Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Long trip

Marla is still off with the Doctor, it seems.  Must be having fun.  He's coming back Dec. 24th, so maybe she will post after that.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Off with the Doctor

Silliness reigns.  There is a new Doctor Who and I have neglected posting in order to sit and watch several episodes a night (sometimes over and over).  Last year at this time I was waxing poetic and carrying on about my longtime 'affair' with Mr. Spock.  Well, the Vulcan has a rival and he's a brilliant, ever-changing Time Lord called 'The Doctor'. 

I started watching Dr. Who back in the 1980s when Tom Baker (still 'the' Doctor to many) played the time traveling renegade Time Lord.  The series debuted in Britain in 1963 on the day John Kennedy was assassinated.  It ran into the 90s and was cancelled.  Stephen Spielberg's company attempted to make an American version, but that fell flat.  Then, in the 21st century Russell Davies brought the Doctor back full force in one of the craziest, funniest and most improbably popular series the BBC has seen.

When you watched Doctor Who way back when you had to excercise that wonderful capability we humans have to 'willingly suspend disbelief'.  For those of you who don't know, the premise of the show is that the Doctor travels through time and space in his TARDIS (time and relative dimensions in space), saving the universe, but mostly the Earth and human beings.  He has many arch enemies including the Daleks and Sonatarans, the Silurians and Cybermen.  The ideas behind these creatures were wonderful, but in the 80s most of them looked like they were cobbled together with duct tape and construction paper.  (Most likely they were as the BBC had little or no funds then.)  The Doctor and the acting were the focus of this mainly children's show, and the acting was always quirky and a little corny.  That may not have changed, but the production values have come into the 21st century as the show has, and the characters have matured.  One difference is the Doctor's companions.  Before, it was never shown how knowing the Doctor affected their lives.  He would wisk them off to see the universe, to face life and death on a daily basis, and then dump them back in Croydon with not so much as a 'goodbye'.  The new series deals with the effects of the Time Lord on the lives of ordinary people like you and me.

Is it still silly?  Yes.  Wonderfully so!

Anyhow, this post is a shameless endorsement for the new Doctor Who.  It is playing on BBC America right now, with new shows airing on Saturday nights at 9:00.  (Of course the show reruns every day at different times as everything seems to do nowadays.)  The Doctor has recently regenerated.  (Eleven different men have played the title role.)  The new Doctor is the youngest ever at 27.  His name is Matt Smith and I think he is wonderful.

Check it out.    

Images of the Doctor and Doctor Who from

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Signing of Johnston Book at the Piqua Taste of the Arts Festival May 21st, 2010

Friday night Piqua Ohio hosts its annual Taste of the Arts. This year Marla Fair, interpreter at the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, will be a part of the Author's Book Fair located in the lobby of the Piqua Library in the newly renovated Fort Piqua Plaza. Marla will be on hand her to sign the recently published book, 'In the Midst of Danger: Book One of the Johnston Chronicles'. All profits from the sale of the book go to support the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency, 9845 N. Hardin Rd. Piqua OH.

Come and see Marla and go home with a book or other item knowing that your purchase is helping keep history alive!

Taste of the Arts, Time: 5:00pm - 9:00pm Location: Downtown Piqua. 14 area restaurants will be offering taster size portions of their popular menu items. Enjoy an evening of fun with art demonstrations, children's activities, music and more.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow....

If you live in Ohio, the photos at the beginning of this post have become a familiar site this winter. Before today's snowfall, we had a record 31" inches of snow (for February). One thing that is nice about it is that the world sort of stops. Not like it did during the blizzard years back in 1977-78 when nothing moved for weeks, but still, at least this hectic pace that we live at slows down. Due to this blessing of God, I am sequestered in my study with no grandchild and two computers, and am finally catching up on blog postings and websites.

Too bad I have nothing much to say! LOL

The concept behind blogs and Twitter and Facebook still escapes me for the most part. Does anyone really care what I am doing 'right now', I ask? Still, it seems someone does. Perhaps in this impersonal world of the 21st century, social networking has become understandably important. We are not digits. We are individuals, we shout!

