The Messengers

the-pigeon-post

 

Down the ages messages and messengers have always been crucial in conquests and the winning of wars.
I think of fast runners, who were sent to convey important messages to kings or enemies in the duration of conflict.
During the Roman times, pigeons were used as messengers.  The rider on horseback was called in to swiftly take messages to far off places.  And the Stage coach service that carried passengers goods and letters.

bike-blog-postman-cycling-001

Then came the postal service and the trusty postman on his bicycle delivering  good old-fashioned and personal snail-mail.

Now we have the internet and email  – trillions of messages, information and advertisements sent at a 1,000 times the speed of persistency.

internet globe

The messengers have come a long way in a very short space of time !

But I want to bring our attention to the unseen and hidden messengers.
I have been reading up on hormones !  Yes, mysterious, sometimes troublesome, often incomprehensible hormones, and have discovered that hormones are hidden but very important messengers too.
I  would like to share with you what I have gleaned from my readings and my impressions of the work of these hidden messengers.

Before I continue, I must mention two other attempts at understanding anatomy, and at the same time make a humble confession of my prolixity.    When I stumble onto something I tend to go fetch it at length.
You will see fine examples of my prolixity in my previous posts
From Menial to Magnificent, when I discovered the wonders of the circulatory system of  blood, and also in The First Line of Defence, when I groped for knowledge of the Immune system and nutrition.
I am trying to curb this inter-twining writing style, but until then please bear with me, as I try again to be more concise on the subject in question.

But to the point of this post then …. finally !

I have read different approaches to the subject of hormones so that I could piece the writings together for more clarity and understanding.

Again, we have come along way in a relevantly short space of time, in the knowledge and understanding of the human anatomy, as I gleaned from the snippets taken from Dr Alan L Gillen’s book Body by Design  ISBN: 0-89051-296-5  Publisher : Masterbooks

Hormones – the body in balance.
In 1902 the British physiologist Ernest Starling discovered hormones.   Historically (1923) he was also the first scientist to use the metaphor of wisdom in the inward parts to characterise the body in balance….

……   he spoke about the regulation of body processes, their adaptability, and the contribution of hormones that integrated signals and provided balance through feedback.
For his epigraph, Starling chose a verse from the Book of Job  38:36|
Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts.

…….. Walter Cannon coined the term homeostasis in his book The Wisdom of the Body and built upon Starling’s theory of homeostasis : when he described this as a condition of uniformity that results from adjustment of living things to changes in their environment.
He described detail physiological mechanisms for this coordinated regulatory balance.

….Physicians have long recognised that the body must be in chemical balance to stay healthy.   If one chemical variable in the human body gets out of balance, then disorder, disease and even death may result.

Dr Alan Gillen says …   “Indeed, the Creator put wisdom in the inward parts (Job 38:36)   This wisdom is evident in the process of homeostasis : balance, order, regulation and chemical feedback.
It is the Creator who has given understanding to the mind of man as he has discovered the laws that the Creator set in motion in the human body.

In the Endocrine system its glands and hormones we find a plan, purpose and design to maintain our health and wellness.

 

The next  illustration     (ref : clickmypicture.com/functions-of-endocrine/)
crisply and simply displays the positions and functions of the glands that make up the endocrine system, that houses these chemical messengers.

 

functions-of-endocrine

 

A little reading done at  http://www.ikonet.com/en/visualdictionary/static/us/hormones
gives a clear and brief description of the body’s hormones :

Hormones : the body’s chemical messengers.
The human body secretes and circulates some 50 different hormones.    A wide variety of these chemical substances are produced by endocrine cells, most of which are in the glands.   The hormones then enter the blood system to circulate throughout the body and active target cells.

The Endocrine system tightly linked to the Nervous system, controls large number of the body’s functions :
metabolism,   homeostasis,  growth, sexual activity and contraction of the smooth and cardiac muscles.

