Wednesday, 27 June 2012

More of the Holy Family

Icon, The Holy Family (encircled), by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

As most of you are aware, I always am working on icons.  I may take a break occasionally and draw flowers or some other subject, but primarily I work on icons.  I do this because I have a passion for them.  The subject matter pleases me, leading me to be very aware of the subject of my drawing -- especially of the Christian witness and prayer life of the particular saint on whose image I am working.

However, sometimes these icons do not really work out artistically -- not according to my view anyway.  Rarely will I actually discard an image I have worked on, but fairly frequently I will push that image to the back of my icon file.  Then some time later when I come across the image again, I may try to re-work it or just finish it. 

The three icons I want to show you in this posting are of a very familiar subject, the Holy Family.  The actual family icon above is a different type of drawing in that I placed the icon within a circular frame.  The boy, Jesus, shown in the drawing is supposed to be a young child although in typical icon fashion, He looks almost like a small man rather than a boy.  In fact, the original of this icon shows St. Joseph holding doves in one hand which would suggest that this might be a representation of the young Jesus being brought to the temple soon after his birth!

You will notice in the icon of St. Joseph and the child, Jesus following this paragraph that here again Jesus looks more like a little man than a child.  This technique of showing Jesus in this manner has been part of the drawing of icons since the beginning.  The only time you usually see a baby Jesus is in an icon of the Nativity -- even then you sometimes see that the face resembles that of a little man.

I have an opinion as to why this was done.  It was a way of battling the false teaching that Jesus did not know who He was.  The Church has held that Jesus always knew who He was and where He had come from and where He was going.  He was always true God and true Man.  This knowledge did not just suddenly come to Him as He was hanging on the cross as a number of modern scholars try to say.  Thus if you show Jesus like a little man rather than a young boy, you indicate that He carried a certain mature knowledge within Him at all times -- even from His birth.


Icon, St. Joseph and the Child Jesus, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
        
Finally, the third icon is another one of our Lady and the Child.  She holds her son in her arms as though He is a small baby and yet His body and face clearly show Our Lord as a young man.  I know that many western Catholics find this very unsettling and say things like "why can't they make Jesus look like a baby or a child?"  Yet, it is always good to remember that icons are not, and never have been, intended to be pretty pictures.  Rather they are "windows to Heaven" that are meant to help us see and understand something of the truth of the Heavenly realities. 


Icon, Theotokos -- hands full of Grace, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

A couple of people who follow my blog have said to me that I must really like doing icons of Our Lady/the Theotokos as I have done so many.  The truth is that I started publishing a calendar last year of icons of our Blessed Mother.  It proved to be so popular that I plan to make it a tradition.  That means I will need at least 10 new icons of Our Lady each year (the other two could be repeats without anyone getting upset, I think).  As a matter of fact, I not only do wall and desk calendars of Our Lady, but I also do the same with new drawings of flowers.  So if you are interested in having a copy of one or the other or both for yourself, please let me know in plenty of time.

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THE DIVINE ARTIST

I frequently come across photos of the natural world --often in out-of-the-way places where such scenes are seldom seen by human eyes -- that are incredibly beautiful.  There is no reason for such beauty to be present, yet, God is The Creator, the Master Artist.  Often these are just ordinary objects that are beautiful even in the process of decay or erosion.  Things that have no need to be beautiful, but simply are.  Below are a few examples of what I am talking about.


A painted desert.  This is a unique geological phenomenon known as Danxia landform. These phenomena can be observed in several places in China. This example is located in Zhangye, Province of Gansu. The color is the result of an accumulation for millions of years of red sandstone and other rocks.



Desert with Phacelia (Scorpion Weed). Flowering occurs only once in several years.  This is the sort of thing that happens all the time and it often comes and goes without anyone even laying eyes on it.  Such beauty and it may only be seen by God, alone.



I have had this photo for a number of years. I enjoy looking at it and trying to imagine what it must feel like to be travelling through the desert and suddenly come upon cool shade and fresh water. At first, would I not say to myself, "surely this must be a mirage."



These trees grow in the forest near Gryfino, Poland. The cause of the curvature is unknown. What a lovely shape these tree trunks have and yet no one knows why?


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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki carrying a placard*
after I went after her with
the spray bottle last night!
Poor Suki. 

I do not know how she made this sign, but there it was around her neck when I awoke this morning.  Of course, that was not the first time I had been awake during the early morning hours.  In fact, I was awakened about 1:30 by all sorts of unusual noises.  It took me a moment, as usual, to figure out what was going on -- although I knew right away that Suki must be up to no good.  Apparently, what I figured out was that she had created some new game for herself which involved chasing one of her play mice until she lost it under a piece of furniture.  At which time, she would meow as she tried to get the mouse back.  When she couldn't accomplish this, she pulled another play mouse out of her toy basket and begin the process all over again.  (who gave her those things anyway?) 

I asked her politely several times to stop making all that noise, but after being obviously ignored and wanting very much to get back to sleep, I took the drastic measure of reaching for the spray bottle filled with water.  This turned out to be a mistake for while it was clear that she disliked being sprayed with water, instead of sending her scurrying off to give herself a good wash, she just became even crazier!  By now I was desperately seeking sleep and to my own surprise, I found myself grabbing Suki in mid-flight and dumping her unceremoniously into the bathroom and shutting the door!  I am so ashamed of myself as I recall all of this today -- I can only blame a lack of sleep.

Anyway, back to the story.  It took Suki a few minutes to realize what had happened and then she began to protest rather loudly.  Of course, this did not help me at all in my efforts to go back to sleep and so I got up again and opened the bathroom door.  Suki emerged with her head and tail held high with nary a glance in my direction.  Thankfully, she did settle down after this and I was able to get some more sleep.  However, when I finally awakened around 5 a.m., there was Suki wearing her placard and silently walking back and forth across the floor. *(The placard is actually a made-up feature -- the first time I have ever used an imaginary gimmick in my accounts of the life of Suki.)

Fortunately, my sister and her husband flew up this morning for a one-day visit and when we returned to my place after lunch, Suki had forsaken her placard and was sleeping.  When my visitors put their travelling bags on the floor, Suki began her sniffing routine which kept her extremely busy until time for them to return to the airport.  Now she seems exhausted and appears to have settled in for a long nap. Perhaps I should awaken her in a couple of hours though in an effort to keep her from getting too much sleep before bedtime!

