From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, October 31, 2011

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP): Beyond 'Boo!'

(Hammersmith Ghost)

As Forrest Wickman recently pointed out, “everyone knows that ghosts say ‘boo’…”  He then asked why they say that (something about “a word that’s used in the north of Scotland to frighten crying children”) -
and for how long (since at least the 1820s).

However, those in the know say that ghosts have been around long before then, and that their verbal repertoire is far greater than just “Boo!”  So how do those in the know really know?  Secret’s in the electrons…

The Ouija board has mostly gone the way of “Boo!” (and of “Boo-hoo” too, for that matter).  It has been superseded by such amazing inventions as telephones, radios, tape recorders, Spiricoms (invented in 1982, and allegedly enabling two-way conversations between the living
and the dead), Ghost Boxes (created in 2002 “for supposed real-time communication with the dead”), and digital voice recorders.  

If not “Boo,” then what type of ghostly communications do these inventions facilitiate? reports on such alleged messages from the dead as these:  Help meGrandma.   Who goes there?  Don’t come.  We love youMommy.  Get out.   Other communications seems to be in direct response to questions asked by the investigators.  For example, an investigator asks, “Is anybody here?”
and a man’s voice answers, “No we’re not.”  (An example of ghastly humor?)

Not everybody is as convinced as some of these investigators that ghosts even exist, let alone banter. Assuming that these ghostly-sounding “voices” are not the outcome of deliberate hoaxes, then what else
could they possibly be?  Wikipedia suggests that they might instead be random background noise which is
picked up by sensitive communication devices - and is then psychologically misinterpreted by listeners to be
messages from the dead.  Skeptics have also claimed that these “messages” are perhaps resulting from the
electrical noise of the devices themselves, which is then filtered to resemble speech.  Some attribute the “voices” to radio-signal interference, and the "background noise" to meteor showers.


Copyright October 31, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 30, 2011

George Noory: Spiritual director extraordinaire

(Photo by David Benbennick)
Not everyone who refers to out-of-body experiences as if they’re real has a popularity index through the roof.  George Noory does.  Perhaps that’s because he’s an ace spiritual director.

Liz Budd Ellmann, Executive Director of Spiritual Directors International, defines “spiritual direction” like this:  Spiritual direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human.  Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday.  Sounds like the Coast to Coast nightly “communions” – attended to by millions “in the U.S. Canada, Mexico and Guam.”

The Spiritual Directors International website sums up the process this way:  Spiritual direction is not about fixing things or doing something perfectly, because it is not about accomplishing or doing…  Silence, deep listening, and non-doing are contemplative practices often explored in spiritual direction…

Noory, who has ironically been criticized for not doing more to contest outlandish-sounding ideas, has very naturally fallen right in sync with this spiritual-direction type process.  In a February 2010 Los Angeles Times article, Noory is quoted as saying:  I let them talk.  I have become their brother, their confidant, maybe their therapist, by listening to them telling me about these incredible things…  Later within that same article, author Whitley Strieber says this about Noory:  He’s willing to take these [intellectual] journeys.  He’ll have guests on that you think are completely off the wall – nothing they’re saying is real – but by the end of the program you will have made a discovery that there is a kernel of a question worth exploring.

Spiritual directors often draw from the deep well of their own spiritual experiences.  According to Wikipedia, Noory’s family of origin was of “Lebanese Christian descent,” and Noory was brought up as a Roman Catholic.  In a January/February 2010 Atlantic Magazine article, Noory’s “paranormal odyssey” was said to have begun at age 11 when he was “home in bed and sick with a fever.”  At that point, he had a “brief and scary” moment in which “he felt himself float to the ceiling and hang there, untethered by some unseen mechanism, looking down on his sleeping body.”

This was enough to whet a lifetime’s appetite for delving into all things supernatural.  The very next day, he began reading The Projection of the Astral Body (a book that he found in his local library).  Soon afterwards, his mother gave him a copy of We Are Not Alone: The Continuing Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.  Noory was “hooked.”  As he put it:  My life really began to evolve at that young age.

