Embrace your passion – Figure out just what it is, Then LIVE your passion.
Yesterday I lived – I lived passionately – But I did not blog.
Even though blogging Is an important passion, I did not write it.
Sometimes you need to Set aside pen and paper – Set aside writing –
And LIVE your passion! I listened to the Spirit And followed its voice.
My most important passion is what this blog’s sub-title spells out: spreading love, joy,peace,faith and unity.
In the process of living out my faith, I spend time every morning in my “SanctuAiree” among the angels, Bibles, devotionals, birds level with me in the trees, and the Holy Spirit alive and well. surrounding and in me. I listen for that still small voice – and try to obey its directives.
As the contact person and secretary for our Pastor Nominating Committee, I have worked consistently for over a year – collaboratively with my wonderful, dedicated team – to find the pastor we think God has in mind for us. We see a light at the end of the tunnel … and are praying for wisdom and discernment. Yesterday I worked on that project. I am passionate about helping to find the “right” person to lead our congregation into the future. It is a huge responsibility – and we take it very seriously.
Do you have a project about which you are passionate? Are you living that passion? Do you see a light at the end of your tunnel? I’d love to hear about it.
Have you defined your purpose in blogging? Are you feeling like your purpose is being fulfilled? Are you passionate about it? Cristian Mihai in “The Art of Blogging” tells us often that unless we are writing about things we are passionate about, our messages will fall flat.
Sometimes I feel that my messages are not resonating with my readers. When I get that feeling, I have to back up and ask myself, “Who are you writing for?” If one or two of you respond, if I have reached into the heart of just one other blogging friend out there, that has to be enough. It’s not a numbers game! YOU are the only reader who matters. I am sharing my passion with YOU.
My passion is to LIVE in such a way that at the end of the day, I can say to myself, “I did what the Holy Spirit called me to do today, and I did it with gusto. I did my best – and now I can rest.”
The roaring Of an angry cat Who’s hungry Tells you “Run!” Especially a lion – Not a pussy cat!
The shadorma is a six-line, 26-syllable poem (or a stanza – you can write a poem that is made of multiple shadorma stanzas). The syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5. So, like the haiku, the lines are relatively short. Rather poetically, the origin of the shadorma is mysterious.
My day started with a 7:00 am Sunrise Service at our Madison Range putting green. The sun worked to peek out through the cloudy sky.
A small, but appreciate gathering lifted voices to sing “He Arose!” and “He Lives!”
Mule deer gathered close by to listen to our singing and nibble at the emerging greenery. Spring is just thinking about making its debut here!
Usually right after sunrise service, we go as a group to the Baptist Church and enjoy a yummy breakfast of assorted baked goodies and egg casseroles. This year, because of COVID-19, we had to be content to go home and make our own breakfast. Afterward, we went to church where we wore masks, socially distanced, and enjoyed the sermon of the day delivered by our pastor, Rev. Steve Hundley.
What are your earliest Memories of Easter Sunday? Yellow crocuses, dogwoods, And eggs hidden slightly away?
What are your earliest Memories of recognizing in your life God, the Risen Christ? Do you have to think twice?
My memory was on a morning When I’d victoriously ridden My bike down a steep hill – Suddenly God was not hidden.
I’m reminded of Mary Magdalene With the other Mary who saw That Jesus was not in the tomb. An angel said He’d risen – such awe!
They were terrified to realize You can’t escape God in Jesus. They told no one what they heard – Too scared… a Savior to relieve us?
They thought their hopes and dreams Had been buried and sealed away, Buried with Him – they believed. They all deserted Christ that day.
Peter had denied Christ three times. The other disciples hid in fear. Have we also denied the messenger Who told us Jesus is alive and here?
The Easter miracle assures us Our crucified Lord is running free. He is waiting for us to come out Of hiding to see Him. He waits for me!
Am I ready to believe the story Of a man who dies, but rose again? Am I ready to understand that He Suffered that agony to free me from sin?
The Risen Christ stands before me With nail prints in His hands and side. Am I ready to hear the Good News And know there’s no where I can hide?
With fear and amazement this Easter, I will not go away from the empty tomb- Back to daily routine, forgetting Him. No, with reverence I acknowledge Christ in this room.
Crown Him the Lord of years, The Potentate of time, Creator of the rolling spheres Ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, Hail! For Thou hast died for me. Thy praise shall never, never fail Throughout eternity.
It comes but once a year Yet its significance Lives in our hearts daily… Thank God for the gift of His Son who secured my spot and yours in heaven.
Praise Him! Alleluia! Amen!
Oh, and in the afternoon, we had the joy of a visit from our granddaughter, Hope, and her husband, Drew, and their two children (our great-grandchildren, Xander and Sienna).
Did you send out and receive a few Easter cards this season? I did.. and I enjoyed every one. I thought I’d share one of my favorites with you:
That was decorated with a glitter cupcake by our darling Ruby… with a note added from her big brother, first grader, Cord. So precious!!
