In this crucial time We need to stop, look, listen Stop now and bow down!
In kindergarten, we were taught to stop, look and listen. We made traffic lights as an art project. As a kindergarten teacher in the 70’s, I taught the children to recognize their colors, write their numbers, sing their ABC’s and listen for the sounds the letters made. I taught them safety features. Looking out for themselves and for one another. Yes, we had partners who took care of each other when we went out on field trips.
It’s time once again For us to stop, look, listen Practice safety rules
It’s time once again To look out for each other Hold hearts across miles
Just STOP, everyone! Stay sequestered and stop now Look for ways to help
Listen for the cries Of people less fortunate Look for solutions
Kim Taylor Henry is one of the contributing writers for Daily Guideposts 2020. This week, she has taken us through her devotionals on a journey to the Holy Land. We stopped with her in Jerusalem and bemoaned the way “the city bustled on.”
Kim thought of the words of Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
She wrote that when she traveled to Jerusalem, she “had expected to feel connected to God through tranquility.”
Instead, as she stood on a hill looking down at the expanse of the city, she wanted to cry out, “Stop everyone! This is holy ground! Bow down. Worship. Praise.”
We were just like that – Chaotic, bustling, busy – Moving way too fast
Then this virus hit We came to a screeching halt Stop, look and listen!
Now we have the time We are forced to be at home How will this change us?
Will we use this time To reclaim our best values To reach out in love?
The city is still The children are in their homes It seems the world stopped
Take time to bow down Reconnect with your Maker Let His Will guide you
When Kim Taylor Henry left Jerusalem and traveled on to Gethsemane, she expected to find “a hushed highlight” for her trip. She wrote that she thought she would find “a spot where I would reflect on our Savior’s suffering, a place of pain, yet serenity.”
“Instead ,” she wrote, “I saw a fenced-off grouping of knobbly olive trees… It didn’t feel peaceful.”
Opportunity or Tragedy
We have the opportunity during this COVID-19 pandemic to create in our homes a place of peace, a spot where you sense a “hushed highlight” in the opportunity to just BE… just BE together with family or alone in your space…
We can create a tragedy where we feel “fenced off” and we can be resentful, and we can worry and let our fear blind us to the opportunities that are before us.
Indifference or Awareness?
Traveling on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary, the place outside the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, Kim Taylor Henry wrote in her Guideposts devotional,
“I felt irritated by what I viewed as near oblivion to the sanctity of the path. Crass crowds and the array of souvenir shops disturbed me.”
But she went on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, the hillside where Jesus and the two thieves’ crosses remained, and she felt a sense of hush and respect.
Kim asked herself, “Why is the Via Dolorosa bustling with indifference and commercialism while the sites of death and resurrection are worshipful?” And she postulated, “Perhaps it’s a reminder that I, like so many wrapped up in the world… realize my errors too late, and bow down after the fact – when crisis has already struck.”
Is it Too Late?
Help us not to wait Until the crisis has struck Devastating us
Help us to heed NOW The directions we’re given And let us bow down
Stop, look and listen Like kindergarteners did No, it’s not too late!
Thank you, Kim Taylor Henry, for permission to quote your writing. Thank you, Guideposts, for your wonderful DailyGuideposts 2020spirit-lifting devotionals. I appreciate this resource that helps me each day stay focused on the positive ways we can remain in His Word and “Walk the Talk” as we learn to better love and care for one another.
The outside pressures Try to squeeze peace from our souls But we can’t let them
Treat yourself to this beautiful rendition of “It is Well with My Soul” by the First Plymouth Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.
This hymn has a special meaning to me because when we were members of the Harvest Presbyterian Church in Ceres, CA, a dear family who were charter members there had a son, Robert, who was dying. His dad, Homer Jorgensen, was at his bedside with a hymnal. He was turning the pages of the book, asking Robert to blink when he came to a song he’d like to hear. Blinking was all he was capable of doing at that end-point of his earthly life. Robert blinked when his dad came to “It is Well With My Soul.”
Homer was reading the words of this hymn to Robert when his son took his last breath. Since then, both of Robert’s parents have joined him in their heavenly home. Rest in peace, Jorgensen family. I am praying for the beauty of your legacy to live on in our hearts as we listen to this gorgeous, meaningful song and consider the beauty of its words.
Let the Words Be Your Prayer
As you listen, my friends, pray for all those you know who need the peace this composer wrote about. It is the peace that only God can give. Lift your family and friends up as you enjoy these beautiful voices and appreciate the phenomenal, majestic organ.
God bless you!
Psalm 46:1-3 – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.”
I will find the peace That comes from deep within me And I’ll sit awhile
We all need to laugh Laughter is good medicine Brings good endorphins
Laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain. Laughter, it’s said, is the best medicine.
Let Laughter Reign
I hope you laughed out loud at some of these. I did! Did any of them shock you? Did that make you laugh louder?
The Major Function of Laughter
Some researchers believe that the major function of laughter is to bring people together. While we are socially distancing (afterall, you may be thousands of miles from me), we CAN laugh together!
You may have been surprised that this usually prudent 80 year old blogger would post more than one meme with the word “asshole” in it. Right?
But did you laugh, or did you just breathe deeply and say, “Oh my!”?? Deep breaths are good for you, too, you know!!
Did you know that laughter reduces blood sugar levels? It is believed that laughter increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. It’s worth a little shock effect of naughty words, don’t you agree?
All the health benefits of laughter may simply result from the social support that laughter stimulates. Just loosen up and laugh, my friends. It’s good for you! It keeps us connected, even though we may be far away.
Have a happy day… laugh a lot … and spread your joy… Especially during these extraordinary times. What meme or comment have you seen or heard that made you laugh out loud?
Let beauty fill you Only lovely quietude Calm reassurance
Take a walk outside Look up into the big sky Marvel at beauty
Appreciate home Let its peacefulness fill you Find a quiet space
You can find a spot You may not have a big porch But it’s a big world
I see God at work Holding our world in His Hand Helping us save it
Hold the whole world close We have a global challenge But God is in charge
Out of this chaos A healthier planet grows Creating beauty
You can find beauty Right in the space of your home Look in your kitchen
She sent a video of this loaf. In the video, she was cutting a slice and then tapping the crust for us to hear how crunchy it is. We had fun using “What’s App” to exchange some beautiful silliness. Then I wrote this Haiku:
Listen to the crust Crunchy and appetizing Crackle’s Symphony
Beauty in the kitchen … Beauty in the dining room … Beauty is where you make it … Beauty is where you find it.
Let beauty fill you!
Have fun with beauty on your blog! Have you tried the new “Block Editor” here on WordPress? They have greatly improved it – and made options (like colored text) so much easier to access.Thank you, WordPress!!
Make it a beautiful day! Thanks for stopping by JanBeek.
Leave me a message telling me about something beautiful in your world right now.
Sometimes this COVID-19 feels like we’re walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death,” especially when we see the staggering statistics from Italy and realize how quickly the virus is spreading in places like New York City.
A friend told me today he feels we’re living in a period akin to the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl era. Songs are being composed about it. There are thoughtful essays being written. Scientists are creating impressive graphs showing the statistics of known contagions to death tolls and analyzing the relationships to age and climate. Novels will be written that will be classics in the decades to come.
How do we live through this “Valley of the Shadow of Death” without fear?
There are the usual responses: pray, sequester and meditate, have faith, bury your head…
But, while I do believe in the power of our Maker, and I pray daily for the Source of all comfort to bring us healing and peace, there are a few other ways I keep myself FROM feeling the gloom that seems to be enveloping so many. You probably have a list of ways, too. I’d love to have you share yours with me.
Here are my four favorite remedies for avoiding the paralysis of fear:
Music – sing, play, or listen to uplifting songs on YouTube or XM Radio. I love seeing those folks on their balconies in Italy making joyful music together, don’t you? I just listened to Bono and Will.i.am singing a song they wrote for/to the Italians. Google it! Music soothes the soul and uplifts the spirit.
Write – as a blogger, you know how therapeutic it is to put words on paper, in a journal, on a card to a friend, or here on WordPress. Write about what keeps you positive and passionate.
Connect – on the internet or by phone, through a window or across a fence. I just installed a new app on my phone and iPad. It’s called ZOOM. Do you know it? The basic version is free. It’s like FaceTime, but it works on other platforms besides Apple products. My friends in California and Bob & I had a great conversation. It was like sitting across the table from our friends who are 1200 miles away from us. We miss them and it lifted our spirits to see and reconnect with them.
