We may be worrying about the silent killer lurking within the person just around the isle from us in the grocery store. Have they been exposed to the virus or not? Why do they think they don’t have to wear a mask? Don’t they care about the most vulnerable who also must grocery shop?
We fill our grocery carts with those most “essential” items. What do we have on hand? Will the store run out of these basic things…like flour and SUGAR! We most likely will reach for the SUGAR because we can’t be out of that when we decide to bake our next cake or cookies. My husband loves the Hershey chocolates, wrapped in an individual treat size. Can’t go home without those!
We all know that ONE, tiny wrapped chocolate is never enough. Why is this? Self control may not be a strong point in our makeup…but there may be something chemical that makes us reach for just one more…one more…oh…just one more won’t hurt!…or will it? Believe me, I know from experience how difficult it is to turn down any great dessert…as probably you do also unless you are very disciplined. For some, “THE SWEETER, THE BETTER” as we found out one time when a friend brought us an extremely sweet apple pie. It is a shame to say that it went into the trash. I have found, however, that with some recipes that call for 2 cups of sugar, it really only needs 1 cup to not change the taste.
I also know that the body will adjust to the craving for sweets after a person stops eating these delightful, enjoyable treats. When I was teaching in Mongolia for two months, we ate primarily Russian food. After all, when Russia invaded and occupied Mongolia, they commanded a change in almost everything. That is called “Re-education.” Actually, in their case, reeducation is a euphemism for brainwashing efforts aimed at instilling certain beliefs in people against their will. (word finder)
The Russians removed Mongolian religious temples, required students to learn in their schools the Russian language. Of course over 70 years of occupation, Russian food became the main food of choice…except if the Mongolians were out on the Steppes near the Gobi and no one knew that they were eating “Mongolian style.” I also had the privilege of seeing a Mongolian Ger (tent) out in the countryside and being served REAL Mongolian BBQ. These very hospitable people also enjoy their National Drink of Airag (mildly fermented mare’s milk…an acquired taste is necessary for outsiders) and Buuz, a dumpling.
While I was teaching English to my Mongolian students, I ate less because eating borscht (beetroot and tomatoes) or Kasha (type oatmeal) was not my favorite. I lost 25 pounds. On returning to the States, my dear husband sent me out to buy new clothes…which was a real loving gesture and my Mother took one look at me and said, “I have my daughter back.” That hurt…was I that fat? I guess so…but now it felt like I was skin and bones.
I say all that because after coming home, when I ate my first, small piece of chocolate, it tasted like I had just put a whole sugar bowl in my mouth!! It is also amazing how quickly that problem went away. The brain knows the chemical is back.
Chocolate has a chemical called serotonin. What exactly is serotonin? Some call it the “happy.” chemical in the body. Everyone wants to be happy…right…but at what cost?
As a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. … This includes brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior. (Medical News Today)
What are some of the other chemicals in our basic chocolate?
Chocolate has a significant amount of sugar. In addition to sugar, chocolate also has two other neuroactive drugs, caffeine and theobromine. Chocolate not only stimulates the opiate receptors in our brains, it also causes a release of neurochemicals in the brain’s pleasure centers…Theobromine, formerly known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate. (Article by Thomas Carguilo)
Now we know the chemistry behind one of our favorite foods. Like all things, what should we decide to do about it? Moderation…or throw all advice about sugar out the window? I’m sure we probably will choose the moderation path because of the terrible dangers of diabetes, high cholesterol or tooth decay. How about you? (Maybe watch the video before making that big decision.)
What does the Holy Scripture say about our bodies?
For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. Corinthians 6:20
CAN WE LEARN SOMETHING FROM HISTORY ABOUT FOODS?
VIDEO: The following short, 10 minute video, is a great history lesson about the time of The Tudors and their total misunderstanding about sweets…in particular SUGAR. It is quite informative…and the young lady who narrates is quite impressive…or some would say “really cute.”
She is Dr. Suzannah Rebecca Gabriella Lipscomb, a British historian. She was appointed to a personal chair as Professor of History at the University of Roehampton in 2019. One man said, “If she had been my history teacher, I would have paid more attention.”
By the way, don’t make this “required reading” for your wife, husband or friend if you are into all things healthy, as I would hate to loose a reader or start a family dispute. So…sit back with your cup of hot chocolate and enjoy!
In the midst of evil, one man would not give up on saving the lives of hundreds of children in Czechoslovakia. His name is Nicolas Winton.
What this man did was remarkable and courageous. The parents of Prague were crying for help from any country before the invasion they knew was coming. Only England responded and said to send the children to them.
The heart wrenching decisions that the Jewish parents had to make in order to save their children is told in a film about Winton’s life. It is definitely worth watching…as we learn of not only the parent’s courage, but that of a man who could have walked away from the situation. He left his job with the London Stock Exchange to do what he believed to be most important…save young lives. Many of those parent would die in the concentration camps.
