I love reading Almost as much As I love writing – How about you?
As a teacher, Reading to my students Was my favorite time Of every school day.
Every day when the students Came in from lunch Hyper and excited, A good book settled them.
As a retired adult, Spending time in A captivating book Is like being in a candy shop.
But some of my friends Would rather color Or watch TV Or shop on-line.
How do you feel About books and reading? Do you relish a good read – Or would you rather garden?
Reading a good book Takes you to gardens And castles and wonders Around the world.
Reading a good book Increases your vocabulary And helps you soar To heights beyond your reach.
I’m not telling you Anything you didn’t know. So, tell me about a book That carried you skyward.
That’s me – reading “The Wing Ding Dilly” by Bill Peet to a 4th grade class in California. Their teacher, Mrs. Souza, invited friends on FB to ZOOM read to her class. I volunteered. You should try it! It was such fun!!
If you’ve followed my blog for a week or so, you already know that I journal most days in this little book that is dedicated to my dear and daring daughter, DeAna. I don’t write in it EVERY day, but often I do, when I am up in my sanctuary, motivated by my devotionals. Today was such a day.
Look ahead, my friend Live Life Forward Stare out the windshield Not the rear view mirror
Look toward the future Find the unexpected gifts Share the love and grace You find at every turn
Share the laughter Share uninhibited joy Share compassion Ease each others pain
Find the hidden treasures ‘Neath the tears of sorrow Let them wash you clean Ready for tomorrow
Look ahead, my friend Don’t let the past upset Live life forward And bury all regret
I have positive thoughts about today. It’s snowing here… and it is beautiful outside. It’s warm and cozy inside. I pray you are cozy, too.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek And thank you to all my faithful followers – Your comments make my day! See ya tomorrow.
No, I don’t want to go back! I don’t want to revisit the old normal. Surely as we move from 2020 to a new year, we’ll create a better normal.
This is my prayer this Christmas: Lord, help us learn what You have in mind for us to learn from this rare year we’ve just survived.
Letter from a Wordsmith
With his permission, I am sharing with you the first part of a Christmas letter I received this week from my former pastor, Rev. Brent Mitchell. He is a master wordsmith! He said what’s in my heart so much better than I could have said it.
“Mark it how you will, 2020 was a year not lost, but forever to be remembered for both its absences and its unexpected gifts.
By the middle of March, it became apparent that what we thought as normalcy had left its predictable confines for parts unknown, leaving no forwarding address.
Masked and gloved, we were left to fend for ourselves absent even the comfort of shaking hands or intimate conversations, the communion around tables, camaraderie of birthdays celebrated, the sacred closeness of hospital visits.
Absent of the humanizing connectivity, of those familiar and holy intersections, we were left to laugh alone, to cry alone, and hope in seclusion. It cost us treasures we never knew were so valuable and time that cannot be recalled.
“But admit it: There were unexpected gifts. There were letters we finally wrote, the books we never touched until now, the prolonged stillness that allowed us to think again, and listen to what our hearts were saying.
We talked to God because the hours got quiet enough to hear His still small voice. It happened because we watched enough TV to realize we had watched TV enough, and golden silence gave us gifts that weren’t insipid.
“I think, in short, that if we were paying attention, not only did we get older, but almost certainly wiser because even a painful awareness of what lurks in our hearts and minds is worth more than gold.
The gift was rediscovering at a visceral level that we really are never alone; nor in the absence of everyone, are we left unloved.
“My prayer is that when this is over, and it will one day be over, we won’t forget the things we learned the hard way this year: that God willing, we’ll never go back to the tired normalcy of endless distractions, of busyness as usual, and the noise that never ends.”
The Mitchell Musings December 2020
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I leave with you my hopes and wishes for a most Blessed Christmas.
On this day in the year 1937, Walt Disney’s animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was introduced to a delighted American public. My sister was one day old. I was born a year and a half later.
Yesterday I posted a poem about God whistling through the trees – and added some other whistlers to the post. Here’s one of my favorite tunes to whistle:
The drawings that created the animation for the movie were mostly done by Bill Peet. I met Bill Peet in the late 1960’s at a California Teachers’ Association Reading Conference. What a delightful man! Bill worked for Walt Disney as an artist most of his career. In his early 50’s, he retired from Walt Disney Studios and began publishing children’s picture books. This was one published in 1967, the year my daughter, DeAna, was born.
