Sunday, May 24, 2015

Little Shares: Housekeeping items (and braggy mom!)

Lots of miscellaneous stuff! Housekeeping in my brain commences here....


Can a proud mama brag for a moment?

Our eldest son Eric (number two in our lineup) just graduated from college! I have no picture to share in cap and gown, because he opted to skip the ceremony and come home early (he's not much for drawing attention to himself), but he graduated from the University of Arizona with honors, with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Basically, that's his pre-med degree, and now he's off to medical school! He will be attending Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina, speciality to be determined later. We are so proud of you, Eric!

And, oh by the way, he's single. And looking. He's a faithful Catholic, and would love to marry and have a big family! I know that Belmont Abbey is just about three hours from his medical school, and it's full of wonderful Catholic women, so if any of you know someone....  ;)

Hopefully he won't be too upset that I wrote that last part. But I don't think he reads my blog too often, ha!


On the subject of Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, some people are confused about DOs, so here's a short primer: a DO trains in the same course of study as MDs, is eligible for the same residencies, and  has the same ability to become a surgeon or any specialty. However, because of the more holistic philosophy of osteopathic medicine, most DOs tend to become primary care doctors, i.e., family physicians, internists, obstetricians, or pediatricians.

I suspect that people tend to confuse DOs with naturopaths (who do not have medical degrees and are not doctors). My father and uncle are MDs, so I didn't know much about DOs until recently, and it's been interesting to learn. My own family physician is a DO, as is my NaPro doctor and several of the partners in my OB/gyn's office and our pediatrician's office. And that's my PSA for today!


I am more and more drawn to the truth that the crosses in our own lives are our path to sanctity, the ladder to the Father. The personal cross is something inescapable, and yes, when approached with surrender and acceptance, it is beautiful and transcendent. And it is surely a sign of contradiction in a world that seeks comfort and pleasure above all.

Ann Coakley, as many of you know, lost her husband Paul to a fast moving cancer this year. Ann is raising their four small children (including a son born after Paul's death), and has been a source of wisdom and inspiration for thousands, including me. She wrote something today on her Facebook page that needs to be shared. Today would have been their seventh anniversary:

7 years ago today I walked up the aisle of St. Peter's. My eyes were locked on Paul who had tears escaping his own eyes. It was the most beautiful and perfect day of my life. In Paul I recognized the love God has for me, his lowly daughter whom He loves beyond measure. Paul loved me in such a way that was as close to a perfect love as you can experience in this life. It was a fore taste of heaven. A heaven that my saintly husband is now experiencing because he understood love & sacrifice better than anyone I've ever known. Our vows are complete. We loved each other through everything this life threw at us and we held onto each other up until the end. God gave me a miracle in the reassurance that Paul was going to Him when Paul lifted off his bed, raised his arms and went to the One who loves him more perfectly than I could. One day my beloved will be waiting for me to close my eyes and wake up in the true reality that we had helped each other attain during this life. I joyfully await that day. Until it comes I will make both God and Paul proud of me by focusing on our babies and living this life the way Paul lived his life. Happy anniversary, sweetheart. I love you and miss you. Please keep helping me on this path to heaven.

She then linked to the following page on her blog, from 2009, "Catholic Symbolism in our Marriage", and she mentioned elsewhere that this is her favorite image from her wedding day. Note that Paul is washing her feet (as the Lord washed the feet of His Apostles), as a sign of his tender love and eternal service to his bride:

Paul and Ann Coakley


Just for fun, here are two of my very, very, very, very (did I say "very"?) favorite blog posts of all time, from Bad Catholic. I know it's a good blog post when it doesn't leave me, and when I keep returning to it, after years have passed. I think you guys will enjoy them, either again or for the first time:


Okay, this made me so sad! Look at how the activist author of this blog describes herself:

She regularly annoys her 6-year old son ... by grounding him whenever he attempts to rescue a princess.

My heart breaks! The beautiful, unique, God-given instinct of a boy or man to be protector, provider, hero, is disparaged and punished! The attempt at some kind of social consciousness here may be well-meaning, but this mother's sentiment is terribly misguided. Every boy, every man, wants to be a hero. The masculine heart is made for such things. In this culture, the part of boys and men that we should want to nurture more than anything is their desire to willingly sacrifice themselves for others, especially women and children who are in danger. If we dampen or (shockingly!) punish this instinct in men and boys, then we kill that part of them that gives them purpose and mission.

