SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 1

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INDEX

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Eye of the Beholder By Phil Pothier ............................3

Four Old Thanksgivings By Clifton J. (Jerry) Noble Sr ..4

The Pilgrims Journey By Michael Dubilo. .....................8

The Still Riverbank Saga By Ross Haseltine .................10

America’s Oldest Observatory

By Richard Sanderson ..................................................14

You are Loved By Jeff King .......................................16

Pilgrim Covenant Church By Pat Odiorne ...............20

The Witch Hazel By Walter Fertig ...............................21

Bulletin Board ..............................................................22

Classifieds ...................................................................23

SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 3

By Phil Pothier

I went for a ride the other day,

To view the colored trees.

I love New England’s fall display,

It always seems to please.

I drove for miles the region through,

Searching for the best!

It seemed that somewhere just ahead

I’d be supremely blessed.

I searched through mountain side and vale,

Not finding what I sought.

Perhaps the view for which I searched,

Was just an errant thought.

Be sure, the trees were beautiful,

The leaves all red and gold,

And yet, some how I couldn’t find

A beauty bright and bold.

So I returned with heavy heart,

My search was incomplete

And found the answer to my quest

Right there on my own street!

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By Clifton (Jerry) Noble, Sr.

In addition to being purchasing agent for the H.B. Smith Company (foundry, at $35 a week) my father was a Brethren minister with a tiny congregation. He was 38 ½ and Mama was 39 years old when she brought me home from the hospital on April 3, 1926, her birthday.

In June of 1918 the forcepts of the doctor, on whom she had depended, injured the head of her first child, a girl. Mary Rebecca died 19 days later.

In 1995 at the City Clerk’s office I discovered the doctor wrote on the death certificate that the baby died of “starvation.” It was probably well for him that my

mother never learned of his partial lie. Anyhow, Noble parents were thankful for a boy that lived.

Papa arranged for Mama to teach me kindergarten through fifth grade at home to shield me from “evolution” as taught in public schools. They read to me from my Calvert School (corre-spondence) history book how, in 1620, 102 English, Scotch, and Dutch Puritans braved the dangerous voyage to America in the tiny ship, Mayflower, to escape European persecution. A year after landing at Plymouth Rock survivors of that first hard winter were thankful to be alive, to have help from friendly “Indians” and to have reaped a good summer harvest.

A few years ago I heard a minister claim that the first Thanksgiving day and feast was at Jamestown or some such place. He sort of pooh-poohed what the Pilgrims did. However, I doubt that there has ever been a more sincere outpouring of thankfulness to God than theirs must have been. United States executives were sufficiently impressed to commemorate it by annual observance on the last Thurs-day of November.

Papa’s Allyn and Moore relatives had been farmers and he used to talk wistfully of buying the “Tuller Place” in Wyben. His finances never allowed for buying a country home, but he made up for it with a vegetable garden in our backyard at 21 High Street. The yard also supported five apple trees, two pear trees, one cherry, one plum, one peach tree, a thicket of black-berries and a vine of Concord grapes. Along fence borders and the front of the garden Mama planted flowers, but eastward Papa grew beans, beets, carrots, corn, peas, parsnips pump-kins, squash and tomatoes. Vegetables and fruit got canned and preserved in a cool, sand-floored room, walled off from the warm cellar. Mama also stored potatoes there as well as eggs in a crock of “waterglass.”

Mama had a fine eye for representing flowers and paint-ed them on china under tutelage of Mrs. Dupont. Hence the glass-doored cabinets in the dining room held plenty of place settings for a Thanksgiving dinner after I hauled extra leaves (boards) from the hall closet under the front stairs to extend the table. Oldest guest was Grandma Lilla Jane Kimbal Emer-son who still owned the house at the corner of High and King

Four Old

Thanksgivings

Nov 2011

SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 5

Streets. Her sister Suzie and husband were also present. Charles Longeway sold autos in Greenfield and they frequently took us on Sunday afternoon rides. Then there was Papa’s sister, Florence and her husband, Samuel A. Boyce.

