Sunday, May 22, 2005

Tag #3

Martha, Martha called me on to this meme, and I call upon Julie D., Alex, and Elena to join in. If you've alread done it, that's OK. I've been off the computer for a few days due to my husband's ENTIRE family being in town so I haven't had time to surf around and check out who has done this.

The game consists of answering five questions and then tagging three blogger friends to answer five questions. I can also add three categories.

The questions are: "If I could be a scientist...If I could be a farmer...If I could be a musician...If I could be a doctor...If I could be a painter...If I could be a gardener...If I could be a missionary...If I could be a chef...If I could be an architect...If I could be a linguist...If I could be a psychologist...If I could be a librarian...If I could be an athlete...If I could be a lawyer...If I could be an inn-keeper...If I could be a professor...If I could be a writer...If I could be a llama-rider...If I could be a bonnie pirate...If I could be an astronaut...If I could be a world famous blogger...If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...If I could be married to any current famous political figure...If I could be an Office Supply Salesman...If I could be a Dog-show judge...If I could be a Coal Miner...if i could be a baker...if i could be a comedian...if i could be a monk...if I could be a clothing designer...If I could be a nanny...If I could be a guest on the Oprah show.

If I could be a librarian I would read as many books as I can and come up with a way to devise a "personality test" of sorts to match particular people with genres of books, authors, subjects, etc. Because I encounter SO MANY people who say that "they don't like to read", and I just find that too hard to believe. I don't think they don't like to read; I think they just haven't found the books that they would like to read yet. It sometimes takes a lot of reading to find those special books.

And I would make sure to find clever ways to mess with the computers on those guys who go to the libraries to look at porn and take them to chastity sites instead.

If I could be a clothing designer, I would figure out a way to design clothes for short people with chubby bodies and short torsos who can't find a single darn thing to wear whenever they go shopping because all the clothes out there are made for tall, skinny people with small busts; and all the petite clothes are for short people who are also petite in weight, and the rest have to just search through racks of clothing trying depserately to find something that might possibly make them look like something other than a munchkin (not that I have personal experience with this or anything...)

If I could be an inkeeper, I would make check-in time at 12:00 and check-out time at 3:00, instead of the other way around like it is now. I would also make sure to throuoghly wash and possibly bleach and disinfect every single sheet, bedspread, and pillowcase in between every single guest (how's that John?)

If I could be a guest on the Oprah show, I would make really really sure I got a make-over out of it. I am sorry, but she has the best make-over people doing her shows, be it for clothing, hair, make-up, or home decor.

If I could be a world-famous blogger, I would make sure to tell everyone to watch Veronica Mars because it is truly one of the best shows on television; even all the critics say so. This past season it was on Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. on UPN, but it looks like it will be moved to Wednesday nights at 9:00 next season (and will unfortunately be up against Lost in its new timeslot; TiVo's and VCR's people!) However, UPN will be re-running the show throughout the summer and the season 1 dvd will be realeased in September. So, keep your eyes open. Get a clue! Watch Veronica Mars.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

From Pope Paul VI

"The most effective form of evangelization is the witness of our lives, and only secondly, the words we use to explain the reason for our hope."

What an atrocity

Thousands Secretly Sterilized by Government

I can't believe this was an actual practice in our society. What a violation, and such discrimination. Of course nowadays, these same individuals who were secretly violated are now the ones targeted by the abortion industry, so I don't know exactly why I am so shocked.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Forget why you blog; why do you comment?

Much drama in the comments of the blogworld I frequent lately. I would love to know others' feelings and opinions on the controversial subject of commenting in the blogworld.

Why I comment

I only comment when I actually have something to say. It doesn't mean I don't find all the entries interesting (well actually, I don't find ALL the entries I read interesting), but if I don't have a concrete comment to make, or if I don't have something funny to pass on, or if I have nothing to say other than "that was nice", then I just don't put anything. I realize this may leave people feeling rejected, and if an entry I really liked gets no response I feel the same way also. But in order to somewhat keep my computer time in moderation and maintain some level of sanity while on here, I must limit my contributions.

I only comment when I can actually formulate my thoughts into intelligent words. Especially when it comes to entries of a spiritual nature, I have to take time to think on it. I am not naturally a philosophical person. It takes me a bit to grapple some high-and-mighty things. So, if I don't comment on something that I truly found interesting and inspiring, it is because my words attempting to express my thoughts would have you all convinced that I am a true idiot.

