Welcome, new readers!

April 21, 2008 | 34 comments

Quite a few people have mentioned via email and comments recently that they’re new readers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a moment to introduce myself and welcome you to my blog.

First of all, thank you for reading. I would be delighted if you’d take a moment to introduce yourself over at this post — it makes my day when I see a new comment there, and I hang on every word of all of them.

I’m 31, married, and have three children ages three and under. I have a background as a web designer/developer but am now Director of Chaos Management for my household.

I was an atheist my entire life until around age 26 — I never once considered the possibility that God might exist, not even as a child. I saw no absolutely no proof for God’s existence and couldn’t imagine how a person could believe in an unseen deity.

Around the time my first child was born I started to think that maybe I should take another look at the question of God. Upon investigation I was shocked — really, really shocked — to find that Christianity had some compelling data points in its favor. I came to a dry intellectual belief in God but didn’t know what to do from there. To make a long story short, my husband and I both converted to Catholicism in 2007 and today I am thrilled beyond words to be a Christian.

I started blogging about religion shortly after I became interested in Christianity. I had a lot of questions but didn’t know many Christians, so I did what web developers do when they’re seeking answers to life’s biggest questions: I started a blog. I’ve been blogging about it ever since, so most of my conversion is chronicled in the archives (on the bottom left sidebar).

Though the main purpose of this blog is to simply share my experiences with religion after a life of atheism, there are certain topics that I’ve been particularly interested in lately. Here’s what’s been going on so far in 2008:

Bringing peace to daily life
Shortly after the new year, I got to the point of “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” — I was tired of feeling overwhelmed and behind, living life a day late and a dollar short, and was desperate for change. I began to see that modern technology tempts me to overspend my time just like credit cards tempt me to overspend my money, and realized that I need some “hard stops” in my life. I decided to do something radical and structure my days around regular prayer times. I called it a “reckless experiment with prayer, ” the “reckless” part because I supposedly didn’t have one extra minute to spare for prayer. It worked better than I ever thought it could and I’ve been doing it ever since. You can read all the posts on the subject here.

Lent and spiritual growth
This was my first Lent as a Catholic. When Ash Wednesday rolled around I realized that I love times of sacrifice and penance. When the half-way point rolled around I realized that I love times of sacrifice and penance for a few weeks, and then I’m over it. Some untimely temper tantrums and cat vomit made me realize what it means to “die to self, ” I ruminated on my future as a Christian, and thought up an analogy for faith. Then, some technical problems made me realize just what is involved in truly trusting God. It all culminated in a joyous Easter which marked my one year anniversary of becoming Catholic.

Motherhood, community and isolation
A big topic of interest for me is the isolation that those of us who are outside of the workforce experience. I recently wrote about an average day in my life, with an emphasis on the lack of casual social interaction with other adults. I followed that up with some thoughts on how the internet can provide a much-needed outlet for social interaction, and asked for tips about how we can get more real-life social activity as part of the natural course of daily life (don’t miss the comments on those last two!)

The first time I saw a scorpion in my house, I could have never imagined that there would be any kind of upside to that situation. As it turns out, however, blogging about scorpions brings a lot of traffic to your site. My posts about scorpions in my bedroom, scorpions in my baby’s room, scorpions in cups in my kitchen THAT WERE PUT THERE BY MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, and angry, undead scorpions have been some of my most popular posts. The entire saga can be found here. Though I haven’t talked about it yet this year, scorpion season starts soon so I expect to be talking about it again any day now.

In general, though, I mostly write musings about what it’s like to be a passionate Christian after a life of atheism. (You can find a sampling of these types of posts in the “Most Popular Posts” section on the left sidebar.) This is the diary of my ongoing conversion. I’ve often thought that a good tagline would be: Selfish, lazy, hard-headed atheist converts to Christianity and tries to be a good Christian. Hilarity ensues.

The readers of this site include atheists and agnostics and people of all faiths, and I appreciate every one of you. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for reading!


  1. Beth

    Hi Jen! I am a relatively new reader and really enjoy your blog.

    I’m Beth, 28 years old and mother to a one year old. My husband and I have been married for almost 6 years, had some major infertility problems but hopefully got it all cleared up! Now we are praying for number 2. I love being Catholic and hope to have lots of children someday. I am working full time as a nanny right now (and I bring my daughter with me) but am looking forward to going part time in just 4 SHORT WEEKS!!!