The Endocrine system is composed of 9 specialised glands.
The endocrine glands : the pituitary, the thyroid, the four parathyroids, the two adrenals and the thymus,
and the number of organs capable of producing hormones include the pancreas, heart, kidneys, ovaries testicles and intestines.

The hypothalamus, which is not a gland but a nerve centre, also plays a major role in the synthesis of hormonal factors.
The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland  are the control centres of the endocrine system.

The Endocrine system is linked to the Nervous system, which regulates our feelings, our emotions, our internal universe.   One act of kindness can release a chemical called oxytocin, they call it a love hormone.   Some say that the four basic emotions are Love, Fear, Joy and Sadness,  with all their derivatives.  The stimuli (data) from our outer environment is processed and messages sent to cells for responses and reactions to interpret the situation .   So hormones get to become very personal now.

The Nervous System is an orchestration of mystery and wonder, but to simply understand how the mechanics of it works I now refer to  David R Hamilton’s book Why Kindness is Good for You.  ISBN978-1-8485-178-2 Printed and published by Hay House SA (Pty) Ltd.

How it works :

Neuropeptides
The way it works is that chemicals known as neuropeptides are continually manufactured in an area of the brain known as the Hypothalamus.   From there, many flow into the Pituitary gland and are released into the bloodstream in response to our thoughts and emotions.

….  Another way to think of it, less colourful but slightly more accurate, is to think of the neuropeptide as a space shuttle.   For it to dock onto a space station, which would be the cell for this analogy, its docking port has to be the same shape as the docking port on the station.    When it docks, an astronaut could walk into the space station and enter new information into it computers.

In the same way, a neuropeptide fits into its receptor and passes information to the cell, entering new instructions into is ‘computer’, which, for this analogy, is the DNA.   So some of the information activates or deactivates genes.

 

There is of course much more on hormones, but sufficient for now, or else I will be guilty of information overload.

The hidden but honourable hormone is so necessary in triggering messages to cells to maintaining our body maintenance (homeostasis)  for on-going orderly health and well-being in our bodily forms and functions.

So,  hooray for hormones, and now you know part of the reason why you are so much more than just a pretty or good-looking face !!   We are talking walking miracles  precisely designed and engineered –  and infused with wisdom for health and well-being!

But the most important message is to discover, to know and to appreciate God’s wonderful Mind in the design of the human body, and the miracle of how our bodies function in complimentary harmony to keep us healthy, happy and sane.
There are hidden messages in the Bible that reveal the wonders of His Mind and of His created works.  If we would but just go and read about it, how astonishing will the revelations be that He has for us, to then become for us the secrets of wisdom.  (Job 11:6)

Amazing in design, by an amazing Mind of an Amazing God – is the human body.    We can only but stand in awe and in wondered reverence of His crowning creation – which is you … and me.   Hallelujah.

So …  we are pretty and awesome, and that is Pretty Awesome in the grand scale of hormones, would you agree ?

 

Consider the Seed

 

VeryBerryPorridge

I have been on one of my jaunts, and down numerous rabbit holes looking for good food.
I have come to the conclusion that pretty much everything needed for our consumption for a healthy life is tied up in nature, and more pertinently in the small but mighty seed.

In my meanderings I started off in Genesis, and found, what seems to me to be a comprehensive summary of God’s provision of food for man and beast.   I read that on the third day God spoke –

” And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit whose seed is in itself according to its kind.  And God saw that it was good. ”  Genesis 1:12

Seeds are the primary method of propagation in most plant families.
And so God in His goodness and provision perpetually stocked up man’s pantry for food, as a self producing food factory, all through seeds.

