National Coffee Day

Let’s Celebrate Coffee

Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.
— Thomas Jefferson
 

Everything has its day and coffee is no exception. National Coffee Day is September 29 and is celebrated in the United States.

It’s not as if every day isn’t coffee day, but hey, it’s fun to actually call it out loud and celebrate this dark brew that comforts us.

After all, we didn’t always have coffee.

Introduction Of Coffee

Europeans got their first taste of coffee in 1615 when Venetian merchants who had become acquainted with the drink in Istanbul carried it back with them to Venice. At first, the beverage was sold on the street by lemonade vendors, but in 1645 the first coffeehouse opened in Italy.
— History of Coffee

Coffee spread throughout Europe, dripping its way into Italy, France, Germany and England. Coffee began to replace the common breakfast drink beverages of the time — beer and wine. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol started the day alert and energized, and the quality of their work was notably improved.

The Birth Of The Coffeehouse

Coffeehouses soon sprang up all over Europe and, across the lands, they became a platform for people from all walks of life, especially artists and students, to come together and chat.

In The Netherlands, the Dutch were initially more interested in coffee as a trade commodity since they cultivated coffee in their colonies. However, in the 1660s, the Dutch coffeehouse grew in popularity and took on a decidedly unique style of rich décor and lush gardens. These coffeehouses were located in the financial districts of Dutch cities and thus, were places where merchants and financiers conducted business meetings.

In the 1680s, the Dutch introduced coffee to Scandinavia. Today, this far northern region has the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world.

In England, London coffeehouses became an integral part of social culture by 1660. People nicknamed coffeehouses Penny Universities due to the entrance fee of one penny and all the writers, artists, poets, lawyers and politicians who patronized them. Customers benefited from more than just hot steaming cups of coffee, they shared in the intellectual conversation that swirled around them.

Originally called The Turk’s Head, the Jamaica Wine House was one of London’s first coffeehouses. It opened between 1650 and 1652.

In North America, coffee traveled across the ocean blue in 1668. The first coffeehouse that opened in New York in 1696 was called The King’s Arms. Coffeehouses were not for the literature scene, because the early colonists had no professional writers of note.

Instead, for New Yorkers, the coffeehouse served as a civic forum, a meeting place for merchants and politicians. The long halls served as a gathering place for general assembly and council meetings. Colonists sometimes held court trials in the assembly rooms of early coffeehouses.

Imagine slipping back in history, to a time when people are trying their first cup of coffee in Europe. A hot, bitter brew slightly burns your lips, slides down your throat and warms you from the inside out.

You might have marveled at its exotic flavor and wanted another cup. Perhaps you worried that it was a dark magic that gave you a boost in energy. How would you have pictured this strange, black liquid if you lived in the 1600s?

Light Up Your Coffee

Whether you’re drinking coffee in a coffeehouse or at home, warm or cold, as a student of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) you can add a dash of light to your magical brew.

If you studied The First Degree of The Radiant Technique®, you can hold your coffee beans in your hands, whole or ground, while in the bag. Let radiant energy infuse their own natural life energy, the bag doesn’t inhibit universal energy. The same applies when holding your coffee cup. Place one hand in your heart while you take a sip.

For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you are able to direct energy to where the coffee beans grew, to the people who brought you the coffee, or to the coffee itself while its brewing. If you enjoy history, you can direct radiant energy to the long journey of coffee as it was introduced around the world.

And, a cosmic symbol in your coffee cup is great way to start your day.

May you enjoy your coffee today, and every day.

 

Evensong At St George's Chapel

Windsor Castle And St George's Chapel

When you visit Windsor Castle, a must see is St George's Chapel. As a place of worship, it serves The Royal Family and the local community with church services. It also provides a venue for marriages (Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married here) and funerals as well as ceremonies that include The Order of the Garter.

The beauty of St George's Chapel lies in its Gothic architecture, Perpendicular Gothic style to be exact. Construction started in 1475 and was completed by Henry the VIII in 1528.

Perpendicular Gothic is the “phase of late Gothic architecture in England roughly parallel in time to the French Flamboyant style. The style, concerned with creating rich visual effects through decoration, was characterized by a predominance of vertical lines in stone window tracery, enlargement of windows to great proportions, and conversion of the interior stories into a single unified vertical expanse.
— The Royal Family

The Chapel Of Royals

The Chapel holds in its heart a number of Kings and Queens who have come before. Ten former Sovereigns are buried in St. George’s Chapel, notable among them, Henry VIII, Charles I, George III, Edward VII and George V.

Connected to the Chapel is a Memorial Chapel (built in 1969, the only structural addition since the 1500s). The Memorial Chapel annex contains King George VI (Queen Elizabeth's father) who is interred alongside his beloved wife, the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother), and Princess Margaret (Queen Elizabeth's sister). Funerals also take place at St George's Chapel. A list of burials and funerals can be found here.