As for Sallie, I have been busy as usual with many things.  I am truly a Martha rather than a Mary most of the time, I fear.  I have always liked picturing myself as a contemplative, but, sadly, the truth is just the opposite.

The drawing below is one I had first drawn about 5 years ago now.  At that time it was really too big a task after my short period of learning how to draw on the computer.  When I was asked recently to re-do it, I felt much more confident and was able to create something that I think looks much better than my first try.  In fact, this time, the company, Toronto the Better, wanted the picture put on a postcard with a special message to be used in a mass mailing. 

I don't know if you are familiar with the directory these people put out online, but it is well worth taking a look at it.  All the businesses listed in their directory are supposed to be socially conscious and environmentally aware.  You may want to consider taking a look there next time you are searching for a company that can supply you with a particular product.

Art work re-done recently for Toronto the Better by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012

As I mentioned when talking about Suki, my sister, Janet, and her husband, Tom, came to visit me today for the day.  We had a wonderful lunch and then an all too brief visit after lunch until it was time for them to return to the airport and make their way back to Tennessee.  I always wish they could stay longer, but I am so very grateful that they make this effort to come all the way up here for a day just to visit with me.

At any rate, I am now rather tired and I think it is probably time for me to go and take a good rest.  God willing, Suki and I will both sleep well tonight!

May our Blessed Mother and dear St. Joseph, intercede for us.  May the Holy Family lead all families into the joys of totally committed family life.  Dear Holy Family, pray for us all. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Aristolochia gigantea

Aristolochia gigantea or Giant Dutchman’s Pipe,
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
The Giant Dutchman's Pipe Vine Plant (Aristolochia gigantea) is one of the most outrageous flowers in the world.  This species from Brazil is huge--over ten inches in length. Each flower displays an intricate pattern of white and mottled reddish brown. The mouth is ringed in black and has a center of golden yellow. Draw close to it and smell its lemon scent

Aristolochia gigantea is a vigorous climber with remarkable, huge flowers.  It is a vine that can climb 20 meters high but usually grows 5-10 m high. The bark is cork-like and deeply grooved. The leaves are egg or heart-shaped, alternate, densely covered with white hairs on the underside, measuring up to 15 cm long and 11 cm wide. The color is a beautiful bright green. The flowers appear singly or in groups on older lots. They have somewhat the shape of a pipe. The color is dark red with cream-colored veins. They spread a smell to attract flies for pollination.  The other common names for this plant are Pelican Flower and Calico Flower.

The following was written by someone at the Georgia Department of Agriculture, but I could not find a name. Anyway, the person writing sounds like someone I would enjoy knowing so I thought you might find his or her comments of interest.
“I have a child-like fascination with odd plants. If it is unusual and attention-grabbing, the better I like it. It was that fascination that led me to purchase a pelican flower from a local nursery last spring. This tropical vine is also known as “giant Dutchman's pipe” (botanical name Aristolochia gigantea). There are numerous species of Dutchman’s pipes. They get their name from the flower’s resemblance to a meerschaum pipe. On some species this is more pronounced than others.
Aristolochia baetica


The most prominent feature of the species I grew is its large corolla. Before it opens, the corolla swells and resembles the throat of a pelican, hence the name. It then splits open into a huge heart-shaped maroon flower. The fragrance of the pelican flower has been described as “lemony.” However, in my garden it was more like dishwater with lemon detergent. It wasn’t strong or particularly unpleasant, however, and compared with some other maroon flowers, the fragrance of the pelican flower is delightful! You see, flowers shaped and coloured as the pelican flower usually rely on flies as pollinators and have an odour that attracts them. Odours that are attractive to flies are usually not attractive to humans. In fact, the open blossom of the pelican flower can be said to resemble a piece of well-marbled rotting meat with a center the color of bone or fat! Would you be more grossed out if I told you that most garden visitors said the unopened flowers looked like human lungs? It was fun, and children as well as adults were fascinated by it. In spite of some of the descriptions, the open flowers are very attractive, a fitting subject for a Georgia O’Keefe painting.” 

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BABY PICTURES

I know of four babies that are due any day now.  One in particular is extremely special to me while the other three are also very important.  I have been praying for these babies ever since I heard the good news that they were on their way to join us.  So tonight with babies very much on my mind, I want to post a few baby-related photos.  You may have seen them all previously, but, if so, I am sure you will enjoy seeing them again!


Now we are a family.
(I think this is so beautiful.  I have such fondness for photos of hands as you may recall
and this one makes a truly powerful statement. I wish I knew who the photographer was
so that I could give them credit and also could see their other photos!)


"I'm a baby human.  What are you?"


What a wonderful expression on that face!


This one has been around for a while, but it, too, is another "family" photo.
I always wanted to have a family, but life did not work out that way.  Instead
I have gotten to be "auntie" for lots of children over the years and that has, indeed,
been a great blessing.

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SUKI AND SALLIE
 
Suki has decided that she wants to
try on my reading glasses!
All things considered, Suki has really been quite well behaved for the past four days.  Maybe she felt she had really pushed her luck with the most recent episode regarding the big letter "S".  Whatever the case, I have certainly enjoyed having something of a reprieve.
 
We did have one bit of trouble regarding the big letter, however.  I had almost forgotten about it since it did not occur while I was sleeping but during the day when I was working on the computer. 
 
Suki had spent a bit of time sitting in front of the big letter before she finally started pawing at it ever so gently while meowing softly.  When I moved her away from the letter and tried to distract her, she continued to meow plaintively, wandering from room to room until she finally ended up back at the letter again.  As usual, I was left to try to figure out what could be going on.  After a bit more pawing and meowing, she took off for the bathroom and her litter box!  At the time I begin to wonder if there was some connection in her mind between the letter and the litter box, thinking I may have discovered something that would explain her behaviour.  But it hasn't happened again which is probably why I had put it from my mind as just another dead end.
 
Other than that, she has been pretty well behaved.  Although I did learn from Joycelyn, the lady who works with me and does my cleaning, that whenever she has to move Suki in order to clean where she is sleeping, Suki always growls at her, continuing to growl until she is able to return to her sleeping spot.  It is very embarrassing, of course, to have your cat behave in such an ill-mannered way, but I guess I should just be grateful that all she ever does is growl -- she never attacks or bites.  Thank goodness.
 
