Monday, December 26, 2011

What I learned on my Advent vacation!


Anyone still out there?

I'm baaaack!

I missed you!

I thought I'd jump back in by telling you what I learned on my Advent vacation (and other random thoughts), in no particular order:

1) I really enjoyed the time off, and I realized I can live without the blog quite happily. But at the same time, I truly missed what we do here, and I'm excited to be back in action!!

2) Okay, actually, I didn't take time off in quite the way I should have: For a couple of weeks I simply moved all the debates over to my (and others') facebook pages! Ack! When will I learn? I need to be able to walk away from contention sometimes. "Leila, put the controversy down on the ground, raise your hands in the air, and slowly back away. Do that, and no one will get hurt."

3) I discovered that I use the Bubble as a way to avoid repeating myself. The same old stuff (atheist and Protestant objections to the Church; challenges to the moral law; misunderstandings of Church teaching, etc.) comes up on facebook and everywhere else on the web, and I like that I can just link 'em to something I've already written. Do they read what I link? Eh, probably not. But I'm lazy and it saves me time. Besides, who knows? Maybe the detractors (or some lurkers) will providentially take a peak and start to think a little deeper about these things. 

4) I have learned that I need to be more disciplined in every area of my life contributing to the comments on my own blog. I love engaging in fruitful discussions, especially for the lurkers, but it's crucial that I learn to identify those rabbit trails that need not be followed. Many of you have commented on my "patience" in going over and over certain ideas, but I don't think it's been patience at all. I think it's been a combination of incredulity ("Wait, does he/she really believe that?!") and my own stubborn pride (I'm like a dog with a bone). I do wish I had a minder who could keep me away from fruitless discussions and rabbit trails, but since I don't, I will try to be strong and disciplined on my own.

5) I have to chuckle when I think of how desperately some atheists want to rid public places of Nativity scenes. I mean, think about it: Christmas is a government holiday. The Nativity depicts the first Christmas. The Nativity is the historical event behind the very Christmas that we celebrate as a federal holiday (yes, I am being redundant). So, it's bizarre that atheists want Nativity scenes banished, but they don't seem to be lobbying for a revocation of the actual federal holiday that is called Christmas, which is commemorating the Nativity. Do you get how silly that is? 

6) I occasionally add new "Bloggers' Faith Stories" at the top of my blog. The newest ones are at the end of the list. Check 'em out! 

7) A few days ago I was shocked to learn that a dear friend had passed away. She and I had never met in person (much like the great blogger friends I have made in the past two years), but we had a special friendship nonetheless, which spanned almost ten years. She hadn't let me know that she was fighting cancer for the past year and a half. I will keep her name anonymous, but you all can read her words (in blue) in this Bubble post about scrupulosity. May God rest her soul. She was a dear woman with a deep love for Christ who leaves behind a grieving family. Thank you for your prayers.

8) During Advent and Christmas I put a metallic "Keep Christ in Christmas" decal on the back of my Suburban. However, I like what I read on Brent Stubb's Almost Not Catholic blog even better: 

Keep "Mass" in Christ-mas

Christmas is, literally, the Christ's Mass. It is the Mass that commemorates the Nativity of the Lord. Anyone celebrating this holy day (i.e., "holiday") is celebrating a Feast Day of the Catholic Church, and the Church is so pleased that they do! The Lord Jesus came to save everyone, and it is right and just that all Christians -- and all humanity, frankly -- would celebrate His birth. But Christ and the Mass go together, so don't take one without the other. ;)

9) Just a reminder that although most of the world believes that the Christmas Season is now over, the reality is quite different: The Advent Season -- our time of waiting, penance and preparation -- has just ended, and finally Christmas begins! 

10) And on that note, the Millers are not at all late in wishing you a very merry Christmas!

Why yes, it does look like the baby is giving a Papal blessing! Future Pontiff, perhaps?


  1. Wow, I am so thrilled to be able to be the first one to welcome you back. Merry Christmas to one of the most amazing catechist I know. I have missed you--teacher. But, I am so glad you were able to enjoy Advent in all of its preparation and glory. Can't wait to see what the Bubble Brings in 2012. So sorry about your loss...

    Happy Feast of the Holy Family!


    Little JoAnn

  2. Welcome back! I've missed you. Sorry about the loss of your friend.

    Great family photo, I love it!

  3. Merry Christmas! I'm sorry to hear about your dear friend.

    Your family photo is beautiful!

