Thoughts and Prayers

I went to Mass – first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Jamaica and I had some apprehension, not a fear of crowds or “the virus” to be honest, but rather I had gotten used to the convenience of live-streams. So many things are different: I have in a mask in Church, there’s no sacramental Holy Water, the pews are separated and marked for us to be separate also. I was forced to pause and consider- why did I even come? Isn’t God everywhere. Truth is I yearned to be with the community of believers. It was like an invitation to visit a friend I had been chatting with on the phone, but hadn’t seen or hugged for a long time.

Wearing a mask took new meaning for me in the House of God. Covering my expressions, making me think I was hidden and yet anyone looking on could see and sense what was going on in my heart. Taking off the mask to receive the Holy Eucharist, then quickly recovering my face, as though I needed to protect this gift, the precious food, this source of life. I discovered I was equally free with or without the mask in place; for no mask could hide my heart from my God.

The dry stony stoup was a stark symbol of my own spiritual font – an unwatered garden in need of running waters to soften the crispness. Sitting in the Church, I felt the cool streams of peaceful waters restoring my parched soul through gentle silence and in the soft a capella of song. Why did I stay away?

Six-feet apart! The markers on the pews, the doubling of benches declared that we MUST BE SEPARATED. And yet I joined my heat to every heart with me in that Church. My soul grieved with every soul that has lost a loved one all over this planet. My spirit rejoiced with every child who has been blessed with the love of good parents, my spirit sang with everyone – here in earth and those in Heaven – who praised God for the gift of my Father’s life. I was surrounded I was lifted up!!! I was NOT alone.

Although I walk in the valley of the shadow of Death I will fear no evil for You are with me 🙏🏽 Your rod and Your staff comfort me. (King David. Psalm 23)

Chocolate is its own reward

When Mrs. Bennett, my Prep school principal, called to tell us my results for the common entrance exams she screamed and howled in delight. I had gotten 100 on every test. Wow! I remember well how absolutely thrilled she was and that excited me more than the result itself – I felt I must have done a good job if she was so pleased 😀. The whirlwind of joy and preparation for high school is long forgotten, but I distinctly remember my father giving me a WHOLE entire LARGE Highgate dairy milk chocolate for myself. Not to share. For myself. Heaven.

It didn’t go unnoticed that one of my classmates who did NOT get 100 on every paper was gifted with a trip to Disney World 😒 When I brought this up, I was told “You will not be rewarded for doing what you ought to do” and this set a serious tone for me for the rest of my life. Achievement is it’s own reward.

When I sat O’Levels and CXC exams in 5th form, I fared pretty well. One’s, A’s and profiles looking good 🤓. I was given a LARGE bar of Highgate dairy milk chocolate for myself, from my Dad. I was well pleased.

A levels were different, I though my results were ho-hum, certainly not up to the standard of previous external exams. However, I was awarded the Jamaica Scholarship for Girls and a straight pass to Med School. My parents were well pleased. In recognition of their approval that summer before University I accompanied Daddy to Toronto (he was attending a scientific conference) my first trip to Canada 🇨🇦 and upon returning, I was gifted … wait for it … a LARGE bar of Cadbury’s dairy milk chocolate. For myself. Not to share. Clearly, I had arrived.

Time passed and soon I was able to afford to buy chocolate for myself, I still enjoyed a bar, or a bite as a special treat. Dad’s chocolate gifts became more frequent, Cadbury Roses for a birthday, Milk Tray for Christmas, and the occasional unexpected Toblerone or Ferrero Rocher to mix things up. This birthday, Dad was under isolation restrictions and not able to go shopping for chocolate so he asked my younger sister to purchase and deliver a bar for me.

The last bar of chocolate from my Daddy eaten the day after he passed away.

It was delicious. I miss him terribly.

Belly vs Brain: who’s in charge here?

I am intrigued by the relationship between the gut and the brain. This study that demonstrates outright behaviour changes is one example of our slowly growing understanding:
CBC News – Gut feeling: How intestinal bacteria may influence our moods
http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2701037

Even good old serotonin is now understood to be mostly produced by our ever-present friendly gut bacteria:
Microbes Help Produce Serotonin in Gut
http://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495 Medicine, nutrition and psychology are intimately intwined. Traditional means of understanding and teaching these disciplines will soon change forever.

