Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How you can help fund the next prize without giving me money!

My kids and I are currently working on a new armchair treasure hunt called Treasure In A Field. It will be a Minecraft* novel filled with adventure and intrigue. The main character, EpIcOnE7, embarks on a treasure hunt and needs to solve various puzzles in order to cobble together a 20-digit code that will unlock the chest with the treasure. The reader will join "Epic" in his quest by solving those very same puzzles to create the 20-digit code needed to claim the real-life prize. We're aiming to have this new hunt published in late Summer or early Fall of 2019. 

There are a couple of different ways you can help fund the prize without giving me money.

Shop on Amazon*
If you shop on Amazon, visit them through this link. Simply by clicking on this link, I become a "referrer" and earn a commission from whatever you purchase. It's the same Amazon, same prices, same value. Amazon simply pays me a small amount because I directed you to their site*.

Loyalty/Rewards Programs
By signing up to these programs using the referral links below, I receive commission on your earnings (without reducing what you earn). While you earn your own gift cards, you'll help to build the value of the Read and Seek prizes if you sign up using the referral links below.


  • Swagbucks* - My favorite. Earn SB by doing everything you normally do online: shop your favorite stores, search the web, answer surveys, watch videos, play games. They also have a number of mobile apps that can be used to earn SB as well. Sign up with the referral link and the Read and Seek will earn 10% of what you earn. In my opinion, this is the best opportunity to earn your own gift cards while helping the prizes grow.
  • MyPoints.com* - Now owned by Swagbucks and pretty similar, including the 10% commission. I don't spend much time with this one, but still manage to cash out a bit every month or so. Mainly I click on emails and complete the daily goal.
  • Perk.com* - Earn Perk Points which can be redeemed for gift cards. They have various apps that make earning easy and fun: Perk TV, Perk TV Live!, Perk Scratch & Win, Perk Pop Quiz, Word Search, Perk Prize Mob, Perk Wallet, Perk Shopping, Perk Browser, Perk Search, Jetpack Journey and more! 

*Minecraft, Mojang, Amazon, Swagbucks, MyPoints and Perk are not sponsors of my hunts, nor are they in any way affiliated with my hunts.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 13: Saint Martin I

Pope Martin I (Latin: Martinus I; born between 590 and 600, died 16 September 655) reigned from 21 July 649 to his death in 655. He succeeded Pope Theodore I on 5 July 649. He was the only pope during the Eastern Roman domination of the papacy whose election was not approved by an iussio from Constantinople. Martin I was exiled by Emperor Constans II and died at Cherson. He is considered a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

He was born near Todi, Umbria, in the place now named after him (Pian di San Martino). According to his biographer Theodore, Martin was of noble birth, of commanding intelligence, and of great charity to the poor. Piazza states that he belonged to the order of St. Basil. He had acted as papal apocrisiarius or legate at Constantinople, and was held in high repute for his learning and virtue.

Martin I was the last Constantinopolitan apocrisiarius to be elected pope. Other envoys under the title nuncio have been elected since then, like John XXIII.

In 641, Pope John IV sent the abbot Martin into Dalmatia and Istria with large sums of money to alleviate the distress of the inhabitants, and redeem captives seized during the invasion of the Slavs. As the ruined churches could not be rebuilt, the relics of some of the more important Dalmatian saints were brought to Rome, where John then erected an oratory in their honour.

At that time Constantinople was the capital of the Roman empire and the patriarch of Constantinople was the most influential Church leader in the eastern Christian world. After his election, Martin had himself consecrated without waiting for the imperial confirmation. One of his first official acts was to summon the Lateran Council of 649 to deal with the Monothelites, whom the Church considered heretical. The Council met in the church of St. John Lateran. It was attended by 105 bishops (chiefly from Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, with a few from Africa and other quarters), held five sessions or secretarii from 5 October to 31 October 649, and in twenty canons condemned Monothelitism, its authors, and the writings by which Monothelitism had been promulgated. In this condemnation were included not only the Ecthesis (the exposition of faith of the Patriarch Sergius for which the emperor Heraclius had stood sponsor), but also the typus of Paul, the successor of Sergius, which had the support of the reigning Emperor (Constans II).

Martin was very energetic in publishing the decrees of the Lateran Council of 649 in an encyclical, and Constans replied by enjoining his exarch (governor) in Italy to arrest the pope should he persist in this line of conduct and send Martin as a prisoner from Rome to Constantinople. He was also accused by Constans of unauthorized contact and collaboration with the Muslims of the Rashidun Caliphate - allegations which he was unable to convince the infuriated imperial authorities to drop.

The arrest orders were impossible to carry out for a considerable period of time, but at last Martin was arrested in the Lateran on 17 June 653 along with Maximus the Confessor. He was hurried out of Rome and conveyed first to Naxos, Greece, and subsequently to Constantinople, where he arrived on 17 September 653. He was saved from execution by the pleas of Paul, patriarch of Constantinople, who was himself gravely ill. After suffering an exhausting imprisonment and many alleged public indignities, he was ultimately banished to Chersonesus (present-day Crimea region), where he arrived on 15 May 655 and died on 16 September of that year.

