Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘nature’ Category

Let Beauty Fill You!


Let beauty fill you
Only lovely quietude
Calm reassurance

Take a walk outside
Look up into the big sky
Marvel at beauty

Appreciate home
Let its peacefulness fill you
Find a quiet space

You can find a spot
You may not have a big porch
But it’s a big world

This was CostCo Connection’s cover picture in today’s magazine.

I see God at work
Holding our world in His Hand
Helping us save it

Hold the whole world close
We have a global challenge
But God is in charge

Out of this chaos
A healthier planet grows
Creating beauty

Photo by Alexas Fotos on Pexels.com

You can find beauty
Right in the space of your home
Look in your kitchen

This is our daughter, DeAna’s, latest bread-making attempt.
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

She sent a video of this loaf. In the video, she was cutting a slice and then tapping the crust for us to hear how crunchy it is. We had fun using “What’s App” to exchange some beautiful silliness. Then I wrote this Haiku:

Listen to the crust
Crunchy and appetizing
Crackle’s Symphony

Beauty in the kitchen …
Beauty in the dining room …
Beauty is where you make it …
Beauty is where you find it.

Let beauty fill you!

Have fun with beauty on your blog! Have you tried the new “Block Editor” here on WordPress? They have greatly improved it – and made options (like colored text) so much easier to access. Thank you, WordPress!!

Bob brought me flowers yesterday.
I hope you have someone who loves you enough to bring you flowers.
I love you, dear WordPress friends.
Here are some flowers to add beauty to your day:

Make it a beautiful day!
Thanks for stopping by JanBeek.

Leave me a message
telling me about something
beautiful
in your world right now.

See ya tomorrow.

Four Ways To Overcome Fear


Sometimes this COVID-19 feels like we’re walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death,” especially when we see the staggering statistics from Italy and realize how quickly the virus is spreading in places like New York City.

A friend told me today he feels we’re living in a period akin to the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl era. Songs are being composed about it. There are thoughtful essays being written. Scientists are creating impressive graphs showing the statistics of known contagions to death tolls and analyzing the relationships to age and climate. Novels will be written that will be classics in the decades to come.

How do we live through this “Valley of the Shadow of Death” without fear?

There are the usual responses: pray, sequester and meditate, have faith, bury your head…

But, while I do believe in the power of our Maker, and I pray daily for the Source of all comfort to bring us healing and peace, there are a few other ways I keep myself FROM feeling the gloom that seems to be enveloping so many. You probably have a list of ways, too. I’d love to have you share yours with me.

Here are my four favorite remedies for avoiding the paralysis of fear:

  • Music – sing, play, or listen to uplifting songs on YouTube or XM Radio. I love seeing those folks on their balconies in Italy making joyful music together, don’t you? I just listened to Bono and Will.i.am singing a song they wrote for/to the Italians. Google it! Music soothes the soul and uplifts the spirit.
  • Write – as a blogger, you know how therapeutic it is to put words on paper, in a journal, on a card to a friend, or here on WordPress. Write about what keeps you positive and passionate.
  • Connect – on the internet or by phone, through a window or across a fence. I just installed a new app on my phone and iPad. It’s called ZOOM. Do you know it? The basic version is free. It’s like FaceTime, but it works on other platforms besides Apple products. My friends in California and Bob & I had a great conversation. It was like sitting across the table from our friends who are 1200 miles away from us. We miss them and it lifted our spirits to see and reconnect with them.
  • Walk – when the weather permits, go for a walk with your dog or a friend or both. I did that yesterday in our Lion’s Club Park. Yes, we practiced social distancing, but we could chat and laugh and encourage one another. It’s good for body and soul. And TazE loved it, too.

Do tell your dog he’s gotta walk, too!

Tell me, what ways do you avoid walking in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” these days?

What are your favorite ways of avoiding fear?

Thanks for dropping by.
Visit a while, okay?
Add your ideas below.
See ya tomorrow.

Pray & Persevere


Be sure to Pray Daily

Thank you that “before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4).  Thank You that there are no surprises with You. Help me find deep comfort in the fact that You are unshockable and nothing is too great, too terrible, too large, or too heavy for You. Help me see the problems that I face today in light of how big You are.  Amen.

Reprinted with permission from Max Lucado

So, the praying part is easy, right? There are folks like Max Lucado out there who can help us find the right words. Live in the faith that God hears – and He is with us – and it’s true: nothing is too great for Him.

But What About Perseverance?

How do we keep on keeping on? The Autobahn Assoc. shared this suggestion today:

“… talk about the power of birds, … this year they take on an even more powerful meaning. They enliven our days, brighten the trees, serenade in our backyards and city parks, and bestow us with so much joy and hope, all bundled together in feathers and lively personalities.”

Breathe in the calm of our feathered friends.
Listen to their songs!
Watch their deliberate and graceful movements!

A Cosmopolitan bird, the coal tit
Photo by Gerald Theurialliat

We can find such comfort by watching the activities of our fine feathered friends. See how they continue to sing their songs.

