Sunday, 31 May 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK 20- Give thanks for Teeth!


What a strange topic to take seriously and why is it necessary to give thanks for our teeth- natural or false? When you think about it, teeth are majorly important both throughout human evolution and on a personal level. Cutting teeth is often an horrendous experience for a child and in some cases represents the closet a child comes to ultimate pain-(no I haven’t forgotten about colic- some poor infants have a really tough induction into the world!) The first comparison that comes to mind is the pain experienced by millions of women the world over during childbirth. I have chosen to be extreme but think about it for a minute; when we give birth we do have a pre-conceived idea that it’s going to ‘hurt like hell,’ and for the majority of women it does- but what of a tiny baby? How do you explain to a baby that its pain and misery is simply the result of a few teeth cutting their way through their gums?

Once those teeth are actually cut our work begins. We must look after our teeth and our children’s teeth. If your child is on a fantastic natural diet then use natural toothpaste and spring water by all means, however if they love the sweet stuff, give thanks for fluoride in tap water because it really makes a difference to the strength of teeth. Recent generations have far fewer filings and healthier teeth than me and my peers!

We have teeth; we look after them or maybe even lose them through gum disease, accidents or general neglect. We can have replacements, but why are teeth so important? Let’s skip past the hunter/gatherer stage and look at this from a ‘today’ perspective. Beautiful teeth are attractive. Both magazines and TV are full of beautiful people baring beautiful smiles with a row of bright white, immaculate teeth. Wonderful! Nature however isn’t always so accommodating. Some people have huge gaps and others, small jaws- their teeth are too cramped often resulting in the removal of wisdom teeth- daaaam the pain of cutting wisdom teeth shall never be forgotten! I guess they are called wisdom teeth because they erupt in our teens when we are older and wiser and know exactly what they’re doing to us! Dentistry is a science in itself and if you take your children to see a dentist from a young age you will be offered the necessary treatments to maximize the functionality of your child’s teeth.

But what is the functionality of teeth?
Yes we use our teeth to bite- preferably our food! Unfortunately teeth are a tool some children use for communication when they do not possess verbal skills or want attention- can’t talk-BITE! Usually it’s a phase and is short lived however children with specific needs might develop this into a habit and need a little behavioural assistance. As an adult, we may well clench our teeth when mad or frightened and the urge to bite often exists!

The main purpose of teeth is to chew our food. The more time you spend chewing, the more you appreciate the flavours and textures in each mouthful. Without teeth we have a job eating and will be on a far ‘slushier’ diet of blended or soft food. If you have very strong teeth you can find numerous additional uses for them including opening beer bottles! The other pertinent use of teeth is to assist with clear speech and making ourselves easily understood.

I am so thankful for my teeth and one of my biggest nightmares, which apparently is quite common, is losing them all- so these teeth are appreciated subconsciously as well as consciously! Time for a trip to the dentist...

Jaz McKenzie

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Friday, 29 May 2015

Watch Alesha Dixon perform her new single | Semi-Final 4 | Britain's Got...

Britain's Got Talent is nearing the end of the fourth season, which has been pretty good overall with a wide variety of acts and talent along with the usual number of deluded individuals who appear to believe that the world is waiting for them.

A couple of nights ago we were treated to a live performance from Alesha Dixon. As a judge she is lively, has definite opinions and a constant smile complimenting her attractive laugh.. Alesha clearly loves being on the programme and definitely brings her personality to the judging panel. Generally speaking Alesha tends to encourage contestants however will hit her buzzer when she clearly dislikes an act.

I very much enjoyed watching Alesha perform her new single, 'The Way We Are.  Alesha underwent an instant transformation from judge to superstar and showed us why she is such a successful artist. Originally part of the girl band Misteeq, Alesha has become even more successful in her own right having great stage presence, energy and charisma- and let's not forget her amazing figure and effortless dance moves. In addition to singing and dancing Alesha is a model and presenter- a woman who clearly makes the most of her talents. With three Platinum albums and a MOBO award to her credit I'm sure this catchy little number is also set to be a hit and who knows what else is in store for this go-getter!

