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OOOPS!!


Ooooops! In yesterday’s post on “Waiting” I made a real boo-boo!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I was up in my sanctuairee this morning reflecting on the subject of waiting, anticipating the coming of Christmas – and I realized, Oh Lord, help me my God!! I mixed up Lent and Advent!! I said we had 40 days of waiting for the Christ Child during Advent! No, no, no… Lent is the 40 days of waiting for Easter, Advent is the 4 weeks before Christmas with 4 Sundays to celebrate the coming of the Baby in the manger. It might be the period of time the Wise Men followed the star to find the manger scene and present their gifts to the Savior.

But there is a mystery about the Wise men and their travel to follow the star. The wise men arrived after the birth. If they saw the star at the moment of Jesus’ birth, then it would have taken at least a few months for the wise men to arrive.

Regardless of the time it took the Wise Men to travel, since when did Nov. 27 to Dec. 25 equal 40 days?? Sheesh!!

The season of Advent is celebrated over four Sundays before Christmas
– this year, those Sundays are Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, 11, and 18.
The Advent season ends at sundown on Christmas Eve.
The end of Advent marks the beginning
of the liturgical or church year for Christians.

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

So, this season of “Waiting” is a time when my Jewish friends wait, too. They celebrate Hanukkah. The word Hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication,” which refers to the rededication of the temple after the Maccabees’ victory. They need to wait for that season to begin on December 19th. Hanukkah, (Hebrew: “Dedication”) also spelled Ḥanukka, Chanukah, or Chanukkah, also called Feast of Dedication, Festival of Lights, or Feast of the Maccabees, Jewish festival that begins on Kislev 25 (usually in December, according to the Gregorian calendar) and is celebrated for eight days. Hanukkah reaffirms the ideals of Judaism and often involves a festival with lighting of candles each day of the festival. Although not mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, Hanukkah came to be widely celebrated and remains one of the most popular Jewish religious observances. Hanukkah is celebrated from Monday, December 19 to Monday, December 26 in 2022.

The menorah is a symbol of Hanukkah. The menorah is meant to spread light to others. It is traditionally placed in a window,on a table or outside your door. Jewish faithfuls are supposed to light the menorah just after dark each night of Hanukkah.



As Christians, we pause and take time to put up our Christmas tree, decorate our home, our church, our community, and purchase the presents we want to give to our loved ones. Santa Claus has usurped the place of Jesus Christ as the central Christmas figure in many homes. It’s not Santa’s birthday we wait for and celebrate, however.

It’s not 40 days til Christmas! It’s coming sooner than you think… sooner than I imagined! We need to approach this season as innocent children… a Child of God … waiting expectantly. Focusing on the real Reason for the Season.

Jesus actually tells us to be like children and to come to Him full of faith and trust. The popular children‘s song “Jesus Loves the Little Children” reminds us that “all are precious in His sight” and no matter your race, gender or nationality, God wants to see all children come to Him.

Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Pexels.com



So, forgive my “Ooops!” from yesterday… and get busy, my friends. Finish up those Thanksgiving leftovers, and get in the spirit! And let’s look – as through the eyes of a child – at what Advent really means:

Thanks for visiting JanBeek and my OOOPS today!
See ya tomorrow.

Hugs to you and your loved ones!

By the way, I am missing the Bell Choir this year.
Our director, Jan Thomas, is moving from Ennis to Bozeman.
Tomorrow the moving van comes.
Keep her and her hubby in prayer, wouldja?
They are going to be sorely missed in our community.


We are WAITING for a new bell choir director to emerge.
Got any recommendations?

In the Winter Now


Jem Croucher, Poet’s Corner introduced to me today a new poetry form. Her blog beautifully described “In the Autumn Now” in an aaab rhyme scheme.

For those of you unfamiliar with those poetic descriptors, the aaab scheme means the first three lines all rhyme, but not the 4th one.