  2. Heather

    In case you didn’t notice you got linked from http://rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/shannon on Sunday or Saturday or whenever Shannon does her big link post. 🙂 I saw it there and thought, wow, I knew her when. 🙂

  3. SuburbanCorrespondent

    Scorpions? And here I was dreading centipede season. Where do you live? Because I don’t ever want to move there.

  4. asv

    That’s what I love about your blog. You bring Christianity and Catholicism to daily life, which is the most important thing about our religion. There is no trashing of bishops or criticizing some non liturgical music… (yeah I know liturgy is important) or what the Pope said or didn’t say (I love him dearly, so whatever he says is ok)… Sorry Jen, I’ve had it with other catholic blogs…. I’m rebellious today.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and striving to be a week-day saint…

  5. ladyhobbit

    Jen, I SO MUCH enjoyed reading all the scorpion posts again! I hope for your sake that this year is a bad year for scorpions, but I just loved reading about them! I think the pairs of pictures were the best part.

    Seriously, I enjoy your blog often, but mostly I just lurk. My daughter reads (and sometimes comments) as well.

  6. Barb

    I know I started reading your blog last year during the scorpion ordeal. I remember reading those posts out loud to my dear husband who laughed hysterically and being oh so thankful that I didn’t live in Texas.
    I hope that the scorpions stay far away from your house this year…

  7. noe

    Hi Jen-

    I found you through a link from Amy Welborn and have spent *far* too much time reading your blog today. This is a busy week, but I am in Pope withdrawal mode, and hence the blog surfing. I will come back and introduce myself on the “about you” post, but wanted to say here how much I’ve been enjoying your insights.

  8. Tausign

    I picked up this blog in the fall after the scorpion commotion quieted down (so I never knew).

    Interestingly, just today my eight year old daughter informed me that any insect with six legs or less is edible; apparently she learned that on PBS. Scorpions kind of look like ity-bity lobsters but they have eight legs, so that’s not a viable solution…

  9. truthfinder

    Hi, Jen! I usually just read and reflect on your posts because they are SO good, and I comment only now and then. I’m a grandmother of seven who became a Catholic in 2004, after many years of being an evangelical (mostly). I love our Lord, our Blessed Mother, the saints, our Pope,the bishops, priests, deacons, and religious. Most of all, I love all the other Catholics I’ve met in person and through blogs. Thank you for your insights! Rosemary

  10. Tracey

    I’ve been a lurker for a couple of months.
    New reader and a new Catholic.
    I was Confirmed this Easter, following my daughters who joined the Church, last Easter.
    I am suprised at how quickly I have gone from backing away slowly from “Honk if you love Jesus” people to being a rosary-carrying-Catholic. Your site and some Aussie ones are helping me learn. (I’m still not ready for a fish sticker on the car)(yet).
    I’ll think of you and your scorpions next time I scrape the red-back spiders and their egg sacks off the Tonka trucks.

  11. Theophilus

    Jen, you have a great story and an insightful blog. “et tu” has become one of my favorites. It’s inspiring for me to read about your journey.

  12. Catholic Mindset


    First off I am so sad that nobody reads your lovely blog, LOL.

    Secondly I love your concept of “Experimenting with Reckless Prayer.” You have inspired me to give it a go. I believe your personal struggles with finding a spare moment to spend alone with God is not an uncommon delima. All of us get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget who put us here in the first place. It is the free will God gave us that we use as an easy excuse not to make time for him. We find that we must go to work, tend to our children, and keep up with the house work. But we easily forget that we must also praise our loving God. It is soley through him that we have these other things going on in our lives in the first place.

    Thanks agian for everything (you know what I mean).

    One God now and forever.


  13. Abigail

    “Selfish, lazy, hard-headed atheist converts to Christianity and tries to be a good Christian. Hilarity ensues.”

    So True For Me Too!

    Also equally true (easier for me to see by reading your blog than by living the daily choas of my own life)

    “Prodigal daughter returns home, Angels rejoice, God races to kiss her cheek and crowns her head with shiny grace upon grace!”

  14. Carrien

    I’ve heard that lavender gets rid of scorpions. So you could put sachets in the baby’s crib and plant it around the house. Assuming that’s true of course, I don’t know for sure. But it smells good.:)

  15. Thomas

    I am a newer reader, and I feel very welcomed.

    I love your blog.

  16. Jon

    “I’ve often thought that a good tagline would be: Selfish, lazy, hard-headed atheist converts to Christianity and tries to be a good Christian. Hilarity ensues.”