When I told my husband that seeds are good for him, he promptly told me that he was not a budgie !!    That is what comes to most minds when we speaks of seeds.  But seeds are so much more than bird food or cattle feed.

seeds
I researched and read that there are different types of seeds.
GRAINS :    A grain crop is a grain-producing plant.  The two main types of commercial grain crops are cereals and legumes.   Grains and cereals are synonymous with caryopses the fruits of the grass family.     ref : Wikipedia
Examples of grass seeds  :  maize, millet, barley, oats, rye, spelt,wheat,  sorghum.
If you think about it these form the basis of our cereals, providing health-sustaining food for our bodies.
They form the staple diet of many people groups, and their nutritive value is immense.

green-peas

Legumes : or grain legumes are members of the Pea family and they are higher in protein.
Some examples :  Chickpeas, common beans, common garden peas, fava beans, lime beans, lentils, lupins, mung beans and soybeans.

HERBS

thyme

In general use, herbs are plants with savoury or aromatic properties that are used for flavouring and garnishing food, medicinal purposes or for fragrances.  Ref : Wikipedia
Some examples : Basil  Parsley, Thyme, Sage and Dill.

 

Fruit

FRUIT  AND  VEGETABLES 
Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant-parts, such as roots, leaves and stems for example :  
Fruit – apples squash tomatoes,  – while roots such as beets, potatoes turnips,  and leaves such as spinach, kale and lettuce, and stems eg. celery, broccoli are all vegetables
Ref : http://www.livescience.com

peach fruit

Fruit trees :
The fruit tree and their seeds provide us, with a little heaven on earth.
Fruit has natural filtered water, natural sugars, vitamins, minerals, flavours and other nutrients too.  Cool and refreshing, nutritious and absolutely delicious all at the same time – and a veritable natural pharmacy !

Dr Cherry in his book The Bible Cure says :
Grains, seeds, fruits and vegetables are sources we have available to us for carbohydrates.
The main focus of your food intake should come from the following groups of complex carbohydrates
+  Green/yellow vegetables.
+   Grains, including cereal, rice, whole grain breads,
+  Fruits.
+  Beans and Peas  

What astonished me, was the fact that this food is self-generating – of course terms and conditions apply e.g. good soil, moisture, sunlight, and air must be in supply.

One definition of a seed :  A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food.  It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plant which occurs after fertilization and some growth with-in the mother plant.   Ref : http://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/seed
What is an Ovule ? – the part of the ovary of seed plants that contain the female germ cell and after fertilisation becomes the seed.

Perhaps that is a bit to much information !   But seemingly a pattern is set, which I suspect is a pattern for not only food but for the way of Life itself.  The ovule, is where the seed grows.   Humans too come from the same concept.   There must be a blue print for the pattern of Life.
The life-cycle of the seed, to me, reflects such a pattern.

However, apart from the marvellous provision that the seed provides for our good food, our health and well-being,  the seed also illustrates for us life-lessons.
“Be fruitful and multiply’   That is the purpose of the seed to be productive and to cause increase.
“There will always be seed-time and harvest time –  a pattern for the prosterity of life.  There are seasons in our personal lives too …… ” a time to cry and a time to laugh, a time to make war and a time to make peace”
“Sowing and reaping” is a principle not only applied to the farmer, but to reciprocity, to  finance and even hinge on justice and reprisal.
Seeds are in our genealogies.
(Yes,  somewhere in every family tree there may be a nut!)
God planted a seed  in Abraham, with the promise of many many descendants, even while his wife Sarah was old and barren.   Abraham believed God, and so began the story of the People of Faith, who  would exponentially grow in history,  to make the invisible God known to the nations of the world.
Hidden in plain sight, but perhaps a little obscure in the heap of histories,  is Jesus Christ, who is Abraham’s Seed,  (ref : Gal 3:16)
God’s promise of salvation for the People of His Promise, that would extend far beyond Abraham’s imagination.

Not all seeds grow, but all have potential to grow  – (author unknown)

A seed can hold a destiny, because faith (what you think and what you believe) is like a seed.    The promises of God are the seeds of faith.  We can believe them, nourish them in our thought-life to grow a better and more abundant tomorrow.
The Seed is the word of God  – Luke 8:11
It is good spiritual food for intellectual understanding, and the sound development of  mind, soul, and spirit – and that of our societies !

