Friday, December 23, 2005

The Christmas 2005 Friday Five

I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!

Greetings J-Land! My apologies from being AWOL this week. The rundown is:

- my father and mother refused to acknowledge the past

- my brother does not understand what I am dealing with, and lashed out at me

- the process of dissociating myself from my family began

Wooo! Now if that doesn't get your goat and provide a grand reason for a little silence, i don't know what would!

Before we begin this week's Five, the bonus points from last week were left on the table. The movie I quoted was: Notting Hill

Right, so, onto the Five:

For those who haven't played, or if you're just a stalker and feeling motivated this week, you answer the five following questions in the comments below, or provide a link back to your journal (or wherever you've put your answers). In return, I'll profile the first respondent each week.

Oh, what a marvelous segue! Last week's winner was Amanda of HEY, I'M COUNTRY! I'm not sure why she has to yell her title at us, but it does give you an indication of what you're going to find when you visit her. She's a gifted artist, she has a serious fetish for shoes, and she somehow managed to pull off a family photo without everybody going nuts. She's a loyal Courage reader, and you should become a loyal reader of hers!

Today's questions are from the LiveJournal folks - as always, feel free to submit questions or themes for the Five, and thoughts, quotes, passages, or topics for the Wednesday Reflection (which did not appear this week due to temporary insanity):

1) What word irks you every time you hear someone say it?

I am going to go with "supposed." Anytime that word is used the person saying it is snide, crass, and doubting the legitimacy of something or someone, and frankly, there are nicer ways to go about that sort of thing.

2) What is your favorite word?

My favorite word is voluptuous. I love how it sounds coming off the tongue; there's no doubting what THAT word means when it falls on your ears!

3) What does it mean?

Courtesy of

vo·lup·tu·ous   Audio pronunciation of "voluptuous" ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (v-lpch-s)

  1. Giving, characterized by, or suggesting ample, unrestrained pleasure to the senses: voluptuous sculptural forms; a voluptuous ripe fruit; a full, voluptuous figure.
    1. Devoted to or indulging in sensual pleasures.
    2. Directed toward or anticipating sensual pleasure: voluptuous thoughts.
    3. Arising from or contributing to the satisfaction of sensuous or sensual desires. See Synonyms at sensuous.

4) What word do you say far too often?


5) Name three words you think other people overuse:

love, war, fear


The One Minute Meditation and word of the day are courtesy of

If time were mere gold you could perhaps afford to squander it. But time is life, and you don't know how much you have left.

– St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, #963   Auspicious (adjective)
promising good fortune; propitious

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Friday Five

Happy Friday, everyone! Let me tell you, even though I've been deprived of my usual morning green tea, I am as chipper as can be - why? Because it's FRIDAY. It's a day of fun, freedom and relaxation.

I am having a boys only weekend this weekend - how cool is that? You know you love the way this Courage rolls!

Actually, to be honest, Jillian is visiting a good friend of ours to do some Christmas shopping and other girlie things so basically I'll be sitting home alone with the cats. Still, there are worse things, like starvation in the Sudan and testicular cancer (bonus points if you can name the movie!).

Anyway, the Friday Five this week are courtesy of the folks at LiveJournal, as I have had no contributions from readers (again). You're beginning to make me feel unloved, and un-appreciated.

Well, not really, but I'm Catholic, so guilt is required in all posts.

Right. The Friday Five - oh! Sorry, I have to profile last week's first poster! The ever gregarious Tina of BlahBlahBlah. Tina is super. A frequent visitor of Courage, she gives us a quirky and fun insight into her world in a style that makes us all feel happy and valued. I'm serious. Check her out! She's an uncanny ability to put you at ease and make you feel welcome. She also just had a birthday!

Whew, ok, here we go - the Friday Five. For first time players, you can answer these questions in the comments below or in your own journal, then posting a link to them  on Courage. The more people that play, the more journals you see! So, if you're a stalker, come on in, the water's fine!


1. What is the oldest object in the room with you?

Easy! Lou Gehrig's bat-case. That's right. You heard correctly! My uncle gifted me the container used to transport Lou Gehrig's bats while they were on away games. It's a fabulous piece and as I live, breathe, eat, sleep, and die pinstripes, I'm thrilled to showcase it in my office.

