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Archive for the ‘Life and Death’ Category

Best Laid Plans


Sometimes best laid plans
can definitely abort.
They did yesterday.

You may recall that
I was hoping to meet kids –
Yes, my great-grandkids.

And I was concerned
about my granddaughter, Hope,
at the hospital.

She came yesterday
with her hubby and two kids,
but I wasn’t there.

I ended up in
the Emergency Room…
A weird accident!

I misjudged the step
up onto the sidewalk curb.
Fell forward quickly.

My little finger
caught all of my body’s weight.
Dislocated it!

Sooooo…

I didn’t get to
hold my granddaughter’s hand –
or eat lunch with them.

Oh, what a bummer!
But my troubles are so small
compared to others.

Hope was expecting
our great-grandchild number 5.
Today she lost her.

A broken finger
pales in comparison.
My heart reaches out.

Yes, our best laid plans
can disappear in a flash –
or a careless fall.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

In your great despair,
keep thoughts always positive.
Let lessons teach you.

Slow down and beware!
Let your errs make you wiser.
No, never despair!

Know that Christ Jesus
is with you in your troubles.
Rely on His love.

Psalm 34:17-18

When the righteous cry for help,
the Lord hears and delivers them
out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

My prayers go out to Hope & Drew.

I look to the Lord
in whom my strength and healing
abides and helps me.

Pray with me today, will you?

“Dear Heavenly Father,
Be with Hope and Drew as they mourn
the loss of their unborn baby.
Help them understand Your will
and know the blessing of the two they have.
Be with me (Jan) and the finger
that needs to heal…
Provide comfort –
– and the lesson to be learned.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.”

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
and expressing your love
and concern for us.

I appreciate you.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)

101st Birthday


(Updated from yesterday with the link I promised)

My friend in our local senior living center is in his 101st year on earth. Next week he’ll celebrate another birthday. We want to have a special party … a wheelchair parade … with balloons and horns and a lot of hoopla. But he’ll have none of that. No siree! Just celebrate it with all the other April birthdays … don’t make no big deal about it.

But it IS a big deal! Don’t you agree?

Do you know how many sunrises and sunsets that is? More than I care to count! However, God bless him, my friend can count them all. His mind is still sharp as a rack. How does he do that?

I need to go ask my friend, Anita. She’s about ready to celebrate her 100th, and she’s sharp as a tack, too! Stay tuned. I’ll get the secrets from both of them … and I’ll share it here. I wanna get to be 100 and still have all my marbles in place, too.

I already know one of Anita’s secrets. Keep busy doin’ for others! She was a member of our Montana’s Senior Companion Program well into her 90s! Always out there “helping the old folks” by taking them to their doctor appointments, helping them get their groceries, shoveling their walks, you name it! What an inspiration!

Another senior friend of mine, Carol Orr, was in her 90s when this picture of her and me was taken. Like Anita, she kept her marbles polished and in place.

I asked Carol a few years after this photo
to share with me some of her life lessons –
and I posted a blog about that about a decade ago.
I’ll find it and give you a link tomorrow.

As promised, here is that link to Carol’s Life Lessons.
Hah! Time flies… it wasn’t a decade.
This link says it was only 3 years ago
– on Carol’s 95th birthday:
https://janbeek.blog/2019/07/28/95-years-of-life-lessons/

Meantime, I want you to ponder that 101 birthday coming up. S’pose he should have a parade just for him? Maybe not, if he doesn’t want it. But, shouldn’t we do SOMEthing special?

Paul Soren made a suggestion below. I like his idea. Don’t you?

Have a Happy Day, my friends.
It’s a beautiful, blue sky springtime day here in Ennis, MT.
Time to go plant some iris
in honor of our new great-granddaughter,
Mable Iris McSparron.

What are you planning to do today?

See ya later – alligator!!

Love, JanBeek

Be Not Afraid


Be Not Afraid
Easier said than done
Especially if you have
Bombs blocking the sun

Raising up prayers
For people in Ukraine
Seeing their dismay
Feeling their pain

Wanting to help
Feeling helpless and weak
Praying that our country
Provides the aid they seek

I can’t do much
I pray and I do what I can
To support the people
Do you have a plan?

