Sunday, 25 October 2015

Sandersonia aurantiaca -- Chinese Lantern Lily

"Sandersonia aurantiaca -- Chinese Lantern Lily", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Sandersonia aurantiaca is a member of the Colchicaceae family, Order Liliales. It is native to South Africa (the Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Provinces) where it is now listed as a protected species due to the over-picking of these brightly coloured wildflowers. Interestingly, it is the sole species in its genus which means it must have some very unique features. This rhizomatous (from Ancient Greek: rhízōma meaning a "mass of roots") plant can grow up to 20-35 inches in height. 

S. aurantiaca is commonly referred to as the Chinese Lantern Lily although it is neither Chinese nor a true lily.  It is also known as Christmas Bells since it blooms in December (summer in the southern hemisphere) close to Christmastime.

"Sandersonia aurantiaca -- Mature Chinese Lantern Lily"
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.

The genus name of Sandersonia comes from the surname of John Sanderson, a Scottish journalist, trader and amateur botanist who emigrated to South Africa in the 19th century. The species name of aurantiaca is from the Latin word aurantiacis and means "orange coloured". 

S. aurantiaca has become popular with those in the cut flower business and many plants are now grown commercially in New Zealand.

I originally did a drawing of the "mature" form of this plant back in 2009 which I posted at that time.  After completing today's featured drawing, I revised my 2009 drawing (see above "Sandersonia aurantiaca -- Mature Chinese Lantern Lily", 2015 revised).

Much of the above information was taken from various Internet sources.


Suki peering out of the bedroom closet to
see if it's safe to come out!

Just as I predicted last Sunday, Suki spent most of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week hiding in the bedroom closet!

As you may recall, in last week's posting I wrote about my fears that the planned, yearly inspection of each apartment along with the testing of all the smoke alarms and fire alarms would cause Suki to retire for the duration to her "hidey-hole" in the bedroom closet.

Actually, as it turned out, Suki did not appear to be overly disturbed by the apartment inspection or the brief testing of our smoke alarms; however, it was an entirely different matter when it came to the fire alarm testing!

As I am sure I have mentioned previously, we have the world's noisiest fire alarm in my building.  I may be exaggerating slightly, but only slightly!  Not only is the alarm extremely loud, it seems to have a pulsating feature which soon begins to feel as though it has gotten inside your brain.  When this alarm is sounding, the only place barely tolerable is in my bedroom. The noise is probably a smidgen more tolerable in the back of the bedroom closet with your head under a blanket -- which is where Suki goes in a flash the moment that alarm begins to sound.

Tragically, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week, every single fire alarm on every floor and in every common area of this building had to be tested.  This meant that over and over again during that time period on those three days, this unbelievably loud alarm was being turned on and left on for 5 to 10 minutes before mercifully being turned off.  

These tests seemed to occur irregularly so that I really couldn't prepare myself.  Rather, each time the alarm sounded, it came as a shock and I, who have suffered all my life from 'exaggerated startle response' as the result of severe childhood abuse, had to "peel myself off the ceiling" and then try to distract myself from the noise as much as possible until silence returned.  Suki, wisely, just spent the entire three days, between 9 and 4, hiding out in the bedroom closet.

As this new week begins, I think that both of us have finally started to recover from the past week's torture sessions.  Suki is once again sleeping peacefully in her favourite chairs and the flashbacks, disturbed sleep, nightmares and other PTSD symptoms from which I still suffer have begun to subside, returning to their normal level.

So, as you can imagine, I am really looking forward to a quiet week with no medical appointments and, hopefully, no fire alarms.  The only things I am anticipating are a visit with a dear friend on Friday and Joycelyn's regular care-giving visits on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. 



"Icon -- Christ Heals the Blind Man", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.
Υιός του Δαβίδ, ελέησόν με -- Son of David, have mercy on me

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bar Timaeus (son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.  Mk. 10:46-52

I have always been intrigued by this story.  Bar Timaeus was a man of brave boldness.  He was tenacious in his desire to find someone to help him.  He had heard about Jesus of Nazareth, the miracle worker, and if the man could give him what he wanted above all else, Bar Timaeus was not going to allow fear of ridicule and the disapproval of his neighbours prevent him from getting it.  And, so he cried out unceasingly, "Son of David, have mercy on me."