2. What is the newest?

Hrm. I think my newest has to be these Christmas cards that we send to volunteers and donors. And, I have to be honest - they are horribly ugly.

3. What is your favorite object in the room with you?

While I might go with Lou again, I think it's a three-way tie. I have statues of the Blessed Mother and St. Michael the Archangel that hold particular places of affection in my heart, but I also have my tried and trusty paper journal as well. I have to go with all three, though, if I had to save only one from the abyss, it would be the journal. If you're interested, you can see pics of my office in a former post - granted, I've rearranged since then, but its mostly the same.

4. What is the most valuable object?

Sentimentally, my journal, then you have Lou's bat case, but to me it is this fabulous black and white reprint of a 1908 panoramic photograph of my College (and current employer). I love looking at it - it connects me to a place nearly 175 years old and I see that its character is the amalgam of everyone that has ever walked its beautiful grounds.

5. What is the ugliest object?

I would say my zip drive. I hate that thing. I really do - I have no idea, but I just can't stand its presence. I can't get rid of it either as its inventory is with my cpu!



Thursday, December 15, 2005

Forgiveness is the ultimate victory

When I look back at all the nonsense surrounding my parents and this disastrous falling out, the end of our "family" as we have known it to be, I want to be seen as one who forgave.

Scratch that; I want to forgive, regardless of whether my family admits or ignores my attempts.

I have more than enough anger for them, more than enough bitterness to despise them long after they sleep in dirt and mud. I have rage enough to shred the memory of them from my tattered mind and fury enough to burn them out of my ravaged soul.

There are days I would rather boil myself alive and scream in pain then admit or give them any credence or credit.

The truth is, they are my parents, and I must forgive them out of love. All people deserve basic respect and love, and through that love recognition of the mighty crosses they bear.

Everyone carries crosses they feel too much to bear. Our job is to look past our faults and love and forgive anyway.

Ezekiel, 17: 61-63 emphasizes the importance of this:

For thus speaks the Lord God: I will deal with you according to what you have done, you who despised your oath, breaking a covenant. Yet I will remember the covenant I made with you when you were a girl, and I will set up an everlasting covenant with you. Then you shall remember your conduct and be ashamed when I take your sisters, those older and younger than you, and give them to you as daughters, even though I am not bound by my covenant with you. For I will re-establish my covenant with you, that you may know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be covered with confusion, and that you may be utterly silenced for shame when I pardon you for all you have done, says the Lord God.

I believe the real meaning of forgiveness is in that passage, and we can grasp that essence and make it our own when we look past all that someone has done to us and forgive them anyway. That takes true strength. That takes true mercy. That is true love. And those forgiven may look at us in a stupor of bewilderment and confusion, but they will know that we had grace enough to forgive, and that is a grand reward indeed!


Today's One Minute Meditation and word of the day are from

"I am still a poor creature", you tell me.

But once, when you realised it, you felt very bad about it! Now, without getting used to it or giving in to it, you are starting to make a habit of smiling, and of beginning your fight again with growing joy.


Mimicry (noun)
imitation, aping  


Please note that Courage has a map for you to sign! You can also read this journal at its home, if you prefer. That site features a feedblitz subscription field, if you prefer to read via that medium.   Also, if you have a quote, or a favorite saying or passage from a book or scholarly text that you wish to share for the Wednesday Reflection, please feel free to email me.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Tuesday Two - a bit late

For those unfamiliar, visit Patrick's Weekender for the Tuesday Two. It's a great way to participate in the larger J-Land community!

- Name a song that somehow connects you and another person: a loved one, an ex, or a friend or family member...and describe how it became "your song."

A tough question, Patrick, but I think a good version for me is Iris, by the Goo Goo Dolls. It describes how I feel when I share my abuse in a public forum - both difficult to do out of fear and a desperate need to be understood.

The Wednesday Reflection

As our J-Land community has been a little tattered of late, I have decided to start a new Wednesday meme, the Wednesday Reflection. I'll post a text, from some source - a quote, a scripture passage, a passage from a novel, anything that might provoke thought, and you reflect on it in the comments or link back here in your own journal. Sound good?