Noory’s present contract with Coast to Coast expires in 2012 (along with perhaps the rest of the world, according to some Coast-to-Coast callers).  The Coast to Coast website quotes him as saying “if he weren’t a national radio talk show host he’d be in politics.”  Perhaps Noory should consider theology instead.  “Father George” has kind of a nice ring to it, although “Saint George” is already taken…


Copyright October 30, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lady Liberty's a Scorpio? Five ways to tell

(Lady Liberty's predecessors)

October 28, 2011 has been proclaimed by media around the world as being Lady Liberty’s 125th birthday.  Those born on October 28th would be considered Scorpios by most astrologers.  What would that entail, and how would it relate to Lady Liberty’s characteristics?

Scorpio is a water sign.  Although it took 21 years from the time of conception (within Edouard Rene de Laboulaye’s politically-fertile imagination) to her official dedication on October 28, 1886, Lady Liberty has lived on a small island in New York Harbor ever
since.  Due to her innate love of water, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Scorpio is a fixed sign.  Having hammered all the heavy-metal kinks out of her system during those first 21 years (and what sign isn’t restless during the formative years?), Lady Liberty settled in quite nicely for the long haul.  Although there were some problems a few years back when her right arm repeatedly swayed against her crown - for the most part, Lady Liberty has remained rooted in her fabled spot all these years.

Scorpio is a feminine sign.  This famous statue is not only female, but prototypically so.  She stands proudly upon the shapely shoulders of those who came before:  Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom; Columbia, personification of the United States of America; and the Indian princess, another traditional representation of the U.S.A.

Scorpio is an intense sign.  According to Wikipedia, Lady Liberty was conceived within “a stew of ideas
and emotions.”  France was torn between those who favored a republic and those who favored a monarchy.
America had just fought the Civil War, and Lincoln had just been assassinated.  Laboulaye had therefore
hoped that this passionate Lady could turn the tide in Liberty’s favor.

Scorpio is a magnetic sign.  Metallic properties aside, Wikipedia also reports on these infatuated words from a Greek immigrant:  I saw the Statue of Liberty.  And I said to myself, “Lady, you’re such a beautiful!  You opened your arms and you get all the foreigners here.  Give me a chance to prove that I am worth it, to do something, to be someone in America.”  And always that statue was on my mind. 


Copyright October 29, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 28, 2011

Prince Charles bids us welcome to Transylvania

Vlad Tepes (1488 Woodcut)

Just in time for Halloween, Prince Charles of England made a (somewhat) startling announcement.  Now the world knows that he and Dracula-prototype Vlad the Impaler have something in common besides wealth and power:  DNA.

According to the Associated Press, Prince Charles revealed this genealogical tidbit during “an upcoming TV show to promote his interest in protecting the forests of Romania’s Transylvania region.”  Transylvania is, of course, the land of Prince Vlad (or Dracula – “Son of the Dragon” – as he was often non-affectionately called). Ironically, although Gothic author Bram Stoker tried to forever link Transylvania with images of crucifix-allergic vampires - the historical truth is that while the Ottoman Empire ruled Transylvania, there occurred a period of unique Christian brotherhood.  Wikipedia reports that the 1568 Edict of Turda “proclaimed four religious expressions in Transylvania – Latin Rite or Eastern Rite Catholicism, Lutheranism, Calvinism and
Unitarianism,” along with a tolerata (official “tolerance”) for Eastern Orthodoxy.

Unfortunately, Prince Vlad lived way before this Transylvanian period of interfaith tolerance.  It seems that he may have meant well – at least in the beginning.  Wikipedia reports that when Vlad ascended the throne, he had these three aims:  "to strengthen the country’s economy, its defense and his own political power."  However, that third aim began overtaking the other two in a big way - and soon Vlad was bent on earning his other moniker, Vlad Tepes (“Vlad the Impaler”).  He especially had it in for the Ottoman Muslims, whom he hated with a childhood passion.   (Vlad’s father had given him up as a political hostage to the Ottoman court when Vlad was just a youngster).

