Greece in the Late Roman Period


Greece in the Late Roman Period


By Maria Louise van Kleef


Master’s Thesis, University of Leiden, 2010


Abstract: This thesis is on Greece in Late Antiquity. There is much attention for Roman Greece, but mostly, this attention goes to the periods of the Late Republic and the Early Empire. The period of

(DOJ Watch): Univista "Bombshell" Report re: "Fast & Furious"

Attorney General Eric Holder

Video: Preview of Univision’s “bombshell” report on Fast & Furious


posted at 5:31 pm on September 29, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration clearly hoped that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report on Operation Fast and Furious would be the last

30 Sep 12--Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™

Daily Presidential Tracking Poll - Rasmussen Reports™

Sunday, September 30, 2012 The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows President Obama attracting support from 48% of voters nationwide, while Mitt Romney earns the vote from 46%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and three percent (3%) are undecided. See daily tracking history.
Four years ago today

(Jihad Watch): Children Killed in Kenya Church Attack

Children killed in Kenya church attack

At least two children killed and two others wounded in Nairobi after suspected grenade attack on church.

 30 Sep 2012 15:06


Attack comes days after Kenyan troops launched an offensive on the southern Somali port of Kismayo [

P8 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P7 of 19 - The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P6 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P5 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P4 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

Abortion | Obama | Planned Parenthood

Barack Obama: Abortion Radical

P3 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P2 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

P1 of 19- The Real Jeremiah Wright Up Close and Personal

Jeremiah Wright's outrageous sermons from ABC News

Trinity UCC and Rev. Michael Pfleger's racist outburst

Obama on Fox about Jeremiah Wright, Trinity UCC

Jeremiah Wright on Fox

Rev. Wright answering questions (3 of 3)

Reverend Jeremiah Wright smugly answering pre-screened written questions from the audience and press at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in response to national criticism and formal distancing of presidential candidate Obama. The nation of Islam provided security. Aired on National Television: 4/28/08 9:47AM.

13. Former President Bill Clinton has been widely critical in this campaign

Rev. Wright answering questions (2 of 3)

Reverend Jeremiah Wright smugly answering pre-screened written questions from the audience and press at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, in response to national criticism and formal distancing of presidential candidate Obama. Aired on National Television: 4/28/08 9:38AM.

6. In light of your wide quoted comments damning America, do you think you owe the American people an apology, if

Rev. "God Damn America" Wright answering questions (1 of 3)

Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Racist Rant: Allah and Yahweh Are the Same

Obama's Real History - The "Lost" Years

Obama's Real History; part 2. Details of the "lost years" of Obama. This is some of the best information yet on the college years Obama refuses to talk about. Obama and hiss press agents have done their best to cover it up and conceal records from this time. It is noteworthy that it is during these years that he probably worked closely with Khalid Al Mansour. He may also have had his

Dreams From My Real Father: The Intimate Ann Dunham - Frank Marshall Dav...

Racy photos of Barack Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, have recently surfaced in vintage fetish and bondage magazines. The photos, taken at Frank Marshall Davis' house in Honolulu, appeared in Bizarre Life, Exotique, Secret Pleasures, and Battling Babes. They help illustrate the intimate relationship between Dunham and Davis. "My father was from Kenya, he grew up herding goats," Barack Obama told

Dreams from My Real Father: A Story of Reds and Deception

Dreams from My Real Father

A Story of Reds and Deception
At age 18, Barack Obama admittedly arrived at Occidental College a committed revolutionary Marxist. What was the source of Obama's foundation in Marxism? Throughout his 2008 Presidential campaign and term in office, questions have been raised regarding Barack Obama's family background, economic philosophy, and fundamental political

Profile of 104th Archbishop of Canterbury: Dr Rowan Williams

Profile: Dr Rowan Williams

Dr Williams will be Master of
Magdalene College, Cambridge, from January

Related Stories

Archbishop of Canterbury to quit

to Williams resignation

Rowan Williams, who is spending his
final months as Archbishop of Canterbury, is the 104th person have served in
that role.

His retirement marks the

Dr Rowan Williams: Poll finds 53% consider him 'good leader'

Dr Rowan Williams: Poll finds 53% consider him 'good

By Alex
Strangwayes-Booth BBC News

Dr Williams has held the post
of Archbishop of Canterbury for 10 years

Related Stories

to choose new Archbishop

Dr Rowan Williams

Archbishop of Canterbury to quit

More than half of the people who took

(BBC) Candidates for 105th Archbishop of Canterbury

Archbishop of Canterbury: Runners and riders

Who will succeed Rowan Williams as Archbishop of
Canterbury? The Crown Nominations Commission is meeting to decide who will take
his place, and at the end of its deliberations the 19-strong committee - which
includes bishops, priests and lay people - will give the prime minister the name
of its preferred

New Archbishop of Canterbury (105th) decision 'may take months'

New Archbishop of Canterbury decision 'may take


The BBC's Robert Pigott looks at who is in contention to
replace Dr Rowan Williams

Ann Scheidler and Dr. John Bruchalski.

Washington D.C., Sep 29, 2012 / 05:03 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- At a recent

Most Arrogant Man in the World: Obamaville

See more at Something new from New video parody of the Dos Equis spot "The Most Interesting Man in the World," "The Most Arrogant Man in the World illustrates how Obama believes he can just essentially push his agenda regardless of the congress which has made many believe he has an arrogant leadership style. This video takes a look at him accepting

"You Didn't Build That" - Obamaville

President Obama says his "You Didn't Build That" comment was taken out of context. Here is Obama in his own words explaining that to people who are just trying to run their business without the government interfering.

"You Didn't Build That" - Obamaville

President Obama says his "You Didn't Build That" comment was taken out of context. Here is Obama in his own words explaining that to people who are just trying to run their business without the government interfering.

Absolutely Uncertain: Obama, Israel & Iran

Crown Him With Many Crowns: Westminster Abbey (Hillbillies Disallowed)

Thank God the great Prayer Book, English Bible, and Anglican liturgical worship continues.  Hillbillies, you're dismissed. Contemporary musicians, bye, bye.

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.

Crown Him the

The Two Kingdoms Doctrine: What's The Fuss All About? Part One

The Two Kingdoms Doctrine: What's The Fuss All About? Part One


Article by Matthew Tuininga September 2012

Editors' Note: This essay is the first of three. The second will describe John Calvin's two kingdoms doctrine while the third will explain the two kingdoms doctrine as it is taught

Catholic Bishop: Voting for Obama, Dems Could Place ‘Eternal Salvation of Your Own Soul in Serious Jeopardy’

You cannot support the national program of Genocide on Infants and support same-sex-sodomitic-marriage and still purport to claim the centuries-old title, Christian. If you do, you're self-deceived.  Time for Clergymen to clean-up some membership rosters, exercise discipline by official removal, and refusal of services.  It's time for more Roman bishops to speak as this one has;  this is said

Bp. Jackson (Harvard Law Grad): Obama's Contempt for Religious Freedom

Bishop E.W. Jackson, Sr. at AIM Conference: Obama’s Contempt for Religious Freedom


September 29, 2012 Accuracy In Media

In remarks to the AIM conference, “ObamaNation: A

ABC Thomas Cranmer's Ambitious Legacy


Cranmer's Ambiguous Legacy

By Diarmaid MacCulloch

Diarmaid MacCulloch reflects on the 'after-life' of Henry VIII's archbishop, burnt at the stake as a Protestant martyr under Mary.


