A reworking of an image/card from two years ago. This one is on my December promo postcard. Sure is a lot of fun to change this up from time to time and add new angels and animals, etc. My personal favorites are the dog-angel, cat-angel and mouse-angel!
Hickem, Catherine. (2012). Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4002-0036-8.
What do we know of Mary?
What we know of Mary’s family is that she is of the house of David; it is from her lineage Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Given the archeological ruins of the various places thought to have been living quarters for their family, it is likely the home was a room out from which sleeping quarters (cells) branched. As Mary and her mother Anne would be busy maintaining the household, with young Mary working at her mother’s command, it is likely Anne would be nearby or in the same room during the Annunciation. Thus Mary would not have had a scandalous secret to later share with her parents but, rather, a miraculous supernatural experience, the salvific meaning of which her Holy parents would understand and possibly even witnessed.
Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not engaged. They were already married, likely in the form of a marriage contract, but the marriage had not yet been “consummated”. This is why he was going to divorce her when he learned of the pregnancy. If it were a mere engagement, he would have broken it off without too much scandal.
Married but not yet joined with her husband, her mother would prepare her by teaching her all that she needed to know. This is further reason to assume that Mary would be working diligently under her mother’s eye when the Annunciation took place.
We know that her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy was kept in secret for five months, and not made known until the sixth month when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed it to Mary. We know Mary then rushed to be at her elderly cousin’s side for three months (the remaining duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), and that this rushing appeared to be in response to Elizabeth’s pregnancy (to congratulate her), not an attempt to hide Mary’s pregnancy. Note how all of this is connected to Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than Mary’s circumstances. As Mary was married to Joseph, he likely would have been informed of the trip. Had the intent been to hide Mary, she would have remained with Elizabeth until Jesus was born, not returned to her family after the first trimester, which is just about the time that her pregnancy was visible and obvious.
So we these misconceptions clarified, we can put Mary’s example within an even deeper context and more fully relate to her experience. We can imagine living in a faith-filled family who raises their child in strict accordance of God’s word. The extended family members may not understand, and certainly their community will not, so Mary, Anne and Joachim, and Joseph face extreme scandal as well as possible action from Jewish authorities. But they faced this together steep in conversation with God, providing a model for today’s family.
Although sometimes scriptural interpretations are flavored with modern-day eye, overall this book will be more than just a quick read for a young mother (or new bride, or teen aspiring to overcome the challenges of American culture, or single parent losing her mind). It is a heartwarming reflection with many examples that open up conversation with God. As an experienced psychotherapist, the author’s examples are spot on and easy to relate to. We do not need to have had the same experiences to empathize, reflect, and pursue meaning; we see it around us in everyday life. As such, a reflective look upon these examples can help one overcome an impasse in their own relationship with God and also open the reader up to self-knowledge as Hi
By Dr Sesh Kamal Sunkara
In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves the retrieval of an egg and fertilization with sperm in the laboratory (in vitro) as opposed to the process happening within the human body (in vivo), with a natural conception. IVF was first introduced to overcome tubal factor infertility but has since been used to alleviate all types of infertility and nearly four million babies have been born worldwide as a result of assisted reproductive technology.
The birth of Louise Brown in 1978, the world’s first IVF baby was from a natural menstrual cycle without the use of any stimulation drugs. As success rates were low with natural cycles in the early days of IVF, ovarian stimulation regimens were introduced into IVF to maximize success rates. The aim was to retrieve more eggs to overcome the attrition in numbers at fertilization, cleavage, and implantation. However, with the introduction of ovarian stimulation regimens the complication of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) arose.
There have been several discussions among IVF clinicians on what the ideal number of eggs should be to optimize IVF outcome and minimize risk of OHSS. We analysed a large database of over 400, 000 cycles provided by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in order to establish the association between egg number and live birth rate in IVF.
We found that live birth rate increased with increasing number of eggs retrieved up to 15 eggs and plateaued from 15 to 20 eggs with a decline in live birth rate beyond 20. The analysis of the data suggested that around 15 eggs may be the optimal number to aim for in a fresh IVF cycle in order to maximize treatment success whilst minimizing the risk of OHSS. We also established a nomogram which is the first of its kind that allows prediction of live birth for a given egg number and female age group. This is potentially valuable for patients and clinicians in planning IVF treatment protocols and counselling regarding the prognosis for a live birth occurrence, especially in women with either predicted or a previous poor ovarian response.
The full paper and supplementary data has been made publicly available here, as published in Human Reproduction by Sesh Kamal Sunkara, Vivian Rittenberg, Nick Raine-Fenning, Siladitya Bhattacharya, Javier Zamora and Arri Coomarasamy. Above table appears with full permission from Human Reproduction and Oxford Journals.
Pierre Assouline is a journalist and writer whose columns appear regularly in Le Monde and L’Histoire. His book, Herge: The Man Who Created Tintin, translated by Charles Ruas, offers a candid portrait of a man who revolutionized comics. In the excerpt below we learn about the origins of Tintin.
Tintin and Snowy were born on January 10, 1929, in Le Petite Vingtième. On that day the supplement for young readers in Le Vingième Siècle first published a comic strip under the title “The Adventures of Tintin, the ‘Petit Vingtième’ Reporter, in the Land of the Soviets,” the first two places of a weekly comic strip that would eventually number 121 in all.
These are the bare facts, but we are left with the question of why and how Tintin and Snowy came into being. According to Hergé, it was very simple: “The idea for the character of Tintin and the sort of adventures that would befall him came to me, I believe, in five minutes, the moment I first made a sketch of the figure of this hero: that is to say, he had not haunted my youth nor even my dreams. Although it’s possible that as a child I imagined myself in the role of a sort of Tintin.”