It is 1939 and Europe is on the brink of war. Hitler has invaded Czechoslovakia, threatening the lives of the Jewish population. Nicholas Winton, a young British stockbroker, decides he will do everything possible to save the lives of as many Jewish children as he can. This film, transmitting on Holocaust Memorial Day, tells the extraordinary story of how Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the clutches of the Nazis, bringing them by train to Britain. (Berta film)
Shortly before Christmas 1938, Winton was planning to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. He decided instead to visit Prague and help Martin Blake, who was in Prague as an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia then in the process of being occupied by Germany, and had called Winton to ask him to assist in Jewish welfare work. Winton established an organization to aid children from Jewish families at risk from the Nazis. He set up his office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square. In November 1938, following Kristallnact in Nazi-ruled Germany, the House of Commons approved a measure to allow the entry into Britain of refugees younger than 17, provided they had a place to stay and a warranty of £50 was deposited for their eventual return to their own country. (Wikipedia)
An interesting fact of Winton’s early life is as follows: Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London. His parents were German Jews who moved to London. The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity and Winton was baptized as a Christian. (History)
After World War II was over, Nicolas took up his own life and it wasn’t until his wife found an old scrapbook in the attic that she knew of the hundreds of children that he had helped save. This is probably the greatest example of his humility.
The life of this man, who with determination, skill and fortitude, proves how one decision can change a world. Generations have learned that they are alive because their grandparents were saved as children.
Sir Nicolas Winton lived to be 106 years old and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
The trailer below will make you want to see the entire film. It is available on Amazon Prime…Nicky’s Family. May the world learn from his great example of giving of self and determination. We certainly need it today.
IN HONOR OF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD….ON THIS EASTER
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SPIRIT AND YOUR FIGHT AGAINST THE WORLD-WIDE PANDEMIC
CHRIST IS RISEN HE IS RISEN INDEED
This blog will be different. We are sharing several videos of real people …and in doing so…honoring the brave people around in the world who would like to be out in public, dancing in the streets or attending a great concert of Easter music. Even if this is impossible this year, we know that the day will come when we will laugh, hug, and be a part of an active, vibrant world again.
As you watch the videos, think of Christ being in the crowd. Think of His ministry among the EVERY-DAY PEOPLE. Christ went out to be with people where they were in their everyday lives. Whether we ride the underground, shop in the grocery, dance in the streets or sing and play in an orchestra, He is with us in the 21st century.
Christ is with us in our homes now and with those ministering to the sick in the many hospitals around the world.
This may be a different Easter, but one of thanksgiving to God for His mercy and healing power. It is also a time of spiritual healing. The WORLD has been given a chance to draw close to God and know His love, forgiveness and healing power.
Form BOYER WRITES….BLESSINGS AND HAPPY EASTER
Germany works by Verdi, Wagner and Bizet
England Handel’s Zadok the Priest
Copenhagen playing Griegs Peer Gynt.
Ireland Joining in to the Irish fun and music
South Korean Gracious Choir Hallelujah Chorus by Handel’s Messiah
(The Messiah, 260-page oratorio, written by Handel in 1741, in just 24 days He was in his 50’s and had suffered two strokes. Later, he went blind.)
Christmas has come and gone, but a wonderful blogger friend of mine in England sent me a post about the choir that sang of the birth of our Lord Jesus at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Stephen Liddell, author and tour guide, is a blogger with over 3,000 followers. He waited in line for two hours to get into St. Paul’s to hear the King’s College Choir of Cambridge. He said that it was “well worth it.”
Christmas may be over, but I just had to share this same song from a previous year. Our prayers for the New Year should be that the message of “Oh Holy Night” and the Savior who came will help our world to be more peaceful in the year to come.
Video: (If the video shows unavailable, click “Watch on YouTube” link given.)
Happy New Year to all
I’m not certain about the thoughts of most of my readers, but as for me, I am SICK of the small minded, pettiness of those who write articles and internet posts, trying to make something out of nothing. Therefore, I write this open letter blog to whomever has some integrity as a writer left and might decide to make a change.
I will give a few examples of my complaints, but first I want to say that when we traveled one year to Switzerland, it was our pleasure to meet an elderly Swiss man who had decided that life was too short to even buy a newspaper…let alone watch TV.
Instead, he chose to enjoy his friends, climbing in the mountains on a regular basis and tending his lovely garden…all at the age of 90. His home was one of European style with large pictures of his ancestors lining the staircase. I think his belief was that we in the world have gone “mad” and one has to seek out better things.
