Thursday, 30 August 2012

Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j.

Icon, Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j., by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
[the Saint is shown receiving the Child Jesus from the hands of Our Lady]

Saint Stanisław Kostka s.j. (28 October 1550– 15 August 1568) was a Polish novice of the Society of Jesus. He was born at Rostkowo, Przasnysz County, Poland, on 28 October 1550; died at Rome during the night of 14–15 August 1568. He entered the Society of Jesus in Rome on his 17th birthday (28 October 1567), and is said to have foretold his death a few days before it occurred.

His father, Jan (John) Kostka, was a senator of the Kingdom of Poland and Lord of Zakroczym; his mother was Małgorzata Kryska from Drobni (Margaret de Drobniy Kryska), the sister and niece of the voivodes of Masovia and the aunt of the celebrated Chancellor of Poland, Feliks Kryski (Szczęsny Kryski).

When Stanisław made the decision at age 17 to enter the Jesuit novitiate, he realized that he could not enter in Poland or even in Vienna where he had gone to study with his older brother, Paweł, as his powerful family would forbid it and simply remove him --they had plans for his life and those did not include being a Jesuit! Thus, he made the decision to flee to Rome and enter the novitiate there. The only way he could get there without raising suspicion was to travel on foot dressed as a mendicant.

After lengthy layovers along the way, he finally arrived in Rome in October of 1567. There he was finally able to enter the Jesuit novitiate. Little did anyone, other than St. Stanisław himself, realize that 10 months later he would be dead. During these ten remaining months, according the testimony of the master of novices, Father Giulio Fazio, "he was a model and mirror of religious perfection. Notwithstanding his very delicate constitution he did not spare himself the slightest penance."

On the eve of the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Stanisław felt a mortal weakness made worse by a high fever, and clearly saw that his last hour had come. He wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin begging her to call him to Heaven there to celebrate with her the glorious anniversary of her Assumption. His confidence in the Blessed Virgin, which had already brought him many signal favours, was this time again rewarded; on 15 August, towards four in the morning, while he was rapt in pious utterances to God, to the saints, and to the Virgin Mary, he died. The entire city proclaimed him a saint and people hastened from all parts to venerate his remains.

St. Stanisław is a popular saint of Poland and many religious institutions have chosen him as the protector of their novitiates. The representations of him in art are very varied; he is sometimes depicted receiving Holy Communion from the hands of angels; sometimes receiving the Infant Jesus from the hands of the Virgin; or he is shown in the midst of a battle putting to flight the enemies of his country.

St. Stanisław Kostka, please pray for us.


Braden, Sweet Braden

Braden's mother has kindly and generously sent me a number of excellent photos during the past four days.  I will limit myself to just a few of my favourites or else I will have to change the name of the blog to something like "Photos of Braden"!  Enough of this... let's get to the good stuff -- new photos of this sweet boy.
"Oh, goody, mom says it is time for me to get dressed now.  That means I get to take all my clothes off!  I love getting naked!!"

"Can you believe this physique?  No wonder the ladies all make such a fuss over me!"

" 'Large and in Charge' that's me.  I think I look really good in red, don't you?  And how about those socks?  I am so colour co-ordinated.  My mom is really good at that kind of stuff."

"Hey, I thought I was the Man -- I mean just read what my shirt says -- see, 'Large and in Charge'.  What am I doing back in my bouncy bed?  What does mom think I am, some kind of baby or something?"

"Well, here I am some hours later.  As you can see it's my bedtime.  My dad came home from work and and now he is reading me a bedtime story.  My mom and dad are the absolute best."



"Who?  Me?  I was no where near that glass
of water!  I swear it!"
I never thought I would be mopping the floor at 4:57 a.m., but then, I never had a Suki-cat in my life before, did I?  Let me explain...

Two nights ago I was sleeping soundly.  Had I been awake, I would have seen that the clock was inching towards 5 a.m.  I did not see this, of course, because as I said I was sound asleep.  However, there was someone in my home that was not asleep -- someone who felt it was time to have breakfast -- someone who had probably been meowing, trying to get my attention, only to find that I slept through it all!  This someone, of course, was Suki.