Mustard_Seed Tree

But there is another life lesson the seed brings to us, and it is that of transformation.
“………  unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.  (John 12:24
If a grain of wheat dies, it can produce and become more.  More grain,  – and more bread to give food and life to many who are hungry.

wheat ear

That is perhaps the hidden essence of life – to die so that there can be a rebirth.   A surrendered life of ‘becoming’ is an ongoing process, but carries with it seeds of great magnitude, and a new consciousness.    One just has to ponder the story of the Cross of Christ, and the resurrection power of transformation.

All plant life starts with seeds.   They are small, but they are mighty.   Seeds are not just little ‘husky’ things, but carry various and necessary compounds that work in our bodies in many precise and methodical ways to grow cells or to repair damaged ones.  Therein lies the wonder of the seed.
Seeds, plants and nutrition all have a part to play in the restorative power that can bring healing and wellness to a sick body.

Plants are loaded with essential minerals, vitamins and disease-fighting nutrients that are often lacking in our modern-day diets.
I read of some cancer fighting plants, with their unique compounds found in their substance :  There are many more of course
Garlic and Onions : – Allium compounds, which increase activity of immune cells that fight cancer and indirectly help to break down cancer causing substances.
Grapes : contain ellagic acid., this compound blocks enzymes necessary for cancer cells to grow, thus slowing the growth of tumors.   Grapes also contain compounds that can prevent blood clots.   Another substance in grape skins (resveratrol) prevents deposit of cholesterol in arteries.
Citrus Fruits  – contain limonene, which stimulates cancer-killing immune cells (T-lymphocytes and others)   Oranges are shown to have strong anticancer benefits.
Some 60 anti-cancer chemicals contained in citrus fruits.
Tomatoes –  contain lycopene, an anti cancer substance, some researches suggest may be stronger than beta carotene.
Watermelons, Carrots and Red Peppers also contain this powerful substance.
Broccoli and Cabbage  – contain indoles, can effect estrogen converting it to a benign form that will not stimulate abnormal breast cancer cells.   These cruciferous vegetables contain multiple cancer fighting chemicals.  Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower also fall in this category.
Ref : The Bible Cure. Dr Reginald Cherry M.C.  Siloam Press.

vegetables-colorful

I for one, would like to applaud those who are sowers of seeds, the farmer, the teacher and the preacher, for they scatter seeds that bring us good food for increased growth, health and sensible development.

But there are those who would modify the preciousness of the seed. These modifiers are those who tamper with the health and well-being of many generations to come !!   To them I say  ‘hands off our seeds’.

seed shoots

So in my jaunt in search of good food, the seed became the focal point of consideration.  Think about it, what comes first :   the seed, the plant, the flower, the fruit, the death and then the rebirth – a cycle and a pattern for the good life, both physical and spiritual.

All that, and more is the precious seed from which plants grow and provide us with the most, and the best nutrition for sustaining the life of man and beast here on earth.

Here’s to good food and good health. Let’s be thankful and eat from God’s sustenance for us, provided ultimately through the Seed.

Yellow-Mustard-Seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Line of Defence

Einstein said   “Our sense of wonder is our sense of God”
I couldn’t agree more.  I love the sense of wonder, as it gives me a feeling of  my horizons being extended.

I had this feeling, believe it or not, while reading and researching the benefits of
Coenzyme Q 10  – a component that is important for the building up of the immune system, which is vital for good health.  This led me to discover my lymphatic and immune systems.  Wonder systems in their own right !

Boring you might say, but oh no, not when it is written in terms of engagement and the concepts of warfare.
Now imagine a city on a hill, of whom the mayor, the honourable Mrs Good-loo King,  who makes all decision in all matters, is the chief citizen.  This city has its very own personal defence system to keep it clean and disease free and guard against any would be malicious enemies.