As for me, I am doing better than I was four days ago.  My almost daily gym workouts continue to help me feel better.  It is so good to be able to be active again and I do love to experience those little endorphins.  It is also very nice to be seeing all the friendly people who work at the gym once again.  I had forgotten how much I enjoy their companionship.
 
Otherwise, not much else is happening.  I continue to do my art, experimenting with various ways of drawing things -- some work, some don't.  Sadly the computer is very limited when it comes to being creative.  I never thought I would say that, but I have discovered it to be true.  Basically, it is the means by which I can draw and colour.  There are all sorts of software for manipulating things, but the manipulation has to be on the computer's terms, not the artist's.  When I try to create something I see in my imagination, I find over and over again that I am limited in ways I was not when using various types of paint, brushes and surfaces.  But I know I can no longer work with brushes and knives the way I once did so I just end up being grateful for what I am able to accomplish on the computer.  There is still a lot I can do and room for tremendous improvement in what I am able to do.
 
So, that is enough rambling for today.  It is late and I need to finish this and answer some email.  My prayer, as always, is that the peace and joy of God will be with you each and every one.
 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

St. John of God and the IEC

Rejoicing in God's goodness 

Banner displayed by the Hospitallers of St. John of God at their display
at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, June, 2012,
with my name and this blog address underneath the drawing.

Just today I received photos and information from Br. Finnian of the Hospitallers of Saint John of God, Dublin, regarding the banners used in their display at the International Eucharistic Congress which ended this past Sunday.

I did not know until this morning whether they had been able to use my drawing of St. John of God on one of the banners and it gave me great joy to see that they were able to do so.  Due to the size of my work on the computer, it often does not enlarge well, as I have previously mentioned, as all the pixels end up showing!  Somehow they were able to overcome this and create what appears to be a beautiful image of the drawing.  I am so grateful to God that they were able to use my work and I feel truly humbled that it was considered good enough to be used.  I should never be surprised at what God can accomplish.



Two of the Brothers standing in front of the 5 panels used to illustrate the origin and  work
of the Hospitallers of St. John of God, Eucharistic Congress, June 2012

Here is a photograph of two of the Brothers standing in front of all five panels.  Sr. Anne's beautiful work called "Open Pomegranate" is directly behind the Brothers. 

Following are copies of the remaining four panels.  The art work on the final panel was done by Brother Seamus McGreevy, also a Hospitaller of Saint John of God.



Banner displayed by the Hospitallers of St. John of God at their display
at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, June, 2012


Banner displayed by the Hospitallers of St. John of God at their display
at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, June, 2012


Banner displayed by the Hospitallers of St. John of God at their display
at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, June, 2012, art work
by Sr. Anne Reddington, RSM
  I am sorry that I ended up cutting off part of the banner shown above, but I wanted to show as Sr. Anne Reddington's art work as clearly as possible.  The pomegranate has long been a symbol associated with the Hospitallers of Saint John of God and she did an beautiful job of showing the many "seeds" with the Eucharist at the very centre.


Banner displayed by the Hospitallers of St. John of God at their display
at the International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, June, 2012,
art work by Br. Seamus McGreevy. 

Below is a photo of the Rosary Garden which the Hospitallers of Saint John of God had set up near the Congress site.  You can see from the caption how it was to be used.  Evidently, it was quite a popular place for some quiet reflection for people between their various Congress activities.

The Hospitality of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God was
made evident in the Rosary Garden at the Monastery of the Poor Clare Nuns,
Simmonscourt Road, beside the Congress venue at the RDS, Ballsbridge.
So, here you have it.  Our involvement with the International Eucharistic Congress even without being physically present.  I do hope that many of you had an opportunity to watch and listen to some of the events.  There were several presentations and homilies that made a profound impression on me.
For those of you who were not able to watch any of the proceedings on TV, a number of different events and Masses are available on YouTube.  Here is the link for one -- about 3 hours worth of the events from one day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcgRKg7tq4o&feature=relmfu

Finally, here are a couple of quotes from Br. Finnian regarding the Congress:

"Many people have now heard the story of the Saint John of God icon. Renewed thanks for it. There was a very large delegation from Canada at the Congress. Our involvement was considerable and we had a great team of volunteers giving three hour slots of cover on stand # 34. There was great interest in the Rosary Garden; it was such a meaningful way of involving people with intellectual disabilities and people with enduring mental illness. ……and it was not all rain!" (this is a reference to the fact that it rained off and on almost every day of the Congress -- except for the final day!)

Icon, St. John of Avila,
by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer
"I’m so pleased that your blog and our network are mutually supportive of promoting the Patron Saint of the Sick. May God be praised. I loved being able to remind callers to the stand that John of Avila (Juan de Avila) to be declared Doctor of the Church in October 2012, was “our” John’s Spiritual Guide. In 1539 who would have thought that these two men would be so glorious in God’s eyes."







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SUKI AND SALLIE
The Letter "S"
A gift I should never have accepted!

Well, yesterday I got what I thought was a great idea -- since Suki had started awakening me during the night by "pawing" on her letter S, the solution seemed to be to simply remove the letter.

So, when Suki was busy elsewhere, I removed the letter from the wall and put it behind the chest in the bedroom.  All seemed well until bedtime which is when Suki always goes and sits silently in front of the big letter.  As she entered the room and walked toward the place where the letter should be, she suddenly stopped, looked at me quizzically and meowed.

I pretended not to understand what she was asking and simply continued to get ready for bed.  Suki sat there and meowed a few more times and then began to search for the letter.  She finally stopped in front of the chest behind which I had placed the big plastic letter.  She meowed several more times and looked at me.  When I continued to ignore her, she finally got up and went out to the living room.  She crawled up into her favourite chair and turned her back to me without saying another word.  I was very pleased with myself as I thought this meant that I had won the battle.  Ah, how foolish I can be at times. 