Well, since I wouldn't wake up, I guess she decided that she should entertain herself by playing.  Not surprisingly, the thing she decided to play with was right beside my head -- my regular glass of water sitting on top of a folded paper towel on my night stand.  The paper towel was hanging over the edge just a bit and, truth be told, Suki has shown a liking in the past for playing with paper products.  At any rate, I was awakened by this strange sound of rustling paper next to my head.  I was awakened by the noise (I have extremely good hearing still unfortunately) just in time to see a black paw come up and grab at the edge of the paper towel, hooking a claw into it and then pulling.  In some kind of strange slow motion, I watched the paper towel move with the glass of water into the air and then falling, falling all over the floor beside my bed!  Suddenly, as I yelled "SUKI" everything returned to real time.  I heard Suki scrambling out of the bedroom as the plastic glass bounced on the floor.

Like it or not, there was nothing to do but get up, get out the mop and paper towels and clean up the mess.  I comforted myself by thinking that my floor was getting an extra washing which strangely enough pleased me.  Suki meanwhile came out from hiding to investigate what was going on.  When all was cleaned and back in order, I very politely told Suki that there was no way I was feeding her now and, in fact, I was going back to bed and if she made any more messes, she could clean them up herself (I knew that last part was just an idle threat).  Anyway, much to her dismay I did just that.  I went back to bed, slept all of about 20 minutes more, got up and fed the cat!  Can you believe it.

So, Suki is fine and up to her usual tricks.  I am obviously fine as I am able to clean up a glass of water from the floor at 5 a.m.  See, all that exercise at the gym is really making a difference!

Actually, I have continued to have a number of visitors recently including some children and babies.  I have enjoyed these visits very much.  In fact I would like to share a photo with you from one of those recent visits.  This was the visit I was telling you about in the previous posting -- the couple that I had taken through marriage preparation and who now have two children.
The lady making the funny face is me!

By the way, Suki was close by at this time watching me and the children using her chair.  She was not amused but had no choice except to tolerate it.

Anyway, I had an enjoyable visit with my friends and their children.  They call me Tita Sallie (Tita means "auntie" in Tagalog).

So, as I said earlier, I am doing well and looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Hopefully the construction crews will take a few days off so that I don't have to listen to "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep" as those big trucks back up over and over again. 
What I should say, of course, is "whatever the Lord gives is OK with me... He always knows best."

May each and every one of you be filled with the joy and peace of God.  Please stay safe this long holiday weekend and if something is troubling you, why not ask St. Stanisław Kostka to pray for you? 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Different Floral Style

Rhododendron ferrugineum, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012 

The two drawings I want to feature are not different or unusual in and of themselves -- rather, the style in which I have drawn them is different.  I have tried a different technique which reveals the flowers in such a way that it is almost like looking at their "skeletons". 

I have shown you any number of drawings of other Rhododendron and Lilium (see below) but the drawing usually showed just a few flowers and a lot of leaves whereas, these show the entire plant.  I would really enjoy having some feedback on this new style but I know better than to expect too much from my request. However, if you feel so inclined, please send me your comments.

Rhododendron ferrugineum

Rhododendron ferrugineum (sometimes called alpenrose, snow-rose, or rusty-leaved alpenrose) is an evergreen shrub that grows just above the tree line in the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and northern Apennines. It may grow up to 1 m tall and produces clusters of pinkish-red, bell-shaped flowers throughout the summer. The undersides of the leaves are covered in rust-brown spots, which give the species its scientific name of ferrugineum.

R. ferrugineum is moderately toxic, containing arbutine, aricoline and rhodoxanthine, and can cause vomiting, and difficulties of the digestive, nervous, respiratory and circulatory systems. Family: Ericaceae.

Lilium bulbiferum, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Lilium bulbiferum

Lilium bulbiferum, common names Orange Lily, Fire Lily or Tiger Lily, is a herbaceous perennial plant with underground bulbs, belonging to the genus Lilium of the Liliaceae family. The Latin name bulbiferum of this species, meaning "bearing bulbs", refers to the secondary bulbs on the stem.

Perennial lilies are native to the continental climate of the steppes, the Mediterranean countries, south-east Europe and central Asia.  However, they have "escaped" from gardens in countries with similar climates worldwide and can now be said to be established in many other places.  Evidently, according to people who know these things, this is one of the easiest lilies to grow.  In Japan it is cultivated in large quantities for the edible bulb which is described as tasting something like a sweet potato.



