When I searched to see if I have used this theme of tenacity already this year, I found a link to “Tenacity Defined” written a couple of years ago … before I started the current “Embrace” series. So, I decided it was OK to use the theme again because I have whole different take on it now.
So much has happened in these last three years since that 2018 post. Among the defining “happenings” is COVID-19. Impacting my view of life has been the way in which the pandemic exposed some of our worst tendencies. The issue of racism raised its ugly head. (I guess it never really was hidden)… but … In spite of the tenacity of people who to this day follow the non-violent teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr., there has been an increase in violent crime – and especially racially motivated hatred.
I saw images of people of Asian descent being knocked to the ground, innocent little Chinese ladies being beaten, and people standing by observing these horrendous acts – and doing nothing to stop them.
Where does tenacity fit in to this line of thinking?
Jeremy Liew from Riverside, Connecticut wrote in Time Magazine this week, “The last year made me comfortable with being uncomfortable.” In his article titled, Newfound Empathy, he explains his discomfort, ending with, “I am still uncomfortable, but now I am confident. I appreciate who I am. I am grateful for what I have – my education and health, and my three annoying sisters.”
Jeremy’s tenacious attitude, at the tender young age of 13, does not come magically. He must have some role models out there who are helping him appreciate his uniqueness, and value his attributes.
The song’s theme of “Never Give Up” reminds me that change comes slowly, but it comes. Like MLK,Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech, we need to adopt that attitude of hope. Tenaciously hang on to HOPE. And then we need to live it! We need to be able to say, along with Jeremy Liew, “I am confident.”
In 1936, when she was a bride, transplanted from Washington to central California, my mom had a habit of cutting favorite poems out of the newspaper and taping them to a piece of cardboard. She hung that cardboard inside her kitchen cabinet.
It is now hanging inside my kitchen cabinet here in Montana. I treasure it… and I hold tenaciously to the lessons those various poems teach me. What a legacy, huh? The poem above was brought to mind today by Ann Koplow’s wonderful blog. She titled her post:
“Wouldn’t life be lots more happy, If we praised the good we see? For there’s such a lot of goodness In the worst of you and me.”
It takes TENACITY to look for and find the good in others. But it is so worth it!! I have a plaque in my dining room that reminds me of this fact. Here it is:
In that Time Magazine article, Jeremy Liew went on to explain, “I was uncomfortable being singled out for how I look (I am an Asian American Pacific Islander). A year ago, people looked at me as f I had COVID-19 or brought it to my community…”
Since when do we traumatize people because of the way they look? Since when do we marginalize them and make them feel inferior?
You say, “Since time immortal”??
Well, I say, “Well, It is time to make a change!”
As the song at the top of this blog says, “I will take a chance to be who I’m meant to be. I won’t let fear keep me from trying. It’s time for me to make a change. Start living the life I want. I’m gonna reach for the sky way up high. I’m never giving up. It’s up to me to see who I can be. Make change reality. I’m never giving up.”
Not only do I need to live the life I want and be who God made me to be, but I need to spread that message to others. Find the gold in them. Encourage them to be all that God made them to be, too.
One of my favorite bloggers is Cristian Mihai “The Art of Blogging” … If you go to his About page and read his explanation of who he is, you will see that it ends with these 4 lines:
“Sometimes I think I am who I am because someone has to be.
I believe it’s always strangers who ask the most difficult question.
‘Who are you?‘
I just wrote 1,500 words and I’m still not sure you know who I am.“
That last link is one of Cristian’s blogs that I think is so powerful that I told him he needs to bookmark it and read it when he is 80, because he writes about the trials of being a 20-something-year-old. He writes it now as a 31-year-old who has wisened beyond his years. He looks at life through very unique lenses. He is tenacious about passing along to others “The Art of Blogging” with the hope of improving us all.
The road to our best self is a long and arduous one. No one ever said it was gonna be easy. After all, we’re only human! But in our humanity is a divine core. We were made in God’s image. We are His Beloved. So, when I talk about finding the gold, that’s the core I am talking about.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Do you have something you are needing to do? Something you might feel ill equipped to accomplish? Or maybe, just not as strong as you thought you might be… and needing to take it one baby step at a time? Well, that’s where tenacity comes in. Start slowly… work yourself up to the full extent of your power … the power of the Holy Spirit in you.
