Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Thank You

As I can't sleep tonight (yay insomnia!), my mind turned to all the wonderful prayers and support of this terrific J-Land community.

Thank you. If you feel undervalued, know that I love and return the prayers you send to me. You are a valued person, truly appreciated and you make a difference in my life every day.

I am in your debt!

With love and peace,


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just life

We're going to spice up this entry a bit today - no reflection, but instead some information:

1. I am now posting in syndicate to a journal for those of you who have moved off site. The link is to the right.

2. Courage has a map! Sign it! The link is in my 'About Me' section. Do it! :) Please?

3. You can see in my about me section that I have affiliated my blog with blogexplosion, blogstreet and others. If you want more traffic, click those banners and sign up. It'll take a bit, but you'll start to see more folks at your site.

4. I am thankful for you all. You are wonderful people.

5. My blogging over the next five or six days is might be sporadic. I am traveling tomorrow to Delaware for work, then Friday to New York and Philadelphia, Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia and/or Washington, D.C., and then Monday in Washington, D.C.. I will return home late Monday night. If I don't see you until then, be well, and I hope all is well!


Monday, November 28, 2005

Am I a mule?

I wonder if I am a mule.

I yearn to live justly and I hope to live rightly, but I am stunned by just how many times I do exactly the opposite.

I think I really am a mule.

Hee-Haw. This weekend, a good friend and I talked about choices and I said, "The road less traveled is so because it's likely the harder path." You know what I am referring to - the Frost poem and the bit about two roads diverging in the wood.

I believe in taking the harder path, when I know it to be right, but the mule in me has a senseless attraction to the well-worn grooves of the bright and 'easy' path.

What good mule would choose the hard path anyway? I know that taking the harder road means a potential lack of carrots, let alone a good time walking, so the comfort of familiar territory is a welcome relief. That's what the easy path is, after all; a way to avoid the difficulties of complicated choices.

I was reading 2 Kings, 17 today and found this (13-15a):

And though the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, "Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statues, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants and prophets," they did not listen, but were as stiff necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the Lord, their God. The rejected his statutes, the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them. The vanity they pursued, they themselves became.

Not so much has changed, I think - for me at least. Is it the same for you?

Christian or not, believer or not, do we know right and choose to hee-haw instead of living up to our own expectations? Sometimes, to that questions, maybe the answer is yes.

However, I think if we look hard enough, we will find all the courage needed to make the right choice and walk the road less traveled, doing what we know to be right and true.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Fighting Fear

The past months have been ones of confusion, fear, distress and sometimes panic. This weekend, insight and clarity unveiled my persistent sadness and my continued weakness. I am not capable of quiet content.

While I may have to work for contentment now and perhaps forever in the future I found a little comfort in a passage this weekend regarding the fear that paralyzes our hearts and turns our blood to ice. The passage is from Luke, 12: 6-9:

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.

Do not be afraid. There is inspiring confidence in those four words. While the theme of Christ's teaching, regardless of what we believe that simple phrase can lead us all to hope and strength. If we are true to ourselves and true to what we know to be right, we have no need to be afraid. We will be vindicated. We will be justified. We will start our hearts beating again in the warmth of love and wisdom. And, we will not be afraid.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

How much is this blog worth - an update :)

Hi gang! We did this a month ago, if you can believe it (October 26, 2005), and at that point this ole blog of mine was worth $34,436.94. Thankfully, she's shown a little appreciation since then, though I'm not sure how much is due to the lovely ad traffic above in my banners. How is your worth? Going up, or coming down? For me, the net gain was $12,984.42

My blog is worth $47,421.36.
How much is your blog worth?

Oh Angelina!

Renee, from AcrylicStains gifted me this fabulous image. I think it's going to become my background very soon :):


What kind of animal eyes are you?

Got this from over at BlahBlahBlah:

You have the eyes of a hawk. You're very much aware
about your surroundings and the situations that
you're in. People can't touch your things
because you would immediately notice what's
been touched or what's missing. You can analyze
people's thoughts and actions quite well.
That's good for you. Don't lose that sharp
vision of yours.

