Why this blog? Why Me? Why now?

Recently, after a series of particularly stressful events, I had a day that was full of tiny moments that all seemed designed to push me towards God. As I've never been a regular churchgoer and certainly not a believer, this came as a bit of a shock. I have never felt that I was missing anything, but it was too strong of a feeling to ignore. It is possible that in a month or week or day that the compulsion will pass. It is also possible that it will not.

I started this blog to document the process. I am starting from scratch, more or less, so please forgive me if I get some fact about your church or your faith wrong. I'm a work in progress.

Friday, March 16, 2012

7 quick takes, vol. 1

--- 1 ---
I'm a bit nervous about today's post as it's my first time to participate in 7 Quick Takes Friday. Last week I read many of your posts, but failed to comment. This week I hope to do better!

--- 2 ---
My children continue to be the most ill behaved present at church each week. I have hopes that the more we go the better it'll get but at the moment it's not at all fun. We're slowly learning little tricks and I discovered this week that other parents do bring snacks. In fact, the bulletin specifically said that children, even fussy ones, are welcome, but please do not bring raisins to church (too hard to clean up when they are smooshed into carpet!)

--- 3 ---
I spent some time chatting with my Favorite Catholic this week. I haven't ever really talked religion with her, because it's a strange conversation to have when you yourself aren't participating. So last weekend we had coffee (alone! no kids!) and talked a bit about church. I had asked her to bring me some books about being Catholic and she admitted that she doesn't really read or study her faith. Despite this, she is the very definition of a devout Catholic. She goes to church, she needs church, she believes and participates and loves with her whole heart, she just doesn't study.  Perhaps it's just my personality, but I can't imagine not needing to read about it. (She brought me Catholicism For Dummies, so now I have both The Idiot's Guide and the Dummies one. I'm trying not to feel insecure. She also brought Handbook for Today's Catholic: Fully Indexed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church which looks promising.)

--- 4 ---
Which leads me to the next thought- last week I didn't spend a lot of time on this. My life was crazy, we had out of town guests over the weekend, after a week of my husband being out of town. I did read Girl Meets God, but I didn't follow anything else. I found that while I still wanted to go to church, I wasn't as interested in it, the longer I was away from it.  I'm not sure if this will be an ongoing problem. Will I always have to read? Daily? A book, the Bible, a meditation? Or will it eventually be internalized? I suspect that it will need to always be in front of me, but we'll see.

--- 5 ---
This week was another hard one, much like the week that prompted me to start the blog. (If you wanted to click on those stupid ads, I wouldn't stop you.) There are some people in our lives who we feel are going overboard on making us suffer. It honestly feels like they are getting their jollies from our misery. Church must be helping, because I find that instead of hating them, I feel sorry for them. I can't imagine living their miserable, shallow, hate filled lives. I haven't quite managed to pray for them, but the thought is there and I'm as stunned by it as anyone. Hmm. Maybe that is a form of prayer in itself, the honest (not sarcastic) thought that someone should pray for them?

--- 6 ---
I had to run an errand this week that was difficult for me. As I was driving over I was in near panic. As I was sitting at a redlight I had the thought that maybe I should give this to God. Maybe if I said a quick prayer He would help me through it, and I wouldn't actually puke on the person I was going to meet. So I said a quick one sentence prayer (something like, "God, I'm giving this problem to you in the hopes that you'll give me the strength to handle it.") I'd like to say I was instantly calm, but I wasn't. I was better though, and I did manage to hold myself together and conduct myself like an adult.

--- 7 ---
The next books on my self imposed reading list will be both the Handbook mentioned above (though I will likely find myself wandering off on tangets from this one), and Through the Narrow Gate: A Memoir of Spiritual Discovery by Karen Armstrong, which I am reading with a friend. I'm still taking recommendations for others, if you have a suggestion.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Most of my kids have been going to Mass their whole lives. They're still (un)holy terrors. This week, out of total desperation, I went to the dollar section at Target and bought a straw purse thingie, and filled it with pens, notepads, silly putty, etc. etc.
    I'm calling it the "Last Ditch Attempt At Keeping the Dang Kids Quiet At Mass" bag.

    The name needs work. Hopefully the concept works.

    1. I've been taking a little bag with some soft toys, but they still end up loud. Or fighting over the toys. Or crawling under the pews.

  2. Hi Lisa! Thank you for coming to my blog today and commenting. Now I know you are here. I am a cradle-Catholic, but fell away in my teens and found my way back with my cradle-Catholic husband after our first daughter was baptized Catholic at 6 weeks of age. I am excited to get to know you through your blog and watch your journey. It sounds like you are on the right track if you have sought out reading materials and started asking some questions. The fact that you have started noticing the suffering and started trying to hand it over to God is beautiful. The Holy Spirit must be working on you somehow.

    As for reading materials, I am afraid I am not good with books for newbies to the faith. I would recommend continuing to read blogs, especially Jennifer Fulwiler's and perhaps even for some good ol' fashioned living the Catholic life, Simcha Fisher (here is a link to her NCR blog: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/simcha-fisher/im-sorry-who-do-you-say-that-i-am?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2012-03-16 and to her personal blog: http://simchafisher.wordpress.com/)

    I have heard that Catholicism for Dummies is good, but I've never heard about the Idiot's guide.

