Sir Thomas More Born February 7, 1478

Thomas-MoreSir Thomas More or Saint Thomas More is one of the great figures in both political and religious history.  To Henry The VIII he was a good friend and confidant as well as an enemy and a betrayer of England.  To Catholics he is a saint and was martyred for his Catholic faith.  For Protestants he was no hero to the faith as he stood against the reformation.  Thomas More was a complex man living in a complex time.

Thomas More was born on February 7, 1478 and died on July 6, 1535.  During his lifetime he was a lawyer an author a statesman and Lord High Chancellor of England as well as a renascences humanist.  He is even highly regarded in Russia as an early communist do to his view on property in his Book Utopia.

There is much to write about More.  He didn’t start out to be a Lawyer but a monk, he soon came to realize that the life of a Monk was not for him.  He was a pious man that firmly believed in the tenets of The Catholic Church and The Popes rule of the Church.  He was in conflict with Martin Luther and William Tyndale when the reformation began.

Henry the VIII was married to Catherin of Aragon for a number of years and she had not produced a male heir for him, though she did have two daughters Mary and Elizabeth.  This was the 14th century and so science had not yet discovered that men were the ones that decided the sex of a child.  Henry wanted a male heir to his throne and appealed to the Pope to allow him to divorce in order for him to marry Anne Boleyn.  The Pope refused to allow this.  After several attempts to persuade the Pope to allow the divorce, Henry made the decision that England would break with the Catholic Church.

It is here that we must pause a moment.  The reformation of the church was brought about by Martin Luther.  Luther recognized that the clergy and the church itself had become corrupt.  The selling of indulgences to get you or a loved one out of purgatory was a common practice,  As well as the worshipping of relics.

An indulgence was given for a certain act performed or a certain amount of money paid.  You could make a pilgrimage to The Holy Land or Rome and receive one thousand or more years out of purgatory, the greater the offering or act the more years taken off.

 A relic is a piece of something owned by a saint or Jesus himself.  At the time many were selling pieces of the “true” cross, in fact so many people were selling these that the cross of Jesus must have been made out of an entire forest of wood.  Actually pieces of the true cross are still available on E-Bay today.  They range from $285.00 to $3200.00.   There were also major discrepancies between the Bible and the practices of the Catholic Church.  These became more and more apparent as Luther read more and more of The New Testament.  

Henry did not, at first, want a break from the Catholic Church.  He was considered a defender of The Church, but he also knew what he wanted, and in the end made the church of England separate from the church of Rome, and made himself Ruler of the Church of England thereby allowing himself the divorce he desired. 

Thomas More could not openly disagree with Henry and so he stayed silent on the matter.  Whenever he was asked about Henry being the head of the church More’s reply would be that “he was a faithful subject to the king.”   Henry however wanted More’s approval and so he made the noblemen of England take an Oath of Supremacy.  This Thomas More would not do.  First Henry had More locked in the tower of London.  More still would not take the oath.  So on July 6, 1535 Henry had More beheaded.  His head was then placed on traitors gate, a part of London Bridge, where it is said his daughter Margaret took it.

What happened to More’s head is uncertain.  We do know two things.  More’s daughter’s married name was Roper.  In 1824 a lead box was found in The Roper Family Vault at St. Dustan’s in Canterbury.  In that box was a head which is presumed to be Thomas More’s the head was put on display in St. Dustan’s for a time and then returned to the family vault   In 1978 the vault was opened again and the head still is there in its lead box.  DNA testing was unavailable in 1978 so it would take another opening for final proof.  Since his daughter is also in the crypt a DNA test is possible.  More’s body is reportedly buried in The Tower Of London, but there are other claims to that sight as well.

More’s writing, those pieces which still endure, are still considered relevant today.

Sir Thomas More Born February 7, 1478 was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

My Journey To Health, Inspiration

sunrise-(1)(PCM) Inspiration!  In a journey to health we must have help along the way, something outside of ourselves that keeps us going toward the goal.  I would use the word inspire to describe this need.

To inspire means to stir up the emotions and animate the mind.  Inspiration is a tool that we can put to use to help us get to the goal of a healthy life.  It is important to take a moment and describe what I mean by a healthy life.  It is a healthy mind, body and spirit and if even one of these is not running well the rest are also thrown off.

There are all kinds of health issues these days.  Addiction, depression, obesity, cancer, mental and emotional issues, diseases and viruses, a total lack of a spiritual life, all of these, and many more, are our enemies in becoming healthy.

What can be used to inspire us to move forward in our personal battles?  Let me tell you about my own inspirations and maybe they will help define yours.  Remember too that inspiration can come from anywhere so don’t limit yourself to what I write about here.