The fun thing about her last line is that it was the poem’s title and it was repeated in each of the four stanzas. Brilliantly done! (There are probably other rules to this rhyme form, like 7 or 8 syllables to create rhythm on each line… but I’m not sure I can do that! So will just go with the rhyme scheme and number of lines for now.)

I’m going to try my hand at this poetry form, but as you know if you saw my post yesterday, we – here in Ennis, MT – are “In the Winter Now.” Alas, our fall colors are buried under several inches of snow. Beautiful, but – oh my – too early for me!

From my kitchen window

October snow fell softly

The view from our dining room
Through the screen of my bathroom window –
Look up – can you see the icicles?

October snow – unseasonable
Way too early – unreasonable
Return of colors – unfeasible
In the Winter now

Lack of wind – delightful
Snow in clusters – rightful
Blue sky returning – eyeful
In the Winter now

Howling winds return – disappointing
Wind chimes play – enjoying
Returning storm looms – annoying
In the Winter now

Tasting falling snowflakes – purely
Venturing out in the snow – securely
Getting skis ready – prematurely
In the Winter now

Wanna try your hand at this poetic form?
Go ahead … give it your best shot.
It’s fun!

For a really good example of the form,
check out Jem’s
In the autumn now
It’s delightful!

Send your poem to Jem Croucher
She’d be delighted to hear from you.

Speaking of fun –
Look at that photo of us –
100 years ago –
Ready for winter!

Hah!
See ya later.
Stay warm.
Love, JanBeek

Slow Down!


I’ve been telling myself – and you – to have faith,
To step out in faith and begin a new journey.
I’ve been telling myself to lean in and listen
To what God is whispering to me.

Well, He has been telling me to slow down.
“Stop and watch where you are going.
Slow down and move more intentionally.
Sit in the boat awhile – enjoy how life’s flowing.”

Looks like I did that for awhile, right?
But then I stepped on shore, running –
Flitting from one spot to the next,
I didn’t stop to just enjoy the sunning!

In April I fell and broke a finger.
In June I tripped and bruised my knee.
And yesterday I fell over backward –
Needed stitches to the head – Woe is me!!

Not a pretty sight!

I was dashing from garage to house
Carrying groceries in three sacks.
I couldn’t see my feet, so missed the step,
Lost my balance, and fell flat on my back!

My head hit the hitch on the trailer
And gashed my scalp an inch wide,
Two inches long – requiring 8 stitches-
More hurt than my head was my pride!

So the Lord said, “Third time’s the charm.
Be humble and listen to me please.
Be wise about what you carry and where you step –
People can die with falls like these!”

Okay, dear God, I got the message!
Slow down and watch where you walk!
Carry with your good hand, not your left…
Eyes open, steps secure, mind your own talk!

I’m sharing this advice with you, friends,
Because I hope you are wiser than I.
I hope you don’t have to have three mishaps
Before you heed the warning and comply!

SLOW DOWN AND WATCH WHERE YOU’RE GOING!!

My Daughter#2, Laina, sent me this poem
after hearing this morning
about what happened:

Oh my! Remember this?
About a year ago…
Walked into the closing hatchback on our car!!
Slow learner I am!

Yes, indeed!
I need to slow down and watch where I’m going…
How about you??

See ya tomorrow (God willing)
Love,

JanBeek

Harsh Words of Jesus


If you’ve followed my blog for a while,
You know I attend church every Sunday,
And I usually try to take sermon notes.
As I listen, I try to record the message poetically.

Our pastor, Rev. Mary Grace Reynolds,
is doing a bold sermon series.
She’s asking our church congregants
to send her scripture that puzzles or troubles them.

This week the scripture passage she used
is from Luke 9:57-62. A weird one indeed!
I’ve often thought Jesus was rather harsh
with these two men who wanted to follow Him.

Luke 9:57-62

New International Version

The Cost of Following Jesus

57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”

62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Is Jesus saying
You have to leave your family
and forget your livelihood
to be a Christ follower?

