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Embrace Life


“To live in the hearts of those we leave behind is not to die.”

-Thomas Campbell

Today we are celebrating the life of my brother-in-law, Stan.
He gave us many reasons to smile.
He will live on in the hearts of all who knew him.

If you could write your obituary,
celebrating your life,
what would you want folks
to say about you?

Here lies __________________ (insert your name)
S/He was __________________ (insert an adjective)
We could count on him/her to ____________________ (what could folks count on you for?)
His/Her life was noted for ________________________ (what’s your legacy?)


Have you discovered how to discern His Will?
Are you asking God each day to help you do His Will?

How are you using your time today?
Time is our greatest gift.
Use it wisely!

We’re in Oregon with Bob’s sister.
Priceless time!

I am praying that you
have a Marvelous Monday!

Hugs to you.
See you tomorrow (God willing)…
JanBeek

Embrace Your Journey


The word “Race” implies competition when you “Run the Race.”
But life lived in competition rather than collaboration is a lonely one.
When I was an elementary school principal back in the 1980’s,
I wrote our school theme song using the California Poppies tune.

The California Poppies song went like this:

“Poppies, golden poppies, gleaming in the sun,
Closing up at evening when the day is done.
Pride of California, flower of our state,
Growing from the mountains to the Golden Gate.”

The words I wrote for our Caswell Elementary School in California were:

We’re the Caswell Cougars.
We are Number One!
Green and yellow banners
Waving in the sun.
Caswell is a place for
Learning and for fun.
We’re the Caswell Cougars;
We are Number One!”

One of my fellow principals objected to our song.
She felt I was in competition with her school.
I responded, “There’s room at the top
for more than one.
Come up and join us!”

As I have journeyed through this life,
I am going and growing.
I am understanding better
where my colleague was coming from.

Thirty years later I can look back
And I can see my competitive spirit
At work in that school song…
Unintended yes, but obvious to others.



If life is viewed as a race,
then there is room for only one at the top.
The race goes to the swiftest.
But a journey has room for many.

Hold my hand as we walk this path.
Pray with me. stay by my side.
Soon enough we will reach the mountain top
And when we do, celebrate with me.

Today Bob & I are journeying to Oregon
where we will join his sister and her family.
We will gather to give back to one another
The love we have shared on this life’s journey.

We will hear the echo of Bonnie’s husband
As their daughter and son speak of the ways
Their dad sent out, sowed, and radiated love
During his 86 years here on this earth.

As we travel today, Bob and I acknowledge
The grace of God that has allowed us to share
These six decades with one another –
And we take not one of those chapters for granted.

Stan Hunt’s chapters on earth have ended,
But we know his story doesn’t end here.
We know death is not an end to our journey;
It is a beginning of our eternal life – forever with our Lord.

We will share, hug, and weep for our loss,
And we will assure one another of the faith we have.
We know we will see one another in eternity.
We will continue the journey – writing our masterpiece!

Have a beautiful Sunday, my friends.
I send you my love
as we journey this life together.


See ya tomorrow (God willing),
JanBeek

Embrace Inner Strength


Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

“Why do we need compassion?
Experience tells us that it brings inner strength.
It also benefits others
and we face many unnecessary problems
when we lack it.

To understand this
we must develop a holistic way
of seeing the bigger picture,
which means we must use our intelligence.”

Dalai Lama@DalaiLama



Inner Strength brings peace
When we use it to create
Inner compassion

Then compassion brings
Inner strength when we use it
To show outer peace

Peace be with you, my friends.
Tomorrow we’ll be on our way to Oregon
to be with my sister-in-law
as we celebrate the life and memory
of her husband of 60+ years.

May your soul
Rest in peace, Stanley P Hunt.

And my dear WordPress Friends,
May your day be filled with peace and blessings,
compassion and inner strength.
God bless you!

Hugs,
JanBeek


P.S. May you find sweet peace that passes understanding.

Embrace Haibun


There are days when it seems harder than others to put on a happy face, don’t you agree? I don’t have a lot of those, so when I do, they usually are memorable.

