Thursday, July 29, 2010

3 Quick Pet Peeves (and a renaming)

1. Before I tell you this first pet peeve (which is not "quick"), please make sure you read it all the way through. 

My first pet peeve is the proliferation of "7 Quick Takes" on the blogs. WAIT! Before you get offended, it's really not the posts themselves which make me peeved, but the problem of commenting. I'm thinking of my subsequent confusion and distress over how to respond. 

I sit paralyzed, wondering: Should I comment on all the Takes? Or just four-sevenths? Or half (and what would responding to "half" of seven look like anyway)? What if I comment on only one? Would that be rude and make her think that I don't care about the other six? But if I comment on three, then what does that say about the other four? By the time I am done pondering, I don't even care about the 7 Takes anymore, and I just want to go outside and stand in the warm wind in a field of tall grass, or maybe take a long, hot bubble bath. 

Perhaps the inventor of 7 Takes could have understood that I am not a multi-tasker, and I don't know how to process so many (usually) unrelated subjects at one sitting. Perhaps it could have been stipulated that each Take was to be only one sentence long (though that would not end the problem of how many Takes on which one should comment). Perhaps 3 or 4 Takes would have been sufficient? Sigh.

So, while I love reading the 7 Takes, please understand and have mercy if I only comment on one Take per post. Otherwise, I may have to give up reading 7 Takes altogether, and I don't want to do something that drastic. Maybe there is a 7 Takes Anxiety support group or something.

2. I am peeved that Barbie does not post twenty new pictures of that baby girl every day.  (Just kidding!!!)  sort of

3. I get annoyed when people sit around griping and complaining about every little thing, you know, like talking all about their pet peeves. Soooooooooo, I decided to do something about it. I am renaming the 3 Pet Peeves, to something a little more... Catholic:

 What do you all think? ;)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Urgent prayers needed *UPDATE*

Final Update: The full story of Melanie's miracle, as told by her husband, can be found here!

Please pray for Melanie Pritchard, a friend and colleague to all of us in the Phoenix pro-life community and around the country. Her condition is very dire.

More information here. Thank you.

*Update:  Thank you so much for your prayers. I received an email late last night. Finally a bit of good news, but she is not out of the woods by any means. Today is crucial, and I will keep you updated as I can:

Melanie was transfered from Mercy hospital to Mayo a few hours ago because Mayo has an excellent cardio-pulmonary department. After suffering 3 heart attacks and greatly diminished pulmonary capacity, it was touch and go for Melanie all morning and afternoon. 

In the meantime, legions of prayer warriors throughout the country were storming heaven with prayers. In particular, many were praying for the intercession of Pope John Paul II for a miraculous healing for Melanie.

Melanie's condition has improved and her doctors at the Mayo clinic have issued a cautiously positive report. The family was overdue for good news and they received it an hour ago. She is breathing stronger and regained quite a bit of her lung capacity. She is also opening her eyes periodically and showing some movement. They are still keeping her on some medication to aleviate blood clotting.

Please continue your fervant prayers for our dear sister in Christ, Melanie.

Latest update:

She had a restful night. The doctors are going to be checking her this morning to make sure there is no more bleeding. Then they will begin to wean her from the medicines that have been helping her heart and lungs. the next 24 hours are very critical. Please keep praying for her. The family is so grateful for all the prayers thus far. One can see the power of prayer in all that has happened so far.

Update at 11:03 AZ time (praise God):

Yesterday Melanie’s baby, Gabriella Cecelia, was born by emergency C Section due to a very rare disorder. She was air evac’d to Mayo Hospital last night and today she woke up, moved her fingers a bit, looked at her husband with recognition, saw a picture of her baby and started to cry.

This is a huge miracle, as the situation yesterday was extremely dire. She is now in surgery and continues to need our prayers. Please also keep her husband, Doug, and the rest of her family, and the doctors in prayer.

Latest news (July 30):

Melanie is off the ventilators and talking!  She met her baby girl this morning! A true miracle! For all updates, and to get on the email list for updates, click the link above Melanie's picture on this post. Thank you for prayers!! God is so good!

