What’s Life About?

A friend was saying she was just pondering life and what it’s all about. It got me thinking, “What is life about?” What’s your purpose for living. Mine is simple I live to serve God and to be made perfect through His Son, but what about everybody else?

Some people will say, “I live for my family.” For others it may be for a specific hobby. People strive for all sorts of things: studying something they love until they’ve mastered it, playing a specific game or just games in general, the pursuit and achievement in a certain career.

Whatever the reason, I don’t believe everybody can say that they have a blanket answer to that question. Not everyone has the same goal in life. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? I suppose to look for the answers to those questions you’ll have to find out what you want and go for it no matter who tells you it’s crazy or impossible.

I’ve never known what to do with my life, but, for me atleast, as long as I’m with God I know He’ll help me find out where He wants me to be.

This is a pretty short one, my avidReaders. It was just something I’ve been pondering myself.

God bless and stay safe🌸

Battlefield

Hope on the battlefield

War can be summed up as a conflict between two or more parties characterized by extreme violence, destruction and high mortality rates. I don’t think I need say more on that particular topic. Now, let’s take a walk through history and see what ancient warriors faced.

The first war ever documented was in 2700 BC and it occurred in ancient Mesopotamia. It was between the Sumerians and Elamites. In ancient times wars were typically fought between clans, this due to all the too familiar ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality that we still subconsciously practice today. This was originally born out of a fear of the other culture. In ancient times war was used as a means to expand, protect or conquer a neighbouring land in order to steal resources. Now up until WW1 these warriors would’ve made use of whatever was on hand. This was where the evolution of weaponry would’ve become extremely urgent. In ancient Mesopotamia they made use of infantry shock troops, which would’ve then fought in hand-to-hand combat. Egyptian composite bows came onto the battlefield. This along with bronze weapons and war chariots all were products of the Hyksos empire that invaded Lower Egypt in 1782 BC. Before the Hyksos, the Egyptian’s weaponry consisted of wood or cane. These early warriors would’ve made use of such weapons as the atlatl (similar to a light javelin), spears, falx, bows and arrows, slings (we’ve all heard the story of David and the Giant Goliath). Then the weapons of close combat would’ve been such things as swords, spears, clubs, maces, axes and knives. In defense of castles or fortresses or in a siege attempt, long-distance weaponry such as catapults, battering rams as well as what was called siege towers. Later on in history we see such ground-breaking inventions as the crossbow, the use of steel swords and shields. Military tactics would’ve also evolved over the years to get us to where we are today. Before I go on let me just say, that although all these advances were made, many men still lost their lives and those that survived got poor medical assistance even dying from the very doctors that were supposed to be helping them. The ancient history of war is a rather vicious tale.

Now let’s jump forward a few hundred years in history, specifically the early 1900s. This would’ve been around the time of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Fredinand in 1914. This assassination caused the First World War often referred to as ‘the war to end all wars’ as well as ‘The Great War’. This war was fought between two warring factions ‘The Allied Powers’ and ‘The Central Powers’. This war lasted a total of 4 years ending in 1918. It has been referred to as ‘the Trench Wars’ due to such new military technology as the creation of mustard gas and landmines. These new weapons only increased the carnage and destruction on the battlefield. If you have ever watched the newly released biographical film Tolkien, you will have been given a glimpse of what these men went through while in those trenches. There are plenty of other films I can mention, another biographical film that gives us a deeper insight into the emotional as well as psychological impact this had is the film Goodbye Christopher Robin. Suffice to say, these men lived in the trenches as they were too afraid to move out and the trauma they underwent was so extreme it lingered for the rest of their lives. In this horrific war, there were however still moments when the soldiers showed that they were still human. One such story I heard was that on a particular Christmas Day, a man from one side waved a white flag to show that he didn’t want to fight, the other man got up and both walked across no-man’s land to exchange Christmas gifts from whatever parcels they had been sent from their families back home. That day, both sides put down their guns and spent the day celebrating this special holiday with whatever parcels they had received from home. So even though there were violent times, there were also times when they were just men.

Now let’s jump to the year 1939, when a certain Austrian-German dictator appeared on the scene–yes, none other than Adolf Hitler. Now, while WW2 is always associated with this cruel and inhuman dictator, the main cause for this can actually be traced back to the Treaty of Versailles some years prior. This simple document, that the Central Powers were almost forced to sign, held Germany accountable for all the damages lost during the war and they were required to pay reparations to the Allied Powers for the losses they sustained during the war. This destroyed not only the economy of the Germans, but their morale as well, making very fertile ground for Adolf to plant his seeds of hatred and for his ideals to quickly become accepted by the majority of the German people. Germany was looking for a leader that could help them and Hitler said all the right words to win the hearts of these desperate people. He soon established his youth league which he brainwashed with his doctrines. These young men were taken from their homes to be educated by Hitler’s own teachers. These youth he sent to spread the lies they had been taught, almost like a cancer, among the German people.

World War 2 has been noted as the deadliest conflict in human history. With a death toll in the 70 – 85 million range. In a previous article I mention a book called The Silver Sword, this story took place during the Second World War. Hitler made the same mistake made by a previous man of great prowess–Napoleon Bonaparte. Like Napoleon, Hitler sent his army–young boys–off into the harsh Russian winter with hardly any provisions, which ended in the death of thousands of boys. You see the farmers, in their wisdom, had adopted what was called ‘the policy of burnt ground’ so as the army advanced they had no means by which to get food or shelter from the harsh conditions. In the very end this policy was what killed the boys as they had no means of survival. A harsh reminder of what we lose in war.

