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Tuesday, October 30

Monday, October 29

October 29, 2012



Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong.

For like the grass they will soon wither.

Like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the Lord and do good.

TRUTH IS NOT DETERMINED BY MAJORITY VOTE.

Sunday, October 14

October 14, 2012


As beautiful as Autumn is, it can be a challenge as we watch the beauty of summer fade away. Leaves fall from the trees, well loved plants and flowers dry up and die. Oh, I know it is the 'circle of life.' But that is hard sometimes. It is the perfect reminder of our lives.

Time marches on. The cycle of Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall - continues to spiral around us as we watch new life arrive around us, with it's colorful and joyful youth. It grows and matures and replicates itself, until it is eventually aged and falling apart and finally is gone - only to be replaced by new life again.

Change is hard. Yes, change is very hard. And although there is such grace and beauty in this 'circle' . . . there is sadness as well.

Everything around us changes, except for Him. He is constant. He is reliable, trustworthy, dedicated, unswerving, unwavering and true. He never changes. He never lies. His promises are true. He is forever.

Hallelujah!!

Saturday, October 13

October 13, 2012



Trying to work through some difficult self evaluation things right now. It is often hard to see "the ugly" in ourselves, but we all have it.

I came across this quote by Peter Marshall this morning (not the game show host but a Scottish Clergyman 1902-1949) - and it hit home for me.

How easy it is for us to always put the blame on someone else - for causing a rift - and stick to our guns that it isn't my fault they misunderstood.

But I keep thinking of  Romans 14:13 where it says so perfectly, "Let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."

Even if there is nothing wrong with what I say or do, if it causes someone else to stumble ... then I need to examine myself and learn from that.  If I want to represent Christ to those around me, then I need to strive to be 'above reproach' in all things,  in what I do and in what I say and how I represent myself (and Him).

Thankfully, God continues to be my constant strength and my teacher. For that I am eternally grateful.

***Prayer Request***
On another note: I ask that you please be in prayer for my sister Laura and her family. Her mother-in-law is now on comfort care in the ICU in the local hospital. It has been a very long and hard road for all of them these past few years - and for it all come to down to this, is very difficult for them all.  Please pray for strength - and peace - and confidence in God - that His will be done. I fear for the days ahead for all of them. Thank you for your prayers.



Tuesday, October 9

October 9, 2012



So much going on in my mind lately. This quote hit me squarely in the face.
As Christians, we believe Christ, we trust Christ and we try to live as Christ.

And yet - so many do not live the lives of trying to live as Christ, but continually flaunt beliefs contrary to Him, in His face.

It breaks my heart. It must break His as well, and yet . . . .

How do we love with God's eyes and God's heart?
When I am hurt and wounded - I want to strike back. He does not.
How will I ever learn to be like Him?

I'm so glad He doesn't give up on me.

Monday, October 8

October 8, 2012



As my husband says,  "God's Fireworks."

Saturday, October 6

October 6, 2012

Even though the mums, the trees, the wind and the temperatures as well as the calendar tell us that it is Autumn  - I was so happy to see this morning some of my zinnia's are still healthy and strong. This photo was taken this morning. It brings a smile to my face every time I look at it.


Flowers make me happy. They make me smile. So pretty and bright and cheerful. Each one an individual work of art - of our Creator.

I guess they are reminders that each one of us - is a work of art - created by our Creator. Each one of us - worth so much in His eyes, no matter how we feel about ourselves.

There are lots of people who don't feel too good about themselves. But they too are loved by the Creator.  Just thinking about that, brings a smile to my face and heart - and makes me want to share the joy of loving and living with everyone, just because . . . .


Sunday, September 9

September 9, 2012


Is there a difference between Happiness and Joy?

If happiness comes and goes . . .

Is it Joy that is deep seeded and permanent?

Joy that is rooted in the relationship with God?

Joy that even in our sorrow - we can experience as a steady pulse in our lives?