20 Years Ago Today!

Today, Dean and I celebrate our 20th anniversary!!
It hardly seems possible!

We started out young, with lots of poofy, thick brown hair. An agnostic Jewish boy and a lapsed Catholic Arab-English-Lithuanian girl. Perhaps an unlikely duo. 

Still with the full, poofy hair and now full, poofy shoulders, we joyfully rehearsed our vows.

The Big Day arrives! Into the limo! Helped by bridesmaids with poofy hair.

Such a handsome young man! Is it any wonder I fell in love?

I wore my mother's gown. Thank goodness there were no poofy sleeves in 1964 when she bought it!
Oh, and those mountains are real!

My father walked me down the aisle to meet my beloved.

 It was a breathtaking, perfect night in Tucson, Arizona. 

I apologize right now for the hideous bridesmaid dresses. Your eyes might be drawn to the big, poofy sleeves. Things in 1990 were obviously very, very poofy.

July 28, 1990
The two shall become one. 

You will note the grotesquely long fake fingernails. They were big, but at least they were not poofy. 
(And my waist was not poofy then, either!)

First dance as husband and wife.
(Sorry for the grainy quality of these scanned photos. We had no digital pictures in 1990... or email, or the Internet. And I had a black and white computer screen at work!)

No fancy, schmancy poofy cake like on Cake Boss. I guess not everything was poofy in the olden days!

 Best tasting cake of my life. Chocolate with raspberry filling. I can still taste it.

Here's to us...

          ...and to the next twenty years! 


Monday, July 26, 2010

Another "eureka" moment. Liberals? *UPDATE* A clarification of terms

Every now and then I have a "eureka" moment, when the light breaks through the oft-present fog in my brain and I get it.
One such moment happened a few months ago. I saw David Horowitz on television, explaining modern American liberalism from the inside. Horowitz was raised in the heart of 1960s liberal activism by two Communist parents, and he was fully on board for his young adulthood. He was a true believer in the "progressive movement." He later switched sides and became a strong conservative. (For his credentials, read here.)
Something he said that day has stuck with me:
Liberals are only liberal when it comes to sex and drugs. In every other aspect of life, they want to regulate and control others.
Liberals are not really liberal after all.
And for any liberals out there.... Is Horowitz's assertion accurate? I'd love to discuss.

*UPDATE: I want to be very clear with my terms. I am using the term "liberal" to discuss those on the left of the political spectrum in America. This ideology is characterized by being "liberal" (free and unrestricted) on the moral issues, but advocating control and regulation on practically all other aspects of our lives, including economic.  (Thus, the term "liberal" is a misnomer, which is the point of my post.)

When I speak of "liberal" or "left" I mean those in charge of shaping the debate today in America. The movers and shakers and policy makers. That would be liberal politicians (including the Democratic Party's base and Barack Obama), liberal journalists, liberal university professors, liberal artists, etc. I actually prefer the word "leftist," but it seems that "liberal" is still the preferred term.

I am not talking about the average Democrat in your neighborhood who votes that way because he always has, or his parents always have. 

And it's pronounced....


Keep Calm and Carry On was the first to get the right answer, but kudos also to Amazing Life, Tridentine Wife, Hebrews, Second Chances, Cathy and JellyBelly! Good job. (And great song... I like the unplugged version best!)

Most people tend to want to say "Leela" (and Megan, I have a second cousin who spells it my way and pronounces it "Leela"). That's probably how I would say it if I didn't know my name. 

I like that some of you did the phonetic rules.... The rule that applies is the one that Cathy said! So it's the "ei" is "ay" as in neighbor and weigh.

It would have been easier if my parents had spelled it "Layla" or "Laila". It's an Arabic name, though, so there is no "right way" to spell it in English from the Arabic.

Actually, if my parents had named me Audrey like they had first intended, we would not be having this discussion!!

Thanks for playing, and those of you who got it right have the "prize" of knowing you guessed correctly! Isn't that satisfying? ;)

Thanks for reading what may be the most boring post I've ever written!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Thinking Out Loud" Post. *...and a PS

I have nothing to write that could compare to this glorious news!  Like so many, I have waited anxiously every single day for this blessing to occur. Praise God!!