I remember one such day when my dad was out of sorts. He was a business owner. Not the typical image of a “business owner” that comes to mind when you hear that description. His business was a Tallow Works. Do you know what that is? It’s a place that picks up dead animals from farmers and ranchers and meat scraps from butcher shops. All parts of those animals and scraps are processed. It’s a smelly business.

It’s devastating
Beloved animals die
Someone hauls them off

This is called a Haibun. It is a brief couple of paragraphs of prose, followed by a Haiku that adds dimension to the prose!

Oh, Lordy, Lordy!! My blog is supposed to share love, joy, peace, faith, and unity. How I got off on a kick of wanting to share various forms of poetry is all Dwight Roth’s fault! Blame him! He tried my Shadorma poetry and invited me to try his Haibun.

https://rothpoetry.wordpress.com/2021/04/08/on-fire/

But he can’t be blamed for my morbid Haibun and photo today. My mind just went there after reading a post by someone who was recalling a sadness from their childhood. That day when Dad and I went to pick up a dead horse sticks in my memory because the horse was a child’s pet. It wasn’t like one of a herd of beef cattle or some old cow that got into the clover field, ate too much, bloated, and bit the dust!

My experiences with my dad, riding with him on weekends as we went to various farms to pick up the dead animals, usually were not sad times. I treasured one-on-one time with Daddy, and I was happy to get that time under whatever circumstances! The death of animals didn’t seem morbid to me. It was just part of the cycle of life! You know – like egg to tadpole, froglet to frog!

But on that particular Saturday, the animal’s young owner was there, crying as Dad hauled her beloved horse into the truck and we drove away. The horse did not represent the cycle of life. It was too young, and so was its owner! That was a day when it was harder to put on a happy face, you know?

This weekend Bob & I are headed to my brother-in-law’s funeral. He was 86. He led a good life. He was a believer who knew where he was headed when he left this earth. But, he had just had a knee replacement – just a week before – and he thought he had a lot of years left to enjoy the greater mobility that knee would give him. However, it is not our privilege to count our days!

Dying is, indeed, part of the cycle of life!

“Everyone who lives
and believes in me
will never die.
Do you believe this?”

— John 11:26

S’pose that horse and sweet little girl will be reunited in Heaven?

It’s the life cycle
Beloved animals die
Are they in Heaven?

Bye for now.
See ya tomorrow –
God willing!

JanBeek

Embrace your Open Heart


No, not like open heart surgery!
It’s your open heart of love and compassion!
It’s an open heart, ready to listen and respond.

In Chapter 8 of Nehemiah,

“…all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.”

With open hearts, they “lifted their hands and responded, ‘Amen! Amen!’ Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord.”

Do you listen eagerly with an expectant mind and heart? Do you listen with a mind that genuinely wants to know more? If so, you will hear the Lord speaking to you when you earnestly pray.

Photo by lucas souza on Pexels.com


Yesterday I was encouraged to listen – to engage “ears that really hear” – as I bowed in reverence to God while up in my sanctuary. I was feeling badly that no one from our Beekman family was scheduled to be in Oregon next Monday for Bob’s brother-in-law’s funeral. Bob’s sister, Bonnie, lost her husband, Stan, last week. Bonnie has three brothers. Two are in California and plan to go to Stan’s burial later this month. It is scheduled to occur in his hometown cemetery in southern CA. But, we are here in Montana … and were not planning to attend either event. We had lots of excuses. None of them seemed to be holding water!

God spoke loudly and clearly to me
as I opened my heart
to His message
in the daily devotional,
In Touch,
by Charles Stanley.

“So many things clamor for our focus,
but nothing is as important
as what the Lord has to say.
He is worthy of our undivided attention.”

“Open your heart,” God said to me.
“Nothing is more important in your life
next week than to be with Bonnie.”

So we will fly to Oregon on Sunday. We will be there to demonstrate our open hearts of love for Bob’s sister and her family. We will not live with “If Only” in our hearts.

It will be a short trip. We’ll return here for those other important obligations on Tuesday… but the Sunday/Monday things can wait. God said “THIS IS MY MESSAGE TO YOU.” And He said it loud and clear. “Open your hearts. Open your wallets. Reschedule what you planned to do here. Find ways to delegate. You’re not indispensable here. Schedule your plane, rental car, and hotel. BE THERE!”

