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Embrace Extravagance


What?
Embrace Extravagance?
I have to be kidding, right?

Photo by Kamaji Ogino on Pexels.com

Extravagance is kin to outlandish.
Extravagance means excessive.
Right?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wrong!
Extravagance doesn’t need to mean outlandish.
It can be thought of as abundance.

Extravagance is
Abundance of some good food –
Okay if it’s shared!

Extravagance is
An abundance of pure love –
Beautiful when shared

Extravagance is
The overflow of blessings –
Lovely gifts from God

Life is extravagantly wonderful!

When the night sky touches your soul,
When other bloggers touch your inner core,
It’s a sign of the extravagance of others
That keeps you longing for more

In his “Keys to Living Life”

Today, January 24, 2021, Rahul Gaur wrote a blog so powerful that I HAD to share it. First I tweeted it. I have never shared someone else’s blog by tweeting it before. I have reblogged a few. This one is so impactful that I need you to click on Rahul’s name and go to it. See it for yourself. It is extravagantly beautiful! Here are a couple of sentences that particularly touched me:

“The soul is the lost intuition
and the listening switch of your body.
When you need to see things beyond as they are,
to see things as they were meant to be,
you listen to the orchestra of your soul.⁣”

I listened with my soul to today’s sermon

Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana

Thy Kingdom Come

“Thy Kingdom Come” is
a political statement –
Except we believe
in a heavenly kingdom.

It’s not a worldly kingdom.
It is “THY” kingdom come.
Let God’s Kingdom reign,
Not MY domain – not MY will.

As a pastor, I am sometimes
Guilty of saying, “Look at me!”
I do the “my” and not “Thy” message
And have to learn to lose self.

We all need to learn to be
De-throned … and let
God’s Kingdom be the focus.
Peace, reconciliation & hope are God’s.

God’s Kingdom is not attainable
On our earth. It is not!
Utopia here in our world
Is not within our reach.

No earthly political order
Will ever be the Kingdom of God.
God’s Kingdom is like a seed.
It’s like a net in the water.

The seed one day will sprout.
The net will gather fish.
God’s work on earth is extravagant,
But the Kingdom is elusive here.

The Kingdom of God is at the door.
It takes eyes of faith to see
What lies beyond the threshold.
It is there though we see it not.

When we say “Thy Kingdom COME,”
We might more easily say GO.
Go from You into me…
God’s Kingdom lives in each of us.

It’s an awesome fact that
The Kingdom of God is in you.
We must not lose hope or faith
And we must not live in satisfaction.

Never be satisfied with what is.
Only when we submit to God’s Kingdom
Does it really COME. So care!
Care for the poor; release greed and pettiness.

It’s liberating to know when
We turn our lives and our futures
Over to our Extravagant God –
We’ll see His Kingdom coming into the world.

Amen?

“Listen to the orchestra of your soul.”
Rahul Gaur
Keep you ears open to soulful listening…
Thank you, Rahul, for your blog.
Thank you, Rev. Steve, for your message.
Thank You, God, for your Kingdom of Love.

Embrace Extravagance!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow

Embrace Calm


Let’s all embrace calm
Quiet our souls and listen
Hear each other’s hearts

Let’s all embrace calm
Be still and let minutes pass
In loving silence

Embrace calm with me
Sync your heart to the tick-tock
Of peaceful minutes

Embrace calm today
Reflect on the poignant words
Of Amanda’s poem

Anderson Cooper
Interviewed that young lady
Then posted a link

Many people wrote
Responded to interview
With posts like this one:

Replying to @andersoncooper and @TheAmandaGorman
“Awww I loved that,
you all sat and talked about poetry for at least 5 minutes.
So relaxing.
Probably the least stressed ya have been for 4 years.
Words have power for good too..
let’s rinse off the negative.”

Amanda Gorman’s Inauguration Poem:
“The Hill We Climb”

It was posted in paragraph form.
I am sure that’s not how she wrote it.
I have tried to separate the stanzas as she might have,
I am sure I don’t have them all right, but I tried…
and the poem is so beautiful that
even written as prose – it is downright gorgeous!



Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world,


When day comes we ask ourselves
where can we find light
in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry a sea
we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet
isn’t always peace.
In the norms and notions
of what just is isn’t always justice.
And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered
and witnessed a nation
that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country
and a time where a skinny black girl
descended from slaves
and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished,
far from pristine,
but that doesn’t mean
we are striving to form
a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge
our union with purpose.
To compose a country
committed to all cultures, colors,
characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes
not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide
because we know to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone
shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to her own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade,
but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb if only we dare.
It’s because being American
is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a forest that would shatter
our nation rather than share it.
Would destroy our country
if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy
can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust
for while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared it at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour,
but within it, we found the power
to author a new chapter,
to offer hope and laughter
to ourselves so while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert, how could catastrophe
possibly prevail over us?