What Animal Eyes Do You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Friday Five! (On Saturday)

Yes, yes, I know it is a day late, but forgive me - I spent yesterday brooding over this whole Thanksgiving holiday.

To play, answer the questions below in your journal and link back, OR just answer in the comments. Next week we'll start a little tradition of listing all the players from the previous week.

Today's Friday (Saturday) Five are courtesy of the folks over at LiveJournal:

p.s. - any artists out there are welcome to donate a tag for the Friday Five ;)

1. On what day do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

Jillian and I celebrate it on the actual day. In the past, we used to split our time between both sets of parents. What a nightmare. We did our own Thanksgiving this year, and it worked out great!

2. How do you traditionally celebrate this food filled holiday?

Well, we do it with all the traditional fixin's, and the one absolute of the holiday is we MUST watch Home Alone. That cannot change.

3. How do you like your stuffing cooked (in the bird, separately in a dish, store bought, etc.)?

Well, Jillian made a fantastic cornbread stuffing this year that tastes GREAT mixed in with your potatoes and gravey. YUMMY!

4. What is your favorite dessert to eat on Thanksgiving and who makes it?

My mom does make a wicked apple pie.

5. Can you name five things you are thankful for?

I cheated - did this entry last night - see below

Friday, November 25, 2005

Truly Thankful


I had the luxury these days past to read many journals and I saw so many wonderful entries about countless blessings and gifts, all of which written by truly appreciative people.


But that's not me. I'm not thankful. Really. As I ate Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, I thought about all the things I should be thankful for, and I am, but I'm not thankful. I'm  not someone who lives his life with that awareness.


I am not someone that can make a Thanksgiving entry. I don't live out my thankfulness like these other authors do, and I barely find time to even reflect on all that I've been given. These others, thought, they live out their thankfulness and they are the real reason we have Thanksgiving. For them, Thanksgiving is a chance to scream from a mountaintop what they sing softly in sincere words everyday. They have hearts of thanksgiving, and they are blessings.


And so, in a spirit of thanksgiving and appreciation for them, I list them below:


Gem: One of the first people who I met in J-Land, she is my original inspiration for starting Courage

Laura: Is the mother I wish I had when growing up

Nancy: Teaches me what it means to be something special, everyday

Bethany: Has shown me what a well-lived life is like, even when facing many difficulties

Dawn: Is pure inspiration. She is the true spirit of Thanksgiving

Courtenay: helps me find my voice when I have none

Deb: Her steadfast determination and belief are a lodestone for me

Amanda: Shows me what it is to be a real person

Rebecca: Is a muse whose passion for writing teaches me to think

Jessica: A soul whose life has taught me to reach out

Kate: One of my first readers, she lives life the way I wish I did

Lelly: My courage is nothing to hers

Rach: Her faith journey is a roadmap in the wilderness

Patrick: Is the kind of man I hope to become

Betty: Is a traveler of life whose knowledge is irreplaceable

Michelle: Speaks and lives the truth as she believes it to be, a rare gift in a cynical world.


These are just a few of the people who live Thanksgiving. There are many others out there whose writing inspired me to put up this post. Thank you to all of you and please forgive me for not making a full list - it is 2:41 a.m., after all!


To them, and everyone listed above, thank you for making this holiday not one day but an integral part your souls. If you don't already, get to know them.


As for myself, I hope that I learn what it means to be thankful this coming year, so I can express myself every day in a way that reflects appreciation for all that I have, whether good or bad.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Weekend Assignment - Oh that Maria

Weekend Assignment #87: Answer one or more of the following musical conundrums:

1. Who let the dogs out?
2. Why do fools fall in love?
3. If birds can fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why, can't I?
4. Do you hear what I hear?
5. How do you solve a problem like Maria?
6. How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?
7. Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?
8. How long has this been going on?
9. I want to know, have you ever seen the rain? (Alternately: Why does it always rain on me?)
10. Does anybody really know what time it is?

(Yes, you can have silly answers. In fact, I encourage them!)

