teach in the Mathematics Department of the Instituto Politecnico de Leiria, and I also give private classes of Mathematics . I leave to you to imagine the mess.

    I have a blog, but I haven’t posted in a while, and probably won’t until the end of June (when I will return to the sane status of having only one job).
    http://www.soultransplants.blogspot.com/

  129. Sue Clarke says:

    Hi! I’m Sue and I’m forty six and not used to posting on blogs, so I hope this will all work!

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    From a non religious family, I was an obedient youngster who changed into a definite flower child and married another free thinking hippy and we had a wonderful baby son.

    I had fertility problems and it took ten years before we had another child, during which I had done a fair bit of vague praying ( relicts of my Catholic prep school) I was so overjoyed at having a second child, I wanted to thank this God who figured somewhere in my life and might have been the reason for adding to my family,so I wandered into the local evangelical Protestant church, and hated it, it was judgemental and felt unloving to me.

    An old school friend I met suggested sarcastically that I would make a good Quaker….and I decided to follow through on that.
    So I visited the Society of Friends, who are a great bunch of people, but I wasn’t at all sure that God was there. I got an invite to a local evangelical Baptist church, I visited and stayed a year and took my two youngest children to Sunday school ( yup by now I had three children :0 ) ). I always felt though ,a fake, I loved the minister and an old school friend was there, but I was I thought going through the motions compared to the rest of the congregation and felt beset with doubts about whatever this faith was I felt compelled to seek.
    The crunch for me came when I fell ill in the autumn of last year. I had to have many tests etc etc and whatever my faith was didn’t seem to stand up to this. I couldn’t get to church and allowed myself to feel hurt that no-one phoned to see how I was, I craved my old Quaker friends and went back to see them. And that is where I was until last Sunday when for some reason or other, I walked into the big Catholic church up the road from my house….and now I am confused.
    You see both Quakers and Baptists left me feeling anxious and not up to scratch. The Catholic service I went to yesterday was disorganised, very laid back and why all the incense? But here is the weird thing I came out of that service and felt at peace, now was that a gift from God???

    I have no desire to throw myself into Catholicism, I have never managed to read the Bible cover to cover, and the number of bad things I have read about Catholic priests , well I expect you have read them all yourself!
    So that is where I am, a confused and searching attender at Quaker Meetings standing on the edge of the Catholic church LOL
    Apologies because you did say tell me a little about your spirtual journey but I have probably told you far more than you could want to know!

    Where are you from?

    I live in Norwich, Norfok which is in the far eastern part of the UK. The only big city in a largely agricultural county.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Eek, well Lord of the Rings was my constant teenage escape fantasy, Skallagrig by William Horwood has a special place in my heart as the mother of a special needs child, and The Lord Peter Wimsey series my Dorothy L Sayers were my total romantic guide as a young woman, still love them today.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a stay at home mother, so most days are general domesticity with the highlights of vegetable gardening , computer breaks and driving lesssons ( I’m learning to drive late in life!)
    My favourite part of each day is evening meal time, when my husband comes home from work and we all get together round the table.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    No no blog, but I think I have written enough here to almost start one…………

  130. razzler says:

    Hi there. This is such a good idea!

    I was raised in a Christian family. My mum and step-dad are evangelical Baptists. My dad and step-mum are Church of Scotland Presbyterian,and pretty liberal. Made me a bit confused at times! I now go to a baptist church, but I avoid the label ‘evangelical’. I love the Lord.

    I live just outside London, in the UK.

    The book would be The Cross of Christ by John Stott. It explained so much to me about why Christ died for us and what this acheived.

    Daily life. I work in Admin at my old university in London. I get up, eat, wash, get on the train, gaze out of the window, work all day (with a fair amount of blogging besides), get back on train, gaze out of the window, get home,cuddle my lovely hubby, eat, cuddle some more, sleep, and start the routine again the next day. My favourite part of the day is when I cuddle my hubby. I also enjoy the gazing out of the window whilst on the train, this allows my mind to roam free and contemplate.

    My blog is http://razzler.wordpress.com

    I ramble. I talk about faith issues, observations in society, little things that get me excited… My blog is called Random Musings. ;)

  131. Mary@notbefore7 says:

    HI! I have had an absolutely wonderful evening reading all sorts of posts from your blog. You hit the nail on the head so many times! Thanks for a little peek into your blogging world and the thoughts God has laid on your heart.

    1 – I was raised in a Christain home and have never known a time that God was not a part of my life.

    2 – MD…but can’t determine where you are from on your blog ;)

    3 – Improving your Serve by Chuck Swindol and Finding God by Larry Crabb

    4 – I am an at home mom of 3 little ones (5, 3 and 1) and my typical day is anything buy typcial. Most days, I crave my one hour of afternoon rest time…if I can get it!

    5 – http://www.notbefore7.com I write about motherhood, my kids, my faith, and currently some home improvement because we are remodelin a foreclosure.

    Love this “introduce yourself idea” – can I borrow it for my blog – I’ll give you credit for it!

    I’ll be back!

  132. Soul Pockets says:

    Hello, my name is Kelly and I am 32 years old. I am a stay at home mom to four children. I have been married for 11 years. We live in a suburb of Southeast Michigan.

    I grew up Catholic, did the catholic school thing, but my family did not live a “Catholic” life. They gave me my faith in God, but I really had no direction of what path would be the best for me. My husband grew up the same way.

    After we got married, we were what you would consider fallen away Catholics. We never went to Church, but we knew that being catholic was the true way to be. (We were young and foolish lol)

    After we had our first daughter, we realized that it was important for her to be close to God. This meant really living as Catholics. This was a scary thought for two wild and crazy kids like us.

    It was scary but we did it. We started by making a commitment to go to Church every Sunday. Then went to confession, and I made my confirmation.

    My husband decided to really study the Catholic faith. I think in hopes of proving it wrong in a way. He never did.

    We have now been living as a Catholic family for 6 years. I can not believe the changes it has brought us. I think I will have to put the whole story on my blog. :)

    I love your writing and look forward to reading it.

    You can find me here…
    http://soulpockets.blogspot.com/

  133. Shannon says:

    I’m Shannon. 36 years old. I have been a christian since I can remember, but lately have put many things before God. Materialism. Selfishness. Pride. Vanity.

    Those things fueled me for awhile, but not so much these days. I try and connect with God, but feel such a void and sadness. And loneliness.

    But, I know that God is faithful-and that this is only for a season. I will continue to seek Him.

    I’m from Kentucky and now living in Indiana.

    One book that has touched my life is the revised edition of “Streams In The Dessert”. I find this book to be very encouraging.

    I am a stay at home mom- during the school year I work at a local school for 10 hours a week while my youngest goes to preschool. He is entering kindergarten this Fall. I’m not sure what I will do while both boys are at school. That will be sad.

    I love your blog. Some of the things you have written have encouraged me. In some ways we struggle with similar issues.

    My blog is shannonofthewoods.blogspot.com

  134. Jennifer F. says:

    Just wanted to drop in and say that I’m still reading (and loving) every single one of these!

  135. Rachel says:

    I’m Catholic, raised by a Catholic mother and an agnostic father (although they divorced when I was 13). My husband is LDS, somehow we make it work. :) I’m from Littleton, CO. I think the book that has recently had the most impact on me was The Choice, written by Og Mandino. I work full time and then care for my husband and toddler son. The best part of my day? Picking up my son and spending time with my family! No blog, but I love reading them!

  136. Mary Ellen (Carolina Momma) says:

    Hi – new reader! Just found your blog through Like Merchant Ships :)

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I grew up in a Southern Baptist home and in college felt God was calling me to the Catholic Church. I hesitated for many years but the urging persisted. On Easter Vigil 2004, I was baptised and joined the Church. I’ve always said grewing up Baptist gave me a strong foundation but I found the completion of my faith in the Catholic Church. Now several years out from my entrance into the Church, I feel as if I’ve drifted away. I still feel strongly that God called my to the Church but the fire has gone so to speak.

    Where are you from?

    North Carolina

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Night by Eli Wiesel

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a married, working mother of three children ages 5, 3 and 1. And we pray that we’ll be blessed with a few more in the future. My mother also lives with us and watches the children during the day. My day is spent at the office working as the Operations Manager for a financial reporting company. My favorite part of the day is returning home to be with the kids. Making dinner, getting things ready for Daddy to come home and my homecaring routines.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I have a very new blog – Living On Love

    http://carolinamomma.blogspot.com/

    It’s about frugal living, couponing, our journey to becoming debt free and balancing home and work.

  137. Mary Rose says:

    Hi Jennifer, great blog!

    To share my story:

    My own blog explains in more detail my story but I’ll summarize it here. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools and a Catholic university. In 1980, I transferred to the University of Cincinnati where I joined InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Suddenly I wasn’t too keen on my Catholic faith and left the church to join a Protestant church. I soon left that for a large non-denomination church. For 18 years, I was heavily involved with church and ministry. Just a few months ago, after fighting it for a year, I returned to the Catholic church and have found a new joy. God amazes me!

    I’m originally from Cincinnati but after I married, I moved to another Ohio city, not too far away. :-)

    The one book that had the greatest impact on my life was Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliott. It made me realize I needed to trust God entirely when it came to my love life and desire to marry. Excellent book.

    Typical day: Up by 6:00 AM. Check email, news, blogs. Listen to Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s “Life is Worth Living” radio show from 7:00 – 7:30 AM. At 7:30, I pray the Rosary with Mother Angelica and her sisters (through the same radio station.) Eat breakfast. Go to work if I’m scheduled for that day or stay home and work on writing and my other side businesses.

    I started a blog a little over two months ago to chronicle my journey back to the Catholic church. (I added you to my ever-growing blogroll, too.) :-)

    True Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter

    Thank you for this opportunity to get to know others on the blog. I may swipe the idea, myself!

  138. Sara says:

    Hey! Been reading your blog for about a month now . . . I think that the Thinklings linked to one of your things which is . . . ah, never mind.

    1. Been a Christian my entire life. I don’t remember any sort of “conversion” experience. I had a great church and a great father who explained the truth well–and by the time I was old enough to run into the concept of “asking Jesus into my heart” (at what? six, seven?) I knew that I already knew Jesus. I was sent through Christian schooling K-12, which was a great gift. Theologically, I’m a moderate to conservative evangelical Reformed/Presbyterian pastor’s wife. I think I’ve matured in my beliefs, but I’ve never found anything better to build on that what I was given.

    2. Indiana, via Colorado, Northwest WA, Vancouver,BC, and Michigan

    3. Take your pick of the fantasy genre. Tolkien, Narnia, anything by Robin McKinley, Bujold’s Chalion Books, Gaiman’s Neverwhere

    4. I’m a SAHM with 3 girls, 7,4, and 2. This summer my goals are getting my kids through swim lessons and thoroughly waterproofed, getting myself in better shape, and making more time to write on long term projects. Along with the laundry, housework, cooking, story-reading . . .

    5. http://www.coffeerandoms.blogspot.com I blog about whatever occurs to me. It’s a useful way to purge whatever my brain is obsessing about so I can clear concious thought space to move onto the next thing.

  139. Susan Thompson says:

    Hi– I found your blog by clicking on a link in Spiritdaily.com. I love your insights.

    1. Spiritual journey: My parents are good, decent people (Methodist and Lutheran) who never really had any interest in going to church. I joined a Baptist church at age 11. In 1990 my husband and I were received into the Catholic Church in order to be able to receive the body and blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. Interestingly, several years prior to that we had adopted the use of Natural Family Planning…not for spiritual reasons but more for hippy, ecological, earth-mother reasons. I’m glad we did. In retrospect, I wouldn’t have been able to join the Catholic Church without accepting all its teachings, and that was one roadblock that was already out of the way. A number of years after that my husband was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder and is deteriorating physically as well as mentally. In 2003 I was at the point where I realized that he would no longer be able to be at home alone so I took training to be a medical transcriptionist in order to work out of my home. That’s what I do now. Our faith is a great consolation and gives meaning to our suffering.

    2. Where are you from? Southern California born and bred. I sometimes think about moving elsewhere, but the idea of tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes makes me nervous…and I fervently hope never to find out what the words “lake effect” mean.

    3. Books: C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, stories about converts to the Church, articles on the Church Fathers.

    4. Daily life: I get up, eat breakfast and read the newspaper (starting with the comics) while having my coffee. That’s one of my favorite parts of the day. Give the dog his pill, Check on my husband and help him with his needs. Start work at 8 a.m. (at my desk at home). Lunch at approximately noon, give dog his pill, take care of husband (youngest son usually actually gets him out of bed and feeds him and keeps him entertained–I take care of his personal needs and pills). Work the rest of the afternoon. Get off work at 5. Dinner. Gym 4 times a week. Current projects are eating 5 servings of fruits/vegetables a day, and I’m planning to buy a bicycle so I can exercise on my way to Wal-Mart.

    5. Blogs: Nothing profound. It’s my mission in life to point out when two or more comics hit on the same theme on the same day. I also blog about my efforts to teach myself portrait painting by painting the portraits of famous people (because they don’t know me and therefore can’t complain).

    http://attheapocalypse.blogspot.com/

    http://suzartblog.blogspot.com/

  140. Jennifer F. says:

    Thank you to everyone who’s introduced themselves recently!

    Mina – please feel free to email me if you’d like to chat about your journey some more. I know how difficult that can be to be exploring faith when you’re in an environment that’s not super supportive.

    Thanks again, everyone!

  141. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I’m Catherine – I just found your blog off a link on another blog and am finding it very interesting. I am always so interested in conversion stories and as a mother of 5 young children i am loving reading all your posts.

    I was raised Catholic and I never lost my faith but did not live it for a number of years. Thankfully I had returned to mass and the sacraments shortly before getting married. My husband and I have been married for 11 years this summer and have 5 awesome kids between 8 months and 10 years old.

    I am from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. My husband is from Espanola, Ontario. We live in Regina now.

    One book that had a great impact on me is “The Life of Christ” by Fulton Sheen.

    I am a mom of 5 kids so my days consist of taking care of them and bringing them around to various activities etc.. I will be going back to work half-time when my baby turns one so am working towards being able to homelife and work when that time comes. I like having breakfast with all the kids when they first get up. It is one of my favourite times of the day.

    I have a blog which I started mostly to share pictures, recent events with our out-of-town relatives. It is not updated terribly often and as I am not much of a writer it is basically just pictures and descriptions the pictures. I have been trying to decide if I should devote more time to it and review what my purpose for the blog is. It is at http://www.pattersonsprogeny.blogspot.com

  142. Suzywoozy says:

    Comment number 145 :-)

    Been reading through most of the introductions on and off, and checking out people’s blogs.

    I’m Suz, I’m 22 and am probably the only Indian here.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was brought up a Catholic, belong to a Catholic charismatic covenant community. Although most Catholics I know are not very enthusiastic or knowledgeable about their faith, my parents are very and I guess I caught it from them. My mum’s a catechist, and my dad worked in our parish office as an administrator for about 20 years. So anyway, I love my faith, I am very aware that I don’t know enough about it. I want to read more good Catholic books… unfortunately our only Catholic bookstore- St. Paul’s- hardly has anything good. Most of the shelves are taken by Joyce Meyers and Paulo Coelho!

    Where are you from?

    Pune, India

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Um… Rome Sweet Home- made me look at Catholicism with new eyes. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Go, You are Sent by Genie Summers. He and I by Gabrielle Bossis.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Well, at the moment I am an instructional designer in an e learning company, and spend most of my free time blog-surfing. I especially love all the cute Mama blogs :-) I would love to have a large family someday. My lazy days are at end though- I’m leaving this job and going to teach in a small village school in two weeks… please pray for me! I also have felt the call to be a lay Catholic missionary… that might happen in a year. If God wills it.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    It’s called HREF=”http://soozywoozy.blogspot.com/”>One of Five, and it’s mostly random memories, observations, etc… I like to think I’m amusing :-D

    Please visit!

  143. Suzywoozy says:

    Sorry… this is what I meant-

    One of Five

    (Darn html!)

  144. Maureen says:

    Hi. I’m Reen, 42 years old and a fairly new reader…1st read HOw I became pro-life a while back and just recently delved further into your blog—and am really enjoying it.I’m a cradle Catholic who wandered far but eventually found my way back home.  The example of my Mom, a woman of quiet faith who faced daunting hardships (widowed at 42 with 10 children ages 1-16) but never complained or offered a harsh word for others drew me back.  She has a peace about her that I wanted and had looked for in many sundry places.  When I finally took her advice and prayed for the peace she has I was given that and so much more.I’m from upstate NY and now live in CT with my husband and two children – a boy, 21 months, adopted after several years of infertility and navigating the foster and private adoption systems and a daughter, 8 months, our home-grown surprise blessing.  We’d be thrilled if God brings more children into our lives.The Screwtape Letters is one of my favorite books and one that I give to our God-children when they become teens and gave to my niece who I had the honor of sponsoring for Confirmation.  It has such a powerful way of revealing the devil and his mechinations.My daily life is dictated by my kids as I’m a stay-at-home Mom.  HUgs & kisses, dirty diapers, walks, meals, laundry and lots of love and prayer.  Days that my husband can come home for lunch are the best and I love hanging out with him while the kids play in the yard or sleep.No blog for me…too complicated for this barely computer literate girl.

  145. DJW says:

    My name is Dave. I’m 57 years old and I teach Religion in a Catholic High School in Toledo, OH. I was born in Toledo, born and raised Catholic, and have been teaching Religion at this high school for 30 years. Sounds boring, I know, but it has been nothing of the sort.
    I teach a course on Catholic doctrine for seniors, so I am dealing with the questions they have about God and religion all the time — the same questions that you and your commentors are dealing with. I am really impressed with the way you treat these spiritual issues as you share your own story of personal search. I plan to use your blog in class to provoke discussion and — I hope — stimulate insight. The students need to put the spiritual questions into a storytelling context for them to make sense. They do not engage the questions if they are left in the abstract; that’s just the way they think. Last year I used the Joan of Arcadia TV series that came out on DVD to get the kids to see real life ordinary individuals wrestling with spiritual questions in everyday life. It worked well enough to keep them talking to me all year long [in spite of Senioritis!], which was great. I think that your blog will add to the effectiveness of that. So, Thank You Very Much, Jen. I am looking forward to reading your blog regularly. And perhaps you’ll be getting comments from lots of Toledo teens come next school year!

    My own spiritual journey was different than yours. As a “cradle Catholic” with practicing parents, my faith has always been a big part of my life and was my parents’ greatest gift to me. But it was not without struggle. I remember questioning and wrestling with it since I made my First Communion at eight years of age. At that age I developed a test for myself: “If I really believed this, what would I do?” Then I did that. [Well, I tried to do that; I'm not perfect and not quite a saint yet.] It wasn’t long before I started to get the experience that convinced me that it was real. So I have kept on.
    Eventually I spent eight years in the seminary [high school and college], did a year of graduate work at Vanderbilt, and started teaching. I met my wife in our home parish as we were both playing in the “folk group.” We have been married 30 years and have three great children.

    I have studied other religions along the way, but I have always found the fullest picture of the truth in Catholicism. For me, it is the only one that passes the test of reason and experience.

    Favorite books that have been important in my journey are: The Documents of Vatican II; “The Challenge of Jesus” by John Shea; “The Bible and Us” by Jacob Neusner and Andrew Greeley; and “Attitudes of Gratitude” by M.J. Ryan.

    Again, Thank You, Jen for your honest and sincere sharing. God bless you and your family as you grow.
    Enjoy the Dance!

  146. Shelly W says:

    Hi Jen! I’m Shelly W. I’m a new reader, but have thoroughly enjoyed your blog. I love your intellectual approach to faith.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I grew up in the Lutheran church, but it felt dull and dead to me. I found Christ there, though, so it wasn’t all bad, I guess. I’m forever grateful for parents who had faith. Strange to say, but the real strengthening of my faith came through the death of my brother when I was eleven years old. As a teenager, reflecting on the loss of my brother, I came to realize just how much God sacrificed when He gave up His Son for me. That truth changed everything. I attended a Christian college, which I loved (Christian college is not right for everyone, but it was great for me). I now attend a very traditional non-denominational church.

    Where are you from?

    I was born and raised on a farm in a small town in Illinois. Oh, how I hated that! I was always a city girl just waiting to excape country life. Now I live outside of Chicago and love it (although I’d love to live someplace warmer).

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    East of Eden by Steinbeck

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    It depends on whether the kids are in school or not. When they are in school a typical day is filled with just getting them there and picking them up. Last year I had three kids in three different schools. One left at 7, one at 8, and one at 9. The first came home at 2, the second at 3, the third at 3:30. Whew! I was exhausted just from all the running. In between 9 and 2 I would try to run errands, figure out dinner, and attend a Bible study (once a week).

    In the summer, our days are much slower, and I love it. I usually still get up early (just used to it, I guess). I try to read my Bible for a few minutes, spend some time praying, and have coffee and read the newspaper–all while the kids are still asleep. I have been trying to work out a few times a week this summer, too. So my favorite time of day is the early morning, when the house is quiet, before the kids get up.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I just started blogging . . . just because I feel this “calling” to write. I don’t know where it will lead.

    I write about our family, mostly, and stuff I’m interested in or think about.

    http://www.mylifeonthewildside.blogspot.com/

  147. sara says:

    De-lurking to say that I’ve added you to my blogroll. If that’s not OK, just leave me a comment. :)

  148. mkenny59 says:

    Hi. I’m Mike. I stumbled onto your abortion-themed article on the American Magazine site. I think I read it like, three times, and I passed it along to the people I felt comfortable passing it along to…which wasn’t too many people. (Sorry! Touchy subject, ya’ know?) Through that, I found your blog. I’ve been working my way through the archives for the past couple of weeks. It is now a daily stop for me.

    -Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Catholic by two loving parents who made sure we went to Church every week as a family, and who sent me to Catholic grammar and high schools even though we lived in one of the best public school systems in the state. While I was in high school, my father became a deacon. See? I wasn’t kidding!

    I have always believed in God, and everything my Catholic upbringing instilled in me. But I rarely acted on these beliefs, especially during my college years and early 20s, when I was as far as a person who claims to believe in God could possibly be. Slowly but surely, over the past five years or so — through marriage and prayer and self-reflection — I have been working my way back towards God. This journey has seemed to pick up speed over the past few months, as I find myself trying harder and harder to please God, and to leave the ease of casual sin behind.

    My wife is also Catholic, and a great, great person. Both of us have struggled mightily with Church teachings — her more so than I, probably — especially the stance on homosexuality (I read your thoughts on the matter here), the absence of women priests (has yet to be explained adequately to us — how do you feel?), and compromising the abuse of children, and the corruption of the Church from a historical standpoint as it related to political issues.

    Through your blog, actually, I’ve been able to rethink my views on many matters I’ve had difficulty with. I guess, right now, spiritually, I’m in the process of finding out more about what it is, exactly, I believe in. I’m re-learning, I guess. This has — as I know it has for you — done more to solidify my faith than anything else.

    Where are you from?

    I am from New Jersey. My wife and I moved to Peoria, AZ just over a year ago. We love it here. Although, I am also familiar with scorpions. Not cool.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I mentioned that my journey has picked up recently, and that is in large part to focusing on literature — your blog, for instance — that challenges me in a meaningful way. (Thus balancing out my sports-junky-ism and our unhealthy obsession with reality TV. I know, I know.) That said, I just finished reading Thomas Merton’s “The Seven Story Mountain.” I wish I could have grasped all of it, but what I did get out of it was amazing…

    · Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Wake up. Take dog out. Go to gym. Go to work. Come home. Put on Yankee game. Play with dog. Go to sleep.

    Sounds exciting, huh? My favorite part of each day is getting home and seeing my wife and playing with our dog and being in our backyard as the Arizona sun is setting. I also love every second of the weekend.

    · If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    Well, okay then! It’s:
    https://www.mikekenny.blogspot.com

    My blog has about as little to do with the spiritual life as any blog previously mentioned in these comments. It’s sports-related, mostly. I’m kind of, sort of, a humor writer. I make fun of old baseball cards.

    To recap my spiritual journey: My dad is a deacon, and I make fun of old baseball card.

    I’m still trying.

  149. Myron says:

    Hi, I’m Myron. 28 years old. Completely new to this blog (found it yesterday by searching for a piece of a David Usher song containing the word “Atheist”). I really like how it seems very thoughtful, and the topics covered are ones I like to ponder. I’ve posted a few comments, and hopefully will become part of some interesting conversations.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My parents were Christian (United, I think) and I went to church on-and-off during early childhood. But my experiences in childhood made me think carefully about what my belief system should be, and it didn’t seem to me that Christianity (or religion in general) valued careful, challenging questioning in the same way I did. I’ve stuck with my atheistic (well, not technically, as I do think there’s probably a creator/creative force that set the laws of physics and by extension the sense we have of right and wrong. But I don’t think any organized religion has it right. I don’t think humanity is important in the “big picture” or I’m particularly important to any divine being. But on the other hand, living a moral life does seem to be very important to me, as the consequences of our actions are about the only things that last longer than our short-lived consciousness). The basic framework for how I think about the world was set at about age 6-6, and has been refined but not fundamentally altered on an ongoing basis since then.

    Where are you from?

    My family is from Newfoundland, Canada, but I’ve lived all across the country.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    This is one from my distant early childhood. I can’t even remember the title, but the title of the series, I think, was “my teacher is an alien”. The basic theme I remember from this series was that humanity was being judged by a group of other intelligent life in the universe, and found wanting. There was a lot of talk about how we have great potential, but at every turn greed, self-interest and plain doing things that don’t make logical sense were causing us to be a harmful force. It impressed on me the idea that each and every one of us takes from the system, just by living and breathing in oxygen and eating plants and animals. And so, if you’re not prepared to do what you can to contribute to the system, the moral imperative would require you to remove yourself so you’re at least not a burden. So a lot of my childhood was spent figuring out how things work, and how I can best contribute. Nobody has yet managed to convince me that “by being religious” is the answer to that question, but I’m always open to suggestions.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a programmer, and an analytical thinker. About 80% of my day goes to just maintenance, eating, sleeping, working, and whatnot. My favorite part of that is when I can come up with an elegant solution to a tricky programming problem, or build something for someone that helps them to do their job significantly better/easier. Other than that, my favorite times are when I encounter some truly thoughtful ideas. So I think I’m going to like this blog :)

  150. Mina says:

    Myron-
    I read “My Teacher is an Alien,” too! I didn’t get what you got out of it, though. It might have been because I read it a little later in life–it was a book my brother bought when he was young and I just picked it up and thumbed through it while in high school.

  151. Kylie in Warsaw says:

    Hi! I linked here from your other blog which was linked from Write On, Yo!

    Anyway, I am fascinated by your story and just wanted to introduce myself.

    I’m Kylie. I was born into an atheist household and had many many friends who were Catholic. My mother, was raised Presbyterian my father was raised Catholic and their idea was that I should choose whatever was right for me when I was old enough. I have to say I believe this is the worst thing to do. I grew up with no faith and still have problems believing. I converted to Catholicism in 1997, mainly because my father had recently chosen to go back to the church and I wanted to make him happy – lots of daddy issues there. But over my time in RCIA, I really began to feel like this was the right thing for me.

    I was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up in Houston, TX and currently live in Warsaw, Poland.

    I love to read, but can’t pick just one book that’s had an impact on my life.

    I chase four children around and spend most of my day keeping them out of trouble and playing chauffeur.

    My blog is at http://hrncirsinghana.blogspot.com. It’s much more of a humor/mommy blog than anything else.

  152. A. Noël says:

    Hi – I’m A. Noël.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey… My mother, the Catholic, had my father, the protestant, take me to Holy Mass on Easter every year. It was pre-Vatican II. God used those moments, plus my mom’s love of all things Catholic at Christmas, to ready me for conversion. I entered the Church at 14, in 1971 – at which point, the Church decided it didn’t like being what it was. I was spiritually disoriented (literally!). Never lost my faith in Christ, but seriously studied the claims of the Reformers. Pope Benedict is now dismantling all my reasons for staying away.

    Where are you from? Los Angeles.

    What is one book* … A Story of a Soul, the autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life… Weekdays, I work as an IT project manager. Evenings will find me at home, reading or writing. Weekends, I loaf (too much). A perfect day is when I can stay in front of the computer all day reading great blogs like yours!

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? Finding Pasture, at http://psalm37threefour.blogspot.com. I write about my personal reactions to various Catholic happenings, when I feel strongly about something or want to explore some aspect I haven’t seen treated elsewhere. I’m also sorting through what happened to me spiritually during the years after I entered the Church. It’s all rather self-absorbed and boring. I don’t recommend it. ;)

  153. Catherine says:

    I’m Catherine, just found your blog via the America article and just linked to it on my blog.!

    1. My husband and I were received into the Catholic Church on Easter 2001, a few months before we got engaged. We were both raised as Evangelical Protestants and met at Wheaton College, where I had become a sort of Anglicanesque Mennonite and he had become an avowed atheist. While working through various problems in our dating relationship, friends introduced us to the Theology of the Body and we were hooked. We joined the Church within a couple months and have never looked back.

    2. Houston, Texas (we’ll have to set up a play date sometime when you visit Houston again-we have little ones about the same age as yours!)

    3. On Pilgrimage, by Dorothy Day; Newman’s Apologia; the letters of St. Gianna and Mother Teresa; Middlemarch, by George Eliot; poetry of W.H. Auden

    4. I’m home with four children, ages 5 (boy), 2 1/2 (boy), and 9 mos (boy/girl twins), so life is always crazy! My favorite time of day is when Papa comes home. :)

    5. I blog about the funny things my kids do and my favorite books at http://tomarktime.blogspot.com.

  154. Regular gal says:

    1. spiritual journey: from Catholic light to Catholic

    2. Where are you from? Mexico, but I’ve been living in NC for a year now.

    3.book: Chesterton’s Orthodoxy. It’s funny, it makes sense and even if you can read it pretty quickly, it makes you see religion in a different light.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: wake up, go to work, blog and read blogs, have dinner and watch tv. My favorite time of the day is after dinner when I get to sit down on the couch and snuggle and talk with my husband.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: my blog is http://regulargal.blogspot.com and it’s about pretty much anything that comes to my head… a bit about me, a bit about news, a couple of funny things…

  155. Spring says:

    Hi Jennifer. I’m Spring. Also a writer, mom of 3, traveler, seeker, reader, painter.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Raised Catholic but questioned it early. I think Catholic school may have brought more questions than answers for me. Sought out other experiences early: Salvation Army church, Baptist Church, Pentecostal, Evangelical,Buddhism, etc. Glad for the experience now. I have a strong sense of spirituality and a very strong faith but don’t identify with any specific denomination. I respect all the paths that bring people to God.

    · Where are you from?
    I’m from western NY originally, the shores of Lake Ontario. Have lived many places since and currently reside in the southeastern United States.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    _Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave_ by Frederick Douglass.
    A classic to be read over and over.

    Jose Saramago’s _Blindness_, blindess as a metaphor

    Paulo Coelho’s _By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept_, introduced me to the idea of the divine feminine

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    We adopted an 8-year-old from Ethiopia who is seriously mentally ill in February(we had no idea beforehand). It took a lot of learning and getting used to our new life, but now we have the HONOR of helping her heal. This experience has re-framed everything for me. Much of my time is spent with her, calming her, teaching her about living in a family, and constantly being reminded how very, very privileged I am. It is humbling.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.SignsOfFaithBook.com

    is my blog. I write about church signs, signs of faith, Gratitude, beautiful photographs, and some of the humbling lessons my newest daughter has taught me. It is a blog filled with joy and hope.

    Thanks for this great idea, Jennifer!

    Spring
    http://www.SignsOfFaithBook.com

  156. Tales From the Eurovan says:

    Hello! I am Julie and I live in Texas. I was born in the Midwest, but have lived in Iowa, Ohio, New York and Texas.

    I was born into a conservative Christian home, but I would say it was last year that I really got the connect between God’s love for mankind and His unending love for me. I knew He died for me, I just didn’t really believe He loved me like the Bible says. I did a lot of reading, thinking, writing, counseling and after telling my counselor that I was in the “poking and proding” phase still about the notion of God’s love for me, I realized it was a faith thing. We walk by faith not by sight, or in my case by my emotions, which led me on an emotional rollercoaster. so, I made the leap. Told God that by faith I was choosing to believe He loved me like His word said and that I would believe it and live like it even if I didn’t feel it.

    I forget the other questions but I do think you asked about favorite book(s). My favorite author is Donald Miller. I really like his “Searching for God Knows What”.

    My blog is http://www.talesfromtheeurovan.blogspot.com
    I write about my thoughts on life, parenting and faith in God.

    I’ll be back to your blog.
    Take care,
    Julie

  157. Lauren says:

    I’ve been nominally Catholic my whole life… I, like you, was the adolescent rebel with black hair, listening to Nine Inch Nails, and convinced that religion did nothing but cause wars, intolerance and genocide. I never really was able to get away from religion though– instead, I spent years searching and looked into a lot of different religious traditions trying to find one that seemed acceptable to me. I stayed far, far away from Christianity, though.

    About seven years ago I went back to church, just to see my cousin in a Christmas pageant. It wasn’t as awful as I imagined it would be. In fact, I found that I liked it. I have been gradually becoming a better Catholic ever since. Some days are better than others.

    I’m from Massachusetts- I moved away for a while and missed it so much.

    Kreeft’s Handbook of Christian Apologetics and Lewis’s Mere Christianity had a pretty big impact spiritually– I needed to have the intellectual objections against religion satisfied before I could go any further, I think.

    I am a mom, and a teacher (special education). I am an introvert myself and I wonder sometimes why I chose to be around people all the time… but it’s good for me, I guess. I love carving out some quiet time to read books or the newspaper, drink tea, exercise. My favorite part of the day is on a summer night when I pray a rosary on the front steps– we live in a rural area where the sky is pretty dark– I love watching the stars and praying.

    I don’t have a blog. I adore your blog though- I can relate to a lot of what you have to say and I admire your ability to defend the faith in such an eloquent, well-reasoned way.

  158. Kathy says:

    I’m a mom to 3, 3 and under as well.

    I grew up in a independent bible church. Agnostic in college and currently a ‘reformer’ who has a gansta’ lean towards prespy.

    I’m a Midwest gal.

    Book: Mere Christianity

    I never in a million years thought I’d be stay-at-home mom. I was on a very linear career track. God got a hold of me. I long to live in the freedom of God’s family planning, but I live in fear of it as well.

    My blog is about life with my boys, moving to the farm, being a lazy city girl.

    I truly enjoy your blog…

  159. DorisFaye says:

    Hi, my name is Doris Faye … and I am a 51-year-old mother of 3 twenty-something boys who bring a lot of joy and laughter into our home on a regular basis.

    My dad was Catholic and my mom was Baptist … so I guess you can say I was exposed to “both worlds” growing up. Because the Protestant members of my family were more vocal and determined to save my heathen soul, you can also say that I grew up confused about my Catholic faith. I attended catechism and was taught by very strict nuns … and got my knuckles rapped a time or two for misbehaving … but nothing could have prepared my twelve-year-old brain for the turbulent 60′s and 70′s when all the nuns traded in their black and white habits for modish mini-skirts and bobbed haircuts. To be quite honest, it seemed like the whole world had gone mad and that everything got turned upside-down in the process, including the Mass and how we celebrated it. Somehow, from that moment on, I never took my Catholic faith very seriously at all. I ended up marrying a Catholic but we left the Catholic Church out of rebellion when we were told that we couldn’t use contraceptives as a way to limit the number of children we “wanted”. There was no such thing as Family Planning in those days … so it seemed like an ALL or NOTHING situation and I didn’t want to be a hypocrite on top of everything else, so ceasing to be Catholic seemed the only answer. We tried various churches over the next several years … 7 years as a Baptist, 9 years as a non-denominational, and 9 years as a Methodist … but secretly I listened to 88.1 (a Catholic radio station) and watched EWTN every chance I got. When 88.1 went off the air, I discovered Relevant Radio (AM 97.0) and was hooked on learning the TRUTH! I returned to the Catholic Church (amidst great protests from my Protestant mother) during Christmas 2005 and have been blissfully happy ever since, mostly because I “educated myself” on the true teachings of the Church and repented of my own selfish, have-it-my-way rebellion.

    Where are you from? I live in Elgin, Texas (pronounced with a hard G – not a soft one), which is about 26 miles from Austin.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? I think “The Confessions of St. Augustine” is a book that continually transforms my life and my thinking.

    My day typically begins at 6:00 a.m. which usually finds me on CatholicExchange.com doing my daily readings and blogging for an hour or so, then I shower and attend Daily Mass at 8:00 a.m. My husband and I own and operate a Sonic Drive-In, so after Mass I drop by to get my daily paperwork and check things out, then I return home to clean house, process the paperwork, and do a hundred other things that need to be done depending on my TO DO LIST.

    I don’t really have a regular “blog” or anything, but I do have a poetry website at the following address:
    http://blog.myspace.com/gottawritepoetry

  160. Tara Sz. says:

    Hi Jen,
    Long-time lurker, first-time poster. Actually, truth be told, I’ve been aching to leave comments to all of your posts since August 2005! See, I found your blog recently through Bill Donaghy – I’m in the Philly area – and I was hooked. The only way to catch-up was to start from the beginning and work my way through. Your journey has been incredible! I’ve sat at my computer laughing, crying and praising God. And I must comment, your writing has only gotten better over the years (which for me, three years in Jen’s world happened in six weeks). So, congratulations on the new house plus Baby #3 and 4; NFP is the way to go; I think homeschooling is a great idea; and most of all, welcome to our Catholic Church. Gosh, I feel as if I know you. I told my husband recently, holy goodness, my friend Jen is pregnant again! His reply was a laugh and an eye-roll, knowing I had yet to comment.

    So, about me, I am 29 and 1/2, madly in love and newly married this past April (our 5 month anniversary is this Friday), and a life-long Catholic, although I fell away from the faith drastically after high school. My “conversion” back home started in August 2004 and I went from “Is God really real?” to “Jesus is my boyfriend!” in a year, literally. By mid-2005 I was visiting convents, convinced that it would take consecrated life to make up for all the awful things I had done. But the good Lord had other plans and I met my husband – while still discerning religious life, mind you – in January 2006. We met after Adoration, and he waited six months before he could have his first date as I was still on the convent trail. But one day after visiting Franciscans in New York, I realized that Wife and Mother was my vocation. Luke seemed like a safe place to re-enter the dating world, and behold: the priest who introduced us officiated our wedding two years later.

    I can’t begin to describe how blessed and spoiled I am, and I want you to know that this blog of yours has been an enormous flow of grace for me! God led me to this amazing world of wonderful blogs through you. Thanks to you, I have this new, perfectly-timed network of moms and holy Catholic and Christian women, like BooMama, Take the Poor With You, and DarwinCatholic, to learn from and harvest even more grace. Your reckless experiment with prayer, for example, has been a turning point in my own life. And the analogy of looking for the tow truck driver? Beautiful. Please continue to write; I can’t wait for you to get to heaven and see how many people to whom you have ministered!

    As a fellow bibliophile, there are several books that have been instrumental in my life, especially in my faith. Matthew Kelly’s Rediscovering Catholicism stands out as one, and I’m currently reading Gift of Faith by Fr. Dajczer which is changing my world. Christopher West blew my mind with Good News About Sex and Marriage; I owe much of my conversion to him and JPII. My kitchen is a better place because of Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and also also several Polish cookbooks (DH is a native of Krakow, Poland).

    Daily life is drastically different now as a married woman. We’re in the process of learning new prayer habits, compromising living space, and figuring out this married thing. The first time I shrunk something of his, I cried. Being a wife, trying to get this man to heaven, it’s hard work!! And I love it. I have never felt more challenged or more at home in my entire life, and I think that’s how you know you are where He wants you. Praise God. :)

    Anywho, now that I am FINALLY caught up and introduced, I hope to become a regular commentator. Thank you for your honesty, good humor and fantastic perspective. May I conclude with a question? Since your conversion, has your relationship with any of your “former-life” friends changed or fizzled? I have a few friends that I just can’t seem to connect with anymore, and it feels counter-Christian, you know? I have a Hindu friend, for example, and we were once best friends. Now, though, we can’t seem to find any common ground, and I struggle with that. I don’t do the clubbing thing anymore, and my answer to everything is, “Let’s pray about it.” She just doesn’t get it, and I fear my conversion may have turned her off Christianity even more. Any advice?

    God bless you and your beautiful family. I’ll be in touch.

    Big smiles,

    Tara Sz.

  161. patrickjtob says:

    1. spiritual journey?

    I’m a born and raised Catholic; from a 3rd or 4th generation Australian family though still with the strong mystical spirit of irish catholicism. I remember a time when I was about 5 or 6 and particularly headstrong, crying that i didn’t want to go to mass and being very sulky but Mum and Dad insisted and I remember feeling extremely embarrased walking into the church looking at all the people standing upright and I’d been refusing to go. I now know it was a very good thing dad wanted me to go! Our family still go to mass of-a-sunday.

    2. Where are you from?

    Sydney Australia

    3. Book?

    I’ve felt a yearning for spiritual knowledge and growth recently and so I’ve read Thomas Merton’s ‘seven storey mountain’, which was impressive, but also am reading the book by Robert Elsberg on Saints and the book by the Jesuit Gerard Martin, ‘My Life With the saints’. They’re all incredible. I feel blest to live in the world of such people.

    4. My typical day, because I’m in my final year of School, [which we call year 12] is structured around study and school; and yet I always seem able to fit in some spiritual reading. I sometimes think I’m more worried about my spiritual growth than school, but seem to be able to get around the tendancy to be overly lethargic toward school work by reminding myself of the proverb [i've really got into them recently] that “those who love knowledge, love discipline” [Pv. 13?].. this discipline which i practice in study also helps me have a clear mind and be at peace with myself.

    5. I don’t have a blog, though I am in deep admiration for your one. I started visiting this site about 9 months ago, and come here every-so-often for the beautiful testimony you give to faith and true use of reason. I admire the grace with which you balance the faith/ reason and good sense needed in order to live in the world, but to remain focussed on what is above it. Thanks for your blog!

  162. Lauren says:

    Hi, my name is Lauren. I started RCIA classes just 3 weeks ago and Jenny Lewis sent me an email with your blog and I really enjoyed reading some of your posts.

    *Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey:what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Assemblies of GOD until I was in the 5th grade, and Presbyterian until I was 21. I moved to VA in 2001 and started attending a non-demonational church, Mclean Bible and went off and on but fell away from the chruch only going a few times a year.

    Where are you from?

    I am from Southern California, a suburb of LA, called La Verne. I now live in Fairfax, VA.

    What is the one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the bible)?

    The one book that really stands out (that I have actually finished) is "Purpose Driven life" by Rick Warren. This is such a wonderful book. Truly helped me see the reason why GOD put us here on earth. I definitley recommend it if you have not read it.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of the day?

    A typical day for me goes a little something like this:

    6:30 – Wake up for work
    8:00 – At work
    5:00 – Leave work
    6:00 – Home for dinner with my fiance and my mother n law.
    6:30-10:30 – my alone time with my fiance
    10:30 – Lights out!

    My favorite part of the day is from 6:30-10:30 when I get to spend the evening with my fiance. This is my most precious time, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    I'm researching right now the catholic faith…lastnight's RCIA class really opened up my eyes and I'm so excited about this journey of my life. I feel like I found the missing puzzle piece to my religious part of my life. It's such an amazing feeling. GOD is amazing and he is definitely working in your life. AMEN!!! :-) I love your backdrop to your blog, may I ask where you found it?

    Thanks for all your encouraging stories…they really touched my heart!

    God bless,
    Lauren <><

  163. Jennifer F. says:

    Just wanted to check in and say that I still read every single one of these with great interest. Unfortunately I don’t always have time to respond to each person individually, but I REALLY appreciate these comments!

  164. Betty Duffy says:

    I’m a new reader, expecting my fifth baby in about a month. I live in Indiana.

    My whole family converted to Catholicism in the early 80′s (I was five), but for whatever reason, I didn’t get the point until after college when I decided to find out why my family was so happy, and I wasn’t. I’m an extremist which meant I had to go gung ho and live in a convent for a year (nun/whore syndrome?), but it did the trick. Randomly met my husband through that experience and never looked back.

    I was just talking to a girlfriend today about how our lives could really benefit from having a schedule. There is no average day around here. But writing always figures heavily in the equation:
    bettyduffy.blogspot.com

    I’m enjoying the read.

  165. Tim Larsen says:

    Tim, 29yrs old, father of 2 girls, wife introduced me to the blog.

    Spiritual Journey: Born Catholic went through the hoops, never really believed, stopped practicing 16 yrs old. 22 yrs old, searching and trying churches, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Evangelical, etc. Then I read the daVinci Code, thought it was true so I began reading the Early Church Fathers, Ignatius, Clement, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, etc. Became Catholic again, first intellectually, then in my heart.

    Book with a Great Impact:
    1st – DaVinci Code.

    2nd – Anything by Father Luigi Guissani. I think Guissani brought my intellectual conversion into a conversion of heart via intellectual thought. He is truly a genius in terms of his writing and understanding of the human condition. Highly recommend:

    “Is it Possible to Live this Way”
    “Religious Sense”
    “The Origin of the Christian Claim”
    “Why the Church”

    All are truly life changing.

    Daily Life: Father of two girls, stay at home during the day, a wedding photography on Saturdays, work when everybody else is asleep. Tiring but worth it.

    Blog: timlarsenphoto-blog.com

    I seriously can’t say enough good things about Father Guissani’s books. They changed my entire perspective on being Catholic, not by denying anything I knew before but looking at it from a different perspective which is so much more rich.

  166. Carly says:

    I came across your blog via 5 “Minutes for Parenting”, which I came to via “Frog and Toad are Still Friends”, which I came to via “Are We There Yet”, who also introduced me to the likes of Antique Mommy, Boo Mama, Big Mama, Everyday Mommy and so forth.

    And now I realize I may have lied. I may have clicked a link on “5 Minutes for Parenting” for a list of Christian Blogs and then, since I’m technically Catholic, I decided to GOOGLE “Catholic Blogs”, the first of which was yours.

    I’m a cradle Catholic, raised by a non-practicing Protestant and an even less practicing Catholic. I love (loved?) my faith and spent 12 years working for the Catholic Church as a full time Youth Minister.

    I’ve been struggling a lot lately, pretty much for the first time in my faith journey, which deepend considerably back in 1991, when I came to a greater understanding and a firm belief in the beauty and Truth within the Catholic Church.

    This struggle led me here, where I’m enjoying your writing, your common sense, your intelligence and your honesty. I think I’m hoping to find something that will convince me to trust the Lord with all manner of things again. Enough said.

    I’m from Ontario, Canada, which is where I currently live with my husband and 2 year old son. I work full time and blog about my life at http://www.talkingmyselfoutofthetree.blogspot.com

    I couldn’t answer the book questions without going on and on and on and, well, you get the idea. :o)

    As I’ve only touched on the surface of your Blog so far, you can bet I’ll be back.

  167. Liza's Eyeview says:

    I am Liza and I love your blog. I’m a hectic frantic working mom and so this intro will be short. My link to my life story is on the left side bar of my blog. Gotta go..

