Friday, July 29, 2005

Question 76, Question 4, the Friday Five, and a Little Reflection!!!

Good morning, everyone! We've got a grab bag of topics to cover this morning, so let's get right to it!

Journal Jar Question 76 ~ Personality traits ~ What Personality Trait do you admire the most?

This is a very hard question to answer. There are so many traits that make a person who they are, and unconditional love means that you appreciate all of them, regardless of what they are or how they influence that person. Still, I will admit that there are values that I prize more than others. These would be: Loyalty, Compassion, Honesty, Moral Courage, Patience, Gratitude, Beauty, Education, Faith, Respect, and Sincerity. I find these traits most often in people of good heart and mind. To me, people with these traits are those that enrich your life and give you spirit to take heart and follow their example.


20 Questions, an activity between TrickeyTricky and I - Question 4: What is your most prized material possession, and why?

This is a tough question, but I think my most prized material possession would be my Bible. Here's how I came up with this answer. If I were stuck on a desert island, with nothing but food and water, and would be there forever, and could have only one thing, I think the Bible would help the most. It would inspire, soothe, and strengthenme...and let's face it - it takes a while to read!


The Friday Five

1. What was your first job?

I was a bag boy, believe it or not, and I worked for a local grocery store called the Washington Food Market. It was the only joint in town, tiny, and charged a fortune for just about everything. I also worked in produce while there...and man, I loved that. Seriously. I loved working in produce, learning about so many fruits, vegetables, spices and how to prepare and clean them. What makes a great vegetable, what gives a fruit distinct taste. It was awesome! And, the icing on the cake...I met my future wife there!

2. How much did you make?

Peanuts! I started at minimum wage, which I think at the time was $4.75? I know I worked at increments of $5.15, $5.25, and $5.50 before I left there, but let's just say it wasn't a six figure salary!

3. Describe your least favorite co-worker of all time.

This person irritated me constantly and tested my patience every day. She was a gossip, spread malicious rumors, was rude, impolite, self-centered, dissatisfied with her job, cranky, and amazingly self-serving. She is the definition of self-absorbtion.

4. What is your dream job?

To be an educational consultant, helping to integrate technology into school districts and curriculum

5. What do you currently do and do you like it?

Currently I am a fundraiser for a College in Gettysburg, PA and I love it very much. It's challenging, fast paced, pressure-inducing, and I work with a fabulous team. We're dynamic, silly, and dedicated!



I read this verse in 1 Kings 17 today:

Taking the child, Elijah brought him down into the house from the upper room and gave him to his mother. "See!" Elijah said to her, "your son is alive." "Now indeed I know that you are a man of God," the woman replied to Elijah. "The word of the Lord comes truly from your mouth."

This passage jumped out at me this morning because so often we fail to realize the power of our words. What we say, how we say it, to whom we say it, when we say it, and so many other things impact the way our words are received by those around us.

We cause such great joy, love, happiness, sorrow, pain, and suffering with our words that we can scar people for a lifetime or inspire them to great heights. Our words have such power. Do you think about that? The power of your word? It is the expression of your will, your personality and your morals. It is the chosen expression of the self and the outright presentation of your character.

Do we choose our words carefully? Deliberately? Do we choose to attack with our words, slicing through the heart and soul of others to scorchthem where it is most painful, or do we encourage them and lift them up, buoying them with our sincere and loving comments? We are known by our words. I know that too frequently my heart is black and I spew forth vomit and hatred from my mouth, scarring the landscape and people around me with detestable language. I am still two-faced in my words, and I yearn to be a man of love and compassion. Let us all be as Elijah was, even if we are not of faith, so that people will know we are of great moral strength, and that our words are words of light, hope, and love!

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Though young men faint and grow weary, and youths stagger and fall, They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles' wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.

In difficult days, when we find ourselves staggering, falling, succumbing to the trials in our life and failing to be the person we most desperately wish to be, I find myself turning to this passage from Isiah 40 over and over again.

There is such dichotemy in this passage - those that faint ande grow weary, stagger and fall, and those that soar and run, and are free of burden and sin.

It seems so simple, doesn't it? Those that soar free from their burdens have hope. Hope in God and their Lord that gives them strength to carry on no matter what trials or tribulations they face.

Do you have that hope? When you face difficulty, persecution, depression, anger, failure, fear, do you have hope? In someone? Something? Where do you find your hope? Does it set you free from burden? Does it lift your cross from your shoulders and allow you to walk free? As you reach out from the dust and dirt of a hardscrabble road, cut and bruised from your fall, does your hope set your soul afire with honesty and love? How do you sustain your hope?

For me, I find my peace and hope in God, when I've courage enough to surrender my will and ask him for help and assistance. Where does your peace come from?

