Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Embrace Gray


Embrace gray?
No way!!
I hate gray!

Especially humid, sultry, gray days.
Smokey days that sting my eyes,
assail my nostrils,
and remind me
of the forest fires in the area.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

People’s homes are in danger.
Firefighters’ lives are at risk.
The habitats of birds and deer,
chipmunks and moose,
squirrels and rabbits
are being devoured.

The smoke blows in.
The sun is hidden.
Gray engulfs our valley.
I hate gray!

And yet, as I sit here
looking out at the gray,
praying for rain
to douse the fires
and chase the smoke away,
I hear the birds chirping in the trees.



They see the same gray sky,
smell the same smoke,
feel the same humid, sultry air,
and yet – they sing!
They dance in the leaves.
They fly free –
knowing a rainbow
sits beyond the gray.

Photo by Paweu0142 Fijau0142kowski on Pexels.com

So, rather than hating gray,
God is challenging me to
see gray in a new way.

See the light.
See gray as silver!

When my hair first started turning gray,
I dyed it – trying to keep
the deep brown color of my youth.
But God spoke to me:

“Gray hair is a crown of splendor,
it is attained by a righteous life.”

Proverbs 16:31
Embrace Gray!

Hello gray!
Hello silver!

I can sing your praises
just as the birds
continue to sing
on this gray day.

It’s all a matter of perspective, right?
Not everyone lives long enough
to earn their “crown of splendor.”

Silver brings wisdom.
It signifies the blessing of longevity.

How can you hate gray?
Embrace it and
thank God for that crown!!

How do you feel about gray?

See you tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace the Night


I sit on the porch
In the quiet of the night
Embracing darkness

I sit in my chair
In the quiet of the night
Absent mosquitoes

I sit quietly
Embracing night’s coolness
Praying smoke leaves us

I stare at the sky
Wanting to see the moon shine
Longing for mountains

I know they are there
Behind the smoke and ashes
Muted by the gray

I sit on the porch
Praying for firefighters
In the smoke-filled night

I sit on the porch
In the quiet of the night
Embracing darkness

Come and sit with me!

Good night, dear WordPress friends.

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Smell the hov’ring smoke
Hear sleepy birds chirp good night
Feel the peacefulness


I send my true love…
and hold you so tight
In the still of night
Love,
JanBeek


Want to be happy?
Just embrace contagious joy.
Hang with happy folks!

Find reasons to smile.
Folks will smile back at you.
Smiles are contagious!

Bee contagious!!

Psalm 144:15

“Happy are the people whose God is the LORD.”

The Good News:

God is the true source of
happiness,
strength,
hope,
and wisdom.

Those who are in His favor
will always have these things.

Just as mopey people can pull you into the doldrums,
Happy People can lift your spirits and make you smile.
Happiness is a choice… choose it!
Beeeee Contagious!
Spread JOY!
SMILE!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek


Dear Friends,

I really appreciate all the Happy Birthday wishes extended my way this past weekend. Thank you so much!

Even though I am happy to tell you I am starting my 83rd year on earth, I am also happy to tell you that I am a fan of Jack Benny. Now, if you are too young to remember who Jack Benny was (or you are in another country where Jack Benny was not a nationally known figure), let me tell you: Jack Benny was a comedian who embraced 39 – and decided to stay that age forever more!

Actually, I embrace aging (I wrote a blog using that title once) – I I have no desire to be stuck at 39 or any other age.

How about you?

http://www.janbeek.blog/embrace-aging

Each year brings new insights. Each year brings new joys. Each year brings new challenges. I don’t want to miss any of them.

How about you?

“Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old. Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. Those who are older should speak, for wisdom comes with age.”

Each day I pray for wisdom. Each day I ask God to increase my understanding and I thank the Holy Spirit for the fruits of the spirit that are mine: LOVE, JOY AND PEACE. And I ask God to help me with the other fruits of the spirit: patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control… those that I work to increase as I mature in my faith.

How about you?

As I gather up those birthdays and mature in my faith, I remember to keep a child-like spirit. Enjoy that song. Sing it often. Teach it to your grandchildren. Sing it with your great-grandchildren. Put it in your heart.

You can’t be a lemon or a grape if you wanna be a fruit of the spirit!! Who wants to grow up to be a lemon anyway?

Work on that patience, Jan … your great-grandchildren need to see you model it! And your grand-dog needs you to exercise that gentleness and kindness, too. Ain’t always easy.

How about you?

My great-grandson, Xander, needs my love and joy,
and I need patience, kindness and gentleness in abundance!

On my birthday, Ty (our son) and Bob went out fishing (not catching… just fishing) … and that required a lot of patience! I went along for the joy of the ride. It was cool on the water in the morning, but the afternoon warmed up.

That evening Ty and our daughter-in-law, Monika, Bob & I went in to Bozeman for dinner and dessert. We had a delightful time at a table out front of “Hooked Sushi” enjoying the music being played down the sidewalk a half a block, and the people and dogs walking by. Such fun!

Only in a college town would you find this kind of vibrancy. I love it!

We went after dinner to a very popular ice cream store … and had great fun with some college students who were in line ahead of us. Look at this cute kid! (Ya, I had fun teasing him …)

Bob, our new friend, Jan (me), Monika & Ty –
Pretty sky, huh?
That’s our son, Ty, with me
We enjoyed the fun of chatting with our son & Moni while we waited.
Back home we found a wonderful
bottle of wine waiting for us –
a gift from our dear neighbors.
Thank you, Charlie & Janet!
Birthday roses from my granddaughter –
Thank you, Hope and Drew!
Flowers from our friends, Kathy & Ron-
with a really cute card!
Such fun! So nice of them!
Happy Birthday wishes from our #2 daughter, Laina…
I loved hearing her sing to me – from Maryland to Montana ❤
And our #1 daughter, DeAna, sang Happy Birthday and
sent us a picture of her beautiful flowers at
their restaurant in Switzerland.
Lovely, huh?

Sunday afternoon Bob, Ty & Monika went kayaking/paddleboarding while TazE & I found a shady spot and relaxed.

TazE found some cool grass and took a nap until…
Eloise and her Grandma Susie came.
With such good company, I put my book aside
and TazE left the shade to get acquainted.
It was a smokey day in the Madison Valley…
Lots of forest fires in the area –
and the wind blows the smoke into our
little piece of Paradise on Earth.

You can barely see the mountains outlined back there… not a typically beautiful day on Ennis Lake. Pray for the forest fires to be contained and the firefighters to be safe!

My friend, Caroline Feldman, took this photo
at Ennis Lake last year with the swans clustered.
Here’s my photo taken from that same area
at Ennis Lake last winter…
See, you’re supposed to see the mountains!
Meantime, the paddleboarders returned –
And we returned home
to enjoy our last evening together.
Ty & Monika left this morning…
Thank you, Dear Ones,
for coming to help make
my 82nd birthday so memorable and special.
Now TazE and I are stretched out,
relaxing, and looking forward to an evening
watching the Olympic swimmers.

What are you doing this Monday evening besides surfing the net?

It was a very Happy Birthday…
Forever 39 at heart…
Thanks to all the friends who sent greetings.
I love you!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Hugs,
JanBeek

Embrace God’s Grip


Do you ever tell yourself, “Get a grip!”??

When life seems challenging and circumstances tax your patience,
do you ever wonder if God’s really gotcha covered?

Well, trust me –

Trust the Savior –

He’s gotta grip on you!

God’s gotta grip on me.

Our Lord’s not lettin’ us go!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Romans 8:38-39

“ For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My Prayer for Today

“Gracious God, how grateful I am to rest secure in Your grip forever.”

God’s Not Gonna Lose Me

In today’s devotional time, Daily Guideposts 2021 reminded me that while I may misplace my sunglasses or my phone occasionally, God never misplaces me!

In his comments, Bill Giovannetti recalled a time when his daughter asked him, “What if I lost God? Or what if God lost me?”

Her younger brother responded, “Right, Josie, you’re the only person in the whole wide world that God forgot about!”

Reading Romans 8:38-39 together, Bill and his son reassured Josie and asked her, “If God keeps His Word, what is that verse telling you?”

“It’s telling me God never loses His sunglasses,” she said, “Or me!”



Today Bob & I celebrated my birthday
(I’ll match Bob’s age – and be 82 tomorrow).
Our hands certainly show
the wear and tear of work and years!

But, like that hold God has on us,
we’ve got a grip on one another –
and we’re not letting go!

GG (Great Grandma Jan) with Xander

Taking a clue from us and God,
Xander’s got a grip on his GreatGrandma Jan
(GG – that’s me!) and he’s not letting go!

Sienna & Hope
(my great-granddaughter and my granddaughter)

My great-granddaughter, Sienna,
gets a grip on her mommy, my granddaughter, Hope.
When children have a hold on loving, devoted parents, God smiles.

Sienna with Ty

It’s a double blessings when Grandpa
gets down on the floor with his granddaughter.
Our son Ty helped Sienna learn how to get a grip on puzzle skills.

Sienna with Monika

Children are blessed indeed
when they have a grandma who reads to them.
Sienna gets a grip on what books are all about
with Grandma Monika’s help.

Hope, TazE, Sienna, and me

How special to get a grip
on my great-granddaughter, Sienna,
and her mommy, Hope …
while they get a grip on TazE,
our Boston Terrier!

Monika, Sienna, Hope and Bob

Not every family has the privilege of gathering 4 generations together!
Get a grip on longevity … and the joy of embracing great-grandpa!

Xander and TazE

Such fun to see TazE getting along so well with Xander!

Xander decided he needed to get a grip on those puzzle skills, too.

Monika and Hope with Sienna & Xander…
They sang Happy Birthday
to help me get a grip on
turning a year older.
Not older… just more mature, right?
So nice!

Ty & Monika brought their big dog, Nakota…

… and TazE had trouble getting a grip on
having such a big buddy!

She was exhausted!
Time to get under the table
and get a grip on some rest!

Time for
me
to get some rest, too.



Never doubt that
you can rest in God’s Grip!!

Yes, He’s gotcha covered…

See ya tomorrow (God willing) –

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Borrowing


Today I read a story that so inspired me that I borrowed it. I hope Alicia Bruxvoort doesn’t mind!

I posted a link to it on my FB page and I am embedding it here for your enjoyment and inspiration.

Do take time to read it. You will be glad you did… and then put on your Jesus glasses and see the world, your life, and others through the eyes of love and grace!

Thank you, Alicia, for sharing your writing talent and your faith with us.
God bless you!

Picking up on that theme of “Jesus, I Wanna See What You See,”
I decided to check out You.Tube for “Seeing Through God’s Eyes.”

Look at what I found…
this is an amazing video –
Guaranteed to help you apply
the ideas Alicia shared in her story!

Yes, as Alicia concluded,
“We can just see better when we borrow our Father’s eyes.”

As you embrace borrowing,
what have you read or seen or heard lately
that you can pass along to inspire others?

Hope you’re having a beautiful Thursday.
See ya tomorrow…


Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Butterflies


Embrace Butterflies
Yes, it’s so easy to do!
Figuratively.

Butterflies represent emergence to me

Build a chrysalis –
Then sequester for a while.
Pop! You’re beautiful!

No longer a worm!!

We all sequestered –
We had to during COVID-
Now we’re emerging.

Coming out brilliantly

Some folks are fearful –
Thinking COVID’s not over.
Maybe it isn’t.

Is the pandemic behind us?

With the variant
Running rampant in places,
Some crawled back inside.

Tiptoe outside carefully

Some still wear their masks;
Some won’t go to restaurants –
Prefer home dining.

Depends where you live

Remaining inside
Is important for some folks –
Others spread their wings.

Unique!

Like these butterflies,
Each situation’s different.
So, to each his own!

One of the lessons I learned during this past year and a half or so is that no two people react exactly the same to the same stimulus. We hear through our own filters. We see through our own past experiences. We can’t lay our trip on someone else! We all built our own chrysalis and stayed inside as long as we felt we needed to. Some are inside still. We all will emerge more beautiful in our own sweet time, if we allow our “feelers” to engage with our own needs while respecting the needs of others.

Embrace the butterfly.
Fly when you’re ready.
See ya in Big Sky!

Love ya,
JanBeek

Embrace Opportunities


Make life exciting
Embrace Opportunities
Have your “YES!” ready.

Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels.com

Keep your heart open –
Embrace the unexpected.
Surprises are fun!

An Unexpected call
from a group of bicyclists
traveling 4000 miles for cancer research
caused our pastor to say, “Yes!”

They biked to Ennis, Montana,
had showers and their dinner
at our pastor’s home, and then
spent the night in our
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.

What a blessing for them and for us!

When we are open
To bring blessings to others,
We’re blessed in return.

This week our son, Ty,
And his dear wife, Monika,
Are spending time here.

Blessed by their presence,
Seizing opportunities,
We build family bonds.


Ty & Monika

Saying “Yes!” to friends,
Being open to family,
Reaps blessings galore.

Open up your heart
Let all joyous love come in
You’ll be glad you did!

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you,
that you love one another:
just as I have loved you,
you also are to love one another.


So with every chance,
Reach out to one another –
Love with abandon!

Opportunities
Abound in this world of ours –
Keep an open heart!

Listen for guidance
Let opportunities shine
And lead you forward!

I’ll say “Yes Lord,
Yes Lord! All the way.”
Embrace Opportunities!

Amen!

God bless you!
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Your Pastor


Embrace Your Pastor.
He or she needs your support –
And needs your feedback!

Photo by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels.com

Your pastor plants seeds
With each sermon presented.
You fertilize them.

You add nutrients
To the soil where they’re resting
By watering them.

Water the ideas
By ruminating on them.
What was the message?

Each week I take notes.
I capture the main ideas
As they resonate.

Today’s seeds that Pastor Mary Grace Reynolds sowed were inspired by Ephesians 2:11-22 and enhanced by the experience she had Friday night and Saturday morning with a group of young bicyclists who were traveling 4000 miles for cancer research. Here are my notes that I took while listening this morning.

TENACITY

Serving 400 hours as a hospital chaplain
Was required in my seminary studies.
Why God – why? What’s the answer?
With integrity and stamina, just serve!

Ephesians 2 is not about empty connections.
It’s talking about the death of our worst instincts.
It’s talking about getting on board with Christ.
Paul believed Christ would come back yesterday!

We’re still here thousands of years later…
Wondering when that victory over death
And division will come to this earth.
The Kingdom of God didn’t come in Paul’s time.

It hasn’t come in our time, either.
Addictions, abuse, fires, death, wars continue.
Where is the world where all divisions are erased?
We’re here to put our feet on the ground and be hopeful.

Moments of hope will come to you.
The U of Austin bike riders were my moment.
Stories of lodging needs and cancer research,
Tenacity, friendship, and HOPE scenarios entered.

Hope is a screamer and fighter.
Sometimes it works out for the good.
HOPE is the reality that God is love.
Evil will not win. God’s hope will!

Say YES to what pulls on your heartstrings.
Say YES to the reality of God’s hope.
Say YES to Truth and love and reaching out.
Say YES to cancer research and to helping.

Every inch gained in the fight against cancer
Is an inch toward life and hope.
We are building the Kingdom of God here
Where violence and oppression will be foreign to us.

With tenacity, hang in there.
With tenacity listen to God’s response to
Your questioning… Why God? Why?
With tenacity and stamina and love, just serve!

Amen


Let’s just grow flowers of love.

Embrace Your Pastor.
He or she needs your support –
And needs your feedback!

Happy Sunday.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow (God willing).

Embrace Shared Humor


I have a good friend –
(Well, I have more than one friend)
But one makes me laugh.

She sends funny memes,
And she shares off-color jokes –
Never toooo naughty!

Some are just
“Uh-huh”
Others are
“uh-oh!”
Watch your ego!
And still others are
“Oh-no!”
I laughed out loud on this one!
Did you?
Oh ya!!
Groan!
I have another friend
who sends pictures of her sunrise,
and let’s me know she has
me in her morning prayers.
In return, I send her my sunrise…
and keep her in prayer, too.
This morning it was no laughing matter,
the smoke in our valley is hiding the sun.
And my daughter in Glen Burnie
sends morning photos of her coffee.
That’s not shared humor…
but it makes me chuckle!
And smile with reciprocated love.
Whatever you share,
whether humor,
sunrises,
prayers, or
coffee…
I love it!
And maybe that smile
will grow into a chuckle
or a belly laugh…
This is my great-granddaughter –
Sienna.
This kind of shared humor
keeps me smiling all day long!

Have a fun-filled day.

Pass along some humor!

God bless you!
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Trust


Do you embrace trust?
In whom do you place your trust?
The Lord says, “Trust Me!”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Luke 8:25

Then He said to His disciples, “Why can’t you trust Me?”

Are you facing strife?
Is life full of challenges?
Where do you place trust?

Do you have answers –
Solutions all by yourself?
Independence sucks!

Interdependence
Is what the Lord asks of us.
Put your hand in His!

Photo by mododeolhar on Pexels.com

When you reach to Him,
Count on His hand there for you.
Invest time with God.

Commit to trust Him.
Recount His great faithfulness.
Put away your doubts.

Give God something small.
Then allow yourself to trust
Him with bigger things.

Psalm 91 is a profound reminder that nothing can separate us from the love of God. It’s a strong reminder of God’s loving care and protection. It is a call to trust in God, even in the midst of danger. The Psalmist reminds us of the safest place:

Psalm 91:1

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the Shadow of the Almighty.”

Bob and I are facing some challenging situations these days related to his health, our own home improvements, and church property decisions. We are not alone in facing these dilemmas, but opinions of others can often be conflicting. The Bible tells us that we must put our trust in the one who stills the waters. Lay our souls bare before the Lord and listen for His mighty word… Watch for His guidance … Seek His counsel.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Often the road to answers has a fork in it.
Knowing which path to take requires
discernment,
openness,
and
trust.

Who do you trust?

How do you find the voice of reason?

Share your answers with me!

Sometimes you are the light
He provides!

See ya tomorrow (God willing).
Love ya,
JanBeek

Embrace Ukiah


As I strive to spread love, joy, peace, faith and unity, I often embrace haiku as a means of expression. Today I learned about a poetry form that is new to me: ukiah. It is reverse haiku. Instead of pattern of 5-7-5, it uses a 7-5-7 pattern. It is a joy to me to learn new things … and to put new ideas into practice. Do you find joy in newness?

Try applying new concepts
Making room for joy
Embrace ukiah today

Then I learned, Oh no! There’s another requirement for ukiah. It has to rhyme! All three lines? Or just two of the three?

I researched it and found the definition written by the person who invented it, Robert Ropars :

“My idea is the opposite of the haiku. I was thinking it should be a “Roparsku” but my lack of ego (and my very wise girlfriend) kept me grounded. So since I’m talking about the opposite, then reversed it would a “Ukiah.” Now searching around online I see some people have played with variations (calling this a “reverse haiku”), but only changed the syllabic construction. I think a true “reversal” would also take into account the rhyme aspect. In addition, this adds an extra level of challenge to the endeavor.

It would be composed of:
•3 lines in length
•rhyming
•lines 1 and 3 contain 7 syllables
•line 2 contains 5 syllables

Haiku example:
Winds blowing lightly
Leaves whispering in the dark
Stars twinkling above

Ukiah example:
Leaves are drifting in the night
The stars are so bright
Shivering I hold you tight

Wow… all three lines rhyme. That changes everything!
Poetry takes many forms.
This poem of Laura’s is free verse.

I took its ideas and tried to create a Ukiah using it:


You can’t see me; I hear you –
And you can’t touch – true,
But I feel you near clear through.

You do not taste my sad tears,
But I cry your fears.
Your sadness pierces like spears.

In this very empty room,
Silence is perfume:
A claustrophobic deep gloom.

I smell and feel it around.
Miss your loving sound.
Hate social distance ground!

Photo by Bekka Mongeau on Pexels.com

When ukiah is so sad,
Where’s joy to be had?
Just creating makes me glad.

Practice keeps newness churning.
Embrace the yearning.
Apply newness while learning.

7-5-7
and add rhyme…
Try it!
Embrace Ukiah!!

Be a sport!
Share your try at ukiah in the comments below.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow (God willing!)

Embrace Swiss Beekeeping


In 2018 we were in Switzerland and our daughter, DeAna, arranged for our grandson, Michael Solioz, to visit a Swiss beekeeper with his Grampy Bob. Bob wrote up some questions ahead of time, and Mike translated them for the man who is the president of the Sion Beekeepers’ Club.

This video is so professionally done by Mike. I guarantee you will enjoy it. The beekeeper is such a delightful man – a retired physician!

So, what did you think of that?

If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know that Bob is a retired beekeeper… He did that for over 20 years after he retired from teaching/coaching.

Photo by FRANK MERIu00d1O on Pexels.com

No, that’s not Bob up there. He rarely dressed up like that! No suit, no gloves, just the hat and veil sometimes. He is the “bee whisperer” according to beekeeper hobbyists here who enlist his help with their hives occasionally.

Notice Bob’s short pants, bare hands, and hat without veil. Experienced beekeepers seem to know how to approach the bees with peaceful intentions that the bees can sense… unless they’re Africanized bees (that’s a whole other blog topic someday).

Anyway, it was fun to uncover that 2018 Swiss beekeeper interview. I hope you enjoyed it.

Bob & I wish you a Happy Monday
and a fun-filled, productive week.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Embrace Reaching Out


Photo by Swapnil Sharma on Pexels.com

Embrace Reaching Out.
Who needs to feel your kind touch?
He or she’s not far.

Photo by mododeolhar on Pexels.com

Within easy reach
Is a person who needs you –
Send out your feelers!

I feel too often
Advice suggests self-support:
Take time for yourself.

Self is limited.
Don’t overlook reaching out.
We need each other!

Love one another.
Reach out to friends near and far.
Give – as you’ve received.

Embrace Reaching Out!
Reach further – deeper!
Reach out to the suffering.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

Reach to the hurting.
Find the silent, hungry ones…
Too proud to get help.

Donate to Food Banks.
Support the reliable
Organizations.

Be someone’s answer.
Your arms can find the needy.
Embrace Reaching Out!

Hands willing to help –
and arms ready to hug. you ..
I am here to help.
Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I am here for you.
My heart can reach forever.
Embrace Reaching Out!

I will do my part –
Reaching is a two-way street –
You need to reach back!


I’ll be there for you
With the love to see you through.
Reach out, friends, to me!

And – as always, friends,
I encourage you to reach
Always to our God!

Your love,
Lord,
reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Psalm 36:5
God already has reached you!

God Bless You, my friends.
I am reaching out for you now…
Feel the love!


Hugs,
JanBeek


Bob & Victor

Victor Salazar and Bob have stayed in touch for 50 years. How has that happened?

Victor was Bob’s wrestling student when Bob coached at Hillsdale High in San Mateo, CA. back in the 1970’s. Every year at Christmas, we exchanged Christmas cards. Victor let us know where he was each year – and his career took him to over 30 different countries! What a joy to have Vic come from Alabama to reconnect with us here in Montana this week!

I have had the fun of that kind of connection with former students, too. This is Ty Stiles and his wife with Bob & me. He was my kindergarten student in 1962! I named our first child, Ty. We never let Ty Stiles out of our sphere of contact. He was in my prayers daily. He came with his wife, Roxanne, from California to visit us a few years ago. About a year after his visit, sadly, Ty left this earth for is eternal home. My memories of him and his visit warm my heart every single day as I look at the cross he welded and sent to us shortly after his visit.

There’s no greater joy
Than to reconnect with friends
From long, long ago

Look up for your purpose!
Look up to the cross
Recall its loving meaning
Embrace those friendships

5 Ways to Keep Long-time Friends

  1. Pray lovingly for them daily.
  2. Be sure to keep them in your address book and write to them often (don’t just rely on social media)
  3. Pick up the phone and talk to them, emptying yourself into them… it’s an investment. Be loyal and be confidential.
  4. Let them know how much they mean to you, but don’t force the relationship. It has to be natural. Don’t insist that the relationship is forever reciprocal. Some friendships are meant to be seasonal… and the season may last years – but maybe not. You can’t control that.
  5. Be honest and transparent with them … let them see your warts. It shows you trust them not to hurt you… and you are trustworthy in return.

Embrace Long-time Friendships
Never let those precious folks go
Keep them forever in your heart
How long we’ll be here, we can’t know

Embrace Long-time Friends
My heart’s covered with footprints.
How about your heart?

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Stepping Out


Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Have Faith and Step Out

Don’t overlook your life’s importance
or minimize its worth.
It doesn’t matter if you’re on
an allowance or Social Security.
No matter where you are in life,
you have so much to give.

The vital part of your life
never disappears or fades away.
Each of us is vital to God.
He gives us the courage to go out and live,
to heed His call, and step out in faith
on a new journey today.

In faithful obedience, lean forward
to hear Him. He doesn’t shout.
His call is quiet and personal.
Get serious. Listen carefully.
Are you up for a new journey?
Have faith and step out!

I wrote the poem, “Have Faith and Step Out” in 2002 while we were still living in California. I had officially retired from teaching in 1999, but daily I was looking for new direction, new purpose, new adventures. The International Library of Poetry published the poem in its 2002 Anthology of Poetry and sent me a dozen greeting cards with the poem printed on the front of them. Today I am using one of those cards for a friend who is stepping onto a new path.

The poem has become more meaningful in the nearly 20 years since its creation. The older I am, the more I realize, “No matter where you are in life, you have so much to give.” Your age doesn’t matter. Your place doesn’t matter. What matters is your mindset, your faith, your motivation.

It’s OK to be petrified.
Sometimes God takes us to
the edge of adventures
where we feel unprepared.
With faith,
He will remove our fear,
put us on a bridge,
and send us the Light to follow.

Deuteronomy 31:6

Quote from Deuteronomy 31:6

Today Bob is out on Lucille (our red-headed ATV on which we have a “Ball”)
with his former student, Victor, who is visiting from Alabama.
Victor was Bob’s wrestling student back in the 1970’s.
He reminded us that Bob also was
his Drivers Education teacher.
They are on an adventure –
going to a lake above Sheridan.
Our Boston, TazE, is with them.
Ah, yes, step out in faith.
Have fun!

Where He leads me,
I will follow!

Remember,
no matter where you are in life,
you have so much to give.

Where are you being called to go today?
What are you being called to do?
Whatever it is, step out in faith.
He will give you grace and glory…
He’ll be with you all the way!

Have a Fabulous Friday!

Love and Hugs,
In Faith,
JanBeek

Embrace Steadfastness


When you hear the word “steadfastness,” what comes to mind?

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Steadfastness comes from the root word, STEADY.
I watched our family in Tahoe last month
play that game that tests how steady your hands are
and how skilled you are at choosing
what can be removed from the wooden pyramid
without toppling the whole thing over.

Photo by Joshua Miranda on Pexels.com

The collegiate definition of steadfast is:

“firmly fixed in place”
or
“not subject to change”
or
“firm in belief, determination, or adherence”

Synonyms for steadfastness include:

constant,
dedicated,
devoted,
devout,
faithful,
fast,
steady,
and
true.

So, when I think of the word steadfastness,
I think of faithfulness and dedication.
I think of forever friends who stick by us
– always there for us in good times and bad.
I think of marriage –
-the ones that last
– and I am grateful for Bob’s steadfastness.

As a Man of God,
Bob has exhibited for nearly 60 years
the steadfastness of the Lord
in our marriage.
I am so grateful that God steered me
in Bob’s direction when it was time
to choose a partner for life.
I can substitute Bob’s name
for God’s name in this hymn –
because Bob’s steadfastness
has been so Christ-like.
I truly am blessed!

I am grateful that our families (both Bob’s and mine) set an example of faithfulness for us. There have been no divorces among our parents or grandparents for as far back as we can trace our roots. Likewise, our current families have set an example of faithfulness for our children and grandchildren.

Our son, Ty, and his wife, Monika will celebrate 32 years of marriage this September.

Our daughter, DeAna, and her husband, Andre’
have just celebrated their 34th anniversary.
Here are Bob & me 34 years ago at her wedding.



The dress she wore was my dress 25 years earlier – and she was married in the same University of Pacific chapel where Bob & I were wed. The steadfastness of family and traditions makes God smile, I’m sure.

Are you smiling, too?

This image represents steadfastness to me.

The pillar is our faith –
and the ropes are us –
connected through faith
for a lifetime and eternity
– together –
firm in belief, determination, and adherence!


When you
EMBRACE STEADFASTNESS
and consider the application of that word
in your life and acquaintances,
what image comes to your mind?



Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Embrace Fly Fishing


It’s a beautiful evening
for a maiden fly fishing adventure.
Bob & Steve took Mary Grace out on the Madison.

First, she needed a rod, reel, tippet, and some flies.
Steve Hundley made a box of ’em for her!
Then he taught her how to tie one on.
Every flyfisherperson needs a good pair of boots.
Thank you, Fran McNiell!!
Every fisherperson needs a license, too.
Next year Mary Grace will be a resident
and it won’t cost as much, we hope!
It was $120 for non-residents this year.
That was quite an increase!
Mary Grace watched carefully as Bob readied the boat.
Three happy fisher(wo)men!! Almost ready…
OK, boat’s in the water… now hop in!
The weather was warm (92 degrees) –
but it will be cooler on the river.
I watched to be sure they were on their way…
(They put in at 8 Mile Fishing access)
Then I drove the pick up with trailer home.
Happy Fly Fishing, Mary Grace.
I hope you have a great time!!

Stay tuned, friends.
I’ll give you a report tomorrow to let you know how they did.
I hope they are able to catch a few big ones.
They will call when they are ready
for me to get them at the “take out” in Ennis.
Bob says, “The tug is the drug.”

Do YOU embrace fly fishing??


Embrace Morning Light
Streaming brightly through windows
Every day is new


Embrace Morning Light
Let it follow you inside
It illuminates

Embrace the Sunlight
Appreciate its brightness
Flowers follow it

Flowers turn to find
Sustenance in the Sunlight
We should turn also

Turn to the Maker
Of sun and light and wisdom
Let His LIght lead you

Psalm 43:3

“O send out your light and your truth;
Let them lead me;
Let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling.”

Go out in the Light.
Have a sun-filled day, my friends.
Where will the Light lead?

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.


Happy 26th birthday
to our new pastor
and dear friend,
Mary Grace Reynolds!

If you’ve followed my blog
for a week or more,
you have seen posts about
Mary Grace Reynolds.

For the past year and a half,
my life has been consumed
by the Pastor Nominating Committee.
The search was arduous, extensive,
long and detailed… and successful!

We reviewed over 100 Pastor Information Forms,
Followed up with phone calls, texts, ZOOMs
and reference checking on at least 40 of those.
The bottom line: We believe
Mary Grace was God’s choice for us!

Happy 26th birthday, Mary Grace!
God bless you!
Just two puffs – and all 26 candles were out!

Do you remember your 26th birthday?
Where were you?
What did you do?
What was your station in life?

1939 +26 = 1965; I was a new mom.
On this day, my baby, Ty, was 3 months old.
We were living in San Francisco –
Park Merced, near San Francisco State Univ.

I was teaching in Daly City, California.
Bob was working for Shell Oil in S.F.
Mama Fran was our babysitter –
But, I had the summer off.

Ah, to be 26 again!
What would I do differently?
I am not sure.
What would you do differently?

This was March of 1966. Ty is 11 months old!

Yes, I was 26 once upon a time.
Seems like an eternity ago.
Would I change anything if
I could go back and do it again?

Actually…
Nope!!

How about you??

Embrace Freedom


God Bless America
Land of the Free…

God Bless America,
My home sweet home.
From Detroit to Houston
From San Francisco to New York,
It’s time to say,
“I love this land!”

There’s nothing like
a good ole hometown parade…
Celebrating our freedom –
Celebrating our love of this land.

Our little town of a thousand
Saw about 20,000 pour in today
To watch our old fashioned parade.
It’s like stepping back 50 years!

No fancy floats worth thousands
With hundreds of hours donated
To create a great big splash…
No sireee! Just good ole home-spun fun!

The Grand Marshalls were ladies
From the Madison Valley Woman’s Club
Celebrating one hundred years of
Service to this wonderful community.

You know you’re in Montana when
The town’s physician and his wife
Enter the parade on horseback
Celebrating their equine family!

Thanks, RJ and Andy!

We’re so blessed to have the MVMC
(Madison Valley Medical Center)
In our little community… so blessed!
Our nurses and doctors’ kids donned the float.

Bob & I had the fun of front row seats
Because our friends who live
Right on the parade route invited us to join them.
Main Street would not have allowed us these views!

Barbara & Roy … Thank you!

Their darling grandkids kept us entertained
As they watched the parade, too –
And ran to gather up the candy
That some of the participants threw to us!

We saw vehicles of every kind,
Decorated with flags and competing
To be chosen as the most unique
Or most beautiful, or most aged.

The Shriners are annual participants
Businesses used this parade
as an opportunity to advertise.
Ray Easter is a mainstay in our parade…
A native of Ennis – a rare breed, indeed!
Wouldn’t be complete without ponies!
The children love this little guy!
Puppies for Patriots
Maybe you can put Ennis, Montana
on your calendar for July 4, 2022.
Come and enjoy the fun!
I think it was 2019 when our daughters,
De & Laina, were able to be here.
Of course, we missed the parade
in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Maybe they can return to enjoy this holiday with us next year!

So nice to have this fun event back again
And the weather cooperated.
Parade was 10: to 11:30 and the
Rain didn’t come until later this afternoon!

Rain? Yup, surprise!
It was not predicted…
.
.

If you’re in the USA,
what did you do to celebrate
this special Independence Day today?

In another country?
Do you have parades like this?

Time for dinner…
Thanks for celebrating with us!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Hugs,
JanBeek

Embrace World Peace


Tomorrow is Independence Day in the USA. July 4th… a day to celebrate America’s beginning. Dwight Roth posts about it quite poignantly. Check it out:

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/07/03/independence-day-all-men-are-created-equal/

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could really embrace and LIVE that sense of equality our constitution espouses?

Where do you find places where world-wide peace is the major goal? How is it expressed?

In addition to poets like Dwight Roth, I love folks like Bob Goff, author of “Love Does.” He wrote:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”
― Bob Goff

Bob Goff’s books, “Love Does,” and “Everybody, Always” spell out in clear terms how the “love with actions and in truth” can make such a impact on your own peace – and can matter to the world at large. Check them out, if you have not read them already.

“Jesus talked to His friends a lot about how we should identify ourselves. He said it wouldn’t be what we said we believed or all the good we hoped to do someday. Nope, He said we would identify ourselves simply by how we loved people. It’s tempting to think there is more to it, but there’s not. Love isn’t something we fall into; love is someone we become.”
― Bob Goff, Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People

That’s the only way we can work toward world peace…
One person, one act, one decision at a time.

It’s not really pride that is my motivator…
It is gratitude and love and a faith that
runs deep in my soul.
Thank You, God, for Your many blessings.
Thank you for Your love.
I pray that everyone in the world can feel it.

Thank you for the joy and peace that are mine.
May they radiate through me.
May I generously shine them on all I meet.

Feel the love.
Feel the peace.

Have a very Happy 4th of July!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Peace be with you!

Embrace Creativity


When are you the most creative?
Where do your creative juices flow most freely?
What’s your God-given creative talent?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am not a painter.
I may have some latent talent there, but I have never developed it.

That’s Bob –
He’ll tell you he developed
his painting skills by
painting beehives for 30 years!
Now he’s painting the pastor’s house!!

Do you have hidden talents that you have not fully explored?

Photo by Roman Koval on Pexels.com

When children are given the tools
and the examples early in life,
often that becomes the springboard
for a life of artistic talent shared.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

No one told me that my scribbles
might lead to a creative talent
that would be appreciated by others!

But, I was encouraged to sing as a child.
That was a talent that did not go unnoticed.
How could you ignore it when
I was a 3-year-old singing
“Appo-Tee, Appo-Tee, AppoTee”
all the way through the hymns at church.
Singing loudly and joyfully!

Hah!
It was during the time of WWII
and a popular song was
“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree
(with Anyone Else But Me).”

You’re probably not old enough to remember it!!
Go ahead, click on it here.
You’ll love it!!

So how did my “Appo Tee” singing
graduate into a full-blown creative talent?
Like any talent, it takes
involvement,
participation,
practice.

I have been a member of a choir
for as long as I can remember…
… always in school, then in church,
and eventually our community choir.
I am not a soloist,
but I love singing in a duet
or trio or with a large group.
Recently our church choir
was able to start up again…
it is such a joy!


Once I even got to sing
with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
during one of their dress rehearsals
for their Christmas concert!

The rendition below of
“The Lord Bless You and Keep You”
was sung by the University of the Pacific Choir
at Bob’s and my wedding 2/11/62.
Here is the Mormon Tabernacle singing it.
I love it so much!

If your talent is not singing or painting,
maybe you developed a talent in another area –
like cooking or woodworking or metal sculpture.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Of course, one major talent I forgot mention
Is instrumental music …
the piano or a woodwind or string or brass instrument…
Such talent brings so much joy to the player
as well to a world of listeners.

I played the accordion and the clarinet
as a child and continued to do so
until just recently.
My accordion is not functioning,
there’s a hole in the bellows.

Perhaps I will find another
small accordion that I can handle…
and will resume that creative endeavor.
The children at the day care center
and the residents at our local
Nursing Home enjoyed it!

Here’s just a small clip –
(it’s only 10 seconds!!)
of me playing for the residents
at my sister’s place in PA
a couple of years ago.
(I won’t burden you with too much of this!)
Hah!

My cousin always used to send me comic strips
about the accordion.
One was a guy entering heaven
and the angel said,
“Welcome to Heaven,
here’s your harp.”
The other was a gal entering Hades.
The angel greeted her and said,
“Welcome to Hell,
here’s your accordion.”

Hah! I miss Cliff and those jokes!!




The question remains:
What are your God-given talents?
Have you developed an area of creativity?

I forgot to mention writing!!
Us bloggers imagine ourselves to have that talent
or else we wouldn’t be posting here on WordPress, right?

But, even this writing talent
doesn’t improve without practice, right?
Never stop learning and trying to improve –
regardless of the area of creativity…
gardening & photography (Derrick) –
poetry (Dwight, Richard, Pat, Rahul, etc.)
cooking (Andre’ & Caralyn)
You know who you are…
and what you need to do!

Our library was having a book sale last week.
For a dollar, I was able to buy this wonderful book.
Copyrighted 20 years ago, it’s never outdated,
and I can never stop learning how to be a better writer.
Like any talent, it takes practice, study, and more practice.
And feedback always helps!

Roses are red.
Violets are pink.
I’m an emerging poet.
Man, don’t I stink?

No, don’t badmouth yourself!!
Keep workin’ at it…

Embrace Creativity!
Tell me about yours…

Thanks for sharing!
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek


Embrace your last best place
It’s where you call your “Forever Home.”
It’s the place you’re destined to stay
When you decide to land – not roam.

“Our Last Best Place” is written on
Our Montana license plates.
It’s a motto for Bozeman,
But Ennis is our place that rates.

It rates a forever stay.
It’s where we want to be
Until it’s time to eventually
Leave for Eternity.

Our neighbors have a sign –
It says home is a collection.
It says home is a story –
One with happy recollection.

I say home is a heartfelt
Place where love is true –
A place where when you have you go there,
They always have room for you.

It’s a place where happy memories
Have seeped into the wall
And everywhere you look,
Is a story to recall.

Grandpa DeAngeles’ cheese press
(or is it an apple press – I wonder)
Reminds me of my dad who had
These treasures out in rain & thunder!

We had the piece restored
And found a grape press to match.
They sit in dining room corners –
This one came without a scratch!

If rocking chairs could talk
This would have stories galore.
Bob’s great-grandma used it
And our grandkids rocked some more.

This clock has a great history –
It hung in Bob’s mother’s school.
That was back in 1908-16
His mom was certainly no fool.

When the school house caught fire
And the kids were evacuated,
A lot of stuff ended in a pile.
His mom saved this… she was elated.

The clock is not the only thing
We inherited from our folks.
Our house is full of those memories –
Full of love and life and hopes.

The horseshoe has a history –
The mortar Dad found in Merced River does, too.
The pestle that goes with it
Has seen more than a grind or two!

The books that line the living room
Have stories – some written by friends,
And the picture from Grimentz
Has Swiss memories without ends.

I love the little angels
On tables, counters and floor.
Each one has a story
And there’s always room for more.

That first one is from Terry,
A friend who has my heart.
The next one’s from our Laina –
It’s meant for garden art.

Up in my sanctuary,
There’s an angel in a dish.
She’s playing the accordion –
And she came with a great wish:

I wish you happy memories
In this “Last Best Place” of yours.
I know you’ll live here happily,
Welcoming strangers through your doors.

It’s true, we love our Last Best Place –
And we’ve welcomed many a guest.
And we’re not through inviting them –
Come – sit with us – we’re truly blessed!

Embrace Your Last Best Place

Are you in it now?
Or do you anticipate where it will be…
the one on earth, that is…

Tell me about it!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek

Roy Rogers was my favorite as a kid…
And never did I imagine I’d
find a Home on the Range
where the deer and the antelope play
as my Last Best Place
someday.
Yup, antelope…. right here in my Last Best Place

Embrace Values


My friend, Lee, sent me a You.Tube video today. He said it was “worth your time and thoughts.” I agree!.
It was narrated by a guy with a wonderful British accent. I bet it was created several years ago.
The words in blue below are his. The red is my editorial comment about that item!

Whether you wear a $300. or a $3. watch,
they both tell the same thing.

But the whole deal is, this watch does so much more than tell time!
And it costs way more than $300. . Price tag = $539.98

Whether you carry a $300. or a $30. handbag,
the amount of money inside is still the same.

This one actually is a
$2,350. Guggi
If you buy it, you’ll certainly
have less money to put inside!

Don’t you have better things to do with your money??


Whether we drive a $150,000. car or a $30,000. car,
the road and distance are the same…
and we get to the same destination.

Photo by Pavlo Luchkovski on Pexels.com

But, the Ferrari is so much more fun!
And you can certainly go faster!
(If you survive at those speeds, that is)

Whether you drink a bottle of $300. or a $10. bottle of wine,
the hangover is the same.

But Wine Spectator Magazine says, “It’s not as if wines that cost $10. or less are going to make you feel bad, or that wines that cost over $50 are never going to give you a hangover… How much wine you consume is the biggest variable…” So, in both cases, it’s the whole bottle? Not a good idea regardless of the price!

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Whether the house you live in is 300 sq. ft. or a huge mansion with 30,000 sq. ft.,
loneliness is the same.


Yes, you can be lonely in a shack or you can be lonely in a castle. The size of the house has little to do with it. But, remember loneliness and alone are two different animals. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. And just because you have a kajillion people around you doesn’t mean you feel loved. It has nothing to do with the size of your house… it’s the size of your heart!

Photo by Sheila on Pexels.com

Whether you fly first or economy class,
if the plane goes down – you go with it.


True! But aren’t some seats safer than others? An article in the Huffington Post – when asked about the safest place to sit to a plane – wrote this, “Each incident or crash is unique. Impact could come from a nosedive, a water landing, or a runway collision. As a result there is no safest seat.” The good news in that article, though, is “Air travel is the safest form of transportation in the country.” Bon Voyage!!
.
.

In that same video sent to me this morning by my friend, Lee, this interesting addition was included:

Five Undeniable Facts of Life

Photo by Pragyan Bezbaruah on Pexels.com
  1. Don’t educate your children to be rich;
    Educate them to be happy, so when they grow up,
    they will look for the VALUE of things, not the price.
Photo by Ella Olsson on Pexels.com

2. Eat your food (a balanced diet) as your medicine
otherwise you will have to eat medicine as your food.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

3. The ones who love you will never leave you for another
because even if there are 100 reasons to give up,
s/he will find one reason to hold on.

4. There is a big difference between a human being
and being human… Only a few really understand it.

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt on Pexels.com

5. You are loved when you are born.
You will be loved when you die.
In between, you have to manage.

Live
Love
Laugh

You have to manage!

May as well manage joyfully!
Embrace Values
and live the good life…

then…

When your sunset comes,
You will have no regrets!

Good night, my friends.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Defining Moments


In my reading this morning, These Days – Daily Devotionals for Living by Faith, I was inspired by the commentary of Robin Gallaher Branch of Memphis, Tennessee. The scripture that motivated her thoughts was from Ezekiel 1-2:1

The word of the Lord came to the priest Ezekiel,
son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans
by the river Chebar, and the hand of the Lord
was on him there.

What Does That Scripture Mean?

Study that painting. Obviously artists have been inspired by this scripture. But somehow, as I read it again, the depth of its meaning escaped me. I was not quite sure what to make of it. Robin Branch, on the other hand, saw “A Vision is a Divine Interruption.”

She wrote, “I tell my students this: Expect Divine Interruptions.”

Why? Because they occur regularly in the Bible.

And that is what she understood was happening to Ezekiel in this passage. She wrote, “He was minding his own business when the heavens suddenly opened.”

Another artist depicted the scene this way:

Wow! Robin Branch describes it in words, “He saw four living creatures in human-like forms. Each had four faces: those of human being, lion, ox, and eagle… When the creatures moved, their wings sounded like mighty waters.”

What did he do? Ezekiel’s response was, “I fell on my face.” (verse 28)

God Interrupts Our Lives

Ezekiel shows us what to do when God interrupts our lives with a vision, a dream, or an angelic encounter. Worship and wait to be addressed!

But, how many of us have had God present Himself to us in a vision or a dream or an angelic encounter?

Maybe more of us than we realize! Do we open our eyes and hearts to recognize those defining moments? Do we see the angels in our midst? Do we know God makes divine appointments with us? Do we feel His presence?

Live in Expectancy

Do you live in a state of expectation, looking to see God in others? Do you know God is making broken things brand new? I see God in you! I see God in the defining moments of my life.

Daily Word, a Unity Publication, provides a daily word (or words) to ponder. It has a short devotional to enhance the word. Today’s word was “Expectation.” In the commentary, the title was, “Expectation keeps my mind positive and my heart full.

“Living in a state of expectancy kindles a quiet excitement in my heart, keeping me passionate about life.”

If I live in expectancy, I encounter defining moments …

Moments that define us are often not recognized until years later.

What are Defining Moments?

Jan & Bob
1962

Of course, if you are married happily, you know a defining moment in your life is your wedding. That one is easy to recognize.

Defining moments are those that impact you, change your direction, or reinforce it. They change your thinking. They wake you up to an Ah-hah moment, or they sit quietly in your subconscious – ready for the day you are prepared to recognize their impact and put their lesson to work in your life.

I asked Bob, as we were together in our sanctuary this morning, doing our Bible Study and devotionals, “What are the defining moments of your life?”

Right away, he said, “Our wedding day.”

See, I told you.. that one’s a given. Especially for folks like us who have stuck it out through thick and thin for 59 years!

Not All Are Positive

Not all of your defining moments are going to be the mountaintop experiences. Some are experienced in the valleys of our lives.

One of mine was when I had a burst appendix. I thought I was constipated and that’s why I ached so much. I tried laxatives. I tried a therapeutic massage. It just got worse. Finally the pain was so intense, I couldn’t sleep and I was crying out. Bob took me at midnight to the emergency room in the hospital just 5 minutes from home. They ran a bunch of tests, took x-rays, thought it was diverticulitis. Sent the x-rays to the larger hospital in Bozeman (an hour’s drive away). The doctors there looked at them and called to say, “Get that lady in here right now! She has a burst appendix.”

Why was this a “defining moment”? A dear lady (one of our medical center volunteers named Donna) road with me in the ambulance to Bozeman held my hand and prayed with me the whole way. She was an angel on earth! She helped me survive the painful ride to the hospital. Once there, the doctors told me I could have died. At my age (I was 79 or 80), many don’t survive such an ordeal.

I learned:

  • it’s probably not a good idea to ignore excruciating pain or self-medicate
  • it’s not wise to diagnose your own ailment
  • a prayer angel can make all the difference between life/death and comfort/agony

Some Defining Moments are Very Positive

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

A mountaintop defining moment for me occurred when I was only 16 years old. It was the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. I was attending a summer “Music Therapy Clinic” at the College of the Pacific. One of our participants was a little boy named Jeremy. He about 4 years old and had never spoken. He had a voice. He could scream when he was upset. He could moan. He could whimper. But he had not spoken any words.

My music therapy counselor/teacher, Mrs. Harbert, was playing the piano. We all were sitting on the floor in a circle. Each of us had a child in our lap. Mine was Jeremy. Mrs. Harbert was playing a non-sensical, very rhythmic song. Its only word was “Hospodipomilwi.”

Hoss-poe-dee-poe-meal-wee

Hos-po-de-po-mil-we

Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi

I bounced Jeremy on my lap and sang quietly in his ear.

All of a sudden, Jeremy began to sing!! “Hospodipomilwi”

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

A year or so later, I saw Jeremy and his mom when I was shopping near the college. She said, “I can’t believe I used to pray for him to speak. Now I can’t get him to stop talking!”

I learned:

  • There is no greater thrill than to help a needy child
  • Music is magical
  • I wanted a career where I could work with children and music

God’s Divine Interruptions Change Us

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We were living in California. Bob was still working as a beekeeper. I was retired. He wasn’t sure he was ready to retire yet, but we talked about it. We didn’t know where we wanted to live after his retirement, but we were pretty sure we didn’t want to stay in California. The state was growing in population faster than the the infra-structure could handle the numbers.

Then he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Life changed. We changed.

I won’t take you through the whole three year process, just suffice to say, it was a defining moment! His cancer caused us to reevaluate where we were, who we were, and where we wanted to be.

It is the reason we now live in this place we call God’s Country, Ennis Montana.

The Road of Life is Filled with Defining Moments

The road of life is filled with highs, lows,
mountaintops and valleys,
potholes and gravel.

When life knocks you down,
when you are going along
minding your own business
and the heavens open up,
or the bridge collapses
and you fall into a crevice,
remember Ezekiel.

He fell on his face.
He called out to God.
He waited for God to direct him.

Let God’s still small voice direct you.
Like my Donna,
watch for the angels all around you.

Let His strength illuminate your path.
Like Josh Williams, see God in others
and let their strength encourage you.


Let the defining moments speak to you.
Like Jeremy, find your voice
and sing!
Hos-po-di-po-mil-wi

Embrace Defining Moments



What are YOUR defining moments?

Embrace Reliance


In a world of self-reliance,
Where “I can do it” is king,
Being reliant on others
Is construed as a “weakness thing.”

But, as Christians we are taught
To rely not on our own strength.
“Lean not on your own understanding.”
God is within a prayer’s length.

In today’s prayerful message,
Our wonderful pastor, Mary Grace,
Talked about God’s will and love,
And seeking our Lord, face-to-face.


“God of forgiveness, hear our confession to you.
You have called us to excellence in compassion
and we fall short of your confidence in us.
You grant us grace and we abuse your gift.
You expect us to align our hearts with your will
and that our love will be genuine.
But we trust our own desires
rather than rely on your goodness.
We look after our own comfort
instead of our neighbor’s needs.
In Christ, have mercy on us
and forgive us our sins.
Amen”

As you know (if you’ve followed my blog for a couple of weeks or more), I take copious notes as I listen to the sermon through my fingertips each Sunday. Sometimes I translate what I am hearing into poetry. Today’s doesn’t rhyme. It’s free verse. But it poured out as I tried to capture the main ideas. First, look at the scripture on which the sermon was based.

Mark 5:21-43.

Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake. 22 Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23 He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” 24 So Jesus went with him.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

35 While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

36 Overhearing[a] what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” 40 But they laughed at him.

After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The sermon title was
“Fools for Hoping”

“Secondhand Lions” was a movie with Caine and Duvall.
The fictional characters were replicas of my grandfather and uncle!
The film is wonderful and whimsical (don’t believe the critics).
Believe what you want to believe… and here are some essentials:
“What every boy needs to know” – a speech worth hearing…

  • People are basically good
  • Money and power mean nothing
  • True love never dies
  • Integrity means everything
  • Love, truth, and integrity are essential

True or not, those are worth believing!

We don’t see much love in the news these days.
The news is full of the ways we are really awful to one another.
Recent news revealed 751 unmarked graves of indigenous children
found this week in Canada. Children taken from their families
and forced to attend the former Marieval Indian Residential School.

Survivors, community honour 751 unmarked graves at Sask. residential school site with vigil

Seven-hundred and fifty-one lights
spanned the entirety of the unmarked graves
discovered on Cowessess First Nation
in southeast Saskatchewan
where a large group of people,
many wearing orange clothes,
gathered on Saturday night
in honour of the remains.

An elder in the community
who spoke at the vigil
likened the finding
of 751 unmarked graves 
to a scab that had been
“slowly healing”
being ripped off.

Not one of us is wholly good, so the natural inclination
When confronted with our sinful nature is despair.
Confession and repentance are the next steps, but
Where do we go after confession?

We need to define our beliefs and act on hope…
Even when it seems foolish to do so.
Be ready to be made fools for your integrity.
Stand up for what is right… stand up for Truth!

The woman in Mark 5 took the show!
Jesus asked, “Who touched me?”
The disciples laughed, “Everyone’s touching you!”
Jairus was impatient, “My daughter needs you!”

He wondered why Jesus was taking precious time
To deal with a woman with a 12 year infirmity.
Let’s assume the woman just happened to be
Outside the crowd that day and heard of Jesus.

She heard Jairus – with hopefulness in his voice –
Asking Jesus to help his dying daughter.
His hope inspired her hope as well.
Two lives were saved that day.

Our speech, our attitudes, and our actions
Can have a positive affect on others.
We need to consciously lean on God
With hope and trust and mindfulness.

Jairus could have listened to his tears,
But he stepped up and listened to hope.
His act of believing in the power of Christ to heal
Allowed other to respond in hope, too.

“Your faith has made you whole,” Jesus told
The woman whose hemorrhaging stopped.
The only way out is reaching out in the hope
That God’s love will make life better.

I’ll stay a fool for hope!



EMBRACE RELIANCE

Rely on God

I’ll stay a fool for God.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

Thanks for sharing a part of your Sunday with me.
I hope you have a wonderful week.



See you tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Pastor Mary Grace Reynolds
and Jan

Embrace Tenacity


When I searched to see if I have used this theme of tenacity already this year, I found a link to “Tenacity Defined” written a couple of years ago … before I started the current “Embrace” series. So, I decided it was OK to use the theme again because I have whole different take on it now.

https://janbeek.blog/2019/11/18/tenacity-defined/

So much has happened in these last three years since that 2018 post. Among the defining “happenings” is COVID-19. Impacting my view of life has been the way in which the pandemic exposed some of our worst tendencies. The issue of racism raised its ugly head. (I guess it never really was hidden)… but … In spite of the tenacity of people who to this day follow the non-violent teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., there has been an increase in violent crime – and especially racially motivated hatred.

I saw images of people of Asian descent being knocked to the ground, innocent little Chinese ladies being beaten, and people standing by observing these horrendous acts – and doing nothing to stop them.

Where does tenacity fit in to this line of thinking?

Jeremy Liew from Riverside, Connecticut wrote in Time Magazine this week, “The last year made me comfortable with being uncomfortable.” In his article titled, Newfound Empathy, he explains his discomfort, ending with, “I am still uncomfortable, but now I am confident. I appreciate who I am. I am grateful for what I have – my education and health, and my three annoying sisters.”

Jeremy’s tenacious attitude, at the tender young age of 13, does not come magically. He must have some role models out there who are helping him appreciate his uniqueness, and value his attributes.

The song’s theme of “Never Give Up” reminds me that change comes slowly, but it comes. Like MLK,Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech, we need to adopt that attitude of hope. Tenaciously hang on to HOPE. And then we need to live it! We need to be able to say, along with Jeremy Liew, “I am confident.”

Mom’s cardboard of poems

In 1936, when she was a bride, transplanted from Washington to central California, my mom had a habit of cutting favorite poems out of the newspaper and taping them to a piece of cardboard. She hung that cardboard inside her kitchen cabinet.

It is now hanging inside my kitchen cabinet here in Montana. I treasure it… and I hold tenaciously to the lessons those various poems teach me. What a legacy, huh? The poem above was brought to mind today by Ann Koplow’s wonderful blog. She titled her post:

Tell me something good

Ann KoplowThe Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Mom’s poem (poet unknown) ends with this stanza:

“Wouldn’t life be lots more happy,
If we praised the good we see?
For there’s such a lot of goodness
In the worst of you and me.”

It takes TENACITY to look for and find the good in others. But it is so worth it!! I have a plaque in my dining room that reminds me of this fact. Here it is:

In that Time Magazine article, Jeremy Liew went on to explain, “I was uncomfortable being singled out for how I look (I am an Asian American Pacific Islander). A year ago, people looked at me as f I had COVID-19 or brought it to my community…”

Since when do we traumatize people because of the way they look? Since when do we marginalize them and make them feel inferior?

You say, “Since time immortal”??

Well, I say, “Well, It is time to make a change!”

As the song at the top of this blog says, “I will take a chance to be who I’m meant to be. I won’t let fear keep me from trying. It’s time for me to make a change. Start living the life I want. I’m gonna reach for the sky way up high. I’m never giving up. It’s up to me to see who I can be. Make change reality. I’m never giving up.”

Not only do I need to live the life I want and be who God made me to be, but I need to spread that message to others. Find the gold in them. Encourage them to be all that God made them to be, too.

One of my favorite bloggers is Cristian Mihai “The Art of Blogging” … If you go to his About page and read his explanation of who he is, you will see that it ends with these 4 lines:

Sometimes I think I am who I am because someone has to be.

I believe it’s always strangers who ask the most difficult question.

‘Who are you?

I just wrote 1,500 words and I’m still not sure you know who I am.

https://cristianmihai.net/2020/11/23/who-the-fk-is-cristian-mihai/

https://cristianmihai.net/2021/06/24/a-simple-framework-for-using-your-inner-critic-to-your-advantage/

That last link is one of Cristian’s blogs that I think is so powerful that I told him he needs to bookmark it and read it when he is 80, because he writes about the trials of being a 20-something-year-old. He writes it now as a 31-year-old who has wisened beyond his years. He looks at life through very unique lenses. He is tenacious about passing along to others “The Art of Blogging” with the hope of improving us all.

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

The road to our best self is a long and arduous one. No one ever said it was gonna be easy. After all, we’re only human! But in our humanity is a divine core. We were made in God’s image. We are His Beloved. So, when I talk about finding the gold, that’s the core I am talking about.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Do you have something you are needing to do? Something you might feel ill equipped to accomplish? Or maybe, just not as strong as you thought you might be… and needing to take it one baby step at a time? Well, that’s where tenacity comes in. Start slowly… work yourself up to the full extent of your power … the power of the Holy Spirit in you.

Photo by Nina Uhlu00edkovu00e1 on Pexels.com

Mom used to tell me, “Everything worth having is worth working for!”

I believe it.
And that includes things like
love,
equality,
unity,
strength,
freedom,
peace,
clarity,
and
direction.


One thought at a time.
One step at a time.
One act at a time.

Embrace Tenacity!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Montana Vistas


Here is the Madison Valley and Range
as seen from the Gravelly Range

We went on an adventure today into the Gravelly Range
with our friend, Julie, and her dog, Zeke.
Come enjoy the Montana Vistas with us!

The Gravelly Range is just south-west of Ennis. We were looking for wildflowers. This is the time of year when they usually are prolific. However, it has been a relatively dry spring and summer so far, so the flowers were not as colorful or plentiful as usual.

This field of flowers is irrigated –
so they’re not the “wildflowers”
we were looking for.
See that line up the mountain?
That’s where we are headed.
We drove the pick-up with trailer
to the base of our destination
and took the ATV up from there.
Julie & Zeke rode in the back.
TazE sat in my lap.
Bob’s the driver.
TazE enjoyed the views.
That mountain above TazE’s head
is called the Sphinx.

The clouds made the sky
so beautiful and interesting today,
but they also threatened rain.
Fortunately we had about an inch
or two of rain last night,
so it settled the dust.
And it held off until
we were headed back
home this afternoon.

Zeke was quite interested in the beauty
of the Madison Valley vistas.
This is Caroline’s tree!
We always think of her when we see it.
Caroline loves tree skeletons!
As we climbed, the clouds moved
out from the Madison Range
and began to cover the valley.

This is a purple sticky wild geranium. Julie has an app on her iPhone that allows her to take a picture of a flower and then have the phone tell her the name of that flower. What a cool app! “Picture This” is the name I think. I need to check it out.

I can’t remember the name of this hairy wildflower.
Isn’t it interesting?

We reached a place where the road was closed
and we could go no further.
So, we stopped and rested a while
and let TazE and Zeke run around.

Julie took our photo,
and while we were distracted,
Zeke went out exploring.
Zeke found some wet, runny cow poop
and thought it was great fun to roll in it!

Like I said, there were more cows than wild flowers,
so of course, there were plenty of places
for an inquisitive pup to explore!!

Julie was intrigued by some of the leaves.
I walked beyond the closed gate and
took this photo of the US Forest Service sign
and the field of wildflowers beyond it.
They were more brilliant than this photo shows.

Heading back down the mountain, the cows bellowed at us!
They were not happy that we were disturbing their peace.

TazE continued to enjoy the views with us.
The sprinkler systems keep the fields green
in spite of our near drought conditions.

The storm clouds threatened … and we got a few raindrops on our way back to the pickup.

See the squall on the other side of the valley?
You can see that it is raining there.

Ah, home – with great memories of beautiful Montana Vistas!

And a beautiful sunset ended our day…

I hope you had a beautiful day, too.
Embrace Montana Vistas.
Come visit us!

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Multiplying


Daily Guideposts 2021 devotional today inspired this blog topic. After I chose “Multiplying” as my EMBRACE theme today, every place I looked, I saw evidence of answers to my question, “But what needs to be multiplied?”

When you hear/read the word “multiplying” what comes to mind? I asked Bob that question this morning after my devotional time while we were chatting at the breakfast table.

“Increasing comes to mind. Numbers come to mind,” he answered.

What comes to your mind?

In her blog this morning, Marva Seaton wrote about multiplying. She didn’t use the word, but the concept definitely was there.



It’s the love that is multiplied!

You can read the rest of Marva’s blog by clicking here: marvaseatonMake a Difference In The World

The first devotional that inspired this theme was in Daily Guideposts. The scripture passage was:

John 15:12 (MSG)

Love one another the way I loved you.

The prayer at the bottom of the page for today, June 24th read:

“All loving God,
we thank You
for those You’ve graced us with,
who offer
encouragement,
inspiration,
and hope.

Amen”

Embrace the people
who share that encouragement
with you.

In my mind,
that’s what needs to be multiplied:
faith
(in God and the Holy Spirit in you),
self-confidence,
strength,
hope,
and
love.

You have to believe in yourself.

Multiply your self-confidence.

Multiply your prayers.
Multiply your requests to God.

He is there to listen,
to respond,
and to make you great!

You can live your dreams…

What you need is all in you!

You can multiply your power
if you understand
God’s power is in you!

Starting last week,
her first week on the job,
our new pastor,
Mary Grace Reynolds,
sent out a “Weekly Word.”
It will be e-mailed to us every Thursday.

In it, she gives the congregation
glimpses into what the week will hold.
She shares announcements
and then she shares a scripture
and her “take-away” from that passage.

Today’s “Weekly Word” message fit right in to
the “Multiplying” theme:

Yes,
Embrace Multiplying!

Multiply your faith.
Reach out and touch. Share.
Believe in the power. Take courage!
Multiply the love, the affection, the healing, the embracing.

My hugs are included in this post to you.
Have a beautiful day!

See ya tomorrow (God willing).
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Clarity


Photo by Dominika Roseclay on Pexels.com

Embrace clarity
Leave the fuzzy world behind
Sharpen your vision


Twenty-twenty was
Supposed to bring clarity
20//20 sight

Instead it brought blur
A virus, a pandemic
It’s not over yet

But we are not stuck
In a myopian world
Bring on clarity

Leave myopia
Move to joy and clarity
Clear up tomorrow

See yourself clearly
Find the lion inside you
Share it with your friends

Terry, Jan & Mary Grace
Still a little fuzzy!

Define your purpose
Clearly share joy with others
Spread love, peace, and faith

Jim & Bob

Open your eyes wide
To new possibilities
Shove grumbles aside

Twenty-twentyone
Has seen many improvements
Keep the ball rolling

Brilliant clarity
Can be ours if we only
See ourselves clearly

2 Corinthians 9:8

“God is able to bless you abundantly
so that in all things at all times,
having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work.”

Just kidding!!

Real clarity
Is coming for sure this year
Let’s all embrace it!

Peace, My Friends
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Beauty


Vistas
Broad, expansive
Ridge to Valley
Valley, Mountains, Big Sky
Beauty

Poetry
Embrace Elfchen
It’s eleven words
Set in number pattern
Fun!

View from Pintail Ridge at Ducsay’s

Montana
Mountain Majesty
Expansive blue sky
Delightful precious generous friends
Home

Our neighbors’ new flagpole
A great addition to the “Hood”

Neighbors
Beautiful “Hood”
Always making improvements
Delightful to have around
Friends

Look carefully!
That’s the Hockings’ flagpole
from a different angle

Changes
Always beautiful
As evening came,
The shadows grew longer
Moon

Sundown
Pink reflection
in the north-east
Cool, crisp, refreshing air
Beautiful

Mmmm… steak and wine!

Invitation
To dinner
On Father’s Day
Couldn’t have been better
Delicious



Visitors
From Alaska
Friends from Pakistan
Young man I tutored
Gratitude

Gifts
Beautiful Friends
Staying in Touch
Long after they move
Blessings

Meantime
Back Home
Father’s Day roses
Showing evidence of love
Forever

Father’s Day Roses

Flowers
God’s Beauty
In full bloom
They always are appreciated
Roses

Elfchen is a form of poetry
Sometimes called Elevensies
Because it consists of 11 words
In this configuration:
1+2+3+4+1 = 11
(You probably figured that out by now.)

Write an elfchen for me in the comments below, will you?
Be sure and use the word BEAUTY in your poem!!

Home
Embrace Beauty
Come visit us
We’d love seeing you
Welcoming

Music
Tells stories
Ed Sheeran sings
In a musical video
Beautiful

Define
What’s beauty?
I’m not beautiful…
Beauty’s as Beauty does
Hugs

Charm is deceptive,
and beauty is fleeting;
but a wo(man) who fears the Lord is to be praised. …
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor Him, for He is your lord.

~ Psalms 45:11.

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace the Clarinet


I used to play the clarinet.
I was once upon a time pretty good at it.
I was first chair in the University of Pacific Band and Orchestra.
But now my arthritic fingers won’t cover the holes.
I can’t get a B natural out of it for love nor money!

Unlike the saxophone, the clarinet keys require finger covers.
When I had to put my instrument in the closet and say
Good-bye to my clarinet playing days. I was sad.
But I have an enormous appreciation for good clarinetists.
They don’t come much better than Artie Shaw!
Do go up there and click to listen to his rendition
of “My Heart Stood Still” And sing along!

MY HEART STOOD STILL

Songwriters: Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart

I took one look at you
That’s all I meant to do
And then my heart stood still
My feet could step and walk
My lips could move and talk
And yet my heart stood still
Though not a single word was spoken
I could tell you knew
That unfelt clasp of hands
Told me so well you knew
I never lived at all
Until the thrill of that moment
When my heart stood still
I took one look at you
That’s all I meant to do
And then my heart stopped right there
My feet could step and walk
My lips could move and talk
And yet my heart stood still
Though not a single word was spoken
I could tell you knew
That unfelt claps of hands
Told me so well you knew
I never lived at all
Until the thrill of that moment
When my heart stood still

Artie Shaw

Sally and I were in the Turlock Junior Band
as well as the Turlock High School Band.
Many years of fond musical memories!

Did you play an instrument when you were in school?
Do you play it still?

Embrace the Clarinet!
It’s a great instrument!!

What did you do today?
I hope you had a great Monday.

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Love,
JanBeek

P.S.
Here is a solo I was once able to play
when I was at UOP
and practicing my clarinet
several hours every day.

I admire musicians who are able
to keep their skills alive their whole lives long.
Any skill requires practice to maintain mastery.

What skills do you practice to keep them alive?
MIne are cooking and writing.
I can do those even though my fingers are gnarled!

Embrace the Light


Today was a very important, memorable day at our church.
It was Father’s Day, yes…
and we honored our fathers and our Father in Heaven.
But the real LIGHT of the day
was the opportunity to be in church
on this special Sunday when
Mary Grace Reynolds,
was presenting her first sermon as
our official new pastor.
MGR is fresh out of seminary,
but she conducted the service
as if she had ten years of experience!
We are so blessed to have her
at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
here in Ennis, MT.
If you ever are in our area on a Sunday,
you MUST come and experience
the Holy Spirit alive and well in this little community!!

Her sermon title was, “There’s a Light On.”

If you have followed my blog for a week or more, you know that most Sundays as I listen to the sermon, I take notes – and most of the time I take them in some form of poetry. Today was no exception. Here is what I heard through my JanBeek filter:

I feel the Holy Spirit
Perched on my shoulder.
How we understand where we’ve been
Matters a lot as we grow older.

Even though this is a new beginning,
We sit on the blessings and woes of the past.
We incorporate these into who we are
As we step into the future – at last.

Genesis One spoke to me this week.
Looking at effortless, timeless majesty,
We are reminded of God’s control
As the mountains loom with no hesitancy.

God holds all the cards; we don’t!
The utility of history – truth and facts –
Reminds us to adapt historical records
As we articulate how God in creation acts.

God’s power was articulated in Genesis
By stories and memories told with persistence.
The Israelites were reminded of their God
Who breathed the world into existence.

The creation story reminded them of hope –
The hope and identity they have in God.
Our stories tell who and where we’ve been.
They reveal our cracks, our cobwebs, our sin.

We can look back at the God
Who turned the light on within us,
And we notice God’s sovereignty –
Grateful for how His Son freed sin from us.

The Israelites remember the pain
They had in exile for so many years.
We too remember the pain and grief
Of life – and thank God for drying our tears.

As we move as a church body
Into newness, remember the past.
Recall how He kept the light on –
And move joyfully into the future – at last.

God is in this place with us
Sure as the sun continues to rise.
We’re challenged to move forward now
Knowing we’re guided by the Light of God’s eyes.

There’s a Light On!
Embrace the Light!
Amen.

Toward the end of the service,
Mary Grace presented a beautiful Pastoral Prayer.
I took notes as I prayed this prayer with her:

Holy God, be with us.
Most High God, comfort and heal the afflicted.
Lord, grant Your presence.
Bring them out of their suffering.
Lord, we know You can – and You do.
Almighty God, whom we sometimes call Father,
pour out Your spirit on all fathers
who are working today
to provide food for their families,
and to keep them sheltered.
Eternal God, whom we still call Father,
You are so much more than earthly fathers.
Make whole what has been broken.
Most Loving God,
we give thanks for all those we call
father.
Thanks for all those
who sacrifice for their children.
God, whom we call Father,
we stand in praise and awe of Your Power.
Remind us
You are in the boat
and
You have the Light on!
Amen

Photo by William Mattey on Pexels.com

Hear our prayer, O Lord.
Hear our prayer, O Lord.
Incline Thine ear to us,
And grant us Thy peace.

Amen

Have a beautiful, blessed Sunday, my friends,
And a very Happy Father’s Day.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Fellowship


Embrace Fellowship
Cherish being together
Time is so fleeting

Enjoy sharing time
So much, you forget photos!
Just be in the now.

.

Today our Presbyterian Women
met at a gorgeous home
right on the Madison River.

Those pictures above were taken
several years back at our
two annual fundraisers.

Today I intended to take some pictures
to post here for you to see
how much we enjoy our fellowship.
But, I was having so much fun,
I forgot to capture the event
with my iPhone!

Instead, it is stored up in my memory bank.
There were eleven of us.
We had Bible Study,
then dessert,
and then our business meeting.

We planned future events –
among them our volunteer schedule
at the local Blood Draw next week –
and our participation at the
Ennis Art Festival
(it was cancelled last year due to COVID).

Not being able to hold those functions
helped us realize just how much
fellowship means to our mental health.
We really missed the connections!

I’ll bet you had the same reaction.
Being isolated, socially distancing,
wearing masks, cancelling events…
all took their toll on us!
How good to be back together again!!

Dining at Sidewinders in Bozeman

Now we are able to go out to restaurants again.
We socially distance, but we don’t have to wear masks.
It is so good to feel safe in the company of others!

I ordered my favorite item on the Sidewinders menu:
Reuben sandwich with sweet potato fries.
MmmMmmmMmmmm!!

This afternoon, after our PW meeting,
our new pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds,
came for dinner and a fly casting lesson.
Bob took her to the back yard and she practiced.
Mary Grace is going to love going out on the Madison River.
The guys are all lined up ready to take turns…

I took this slo-motion video so she can critique her technique.
She’s a fast learner!

It was such a beautiful evening here.
We thoroughly enjoyed our fellowship with
Mary Grace. The Pastor Nominating Committee
process was a long, arduous task that lasted
about a year and a half… but MGR was worth waiting for!

Today our daughter, De, sent us links to this event coming up in Switzerland. (You remember our DeDe lives in Vissoie, Valais Switzerland, right?) We’ve been to this fun event in the past. “The Cow Fights” are an annual event.
They are well attended. People go not just to see the excitement of the cows selecting their “Queen Cow” by the survival of the fittest, but for the fun of fellowship with as many friends as they can muster. They bet on the cow of their choice, drink their fill of Swiss wine and beer, and enjoy a picnic lunch high up in the beautiful Alps.

We won’t be there this weekend for the event, but we look forward to fellowship with our daughter and her family this October (God willing). We learned yesterday that she has a polyp on an ovary. It was detected during a routine annual physical. We are waiting for the biopsy report. Please pray with us that it is benign – and she can have it removed with no long-term adverse affects.

Looking out today at our neighbor’s house here in Montana,
I can’t help but thank God for this beautiful place we live.
I thank God for our “Hood” … gracious, loving, helpful neighbors.
The Hockings, across the field from us, installed a gorgeous
flag pole while we were on our trip to CA. What a great addition!
We look forward to future fellowship with them – soon!

Family time in Placerville

Meantime, here we are in this video – back in CA,
sitting around the table at our son’s house,
enjoying family fellowship, singing to our grandson-in-law,
Drew, who celebrated his birthday back in Montana.

Ah, Family Fellowship… there’s nothing like it!
I thank God each day for it.
With Father’s Day coming up
Sunday after this one,
I look at these fathers in my life,
and I thank God for their loving hearts.

I hope you have the gift of loving fathers in your
circle of fellowship, too.
Never take them for granted!
Not every child is so blessed!!

EMBRACE FELLOWSHIP

IT’S GIFT FROM GOD!

Happy Bob with his big catch!
Catch and Release!!
Fellowship with Fish!!

I pray all you dads out there can slow down this week,
enjoy life (it’s fleeting – passing waaay too fast), and
Embrace the Fellowship of family, friends and fish.

(And I pray Bob can take some time to go out fishing…
He’s been working waaay too hard this last few months.)

See you tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Family Time


Embrace family time
Our relatives are God’s gifts
Cherish time with them!

Bob & me with our son, Ty,
his wife, Monika, & son, Sam,
and her parents, Ruthie & Darrell,
and our grand-nephew, Liam

Lake Tahoe fun
A beautiful blue sky day
Comfortable breezes

Visiting Faithy
And her brand new big puppy
Was a real treat

Two legs on the stairs
The other two on the floor
Poppy knows comfort!

Cosette in the puppy pool

Our great-granddaughter
Figured out how to cool off
Showed pup what to do

Faith had great hors d’oruvres
Then they barbequed chicken
No one went hungry

The bear climbed a tree
To get away from people
Too full to climb far!

  1. A view of Lake Tahoe
  2. Jan & Bob at the lake
  3. Monika & Ty (the gracious hosts)
  4. Liam & Jodie (my niece & grand-nephew)
  5. Faith (my granddaughter)

When our son’s in-laws
Have time together with us,
Never lost for words!

Celebrate birthdays
Treasure the time together
Thank God for family

Cosette on horsey

Children grow up fast
Get together as often
As possibly can

Store up memories
Write – so you do not forget –
Take lots of pictures!

They came from southern California –
They came from Pennsylvania –
They came from Sacramento –
We came from Montana –
There were 16 of us for dinner!
When it’s shared family time,
the more the merrier.
Thank God for gracious family
who share their homes,
their beds, their food, their car…
… and best of all, their love.

Cousins – Liam & Sam

Next time we’re together,
it wouldn’t surprise me at all
if Liam is taller than Sam.
Like this sugar pine tree,
kids grow taller these days…
Must be all that family love!

I pray you have a loving family, too…
And you have many opportunities
To share family time together.

Cheers!
Have a great rest of your week.

I’ll see you tomorrow (God willing).

Love,
JanBeek

Embrace Loving Memories


In Loving memory
Of my dear, only sister
All of us gathered

Many remembered
The loving kindness of her
I wrote and read this poem:

Sisters are a real treasure –
A gift from Heaven with love.
Sally shared with me a relationship
Designed by God above.

When Sally and I were little,
Mom dressed me as her twin.
People thought we really were –
But she would say, “I’m the oldest –
so I win!”

I used to blame my sis for things
When I was the culprit – clearly!
“I no pick the flaws – maybe Sally d!”
Fist full of flowers, I’d point sincerely.

She never held it against me;
Her heart was too big for grudges!
Always first to shrug nd forgive,
She didn’t need a lot of nudges.

We both joined Turlock High Band;
Played clarinet – marched in every parade.
But she preferred being treasurer –
Being sure ny dues were paid.

When God gave out number sense,
I must have hid behind the door –
Or else I missed it because my sis
Had enough for the two of us -and more!

We never really competed with each other.
She did her own thing – for sure.
A more unique soul never existed –
Cut from a loving mold – honest and pure.

She’d give you the shirt off her back
If she thought you needed one –
And she never missed a potluck –
Or any other activity with games and fun.

Her closet was quite organized
From Valentine’s to New Year’s Day.
You never had to guess the holiday –
Her clothing was the display.

After God created Sally, though,
He threw away the mold.
No one earth could match
Her heart, her style – so quirky and bold!

Sally loved her family – of that we had no doubt.
She loved her church and her yippy pups.
She adored her Lodge sisters and her scouts.
She generously gave us oregano, bee stuff, and cups.

I smile when I look at her pictures.
They tell a story of a life filled with joy.
They help me recall my sister’s love –
And be grateful – She was the Real McCoy!

Here is Sally with my grandson, Jordan. The two of them shared a December 20th birthday.

I ended my remarks at Sally’s Memorial with this scripture:

1 Kings 3:12b
“…no one like you has been before you
and no one like you shall arrive after you.”

Rest in peace, Sis.
I’ll see ya later!

And my dear blogging friends, I’ll see YOU later, too.
Bob & I will head back to Montana via Delta Airlines tonight.
Your prayers for our safe travel and smooth connections will be greatly appreciated.


Go back to your past
Embrace cherished memories
Cherish family

Yesterday we celebrated family as we gathered at our son, Ty’s place in Placerville, CA.
It was Ty’s mother-in-law, Ruthie’s birthday (behind me on the left with hubby, Darrell).
We are so blessed to have such a close, loving family! That’s my niece, Jodie,
on the right with her hubby, Bill, and son, Liam. Monika’s in back right.
Ty & our grandson, Sam are front left.

We were gathered not only to celebrate Ruthie’s birthday,
but the day before we all gathered at the cemetery
to honor the life of my sister, Sally.

Here is Sally on the right with her best friend, Bonnie Dauley, at a River Cats game.
Bonnie & many of Sally’s friends from the Sacramento area
joined our family & friends in Turlock for the lovely memorial.
It had to be postponed last December due to COVID.

It was a lovely, blue sky day. Here I am reading my poem about my sis to the gathering.
Sally’s ashes joined those of her husband and eldest daughter
in this beautiful spot where my parents’ ashes also are.

Bob & I have a “drawer” right next to this one where my parents’ ashes are.
You may think this is morbid, but I find comfort knowing
this detail is taken care of.
Do you relate?

Ty introduced the various speakers who remembered the best qualities of my sis.
The remarks helped solidify for us all what a unique person Sally was.
She was very devoted to her Rebekah and Odd Fellows Lodges,
so those organizations were well represented in the service.

Sally’s daughter (my niece, Jodie) has a best friend, Melissa,
who came from Utah to celebrate and honor the memory of Sally DeAngeles Butters.
Melissa has been Jodie’s best friend since early high school days.
What a blessing best buddies are!

My best CA buddy, Marcie, invited us to stay at her place –
and had a mini-class of ’57 gathering the night before the service.
What a joy to see my old high school buddies!
I was so busy enjoying them, I didn’t take any pictures that night.
Amazing!

Here’s Marcie out on her patio.
And below there is Bob… enjoying the beautiful California sunshine.

After the service, Jodie & Bill invited everyone to lunch at El Jardin in Turlock.
It was great food, and a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to connect.

Marcie & Ty with Monika’s parents and Bob’s brothers & sisters-in-law.
Below are three of my cousins, Jan DeAngelis Jones, Maria DeAngelis, and Leni Assali.
I had not seen them in waaaay too long!
(behind Jan is Tim Allen, who enhanced the ambiance with his music)

Jodie, me & Melissa… so good to have time together!

For dessert, we remembered my sister’s love of holidays
with cupcakes decorated with all her favorite days.

Wasn’t that a clever idea?

Before returning here to Ty’s in Placerville,
we stopped by my cousin,
Adrian’s in Modesto,
for more visiting time.

Adrian DeAngelis

Leni Assali & Laura DeAngelis

God bless Jodie & Bill!
They worked so hard to make this a memorable occasion –
One that honored my sister’s memory
and will live in our memories
for as long as we live.

We wish our daughter, DeAna, and her hubby Andre’ could have been here –
but they are in Switzerland. Too far to come … and they are busy with their restaurant right now.
But the picture above is De & Andre’ with Ty & Monika two years ago.
You can see they enjoy one another’s company!
My hope is that someday Ty & Monika can go to Vissoie
to visit De & Andre’ and their gorgeous Swiss Auberge.

Sante’, my friends.
Thank you for visiting JanBeek today
and sharing this important family time with me vicariously.
Today is more chance to spend time here in CA with loved ones.
We will have two of my other grandchildren
plus my sweet great-granddaughter,
Cosette, joining us today.

I hope you have a blessed weekend.
What are you planning to do?

Cheers!
See ya tomorrow (God willing)!
Love, Jan

Embrace Going Home!


Today we went to Bob’s old homestead.

This property on Geer Road in Hughson, CA
(just north of Turlock) is where Bob grew up.
His mom & dad started the Beekman Honey business
when Bob was a kid.
His mom moved to this place
from Pasadena when she was a small child.

Now Bob’s brother, Bruce, and his wife, Ann, have the place.
They have made so many improvements,
including the change of the old “Rumpus Room”
into a Honey and Wine Tasting Room.

The old windmill still stands,
and the hollyhocks that Bob’s mom planted
are thriving.
The bees love them!
Ah yes, this smells and feels like home!!

The Ranch is home to about 9 cats with nine lives each!
They all came to greet us when we arrived!

Out in the field Bruce & Ann have planted lavender.
It is a popular commodity in the Honey Tasting Room
along with other items such as honey-scented soaps,
various honey samples, and bee related items.

That house below – beyond the lavender field –
is where our daughter, De, and her husband, Andre’,
lived when they were first married.
Ah, memories!

Back at Bruce & Ann’s home,
which is just a quarter of a mile
through the almond trees from the bee ranch,
their oak tree has grown so large,
it hides the house
as you approach it from the driveway.
And the almond trees in the driveway are laden with nuts!!

But, as you get closer, y