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Posts tagged ‘gifts’

Embrace Hope


My Favorite Student

Teachers aren’t supposed to have favorites.
Right?

Ty, Roxanne (Merri), Jan & Bob

See that young man on the left up there?
His name is Ty.
He is my favorite!

(Well, in honesty… don’t be dismayed
if you’re one of my students….
I have lots of favorites, OK?
But Ty… well, read on!)


Ty was my kindergarten student in 1962-3.
Every day when he stepped off the school bus,
the girls all stopped what they were doing.
“Hi Ty!” they would swoon.
Yes, even kindergarten girls
recognize a sweetheart when they see one!

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

And every day when it was time to go home,
the girls all waved to Ty,
“Bye, Ty!”
they would swoon.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I was a newlywed.
It was my second year of teaching.
I decided if I had a boy someday,
I would name him Ty.
And I did!

Here’s my Ty with his little sister, DeAna.

Ah yes, my Ty is a sweetheart, just like his namesake!

See the sweetness sparkle?
Both Tys are a little older now!

So why the HOPE title?

Yesterday I heard the devastating news
that my favorite student, Ty,
has been diagnosed
with Stage 4 cancer.
It has metastasized.
He needs our prayers.
My heart is heavy,
but I am a believer…
and HOPE
is what believers do,
right?

Day before yesterday I posted this scripture:

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“Plans to prosper you
and not to harm you.
Plans to give you hope
and a future.”

Jeremiah 20:11

I know God has Ty tucked into the palm of His hand,
just as He holds our world in His hand.

I know God is watching over Ty and his treatment process.
But, won’t you add your prayers to mine?
“Dear Lord, please give healing to Ty.”

I wrote about Ty when he came to visit us
here in Montana a couple of years ago.
Here is the blog link:
https://janbeek.blog/2019/05/25/gift-from-the-heart/

A Gift from the Heart

After Ty & Roxanne left, they sent us a thank you gift for our hospitality. He created this cross for us. It hangs on my dining room wall as a constant reminder of my special student, Ty Stiles.

Notice the three bars?
Ty said they represent the Trinity.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Please Heal Ty!!

Embrace Hope

“May the God of Hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in Him.”

Romans 15:13

The reign of Christ,
both present and in the future,
is our foundation of Hope.

Take Peace

“And in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will toward men.

Then peeled the bells more loud and deep –
God is not dead, nor doeth He sleep.
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail –
With peace on earth, good will toward men.”

Embrace Peace.
Embrace Love.
Embrace Joy.
Embrace Prayer.
Embrace Hope.

See ya tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting
and praying with
JanBeek

A Blessed Christmas


I am grateful for you, dear WordPress friends.
I pray your day was blessed indeed.
Merry Christmas!

ZOOM Christmas

Did you get to actually be with your family? Or did you ZOOM with them as we did? The picture above is Christmas Eve morning. Bob & I had the opportunity to see and talk with (left to right) our son, Ty, [then that’s us], group shot of our grandson and granddaughter with our son’s in-laws, then my niece, Jodie & her husband, Bill and son, Liam, from their home in PA, our daughter #2 Laina in the Baltimore area, and our daughter-in-law, Monika, in CA. We had a wonderful hour-long conversation. Next best thing to being together in person! Thank you, ZOOM!!

Bob gave me this wonderful, warm sweater.
Laina sent us this warm greeting this morning.
She is such a thoughtful, loving daughter!
Our grandson sent us this adorable picture,
thanking us for the slippers we sent to him and his adorable girlfriend.
My dear friend, Terry, gave me this Willow Creek angel for Christmas.
You know how angels are an important part of my life.
How sweet and thoughtful of her!

What are the gifts that brightened your day today?
I hope you are feeling as blessed as we are.

A photo from our daughter, DeAna, in Switzerland
brightened our Christmas. So nice to see her
with her hubby, two of her 3 boys, plus her mother-in-love.
Our dear neighbor, ,Scott, treated us to a very special bottle of wine.
We are decanting it to enjoy it with our special dinner…
a standing rib roast. Wish you could share it with us!
We’re looking forward setting up and learning to use this gift from our son and his wife.
Technology continues to amaze us… the advances are amazing!

Bob & I are using our relatively new smoker to smoke a standing rib roast for our Christmas dinner. Like technology, things like smokers and cell phones require a learning curve. We’re on the uphill side of that curve!

We called our neighbor/friend, Whooter, for help this morning when we were trying to figure out how to do this. Dear Whooter texted us back, sent us a photo that made our day, and gave us the advice we needed. Love that guy!!

I’m sure he didn’t intend me to broadcast this photo,
but you needed a good laugh, too, right?