  168. Bender says:

    I’m surprised I did not see this sooner (after checking in here regularly for the past few months) –

    (1) Spiritual Journey: I was born to a Catholic mother and non-Catholic father, and I was an “only child.” I went to Catholic school in Ohio for first and part of second grade. Then my parents divorced, and I started going to public school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Although I was enrolled in CCD, no one insisted that I go, and we only occasionally went to Mass. This was the 70s, and CCD seemed rather banal and pointless, so I stopped going in third or fourth grade. However, God had other plans.

    Christ and His Church did not cast a net for me, but used a plain-old hook and line. Somewhere along the way, the hook was put in me. And although God allowed me to stray and swim away somewhat, I always felt the tug on that line. Even cohabiting and all that that entails with my girlfriend at the time, I felt the tug. And when that relationship ended, I felt the pull back to the Church more. And so, on my own, I arranged for my Confirmation at the age of 23 (as opposed to the usual age 13-14). However, even then, I did not live in the Faith as much as I should have. Thankfully, God’s mercies are great, and eventually I began to accept His grace.

    But still, I am a work in progress. I also tell you that I am a sinner. My sins are great and many, and I am greatly in need of a savior to pay my debts, to ransom me. Maybe others believe that they can live well without Christ, and can have eternal life without Him. Maybe they don’t need Him. But I do need Him. I do need, not only His forgiveness, but His grace – the power of the Holy Spirit to do things that I could never do or accomplish on my own, things like love and forgiveness and chastity and perseverance and peace of heart and hope.

    Of course, certain things along the way had profound affects on me. Pope John Paul II was quite influential. After graduating from a state college, I wanted to go back to a Catholic school, so I went to Catholic University in D.C. for law school. While there, I discovered St. Augustine and met other students who were enthusiastically living in the Faith.

    September 11 was an eye-opening experience for us all. Hearing the Blood of the Martyrs cry out to me in my trip to Rome in September 2004 still has me speechless. The vigil and passing of John Paul the Great to the Father’s House in 2005, and the funeral, all continued the pull of that hook and line ever closer to God. And then the announcement “Habemus Papem” brought great joy, even before the announcement of who our new Papa was, together with the astounding wonder at the clarity and brilliance of Pope Benedict, whom I joyously had occasion to see (and touch) in 2006.

    (2) Where are you from? Northern Virginia, by way of D.C., Michigan, and Ohio.

    (3) Influential books:
    –St. Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will
    –Thomas Paine, Common Sense
    (both early influences)
    –several books by Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict (more recent influences)

    (4) Daily Life:
    I am a criminal defense attorney, including representation of juveniles, but I also work for a major legal publishing company as a legal editor. In both instances, I set my own hours for the most part and, thus, am able to be a bum who stays up late and gets up late.

    Those are the jobs I have now, but I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I just kind of fell into law — maybe pro-life activism had something to do with it. That, and you really can’t do much of anything with a poli-sci undergraduate degree.

    When I’m not working for pay, I also teach CCD and have more recently been called to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. I am also currently studying to receive certification as a “Master Catechist.”

    (5) Blog(s):
    I have two, actually — one is
    Vita Nostra in Ecclesia (Our Life in the Church), which is a CCD educational site containing some instruction written by me, as well as other selected materials, with a preference for original source material, including magisterial documents. Not really a place for my personal opinion or commentary.

    I did start a second blog where I do post opinion and commentary occasionally, mostly political, which can be a bit heated at times, especially what with the total disaster that has been John McCain and the resulting impending election of Dear Leader aka the Messiah aka the One (pbuh), so I’m not going to list it here.

    – Bender (aka Flexo)
    (but not like those copyrighted cartoon characters — I’m a different Bender and Flexo)

  169. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been lurking for quite a while through Google Reader…

    1) Cradle Catholic, with a Catholic father and a nominally Lutheran mother. Was a longtime altar server as a boy, dropped away from the Church at University, been moving back very slowly for a couple of years now. Anything other than the CC or atheism kind of never made sense to me.

    2) Germany, now living in Switzerland.

    3) Hm, I read quite a lot. I’d say the Screwtape Letters, Chesterton, Narnia. And Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which I still like.

    4) Daily life: work at a software company. Lots of reading in the evening. Too much time spent on blogs ;-) My favorite time right now is when I can spend an hour at the piano. And all this will change soon with our twins-in-progress due next May :-)

    5) No blog.

    6 (for extra credit) I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now, and I’ve found it really gives me strength in the spiritual wasteland that is Western Europe today. Keep up the great work!

  170. bipolarbing says:

    Hi! I’m Erin. I’m a fairly new reader.

    1. I was raised Catholic. I distanced myself from the Church in middle school, but was brought back to it in High School through the wonderful, wonderful lay movement known as Communion and Liberation. I’ve been involved with them ever since, though my spiritual journey seems to involve lots of divergence from the path, and lots of finding my way home again. I’m struggling to stay close these days, it’s a worthwhile pursuit.

    2. I was born and raised in New York City (Staten Island and Brooklyn), and I currently live and go to school in Western NY State.

    3. Why The Church? by Luigi Giussani; The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath. Two very different books about two very different things, but both resonated with me.

    4. I’m a college student, so my days are never the same. Most of the time, I have a class or two, lunch, some studying. I try to have dinner with a friend most nights. After that, I generally have a club meeting – I’m involved with Amnesty International, Feminists for Life, the campus radio station (news dept. and pop dept.!), so I always feel busy. I try to read something by Fr. Giussani before bed, generally whatever’s being worked on in the School of Community (the weekly CL meeting) that week. I’m an atypical college student in that most nights, I go to bed by 11:30.

    5. You can find me at bipolarbing.tumblr.com! I write about my struggles with mental health at a major university, and I also do a lot of personal blogging. Some may find it interesting, I don’t really know :)

  171. Kathleen says:

    I’ve been reading your blog (but never commenting, I don’t think) for probably about a year now – I have no clue how I found you. I frequent a number of blogs, but find this to be the most intelligent and well-written one I’ve come across!

    1 Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I was born Catholic and have always been Catholic – to varying degrees.

    We went to Catholic schools for a couple years, then switched to public for better academics. We went to church on Sundays fairly regularly, but not “religiously,” for lack of a better pun, and I don’t remember ever going to Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation until I was in college. In college, I decided one day that deciding to be more religious would make me more religious, and that was a good thing, so I just made a point of thinking about God more often, and it worked. That’s about as complicated as my personal theology gets. I’d say I’m in a bit of a spiritual dry spell right now, but nonetheless believe firmly. (Oh, and I forgot to mention my one “conversion moment” – Fall 2001, I was in HS, and after 9/11 my family had gone through a couple crises. I was cleaning my room one day and came across a St. Therese prayer card that my CCD teacher had given me a few years earlier. I just sat down and prayed the prayer on the back (it was a novena, but I didn’t know what a novena was at the time, so I just said it the once) and felt a literal weight lifted off of me (yes, I always thought that was just a figure of speech, but I’ll swear to it). I don’t think I really ever had doubts after that – it was definitely the start of a long (and still incomplete) journey to faithfulness.)

    2 Where are you from?

    Outside NYC. Right now I’m at school (grad school) in DC.

    3 What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Tough question. I love to read, but have a difficult time pinpointing one influential one. Maybe because I prefer fiction?

    4 Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I get up most days and go to work at 8 or 9 (love flexible schedules!) – then each day is different. After work I have classes some nights, I go to the gym very occasionally, I go home and watch tv some nights.

    5 If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is password-protected and only for family, because I blog about our genealogy, and there are way too many mothers’ maiden names on there for me to share with the world at large. I don’t think anyone could use my great-great-grandmother’s birthdate to steal my cousin’s identity, but I don’t want to be incautious.

  172. Isle Dance says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your blog. It is priceless support, simply by sharing it. I can’t begin to thank you enough.

    My blog http://isledance.blogspot.com probably shares a good chunk of who I am. I seem to be evolving in new ways at this time. Or is it going back to old ways?

    I was exposed to many religions and no religion, while growing up. I truly believe that our existence is an amazing miracle to be honored and cherished. Even in the most difficult of times.

    :o)

  173. pastprologue says:

    Hi, Jennifer,

    I’m Donna from Philadelphia. I was born and raised Catholic. As a teenager my faith deepened and I’m grateful for my Catholic faith to this day.

    I love books, so that’s a hard question, but I do believe Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain made a strong impression. For fiction, I’d say Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow.

    My day is not so exciting…I go to work (for the federal government), and my favorite part is when I come home. ;-)

    I blog about genealogy at What’s Past is Prologue. Not as often, I blog about Gene Kelly at The Gene Scene – I’ve had a Gene Kelly web site for 12 years that’s temporarily offline while it finds a new home.

    I found your blog today via the Anchoress’ link to “How Would You Know?” – what a beautiful, thoughtful post. I look forward to discovering your blog some more. As a genealogist, I enjoyed that angle in the post. I’ve often read about those past times, especially the Nazi era pictured, and all I can think of is that they thought they were right.

    Thanks!

    Donna

  174. Suzanne says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    Born into a Military Catholic family. Mom was a “just believe it because if you don’t you’ll burn in hell” sort of Catholic and Dad was not practicing because of some deep rooted pain caused during his childhood that had something to do with the church. I can only imagine. At age 14 I decided that Dad, who had his MBA and did not go to mass, was more intelligent than Mom, who couldn’t answer any of the “why” questions that I tossed her direction. So I followed his lead and ditched mass for about 10 years. During that time I was a professed atheist, feminist, anarchist, and any other leftist title that was available. So Mom sent me to a Catholic High School in hopes that something would click and I would turn it all around. It was my habit to take on the entire religion class in debates about the existence of God and various and sundry topics that made my instructor cringe and my mother wish that I would just run away from home. Funny that I remember a certain priest from high school told me I could be a great asset to the faith if I ever figured it all out and changed sides. It was a long and convoluted journey back home. God is so patient! But I can see glimpses of myself in your Conversion Diary. Thanks for sharing.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? I would say Theology of the Body has impacted my life more than any other book. Not that the teaching was new or that there was any big revelation involved, but because it confirmed my inmost beliefs about humanity, and gave credibility to the yearnings of my heart. I love everything written by PJPII, GK Chesterton.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? Never a dull moment around here. I am mom to 11, and 7 are still at home. We are a homeschooling family so life is full. We try to start each day with mass and the rest of the day is a wild card. The schedule is posted on the blog, but my favorite part of the day is dinner with the family. Nothing is more important than our time to reconnect and share the day with my dear husband. The kids and I do enjoy a good round of Body Combat at the local gym. Noting like a bit of kickboxing to let off steam after a day of doing spiritual combat with our current culture. We’ve been trying to get Dad involved, but he is a hockey player, not a kickboxer at heart.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? My blog is ClassicallyCatholic.blogspot.com and it is primarily devoted to sharing resources with new homeschoolers and promoting the joys and trials of large Catholic family life. I also use it to stay connected to friends a thousand miles away. I have a second pro-life, political blog devoted to promoting the Culture of Life: Classicallycatholiccurrentissues.blogspot.com
    It was designed to keep the homeschooling posts separate from the political frenzy that rocked my peace of mind during the past several months. Surfing the Catholic blogosphere is my way to relax and recharge.

  175. Bethany says:

    After finding my way to your blog via Building Cathedrals, I am really a first time reader, though I will return often; I am intrigued.
    As far as your questions go…

    I was raised in a non-religious family, yet my sister and I were taught to live by the “golden rule”, just never taught where it came from.
    As a child I went to mass with my aunt a few times a year when were visiting. She converted to Catholicism when I was a baby. After a tumultuous freshman year of high school I found myself attending a Catholic college prep for the remainder of high school. I was often mistaken by classmates, faculty and priests for being Catholic. I attended a Catholic university, where I fell in love (w/a cradle Catholic, who now has his Masters in Theology), converted to Catholicism, and majored in English Lit and minored in Theology, four months after graduating we got married. We are currently Why Catholic co-leaders and I sing in the parish choir. I have noticed that I am becoming more orthodox as I get older and understand more about the Catholic faith.

    We recently moved to central Illinois where my husband accepted his dream job.

    I tend to receive much influence from poetry rather than novels. My favorite poet is William Blake.

    I am stay-at-home mom of three, boy-7, boy-3 1/2, girl-17mths. I am going to be returning to at least part-time work soon as a preschool teacher and school-age child care provider. The economy has not been kind to our single income family this year.

    My husband, a priest friend of ours and myself currently have a blog devoted to “affirmative orthodoxy” at http://www.vinumnovum.com . We just started in Sept. and we are currently looking to add more contributors to the site. Please be patient as we continue to build our archives

    I look forward to reading your thoughts in the future.
    Bethany

  176. edie+steve says:

    What a great blog feature. Hi, I’m Edie…a mom blogger with four children ages 6-18. I am a family practice physician but quit working 2 years ago to stay home with my children. I am now homeschooling the 2 youngest using a classical curriculum called the Well-Trained Mind. The blog world has become my lifeline and I found your blog through Big Mama’s when I was looking for ‘thoughts on how blogging has changed your life’. I live in a very small town in Morristown TN and have a large cirlce of ‘real’ friends who I can never seem to visit with much. I love to cook, decorate, read, knit, exercise and now blog.

    I grew up as a Baptist and spend most of my adult life in american evangelicalism. That path tends to leave you self-righteous or despairing and I found myself divorced with 2 children in residency…and very despairing. I remarried my soul mate, a then ‘agnostic’ and the restoration began. We are now Lutheran and love our church, the liturgy, the fact that we can walk into the liquor store in broad daylight, and the tremendous wealth of history and traditions that comprise Lutheranism.
    I now find such fellowship and comradery with other fellow bloggers and am so happy I ‘stumbled’ onto your sight. My sight is lifeongrace.blogspot.com.

  177. Lacey says:

    Alright, I’m used to being a lurker, but I have been reading your blog with Google Reader for several months now and I just commented on an old post so I suppose I should put a… well, not a face, really… but a description to the name.

    I’m Lacey. I’m 25. I was raised in a nominally Protestant Christian household and I had a more personal conversion when I was in college. I attended a non-denominational Evangelical church for 6 years, and started heavily studying and investigating Catholicism about a year ago (with the intent, I feel compelled to point out, of showing my boyfriend the many reasons he should convert to Protestantism). My plan backfired, and instead I began to realize (to my initial intense dismay) the fullness and truth of the Catholic faith. It’s not a particularly unique journey, I have come to find (though I was surprised to discover even that), and I have found a lot of comfort in that, actually. I haven’t gone through RCIA yet, but I am inching in that direction.

    I am from Southern California. I love it very much, but I do wish it got slightly colder around this time of year. 90 in November is just not okay.

    I have serious English major syndrome and cannot be expected to list only one book. Too hard! To list a couple: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, Middlemarch by George Eliot, and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. The reasons are very long-winded, so I’ll spare you, as this is getting very long already…

    Typically each morning I go to work (very unexciting) in order to pay for school (more exciting) so I can be a teacher. It took me a long time and several degrees before I came to this career conclusion, but I am pleased with it. In my downtime I hang out with said boyfriend and our collective friends and families, coach volleyball when I’m not in school, and read, go to movies, that kind of thing (I thought long and hard trying to come up with something more interesting to put in this list, but sadly, my hobbies are not that interesting.).

    I don’t blog, so nothing to promote in this space. Here’s something: a resolution. I hereby resolve to lurk less and comment more! Thanks for writing so honestly (and funnily) about life. It’s good for the rest of us.

  178. Laughing Lioness says:

    Greetings from the upper north midwest! I was raised as a cultural christian/pagen and became a believer at age 20. It's been a grand 1/4 of a century adventure! I'm from OH but have lived in CT, CA, NM, SD,and IN as an adult.
    I love C.S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engel- fav authors out of many! Lewis' space trilogy and "Until We Have Faces" are my 2 favs – 100% good stuff! I also really like David DeSilva and his book on purity really changed how I understand the Holy.
    I have homeschooled our 5 kids for 18 years- a typical day for me includes housework, memory work, content work, read-alouds, computer time,mentoring my kids, gardening,cooking. It's a simple life but it is a good one!
    My blog can be found at http://goldengrasses.blogspot.com
    I blog about creating a beautiful family culture, politics & faith.

  179. frizzy scissorhands says:

    1. raised in a devoutly catholic family. went through a time when i felt angry at god, when i decided he didn’t exist. now, i reject any organized religion as the one true vehicle to god.

    i believe in god … the stuff about jesus is a little more murky because i get mired in the details. still, catholicism serves as the matrix through which i filter or perceive all god-related stuff.

    i have read st. augustine … aquinas … twain … lewis … dante … merton.

    i find that the jewish rabbi’s are quite wise when it comes to interpreting the old testament, the mysteries and the lessons of which have mostly been a mystery to me. for example, the story of lot’s wife …

    i have worked through some of what troubles me about god and religion by blogging about it … most people would find these pieces too esoteric … but here’s the link ~ that blog that holds all of my past writings (i have been a restless blogger, frequently re-inventing myself) … see if any of it makes sense to you.

    a writer who really, really struck a cord with me is Simone Weil.

    2. raised in winnipeg, canada. now call vancouver my home.

    3. the baghdad blog … this book introduced me to blogger. my life has forever changed because i blog.

    4. two years ago, i had to stop nursing because of panic attacks, and basically a massive burnout. i have struggled with depression, addiction, and suicidal feelings for at least two years. my marriage is at an impass (read, i am separated, no chance for a true reconciliation … we’re friends).

    so … each day is its own unique challenge. i am on the mend … at a sort of cross roads, wrt working life.

    i keep myself busy by focussing on others around me (i have many friends) … writing, photography, blogging.

    i love early mornings, when the birds are just starting to get restless … or late, late nights when the sky is clear and you cannot hear a sound.

    5. my red divan … you can find links to my other blogs in the sidebar. i love to write … about all sorts of topics. lately my focus is: mental illness and bipolar disorder … the spiritual side of things … separation and divorce. mostly, i just like to examine the world around me through my own eccentric lense.

  180. gracia452 says:

    Hie there!

    the name’s Diana Tsitsi Gracia C. what can i say i love all my names and sometimes face problems of what name to say when people ask me what it is… discovered your blog day before yesterday as i was editing my blog template and stuff and it immediately went onto my ‘blogs i like list’

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? : —-

    I’m Catholic, not exactly cradle though.. I got baptised at 9 coz my dad we were all to be Catholic, though he isn’t, but because my grandmother was and there lived a devout woman if there ever was one. Spiritually I’ve had ups and downs, moments of not wanting to be Catholic coz i disagreed with this and that but now I agree with it all. I’m currently attending a Presbyterian church coz there is no catholic church close by, but I’m hoping to get my own wheels soon so i can attend mass again :D

    # Where are you from? : —-

    Zimbabwean born and bred, but living in South Africa now recently got a new job as a systems analyst…mmm… the jury is still out…

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?: —-

    I am addicted to books, literally, I read near everything i can get my hands on even text books if they are not prescribed reading material… the moment they have been prescribed for me it smacks of studying and the word slowly but surely lose their magic…

    a good one would be my St Benedict’s prayer book. Why?… coz i am lousy at prayer and some of them prayers are so apt I find myself going back to it every now and then just to start praying ‘properly’ again.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? : —-

    my days aren’t really typical yet, still moving about and when i get my permit then I’ll look for a permanent house, car and start volunteering again… for now wake up at 5:45, read my current novel, i get up at about 6:45 have breakfast, bath, commute to work reading my current novel, blog, surf, waste time and check email till about 9:30, work, leave work at 4:30 get home reading my current novel, help my cousin with supper, read my bible then current novel till about 11 pm, sleep and we begin all over again

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? : —-

    I’m ‘new’ to blogging in that I always tell myself I’m gonna blog now; do it for a couple of days and then promptly drop it the next week; so my blog has very little on it though it’s two years old “sigh” but it can be found here anyway — http://savinggraces.blogspot.com

    not so sure what the core content is but i tend to write on pieces of paper and in my journal a lot… just trying to get that whole writing thin onto my blog as well.. problem is my typing is atrocious… hence the reason i tend to fall off the blog-wagon now and again… and why i always have to go over everything again removing typos, shortened words and the ubiquitous “…” ha not gonna happen :D

    keep up the good work Jen, love your blog

  181. Tony C says:

    Hey Jen, I’m Tony C.

    I was a religious nomad for many years. Although raised in a Christian home, my faith was invaded by doubt shortly after arriving for college. There were so many questions I needed to answer (or I thought I needed to answer) but couldn’t from the Bible or church. I began to explore different religions and belief systems before coming to an agnostic state. I dwelled there for many years. Never arrogant enough to deny a Higher Power or Supreme Being, my core belief was that such an existing Power couldn’t possibly care about the trivial, messed up lives our species had evolved to in our brief time on this created world. My revival came in the early years of 2000. I continued to seek answers (and still do) but came to the understanding that God never intended us to know or discover everything. How could we? Once I stopped boxing in God with secular limitations and accepted His true omnipotence, my battle was over. My ideas are by no means new and my beliefs are as ancient as the Crucifixion, but they make me who I am today.

    I live in the Bible Belt, have a wonderful and Godly wife, and two daughters that bless me daily.

    Besides the Bible, I would have to say The Case for Faith had a profound influence on me.

    I blog at http://tonyctoday.blogspot.com/
    about religious and political topics of the day or even yesterday.

    I love my job and work with a delightful, Catholic family. We have great dialogue. I’ve edited a recently published book…which was a very trying experience.

    Thanks Jen. I look forward to reading more. God bless.

  182. Denise Burks says:

    My name is Denise Burks and I live in the suburbs with my wonderful husband and our six beautiful and bright children. We have a nice house filled with some nice stuff. I have everything I really need to be happy, which made it nearly impossible to admit that I was absolutely miserable. I was overwhelmed by all of my responsibilities yet I was underwhelmed by the actual work. I soaked in the tub each night to get a few minutes alone and cried because I was lonely.

    Then one day I was schlepping through Sam’s Club with my toddlers in tow and I spotted a local celebrity, Dr. Mary Ann Bobosky. Dr. Bobosky was one of those women I followed in the newspaper, yet here she was right beside me at Sam’s Club! Her cart was full with interesting appetizers, asparagus, the good olive oil and teetering on the top was a giant slab of salmon. I drove home wondering how she does it all (and I wondered how she was going to prepare that salmon).

    Thus began my obsession with Dr. Bobosky and suburban women.

    Each time I’d see a woman zipping around in her mini van I’d try to guess who they were talking to on their cell phone. I started taking long walks around my neighborhood (in the evening when everyone’s home was lit) trying to catch glimpses of the family inside. I wondered what they were doing inside those four bedroom colonials with their perfectly manicured lawns. I wondered what they were having for dinner. Were they having baked chicken-on-the-bone, buttered penne pasta and broccoli, for the second time this week? I wondered what the woman in that house was wearing. Was she playing music? Does she drink coffee? Does she bleach her teeth? Do her teenage kids like her? Does she have one really great girlfriend? What book is she reading? Does she have a reason to get up and get dressed up tomorrow?

    So, eventually, I picked-up the phone and started asking women if I could spend time with them. To my delight, women welcomed me into their home with my camera and tape recorder. In turn, they introduced me to more women. Each shared a part of their life story, some big stuff and lots and lots of the fascinating little stuff.

    Success In The Suburbs is the result of those meetings.

    http://www.successinthesuburbs.com

  183. Bredna Craig says:

    Hi, I am Brenda and I am let’s say over 50…a little over.

    I had no religious beliefs when younger…my father was connected to the Church of Christ and my mother Catholic so we went no where at all…made a profession of faith which I did not mean when I was 16…and later when I did mean it at around 20…and I have been serving the Lord with my whole heart ever since…and have not looked back.

    I am originally from Kentucky but now live in Texas

    The book which had the most impact on my life was Come Away My Beloved by Frances Roberts. I bought it for 25 cents at a Goodwill store and it is the basic foundation for the book I published.

    My typical day consist of sitting in the hot tub with a cup of coffee and my hubby at 5 in the morning on weekdays…then getting my 10 year old off to school…putting the house in order…having quiet time with the Lord and then a full day of working on my websites and writing for my new book and so on…dinner and a bit of TV here and there.

    My name is Brenda and I write on contemplative, meditative and prophetic insight.

    I send out a daily devotion through my website http://www.journalsoftheheart.com

    I published my first book with Francis Frangipane’s ministry and it can be found at http://www.carvingsinghispalm.com.

    I also have a free music download site for soaking worship music called http://www.soakingwithapurpsoe.com

    I do all this because I am madly in love with the Lord and love to minister to and help people

  184. Sarah says:

    Hello! I am Sarah, and I have followed your posts in Google Reader for a few months now. I grew up in a Methodist, Christian home with a wonderful heritage as did my husband, and we are looking to continue that heritage with our own family someday.

    We have settled in Kentucky where my husband is a financial advisor and I work at a university while pursuing my Master’s in Family Studies. I hope to be a parent educator in a year or two.

    For us, a typical day involves work, study, family, and the process of figuring out how marriage works.

    I am new to blogging, both reading and writing, and I learn so very much from reading your thoughts. Your post on the five seconds of prayer a day helped me to overcome some guilt that was keeping me from praying at all. So thank you!

    If you want to know more about me, you can find me at http://memoriesblogger.wordpress.com.

    Blessings!

  185. LarryD says:

    Hi! I'm Larry, a bit north of 40 years old (ok, 43 if you must know). I came to this blog via Creative Minority Report.

    My journey is a fairly common one: Cradle Catholic—>drifted away during college years —-> reverted in 1997 and couldn't be happier.

    I'm originally from Rochester NY; attended college at Michigan State University (go Green go White!) where I met my wife; have been living in SE Michigan since 1988.

    Tough to narrow it down to one book, but I'd have to say it's 'The Final Hour' by Michael Brown. A friend recommended it to me that led to my reversion, and while I probably haven't looked at it since then, it was so pivotal in my return to the Church, I can only imagine where I'd be if I hadn't read it. Mary pulled this wayward son by his earlobes back to her Son.

    I'm in sales, so there is no *typical day*. After helping my wife get out the door for her job, and getting my two sons off to school, I'm out the door. Once I get home, it's dinner, time with the kids, and then way too many hours blogging.

    I've been blogging since late March at http://www.actsoftheapostasy.blogspot.com, "Acts of the Apostasy". After reading Curt Jester and Ironic Catholic and Jimmy Akin.org for many many months, I jumped into the blog ring, and have been enjoying it ever since. My blog is a commentary on heterodox so-called Catholic groups as well as provide an outlet for my thoughts, humor and insights. Not necessarily in that order.

    I'll be adding you to my catablogue. Glad I came across your blog!

  186. mary bailey says:

    Hey! I’m Caroline and I found your blog thru ElizabethEsther. I’m 36yo and I’m a stay-at-home wife and mom.

    I grew up Lutheran in a home where we went to chuch every Sunday but never mentioned God at home, other than in rote mealtime blessings and bedtime prayers. My husband grew up Southern Baptist but joined my church when we were married. We were inactive for about 5 years and jumped back in as very active members after the birth of our son. I had my son at 27yo and I got “saved”—I asked Jesus to come and live in my heart and be my personal Lord and Savior. I became disillusioned with the formality and ritualism of the Lutheran church and God lead us on a search to find a new church home. We joined a Southern Baptist church when I was 30yo and I was baptized by immersion. I had been baptized as an infant and we had our son baptized as an infant also. He was “saved” at age 6 and was baptized by immersion. I love the Lord and have learned more about him in the last 6 yrs. as SB than in my first 30 years at my childhood church. It is an amazing journey!

    My husband and I both were born and raised in our small town in South Carolina.

    My days are filled with school, cleaning, cooking, errands, family time, friendships, church, Bible study, and some fiction reading if I’m lucky!

    The book, other than the Bible, that’s had the greatest impact on me is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.

    I blog as mary bailey at http://bellwhistlemoon.blogspot.com/ Hope you’ll stop by and visit me. I’ve added your blog to my faves. Blessings to you!

  187. Meghan says:

    Hi Jennifer. My name’s Meghan, and I will be from here on out a faithful reader :)

    –My dad was the pastor of a Baptist church for most of my growing up years (though we are all now pretty much non-denominational). College was a time of solidification for me, but I feel like I am getting “re-converted” all the time–just stumbling on more and more deeply life-changing truths that make me wonder what I was thinking before.

    –I am from southeast Michigan (along with many other readers, I see).

    –The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning and The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O’Connor. Both jerked me out of my desire to impress God by having it all together.

    –What my daily life looks like remains to be seen because I am due to have a baby girl in four days. Right now, it involves a lot of sitting around and whining. However, I do work part-time for a church on campus at the University of Michigan, so I spend a lot of time with undergraduate women. My favorite part of each day would probably have to be reading blogs. Am I addicted? I might need to think about that. I also have an absolutely fantastic husband, and now that I am home more of the day, I get very excited for when he’s going to be back.

    –My blog is called “Out of the Woods” at http://meghanlou.blogspot.com.

    So far I’ve only read a couple of your entries, but I wanted to thank you for “How I Became Pro-Life” and was wondering if you’d mind if I post a link to it on my blog. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, and this past election season was really hard for me. It is not entirely kosher to be pro-life in this city, and generally speaking, I was planning on avoiding the subject when it came to my voting decisions. But I felt so nagged by it. I’m not sure I had ever reached my OWN conclusion about abortion, even at 8 months pregnant. I had to go to the hospital on election day, because I was having a lot of contractions, and before we left, I stood at my voting booth as my body seized up and felt in a panic. I ended up scrawling in the circle for McCain/Palin and then later that night, felt like I had missed out on history by NOT voting for the first African-American president. I felt like a loser for “voting pro-life.” But the last month has been really interesting. God has been solidifying something inside of me about the importance of this subject and the need to continue to speak up on it. I haven’t been seeking it out, but I keep stumbling on other people’s really helpful perspectives (like yours; and I also recently watched the film “Expelled” which was so oddly moving in many ways). Thanks for taking the time and risk to write on the subjects you do. It has helped me to see where I stand in the cloud of pollution.

    (Hopefully no one minds my comment being slightly political–I’m not a particularly optimistic voter, so I I was at the polling place simply doing my duty. When I say “speak up,” I am referring to my own personal life and community)

  188. Hannah says:

    Hi :) I’m Hannah, and I’m nearly 19. I’ve been reading your blog for about three months after accidentally stumbling across it.

    I was raised as a third generation atheist in a family of left-wing, feminist artists. I was a typical angry atheist goth in high school, but very suddenly began to consider the idea of God a little before university. I’m now in my second year of uni, and yo-yo between being inclined and disinclined towards the idea of God. At the moment, I’m just trying to work out exactly what I believe!

    I was born in Cleveland, OH, to Scottish parents, and we moved back to the UK when I was 13. I finished high school in Scotland and am now at university in England.

    The book that’s had the greatest impact on my life would have to the be the illustrated Greek myths for kids that I was given to keep me quiet when I had a temper tantrum in a book shop aged 4. I refused to let go of it, have it to this day, and credit it with sparking my love of the ancient world – I’m now a classics student!

    As a student, my day varies, but is usually something to the effect of: up at around 6am for rowing, breakfast, lectures, lunch, free study time/classes/wasting time on the internet, dinner, work/hang out with friends, bed. Highly exciting, I know…I’m not one of those particularly wild students.

    I’ve only just started blogging (inspired by you, actually :S). My blog is http://confusedagnostic.blogspot.com/ where I write about…surprise, surprise…being a confused agnostic, and my attempts to work out what I believe and what’s out there.

  189. Headless Mom says:

    Hi Jennifer! This “Introduce yourself” post is a great idea. May I ‘borrow’ it? Who knows when I’ll get to that, but it can’t hurt to be prepared, right?

    I’ve been reading here, on and off since last spring. I love your blog-I love that you are so candid and truthful about your past and walk with God. I’m trying to be even more bold about my faith, what God has taught/is teaching me, and that He deserves the glory for the blessings in my life. I blog at http://headlessfamily5.blogspot.com/ and really love the community of bloggers that I’ve found out here on the internet. I write about a lot of things: kids, life, recipes, memories, things like that.

    We live in Southern California, I’m a SAHM of 3, so I’m sure you know what my days look like. I really need to incorporate more prayer time, Daily!, so that is definitely a goal of mine. It would change my days beyond measure, I’m sure. We currently attend a Foursquare church. (I was ‘born-again as a teen, and actually began ‘walking the walk’ as an adult.) I find that, with the exception of the Catholic practices, our beliefs are not so different.

    Thank you for your great blog, your wonderful insight, and the example of boldness to wear your faith on your sleeve. God bless you!

  190. pharmgirl says:

    Hi Jen!

    In a nutshell: grew up Catholic, drifted away from the Church in college, spent some time as an agnostic, and later, a Unitarian. While that was going on, I married a hard-core atheist. Started going to Mass again at Easter ’08.

    I am from Kansas, the home state of Dorothy Gale and Clark Kent.

    Books that have impacted my life: Dead Man Walking by Sr. Helen Prejean, What’s So Great About Christianity by Dinesh D’Souza, Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup. Oh yeah, and the Pharmacy College Admission Test prep book by Kaplan. :)

    Well, I am in my last year of pharmacy school right now, so I spend each month paying to work at a different hospital. Right now, however, I’m in one of my two off months, so I am spending a lot of time job hunting and catching up on all the stuff I missed out on when my husband and I had to live apart for four months.

    I do not have a blog, although I have been told I should start one.

  191. kari says:

    Hi! I recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying your writing. Here’s a little info about me:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey:

    I was raised in a Christian home. My parents are Salvation Army officers, and so serving others was a big emphasis in our family. Unfortunately, I slipped into thinking that I could somehow be “good enough” on my own (not rationally, you understand … but I didn’t really understand grace.) So my walk in recent years has been learning to walk in grace. Also my faith has been challenged by some serious health issues I’ve been dealing with … went through a very dark time earlier this year, in fact. Learned some stuff, but still have questions about other stuff.

    2. Where are you from?

    Born in San Francisco, lived primarily in western Washington State, with a brief stint in California for high school and college. The Salvation Army moves people around like the military, so I never lived more than 3-4 years in one town until I got married. I currently live in western Washington, in the greater Seattle area, with my husband and 3 daughters.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Wow … this is tough. I am a total bibliophile! I love CS Lewis, particularly “Mere Christianity” (and of course, the Chronicles of Narnia). “Grace Walk” by Steve McVey gave me a lot to think about earlier this year. I am lately enjoying a Thomas Merton devotional and John Piper’s “When I Don’t Desire God: How to Fight for Joy” and “Future Grace” (how’s that for a combination?) Oh, and I also enjoy anything written by Os Guiness.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Up until this fall, I homeschooled my three daughters (currently 13, 10, and 7 years old). Our financial situation forced me back to work, so they’re now in public school. So my day looks like this: Get kids up, fed, off to school. Then I walk over to my desk to do my work (I’m a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader) until my kids start arriving home. Then it’s chores, piano practice (or driving to lessons), making dinner, etc…

    My very favorite part of the day is when my kids get home and we get to reconnect. I’m hoping to go back to homeschooling, should finances ever allow for it!

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I recently started a blog at http://www.honest2godblog.com in an attempt to try to redeem some of my struggles earlier this year, and my focus is on living my faith “out loud” and transparently. My blog covers lots of topics, but one recurring theme is that the walk of faith can be difficult emotionally, so let’s all just be honest about that. My one big question for this year has been this: How do I walk–with honesty and integrity–this road God has me on (which I HATE) and still bring glory to God? When I have an answer, I’ll let you know! :)

  192. Jennie says:

    Hi. Jennie here. I very recently stumbled across your blog and am loving it for our RCIA class.

    A few answers for you:

    * I grew up in a nominally Christian home, where talking about Jesus was mostly done at church on Sundays. Spent a lot of time in the Baptist church, though I was baptized Methodist at about age 8. Went through RCIA as a senior in high school (I'm a 30-something now), and then my journey really begin.

    * Born and raised in Alabama, though I now live in Arizona. My husband is a native here so I think I may be stuck! Soooo not a fan of the heat!

    * One book?! ONE book??! I read too much to narrow it down that far, so I'll offer a few: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee are at the top, with We're On a Mission from God by Mary Beth Bonacci and Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn close behind. And just a favorite that I've read so often it's almost memorized: Lamb by Christopher Moore (note: it is ficional account of the lost years of Christ – hilarious, heartbreaking, not to be studied!!!)

    * Daily life now entails working, serving in RCIA (not daily, but still), spending time with our crazy kitties, and trying to take care of my pregnancy to the best of my ability (3rd pregnancy, no babies at home yet). I would love to say daily Mass is a constant on my schedule, but I have discipline issues. But I love it when I go! What can I say, I'm a work in progress. My favorite time of day: bedtime (give me a break, I'm pregnant – plus it's when me & hubby really talk!) :)

    * we're at http://www.j2webbsite.blogspot.com – we started it to keep friends and family from all over abreast of all things baby with our pregnancy earlier this year, and now this current pregnancy. It's possible you'll see pics of my kitties, too :)

  193. Kalynne Pudner says:

    Hey, y’all! I’m Kalynne, aka “The Philosopher-Mom,” aka “phdwithninekids.”

    I was raised in an agnostic household, though my mom was spirited away by her Greek Orthodox grandmother one morning and baptized (her own daughter, my Grandma, was Greek Orthodox who eloped with an Irish Protestant — horrors!). My dad used to tell me to “treat others the way you want them to treat you,” and I — foreshadowing my philosophical career, no doubt — would ask, “Why?” At 6 years of age, a neighbor took me to VBS and I bought into the Christian program. Wasn’t too faithful in living it, though. When I was 18 I converted nominally to Catholicism in a renegade Catholic parish in a…how do I describe the Milwaukee Archdiocese under Weakland? My RCIA non-experience would make you cry. Anyway, 8 years later, as an undergrad at Marquette, I met the right teachers, the right Jesuits, and the right boyfriend to effect a real conversion. Every day I find a new reason to thank God I made it into the (literally) catholic Church.

    I was born outside Chicago, grew up in Milwaukee, but consider myself “from” Virginia, where my real life began. (You can read a fuller explanation at http://derfwadmanor.blogspot.com/2008/10/slow-cook-thursday_08.html.)

    NEVER ask an academic about books. I kid you not; there is not enough space in all the comment boxes on Blogger for this! But I will mention the three that combined to effect that conversion at Marquette: (1) The Baltimore Catechism; (2) Introduction to Christianity by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger; and (3) The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino.

    My day? Hahahahaaa. Read about that at http://phdwithninekids.blogspot.com/2008/10/typical-day-whom-am-i-kidding.html. My favorite part would be when the wine cork pops out of the bottle.

    My blog has already been shamelessly self-promoted in the second inserted link: http://phdwithninekids.blogspot.com/
    I write about being a college professor mother of nine, philosopher and former homeschooler and Catholic convert who’s gained a boatload of weight this year.

  194. Brother Juniper says:

    My name is Brother Juniper, 24. I came upon you today through Adoro Te Devote.

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was born in Communist Bulgaria and essentially twisted my mother’s arm into getting me baptized in the Orthodox faith. Around 2002 or 2005, I started having serious doubts about the religion in which I was raised having to do with the Pope, the Mass, and what happens after we die. I converted to Catholicism in January 2007 and I am glad to be home.

    Where are you from?

    I am originally from Bulgaria, but I have spent most of my life living in Washington State.

    1. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    If I would have to pick just one, it would be “Jesus Christ” by Fr. Ferdinand Prat, SJ. This out-of-print book completely transformed my life.

    1. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I tend to sleep in and then work on my Master’s thesis. In the afternoon, I go to work at my university where I tutor. Then I go back home. Throughout the day, I recite the Divine Office. I don’t really have a favorite part of the day. But if pressed, I would say early morning when the world is just waking up.

    1. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is located at http://brotherjuniper.wordpress.com. It is entitled “Peace, Love, and Joy.” It is a place for me to blog about many different things from the weather to my discernment in becoming a Franciscan.

  195. Tres Angelas says:

    Came across the blog last week. Love it.

    Practicing Catholic (operative word: “practicing”). Raised that way (Irish on both sides).

    Mom is devout — with Dad, it’s harder to tell. When I was college-aged, he once roused me to go to mass with following inspirational words: “Nobody LIKES to go to church.” This from a man who never, ever misses mass.

    Married thirteen years. I credit my long-suffering wife (and a couple of wonderful priests) for my return to the Church.

    I’m from Loudoun County, Virginia. (I used to say this with pride, but it’s all yankees anymore.)

    My wife is from Mexico City, Mexico. We visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the first time this summer — a lovely experience.

    Two angelic daughters, aged nine and (almost) 13.

    Two dogs — one a saintly, overweight beagle-mix, the other a demon-possessed Chihuahua.

    The book that had the greatest impact on my life wasn’t a book at all. When I was, oh, 20, my mother gave me a gift subscription to National Review. By the time I finished my second issue I was a life-long, hardcore conservative.

    Prior to that, if I had an ideology at all, it involved Budweiser and Black Flag (the band, not the insecticide).

    Oh, so getting to my actual point, you are a very, very talented writer. It’s a calling.

    Thanks,

    Bob Foster

  196. Christine says:

    1. All my life I believed in God – but I did not know. It was more like a vague feeling that there has to be more. This feeling actually nourished my hopes, that life could be far more better that it was at that time (school gave me a hard time…).

    Finally my faith is becoming more and more clearer to me – even though God will always remain beyond my human understanding. The deeper I dive into the Good News of Jesus Christ the more I get to know myself. It’s some kind of freedom, I guess.

    2. I am from Germany.

    3. There are quite some books which were really touching and made me think about life. The writings of frére Roger of Taizé (more about that can be found at that place: http://www.taize.fr) influenced me a lot. What I experienced in that place had a even greater impact on my life…

    4. I study theology, so this is actually taking a huge amount of time – right now I should invest even more time. But referring to my health conditions I can’t – I am forced to relax. I can’t tell a typical day – but my favorite part is my morning prayer: I pray and read one chapter of the Bible. According to the fact that it’s my favorite part I neglect it way too much often.
    I also love my cup of tea every morning. :o)

    5. I used to blog a few years ago. But I stopped doing it, because it kind of bored me and I never knew what I should tell. Unfortunately at that time I considered my life to be very boring, so there were no ‘stories’ to tell…compared to the other teens surrounding me.

  197. Kerath25 says:

    Just found your site when trying to clarify some thoughts to begin my own.

    1. When I was really young, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, who are very firm in their faith. As I got older, I fell into the trap that many of my “intelligent” friends and siblings did, accepting everything I heard except religion. During my senior year of high school, I reached out to God for help, and He answered me. I am now trying to learn everything I can about my faith and share it with others.

    2. Minnesota originally, now residing in TX.

    3. I am very partial to the works of C.S. Lewis, both fiction and non-fiction.

    4. Pray rosary, work (on computers), run errands, make dinner, communicate with family, read today’s Bible verses, repeat.

    5. My little space (though sparely populated): http://threecyclethoughts.blogspot.com

    Thank you for your writings!

  198. Skyraven says:

    Hi Jennifer, I’m Heiddi and am a 31 year old single mom to Andy who will be eight in March. We live in New York City where I’ve been my whole life. I guess I’m what the other posters call a cradle catholic having been in the church for as long as I can remember.
    My mom was the one who got me into the church. She was a major volunteer and dragged me along for the ride. Of the four of us, I’m the only one who attends Mass on a regular basis and volunteers as well. I don’t think I could be anything but a catholic, but have been privelidged to learn more about the faith of others. I just graduated last may with a master’s in mental health counseling from Nyack College (evangelical). My faith in the church has always been strong, but at this school I was challenged to share why I am so faithful. So now I’m drawn to spend my time in fellowship with others and hope to make a group for that purpose in my church.

    One book I really liked reading was “Letters to a Young Catholic”. I got it to prepare for my sic credits in theology (required in grad school). I was afraid of being persecuted for my beliefs as some students and professors had converted from catholicism to other denominations. I had bad experiences growing up with people verbally attacking me for being catholic.

    Another book that imapcted me was Randy Pausch’s book (can’t remember the title right now, kinda late). He helped me see how important it was to live in the moment and to enjoy life for what God wanted it to be.

    I work as a socio-therapist in Therapeutic Foster Care at a large agency in the city. I get my son ready for school (my alma mater) where he’s in the second grade with my second grade teacher. :) Then I take a ten minute bus ride to work. Go pick the kiddo up and get home. After he goes to bed, I surf and write and email and watch tv.
    I have a few blogs to share as I’m also pursuing my writing career. Here goes:

    Personal: http://www.skyravensays.blogspot.com
    Writing:
    http://www.thefreshmanwriter.wordpress.com
    http://www.heiddizalamar.wordpress.com
    You can also find me on Examiner.com as the New York Parenting examiner.
    Thanks so much for doing this and for letting me share. Take care.

  199. funtohavefun says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’ve been Catholic for my whole life, but my beliefs have changed from a more fear based avoidance of God to a love based relationship. I suffered from depression as a child and teenager, and it impacted my faith in a very negative way.

    I never felt that I would be good enough, so adherence to the faith fell by the wayside in some key areas. God lead me back to Him through my marriage, where I learned that I could be loved for exactly who I was and still encouraged to be the best that I was called to be. Almost 7 years after skipping the senior prom to get married at 20 weeks pregnant, I have a wonderful marriage, 4 children, and my B.A in Theology from the University of Dallas.

    # Where are you from?

    I am from the Boston area originally, went to Dallas for college and just relocated to Albany, NY for my husband’s job.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. His description of how he could feel homesick at home, along with the joy he found in his faith, gave me a lot of hope.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I have 4 kids age 6 and under, so I’m constantly on diaper duty. I also bake bread, granola, muffins, etc for my family. I love kneading dough, and I love teaching my daughter how to make good things. Watching her pull out the honey, and trying to break eggs in my large mixing bowl was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. My boys don’t care much about baking, but Sassy does.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is funtohavefun.wordpress.com, in homage to the Cat in the Hat who balanced on the ball doing as much as possible. I write about every day life in my family, my reflections as a Catholic woman, etc. I recently started “Project Sainthood” to work more openly on spiritual progress towards union with God. I also spend time at Magisterium Mamas, an online community on Yuku of Catholic women who are faithful to the Magisterium but also open about the challenges of living their vocations.

  200. Eunice says:

    Hello Jennifer! I’m Eunice, and am 20 years old. I chanced upon your blog today after being linked to it from some other links. And I’ve been touched by a couple of your entries, particularly that on the Liturgy of the Hours. It has inspired me to take praying the Office more seriously each day. So thank you very much!

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised a Protestant Presbyterian. I have been pretty much involved in church, knowing that I need to put God as the No.1 in my life and doing all things for God. However, after getting into a Catholic college, I joined the Legion of Mary and began to dabble in Catholicism and a year after, I converted! I got baptized in 2007! While my belief about doing all things for God has yet to change, the fact that there is now the role of Mary plus the saints make doing things for God all the more possible. It also helped to make me less of a Sunday Christian because of the fact that I can go to Mass every day! I can proudly say God definitely played a much more significant role now that I’m a Catholic as compared to when I was still a Protestant.