If I comment with a "lol" or smiley face or with a "Yes!" or "too funny!" , then it means that I was physically laughing out loud or yelling, "Eww, disgusting!" (as in the case with some of John B.'s entries)or actually rolling my eyes at whatever is being pointed out. Basically, if you can inspire my body to actually jolt out of its staring-at-the-pretty-colors-on-the-square-box stupor, then you'll get a comment.

I will also comment if whatever you said makes me cry.

Why I don't comment

I don't usually comment to rants or blatant attacks that have no substance to them. For example, if someone blogs about how "Alias sucks and so does Jennifer Garner!" with out any rhyme or reason, I'll just ignore it, even though I may love Alias and JG intensely. I try and make it a point not to engage in anything remotely resembling stupidity.

I try really really hard not to comment to another comment. I try to comment when I actually have something to say about the actual blog entry. I personally think its rude to get into a war of words on someone else's blog with another reader and clog up their comment boxes. When I get comments on my blog, I actively seek them out hoping they've responded to something I've written (self-centered as that may be), not to the commentary. Although, I will point out any agreement or positive sentiment I may have to a comment previously made, but not without following up with my own thoughts.

And I really won't comment to or even acknowledge an anonymous comment. That's just a coward's way out, in my opinion. If you aren't willing to back up what you say or put a name to it, then it isn't worth acknowledging.

I also do not comment on things I know little about, or if I don't know about it that I cannot back up with links, information, sources, etc. I got into a discussion on organ donation one time, and while I am passionately for it, I really did not know exactly why I was passionately for it because my opinions were initially motivated by emotion and my own, weak, human reasoning. So, I took the discussion as an excellent opportunity to learn, and as I found tidbits to back up my opinions, I posted the links to the sources. I think if you don't know your info or can't back it up (even if you know it to be true), then you can very very easily fall into the weakness of making personal attacks, rants, or into the immaturity of a "na-na-na-na-na (sticking tongue out)" writing style.

I do not comment on something that has been dropped. I think many resurrect dead, controversial discussions for the sake of having their voice be heard rather than for the sake of truth or intelligent discussion.

I do not comment if the person is truly not open to what I have to say. Why put myself through the torture? I one time commented on a feminist blog because she asked for the opinions of those differing from hers. But to comment on a blog that, for example, advocates premarital sex, birth control, abortion, or limiting the number of children one has, and does so passionately is pointless. Just as anyone thinking the Eucharist a mere "wafer" commenting on my entries regarding the eBay controversy would have been ignored, scoffed at, or possibly deleted.

Basically, for me, it's about peace. When I am on the internet, it is a time of leisure for me. Yes, I have also used the internet to cultivate friendships, grow in spirit, or have a deep thought or two in my chaotic day. But if what I do in my leisure time takes away at all from my vocation as a wife and mother, then it is harming me. And if I indulge in something that harms me, I am in danger of also harming others.

Here's my short list of guidelines I try to live by in the blogworld.


Think before I write.

Ignore what is useless to me as a wife and mother.

Move on to something beneficial to me.

Respect others as real people; they are not mere figments of my computer's imagination.

Don't type it if I would never say it to someone's face.

Pray, "Holy Spirit, bless this entry or comment, or move me to delete it if it is not of You."

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Two struggles are coming directly into my path this month.

The first I encountered last night. I am such a bitter, unforgiving person. My husband left his job as the youth minister of our parish in January. The last 18 months of his job was a living hell for him, which was the direct result of one person. This staff-member had her own ideas about how his job should be done and who should have it instead of him. She went on a full-frontal assault. She changed my husband for a short while, into a depressed, self-conscious, hopeless, burned-out wreck. And I sat by and watched it all, unable to do anything. I encouraged him and tried to speak truth to him, but I think he just saw it as "well, of course my wife thinks I am great, worthy, and capable." He finally believed what I was saying and began to brush off the vindictiveness of this person only after seeing some of the fruits of his labor be quite successful in spite of the exterior doubts coming his way. I was just glad to have my husband back.

My husband was planning on leaving the position anyway, because it wasn't a job that can possibly support a growing family financially. He left with the respect of the pastor and parish administrator. But this woman didn't help matters. What could have been a nice, nostalgic time for us was a stressful, angry, frustrating time. I resent her for that.

We still encounter her often (my husband still teaches RCIA and sacramental prep. at the church and of course we are still active in the parish). And we encounter the new youth minister often (who is her boyfriend, which gives you a small glimpse into the big picture). The new YM is so gracious and respectful to my husband. I am grateful for that. But I can't help remembering everything we went through everytime I see him and his girlfriend.