No, the enemies are not invading Turks, Arabs, Romans or Russians.   The enemies are the invisible inhabitants of an invisible world, the world of bacteria, virus, and fungi – pathogens and antigens !  And a sneaky bunch they are too.  Not to be sniffed at, as they can be skilfully deceptive to gain access to my city, and can cause major infection.

lymph polixw
To my delight I came to realise that, in my city’s arsenal, the first line of  defence were a troop of assassination killers – that asked no questions, hear no lies, and shoot from the hip, purposely intending to kill and to destroy any would be invader that meant harmful destruction,  – the Phagocytes ! (white blood cells)  And after the warring attack on my cells are over, they call in the Macrophages and Monocytes.  “These are large cells that act as killer scavengers, with the unique ability to engulf and digest foreign micro organism and antigens “  – to clean up the mess left behind.   I love the Phagocytes !

As amazing as the lymphocytes are, is the manner in which they operate.  It took a little time for me to wrap my mind around the workings of the immune system.  This with the help of the book I read : The Miracle Nutrient Coenzyme Q10  written by Emile G. Bliznakov M.C. and Gerald L. Hunt.   Publisher Bantam Books.
“The immune system is able to distinguish between “self” and “nonself” and it will act accordingly.  It also has a memory for ‘faces’ individual chemical markers that are displayed by foreign proteins.     The immune intelligence remembers  past invaders and reacts.”
How amazing is that !!

These Lymphocytes, are the ground troops that carry out the work of surveillance, identifying the enemy then ruthlessly kill and destroy foreigners, and are but a part of a network of vessels similar to the blood vessels.  The blood vessels are the carriers of nutrients and life to all my cells.

No small regimental army this !  Highly operational,  and there are other strategically positioned outposts in my city to detect an enemy invasion e.g. the tonsil,s  the appendix,  the clumps of lymphoid tissue in the small intestine known as Peyer’s patches.

lymphatic_system

“The lymphatic system itself is the line of supply,” (crucial in warfare), “throughout the immune network.  The whole system is lined by lymph nodes, which are small bean-shaped structures spread throughout the body. Strings of lymph nodes can be found in  the groin, abdomen, armpits and neck.      Lymph nodes act as depositories for cells of the immune system and also as centres for disposing of the remains of dead (or deceased) micro organisms.”

Highly strategically organised and efficient warfare with a sweeping surveillance with swift action to destroy an incoming enemy !
And strangely there is no manual to follow, no protocol to adhere to, no General in charge to issues orders when attacked, it is as if they exist only to do their work on their own accord.   When they get triggered, war happens !
Amazing, amazing the human body !

I wonder, if Christians were as quick to react to the incoming wrongs and injustices in our societies, if there would be less chaos and despair in the world ?   We too may be, the first line of defence, in a world where oppression, crime and lies seem to be the order of the day.   Of course we can’t kill, but we can expose them for what they are, and nullify the damage they cause.
However I digress.

Being stressed-out is the malady of our times, – in a world where everything has been innovated and invented to make our lives better, easier and faster !  But too much stress is not a friend of our immune system !  We would be wise to make time to slow down a little and bring a good dollop of fun, and mindful reflection, to balance our overworked minds.
Malnutrition, often undetected, is another malady.  I believe supplements can be helpful, but in all I have read, many if not most recommend that we get our nutrients, vitamins and minerals from God-made food like fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.
For good health, good nutrition is our first line of defence, and starts with the natural foods we eat.

And for that reason Mayor Good-loo King will need to do a little more research to make the best decisions for the health and well being of her city !

This snapshot of information, done tongue in cheek,  has done no justice whatsoever to the complicated work of the lymphatic system.  And though I do not fully comprehend it all,  my sense of wonder was rekindled as I discovered my brave lymphatic and immune systems – and the goodness of God in His amazing design of the human body.

O LORD, how manifold are your works !  Psalm 104:24

Human body systems

 

But for now, excuse me, as I go and top up  my plate with a whole lot more broccoli, drizzled with just an itsy-bit of lemon butter and a sprinkle of black pepper.

plate of broccoli

Remember to love your Phagocytes, and eat your greens !

   You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden  Matthew 5:14