I am trying to finish up a book that I started reading weeks ago, so that I can finally start my "Books in the Bubble" feature. (I am all into features!) It's a book I read years ago, and it had a profound effect on me. I rarely read a book twice (heck, these days I rarely read a book once!), so that is saying something. If I weren't so addicted to all your blogs, maybe I could spend some spare time reading! Sheesh! You guys should try to be less interesting, fun and inspirational!

Busy doing all sorts of stuff for my vocation, too. That is for my prayer buddy. Offering it up, baby. You can't imagine how many times I have forced myself to do the right thing in a given situation (where I could easily have chosen the lazy part) simply by telling myself, "Do it for your prayer buddy!" I always get a sense of renewed energy and joy after that.  :)

Quiz, just for fun: How do you pronounce my name (Leila)? 

If you already know the answer, you can't participate!! Also, no holey soap prize for this one, sorry! But I will publicly honor those who get it right. 

Okay, back to my book, and I wish you all a very happy NFP Awareness Week!

PS: I have not heard back from Christa, Sophie, "The Master" or even Kristen for that matter. I am ready to continue the dialogue whenever they are.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Answer to Bible in the Bubble, First Edition! Limited Awards.

My goodness, I am impressed. Nicely done, Bubble-dwellers! I like the quick responses and enthusiasm I see. :)
The question was (and yes, now I realize that it wasn't actually a question):
There are only TWO times in the entire Bible when God breathes on man. Name them. (And, if you can tell why the events are significant, extra points for you!)

Now, some of you made this more sophisticated than my little pea brain can take (there is a lot of wind blowing and receiving of breath in the Bible), so I am going to go with the active voice, God actively breathing directly onto man. 
The answer is:
The first time was when God breathed on Adam, giving him life. The second time was when the Resurrected Jesus breathed on the Apostles, giving them the power and authority to forgive sins.
"Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
"Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.' And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." (John 20:21-23).
We are supposed to pay close attention if we see dramatic parallels in Scripture. God breathing directly on a human is remarkable and rare. In the first example from Genesis, the breath of God was life itself.
So when we see this happening again in the second example (the only time Jesus Christ breathes on someone) we should sit up and take notice. As Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit upon His Apostles, He delegates His own authority to them, empowering them to forgive sins, or even not to forgive them. Pretty astounding, as only God can pardon or retain sins! Yet here Christ authorizes mere men to do so. In fact, we are seeing the establishment of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

To sum up the two events: The first time, God gives life to the human soul. The second time, God delegates the power to restore life to the human soul. 
Now, to the awards...
First, I am only giving four awards this time, as I was reminded during the last Doctrinal Quiz Show that only liberals give awards to everyone. As Mr. Incredible said so insightfully: “If everyone is special then no one is.” But let me tell you, I must be a closet liberal, because I am dying to give everyone an award!! I guess I'm just a "compassionate conservative."
Second, we have had an infusion of husbands into the Bubble. Men, you are welcome here. We are not leftist feminists, and we like you. And you have proven yourselves to be wise and worthy, honorable and brave. That’s how we like our men.

Third, to Sew, I can't give you the special Sew Award unless you at least show up to play, so just know that I didn't forget you!
And the Bubble Awards go to....

The Your Answer Made Me Chuckle Out Loud And That Doesn’t Happen Often Award goes to Faith Makes Things Possible!
The Um, How Would You Know If Ken Were Cheating When You Weren't Supposed To Read Others' Answers Before You Gave Your Own, So That Means YOU Were Cheating, But I Forgive You Award goes to aka The Mom!

The Going the Extra Mile Award (for trying to send in an answer while recovering in a hospital bed) goes to Megan! Now, that is what I call enthusiasm! 
The Oh Man, He Said That Better Than I Did Award goes to Ann’s husband, R! Although a few other contestants were very close and some even had the right answer, R's was the closest to what I was looking for. And therefore, R wins the GRAND PRIZE!!!! 