Oh, I cannot tell you how eagerly I await Bishop Olmsted's Apostolic Exhortation to the men in our diocese, on the masculine nature. We desperately need it! Our boys are floundering, and punishing them for desiring to "rescue the princess" is a blow to their nature and mission, a crushing of the masculine heart and soul.



A few weeks ago, my daughters and grandbabies came to visit!!! Their trips home overlapped by two days, so the cousins got to meet!

Felicity will be ONE next month!!

David is two months old today!!

I hope you all survived the cuteness overload. I believe I warned you.


If you are seeing this or any post in script, it's not me, I promise! It's your computer or your browser. Rest assured, I would never make you wade through all these posts in script!


Have a most blessed Memorial Day, and as a reminder (because I never used to make the distinction), here is the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day:

Memorial Day (Monday) commemorates those who lost their lives serving our nation. Veterans Day (always November 11) is for celebrating all of our veterans. So, this weekend specifically honors those servicemen/women who were killed in the line of duty.

May God rest their souls and reward their sacrifices, and may He comfort their family and friends. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My burning question about gender issues

Here's what I don't understand.

I have talked to and debated countless people who assure us that there are no real differences (outside of incidental genitals) between men and women. No difference in essence at all.

They have told us that it absolutely does not matter if a child has a father or not, or whether a child has a mother, because mothers and fathers are completely interchangeable. Mothers and fathers can perform the same functions, we are told. They can cook dinner and make a nice home and they can "love". Gender is meaningless.

They tell us that gender is fluid (unlike one's sex, which is the incidental genitals that I mentioned above), and that any perceived differences are social constructs. To think otherwise, they say, is narrow, bigoted, foolish, archaic.

And yet the same people -- the same people -- tell us that gender differences are so real, so important, so crucial, that people who merely think they are a different gender have a right to surgically mutilate their genitals to get their incidental physical bodies to conform to what they feel in their minds, what they feel is their essence. That to surgically alter their bodies is, quite literally, a matter of life and death, so much so that even prisoners have the right to have taxpayers pay for their gender reassignment surgeries, and small children who are conflicted about their gender vs. genitals need to be put on hormone treatments without delay.

So, which is it? Is one's gender a matter of such essence and import that it means life or death, or is it something so insignificant that mother and father, bride and groom, woman and man are indifferent, meaningless designations that must be ignored or done away with?

Please, I'm sincerely asking: Which is it? And if it can be both, then how?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Whereas a seventeen-year-old sums up Truth. Thank you, Anthony Skikos!

In light of our ongoing discussion about Truth, I was blown away to read this poem, written just days ago by my son Paul's lifelong friend, Anthony Skikos. This poem on Truth ("Veritas") was written in one night, before a school competition. Yes, he quickly whipped up this glorious verse, which speaks of a Truth outside of ourselves, to be sought and found and received, like a lover. Gives me hope for our future and joy for the Church who can raise up such incredible young souls. Enjoy!

Lux Aeterna

by Anthony Skikos, age 17

I stand and stare out o'er the sea
And wonder how I might find thee
Thou lie outside the darkest cave
And free man from his living grave
Thou dost stand steadfast, glist'ning star
Though shadows flicker, near and far
Eternal lasts thy fiery light
Though thou art hidden in the night
And though thy light, oft hard to bear,
May not seem pleasing, soft, or fair
'Tis greater, far, to know thy face
Than live with darkness in thy place
And so, O Goddess, beautiful
Do seek thee I with all my soul
And know now as I stare across
'Tis thee I love O Veritas 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ongoing Dialogue, Part IV

We continue here. Please make sure to catch all the comments on the last thread (that went over 200 comments) by clicking on "load more" at the end of the thread.

Okay, carry on!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ongoing Dialogue, Part III

Okay, so we exceeded 200 comment in the last post (please make sure to hit "load more" so that you get those 13 comments that came after 200). So, let's continue in the comment box:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ongoing Dialogue, Part II

Let's continue the discussion (from Part One) here, since Blogger is a pain to load after 200 comments. Okay, back to the comment box:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ongoing Dialogue with Matt, an atheist

I'm so excited to start the Ongoing Dialogue post with my friend Matt! He is my college roommate's husband, and he is an atheist who is kind enough to come to the Bubble and debate the concept of Truth and see where that leads. You all are welcome to join in or just read along, and if you would like more information about what we are doing, read this previous post.

Matt and I agreed to start by putting out an "opening statement" about Truth, and we did not consult each other when writing our statements. We will use these thoughts as a springboard as we jump into the comment box.