Extra Credit: Pose your own musical question


I choose number 5:

After a quick search on Maria, I discovered that in fact, we are all being called to travel to Brazil. Shocking, I know, but it appears that Maria has every desire to inculcate us and sabotage our minds with Brazilian pop culture. She even has a monkey on her back - literally! The scandal of it!

Upon further investigation, it seems that Maria has been at this deadly game for over a decade, starting her page in early 1995. This woman is vengeful indeed. She is clearly determined and will not rest until we all visit Fernando do Noronha. The shame.

To bring and end to Maria and her dastardly plan, I of course searched for solve. I discovered that the only remedy to Maria is an automated crystallographic structure solution for MIR, SAD, and MAD. I have no idea what that is, so I quickly resolved myself to search for problem.

It quickly became clear to me that Maria's sole weakness, her Achilles heel, is mathematics. If you can solve the Math Forum geometry problem of the week, Maria's vicious leech like culture-kililng will come to naught. I urge you: find that other angle.</P

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I have become portent to many


So much has been happening lately in all our lives, that this passage spoke to me tonight:

Psalms, 71: 4-8

My God, rescuse me from the powre of the wicked, from teh clutches of the violent. Youare my hope, Lord; my trust, God, from my youth. On you I depend since birth; from my mother's womb you are my strength; my hope in you never wavers. I have become a portent to many, but  you are my strong refuge! My mouth shall be filled with your praise, shall sing your glory every day.

With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner I owe all of my readers such a tremendous show of gratitude. This has been a difficult time for me, and you have all been nothing but supportive. So many emails, comments, and messages showing support and faith in me, and even calling out to me to continue sharing my thoughts.

I see my God and my faith in you, and regardless of your faith or belief in God, I hope you see your strength and hope in me - for what you do for me I hope to do for you. My hope in you has never wavered, and I ask for the chance to be hope for you. You are all gifts, and each of  you has brought something different, but sorely needed, to the table of my life; let us sit in fellowship and love and enjoy the bouthy of our hard work, love and support.

You are a gift, and I am in your debt. Thank you for all you've done and for who you are - lights in the darkness and a path pointing to righteousness.

Prudence the Pilgrim

Your Thanksgiving Costume Is

Prudence the Pilgrim
Who Should You Be For Thanksgiving?

How can you not love me as Prudence? :)


Your Eyes Should Be Gray

Your eyes reflect: Intensity and drive

What's hidden behind your eyes: A sensitive soul

What Color Should Your Eyes Be?

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Oridnary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.
What Part of Thanksgiving Are You?

Monday, November 21, 2005

True Wisdom is Loving Unconditionally

1 Kings, 10: 7-9

Though I did not believe the report until I came and saw with my own eyes, I have discovered that they were not telling me the half. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report I heard. Happy are your men, happy these servants of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom. Blessed be the Lord, your God, whom it has pleased to place you on the throne of Israel. In his enduring love for Israel, the Lord ahs made you king to carry out judgment and justice.

Of the many themes in this small passage, I latched onto God's love for Israel. Our little journaling community has received a beating this past week, and I am unsure if it will bounce back. I feel like the queen of Sheba, not believing the reports I have heard. What strikes me though is that regardless of what we have seen this past week, there is still so much love among readers and writers. There is still community, and that is inspiring.

The Queen of Sheba saw clearly that Israel benefited from Solomon's reign, but she saw, in wisdom of her own, that God's love for Israel gave Solomon his strength. Whatever our faith or creed, whether we belive in God or not, it is impossible to conquer true unconditional love, and we can be blessed and rewarded if we carry that love to others.

It is a challegen, as selfishness is always beckoning, but unconditional lvoe is so sweet, so fulfilling, that I like to think we have a chance at making a normal day something special - a day where the reports people hear aren't even half accurate - that our love and satisfaction is so great we touch the hearts of everyone we meet.


As for my civil disobedience against AOL, I am contemplating several steps to help affect change - stay posted. Ideas are forthcoming!


P.S. - Don't forget to sign my J-Land map! Link in my profile to the left!