Walk – when the weather permits, go for a walk with your dog or a friend or both. I did that yesterday in our Lion’s Club Park. Yes, we practiced social distancing, but we could chat and laugh and encourage one another. It’s good for body and soul. And TazE loved it, too.
Do tell your dog he’s gotta walk, too!
Tell me, what ways do you avoid walking in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” these days?
For God did not give us A spirit of cowardice, But rather a spirit of power and of love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Do we have enough self-discipline To take advantage of this time – This time to just BE and just LOVE And make the world a better place?
Ann Weems, in Putting the Amazing Back in Grace, wrote: “Remember, you’re in charge of remembering that God is in charge, and that’s a big job that will last a lifetime.”
God’s got this!! Have a peace-filled Sunday, my friends.
Oh, and in case you, like us, missed church today, here is the sermon for today that our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley sent out via e-mail.
Find a comfortable chair, grab a cup o’ tea or coffee, and augment your Sunday with a worshipful, inspiring message:
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE
Read Psalm 23
Not long after becoming the pastor of three small churches in the mountains of Virginia, I was asked to give the Baccalaureate Address to the graduating class of Bath County High School. It used to be, at least in the Bible Belt where I grew up, that local high schools have both a Baccalaureate and Graduation ceremony. The Baccalaureate was held one evening, a day or two before the actual Graduation Commencement. And it was tradition to invite a religious leader in the community to speak. However, I’m not sure that the message I delivered was what the school administration, or even the students, had in mind.
In most cases, the message given would be a positive one meant to motivate the students to go out and change the world, such as: “You are God’s ambassadors, the hope for a broken world!” Or: If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” Or, perhaps: “Shoot for the Moon, for even if you miss, you’ll find yourself among the stars!” Most Baccalaureate, as well as, Commencement speakers would have them believe that they can be and do anything they set their minds to, (but with God’s help, of course).
I, however, felt that it was my duty to inform them that they were nothing but a bunch of “harebrained” sheep. I saw that! You raised your eyebrows, didn’t you? (Note from JanBeek, see the picture of sheep I put at the end of this sermon!)
Yet, that is what the Bible says. Yes, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as having the heart of a lion, we share more in common with sheep.
You see, like sheep, we tend to stray easily and lose our way. I’ve have been told that if one sheep spooks and tears off in one direction, all the others will follow. Imagine a bunch of sheep running up a hill. Suddenly the one in front makes a sudden left turn, and all the others, with no questions asked, mindlessly follow. If the one leading heads right off a cliff, tumbling to its death, all the others follow right off the cliff as well. But, you say, “We’re not like that!”
I heard recently about a young married couple. The wife bought a country ham to cook for her husband’s family who were coming over for dinner. Before putting it in a pot to bake it, she cut both ends off. “Why did you do that,” her husband asked. “I did it because that is the waymy mother always did it,” she said. Calling her mother on the phone, she asked: “Mom, why do we cut the ends off a ham before cooking it?” “I don’t know. I do it because it is the way my mother always did it.” Calling up her grandmother, she asked, “Grandmother, why do we cut the ends off a ham before baking it?” “I don’t know why you and your mother do it, but I always did it because it wouldn’t fit in my small baking pan.”
Yes, if one sheep spooks and tears off, all the others will follow. Still, you say, “We are smarter than that!” (Try to find a roll of toilet paper, or a bottle of hand sanitizer these days. Just saying.)
Attending a Montana State University lecture not long ago, the speaker, a journalist professor, pointed out just how partisan our country has become. He said that we have lost the will, and therefore, the ability to listen and dialogue with those who disagree with us. “We only listen to those news networks that confirm what we believe to be true,” he said. “We socialize with those who believe like us. In other words, we are like sheep who follow blindly our own flock.” Oh, by the way, did you know that a flock of sheep are called a “MOB?” Google it.
Secondly, sheep not only tend to follow their “mob”, they are also fragile creatures. Ken Davis, a comedian, tells of growing up on a sheep farm. He said there was an old ram on their farm that loved to sneak up behind him and butt him when he wasn’t looking. He hated that old ram. One day he spotted the old bruiser coming around the back of the barn. Determined to get back at that old ram, he looked around for something to hit him with. With nothing in sight and ram rounding the corner, Ken jumped out and hollered: “BOO!” It was all he could think to do.
“Startled,” Ken said, “that old ram just keeled over AND DIED!”
Later, his father confronted him, “Son, you hit that sheep, didn’t you?”
“No dad, I said, BOO! and it just died!”
A crack of thunder is all it takes to scare a sheep literally to death. As much as we like to think of ourselves as indestructible, this present pandemic and the fact you are reading this sermon in your own home, shows just how fragile we are. Our Lord Jesus said: “When you pray, say, ‘Our Father, who art in heaven…give us this day our daily bread…and, deliver us from evil’.”
Yes, we are like sheep who are in need of a Shepherd. We need help. Going it alone, depending on our own wiles, spells certain disaster. I remember one sheep herder/shepherd telling of turning his flock loose one night in the mountains to graze alone on their own. He knew it was a risk, because sheep cannot defend themselves, much less outrun, even the slowest predators. Sheep tend to go astray, grazing along without looking where they are going.
He did, however, leave them in the care of his trusty sheep dog. Locating them the next morning, he discovered that they had wandered into a rather rugged mountain park. Being the rather clumsy animals that they are, more than a few of them had managed to fall over while feeding on the uneven ground. He found sheep scattered around the meadow upside down on their backs unable to get up. He said: “I had to go around picking up sheep and placing them back on their feet.
The Prophet Isaiah warns the Israelites of the danger of going it alone. “See, the Lord’s arm is not too short to save … to pick you up when you have fallen.” (Isaiah 59:1)
While I doubt that anyone was prepared for me to compare the graduating class of Bath County High School to a “flock”, or should I say “mob” of sheep…the foolish notion that the future of the world rested on their shoulders is categorically untrue! The longer I live, the more I am convinced that what we need to make it in this world is not popularity and success, not financial wealth or even personal happiness.
What we need is Christ, the Good Shepherd, to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves and instruct us in the proper order of our lives. For, “The Lord is our Shepherd, we shall not want. He makes us lie down in green pastures; he leads us beside still waters; it is our Shepherd who restores our souls, who leads us in right paths. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we fear not evil…”
Notice how Psalm 23 reverses the order of how we tend to live our lives. It is our tendency to approach life head on, burning ourselves out. And then, turn back to God in search of rest and soul-restoration after a week of chasing the illusive American dream. Yet, notice that this Psalm reverses the order. First, there is the Shepherd who provides what we need most, rest and soul restoration. Only then is it possible to find meaning and purpose in God’s emerging kingdom or face dark valleys.
This is the blessing Jesus wanted Martha to see when she was burning herself out by busying herself in the kitchen. Jesus said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part…” (Luke 10:41-42).
Notice how the New Testament church began in Acts 2:46-47: “They followed a daily discipline of busying themselves with programs and activities, burning themselves out, so that people liked what they saw and everyday their numbers grew…” ??? NO! NO! NO!
It says: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the temple, followed by meals together in their homes, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Everyday their numbers grew as God added those who were saved.”
Yes, Genesis tells us that “God created the world and on the seventh day, and then He rested.” That’s true, but WE ARE NOT GOD! Christ died for our sins, our weaknesses, and on the first day of the week He arose from the dead! So, we begin with rest, worship, and spiritual recreation before facing the challenges of daily living and serving our God.
We are His sheep, who find our rest in the arms of the Good Shepherd, so that He might equip us for the facing of this hour even as we face this dark valley of the shadow of death. For we are not alone, for God in Christ is with us. Amen.
Read Psalm 23 again.
In what new and unique way have you felt God’s comforting presence?
See ya tomorrow. Thanks for visiting JanBeek and for hangin’ in there together. Have a beautiful Sunday. Together, in FAITH, we shall overcome!!
My friend, Elaine, who has avoided poetry most of her life (after a high school experience in an English class (where diagramming sentences and picking poetry apart looking for rhythm and rhyme scheme and very hidden meaning turned her off) is discovering the poet in her soul! She sent me these Haiku. She wrote them this morning:
Our world is amiss One alone proves capable Gentle as a kiss
And here is Elaine’s second one:
Choose to share kindness Chaos only seems to reign Care completes circle
Kindness in Chaos?
In this crazy world where people sometimes are behaving irrationally, it is easy to write some people off and say they are off-limits! They are adding to the earth’s problems, rather than trying to solve them. One of my followers wrote this note yesterday:
“I’m all for being positive, Jan, but some people’s behaviour is sickening … like some here who are selling paracetamol on eBay for £10 and Calpol for ,£20!”