Jaz McKenzie

Monday, 18 May 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful- WK 19 The joy of Children


I have worked with children for many years and have children and grandchildren who bring joy into my life. We have heard the expression, ‘the children are our future,’ on so many occasions but really we also need to appreciate that children are very much our here and now. Children make up a huge percentage of the world’s population- however in America the 2011 census showed that the percentage of children to adults has fallen from 31% in 1950, risen considerably to over 50% and then fallen to 23.75% in 2011. Of course there could be many reasons for the decline including improved birth control however let’s not speculate.

In general, children are a great blessing to their families and friends and where they are mistreated the child is still a beautiful, unique individual in a cruel situation. There is an innocence about children which captivates us. Life experience causes adults to become cynical and reluctant to trust one another whereas small children have total faith in their parents’ opinions and judgements- to them, mum knows best!

Children’s naivety is one of the key things that we often find amusing. They have an interesting way of looking at life and interpreting the unknown. Children will usually hazard a guess when questioned, something many adults cease to do for fear of appearing ignorant or even foolish. When we laugh at their guesses or expressions it is important not to belittle the child, but to show appreciation for them. We want children to keep their minds and imagination sharp as this will enhance their creative thinking. Over recent years we have come to realise how we shape our children’s natural development and some natural aspects, particularly creative thinking, are lost in the process.

A general adult perception is that we teach our children Correct over all however this can result in us overlooking the lessons we can learn from them. One of the greatest lessons we could zoom in on is the ability to live in the moment. Children only really understand the here and now. They enjoy what they are doing and don’t worry about later or tomorrow. Yes they are self-centred, becoming angry when they can’t have what they want and needing guidance to cope with their feelings- isn’t that true of many adults! We should be self centred at times but in the right way and acknowledge the need to release stress and worry. Most of our worries are about tomorrow yet the future can change instantly in unpredictable ways, so all that time worrying could have been spent enjoying our day.

We encourage children to question yet quite often we accept what we are told, even though we know you can’t always believe what you read.  Questioning allows children to problem solve and draw their own conclusions. Religion is one of the major areas that families expect their children to simply accept therefore it is very important to appreciate the individuality of our children and respect the person they are. If we do this it becomes easier to accept their personal decisions if they go against our opinions or way of life.

Children’s laughter is highly infectious and can easily put a smile on our faces. Many are naturally joyous and full of wonderment. Sometimes it does us good to look at our surroundings as if seeing them for the first time. Imagine how an armchair must look to a baby who can barely crawl? What do we expect of our children and do we sometimes forget that they are not mini adults? There is no such thing as a perfect adult so although we encourage good standards of behaviour in our children they will have ‘off days.’

Let’s just appreciate childhood while it lasts. You can never wind back the clock so we just need to love each moment as it comes.

Jaz Mckenzie

Friday, 15 May 2015


Somebody needs your help- and there are hundreds of good causes to choose between all of which are highly advertised with the commercial machine in full flow. But what of the many individuals who need a serious cash injection to ease their pain and improve their life expectancy or enjoyment of life?

Clearly the National Health Service is lacking and despite the money pumped into cancer charities it seems we cannot help all those living in the country, so please listen to this appeal by Frederica Tibbs for her friend Yvonne who needs to travel to Honduras for treatment. hen you have heard it, share the 'Unity is Strength' appeal- come along if you can to Hootanny this Tuesday and contribute what you can afford towards raising the £5K required to help Yvonne- minimum contribution £5. You can also contact Frederica on Facebook to find out where to send donations.

Frederica and friends have organised a fantastic evening of Reggae with many well known artists and DJ's giving up their time to make this a highly successful evening, courtesy of Cecil Ruben who has agreed to Hootananny hosting the event. We really need to grasp that the needs of one person are as heart-wrenching as the needs of the masses. They are affected, the people around them are affected and by helping one person we can go on to help others. This is what love is, and the more we share it the further love spreads. Life is not fair however we are not impotent, so let's do something to help one another. Log the date in your calender and SHARE the event or contribute NOW. Here's a youtube direct advert that you can also use. Thank You.