Today’s sermon notes:

The mid-west mecca of modern architecture
Is Columbus, Indiana. Ever been there?
I watched the movie, “Columbus,” recently.
Jinn & Casey meet and share.

Ultimately the movie is about
Staying or leaving – choices we make.
Casey needs to go, but doesn’t want to.
Jinn convinces her to leave for her own sake.

Jesus may have been telling the men
To leave for their own sake.
Their situations were different,
But departure was what it would take.

Jewish burial rites have many parts:
Wrapping body, burial, dig up, burn, urn…
In this scripture a man wants to tend to his father.
Jesus prompts, “Come now and learn.”

We don’t know at what point in the rites
This man’s father may have been –
But it seems harsh for Jesus to tell him
“Let the dead bury their dead.” Such chagrin!

Another man wants to go back to his family,
But Jesus says, “Do not do an about face!”
This passage is all about priorities.
Jesus asks us to put Him in first place.

Love is not selfish, sinking in its talons.
Love is generous – love always is kind.
There often is sadness in leaving,
But when God calls, listen, decide, and mind!

Don’t get stuck looking back (like Lot’s wife).
You’ll become a pillar in your own tears and grief.
It’s all about priorities and obedience.
Hear God’s call and follow your belief!

Amen?
Amen!

What is it that determines your values and beliefs?

Perhaps Jesus was not being harsh with those two men after all.
Perhaps, like Jinn and Casey in the movie, “Columbus,”
He was telling them to leave for their own sake –
even though they didn’t want to go quite yet.

Sometimes God’s perfect timing doesn’t seem perfect…
… at least not at the time He jerks us out of our comfort zone!
But often, looking back, we can say, “Aha! Now I see…
God always knows what is best for me!”

Jesus’ words may seem harsh at first glance,
But He always has our best interest at heart.
I need to trust His encouragement to step out…
And what better time than now to start?

Go ahead … Step Out!!
Here we are with our pastor,
Mary Grace Reynolds.
Thanks, MGR, for a great sermon!

See ya on the road to success tomorrow (God willing)
Love,
JanBeek

Slow Down!


A beautiful, bright yellow, little bird found its demise this morning. Flying too fast, confused by reflections in our large kitchen window, it crashed into it. Sometimes birds who do that are just stunned, After lying on the ground a while, they get up and fly away. This one was not so fortunate.

There is a bird that looks just like this one
that is flying from tree to tree outside the kitchen window.
Obviously, it is looking for its buddy.
My heart goes out to the poor, lonesome one.

I am reminded as I see this little beauty of the lesson to be learned here:
SLOW DOWN
and
LOOK WHERE YOU’RE GOING!

If you’ve followed my blog this past month, you know I didn’t do that! I was walking too fast – and I was not watching where I was going. I caught my right shoe on the top of the (higher than normal) curb, and down I went! Fortunately, I caught the weight of my fall on my left pinky finger. Not my head or hip. Not my right hand. Not my face. It could have been so much worse. I have lots to be thankful for. But the message is clear. SLOW DOWN!

Photo by Song kaiyue on Pexels.com
Isaiah 40:31

But they who wait for the Lord 
shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

But, if you run, make it be in a safe place to do so… and keep your eyes on the road ahead. And when you walk, be purposeful. Look ahead. Be alert. When you wait, wait patiently. Pray for guidance. Listen. Be discerning. Be obedient.

I’ve got time for slow dances in the kitchen now. The Lord said, “Rest. Ice that hand! Exercise those fingers. Go to your occupational therapy sessions, and skip all those other obligations for now. Wait!”

OK, Lord. I am listening.

Are you listening, my friend?

Slow down! And have a safe, sane, and happy Tuesday.

That picture is a reminder of another time a year or so ago
when I was walking too fast and not looking where I was going.

Oh my… not a very fast learner, am I??
S’pose I got the message this time?

Have you??

