Trying to arrange for a trip abroad in this COVID world today will guarantee stress.
Today I used links sent to me by a friend who just returned from a trip to Canada and from our daughter who is planning to join us next week in London, and I tried to make the arrangements for the COVID tests required. Oh me, oh my! Can they make it more difficult?
Seems to me they are just trying to send us senior citizens over the sanity edge ridge into complete derangement!
Not only do we have to have proof of our vaccines, but we have to prove we tested negative within 72 hours of our departure from the USA to London. Then when we arrive in the UK, we have to have a test there within 2 days – and it has to be ordered in advance. We have to prove (before we leave the US) that we have ordered the 2 day test to be delivered to our place of destination in London. Oh bludder!! And none of these tests are free, of course!
So, I took a break from all that computer stuff and spent some time with a few friends… a great antidote to hysteria and complete lunacy!
Back at home, I let my mind wander as I checked out some of my favorite bloggers. That was definitely a stress reliever! I especially enjoyed reading:
Are you looking for ways to embrace stressing less? Here’s a helpful list I found:
I’m smiling now … just asked for and got that hug. It’s soooo good to have Bob back home again! He returned Wednesday night from his fishing trip in Alaska, and I was quite worried about him.
We spent a lot of yesterday at our medical center here in Ennis, trying to see how we can reduce his fluid retention, get his kidneys and heart functioning normally, and help him prepare for the trip to be with our daughter next week. See why I am posting EMBRACE STRESSING LESS ?
What do you do to reduce stress? Try playing this video in the background while you go about your next task.
“Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find much rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.”
“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
With the right attitudes, we can be young at heart no matter what our chronological age may be.
“12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You. Let those who love Your salvation say evermore, “God is great!”
Each day has its own personality. There will be happy and sad days. Some will be quiet and restful, while others will be filled with activity.
Some will be brimming with health, others will find you facing unexpected challenges.
But, whatever the circumstance, you can find moments of delight – and you can thrive as you see the blessings hidden – even in the worst of times.
This week I learned that my friend, Paul, who was scheduled to replace our wood floor (while we are gone next month on a trip to Europe) fell off a ladder and broke some ribs. In addition to the body aches, he was suffering massive headaches. So, the doctor took x-rays.
The x-rays revealed that Paul had a brain tumor! If he had not fallen off that ladder, there might not have been the x-rays to reveal the tumor. He had brain surgery yesterday morning. The report came that “all is well.”
I don’t know if that means the tumor was benign, or if it means they got it all and he will be fine. Maybe it means all three! But, I know Who has the answers… and I know He hears my prayers.
I know everything happens for a reason… and I know God is in charge. I am so grateful the tumor was discovered! So, I can EMBRACE GOOD CHEER!
I am grateful for the faith I have that allows me to behold life through the eyes of hope and positivity.
Colors are brighter, laughter comes easier, and the joy of simply being alive sets the tone for daily celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.
On this day of remembrance (9-11), may you – with love and reverence – embrace the good cheer of memories that cherish the family members, friends, co-workers, and tireless volunteers who have made a mark upon your life.
May those memories inspire you to live with such integrity, creativity, faith, and love, that one day the memory of you will bring good cheer to all who know you.
Be in prayer for those who are hurting. Be in prayer for all who are in danger. Be in prayer for all who live in fear.
Be in prayer for those who need happiness to knock on their door today.
You’re in my prayers. God bless you with good cheer!
Yesterday was a day to read, relax, and mind the advice of my Unity devotional… rest, recharge my battery, my whole being. I didn’t blog… but I took time to slow down and take breaks. I wasn’t totally alone. My friend, Julie, came by for a few hours and helped me empty my china cabinet in preparation for when we have to clear out all our dining/living room furniture to have the floors redone. Here is the inspirational message that asked me to “experience the peace and tranquility that rejuvenates me.”
Summer’s behind us Leaves are turning bright colors Welcoming Autumn
Quiet’s essential To hear the angels singing Rejoicing in God
Aloneness is grand If you realize one thing: You’re never alone!
