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John The Forerunner

August 29, 2014

Today is the Feast of Saint John the Baptist.  Many people don’t know, or realize, Saint John was Christ’s cousin and that he 1304242137_st.-john-the-baptist0002was only six months older than Christ.

After John baptized Christ, he then began preaching Christ was the Messiah and sent some of his disciples to Christ.

How long did John’s ministry last?  I was unsure of this myself and called my beloved Father Tom of Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church here in Lexington and asked him.  According to Father Tom, we really don’t know how long Saint John the Forerunner’s ministry was.

Because Saint John the Forerunner spoke out against Herold who had left lawful wife for his brother Phillip’s wife while Phillip was alive, Herod had him thrown into prison.  I don’t believe prison really silenced such a man as John.  I have often wondered how many he converted and talked to from his prison cell.  Why do I think this?  Because after his beheading and death, there is a tradition that John went to Hades and preached to those there about the coming of the Messiah.

Most everyone knows what brought about his beheading:  a dance and a promised magnificent reward up to half of Herod’s kingdom.  Herod didn’t want to kill John, but his boastful words had put him in a position he could not deny his stepdaughter what she asked for (per her mother’s coaching).  Personally I believe Salome would have preferred to have jewels and not the head of a preacher, but, nonetheless, this is what she asked for.

According to Tradition, the mouth of the dead preacher of repentance once more opened and proclaimed: “Herod, you should not have the wife of your brother Philip.” Salome took the platter with the head of St John and gave it to her mother. The frenzied Herodias repeatedly stabbed the tongue of the prophet with a needle and buried his holy head in a unclean place. But the pious Joanna, wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, buried the head of John the Baptist in an earthen vessel on the Mount of Olives, where Herod had a parcel of land. (The Uncovering of the Venerable Head is celebrated (February 24). The holy body of John the Baptist was taken that night by his disciples and buried at Sebastia, there where the wicked deed had been done.

The above is from the OCA page

What happened to Salome?  According to tradition and the OCA page …

Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way in such a way that her body was in the water, but her head was trapped above the ice….  Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck.

Salome’s body was never found, but her head was brought to Herod and Herodias.  Doesn’t that sound familiar?  I wonder if her head was put on a platter when it was brought to them?  I am sure the similarity was not lost upon them.

Herod and Herodias were not “safe” from problems, but that is another story and another article, one of which I need to do more research on before posting here.  I would also like to verify what I find with my priest.

Traditionally on this day, Orthodox Christians such as myself do not touch knives of any kind (unless you happen to be a nurse or a doctor, where you cannot avoid such items in order, usually to help someone, or perhaps save their lives), we do not eat from plates, we do not eat any meat.  Some go so far as to not eat anything round.

Saint John is also revered in several faiths.

http://orthodoxwiki.org/John_the_Forerunner

http://oca.org/saints/lives/2014/08/29/102419-the-beheading-of-the-holy-glorious-prophet-forerunner-and-baptis

Productive!

August 26, 2014

I, personally, am quite proud of myself.  I have followed through to Day 2 of the tai chi and action change.  I did a movement wrong, though, that has my back upset.  I am not 100% it is an injury or if my back has “opened up” because there was a lot of popping and cracking going on.  I managed to go through Section 1, though, before having to lie down.  It isn’t surprising, of course, that I fell asleep for a little while.

Along with the morning tai chi, I have also put on make-up and gone through the calendar to make sure everything I know what I am doing on certain days.  This was a good thing because three doctors’ appointment cards are missing from my wallet where I usually keep them.  Tomorrow I will phone them and make sure to put it in the handy-dandy calendar on the Nook tablet, which now never leaves my side.  I am going to have to save up some money and get me a cover for protection.

Not only have I been active and somewhat organized today, I have also written some on the human housekeeper for a vampire story being interviewed by a FBI agent.  I know some of my plots get twisty and turny, but this one has me going, “O my gosh!  Really?!  Really?!”  Yeah, it is fun.  Because it is handwritten I am making sure not to let too many pages get written before counting the words on each page.  I haven’t had to do this since the days of the typewriter when you had to average out the words.  This story is fun for me as the writer.  I am very curious to know what readers will say.