What to Do?
What should we do about those “sickening” people? Do we write off the toilet paper hoarders and the ones buying cases of hand sanitizer, and the price gougers? Do we condemn the politicians who sold off hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stock after a preliminary briefing about the upcoming pandemic? Condemn ’em and throw all the bums out??
27 Jesus said in Luke 6:27-31 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
Kindness Rules! Kindness completes the circle of life as we want it to be.
Let your creativity reign. Give birth to your inner poet .
Be the change you wish to see in this world.
What kindness can you exhibit today to add love and sunshine to your home?
Chase unhappiness – Just pursue awfulizing – Make matters worse!
Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?
Dr. Ellis says, “… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”
Flood the toilet paper aisles with frenzied shoppers filling their carts and fighting over the last roll!
A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??
Shop on-line and fill your garage with cases of hand-sanitizer bottles!!
How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse? S’pose he intended to freely share them? Nope, he was hoarding with the intent of selling them at some exorbitant price in the future – gouging people!
Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana, and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!
Sure enough, these behaviors will solve this awful COVID-19 problem!
James R. Hine, in his essay, The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious , wrote the following:
“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”
He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.
In that same essay, Hine wrote,
“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul, but I can minister in my own way and be acceptable to God in that role. You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”
Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago… Unique, indeed!! And so is Andrew with his trombone!
In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING” and move forward in hope. This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!
James R. Hine, The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious
Let me leave you with another quote from Hine: “Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a freshhope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities. It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”
God bless you, my friends. Tell me what you are doing this day to “move forward toward the hills”?
Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday, “Embrace the good with the bad, and know there is always more good than bad in this world.” Amen, Penny!
Spread positivity, my friends. See ya tomorrow. JanBeek
In the midst of this COVID-19, there is hope. I loved this message that is linked below. It tells of the people of Italy who are using music as a link to one another and to feelings of HOPE.
The author wrote. “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance.” It is MUSIC THERAPY in action! (I majored in music therapy in college!)
You MUST go and read, “What you see outside your window.” That blog will give you hope, too. Click on the link up there.
I saw on that blog a picture of a girl standing on her balcony in Italy, playing her accordion. Since that is my instrument, I certainly related to her… and I found this picture of this old cowboy playing his accordion:
Isn’t he cool? I hope he is playing “Songs of resilience that recall difficult times” that can resonate with his listener and help them to…
… Keep the faith and … Keep hope alive.
Yes, my friends, Share your positivity. Share this link with your friends, okay?
Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are. Amen.
Reprinted with permission from Max Lucado
So, the praying part is easy, right? There are folks like Max Lucado out there who can help us find the right words. Live in the faith that God hears – and He is with us – and it’s true: nothing is too great for Him.
But What About Perseverance?
How do we keep on keeping on? The Autobahn Assoc. shared this suggestion today:
“… talk about the power of birds, … this year they take on an even more powerful meaning. They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”
Breathe in the calm of our feathered friends. Listen to their songs! Watch their deliberate and graceful movements!
We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.
In his podcast today Bob Goff asked us to “Hit the pause button. Step back and think about your life.” He asked his listeners to ask ourselves:
What opportunity has this Coronavirus-induced-shutdown given to you?
What can you do that in the normal routine of everyday you don’t have time to do?
How do you deal with uncertainty and ambiguity?
Where are you now and how are you feeling? Are you dwelling in fear?
What are your most important values and how are you exhibiting those during this time of world-wide crisis?
Bob Goff continued to make suggestions: 1) Be sober about what’s going on. 2) Be picky about what you focus on. 3) Turn the volume down on the hype. 4) Limit screen time. 5) Follow the recommendations of the experts – wash hands, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick, etc. 6) Live authentically, remaining true to who you were created to be.
Who Were You Created to Be and Do?
Bob Goff quipped, “Introverts have been preparing for this for years!”
But some of us are not introverts. We’re having trouble hunkering down inside and having our jobs, our volunteer activities, our restaurants, schools and churches all closed to us. What can we do to remain true to ourselves and feel like we’re not just sitting around wringing our hands helplessly?
How would you answer the question, “Who were you created to be?”
I thought about it and decided:
I was created to “Walk the Talk and Live with Integrity.”
I was created to “Reach out to others with love and compassion.”
I was created to “Use the talents God gave me to make the world a better place.”
What is YOUR Purpose?
How can you persevere in the face of this latest shutdown – and the gloomy predictions that this could last a year and a half or more?
What talents has God given you that you can use to make your life seem worthwhile in the midst of these world-wide changes? Using those talents is a way to remain true to your purpose.
I intend to: 1) Continue to post a blog here daily with ideas that uplift and bring hope. 2) Write cards/letters/e-mails/texts/messages and make phone calls to friends and family. 3) Exhibit love, compassion, tolerance, empathy, and joy – spreading those as far and wide as I can. (See photo below) 4) Do something I’ve always wanted to do but for some reason have put off. 5) Keep in touch with friends on-line by playing games like “Words with Friends” (Scrabble) and commenting on their FaceBook posts while I post positive things there, too. 6) Pray and meditate and daily read God’s Word and devotionals, such as Guideposts and In Touch magazine.
Do you have a half a dozen or so things you can list as your intentions?
Maybe deliver flowers or food to a friend who is shut in? Just call ahead and then drop it at his/her doorstep. I did that today.
Tell me what you plan to do to make the world a better place.
In honor of my sister, Sally, who always dressed to the hilt for every holiday, I bought a sparkling shamrock necklace today. Happy St. Pat’s Day, Sis!!
My necklace has a sparkling light – – – Sally would love this! She’s in a nursing home in Pennsylvania, and like all nursing homes in the USA now, they are on “lock down” for their own safety. Coronavirus is keeping a lot of folks away from the corned beef and cabbage fun they usually enjoy with family and friends on this day. I hope the Masonic Home serves it for her dinner.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, dear friends. I hope your day is a blessed one – even if you are quarantined and unable to get out. Just let the leprechauns come to you!
A little Humor During times of Tragedy Ain’t sacrilegious!
The Coronials Will have a life of their own Just like this virus
But, just in case my Haiku and pictures offend those who are in the midst of quarantine or have loved ones who are infected or family members who are the victims of this terrible pandemic, here is something on a more serious note:
Some people are offended by the suggestion that we should dare to use the word, “Relax.” This is a time of heightened senses. A time to be on alert.
But ultimately, we know we are not in control. We know better than to believe someone who tells us he is… unless He is God.
So, God bless you, my friends. Trusting or Terrified? Afraid to make light of it? I understand.
But, a little levity is good for the soul, even in the midst of tragedy – especially when all the toilet paper is gone!
Do you live in trust? Are you feeling terrified? We all have a choice.
Today at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church, in Ennis, Montana, our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley, began his sermon by telling us he had scrapped the sermon he originally planned. “It just didn’t seem to fit,” he explained to the sparsely attended congregation.
With this Coronavirus Pandemic spreading like wildfire around the world, and the first four cases being tested positive in Montana just yesterday, Pastor Steve felt God nudging him to speak to that topic.
So, here are my sermon notes from today’s message:
Terror or Trust?
We must always trust in God In the face of everyday life. We must turn to Him when We’re faced with terrifying strife.
We must trust the Mighty Fortress In the midst of Pandemic Fear. We must trust He is with us. We’re not abandoned; He is here.
Even when we learn that things Will get worse before they’re better, We still must trust the Lord. We must read His Word; believe every letter.
In Psalm 46, the Bible says The Lord All Powerful is right here. Especially in the midst of disasters, He tells us, “Do not fear!”
To really know God and believe In His love and care every single day, Takes a lifetime of faithful living With consistent prayer and walking His Way.
There will be days when we doubt Because God seems so far away. It’s days like that when we gather Together, listening to what God has to say.
We hear His Word and are reminded Of God’s faithful love and care. We believe in God’s good character And see His goodness everywhere.
We must know that God expects us To be His character witnesses today. Witness to the love of Christ, And spread it with what you do and say.
In our state of dread and insecurities, We are invited to live in the HOPE That only God can give to us. Will I become frozen in fear? NOPE!