If you're the first person to respond, I'll highlight your journal the following week.


Today's reflection is from St. John of the Cross:

If you do not learn to deny yourself, you can make no progress in perfection.
– St. John of the Cross


The purity of this statement is found in its clear argument for selfless love. Only when we are fully purged of all selfish thoughts are we able to move toward perfection. As long as we harness our pride and our fears to the wagon of daily life we will be beasts of burden, but if we can lay all that down, deny ourselves, we can find a new light, one of perfection and peace.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Calling out in the darkness

I am sitting in the dark tonight, typing this entry, and wavering back and forth between two very different realities. Anger boils in my heart and vengeance simmers in my veins. The cracking and popping of scalding oil teeters on the edge of my consciousness, ready to burn alive those who approach my walls.

I am fierce and driven, tired and resolved. I have drawn my line and it is not flexible. There is no more compromise. No more sacrifice for those with unquentionable thirst.

I feel as if I am in Psalm, 77: My eyes cannot close in sleep; I am troubled and cannot speak. I consider the days of old, the years long past I remember. In the night I meditate in my heart; I ponder and my spirit broods: Will the Lord reject us forever, never again show favor? Has God's love ceased forever? Has the promise failed for all ages? Has God forgotten mercy, in anger withheld compassion?

And then, the red mist fades from my eyes and for a second I see clearly what must be done, in all its difficulty. I see that I am not alone, but carried, vindicated, and the recipient of a great promise. I see salvation and new life and the love of so many others, unconditional. I see the words of Psalm, 75: I will break off allt he horns of the wicked, but the horns of the just shall be lifted up.

My case has been made and my argument laid bare. I stand now in truth and light and await my trial, confident in love and faith that what I have done is right. I have begun the process of losing my family.

Slowly they fall away, one by one, unable to confront and accept the truth. And I will stand firm, fast in the love and support of others to live a life of decency and righteousness. Amen for faith in the love of those around you and in God.


Today's one minute meditation and word of the day is from

Identify yourself with the Will of God. Then no trouble will be any trouble.

– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #812


Word of the Day

Digress (verb)
to wander from the main path or the main topic


Monday, December 12, 2005

Stand Fast

There are days when you know that anything is possible and days when you wonder if you'll be able to bend over and tie your shoes.

As many of you know, I have been having more of the latter than the former but something clicked this weekend. I am not alone - I am surrounded by your love and prayers and outstretched arms.

Amazing and moving and proof that with unconditional love any and all things are possible. I am reminded of a passage from 1 Kings, 22: 4b

You and I are as one, and your people and my people, your horses and my horses as well.

It's such a simple statement but I have found that this community is a place where people give themselves fully to those in need. All things that we are, we are together. Every person that reads this journal, leaves a comment, or simply passes through carries a cross. Heavy. Bloody. Familiar. Maybe even grasped tightly out of fear.

But I know that with your love, I can carry my cross because even when I fall, you will help me back to my feet.

St. Boniface says, "Let us stand fast in what is right, and prepare our souls for trial. Let us wait upon God's strengthening aid and say to him: "O Lord, you have been our refuge in all generations."

I know that as a community of faith and strength and belief in one another, as well as in God, that we can stand and wait together, as refuge for one another.


Today's one minute reflection, courtesy of

I often feel like crying out to so many men and women in offices and shops, in the world of the media and in the law courts, in schools, on the factory floor, in mines and on farms and telling them that, with the backing of an interior life and by means of the Communion of Saints, they ought to be bringing God into all these different environments, according to that teaching of the Apostle: "Glorify God by making your bodies the shrines of his presence."

– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #945  


From Blogthings:    
You Have a Sanguine Temperament

You are an optimistic person who is easily content.
You enjoy casual, light tasks - never wanting to delve too deep into anything.
A bit fickle, it's easy for you to change plans or paths when presented with something better.

You enjoy all of the great things life has to offer - food, friends, and fun.
A great talker, you can keep the conversation going for hours.
You are optimistic and sure of your success. If you fail, you don't worry about it too much.

