Sunday, 23 December 2012

Two More Sleeps!

"A Sure Sign of Christmas", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
I am all ready for Christmas, are you?

First, I have my one traditional Poinsettia.  It was given to me by my friend, Nancy, who shares my birth date.  She brought me such a perfect plant this year that I decided to draw it instead of just photographing it!

These plants, which were found by the Europeans growing wild in Mexico after their invasion in the 1500s, were called "the Christmas Flower" as they bloomed in December.  Some years later, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico had some of the large plants shipped to his home in the Carolinas after finishing his assignment there.  The plants survived and begin to be distributed throughout the southern U.S.  From this time on they were called Poinsettia after the name of the ambassador, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851).

"The Cardinal in the Snow", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Next, I bring out my artificial male Cardinal who sings his authentic song whenever the sunlight strikes him.  He has become a required part of my Christmas ever since the first year I was no longer able to go to my sister, Betty's, for Christmas in about 1998.  I always associate Cardinals with Christmas as they were always in abundance around my sister's house during Christmas.  Only once was there snow since she lives in North-Central Florida, but the white does go well with the red!  Anyway, when I hear my battery operated Cardinal singing, I remember all those good Christmases and I am grateful.

A Christmas banner entitled "O Holy Night", photo 1

A Christmas banner entitled "O Holy Night", photo 2

And here is an brand new addition to my Christmas preparations -- a beautiful Christmas banner which was given to me this year by my friend, Jessie.  Jessie has a knack for finding some of the most beautiful and unusual Christmas gifts -- all of which have become a part of my Christmas traditions.  I wish you could see this banner as it looks hanging on my wall.  It is just magnificent.

And, finally, comes the most important part of my celebration... 

Baby Jesus and the empty crib
As many of you know from previous years, I have a tradition of putting out only the empty crib with my Nativity set and hiding the Baby Jesus.  At midnight on Christmas Eve, I retrieve the Baby Jesus and with Handel's Messiah playing softly in the background, I gently place the Baby in the crib.  After this, I like to sit for a while and think about that first Christmas and listen to the familiar music of the Messiah.

I wish you all, each and every one, a blessed, joy-filled Christmas.


Corpus Christi Catholic Community

Below are two photos from the parish in Detroit.  They are using my icons for their Advent celebrations. 

The first photo shows a close-up of the first icon used.  The second photo shows three of the icons hanging in the church following the third Sunday in Advent.  The one remaining icon, which be going up tonight or tomorrow is of the Visitation with an emphasis on St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist.

I am so happy that the icons are being put to good use.  God takes care of everything.

Icon "Holy Prophet Jeremiah" by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer

Icons "Prophet Isaiah", "Holy Prophet Jeremiah" and "St. John the Baptist", all by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer



Braden is just so precious to me and thanks to the great kindness of his mother, I have been able to see his delightful personality begin to develop.  So much can be discerned in frequent photographs of a growing child as they have not yet learned how to dissemble and hide their true feelings.

In the first photo below, you can see the innocence of Braden as he sleeps so peacefully -- not yet able to do anything seriously wrong and and having no sense of guilt, he can sleep the sleep of the just.

In the second photo below, we can see the delight Braden has in doing something silly that will make his parents laugh -- in this case, he has placed his toy on the top of his head which will make his mother laugh and which, in turn, will make Braden laugh.  Such innocent joy.

All these personality traits that will eventually, with the proper instruction, turn into the virtues that enable us to live a life in which we love God above all else and our neighbour as ourselves.

Such a sweet sleeper!

Awake, his look is mischievous as he waits to be noticed for putting his toy on his head!


My "Coming Home" Story

NOTE:  Some portions of this story have been changed or combined or even partly fabricated in an effort to tell the story in a way that makes sense and, particularly, to refrain from attempting to explain those events in the spiritual life which are simply unexplainable.
"A Moment between Classes"
[My 2nd year teaching at community college]
(continued from Dec. 19th)

The words she next spoke changed my life forever.

Loretta whispered softly: "We believe that Christ is truly present in the bread we share at Mass and any leftover bread is placed in the Tabernacle for the sick and dying. We call this Bread the Blessed Sacrament and we believe that it is really Christ, Incarnate, under the appearance of bread -– body, blood, soul and divinity. It is Christ Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament whom I came to visit today."