Portrait of Cranmer after Henry VIII's death by an unknown artistArchbishop Thomas Cranmer died at the stake in 1556,

(Jihad Watch) Egypt Evangelical Church: Stoned and Bombed

Don't expect a nation under divine judgment, our's, guilty of and for our mass murders in the Genocidal War on Infants, to get it, especially the majority in the press.  Collectively, a process of derangement is underway.  Idiots in the press won't get it. There is and will be no coverage of the widening circle of stories in the Middle East.  We continue, as do others, the "Jihad Watch." Note:

Westminster Abbey: Oh God Our Help in Ages Past

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Coronation Theatre, Westminster Abbey: A Portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Australian painter Ralph Heimans has chosen Westminster Abbey as the location for an official portrait of Her Majesty the Queen in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee. Her Majesty is portrayed standing in the

The Litany of Laundry (and other ordinary things)


Housework or "home-making" can seem tedious: the daily ritual of chores that once completed, only needs to be done again and again.  For parents, "making a home" is the never-ending work of meeting the needs of others.

Making beds.
Cleaning bathrooms.

"When considered in terms of their enormous life-giving importance, the feeding and clothing of a family and maintaining of a household can be undertaken in the contemplative spirit. They become, like prayer and worship, acts of love that transform us and, in turn, the larger world around us."
-Kathleen Norris, The Quotidian Mysteries

Just as the sun comes up every morning and sets every evening, housework, too, is repetitious and has to be done over and over, but it certainly does not need to necessarily equate monotonous or futile drudgery.

Mother and Daughter Wash Day, 1870 [source]

No matter how busy our schedules are, many of these daily tasks, "quotidian mysteries", can be enjoyable and fulfilling.  Haven't we all experienced the satisfying feeling of walking into an orderly room, with the bed made and clothes put away? And who doesn't look forward to the aroma of freshly baked bread? Or the crisp feel of clean sheets, just brought in from the clothesline (okay, maybe towels, warm and soft - straight from the dryer - are more your style)?

Housekeeping may seem mundane, but it's not simple!  Industrialization did not eliminate or reduce "women's work", it vastly increased the productivity of women working at home. Doing the important things (providing healthy meals and a clean - not immaculate - home, reading aloud to your children), and not being constantly led to the point of distraction by the urgent things (telephone calls, emails, unplanned interruptions, etc.) can be challenging.  Sometimes the important and urgent intersect.  We need to take time management seriously and set priorities for the different seasons of our family life.

Another challenge with keeping house can be one's expectations.  Pinterest is fun and helpful (I even have a practical "Quotidian: Daily Care of Home and Family" Board), but this current fad can also be a source of distraction and unrealistic expectations - which can lead to procrastination.  Margaret Kim Peterson, in her book Keeping House, notes:
"There has surely always been a gap between the way people keep their houses and the way they would like ideally to keep them.  But many of us, I suspect, are demoralized by the task of keeping house in part because we know that our houses, no matter how well kept, will never look like the palaces in the dream house publications.  And so we give up, preferring unattainable ideals to less than perfect realities."

Realistic?  No - Architectural Digest Home Library [source].

Her answer to avoiding this temptation?  Humility and gratitude for what we have, and willingness to create in our homes and habits "enough order and tidiness to promote convenience and peace and hospitality."

What's got me thinking about all this?  My soon-to-be-born grandchild and a new, old-fashioned restaurant...

I've enjoyed watching my daughter, Mary, wash and meticulously fold all the newborn baby boy clothes her sister-in-law recently passed down her.  I could hardly wait to present Mary with my baby-smell-in-a-box-secret:  Ivory Snow.  She's been gleefully doing laundry ever since, busily nesting while she awaits the arrival of her little one.

Speaking of waiting, after eight weeks of being on bed rest to avoid pre-term labor, my daughter is up and around now (and due in two weeks)!  Yesterday we went out (we made our beds first, of course) for a visit to her hospital and an enjoyable late morning breakfast at a new restaurant/bakery I've been excited to take her to: Le Pain Quotidien (literally "Daily Bread").

Le Pain Quotidien, Newport Beach
Amazing, right?  We had a frittata and fruit, too.
Mommy Mary and Baby Peter are doing great!

Kids can learn a lot about the joys of hospitality and home-making from books: Laura and Mary were constantly helping Ma and Pa with chores and cooking in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. And I love this picnic scene from The Wind in the Willows --

“... he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger's origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

Books about Housekeeping and Laundry:
The Quotidian Mysteries, by Kathleen Norris (for Moms)

The Tale of Miss Tiggy-Winkle, by Beatrix Potter (for kids)

We Help Mommy, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin (Little Golden Book)

Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems (lost bunny at a laundromat!)

Books about Baking Bread:
Sun Bread, by Elisa Kleven. Winter's gray chill has set in and everyone misses the sun-especially the baker. So she decides to bring some warmth to the town by making sun bread. And as the bread bakes, rising hot and delicious, everyone comes out to share in its goodness. Everyone, including the sun itself. With a lilting, rhyming text, colorful illustrations, and a recipe for baking your own sun bread
The Woman and the Wheat, by Jane Meyer.  An excellent choice for teaching children about the mystery of the bread that becomes food from heaven, in Holy Communion.  And Jane has an excellent blog about baking - see my past post about her books and website/blog, here.

You might also enjoy my past post about cooking/food/books:  The Secret Ingredient: Learning (& Fun!)

Guide Me, O Thou, Great Redeemer

I remember operating with British Royal Marines.  We were in a 5-ton truck.  We were in the northern Israel mountains towards Syria.  The sun was setting.  We were tired...beat.  A wonderful Royal Marine began to sing this great hymn, a capella. He had a strong and manly voice.  Then others, myself included, joined him and we sang this grand hymn from our old and august tradition of Anglican

St. Paul's Cathedral Choir: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise Him for His grace and favor
To our fathers in distress.
Praise Him still the same as ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless.
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Glorious in His faithfulness.

Fatherlike He tends and

How Shall I Sing That Majesty - Hymn Tune Coefen

When we are doing everything

which life and time demand,

eternal truths may soon depart

replaced with sinking sand.

Dangerous times so test us, Lord,

when Christ we cannot see.

Steady our nerve, O living Word

and teach us just to be!