Yeah, don't worry, I have a few more, too. Which should motivate everyone for next time!!

See you then, and thanks for playing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bible in the Bubble, First Edition! Play along!

So, I am sitting around thinking of the topic for my next Doctrinal Quiz Show, and I get this great idea for it. I start to type out a post, and then I realize that the topic is not so much about doctrine as it is about the Bible (Bible trivia). I think of a few more topics that fit that bill, and suddenly I realize: I need a new feature in the Bubble!

Thus, Bible in the Bubble was born this day.

Remember, noooooooooooooo peeking in the Bible, googling, asking Father, running to the concordance, or otherwise cheating! No cheats in the Bubble!

You do not need to know or cite the book, chapter or verse in your answer (though you might get bonus points if you do, but then again I also might suspect that you are cheating, ha ha), but you do need to provide the specific circumstances or events which apply.

Here is your first question:

There are only TWO times in the entire Bible when God breathes on man. Name them. (And, if you can tell why the events are significant, extra points for you!)

The winner will receive a lovely prize, to be revealed with the correct answer.

Go on now, impress me!!

Hint: More likely than not, all my Bible trivia will have specifically Catholic overtones.

I only do three things well

My gifts are few, but I have at least three (well, #2 may not be a gift, exactly). I am fairly competent when I:

1) write

2) give my opinion

3) teach the Faith

I don't cook, I am not crafty, I don't know how to make my house look lovely, and I don't know how to be a good hostess. I also don't iron or sew, I don't know how to fix things, I am not an animal person, and I hate camping. 

The qualities I most admire in my friends, I do not possess. The talents I most desire, I do not have. I say this with absolutely no angst, because I have long ago accepted it, and my self-esteem is fine (probably too fine, if I'm being honest).

I am not fishing for compliments (did I mention that my self-esteem is plenty high?), I am simply grateful that you all are reading this blog, which allows me the opportunity to do the three things I do best! Thank you! It's a lot of fun!  :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thanks to Miss Gwen, who makes sense.

Finally. A straight answer from an honest liberal, Miss Gwen. I am relieved to the point of giddiness. All I ever asked was that a liberal hang with me long enough to get to the bottom of at least one liberal belief, so that I could make logical sense of it. 
I am dead serious when I say that I am grateful for Gwen. She has integrity of belief. I vehemently disagree with her beliefs, but at least they are consistent!
Gwen supports “gay marriage,” so I asked her if she would also condone two brothers (or siblings) getting married, and if not, why not? It didn’t seem logical to me that one could support the former but reject the latter.
Ultimately, after several attempts, here was Gwen’s answer:
[I]n a futile attempt to "answer your question", do I condone brother/sister marriages?: sure. If two siblings really, really want to get married and enjoy a happy relationship-then go right ahead.
I honestly expected a different answer. I assumed that Gwen would be against incestuous marriages, even between consenting adult siblings. But I give her full credit for being consistent in her views, for her answer is exactly what should logically follow from her liberal positions on sex and marriage.
I've been so frustrated because I couldn’t find a liberal who could answer my questions logically. Well, Gwen’s answer makes sense. It is logical. I believe it to be wrong and immoral, but at least I understand it!
So, thank you, thank you, thank you, Gwen. You are indeed a consistent thinker and a person of integrity, even though I could not disagree with your belief system more.

Responding to Christa

A liberal commenter named Christa sent an me an email answering some questions I posed to liberals. (She tried the comment box, but it didn't all fit.) My first draft of answers for her was waaaaaaay too long for a blog post. I have tried to cut it down to a manageable size, and I have limited the topic to abortion. I will get to her other points (politics, homosexuality) in subsequent posts, God willing.

Christa, I am going to continue engaging you “simplistically,” not because I am “simple” or an “uneducated Republican” from Arizona (to quote some of your points), but because I often employ the Socratic Method of dialogue. The Socratic Method is named for Socrates. He was an ancient philosopher whose works (along with Plato and Aristotle) helped form the foundation of Western Civilization. Being that you are on the far left (which typically disdains Western Civilization), I don’t expect that you are familiar with Socrates or his Method.
But I do believe in simple truths which help us understand a complicated (and really messed-up) world. Now, to your points (I have put Christa's words in red):
       You repeatedly stressed your need for simplicity and clarity…and I will answer your questions in simplistic  terms and then elaborate.