Pressured Morning

Pressured morning
and I retreat

From the honking
horns of brain traffic;

To the quiet solitude
of white porcelain;

For the chance
at a fresh, calm start;

Hoping to review
renew, re-start my day;

In harmony.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The salt of our inner purification

Good morning J-Landers!

Though it's technically still Sunday, I'm trying to get a head-start on the week. Today's reflection comes from Leviticus:

Leviticus, 2: 13

However, every cereal offering that you present to the Lord shall be seasoned with salt. Do not let the salt of the covenant of your God be lacking from your cereal offering. On every offering you shall offer salt.

It seems simple, doesn't it, this basic requirement for a cereal offering to God? After a good bit of reflection, this passage appears much more complex than I originally thought. Some context:

Salt was a precious and valuable commodity in the ancient world, not just for its ability as a seasoning, but because you could cure and preserve food with it if applied properly. Roman soldiers received salt as a form of payment at one time, hence the common phrase of whether or not you're worth your salt. More importantly, to share your salt with someone while at table was a sign of friendship, sincerity, and a bond of fellowship.

The Jews in this passage are being called to always renew that bond, to honor that friendship and live out their relationship with God every time they make a bread offering. Their external behavior is to be a reflection of the purity in their hearts and souls.

That message bears repeating - our external behavior is a reflection of our hearts and souls.

It has been a rough few months for many of us, not just in J-Land, but in the 'real' world as well, and I've discovered that my life is most disordered, most complex, most troublesome when my insides are jumbled and I stray from what I know to be right and true.

Is it the same for you?

I do not believe we need be Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, or of any faith to take time and examine our moral compass - is it pointing north? Is it pointing toward truth, light, and justice? Is it pointing to selfishness, lies, and deceit? Where are you gonig on the inside? If you are pure, if you have salted yourself for the long journey of life, than there is no doubt that your exterior will reflect the grace within.

And that, I think, is a good way to start a Monday.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Your Life Movie, Complaints, my take on The Exodus, and the Friday Five

First - a fun quiz :)

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy

In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho
If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?


Lamentations, 3: 39

Why should any living man complain, any mortal, in the face of his sins?

The power in this statement is undeniable. In all of our complaints, our struggles, our traumatic experiences, truly, what right have we to complain? Are we perfect? Are we flawless? Do we live by Natural Law, extending to ourselves and others all that is moral, just, righteous and good?

I am not that person and I know of noone that is blessed with such gifts. I have done others wrong, and I continue to hurt them, and in that vein, by having courage to look at myself from the outside I see someone who has no right to lay down his cross in complaint. It is my duty, my obligation, to pick up the crosses I have and carry them as best I can, with no complain, and calling for help when it is needed. That's love. To embrace my faults and failures, and to do so without complaint - that is humility.


The Friday Five:
To play, just post your answers in the comments below or in your own journal then provide us with a direct link in the comments. Submjit questions and themes and we'll spotlight your journal!

1. If you choose to leave AOL over the ads in our journals, what will you miss most? If you choose to stay, what is your motivation to do so?

I choose to stay. I write for inspiration. I write for courage. I write for hope. I write to share those values with others who may need them or might find something else in my words. I write because I need those things myself. And while so many of you may leave AOL because of this scandal, others remain here. I do not look on myself as a preacher, but I am a part of this community, and I will not leave because a bad neighbor moved in down the street. I will stay. I will lead the life I've built here, and I will not support those ads or click on any of them - but I will not be driven away by their presence. Those that leave are but a fraction of those who will stay and I cannot make my community a better place by leaving. I choose to stay and fight.

2. Given the great exodus of people over the ads in their journal space, do you think the AOL community in J-Land will suffer?

Absolutely. But, if there are others like me, who choose to stay and fight, and work hard to fix the system, instead of leaving the system because it is not to our liking, then at its core, J-Land will become even more supportive of one another.