Take time to wander An imaginary path Jesus by your side
Treasure the silence Embrace precious aloneness Feel the Holy One
“You know it, deep down- you’re not made for ordinary. Your life is meant to be an adventure, fueled by grace and inspired by big dreams to make the world a better place. But, stuff gets in the way. Whether it’s people who tell you to be practical, a version of a faith that keeps you small, or a few bruises that take you out along the way– we all have a longing to break out of the status quo and get after the life we’re meant to live.” – Bob Goff
That quote came from one of my favorite people in the world, Bob Goff, author of “Love Does.” He has a new website:
I may look like those bruises took me out along the way with that eyelid swollen and the bruise running down my cheek, but I am far from “taken out!” Instead I am thinking this is an “extraordinary” bruise from an “extraordinary bang” and I am blessed not to have suffered a concussion! My knock on the head is not stopping me from planning some extraordinary days ahead!
Likewise, the fires in CA and the flooding on the east coast and the hurricanes in Haiti and the war-torn people in Afghanistan may have stopped some people from feeling like they are living the “life we’re meant to live,” but such catastrophes cause us to also to thank God for our survival. They cause us to evaluate what’s ordinary and what’s extraordinary – what’s essential and what’s fluff.
Don’t look down and say, “Poor me!” Instead, look up, and thank God for the blessings that are still yours! That’s what I am trying to do today as I put a hot compress on that goose egg that still sits on my forehead – and plan for an extraordinary trip to England to meet our blogging friends, Derrick & Jackie in person, and to travel on to Switzerland to see our daughter and her family there. We haven’t been able to do that since COVID raised its ugly head. Waaay too long between visits with our DollyWolly!
As Bob Goff said, “Life is too short to just go through the motions.” Embrace the extraordinary! Be extraordinarily positive! Look at the bruises and the challenges – and remember, “whether its the people who tell you to be practical, a version of a faith that keeps you small, or a few bruises that … along the way,” they don’t have to pull you down. They don’t have to keep your dreams small. As Bob Goff says on his website and in his books, “Dream Big!”
What are you planning for your future that will keep you living those “Dream Big” ideas? Whatever it is, keep leaning on the One who answers your prayers!
The Fire Update in CA
Our son and his wife in CA still are safe from the Caldron Fire. They still are housing a family of 8 children and their mom who were evacuated from their home. They are living an extraordinary life right now, buoyed by all our prayers.
Our granddaughter in S. Lake Tahoe and her husband, Faith and Kyle, who were evacuated from their home, still are safely relocated for now in southern CA with their other grandparents. Today they received the gift of passes to visit Disneyland. It’s Kyle’s first visit there to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” The fire took a right turn just a mile from their house. Only God can control the wind! Answered prayers have saved their neighborhood. What an extraordinary God we have!
Continue to pray for extraordinary bravery and safety for our fire fighters.
Please continue to pray for Faith and Kyle and their neighborhood… and for Ty & Monika and their big hearts which are open to such Christ-like help for their friends.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow(God willing)
Stay tuned! And continue to be the extraordinary person God created you to be!
Today’s topic was chosen before I read Caralyn’s post today. After seeing what she shared yesterday, I decided I cannot say anything on this topic that would be more meaningful than what she wrote. So, I am reposting her message for you here.
One of the most special things in my life, is the fact that my best friend since literally birth, is my neighbor in NYC.
Truly. Neighbors. Our buildings are 157 steps apart, and I couldn’t be luckier to have my true blue — someone who has been with me through thick and thin, the most supportive, loving friend right there — it is one of my life’s greatest blessings.
Anywho – I was over at her apartment last weekend for a movie night. We ordered Chinese food, drank wine, it was truly like we were a scene out of Friends.
We watched The Last Five Years. A very obscure movie musical that, truly, only the “buffiest” of musical theater buffs know about.
But anyway — there was a line in the movie that literally made me stop and say…WOW.
Has that ever happened to you? Like something is just such a truth bomb that it literally stops you in your tracks?
Before I get to the big one liner, a little background about the movie: it’s about a couple’s marriage that falls apart. How uplifting, right?
But it’s scenes from when they first met, all the way through when the man leaves her, told in an alternating fashion from their different perspectives, him: starting from beginning to the end, her: from the end to the beginning….if that makes any sense at all.
But there was a line in his note to her, telling her that he was leaving…and he said, “I could never rescue you.”
And, I mean – wow, not only did that hit like a sack of bricks to the heart, but when I heard, I immediately thought – truer words have never been spoken.
This — this is exactly why I was single for so dang long. This is exactly why only now, have I embraced and welcomed love into my life: because I was not in a whole state, where I could bring someone into my life.
I was not yet at a place where I could welcome someone into my life as a woman who loved herself, had forgiven herself from the anorexia in her past, and freed herself from that shame.