On the other side of the coin, in order to stave off the advance of Hitler, there was Winston Churchill who stood stalwart. While the House of Lords were willing to give in to Hitler’s promises, Churchill, looking for the desire of his fellow countrymen, took the train on the way to meet with Parliament, on the very day they would decide what to do. He was obviously recognized by all the people on the train and started talking with them, asking them what they wanted him, as their Prime Minister, to do . Their response was that if it came to it they would fight Hitler’s forces on their very doorsteps, even the women were willing to fight alongside their husbands. Churchill took this response to the House of Commons and convinced them that the people did not want this and actually turned the tide in the war. Churchill broke Germany, not with power or weaponry, but by boosting the morale of his people and they were able to hold out until Hitler’s forces became so convinced they would never take England. Churchill encouraged his people to remain steadfast, this boosting of morale alone caused them to win over Hitler. When Hitler realized he would never take England, this compounded with the war within his own ranks, he was led him to take his own life and that of his wife in his bunker underneath his Berlin headquarters by cyanide capsule.

Now that I’ve covered two of the most brutal wars in history, I think I’ll take a look in detail at what the aftermath of the war did to these men. So, what happened after the war?

As well as physical wounds, such as the loss of limbs, eyesight and various other physical scars, they were left scars that could never heal. The most well-known of these psychological wounds is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD for short. Life was hard for men who came home with this condition (A.A. Milne creator of Winnie the Pooh, himself had this condition after his return from World War 1) and had no one to identify or help them deal with this horrible condition. There were also some who were rejected by their own hometowns. Some men have come home with no one to help them cope with what happened or what they were forced to do to survive. Sometimes, these men had to kill their own injured comrades in order to save the lives of their fellow soldiers–these scars they will always carry in their hearts. Some men that came home couldn’t sleep on beds, because all they had had to sleep on was the cold, hard ground. These horrific conditions affected men in more ways than just how they slept. Sounds were also something that could cause an immediate response in these men. Balloons popping, for example, could cause a flashback to trauma caused by events on the battlefield. One symptom of PTSD is sleeplessness, caused by nightmares, and extreme anxiety. Thankfully, PTSD became a recognized condition by doctors in recent years and now these brave souls who came home could get the help they needed in order for them to readjust to their lives at home.

It’s important to note that men who went to war aren’t the only heroes, what about the men who stayed home and maintained order in their countries? The men who guarded the borders from terrorist attacks or the men who had to go into the riots to either pick up dead bodies, try to defend innocent civilians or risk their lives in order to break up fights before they turned into full-blown riots? Aren’t they heroes, too?

A war can never be won, wars are fought daily in our minds, whether we were in battle or not. We all fight all kinds of mental wars daily. Only by God’s grace can we find the strength to fight these battles. He won the greatest war that has ever been fought, the war for our souls. He had no reason to do what He did, but He sacrificed everything He could give so that we could be free. He knew we’d already lost the war, so He came down and fought for us. He bears the scars in His hands and feet, where He sits beside His Father. One day He’s coming back to fight the last war that will ever be fought. We fight wars for peace, but war only breeds more war. True peace can only be found in Jesus Christ, who fought the war for us, died for us, yet rose and won the war for our souls. Now, we have the choice are we going to carry on fighting our wars on our own or are we going to ask for help? Because there is always someone who can fight for you and He is always there, hands out-stretched ready to help you fight the wars you can never win on your own.

Have an amazing weekend and God bless you, my avidReaders.

Why We Wash Our Hands

Thank you, Robert Koch and Louis Pasteur

We’ve all been raised to wash our hands every time we get sick, cough or sneeze. Wash your hands before dinner. Wash your hand after you’ve been to the bathroom. We all know this and we all know why–germs love to stick to you. They are spread through poor hygiene as well as touch. Another carrier of germs are your pets. They get themselves into all sorts of places and get exposed to all sorts of things, this makes it very easy for them pick up all sorts of germs. Washing them regularly may be a chore, but it stops the spread of germs and decreases the likelihood of them bringing ticks and other nasty little critters into your house.

All this is very simply treated by proper hygiene and washing your hands after handling dangerous substances, as well as maintaining a clean house. When treating pandemics we use bio-hazard outfits and gloves as well as other means by which we can attempt to stop the spread of the specific pandemic we are fighting. If an individual is suspected of being exposed to this particular virus, they are immediately tested and quarantined as a precaution. All these measures are to prevent further spread of the contagion. Various tests would then be run to identify the virus causing the pandemic, but all that would be taken care of by the CDC in conjunction with the WHO.

Things weren’t always handled with such precaution, though, in the earlier years of medicine. In 1861, Louis Pasteur published a theory that would become known as his ‘germ theory’ in which he stated that bacteria caused viruses. Back then, this same theory was only believed by one other scientist, Robert Koch. Robert Koch, a German doctor, pioneered this same belief that led Pasteur to his theories. However, it was only in the late 1900s that Koch started isolating the bacteria that caused viruses, such as TB and Cholera. These two men, as well as a very small segment of other scientists, believed that diseases were caused by micro-organisms or, as Pasteur had already called it, germ theory.

In those days scientists believed that an illness or disease was caused by an internal problem. It was also believed that a disease could also be caused by bad blood, causing a practice known as blood-letting. These beliefs along with poor hygiene by the general public and the fact that a doctor would move from patient to patient without washing his hands, just helped to further spread disease and cause the death of the patients they were meant to be helping. A doctor would handle a dead patient and then carry the bacteria to his next healthy patient. Pasteur, however, had a different approach to this, he insisted that any doctor, nurse or attendant who worked in his hospital was to practice proper hygiene and wash their hands after dealing with each and every patient. This practice alone increased the survival rate and general well-being of his patients. This all started because of a situation in the French silk industry, where Pasteur was able to identify two micro-organisms that were causing a blight on the silkworms in the factories.