With a well-stocked cellar and Mama’s talent for baking pies and cakes, Thanksgiv-ing’s was a dinner to remember. With his Brethren background Papa didn’t forget to thank God.

Papa was generous. Besides keeping up mortgage payments on a $13,000 house, he passed a few dollars a week to Mama’s sis-ter, Lina, while her husband was in prison. Papa was thankful for Mama and me and did everything he could for us. I never quite heard his whispered words, but he always said a nightly prayer beside my crib.

Aunt Florence inherited the house on the southeast corner of Court and High Streets built by Grandfather Addison No-ble. She also inherited money her mother, Adelaide, earned by boarding trolley car motormen and conductors for a few dol-lars a week. My Uncle Sam used part of that savings to start S. A. Boyce Clothing Company on School Street. They paid their clerk $9 a week. They bought a secondhand Buick, along with French doors for the house, two bathrooms and a refrigerator. The Clifton A. Nobles made do with an icebox and no car.

Like Mama, Aunt Florence was a good cook. She took over Thanksgiving dinner. I remember her having tables set in both dining room and sitting room where some 14 people found seats around them. I didn’t care for turkey so two well-done hamburger patties were at little Jerry’s place. I had trouble find-ing room for pie and ice cream. There were white linen table cloths and salt dips for celery. Although Papa was present I don’t recall his getting a chance to say anything about thank-fulness.

Papa died thirteen days before my tenth birthday on March 24, 1936. I had started calling Mama “Monny.”

Thanks to her teaching me at home I could have gone to high school at age eleven. However, the junior high principal was renting most of our house and advised waiting till I was twelve. As it was I graduated from high school Friday eve-ning, June 12, 1942 at age 16. Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Monny and I boarded a west-bound Pullman sleeping car of the New York Central’s Lakeshore Limited.

Monny had been corresponding with her older sister, Maude Elizabeth Kelly, and Aunt Betty insisted that we come

to Fresno, California, and stay with her and her husband. Walter Kelly had lost his right arm in a lineman’s accident with Pacific Elec-tric. Now he was night custodian for the local office of the state Public Works Department.

Rather than go to Fresno State College I lost no time finding jobs so Monny and I could rent our own cottage at 621 Harrison Avenue, and not sponge off the Kellys.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 1943 in Fresno. I had become volunteer pianist for the Unity Center which rented the Parlor Lecture Club on Van Ness Avenue. We had a Thanksgiving service on Sunday, November 21st and were thankful for a congregation of 58 and special music by ser-geants stationed at Camp Pinedale. We even sang “Thanksgiv-ing” words I had written to the tune of “O Worship the King.”

Despite arthritis Aunt Betty cooked and made holiday for us and a few friends. Monny went early to help with prepara-tions.

The Kellys lived just outside the west city limit at 479 Wes-ley Avenue and our 621 Harrison cottage was just inside the city, Thus, when Uncle Walt came to escort me to dinner we walked back through the Belmont Avenue tunnel underneath the Southern Pacific railroad tracks. When he had his accident they lived at Big Creek in the Sierras 60 miles east of Fresno. Aunt Betty referred to the little bus that carried the Big Creek mail as the Big Creek stage and her friend Frank Imhoff as the stage driver.

Frank and granddaughter were guests with us at the Kel-lys. This was a day of good food, games, fun and conversation. I hope we were quietly thankful. More and more the modern trend seems to be toward just having a jolly holliday and away from remembering that we DO have much including life itself for which to be thankful.

Left, young Jerry in Roeding Park, Fresno, CA. Preceding page, 479 Wesley Ave, Fresno CA, 1942. A few years later the Kellys left expecting the house to be taken for highway construction. However, August 23, 2011, we explored Fresno with pictures and found house was still there. The new highway was several blocks away.

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By Michael Dubilo

During this Thanksgiving season let us recognize some stout and earnest Englishmen—the Pil-grims—who left their native land in search of freedom to worship God.

I love telling the story, entailing the scope and sequence of a long and challenging expedition to a new land. Please join me in exploring the experiences of early Plymouth. The lessons those pioneers can teach us can take root and grow healthy stock in our lives.

