Monday, 1 June 2015

Moving On...

The Daughters of Sheba blog and Foundation has removed to be under one "roof." Please visit with us now at Claudette's place - she is the Founder, Editor and general housekeeper of the affairs of DOS. Yes, basically the Mom.

Thanks for the support here...looking forward to seeing you at our new digs.

Friday, 29 May 2015

The World Went Coconuts This Week

Yes! It is Friday again and although the weather in my neck of the woods is being schizophrenic - I am looking forward to a nice weekend!

The wind of change is blowing strongly here. Next week, there will be a major difference as to how you access this blog. Stay tuned over the weekend and make sure to join my Long Bench List to be kept abreast.

In the meantime, it seems most readers loved the essay on Coconut Oil. It had the highest volume of visits. Thank you very much. In case you missed it, check it here.

As always, have a great weekend! Who knows, I might pop in again on Sunday!



Thursday, 28 May 2015

Share & Care - L'Oréal Style

Diva I am not although one of my Guest Authors on this blog tries her best to get me to change my ways. My taste for stylish clothes is well up there with the more than average-dressed woman. However shopping for those outfits is not my cup of tea. 

What I do enjoy doing when it comes to the feminine, 'diva-esque' look, is make up. 

Over the years, I have developed my own style of makeup application. It runs along the same lines as my dress style - simple and, if I may say so myself, elegant.

Choosing a brand of make up was the trick. Growing up borderline poor, my choices were limited to my pocketbook. Hand me down make ups from older and employed female friends were my first. As my income increased and my knowledge of makeup application, my skin and what enhances my looks, I bought better quality of maquillage.

Aside from temporarily jumping on the bandwagon protesting the reported racial discriminatory practices of a manufacturer of body care products, I never gave much thought to the human resources practices of cosmetic companies. It just was not part of my decision making when it came to finding the correct rouge or lipstick.

That will now change.

After writing about InHerSight - a website and resource that supports women in or entering the workforce with information regarding the best practices of employers - I came across the report on L'Oréal yesterday.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Back To Basics: Free Range Kids - How To Grow One

Back in the 60's when I was a kid, all of us were what they are now calling Free Range Children.

  • Played 'dolly house', in cardboard boxes out in the backyard.
  • Sipped on deliciously flavoured mud tea and ate leaves for cakes
  • Ran bucknaked with the dogs
  • Bathed outdoors with hoses
  • Sat under the mango trees and ate the fallen fruits
  • Walked to and from schools alone or in packs of 6 year olds.
Today, after 10 years of running wild and free, most of my childhood playmates are still going strong. With doctorates, bachelor's and master's degrees in law, communications, medicine, theology and many other fields, we all became geniuses at the most coveted field - "Thrivers in Life."

Recently, I shared a story of how my daughter and a playmate fell while horse playing. As there was no money to seek medical treatment for both, my Abigail got her first lesson in mind control. She learned many other lessons prior to and after that on the open fields of life.

Among them, Abigail learned:
  1. To sleep whenever and wherever she needed to through years of slumber swaddled on trains across Europe.
  2. To eat and appreciate most foods at least once and be respectful to her hosts who provide for her. This was taught to her through many meals of Spam, sardines and chicken back - all we could afford at points in our journey.
  3. To entertain herself after spending many hours with other kids in the nearby caves, playing alone with sticks and stones and feeding the pigs and chickens at her grandparents' home in rural Jamaica.
  4. To focus, having done her homework or slept on the floor under my desk or my ex's desk in a noisy newsroom.
If by free range parenting they mean - allowing your child to explore the colours, texture and variances of our world with open eyes and hearts, with parental guidance of right and wrong and a compass to get back home - I am all for it!
Quoting from the National Public Radio:
"Last December, parents in Silver Spring, Md., allowed their two children — 6 and 10 years old — to walk home from a park about a mile away. Someone reported seeing unsupervised kids, the police picked them up and then the parents found themselves under investigation for neglect by their local Child Protective Services (CPS) agency.

The parents, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, say they believe in "free range" parenting. They want to instill self-reliance and independence in their children. But now they are under investigation again. Earlier this month, police picked up the children as they walked home from a park and took them to the CPS offices. They were returned home hours later." Read more 

Image source:
Although there are other pending charges for other incidents of their setting their children free, news broke this morning that the Mietiv's were exonerated by the Courts. 

Yes, there are people around who have ill-intentions towards children. I personally have had that experience. In my case, however, they were not out by the ballpark where my posse of 7 year olds had gone to play. The predators in my story were right in our house or next door.