Not only did Steve’s sermon encourage us to live in Trust (not terror), but his Prayer of Confession (printed in our bulletin) further inspired us to look deep within and examine whether or not we are:
more apathetic than active
more isolated than involved
more callous than compassionate
more obstinate than obedient
more legalistic than loving
Our Prayer of Confession continued, “Gracious Lord, have mercy upon us and forgive our sins. Remove the obstacles preventing us from being Your representatives to a broken world. Awaken our hearts to the promised gift of Your indwelling Spirit. Amen“
God Is Our Fortress God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear … “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
God Bless You! Bee safe – Bee well – Bee a Blessing TRUST and KNOW: God is with you.
What is one small act you can do to change Terror to Trust in someone’s heart today?
If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know that usually I post sermon notes after church on Sunday afternoons. I failed to do so last Sunday because I left behind the bulletin with my sermon notes. Today I retrieved it. So, here, my friends are my poetic notes from Sunday, March 8th.
Based on Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:1-21; Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley; recorded through JanBeek’s filter:
Let Your Soul Sing
Moses lifted up a bronze snake. Those bitten by a snake were saved; Not by anything they did or said, Not by the way they prayed or behaved. . It was by the grace of God that they Looked up at the statue and then The poison did not kill them. It was not by the power of women or men. . If we are to avoid being foolish, We need to admit our dependence And we need to acknowledge risk Wherever we happen to be in attendance. . We are dependent on God for life. It is He who guides our days. We, in our pride, think we’re in control – And we fools trust our own ways. . We cannot do for ourselves what’s needed To be independently self-made. We must trust and believe it’s God Who created us, and with His Son, our debts paid. . We must trust God to lift us up On the top of an eagle’s wing. His breath blows our life toward Him If we let our souls in His glory sing. . . Sing to Him today. Praise His name always.
God, You know our troubles, our concerns, our anguish. Bring peace and comfort to Your loved ones. Give us hope and assurance. Bring healing to the hurting, the sick, the lonely. Lift us on Your wing. Remind our souls to sing Your Praises and Trust in Your Promises.
Thank you for your prayers for the people of Tennessee who were so grievously affected by the 50 mile stretch of devastation in and beyond Nashville this week. My friend, Debbie, who lives in Nashville half the year, sent me this update this morning:
“Morning, Jan. What I didn’t tell you in the text was the immense response of the people of Nashville. Hands on Nashville, with 25000 volunteer slots, is full. People connected with houses of worship or no connection to anything other than this is home are pouring out of their comfort to help. People are showing up with strong backs (including team members of the Titans and Predators), chain saws, showing up with blankets (it was 29 degrees this am and no electricity in the tornado zones), showing up with ready to eat meals (son Joel is preparing 1500 meals each day), showing up with diapers, flashlights, batteries. Celebrities, including our beloved Dolly (Parton) and Taylor (Swift) and many others, have opened their checkbooks very wide, as have organizations such as the National Football League and the National Hockey League. In Nashville, as we did during the devastating flood of 2010, we show up. In Nashville, We Rise.“
Tennessee tornadoes kill at least 25. More than 150 people were hurt and thousands of homes and businesses were flattened when the twisters hit in the middle of the night.
Thank God for answered prayer as more than 25 thousand people have stepped up and in to physically help the people devastated by this disaster! They are using their money, time, and talents to do what they can to alleviate the suffering and aide those in dire need.
They are angels stepping in to lift the spirits, clean up the debris, and rebuild where possible. They are using their talents to feed the hungry (God bless Debbie & Steve’s son, Joel, whose place of business was spared. It had $50,000 worth of food in freezers and storage, and was only 1/4 mile from the tornado’s path). Now he is using those resources to feed the homeless and hurting. God bless him! He’s one of thousands of angels on earth… God’s hands and feet!
Use Your God-given Talents
I wrote this poem this morning while reading my devotionals and Bible and praying for help to arrive in Tennessee – before I saw Debbie’s update. It certainly fits the way folks are using their talents in and around Nashville right now.
Use Talents Wisely
God has given each of us Talents that are unique to us. Some are singers, others plow, Others use their funds somehow.
Some are math-magicians – true; Others are writers, just like you. Whether science or literature, Use your talents and be sure They are developed as your own, Gaining skill as seeds are sown. Don’t envy others for what they do. Use the talents given to you.
Moles must dig, and roosters crow, Unique gifts they use and grow. Likewise we must search and know Just what talents from us must flow.
Like a poet who thinks in rhymes, You might paint or prepare a pot. Keep your eye on what you’ve got, And never try to be what you’re not.
In the wake of this devastation, give the people strength and courage. In the aftermath of death and destruction, give the people hope and tenacity.
We know this “ordinary day” in the lives of so many is not “ordinary” in Tennessee. The extraordinary natural disaster has left more than 25 dead, countless wounded, and thousands without home, church building, or business. Some have lost their jobs as the place they worked no longer exists. Please be with these people. Be with the loved ones of the deceased.
We look at today, grateful for sparing our lives, knowing but for Your grace, we might have been in the midst of Harm’s Way. We thank You for the miraculous way you saved people, like the teenage girl who was whisked in the gale up and out of her home and dumped under a pile of debris into her neighbor’s swimming pool!
We thank you for the rescue workers who pulled people out, for the hospital staff who are working overtime to save lives, and for all those who have stepped up to help by using their time, talents, and money however You placed it on their hearts to do so.
Help us hear, dear God, what You are asking us to do… besides pray. Prayer is a given!
It’s been a busy day. I am ready to tuck in early. But first, I need to share with you a message I received from our neighbors who live at the end of our road 1/2 the year and in Nashville, Tennessee the other half of the year.
Most of you are aware by now that earlier this week a massive tornado devastated a 50 mile trail that went through the heart of some of Nashville’s beautiful neighborhoods. I wrote my neighbor/friend, Debbie, and asked how she and Steve are doing. This is what she wrote back,
“Thanks for asking. It’s been a tragic, scary, powerful disaster. It first touched down about 4 miles away at a private airport. That airport has $100 mil worth of damage. Then it plowed thru the neighborhoods of north Nashville (about 3 miles away) tearing up homes, churches and 3 schools in that lower middle class, black section. Then it hit the very trendy, expensive Germantown section just blocks from the Capital. After destroying Germantown it gained strength, crossed the Cumberland River (where our son Joel’s shop missed being hit my 1/4 mile). He was without power for only 10 hours. Then it moved to a section called East Nashville. This is where I grew up and where my brother still lives. The damage there was heartbreaking. East End Methodist Church was destroyed. This is my brother’s church… He has been there for hours helping out each day and met with the structural engineer who said no way to rebuild. It is just tragic. Yes the church is more than the building but when the building is 113 years old and you worship in such an astonishingly beautiful place with the souls of the many worshipers gone before, it seems trite to say it was only a building. There is no telling how long it will take to get power back on in that area. So the tornado jumped the river again to the neighborhood known as Donelson, then Hermitage, then Mt Juliet, then out in the country to Cookeville where 23 people were killed. This event has consumed our town.”
It takes that tragic event and brings it home, doesn’t it? Makes it up close and personal.
Please, dear friends, add the people of Nashville, Cookeville, and the surrounding area (50 mile tornado path) to your prayer list. My heart is heavy for them.
Sweet dreams may be possible as time goes by, but for now there will be tears and nightmares for many.
God bless them and give them strength during this devastating time. Amen
It’s easy to see the negative. It’s all around us.
It’s easy to wallow in the mud & muck. It can bury us.
It’s easy to hear the complaining and join in. There’s plenty out there to complain about.
It’s harder to focus on the positive, but when we do, it eventually becomes easier to see it.
It might be harder to walk around the mud and avoid the muck, but when we do, it becomes easier to stay on top of clean ground.
It’s harder to resist the complainers and work to be part of the solution instead of joining the problematic whiners, but do it! Problem-solvers discover it’s easier to find the happiness we’re all seeking.
Be Thankful – and Express it!
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This morning was the first of six community Lenten breakfasts. We held it at our church. The next five will be at five other churches in Ennis and Jeffers, Montana. Our topic today was HOPE. About 40 friends from around the community gathered to kick off this Lenten season with food and music, and a message of Hope, delivered by our Rev. Steve Hundley.
Our faithful friend, George and his wife, Lucy, arrived about 5:30 AM to set up the food, make the coffee and get ready for the 7:00 AM crowd.
After breakfast, in preparation for Steve’s message of HOPE, we sang this wonderful hymn. It lends direction to our hopes for this Lenten season and everyday… especially in this world of hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness. Let us determine to be the peace we seek to find.