Technology and health. I love where this is going! Constipation and GERD affect many Jamaican kids.

Is there a new tool coming to the tool-box for those children who don’t respond to diet, behavior change and current options for medication?

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation: Micro metal beads and magnets help deliver a biologic where it’s needed to improve constipation or rectoanal incontinence in animal models of the disorders. — ScienceDaily

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180116222453.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fhealth_medicine%2Fgastrointestinal_problems+%28Gastrointestinal+Problems+News+–+ScienceDaily%29

Thoughts on Why Homicide is Increasing in Jamaica 2017

Using violent means to  curb violence is guaranteed to fail. It can backfire with more violence.

Beating a child into submission, beating a child until you the adult are exhausted, will not bring about positive, sustained behavior change.

The same goes for lock downs and mass detainment. The article below gives an interesting global perspective on state-led crackdowns.

Why Jamaica’s Homicide Rate is Increasing

Grassroots, on-the-ground social intervention can transform communities. We desperately need sustained support for these programmes. Sustained social intervention has been proven time and time again to be cheaper and more effective than punitive aggression. 

Image

Fermented foods

reuben sandwich

In med school my close friend and study partner always had yogurt culture at home. I was spoilt by the creamy deliciousness of this “real” live food. NOTHING  from a store tastes the same.

In recent times as I read all I can find about gut science I see more and more articles singing the praises of fermented foods. Everything from acne to constipation has allegedly been cured by the Lactobacilli that thrive in these foods. I’ve decide to try my hand at homemade sauerkraut. I will keep you posted!

Does anyone make their own yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha or kimchi? That’s a lot of Ks. Have you seen anything for sale in Kingston? Are there any mommies out there who found a fermented food made things better for their little ones tummy troubles? Please share your tips and discoveries.

LINK 1: Why you should eat more fermented foods https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/2017/03/why-you-should-eat-more-fermented-foods/

LINK 2: How to make a jar of sauerkraut for the beginner or skeptic. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-sauerkraut-in-a-mason-jar-193124

New study links opioid epidemic to childhood emotional abuse

The impact of trauma in childhood just cannot be measured. Cannot be understood. I want to heal hurting children and make tomorrow’s parents stronger. http://www.psypost.org/2017/03/new-study-links-opioid-epidemic-childhood-emotional-abuse-48288

Working in the Community

Luke 4:18 from promisebradley.WordPress.comimage

Every year during Christmas and Easter Food for the Poor helps to free and rehabilitate non-violent prisoners as an Act of Mercy throughout the countries that they work in. You can read some more details here. This year is the Jubilee Year of Mercy for the Church and so far 256 persons have been released through the Prison Ministry. I wanted to highlight and share this project of Good News in the Caribbean region. How can I share God’s Mercy with others? How will you?

image

Passing on the effects of trauma

girl hug

Compassion and Support http://www.newsone.com

Scientists continue to assess some of the long term effects of childhood trauma: mothers less able to bond with their child – generational effects. It is important for health care workers, care-givers and all person who work with children to understand as much as they can about the long-term effects of childhood trauma. Recovery from such trauma and resilience to thrive are linked to support, compassionate adult support, as much as it is to physical protection. We have to give them a safe place to “be”. Clink this link for the findings of the study done at Rutgers University: Does sexual aggression alter the female brain.

Thirty percent of women worldwide experience some kind of physical or sexual assault during their lifetime. In a recent animal study, scientists — who have developed a new model to determine how stress affects females — discovered that prepubescent female rodents paired with sexually experienced males had elevated levels of stress hormones, could not learn as well, and expressed reduced maternal behaviors needed to care for offspring.

Eat your veggies!

image[photo from http://www.student.foodscience.org]

The fruits-and-veggies, peas, beans, and grain you eat today might save your grandchildren from a fecal transplant.

One of the main roles of fibre is to support the “good” bacteria living in our colon. These bacteria are working to keep YOU alive. Now try explaining that to your kids, or where absolutely necessary, sneak those veggies in!

Check out THIS link for some food science.