A little Church Humor

Hysterically funny, check out a little church humor over at HEY, I'M COUNTRY!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Unity and Question 3

I read this today in the 1st book of Kings, 11: 38

If, then, you heed all that I command you, follow my ways, and please me by keeping my statutes and my commandments like my servant David, I will be with you. I will establish for you, as I did for David, a lasting dynasty; I will give Israel to you.

I find this reading particularly encouraging. God is willing to make great those who follow his statutes and commandments, as David did. What I find particularly challenging about this reading is that so many of us, myself included have a tough time with two particular issues: accepting God's unconditional love for us, and following all the rules and commandments, even those we do not like.

To not accept God's love is to reject him and yourself, for we were formed in his image and created by His will. To willingly ignore his commandments and precepts is to announce to God, "I will not believe what you ask me to believe. And as you are all good and perfect, I choose to follow that which is not good and perfect."

How strange, isn't it, that we do these things? How silly are we for being so stubborn and refusing to submit our will to God's.

Oh, I know, there are people that say the Church and its teachings are arcahaic, out of date, and wrong, but if you believe in the Holy Spirit, then the teachings of the Church are truth, as the Church's true leader is the Holy Spirit, not man. How do I know this? Because our whole lives have been given to Christ through the Holy Spirit. It is what guides our morality....if we let it into our hearts.

Think about this - when we choose to disobey the rules of our religion, we place our own intelligence and limited experience before the Holy Spirit, 2000 years of prayer and reflection, and God himself, saying, that we know better than they.

Doesn't that strike anyone as a little odd?

Of course, if you don't believe in God, or your faith lacks a catechism, there is still a wonderful message here, and that is that God will give to us all manner of wonderful things if we keep his commandments. The covenant is a simple one, but we are so tempted that all too often we choose complexity and shades of gray in favor of a moral right and wrong, black and white.


Question 3, from Amanda at HEY, I'M COUNTRY

Are you a boob or an ass man? Explain your reasoning.
(No pleading the fifth on this one to get out of it.)

Well, to be honest, I'm an ass man. I love a firm, round, large, voluptuous ass. I love to hold it, grab it, look at it, kiss it, smack it (at certain times). I love the way it sways, the way it rocks, the way its hips call out to me and beckon me closer. It begs to be held, caressed, scratched in passion, and frankly, nothing looks better than a great ass in jeans.



Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Question 1:

1.) What are you reading right now? Or what is sitting on your bookshelf waiting to be read?

Well, at the moment I am reading a series of articles by different educators. I know, it sounds boring, but I have to get them read to stay on top of the literature if I'm ever going to get my company off the ground. They are all on how technology is used in the classroom. As for books that I will be reading, I'm all about Gettysburg by Gary Trudeau. It's a fantastic one volume read of the battle.

And my question out to Amanda at HEY, I'M COUNTRY

Question 2

2.) Did you play a musical instrument while growing up, and if so which one, and if not, why not?

I played the violin - I know, shocker. I started playing in third grade and last picked it up when I was just ready to start the tenth grade. That makes it a good seven years or so. I did love to play, but Beethoven's fourth symphony gave me fits and I was not about to sacrifice my social standing in high school to play the violin. Shallow, I know. I wish now, very much, that I had continued playing. I can barely read music anymore!


Monday, July 25, 2005

What type of Blogger are you?

Your Blogging Type is Confident and Insightful You've got a ton of brain power, and you leverage it into brilliant blog.
Both creative and logical, you come up with amazing ideas and insights.
A total perfectionist, you find yourself revising and rewriting posts a lot of the time.
You blog for yourself - and you don't care how popular (or unpopular) your blog is!

Take the quiz at: Blogthings. Courtesy of Patrick's Place

Sunday, July 24, 2005



Trembling with exhaustion,
I turn to you, my Lord, for solace.

Ease my pain and salve my wounds.
In your great strength, give me courage.

Courage to work for the wages of Jacob,
and be content that your will be done.

Rescue me from my fears, Lord,
and set fire to my pride.

Make every breath I take
the Spirit of eternal life,

and my ease my worries upon your chest,
embraced and loved for all my faults.

7-25-05, Charley Dittrich

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Saturday Six

Just back from my brother-in-law's wedding and here are the Saturday Six:

1. Who was your first best friend?  How old were you when you two met?  Are you still in regular contact with each other?

My first best friend? Matt Myles, and we first met when I was three, and sadly we're not in regular contact anymore. :(

2. Other than the "Saturday Six," what weekly or daily memes do you play most often?  (Please give a link to that journal.)

Well, I host the Friday Five, and sometimes I do Tuesday Trivia and the Monday photo shoot.

3. Which of the following likely has the bigger mess underneath it:  your stove, your refrigerator, your couch or your bed?

