November 29, 2008

A Commitment to Loveliness

I have decided to try a Commitment to Loveliness this week. All that is required of you is that you pick five simple-ish things to do or work on during the week that will increase the loveliness in your life.
This is my list for the week:
1. Get back into the habit of reading at least one chapter of the Bible each day.
2. Practice the piano
3. Try to hold my temper and be more charitable
4. Practice acting out my part for an upcoming Christmas play
5. Keeping my room clean.

If you would like to make a commitment to loveliness, just read the instructions on Emma's Blog!

November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

So what if it's a day late? Everyday is a day of Thanksgiving! Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

November 26, 2008

Love Story

All non-country music fans will have to bear with me for a post. Sorry! Actually, no I'm not, because if I didn't respect (somewhat) other people's music tastes, there would be tons of country music all over my blog. Which really... I don't know why I don't put it up anyhow... hmm.... ANYHOW.....
Love Story by Taylor Swift! AH! It's soooo sweet! I love the last verse especially. And because I love it so much, I am going to share it all with you! Lyrics and a couple of music videos. I won't put the awesome official music video on my blog, because on of the dresses Taylor wears is off the shoulders, but if you want to watch it, here is the link.

But in the event that you wish to hear this totally awesome song, but would prefer more modest attire, here are three other versions to choose from! Watch all or one. You pick.

First off we have Love Story - Pirates of the Caribbean. This one is my personal favorite. The viedo clips fit the music perfectly!!!! It is just soooo cool! If watch any of the videos, watch this one!

Next we have Love Story - Phantom of the Opera. Would be just as good if the video quality was a little better, but again.. lyrics and clips just click!

And last, this one is really cheesy, but come on... you can't have a Love Story without Diseny Princesses now can you???? ;) Corny, but cute.

Oh, and lyrics, of course.
We were both young when I first saw you.
I close my eyes and the flashback starts:
I'm standing there on a balcony in summer air.

See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns.
See you make your way through the crowd
and say hello;

Little did I know
That you were Romeo; you were throwing pebbles,
And my daddy said, "Stay away from Juliet."
And I was crying on the staircase,
begging you, 'Please, don't go.'"

And I said,
"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run.
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'"

So I sneak out to the garden to see you.
We keep quiet 'cause we're dead if they knew.
So close your eyes; escape this town for a little while.
'Cause you were Romeo, I was a scarlet letter,
And my daddy said "Stay away from Juliet,"
But you were everything to me; I was begging you, 'Please, don't go,'"

And I said,
"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I'll be waiting; all there's left to do is run.
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'

Romeo save me - they're tryin' to tell me how to feel;
This love is difficult, but it's so real.
Don't be afraid; we'll make it out of this mess.
It's a love story - baby just say "Yes.'"


I got tired of waiting,
Wondering if you were ever comin' around.
My faith in you was fading
When I met you on the outskirts of town,

And I said,
"Romeo save me - I've been feeling so alone.
I keep waiting for you but you never come.
Is this in my head? I don't know what to think-"

He knelt to the ground and pulled out a ring and said,
"Marry me, Juliet - you'll never have to be alone.
I love you and that's all I really know.
I talked to your dad - go pick out a white dress;
It's a love story - baby just say 'Yes.'"

Oh, oh.

We were both young when I first saw you...

November 25, 2008

Blogging WITHOUT Obligation!

One day I noticed this button on the sidebar of Clare's blog, that said "Blogging Without Obligation, ext. 2007". It intriuged me, so I clicked on it and it led me to this page. Hopefully whomever wrote this will not mind if I re-print it on my blog, s/he makes a very good point, and I am giving him/her credit.