Check out this possibility
(I hope the link works):
https://kingef.com/products/ukraine-glass-hummingbird-suncatcher—i-stand-with-ukraine—support-ukraine

I will hang this stained glass
In my window when it arrives
It will remind me to pray daily
For the dear Ukrainians’ lives

It’s a worthwhile purchase
It makes me feel like I am doing a little to help.
A portion of the sale price
Will go to recovery efforts
And another part of the money
Will help the artist rebuild her studio
When she finally is able to return home.

This song and prayer are for them –
The dear, innocent victims of this war –
I pray for their safety and their courage
For their lives and their ultimate victory.
Join me in prayer … and sing along:

Sending love and visions of HOPE to you
and to the people of Ukraine…
God, give them peace.

Love, JanBeek

See ya tomorrow (God willing)

Unbelievable!


What is happening to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters is unbelievable! My heart hurts for them. What can we do to stop Putin’s madness? It is unprovoked murder. God, stop this madness!!!

It is impossible to imagine why these atrocities are occurring. Pray for peace. Pray for God’s miracle to save this country and its people and stop the bloodshed.

What else besides prayer can we do? Donate to a trusted organization such as UNICEF or Presbyterian Relief Fund or Doctors Without Borders where we know the money will go to the intended targets – the people of Ukraine and the helpers sent there to provide aid.

These kinds of unprovoked attacks and deadly occupation have got to be deemed unlawful – a war crime – punishable in the world courts. Enough already!! Stop the madness!!!

What do you think we ordinary concerned citizens should do? What would help the Ukrainians the most?

This is all surreal. Unbelievable!!

Place of Refuge


“Any place can be a place of refuge if you have inner peace.”

My “Take-away” from today’s Daily Word

Reading Daily Word,
Sitting in my rocking chair
My place of Refuge

Feeling perfect peace
In my settled surroundings
I rethink my quote

“Any place can be
A place of peaceful refuge”
Really, are you sure?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’m not in Ukraine
I’m not hearing bombs explode
Where’s their inner peace?

Standing in the storm
As it threatens life and limb
Where’s a refuge place?

“The peace of God is mine to call upon always.”

Daily Word, Thursday, March 3, 2022

In the boat on a raging sea,
the disciples were afraid.
They woke Jesus and pleaded with Him.
Save us! How can you sleep through this?
Then simply by saying,
“Peace, be still,”
Jesus calmed the angry waves,
and the disciples were amazed.

“I take the lesson to heart, realizing inner peace is not about being calm in settled surroundings; it’s about standing in the tempest steady, strong, and centered in faith.”

Daily Word – http://www.unity.org

“If a storm rages in my mind or heart, I envision the choppy waves being calmed by the love and light of God [or the Holy Spirit] within me. As the sky clears, dark grey yields to vivid blue. Trusting the presence of God is in and through all things.”

Daily Word – “Inner Peace”
The Madison Range view from my sanctuary…
and my dining room…
and my living room…
and my bedroom…
(Yes, I am blessed!)
“dark grey yields to vivid blue.”

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace at all times in all ways.
The Lord be with all of you.”

2 Thessalonians 3:16

PRAY FOR PEACE!!!

Let’s think again about that “Take-Away” from today’s devotional:
“Any place can be a place of refuge if you have inner peace.”
Can it?
Is inner peace accessible to war-torn Ukrainians?
Is that PollyAnna thinking?

Who are those soldiers?
Did they survive?
Where is the baby who was in that stroller?
Do those soldiers and that baby’s parents have inner peace?
Where is God for these warriors?
Where is God for the man who is ordering this destruction?
Where is inner peace?
Where is their place of refuge?


Love, JanBeek

Lisa McCrohan “…so done with war?”


Done with War Aren’t we so weary of war? Aren’t we so tired of old men wanting more power and sending young men and women to fight and die in battle?…

Aren’t we so done with war?

Sunday Inspiration


Going to church on Sunday
Always gives me inspiration:
A theme to carry with me
Through the week with contemplation.

Yesterday was no exception –
The message was one of love,
With 1 Cor. 13: 1-13 guiding
My connection with Above.

Our pastor, Mary Grace Reynolds,
Delivered a sermon with finesse,
Alluding to the “Tragic Gap”
That has our world in a mess.

Once upon a time she was
A chaplain in a trauma center.
A man was all alone there
Where she was told to enter.

Her presence felt quite futile –
Comatose and unhooked from life-support;
But she gathered her wits and recited
The Lord’s Prayer, knowing his life was short.