Before the discovery of germ theory, in the Middle Ages, people believed that illnesses were caused by foul odors or “evil spirits”. All these beliefs, we know to be incorrect, caused many deaths among the common folk. A lot of these people rarely saw their children survive to adulthood as something as insignificant as a cold could kill their children and the elderly. In early London, filth was thrown out of windows. Anything from dirty bathwater to human excrement was simply tossed onto the sidewalk out of buckets, this, in turn, caused what became the Black Death. This vicious plague caused the death of 25 million people all across Europe in the 14th century. People blamed the infected rats, but if we look at it with hindsight, we are able to see that they provided a perfect breeding ground for these infected rats to spread and infect as many people as they did.

It has been almost a century and a half since these two great men of science discovered that tiny micro-organisms could cause such vicious diseases. Because of Robert Koch, we now have four criteria by which we can identify a virus. These we call ‘Koch’s Postulates’ and to this very day they are still in practice.

Modern day pandemics can be caused by many things, but with all our knowledge from the giants of science that have walked before us, we are now able to look back with hindsight and use their knowledge to identify and treat patients. These pioneers of germ theory were often called crazy and sometimes sent to asylums for believing what we know to be fact today. We owe these men many thanks as they have saved our lives through their discoveries.

Next time you wash your hands with soap or take a shower, think of men like Koch and Pasteur who taught us what proper hygiene is. Take care of yourself when you are ill and take your medicine, it’s a blessing that we have thanks to brave men who defied everything they had been taught and walked where no other scientist had. We are so fortunate to have doctors who help us when we are sick, give us medicine and tell us what’s wrong. God bless these men.

Always remember, my avidReaders, that when doctors fail us, we have a Heavenly Father, who knows our bodies better than any doctor. Turn to Him for healing and He will undertake for you.

God bless you all.

An Odd Demotivational Poster

Be bold! Be brave! Believe!

We’ve all had those days when we wake up and we feel like nothing is working out–as though we were born for failure. Why was I even born? Just to screw up? Just to be unloved, unaccepted? Sometimes we just don’t even want to try anymore.

Can I tell you a secret? Even the most successful people have days when they wake up and they feel empty or uninspired to do anything. I, myself, prefer to look for my motivation in the one place I know I’ll find it. I look to the Bible, all throughout the pages of the Word of God are people who felt like we do. I woke up this morning and it was just the most frustrating and horrendous morning. I had just finished an article the day before that Ihated and I just felt like a failure. While hanging up laundry, a lightbulb went on and I knew what my next article should be. My source of motivation and the inspiration for my next article would come from the pages of My Father’s Living Word. So I looked at a man who lost EVERYTHING, but still knew where his comfort and salvation lay. His story is found in the Old Testament.

His name was Job and he was a very wealthy man who lived in the land of Ur. He had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 she-asses. He also had a rather large household, that would include servants as well as family members. He was a righteous and upright man in the eyes of God. One day when all the angels came to present themselves before God,

Lucifer said “I have been all over this earth”

and God asked him “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is a good and righteous man.” Lucifer’s counter to this was that God had made him prosperous and that was why he served Him. He then went on to say that if God took all his wealth away he would turn on Him. So God said to him that he could take everything from Job, but that he shouldn’t harm him. In one day Job lost everything–his wealth and his family. All gone in the matter of one day. Job went into mourning for the loss of his children. Still, he refused to turn on God and praised Him rather saying that what he had God had given to him. Lucifer saw this and challenged God again saying that if his very flesh was touched with illness Job would turn on God. So again, God gave permission to harm his flesh only he was not allowed to take his life. So we see Job become struck with boils from the very top of his head all the way to the sole of his feet. In this condition, Job’s wife said to him, “Curse God and die!” Job would not and rebuked his wife for saying such a thing against God even calling her a “foolish woman”. Despite all that had happened Job still would not blamed God instead thinking he was the reason. Had he sinned? Throughout the rest of the book right up until Chapter 38, God is quiet in all Job’s bemoaning. Then God speaks and reminds Job that God is God and that He had made the very ground Job sat on. He then proceeds to ask Job a series of questions such as “Where were you when I made the very foundations of the earth?” and “Who provides for the raven his food?” After all these questions Job admits that he was wrong to doubt that God was all-powerful and Job just needs to trust in God’s plan. In the end of the book, we see Job is blessed doubly in all he had before. He had 7 more sons and 3 more daughters. God blessed him and exalted him. A man who had no motivation found it in God and God encouraged him by showing him that God was always there and that He is all Job ever needed.

Next we move to the New Testament. Now in this section of the Bible we are going to take a look at a man whose journey starts in the book of Acts chapter 9. A man by the name of Paul. Now Paul’s life did not begin as a man of God. He was a persecutor of God’s church. Paul was a witness at the martyring of Stephen. He went on to persecute the church, until one day God stopped him right in his tracks and asked him “Saul, Saul why are persecuting me?” Paul asks him, “Who are you, Lord?” and the Lord answered him, “I am Jesus whom you persecute. Why do you resist my pricking in your own heart?” Paul, understandably astonished, says, “Lord what would you have me do?” And from that moment on Paul went far and wide preaching to all the churches that he, himself, had been instrumental in scattering. People were scared at first not trusting this man who had killed so many of their fellow believers, but assured by God and Paul’s own testimony, he became a great messenger of God to the churches. His letters to the churches make up most of our New Testament, we call them ‘epistles’. However, Paul did not have a life of sunshine and roses. Paul experienced tons of rejection, in one town it was so bad that the church there lowered him through a window in a basket so he could get away before they killed him. He was shipwrecked a total of 3 times, beaten 3 times, stoned once, and spent a day and night at sea adrift. Yet, not once do you hear Paul accusing God, instead we see a man who carried on doing the work of His Saviour. If anyone had cause to be demotivated and discouraged, Paul would’ve probably been him.

