Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘cousins’

Finding Strength


Finding Strength

  This morning I received an e-mail from a dear cousin. Her husband has esophageal cancer. The chemo and radiation treatments are making him feel tired, gaunt, and bored with the required liquid diet. Swallowing is painful. He’s lost 30 pounds. .  

In the midst of life’s struggles, we need strength, courage, and assurance. Where do we find it?

Joshua 1:5-9 “No one will be able stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you. Be strong and courageous… Be strong and very courageous… Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

In my morning devotional today

from In Touch Ministries,

this very scripture and topic were discussed.

 
 

Yes, obstacles are faith’s fertilizer!

As the devotional said,

“Obstacles are one way our faith can grow.”

    What obstacles are you facing today? They may not be as serious as cancer of the esophagus, but every challenge we face is an opportunity to lean on our faith and allow the obstacle to grow us. Use them as stepping stones. Know that God is with you. Be assured by that cross that hangs in my sanctuary and reminds me daily to remember what our Creator tells me: “Be Still and know that I AM God.” .  

My cousin’s husband is Jehovah’s Witness. I have sent him a couple of inspirational cards wishing him well and reminding him that I have him in my daily prayers.

 

My cousin told me in her e-mail today, “While he may not agree with all your theology… he most certainly believes in God and appreciates your prayers.”

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I am reminded that God is soooo much bigger than religion. God is the Creator of us all. God loves and cares for us all. We may not practice our religious beliefs the same way, but our faith in God binds us together as one.

    As Christians, we say we are “One in Christ.” We believe in the Trinity – that God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are One. Who am I to say that those who say we are “One in God, our Creator” are wrong? God is Omnipotent. He sees into the heart of us all. When He promises, “I am with you,” he’s talking to you … each of you! .  

What obtacles are fertilizing YOUR faith today? Be still and know God is with you.

blur bracelet conceptual female

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Now, go in peace.

Believe

Let your obstacles become stepping stones.

See ya tomorrow.

Joy at Easter


Easter is a time of joy.

Of course it is! It’s the day of “Hosanna! Hosanna in the Highest! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” We sang at Sunrise service (even though it was a rainy day and we couldn’t see the sun), and we went to church and sang joyfully there.

religious embossed wall

Photo by David Jakab on Pexels.com

But in addition to its spiritual meaning, Easter has a social meaning, too. It is a family day. In my family, when I was growing up in central California, USA, it always was a day my sister and I got to wear pretty new dresses with shiny new shoes. We had an Easter egg hunt. We gathered with relatives for a sumptuous dinner of ham with pineapple and scalloped potatoes with cheese, lots of different vegetables, and a variety of home-made desserts. Aunt Angie’s Easter pie with a hard-boiled egg hidden in the enter of it was always part of the offerings. We played with our cousins. It was a day to look forward to and a day to remember.

silver spoon and forks beside vegetables

In my world today, the pretty new dresses are not a part of the celebration. Wool pants and a cozy sweatshirt was the way to block out the Montana cold. The shiny new shoes gave way to boots to keep my feet dry. No Easter egg hunt in pouring down rain!

red and gray rain boots near pink umbrella

But the part that hasn’t changed is the family gathering. It may not have been aunts and uncles and cousins. We didn’t have Aunt Angie’s Easter pie. But we had my granddaughter, Hope, and her husband Drew, and their almost two-year-old, my great-grandson, Xander. They joined us at church and stayed for the church ham dinner potluck afterward. What a joy! Look at how Xander is growing!

Hope Xander Drew

And we had our grandson, Chris, with us. If you have been following my blog, you met Chris earlier when he came from Switerland late last year and decided to go unshaven for awhile and be a “Montana Mountain Man.”