I fell asleep quickly.  Suddenly I was awake again, seemingly surrounded by meows, loud meows.  It was Suki, of course, and she was back in the bedroom, sitting in front of the place where her letter once hung and she was meowing over and over again.  It seemed to me that with each meow she was getting louder.  I began to speak sternly to her, telling her to be quiet and go back to sleep.  My speaking had no effect except to increase the volume of the meows.  I began to raise my voice as well and within a short time, our combined vocalizations had gotten so loud that I am surprised that my neighbours didn't call the police!

I finally came to my senses and realized that this was foolish and it was a battle that I could not win.  Grudgingly, I got up, pulled the letter out from behind the chest and hung it back in its place on the wall.  Immediately Suki fell silent.  As I watched her, she got very close to the big letter and there she sat with her nose almost touching it.  I got back into bed, slowly settled myself and finally fell asleep after about 10 minutes.  By the light from the hallway, I could see Suki sitting there in front of that letter, motionless.  She was still sitting there when I fell asleep.  Thankfully, she did not make any annoying scratching noises or do anything else to disturb me for the rest of the night. 

Today she has been well behaved and so I remain hopeful that the experience of yesterday, while fresh in her memory, will keep her from trying to make "pawing" noises on the letter in order to get me to wake up and feed her.  What do you think the odds are that she will behave herself? 

By the way, if any of you have ever heard of a cat having this kind of attachment to an object, please let me know.  I am getting kind of "weirded out" over living with a cat who is smarter than I am!

As for me, I am doing reasonably well.  Today has been a special day for me because of all the information I received from Br. Finnian.  As well, I had arranged with Father to come by for Confession today and he also brought Holy Communion with him.  That alone would have made this a red-letter day but both events combined to make the day a super special one for me! 

Otherwise, I have had some new difficulties with one of my chronic problems, but I am scheduled to see my doctor tomorrow and I am sure she will set my mind at ease -- she always does. 

I am trying to stay indoors as much as possible during this heat wave we are presently experiencing here in Toronto and looking forward to Friday when the normal summer weather should be returning.

Tonight my thoughts are full of gratitude to God and to His holy servant, St. John of God.  I pray that the peace and joy of Our Lord will fill our hearts and minds now and in the days ahead and may our Blessed Mother teach us how to really love her Son.

St. John of God thank you for your prayers.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sacred Heart and Prayer for Priests

Icon, Sacred Heart of Jesus, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009


The Feast of the Sacred Heart is a solemnity and is celebrated 19 days after Pentecost. As Pentecost is always celebrated on Sunday, the Feast of the Sacred Heart always falls on a Friday.  Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and while the icon above is not a new one, I felt it was most appropriate for today.  You can see from the title that it was done in 2009, but I have not "written" another icon of the traditional image of the Sacred Heart since then.  What I have done since is a rather non-traditional icon as shown below.


Icon, The Last Supper (Sacred Heart), by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
For years, I have thought lovingly of what it must have been like for St. John to sit at the meal where Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist, leaning his head against the heart of his Messiah.  What a blessing beyond description that must have been.  Yet, even now, in our prayer times we can imagine laying our weary heads against the Heart of Jesus and resting there as we hear Him say:  "Come unto Me all you who labour and are heavily burdened and I will give you rest."

On this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart it would be an excellent idea for everyone who reads this blog to commit themselves to arranging for the enthronement of the Sacred Heart in their home if they have not done so already.  What is that you ask?  The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart is a ceremony in which a priest or head of a household consecrates the members of the household to the Sacred Heart. A blessed image of the Sacred Heart, either a statue or a picture, is then "enthroned" in the home to serve as a constant reminder to those who dwell in the house of their consecration to the Sacred Heart. The practice of the Enthronement is based upon Pope Pius XII's declaration that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is "the foundation on which to build the kingdom of God in the hearts of individuals, families and nations."

In 1863, the promises Our Lord made to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque were put together in a tabular format (see below).  Although a number of people, including bishops and priests, have decried the arrangement, saying it does not present the full meaning of what Our Lord was saying to St. Margaret Mary; nonetheless, the list is still being passed around.  Our Lord said that those who honour His Sacred Heart would be blessed as follows:
  1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
  2.  I will give peace in their families.
  3. I will console them in all their troubles.
  4. I will be their refuge in life and especially in death.
  5. I will abundantly bless all their undertakings.
  6. Sinners shall find in my Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.
  7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.
  8. Fervent souls shall rise speedily to great perfection.
  9. I will bless those places wherein the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and venerated.
  10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.
  11. Persons who propagate this devotion shall have their names eternally written in my Heart.
  12. In the excess of the mercy of my Heart, I promise you that my all- powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor without receiving the sacraments; and my Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour.
May we all be so blessed.

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 PRAYER FOR PRIESTS

Blessed John Paul II established that on the solemnity of the Sacred Heart the Church will observe the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. We are all encouraged to pray for our priests today, this very moment, in preparation through prayer, celebration of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, so that the 15th June, 2012 will be an even greater celebration of the priesthood of Jesus Christ worldwide.

In honour of this day, I have posted an icon of St. John Vianney that I did back in 2009.  He has been named the patron of all priests and so it seemed fitting to post his icon on this the annual World Day of Prayer for our priests.

Icon, St. Jean Marie-Baptiste Vianney, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Finally, let me tell you about the Annual Global Rosary Relay in case you haven't heard about it already.  The idea is a simple one: that each of the 60 participating shrines prays a particular mystery of the Rosary at a particular half hour on the day in thanksgiving to God for our priests and to implore the protection and loving care of Our Lady, Mother of all priests, for all her priestly sons. With the coming of midnight on the 15th June 2012, the entire world, by then, will have been encircled in prayer for our priests on this the Annual Rosary Relay Day.

Every location will end its prayer by praying the prayer that our holy father, Pope Benedict XVI, composed especially for this day.  In case you are not familiar with it, here it is:

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for Priests

LORD JESUS CHRIST, eternal High Priest,
you offered yourself to the Father on the altar of the Cross
and through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave
your priestly people a share in your redeeming sacrifice.
Hear our prayer for the sanctification of our priests.
Grant that all who are ordained to the ministerial priesthood
may be ever more conformed to you, the divine Master.
May they preach the Gospel with pure heart and clear conscience.
Let them be shepherds according to your own Heart,
single-minded in service to you and to the Church and shining
examples of a holy, simple and joyful life.
Through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
your Mother and ours, draw all priests and the
flocks entrusted to their care to the fullness of eternal life
where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. AMEN

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer for Priests (specially composed for Worldpriest) To be prayed at any time though especially for the Annual Global Rosary Relay for Priests as each country passes on the praying of the Rosary to the next location the connecting link will be the Holy Fathers prayer.

