What a great party can teach you about women in the Church

This weekend I hosted a conference for Catholic women along with Hallie Lord in Charleston, South Carolina. We call it the Edel GatheringAnd the whole thing left the hotel staff baffled.

All weekend, they tried to figure out what was going on.

When Hallie ran into one of the housekeepers, she greeted Hallie by asking, “Are you here for the ladies with babies conference?”

We later relayed that funny moment to a bellman, and he was confused, asking, “Wait. Isn’t this a pregnancy convention?”

In their defense, it was an unusual scene:

Hallie, my co-organizer, was nine months pregnant — and due on the first day of the conference. 


There was a crazy shoe contest in which the winner came in wearing shoes that had lights, candy, tequila bottles, a piñata, and bowls filled with actual chips and guacamole.



(And to celebrate winning, she did a tequila shot from one of the bottles on her boot, and lost her sombrero in the process.)

There was my live radio broadcast in which I made a shoe that involved Jesus punching a shark.


There was Periscope live video footage of a ghost spotted in the hotel.

There were attendees from all over the world, including a doctor who flew in from Guam — with her baby!


There were powerful talks.


We did two radio specials for my show, and the attendees we interviewed managed to tell stories that were as poignant was they were hilarious.




There was an attendee named Danielle who ran out and got a tattoo after the Friday event, then had a roomful of women shouting tearful words of encouragement when she got up to explain what the word she had inked onto her arm meant to her.



And there was, of course, Kelly Mantoan, a homeschooling mother of five who prefers the Latin Mass, ruling the karaoke stage with Flo Rida:

It seemed too confusing to try to explain to staff and other hotel guests that this was a party for Catholic women, since the event went against stereotypes about what religious women are like.



Photos above by Ginny Sheller

At this event, there was a an undercurrent of explosive hope and joy that ran through every moment. I saw women toasting and laughing and rocking the karaoke mic who had suffered tremendous personal tragedies. I saw attendees who had been dealt a really tough hand in life leaning on their sisters in Christ, and basking in the love and camaraderie that filled the room.

As I watched all this play out, I thought that maybe there was an easier way to explain to the baffled hotel staff what was happening here.

Maybe we should have just said: “This is a party for women who know that, no matter what we might go through, life ultimately has a happy ending.”


The Gaffigan Interview


Welcome to my new site! I just finished up working with the fabulous Craig Berry from DigiCentral to freshen up the ‘ol blog, make it mobile-responsive, and switch the domain to JenniferFulwiler.com name instead of ConversionDiary.com. As a web design nerd who is also a blogging nerd, I had waaaaay too much fun with this process…. [Continue Reading]

A hilarious chat with Abby Johnson’s husband about being fearless, living in small houses, and all-alcohol fad diets


I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been sending “after the show” audio clips to my e list, where I record bonus footage from my SiriusXM radio show with my iPhone after I go off the air. I’ve been wanting to offer a preview, and today’s clip is perfect! My guest today was Doug Johnson, the husband of… [Continue Reading]

If my babysitting ad were honest…

Voila_Capture 2015-06-18_10-14-31_AM

Happy almost-summer! This is our last week of homeschool before the end of the academic year, although I’m not sure how much of a difference my children will notice. Our definition of what constitutes “school” always devolves rapidly around the beginning of May, and today I found myself watching them count the pieces of candy they… [Continue Reading]