Are Children Afraid of Lullabies?

https://www.pinterest.com/cheztemp/colleen-moores-fairy-castle/

Rock-a-by-baby’s cradle from Collene Moore’s Dollhouse https://www.pinterest.com/cheztemp/colleen-moores-fairy-castle/

Rock-a-by-baby,
On the tree top,
When the wind blows,
The cradle will rock.
When the bough breaks,
The cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
Cradle and all.

I met a woman last week who told me she would not sing, “Rock-a-by-baby” to her children lest it give them nightmares about the cradle falling. She also said that she censored fairy-tales and Bible stories that might be too frightening for children. They only heard them when they were older.
I didn’t really know what to say. My Mother loved me more than life and I was never afraid in her presence. She sang me, “Rock-a-by-baby” every night and I never once was afraid of the cradle falling.
It did cause me to wonder. How do we feel about lullabies as adults? Were you ever worried about the cradle falling? Did Little Red Ridding Hood scare you? As I look back, I was so secure in my parent’s love that I feared nothing when I was with them. If they sang the song or read the story I assumed it would all work out alright. I came to expect happy endings.
Naturally it came as a shock when I was big enough to realize that my parents couldn’t do everything. I was sad that they couldn’t make the world right and fair, but I was also grateful that they did their best.
Perhaps I was eased into the idea that my parents weren’t able to slay every foe because I knew that they relied upon God for the things that were overwhelming to them. I knew that everything did not work out. I knew that I had an older sister who only lived three days. I remember a neighbor telling my Mother that she was shocked that I had been told about that. Her reaction to my knowledge made an enough of an impression on me that I remember asking my Mother about it later.

My Mother told me that some people didn’t think children should know about tragedy. My Mother reminded me that God was the one who was ultimately in control and He was looking after my sister that I never met. We would all be together one day and then for all eternity. I was not afraid. God was loving. He was our Father.
When I was in elementary school and I came across injustices that my Daddy couldn’t fix, I comforted myself with the remembrance that God was our ultimate Father and someday everything would be made right.
I suppose, upon reflection, that all of this is the reason I still believe that the future is bright. I am all too well aware that this world contains much tragedy and inequity. My Daddy now leans on me when we go places together. My Mother is with my sister waiting for the rest of us in heaven. But my Father in Heaven is the one who is ultimately in charge. He is all good and all loving. Jesus will come back again one day. There will be a new Heaven and a new Earth. The lion will lie down with the lamb. All will be right.

I am confident that life has a happy ending. I face each new day with optimism. I don’t believe in fairy-tales. I believe in Jesus.

  • What do you think? Are lullabies like “Rock-a-by-baby” too scary for little children?
  • What is you opinion about fairy-tales? Some have very violent content.
  • How do video games fit into this discussion? Should they be part of this discussion?
  • What do you think of teaching stories like Noah and the Ark, or Daniel in the Lion’s Den?
  • From where do you think children derive their sense of security?

I am not asserting that I have all the answers, dear readers. I am interested in the ideas of other about these questions. I had not really pondered them before and I think they are compelling questions. I look forward to your replies.

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A Tangled Life

child-562297__180 When I was a little girl I loved reading the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think that is where it actually began. She described the rag doll that Ma made her for Christmas in The Little House in the Big Woods. I’m pretty sure she had knitted garters and stockings.

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Sewing, cooking and knitting occurred in various degrees in all the books. My mother taught me to sew and cook. I wanted to learn to knit and crochet like a well-rounded Victorian little girl. My mother didn’t know how to work with yarn. She tried to get me in a class at the local yarn purveyor, but they didn’t want to teach a child. I eventually got in a class at the local creative arts center.

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You wouldn’t expect it to become that important, but in a way my life has been a steady stream of yarn knitted into a whole.

I’m not sure I remember everything that I have knit. I was taught to knit a rectangle that was made into a simple slipper. One was so badly done as to be unwearable.

Somewhere in that second slipper my fingers learned the process. It quickly worked it’s was into muscle memory and my hands know how to knit and pearl without looking, or even much thinking about what I am doing.

Knitting has become ingrained into me.