St. George’s Chapel is a place of worship for The Queen and the Royal Family as well as a church serving the local community, built by kings, shaped by the history of the Royal Family.
— The Royal Family

Worship Service

If you're seeing St George's Chapel during the busy summer months, you will be sharing it with throngs of hot, sweaty tourists rolling through the aisles in never-ending waves of jostling humans. The crowds keep on coming.

As in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle, no photos are allowed inside The Chapel, so you'll find yourself craning your neck, trying to imprint the details into your memory. Eventually, you'll be swept along the waves of tourists. 

To fully appreciate St George's Chapel, I recommend attending a service to get in touch with The Chapel's true purpose and function – a place of worship.

During a service, the crowds are dispersed and the weight of the throngs is lifted. The aisles stand clear and welcoming. The Chapel offers a refuge of healing calm, dignity. The secrets of history beckon.

Evensong

I attended Evensong (Evening Service) at St George's Chapel in July. The welcoming priest pointed to a carved stall that I could claim as my own during the service. A dark pew from hundreds of years ago enfolded me in its smooth, worn wood. I tucked into my seat and surveyed the richness of the Chapel.

Gone were the tourists traipsing around. The Chapel now belonged to us, those who had a purpose there, as worshipper, chorister, or priest.

From the corner of my eye, I could sense the phantoms and wisps of humanity as they paraded through the aisles and settled in the carved stalls.

The molecules of breath of all the people who came before, who also sat in these same seats, swirled around me. Within the breath, we were all held in a co-existance. Inhale, all the forgotten details of our individual lives; exhale, the collective memory of the whole of humanity.

Visiting Choir

The service was blessed with a visiting choir, The Choir of St Mary's, Warwick. Here is their program.

- Preces & Responses:
Richard Shephard Psalm 4

- Canticles:
Orlando Gibbons Short Service

- Anthem:
Charles Villiers Stanford Beati quorum via

Scriptures were read, The Apostles' Creed was recited, resounding tones from the organ filled the Chapel – as it had been done for centuries. 

History unfurled its banner before us.

Attending A Service

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can attend a Chapel service whether you consider yourself to be Christian or not. It's possible to participate in your heart as you listen to the words and music. TRT® hands-on placed in your heart allows you to listen, sing and speak from your heart.

Sitting in the Chapel during a service, gives you a chance to drink in all the history. As a student of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to people or historical events. You can direct energy to the Chapel and the people in attendance, deepening your participation.

Enjoy your visit to St George's Chapel.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at St George's Chapel

 

First photo by Aurelien Guichard 

 

Tips For Visiting Windsor Castle

Windsor, England

Windsor is located south of London, not far from Heathrow International Airport, and provides a lovely respite from the pollution and concrete of the city of London. Although much smaller than London, the town itself is quite lively.

It's easy to walk around Windsor and there's lots of shopping, plenty of restaurants and, of course, the must-see Windsor Castle. It's a second home for the Queen, herself, who has private apartments on the grounds. You don't get to visit those, but there's plenty else to see.

Visiting Windsor Castle Tips

Tip # 1 – Pre-Purchase Your Ticket

The best tip for visiting Windsor Castle is to buy your tickets on-line. This allows you to skip the long queue that circles around and down the road from the castle, especially on a Monday morning. With your pre-purchased ticket, you go to the front of the line. 

There's a bit of a delay getting through the metal detectives and x-ray machines. Once through, you then spill out to the kiosk that offers an audio guide for the grounds. This is highly recommended to help you navigate the property.

St. George's Chapel is closed (except to attend the worship service) and there is no Changing of the Guard on Sunday. You might want to consider that as you plan which day you'll visit.

Make sure you download and print out the attachment of the entrance pass, not just the email they send you. The email, itself, won't get you in and without the actual pass you'll be scrambling to find some way to print it out. (Speaking from experience...)

Tip # 2 – Bring Your Own Earbuds

With the audio guide, the Castle offers big headphones that sit on your head and cover both ears. But you can bring your own earbuds with a connecting cord (not bluetooth earbuds) and you then have the option to have just one ear plugged in while you walk around listening to the guided visit. That way, you can still hear what's going on around you. Plus, it's much less hot and sweaty if you are visiting during high temperature days of summer. And you avoid wearing headphones that thousands of other people have had on their skin and hair.

You can't take any photos (camera or smartphone) inside the State Apartments and there are staff people situated in each room to remind you. With such a large expanse to explore, the audio guide is indispensable. It provides many details as you wander through the various rooms as well as the history of the people in the paintings in the portrait room.