3. Do you believe that AOL will respond to the many complaints? Why or why not?

I do believe they will respond, because we know that blogging and scandals in the media are something AOL wants to avoid. Will they remove the ads? No. AOL is a business, folks, and they are in it to make money. I subscribe because it is a community, because I like the content they offer. I do believe they will either move the ads, allow us selection in the ads, or give us a portion of the click through profit.

4. Why did you start to journal in the first place, and will you miss it if you leave?

See number one. And I'm not leaving.

5. Will you miss those who stop reading your journal, if you leave, or if they've left, and will you take steps to continue reading their words?

Yes, I will miss those that no longer read my journal, and I will try and keep up with those that have left - but let us all be honest. AOL was a convenient way for us to all stay in touch. And like so many relationships in our lives and so many friends from high school, college, or past jobs....many will fade - some will stay.


Now - my thoughts on the Ads.

I support AOL's right to advertise in its space.

I support the right of people to leave AOL if they do not like where AOL advertises

I do not support AOL using space promised to me as my own to advertise its clients.

I would support AOL advertising if I had a choice in selecting the advertisements - why? Because advertising does pay the bills, and frankly, I love my J-Land community and if we need the ads to keep it, then let me choose the ads I show. Give me a percentage of the click-through property.Let me choose to have more features if I show ads and less if I choose to not show ads.

Most importantly - talk to me. J-Land folks are some of your most ardent and long-time subscribers. I have been on AOL (in one form or another) since 1991. We're talking a soon to be fifteen years (yeah, my Dad paid for it up until May, but sue me) and I know there are others of you that are the same way. We have brand loyalty, regardless of how much we pick on AOL. As subscribers to this service, we are AOL's clientele. We deserve to be a part of  a discussion that intrudes upon space that was promsied to us as a part of our fee.

Moreover, I will not leave because I am more effective here, than I am fighting from somewhere else. Why? Because civil strife is far more destructive than external war. Don't believe me? Ask Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Civil Disobediance while still a member of J-Land is the best method of fighting this mistake and affrotn. Leaving J-Land gives you no clout. The kitchen got hot - and you left.

Don't be insulted by that statement, please - it is simply a viewpoint; one way of looking at the glass. And, so, my civil disobediance begins. I will start every post by discouraging readers of my journal from clicking ads, and I will discourage outsiders who stumble upon my journal from joining AOL until they can be assured their private space is their own. I will find other ways to provoke AOL from within AOL as time passes.

Gandhi was once asked when he was participating in his Great Salt March what he would do if his march failed to create change; he said he would provoke them again, and again, and again, and again, until silence could no longer be the answer receieved. Everybody has buttons, and you just have to keep pushing them to effect change, and I will do so in a civil way. Again, and again, and again, until the ads are removed. But doing so as an AOL member gives me far more clout than someone that left. Your dollars are already gone. You're a lost cause. By staying and fighting - I'm revenue that is a pain in the rear - and that is far more dangerous over the long term.

So to those that leave, I hope you will continue to read my entries. To those who stay, I encourage you to join with me in civil disobedience.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sudden Terror and Ruin of the Wicked

Proverbs, 3: 25-31

Be not afraid of sudden terror, of the ruin of the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from the snare. Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim when it is in you power to do it for him. Say not to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give," when you can give at once. Plot no evil against your neighbor, against him who lives at peace with you. Quarrel not with a man without cause, with one who has done you no harm. Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways.

Sincerity is hard to find in a callous world of sarcasm and constantly shifting opinions. Polls tell us what we think by the second on any topic that can be measured, and the latest retail numbers are a matrix for our happiness or sadness.

This small passage from proverbs is a great reminder for us that what is most important is to be sincere and take heart and courage in righteous and just behavior. In doing for others what is right we will uncover true happiness, but in envy and quarrel we find only selfish disdain.

Sincerity is something worth holding onto, something worth cultivating, caring for, and when we have it, we will not fear, but we will strike out on the path of justice and truth - and that is noble.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Thin Fingers

The thin fingers of wraiths dangle from the sky.

Their nails scrape my face with tiny wet pinpricks.

Theirs is a gray day rife with clammy hands and cold noses.

Today is a day to roam free, with cloud and earth as one.