    2.Where are you from?

    I’m from the sunny island, Singapore in Southeast Asia where it’s just a small red dot on the world map. Borders Malaysia, Indonesia.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Scott Hahn’s ‘ROME SWEET HOME’. It was the book that converted me as it answered alot of my questions regarding the Catholic faith.

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m a student, in National University of Singapore, reading Political Science and Philosophy. So typically it’s school from 10am-6pm before I head down for evening Mass (if I can make it) and then getting involved in RCIA or Legion of Mary meetings in the night.
    My favorite part of each day got to be the fact that I get to attend Mass with my good friends and after that hanging out at dinner and drinks.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog is http://eunicegertrudis.livejournal.com. Basically it’s a place where I write some spiritual reflections or quotes/readings etc.

  201. Dawn says:

    #1 I didn’t believe in a god when in high school. Now I’m Catholic and am thankful for that.

    #2 I live in San Antonio, TX.

    #3 Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura (I’m serious. LOL!)

    #4 Typical day involves getting stuff done. Favorite part is afternoon coffee!

    #5 http://dawnfarias.blogspot.com
    Just started this blog. Want to write about family life, be humorous and encouraging.

    Thank you for your blog. I’ve been reading for a couple of weeks and you remind me of myself! Plus, from your picture I could swear we’ve met before. Hope you are doing well! Peace.

  202. Philippa says:

    Hi, I’m Philippa, and I am a new reader of this blog.

    - My spiritual journey: I was born into a household with an Anglican mom and a dad who was benignly uncaring about God. I was confirmed in the Anglican church, but the rites and rituals left me unmoved and I saw no relevance to God or my life. At 13 I went to a youth camp where the speaker was pretty much hell and damnation, and I think I got scared into converting! Regardless of how I became a Christian, I leaped into the life, and had many moments of pure joy in Christ. At 17, due to a couple of reasons (mostly due to being emotionally/spiritually hurt by some members of the church I went to) I rebelled and renounced all things God. I completely swung the other way and probably did a lot of harm as I cursed God and told everyone how “enlightened” I now was. Boy, the arrogance of my youth! Eighteen years later, after marriage, two kids, moving to another country and several career changes, God was on my mind a lot. It took two years, with me reluctantly kicking, screaming and dragging my heels all the way until God brought me to the place where I realized that I cannot be without Him, I cannot deny Him and I am purposeless without Him.

    Where am I from: I was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and have lived in Australia, USA (WA) and Canada.

    Impactful book: Sorry, other than the bible, no one book exists! I love reading. Hmm… The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence; No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke; Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby; The Shack by William Young (and a whole lot of other books, Christian and secular, that I love).

    Daily life: I work at my church (Baptist church in British Columbia, Canada) so I feel very blessed that my day is very God-focused. I guess in a nutshell I’m a suburban mom (kids, school, activities, volunteering, etc). My favourite time of the day would be the winding down at the end. Watching a movie with hubbie, doing my devotion, sleeping… aah.

    I have a new blog, which is http://www.mentalreflection.wordpress.com. It’re really squeaky and brand-new; however, I aim to be focused on thoughts, feelings, opinions, trends, etc in the Christian world. It may evolve as it matures, but I’m having fun just blogging about stuff that interest me right now.

  203. Jeff Pinyan (japhy) says:

    Spiritual Journey.

    I was raised in a Catholic house, 7th of 8 children. My father was Baptist (until going through RCIA nearly a decade ago). My eldest brother is a priest (a pastor in NJ). I was an altar boy growing up, thought about the priesthood.

    I wasn’t a very good Catholic during high school, and that continued into college, when I didn’t go to Mass very much at all (but I think God saved me from a horrendously liberal liturgical and theological and spiritual de-formation in the process) although I loved going to Mass whenever I was at home (sans Confession, of course). After college, I “got myself right with God” over the next few years. Now I’m a pretty well-grounded Catholic, I think, thanks to God, but trying to grow more all the time.

    Where are you from?

    I was born and raised in northern New Jersey, and now I live in Princeton.

    Book(s) with a great impact?

    “The Silmarillion” (moreso than Lord of the Rings!), “The Skrewtape Letters”, “Ender’s Game”, “Snowcrash”, and — in liturgical matters — “The Reform of the Reform?” by Fr. Thomas Kocik (followed closely thereafter by all the other books on the liturgy I’ve read!).

    Daily Life.

    I’m a software developer. I write code most of the day. I spend my lunch-break either writing about the faith (and the Roman liturgy especially) or reading Church documents, highlighter in hand. (I think my online Catechism search tool is super-nifty.)

    I’m involved in a fair number of faith-based activities: I’m on my parish’s pastoral council, I’m a reader at Mass, I’m on the RCIA team, I’m facilitating the Great Adventure Bible Timeline study at my parish, and I lead a Young Adults Bible Study at a nearby parish.

    My favorite part of the day, despite how much I love work, is when the work day is over and I go home to my wife.

    My Blogs.

    The Cross Reference, which started out as a place to post my notes from a Bible Study I was in at my parish back in 2006. Then I started blogging about the faith more generally.

    Critical Mass: the Science of the Liturgy is my second blog. This is devoted to catechesis (mystagogical and otherwise) concerning the Roman Mass (in its Extraordinary and Ordinary forms). I’m doing a series of posts right now on viewing the Mass from the perspective of the mission of the Church.

  204. Anonymous says:

    Hello!

    I actually just stumbled upon your diary because I was searching for phobias of biscuit can/champagne pops to see if I was the only one bothered by them! Hehe. Then I read your posts about why you became Catholic. I found your views and the way you explain them to be very interesting.

    While I’m here, I thought I’d answer your questions. :)

    #1 Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Roman Catholic. I stopped believing in God at a very young age, mainly due to a rough childhood. I got into the “pagan thing” when I was a teen, and then decided on atheism. As of now? I guess I really don’t know what I believe.

    #2 Where are you from?

    Ann Arbor, Michigan

    #3 What is one book that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Oh so many books… I have been in love with reading since a very early age. I think if I had to choose just one single book that changed my outlook on life, I’d say Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.”

    #4 Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I am a technical support person, female, 28 years old, never married, 2 cats and a steady boyfriend. I paint and do scratchboard art in my freetime. Nothing terribly interesting is going on at the moment.

    #5 If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I’d prefer to stay anonymous at the moment. I think. :)

  205. Jillian Bandes says:

    Hey there — you’ve been nominated as one of our favorite religion bloggers in our Ladyblog Awards contest. Please shoot me an email at jillian@culture11.com, or just visit our awards page at

    http://www.culture11.com/article/36558

  206. Doogie says:

    Hello Jennifer! I found your blog from the blogress awards thingy and am bookmarking you (naturally, I voted for you too).

    1. I’m a former Free Methodist evangelical / mildly charismatic Christian and now a Roman Catholic / mildly charismatic Christian. I converted when I was 23.

    2. I’m from Winnipeg, in the Great White North.

    3. There’s been a lot of good books – if I had to pick one I’d say The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.

    4. Typical day: I get up at 6:00, browse the net for a bit while I sip my morning coffee, have a bit of breakfast, kiss my wife and 4 young girls goodbye (when my son squeezes out next month it will mix things up a bit), go to a satisfying and enriching job from 8:30 to 5:00, come home to the delighted squeals of my girls and the overwhelming force of their group hug (the favorite part of my day), eat supper, tuck the kids in bed, then either embark to a meeting of some sort (school, parish, KofC, date with wife) or sit back and veg, then go to bed.

    5. I blog at convert-man.blogspot.com. It’s an outlet for my creative juices in general, but the major theme is what it’s like being a “new” Catholic in today’s world. It is intended to be a source of encouragement for my social circle here. I get about 15-20 hits a day.

  207. Brynne says:

    Hi! I’m Brynne, and I’m 18 years old. I found your blog through Big Mama, and was so blessed to find that this puts into words everything I have wanted to be able to express for so long. I will definitely be passing it along to friends. :)

    1. I was raised in the Episcopal church and went to a small Episcopal school. However, religion was not something openly discussed in my family, as my dad was an agnostic of sorts and the subject was kind of touchy. I would have considered myself a Christian, but never had a personal relationship with God — Christianity to me was more of a burden to me and another box to check-off on the to-do list. My dad and I both came to Christ at the same time — him publicly, me more privately — at a conference held by a Baptist church. As my dad went on the stage to pray with the pastor, I went into the bathroom crying silently to myself, because I knew I had just been changed forever. I accepted Christ at 13 years old, sitting on a toilet. :) While I was more private about the change that had taken place inside of me, I have learned to boldly proclaim my faith in God and declare my love for him. My dad was baptized at the Baptist church one week later. I was baptized as an infant in the Episcopal church. However, I no longer consider myself Episcopalian and am fervently opposed to denominations within the Church. I attend a non-denominational church, and am also the president of a Christian club at my school.

    I am from Fort Worth, TX.

    I am shamefully not a big reader, (even of Christian books), although I just finished “The Great Divorce” and loved it. I cannot wait to read more of C.S. Lewis’ brilliant works.

    My life is very busy, something that I am not proud of. Saving time for the Lord and my family can be a challenge. I go to school, then straight to work. I come home, eat quickly, then go volunteer at some community Adult English classes doing childcare. This is my favorite part of the day — My heart is in the Hispanic community, and working with ESL children is a passion the Lord has given me over the course of high school.

    I used to write more frequently, but sadly, don’t have much time for blogging anymore. HazBien.blogspot.com was my old blog — It has good background on what kind of work I do and what my passions are, although it is not current.

  208. Rob says:

    Hi, I Rob, a 50 year old who stumbled upon this blog through another blogs “favorite” links section….
    I bounce between belief and disbelief. My grandpa was a preacher….
    I am a hard to the right conservative man, from the New York. I’m an engineer and a self taught artist…
    I’m a spiritual man on a human journey and have landed in a Traditional Catholic Church which seems alright to me…. I haven’t converted, but like to sit and listen.
    My art is at: robsartwork.deviantart.com

  209. Heather says:

    I was born into a believing home and made a commitment to Christ when I was 4. My dad was a pastor of a small congregational church and later of a Bible church. I now attend a Vineyard church. I think as I grow I am grasping more the hugeness of God and how I am a place where heaven and earth intersect (an idea I’ve been musing over from reading Simply Christian by N.T. Wright). Hard to briefly state :-) My husband was a passionate believer when we married. Now he would classify himself as an ex-Christian agnostic. I have been greatly encouraged reading your story as I know that eventually this journey will come full circle.

    I am a native Texan, born in the panhandle, now living in DFW area.

    “One” book…fiction: Redeeming Love and Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, Black – Red – White trilogy by Ted Dekker. Non-fiction: Waking the Dead by Ted Dekker, Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson

    Daily life: 6 children that I home school. I get up, read my Bible (trying to get back in the routine of doing this BEFORE I do anything else), make sure kids are on task with chores, eat breakfast…email, blog, facebook while kids are doing chores…then school and learning and fun! My favorite part of the day is quiet rest time in the afternoon and down time w/ my husband after the kids are in bed.

    My blogs are
    cometothechamber.blogspot.com where I am blogging about worship and other thoughts related to a theology course I’m taking.
    and lifewithanexchristianagnostic.blogspot.com where I’m hoping to blog more about the journey with my husband…I have so much to tell, but I’ve been having a hard time getting started.

    I thank God for your gift with words. I love reading your story and am amazed at the goodness of God. You have blessed me tremendously.

  210. Rebecca says:

    Hi, I’m Rebecca. I’m 29 years old. This is my first (of many!) visits to your blog…I’ve been here almost 2 hours.

    Spiritual Journey:
    Raised Catholic, Watched (and learned) as my then-fiance, now husband, became a Catholic. I’ve always believed. I’ve always had Faith…my journey now is to learn more. To LIVE my Faith on a daily basis, by being a good Christian. I do not preach my Faith, I live it by example…it is very personal to me. I enjoy attending Bible studies with other Christian church groups, but I feel most connected with God through the Catholic Church. I too crave the tradition of a Eucharist based service.

    I was born, raised, and live in Morgantown, WV (home of West Virginia University – Let’s Go Mountaineers!).

    What is the one book that has had a great impact on your life?
    While not ‘religious’ per say – 2 books:
    The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield
    Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, by Susan Jeffers
    I believe that God gave us free will. I believe that it is up to us to use this free will to honor him. These 2 books, have taught me to be comfortable in my own skin.
    I also love Becoming, The Women’s Devotional Bible (it’s not a Catholic Bible, but it is clearly translated and has 365 devotionals…I read it daily…it’s the first bible, I’ve actually kept up with reading on my own).
    Ooops – that was 3, sorry :(.

    A little about my daily life:
    I’ve been married to my very best friend for 5 years. We have a dog and a cat. The thought of children petrifies me and I’m just not ready to give that control over to God yet…
    I am a PartyLite Consultant and Leader. I work from my home and the homes of others helping people to create ambiance in their homes or run their own business.

    I do have a blog: http://www.rebecca-feelmylove.blogspot.com

  211. Julie Simmons says:

    Hi. I’m a mom of 3, 2nd grade teacher, became a Christian as a child, influenced by books of Chuck Swindoll, Max Lucado. Glad to find your blog, linked here from BooMama.

  212. angela says:

    My name is Angela, I’m 31. I’m a wife of 6yrs. Mom of 3 four and younger. I’ve been a christian for 12years. I was not raised in a christian home, but for some reason I always knew there was a God. I just didn’t really know what He was all about. Maybe because I’m from the South “the bible belt” I knew about Him, but he didn’t mean anything to me or to the people around me. I didn’t really have a moral compass (tmi for here), but for some reason my life and my conscience were at war all the time. I hated my “freedom” and the consequences of my “free will”. But, one day or rather through a series of small events Jesus captured my attention and then my heart. It’s crazy because it’s been such a long time, but only feels like yesterday. I thought by now I would have it all figured out, but lately I’ve been on a quest for truth because it seems “the church of Jesus” has lost it’s way. I’m trying to conform my will and transform my mind to His. Which brings me to your Blog. I love to come here and read about your journey and the changes He has made in your life.

    One of my favorite books is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It’s fiction, but it’s taken from the story of Hosea.

    My daily life is learning to love home, learning submission, changing diapers, washing dishes, clothes, and boogers off of walls… I have a 4yr old daughter, 3 yr old son, and a 7 mo. old son. I always knew that I was supposed to have a lot of children. Although then I didn’t know why, but now I know God is working out my salvation through my children. I want to be everything He had in mind when He made His plans for me. But, I have a long way to go. I believe that God is the opener and closer of the womb. Something that not many people believe in the “baptist” church. So, I came on here searching for likeminded people and thank God I found some.

    I have a brand new blog at
    http://histruthendures.blogspot.com

    I hope to interact with you more. Have an awesome day and thanks for sharing your life with us…

  213. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    My name is Mary and I am a reconnected Catholic for the last five years after being away from the church since high school. I’m in my mid fifties and find such comfort and insight from all that you have chosen to share. I’m a RN but do mostly administrative work now. I live in the Twin Cities (Minnesota) and will forever d/t having beautiful grandchildren that are my life on the weekends.
    It was C.S Lewis and G.K. Chesterton that brought me home. I was distrustful of emotional conversions, it was important to me that faith was shown to be compatible with logic and reason. Then my emotions became engaged, very engaged.
    My primary reason for writing is to thank you for what your writing has done for me. I deal with some of the same issues i.e. anger, anxiety and learning to trust God.
    Thank You and God bless You.

  214. Clare Marie-Therese Duroc says:

    A brand new reader here!

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’m young yet (almost 19)… I was born and raised a Catholic, and still remain in the Faith.

    2. Where are you from?
    California… though I wasn’t born here, the state rather adopted me, and I’ve lived here most of my life.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Anything by Chesterton, who radically changed my whole outlook on life, but I think I can particularly mention Manalive. It’s always been hard to articulate what that book did for me. It taught my about the Christian life, the path to holiness… briefly it knocked me over and then blew me away while turning the world upside down. :)

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Daily life has changed since last spring when I graduated from high school, and will change again when I begin going to Thomas Aquinas College in the fall. For now, I’m in a sort of in-between stage. I read much of the time, write a little of the time, wander our local mountains… and the loveliest part of the day is in the early evening just after dinner when I have a few free hours to play music.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I write at http://amaidenswreath.blogspot.com/ with a few other girls… the blog is directed to young Catholic ladies, to encourage them to embrace the Faith and their womanhood, and inspire them in their journey.

  215. Julia says:

    Hi! Since I’ve been obsessively reading your blog the last couple of days, I thought I should finally introduce myself.

    I’m Julia, 23 years old from Chicago. I was raised in a atheist/agnostic family (no one ever bothered/cared to clarify which).

    In college I became Buddhist, which makes my “conversion” to Catholicism especially hard because here was a religion/philosophy that was atheistic but also provided an answer to why life was meaningful anyways, why we should act morally. Therefore, I never really had that concern pushing me to God.

    Anyways, it’s a long story and it’s not nearly finished. I’ve just recently started talking with my local Priest and since I’ve missed the RCIA round for this year, we’re trying to set up some private sessions. I’m hoping to make Easter this year but as you are well aware, there is so much to it!

    So why the Catholic Church? I’ve visited both during my days as a non-believer (for various reasons not related to any spiritual search). At the Protestant churches, I found it easy to pretend what was happening. I copied the expressions of the religious and looked solemn when I needed to. But I never felt anything in my soul and so of course, it was not a great experience. The few times I’ve been to Mass,however, I felt so at peace. It was like my soul knew it was home…but my body didn’t, meaning I didn’t know when to stand, kneel, cross myself, say certain things, etc. And looking back, I obviously chose my body over my soul because I didn’t explore the Church. Ok i don’t know if that made any sense. It did in my head but it probably looks funny in words.

    Books. Hmm, I would have to say books that really explored love. I think the complexity and beauty of Man’s ability to love is what ultimately pushed me over to theism. And for that, the Bronte sisters were amazing, specifically Wuthering Heights and Villette. As for Christian stuff, I’d have to say The Inescapable Love of God by Thomas Talbott. That really got me thinking that maybe Christianity isn’t so wacky and counterproductive.

    So, thanks for your posts and your honesty. I’m also just going to throw out a big thank you to the people who’ve provided some very insightful responses to your posts.

  216. SQUELLY says:

    Hi! I found you through a link from another blog. I think this blog is great – full of courage and truth. This is me:

    1. I was raised in an Irish Catholic family but in England. Catholic Churches have always spoken directly to my soul – they are home. Of course in my late teens I studied Philosophy and came up against myself – ‘do I believe this I asked of myself?’ After a lot of questioning and searching I was able to answer I did. I went to Lourdes aged 20 and I know that God exists and that his mother returned to earth because that place can’t be doubted.

    2. I’m from London in England born and raised in the big city on the little island :-)

    3. Daniel Deronda changed my life because it made me question the paths we take and why we take them. It made me look at the people who have come into my life and the way God has guided me so far.

    4.I’m an English teacher at a Catholic school a train ride away. I teach English Literature to kids aged 11-18. I listen to them, argue with them, laugh with them and come home in the evening to my little flat in London.

    I love the start of the day and the end of the day. One for hope and the other for reflection

    5. The shameless promotion bit:

    http://thedreamersday.blogspot.com/

    Drop in and say hi!

  217. Roxane B. Salonen says:

    I came here through a friend’s blog, not having any idea of what to expect other than that she provided a link and said “you have to read this!” I never cease to be amazed by these little surprises; the ways God works to bring us all together.

    I grew up Catholic. My father, a former seminarian, faded away from the Church during my growing-up years (though he later returned) but my mother was steadfast in her faith the whole duration. Yet, I grew up in that timeframe of the “Catholic catechism void” and didn’t truly know what Catholisim was all about (except for my mother’s awesome example) until adulthood. I might have left it, in fact, if not for something that happened in high school. My sister had gone to her first year of college and returned home on break and told me she was thinking of leaving the Church. I got a knot in my stomach, though I wasn’t sure why. I replied, “Just don’t leave it until you know for sure what you’re leaving.” Swayed by a love interest, in part, she left it anyway. She is a strong Christian and I love her, but her hasty exit bothered me. Even though I had questions, too, I knew I could not leave without following my own advice that I’d given her in high school. So I floundered for a while following college and marriage, but while contemplating parenthood, felt compelled to be more firm in my faith, one way or another. I was shocked at what I uncovered through self-study, and happily embraced the Church. My enthusiasm was catchy and my husband became Catholic, too, the night our first of five children was Baptized during an Easter Vigil celebration.

    I grew up on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation in Northeast Montana, but live now in Fargo, North Dakota.

    I’d say The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the biggest influence in terms of my faith. The Artist’s Way has greatly influenced my writing life.

    I am usually up late, so my husband helps with the kids in the mornings. I roll out of bed and, sometimes in my pajamas, take the school-aged kids to school. I then return to the one who remains at home (age 3) and we usually go to the YMCA. The afternoon intensifies upon school pick-up, we eat together as a family at 7:15 p.m., and an hour later, it’s bedtime. That’s when my writing day begins, which is why I am up so late. I love the conversations I have with my kids in the car or other times throughout the day, no matter their ages. Another favorite moment is when my youngest and I have a chance to rest together in the afternoon. Those sweet moments of quiet and restfulness are heaven.

    I am one of five parenting columnists for our city’s newspaper, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, and started a blog after beginning as a columnist. So my blog, naturally, is a parenting-related blog. Occasionally, though, you will see hints of my faith infused within it. I can be found at roxanesalonen.blogspot.com. I also write on occasion for our diocesan newspaper and am part of a Catholic writers’ online list.

    I am intrigued by your story, Jennifer, and you can bet I’ll be back. I hope you will visit my blog sometime as well.

    Peace to you!

  218. AmyW says:

    My name is Amy and I’ve been visiting your blog for a couple of months. I’ve been married for 22 years and I have 3 boys (ages 17, 15, and 12). I am a high school science teacher who works with special education students. I’m two months shy of finishing my Ed.S. degree.

    Spiritual journey: I was raised in a Christian family. I grew up in a very small community (my graduation class had a grand total of 12 students). I attended a very small Baptist church. I was saved at the age on 9 in that small church.

    My grandparents lived right next door to the church. My grandmother was the church pianist, my dad and granddad were deacons and a variety of aunts, cousins, and neighbors were my Sunday School teachers.

    I was lucky to grow up surrounded by family and friends who were believers. However, I eventually had to make sense of my faith and what it meant to me. I think one of the downsides to growing up surrounded by believers is that you learn all the right things to “say” and “do” without really internalizing what it means to believe. Once I began to question and study the bible, my relationship with God deepened and became more personal.

    Favorite books: Well, I can’t list just one but I’ll try to narrow it down:
    A Heart Like His – Beth Moore (I love her bible studies)

    I Have Decided to Follow Jesus (very sweet fiction book that follows the life a remarkable woman who dedicates her life to Jesus – it is a great story about how the little things in life make an eternal difference)

    Experiencing God Bible Study – this study forever changed my relationship with God.

    My Blog:
    williams-arena.blogspot.com
    I started this blog as a way to hopefully witness to my husband’s family. They are not saved. So, I sprinkle in a little “testimony” here and there along with lots of pictures of my family. I know they enjoy reading about the boys so I use them as my “bait.” Pray that my blog will reach his family. They really don’t think they need Christianity and run away every time we try to approach them with our faith.

  219. Jennifer says:

    I’m Jennifer, and delighted to be a new reader of this blog!
    I’m a cradle Catholic. I become more devout with each passing year, and I am so grateful to be part of such a rich faith heritage.

    I’m originally from Michigan, but have lived in many states, and now that I’m an Army wife, the moving continues!

    One book I can’t speak highly enough about is Come Be My Light, the book about Mother Teresa’s life and spiritual trials. It is amazing beyond words, and she was truly a living saint.

    Daily life is being a SAHM mom to three young kids. It’s the holy vocation of MOM! With all the laundry, dishes, diapers, and tantrums that go with it!

    I have a blog, and I’d love to have new readers! It’s called My Chocolate Heart because I LOVE CHOCOLATE! LOOOOOVE IT! You can find it at: http://mychocolatehart.blogspot.com
    (Notice the spelling in the URL)

    Nice to meet you!
    Jennifer

  220. simply nikki says:

    Brand new reader, and have only begun to read about your journey. Looking forward to it though. I’m Nikki, recently 26, mother to 3 (under 3) having nothing to do with religion, and married.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My father was raised Baptist, but didn’t attend church until I was in my mid-teens (when his then girlfriend brought him to the Catholic church where I also went throughout high school, but hated it out of boredom). My mother has been from Christianity to Wicca and back. Religion has been something I’ve always longed to understand, and never knew where to start. So, I married a man who believes there is something greater than us (but what?), but has no desire to step foot in a church. I’m still looking for where I belong.

    # Where are you from?
    Bay Area, California currently living in Arizona (8+ years)

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I have yet to find it. Which one do I start with?

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Typical day for me is being with my kids from sun-up to sun-down. I’m a SAHM, and I love it. When first becoming a parent I “grit my teeth and barred it” over the last year I have learned to adapt and accept this as my life, and just enjoy it on a daily basis. I’m still learning though. My favorite part is our family dinners, and then reading before bed. It warms my heart. (However, I always feel there is something missing…?)

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I’ve blogged since ’03, but just started this one. (My previous one is on LiveJournal)
    http://iamsimplynikki.blogspot.com/
    I blog about my everyday life, my thoughts, and 90% my kids.

    Nice to meet you!

  221. Dina says:

    Shalom Jennifer,
    The “catchy title” of your blog on some stranger’s blog list caught my eye and I was led here today.
    I’ll be back to read more of your posts, but for now, wishing you joy with the new baby!
    And a blessed Lenten season to you.
    Greetings from Jerusalem.

  222. Maureen says:

    1. I am a “cradle Catholic” who always had a stronge sense of God’s presence. In middle school, my family moved to a predominantly Catholic town where I was “raised” with amazing Catholic examples. In high school I fell in love with my faith and in college I began to live my faith. Now I am Catholic because of conviction and reason and not just because my mom told me to be. I am married to a man who is agnostic/atheist. I received much criticism at times for my relationship with a non-believer. When I first met my husband, I swore he had to be a Christian because of his morals, values, priorities and his disciplined lifestyle — I was shocked when he told me otherwise. He is truly an amazing man and I hope and pray that one day he will see the Truth and beauty that lies within the Catholic Church. I am so thankful for the resources I have found on your blog. Interestingly, my husband engages in a similar thought process to your pre-God mindset and I have either introduced (The Good News About Sex and Marriage — we both enjoyed it!) or contemplated introducing (C.S. Lewis) the books on your list. My husband is a thinker and he CRAVES the truth. I just know if he keeps educating himself and I keep praying, God will change his heart. Please pray for him!

    2. I am a Minnesota girl — born and raised. Attended college in North Dakota — my second home. My husband is military and currently we live in Texas.

    3. Without a doubt — The Way (St. Josemaria Escriva). And I LOVE St. Louis DeMonfort’s Total Consecration to Mary through Jesus — not really a book, but an AWESOME prayer!

    4. I am a graduate student in speech-language pathology and I will graduate in May 2009 (Yipee!). I am studying for my comps exam and will be starting my last practicum soon. My favorite part of each day is cooking dinner and having a glass of wine. I also love checking the mailbox and reading any cards or magazines I have received!

    5. I began my blog this month and I am loving the blogosphere. While I run a quiet blog and my writing is for me, I enjoy being a part of a community. It is wonderful to connect with and learn from other Catholics. I am THE BLOGGING CATHOLIC at http://thebloggingcatholic.blogspot.com — I hope to encourage those in mixed, interfaith and interchurch relationships to continue holding strong to their faith and to enlighten their non-believing spouse or spouse of a different faith with the light of the their own. In addition, I will write about anything that is interesting :)

  223. Emily says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I am a cradle Catholic and proud of it! I’ve always loved my faith and my church and am so glad to be a part of it!

    # Where are you from? Central Ohio–the suburbs of Columbus.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? The hours, by Michael Cunningham.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? I work for the Ohio Senate at the Statehouse in Columbus. Up around 6:15, then go to work, doing various West Wing like things. Evenings include food, reading, and some extracurricular-ness, which can include Parish Council, choir, community theater, ballet classes, movies, etc.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL?
    http://bucketofparts.blogspot
    What do you write about?I write about life after my double-lung transplant in July of ’05. Now that I am almost four years out it’s less medical jargon and more what I do every day!

  224. Anne at CatholicMommyBrain says:

    Hello! I just discovered your blog, and I’m a big fan. I’m a twenty-six year old Catholic mom from Chicago, blogging about faith and parenting at http://catholicmommybrain.com.

    Although I was raised Catholic, I didn’t understand– or pay attention to– my faith until my senior year in college. I experienced what was essentially a conversion and haven’t looked back!

    I was deeply moved by Kimberly Hahn’s Lifegiving Love. It was the first exposure I had to Church teaching on sexuality.

    I’m trying to achieve an order and balance in a crazy toddler-driven life. My son is the most joyful part of my day, but I’ll admit that I love quiet writing time while he naps.

    Thanks for the great content!

  225. Chelsea says:

    Hi, my name is Chelsea and I am 19 years old. I came across your blog while researching conversion stories. I am a nontraditionalist… I think! I believe in God, that is for sure, and I believe in Jesus, but, I am having a hard time finding any kind of denomination that fits with me. I have fallen away from God recently, not that He and I have ever truly walked hand in hand (I rarely went to church as a child, but I grew up believing). I want to know God again, the way I did as a child: unconditionally. I KNEW he was there, I had no doubts, no questions. I want that unconditional faith and love that so many devout Christians have. To shorten things up, I just wanted to say how much your blog has helped me! It has inspired me to truly open my heart up to God again. I am going to conduct my own “God Experiment” and record my progress as well, if that is okay with you. I would love to reference you on my newly created blog. You have been such an inspiration, and I believe that God has deemed it so. Thank you so much for sharing all of your experiences!

    *~*Chelsea

  226. jen says:

    1. Spiritual Journey.. I grew up in a somewhat strict penticostal household. I alway thought the things we couldn’t do, well it was just dumb. No pants, no jewelry, that sort of thing. I do, however appriciate my christian upbringing. I am still in the same denomination, but my ideas are probably very different from my parents. My focus has shifted from going and doing church to being more concerned with people who are hurting/hungry/in need. I say my focus because as a movement, our denomination has not come as far as I would like, but there are those of us in it wanting change, and that’s what I’m hoping for.
    2. From?… I grew up in SC, lowcountry then upper part of the state. I have lived in the az, fl, tn and now Virginia. I love this state, as far as our state structure for our denomination goes. I don’t think there are many other states in the Church of God that are any better. But I’m biased.
    3. Book?… Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli.
    This book really changed my life. I grew up with lots of legalism and it was freeing to read a book that makes it more about the journey and your heart than the rote routines you can get perfect. I’m not holy because I wear dresses and have long hair (neither is true of me, really) but because I long for the heart of God and try to love all people like He does. I also LOVE Jim and Casper go to church by Jim Henderson and Matt Casper. Jim is a minister and Matt is an athiest and they visit various churches, with Casper giving his perspective on what they experience. Great eye-opener.
    4. Daily life?… I have 3 school age children and my favorite part of the day is after they get on the bus. That sounds horrible, but I sit down and read my bible and whatever other book I’m reading at the time. I have my coffee and start my day. I’ll cruise around the net and visit blogs. I clean our church as a part time job and my goal is always to do it thurs and fri during the day, but usually end up doing it late Sat night.
    5. I just recently started a blog with my BFF Pam. pjs-til-noon.com is our site. It is not strictly spiritual, more goofy than anything, just us being us and blogging whatever…
    ps. I love your blog by the way. It is alway a treat to get the email and see what profound thing you are on for that day. Thanks for sharing your story. I especially love your posts on contraception and pro-life.

  227. JoAnna says:

    1. My husband and I were both born, bred, and buttered in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. :) We were also married in the Lutheran Church. My husband’s best friend, who’s Catholic, guided him (and eventually me) into the Church. We were in the Tiber Swim Team Class of 2003! Thanks to the Catholic Church, which led us to NFP, we have two gorgeous children and one on the way (as well as one in heaven).

    2. We were both born and raised in North Dakota (I’ve lived in Wyoming and we both lived in Minneapolis, MN for a while), but we recently moved to Arizona (Phoenix metro area) and are LOVING it!

    3. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity has been pretty big… also his Narnia series.

    4. I work full-time outside the home (doing document conversion, nothing to exciting). I commute 3 hours round-trip, so my day starts at 5:45am and I get home about 6pm. Between the kids and chores and misc., not a lot of free time!

    5. I have a LiveJournal and write about whatever catches my fancy, usually current events.

  228. Brandon says:

    Hi, I’m Brandon, 31 years old in Round Rock, TX. I am married with 2 kids ages 2 and 1. My wife and I were married in the Catholic Church. I discovered this blog whilst searching for information about atheist conversions and have been looking at it for a couple of days. I was raised Catholic but somewhere along the way I lost the faith and became a borderline atheist, probably lost in the search for everything our current society tells us we need. I felt like faith and religion would be something I would pursue alot later in life. I feel like I’ve done so much wrong over the years I can’t ever be forgiven even if I do believe in God. I don’t know what to do, how to just believe in God and everything will be OK. I’m still trying to come back to God, but don’t know what to do or how to ask for his forgiveness. I work in the healthcare field so I do work with dying people often. Most of the time you just block it out so you can get on with your day, but sometimes your own mortality and what you are doing with your life comes back to the fore. I feel like I’ve lived a life that God might not be proud of. I wish I could explain better what I’m feeling.

  229. Lenae says:

    Hello! I’m Lenae. I mentioned your post “Why my life is better since becoming open to life” in the most recent entry at my own blog, so I felt that I should probably introduce myself!

    I was not raised in a Christian home, but I attended private schools until 5th grade. I think the early exposure to faith lit a spark in my heart that never quite went away as I got older. I was curious about Christianity through my school years, was invited to a youth group when I was 16, and the rest is history! I am now -at 24- a non-denominational Christian.

    I’m from Northern California!

    I adore all the Chronicles of Narnia! But I also have to mention “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Philip Yancey. It completely forced me into a face-to-face meeting with my Savior, something I’d never experienced in quite that way before.

    I’m a stay-at-home of 2 little boys with another on the way! We keep busy with the usual activities -they party, I trail after them :) I love watching them play and interact with one another, but my most cherished moment of every day is checking on them before I go to bed every night. The sight of my children sleeping just stills my heart with gratitude.

    I blog at http://just-nae.blogspot.com/. Feel free to stop by for a visit when you have a free second!

  230. Liming Family Trio says:

    Hello, I just found your blog and am very excited to dive into it! I heard about it through a Catholic publication featuring your blog. My name is Laura, 25 years old, married 2 years, and mother to a beautiful baby boy (who is now almost a year old!).

    1) Raised in a devout catholic family. Devout catholic myself until a recent period of unbelief…in the church, bible, God, everything. Felt that the notion of God was something medieval and strange. I had a profound prayer experience when I finally got tired of denying God, and trying to control everything in my life. Figured out that I cannot do that. I am working my way back, but I need to be reminded for the reasons behind my faith and the fact that Catholicism is reasonable. I hope to find some of the reason here on your blog. I want to become excited and at peace with Catholicism again.

    2) I am from Columbus, OH. Raised in the countryside just outside the city. Moved here with my husband who is attending medical school here. We are military and expecting a big move in 2010. It’s another reason I hope to find some stability in my beliefs. I’m going to need a community.

    3)I love CS Lewis and GK Chesterton. But the book that had the most impact on my recent reconversion was “Reasons to Believe” by Scott Hahn.

    4)I get up with my son in the morning and we play and read books, go to playgroups. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors. I hope to instill in Owen the same fascination with God’s creation that continues to amaze me everyday. I am currently training for my very first half marathon! I do not watch TV, I gave it up for Lent and am seriously considering making it my new norm.

    5)I do have a blog. Mostly I write about my son and his milestones, our daily activities, and motherhood– http://thelimingtrio.blogspot.com.

    Thank you for asking tough questions. I agree that difficult questions lead to a deeper faith.

  231. Lizzie says:

    Hi,

    I am 45, a mother of three, ages 24, 13, and 10.

    I was born into a family split into two camps: one Roman Catholic, the other Episcopalian. I am baptized Catholic and a confirmed Episcopalian. But, I was a atheist as far back as I can remember and didn’t find Christ until I was 36 years old. Since then, I have been attending the same Episcopal Church in Covington, LA.

    I can’t choose just one book that has had the greatest impact on me other than the bible. There are too many. I am still in love with 19th century American literature, especially Hawthorne, Melville, Irving, etc.

    I homeschool my two younger children, so my days are filled with that. I am also in my fourth year of a theology program sponsored by Sewanee Seminary and heaven allowing, will work on my Masters in Divinty when my children are off to college.

    Before I was a stay at home mom, I was a diplomatic speech writer living in D.C.

    I have no blog. No time! :-)

  232. Richard O. says:

    Very well done. VERY!

    Richard Oliver

  233. Richard O. says:

    J, I was too rushed earlier to leave anything but a hearty “well done.” Now I’m too pooped for much more. But I must take the time to say a few things. Your Merton quote (“People have no idea what one saint can do: for sanctity is stronger than the whole of hell. The saints are full of Christ in the plenitude of His Kingly and Divine power: and they are conscious of it, and give themselves to Him, that He may exercise His power through their smallest and seemingly most insignificant acts, for the salvation of the world.”) and your realization of what he’s saying is like a breath of fresh air.

    The words do indeed mean exactly what you say. Jeremiah called it fire shut up in his bones.

    Let’s spread such things about. There’s no end to the good that can be brought about. A great cause to live for!

  234. johnston5in5 says:

    I just came across this blog and thought how much I have in common with the writer and how much I relate to my life.

    I am Beth and I am 30 years old. I am pregnant with my 5th child in 5 years. My oldest turns 5 in April and our 5th child is due in July. We live in Northwest Georgia.

    My husband is agnostic and says he wants to believe but can’t.

    I also relate to the food issues. I have never gained or lost tons of weight. I fluctuate about 10 pounds or so but I am a sugar aholic. I struggle with eating healthy and go through cycles of eating too much and way to much junk food.

    Our blog is johnston4in4.blogspot.com

    I wish I had time to read all the writings!! Thanks!!

  235. CM says:

    I started reading your blog a couple weeks ago and got hooked!

    #I am a cradle Catholic. I remember a time when my family were habitual “pew warmers”. We were there, but that was about it. Gradually that changed. I would now say that I’m Catholic because it is true and continually amazes me.

    #One book? You mean in the last week or month? I can’t do it. I really can’t. Not even a few. Oh, wait! Yes, I can! The Fulfillment of All Desire, by Ralph Martin. A synopsis about a lot of the great saints and doctors of the Church of their thoughts on the spiritual life. More than anything, it made me stop looking at heaven with earthly glasses and made me start looking at earth with heavenly glasses. Also TOB (both JPII’s and a lot of C. West’s stuff). And Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. And…yeah, I really can’t do this.

    #Mostly I work. I’m a physical therapist. I do love it, but I would love to work fewer hours.

    # I just started a blog, catholicmutt@blogspot.com. I was tired of talking to myself when I read something, so decided to start posting it.

  236. Michele Szekely says:

    I loved your story on making friends with the little (mischiefs) in the neighborhood! Thank you for writing about your own conversion, faith and zeal are contagious and it is exciting to share… See my own site on a French-American Catholic worldview, based on faith and gratitude: Le blog de la Bergerie
    http://www.leblogdelabergerie.com/index.htm
    Blessings, Michele

  237. DGS says:

    Greetings and salutations fellow earthling.

    I got here courtesy of a link from that happy Catholic, Julie D. Like it enough to bookmark it.

    I grew up in a little town called Bonneauville, in Pennsylvania. Mention that fact to anyone who knew the place back then and the unsurprising response could be: “Oh, a Catholic.” “Oh, a democrat,” was also a valid response. It was harder to tell which was the more minor minority: protestants or republicans. Both were spoken of in terms of dozens, not hundreds. By the time the 1990s, and my 30s, got here those 2 seemed incompatible, so I am only 1 of them anymore. I grew up Catholic in a time where liberalizing elements of the church took themselves so seriously while behaving so frivolously. How I manage to still be Catholic, I am not sure, but I am glad of it.

    In high school I read part of Thomas Merton’s “No Man Is An Island.” It crystallized for me the difference between the emotional infatuations, attractions and attachments we experience and the virtue that is love. It helped me understand how easy it is to feel deeply for someone I do not love while being able to love someone I dislike.

    I really do care if the dialectic between the TLM and the Novus Ordo leads to a reform of the reform that gets us close to something as beautiful as the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, but reading about much more basically Catholic things is wonderful.

  238. Lana says:

    I am Claire, have been reading for over a year but never thought to introduce myself. I joined the Catholic Church in ’02, and came from a Presbyterian background.
    I had three babies in three years and I stay home with them so my life is pretty much like yours right now. They all go to bed early so I have time to read blogs in the evening, along with some other books, or movies as I fold laundry or something. I am living in Colorado for the first time and enjoying it. I grew up in Casablanca, Morocco.
    Recently, I read “Testimony of Hope” by Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. I highly recommend it.

  239. Benedicamus says:

    Hi! I am Abigail, and I’ve been lurking on this blog (and posting only once or twice) for about 6 months. I was raised Catholic and continue to be Catholic, even through my own missteps!
    I live in Northern California (Napa Valley). I teach a little at a local Montessori school, and stay at home with my 7 month old son the rest of the time.
    Stop by my blog when you get a chance! I am always looking to connect with and meet new (and old!) moms.
    God bless!
    Abigail (www.benedicamusdomino.typepad.com)

    PS Most influential book: The Confessions by St. Augustine.

  240. Rita says:

    Hi. I'm Rita, I am 27 years old and fairly newly married (1 year & 2 months).

    I was not raised in a religious home though my mom was raised Catholic. I always believed that God existed, but that was the extent of my beliefs. I wasn't open to going to Church since most people who I knew that went were a bunch of hypocrites.

    I started dating my husband in 2006 and after a month or so I started asking questions & eventually started going to Mass. It wasn't long before I knew where my home was. He started teaching the Cathecism to me & we found a traditional Priest to give me intruction. I was baptized in by an FSSP Priest & we have been going to the TLM ever since.

    I am from Southern California. I grew up in Riverside County, but landed in Orange Coutny 5 years ago.

    After getting married I worked part time, but last week was the end of that, I've decided to stay home. I wake up around 6 daily & spend the first few hours of each day on the house. Then I sit down with my prayer book & a cup of coffee. My spare time is either spent baking, time with family, blogging, and sometimes reading. After dinner we say our family Rosary & off to bed we go.

    My URL is: http://faithofaconvert.blogspot.com/
    My blog was started as a way for me to learn more about the Faith & hopefully lead others back to it. My posts are also fun personal stories, quotes, & silly facts.

    I love this idea of having people introduce themselves, I might use it myself if you don't mind.

  241. Jeff says:

    Hello,
    My name is Jeff, I own a Catholic book store in St Paul, MN. This seemed very unlikely 5 years ago as I was a fallen away cradle Catholic, not going to mass and progressively anti-Catholic.
    I was raised Catholic (sort of)and went to twelve years of Catholic school and learned very little. What I did get from the experience was a love of tradition and obedience. After college I worked with teenagers placed in a residential treatment facility for things like truancy, assault theft etc. I saw that they needed absolute truths in their lives to improve, then I got married and had my own children and realized my kids needed the same thing.
    God’s grace placed my wife in my life and she brought me back to the Church through NFP and Theology of the Body. Also Scott Hahn’s Lamb’s Supper was a book I read that opened my eyes to the Mass.
    My days are filled with my store and my family. I try to go to Mass. I get to talk theology with customers(from all backgrounds) all day, that is a blessing because I learn so much and also get to evangelize a little. I have a blog asitwasmeanttobe.blogspot.com and also a website living-bread.com.
    Thank you and God bless!

  242. Jim says:

    My name is Jim and I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and left it for about 24 years while I searched for the “meaning of life.” In that time away, I became a Protestant pastor. After only 4 years as a pastor, I felt a very strong pull back to my roots and the Catholic Church. I literally dropped all that I was doing and resigned my post as pastor and retuned to the Catholic Church. I could not remain a pastor and be a hypocrit. I returned to the church four years ago and I have joined a Franciscan group and have since begun my own work to discuss returning to the Catholic Church. My shameless self-promotion of that blog site is: http://returning-catholics.blogspot.com/.
    In hindsight, I can see the hand of God guiding me along the way. I now feel the that my life has a fullness and a greater fruitfulness than ever before. I enjoy reading this site and I am encouraged as I read about conversion daily!

  243. Martina says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I am a much more informed Catholic now than I ever was growing up. A lack of faith formation in the home as well as the second generation of poor catechesis lead me to a life of apathy until my oldest was five and not enrolled in CCD. Good old fashioned guilt fixed that and from there I developed a true love and passion for apologetics of the Faith. I currently engage in many online debates, mostly focusing on religious ones. I’ve been doing this for the better part of five years. I enjoy discussions with Evangelicals the most because for all the differences we have we share some pretty strong bonds as well.

    I am determined not to live my life as though my cup is “full” but to constantly be looking to stretch myself beyond my comfort zone.

    # Where are you from?

    Born and raised in TX. I’m a local gal. :D

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic by David Currie. This guy can write one heckuva book and his analogies and thought process are amazing. It’s a little heady for the apologetics novice, but totally worth the read.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I am a SAHM to four kiddos. A typical day for me (lately) is a plate of bacon and a yummy omelet followed by the usual chores and errands. I love photography, which you can see in our family blog, and so I try to incorporate it into as much of our lives as possible. One day I’ll look back and need to be reminded of all the treasures I have right now.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    Our blog is http://www.snipsnsnailsandpuppydogtails.com

    I started it with the intent to document our fourth kiddo’s first year, along with sharing the story of his being born in the car, but it kinda morphed into a family blog along the way. And now that I’ve found a company that can publish blogs to books I will be cheating on the scrapbooking and using their services!!

  244. Dalas says:

    Hi… I’m Dalas. I sorta new, working my way through your posts, currently still living in the past in 2007 :P Let’s see my spiritual journey…

    I was raised Lutheran, going to a Lutheran school and working on getting married to a wonderful man who’s going to a Lutheran seminary in the fall :) So I think it’s safe to say I’m Lutheran. However, my faith life has been undergoing a tremendous transformation in the last year and I’m taking a hard look at the doctrines that do and don’t match up with Scriptural teaching. Still Lutheran… just a slightly eccentric Lutheran :)

    I’m currently in Minnesota… will be moving to Indidana in the fall with my new hubby :)

    Sigh… book… it’s hard to name one, or a few… or any really. I have read so many things and they usually have little impacts here and there, nothing terribly significant comes to mind. I suppose the Book of Concord is as close as I get right now. It’s been of great help in understanding the doctrines of my faith and applying them to my life.

    My typical day right now is class… procrastinate… lunch… procrastinate… class… study like crazy cause I procrastinated too much :P I’m about to undergo several major life changes in the next few months though so… nothing seems constant anymore really.