I find knitting very relaxing. Some people talk about running and reaching a state of peace and pleasure from the experience. I think they call it a, “runners high.” For me that is the feel of the yarn flowing through my hand and the twists and turns of my hands.

The extra blessing of knitting is that useful garments ooze out of the process. I bore easily, so I always knit something new each time. One year I made all my friends mufflers for Christmas. I began in June. The interesting part is that each scarf was different. A different pattern and new type of yarn. It was a fun way to experiment with novelty yarns.

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When I don’t have a project on my needles I feel like something is missing. Honestly, I find myself looking at my knitting basket, then remembering I don’t have anything to knit, and feeling empty.

I knit continental. The fact that I always have the working yarn running toward the needles makes me a fast knitter. My fingers start to fly as soon as I start to learn the pattern. Being a fast knitter means that I run out of projects ready too quickly.

I just knit a new fall hat last month. I bought two balls of a merino-silk worsted weight blend. I knew I probably needed only one ball, but it would be close and I buy most of my yarn mail-order. Now I have a finished hat and a second untouched ball. I thought about mitts and looked through my patterns, but nothing really spoke to me. I already have a matching caplet I knit a few years ago.

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The merino-silk blend has a wonderful feel as it slide through my fingers. I think it is the feel of the yarn that I find most pleasurable in knitting. I don’t like knitting rough or synthetic yarn. Wool is my favorite due to it’s stretch. Fighting my yarn is not enjoyable.

The absolute most important feature of yarn is the idea of one long continuous piece of fiber. The concept represented in knitting is the best characteristic. If there were no other reason to knit I would knit to remind myself that it can all be unraveled.

No matter how tangled, confused, unworkable the piece becomes it can always be fixed.

Because it is one long, uncut piece of yarn it can be “unknit.” If it tangles it can be untangled.

Life can feel too much like a messy piece of knitted work.

There are moments when you think that you cannot go on. It can never be made right. Life leaves scars. Knitting does not. Knitting can be undone and remade exactly right.

As a recovering perfectionist I do not remove all my mistakes.

Unless it will alter the usability of the item, or leave a hole, I leave my mistakes in and simply correct the row in which I found the error.

In quilting there is a concept of the “humility block” where if the piece would otherwise be prefect they add a mistake to remember that we are only human. I regard the slight imperfections in my work as signs of the fact that while I am flawed I am made and loved by a perfect God.

Nothing can happen to me that God cannot help me to redeem. In Romans 8:28, St. Paul reminds us that, “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” In my tangles I feel confident in my ability as a knitter of many years experience that I can repair the problem and move on.

Both the repair and the moving on are important parts of the crisis redemption. In life the same process must be undertaken.

Sometimes I must unknit in order to create something new. Always I need to undertake the process of remaking in light of the pattern. What was the purpose in the first place? Look at the big picture. What does the finished garment look like? How can you get back to the appropriate pattern?

I have never had anyone else able to find my corrections when the garment is finished. Even the worst mistakes can be worked out with a ball of yarn. It can be twisted and pulled into an amazing array of items. The longer you work at it the easier it becomes to unravel mistakes.

The more time we spend in Bible study and prayer the better we understand how to unravel life. It is one, long story. We are just a strand in a magnificent whole. Sometimes what looks like a mistake turns out to be a new stitch. Those of us who think ourselves particularly flawed are just the ones adding “texture” to the fabric of life. It all come out in the end. Fix the problem and move on. And On…

What should I knit next? Do any of you readers have suggestions for something that could be made with one skein and might be of some use with a hat?

Today I am linking up with Holley Gerth and Coffee for Your Soul. What encourages you to keep going when things are rough? How can you use that experience to encourage others to hold on to Jesus when life unravels? Holley-Gerth-Button-250x250

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Old Photos

My Dad with my Mother in front with his Mom, Dad and brother behind

My Dad with my Mother in front with his Mom, Dad and brother behind. This one he kept secure in an album.

Looking at old photos is heart-warming for the sentimental. I enjoy looking not only at my own old photos, but also the photos of others.

Today I have been looking at my Dad’s old photos.

