Friday, 7 December 2012

Even More Orchids

Whenever you see the name Orchidaceae, you know immediately that you are looking at one of the almost countless members of the Orchid Family. I have heard different figures in the thousands for the total number of Orchidaceae species growing throughout the world, but just when I have that figure memorized, along comes a couple of new additions. I have actually become convinced that we may never know the total number of orchids (and hybrids) native to our planet.
At any rate, here are two more orchids that I find particularly beautiful.

"Paphiopedilum holdenii (Slipper Orchid)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

The drawing above is of an orchid called "Paphiopedilum holdenii"; its common name is Slipper Orchid.  The Family name is Orchidaceae

The genus Paphiopedilum consists of flowering plants in the orchid family (Orchidaceae). It contains about 80 accepted species nowadays, some of which are natural hybrids. These slipper orchids are native to South China, India, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands and form their own subfamily: Cypripedioideae. The species or their hybrids are extensively cultivated, and are known as either paphiopedilums, or by the abbreviation paphs in horticulture. The pouch traps insects seeking nectar, and to leave again they have to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollen.

"Vanda sanderiana", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

This drawing is of another orchid named Vanda sanderiana.  Vanda is a genus in the orchid family (Orchidaceae) which, although not large (about fifty species), is one of the most important florally. This genus and its allies are considered to be the most highly evolved of all orchids within Orchidaceae. The genus is very highly prized in horticulture for its showy, fragrant, long lasting, and intensely colorful flowers.

Vanda orchids have magnificent blooms of up to 5 inches across! These orchids naturally occur in Northern Australia, Indonesia, China and surrounding areas where they cling to tree trunks and branches high in the forest canopy where they receive the bright light they like.

Vanda sanderiana is an exquisite species from the Philippines. It is commonly called Waling-waling in the Philippines and is also called Sander's Euanthe, after Henry Frederick Conrad Sander, a noted orchidologist who recorded this orchid for the first time in the 1880s during an earthquake in the Philippines.

I sometimes reflect on the fact that God did not have to create any flowers at all. These beautiful creations are all gifts -- probably seen in all their colours and designs only by the human eye.  One more thing to be grateful for.


December 8th

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th) is the subject of a lot of misconceptions.  Perhaps the most common one, held even by many Catholics, is that it celebrates the conception of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That the feast occurs only 17 days before Christmas should make the error obvious! We celebrate another feast—the Annunciation of the Lord—on March 25, exactly nine months before Christmas. It was at the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary humbly accepted the honor bestowed on her by God and announced by the angel Gabriel, that the conception of Christ took place.

In the 11th century, because of the doctrine of Original Sin, some in the West began to believe that Mary could not have been sinless unless she had been saved from Original Sin at the moment of her conception (thus making her conception "immaculate").  ...In other words, she too had been redeemed—her redemption had simply been accomplished at the moment of her conception, rather than (as with all other Christians) in Baptism.

Finally, on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX officially declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the Church, which means that all Christians are bound to accept it as true. As the Holy Father wrote in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus, "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
~Taken from the writings of Scott P. Richert.

"Our Lady Interceding for Her Children", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012



If you take a look at   you will see a familiar icon -- "Holy Prophet Jeremiah" is one of four of my icons being used by this parish during Advent.  The one for this coming Sunday is the Prophet Isiah.  The 3rd Sunday of Advent they will be using the one of St. John the Baptist and for the final Sunday, the icon will be one of Blessed Mary greeting her cousin, St. Elizabeth.  I will remind you to check at the web site each week.  Evidently, they had great success in making 24 x 36 inch posters which are being placed on poles within the Church as "their" Sunday arrives.

Do you remember this icon?


No new Braden photos today, but just wait until after December 16th!


Suki as a kitten -- she may be older and fatter, but
she is still just a kitten inside!
 I thought of this drawing recently because it is so obvious that Suki needs a lot more play time -- time which I am no longer able to provide.

I used to be able to spend time each day playing with her -- moving the fish on a stick back and forth just fast enough so that she had to work hard to catch it.  She loves to play this way and I have no idea how long she would keep playing as my arm always gives out before she is ready to stop.

Lately, however, I just do not have sufficient strength to play with her as I once did.  Instead, I try putting out some of her favourite toys to see if she will play with them on her own.  There are a couple of items which grab her interest for a short while, but it just doesn't last long enough.  She ends up coming to me and meowing.  I will then try to keep her running back and forth for a while with the laser light, but she truly could do this forever and I can last only a few minutes!

So, any of you who have the stamina and patience to play with a playful cat, please submit your resume listing your qualifications.  Who knows, you just might get hired as Suki's playmate!!

Of course, the above comments give you some idea of how I am doing.  I have gotten just a small bit better, I think, but I am still not strong enough to do much and continue to spend too much time sleeping -- as far as I am concerned.

I was able to keep my doctors' appointments this week.  There is some concern now about how slowly I am healing so I will be going back in for special x-rays soon.  I am sure everything is OK -- the problem is just my age, I think, and the fact that I was not all that healthy going into this surgery.

One thing that I have observed with interest, however, is the difference between this December and all my previous Decembers.  Normally I would be counting down the days until my birthday on the 14th.  This year I find myself counting down the days until the 21st when I will see the plastic surgeon!

And so I come to the end of another blog posting.  I hope that all you Catholics who read this will make certain to get to Mass tomorrow on the great feast of Our Lady.  I am not well enough to attend, but I will be watching the Mass on EWTN or Salt and Light.  Let us remember to pray for each other.

As always, I wish you peace and joy -- the peace and joy that God alone can give.

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, pray for us.

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