Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Little Bells and Morning Pillows

I am increasingly becoming aware of what probably should have been a self-evident fact long before I reached 42 years of age, and that is this: that whatever I just listened to, or experienced, or dwelt on before I go to bed for the evening, will remain on my mind, making its mark - for good or ill - even as I drift off to sleep.

"Sleep is a time when the brain rehearses recently-learned material," says James D. Walsh, Ph.D., director of St. Luke's Hospital's Sleep Medicine and Research Center.*

So, with that in mind, we are going to try to listen to and review our Scripture memory verses and catechism memory songs just before going to sleep at night. I recently read somewhere (though I can't remember where) that your brain will repeat/rehearse the last thing it heard before going to sleep something like 3-5 times, even after you have actually fallen asleep. Imagine!

In that same vein, I also just became aware of some free, non-copyrighted, public domain children's devotional books available online. They are materials written by hymn-writer Frances Ridley Havergal. She was a 19th century English religious poet and hymn writer.

Little Pillows, or Good-night Thoughts for the Little Ones, is a classic collection of one-month's worth of brief bedtime devotions for children. Author Carol Brandt tells us that, "In Little Pillows Frances' intent was to give children biblical truth to think about as they went to sleep. Each truth was to be like a little pillow - something comforting and supportive to rest upon during the night. She teaches through vivid word pictures that bring everyday images to a child's mind, thus linking the spiritual to the child's world. This is child evangelism as it should be: plain, simple, truthful, without manipulation or deceit."

There is a companion volume of morning devotions called Morning Bells. At the beginning of this second book, also written "with Aunt Fanny's love" for her nieces Sybil and Helena, Frances herself wrote: "But in the morning we want something to arouse us, and to help us to go brightly and bravely through the day. So here are "Morning Bells" to waken up your little hearts, and to remind them that we must not only rest in Jesus, but walk in Him. If the motto of Little Pillows might be 'Come to Jesus,' the motto of Morning Bells might be 'Follow Jesus.'"

You are free to copy them, print them, or share them in any ways you like as long as you do not do so for any profit or material gain. Should you prefer it, they are also available for purchase through many online distributors, including this one.

* See complete article about sleep's improving memory and learning.

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