Whooter gave us a great recipe for a rub to put on the meat, and meat thermometers to help us know we are headed in the right direction in the smoking process. God bless him! Do you have neighbors who are life-savers for you at times like this?

Our good friends, the Delektas, had a present under our tree today.
It’s a gorgeous knife that will be the greatest tool for carving this roast
if it ever smokes sufficiently for us to eventually eat it!
Don’t get in the way, TazE… it’s sharp!!

As we prepare for our Christmas dinner, we are listening to the horrible news about the bombing in Nashville this morning. So sad that there are such sick people out there! How could someone intentionally do something so devastating?

Our prayers go out for those who were injured and prayers of gratitude that there are no known fatalities. We have friends who live in Nashville- not far from this blast. And I have a cousin who lives there. My heart goes out to all those in Harm’s Way. We all are affected by such atrocities. It makes us all feel vulnerable. It saddens my heart.

God be with those firefighters who were injured.
May they recover fully and be home with their families soon.

I am enjoying this beautiful pillow that our friends, Sue & Jerry gave us this Christmas.
What’s a favorite gift that you have been given?

Thank God for each minute you are given to share
the love, joy, and peace that are Jesus Christ’s gifts to us.
Have a very Merry Christmas, my friends.
Our standing rib roast WILL be done soon.
I am counting on it.

Sigh…
The smoker keeps shutting off.
We may have to call Whooter again!
(That’s just an internet photo!!)

Merry Christmas, my friends.
What did you do today?

See ya tomorrow.

Hugs from JanBeek, Bob & TazE!

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.

Missing Or Giving?


This is Vissoie, Switzerland.
Our daughter and son-in-law have a restaurant here.
Isn’t it beautiful?

We missed our visit with them this year. We are not even able to go to California to celebrate Christmas with our son and his family there. I bet we are not alone. Many of you are missing your visits with your family this Christmas, too.

We’ll miss being with our son, Ty, and having my sister, Sally with us this year.

What are you missing?

Photo by Maximiliano Ignacio Pinilla Alvarado on Pexels.com

Like this sad looking dog, we can sit around and look all mopey.
We can focus on what we’re missing.
Or we can go to Ann Kaplow’s blog this morning,
try focusing on the positive,
and answer her question,
“Can you find something to celebrate in today’s images?”

Ann Koplow
Check out her blog below.

Ann KoplowThe Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

Celebrate the fact that even though we feel the darkness of this Coronavirus and the isolation caused by this pandemic, we also can experience the LIGHT! The Light still shines – and we can reflect it!

Focus on the Reason for the Season

Let us not focus
On the things we are missing
But on our blessings

We have so much to give!
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Basic needs are met
And we have great resources
Enough to share them

When your needs are met
Leave the reptilian brain
And share your great smile

Food, clothing, shelter –
Not all people are so blessed.
Take these for granted?

No! Let’s treasure them.
Now we can go beyond them –
Reach out to others.

What do we have to give?

You have love to give
You have compassion to give
And you have kindness

Focus on giving
Blessings are overflowing
Share them with others

As long as you give
Know your cup will be refilled
You can’t out-give God!

In this weary world
People long for what you have
Share your love – give faith!

Have a little faith
Not in the things of this world
But in the True Light

Take the LOVE He gives
And let that love shine through you
Give a little FAITH!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Have a blessed Thursday.
Count your blessings!
See ya tomorrow.

Swept Up in the Current


Today’s sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley
at Ennis, Montana’s Presbyterian Church
was titled, “Swept Up in the Current of God’s Love.”

In my typical fashion, I listened
and took notes in poetry to capture the message
as I was received it.

I like this image for today’s bulletin cover
because the message as I pondered it was:
“Listen for the angels’ announcement.
Listen with your heart, and
Be swept up into the
realms of JOY!”

Based on and reflections from
Luke 1:39-55

Mary rushed to tell Elizabeth
The anticipation of Jesus’ birth.
But Elizabeth already knew it…
Elizabeth knew it? How on earth??

Mary felt a song swell up
And bubble over inside her.
She sang acceptance and praises.
Elizabeth beamed beside her.

We don’t think of God exploding
Into our lives this season.
Our upside-down world seems to forget
The JOY, the Message, the Reason.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth
Reminds us of the glories of the event.
To make Christmas more meaningful,
We need to focus on the love sent.

Mary and Elizabeth didn’t make the joy.
They WERE the joy – growing in them.
God’s presence exhibited the miracle.
The peace and JOY of God began then.

We’re not the master of all this.
The grace and love are gifts.
We’re the grateful recipients.
With Jesus’ birth, the world shifts.

