Sunday, January 22, 2017

The marchers don't need men to degrade them


One of the milder photos. The "pussyhats" were everywhere.


Donald Trump's got nothing on the participants of yesterday's "Women's March" themselves.

The female marchers degraded themselves so much more profoundly and efficiently than any lecherous man ever could.

What Trump said years ago in a secretly recorded video was terrible. It was a loathsome way to talk about women; it disparaged women, marriage, and human dignity itself.

Trump's words, however, never made me ashamed to be a woman. Yesterday's march did.

I won't post the disgusting photos on my page, but please, click these links and read/observe all. See what was said at this march, listen to the speakers, look at the photos, look at the signs. Take in the scene, figure out the themes (it won't be hard to do):



The vastness of the proud display of vileness and evil was shocking. How far have so many women fallen from an embrace of the virtues, from simple common decency. It is shocking how many of our sisters, living in the freest nation in the history of mankind, have become as crude and shameless as the depraved men they decry.

Think about it, logically, for a minute: How did the women of the "Women's March" respond to their disgust of Trump's degrading words? By degrading themselves on a scale worse than anything Trump ever said. Multiply what he did by a million, and you start to get the picture.


As one friend put it:
I watched some coverage of the 'Women's March' in DC and I have to say: I saw and heard MORE foul language, MORE crude terms for female and male genitalia, MORE misogyny (and even misandry), MORE mockery, MORE derision, MORE thuggishness, MORE rudeness, MORE law-breaking and MORE lunacy in those few minutes than I ever saw from Donald Trump in the 18 months of his campaign.

Who but the devil himself could have concocted such a plan? Take the evil, and multiply it! Make throngs of proud, elated, deluded souls feel as if they are giving women dignity, when they are doing exactly the opposite. Deceive them into believing they are lifting women up to the sky, when they are actually smashing women down into the filthiest muck.

It's a trick from the pit of hell, but that's the point. These women are blinded.

In its essence, the entire anti-Trump march was nothing more than a pro-abortion, pro-LGBT march. No one can plausibly deny it. The names of the sponsoring groups prove it. The explicit rejection of pro-life women's groups confirm it.

My hope and my prayer is the crux of Christian mission: That Donald Trump's sins are not imitated and multiplied, but that his sins are met with virtue. Not only our own virtue, as citizens, but that the people surrounding Trump would present him with the alternative: A witness of Christian truth. A witness of prayer and goodness. And guess what? As far as I can tell, that is what has happened to Donald Trump in the past few months. He has been surrounded by good, prayerful Christians who have, by all their accounts, seen him change. Let's pray it continues.

Any Christian who mocks the possibility and the movement toward redemption of President Trump has missed the point of our Faith.

Redemption of sinners is the point of our Faith!

While Trump has apologized for the words he spoke in the past -- and so what if the catalyst for that was his public humiliation? If any of us had our sordid pasts exposed and were moved to betterment, that's a good thing! -- the women who (literally) hate him have become like him. Times a million.

And no, it's not somehow better because the women degrade themselves, it's worse. Far better that someone sins mortally against me than I sin mortally myself.

Dear Lord, what have we become?

To the good Catholic women and men who went to this pro-abortion march to make a pro-life presence known, to plant seeds, to reach lost souls, I applaud you. We need you. You are full of courage. Thank you.

But to see some good Catholics openly supporting this march? Well, at first I was truly stunned, and next my heart broke. To the claim that the march had "some" worthy messages and would promote "some" good, I say same with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does STD testing and very basic cancer screening, for example. These are "some" good things we can identify in a terribly evil organization. But no faithful Catholic would proudly, happily march in a Planned Parenthood parade and excuse the overriding evil of the thing, would they?

Women of the march who hate Donald Trump:

You multiplied him over a million times.

You slimed us all.

That's not a win. You lose. Women lose. Men lose. Children lose. We all lose.

God forgive us.

To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more noble her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women.  -- Venerable Fulton J. Sheen






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Parents, do you know what the latency period is?






I admit that I was shocked to learn that many (most?) young and not-so-young Catholic moms in my Facebook book club were unfamiliar with what the Church calls "the latency period." We were going over the first three chapters of Raising Chaste Catholic Men, and I discovered that this was a new term to most of the women who commented. I decided, and was encouraged, to put this in a blog post, so here we are!