Mom used to tell me, “Everything worth having is worth working for!”
I believe it. And that includes things like love, equality, unity, strength, freedom, peace, clarity, and direction.
One thought at a time. One step at a time. One act at a time.
Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. … Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
I went to our Madison Valley Cemetery this morning. The grave sites of veterans were marked by American flags. Many of the tombstones were freshly decorated for this important holiday. Come visit with me – and let’s honor the memories of our brave military ancestors.
The music at the end of this blog is so beautiful, you may want to scroll down there, click on it, and listen as you view the rest of this post.
Only in Montana might you find a gravestone decorated with a set of antlers!
The Daems memorial was especially meaningful to me. Doris was a friend of mine here in Ennis who was a faithful volunteer with the Women’s Club as well as the Madison Valley Manor and at the Medical Center. What a wonderful lady! Her 86 year-old brother and 90 year-old sister were there today to honor her memory as well as the many veterans.
It was a beautiful blue sky day. A memorial service brought many people from our area out to this beautiful cemetery today… an opportunity to honor those brave men and women whose blood was spilled on the battlefields so we might enjoy the freedoms we have today.
If you were given the opportunity to select the 3 words to go on your tombstone to describe who you are, what words would you choose? Gene Wilkins was known as “Doc” here in Ennis… “Healer” was a perfect word for him!
Two of my words would probably be “Mother” and “Grammy” – A third word would need to be “Wife” since that identifies 60 years of my life. Although I was a teacher, a principal, and a district office administrator for 36 years, I think I’d have to choose “Child of God” or “Friend” before I’d call attention to my professional career. But, I don’t know what I’d do if I had to limit it to just three. How about you?
Would you include “Hero” for a description? How about pets, would they be part of your cemetery memorabilia? I’d like an angel by mine… (my maiden name is DeAngeles – and angels are a big part of my world!)
Some of the tombstones were decorated in very special ways, but a simple stone flush with the ground with letters worn away by time and weather intrigued me a lot. Who was that veteran? Is his/her family still in this area?
Rest in peace, dear ones. May your service to our country never be taken for granted!
God bless you, dear friends. May your life be a long, happy one and may you leave a legacy that inspires your grandchildren.
My friend, Doris, sent me the anonymous story below today. It made me cry.
My blog is all about loving one another by spreading love, joy, peace, faith and unity.
Treating each other with respect, giving each human his/her deserved dignity is paramount!
We need to spread the word, support and embrace our Native American families – and help them live peaceful, healthy, productive lives wherever they choose to live. We need to help them get an education equivalent to any other American, and we need to STOP the discrimination.
We need to let every person – regardless of race or other personal qualities – work to achieve the “American Dream.” No holds barred!! Let’s do what we can to make this world a better place for ALL!!
Many thanks to “Dreamstime” for these lovely photos of a few Native American people:
Here is the “anonymous story” …
A white man and an elderly Native man became pretty good friends, so the white guy decided to ask him: “What do you think about Indian mascots?” The Native elder responded, “Here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing. “But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all. “Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks. “Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we are not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee. “No, we’re not looking at the American dream. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare. ~source unknown
Pray with me that the “American Nightmare” will end for our Native American people. Work with me in ways we can help.
These are legitimate places where the money donated is guaranteed to help Native American students. You may have other ideas for ways we can EMBRACE NATIVE AMERICANS. If so, I’d love to hear from you. It is waaaay past time for us to end the way in which these lovely people are downtrodden.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
Just as no pot created on the potter’s wheel Ends up looking just like another pot, And yet each is beautiful in its own way, So each of us beautiful – no one is not!
Something beautiful, something good – All my confusion He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, But He made something beautiful of my life.
Give your brokenness and strife to God. Let Him make something beautiful in you. Then share it – as only you can do – So others can appreciate their uniqueness, too.
Use your unique qualities to make the world a better place. Don’t judge others or turn them away because they’re different. Embrace them. Love them. Appreciate the way they add color to your world. Know God designed each of us intentionally … be reverent!
I love you, my friend. Thank you for adding your uniqueness to my world. See ya tomorrow.
“Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.”
No one wants to be thought a fool. No one wants to be seen as someone who lacks common sense. When we hear stories about foolish people, we say to ourselves, “Thank God that’s not me! I’d never build a house on the sand!”