The angels announced the Savior.
The vulnerable baby was born.
His life changed our destiny.
No longer are we lost or forlorn.

Mary’s Magnificat is a message
To all of us to be steady –
Steady for Christ’s coming.
Listen with your heart – be ready!

Be prepared to be swept away
By the current of God’s love.
Be prepared for that Bethlehem baby
Who came to save us from above.

Thanks to Elaina for our Nativity gift
which arrived at our doorstep today!

Yes, the angels announced that heavenly Baby
Who came down from God to us.
Now we’re awaiting the angel
Who’ll announce an end to all this fuss.

No, Reverend Steve didn’t add that last stanza to his sermon…
but I just couldn’t help myself!
Don’t you love that COVID angel?
No?

Ah, come on… let’s add the need for
a freedom announcement.

Freedom from the pain of this pandemic.
Freedom from the need to wear masks,
socially distance,
stay at home,
and
isolate.

Can you read the mask’s label?
“Coughy filter”
Hah!
Get it??
Bob & I are wearing our masks
whenever we go out.
Are you?

Don’t let this Coronavirus get to you…

Don’t take to the bottle to try and drown the pain!!

Make wise decisions!

Keep your eyes and your ears tuned to the Holy Spirit
and be ready to be “swept up in the current of God’s love.”
Jesus’ birth is the reason for the season –
And the grace and hope He brings
will keep you swimming
in love and joy.
Believe!

JOY comes in the morning!
My friend, Lisa Glines,
sent me this sunrise picture this morning.

The following poem
came from Lisa
yesterday as I was waiting
for Bob’s angiogram results.

“Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.”

Jaime and Kathy played the piano and keyboard as Jim played the saw for some special music this morning.

I always imagine that saw being the only instrument some old cowboy had on hand in some distant days gone by… and learning to eerily try to play a tune on it must have been quite an interesting pastime!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.

I hope you enjoyed these tidbits of my Sunday.
Bee safe!
See ya tomorrow.
Bee well!!

Give Cheerfully


Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

2 Corinthians 9:7

“Each of you should give
what you have decided to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Photo by Hassan OUAJBIR on Pexels.com

I give cheerfully
Not out of obligation
But from abundance

I am richly blessed
So I can be a blessing
I give cheerfully

You are richly blessed
Your needs are taken care of
Reach out to others

You give cheerfully
Out of a generous heart
And God blessed you

Thank You!

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Have a blessed first Sunday in Advent!
It is a season of HOPE and ANTICIPATION.
I pray your season be filled with love and generosity.

Do you have a child or grandchild in your family who would love to see this video explaining the meaning of Advent? If so, pass this along. It’s wonderfully kid friendly… and a good way to begin the season of gifts and giving.

Before I go, let me give a gift to you:
The gift of music by Laura Story…
The blessing of faith in the “what ifs” of life…

God bless You!
See ya tomorrow.

Hugs from
JanBeek

Good Friends Are Slippers


Good Friends are Slippers,
Comfortable and Warm,
Sturdy and Reliable,
Trudging through Life’s Storm.

Always There When Needed,
Showing No Pretenses,
Listening and Loving,
Scaling Broken Fences.

Photo by Arvid Knutsen on Pexels.com

Providing a Foundation
Of Sturdiness Untold.
Good Friends are Slippers –
More Comfortable when Old.

If You are Blessed with Friends
As Comfortable and Warm as Slippers,
Hang on Tight; Don’t Cut ’em Out.
Put Away the Clippers!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You Can’t Measure Their Worth
With a Ruler or Some Tape.
Good Friends are Slippers.
Don’t Let Their Warmth Escape!

My blanket from my friend, Terry…
Cozy hugs and warmth –
here whenever I need them!
New since we moved to Montana.
She’s here whenever I need her!
What a blessing!
Thank you, Terry!

Keep the old and make some new;
One is silver, the other is gold.
True Friends are Slippers –
Treasures with comfort untold.

Dear Marcie,
An “Old” Friend…
Best Buddies since the ’50s.
Comfortable and Warm!

May your life be warmed
With the comfort of many-a true friend.
God bless and keep them safe.
May those friendships never end.

I Am
Grateful and Loving

Who’s that Friend
Who is a Slipper
For You?


Thanks for visiting
JanBeek
Come back tomorrow…
And have a warm and comfortable week.

Here’s one of my favorite songs and singers
from the 1950’s when I was in high school.
The words fit today’s message so well!
Enjoy!!

Dinah Shore

Why Forgive?