An excerpt from Chapter Three, "When They Are Little":


Most of what you need to know about chastity and your sons’ [and daughters'] early years can be summed up in two sentences:

1.  Respect the latency period.
2.  Don’t freak out about stuff.

The latency period, or what St. John Paul II called the “years of innocence,” spans from about age 5 to puberty and is easy enough to understand. From The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality [Guidelines for Education Within the Family]:


This period of tranquility and serenity must never be disturbed by unnecessary information about sex. During those years, before any physical sexual development is evident, it is normal for the child's interests to turn to other aspects of life…. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary. [#78]

Our Church tells us to respect the latency period of children, which would ideally last until the child hits adolescence; however, we live in a society that does not respect a child’s innocence. In fact, the world around us seeks to destroy innocence, by design. The educational establishment, advertisers, books, movies, television, and video games — all push to sexualize children at a young age. In fact, entities like SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, which have routine access to public schools, believe that children should be immersed in secular, relativistic sex education from birth. 

What to do when the latency period is violated? We must step in. Again, from the Church: 


A further problem arises when children receive premature sex information from the mass media or from their peers who have been led astray or received premature sex education. In this case, parents will have to begin to give carefully limited sexual information, usually to correct immoral and erroneous information or to control obscene language. [#84]

Okay, obviously there is more information from the Church about the protection of the latency period (read the entire Vatican document, as I did many years ago), but there you have it. What many moms and dads have intuited actually has a name: The latency period.

Everything in this culture wants to violate those "years of innocence," so be aware. Don't freak out, and all is not lost if your little kids are exposed to too much, too soon, but there should be a certain level of "sheltering" going on, for sure. That is part of your job as a parent.

What is your young, pre-adolescent child learning about if he is not learning about sex? Again from the Vatican document:

During those years, before any physical sexual development is evident, it is normal for the child's interests to turn to other aspects of life. The rudimentary instinctive sexuality of very small children has disappeared. Boys and girls of this age are not particularly interested in sexual problems, and they prefer to associate with children of their own sex. So as not to disturb this important natural phase of growth, parents will recognize that prudent formation in chaste love during this period should be indirect, in preparation for puberty, when direct information will be necessary. [#78]
During this stage of development, children are normally at ease with their body and its functions. They accept the need for modesty in dress and behaviour. Although they are aware of the physical differences between the two sexes, the growing child generally shows little interest in genital functions. The discovery of the wonders of creation which accompanies this phase and the experiences in this regard at home and in school should also be oriented towards the stages of catechesis and preparation for the sacraments which takes place within the ecclesial community. [#79]
As in the first years of life also during childhood, parents should encourage a spirit of collaboration, obedience, generosity and self-denial in their children, as well as a capacity for self-reflection and sublimation. In fact, a characteristic of this period of development is an attraction toward intellectual activities. Using the intellect makes it possible to acquire the strength and ability to control the surrounding situation and, before long, to control bodily instincts, so as to transform them into intellectual and rational activities. [#86]

How beautiful and amazing! Unlike what the culture tells us, not everything is about sex! And children can and should retain their innocence in their pre-pubescent years.

Imagine that.   :)








Thursday, January 5, 2017

State of the Blog Address (Or, Will the Bubble Burst?)






Quick answer: 

The Bubble will remain, but changes are coming.


Longer answer:

Nearly seven years ago, on April 3, 2010, the Little Catholic Bubble was launched, mainly for my Catholic friends who wanted a little boost in catechesis and fun but substantive Catholic conversation.

Back then, I had just turned 43, my oldest child was a freshman in college, and my eighth (and last) child was just a few weeks old. Today, I am about to turn 50, my oldest three children are married, and I have five grandchildren!

I have loved (almost!) every minute of writing the 723 published blog posts (with 385 more still in draft form), and fielding the incredible conversations in the comment boxes -- over 51,000 comments to date! And as for page views? I never imagined I'd get even 10,000, much less 3.4 million! I can't thank all of you enough!