The first and foremost inspiration is God.  God is my father and he wants the best for me, even if he and I don’t see eye to eye on that all of the time.  Mother Theresa once said that (and I am paraphrasing) “Jesus was her husband and they argue a lot.”  The church itself is the bride of Christ so Jesus in the husband to all Christians and I don’t know of any that don’t, every once in a while, have angry moments with God.

But that doesn’t mean there is no inspiration here.  Psalm 23 says “I walk through the valley of the shadow of death and you are with me.”  The valley of the shadow of death is not death itself, it is the feeling of death when you desperately want donuts or you want the substance that you have been using for years but you know you can’t use any longer.  Your whole body is yelling “GIVE ME WHAT I WANT!” But you say NO!.  And God is with you comforting you and encouraging you to move forward.  This is inspiration.

Inspiration also comes from the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus being fully man chose to die a humiliating death for me.  If he can die for me, literally die.  Can’t I stop putting bad things in my mouth so I can live?

Then there are people that inspire me.  I have a new friend whose name is Steve.  He is a vegan, and I don’t want to go that far, at least not now.  But in his life I can see what can be done, that the changes can be made.  That eating right doesn’t have to be a burden.  I am very grateful for that.  Someone who lives it can inspire us to live it too.

My small group leader, Caleb, has shown me through example that you can live free.  I am still grasping the meaning of that, but I am learning to see the things of life much less of a burden in fact I am learning that there are burdens I don’t have to carry that have been laid on me by others.  But Caleb doesn’t just talk it.  You see it in his life.

I am inspired by my editor Joe, who keeps going no matter how hard things get and has patience with me when I just can’t figure out how to run a computer correctly.  He praises when deserved and gently corrects when needed.  Because of the way he is I want to do better.

Art in many forms inspires me.  Frodo Baggins, from The Lord of the Rings, the smallest creature in his world takes a dangerous weapon into enemy territory and destroys it.  Sam Gamgee, Frodo’s friend, when Frodo is too weak to carry the burden alone, picks Frodo up and carries him.  Frodo destroyed the ring of power, can’t I destroy the fat of death.  Sam carried his friend; can’t I carry my friends when they need help?

Music can be inspirational.  When I am really down, if I remember, you will find me singing My Favorite Things, from the Sound of Music.  The lyrics and music that comprise the song bring bright pictures in to my mind and help to battle sadness.

The Theme from Chariots of Fire, is exhilarating to me,  I Gotta Crow from Peter Pan is motivational for me and Look To The Rainbow from Finian’s Rainbow is a song that brings hope for a good ending.  And Somewhere Over The Rainbow is always a reminder that no matter how bad or hard things get there is a real better place waiting for me.

I am inspired to joy when I see Van Gogh’s Starry Night, I am encouraged by Snoopy in Peanuts, I know that good health and good attitudes can be won if we work hard when I read The Secret Garden.

These are things that I find inspirational.  They may not be what you find inspirational.  But look for those things.  Hold on to them.  Go to them (people) look at them, read them or listen to them when you feel like giving up.  You will find the strength to go forward.  Don’t give up.  Not ever.  You and I are walking this path together.  You can do it.

Below this article there is a section for making comments.  Some people have a hard time finding something to inspire them.  Please take a moment and write what you find inspiring.  What get’s you thru the day or helps to renew your energy to reach your goals.  If you wish tell your story.  What you faced or are facing, and what kept or keeps you going.  And please have mercy and don’t tell me it’s a dozen donuts and Death by Chocolate that gets you through.  Who knows, your words may help someone else.

The post My Journey To Health, Inspiration also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Happy Thesaurus Day! (January 18th)

Old book open to study isolated on a black background


(PCM) On this day in 1779, Peter Mark Roget, the father of the modern thesaurus, was delivered, produced, came into being, born. After a long career as a physician, scientist and tinkerer (he also invented a slide rule), Roget retired from medicine and dedicated his time to cataloging, assembling, gathering, composing, and compiling a dictionary of synonyms.

First published in 1852, Roget’s Thesaurus (from the Greek thēsauros, meaning storehouse, treasury or treasure) is still the go-to source for word alternates, substitutes, equivalents, euphemisms and synonyms by poets, academics, and crossword lovers everywhere. That’s quite the legacy. What’s on your retirement / bucket list?

While you contemplate, consider, ponder, puzzle over that one, take a moment to think on and thank Peter Roget. Happy Thesaurus Day!

Happy Thesaurus Day! (January 18th) was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

A.A. Milne Born January 18, 1882

Milne-and-Chris(PCM) A.A. Milne (Alan Alexander) was born on January 18, 1882 in London.  He attended Cambridge University to study mathematics but soon found that his true passion was writing. After graduating from Cambridge, Milne began his writing career working for Punch Magazine.  He married Daphne” de Sélincourt in 1903.  He was writing for Punch when World War One broke out in 1914.  Milne enlisted even though by nature he was a pacifist. 

