Baking Bread

Homemade Bread

Breadbaking is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony.
It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.
— M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

The smell of homemade bread wafting in your home provides a sense of warmth and comfort and the promise of good food. The odor of baking bread can elicit feelings of well-being.

What makes bread smell so good? The little yeast critters are an important factor. They produce chemicals during baking that break down into delicious-smelling aromatics. The key aroma compounds create between eight and 12 notes which create the familiar smell of bread.

Bake Your Own Bread

Making your own bread at home is pretty straight forward with a bread pot by Emile Henry. Directions to make this tasty bread are included with your purchase. The wonderful lidded pot turns bread-baking into a straight-forward, no frills process. Something all of us can do.

Proof And Rise

Bread deals with living things, with giving life, with growth, with the seed, the grain that nurtures.
It’s not coincidence that we say bread is the staff of life.
— Lionel Poline

Mix together the ingredients: flour, salt, yeast and water. That’s it. Simple.

Allow the dough to proof and rise.

Those ingredients take on a life of their own over the next 12 to 18 hours. The instructions say 18 hours is ideal, gives the dough time to develop its personality, don’t you know.

Such a delightful idea to have a little food-being in a creation process sitting on the counter whilst you run about doing other things.

Once the rise is done, the dough needs a couple of folds, another rest of about 2 hours, and then the dough is dropped into the pre-heated bread pot. Only baking remains. It’s a no-knead bread.

Light With Your Food

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can bring extra light to your bread-making skills. Place your hands on the outside of your bowl when it’s full of ingredients, or while the dough is rising.

As the dough rises, you can share a cosmic symbol with your future bread when you happen to walk by. Just saying hello! Of course, when you handle bread dough, folding it, kneading it, you are bringing radiant energy to your food with your Radiant Touch®.

When it’s time to eat, you can place a hand in your heart to remind yourself of gratitude for our food and blessings.

Freezing Bread

Bear in mind, this bread has no stabilizers or preservatives, so it doesn’t do well sitting out on a counter past two days. If you have a small family and you can’t eat it all in a couple of days, you can freeze your bread. It’s ideal to freeze it while newly fresh.

Once it is completely cooled, slice it up and place in a plastic bag that you can seal tightly, then pop into your freezer. If you slice it before freezing, then you can take out slices as you need them. The bread unthaws in a flash and it’s great for toast.

Enjoy Your Bread

Here is bread, which strengthens man’s heart, and therefore is called the staff of Life.
— Matthew Henry

Time to enjoy your bread. Make sure you have a sharp, serrated bread-slicing knife. You don’t want a dull knife squishing down your lovely loaf.

You can top your bread with a slice of Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter, made with grass-fed cow’s milk. A pure bread-and-butter treat.

Maybe you’ll want to use your bread to sop up some broth or stew. Or, perhaps, you wish to savor the unsullied freshness of your homemade bread and eat it plain, relishing in its chewy crust.

Bon Appétit.

Radiant Nursing is not affiliated with Emile Henry or Kerrygold.
Bread photos taken by Radiant Nursing w/smartphone.

Holy Saturday

We Wait In Stillness

We hold in the stillness of our breath and we wait.

It’s the Sabbath, Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

The day of the crucifixion of Jesus took place on a Friday. The Sabbath would begin at sundown. On this weekly day of worship in the Jewish faith, they were forbidden to work from sundown of Friday, the beginning of Sabbath, until nightfall on Saturday, the end of Sabbath. Therefore, they wanted to procure the body of Jesus and place it in a tomb before the Sabbath started.

One of the symbols of Holy Saturday is the Pietà, a representation of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of her son.

When they took Jesus down from the cross, Mary, the mother of Jesus, held his broken body with love pouring forth from her heart. In spite of her decimating sorrow, Mary did not turn away. She tenderly held the precious son she had birthed into this physical world.

Could Mary know what was to come? She could only hold steady in her faith and love, and wait.

Frankincense And Myrrh

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews.
With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus.
Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen.
This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

They prepared his body for the tomb. The body was likely anointed with embalming oils – myrrh, to protect from decay and frankincense for fragrance. The same precious oils brought to the Jesus child by the Three Wise Men, foreshadowing this event.

