About Me

My husband wanted to convert long before I did. He brought home a copy of G.K. Chesterton’s The Catholic Church and Conversion for me to read, and I basically threw the book, spouted off about Luther being the only reason the Bible wasn’t chained up, and swore allegiance to the Lutheran Church. There was no way I would ever, ever become Catholic.

Almost two years later, on my thirtieth birthday, nine months pregnant, we were watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi (my choice), eating slow-churned ice cream (also my choice), when the DVD player stopped working. 

My husband got up to mess with it, and we finally ended up getting the laptop to finish the movie. When he opened the computer, I saw a podcast about the Virgin Mary. There she was, holding the infant Jesus, veiled and peaceful. And I got upset.

I asked him, “Are you going to be okay with raising our kids Lutheran?”

He said, “Sure, Denise.”

I didn’t believe him for a second.

Finally he said, “What if you let me pick out some books for you? If you read them and still don’t want to be Catholic, I won’t ever bring it up again.” 

This sounded just fine to me. I’m a reader and knew I could finish these books in a week and be done with it. Then there could be peace between us again. Things would return to normal, before Catholicism became an issue between us.

And it was a big issue.

Since our initial “talk” about the Chesterton book, there had been ongoing friction. It’s surprising how many ways the Church came up in conversation—everything from the daily news to history, the law, children, politics. We were constantly butting heads. The Church had become this thing between us.

One day he sent me a link to a book he wanted to buy—some Catholic book. I remember saying, “Shouldn’t we buy Lutheran books since we’re Lutheran?” He said, “Sure. Do you know of any good Lutheran authors?” Well, I googled “Lutheran author” and didn’t come up with a whole lot.

The same thing happened with debates about the Bible, the Virgin Mary, and the meaning of "church." He would e-mail me a dozen links from New Advent, ranging from Ambrose to Thomas Aquinas. And I would be on the LCMS website looking for ammunition and finding only the Creed and maybe a “what we believe” statement. 

So the reading plan would work just fine. My search for Lutheran authors had proved that, if nothing else, the Catholic Church had a whole bunch of excellent writers, so this wouldn’t be too painful. And then we could get back to celebrating Reformation Sunday without any awkwardness.

It took about two days before I realized I wanted to become Catholic.

My husband was afraid to react. He couldn’t believe this was finally happening. I was pretty shocked myself. My reading pile continued to grow and grow, and I basically spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy reading about Catholic teaching, doctrine, and history. And it changed everything.

Some of the books that turned me around:

In short, the Blessed Virgin broke our DVD player (which is still broke), and we ended up becoming Catholic together. 

I’m originally from Michigan and have lived in Virginia (while my husband was in law school) and Ethiopia (while I was working in orphanages). We currently pay too much rent in Oregon. I’ve worked in adoption, brewing, and foreign student advising. I have a B.S. in Arts and Letters from Portland State University and a masters in theology from a Baptist seminary, and yet, somehow, I’m a Catholic wife and mother. And I love it.

Thank you for stopping by The Motherlands!

Pax Christi,

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