My first advice: Get a grip on your profession, reporters and journalists! Just this week in England we have at least 22 people killed and more than 100 injured, including 12 children at a concert that was suppose to be full of life and fun. One terrorist added another evil act on innocent adults and children. We are warned in Holy Scripture what will happen to anyone who harms a child in anyway. This man has met his Maker.
Take a look at this lovely girl’s face. She is Saffie Roussos who was 8 years old. Her teacher said she was a “beautiful little girl.” Saffie died because of these senseless attacks around the world.
Yet.… Some reporters write not about the lives or families of people such as Saffie Rose Roussos, but choose pettiness instead.
Give an example, you may say….Okay, we can do that: How about the numerous articles and pictures that came out about what a person wears on her head at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a very holy place to Jews…or if the skirt was an inch or two above the ankles…or if “fake feminism” was being shown because the President’s wife walked slightly behind him. Petty…Petty…Petty
Who cares about those things?!
The next global attack may be where you are standing with your camera. You will then never have an opportunity to show your true gift of writing or make the world a better place because you revealed through your camera or your pen the things to which most people do not have access. My second and last advice: Don’t degrade your profession. Set yourself a higher standard.
When our President was given an opportunity to speak to over 50 Arab nations about the real problem that we on earth are facing together ( including you), I hardly think it is time to nit-pick at such minor things. At least someone is speaking to the Middle Eastern countries about joining together to stop terrorism. Saffie had a right to live and grow up and to contribute her talents to the world. Yet, you continue to show the pettiness that more and more of us are beginning to abhor and call “PATHETIC”.
Yes, the old Swiss man was right…”It is all news that does not brighten my day. Why should I bother to listen to it or to read it?”
Nevertheless, we do…unless we decide not to.
On the week of the 4th of July…2016, we thank God for our freedoms. We celebrate our Independence Day…fought and won from one of our present day strongest allies, the United Kingdom. We honor the men who had the vision for a place to live, worship, and govern as we wanted ..and for those through the years who have died to keep that freedom.
So how did it exactly happen? When were we first able to criticize our government? Perhaps this video gives us a little understanding of the history of our Declaration of Independence and the cost to make this a country of freedoms.
Whether you are an American or live elsewhere, we at Boyer Writes wish a HAPPY 4TH TO ALL OUR READERS! Long live freedom!
As I walked through the gates of Auschwitz with my students a few years ago, I was reminded of the famous saying that one must remember history or relive it. This is particularly true today with the evil plots to destroy one’s neighbor from within or without. My fellow blogger, Stephen Liddell in England, reminded his countrymen that there is at least one great reason to get out and vote in their General Election. This picture tells that reason. We here in America should be taking as seriously our own future elections.
Voters, here in America and those abroad, were not living during WWI and many were not living during WWII, but that does not mean we can not take our lessons from history. The battles may be different, but they are battles just the same. Complacency may be the road to slavery or death. No one likes to think of it, but it is the truth just the same. A strong nation will defend itself. A strong people will not turn a blind eye to the past…especially when one is threatened with evil and destruction.
I would say to our friends in America and worldwide, teach history to your young people. When surveyed, they seem to not know even basic facts of the sacrifices of their grandparents during times of crisis. They are the future voters and the inheritance of whom we choose now as leaders in the world.
I am writing this on May 7. How many people would know some of the events of history that happened on this one day alone…May 7th? These events changed history and the lives of people, but are they remembered? Multiply this one day by all the days of the calendar year.
- 1727 – Jews are expelled from Ukraine by Empress Catherine I of Russia
- 1862 – Battle of West Point, VA (Eltham’s Landing, Barnhamsville)
- 1913 – British House of Commons rejects women’s right to vote
- 1915 – SS Lusitania sunk by German submarine; 1198 lives lost
- 1939 – Germany & Italy announced an alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis
- 1942 – Nazi decree orders all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto executed
- 1943 – Dutch men 18-35 obliged to report to labor camps
- 1945 – WWII: unconditional German surrender to the Allies signed by General Alfred Jodl at Rheims
- 1947 – General MacArthur approves Japanese constitution
- 1954 – French surrender to Vietminh after 55-day siege at Dien Bien Phu
- 1960 – USSR announces Francis Gary Powers confessed to being a CIA spy
- 1975 – Pres Ford declares an end to “Vietnam Era”
- 1980 – Iraq bombs a Tehran oil refiner
- 1982 – US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
- 1999 – Kosovo War: In Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, three Chinese citizens are killed and 20 wounded when a NATO aircraft bombs the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
- 2013 – 55 people are killed by a Boko Haram attack in Nigeria
Then there was September 11, 2001. President Bush and the brave first responders… men and women of N.Y. City step forward as in Washington and Pennsylvania. Leadership was everything!