Finally, his persistence paid off and Christ called to him, telling him to come close.  Then He asked Bar Timaeus that all-important question:  "what do you want Me to do for you?"

If a miracle worker asked you or me that question, what would our reply be?  I wonder...

May we be granted the grace to know that the one thing we need above all else is love -- unconditional and perfect love which will only be found in the Heart of God who is Love, Itself.  May we truly comprehend that our hearts will always be restless until they rest eternally in that Most Sacred, Most Loving Heart.


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora -- 'Lucifer'

"Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora -- 'Lucifer' ", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Crocosmia is a small genus of flowering plants in the family, Iridaceae. It is native to the grasslands of southern and eastern Africa, ranging from South Africa to the Sudan. Crocosmias are related to gladiolas, crocuses and irises. 

Crocosmia x crocosmiflora is a garden hybrid of C. aurea and C. pottsii, first bred by Victor Lemoine in 1880. It is one of many Crocosmia plants commonly known as Montbretia. [The name “Montbretia” is derived from the French botanist and plant collector Antoine François Ernest Coquebert de Montbret (1781-1801). He evidently travelled with Napoleon to Egypt where he died from the plague. Even after a great deal of research, I am still unable to determine how Crocosmia hybrids ended up being called Montbretia]. 

One of the most spectacular cultivars is Crocosmia 'Lucifer', which was selected from hybrids created by crossing C. x crocosmiiflora 'Jackanapes', with C. paniculata and C. masonorum. This is a larger, more robust plant growing up to 4 ft (1.2 m) tall with large, fire engine red flowers that face upward on branched spikes. The plant has sword-like foliage pointing in every direction. 

The genus name, Crocosmia, is derived from two Greek words – krokos (saffron) and osme (smell), referring to the fact that when dried and rubbed, Crocosmia leaves have a fragrance similar to saffron.  X crocosmiiflora simply means “a hybrid having flowers like Crocosmia”. The cultivar name of “Lucifer” could refer to either the true meaning of Lucifer which is “light bearer” or to the bright, red colour of the flowers. 

Crocosmias are grown worldwide and more than 400 cultivars have been produced. Some hybrids have become invasive species especially C. x crocosmiiflora hybrids which are invasive in the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the American Pacific north west.

I have done previous drawings of other Crocosmia cultivars.  If you are interested in viewing them, just put the term "Crocosmia" in the search box found at the top of this page to your left.

Much of the above information was taken from various Internet sources.


Here are a few new photos of "my boys" taken Thanksgiving weekend:

Braden and Rònàn next to a scary tree!  Halloween is coming...

Rònàn practicing walking with his Dad -- and doing very well, I might add.

Braden contemplating the great Canadian outdoors (or else daydreaming 
about which treat he will ask for when he gets back home!).



The art work of my friend, Rose Marie Nicolucci, has been juried into two different shows that are presently ongoing: 

1) One of her watercolours, “Killarney Mist”, was selected for Toronto Watercolour Society Aquavision Show at The Paper Mill Gallery, Todmorden Mills on Pottery Rd., Toronto. 

2) Two of her acrylic paintings submitted were juried into the Crossection Show, on until October 29th at Etobicoke Civic Centre, 399 The West Mall (at Burnhamthorpe Rd.), Etobicoke. 

"Star of the Sea", acrylic, original painting by
R. M. Nicolucci

One painting, “Star of the Sea”, was selected for a Juror's Choice Award which will be presented today, Sunday, October 18th at 2 p.m. 

I hope some of you will be able to get out to see one, or both, of these shows.  If you are able to do so, please send your comments either to the blog or to me so that those of us who are unable to attend, will be able to share in your experience. 

