Posted on 23 Comments

The Braided Bridges of Peru

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How the Incas keep a 500-year tradition of communication and community alive

This year the Q’eswachaka bridge in Peru, a mind-blowing invention of the Inca peoples was rebuilt. This is the work of highly trained and skilled workers that honor their tradition for the greater part of half a century.

The bridge which is traditionally re-braided each year was not repaired last year due to the COVID pandemic. It fell into some disrepair and actually fell down into the river below. This year the urgency to upkeep the traditional was at an all time high.

Once per year, usually in the month of June, the Quechua-speaking peoples gather at the gorge of the Apurimac River located in the Southern Andes.

The Inca people repair the bridge using natural materials they have diligently harvested. Materials such as sticks and some local vegetation usually hemp fibers are used. These hemp fibers are then twisted and woven to form very strong ropes.

The ropes will subsequently be braided into cables which are then raised on each side of the gorge to serve as the ‘bones’ of the bridge.

Dangerous work!

Expert craftsmen will then go to work weaving the many ropes into the new bridge. The craftsmen begin their arduous task by starting from opposite ends and will meet in the middle.

This bridge is a marvel of ingenuity, is made using grass, straw (hemp) and sticks. It spans an impressive expansive 2.3 miles above the river. It is approximately 118 feet long and will be strong enough to support the needs of a bustling community of people and their animals as it had been for greater than 500 years.

Historically the craftspeople will begin learning this craft from an early age. The tradition is passed from generation to generation and embraced with much pride.

Each household from the four surrounding communities will contribute approximately 230 feet of rope to the bridge project. A true labor of love and community spirit.

https://www.andespathperu.com

Although there is a ‘modern’ bridge nearby, the proud Incas continue to use, upkeep and renew their tradition each year.

The Q’eswachaka bridge, the pride of the Incas.

A labor of love, tradition, community, and honor. And in keeping with the spirit of community, this hard and dangerous work concludes with a merry-making.

Posted on 13 Comments

Hearts

A heart shaped rock
Image credit: author
This post is inspired by Ms. Renee of Heart tokens. She loves hearts and sees them in various places and circumstances.

Because of her blog, I have begun taking notice of hearts as well.

This past Monday, Memorial Day, on my morning walk I saw this beauty. A rock in the shape of a heart. Normally I do not pick things off the street, but this was in the middle of the walkway. This path is fairly well-traveled, but I was the only traveler present this morning.

So I bent over and picked this one up happy to have found it.

Thank you Ms. Renee for my newly-opened eyes, I choose to see my new heart as a hello from God.

The significance that I found it on a day we remember those lost fighting for others.

Thank you, Lord, for the many tokens of appreciation in our lives.

Posted on 14 Comments

Glimpses Of Heaven In Our Periphery

Photo by Ali Maah on Unsplash
My friend’s story of love, loss, hope, and faith.

About three days ago I was speaking with a friend of mine. Sadly I had not spoken with her for several months. I think of calling her sometimes, but life always seems to intervene.

So finally she called me, I was at work, but decided to return her call her on the way home.

This is her story.

My friend is 69-years old, she was my boss at one time then we transitioned to a great friendship.

My friend tells me she was ill with pancreatitis for the past two months. Her 25-year-old grandson was ill with pancreatitis at the same time as well.

Pancreatitis is characterized as an inflammation of the pancreas. Our pancreas sits behind the stomach, near the small intestine. It releases enzymes that aids in digestion with a secondary function of regulating how our bodies manage glucose.

My friend (a nurse of over 40+ years), states she was suddenly struck with this dreadful illness and denies any alcohol consumption. Generally, sufferers of pancreatitis often are chronic over-indulgers in alcohol.

She recalls a rough time but eventually made a full recovery.

Photo by Dayne Topkin on Unsplash

Her 25-year-old grandson however did not fare as well. While they were both hospitalized, he developed sepsis. He quickly progressed to organ failure and was placed in a medically-induced coma.

At some point, the doctors decided to wean him off the ventilator and he later had a story to tell.

While intubated, he was in the company of three very close deceased members of his family. He was reoriented to the present but kept asking the date. They told him, June 12th and that’s when he told his family that his dead relatives said they would return for him on June 15th.

The conversation was quickly averted and no one wanted to really delve into what that could really mean.

His recovery continued and though he slept a lot, he remained alert and oriented. My friend, (a nurse), said he would call and speak to her and his grandfather daily and always made perfect sense. He even had her speak to the doctor on his behalf due to her medical knowledge.

The family relaxed thinking all would be well.