    I technically have a blog but it doesn’t have anything on it yet… I plan on actually starting to write in it this summer after we get married. It will probably cover much of daily life for family and friends to keep in touch, but also I love writing about faith and other hot-button topics that are important to me… usually having to do with the faith category :) The url is: faithsustainsme.blogspot.com

  245. Isabel says:

    Hi, my name is Isabel

    Im 21 years old, am from California but have been living in Costa Rica for the last 9 years. Right now Im in CA but Im going back to Costa Rica in august.

    I was raised in a catholic family wich didnt really exemplify catholic values, they werent terrible, just didnt really practice what they preached.

    After the tragic death of a cousin last year, that was very close to me I started going through a long process of depression and derealization and PTSD, that I wasnt really even aware of. At the time I was living inCosta Rica, and in december f last year I moved over here for a few months. It was the first time I was confrontedd with so many people without faith with what seemed like covincing arguments.

    Long story short, I lost my faith, felt terrible, regained it and am now working through my cousins death. The weird part is I feel like the reality of God is so overwhelming. I had taken the faith for granted, but the real implications of it seem to be too much for me now. Has this happened to any of you?

    Im a third year medical student, and am here to do a licensing examination. I basically study all the time. Im starting to go out more though.

    I actually started reading this blog a few months before when I was really distressed about having lost my faith, it really helped alot. A book that has really impacted me was The Lambs Supper by Scott Hahn.

  246. The Burgess family says:

    Hi there. I just stumbled upon your blog as you were highlighted in this weeks “blogher”. looks like an interesting blog, I may stick around!

    I was raised in a Christian home, Presbyterian actually. now I’m more “evangelical” and attend a “baptist” church, but it should all just be called Christian if you worship Jesus and follow the Bible :) I shy away from calling it pure “religion” though, I think it sends the wrong idea to some. My life is not about a set of rules and rituals that I follow. Rather it is centered on a relationship— with my Saviour Jesus Christ!

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? I’d have to answer, “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I love the illustrations of forgiveness in that story.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: I am a SAHM of 3 little ones, my husband and I live and work at a Christian camp ministry in the mountains.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? I believe you can click on my name and it will link you to my blog, which is about our family and adventures serving in ministry here.

  247. ~Robin says:

    Hi, I’m Robin, Found your blog by googling ’40 year old woman blog’…true.
    My beliefs, basically that God is my Rock, my lifes foundation…accessible to me by Jesus’ life, love and sacrifice on behalf of mankind.
    I’m from the northern mid west, country gal at heart.
    ‘Plain and Simple’ by Sue Bender is a great book, confirmed for me the simple things in life are worth slowing down to take in.
    My days are spent at home recovering from surgery recently, I have a blog detailing my ‘condition’, also home schooling, housekeeping, and recently researching how to figure out my life-part two at 40 years old:)
    I contribute to our church ladies blog as well as my own.
    Thanks for asking-fun.
    I’ll be back for more!

    http://rtosjourney.blogspot.com/

  248. Marquis says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was sent to a Church of Christ church from when I was about 6 till when I was fifteen years old. In the 80’s I started investigating churches, I studied the Mormons a lot. I decided the Roman Catholic Church was the one I should join. I still believe that it is my home, for me all others pale in comparison.
    2. Where are you from?
    I was raised in Southeastern Oklahoma, I lived there until about 4 years ago. I moved to Southwestern Arkansas for about 6 months and then moved to Northeastern Texas where I live now. I have always lived in a rural community.
    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    I get up at 4:45 am, feed the dogs, shower, eat breakfast, drive to work, I usually pray the rosary on the way to work. Sometimes I pray it on the way home. I have been reading the gospels, I am reading the Gospel of John at this time. I work at a factory from 7 am until 5 pm. I try to do St. Benedict’s “Ora et Labora. Work is a harsh environment, working for people who are not Christian and have no intention to ever be, I have to pray the prayer to St. Jude very often during the day.
    My favorite part of the day is when my wife comes home from work.
    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://lavidalocaentejas.blogspot.com/
    I am not a writer or a blogger, it is an experiment at this time.

  249. Joy says:

    I found your blog/s (Conversion Diary and Reluctant Atheist) from Owlhaven.net. Thank you for sharing all of this — it has been incredibly helpful to me!

    1. My parents are converts to protestantism from the Catholic and Anglican church. I grew up attending various community churches which got more and more fundamental as we all got older. My husband and I have been attending Baptist churches for the past ten years, but for the last two years or more I’ve been increasingly unhappy with the whole fundamental evangelical package. I am basically deconstructing and reconstructing my entire spiritual identity right now. I have so many similar questions about the Bible and spiritual authority as you share on your blog. I have realized that I know only caricature of the Catholic church — exaggerations from outside. Your writing is a fascinating peak inside.

    2. I grew up in the southwest and now live in the midwest.

    3. It’s hard to identify one book, as different books have helped me at different points along the way. “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman has been huge because it really opened my eyes to the human origins of the Bible. “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller and “The Shack” by William P Young have also been very big books in my life recently.

    4. I am the mother of four children, but I lost my oldest, a daughter, last fall. She was 8 and had struggled her entire life with multiple complex medical problems. I think of her every day, even as I care for her three younger siblings. The youngest has less severe though still complex medical issues. I work part-time for our children’s hospital in an effort to use what I’ve learned and experienced to help other parents. I wake up when the youngest wakes up (too early), get everyone fed and clothed, send one off to school, and begin the housework and work-work of the day. I try to get some reading and writing in various points through the day and evening.

    5. I write at Joy in the Journey. It is a blog about my spiritual journey through the challenges of raising my children and losing one. I haven’t written much about my spiritual journey specifically primarily because I haven’t reached any real conclusions and to be quite honest, I don’t think I have a tough enough skin to take the attacks I know will come from all my fundamentalist Baptistic friends. Some day I will be ready. Maybe soon.

  250. NC Sue says:

    Hi, Jennifer,

    My name is Sue, originally from Pennsylvania but living in NC for the past 30 years.

    As far as the book that has influenced me most, I’d have to say Thy Will Be Done, a collection of letters of spiritual direction by St. Francis de Sales. It has “pointed me” towards his other books, also wonderful.

    I’m a semi-retired nurse, so my days vary. Lately I’ve been helping cover for illnesses and vacations, so I’ve worked a good deal. I’m a morning person whether or not I’m working that day.

    My blog is http://acts17verse28.com/, In His Name We Live And Move And Have Our Being. (I love that verse.) I write about a lot of things, but the main objective is to show how faith is relevant to life today. It ain’t just a Sunday thing.

    I hope you’ll visit – I know I’ll be coming back here!

  251. Alan says:

    Hi. I’m Alan, 39 years old, married 18-1/2 years, father of four children – a 16 year old daughter, a 13 year old son, a 7 year old son, and his twin who would also be 7, except that he died at the age of 2 months. I thank God that I believed enough then to insist that he be baptized and given last rites before he died.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was born and baptized Catholic, the 11th of 12 children of devout and holy parents, although I myself was lukewarm till about age 19. I joined the Navy, started reading a broad range of subjects, and became a Zen Atheist Randian Objectivist @$$hole from then till about age 29. My wife and I were married at age 20, in the Church (she was also a cradle Catholic) although mostly for the spectacle, not out of faith. I briefly returned to the Catholic Church at about age 29; left again shortly thereafter, angry at God, when we lost a child at age 31. I spent six years dabbling in atheism, Wicca, paganism (Norse), investigated Islam and Vedanta syncretic Hinduism. Finally returned again about 1-1/2 years ago, and I pray that I will never leave again.

    # Where are you from?
    Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, between Pittsburgh and Erie.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Knight/Wizard by Gene Wolfe. Pondering the meaning of this book finally revealed to me the *why* of the evil of idolatry (I mean beyond the prohibition in the Decalogue).

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    My favorite time of day is the morning, spending time with my kids. My wife works midnights, so I rouse the kids each day (girl 16, boy 13, and boy 7), feed them, and get them off to school.

    I commute about 25 miles to work (I’m a commercial roofing estimator) from 8:30 to 5:30. I take an hour’s lunch, walk for a half hour and eat/read for a half hour. I will often say the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet as I walk at lunch.

    My daughter and I are involved in a community mixed chorus on Monday nights, and I’m involved in a men’s barbershop chorus with my 13 year old son on Tuesday nights.

    At Christmas and Easter I sing in the Church choir, usually rehearsing on Wednesday nights. I often do community theater as well in the summer months.

    I cantor at 8 am Mass on Sundays. I say the Angelus or Regina Caeli according to the season, usually on the way to work, at lunch, and on the way home.
    I try to do the Night prayer for the Liturgy of the Hours when I can. I am trying to re-convert my wife, who has fallen away, and has not found her way back yet. I am hopeful though, as she finally consented to allow our children to be baptized at the Easter vigil this year. Please pray for us.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    No blog.

  252. angela michelle says:

    Jen, I discovered your blog last night and have been really enjoying learning about your spiritual quest.

    I’m 37, married, and a Mormon. I was raised a Mormon and have always been able to feel God’s influence and love and blessings through that faith.

    I was raised around the West–my parents were young and hadn’t really settled down yet. Now I live in–you’ll never guess!–Utah, mostly because my husband is a professional historian of Mormonism and this is where the jobs are for him!

    I have 5 kids: 4 biological sons and 1 adopted daughter. We’re waiting to receive our next foster daughter. I also run an online resume writing company. So my day consists of cleaning, taking care of kids, reading books, sneaking away for moments on the computer, driving around town, etc. etc.

    I write a blog about my experiences as a mother at http://presseddownandshakentogether.blogspot.com/

  253. Gina says:

    what a great idea!

    Gina, age 37, from NE Ohio. I work every day selling software, and I am very active in music ministry at my parish and in my Diocese.
    A book with impact besides the Bible? CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE by John Paul II.

    I have been Catholic since 30 days after my birth. When I was a little kid, I remember my sister and I would smash slices of white bread and break them into little pieces and play communion.

    At my 8th grade retreat I remember the meditation read by the gym teacher being very nice, and the letters from my family made me cry. Other than that, Church was primarily a social event. We did not pray as a family at all, except for grace before dinner.

    Fast forward to age 19. I dated a guy whose priest taught him that there was no hell, no devil, no evil, and that right and wrong were relative to our own existence. This did not sit right with me at all. I knew this guy and his priest were completely off base. But I was boy crazy so my need to understand what was wrong with that picture sat on the back burner.

    Then my brother in law left the church for an evangelical church. I started reading the apologists, and was hooked from then on. I even discovered what the deal was with that ex-boyfriend and his priest…but that is a really long story.

    I DO have a blog:
    http://realmetanoia.blogspot.com.

    I write about walking the talk. Faith is one of the three things that remain, right? Why bother writing about anything else?

  254. Sarah says:

    I found you though a friend's blog so I'm a new reader.

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Catholic but in a very liberal sense of the word. In fact I was an athiest for a number of years, even during my Confoirmation in the Catholic Church. At 17 I became a born again Christian. By 19 I had come back to the Church.

    2.Where are you from?

    I'm from New England but I've lived in Washington, DC & Washington State.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I read a lot so there are a lot of books that have impacted me.

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I don't really have a typical day. I work 4 days a week for a few hours. I try to keep as busy as my body will allow. My favorite part of the day is before I go to sleep.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    My blog url is http://standup8.wordpress.com/ I write about various things I find interesting & about my life. It's always been a work in progress. Lately I've been writing about faith & life with a disability.

  255. Fr. Christian Mathis says:

    Hello. I am Fr. Christian Mathis, the soon to be pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Lenoir City, TN.

    I grew up as a Caholic, the son of converts….spent my childhood in Catholic school, but with protestant relatives in a protestant land. Today, I am a Catholic priest in the same area, so my beliefs in the Catholic faith have deepened over time and have been influenced too by the Eastern Churches.

    I was born in Fort Benning, GA but grew up in Chattanooga, TN. I went to school in Northwest Missouri and Chicago….so I am familiar with the midwest and have spent time since then in Knoxville and Johnson City, TN, Richmond, VA and Western Carolina. At present I am back in the Knoxville area.

    One book that has had an influence on me is The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis.

    I have no typical day….a priest's life is never typical. My favorite part of the day is talking with people.

    I do have a blog called Blessed Is The Kingdom. The address is http://blessedisthekingdom.blogspot.com

    I write about Christianity and my life.

  256. Karinann says:

    Hi, I'm Karin- I usually post as Karinann. I am a revert Catholic of 7 years now. I ahd been away from my faith for almost 20 years.
    I live in NJ. The book Hinds Feet on High Places is one book that I continue to go back and re-read.
    In my daily life I am a Director of Education for a large learning center. My favorite part of the day is coming home at night. Or if I don't have to be at work I like early morning.
    I actually have two blogs(I know~a little more than a little shameless self promotion :) )
    Daughter of the King is ablog with my own Catholic Musings-http://www.hisdaughter02.blogspot.com

    Blessings For the Day is my "girly" blog(but guys are welcome!)I post my daybooks and other Meme's there.
    http://www.daysblessings.blogspot.com
    This is my first visit to your blog~pretty sure I'll be back!
    Thanks and God Bless!

  257. kat says:

    Katharine Tillman, 26. Have been reading here periodically since my days in RCIA.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I entered the Church at Easter '08. I've also practiced Zen meditation for many years. I grew up in a Methodist family in the South, but my mother didn't practiced and thus I only went to church periodically.

    # Where are you from?

    Originally: Statesboro, GA. Most recently: New York City. Starting later this week: Portland, OR.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The Inner Experience, Thomas Merton

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    Well I'm in the midst of moving across the country right now (currently visiting family back home), so every day is different. Ask me again in a month!

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.villanelle.org/omnia/

    I write a lot about my spirituality and conversion, but also post quotes from books I'm reading, and occasionally excepts for short stories and other creative writing.

  258. Michelle Marciniak says:

    Hi! You left a comment awhile back on my blog, ….always room for one more and I have been meaning to write to you for awhile. I LOVE your blog. I go back into your archives because I can identify with you so much. But there are many big differences:
    I was born and raised Catholic and pretty much have never strayed from that. Although in my late teens, early twenties, I was very liberal because basically I didn't know any better. I was born in 1961 and by the time I could really learn about my faith, the nuns were playing Blowin In The Wind and The Sounds of Silence. Then they left completely and we had secular teachers with liberal views.

    It wasn't until I got married and started having children that my hubby and I both changed and began to study our faith. We now have nine children, ages 4 to 19. We are very faithful, and live our lives as Catholic missionaries. We minister to the poor on the east side of Buffalo, and have been doing this for ten years, five of them as missionaries.
    We love our church and I love reading your blog. You are so interesting and you just make me think about so many things. God bless you and keep writing. I love reading you!

  259. Michelle says:

    Hi! I love your blog and thank you so much for your recent post on surviving the baby and toddler years!

    1. My parents were nominal Catholics and didn't teach me too much about the faith when we were younger. I received all of the sacraments except confirmation. I consciously chose to attend an evangelical church my friends went to in high school and early college. I returned to the Church after hearing Fr. Corapi speak and then going on a retreat to Fatima with Matthew Kelly. I went through RCIA when I was 20 and was confirmed.

    2. Born and raised in Sacramento, California. Now I live in Greeley, Colorado.

    3. The Way, Furrow, The Forge

    4. A typical day involves me trying to live out my vocation as wife and mommy as best I can. My favorite parts of the day are meal times.

    5. I've been blogging for about 3 months at http://catholic-housewife.blogspot.com. I blog about anything and everything.

    Thanks for allowing me to introduce myself :)

  260. Sheryl Henry says:

    My name is Sheryl Henry. God is trying to tell me something. I am a recovering alcoholic and addict.
    I recently graduated with a diploma in Medical Assisting. I love helping others. This way I can make a living helping others. I just got fire from an awesome job. They helped people that could not pay. They just made sure that the people that came were not drug seeking. I wanted this job so bad and was so afraid of failing that I didn't realize I was having daily panic attacks. I started sucking down delsym 12 hour cough medicine (alcohol free) to try and control the panic attacks. I was also downing benedryl like no tomorrow. I became extremely dehydrated. I accused my husband of sleeping with my boss but told him I would never leave him. I called my bosses boyfriend Darryll and told him about it. I called my boss about it despite numerous warnings from my husband to not call them. I would have not lost my job if I would not have called either one of them. I believe that Darryll is the one that got me this job. I almost made my husband lose his best friend. Darryll is my husbands best friend. I need to slow down. God is showing me miracle after miracle. I mean huge miracles. I am learning that I am to share them only with certain people. Not everyone gets it. I have seen the light and I was wanting everyone to see it too.
    I got a txt from my daughter Halee asking me why I drank all that cough syrup crashed my car and died like her step-mother. I did accidentally overdose on ambian June 13, 2007 and was in an accident that should have hurt me badly. Totalled my car. My body should not be alive. I used to take up to 50 to 70 pills a day, Lortab, valium, ritalin, xanax and chase it all with Tequila. I know that my spirit is very much alive. I do not believe my body is alive. I just know that I have been in the light with Christ a lot lately. I don't care if you think I am crazy. I dont know how to get back to this website I will try to put it in my favorites. My mind is spinning with all of this. My email is sherylhenry41@yahoo.com. I am 42 yrs old and the mother of 5. I know that my husband is in the light with Christ also but he just hasnt quite gotten it yet. He has been sober 9 yrs this month. If anyone can help guide through this please email me. I have also noticed that at times I can speak spanish but only barely understand what I am saying so I only do that in prayer. I have been wanting to learn spanish very badly because a patient of mine was spanish and I wanted to understand her so badly. Then later I noticed I recognized some spanish words. I have never had a spanish lesson in my life.

  261. Becca Neal Tharp says:

    Hey, I'm Becca, a 26-year old wife and expectant mother in South Mississippi.

    I was raised Baptist, and am thankful that I was raised in a Christian environment because I never had to struggle very hard with whether or not I should believe in God, it just already made sense and I had seen proof of it in my life by the time I became old enough to ponder that thought. I don't necessarily know that Baptist is exactly where my beliefs fit in, but my husband and I choose our church based on the preacher, and look for one who is focused on God and not self-serving.

    Where I am now in my spiritual journey is struggling with not knowing the Bible verses well enough to speak intelligently to opposition. God has blessed me with an ability to speak out about issues I believe in- such as animal cruelty and abortion- but I recently realized that I have failed to become educated enough about scripture to be able to make the same impact on non-believers that I make on people who don't spay their dogs! So, I am currently trying to learn more about which parts of the Bible to go for in different circumstances, and become better spoken when someone asks me why I am a Christian.

    My daily life is work (sales), a little house work, cooking, spending time with my husband and our "children" Samson and Delilah (our bullmastiffs), and prayer before bed every night. My blog can be found by clicking on my name. It's "MY PERCEPTION OF LIFE" and it is a blog about random things that I like, feel strongly about, or that is going on in my life.

    Please keep up the blogging, as I know you have helped so many in their spiritual journeys.

  262. Mary333 says:

    My name is Mary and I'm from N.H. I love reading blogs about God.

    I am a cradle catholic who fell away from the church as a teenager. I did not return until I received a miraculous conversion. Ever since then the Lord is my whole life, like the air I breathe.

    My favorite book is "Divine Mercy in My Soul",the diary of St. Faustina, because I stood in the presence of the Divine mercy. And yes,as strange as that remark sounds, it is true. I guess some of us need to be hit over the head so that the Lord can get our attention. I am one of these.

    I try to pray the mercy chaplet and rosary each day. I have one energetic little girl and my favorite part of the day is when I can sit down[lol]

    I have a blog called " The Beautiful Gate" and the URL is http://openingthefloodgatesofmercy.blogspot.com/ It's about my conversion and whatever's on my heart from day to day.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  263. Genny says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    So nice to "meet" you. Thanks for the opportunity to share a bit about myself.

    My spiritual journey: I'm Christian and attend a non-denominational Christian church near our house. I was raised Catholic, but stopped going to church (or even thinking much about God) when I went to college. Throughout those years, I struggled with my self image and food, and that period of darkness was actually what led me back to God and a whole new understanding of His love. Learning that I didn't have to be perfect, and truly understanding God's sacrifice for me through Jesus, changed my life forever. I'm actually grateful for that hard time in my life now.

    Where are you from? I live in California.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? This is a tough question. It seems like there have been so many books that have impacted me over the years. Most recently, probably The Shack. I loved A Thousand Splendid Suns, too, and it really made me consider the lives of other women, especially in different countries.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day? I have two kids and I balance my time between staying home with them and writing. I also work part-time for a publishing company. So, actually, there really is no typical day for me. lol.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about? My blog is called MyCup2Yours . It's a place where (hopefully) others can find encouragement, inspiration, and fun. I host something called Mom-Mondays at the beginning of each week too, where moms can interact and come alongside each other.

    Thanks again for the opportunity to share!

    Genny

  264. Krysta says:

    My name is Krysta.

    - I was raised in a Christian home. When I was young, my parents were still forming their faith but by the time I was in middle school they were both fairly mature believers and attending a "Baptist-ish" church. The youth group at this church had a great impact on my life along with several mission trips and I really began to own my faith at the end of high school.

    - I'm from the Detroit area.

    - I love Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner. I've yet to figure out how to apply it all to my life but it had a great impact on me.

    - I work for a pregnancy resource center doing fundraising, marketing and communications. I found your blog through the "Why I Am Pro-Life" post. I am also married to a youth pastor. Between work and church, my time is pretty well tied up. We are also in the process of becoming foster parents so life is about to CHANGE in a big way.

    - We blog at baughmanblog.blogspot.com.

  265. Michael says:

    Hello! I'm Michael, I am a new reader to your blog but have been following other Catholic blogs for some time now.

    1. My spiritual journey has begun and continues to find me in the Catholic faith. I was raised that way from birth. My father is also a "cradle Catholic". My mother on the other hand is a converted Catholic. She was raised Baptist, but she never felt at home there. So she just contented herself with being Christian. Even after marrying my father she did not convert until well after I was born. She really loves being Catholic and has always been a wonderful example to me. My fiancee is also currently exploring converting to Catholicism from Methodist. This is proving to be a harder challenge for her but she is open to the ideas and teachings.

    2. I was actually born in Bogata, Colombia. But really grew up in New York and New Jersey. Now living in Georgia.

    3. The on book- The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy. This book hit me at a right time in college, I really was able to identify with the main character. It also really speaks to keeping your honor and doing the right thing no matter how hard and how it may alienate you.

    4. My daily life is in an office, I work with people, hopefully getting people in corporate America to do their job well. Maybe more info to share on that later. My favorite part of the day is waking up early and just loving knowing the sun is rising.

    5. I don't have a blog yet…but If I do I'll let you know :-)

  266. Patty H. says:

    Hello! I have been following your blog for quite a while now. I found it through an NFP discussion group on facebook.

    I am a cradle Catholic, raised by a lapsed Baptist mom and Catholic dad. I have always loved the Faith, but I had a total faith transformation in college (I went to the University of Dallas) where I learned a lot about my faith and majored in Theology.

    I am from Colorado originally, but now live in northern Virginia.

    I am a librarian and read a lot. In terms of spirituality,I was really touched by a biography of Mother Teresa I recently read called "I loved Jesus in the Night" by Paul Murray. I also love "Brideshead Revisited" by Evelyn Waugh. It is such a beautiful story about redemption and faith.

    In term of my daily schedule, I work full-time in a college library (a job I love). I am also married (two years now) and we hope to have children soon. I also have a large and rather mischievous dog.

    No blog yet, but I am contemplating making one for resources for Catholic catechists, a passion of mine.

  267. Stacey says:

    Hi, I'm Stacey, I'm 42 years old and I'm a wife and the mother/stepmother of 4 boys. 24,17,16 and 4 years old. I came back to the Lord about 2 years ago and I'm in awe of everything I'm learning right now. To use a term I recently heard I feel like I'm "drinking from a firehose" but I'm enjoying it so much. God knows just what I need to hear and when I need to hear it and he has put so many believers in my daily path which is so important to me since I don't really have a strong suppor at home since my husband is not yet a believer.

    I'm originally from Mt. Pleasant,SC but currently live in Connecticut.

    The one book besides the Bible that changed my life is the Left Behind series. Reading those book made me think about my relationship with God.

    I work outside the home in an office doing computer support. At home there is dinner, dishes, baths for the 4 year old and a little time to keep up with blogs and e-mail.

    I have just started my own blog about my walk with the Lord as a new beleiver. http://mindfulofus.blogspot.com

  268. danielcox says:

    The name is Daniel

    I am at a place where my faith is sufficient. Warm fuzzies are nice but not necessary.

    I have seen God work miracles first hand. I trip over myself between living radically for God and wanting to go Jonah on Him.

    I'm from Orange County, Ca, born and bred in So. Cal.

    I have read "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy EVERY year since 1981. 'Nuf said.

    I'm a video editor and blogger, husband and dad, among other things. Every day is different. HOWEVER, I always start the day with the Divine Office. After that, it's God's lead…

    My blog is the 832. The Truth is a person…do YOU know Him?

  269. Agnes Regina says:

    Okay… here we go! I'm Inés; I'm a would-be concert pianist, singer, recorder and tin-whistle player and poet.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I have always been Catholic, attending the traditional Latin Mass (aka Extraordinary Form) at the chapels of the SSPX. These priests, with my parents, taught me my Faith, not just the basics of the Catechism but how to live it, and I love them for it.

    Where are you from?
    Originally from Argentina, my family moved to the US when my big sister was two and I two months old; the other nine siblings were born in the US, and after a stint on the East Coast we have lived in St. Louis for 15 years, though a move to Boston is projected in the near future.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Too many!!!! Help!!! Tolkien, Chesterton, and Wilde are some of my favorite authors, though…

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    I practice piano like mad, help take care of the younger kids, and read, and spend an inordinate amount of time posting on and reading blogs.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    http://steellily.blogspot.com, and recently-founded with a friend, http://tradcats.blogspot.com
    Both focus on life as traditionalist Catholics in a modernist world, although the Steel Lily has become mainly a vehicle for my poetry lately.

  270. Corey says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I was raised in a Catholic home, but never really took my faith seriously until a couple of years ago.

    # Where are you from? I've spent most of my life in the central IL area

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Many of his reasons for converting to Catholicism were concepts I never grasped or was made aware of in my 2nd generation post Vatican II catechism classes. I devoured this book in a single sitting, then read it again the next day. The change it has inspired in my life has been immense. This was the turning point for me, and the tipping point for my wife, as she decided to come into the Church after reading it.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day? I work away from home, so I'm out of the house from 7:30am to 6 pm 5 days a week, and at least noon on Saturdays. When I'm home, there's plenty to do in order for us to keep up with just one 5 month old boy, so our day typically doesn't end until 9 pm. The best part of my day is waking my son up in the morning and getting that first smile of the day. He's so happy to see you, and that gets me through the day so I can see it again tomorrow.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    I did recently begin a blog, it can be found at http://smalltowncatholicdad.blogspot.com

    My intent is to share the experiences of an average 20 something dad trying to balance family, work, and faith while holding it all together in the process.

  271. effulgent7 says:

    Hi! I'm Erika, I have been lurking around your blog for a few weeks on my RSS reader, happened to visit the actual site today and saw this link, thought it was cool and that I would introduce myself! I love your blog and have enjoyed reading it.

    - I am a new Catholic, just joined this past Easter. I love it! I was raised "Methodist" but we were a Christmas-only sort of family, if that (even though my brother is a minister). About 10 years ago I floated around trying to find a church/faith that felt right for me, and I never did find the right one until I met my then-boyfriend-now-husband, who simply said, "Would you like to go to Mass with me?" After a few months, I was hooked and decided to go through RCIA.

    - I am originally from Maryland although I now live in VA- my hubby is in the Navy.

    - A few important books in my life: Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Eat Pray Love…there are many more.

    - Right now I don't have much of a daily routine….just moved into a new place and am trying to fix it up/organize it during the day. I am an unemployed teacher desparately trying to find a job- thought that even though the economy is bad, there are always teaching jobs… except, apparently, for where I am now living. Trying to stay positive though.

    - I do have a blog, it's mostly filled with random observations and links that amuse me. Now that I live farther away from family and friends, I may use it to share more "here's what happened to us today" types of things…http://effulgent7.wordpress.com/

  272. ashishjacob says:

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    Born a Catholic who like a majority of Catholics did not understand the beauty of what the Church taught. Learning and discovering in wonderment the beauty of the Catholic Church and also the amazing love of Christ.

    2.Where are you from?
    India where Christians, let alone Catholics are around 3%. SO loads of Scope LOL

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Life Of Christ by Archbishop Fulton J Sheen. This book taught me that Christ came down into the World to Die for my sins so that He can save me. PERIOD. Archbishop Sheen is my favorite author by a long distance.

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    Am part of a movement, Jesus Youth. It is recognised by the Catholic Church which has a Charismatic Spirituality as a basis of its faith. Am a husband and a Father and work in a Financial Organisation responsible for Marketing. Start my day with Mass which I go to along with my 2.5 yr old daughter. My wife's a teacher and leaves early. So I prepare my daughter for pre school and then go to office. Evening are generally spent in meetings or adoring the Blessed Lord at a 24 Hour Adoration Centre. Ther are few days that they are spend with my family also. Try to spend some time in developing my faith through learning/ reading about the Catholic Faith thru sites/ blogs like yours.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    http://ashishjacob.wordpress.com/
    Do visit it and leave your comments if possible. Its on anything that captures my attention

  273. pueblo amante says:

    Hi, my name is Joseph Vincent Atanacio, from the Philippines. I am call center agent, an artist, 34years old and I just chanced upon this lovely and inspiring blog. First of all, I'd like to welcome all of the Catholic converts here to God's family. You are loved. :)

    I was born in a close-knit Filipino Catholic Family. I was introduced to a deep devotion to Our Lady and the Blessed Sacrament at an early age, studied in Catholic schools and was an altar boy, Legionary of Mary and now a member of the Aftercall Community.

    Though I have same-sex attractions since the 3rd grade, I believe in the Church's teachings on homosexuality. I admitted this to my family and they accepted me as me. My father explained that attraction in itself is not a sin.

    In my youth and curiousity, I lived the gay lifestyle for about 2years, experienced having boyfriends and one night stands. But I still felt empty. I had my last intimate experience with another guy in January of 2003. It has been a difficult struggle but with God's grace, I haven't had any sexual encounters since. My attraction to the same gender is still in me and I still sin occasionally – hoping that in God's time and by His Grace, I'd live a pure and chaste life.

    Since my childhood, I dreamt of joining a community of contemplatives or monks. But my condition hindered me as I thought that the presence of other men would only cause me to sin more. Last year, I discovered the Aftercall Community. This group is proving to be the answer to my childhood dreams. We are guided by the Catholic Church under the CBCP (Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines) and we advocate chaste friendship and brotherhood.
    You may visit our website for the details – http://www.aftercall.ning.com

    Books? None in particular but in relation to 'Catholic converts', I enjoyed reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn's "Rome, Sweet Home." I love reading books on Our Lady and the saints. They remind me that even though I am a sinner, I could still follow their examples, live a holy life and be a saint for God.

    I work at night at a Call center. Lately, I am able go to mass before my shift at 8PM. I try to go to confession weekly or every other week. At home, I do some commissioned artworks – I love painting religious themes. I also do small scale sculptures. I've also been sending emails to different shrines and asking for holy cards or relics – this has been my hobby since childhood – collected from my grandparents' and parents' religious stuff. I always look forward to receiving the packages they send. I share some with my friends. I also help my parents in their parish seminars – doing their presentations, handouts, etc. I sometimes go on pilgrimages to different churches and also do photography.

    This is my first blog. :) My works could be found in http://www.flickr.com (mediatrix_of_all_grace@yahoo.com) and of course, my community website, http://www.aftercall.ning.com

  274. Navy Wifey Peters says:

    Hello, I am T'onna. I'm a 26 year old navy wife. I just recently discovered this blog and found it very interesting.

    · Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My parents did not consistently bring me up in church. We've attended southern Baptist churches on and off, a Methodist church, a Church of Christ, and a Kingdom Hall. After studying with Jehovah's Witnesses, I felt hopeless and like I was just doomed to go to Hell. I usually consider myself Christian – Baptist, but recently, I find myself leaning more towards the Agnostic side. I consider myself religiously confused… kinda lost.

    · Where are you from?

    I'm an army brat. I was born in North Carolina, but I guess I was raised in Tennessee, and now I am in Washington state.

    · What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    "PUSH" by Sapphire

    · Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I just earned my teaching certification for kindergarten – 8th grade. I am currently bored at home waiting for the school year to start, so I can work. I'm not used to not working and not being in college. I spend my days online catching up with college friends and other military wives.

    · If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I just started a blogspot page. The url is http://navywifeypeters.blogspot.com I just write about my personal life as a navy wife and teacher. Sometimes I might write a poem.

  275. Pines Lake Redhead says:

    Hello. I'm Erica, 39 years old, married, mother of two boys. I found your blog through The Big Mama Blog and enjoy reading.

    1. My spiritual journey: I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic through the 3rd grade. I never finished my religious education but by coincidence went to a Catholic university. My husband had a more formal upbringing than I did. But now we are both lasped. Our children have been baptized but that is it. I'm at a loss spiritually. I've always felt lost when it comes to religion or that I was missing something. I still feel that way.

    2. Where I'm from: I was raised in NJ and have now landed in FL.

    3. One book that has had the greatest impact on my life: Well, I haven't read the Bible. I enjoy reading very much. But not one book stands out in my mind. I will say that the "Winthrop Woman" by Anya Seton is probably the best book I've ever read.

    4. My daily life: My husband leaves for work very early. So it's up to me to get the boys (ages 13 & 15) out the door to school or their various activities. A nice thing is that my parents live close by and my youngest son goes to their house in the morning before school. So we have the extended family experience. Then I go to work. After school and work is always busy. My favorite part of the day is the quiet time my husband and I share before bedtime.

    5. Shameless self-promotion: My blog is http://www.pineslakeredhead.blogspot.com/
    I write about my daily observations on life. However, I don't write about work, politics, or religion.

  276. Misty says:

    Hi! I'm not sure how I came across your blog but I've been reading for many months and have enjoyed reading through some of the archives as well.

    I'm not Catholic. I believe salvation consists of repentance, baptism in Jesus name and receiving the infilling of the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in tongues (an amazing, truly supernatural experience) as outlined in Acts, but I really enjoy reading your blog because of your obvious love for God and desire to please him. I look forward to reading your blog each day. I'm quite an introvert myself and totally relate to the need for alone time. =)

    I live in southern Oklahoma and have many scorpion stories myself! (as well as some fiddleback stories)

    I stay home with my 18-month-old twin girls and am very thankful for each and every day.

    God bless! =)
    Misty

  277. Iona C. says:

    Hello! My name is Iona and I'm almost 20 years old.

    1. Both of my parents are Christians (Protestant, though my mom was raised Catholic in the Philippines); and I suppose I had a typical "Christian" upbringing – church on Sundays, prayer when I felt like it, Bible for show, etc. In my heart I was not a true Christian, nothing like Jesus and I had none of the fruits of the Spirit evident in my life (which I didn't even know about before because I never touched my Bible). If I had ever desired God, it was a 'god' of my own making that didn't mind sin, didn't have any power and couldn't love me. At the beginning of this year my family was hit by the mortgage crisis and we lost our house. In February my dad was diagnosed with cancer and had to have surgery. I know it seems cheap to say that I found God in a desperate or life-or-death situation, but it was only when my world flipped upside down and I was shown how helpless I truly was that I knew I needed God. Over the past months I realize His guiding hand and now I see how He has made me that 'new person' in Christ Jesus. I now have that assurance and peace I never had before as a go-through-the-motions-Christian, and I know my sins have truly been forgiven and I can relate with God in a personal way. This is not to say I don't struggle – I struggle A LOT. Sometimes I feel like giving up, but I realize that God will not let go and as impossible as it seems to me, He will be the one to make me like Christ.

    2. I'm from Northern California.

    3. "Justification and Regeneration" by Charles Leiter. I have a couple of books by John Piper and I have to make time to read them haha.

    4. I am a sophomore at a community college and I work part-time and volunteer throughout the week. My favorite part of each day is when I do my daily Bible study (I'm going through the Psalms now). Nothing brings me as much comfort and strength as God's Word.

    5. I have 2 blogs, one Protestant (http://1philippians6.blogspot.com/) and the other about a small tug in my heart towards Catholicism (http://isromehome.blogspot.com/). Yeah, I know… it's a crazy thing and I'm really confused myself, hence the second blog :)

  278. Adelheide says:

    Hi Jennifer, I found your other blog months ago, and I love all your links. I didn't realize until today that you had this blog and it was nice to "discover" it.

    I am an Evangelical Christian-have always been thanks to the training of my wonderful Godly parents. We live in Oregon.

    A Tale of Two Cities, by Dickens is one of my favorite books, and one I will re-read over and over. The ending always makes me cry because of its similarities to Christ's crucifixion.

    I am a student, gearing up for my Jr. year. I am studying Family and Consumer Science, and I already have a certificate in Drafting.

    My blog is http://www.garretcorner.blogspot.com I am an obsessed seamstress, and this is where I share projects I've finished, things that inspire me, and other miscellany.

  279. Preggo says:

    Just found your blog passing through and couldn't help but stop and read. . now I'm hooked!!! Keep writing.

    I'm a cradle Catholic and I have always loved the zeal and exuberance of converts – it reminds me of things I have taken for granted. Thanks for that!!

    I live in Phoenix (I found you via your post on scorpions as I also found one in my babys room), and am from all over Texas.

    I can't wait to read more of your stuff.

    Come visit me at http://www.buninthetoaster.blogspot.com and at http://www.anextinctangel.blogspot.com

  280. Kathy Firth says:

    Hi, I just recently found your blog, ironically while searching for information on the Myer-Briggs personality test…

    I have started to make my blogs public. I've been putting them on Facebook for my friends, but now I am making some of them public. I am writing about the same things that you are, from a Byzantine Catholic perspective.

    http://kathymfirth.blogspot.com/

    I really enjoy reading your writings :)

  281. Monica says:

    I just found you, and look forward to reading your blog. I am Catholic, with 5 kids, ranging in age from 10 to 2. I was raised Catholic, but my parents practiced the faith sporadically, and of their three kids, I am the only one still in the Church. Not sure where my parents stand now…

    Being Catholic is like breathing for me: it seems strange to say "it's important" because it's more like built in and life-giving. I am always trying to be more prayerful and to bring the faith into a more central place in my life. I have an eclectic politics, given my catholic faith…but it all makes sense to me.

    I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, was born in San Francisco and raised mostly in beautiful Sonoma.

    Hmmmm…book. Wow, so many. I guess I would say Where the Red Fern Grows…Song of Solomon…and everything by Flannery O'Connor.

    My daily life is nuts. Raising five kids while helping my husband run our small business, while working a couple of days a week and also freelancing on a variety of design and writing projects…it's dizzying. Interestingly, I have no idea what my favorite part of my day is. Will have to work on that, to discover it. Is it when the house is quiet, after everyone is asleep? Is it first thing in the morning, when everything is possible? Is it smack dab in the middle of the chaos, when the kids make me laugh and cry and think and yell and hug and kiss? Good thing to ponder.

    I do have a blog, where I write mostly about my kids. Not so much about faith, but I love reading other blogs on topics of faith. My url is http://www.andillraiseyou5.blogspot.com

    Thanks for your blog, which I hope to get to know well.

    – Monica

  282. steadymom says:

    Hi Jennifer. I've been enjoying your blog for a few months now. Thanks for your thoughtful writing and sharing your experiences.

    I'm from NC and my family lives in CT currently. We did spend three years working with an organization called Mercy Ships and living in East TX.

    Two books that have impacted me: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale and The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith.

    I'm a work-at-home, homeschooling mama of three: ages 6,5, and 4. Our oldest and youngest joined our family through international adoption.

    I blog at Steady Mom http://www.steadymom.com/ about the journey toward intentional, professional motherhood. I've written a book as well that will be coming out in just two months. I enjoy reading about your book-writing experiences!

    Blessings, Jamie

  283. Elizabeth Mahlou says:

    Hi, I'm Beth. I have been following your blog for several months now.

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I spent 56 years as a confirmed atheist. I had absolutely no doubts about the non-existence of God until God moved in with me for two full weeks. That was extremely disconcerting. The two weeks culminated in two miracles, and I converted! The story is on one of my blogs, The Clan of Mahlou (www.mahlou.blogspot.com). It is also in my book, Blest Atheist (MSI Press, 2009).

    # Where are you from?
    Originally from Maine, I have lived in a dozen different states, plus Russia and Jordan. Now I live in California.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    My absolute favorite is The Book of Privy Counseling, author unknown/probably the same author as The Cloud of Unnknowing. I love the old mystics; their experiences explain mine.

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    I have no typical day. My work has taken me to 26 countries. Yesterday I was in Korea. Today I am back in California, but a week from now I will have been in Ukraine and Germany.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    I have three blogs.
    Mahlou Musings (www.mahloumusings.blogspot.com) contains excerpts from my published works.
    The Clan of Mahlou (www.mahlou.blogspot.com) contains mini-biographies of my husband, our many children, our grandkids, and other members of our family. It also contains my conversion story.
    Blest Atheist (www.blestatheist.com) was begun as a way for readers of my book, Blest Atheist, to communicate with each other but has turned into a more general set of blogs about life with God at the center. It also contains a devotional at the beginning of each week.

  284. Jenelle@24andprolife says:

    Hi, I'm Jenelle. I'm 24 and have been reading this blog consistently for about a year.

    1. Spiritual journey: raised Catholic and got married in the church about a year ago. My faith has grown leaps and bounds since getting engaged and married to my wonderful, Catholic husband.

    2. Home: born, raised, and lived in Michigan my whole life. Went to school on the west side and now returned back to the east side

    3. Great Book: As a newlywed I have to say "Holy Sex" by Gregory Popcack. Subtitle: A Catholic Guide to Toe-curling, mind-blowing, infallible loving. The "Holy" part of the title says it all – the Catholic relationship education I never got!

    4. Daily life – random! I substitute so I never know when I will work. I am training to be a NFP teacher and an officer for a pro-life group. I go to daily mass when I don't work and take care of the house so once 6pm comes I have quality time with my husband.

    My blog: http://www.24andprolife.blogspot.com
    About: mainly NFP and pro-life issues though I do relate it to some more everyday things and ways I value/enjoy lives of others

  285. Mike Perry says:

    My name is Mike Perry, and I am 32 years old. I am married with 4 kids as well; although, I do not get to see a lot of my older two Kelsey and Brent because of where they live. I was pressured by my ex-wife to marry her. Naturally, I felt that it was the noble thing to do, so I decided to marry her. I was 19 years old when Kelsey was born and by the time I married at 21 I did not have a full understanding of what marriage was really about and what it meant in the eyes of God. I have been happily married now for six and a half years with my wife Kristy, daughter Morgan, and son Tristan. I have learned more about marriage in the last six and a half years than what I was ever taught growing up.

    Growing up, I was raised in the Assemblies of God and Pentecostal churches. I was first baptized at the age of 11 years and received the Holy Spirit at 11 years of age. It was from these two protestant churches that my scriptural foundation was poured. However, as a teenager the Lord began to show me how much secularism was filtering into the protestant churches. As a result, this is where my journey really began. At the age of 17, I really began to question the purpose of the church, and what God’s calling in my life was. It seemed that no matter how far I traveled away from God; indeed, he kept his eye on me. In hindsight, it wasn’t until now at the age of 32, that I God showed me what my calling was in my life and the Fullness of Truth. Not only has he called me to work with those who have disabilities (e.g. downs syndrome, autism, mental health), he has also called me to the Catholic Faith. To get a better idea of my vocation, take a look at http://www.lifeabilitiesinc.com and on the left side of the website click on “About Us”. We are a family owned employment vendor funded by the State of Texas. My mother is the founder and I am her oldest son. My entire family (e.g. Mom, Step Father, Wife & Myself) work together to help the community understand how important it is for those with disabilities to earn a living. Our goal is to educate the community about those with disabilities and assist them in gaining long term employment. This is where the name of the company came from “Life Abilities”. As a result, God has begun to change my view and perspective on life itself. God has called me to be a servant for those who are in need and to share the message of the Fullness of Truth. This is my spiritual journey the Holy Spirit is leading me on. Not only am I currently going through RCIA to convert to the Catholic Faith, I’m also being transformed by Christ to see the best in everyone with love, patience, and kindness in my heart. God has thrust me into a ministry that has tremendous potential to reach thousands of people across the United States and throughout the world.

    I have a blog called http://www.thebeautyofthecatholicfaith.com. This is where I am documenting my walk through the RCIA process, scriptural revelations from god, and anything else that is kept within the Catholic treasure chest! I don’t get to post to it as much as I like because of my full time job, school work, and reading for the RCIA. I wish there was more time for me to do God’s work!

    I don’t have a particular favorite book; however, the most recent one that I have read is Patrick Madrid’s book “Where is this at in the Bible”. This was one of my very first books to read with respect to the Catholic Faith.

    Please take the time to visit both websites. I even welcome new joiners and back links!

    I pray that our Father continues to pour his graces out on you and your family; In addition, I pray that Our Father with the intercession of Mary and all the Saints, continue to lead more and more people to this website.

    Sincerely,

    Mike Perry

  286. NancyinAbq says:

    Hello, dear Jen. I was a cradle Catholic and struggled with the legalism of religion for many years as an adult raising my own family. I had a very difficult time in divorcing an unfaithful husband and it was during this transition in my life that I came to know Jesus in a very different way. I now am part of a large non-denominational church that teaches verse by verse from the Bible. I was "born again" and baptized again as a new creation in Christ.

    I have 5 grown children and now spend my days volunteering in several ministries. I am a certified doula and birthing educator and I teach at Care Net Pregnancy Center. I serve at the Ronald McDonald House and at the University Hospital Children's Center. I also serve in my church body working in the Women's Ministry.

    I was raised in southern California and have lived in New Mexico now for 27 years.

    One of the life changing books for me is "City of Joy". A very compelling story of finding joy in the midst of anguish and suffering.

    I enjoy your blog tremendously. I think you're an incredibly gifted writer and thinker. I find your musings and thoughts to be very provocative and challenging. I appreciate that you share with us your everyday struggles and how you seek out the righteous path. I don't always agree with the tradition and religiosity of Catholicism but I certainly do see Christ's light and love in you and your walk.

  287. Lesley-Anne Evans says:

    Hi Jennifer… sorry you are feeling sick and hope you are back to good health soon.

    Thanks for asking… I'm mainly a 'lurker' here, but have left you some comments previously.

    1. Legalistic expression of faith to age 16, rebellion to age 30, discovered God's grace… and a wider expression of faith from 30-now (47)

    2. Born in Belfast N. Ireland, lived in Ontario Canada until 1993, moved to British Columbia and not moving back!

    3. One book… gosh, that's hard. Poisonwood Bible, Come Away My Beloved, A Separate Peace… oh there are so many more…

    4.Daily life… up, b'fast, kids to school, walk dog, write, care for home, write, pick up kids, supper, family time, snack, bed and do it over again!!! Best times are early mornings in summer on the porch with my good books.