Death may come on Fall's sharp breeze,
and wraiths sting us with their soaking hands,
but yellow sun and red fire
makes present the promise of newborn life.

Test and Tried

Today's reflection is from Psalms, 66: 9-12

Who has kept us alive and not allowed our feet to slip. You tested us, O God, tried us as silver tried by fire. You led us into a snare; you bound us at the waist as captives. You let captors set foot on our neck; we went through fire and water; then you led us out to freedom.

I am fond of saying, and have heard from others that we are never given more than we can handle. This is a simple lesson, a simple sayinig, but so hard to believe. Our particular faiths, beliefs, and life situations aside, everyone of us will face spiritual fires, snares, bonds and maybe even situations that strike our souls.

Whether disease of the body or soul, every illness exacts its spiritual toll. The choices we make and the afflictions we suffer, for whatever reason - folly, helplessness, or sheer happenstance - temper our souls and minds to make us stronger, more faithful, and better people.

There are times, however, when we choose to let our afflictions become our life, instead of a situation affecting who we are, because suffering is comfortable, famliar, and eaiser than facing the intense heat of fire and forge.

Faith in those outside ourselves is the only saving grace that can lead us to freedom when we are too weak to find it ourselves. And it is no shame to find strength in others, when no one person has solutions for every problem.

When our spirits are crushed, overwhelmed, downtrodden and held prisoner the best recourse is trust in others. To look your fear in the face and turn it over to someone else we conquer what is otherwise an unbeatable army.

Monday, November 14, 2005


This, That, and
Everything Else
all demand my attention.

'Let's go!,' they yell,
over and over,
waiting, waiting, waiting.

They are a line
of Shoving Schoolboys
stamping their feet
and pushing, pushing, pushing.

'My time!,' I call,
'My time!'

But the line doesn't care,
doesn't feel
doesn't ever go away.

It is a monster
all its own
and must be fed
or I will find myself
the juicy morsel of
its late afternoon snack.

A Centurion

Today's reflection is from Luke, 7: 1-10

When he had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, "He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us." And Jesus went with them, but hwne he was only a short distance form the hosue, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord do not trouble yoruself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

All are subject to authority - even our own if we owe fealty to no other. Do you have courage enough to accept the laws, guidance, teachings, rules, and direction of your authority? Do you have wisdom enough to lay aside your own will, limited knowledge and experience to say 'yes' and obey?

This point is the crux of faith; it is hard to lay down one's ego and pride and humbly follow another. I argue that true faith is not presence and awareness of one's self amidst a greater being or power, but its absence in favor of selfless devotion to the same authority. This sacrificial love is so strong that it makes all things possible - even in word alone.

For our word is our action, and what we say is the manifestation of our beliefs and our intentions. Wicked, black hearts will spin deceit and fraud; sacrificial hearts ask seek worthiness, and give all to those they love with complete faith.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I Got Me Some Edubacation!

The University of Blogging

Presents to

An Honorary
Bachelor of
Quiz Addiction

Majoring in
Dr. ®

Blogging Degree

You Sellout!

On Average, You Would Sell Out For


At What Price Would You Sell Out?

Writer's Weekly Question #6 Be creative!

Writer's Weekly Question #6: (From CIW: The Other Invisible)

Should a writer blatantly use another writer’s text (text can include stories, movies, tv shows, songs, etc.) to support or give weight to their own work? Is there a time orplace where that shouldn’t be done and if so, why?

No. They should not do so, no there is no reason to do so, and it is self-defeating. True cleverness lies in being original, not in stealing someone elses' hard-wrought writing and using it to keep yourself from thinking. Imagine if Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice had just been a ripped off characterization? We would have lost one of the best written characters in all of the English language!


Have you ever had occasion to use another writer’s text in your writing? If so, how did you use it and do you feel that you were plagiarizing the original text.

Nope, never did it!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Friday Five

Lest you all think I forgot!


This week's Friday Five are ready for you! To play, simply answer the questions in the comments below or in your journal, posting a link back to it in the comments. We want to see your answers! It's a great way to find our way to new journals! Be a part of the fun!