See ya later –
Love,
JanBeek

Looking forward to a healed, useful hand again!

Here’s a wonderful song (I had not heard it before) about that message of slowing down… so true!

Expectations


Frank Solanki

in his blog titled

Marriage Is A Strange Equation

published yesterday, April 24, 2022,
wrote this poem:

Marriage is a strange equation where
You take 1 Person
Add another Person
You get a Couple
So far so good
Now you add 0 Expectations to it
And you get infinite Love
Mind-boggling!

I wrote to Frank saying, “Hmmm… zero expectations? How do you do that?”
He responded, “I guess we should try and reduce it little by little. Eventually, it will get to zero.”

What do you think? Do you agree that zero expectations = infinite love?

Bob & me on our 59th

I follow Frank’s blog along with over 22,700 other admirers of his poetry. If you will forgive me, I wish to rewrite his latest. It seems to me that marriage does not have to be a strange equation. It can be:

The Perfect Equation

Marriage can be a perfect equation when
You take one person
Add another person
And get a couple
Then you add the Love of Christ
Next place the Holy Spirit in the center
You add God’s expectations of compassion
Mix in the joy of respect and faithfulness
And you get unconditional, infinite love
Now, that’s Mind-boggling!

Celebrated 60 years in February

True Friendship requires the same equation!
Take one person, add another, stir in Christ’s love
Center the Holy Spirit between you and
Sprinkle generously with compassion and respect
Remain faithful to one another, and
Keep a confidential, active, listening ear
You get unconditional, infinite love.
Isn’t that mind-boggling?

If you were asked to create a collage of true friends who epitomize that equation, who would you include? Long-time friends, family, neighbors, church friends, internet friends, friends in heaven, those you haven’t met yet? Think about it! My collages below are by no means complete… but for starters:

Are you a reliable friend?
Do you see yourself fitting into the equation?
Does your collage of friends include
those neighbors who stick “closer than a brother”?

Marriage and Friendship
are related!
They both carry with them
great expectations!

Proverbs 18:24

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Knowing I was hurting physically because I fell and disclocated/broke my pinky finger, friends sent cards, delivered food, sent texts, called, and dropped by. Did I EXPECT such an outpouring? Not at all! But did it do the trick? You bet! Those friends delivered the cheer and encouragement that we all need when we are feeling blue or tired or sick or (as in my case) a little stupid and careless.

Knowing my granddaughter and I were hurting emotionally because she just learned of and shared with me the news of her miscarriage, friends called, wrote, texted, responded on my blog & on FB, and reached out to Hope as well. Did we expect such an outpouring? No! But was it helpful and appreciated? You bet!

Thank You – It does help!
Does God EXPECT us to do so?
Yes!

Hebrews 10:24-25
Let us think of ways to motivate one another
to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together,
as some people do,
but encourage one another

The Bible is full of expectations for us.
God expects us to lift one another up.
He commands us…
The greatest of these is
LOVE.
His last and final commandment:
Love one another!

Reach out to a friend today.
Reach out in love.
Do you do it because you expect something in return?
Of course!

My mom always told me,
“Whatever you send into the life of others
comes back into your own.”


(I’m sure she read that
in the Bible somewhere!)

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

Love & Marriage –
Go together like
a horse & carriage!


Who’s in your collage of friends today?
Tell ’em about it!


(
Share my blog with ’em!!)

Favorite Quote


Missed the prompt yesterday … so here it is a day late… or is it two days? Life’s been busy as we were packing and preparing for this trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota . Departure is at 5:55 tomorrow morning! But anyway, here’s my favorite quote. It’s what my mom always told me. But I’m sure it’s not original. Wonder who first said it?

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt “

What’s your favorite quote?