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
What is our modern day “House on the Sand” story? Can you think of a typical story that demonstrates lack of common sense in today’s world?
Today is the day President Biden signed an “American Rescue Plan” – A stimulus package to the tune of 1.9 trillion dollars. Wow! Hopefully it will create the millions of jobs promised And give struggling lower-middle class and poor families a future. Does it make sense?
We need to renew our economy, no doubt about it. How do we find the “light in the darkness”? Are the acts of getting checks out and getting the vaccine out And into people’s arms steps in the right direction? Seems sensible to some – but not all!
Total COVID-19 deaths in the USA as of today: 527,726. Something needs to be done… no doubt about it. Are we on a sensible path to end the pandemic? Mobilizing thousand of vaccinators and creating new places – That’s sensible.
President Biden reminded us of the things we couldn’t do. He talked about the ways we have been divided as a country. His reminder of the way people are walking in fear today Was not news to any of us. We see and hear it every day. Divisions are not sensible!
When will things get back to “normal”? What’s that? What will “normal” look like when we come to our senses? Will we have learned the lessons this pandemic May have been sent to this earth to teach us? Let’s be sensible.
More vaccines manufactured is in the future, New tools to make it easier to get the vaccines, Confidence in the safety of the vaccines – Practicing CDC guidelines and being unified…. That’s good common sense.
But just as I was writing this, someone I love Wrote to me and said she would not be getting Her vaccine and neither will her husband. Why not? What is the sense in the refusal? Is my common sense and hers the same?
Seems to me that people who refuse To wear a mask or get themselves vaccinated Are living selfishly for themselves… Their purpose is not to protect others. Is that common sense?
Today is the one year anniversary Of this COVID-19 pandemic’s announcement. Sadly our nation and world are forever changed. We have lost way too many dear friends. It makes no sense.
Let’s build our future on the solid rock Of unified common sense and faith in our democracy. Let’s plan tomorrow with hopes and dreams That address how much we need each other. Embrace common sense!
For = before Give = before receiving Ness = before receiving give
N ever E xpect S atisfaction S imultaneously
Is there someone out there who has wronged you?
Have they treated you so badly, so unjustly, that you are having a hard time forgiving them?
Do you wish you could, and you’ve tried, but you just can’t find the grace to give them that satisfaction?
Do they deserve your unforgiving spirit?
Do they deserve a pay back?
Do you wish you could get even?
Would it serve them right!?
Serve them right if you never forgave them because they don’t deserve to be let off the hook?
Who’s caught on that hook anyway?
They may not even know they hurt you!
That happened to me once. I had a person who was a teacher in a different school. I used to be in the district office and now I was happily and obliviously back in the confines of my own classroom, loving every day with those darling children, putting those two years of district office administration behind me. It had been a tough time. Satisfying opportunities mixed with struggles to satisfy all the new teachers (K-12) who were required to come to my PETAL workshops.
P rinciples of E ffective T eaching A nd L earning
I enjoyed working with the new teachers, trying to help them be the best they could be. But, inevitably, you can’t please everybody, right? Not every one of them thought what I was teaching was useful to them. I probably rubbed some the wrong way. They’d prefer to be in their classrooms preparing for the next day, rather than being at a required workshop in “The Ivory Tower.” Do you relate?
No, they were not all smiles! But I did my best… and I got back to the classroom where I could interact daily with children as fast as I could! The District Office was waaay too far from children!
Then, “that happened to me!” A knock on my door at home one evening. When I answered it, there stood a teacher who had been in a series of my workshops. I invited him in. We sat on the sofa. He was nervous.
“I want you to know I forgive you,” he said.
I didn’t know I needed forgiveness. I didn’t know I had done something to offend him. I am sure my face registered shock.
“I have been harboring a grudge against you for two years,” he said. “I am going to a counselor for a lot of unresolved issues in my life, and my counselor said I need to resolve them.”
So he was in my living room, sitting next to me, letting me know I was forgiven.
I should have asked why. I should have asked him to explain what I did. But, I was too dumb-founded. I’m not sure I wanted to know. Let bygones be bygones, you know?
I just told him I was sorry for whatever I unknowingly did to offend him. I told him I held no ill feelings about him. Never did! I accepted his forgiveness. We hugged. He left.