    5. I blog at http://sometimessuicidalmama.blogspot.com/
    and poetry blog at
    http://mygracenotes.blogspot.com/
    and have a women's writing network at
    http://pink-ink.ning.com/

    FEEL FREE TO DROP ON BY!

  288. a Proverbs wife says:

    hey! just dropping in to introduce myself because i absolutely love your blog.

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    i always had a strong sense of God and when i was 9 years old i became saved after overhearing my mother explain to Jehovah's Witnesses what she believed to be the truth about God *which was different than what they seemed to believe*. i was evesdropping in on the conversation and decided that i'd speak to Him myself and find Him that way. it worked. i became Christian then and at 15 became more aware of my love for God and His for me. now i'm 28 and a non-denominational Christian and i am in love with God.

    2.Where are you from?

    NJ. :) born and bred for the most part lol.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    the four spirital laws of prosperity by edwene gaines…had an awesome impact on my life and spirituality. it is a very easy reader and a baby book for those who are seasoned believers *even myself* but sometimes the most profound insights come from the simplest things right?

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    well my blog explains it better, but i'm a sahm to 3 growing little ladies and my husband is in prison. so i am basically swamped with all things household and parenting. i am thrifty and frugal and i have to keep a healthy relationship with my husband *who is also saved* despite his incarceration. i am always juggling something, but so long as i'm juggling with Jesus it's worth every second. i do love my life and the relationship i have with my family and Jesus. my goal is to be the Proverbian wife haha.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.aproverbswifeslife.blogspot.com and what i write about is my life as a wife and mother growing with God.

  289. Amber says:

    Hi! I'm Amber and I am somewhat new to this blog. In fact, I'm new to blogging in general.

    I was not raised with any religious beliefs. For whatever reason my parents didn't share that with me even though they had both been raised in a church. My mom was raised Methodist and my dad Catholic. I found my way to Christ after going down many different spiritual paths. I am a Christian involved in an E-Free church.

    I am from Castle Rock, CO.

    Two books that have had a huge impact on my life are A Voice In The Wind and Redeeming Love. Redeeming Love helped me see that our past doesn't define our future and God's love for us is bigger than our shame. A Voice in the Wind makes me want to be as close to God as possible…To follow Him without holding anything back.

    I am a wife and mother of two daughters. I work full-time at an insurance agency and most of my day is spent in front of the computer. My favorite part of each day is the morning because I spend a hour or so with God in my quiet time.

    My blog is brand new today and I'm writing about my journey here with God….

    http://imonmykneesforever.blogspot.com/

    Thank you so much for your writing. It has inspired me!

  290. todustyoushallreturn says:

    Aaron here.

    I am a cradle Catholic raised in a fairly traditional home. My parents were and are active in choir, and my older brother and I served at Mass from the second grade on. My Dad will be ordained a deacon this coming spring. I had thought from an early age that I would be a priest, and I entered the seminary after high school. After seven years of going back and forth with God in a diocesan seminary and in religious life, I decided to leave priestly formation. I am now married with a daughter. We love our Catholic faith more than ever and are always looking for ways to strengthen our faith and bring it into our family life.

    I'm originally from Ohio, but we live in Arizona now and will likely be in Phoenix for the future.

    The most impacting book(s) I've read have been (1) anything by St. Thomas Aquinas (I was a philosophy major and wrote my graduate thesis on him), and (2) anything by John Paul II. Both of these great men were guiding lights in the way I came to think about my Faith and the Church.

    I'm in my last year of law school right now, so things are busy. I have class Tuesday through Thursday, work part-time on the side, and try to blog when able. My favorite part of the day is the time from when I get home to when my daughter goes to bed. That's when we're able to spend time together. And, I now take Sundays off to spend with the family, and that is the greatest blessing of the week.

    I do have a blog called To Dust You Shall Return (http://todustyoushallreturn.wordpress.com). I write about a lot of different things, all meant to help me see life and the world through a Catholic lens. There is some politics, some law, some theology, some philosophy, and a number of links to good reading material. Come and visit sometime.

  291. Kris says:

    Hello Jennifer,nice to meet you!

    My name is Kris and I just discovered your site yesterday. I work at home on the computer doing medical transcription while my 3 kids are in school. While I am waiting for jobs to download to my computer I like to read Catholic blogs because I am Catholic and find them very inspiring. Yours is very interesting and you are a great writer. Your book will be a great read I am sure! Anyways, I did not get very much work done yesterday because I found your site! That is the drawback to working at home from a computer.

    I am a cradle catholic. My mom was the one who took my brother and I to church. My dad hardly went. We were not a super religious family other than that. My husband of 18 years was raised Baptist and his family was actually more of a religious influence on me than my own family at the time. We married in the Catholic church and he went through RCIA,with me as his sponsor. It was then that I really payed attention to what my religion stood for. The main reason we both decided to be Catholic was because of the whole issue of all the other religions having their own interpretations of scripture depending on who you asked.

    My husband and I are from Michigan,about 40 miles north of Detroit,born and raised.

    The latest book I read that has had an impact on my life is "The Richest Man in Babylon." Great common sense book about money.

    I am 41 and have 3 children (14,12, and 8). I have been a stay-at-home mom since a week before my oldest was born. I only started doing medical transcription a year ago as my kids are all in school. A typical day for me lately involves getting kids ready for school. I spend the day cleaning,grocery shopping,laundry,cooking,driving my kids here and there,and doing my transcription part time. Favorite part of the day is after everyone has gone to bed and I can read in peace.

  292. Ruth Ann says:

    Hello, Jennifer. I am a relatively new reader of your blog. I found it through a link from another blog, but sorry to say I don't recall which blog that was.

    I will tell you a little about myself using the questions you provided.

    1. My spiritual journey began in my childhood about the age of five. I was and am Catholic. My beliefs haven't changed, but my understanding of them has changed in the sense of deepened and broadened.

    I was educated in the Catholic faith both at home and in school. I attended catechism classes in the earliest years, then transferred to Catholic school in 5th grade. I attended Catholic high schools and university. I have an MA degree in theology as well.

    I understood from an early age that living out the faith would not be a bed of roses, so difficulties never sent me looking elsewhere.

    I have a strong Catholic identity and I love being Catholic.

    2. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. I now reside in Northern California. Other places where I have lived include Springfield, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin.

    3. I don't know if I'm a biblophile, but there certainly are quite a number of books which have had an impact on my life. I read The Autobiography of St.Teresa of Avila when I was 13. It opened up to me the depth of possibilities for growing in love for God. I also have been influenced by the writings of Thomas Merton, especially The Seven Story Mountain, which created in me a hunger to read others of his works. I have devoured most of the writings of St. Therese of Lisieux, most especially The Story of a Soul and the two volumes of her letters. Currently, the poetry of Jessica Powers speaks to me in a powerful way about the spiritual journey.

    4. Now that I've been retired for a year I have lots of flexibility in my days. But there are some markers that give me structure. I wake up early with my husband so we can be together at breakfast, and I make him a lunch to take to work. In the morning, mid-day and evening I pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I attend daily Mass, which I would have to say is definitely the highlight. I work out to keep fit, and it's working! Recently I've incorporated knitting into my days. This is a new craft for me. Recently, also, I started to learn Italian, so I study and learn a little each day. And I blog and use the computer and Internet a lot.

    5. I have two blogs and another that I anticipate starting soon.

    I call one, Observant Roman Catholic, (URL http://www.observantromancatholic.blogspot.com/) and there I write about being Catholic and topics of any sort that are of interest to me.

    My second blog is I Keep My Memories Here, (URL http://www.ikeepmymemorieshere.blogspot.com/). The title is self-explanatory. I write little vignettes about my memories for my family, especially those who are young and haven't experienced the events, but anyone can read them.

    I am beginning another blog where I plan to write small "lessons" about the Catholic faith for anyone who is interested. I want to avoid bookishness and just tell about the Catholic teachings in my own words.

    Concerning your blog and several others, I am in awe of the beautiful way you express yourself and the professionalism of it all. You inspire me to excellence. God bless you for this work.

  293. Kyra says:

    My name is Kyra and I'm a 28 yr old single mom to a 3 yr old boy with cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities. By "single" I mean really single, not widowed or divorced or collecting child support or living with some guy who pays half my rent. :)

    1)Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I'm a lifelong Catholic from a super Irish Catholic family,with Catholic school from preschool through college(!)… but I would divide my beliefs into two life stages…"child catholic" when I learned all about my parents' religion, and "adult catholic" when God really became personal to me.

    2) Where are you from? I'm a Jersey girl.

    3) What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Thomas Hardy is my favorite novelist. Yeah, I'm old school brit lit. Probably couldn't narrow it down to one book.

    4) Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I am a one-woman show of entertainment for my son. If i'm not working on therapies with him I'm driving him to therapies and doctor appts. My favorite time of day is reading to him at bedtime, and the moments after he goes to bed, which I have dubbed "quarter to wine"

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.tinylittleone.blogspot.com is where I write about my motherhood journey from pregnancy until now.
    I'm also working on a blog that is going to be about Catholic feminism. Haven't decided if that's an oxymoron or not. The title will be "Prime Ribs" (a little reference to Eve there…)

    I really love your blog not only for myself, but I also recommend it to friends and family who consider themselves "non-practicing" Catholics or who have misconceptions or quuestions about Catholicism.

  294. Peggy says:

    Hello, My name is Peggy- I'm 59 years old and have been Catholic for a little over 40 years now. I was raised in a family that for the most part, did not go to church. Occasionally we would go to church for a few months, but always stopped– not sure why– my mother didn't like to drive and my father worked many Sundays, so th at is possibly why. In all, I went to a Unitarian Church, a Community Church, a Presbyterian Church and a Community Church. Then I met my husband to be, who asked me to become Catholic. I said yes, and the rest is history lol. It was ironic that he asked me to become Catholic, since with such a varied faith upbringing, I'd always wondered how we could go from church to church. (Sort of like, "What do we believe in this Church, Mom?") I asked God in my prayers at night to lead me to the church that is the "right" one. I never in a million years thought I'd end up being Catholic, — it just never occurred to me, but it made sense when Joel asked me to marry him and then to become Catholic the week after.

    I grew up in the far suburbs of Cleveland Ohio. As an adult, I have lived in Maryland, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, California, and am now in Virginia again.

    Henri J. M. Nouwen's "The Return of The Prodigal Son".

    My favorite part of the day is late at night– I talk with family members a lot then and think about a lot of things and come up with some of my more creative ideas then. So, I tend to sleep late as I get to bed very late after chatting with the California family members till 3 am!

    I am a fairly new blogger– my blog is http://steppingstonesjourney.blogspot.com/ . In it, I talk about things I think about in regard to church issues, and I also talk occasionally about my family, things I am creating– (I make jewelry and other crafts.)

  295. Vicki says:

    My name is Vicki, I grew up in Michigan but I now live in central Ohio with my husband and 3 daughters. I grew up in a traditional protestant home, attended bible college and married a pastor. We have a small, non-denominational church of about 80 people. I stumbled upon your blog several months ago. I find your conversion story fascinating and inspiring. This morning I posted a link from my blog to yours, because I wanted to share with my readers (all 5 of them)your entry on finding balance. Love it! Here's my blog: http://www.girlymom.wordpress.com

  296. Chelsea says:

    Hello! I'm Chelsea. I just started reading your blog tonight (and I say started because I have every intention to continue). I am seventeen and growing!

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised by agnostic parents. My dad was raised Jewish and my mom Lutheran, but they now have some kind of apathetic understanding that there is a God of sorts that they just don't feel they need to understand. I accepted Christ two years ago, led in part by my older sister. Since I had never been pushed to determine my own beliefs, I shared my parents' apathetic attitude until I experienced God's love at church camp when I was fifteen. The turn my faith took was driven solely by the love God channeled through the people I had met that week and – against my typically analytical nature – not on the foundation of logical understanding. I now attend a non-denominational church and am excited to see how God continues to mold my heart.

    Where are you from?

    I live in Southern California for now, but will be going to college wherever God pulls me. I applied to schools in Washington, Massachusetts, and California, so we'll see where that tug leads me.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Some may cringe at this statement, but I attribute my close reading skills to J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books have forced me to study text and enjoy doing so, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow with Harry and be exposed Rowling's intricate writing at such a young age.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    School and church consume most of my time. I love being busy and have found that my passion for people drive the decisions I make. I find myself at restaurants or coffee shops an overwhelmingly large amount of time because I love getting to know people's hearts and thoughts. I feel like the more I understand God's creations, the better I'll understand (but never grasp, of course) Him.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts! Thanks for refusing to keep your thoughts to yourself. Stumbling across this has made for a great Sunday evening.

  297. Cass says:

    Hi, I’m Cassidy. I stumbled across your blog while reading another blog that I found on another blog and so on. So as a new reader I checked out the “new reader” links and decided an introduction sounded like a fun way to create more community and such in the great big blogosphere.
    So the basics: I’ve been married for 5 years. I’m 23 years old. I have 3 children; my oldest is almost 5, my next is 3, and the youngest recently turned 1. I’m also a full time college student working on my bachelors with a plan to go to med school and complete my md/phd sometime before I’m old enough to retire. I’m also hoping another baby or two will be in our future, but that’s up to God.
    My Spiritual Journey: I was born into a house that didn’t believe anything. Raised in a Pagan environment. Married a Southern Baptist. Converted to Catholic and brought my husband with me. In our hearts we converted in 2006 shortly after the birth of our second child. It became official at the Easter Vigil in 2008.
    Where I’m From: I was born in California, moved a lot with most of my early years in either New Hampshire or Connecticut and then back to California for the second half of my childhood. Right after 2007 arrived my husband and I packed up our stuff and moved to South Carolina, which I’m finally starting to really enjoy after a nearly 3 year adjustment period.
    One book?!?! Really??? Oh wait, disclaimer allows for more books.. *Whew* Ok, so let’s see.. In the spirit of just listing one book I’ll say the Catechism, which played a very important part in helping my husband and I both understand the teachings of the Church and ultimately convert.
    My typical day… ugh, get up too early, take care of the kids, try to keep the house standing, do whatever studying and homework I can get done, go to class as soon as my husband gets home, pray that dinner and bedtime will go smoothly, try to find 5 minutes of peace to just reflect and listen to God, finish my classes for the evening, get home, eat, try to spend some time with my husband, and go to bed too late. I love being a mom and a student and a wife, but my days are busy. Thank God I have God to help me along. My favorite part of the day, honestly the couple of minutes I find that are quiet and my focus is completely on God without everything else in my day cluttering my thoughts. Those few minutes are so precious to me and they make me a much better person all the way around. I also love the few nights that I’m home and can hear the prayers of my children after they’ve been put to bed.
    My blog is http://medicalmom.blogspot.com. I write about family, faith, school, life, my plans for my future as a doctor, and anything else that crosses my mind that I feel like sharing.

  298. redheadtalkyone says:

    Hello! My name is Emily. I go to a small Christian school in Indiana, and I haven't belonged to an organization church since an incident at our family's church. I've been pursuing learning more about not just Catholicism, but spiritual disciplines as a whole.

    2. I'm from North Carolina, but am currently living in Indiana and will be headed back to DC to work another semester internship.

    3. Hard to say, because I'm always reading new books. A book that really affected me was "Looking for Alaska" by John Green, which included a powerful quote where an old women was in pursuit to put out the fires of hell and burn down the gates of heaven so that man did not seek God out of fear of Hell or want of Heaven, but because "God is God."

    4. I wake up around the time my alarm goes off, hopefully. I go to classes, I pray throughout my day. I read a lot of books, I write a lot of papers, and I dream big and try to get rid of my adventure itch. My favorite part of each day is either the bit of time before I have to rush out the door – assuming I get up early enough.

    5. http://redheadtalkyone.wordpress.com started when I first went to Washington to write about my experiences. I then used it when I traveled around the country for my summer, and when I lived in Korea for eight weeks. It's a person journal and I don't know yet what I'm writing about.

    Thank you for your writing. It has been very helpful to be able to read another human trying to figure this all out as well.

  299. Maggie says:

    Hello! I'm Maggie, I'm 25 years old and a new reader to your blog.

    I am a cradle Catholic, but my mom and I never went to Church. I was a goodie-two-shoes while growing up but as soon as I hit college I went wild and crazy and turned my back on God completely. Then one of my Uncles who I was very close to passed away and the thought of an afterlife in heaven gave me a kind of spiritual growth spurt! It's a long story that I go intot detail in my blog! So today I am a proud Catholic who actually knows about the faith!!

    I'm from a small rural community in Northwest Missouri. One of those "more cows than people" sort of towns.

    One of my favorite books is "A Travel Guide to Heaven." I also love Christopher West's and Scott Hahn's books.

    Well I'm currently unemployed, so my days consist of sitting in my sweats blogging, reading and searching for a job! I'm also a newlywed…so…you know… :-)

    My blog is called From the Heart. I write about my life and the role that God has played in it. I read your blog and others and think mine is boring as heck, but if you want to stop by here's the web address: http://www.eafromtheheart.blogspot.com

    I really enjoy your blog! God bless you!

  300. Joyful Catholic says:

    Hi. I've already posted some comments, so doing things a little backwards…usual for me. I've been a Joyful Catholic for almost 5 years. Dec. 8 will be my 5th anniversary as an 'ardent practicing Catholic.' NOT Pelosi style! :) I've been busy blogging since 2006. I have a couple more blogs, and my most recent expresses my delight to be a 'handmaid of Mary.' Hope you'll come by sometime. God bless, and thank you for such a generous, welcoming place to peruse and linger over a cuppa… susie
    http://handmaidsofmary.blogspot.com

  301. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I found your blog recently, and after reading a few posts I just had to start at the beginning and read them all. Your journey has been fascinating to read, as well as funny! I especially liked your Duty before Holiness post, the one where the Adoration Chapel was locked and the one where the priest came to a conference to hear confessions on the way to return home to his niece's and nephew's funeral.

    #1 I was raised by parents who were antagonistic towards religion. I came to know Christ when I was about 12. I read a children's book of Bible stories that my grandmother had previously sent. I actually intended to mock what the Christians believed, but that book showed me that Christianity is much more than rules. It's about God's profound love for us, and he gives us rules to obey for our own good as any loving Father would. So that would also be an answer to question #3 =)

    I'm Evangelical but find Catholicism very interesting, and I especially like reading about the saints.

    #2 Southern California. I was born here and have always lived here.

    #3 As well as the book above, and countless others, I recently read Fire Within and it has had a great impact. I was happy to see that you've read and liked it too, as well as My Life with the Saints! Now I have to read Journey to Easter (plan to read it this Lent), He Leadeth Me and Introduction to the Devout Life. I don't know why I'm thankful that you've added more books to my already gargantuan list of books to read, but I am!

    #5 I don't have a blog. I don't even have a microwave! I'm a pretty low-tech person. I'd rather read the blogs of more interesting people than have one of my own.

    Have a great day!

    Susan M.

  302. D∂v¡Ð says:

    1. I didn't have any religious beliefs when I was younger. Back in 2007 I joined the Catholic Church.

    2. I'm from Michigan.

    3. My favorite book is God at the Ritz by Lorenzo Albacete.

    4. I wake up around 8am, travel to the neighboring town or somewhere around town and come back home and watch The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien at night. Favorite part of the day would have to be the evening while reading a book and enjoying a smoke.

    5. No blog, but I'm on Facebook:

    http://www.facebook.com/robertsdavid50

  303. Erin says:

    I just started reading your blog and I LOVE it. Mainly because you grapple with big issues in a very real way; not in a presumptuous, exclusionary manner. These are issues I still struggle with all the time and I'm fairly certain I'll never feel that I know that answer. You're willing to feel challenged and think critically, which is often uncommon when people talk about controversial issues.

    I am a cradle Catholic who fell away from the Church while I was going to schools at an ironically Catholic university. I didn't think Catholicism had enough depth and spirituality (I know, but I had to figure that out on my own). I had always been dictated to about my religion and hadn't taken the initiative to explore it on my own. Once I did, during my senior year of college, and with the help of a fantastic spiritual director, I returned to it with great passion. The one thing I always loved about Catholicism, even when I wasn't practicing, was Mary, and I'm 100% convinced my return to the Church was due to her intercession.

    I'm originally from Dayton, OH. I went to the University of Dayton (like I said, I love Mary!). I now live in North Carolina where I'm attending the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for graduate school.

    A book that has had a big impact on my spiritual re-invigoration was Come Be My Light, the compilation of Mother Teresa's private writings. Until I read that book I thought I was the only one in the whole world who struggled with prayer and rarely felt God's presence. To know that she (and, now I've learned, many of the saints) felt the same way much of the time brought me great comfort and helped me grow closer to God even in times of spiritual barrenness.

    I got married a year ago (I'm 23), so my daily life generally involves balancing my very supportive husband, school, research, work family, sanity, and faith. I tend to do that by saying many quick prayers and trying to make time to read and relax with my husband. Once I'm done with graduate school I will work in the nonprofit sector, hopefully for a Catholic organization but undoubtedly working on social justice issues.

    I don't have a blog. I write enough for school :) Right now I enjoy reading the thoughts of others and occasionally commenting, when the Holy Spirit moves me.

  304. Joe says:

    Buenos días, Good day: I'm Joe, a 16-year-old, and I've been secretly following this blog for a while.

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I always had a contact with religion, especially in the Pentecostal tradition (it is really abundant in my home island Puerto Rico). After certain ordeals and God's perfect timing, I became a Christian in 2007, and from now on my life has took a turn. Even though this blog this Catholic, I still find amazing how God reveals in our lives.

    2.Where are you from?
    I was born in Puerto Rico (sí, yo hablo español, yes, I talk English), but since September my family moved to Silver Spring, MD.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I don't know how to answer, can History textbooks count? (bad joke!)

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I wake up early for school, go to school Mon-Fri, and rest at the weekends. Recently, I've been attending a church in College Park, MD, close to where I live, but sometimes we go to many places. Of course, writing always keeps my sanity away.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I have a blog, "My Life In You". Since June, I write devotions about normal life. Some are "take-ons" of a certain subject; others follow a certain pattern. I starting writing in a NationStates forum and used the Blogger blog as storage. After many purges and troubles, the forum dissapeared and I am trying to recoup and write again. Still, writing gives me an assurace that my life in God is still free and close.

  305. Jason L. says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was raised Seventh-Day Adventist, before slipping into extreme anti-Christianity and mild Satanist philosophies in my early twenties. Now I am in RCIA, and even though I have little hope in becoming a Catholic…well, I'm trying. It's a loooooong story.

    # Where are you from?
    Originally born in Victoria, BC, where I currently live with my girlfriend.

    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? Everything by St. Thomas Aquinas…

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    I'm a student and writer for the Student Nexus Newspaper at Camosun College…busy with school and when not I write, write, write.

    # If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about? None yet, but looking to start one about my own conversion story…which is quite colourful.

    Very excited to dive into this blog of yours, as your conversion sounds similar to mine…"intellectual". Problem with intellectual conversion is always walking the path from the head to the heart, but it's a great place to start by "following the evidence where it leads". I admire your writing about such a difficult and personal topic. Kudos,
    Jason, 26

  306. Jennifer says:

    Hi Jen,

    I was baptized in the Catholic faith when I was 3 months old. I was raised in a Catholic family and went to a Catholic school until 8th grade. It wasn’t until I became a mother at 23 that I was inspired to find the truth in my faith. I started going back to church and my husband , who was raised in a protestant household went with me. He came home to Mother Church this last Easter. When he asked me to be his sponsor it dawned on me that in my household I was the one who had to help my husband and my 2 kids really learn the Catholic faith in a daily life. I took this as a great responsibility and was happy and still am happy to do it.

    I am from Michigan. One book that had a great impact on my life was The Heart of Motherhood by Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle. This book truly opened my eyes to how wonderful a gift it is to be a mother, to know that God wants me to be a mother and I am a part of his Divine plan, that I am loved and because I am loved I can love others. Being a mother is supported by the Church, and when you have that kind of support behind you, well it’s incomparable to anything else.

    A typical day consists of a half a cup of hot coffee, morning prayers with my kids, caring for them all day, doing their laundry and making their meals, keeping their environment clean and playing with them. After dinner we all sit on the couch as a family and read books or watch a pre school show. Then it’s time for bedtime prayers and hugs and kisses. Then I peruse the internet… specifically yours and Donna-Marie’s blogs! Unless hubby is home then we spend time together. I don’t have a favorite part specifically. It’s all good!

    I do have a blog, it’s mostly a online scrapbook of my thoughts, favorite novenas and sometimes I link other’s posts because they interested me and I like to share the wonderful treasures I find!
    http://acatholicmomaftergodsownheart.blogspot.com/

    I would just like to say that I love reading your posts. You are a very smart person and I admire your writing skills. You are doing something wonderful for God, I have no doubt in that. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading your book!

    God Bless!
    Jennifer

  307. Passion4Birth says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Hi. I'm a cradle Catholic. I'm so thankful for my mom who was the one to instill the faith in my brothers and me.

    2. Where are you from?

    I grew up in NY state but now live in Denver.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The Rhythm of Life -Matthew Kelly.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I'm a mom to 3 young boys so life is busy. I also work part time (evenings and weekends). I struggle to find quiet time for prayer and am always trying to incorporate prayer into our daily routine with the kids. I'm thinking about homeschooling, my oldest will start kindergarten next fall. Life will really be crazy then!

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://www.naturalbirthcolorado.com

    I blog about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, parenting, and natural family planning

  308. Tara says:

    Hi, I'm Tara. I just stumbled across your blog and love it!

    1. I was raised in the Lutheran church (sort of) and even went to Lutheran school in junior high. I converted to Catholicism when I was 29, after my divorce. So now…well, I've had a baby and gotten remarried, so I'm sort of detached from The Church without an annulment and no hopes of getting one. And I'm floundering.

    2. I'm a Navy brat originally from Wisconsin, but I call Colorado home and that's where I am now.

    3. I teach HS English, so I really can't say. :)

    4. During the school year, every day is non-stop from dawn to bedtime. I have a 5 year old who keeps me super entertained, and when I'm not working my tail off for school, I like to read and blog and chat and read some more.

    5. My blog started as a place to tell stories about school, but quickly turned into a confessional which will probably bore you to tears. http://allbecause.wordpress.com

  309. E.E. Brierley says:

    Hi, I'm Erin–a convert to Catholicism from an atheist background. I'm so glad I came across your blog.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised in the Bible Belt of the south, by a Canadian father who had given up his native Anglicanism for the belief that we can only believe in what we can prove to ourselves by the five senses. My mother was still recovering from the trauma of her Baptist/Methodist upbringing and has since returned to the Methodist church.

    Against all odds, there was never a time I did 'not believe' in God, faith came in a slow process of awakening instinct and perceptive openness, through study and travel while living abroad in Europe.

    My husband & I will be baptised and confirmed in March by our Jesuit priest, Father Tony Nye SJ, at Farm Street Church, London, England.

    Where are you from?

    I'm from Columbus, GA originally, I lived in England & Scotland for eight years before returning to Georgia, and now live a transatlantic life with my English husband.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    'The Story of a Soul,' by St. Therese of Lisieux.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    A typical day includes: God, prayer, husband, reading, meals. Besides that there is not much that is typical, we travel so much.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://contemplativecalendar.blogspot.com

    Reflections on the Catholic faith.

  310. Truthsmacker deluxe says:

    Wow, what a great blog you have. I just discovered it today.

    I am the owner and operator of theologyonline.com one of the oldest theology forums on the internet.

    I am a former hardcore atheist, punk rocker, and all around awful guy who became a Christian about 14 years ago when some folks loved me enough to confront me in a harsh way. Tough love works! Thank God not all Christians take the wimpy approach.

    I have bookmarked your site and will check it regularly.

    Thank you and God bless.

  311. itchingfootnotes says:

    I'm an atheist who, at some level, wants to believe. I've decided to write about the progress (or regress: it's all relative to which position I'm taking at the moment). We'll see.

    http://itchingfootnotes.wordpress.com/

  312. TXMom2B says:

    1. I was raised Catholic, but didn't really buy in until I hit a really rough time after college. I felt like I had lost everything, and I read my way into a much fuller participation in the Church.

    2. Currently in Houston. Grew up elsewhere in the South.

    3. Real Love by Mary Beth Bonacci was given to me at the perfect time. It started my journey back to the Church.

    4. I'm a SAHM of our toddler son. Some days, my favorite part is his naptime, and, other days, my favorite part is playing with him.

    5. I blog about adopting our son at http://ourtxadoption.blogspot.com/

  313. Super Doula Mom says:

    Hi- I'm Erin, 30, and I just stumbled on this blog this morning. I've read a lot of your posts, and I really enjoy your perspective!

    I was raised a social Catholic. By that I mean we went to mass weekly, but it wasn't discussed before or after (kind of like doing court-mandated community service); First Communion and Confirmation were all excuses for a huge family party with lots of expensive gifts… but God forbid we look at other churches! I fell away from the faith, pretended to be Wiccan (never did anything but read about it) and after graduating High School, looked at other Christian denominations. I never felt "that" feeling I got while in the presence of the Eucharist. Don't ask me to explain it, I can't. I started back at the church at 25, but still led a rather sinful lifestyle. My boyfriend (now husband) and I had our little girl in 2005. He was raised Southern Baptist, but is a tolerant agnostic. He brought up baptising our daughter. We were married 8 months later, had our son 6 months after that, and I've grown as a Catholic. We had our marriage convalidated in Feb. 2009.

    Where are you from? I was born in New Hampshire, raised in North East Florida, which I call the Buckle of the Bible Belt… we've moved to Clearwater, FL and now live in North Central Florida (go Gators!)

    What is one book that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? Ophelia Speaks. POWERFUL book for any young woman struggling with self worth/image. Changed my life.

    I am a licensed Certified Nursing Assistant (quit to move here), Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator, and I'm working on starting an Etsy and Artfire shop to sell my bead work (Rosaries, bracelets, etc). My day right now is chasing down my extremely energetic 3 year old boy, entertaining my 4 year old princess, taking care of my husband (back injury) and mother-in-law (relying heavily on St. Dymphna's intercession)… my favorite part of the day is early in the morning when my household is asleep and I'm working on me- praying to God, working on a no-kid project, etc.

    I have a blog, about my life as a Catholic wife and mother, at http://myvocations.blogspot.com

  314. Hugh O'Rourke says:

    My Name is Hugh.

    I found you through a bool review of Walter Ciszek. A very up and down Catholic I was born to a good Irish household where faith was daily nourished.

    Through faith I found great love in Denise, we have five grown children and six grand children.

    Altogether my life has been sixty seven years of great joy with a few troubles thrown in despite my endless and repeated mistakes.

    It amazes me that after only thirty two years you can have acquired the wisdom and experience that leaps from your pages.

    The search that brought me to your pages concerns a prayer need to fill some (hopefully) upcoming days when I will be dependent through hip-replacement surgery.

    .I pray that joy will fill every moment of today for you.

  315. Amy says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Hi my name is Amy. I grew up in a very religious, legalistic Southern Baptist home. I “went forward” to accept Christ in 1971 and was baptized on the same day that my father was ordained as a deacon. When I was preparing to be married (at 18) to a Catholic boy, I began going to classes to convert to Catholicism. My family made such a stink about it that I gave up on the idea. In my late 20s, I rebelled against the Southern Baptist faith and began attending a non-denominational charismatic church. I’m feeling a little burned by the whole church thing and church people. In many ways, it is my own high expectations that I put on others and of course, being just humans, they never fail to disappoint. Lately I’ve been feeling a yearning to fill my spiritual void and have started reading my Bible again. I’m thinking about converting to Catholicism. I’m missing something in my spiritual life….community, continuity, the ritual of the whole thing maybe….

    Where are you from?

    I was born in Idaho. Grew up in Chicago. And now live in Colorado.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I’m a bookworm so its hard to choose just a few but I love just about anything written by Albert Ellis and Victor Frankl. Albert Ellis founded Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Frankl was a concentration camp survivor and psychiatrist/psychologist who lived in Vienna. He wrote one of my favorite books, “Man’s Search for Meaning….”

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    A typical day for me includes getting up at 5:30 and getting myself out the door for work. I’m also a student so I spend as much time studying as possible. Coffee is my key to starting the day. After work, I go home and spend time with my husband and pack of Chihuahuas. We usually go for a hike in the late afternoon. I love early morning – the sun rising here often turns our mountains shades of pink and purple and I never tire of looking at the beautiful colors. I'm also working on a family history so I attempt to do some writing each day.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I just started a blog, but I’m not sure I’m ready for any promoting!  I'm not even sure exactly what my blog will entail….I'm calling it Random Thoughts and Psychobabble.

  316. Natalie says:

    I'm Natalie H., age 27. I've been reading your blog for several weeks now, after searching online for others in the (relatively) same boat as me. So, to answer the questions:

    1. Raised in a Christian household. My family are members of the Church of the Nazarene, which is a Protestant denomination. Did the teenage angst thing, declared myself an agnostic, then tried a handful of non-Western religions, and a few years ago began exploring Catholicism. My maternal grandmother had passed away, and as she was a Catholic, I was curious to know what she believed. Also, I wanted to know why Catholics claimed to be "right" – what I found were some very convincing answers. Not without some trepidation and still many questions, I enrolled in RCIA earlier this year and I am still going strong and find my faith growing.

    2. I am from everywhere, literally! The first 20 or so years of my life were spent near Chicago, then the military shuttled me off to Texas, Italy, and New Mexico over the course of four years. No longer in the military, I now live in the New Orleans area with my husband (who is a native of Louisiana).

    3. The Lord of the Rings. As a fairly awkward kid, I always enjoyed reading to escape from the realities of school life. Reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time as a 13 or 14-year-old just let me escape as no other book had done before. I have read it many times since and have come to admire J.R.R. Tolkien, his scholarship, and his life as well (and now that I'm becoming a Catholic, he has a new appeal to me as a fellow Catholic).

    4. Daily life…I'm currently wrapping up my studies as a senior history major in college, which I resumed after my time in the Air Force. So most of my days consist of driving to school, attending classes, and studying. The best part of my day is coming home and spending time with my husband and our cats, and reading a book. Even if it's a school textbook, I usually enjoy reading just about anything. I also spend far too much time on the internet, but I enjoy reading interesting articles and blogs online.

    5. I made an attempt at a blog, but deleted it because I am far too private to pour my heart out online. So, I must say you are very brave, and thank you for being willing to share your journey with us!

  317. Christopher Lake says:

    Hi, I'm Christopher! I have been reading your blog for a few months now, and as a fan of many blogs, yours is one of my absolute favourites.

    I was raised in a *very* nominally Christian family in small-town Alabama during the '70s and '80s. I don't think that any of us (me, parents, sister) were true Christians. We went to church, but God was almost never mentioned in our home, and the Bible was rarely read. When I was nine, my manic-depressive mother committed suicide. That tragedy, combined with the fact that I was born with a physical disability, contributed to my leaving behind any sort of spiritual belief at approximately age 13. When I was in college, living the "hard-partying artsy English major" life, I became disillusioned with the emptiness of it, went on a spiritual search, and converted to Catholicism. Unfortunately, my spiritual formation was not the best, and when I went to my priest with some serious questions, he seemed basically nonchalant. I thought that perhaps I had bought into a lie. Close to the same time, two of my close friends suddenly died. Bewildered, confused, and sinfully angry with God, I left the Church, and for years, was a near-nihilist. In 2002, I had a profound conversion experience (glory to God!) and eventually became a Reformed (Calvinistic) Baptist. For almost five years, I have been a convinced, passionate Calvinistic Christian. Sadly, this has included anti-Catholicism, as Reformed, Calvinistic Protestants are constantly told in their churches that Catholicism teaches a "false gospel" of "salvation by works." However, now, studying the early Church Fathers, I am finding that they don't seem so "Protestant" after all (which is pivotal, as some of them knew the original apostles!)! I'm also reading the Bible and sound Catholic books, and finding *true* Catholicism to be Biblical and Gospel-rich, so I may be going full circle– back to the Catholic Church! We shall see!

    I was born, raised, and went to college in Alabama. I currently live in New Mexico but am hoping to move back to the D.C. area, where I spent seven life-changing years after college.

    Other than the Bible, the book that has had the greatest impact on me would be (it's a three-way tie!) When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes, A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, by Jerry Sittser, and The Complete Stories, by Flannery O'Connor.

    A typical day for me? It varies. Largely due to my disability, inability to drive, and living in a town with… interesting… public transportation, I am currently out of work (a *big* factor in my wanting to move back to D.C.– great subway and buses!). I do volunteer at my church several days a week (the hours vary), and if or when I return to the Catholic Church, I will dearly miss the relationships that I have at my current church. My favorite time of the day is any time that I am reading something theologically oriented! :-)

    I don't have a blog, partially because there are so many "blog-type things" that I don't know how to do. One friend has strongly encouraged me to start a blog though, so I may eventually do it! I should have *some* kind of outlet for all of this pent-up writing! :-) God bless you, Jennifer! Thank you for your wonderful spiritual insights!

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  319. Little M says:

    Hi, I found your blog today and am really enjoying it. I am 30 years old and I am from Prince Edward Island, Canada. I work as a nursing assistant but recently left on maternity leave (2nd baby due Feb 8). So, most days are filled with me and my daughter (21 months) and husband doing regular family stuff.

    I am/was Catholic although I don't participate in the Catholic Church anymore. I love some parts of the Catholic faith and am saddened by others. For example, my husband and I were both married once before and because our marriage cannot be blessed by the church I am not able to participate in the sacrament of Reconciliation or the Eucharist. Murderers, rapists, mean and greedy people can find forgiveness but not young women who marry the wrong man. Anywho, that rant aside…

    I am a recovering alcoholic/addict and my journey into Christianity has been a tug-of-war for years. My husband is probably best described as an agnostic and doesn't share my faith. These days I attend a non-denominational church.

    Oh, and if you get the chance to read "A Mother's Rule of Life" you won't regret it. It's by a Catholic mom and despite the cheesy cover it's great!

    If you're interested in finding me I'm over here: http://livinginthemystery.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for you wise words and inspiration :)

  320. DJ says:

    Hi, I'm a 40-something married male from Texas who grew up in a more or less Christian family. During my early childhood we went to the neighborhood church and I joined the youth group and had a lot of fun. But I never got baptized as a child because I never felt like I could get up in front of the whole congregation, repeat what the minister would have asked me to repeat, and mean it. I never got any pressure about it from anyone (we quit going to church before my teenage years), and that's where things still stand.

    So although I've always been able to answer "Christian" when asked my religion, I guess if I were to give an honest answer today it would be atheist. In retrospect it's fair to say I've been a closet atheist all my life, only recently revealing that to my Christian wife and a friend who is also an atheist. My slowness in "coming out" is for the benefit of close family members, not due to any fear on my part.

    I follow a few atheist blogs out there on the internets, some civil and some not so civil. I rarely bother reading the comments on those blogs since they don't offer any fresh points of view for me, so that's why I find this blog so interesting. I hope to start reading some of the suggested books, and I might even get up enough courage to ask what I hope is an intelligent, non-snarky question occasionally.

    I suppose one book that had a great impact on my spiritual life, although I didn't realize it at the time, was The Blind Watchmaker. I wasn't looking for any spiritual direction or validation of my views when I read it, as I was only reading it for the interesting scientific content. I probably read it about 20 years ago and found it very memorable. In fact, I read it again just a year or two ago. Again, wow.

  321. Michele B says:

    First of all, moving from Rome, Italy back to the burbs has been made much easier reading your blog and realizing there are crazy fun Catholic moms in the Big D. Please can we be friends? Well, you are already my coffee buddy whether you know it or not. I hope you like double espresso because that's what we're drinking.

    Spiritual Journey: Shew. Still on it. Right now sort of a treadmill, except even while I'm racing and at times falling off the back of it I am still cramming Christmas candy into my mouth. I am definitely a conservative Catholic girl who still wants to have fun. I am a cradle Catholic, my entire family is very Catholic, and I love my faith more and more every day. Lately my journey has become one of truly understanding graces really do come after every suffering, and finding affirmation of this in all kinds of the mundane stuff we moms endure. IN fact, I have been really learning that I don't have to endure the mundane stuff, but that I should revel in it.

    From: Currently in the Dallas area (back in our home here as of 2months ago anyway), and though I consider my home upstate NY I have really never lived in one home more than five years at a time. I am proud to cling to Yankee, even living in Texas. My real home feels more like Rome, Italy, as we (hubby kids and me) have now lived there twice totalling just over 4 years (and that's wy we are now back in our Dallas home as of two months ago). I have also decided that I prefer living like puppies piled in a basket rather than isolated in the suburbs, having lived on a Rome college campus with 100 of my husband's college students and other faculty families. Crazy fun. An unintentional – intentional community of sorts.

    One book? ONE BOOK?? Impossible. You'll have to really come over for coffee. And wine.

    Daily Life: Stay home mom, homeschool experiment with the kids, love my kitchen and my art room, no typical days at all thank goodness because I am a bit ADD and need variety, but seriously my favorite part of the day is when the kids are in their snuggy bug jammies and we are all lined up on the sofa to say prayers and talk about our day's blessings, and a feeling of calm washes over me from busy-brain to tired feet and I am convinced I am living the dream.

    I don't have a blog, but I do write about my own faith issues, sometimes posting them on my facebook page. One time I wrote about the "The grace of scrubbing floors on hands and knees" and that is really about the pivotal moment in my life as a mom when it became CLEAR that there is grace in EVERYTHING a mom has to do … though it may take a while to be evident.

  322. Colleen says:

    I'm Colleen, a Catholic mom and proud of it! My amazing husband (and theology teacher) have 4 kiddos – 3 boys and a girl. The oldest is only 6, so it's a fun/crazy/blessed life in our house :) Love your blog!

  323. Fr says:

    Hello! I'm a priest from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. My name is Father Dan Lorimer. I'm 33 years of age and have been a priest for 5 1/2 years. I was raised Catholic, fell away from the faith in (Catholic) high school, but reverted when I was studying at the Rome campus for the University of Dallas in the fall of 1995. I graduated in the spring of 1998 with a degree in Political Philosophy. While working for the University in Admissions, I received my 'calling' in the fall of 1998 and after fighting it for 6 months applied to be a seminarian for Wichita. I studied for the priesthood in Columbus, OH at the Pontifical College Josephinum, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 29th of 2004. The book that influenced me the most during my summer of studying my faith was "Rome Sweet Home" by Scott and Kimberly Hahn. The one book I would recommend during this year for your spiritual growth is the first spiritual book I was given in the seminary. "This Tremendous Lover" by Eugene Boylan (Trappist Monk). I thought all spiritual reading would be this good, but I soon found out that they were not. Many priests and laity have discovered a more complete understanding of their role in the mystical body of Christ through reading this book. If you have already read this book, then I would offer "The End of the Present World" by Father Charles Arminjon. He was a 19th Cent. priest in France this book is a collection of 9 conferences he gave. This book was translated into English only a few years back and gives some of the most succinct, beautiful, and edifying descriptions of the four last things that I found to date.
    My daily life includes a holy hour, Mass, thanksgiving after Mass, The Divine Office, Rosary and other devotions, preparing classes for Confirmation, and Catholic Adult Education, reading, the Corporal Works of Mercy that are built into my vocation, and avoiding sin. Having said that I have discovered that mothers are the hardest working people I know. I do not have a blog, but I have enjoyed reading yours.
    My advice for you as you begin your 33rd year is to make every effort to unite to Christ's passion through the eyes of His mother Mary, as she witnessed His death at 33. May God be Praised!

  324. DCH2010 says:

    I've been a Christian my whole life until now at age 40; raised by wonderful Christian parents.

    For the first time in my life, none of it makes sense anymore. A very close friends daughter was diagnosed with cancer and that just seemed to be the dam that broke and allowed all the doubts and questions I've always had override and overshadow what (little) faith I had. It's not just a question of why cancer but all questions now loom. Most questions center on the Bible but also my understanding that God is a personal God. I feel lost and confused. I want to believe but it feels like it will be a mental exercise that comes from within me to accomplish it (a meditation that transforms my thoughts into believing it instead of a true experience with God himself).

    I have a wonderful husband and 2 children we are raising as believers in the Bible and a personal God we know thru Jesus Christ. I feel like a hypocrit but don't want to confuse my children with my current struggle. I have been a volunteer in youth ministry for 15 years although now I have stepped down from teaching but not relational involvement.

    I just found your site from a friends forward and look forward to reading more.

    Hopeful to hear from God and experience a personal relationship with him or to become a content agnostic.

  325. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary says:

    Occasionally I like to pop in and just leave a quick note saying that I still read every one of these great comments. I love them all!

    Unfortunately Blogger does not share your email addresses with me, so I'm not able to respond privately to your notes (though I'd love to). But please feel free to email me if you'd like to get in touch with me. I'm WAY behind on email but am hoping to catch up soon. :)

  326. Patty says:

    1. Spiritual journey: religious beliefs then? Religious beliefs now? Hello, my name is Patty and I'm a Catholic….(sounds strangely like an introduction at a 12 step meeting), there IS a story behind that….for a later date. I was raised Methodist, I converted to Catholicism (the fullness of Christianity) in 1985. It wasn't so much that my beliefs changed, it was more like I realized the beliefs I had were Catholic. Of course once I converted, my beliefs and understanding of who God is and who I am in relation to Him began to grow and develop into this never-ending and awesomely deep Faith. I'm truly in love.

    2. Where are you from? I am a born-again Hoosier (LOL)…truly, many think of us as a bit..let's say backward, and some of us are I suppose, but not all or most. I have lived all my life in or near Indianapolis. I grew up behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and spent Memorial Day weekend with immediate and visiting family on our roof watching the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. It was great fun and I have lots of good memories of this time.

    Sorry there is not enough room for questions 3 and 4 you will need to visit my blog to get the full post.
    http://stmonicastears.blogspot.com/2010/01/introduce-yourself.html

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? My blog is St. Monica's Tears and is found at http://stmonicastears.blogspot.com

    What do you write about? This blog has two purposes. The first is to share my journey of continuing conversion toward the peace and joy that is found in knowing, loving and serving the Truth which is Christ Jesus and subsists fully within His Catholic Church. The second is to share the pain, sorrow and tears for my sons who have fallen away from the true faith of Jesus Christ and to encourage and support others who carry this same heavy cross.

    And so I write about things Catholic!

  327. Rudy says:

    1. My name is Rudy and my conversion story started a long time ago. It has been a process and it is still a work in progress. The first time I felt called to trust in Jesus was in my teen ager years; as a 13 year I read parts of the New Testament, but life and the world led me astray. Then in my twenties I again asked Jesus to be my savior in a very protestant evangelical way, led by a Pat Robertson program. Again the world and life led me away. Then a series of circumstances in my life led me to the Catholic Church in my early thirties; joined the RCIA program (I was baptized Catholic but never really practiced my faith), was confirmed in the Church in 1995. Since then I have stayed in the Church and active, but the conversion process never stops.
    2. I have read “everything”, thousands of books and amassed quite a big library mostly in religion, Catholicism and bible. I lost about half my books moving north in 2008 by I still have our apartment crammed. The most influential books for me were “Loving God” by Charles Colson, which prompted my return to the Church, conviction in my heart and the process of transformation kin Christ. The second most influential book in my Christian conversion is “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.
    3. I am from El Paso, Texas but now live in Northern Massachusetts; a very big change in culture and weather!
    4. My favorite part of the day is to go back home after work and be with my family and then seat in my favorite chair and read. My typical day is to go to work early in the morning. Saturdays with family and Sunday Mass.
    I like your website and your story is inspirational.