And now — sitting here in an amazing relationship with an incredible man, I can easily say that the most beautiful thing in life, is to love and be loved in return. For so long, I feared doing just that, keeping people at arms length, not opening my heart, because I believed that my past made me unworthy of love. But friends, that is the biggest lie and bunch of malarkey that was keeping me from living fully alive. And though that makes me so sad to think about the abundant life I missed out on, I know that God was in control all along, and allowing things to unfold and bloom in the perfect timing.
Recovery is a long and winding road, and long after you put the weight on, you still wrestle with that inner voice shouting that you’re you’re not enough, you’re too broken, you’re unlovable and full of shame. I thank God everyday for drowning out those lies with His truth. Because that is the only way I fully healed: Him. . The fact is: no one can rescue you. No one can love you enough to get better. No one can do it for you, or want it for you: You have have rescue yourself. Or rather — you and Jesus – together – have to rescue yourself. But you can’t expect your partner to save you: that’s not fair to them, not fair to you. And that’s why it took me so long to get to the beautiful place I’m in today: because I had to do the work. I had to go through that long, arduous, and difficult process of believing that I was worth loving.
And the crazy thing is: it turns out that LOVE reaffirms all the healing truths God was whispering to me all along: truths that I was precious in His sight, that I was forgiven, that my life has value, but more than that: I was loved beyond my wildest dreams.
Love is truly the last step to a full recovery. It is the key that unlocks the freedom to live fully alive — the life of abundance that God created us for.
And it makes sense too, because God is love. And His love sets us free.
And, now – living in that freedom, I can safely say it is the most beautiful thing in the world. And dare I say, what we were created for.
So — The Last Five Years — just goes to show that God can speak to you even in the most obscure ways: reminding us of His love, and the beautiful journey He’s brought us through, and helped us overcome.
Maybe this is super cheesy, and yeah, it probably is. 😉 But reflecting on all this, just makes me feel super grateful for this man who makes my heart feel safe, seen and loved. I might not need rescuing, but it is a beautiful thing to have a partner who loves and supports you just the way you are.
What’s a movie quote or song lyric that has stuck with you?
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
So, since Caralyn has reminded us that “Life is vulnerability,” and “Love is truly the last step to a full recovery,” help me embrace these bruises and love the changing colors, ok?? Love your troubles away! Are they on their way to full recovery?
I dressed in yellow to match the yellow hew of the bruises yesterday (I’ve always loved the cheerfulness of yellow) and by this morning, the yellow is accentuated… maybe chartreuse is the color for this beautiful, sunny, blue-sky Saturday. ADD A LITTLE GREEN AND BLUE TO THE YELLOW.
Don’t you love it?
Caralyn wrote, “it is a beautiful thing to have a partner who loves and supports you just the way you are.”
And I couldn’t agree more. I am certainly grateful for my partner of nearly 60 years who told me I was looking better this morning! Oh my… better than what? Love me just the way I am??
Do you have big-hearted folks in your life? How do you recognize them?
This morning my husband, Bob, was driving to the nearest gas station on a new mower for the church that was donated by a big-hearted anonymous donor when the mower stopped. It didn’t have enough gas in it to get the two and a half blocks to the gas station.
He was stalled in front of the house of a lady we have known casually (she used to work at a furniture store in town). We didn’t know where he lived, but Bob recognized her when she came out and asked, “Can I help you?”
A few minutes later she returned from her garage with a gallon of gas for Bob to put in the mower so he could get to the station and fill up.
Yesterday our son, Ty, learned that a family of eight from his church had to be evacuated from their home. The Caldor fire is the one in El Dorado County, CA where we were concerned that Ty & Monika might have to evacuate, but their home seems to be below the fire line sufficiently for them to be “out of danger.” (We pray!)
Ty and Monika are such big-hearted people that they offered their home to the family while our son and daughter-in-law moved temporarily into their RV.
Now our concern is for our granddaughter, Faith. She and her husband are in South Lake Tahoe – and the fire seems to be headed for their neighborhood.
Our choir director/pianist for or church fell from the top of her steps leading into her garage a few weeks ago. She dislocated her shoulder and tore a bunch of ligaments – needing surgery. She lives about 40 miles from here – 40 miles from the nearest medical and physical therapy center.