Well, I know you are surprised to learn that I have some new photos of this sweet boy!  Recently someone used the expression "doting grandmother syndrome" when describing my behaviour.  What can I say?  It is obviously true.  I confess; I am smitten.  Anyway, here are some of the most recent photographs which will tell you about one of the big events in Braden's life this past week.

"You want me to do what?  Turn over all by myself?!  But I can't... can I?"

"Well, OK.  I guess I could try to turn over all by myself.  Do you really think I can do it?"
"Here goes!"

"Mom!  Look Mom!  I did it all by myself!  You were right, I can do it.  I am a big boy now!"

"Did you take pictures so we can show Dad when he comes home?"
"He will be so proud of me!"

"Meanwhile, I think I had better take another nap.  Turning over all by myself is hard work!"


Suki safeguarding her chair
Poor Suki has had a difficult week.  I have had four visitors over the past four days -- that is three different visits as 2 of the 4 came together: a grandmother and her granddaughter.

It is not that Suki dislikes having visitors -- she is not like dear miz k.d. who was a natural born hermit who tolerated my presence but suffered greatly when anyone came to visit.  No, Suki is fine with visitors and is often cautiously friendly with them.  The problem is her chair!

Almost immediately after coming to live with me, Suki claimed that chair as hers and even though I have gotten her all sorts of other beds since then, all that has happened is that she claims all those others beds as hers along with the wing-back chair in the living room.

What happens when visitors arrive is that they often head straight for that comfortable looking chair.  When more than one person comes to visit, they will often sit together on the sofa and then I will sit in the chair.  Whatever happens, Suki -- although she may be sound asleep in the closet when the guests arrive -- somehow knows when someone sits down in her chair and this will cause her to get up and come into the living room.

At first, everyone is happy to see her and makes a big fuss over her.  She allows them to scratch her chin and behind her ears and so forth, but when all the attention stops, Suki goes and sits in front of whoever is sitting in the chair.  She doesn't move -- she just sits and stares at the poor person.  I have known people to cut their visit short after about 15 minutes of Suki sitting and staring at them.  I will often try to encourage her to go elsewhere, but while I may distract her for a few minutes, she quickly returns to her chair watch.

If I am sitting in the chair, as sometimes happens, she won't just sit and stare.  No, with me, she climbs up and sits on the back of the chair behind my head and pesters me by trying to lick my hair which she knows really disturbs me.  I will pick her up and put her down on the floor where she will stay for a few minutes before climbing back onto the chair again and repeating the process.

I know, I know, I should be much better at discipline, but I'm not.  What I often do now is encourage people to sit on the sofa while I sit on the perch on top of my walker.  When this happens, Suki will usually come out and join us. She allows everyone to pat her before jumping up into her chair, curling up and going to sleep -- quite content that she is still in full control of her little world!

So, other than not being able to sit in one of my favourite chairs, I am doing fine.  I was able to get over to the gym this morning and now I am waiting for the time to arrive to go across the hall to my friend's apartment.  The Communion ministers from St. Michael's Cathedral will be here soon and we now meet together at Gayle's place so they only have one visit to make on our floor instead of three.  This makes things much easier for them and it is also nice for us as it gives us more of a sense of community as we share the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in Holy Communion.

Later today some friends are coming with their two children for a visit.  They are coming to my area to see Buskerfest which has taken over most of our neighbourhood.  They will have their son and their daughter with them.  I haven't seen their daughter yet as she was born about 8 months ago so I am really looking forward to meeting her.  I will be interested to see what Suki does about her chair with a little 5 or 6 year old little boy chasing her around the house!  It might be very amusing.  I am sure they will be taking photos so perhaps I will even have photographic evidence to show you in my next blog posting.