Even if that means telling you that I hate peanut butter and am eating instead a Healthy Choice meal that declares on the cover that it is 'real food'.

Heaven help us.

Anyhow, here is what I am doing 'right now'. I am updating four blogs and three websites, and creating a new one (website, that is). Yes, I am nuts. My problem is an interest in so many things. That has always been my problem - too many talents and interests in too many areas and no one great passion to excel at. I remember reading that Rudolf Nureyev knew at 4 years old that he would dance. I wanted to sing and act and write and draw and..... I have done a little of each, but have yet to find one to focus on with that intensity that makes people aware of you. People often say to me, "What don't you do?"

Make money comes the chagrined reply.

Anyhow, if you are interested in all of the ramblings of this particular mind, check out the sites and blogs listed below. Become a follower. Become a fan. Tweet me back. Send me a cow on Farmville. Wash my Petville pet (actually, it's Leah's).

Use all of these blogs and sites and social networks and take a moment out of that hectic schedule you have to connect with me.

That I get.

(By the way, the photos above are out my front and back windows on the Square in Troy OH)

Coming soon - Johnston Farm, an Indian Agency website with online store

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Greatest Young Man of All

Yikes! My last post was November! Obviously, Lady Faye is not one to journal regularly. So what has she been doing? Well, up front I will warn you that this is entry is a testimony to what has been going on in my life - no gory details, I promise - but a lot of the blinding light of truth.

I have done several posts about my 'young men'. Well, meet the chief of them! He is at the head of this post as He is at the head of my life, and His name is Jesus Christ. The art above has been done by a man named Ron Dicianni. Even if you don't share my faith - even if you think it is all, as Han Solo put it in Star Wars, 'simple tricks and nonsense', you can appreciate the light, beauty and majesty of this man's work.

From the end of November until now, I have been on a journey with this particular 'young man'. (Hey, He was 33 when His life on earth ended, and I am going to be 52! He's young!) I have come to know Him - no, to 're-know' Him in the way I did as a child. (Which, by the way is an answer to prayer.) By His hand, I have been set free of so many of the petty little things that we allow our lives to be controlled by. You know, when I first read the Thoreau quote, 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation,' I thought - nah, they don't. Well, they do. Most people spend their entire lives seeking after a happiness and a 'fulfillment' that eludes them. There is something always out of reach. Something that needs to be obtained to finally have that 'life' we are meant to have.

Let me advance a scenario to you.

A war is raging. One side - the powerful side that will do anything to win - is close to triumph. On the eve of this victory over their weaker enemy, a young woman from the opposing camp is kidnapped by the winning side's most ruthless general and raped. She lives long enough to give birth to a child who is adopted by this general - the man who is responsible for the deaths of the innocent babe's people and culture. This child is raised by the general to believe that might is right, that having 'things' is what matters, and that killing to get it is good. The child is indoctrinated into the belief system of what, unbeknownst to it, is that of the killers of its mother, father, and siblings. Then one day, through secret means, the child finds out who they are. Suddenly they understand the confusion they have always felt, the feeling that what they are doing and thinking is wrong; the longing for something else, something better.... With a shock, they find that they have been born, raised and lived in the enemy's camp. They are not the enemy, but they think like them - how could they do anything else?

Now, if this child manages to escape, will they not still think like their captors? And even if they learn to do otherwise, will this old nature not rear its ugly and powerful head each and every day of their lives, insisting - quite logically - that they have chosen the wrong path?

The good news is, the king of that other land - the one that was 'conquered', actually gave in. He sacrificed himself so His people could live, and live forever. And He left behind a Helper, who will walk with and talk to that child - and every other child so misplaced - guiding them and strengthening them.

But here's the catch - only if they ask.

We have lost the concept of Kingship in our society. For those of you who do not know history, think movies; think King Arthur or maybe King Elessar - Aragorn, from the Lord of the Rings. Still, when you think of Arthur or Aragorn, the image that comes to mind is not that of someone whose throne you can walk boldly up to without being announced, or of a king who calls you - his peasant and slave - 'brother', and then proceeds to wash your feet. It is not the image of a king who is a servant, or of his lowly subject who - by the king's sacrifice - will be lifted to a place above the angels and made partner in His glory.