Let me take us back into the Old Testament and just briefly discuss two major prophets: Jeremiah and Elijah. There are many more I could discuss, but these two are the most prominent. Jeremiah you will probably remember as the “Weeping Prophet” or the “Prophet of Doom”. Jeremiah had a very painful calling of God, yet he kept on as God had commanded him. God sent Jeremiah to Israel despite the fact that they wouldn’t listen and his ministry would be rejected. Now how’s that for motivation? Being told that what you’re doing is going to be of no purpose to the people it was supposed to be teaching. We, as children of God, can now look at the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations and see warnings and comfort from God, but for Jeremiah this was probably the hardest time of his life. He suffered greatly from depression, as did many of the prophets, which brings us to our next prophet, Elijah.

Elijah was the prophet that challenged the prophets of Baal. The challenge was whose god was real and whose god Israel would serve. Israel was on the fence, about which god to serve–Baal or the God of Israel? So, Elijah then presents a challenge to the prophets of Baal. The conditions were very simple: both were to prepare a sacrifice and the true god would send fire from heaven to burn up the sacrifice. You can read the whole event in 1 Kings 18: 20- 40. Suffice to say, as He always does and always will, God came through. Yet after this, Elijah runs into the desert to hide from the wicked queen Jezebel who was none to pleased that all her prophets had been killed. We find him in a cave bemoaning his lot, similar to Job. He says to God, “I am the only prophet alive in Israel.” and God’s reply is, “No, you are not there are 100 prophets of Israel hidden away.” All this time God sends food and drink to give Elijah the strength he would need to continue on the journey Elijah still had to take. God was’t finished working with Elijah.

I have only mentioned four of the thousands of prophets and teachers mentioned in the Bible, but as you can see, despite one day being on top of the world, they sunk to the bottom very quickly. It happens to everyone. We all need God’s strength and motivation to keep moving forward. It can be something you hear from a friend, a song, a message on the radio or a thousand other ways.

I started this blog feeling so demotivated, but now I feel motivated to keep writing. Simply walking through the Scriptures has reminded me that no matter how sad or demotivated I feel, the only source of inspiration I will ever need is my God.

God bless you and keep you motivated, my avidReaders.

The Will to Survive

I was asked a question by a follower of this blog and it made me wonder, “What would happen if mob mentality took over? Would we plunder stores? Start ransacking empty houses while the inhabitants fled perhaps to a safer location?” While I can’t answer for everybody, it is an interesting thought, isn’t it? “What would happen if we were all put in a position where we had to fight to survive?” This thought, in turn, made me ask myself, “Are we selfish creatures?” And while there are people who will say ‘no’ and others who would agree, it is a very good question to ask ourselves. Who am I? Am I selfish? Am I selfless? Where do we stand on this existential question?

In H.G. Wells book, “War of the Worlds”, Wells puts his Narrator in a position where he is forced to share an abandoned house with a selfish drunkard. While the Narator is trying to ration out their resources between the two of them, he struggles with his greedy and selfish companion to ration out what they find in the pantry and wine cellar. Still, one morning he wakes up to find that, not only has his foolish and selfish companion almost emptied what was left of the pantry, he has also almost depleted their supply in the wine cellar in his gluttony. Here, for the first time in his life, the Narrator is faced with a difficult decision: does he kill his companion or leave in search of other provisions and, perhaps, a safer place to hide? I won’t tell you the answer to that question, if you wish to find out, read the book. It is the most amazing look at what a person will do to survive.

Another example of this is “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding. In Lord of the Flies we observe a group of young boys that quickly strive to develop a semblance of order after finding themselves stranded on an island, but instead of working together to establish a community, all that happens is we watch them rapidly disintegrate into absolute chaos and brutality. They end up with a power struggle amongst themselves and begin to fight over resources. Golding, like Wells, had a very firm grasp on humanity’s will to survive and the lengths we’ll go to in order to survive. In the book he takes a further look into mankind’s base nature.

Two examples that come from both movies, as well as the books they’re based on, are the Maze Runner trilogy and the Hunger Games trilogy. In both trilogies we witness what happens when people are pitted against one another and forced to do what they must to survive. The Maze Runner puts their characters in scenarios where they are forced to participate in a set of various experiments where their will to survive is tested. In this book we see only a few of these characters survive in the end as not all of them were able to survive despite their companions doing their utmost to assist them. Here we see a positive look at what they were willing to do for each other, as well as what some of them were willing to do to survive, sometimes even sacrificing themselves in order for the others to survive. Definitely one of the best of the modern day teenage ficition I’ve read.

Now let’s have a look at the Hunger Games. I have watched the movies, but haven’t personally read the books. When one watches the Hunger Games, it is truly atrocious how people are pitted against each other in a game of death where only one champion survives. These ‘victors’ are lauded and glorified by their districts as heroes. Nothing could be more horrifying BUT our heroine arises, one Katniss Eberdeen. Katniss, as anyone who’s watched the movie knows, sacrifices herself for her little sister, Prim. In the Hunger Games, we witness something similar to what happened in Rome at the Coliseum. However, the witnesses to the Hunger Games were exclusively the rich and their viewers were extremely flamboyant. Their blood-thirsty nature preyed on these innocent children’s lives and, in-turn, caused them to kill each other purely for the viewer’s own entertainment. We even see the effects that this has on the victor’s psyche. Man’s cruel abuse in forcing fellow humans to make a choice between heroism or survival, between life or death, is an age old act.

My last example comes from the greatest of the poets and playwrights the world will ever know, our beloved Shakespeare. In his play, Macbeth, we see Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, led by a prophecy from three witches that they would rule the kingdom one day, but this would come at a heavy cost to them. Despite the warning given, they were willing to kill anyone who stood between them and the throne. However, in the end, this cost them their very lives. Their greed for power killed them, just as the witches had prophesied.

For interest sake, other examples of what we mentioned above are the series “Lost”, “Survivor” and the movie “Life of Pi”. I can’t vouch for Survivor, but I will say that “Lost”and the “Life of Pi” are a perfect example of man’s inhumanity toward man.

We have looked at a few examples from classics and modern day fiction. Now let’s have a look at what leading psychologists have to say about this particular topic.