That is the curious thing about old pictures, some people are not that attached to them. My Dad bought a camera and took enough pictures to fill an album when he was in the army. He developed his own pictures before he became busy with kids. He did keep the pictures he took.

The pictures that his mother had of him as a little boy and young man, however, he had no attachment to whatever.

My Dad on the right

My Dad on the right

After his mother died he put the old pictures that she had in the basement! They were virtually all ruined. I finally scanned some of what survived today. He took good care of the pictures that he took as a young man. Why didn’t he care about the pictures from when he was a child? I asked him. He just told me that he isn’t sentimental.

I even like stranger’s old pictures. I wonder about their stories. Were they happy? Did they only try to look formal and stiff because they thought that was how to pose for a photo?

People once posed in very series expressions with very stiff positions. In one of the “abandoned” old pictures of my Dad’s childhood they all look incredibly uncomfortable. My grandparents never smiled in a picture.

Finally when my Dad started taking pictures after he came home from the army his parents began to smile once in a while in snapshots. I wonder if all that stiff, formality was part of going to have a professional picture taken? My Dad looked miserable on the formal portraits of him and his brother before his brother went into the navy. What did they say to him? Did they tell him the pictures were to keep a memory if his brother was killed? Or did he have to stand very still for an incredibly long time?

Uncle Joe looks a lot happier than Dad

My Dad was the younger brother, by the way, don’t let size fool you. Is it the wretched expression of the sixteen year old having to stay at home with Mom and Dad while his brother goes off to see the world, win a war and gain glory and adventure?

That is more or less what my Dad said he thought of the war. Right until he was on a troop ship heading off to sea. Then it became real. He said that it was not until then that he realized he could die or be maimed. My Dad was blessed that when he arrived on the other side of the ocean the war had only three days left. He didn’t know when he set sail it was to be a switchboard operator in the occupation force.

He probably doesn’t remember that particular portrait, but I’ll have to ask him about all those professional portraits. He does remember that as a very young boy he was the one rubbing the fabric of his short pants. He was never good at holding still. Perhaps that is why he never liked the professional portraits his mother had. That could explain how they ended up in the basement.

Another one of my Dad's pictures. Look at how proud his Dad looks. Is that why he kept this one safe?

Another one of my Dad’s pictures. Look at how proud his Dad looks. Is that why he kept this one safe?

Silence

On this October Sabbath a restful poem to savor in a bit of quiet.
How blissful is silence

When the world is filled with strife.

Like the simple vista

That best displays a life.

How lovely is sunshine,

On a cloudy day.

Or, when the earth is parched

A welcome bit of rain.

How soothing is music,

Or joyous laughter,

But most restful is

The quiet we’re after.

How relaxing is stillness

We hear from without.

But perfect is silence within

That resolves doubt.

From the Monumental to the Ephemeral

Paper

The series this month investigates unexpected thoughts upon the ordinary. We live in an era of plenteous, inexpensive paper. More paper is dumped in the landfill than is recycled despite the fact that we are becoming conscientious about recycling. More paper is made for temporary use such as bathroom tissue and paper towels than is manufactured for books or newspapers. In many ways we are just beginning to come to grips with how much paper we use. Most of us are not willing to adopt cloth baby diapers, although I know mothers who have done just that.

As an avid reader the use of paper for books is something that I am aware of. I personally regard my books as long-term companions. I was appalled when I discovered the old, “brittle-books” and was shocked to discover some of the lengths that librarians were being forced to go to try to save books that were literally disintegrating. In the second part of the nineteenth century the “acid” paper production began and made paper manufacture cheap. The resultant cost reduction has been touted as one of the reasons for the dramatic increases in book production that occurred. Cheap books were not the only result. A century’s worth of literary output was put in jeopardy since the paper deteriorates at an alarming rate and becomes dust.

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By the end of the twentieth century book producers had reduced the use of “acid” papers in favor of “alkaline” paper for all but mass market paperbacks. While I am grateful that most of my library is safe from the rapid self-destruction of acid paper, I bought a book a few weeks ago printed in England that turned out to be printed on the old foe. I bought it online and did not know it was printed on “acid” paper. Personally I don’t understand why any books are being printed on such paper. If you don’t intend to keep the book why don’t you borrow it from a library or read it on a digital device. Why do we need books printed on self-destructive paper?