Sunday, August 12

August 12, 2012



I knew when I saw these raspberries in the Kitchen Garden at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC I would be using this scripture. We had such wonderful weather while we were there. Gorgeous blue skies and the vegetation was so lush and green (no drought there - here in Buffalo our grass is so hard and sharp and brown it will cut your feet!)

I have always loved these verses. When my sons were little, Steve Green had a Hide 'em in Your Heart record album - of scripture songs. Whenever the boys were getting a little testy - I would sing the song based on these words.

I sure have hidden this scripture in my heart and I pray daily that my life would demonstrate  the Spirit living in me - by these attributes.

(If you didn't see the posts on our trip to Biltmore - you can find the 5th installment HERE - with links to the others as well.)

Saturday, August 11

Wednesday, August 8

Thursday, July 12

July 12, 2012



As I approach the 25 year mark of the day I was married (July 25, 1987) - I guess I have been thinking a lot about my married life with my husband.

We met in October of 1984 at a singles event at the Clarence Church of Christ. I have to say if there was one foundational thing that has kept us together all of these years - it is the promises we made to each other and God.

This verse from Ecclesiastes has often been in the forefront of my mind. Our marriage isn't just about the two of us - but about God living in us and with us.

Even on our wedding invitation, we had a little sketch of two candles giving off two circles of light that connected with one another (kind of like a venn diagram) and a dove (representing the Holy Spirit) diving into the center part.

It has been a blessing to share my life with Larry and to live together with God in the center of our marriage.



Wednesday, July 11

July 11, 2012



I love daisy's. So pretty, so simple, so happy - moving in the breeze on a sunny day.

Did you ever sit in a field full of daisy's and take one so you could pluck each petal as you recited the words, "He loves me, he loves me not?"

How thankful I am that we never have to doubt the Love of God. 
He created us. 
He redeemed us. 
He created a way for us to be perfect in His sight. 
He is preparing a place for us so that that He can spend eternity with us. 

Why do we make accepting His love so difficult?



Find more scripture to soak in and ponder @ Word Filled Wednesday


Tuesday, July 10

July 10, 2012


If you follow me on Facebook, I know you have seen this picture already.

My husband and I were so excited, several weeks back, to see Baltimore Orioles in our yard. So we read all we could about them, and went out and bought a feeder designed for them. A friend recommended grape jelly as well as the oranges - and so we set it all up and - boom - we have had a family of orioles in our yard every day. It has been great to watch.

(CLICK HERE FOR ORIOLE PHOTOS)

Then one day I noticed the orange was completely chewed up. So I started a vigil - to see who was climbing up there. I soon found that it was a squirrel as well as a chipmunk.

(CLICK HERE FOR OTHER VISITORS TO THE ORIOLE FEEDER)

The squirrel - I didn't think was so cute - but this little guy . . . I think I took at least 50 photos of him devouring the orange.

This morning as I was thinking about what photo to use for this post, and how I could connect it to a scripture - and this is what came to mind.  I love Philippians 4:19 where it says, "And my God will supply your every need according to His glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus."  When I was in college, my sister and I used to sing with a friend. One of the songs we sang was based on that scripture. The lyrics to the chorus were 'God will supply all I need.'

The point I want to make this morning is that yes, God will take care of all our needs - but sometimes He uses us to supply the needs of others. We may not ever know in what specific way we were used as the hands and feet of God, but even in this simplistic illustration - we see how he provides food for even the little critters.

So keep up the good work my friends, finding ways to live as Christ - for you never know when God will use you to bring Glory to the Son.


Monday, July 9

July 9, 2012



We had a baseball game up at Niagara Community College last week. The field was quite a walk from the parking lot. As I walked to the field I passed by this little area of Black Eyed Susans. I have always thought them such happy flowers!

Summer makes me smile. Bright light, clear skies, and happy flowers . . .

Saturday, June 16

Be Back Soon


The end of the school year is always such a challenge. But throw in your principal's retirement , and two baseball teams - and the life has become very hectic!

Every event has been memorable and amazing. I am so glad to be a part of all the festivities!

We are almost to the finish line - and I am looking forward to summer vacation and getting back to photos and fun with my blogs!