No doubt: the bed - there are dust dragons underneath that thing. I hear them roaring in the morning and smoke comes out from under the mattress!!!

4. Take
this quiz:  How long does MSN think you'll live?  Then take this one:  How long does Blogthings think you'll live?


Based on your answers to the above questions, your current life expectancy is 82 years. If you're not happy with the result, consider that by adopting a healthier lifestyle and avoiding various risk factors, you can increase your life expectancy by up to 15 years.
Your "ideal" weight for maximum longevity is: 155 lbs.
The three biggest positive factors that you have going for you are:
    1. Diet
    2. Cholesterol level
    3. Education
The two biggest negative factors that you have going for you are:
    1. Gender
    2. Personality type


You Will Die at Age 79
You're pretty average when it comes to how you live...

And how you'll die as well.

5. Do either or both of these motivate you to make any changes in your lifestyle?

No more so than I already do or don't - I'd rather talk to my physician than trust an on-line quiz!

6. Name five things you would like to do by December 31, 2005

Start my educational consulting business
Speak to my parents again
Begin to write my next article
Pride and Prejudice
Help my wife find a new job

Journal Jar and Fulfillment

Question 75 ~ Sing it loud!

The words that speak most to me are from The Boxer, by Simon and Garfunkel - as we all carry the scars that mark our lives.

I am just a poor boy, though my story's seldom told.
I have squandered my resistance,
For a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises.
All lies and jest.
Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

When I left my home and my family I was no more than a boy,
In the company of strangers,
In the quiet of a railway station, runnin' scared.
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters,
Where the ragged people go.
Lookin' for the places, only they would know.

Lie-la-lie ...

Asking only workman's wages I come lookin' for a job,
But I get no offers,
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue.
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome,
I took some comfort there.
Oooh la, la, la ...

And the years are rollin' by me.
They are rockin' evenly.
I am older than I once was, and younger than I'll be.
That's not unusual.
It isn't strange,
After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same.
After changes, we are more or less the same.

Lie-la-lie ...

Then I'm laying out my winter clothes and wishing I was gone,
Going home, where the New York City winters aren't bleedin' me.
Leadin' me, to goin' home.

In the clearing stands a boxer and a fighter by his trade,
And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down,
Or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains.

Lie-la-lie ...

As for faith, I read this during the afternoon:

Romans 13: 9b -10: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law.

Think about that, very carefully. Love does no evil to the neighbor. How many things have I done out of love, or what I felt as love, but really hurt the lives of others. Love, true love, is the fulfillment of natural law. Natural law, and all that we know is right, morally and truthfully.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The hilltop

It has been some time since I've posted on a spiritual topic, but I am moved by a passage I recently read in Matthew 17: 1-7:

After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him. When the disciples heard this, they fell prostrate and were very much afraid.  But Jesus came and touched them, saying, Rise, and do not be afraid. And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone.

Sometimes I feel very much like Peter, in the middle of an amazing spiritual experience, or enjoying a wonderful spiritual high, on the mountain with the Lord, where all is clear and our vision of greater things enhances our love of God, of life, and of all that is right. While this is amazing, and the experience is one that we all enjoy, we are called to take this energy and this faithfullness, to take what we know is right, and bring it into the darker valley where the mountain's light will help us find our way in a darker, more dangerous world.

We are called to visit the mountain for renewal and clarification, but we are required to live our lives in the valley so that we can announce to all what we know as truth. Right and wrong are no less clear in the valley, but it is our human eyes which see shades of gray. May we be as bold as the disciples, who regain their bravery with the touch of God!

The Friday Five

First, thank you to those of you that sent kind comments and emails as a result of yesterday's post. Having not heard from Amanda (and my need to get on the road), here are today's Friday Five.


1. Who was your first best friend?

Matt Myles. We met very early on in school, and he lived just a bike ride down the road. He and i spent nearly every afternoon together for four years, as we explored, rode bikes, played, and just had good old adolescent fun! He was an amazing man, and I am wish we kept in better contact.

2. Who have been some of the most influential people in your life?

The two that come to my mind, right away, are Mr. Putnam and Father DeChico. Mr. Putnam helped guide me through one of the roughest times of my life, and he showed me a path to happiness that I am only now becoming aware of, as I was ready to see what he had to offer. He also inspired in my my love of education and teaching. Fr. DeChico had the courage to tell me  my lack of faith and belief led to my struggles and pain. He told me the choice was simple - say yes, or say no, but refuse to say nothing. I needed him to help hold me accountable. In many ways, I consider him my real Father.

3. Do you usually have one best friend or a lot of close friends?

I usually have a few 'close' friends, but rarely does anyone enter that 'best friend' space in my soul. Why? I am too ashamed of my past to let many in all the way. Some things are better off dead and in the dark.