Tintin has a prehistory. Hergé made a sketch of a character resembling Tintin in the Totor series, which was a sort of trial run. This period of trial and error in the creation of a character is far from exceptional. To cite only two examples, Mickey Mouse was first called Mortimer, and Inspector Maigret in a previous life was Agent No. 49.
Hergé never denied it. When pressed to explain the origins of Tintin, he admitted that he was conceived of as the younger brother of Totor, the troop leader of the June Bugs. Tintin wore plus fours because Georges Remi sometimes wore them, and they might distinguish Tintin as easily as Chaplin’s vagabond’s baggy trousers did him. Hergé also gave him a tuft of hair that stood straight up on his forehead (first seen during a car chase in Land of the Soviets), drawing it as seen full face. If Tintin is shown in profile or three-quarters to the left or to the right, the facial features are only barely sketched in. The figure is in harmony with the face, the result being neutral, without dissonance. Everyone can identify with him because he is everyman.
Tintin was born at fifteen and therefore never had a childhood. What did Georges Remi look like at that age? Probably like Tintin – like him had the appearance of an intrepid Boy Scout – except that Remi combed his hair flat, he was thinner and taller, and his face was not as round. It has been said that Hergé had unconsciously taken the traits, attitudes, and gestures of his younger brother, Paul.
In terms of graphics, there is nothing simpler than Tintin. He is as uncomplicated as the story line. Tintin is a journalist or, rather, a reporter, which means the contrary of sedentary. He is less often shown writing at the typewriter than out in the field. In his eyes, the investigation of something, not the resolution, is the basis of his profession. Tintin seems to suggest that he is in fact a great reporter, a member of a select group of legendary journalists such as Albert Londres, Joseph Kessel, Édouard Helsey, Henri Béraud, and others. Of course Remi himself had wanted to become one of them – and he would, by proxy. Tintin would accomplish his dream. For one of the youngest people on a newspaper’s staff, belonging to this select group represented the ultimate promotion. For Remi it also symbolized a quest for adventure.
The transformation of Totor to Tintin would continue. Though a reporter, Tintin never loses the spirit of a Scout. On the contrary, he expresses it in his face, his attitudes, and his actions. It could be said of Tintin, as Voltaire said of Candide, that his face revealed his soul. Hergé’s constant dilemma was how to make Tintin lose his naïveté while remaining pure.
Here are Tintin’s vital statistics: he is Caucasian, lacks a first name, an orphan, without a past, a native of Brussels (as opposed to Belgian), about fifteen years old, obviously celibate, excessively virtuous, chivalrous, brave, a defender of the weak and oppressed, never looks for trouble but always finds it; he is resourceful, takes chances, is discreet, and is a nonsmoker.
Just in time for April Fool's Day, one hopes, The Telegraph's education correspondent reported yesterday,
Lessons in Latin and Ancient Greek have been deemed detrimental to the learning of foreign languages in schools.
A secret document sent to Government officials by the Dearing Languages Review, an influential inquiry into language teaching, reveals that Latin and Greek were excluded from the
On May 24th, 2009 I gave birth to my lovely son, Dexter Nolen Driedger. Birth was a profoundly spiritual and empowering experience and being a mother has taken me by surprise. I'm grateful for this experience and can hardly wait to paint and draw my memories of labour and early motherhood for my growing up show come this fall. Of course, I should probably try to catch a few zzz's before I crack open the sketch book. This parenting business is really lots of hard work! Thanks for checking in!
I got invited by Scott over at Born Magazine to create the cover for the 2009 Issue #2 a little while back. The theme is alway loosely based around "birth". I had something similar to this in one of my sketchbooks that had been patiently waiting to be released on the world. After a little inking, careful planning of proportions, and strategic placement of hairs, this is what I ended up with. Check out Born here - http://www.bornmagazine.org/
Prints will be available in the RTD $TORE soon too, so sit tight and dream of all the lonely Mermen that will soon need homes.
Here's a sneak peak at what I'm working on right now. It's a small painting that captures my husband and I moments after the birth of our son. It's a part of the Growing Up show this November. I feel that there have not been many things in my life that have cemented the feeling of being "all grown up" than having a baby. Labor was a beautiful, life changing event that still completely empowers and rejuvenates me when I stop to recall it.
Besides the fact that our son is wishing I will have a car instead of a baby, he has been very curious about the whole process. He was born by emergency c-section and I've had to explain this to him. There was a lot of medical intervention and it was a scary experience. In the end we ended up with a beautiful, healthy little boy. I've been talking to him about his sibling, who is due in February 2010. We are 20 weeks now. This time we have a midwife, I feel more empowered and I know nothing really goes according to plan when it comes to this stuff, but we are aiming for a natural birth this time with as little intervention as possible.
Tonight, my little boy and I are were having our nightly snuggle, quietly, in the dark and he says,
"Mommy, I don't want them to cut you this time." I was floored for a second. I assured him that it did not hurt me, and that we were all good and it was ok. He said again, "I think it would be better if the baby was born the other way this time - will it hurt you?" and he nestled in. I told him that, yes, it would hurt me a little, and I would have to work pretty hard - but only for a little while - and then we would have our baby. We snuggled for a bit, he, lying on my belly, listening and his sibling giving him little love taps. It is a moment that will be emblazoned in my memory forever.
So I ask - where does a 4 year old gain this insight and feeling?
Books we've been reading - It's not the Stork and Being Born - two great books that beautifully illustrate the thigs you need to talk about, in a gentle and informative way.
We have our ultrasound on Tuesday - and I can't wait for our son to see the baby this way too. These are special times.