Jaz McKenzie

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Family Love ~ Hurting Me- A Jaz McKenzie music/video review!

Hurting Me~ Family Love ft. Winsome Moncrieffe-Mitchell

Released by Urban Delight Ent/ Video: Chiba Visuals

Family Love members:
Lloyd Heron, Winsome Moncrieffe-Mitchell, Frederica Tibbs
Backing vocals- Errol Black Steel

Jealousy's a killer- which comes across very clearly in the new single, ‘Hurting Me,’ by Family Love- ft. Winsome Moncrieffe-Mitchell with Lloyd Heron on drums. ‘Hurting Me’ is a great little Lover's Rock song, written and produced by Lloyd Heron and released on the Urban Delight Ent label. It tells a sad yet familiar story backed by a joyful beat that says, ‘keep listening to me!’ The clever combination of story- telling, emotional release and Winsome’s sweet voice set against Errol Black Steel’s backing vocals make this single a joy to listen to; clearly ‘Hurting Me’ is ideal for both club and radio play- not to mention your personal music collection!

It is very refreshing to hear excellent clear vocals that are not overly embellished- a little scarce in today’s musical climate. Likewise, the lyrics are simple giving a great message for women who contend with jealous men- ‘You’re only hurting me- but I’m not giving in!’ The video, by Jimmy Chiba of Chiba Visuals, is set in the City of London and captures this major misunderstanding brilliantly- best of all it is not over-acted. The shift from 'argument' to the nightclub scene emphasizes that both the show and life must go on.

How this song relates to society:
Clearly this video is a take on an ongoing problematic relationship and we have no idea how many jealous episodes there have been or how many times this guy has packed his bags! Does he usually come back after a couple of days? How will she react? From the video we imagine that all will be well again temporarily as the two appear to reconcile briefly in the club, however it is very hard living with a jealous partner. Jealousy is just as likely to be a feminine trait and quite often the cheating partner has a tendency to control the innocent partner through false allegations. Clearly in the video all Winsome wants is a straight forward discussion, an opportunity to explain- maybe later! People in a relationship like this need a strong bond of love and mega patience if their relationship is to stand a chance of surviving on an equal footing. Sadly, people often pander to their partners every whim in order to live in peace and quiet- an illusion. This is why it is good to see Winsome giving a clear message by taking a strong stance in the video instead of going after her man.

‘Hurting Me’ - Purchase your copy Here at HMV Digital and follow the links above to connect with both Family Love and Urban Delight Ent.

Jaz McKenzie

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK18- Thanks for sunshine!


We could just give thanks for light and life but there is something so beautiful about sunshine that it commands a category of its own.

Sunshine has the effect of making us feel good- it acts as a catalyst to boot up our greatest vibrations. Love and sunshine- what a fantastic combination! Sunshine can reach into our moments of deepest despair and flip our thinking for a few moments by opening our eyes to the beauty of the world. In the words of the late John Denver, ‘sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy,’ a line that jumps to mind looking out of my window and seeing the sunlight illuminating the beauty of the Hawthorne tree’s blossom whilst my neighbour is sunbathing on the lawn.

How do you feel when you get up in the morning? Chances are that if we are greeted by sunshine we are more than ready to face the day and look forward to it with anticipation. Waking in darkness and cold tends to make us want to bury ourselves under the duvet and go back to sleep! By now most of us will have heard of SAD syndrome (Seasonally Affected Disorder) where lack of light affects people’s emotional make up and they suffer with depression in the winter. This is very real as are the effects of a warmer climate suiting a great many people who experience problems relating to joints and other illnesses. Even in the winter we can feel better watching programmes such as, ‘A place in the sun’ as they trigger our desire to experience sunlight. Sunshine is life- just look at the way nature revives in the summer from the dead of winter to new growth- and don’t children tend to shoot up in the summer too!

There is real enjoyment in soaking up the sun; our bodies crave sunshine and vitamin D giving us the feel good factor. My favourite holiday consists of sun, sea and sand- hours spent relaxing and fully appreciating the surroundings, living in the moment whilst squirreling away memories for those dull rainy days- which we need in order to fully appreciate the sun! Relaxing in the sun helps generate a feeling of lightness associated with the power of a positive outlook (ref: great thoughts.) Of course, too much sunshine is not good, as with all types of excess, and we can suffer sunburn or sunstroke if we spend too long in direct sunlight or fail to take precautions and drink plenty of water.