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Well, look at him now! He’s been at the Anaconda Job Corps since last February and is studying to be a heavy equipment mechanic. He’s taken off 30 pounds (with exercise and careful food intake) since he arrived in the USA last Thanksgiving. He’s feeling fit – and looking happy. What a wonderful Easter gift it was to have him with us this weekend!

us-w-chris.jpg

Easter IS a time of JOY. It looks different at different times of our lives, but with God and family as the focus, it always is a time to thank Jesus for His wonderful gift of love. It’s a time to shout “Hosannah! Hallelujah! He is risen indeed!”

Happy Easter!
How did you spend your day?

 

Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Four


Extended Family and Friends

What makes Switzerland so special? Besides the scenery, the cows, cheese, chocolate, watches and banks, Switzerland is special for the same reason ANYplace is special to me: the people! We have made many friends during these twenty-one years of traveling there every other year. Each time we go, we have the opportunity to make new friends! What a blessing it is to enjoy the country as family members … rather than simply being tourists!

Our daughter, DeAna, her husband, Andre’, and our three grandsons are the nucleus of our family there, but the relationship didn’t start with them. It began with Andre’s first cousin, Christian Zufferey, who was our AFS exchange student in 1981-82 in central California. AFS has a symbol… a heart-shaped world globe. It’s motto has something to do with changing the shape of our world, one person at a time. That’s what student exchange programs are all about. I am so glad that we were inspired to bring foreign students into our home when our kids were high-school aged. What a difference it has made in our family!


Andre’ wasn’t the first one who got the ball rolling, however. My mom’s oldest sister, Evelyn, married a Swiss way back in the early 1930s. It was Uncle Hans who caused us to want to invite a Swiss kid to come and live with us. Even though Christian was not the German-Swiss yodler that I anticipated, he captured our hearts and gave us an appreciation of the French-Swiss culture that has lasted a life-time.

100_1446Swiss Fondue – Mmmm

After his return to Sierre, we were invited to go there and spend a Christmas with his family. As an impressionable, romantic high school freshman, DeAna fell in love with their suave and humorous first cousin, Andre’. At the same time, we fell in love with Christian’s sister, Sylviane (Syli), and invited her to live with us in California for a year when she finished school. After DeAna graduated from high school, she lived for a year with the Zufferey family. Not surprising, the romance between her and Andre’ picked up where it left off. At the year’s end, Andre’ Solioz returned to California with DeDe. The rest is history. What a fairytale!

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De and Andre’

Now, when we visit the Solioz family, of course we spend time also with the Zuffereys. Christian’s mom (Marcelle) and Andre’s mother (Denise) are sisters. Denise and her husband, Marin, are wonderful friends who always welcome us to their home when we visit. Marin is suffering this year with emphezyma, so we had to limit our talking time with him. How I wish we could speak French to communicate more easily with him! I imagine that working to understand Bob’s pantomiming is exhausting.

IMG_2064Denise and Marin Solioz – De’s angelic in-laws
(Our prayers are with Marin during this difficult time in his life)

Marcelle’s husband, Antoine, died tragically of a blood clot that traveled to his heart several years ago. Marcelle is a gracious hostess – and we always enjoy seeing her in her lovely home.

IMG_2059Marcelle and me in her living room

 Christian has three children (aged 18 to 22) and Sylviane has five children ranging in age from 15 to 23. We were able to spend a Friday afternoon with Syli in her apartment in Sion and a weekend with Christian in the chalet in Arnouvaz that has been in his partner’s family for three generations. It was built by Celia’s grandfather and great-uncle in 1892.

IMG_2384Bob, Syli, and Jan in her Sion apartment

IMG_2398ZuZu and Celia’s chalet above Crans-Montana, Valais in Arnouvaz

The extended family also includes several cousins. One very special one is Chantal Fornier who lived with us as a recent high school graduate in the early 1990s. She was such a blessing in our lives at that time because she has the gift of love and compassion for the elderly. I am eternally grateful to her. My dad was not well at that time, and she was so very kind to him. And she is grateful to us – because through that experience, she found her calling. Chantal works in the Nursing Home in Sierre and continues to spread her gentle kindness to the elderly.

