Monday, June 27, 2005

Where have I been?

Hi everyone!

If anyone out there is a regular reader, my posts for the next few days will be spotty at best. I am attending a conference all week titled, The Civil War Institute. It is the premier scholarly institute on the Civil War in America. It is hosted at Gettysburg, where I work, and I've been attending 11 years. I first came here in high school after receiving a student scholarship. I now work for them part time (it's actually vacation time) raising money to support the scholarship program through their Auction program. Wish me luck! My goal is to raise approximately $10,000 in one week. I think I'm over $2,000 so far - I'll know more tomorrow.

One last thing before I head to bed - isnt it amazing how you can miss praying, even if you get away from it for only a few days? I'm not talking formal prayer, either, or any specific type of prayer, but rather the dialogue you have with God, or Allah, or Yahweh/Elohim, or whomever it is you worship. That dialogue is sacred, and it takes courage to stay with it in busy times. That's a true challenge!

Journal Jar

Did you go to any college or technical training?  Where?  what did you study?

A good question! I went to Gettysburg College, where I graduated in 1999. I have a B.A. in History with a minor/certificaiton in education. After graduating, I taught for three years in a Philadelphia suburban high school. I taught World Cultures, Comparative Religions, Psychology, Art History, and Contemporary Issues. After leaving teaching, I've worked for Gettysburg College the past three years in Development, first in alumni relations (event planning, etc.) and then in Annual Giving (fundraising). While at Gettysburg, I completed my master's of education degree from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania (in curriculum and instruction). Soon, I will be starting a consulting company with several colleagues. Yay!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Please leave a one word comment that you think best describes me.

It can only be one word.  No more.

Then copy and paste this into your journal so that I may leave a word about you...

Hi everyone - I apologize for a lack of posts and the Friday Five, but I will get them up ASAP. I'm at a conference and in the middle of a meeting! Hang in there and I will post comments to my usual reads as soon as I can! Love to everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I can do all things in him

It has been some time since I have posted a purely spiritual entry, so I thought a return to one today might do me (and hopefully others) well. During morning prayer today, I came accross the reflection I can do all things in him who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). The reflection led me to Psalm 144(1-10), and it was so encouraging to me after a rough and axious day on Monday. Psalm 144 goes:

Blessed be the Lord, my rock
who trains my arms for battle,
who prepares my hands for war.
He is my love, my fortress;
he is my stronghold, my savior,
my shield, my place of refuge.
He brings peoples under my rule.

Lord, what is man that you care for him,
mortal man, that you keep him in mind;
man, who is merely a breath,
whose life fades like a passing shadow?

Lower your heavens and come down;
touch the mountains; wreathe them in smoke.
Flash your lightnings; rout the foe,
shoot your arrows and put them to flight.

Reach down from heaven and save me;
draw me out from the mighty waters,
from the hands of alien foes
whose mouths are filled with lies,
whose hands are raised in perjury.

To you, O God, will I sing a new song;
I will play on the ten-stringed harp
to you who give kings their victory,
who set David your servent free.

Whether you are a Christian, or a Muslim, or an athiest, or a Hindu, or Jew, I am positive that at some point in our lives we have felt embattled, tortured, unfairly accused and ridiculed. This psalm speaks to the hope we can have in such situations, for there is always refuge if we look. For the faithful, that refuge is in God. For the unbeliever, perhaps it is in someone else. In God there is such unconditional love that he can reach down from heaven and save us, he can be our love and fortress.

There are days, like yesterday, where I was so tired, so frustrated, so weary of work and life that I did not know where to go, who to turn to, or what to say. It is during those times that I must remember to have faith, for through faith all things are possible. I must remember that I am not unworthy, even though I am a sinner, for Christ's death and resurrection has washed me clean in the blood of the lamb. In times of difficulty I must turn to the Lord in my sinfulness, and through his mercy and my repentence find comfort, shelter, and love.