After sixty-six days at sea, land was sighted off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. A note from research: number 66 in the spiritual sense means compassion, harmony, and unconditional love. Land at last! However, that was not where the Pilgrims wanted to be. They had intended to establish their new colony in the northern parts of Virginia. The winds had blown them off course. Winds are symbolic of the power that God can control and command. The Mayflower landed exactly where God wanted them. Had they landed in their planned destination (Virginia), hostile Indians clearly would have attacked, for the kill. Picture this, voyaging on a wide, open ocean with a planned destination, suddenly nature directs your ship to change course. God had arranged something better for them. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps” says the bible. The real meaning of Thanksgiving is a testimony in your words and actions.

Sailing past the closed door in Virginia, we discover another example of how God protected His people. A little-known fact about the Mayflower is that this ship normally carried cargos of wine; and the wine spillage from previous voyages had soaked the beams, acting as a disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease.

Our creator strengthened the Pilgrims both physically and mentally through the voyage. Barely surviving their first winter, they were people of faith. It’s your faith in Jesus, that sustains you in life’s battles! In the spring of 1621, a certain man was called to visit the Pilgrims. An Indian who spoke their own language and even offered to teach them how to survive in this strange new land. Educating the group on the practice of growing plants and demonstrating practical ways to use natural resources. Squanto, spoke fluent English and had been appointed by Massasoit, chief of Indians, to serve as the Pilgrim’s translator and guide. Squanto learned English prior to the pilgrim’s arrival after he was captured by English explorers spending time in Europe as a slave. Initially, the Pilgrims were frightened as this curious gentleman approached, until the Indian called out “Welcome” (in English). An unexpected friend appears with a charitable smile. A man with an understanding of his purpose.

The Pilgrims had much to acknowledge, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter season and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors. They had conquered the mountains (obstacles) before them by trusting in the Lord. We find the Pilgrim mind set to be “For as he thinks in his heart so is he.” Time to celebrate with attitudes of gratitude.

Pilgrim governor William Bradford, wrote in his journal, “Be-ing thus arrived at a good harbor, and brought safely to land, they fell on their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast, furious ocean and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof.” Peace rules the day when Christ rules the mind.

Many believe these strangers viewed specific biblical prom-ises afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them. The Mayflower leaders expected that they all shall enter upon the fulfilment of these promises. The word embraced in Greek means “greet.” They were greeted by a highly experienced “Helper” when they landed. This new soulmate was in the role of companion and educator. Chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the first Thanks-giving which lasted for 3 days. The feast was a harvest celebration hosted by the Pilgrims and Indians of Plymouth, Massachusetts in the 17th century. They played games, ran races, marched, played drums and sang together, around an expansive campfire. The In-dians hunted for food and the pilgrims cooked by boiling water in earthenware pots or pans. Women stirred the nourishment over a crackling fire, preparing to feed around 180 adults and children. One symbolically Pilgrim woman named Susanna, harvested a white pumpkin and presented the beauty to a gifted pie maker. The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow

SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 9

and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills. A variety of fresh, quality, food was gathered, shared and deliciously enjoyed. Peace interlaced among men, women and children. All lifting voices and dancing in jubilation. Much like the glow-ing, rising sparks of a campfire. Weaving and sparkling in the evening sky. Visualize that outdoor, natural picture. Each one of us, eating and singing with people, of the same mind and spirit. The surroundings flooded with joy.

Abraham Lincoln was the only presi-dent to listen to suggestions about a new holiday. He supported legislation making it a national holiday in 1863. America was in the middle of its bloody Civil War at the time and Lincoln hoped the new holiday would unify the bitterly divided country. The holiday was finally a suc-cess and Thanksgiving has continued ever since.

Now let us highlight how most of us enjoy Thanksgiving Day.