The importance of leadership cannot be over-estimated. What would England have done without Sir Winston Churchill during the crisis of WWII? Leaders have to have vision larger than themselves and their political careers. They must have a vision for what is right and what cannot be tolerated. Thank you, Stephen, for reminding us of the importance of never forgetting when making choices.
Not on May 7th, but in 1962 was the Cuban Missile Crisis. Leaders could not stand by for they had been elected to protect us …and they acted. Regardless of what party Americans belong, Democrat or Republican, the leadership of a President and the elected leaders makes a difference. Perhaps these thoughts are best said by one of our former Presidents who met his last days by an evil act. History is a warning.as well as a time of encouragement …heed it!
Boyer Writes would like to wish you the most blessed of Christmases as you enjoy Kings College choir at Cambridge.
Sometimes people and animals just need someone to love them. This is the case with a boy in England and his three legged dog. Enough said.
December 6 is the day that my Mother, Alta Ellis Bishop, would have been 96. It is a day to remember exactly how much my mother meant to me and her family. She was 93 when she passed from this life, but her life was one of courage, determination and making the most of all her talents. She left home at age 16 to work her way through life; built a career in hair design and took time to be a patriot, working at a munitions factory, when W.W.II was being fought. Her dedication reminded me of the brave men and women who have given so much and why my mother’s generation was called “The Greatest Generation”. Thank you, Mother, for your generosity and love.
Once again we take a look at the era in which my mother was a young woman and mother.
We start with Winston Churchill. His famous speech echos through the years. (I paraphrase) “WE SHALL FIGHT....in the fields, on the sea, in the streets, on the land….and where we cannot…the new world will take up the fight….”
It is not easy to be a leader when the world is falling in around you. Neither is it easy to inspire an entire nation…but inspire he did. When bombs were daily pounding, one can imagine what the economy was like. Just living from day-to-day was an effort for all of Europe. It was not only a battle to secure land, but a battle for the very existence of mankind as millions were being murdered in concentration camps.
The movie, The Longest Day, shows the thousands of men, ships, and planes that came to the aid of France, giving great detail of what it was like for the people living in France on the coast of Normandy and those who braved the assault to free them.
There are two videos below: The first of Alta Bishop…The second one reminds us that the United States and the free people of Europe were not going to be in bondage. It is worth a journey back in time because our own nation must have this same fighting spirit if we are to survive today.
Churchill would not have guessed that the “new world”, as he called it would face a 9-11 or that his own beloved land would see suicide bombers. He would not have known about “cyber threats”, but had he been in a different time and place, one CAN BE ASSURED that he would step up to the challenge. He would warn against apathy and talk about pulling together.
It may seem strange to link a family member to a great man of history. Yet, the determination and sacrifice they shared for the lands they loved links them and all of us together. Freedom is all we have and as my mother and so many were willing to give of their efforts and their lives….so should we. I love you, Mother, and always will. Happy Birthday, even though you are unable to blow out the candles with us. We will go to your grave site and put a red poinsettia there to remember the many years that we celebrated your birthday and Christmas together. Christmas was one of your favorite times and we will miss you. We are certain that the stars and planets are so bright where you are as the hosts of heaven sing praises to the “New Born King”.
The Men of the war Years….Always brave!
As a young girl, she had no idea that her life would be so amazing. Now, Margaret Thatcher is dead at 87, but she was woman of her time.
Regardless of your politics, I think most will agree that if a woman is passionate about something in life….and is fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, she can go after it!
It was not easy to be Prime Minister of one of the world’s great countries, Great Britain. She was not terribly close to the Queen. It certainly was not easy on her family (as seen in the movie trailer below). She had the terrible pressures of a failing economy. Nevertheless, Margaret Thatcher is truly a person to be admired. Not many can fill the shoes of such a challenge.
Her life only proves that some women have the ability to lead through the good and tough times. She dealt with Northern Ireland and the Revolutionary Army and the Falkland Islands.(pictured below)
She arranged for the British Colony of Hong Kong to go back to the Chinese.
Much, much more could be said about this woman.
She is seen here with Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated. Being a Prime Minister or head of any country is putting one’s life in harms way. Yet, she was unafraid to speak out and to act as she thought best.
How ironic that she and one of her best political friends, President Ronald Reagan, both ended their lives with the devastating disease of Alzheimer.
Today, Boyer Writes honors her in pictures and with the video of 1990 when she was unafraid to stand before the men of Parliament, both liberal and conservative. Below is a real clip of Margaret Thatcher and the British Parliament. She will be remembered.
If you did not see The Iron Lady, starring Meryle Streep as Margaret Thatcher, here is a movie trailer that gives highlights of her life. It is worth viewing the entire film.
It is unusual how things catch one’s eye, especially as a train speeds from one destination to another. That is when, in England recently, I decided to make pictures of the “graffiti paintings” spray-painted on buildings, railway tunnels, box cars and in unusual places.