After coming across what seemed to be the 4000th or so post on someone's blog starting with "I'm sorry I haven't posted in awhile." I decided it is time to rethink what makes a good blog and the expectations that have come to be part of it. I am thinking that no one should utter those words again . . .and with that thought I give you Blogging Without Obligation....
  • Because you shouldn't have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.
  • Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.
  • Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.
  • Because sometimes less is more.
  • Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.
  • Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.
  • Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be "bloggable".
  • Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won't be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .
Bravo to the person who wrote this! Now when I feel guilty about not having the urge or inspiration to post anything, I can simply point to my own button on my sidebar and proudly proclaim "Blogging Without Obligation!"

November 24, 2008

Butterfly Award

Kaila nominated me for another award! (Thanks so much dear!)
The rules are:
1. Pick ten people and pass this award to them.
2. Then contact them and let them know that you have chosen them and their blog for the award.
3. Also link back to the person who gave you the award.

So, I award....

Kaila ;)
Lanta and Bridget
Master Paul

You guys are all really cool!

November 21, 2008

Butter and Bloopers

Butter and microwaves are so weird. Weird on the point of being villainous!
Not by themselves are they weird villans,, but when you try and do things with them together do they act strange. Hmm, must be the radioactive properties that have messed the insides of the microwaves brains!
But really, when you put butter in the microwave to 'soften it', it acts pretty strange sometimes. For example...
Today at lunch time, I took the plate of butter from the refrigerator and put it in the microwave. It was this little piece, only about a tablespoon, which you think would be at least soft after 5-6 seconds, right? Wrong! 5 secs, still hard and cold. So, knowing how fast these butters can warm up and melt on you, I put it in for 3 more seconds. Nothing. 5 more seconds. Ooh, it isn't as cold anymore! 5 more seconds, wow, I can actually use it to spread on stuff!
Having used up the tablespoon of butter and needing more, I take a stick from the refrigerator and put it in the microwave, on the butter plate. (No silly, a stick of butter! Why would I have a stick in my refrigerator?) So, I put that in for 15 seconds and... bingo! Perfect softness for spreading. Only 15 seconds and the big stick was softer then the little tablespoon! AGHHH!
So yeah, butter and microwaves are weird. If you still don't believe me...
Once upon a time I took the butter plate out of the refrigerator. It had a whole stick of butter and a little less then a tablespoon of butter on it, the plate. I put the butter plate in the microwave for 20 seconds or there about. And lo and behold, when I take it out... the stick of butter is soft enough for you to push your finger into it, no problem, but the little tiny insty winst piece... hard and cold! I kid you not!
Therefore, I proclaim that butter and microwaves must be in a grand conspiracy with each other. A dastardly and dreadful scheme to make us scream when our butter melts back to cream. They are definitely in cahoots together. So keep a weather eye on the microwave, and on your butter! Who knows what they might plan next.

No butter was harmed in the writing of this post.
Real butter was used, not margarine.

Don' t say more, say Mordor!

And if you are bored, here is the blooper real from the Prince Caspian DVD. (I got it off of NarniaWeb.)

Only 11 more days!!!!

November 19, 2008

Today in 1863



Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. ~ Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg PA November 19th 1863

Trivia: The Gettysburg Address was not given at the site of the monument commemorating the event in Gettysburg Soldiers National Cemetery. The stage was set at the approximate location of the statue in the "Now" photograph. The statue is not located in the National Cemetery, but is in the Evergreen Cemetery which immediately adjoins the Soldiers National Cemetery.

November 15, 2008

One Year!

So, it's been 1 year of blogging!!!!! *runs around screaming*

I think this calls for a celebration, don't you? Please enjoy!

While you are eating and drinking and shooting people with glitter and confetti guns *grabs gun and sprays Lanta* Ahem, mayhaps you would like to see some statistics on my blog!