Off now to get ready for the gang coming over tonight for rpg gaming – Pathfinder this time.

My 4 Golden Rules of Writing

August 26, 2014

Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: I am putting this one in my favorites. What do you think?

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

Found on pieroblog-citta.blogspot.com

Found on pieroblog-citta.blogspot.com

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. The main reason is that I keep coming across several writing rules that make little sense to me. Then, I came across a gem of a post by Constance Hale, “When Shakespeare Committed Word Crimes” on TED.

Constance confirmed what I long suspected: when there is tension in a language between what comes naturally and the rules, it’s because someone has tried to shoehorn the language into their idea of conformity.

Does this mean there are no rules? Not at all. It just means that the ones we are taught in workshops and classrooms are not necessarily the ones that matter to actual readers – as opposed to teachers, agents and editors. So, here are my golden rules; the ones no fiction writer should ever break, in my view:

Rule #1: Don’t let your writing get in the way of your story.

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Projects Around the World

August 26, 2014
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Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: Thisi one was really interesting.

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

We’re inspired to see bloggers doing things they love and using this platform to make their voices heard. Here’s a look at some interesting projects around the globe.

Russell Chapman: Telling the stories of Syrian refugees

Last year, photographer and writer Russell Chapman documented the conflict in Syria and spent time in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. His book, Syria: Refugees and Rebels, compiles images of his time there. Russell is currently working on a project to tell the stories of Syrian refugees rebuilding their lives in Jordan.

Shannon Galpin: Empowering cyclists in Afghanistan

Cyclist, women’s rights activist, and TEDx speaker Shannon Galpin — named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2013 — is the founder of Mountain2Mountain. Using the mountain bike as a vehicle for social justice in Afghanistan, she works on projects…

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What the Heck is Bloglovin’, and Do I Need It?

August 26, 2014

Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: Useful information.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Have you noticed images like this in the sidebars of blogs you read? Now you know what they're about.

Have you noticed images like this in the sidebars of blogs you read and felt like you were missing something? Now you know what they’re about.

While catching up with your favorite bloggers, you’ve probably seen an invitation to “follow me on bloglovin’!” in more than one sidebar.

What is bloglovin’? Don’t you already follow the blog in your Reader? Do you really have to sign up for another online account? Let’s take a look at why lots of bloggers are signing on.

What is it?

Bloglovin‘ is a tool for keeping up with blogs — a way to manage feeds. Lots of bloggers turned to it after the demise of Google Reader. When you create an account there, you can follow any blogger on any platform, whether or not they’re also signed up. Then, you can log in and see the latest posts from all the blogs you follow in…

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Monday Moanin’

August 25, 2014

tai-chi2As far as Monday’s go, today hasn’t been exceptionally bad at all.  In fact, it hasn’t been bad.  It has just been a Monday.  Since the alternative to not having a Monday, i.e. being dead, is not one I relish the thought of, I feel wonderful to have a Monday.

Today has been specifically important because 1) I am beginning my study of tai chi over with more determination; 2) I did some really good qi gong (chee gong) exercises; and 3) I am making myself get back into meditation and prayer.

In order to be a whole, healthy person the body, mind, and spirit must work in unison.  I have known this from a very early age and really pushed myself to have a more dynamic, unified self when I was younger.  As I grew older and being forced to hold down a full-time job, try to have fun and a social life, and meeting all the expectations others had for me, I let this other part of me go.  For the longest time I was able to keep going, keep pushing through because I had a lot of energy and a lot more physical strength than I do now.  Now, however, I am having to rebuild the habits that helped me make it through almost dying several times.

Why am I doing this now?  Why not?  Now is when I need it, not tomorrow or next week.  I should have worked toward the goal of being once again “unified”, but I am stubborn and if I don’t want to do something, well, it just isn’t going to happen.  Today, while I was sitting outside doing some qi gong and some tai chi something remarkable hit me:  I can do tai chi.  It doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but even the instructor has told me what I do and how I do it could be effective…eventually…in a combat situation.  I understand why he said “eventually”, too:  I haven’t put enough practice and thought into the practice of tai chi so until I did the benefits wouldn’t really begin to show except unconsciously/subconsciously.