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SUKI and SALLIE

Poor Suki is truly getting desperate.  This morning I was awakened by the strangest sound.  It sounded like the sound that hamsters make when they

Suki sitting in her prayer corner
--perhaps at prayer??
are patting at those little wire wheels they have in their cages.  Since I do not have any hamsters, I knew it must be caused by something else -- probably by a certain black cat named Suki.  But what could she be doing that would make such a sound?

By the light from the hallway, I finally made out a black shape frantically scratching on her big letter "S".  Normally she never touches it, but just sits very close to it, often with her eyes closed, looking for all the world like someone in deep meditation.  I have seen her sit there, motionless, for up to 15 minutes at a time.  It is really rather scary.

Anyway, I have no idea what she was up to this morning at 4 a.m., but I immediately assumed that her behaviour had something to do with getting fed.  The reason I say this is that she had already awakened me twice during the night by rubbing my face and licking my hand vigorously!  Each time I had pushed her away and managed to return to sleep.  This time was different.  Suki's behaviour was so unusual that I just had to get up and see what I could see!

Of course, the moment she heard me moving, she immediately stopped what she was doing and began to dance around and meow happily.  After a display of this sort, how could I say no.  She had won.  I made my way to the kitchen and gave her what she wanted -- some of her favourite:  grilled turkey with gravy straight from the can!  I guess you could say her prayers were answered!!!

As for me, I am doing fine except for being a bit sleepy!  Later today I plan to join with the different shrines as the Rosary Relay for Priests moves from one country to another until it circles the globe with prayers for our priests.  It starts at 9:30 Eastern Time from the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin and moves from there to the U.S.  EWTN will be broadcasting the event.

Later today I plan to go to the gym again.  I can't recall if I have mentioned returning to the gym last week.  Anyway, I started back Monday of last week and am slowly building up my strength again.  I can tell that there has been some additional degeneration in the discs of my spine, but I am still able to do most of my routine.  In spite of the aches and pains, it feels good to be back again.  Those little endorphins are still as addictive as ever!

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So on this special day, I pray that each of you will take a moment to express your gratitude to Jesus for His Sacred Heart which He allowed to be pierced by a spear out of love for us and so that the Church might be formed -- the Church which is our Mother.  And may you also say a prayer or two for our priests who, though human just like us, are called to serve the Church in the person of Christ.  Pray especially that our priests will be strengthened against the temptation to sexual sin and also pray for all those children and young people who were hurt so badly by the actions of sinful priests especially during those years when the Church was going through so much unrest and lack of direction.  May this never be allowed to happen again.

And may the peace and joy of God be with us all. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

Saints of Ireland

Icon, St. Columba, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
As many of you may be aware, the International Eucharistic Congress is presently underway in Ireland (Dublin).  I have been fortunate enough to be able to watch some of the proceedings on EWTN and Salt and Light TV -- the American and Canadian Catholic networks.  It has been quite beautiful, especially the music and drama.

One thing I did notice right away was that the Congress has its patron saints -- Irish ones, of course.  Three of the icons I have done this year thus far are of saints which are included among the patrons.  One I have shown you previously -- St. Patrick.  However, two others are new:  St. Columba and St. Brigid.  I think it was all the news about the upcoming Congress which gave me the desire to draw these wonderful saints who lived in the days when Ireland was a beacon of Christian light in what was then a very dark world.

So, let me tell you just a bit about both St. Columba and St. Brigid.

Before his birth an angel appeared to Colmuba's mother and showed her a great robe of wondrous colors showing all the flowers of the world indicating that the child she was to deliver would be a great leader of souls. Columba was a pious and devout youth and at an early age showed his spiritual depth and was soon enrolled as a monk. Eventually Columba became the founder of several churches and monasteries in his native land of Ireland. Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a quarrel with Saint Finnian of Movilla Abbey over a psalter. Columba copied the manuscript at the scriptorium under Saint Finnian, intending to keep the copy. Saint Finnian disputed his right to keep the copy. The dispute eventually led to the pitched Battle of CĂșl Dreimhne in 561, during which many men were killed. A synod of clerics and scholars threatened to excommunicate him for these deaths, but St. Brendan of Birr spoke on his behalf with the result that he was allowed to go into exile instead. Columba suggested that he would work as a missionary in Scotland to help convert as many people as had been killed in the battle. He exiled himself from Ireland, to return only once, many years later. Columba and a small group of monks left Ireland and sailed to the Island of Iona where they built a monastery to serve as a base for the evangelization of Scotland. In the year 574 the Scottish King came to Iona to receive chrismation at Columba's hands. At the close of his life Columba knew his death was coming and prepared his monks for the event. On the day of his death, after attending Saturday Vespers he returned to his cell until the middle of the night when he suddenly returned to the Church. His monks gathered around him and he died there in the church.


Icon, St. Brigid, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012


St. Brigid's Cross, image taken from
 the Internet -- Origin unknown
 Second only to Saint Patrick as a patron of Ireland, Saint Brigid (St. Bride) has a cross woven from rushes ("St. Brigid's cross"), which was her custom to make when she was instructing the pagans, and which are hung anew in Irish homes each year on her feast day. In the other hand she holds a bowl of "Saint Brigid's fire," a miraculous fire which burned at her convent for centuries. Born in Ireland in the 5th Century, St. Brigid's parents were baptized by St. Patrick, with whom she developed a close friendship. Her father was Dubhthach, an Irish chieftain of Lienster, and her mother, Brocca, was a slave at his court. Even as a young girl she evinced an interest for a religious life and took the veil in her youth from St. Macaille at Croghan and probably was professed by St. Mel of Armagh, who is believed to have conferred abbatial authority on her. She settled with seven of her virgins at the foot of Croghan Hill for a time and about the year 468, followed Mel to Meath. About the year 470 she founded a double monastery at Cill-Dara (Kildare) and was Abbess of the convent, the first in Ireland. The foundation developed into a center of learning and spirituality, and around it grew up the Cathedral city of Kildare. She founded a school of art at Kildare and its illuminated manuscripts became famous, notably the Book of Kildare, which was praised as one of the finest of all illuminated Irish manuscripts before its disappearance three centuries ago. She died at Kildare on February 1. She is buried at Downpatrick with St. Columba and St. Patrick, with whom she is the patron of Ireland. Her name is sometimes Bridget and Bride. Her feast day is February 1. She is the patron of midwives and of Ireland .