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Valerie


Tuesday, May 15

May 15, 2012


On Mother's Day, my husband and 3 sons went with me to a local park, "Chestnut Ridge." The place holds many memories for me. As a kid, my parents would take us there in the winter for sledding, and winter church picnics (with hot chocolate and hot dogs).  My husband and I even went cross country skiing there, early on in our marriage.

Funny, I have lived in this area my whole life (except the 3 years in Virginia Beach) and I never heard of the "Eternal Flame" which is in the same park.

My middle son was telling us about it on Sunday and so we decided to take a drive. It was about a mile hike into see the flame behind a waterfall (it is actually a place where methane gas is released into the air - but because where the place it breaks thru the surface at - is in a cave behind a water fall, it is protected from the wind and can be lit with a match.

Well  - I didn't make it to the flame, the trail got pretty steep, and if you know me - I am a klutz. I was afraid of falling. So I handed my camera to Zach and asked him to get some photos of the flame - and Justin and I headed back to the car.

All around us were beautiful trees! The greens and the browns were so refreshing (I love spring and new growth).  But the roots were amazing too. I have to wonder if it is because of so many people walking the trail - that the roots are above the surface of the ground  - but it makes for a wonderful photo - and some contemplation.

When I was growing up - we sang a song at church called "I Shall Not Be Moved"
The lyrics as I remember them are:

I shall not be, I shall not be moved
I shall not be, I shall not be moved
Just like a tree that's planted by the water
I shall not be moved.

There are several verses - but that one is often at the forefront of my mind.
 I remember it specifically as I think on the verse from Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it."

Planting the seed of faith in our children, and nurturing it as they grow - helps to develop those deep roots.  When the storms come and troubles are on the horizon - those roots pull them back to their faith to help them stand firm and hold on.

My roots are deep. My parents nurtured them, and they matured as I grew. There were tough times when I remember being able to stand strong in my faith - because my roots were deep. I had weathered many a storm before and seen how God had brought me through.

It's never too late to work on developing  a deep root system.
I don't want to be blown over in the next storm. I want to stand firm and strong in the strength of my faith. It is my roots that help me to do that.

Friday, May 11

May 11, 2012



I love these quotes.

So many times we find ourselves searching for happiness.

"If only I had this ... If only I could.... I would finally be happy if....."  you fill in the blanks.

Then, when get what we thought we needed so desperately, we find that it isn't the answer either. And so we move on to the next desire.

When will we learn - that happiness is not found in things - but that 'joy in life' is found in the journey? (and by the way - I think there is a big difference between JOY and HAPPINESS - but I don't have time to go there this morning).

Perhaps the word we need to look for is SATISFIED. It seems humans are never satisfied. We always have to look for the next great thing.

For me ... I look to God. I find my deep joy in Him, and in His promises. There is nothing in this life that will satisfy me as His Word, His Works, and His Love does.
All things will pass away ... but His Word is FOREVER!

Tuesday, May 1

May 1, 2012


I love the bleeding heart plant. Whether in beautiful pink and green - or the delicate white. It reminds me of my mom first - as we had a nice pink plant in our yard growing up. The white one though, reminds me of the condition of our hearts and souls.

We don't come to Christ clean and innocent. We come covered in filth and sin . . . and yet He loves us . . .  and makes us clean so we can enter His presence and communicate with Him.

When I think about that kind of love, I am often speechless and just don't know what to say. It reminds me of the scripture in Romans that says, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."  (Romans 8:26)

When we come to Him - longing to communicate - sometimes we just don't know what to say. But thankfully, He knows our hearts.  Gandhi's words ring true in this circumstance - It is better to come to God with a sincere heart and no words - than to come to Him with all kinds of explanations and excuses - and no sincerity.

It makes me  want to sing: (Link to the music) (if you leave this window open - you need to turn the music player off on the bottom left of this page)

"Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.

Create in me a clean heart, oh God 
And renew a right spirit within me. 

Cast me not away from Your presence oh God
And take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of my salvation
And renew a right spirit within me."