We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be a country
that is bruised, but whole,
benevolent, but bold,
fierce, and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction
and inertia will be the inheritance
of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
if we merge mercy with might
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright.

So let us leave behind
a country better than one we were left.
With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest
we will raise this wounded world
into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the West.
We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the Lake Rim cities
of the Midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked South.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
in every known nook of our nation,
in every corner called our country
our people diverse and beautiful
will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes,
we step out of the shade
aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light.
If only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

-Amanda Gorman,
USA national poet laureate

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

Let’s embrace calm –
and be brave enough
in our calmness
to “step out of the shade
aflame and unafraid…”

Ready to join the cause of unity and peace.
Ready to work for social and racial equality.
Ready to do our part to make the world
a better place.

Love to you,
JanBeek

Embrace One Another


My word for 2021 is “Embrace.”
Each day during my devotional time,
I am prompted with a word or two
that tells me what to embrace today.
Yesterday it was “Silence.”
Did you miss me?
I was silent.
No blog.

Today
I am prompted to say,
“Embrace One Another.”
You may be thinking, “But…
How can we embrace one another
in the midst of this pandemic
when Social Distancing
is required?”
How?

Is there someone in your life
that you can hug like that today?

However,
I am afraid that
many people will respond,
“No, I can’t hug anyone like that right now.”
So, are there other ways to “Embrace One Another”
besides hugging? Think about that!
What can you do?
Write!

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

You embrace me when you
embrace my ideas,
respond to my post,
send me a text,
smile at me,
affirm
me.

How can I embrace you
without being able
to come close and
hug you tight?
I’ll pray for you
and text you.
Respond.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Send me a picture of a flower
e-mail jan@janbeek.blog
Send me a comment
telling me that
you do care!
Embrace.
Now!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thanks for visiting my blog today.
Will you take the next step?
Embrace One Another.
Embrace me!
God Bless
You!

See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

Cute Puppies


Found on FaceBook – so cute!
Happy Puppy
This is our Boston, TazE, when we first got her.
She is now ten years old!

I just needed a diversion today
away from politics and religion
and anything serious.
So, I decided puppies
were a great way
to get my head cleared
and put a smile on my face.
Don’t you agree?
A little dab of puppy
does it!

Today at d’Verse, De Jackson, asked us to write a Quadrille poem (exactly 44 words) with the word dab in it.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com
Photo by Samson Katt on Pexels.com
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com
Photo by Sam Lion on Pexels.com

How about you?
Do you have a favorite pup picture to cheer me?
Or a favorite puppy story?
Time to share!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow.

One With Us


Sermon Notes from today’s ZOOM worship service
of the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Delivered by Rev. Steve Hundley
Poetic notes taken by JanBeek

One With Us

Have you ever spoken honestly
And in the process provoked
A person to anger?
Perhaps you even joked

About what you said.
You’re trying to be forgiven.
Be careful what you say and do.
Beware the life you’re livin’.

Jesus was with a crowd
Of sinners at the Jordan.
What had Jesus done to need
Forgiveness? What secrets hoardin’?

Sometimes we find ourselves
Guilty by association.
So Jesus had reason to be
Thought a sinner by the Jewish nation.

John the Baptist, however,
Knew Jesus was sinless.
So he didn’t want to baptize Him.
But his protest was winless!

Jesus was determined to be
Baptized by John, even though
He was sin-free. So we wonder,
Why did He need it? Want to know?

He wanted to be baptized
In order to be One with us!
Like Him, we need to be
One in Christ and eliminate fuss!

If Jesus was willing
To step down and be One
With all of us sinners,
Who are we, when all’s said and done?

We are all sinners, invited
To come to the river, too.
Be one with our brothers and sisters.
I’m all for it. How about you?

The sermon was inspired by the scriptures: Acts 19:1-7 and Mark 1:4-11
which were eloquently read to us by our pastor’s wife, Elaine,
from Eugene Peterson’s “The Message Bible”

ACTS 19 1-2 Now, it happened that while Apollos was away in Corinth, Paul made his way down through the mountains, came to Ephesus, and happened on some disciples there. The first thing he said was, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?”

“We’ve never even heard of that—a Holy Spirit? God within us?”