The term ‘Wille zum Leben’ or ‘will to survive’ was orginally coined by Arthur Schopenhauer who was a German philosopher born in Poland on the 22nd of February 1788. He stated that it was a psychological force of self-preservation, whether conscious or unconcious, representing an active and necessary process of reasoning causing an autonomic response to survive. Many people who survived near-death experiences describe it as their “driving force”, in other words what kept them fighting to stay alive. Psychologists have something else to add to this statement, saying that this is coupled with our hopes and expectations for the future. This is something I never even considered, but it is a very valid point. Why fight to survive if not for a specific purpose or hope in the future?

This desire to survive at all costs has been called many things by many people. Sigmund Freud called it ‘the pleasure principle’. Viktor Frankl, developed a type of psychotherapy he called ‘logotherapy’. Maslow’s Hierarchy, which represents the different priorities we have established in our lives, has at it’s very basis the will to surivive, before such requirements as love and the need to belong. As well as all this, our will to live is also influenced by our existent drives, should they be diminshed or achieved it may affect us in a negative or even positive aspect, this could sometimes lead to depression or feelings of euphoria/happines. Psychologists have much to say about man’s various drives and how they tie into our own will to survive, but they can all agree that every living creature has an innate will to live despite all odds.

Two other things that can affect our will to live are ‘fear’ and ‘pain’. While pain alerts us to a problem within our bodies and enables us to quickly identify the problem and treat it, it can also be an emotional suffering for example the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship that you greatly valued. However, fear is a far more complex creature. Typically fear releases adrenaline giving us the needed stimulus to run and seek safety or security, or even to fight off whatever is causing danger. Fear may sometimes be because of an outside stimulus, but sometimes, despite all logic, fear exists. In the treatment of this kind of fear, finding a coping mechanism is recommended, or even seeing a doctor who can help you. Sometimes it may be a chemical problem that can’t be cured by an external force. Anything as long as it gives you an escape from what causes your anxiety or fear.

We are hard-wired to survive for a variety of reasons, even the simplest of organisms face this same pressure to advance and succeed. There was a Japanese hiker who, after being seperated from his tour group, essentially hibernated for 24 days. Humans don’t hibernate. This amazing man was discovered to have no damage to his body at all. He recovered without any brain damage. Here we can clearly see he was not willing to give up his will to survive.

There are many movies and stories out there of people who suffered the most traumatic experiences, but despite all odds, these people survived. In school my mother read us the book, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier. This story is the journey of 6 young people striving to be re-united with their parents in Switzerland during the Polish Holocast. In one scene, in order to escape a prison camp, Edek, the oldest brother, had to cling onto the bottom of a train in the freezing cold winter. If you want to read what happened to these brave children and their journey of courage, faith and survival look for the book. You won’t regret it, I promise.

When it comes to survival, there will always be the selfish and the selfless. I like to think I’m the latter and not the former, but only once I’m in that position will I know for sure. That’s a question I hope I never have to answer. It’s a question I hope none of you will ever have to answer.

I have a new Facebook page called the Weird and Wonderful on Facebook, I have shared the link on my Facebook page already. Share and follow, I will be posting weird and wonderful little facts for your interest. Again, thank you for your continued support. I appreciate each and everyone of you. 🙂

God bless you all my avidReaders. Look after yourselves.

Mothers

A mother’s tender heart is something we will always need

Good morning all my beloved avidReaders! I know I’ve taken a while to post my next article and I do apologize. Work has been no joke.

I just thought I’d post a short little poem for all you glorious women out there who somehow manage a house, kids, being a wife and working full-time. You women are genuine superheroes! There was a little poem in an old Grade 4 student’s text book which I will post below. However, before I do, let me just say that you are all a blessing specially crafted by God to be able to do what you do😇 Thank you to all of you unsung superwomen out there without capes, or catchphrases or Batmobiles🤣, you are all amazing and wonderful and I pray God bless all of you magnificent people today!

Mother, oh mother,

There is no other,

Lady I find,

Who is so kind!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there! 🌺🤗

Music of the Soul

We’ve all experienced times in our lives when we’ve felt down or in need of upliftment. As I write this I, myself am listening to a collection of the most relaxing classical music. I find it helps me concentrate when I’m doing research, while when I’m doing other work an audiobook or a combination of various genres help me concentrate. A lot of people think this is a distraction but oddly enough for me it helps me channel my focus. Now I’m not saying this works for everyone, because obviously it won’t, but it does raise the question: How does music affect us? How is it that some people can work to hard rock, while others can only use classical music, sometimes even no music at all? Why is this?

According to research done in 2013, music was seen as a leisure activity as well as a ubiquitous companion in our everyday lives. It seems to have no practical purpose, yet it consumes so much of our time and energy. This is, however, not something that is new to the world, ever since ancient times music has been enjoyed by many various cultures and peoples. This in turn has spurred on a lot of curiosity and investigation into its origins and function.

All throughout history many philosophers, psychologists, anthropologists, scientists, musicologists and neuroscientists have offered various theories about the origin and purpose of music. Scientific investigations have been conducted to pursue further research into this. However, none could discover the origin of music as it is so shrouded in mystery. There does not appear to be any written or physical evidence of the origins of music. Thus there will always be a lot of speculation surrounding its beginnings. There does seem to be some promising clues in the function of music. It is believed that perhaps by looking at music’s application today we can piece together how it was used in ancient times, but again, there is more research required before we can determine any definitive answers.

What is the impact of music’s influence, at biological and psychological level, on the human brain? Since the middle of the 20th century, a good deal of research has been invested in this particular area of study.