Have you ever heard of him? Are you familiar with any of his books? I think many of the more than 30 books he wrote and published for children are available today on Amazon Books… especially in the Used Books section. I don’t think any are still being printed. But, I should research that. His home page lets you see this creative author/illustrator: http://www.billpeet.net/
Many of my Bill Peet books were autographed. I bought them at the CTA conferences and had the author personalize them to me and put his signature on them. I have given most of those to my daughter-in-law, Monika, who home-schooled our four California grandchildren.
Looking at that list, I remember hearing Bill read to us “The Wingdingdilly.” I remember his infectious laugh. That”s such a cute story! Here are a couple of his books that I still have. All his books have a wonderful moral to them. Many of them are written in poetic rhyme. His wonderful sense of humor comes through, just as it did when he produced the drawings for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Another of Bill Peet’s books that I still have is Fly Homer, Fly – copyrighted in 1969, its pages’ edges are mouse chewed – don’t know how that happened – but not so bad it ate into any of the words! Homer is a simple farm pigeon who lives in an abandoned barn. Homer befriended a bedraggled sparrow who was blown by a storm into the barn. The adventures begin when Sparky, the Sparrow, convinced Homer to fly off to Mammoth City with him in search of Pigeon Park where every day was supposed to be a feast day.
And then on this day in 2020…
You just gotta try to find Fly Homer Fly… The pigeon & sparrow adventures reminded me of my youngest grandson, Chris, who arrived today in Colombia from Switzerland.
Yesterday Chris flew via Geneva – Madrid – Miami. And then he realized he had forgotten his American passport. He could not fly on from Miami to his next scheduled stop. So he had to go back to Geneva and have his brothers drive there from Sierre (a two-hour trip) to deliver his USA passport to him… and 52 hours later he finally got to his destination. Whew!! Can you imagine?? Might even beat Homer’s adventures!
I introduced you to our grandson, Chris, back in November of 2018 when he came to live with us for awhile and joined the Job Corps in Anaconda, Montana. Then COVID-19 hit and the government threatened to close the Job Corps centers that were run by the Forest Service. Anaconda was one of them. That was right about when Chrissy’s parents were here visiting. So, he decided to go back to Switzerland. He’s now studying to be a nurse. He met Natalia on-line… and I told you about their romance back in early 2019. Refresh your memory: https://janbeek.blog/2020/02/23/love-on-the-internet/
A Day to Remember
Our grandson will remember this day forever… and someday he will laugh about it with his grandkids, just the way his grandparents are enjoying the story today. It was a surprise to us that Chris made this trip! I hope you are enjoying the story, too… and like us, I hope you are saying a prayer for those crazy kids who choose to fly across the world in this COVID environment. Ah, love knows no barriers! God bless them!
And God bless us all. Bee safe this Christmas week, my friends. Do yourself a favor and go check out Bill Peet! See ya tomorrow. Keep your sense of humor alive. It’s vital!
On his blog, RothPoetry, Dwight posted this today,
“Today we were asked to write poetry from our book shelf. Bjorn, at d’Verse, called it found poetry. The challenge is to arrange and make a poem using book titles from our shelf, without changing any titles. I thought these were a very fitting group for the times we are experiencing. See what you think?
Money, Sex, and Power
The Brilliant Idiot
Dialogue with death”
So I thought it would be fun to take up the challenge and do my own “Found Poem.”
I’m OK – You’re OK
Faith is the Answer
Mornings with Jesus
Go to Dwight’s WordPress blog: see some other Found Poems. Take up the challenge! Go to your bookshelf. Share a Found Poem with me. Have fun with it. I’d love ❤️ to hear from you.
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?
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.
When the great Sufi mystic and poet Jalal-ud-Din Rumi died at sunset in Konya, southern Turkey, on December 17, 1273, he had composed over 3,500 odes, 2,000 quatrains, and a vast spiritual epic called the Mathnawai. Now with A Year of Rumi from acclaimed Rumi scholar Andrew Harvey, you will receive a hand-selected poem from this incredible visionary’s life work every day for the next year – that’s 365 poems from the 13th century.