When we are fighting smiling foes

who twist your word and ways,

help us repent when our sin grows,

o'erwhelmed by stormy days:

hardening our

1954 Johnson Amendment: 1000 Pastors Challenge IRS on 1st Amendment

More than 1,000 pastors plan to openly defy the IRS by telling their congregations on October 7 to vote for a particular presidential candidate, according to Fox News.The annual event, dubbed "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," has been organized by the conservative Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom. The pastors

Bets & Bookies: Bp. Welby as Next Archbishop of Canterbury?

Virtue is posing four names for the next ABC.  Bp. Welby of Durham is perhaps the favoured one.  For those well-schooled in the classics, it won't matter much.  But, for the world-class drifters in Western Anglicanism...hint, hint, in leadership...the choice could be significant. What happens if an Elder or Presbyter (or deacon or laymen) is a few miles out front, in terms of theology, the next

A Dream Deferred -

A Dream Deferred -
A Dream DeferredIf Americans’ faith in upward mobility falters, expect class resentments to grow. By Ronald Brownstein Updated: September 26, 2012 | 1:36 p.m.
September 26, 2012 | 12:23 p.m. AP Photo/Sheridan Press, Jordan Edgcomb Sheridan College graduates prepare for the start of the

Bishop E.W. Jackson Message to Black Christians

A short message from Bishop E.W. Jackson to fellow black Christians about the evil being done by the Democrat party.  I don't get the sense that Bishop Jackson will be letting up anytime soon.  Press the battle, brother.  Give em' hell, I say. 

LIFE IN THE WOMB BEFORE BIRTH senses hearing and touch part 8

"Jonathan Edwards" by Ian Murray

"Jonathan Edwards" by Dr J I Packer

Dr. James Packer: Does Each Person Choose Their Own Destiny?

What is Hell? J.I. Packer

Dr. James I. Packer: Some of His Favourite Books

Why Baptize Infants? (A Reformed Perspective)

Dr. R. Scott Clark, Professor Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary in California, briefly answers the question, "Why baptize infants?"

Vast Hordes are Un-Catechetized: Ya' Reap What Ya' Sow & It Shows

Dr. James Innes Packer


The Lost Art Of

It's a tried and true way of teaching,
among other things, Christian doctrine.

J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett  

Historically, the church's ministry of
grounding new believers in the rudiments of Christianity has been known as catechesis—the
growing of God's people in the

Shallow, Tepid, Diluted, Hillbilly Small Groups

Shallow Small Group say it all? “You’ll never hear us use the word ‘accountability’ unless you’re talking about someone who uses numbers.”


Reply ↓

Anglicanism's Muddy & Turgid Streams: Dr. Gillis Harp on "3-Streamers"

Doctrine is not a current forte for Anglican leaders, muddlers, mixers, mashers and divided souls...confused as they are.  Like ancient Israel, "syncretism" and the ever-trendy "compromise" and "doctrinal cowardice" is more tasteful.  Dr. Gillis Harp, an historian, offers another plea for historical and theological clarity.   It will go without note, concern, or caution. 


Roman Cardinal: Catholics Should Renew Commitment to Stopping Abortion |

Bishops: Catholics Should Renew Commitment to Stopping Abortion |

In a new statement marking Respect Life Month, October 2012, the head of the pro-life outreach for the Catholic bishops says Catholics should “renew their personal commitment to defend all human life, especially the most vulnerable members of the human family.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman

Murderous Canadian Parliament Defeats Pro-Life Motion 312 on Abortion |

Canadian Parliament Defeats Pro-Life Motion 312 on Abortion |

The Canadian Parliament defeated Motion 312 on a 203-91 vote. The motion says Canada should re-examine when human life begins and has sparked a national debate about the issue of abortion.
Immediately after the vote, the Campaign Life Coalition, one of the major pro-life groups in Canada, said it was not deterred by

What are you reading? Avoiding reading? Watching?

What are you reading? What do you really want to read? What have you avoided reading that you should read? What are you watching on TV? At the movies? What's your opinion of new shows like Revolution?
As for me, I'm very absorbed in Justin Cronin's The Passage. I've never read a book this long (900+ pages!), and I keep being amazed that it's totally holding my attention! Has anyone read it? What did you think? (No spoilers, please). It occurs to me that it's had a huge influence on other plotmasters, including Eric Kripke, the creator of the new TV show, Revolution, where the batteries and power all blinker out in a post-tech world. But if The Passage just came out, that cross-pollination would be impossible, right? I guess it proves that ideas truly ARE "in the air".

Which brings me to Revolution. I found that in the first episode, I was chuckling at the "wrong" places, like the scene where the militias and the villagers exchange fire. No, I'm not a lover of violence. It had much more to do with the fact that this battle seemed so predictable, and staged, and the villagers seemed so perfectly put together in their survivalist gear: patched American Eagle jeans and artfully sweat-dotted tee-shirts. Each woman had a crossbow a la Hunger Games huntress, Katniss Everdeen. Call me cynical, but these types of shows (and novels) need to go further than simply window-dressing a post-apoc, post-tech setting. The one shining gem in the first episode, for me, was the geek guy (worked for Google?) who was really out of shape but super-witty and charming in his dark asides. I am eager to see how this geekster does on a long, grueling hike with only a sinewy squirrel for dinner!

As far as other reading material, I am thoroughly enjoying a client's middle-grade fantasy manuscript, the second one that I've worked on for her. I LOVE it when I can see how much better someone's writing is getting, partially from my counsel. I feel like a proud mama bear.
As far as reading that I should be getting to? Well, I need to re-read Vonnegut's BLUEBEARD, a wicked send-up of the art world of the sixties. I'm teaching this book in a few weeks, and I need to write up class discussion questions and essay prompts. So, it's the surrounding work, not the book itself, that has me a little anxious.
Now, tell me all about what you're reading, avoiding reading, watching!

Good News: Canadian Anglicans Face Gloomy Financial Picture

Gloomy financial future facing the Anglican Church of Canada

Archbishop reports $900,000 shortfall for the first six months of 2012


Article | September 25, 2012 - 4:49pm | By George Conger


 Delegates participate in the 2012 GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. Denver, Colo

U.S. bishop slams Dem platform for endorsing ‘intrinsic evils’ |

U.S. bishop slams Dem platform for endorsing ‘intrinsic evils’ |

U.S. bishop slams Dem platform for endorsing ‘intrinsic evils’

by Johanna Dasteel

Tue Sep 25, 2012 16:45 EST

Tags: abortion, democratic party, gay marriage, john paprocki

The most heartrending abortion testimony you’ll ever hear, from a former abortionist |

The most heartrending abortion testimony you’ll ever hear, from a former abortionist |
 The most heartrending abortion testimony you’ll ever hear, from a former abortionistby John Jalsevac

Last week a former abortionist, who admits to having committed around 1200 abortions, appeared before a U.S. House

Apostasy, Episco-babble, Waffle-Speak & Muddlers: Exhibit A, Upper South Carolina Bishop

Posted by David Virtue on 2012/9/25 11:00:00 (50 reads) 

Upper South Carolina Bishop sets up task force to consider blessing same sex unions

Bishop Waldo is liberal, so are most of his priests, but the people of the state are conservative and voted against same-sex unionsNEWS ANALYSISBy David W. Virtue

Dr. James I. Packer: Killing Sin Through Prayer

J. I. Packer - Killing Sin Through Prayer

J. I. Packer on Killing Sin Through Prayer from Desiring God on Vimeo.

A Schoolboy Who Became a Saint

Today in the Orthodox Church is the feast day of St. Sergius of Radonezh. Back when I home schooled our three children, I was inspired by the childhood of this saint, who grew up in 14th-Century Russian and was then known as "Bartholomew".  At the age of 23, Bartholomew became a monk and took the name "Sergius", but as a young boy, Bartholomew had trouble learning to read. We would read his story at the beginning of the school year.