Nevertheless, Prince Charles seems quite proud of his Transylvanian heritage.  He referred to Transylvania as a “national treasure” because of its “unspoiled landscape” (those impaled corpses have long been picked over) and “centuries-old rural farming traditions.”


Copyright October 28, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seven billion: Procreate, recreate, or both?

(Photo by ErnestF) 

It is not only important to consider that the world’s human population will straddle the seven-billion mark by October 31, 2011 – but it is even more essential to understand the rate of increase that this represents.

James Eng of includes United Nations Population Fund data in his article titled Seven big problems for 7 billion people.  According to this data, the world’s entire human population was one billion in 1804, and then six billion in 1999.  This means that population not only increased sixfold within a mere 195 years, but also increased as much in the last 12 years as it had in the entire recorded history of humankind until 1804 CE.

It’s no wonder that Paul R. Ehrlich, author of the The Population Bomb, is sounding quite alarmed within this same Eng article.  Ehrlich points out that one billion of the aforementioned seven are already hungry.  This is tragic enough, but Ehrlich also warns that the next two-billion increase in human population (which is being predicted to occur by 2050) will cause comparatively even more peril for humans and their environment.  He explains:  That is because humans are smart, and picked the low-hanging fruit first.  Thus each added individual, on average, must now be fed from more marginal land, supplied with water from more distant or more polluted sources… etc.  His stated solutions include equal rights for women in every country with “access to excellent birth control methods, and, in case they fail, backup abortion.”

These are not at all like the solutions that John Carr of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops are proposing
further along in Eng’s article.  Without even a mention of procreation, Carr jumps right on the “global climate
change” issue (which he does not link in a cause-and-effect way to the vast increase in human numbers).  He
primarily speaks of the need for Catholics “to care for creation and the poor by reducing their carbon footprint… “

Reducing the number of footprints on birth certificates has been a hot-button issue in the Catholic Church for
centuries.  This could be one reason why it “just didn’t come up” in Carr’s section of Eng’s article.  However, the (perhaps skewed) issue of sexual procreation vs. sexual recreation will not just disappear on its own.  There are six billion more reasons to recreate population policy (with input from all sides of the religious equation) now than there were back in 1804.


Copyright October 27, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homelessness: To pee or not to pee

8th Century BCE Toilet, City of David

Those who “play” at homelessness by going on temporary wilderness expeditions often think that it’s great fun to pee in the woods.  However, for those truly homeless persons, peeing anywhere at all can be the ultimate challenge.

As Barbara Ehrenreich so vividly pointed out in her recent article titled Homeless in America: Now it’s front page news, “to yield to bladder pressure” can be a recipe for arrest.  Not only is “public urination” a crime in many “civilized” settings, but places like Sarasota, Florida are taking the criminalizing of natural biological functions even further.  Since 2005 in Sarasota, it has been against the law  to “engage in digging or earth-breaking activities.”  This law is not aimed at homeowners who dig up their lawns in order to impress the neighbors; it is instead aimed at those for whom a latrine is a bare necessity.

And Sarasota doesn’t stop there.  According to Ehrenreich, it is also illegal in that fair city to “cook, make a fire, or be asleep and ‘when awakened state that he or she has no other place to live.’”  In other words, it is against the law in Sarasota “to be homeless or live outdoors for any other reason.”  These “Quality of Life”
type ordinances began with New York City’s then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani back in the “roaring 80s” - and proceeded to make it a crime to even look “indigent” in some public places.

How does all this measure up with America’s “Promised Land” image?  If the Gospel of Matthew is any indication, it doesn’t.

Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV) presents Jesus’ parable of The Sheep and the Goats.   In it, the Son of Man separates those who are “righteous” from those who (woe to them) simply aren’t.  The key yardstick for “righteousness” that appears in this parable is the way in which the indigent have been treated.  Not only are
the indigent presented as deserving food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and compassionate companionship – but they are also integrally identified as being at one with the heavenly King.  (Matthew 25:40:  The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”)

For those who are now between camping trips and perhaps wondering, “What does all this have to do with me?” – the time to attitudinally repent is now!  Ehrenreich (a modern-day prophet) warns:  Homelessness is where “the 99%, or at least the 70%, of us, every debt-loaded college grad, out-of-work school teacher, and impoverished senior” may well be headed if the Occupy Wall Street movement does not succeed.


Copyright October 26, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Madonna's brother: Hanging with the 'sheep' and 'goats'

Matthew 25:31-46 is otherwise known as The Parable of the Sheep and Goats.  In it, Jesus tells the story of the Son of Man one day separating people from one another as “a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”  The sheep will be set to the right, and the goats to the left.  The sheep will then be told:  Come, blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food to eat.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you took me in…

The righteous “sheep” then ask (that’s how righteous they were, they didn’t just take this heavenly boon and run with it):  Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink?  The Lord replied:  Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me…  (We will end the retelling of this parable on a happy note and not continue with what happened to the “goats.”)

A couple of millennia after Matthew’s version, this story is being
revamped under the  eye-catching headline:  Madonna’s brother
lives on the streets of Michigan.  The synopsis reads:  Madonna’s
elder brother has been left living on the streets of Michigan after
losing his job at the family’s vineyard.  (A vineyard – even more
biblical…)  To cement the biblical connection ever further, the Michigan Messenger conducted an interview with this “lost sheep,” Anthony Ciccone, while  he was being fed at one of the city’s churches.  During the interview, Ciccone lamented:  My family turned their back on me, basically, when I was having a hard time.  You think I haven’t answered this question a bazillion times; why my sister is a multibazillionaire, and I’m homeless on the street?

Now it’s quite possible that the family has their reasons.  Perhaps they’re concerned about codependency issues.  Perhaps Anthony has taken the term “prodigal son” to new depths.  (And perhaps even Cain would be acquitted by today’s legal system if enough financial influence were involved…)

Family and societal dynamics are, at their best, intricate.  Might and right often get confused in the tangle of everyday webs.  Should Madonna be “her brother’s keeper” no matter what?  Some think that’s solely her call. 

Matthew, apparently, doesn’t.


Copyright October 25, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 24, 2011

Guru Granth Sahib: What makes it so unique

Guru Granth Sahib (Photo by J Singh)
When Pearl S. Buck received the First English translation of the Guru Granth Sahib, she didn’t quite know what to expect.  After reading it, she then spoke these words with
certainty:  I have studied the scriptures of the great religions, but I do not find elsewhere the same power of appeal to the heart and mind as I find here in these volumes…  Perhaps this sense of unity is the source of power I find in these volumes.  They speak to a person of any religion or of none… 

This “sense of unity” may be at least partially derived from the Guru Granth Sahib’s unique authorship.  The Guru Granth Sahib (GGS) contains the writings of not only the Sikh gurus, but also of saints from other creeds and castes (including Kabir, Namdev, Shekh Farid, Pipa, Ravidas, and Trilochan).  It is perhaps the only truly interfaith mainstream Scripture (According to the Sikh-Forum, Sikhism is the “fifth largest religion in the world” and includes “more than 20 million people worldwide.”)

The relationship between the Guru Granth Sahib and its adherents is also highly unique.  What was once the Adi Granth (solely a religious text) became the Guru Granth Sahib (then an actual Guru) when the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named it as his eternal successor in October 1708.  Thus, the GGS was deemed to be a “juristic person” by the Supreme Court of India during a property-dispute case.  Wikipedia also reports that “any copies of the Guru Granth Sahib which are too badly damaged to be used, and any printer’s waste which has any of its text on, are cremated with a similar ceremony as cremating a deceased person.”

