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.

 

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. It's frequently said, "Freedom is not free, it comes with a price." Many have paid this high cost.

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. Their red blossoms swaying in the fields 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 had 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 representation for those who are lost in battle without a trace for the rest of us to see.

It's a time of remembrance, a time of perspective from a whole and 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

 

Morning Dew

In The Morning Dew

The morning dew.

Translucent pearls adorn nature's foliage and offer sips of water for tiny crawling creatures.

Secrets of the dawning sun are reflected in their minuscule orbs.

Whispers of a fairy world are heard as they transform into vapor and disappear. 

Dew drops hold the freshness of an awakening day as if providing metaphoric sprinkles of water to splash the sleep from our eyes.

The Little Things

I was reminded of the magic of dew drops when I saw this poem by Kahlil Gibran.

In the sweetness
of friendship
let there be laughter,
and the sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew
of little things
the heart
finds its morning
and is refreshed.

Kahlil Gibran

Finding Dew Drops

It's worth getting up early to sneak out into the garden or the park to commune with the fleeting dew drops of the morning. The morning sun quickly burns away their watery melodies, leaving us to marvel at this transitory life.

With The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), students can place one hand in their heart as they observe nature and dew drops and increase their awareness of this little existence. Welcome the morning with TRT® hands-on in Head position #3 or #4 and in Front position #1 and #2. 

As the day begins outside of you, let it begin inside of you, too, with expanded light.

 

Easter Transcendence

The Point In the Middle

Where the horizontal and the vertical meet, there is your transcendence.

A Symbolic Path

Within the symbolism of the cross, there lies a path of transformation. We can acknowledge the outer world which is represented by the horizontal line and bring to our realization that this outer existence intersects with the transcendental world which is represented by the vertical line. That holy meeting place of the two worlds lives in our consciousness.

Easter celebrates the resurrection, the transcendence of life over death.

Death and birth lie on the horizontal line and are parts of our outer world.

On the vertical line, the energy of life is always moving and rising up.

Life is wide and deep and while it steps out of the outer world, it also intersects with it in a greater whole. 

For Your Meditations

Students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) can celebrate the Easter holiday and its transcendental energy whether they perceive themselves as Christians or not.

Step into the symbolism and let it guide your awareness. Suggested for your meditations is a focus on TRT® hands-on positions #1 on the Front and #3 on the Head, or a combination of #1  and #3 on the Front for a period of 10 to 15 minutes.

Happy Easter.

Artwork by J. Vincent

 

(The Radiance Technique® is not associated with any religion
or belief system.  Please see About for more details.)

Beans In The Oven

Cooking Beans

There's something magical about a rich soup or stew bubbling away on the stove. With a slow simmer, flavors deepen and become complex. It harkens back to an image of a cauldron and the magic of a transformative fire. 

Somehow, the cauldron idea did not appeal when it came to cooking beans. It was labor intensive and beans ended up cooked irregularly, with lingering hard ones or entirely smashed ones.

When it came to beans, it seemed like using canned ones was the simplest choice. All the debate about soak or not to soak, salt or no salt, just how long to cook the beans and all the stirring for who-knows-how-many-hours left many of us less than enthused.

So, it was no surprise that over the years we gave up and took the path of least resistance... canned beans. 

Of course, it's not a failure if you use canned beans. Sometimes, it's just easier. It's better to have canned beans than none at all.

But, cans of beans are not terribly inspiring and consequently, we didn't often cook with beans even though we really liked them.

Dried Beans Versus Canned Beans

Dried beans come in a wide range of colors and sizes. Gigante beans, baby lima beans, red beans, black beans, and white Northern beans, just to name a few.

Buying dried beans is a pleasing process. All those bean pebbles feel nice in your hand. So many possibilities lie within little bits of goodness. They're easily transported and stored.

The price of dried beans is especially helpful. And, environmentally speaking, there are no tin cans or BPA to worry about. If you buy your beans in bulk, you don't even have plastic bags. 