  328. Caroline Starr Rose says:

    I found you this morning via my lovely friend, Jamie Martin and am very impressed with your journey. Thank you for sharing! It is exciting to see God's redemptive work in action in adult lives.

    I am a former teacher now writing full time. I blog about reading, writing, and the publication process at Caroline by line .

    As for one book that has influenced me, that's hard. Maybe SILENCE by Japanese author Endo. It is the story of a priest who faces persecution for his faith. The book kept me from sleep for days, just thinking about how I would have handled his situation (answer: not as well, and his expereince was certainly not perfect). Also motivated me to pray for the persecuted church. Very moving.

  329. BusyNothings says:

    Hi, Jennifer! I'm Rachel. I'm 30. I have three little ones, ages 5, 3, and 16 months, and I'm due in June.

    I was raised Baptist-ish in a crazy household. I was baptized as a Catholic when I was 10, as my parents had decided to try that for a bit. We very occasionally attended Mass. My dad was abusive, and my parents divorced when I was 14. The divorce was a precedent setting case and went before the Florida Supreme Court, which meant that it was in the papers (mortifying) and that it took three long years (horrifying). During this time, someone invited me to a youth group event. I went and loved it, and got very involved. My real initial conversion moment was at a Steubenville youth conference. In Pensacola, we had the most amazing church and youth group to follow that up.

    I'm from Pensacola, FL, where I met my husband as a high school freshman. We got married after I graduated from Steubenville, and now we live in South Carolina, which is an interesting spot for a Catholic! We've been here two years, and we haven't really found our spot. I don't feel very social while pregnant, and I'm usually pregnant. We're hoping to move south of Atlanta, and are praying our house will sell. I was in Louisiana until I was ten, and though I don't really remember it, I like to claim it.

    Books… I love books. I love Blue Like Jazz by Don Miller (have you read it?) and He Leadeth Me by Walter Ceznik. I loved Mudhouse Sabbath, and Chesterton is so funny. Life changing? Story of a Soul, and Intro to the Devout Life by de Sales. I love non-serious saints, and loved them most during my years at Franciscan, when people seemed so serious. I also love Michael O'Brien, the Father Elijah series.

    With three itty bitty kids, I'm trying to homeschool my oldest, trying to avoid the internet (why did we set up the computer in the living room?), and to keep up w/ the house. I love to read, but read a lot less lately… no, not so; I read a lot more children's lit, which I've always loved any how, and now I have a good excuse. I can't wait 'til Abigail is old enough for Tale of Despereaux and Lemony Snicket.

    No blog. I used to, when Abigail was my only, and she would nurse long hours while I typed away. But I so enjoy reading yours! Thanks!

  330. Jasmine says:

    I'm Jasmine, 21, and I just discovered this blog today. I'm so excited to read about WHY GOD MAKES SENSE! Because although I was raised to believe in God and do believe in Him, I have a hard time connecting with Him.

    I'm from Chicago.

    A book that's made a big impact on my life is Fascinating Womanhood. It's about God's design for men and women in relationships, and it has opened my eyes to why my parents had so much pain in theirs and how I can have so much joy and love instead.

    I have a blog where I write about what I've learned from F.W., and my journey to becoming a true woman. It's called Girly Goddess (www.girlygoddess.com).

    Again, thank you for this site, I hope it brings me much closer to God.

  331. Paula says:

    Hi, I'm Paula. Can't remember how I happened upon your blog, but I love it!

    I am a cradle Catholic from a wonderful family upbringing.

    I'm 46 years old, married 23 years to my high school sweetheart and raising five kids: my bio kids are a 20 year old son and daughters who are 18 and 15; we recently adopted 5 year old identical twin girls from Ethiopia as well.

    We live in eastern Nebraska. A book that has literally changed my life is "There Is No Me Without You" by Melissa Faye Green. It tells all about the AIDS/orphan crisi in Ethiopia.

    My life revolves around my family… school, church, athletic activities. I also love animals and we have two cats and the three most adorable Boston Terriers on the planet. I do volunteer work for the Nebraska Humane Society.

    I have a blog that is mostly about my family and especially about adoption issues.
    http://www.spearsfamilyne.blogspot.com

  332. Karen says:

    My name is Karen, I am 42 years old and live in SE GA in a small town called Guyton (brought home from the hospital to there) it is about 30 miles north of Savannah, GA.

    I was raised in church all my life, Church of God, I do not attend church like I should, but I have a strong belief in God.

    Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan is one of my most favorite Christian books.

    My daily life is pretty mundane, but I do like that. I do not have any children nor have I ever been married, all by choice. I do have nieces and nephews that I have enjoyed watching grow up and I am very proud of them, they complete me in that area and I have an over whelming love for animals and I have a lot of them, they make me laugh and smile.

    I am enjoying your blog and understanding and learning about atheism, I have never had a conflict with an atheist, but have often wondered how they think, your blog has brought a lot of incite to me about that.

    I am not a blogger, just a reader, I found your blog through Roots and Rings.

  333. Kathy - Chicago says:

    I'm a 44 year old mother of 6(!) The ! is because is someone told me 11 years ago that I'd have 6 kids I would have never believed it -but God is good and after 2 years of infertility we were blessed with #1. 4 years later #2. Then from age 38 to 43 I went on to have 4 more.

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago.

    I was born & raised as a Catholic and in spite of mediocre formation in Church teachings, I have always believed passionately in Jesus. My home parish had an active charismatic group and while I was a teenager (1983) I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a youth conference held at Franciscan University. While I never stopped believing I definitely left the moral teachings of the church behind after college – partying & promiscuity. Jesus held tight and after a couple of years in a life style of total depravity I returned to Him.

    Books that have shaped me: Pierced by a Sword, He Leadeth Me, Story of a Soul

    Daily LIfe usually begins at 5:45- prayers with DH, then off to the health club. I then get 5 kids out the door to pre/school and begin doing laundry, cleaning and cooking. It's rather monastic at times but I am at peace. I have slowly built a circle of dear devout friends who I see regularly at Mass, book club, bible study or play groups. My DH is the love of my life – holy, smart, funny, sexy, & helpful ;-) He's the kind of guy that makes other men look pathetic – seriously! I am blessed!

    I have an MS in Adult Education and I left an executive position (staff of 36) to be home with my kids full time 3+ years ago. It's been a long slow adjustment to being home full time – I miss the money, praise and interesting work! – but I am where I should be with 6 hilarious children.

    I don't have a blog – but toy with the idea all the time. Because of my professional background I often handle parenting issues differently then other mom's I know. I am asked all the time about some things I do with the kids but I just don't know about a blog . . .

    Anyway! I love your writing. You are refreshing, honest and encouraging. Thanks.

  334. Kaitlin says:

    I'm Kaitlin, 24, married one year to Ted.

    Raised in a luke warm Catholic home and made it my own in high school/college.

    From Perryville, Missouri. Now live in Starkville, Mississippi.

    Book-Life Giving Love by Kimberly Hahn. Perfect.

    Daily Life-I'm a speech-language pathologist who works with preschoolers with special needs. Every day is an ADVENTURE. My favorite part of the day is crawling into bed to be next to my husband.

    I'm new to the blogging world! Everywhere I turned your blog came up and I'm glad it did!

    http://morelikemary-morelikeme.blogspot.com/

    I blog about my journey to be more like the Blessed Mother and right now that involves a lot of blogging about infertility.

  335. Jackie says:

    Hi Jennifer, my name is Jackie. I don't think I introduced myself but I have left a few comments and am participating in 7 quick takes friday . I was raised catholic , went to catholic (private) school all my life . My parents are catholic , but they divorced when I was 12 .

    I live in Calgary and I consider it to be home. I was born overseas, Tunisia, while my dad worked in the oil business and we were those canadians who lived there :)

    I remember reading 'The Betsy' as my first long novel I ever read, but Archie comics and the Smurfs have impacted my life the most I think :) They have helped me with my english and spelling .

    My days are spent at home . I am on a disability but it's not that I am disabled , it's that I have a psychiatric background due to drug induced psychosis. I can work if I want . I get stressed out thinking about it though .

    I had a bad experience with drugs and also because my parents divorced it kind of pulled the rug from underneath my feet . It's been one hell of a crisis and I'm still trying to put the pieces of my life back together .

    You can find my blog here

  336. Sara says:

    Hi Jen,
    My name is Sara and I'm a third year PhD student in physiology. I've been following your blog for a few months now. I was raised in a protestant home with parents who sang in the worship band every week, and where youth group was not an option. I loved God and I loved being a Christian, but this year when I started delving into the history of the Bible, I began to question its authenticity. After I became unsure of the Bible, I began to wonder about some of the things I always believed about God, and now I'm not even sure he exists. I found your website when searching for others who may have gone through this as well. I appriciate your thoughts, and even when I don't agree, I always keep coming back.

    I just started blogging some of the questions I have with faith at loveandlosingfaith.blogspot.com

    Thanks!
    Sara

  337. ONE LOVE, ONE GOD, ONE WAY says:

    Hey :) My name is Kristina and I am 22 years old. I was raised Lutheran Christian and went to a private school most of my life. When I got into high school I lost interest in God and what he had to offer me. I was invited to church when I was 20 and was re-baptized as a born again christian. And once again, I let Him slip away. Just recently I have accepted the fact that I love the bible. I love reading it, and I love learning about Jesus. He is the only one that can turn my life around. He has before, I just never wanted to believe it, because I wanted to be in control. I consider myself a follower of Christ and his teachings. :)

    I am origionaly from California, but moved to Arizona almost 2 years ago.

    "Unleashing the Beast" had a huge impact on me. The prophesies in the bible have never been so vivid, and real until I got a better understanding through this book. It scares me to think people would believe a fortune teller that can tell you your future by looking at your palm….but won't believe the holy bible that completely and utterly tells the future.

    I work at United Blood Services as a phlebotomist collecting blood from donors that gets transfused into sick patients. I love my job, and knowing I save lives everyday. I'm going back to school to major in biblical theology and Christian studies.

    http://searchforonelove.blogspot.com
    I write about my daily experiences living through the teachings of Jesus. I'm doing it to get over my fear of man, and become more like my Savior :)

    Your story is awesome. Keep doin what you're doing. God chose you, and he is using you in ways you couldn't even imagine! God Bless!

  338. my bad pants says:

    1. I was born into a Seventh-Day Adventist family, attended church run schools from Kindergarten through denominational Boarding Prep School (Academy) for high school. I was given a scholarship to attend the seminary program at one of the denominational Universities in the pacific northwest.

    I declined.

    After a sequence of events I talk about in other places, I ended up as a practicing Buddhist who eventually lapsed into a sort of humanist agnostic.

    After even more events, I am walking towards Catholicism at a pretty steady pace. I would certainly define myself as a Catholic by profession of faith, and I will continue my formal path into the church as my parish priest defines it.

    2. Born in Wenatchee Washington, grew up in Boise Idaho, and now living in Newberg Oregon in the heart of Oregon Wine Country. 26 acres, 2 horses, 8 goats, 10 chickens, 4 dogs, 6 cats and some people…don’t forget the people…

    3. Max Lucado’s “Six Hours One Friday” which is a profoundly protestant book, but it was the first step on a path back from completely agnostic (and almost atheist) viewpoint. After that it’s probably “A Grief Observed” by C.S. Lewis.

    4. Phone calls, conference rooms and plane trips. I’m a consultant for a major financial firm who focuses on integrating tax compliance software and financial systems for sales and use taxes around the world. Yes, it’s as boring as that sounds.

    5. http://www.mybadpants.com

    I just wanted to say that reading your blog has had a profound impact on my own conversion from agnostic to Catholic. Thank you for having the courage to put it out there.

  339. Anonymous says:

    I want to know how do Catholics call themselves Christians, when the attention is on man in Catholicism and idols. I am just wanting to know.

  340. redbloodedgirl says:

    Hello, Jennifer:
    Found you through Mr. Tweet, then found your blog. Intrigued me as a fellow Catholic, and I'm interested in moving to Texas.

    I was raised Catholic, but now realize it was more Catholic-lite. Fell away from the church in college, with student-run liturgy, people sitting on the floor, dancing on the altar. Did not go back for 20 years, now happily attend very traditional Tridentine Mass with many large, traditional Catholic families. Thank God daily for bringing me back to the Church through my husband.

    I'm from California, been here most of my life except for stints in high school and college, and some schooling abroad.

    Book question is hard. Recently read wonderful and profound small book on surrendering to Divine providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade.

    Daily life?

    Wake up for second or third time, usually a little after 6 a.m., by either the 4 yr old or the 2 yr old. Haven't slept through the night in over 4 years. Fix a huge healthy breakfast for the family, then get the family going, including home-schooling the two older ones. It is amazing how much of my day is spent in food prep/clean-up. Try to write, catch up on chores, pray the rosary, job hunt!

    I have a blog, for which I have not written in ages, at http://www.RedBloodedAmericanGirl.com, and I just wrote a book, Sexless: How Feminism is Failing Women, that I am promoting!

  341. Anonymous says:

    I decided to start a blog. My spiritual journey is still ongoing.

    I'm a devil-worshiper taking a look into Christianity. Since I just started this journey I hope people can give me some insight.

    The blog can be found here: http://thereluctantseeker.blogspot.com/

    I've enjoyed your blog for years and I probably will continue to enjoy it.

  342. SherryTex says:

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    My name is Sherry and I've always been Catholic, but the journey just keeps deepening.

    The things I did because of beauty, I now understand more fully and they have become more beautiful as a result. This keeps happening in a spiral that gets bigger and bigger like our family.

    When we were married; it was beautiful and glorious. When we had our first, we felt so blessed. Now I cannot imagine life without any of our nine.

    2.Where are you from?
    Originally? I'm from Southeast Texas; I met my husband in Indiana; he's from Connecticut.

    So naturally, we now live in Maryland.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I'm trying to write it. But the research includes the Illiad, Odessey and The Trojan Women

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? Morning, usher the oldest six out the door to school with lunches, breakfast and looking presentable, then feeding the youngest triumvirate.

    Usually, it's then a quick jog through the internet and then a patrol of the house before project time with the youngest three.

    What's your favorite part of each day? Morning. It's when I'm most productive, patient and capable.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? Chocolate for your Brain! is the title. http://www.sherryantonettiwrites.blogspot.com
    What do you write about? I write humor pieces usually inspired by but not limited to the daily experience of raising 9 children and managing to meet their needs without being drained.

    I also occasionally do political satire and get on my soap box about my faith and family.

  343. Julie says:

    I'm Julie. I'm 48 years old and have just started reading your blog.

    My dad was a materialist/scientist type who dabbled in Zen Buddhism when I was a kid; my mom was raised Baptist, but let dad run the religious (actually non-religious) show. I decided I was an atheist as a teenager, became hostile to Christianity in college, but started a spiritual search in 1987 after moving to the country at 25 years old. Finally became a Christian of sorts in 2001, giving my life to Christ in 2004.

    I grew up in the Detroit area, and live now in SW Michigan.

    One of the books that has had the most impact on my life is The Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Lisieux. Another is Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis.

    I homeschool my three kids, have been married for 25 years, and recently started a blog. That about fills my time in life. One of my favorite times of day is the walk my husband and I take in the morning before he goes to work. The other is when I read out loud to the kids at night before bed.

    My blog is called Mere Inspiration (in homage to C. S. Lewis), and explores books, people, and ideas that are inspiring to me and, hopefully, others. Sometimes I diverge into current events, usually from a Christian perspective. Its URL is http://www.mereinspiration.com.

  344. HeartfeltHeartLook says:

    Hi, I just wanted to let you know I added your blog to my recommended blogs at http://tinyurl.com/ycj7z8z
    If it hasn't shown up yet it will. I am the Jackson Catholic Examiner for Mississippi Jackson Diocese. Keep up the good work! :)

  345. dolorosa says:

    Hi. I'm a cradle catholic raised with the Latin Mass before Vatican II. I have a blog Roman Catholic Heroes. Dolorosa

  346. Dianna@KennedyAdventures says:

    I'm Dianna, mother of 4 children: 15 and 4 year old daughters, and 2 year old identical twins!

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was baptized Catholic, but raised Baptist, then became interested in the Catholic faith while in college. I had friends who were from a staunchly Catholic area in Kentucky. I like to say it was the Blessed Mother gently pulling me home!

    Where are you from?
    Born and raised in Kentucky!

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I loved The Many Faces of Mary, as well as St Louis De Montfort's book about consecration. (the name escapes me now!)

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    With 3 small ones under 4, it's a whole lot of laundry, park dates, sandboxes, cleaning, and a little homeschooling thrown in as well. I'm also an Emergency Room nurse. Phew!
    Favorite part of each day? Hearing my children laugh!

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I blog at thekennedyadventures.com. I write about being the mother of twins, a preschooler, and a teenager! I'm also trying to homeschool, and write about that, as well as my Catholic faith. I host a weekly meme called Saints and Scripture Sundays, that I would love for you all to check out!

  347. Sara says:

    My name is Sara. I am 25 and just recently found your blog. Thank you for what you are doing!

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    If I had to put myself into a category, I would say I am Baptist, though I don't necesarily like putting myself into a box. For me, it's not religion, it's a relationship. I was raised in the Baptist church. My family was at church "every time the doors were open". There was not a church event we did not attend. Though it drove me crazy at the time, I see now how important it was and I thank them for it. I was 8 years old when I accepted Christ as my savior, but at the same time, I felt that I was just making it "official". I feel like from the time I understood that Jesus died for me, I have just accepted it and known that I was a believer. I have never questioned it. I feel like God has always spoken to my heart in a way that I just know it's him guiding me. Some think that if you've never questioned your faith, you're just brainwashed. I disagree. So my religous beliefs are the same as when I was a child, but my walk gets stronger every day, and I am tested every day. I have been especially challenged lately to do more for others and to make a difference in the lives around me.

    2.Where are you from?
    I am from Paducah, Kentucky.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's fiction, but it is basically about the book of Hosea. It moved me to tears and showed me what true love really means.

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    I work for the district attorney's office and will be starting nursing school in the fall. I work at the courthouse and pretty much can't stand my job. My favorite part of the day is when I get home from work and can spend the evening with my husband and do some craft therapy as well:)

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    my blog: http://www.savvystitcher.etsy.com
    I write about the crafts I am currently working on, and I post about other blogs that I like or find inspiring. I also like to write about ways to give back to others.

  348. Jill@ClearestGlimpse says:

    I'm Jill and came to your blog via Sarah at This Heavenly Life.

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was raised in church and have been there all my life. I remain in church, now as a minister. I am thankful that my church experience introduced me to a God of openness and opportunity, a God who invites questions. Although I've been deeply rooted in the church and its institutions (both my undergrad and graduate degrees are from church related schools), that doesn't mean my faith has been without challenge or change. I've been nurtured to understand faith as an experience of both questioning and believing.

    2.Where are you from?
    Originally from Iowa (and claim that proudly!). For the last 9 1/2 years in SW Missouri.

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Too many to list, so I'll name the most recent. "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. Such a great offering regarding relationships, forgiveness and the wide reach of God.

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?
    Feeding, bathing, loving on my two boys…daycare drop off and pick up…sermon writing, Bible study teaching, parishoner visiting…stealing moments with my husband. My favorite? Those moments when I am stopped in amazement by my children's words and actions.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?
    I just started a blog last week. It's http://clearestglimpse.blogspot.com
    I'm writing based on my belief that we parents are the clearest glimpse of God our children have when they are small and that we have a responsibility to show them God faithfully.

    I'm glad to be reading your journey.

  349. Shiloh says:

    Hello, I'm Shiloh and I'm the ripe young age of 19.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I am currently preparing myself for a summer of "spiritual enlightenment". Both of my parents were raised Catholic, however my brother and I were not. Recently I have been feeling that it would benefit me to be actively involved in the religion.

    Where are you from?

    Philadelphia! I go to university in the midwest.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    There has been more than one. I am very fond of Hamlet and a short story called A&P. Both have affected me greatly.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    Right now I am in college, only a few weeks left before summer break. So I mostly : sleep, go to class, sleep, eat, go to the gym, sleep (sense a pattern?). Wednesdays my friends and I always go to a comedy club, which I love – its the best part of the week!

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I just started my blog, it is called http://pursuingpiety.blogspot.com/
    It is about my journey, this summer, in studying the Bible. I've always had a great interest in religious topics, but have never read the Bible. I figured I could read it, post my thoughts, verses or particular images that struck me, and apply things from the Bible to everyday life (as well as provide a fresh perspective). I am hoping that I can gain followers who would either like to read along (one giant internet bible study) or offer encouragement and advice.

  350. Andrew W. says:

    Hello. My name's Andrew. I'm now 20 years old.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was to everyone else, a Christian, but when I got into high school, I threw out my religion. I hadn't been religious at all. My life was filled with empty dogma.

    I am now proudly a Christian (Baptist denomination). It took a lot of study on my part, but God had a hand in guiding me.

    I am from Knoxville, Tennessee.

    I read quite a few works from Epictetus, Plato, and Marcus Aurelius. It was these that really shook my comfy foundations and caused me to look for more answers.

    I am a full time college student (a dual major in mathematics and computer science).
    Most often I work on a game engine in my free time, but when I go back home I look forward to seeing my girlfriend. She is most definitely the favorite part of my week.

  351. Art Mommy says:

    Nichole, wife, mother of 3 daughters. Karis 6, Kandra 4, and Kaitlin 4 months.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I grew up in a independant baptist church. Very strict always at church kind of family. I hated it. Not God just church. Now I raise my girls in Lutheran preschool and attend church sometimes at a evangleical free church.

    · Where are you from?

    From Kansas City grew up there got married there had my first two daughters there. But now we live in Springfield,IL moved here when my husband took a job here. Love it here!

    · What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    Get up get my oldest ready for school, change the baby, take my daughter to the bus stop. Then get my middle girl ready for preschool. Then typical stay at home mom stuff. Take some photos for my business (portraits, weddings, still lives). Dinner, reading, ballet, t-ball, etc. Rinse, and repeat.

    · If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    I just started blogging. WOW what an awesome way to express yourself. I blog about being a mommy and taking photos and art projects. I at artmommy0f3.com.

  352. Katherine says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I'm Katherine and I currently live in Maryland. One book that had a great impact on me was the Diary of St. Faustina. Big book but so rich and wonderful! I am a married, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to Cecilia (4), Felicity (2) and Elizabeth (10 mos.). My day revolves around caring for, feeding, cleaning, reading to and playing with them. My favorite part of the day are those spontaneous moments when everyone is clean, healthy, happy and playing well – when everything is clicking and I know I'm not failing. My (new) blog is http://www.havingleftthealtar.com/ and I write about our family, books I've read, movies I've seen, homeschooling, theology, and anything else I feel is worthy of a post.

    I enjoy your blog. God Bless!

  353. Anonymous says:

    Yours is no little blog, quite a few links to mull over.

    1. I grew up in a small town born again church and I thought the message was, "love me or else", so after high school I didn't go to church, but later went through a period of struggle and prayed once that if He would show me somehow that He is real then I would follow, and that was when I had a John Wesley sort of conversion experience, that's what I believe anyway, that I received the Comforter that day, and He is still with me. So it's more than beliefs for me.

    I went first to the Lutherans instead of Disciples of Christ (the particular born agains I grew up with), but after many years I decided I should be fair to Catholics and hear from Catholics what Catholics believe, and signed up for RCIA not really intending on converting, but did so after much study, but also a desire to walk away from the many divisions, which is why I became Lutheran after my conversion.

    But I am still one who sits in the back and these days I have been drawn to the Orthodox term Theosis. But I have no interest in becoming Greek Orthodox because that would confuse my wife and kids, but still interested in dialog and learning from them, and I will probably always remain in the back but will always want to be that person Jesus wants me to be.

    2. I was from a little farm town south of Spokane, Washington.

    3. What is one book that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? I have no answer for that but these links are important to me right now.

    http://www.greekorthodoxchurch.org/theosis_purpose.html
    http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2008/01/15/a-common-faith/
    http://christianmystics.com/traditional/early/stisaacthesyrian.html

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day? I work at sea, long hours, and my favorite time is probably when I can get some sleep.

  354. Maria says:

    I am a lost Catholic. I grew up in a fairly conservative household and fell out of my religion when I was in my early teens, after my parents got divorced. From that point on, I've been lost, refusing anyone faith to be in my life (including my dear grandmother and any potential romance) At 28, I have found a man who is a devout Christian and belongs to a non-denominational. I see the importance of this in his life and feel that in order for us to fully grow together, I need to find myself. I feel that he was brought to me to help me with my lost faith and I am having extreme difficulties in finding myself again. I don't know where to begin.

    Several months after we've met, I've finally agreed to go with him to his church on Sunday. For fear of judgment has kept me away, I've finally found the strength to say yes and go with him, not just for him but for me and us as well. This Sunday will be my first Sunday back in a church since my early teens.

    Can anyone offer me insight?

  355. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I just encountered your blog while doing some Googling about faith. I want to post anonymously because my fiance is an atheist and, I think, it would be really challenging for him to know that I'm contemplating faith lately.

    1. I was raised non-religiously, though my dad's a secular, agnostic Jew and my mom was raised Catholic (and her mother converted to Baptist). I've contemplated faith my whole life. Much like you, I've never really *felt* God's presence, even as a child. I explored various spiritualities, including born-again Christianity, in high school and in college pretty much settled on agnosticism. My husband is an atheist (though he was raised in what is, arguably, a cult and has a lot of animosity toward religion). I've felt a funny pull toward Christianity, but there are a few things that don't sit right with me– namely, the exclusivity of Heaven and the dramatic lifestyle changes Christianity seems to require (i.e. I'm fairly heavily tattooed, I like to go to punk rock shows, etc).

    2. I'm from Brooklyn, NY. I've lived in NYC all my life. I probably won't leave for good.

    3. I'm an English teacher and a writer, so books are a huge part of my life, but it's hard to say which has had the greatest impact. I might say Naked, by David Sedaris, because his accounts of his wacky family made me feel less alone and helped me find humor in my own challenging situation.

    4. During the week, I usually wake up at around 6:35 and my wonderful husband makes me coffee every morning. I take two buses into deepest Brooklyn to work with alternative school students. I'm pursuing my master's so a few days a week (unless we're on a break), I rush straight from work on the bus to class. On days when I don't have class, I go home and hang out with my cat and my roommate, do some writing or grading, read, watch cooking shows, and wait for my mister to come home and hang out with me. We often cook dinner together. On weekends, I go to a lot of punk shows with my friends.

  356. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary says:

    Just wanted to pop in once again to say that I am still reading and loving all these wonderful comments! I wish Blogger let me get email addresses for you guys — there are quite a few people who I've wanted to email privately re: some of things they mentioned in their intros.

    To hit a couple recent questions:

    Maria, if you're a reader, I highly recommend tapping into the wealth of Catholic books about the faith. Orthodoxy and anything by Scott Hahn would definitely be helpful.

    Anon – I can really relate to feeling like Christianity is a whole different culture. I'm excited to hear about what's going on with your search — keep us posted!

    Thanks again to everyone who's commented!!

  357. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I am Brigitte. Please excuse my poor english. I am from Québec, Canada (city of Varennes, near Montreal). I had a conversion on the year 2001 from atheist to Catholique. I was also a lesbian. All my life was transformed with my conversion. I am now a mother of six and married. Your blog is a gift for me. It is like I am reading about me!!! I am also writing a book about my conversion and also to help gay people (hope so, by the Grace of God). I am a freelance journalist. Your blog is inspiring (?) me. Maybe I will do the same… if I have time!!

    God bless you,

    Brigitte Bédard
    http://www.enlignetoi.com

  358. Szwajkowski says:

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Cradle Catholic. During college I really stopped attending masses and only after 6 years of marriage and having twins, I find myself as having the middle age conversion back into the church. I'm currently stumbling towards grace and in discernment on how to live my life as a devout catholic mom.

    2.Where are you from?

    Cincinnati, Ohio

    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The diary of Sister Maria Faustina and "The love that satifies" (Christoper West)

    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I try (I say try as I am usually have one of the twins join me in the morning and the kids show is turned on) to wake up reading either the daily office or bible.
    I am a software developer, so I work part-time having my kids dropped off at daycare and then pick them up and spend time with the and their father in the evening.

    I did want to mention however that I heard your interview with Barbara McGuigan (I take podcasts with me at work) and have been pondering regarding the remark about catholic moms taking their kids to daycare and not spending time with them. If you can have a future discussion on this, please give a heads up. I'm just struggling on being a good catholic mom, without being a homeschool mom that makes bread for her kids daily. I'm in a career and I can't help but think what we as catholic women can do to help those moms like myself that are stuck in situations where we need to trust God and move on to being full-time moms. I've been pondering this, but I'm still not at the conclusion this is the thing to do. Any advice would help.

  359. Liesl says:

    Hi, I'm Liesl! I'm 23 years old, a graduate student in chemistry. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now, but I thought it was time to introduce myself.

    I was baptized and raised Catholic, but due to a lack of religious education program at my parish for most of my childhood, I didn't really understand what it meant to be Catholic until recently. I went through periods of intense doubt about the existence of God and times where I was so caught up in my own life that I forgot to even rely on Him, but thankfully I pulled out of that! This past year has been an intense spiritual journey for me, as I have learned more about the faith in this past year than I had in the 22 years before that!

    I am originally from Columbus, OH, grew up in a suburb called Westerville. I now reside in the Washington, DC area (northern VA), where I am a graduate student.

    Where do I begin with books… I read like it's my job… which being a chemist, it isn't. As for fictional reads, I definitely recommend The Green Mile by Stephen King, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (a book I read as a little girl and still read a lot – a great one to read to your kids!), Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, and anything pretty much by Ian McEwan. I have my summer reading list and reviews posted here – http://weazel05.livejournal.com/141780.html.

    As for religious books I have enjoyed, Catholicism and Fundamentalism: The Attack against 'Romanism' by 'Bible' Christians by Karl Keating really helped me to understand so much about what we believe. I've also really enjoyed books by Scott Hahn.

    As a graduate student doing research in a lab, my daily life is pretty flexible. Typically, I wake up not too early in the morning, take the metro downtown, and work in the lab until about 4. I break for lunch and daily Mass almost every day. After work, I tend to fill my evenings with activities at the Newman Center (Bible Study, Theology of the Body discussion, Adoration, etc.), tutor high school students in chemistry, work with my Girl Scout troop, play softball, hang out with friends, or just spend some time alone watching TV, reading, or surfing the internet. My favorite part of each day is definitely the things I do at the Newman Center – whether that's attending Mass or going to Adoration or having really great discussions with other students just hanging out in our little "home".

    i just recently started a blog – I've been wanting to do it for about a year, but being the expert procrastinator that I am, it's taken this long. It is http://spiritualworkoutblog.blogspot.com/ I write about my faith journey, other things I read… I also like to post book recommendations and what I am doing in my everyday life as I adjust to living on my own in the huge city.

    Hope you get a chance to stop by my blog – and I really enjoy reading your posts and reflections!

  360. Anonymous says:

    I've been reading your blog for almost a year now but have never introduced myself. I can't wait to read your book.

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Born and raised Catholic. Still consider myself Catholic but currently struggling with the divinity of Jesus. My friends and family would be shocked to know this because I am one of the "most Catholic" people they know.

    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    Just started a blog about my struggles with Christianity. It is queenshipofmary.blogspot.com. I have only written two entries, but if anyone would be so kind as to read it, I am open to any and all advice, reading suggestions, prayers, and connections to priests or others who could help me.

  361. Jeannine says:

    Hello! I limit my blog reading, so I read infrequently, but always know where I can come to read something REAL.

    1. I have a been a Catholic all my life. I became even more interested in my faith during my first pregnancy. Ever since then, I've been a voracious reader of all things Catholic (and Christian…I find many Protestant books practical helps in my mothering)
    2. I am from Long Island, New York, a very Catholic environment.
    3. Undoubtedly, The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris. I'd just always been Catholic. She made me realize the treasure I had all along.
    4. I am a wife of 14 years, mother of 3, ages 4 through 9. I primarily feed people, wash clothing, clean (poorly), and have as much inexpensive fun with my children as possible. I am blessed and thankful.
    5. I have a private blog, but I've also begun a blog of spiritual reflections, spurred on by the quotes in the Small Steps book by Danielle and Elizabeth. http://jeannine-thesethings.blogspot.com

  362. Joe of St. Thérèse says:

    Hi, my name is Joe, I'm 24 years old.

    I'm a cradle Catholic (well, revert, but never formally renounced the Faith)

    I live in Walnut, Ca, and am in application for the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (Mercedarian Friars)

    A book that's heavily influenced my life Spirit of the Liturgy by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

    A day consists of Mass and teaching Math, though now it is summer vacation.

    my blog is http;//verbumveritatis.wordpress.com I blog about whatever I want, mostly I share my own vocation story, Litrugy, and comentary on the world at large

  363. Claire says:

    Hi Jen, I am a cradle Catholic, and I absolutely love, love, love our Church. My "journey home" has not been without bumps over the years. I have always believed just about every single thing the Church teaches, but I went through many years when I was a teen and in my 20's (1970's – 1980's) thinking that I would *never* be good enough to make it into Heaven. So I turned from my Church in disappointment and looked longingly back many times. I was never comfortable on the outside, looking in.

    My husband and I "rediscovered" our Church around 1995 and we became youth ministers for 2 years. I too am an extreme introvert (I am told by many that they do not believe me) and when we were working with the youth we rarely took down time for ourselves. We were pushed by other youth leaders who kept telling us that all this sacrifice was for the kids and there was no time for rest.

    I finally snapped one day and declared I was finished with youth ministry and that our 2 parishes in town needed to find someone else. Then I went into hibernation for many years. I am only now (12 years later) feeling like I can venture forth and do "something/anything" to get involved again. I must say I never stopped attending Church, but I lost my zeal for our faith. I've been drifting along, barely going to Confession and not working much on my shortcomings (of which there are many). ;o) At the very least I am mustering the strength to finally work on my faults, put them all in God's hands and grow in Holiness.

    Your blog dropped into my lap as a result of my searching for good Catholic online material.

    I am a lifelong resident of Connecticut. My husband and I are just beginning to pray about where God wants us to live. We really hope to move in the next 2-5 years.

    As for a book that changed my life and I love. I have always loved to read, but one of my favorite books, that had a big impact on my life is Scott and Kimberly Hahn's, "Rome Sweet Home".

    I am a manager at a very large insurance company. I'm not sure how much I actually like my job, but right now I need it in order to get out of debt, or I would be gone. ;o)

    My Catholic Blog is: http://www.claireiscatholic@wordpress.com

    I am so happy I found your blog. I read something daily and I leave refreshed, renewed and ready to grow in Holiness.

    God Bless you, Jen. I am not the scientific type, but your logical road to becoming Catholic is inspiring. I am more than impressed that you were open to God and how you discerned that the Catholic Church is the Church Jesus started and that this is where you and your family belong.

    I look forward to getting to know you better as I read more. I'll pray for your book. Rest assured I will be just about 1st in line reserving a pre-order copy when you have a release date. ;o)

  364. Claire says:

    Hi Jen, I am a cradle Catholic, and I absolutely love, love, love our Church. My "journey home" has not been without bumps over the years. I have always believed just about every single thing the Church teaches, but I went through many years when I was a teen and in my 20's (1970's – 1980's) thinking that I would *never* be good enough to make it into Heaven. So I turned from my Church in disappointment and looked longingly back many times. I was never comfortable on the outside, looking in.

    My husband and I "rediscovered" our Church around 1995 and we became youth ministers for 2 years. I too am an extreme introvert (I am told by many that they do not believe me) and when we were working with the youth we rarely took down time for ourselves. We were pushed by other youth leaders who kept telling us that all this sacrifice was for the kids and there was no time for rest. I finally snapped one day and declared I was finished with youth ministry and that our 2 parishes in town needed to find someone else. Then I went into hibernation for many years. I am only now (12 years later) feeling like I can venture forth and do "something/anything" to get involved again. I must say I never stopped attending Church, but I lost my zeal for our faith. I've been drifting along, barely going to Confession and not working much on my shortcomings (of which there are many). ;o) At the very least I am mustering the strength to finally work on my faults, put them all in God's hands and grow in Holiness.
    (continued in new comment because Google decided I am too "windy" today. LOL!!

  365. KC says:

    Hi, Jennifer! I'm Casey. I've been reading your blog for a little over 2 years. A friend (at the time) had told me to learn to "carry my cross" and I had no idea what that meant. Well, I knew what the words meant and I understood the reference, but I didn't know what it REALLY meant for my life. So, I googled "carry your cross" and found your blog, then called "E Tu?". And what a blessing it has been to me these last few years. I can't tell you how much I've taken away from your words and how many things I've learned through you sharing your faith with the world. Thank-you!

    My Spiritual Journey:
    My mom and dad (Mormon and Lutheran-turned-Baptist, respectively) are believers, but did not practice any sort of faith during my youth. Actually, they still don't. I usually sum it up by saying we were members of the "Church of Just be a Good Person". I would ask about God and they were happy to answer my questions, but it never really went further than that. Throughout the years, God lead me slowly and quietly to my home in the Catholic church. I was baptized, confirmed, and received by first Eurcharist last Easter. Feels great to be home! :)

    Where are you from?
    I'm from Southeast Michigan. It's my home and I can't see myself living anywhere else! Of course, that is unless He has other ideas.

    Daily Life:
    I'm single (But I'm hoping to meet him! When, God, when?!) and employed as a financial counselor at a non-profit company. I speak to people facing bankruptcy and/or foreclosure. I can be very difficult at times, but I think God has me here for a reason.

    My degree is in Special Education. Hopefully the job market will improve here in MI and I'll eventually be able to use it. In the mean-time, I have my eye on a Master's degree in Speech and Language Path.

    Books:
    I am a kids book addict! You name it, I probably own it.

    Blog:
    I actually just started one. It's called "Your Love Came Down" (www.yourlovecamedown.blogspot.com)as that pretty much sums up my life in the last couple of years or so.

    God's love came down and changed my life. :)

  366. bfhu says:

    # Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was raised as a Protestant Christian. After a stint of Atheism in college I recommitted my life to Christ and became a zealous Sola Scriptura Christian. After 20 years as an adult Christian I and my husband came to oppose the "Once Saved Always Saved" doctrine so prevalent in Protestantism.My path to the Catholic Church is recounted in Surprised by Truth 3 and on my blog.

    # Where are you from?
    I am from California
    # What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Mere Christianity, Catholicism vs Fundamentalism, Evangelical is not Enough, By What Authority, The Romance of Orthodoxy….

    # Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?

    I have been married for 35 years, 7 children (all as a Protestant) 3 girls 4 boys)youngest will be a senior in High School. 2nd grandchild on the way.Typical day…there is no typical day but it starts with coffee and meditation then walking with a friend or treadmill and daily mass. From then on it is different. My favorite time of day is the morning.

    # I do have a blog bfhu.wordpress.com. It is an apologetics blog for explaining the Catholic Faith to Protestants.

  367. Julie says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?


    I am a cradle Catholic from a practicing family, but outside my immediate family, I hardly saw anyone really on fire for God. Then I went to college and met powerful witnesses for the faith on both sides of the Christendom fence who challenged my understanding of the world and my place in it.

    I became more of an apologist in college after taking an Intro to Western Religions class. I was the token Catholic in the class and was met with misconceptions and questions from Protestants, which taught me to explain Catholicism in different terms than I was used to. I also learned to trust God more and prayed before every class to represent His Church well. That led to a number of outside discussions with people in the class too, which is definitely the Holy Spirit moving.

    2. Where are you from?


    Cincinnati, Ohio!

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?


    “The Heart of the Matter” by Graham Greene because of the change one sees in the characters from the beginning of the book to the end in light of Catholicism and its affect on their lives. There really is an emphasis on the importance of everyone’s life and the role they play, no matter how small or tragic.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What's your favorite part of each day?


    I am not a morning person, so it starts with a shower and making coffee while getting ready for work. Then, I ride my bike downtown. I work as a reporter on the Statehouse beat, so every day is different. It usually involves a lot of reading, writing and calling people. My favorite part of my day is going to mass at noon, which is two blocks away, as frequently as I am able. I just graduated college and am living in a big city a decent distance from family and friends, so it is comforting to spend one-on-one time with Jesus every day!

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what's your URL? What do you write about?

    http://thecornerwithaview.blogspot.com/

    My blog is apologetics, literary (complete with a poem of the week!), photographs, reflective commentary, current events and music! New readers are most welcome.

  368. Wade St. Onge says:

    I "lurk" – and posted some time back quite extensively on the topic of mixed marriage.

    I was always Catholic, but lapsed in my practice for a few years until Our Lady of Lourdes definitively brought me back in my late teens.

    I am from Saskatchewan, Canada.

    The book that had the most profound effect on me was "Catholic and Christian" by Alan Schreck – because that is where I truly learned my faith after my reversion.

    My activities are quite varied – from playing various sports to working to socializing to volunteer work to prayer/Mass to writing, etc. My favourite part of the day – I love nap time!

    I have a new blog at http://wademichaelstonge.blogspot.com/ I write about all kinds of things from a Catholic perspective. I am trying to get three manuscripts published – hence the reason I started the blog.

  369. Kassie says:

    Hello! My name's Kassie. My soon-to-be godmother and dear friend recommendeded this blog to me about a year ago when I first started asking questions about Catholicism. I've loved keeping up with you, and have lurked for a long time – I blame it on a combination of introversion and laziness. ;)

    I was raised in a Christian family, my mother is from a Lutheran background, and my father was raised Southern Baptist, but we attended small non-denominational churches when I was younger, and my parents are now the senior pastors of a mid-size non-denominational, Charismatic church in Central Texas. They homeschooled me and six of my eight siblings for almost all of our school years, and faith was central to us. I mean, I know how it sounds – nine kids, homeschooling pastor's family, central Texas – but really. We're quite normal. My mother's yet to don a single denim jumper. ;)

    A strange thing happened on my way to graduating from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa – God smacked me upside the head with a spiritual2x4 – in a very loving and God-like manner – and I began to study the Catholic church. I'll spare the bloody details, but I'm being baptized and confirmed Easter 2011.

    My parents instilled many things in me, but a special gift my mother passed on to me was a voracious love for reading. Some of the books that have been the most life-altering for me are By What Authority? by Scott Hahn, The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, Fight Like A Girl by Lisa Bevere, and Silent Tears by Kay Bratt.

    I'm in my last week of summer break before I head back to college, so my days right now are very much far removed from the usual definition of 'typical' in my life. But back in Tulsa, I wake up, force myself to eat breakfast, go to lectures and resist the temptation to peruse Catholic Answers Forum when my professors get boring, and then work afterwards, either nannying or teaching ballet, depending on the day and time. Homework gets done. . .I really have no idea when or how it gets done, but it always does.

    I just started a blog. . .um, an hour ago. . .called Secret Vatican Spy – name taken from some accusations and conspiracy theories that have been flung my way since my decision to convert has leaked into the general public of my life – and as of yet I have nothing but the About Me page complete. But I will be sharing some of my thoughts and concerns and struggles about Catholicism, about radically altering some of my views on what it means to be a woman, what it means to love, and making room for charity to pervade my thoughts and actions. I promise, not nearly as ostentatious as it comes across. ;)
    secretvaticanspy.blogger.com

    Keep up the amazing work, I'm looking forward to another fantastic year!

  370. Benedict Girl says:

    Hi, my name is Brigid and I'll be 18 in 16 days! haha I'm a lurker… but a good one!

    I'm a cradle Catholic and heavily involved in youth ministry at local and state levels. Since I'm from vermont and we only have one diocese in the state, it's not that hard to go state wide in these things… As a homeschooler since 5th grade I have had so many blessings to travel and be politically active with my family (I'm the youngest of nine)in the prolife movement.

    The book that has had the biggest impact on my life is "Theology of the Body" by JP2! I doubt I'm alone on that one… I pray my generation will realize the true meaning of this teaching very soon!!!

    Tipical day for me at the moment is playing guitar ALL THE TIME, with daily mass in there a few times a week =D

    unfortunately I haven't updated my blog in a long time but heres the url: http://bridgesketcher4fun15.blogspot.com/

    God Bless

  371. Iratxe Martinez says:

    Hello! I am so glad I found you blog, I think your story is a very nice one and I am reading some of your entries.
    My name is Iratxe, I am a 29 years old female from Spain who is studying to become a nurse. I am catholic, though I also have a "story of conversion" which you can read, if you want, in my intro post in my very new blog here: http://catholicnurse.wordpress.com/tag/intro/

    I bookmark your blog and set a link on mine, hope you dont mind.
    God bless
    Iratxe

  372. Anonymous says:

    Glad I found your blog. I think starting the journey without knowing where you're going is brave and adventurous and creative. And ending up in the magnificent place you always hoped was out there is the perfect answer to why you took that leap of faith in the first place. My blog Dreaming Miracles http://bit.ly/bs2fRJ follows the first steps of my journey.

  373. Angie C says:

    Hi! Well, about me… I am a Christian. I was born in Puerto Rico, baptized and raised a Catholic but once I grew up I fell out of touch with God. I was very sarcastic towards God and religion but I do believe my mother’s prayers all those years paid off. In 2007 while deployed (I am in the Army) I truly found God thanks to a book (not the Bible) and an amazing Chaplain that really spoke to me. As a Catholic I never read the Bible in church, but once I started attending this service with the Chaplain, he rad from the Bible and explained the message. So, there is a tent in the middle of the desert I found God. To me that is so symbolic.

    Part of my conversion was in a great part to a book by Jentezen Franklin called Right Place, Right Time, Right People. I came home on mid-tour leave from my deployment and went to a bookstore with my mom. While there I found myself standing in front of this book but kept dismissing it. Every time I walked away, I kept finding myself in front of the same shelf. So I said, “Ok God, I get it. You want me to read it”. So I bought it. I read the whole book in a day and a half. I credit this book for plainly opening my eyes, along with my Chaplain, about the truth and the promise of God. With this book made me think, cray, laugh, and cry some more as I finally accepted that God loved me no matter what sins I committed in the past. I truly changed my life.

    I am in the military and my day is hectic. Lately the enemy is attacking my faith through that front, but I am stomping on him ever step of the way. My favorite part of the day is the early morning because it is quiet; just me and Him. This is also when I get to write on my blog, Confessions of a Modern Christian Girl (http://mchristiangirl.blogspot.com). My blog is about being a modern girl in a modern world and balancing that modern day life, especially as a single woman, with God’s teachings. How do we obey God while juggling everything life throws at us.

  374. Fay says:

    I am heart broken, my grandson of 15 years has decided he is atheist, after spending all his years in a christian home…. Not only does he say he don’t believe in God, he goes out of his way to make fun of Jesus, and the cross. My daughter is devastated and we need help on how to deal with this situation.
    He now is going out of his way to be argumentative and is not doing well in school. Advise please.