Wednesday, April 18

Tuesday, April 17

April 17, 2012



So very thankful to have a refuge during the good times and bad.

Thanks be to God - for His faithfulness and everlasting steadfastness!

We are truly blessed.

Sunday, April 15

April 15, 2012



When I saw this rabbit yesterday - I was so excited to try and take it's portrait. But trying to use it in a post was a little more difficult.

My first thought was the story of the Tortise and the Hare. Of course the moral of that Aesop Fable was slow and steady wins the race. Which led my mind to patience and endurance.

Sometimes we go thru things that are tough and hard to deal with. But don't get distracted. Stay the course. Be mindful of keeping your eyes on God. He has the plan. When we follow thru on our part, He follows thru on His part.

Wyatt Earp said it in a different way. It's okay to be fast - but make sure the decisions you make are the right ones - for the circumstances at the moment - so that you don't become distracted and miss what is waiting for you at the end.




Wednesday, April 11

Monday, April 9

April 9, 2012


Flowers make me smile.

Thursday, April 5

April 5, 2012




What greater example of love do we have -

The Creator -

Became one of us -

To suffer humiliation, beating and horrific death on our behalf.

How does that affect the way you live?

Wednesday, April 4

Tuesday, April 3

Monday, April 2

April 2, 2012


No matter what happens today
I know He is with me . 

That is all that matters. 

Thursday, March 29

March 29, 2012



One thing I have never been described as . . .  gentle . . .

I need to work on that.

Wednesday, March 28

Tuesday, March 27

March 27, 2012



Even in nature we see tears.

When I was out last week, taking photos of the spring color bursting out all over town - I stopped by the town hall arboretum and captured the weeping willows around the little ponds. It was for the most part a grey morning, and the new yellow/green leaves were ever so gently blowing in the light breeze.

As I searched for a quote for this photo - I looked first at 'weeping willow.'  Many that I found referred to the sadness the tree feels - as it continues to stand the test of time - when those who have played beneath it, perhaps even tied a rope or swing to it's branches and shared life with it for a moment, shared it's shade on a hot summer day and maybe even spread a blanket, had a picnic, or took a nap  - have grown and moved away.

In my workplace two coworkers, my same age, suddenly lost their husbands, one this past weekend, and another about a month and a half ago. As I gaze on the weeping willow this morning, my heart is heavy like it's branches, weighed down with grief and sadness for my coworkers and their children and families. There is such an ache and sadness for their pain, for their sorrow. Although I have not lost a spouse to death, I have lost both parents, both in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and very dear and close friends.

It is good to cry. Important to weep and grieve. Vital to mourn the loss of part of your life.
But  somewhere down that road of sorrow,  that each one of us will travel at one a time or another, there hopefully will be moments with smiles. As we remember the times of love and laughter, the joy and the life.

I think it too simplistic to read the Dr. Seuss quote above and think we should never cry. We do need to. But we also need to be grateful, and be thankful that we were given the opportunity to share life together.

I love Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.
I need to memorize it.

 There is a time for everything, 
 and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 a time to be born and a time to die,
 a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 a time to kill and a time to heal,
 a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
 a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
 a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 a time to search and a time to give up,
 a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 a time to tear and a time to mend,
 a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 a time to love and a time to hate,
 a time for war and a time for peace.
 What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

Praising and Thanking God for the life He has given us. Praising and Thanking Him for the relationships we have worked at. Praising and Thanking God for the good times and celebrations. Praising and Thanking God of the memories that warm our hearts as we remember our loved ones, and I know I am so grateful to have shared life with them. 

Praising and Thanking God for the tears of sorrow that cleanse our hearts and hopefully bring us to the foot of the cross where because of it - we know at some point we will once again share life again with our loved ones . . .


Monday, March 26

March 26, 2012



I love springtime ... for many reasons of course. One of those reasons is the forget-me-not. 

My front flower bed is always over run by them, lots of folks see them as weeds, but I love them. They are so delicate and beautiful - I let them be - and when they finally go to seed - I make sure to shake all the seeds on the bed - as I pull them up - to ensure more for the next year. 