Early morning, with frosty air outside and a warm soapstone, wood burning stove inside, grandmothers, moms’ and dads arise, preparing all kinds of food. Roasted, honey glazed Tom Turkey is the favorite meat for this occasion. Families usually eat domes-ticated turkeys ready for slaughter. In contrast, Pilgrims ate wild turkey, revealing a richer taste.

The wild turkey grows up eating wild, natural nuts, berries, herbaceous materials and insects. It is capable of powerful flight and swift running movement, for which it has developed strong muscles.

Wild turkeys are smaller and have darker meat, richer, more intense flavor, and firmer texture than domestic turkeys.

Wild turkeys have a lot less breast meat than regular turkeys because their breasts are designed to help them fly and they digest no hormones or special feed. They are also much more muscular and leaner than their domestic cousins

Well, we are not all hunters of the wild bunch, so purchasing a domestic turkey is fine and dandy. Cooked to perfection with spices galore, turkey meat becomes front and center. I personally enjoy juicy, white breast meat. Susanna prefers legs and wings. How about you?

Thick, enriched gravy is available for added flavor. Sweet potatoes, fresh cooked vegetables, breads, cranberries, stuffing, pumpkin pie with ice cream and on and on. After gobbling all we can eat, cheers and gratitude are vocalized to all chefs, preparers, and clean-up team. Now the options can be conversations, watch-ing football, taking a walk and of course snoozing, allowing the overload to nourish the body and calm the mind.

What a pleasure it is when we experience harmony, tranquil-ity and stability in our communities and across America. All of us hope that spirit becomes a reality today. Graced, with divine help and our commitment to stand up for truth, may pave the way for

those meaningful outcomes. “Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things).” Today, is no time to be silenced. It’s time to speak, to share, and to shine! Operating in unison is a key. Similar to the human body, all parts are needed to initiate forward progress.

The Pilgrims have left us an example of their deep, unwavering Christian con-victions. They encourage us to stand firm, withstand the ocean waves of life. Attune your spirit in line with tranquility. Love like you never have been hurt. Be strong in your beliefs. Practice discipline. An applica-tion that can only benefit in the long run. Strive for freedom, help the poor. Dream great dreams, by thinking and visualizing all things that are true, honest and pure. Stay the course.

I need to give room to the traditional Presidential pardon of a selected turkey, every Thanksgiving.

It is often stated that President Lincoln’s 1863 clemency to a turkey recorded in an 1865 dispatch by White House reporter Noah Brooks was the origin for the pardoning ceremony.

However, the modern turkey pardon did not become an an-nual tradition until the George H.W. Bush administration.

In 1989, President Bush quipped: “But let me assure you, and this fine Tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy—he’s presented a Presidential pardon as of right now—and allow him to live out his days on a children’s farm not far from here.” It has been an annual tradition ever since.

The fact is a personal pardon is open to all of us, like President Bush says: “as of right now.” An acquittal can be granted to anyone when they accept the offer of the “gift” that is graciously available. The One, who is greater than the President and who cares deeply about you. Now, that is unconditional Love. A thanksgiving with everlasting delight. Enjoy

Invest in your community, drive local growth, and support your friends, family, & neighbors.

Thank you for supporting small businesses!

PAGE 10 SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022

Twenty-seven-year-old James Van Wert of Winsted, Conn., was arrested in Southwick, Mass., at about 11:00 pm, Friday, February 3, 1860.

Authorities reportedly found him in bed with a wom-an believed to be his wife’s younger sister.

If, in fact, true, adultery was the least of his worries.

Earlier that Friday, Van Wert and his female companion had breakfast at Day’s, a hotel in Otis, Mass., before riding in a one-horse sleigh to nearby West Becket, where they had a sec-ond breakfast at Kendall Baird’s Tavern. Van Wert paid for their breakfast at each place using a $3 bill, for which he received $2.50 back in change.

As the couple was leaving Baird’s, they were recognized by hotel proprietor Mr. Day, who happened to be in town and, in finding it rather odd that they had had breakfast a second time, compared the $3 bill his establishment received to that of Baird’s.