    • Fay – I am so very sorry to hear that. Honestly, the best advice I have on the subject I summarized in this post. The short version is: work to become a saint yourself, and pray, pray, pray. I’ll say a prayer for your grandson as well!

  375. Hi! I’m Lacy and I grew up with a Catholic mom and a Baptist dad. I had my conversion where I chose Catholicism for myself at at Catholic youth conference in high school. I think there comes a point in everyone’s life that they have to choose religion for themselves! I heard about your blog from a post on my mother’s group years ago! (Love the new design, btw!)

    I run a blog for Catholic kids and families with free crafts, and ideas for celebrating the liturgical year. It’s called Catholic Icing- here’s the address:

    http://catholicicing.blogspot.com

    God bless, and thank you for putting all the time into your blog that you do for all of us! :-)

  376. Jamie says:

    I have been reading off an on for almost a year. I am a Catholic and have been my whole life, but really came alive with my faith thanks to a charismatic young adult Catholic conference in Steubenville in 2005. I have my faith story in a nutshell on my blog, but it led me to accept the church’s teaching, go off the pill, which led me to Creighton charting, which led me to disccover I have oodles of infertility issues. Thankfully, these were discovered prior to marriage, I am blessed to be a patient of Dr. Hilgers himself, and after two very sad miscarriages, I am blessed to be mom to Charles Raphael (almost two) and pregnant with #2 (30 weeks). God is so good and writes the most amazing stories when we let him. This is the story I shared with Drew on his radio program and I appreciate you taking the time to write me back.
    My blog focuses on how I try to be a tool for God, trust Him and follow His will. I also promote the Creighton Model and Naprotechnology.
    \http://tool4god-myjourneywithgod.blogspot.com/

  377. Dana says:

    I am from Mount Vernon, Washington, and have been lurking on your website for several months and even have your website linked as a favorite on my own website! I am also a former evangelical Protestant Christian who converted to the Eastern Orthodox Church in 2007, along with my husband and (then) 16 year-old daughter. In 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I began blogging during cancer treatment to keep friends and family informed, as well as to simply keep on online journal. I’m so very glad I did. The encouragement and support I received from blogging was a significant part of my healing process. I write about Orthodoxy, spirituality, teaching (I’m changing careers in my 50s to become a Business & Marketing/Graphic Design instructor), cancer, and the new season of life after having raised my daughter. I like to say, “Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” I appreciate your perspective on spirituality and enjoy reading your blog regularly . . . keep on writing!

    http://www.runningtheraceblog.com

  378. Terra says:

    Hi Jennifer-

    When I found your blog, a few months ago, I felt like I was sent here by the Holy Spirit. I was on a forum over at catholic.com and asked about some blogs for Catholic mothers and families. A person suggested your website and here I am… addicted :) Your story really touched me and I love getting updates. They make my day. Especially YAYA!! and the Scorpions! (I have found 2 in my house this year YUCK!)

    1. I was a lapsed Catholic for most of my life. My mother had me take CCD and receive my first holy communion but that was it. I was on my own from there. My mom feels like religion is a personal thing and left it at that. After I married my agnostic husband, I thought there was no hope for us to go to church and pushed the idea away. We hit a rough patch in our marriage and he suggested we go to church (WOW!! Holy Spirit at work again) and so I said ok- we will go to MY Catholic church. That Sunday, Father gave his homily about marriage. He was speaking directly to me :) (again- Holy Spirit). From there it was out mutual decision to continue on this path. At Easter vigil 2010 I received my Confirmation and my husband was initiated into our faith. I am truly blessed!
    2. I live in the southern most part of California.
    3. The Shack- it opened my eyes to accept and form a relationship with Jesus.
    4. I am a mother of a beautiful daughter. I work full time and go to night school. My favorite part of the day is when I finally sink into my couch at the end of a very long day.
    5. No blog for me, but I love this blog. http://www.illustratedink.blogspot.com/

  379. Laura says:

    Hello, my name is Laura, as you can see. I’m 19. Anyway, I really love your blog; I started reading it a few months ago. You really sound a lot like me, actually—down to the analytic mindset. I wonder if you read these…anyway, here goes:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? My spiritual journey. I don’t really remember much from before I was ten, except one thing I remember is a journal I had when I was five. It came with prompts, and under “Who is your best friend?” I scribbled “Lord”. I really did have no friends. Anyway, when I was ten, I announced that I was an atheist. I didn’t know what it was, but it sounded more interesting than the tepid religious environment I had grown up in. We’d celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas (not recommended unless you really like to confuse your children)…and not much else. I’d gone to Hebrew school when I was about six, and when I was eight, we moved to Virginia and started going to a Baptist church. This was a terrible experience, because my mom and dad were ex-Catholic and Jewish, respectively. There is no Protestantism in my family, and the lack of enthusiasm showed. The only things I remember are the choir being blasted through nearby speakers too loudly…and going to some kind of youth group that was really kind of boring (and I didn’t know who these biblical characters were, anyway).

    ANYWAY, when I was eleven I read many atheist websites ridiculing the Bible, and, like you I think, was lead to believe that all religious people were weak and had probably not even read the Bible.

    Something interesting started happening when I was about seventeen, though. My favorite book to mock was probably Leviticus, although Deuteronomy was a runner-up. But I learned that Christianity doesn’t see the Old Testament as binding. So much for my idea that Christians weren’t obeying their own rules! I had no arguments left at that point, except for my argument that any god who couldn’t be falsified must be nonsense.

    When I was eighteen, I took a philosophy class. I pretty much see my life now as before and after that philosophy class. The textbook had five chapters dedicated to arguments for the existence of God and the philosophy of religion, and I found it so much more well-thought-out and convincing than all the tired atheist arguments I’d been hearing, which relied mainly on strawmen and insisting their evidence could beat down all religion…when really, their evidence didn’t add up to much. I learned this more and more as time went on. More importantly, the teacher for that class was probably the most well-read and genuine people I’d ever met. I learned later that he was a Christian, and that was when I learned that someone could be religious and still be completely, utterly rational.

    The reason I say something interesting happened when I was seventeen is that two years later, I happened to stop in the school library and read a few books on Judaism. And after being prepped with philosophy classes, it all made so much sense. And the same Old Testament I ridiculed just a few years earlier is what makes up the essence of Judaism. I would have never, ever, ever predicted just a few years ago that I’d be where I am right now. One reason I like Judaism is for a reason you mentioned about Catholicism; there is a lot of structure. The prayers are structured; the service is structured; the Passover seder is structured. Some people don’t like this and prefer spontaneity, but I find the structure much more compelling.

    2. Where are you from? I’m originally from Connecticut, but I moved about thirteen times and am now living in Virginia, hoping to transfer to a school in Massachusetts.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? The book I mentioned above…it got some bad reviews, but what do I care? It changed my life! It’s called The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin. I also liked What I Wish My Christian Friends Knew About Judaism by Robert Schoen.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? A typical day is me going to school for a few hours, coming home, and waiting for school to start again. Sometimes I will go to the coffee shop and learn some Hebrew or read, but now that I’m in school, I buy my coffee in the morning and don’t want to spend another $4 on more! My favorite part of each day is going to class.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    I have two:

    http://sciencemap.wordpress.com
    and
    http://historyclub.wordpress.com .

    The first is more informal and is all about my religious journeys, and the second is mostly more formal articles and essays on philosophy. I know you can’t tell that at all from their titles.

    Since my mom wasn’t Jewish, I’ll have to convert to Judaism, which is really a process, to say the least. There are a lot of denominational rifts and all kinds of things going on, but when all the politics and laws and rules start to weigh down on me, I enjoy reading your blog and remembering just why I decided to do this. I wish there were more people out there with your dedication!

  380. Todd says:

    Hi there – I’m always interested in fellow converts and their stories, so I’m interested in reading about your journey

    I’m in the process of telling my own conversion story at:
    catholicsojourner.blogspot.com

    I suppose the one writer who has had the most spiritual influence on me is St. John of the Cross, his Spiritual Canticle may be my favorite, but all of his writings are excellent – well worth being read repeatedly, there is so much depth

    God bless –
    —todd

  381. Debbie says:

    Excuse the copy and paste please. I have a short memory and the comment list is too long to go back and forth. I will tell you that I have been married 20 years and I have 7 children, one late miscarriage, one stillborn, and one growing within. I have lost my mother to breast cancer. I have a daughter with spina bifida. I have epilepsy. I am not insane (I would love to use that as an excuse for some of my behavior, but alas, I do not qualify). I worked hard to earn my degree in social work. I only use it at home. I have a devotion to the Eucharist that compels me to veil in His presence. I don’t have the same compulsion to wear skirts (kids like to lift them in Mass and that is not at all modest). We homeschool for a variety of reasons. I do not do things for one reason. Here are the answers to your questions.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger?
    I was raised protestant. Anything anti-Catholic was okay.
    What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I am Catholic. I converted in 2000. My husband converted in 2001.
    Where are you from?
    I am from the midwest.
    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    I love all books. I am too tired to think of any one book. Different books impact me at different times in my life.
    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    A typical day for me: I wake up with two kids squished between my husband and myself. I roll over and look across the room at the pictures and momentos of my son who was born still in February 2010. The mundane begins after that. Coffee, snuggle with the kids, clean, dress myself and kids, start laundry, take kids downstairs to start schoolwork (we homeschool), after lunch take a nap (I am pregnant so tired), then before supper, gymnastics, dance, or physical therapy for the kids. Supper, snack, bed for kids, and bed for us.
    My favorite part of each day is my shower. I like the quiet, the steam opens up my sinuses, and I read my Magnificat while I have the alone and quiet time in the bathroom.
    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    I do have a blog. I do not write well. I write about me. I suppose my conversion story would be interesting but I think the journey after converting has been more interesting. Catholicism is logical. Our society is not.
    http://sorrowfulmother.blogspot.com

  382. LuAnne says:

    Hello! I have read a bit of your blog for a while now, and thought I’d introduce myself.

    I am a SAHM of three wonderful boys (and two “adult children” who have since flown the nest), a Catholic, and a home-educator.

    I am a “cradle Catholic”, though I did take a bit of a “sabbatical” during my early twenties! I returned from Florida to my native Massachusetts to marry a wonderful man with two children, come back to my Catholic faith, and abandon my feminist agenda which I’d studied in college and practiced for several years.

    After the births of my three children, I moved to a farm intent on living an agrarian life. Which turned out to be much more difficult than college! I now live in a modest home (which I love dearly) with my husband and three youngest sons, as a practicing Catholic, a music director for a church, and a homeschooler who loves God, her faith, her family, and her life. And we are putting in a small garden. Maybe some chickens.

    Farming is a little fun – I’ll admit.

    I thought it so interesting that your prompt included the question of what books have influenced you. I love literature and reading – so much that my step-daughter commented that she would be happy to help with moving our household items, if they didn’t contain so many books! Of course, I love the Bible, and very many writings of the Saints and Doctors of the Church. And no, I can’t narrow down my choice to just one – I have thousands of books in my home (yes – literally), and many of them are dog-eared from reading many, many times over. But I can narrow the field a bit, and so would have to say that the books that have influenced me the most have been those by C.S. Lewis, those by Laura Ingall’s Wilder (for the family devotion that they evoke), and the more recent “Mitford Books” by Jan Karon. Though these are not Catholic writers, they’ve definitely inspired me to think more deeply about faith, simplicity, and service (in that order).

    My days, and I’m so glad that you asked!, are filled with children, learning, cleaning, cooking, activities (for the children – which translates primarily to “driving”), music practice, coaching musicians and singers, making a home tidy and welcoming and nice, and helping my mother who lives in an inlaw apartment attached to our home. I am running from morning to night, and I love it all. I would never have imagined when I was younger that a life filled with “doing” for lots of folks that were not me! would be fun. But it is fun. And it is wonderful. Though we all get a bit “worn” and tired at times, there could be no better way to spend my own days than in service.

    And I am so glad that I found your blog – you’re great!

    My own writings, such as they are, can be found at http://www.winterpastfinally.blogspot.com.

  383. Amanda says:

    Hi! I love your story! Mine is similar in certain aspects. When I decided to get serious about my faith, my life was a dumpster fire. I’m not even sure which came first, me asking God to seriously come into my heart, or my husband suddenly turning into an alcoholic who lost his job and hid his drinking from me WHILE I was on maternity leave from our second child, who was only 5 weeks old…I went back to work the next day only to go home from this ridiculous pain in my lower back/side. This pain turned into a whirlwind of seemingly endless ER visits (we had lost our insurance when my husband lost his job) and medical bills with no answers as to what was going on. My marriage was on the verge of divorce, I knew I couldn’t afford the mortgage, my health was gone, I had a new baby, I just felt like my world was crumbling and I would open the bible and cry into it and pray for answers.
    Two years later I got a diagnosis. I had a vein and an artery which were criss-crossing, kinking my ureter shut so that urine could not leave my right kidney. This was supposedly a BIRTH defect that usually gets diagnosed in babies, but it had decided to show itself during a time when I needed it least (or most, depending on who you ask).
    UPDATE: My marriage is wonderful, my husband’s supposed alcoholism is gone, my health is better than ever, we’ve had another child who is a HUGE blessing and we are loving this life God gave us.
    *It is important to note that we sought marriage counseling from our priest who told us that, no, we were not too busy to go to Church so we went to confession and started receiving again, and started a bible study, etc. I was never confirmed in high school and am currently attending RCIA!
    God Bless!

  384. Jeanine Spano says:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was raised in a completely secular home, with some “Christian” ideals, as in I learned to pray. I went from a secular world view, to Mormon for about a year, and finally, came home to Rome 3 years ago! :)
    2. Where are you from?
    Grew up in Northern Colorado, and now living in southeastern Colorado
    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    I can honestly say that the Chronicles of Narnia have affected me in that I never knew in reading them as I was growing up that they were Christian. When I became Catholic and read them in that light, I saw how they can affect children and realized more fully the impact we have on kids.
    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    I’m a stay at home mom with our first baby boy, learning how to be productive as I learn how to be a mom. Favorite part, cuddling with the baby and my husband…whenever that happens.
    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://spanocomputers.com/kumquat/ It started as a family blog, but I am now trying to get more into writing, so it’s still about life, but not so boring. ;-) Well, *we* thought everything else was interesting, but random people might not.

  385. Fredonna says:

    Hello there! I am a new reader (I found you at Blogger’s Choice Awards), and I think your site is so interesting. Thank you for publishing it. Here are my answers to your questions:

    I was raised in the United Pentecostal Church International, but I started veering away from that movement in my mid-twenties. I am now in my early thirties, and I consider myself a non-denominational Christian.

    I am from Louisiana.

    The book “Moses” by Sholem Asch had a huge impact on my view of the first five books of the Bible. I know it’s just a novel, but from my understanding it is a highly researched novel, and it just puts the old story in a whole new light.

    My daily life is pretty exciting! I have two adorable little girls, and I educate them at home. There’s never a dull moment around here! You know, I earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree and had a great professional job, and then I had my first child. It ripped my heart out to leave her with someone else every day. I made the decision to stay home, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything – not even a six-figure income. My husband teases me about the most educated housewife he knows, lol. We love our girls, and we make whatever financial and lifestyle sacrifices we have to make in order to give them US.

    And yes, I do have a blog. In fact, I have two. My education blog is The Eclectic Education (www.theeclecticeducation.blogspot.com), and my devotional blog is Worship Without Walls (www.worshipwithoutwalls.blogspot.com). I’d be honored for you or any of your readers to check them out sometime!

    Keep up the good work!
    Fredonna recently posted..One For The Weekend- Know Your God

  386. Katie says:

    Hi Jen,

    LOVE your website. Thank you for all the sharing you do about your journey. I’ve been lurking for about a month now, which I must say, I never do intentionally. I I was excited to discover that you have a place to “introduce yourself.” I feel like I can comment, but it’s still lurking in a way.

    I’m a cradle Catholic. I don’t know that I could describe my family as lukewarm or nominal, but maybe I could add that we’re Irish and Catholic and from a region of Illinois largely populated by Catholics – it’s also an identity. My parents sacrificed to send the six of us to Catholic schools and it “took” with me. I’ve actually endured some criticism in my family for fully embracing the faith and letting it affect every part of my life. I’m 28, married to a wonderful man (who works in the church) and am staying home with my 2 little girls. I listened to your talk this week, and when you mentioned not having “the faith gene” I laughed, because I think I must have it. God decided to give me the gift of faith, and I think that made embracing Catholicism “easier” for me. I’ve was also blessed to witness some holy priests at my high school who weren’t afraid to tell students the truth about some controversial church teachings, such as contraception, abortion, etc. I will be forever grateful for that.

    The books that have had the greatest impact on me have been The story of a Soul, the story of a Family (about St. Therese’s parents), and Witness to Hope by George Weigel (yes, I read the entire thing while nursing my first child. She liked to nurse, and I like to read – a good combination). I’m a biography-sort of girl, so any others would probably be lives of the saints. My husband teases that I’m all about character development.

    I stay at home and since my husband works for a church, with youth, our schedule can be a bit wacky. He’s not around in the evening several times a week and has to work Sundays, so the absence of a “normal” schedule is a cross for me and him. For several years, we were blessed to attend daily Mass. We’ve gotten out of the habit, but are trying to get back a few times each week. I love having my children present before our Lord each day. My favorite part of each day is when I can get out of bed before my girls, have a cup of coffee, look out the window, and read out of my Magnificat before the girls wake up. No website – I’m not a blogger :)

    God Bless,
    Katie

  387. YO, YO, YO, YO, tenemos el ego demasiado grande ,no se porque, cuando escucho a alguien , que le gusta hablar más de si mismo , yo hago esto, yo voy a hacer lo otro, yo , yo, me produce cierta alergia llamada yoego. un saludo en Cristo Nuestro Señor, es a El a quien debemos conocer más y más que mientras más lo conocemos más lo amamos.

  388. Michelle says:

    My name is Michelle, I am 26 and I was baptised Roman Catholic when I was 9 months old and have stayed with my faith ever since :)

    I am from San Antonio Texas, but my husband is in the military so right now we are stationd in Germany

    OO, book that has had an impact on my life, I couldnt really say.

    Well, like I mentioned I am married an American Soldier, I have 3 young children, all three are boys. I also work as a Family Readiness Support Assistant. So for aliving I prepare families for deployment and beyond.
    Life consist of work and my kids. We are a very busy family, but I love every minute of it.

    I have recently started blogging. My URL is michelletherib.blogspot.com
    My blog name came from my nick-name. My husband calls me rib (adam&eve).
    I blog about life as a military wife, mother of 3, photography… and well just alittle bit of everything.

    I would like to participate in your 7 takes, but I do not fully understand the intent. Could you please tell me more.

    -M-
    michelletherib.blogspot.com

  389. Aurora says:

    Hi!!! I’m Aurora. I was raised nominally Catholic and received all of my sacraments, but I never really believed in God and became a very outspoken materialist, anti-Christian atheist in high school. And then God came and found me last year! (You should know that I have been…lurking around your blog for about a year now and that coming across your blog was pretty much a turning point in my conversion. I even emailed you a question once, and you gave me a very helpful answer! I really cannot thank you enough. God is doing amazing things through you.)

    I’m from Long Island, NY, but I go to college in Wellesley, MA.

    I think the book that had the biggest impact on my life (and my conversion) was Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard. The first time I read it, I just had absolutely NO idea what he was talking about (I couldn’t even figure out if he believed in God, which is kind of pathetic, since that’s…what the book is about), and then everything just clicked about a month later. But I think Kierkegaard may be facing some pretty fierce competition from St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, which I’m reading now.

    I usually go to mass in the mornings, go to class, procrastinate, read with cute kids, procrastinate some more, etc. Mass is my favorite part, followed by the cute kids. :)

    Haha, I actually just started a blog! I’m going to be writing about my conversion and what it’s like to convert while at a highly secular institution. I don’t know how you manage to write so eloquently about your conversion! I agonized over a single post for weeks before I could finally publish it. But anyway, here is my shameless self-promotion: passionandgrace.blogspot.com Just figured I’d introduce myself before I started commenting on your posts (aka bothering you). :)

  390. jenny says:

    I was a lifelong believer until my 30′s. My parents were believers. My mother was a Catholic before she married my father, and continued to exhert her faith’s influence in our lives. My father was United Methodist and very active in the Methodist church. It would not due to say that they were tolerant, or respectful or accepting to each other’s faith. All of those words sound like cold isolation. They each thought the other’s faith was a wonderful thing for us kids to grow up with. They each thought that the other’s faith was proof that god loves variety in ritual,praise and worship.

    I was baptized in both faiths as an infant.

    I grew up believing that I could speak to God like a child to a parent.
    I married Catholic and I too, walked a screaming baby in the vestibule leaving my 6 year old daughter to sit through Mass on her own.
    I stopped going when my son was two and still throwing fits and for a year after went to Mass at noon a few times a week leaving them with friends for that hour.
    In just 2 generations of my family there are now German Jews, a Buddhist nun, a Catholic nun, two Methodist pastors, a career church organist and a self-proclaimed “witch”.

    After an experiment that involved convincing myself that God was my teakettle and directing my prayers at the kettle, I was on the road to atheism. The peace I felt washing over me was the same as I had felt praying to my eternal god. The feeling of happiness and humility was actually more overwhelming than I’d ever felt. Trying to pray to god again, after a few weeks of praying in earnest to the teakettle was upsetting to say the least. Praying to god and praying to the teakettle were comparable in their ability to answer prayers, and bring me peace.
    How could this be? I gradually began to not believe in such things as Gods anymore as I prayed and read “holy” scripture of other faiths and experimented with believing and praying to other objects, gods…etc. Any inanimate object or abstract idea worked wonderfully. Picturing people I knew and praying to them only seemed to work if they were dead. Living pets and people I pictured did not bring the satisfaction prayer was bringing otherwise. I figured then, that gods really do just live in the minds of their believers…They are just you talking to you…You believing in you. You forgiving you. You wanting to help those you feel helpless to reach. God is all the “you” in us.

    If believing that there is a god makes a person kinder, all the better. Aside from that, I feel now that deities are adults’ imaginary friends.

    A typical day for me is this, wake for work, wake up the children, do the morning things, see them off to school. Go to work til 2, home at 3 for the kids, do the afternoon things, get read for my second job, walk the kids to their dad’s house two blocks away, work my second job til 3am, then home to bed.

  391. Cory says:

    Hi Jennifer! I’m Cory, 25, and Catholic from the cradle. My parents come from different spiritual backgrounds; my dad was raised Catholic (which is how I came to be baptized into the faith as an infant), while my mom wasn’t raised in any sort of spiritual or religious household. As for my own journey, I strayed a bit in middle and high school, but found my way back to the Church toward the end of my teens.

    I just moved to Hillsboro, Oregon (outside of Portland). Prior to that, I lived in North Idaho, Ohio and eastern Washington state.

    “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller is by far the one book that’s changed my life in a true and lasting way. I first read it as a junior in college, and it was like someone had taken my thoughts on pain, healing, hope and faith and put them into book form.

    I work as an autism therapist; I spent the three years I lived in Idaho doing behavior therapy, helping kids to replace their maladaptive behaviors with more functional ones.

    Who doesn’t love a bit of shameless self-promotion now and then? My blog is located at http://www.lynncory.blogspot.com. I can’t say that it falls into any category other than a personal blog; I write about my life, my faith, food, music and anything else that strikes my fancy.

    Blessings,
    Cory

  392. mrs.marcus says:

    I am 23 and married. I found your blog a couple of months ago (I can’t remember how…) and I read every post you have ever written (it took me a few weeks). You are an amazing writer!

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’m a cradle Catholic that came from a cafeteria Catholic family, although it wasn’t until I started attending my liberal and feminist college that I really embraced my faith. Funny, huh? I slowly became more orthodox in my beliefs, although I did (and do) backslide occasionally. It probably wasn’t until this last year or two that I would actually call myself an orthodox Catholic. I am very blessed that my husband (who was an atheist when I met him) share my faith.

    2. Where are you from?

    Born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. I’ve also lived in New York City, Seattle, NW Florida, and San Antonio, TX. I currently live in Oregon.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    “Good News about Sex & Marriage” by Christopher West – I wish I had known all of this earlier in life….

    “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    We just moved and I haven’t found a job yet, so my day is fairly…open. I run and weight train on a regular basis. My favorite part of the day is when my husband comes home from work.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    No blog, although I often think of starting one, but I like my privacy.

  393. Kara says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I have been a United Methodist since I was born. My father became a pastor when I was in 6th grade. I became heavily involved in our local/district/conference youth groups. I graduated high school and went to college. This was where I felt I finally got freedom. I went to church, but only so my dad didn’t yell at me. I got really into drugs. Then, I was in a near fatal car accident that turned my life around. I knew I only survived because of all the prayers. I’m now on a path trying to find out how to fit God into my life now. My husband and I are true believers and pray all the time. I still consider myself a United Methodist, but am not afraid to try any denomination of church that fits me & my husband. My father has told me all my life that to follow God’s word and study him correctly, you need to belong to a community of fellow believers. Here is some more back story from my old wedding blog: http://karacakes.blogspot.com/2008/06/lets-start-at-very-begining.html
    Where are you from? Originally St. Louis, MO but now I live in Bronx, NY
    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? Probably Number the Stars from in elementary school. It helped me realize how to treat others, no matter how or why they’re different.
    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? Well, I am a housewife. We don’t have kids yet and I never really settled on a trade or skill to pursue. I clean and cook, do laundry, and play on the computer pretty much all day. I love love love to cook. My favorite part of the day is when my husband comes home from work.
    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about? I write about my experiences with trying to cook really good food, trying to stop going out to eat. my url is cookingkkjm.blogspot.com
    Kara recently posted..Lazy Breakfast

  394. Brigid says:

    Hi my name is Brigid.

    • Brigid says:

      Hi, my name is Brigid. My spiritual beliefs are very much the same. I am eighteen years old and I am a Cradle Catholic. Luckily. Most of my family has denounced their catholic upbringing due to poor education in Church Dogma and mature understanding of spirituality. This is a huge part of me right now because I am being EXTREMELY challenged by them to change my beliefs and conform to society.

      I live in Vermont, as I have for my entire life and same with my parents, though they have moved obviously several times.

      One of the MANY books that’s impacted my life in a HUGE way: “Theology of the Body” though not directly. I am working up to it! haha I am currently reading “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West. One of the Authors I’ve been impacted most though is Scott Hahn. Had to add that in. haha

      I am homeschooled and currently pursuing my high school equivalent diploma. This means I have a lot of room for pursuing interests and research into various subject valued to myself and my family. one of these is currently faming and local agriculture. I am conpletely steeped in conspiracy jargin and all that so pray for me! haha

      I have posted before but I wanted to say that my blog address has changed to sketchingbridges.blogspot.com . If you have some time, check out a marian apparition: “HolyLove.org”

      Thankyou for becoming Catholic, and joning the Body of Christ in all her beauty! I’ll keep you in my prayers and please mention my perhaps in yours. :)

      In Christ
      Brigid recently posted..Getting Older

  395. JCA says:

    Ah! By the way, my name is Javier Custodio.
    JCA recently posted..«El Gran Vázquez»- picaresca gráfica de los 60

  396. Bill Rice says:

    I am very intrested in your thoughts. I came from a loving and caring Catholic background and considered being a priest except I just could imagine a life without children. I had an “ah ha” momnet that caused me to look at cause and effect. An act of totally random kindness changed my emotional state from angry and frustrated to happy. This caused my delving inot how emotional states change and I looked inot Buddhism. I am still a faithful Christian but Buddhism digs into the inner self to answer many questions about how to understand the emotions, which in turn allows you to control your emotions rather then having them control you. I go to Buddhist meditation retreats, Atheist discussion groups, and the Catholic Church about every week. I personally so not think that 95% opf the Christians understand true love and the slippery slope that materialism causes.

  397. Bill Rice says:

    Craddle Catholic…loving home in Lubbock Texas but am now in College STation Texas. I do a lot of meditation….and have attencded a month long Buddhist Meditation retreat in Vermont to enhance my ability to meditate. I use a Christian mantra and go from there. Spiritual books would be mostly by Bede Graffith a Catholic monk that had an ashram in India. Return to the Center and and The Cosmic Revalation are my favorites but if you want to really learn about yourself and your emotions I reccommend The Sound of Silence by Ajahn Sumedho

    • Brigid says:

      Dear Bill, I don’t know if you have or not, but I encourage you to look at various Catholic Church theology relating to emotions and meditation, benefits of their control and other theological differences between buddhist and catholic church understandings of such.

      catholic.com is great for Q&A.

      Peace in Christ,
      Brigid
      Brigid recently posted..Getting Older

  398. Hi, Jennifer.

    I first read about your great scorpion adventures when Julie D. linked to your posts. I started coming back after I heard more conversion stories and a few radio spots. I really appreciate your candor and your kindness.

    My name is Bill Burns, and my blogger name is Theocoid (hence, the pseudonymous identity). I was raised Catholic and even remember a short period of time when I actually learned something in CCD (what we now call Religious Education). I started falling away in my early teens and really took a nosedive from about 15 on. That part of my story is up on my blog. I became a searching agnostic, dabbled in philosophy and eastern mysticism, worked in a new-age bookstore, then slowly started clawing my way back to sanity. In 1999, I first went back to Mass but wasn’t ready to accept the doctrines of the faith (much less the moral teachings). In 2002, I actually began to look critically at the teachings of the Church, and I entered RCIA that fall (no returning Catholics group here). I’m now studying theology at Holy Apostles College & Seminary and am a candidate for the diaconate.

    2. I live in Boise, Idaho. I hate the climate, but what can I say?

    3. Wild at Heart, strangely enough, actually started me off on a series of decisions that completely changed my life. I still struggle with some of those changes, but I have to accept that God knows best, and He will make something good come out of all of it.

    4. Most weekedays begin with the morning hour, possibly followed by Mass. On MWF, I start with a short commute across the hall to my office, where I check to see if any major issues have cropped up with my client. I drink two cups of coffee, then I say the morning office. On T and TH, I lead a 6:00 AM boxing circuit class at the local Y. I work as an XML/Content Management consultant (contract) for a very large hi-tech company. You probably have some of their products in your house, and if so, you probably have documents or help systems produced by our toolset.

    5. I have a blog called Is My Phylactery Showing? These days I mostly write about my theology studies and diaconal formation. Every once in a while, I post a personal reflection or opinion. I used to post poems, but I’ve given up on that. I also travel a fair bit and have posted photos and stories of my few trips abroad (primarily to Israel, but also Spain).

    I still plan to post the rest of my faith journey when I can move to the next, darker part of it.

    Thanks for your reflections!
    Bill
    Bill B (AKA Theocoid) recently posted..The mode of union in the Person of the Word

  399. Rachel says:

    Jennifer,
    You are my new favorite person. I’m in love with everything about your blog. I’m a 24 year old from South Carolina, currently residing in Louisiana. I was raised Catholic (attending a Catholic school through 8th grade) but never really made the beliefs my own although I considered myself a good person and still had a good relationship with God. During high school and especially through college I moved further and further away from the Church and my relationship with God all but disappeared. Recently (about 6 months ago) I had a huge wake up call and began questioning “what the heck I’d been doing with my life” for the past decade. I really dove back into trying to renew my Catholic faith and fix my relationship with God. About that same time I met an AMAZING man who is very conservative Catholic and he’s been supportive and patient with me as I’ve been coming to terms with all of the harder Catholic teachings and beliefs. Many of your posts “ring so true” for me and I’ve appreciated your candid writings and courage to share your story.
    Thank you!

  400. Dora says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’ve lurked for a little while, but your blog has inspired me to start my own.

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I’m actually a Muslim, but I’ve started looking into Christianity.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Normally I would answer the Qur’an, but I think in the spirit of the question, I would have to say the Road Less Travelled.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I’m usually on the computer all day working, so my favourite part is in the evening snuggling up into bed with my child who I have to confess, still finds the way to our bed every night. I’m being a bit vague, because being a Muslim who’s looking into Christianity, I’m not keen to give away too many details. But I am a voracious reader, and I work at home as well. So I have to make sure I detach from the computer sometimes “in real life”.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    It’s http://mygodquest.wordpress.com/ and I was hoping that maybe one or two of your good readers, might pop over and give me a bit of advice, just as they did for you all those years ago. I started the blog to journal what I was thinking, but it’s not something I can really talk with the people around me, even the Christians I do know “in real life”, so I am hoping that I can engage with people at least on the Internet to try and muddle my way through this spiritual quest that I’m on.
    Dora recently posted..Currently Reading

  401. Dominique says:

    Hi my name is Dominique and I came across this blog via a friend who posted your piece on your conversion story. It was beautifully articulated and struck home as far more of it was similar to my own experience than I could have imagined.

    Though I grew up in a catholic home it was only nominally so. Growing up Catholic in Quebec in the 60′s and 70′s well is just not catholic if you get what I mean. We did all the requisite Sacraments but it was only because it was expected and I had no idea what any of it meant, except that my friends were all doing it too.

    Nothing about my life was Catholic. My parents seperated when I was five and my mom met and moved in with my Jewish step father three years later. They were married when I was twelve. I was taught about right and wrong but much of it was kind of murky.

    It would take an entire book to get into how I ended up a now Traditional Catholic, but suffice it to say that though as a teenager and young adult I thought I had all the answers and that religion was the cause of all evil, it was not long after starting a philosophy degree at university that I realized that all I had was a pile of questions with not a single worthwhile answer to address them.

    The light started to flicker in an ancient political philosophy class with Plato’s republic and really took on a sheen when I read The Acting person by some guy by the name of Karol Wojtyla. I was wowed. And of course you can imagine my surprise when I was informed that this brilliant man was the Pope! My now husband still laughs at my ignorance about that. This is when the journey really took a sharp turn and essentially God hit me square in the head with a faith filled frying pan. And well the rest is shall we say history. I love my God, I love my Faith and I cannot for the life of me believe how anyone can go through life without either to carry them through. Had it not been for God’s Grace and Mercy I don’t know where I would be now, but I know it would not be pretty.

    Books have always been a big part of my life, the above mentioned The Acting Person was a monumental part of my faith journey, but I would have to say St. Augustine’s confessions was also very influencial as well as in more recent years Alice von Hildebrand’s Priviledge of being a woman. I could probably name several more that have deeply touched me and been part of my formation but then I would be here all night.

    A typical day in my life….well here goes. I am a 45 year old mom of 6 children who range in age from 14 to three, eldest and youngest are girls, book ending four boys, ages 12 to 5. Our youngest daughter Mariana has downs which seems to be more of an issue for others than it has ever been for our family. She is indeed the livewire of the family and keeps us all on our toes. We are expecting our seventh and I am extreemly ill so much so that I have ceased to be the caregiver in our home and have become she who must be cared for. Under normal circumstances we homeschool but lately that has involved more home-economics, as cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping has become a very big part of their daily routine, than any other subject, except maybe piano. I have just recently entered the bloggesphere and though I enjoy writing, there really isn’t much else you can do when stuck in bed most of the day, I am so new at it that I have no clue how to get my blog out there, and frankly am a little apprehensive about opening myself up to the examination and judgement of the public. I write mainly about my life, my faith, and my thoughts. http://tobeyourwitness.blogspot.com in case you would like to drop by!

    I do hope to get more involved in commenting on your blog but for now I am content to simply read and learn.

    God Bless for your courage and commitment,
    Yours in Christ,
    Dominique Navarro
    Dominique recently posted..SUFFERING

  402. Kari says:

    Hello! My name is Kari and I am a cradle Catholic who wavered in faith through high school and rediscovered my relationship with Jesus in college. It was jump started by a pilgrimmage to Rome with my church choir my freshman year in college.
    I am originally from Kansas but currently reside in South Bend, Indiana. GO IRISH! My husband and I moved after we got married this past July.
    Many books have influenced my life, but the ones that jumped to mind are “Searching for and Maintaining Peace” by Jacques Phillipe and the whole “In Conversation With God” Meditation series by Francis Ferdinanz. Both are so wonderful to keep a focus on the daily ways we can lead holy lives.
    Right now a typical day isn’t very typical. I’m a substitute teacher so each day can be very different. When I don’t get a teaching job my day starts with mass, meditation, and then whatever my heart desires. Mostly I read, write in my blog, write letters to friends, play piano/guitar, and work to keep up the house. I used to teach full time in Kansas, but since jobs are hard to find, when I moved God decided to give me a break!
    I call my blog ‘All the Small Things’ because each day I list small things I notice about my day, weird, inspiring, or just fun things that make me smile. My hope is to help others see the small things in their lives that really bring joy in some of the hardest days.

    Your blog is wonderful, thank you so much for sharing your insights!
    Kari recently posted..cover up

  403. Kara says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I grew up in and out of “Bible” churches. I always believed, but I never felt at home. Even from a young age I felt called to the Catholic Church for some reason, and when I went through a difficult time in my young adulthood, and found comfort there, I knew I was home.

    I joined the Church in 2006 and was baptized with my eldest daughter.

    Where are you from? Scottsdale, AZ

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    The Catechism. Truthfully. I really don’t have a chance to read much. I also did St. Louis De Montfort’s Consecration to Jesus through Mary and that was amazing. I’m not sure these really count as books, but oh well :)

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Busy, busy. I have 3 little ones. We get up early, ready for school, I drop her off, I hang out with the littler girls, we nap, pick up the big girl, cook dinner, etc. Nothing all that exciting, but we try to keep busy so we don’t go crazy :)

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I mainly write about my kiddos and our family life. Recently I wrote about this blog because I wanted to share it so badly after it really spoke to me and really helped me over a rough patch. I can feel God working through this site and I’m so thankful I found it!
    Kara recently posted..I found a new blog

  404. 1. My own spiritual journey began a few years ago, when my husband and I began attending church regularly. My husband is a cradle Catholic and I was baptized Episcopalian as a small child. Growing up, my family really didn’t go to church. My father actuall ushered at “our church” but we never went. I remember finding that odd. I remember one Sunday morning, my sister and I were out playing. I heard bells ringing and asked my Mother what they were for. She said that they were calling people to church. I asked why we weren’t going.. she said.. we just don’t. I received no further explanation, and I reluctantly accepted it. I did attend church with our neighbors from time to time. Ironically, they were Catholic. I loved going, I loved the Stained glass windows in the church, the candles, the smells, and of course going out to lunch afterwards.

    When my husband and I became engaged, people would ask me if I was going to convert. I was quick to say…. that I would never just convert for the sake of converting. I thought that would be insulting to the Church and to God. I had promised my husband, however, that if we had children they would be raised Catholic and attend Catholic schools. But I told him that I would not convert unless I felt it in my heart.

    It was one Sunday, about 12 years later, that he and I were sitting in church. Somwhere, in the middle of Mass I was overcome by the most amazing feeling of Love. It was as though I was gently wrapped in loving arms and adored. My husband glanced at me as asked if I was ok. It was then that I realized that tears were streaming down my cheeks. As we left the church that day, I felt the need and desire to linger.

    Weeks passed, and this kept happening. We were exploring different parishes, and so it wasn’t just “one church” where this was happening. And I knew, that my heart… was ready to begin the journey home. It was then that I told my husband that I thought I wanted to convert. I am blessed to work at a Catholic University and I contacted the Priest on campus in charge of the RCIA Program and began the process. I have never had any doubt that I was on the right path.

    It’s been almost three years now. I am still learning…. there is so much to learn and absorb. As one question is answered, another one has already formed.

    2. I am from Dayton, Ohio, and with the exception of a few years away at school, I have lived here my entire life.

    3. The one book that has had the most profound effect on me is “The Shack” by Wm. Paul Young. In reading this book, I was finally able to grasp what the Holy Trinity is all about. And again… tears of immense joy spilled down my cheeks…. while reading this book.

    4. My daily life is hectic. I work fultime at a Catholic University. After work my husband and I are busy. We help at our Parish’s food pantry one night a week.. we teach a puppy kindergarten class, and we have many family activities that take our time. We have no children, but we do have 3 Newfoundland Dogs. My favorite time of day is in the evening when we’re all settled in the den… together, safe and home.

    5. I have a blog titled Annie’s Whirlwind… that I post on rather randomly. It’s about a little of everything…. I write whem the spirit moves me…. the url is: http://annieswhirlwind.blogspot.com/

  405. DomerNate says:

    Hi, my name is Nate. I am new to reading this blog but am ravenously devouring the whole thing from the Reluctant Atheist days onward. Really fascinating stuff.

    I was raised Catholic and remain Catholic. I was also home schooled and now attend the University of Notre Dame as a second year Architecture student (philosophy minor). I gew up with the Liturgy of the Hours and the Rosary, the Angelus, daily prayer were all part of my life. I now do my best to attend daily Mass at Notre Dame (which is easy since my dorm has it every day.) In fact, the Catholic liturgical, devotional, and intellectual options are amazing and I try to take advantage of as much as I can.

    As far as the books question, I have been reading for 15 years and can’t get enough of it. Anything by C.S. Lewis that I have read has had an impact, specifically Surprised by Joy, The Great Divorce, the Space Trilogy and Narnia. Also “No Man is an Island” by Thomas Merton OCSO. Blsd. Cardinal Newman writings have also had an influence as well as ay Augustine I’ve read.

    My life consists of normal college stuff. My favorite part(s) of the day are: Daily Mass, Aquinas’ Philosophical Theology, Liturgical Choir, Hanging out with my section, playing guitar and drafting.

    I have a blog called “The Third Order” which is just basically my reflections on Life, Theology, Philosophy, the Arts etc. http://www.holyintheworld.blogspot.com

  406. Susan Scott says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    I am visiting your blog for the very first time today. Love it! I look forward to reading your book. Conversion stories are so fascinating to me.

    I am a Cradle Catholic,living in Maryland, married to a Presbyterian (although he is a registered member of our Catholic parish and attends Sunday Mass) mother of 5 children aged 17, 15, 12, 10, and 8. I homeschooled all of my children but the oldest 3 now attend our local public schools. I still homeschool the 2 youngest. I should be working with them right now, but am playing hookey. Time management is a struggle for me.

    Currently, I am attending a Bible Study on The Psalms. It is a big help to my prayer life. So The Psalms would definitely be the ‘book’ that has most influenced my life at this point. Other than the Bible, I have discovered the genius of Flannery O’Connor. I picked up the Brad Gooch biography of her at the library last summer and was hooked. I can’t name my favorite O’Connor work, as each one of her short stories is a masterpiece to me. I’m going to feast on her novels over the winter. Currently, I am working my way through Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc. It is fabulous.

    I do not have a blog because there are so many excellent blogs I have yet to discover. I’m glad I found yours today. It is terrific. God bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story!

  407. lily says:

    Hi! I just found your blog tonight, and I’m so glad I did! I have been in the middle of a debate on abortion on an online discussion forum, and I did a google search, and that’s how I found your blog. Your audio, “Why I went from pro-choice to pro-life” was very interesting and you brought up some excellent points. I will be sharing that with people I know.

    As for me…

    1. I am a born again Christian. All my life I was a very apathetic nonbeliever. I wouldn’t say I was a hardcore atheist, I just didn’t believe any of it and disliked religion, but I never really gave the subject of God much thought. God wasn’t even on my radar for many years, I was too busy living my life (a very worldly life) and since I wasn’t around practicing Christians, God or religion were topics that just didn’t come up very often for me. One of the things, interestingly, that led me to my faith and conversion was politics. Seeing all the corruption in the world, and seeing how world leaders (at that time it was Clinton) were so corrupt, dishonest and, well…rotten, just caused me to begin thinking about if there was a leader who was actually good, someone we could trust and look up to. I knew that goodness and truth existed… and I also could see that the opposite existed. So, on some level, I knew that the good and truth must stem from a source.

    Also, I had read a book that was about ‘conspiracy theories’ and one of them was that we were heading towards a global government. So I had an interest in that (of course I’m opposed to that) and I began to realize that many of the things that were happening in the world today were written about in the bible thousands of years ago. So that sort of caused me to have an interest in the bible that I had never had before.

    How I began to believe was, one day when I was thinking about the corrupt world leaders, I was asking myself, “Who is above these people? Is there a true leader who exists?” (At that time I was still thinking in terms of a regular person, not anything spiritual) It just didn’t make sense to me that the most powerful people on earth were so low, and unworthy of admiration. So as I was sincerely asking that question, it was as if God literally opened my eyes, and gave me the answer. Yes, of course, it’s GOD who is above world leaders and is the true authority. And then I suddenly remembered things I had heard about Jesus.. that He was the “King of kings” “Lord of lords” “Prince of Peace.” The true ruler of the world. So it was an epiphany…one of those, “Oh my god, it’s true!” moments. And I was stunned because I was SO unreligious, but that was the first moment I began to believe. I knew that this would change my life. And I wasn’t sure I wanted my life to change (because I liked my life) so I was hesitant to jump right in to Christianity. So I figured I’d look into it. 2 years later I gave my life to Christ. Ok, that was a lot longer than I had planned, sorry. ;-]

    2. I’m from California, but have lived in many places.

    3. Can I name 2 books? One would be Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis. I just love the way he explains things… in a reasonable, logical way. Another book that impacted me was one that you read – The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel. After reading that book, I bought a pack of 6 and gave them away as gifts to people who I thought should read it. And I still give that book as a gift to seekers or nonbelievers.

    4. Right now i’m doing free-lance web design, and I work from home. So a typical day for me lately has been spending a lot of time on the computer. I was doing missions work before, and I hope to return to missions soon, God willing.

    5. My blog is ashestobeauty.net I really want to start using it more, but I haven’t been blogging regularly. But to whoever is reading, please visit it and check back later, because I’m planning to re-do the site, and make it more of a website and move the blog over to one of the sub-pages. I hope to turn it into a site where people can come for encouragement and I would like to have testimonies there, and quotes, scriptures, and maybe pages on different topics that interest me.

    Thanks so much for your blog and asking about us! God bless!
    lily recently posted..How did I go this long without hearing about Brooke Fraser

  408. Sarah Applegate says:

    I am curious to what you would say to the countless of good, Christian women in their 30′s and 40′s who are seeking their vocation, but God has not given them someone to be with yet (or possibly ever). How do we find peace when we are not ‘throwing ourselves’ into our vocation? (post ‘Why my life is better since becoming open to life’)

    Thank you.