It never fails, whenever I see a forget me not I begin to sing the old hymn "Pass Me Not - O Gentle Savior... Do not pass me by."  It is a beautiful song (I love Fernando Ortega's version). But even as I contemplate the words of that song - I am reminded that God never forgets us. 

We were in the forefront of his mind - even before we were born. 

Perhaps the forget me nots - are not there for us to ask God to Remember us - but are in fact God speaking  to us . . . "I am here . . .  I am waiting . . . whatever you need, I want you to turn to me . . . keep me as part of your moments, your days, your life." 

Forget HIM Not




Saturday, March 24

Friday, March 23

March 23, 2012


Yes sir-ree! This a a daffodil from yesterday. 
The forsythias and magnolia's as well as hyacinths, tulips and daffodils are all blooming here in Buffalo, NY . . .

. . . in March. 

Everyone is a bit nervous. 

Could the snow still come?
If it does will it kill all the blooms?

I can't believe my coneflowers green growth is already breaking thru the ground. That normally doesn't happen until May. 

I have to keep reminding myself . . . one day at a time, take it one day at a time! 
All the worry of today - does nothing but take the joy out of the present. 

So take today . . . and make it meaningful in some way - for you . . .
and for someone else!





Thursday, March 22

March 22, 2012



Boy these words ring true for me. After the last couple of months - it seems that there has been one thing right after another. Larry's surgery, my asthma attack, worry over whether my job will be cut in the next round of layoffs for the school district I work for, Jacob's broken nose and surgery, my oldest son's life and the recent challenges he has had to face, and now my brother hurt on his motorcycle (after having rotator cuff surgery not too long ago).  Thankfully he landed on the other side when he broke 3 ribs.

People always say things come in cycles of 3. I don't believe that any longer.

I am grateful to God that all of the above situations turned out to be NOT life threatening - just stressful. And although I am thankful everyday of our lives for the sun shining (even if it is behind the clouds) my home to be in good repair to keep us out of the elements, money to pay our bills, current jobs to earn that money and friends and family who care for us. There are so many things every day that point us to God - giving us the opportunity to be in a constant state of thanks!

Paul was an interesting guy - don't you think? He even thanked God for the 'thorn' in his life.

The trials and tribulations that have entered our lives recently - have certainly pointed me towards God - as I have asked for His intervention. He is always the first one I turn to. I wish I was to the place that I could say, "Thank you for this thorn" - but I often have found myself on my knees begging for His intervention. Wanting the circumstances to turn out the way I envision the way they are suppose to be. Will I ever get to the point - of being thankful for difficulties, of understanding why things happen as they do.

We see it in the change of seasons, we see it in the rainbow after the storm - often it is thru the hard times - we grow closer to God. I guess it is a plus that I am to the point of understanding that.

Praying I am able to be thankful in all situations - and will always remember Romans 8:28. Whether the race is one long marathon or a bunch of shorter races - we CAN persevere when we remember that: In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

Wednesday, March 21

Sunday, March 11

March 11, 2012


I've been a little preoccupied this past week - as my youngest son was injured at school baseball tryouts. After a night in the ER, a CT scan and stitches - we know his nose is broken, but we have had to wait for the swelling to go down before we can see a specialist on Monday to determine what can be (or needs to be) done to facilitate the healing process.

While I was home with him on Thursday - we had several deer walk into the yard. It was fun pulling out the camera to see if I could get any clear shots.

Trying to connect a quote with the photo above was a little bit of a challenge. I thought the deer looked as if it was questioning me - but I couldn't find the right words.

Finally I came across the quote above and the words struck a chord with me - in light of our week. No matter what our circumstances, we need to know that the manner in which we respond, is seen by all those around us.

I know that in everything I do, I want to make sure that I am representing Christ in a worthy manner.

I am praying that we can continue to do that.

Wednesday, March 7

March 7, 2012





I can't help it.  I am hoping it is true.

We have been enjoying such a mild winter.

This weekend - our clocks spring forward and boom - spring is almost here.

Have we really gotten thru a winter with having to snow blow and shovel only 3 times?

