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Posts tagged ‘Ennis Montana’

Embrace Memorial Day


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.

Doris Daems served her country, too…
here at home in so many ways!

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?

Here’s a wife, mother, daughter, sister,
grandmother, and friend.
Melissa’s family couldn’t limit it
to just three descriptors!

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?

Thank you for your service, nameless one!

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.

Happy Memorial Day!

See ya tomorrow.
Love, JanBeek

God is Great! God is Good!


Thank you for checking in with JanBeek today.
If you are one of the newbies here, welcome!!

You may not know that I take sermon notes in poetry most Sundays,
and then I share them here.
I do…
and I enjoy helping you hear
what I heard through my poetic filters.
Comments always appreciated.

Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on Pexels.com

Sermon by
Reverend Steve Hundley
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Notes by Jan Beekman

God is Great, God is Good!

Thanksgiving celebrations
Have a history with friends.
This year with COVID,
Most will find unwelcomed ends.

Reunited old relationships
Were important to reflame.
Old traditions are important.
What’ll we do to reclaim?

What can we do to overcome
This year of so many deaths?
How can we truly be thankful
When so many breathed last breaths?

Remember to give thanks
For life – no matter how short.
Help the family say good-bye,
And trust God. Give no retort!

There is no way we can
Make whining acceptable.
Suck it up and give thanks
For life! … Be respectable.

Praise and give thanks to God
For the daily gifts He gives.
Blessed be the Lord of all.
Blessed be our God. He lives!

Psalm 100 gives praise
No matter the troubles and strife.
Remember the password to God:
“Thank You!” God, thank you for life!

Rev. Steve told a story about a family Thanksgiving a few years ago where his mom ALWAYS asked him to be the one to provide the blessing. But on this particular Thanksgiving, his four-year-old second cousin interrupted and said HE wanted to say the blessing this year. Steve’s mom told him he could, assuming Steve would follow up with the REAL blessing.

The four-year-old cleared his throat and declared, “God is Great – God is Good – Amen!”
Steve’s mom asked, “That’s it?”
And the boy responded emphatically, “Yes! That’s it!”
Then she turned to Steve, expecting him to expound further.
Steve simply said, “Amen!”

Yes, that’s it … that’s all we need to know: “God is Great! God is Good! Amen!”


Steve’s opening prayer this morning: “Father in heaven, we give You thanks for life and for all of the experiences that life brings us.  We give You thanks for joy, hope, peace, and answered prayers, but we also give You thanks for our trials, sorrows, and pain.  We give You thanks for our land, for the beauty of the landscape, for the riches it provides for our living, for the people and cultures among us.  Above all things, we give You thanks for our hope in Christ, for the life and freedom that will ultimately be ours.  Teach us to cherish all Your gifts.  Teach us also to use all these resources for the good of society and for glory to You.  Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

*AN AFFIRMATION OF THANKSGIVING

I believe in the God of fruit time and harvest, who makes the land to bear gifts in its time and fills our tables with the bounty of His hand.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was the first fruit of those who slept, and brings us to spiritual tables where our cups overflows.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, who causes us to remember all things for which we are grateful and teaches us to see a relationship between our gifts and the Giver.

I believe in the world as the arena of my spiritual life, where I am to share my table with the poor and my hospitality with the stranger; for in so doing, I shall fulfill the desires of my great and good God who has given me everything, and of His Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for joining me for our Sunday service.
If you find yourself in Ennis, Montana on a Sunday morning,
do come and join us at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church.
308 W Hugel St, Ennis, MT 59729
(406) 682-4355


May the Lord Bless and Keep You safe
now and always.

See ya tomorrow.

Creating Hope in a Conflicted World


adult background beach blue

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

 

How to Create Hope in a World of Conflict

 

Today is the day Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed for a life-time appointment to the Supreme Court of the USA.  It is a day of deep national divide. Many are feeling relief that our right to be “innocent until proven guilty” has been affirmed. Others are feeling emotional despair. On this day of huge chasms, how can we create, maintain and foster a spirit of hope?

Here are three ideas for creating hope in this, our own personal, world of conflict:

1. Let Go

In a heartfelt article in this month’s Daily Word, a devotional published by Unity, I was encouraged today to “let go of trying to change things…, take some deep breaths, and rest in tranquility for a while.”

The devotional referred me to Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I really need that gentle rest for my soul today!

I decided to look and see how that passage was translated in The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.  His Study Bible often gives me an insight that the King James or the NIV (New International Version) don’t. Sure enough, in our more modern vocabulary, The Message in Matt. 11:29-30 begins, “Are you tired? Worn out?”