  409. Michael Currie says:

    I am 62 yrs. old.”Lord I believe forgive my unbelief” captures the long and fitful path I have trod in trying to Love God and my neighbor as myself. The salvation I have sought seems an impossible dream yet echoing Peter “where else would I turn”. It seems that it is here,as a Catholic, or no where.
    I was raised Catholic, I had 8 siblings and we had a family bound by an intimacy that seemed like the world. It lasts to this day.
    My Father died when I was 17, my younger sisters were 15,7,2 and 1. His passing created a black hole in the center of our family, a sadness that will not leave, it is the background radiation of our universe. He died in 1966 and if one looked carefully one could, even now, see the reverberations of his death.
    While I was raised Catholic my struggle to adult faith did not begin til I was 20 and for someone looking in it would have seemed that I was going in reverse. looking back it seems that I was always in trouble, little trouble at first but as time passed the troubles became bigger, drinking,drugs, sexual irresponsibility and a frightening wildness. In elementary school my parents tried everything to get a handle on my behavior, to no effect. I was tested and it was found that I was very intelligent, an under performer they said. I discovered this assessment of my intelligence and it was damning. Not understanding or not caring that this was more about potential I took it to mean who and what I was.
    At 20 I took my first LSD, it was fun. The 25th time, not so much. My world came apart and I have spent the intervening 42 yrs. trying to put it back together. I had a bad trip through the 7 circles of hell. The world melted away, nothing solid remained, all was chaos. I had fallen through the looking glass into a world of capricious reality but not entirely, for the God of all creation who had blessed me with life had also created a world independent of me and still this world spun under my feet and upon it walked the other.
    One night in a frightened, had to get away state I stuck my thumb out to get a ride to anywhere. A car stopped, the door opened and a priest said get in, where are you going. I said i did not know and some conversation ensued, I can’t remember what was said, I don’t remember the man, I do remember that for the first time in days I was not afraid. That night or the next I went to the local Augustinian Monastary and asked to see a priest. The priest that came out to see me was an elderly teacher at the local high school. We talked then and the next day and the next. It turned out that he was Belgian and had spent 3 yrs. in a German concentration camp. Faith in God amidst chaos, evil and death were the topics we spoke of. He said that his faith in those days was a life line on a raging sea, it was all that remained this side of insanity and death. He said that he clung to it and clung to it still. The world is a raging sea, he said, even today in the seeming calm and the realist thing in it is Christ and he goes all the way down to the bottom of reality. He will and has saved you, grasp that and work your way back to the land of the living. I did, I do and we must.
    Sorry this was so long but be thankful it could be longer.
    Books: Pierre Telharte DeChardin(sic)it wasn’t so much the 2 books of his I read,”The Divine Mileau”and The Phenomena of man” as it was one phrase in one of them.The phrase was “Mass upon the altar of the world” which for me captures the all encompassing breadth of the drama of life and salvation.

  410. Kristina says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I was born and “raised” Catholic…at around 14/15 years old, I had a major conversion and fell head over heals for Christ and the Catholic CHurch! Interesting journey!
    Where are you from? I’m from CT
    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? Recently, The Shack
    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? I wake up, rush to my car, head to work for 8 hours, either head home or to school for now, try to figure out what to eat for dinner, then lounge or do homework till bedtime. My favorite part of the day is going straight home from work instead of school!
    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://krfo24.blogspot.com/
    I just got into blogging so I’m not sure I’ve figured it out just yet but I write about things God is showing me…mostly through His calling for me to be involved in a Mission to Haiti. He teaches me a lot about living in the US from my experience in Haiti and a LOT about Haiti through living here.

  411. Marco says:

    Hello Jennifer, I am a brand new convert to your blog! Lol! I discovered your blog through the “First Things” blogs. I am inspired by your bold witness, and I enjoy reading your blog.

    I am Marco and I am 29 years old. I am newly married (nearly a year) and I recently finished my courses for college.

    1) I was brought up in a typical, European Catholic home. Both of my parents were from Europe, Mom, Slovakia, Dad, Italy. I went to Catholic School K-12 and I left my faith somewhere around my sophomore year of high school. For nearly 10 years I dabbled in every type of spirituality, with the suffix of “ism” But a powerful mass experience in 2005 brought me back kicking and screaming into the Catholic Church. Currently I have an active relationship with our Lord and it has made all the difference! Through Christ I have found my wife, a vibrant young adult ministry, and my true calling of writing and speaking.

    2) I am from New Jersey.

    3) “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I was inspired by the beauty and Christ like character of the novel’s protagonist Alexei Karamazov. Besides containing a great plot it also contains some of the greatest reflections on faith, atheism, socialism, philosophy and 18th century politics. This book had a profound effect on me.

    4) My typical day varies greatly since I am currently unemployed. I try to go to daily mass, and after mass I try to pray in front of the tabernacle reciting the Rosary or reading scripture. After that I usually begin the exhausting process of searching for a job. In between all of this I try to fix things around the house, and maintain it clean. I also try to write one blog a day.

    5) As I mentioned previously I am a writer and I publish regularly for my blog, “The Marco Minute” The blog focuses on faith matters, world and political history, leadership, personal and family life experiences. Here is the URL for my blog: http://www.marcominute.blogspot.com or simply type “Marco Minute” into Google.

    I would love to have you publish an article on my blog as a guest writer. What do you think?

  412. Peter says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    Hi Jennifer, thank you for your invitation to share a little bit of my life with you and the other readers of your blog. I came to your blog by the recommendation of Patrick Madrid in Open Line (via internet). I have been raised Catholic, but I came from a family where religion was not so important at all. I guess art and music had a great impact on me. I always loved the architecture of Cathedrals and enjoyed Baroque music of Bach and Handel. Music always was an “heart opener” for me. But I didnt dare to make a decision for God unless I visited a Pentecostal prayer meeting. Suddenly I got aware that Jesus had always been inviting me. He wanted to come into my life. I didn’t stay in this pentecostal community. For me it was clear that my way was in the Catholic church.
    I found soiritual nourushment in the books of a theologian who – for me surprisingly – became pope in the year 2005.

    Where are you from?

    I come from the Rhineland. Our Federal State in Germany is called Northrine Westphalia. I live near Düsseldorf, in Krefeld. Our region is quite flat … but it has its beauty. :-)

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    I would clearly name one book by Fr. Romano Guardini: »The Lord«. It’s awesome. Romano Guardini was the first who gave me an image of Christ.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    At this point of my life I am experiing a period of some broken hopes. Well, it goes on – so my situation would be like oe of the two disciples on their way to Emmaus, together with Jesus. The favorite part of my day is the early morning, when everything is expectation of the coming. I love attending mass before I get to work. I have a small atelier where I am doing my work as a freelance illustrator.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I have a small blog in German language. But even if you don’t speak German you may visit me for the cartoons.

    http://www.echoromeo.blogspot.com
    Peter recently posted..Auch nicht viel besser …

  413. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I am a cradle Catholic–although, I recently learned I may be better described as a “re-vert.” Not sure how I feel about that. ;-) Like you, 2005 was my year too. I went to a retreat (Cursillo) looking for a little R&R and instead got my world rocked. I literally feel like my DNA changed that weekend. I came home and have been writing ever since.

    Where are you from?

    Originally from upstate NY where everyone I knew was Catholic (there was that one girl in High School who wasn’t…) Then I moved south, met by husband (then an “unbaptized person”–that’s the box he checked on the form he filled out before we were married in the Catholic church.) I never mentioned the subject once, but he has since converted. He decided he didn’t want our 7 year old climbing over him to get out of the pew to receive communion. And a child shall lead them. Living in the Bible belt has forced me to question and own my faith.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Ohhh…it’s like picking a favorite child… I really like Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest. I LOVE CS Lewis. And I’ve recently discovered Scott Hahn…

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I am a high school religion teacher at a Catholic School in the south. Nothing about my life is typical. My favorite part of each day is going into the chapel before school. There is nothing like the feeling of surrender. Recently one of my former students turned me on to the Seven Sorrows of Mary and she and I have been meeting in the morning before school starts to say that… with profound results. Oh yeah, I am also the mother of two boys – 13 yrs and 11 yrs. ;-0

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    I have a blog about teaching called My First Year. Obviously, by the name of it, I never thought I’d get any further than that, but here I am in my second year…

    http://www.allisonwelch.com

    I really enjoy your blog Jennifer and I sometimes use it in class! P.S. — I could use a search button on your blog… maybe I missed it, I’ll look again

  414. Sandie says:

    I found your blog via Betty Duffy a few months ago and have been enjoying your perspective on aspects of converting to Catholicism that I have puzzled over. I was raised outside of New Orleans in a nominally Christian but devoutly un-practicing family. My Vietnam Vet uncle was instrumental in my learning how to church myself as a child although I bounced denominations for a while. Converted to the Church at 22 and still working out the daily conversion of heart I need to follow Christ fifteen years later. Just moved to CA and am starting to homeschool my two children. Book that makes me want to reread it continuously: Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

  415. Amy says:

    Hello Jen!
    I have commented once, I believe, but have mostly been lurking in your cozy sidelines for several months now.

    I was raised in an atheistic home, flirted with New Age-y stuff for a few years and then had an on-again/off-again relationship with Christianity until I finally met Christ and was baptized into the Anglican church a few years ago. My husband has a call to ministry and we’ve decided now to leave the Anglican denomination and join the Wesleyan church. We miss the liturgy, I tell you!

    We’re both from Ottawa, Ontario, lived in Toronto for a few years and now are big city transplants in a very small town on the East Coast.

    I cannot choose one book! How can anyone choose just one!? But, C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity comes to mind immediately, so I’ll go with that.

    My first child is seven months old so my days are exactly like you would expect them to be with a little person who’s idea of fun is to lick the cat. I clean up a lot of spit, I try to make it to Bible study, I cook things that come out of cans…you know the drill.

    I do blog, and have since June. My URL is http://www.amyfortherest.blogspot.com. I write about domestic vocation and all the means to me.

    Thanks for your blog, Jen, reading it has made my day numerous times.
    Amy recently posted..The secular crossroads

  416. Diana says:

    Hi- My name is Dee and I recently had a friend post one of the blogs on her facebook and fell in LOVE with this blog! I am 28 years and am currently living in Southern California attend the University of La Verne. I have been a practicing Catholic- by choice and conviction- for about 10 years now and love to hear the journey that others have taken- as it is always encouraging for me to hear hoe the Lord is working.
    I am thinking of starting a blog myself about being 28, single, and Catholic. Most of my friends are already married or engaged and its been a great learning experience for me. I have loved seeing them all find their holy vocations, and joyfull continue to seek my own.
    I am simply writing to tell you that I think that your blog is FABULOUS! And that I love your holiness and sassy-ness :)
    I also wanted to ask if you had any advice about how to go about creating a blog. Do you have any recommendations about where to start? Or what type of format to use? I love to write and hope that it will be a place of encouragement and hope for all who wish to read it. Also- do you have any blogs that you would recommend for me as a starting point to get some ideas? Thanks so much!
    I know you are busy- but if you get a moment, I would really appreciate it! Thanks again! You and your family are in my prayers!

  417. Brigid says:

    Hi Dee, my name is Brigid, and I noticed you wanted to know how to make a blog. If you don’t have a gmail account… if you do, go to number 3.

    1-make a google account by going to http://www.google.com, click “sign in”.

    2-Then on the page that will bring you to – click “create account”. Then type in your CURRENT email (unless you wish to make a google email=gmail) and make a password for your google account.

    3-Go to blogger.com and sign in with your google account! They will direct you in the blog-making process!

    It’s all very user friendly, and if you have further trouble, go to http://www.sketchingbridges.blogspot.com and comment there. That is my blog. I can help you more if you need it. Good luck!

    In Christ,
    Benedict Girl

  418. Scott says:

    How nice of you to ask!

    I was raised in a liberal Protestant Church. Many in my extended family were Jehovah’s Witnesses and they formed in me a deep antagonism toward the Catholic faith.

    Several girls I dated were Catholic and I managed to slip in some snarky comments and pointed questions that I was sure would cause them to “see the light.” Eventually, I married a Catholic girl. We agreed to wed in the Catholic Church only because I was convinced that the church had done such a masterful job of brainwashing my bride that it was useless to object…though object I did. I let the priest who witnessed our consent know that matters such as which faith we would raise our children in were matters for US to decide and none of his business, thank you very much.

    Well, to make short work of a long story, we just celbrated our 34th wedding anniversary, my 11th anniversary of ordination to the permanent diaconate, 10 years since recieving an MA in theology from LMU, and 7 years of work as a judge in the tribunal (I’m a canon lawyer – cue the omminous downbeat please).

    I continue to be fascinated by the mystery of IT all. My favorite quote is from Karl Rahner. He asks regarding our approach to faith, (and I paraphrase) “Will we choose the safety of the small island of so-called knowledge or the sea of infinite mystery?”

    We make our home in the high desert east of L.A. not far from St. Andrews Abbey.

    Well, thanks again for asking!

  419. Hi, my name in Christine. I’m a cradle Catholic. Growing up we went to church every week and my family was relatively active in our parish. After I graduated high school and went to college I fell away from the church for no particular reason. I guess it just didn’t seem to have a place in my life at that time for the person I was at the time. In graduate school I met my now husband who is also a cradle Catholic – that also didn’t regularly attend church. Since having kids we have returned to the church. We have joined a nice parish near our house, we attend mass regularly and my daughter attends school at the parish school.

    Perhaps more than all that, I think the career I have chosen now reflects where I am as a Catholic. I have a Master’s degree in landscape architecture. I love plants, crazy about them. However, after having my second child I decided I wanted a more flexible career that allowed me to spend time with my family so I decided to start a business from home. I mention in response to this question because I decided to start a business that sells religious products that are socially and environmentally minded. Basically, I sell products that celebrate my faith while helping others. I hope this doesn’t sound too much like just a plug, I really thought it was relevant.

    I was born in Oklahoma, however, Florida has been my home for the past 25 years. I consider Saint Petersburg my home.

    What book has had the greatest impact on me? I thought about this for a while. My gut reaction to this question, however, was “Watership Down.” I’m sure if I reread it now I’d catch a whole bunch more of the political undertones. However, I read this as a very young child and I think this is the book that got me to love to read.

    In terms of how I spend my day, I would have to say that I spend most my day with two of my favorite people in the world, my two kids who are 6 and 3. My daughter goes to kindergarten and my husband goes to work during the day. My son and I like to go the park, library, and beach. I work from home right now so I’m always trying to squeeze in getting online as much as I can. Thank goodness for naptime. A couple years ago I took up cooking as a hobby so I’d have to say that my favorite part of the day is eating dinner together at the end of the day.

    Now for my plug. I have an e-commerce business called All Sacraments Gifts (http://www.allsacramentsgifts.com). I sell quality fair trade, handcrafted, eco-friendly, made in the holy land gifts that are appropriate to give as gifts for important Catholic occasions. I also have a nice line of handmade in the USA baptism gowns and outfits. I have a blog on the website that I’m just starting up where I talk about catholic sacraments, holidays, saints and so on.

    Hi everyone, I just discovered this blog, and I’m glad I did!

  420. I wanted to leave a comment on your Advent post today, but it keeps telling me comments are closed…and apparently I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to find an email.

    I just wanted to say that I think the reason Advent is so crazed is b/c of the secular busy-ness; it takes away from our ability to focus on spiritual. But unlike many who have reached the same conclusion, I don’t think the answer is ignoring the secular season. I think the answer is organizing it. In other words, use the Advent calendar to plan out everything you have to do anyway: cookies, decorating, etc.–and once that’s organized, the season becomes automatically less stressful.

    And because I feel so strongly about this, I’m willing to risk a “shameless plug.” I have a book out this year, which is reviewed here:

    http://rannthisthat.blogspot.com/2010/09/joy-to-word-advent-activities-for-your.html

    :)

  421. Brenda Elliott says:

    Just stumbled across your blog somehow with the Creative Minority Report- Do you write this as well?

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised Christian Reformed, which (at the time) meant a intellectual affirmation,but not necessarily a changed life. Not about a personal relationship that you cultivated. Now I belong to a non-denominational church that teaches about changed lives,a definite relationship with God, faith which helps you to hold on in difficult times, about being a friend to the Fatherless, the poor, and the widowed.

    2. Where are you from?
    From Grand Rapids, Michigan, moved often- so now consider myself from many places!

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Richard Sterns, “Hole in the Gospel”

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    I was a stay at home mom with 3 boys, who have now grown up and are out of the nest(that was my favorite part of the day!). After experiencing a painful nerve injury 9 years ago and two years before ‘remission’, and another year of recovery- I became much more attuned to others suffering. Once my second son left for college, I went back to school to become a nurse. I just graduated in May, and have just begun my ‘new life’ ministering in a Catholic hospital to those coming into their heart center. I am going to working nights, so I hope the favorite part of the day is while working, but I’d have to say time with my husband, and church family is right now.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    Have a private blog with my sisters- to stay connected though we are spread out across the U.S., we write about what’s happening in our lives rather sporadically at this point!

  422. Erin says:

    We live in rural Michigan, but in a college town, which I find to be the best of both worlds, so to speak. I was baptized Lutheran and raised going to a variety of churches, all Protestant. Our family was not religious; in fact, in retrospect, I always had the subtle sense that Christianity was something to be ashamed and cynical about. I became overwhlemingly aware of God when I was 15 and going through some serious trauma. To make a long story shorter, I have been considering converting to Catholicism for 10 years. The first Mass I attended was such a peaceful experience. I would describe it like so many others have- like coming home. A typical day for our family is homeschooling, ballet, reading, baking, art, etc. All the usual homeschool family activities. We have three children ages 6,5, and 2. I would say one of the most influential books I have read is “I Touch the Earth, The Earth Touches Me” by Hugh Prather. I read it when I was 11 and believe it launched me on my life of way to deep and analytical thinking! I do have a blog. I write at mamasonfire.blogspot.com and write about our family of five plus dog living in our 783 square foot home.
    I adore your blog, Jen…I’ve had my husband (who incidentally is an atheist) read so many of the posts becuase it is as if you wrote my thoughts about God, Catholicism, becoming pro- life, and many more things.
    Blessings!

  423. I am a Catholic convert. My most very favorite book is Divine Intimacy, by Fr. Gabriel of St Mary Magdelene, OCD. It is a book of meditations for each day of the liturgical year, chock full of qoutes from wonderful Carmelite saints. It is like a road map for growing in holiness.
    My blog is at http://www.LittleStepsAlongTheWay.com and my inspiration is the Little Flower, St. Therese. Learning to take little steps along the way to Him.
    Amanda Rose/A Little One recently posted..Trials and Suffering

  424. Michelle says:

    hello there,
    i’ve been following your blog for YEARS now, and for some reason have just never taken the time to post anything on this page, even though i’ve visited it several times. anyhow, just thought i’d introduce myself…my name is michelle, and i am on the brink of entering my final semester of high school! woo! i’m hoping to take a year off next year to do missions work in mexico, and then go to college at franciscan university in steubenville, ohio.
    i guess i’m technically a cradle catholic, though no one else in my family is currently practicing the faith…i grew up in faith formation, but i really started seeking Jesus for myself when i was in junior high. a year or two later, i stumbled upon your blog and it has since become instrumental in the development of my relationship with the Lord and my knowledge of the faith. so…congrats :] you’ve made it onto my “people who’ve had a positive impact on me” list, and we’ve never even met!
    a few books that have really had a great impact on me include: redeeming love, by francine rivers; God Called a Girl and the Being a Girl series, by Shannon Kubiak (great series for young girls…when yours are a little older, i highly recommend them); and Story of a Soul, by St. Therese of Liseux.
    i don’t currently have a URL to post here, but i’m hoping to start a blog sometime towards the end of next semester to share my experience of “life after high school” with family and friends (and hopefully random junior high girls who,like me, are looking for a little spiritual direction and encouragement and aren’t sure where to turn :]).
    anyways, thanks so much for all the work you put into this site – it really is a blessing. keep it up!

    shalom,
    michelle

  425. Kathleen says:

    Hi, I’m a returning Catholic with a renewed interest in all things Catholic. I returned to the Church after researching my graduate thesis on novelist and Catholic convert Muriel Spark. My passion is Catholic fiction, and relgious conversion fascinates me. I found your blog after hearing an interview with you on Catholic radio (probably EWTN, Barbara McGuigon?). Married. Two boys. Teach college humanities part-time. Love your blog. Can’t wait for the book.
    Kathleen
    http://notesonfaith-mls607.blogspot.com/

  426. rowlandville says:

    1. The important one, right? I grew up w a Baptist mother. Open-minded. Smart. Not a right-winger at all. The Baptist Church had been a core of her upbringing. Daddy said he believed in God, but refused to discuss it. We rarely went to church, but God was a given.

    At 16, after four years of being homebound from school due to an illness, sitting around the house I become entranced and terrified into God by Christian TV. I joined a Pentecostal church, and then was told their doctrine was dangerous by a CBN counselor who I had established a relationship with over a few month period, someone I called at midnights to ask questions about my faith. A few years thereafter, my family moved. I joined a wonderful Assembly of God church in our new town. I was 19. Still disabled. Still living at home.

    At 26, a freshman at Texas A&M, I met wonderful people, people who seemed to be much better human beings that me, people who had no faith. I knew I was on the wrong path as we talked. I preached God, yet paled in comparison to their humility and kindness. Three times, I found myself praying, telling God that I had to leave to see more of the world than my narrow purview had allowed me. I prayed, “If you’re there, hold onto me. If you’re not, it doesn’t matter anyway.” And I walked away from the church.

    Around four years later, upon graduation and after years of partying and being open to any religion that came my way, I began heading out into the country to talk to God at all hours of the night. I came to realize that despite my being open, I’d never left the belief in the death, burial and resurrection. Now what? I still believed in the words of Jesus (if in a more liberal way), but viewed the words of the apostles as little more than the words of fellow travelers who were sometimes right and sometimes wrong. Like Paul, I was grafted in. Like associates of Paul, I would disagree with him. Then what? Then, trust my gut. The same view I had toward Paul held true for the other apostles. It’s been 2000 years. God is still around. They are not. What does my heart, where I pray God lives, tell me?

    And that is pretty much where I am still, twenty years later. To me, Jesus is a “guy” who today would be in a comfortable old pair of Levi’s (appropriate brand, yes?) and a big Gap shirt who talks with us out on the hills outside Austin. Most of all, he is the visual and personal representation that the one who made us all dug us enough to come hang out with us for one of our lifetimes. He then died to save us from the mess we’d gotten ourselves into. But most of all, he came and spent time with us because he wanted to.

    I have a lot of agnostic and atheist friends. I think like they do, for the most part. I’m rational and try to be honest with myself. And I know that maybe this God thing… well, I know they could be right. But I don’t buy it. Partly because, gratefully, I simply believe. For whatever reason. And party because I like believing in a God who is that cool. Who is that devoted to us, to me. It makes my life better and I’m grateful for a mother who always prays for me and always shows me, even to this day, what goodness and faith combined will do – whether it’s rocking AIDS babies in a chair at her then age of 83 or taking care of 100-year old plus friends who have now children at her now age of 89. Or giving every ounce of herself to her sick young child and teen when so many mothers, I have learned, walk away.

    Goodness has a name. And the best part about that is that his name is replicated millions of times over through believers, whether they’re Christian or Muslim or Jew. It sounds kind of silly for a 49-year old guy to say, but “Rock on, God.”
    rowlandville recently posted..Fork the Bitch

  427. one way or the other I missed the earlier post. what’s the link to your archives?

  428. 2. Where are you from? Originally Miami, now reside in North Carolina
    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    Sabbath by Wayne Muller
    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life:

    We homeschool, see blog for some of the things we do.
    http://www.akahomeschoolmom.blogspot.com/
    Came by your blog through Ann Voskamp. Neat story. Nice to ‘meet’ you.
    christina brown recently posted..My big brother

  429. TJ Thurston says:

    Hello, my name is TJ Thurston and I was fascinated and excited to find your blog today. A bit about me:

    1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was raised ELCA Lutheran, so not all that different from Catholicism in many ways. But always felt the Lutheran religion and church were somewhat cold and distant. I wasn’t baptized when I was a child. I had a spiritual awakening when I was in high school and then was baptized and confirmed at the same time. Still, I was unfulfilled by the Lutherans.

    I’ve had several hints dropped on me over the years pointing me to the Catholic faith and church. Perhaps first was when I was lucky enough to visit Rome on one my European trips and went to Vatican City. Walking around there and going through St. Peter’s Cathedral, I whispered to myself, “Now, this would make any doubter believe in God.” Later, some of my best friends I discovered where either cradle Catholics or long time converts. Most recently, I was doing genealogical research and found that my grandfather came from a very small town in Slovakia and was raised Roman Catholic (I obtained a copy of the image of his name in the registry of the local Roman Catholic church near his town).

    After my wife’s diagnosis with MS in 2003, this also brought me closer to my current status, which is that I am about to enter RCIA after the New Year (2011). One of my good friends put it eloquently. She said, “I find comfort in my [Catholic] religion.” That says it all to me.

    2. Where are you from?

    I grew up in New Jersey, outside Philadelphia. Now I live in Chicago, IL.

    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?

    Wow, too much to tell here. Basically, due to my wife’s disability, I am both Mr. Mom and Mr. Dad. So I wake up, take care of the dog, get my wife and childrens’ breakfast and lunches ready, do some laundry and dishes, and then prepare to go to work. I work a long day (I am a lawyer) and then come home to make dinner for the family, take the dog for another walk, do some more dishes and laundry and cleaning up, and then hopefully have a minute or two to watch some TV before I go to bed. Sleep is my favourite part of the day. LOL.

    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?

    http://deesbattle.wordpress.com – I’ve had several websites and blogs over the years, but this one is about my wife Deanna’s battle with MS and some recent procedures that we hope will help her.

    God bless you for this blog, especially for folks like me who are thinking about or in the conversion process and who yearn for useful input and similar experience to guide us.

  430. Id like to copy this blog theme for mine. does anyone know the place to get it or tips on how to get it?

  431. Annette H says:

    Born and raised cradle Catholic. While the Catholic faith was important in our lives, it wasn’t part of our daily lives. I think my parents treated it as more of an obligation and a way of living than a choice in how to live their lives.

    Spent a few years away from the Church. Having a Priest yell at you in Confession can do that to you. Came back when the Diocese of Dallas was involved in a lawsuit. After all, we ask the Church to be there for us in our time of need all the time. Shouldn’t we be there for the Church in her time of need. Coming back was a gradual process and I’m now at a point where my faith and my daily practice of it is a CHOICE and not an obligation or set of rules to follow.

    Influential books? I read constantly, so this is a hard question for me. I will say that recently, Scott Hahn’s books have made an impact in my life. His constant focus on our covenant with God and the expression of it in the Eucharist has finally opened my heart to the Eucharist in the most amazing way. I never imagined that the Eucharist would mean as much to me as it does now.

    And yes, I’ve included a link to my blog http://learningtolisteneachday.blogspot.com/ in a shameless plug. It’s a creative outlet for me and a place I can go to sort through my head sometimes. At times I feel a bit self-involved when I write, but ultimately, I hope that sharing my thoughts and questions will help others on their spiritual journey as well.
    Annette H recently posted..In God I Dont Trust

  432. Kelly says:

    Hi Jen- I have commented a couple times here and there–LOVE your writing. You inspire me. I started my blog–http://amomforlife-theunconventionalfamily.blogspot.com/ this past summer, with the intention of honing my writing to eventually tackle a book!

    I am a convert to Catholicism of about 8 years–prior to that I was your basic Evangelical. I have had an eventful/complicated life that I write about in my blog–I am married now for the third time and have seven kids. Thanks be to God that I REALLY am married for the first time, and that The Church in her wisdom and compassion has helped me sort out the twists and turns that was my Past. I have compassion for women especially that want to live a faithful and holy life, but have real world troubles to sort out. Who, like me, want to integrate the nitty gritty realities into God’s plan for us, our families, and the world around us.

    I would be grateful and honored if you would include my blog on your blogroll!

    Blessings and Peace!
    Kelly
    Kelly recently posted..Our Modern Life

  433. Doris says:

    1.Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)? I grew up in the bible belt of the south and had very defined beliefs growing up. I still believe strongly but it is more about a personal relationship then a religion.
    2.Where are you from? I was born in the south west, raised in the south east and currently living in the northeast.. so just about everywhere.
    3.What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)? There are quite a few books, I can’t name them all off the top of my head, but they all have impacted the way I parent, the wife I am and the friend I choose to be.
    4.Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day? I am a stay at home mom to three beautiful children, I am currently going back to school and I work two nights a week at a local fast food place. my husband is active duty Army, so we have moved around alot!
    5.If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://www.meaningtomeanderings.blogspot.com I write about things that happen sometimes on a daily basis, other times just a catch up, the stuggles Hubbly and I have faced with parenting, moving and the other obsticals that come with raising a family these days. I also post a monthly meal plan and sometimes recipies. Blogging is an outlet for me and I have enjoied it for sometime.

  434. Michelle says:

    Hey Jennifer, et al:

    It’s a pleasure to run into your blog. Its actually quite apropos.

    While I am Catholic, born and raised, drank the juice and even try to make the juice if you will (i.e. engage in evangelisation efforts), I have gone and still go through periods of intense doubt, disruption, and re-version… I went to Catholic school my entire life, even college (where I had a somewhat extended profound conversion experience which helped to solidify my faith at the time. I am a member of a Catholic lay community called Emmanuel Community, and am involved in various young adult Catholic groups within the Archdiocese of NY and Brooklyn where I live. Its been a challenging, joy-filled (mostly) ride and I do identify myself as Catholic. I believe, and want to believe, but have my doubts and am just trying to live the life of virtue, live the fullness of life as best as I can in the here and now and hope for fullness in eternal life. I read this great quote by Fulton Sheen recently – “Increase of faith will come from virtue more than from study”…That’s reassuring, and challenging all at once.

    I stumbled upon your blog by chance, through another friend’s mention of your saint’s name generator, but am stuck now reading your stuff, particularly because of your conversion story. I say it’s apropos because I am dating a man who for all intents and purposes claims to be atheist. We want to be married, but I’m telling you…I’m scared. While I understand that while your husband was not Catholic prior to your conversion, he was at least a believer. I’m more than curious as to how your differences in faith manifested itself, and how you dealt with/grew in your relationship through it. Its wonderful to hear of your own conversion. Please keep us in your prayers, for my boyfriend and myself individually as we learn how to best serve each other and grow in our relationship given our differences of faith.

    Oh…the book(s) that have most deeply affected me are (in no particular order): Crime & Punishment, The Brothers Karamozov, The Power & the Glory, The Master & Margarita, and anything by Shakespeare, Claudel and Maritain.

    I’m part of a non-profit theatre group here in NYC, so keep on the look out for mention of our work (Storm Theatre http://www.stormtheatre.com)

  435. Erin says:

    Hi!

    I’m Erin. I found your blog a few months ago and have really been touched by some of your posts. I have 2 small boys and not much time to blog so I really connect with blogs that speak to my soul and encourage me on my journey with Jesus. I think it’s a connection that stems from recognizing Jesus in another person, even through words. You just know that person has had a true experience of Jesus. You also introduced me to Heather King and Betty Duffy. At least one of you seems to post something weekly that really touches my soul.

    I was a cradle catholic with a rebellious streak and left the church in college and plunged myself into an empty world of self-gratification until Jesus pulled me out when I was 26 and touched my heart with a love and acceptance I had never known. I had that “born again” experience and I began to voraciously seek Him in everything and learn as much about my Catholic Faith as I could. I spent about 11 years as a single woman, just me and Jesus and I met my husband at 37. We married and have 2 boys (3 and 5) and my entire world is turned upside down. For one thing, I learned how totally selfish I was and am AND I am learning HOW to love. I also didn’t realize how much I was ruled by my passions. Being both French and Italian, I am very passionate.

    It has been the most difficult 6 years of my life. However, I have grown more, spiritually, in these 6 years, particularly the last 2, than I ever did in those first 11 years when I had all the time in the world to pray in silent, attend every retreat that crossed my path, and spend hours in adoration. Not that I don’t often pine for those days, but I am accepting that I am right where Jesus needs me TODAY , in the present. I try to stay open to His promptings and teachings while, of course, being obedient to the teachings of the church and magisterium. I am amazed by how much He loves me and I have seen Him move mountains just to give me a small something my heart desires. He also puts me in my place when I need it, which is at LEAST once daily, depending on how much quite time I give Him. I am learning that without my daily connection to Him deep in my heart, I am a complete and total basket case, literally, crying, mood swings, screaming, etc. ( I am definitely pre-menopausal).

    I have read so many books that have helped me grow spiritually, it’s hard to narrow them down. IN the early years, it was St. Faustina’s diary: Divine Mercy in my soul and He and I. I can’t remember the author. When I was single, I attended several retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. I even attended a 30 week one (meeting once a week), based on the 30 week annotation. If anyone ever gets the chance to attend a retreat based on the Spiritual Excercises, jump on it. They are most powerful. Silent retreats are also most powerful. They teach you how to access Jesus in the depths of your soul, which really can only happen, initially I think, in an atmosphere of deep silence after a soul cleaning confession. Then, once you’ve been there, it’s easier to get there.

    The Lamb’s Supper is phenomenal as well as the Direction for Our Times volumes and books. I have gained more graces through the Direction for our Times and experienced a deeper union with Jesus through these. I know they were instrumental in me being able to truly enter the contemplative reality, that I mentioned above.

    Sorry to ramble so much. Can you tell I am in desperate need to connect spiritually with someone? AS if Jesus isn’t enough for me?. How he loves me so, I have no idea.

    Since my children are now climbing all over me, I will go. I’m really surprised they left me alone for this long.

    Thank you for your blog. Happy new year!!

  436. 1. Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was raised Lutheran. As an adult I chose to attend non-denominational churches. The Lutheran church seemed so “old fashioned” and there was no cool music! (What we think we know in our 20′s right)? For the past few years we have attended church off an on. At the end of December, I knew my spiritual life had to change. I don’t feel the closeness to God that I want to. I’m lost when it comes to having a prayer life. I need more than just basic Christianity. So I’ve started a faith journey this year and am searching outside of the Protestant realm.
    2. Where are you from?
    Portland, Oregon-currently living in DFW (moved 6/2010) and hoping to return home this spring.
    3. What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    I haven’t encountered one yet.
    4. Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    I’m a H’schooling SAHM. My day looks like any typical mother’s day-cook, clean, school etc. I LOVE the mornings (this is new). I’ve started to get up @6:15 and have quiet. (I’m a born couch potato as well). It has been a wonderful change.
    5. If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://adventuresinmyfathersworld.blogspot.com/
    I write about H’schooling and have recently been posting about things on the Liturgical Calendar.

  437. Catherine says:

    Hello, I’m Catherine (long time lurker)
    1. Raised in a vaguely Christian, non-church going household. Started attending church with friends in JR High and got saved. Now I’m just a general sort of Christian (not Catholic, and no particular denomination). I like to say that I’m Michelle Duggar, but with alcohol.
    2. I’m from PEI Canada, then moved to Florida, got married, had kid, and recently followed my husband’s job to NYC area.
    3. “ALIVE” by Piers Paul Read should be mandatory reading for every person in the world. Go read it right now.
    4. I’m a SAHM of a toddler. I don’t like to go outside in the cold, so we play, cook, watch tv, and clean. My husband works long hours, so I would say the best part of my day is when he comes home at night.
    5. I just started a blog called “The Year of Patience” It’s about how God has called me to have a lot of children but my husband doesn’t want any more, and figuring out what God wants me to do in this situation. http://theyearofpatience.blogspot.com/

  438. Theresa says:

    Hello Jen and Friends!

    MY RELIGIOUS JOURNEY:
    I’m a Cradle Catholic … but love to continually search out my faith. I remember having had “moments of inspiration” throughout my life that have affected me. For example, once getting a booklet and rosary from Fatima from my parents as a child. That story completely caught my attention. I continue to have moments where I sometimes stop in my tracks and feel a Presence.

    WHERE AM I FROM?
    I grew up in the Rochester, NY area. Went to college in NY, moved to Texas to teach, met (for the second time) my husband who had joined the military, moved around as a military family, and then settled in the Texas Hill Country! Loved living in so many different places, but am happy to stay in one spot now.

    A BOOK THAT HAS IMPACTED ME
    “Story of a Soul” by St. Therese. I read it the first time in Lisieux, France during a college semester abroad. Easy to read, yet profound. Very, very impactive.

    MY DAILY LIFE
    I’m a stay-at-home Mom and a part-time writer. My husband and I only have one child left at home (14 years old), but life still feels VERY busy! I write when I can, but sometimes I have to put a timer on and force myself to get supper going, or vacuum, etc. I take about two hours each day for quiet time … I read, think, sleep, pray, crochet & contemplate, or whatever feels right that day. If I don’t get this time, I feel it. The best part of my day is time with God and my family. (I have three sons total: 24, 23, and 14)

    MY BLOG
    My blog is new-ish: http://www.BibleSaints.blogspot.com. It started as a way to promote my books on Bible Saints, but has evolved into a fun project/ministry. I try to put out random slices of information on Saints of the Bible as their feast days come about. For example, on the feast of St. Stephen, I wrote a small blurb about the connection between King Wenceslaus and Saint Stephen.

    7 QUICK TAKES FRIDAY
    I’m going to try this out today. What a clever idea!
    Blessings to all!

  439. Felipe says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?
    I was born in a catholic home as 80% of Brazilians. My parents belong to Shalom Catholic community since I was 4, but I had a very strong experience with the risen Christ when I was 14. I got myself in the Community when I was 18 (a little before actually) since then I traveled half of Brazil and some places outside if my homeland to share this experience I’ve had.

    Where are you from?
    Fortaleza, Brazil (I think I’m the first Brazilian writing here)

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?
    I don’t know their names in English cause I’ve read them in Portuguese. “Beyond the desert” Prado Flores (about Moses), “a Russian pilgrim” (about the prayer of the heart), and the writings of our Founder.

    Tell me a little bit about your daily life: what is a typical day like for you? What’s your favorite part of each day?
    wake up at 6 take my sisters to school, attend classes (college of management) 11:30 mass, take my sisters, have lunch with the family at home; study or work (I’m an English and French teacher) or pray (I try to pray 2 hours every day). Afternoons and nights I organize accordingly to the time table of my classes so there’s no regularity.

    If you have a blog, feel free to indulge in a little shameless self-promotion: what’s your URL? What do you write about?
    http://shalomfelipe.wordpress.com/
    I write about Christian themes but lately I’m discussing more about relationships and the ways through them.

    It was a pleasure to find your blog!
    Felipe recently posted..Are you an asexual

  440. Hi – I’m Bosco
    & I’ve just fallen over this site – don’t think I’ve been here before – but I do visit many sites, so maybe…

    I’m a priest in New Zealand.
    I run the most-visited Christian site based in NZ.
    Surprisingly it’s about liturgy & spirituality:
    http://www.liturgy.co.nz
    with a blog http://www.liturgy.co.nz/blog
    My beliefs have matured rather than having any major disjunctures.
    And are still maturing.
    I have a passion for the great Desert Tradition through into the monastic tradition, the Cloud of Unknowing, etc.

    Blessings

  441. Anne says:

    Hi, my name is Anne and I’ve been following this blog for about a month or so, now. It’s one of my favourites.
    I’m from Ontario, Canada (yes it is cold where I am right now, we have snow, and no, the snow does not last all year long). I’m 34, been married for 11 years to my best friend (we met in Grade 7), and we have 2 children, ages 7 and 5 (oldest a girl, youngest a boy). I play piano, flute, and can sing…I love to dance…I use playing music as therapy and as part of my devotional time with God…I love reading a good book…I love a coffee with a good friend…I scrapbook & make cards in my spare time…I love grocery shopping, and I hate ironing.
    I’ve been a Christian since I was in Grade 4. I was blessed to grow up in a family with a strong Christian heritage on both sides of my family. My father was the pastor of the church I grew up in, until I was 6…that Christmas, my dad and his mother were killed in a head-on car accident, 2 days before Christmas. My mom, about the age I am now, was left to raise myself & my brother on her own (she did a great job of raising us, too). I always believed in God, but He worked on me till on a Sunday night when I was in Grade 4, He used a sermon based on The Flood to bring me to my knees in repentance & thankfulness. Most of my beliefs haven’t changed that much, but I would say, that I’ve made them my own, as I grew up…I sorted out for myself why I believed what I did, instead of hanging onto my mom’s apron-strings, spiritually speaking. I am Protestant, Baptist, and my family & I attend our local Fellowship Baptist Church, where my husband is a Deacon, and we both play in our worship band: he on bass guitar/vocals, me on piano/keyboard/vocals.
    I love books, and am a bibliophile. To pick one book other than the Bible which has a had a deep impact on me is hard, so I’ll limit it to 3:
    The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges.
    When People Are Big and God Is Small by Edward T. Welch.
    Quirky Kids by Peri Klass & Eileen Costello
    A typical day begins for me around 5:45 a.m. I get up and have a coffee and grab my Bible, journal, devotional book, and prayer book and have my quiet time. Between 7 and 9, I’m getting kids up, getting breakfast, making lunches, and getting kids on the bus & to school. After 9, I’m dropping off my husband at work, getting groceries, going to Bible study, or doing housework till noon when my son comes home from Sr. Kindergarten. In the afternoon, I make lunch, read to my son, he has a nap or quiet play-time in his room and I start supper prep, do some light housework but basically keep things quiet and read or something like that. From 4:10-7:30/8:00 p.m., my daughter gets home, we get my husband, we have supper and family worship time, we do homework with our daughter, and then we get them bathed & in bed. After that, hubby & I catch up with each other, watch Parenthood, or during NHL season, watch the Ottawa Senators snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (this season, anyway).
    I blog at ainesahm.blogspot.com where I write about my life, my thoughts, what’s happening with my family/me, and ramblings of assorted thoughts & topics. I love it, hope you do too!

  442. Lyell says:

    I met you (briefly) at the March for Life in SF last week, before you rushed off to take more pics and soak up more of the experience. After you wondered off, Life on the Rock (EWTN) came by and interviewed my daughter and put that clip on their TV show! We were all jazzed!
    I love conversion stories. I have not been on this site long enough to ready any yet, but rest assured, I will. Actually, this is my first visit here.
    So, I guess I can answer some of you Qs : I live in Livermore, CA. I was raised in a mainline protestant church, but did not meet Jesus until College, in a evangelical, Jesus-freak, pentacostal/charismatic, sort-of-liturgical, independent, Bible teaching, full of almost-retired-hippies (it was 1972, after all), very special, does-not-exist-any-more, church. Spent the next 10 years in a (very NON charismatic, but very good bible teaching) Baptist church. Got divorced. Spent 4 years in a Catholic Charasmatic community. Went thru RCIA twice, and was received into the Church in 1990. I was married to lovely Catholic woman that year also. That is the VERY short version of my story.
    Most influential book: I would have to say that the Bible made me do it. I did not read any stories of protestants becoming Catholic until after I made my decision to become Catholic. I thought I was the only one. My RCIA class(s) had no one like me. The first conversion story I remember reading was Scott Hahn’s “Rome Sweet Home”: I cried most of the way thru it. It was the first time I read any story anything like that, and it was the first time I began to realize I was not the only one to become Catholic from a evangelical type background. Converts now have all kinds of recent conversion stories and “new apologetics” resources to aid them, Praise be to God. I just had the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and some faith filled, bible loving Catholic Charismatic people who unintentionally, but mercilessly, destroyed all my preconceived ideas about the Catholic church.
    God Bless You on your book project!
    The author I told you about is Christine Watkins and her book is titled “Full of Grace” (2010). She was an atheist, whose conversion to Catholic was pretty much because of Mary. Her story is one of several in her book.

  443. Hello Jennifer-
    You mentioned my book a couple of weeks ago! Thank you. Did you get a chance to read it yet?
    I know exactly how you feel about the pace of writing. Let me assure you you’re way ahead of me: “Breakfast with the Pope” took me almost ten years to finish, counting a two-year “I can’t look at this MS again and I’ll never finish it anyway” hiatus.
    I really enjoy your blog. I’ve had a blog for years- desperateirishhousewife.blogspot.com. I let it slide for a while but I’m now reviving it, in the wake of “BWTP”‘s publication.
    Anyway, godspeed on your book. I can’t wait to read it!
    Susan Vigilante

  444. I just found your blog & have been enjoying my visit. I just wanted to say that I praise God for your salvation! I’m glad that you are sharing. So, on to me…

    1) I was raised by atheist parents. Somehow God started to reach me, & my spiritual journey began when I was in about 8th grade. Officially saved in 1992.

    2) I was born in Beeville, Texas; but have lived in Southern California for the past 25 years.

    3) Other than the Bible, the one most influential book in my life has been Choices by Mary Farrar

    4) I am a new Stay-at-home-mom, homeschooling my 6yo son who has Autism/SPD. My favorite part is that I get to be with my son where I belong. Since my son is autistic, there is not “typical” for our days.

    5) My blog, Believing Unbeliever (http://www.danaefarias.com) is where I share about our homeschool journey, my parenting struggles, my ignorance of special needs, a place I try to let loose some of my creative side, & my walk with the Lord.

    I love how unique this is & I will probably want to do a version of this on my blog (as soon as I can find some time to update it:D)
    Danae@Believing Unbeliever recently posted..January 2011 Fun Favorites

  445. James Mwangi says:

    Hey, My name is James Mwangi. I was born in Kenya the last of five kids and now live in Richmond,VA. I was raised in the Catholic church which is something I’ll forever be grateful for. My Dad is a cradle Catholic, but my mum is a convert from presbyterian. My spiritual journey has been interesting all along but its my search and hunger for truth that has brought me thus far by the grace of God. Although I was given the foundation of Christianity and the fullness of it in the Catholic Church, I went through the normal struggles associated with spiritual growth.

    I can’t say that I left the Catholic Church but in my late teens I went to non-denominational churches. Although I liked it, it was my restless soul and my mom’s prayer(especially the rosary) that brought me back to the sacraments and have been at peace.

    It’s hard to choose a single book but apart from the bible, I have to say that my favorite book is “confessions” by St. Augustine. I love spiritual classics by saints.

    Right now I am not working until late February. My day starts with Daily Mass whenever I wake up early or noon Mass when I am Lazy. I do different ministries in the Church but also engaging people in apologetics about the Catholic Church; both Catholics so they can learn, and protestants alike.

    I just started blogging after I listened to you Jen on EWTN’s “the good fight,” so you inspired me, and my blog is http://www.youngercatholiclife.blogspot.com. I blog about truth, freedom and the Catholic Church; in a nutshell trying to engage people to search for truth and seek holiness.

  446. Josh says:

    Tell me a little bit about your own spiritual journey: what were your religious beliefs when you were younger? What are your religious beliefs now (if different)?

    I was born and raised Catholic all my life. I went to catechism classes from the first grade all the way to my confirmation in my sophomore year of high school. Right after high school my faith was mostly based on emotion and nothing really rational. So over time in college my faith just failed me and I became an atheist. Later on I joined a Catholic group to see if they can answer my questions that no one could answer. After meeting two of my best friends who were also atheist before they came back to the Church I decided that I will no longer be an atheist and really start to do some research and later on I did became Catholic again. Though recently my faith fallen again. Before I had great faith and hope in God. Though after so many unanswered prayers and hopes just shattered, and having to go through so much pain and suffering that has been going on in my life emotional, intellectual, psychological, and spiritual. I have reached my breaking point and right now I’m a seeking atheist I don’t believe in God but I’m very much open to Him if he is real. I still go to the Catholic group in Cal Poly Pomona and the priest told me to look up your conversation story. So if you would like to know more information about what has happened to my current atheism please contact me.

    Where are you from?

    I Lived in La Puente California all my life, which is about 20 minutes from L.A.

    What is one book* that has had a great impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

    There are many books, I really enjoy reading Peter Kreeft, Al