The Changing of the Guard takes place at 11:00 am, but on which days is entirely variable. It's best to check the website link. When the military music band plays, it's an event filled with pomp and circumstance.

Windsor Castle Guard Change Time

The official start time for changing the Windsor Castle Guard is 11:00.

This can change and the Windsor Castle Guard can mount at different times, and on occasions without music or ceremony when the Guards are required for other duties.

The Queen's private apartments are not open to the public, but there is a gate where you can peek in and get a photo. These are the grounds where she meets with Heads of State and where she stays on weekends when she's not in London.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you are able to apply TRT® hands-on when visiting tourist sights, for example in the heart center, to deepen your awareness of history. Or, when taking a break on a bench, hands-on in Back Position #3 can be helpful to replenish the adrenals and to reduce stress from a long travel day.

Students of The Second Degree of TRT® can apply TRT® hands-on as well as direct radiant energy to events and people from the past and present. Also to deepen an understanding of history. 

Tip # 3 – Stamp Your Entrance Pass

As you leave Windsor Castle, be sure to stop off with Castle staff collecting your audio guides and ask them to stamp your entrance paper. This allows you to visit the Castle for an entire year without paying again.

Unfortunately, you'll now have to wait in the normal lines, no cutting to the front of the queue like the first time. But, since you've already seen the Castle, you can afford to wait until a bit later in the day to find a moment with a shorter line.

Being able to "pop back to the Castle" means you can visit that one place you'd love to see again or revisit the Royal Collection stores for that item you can't stop thinking about and wished you had purchased. Items from the stores on the Castle grounds can't be found in town.

Enjoy your visit to Windsor Castle.

All photos by Radiant Nursing.

 

Traveling In A Heatwave

Soaring Temperatures

Temperatures have been high for weeks and if you're traveling in Europe this summer, it means toughing it out through a heatwave. Usually with no air conditioning. Few of the mid-range B&B's or hotels have air conditioning and this is also true of most restaurants and stores. 

Even if by some chance you manage to find a hotel with air conditioning, it is of no use when you're in town waiting in tour lines with no shade and with hot concrete rising up to meet the sun beating down on your head and shoulders. Or when you're hauling luggage on to the train, getting packed into a subway or walking across town.

Even places in Europe not accustomed to higher temperatures, like Scotland, saw the mercury climb with unexpected results.

Glasgow, which had been suffering its hottest day on record, came in at 89.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Glasgow wasn’t built to withstand such heat, and the record-breaking day caused the roof of the city’s science center to “melt” rubbery goo down the sides of the building.
— Mary van Aue from Inverse

It's A Sweaty Time

During long, hot days, we are always losing water through insensible loss – meaning a loss of water from the body in ways that we can't see or measure.

Insensible Water Loss
A loss of body fluid that is not easily measured, e.g., the moisture released in exhalation and perspiration. The amount of fluid typically lost is about 200 mL a day. Insensible fluid losses increase in any disease or condition that increases diffusion of liquid from the skin or the lungs, e.g., in burns, climatic changes, fever, or heavy exercise.

Combine insensible water loss with heavy sweating, soaking through your hair and clothes while on a tour of a castle or hiking in a blazing sun and you're at risk not only for dehydration, but an imbalance and loss of electrolytes. Sweat is basically water, sodium chloride, and potassium – all of which you have to replenish after sweating heavily

This is of particular concern for the elderly, people with heart conditions that depend on well-balanced electrolytes and pregnant women.

We can drink water to offset the dehydration, but plain water doesn't help much to replenish electrolytes in the body. In the United States, you could stop by a corner store and pick up some Gatorade, but that's not easy to come by in a foreign country. And it's not practical to carry it around while traveling.

Nuun To The Rescue

You need to replace the lost electrolytes, but how best to do this when you're traveling? 

Nuun Hydration, Electrolyte Drink Tabs are a great option. A cardiologist I know recommended Nuun as an excellent source to replenish electrolytes. 

Nuun is great for traveling. Just add a small tab to 16 ounces of water, it fizzes a bit like an Alka-Seltzer tablet, and your electrolyte "sports drink" is ready to go. Nuun is lightweight and compact and easy to fit into your luggage.

I traveled in Europe during part of the heatwave and the heat was not much fun. Despite dodging into shady spots whenever possible, some heat-filled days were a water bath of sweat. In the evening, when I got back to my hotel, I pulled out my 16 ounce Klean Kanteen bottle, filled it with water, and popped in a Nuun tab. Voilà!