“How were you baptized, then?” asked Paul.

“In John’s baptism.”

“That explains it,” said Paul. “John preached a baptism of radical life-change so that people would be ready to receive the One coming after him, who turned out to be Jesus. If you’ve been baptized in John’s baptism, you’re ready now for the real thing, for Jesus.”

5-7 And they were. As soon as they heard of it, they were baptized in the name of the Master Jesus. Paul put his hands on their heads and the Holy Spirit entered them. From that moment on, they were praising God in tongues and talking about God’s actions. Altogether there were about twelve people there that day.

MARK 4-6 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

7-8 As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

9-11 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

PRAYER OF CONFESSION: 

God of all mercy, in our baptism You have marked us as Your own; You have given us a new identity and made us part of the body of Christ.  In doing so, You have called us to rise to new life and live together in community.  However, we have not been faithful to Your call.  We have forged our own identity and held to destructive habits.  We confess we have failed to welcome others, and broken our bonds with our brothers and sisters, and served ourselves more than You.  Forgive us, we pray, for the sake of Christ, our Savior.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON:  John 1:12

Hear the good news!  God said to Jesus, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with You I am well pleased.”  We have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weakness, who has been tempted as we are, yet is without sin.

In Christ’s name we may draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, and there find mercy and grace to help in time of need.

As forgiven sinners, may we go out into the world
and make a positive difference.
May we…

Photo by Polina Kovaleva on Pexels.com

If you have not heard former Republican Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s You Tube message today, I recommend you click on the link here. His message, reinforcing the need for UNITY in our USA, is quite powerful. God Bless Arnie! We all need to step up in support of Democracy as he has done!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2021/01/10/arnold-schwarzenegger-twitter-speech-capitol-nazis/

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
If you missed my last post, “Embrace God”
with Steve Hundley’s Pastoral Prayer,
I invite you to go to it.
Like Arnold’s speech, it is a powerful message.

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace The Word


“The Word was the Source
of Light and Life”

Today’s message from Rev. Steve Hundley
at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
in Ennis, Montana was titled
“God’s Creative Word.”

The scripture reference was
John 1:1-18
(with reinforcements from Genesis)

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

God’s Creative Word

Trying to decipher John’s
Interpretation of Christ’s birth
Is like trying to grasp smoke.
He says God’s Word created the earth.

And he explained that the Word
Was the Light and the Life – – – Rejoice!
He speaks as John the Apostle
And switches to a heavenly voice.

John strips away the layers covering
The original Word of God to earth.
He helps us hear with spiritual ears
The meaning of Christ’s unusual birth.

The Book of John is ethereal
As he shares God’s creative power.
He emphasizes that saying is doing
Words are like a bud that produces flower.

So, when we say something,
We need to think of the impact
Those words have on others.
Words spoken ripple out – no taking them back!

Just as God’s Word has the power
To create light out of darkness,
Our words also have the power
To create beauty out of starkness.

So, a lesson of John’s Gospel
Is to warn us: Watch what you speak!
If you speak untruths carelessly,
The results will not be what you seek.

Life and death are in the power
Of the tongue – – – We eat its fruit.
If you want your daily meal sweet,
Use your tongue’s power for Truth.

The Word became flesh and made
His home among us – He appeared
In the form of our Savior, Jesus.
Start here – Start where darkness was cleared.

Be Light for a Dark World.

Everlasting God,
remind us again
that Your Son is the light of the world,
the way, the truth, and the life.
Lead us by your light and truth.
Looking for Jesus,
let us find Him
knowing that it is He
who has come looking for us.

Embrace the Word, my friends.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I’ll see you tomorrow.

Keep the Christmas spirit alive
All Year Through!
Embrace Words of Love


Last Day Sedoka


[Sedoka is a Japanese poetic form comprising 38 syllables in a sequence of 5, 7, 7, 5, 7, 7.]
It is the invitation from d’Verse Poetry today…

Last Day Sedoka

When my last day comes
Won’t be a celebration
Not one that I can attend
So I’ll celebrate
Last day of twenty-twenty
With a Hip-hip and Hooray!!

Jan Beekman

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Check out my inspiration for this Sedoka at
https://poetscornerblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/31/last-day-sedoka/

Live Life Forward


I CAN …

If you’ve followed my blog for a week or so, you already know that I journal most days in this little book that is dedicated to my dear and daring daughter, DeAna. I don’t write in it EVERY day, but often I do, when I am up in my sanctuary, motivated by my devotionals. Today was such a day.