As always, you are encouraged to send in a question, questions, etc. If your question/theme/questions is/are selected, I will profile your journal IF you send me the link :). And, so, without any more gilding the lilly and further ado, I give you:

1) What is your favorite noise to hear?

Toughy - but nothing beats the sound of a well hit double to left-center...except on the rare chance that I might actually hit a golf ball in the fairway.

2) If you could live in any era of time, what would you choose and why?

Another toughy - the thought of dying of one of the many diseases that we have 'under control' now is a bit scary...but I think I'd give my left foot to be Mr. Darcy.

3) You just found $50 while cleaning your house. Where do you decide to spend it?

OUT TO DINNER - and you know I'm getting the double oreo madness. Bring it.

4) What magazines to you subscribe to/read on a normal basis?

I can't remember if we've had this one already, or if Patrick's featured it over for the Saturday Six, but:

- Men's Health
- PC Gamer (it's the dork in me  - be nice)
- National Geographic
- The Farmer's Almanac
- Men's Vogue
- Gentleman's Quarterly
-The Chronicle of Higher Education

5) If you could witness any event in history, but not change anything about it, what would you choose and why?

This is an interesting spin on a question we've all seen before. I think I'd like to go b ack and withness the surrender between Grant and Lee during the Civil War - or Hendrix onstage at Woodstock. Those are moments that defined generations.


A Favor Shown to Us

In Jeremiah, I read the following:

Jeremiah, 52: 31-34

In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, Evilmerodach, king of Babylon, in the inaugural year of his reign, took up the case of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and released him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a throne higher than that of the other kings who were with him in Babylon. Johoiachin took off his prison garb and ate at the king's table as long as he lived. The allowance given him by the king of Babylon was a perpetual allowance, in fixed daily amounts, all the days of his life until the day of his death.


We create our own prisons. They may not reek of sweat, filth, grime and the desparate frenzy of hopeless men, but they are rat-infested pits of despair that enclose our hearts and spirits.

They need not hold such absolute power over our concsiousness and our souls, if we choose to open our cells and step out into a greater, wider world.

Our prisons are of our own creation - we make them when we overwork, succumb to addiction, choose the comfort of guilt, fear, and pain over the difficulties of truth and change. We build up prisons of habit, sarcasm, insincerity, lies and deceit because those walls are familiar - they are our walls - we built them. In a way, we need those walls because they are our creation. To destroy our prisons and live in a better world we must tear down what we built up. There is a sense of loss in making new what is old and well-worn.

Still, as Jehoiachim received his freedom from the king of Babylon, we too can find freedom from our prisons, if we only turn to others. Sometimes, the walls of our island fortresses are so tall, so thick, that we need help to burst through and tear up their foundations. We cannot rely on our own strength to escape the darker places of our spirit - after all, our self-reliance was not enough to keep us from the depths we inhabit.

We must have courage enough to reach out and hold the hands of those around us, and together we will find a way to escape the hellish prisons that keep us huddled alone in the shadows.</P

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

When I turn to you, will you be there?

Our reflection today is from Proverbs 1: 20-33 (a bit long, but worth it!)

Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares she raises her voice; Down the crowded ways she calls out, at the city gates she utters her words: "How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity, how long will you turn away at my reproof? Lo! I will pour out to you my spirit, I will acquaint you with my words.

Because I called and you refused, I extended my hand and no one took notice; Because you disdained all my counsel, and my reproof you ignored - I, in turn, will laugh at your doom; I will mock when terror overtakes you; When terror comes upon you like a storm, and your doom approaches like a whirlwind; when distress and anguish befall you. Then they call me, but I answer not; they seek me, but find me not; Because they hated knowledge and chose not the fear of the Lord; They ignored my counsel, they spurned all my reproof; And in their arrogance they preferred arrogance, and like fools they hated knowledge:

Now they must eat the fruit of their own way, and with their own devices be glutted. For the self-will of the simple kills them, the smugness of fools destroys them. But he who obeys me dwells in security, in peace, without fear of harm."