According to an article, published by the Guardian, there are various ways music can affect a human’s neurochemistry. For example, classical music has a tendency to make people shop more, as it puts them in a more relaxed state of mind and gentle tunes can help in the treatment of insomnia. I can attest to this, as when I was a little girl my father made me listen to Beta-Kit (https://naturegraphics.eu/betakit-global-study-system-64/) at night to help me sleep and it worked like a charm. Research has also concluded that group singing, such as choirs, church events or even live concerts where the attendees sing along, help humans bond by releasing a bonding hormone called Oxytocin. It’s been observed that listening to music which increases adrenaline levels can help you stay awake on long drives, however this can also make you drive more aggressively. On the other side of the spectrum listening to music that relaxes you can actually decrease the amount of ‘vigilance chemical’ known as Noradrenaline. A half hour of classical music can actually help you re-establish your sleep patterns. An example of this is Marconi Union’s song Weightless that has been scientifically formulated to put you into a state of relaxation and slumber. It is so effective that it is advised that you don’t play it while driving. The band put a fair amount of research into how to affect the neurochemistry of people’s minds, in order to write a piece of music that would induce this state.

Despite everything we’ve just read, the biological role of music and its psychological effects in relation to mental disorders, is still very poorly understood. Perhaps clinical neuroscience can give us new insight into this phenomenon?

These new insights could help us look deeper into the effects music has on mental disorders by investigating the cognitive and neural architecture of music and even looking at a subject’s personal accounts of the role of music in their biological processes. There is a definite correlation between music and its positive effect on mental disorders. This is something which has been derived from various sources of evidence, discovered in the fields of comparative theology, cognitive neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies in both the normal and disordered mind.

Along with all the various ways it can affect your brain chemistry, music has the ability to improve your intelligence according to leading scientists. Listening to ambient music, at a moderate volume, can stimulate creativity and help repair brain damage. Music, when learnt at an early age, can aid a child in their vocabulary and help to improve their nonverbal reasoning. It’s even been said that the nerve makeup of musicians is different from that of non-musicians, suggesting that musician’s minds have more bundles of nerves that bridge the left side of the brain to the right. Producing music, requires making use of more than one area of the brain.

There are numerous ways music affects our biology. It has positive medicinal effects, such as treating anxiety, inhibiting fatigue, changing your pulse and respiration levels even affecting your blood pressure levels. When treating epilepsy and coma patients, Mozart’s “Piano Sonata in D Major” has shown to have a positive outcome.

Another form of music, commonly known, is “mood music”. When it comes to this specific genre of music, as well as increasing serotonin levels, it’s also been proven in a study conducted on 44 women, that women who listen to romantic music are more likely to hand out their phone numbers than women who listen to other genres of music.

Anyone who exercises or plays sports will know, listening to music makes the whole experience that much more pleasant. Music can also boost your endurance and help with your exercise routine. It has been found that cyclists who listen to music while cycling, use 7% less oxygen than others who don’t. A song’s bpm (specifically one at 145bpm) can affect your motivation. Spotify’s Running playlist has taken advantage of this knowledge.

Songs that have been known to boost endurance are:

  • Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”
  • Spoon’s “Don’t Make Me a Target”
  • Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance?”

Music can also boost your mood, such as the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Singing in the shower has also proven to show marked improvement in patients suffering from diseases such as Aphasia and Parkinson’s.

Whatever the science or psychology behind it, we can all agree that music has -and always will- play a vital role in our society, even children, as young as they are, can pick up emotions, and reliably identify what is expressed in music. This all due to the emotion, reward and memory it brings.

Music will always be a part of our lives. Some referred to it as the sound of the soul, which I think is a perfect description. When there are no words or ways to express how you feel, a single song can make all the difference in the world. A cheery song to someone who is feeling down, a song of love and compassion to a person who is feeling unloved and lonely, or a song filled with pain and sorrow sung together with another human being, can change their entire outlook on their situation. We don’t have to use words to lift their spirits. To just be with them and share a song, that has helped you get through the same or similar situation, can make all the difference.

I have found that when I sing praises to my Jesus, I no longer hear the thunderstorm raging all around me. It reminds me that the God I serve, is louder, more powerful and greater than any thunderstorm I could ever go through!

So my dear avidReaders, if you ever feel down or just want to celebrate life, listen to a good song. It will make all the difference in the world!

https://www.facebook.com/VaalTaki/
Hey guys, I got the chance to hear these guys live and they are really talented as well as super chilled and down to earth. Come on SA let’s represent! These guys are local blood!

God bless you all, my darling avidReaders!

A Cardiff Cookbook

The above image is a cookbook belonging to my great-grandmother. While sorting out my mother’s recipe books a month or two back I came across this particular book. My great-grandmother grew up in the Isles of Scilly and these were some of the recipes she no doubt grew up on. My mother and I went through them together and were surprised by the ingenuity of our ancestors. The way they treated colds alone left us speechless. So I decided I would share some of the recipes my great-grandmother would have followed.

Below is an image of a recipe for Stuffed Heart, still a common dish in many countries.

The next dish is something called “Stewed Sweetbread and White Sauce”. Sweetbread is the thymus (also called throat, gullet or sweetbread) or pancreas (also called stomach, belly or gut sweetbread) of a calf or lamb. Beef or pork is a less commonly used alternative. There are various other ingredients that can be utilized when cooking sweetbread. A few of these include what is called “heart” sweetbreads, these are more spherical in shape, while “throat” sweetbreads are more cylindrical in shape. The parotid gland (cheek or ear) and sublingual gland (tongue or throat) are other ingredients utilized when cooking sweetbread. Below is the recipe my great-grandmother would have followed for her sweetbread.

This dish is called Calf’s Head and is typically served with brain sauce made from the calf’s brains once they have been removed. One of the various recipes involves seasoning the brains with bread crumbs, salt and pepper, accompanied by a glass of Port or Claret to be used as sauce. The Port/Claret that remains can be used in a soup the following day. There are various other recipes online one can follow, but I decided to post the recipe my great-grandmother would have followed.