Graffiti painting is nothing new. I found out from my research that London was experiencing it in the early 60’s. For years there has been a graffiti art wars going on. The most famous was between Banksy and Robbo. in England. In fact, the art that had called for prison sentences has many years later become museum pieces and fetch high prices.
What were these painters trying to say through their art? First, the adventure of it may have been the first step toward lashing out against civil authority. A writer of Hiphop History had this to say . “The phenomenon, which we can
observe all over the world, in colloquial speech, is called GRAFFITI. The
beginning of this occurrence was taken place in New York on the turn of 60’s and
70’s. Since people from whole world have seen the first water resistant markers
(called flow-masters), young people have been starting to write their own names
or nicknames on the walls of buildings, postboxes, phone boxes, underground
passages, and in the end on the subway.”
Was it an effort to be seen even if they could never be heard? Was it pent-up creativity or rebellion? The answer to these questions may vary from spray-can to spray-can. The writer goes on to say: ” In the same time young people worked very hard to create their own diverse styles. …The graphics’ compositions that were made with letters weren’t intelligible any longer. So this new technique created an innovative style called ‘Wild Style’. Subsequently, the background elements of graffiti were made and the new artists
quickly adopted them to their own styles. However almost everybody
remembered about people who have experimented with sprays paints on the subway.”
All of this was most disturbing to the status quo and cost the tax payer millions in clean-up, which would eventually give way to a type of resignation.
“During this whole time the creations of thousands of writers cost MTA
hundreds millions of dollars. Generally speaking, between 1970-1980 The MTA had
to spend about 100-150 millions of dollars to remove graffiti or to build
securities systems etc. These amounts of money were spent, most of the times, for
unsuccessful tests of removing graffiti’s. For example, the cost of
removing one quadrate meter is about $750 and one whole car is about $78, 000 .“
High, security fences were put up in large cities, but to no avail. The battle was not only between the police and the offenders, but also between the artist and writers themselves. Some had goals to change things in their area of the world.
“In 1978 a writer Lee Quinones ,well-known as Lee, started to change his neighborhood. He changed the grimy place near Brooklyn Bridge into a spectacular and incredible famous gallery of graffiti. He painted almost every night the walls next to a baseball fields. Some people thought that it was an essential split in where one would paint the graffiti. The writers started to paint the walls not a subway.”
Like anything that becomes out-of-sink with society, it becomes the “rage”. Someone…somewhere will be looking to see how money can be made regardless of what society deems “outrageous”.
“The first trains were painted in Wien, Dusseldorf, Munich, Copenhagen, Paris,
London and Sydney but very seldom was this kind of arts appreciated by the more
conservative people…. In 1983 Yaki Kornblit, a tradesman of artwork from Amsterdam, came to New York and looked for the most talented graffiti writers. He wanted to present that kind of arts to the European market as art works. He thought, however, that it would be 20 years before the Pop -Art would be successfully promoted in Europe.”
He may be surprised that in 2013, graffiti writers from around the world, find this great fun and even bring dogs and children to their painting areas. No more running from the police as much as before, unless it is a restricted areas or private properties. Some towns have walls set aside for artists to use for their drawings. I will have to admit that even though I prefer seeing things clean and neat around buildings, that at times the Graffiti Art Culture has made a statement of amazing beauty. Our video below may help one understand that statement.
The aromas are almost magical…spices simmering in large pots of onions, mushrooms, and sausages. Today we visit the International Food Market in York, England. Located close to the famous Shambles District of the city, people mill around with their families deciding which delicacy should be theirs….breads, chocolate-covered donuts, olives and much more from every ethnic part of the world.
The Shambles, for hundreds of years, had been the place of meat butchers. Even then, people would have come to this area to find their fresh meat. The narrow, cobble-stone streets are now shops with a historic sign or place of some main event that had happened here….such as the martyred young wife and mother, Margaret Clitherow (shown below), who refused to give up her faith that was not sanctioned at the time.
In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harboring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. As a result she was executed by being crushed to death, being the standard punishment for refusal to plead, on Good Friday 1586. ( I will write more about her another time.)
Now, enjoy the special International Market of York, England.
Having just returned from a trip to England and Scotland, we have a renewed sense of what seems to be important in these countries: tradition, history, music and worship… aside from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. There is still room in the daily life to find a favorite pub and sit down on a soft couch; stand and talk next to gleaming, dark wood paneling or relax with a piano playing at Betty’s for afternoon or evening tea. It doesn’t matter if it is noisy with over-rides of conversation..or the clanging of glasses…for the one to whom you are talking is all that matters. This is a way of life that is cherished.