A chill went through my whole body and I could not move. Then within the next instant I was flooded with a sense of peace which left me feeling as though I could suddenly see for the first time. Somehow, I suddenly knew, without doubting, that it was Christ who had been watching me and calling me to come to Him. The Resurrection was real. He was alive. He had kept His promise to never leave us alone. He loved me and had made a way to be with me all the days of my life. I was almost overwhelmed by the awareness of His passionate love for me.

Not knowing how I got there, I suddenly found myself kneeling at the altar rail. I did not know how long I had been there, but Loretta later told me that it was only for a few moments. I heard myself whispering “Jesus, I am so grateful to You for revealing Yourself to me through Your Church. I promise I will become a Catholic as quickly as I possibly can so I, too, can receive Your Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity into my body and truly be made whole – gradually formed into Your image and likeness."  For the first time in my life, it seemed that I heard Him saying in response: “I love you, Sallie. Go now and do what you have promised.  I will be with you.”

As Loretta sort of guided me out of the Church, it felt as though I was walking three feet off the ground. Strangely, I was also aware of a niggling within me,  urging me to go and read the 6th chapter of St. John’s Gospel... Although I had memorized a lot of scripture while growing up, I had no memory of what the 6th chapter of St. John was all about. What was it that I would find waiting there for me?
                                                                                               (to be continued)



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Well, as usual, Suki is up to something new.  You may recall that in the previous posting I spoke about Suki's behaviour -- that she seemed to be almost hibernating over the past couple of months!  Now that has changed -- just in the past few days.  Let me tell you what is happening now...

Starting the evening of December 21, Suki's behaviour began to change noticeably.  Suddenly she didn't seem so sleepy anymore -- or, even more amazingly, she didn't seem as hungry!  I don't know if her behaviour has ever changed like this before; if so, I didn't notice it.

When I first first became aware of her behaviour changing on Friday evening, I puzzled over it; trying my best to figure it out.  All I could think of was the fact that it was the winter solstice -- the shortest day of daylight of the entire year.  So, Friday afternoon, as the sun shone brightly through the living room windows, Suki woke up and started playing with one of her toys, playing in the sunlight for quite some time.  The hour for her supper came and went and she showed no interest at all in eating.  I was just starting to really worry when she finally came to me, asking for food.

Since that time, she has spent much more time playing than sleeping -- especially when the sun is shining in the afternoon.  I really wonder if house-bound cats can tell when things shift and the daylight increases just a bit each day.  I have no other explanation for the change in Suki.  I will watch closely and see if this pattern continues and if any of you have ever witnessed something like this with your cat or dog, please let me know.  The strangest part is that things have changed so quickly from somnolence to activity -- maybe it is just something as simple as the sunshine we have had this week after days of no sun. 

As for me, you can see from the cartoon below -- which I created just for this occasion -- that things went well with my doctor's visit on the 21st.

He seems a very nice and competent man and I feel good about the upcoming surgery. 

I still don't know when the surgery will be; however, the doctor agrees that it should be sooner rather than later.  I will probably hear from his secretary regarding the date some time after Christmas and then I will let you all know as well.

It will be such a wonderful relief to be able to see normally again.  Actually, the surgeon said that not only do the bottom lids need to be fixed, but the top ones as well.  When he demonstrated how he would change things by holding my upper lids where they should be, I was amazed at the difference in my ability to see clearly.  Suddenly it felt so much better -- almost as though a weight had been removed from above my eyes.  Now I am actually looking forward to the surgery in hopes that I will be able to experience that comfortable feeling all the time!



For those of you looking for a unique last minute gift or two!
You will find here lots of creative works by Canadian artists, including my friend and excellent artist,
Rose Marie Nicolucci



When I post again, both Christmas Day and Boxing Day will have passed for another year.  I pray that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be times of blessing for you all.  Happy Birthday, dear Lord Jesus.  Thank you Blessed Mother for saying YES.  Thank you St. Joseph for believing the angel and taking such good care of Our Lady and her precious Child.  Let us sing with the angels:  "Glory to God in the highest and peace to those of good will".  Amen.

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