Question #1
       'You began life as a single cell.' Do you agree with that statement?"
 Thank you for your direct and honest answer, Christa. The full question was posed like this, by the way: "When I was homeschooling my sixth-grade daughter a few years ago, her secular Harcourt science book began its chapter on human biology with the following sentence: 'You began life as a single cell.' Do you agree with that statement?"


      Question #1
         God trusts women with their bodies and so do I. Abortion is a difficult, graphic and emotional topic. It is an intensely personal decision and I believe individual women, not big government, should make that decision.
I am confused by the first statement, “God trusts women with their bodies....” What does that mean? And where do you get that? Please elaborate. For example, if a woman wants to take a hacksaw and cut off her arm, is God pleased with her? Seriously, I don’t know what you mean. 
And, you said that you, too, trust a woman with her body. That’s nice, but wholly irrelevant to the question of when human life begins.
    The point at which “life” begins is a question that remains unanswered. 
Unanswered by whom? In fact, medical science answered that question long ago. Go to this website (scroll down) and see quotes from no less than nine secular teaching textbooks on human embryology/prenatal development, two National Geographic prenatal development videos, statements from medical doctors and professors from institutions such as Harvard, the Mayo Clinic, UPenn, etc. After you have researched, please respond: Unanswered by whom?

   The Catholic Church’s answer evolved significantly for a thousand years. 
You are confused on this issue. Unlike we moderns (who have recourse to the knowledge of embryology contained in the textbooks mentioned above), the ancient Church did not have the benefit of 21st Century biological science. What you are referring to here is the question of “ensoulment” of the unborn child, a question which was bandied about by theologians for a time, including St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Dissident Catholics (including Nancy Pelosi, who was publicly corrected by the bishops) have misrepresented the facts of history in an attempt to justify abortion. In reality, the issue of “ensoulment” (a metaphysical, not a scientific issue) is separate and apart from the question of whether or not abortion was ever permitted by the Church. It was not. Ever. As in, never. The Catholic Church has always and forever taught that abortion is intrinsically evil, regardless of the separate discussion of "ensoulment." 
      The scientific community cannot come to an agreement either. 

I have no idea where you are getting this (unless it’s from a Planned Parenthood pamphlet). See above, or consult an embryology textbook. If you can show me any peer-reviewed journal articles showing that the scientific community is confused on this issue of elementary biology, then show them. But I believe you are confusing two issues. You are confusing the biology (science) of when a new human life begins with the concept of “personhood." The latter question is a metaphysical question, not a scientific one. Christa, it is so important to make distinctions.
      I believe a “soul” or “spirit” emerges at some point during the gestation process, but I do not know the  timing. 
Okay, so now we are talking metaphysics, not science. You “believe” that some sort of “soul” “emerges” (from where?) at some point in the womb, but you don’t know when. So, you really don’t know anything at all about it. Your subjective belief has no weight. For example, I might believe that my cat can read, but believing won’t make it so. Can you give me something other than your opinion?
      I do, however, believe that the single cell of a recently fertilized egg is not a human being.
But again, you are giving me your subjective “belief.” By that standard, I can say, "I believe Christa is not a human being." That would be absurd, of course, because you and I both know that your value and dignity as a human being is inherent, and not based on my opinion of your humanity (or lack thereof). 
This is a matter of life or death we are discussing, so it’s of the utmost importance that you get it right. If, as you maintain, even scientists have no idea when life begins, then you can’t be sure either, right? Can you back up your belief in some way besides “feelings”? Give us your reasoning?
(This is just a silly aside, but do you realize that the logical conclusion of this belief is that "you," Christa, were never conceived?)
You must admit that you really don’t know for sure if life begins at conception. And if you don’t know, then shouldn’t you err on the side of life? 
I mean, if you were hunting in the woods (I doubt you hunt, but still...) and you weren’t sure if that creature behind the tree were a deer or a child, would you shoot? I am guessing you would never, ever shoot until you were 100% positive that it was not a child. Am I wrong?
But now we have to make the distinction between the science (does a new human being start at conception) and the metaphysical question of “personhood” (which is what I suspect you have been talking about all along). 
Traditionally, abortion activists tried to dehumanize the unborn by calling them “blobs of tissue” or “part of a woman’s body,” etc. But these days, the science is so obviously on the side of pro-lifers, (ultrasound has brought home the humanity of the unborn) that the abortion activists have started to reframe the debate. So, now it’s all a matter of “personhood”.... Yes, we may be killing, they say openly, but it’s okay because we are not killing a “person” since there is no “meaningful life” until {fill in the blank with something completely arbitrary}.
Pet Peeve Alert!! Did you ever notice that with any genocide, it’s always about one group (with more power) deciding that another group is not quite "human"? How come they never decide that they themselves are not human? It's always the other guy! Ha ha!
There should be no litmus test for who gets to belong to the human family. As the saying goes: Either we are all human, or none of us is. 