Electrolytes For The Road

Nuun is a refreshing drink that is not overly sweet. There is a slightly salty taste, but that's just a reminder that the electrolytes are there for your benefit. I've tried several flavors and all of them have tasted fine. 

each electrolyte tablet contains:

sodium: 360 mg
potassium: 100 mg
magnesium: 25 mg
calcium: 13 mg
vitamin c: 38 mg
10 calories
1 g of sugar
other ingredients include:

plant based sweetener monk fruit and a touch of stevia leaf extract to provide a crisp and light sweetness
non-gmo sourced dextrose to increase the speed of absorption and hydrate you faster
avocado oil for clean, plant-based production
— Nuun website
Nuun dissolved in a glass of water.

Nuun is also helpful when you're back at home especially after big workouts or when there is a local heatwave and you have to spend time outdoors with lots of sweating.

You can find Nuun at their website or on Amazon.

PS – I am not affiliated with Nuun nor do I receive any renumeration for mentioning their product. Please always consult your own medical provider if Nuun would be a good choice for you.

 

Bring Me Your Poppies

We Remember On Memorial Day

On Memorial Day in the United States, we remember and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty, in combat and in service to their country. It's a moment to reflect on the sacrifice of human lives.

"Freedom is not free, it comes with a price," it is often said. Many have paid the high cost of dying while serving their country.

Even if you never served in the armed forces, it's likely you have a family member or a friend who did. Sometimes, it's family from our past. It might be an uncle in WWII, a relative from WWI, a great-grandfather who served with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders.

Remembrance is not limited to specific wars. All conflicts are embraced and held in our hearts. It doesn't matter if we agreed with it or not. Those who have been lost still need our love and healing.

Poppies For Remembrance

Poppies symbolize our remembrance of our fallen military members. Red blossoms sway in the fields and evoke drops of sacred blood spilled in the battles of conflict.

Out of the mud created by combat boots in the fields of Europe, poppies were one of the first flowers to spring up. These delicate flowers stood strong as an affirmation of the persistence of life. 

Poppies are used as a symbol of remembrance on both Memorial and Veteran's Day, also marked as Armistice Day in Europe. It's always worthwhile to remember that each conflict has more than one side and people were lost on both sides. Although losers of a war are never honored, they too, had family members who grieved their loss.

Poppies And A Single Poem

The poem, In Flanders Fields, written early in the conflict of World War I by Canadian John McCrae gained popularity and placed red poppies at the center of remembering our fallen soldiers. It was taught in our schools when I was young.

 
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae

In the 1960s, we still had a sense of the impact of World War I and used phrases like "All's quiet on the Western Front" and "I work in the trenches" in our normal conversations.

The Healing Begins Within Us

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we are able to use the support of TRT® with all who were affected by the wars. We don't have to choose sides. We don't have to be ashamed if our relatives were on the losing side. And we can direct to those who were on the "other side" from where we grew up.

Students of The First Degree of The Radiance Technique® can apply hands-on in their meditations and focus on their own feelings with a specific war or the loss of a family member. Perhaps you want to focus on the complex issue of war. Explore your own feelings and fears that may arise. Allow the healing energy accessed by TRT® to bring balance to your emotions and thoughts.

For students of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®, they can use the technique taught at that level to direct energy to specific wars, or to focus on a certain individual. Maybe even someone from their own family or a neighbor. Perhaps The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Each country has their own memorial for those who are lost in battle without a trace to be found.

It's a time of remembrance, a time of perspective from a whole, not just a part, of our history. 

First image of poppies by Heidi Reil
Second image of a single poppy from The Jitterbug Studio
Field poppy Papaver rhoeas, on which the remembrance poppy is based

 

Sunday 13 May 2013

Happy Sunday!

Happy Mother's Day

It's Sunday and it's also Mother's Day in the United States. We dedicate this Sunday post to momma elephants and their babies.

Here is a painting of a mother elephant and her baby in the rays of an African sun.

Elephant Mothers And Grandmothers

Most animals don't have grandmothers, but elephants do. With lifespans of 70 years, highly social structures are nurtured in the herd. Older female elephants maintain a long relationship with their daughters and then provide much needed support with rearing of the young.

Research shows that calves are more likely to survive infancy with living grandmothers. This phenomena was found with both Asian and African elephants.

"Calves of young elephant mothers under 20 years of age had eight times lower mortality risk if the grandmother resided in the same location compared to calves whose grandmother was not present," according to Dr. Mirkka Lahdenperä, a lead author of a study. The benefit of having a grandmother was especially true for inexperienced adult daughters. 

Elephant calves are dependent on their mothers for food for the first two years of life, nursing frequently throughout the day. Keeping a watchful eye on the infant to make sure they don't separate from the herd is a full time job. Grandmother elephants help protect and care for the baby elephant and provide guidance and support for the daughter.

A photograph of a mother elephant and her baby hold their trunks together, evoking the preciousness of their connection.

Happy Mother's Day to all our mommas.

Elephants and Sun, artwork by Heni Sandoval
Elephants bathed in sun rays, artwork by Melly Terpening