We live in the unfortunate age where we must shred much of the paper we receive to avoid identity theft yet we still produce “acid” paper for some books! The advertisements for endless credit-cards do not appear to be on cheap paper. They are endeavoring to look as important as possible.

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What responsibility does the Western consumer bear for the manufacture of so much of the world’s “acid” paper in China? They are not known for environmental considerations. Ought we be buying mass-market paperbacks on paper that is more dangerous to the local ecology if that environment is half-way around the world? I think not.

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I love history and historic items. I don’t have any original Victorian papers, but I do think they are lovely. The collectors of the old calling cards, greeting cards, advertisements and other lithographs are hunting for the lovely pieces of the past that have endured. It is called the collecting of Ephemera since antique “bits of paper” are as ephemeral an item as exists.

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These tiny scraps of paper tell us so much about the people who lived before. Their journals, letters and other ordinary records fill in the details of remarkable and simple lives alike. Their legacy is valuable. They tell of life in an epic age of expansion. We are moving further away from paper today. In some ways that is good, but in other ways I do find a bit of doubt.

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How durable is our legacy if we are recording it with bits and bytes? They say that anything uploaded to the internet remains forever. However, will anyone have the tools necessary to read a blog from 2015 in 2080? This blog may not be important in the scheme of things, but could we be a part of something not much different from the “acid” paper debacle in our use of technology? We cannot know what lies ahead. Based on what we can learn from what went before, I think I should print paper copies of some of the precious photos I am storing on the “cloud” just in case I want to see them when I am an old lady.

Green

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday’s and the topic is “green.”

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Such a green lawn. Second-flush hollyhocks noticed in mid-October.

Go:

The world is fading from green to gold. When I took that walk to the river yesterday I was disappointed that more of the trees had not taken on fall glory. Today I went grocery shopping and I noticed that the tress are more golden overnight.

Green is a color associated with growth. In the Church we are still in the season where the liturgical color is green. We still have green outdoors, but we know it will soon change. Today I am thinking that October green is a passing gift.

I need to be grateful for the still green grass. I want to thank God for all the shade the trees are providing. I am grateful for green hills. When the gold and crimson take over they will not last long. I must cherish the green because all too soon the Church will move on to Advent and I will need to dig out all that red and green for my house.

Stop:

I am grateful for the green that means not…quite… yet.

Rivers

Rivers can be places of great beauty.

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I took a walk to the river today and I was delighted with the view. Today I understand why water-front property is so sought after. A family of ducks were out sunning themselves as I was there. All nature seemed to realize that perfect weather such as we had today is not a thing to be taken for granted in October.

IMG_2403I was disappointed that only a few trees had begun their golden show, but that will come soon and today was for basking in the sun-streaming blue.

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Rivers are irascible things. Some days they are peaceful and patiently reflect the sky’s brilliant blue. No matter how serene a river may look it is never still. The current is always present pulling everything caught in their wake onward. The relentless movement reminds us that time is forever moving us on. Peaceful moments of bliss come, as does the inexorable current pulling us ever toward the sea.

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While they usually flow within their banks rivers always have the potential to flood. A river actually is a large landowner. Most of the time they only use a small portion of what they own. There is always a much larger land area that the river owns, but leases to the surrounding purchasers on terms they do not always understand.

The river owns all the land in the flood plain. There is no charge from the river to the user of the land. People sell the land to one another. You may own a piece of the river’s land. It is yours to use as you see fit, but now and then in periods of excessive rain and/or snow melt the river will reclaim its’ rightful heritage.
Floods are not peaceful high-water. A raging current accompanies a flood. It will tear out shrubs, rip up small trees, topple and wash away lawn furniture and everyone’s garbage cans. When the water recedes debris will be everywhere. Flood-mud is sticky, thick sludge that will be left behind. It can be polluted, depending upon what sort of industrial or chemical storage the river flooded as well. Everything that was within its’ scope is mixed in a thick stew that is redeposited somewhere else.