That young man had been given the courage to confront his offender. He had been given the courage to let go. He had been given the courage to ask for forgiveness. My job was to accept it and to allow him to move on.
My job was to handle what God had given me… a clean slate in someone’s mind. A clean slate where there had been a dark smudge.
Don’t wait! Before receiving, GIVE! Give the gift to yourself… the gift of letting go.
“I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Thanks for following JanBeek and for coming to read and leave a comment today. You matter. I write for you. God bless you! See ya tomorrow.
These two little darlings exude happiness, confidence, pure joy… I can’t help but smile when I look at them. (I bet you’re smiling, too) I’ve been saving this photo for just the right time. Today is it!
In my devotionals this morning, I read an article by Brenda Wade, Ph.D. Brenda is based in San Francisco. She hosts a radio talk show, “Modern Love” and she facilitates trainings on relationships. Her article in the Jan.-Feb. Unity magazine, Daily Word, is titled, “Overcoming Racism, Healing from Shame, Opening to Love.”
“The love and peace we want to know in our lives begins inside of us,” Dr. Wade wrote. “This has been on my mind lately as I’ve dug deeply into … my work, leading anti-racism trainings.”
In her article, she went on to describe an incident in her life that deeply affected her self-image. She was only 6-years-old.
“One day at school, my classmates and I were told to line up two by two and hold hands. I extended my hand, but the girl standing next to me refused to take it. ‘I can’t hold your hand,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘My mother told me your skin is brown because it’s dirty.’ I was confused. My skin was brown, but it certainly was not dirty.”
It took years for that little 6-year-old to deal with the hurt. Her young brain just didn’t understand. She felt immediate rejection, pain, and the sting of shame. The notion that there was something wrong with her kept her from telling the teacher or her parents. She just carried that message of inferiority with her and it was reinforced by a high school principal who ignorantly expressed surprise that someone of her color could score so high on her tests.
It was further reinforced in graduate school when a department chair “was more interested in my race than my qualifications” – and as an adult when “a landlord candidly admitted he was denying me housing because I am African American.”
How does someone overcome such prejudicial treatment and regain the confidence that ALL PEOPLE deserve?
That is the question Dr. Walker deals with in her profession. She conquered it in her own life with “years of psychological work, spiritual practice, self-care, and healing.”
Dr. Brenda Wade wrote, “When we feel too hurt or afraid to let ourselves out, it becomes impossible to let others in.”
Embrace the confidence that there is hope and a future and a return of self-confidence when self-insight and self-love can be applied.
The pain of those early wounds go deep.
We know that we ALL have a responsibility to respond to one another in love, with compassion and respect, and to stand together hand-in-hand to obliterate oppression and prejudice.
Embrace that future with confidence and determination!
Yesterday during our ZOOM church service, our pastor, Steve Hundley, offered the following prayer. It is just what I needed to hear as I embrace with confidence the power of prayer and the belief that God hears, God cares, and God answers us when we cry out to Him:
“How many times in Your earthly ministry, O Lord, did You touch the fevered brows of those who were ill; or, the trembling hands of those who were afraid; or, the sagging shoulders of those bowed down in grief?
Walk among us now, we pray, and touch us for the same reasons… * Let those who are ill in body or in spirit feel the power of Your presence, and sense that healing is taking place. * We pray for all those sick with COVID throughout our nation and world… * Give those who are constricted by fears and anxieties a feeling of relaxation in Your grace. * Let peace flow over them like a river, carrying them away from self-preoccupation and into the openness of love and sharing… * Pour out the hope of Your resurrection upon those who are grieving the loss of loved ones… * May they walk the Emmaus Road with You and feel their hearts strangely and wonderfully warmed… * In the chaos and uncertainty of the coming weeks and months, give us confidence of faith in knowing that You are Lord of our lives and Lord of this world, and that You are working Your purpose out… * As Your children, O Lord, You know how often we recoil from those things that should not frighten or upset us in this world. Comfort us with Your presence, and teach us so to live within the disciplines of faith, so that, we are never without You.”
Embrace with Confidence, my friends, the knowledge that you regard all God’s Children as equals… and determine never to inflict on anyone the pain of rejection or the sting of shame.
As God’s children… Let us live as One. Let’s just walk around makng the world a better place! Embrace Confidence!