  4. I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend. Prayers for the repose of her soul.

    And Merry Christmas! I'm glad you're back!

  5. Merry Christmas, Leila! I am sorry you are grieving. I am doing a bit of that, myself. I am so glad the Bubble will be active again!! :)

  6. Merry CHRISTmas, and a Blessed Boxing Day too!! God Bless us everyone. and welcome back eh

  7. Yes, future pontiff. Pope Benevolent Destruction. :) Welcome back!

  8. :) I'm so happy you're back! Merry Christmas!

  9. Merry Christmas! I'm so glad to have the Bubble back.

  10. Merry Christmas! And I'm sorry for the loss of your friend :(.

    Welcome Back!!!

  11. Welcome back! I hear ya on the debate discipline. I tell myself over and over, but it doesn't do any good some days. Merry Christmas!

  12. Gorgeous family! Christmas blessing to you!

  13. And, wooooooh! My story is on the Bubble!! *blush* Enjoy my incoherent ramblings, all, lol.

  14. I like #5. I'll try to remember that point if I run into an atheist who wants to rid this fine country of nativity scenes.

  15. Good to have you back. Merry Christmas!

  16. Merry Christmas to your beautiful family! I'm glad you're back. :)

  17. Hi Leila, speaking of Facebook, check your friend requests because I sent you one. If you didn´t get it then I may have sent it to the wrong person. :)


  18. So glad you're back friend! I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounded like a beautiful soul.

    I LOVE the early papal blessing! I think it's prophetic...

  19. I also struggle with self discipline and controlling myself with getting into contentious discussions, so you're not alone on those! I need to learn to just let things go sometimes. I'm very sorry to hear about your friend's death. Finally, welcome back :)

  20. Welcome back to the bubble, I certainly missed you! And the family photo is beautiful. I still cannot get over the bright red hair amidst a sea of brunettes!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  21. It's so wonderful to have you back, Leila. You offer so many of us so much hope and information and a desire to act on things said and done!


    P.S. Beautiful family photo!

  22. I just wanted to pop in here and say thank you for taking the time to share on your blog. I've been lurking here for a few months and I can't tell you what a difference it has made in my life.
    I was raised just Catholic enough to receive baptism, first communion, and confirmation, but I never really "got it". My family was messed up, and religion certainly never seemed to make a difference. So I walked away. Not from God, I always believed he was real, but I didn't think he could be active in my life. My husband was nominally Protestant.
    After our first baby was born (I was 18) fifteen years ago, we went to church and eventually became "born again" at our local non-denom church. I had completely written off the Catholic Church as empty. Until the last year or so. Through a series of books and blogs (esp. yours!), I saw that people could be serious Christian and Catholic. I know that sounds horrible, but I didn't know they existed!
    Now we are deep in research and discernment to see if God is calling us to the Catholic Church. It is terrifying. Our whole life, and that of our five kids (ages 5-16) is wrapped up in our non-denom church.
    Anyway, thank you. You do make such a difference!
    ps. Any advice on introducing our kids to the idea of Catholic Church? Our current church is all they've ever known, and they are all very happy and involved there....

  23. Carrie, I only have a second, but I would love to talk with you further! Can you email me at Thanks!! And, I am so excited for this journey that you are on!

  24. Carrie, you now have a wonderful new friend in Leila - she will help you through whatever you need! I will tell you this, we have some friends who forced their children to convert from Southern Baptist when they re-discovered the Catholic Church of her childhood. The children were very resentful - however, after they saw the change that it made in their parents' lives, they were happy. So, do it for yourselves first, explain the whys and wherefores to your children (there are a lot of Catholic misconceptions out there in the non-denominational churches), and let them see the joy that it is bringing to you - then they will be more accepting....

    and, Leila, I must say, I have missed the Bubble! yes, you moved some discussions to facebook but it wasn't the same!

    Merry Christmas to you! (our wise men are journeying across the living room - following that star - as we approach Epiphany)!

  25. Beautiful family! And Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  26. I think I comment about once a year or so, and perhaps this will be twice for 2011! Your reflections are honest and open as always. I can relate to #3 & 4. We aren't lazy, just well organized and efficient :>)

    As for keeping the mass in Christmas, Jim Carey ranted about that a couple of years ago on Conan Obrien's show. Unfortunately, NBC has rerouted all former episodes, even those on the Internet archive machine, so it is no longer available. Which begs the question what good is an Internet archive if it cannot be permitted to archive?

    Happy new Year,



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