When I opened our doors and unleashed my child, it was with her head loaded with information about: which 'pasture' she ought to roam in, mealtimes, description of the wolves and foxes and what to do if one showed up and not to wander off from her fellow chickens!

In a digital age, it is comforting to know that there are technologies available for us to monitor the whereabouts of our children. The flip side, however, is that so many tie their children's living to an app or device.

Mahalia in her open field
Being a "free ranger" myself, I am not immune to this. My daughter and I got into a debate on this when I declared that my granddaughter's first birthday gift from me will be a Tablet! Hypocrite!

My neighbours have two lovely children - free range kids. This gift seems to be very much one from their grandmother, who is about the same age as myself and who grew up on a farm here in Alberta. She is a "do it yourselfer" extraordinaire - around the house and in the yard.  As she is out and about, with or without the children's mother, and the kids can be seen sitting in the dirt having a ball! Not once have I heard either mother or grandmother warning them of bacteria, bugs or getting their clothes messed up. Winter time the same deal. They are out in below zero temperatures - cold but warm enough to be outdoors, making snowmen or beating the crap out of each other with snowballs. And these are not children short on toys, books, gadgets and televisions to watch!

Balance - it is all about balance.

That is the key to parenting that supports a child's development, natural curiosity, well-being and in fact, health. A new buzz word it might be but there is nothing new about free range parenting - that is how we 50+ plusers grew up! 

As for that Tablet for Mahalia? Maybe Canada Day 2016, her birthday. Give her some time to eat dirt, wild flowers, ride a donkey and pull a dog's tail.

There is no manual for parenting. We all do the best we can and hopefully that leaves room for children to explore, be and evolve into their full selves.



Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Today's Wellness: The Healthiest Oil and Whole Foods

My day job usually starts around 12:30 most afternoons. However, I am fortunate to work with an organization that allows me a lot of flexibility. So I can basically set my own schedule.

Most days when I get in, my colleagues have already had lunch. On the few occasions that my arrival happens before 11:00a.m., I might sit with them for lunch. One such afternoon, as we all gathered, one of my colleagues said he had this "awesome" addition for our salads and coffee.

Lo and behold he pulled out a bottle of pure coconut oil.


Yes, that was my inside voice and I managed to keep it in but not off my face.

Image: coconut
This was ludicrous to me! A Canadian living in the Prairies for all his life, maybe venturing every now and again on a Mexican adventure, relaxing at an all-inclusive hotel, introducing me to coconut oil?!

When did the world turn around and the Caribbean island girl was making acquaintance with an "awesome" addition for my salad and coffee - coconut oil?! See, I grew up in Jamaica a once high-producing coconut exporting country, until it died a most unnatural death.

My understanding of the death of coconut was not deep but for all of my childhood coconut oil was the mainstay for just about everything from cooking to hairdressing to body care. By my 20's, the industry was suffocating and no one was in a hurry to rescue it. All attention was on corn and canola oils.

Coconut oil got a bad rep and why? Here is how one website summarizes it: 
"Fats are categorized as either short-, medium-, or long-chain depending on how many carbon molecules they contain. Close to two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which have antimicrobial properties, are easily digested by the body for quick energy, and are beneficial to the immune system. Far from being dangerous, the saturated fat in coconut oil is actually health promoting.

So how could an oil that is so good for you have gotten such a bad reputation? The answer comes down to simple economics and politics. Based on some flawed studies performed over four decades ago, some of which used primarily hydrogenated coconut oils, a powerful anti-saturated fat movement began. Remember--hydrogenated oils are oils with trans-fatty acids, which have been altered from their original chemical composition and have been shown to raise cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease and other health problems. You should not consume hydrogenated oils, whether it is coconut or another vegetable oil.Read the full article.  
Another Western authority on coconut was Siegried Gursche "a true pioneer of the health food movement in Canada, with a career that spanned more than 50 years." Reviewing Gursche's book, "Coconut Oil: The Healthiest Oil on Earth,"  Dr. Conrado S. Dayrit, an emeritus professor of pharmacology, practicing cardiologist and ground-breaking researcher into the health benefits of virgin coconut oil wrote: 
"More than 80 million people who live in a veritable coconut paradise planted with 300 million trees have not fully utilized the healthiest dietary oil on earth - raw, natural, organic, cold-pressed virgin coconut oil."
With the Wellness Movement in full advance  - one that I fully endorse - coconut oil is the "in thing.