First comment (written): Miss Kathleen
First comment (published): Yaviel
# of template/color changes: Hmm, about 5, I think. The original template was a pink version of the Random Evil Twin's blog.
Posts with the most comments: Help! and Operatic Adventure with 16 comments
Posts with the second largest amount of comments: Request for opinion and a TTFN!, Prince Caspian is Near, Guess the Quote and Either-Or all with 14 points.
Total number of comments: approx. 868
Month with the most posts: September 2008 with 32
Total number of posts
: 270
Total visitors to blog since May '08: 5,308
Visitors this week: 206
Visitors today: 21

And, I think that is it! Or at least, all the statistics that I've come up with! Hope I didn't bore you to death, but if I did... too bad! They were interesting to me! ;)
*smiles reminiscently* If you want, here are some 'milestone' posts from my blog history,
My very first blog post
One month
50th post
100th post
6th month anniversary blog post

*grabs glitter gun and squirts Vicki*
So, all my dear and devoted readers, I have a few questions that I would be more than pleased and overjoyed if you would fill out. A questionnaire, yes! That's what they are called. ;) Please do fill it out, I am most interested in your opinion!

1. What do you like most about this blog?

2. What are your favorite kinds of post? (serious, humorous, book or movie reviews, etc.)

3. How did you find my blog?

4. Have you ever recommended this blog to anyone else you know?

5. General thoughts. comments, condemnations, etc.

So, back to celebrating! I must conclude this post with that timeless (and most dreaded) quote...

Anniversaries! I love anniversaries! Dr... *gets bombarded furiously by glitter* *spits out mouthfull of sparkly stuff and finishes quote*


What is a Shieldmaiden?

What is a shieldmaiden?
Well according to Wikipedia, a shieldmaiden is:

a virgin who had chosen to fight as a warrior in Scandinavian folklore and mythology and they are often mentioned in sagas such as Hervarar saga and in Gesta Danorum. Shieldmaidens also appear in stories of other Germanic nations: Goths, Cimbri and Marcomanni.[1] The Valkyries were based on the shieldmaidens,[1] and they were J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration for Éowyn.

So basically, a shieldmaiden could be considered as the female counterpart of "a knight in shining armor". She was a soldier; a woman or girl who chose to fight for her country, beliefs, cause, or for whatever other reasons she might have had. St. Joan of Arc could be considered a sheildmaiden, then, I suppose.

But what does it mean to be a shieldmaiden toady? Obviously many of us aren't part of Scandinavian folklore or mythology, and even fewer of us are soldiers in the army, or likely to become one. How can one be a shieldmaiden then?

I found an atricle about Shieldmaidens on the website While I don't agree with most of the article (it has a slightly feminist-ic stance), there were a couple of good paragraphs in there. I take the liberty to quote them now.

A shieldmaiden is firstly a woman. As a woman she is the keeper of the hearth flame that provides a safe nurturing environment for her family. She is the teacher of her children and lady for her lord. The shieldmaiden has the courage to do the unglamorous daily tasks and to do them graciously. She is an example to her family and the keeper of the peace. She is generous to others while also being generous to herself. She keeps her word no matter how hard to fulfill and she stands by her beliefs. She selflessly serves...

...As a warrior a shieldmaiden must have the strength to make her way in a man’s world. She must be willing to get her hands dirty and make sacrifices. She may have to bide her time in an unsavory position until the time to fight is at hand. When that time comes she must have the courage to stand without blame. She keeps her word and is willing to show mercy. She is willing to help others. She stands by her convictions and commitments.
You may say, "Yes, this is all fine and good, but is that it?" The answer, in my opinion, is no. We as Christians can become shieldmaidens by becoming warriors of Heaven. By putting on our spiritual armor and fighting battles for the greater glory of God. Anyone can fight for the truth and for the faith. By taking up our spiritual shields, we can become Shieldmaidens in the purest and holiest meaning of the word.

We are soldiers of Christ and shieldmaidens of God.

A New Name and a New Year!

New Name: I have selected a new name for my blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:
A Rose in Bloom
Reflections and Musings of a Sheildmaiden of Heaven

I thank you all for your many and wonderful suggestions! While I didn't exactly chose any of the suggested ones, they did certainly provide the inspiration for the title I finally came up with!
Once again, thank you all for your suggestions!
(And yes, I have read the Louisa May Alcott book of the same name; 'tis one of my favorites!)