Have a great day everyone!
Peace and Love,

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monday Mornings and Federal Ignorance

I posted on the topic of government idiocy in relation to the recent federal tobacco case, but a news story in the Washington Post this morning confirms my distaste for this particular administration. I detest being lied to, and I detest a government that puts its own interests ahead of the interests of the people due to immorality and improper allegiances.

According to an expert testifying in the tobacco case, he was instructed by federal lawyers to water down his testimony, something the career lawyers working on the case felt strongly against. His penalty for refusing to do so would result in his not testifying at all in the trial. Thankfully, he held his moral ground and he was placed on the stand anyhow. Read more about his testimony here. This is a perfect example of government functioning in a moral vacuum, devoid of principle. What right has the government to threaten its citizens in our courts?


In other news, I did have a fantastic weekend, spent mostly relaxing and watching a movie here and there. I did come into work a bit yesterday, and made a long useless drive to York, PA, but otherwise the weekend made up for itself in the form of wings and steak at Outback.

Cassie and I spent a good bit of time yesterday talking about the future of our compnay and we believe its future will lie in consulting on assessment as it relates to NCLB, instruction and assessment as schools adapt to shortened budgets and increases in special education, particularly autism, and fiscal responsibility in general, as it relates to pay for peformance, instruction, assessment and test scores. We have some more discussions to have with professionals, honestly, but I think once we have them we can get a better feel for what Cassie should focus on during her studies at Penn and what job might be wise for her to take while there.

Have a good Monday, everyone.

Peace and Love,

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Firday Five and Nonsense

How much evidence do we need to see in order to accept the existence of global warming? Man-made or not, climate change and increased temperatures throughout the world are not a fluke - it is a reality. Why our government would do something like this is beyond me. Shouldn't we be working harder at making the earth a better place to live for ourselves and our children? I suppose though, that when it comes to the almighty dollar, we are willing to sacrifice a great many things for profit. How sad.


The Friday Five

1. What do you wear to bed?

Honestly? Nothing. I sleep naked every day of the year.

2. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

Well, if you're laying on the bed, looking up at the ceiling, I lay on the right hand side :)

3. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?

Absolutely! His name is Kitty. I'm adopted (at four months old) and the first stuffed animal given to my - by an aunt of mine - was this little Kitty. I sleep with him to this day. His green button eyes fell off, so now he has green yarn eyes. My mother tried to sew brown buttons on to replace the green ones, but let me tell you, that ship sailed about as far as the Titanic, thus the yarn. He's also been left in stores, dropped in toilets, and generally abused. He's awesome!

4. Blanket/bed hog?

Not so much - I can be if I fall asleep feeling insecure. Usually I sleep on top of the covers, or with just the bed-spread or a quilt covering me.

5. Do you make your bed everyday?

Yeppers, though I didn't used to in College unless the g/f was coming for a visit :).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Suggestions for the Friday Five

Greetings everyone! Do not forget to send me your suggestions for the Friday Five! You can email them to me at, or leave them in the comments below.

Enjoy the night!


Woo Hoo!!!

Finally! The House stood up for liberty and struck a blow to the Patriot Act! They voted yesterday to curtail the Feds ability to seize library and bookstore records. YES!

This is a major victory for proponents of personal liberty! I am absolutely overjoyed that conservative republicans, worried about government intrusion defected to vote bi-partisan on this issue.

It is about time we gain some of our rights and freedoms back from a government willing to sacrifice liberty for safety! If you want to read more, check out this article. It's from the Post, and I know that Bush says he will veto anything that comes through the legislature that weakens the Patriot Act, but this is a wonderful thing! Joy to all those that believe in personal freedom and liberty!