Anyway, it is about time for me to go.  May God grant us all peace, His peace, which passes all human understanding and fills our hearts with joy.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Saint Sarah - 2

Icon, St. Sarah, Wife of Abraham, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009, revision 2012

Back in 2009 I wrote the following under a draft of an icon of St. Sarah I was working on:
"[This] is my attempt to draw an image representing St. Sarah (as the Orthodox call her), wife of Abraham. Sarah was an old, old woman when she became pregnant for the first and only time, fulfilling the prophecy of God. Her son was named Isaac and it is from Isaac that the Jewish people claim themselves descended. Christians tend to claim for themselves the same lineage. [As many of you know, Muslims also claim St. Abraham as their father in faith, but not of his son, Isaac but of Abraham's previous son born of Sarah's slave woman, Ishmael.]  At any rate, I am drawn to the story of St. Sarah because she is my patron. There is no feast day for St. Sarah in the Catholic calendar, but the Orthodox celebrate her feast on August 19th. Interestingly, that was the date my father died in 1991." 
I reflected on these comments as I revised this icon after all these years -- in preparation for the feast which was last Sunday.  I thought again of how strange it is that the feast day of my patron is the same date as my father's death.  This man whose actions I have spent a lifetime trying to come to terms with -- trying to forgive.  I am not sure of the significance of these two things occurring on the same date, but I continue to puzzle over the meaning -- if any.

Icon, Amma Sarah of the Desert, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

 Over the years of researching icons and saints, both Catholic and Orthodox, I have become acquainted with Amma Sarah, one of the so-called Desert Mothers of the early Church.  These women, like their male counterparts, left the corrupt Roman culture behind and went to the desert where they lived in solitude -- praying, fasting, doing penance for the salvation of souls.  These early hermits eventually formed into loosely-knit communities which in turn gradually developed into what became eventually the rich tradition of monasticism -- the tradition that preserved the Scriptures and the teachings of the Faith during the Dark Ages.  The Spirit always prepares us beforehand for whatever darkness the Church will be facing next so never lose hope in these turbulent times.

Sarah of the Desert's sayings indicate that she was a hermit living by the River Nile for sixty years. Her sharp replies to some of the old men who challenged her show a distinctly strong personality. She said to them, ‘I put out my foot to ascend the ladder, and I place death before my eyes before going up it.’

Amma Sarah also said, "If I prayed God that all people should approve of my conduct, I should find myself a penitent at the door of each one, but I shall rather pray that my heart may be pure toward all." St. Sarah is one of the few women to be included in the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Her feast day among the Orthodox is July 13.

St. Sarah, wife of Abraham, pray for us.
Amma Sarah of the Desert, pray for us.



Braden has had a difficult week, it seems.  He is recovering after a little surgical procedure and according to recent reports from his mom, he is recovering with difficulty, but he is recovering.  Poor Braden.  He is beginning the process of learning about the painful parts of living.  Ah, well...

"Hey, you have a nose just like mine only bigger!  How did that happen?"

"Mom, who was that bearded man, anyway?"  He looks familiar!"


Impossible not to read this sign, isn't it?  To what do you think this sign is referring?

I guess the sign maker did not know the proper name of those "long, yellow things"!

Is there an hidden message here, do you think?

The perfect way to get rid of that unwanted baby sister!



Suki, shortly before 11 a.m.
and foolishly unconcerned!
 Today was the day for testing the building's fire alarm system.  Signs had been put up throughout the building and on the elevators.  I had seen them and warned Suki about it, but, as usual, she just turned over and went back to sleep.

WELL... 11 o'clock arrived and soon after the fire alarm sounded.  (By the way, this has got to be one of the world's loudest, most annoying fire alarms!).  Suki had been sleeping on the back of the wing-back chair in the living room while I was working at the computer in the bedroom.  When the alarm sounded, I stopped what I was doing and sat back to watch events unfold.  Within seconds here comes Suki travelling at super speed -- her feet barely touching the floor -- heading straight for the bedroom closet.  Knowing this would happen, I had very kindly opened the door just a small amount so that she would have easy access.  In she went and I could hear her crawling into her box.  Although I didn't look, I assume she probably stuck her head under one of the old sweaters with which she has padded her box.

After about 15 minutes, the alarm stopped and I knew the drill was over.  Suki, however, stayed where she was.  I think loud sounds like that really frighten her, leaving her exhausted. 

The hours passed.  I went to the gym, came home, got cleaned up and into my house clothes and Suki stayed in the closet.  Finally, about a half hour ago, I hear sounds of movement coming from the closet and here comes Suki.  She was meowing loudly as she was obviously hungry not having eaten since breakfast.  Although I told her that she would now have to wait until I finished what I was doing (my blog), she was determined.  She tried climbing all over me, purring loudly.  When this did not appear to be working, she just sat and stared at me.  She has now gone and sat herself down in the chair nearby where she waits for the slightest sign from me that I might be headed for the kitchen.