St. Sergius's Illumination: "Vision to the Youth Bartholomew",
by Russian artist Mikhail Nesterov

...Sergius was born of noble, Orthodox, devout parents. His father was named Cyril and his mother Mary. They found favour with God; they were honourable in the sight of God and man, and abounded in those virtues which are well-pleasing unto God. Cyril had three sons, Stephen, Bartholomew, and Peter, whom he brought up in strict piety and purity.

Stephen and Peter quickly learned to read and write, but the second boy did not so easily learn to write, and worked slowly and inattentively; his master taught him with care, but the boy could not put his mind to his studies, nor understand, nor do the same as his companions who were studying with him. As a result he suffered from the many reproaches of his parents, and still more from the punishments of his teacher and the ridicule of his companions. 

The boy often prayed to God in secret and with many tears: "O Lord, give me understanding of this learning. Teach me, Lord, enlighten and instruct me." His reverence for God prompted him to pray that he might receive knowledge from God and not from men.

One day his father sent him to seek for a lost foal. On his way he met a monk, a venerable elder, a stranger, a priest, with the appearance of an angel. This stranger was standing beneath an oak tree, praying devoutly and with much shedding of tears. The boy, seeing him, humbly made a low obeisance, and awaited the end of his prayers.

The venerable monk, when he had ended his prayers, glanced at the boy and, conscious that he beheld the chosen vessel of the Holy Spirit, he called him to his side, blessed him, bestowed on him a kiss in the name of Christ, and asked: "What art thou seeking, or what dost thou want, child?"

The boy answered, "My soul desires above all things to understand the Holy Scriptures. I have to study reading and writing, and I am sorely vexed that I cannot learn these things. Will you, holy Father, pray to God for me, that he will give me understanding of book-learning? "The monk raised his hands and his eyes toward heaven, sighed, prayed to God, then said, "Amen."

Taking out from his satchel, as it were some treasure, with three fingers, he handed to the boy what appeared to be a little bit of white wheaten bread prosphora [the bread offered for Communion], saying to him: "Take this in thy mouth, child, and eat; this is given thee as a sign of God's grace and for the understanding of Holy Scriptures. Though the gift appears but small, the taste thereof is very sweet."

The boy opened his mouth and ate, tasting a sweetness as of honey, wherefore he said, "Is it not written, How sweet are thy words to my palate, more than honey to my lips, and my soul doth cherish them exceedingly?" The monk answered and said, "If thou believest, child, more than this will be revealed to thee; and do not vex thyself about reading and writing; thou wilt find that from this day forth the Lord will give thee learning above that of thy brothers and others of thine own age."

Having thus informed him of divine favour, the monk prepared to proceed on his way. But the boy flung himself, with his face to the ground, at the feet of the monk, and besought him to come and visit his parents, saying, "My parents dearly love persons such as you are, Father." The monk, astonished at his faith, accompanied him to his parents' house.

At the sight of the stranger, Cyril and Mary came out to meet him, and bowed low before him. The monk blessed them, and they offered him food, but before accepting any food, the monk went into the chapel, taking with him the boy whose consecration had been signified even before birth, and began a recitation of the Canonical Hours, telling the boy to read the Psalms.

The boy said, "I do not know them, Father." The monk replied, "I told thee that from today the Lord would give thee knowledge in reading and writing; read the Word of God, nothing doubting." Whereupon, to the astonishment of all present, the boy, receiving the monk's blessing, began to recite in excellent rhythm; and from that hour he could read.

His parents and brothers praised God, and after accompanying the monk to the house, placed food before him. Having eaten, and bestowed a blessing on the parents, the monk was anxious to proceed on his way. But the parents pleaded, "Reverend Father, hurry not away, but stay and comfort us and calm our fears. Our humble son, whom you bless and praise, is to us an object of marvel. While he was yet in his mother's womb three times he uttered a cry in church during holy Liturgy. Wherefore we fear and doubt of what is to be, and what he is to do."

The holy monk, after considering and becoming aware of that which was to be, exclaimed, "O blessed pair, O worthy couple, giving birth to such a child! Why do you fear where there is no place for fear? Rather rejoice and be glad, for the boy will be great before God and man, thanks to his life of godliness." Having thus spoken the monk left, pronouncing an obscure saying that their son would serve the Holy Trinity and would lead many to an understanding of the divine precepts. They accompanied him to the doorway of their house, when he became of a sudden invisible. Perplexed, they wondered if he had been an angel, sent to give the boy knowledge of reading.

After the departure of the monk, it became evident that the boy could read any book, and was altogether changed; he was submissive in all things to his parents, striving to fulfil their wishes, and never disobedient. Applying himself solely to glorifying God, and rejoicing therein, he attended assiduously in Gods church, being present daily at Matins, at the Liturgy, at Vespers. He studied holy scripts, and at all times, in every way, he disciplined his body and preserved himself in purity of body and soul.

[Taken from this website, where you can read the full story of this saint's humble life.]

Republican poll analysis: Romney winning with middle-class families - Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber -

Republican poll analysis: Romney winning with middle-class families - Ed Goeas and Brian Nienaber -

 Romney has won the strong support of middle-class families. | AP Photo
  By ED GOEAS and BRIAN NIENABER | 9/24/12 4:34 AM EDT \  In early August, with our Republican analysis of the

Thousands join grassroots women's movement opposing HHS mandate :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Thousands join grassroots women's movement opposing HHS mandate :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Thousands join grassroots women's movement opposing HHS mandate By Michelle Bauman 
 Women protest the Obama administration's

SGT Friday (Jack Webb, Dragnet) "Schools" Obama

Some fun here with SGT Joe Friday and sidekick, two detectives, from DRAGNET "schooling" Obama.

Online (1 Hr, 30 Mins): Dinesh D'Souza's "2016: Obama's America"

It may not stay up long on youtube, but here is Dinesh D'Souza's much-touted "2016: Obama's America."  I've seen it twice in person at our local theatre.  This is it and it's online.  Recommend watching it and passing this along. 