I read this morning a meditation that argued ambition is one of man's greatest temptations. I know so many addicted to ambition, and I pray that I may not become such a man. I do not want to sacrifice my morality and my values for some future which will leave me hollow, empty, and evil. We need to live deliberately, so that we recognize in our lives that what we have is more than enough. True fulfillment comes from being content with what we have, not from the endless quest to obtain that which we lack!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Weapons and Worship

Any day is a good day when your government decides to spend less money on weapons. You can read more about it at the Washington Post. I am not a fan of this war, for ethical reasons I find it not to be just, so whenever my government decides to spend less money on guns I will support it entirely.



Last night I had dinner with two friends, Dave and Phil. We meet weekly at and share our progress in faith, discussing our growth and development (or setbacks!) in holiness, formation, and evangelization. For me, I had a very powerful moment of holiness. Two weeks ago, when my anger so consumed me that I took pure joy and ecstasy from fury, I committed a mortal sin by willfully turning my back on God. Soon after that, I resolved that I should seek Reconciliation. Well, as we have all experienced the days got away from me and with mere minutes to go before Mass, I realized I had yet to go for the Sacrament! Therefore, I did not partake of the Eucharist that day, by choice.


Please do not get me wrong, I love the Eucharist and need it to survive, but I knew that I would have been disrespecting the Lord and all the Church by receiving him that morning. And as I stood there during Communion, I had an amazing revelation – the Lord’s mercy is so great that he has instituted for us such beautiful sacraments, so that when we do commune with him we may do so fully and completely. Through reconciliation, we must fully embrace our humanity, as Christ did, in order to join him and all the Church in Communion.


A wonderful revelation!




On a side note, if any of you have ever wanted to read the entire Bible, but found yourselves becoming stuck, or not having enough time to invest, I have a year long schedule that you can use to read only a few verses every day (each day from a different section, to spice up your reading). On Sundays, you read from the Pentateuch, on Mondays from the Pentateuch and Histories, on Tuesdays the Psalms, on Wednesdays the Wisdom books, on Thursdays the Prophets, on Fridays the Gospels and Acts, and on Saturdays the Epistles. If you want a copy, email me – it is in excel format.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Well, it is lunchtime here at the College, and I have taken it upon myself to spend it updating my journal and pray a bit to recharge my batteries.

For some reason, my thoughts are troubled today. I do not want to be melodramatic and claim some foreboding sense of doom, but I feel bothered. Perhaps it is my overwhelming project list , or maybe it is the endless stream of bills in my mailbox, but really, I think it has to do with two things: Father's Day and an acquaintance of mine.

For those of you not in the know, I talked last with my parents and on New Year's Day. When I have the courage myself, I will post the full story, but for now let us simply say that both Mother's Day and Father's Day have been bad for my anxiety levels.

As for this acquaintance of mine, it is a strange predicament. I would very much like to become good friends with her - she is funny, bright, intelligent, and we share common interests. She would be a good person to know as a friend, but alas, I fear she does not wish the same from me - or at least I think, as she has not returned my latest email. Perhaps it is simply my paranoia (definitely!), or my anxiety (definitely!), but I feel a bit rejected, and nobody I know likes that feeling.

Last night I read out of Joshua and I feel a bit like Achan (see Joshua 7). Maybe my greed to have a new friend blinded me and made me seem too much like a stalker? Either way, the message I took from Achan's story is that when we know the will of God and we turn against the Lord, we take the great risk of imperiling our soul and risking eternal damnation. The Israelites stoned Achan to death. With the new covenant through Christ, we have forgiveness of sins, and I hope to find the humility to ask for that forgiveness when I do turn away from God and become too greedy.


Journal Jar: What do I remember most about being a teenager?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. I am afraid to reveal much about my past, even to people in J-land. I hesitate because discussing all that happened makes it real, not just to those that experienced it, but to everyone else that reads this journal. Let me simply say my teenage years reverberate in my soul with the pain inflicted upon me by others intimately close to me.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Journal Jar catch-up!

Journal Jar Update:

# 63 How do you feel about Doctors and why?

Well, I have no problem going to a doctor - they are the specialist and if they can help me live a longer, healthier life than I am all for their work. I am frustrated by their lack of bedside manner in a modern world where they have only seven to ten minutes with a patient, and I do dislike their reliance on pills to solve problems, but, on the whole, I'd rather be with them than without them!