Glorified by today's health conscious consumers, instead of boiling my own oil as my aunt and other elders did, I know pay C$15.00 a bottle. However, as tasty as coconut oil makes my fried chicken or as soft as my skin feels after my daily application of the product I will not add coconut oil to my coffee!

Recently, one of my sources, BlogsRelease, featured a great article by Whole Foods Market on "9 Ways To Cook With Coconut Oil This Summer." Regular readers and Facebook followers of mine know that next to writing and communicating, food is my next favourite topic. The opening paragraph enticed me but the pictures and recipes clinched the deal.
"For many of us, the scent of coconut oil pulls us right into summertime and memories of being slathered with suntan lotion before a day at the beach. These days, however, I'm drawn to coconut oil for its delicious flavor and versatile cooking properties."
I have been using more and more coconut oil in my kitchen lately, in spite of the price of the unrefined product and I must confess aside from taking me back to my island roots, my dishes have not been more tasty!

Why not try all nine or at least a couple of these coconut oil delights? Here are my favourites:

Check out the other recipes from Whole Foods Markets and share your favourites with me. Be sure to sign up for my Long Bench list today and let us chat wellness and coconuts!


Product information courtesy of BlogsRelease and this author has not received any monetary compensation for this essay.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Motivational Monday: Dare To Dream

"Dare to dream, take it to the extreme. Let your heart and soul lead the way. Live, love seize the day and dare to dream, dare to dream, dare to dream." John Farnham

It is graduation season here in Jamaica and a very uplifting time of validation, dreams becoming realities and opportunity to measure achievements - some against all odds.  

Always moved by these inspirational stories, the journeys of some of the young ones have one common factor it seem - they all had big dreams.

Some people consider "dreaming" childish and a luxury. Too bad more people do not dreams like children as dreaming is not a luxury, affordable only to children, the wealthy and 'time wasters'. 

In my primary school years, at least once a year we were asked to write a composition on "What I want to be when I grow up." Thinking about it now that, I seldom wrote about the same vocation twice.  Why? Dreams change.  Other students in my year were a bit more consistent than I was.  Many of them who wanted to be Teachers, Police Officers, Farmers, Nurses and Pastors when they grew up, are today living their dreams. 

Our choices were greatly influenced by our environment.  My family had its share of Educators: Principals, Lecturers, Education Officers, etc.  When I graduated from high school, to appease my mother, I took the entrance examination for Teachers' College. My mother insisted that teaching is a noble and stable profession one that guarantees constant employment. That profession, however, was not on my DREAM list. 

Albeit it blurred, my dream was bigger. Today I teach through my living. An Educator nonetheless but my dream was to do something out of the ordinary, divert from the usual road; break a couple of 'glass ceilings.'
"Dream BIG! Don't let money or lack of it limit the size of your dream."
That is exactly what one of my role models, my brother, did the same year our late mother was diagnosed with cancer.  Oscar was just accepted into Medical School at the University of the West Indies when news of the diagnosis came. We all thought that his dream was shattered, including the local pastor's wife whose 'words of wisdom' would be exactly the challenge he needed. "Well Oscar," she said, "I guess you have to kiss your dream goodbye and go get a job to look after your sick mother." 

My mother, the faithful prayer warrior, was very upset when she heard this prophecy. She came back with one of her own: "Fi yuh DREAM is fi yuh only. Nobody can dream your DREAM! Go in God's name." At the time, I did not quite understand the wisdom of my mom's words until my brother left home with a bag full of faith, a heart set on achieving and the hope that some day he would make a difference. Oscar's DREAM did come through and continues to expand as one of his three children enrolled into Medical School last year.

"Don't try to stop me. Don't tell me I'm crazy. You are only wasting your breath. I am bound and determined to make it happen. It's just a matter of when." John Farnham

Dreams are not passing fantasies. They are real aspirations.  I have heard the saying "I am living dream," giving the impression that dreams are static.  Life is not and cannot remain static. Dreaming aids the "movement," the enlargement of your life. Any aspect of your life that is "holding pace," degenerating or plain dead is signal to you that complacency, mediocrity or nonchalant attitude is killing your dreaming.

Clara's Dreamer
Be childlike, waste some time and luxuriate in some dreams today! Oscar did, I followed and I am supporting my son's daily dreaming.  You can too - in your life and that of your child or the community's children!

Need some pillows? Sign up for the Long Bench and get a free session today!

Clara Brown is an Insurance Executive and regular Guest Author to this blog. She lives in Kingston, Jamaica with her partner and their son who is constantly dreaming

Some Photo sources:

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday Special: Liebster Award Nominee

For seven years I lived in the Ukraine, studying at the Kiev State University. During that time, I travelled extensively across Europe and very frequently to and through Germany. West Berlin was one of my haunts, however, the word "Liebster" meant nothing to me until a message popped up from a Google+ friend and fellow blogger.