    Actually, the hilarity and the way you make visible the trials and blessings of trying to live as a Christian have led to me to consider pointing you out to a monastic community I know as a possible example for how to make the monastic life more visible to non-monastics, although, Sr. Cornelia does a pretty good job of it already. She almost-blogs at here under the title “In a Hazelnut” which is a reference to something Julian of Norwich, patron saint of her order, said. Alas, Sr. Cornelia has no comment box.


  17. Therese

    I have been an occasional reader here Jen. I have really enjoyed reading about your journey. I was very similar to you. I did grew up Catholic but didn’t really understand what a great gift that was till my husband converted and I reverted to the faith while I was pregnant with our first child. We had our first three children in three years like you and many of the things you write remind me of what it was like with three little ones. I have to say, life is much easier when they are older.

    I have just added you to my blogroll so I will be back to see you much more often.

  18. Patrick O'Hannigan


    When I lived in Arizona, my family and I discovered that the family cat was an excellent scorpion killer. She did so well with that that it’s easy to forgive the occasional bird or mouse she also dispatches now that we’re in North Carolina.

  19. Mandy

    You know, my son was stung by a scorpion when he was about a year old. It was inside my neighbor’s house and he just rolled over on it. After I FRANTICALLY drove to the ER, we discovered the the scorpions we have here (SC) are not poisonous. It was not a fun ordeal. It’s as if we are kindred spirits!!

  20. Sebastian

    When I was fighting scorpions here in Hawaii, I was pointed to your blog. And what a great place it is to visit. I’m not a Catholic, but this is about the only religious blog that I read. It is quite the whet stone for my own walk with Christ. Keep up the good work, Sister.

  21. simplycatholic

    I have read your blog on again and off again for about a year. It is really enjoyable.

  22. Natalie Witcher

    Nice to meet you! I’m 34 with three. Mine are spaced out…9,8 and 4 months. i’m a Christian and love talking about it too. Thanks for you great honesty!

  23. The Koala Bear Writer

    Jennifer – found your blog from a friend’s. Just wanted to say Welcome to the Church – I joined last Easter too! Although I came from a very strong faith background (mostly Lutheran). Anyways, though I’d say hi, now I’m off to explore some of your other posts… 🙂

  24. matthew archbold

    you have rattlers in your backyard and scorpions in your house. My advice to you -RUN!!!!!!!!!!!
    I moved to Pennsylvania and I’ve been shocked at the size of the spiders. I mean like the size of the ones that crawled on Peter Brady (but no hair) I don’t feel sorry for myself anymore. I feel sorry for you. Get out of there. You’re like the person who says “Hmmm, I think this house may be haunted…let’s investigate.” Noooo. For all intents and purposes you are surrounded by monsters. My thinking is kill them or move.
    I really love the site and your writing is great.

  25. Jen

    I often wish I had more time to blog, and more time to come here, because every single time I read a post of yours, I feel like you have said exactly how I feel or what I’ve been thinking. And your living my life, except I have four kiddos…I did the three in three year thing already. LOL. I was reading the link about mommyhood and blogging and community and this is the single most thing I struggle with in regards to my vocation as a mother at home and a homeschooling mother. THERE IS NO ONE TO TALK TO! Whenever someone calls, I jump to see who it is. I always check my comments box on my blog for comments, because I love them! I crave social interaction, and didn’t realize just how much I needed it until recently. Just today, too, I took the kids for a walk after lunch, and there was noooooo one around. Just the kids and I. It made me so sad that there are no moms, no other kids for my kids to play with. No one. Some days I’m tempted to throw the kids in school just so we can all get out and socialize, but I know it’s not the right answer. Anyway, sorry for my long and lame comment. LOL Have a great day!

  26. Smockity Frocks

    I’m a new reader. I was first introduced to you by Rocks in my Dryer when she linked to your “pro-life” post, which, I, in turn, linked to.

    I’m glad I came.

  27. elizabeth

    My name’s Elizabeth. I’m 38, have been married for 11 years and I have one daughter, the world’s most beautiful, crazy-intelligent and funny child. I fear she’ll be our only child. Years of birth control use, postponing starting a family because I was too busy working and having fun, then undiagnosed infertility. A genuine medical issue? Waited too long? God’s punishment for my sinful ways? These are the things that keep me up at night.