The aromatic perfumes and resins used in burials had a dual purpose. Perhaps the more obvious reason to use perfumes and aromatic resins is to mask the inevitable smell of decay.
The other purpose is related to the chemical properties of the oils, which slow the process of decay and protect the body from insect scavenging.

Disciples Wait In Sorrow

As for the disciples of Jesus, they were in hiding. They were stunned, their teacher was dead. How could this be? Wasn’t he going to free them from Roman rule? What about all his teachings and healings? What would become of that?

How could they know they were waiting for a Resurrection?

Swallowed by sorrow and despair at the loss of their teacher, their beloved rabonni, especially under such harsh circumstances, they wept. Bitter tears washed through their souls.

Fear and anxiety also swept over them. Would the authorities arrest and kill them, too?

But. for this moment, Holy Saturday, there was nothing to be done outwardly. It was the Sabbath, a day of rest, work was not allowed.

They waited.

We Wait With Hearts Aflame

Whether we are religious or not, whether we’re Christian or not, we can participate in the symbolism of Holy Saturday. We build upon our awareness of process.

Jesus didn’t jump down from the cross, already resurrected, despite being mocked to do so as he was dying. It was a process that took physical time. Who knows how much inner time was required?

We live in a process in our every day lives. We walk through cycles of birth and death. Loved ones are with us, and then leave us. Seasons come and go, cycles begin and end. Within them all is a process of Holy Saturday, of holding and waiting.

With use of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), we can direct to these cycles, the moments when it seems like nothing is happening because we can’t see anything. Yet, look deep within. Take an active participation and hold steady with the light in your meditations. Bring your awareness to a cycle as you move through your TRT® hands-on positions.

We hold, but we’re not passively holding. Our hearts flutter in anticipation. We have the knowledge that a Resurrection is coming.

We wait for the flame to be lit.

We wait for the sun to rise.

We wait for the moment we will walk free into the light.

We wait through Holy Saturday.

Happy New Year 2019

Hello To New Year 2019

Last year was a wild ride and it appears that the bumps in the road will continue.

As a new year rolls into view and we practice writing 2019, remember to listen to the quiet voice in the heart – even while everything and everyone around us runs at a frantic pace.

Take Time For You

Be sure to take time for the little things this new year. Take a break from social media, set down the smart phone and enjoy a walk among the trees.

Bake some bread or cookies. Make a thick stew. Read a book, one that you actually hold in your hands.

Take time to exercise and stretch, to listen to music, to nurture your joy.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled

In this rough-and-tumble world, even if it seems like it’s crumbling around you, look past the worldly troubles and focus on the light in your heart.

For students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), take time for a meditation with TRT® hands-on in Front Position #1, in the heart. Use of TRT® expands the radiant energy of your heart center. It supports a deepening of heart-filled wisdom. Listen to your heart as you decide which way to go.

Happy New Year!

“Let not your heart be troubled…” from The Bible, New Testament, John 14:1

The Stillness of Christmas

Christmas Eve Is Here

How did Christmas get here so fast? It seems like only yesterday we were cleaning up after a Thanksgiving feast. Another week or two to get ready for Christmas would definitely be welcomed.

But ready or not, here it is, and now it’s an opportunity to practice being in the moment. Forget what the mind says about time, if we have enough or what the future holds. Here we are, in this very moment.

It’s time to turn our focus to the symbolism of the birth of a holy light. A light of the world that guides us to a greater light within us.

The Stillness of Christmas

Christmas mass is attended and many celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We also welcome the arrival of Santa Claus and presents are placed under the Christmas tree. Others nurture in their hearts the winter solstice and the growing light. Shops close early, people tuck into their homes.

Christmas is a time of stillness over much of the planet. A brief, still moment settles around us. It’s a cherished moment in contrast to the chaotic cacophony and frenetic activity of this world. Let that shared stillness enter your heart and wrap around your shoulders like a warm blanket.

As a student of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®), you can apply TRT® hands-on, especially in your heart to expand more light within you. Connect with the stillness inside of you. As a student of The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique®, you can tap into the stillness around the planet and direct radiant energy to expand on peace and goodwill.

May your Christmas be bright.

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.