England and Scotland are filled with stone streets….towering cathedrals and grand palaces…which are not counted in hundreds of years, but in some cases.. thousands. They love their folk- lore tales and the ghosts that haunt. We were told to be sure to watch out for Room 5 in the 200-year-old manor house where we stayed in Inverness. Of course, we had to “snoopy around” and find it. Just as the Loch Ness monster did not appear for us; neither did their ghost.
We will take you, in up-coming writings, on a snowy train ride through Scotland to some special places such as Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and Holyrood Abbey. I plan to share with you the International market in York, England and even to explore the art graffiti culture along the railways. There is definitely too much to cover in this sitting. However, we hope you will stay with us, “straight away” for this series.
We would like to mention that while at Oxford, we found out that the under-classmen/and women eat their meals in the “loveliest” of surroundings. Small lamps grace the tables and large portraits peer down upon them of those who have gone before. These great portraits would certainly inspire or intimidate…whichever way one may feel about them.
All choristers from various churches/cathedrals in England and Scotland have great competition for these positions. Every chorister must have the desire to dedicate ones self to hours of practice and nightly services.
We were amazed, at a service we attended at York Minster Cathedral, that the 78th psalm was completely sung by these choir boys. This psalm is at least three pages long in the Holy Scriptures. Truly, these voices that will change rapidly as they grow older are as close to hearing the voices of angels that one may find. You may agree with me after viewing the video below.
Windsor Castle has stood for hundreds of years, dating back to the Dark Ages. It has seen kings and queens come and go…from the mad to the shy. It’s walls have witnessed civil war under King Charles I, who was beheaded, and many other amazing events.
The Castle was a birthplace to a number of monarchs, but was often used as a prison. King Edward III kept his prisoners in the Devil’s Tower or in the dungeons of the Curfew Tower. When executed, their bodies were hung from the Curfew Tower as a warning to others.
Names were given to some, such as “The Black King”, “The Virgin Queen”, ” The Mad King”and the “Witch Queen”
A few of the monarchs, some quite colorful, include:
- 1491 The notorious Dowager Queen of England, Joan of Navarre, was accused by her step son, Henry V, of witchcraft and necromancy (sorcery). She was found not guilty.
- Edward III established the Order of the Garter which is the oldest order of chivalry in the world.
- 1640 Civil War during Charles I, who was beheaded.
- Oliver Cromwell takes over and the monarchy is out!
- 1660 Charles II revived the glory of the monarchy. Founder of the Royal Society with commissions in art and science from Leonardo Da Vinci.
- George III, known as the mad king, but also founded the Royal Academy.
- George IV was self-indulgent, but loved the arts. He transformed the castle with Gothic statues, making Windsor into a truly medieval castle. During his reign, the French Revolution took place which gave him a chance to bring many French masterpieces to England. Britain also defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
- Queen Victoria, the niece of George, was known as “The Widow of Windsor”
- George V renamed the royal family “The House of Windsor” in 1917.
VIDEO OF ONE OF THE WORLD’S GREAT CASTLES (starting with King George III) Under the present day monarch, Queen Elizabeth, a more modern view of Windsor, the effects of the fire in 1992 and the renovation, is shown.
Queen Mary’s Doll House, a miniature replica of the castle, is amazing.
From the White Cliffs of Dover to the Cotswolds, England is a beautiful country. History that is fascinating in that it was one of conquest and Kings of many creeds and diverse morals. Some upheld honor; others took honor away. In a fast changing world, one must look at the diligence in which the people of England stood firm in the midst of bombs and destruction. It would have seemed only reasonable that King Albert and his Queen would flee to safety during World War II terrible times. Yet they stayed and saw it through with their people. ( Another writing will feature Sir Winston Churchill and The Queen Mum)
The famous writers from this country have had their say about their homeland:
There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is England.” – Winston Churchill
“Heaven take thy soul, and England keep my bones!” – William Shakespeare
“I traveled among unknown men,
In lands beyond the sea:
Nor England! Did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.”
– William Wordsworth
Below is a video of beautiful England with the lyrics taken from a poem by Cecil Spring-Rice, written in 1908. At the time, he was with the British Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden. At first the poem was called Urbs Dei (The Two Fatherlands). It says that the Christian owes two loyalties, both to her homeland and to the Kingdom of Heaven. How strongly he must have felt about the place of his birth to write of this. Filled with a patriotic spirit which many people seem to have lost for their homeland around the world, we may learn something from this pointed poem.
While serving as the British Ambassador to the United States, Rice tried to persuade President Woodrow Wilson to give up on neutrality and join Britain in the war against Germany. Finally the USA entered the war and there were huge losses to the British during this time. Rice then changed the title of the poem…I Vow to Thee, My Country.