4. Do you believe people of the opposite sex can be best friends and not lovers?

Yes, of course. I do think that if they are to be close friends a little sexual tension will develop, but the beauty of a true friendship is that they won't let that tension destroy what they've worked so hard to create. At least, if they're not being selfish :)

5. Have you ever fallen in love with a friend?

Of course - who hasn't? She broke my heart, though, and I learned a valuable lesson about loving someone unconditionally without their love in return.


You know what to do! Post replies in the comments below, or in your own journal. Then, when ready, link back to your journal in the comments below.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Long Day

It's 11:00 p.m., and I am tired. Instead of being halfway to Massachusetts today, I am still in Gettysburg. The long story made short is:

- our cat sitter, couldn't cat sit (that's what we get for not asking earlier) so I have to stay an extra day so the kitties can have enough food and water to get through the weekend

- my left front tire blew out last night so I had to change it along the side of the road. I have no idea if I banged up my rims

- I couldn't get power in half the apartment for most of the day

That being said, I realized today how far afield I've strayed from my faith, lately. A hypocrite, for sure.

Somehow, this weekend isn't quite turning out the way I imagined.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Home Alone

Howdy! It's 5:36 on a Wednesday night and I'm feeling a little spunky! Why, you ask? I'm home alone! Oh, don't worry, I'll be good, and I won't get myself in any trouble, but sometimes it's fun to kick back, relax, and let the good times roll! Why is that possible for me on a Wednesday night? Because I have off tomorrow and Friday for a wedding! So, long story made short:

~ Tonight: relax
~ Tomorrow: relax
~ Friday: relax
~ Saturday: Wedding (I actually arrive Saturday)
~ Sunday: relax
~ Monday: relax

My access to email will be on and off. I've asked Amanda over at Hey, I'm Country to make up this week's Friday Five list so she'll be emailing those to me, I hope! In the event that she does email them to me, and I can't get them up on Friday, she'll post them to her site (she doesn't know it yet, but she will!).

If you're looking to reach me, I'm on the road - hit me up on the cell!

Random Image

Me playing the air guitar in front of Hard Rock, Cleveland. I'm one slamma jamma!

Journal Jar Catch-up

Question 72 ~ Describe a typical day in high school:

Well, I would arrive by car (I waited in line hours to get a primo parking space),m and then would hang out with either: my girlfriend at her locker, my buddies at their lockers, or my favorite teachers classroom. Dork? A little, but I was one of those middle of the road kids. I played two sports, but did well academically (in anything NOT related to the sciences or math, anyway). I had friends in most cliques. Lunch was always the best time of the day, and leaving for lunch and/or leaving for study halls was always a delightful treat. After school I would have practice for this or that, and always flirting or messing around with someone. Oh, to be young and self-centered again :)

Question 73 ~ What was your favorite age so far, and why?

Right now is my favorite age. I'm not kidding. I'm 28, don't exercise enough (I do have a little beer gut), don't eat well enough, but I'm happier than I've ever been. Why? Because I finally decided to make my own decisions in life, to take control of my own life, and to have faith in my religion and God. That sounds silly, but I believe most people are afraid to follow a faith or God because they worry about submitting themselves to a mystery larger than human knowledge can comprehend. I'm not rich, I'm debt-ridden, and I live in a tiny apartment. But I'm happy :). Who can ask for more?

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I read this morning about David's flight from Jerusalem as his son persued him for his Kingdom. And when David had the chance to strike down his son's servant he refused, for he dare not strike down one whom the Lord might favor.

He knew that if the Lord favored someone more than him, he had to accept his place and what that might bring.

Do we have such Courage in daily life to accept our place in unforseen challenges?

I often wonder.


Hi everyone,

I am at my conference, and I am going to do the best I can to catch up. First:

Question 71 ~ Describe your wedding, Who was in it? What did everyone wear?
My wife, Jillian, and I had a 10:00 a.m. wedding on a bright sunny day. We had a full Mass with the wedding ceremony, and the local folk group that sang at my church while growing up provided the music. Our priest gave a great homily on realizing that every day in marriage is not a spectacular day. Our party were friends and family from high school and College. It was a fantastic day!

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Friday Five

The Friday Five - Courtesy of Noah103 - I can't pimp his journal, because he never sent me the link!.  

 1. If you only had to choose one, does righteousness fall more under giving pennies to the poor, or asking a rich man to come into your humble apartment (if you had one, of course)?    

Doing the work of God would be righteous, and so I would give pennies to the poor, and then invite him into my house.  

2. Does adaptation to one's surroundings take place through one's actions or one's thoughts?  

Adaptation to one's surroundings takes place through one's actions. What we do is the fruit of our will. While we may be screaming on the inside, people see what is on the outside.  