    Some good saint books might be helpful. I find that I enjoy reading about the lives of the saints. Who else to learn from than those who have walked the walk?

    Have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Please come again, I love having the support.

      The Holy Spirit is the part that is most interesting to me right now. I need to make a note to look for some books on it soon.

      I have a book of saints, somewhere in storage. When we move and I unpack I'll have to look through it.

  3. I just found you because of the 7 Quick Takes; glad you joined in! I think that a lot of stuff about following God is kind of like when you make changes for a healthier diet or lifestyle. It takes time, and it's all about a few things at a time. You certainly don't have to do it all at once!

    1. That's a great analogy, it really is a lifestyle change for us. And to take it a step farther, it makes us feel better like a good change should.

      I'm off to check out your blog now, I just read your tag line and I like it already!

  4. I can recommend a few books to add to your list: What Is a Family? by Edith Schaeffer, anything by Peter Kreeft, especially Christianity for Modern Pagans and Prayer for Beginners, Everlasting Man by G.K. Chesterton, and all of C.S. Lewis. If you prefer your theology in story form, Lewis's Narnia books and his space trilogy are wonderfully engaging and might be a good break from the more detailed and heavy thinking nonfiction tomes.

    1. Hi Sherry!

      Thanks for the book ideas, I'll have to add them to the list. I did recently pick up the Narnia series for other reasons, so I have them handy.

  5. Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog. We have tons in common! Sewing stuff, religious stuff, people hating us stuff. Don't let the happy-go-lucky look of my blog fool you. I started it for my grandmother so I like to keep it light.

    Glad you're doing Quick Takes! Hope to read ya next week.

    1. I've never heard of anyone starting a blog for their grandmother! Mine emails like crazy but I'm pretty sure that's the only thing she thinks the computer can do.

      Thanks for stopping back by. I love the idea of having a little village of supporters for me, to keep me honest around here.

  6. #1: don't worry... we don't bite and the vast majority of us don't gripe about the quality of quick takes.

    #2: my twin brother has suggested children's chewable valium for my son... and i'm the pastor's wife.

    #3: i recommend "surprised by joy" by c.s. lewis (his conversion story or at least part of it) as well as "the complete idiot's guide to prayer". seriously. the last one is one i would use if i were going to teach a class on it. i've used it endlessly in discussions on it and it's totally accessible, even giving you thirty days of prayers to work with.

    #4: i don't know what the corollary would be for catholicism (magnificat magazine, maybe?) but i've used our daily bread (http://odb.org) for 17 years (including my pre-christian days) and it works for me. it has a short devotional reading and then a short bible reading. it also has an online version so you can click the link to get to the Bible reading without having to deal with finding it in a paper Bible.

    #5: being christian does not make you immune to stupid people. it just gives you one more person (God) to whine to and to whom you can direct pleas for help.

    #6: one sentence prayers can be some of the best.

    #7: see my recommendations in #3. i'm a huge fan of lauren winner as well as c.s. lewis, max lucado, and phillip yancey (especially "the Jesus i never knew").

    i'm a convert (16 years now) and i blog at http://grace-filled.net. i'm a lutheran pastor's wife and i'm a bit snarky but you're totally welcome to come hang out over there.

    1. Chewable valium is just brilliant. Two of my three would be ok by themselves, one of them has no self control, at all, and the others can't help but react to that.

      Good to heat that #5, cause the majority of my prayers lately have circled back to this.

      Thanks for stopping, I'll stop by yours!

  7. I found your blog through your Quick Takes link.

    I converted to Catholicism many years ago, but I always had faith in God, so my journey was rather different. But it is fascinating, reading of your first tentative steps from ?indifference? towards understanding and faith.

    Even though they may have been taken to church weekly from the time they were tiny babies, very few children under 3 are capable of quiet "well-behaved" conduct for more than a fleeting moment or two. With time and patience, they learn, and most of us who have been through it understand.

    1. Indifference would be a good word for it. I have always respected religion, but didn't feel any need for it, or to even sit and figure out what I believed.

      Most of the people around us at Mass seem ok with the kids, but it doesn't keep me from feeling the spotlight.

  8. #4 - My husband and I do the daily Mass readings everyday.

    I love reading about my faith. You might be interested in Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn. I've yet to read it but I've heard it's a great book.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Ashley, you're the second one to recommend that one. I'm off to check my library.

  9. I am pretty good at ideas to keep kids quiet in church. (To many years of teaching Pre-school Bible Class.) Have special "church things". They are only for church so the kids are not already bored with them. I have a Books A Million bag that lives on my pew. It has 3 color-wonder books and 6 markers, 2 Crayola dry erase books and 3 small markers, Several pop-up or lift the flap books, some picture books, Scratch paper, pencil and cheap randon stickers and old address labels,and a wooden magnetic doll with clothes in a cloth pencil bag. I often have anything from a toddler to elementary ages sit with me so I keep a variety. Last thought, cars make kids make car noises. (learned from personal experience)