Promises kept

On Friday, June 15th my friend received a telephone call from her daughter stating her son had taken a turn for the worse. He had coded, with no blood pressure, a lethal heart rhythm, and no pulse.

They were able to resuscitate him and placed him on a ventilator. It was later determined that he was brain dead. His family then made the heartbreaking decision to remove him from the ventilator.

My friend is currently mourning the loss of her dear grandchild.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Final thoughts and questions

I comforted my dear friend with the idea that I think God gives all of us what we need to hear, see, feel, and know individually. The many glimpses of God in the periphery of my life have convinced me of his love for us.

The many recounts of life beyond the grave a testimony to our hope in Jesus.

I remain steadfast.

Though she mourns, she feels comforted in the fact that she has lived a long time and has seen many flashes of God’s miracles, she will continue to trust Him.

So my friends, what are your thoughts?

  1. Her grandson recounted an exact return date, what are your thoughts?
  2. What are your thoughts on life after death?
  3. What do you believe about encounters and reports of this type?
Posted on 7 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day

A flower created heart held within two hands
Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash
Happy Valentine’s Day to all my WP family and friends. I hope this day finds you well, warm, safe, and happy. I hope you are enjoying your day in an atmosphere of love.  Have a great day and stay safe.

 

 

 

Be

 

Posted on 20 Comments

A Good Friend

Two women laughing and covering each other's eyes.
Photo by Sam Manns on Unsplash

What does it mean to be a friend?

The dictionary defines friendship as — a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

I have never felt the need to cultivate many friends, just a select few. These ‘special’ ones, good friends, are the ones that stand the test of time. Most of my friends have been so for the better part of 20 or 30 years.

My best girl and I have been friends since kindergarten. We are now women of a certain age, so that’s been a looong friendship.

We each live our separate lives and come together whenever we need to without ever losing a beat.

She is perhaps the only person alive I feel I can tell “anything to and the message is received in the spirit it was intended. We really do understand each other. We never quarreled even during our teenage years!

We have a cool easy friendship that has stood the test of time.

I am a keeper of friends. I love people, loyal genuine folks. The type of friendships that thrives without being too demanding.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

What is the basis of a good friendship?

  1. Trust — the foundation upon which ALL relationships must be built. Otherwise, they will never stand the test of time.
  2. A kindred soul, one that is respectful, kind, generous, empathetic. Good friendship does not require that you share the same viewpoints on everything, but each must be willing to respect others’ points of view and work through any conflict towards a resolution.
  3. A keeper of secrets and a safe harbor to rest. Everyone needs a confidante. A friend you can trust with your secret is a boon.
  4. Honesty— this is non-negotiable! Without honesty, no relationship can grow or prosper. Lies, deceit, and betrayal will swiftly cause the demise of any budding friendship.
  5. A cheerleader — He/she encourages your dreams and aspirations and does all they can to help you achieve them.
  6. Maintain individuality— each person must own and maintain their separate spaces in which to pursue their own interests. Later they come together with fresh perspectives, hopes, dreams, and even failures.
  7. Generous with time — As with any relationship, great friendships must be nurtured. This requires carving out time for mutual interests and bonding.
  8. Provides a voice of reason, camaraderie, and belonging. Empower your friend with the freedom and to tell you when and if they think you are heading down a wrong path. Be willing to listen, hear them, and take time to see their point of view.

Photo by Liz Weddon on Unsplash

Final thoughts

If friendships are to survive, some ground rules must be set. A few of the necessary qualities are honesty, trust, compassion, and love.

A good friend is any person with whom you can let your hair down, so to speak. In their presence you feel safe, loved, welcomed, and most importantly you are free to be yourself. A great friend is one with whom there is no need for pretense.

If you should find such a friend, make time to nurture and cement that bond.

Finally, be as good a friend to them as you hope they will be for you.

Be safe, be well!!

Posted on 20 Comments

Beauty Along My Walk

Brilliant violet flower

These flowers looked so lovely to me.

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These are wild flowers — I have no idea what they are called.

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The one below looks like a painting.

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Hope you enjoy … I love photography and will be exploring photography in more depth.

Have a blessed day!!

 

 

 

 

Posted on 54 Comments

Update on How I am Doing

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I took this picture while at work last Saturday the day I realized I had COVID – looks are deceiving. 

Thank you All for your Prayers and Well Wishes!!!

My friends, I remain in quarantine and I can say that truly God is a good God. Even though I was well aware that I could become infected with COVID, due to the nature of the path I chose,  I thought I was taking all the precautions I could.