Pope Pius VII made an honorable reference to him in the encyclical Diu Satis (1800). Indeed, the famous Martin who long ago won great praise for this See, commends faithfulness and fortitude to Us by his strengthening and defense of the truth and by the endurance of labors and pains. He was driven from his See and from the City, stripped of his rule, his rank, and his entire fortune. As soon as he arrived in any peaceful place, he was forced to move. Despite his advanced age and an illness which prevented his walking, he was banished to a remote land and repeatedly threatened with an even more painful exile. Without the assistance offered by the pious generosity of individuals, he would not have had food for himself and his few attendants. Although he was tempted daily in his weakened and lonely state, he never surrendered his integrity. No deceit could trick, no fear perturb, no promises conquer, no difficulties or dangers break him. His enemies could extract from him no sign which would not prove to all that Peter "until this time and forever lives in his successors and exercises judgment as is particularly clear in every age" as an excellent writer at the Council of Ephesus says.

The breviary of the Orthodox Church states: “Glorious definer of the Orthodox Faith...sacred chief of divine dogmas, unstained by error...true reprover of heresy...foundation of bishops, pillar of the Orthodox faith, teacher of religion.... Thou didst adorn the divine see of Peter, and since from this divine Rock, thou didst immovably defend the Church, so now thou art glorified with him.”

Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday's Saint - April 6: Saint Crescentia Hoess

Maria Crescentia Höss (Höß), T.O.R., (1682–1744) was a contemplative nun of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis. In 1900, she was beatified by Pope Leo XIII and was canonized in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Anna Höss was born on 20 October 1682 in Kaufbeuren, in Bavaria, Germany, to Matthias Höss and his wife, Lucia Hoermann, the sixth of their eight children. Only three of the children survived into adulthood.

She became a weaver, but her greatest ambition was to enter the local convent of the Tertiary Franciscans in Kaufbeuren, which occupied the old Meierhof of the town, in whose chapel she often prayed. As a poor weaver, however, her father did not have enough money to pay the customary dowry expected of a candidate, so she was not admitted.

Unlike monasteries of the nuns of the Franciscan Second Order, known as the Poor Clares, nuns of the Third Order were completely local, living under the authority of the bishop of the diocese where they were located. The history of the Third Order of St. Francis—of which these women were a part—had a range of organizational models, in that many communities of religious women did not embrace the enclosure, but considered active works of charity, tending to the poor and sick, as part of their religious and Franciscan charism. Monasteries like that of Kaufbeuren were established to pursue the purely contemplative life, usually in an urban setting.

The Order of Friars Minor, however, refused to accept spiritual supervision or responsibility for those monasteries which did not accept the strictest form of enclosure, such as the Poor Clares had. Thus the monastic communities of nuns of the Third Order like that of Kaufbeuren, who did not have the same connection with the public as did the active Sisters, were usually entirely dependent on the local clergy for spiritual direction and on local patrons for their survival. They were often marked by their precarious financial situations.

In 1703 the Mayor of Kaufbeuren, a Protestant, performed a major service to the monastery by purchasing a tavern adjacent to it which was often the source of disturbance to the quiet of the cloister, and donating the building to the nuns. He refused compensation but asked simply that, in return, Anna be accepted as a candidate. As a result of this intervention, the mother superior (German: Oberin) of the monastery felt obligated to receive her, and Anna was admitted in June of that year. The superior, however, resented this and referred to Anna as a "parasite", since she was felt not to be contributing to the community. Nevertheless, Anna received the religious habit and took the name Maria Crescentia.

The nuns were not kind to her at first, due to the manner of her admission. Once clothed as a member of the Order, Crescentia was subjected to a prolonged persecution by the unfriendly Superior and some of the older nuns. They treated her as a servant, giving her the most menial tasks to perform. Although Crescentia was at first given a cell of her own, it was later taken from her and given to a new novice who had brought with her the customary dowry. Thereafter she had to beg the other nuns for a corner of their cells in which she might sleep. When she was finally given a place of her own again, it was a dark and damp cubbyhole. Nevertheless, Crescentia was allowed to profess vows and become a full member of the monastic community. She was assigned to serve in the kitchen and did the weaving for the monastery.

Eventually, in 1707, a new Superior was elected who was more sympathetic to Crescentia, and she was entrusted first with the important office of portress, and in 1717 she was appointed Mistress of novices. At this stage of her monastic life, Crescentia was a prolific letter writer, who left many letters to people in various social positions, in which she gave them advice and comfort in their worries.

Though by then she had begun to suffer from poor health, even paralysis, in 1741 she was elected as the monastery's mother superior, serving in that office until her death on 5 April, Easter Sunday, 1744.

During her short tenure in this position of leadership of the community, Mother Crescentia had led a renewal of their way of life. She counseled unlimited trust in Divine Providence, readiness to serve in community life, a love of silence, devotion to the Crucified Jesus, to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Mother. She encouraged the nuns to turn to the Gospels to develop their inner spiritual life, and was noted for the selectivity of her choices regarding candidates to the community. She justified this by saying: "God wants the monastery rich in virtue, not in temporal goods".

The process of her canonization was begun in 1775. The secularization of monasteries which occurred in the Revolutionary upheavals of the late 18th century and the anti-Catholic policies of the German government during the Kulturkampf of the 19th century prevented the monastic community from proceeding with the process.

Finally, in 1900, Mother Crescentia was beatified by Pope Leo XIII. She was canonized on 25 November 2001 by Pope John Paul II, along with three others. Her monastery was then renamed St. Crescentia Monastery (German: Crescentiakloster) in her honor.

Source: Wikipedia