I chose this passage today beecause I identify with the arrogant preferring arrogance. Wisdom teaches us to go beyond the conventional, beyond the accepted, beyond the simply ordinary and see with clarity the invisible, the intangible, and the impossible. Wisdom is our key to taking our ordinary everyday feelings and problems and making them disappear. It is the key to greater potential, to kinder actions, warmer hearts. With wisdom we can pray for our assailants, turn fear into courage, and find the good in any bad. With wisdom we become strong in our weakness, and in dying to ourselves we become more than we ever thought possible.

How frequently though, are we challenged to take arrogance over wisdom; I know that arrogance is the easier path. I know that believing I have the answers, that I know better, that I have a solution, that I can handle my problems on my own - I know that arrogance well. I know that arrogance intimately. It is my bedfellow.

Wisdom says to me: "Oh, you arrogant fool - you choose arrogance, not because of great strength or skill, but because you fear the more difficult path of the unkown, the dangerous, and a dependency on others."

Wisdom is recognizing that no cross can be carried by one person. I hope we all find ourselves wise enough to say yes to help and arrogant enough look arrogance in the face and choose humility instead!

I Stretch Out My Hand

I read this last night - it is from Psalm 143:

I remember the days that are past:
I ponder all your workds.
I muse on what your hand has wrought
and to you I stretch out my hands.
Like a parched land my soul thirsts for you.


In all things we thirst, whether happy or sad; there is always a hope for something - more joy, less pain, more passion, less sacrifice.

As people, of whatever faith or belief, we aspire and reflect on what we currently feel, do and think, and we ruminate on the past.

How have the events of our past molded us, shaped us, made us into what we are at this moment in time and space. Whether you believe the Potter molds you, or that our experiences shape our clay, there is no doubt that we are all changed, squezzed, touched.

What I am certain of, regardless of who or what you believe in, or how you believe we are shaped, we are all beautiful. Our unique experiences and our reactions to them have given us a look all our own. In all my reflections, I realize that even those most tortured by inner demons are beautiful wonderful creations. That is a gift! </P

Tuesday, November 8, 2005


What confusion
surrounds the
endless cries
of wild animals

In the darkness
lost to hope
and shaking.

There is no end
or way out
of this maze
that taunts my dreams

Of peaceful rest
steady sleep
and wisdom.

For What Credit is that to You?

In brief,  over the last week

- my brother betrayed my trust

- my mother drove me to overwhelming heights of anxiety

- she ambushed me on the phone yesterday, talking to me for the first time in nearly eleven months.

- I've typed, but cannot seem to write, the missive to my grandparents, brother, and parents about my struggles this past year.


I am not happy. I am not sure if I am sad. I feel more alone than I have in a long time. I know you are all praying for me, and I am so wonderfully grateful to have so many beautiful people care so much for my being, but sometimes battling our irrational emotions yields irrational thoughts.

In the middle of this, in feeling so alone and so hurt, in my daily reading I keep going back to Luke. In that particular passage, he tells us that Jesus demands more from us than simply doing good to those that treat us well, but that we must do good by those that treat us poorly.

In talking with my spiritual director, he simply said, "pray for them, not yourself. Make your conversations and petitions for the person who hurts you; they need more help than you." He reminded me that the only way to live out true goodness, humility and justice is to die to ourselves in all circumstances to serve others.

That is true power, and as Paul says in second Corinthians, when I am weak, I am strong.

I can believe in that.

Monday, November 7, 2005

She called me at work.

I am crying and so very afraid.

My hands are shaking


I call out to you, O Lord,

Shelter, me Oh God,

For through you all is possible.

Good morning, J-landers.

It's been quite some time since I've posted, really felt any inspiration, and things have been going from bad to worse.

My family situation clearly has not resolved itself as I thought it had, and on the contrary, spiraled downward this weekend.

For those with access to my private journal, I will attempt a posting there later today.

I apologize for my continued absence from J-Land, I appreciate all your prayers, thoughts, concerns, and emails.