So that’s the food and friends and music. What about the feathers? Yesterday I told you about my friend, Bernie, who is in the hospital and has set up quite an artistic “mess” on his tray table. Let me show you:
He has quite a menagerie of feathers there. Look at the flies he is able to create with them:
Yes, WOW!! That’s the feathers… and their creative use for catching some mighty big trout!
But what about the mustangs? Well, our Ennis High School mascot is the Mustang. When I drove by the school this morning, I had to top and take a picture for you of these MAGNIFICENT bronze mustangs. They were created by a local artist (Ennis is an art town with 6 art galleries in a place with a population of less than 1,000).
I’ll try to find out the sculptor’s name and let you know later. It’s important to give him/her credit!
But for now, I am headed to my TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) group. I hope I didn’t gain too much with those scrumptious egg casseroles this morning. I had to try a little of each!
Look for that trophy again… I want to be the biggest loser. I have 6 more pounds to take off to get back to my goal weight.
Creative people Keep their great ideas in sight Daily massaging
Creative people Aren’t afraid to take great risks They grow through failures
It can be painful And expensive when we fail Pick up the pieces
Examine the parts Carefully rearrange them Then find new uses
Look at those messes As valuable mistakes Creative messes!
I’m off to visit my friend, Bern, in the hospital. He has a creative mess in his hospital room… feathers and wires, hooks and string, paints and brushes, easels and canvases all over the place. But, instead of sitting or lying in his bed feeling sorry for himself because an infection has rendered his legs too weak to walk steadily these days, he is using his creativity to bring joy to life while his body heals.
You and I can do that, too. We can bring joy to life by using our ingenuity creatively!
What mess do you have that is waiting for resurgent rearranging and new uses today?
Need a key to start And a lock to seal each day? Prayer opens and seals.
“Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.”
Once the day unlocks with prayer, it is our responsibility to greet this new day enthusiastically. Feel the anticipation of each forthcoming minute. Look eagerly at what Your Creator has in store for you to see and do and learn.
Jesus prays with me And the angels pray with us ♥️🙏🏽 Live love each minute ❤️🙏🏽
“This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad today!”
This is the cover of a little book that belonged to my mother-in-law. I inherited it from her. The circle stain was created one morning when she set her tea cup on it. She was mortified! It didn’t spoil the book, though. The contents still are as precious as ever.
Bob’s sister gave the book to her in 1975 for Mother’s Day. Grandma Beekman treasured it, and read its inspirational quotes on a regular basis during her morning prayer time.
Here are a few of my favorites:
I like this last one a lot. Look at some of the ways it has been translated:
Each morning I wonder what Bible verse will speak to me today. I wonder what phrase I will “take away” with me. I wonder how I can keep my faith alive, growing, and contagious.
I read today’s page in Daily Guideposts 2020 and I go to my Bible to read the chosen scripture in its larger context. And then I write the “take away” on the page provided at the end of the month.
These WONDERful phrases keep the Wonder alive in my life.
I pray that perhaps these phrases can help keep the wonder alive in your life, too.
Know God is Always With You
Use Your Talents for Common Good
Be a Ready Helper
Find Strength in Faith
Always Be Honest
Trust in God’s Leading
Keep Faith Alive
Be a Blessing
Love Without Condition
Trust God’s Faithfulness
God’s Love is Perfect ❤
Set Your Affairs in Order
Praise God for His Creativity
Always Show Your Love
Pray for Our Leaders
Help Others in Need
Play a Song of Perseverance
Make Me a Loving Servant
Thanks for Friends, Love, and Laughter
Praise God for His Protection
Concentrate on the Positive
Thank God for Grit!
Wear Your Faith Visibly and Honestly
Commit to 40 Days of Sacrifice
Put Faith Into Action
Lean on Him for Wisdom and Strength
You may consider getting your copy of Daily Guideposts 2020 for your morning devotionals. There are still ten months left to enjoy and be inspired by its daily messages. I find it to be a WONDERful way to start my day.
I breathe His fresh air and head up to my sanctuary.
There His hands embrace me and I feel His touch as I dig into His Word.
As I read, He guides me to new sources of His love and to fresh understandings.
I follow some WP blogs that add to my Bible experience. This morning I logged in to a WP blog titled “TheFather’sFeet.” The cover picture today is a WONDERful painting that the blog author, Donna Nielsen, found on the web. We don’t know who painted it, but isn’t it beautiful?
I asked Donna Nielsen if I could use the picture and tell you about her blog. I go to it each morning to enhance the WONDER of my time up in the Angel Room.
She said, “By all means.”
She explained that her blog is titled The Father’s Feet because, “I want to draw my readers to the Father’s feet with me and receive guidance for our lives.”
Donna posts two or three scripture passages and then comments on them before ending in a prayer of praise, thanksgiving, and acknowledgement, with a call for help on a particular part of our walk each day. Her subtitle is FAITH.
The Art of Blogging
One of the bloggers I have followed from Day 1 on Word Press is Cristian Mihai who writes on The Art of Blogging. His tips always are right on! His coaching is helpful for those of us who are trying to improve our blogging skills. Isn’t that all of us?
This week he reminded us that blogging is not about numbers. It’s not about how many followers or how many “likes” or how many comments we get. It’s about the people. “Build relationships,” he told us.
Cristian continued by reminding us that it’s about passion. Write about things you really care about, he instructed.
You can’t improve your blog if you don’t know WHY you are blogging, he said. Cristian Mihai always reminds me that I need to be clear about my purpose. What do I hope to accomplish?
People, Passion, Purpose, Precision, and Pleasure
I wrote to Cristian thanking him for the 3 P’s of successful bloggers, but then suggested we need to add two more P’s: precision and pleasure.
I need to be precise about what I write. Make sure the words are spelled correctly, the grammar is correct, and the format is pleasing. Add sub-titles. Add pictures. Edit out superfluous words. Read it aloud to myself or my dog. Make sure it sounds real.
No one will return to a blog that is sloppy or one that uses objectionable language. Or at least not many people will. We all know that. Those kinds of words and messes turn me off!
And the 5th “P” of successful blogging is pleasure.
I take pleasure in writing
about the things I am passionate about.
I get enormous pleasure out of
communicating with the people who leave comments.
I love getting to know people from India,
Sri Lanka, Canada, Venezuela, Germany, Finland, etc…
I really enjoy looking at where y’all are from.
As long as you’re having fun, taking pleasure in the writing process, and enjoying the connections that your blog makes possible, I think you’re on the right track. As long as you write about your passions (one of mine is this “Loving One Another” subject), and as long as you stay true to your purpose and do it with the greatest precision you can muster, then I think you are a blogging “artist.”
I’m glad you are here at JanBeek.
I hope we can get to know one another,
encourage one another,
and give each other feedback as often as possible.
Proverbs is a wonderful book of wisdom. Have you read it clear through? I read one chapter in it everyday. It has 31 chapters. This month I’ll read three chapters on the 29th. We don’t have a 30 or 31 in February! Then on March 1st I will start over again, but with a different translation. I find the various translations help me gather new and deeper meanings.
Today’s chapter 27 verse 19 is a perfect example of the way different translations can add different nuances:
The Message paraphrased version by Eugene Peterson
“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”
The NIV (New International Version)
“As water reflects a face, so man’s heart reflects the man.”
KJV King James Version
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
Each of those passages refers to the way a person’s heart reflects to that person (and maybe to others) who that person really is. Right? But, when I went to the CS Lewis Bibleparaphrased, I found this translation:
“Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another.”
To me that CS Lewis version says it is not just a matter of looking at the way our heart reflects to ourselves who we really are … and can be seen in our facial expressions… but it also says our “heart-scape” influences how we see others.
We see others through our own heart content and our own heart lenses. We may be blind to who they really are, like this girl on a branch is blind to her own reflection. We often don’t see ourselves as others see us. And we don’t see others as they intend to be seen.
Does your face mirror your heart? Or are there cracks in the space between your heart mirror and your face?
Do you see others through a lens of love, or is your heart-scape distorting what you see?
How Do I See Thee and Me?
Do I see thee through a clear lens, a pure heart, a heart of love and compassion?
Ask yourself: Do I see Me the same way? Do I see myself as God sees me? His redeemed, forgiven, beloved child? Am I gentle with myself? Am I open and positive? Do I see the positivity in others?
I see thee dearly. I see me clearly. We are not merely clones; we are beloved, unique children of God.
I love you! Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. Have a blessed day!
In her devotional this morning, Cynthia Ruchti reminded me it’s Ash Wednesday. She wrote (on this Feb. 20 devotional in Daily Guideposts), “… my sins have been incinerated, a fine layer of ash is all that remains – and that layer has been blown away by the breath of Jesus’ mercy.”