Blowing the Dust Off Description

By Janice Lane Palko

Words are but the signs of ideas—Samuel Johnson

Several years ago while my daughter was still in high school, she was sitting at the kitchen table reading when she suddenly slammed a book closed and screamed, “I hate this book.  Five pages describing dust!”  She had been reading The Grapes of Wrath, and evidently, Steinbeck had gone into too much description of the Dust Bowl for her liking.

I recently published my first romantic comedy, St.Anne’s Day, and one of the recurring compliments I’m receiving is how descriptive it is.  “The writing was so visual, I felt like I could see it,” says one of the book’s reviews on Amazon.  Another says, “It is very well written, very descriptive.”  Apparently, I’d hit the sweet spot of just the right amount of description to satisfy these reviewers.

Here is a bit of description from the novel.  It is the scene from the middle of the book when Anne and Gerry, who are still just flirting with each other, go to the Emergency Room.  Anne, who is a nurse and is taking care of Gerry’s mother, is the only one available to take him to the hospital when he cuts his hand on the way out the door to a black-tie event with his latest girlfriend.

They arrived at the Emergency Room near six o’clock.  Anne signed Gerry in with the receptionist who directed them to a cubicle, where they found an attractive black woman sitting behind the counter at a computer.  Her hair was a fountain of black, glossy loops, a style so elaborate, it reminded Anne of the coiffures found on characters in Dr. Seuss books.  Her nameplate said Letitia Pinkney, and she was sucking on a lollipop.  Removing the sucker with a great smack, she put it in an ashtray.  “Gave up cigs,” she explained.  “Blood pressure was sky-high.  Trying to fool myself by substituting these.” 
“Is it working?” Anne asked as she took a chair across the counter from her. 
“Nope.  It’s like taking Chris Rock to bed and telling yourself it’s Denzel Washington.”   
She looked at Gerry who had also sat down.  “So what’d you do, Handsome, slash your wrist to keep from getting hitched to this pretty lady?  She eyed Anne. “Don’t even tell me you’re walking down the aisle in that sorry get up.” 
“No, a glass broke in my hand,” Gerry said. 
Anne looked down at her scrubs, laughing.  “We’re not getting married.”  She fumbled for some words that explained their relationship then finally said, “We’re just friends.” 
“Friends?” the clerk mumbled, her eyes on the computer, her thumbs tapping the space bar. "Second biggest lie next to the check’s in the mail.” 

Notice that I didn’t describe the Emergency Room in great detail, or whether Letitia’s computer was a Mac or Dell.  I didn’t describe the wallpaper, the chair’s upholstery, or the color of the carpeting.  It was unnecessary.  Unfortunately, most of us have been to the Emergency Room at some point, so I let you superimpose your memory of the Emergency Room onto my passage.  When I write description, I try to create an impression, sketch out a scene, and then allow my readers the pleasure of filling in the details in their own minds.  I think the key to finding the balance between too much and too little description lies in writing enough to put the reader into the scene but then holding back so that the reader can then work out the rest of the details in their own minds.

While I will not attempt to criticize a master writer like Steinbeck for his lengthy description, I will say that he could have painted the picture of what the Dust Bowl looked like in my daughter’s mind more vividly if he had only written that it resembled her messy room and what was lying under her bed.

How about you?  How much description do you like in a book?  Have you ever skipped over a passage of description?  Have you ever slammed a book shut because there was too much description?  Which writer do you consider to be a master of description?

St. Anne’s Day is available at Amazon, the Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook Store and Smashwords.

Follow Janice at

Janice grew up in Pittsburgh and is the author of the romantic comedy St. Anne’s Day.  A writer for more than 15 years, she is currently the executive editor of Northern Connection and Pittsburgh 55+ magazines, where she also pens a column and contributes regularly to the magazines’ content.
One of the inspirations for St. Anne’s Day was the St. Anne prayer that her social studies teacher, Sr. Jane Frances, taught to her high school class so that all the girls would find prom dates.  And they did!

She is working on her second book, a Christmas novel entitled, A Shepherd’s Song, which will be released in late fall.

Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election

Pastors pledge to defy IRS, preach politics from pulpit ahead of election

By Cristina Corbin

Published September 23, 2012

Pastor Jim Garlow from San Diego's evangelical Skyline Church, left, talks with openly gay church member Dean Hughes. (AP)

Some pastors

Kansas District Court First to Apply “American Laws for American Courts” | Blog – American Freedom Law Center

Kansas District Court First to Apply “American Laws for American Courts” | Blog – American Freedom Law Center

Kansas District Court First to Apply “American Laws for American Courts”
Posted on September 11, 2012 by admin
A Kansas district court is the first to recognize the possible application of the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) law in a case where a party

Dem-Donkey James Carville; "80% of Democrats Don't Have a Clue as to Political Reality"

We agree.  A recent study indicated that 33% of Donkeys follow the news "a little" to "not at all," compared to 58% of the Elephants.  Not surprised.  27% of Americans have a beginner degree, the training wheels degree, the BA.  12% of blacks have a BA.  Easy to mislead misread, non-read, non-reading, and uneducated revivalist invokers, inhalers, exhalers, noise-makers, tub-thumpers and bucolic

(BBC) Jihad Watch: 1400 Dead at Hands of Nigerian Islamo-Facists

Nigeria church bombed in Bauchi, Boko Haram

reading the main story

Nigeria under attack

Fuel on Jos fire

Boko Haram's shadowy leader

'My city of fear'

Who are Boko Haram?

A suicide bomber has attacked a
church in northern Nigeria , killing at least two people and

Horatio Southgate: Moral Law in Islamic Missions

The Moral Law in Islamic Missions

September 23, 2012 · by joelmartin · in Islam

Horatio Southgate writes:


The boast of Mohammedanism is the morality which it inculcates, and this boast is the weapon which can be most effectually used against it. A Mussulman not only listens with patience to the strongest delineations of

Pope: Christians in Politics Defend Life, Family & Common Good

Pope: Christians in politics
defend life, family, common good
(Vatican Radio) Pope
Benedict XVI today received the participants in the meeting of the Christian
Democrat international organization’s Executive Committee, which took place on
Friday in Rome. The Holy Father encouraged the committee members to continue in
their commitment to

Gallic Aristocracy & Roman Imperial Govt. in 5th Century AD

The Gallic Aristocracy and the Roman Imperial government in the fifth century A.D.

Minor, Charles Paul
Master of Arts, Texas Tech University, December (1976)


The fourth century proved to be almost as peaceful and prosperous for Gaul as the third century

Bp. Kwangu, Tanzania: Pentecostalist Charges by His Clerics

Bravo!  Get rid of American Hillbilly religion where'er it occurs.