As for me, I am preparing to move very cautiously towards the kitchen when the time comes or else that crazy cat is bound to trip me in her excitement.  I have not actually fallen now for many months and I do not want to "break" my current record of staying upright.

Today has been a very good day for me -- not like yesterday.  Somehow, I forgot to take my pain medication yesterday morning -- the pills for my spine and the related pain from that as well as the anti-inflammatory that enables me to keep moving my joints.  Well, by last evening, I could barely move and was uncomfortable sitting or standing.  I couldn't figure it out until I finally noticed my morning pills still sitting there in the container!  At that point I had to try to figure out what I could take so that I did not mess up my evening pills.  Fortunately, by the time I went to bed, I was starting to feel a little less like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz!  This morning I was very careful to take the required medication and was able to go to the gym as usual.  It has been a good day.

Otherwise, things are fine. 

Suki Alert!!!  Suki has just gotten out of the chair and is starting to try to climb on to me again.  I guess I had better just give in and feed the poor kitty.

May the peace of God be with us all.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Helleborus niger

Helleborus niger also known as Christmas Rose, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

This is one of my favourite Hellebores although this is the first time I have done a drawing of it.  Previous drawings I have shown in this genus were Helleborus orientalis or Lenten Rose (see May 26, 2009) and one of the hybrids called Raspberry Mousse (see December 27, 2011). 
Helleborus niger (Christmas Rose), shown above, Is one of the most common hellebore species in gardens around the world, It produces large white flowers that turn pink or deep pink-salmon as they age.

H. niger often grows on slopes and at high altitudes. Basically an alpine plant, it may be covered in snow for months. Wild plants typically bloom after the snow melts in spring, thus avoiding long periods of continual frost. In its natural habitat it enjoys well-drained conditions in limestone soil but with ample moisture during spring. Such conditions partly explain why H. niger looks so wonderful in the wild but can at times be less than magnificent in the garden. Still, it is a worthy garden plant and is one of the showiest of all hellebores.

Its leaves often persist well into winter before browning and giving way to the new year's flower stalks and foliage. Leaves are dark green, sometimes with bluish tones and have a thick, leathery appearance. In the wild or in conditions where the leaves are protected by snow cover, the over-wintering leaves may remain in pristine condition even during flowering. H. niger produces only basal leaves, and the relatively bare flower stalks are not usually generous with their flowers, often producing only one per stalk but sometimes two.

Helleborus niger growing wild
Above is an example of this plant making an early appearance in the springtime -- growing on what appears to be a limestone hillside with good drainage but ample moisture which enables the plants to grow quickly and healthily.  Even though the common name for this plant is "Christmas Rose", it does not necessarily bloom during the Christmas Season. Depending on climate and genes, plants may bloom any time from November to June.



 Now, for your viewing pleasure, here are a few of the most recent photos of the main man in my life!  Braden continues to be as wonderful as ever and is daily growing into a gentleman who is obviously going to be one of the leading lights of his age!  This is just my unbiased opinion, of course!!

Seriously, his parents, especially his mother, are so good to me as they continue to share photos and bits of news frequently. So, even though I can't see Braden in person very often, I do feel as though I am sharing in the joy of his growth and development. 

Here we see "Dad's little champ" taking a rest break.  It is obvious that his is still
thinking about and solving the world's problems even while sleeping.  He is indeed The Thinker!

This is such a sweet photo -- looking at his mother as she helps him get ready to
accompany her as she runs errands.  Such a sweet face!

Here we see him in his special seat all ready to go.  "Come on, mom, let's hit the road!"

I put the "is" in as I think it makes it funnier than the attempt at "pidgin English".



Suki, feeling a bit chilled and
all wrapped up in my sweater.
These past few days, Suki has just been listening to me and watching me a lot more than usual.  She has heard me speaking her name frequently while on the telephone and this, I think, makes her a bit nervous -- she worries that I may be calling the vet.

Actually, the vet was one of the people involved in all the business I have been doing regarding Suki, but not because Suki needs a visit from the vet.  No, I am presently involved in an appeal to the insurance company, the carrier of the pet insurance I have.  Let me explain...