The first verse reminds the listener of those who died for freedom in the First World War. The second verse says, “And there’s another country...” which is referring to being with God. Taken from Proverbs 3:17, it reads, “Her ways are of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace…”
Music was later written by Gustav Holst in 1921. It was first performed in 1925 and has become a standard music when honoring those fallen in battle for England. Z. Randall Stroope made the choir arrangement and added two more verses to the music in honor of his father who marched in the Bataan Death March.
Lyrics to I Vow To Thee, My Country is found below the video. (Turn on sound)
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
I heard my country calling, away across the sea,
Across the waste of waters she calls and calls to me.
Her sword is girded at her side, her helmet on her head,
And round her feet are lying the dying and the dead.
I hear the noise of battle, the thunder of her guns,
I haste to thee my mother, a son among thy sons.
And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago,
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
This writing will mark the beginning of a series that I call: FASCINATING PEOPLE AND PLACES
During my writings on Lent, you were able to hear the wonderful voices of King’s College choirs. You may also want to know some of the history of this chapel.
This beautiful chapel took hundreds of years to build. Kings College Chapel endured the murder of the King who proposed building it; civil war, and the bombs of World War II. During this last war, the stained glass was mostly removed to insure safety and give an opportunity to clean it. (That is, of course, if one was not busy running for a bomb shelter!)
When touring the Chapel, enlarge the screen and use your mouse to properly see every part, even the ceiling which has the largest stained glass in the world. You can also tour room by room when you click on the Navigate tab to do so. Enjoy!
If one is a king, can he not just command his problems to go away? Not in the case of Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha…..better known as Bertie, who was King George VI of England. His problem was stuttering.
He began stammering as a child when being abused by his nanny. In later years he became terrified to speak into a microphone or to speak at all when faced with a stressful situation.
After his father’s death and abdication of the throne by his elder brother, Albert,as he was known before taking on the name of King George VI, found himself in 1937 wearing the crown. He was now forced to speak to his people.
( See the movie trailer below that won Colin Fetch, who portrays King George VI, an oscar this year. His speech therapist, who remained his life-long friend is portrayed by Geoffrey Rush. This is certainly a movie worth seeing. )
What does it take to overcome a great difficulty? Mostly we would say determination and fortitude. The ability to not give up when everything in one’s being screams…”I can’t do this!”
King George was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria. He was in the Royal Navy during WWI and married Elizabeth Bowles-Lyon, better known later as the “Queen Mum”. His life was short-lived as he died of lung cancer at the age of 56 due to heavy smoking. Even science was incorrect during this time when doctors encouraged him to smoke, thinking that it would relax the vocal chords. In the end, it was actually the smoking what killed him in 1952. He died of a heart attack while having a lung operation.
During his reign as king, he and his wife were greatly loved by the people and were praised for their staunch resolve and morale-boosting visits to factories and sites that were bombed during WWII. As some would have done in the dangers of war, they never fled the country. They chose to stay with their people. Winston Churchill was his prime-minister at the time, dealing with the war and Nazi Germany.
After visiting the people of Canada , he came to the United States, being the first reigning British sovereign to enter this country. His two children were daughters. At his death, Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, became Queen at the age of 27.
Fortitude was not only a part of King George’s life, but it also has been in the character of the women within this monarchy. The Queen Mum lived to be 102 and Elizabeth has celebrated her 50th year as Queen of England.
John Wesley, whose home we visited in England, never left the Anglican Church of England (Episcopal), although he is credited as being the founder of the Methodist Church as we know it today. His small prayer room is still used by people searching for God’s guidance in their lives. We were told while visiting this small apartment that he prayed in the early morning for hours. The room was not bigger than our modern-day walk-in closets. Yet, there was great presence felt and those who visit are often allowed to actually handle the original books that he read. (of course,with gloves)
‘In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s (Martin Luther)_ preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’
Does God read our hearts and meet us at our need no matter where we are in life? I think the answer is a definite “Yes”! It really does not matter the label we have placed on ourselves: Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, (or any denomination) Catholic, Jewish, Muslim,Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist etc . If we are truly searching for God and call on the name of Christ, He will most definitely answer. It may not be an audible voice, but the heart will be “strangely warmed” and assurance that we have salvation in Christ will be there. It may not be explainable, but neither are many things of life…we just simply know.