New Year: Yes, today is...

A post on that is coming within the next hour or so, so you can defer your congratulations until then, unless you are so excited that you truly cannot contain yourself. =)

But before then, I have gotten a few questions to the effect of "What on earth is a sheildmaiden!?!??????"
So, a post on that next. ;)

Ps. While the name of my blog has changed, the URL is still the same, so no worries there!

November 11, 2008

Thanks Kaila!

I was kindly nominated for this award by Kaila.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are :

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, I pass this onto:

My mom


Mamselle Clare Duroc


Paul Xavier



November 7, 2008


Ok, I've been trying to decided ever since I started this blog if I like the title of it. I have gotten used to "Lady of the Rose", but I am not sure I like it that much. (Yeah, I know, wait almost a year to decide I don't like it!

So I need help, what would you call this blog? I just need name suggestions, whether you like the title I have or not, I want you all to give me suggestions. Just suggestions! Doesn't mean I will change it, but it doesn't mean I won't change the title either.

So can you all come up with one or two alternate names for me? Thanks! I knew you would!
Oh, and it is not required to have "Rose" in the title anywhere; preferable, yes, but necessary... no.

So please leave your name and suggestion in the handy dandy comment box below, and if I DO decide I like one of the suggestions... I'll have to do something special for you!

November 6, 2008

My Two Cents on the Elections

Okay, I know I am tired of hearing about the elections, so you probably are too, but I thought that I would just put up my two cents on this whole thing.

First off, I think that if anyone out there was in depression yesterday because of President-Elect Obama's victory - you should be done with it. I can understand the let down, but we can't wallow in our grief and disappointment. I have heard people say that Obama is the anti-Christ and that these must be the last days. Well that may possibly be so, but if it is then we should face it as smiling and joyful soldiers of Christ! The hard times ahead will be much more bearable if we cheerful disposition and gladly carry our cross, we will be nothing except miserable and despicable if we pout and lose hope. To lose Hope is to despair, and to despair is to sin.

We will survive. And we will do more than survive, we will conquer! They have not won! God has heard our prayers, and good will come out of this. We have not lost the fight, we have just taken a hard knock.

And this is 'victory' of the enemy may indeed be a good thing, believe it or not. How many people do you think would keep praying, repenting and converting if McCain had won? Zero! We would have just sighed with relief and gone on living our lives as before. But this seeming defeat ironically gives people a reason and an inspiration to "change"! Yes, to "change"! To change their hearts and the way they have been living their lives and turn back to God! This may indeed be the opportunity our country needs to become once again, a Christian nation.

As President of the United States, we do owe Barack Obama our respect as citizens of the United States. We may disagree with what he stands for, we may decided to battle the laws he tries to pass, but we may not- especially as followers of Jesus Christ - be disrespectful. Calling Obama names and flaming at him will not do anyone good. Love your enemies. Forgive those who persecute you.

So what should we do? Like I said before, we ironically follow Obama's own motto and change... for the better. And while we are at it, we can pray for him, for his safety, his conversion and for his soul. We can bring our hearts back to the straight and narrow. We can bring our families and friends back to the truth. We can bring our country back to God.

We can still win.

November 5, 2008

Powerful Novena in Urgent Need

This is a novena to the Infant of Prague, a novena for an urgent need. Our country is in a very urgent need. It is permissible that: In cases of great urgency, a novena of hours may be made instead of days. The prayers should, if possible, be repeated at the same time every hour for nine consecutive hours.
I strongly encourage each and every one of you and your families, to pray this novena on election day, November 4th. Every single prayer counts and is needed! I can attest to the power of this novena, it once saved my family from bankruptcy.
PLEASE pass this novena along and urge everyone you know to pray it on November 4th as well! Our prayers DO count, and we must storm heaven with them!