After the war Milne returned home he settled in London with his wife and in 1920 had their only child Christopher Robin.  From 1919 when Milne was discharged from the service he had success as a play write, even doing an adaptation of Kenneth Graham’s The Wind in the Willows

Milne had a talent for writing light verse or poetry his first volume entitled When We Were Very Young was published in 1924 and was inspired by watching his young son.  Milne wrote a second volume called Now We Are Six which was published in 1927.

It was, however, another book written in 1926 which would gain Milne his reputation and celebrate him as a children’s author, that book was Winnie The PoohWinnie The Pooh told of the adventure of a small stuffed bear who lived with his friends Rabbit, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga and her son Roo and Tigger.  These stories took place in The 100 Acre Wood and featured a small boy by the name of Christopher Robin.  The stories themselves were based on the stuffed toys owned by Christopher. He wrote a sequel to the Pooh stories in 1928 called The House At Pooh Corner.  These two books would become classics in children’s literature and remain so to this day.

After the success of the Winnie the Pooh books Milne went on writing for adult, he produced novels and short stories none of which would gain the popularity of the small bear everyone loved so much.

Milne died on January 31, 1956 after an illness.

In the 1960s The Disney Studios bought the rights to the Pooh books and a series of films and TV shows would come out of The Disney Studios for many years to come.  The Disney World Parks each have a ride based on the Pooh characters, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and small children can almost always be found with a Winnie the Pooh toy of one kind or another.

A,A, Milne left us in 1956 but it seems his children’s characters will be remembered for many years to come.

A.A. Milne Born January 18, 1882 was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

Start to Eat Clean, Stay Lean for a Healthy New Year

Eat-Clean2(PCM) The New Year is the ideal time to improve our healthy ways, and a new book on eating clean from Rodale Press will supply us with the tools we need to get a jump start. In Wendy Bazilian’s new 294-page book “Eat Clean Stay Lean” (Rodale Press $21.99), she has found a refreshing approach to doing just that.

She also has the ideal qualifications. Bazilian is a registered dietitian and certified exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She is an author, journalist, researcher, educator, and food enthusiast.

The author gives her readers common sense advice on how to shop with an eye toward optimal health benefits; as well as 300 real foods and flavorful, unique recipes for life-long health and lasting weight loss. The book includes ultimate clean foods in every category: fruits and veggies, proteins, grains, sauces, snacks and treats, and beverages.

The book gives readers tips on how to turn their kitchens into an “eating clean oasis.” There are also simple strategies for how to recognize the different between clean food and the impersonators, pages on the surprising foods that contain fillers and unexpected ingredients. The book also shows how to continue to eat clean on the go, whether at a party, event or restaurant. Sample menus for a day of good clean/lean eating are included.

In “Eat Clean Stay Lean” Bazilian’s aim is help readers transform their kitchens into a place where they can go to get healthy. In doing so, she explains why it’s better to buy fresh ingredients and give readers some tips on where to find them and what to look for.

The first step healthy eating is selecting clean ingredients. These include organically grown vegetables and grass fed beef; that is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, as well as antibiotics and growth hormones. If her advice is taken, readers will quickly get to know the people at their local farmer’s market and road side stands.

“My favorite foods are those without a label,” Bazilian said. “The cleanest foods you can eat are real foods that haven’t been highly processed, refined and poured into big boxes, crinkly bags or shiny wrappers. Research shows that these whole foods are the best at creating, restoring, and preserving the healthiest bodies.”

When you get home with your new found booty, the book provides numerous recipes with everything from veggie burgers to homemade salad dressings, and Southwest Skillet Eggs to Savory Bread pudding. There are lots of tips and more do’s than don’ts.

Using her book as a guide, “you’ll be cooking and eating clean, healthy, flavorful meals in no time; with a new found confidence in what you are eating because it will be prepared in a healthy way, using the cleanest ingredients. “

“At the end of the day,” she writes in her book, “the pleasure from eating flavorful foods feels so good. Ultimately, while being healthy itself is a compelling goal, you know you probably won’t stick with a plan if it doesn’t also taste delicious. Great news: Clean foods, prepared creatively like the recipes provided will tantalize your taste buds also.”

So, in her book, she invites us to enter the world of great tasting meals made with clean ingredients. “Feel better about what you’re eating because you know what is in your food.”

Eat-Clean1Q: We want our children to be healthy, yet we all know picky young eaters who refuse to try anything green; or anything new that may be a healthier choice. Do you have any thoughts about that?

WENDY BAZILIAN: Yes, it can take a little bit of time, so you have to be patient. From the first introduction of a food we know it can take 15-17 times for someone, especially a child, to try something out. The goal is to establish a memory along with a sensory experience. You take simple steps and reinforce it. The more variety and the more flavor involved will increase the success. It definitely takes time; but it is well worth the effort.