Wow! Yes, after a few days of being drawn into conflicting testimonies, angry shouting, accusations and denials, and crowds protesting, I am tired. I am worn out. I am deeply troubled. I am looking for harmony!

The Message version goes on to say, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace… Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

That’s what we all need! We need to live freely and lightly. We need to enter each day in an unforced rhythm of grace. We need live each day with a renewed sense of hope. Let go!

2. Be Nuts!

This month’s National Geographic magazine had a timely, pertinent article by Anne Lamott titled, “Despite Perils, Decide to Hope.” Her beginning sentence reads, “You would almost have to be nuts to be filled with hope in a world so rife with hunger, hatred, climate change, pollution, and pestilence, let alone the self-destruction or severely annoying behavior of certain people.” But she goes on to tell us that she lives in a state of “boundless hope” most of the time. She must be nuts then, right? How does she do it? She says she lives in hope by being optimistic, trusting, and confident that those she loves will be okay, no matter what.

That’s what we all need! We need to be more optimistic. We need to be more trusting. We need to be more confident that everything is ultimately going to be okay. Let go of what we cannot control. Focus on what we have the ability to change. Start with our own attitudes.

3. Take Action

In this week’s Guideposts magazine there is an article titled, “Heartfelt.” It tells about a Salvation Army crafts project – sewing red hearts. Called “Others,” it began in Bangladesh in 1997 with the goal of helping single women become financially able to support themselves and their children without prostituting themselves. Since its onset, “Others” has helped 1600 women in Bangladesh come out of human trafficking and step into a brighter future. The article was so compelling that I went to the website: guideposts.org/hearts-for-others and donated to the cause. For $10. or more, OTHERS will send you two handmade hearts. My donation will help other women find hope where there is despair.

With the internet and its world-wide reach, there are literally millions of places we can reach out to take action for causes in which we believe – issues for which we feel a deep compassion. Additionally, within our own communities there are dozens of places we can volunteer to offer our services.

Volunteering was one of Ann Lamott’s thrusts in her National Geographic article. She said, “Create goodness in the world and that gives us hope… ” Her examples include helping with school labs, with building water wells, cleaning up estuaries and water sheds. She said by volunteering, we wake “to the momentousness of life – the power of loving hearts.”

In my little town of Ennis with less than a thousand people, I volunteer at our local Food Bank (distributing food to the less fortunate), our Senior Center (working as a sous chef to prepare meals for folks 55 and over who come for nourishment and camaraderie), and at the Madison Valley Medical Center (greeting, answering phones, guiding patients to needed services, fund raising for needed hospital equipment, etc.).  Volunteering does indeed give me the opportunity to make a difference where I can … and focus on the areas where I have the power to create goodness.

Creating Hope in a World of Despair

So, how can we adopt an attitude of hope, of optimism, trust, and confidence in a world of conflict? We don’t do it by pointing fingers. We don’t do it by accusations and finding someone else to blame. We don’t do it by closing ourselves in a closet and avoiding exposure. We don’t do it by looking out for #1 and to Hell with the rest of the world! We do it, I believe, by following the greatest commandment. It is the sub-title of my JanBeek blog: Love One Another.

Look for the good. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Emulate it. Praise it. Tell people how much they matter. Treat others with respect. Listen. Value one another. Give others hope and encouragement. Serve with kindness. Focus on being compassionate. Find your niche. Let your cup overflow. Love One Another. Spill out HOPE!

Tell me one thing you can do this day or this week… just one thing…  to create HOPE in our desperate world. Let Go. Be Nuts. Take Action. How will you reach out?

Peace and Purpose


Living with Peace and Purpose

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Do you have a sense of purpose out of which grows an increasing peace in your life? One of the groups of people with whom I volunteer is the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary. This week we presented to the CEO of our MVMC a check for $8,000. The money represents the proceeds from our recent fundraiser, a Home Tour. Volunteering to help that event happen was a pleasure. The ladies all worked together amiably. The homeowners were gracious, hospitable, and generous. We had determined in advance what the local need was: the replacement of a portable x-ray machine for the hospital.

In presenting the check to hospital, the ladies had a sense of “Mission Accomplished” and looked forward to finding and fulfilling a need for next year. As we look ahead, however, we are mindful of the fact that this check does not begin to pay the balance owed by MVMC for the cost of this life-saving equipment. We are like the child picking up starfish on the shore and throwing them back into the ocean. “Look at all those stranded fish! What difference does it make to throw ONE back?” Well, as the child responded, it makes a difference to THAT one!

Isn’t that what life boils down to? Making a difference for that ONE? That’s my life’s purpose: one act at a time, spread God’s love. Find a need and fill it – or begin the process of filling it. Every starfish counts! What is your purpose? Find it – and be at peace!

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