Imagine that.

I encourage you, if you have not given Jesus Christ a good long look in regards to your life and where you are right now, that you do so. I recommend Lee Strobel's book, 'The Case for Christ" if you really want to challenge your mind and beliefs. Mr. Strobel was an atheist and Chicago newspaper reporter. That about says it all, right? He set out to prove that Jesus Christ was not the Son of God, and now Lee is one of Christ's chief modern day apostles. This book (he has many others) is full of hard facts proving all of the above.

I challenge you to read it and come away unchanged.

Paintings by Ron DiCianni used courtesy of Tapestry
Heaven's Loss
He Holds the Keys
In the Wilderness
The Second Coming

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A different young man - John Johnston

It's finally time to retire Captain Kirk and friends, though I have enjoyed seeing them on the blog for a few months. I haven't been AWOL this time (the last post was in August, sheesh!), I've been busy. If you check out my websites you will see I have two new books for sale - one is a kids' book and the other is a novel based on the life of this young man.

John Johnston was born in 1775 in County Fermanagh, Ireland, in the small village of Enniskillen. His father was Stephen Johnston. His mother, Elizabeth Bernard. In Concerning the Forefathers Being a History of Col. John Johnston and Col. Robert Patterson by Charlotte Reeve Conover, it is stated that Elizabeth was ‘a girl of French descent, of a rich and influential family, and of a liberal education for those days. Her grandparents, having emigrated from France to Ireland, settled in a home not far from Ballintra and left her at their death a fortune of ten thousand pounds sterling.’[1]

Today’s equivalent would be nearly three million dollars.

This wealth may explain John Johnston’s own emigration at the age of 11. According to the same book, he charmed his mother into allowing him to come to America with a kindly priest, who was a family friend. The priest served as an onboard tutor for boy. Once in America, John lived with the family of Judge John Creigh. Judge Creigh was a bit of a Renaissance man, serving in turn as judge, doctor, tutor and owner of a mercantile establishment. John Johnston’s residence in Judge Creigh’s home was a great influence on the course his life eventually would take.

In the early 1790s, inspired by the tales of the west told by soldiers returning from the frontier, John and Judge Creigh’s son, Samuel, set out on their own. They opened a mercantile establishment in Cincinnati, Ohio where they sold ‘slops and goods’,[2] and then, in time, began to ferry the goods to the army and to travel with them. After they parted ways, John Johnston attempted to start a store with his brother, William. The venture failed, and John returned to Philadelphia and what would become his destiny.

In 1802, after working as a clerk for the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court, John Johnston was appointed as one of the first US factors to the Indians. The wars had ended, and many of the Indian tribes wanted to trade with the United States government instead of the British and French. At Little Turtle’s request, one of the first factories, or stores, was established at Fort Wayne in the Indian Territory (present day Fort Wayne, IN). John Johnston and his bride arrived there in September of 1802 to begin a stay that would last slightly over ten years.

In 1809 John Johnston was appointed Indian Agent upon the dismissal of William Wells. The majority of the words spoken by John Johnston concerning Wells in this book are paraphrased versions of direct quotes. John did not trust Wells and considered him a ‘rapacious unprincipled character’.[3] He warned anyone who would listen that Wells as a ‘bad’ man.[4] It seems the dislike was mutual. Letters show that Wells complained of John Johnston and sought ways to undermine his authority. It is the author’s personal opinion that something transpired between the two men of a deeply personal nature. In all of my study of John Johnston’s papers and letters, there is no other individual of whom John speaks with such blatant aversion. Hence the matter of my book as concerns the implications of Wells’ duplicity in the robberies, lies and fire.

In 1811, complaining of illness, John Johnston resigned from his post at Fort Wayne. Seven years earlier, in 1804, he had fulfilled his dream of buying the land at Upper Piqua. The first time John saw the farm site he determined to purchase it at any price. It consisted of 250 acres of rich dry prairie covered with grass and skirted with beautiful woods, an unusually large and never failing spring of pure, cold water coming out of the second bank of the Miami, a house that sits 40 feet above the first bottom on the west side of the river, a half mile below the mouth of the Loramie Creek.[5] He wanted nothing more than to be a gentleman farmer. That dream came to be, but was put on hold when hostilities broke out between the United States and Great Britain in June of 1812 and war was officially declared.