Icon, St. Patrick, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
If you have forgotten the details of the life of St. Patrick and would like to have your memory refreshed, please take a look at my posting for March 15, 2012 where I featured this icon.


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CHINESE MADONNAS

I am sure you remember my recent correspondence with Fr. Mike in China who was asking to use my Stations of the Cross icons.  Well, during the various emails back and forth, Fr. Mike introduced me to a brilliant Chinese artist, self-taught, going by the English name of Gary.  You can take a look at his web site by going to http://chukarkui.art-hk.com/    The site is in English and Chinese.
You have actually seen some of his work previously as I used one of his "Madonnas" as the pattern for drawing the icon "Our Lady of China".  Once you see his painting, you will see the vast difference between "the artist" and me!
Anyway, here goes.



Our Lady of China in Ming Dynasty Robes
by Chu KarKui (Gary)

 Here is the drawing I did using Gary's beautiful painting as my pattern.

Icon, "Our Lady of China" by
the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
from the painting of Chu KarKui


Mother and Child
 by Chu KarKui

 The painting entitled "Mother and Child" is one of the most beautiful of this series of Madonnas by Gary.  I don't know what medium he uses for his paintings, but whatever it is, he is able to create such beautiful silky tones, especially of the skin.  As well, the colours and designs in the "silk" material of the clothing are exquisite. 



Mary, Empress of China in Qing Dynasty Robes
by Chu KarKui

I first saw this final painting as part of the stage design of an EWTN set for an excellent show on the martyrs of China -- both Chinese and European.  I would assume that EWTN had purchased a print of this painting and it certainly made an effective backdrop for the presentation.  The detail on the clothing, the furniture and the carpets is simply outstandingly beautiful.
By all means, go to his web site and have a good look

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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki hears the sound of a
can being opened in the
kitchen!  Hope spring eternal...
Well, gradually Suki seems to be getting the message that I am simply not going to feed her as much or as often anymore.  As the days pass, I hear her crunching her munchies a bit more often than she used to.  She still only eats a few at a time -- just enough to keep her from feeling too hungry -- but at least she is eating a better balance now of both the dry and wet food.

Of course, don't think for a moment that she is making these changes without any complaints!  For example, she has found any number of different things she can do that will cause me to awaken instantly, such as scratching on the back of my new office-style chair for my computer desk!  The tight fabric makes a very satisfying popping noise as she sharpens her claws on it.  For me, it is a sound which penetrates even REM sleep and brings me up and shouting within a second or two.  She can tell from the shouting that I am not pleased; however, I guess she figures that if I am awake there is at least a possibility that she might get fed!  What a cat.

Then there are those times when she acts so sweet, rubbing against me while purring loudly.  If I am sitting, she will climb up on me and rub her silky fur against my chin.  I don't think she has realized this yet, but I am actually much more likely to give in and feed her when she does this than I am when she awakens me.  I am just an old softy, I guess.

As for me, I am continuing to go to the gym at least every other day for a good hour's workout.  Slowly, slowly I am gaining back all the ability I lost during the six months I did not attend the gym.  It will take a few more weeks, I think, before I am back to some place close to where I left off last December, but the effort is certainly worth it. 

I haven't had any new falling episodes -- thanks be to God.  Mostly I am working on various projects for people.  For example, I am preparing and framing a thank you message for a friend who wants to do something special for the group of people at the hotel who prepared everything for her 80th birthday party and made it such a success.  As well, I am continuing to prepare a mass mailing postcard for a local Toronto organization -- a drawing on one side and a message on the other.  I have also started thinking about doing a revised edition of my book on the Stations of the Cross now that all those icons have been updated.  All of which would seem to suggest that I must be feeling reasonably well -- and that is true.  Other than my usual chronic pains and aches, I seem to be more or less OK for the moment.  Thanks for all those prayers that help to keep me going.
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So, as my thoughts return to the Irish saints and the Eucharistic Congress with which I began this posting, I pray that the Congress will be a huge success and will bless not only those who are attending the Congress, but also the entire Church, especially the Church in Ireland.  Let us all pray for them and ask the three holy patrons, St. Columba, St. Brigid and St. Patrick, to intercede for the Congress, for the Church and for Ireland.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding fill our hearts and minds this night and in the days ahead.  Amen.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

White Egret Flower

Habenaria radiata (Pecteilis radiata) --White Egret Flower
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012.

The White Egret Flower is a species of orchid known by the scientific name Habenaria radiata (also known as Pecteilis radiata) of the Family Orchidaceae.  It also has various other common names such as Crane Orchid, Egret Orchid and Peacock Orchi. The White Egret is a rare, hardy terrestrial orchid which grows from a bulb. It is native to Japan where it is commonly known as Sagi.

The White Egret Flower will grow to a height of 12 to 15 inches, and the flowers will bloom late in the summer. The flower itself is white and fringed, giving it the look of a bird with large wings in flight.

During the period of conflicts in Japan, a princess of Tokyo sent a love letter to her fiance with an Egret Orchid bulb. However, he was slain in battle.  The Egret Flower bloomed where he fell. It is because of this story that people in Tokyo began to say giving the White Egret to someone was a sign that the receiver would not be returning to the place from which he came.

 The photograph below shows just how dainty a flower this is with its slender stems and small, winged bird-like flowers seemingly ready to fly away.  Even the flowers not yet opened are attractive.  If you look closely at my drawing above, you will see that my unopened blossoms almost look like little people walking around.  I find this an altogether delightful plant.


Habenaria radiata (Pecteilis radiata) --White Egret Flower

I tried to embed a video at this point of some White Egret flowers in a field in Japan, being moved back and forth by a gentle breeze. However, it just didn't work and in trying to make it work, I ended up deleting it! I think I will have to do a bit of research before I figure out how to include videos!  Probably giving you a link to one would be simpler anyway.