Q: Please talk about clean living.

WB: Clean living is eating clean. It is not about a single fad or a way to eat. Eating clean is eating more whole, minimizing chemicals in your day and removing artificial colors and preservatives.

Q: Do you eliminate some of our favorite foods like pizza, cookies and other snacks?

WB: No. In the book we categorize – meat, popcorn, veggies, snack food –and there are pizza and cookies. It is embracing what we have in common, rather than what we have that is different.

Q: Who and what inspires you in life?

WB: I am inspired by the environment around me and what’s possible in my own life. I’m inspired by people – chefs and gardeners who I see bring things to life, and athletes who perform their feats. I’m inspired by people who follow their passion – including my family members and friends.

Q: Do you have any favorite recipes in the book?

WB: I love the apple pie parfait and the apple pie smoothie. That cinnamon red hot warming flavor is perfect for a chilly day in the fall or winter. I like to eat to the season and rely on mother nature.

Q: How do you feel about leftovers?

WB: The salmon salad recipe is perfect for that it is as simple as making tuna fish salad. There are also affordable choices that are clean eating, like buying canned wild salmon. I like the cauliflower crust pizza with marinara, fresh mozzarella and sautéed mushrooms. Taste should be your prevailing force when it comes to meals and snacks. What I love about this endeavor is that there is truly something for everyone in this book.

Q: What do you hope readers will get from this book?

WB: I hope that people see we can all be on a mission together. I would say to eat a little bit better today than yesterday and feel the immediate impact – feel more vital, and have more energy. Our health is impacted by food, so it is the most important thing we do for our health. What we have control over often seems magical.

Q: Are there other health benefits?

WB: Yes. Your skin will look better; you are looking at heart health, and brain health. There are mountains of studies connected to reducing medical risks and improving our health by eating cleaner, yet delicious food

Q: What about those of us who love our chips, cookies and other snacks?

WB: All of this is a cumulative effect of what we put in our bodies. An occasional mis-step doesn’t undo everything if you eat clean most of the time. So don’t beat yourself up during the holidays or an upcoming birthday celebration. Your home environment should reflect your eating with easy access to clean and healthy foods and snacks.

Q: Do you have any overall advice?

WB: I always tend accentuate the positive like the old song tells us. Don’t beat yourself up. Go for the next meal to be clean and healthy and give yourself credit for making small changes. Be proud for those foods to be in your diet.

Q: Are there ways that you personally have people change habits so they are eating cleaning and staying lean?

WB: Sure, by cooking and writing and continuing to get the word out on how we can have a healthier community. I want to see more people in the kitchen and show them that we can help our own health out there. It is also about skin care productions, community supported agriculture, using what foods are available for the season, doing some canning, and all of the generations being involved side-by-side.

Q: Will there be a companion workbook to help people on their new clean eating adventure?

WB: Yes. It will give people a road map to help them get started and engaged in these recipes. It will look at sports performance and weight loss. The East Clean Diet Book companion should come out in the fall.

Q: What is it like to meet fans of your book, recipes and lifestyle changes at special events?

WB: Food is the connection and it is wonderful to share memories and stories as a community.

Q: How has this book changed your life?

WB: I have the opportunity to share with others the benefits of clean eating. I love to have them share their stories and build a community and through this I know we are more in common than we are different. I am so impacted by it. Mother Nature had a plan, we need to focus on. Use our farmers, farmers markets and regular grocery stories, and at the end of the day celebrate delicious and healthy food on our tables.

Q: There are 12 foods in the book that boost your mood. Tell me about them.

WB: Clams, walnuts, flaxseed, coffee, radishes, oysters, pomegranates, yogurt, kefir, shitake mushrooms, chocolate and apricots. They are blessed with compounds that lift your spirits.

Q: Do you have any last advice for our readers?

WB: The use of one simple mantra: “Eat Clean, Stay Lean,” can really change your life.

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The post Start to Eat Clean, Stay Lean for a Healthy New Year also appeared on PCM Lifestyle.

Happy Birthday Sherlock!

Sherlock Holmes Cap famous as Deerstalker, Old Key and Magnifier
(PCM) Happy Birthday Sherlock! Beloved super sleuth Sherlock Holmes was created by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. He is one of (if not the) most adapted fictional characters in literature, appearing in upwards of sixty stories written by Doyle himself and countless other books, plays, comics, films, and television shows in the one hundred plus years since. What’s your favorite Sherlock incarnation?

Although Doyle never explicitly mentioned Holmes’ birthday, January 6th has been accepted as canon by most Sherlock fans. The day is marked by an annual celebration of feasting, lectures, costuming and other festivities in New York City, but fans around the world can observe (deduce, infer, conclude) in their own way… logically.

Happy Birthday Sherlock! was contributed by Pop Culture Fun Facts.

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