Sunshine is so often the answer to apathy. People adore sunny days. We suddenly want to look good in our summer clothes, feel fit and eat more healthily. Sunshine generates warm evenings and we make better use of our days, choosing to sit outside rather than in and spending more time socialising with friends. The smell of countless barbeques accompanied by the sound of laughter across the country bear testimony to this trait- and as for those beach barbeques- well, that’s where the magic created by sunshine lies.

Sun helps maintain health. We tend to exercise more when the sun is shining, quite noticeable now that the milder winters draw more people to open spaces for outdoor workouts. In addition, there seem to be less infections around in the summer, although hay fever comes into its own here in the UK. How much better is it to have the windows wide open inviting fresh air in rather than blasting heat into our rooms from radiators to incubate all those germs!

Let’s give thanks for sunshine- it brings out our smiles and makes us more tolerant, especially if we can take our young children and more elderly relatives out rather than keeping them cooped up indoors! Sunshine+ smiles = sanity- I think that’s a great recipe for fun and improved health!

Jaz McKenzie

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Give Thanks~Feel Joyful WK17- For Water


There is no life without water therefore we must give thanks for water. Firstly, it is one of the major components of our bodies, generally estimated at between 60-65% of total body mass. Even your bones are estimated to be 31% water with lungs coming in first place at an incredible 83%- and we thought they were mainly air! Water is a vital ingredient in every cell- obvious when life requires water- and it has a whole range of functions within the body from helping us to swallow our food to eliminating waste. Amazingly, babies are around 78% water mass when they are born according to neuroscientist Jeffrey Utz; with men having more water in their bodies than women- Guess why? Women have more fatty cells! I would love to know the reasons babies bodies are so high in water- I imagine that without proper food, breast milk included, they have less capacity to generate fatty tissue although some are born at champion weights (Note for Mums to be- Leave the take-aways alone, your baby doesn’t need them!) More likely, it is to assist with birth as water is 100% fluid- (flexible) and baby bones are not yet solid. Muscles must also be limited in their development due to natural restrictions.

Just imagine how we might appear if the water were sucked out of our bodies- almost ‘flat-packed humans’ perish the thought! What we do know is how our bodies suffer when our intake of water reduces. Apart from feeling thirsty and dehydrated we start developing headaches and dizziness. If we regularly drink insufficient amounts of water our skin suffers becoming more wrinkled or leathery. We really need an appreciation of the value of water and how well it serves us.
Water’s other major quality is that it truly refreshes our world. We shower in it, clean with it and can even stand out in the rain appreciating rain drops as they brighten our surroundings. Dew lingering on the early morning grass on a hot summer’s day is quite incredible, yet we take it for granted. Water is therapeutic especially in times of stress when we can bathe or swim in it- particularly the joys of the ocean which can be almost indescribable.

We all know that water can react in different ways when combined with a range of chemicals, but did you know that scientific investigation into water shows that it reacts to emotions? There are videos available that show exactly how water reacts to different types of music and even our spoken words. If you understand the principal that all of our thoughts and words are powerful vibrations you can see why this is possible. Water reacts to vibrations therefore different musical sounds and good/ bad/relaxed/anxious thoughts will affect water differently. Who knows if one day we will be seeing a way of using water analysis as a type of lie detector! We tend to think that we are fairly advanced scientifically yet there is no way of measuring how far we have left to go so there may be more hidden qualities as yet undetected; by the very nature of evolution we can’t anticipate limits to our learning.

Despite water shortages, droughts etc we know there is enough water for everyone in this world. We simply don’t do enough to help. So let’s keep those who are in dire need of clean water in mind whilst we give thanks for the luxury of having clean water on tap. Yes we have added chemicals in tap water instead of natural impurities however our water is still a blessing and we are so fortunate to live in the western world where we can even buy our natural spring water in bottles!

Jaz McKenzie