When I first brought Suki home, it was obvious that she had some sort of  intestinal problem as she was constantly having to use the litter box due to diarrhea.  The vet came to see her right away and after an exam and various questions, she decided that she most likely had a particular parasite that she had picked up at the Human Society.  We began the treatment for this and within a reasonable amount of time, Suki began to get better and better.  By the time the medication was finished, she appeared to be free of the parasite.

Several months later, she suddenly started having diarrhea again and although it was different from before, I was worried that perhaps the parasite had been lying low and had now decided to re-surface.  The vet came and listened to my concerns and decided that perhaps we should try the treatment for the parasite again; however, as she was finishing up her exam, she happened to ask me if I was feeding Suki any treats.  When I said, "yes, occasionally", she wanted to know what type.  When I told her, she commented that that particular treat actually caused some cats to experience diarrhea.  After she left, I decided to try stopping the treats first before beginning the medication.  After a few days of no treats, the diarrhea stopped and has never returned.

When I submitted the claim for this visit; however, I got a letter back saying that there was now an exclusion on Suki's policy saying that the company would not cover problems in the intestinal area as she had come to me with a pre-disposition, a weakness, for intestinal problems. 

As I begin to think about this, I realized that their reasoning did not make any sense as Suki had come to me with a parasite.  When I enquired, I was told that the second vet visit within the first year caused the company to conclude that Suki had come to me with a permanent problem in this area and that they would not cover such pre-existing conditions.  So, I set about appealing this and pointing out that Suki had only had a parasite and that the second bout of diarrhea was nothing but a reaction to a particular kind of cat treat.

I had to submit my account of things and then get the vet to submit her records of these events and so now we are waiting to see what they decide.  I am hopeful that common sense will prevail -- although I may be being somewhat optimistic!  I will let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, Suki is quite well and as sassy as ever.  I, too, am doing quite well and am probably as sassy as ever.  In fact, my dear friend, Charles, calls me Sassy Sallie!  So, I guess you could say that both Sassy Suki and Sassy Sallie are doing well..!  I think I had better stop this before I someone starts calling me Silly Sallie, a name I was often called in grade school by mean boys!

At any rate, I pray that God will bless all of you who read this blog posting by allowing you to find something of God's beauty and joy in the words and pictures I have presented.

And may our hearts be filled with the peace and love which come to us from God.  Deus dona nobis pacem

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Our Lady of Walsingham

Icon, Our Lady of Walsingham, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
The Roman Catholic shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham is located near the English towns of King’s Lynn, Swaffham and Norwich -- northeast of Cambridge and a good distance east of Birmingham and Coventry.

The Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham was established in 1061 when, according to the text of the Pynson Ballad (c 1485), Richeldis de Faverches prayed that she might undertake some special work in honour of Our Lady. In answer to her prayer, the Virgin Mary led her in spirit to Nazareth, showed her the house where the Annunciation occurred, and asked her to build a replica in Walsingham to serve as a perpetual memorial of the Annunciation. This Holy House was built and a religious community took charge of the foundation. Although we have very little historical material from this period, we know that with papal approval the Augustinian Canons built a Priory (c 1150). Walsingham became one of the greatest Shrines in Medieval Christendom.

In 1538, the Reformation caused the Priory property to be handed over to the King’s Commissioners and the famous statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was taken to London and burnt. Nothing remains today of the original shrine, but its site is marked on the lawn in “The Abbey Grounds” in the village. After the destruction of the Shrine, Walsingham ceased to be a place of pilgrimage. Devotion was necessarily in secret until after Catholic Emancipation (1829) when public expressions of faith were allowed.

For more information go to

Below, you see a copy of the modern statue of Our Lady of Walsingham
with all the different symbolism explained.

Statue of Our Lady of Walsingham with information regarding symbols (used with permission)

The Slipper Chapel (the Shrine) was built in the mid-14th century, and dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, this chapel served pilgrims on their way to England’s Nazareth. Saint Catherine was the patron saint of pilgrims to the Holy Land and her knights kept open the road to Nazareth during the Crusades. After the Reformation, the Chapel was used as a poor house, a forge, a cow shed and a barn. It was restored to the Catholic Church in 1896 by Charlotte Pearson Boyd.

The interior of the Slipper Chapel at the Shrine of Walsingham
The statue of Our Lady can be seen on (your) left side of the altar
(used with permission)



Well, in this posting there is a new "smile" photo, a sweet, sleeping photo and a couple of interesting expressions on the face of the little man.  He continues to be a delight to his parents and to family and friends.  I am as enamoured of him as ever -- maybe even worse than before -- and keep multiple pictures of him close at hand for my own perusal and for showing to visitors!  Take a look.