Dried beans sang a siren call, but not really being sure what to do with them meant they remained on the store shelf.

Then, we found out about using a Dutch oven to cook our beans.

Dutch Oven To The Rescue

Looking on the internet, there were several articles about baking beans in the oven in a Dutch oven. Dutch ovens function both as a pot on the stove top as well as in the oven.

Dutch oven is a misnomer, in that two well-known brands, Le Creuset and Staub, are made in France. Lodge is another brand of Dutch oven made in China. Dutch oven refers to a cast iron pot with a tight-fitting, oven-proof lid and often with a ceramic interior finish.

What Is a Dutch Oven?

A Dutch oven is any large, heavy pot that is suitable for stovetop or oven use. So your deep 7-quart stock pot could be a Dutch oven, as long as it has an oven-safe lid and can go straight to the oven from the stove.

But when talking about Dutch ovens, most people really mean the extra-heavy cast iron, enameled pots typified by Le Creuset and Staub. These hard-working pots are ideal for slow-simmered soups and braises, as well as other favorite hearty meals.
— Kelli Foster
 

The idea of using a Dutch oven to cook dried beans was intriguing. The gentle, unhurried simmer that takes place in the oven is particularly pleasing.

The beans remain intact because they don't have constant stirring to break them down. There is no scorching on the bottom of the pan. It's very hands-off. The beans do their job of cooking while you do other things around the house. There's no need to stir during their bake time.

Canned garbanzos tend to be hard and roll all over the plate. Sometimes, there seems to be a slight bitterness to the flavor. Not so with the garbanzos we cooked in the oven. In fact, the broth is delicious – worthy of sipping all on its own.

Home cooked means you're in charge of their cooking time. We cooked our garbanzo beans until they were somewhat soft. The garbanzos had tender skins that melted into the buttery flesh of the beans. They even had a sweetness to them.

How To Cook Your Beans In The Oven 

Any dried beans can be cooked in a Dutch oven.

Here are instructions to prepare half a package of beans which is usually 8 ounces.

First, rinse them in cold water to take any dust off of them. Place them into a large bowl, sprinkle 1.5 Tablespoons of kosher salt on them. Cover with 8 cups of water. Let sit over night, from 12 to 18 hours. 

Drain and give the beans a brief rinse in cold water. Place beans in a 4 quart Dutch oven. Sprinkle 1.5 teaspoons of kosher salt over them. Add 6 cups of water. Cover with lid.

Place in a 300º Fahrenheit oven and bake for 1.5 hours to 2 hours depending on how soft you want your beans. Don't stir, just let them cook. 

Check them for doneness and if you think they need more time, you can put them back in the oven and check every 15 minutes until desired softness.

Below: white Navy beans cooked in a Dutch oven. No stirring required.

If you want to double the recipe, using the whole package of beans, use a bigger Dutch oven.

Use your cooked beans right away, or once the beans are cooled, place them in containers and store in the refrigerator. If you've cooked a whole package and find you have too many to consume right away, they freeze beautifully. They're easy to thaw in the refrigerator.

Add beans to soups or salads as desired. Be sure to keep some of the broth, it adds a lot of flavor. 

Students Of TRT®

For those who have studied The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can enhance the life-force energy in your food by holding it in your radiant hands for a few minutes. This applies to your dried beans too.

You can also place your hands about an inch above your food to help you connect to it consciously. For students of The Second Degree of TRT®, you can direct radiant energy to what you are about to eat. Your food is meant to nourish you and directing universal energy helps to lift that connection.

Garbanzos Transformed Into Hummus

Oven-baked garbanzos can be used to make homemade hummus, like in this photo. The recipe is from Bon Appétit: Classic Chickpea Hummus.

The recipe calls for a can of garbanzo beans, but you can substitute your own oven-cooked beans. Two cups of cooked beans equal one can.

The next time you see some dried beans, take some home and pull out your Dutch oven to prepare them.

Deliciousness awaits you.