First, my thoughts on Truth:

For the purposes of this conversation, when I speak of "Truth", I am not talking about subjective truth, such as whether you prefer red wine to white, or what you think of grandma's new hairdo. 
I am talking Objective Truth. Truths that are true no matter what you or I think.  
Truth cannot contradict itself. So, it's either true that murdering innocent human beings is wrong, or it's not. It's either true that rape is wrong, or it's not. It's either true that God exists, or it's not. It can't be "your truth" or "my truth" on these types of issues. 
Objective Truth exists outside of ourselves and will remain true even if the whole world doesn't believe it. Truth is not ours to determine, it is ours to seek and find and receive.  
Believing doesn't make something true. But, if something is true, it is right to believe it. 
Truth is what is real. 
Truth would exist even if we didn't. 

Now, Matt's opening thoughts on Truth:

Leila, thanks for your kind words and the invitation to square off with you on your blog. The question of what "truth" is, and how we know or trust that something is true, is of course a topic that philosophers have gone back and forth on for thousands of years. But in simplest terms, I think I'd say that something is true if "it conforms to a fact in reality". C. S. Peirce noted four methods of deciding what is true: tenacity (we're just comfortable believing it), authority (we're told to believe it), a priori, or the scientific method. I don't believe there's a legitimate supernatural method for this.

Thanks, Matt! I like that we both agree that truth is what is "real".

Okay, my first question to start the dialogue is below in the comments, and please remember that I do not expect either of us to change the other's mind, nor am I looking for consensus. Here is the philosophy of the discussions on this blog, for those who might be new:

Don't forget to subscribe to the comments so that you don't miss any of them (they will come straight to your email address), because once we hit 200 comments, things get messy on Blogger, unfortunately. In the meantime, hopefully we will all learn a lot through this respectful dialogue!

*We cut it off after 220 comments (to time-consuming to load the last 20), so continue with the discussion, here.

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Well done, good and faithful servant!"

I know those are the words that my beloved cousin and friend Michelle heard as she went to God this morning. She was not afraid to die. She carried her heavy cross with grace and love and without complaint. She was ready, although it pained her greatly to leave her daughters behind.

Michelle was a holy woman who loved Our Lord and Our Lady more than her own life, and who craved virtue and truth above any earthly thing. She is my role model in the Faith.

I want to write a fitting tribute to Michelle in time, but for now, I will just be missing her beautiful smile and musical laugh.

Please pray for the repose of her soul, and for the comfort of her three teenaged daughters, her parents, and her siblings. She will be missed more than words can say.

I love you, my dear friend. I cannot wait for the heavenly reunion.

Michelle Habra
1970 - 2015

Requiescat in pace

Monday, April 6, 2015

So, we are going to try something new here, soon!

Well, maybe it's been done elsewhere before, but I am really excited to see how it plays out here.

The strength of this blog, I believe, is the dialogue that often follows the original post. It's meaty stuff, while at the same time being respectful and conversational. Many of you have told me that you enjoy the dialogue in the comment sections so much that you break out the popcorn and spend the evening reading through. That makes me very happy. And, it makes me very happy when I hear that you have learned a lot from the discussions. That is what I've always hoped for this blog!

So, over the years I have had some private debates with my college roommate's husband, Matt. He is an intelligent and committed atheist. We disagree on many things. But there is good will between us, and if I don't blow it, there will be good will as we begin this new experiment for the Bubble.

I'm going to call it the "Ongoing Dialogue" post.

I will start by publishing opening statements about Truth, one from Matt and one from me. Then, we will start a casual but coherent dialogue in the comment section. It will be just like what you are used to in the Bubble, the only difference being that it won't have to slow down or end when I publish another (regular) post.

So, the "Ongoing Dialogue" post (or posts, if we are successful and want to start new such posts with different topics, or even different people) will be something you'll want to subscribe to via email so that you'll never miss a comment.

I'm still not sure how to deal with Blogger's 200 comment limit before it makes you "load more" (which is a colossal pain), but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Meanwhile, look for regular posts as always, but also look for the "Ongoing Dialogue" post coming soon. I need to make a logo for it. Isn't this fun?? Maybe this concept will fall flat, but hopefully it will enlighten us all and bear good fruit!


And if you could please storm Heaven for my cousin Michelle who is still suffering from advanced cancer. Choose your best intercessors for this wonderful single mom, who is not just my cousin but a cherished friend. Thank you so much!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is Risen!

The tomb is empty and death is vanquished!

Rejoice in the Risen Lord, dear friends! Let the Easter Season begin!