Isaiah 43:1b-2,”Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.”

After the clean-up mud will be left to mix in with the soil. In this ugly is actually the seed of renewal. In that mud is the topsoil that washed off the land upstream. It contains more than trash it also contains rich nutrients. Floods don’t just wash away carefully laid-out plans and landscapes. They also bring new beginnings.
Almost anything can grow in the rich soil of a flood plain. The banks of the Nile river were called the “breadbasket” of Egypt. Much of the ancient world relied upon Egypt for grain. In the middle of the twentieth century Egypt built a dam. It was a wonder of engineering. It also had an unanticipated negative impact on the productive power of the Nile basin’s crop production. Egypt began to need to import grain for its’ own use. Over thousands of years those living and working along the Nile lived with the difficulty of regular flood. In an effort to improve the situation they demonstrated on a massive and measurable scale how beneficial flooding actually is to agricultural production.

Sometimes the very seasons that seem to destroy us, contain within the tragedy, the reconstructive force to enable us to remain fruitful.

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Living near a river has taught me about loss and rebirth. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those living with flooding. I have been blessed to live mainly just beyond the river’s usual reach. One can never be certain with a river. In the sixty years the home has been in the family the river has never come into the living space. I still hold respect for the river, since it has reclaimed the cellar on a number of occasions. The land around the house is on loan from the river and could be reclaimed next week. It has also deposited an incredible supply of rich topsoil. Anything will grow near the river. My walk today led past hollyhocks in a second flush, roses still profusely in bloom and one tree turned golden. Blessing and woe, I saw numerous dandelions also. River’s are beautiful and powerful. Respect and appreciate the wonders God made.

A Cup of Cold Water

October begins the cooling of the Northern hemisphere. I stumbled upon the temperature in Fairbanks, Alaska this afternoon online. It is 34 degrees! That sounds like winter to me. For most of us fall can bring a welcome relief in the form of very comfortable temperatures. When I created the list of ordinary things to look at in a fresh way this summer I was inspired by a memory.

One year we had a flood that destroyed our hot water heater and furnace. Thousands of people were similarly situated and so it was over a month before we were able to have them replaced. It was late October when we received our new hot water heater and furnace. I was very appreciative of the fact that I doubt there is a month that was better for going without hot water, heat or air-conditioning.

I will always remember how the  cold water running from the spigots cooled over the month of October. Early in October a shower with only cold water was hardly noticeable. By the middle of the month everyone in my family had switched to baths augmented by a couple large pots of hot water heated on the stove.

Each fall since I have been reminded of what a luxury hot, running water truly is.

It is easy to take such things for granted in life. In many places clean, running water is an unheard of luxury.

Even cold, fresh, running water is a blessing. Jesus talks about rewards to his followers in Matthew’s Gospel. Sometimes when He talks about drink rewards they are much more than something to drink.

Here He talks about a simple cup of cold water. Matthew records this in 10:40-42.
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me. And anyone who welcomes me welcomes the One who sent me. Suppose someone welcomes a prophet as a prophet. That one will receive a prophet’s reward. And suppose someone welcomes a godly person as a godly person. That one will receive a godly person’s reward. Suppose someone gives even a cup of cold water to a little one who follows me. What I’m about to tell you is true. That one will certainly be rewarded.”

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Rather than tell us that we need pass out Starbuck’s cards to the homeless, Jesus tells us that even if we just hand out cold water to those who are thirsty, God sees our kindness and rewards us. No we don’t earn points toward heaven. None of us could ever earn heaven. Jesus earned that for us on the cross. The reward is God noticing and appreciating our efforts.

One thing that I have done in the past is prepare “Manna Bags” to pass out to beggars. They are gallon-size plastic bags containing a bottle of water, and single-serving size crackers, fruit cup, plastic spoon and fork, easy-open meat (like tuna), hand wipe, paper napkin and a note telling the person of God’s love. We made them at my church. I kept them in my car ready to pass out in traffic when waiting for a light. We had a local man who always had his dog with him, so I kept individual-serving dry dog food also.

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Even bottled water to hand out would be wonderful. Try adding a label to the bottles with a word of grace like, “God loves you.”