3. If you were to find the meaning of life how would you use it?  

I would do my best to live it out every day. For me, the meaning of life is to be as Christlike as I can. So, I do my best to live that life to show people there is a way for peace and happiness and morality to co-exist.  

4. Let's say you managed to find, through science, that the human brain had no freewill, and was controlled by a series of chemical reactions rather than a consciousness. Would you continue to search for answers?  

Absolutely, because science has been wrong before, and I believe otherwise. Something isn't true unless you have faith in it!  

5. You find a fossil of a bird buried in the ground by chance as you are digging in your garden. It is so well-preserved that one could see the actual feathers and make out almost every bone. Your young (maybe four-five year old) children come running over to see what you have found, and you decide to bury it back into the ground to keep it safe from them lest they break it. Later on that day, you come to dig it back up to show to your wife, but find that you have misplaced it. After admitting to your wife that you have misplaced the fossil, to the damage of your credibility, you contemplate whether you should have donated the fossil to a museumor kept it on display in your house. Which one would you choose and why, taking the situation into context?    

Well, jealously, I will admit to wanting to keep the bird, but I would have donated it to a museum. It is a gift to more than to myself!  

You know the drill - Either answer in the comments below, or copy and paste to your site, answer, and link back here!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Random Photo :)

My cat, Ulysses, cuddled up with the first stuffed animal I received as a child, Kitty.


Wisdom and Humility

It's been a strange day today. I woke up this morning exhausted, I think because I've started working out at nights on a regular basis, but around 10:00 I all of a sudden found a fountain of energy and I've been going non-stop since then. My task list here at work has gone well and I managed to squeeze in mid-morning prayer, with midday prayer coming in just a few minutes. It's amazing how prayer can help you get through the day.

I am feeling strangely content today. It's almost as if whatever I end up doing is something that helps me feel as if all is OK today, and that nomatter what happens this day will be a good one.

I appreciate that, because I had a night terror last night which woke me up punching my headboard. In the nightmare my father and I fought and I woke just as I was to punch him in the face...thus my assualt on our bed :). Thankfully, Jillian slept right through my pugilism.

I read this today, and it made me smile, and reminded me of just how smart I think I am sometimes, when really, I ought to be far more humble:

"Let not the wise man glory in his widom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches; but rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, knows that I, the Lord, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; for with such am I pleased, says the Lord." ~ Jeremiah 9: 22-23

On a day like today, when everything seems to be flying along in fantastic colors, I do not want to be that wise man, strong man, or rich man that prides himself on his feats and traits. I would rather be the man who recognizes humility as the greater virtue and place my thanks where it belongs. For me, my appreciation and adoration goes to God. For those of us without faith, our appreciation and love might go to loved ones or spouses or family, but the concept is the same.

We are who we are, not because of what we've made for ourselves, or in what esteem we hold ourselves, or how others even see us, but rather we are who we are thanks to those around us and how they've contributed to our lives and made us the people we've become.

I know I struggle with that humility, true humility to accept that I am nothing special, but that all I have are gifts that I must use as best I can. Do you struggle? Are you overcome by ego? Do you take too much pride in what you do? I know I do all the time. It's funny - no matter how many times I've been burned by pride's flame I still refuse to let go of my ego. Ask my wife, every time I get in trouble, or we get in an argument it is because I've forgotten my humility. How do you remain humble? What tricks or practices do you use?


Question 70 - Vacations
Where do you like to vacation, and why?

My wife and I have vacationed at a number of places, but I think our favorite vacation was last year. We borrowed a small R/V and drove to Minnesota to see my brother in law. Along the way we stopped to see baseball games in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, and of course Minneapolis. It was great, as we are both enormous baseball fans!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Be Transformed!

During my morning reading, I foud this passage:

Do not conform yourself to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect.

Last night I was talking with a friend of mine, David, and he and I talked about this very topic. There is so much in our world, in what we are asked to do and how we are asked to compromise our values, that clouds and impairs our focus, vision, and judgement.

One of the reasons I pray the Liturgy of the Hours (seven prayers said throughout the day) is to help me stay focused and to center my day around reflection and peace, not the deadlines creeping up on me, or the goals I have to meet by fiscal year end. I think about the horror and depression I see on the news, or the ever-present ethical depravity of those that suffer and I realize a world focused on itself and not on something greater is a world that suffers from cannibalism.

This passage challenges all of us, regardless of faith or belief, to renew our mind, refocus ourselves so that in the middle of this screaming, blinding, flashing, cacophony we can slow ourselves down, find patience, and make moral and ethical decisions that do not compromise who we are.

Do you compromise too much? I know I do, pretty much every time I open my mouth. I know that I should be kind, generous and patient, and not criticize or be cruel with my words, but I find the opposite much easier. I can nag about my colleagues, embroil myself in ridiculous office politics, and fester in stupid anger over pointless arguments.