Initially, I put off starting a blog because, as I told friends, "I have nothing to say." Turns out I did have some stuff to say after all. A huge motivation for all I've written was to establish a record of my thoughts for my children and grandchildren, as well as establish a place to access simple catechesis (the "Little Teachings" posts, among others). This blog serves as an archive of sorts.

Frankly, I've learned that, despite some hiatuses, writers have to write.

When I began the Bubble, Obama had been president for only about fourteen months. Back then, citizens weren't required to call men women, girls weren't forced to share bathrooms and showers with men, marriage had not been legally un-defined, and Catholic religious sisters who served the poor did not have to sue the federal government to live their faith. Yet.

Starting slowly, but gaining breakneck speed, the societal nosedive accelerated under the secular left for these past seven years, and a huge part of what I wrote about concerned cultural issues (popular and/or mandated sins) and how they affect our life as Catholics. Now that the people have voted to remove the "progressive" boot from our necks by defeating Hillary and the Democrats, we can all take a breath and figure out what comes next. For me, "next" is not primarily blogging.

But you had probably already guessed that, as my presence here has not been consistent for a while.

Because I'm too concerned about perfecting my blog posts (I agonize over word choice, syntax, punctuation, clarity, tone, etc.), it's been so much easier to spend my time and energy discussing religion, politics, and culture over on my personal Facebook page, where I am waaaaaay too somewhat active. Jotting down short thoughts with little editing brings about great, fast conversations in real time, and I can move on to the next topic easily. I also have my Facebook book club (Little Catholic Bubble Book Club), which has been amazing! I'm completely committed to keeping that going, and to growing it.

However, the thing I most want to do -- and must find time to do -- is write more books. I have four new books in my head right now (the first two are being actively worked on):

1. A book giving voice to the now-adult children of divorce
2. A book on Catholic dating and marriage
3. A book telling the story of my late cousin Michelle
4. A book compiling "Little Teachings" of the Faith (more than what I've written on the blog)

I am sure there are even more books in me. This is my season to write them, since my children are now in school all day and I have stretches of quiet time. I just have to discipline myself and get to it.

Bottom line: My creative energy, which is quite high, is simply directing me elsewhere right now.

Will I keep writing on this blog? Yes! But I don't want anyone to expect regular posts anymore. When I do write, it will likely be related to marriage and the family. Why? I feel more and more certain that I'm called to write about, speak about, and fight for marriage. Fatima's visionary, Sr. Lucia, predicted that the final battle between Christ and Satan would be for marriage and family. Marriage is primal. As St. John Paul II famously said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Complacency on this issue has to end.

Meanwhile, there is plenty still here to explore for those who just recently found the Bubble, or for those who have been here for years. Sometimes I do a search for a subject on this blog, and I can't believe what pops up! Things I don't even remember having written! But it's good stuff, and worth a read, even years later. Dig around! Try searching "Protestant" or "marriage" or "contraception" or "conscience" or "surrender" and you'll see what I mean.  :)

I'm grateful for every one of you and for what we have built here. I am not disappearing. The Bubble is not bursting, it is simply slowing down a bit, changing direction, floating where the Spirit moves it....

Thank you for your support and understanding, and if you could spare a prayer or two for my new projects, I sure would appreciate it!

God bless you in the New Year, and I'll be back soon-ish!









Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christ Is Born!




A Christmas Reflection from Bishop Barron.

Christ is born, and the Prologue of John:





Merry Christmas to all! God is with us!





Monday, December 19, 2016

Why the Electoral College is genius.


Today is the day that the electors in each state cast their votes for the next president.

Donald Trump, who (as we never stop hearing) "lost the popular vote," will be elected as America's 45th chief executive.

With all the ranting, raging, crying, and confusion surrounding the Electoral College vs. the popular vote, it's a good time to review the genius of our Founding Fathers and why they set things up this way. First, a fun and easy video from Prager University, explaining the basics:





Also, this excellent (and very short!) article explains why the Electoral College was so important in this particular election. Essentially, it saves the rest of us from being dictated by California:

Clinton’s 2.3-million-popular-vote plurality over Trump depends on the votes in a single state: California. Clinton has more than a 4-million-vote plurality over Trump there. In the other 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Trump actually has a 1.7-million-popular-vote plurality over Clinton. So California single-handedly turns a Trump plurality into a Clinton plurality.... 
He also won the national popular vote cast outside of the single state of California. Moreover, Clinton won all of California’s 55 electoral votes despite the fact that 4.3 million of the state’s voters voted for Trump. That big winner-take-all advantage for California’s Democrats and Clinton was certainly felt, but it wasn't enough to override her losses in many other states.
Under our electoral vote system, American voters elected a national president, not California’s choice.