The funny thing is that if she had just let my husband alone, the end result would've probably still occurred. Her BF probably would have been hired after my husband because he really was the person best qualified to take over the position. My husband still would've left when he did, no sooner or later. But the emotional experience could've turned out much differently if she hadn't taken it upon herself to twist and turn the circumstances into what she perceived was the will of God.

So why all this now? My husband has forgiven her (because if you all knew him you'd see he's one of the greatest men alive). She even called my husband to apologize to him for all she did, only I found out later that her apology was motivated by an outside circumstance, not by a genuine contrition for her attacks. I found out this information, yet haven't told my husband because I don't want to ruin the apology for him. But it has hindered me from moving on the way he has. Yet I must add that even if she hadn't apologized, my husband would've forgiven her anyway because he is that way.

The parish has transitioned into a new phase with most people quite happy about it....except me. There are a whole boat load of parish activities going on this month, hence our encounters with her will likely increase in the near future. And while all the youth and volunteers and staff members go joyfully on with their lives, I can't. I can't enter into Masses she is present at. I haven't stepped foot into the youth room since my husband left. I don't want to buy the new youth ministry t-shirts. I barely can make eye contact, even with the new YM because everytime I see him I think of her and her part in getting him there.

I've sought out spiritual direction over this. I know I need to let it go, because it brings absolutely no benefit to me. It tears me down, and its not like she even cares. And I am not her judge, nor should I be the crusader of revenge against her. I must leave judgement to God. And maybe she crossed my path (in more ways than one) because God knew that by her hurting my husband, we would possibly be inspired to pray for her. Maybe if she had hurt someone else, she would have been merely forsaken.

I admit, I rarely pray for her. I also admit that I don't want her or her BF to succeed because I want her to have to struggle the way my husband did and truly experience contrition for all she put him through.

I know this is wrong. I know I am a horrible, vengeful, sinful person. I know, I know! But I just. can't. let it go.

My husband didn't speak about this situation with many people other than a priest and his brother because he did not want to cause division or discord within the youth ministry program or parish as a whole. None of the volunteers knew what he was going through. He spoke about this woman with NO ONE on staff (except his pastor and boss), even though we all knew she was gossipping and maligning his reputation to anyone who could breathe. And, as I have stated before, he has forgiven her for everything, no looking back.

I wish there was a word, a phrase someone could say to turn the switch, to give me that "Aha!" moment I need to get over this hump. I'm tired of feeling this way. I am tired of the anger and bitterness. I am tired of feeling like an outsider in the parish I grew up in. I am tired of wanting to spread the gossip of what happened so people will stop being friends with her and support us (which I have NOT done out of repsect for the wishes of my husband, not because I'm such a great or holy person. See, I meant it when I said my husband is amazing).

This truly is one of the instances where I really am too weak. I am not enough. I can't even say something like, "I can't do this alone." Frankly, I can't do it at all. I feel like God really has to do it for me. But for some reason, He hasn't.

"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." I know I am not worthy enough to accept God's forgiveness because I can't dish out my own. I really don't want this on my shoulders on my judgement day. How long will it take to go away?

I know I said there were two struggles I was going to be facing this month, but I'm worn out just thinking about this. Maybe I'll dole out my thoughts on the second another time.

Tagged again!

By Julie at Illuminated Obscurity.

1. Total Number of Books I’ve Owned: I honestly don't know, but it has to be close to 1000 from childhood to now, although I've gotten rid of, sold, or ruined many.

2. Last Book I Bought: I actually don't buy a lot because I am a library-freak. But it was The Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales (my fave!).

3. Last Book I Read: Blessed Are the Cheesmakers (can't remember the author).

4. 5 Books that mean a lot to me:

The Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales speaks straight to my heart on how to be a holy person. It's a great guide for lay people.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte because of Jane's willingness to do what was right despite her passions or despair.

Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) series because as a cynic, I have always strove to be as positive, supportive, and as joyfully raw as Anne.

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy because it was one of the first books I read where the girl ditches the guy for the sake of her self, and that concept was once so foreign to me.

The Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) in the Bible because of its sexual nature. I always had a problem with seeing sex as something beautiful and holy (due to some bad experiences) and when it was pointed out to me that this book of the Bible described the union God wants to have with His people (through the analogy of bride and bridegroom) and that God would not use sex for that image if it wasn't something meant to be incredibly holy and beautiful. It changed my whole attitude on sex, love, and marriage.

5. Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog

martha, martha...
Mary Poppins NOT
John B.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I've been tagged!

I was tagged by Mary Poppins NOT and kind-of also from Kate.

And just in case no one scrolls down, I am handing this off to Amy, M'lynn, and Veronica. I also second the calls to Kalanna, Julie O., and Arwen/Elizabeth made by other meme participants.

List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over.

1) changing tables: I have never used one with any of my kids. I change their diapers wherever I happen to be- the floor, the couch, the coffee table, my lap, my bed, etc. I could see their use in the aspect of storage, but I could never drag my kids to their room to have them sit on a table everytime I needed to change their diaper.

2) Beer: I don't like the taste of it. Some say it's an acquired taste, but what if I don't choose to take the time paying $5 for a bottle that I will only drink a quarter of before the aftertaste gets to me and then I waste another $2 buying an iced tea to make my taste buds go back to normal?

3) eyelash curlers: I have NEVER in my life noticed how curly someone's eyelashes are. They look painful, and from what I hear, if you do it wrong your could pull all your eyelashes out. Plus you have to change them every so often because of bacteria and risk of infection? No thanks.

4) SpongeBob Squarepants: I personally find him annoying and would ditch him every chance I could get if he tried to be friends with me. I'm also not big on gross-out, farting, butt-cheeks humor. But I'd hang with Patrick if I got the chance.

5) PDA's: I mean those handheld computerized organizers, not public displays of affection. The screen is so small, I don't see how anyone could even see their appointments for the hour, much less the day, week, or month. And it seems it would take less time to open up a small calendar and look at the page rather than "bring up" the correct screen. Plus, what happens if you lose the wand-thingy that controls the screen? Are you left hanging?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Veronica Mars Fires it Up!

Oh. My. Gosh. The season finale of Veronica Mars was completely, totally AWESOME! I actually had figured out that the murderer was Aaron once I saw the cameras at the end of the last episode- I just knew Logan wasn't that slimey. But the suspense was no less intense!

I CRIED at the scene when Keith revealed the results of the DNA test. "Who's your Daddy?" is RIGHT! Those two actors deserve emmy nods.

So, who do YOU think is at the door? I HOPE beyond hope that it is Logan, but it probably isn't beause if it was, he'd either be still drunk off his rocker or completely beaten to a pulp (courtesy of Weevil) and so Veronica wouldn't just smile and say, "I was hoping it was you." I thought it might be Duncan, but he's probably dealing with his Dad being arrested while his mom freaks out over the bad press this will all get (she is so pathetic). I am betting money it is Wallace, sent there by Alicia to comfort his BFF, but another theory brought to mind by someone on the TWoP boards was that it might be our cutey-pie Deputy Leo. But I am totally thinking Wallace for now. But I really really WANT it to be Logan!

Lianne Mars is evil. Just evil. I am so glad (even though I know it isn't the good Christian thing to think) that Alicia is the one at Keith's bedside. But for Lianne to take the MONEY?! After Veronica threw away her college money to put her mom in rehab? New low.

Oh, I have many of the episodes on tape to get me through the summer, and they WILL be showing Veronica Mars re-runs throughout the summer, and the season 1 dvd will be released in September (but without feautures: bummer!). So come on everyone, get a clue! Jump on the Veronica Mars bandwagon! It really is one of the 10 best shows on TV.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Welcome to the Dark Side

I was raised in a very non-Catholic, new age, cynical environment, mainly by my father's influence. The fact I am a practicing Catholic is somewhat of a miracle, in my opinion. However, my faith and religion has not shaken some of the things in me that took root as a result of the influences of my childhood. One thing I just can't seem to lose to my inclination to indulge in my dark side.

Now I don't have a dark side where I think of blowing people up or have tendencies towards harming myself, or anything of that nature. I am speaking more of a cynicism, a negativity, and a suspicious attitude. Also, I am speaking of a fascination with what makes people tick, be it good or bad, light or dark, Godly or evil.