Is the time of hibernation and staying inside in the dark almost over?


I want to get my hands in the dirt.

I want to see the new life bursting forth from the soil . . . the promise of color and beauty.


Although in the plant world - we must wait thru the long night of cold and darkness to begin again.  We have to wait for the conditions to be right.

How grateful I am that everyday (any moment for that matter) can be a new beginning for our hearts and souls.

The promise of Spring . . .
The promise of Life . . .
The promise of Love . . .


Thursday, March 1

March 1, 2012


It is a battle out there my friends.
A battle for souls.

Please take a moment and pray for the families in your lives.
Pray for the parents of teenagers who are so lost and struggling trying to find their way in this world. Pray for the kids.

Pray for those who have left the path in search of happiness and joy that can never be found outside the Love of God.

Pray for strength and peace in parents hearts - that they will have confidence in the God who created their children, that He loves them even more than they ever could.

Pray for God's people to surround the lost and weary - that they would have their eyes opened to the Love and Peace and Joy they are searching for and that they would find it in healthy and strong relationships with God's people.

Wednesday, February 29

February 29, 2012



Cardinals are a part of my childhood. Probably because  my Dad loved them, and they were often seen in our yard.

Living only about 20 minutes from  my childhood home - and in a tiny bit more rural of an area - I continue to have these beauties visit my yard.

Funny, my husband's mom loved them too.

The quote from Charlotte K just rang true to me today - the whole quote is as follows:

"A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood."
~ Chalotte Davis Kasl.

It is true for me!

Saturday, February 25

February 25, 2012




Day 3 of laying completely low and still. Thankful these asthma flare ups happen less and less - but it always seems they get much worse after the Dr visit, before they get better. 


Feel bad I didn't get to accomplish all I wanted on Spring Break. It is back to school on Monday, although I can't walk 10 feet without a coughing fit at this point. 


No, I am not at the end of my rope - as the quote above says - I am thankful and grateful for doctors that can help treat these problems. These are but physical ailments, and I don't compare them to the weariness that the scripture from Matthew perhaps is talking about. 


Heavy on my heart this morning is the knowledge that there are so many Christians across the world suffering horrendous and awful things for the cause of Christ - and yet they still look to Him - with a mirror of the Light shining  so gloriously from their eyes and hearts - as they serve and wait on the King of kings. 


You most likely have heard of the struggles of the Christian minister who converted from I * s * m - being arrested in 3-4 years ago - taken away from his wife and two young children. He was told if he renounced his faith in God - and went back to I * s * m - he would be released. 


That man has tied a knot and is hanging on - as it seems he has now been sentenced to death for NOT denouncing God. 


There are countless horrific stories that come out of m * lim countries, from those who have  come to the truth in the ways of God thru Christ, and yet have been and are being tormented and tortured by this wonderful loving and peaceful religion of I * s * m. 


Another man I have read about from a very reliable source, converted from I * * s * m to Christianity and shortly later he was arrested by his government. He was tortured for days in ways of intense physical pain to get him to deny his faith in Christ. After trying to kill him and torturing him in barbarous ways that are horrifying to imagine, he was finally hospitalized for almost a year and then was rescued. 


After such horrendous trials, he is back preaching and teaching the Word so that others may know and be released from this religion that claims to be of peace and love. 


So in our lands of freedom of religion, where we can pick and choose what we believe - even make up our own faith - by taking what we think is the best from all the options out there - we live in our own little worlds of partying and self amusement totally enjoying ourselves while there are people actually dying to have a relationship with the King of kings and trying desperately to live lives that would bring glory to Him? Why are they risking their physical beings - to help others see the Light? 


I think it is a question that if we don't have an answer for - we need to find one. 


Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. History is scary - when we see the rise and fall of all the civilizations of the world over and over - Democratic Countries don't stay on top for ever - 


Yes, this week has caused me to be weary of my temporary illness - but there are much more serious issues at stake for many across the world.


And so I close this morning praying for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are brave enough to stand for the Truth and continue to share Him with those whose ears and hearts have been hardened to hear.