Suggested intention:
That this election day, our country may elect a holy, wise, pro-life, pro-family president and other political leaders.

Powerful Novena in Urgent Need to the Infant of Prague

O Jesus, who said, "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you," through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I knock, I seek, I ask that my prayer be granted.
(Mention your request)

O Jesus, who said "All that you ask of the Father in My Name He will grant you," through the intercession of Mary, Your most holy Mother, I humbly and urgently ask Your Father in Your Name that my prayer be granted.
(Mention your request)

O Jesus, who said "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My word shall not pass," through the intercession of Mary, Your most Holy Mother, I feel confident that my prayer will be granted.

(Mention your request)


November 4, 2008

One Ring to Rule Them All

This is a blog post written by a beautiful young Catholic lady on the blog "The Road Through Middle-Earth". Her blog is devoted to the works of Tolkien, which she is reading through and then commenting on the chapters and events from the books on her blogs. I have been following it ardently, and enjoy reading her wonderful... meditations. Her writing have made me look at the Hobbit and the Fellowship (the only ones she has been writing about so far) in a entirely new and wonderful way. She has graciously given me permission to re-publish this post that she wrote when she began reading the Fellowship of the Ring. Please take the time to read it, and then why don't you check out the rest of her blog as well?

The tone is quickly changing and will become ever darker, but illuminated with many moments of grace that will come fast and furious at times. There are lighter moments still though. I think of Frodo, standing there under the stars, so very beautiful, lit by his own self-contained moonlight and what a wonderful marvel that would have been to behold. Here we are also introduced to Sam's love of Elves.

The meat of the chapter though is Gandalf's catechism lesson to Frodo about the Ring and about pity. The orc attack drove Bilbo into the tunnels just in time to find the Ring is termed in the Prologue to this tale to be seemingly an "accident" and the finding of the Ring to be "mere luck". But there are no "accidents" in God’s plans. Everything and everyone is carefully placed, even those who are not aware they have been. Free will is not interfered with, but used to God’s greater glory as the Great Music continues to play out. Hearts are fashioned so they will respond freely in the fashion God knows from all time that they will. When the Ring leaves Gollum, in response to its master’s call, God makes sure Bilbo is there to put down his hand in the dark and find it. He does not stop the call from being sent out from Sauron, but once more, he sends a hobbit to ‘intercept’ that call as He had with Déagol & Sméagol. It was not Bilbo’s choice to find the Ring, nor was it was the choice of the Ring to find Bilbo. The frightened hobbit had no idea what it was or what value it had. It was just a pretty little thing and he found it useful. He was not aware that he was an instrument of the One. Only much after the fact does Gandalf, Frodo and the rest of us learn how fateful that journey in the dark truly was. When Bilbo stays his hand from slaying Gollum, he does not know that he is laying some very important groundwork for the destruction of the Ring, the future salvation of his beloved nephew and heir, as yet unborn, and, indeed, helping to determine the fate of the entire of Middle-earth. He sees in Gollum the pitiable, horrifying condition of one enslaved to sin and realizes in some dim way, that "there but for the grace of God, go I". Because Bilbo extended that pity, Frodo is later able to learn from it when he takes his own journey and extends it himself to Gollum and even more importantly, Sam learns from Frodo to do it, as Faramir had done earlier. When Frodo first meets Gollum, he sees in the wretched, twisted creature the same thing his beloved uncle had: a reflection of who he could become, just as he reflects Bilbo in pity. Another step is taken toward the destruction of the Ring. He has gone from "What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature" to "For now that I see him, I do pity him."