Meanwhile, the pair arrived at Chester Factories Village,

where they stopped and ate dinner. They continued on to Huntington. Stopping there, they purchased 25 cents worth of beer and oats. At another store, they bought a pair of 50-cent gloves. In Russell, they paid for pie and cheese with a $3 bill before inquiring about the route to Westfield. For reasons unknown, they turned off to Southwick.

During Van Wert’s arrest in Southwick, authorities dis-covered that he had thirteen $3 bills and two new 25-cent pieces in his possession, all be-lieved fake.

Van Wert was charged with one count of possessing counterfeit money, two counts of passing counterfeit money, and two counts of adultery. He was jailed in Lenox before being sentenced to the Massachu-setts State Prison at Charlestown (Boston), where he served six years doing hard labor.

As pretend president of the so-called Still River Bank, Van Wert had been arrested in January 1860, charged with swin-dling, but later released pending further evidence. Because Van Wert’s bogus bank had ties to Canada, prosecuting it proved difficult, and he was released. His bank, however, was forced to liquidate.

Still River Bank was being investigated after a reporter flagged it as possibly being illegal when he read an advertise-ment for it in a newspaper in 1859. The ad read in part: “Still River Bank, Winsted, Connecticut, J. L. Van Wert President...” Yet, there was no such bank in Winsted.

Newspapers across the country sounded the warning.

The Southwick Time Machine presents:

The Still Riverbank Saga

By Ross Haseltine

SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 11

They advised folks to watch out for Still River currency; the bills circulating in Canada primarily were tens, fives, and ones, all poorly printed on coarse paper.

Van Wert married again in 1870. He had two children with his new wife, Harriet (Charles b. 1870 and Harriet b. 1872).

Van Wert sold several mortgages, ranging from 10K to 15K, for mostly wooded lots in Otis and Tolland. The mortgages, bought by Springfield businessmen, proved worthless.

A local bank started foreclosing on the properties in 1874; that same year, the Van Werts divorced, with Harriet raising the children; Charles grew up not knowing his father; his mother had told him his father was dead - a secret she took to the grave.

Multiple lawsuits were eventually filed. It is believed that the court ordered most of the properties to be sold at auction, and in 1878, Van Wert’s property in Tolland was seized, along with all its timber, cut and uncut.

James married Ellen Putnam in Holyoke on December 22, 1880. She gave birth to a daughter in July of the following year.

Western Mass. and northwestern Conn. residents were probably not surprised when Van Wert (along with his new wife) was charged with swindling as president of a gigantic “bank” operation in Colorado in April 1881.

James and Ellen divorced in 1886.

When James died in 1906, his son Charles, a watchmaker in Colorado Springs, was surprised to learn that he would inherit about $6 million as part of his father’s estate worth approxi-mately $18 million, including more than 1 million acres of land.

For further reading containing additional information on “The Still River Bank Saga,” James Van Wert, and the local plac-es mentioned in the story, visit the Southwick Time Machine on Facebook @southwicktimemachine.

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Western Massachusetts is the home of the oldest existing observatory in the United States. It is located along the Mohawk Trail, at Wil-liams College in Williamstown.

At the beginning of the 19th century, America lagged far behind Europe in the pursuit of as-tronomy. In a message to Congress in 1825, Presi-dent John Quincy Adams lamented that there

were over 130 observatories in Europe, but not one in the whole American hemisphere. Other early presidents also felt this deficiency, and both Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe urged the establishment of a national observatory.

It wasn’t until the 1830’s that the wave of ob-servatory-building reached America. That was

partly due to some well-publicized astronomical events.

During the hours before dawn on November 13, 1833, a quarter of a million meteors and fire-balls lit up the skies over North America in one of history’s greatest meteor storms. Two years later, Halley’s Comet made its celebrated visit.

Albert Hopkins had been Professor of Math-ematics and Natural Philosophy at Williams Col-lege for five years when, in 1834, the college asked him to, travel to Europe to study European meth-ods of science education. Hopkins carried $4,000 to pur-chase scientific equipment for the college.