During the War of 1812 the homestead at Upper Piqua –including a large log house, a springhouse, double-pen barn and other buildings—became a haven for Indians loyal to the United States government and the American soldiers. Before heading west and north to relieve Fort Wayne in September of 1812, William Henry Harrison’s army was encamped on Johnston’s 250 acres. It was there that Harrison received his commission as General of the Army of the Northwest. At one time, Harrison sent the members of the Delaware nation to John Johnston for protection. They numbered 900 Indians. The people in the local town of Lower Piqua were rather boisterous and vocal in their opposition to the idea, even going so far as to petition the governor at the time to remove the savages. John Johnston was labeled more than once an ‘Indian sympathizer’—and that was by his supporters![6] He was, according to the native population of the state, an honest man who did his best to obtain justice for them.

During the war, John Johnston was appointed Indian agent to the Shawnee nation. Later on, in 1816, the Wyandot, Seneca and Delaware were added to his jurisdiction. The brick house at Upper Piqua, constructed during the war years, became an Indian Agency and continued as such until 1829; one year after Andrew Jackson became president. Jackson was a Democrat and John Johnston, a Whig. In 1829 the agency passed to a new agent and, for the first time in nearly three decades, John Johnston was no longer a public man.

Over the next few years John channeled his considerable energy and abilities into assuring the progress of the canal through Ohio. In 1825 he had become a Canal commissioner. He also had a keen interest in progressive farming and was a strong supporter of education for all. John was a member of the traveling board of the West Point Military Academy (where his son, Robinson, attended) and was a founding member of Kenyon College in Ohio.

John Johnston lived to the ripe old age of 85. He died in 1861, just one month short of the outbreak of the Civil War. As a young man he had seen George Washington with his own eyes. On his last trip to Washington DC (the city in which he died), he may have witnessed the construction of the new dome of the Capitol building, and Abraham Lincoln occupied the White House.

John’s body was brought back to Upper Piqua where it was interred in the family cemetery next to his beloved wife, as per his wishes. His tombstone reads:

Colonel John Johnston. b. 3-25-1775, d. 2-18-1861. Served the US in various important trusts for a period of forty years, by his own desire, lies buried here close by the side of his beloved wife, Rachel, hoping to rise together at the resurrection of the Just. Life’s labor done, securely laid in this their last retreat, unheeded o’er their silent dust the storm of life shall beat.

In the Midst of Danger is the story of John and Rachel Johnston's early years in Fort Wayne, IN. According to John Johnston '‘every means that malice and disappointment could suggest’ were employed against him' during his time as a US Factor at Fort Wayne. As the author, I found I needed no imagination to invent the action of the tale - it was all there and completely true.

If you are interested, the book can be picked up a Or you can buy it from me by check or paypal via this email address:

All profits from the sale of the book go to the Piqua Historical Area and Johnston Farm, which is the house and land owned and lived in by John and Rachel from 1811 tp 1848. Times are tough and we have to raise 1/3 of our operating budget for the coming year, which amounts to approximately $70,000. Buy a book, enjoy a good read and a rollicking adventure, and help save the site!

[1] Charlotte Reeve Conover, Concerning the Forefathers: Being a History of Col. John Johnston and Col. Robert Patterson (Published in cooperation with NCR 1905) 20
[2] Leonard U. Hill, A Reproduction of a Scrapbook, 117
[3] John Johnston to William Eustis, letter, November 6th, 1810
[4] ibid
[5] Leonard U. Hill, John Johnston and the Indians in the Land of the Three Miamis,(Stoneman Press, Columbus, Ohio 1957) 42-45
[6] Charlotte Reeve Conover, Concerning the Forefathers, Introduction

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sadly it's time to move Mr. Spock below the fold. Still, I'm not ready to bid farewell to my current obsession with Star Trek. While doing some research I stumbled upon the following 'motivational' posters at I thought I would share them as they brought a smile to my face. If you do too, visit the site and let their creator know.