The very fact that Bilbo adopted Frodo as his heir is a moment of grace. Even tragedies have their place in the making of who we are and what we are meant to do. If Frodo’s parents hadn’t drowned, then there would have been no need for Bilbo to adopt him and make him his heir, and eventually heir to the Ring; no living so very close to Sam; no setting down roots in the fertile soil of that humble gardener’s loving heart; no blossoming of that beautiful relationship which is so vital to the Quest that it would have failed without it. It is no coincidence that Sam was born the same year Drogo and Primula were drowned. One sees how each piece fits together in the story. How many threads going back decades did God weave into the destruction of the Ring; how many things He guided to happen just at the right time. It is quite amazing actually. Such threads run through our lives also. It is entirely possible that Frodo and Sam would have still met had Frodo’s parents’ lived on to a ripe old age and Bilbo still made him his heir upon leaving for Rivendell, but God chose the way and events He did, for a reason and though we may not understand it all ourselves when tragedies interrupt our lives and lead us off in directions we wouldn’t have otherwise traveled, we have the comfort that God has allowed everything for a reason and ultimately that good will come of it. We just need to have faith and trust that He loves us far more deeply than we can imagine and wills nothing but what will help us come to Him in His heavenly Home which is the home He wishes for us also.

After discovering that Bilbo lied about how he come by the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo, "I might perhaps have consulted Saruman the White, but something always held me back." There is no time that God is not actively involved in His children’s lives. At the time, Gandalf does not know what prudence held him back from revealing his knowledge of the Ring’s whereabouts, nor did he know that Bilbo’s ring was the Ring, but he trusts in that "still, small voice" that he heard in his heart.

At Gandalf’s behest, Aragorn sought long and hard for Gollum, but in vain and finally on his way home, as he tells the Council of Elrond, " fortune, I came suddenly on what I sought: the marks of soft feet beside a muddy pool." Each step is being guided here. We need never to doubt or think that God is not actively, personally involved in our lives. If we are open to His purposes for us, He will guide and guard on the way and reveal bit by bit what we are to do. We need only to surrender ourselves into His Hands, as Aragorn and Gandalf spent a lifetime doing, as Frodo offered himself up to do, though at first he struggles with his vocation and his fear of it.

How many times since he asked "Why was I chosen?" have others echoed him down through the ages with the same protest as he that they were not "made for perilous quests" and have "so little" of heart, wits and courage needed for such grand and dangerous things? Jeremiah, Isaiah, Gideon all protested in one way or another, not understanding at first the call, thinking themselves too young (Jr 4-8), unclean (Is 6:5), too weak (Gideon, Jg 6:12-16). But they all still said in the end: "Here I am, send me" (Is 6:8). They all said as Jesus did during his Agony in the Garden, "Nevertheless, let Your will be done, not mine." (Lk 22:43). They accept they have been chosen and submit themselves to that. Frodo does not realize Who chose him, but he fully acknowledges that he has been chosen, so he is aware, in whatever dim way, there is a Chooser above him Who has selected him. We have been chosen too, each one of us, and the more we surrender control over ourselves to God, the more wonders He can and will work in our lives and we will discover our own unique vocations.