Praise God for the wisdom and foresight of the Founding Fathers!






Monday, December 5, 2016

Introducing...



Miriam Genevieve!




Born yesterday, a whopping 9 lbs., 3 ozs. 
of pure beauty!

Congratulations to my daughter Priscilla, her husband Dirk, and big brother David!

Thank you, Lord, for this perfect blessing!


The birth of my fourth grandchild has kept me from being a good blogger. Forgive me!

Meanwhile, in the Advent Season, we should reflect on why the Second Person of the Holy Trinity came down from Heaven and was incarnate in the womb of the Virgin Mary. Jesus Christ, God Himself, was once a newborn babe just like little Miriam. Read on for the "whys" of it:





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Looking for Catholic Christmas gift ideas, from Catholic sellers? Here ya go!



All right! On Facebook a while back, I asked for and received links from Catholic vendors and artists, in anticipation of Christmas! The items/stores/shops by Catholic vendors are listed below, to make it easier to buy Catholic gifts for our loved ones while helping to support Catholic sellers at the same time. Enjoy "browsing," and feel free to add your own Catholic link in the comment section.

Personally, I think my book, Raising Chaste Catholic Men: Practical Advice, Mom to Mom, is a great gift idea, heh heh! Any young Catholic mom (or dad!) will benefit from the fun but substantive conversation inside.

