Saturday, 15 January 2011


Normally I do not publish an icon, or any drawing for that matter, until I feel that it is finished.  However, I decided to go ahead and post this latest icon because of what is happening at the moment in Sudan. 

South Sudan's referendum, voting in which has been going on this week, finished today with preliminary results being posted tomorrow.  It appears obvious already that the vote for secession from the northern part of the state has the majority vote. Sudan's ruling party in the north said Friday it was ready to accept southern independence. Border demarcation, oil rights and the status of the contested region of Abyei still have to be negotiated, however.  This is where Our Lady of Sudan comes in.

We need to pray for the people of southern Sudan now more than ever.  While it does appear that the north will not contest the referendum results, no one knows what the north will do about the region of Abyei (nine people died in riots there this week) or, more significantly, what the north will do about dividing the country's abundant oil resources -- most of which are presently located in southern Sudan.  So exactly where will the border be -- that is the big question?  Over 2 million people have died during the past 25 years -- the cost of reaching this point where separation of the north and south has become a real possibility.  Let us pray that no more will have to die.

I actually posted a drawing of Our Lady of Sudan (done by a Sudanese artist, I believe) a few weeks ago when I was talking about the Catholic mission in Torit.  I first saw that picture last year on the blog written by one of the priests in Torit.  Ever since I first saw the drawing, I have been wanting to try to create an icon-like drawing of this image. 

I have been working on this icon for quite some time now but do not feel that I have quite accomplished what I set out to do.  Maybe some of you will have some suggestions for me.  I really value opinions from my "followers" and I accept criticism quite willingly, so please let me know what you think I need to do to make this drawing more like a real icon.  For example, do I need to change the background from a Sudanese traditional pattern to something more normal for icon backgrounds?

I would like to end this segment of tonight's post with a prayer.  Even though it is definitely a Christian prayer and you may not be able to pray such a prayer honestly, at least take the word "peace" from it and just ask God to give them peace.  Now, here is the prayer:
Prayer for Peace in Sudan
Lord Jesus, you said to us;
“I leave you peace. My peace I give you.”
Look upon your sisters and brothers in southern Sudan
as they face the end of the voting in the referendum.
Send your Spirit to guide them.
Give them the wisdom they need to choose a future where they will know Your true peace.
You have called them out of slavery, oppression, and persecution
So that they may have life in abundance.
Grant them peace with one another. Give peace among ethnic groups.
Help them to work together for the good of all.
We ask this in Your name, Jesus our Lord. Amen
Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Next I want to show you a collection of dog photos -- well one does have a bird in it).  They are new additions to my ever-growing collection of dog and cat photos.  I hope at least one of them gives you a chuckle or two!

                                      "My bad, my bad"

This first photo shows us a puppy dog that would appear to have done something very bad and is now hearing his human family say "bad dog, bad dog".  Only a dog, I think, has that ability to look so abject when it hears the words "bad dog".  Of course, all it takes is for the human family to say "OK, puppy, we love you anyway" and suddenly all is forgiven and the dog is jumping and leaping with happiness with the tail wagging like crazy.

Here is a funny photo of a "dog run"!  This passel of dogs reminds me of a dear man named Frank Ellis.  He is dead now, but while he lived -- at least during the time I knew him -- he always kept hunting dogs.  They lived out back of his house in a large enclosure.  Whenever it was time to go hunting whatever was then in season, he would open the gate to the dog yard and whistle.  Here would come the dogs -- looking much like these in the photo.  They would practically be climbing all over him (and anyone who happened to be with him).  He would allow them to run and jump and talk and carry on until finally he would say "enough" and they would begin to settle down.  He spent time with the dogs every day so it wasn't that they were excited just to see him, but they knew they were going out on a hunting adventure -- even if nothing was caught!

To me, these little puppies are funny enough to make me chuckle even when they are just lying around like this guy.  On this striped bedspread/blanket, however, that sad little face and all that wrinkled skin seem even funnier.  The photographer has a really good sense of colour -- of what colours work with which colours.

And finally, we have a pup who is having to learn the hard way that birds may not take kindly to inquisitive puppies.  I mean, even a big person like myself wouldn't want to tangle with a bird with that look on its face.  I mean birds --even the smallest of them -- can be really fierce, especially if they think you are coming too close to their nest. 

I remember once years ago when I was still at the University of Toronto being attacked by a blackbird.  I was walking along minding my own business when I passed under some low-hanging branches.  Suddenly I was under attack by a bird dive bomber.  Thankfully, I wasn't injured but I was surely frightened half to death!

Things continue to be OK with Suki and Sallie (or Sarah as I am known to some of you).  I have been spending much more time indoors due to all the snowy and extremely cold weather we have been having.  Both snow and icy slush are very difficult to navigate in a wheel chair.  As I keep telling the people who sell me my tires:  "why not make snow tires for wheelchairs?"

My friend, Karen, with whom I normally have coffee each morning at the Market or at Tim Horton's, is presently in Hawaii.  I hear they have been having a lot of rain down there.  I hope it isn't interfering with her holiday.  Oh, well, at least it would be warm rain!

I hope everyone reading this has not been too adversely affected by all the bad weather we have been having.  Stay warm.
May the peace of God be with you all.

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