Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Four Ways To Overcome Fear


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?

What are your favorite ways of avoiding fear?

Thanks for dropping by.
Visit a while, okay?
Add your ideas below.
See ya tomorrow.

What Can You Do?


So I went outside
The sky was crispy and clear
I enjoyed the walk

Fun in the kitchen
Resulted in a fresh loaf
Baked in Switzerland

Gorgeous scene out our daughter’s window
in Sierre, Switzerland
This bread looks great, but turned out a little dry.
Too much flour, DeAna said.
Top one is the original try.
Bottom one is beer bread.
Turned out just right
DeAna just sent me the recipe for the Beer Bread –
and here are the directions:
Try it!

Let’s let the bread cool
While we take a healthy walk
The hills are alive

That’s our daughter DeAna
and our grandson, Nicky

There’s a lovely view
From high up in the Swiss Alps
Above Rhone Valley

Climbing a mountain
May not be in your sweet spot
How about cuddles?

Aussie Quokka
Doesn’t this sweetheart make you smile?

You can cuddle now
With beloved furry friend
Or with a sweet child

My daughter-in-love, Monika,
with my great-granddaughter, Cosette

If bread and cuddling
Are not your favorite things,
Try this healthy meal!

Not into cooking?
You can trim your dog’s toenails
Or play with your cat.

Not Bob’s favorite chore!
And TazE hates it!
Photo by Alena Koval on Pexels.com

What else can you do?
Try turning on some YouTube
And dancing a while.

If the weather’s great
Go out and knock on a door
Leave some of that bread!

Be sure after you knock on the door,
you run away and hide.
Social distancing, you know?
And besides, be a go-giver anonymously!

What to do today?
You have a lot of choices.
Which one do you choose?

Thanks for visiting.
I’m headed for a walk with TazE.
Bob’s finished with her toes.
See ya later!

Who's in Charge?


The Power of Love

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.”

Just Love!

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 way my 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.

Hah! Sheep indeed…
But unique indeed, too.
Show your uniqueness today!!
  • 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!!

Just remember,
we’re not in charge –
God is!!

Pray & Persevere


Be sure to Pray Daily

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!

A Cosmopolitan bird, the coal tit
Photo by Gerald Theurialliat

We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.

Check Out Other Resources

Besides taking lessons from the birds, there are countless on-line resources to help us keep a positive attitude and persevere. One such resource is Bob Goff at http://www.dreambigframework.com I love Bob Goff’s positivity and enjoy tuning in to his podcasts. You just gotta hear his laugh. It’ll make you laugh, too! Listen in as Bob and Scott talk about our response to the Great Shutdown this week on the Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff & Friends. 

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?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

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.

Bee Well!!
See ya tomorrow.

Take Time to Smell the …


Take time to smell the flowers

Along life’s busy road

Their fragrance fills your senses

And lightens your heavy load

Flowers are companions

Like pups, our furry friends

Who give love unconditionally

No faking – no pretends

Flowers lift our spirits

In ways little else can do

Take time to smell the flowers

I’m sending these to you

Have a blessed day!
Take time …

See ya tomorrow

Memories of Childhood


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” …

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

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!”

Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

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 …

Photo by A.Revolution on Pexels.com

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…

Sally & me with our clarinets

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 …

This was my first accordion. It’s over 100 years old!

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 remember…

Where’s Your Heart?


Some of us wear hearts
On our sleeves or a necklace
Not on our forehead

But this little calf
Has her heart right out in front
Happy Valentine!

Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

Happy Day of Love
What are you planning today?
Treat someone special!

We have a date night.
Pray the snow stays at bay,
the wind calms down,
and we can get out of our driveway!

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thanks for checking in on JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow

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