At your worst, you are vain. You are obsessed with your own attractiveness.
A horrible flirt, you tend to jump into love affairs and relationship drama easily.
You're very jealous - which just magnifies the craziness around you.
What Temperment Are You?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Time for...or is it even time?

Going through my daily reads I discovered that I am not the only person feeling a bit lost at the end of the year.

It seems we all feel time slipping away, harried to make something from nothing. I don't believe in time. The future is only anticipation and the past is only memory.

Time is the label we put on the moment to comfort ourselves and drive away the fear of failing now. It is the weapon we use to combat the pains and horrors of the past by hoping on the future. It is the promise of something sweeter, newer, better than now.

Those illusions drive us to forget that the only time worth living is this moment. We are defined not by our past and future but by the decisions we make in this moment. Who are you right now? What are you doing, thinking, this instant?

Are you where you need to be? Time does not pass, we merely move through space and change with it; we are nothing more than the byproducts of our decisons.

We must be prepared for every choice we face. We must align ourselves with what we know to be right and holy. Inspiration came for me this morning in Ephesians, 6: 11-17:

Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothe4d with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Whatever your truth may be, gird yourself with it and live now, be now, and do not lament the past or worry on the future.


One minute meditation, courtesy of MyCatholic.Com

You don't feel like doing anything and there is nothing you look forward to. It is like a dark cloud. Showers of sadness fell, and you experienced a strong sensation of being hemmed in. And, to crown it all, a despondency set in, which grew out of a more or less objective fact: you have been struggling for so manyyears... , and you are still so far behind, so far.

All this is necessary, and God has things in hand. In order to attain gaudium cum pace – true peace and joy, we have to add to the conviction of our divine filiation, which fills us with optimism, the acknowledgment of our own personal weakness.

– St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, #78  


The Sunday Seven can be found at Patrick's Weekender. My answers are in the comments! I encourage you to go over there and keep our community alive!


From Blogthings:  

 Your Band Name is:


The Fearless Pope
Band Name Generator    

Your 2005 Song Is

Since You've Been Gone
by Kelly Clarkson

"But since you've been gone
I can breathe for the first time
I'm so moving on"

In 2005, you moved on.
What Hit Song of 2005 Are You?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Right in front of us & the Saturday Six

Jillian and I spent the day in our pajamas, relaxing. We felt we needed a 'get away' after a week of travel, family drama and snow.

Sometimes, when we plan these Sabbath days we arrange everything ahead of time: activities, books to read, meals to make and Saturday morning always comes with great anticipation and happiness.

There are stumbling blocks in our lives right now, however, and I cannot shake the feeling that in all our rushing this past week, we missed an opportunity. I don't know what it is, and I don't know if it actually happened, but I feel that it did.

Now, I value rest as much as the next person, always trying to find quiet time for regenerating and recuperating, but today we ignored lurking shadows. If only they had names and faces.

Today's Gospel, from Matthew 17: 9-13 reads:

As they were coming down from the mountain, the disciples asked Jesus, “Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He said in reply, “Elijah will indeed come and restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.  So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.

This passage speaks to me because the "Holiday Season", with all its bustle, constantly driving us forward, whipping at our heels to shop, buy, party, laugh, sing, dance, go, go, go, go, race toward new years, hides what we really should see. It creates shadows where we should find light. 

Now is a time of preparation, reflection, and quiet, not noise and distraction. Just a few weeks ago, we gave thanks for another year and readied ourselves for winter, a time of ending and beginning. Yet, here we are still blind to the gift we really have in front of us, a chance to stop and recognize that this season is an expression of our appreciation and love for others.

I feel the shadows creeping in have compelled me to ignore truth and take stock in the glitter and glamour of oversight. When I am in the thick of holiday traffic, long lines and crying children am I feeling love and thanksgiving, or frustration, irritation and anxiety?

Do those I love suffer because I shut out what should be done and instead replaced it with whatever I pleased?

I think, perhaps, it is time to stop, think, and ask those around me what has already rushed by and what needs to be prepared for a peaceful end and beginning to a new year.

I am not sure.


In other news, if you haven't already, sign the Courage Map! Also, you can use the links to the left to get yourself on over to blog explosion, register your blog and up the traffic on your site!