Also, to make the gift more special, I am happy to sign and personalize a copy for you or your loved ones. In that case, you would buy it straight from me (don't purchase it online); simply email me at raisingchastecatholicmen@gmail.com, and I will let you know how to make that happen!



~~~~~~~


A great family (or parish!) gift idea is Bishop Barron's DVD/Blu-Ray set, The Pivotal Players




I have watched every one of the profiles (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed John Henry Newman, GK Chesterton, and Michelangelo), and I can tell you that the riches you will mine from these mini-documentaries are worth every penny. Consider buying a set for your own family, splitting it between families who can share it, or gifting a set to your parish or Catholic school. Truly uplifting, spiritually edifying. 


For the children, I love the Shining Light Dolls so much! My grandchildren adore them, and I have it on good authority that Santa Claus (and Grandma and Grandpa) will be bringing them a few more this year. I just now realized they have books that go along with the dolls, too! 

Aren't these adorable? You know who they are! And there are many more to choose from, and new ones always on the way!



I love Becky's book, The Little Flower, and anything else on the Peanut Butter & Grace site. 




And I haven't seen this one in person, but I'm getting it for my own kids today, because it looks so good, and so instructive:  The Great Adventure Storybook. Looks like a fabulous way to teach the kids salvation history! 

For yourself, to become a better apologist in the New Year, day by day, I recommend Jimmy Akin's 
A Daily Defense: 365 Days ( plus one) to Becoming a Better Apologist.

Another great book -- a parenting book with a refreshing twist -- is Dr. Ray Guarendi's
Advice Worth Ignoring: How Tuning Out the Experts Can Make You a Better Parent. Doesn't the title alone make you relax and feel better about your parenting?? I am here to tell you after eight kids and 25 years of being a mom, he is really on to something! Save younger parents the trouble, and get them this book now.


For excellent Advent ideas, check out Holy Heroes site (which is always chock full of good stuff, in every season).

Newly added: I just got this lovely book in my hands, Graceful Living: Meditations to Help You Grow Closer to God Day by Day, and I think it's a great gift idea for your mom or your grandma (or your best friend). Aesthetically beautiful, small, hardback -- daily meditations prompted by Scripture and saint quotes. Check it out:





Now, on to the list of vendors and shops and items that my Facebook friends suggested. I will simply link them, in no particular order, and you can browse through. Isn't it fun? Catholic Christmas shopping from the comfort of your chair:





Travel With T (Catholic travel agent)





TelosArt (including liturgical calendars)


Peter's Square (dozens of Catholic vendors)






Zazick Designs (Lego rosaries)



Johnson Architecture (custom watercolor paintings)


Saintly Silver (saint softies)



Super Saints (quizzing cards)

Prayer Impressions (rubber stamps)






Faith and Fabric (quilt patterns)





Saint Benedict Medal (clothing/accessories)



Mazzoni's Handmade Shop (including mosaics)

Petite Fleur Studio (peg dolls)






Rodan + Fields (skin care)
Rodan + Fields (a second Catholic friend)

Caritas Press Catholic Books (for adults and children)




Brita Baby Boutique (creative diaper bouquets)




I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless us with a fruitful Advent!













Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A couple of housekeeping notes...



First: 

I did it!

I began a book club on Facebook primarily for the purpose of holding myself accountable for finishing a book. And it worked! I finished Evelyn Waugh's Helena ahead of schedule, and I had a blast with the folks who joined me!

And since the next book on the schedule is one that regular readers have heard me rave about, I'm now letting my blog readers know about the book club, in case any of you want to join in.

The book we will begin in December, great for Advent, is Fr. Wilfred Stinissen's book, Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Uswhich I wrote about here and here.

The Little Catholic Bubble Book Club is private, but if you request to join (you must have a Facebook page), I'll ascertain your non-trollness and let you in. This book is life-changing; if you've ever wanted to read it, now's the time.


Second:

I'm working on my next book, which will give voice to the (now-adult) children of divorce. If that's you, I want to hear from you, primarily so those adults contemplating divorce today might have the perspective of the children -- things that adult children of divorce have rarely been able to say, for fear of hurting their parents or being dismissed.

If you are an adult child of divorce who would like your voice heard, please answer the following questions and send your responses to raisingchastecatholicmen@gmail.com, with the subject DIVORCE. All answers will be confidential, unless you let me know that you are comfortable with your first name being used.

Please answer any/all of the questions you feel comfortable answering. I will not know until the compilation of the book how much or how many of your answers will be included.

I am not worried about style; I am grateful for your heartfelt, thoughtful answers, even off-the-cuff. This is not a scientific survey, as you will quickly see. Here ya go:


1. Basic info: Are you male or female, and please give your age at the time of your parents’ separation and/or divorce and the age you are today. Are you married? Do you have children? (Give your name if you want to be identified.)

2. Were your parents Catholic? Married in the Church? Received subsequent annulment? Remarried? 

3. If you wish to remain anonymous, please tell us why.

4. A very broad question, but what affect has your parents’ divorce had on you? 

5. What is the difference between how you felt about the divorce as a child and how you feel about it as an adult?

6.  Has your parents’ divorce affected your own marriage or view of marriage?