He may not have heard her petition,
But then again, who knew?
Maybe that prayer guided him
To the Lord – and Life anew.

Stealing herself against dismay,
Mary Grace spoke with assurance.
“You’re a beloved Child of God,
And He has issued us insurance.

The pain and hurt of life
Can be a place of great despair,
But you can ask and receive
God’s Grace… it’s always there.”

Mary Grace assured us, too,
That God’s strength is ours to claim
As soon as we believe and
Ask for it in Jesus’ name.

Never doubt that humanity
Can be changed forever more
For the better – in an instant.
Just knock at Jesus’ door!

Don’t accept the “Tragic Gap”
As a place we have to be.
The cavernous space between love
And a world of hate – is not for me!

Lead each other away from
That place of despair and hopelessness.
Be assured, there is a better reality.
Lead on to the road of wholesomeness!

Amen?

In addition to the message of the sermon, I am inspired (sometimes to the point of tears) by the music. Yesterday the hymn that choked me up was this one – Pay attention to those words – they are powerful!

The verse that caught in my throat
was the one that made me think
of the #Bloganuary prompt
from a few days ago:
“How Are You Changing the World?”

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound in you, and you in me?

May your presence in this world
Be a source of peace and inspiration
To the people you encounter every day.
Close the “Tragic Gap” with your imagination!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I’ll see you tomorrow (God willing)

Our flight home was
long – but safe.


We are happy to be home –
and delighted to have the floors almost finished.
Also delighted to know there is a medication
out there to help Bob with his heart issues.


Again, thank you for your prayers!
(We await the insurance approval of the med.)
God bless you!

Hugs,
2Beeks

Embrace Scorpios


If my mom were alive today, she’d be celebrating her 106th birthday.
Born 11-15-1915, she was an Scorpio, through and through.

Do you put any stock in the Zodiac signs? Here’s what the internet reveals about people born October 23 to Nov. 21:

Scorpio

Scorpio is one of the most misunderstood signs of the zodiac. Because of its incredible passion and power, Scorpio is often mistaken for a fire sign. In fact, Scorpio is a water sign that derives its strength from the psychic, emotional realm. Like fellow water signs, Cancer and Pisces, Scorpio is extremely clairvoyant and intuitive.

What makes this water sign unique is its distinctive venomous sting. Like their celestial spirit animal, the scorpion, Scorpios lie in wait and strike when least expected. Life is a game of chess for these calculating water signs, who are constantly plotting several steps ahead in order to orchestrate an eventual checkmate. This doesn’t mean their intentions are necessarily nefarious. Scorpios simply know what they want and aren’t afraid to work hard and play the long game to get it.

This is one of my favorite pictures of mom and me. She knit my sweater and sewed the skirt that went with it. She fixed my hair so meticulously! Look at the little watch on my wrist. Don’t I look loved and cared for?

My Scorpio mom was not afraid to work hard – for what she wanted and for what she wanted my sister and me to have. As I mentioned in a recent post about self-confidence, she planted in me the firm belief that I could do and be anything I set my mind to.

November 1937

That’s my mom (Elizabeth) with my dad (Salvadore) at their wedding. They met on a double date set up by mom’s younger sister, Emogene. Later known to me as “Aunt Jean,” Emogene was Sal’s date and Elizabeth was matched with Sal’s best buddy, Joe Cabral. By the end of the evening the couples had switched partners. Two months later Sal & Elizabeth (soon to be known as Betty) were married. Yes, as early as 1937, Mom was a Scorpio who knew what she wanted and managed to get it (him)!!

Long before the word “Selfie” was established, Mom knew how to take one! Here she is in front of the bathroom mirror, capturing a shot of her new hairdo. Quite striking still even well into her 80s, don’t you think? She had flawless skin… very few wrinkles! But she didn’t spend a lot of time out in the sun either – and she creamed her face with the best of products morning and night.

To demonstrate how Mom was a Scorpio who embraced “Life [as] a game of chess … constantly plotting several steps ahead in order to orchestrate an eventual checkmate,” let me tell you a story.