When he is first told of the Ring, Frodo, however, doesn’t want to get involved. He most definitely wants the Ring to be destroyed, the danger to be removed, but he doesn’t want to be the one to do it. It’s very frightening to realize that it’s up to us sometimes to be that instrument of God’s Will to destroy the evil that has sprung up in our time. No wonder he wishes, as we have all at times, "I wish it need not have happening in my time." Moses resisted his call at first. Jonah fled and had to be swallowed by a whale before he accepted his. It is natural for us to resist what seems to be impossible or incredibly dangerous. We don’t like to leave our comfortable lives. Frodo longed for adventures, even for a dragon to come by and shake things up a bit, but he wanted a happy adventure in which he could return happy and whole at the end of it. Destroying the Ring was quite a bit outside his comfort level. Still he learns as we do at times that we may seek adventure, but Quests seek us. By ourselves we can do nothing; with God we can do everything. We can still be broken by our task, but we can be healed by the same One who laid the Cross upon our shoulders and will help us carry it if we let Him. It is not evil that comes from God’s Hand, but love, even when it’s in the form of the Cross, perhaps even especially then: "The Everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart," says the great Bishop, spiritual director and Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622). "This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with His loving arms and weighed with His own Hands, to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God."But He does not ask us to carry our Cross alone. God understands how weak our wills are, how easily we are overcome at times. That is why He sets others at our sides, for there is strength in numbers and when one is weak, the others can be strong and strengthen the one who is faltering. That is why Sam and all the others, and in the end, Sam and Sméagol alone, were placed at Frodo’s side, for he had the greatest burden. "Better two than one by himself, since thus their work is really profitable. If one should fall, the other helps him up; but woe to the man by himself with no one to help him up when he falls down. Again: they keep warm who sleep two together, but how can a man keep warm alone? Where one alone would be overcome, two will put up resistance; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken"(Eccl 4:12). There is no way any one person could have destroyed the Ring. Frodo had many invisible guardians also. We are not alone in our struggles, even if we feel that we are. Jesus had Simon of Cyrene, Frodo had Sam. The saints and martyrs have had others encouraging and strengthening them, even at times Jesus Himself or His Mother. Time and time ago it is shown that "Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam" and a third being was needed for the final victory. When we are terrified to accept the burden that we fear will crush our fragile spirits, we should realize from Whose loving Hand it comes from and when we are bowed under the weight and our strength is failing, there will be others to help and God will not abandon us ever. "Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life," counsels St. Francis de Sales. "Rather look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things;and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. The same Everlasting Father who takes care of you today, will take care of you today, and every day. He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace, then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations."

Sometimes we need to pass through the fire to be tested and there we will find the strength we didn’t know we had. Frodo thought he had "so little" of heart, wisdom and courage but God knew he had a great store of it, as all hobbits do in a crisis. He let the Quest play out as it did so Frodo would know what Frodo was capable of. So He will let our Quests play out so we can discover our strengths. With His help, we will not be found wanting. He will not give us a task that beyond us. He knows what our true strength is and will give us enough grace to accomplish it if we cooperate with Him. Frodo did not fail. He succeeded brilliantly when anyone else would have failed. He was never meant to be Ring-destroyer, since God knew that would be beyond his strength, beyond anyone but Himself. He was present there at the Fire as He had been all along to save Frodo and all Middle-earth when His beloved child’s mortal flesh, will and strength collapsed under the terrible power of the demonic. We are not alone. It is sometimes in the darkness that we can best see the light. Even Jesus was terrified of his coming trials, so God perfectly understands that we feel we are not up to our tribulations or what we fear could be terrible. He knows how our heart quails. But Jesus went on, Frodo went on, the martyrs went on. We need to go on. We are guided and guarded the whole way and though the path may indeed become very dark, the Light will always be there with us, though at times we may not perceive it. Things will be much easier for ourselves if we surrender to Him and let Him work through us. "I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much," Blessed Mother Teresa said who walked through decades of darkness, faithfully serving her God, though for His own good purposes, He chose to hide His face from her, so she could be a shining example to others of perseverance amidst the terrible night. Frodo is another who has inspired many to walk through their own dark nights. They have all shown by their actions that wisdom of Gandalf's words: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Even after Gandalf tells him of the dangers of the Ring, how it will "possess" and "devour" its bearers and will cause him to fade or become invisible permanently if he uses too often and how he would then walk "in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings", Frodo agrees to guard the Ring "whatever it may do to me." He is terrified by Gandalf’s words, but because he doesn’t want anyone else to be harmed by it, he is willing to take that harm himself and try to contain it within himself if he can. At this point he doesn’t truly understand what those words will come to mean to him, what the terrible cost will be, or that he will be asked to bear the Ring much longer than "for the present" which is all his original plan was until someone better, wiser and stronger than he could take it. But he and everyone else will learn that there is no one else better. Once Frodo accepts his vocation, he embraces it fearfully but over time completely. He’s willing to, even expecting to, sacrifice his life. Even before he leaves the Shire, he doesn’t expect to return. Though he does physically, he cannot completely mentally or emotionally. He is not the same person. He sacrificed everything for the Quest. In that crucible of suffering, everything was burned away, including his identity as a happy, innocent, carefree hobbit. He is stripped down to naked will and endurance and clothed in grace. It is that innocence and that grace which enabled him to be the Ring-bearer. Though he hopes at first to be able to leave the Ring at Rivendell and be done with it, he still steps forward and volunteers to take the Ring to Mordor to destroy it, and this when he’s even more aware of its powers and has already almost died bearing it. We may all think we are unequal to a task looming before us, but God will suffuse us with the strength and grace to accomplish it if we are open to accepting it. Frodo was. He succeeded perfectly as Ring-bearer, which is what he was created to do. He was not created to be Ring-destroyer. That was Gollum’s task.