How do you find focus? How do you renew your mind to find out what is moral, right, and true?

Monday's Photo Shoot - a day late

Monday's photo shoot instructed us to post a favorite picture of winter. I picked this one because it is a view out my window of where we live in Gettysburg. I like it because of the wet, slick street, the snow and ice laden trees, and that when I look at it I feel the persistence of winter rise up in me. I love winter - it is my favorite season. It is constant, driving, unyielding, and I enjoy that about the season, the way the cold ice-filled air bites at my lungs, and how my fingers go numb at their tips. Wonderful!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Open for Discussion

It has been a strange last few days. In this journal, I have refrained from posting 'rants' or detailed personal information - for the most part - because I want it to be a place where people feel as if their presence in this community is valued and that their contributions are not only important, but crucial. I also want this journal to be a place where all people can feel safe to voice themselves, while at the same time not be afraid to discuss universal concepts of morality/religion/right & wrong.

I mention this only because I want people to realize that this site is not intended to preach, but rather provoke discussion. I will attempt to do better in future posts to encourage civil and intelligent conversation.

My day today has been strange. I came in to work today expecting a tough meeting with my supervisor, only because I fell behind in some work, but instead found myself treated to a pleasant and collegial discussion. In part, I think I need to be calmer, more relaxed, and less worried about being judged by my supervisor. She is very good at what she does, determined, and fair. I need not worry, she will treat me well. At any rate, for today's reflection, see below.


In my prayer this morning, I recited the verse, "Help us to begin this day joyfully in your name and to spend it in loving service of you and our fellow man."

That sounds simple, but I know it is something I find so hard to do. Whether you believe in God or not, we cannot do wrong by spending our days in loving service of our fellow man. To serve is a naturally humble act, and in the course of developing humility we set aside pride, prejudice, and selfishness in favor of quiet dedication and a spirit of loving sacrifice.

I find doing this a distinct challenge. Do you? Are you able to spend your days focused on loving service of your friends, family and neighbors? I find myself too trapped by the world on some days, sucked into and endless barrage of tasks, projects, meetings and discussions. By the time I arrive home at night it can be a chore to even be charitable to my wife, who certainly deserves it. I find loving service very rewarding when I can devote my day to it, but I struggle in making it a priority in my character. How does loving service of others fit into your life?

Talk with you all soon,

Friday, July 8, 2005

Buddy Lists, Friday Five, etc

The Friday Five

1. How much money is in your wallet right now?
Um, sadly, $0
2. How much money would you need in the bank to feel secure? Rich?
A couple thousand bucks - rich? Nowadays? I would need over a million dollars. Inflation is a real killer!
3. If someone gave you $100, no strings attached, what would you do with it?
Pay bills!
4. If someone gave you $1 Million, no strings attached, what would you do with it?
Pay off my debts, buy a house, and make sure my church has no debt for a very long time.
5. How much does something have to cost before it starts counting as "real" money, as a purchase to be considered and evaluated, but below which you'll buy without really thinking about it?
Anything over $50.00 - what can I say, I work for a non-profit institute of higher education - I make beans!

You know what to do! Answer the questions in comment form below, or in your own journal and link back to them here! Let's get this trend moving!



How many buddies are on your list? 29 Regular Buddies, 39 Recent Budies

What If Your Spouse had 200 buddies on there list?  Well, I used to have 200+ buddies on my list, but then again, I used to be a teacher and I gave my IM address to my students so they could message me for extra help if I was online. As a result, I had over 200 buddies.

What If they had 154 buddies left and said they erased some of them? Eh, if they do a lot of chatting, and I know who the people are, no big deal...if there are people I don't know, I would expect an honest answer about who they are and how he/she got to know them.

Is there a reason why a peron would have so many? Of course - see above!

What If they hide the buddie list so you can not see? That's a trust issue, right there, on both people's parts - one for looking, the other for hiding. I mean this is Instant Messenger for goodness sakes, not a persons pass port or social security number. Let's not get too possessive over an IM buddy list!

*taken from "Life and Lessons"


(  ) smoked a cigarette 
(  ) crashed a friend's car
(  ) stolen a car
(X) been in love
(x) been dumped
(x) shoplifted
(  ) been fired
(X) been in a fist fight 
(x) snuck out of your parent's house
(x) had feelings for someone who didnt have them back
(  ) been arrested
(X) lied to a friend
(X) skipped school And regret it now
(  ) seen someone die
(  ) had a crush on one of your internet friends.
(x) been to Canada
(x) been to Mexico
(x) been on a plane
(x) purposely set a part of yourself on fire
(  ) eaten Sushi
(X) been skiing
(X) met someone in person from the internet
(x) been moshing at a concert
(X) taken painkillers
(X) love someone or miss someone right now
(X) laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by
(x) made a snow angel
(X) had a tea party
(X) flown a kite
(X) built a sand castle
(x) gone puddle jumping
(x) played dress up
(x) jumped into a pile of leaves
(X) gone sledding
(X) cheated while playing a game
(x) been lonely
(X) fallen asleep at school
(  ) used a fake id
(X) watched the sun set
(x) felt an earthquake
(x) touched a snake
(X) slept beneath the stars
(X) been tickled
(X) been robbed
(X) been misunderstood
(X) petted a reindeer/goat
(X) won a contest
(x) run a red light
(  ) been suspended from school
(X) been in a car
(x) had braces
(X) had deja vu
(x) danced in the moonlight
(X) liked the way you look
(X) witnessed a crime
(X) questioned your heart
(x) been obsessed with post-it notes

(x) squished bare foot through the mud
(X) been lost
(X) been to the opposite side of the country
(X) swam in the ocean
(x) felt like dying
(x) cried yourself to sleep
(X) played cops and robbers
(  ) recently colored with crayons
(x) sung karaoke
(x) paid for a meal with only coins 
(X) done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(X) made prank phone calls
(X) laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose
(x) caught a snowflake on your tongue
(x) danced in the rain 
(x) written a letter to Santa Claus**
(x) been kissed under a mistletoe
(x) watched the sun rise with someone you care about
(X) blown bubbles
(  ) made a bonfire on the beach
(x) crashed a party
(X) gone rollerskating
(X) had a wish come true
(  ) worn pearls
(x) jumped off a bridge(I jumped off a cliff?)
(  ) ate dog/cat food 
(  ) told a complete stranger you loved them
(x) kissed a mirror
(X) sang in the shower 
(x) had a dream that you married someone
(x) glued your hand to something
(  ) got your tongue stuck to a pole
(  ) kissed a fish
(X) sat on a roof top
(X) screamed at the top of your lungs
(  ) done a one-handed cartwheel
(x) talked on the phone for more than 6 hours
(X) stayed up all night
(x) didnt take a shower for a week
(x) pick and ate an apple right off the tree
(x) climbed a tree
(  ) had a tree house
) are scared to watch scary movies alone 
(X) believe in ghosts
(  ) have more then 30 pairs of shoes
(  ) worn a really ugly outfit to school just to see what others say 
(x) gone streaking
(x) doorbell ditching
(x) played chicken
(X) pushed into a pool/hot tub with all your clothes on
(X) broken a bone
(x) been easily amused
(X) caught a fish then ate it
(x) caught a butterfly
(X) laughed so hard you cried
(X) cried so hard you laughed
(X) cheated on a test
(  ) have a Britney Spears CD
(X) forgotten someones name
(X) French braided someones hair
(X) gone skinny dippin in a pool
(x) been threatened to be kicked out of your house
(x) been kicked out your house

1) Are you currently married or involved with a significant other? Give specifics and length of time that you have been with that person.

 Yes, I'm married and have been with my wife, Jillian sinse May 2000.

2) Where did you meet your significant other? 

She was the cashier and I was the bag boy at a local grocery and we met in 1993.

3) What is your anniversary or special day of ANY kind and what did you do on that day with your significant other?

My anniversary is May 27, we were engaged on October 9, and we started dating February 6.

4) What is the nicest thing that a person that you are or have been involved with has done for you?

She loves me unconditionally.

5) Do you have a special song or movie or place with your significant other?

Song........"Amazed" by Lonestar (me too, Jessica! It was our wedding song)

*from Jessica's Thoughts and Feelings


Wow - a long day and a long post. I'll spare you the drama of my day, though it I have to say it is more than just a tad annoying when you are expecting a nice slow day and instead suffer through a crazy day of meetings and nonsense.

blech - no need to start the weekend on such a depressing and dispiriting note!

I read this today: Your inmost being must be renewed, and you must put on the new man ~ Ephesians 4:23-24

In keeping with the ecumenical non-denominational spirit of my blog (I'm Catholic, by the way), what I love about this sentence is that so often we become bogged down in life - by our days, by our struggles, by certain individuals or illnesses, or even by ourselves and the traumas we experience in moments of emotional, mental, or physical sensitivity - but there is always a way out, a brighter side, a better way to do things, if we have the courage to change.

It's not easy to create such inner change. It takes honest reflection, patience, a willingness to accept all our weaknesses as integral parts of our personality,and constant dilligence to strive continually to become all that we are born to be.

I don't know about you, but such a tall order is something beyond just my doing! For me, I turn to God and my church. For others, it's a good friend or spouse. I sincerely believe that true change can only be affected with the help of others, for if we attempt to do so by ourselves.....we are alone, and what is the point of a life lived alone?