What a wonderful image that is! She reminded us of the devastation of the 2019 California fires that left whole neighborhoods (in fact major parts of whole cities, like Paradise, CA) incinerated. She mourned, “The ash was so fine it left only a dusting over the footprint of each lost home.”
Cynthia reminded me that Ash Wednesday is “a time of reflection, self-sacrifice, spiritual discipline, and fasting to prepare the heart for Easter.” Her “Faith Step” at the conclusion of the message was: “Our humanity and our sinfulness have been conquered in Jesus and we are free. Ashes to joy. Dust to life. Live victoriously.”
At http://www.Christianity.com the author wrote: “Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.”
I am ready to embrace this season. I am ready to “live victoriously.” I am ready for “Dust to dust” to become “Dust to Life.”
I am ready for “Ashes to ashes” to become “Ashes to Joy.“
Breathing is the process of taking air into the lungs and expelling it back out into the world.
It’s important to understand what it means to breathe and to really have a deep understanding of the word.
To do that, let’s take a look at some of the absolute best quotes about breathing. Are you ready? Let’s dive in!
Best Quotes About Breathing:
1. Breathing is the greatest pleasure in life. – Giovanni Papini
2. Just breathe. – Author Unknown
3. Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite. – D. Antoinette Foy
4. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. – Oprah Winfrey
5. Inhale the future, exhale the past. – Author Unknown
I like that last one… for it is when we can breathe out the past that we make space for the now.
More Great Quotes
6. The trick to life is to just keep breathing. – Johnny Lung
7. Learn how to exhale, the inhale will take care of itself. – Carla Melucci Ardito
8. When the breath is unsteady, all is unsteady; when the breath is still; all is still. Control the breath carefully. Inhalation gives strength and a controlled body; retention gives steadiness of mind and longevity; exhalation purifies body and spirit. – Goraksasathakam
9. The wisest one-word sentence? Breathe. – Terri Guillemets
10. Only those who know how to breathe will survive. – Pundit Acharya
11. If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance. – Andrea Boydston
12. Pause, breathe. Repair the universe, then proceed. – Author Unknown
13. Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. – Thich Nhat Hanh
14. Without full awareness of breathing, there can be no development of meditative stability and understanding. – Thich Nhat Hanh
15. Breathe, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life. – Author Unknown
It’s a good life when at 81 you still are downhill skiing and you can go with your ski buddy up to the top of Big Sky and enjoy the freshness of the Good Life. That’s where Bob & Nancy are today.
It’s not a bad life when you can look out your window at the Madison Range, Jack Creek Canyon and Fan Mountain, and breathe in the freshness of the air, and know how blessed you are!
Breathe in the fresh air Fill it gently in your lungs Release all tension
Breathe deeply – – – Release Now, go out into the world And plant a love seed
It’s a grand Tuesday! Thanks for visiting JanBeek. See ya tomorrow.
“Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to the taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Proverbs 24: 13-14
That honey jar on the right with the bees and hearts was given to us 8 years ago for our 50th wedding anniversary from Bob’s beekeeper nephew and his wife. Bryan Beekman is a California beekeeper with about 10,000 beehives. His wife, Michelle, has the “Honey Hut” on their property in Clovis.
No, I have not kept that honey for 8 years!! (But, I could have if I wanted to… honey never spoils unless you add water to it! They found good, edible honey in King Tut’s tomb!)
A jar like that only last a few weeks in our house before it has to be refilled. We pour from it into the honey bear. It’s easier to pour out of the bear. I keep both of those containers in the cabinet to the right of the stove. A warm spot is best for storing honey. Never refrigerate it!! When the jar is empty, we refill it from a 5 gallon jug that we keep in the warm room downstairs.
Look carefully at the jar. The letters almost are all washed off. It used to say, “Happy 50th, Bob & Jan.” I need to take it back to Michelle to have it repainted one of these trip to California! But would that be like restoring an antique? Would it lose some of its value?
Honey as a Gift
Because Bob’s a retired beekeeper, folks often give us honey as a gift when they return from their travels. This jar was a gift from a friend in Maryland. Notice the label says, “100% Pure Raw Varietal Honey.” That’s important! You want to know from which flowers the bees gathered their nectar. Honey has flavors as distinct as wines or berries or the smell of various flowers. Pure orange honey has the taste of the smell of the orange blossoms. I love it!
Describing Honey Flavors
However, some honey label writers get carried away, just as some folks who describe the flavors of wine do on their labels. I don’t often taste the earth or the tobacco in a glass of wine. And I can’t taste “vanilla-marshmallowy goodness” in this Pacific Northwest honey. However, I believe them when they say it’s pure and raw.
Preserving Honey’s Attributes
Pure means it hasn’t been mixed with other stuff… and raw means it hasn’t been heated above a certain temperature. Heating honey too much (like boiling it on the stove or in the microwave) kills many, if not all, of its healthy qualities.
If you love honey as we do, remember to bee wise in the way you select and buy it, and remember to bee wise in the way you store and preserve it. And remember to use it as a substitute for sugar as often as you can. It’s better for you – and it takes less honey to taste the sweetness than sugar. Also, honey is the browning agent in waffles or bread.
No, it’s not a love affair between me and my youngest Swiss grandson, Chrissy. But, Chrissy is the reason for my blog topic today.
I was shocked earlier this week to learn that Chrissy has a girlfriend. I didn’t know it. I hadn’t heard anything about it! And Chris lived for about 5 months here in Montana last year… it’s not like we’re distant relatives!
I was delighted to learn the news, because Bob & I have been praying everyday for Chris… asking God to keep him safe, help him find happiness, help him be accepted into the nursing program he has applied for, and help some smart young female discover what a sweet. lovable guy he is – and give him the love and affirmation he needs and deserves. I know God listens to my prayers. I was convinced He would answer these fervent requests.
Then I learned in a text exchange with our daughter (Chrissy’s mom) this week that not only has Chris found a girlfriend, but he found her with the magic of the internet!
I tell you, friends, it’s a new world out there! Our young people have prayers answered by a very hip God Almighty! Chris has been communicating regularly with darling Natalia – using the wonders of FaceTime, no doubt.
Long Distance Romance
I am not an old-fashioned 80-year-old Grammy who objects to internet match-making. I figure this is a big world, full of wonderful people all over the place. The person God intends for us may not live in our part of the world. In the olden days, people didn’t know about some distant soulmate unless they happened to travel to that foreign land and happened upon them “accidentally.”
In today’s world, Match.com and other dating sites link people up from across the world. I don’t know if that’s how Chris met Natalia or not, but if it is, good for him! What fun!!
Cut the Distance
In today’s world, if you spend enough time seeing and talking to one another on-line, and the sparks fly across the miles, there will come a time when (if you can afford it) you want to cut the distance and meet face-to-face.
If you think I was shocked to learn that Chris has a girlfriend, imagine my surprise when I discovered last Thursday that the next day Chris was flying 6,000 miles to meet Natalia and her family face-to-face. AMAZING!!
No, that’s not a picture of them, but it IS a couple from the part of the world where they are… and I can just imagine that might be them!
I did a little research and found the city where he is… the only city in Colombia with access to the ocean. I can imagine how beautiful it is. I researched ten top things to do in and around Cali… and of course I sent my grandson an e-mail suggesting a few of them for the two of them. Silly me! Natalia lives there! Of course she will know the top spots! And she’ll be able to give Chris suggestions a whole lot better than this long-distance, inquisitive Grammy can! But, the Devil made me do it! Hah!!
What Will They Do?
He probably won’t take her salsa dancing… that’s one of the things I learned Cali is famous for. I restrained from sending him the step-by-step instructions on how to learn to salsa in five short minutes! But I did send a link to a hot night spot where salsa dancing is featured!
He probably won’t take her out to a bee yard, but this is a picture of a Colombian beekeeper – – – and after all, Chrissy’s Grampy is a retired beekeeper! Wouldn’t you think he’d want to teach her all about that part of his family heritage?
He’ll probably take her to a restaurant more than once. My guess is, that’s about as close as he’ll get to the idea of salsa. But who knows? He’s full of surprises these days!!
Chris will probably take a walk along the shore – and enjoy many beautiful sites. I’ve asked him to take some more pictures and share them. Do you think he will? I hope so!!
Where Will it Go From Here?
What happens next?? Your guess is as good as mine! I don’t know if the relationship is meant to go beyond wonderful FaceTime conversations and a memorable trip to see her face-to-face and meet her family. Only God knows. But, in the meantime, I am grateful he made the trip there safely; he sent us one picture; he shared with me what city she lives in (so my curiosity could be satiated); and he and Natalia look happy together.