For example, I listen to the radio a lot, and I just love a couple of songs that are played regularly that most people who know me would widen their eyes at. Ever hear of Linkin Park? Well, they have this song called Numb, which basically describes a guardian-type relationship (it can be applied to mother, father, etc) in which the guardian puts undo pressure on the "child" to be something he is not. Is it immoral? No, of course not. Is it reality? Yes, certainly. But does it really glorify anything beautiful or Godly? Hmm...not sure. Some of the lyrics go:

Become so numb
I can't feel you there
Become so tired
So much more aware
I'm becoming this
All I want to do
Is be more like me
And be less like you

Can't you see that you're smothering me
Holding too tightly
Afraid to lose control
'Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you

[Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow]
Every step that I take is
Another mistake to you
[Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow]
And every second I waste
Is more than I can take

And I know
I may end up failing too
But I know
You were just like me
With someone disappointed in you

But here's the thing. I LOVE this song. It has a very hard rock feel during the chorus, but also an emotional pull due to the smooth sound of the singer's voice during the verses. Plus, it is such a heart-stirring song.

Maybe it is because I am such an emotional person. I live life strongly motivated by "how I feel". It certainly is a weakness, for how can any consistency or discipline come of out an emotionally motivated life?

My questions about my sometimes-interest in sometimes-dark music came when I heard that our beloved Papa B-16 strongly dislikes rock-and-roll music because it ignites the basic passions within people. I am sorry to say, but my first reaction to that (wrong as it may be) was, "so?" I mean, that's why I love music so much, because of how it makes me feel. But then I thought about those words... "basic passions". The word "basic" coming from the word "base", which means low, or primal. I realized that so many times I have told people that while we may have natural inclinations as humans, we are called to be supernatural beings and to rise above ourselves to become the people our Creator wanted us to be. Where would indulging in "basic passions" fit into that goal?

On another note, I was looking around the Bishops' movie reviews web page and finding what their reviews were for movies I enjoyed. I was so saddened to see that The Breakfast Club recieved an "O", which stands for morally offensive. Once again, my dark side overtakes my deference to their opinion. I felt that movie so accurately assessed the struggles of parent/teen relationships, the pressures of high school, the issue of cliques and the need to fit in somewhere in this world. I absolutely love the movie, even though I wouldn't say it really glorifies anything beautiful or holy.

But sometimes I can only take so much darkness before it affects me in my daily life. A couple of years ago I began reading The House of Sand and Fog (a story centered around conflict over property and the people willing to do anything for it), but had to put it down halfway through because the book depressed me so much that I was in a bad mood towards my husband and kids as a result. Yet I also read The Secret History (a story centered around a murder) a little bit after that and was fascinated at the dark inclinations of the students in the book and would actually be in a good mood after reading such intelligent content and asking myself such fascinating questions. Another example: I don't care for Stephen King novels and find that their darkness is just too much for me, but I still have a fascination with the book/movie Carrie, probably because I have a curiosity about the dark subject of revenge that I haven't been able to squelch through my spiritual formation.

I am confused over this side of myself. Now, I have a sunny-side-up aspect of myself as well: my favorite books include Little Women, Jane Eyre,and the Anne of Green Gables series. My favoite music band of all time is ABBA (talk about cheesy!). But I admit that this side of me has its limits. For example, I listen to Christian Music radio (mainly KLOVE)just as much as secular stations. But sometimes I feel I just have to turn the station because the songs are just too too saccharine for me. Yet the weird thing is that I feel so guilty about this aversion I have to some Christian music, and so I will listen to certain songs I really can't stand or that I am not in the mood to listen to motivated solely by this guilt.

So I guess my thoughts on this lead me to wonder, how dark is too dark? Is it wrong not to see the beauty in all things joyful, is it a weakness to find some things "cheesy"? Is it wrong that I prefer shows like Veronica Mars or CSI to 7th Heaven or Full House? Is it wrong that I have fond memories of watching Twin Peaks (which, yes, I know, was an incredibly dark indulgence)? Is it wrong that on my favorite movies list, right next to It's a Wonderful Life sits The Usual Suspects (although, once again, my darkness has limits. I absolutely hate movies like Being John Malkovich and American Beauty)? Is it bad that a few minutes after rocking out to The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations", I can then bang my head to "Enter Sandman" by Metallica?

And then this Scripture comes to mind (probably God's way of answering my questions listed in this entry):

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phil 4:8

I know we are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. So is having a dark side sinful? Imperfect? Human? Natural? Base? Or maybe I am asking the wrong questions. Maybe I should be asking, is it Heavenly? Do saints in Heaven have a dark side? Will I, if I ever get there? Probably not.

Sigh. Just more baby steps God is asking me to take...

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

We've been heard!

They boycott of eBay is over! Read about it here. I am so happy that they reconsidered their policies. I can go shopping again! Woohoo!