Also, thanks to all that participated in the Friday Five yesterday.

Don't forget that Courage also has a home over on, which can be found by following this link.


The Saturday Six - From Patrick, now located at Patrick's Weekender (he's a great guy - check out his journal!):

1. You're producing a school program for the holidays and you learn that there will be major objections if you include in your musical selections the traditional Christmas hymns that reference the "true meaning of Christmas." Assuming that there are secular tunes (like "Frosty the Snowman") already included in the program, what do you do with the hymns? Do you allow them to go as is, do you use the melody and rewrite the words, do you include as many pieces of music from other religions as possible, or do you remove all but the secular songs?

This is a dangerous topic, Patrick. I'll remove Christmas from a Christmas pageant when Jews remove Menorah from Hanukkah. If they change the Festival of Lights to a Holiday Festival of Illumination, and they make the Menorah a Holiday Candelabra, then I'll pull the songs and put up the Holiday Tree. Why is it that in our desire to not offend others, we have to offend Christians?

2. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done at this point? When do you expect to have it finished if you haven't already finished?

NONE :) Tomorrow - all online, baby!

3. What was your favorite board game to play as a kid? Is it still your favorite now?

Good question! I'm going with the Game of Life...and it's been replaced by Trivial Pursuit/Cranium

4. Take this quiz (if you haven't already!): What famous artist should paint your portrait?

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali should paint your portrait. You love to think about the world in a different way then everyone else. You are very ambitious, and you like strange things. You are curious about everything and love to learn.

Take this quiz at

5. How accurate is this quiz's description of you?

Somewhat, though I don't feel I'm quite THAT strange. Others may disagree ;)

6. If you could go back in time and have one more picture taken with a deceased loved one, who would you select and why?

My father's father...because I never met him.

Friday, December 9, 2005


A fun snowflake for a snowy day!

I found this snowflake maker over at floralilia here...: It's a fabulously fun little tool!

The Friday Five

Greetings folks! I am back from my travel and thankfully all went well and successful. To sate the ravenous hunger of my readers I have the Friday Five. I will begin regular posts this weekend (as I finally have mostly caught up at work).

To play the Friday Five you need only answer the following questions in your blog and post the link back here, OR you can answer them right below!!

Our first player from last week is the always lovely, always funny and nearly always a pain in my tush, Amanda, from HEY, I'M COUNTRY. She has created quite the cult following over at her place, and I love to read her journal because she reminds me of what it means to be real to yourself and others. She's definitely worth the read! Check her out!

If you answer first this week, I'll pimp your journal next week! Spread the word!

p.s. Tags for the Friday Five are always welcome!

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A tough question. I still don't feel really that I've finished growing up, but as 30 is approaching I guess I'm technically there! I wanted to be a high school history teacher. My folks wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. My grandfather wanted me to join the Army.

2. Did you follow through? If not, what happened?

Surprisingly, I did follow through. I received my bachelor's and certification to teach secondary social studies to high school students and taught for three years. Followed that up with a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. And then I quit :). It's a very very very long and sad story. Definitely not one for here!

3. Is your life turning out the way you thought it would when you were a kid?If not, is it better or worse?

I think my life IS turning out the way I wanted it to, because I'm finding out what it means to be happy and to be a person living my own life, not the life others wanted me to live - and that has been a very difficult step for me to take.

4. Paradoxes aside, if you could time-travel back to when you were 10 years old, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?

It's not right, what they do, and you don't have to take it - come with me, and I'll take you to the police.

5. Do you think the child you were, would like the adult you've become?

Yes, thankfully. And that makes me very happy.



Thursday, December 1, 2005

CarnivAOL is up!

Good morning J-Landers!

It is time for another.....

The November 30 edition has been released and it has all to do with the Ad Banners and the thoughts/opinions of those in J-Land on the topic. If you haven't seen or heard of CarnivAOL, it is a gathering of posts from around J-Land, conveniently hosted in one journal. PLittle of Aurora's Walking Vacation, is the brains and glue behind the operation.

All submissions are accepted (barring TOS violations), so head over to the CarnivAOL!