Creeping Pentecostalism charges laid against bishop: The Church of England Newspaper,

September 23, 2012

Bishop Boniface Kwangu of Victoria Nyanza, Tanzania

Jihad Watch: Islamo-Facists Murdering Christians in Nigeria

Posted by David Virtue on 2012/9/22 17:40:00 (221 reads)

US CANA Bishop Reports Suffering and Killing of Christians in Nigeria McLean, VA (September 21, 2012) - The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs, Anglican Bishop in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America has recently returned from a visit to Nigeria where he reports

ABC Williams and Bp. Nazir-Ali on Religion in Britain

Archbishop Williams and Bishop Nazir-Ali on the place of religion in British public lifePaul RichardsonChurch of England Newspaper September 21st, 2012 With both Archbishop Rowan Williams and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali producing books on the place of religion in Britain the press were bound to focus on the differences

23 Sept 1800: McGuffy's Reader

McGuffy, a Presbyterian Licensee, advocated learnedness to/for his readers using McGuffy's Reader.  Presbyterians have always been advocates of a learned ministry.  Anglicans have also advocated similarly.  It is unfortunate that PCA History misses this.  Together, The Book of Common Prayer and the Westminster Standards were symbols and instructors in reading, learning, faith, hope, strength

Tetzel Anyone? German Roman Bishops Extract Tax by Threats

German bishops get tough on Catholics who opt out of church tax

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

PARIS (Reuters)- Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops have decreed that people who opt out of a “church tax” should not be given sacraments and religious burials, getting

Roman Catholic Church Extracts Tax on Pain of Damnation

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Roman Catholic Church extracts tax on pain of damnation

According to the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, any Roman Catholic – no matter how pious and devout – who refuses to pay the ‘Church tax’ is no longer a member of the

Dr. Sinclair Ferguson: NPP at Bethel PCA

On the New Perspective (MP3)

Sinclair Ferguson, this important lecture which critiques NPP was given at Bethel Church PCA in Dallas, TX. - HT: Nicholas T. Batzig

Debt solution must be bipartisan –

Debt solution must be bipartisan –

Prof. Louis Berkhof: 196-Pg. NT Intro

Prof. Louis Berkhof
Professor of Systematics, Calvin Seminary
A must-have-must-read is his
Systematic Theology, a must for
the discerning and those with good
taste and elevated sensibilities
Here, we have his 196-pg. NT Intro

to the New Testament


Available in Kindle .mobi and ePub formats

R. Scott Clark: Anglican Influence on Reformed Worship

An absolute must-read
for the discerning
and those with good
sense and taste

The Growing Influence of the Anglican Tradition in Reformed Worship

Jonathan W. Williams writes,

By “Anglican Tradition” I have in mind a number of elements that include but are not limited to

Caspar Wistar Hodge Jr.: Old Princeton

Caspar Wistar Hodge
Professor, Old Princeton
Son of Charles Hodge
Father of Caspar Wistar
Hodge, Jr., subject of article below

The Last of An Amazing Family

Has there every
been an equal to one family name serving the same educational institution in
the history of American Christianity? We would be

Archbishop of Canterbury: Horse-trading, Dark Horses, Bookies, & Bets

ABC Race Hots Up, a Little Punt, and a Question for Fulcrum
Andrew Brown over at the Guardian thinks he has a grasp on how it’s all looking,

Next Wednesday, four women and 15 men on the Crown Nominations Commission will gather for two days of prayer and horsetrading to replace Rowan Williams as archbishop of Canterbury. We know who they are,

Dr. W.R. Godfrey: Waldo, Waldensians, & Moderns

Peter Waldo and the Waldensians

by W. Robert Godfrey


Waldensian Territory

By the twelfth century, the church in Western Europe was indeed powerful and impressive. In the emerging Gothic architecture, we can see something of the devotion of the people and the wealth of the bishops. In the developing scholastic

TEC Bp. Lawrence, Diocese of SC: Message to Clergy

Bishop Mark Lawrence,
TEC Bishop of Diocese of South


A Message
to the Clergy of the Diocese of South Carolina from Bishop Mark Lawrence


by Kendall Harmon


Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We announced last month on August 20th that the Standing Committee and I were
in agreement on a course of

Al Mohler Whacks Joel Osteen Upside the Head


in His Lane’ — Joel Osteen’s Gospel of Affirmation Without Salvation

Friday, September 21,

Joel Osteen was back on CNN this week,
appearing Thursday morning on “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.”

The Celebration of an Unexpected Journey

It's the 75th Anniversary of the publication of a book that introduced the whole world to a furry-footed hobbit named Bilbo.  This book magically took us on a quest with Bilbo, Gandalf, and thirteen dwarfs to the Lonely Mountain, home of a sly dragon named Smaug...  

CHAPTER I - An Unexpected Party
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

The novel by Oxford professor JRR Tolkien was published on September 21, 1937, and has since sold 100 million copies and been translated into almost fifty languages.

Tomorrow, September 22, is "Hobbit Day" - a separate annual tradition - celebrating the birthdays of Bilbo Baggins and Frodo Baggins (who later shows up in Tolkien's trilogy, Lord of the Rings.) 

It would be a great day to have a "Second Breakfast"!

Church Society: Safeguarding C o E's Evangelical Identity

Church Society - Safeguarding the CofE's Evangelical Identity 21, 2012There are times when all of us look in the mirror in the morning and ask questions like: "Who am I?" and "What do I want to be?"2012 has, so far, been such a year of soul searching for the Church of

Anglican BCP Influencing Some Presbyterians?

Thoughts Concerning the Influence of the Anglican Tradition on Contemporary Reformed Liturgical Practice

Is there

"The Year of the Girl"

This year marks the centennial celebration of the Girl Scouts, and 2012 has been named "The Year of the Girl" (learn more at  On March 12, 1912, the first Girl Scout Troop meeting was held, consisting of 18 girls led by Girl Scouts founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low in her hometown of Savanna, Georgia.

Brownie Scouts Lea Griffin (left) and Brenda Holloman plant big kisses
on the cheeks of Mrs. Samuel Lawrence, the first Girl Scout, and niece of
Girl Scouts of America founder, Juliette Low.
Photo by Jim Bisson. Oct. 30, 1958. [source here]
"The young woman who was the first Girl Scout in the United States became so without either knowing it or accepting the honor.  In fact, when Aunt Juliette Low, who founded the first troop, in Savannah, GA in 1912, informed her niece that she, Daisy Gordon was enrolled as Scout No. 1, young Miss Gordon was "a little annoyed." [source: The Evening Independent 1940]

Since that time, Girls Scouts has grown to 3.7 million members and is the largest educational organization for girls in the world.  Generations of women and girls have enjoyed scouting over the years.

As a young girl in Memphis, TN, I joined the "Brownies" with my neighbor friend and her sister.  I remember my little hat and uniform, weekly meetings, making crafts, and learning about doing good deeds. One summer I got to go to a day camp - only the Girl Scouts spent the night - where we sang campfire songs like "Kookaburra" and "White Coral Bells".

My family moved away, and I never became a Girl Scout, but my Aunt Marna was involved in Girl Scouts for many years in Minnesota.  She recently reminisced, "When I was a child, Girl Scouts taught me some lifelong skills, including how to knit, how to be a team member, and how to camp. When I started to be a leader at the age of 16, I learned lots of leadership skills through the years. I also made lifelong friends." (She and her last co-leader were able to find 28 members of their troop and had a reunion this past August!)