One thing about this flower that does puzzle me, however, is why it was named after the white egret and not the white crane.  Unless you have spent some time watching birds, my statement may not make any sense to you.  But if you know how to recognize these birds in flight, you know that the egret flies with its long neck doubled back, while the crane files with its neck outstretched!  The flower, to me, looks more like a crane in flight (with the neck outstretched) than an egret.  Let me show you a couple of photos so you can see what I mean.


Great White Egret in flight
(note how the neck is positioned in flight)


Great White Crane in flight
(some cranes have dark colouring on their wings, but some are entirely white)
 As you can see from these photos, the shape of the crane in flight is much more like the White Egret Flower than the egret.  But, of course, it is much too late to do anything about this naming business!  The flower has been and will be now and forever the White Egret Flower.

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Drawings I have forgotten to show you


The following are exactly what the title says they are:  items that I had meant to post, but had forgotten to do so for various reasons.  Enjoy!


"Solitary Tree on the Beach", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2010



Strongylodon macrobotrys Orange, 2011
 

Still Life: "Table Ready for the Party", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011



Icon, "Our Lady with Aramaic book" by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
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SUKI and SALLIE

This is my dinner companion!
She sits and watches every bite.
Well, the effort continues to try to better control the amount of food Suki eats.  It is not an easy task.  She does things like sit on the stool across the counter from me as I eat my supper. 

The photo at the left gives you an idea of exactly what she does.  Every bite that goes into my mouth is carefully observed.  Even though I let her sniff a bit of whatever I am eating (I cut a small piece and put it on a plate in front of her), it makes no difference.  Although she turns her nose up at whatever she sniffs on the plate, she still seems convinced that I must have something that she wants.  Either that or she actually intuits that sitting across from me watching me eat is likely to cause me to eventually give in and give her more food!  Is she really that clever?  After the episode with the computer, I don't know why I even continue to ask that question!

Other than her worries about how much food she will get each day, I think Suki is doing quite well.  She did get shut up in the broom closet a few days ago -- quite by accident.  I was given the floor a quick Swiffer before the arrival of company and so had the closet door open while I had the Swiffer mop out.  When I was finished, I put the mop back in the closet, turned off the light and shut the door.  A short time later I heard a very plaintive meow sounding as though it is coming from some place far away.  At first I thought it must be a cat out in the hallway, but Suki did not come running as she usually does when she hears a cat close to her territory.  This puzzled me so I tried to listen more closely and suddenly realized that the sound was coming from somewhere inside my apartment.  With that realization, I knew right away what had happened and hurried to the closet door which opened to reveal a very pathetic looking Suki.  She had that look on her face which says "how could you have done this to me?" plus her fur was all messed up because she had evidently been trying to crawl under the bottom shelf of the storage unit.  I made everything worse at that point by breaking out in laughter at the look of her.  At this point, she gathered herself together and stalked away, tail held high and erect, her dignity once again intact.  She did not speak to me for some hours afterwards!  I'm surprised she didn't call the Humane Society!!

For anyone wondering, I finally made it back to the gym this week.  After six months absence, I am back at it again.  I went over there on Monday and Tuesday and plan to go again later this morning.  I am sore, of course, but feeling good because I actually overcame my inertia through the grace of God and I am also enjoying those endorphins again!  I will have to establish a weekly schedule again, but for the moment, I am just going whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Speaking of which, I would have already gone to the gym this morning, but I have a friend coming to visit me shortly.  She is coming in on the Go Train from Mississauga to do some errands in the Big City and stopping by to see me first.  We have been trying to get together for several months now and each time we scheduled a visit, something happened to one or both of us!  It looks like today we are finally going to make it.  Since it is almost time for her to arrive, I had better finish this and go make sure everything is ready.  She is bringing the coffee and I am supplying the chocolate!  Yum.

May God bless us each and every one.  May He fill us with His peace and joy.
And may we truly rejoice this coming Sunday as we celebrate the great Feast of Corpus Christi.  God is so good.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

St. Joan of Arc


Icon, St. Joan of Arc, by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2012
First, let me wish you all every blessing as we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity.

Now let me tell you about this week's icon of St. Joan of Arc.  For years I have kept my distance from this saint.  She just seemed too strange to me.  Sadly, I guess I was influenced by her enemies' claims even all these centuries later.  Over the past months, however, several events occurred which caused me to want to take a closer look at St. Joan of Arc, the co-patron of France (with St. Therese).  As I read, researched and listened, I became fascinated with the story of this illiterate peasant girl in whom knowledge was infused to the point where she knew how to lead a huge army in battle and not only lead, but lead them to victory.  Her wisdom, given to her by her "voices", was truly amazing.  So, I felt drawn, finally, to write an icon of St. Joan.  Now let me share with you a little bit of what I have learned.

Joan was 'like all the others' in her village until her thirteenth year. "When I was about thirteen, I received revelation from Our Lord by a voice which told me to be good and attend church often and that God would help me." She stated that her 'Voices' were Saint Michael the Archangel, Saint Catherine of Alexandria and Saint Margaret. At first her 'Voices' came to her two or three times a week but as the time for her mission drew near (five years later), they visited her daily telling her to 'Go into France' to raise the siege of Orleans, conduct the Dauphin Charles to Reims for his crowning and to drive the English from the land.

Joan went to the neighboring town of Vaucouleurs, which means Valley of many colors. There she spoke to the loyal French governor by the name of Sir Robert de Baudricourt. After many rejections he finally agreed to send her to the Dauphin who at the time was living at the castle of Chinon.

Amazingly, after being accepted and approved by a Church council headed by the Archbishop of Reims, Joan was allowed to lead the Dauphin's army. This part of her career was meteoric. She entered Orleans on the evening of April 29th, 1429 and by May 8th the city had been freed. The Loire campaign started on June 9th and by June 19th the English were driven out of the Loire valley. The march to Reims started on June 29th and by July 17th Charles was crowned King of France in the cathedral of Reims.