#64 What was your favorite Sunday activity as a child?

Tough question - Sundays were always work days with my family, and as we were never very close, and always very volatile, it was hard to find something constant that I could love. I loved the smell of new grass after its being cut, or the sweat on my brow after a long day in the sun working. I loved the feel of a cold shower, or dip in the pool after yard-work all day. I loved laying down at night, knowing I had escaped another weekend with my parents and would soon be safe(r) in school.


I am happy to report that this weekend went far better than last. While I did not do much work for Gettysburg, I did spend much time with Cassie as she and I became preparations for our consulting company. We've much work to do - that's for sure!

Jillian and I had a great weekend as well. I think we're making great strides after our blow-up last weekend, and as always, it has to do with being open and communicative, and not at all selfish.

Oh! I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith this weekend - much fun, and I am SO rooting for Team Jolie.

Anyway, perhaps a more political and/or spiritual post to come later today - for now, it's just catch-up time! Enjoy the day and the week.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Friday Five

1. How do you feel about the technology advancements of cloning people and animals?

I am ethically against cloning. To clone one animal there are hundreds of failed attempts, which to me, reek of animal cruelty. As for cloning humans? How selfish have we become that we need to create man? Can we really not accept the crosses we are given to carry in life? Do we need to circumvent illness, suffering, happiness, birth and death? Mankind was created in the image of God and each life is a sacred result of the marriage covenant. It is not our place to create man outside the marriage covenant.

2. If this technology became readily available to all, how do you think this will affect the future of our race?

I would worry for our ability to accept the hardships of life. Cloning offers a false panacea - true learning comes from participating in the full range of the human experience.

3. If your much loved pet died and cloning was available, would you elect to have your pet cloned? What about family and friends?

Of course not! Those people are unique and their clones could never fill my memory or create the same experiences in my life - and for that matter, why would I want to try and recreate what was to be unique and special in the first place. Their passing opens the doors to new relationships with others!

4. Would your family have your consent to be cloned? Why or why not?

See above :)

5. If you had the authority to clone any person no longer alive, who would it be any why?

I wouldn't do it! There are greater spiritual issues at stake, such as that person's soul and their place in God's plan - it is not for us to create life - life is sacred, and not ours to create via cloning!

Add your own answers to the Friday Five in your journal and link via the comments below! You can also post your answers in the comments box. If you would like to contribute a set of questions for the Friday Five, email me at!


Journal Jar Question of the Day: What did your grandfather's do for a living?  Did your grandmothers work?

A good question. I come from a railroad family - in fact, I am the first male of any generation to graduate from College and not spend time on the railroad working. I am the IV in my line on my Dad's side and his father worked for the city and the transportation department. On my mother's side, her father was a conductor on the Metro North line out of NYC. My mom's mother worked to raise seven kids on one pay-check. That's work enough, considering her husband was abusive! My Dad's mother had to work (she was the manager of a stockroom for a company in Danbury, CT) because her husband died when my father was seven. She worked up well into her sixties.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

What the heck?

Why is it that we have such inane political deadlock over issues that have a clear right and a clear wrong?


My politics aside I have become so frustrated with politics. There is a wonderful book on the market titled Moral Courage by Rushworth M. Kidder. He makes the claim that in the Information Age, in the age of rationalism and communication physical courage is no longer the dominate trait most needed in men and women to survive.

Instead, he argues that we need moral courage to do what is right without the fear of persecution for making ethical decisions that we believe true. This is not to be confused with people that rationalize their decisions and hide behind a 'fiction' of right and wrong. This book makes the case that there are certain human traits valued by all people, such as trust and loyalty, and that all decisions are black and white - it is we that choose to make them gray out of fear of being accountable for our ethical decisions.