This is one happy baby, especially after he has had a good meal!

Is there anything sweeter than a peacefully sleeping baby...

This is one of those baby photos that needs a special caption ... any suggestions?

"I hate to say this, Dad, but you are interfering with my time with mom.
I am afraid I will have to put this in your performance report!"


(my sincere apologies to the vegetarians who read this posting)


 I think Suki is on to me and the fact that I am sharing her deeds and mis- deeds on my blog!

When my friend, Eugene, was visiting recently, Suki came out to say hello -- really, she wanted to tell me that she was hungry, but once she saw Eugene, she forgot about food for a while as she knew
Now I have a better idea of why Suki is too
knowledgeable for her own good -- she is
doing her own research and using my glasses
to do it!!
that here was someone who would scratch her ears for a while!  At any rate, we were talking about some of Suki's escapades and I noticed that although she seemed to be engrossed in washing her paws, she was really listening to every word and she did not look pleased.  I thought to myself "uh-oh, I may be in for a rough night -- and I was right!  Oh, well, I am sure it was all in good fun.

As for what she is up to these days, I can only say that she appears to be spending a lot of time snuffling around in my books and was caught once (see photo above) trying to put my glasses on.  I suspect that she may be researching some new material for the book I am sure she is secretly writing, probably entitled, "How to manipulate your person and get them to do whatever you want them to!" by Suki the Cat.  If I start waking up and finding that the computer has been turned on during the night, I will begin a search for the manuscript!  It will be my responsibility to try my best to keep such a dastardly book from being published.  Just think... all cat people throughout the world could end up like me!!!
As for Sallie, she is doing quite well -- all things considered.   I continue to have some new physical problems that must be investigated further by the medical people; however, they do not appear to be that significant.  Otherwise, I am able to continue going to the gym almost every day and ride my recumbent bike for 45 to 50 minutes each day plus working on a couple of other machines.  Best of all, I am still enjoying it very much -- I do love those little endorphins!  

A friend whom I have not seen for some time will be coming for a visit on Thursday and I am really looking forward to her visit.  We plan to sit in comfortable chairs in my office/bedroom and visit as long as we like -- catching up on all the news.  For me, this is one of the very best types of social interaction:  to sit with a dear friend and just "visit" as we say in the southern U.S.
Otherwise, things are quiet at the moment.  I am trying to arrange to advertise my 2013 calendars locally to see if there is any interest out there before I start seriously ordering.  Remember, let me know in the next couple of months if you would like one or more of the calendars for yourself or for gifts.  

Well, it is time to head off to the gym.    
Meanwhile, I pray that each and every one who reads this blog posting will be blessed by it.  May the joy and love of God fill your hearts and grant you His peace.

  ______________________________________________________   Wishing you a blessed feast of St. Maximillan Kolbe, August 14th.
St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us. 
St. Maximilian Kolbe by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

Tomorrow is the beautiful Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15th. 
Our Lady, pray for us.

Assumption by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

Friday, 10 August 2012

Campsis grandiflora

Campsis grandiflora, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

Campsis grandiflora, commonly known as the Chinese Trumpet Vine or Trumpet Creeper, is a fast growing, deciduous creeper with large, reddish-orange, trumpet-shaped flowers. It can grow to a height of 9 meters. It is a native of East Asia, China and Japan. This plant is of the family Bignoniaceae. When its at its best, Chinese trumpet vine is a showcase drop-dead, absolutely gorgeous vine.

This drawing is one of those included in my 2013 Calendar of recent flower drawings.  Remember, if you are interested in having a calendar, the cost is $12.  They can be ordered by contacting me by email.  I will be featuring a few more of the 12 flowers included in the calendar during the next few weeks.

Chinese Trumpet Vine (Campsis grandiflora) outside of building in Japan


An Update on the Baby

I continue to receive new photos of sweet Braden and I feel it quite necessary to share them with others as I am sure that they have never seen such a beautiful boy!  Strange though, I have noticed that some of my friends now seem to be avoiding me!  I cannot imagine why.  Perhaps I will have to drop by to see them with my latest supply of baby photos -- I am sure they will be pleased to see me!