In the months that followed, Joan was abandoned by her king and friends after she was captured in 1430 and started her year of captivity. As a prisoner of the Burgundians she was treated fairly but that all changed when on November 21st, she was handed over the English in exchange for money. How she survived their harsh treatment of her is a miracle in itself. The English not only wanted to kill Joan but they also wanted to discredit King Charles as a false king by having Joan condemned by the Church as a witch and a heretic. To obtain this goal the English used those Church authorities whom they knew to be favorable to them and the staunchest of these was Bishop Cauchon. Joan's trial of condemnation lasted from February 21st until May 23rd. She was finally burnt at the stake in Rouen's market square on May 30th, 1431. As the flames roared ever higher, she seemed to feel no pain and simply cried out over and over "Jesus, Jesus." Twenty-five years later the findings of Joan's first trial were overturned and declared 'null and void' by another Church court, who this time was favorable to King Charles. It was not until 1920 that the Church of Rome officially declared Joan to be a saint. Her feast day is celebrated on May 30th.

I really had wanted to post this icon on the 30th of May when I posted the flower, Medinilla magnifica, as it was the feast day of St. Joan.  However, I wanted to keep the focus on May being the month of Our Lady.  So now I will wish you all a happy, belated, feast day. 
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HUDSON

Background

Normally, I am not a great fan of zoos.  However, these days, for animals such as the Polar Bear, Zoos seem to be the only answer if we are going to help them survive global warming.

Toronto Zoo is a very active player with Acres for the Atmosphere which is a zookeeper initiated program founded in 2009 between PBI, American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) and Frontier North to help educate and raise awareness on the issues polar bears are facing in the wild like global warming. They are actively engaging the community in tree planting to decrease CO2 emissions and raise awareness. Our local Toronto Zoo AAZK chapter has planted a total of 1,284 trees and plants with many more to come.

Given the rapid environmental changes that polar bears are facing, it is vital to understand how these changes will affect wild polar bear populations. We are collaborating on numerous research projects including non-invasive reproductive monitoring, behavioural assessments, olfactory communication, polar bear energetic's and changes in prey species in the diet to DNA work. All of this research has a direct impact on understanding and saving polar bears in the wild. The Toronto Zoo is a champion for Canada's majestic polar bears listed as a critically endangered species.

Hudson's Birth 
Photo from Zoo website


On October 11, 2011, Aurora, one of the Zoo's two 10-year old female polar bears, gave birth to three cubs, fathered by Inukshuk. Tragically, the new mother rejected the cubs shortly after birth, upon which time, Zoo staff quickly intervened and rescued the two surviving cubs. Less than 24 hours later, one cub sadly succumbed to injuries sustained, leaving one male cub surviving. This was the beginning of a long three months for Toronto Zoo veterinary and wildlife care staff.  Day and night, Zoo staff monitored and cared for this little newborn cub. They weathered through some close calls, however born with a healthy appetite and a strong sense of will, our little bear demonstrated a consistent growth rate to reach his current and healthy size of 17kg.

Hudson's Name

The "Name the Polar Bear Cub Contest" presented by Coca Cola consisted of name suggestions entered online or at the Zoo's Facebook page from February 3 to March 16. Then from March 17 to 28, participants voted online for one of the top five names. Once the votes were tallied, "Hudson" emerged as the most popular name among our polar bear fans.

Hudson is now almost 8 months old.  My friend, Glen K., was at the Zoo recently and took the following photos.  He kindly sent them to me -- for which I am very grateful -- as Polar Bears are probably my second favourite animal after elephants!

Hudson, Toronto Zoo, May 2012
[You can already glimpse the majestic bear he will become]


Hudson, Toronto Zoo, May 2012
[See, he already knows how to walk as though he knows where he's going!]

Hudson, Toronto Zoo, May 2012
[But then, every so often, he reminds us that he is still not even one year old!]


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SUKI AND SALLIE

Suki propped up on a book
about St. John of God,
perhaps praying as she
awaits her next meal...
Well, when last I communicated with you, Suki was having difficulties in getting fed the quantity of food she felt was her due.  Sad to say, these problems continue!  We are making a bit of progress, however.  I have discovered that if I give her very small helpings, she is sufficiently satisfied to return to her normal routine of face washing followed by a nice, long nap.  Of course I have to creep around the apartment, trying not to awaken her and I certainly cannot go into the kitchen and make noise.  So, I am not sure we have really made that much progress after all.  I guess all I have really accomplished at this point is to have decreased the number of cans she is consuming daily from three to two.  Now, if I can just get her to stay asleep while I go into the kitchen for a glass of water...

Otherwise, she is doing well and, thanks be to God, so am I -- well, let me qualify that just a wee bit.

On Friday morning I came the closest to having a bad fall as I have come in the past five months!  I lost consciousness for just an instant and came to in the process of falling.  This is the way it has always happened.  As usual, I had no idea exactly what had happened when I regained consciousness.  All I did was react instinctively, reaching out in an effort to grab onto anything nearby.  Fortunately, I was standing right in front of the dividing bar between my kitchen and dining area and I was able to grab onto that counter with both hands just before I hit it, hard.  My joints in my hands still haven't quite recovered, but at least I did not fall for which I am exceedingly grateful.

Later as I reflected on this episode, I realized that I had not been giving myself permission to take the frequent naps I have found necessary to keep these falls from happening.  Why have I been acting this way?  Well, I have several projects that I am working on all at the same time, trying to finish everything at once in my usual, stubborn way.  The drive with which I worked before retiring meant that I always got an excellent employee review and was valued for the amount of work I could get done.  Of course, even then I paid a high price for my excessive drive and determination.  I keep hoping that I will one day learn to pace myself.

It is so strange -- I always look forward to receiving requests for doing some creative work and then when they come my way, I work myself to exhaustion to finish them as quickly as possible!  God must shake His head in puzzlement.  He sends me what I pray for and then I try to get rid of what He has sent as soon as possible -- then I pray for more of what I just worked so hard to get rid of! 

Speaking of such matters, I sent the last of the icons of the Stations of the Cross yesterday evening to China.  I reworked a number of them and I am particularly pleased with the increased luminosity of the 14th Station:
 
Icon, Station XIV, by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

Finally,I pray, as always, that the peace and mercy of God will be with each one of us today and always.

May St. Joan of Arc, through her prayers on our behalf. ask God to keep us ever mindful of the joy that comes from obedience to His holy will.
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You will notice that I added an item from YouTube, the "Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayer".  I did this in honour of the Sacred Heart during this month of June which the Church dedicates to the Heart of Jesus.