As the above recipe mentioned Brain Sauce, I thought it only right to post the recipe right underneath it’s corresponding dish. There are many variations of this dish. There are recipes for Brain Sauce and Witch Hair and Baked Devil’s Brain in Blood Sauce, among a host of other variations for this particular dish.

These next two recipes I thought I’d put together as they both have the same main ingredient. Eels are still a fish enjoyed in various countries all across the world including England, Japan, Korea and certain coastal towns villages in Asia.

This last dish is a pudding that is still quite popular as an after dinner dessert in the Southern United States, Tipsy Cake. It is traditionally served in England and several small cakes stacked together. One other variation is stale pound cake or angel baked food cake, fruit jam, one ounce of Whiskey, five ounces of Sherry and warm vanilla pie filling or custard.

These are just a few of the many recipes my mother inherited from my great-grandmother. It’s of particular interest to see how food has changed over the years. Each generation grows up accustomed to eating different foods and consequently find of the foods their grandparents and parents grew up eating, rather horrifying, sometimes downright repulsive and bizarre. I would bet that if they could see what we eat today, they too, would be surprised.

I hope you found these recipes as interesting as I did. Again thank you for your continued support, my avidReaders.

A World-Wide Flood

About 8 years ago, I decided to investigate the various flood legends across the world for a school oral presentation. I went as far as back as ancient Mesopotamia to gather information.

As we all know the story of the Biblical Flood, I will simply rehash over it:

The world was full of sin even down to the thoughts and imaginations in their hearts. God saw all this and it broke His heart, so He decided to send a great flood to wipe clean the earth of all of man’s wickedness. Only one man found grace in God’s eyes, Noah. God told Noah to build an Ark and for 120 years he did. All of the instructions were given by God and He Himself shut the Ark from the inside. For 40 days and nights it rained on the earth. The earth split open and the water canopy that covered the earth from above poured down onto the earth. It was almost a year before Noah and his family could come out and the rest you can read in the Book of Genesis chapters 8.

Aside from this account, there are over a 1,000 worldwide flood legends from every culture across the globe. The oldest recorded (it is important to note that not all the legends are written ones and most cultures back then practiced oral traditions) flood legend is that of the Gilgamesh Epic, a 12-tablet epic poem written by ancient Babylonians between 2150 – 1400 BC.

But what evidence in the present do we have that such a flood occurred? Well, let’s get digging.

We know from recent floods that a great amount of devastation occurs when there is a flood, but how much would there be if a world-wide flood occurred? The most obvious would be the fault lines all over the globe, proving that something at some point in history tore the earth wide open with such fierceness that it left permanent scars on the outer crust, covering the earth with about a mile of sediment that appear to have been formed by a catastrophic flood.

A team of underwater archaeologists went on an expedition to the Black Sea searching for evidence of such a flood. 400 ft below the surface they discovered an underwater shoreline, proving that a catastrophic event did occur in the Black Sea. From carbon-dating shells found along the shoreline they were able to estimate that a flood did occur 5,000 years ago.

But is the Baltic the only evidence we have that a worldwide flood did occur?

We find fossils all over the world in places they shouldn’t be. We find fossilized mammoths still with undigested food in their stomach. We find fish fossilized in the middle of giving birth. One bizarre example is a fossilized clam that was found on the top of Mt. Everest in the closed position, which is peculiar because when a clam dies it opens up. So why are there fossilized clams in the closed position on top of Mt. Everest? How did they get there? Well, if we assume a flood did occur then we have to ask ourselves if the earth we see today is the same as the earth in Noah’s day. We can see how natural disasters can affect the topography of countries today, so why wouldn’t a global flood do the same, but on a global scale?

I have already pointed out the fault lines all over the earth, but what about the oceans? Were they the same as they are today? Today 71% of the earth is covered by water, whereas only 29% of it is land. Some scientists have posited that the earth before the Flood was much different from the one we see today. They suggest that the earth was mostly land and that the oceans were a lot smaller than they are today. If this is indeed the case, as they suggest, then it would further prove that the waters from above (a water canopy shielding the earth from the solar rays) and the waters from below (the subterranean water chambers) once they had burst would have enlarged our oceans and created the great seas we see today.

Sedimentary rock layers are another thing to be considered. We find rather large amounts of mud and sand deposited onto the continents and ocean floors to form these sedimentary layers. We can see these layers spreading across continents, sometimes even between continents. The physical features in the strata indicate that they were deposited rapidly. Examples of this are Tapeats Sandstone and The Redwall Limestone of Grand Canyon, which can be traced across the U.S up into Canada and even across the Atlantic Ocean into England. The famous chalk beds of England also known as the White Cliffs of Dover can be traced across Europe, into the Middle East and as far as the Midwest of the U.S. and even into Australia. The Coconino Sandstone of Grand Canyon is evidence of 10,000 cubic miles of sand being deposited by huge water currents within only a few days.

These layers that we have mentioned had to have been moved by rapid currents over long distances. How else could they have spread so far, as in the example mentioned above, the Coconino Sandstone. It is thought that ripple marks indicate that this process would take 300 million years, but this would only be possible within a few weeks due to a great flood. There is also evidence of rapid erosion, sometimes no erosion at all, which leads us to believe that layers of rock were rapidly folded and curved while wet and pliable, as once strata hardens there is no way it will bend without fracturing. The Tapeats Standstone of Grand Canyon is a prime examples of strata bending with no evidence of breaking. To suppose that these layers were formed over millions of years is impossible as the strata would have hardened going directly against the evidence that it was still wet and pliable.

Let’s consider something often found in the oceans, chevrons. Chevrons are wedge-shaped configurations in the sand created by waves producing tremendous force. Evidence of these chevrons were found by HIWG via satellite-imagery in Africa and Aisa.

