Is It Wrong for Christians to Own Mansions?

09/28/2011 Comments (78)

When I was first exploring Christianity, one weekend I found myself smack in the middle of the wealthiest part of town. Some family members had arranged for my husband and I to spend a weekend at a resort as a special gift for our anniversary, and it provided us with a rare opportunity to relax for a couple of days.

I spent a lot of time reading my new Bible (the first I’d ever owned) next to the picture window, which revealed a breathtaking view of the lush hills of west Austin. The landscape was dotted with million-dollar houses, each of which looked like something from the cover of Architectural Digest. And every time I saw one of those houses, the Gospel message fresh in my mind, I...READ MORE

Filed under money, poor

4 Guidelines for Catholic Awesomeness

09/26/2011 Comments (19)

One day I’ll be able to write something without linking to Marc Barnes. Alas, today is not the day. I keep thinking about his post, simply titled Be Awesome, in which he issues a rallying cry for Catholics to step up our game. He points out that the world needs to see the beauty of the Faith now more than ever:

The things we do should be fantastic. We’re not just anyone, we’re Catholics! What we do reflects our Church, and our Church is the only sane thing left in the world! Strive for excellence then, glorify God by using every drop of talent He’s given you, because I do believe that—now more than ever—our Church needs to reaffirm that we have brought the world the best literature, art,...READ MORE

Filed under art, artist, artists, arts, arts & faith, spiritual growth

What I Learned from Praying in Front of an Abortion Clinic

09/23/2011 Comments (94)

The first time I went out to pray in front of an abortion clinic as part of a 40 Days for Life vigil, it felt surreal. Not only am I naturally awkward about public displays of faith, but less than a decade ago I was still a pro-choice atheist. In fact, it felt like such an unnatural thing for me to do that I was tempted to back out at the last minute and see if I could find someone else to cover my hour. I’m very glad that I went through with it, because it ended up being a powerful, eye-opening experience. Here are a few things I took away from it:

1. The pro-life movement is well organized. You can probably guess that from a glance at the impressive 40 Days for Life website, but I really...READ MORE

Filed under 40 days for life, abortion, prayer, prayer vigil, prayers, praying

Why Virginity Matters

09/21/2011 Comments (193)

Glancing at a list of saints’ feast days that fall during this week, I see this listed for September 23:

St. Thecla, Virgin and Martyr

I always used to pause at that oft-used description of the saints. The martyr part made sense. But why virgin? To make it a point to highlight that aspect of a person’s life seemed a little…personal. To use internet parlance, it struck me as TMI. I knew that the problem must be with me, and not with a tradition of the 2,000-year-old Church, but I never could figure out why that designation was so important.

Then I began to notice something: Our society has lost the concept that it is possible to live a fulfilling life without having sex. And this fact...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, celibacy, chastity, contraception, saints

Why I Was a Pro-Choice Vegetarian

09/19/2011 Comments (84)

Marc Barnes recently met a girl he thought he might be interested in...until he found out that she was a pro-choice vegetarian. He goes on to dissect the silliness of this viewpoint, which, from the Catholic perspective, is basically an exercise of shooting fish in a barrel. It’s such an obviously inconsistent position that many of my Catholic friends are baffled by how someone could hold both of those views simultaneously: How can you respect animal life but not human life? they wonder. To me, it makes sense. In fact, I used to be a pro-choice vegetarian. And while I now vehemently disagree with at least the pro-choice part of it, I still find the vegetarian/pro-choice position to be an...READ MORE

Filed under abortion, animal rights movement, pro-choice, pro-life

The Parents' Sleep Index: How Tired Do You Feel?

09/16/2011 Comments (34)

Is there anything more difficult than having a night where sleep is not on the agenda for one or more of your kids? Wait, actually, there is: When the number of hours of sleep you technically got does not come anywhere near to representing the epic scale of your evening, and thus you do not receive the proper amount of sympathy from the people around you. “Oh, six hours, that’s not so bad,” your boss comments when you drag yourself into the break room for your fifth cup of coffee.

As a service to parents everywhere, I have used my own hours of wakefulness during the wee hours of the night to create a Sleep Index. Like how the Heat Index tells you what you need to know to properly complain...READ MORE

Filed under parenting, parents

Homeschooling Magnifies Family Problems (and That's a Good Thing)

09/14/2011 Comments (70)

“Okay, guys, it’s time for today’s lessons!” I say in my most positive voice. “We’re going to start with math. Let’s look at—”

“Maaa-aaath? I hate math!” comes a voice from the peanut gallery.

“I’m bored. I don’t want to do homeschool today,” says another one.

Thus began our first day of homeschooling for the season, and it only went downhill from there. The subsequent days have been somewhat better, but I still have to fight at least one battle of wills at the homeschool table every day. I don’t expect perfect behavior, but do ask that I see a slightly better attitude than you might expect from, say, prisoners working on a chain gang. We don’t always get there. And it tests the limits...READ MORE

Filed under education, family, family life, homeschool, homeschooling

6 Tips for Surviving the First Years of Parenthood

09/12/2011 Comments (21)

For some people, becoming a parent is a natural part of life. They grew up around babies and kids, and so nothing seems out of the ordinary when a loud little eight-pound bald person shows up at their house one day. Not so for others of us.

I was an only child. I don’t recall ever having a friend who had more than two siblings living at home, and nobody I knew had a baby in the family. In the years after I graduated from college, few people I knew were married, none had kids. By the time I got married, I’d lived in an adults-only world for so long that I had this this vague impression that new human beings were added to the world through a secret cloning room at the back of Starbucks,...READ MORE

Filed under family, fatherhood, motherhood, parenting, parents

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About Jennifer Fulwiler

Jennifer Fulwiler
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Jennifer Fulwiler is a writer and speaker who converted to Catholicism after a life of atheism. She's a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion, and is writing a book based on her personal blog, She and her husband live in Austin, TX with their five young children, and were featured in the nationally televised reality show Minor Revisions. You can follow her on Twitter at @conversiondiary.