Increasingly, Rumi is being recognized as the unique spiritual genius he is, as someone who is fused at the highest level and with the greatest possible intensity the intellect of a Plato, the vision, passion and soul-force of a Christ or Buddha, and the extraordinary literary gifts of a Shakespeare. Rumi is, not only the world’s greatest mystical poet, but also an essential guide to the new planetary spiritual renaissance that is slowly emerging from the ruins of our civilization. He speaks to us from the depths of our own sacred identity, and what he says has the electric eloquence of our innermost truth. No other poet or philosopher has Rumi’s almost frightening intimacy of address, and has conveyed the terror, rapture and wonder of awakening to Divine Love with such fearless and gorgeous courage, such humility and such unflinching clarity. “The daily poems have become a routine part of my morning, and they always seem to resonate with difficulties that I am currently facing. That means that each morning, I am given a few minutes to just consider the meaning behind my choices, the value behind what I care about, and ways to better love those closest to me. These few minutes have become a centering time of self-actualization.”You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.
One of the world’s foremost Rumi interpreters, Andrew Harvey began a life-long exploration and explication of Rumi and Sufi mysticism in Paris in 1984, with a group of French Sufis and under the guidance of Eva De Vitray-Meyerovitch, the magnificent translator of Rumi into French. This collection of versions of Rumi by Andrew Harvey contains some of the master’s most luminous verse, along with some of his lesser-read poems, with the aim of presenting a balanced view of his teaching that includes both the high-flying love of God and the rigorous path of discipline essential for those who seek it.
“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
“Whatever lifts the corners of your mouth, trust that.”
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
“Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop.”
“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.”
“In the blackest of your moments, wait with no fear.”
“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.”
“Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there.” Actual course participants share their experiences
“I just started my year of Rumi and it is one of the best gifts I could ever give myself!”
“Rumi brings me closer to God than I have ever been. I feel as though Rumi lives within me and I, him. I hope to find through this course that Rumi can help me let go and let God.”
“Rumi is the truth. The whole world it is in danger – how we can change that only by love? To love each other and not by words, but by actions. Love is the universal law. We live in world with no boundaries, no walls and no control. We are free and do not want to be controlled.”
“Have you not spent hours gazing at the night sky under a spiraling Milky Way in utter joy? Rumi must have done that. His oneness with All is everywhere explicit in this work.”
“Rumi messages are very spiritual and deep, sometimes it takes me a few days to get the real meaning, but the process is what is about to open up and seek deep within you.”
“Rumi has the ability to always connect with the Almighty, as if in tune.”
“I have found that every time I read a Rumi poem it immediately resonates within my soul, my spirit. I use to be in quest for the perfect Rumi poem; however, I have found that each are so loving and beautiful that they are expanding inside of me. The more I take them in the more they grow and the deeper the feelings of these gems go inside my soul, my spirit. There is a personal journey commencing for me and I find that there are few words to adequately explain what I am feeling but that of the feeling of joy.”
“I enjoy receiving the daily translations in my inbox, it delights my soul to relish in all that is Rumi. I have a greater appreciation for the simple pleasures of life because of his poetry. He inspires me to create not from the mind, but to feel and think with the soul.” About Andrew Harvey
Andrew Harvey is an internationally renowned religious scholar, writer, and teacher, and the author of over 30 books, including the critically acclaimed Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, as well as The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism, Journey to Ladakh, The Return of the Mother, Son of Man, and The Direct Path: Creating a Journey to the Divine Using the World’s Mystical Traditions. He is also coauthor of the best-selling The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. His work has been honored with the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Mind Body Spirit Award (both for Mary’s Vineyard: Daily Readings, Meditations, and Revelations, with photographs by Eryk Hanut), and the Christmas Humphries Award for A Journey in Ladakh. Born in south India in 1952, Harvey studied at Oxford University and became a Fellow of All Soul’s College in 1973. He is Founding Director of the Institute for Sacred Activism.
This article inspired me to look more deeply into this 13th century genius. My blogging. Writers’ Group friend, Lilie Allen (@ WordPress Tea, Toast and Kindness) often quotes him. I think this 365 page book of selected writings by Rumi sounds promising.