Below is a press release on the Juror`s Choice Award that is being presented for Rose Marie`s painting "Star of the Sea": 

Etobicoke Civic Centre Gallery is featuring Crossection the Central Ontario Art Association’s annual members’ juried art exhibit. Local Etobicoke artist Rose Marie Nicolucci had both her art submissions selected for the show. One of these, her acrylic/mixed-media painting “Star of the Sea” was selected for a Juror’s Choice Award. The presentation of awards will take place at the Reception Sunday Oct. 18 from 2 to 4 pm. Artist relates her motivation on creating this dramatic piece of art:-
When I began this art piece I had a great concern for the pollution of our precious natural ocean resources and how marine life was being damaged and exploited by human rapaciousness. The art piece contains plasticized netting representing the waste from the huge international trawlers’ nets that have ensnared and killed mammals and marine life that were caught in them. (Other flotsam is broken down naturally, but not the man-made products of plastic and coated nylon fibres.) The red, orange and yellow colours contrasting with the cool water hues represent the roiling of the waters by drilling, dumping, chemical and human wastes polluting our previously pristine oceans. The active brush strokes and patterning indicate the disturbance of the water’s currents and flows. There are actual shells which adhere to the surface of the painting -- symbols of the devastation of the affected sea life forms. The small starfish, referred to in the painting’s title, is a symbol of hope that the beauty of our wonderful oceans may still, with care and effort, recover to survive and thrive. 
The Crossection Art Exhibit is on display at Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery, 399 The West Mall (SE corner at Burnhamthorpe Rd.), Etobicoke until October 29, 2015. Public are welcome to attend the reception and to view the exhibit during Gallery hours.



Suki awake, alert and concerned about a noise!

Suki doesn't know it yet, but she has a difficult week ahead of her.  Actually three days: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

This past Thursday, I received a notice about the annual inspection of apartments that will begin on Monday.  Along with a quick look around each apartment, management will be checking the smoke alarms in individual units as well as the alarms and sprinklers throughout the building.  This happens every year, of course, but, somehow, Suki seems to forget and so every fall she gets traumatized once again!

Although "the monsters" will only be in my apartment for 10 to 15 minutes, the sounds of smoke alarms and fire alarms will be going on and off throughout the building all day long on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  With Suki's excellent hearing, she will be unable to sleep soundly between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for three days. Each year, by the end of all this activity, Suki is a real mess. Come Wednesday night, she will probably sleep non-stop for the next 24 hours.  I have even known her to miss a meal or two after such a marathon event.

I try each year to warn her about what is coming, but she never listens.  She simply looks at me, yawns, licks her paws a few times and goes right back to sleep.  Well, I tried ... what else can I do. Poor kitty.

As for me, I, too, will be bothered by the upcoming activities as my hearing is also excellent (for a human, that is); however, at least I know what is going on and why -- so although I may find it annoying, I should be able, for the most part, to ignore it.

Otherwise, I expect a quiet week when, as usual, I will be doing whatever I can to distract myself from the constant nagging of joint and nerve pain throughout my poor, old body.  



"Icon -- Can you drink from My cup?", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. Jesus called his disciples and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Mk. 10:35-45

Each time I read about St. James and his brother, St. John, requesting places of power in the "kingdom" of their Lord, I am amazed at their arrogance.  They had spent all that time listening to and watching Jesus and still seemed to have no idea what He was actually saying!  Here, when he asks them if they can drink from the same "cup" from which He must drink and be baptized with the same "baptism" through which He must go, they don't hesitate -- they say "yes" immediately.  They did not seem to think, for even a moment, that Christ was referring to a total commitment leading through suffering unto death.  

Of course, I have to ask, how many of us -- even knowing that real Christian life leads always to the cross -- still think about gaining earthly power, wealth and recognition along the way -- secretly longing to gain power and prestige even while spouting "whoever wishes to be great must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first must be the slave of all"?  Even those who seek to be "servant" and "slave" can be secretly dreaming of the day when they, too, will be canonized saints whose names will be found on the lips of millions. Do we all really have a price for which we can be bought?

Grant us the wisdom to recognize those who are truly in need, the grace to forget ourselves as we seek to serve them and the humility to allow Love to guide us, enabling us to drink 
deeply from the Cup of Christ.


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Oriental Symbols

"Traditional Dress and Chinese Symbols", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

For years now I have been fascinated by the way Oriental languages are written -- especially Chinese characters or logograms.