So, dear WordPress friends, if you don’t see a post Sunday or Monday, you’ll know why. How many consecutive days I have posted is not a number that is worth worrying about. Opening our hearts to our loved one who has lost her spouse… that’s the focus!

They were with us when we celebrated Bob’s 80th two years ago.

“Rest assured that whoever listens to God’s Word
with an open heart and alert mind
will receive from Him.”

Charles Stanley

I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;
He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me,
I will call on Him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2

If God can turn His ear to me
and respond with an open heart of love.
Who am I not to return the gesture?

Are you ready to
EMBRACE YOUR OPEN HEART, too?


I’m off to volunteer this afternoon at the medical center’s vaccination center.
Yay!

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Rising


Embrace your rising –
Overcoming differences,
Gaining Unity.

Embrace compassion
As you rise above hatred
And join Christ in love.

He rose from the dead
That we might be free of sin –
Free to simply love.

The occasion calls
For us to rise up with Him
In common purpose.

One in heart and soul,
We rise above pettiness
Gaining commitment.

We are invited
To rise up and overcome.
Embrace your rising!

Out from the tomb like Jesus…
Up from the grave like Lazarus,
Rise Up!

If Jesus rose from the tomb today…

Have a Blessed Monday!
I send you my love and prayers…
Hugs,
JanBeek

Embrace Emptiness


Lest our cup be emptied,
There’s no room for any more.
Lest we leave the empty tomb
We won’t know what is in store.

So, let’s embrace the emptiness
With gratitude and grace
Knowing that on the morn,
We’ll see the Savior’s face.

Meantime, in the emptiness
Of this quiet Holy Saturday,
Contemplate the miracle of His grace
And thank Him for coming our way.

Today we experience loneliness
Like the day after a loved one’s funeral…
But tomorrow we will understand
The gift He gave of Life Eternal.

God bless you, my friends.
I send my love,
JanBeek

Embrace Karfreitag


Embrace Karfreitag!
That’s German for “Sorrowful Friday.”
The same day named “Guode Friday”
in Old English back in the 1200’s.

I always wondered how it got named “Good.”
What’s good about the Friday when Christ died?
I’m more apt to agree with the Germans”
It’s a sorrowful day!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The Baltimore Catechism from 1885
says it is “Good Friday”
because it’s the day
Jesus showed his great love for mankind.

Matthew 27:46

And about three o’clock
Jesus cried with a loud voice,
“Eli, Eli, lema tabachthani?”
that is,
“My God, my God,
why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:59-61

“Joseph took the body,
wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
and placed it in his own new tomb…
He rolled a big stone in front
of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary
were sitting there opposite the tomb.”

Today is the day when Jesus seems gone.
Mary and Mary Magdalene
wept in front of the giant rock
that was between them and the One they loved.
Can you imagine their despair?

The reason I am embracing “Karfreitag!”
is because I think it would be a shame
to jump from Sorrowful Friday
to the joy of Easter morning
without sitting for a day
and contemplating the
sorrow that surrounded
Christ’s death.

Imagine yourself at the tomb.
Imagine the shock of finding
Jesus gone…
with the stone rolled away.

Tomorrow is called
“Holy Saturday.”
This is all that is written about it:

The next day the Pharisees
and chief priests went to Pilate.
“Sir, they said, we remember
that while he was still alive
that deceiver said,
‘After three days I will rise again.’
So give the order
for the tomb
to be made secure
until the third day…”

What would you have thought
if you had seen this scene
on the day after Jesus died?

Holy Saturday
is a day to pause
gather our thoughts,
process what happened,
and get ready for the
beautiful message
of Easter.

See you tomorrow.
Love to you,
JanBeek

Before you go,
treat yourself to this wonderful rendition
of one of my favorite hymns
by a phenomenal boys’ choir …
joined by the wonderful men’s voices
of the King’s College Choir.
You’ll be glad you did!


Embrace Help


Have you ever listened to someone for a minute and thought
“Their cornbread isn’t done in the middle” ??

My beef stew this noon needed cornbread to accompany it.