Look ahead, my friend
Live Life Forward
Stare out the windshield
Not the rear view mirror

Look toward the future
Find the unexpected gifts
Share the love and grace
You find at every turn

Share the laughter
Share uninhibited joy
Share compassion
Ease each others pain

Find the hidden treasures
‘Neath the tears of sorrow
Let them wash you clean
Ready for tomorrow

Look ahead, my friend
Don’t let the past upset
Live life forward
And bury all regret

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

I have positive thoughts about today.
It’s snowing here…
and it is beautiful outside.
It’s warm and cozy inside.
I pray you are cozy, too.



Thanks for visiting JanBeek
And thank you to all my faithful followers –
Your comments make my day!
See ya tomorrow.

A photo taken from a drone by my friend, Whooter,
showing you how pretty it is
when the snow is beginning to turn things white.
Happy Christmas Weekend!

Never Go Back!


No, I don’t want to go back!
I don’t want to revisit the old normal.
Surely as we move from 2020
to a new year, we’ll create a better normal.

This is my prayer this Christmas:
Lord, help us learn what You
have in mind for us to learn
from this rare year we’ve just survived.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Letter from a Wordsmith

With his permission, I am sharing with you the first part of a Christmas letter I received this week from my former pastor, Rev. Brent Mitchell. He is a master wordsmith! He said what’s in my heart so much better than I could have said it.

“Mark it how you will,
2020 was a year not lost,
but forever to be remembered
for both its absences
and its unexpected gifts.

By the middle of March,
it became apparent that
what we thought as normalcy
had left its predictable confines
for parts unknown,
leaving no forwarding address.

Masked and gloved,
we were left to fend for ourselves
absent even the comfort
of shaking hands
or intimate conversations,
the communion around tables,
camaraderie of birthdays celebrated,
the sacred closeness of hospital visits.

Absent of the humanizing connectivity,
of those familiar and holy intersections,
we were left to laugh alone,
to cry alone,
and hope in seclusion.
It cost us treasures we never knew
were so valuable
and time that cannot be recalled.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“But admit it:
There were unexpected gifts.
There were letters we finally wrote,
the books we never touched until now,
the prolonged stillness that allowed us to think again,
and listen to what our hearts were saying.

We talked to God
because the hours got quiet enough
to hear His still small voice.
It happened because we watched enough TV
to realize we had watched TV enough,
and golden silence gave us gifts
that weren’t insipid.

“I think, in short, that if we were paying attention,
not only did we get older,
but almost certainly wiser
because even a painful awareness
of what lurks in our hearts and minds
is worth more than gold.

The gift was rediscovering
at a visceral level
that we really are never alone;
nor in the absence of everyone,
are we left unloved.

“My prayer is that when this is over,
and it will one day be over,
we won’t forget the things we learned
the hard way this year:
that God willing,
we’ll never go back
to the tired normalcy of endless distractions,
of busyness as usual,
and the noise that never ends.”

The Mitchell Musings
December 2020
Peace to you.
Good Night, my friends.
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve Day.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I leave with you my hopes and wishes
for a most Blessed Christmas.

God is Whistling


As I sat
in my sanctuary
this morning,
with the painting of Jesus praying
looking at me,


I stopped
and appreciated the peace,
the quiet,
the calmness.

I tuned my ears
to God
and
what do you think I heard?
God whistled at me!

No, God didn’t whistle like Roger Whittaker.
He didn’t even whistle like this obsessed whistler below.

No, God whistled through the trees outside in my snow-covered yard.

Didn’t take long for the snow to blow off the trees!


The wind was blowing at about 30 miles per hour.

Some people might find that sound
annoying
or
frightening.
I found it inspiring.

Here is the poem it inspired:

God Is Whistling

God is whistling
At me this morning
The trees are dancing
Sending out a warning

A storm is coming
The sky is darkening gray
We’re going to have snow
Again on Christmas day

I listened to His whistle
For in it there was joy
I heard His song announcing
The coming of His Boy

I can whistle His arrival
I can join God’s happy tune
‘Cuz I celebrate this season
Christ the Lord is coming soon

Alice Paschal drawing

I imagine those doves are cooing
as they peer down on the Christ Child.

I can whistle a cooing sound of a dove.
Try it.
God is listening.

I can whistle. Can you?
Whistle a love song.
Whistle a Christmas carol.
Whistle along with your favorite song of the season.
Here’s another Roger Whittaker for your listening pleasure:

I hope that made you smile.
Nothing like a cheerful whistle!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.

I love you!


Have a Marvelous Monday.
See ya tomorrow.

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