Ain’t love grand? Do you have an internet love story to tell?
Stay tuned. I’ll let you know what happens next when I find out!
Have you ever participated in a soup exchange? I’ve been to several cookie exchanges, but today was my first soup exchange.
With most containers of soup, a recipe was provided.
This recipe was attached to a jar of soup ingredients. What a great idea… we get to dump it into 7 cups of water and make our own!
We got to take a quart of each soup home with us. And we had a tasting party before we left.
I brought this one. No way I could begin to give you a recipe. It had clam chowder, cheddar cheese, potatoes, onions, fresh crab lumps, garlic, etc. A menagerie that turned out pretty tasty!
We didn’t get a recipe for this “Barefoot Contessa Corn Chowder” either. But, it was deeelicious. It had big potato chunks and bacon in a creamy corn broth.
Here’s a recipe for a soup that was not present. Chicken Parmesan … I don’t have one of those new-fangled slow cookers, but I bet my old crock pot would work just fine. The ingredients sound wonderful. I am going to make this as soon as we finish up all the samples I brought home.
in addition to the soup recipes, our librarian (who organized the event) put together a packet that included these tips and tricks on freezing soup.
Love One Another
You may be wondering how this post fits my blog’s theme of “Loving One Another.” (Or maybe you’re not wondering at all.) Anyway, you know that one of the ways we show our love for one another is at meal time.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is an age-old saying that I have found to be quite true.
And a good way to show our love to our family and friends is to invite them to a feast. It’s an age-old practice.
We like to host pot-lucks for our friends in the “hood.” Everyone brings a favorite dish and we enjoy fun, food and fellowship.
At church, potlucks are a regular occurrence. I think I am going to suggest our church host a soup exchange one of these Sundays. But, I will ask people to bring their own quart jars to fill. Today we brought our soup assortment home in zip lock plastic bags. That was a bit awkward. But it worked.
I hope you had a joyful day, too. Tell me about it!
When Bob & I first moved from California to Montana back in 2006, I was a recently retired educator with over 30 years of teaching/administrating under my belt. I was not really ready to “hang it up.” You know, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”
So, when I joined the Friends of the Library and received a message from a young man who was seeking help to earn his GED (I think that stands for: General Education Diploma, but it might be Graduation Equivalence Diploma) … anyway, I was all in.
Zahid was a 19 year old from Pakistan whose English was sketchy enough that he had trouble understanding the questions, let alone knowing the answers. I agreed to help him with the English/Language Arts/History areas while a good friend worked with him in the areas of Science and Math.
His host mom would drop him off at our house at 7:30 AM three times a week, and after an hour of study, I’d drive him to his place of work, just five minutes away. During our hours together, one of my greatest challenges was teaching Zahid that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” He tried to bluff his way through answers. It was often quite amusing!
Once Zahid learned to say, “I don’t know,” and admit to needing help with the answers, we made great progress. He eventually passed and got his high school equivalent diploma. Hooray!
2.It’s OK to… Feel all the Emotions
Zahid tried to hide his lack of knowledge and his feelings of discouragement. He tried to hide his frustrations. He attempted to bluff his way through the quizzes. It didn’t work. When he learned to let his emotions show, when he opened himself to being “real” with me, we made great progress.
3. It’s OK to… have Bad Days
Life is not always fair. Even with hard work and the best of intentions, our dreams don’t always pan out. The first time Zahid took his test for the credential, he failed. Without encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, he might have folded. He might have said, “Give it up! I can’t do this!” But, we didn’t let that happen. His host mom and dad joined our Positivity Club – and together we helped “Z” keep at it, learn from his mistakes, try again, and ultimately pass.
4. Its OK to …Let Yourself Cry
Once “Z” passed his GED, the next goal was to pass his driver’s behind-the-wheel and written tests and get a driver’s license. He worked hard at it.
My husband, Bob, is a retire teacher. (If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know he also is a retire beekeeper. But before he went back to the family bee farm, he taught driver’s education and coached wrestling for nine years in California.) So, Bob was a natural to help “Z” get his driver’s license.
Once that goal was accomplished, the next step was to buy a car. Zahid had saved the money he earned working at the local grocery store. He had enough to pay for a good “starter car.” But the problem that emerged was that he had no idea how to take care of a car. That’s where the “It’s OK to let yourself cry” comes in. He burned up the car’s engine by not checking the oil, the water, etc. The tears were real! It was a sad lesson in the reality of truth #5…
5. It’s OK to …Ask for Help
Bob would have been more than happy to help “Z” learn the basics of car maintenance, but Zahid never asked. It was a tough, expensive lesson. But “Z” learned it. He asked Bob to help him find a new engine. He did… and “Z” learned to ask for help in car maintenance in the future. That car gave him several years of reliable service and actually made it from Montana to Alaska when “Z” moved there for better job opportunities.
6. It’s OK to …Make Mistakes
Looking back over our experiences with that young Pakistani, we know we made mistakes, just as he did. We backed off when we should have moved forward and been more assertive with him. He tried bluffing and exercising independence when admitting his lack of knowledge and asking for help would have served him better. But, he learned – and so did we.
As long as we learn from our mistakes, it’s OK. In fact, making mistakes is sometimes the ONLY way we learn. Knowing what doesn’t work helps us eliminate some options and seek better solutions.
Don’t try to have all the answers.
Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Be real. Let them show!
Don’t let the bad days get you down. We need valleys in order to appreciate the mountain tops!
Don’t hold back the tears. Let them flow when they need to. Let them cleanse you!
Admit your ignorance. None of us is an expert at everything. Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t let mistakes get you down. No one is perfect. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and move forward.
It’s OK to … select friends who lift you up, encourage you, and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
It’s OK to … BE one of those friends. Happy, warm, genuine. Even long-distance, over the miles, through cyberspace, you can reach out and be the positive friend others are seeking.
Just do it! It’s OK…
Thank you for your visit, your comments and your friendship,
I remember glimpses of my childhood – an Ozzie & Harriet family with Dad going off to work and Mom staying home…
I remember our small, sparkly white house on the end of Fig Lane in Newman, at the center of California’s hot San Joaquin Valley…
I remember sitting around the radio in the living room listening as a family to “The Cisco Kid” and “One Man’s Family” and “Inner Sanctum” …
I remember Dad’s three-tiered tulip bed and the day I picked a bouquet of them and got into trouble…
I remember being scolded, and as I stood there with a fist-full of the precious blooms saying to Dad, “I no pick the flaws… maybe Sally pick the flaws!”
I remember walking down Fig Lane with my sister, Sally, headed to P Street School wearing my Mary Jane’s…
I remember how proud I was of those new shoes…
I remember trips every September to San Francisco to get new school clothes: new shoes, a new dress, underwear, a sweater, a coat… the essentials…
I remember eating crab legs at Fisherman’s Wharf while I gazed at the boats coming in and going out of the harbor…
I remember my first plane trip, flying to Seattle to be with my mom’s family there when her mom died…
I remember Dewey Wright, my first true love, and the Valentine card he gave me in kindergarten, and how he chased me around the playground until I caught him …
I remember moving from that little white house at the end of Fig Lane to a house out in the country right next door to my Dad’s mom…
I remember the day my cousin, Billy, came to live with us – and how upset he was – and how upset I was when he tore our doll house apart and scattered our toys…
I remember dashing past a gobbling turkey who chased me to my grandma’s back door after school…
I remember my father’s tears when his mother died…
I remember moving out to that God-forsaken place twenty miles from nowhere to begin life anew, with Dad going into business with Uncle Igino and Uncle Melio …
I remember the smell of the Pacific Tallow Works that was about 150 yards from our house, and how impossible it was to close up the house tight enough …
I remember Tiofila and Engracia and Dalia, my sweet little Spanish-speaking playmates, whose mom made fantastic tortillas, and the day they were transported back to Mexico by some cruel authorities…
I remember crying for days when I heard Dalia had died on that trip back to Mexico …
I remember Manuel Ynzunza, his basketball skill, and our first kiss out behind the cafeteria … oh, the thrill of it…
I remember “Dimples,” my Cocker Spaniel who had four puppies – and the fascination of observing the births …
I remember riding a horse, unable to control it, and being pushed into a barbed wire fence, putting a gash in my right leg …
I remember how impossible it was for Mom to leave the office unattended to take me to the doctor (she was Dad’s secretary-bookkeeper), so she taped my gash closed and how it healed leaving a big scar …
I remember the day my Aunt Jean, Billy’s mom, came to take him back … how I was filled with mixed emotions, sorrow and relief …
I remember my mom’s older sister, Aunt Evelyn, coming from Washington to visit and bringing clothes my cousins had outgrown, and Mom spending nights altering them to fit Sally & me …
I remember walking at least a mile (seemed like five) to catch the school bus and riding for at least an hour (seemed like five) while we picked up other kids to go to Crows Landing Elementary School…
I remember Mrs Yetter, my third grade teacher, who was almost bald…
I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Ethel Horwedle, and how she wrote her cursive E, and how she let me sing to the tunes of the square dance records, and let me teach the class new square dance moves…
I remember Mrs. Marlow, the principal’s wife who was my 7th and 8th grade teacher… how she let me go during spelling class to help the kindergarten teacher (because, “You don’t need the spelling lesson,” she’d say after giving me a pre-test on which I always got 100%) …
I remember wearing an “I Like Ike” button and learning in 8th grade about each of his cabinet members as they were one-by-one appointed…
I remember Howard Thorkelson, our class genius, who got polio when we were in 8th grade and was gone a long time… returning in a neck and back brace for our graduation…
I remember learning to play the clarinet and doing so well that the band leader invited me to play with the high school band…
I remember being too small to fit into a high school band uniform, and having suspenders that pulled the pants up under my armpits…
I remember playing an accordion duet with Evelyn at our 8th grade graduation, but don’t remember Evelyn’s last name …
I don’t remember a lot of things, but I remember feeling cared for, and feeling like I could become whatever I set my mind to, and not realizing we were poor…
We actually weren’t you know. We had each other. We had love. We had everything.