And now, the eggs are gone. The Easter ham left-overs are in the fridge. The family departed. The dishes are looming large – Begging to be done… But first, join me and the Easter bunny, will you? Sit down and relax. Contemplate the day… Think about what Easter means. Thank God for the gift of His Son. Let’s drink a toast to Eternity in His Heavenly Kingdom. The dishes can wait! My computer’s about to run outta battery…
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!
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
Embrace The comfort Offered by others Then return the favor Comfort
Comfort Makes life A little easier Even in our sorrow Care
Whisper Your cares To our God He hears every word Believe
Reach Hold hands Hug your friends Even virtual hugs matter Express
Love Is comfort Comfort in Action Never underestimate your love Increase!
Last night Bob & I received word that his brother-in-law, Stan, was in ICU. He had fallen in the shower and was unconscious. The paramedics came, performed CPR, broke three of his ribs in the process, but made sure he was breathing. Took him to the hospital. Stan and Bob’s sister, Bonnie, live in Oregon. We can’t hop in the car and go there, but thanks to technology, we can reach out in love. We can pray and ask our friends to pray, too. God hears. God cares. We can show we care, too.
Today we learned that the family has asked for Stan to be taken off of life support. He never regained consciousness… and if he survived, his brain would not be functioning properly. Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not continued life on this earth, but the peace and comfort of eternal life. Thank God for our faith. We know we will meet again in heaven.
There are so many ways to show love. What are some of the ways you embrace comfort across the miles?
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Hope to see you tomorrow.
I’m sending my love your way.
Knowing our dear Stan is departing his earthly body, I am sending this lovely video “If Tomorrow Starts Without Me” to comfort our sweet Bonnie and their children, Tammy & Todd… and all the Hunt/Smith/Beekman family with my love. May they find it comforting.
Can’t embrace the wind! Even if we think we would like to… It can’t be contained!
Yesterday I delivered some paperwork to a friend who is doing Bible Study with me once a week. It was a quiet Saturday morning – no wind (unusual for our windy valley). My friend wasn’t home, so I left the papers on her doorstep and texted her. When she returned home, the paperwork was long gone. The wind had come up and blew the packet to heaven only knows where!
Today’s sermon at the ZOOM meeting of Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana was titled, “The Wind Blows Where it Will.”
Inspired by the scripture: John 3:1-17 (the story of Jesus & Nicodemus & the Holy Spirit) here are my sermon notes taken as I listened to Rev. Steve Hundley this morning:
The Wind Blows Where it Will
In the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, two worlds collide. One is worldly and the other is Focused on where the Holy Spirit abides.
We often try to shrink our God Into something we can understand. But, we can’t fit God’s image Into something in this earthly land.
The dilemma we face is that We can’t think of God beyond Our own human capacity. That’s why it’s hard to respond.
John paints a picture of Nicodemus As a man of great knowledge. “Rabbi, we know…” he says, Addressing Jesus with a nudge.
Nicodemus thinks he has God Sized up and understood. He’s sure he knows how He fits Into this world… Oh, that we could!
Nicodemus tries to rope Jesus Into the narrow realm of “We know…” But every attempt fails. Jesus is a mystery – a wind that’ll blow.
It blows beyond our knowing. The Spirit blows beyond our capacity To understand with our finite minds. Does that surprise you and me?
We all have questions about the hereafter. No one can refute the image we hold, For our God’s life-giving grace Is bigger than can ever be told.
The wind of the Spirit blows Into darkness and brings light. But we cannot see clearly What God makes possible in His sight.
This scripture asks Nicodemus To let the Spirit carry him to A place beyond his imagination. It asks the same expansion of you!
John 3: 1-17
3:1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d] 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e]14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f]15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g] 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Can’t embrace the wind! Even if we think we would like to… It can’t be contained!
Let’s try to embrace The beauty of God’s Spirit As it blows in us!
The answer is blowin’ in the wind. And with Easter upon us, the answer was hangin’ on a cross. Praise God, He is risen indeed!
The wind of the Spirit blows Into darkness and brings light.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. May the Wind of the Spirit Blow Light into your darkness today. See ya tomorrow.
Do you focus easily? Do you see things with clarity? Do you hear with understanding? Do you embrace the concept of focus?
Today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church focused on the cross… but not just any old cross … the cross of Christ, the one on which He died for us. The one we are to pick up and carry. Here are the notes I took as I focused and listened to Rev. Steve Hundley preach on the subject: “The Cross of Christ”
The disciples heard Jesus say, “Take up your cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24-26 says, 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
What does it mean today to believe And to accept Jesus – take His cross? We’d like Jesus to be specific. Would carrying it be like an albatross? He said “Take up YOUR cross. But, not ANY cross… What’s the difference? My cross can be quite worldly. Do I carry it with reverence?
The world we live in is full Of crosses in every size and form. How do we know we’re carrying The one meant for us when we were born? The cross that brings healing And restoration to our world Is the one Jesus asks us to carry, Not the cross of destruction hurled.