If you've followed my blog very long, you may remember my post about Norman Rockwell and his first job - while still in his teens - as art director for BOY'S LIFE, the official publication of the Boy Scouts of America.

But are you aware that Rockwell also figured into the history of the Girl Scouts of America?
“Good Scouts (Portrait of a Girl Scout),” 1924, Norman Rockwell (1894-1978).
Cover illustration for “Life” magazine, November 6, 1924. 

Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections.
In 1977, Norman Rockwell was approached by the Franklin Mint to create a dozen designs for medallions depicting the ideals of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America on the occasion of the organization’s 65th anniversary. The artist, a long-time supporter of Scouting, created engaging scenes illustrating such tenets of the Girl Scout Law as “respectful,” “resourceful,” “be prepared,” and “on my honor.”

This Saturday, September 22, 2012 the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts with a special centennial celebration to be held at the Museum from 1 to 4 p.m. (Look HERE for more information. To learn more about Scout guided visits and workshops held year-round at Norman Rockwell Museum, visit

(click the images to link to Amazon for details)


"Autumn has caught us in our summer wear." 
- Philip Larkin, British poet (1922-1986)

Here in sunny Southern California, there are not yet many signs of the coming fall, but I have seen a growing number of black crows, getting ready for the pecans to fall from my backyard neighbor's huge tree.  And of course, Halloween merchandise is showing up everywhere.

Cover illustration for by Randolph Caldecott's Sing a Song for Sixpence (1880) - public domain.

This Saturday, September 22, marks the First Day of Autumn.  I noticed this shocking fact when I opened my pocket datebook yesterday, with the approaching equinox staring me in the face (equinox comes from the Latin words for "equal night." The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the Sun crosses the celestial equator.)

When our kids were growing up, we liked to celebrate fall and fun on Halloween, without too much fright.  I've heard many families express the same desire, so I'm constantly on the look-out for fun versus frightening Halloween ideas for my blog (click HERE to see some of my past pumpkin posts).  This year, I'm really liking black birds, versus bats (stay tuned for a fun party idea coming up in October!)

Birds on a wire? Find these cute paper clips HERE.
(Comes with 8 blackbird clips on a 36" cord)

Here's a cute product I recently came across...a teacher used it on a bulletin board with fun photos, literary quotes, and fall poetry.

Reminds me of the well-known English nursery rhyme, Sing A Song Of Sixpence:

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.

My book recommendation for today?  A "haunting" quirky fable about crows and a snake:
The Crows of Pearblossom, by Aldous Huxley (yes, the author of Brave New World wrote a children's book) two silly crows - with the help of a wise owl - solve the problem of a hungry snake devouring their eggs is a tale of cleverness triumphing over greed.

Born in England and educated at Balliol College, Huxley relocated to Southern California with his family in 1937.  He wrote The Crows of Pearblossom for his niece, Olivia, in 1944 as a Christmas gift.  In 1967 it was published in a small-format edition (now out of print), illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

I ordered the new 2011 edition because I couldn't resist Sophie Blackall's wonderful illustrations!  Read a great overview/history of this picture book, HERE, and the NYTimes review "Aldous Huxley's Brave New Storybook", HERE.

Hillsdale College: U.S. Constitution, A Reader

The U.S. Constitution: A Reader

Featuring 113 essential primary source documents, THE U.S. CONSTITUTION: A READER is taught as part of the core undergraduate course on the U.S. Constitution at Hillsdale College.

Divided into eleven sections with introductions by members of Hillsdale's Politics Department faculty, readings cover the American founding,

Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer

Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer

One of the last mysteries left in the study of Shakespeare's plays is the biggest of them all: How do they achieve their particular magic? What can explain their hold over us? One answer to this question

An Anglican Cleric--Actually, Really-- Believes in Predestination

Life has simple surprises.  Here's another Anglican clergyman who--yes, sit down and take a deep breath--actually believes in Article 17 and Predestination.  Most of them, in my experience, wouldn't know or care about it much like other Reformation themes.  Nor would the parishioners, thanks to the clerics.  This Anglican clergyman actually says this: 

"Arminianism is a serious

J.I. Packer: Evangeliual Preaching Too Light on God's Holiness

J. I. Packer - Evangelical Preaching Is Too Light on the Holiness of God

Evangelical Preaching Is Too Light on the Holiness of God from Desiring God on Vimeo.

The Next Big Thing!

I've been tagged by the lovely Rossandra White in a blog game called The Next Big Thing, where you answer questions about your work in progress or a new piece, that you'd love to become the next big thing! For me, that's the sequel to my futuristic thriler, Fireseed One. So, here goes:

What is the working title of your work-in-progress?

Children of Fireseed. Or I may just totally get away from that title to something like Sun Chimeras. Chimeras are beings comprised of two very diverse genetics. Too obscure? What about Scarlet’s Fire? Here’s an even better idea: why don’t you all help me think up a title? Best one gets the person a free, signed copy of the book when it comes out, and a $25 gift card too. First read the story summary, and then email me with your awesome suggestion at kitsy84557 AT gmail DOT com.

Where did the idea come from? 

Since it’s a sequel, it naturally takes the Fireseed One story a few more giant steps forward. The main character is Scarlet, the girl with three missing fingers from the Fireseed cult in book one. It’s now eight years later, so Scarlet who was seven is now fifteen. Her love interest is Armonk, the boy from Black Hills Sector in book one, who Varik made the prosthetic leg and arrow for. I wanted to follow those kids and others who had the bad luck to grow up in the Hotzone, and to see how they fared as teens. They meet up at a place called the Greening, a quirky boarding school in the desert, at Skull’s Wrath. It's run by Nevada Pilgrim, the artsy lady caught up in the nefarious ZWC terrorist group from book one.

What genre does your book fall into?

It’s teen sci-fi. It can also be described as dystopian, or a futuristic thriller. It’s set on earth in 2097.

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a film version?

My main characters are younger than most of the actors I usually think of, but let me try. Carey Mulligan or Mia Wasikowska would make a good Scarlet, as they have that innocent, dreamy look, while being powerful. Scarlet is compellingly stunning, and rather unhappy about it, as it tends to attract too much attention from the older men in the cult, which yes, is creepy. (She escapes in the first scene!) Either Logan Lerman or David Kross would make a good Armonk. He’s mysterious, raven-haired, and a talented hunter, with a vulnerable, private grin that makes you really want to know what he’s thinking.

Write a one-paragraph summary

If everything about you changes, what remains?
Fifteen year-old Scarlet, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at the Greening, a boarding school for orphaned refugees, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems to be, and as the students care for its secret Fireseed crop, they experience frightening physical changes. When George Axiom, of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Scarlet and Armonk are hopeful they can finally help their families back in the struggling sectors, but when Stiles comes to reclaim Scarlet, and Thorn disappears, the world as Scarlet knows it, is changed forever.