Wikipedia also quotes Max Arthur Macauliffe as saying that “the Sikh religion differs as regards the
authenticity of its dogmas from most other theological systems.”  That is because the Sikh gurus played a very direct part in the creation of the Guru Granth Sahib, whereas other great leaders such as Buddha and
Confucius left no direct documents of their own.


Copyright October 24, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jain Diwali: Celebrating the Light of Mahavira

Mahavira (Photo by Dayodaya) 
Although Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains alike - for Jains this celebration particularly focuses upon the Light of Mahavira.

Diwali (aka Devali, Deepavali, Dipalika, or “Festival of Lights”) not only commemorates the day (October 15, 527 BCE) that Lord Mahavira attained Moksha (Nirvana), but also commemorates Mahavira’s chief disciple’s attainment of Kevalgyana (“complete knowledge”) on that same day.  The third-century BCE Kalpasutra by Acharya Bhadrabahu reports that Mahavira attained Nirvana by the faint light of the new moon.  The many gods who gathered round served to illuminate the darkness with their own Light. 

Wikipedia reports that many kings, plus others, began illuminating their doors the very next night, saying:  Since the light of knowledge is gone, we will make light of ordinary matter. reports that “the first day of the month of Kartik, i.e. the next day after Diwali is known as the NewYear Day.”  This, too, is a joyous Jain occasion - and is celebrated with festive

Mahavira (“Great Hero” – aka Arukan, Vira, Sanmati, Gnatputra, and Nigantha Nataputta) was born Prince Vardhamana  near modern-day Bihar, India circa 599 BCE.  Wikipedia reports:  “According to Jain tradition, he was the 24th and the last Tirthankara.  His father was King Siddartha, and his mother was Queen Trishala.  While still in his mother’s womb, it is said that Prince Vardhamana brought “wealth and prosperity to the entire kingdom.”  Even the flowers began blooming more abundantly than usual.

When he was 30, Prince Vardhamana went through a period of great renunciation and spent the next 12 years as a wandering ascetic.  Although he spent most of this time meditating, he also “gave utmost regard to other living beings, including humans, animals, and plants, and avoided harming them.”  The remainder of his long life was then devoted to “preaching the eternal truth of spiritual freedom…”  When he attained Moksha at that sacred Diwali time back in 527 BCE, Mahavira was 72 years old.


Copyright October 23, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gadhafi's religious views: Sunni side up or scrambled?

(Gadhafi in 2009)

Although reportedly the last thing Gadhafi said to those who killed him was in reference to Islamic law (“Don’t you know right from wrong?”), his words seemed more driven by self-defense than piety.  Considering previous reports of Gadhafi’s politics-as-usual approach to religion, this might come as no surprise.

According to CNN’s Dan Mercia and Alex Zuckerman, “the role Islam played in Gadhafi’s personal life and leadership remains shrouded in mystery and debated by scholars.”  Although Gadhafi claimed to be a Sunni Muslim, Assistant Professor of Religion Kelly Pemberton was quoted as saying:  My sense is Gadhafi’s religion was Gadhafism.  Mercia and Zuckerman also reported this quote from Harris Zafar from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA:  When it comes to Gadhafi, even Sunni clerics have declared fatwas to kill him…  He has always been this renegade…  He almost made his own little brand.  

This “own little brand” of “Gadhafism” expressed itself in some highly unusual ways.  Reuters reported in March 2007 that Gadhafi
had announced at a mass prayer meeting in Niger that “Christianity
is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas,” and that “it was a mistake to believe that Jesus had been crucified and killed.”  Gadhafi then insisted that “another man resembling Jesus was crucified in his place.”  

A Daily Mail article titled Gadaffi’s Girls: When in Rome… colonel orders in 500 beauties but there’s no booze and definitely no hanky panky describes a reception that Gadhafi hosted in Rome for 500 Italian women.  The women who were recruited for this occasion had to be “at least 5 ft 7 in, aged between 18 and 35, and should not wear mini skirts or plunging necklines, although high heels were OK.”  After first assembling at a hotel, they were then transported to the Libyan ambassador’s residence.  They were met an hour later by Gadhafi himself, who proceeded to “lecture them on the superiority of Islam.”  Each of the women were given a copy of the Qur’an, as well as a “signed version of his Green Book on democracy
and political philosophy.”