Me? My inmost being must be renewed, and I must put on a new man, but I must do so, so that the life I live with others is better for it.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and talk to you soon.


Thursday, July 7, 2005


If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink ~ John 7:37

I know that people of different faiths and religious background read my journal, and I know that some of my readers do not believe in a higher being at all, but people, I think, share common values and common social mores and values. Among these is a willingness to serve and help others.

While Christ speaks literallly of himself in this passage, as the wellspring of eternal life, there is a useful message for all of us in his words. Are we a life gving well for others, or do we waste time being hurtful, self-centered, and petty.

I, for one, wish I were more of the former, as opposed to the latter, but sadly that is not the case. In an age where violence and terror drive men, women, and children to extrememes, all too frequently we turn a blind eye and close ourselves off from others.

To what end? For what purpose? A well, if not used, becomes stagnant, poluted, tepid, and full of disease. So must we, therefore, be careful stewards of the wellsprings of our own souls, values, and ideals. We must not hoard them for our own selfish ends, but share them with others so that through shared purpose and common goodness we make our own small environment a better place to live, learn, and practice our faith, whatever it may be.

As Christ is the wellspring of my soul, let me be the wellspring for others, not to give eternal life, but to share the glory of the good news and encourage others to drink from the Lord's cup.

Failing that, let me be a wellspring of good virtue to set an example for others of every faith, so that together our religions and faiths grow closer together as we all strive for holiness and goodness!


Question 69

Did you have a bicycle and what was it like?   Tell about riding it.  Where did you go?

I remember my first bicycle well - it was a red Huffy, with a basket and a banana seat. Man, that thing could fly! We used to race down Powder Horn lane and I would always place in the top two or three with that bike (in a good sized neighborhood of kids!). As I aged, I saved up $400 and bought my first mountain bike in 1991. I took that bike over cliffs and down hills, through forests, and actually ended up cracking my head against a rock (thank goodness for the helmet!). Such fun! :)

Question 68

Do you like to go to the symphony, the opera, the theater?  What have you seen and enjoyed the most as far as productions go?

I adore the symphony, the opera and teh theater! I've seen a number of productions, but my favorite has to be swan lake at the Bolshoy theater in Russia. It was glorious! I have never seen anything like it in my life! I would go back again in a second!

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

If you want me to pimp you....and a reminder

Just as an FYI, if you want me to pimp your journal, let me know and I'll add you to my side-bar. Also, the Friday Five makes its return this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

I'm off work for the day and heading home. If no more posts today, I wish you all a relaxing and quiet evening.

Peace and Love,

Song of Songs

I stumbled across a great reading today from Song of Songs, 8:7

Deep waters cannot quench love,
nor floods sweep it away.
Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love,
he would be roundly mocked

I love that phrase, 'deep waters cannot quench love.' Love is a torrent, it is an unstoppable force driven by the need to give yourself unconditionally to another, asking for nothing in return. Love is a rock, like faith, and indeed the two are akin to one another.

The bedrock principle of faith is love, and of love, faith - faith in someone else, faith in the eternal nature of giving oneself entirely without regard or reserve to bind your soul to theirs.

It is love that allows us to believe in something and someone outside ourselves, and in the case of our God, faith in a being that loves us unconditionally and so much that he brought us into creation with the capability to love others and him in return. What a marvelous gift! Floods cannot sweep it away, or deep waters quench it! It is an everlasting fire that purifies all it consumes!

I love! Moreover, by loving I set afire all I love and those I love unconditionally become a consuming flame that can never be extinguished! The only end to love is my own selfishness, when I withhold myself from others.

The love of our God (whomever we worship!) for us is like a burning flame, as is our love for God and one another. Without his love and without our love the world is a cold, lonely place. Do not turn away from such a gift! Embrace the flames of God and of those who love you! Set yourself afire in their unconditional love and in so doing set their world alight with warmth and charity!

Rejoice! Love is freely given and a fire for eternity!

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Question 67 ~ Fathers

Did you and your father share any interests?  Tell about your relationship with him.
Another tough question. My father and I shared two interests, baseball and racing. As we aged and he abused me, or allowed my mother to abuse me, the only thing we really shared together was time, particularly when I played baseball. Even during times when he and I did not speak, baseball would be a time where he would at least be near me and watching. It has been seven months since he and I talked.

Question 65

What is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?
This is a tough question, mostly due to the fact that with the current battle between my parents and I, it is uncertain whether I will celebrate any holiday with them again. To be honest, my favorite holiday is Easter, because it is one my wife and I share together and celebrate here, at our home, in Gettysburg. All other holidays require us to travel and to me, while I enjoy seeing family, there is always something needlessly stressful about the trip.