7.  What do you want to say to people who say that “children are resilient” and “kids are happy when their parents are happy” and “kids of divorce will be just fine and will go on to live successful lives”?  (Note: I know that many kids of divorce do go on to live happy, healthy lives and have good marriages. So, rest assured the book won’t be about how “wrecked” you all are; we can’t gloss over the pain and consequences, though, even if kids of divorce have gone on to live lives of virtue and goodness.)

8. What would you want to say directly to your parents about the divorce and how it affected your life then and now? Would you advise them to do things differently, and if so, what? (For the record, one or more young divorced parent has told me that adult children of divorce only want to speak to me because of “unconscious revenge” against their parents, and that they simply have not “forgiven” their parents, which is the only way to heal. Thoughts on that?) 

9. What do you most want adults in our society to know about how divorce affects the children?

10. What role has your faith (if you have a faith) played in your healing?

11. What would you want to say to any children facing their parents‘ divorce today? What would you want to say to those parents now considering divorce (absent cases of danger and abuse where separation is necessary)? 

12. Any other thoughts you have or anything you’d like to share that I have missed, please feel free to include. I want all your thoughts! 


When I asked for participants on Facebook, I was overwhelmed. I had at least a hundred willing people by the end of two days. Since that time, have received about 35 responses from that group. Many of the original group have let me know that attempting to answer has been too painful/emotional/difficult, and they have not been able to follow through. That's why I am taking my appeal to the blog, to get a bigger pool of participants, so that you all have a bigger voice.

If you decide to answer the questions, please have them back to me by the end of the year. Better yet, by mid-December. I truly appreciate it. By January, I have to go forward and assemble the responses.

Please note, again: Your answers do not have to be polished or well-articulated. I am fine with your stream-of-consciousness responses, and I will fix any grammar/syntax issues.




And just a heads-up: In a day or two, I hope to have a post up (God willing!) that links to many great Christmas ideas from Catholic vendors, authors, crafters, etc. So, hold off on your online shopping until you see what your fellow Catholics are selling!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And to my fellow Mayflower descendants -- mine are John Howland (The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland's Good Fortune), and Elizabeth Tilley -- let's be extra thankful that we even exist!












Friday, November 18, 2016

Why I am so political



It could be that I'm writing this post for my children, because it is their history, and it might as well be written down.

In case you've ever wondered why I am so political, I can only offer that it's in my blood.  I have always been a political animal, and I live with another political animal, my husband. In fact, it's how we met.

I grew up in a Republican household as a proud patriot and a fiscal and social conservative. I am the younger daughter of an Arab immigrant/Navy veteran/doctor father and a Protestant-turned-Catholic/nurse mother who was raised poor in small-town Ohio.

I have voted in every election since I was eighteen, and in 1985 I went off to Boston College as a conservative Republican. Nothing could sway me, even liberal Massachusetts and the university's Jesuit influence. I was rooting for Robert Bork's confirmation in 1987 and was outraged that the left derailed that good and brilliant man. I voted for George Herbert Walker Bush (and had a Bush/Quayle placard on my dorm wall) when he ran against the Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis.

I have also always been pro-life. I was raised to believe that abortion is wrong, but the truth of it was hammered home to me while spending a lazy afternoon browsing through my mom's well-stocked bookshelves one day.  My 10- or 11-year-old self came across a full-color booklet called "Handbook on Abortion," which included several pages of photos of aborted children from the earliest stages. I was rightly horrified, and concluded then that such an obvious evil should never be legal. (This was in the first few years after Roe v. Wade sullied our land.)

At Boston College I studied English, but politics and Washington, DC (the city where my own parents met) was calling to me. So, while most of my friends went on study-abroad programs during junior year, I became the first English major at BC to be accepted into the Washington Semester Program at American University. There were a few concentrations to choose from, and I chose Foreign Policy.

A big part of the program was completing an internship. I had an interest in journalism, so I interviewed and got the job at a now-defunct national TV news station, Independent News Network (INN). I helped to edit news stories and raw feed, and I occasionally went on assignments, sometimes with a camera crew, but always with my trusty notebook and pen (there were no Smart phones or tablets then).

Some of the highlights for a 20-year-old girl: I sat in on the Oliver North trial, I covered press conferences for Dick Gephardt and Al Gore (it was 1988, a presidential election year, and they were running -- and dropping out), I said hello to Vice President George H.W. Bush in the lobby of INN offices (he would go on to win the presidency that year), and I ran into Senator Teddy Kennedy on the sidewalk near the Capitol (he gave me the creeps).

I understood clearly that I and another intern were the only conservatives in the newsroom. I'm pretty sure I kept that on the down-low, but my memory is hazy. I do remember that my boss and the lead male reporter both hit on me, subtly and overtly, but I just chalked it up to "dirty old men" and didn't give it much of a thought. In fact, I probably haven't thought about it in a quarter century.