The nutrients and minerals found in these layers would have then been dissolved providing a good food source for the phytoplankton found in the oceans enabling them to grow in this warm, nutrient-rich environment. With the presence of this phytoplankton, zooplankton would be able to develop forming the basis for the entire food chain. Underwater volcanoes would have erupted and great fissures beneath the ocean’s floor would have burst open releasing CO². If the phytoplankton absorbed all this released CO² it would lower the levels of CO² in the atmosphere, thus contributing to the Ice Age. This all would have been caused by the tremendous heat and pressure released during such a traumatic event.

From all the above evidence we can see that at some point in history a catastrophic event occurred that dramatically changed our earth.

There is a lot of debate over this among the scientific community. Some believe it was only a local flood, while others believe it was indeed a global flood as stated in the book of Genesis chapters 6 – 8.

Whether you believe in a global flood or not is for you to decide. I, however, choose to believe that there was a Great Flood that happened thousands of years ago.

I hope you found this article interesting and informative. Thank you for your continued support my avidReaders.

The Circus

The glittering lights are what lured people in—bursts of green, blue, orange, purple and red. The most noise you would probably ever hear in your whole life, but there was no way you were leaving, it was all too beautiful. The walls stand taller than cedars, made of a wood glowing as though lit up by a thousand fireflies, with vines and large green flowers intertwining in and out of the wooden beams. The gates are opened by a man dressed from head-to-toe in what you can only assume is a robe of the most brilliant starlight. He holds out his hand and when you take it, you feel alive with anticipation for what lies before you in this place of magic and mystery. Thus, you find yourself unknowingly walking through, wondering what strange and peculiar magic would meet you under the towering tarpaulin in the very center. It is almost as if you are leaving the world behind you and stepping into another. If I told you, you were, would you stay I wonder? Knowing the magic around you is from another world—a world much like ours, but with a twist which all other worlds possess. The first people you see are the ethereal beings dancing all around you clothed in the most gorgeous shades of jade, violet, topaz, gold and a variety of colours you have never seen before. All of these lit by the same unearthly glow that permeates this magical world.

As you walk passed the food tent, the smell of fine meats, puddings, freshly baked breads and other delicious aromas awaken your hunger and you find yourself in the middle of a food hall filled with hundreds of other people no doubt drawn by the same aromas that drew you. These delectable pastries, meats and puddings aren’t the only thing that leave you speechless. In and amongst the crowds of hungry patrons weave beautiful fairy-like beings in brilliant green and gold silk. They twirl and spin leaving fairy light and bits of fairy dust trailing behind them.

When you leave the food tent, you are caught up in the throng all heading for the main event in the big top. Your breath catches in you throat when your eyes are caught by a woman dressed in a mish-mash of dazzling colours, jewels and jangling beads that cover her clothes. She wears around her neck the all-seeing eye and her hands beckon passers-by to have their palms read and futures told. You see a man a mile high and watch as he walks passef unphased by your presence as though you were not there at all. He wears the colours of the forest and you wonder if he were not a giant like children read of in books.

The quiet sounds of the ferris wheel as it spins around and around at its slow slumbering pace fill the air. The laughing sounds radiating from the carousel and if you listen carefully, you might hear the sounds of the horses whinnying and neighing. They are molded out of the finest wood and their bridles and saddles are painted in the brightest cheerful colours you will ever see. Your senses are filled with wonder. As long as you walk among the stalls and gaze at the wonderful beings around you, the magic will not fade and you will never want to leave—so very few people do, staying in this eternal carnival. A place where magic is commonplace and reality does not exist.

Then you see something that causes you to freeze in your tracks. What it is you can only guess. A lion or a bear? It walks passed on a leash led by a fair young woman, she casts a stark contrast against the creature she leads. She has long gold hair that she has braided beads and flowers into. She wears a simple white dress and sings soothingly as she strolls passed you. The creature looks like a lion, but has the tail of a bear and blinking eyes which decorate its body like Christmas lights on a tree, leaving you both stunned and terrified. You turn around and return to the throng, now surging forward with a force that almost carries you towards the giant tent ahead of them.

Once you enter and have your seat, drink in hand, you wait with the same nervous excitement that fills the tent. The lights all go out as a man steps into the ring, but this man needs no light. With a brilliance that astounds you, he is pure, white light. A giant firefly in this world of oddities.

The act that follows are clowns riding on creatures large as elephants, but gentle-looking like giant kittens. In fact, they are. Giant fluffy creatures that almost swallow the clowns in their fur. Next come elephants, with noses that resemble purple garden hoses and blow flame instead of water, leaving you in awe. Then come the lions that look as big as boulders and have tails decorated with sparkles. This all before beings so beautiful and alluring, as if adorned with a peculiar kind of magic, step out into the ring. Women with hair long and golden like dawn and their eyes as clear as crystal springs emerge first juggling what would appear to be jars filled with light, but look closer and you will see tiny creatures that sparkle like star dust. So beautiful you wouldn’t believe they could exist. These women would dazzle their on-lookers for several minutes and then men appear. Now a small thin woman wearing a light blue dress that glitters just a little as she walks into the ring. The ring-leader announces the girl as she enters the ring. She approaches a ladder leading to the very highest point of the tent, you lean forward in your seat. This angelic being is going to perform an acrobatic act. She flies through the air as though she had wings. Men as thin and flexible as acrobats, yet ask them and they will say they are nothing of the sort, join the woman as she flies through the air. They possess a bone structure unlike any other human being that can bend and stretch, could it be because they aren’t human beings? Although, no one would believe it. They look like any other man you’ve ever seen; only separated by their intense beauty, as though born of fairies—men that could have any woman in the world but love only the strange magic of this ethereal carnival.

When you leave the tent, you are left stunned by all the magic you have just witnessed. It’s almost a shame to leave all this magic behind, but in the distance you hear a faint ringing–your alarm clock. The real world beckons.

Thank you for reading this little short story I wrote. Just a bit of light reading before I get back to my serious articles.

Enjoy your evening, my avidReaders.