769. It takes a whole village to raise a child. ~Igbo and Yoruba (Nigeria) Proverb

Everyone in the family participates especially
the older children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and even cousins.
It is not unusual for children to stay for long periods with
their grandparents or aunts or uncles.
Even the wider community gets involved
such as neighbors and friends.
Children are considered a blessing
from God for the whole community.
~Edited excerpt
by Rev. Joseph G. Healey

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The ancient human social construct that once was common in this land was called community. We lived among our villagers, depending on them for what we needed. If we had a problem, we did not discuss it over the phone with someone in Mumbai. We went to a neighbor. We acquired food from farmers. We listened to music in groups, in churches or on front porches. We danced. We participated. Even when there was no money in it. Community is our native state. You play hardest for a hometown crowd. You become your best self. You know joy. This is not a guess, there is evidence. The scholars who study social well-being can put it on charts and graphs. In the last 30 years our material wealth has increased in this country, but our self-described happiness has steadily declined. Elsewhere, the people who consider themselves very happy are not in the very poorest nations, as you might guess, nor in the very richest. The winners are Mexico, Ireland, Puerto Rico, the kinds of places we identify with extended family, noisy villages, a lot of dancing. The happiest people are the ones with the most community. ~by Barbara Kingsolver

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12   ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage created by Natalie

720. O, the month of May, the merry month of may… ~Thomas Dekker

Ho! the merrie first of Maie
Brings the daunce and blossoms gaie
To make of lyfe a holiday!
~Old English saying

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Thousands of years ago winter was a time to honor death and the summer a time to honor life. In those ancient times the short days, grey skies, and cold temperatures began to wear people down and that coupled with a gradual decline in food supplies took its toll on their spirits. Indeed winter was a very difficult time for the ancients, and so the coming of summer brought them great hope. As the crops and grasslands became full of life again, the animals bred, and the warmth of the sun thawed out the earth and their spirits, they celebrated the cross-over and coming change in the human cycle that reflected the turning of the seasons. It was a time for celebrating the forces of life overcoming death, light overcoming darkness, and summer overcoming winter.

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Thus began the dancing around the May pole. A kind of maypole dance, with origins in the 18th century, began as a traditional artistic dance popular in Italy and France. Eventually, traveling troupes performed it in London theaters, thus bringing this traditional dance to larger audiences. An English teacher training school adopted the maypole dance and soon it had spread across most of central and southern England. The dance became part of the repertoire of physical education for girls and remained popular in elementary schools in both England and the US well into the 1950’s.

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I remember in elementary school making May baskets and flowers out of coloredl pieces of construction paper and crepe paper. Today May Day has many different meanings, if any, but it eventually found its place in Christianity. And though considered quaint now, in decades past, like dancing around the maypole, as the month of April rolled to an end, people begin gathering flowers and candies and goodies to put in May baskets to hang on the doors of friends, neighbors, and loved ones on May 1st. And there were even rules about the basket tradition:

1.  Giving was supposed to be anonymous. Reciprocity was not expected. One was to leave the basket on the doorknob or doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run.
2.  Children were to give to grownups, instead of the other way around. On almost every other holiday, only the child receives gifts; so they don’t get to experience the true joy of unselfish giving.

He(Jesus) told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near…” ~Luke 21:29-30   ✝

**Images via Pinterest and the Internet; collages created by Natalie

480. Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau

Seasons knocking on the door
Each one with its unique lore


Springtime fingerpaints the earth
Spreading its immeasurable mirth


Summer’s heat bursts upon the scene
And each day the sun reigns as queen


Autumn casts a cloak of burnished hues
With copper tinged foliage as its muse


Winter’s kingdom wears robes of pristine white
While snowflakes whispered dance is quite the sight

Seasons stand side by side, natural neighbors
Observing each other’s seasonal labors.
~Edited poem by Kristen A.

He (G0d) made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. ~Psalm 104:19   ✝