See ya later alligator

After while crocodile

Hah! Hugs from JanBeek

Bloganuary#18 – Books


“What Book Will You Read Next?” was the Bloganuary prompt yesterday. I was away from my computer all day, so I didn’t get a chance to answer it then. But here is my answer – a day late:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The book next on my reading list is Amanda Gorman’s “Call Us What We Carry.” Amanda is the young lady who wrote the poem that she read at the 2021 USA Presidential inauguration, “The Hill We Climb.” Her book of poems “captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing.” According to the inside flap of the book, “This book is a message in a bottle. This book is a letter. This book does not let up.” I loved Gorman’s poem for the inauguration message last year. I know I am going to enjoy delving deeper into her poetic prowess!

What book is next on your reading list?

See ya later today with prompt #19… stay tuned.

Love, JanBeek

Advice to Teenage Self


WordPress started a new program called Bloganuary each day they’ll give us a writing prompt. I’ll see if I can find inspiration in this new program – and share comments with some fellow bloggers I haven’t met before.

My 2021 blogs all began with my word for the year, “Embrace.” We had spent 2020 with the absence of hugs … and that was really hard for me. It was not difficult to think of a subject to embrace each day.

Our daughter, De, at age 19.

Now, let’s see what my life experience can do with these new daily prompts!

What Advice Would I Give to My Teenage Self?

I wrote a poem for my daughter, DeAna, when she was 19, married her sweetheart, André, and left us in CA to go live with him in his home country of Switzerland. My advice to her was wrapped up in this poem. It’s the same advice I would have given to my own teenage self:

I hope you are able to read that, dear blogging friends. And I hope you have been given (and can give in return) “Gifts Your Kids Can’t Break”

God bless you this New Year’s Day. May 2022 be a memorable year of many hugs and many blessings from Our Lord to you and your loved ones.

Please pray for my husband, Bob, who is in ER right now with congestive heart failure.

Love, JanBeek

Embrace Retards!


Ready to Be Touched

My high school buddy from the Stone Age, Doris, sent me a story today. It was written by a guy (no name available) who recalled an experience that stuck with him and changed him forever.

Did the title of this blog draw you in? Stay with me.

The story writer told about the way a young Downs Syndrome man impacted the hearts of all he touched. I was moved by the story – and decided it was too good to keep to myself. I hope it touches your heart, too.

Photo by Paul Efe on Pexels.com

Nicky’s Lesson for Us All

In 1979, I was managing a Wendy’s in Port Richey, Florida. Unlike today, staffing was never a real problem, but I was searching for a someone to work 3 hours a day only at lunch. I went thru all my applications and most were all looking for full time or at least 20 hours per week. I found one however, buried at the bottom of a four inch stack, that was only looking for lunch part time.

His name was Nicky. Hadn’t met him but thought I would give him a call and see if he could stop by for an interview. When I called, he wasn’t in but his mom said she would make sure he would be there. At the appointed time, Nicky walked in. One of those moments when my heart went in my throat. Nicky suffered from Downs Syndrome. His physical appearance was a giveaway and his speech only reinforced the obvious. I was young and very sheltered. Had never interacted on a professional level with a developmentally disabled person. I had no clue what to do, so I went ahead and interviewed him. He was a wonderful young man. Great outlook. Task focused. Excited to be alive. For only reasons God knew at that time, I hired him for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week to run a grill.

I let the staff know what to expect. Predictably the crew made sure I got the message, “No one wants to work with a retard.” To this day I find that word offensive. We had a crew meeting, cleared the air, and prepared for his arrival.

Nicky showed up for work right on time. He was so excited to be working. He stood at the time clock literally shaking with anticipation. He clocked in and started his training. Couldn’t multi-task, but was a machine on the grill.

Now for the fascinating part… Back in that day, there were no computer screens to work from. Every order was called out by the cashier. It required a great deal of concentration on the part of all production staff to get the order right. While Nicky was training during his first shift, the sandwich maker next to him asked the grillman/trainer what was on the next sandwich. Nicky replied, “single, no pickle no onion.” A few minutes later it happened again. It was then that we discovered Nicky had a hidden and valuable skill. He memorized everything he heard! Photographic hearing! WHAT A SKILL SET.