I wrote this post back in February of 2012 as a new blogger. I decided today would be a good day to revive and update it, because it is as pertinent today (maybe even more pertinent) as it was eight years ago!
Work at Loving!
Like you, I want to be more kind, more loving, more at peace. In giving, we receive. Kindness is reciprocal. Peace of mind is a gift to those who live in the fullness of LOVE. But, in a world full of hate and devisiveness, illnesses like depression and the current Corona Virus, we have to work at loving and finding peace!
Very few of us have the privilege of finding a spot like this one where we can sit quietly at the top of a peaceful place and just breathe the clear air slowly.
Where can we find peace in the midst of our bustling real world?
Work to Find Time to Know Him
I schedule TIME each morning to be with the Holy Spirit. In my quiet meditation time that morning back in 2012, I stumbled upon 2Peter 1:2-7. The question that starts that scripture caught my heart. “Do you want more and more of God’s kindness and peace?”
I was reading the Living Bible, paraphrased – a large print copy that used to belong to my father-in-law. Gratefully, I inherited it when he passed on to his eternal home. This passage was underlined. Grandpa Beekman had double-underlined the next sentence, “Then learn to know Him better and better.”
Meditation and Study Time
My sanctuary time each morning is all aboutgetting to know Him better, and listening for His still small voice. As I study God’s Word, and get to know Him better, there are many benefits. The rest of this passage spells them out – and I easily connected the idea of “increased faith” with the reality of “increased love.” But there is a long pathway that leads to increased love (which equates to more of God’s kindness and peace). It takes plain old good, hard work!
2Peter 1:3 “For as you know Him better, He will give you, through His great power, everything you need for living a truly good life: He even shares His own glory and His own goodness with us!”
Study to Know His Goodness and His Promises
I have added the capitals to “His.” The Bible doesn’t capitalize it. For me, the word requires a capital case letter when the him/his is not just any old him or his, but the One HIM, our Lord and Savior, God. So, when I share in His glory and goodness, it is special indeed! The scripture doesn’t stop there, though.
2Peter 1, Verse 4- “And by that same mighty power, He has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings He promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us His own character.”
Wow! What a promise!! How can I attain such blessings? Some would say it is totally by His grace. I don’t have to DO anything. Just because I BELIEVE I am His “chosen,” I will receive all these blessings. Well, not according to 2Peter 1: 5-7. Read on!
Work at Increased Faith
“BUT, to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what He wants you to do.”
(That’s always a trick to discern what He wants me to do!)
With Patience, Put Aside Your Own Desires
“Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have His way with you.”
I am reminded of my oldest grandson, Mikey. He’s now 28, but when he was barely able to pull himself up by his mother’s apron strings and stand knee-high next to her, he would tug on that apron as she warmed his bottle in hot water on the stove. Sure he was starving to death, he would cry, “Paaaay-shuns! Paaaay-shuns!”
(Ah yes, we long for paaay-shuns even as we are barely able to verbalize a sentence!)
Walk the Path to Grow in the Capacity to Love
“This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply.”
Grow to love. Grow in faith. Work at it.
Take the path that has “exercise stops” along the way.
Exercise your goodness first – the goodness Christ has given you.
Then stop to exercise wisdom – the knowledge we gain as we study God’s Word and practice being more and more like Christ.
Next, exercise selflessness and self-control, the fruits that the Holy Spirit has planted in you.
Practice patience and gentleness.
Your next stop on the exercise trail is labeled “Gratitude.” It is there that you learn to be grateful for the gifts you have been given while you focus on the gifts in others.
Put On Your Jesus Glasses
When you put on your Jesus glasses, you see the goodness, compassion, and faithfulness of others as God sees them. When you put on your Jesus glasses and appreciate all that is unique and wonderful about others, you see them as God’s creations. You have exercised enough now to love them.
Love Takes Effort!
Love is a gift worth working for. Thank God, He has freely loved us long before we knew how to love Him back. But now we do! We are getting to know God better and better. Praise the Lord!
The Bottom Line
Yes, the bottom line is the key:
Love One Another.
What will you do today to demonstrate your love for others? Tell me about it!
One of the devotionals I read each morning as I sit in my rocker up in my beautiful sanctuary is “In Touch” by Charles Stanley.
The word that’s cut off at the bottom of that cover photo is “dependent.”
Yes, I am blessed to be dependent! I am dependent on God for my very existence. I am dependent on His scripture, the Bible, for my daily bread! I am dependent on others for my companionship and the fulfillment of my daily mission: to follow the leading of Christ.
What will you do to encourage someone else today? Pray about it and follow where God leads you with a receptive and obedient heart.
I promised a week or so ago that I would post pictures of the main plates at our Madison Valley Ranch “Food & Wine Pairings” dinner gathering. Zach, one of the coordinators, said he’d send his photos to me. I was so busy enjoying the meal and chatting with friends that I forgot to get my phone out of my pocket!
Zach didn’t send photos, but I recently received these from another of the event’s participants:
Anyway, a promise is a promise. I said I’d share the photos. Needless to say, they don’t do justice to the tastes and the ambience. I wonder when computers will emit food smells?
My child, you are worrying too much. remember who I am there is nothing too hard for me. You may not see it, but I have everything planned out for you.
Verse of the Day:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Each morning I begin my day sitting in this old rocking chair that Bob’s great-grandpa built. It’s up in the corner of my favorite room in the house – my sanctuary.
You can see Mornings with Jesus, my #1 devotional, on the chair in front of my “All Things Grow with Love” pillow. The picture above the photo of room is today’s page. My bookmark reminds me daily of my 2020 resolution: “Walk the Talk.”
Prov. 3:5-6 is the verse on that card. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. With it tucked firmly under my belt and in my heart each morning, I read the daily devo and write in large, fat letters the 2 to 6 words that are my “take away” for the day. You can see “SIMPLY TRUST HIM” is today’s message.
At the top of my devo page I write my plan for the day … the part of it that God directs to my angelic perch from His heavenly Holy Spirit’s leading. It helps me to “Walk the Talk” when I put my trust in what He has “up His sleeve.”
What are your plans for this beautiful Sunday? I hope you take time to pray. The Faith Step that’s partly covered by my bookmark in the devo picture says, “Recall the times when Jesus answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect. If you’re praying for something right now, don’t keep Him in a box. Expect Him to answer beyond your expectations.”
Go ahead. Listen for His leading. Step out confidently today with plans God sets before you.
Jesus responded, “ Didn’t I tell you that you would seeGod’s glory if you believe?”
Pray with me, “Thank You, Jesus, for praying with us and for us. Thank You for Your presence in our lives. Now, as we walk the talk, guide our feet where You want us to go today. Help us meet who You want us to meet. Whisper what You want us to say. Help us be who we were made to be. Show us what You want us to do as we walk in Your will. Amen”