Chinese characters are actually called logograms (each symbol represents a concept rather than a sound). These are used in the writing of Chinese and some other Asian languages. In Standard Chinese they are called Hanzi. They have been adapted to write a number of other languages including: Japanese, where they are known as kanji, Korean, where they are known as hanja, and Vietnamese in a system known as chữ Nôm. In English, they are sometimes called Han characters. Chinese characters constitute the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. 

Chinese logograms for the four seasons
In my drawing above, I used three of the four logograms representing the seasons of the year. Since the particular decoration pictured normally has only three sections, I chose to use Autumn, Winter and Summer -- leaving Spring for some future drawing. 

When I look at this type of writing, the artist in me often tries to figure out the "picture" they represent as I know that some of the most commonly used characters were originally pictograms (these depict the objects denoted) or simple ideograms (these express their meaning iconically). Although I know that it is not really that simple, I still find myself looking for a "picture". For example, when I look at the "picture" for Winter (see above), it looks to me as though the symbol depicts the blowing winds of wintertime while the one for Autumn (see above) seems, to me, to show leaves falling from a tree.

In the past, I have tried on occasion to teach myself the art of Chinese calligraphy so that I could actually draw these characters; however, I always realized after a short while that this is a skill that can only be properly learned with time and a proper teacher. Some years ago, I was able to teach myself ordinary calligraphy and managed to achieve a certain proficiency.  Of course, now, with my hands full of arthritis, calligraphy of any type is no longer an option. So, instead, I just enjoy looking at the work of others.

One last comment about this week's drawing -- it really wasn't the Chinese symbols that first attracted me to the photo I ended up using as a model -- no, it was the challenging position of the woman's right hand which made me choose the particular picture I used as a guide for my own drawing.

The information on Chinese logograms was taken from various Internet sources.


Suki in sepia -- starring intently at me!
The past week has been a difficult one for poor Suki. She has spent a inordinate amount of time growling menacingly and hiding in the bedroom closet -- all because I decided that I wanted to order a few items online.

For example, Joycelyn needed a new shopping buggy as the wheels on the old one had gotten all wobbly and seemed to be close to falling off.  I ordered a very elegant buggy -- gray with white polka dots!  As well, Suki's old scratching boxes (you know the cardboard kind that are scented with catnip) had reached the point where Joycelyn was finding little bits of cardboard all over the floor each Monday when she did the vacuuming.  I ordered two of these -- one for the hallway and one for the bedroom.
Suki on her scratching box
 Then there was the new tower fan that I had been wanting to order from the "points" catalogue for some some time and I discovered that I had accumulated just enough points to get it.  

Of course, each of these three items could not be delivered on the same day -- that would have made things too easy.  Instead, even though they were all ordered at the same time the previous week, they arrived separately causing the mail person to knock loudly (why do they always have to knock so loudly?) on my door on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, each time they knocked, Suki, like Superwoman, instantly leapt from a sleeping position into the very image of an angry cat: fur bristling, throat growling, not sure whether to stay and fight or run for cover!

I tried to tell her that it was not the monster come back to get her, but only a delivery person.  She, however, would hear none of it and, after a moment or two of hesitation, made a mad dash for the bedroom closet where she stayed for the next hour or so until she felt it was safe to emerge.  

After her emergence from the closet, she had to spend a good bit of time sniffing the new arrival.  I placed each parcel in the entry hallway so that Joycelyn could open them for me on her next visit as the opening of well-sealed parcels is just too painful for my hands.  

There was one parcel in particular that Suki spent a great deal of time investigating -- you guessed it, the package containing her new scratching boxes.  Even though the things were heat-sealed in clear plastic, wrapped in bubble-wrap and covered on the outside with white plastic sheeting, she was still able to smell the catnip through it all.  I tried sniffing the package and all I could smell was plastic.  Cats, like dogs, truly have an extraordinary sense of smell.

Anyway, since the third package arrived on Thursday and no others are expected, Suki should have a quiet long weekend.  Yes, it is a long weekend here in Canada as Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October.  So, "Happy Thanksgiving" to all my Canadian readers! 