It took 3 days and every sandwich maker requested to work with Nicky. He immediately was accepted by the entire crew. After his shift he would join the rest of his crew family, drinking Coke like it was water! It was then that they discovered another Rainman-esque trait. Nicky was a walking/talking perpetual calendar! With a perpetual calendar as a reference, they would sit for hours asking him what day of the week was December 22, 1847. He never missed. This uncanny trait mesmerized the crew.

His mom would come in at 2 to pick him up. More times than not, the crew would be back there with him hamming it up. As I went to get him from the back, his mom said something I will never forget. “Let him stay there as long as he wants. He has never been accepted anywhere like he has been here.”

I excused myself and dried my eyes, humbled and broken-hearted at the lesson I just learned. Nicky had a profound impact on that store. His presence changed a lot of people. Today I believe with every fiber of my body that Nicky’s hiring was no accident. God’s timing and will are perfect.

This Christmas, I hope we all understand what we are celebrating. We are all like Nicky. We each have our shortcomings. We each have our strong points. But we are all of value. God made us that way and God doesn’t make mistakes. Nicky certainly wasn’t a mistake. He was a valuable gift that I am forever grateful for.

We are celebrating the birth of the ONE that leveled the playing field for all of us. God doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, republican or democrat, or black or white. He doesn’t care if your chromosome structure is perfect. He doesn’t care what level of education you have attained. He cares about your heart. He wants us all to love and appreciate the gift HE gave us on Christmas, His son, the Savior, our salvation. His Son that was born to die for our sins. To pay our debt. To provide us a path for eternity.

So this Christmas, let’s check our hearts. There is a little bit of Nicky in all of us and I suspect there is a Nicky somewhere in your life who is looking for the chance to be embraced. Thank God for that. Thank God for His perfect gift, Christ Jesus.

Merry Christmas!

Alice Paschal Nativity

Peering Down

Another of my high school friends, Kristy, sent me that sketch up there done by a 93-year-old friend of hers, Alice Paschal. What a wonderful rendition of that glorious Christmas Day! Like those two doves, my husband, Bob, and I are sitting in the rafters, peering down on that magical scene – marveling at the love Christ brought down to earth. Grateful for those who share His love in stories, words and actions.

Ready to Learn

May we all be like the workers in that restaurant long ago – ready to learn to love, learn to accept, learn to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable. May we learn to see one another through Jesus glasses, from the inside out.

I first posted this in December of 2020 … and here it is a year later … December of 2021 … and in many ways, we are more engulfed in the effects of COVID-19 now than we were then!

My New Years glasses

My resolution for 2020 was to “Walk the Talk.”
Little did I know when I created those
20/20 Perfect Vision glasses
January 1, 2020
what a challenge
that would be!

I posted the picture
of that little girl
in early January,
determined to talk less
and to do more.

Lenten Breakfast 2020

No Way of Knowing

I had no way of knowing when we celebrated the first of five planned Lenten breakfasts leading up to Easter that it would be our last. COVID-19 hit, our gatherings were shut down, and social distancing eliminated these opportunities.

Time

Time to read more,
time to think more,
time to reflect
on stories
like the one
at the top
of this blog.

I asked you, my WP readers,
“How will you spend
the rest of this 2020 year?
What will you do to
Walk the Talk
and
Show the Love of Christ
with those you meet?”

I asked you,
“Think about it.”

And here it is another year gone by,
still dealing with the effects of COVID-19,
and still asking the same questions.
still making the same requests:

And I still want you to know,
I love you.
I hope you have avoided
the ravages of the virus.
I hope you are well,
and looking forward to a
wonderful Christmas with loved ones.


Thanks for taking time to read
JanBeek.
I hope it inspires you.
Bee well!
Bee LOVE.

See ya tomorrow. (God willing)…

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