It’s easy for someone to tell you to forgive
Easy for them to say
But they weren’t the one who was wronged
Advice is cheap today

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels.com

It’s easy for someone to tell you to forgive
Blood’s not on their hands
The ones who performed murderous acts
There: Forgiveness demands

In today’s sermon at Madison Valley Presbyterian Church here in Ennis, Montana, our pastor, Steve Hundley, preached on the scripture found in Matthew 21:33-46. He acknowledged that it is a hard lesson to make sense of. The vineyard owner sent workers to harvest the grapes, and the tenants of the vineyard killed the workers.

The owner sent more workers and the tenants killed them, too.

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

So the vineyard owner sent his son. Surely the tenants would respect the owner’s son! But, no… they killed him, too!

What are we to make of this story?

Photo by Ian Panelo on Pexels.com

In the midst of such horrendous acts, the bottom line is love. Love the murderers? Love the tenants who killed the people who came to harvest? Love the tenants who killed the owner’s son?

Realize that this parable is about God, the owner of all we have. It’s about the fact that we live in a world under the shadow of the “American Dream; Ownership.”

Maybe the message is “Nobody likes an absent landlord!” The tenants are the ones who worked hard to maintain that vineyard. Then, at harvest time, the owner expects to send others to reap the benefit of their hard work? No, the tenants hated the idea of others coming to reap the harvest!

When the son was sent… the parable is asking us to see that this was the Son, Jesus. He, too was killed. Killed by those who feared this Messiah was going to take what they thought they owned… the kingship, the ownership of the land and its people.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God did not create us to take ownership of God’s resources. We are the stewards, the caretakers. God’s vineyard is not for sale. We were not even given a lease with an option to buy!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The parable doesn’t tell us what the owner did to the tenants. It doesn’t say He finally left his mansion and went down and got even with the tenants somehow… what might the retribution look like?

It doesn’t tell us He forgave them for their murderous acts. We are left to finish the story ourselves. How would you finish it?

What is your idea of ownership? What is your understanding of our Owner’s Love? Pastor Steve reminded us that Our Owner longs for a connection with us. “God desires a relationship with us… He asks that we take care of this earth – His gifts to us – and one another… and that we give a portion back.” He asks that we love one another. He asks us to forgive one another – and to love our enemies. Wow! That’s a tall order!!

Pastor Steve concluded his sermon today by reminding us:
“Our gifts are not our own.
They are God’s,
and we are given them
to use for God’s Kingdom.
We are the caretakers.
God’s love
always trumps
God’s justice.

Photo by 42 North on Pexels.com

I love you, dear WordPress friends.
Thank you for visiting today.
I hope you’ve had a Love-filled Sunday.
Hugs,
JanBeek

Another Angel in Heaven


Phyllis Wasick and me –
about 10 years ago

The older we get,
The more ready we must be
For our angel friends
To leave you and me.

They ascend to heaven
Where loved ones wait
To greet them in song
At the pearly gate.

Today’s selfie

When our hair turns silver
And wrinkles show our age,
We have to be ready
To turn the eternal page.

The eighties are great;
It’s a decade of reflection
And a time to appreciate
Every earthly connection.

But it also is a time
When we look at this season
As the winter of our years,
And we search for life’s reason.

Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

We look at life differently
Than we did in our teens.
We see through our experience
What life is – what purpose means.

It’s not about what we can get,
Or what riches we acquire.
It’s about the love we give
To the people we admire.

It’s about reaching out to strangers
Who are falling between the crack.
It’s about filling their needs –
Helping give the things they lack.

Photo by Luis Dalvan on Pexels.com

Reaching up in prayer and praise
I thank the Lord for all His gifts.
As long as I have life and breath,
I’ll reach out to give others lifts.

I hope you’ll use your senior years
To do the same – to spread your love –
Because we are blessed to be a blessing.
For every day, I thank. God above.

My Prayer for You

When your time comes
To say good-bye to earth,
May the angels welcome you
And your friends rejoice at your New Birth!
Amen

Welcome to Heaven, Phyllis.
I miss you here…
But I rejoice at your Eternal Reunion.
May all who were blessed by your presence
And who entered the pearly gates before you did
Be there to welcome you HOME.
God bless you!
Keep the light on!

Love,
JanBeek

Amazing Grace


I couldn’t sign off on this Sunday afternoon without sharing this:

Are you ready to be inspired?
Click on this amazing video
and get ready to be blown away!!


I had not heard this message about the pentatonic scale before…
(Be sure to tune in to Wintley Phipp’s whole message).

I have never heard Amazing Grace sung so beautifully!

I cried with the joy that only God’s spirit can bring through music.
How did this God-inspired song and this God-gifted voice affect you?

Have a blessed Sunday evening, my friends.
I send my love and more virtual hugs to ya,
JanBeek

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