I work with two other ladies most frequently and they are both in their sixties and both are cancer survivors. As such whenever we have had to swab and care for a patient “under interest” I have been the one more in contact with the patients as I know these women would be more at risk than myself.

I am not a hero just a human. I have grown to love these women.

Since I have been unwell I have been speaking with both these ladies as they are experiencing symptoms as well. The one lady that I worked my last two shifts with is really feeling poorly even though her COVID test came back negative. She has been having more severe symptoms than myself. She is also in quarantine.

Each day I arise and thank God for Jesus! Yes I am happy. Psalms 23 – Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….!!!! AMEN.

God is a good God and we shall all make it to the other side, my co-workers and I. I sleep with some healing scriptures playing on my nightstand as I want the healing promises to soak into my spirit even in repose.  (I always do this when I seek God out, I let his word settle in my soul. I will make a post about it one day).

How I feel:

  • Weakness (getting better each day)
  • Shortness of breath with exertion (it is resolving)
  • Headache — my worst symptom (it just hangs around)
  • Inability to concentrate for long periods
  • A heaviness in my head (feeling it as I type this now)
  • Sleeping a lot (the body needs rest to heal)

I never recorded a fever or a cough. 

What I am using for my immune system:

  • Zinc – 15mg
  • Vitamin D -5,000 IU
  • Vitamin C – 1000mg
  • Tumeric, aloe vera, garlic, ginger and celery blended drink (I just chug it down, can’t taste anyway)
  • Rest – as the body dictates
  • Exercise – I keep it moving, even if I just walk around the backyard in the sun.

Some of what breaks my heart:

  1. My boss has the nerve to ask me, “where do you think you got COVID from?” (we have been screening patients prior to surgery, screening and seeing the general public, the doctors see pre-surgery patients as well all day, some of which have been COVID positive and we mingle and share space with those doctors all day!). Is she for real.
  2. We were never given the appropriate protective gear. We wear surgical masks, can you imagine! Surgical masks do not protect from COVID, especially not in a healthcare setting where we are likely to come into direct contact with the virus.
  3. I could have potentially infected my family and my mother is an elderly woman. But I praise and thank GOD!!!!
  4. I cannot hug and comfort my children. My little snookums who I had been sleeping with since his dad left for NY is my constant companion. I have exposed him more so than anyone else. Him being my baby, I tickle and play and kiss him up all the time, and I was already infected and shedding COVID all over my child.
  5. Being unable to be and play with him, now I have to see him in passing and go outside to talk to him for a bit. He always has new engineering wonders to show me and now I cannot interact with him.
  6. On top of me being ill his dad is still in NY, so he does not have a real parent right now. Gee wanted to come home, I said no. We had always decided only one of us would take a risk at any given time.
  7. My daughter is petrified to come down to the bottom floor where I am in my own space.
  8. I am fed by them placing my meals outside my door. That is a hoot…being fed, I find humor in it.

On the road to recovery:

My Gee is always on the phone with me and a source of support and knowledge. My mother and my children are here and my friends are all helping to keep me together. I go outdoors often to look at the plants and I have been watching NETFLIX – oftentimes I fall asleep during a show.

I do love to watch movies and shows in other languages, especially French as I think it activates new neurons to hear and follow the plot while reading subtitles and trying to stay on top of the many nuances. My future guarantee against Alzheimer’s.

So I am coping pretty well.

I trust in my God and in that knowledge, I rest knowing this too shall pass.

Stay blessed and stay well.

 

Posted on 41 Comments

A Man Called Daddy

Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash

Proverbs 20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

This is my mother’s story.

My mother was born to a great father. He was daddy to nine children and a wonderful “uncle James” to many more. His own father was killed when he was a mere two years old. His dad, a farmer was killed when he was butted and gored by one of his own cows.

So her daddy did not have his own role model.

My mother is the first girl and the third child of nine. She loved her daddy dearly and cannot remember a time when she heard a harsh word pass his lips. By all accounts he was a godly and gentle man, filled with wisdom and love for his family, his friends and his neighbors. He knew God’s words backwards and forward and even as he lay on the verge of transitioning he would redirect anyone on incorrect scripture.

According to my grandfather, a man can be successful and achieve anything if he is determined to work hard, always saved a portion of his earnings and if he is blessed with a contented wife!

My mom remembers that as a farmer, (he farmed vegetables and rice and reared animals), he would always share with his community. If anyone stole his produce he would theorize that they needed it more than he did.

He would frown upon abuse of any kind especially that of men and their wives. My grandpa grew up with little, that was soon after slavery was abolished, (my patriarchal side of the family were instrumental in the abolishment of slavery, I am so proud of my heritage). My grandfather and his brothers would purchase land together with other relatives and as such he was able to leave a sizeable legacy for his children. 