Check Out Other Resources

Besides taking lessons from the birds, there are countless on-line resources to help us keep a positive attitude and persevere. One such resource is Bob Goff at http://www.dreambigframework.com I love Bob Goff’s positivity and enjoy tuning in to his podcasts. You just gotta hear his laugh. It’ll make you laugh, too! Listen in as Bob and Scott talk about our response to the Great Shutdown this week on the Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff & Friends. 

In his podcast today Bob Goff asked us to “Hit the pause button. Step back and think about your life.” He asked his listeners to ask ourselves:

  • What opportunity has this Coronavirus-induced-shutdown given to you?
  • What can you do that in the normal routine of everyday you don’t have time to do?
  • How do you deal with uncertainty and ambiguity?
  • Where are you now and how are you feeling? Are you dwelling in fear?
  • What are your most important values and how are you exhibiting those during this time of world-wide crisis?
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Bob Goff continued to make suggestions:
1) Be sober about what’s going on.
2) Be picky about what you focus on.
3) Turn the volume down on the hype.
4) Limit screen time.
5) Follow the recommendations of the experts – wash hands, avoid crowds, stay home if you’re sick, etc.
6) Live authentically, remaining true to who you were created to be.

Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Who Were You Created to Be and Do?

Bob Goff quipped, “Introverts have been preparing for this for years!”

But some of us are not introverts. We’re having trouble hunkering down inside and having our jobs, our volunteer activities, our restaurants, schools and churches all closed to us. What can we do to remain true to ourselves and feel like we’re not just sitting around wringing our hands helplessly?

How would you answer the question, “Who were you created to be?”

I thought about it and decided:

  • I was created to “Walk the Talk and Live with Integrity.”
  • I was created to “Reach out to others with love and compassion.”
  • I was created to “Use the talents God gave me to make the world a better place.”

What is YOUR Purpose?

How can you persevere in the face of this latest shutdown – and the gloomy predictions that this could last a year and a half or more?

What talents has God given you that you can use to make your life seem worthwhile in the midst of these world-wide changes? Using those talents is a way to remain true to your purpose.

I intend to:
1) Continue to post a blog here daily with ideas that uplift and bring hope.
2) Write cards/letters/e-mails/texts/messages and make phone calls to friends and family.
3) Exhibit love, compassion, tolerance, empathy, and joy – spreading those as far and wide as I can. (See photo below)
4) Do something I’ve always wanted to do but for some reason have put off.
5) Keep in touch with friends on-line by playing games like “Words with Friends” (Scrabble) and commenting on their FaceBook posts while I post positive things there, too.
6) Pray and meditate and daily read God’s Word and devotionals, such as Guideposts and In Touch magazine.

Do you have a half a dozen or so things you can list as your intentions?

Maybe deliver flowers or food to a friend who is shut in?
Just call ahead and then drop it at his/her doorstep.
I did that today.

Tell me what you plan to do
to make the world a better place.

Bee Well!!
See ya tomorrow.

Write a Tanka


Photo by Talha R on Pexels.com

How do you write tanka?

The basic structure of a tanka poem is 5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7. In other words, there are 5 syllables in line 1, 7 syllables in line 2, 5 syllables in line 3, and 7 syllables in lines 4 and 5.

The Tanka poem is very similar to haiku but Tanka poems have more syllables and it uses simile, metaphor and personification.

Ah, so it’s not just the syllable count that matters. The subject matter has to involve simile, metaphor and personification. Raise the stakes!!

What are Simile, Metaphor and Personification?

  • Simile = Both similes and metaphors are forms of comparison that compare words in a sentence. They can be used to make your sentences more interesting. How are similes and metaphors different? A simile is a word that compares words in a sentence. You can usually tell if a simile is present in a sentence when you see the words as or like. Don ate his salad like a vacuum cleaner. His arms were weak and felt like noodles. The thunder was as loud as fireworks.
  • Metaphor = Like a simile, a metaphor compares words in a sentence; however, instead of saying that one thing is like something else, a metaphor actually makes one thing become something very different by renaming it. A metaphor can sometimes use words like is, are, or was (and other words) to signal that a metaphor is present. However, a metaphor never uses the words like or as to compare. The smoke was cotton balls billowing from the chimney. You are my hero. The sun was a furnace.
  • Personification = Personification is the act of giving non-living things human characteristics. Here is a sample of a short paragraph that uses personification to describe a house:

    Our house is an old friend of ours. Although he creeks and groans with every gust of wind, he never fails to protect us from the elements. He wraps his arms of weathered wood around us and keeps us safe. He’s always been a good friend to us and we would never leave him.
Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Which of those three does my Tanka below employ?

Jesus is a tree

Whose trunk is strong and stable

From it, we branches

Grow out of His love and care

And we bear His compassion

Is it a simile, a metaphor or personification?

Try a Tanka of your own. And have a Terrific Tuesday!

See ya later.