We first made contact a couple months ago, after she read my post on sex. Hardly surprising that it caught her attention, as she like me is seemingly no prude. Since then, I have had the pleasure and enjoyment of reading Abby L.'s blog. She is funny and a straight talker - no holes barred kind of writer.

Then she turns around and surprises me with a nomination for the "Liebster Award."

Sunday is not a day that I normally blog but Abby's nomination had made an exception to that rule. The meaning of "Liebster," according to her and she ought to know as she is German, is "the Loved One."

Again quoting copiously from Abby as I had no previous knowledge of not only the word but the award, here is what being awarded means:
"...Lots of love is being shared together with this award (basically it's a bit like a chain letter sent to bloggers of choice in the name of love, friendship and mutual support).

- Since it works like a chain letter, we have the choice of accepting or refusing to participate (especially if we've been already awarded in the past).

- As part of the nomination, we have to answer a few questions about our blog and us, thus making others discover our digital musings, as well as introducing new friends to the blogging community."
Touched, honoured, privileged and feeling blessed to be nominated by the community, and in the company of some awesome bloggers here are my answers to the questions.

1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?
Years ago prior to migrating to Canada, a tarot reader told me that my daughter and I are old souls with strong ties to Egypt. My daughter has always been fascinated with Cleopatra and I with the Queen of Sheba so his message to us did not feel too far flung. When I became a spiritual counsellor and decided to start a private group on Facebook for women, for empowerment, inspirational but more than anything straight talk - the Queen was my natural mother node.

2. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
Without attempting to sound anything but honest, I arise very early each morning and ideas, thoughts for the day and often times the opening paragraphs for the essay is "downloaded" to me. It spooks me sometimes - the flood of information and guidance that fills my consciousness but I just go with it.

3. What is it that you love most about blogging?
Sharing my journey in an honest and open way without fear of censorship. It is my story and my experiences so no one can tell me how to tell it.

4. What is your favorite food?
The Jamaican national dish - Ackee & Saltfish with fried dumplings and plantains.

5. What is your favorite thing to drink (alcoholic or not)?

6. What is an item you cannot live without?
I can live without anything but would be hard pressed for a few days without my smartphone or a laptop.

7. What are eleven random facts about yourself?
Hmmm, 11 random facts:
  1. My eyes are dark brown
  2. My hair is getting gray all over and I'm embracing that.
  3. I love solitude (not so random)
  4. Ripe banana fritters is my favourite childhood food
  5. I sucked my thumb well into adulthood
  6. I am known to drive pretty fast
  7. I love President's Choice vanilla ice cream with strips of chocolate
  8. Paintings of nudes intrigue me
  9. Had a television stolen from me off of a train in Poland in the 1980's
  10. I hate folding laundry
  11. As much as I share my story, identifying 11 facts about me is a challenge.
8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Wherever my daughter and granddaughter are, there will always be home.

9. If you could meet anyone from history, alive or dead, who would it be?
The Queen of Sheba. Strong women who are humble because they know their power intrigue me and she is said to be one such.

10. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
Walking along a riverside, deep into the woods and stopping for a picnic.

11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Writing, coaching and counselling (spiritual) full time from anywhere in the world, returning to home base at the end of a trip to savour the giggles of my daughter and the dancing of my granddaughter, Mahalia.

I now nominate the following awesome bloggers of Women of Midlife who have befriended and supported me. Some may have more than a 1,000 followers:

Instructions for the nominees of the Liebster Award:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do the following:

  • - Write a post about the fact that you’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award. 
  •  In this post, link back to and show some love to the person who nominated you, also nominate 11 (or less) other new blogs that would not have more than 1000 followers. Let these nominated bloggers know that you have nominated them and provide a link back to your page to ensure that they are familiar with the Award. 
  •  Display the Award in your post and in your side bar.
  • Answer the questions about yourself.
  • Put your post with your nominated blogs for the Liebster Award, on social media. 
Here are your questions:

1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?
2. Where does your blogging inspiration come from?
3. What is it that you love most about blogging?
4. What is your favorite food?
5. What is your favorite thing to drink (alcoholic or not)?
6. What is an item you cannot live without?
7. What are eleven random facts about yourself?
8. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
9. If you could meet anyone from history, alive or dead, who would it be?
10. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Let's spread the religion - Love!