It was a hot California Valley summer. The temperature in the kitchen was a few degrees warmer than the triple digit figures outside. The house had no air conditioning. Betty (my mom) was in the kitchen, roasting to death as she roasted a prime rib for a special birthday dinner for her daughter (me) who was home from college to celebrate with her parents. Betty needed a cross breeze to cool off the kitchen. She had asked Sal (my dad) many times to replace the stationary window above the kitchen sink with one that would side open. He had not done so. Frustrated with his lack of follow through, she decided to force the issue. She took a hammer from the kitchen tools drawer, stood back half way across the room, and threw the hammer through the window. How she avoided getting shattered glass in the food or on her or me was a God thing! But, needless to say, she had a cross breeze – and soon after she got the window replacement she needed.

How my dad stayed married to this crazy Scorpio is beyond me! He had the patience of Job! He obviously loved her spunk and her “incredible passion.” He recognized that she was “extremely clairvoyant and intuitive” – and he gave her a lot of wriggle room! Mom was a poetry lover, a whiz at mathematics (she was Dad’s company’s bookkeeper), and she was a winner at Bridge (I never learned to play it).

She was stylish and impeccably dressed and groomed – until her last days. It was then that I knew she was not long for this world… when I picked her up at her Senior Care Nursing Home to take her one afternoon to a doctor’s appointment and noticed she had her blouse on inside-out. I called it to her attention and suggested we go back up to her room for her to fix it. Her response was, “Oh, who gives a shit?!”

Now, that was not my real mom! Dementia had stolen her from me! The scorpion lost her usual sting and Alzheimer’s replaced he “calculating water sign” with something else… something nefarious. Instead of “[using] emotional energy as fuel, cultivating powerful wisdom through both the physical and unseen realms,” she became careless and caustic. It was not a transition I was prepared for. Dementia can do that, you know.

Here is Mom with me and my sis, Sally (who also had dementia before she died last year), and my daughter DeDe… during the a celebration of my brother-in-law’s birthday. (That’s his picture posted behind us.)

Mom’s flowered, Hawaiian shirt speaks of happy times when life was full of the days when she knew how to “work hard and play the long game to get [what she wanted].”

Happy 106th Birthday, Mom!

What’s your Zodiac sign? Does its description fit who you are (most of the time? some of the time? not at all?) … Tell me about it!

I am a Leo. Born July 24th, parts of this description that fit … but I hope I have matured in my Christian life enough to let the Holy Spirit round out some of the self-centered tendencies and make me more compassionate than this would suggest: “Roll out the red carpet because Leo has arrived. Passionate, loyal, and infamously dramatic, Leo is represented by the lion and these spirited fire signs are the kings and queens of the celestial jungle. They’re delighted to embrace their royal status: Vivacious, theatrical, and fiery, Leos love to bask in the spotlight and celebrate… well, themselves.

I was named Janet – after Janet Gaynor, the first female Academy Award winner. That’s where I get my ham! But, I am more than happy to share the spotlight… and celebrate YOU! Tell me about your sign!

Thanks for visiting.
See ya tomorrow (God willing)


Love ya,
JanBeek

Embrace Service


Did you serve in the military?
When you think of service,
Do you think of military service?
There are other kinds…

Today is Veterans’ Day in the USA.

It is a day to honor our servicemen/women.
Not all our veterans served with a pure heart,
Motivated by the desire to serve for freedom’s sake.
Some just didn’t know what else to do!

Now, that may sound a little sacrilegious –
A little disrespectful to some of you.
But, I know for a fact at least one
Veteran who served out of frustration.

Hey, Bob, were you ever in the military?
“I think so… 2 years, 9 months, & one day.
I was in when the Berlin Wall was built.
Thank God I got out 3 months early for summer work!”

So you didn’t serve out of love of country?
“No! I was told I could learn electronics,
So I went into the Nike Ajax Program.
Then I discovered it was cancelled!

I ended up learning nothing about electronics.
It was a sham. The recruiters lied to me.
As a clerk typist, stationed in Germany,
I felt trapped by the military system.”

You see not all veterans served in wartime.
Not all veterans have a heartwarming,
Grateful, fuzzy feeling about their service.
Not even those who DID serve in wartime.

So how do we honor our veterans?
How do we honor the families of those
Who sacrificed their lives for us?
How do we honor the clerk typists?

Here’s Bob – a handsome soldier,
But don’t let the smile fool you.
He was shuffling papers, typing orders,
And counting the days ’til discharge.

Some folks enter the military out of high school
Because they are at loose ends.
They don’t know what else to do with their lives…
Not ready to go to college, not sure of a job.