Seriously, I do try to be mindful of the fact that other people just may not be as enamoured of dear, sweet Braden as I am. 

"Time for a little rest on my tummy," says Braden.  "This feels very nice after a good meal."

A sweet, sleepy baby with his Papa (I like the lighting in this photo taken by
Braden's Mama)



Most of you know of my love for trees.  Recently, a friend sent me a photo of another tree with an accompanying verse.  The photograph was not that appealing to me, but the accompanying verse was just perfect for expressing some of what I feel about trees.  So I took one of the photos from my huge collection of trees (see below) and I have pasted the quote underneath.  I hope you find it meaningful too.

"Stand tall and proud. Sink your roots deeply into the Earth. Reflect the light of a greater source. Think long term. Go out on a limb. Remember your place among all living beings. Embrace with joy the changing seasons for each yields its own abundance: the energy and birth of spring, the growth and contentment of summer, the wisdom to let go of leaves in the fall, the rest and quiet renewal of winter."
 ~ LLan Shamir, Advice from a Tree 



Here is a Suki-lookalike who demonstrates
the obviously uncomfortable way a cat can
choose to sleep!
Have you ever noticed the terribly uncomfortable positions cats can get themselves into when preparing to sleep?  If your own cat hasn't demonstrated this truth for you, then all you have to do is look at cat photos and very quickly you will find any number which show cats apparently sleeping soundly while in the most outrageous positions. 

I am very much aware of this behaviour after witnessing Suki sleeping in some very strange places this past week.  Let me explain.

Remember when I told you about reaching for my shoes in the closet and getting a handful of cat instead?  Well, that day Suki was sleeping on top of my big shoe storage box and all the shoes were inside where they belong.  This week, however, several pairs of shoes had been placed on top of the big box so that almost the entire top was covered in shoes -- gym shoes, Crocs, etc.  I would think that a cat with as many comfortable places to sleep as Suki has would never spend a day sleeping on top of hard shoes but that is exactly what she did a couple of days ago.  The entire day was spent lying on top of what must have been a terribly uncomfortable surface.  I suggested to her several times that she might want to move into one of her nice, roomy, soft beds, but she just ignored me.

Then yesterday I was working on the computer when I suddenly realized that I had not seen or heard Suki for a few hours.  This always causes me a bit of concern as she has been known to quietly get into places where she is really not supposed to be.  When I went searching for her, I found her on top of a large wicker basket.  I have three of these baskets, 3 different sizes and they each have a lid with a handle.  Well, Suki had somehow crammed herself onto the top of the middle-sized one and was sleeping away.  She looked so uncomfortable that I picked her up and put her down on the seat of her favourite living room chair.  She did not look pleased and before I could even return to the computer, she was back on top of the basket.  And that is where she is again this morning!

This is just one more cat behaviour I don't understand.  Cats appear to be such comfort-loving creatures and yet some of them will purposely choose to sleep on surfaces that amount to a bed of nails!  Very strange indeed.

As for me, I continue to do well -- all things considered!  To be honest, I must admit that I almost fell again, but was able to grab my desk and stay upright -- more or less.  The only thing I hit was the top of my foot.  I am not sure how I did this, but I did and now the top of my foot is very black and blue.  But I think to myself that it is better my foot than my face!  I am experiencing a small amount of pain, but since I have so little feeling left in my feet now, I really can't tell how much pain there would be in a normal foot.

I imagine that most of you have been watching at least some of the Olympics.  I have never been any good at watching competitive sports as I get far too anxious and upset.  Instead, I watch the news which shows the results -- the winning or losing moments are shown in a short segment without all the stress and strain of the actual events.  I also know that there have been problems for Canada with a horse that was fine but was still disqualified and a penalty which was called in soccer but which wasn't.  Oh, well, our athletes seem a positive, plucky bunch in spite of all the setbacks and I am very proud of them. 

After watching the medal count, however, I have decided that in the future there should be one Olympics for the U.S. and China.  Then the rest of us could have our own Olympics in which more of the small nations would be able to have a chance at winning!

Well, it is time for Joycelyn to arrive to help me so I had better bring this to an end.  I pray that we may all be aware of God's goodness throughout this day and in the days ahead.  May we be convinced of God's love for us, each and every one, and may our hearts be filled with His peace and joy.  Fiat.