Otherwise, things remain much the same at the Thayer residence.  I did have an appointment with a specialist this past week; however, he wants to send me for a particular procedure before he makes his diagnosis -- so I will not know if there is anything new happening with my poor, old body until after the procedure which won't be happening until late November.  Meanwhile, I continue to deal, as best as possible, with all the things that have already been diagnosed.



"Icon -- Christ the Teacher (All Things Are Possible)", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 revision

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.  Mk. 10:[17] 23-30

Recently, I have been watching a series of shows detailing the history of the drug cartels in various countries.  These criminal groups bring in obscene amounts of money daily which gives them an incredible amount of power over other human beings.  And, as we all know, their use of that power has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people -- men, women and children who simply got in the way or were "collateral damage." As has been said in various ways by different people over the centuries, "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

I mention this because of Christ's statement about it being "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."  I, of course, cannot say with any certainty exactly what was meant by this comment; however, I, personally, have always thought it meant that without the littleness of humility, one could not enter into a place where Love reigns supreme. Remember, "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth." (I Cor. 13:4-6)  Those whom power (wealth) has left totally corrupted are anything but lovingly humble!

Is it humanly possible to have absolute power and not be corrupted by it?  I would have to say that while I think it is possible, it seems to me to be highly improbable unless the person remained, at all times, aware of their littleness in the face of universal Truth and Love.  Even those of us who think of ourselves as powerless, need to be aware, I think, that we, especially here in the West, have so much more power than many throughout the world.  For example, I need to ask myself if I am allowing whatever power I have to corrupt me as I daily make choices about what to buy, about where to make these purchases, about what to do with my garbage, about how to care for the earth and about whom to vote for as another election approaches!

May we walk gently through this fragile world never forgetting that power without humility may forever prevent us from entering into the Kingdom of God -- that Kingdom of Unconditional Love so deeply desired by every human heart.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Caesalpinia pulcherrii -- Dwarf Poinciana

"Caesalpinia pulcherrii -- Dwarf Poinciana", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. It probably originated in the West Indies, but its exact origin is unknown due to widespread transfer of the plant by both natural and man-made methods over the centuries. 

Common names for Caesalpinia pulcherrima include: Dwarf Poinciana, Peacock Flower, Red Bird of Paradise, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Pride of Barbados and Flamboyant-de-jardin.  

Caesalpinia pulcherrii -- Dwarf Poinciana
(photo taken from Internet)
Dwarf Poinciana is a shrub/tree with multiple trunks (see photo at right). The butterfly-attracting flowers are brilliant red-orange (the most common color), yellow or dark pink, depending on the variety. Young plants have thorns on the branches but they disappear as the plant matures and bark begins to form. Seed pods form as the flowers die. All seeds of Caesalpinia are poisonous. 

Although called “Poinciana”, it is not actually related to the famous Royal Poinciana tree. 

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is the national flower of Barbados, where the plant is known as "Pride of Barbados." The flower is depicted on the Queen's personal Barbadian flag. 

The genus designation of Caesalpinia is taken from the name of Andreas Caesalpini, a 16th century Italian botanist and chief physician to Pope Clement VIII. The species name of pulcherrima is taken from the Latin and means "beautiful" or "most beautiful".

Occasionally the flowers appear to form a "circlet".  I came across several photos depicting this and was sufficiently intrigued by the idea of a "crown" of Caesalpinia pulcherrima that I decided to use this formation as a model for my drawing.

Much of the above information was taken from various Internet sources.


Some new photos of "my boys"...

Braden showing his younger brother how to look like a "tough guy".
I think his younger brother is impressed!

Braden watching a movie, perhaps, while his younger brother is watching him.

Forgive the fuzziness of the photo, but it was captured from a video.
I wanted to include it because it was a video of Rònàn walking.  You 

can see from the photo that he has stopped for a moment to rest against 
the wall, but, believe you me, he soon left the wall and moved rapidly 
through the door and on down the hallway -- even trying to 
climb the stairs before his mom grabbed him for his own safety!



Suki waking up after a long nap in MY chair!
I don't think I have ever mentioned the relationship between Suki and my chair so let me tell you about it.

If you take a careful look at the photo to your left. In the photo, you can see a half-awake Suki in a tan-coloured recliner, a table with various items on it and one side of a wingback chair.  This happens to be a small section of my living room. While the scene may appear to be quite "homey", there is one item in it which is out of place -- Suki!