There were reportedly no “strange bedfellows” that evening - aside from politics and religion…  


Copyright October 22, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shemini Atzeret: Life's glorious circle

Torah Scroll (Photo by Merlin)
There was a Joni Mitchell song back in the 1960s called The Circle Game.   Its haunting refrain speaks of the seasons going “round and round” on this “carousel of time" that we're all riding.

One of the traditional aspects of Shemini Atzeret (“Eighth Day of Assembly”) - and its component celebration, Simchat Torah (“Rejoicing with/of the Torah”) – is to immediately join the completion of last year’s Torah readings with the beginning of this
year’s.  On the morning of Simchat Torah (the second day of the two-day Shemini Atzeret “in Orthodox and Conservative communities outside Israel”), members of the congregations read the end of Deuteronomy (33:1-34:12) from one Torah scroll, and then the beginning of the Book of Genesis (1:1-2:3) from another.  Numbers 29:35-30:1 – which, according to Wikipedia,“describes the prescribed sacrifices performed for the holiday” -  is then read from a third Torah scroll. states that this cyclical reading of the Torah reminds us that “the Torah is a circle, and never ends.”  To celebrate God’s great gift of the Torah, “there are processions around the synagogue carrying Torah scrolls and plenty of high-spirited singing and dancing…”  During these processions, many are given the honor of actually carrying a Torah scroll.  Since these scrolls are quite heavy, children are instead given smaller facsimiles to hold on to.

The number “eight” (as in “Eighth Day of Assembly”) is also presumed by some to have circular implications.
William F. Dankenbring offers these quotes from E. W. Bullinger’s book Number in Scripture:  “As seven was so called because the seventh day was the day of completion and rest, so eight, as the eighth day, was over and above this perfect completion, and was indeed the FIRST of a new series, as well as being the eighth…”


Copyright October 21, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20: The Bab's birthday

Shrine in Haifa (by Ybitan)

He who is known as “the Bab” (“the Gate”) was born Siyyid Ali Muhammad Shirazi on October 20, 1819 (Muharram 1, 1235 AH).  The Birth of the Bab is one of eleven Bahai Holy Days that are celebrated each year.

Dale E. Lehman reports that both of the Bab’s parents were “descendants of the Prophet Muhammad.”  When the Bab was quite young, his father died.  A maternal uncle, Haji Mirza Siyyid Ali, then assumed care of the
young child.  The Bab’s extraordinary nature soon became apparent.  His schoolmaster is said to have “sent the child back to His uncle, saying that he had nothing to teach such a gifted student!”  The young Bab was also said to have spent “considerable time” in prayer.

The Bab is sometimes compared to John the Baptist because both declared themselves to be forerunners of “Him Whom God shall make manifest,” and both urged followers to spiritually prepare themselves for these coming Manifestations.  Both John the Baptist and the Bab declared their successors, Jesus and Bahaullah, to be far greater than they.  According to Wikipedia, the Bab is also sometimes thought to be “the spiritual return of Elijah…”

Some of the more tragic elements of the Bab’s life have also been compared to events within the life of Jesus.  Dale Lehman explains:  Both were taken before the authorities and publicly interrogated, after which both were scourged…  Both were suspended before a multitude as they were put to death.  Both spoke words of comfort to one who was to die with them.

The Bab was only 30 years old when he was executed by those who felt threatened by his messianic claims.
Although his remains were “dumped outside the gates of the town to be eaten by animals,” Wikipedia reports that they were “clandestinely rescued” and eventually buried on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel.  The Bahai
World Centre is now located near this site.

According to Kathleen Lehman, Bahais commemorate the Bab’s birthday with prayer (especially the Tablet of Visitation) and fellowship.


Copyright October 20, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved