What Do You Choose?
How About YOU?
Let’s Just Keep on Loving One Another!
See ya tomorrow.
How About YOU?
Let’s Just Keep on Loving One Another!
See ya tomorrow.
I don’t know who took this photo
(I’ll let you know if I find out),
but isn’t it gorgeous?
That’s the Madison Range seen from our Madison Valley.
The prominent mountain is called “The Sphinx.”
From angles farther north, the two parts of it seem joined
and the front looks like the face of the Sphinx
(hence its name).
This view is about 20 miles south of our house.
We see it from this angle
when we go out four-wheeling on our ATV.
Anyway, I just wanted you to see it.
Too pretty not to share!
Have a great Sunday morning.
See ya after church.
Looking for Greater Meaning
I am always exploring ways to add more meaning to my daily life. Are you?
I want a greater understanding of:
Do we need to have reached some “state of enlightenment”
in order to decode the world around us?
In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
wrote the following,
“Some traditions do see such understanding as
a gift or ‘awakening,’ but we believe it is a skill
that can be developed.”
Seeing the Spirit Within
“Such understanding” is defined by the Brussats as the ability to decode the world around us by seeing the sacred in everyday life. They suggest that we look to see the working of the Holy Spirit in our common activities: cooking, eating, working, walking, listening, visiting, praying … Recognize the Spirit moving in our lives through encounters with places, things, people, nature, and animals. Know that the message of the Holy Spirit personifies the greatest commandment: Love One Another. Cultivate the ability, the skill, to tune into the Spirit within you.
Loving One Another unconditionally is made possible by our ability to see the divine in one another. When we value each other’s gifts, when we see every other human being as a Child of One Creator, then we are better able to respond to the Spirit within us.
In his foreword to Spiritual Literacy, Thomas Moore wrote, “It’s odd that after thousands of years of great spiritual example… we have to remind ourselves that spirituality is to be found in everyday life.”
Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy
The Brussats created an Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy with pointers on how certain practices can spell greater meaning in our daily lives.
I have an affection for using the alphabet as a stimulus for positive thoughts. I wrote an A-Z series last year on the subject, “What Makes Me Happy?” It was the start of my 180 consecutive days of blogging here at JanBeek.
So, I am naturally attracted to the Brussat’s Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. I intend to use it as a new A-Z series here on JanBeek. In so doing, I hope to encourage you, my readers, to cultivate a spiritual vision while keeping an eye on the secular world. I hope to learn with you how we can unite our world views with our spiritual views. Wake up our Spiritual Literacy!
Restore Lost Bonds
I don’t want to live in La-La Land. I don’t want to experience a broad, impenetrable chasm between my social and my spiritual life. Thomas Moore explained that the Brussat’s purpose in writing Spiritual Literacy was to “restore lost bonds between spirit and matter, body and mind, church and home, work and prayer.”
I want my secular and spiritual lives to be in alignment. Do you?
Let’s explore together ways to add more meaning to our daily lives, ways to decode the world around us, ways to live more intentionally to fulfill our purpose. Okay? Are you with me?
Let’s begin with A.
A = Attention
I received this notice today:
Seven is my magic number!
It’s God’s number for “completeness.” On the 7th day he rested.
Seven is our house number.
Seven is the number of grandchildren I have.
Seven is my birthday month.
Our phone number ends in a 77.
So does our PO Box number.
Our current house is the 7th dwelling
my husband and I have shared in our 57 years of marriage!
But, my friends, 7 is not my number for completeness. It’s the number that causes me to look in amazement at all this synchronicity – and realize, “This is good!”
But, I am nowhere near complete – and neither is this JanBeek blog! This is good – and it’s fun, but it’s not great yet!
I’m a work in progress, ending my 7th decade on earth … and ready to enter new challenges, new learning, new sharing. Growing in knowledge and grace. Striving to blog with intention and purpose – to make a positive difference for my faithfilled blogging friends.
I look forward to making new friends and keeping in touch with those who’ve hung in there with me. Thank you for reading and commenting on my blog. Please try to check in with me daily and see what’s new – and leave me some encouragement, too!
I will continue to share what I am passionate about as I enter this 8th year of blogging.
As I approach my 8th decade on this earth, I share the love, joy and peace that are mine through faith. I express my gratitude. I seek help with expressions of patience, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I share ways life is a blessing and ways I have learned to manage the challenges life tosses at us. I write about things I care about (like today’s fire at Notre Dame). Sometimes I write just to entertain. Every now and then I just wanna make you laugh (like Jesus is Walkin’ on Water Again).
I hope my sharing helps and inspires and encourages my followers.
I’m hangin’ in there, and I hope you do, too!
Send seven of your friends this way., will you?
Let’s grow together!
What Makes You Happy?
I was headed yesterday to visit a friend who lives about an hour away. Stuck in traffic, waiting for a very long, very slow train to pass, I was getting more and more grumbly. I was late for lunch! I decided drumming my fingers on the steering wheel and complaining was doing no good. I should change my mindset – think about what makes me happy instead.
So, I started this mental activity of alphabetically coming up with a list of things that make me happy. I texted a few to my friend (along with an apology and explanation for why I was late) and finished the list just about the time the looooong train finally finished crossing the intersection:
What Makes Me Happy?
So, try it! Next time you’re stuck in traffic, instead of grumbling and strumming, think about what makes you happy. You’ll pass the time with a smile instead of a frown, and the train will fly by!
Mother Theresa said, “Peace begins with a smile.”
I believe it.
Shortly after we
Moved to Montana,
I joined the
Smiles helped me
Get to know
One another better.
Here is a poem
I wrote back then.
It’s still pertinent
(maybe even more so)
“If you see someone without a smile,” the old saying goes,
“Give ’em one of yours.” It’ll chase away their woes.
It won’t hurt you a bit and it don’t take no time.
Might even be returned, and won’t cost you a dime.
If you see someone without a smile, maybe they just need
The kind of cheer you got – to bring ’em up to speed.
You might throw in a handshake, or a “Howdy, how ya be?”
Might be their first friendly touch in a day or two or three.
Might be they’d like to tell you how they truly are,
‘Cuz usually when folks ask that, they don’t really car.
So, add some hospitality to the smile you send their way,
And shucks, you never know, ya might just make their day!
Oh, and by the way,
That’s my DollyWolly,
Ain’t it great?
“Peace begins with a smile.”
How ya feelin’ today?
Have ya found yer smile,
Or did the blues get in the way?
What’s your mood today?
Have ya found yer happy,
Or did some news get in the way?
How’s yer heart today?
Do ya feel the love in there,
Or did some muse get in the way?
I read yer post today.
It set me here to thinkin’
‘Bout what you had to say.
When life gits pure insane,
Come visit me at JanBeek
And I’ll help your spirit gain
. That smile you lost,
. A renewed sense of happy, and
. Hearts for Loving One Another
Drop by anytime.
Hey, Bloggers –
I got love to spare!
Come share ❤️💕♥️
Jesus is Walkin’ on the Water Again!
I saw the fish ajumpin’ –
Areachin’ for my fly.
I saw the trout acomin’ –
Then turn; I don’t know why.
Then Jesus walked beside me –
Come right up to my boat
And skeered them fish to leavin’.
He sure done git me goat!
I’ll try another bugger,
And when I set me hook,
I’ll check to make sure Jesus
Ain’t there. Take a good look!
Cuz sure as them’s raisin’ –
Ya, sure as there is play,
I thought I seen my Jesus
Walkin’ the river today!
It weren’t no sacred Sunday.
I ain’t done nothin’ wrong.
But maybe He’s attracted
To the river’s bubblin’ song.
I sure as heck cain’t blame Him.
That river calls me, too.
I don’t suppose that river song
Has ever attracted you.
Ya ain’t the only one!!
Ya got a fish story to tell!??
May your National Day of Prayer
be a day when your heart strings
are connected to God’s heartstrings
And may your prayers be answered
with all the love God, in grace and mercy, can muster.
About a year ago I stopped writing in WordPress. My email account associated with it was full and overflowing. The task of keeping up overwhelmed me. Something had to give. So, I just stopped blogging. It’s been a good reprieve.
Then, about a month ago I flew home to Montana from a family reunion in California and brought a cold virus with me. It turned into pneumonia and threw me for a nose dive! I was so zonked by it that whole days went by in my pajamas, too drained to get out of bed or off the couch! I had way too much time to think. My husband got the bug from me. The only difference between my pneumonia and his “walking pneumonia ” was that he was too stubborn to lie down! As soon as he felt better, he went skiing. Relapse! He spent a couple days in his pj’s, too. Then when he felt better, he went skiing again. After the second relapse, he gave himself a week before he was on a ladder, painting the eaves. I gave myself the full month … in fact it’s been five weeks. Finally, I am better. I feel like I am going to survive! God bless the friends who brought food, called, prayed, visited, shopped for me, found good books to keep me entertained and still, and sent cards of encouragement! I am so grateful.
During this time of forced rest, I had time to think. Time to evaluate my life. Time to reprioritize. Time to read one of my favorite WordPress bloggers, Janet Riehl, order and savor her newest book, Sightlines, and time to be inspired by her insights and talents enough to sign up for an eight-week Writers’ Workshop. I’m back! I’m committed to starting a writing project and finishing it. I’m ready to rejoin the world of the living and make my voice heard.
My confession, admission, and plea to God today is this:
None of us lives to just self alone;
Each of us lives for the other.
Whatever we do, be it rosy or blue,
Reflects on our sister and brother.
None of us sits on the judgment seat.
We’re not assigned to decide
If someone’s dull or bright, wrong or right,
Sending them to a corner to hide.
None of us lives a faultless life,
Though we try our utmost to seek
The humble hill to fulfill Your will
In our deeds and the words we speak.
We stumble and fall and fail to be
Examples of the upright and strong.
Try as we may, we know that someday
We’ll have to account for each wrong.
We’ll each have to stand before Your judgment seat
And review how we’ve spent every minute.
So, Lord, help us give every day that we live
All the love and the grace You put in it.
Help us to generously welcome all
To be part of whatever we do.
None of us lives to ourselves alone;
We always reflect on You.
Every first and third Friday our Madison County Writers’ Group meets in Ennis, Montana. We may have just two participants, or we could have eight or ten. Last February during our third Friday meeting, there were just two of us. I recently came across my notes from that meeting.
We begin our meeting each time with a prompt we draw from a bag. Anyone can add prompts to the bag at any time. On this particular Friday, Steve drew the prompt, “Writer’s Block.” We had ten or fifteen minutes to write on that prompt and then share with one another what we had written.
I decided to write a Haiku. It ended up as a 5 stanza poem… each stanza a syllabic count of 5-7-5 syllables. What would you have written with the prompt “Writer’s Block”?
Let me share mine with you.
Writer’s Block can trap
You and me in wordless haze
Floating in nothing
Nothingness can hold
You and me in dilemma
Pen in hand stands still
Stillness can reveal
Treasures in the quietness
You just can’t force it
Forcefulness is great
If you adamantly feel
Thoughts begin to swirl
Swirling thoughts spin out
With contemplation and ease
The Block disappears
We had so much fun sharing our ideas on Writer’s Block that we decided to draw another prompt. This one was “Words.” We gave ourselves another ten minutes.
This time since I was on a roll with the Haiku rhythm, I wrote a 3 stanza poem. Sharing it later with my husband, Bob, he asked, “What determines if your Haiku is going to be one stanza or 3 or 5?”
“You write what you have to say,” I told him. “When you have said it, you stop. The thoughts dictate the length.”
Here’s what I wrote to the prompt, WORDS:
When words just fail me,
I sit back and dream awhile.
Dreams don’t have to speak.
When dreams are wordless,
My imagination spins –
Let pictures emerge.
Print them on your mind and soul.
These kinds of dreams come to us as writers, but they come to painters and potters and musicians as well. It’s a capacity of the human brain that needs to be cultivated.
A productive life is one that can get beyond writers block, can use words to express inner feelings, and can listen with heart to the unspoken words of those around them.
I hope you are a proponent of the kind of arts education that promotes such critical thinking. Let your curious mind fly free.
Be a wise consumer of words and thoughts and dreams! Do you have a Writers’ Group? If so, tell me about it. If not, think about forming one. It’s such fun to share your creative thoughts with others face to face, not just on WordPress.
Everything I ever needed to know
I learned in kindergarten!
Never stop holding hands!
Holding hands is underrated
It’s akin to holding hearts
When you stop holding hands
That’s when the trouble starts
Dancing with your loved one
In the kitchen or bedroom
Keeps your relationship fresh
As when you were bride and groom
Expressing how I love you
In words both clear and sweet
Helps our love stay fresh as
The day you swept me off my feet
You know, I never ever want to
Take our love, Honey, for granted.
Hand-holding, dancing, expressing –
Grows our love right where we’re planted.
No need to buy me flowers
Although a rose or two don’t hurt
Just hold my hand, kiss me, and
Remember how I love it when you flirt!
I wish you love
Who can sleep tonight
With the moon shining so bright?
Go beller at it!
See ya later
Yesterday Bob & I took our ATV, our dog, our lunches, and our stamina on a ride with friends up to the top of Mt Baldy in the Tobacco Root Mountains. From my sanctuary window, I can see the snow-topped mountain off to the north-west of us.
Hard for you to see, with the sunlight reflections on the glass, but it’s out there through the angels in the distance… the tallest of the snow capped mountains.
What does all that have to do with thoughtfulness? Well, without the help of our friends, we wouldn’t have ventured up there!
First of all, some of the trails were really, really rocky and rough. We wouldn’t chance it alone!
Secondly, I could not have made that climb up from the trail where we left the ATVs without the help of my buddies!
With kind thoughtfulness, they each took one of my arms and climbed with me. They stopped to rest when my breathing got to panting instead. God bless ‘em!
At the 10,788 ft. level, the view was spectacular and the air coming off the snow on the peaks beside us was crisp and fresh.
I hope you’re as blessed as we are to have such thoughtful friends!
Our buddy/neighbor/guide was Rex, who (with his wife, Penny) led the way. We’d have been lost without him!
Have a thoughtful day, my friends. Who can you help with his/her climb today?
It was inspired by the passage in Luke 12:32-40 and delivered
by Rev. Steve Hundley at our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.
You’ll see why I named it, “Do the Math” … Read on!
“Things are in the saddle
And they ride mankind.” *
They are the stuff of storage –
The things that tie and bind.
We are the generation
Who invented the garage sale.
We’re buried in acquisitions
That make us stress and wail.
Many wealthy and blessed people
Complain about all they’ve got.
They live in an “If Only” state –
Sometimes wishing away what they’ve bought.
Life is hard, whether rich or poor.
Jesus says, “Sell your possessions
And give…” and be ever-ready
For my return. Release your obsessions.
Jesus asked what seems unreal.
We can’t be ready 24-7.
But, we don’t want to be asleep
And miss the only bus to Heaven!
The scripture seems to expect
Too much of us … be ever ready!
Jesus doesn’t ask us to be sleepless.
He asks us to be loving, trusting, steady.
He asks us to unclutter
Our lives from stuff and worry.
He asks us to replace distractions,
The things that make us rush and scurry.
Set aside the stressful things
That keep us from feeling God’s love.
Be ready to receive the riches
That God pours on us from above.
Look for God’s presence today.
Set your eyes on the eagles and clouds.
Be amazed by God’s creation;
Set aside the clutter and crowds.
Be surprised by the daily joy
God places in your path.
Add peace and subtract the stress.
Think about it; do the math!
* A quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Steve Hundley’s Pastoral Prayer:
This is Your world, O Lord,
that glows with the radiance
of mountain wild flowers
and towering trees,
with the warmth of human
compassion and kindness.
Yet there is another world
that is Yours as well:
a world of brokenness
of sickness and isolation,
of suffering and lonliness.
We thank You, O God,
that You are Lord,
over not only this beautiful world,
but also its brokenness.
Remind us that it was
this broken world that
Christ died to redeem…
that it is to this broken world
that the Cross reaches out its arms.
Receive us, we pray,
from the darker and needier side
of our existence this morning.
Let the hurt and resentment
in us be taken up
into Your love and acceptance.
Let our lonliness be swallowed up
by Your Presence with us here.
Let our illness be touched
by Your healing power,
and our troubled spirits
by Your peace.
Turn our personal worlds
of suffering and confusion
into the world of Christ,
where all things are seen
differently in the Light
of His wonderful face.
Grant that the conversation
of our own worlds
will enable us to care
about the worlds of others –
the poor, the hungry,
the sick, the dying,
the imprisoned, or those
just seeking a better life.
Save us from thinking that
the beautiful world we live in
is ours, or that the broken
and lonely world we live in
is the only one there is.
Keep ever before us,
the Cross of Christ,
by which these two worlds
and the Spirit of the Resurrection,
in which we are promised
that the beautiful world
will outlast the broken one.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
And all God’s people said,
Thanks for joining me here at WordPress
and reading the sermon notes and prayer.
I hope they spoke to your heart.
They certainly spoke to mine!
See ya tomorrow.
Thank you for visiting JanBeek Come back soon for more adventures and inspiration.
One of the best ways to improve your photography? Buy gear. Yes, that’s right. Buy gear. You are a photographer. It is your passion (hopefully!) so why not buy gear?
Gear motivates, inspires and allows you to realise your vision.
I would recommend though, buying gear only if you really need it. Buy second-hand gear off eBay or Gumtree (Australia). Cameras, lenses, flashes and bags are tools- if you need them, buy them.
Some will make you a better photographer because you will be able to capture what you envisage. Some purchases will be duds. Avoid the duds. Don’t make impulse buys. Research the hell out of each purchase to guarantee you get a good bargain and you know why you are getting that new piece of equipment.
I have only just bought my first speedlight flash with softbox and umbrella. Continuous lights served me well for a long time, and I still use them, but they are limiting when it comes to travelling and I needed stronger, directional lights, so I bought a cheap but highly regarded flash- a Godox flash. I didn’t by a Nikon one at four-times the price with less features. I shopped around, weighted up options, put it off until I felt limited in my photography.
Same with lenses. I bought a Tamron 90mm 1:1 Macro lens. My other lenses, a 50mm and 28mm, I bought second hand off eBay. I mostly photograph people, still life and flowers- 90mm becomes the most useful lens. I shoot a few landscapes, so a second hand 28mm suits me well.
It has to be justified.
If you are struggling to achieve a look with your equipment, then it is time to buy gear. The sad thing is, I see so many photographers buying gear thinking it will make them a better photographer. It wont.
But having gear, suitable for what you want to create, will make you a better photographer.
Buying the right gear will elevate your photography. And no, there are no affiliate links here. I never recommend gear, because what is good for me, may not be suitable for you.
Buy gear for yourself, not for others.
Until next time, best wishes, Don