A cross of love and reconciliation Can be used and turned to mean Violence or passivity, both can Represent abuse and pain. Don’t lean On a fatalistic cross – or else You’ll find despair and even death. Instead, pick up Christ’s cross. It’ll bring peace to your last breath.
The Bible reassures us that Pain and suffering will be ours; But God will meet us where we are. We’ll receive the peace He showers On us when we take His cross And follow Him and His voice. Let’s FOCUS on God’s saving promise. Take up His True Cross. It’s your choice!
Thank you for sharing our worship service notes and one of our hymns with me today. I hope you are able to find church family with whom to worship in these pandemic days.
If you’d like to join our ZOOM service next Sunday, send me your e-mail and I’ll forward the ZOOM invitation, bulletin and song sheet to you.
That’s me up there taking this picture with Bob beside me! ZOOM with us. We’re an informal bunch! Share, drink your coffee, ask questions… FOCUS on the message
Thanks for visiting with JanBeek today. Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon/evening. See ya tomorrow.
P.S. – Here is another version of “Were You There?” Soooo Beautiful!!
I love that old musical from the 1950’s, Annie Get Your Gun. It is an American musical Technicolor comedy film loosely based on the life of sharpshooter Annie Oakley. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and a screenplay by Sidney Sheldon based on the 1946 stage musical of the same name.
Does hugging come naturally to you? If so, from whom do you think you inherited that quality? Bob and I had that conversation after breakfast this morning. His mom and dad were not huggy folks. Mine were… especially my affectionate daddy.
Bob didn’t learn to be huggy from me. He came that way… and I feel so blessed. Marrying someone who was stand-offish Would have been put me to a terrible test!
Doin’ what comes naturally Isn’t the same for you and me. I reach out and hug strangers – At least ’til this pandemic distanced me.
Bob and I are huggy people We showed our kids the joy of touch But not all children are so blessed Some are abused; some aren’t touched that much.
When our daughter, DeAna’s best friend, Laina, Lost both her adoptive parents at a young age, We were blessed to say, “Come be in our family.” Having a “Daughter #2” was a blessing quite sage!
Our Laina keeps in daily touch. She wrote A message to me yesterday. I asked her if I could share it here. This is what she had to say:
I keep waiting for your blog theme to be “Embrace Hugging” or similar. Technically embrace does mean to hold someone closely in your arms so it’s almost funny to use the 2 words together.
Well here’s my mini blog for the day.
We just don’t hug enough anymore. For one reason, we can’t because of social distancing but also we don’t because we won’t take the time to do something that’s so extremely important.
My genetic nature resisted hugs growing up. I inherited that from Marilyn my Irish born biological grandmother and apparently her daughter my biological mother was the same way. I was adopted by a very different personality.
I would feel myself stiffen up and become uncomfortable when someone hugged me. My (adoptive) mom was very loving and caring. She was a hugger and I reflect back on those hugs and feel bad for my involuntary reaction. I would squiggle (squirm+wiggle) away as fast as I possibly could leaving her unfulfilled. Being a teenager and young adult I was too self-absorbed to notice the sadness on her face or to recognize her need for physical contact. If only I could go back in time and have a “do over”! I would give her a proper hug. It would be a long squeeze and I wouldn’t let go until SHE squirmed to get free. Knowing her, she wouldn’t ever squirm! we’d still be hugging! Hugs instantly boost OxyContin levels. It’s scientifically proven. Hugs help to heal feelings of loneliness and isolation and anger. An extended hug increases serotonin levels and increases good mood. It strengthens the immune system. So why don’t we do it more? We need to do it more! I guess I can’t tell you to hug a stranger because they might smack you or scream but definitely hug those you love whenever they are near… I can’t wait to give you both long hugs in person. I promise I won’t squirm away.
That picture of me with Laina is one of my favorites. I often use it as the “sign off” photo on my blog – edited to just be me. I had forgotten that it was taken on the occasion of my 80th birthday when Laina came to be with us and help us prepare for and carry out a party that included about 50 of our best MT friends. Laina lives in Maryland – and her trip here was such a gift. Helping us was for her, “Doin’ what comes naturally.”
Hugs may not come naturally to all of us. But it is something we can learn… and enjoy… and realize how important that intimacy is.
Yesterday our grandson, DeAna’s youngest son, Chris, went to Vissoie to have dinner at his parents’ restaurant and to give them a long overdue hug. It had been over a month since he had made the trip up the mountain to see them. I wrote to him afterward and said, “Thank you for going to be with your parents and for giving your mom great big, heart-felt hugs. We all need them.“
This morning he wrote back and said, “Oh! It was my pleasure! It’s been too long since I saw them, I needed to squeeze their booooooones. Can’t wait to squeeze yours, too!”
(Chrissy got that expression, “Squeeze yer bones!” from his GrampyBob… It’s one of his favorites.)
Whose bones do you need to squeeze today? Go do it! Go and make hugging one of those things that is “Doin’ what comes naturally!”
Thank you, blogging friends, for visiting JanBeek today. Hugs to you! See ya tomorrow.