It was fun taking a camera crew into the White House Press Room and then heading out to the South Lawn of the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll, where President Reagan gave a speech to the egg-gatherers for the last time in his presidency. Emmanuel Lewis was the celebrity entertainment that day.



Here I am with my camera crew that day. I'm on the right. In the skirt. 
(My apologies to the nameless camera lady for showcasing her in those heinous 
parachute stone-washed jeans that I am sure she has since disavowed.)


The White House Easter Egg Roll took place on April 4, 1988. How do I remember the date so precisely? Well, it was the very day that I officially began to date my future husband! I had just turned 21 the previous week.

Yep, a handsome Jewish guy named Dean Miller was on the Washington Semester Program that spring as well, a political science major at Emory University in Atlanta who also was entrenched in the political scene, but on the opposite side of the aisle. When I met Dean (who was in the American Politics concentration), he was a diehard liberal, pro-"choice" Democrat.

Dean's first real foray into the political world was as a teenager in Las Vegas, when he canvassed neighborhoods door-to-door on behalf of candidate Harry Reid, who was running for his second term as a United States Congressman. (Let's just say that Dean is, ahem, no longer a fan of Harry Reid.)

When he went off to college, Dean interned at the Carter Presidential Center, which is located on the campus of Emory University. There are many good stories from his days at the Carter Center, but that's for another day. 

Dean with President Jimmy Carter


When Dean arrived in Washington junior year for the exchange semester, he got an internship on the Hill with Democrat Senator Wyche Fowler of Georgia.

When Dean and I met, we obviously did not agree on politics; as we began to fall in love, we tolerated a lot of what the other had to say.

Except when it came to abortion.

I remember sitting with Dean in my dorm room (in a building that was was formerly a Catholic convent, by the way!), listening to him recount the recent talks his American Politics group had attended, one at Planned Parenthood and another at National Right to Life. He was complaining about the pro-lifers, saying that they were "a bunch of nuts" and "loonies" (if I remember that correctly). I reminded him that I was staunchly pro-life, and I told him that his words were offensive to me personally. He walked back his words a bit.

It amuses us both, looking back, as we consider that Dean is now 100% pro-life, sits on the board of our local crisis pregnancy center, and often leads his children at our bishop's rosary in front of local abortion clinics. It's fun to see what God can do, isn't it?

By the time we were married a couple of years later, politics were still a huge part of our lives and discussions, and although Dean was still a Democrat, he was starting to let go of some of his liberal leanings.

During the 1992 presidential election, I was uninspired by President Bush (the elder) and not so convinced about third-party candidate Ross Perot, and so I personally did something unthinkable: I registered as a Democrat and voted for Bill Clinton for President of the United States. Dean voted for him as well. I was "inspired" by his wife Hillary's "advocacy for children" (I had a baby by then), and I convinced myself that her pro-abortion views could be ignored because of how much she "helped" born children. (I know, I know. But it gives me insight into others who use the same arguments today.)

Dean knew within one day of voting for Bill Clinton that he had made a huge mistake. I was more optimistic for a few months, but by the time Clinton gave his first State of the Union address, I was filled with regret. I re-registered as a Republican and never looked back. Within a couple of years, Dean registered as an Independent, and by 1997, he was a registered Republican.

Although still registered Republicans, Dean and I have long been disgusted with the establishment Republican Party, and consider ourselves "conservative" more than any other political label.

Dean's career path has kept him in the mix of politics. His first job was for a non-profit taxpayer watchdog group, and then he worked in state government for a long time (Arizona Department of Commerce, Arizona Corporation Commission) before moving to the private sector of consulting and lobbying. He helped to draft and pass many bills within the Arizona Legislature during those early years, has worked with countless politicians and private businesses on regulatory issues, and knows a lot about the process and the people.

Meanwhile, my public writing began in 1994 when I became an editorial columnist for The Arizona Republic, and my co-writer Kim Manning and I discussed and dissected politics as a matter of course. In fact, it was the exercise of writing about truth and goodness through a political lens that brought Kim to Catholicism and me to a full embrace of Church teaching and practice.

As you can see, there is a deep history and love of politics in the Miller home, and a passion for the direction of our beloved country. So when folks suggest that I become less political, I can honestly say that I don't see that happening. And, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Our Catholic Faith encourages and even obligates us to be engaged in the public square, and so long as I am not transgressing the moral law or the laws of our Church while doing so, I am happy to oblige.

God bless America! It is a privilege to live in this still-great land.









Wednesday, November 9, 2016

And it's over. And it's beginning.



Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY




What a night. Unexpected. I have so much to say, but I'm exhausted, as I suspect we all are!

For now, I will just say that we have bought some time. There is a blessed reprieve for crisis pregnancy centers, for religious liberty, for the courts around the nation, for the beleaguered middle-class.

Let us pray for Donald Trump. Let us pray that the Republicans, who hold not only the presidency but also the House and Senate, will not squander the trust and opportunity that the people have given them.

For today, I am just so very happy, so very relieved.

Please, please, let us pray!