Sky Writing


The day began in wondrous splendor

With a sky of amazing hue

It carried on until the evening

Mixing gray with white and blue.

The sunrise was super amazing

Grab the camera! Catch the gleam!

Find the Angels in formation

Rays extend in glorious beam.

You might wonder at the Master

Who created all we see.

How’d He come up with these paintings

That He shares with you and me?

This is the scene from our friend Bernie’s hospital room.

Between feathers, Bob & nurses,

There’s a scene that can’t be beat;

Ain’t this a Super way to stay off your swollen feet?

Good night, my friends.
See ya tomorrow.
Keep our buddy, Bern, in your prayers.

Smile!


Let’s see a warm smile –
It will warm your heart and mine.
It reflects kindness.

Kindness is in you.
This is SO worth repeating –
Let your kindness out!

Like the morning sun,
Kindness can hide behind clouds.
The Son overcomes!

Look for openings
Where God’s Light can shine through you.
Kindness is SON RISE!

Happy SONday!
SMILE!!
I remembered SPRING UP
and turned my clocks ahead an hour.
Did you?

Time to get ready for church.

See ya later.

TN Tornado Update


Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers for the people of Tennessee who were so grievously affected by the 50 mile stretch of devastation in and beyond Nashville this week. My friend, Debbie, who lives in Nashville half the year, sent me this update this morning:

“Morning, Jan. What I didn’t tell you in the text was the immense response of the people of Nashville. Hands on Nashville, with 25000 volunteer slots, is full. People connected with houses of worship or no connection to anything other than this is home are pouring out of their comfort to help. People are showing up with strong backs (including team members of the Titans and Predators), chain saws, showing up with blankets (it was 29 degrees this am and no electricity in the tornado zones), showing up with ready to eat meals (son Joel is preparing 1500 meals each day), showing up with diapers, flashlights, batteries. Celebrities, including our beloved Dolly (Parton) and Taylor (Swift) and many others, have opened their checkbooks very wide, as have organizations such as the National Football League and the National Hockey League. In Nashville, as we did during the devastating flood of 2010, we show up. In Nashville, We Rise.

By Jon Haworth and Emily Shapiro March 3, 2020, 7:39 PM18 min read

Tennessee tornadoes kill at least 25

Tennessee tornadoes kill at least 25. More than 150 people were hurt and thousands of homes and businesses were flattened when the twisters hit in the middle of the night.

Thank God for answered prayer as more than 25 thousand people have stepped up and in to physically help the people devastated by this disaster! They are using their money, time, and talents to do what they can to alleviate the suffering and aide those in dire need.

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

God’s Angels

They are angels stepping in to lift the spirits, clean up the debris, and rebuild where possible. They are using their talents to feed the hungry (God bless Debbie & Steve’s son, Joel, whose place of business was spared. It had $50,000 worth of food in freezers and storage, and was only 1/4 mile from the tornado’s path). Now he is using those resources to feed the homeless and hurting. God bless him! He’s one of thousands of angels on earth… God’s hands and feet!

Use Your God-given Talents

I wrote this poem this morning while reading my devotionals and Bible and praying for help to arrive in Tennessee – before I saw Debbie’s update. It certainly fits the way folks are using their talents in and around Nashville right now.

Use Talents Wisely

God has given each of us
Talents that are unique to us.
Some are singers, others plow,
Others use their funds somehow.

Some are math-magicians – true;
Others are writers, just like you.
Whether science or literature,
Use your talents and be sure
They are developed as your own,
Gaining skill as seeds are sown.
Don’t envy others for what they do.
Use the talents given to you.

Moles must dig, and roosters crow,
Unique gifts they use and grow.
Likewise we must search and know
Just what talents from us must flow.

Like a poet who thinks in rhymes,
You might paint or prepare a pot.
Keep your eye on what you’ve got,
And never try to be what you’re not.

Mark Humphrey/APA woman walks past buildings damaged by a tornado,
March 3, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. Mark Humphrey/AP
View image on Twitter
One of several churches devastated by the tornado

Dear Lord,

In the wake of this devastation, give the people strength and courage. In the aftermath of death and destruction, give the people hope and tenacity.

We know this “ordinary day” in the lives of so many is not “ordinary” in Tennessee. The extraordinary natural disaster has left more than 25 dead, countless wounded, and thousands without home, church building, or business. Some have lost their jobs as the place they worked no longer exists. Please be with these people. Be with the loved ones of the deceased.

We look at today, grateful for sparing our lives, knowing but for Your grace, we might have been in the midst of Harm’s Way. We thank You for the miraculous way you saved people, like the teenage girl who was whisked in the gale up and out of her home and dumped under a pile of debris into her neighbor’s swimming pool!

We thank you for the rescue workers who pulled people out, for the hospital staff who are working overtime to save lives, and for all those who have stepped up to help by using their time, talents, and money however You placed it on their hearts to do so.

Help us hear, dear God, what You are asking us to do… besides pray. Prayer is a given!

In His Name we beseech Thee,

AMEN

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