It is easy for me to become distracted by the “great things” that should be done. Jesus points out in this passage that even the small things are important. A cup of cold water can be important enough for the maker of the universe to stop, perhaps say something like, “That’s my girl!” It isn’t only the grand gestures that matter. Hot water tanks or heaters are wonderful but even a simple cup of cold water is significant.

Every kindness we show to others is valuable. Isn’t life really made up of the small, everyday kindness that we give and receive.

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Time and Feathers

“The day is done and the darkness
Falls from the wings of night
As a feather is wafted downward
By an eagle in his flight.”

Thus begins the poem, “The Day is Done” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Since I was a young girl this has been one of my favorite poems.

In this poem Longfellow compares the passage of time to the way a feather falls. Gravity inexorably pulls the feather toward the ground. The feather, however, is aerodynamic and falls slowly as the air passes through it’s buoyant shape.A feather falls slower than most objects, but even a feather will silently, steadily fall.
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Time sometimes falls like a meteor and other times it descends like a feather. Most often in my life, time rockets past me at the speed of light.

Only when I allow myself grace to pause does time slip slowly though my fingers like a feather.
Softly passing time sounds like a dream.

I have lived too much of my life without pausing to notice the day wafting toward night.
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I have chased time. I cannot outrun the passage of months or even years. They slip by before I realize they have half begun.

I may not be able to catch time, but anyone can mark time. We mark the passage of time not on a clock, but by paying attention to the present.

I find the need to chase time because I am distracted by the future and my all-absorbing To Do List. If I were to notice now, and not tell myself that I will make time to be fully present when I finish ___ it is possible that I would be more satisfied with the passage of time.

There is always some “important” work that need attending. I do not remember what most of those things were. What was it that I was so consumed with ten years ago? I could guess, but I cannot tell you the specifics. Indeed, some of it was important. Some of what has consumed my life has not been as important as I thought. I have been distracted by the trivial more than once.

I need to make time to permit time to waft like a feather. This brings us to the crux of the matter. The first word in that sentence is the root of the problem. I. I cannot make time. No creature makes time. God, the Creator made time, we live within time. Hence, the statement, “I need to make time” is a priori wrong. As a human I will never be able to “make” time. Therefore, the time I will make is never. What can I do?

I can schedule time to notice. Scheduling time to be fully present seems incongruous. Unfortunately, it is the best that I can do. I live in 2015. Time is precious I want to make the most of the time that I have. The most effective way that I have found of doing this is to schedule reminders. Funny how we have become so programmed by our fast paced lifestyle that we schedule and set alarms to remind us to fully live. Do any of you, readers, have a favorite method to notice the present?

I will let you know how the scheduling “now time” to slow time works. The day once descended into evening as slow as a feather. It ought to be possible for me to slow down and let time waft a little.

A Soft Word

Proverbs 15:1-4
​A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

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In days of old Kings had retainers who were supposed to act as a filter since most of the government resided in the King himself.

He was the head of the highest court, head-of-state, the treasurer worked directly for him and the coffers were his to use as he saw fit.

He made wars, levied taxes, made laws and lead his armies into battle.

One man cannot accomplish this alone, so they developed loyal men who worked with them to make the government function.
They had no internet, blogs, post office, newspapers or telephones. The only way news travelled was by word of mouth or passed hand to hand in a letter that could only be read by a few since most people, even most Kings were illiterate.

The dependability of a persons’ word was of paramount importance.

That is one of the reasons kings depended upon their retainers being incorruptible. When the men a king relied upon could be bought or were foolish the king could die.
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Today we suffer from “information overload.” Cynics start to expect dishonesty. We no longer recognize a person’s word as worth a life.

Human beings are still the same, however. How many lives have been destroyed by lying words?

Marriages die from falsehoods. Livelihoods are lost from gossip. Bullying words relentlessly hounding young people driving them to wish for death.
Unkind words are still wrong.

We all fail. Foolish talk escapes us all at times. Sincere apologies are the appropriate response. Let us honestly reflect upon and seek to use only words that build one another up. Encourage each other.

Gentle words matter.

Now is still the time to speak love, friends.