Dean Kevin Martin is an Episcopal priest. He had completed seminary; gone through all the rituals, but he, too, found his heart “strangely warmed” years later. This is the experience of a priest who reached out to Christ after seminary and truly found faith in Christ many years ago. Dean Kevin was not bound by labels of the gospel, but a desire to understand and experience his own faith within the church where he worships and serves. Here is an excerpt of what he said of his experience:
“On a cold January evening in 1975, I knelt in the darkened living room of the Rectory of Emmanuel Church in Stamford, Connecticut and made a total surrender of my life to Jesus Christ. This surrender came in response to an overwhelming sense of God’s presence as I spoke out the desperation and despair that I felt. The details of what happened are not important here because I am writing on the feast day of John and Charles Wesley to share what I learned from John Wesley after my conversion…
The problem was that I was already an ordained priest. It was some time later that I would learn that I shared with Wesley a post theological education conversion to Christ. I say “conversion to Christ” because that is what it was for me. I had felt called to the ministry, and, before seminary at least, I had believed in the Trinity and the creeds of the Church. What happened to me that night was that I experienced a personal sense of forgiveness and total acceptance by a living and real Christ. Jesus Christ became alive for me in a new way.
The most immediate result of this was expressed by what I did that night. I took the sermon that I had written that week and burned it in the fire-place. I was determined to speak now of the love of Christ I knew personally, and not the ideas about God that I had learned in seminary…
None of these teachers (speaking of seminary)ever spoke of a personal relationship with Christ as something to be desired, and most down played any sense of conversion. Conversion, if it existed at all, was a gradual process of growth. Consequently, I look back a bit jaded at my seminary experience…”
Like Dean Kevin,years ago my husband followed the call of God to study in seminary. Afterwards he spent 37 years in Christian ministry ,which also includes his 20 years as a United States Navy chaplain. He was ordained as a Methodist pastor. When he stood in John Wesley’s pulpit in England, he did not know that he, too, would be part of the Episcopal Church which Wesley had served so fervently. One might call it” coming full circle”. In fact, at one point the clergy of Wesley’s time asked him not to speak in his church because of his fervor for his faith. Was serving Christ to be without furor? (There is never a time when churches and the ranking clergy do not have their problems with expectations. ) This did not stop Wesley. He simply went to his father’s grave and stood on it; preaching the gospel of Christ to those passing by. These personal experiences leads one to believe that faith often comes at unlikely times. We only need a ready heart. After the resurrection, Christ promised that we would receive the Holy Spirit and He would teach us all things. God will meet us where we are. Has your heart been strangely warmed?
Here are a few of the things Dean Kevin learned from John Wesley:
- All the head knowledge in the world cannot substitute for “knowing Christ Jesus in the power of his resurrection.”
- True conversion leads to passionate love for the poor and to concrete steps to alleviate their poverty.
- Holiness of life is the goal of all disciples — we don’t want to be people who do good things — we want to become people who are Christ-like.
- Simplicity of life is a Christian virtue
- Christian leaders who hold power often work to suppress Christian experience ,even those who once claimed a conversion experience.
- Innovation for the sake of mission and evangelism is Apostolic and needed in every age.
- People have free will and it is obvious that we have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in ministry and growth.
- In Christ, women are equal to men and can be effective agents of ministry.
About John Wesley: The English evangelical clergyman, preacher, and writer John Wesley (1703-1791) was the founder of Methodism. One of England‘s greatest spiritual leaders, he played a major role in the revival of religion in 18th-century English life. The 18th century found the Church of England out of touch with both the religious and social problems of the day. Its leadership was constituted largely by political appointees, its clergy were riddled with ignorance, and churchmen of genuine concern were rare. The influence of rationalism and deism even among dedicated clergymen caused the Anglican Church to be unaware of the spiritual needs of the masses. John Wesley’s great achievement was to recognize the necessity of bringing religion (Christ)to this wide and neglected audience. Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, on June 17, 1703. He was the fifteenth of the 19 children of Samuel and Suzanne Wesley, an Anglican minister who took his pastoral duties seriously and instilled this idea in his son. John’s mother, a woman of great spiritual intensity, molded her children through a code of strict and uncompromising Christian morality, instilling in John a firm conception of religious piety, concern, and duty.In 1714 Wesley entered Charterhouse School, and in 1720 he became a student at Christ Church, Oxford. Receiving his bachelor of arts degree in 1724, he was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725 and was elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726. He became curate to his father in the following year and was ordained a priest in 1728. Returning to Oxford in 1729, Wesley, in addition to the duties of his fellowship at Lincoln, became active in a religious club to which his younger brother Charles belonged. The Holy Club, nicknamed “Methodists” (because of their methodical form of study) by its critics, met frequently for discussion. Its members engaged in prayer, attended church services, visited prisoners, and gave donations to the needy. The Holy Club was one of Wesley’s formative influences, and he soon became its acknowledged leader. Taken from the Encyclopedia of World Biography | 2004 |
It is not easy to speak out and be heard in a completely clear and in a direct way, so all can understand.
This speech from the Parliament of England to the Prime Minister says it all. Thanks to those who are not caught up in political correctness or afraid of political careers who dare to speak the truth. Perhaps the U.S.A. can take some lessons.