Those folks can end up making a career
Of the army or navy, the marines or air force,
And can be excellent servicemen/women.
Original motive aside, they serve with honor.

So what’s my point on Veterans’ Day?
I guess it is… don’t generalize.
Don’t assume all veterans served
To help preserve our freedom.

Look at the size of our military.
Look at the money spent in peacetime.
Look at those who served during wars.
Look at those who gave their lives.

Look at the whole picture of war
And military and fighting and preserving.
Honor our veterans, yes…
But what about the drop-outs?

I don’t mean to belittle Veteran’s Day.
There are people out there who
Served for patriotic reasons…
And they deserve to be honored.

There are families who lost loved ones
Who served to preserve our freedom.
They deserve our gratitude and love.
Yes, Happy Veterans’ Day!

God Bless America!
And God bless those who serve to keep us free!


Embrace Grief


Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Jesus began to weep.
So The Jews said, “See how He loved him.”

John 11:35-36

This week we attended the funeral of a friend who died while we were off in Europe enjoying life. My friend, Jeannie, was grieving while I was obliviously enjoying life. We attended his memorial service when we returned. Many tears were shed. He was dearly loved and will be sorely missed. Over the past decade or so, Bob & I enjoyed many hours of four-wheeling on our mountain trails with him.

As many of you know, if you have followed my blog a couple weeks or more, we visited Jackie & Derrick Knight while on our three week excursion. If you follow Derrick’s blog, too, you know he had just lost his dear mom… and he took a break from planning for her funeral in order to host us. We understood the sacrifice of time and emotion that this delay involved… and we appreciated it so much! It was good to hear later that he was able to facilitate a very meaningful funeral for his mum.

A good funeral
Shared grief in community
Be sad together

Lie down in green pastures

Read 23rd Psalm
Sing Amazing Grace with friends
Embrace your grieving



Engaging in the grieving process with a friend
caused me to do a lot of introspective thinking.
What if this was my husband?
How would I be handling this?
How could I cope?
Do I realize how blessed I am
to have had these 60 years together?
Do I cherish each minute
we have together
or do I take these blessings for granted?

1960 – at Bob’s sister’s wedding
1962 at our wedding
Us at our 59th anniversary last Feb.

Embracing grief also means embracing news that grieves us- learning to accept that news – and learning to give it to God. Last week we learned that Bob’s compromised heart & kidney functions are probably caused by “Amyloidosis.”

Oh my! Have you ever heard of that? It’s a condition that causes extra deposits of protein in your weakest organ(s). As I understand it, in some cases the weakest organ is the brain, so the extra protein gathers there and can cause dementia. In Bob’s case, the weak organs were heart & kidney.

The extra protein stiffens the heart muscles and causes them not to pump as efficiently. There are several kinds of amyloidosis. One is genetic. To the relief of our children and grandchildren, that one’s been ruled out!

Next week Bob will have a full body PET scan Wednesday and he will have a bone marrow exam on Thursday. The attempt is to rule out bone marrow Amyloidosis (we were told that version of it can be cancerous). So, the challenge is clear: Don’t grieve unnecessarily by worrying needlessly! Worrying about things over which you have zero control is a waste!

Only embrace grief when such sadness is called for! We weep when we see the depth of sadness in those around us. We all need space to be in our sadness. But don’t invite it! Don’t anticipate it! Take time for “good grief” when it is right to do so, just as Jesus seeped beside us when my friend’s husband died. But know Jesus is beside you, sharing your grief, but also fueling your hope.

Believe His power to create change.


Maintain your hope, dear friends.
When disturbing news is shared with you,
don’t imagine the worst.

Instead, give it to God,
knowing He is with you,
working for your good.

Trust in His Light
which shines in the darkness.

Turn to our Savior in prayer!


Lord, grant us the courage to open ourselves fully
to your word’s power and lean on your mercy.

Amen

Lord, thank You for sharing our suffering.
Help us channel our pain toward you.
Help us embrace grief when appropriate,
but focus on HOPE and Your MERCY always.
Amen

Do you have a prayer request that you are willing to share with me?
I’d be happy to pray for you.
Please add Bob and his situation to your prayer list.
Thank you!

Have a lovely Sunday …
and a Happy Halloween
🎃

Love,
JanBeek

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