    I’m a recent revert to Catholicism. I’m a cradle Catholic who rejected the Church nearly my entire life because I used to be too smart for it. I’m the victim of the horrendous cathechizing that once took place in the United States. Lots of talk of values and making felt banners, but no real instruction about the teachings of the Church. Probably why it never “took.”

    I now find myself in the Bible Belt and, miraculously, in the epicenter of the “new Catholicism.” I still can’t believe my amazing good fortune to find my way back to the Church only to find some of the leading lights in Catholic orthodoxy right here at my parish. What I did to deserve this I’ll never know. I’m simply grateful.

    And grateful to find Jen’s blog. I’m a former newspaper editor, and if I were still gainfully employed I’d hire Jen as a freelance writer right quick.

  28. leysis

    Hello, I’m glad to read this kind of blogs.
    I’m a student and I need some help. Would you mind writing about pro-life, but especially, about euthanasia. I’ll be very grateful.
    My e-mail is leysis10@yahoo.com

  29. RTS

    This blog is so nice.Not only is your conversion story moving, but you are very good writer.
    You’ve gained another regular reader.

  30. Marc Aupiais (South African Catholic)

    Your site has been added to the rss of some sites I have control of, hope to see what you have. if it is good, I may add it to a Catholic search engine.

  31. Mrs. B

    Hi Jen,
    I was just refered to your blog from facebook’s NFP board. I’ll be adding you to my google reader!

    About me: i’m a late-20’s newely-wed in the mid-west. We were both raised public schools Catholics. As an adult I made to choice to be Catholic and I LOVE IT!

    God Bless!

  32. martha

    Your blog is incredible. I have read many comments that say that others have “stumbled” across your blog….I was “led” to your blog while “stumbling” among other “diary related” blogs.
    I guess you could say, I don’t believe that we “stumble” anywhere. We, I believe, are drawn spiritually to helping hands and hearts. But WHAT DO I KNOW…right?…LOL.
    Anyway, after reading and enjoying much of your blog…my eyes are tired…;o) but I felt led to ask you and your readers to pray for my son, daughter in law and their precious children.

    They are drifting and have lost sight of God in their lives and consequently are having problems in their marriage. There are issues that I am confident they will resolve in a positive GOD centered manner if they turn yet again to Christ.
    I ask your help in praying them to that point…

    It is my prayer that they focus their lives and the lives of the gifts they have been given…that of each other and their precious children on Christ,

    So, without mentioning names,for God knows who they are… will you please add them to your prayer list, as I have, and pray for them daily. Specifically that they will turn back to Christ and lead a Christ centered life, getting their children headed in that direction as well. Thank you for your prayers and those of the prayer warriors on your blog.

    God Bless.

  33. EtichettaItalia.it

    I'd like to offer this story on my application that brings the prayer on iPhone.
    I believe that prayer is Christian and Catholic from spreading. You wonder why you can publish the news and if you can spread it to your friends on your blog.


    fr. Paolo Padrini

    Vatican. iBreviary: Church pray with iPhone

    Dear Sirs,
    Editing and Friends of iBreviary,

    iBreviary, as you know, it's a new application for iPhone,
    available from immediately in Spanish, French, English, Latin and Italian.
    iBreviary offers the possibility, in a simple way and in a perfect "Apple
    style", to pray in mobility with the prayer of the Breviary.
    It offers besides the readings of the Mass of the Day (Missal), as well as the
    principal Catholic prayers.
    The application, realized by me together with the technician and
    developer Dimitri Giani, has got the applause and the encouragement
    of the Vatican.

    iBreviary has now reached its third updating.
    This updating brings important changes:
    – available application in version Italian and English
    – available readings in English, French, Spanish, Latin and in Ambrosian Rite
    – possibility to pray with the Compieta of the previous day

    The application is available inside the app store to the price of
    support for the developers of 0,79 cents (Euro), destinate to charity (www.dimix.it/ibreviary)

    Besides, also Facebook will have his "digital Breviary". Its name is
    "Praybook" and it's an available application on the most important social
    network of the world.
    The application allows to pray on line with the same prayers of iBreviary.

    Thanks for everything.

    father Paolo Padrini


  34. Anne

    Hi Jennifer,
    Beautiful blog! I have to admit, I started reading because I was intrigued by your scorpion stories! (I think you commented on Dawn Eden’s site, that’s how I found you). I loved your conversion posts and how you are very thoughtful and faithful. I also like how you are joyfully sharing your thoughts and also open and considerate to others who may have a diversity of opinions. Great site!

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