How long did the first draft take to write?

I’m still at it. It’s a work-in-progress!

What other books would you compare this to, in your genre?

This treads newish ground in the genre, in terms of strange human hybrids. In terms of sensibility (not plot) it is similar to Rossi’s Under the Never Sky.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It’s a natural extension of the big questions in Fireseed One. How do we live in a forbidding future environment? When we are terrified and our backs are up against the fire, how do we avoid the urge to take sanctuary in false refuges like the Fireseed cult? How can humans extend the limitations of the human body to be best suited for extreme heat? Lack of food and water? When one is not entirely human can one retain humanity and compassion? Can one love?

What else about this story might pique the readers’ interest?

The sweet romance between Armonk and Scarlet.
The deadly struggle between the students of the Greening for power and answers.
Dr. Varik’s diagnosis of the unsettling changes in Thorn, Scarlet and Armonk.
Thorn's amazing creation, after being overlooked as mute and slow.
The future-fabulous playland that is Vegas-by-the–Sea.

And now, I will tag a few more writers, whose new works deserve an extra-special look, and just may be the next big thing! Look out for their posts in the next few days.

Helen Mallon
Donna Galanti
Kelly Hashway

Oh, and I'd love for you to give your opinion on my sequel title on your way out. Thanks!

Horatio Spafford: "It is Not Well With My Soul"

Spafford: Not Well With His Soul

Angus Stewart

Beyond Hagiography

If one searches for information
on the internet or in short books on hymn-writers about Horatio Gates Spafford
(1828-1888) and his very popular song "When peace, like a river, attendeth
my way," with its moving chorus "It is well with my soul" and

Don Donovan's World - Barga Silhouette

Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

17 September 2012

Leaves From My Sketchbooks. 29. Barga Silhouette

Monet painted the same scenes over and over because the light changed from one moment to the next, continually giving him new subjects.

Barga is like that. When you look down on to the little town that lies between the Apennines and the Apuane Alps it constantly changes as mists drift up the valley of the Serchio River.

This was painted from a low wall a short distance from where we stayed; as I quickly laid the wash a viper came sinuating along the wall and then stopped, looking at me. I finished, half panicked, then the snake and I took off in different directions as if a gun had been fired!

Art is dangerous.


A Fabled Land - Legendary rugby photographer and celebrated journalist team up to tell high country station’s legendary story

Random House is back with another one of their stunning high country titles to follow on from the best-selling Castle Hill and Bendigo books. This time it’s telling the story of our most famous station, Mesopotamia.

Note - book publication date 5 October, 2012

If anything could rival Peter Bush aka Bushy’s love of rugby, it’s Mesopotamia — the magnificent and historic South Canterbury station which lies in the Rangitata high country, hard against the Southern Alps.

Bushy first crossed paths with the Mesopotamia runholders, the Prouting family, almost 50 years ago, when they ended up rescuing his brand new rental Land Rover from the clutches of the mighty Rangitata River. Despite this ignominious start — he’s been the butt of endless “North Island townie” jokes ever since — Bushy has remained firm friends with the family.

Bushy’s photos — taken on a series of visits over the years— beautifully capture the great musters of days gone by, the dignity of the shearing gangs, the majestic country, and the distinctive and determined characters who’ve been part of the great Mesopotamia story.

In this stunning new book, A Fabled Land, celebrated journalist and Cantabrian, Bruce Ansley has teamed up with Bushy to reveal a vivid portrait of this truly special, awe-inspiring and seductive place, where 150 years of station life have been played out within the great amphitheatre of the mountains.

Ansley has brilliantly captured the spirit of this great sheep station: from the early pioneers who first braved its harsh winters and searing summers to the ingenuity and drive of the present-day owners, the Prouting family. His description of the landscape is at once poetic and immediate and magnificent, taking the reader right to the heart of the high country and offering a rare insight into the highs and lows of high country life.

In this epic country, the mountains have as much personality as the station’s various owners, from the Proutings, who have now been there for the past 70 years, stretching right back to the station’s founding in 1860 by Samuel Butler in 1860. Escaping the demands of his over-bearing English vicar father, Butler arrived full of wanderlust in 1860, just 24. 

The vast, empty and silent landscape cast its spell over him, as it has done with the subsequent custodians. Butler was soon to purchase a large holding, which he grandly named Mesopotamia.and when he sold his holding of 24,000 hectares three years later to return to England, he doubled his money.  Butler immortalised Mesopotamia in his novel, Erewhon, which he wrote after returning to Britain.

Ansley says that he, like generations of southern folk, grew up captivated by the intoxicating romance of the vast and remote high country stations and the rich stories that lay in the land. He’d wanted to write the Messie story for some time but would only do it with the Prouting’s blessing.

“Bushy had once produced an unpublished photo essay on the Mesopotamia muster and I asked him whether he’d be interested in a book. He jumped at the chance without mentioning that he’d known the family for half a century. When I eventually spoke to Laurie Prouting about a book he said, “If you’ve got Bushy with you it’ll be OK by me.” 

Ansley says that he also had a strong sense of how the book would come together. “I didn’t want the book to be a straight, linear history. It needed to also to relate the modern Mesopotamia to Butler’s embryo station, retracing his footsteps, comparing his life with the present, constantly referencing the station’s history while dealing with its present. ”

The new generation’s fight to restore the station’s fortunes against the backdrop of hardship and this harsh, beautiful country is a dominant theme, he says. “Last year current run holders, Malcolm and Sue Prouting returned a razor-thin profit of $13,000.They were delighted: they were back in the black.”

 Looking upstream to Cloudy Peak, left, with the Main Divide at the end of the valley to the right. Mount Sunday, Edoras in Lord of the Rings, lies between the mountains to the right, and the river.

 Malcolm Prouting junior, the latest of the farming dynasty, at home on his favourite place, Mesopotamia Station.

 Another merino is dragged into position by a shearer, his handset at the ready.

 Mounted musterers with their packhorses and dogs heading for the Stone Hut. Laurie Prouting front, Chris O’Donnell rear.

  Malcolm’s helicopter hovers above the mob, while earthbound musterers and dogs move in.

From the publicist’s album: Bushy “papped” Random House publicist Jennifer Balle taking a snap of Rock, the retired farm dog who spends most of his life these days on the back of the ute supervising the young guns. Jennifer was down with the TVNZ, Sunday crew who are running a Mesopotamia story on publication of the book. 

Bushy and Bruce are taking the magnificent Messie story to heartland NZ on a speaking tour with events in each of the following centres:  Christchurch (4/10), Dunedin (6/10), Gore (7/10), Cromwell (8/10), Wanaka (9/10), Oamaru (10/10), Timaru (11/10), Ashburton (12/10), Wellington (26/10), Nelson (27/10), Gisborne (28/10), Waipawa (29/10), Wanganui (30/10), Feilding (31/10), Palmerston North (1/11) & Masterton (2/11).