Hopkins returned eight months later, in May

America’s

Oldest

O

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s

e

r

v

a

t

o

r

y

By Richard Sanderson

Hopkins Observatory as it appeared in 1987. Photo by Author

August 1987

SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022 PAGE 15

of 1835 with a collection of scientific equipment that included a 10-foot long reflecting telescope and an accurate astronomical clock. Hopkins must have been excited five months later when Halley’s Comet became a splen-did object in the nighttime sky and he was able to scrutinize it with the new telescope. Soon after Hopkins returned from Europe, rope, Williams College decided to build a permanent as-tronomical observatory. Native stone was quarried for the build-ing, and Hopkins’ diary indicates that he occasionally helped with the stone-cutting.

Hopkins Observatory cost just over $2,000, of which Hopkins contributed $475. It officially opened on June 12, 1838. The stone observatory building con-sisted of a central rotunda and two wings, and it was topped with a revolving dome.

The central rotunda had a hemispherical ceiling that was painted blue and was covered with gold stars, each in its cor-rect position. Today, this ceiling is painted white and forms the sky for the Milham Planetarium.

In earlier days, before radio and television were invented, maintaining accurate time across the country was a big prob-lem. Using a transit telescope, astronomers could determine local time by noting when certain stars crossed an imaginary line stretching from due north, overhead, to due south (the me-ridian line). Metallic spheres were raised and lowered on the roofs of observatories at certain times, so that people could set their clocks.

The transit telescope was therefore a very important com-ponent of Hopkins Observatory. It was mounted on two white

marble piers in the observatory’s east wing.

The telescope purchased by Hopkins was mounted be-neath the dome atop the observatory. It was later replaced with an in-strument made by the prestigious telescope making firm of Alvan Clark and Sons. (Southwoods, January 1987) The Williams Col-lege catalogue for 1838-39 boast-ed, The lectures in Astronomy are accompanied by celestial ob-servations and instruction in the use of instruments. An observa-tory has been completed the past season supplying important fa-cilities for these purposes.”

Hopkins Observatory is the oldest existing observatory in the nation. Although observa-tions are no longer carried out here, the old observatory build-ing remains standing on Main Street (Route 2) in Williamstown. The small stone structure with white trim is aesthetically pleas-ing, and still appears to be in sound condition.

The building now houses the Milham Planetarium and a museum of astronomy. Telescopic observations at Williams College are made from a new observatory on the Thompson Physics Laboratory building. The college’s astronomy program, directed by noted author and astronomer Jay M. Pasachoff, is one of the most extensive among small colleges in the country.

The Hopkins Observatory of Williams College on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

PAGE 16 SOUTHWOODS MAGAZINE November 2022

Today I want to tell you just one thing You are loved.

I heard about a guy who’d been dating a girl for about a year. One day his buddy said to him, “Don’t tell her I told you, but she told me she thinks she’s in love with you!” He thought he’d be excited. But the guy had real problem with two words “she thinks.”

“If she thinks she’s in love with me, that means she doesn’t know, she’s still trying to figure it out. It could go either way. I need to do more, and spend more, and impress her more, to show her I’m good enough for her.”

You see, that’s the problem with “I think.” When you know somebody loves you, you can relax and be yourself. You don’t have to pretend, or perform, or try to impress them.

The problem is, a lot of people have an “I think” mental-ity when it comes to God. They have an “I think He loves me” mentality because they base it on their performance. I went to church last Sunday. So, God must be pleased with me. I did good. I think He loves me. I volunteered at the hospital. I helped out my neighbor. I think I earned His love.

But God is not like that. You don’t have to earn God’s love. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more, and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. It’s a gift. Just receive it by faith.

Get rid of the “I think” mentality.

The Bible speaks of “the great love with which God loves us.” It isn’t a little love. It wasn’t an “I think” love. It is a great love.

You might think about how much you love God, but it’s far more profound how much God loves you. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you. Before you were born, He took time to plan out all your days. He knows your thoughts before you think them. He knows your words before you speak them.

Jesus said, “Every hair on your head is numbered.” Now, I love my wife, but I have never taken the time to number all her hairs. And to number doesn’t