Another lesson that will later bear fruit in Frodo's heart is that he hears Gandalf speak of the small hope for Gollum’s redemption that later enables Frodo’s own hope and efforts for a "cure" for Sméagol. That pity and the lessons learned from the painful presence of the Ring will also in its time extend to Saruman. Gandalf and Galadriel also attempt to convince Saruman to repent, but no avail. Frodo doesn’t want Saruman killed, even after the murderous attack on him at Bag End because even though the cure is beyond them, the Ring-bearer hopes it can be found elsewhere and it won’t be if Saruman is killed. These three recognize that a fallen soul must be given opportunities to redeem itself and they are responsible to extend the offer, though, it’s up to the fallen whether to act upon or not. That Saruman and Sméagol are both unable to come back, the former because of pride, arrogance and hatred, and the latter because his will was not strong enough, is not the fault of those who made the attempt. Frodo, Gandalf and Galadriel are being their "brother’s keeper". It would count toward their credit at judgement that they stretched forth the possibility of redemption. Even though Gandalf considers it, in Saruman’s case, to be "dangerous, and probably useless," he also says "it must be done". It was their responsibility to try while there was hope left as it our responsibility to fraternally correct our erring brethren. Even after nearly 500 years as Ring-bearer, there was still a little Sméagol left in Gollum and that is no small wonder. That is why we should not give up trying to help and praying for the cure of those held in the chains of the Enemy. We can always return when we’ve strayed, though the further into our fall, the harder it will be to rise and return. But "while there’s life, there’s hope" as Sam says, quoting his Gaffer. We will learn in heaven all the good we did. Perhaps someone was saved only through our prayers who would have been lost otherwise, who somehow found the strength to fight their way back to God, out of the darkness into the light.

Gandalf renounces the Ring at Bag End when both Bilbo and Frodo unwittingly tempt him with it because he doesn’t trust himself not to use it if it was in his possession. He is glad when he returns from death that the "deadly peril" of the Ring is no longer something he or anyone else can be tempted to use. Even as Gandalf the White he fears it, perhaps even more so, because his power is greater. Good and strong as he is, he knows he is also weak and that is where his true wisdom and strength lies. It is the wisdom and strength Saruman, his superior, had already abandoned, though no one knows that yet.

Frodo's already growing attachment that will grow to addiction to the Ring is shown here as well.

I love the powerful images also that are here. To name just two, Frodo closing his fist around the Ring to hide it from the dark hand he imagines reaching out to grasp it and him imagining the Fire itself while looking into his own small fire and seeing such great darkness and then coming 'back' to Bag End and being surprised that all is still actually light. He does have a tremendous imagination, doesn't he, quite right for a scribe and lover of tales to have. I wonder if part of his torment though was the Ring taking advantage of that and showing him terrible visions as it consumed him more and more until there was nothing left but itself. It would have done that no matter what but perhaps it would have tormented Frodo more because he had such a lively imagination.