   I do not believe abortion is murder…and I suspect you don’t either.           
    If a 16 year-old high-school girl is kidnapped and raped by a serial rapist, gets pregnant and gets an abortion, should she get the death penalty? If not, why not? It was premeditated. According to your beliefs, it ended a “life.” Should the young girl get the lethal injection? Should the doctor? If you truly believed it was murder, you would not accept any exceptions and you would support the teenage girl’s execution.
    This is the problem with ‘simple’ minds that require ‘clarity’…life is often complicated. Regardless of your opinions on abortion, the issue has inherent ambiguity [see execution of rape victim…]

You suspect wrongly. Yes, I believe abortion is murder, and no, I wouldn't support the death penalty in your scenario, since I am against the death penalty in most cases. I believe you said you were Catholic? Read what the Catechism says about the death penalty. 
And, you must not be the least bit familiar with the pro-life movement. The pro-life community believes that there are two victims in an abortion: the child and the mother. I could elaborate on that for hours, but this post is already too long. 
If abortion were illegal, it would be the abortionists who were prosecuted. Even my “simple mind” knows that. No one has ever proposed otherwise.
The last thing I will respond to today is your closing statements:
     My reaction to this specific right-wing forum is unique. I see a group of “Catholic” women hiding behind  the cloak of “Christianity” expressing very un-Christian positions. 
Why did you put the word “Catholic” in quotes? Are we not Catholic? Seeing that we submit to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and that we defend and love her in every moment of our lives, how are we faux “Catholics”? Doesn't it make more sense that those who reject and mock the teachings of the Catholic Church should wear the quotes around the name?
What specific “positions” do we espouse that are “very un-Christian”? Please be specific.
      I think it is sad because you have intentionally insulated yourselves by seeking others who think like you.
Christa, I'm guessing your good friends are liberal.... Is that "sad" in your mind? Or, do you hang out with pro-life Catholic Republicans? I'm guessing not. Don't we all "seek out" people with whom we have things in common? It doesn't mean we don't have family, neighbors, co-workers and yes, friends, who think differently than we do. 

    “Bubble” is an appropriate description for this blog. To each their own…but I am grateful the Christianity to which I’ve always been exposed doesn’t require such a narrow, limited and restricted life.
I’m not sure what brand of “Christianity” you have been exposed to, but I thought you said you were Catholic? There is only one Catholicism. What Christianity are you talking about?
Christa, everyone is welcome in the “Bubble”... it’s infinitely expansive. Just like the truth and beauty of the Catholic Church. And just like the mercy of God. There is nothing restrictive about it; on the contrary, I have lived both in and out of the Church, and life in Christ is utter freedom compared to the slavery that is sin. 
I never pass up a chance to repost my favorite quotes from G.K. Chesterton (a convert from atheism):
"The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age."

"[When the convert] has entered the Church, he finds that the Church is much larger inside than it is outside."
 God bless, Christa!