And the cornbread WAS cooked all the way through.
What does this have to do with Palm Sunday?
Sometimes I stew over the way the disciples
led Jesus to his demise in Jerusalem.

It’s rather corny to suggest that they
were half baked. But they were!
They didn’t have a clue about what
Jesus was about!

Even though he told them
He was going to die
and rise again in three days,
they were as clueless
as those peppers in my stew!

“Hosanna!” they shouted.
“Hosanna in the highest!”

Do you know what Hosanna means?
I thought it was an expression of celebration.
Nope, it means, “Help me!”
And that’s just what He did.
But, like half-baked cornbread,
they had no idea how He was helping them.

Today’s sermon notes from the message
by Rev. Steve Hundley at the
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana
was titled,
“Going Through the Motions”

Imagine a small church in a small town.
Imagine how the congregation is feeling down.
Their brothers and sisters are being slaughtered.
They’ve forgotten what Jesus did for their sons and daughters.

Imagine the preacher having just received Mark,
The book that recalls Jesus’ light in the dark.
The description of the first Palm Sunday
Leaves out important things that happened that one day.

Mark doesn’t talk about the presence of crowds.
He does write that some shouted aloud
“Hosanna!” but he made the folks sound mundane,
And he paints the disciples as being quite lame!

Abraham was asked what he thought of the telling.
He said he thought it was just what they were yelling.
“Hosanna” means HELP US and that is what
Jesus did as He told them He’d empty His cup
on the cross that day. Listen up!

He said He would rise again, but they didn’t understand.
We’re like that – just marching along with the band.
Help us this Holy Week to do more than go through
The motions to recognize what You had to do.

Lord, You’ve known the clamor of over 2,000 Sundays
When people wave palm branches as if it’s fun days.
Allow us to stop just going through the motions,
And instead prayerfully express our devotions.

You gave Your life on the cross, O Lord,
So that we might understand where we’re headed toward.
It’s not a deep dark hole for eternity without You.
It is Heaven with You – fully baked – clear through!

Help us, O Lord, to live this Holy Week
Fully alive – remembering You – the One we seek.
You are the bread of life – who died and rose again.
You’re the yeast in life who will come again. Amen!

EMBRACE the HELP
that only God can give.
Hosanna!

He came.
He lived.
He died.
He rose.
He will come again.

Don’t just go through the motions this Easter
EMBRACE the HELP that Jesus offers us
By His life, His teaching, His example,
And let your example be “baked clear through!”
Amen

Have a blessed week.
Love ya,
JanBeek

Embrace Proximity


Proximity
Is nearness
Space that’s measured
Feeling a treasured presence
Closeness

Tomorrow may be in heaven…
But there is a tomorrow for all Children of God

Movement
Closing in
Walking toward you
Feeling your loving care
Proximity

Bonnie & Stan
60 years of standing together,
Leaning on one another
Treasuring proximity

Movement
Closing in
Walking toward you
Feeling your loving care
Proximity

Dream
Embrace Proximity
We never know
How long we’ll have
Together


Bob & Jan
59 years and treasuring our proximity

Wishes
Are important
Dreams stay big
My wish for you:
Proximity

My sister-in-law, Bonnie, had the gift of her children and grandchildren’s close proximity yesterday as she dealt with the grief of separation. Hopefully they will ease the pain with beautiful shared memories. One of my other sisters-in-law sent me these pictures of Stan today. (If you follow my post, you know Bonnie’s husband died yesterday). I will post a few of Ann Beekman’s photos here so you can feel the proximity of this crazy family – full of joy and love for one another.

The Beekman/Hunt/Payne family guys
Stan clowning behind Bob & Bruce
Bonnie & Stan at a family dinner
Bonnie & Stan at our granddaughter, Faith’s wedding
Stan & Bonnie after an Hawaiian trip
A souvenir hat from Hawaii
Stan loved hats –
Guess where this one came from!

May the memories of my dear brother-in-law remain alive in our hearts
And the proximity of his character comfort and sustain all his loved ones.

What’s a favorite memory you pray
your family and friends will use
to help them remember you
when you are gone?

What photo will keep you in close proximity to them?

Here’s mine!

Stand by me
Lean on me
Embrace Proximity

See ya tomorrow
JanBeek

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