Our big-hearted friends here in Ennis opened their home to her and her pup. They drove her the 50 miles from here to the surgery center – and back/forth to the major hospital over a couple weeks. Big-hearted people like them keep showing up in our lives. How about your life?
Today Bob was using the new mower to cut the grass at the church. We have ordered a mulching kit for it, but it is not here yet, so the grass was piled up on the sides of the mow strips as he cut the overgrown lawn.
Big-hearted friends who are members of our church offered to go and help rake and bag the lawn trimmings and take them to the dump.
It is that heart full of love that is big-hearted!
Reminds me of the story of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. If you will recall, when he reached out to the people in Whoville to help them, “His heart grew ___ sizes that day!”
Do you remember how many sizes?
That’s the key to being big-hearted… Reaching out to help others without expecting anything in return.
Whether it is with a gallon of gas or loaning your shelter to friends in need or taking a friend to their doctor appointment or providing food for a family who’s hurting or bagging lawn clippings, there are countless ways we can use our big-hearted generosity to make the world a better place.
Join me as we extend our heart to those around us…
and pray for those in need of food, shelter, friendship, health, safety, etc.
Life can feel downright discouraging. Life can feel out of control. The world is burning up here in the western USA And life is tenuous at best In places like Afghanistan and Haiti.
In the midst of this Devastation, what’s the word? It’s ENCOURAGEMENT
How can that be true? Where to find encouragement? Get out of this funk!
In tragedy’s midst Where can I find strength and hope? Circumvent sadness?
How can anything I do or say dent sorrow? Search within myself?
I live in such peace That I feel enormous guilt For prosperity.
What strength is in me To bring firefighters hope? To save Haitian lives?
People who have lost Their homes and their businesses Still have lives to live.
Can they get through this With their faith in God intact? Where’s encouragement?
At Bible Study We focused on Ephesians 6:10-20
The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Find hope biblically Look for encouragement there All is not hopeless
Don’t abandon faith. Let it bolster your spirits Encourage others
In our Bible Study, I was encouraged with this definition of joy:
This old church in McAllister, Montana is a treasure! The bell in the dome still rings, though the organ in the church no longer plays and the roof and foundation of it are compromised. It needs a lot of TLC.
Its history goes back to 1885 – when the land was gifted to the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1887 the structure was completed. It was transferred to the Presbyterian Church (where Bob & I are members) in 1952.
We (as a congregation) love this old church, and many of our members, their friends, and their grandparents or parents or children or grandchildren have been married or baptized there.
Preserving precious old churches such as this one is an ongoing responsibility. It is costly and time-consuming. Respect for what it was and how it served its community in decades past keep us loving those old buildings.
Here are a few others that are treasures in their communities. If only they could talk!
Dilapidated Sadly abandoned old church Is God still in there?
Matthew 16:6. In many ways Matthew chapter 16 is a chapter about the church. Jesus was the first to mention the church. He only mentions the church twice, and both times are here in the book of Matthew.
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “And I say unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is the first time that Jesus used the word church. He used the word church only twice, so it is good to know exactly what Jesus taught about the church. It may be that the things that Jesus taught about church are the things that are the most important to know about it.
Church is a place to trust in God’s promised presence ( Matthew 18:20) as we worship Him together, out of a sense of love and obedience ( Colossians 3:16 ).
When the church is functioning biblically, it’s more active and alive when the seats are empty, and the community is filled with those seeking to activate the gospel in love for each other.
Many of these old churches were also home to the cemeteries that bear the tombstones of its deceased members.
What a shame to allow them to deteriorate and collapse. But, who has the money for restoration and maintenance?
Weekly church attendance is down in our society today. It sometimes downplayed into a legalistic ritual. According to Pewforum.org, 61% of churchgoers attend to feel closer to God, while a sizable majority of non-churchgoers state they practice their faith in other ways.
Which is the right way? Modern society may beg us to believe the choice is ours, but biblical truth is clear about going to church.
Jesus Christ seeks in earnest to meet us on a day set aside to commemorate His defeat of death, to equip us to sustain our faith until He returns.
I am so grateful for my friends who sit in the pews with me every Sunday. Indeed, they help me sustain my faith.
Old churches remind us of the value placed on weekly worship in communities gone by.
Let’s all work to keep our churches vibrant, healthy, and inviting. Don’t let it become a place of ruin!
Oh the church in the valley Is a place I know so well… Listen to Jim & Jesse sing to you about it:
Do you have a little old white church in your history?