I agree completely - we need to examine ourselves and lay stake to our own Moral Courage.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Confused and Happy

I feel strange, today. I thought much about this past weekend, have talked much with Jillian about our behavior, and today saw my therapist where we discussed this weekend (amongst the other hair-raising adventures of my life) and coming out of it I am both scared and hopeful.

I fear that I will become more and more like my mother as I fight to fix what she did to me as a child and young adult. I am hopeful that by confronting all that is broken within me that I will become whole and happy. It is a strange sensation. Of course that could be the klonopin I take after therapy to lessen my anxiety, and not any fantastic revelation about life.

I said morning prayer today, before getting out of bed. That's an abnormality for me - I usually say it at work - and I feel really good about starting my day that way. There is something comforting in opening the day and morning with God. In reading from the old testament last night, specifically Joshua leading the Israelites into the promised land, I came accross a line that truly resonated within me: Be firm and Steadfast.

That is what we are called to be at all times - to be firm and steadfast in what we believe. Fear and doubt are poison designed to drive us from our convictions and what we know to be morally right and true. Fear and doubt lead us to betray our conscience and take an easier road, even if it is one we wish not to tread. So today, coming off therapy, I say, "be firm and steadfast."

My journal jar answer:
#61: How do you feel about death? What is your philosophy of the "after life?" Well, at the moment death scares the crap out of me. I fear that I am too much like the rich man that approached Jesus and said, "Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?" When Jesus tells him about the commandments, and to follow them, the man says, "All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions. I fear that I am that man, and I do not want to die until I do all I am called to do for God. I believe in Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory - I'm a good Catholic - and I believe that God's mercy is great and that none of us have the right to judge others regarding the status of their soul upon death. Our fate after death is a matter between ourselves and God only - not each other.

I invite discussion with those that believe differently than I, on any of the above statements. I'm interested in hearing other ideas and beliefs - not to persecute but to listen, analyze, and become informed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

The Weekend

What happened to me this weekend?

I invited many friends back to Gettysburg for reunion weekend, I made special effort to pay attention to my wife, I worked hard to be quiet and calm and still, and somehow my life went sideways.

My wife and I fought in furious anger unriveled by any previous fight.

My friends witnessed the darkest side of my personality and wondered who I had become.

I gave myself over to evil for the sheer joy in making others suffer

I broke hearts

I acted like my mother

I hate myself for this weekend, but hope in myself for making the right decisions to keep it from ever happening again.

I hate Alumni Weekend - it always makes my life hell - or I let it make my life hell.

Tell about a favorite childhood vacation

My favorite vacation as a child came when my family joined forces with our good friends from Brooklyn and we spent a week in the Pocono's in a cabin. I stayed in pajamas for a week, ate like a king, and played a wicked game of monopoly with my good friend Kristina. I'm talking about the kind of monopoly game that lasts for days and your entire future hinges on who gets three hotels on Boardwalk. It also helps that I had a huge crush on Kristina at the time and I swore she would be the gal I married. Such fun :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Deep Breaths

I had to take a moment here, right before lunch, to pause and reflect on my day. So many obstacles have been thrown in front of me, and so many tasks have lain upon my shoulders, and I responded by throwing myself forward into my work. I forgot to pray.

Some might find that silly, but to me, prayer is a way to stop my mind from racing, to help me refocus and to lay down all my obstacles and challenges at the foot of the Cross and ask for help. I find perspective in prayer. It helps me realize that I will do the very best I can, but that I am meant to do no more. I will use the tools given to me, but I will not sacrifice that which is more important for the tasks of daily life. Peace of mind and heart and soul are far more important than a ‘to-do’ list.

In morning prayer today, one of the antiphons struck me: My lips will praise you, Lord, for sweeter than life is your merciful love.

That message lifted me up and stripped me of all anxiety. This life is nothing compared to God’s merciful love. All the stress I surround myself with and take upon myself is such foolishness when placed in its proper context. Give glory to God, for he is great!