My mother, her siblings and everyone who knew my grandpa, remembers him as a kind, wise and blessed soul.

My mother has expressed that she will be buried alongside her father as there is nowhere else she would rather spend eternity. Now that speaks volumes for the daddy he was!

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

I wish all his grandchildren had gotten to know him.

I called him daddy as well and remember a kind and gentle man who told his grandkids stories sitting under a tree in the backyard. I was 6 years old when he died.

I am sure today is “Father’s Day” in heaven as well, where great daddys’ are rewarded for serving their children well.

 

Posted on 25 Comments

Spoken Word — Powerful

I do not know this artist, but his words touch the core of my being.

This spoken word piece was sent to me by my dear cousin. She grew up in England. I thought I would share as it moved me as every word he spoke resonated with me.

I pray someone out there get the message of his words and a heart is influenced.

Peace and blessings.

 

Posted on 61 Comments

Okra — Benefits

Photo by Elianna Friedman on Unsplash

Okra – originated in Ethiopia and scientifically known as Abelmoschus esculentus.  From Ethiopia, okra had journeyed to North Africa, the Mediterranean, Arabia and India all by the 12th century.

A hardy plant, okra can be cultivated almost anywhere. This vegetable is known as gumbo in America, lady’s finger in England, guino-gombo in Spanish, guibeiro in Portuguese and bhindi in India, to name a few.

In its original home of Ethiopia it is also called Kenkase, Andeha, and Bamia.

According to MedicalNewsToday, one cup of okra weighing approximately 100 grams contains a whopping 20 vitamins and minerals. Sounds like a superfood to me. I have been eating this vegetable all my life. I did not always appreciate its gifts.

Now at this time in my life I truly appreciate its versatile culinary preparations, this was not always the case.

What I did not know back then was that okra was chock full of most of what our bodies requires in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting compounds.

We are all well aware that our bodies work at its optimum when we consume a diet rich in the recommended amounts of the various food groups.

Some of the benefits of okra:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes by lowering blood sugar, it regulates the rate at which sugar is absorbed in the intestinal tract.
  • Reduces kidney damage.
  • Toxin removal – utilizing the mucilage found in okra
  • Cancer – contains a compound lectin that can kill cancer cells.
  • Cardiovascular – its high fiber content aids cholesterol expulsion from the body.
  • Osteoporosis – its vitamin K content helps keep bones healthy and strong.
  • Gastrointestinal – prevents constipation and more.
  • Seeds contain oil and proteins.

Be aware:

  • Kidney stones – okra is high in oxalates
  • Gastrointestinal upset – contains fructans a type of carbohydrate that can cause gas, bloating etc.
  • Joint pain – contains solanine a compound that may trigger joint pain.
  • Blood-thinning properties – due to the presence of vitamin K.

Okra seemingly has numerous health benefits. It is great for helping to keep your liver and kidneys healthy. It reduces oxidative stress, promotes healthy skin and blood and from personal is great for hair as well.

Check with your healthcare provider if you are taking blood thinners due to the presence of vitamin K a known blood thinner. 

References:

Below are some pictures of okra in cultivation from my mother’s kitchen garden.

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Dated 04/11/2020

My mother is the primary gardener, these are the fruits of her hands.

The rest of us are “the helpers”. My mother is blessed to grow things, anything grows that she plants. She planted these okra from seeds and they have been doing what they do. For myself I derive so much pleasure from helping and just observing things growing under the heavens.

I talk to the plants and I am always the first one to see their fruits … a gift of mine my mother says, lol.

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Dated 05/02/2020

The babies are thriving and flourishing. It is a thing of beauty.

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Dated 05/27/2020

Growing and looking so nice and healthy.

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Dated 05/31/2020

Flower bud in progress above.

Same day these images taken from different angle (below).

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The view from another angle. They are so healthy. I love it!

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Dated 06/04/2020

This morning this flower decided to open up to see the sun. The first fruits of the labor of love. My favorite time of the growing cycle. Soon we will be consuming these babies.

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Dated 06/04/2020 – for some reason, I could not get this image any clearer, the day is over and the flower has done its work, by tomorrow it will wither and reveal the new okra. 

In picture above, the okra tree is doing what nature has designed it to do, grow and produce.

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This is my mother proudly displaying the fruits from the works of her hands (July 2020). The long one is a variety from South America.

The smaller ones below are the regular variety found here.

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Stay safe, stay well, lets learn to live in peace and respect …….. IF we cannot live in love.