Another reason now is the right time is because the medications from all the doctors are finally beginning to work to give me the energy necessary to have  a day.  The past few months have been rough and I there were some days, some weeks, I wasn’t sure my heart was going to make it through the day because the pain was so intense.  Some people have said you cannot die from pain, but this isn’t true.  Your body and mind can take a lot of abuse, but when a certain point comes your body and your mind simply cannot take any more.  When this happens the heart slows down and the mind grows calm, too calm.  It is easy to just “let go” when that happens.  However, “letting go” equals “giving up” in my world.  I am NEVER giving up.

Fortunately for me, now the fight has changed and I am fighting far more smart than I ever have.  I am using my greatest weapons: my brain and my faith.  It isn’t going to be an easy fight.  No fight is ever really easy.  The opponent may be less skilled than you or less strong than you, but this doesn’t mean your opponent can’t get a lucky blow in and knock you on your butt.  Even the strength of the greatest fighter doesn’t matter if, during the fight, he is out-thought and out-maneuvered.  Yeah, it may only take him one time to hit you to take you down, but he must hit you that one time to do so, and no where does it say the smaller opponent must fight fair.  Despite what happens in the movies, but a good strong two-be-fore can take someone out!  *insert evil grin here*

This hasn’t been a choice or decision made just today.  It is a choice, a decision which was solidified today.  And, I feel really good about it now there is some energy to back up the desire to get better.

Yang Jun

Personal Planner GIVEAWAY!!!

August 25, 2014
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Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: I had never thought of looking for a place where you could make your own planner to specifications until this post. I am going to check them out. Read the blog to learn more.

Originally posted on Creative Pixie:

As most of you know I recently celebrated my 100th blog post! To coincide with this I got in touch with a company called Personal Planner about creating my own planner for my blog.

Scrap pieces of paper are no longer (were they ever?) suitable for me scribbling down my blog ideas as well as important appointments so I was on the lookout for a planner. I could find nothing suitable in the shops so I was ecstatic to find out I could design a planner exactly how I want it online.

The process was very user friendly and were many different options for covers and internal layout. The finished planner package arrived after 2 weeks – just as they had predicted.

So here is my final planner:

Creative Pixie Personal Planner finished

I chose to have a photo printed that Mr Pixie had taken, it’s of Miss P and Miss E when they were playing…

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3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Writing & Increase Sales

August 25, 2014

Henrietta Handy:

KMGN: This is a wonderful article so I am sharing.

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image from the movie "Office Space"

Image from the movie “Office Space”

Today, I’m going to give you three ways to instantly improve your writing and sell more books. I’m blessed to have a broad base of experience/expertise which includes corporate consulting and branding. I also spent years in sales and can honestly say, Coffee is for closers. 

What Do You DO?

Last year, I accepted a leviathan project to redo copy for a website and rebrand a struggling company. I first explained my plan and reasoning in a detailed SWOT analysis. The owner was on board and signed off. The existing copy was outdated, bloated, confusing, and failed to appreciate the vast changes in our millennial culture.

I hacked through, reduced as much as possible and reshaped until the site showcased a truly fabulous company. To my horror, the owner came back and wanted me to add a deluge of changes which included mass amounts of extraneous…

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George Takei Takes ALS Bucket Challenge

August 24, 2014

Ferguson: Ten Bloggers Speak Out

August 23, 2014
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Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Many details about the violent death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, remain unclear. What is beyond doubt is the intensity of reactions to this story — in the media and in neighborhoods all over the US (and beyond). Here are ten personal perspectives on this event and its aftermath, from writers representing a diverse cross-section of the WordPress.com community.

Gukira

Writer and scholar Keguro Macharia reacts with his usual incisiveness to one of the signature chants of post-Ferguson protests :

If “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” is an expression of “humanity,” as one tweet has it, we must ask for whom that humanity is available. In fact, the insistent repetition of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” by black bodies across the U.S. might offer a less promising narrative: it might suggest the banality with which black life forms can never gain access to the vernaculars of the human.

hands up, don’t shoot

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