IMG_2395Marie and Chantal Fornier with Bob and me

Our circle of Swiss friends spread to include a couple of De’s girlfriends this year. Perky and fit, a soul-sister for sure, Kad Giromini invited us to her home for dinner one night.

IMG_2057DeDe and her Swiss soul-sister, Kad

Another Chantal (a new friend of De’s) and her husband, Pierre-Andre’, invited us to their home when we returned from a week-long trip to Spain. We had a delicious barbecue in their backyard with this phenomenal view:

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The view from Chantal’s backyard

Our two oldest grandsons, Mike and Nick, made it possible to add their girlfriends to the circle of our new Swiss friends. They treated us to lunch in Sierre on our second day there. I posted their photos on Parts One and Two of these blog stories. After lunch, Nick walked through the fountains in the street display. He is such a character!  Yes, it is the people of Switzerland that make it so special…

IMG_2040Nick – walking through the water fountains in Sierre

Stay tuned for Part Four, “A Time to Celebrate” and Part Five – “A Week in Spain”

Life is Like a Teeter-Totter


Image

Back in 1991 I wrote a poem for my mom to wish her a Happy Birthday. With the framed poem, I gave her a ceramic teeter-totter. The piece is a wind-up music box that plays “Playmates” as the little mice go up and down. She always had the poem and music box with her the next fourteen years as she was in and out of hospitals, rehab facilities, and nursing homes. When she died, I inherited them – and I treasure the memories they bring to mind.

My mom had a cousin close to her age, Madge, who lived with mom’s family when she was a child. Eventually Madge married and moved into a home of her own. She and her husband had two sons, Ronnie & Donnie. Mom married and moved to California where my sister and I were born. I loved meeting and spending time with my cousins when we would go to spend Christmas vacation back in Washington with Mom’s family. Through the years I have stayed in touch with Ronnie. He is near my age. However, I had lost touch with Ronnie’s little brother, Donnie, until last Saturday.

Donnie, whom I had not seen in 60 years, and his wife, Patti, came to spend this Labor Day weekend with Bob and me. What a treat! We reminisced and told stories and went through family photos and various family “artifacts.” One of my inherited treasures is a letter written on the occasion of our mutual great-grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. They were married September 1, 1875. The letter is “A Saga of the Valley” – the valley in and around North Bend and Fall City, Washington where my mother and Donnie’s mom were born and raised. The letter was typed on onion skin, is brittle and faded, and hard to read – but is is legible. I will retype it and send it to my newly reacquainted cousin, Donnie. He will share it with his daughter who is into the study of genealogies.

As I was headed into the office to my computer, I spotted this ceramic teeter-totter music box. I realized I had forgotten to share that with Donnie. His mom, like mine, was a devoted mother who was wonderfully supportive of her two sons. I think he will appreciate this poem – and he certainly will concur – Life is Like a Teeter-Totter!

Life is like a teeter-totter –
Full of ups and downs.
Kids learn to roll and toss with it,
To shake away the frowns,
If they have a loving home
To lean back and reminisce on when they roam.

Life is like a teeter-totter –
Full of bounces and of bumps.
Kids learn to rock with a jolly jump
And shake away the lumps
If they have a loving mother
To hug them tight and with kisses smother.

Life is like a teeter-totter –
It works better in pairs,
They keep each ther balanced
And handle love in shares
If they have had their mother’s arms
To guard against abuse and harms.

Life is like a teeter-totter –
Full of laugh and silly giggle.
Full of noise and wonderment –
Girls to squeeze and boys that wiggle –
If they have been secure in love
Both from home’s hearth and God above.

Thank you, Mom, for filling my life
With love… more ups than downs, for sure.
You seemed to know my every need;
For every hurt you had a cure.
Happy Birthday, Mother dear –
I thank God each day that you are near!

God Bless our Moms!!
JanBeek ;o)

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