Normally, if a photo is taken of Suki in my living room, she will be
Suki looking at me reproachfully after being
awakened from her nap.
seen in various stages of wakefulness in the wingback chair, not the recliner (see the photo to your right).  The only time she goes to sleep in the recliner (better known as MY chair), is when I leave the apartment for any reason.  

I'm not sure how long it takes after I go out for a doctor's appointment or whatever, but sometime after I leave, Suki moves from her chair into mine -- which is where I always find her when I return home (unless she is waiting by the front door).  

Now, before you say: "Oh, isn't that sweet.  Suki misses you so much that she gets in your chair to wait for you.  What an adorable cat!", you should hear the rest of the story -- or, rather, what happens next.

I come home and find Suki asleep in my chair.  She wakes up, yawns at me, maybe says a "meow" or two and then goes right back to sleep (unless it's meal time, of course).  Meanwhile, I go and change into my house clothes, grab a glass of ice water, take some pain medication and head for a rest in my recliner.  As you may know, my recliner is the only place I can sit now where my neck and back get the proper support so that the pain is not too overwhelming. 

As I approach My chair, I start telling Suki that she has to move. She looks up at me with that look which says "make me"!  Of course, I am in no mood by now for any nonsense and even though all I want to do is collapse into the comfort of My chair, I have to grab 13 pounds of unhappy cat and dump her into the wingback chair (also known as Suki's chair).  After glaring at me for a few moments, Suki usually settles down in her chair and goes back to sleep.

Her behaviour, of course, makes me realize that the truth is that Suki is not being sentimental when she climbs into My chair whenever I go out; rather, she is simply determined to stake her claim on every piece of comfortable furniture in our home.  In other words, she is telling me once again that she is in charge around here, not me.  I agree -- except when it comes to My recliner!

Otherwise, things continue as usual in my life.  I had an appointment with the gastroenterologist this past Tuesday.  This was a follow-up to my visit to him three months ago.  After various tests and a thorough reading of my chart, he informed me that there was really nothing he could do to relieve the pain in my stomach due, no doubt, to the ulcers residing there.  He told me that so long as I had to take anti-inflammatory medications in such large doses, my stomach was going to protest. I told him that since the pain in my stomach isn't there all the time, I felt it was something which I could tolerate.

Personally, I had expected this answer from him all along.  In fact, I would never have chosen to see him in the first place but I did it to appease my family doctor.  I think she wants to be certain that she has tried to do everything she can to help me.  She is a good doctor and seems to really care about my suffering.  Anyway, as I told the gastroenterologist, previously when I have tried to reduce (or even stop) the anti-inflammatory meds, within a few days, I have found myself unable to walk at all (or even move very much) due to the excruciating pain in all my joints.

I have an appointment this week with another type of specialist and, in this case, I am really hoping that he will be able to help me. I will let you know in next Sunday's posting if he thinks he can.



"Icon -- Let The Children Come To Me", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.

People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. I tell you solemnly, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he put his arms round them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing."  Mk. 10:13-16 [Mk. 10:2-16]

As you may be aware, the first part of today's Gospel (verses 2-12) have Christ speaking about marriage and divorce.  However, rather than focussing on that aspect of His teaching, I decided to focus, once again, on the part of His discourse regarding the treatment of children. 

I continue to be so concerned about the large number of refugee children in various parts of the world at the present time.  I really think that any of us who put a "stumbling block" in the way of these children getting the care and help that they need, will someday have to answer for it -- both to our own inner sense of justice and to that Justice found in Divine Love.

Looking back at my own childhood, even though I lived with the constant threat of violence and the inner tension and stress which results from such an atmosphere, I did not ever have to worry about the basics: shelter, food, clothing and the stability that comes from living in a place where you and your family belong and are accepted.  How very different it is for so many children throughout the world right now.

May the "ears" of our hearts become ever more open so that we will hear Love, Itself, calling to us through the cries of these little ones -- crying because they are hungry, cold, frightened and, sometimes, even separated from family and friends.  Then, having heard, may we respond with acts of loving kindness.