Thank you, Guideposts, for your inspirational daily messages. On this Memorial Day that is so different from those past, I am grateful for the men and women who sacrificed for our freedom.
Free to Live and Build
I am grateful for the freedom to live in this beautiful place in Montana where the robins sing, build their nests, lay their eggs, and feed their babies right outside my dining room window! I’m free to just bee… free to do nothing but sit and watch today… if that’s my choice!
Free to Bee… Free to Recover…
I found this beautiful, stunned bird sitting on the front porch this morning. Is it a wren? It’s really tiny. Even when TazE (our Boston Terrier) went out to sniff at it, it didn’t move. It was free to just bee… bee still for a while. A half hour later, it was recovered – and thankfully flew away. Free to recover. Free to fly.
Free to Marvel
As I sit here and watch the robins take turns in the nest, I am eternally grateful to those service men and women who gave their lives that I might enjoy the peace I have today. Peace to sit here and marvel at nature. Free to enjoy the peace, and to FaceTime with my daughters across the continent and across the Atlantic.
Peace to watch Bob head off with a neighbor to fish the Madison today.
I hope he is free to catch a big one, like my friend Susan Phillips did this week… and then free to catch and release so someone else can be free to have the thrill of catching this beauty! Our Madison River has a “Catch & Release” policy because the trout all are natives… no “planting” allowed. It’s a world-class fly-fishing mecca!!
What are you free to do today? Tell me about it. And what are you most grateful for?
See ya tomorrow. Have a Meaningful, Peaceful Monday.
Please go to her post to read the story and become acquainted with Donna. Here is her poem:
TRIED YOUR BEST
At the end of my life
when I stand before the Lord,
I just want to hear Him say,
“You tried your best.”
“You may not have always succeeded
and yes, there were times
when you failed;
but you never let Me down for
you tried your best.”
“The gifts that I gave you,
you did try to use.
You may not have always used them,
indeed many times you did fail,
but it is okay
I love you,
You tried your best.”
“You listened for my voice.
You did your best to obey.
The words that I spoke,
they pierced your heart and you
tried your best
to let them change you those days.”
“You were not perfect,
I did not create you to be.
I knew that apple
would be picked off the tree.
I know you are not perfect,
that is okay with me.”
I provided my Son to take all that away.
All I ever wanted from you my dear child
is to know that you wanted to
try your best.”
“Tried your best
to do the right things,
tried your best
to be the best you could be.”
“In all your relationships, I never did frown,
I saw you my child, you were
trying your best.”
At the end of my life when I stand before the Lord,
more than all else, with such love in His eyes,
I want to hear Him say,
“MY child, you
TRIED YOUR BEST.”
Starts with Mind-Set
Part of trying to do and DOING your best is mind-set. It’s where all the effort begins… in your head and in your heart. If you’ve followed my blog very long at all, you know I begin each day in my “Angel Room.” It’s my favorite room in the house.
In my sanctuary, I pray, meditate, read devotionals and the Bible, and often write letters and cards to friends. Often the inspiration for my blog comes during my sanctuary time.
It Takes Divine Guidance
Before I leave my sanctuary each morning and walk down the spiral staircase, I ask for Divine Guidance, I pray,
“Lord, take me where you want me to go today. Help me meet who You want me to meet. Tell me what you want me to say. Help me be what You made me to be. Show me what You want me to do. Help me walk in Your Way.”
These days, with the COVID-19 restrictions in place, He doesn’t want me to GO very far from home. The people I meet are usually on ZOOM or MarcoPolo, FaceTime, FaceBook, or here on WordPress. But, I do ask for help with what to say here on my blog, elsewhere on the internet, in phone calls and messages, and on those cards I write.
God helps me live up to WHO He made me to be… and I try my best to follow His lead. That’s all we can do you know: DO OUR BEST!
There are so many great resources out there to help us on our daily walk. Guideposts is one of my go-to sources. I have been reading their Daily Guideposts for at least a decade.
Recently I received a complimentary copy of Strength & Grace, daily devotionals for caregivers. I was tempted to pass it along to a friend who is caring for her recuperating spouse, but then I read a page or two, and I decided it is very pertinent to all of us who are sequestered and taking care of ourselves – and whoever may be living in the house with us.
Today’s message, April 18th, was titled, “Caregiver Foolishness.” It might have just said, “Our Foolishness,” because we all are foolish at times! We all occasionally make “careless mistakes or unwise decisions.” The message went on to explain:
“Foolishness strikes when we are tired and vulnerable, making us feel even worse.” But don’t stop there, we are told, “The opposite of foolishness is wisdom – God’s specialty. We may be fools, but God is always there with us, ready to carry us when we blunder.”
Try Your Best and Believe
So, the good news is: God knows our hearts. God knows our sincere efforts. He shares His wisdom and strength with us.
As long as we rely on God, it’s okay to be foolish at times. After all, we’re mortal. He did not create us to be perfect! Just join the Guideposts prayer team and me:
“God of strength and wisdom, even in my most foolish moments, You are there. I thank You for Your wisdom when I try my best, and for Your grace when my best doesn’t measure up.
I thank You for Your strength when I am weak. Help me always to remember, as Donna Marie wrote in her poem, ‘At the end of my life, when I stand before the Lord, I just want to hear Him say, you tried your best!’
Help me with my mind-set, my adherence to Your divine guidance, and my wise use of the many resources out there to assist my efforts. Help me in my Belief and forgive my doubts.
In Jesus Name, Amen”
Thanks for your visit to JanBeek today. Do your best to have a restful Saturday night and a blessed Sunday.
In this crucial time We need to stop, look, listen Stop now and bow down!
In kindergarten, we were taught to stop, look and listen. We made traffic lights as an art project. As a kindergarten teacher in the 70’s, I taught the children to recognize their colors, write their numbers, sing their ABC’s and listen for the sounds the letters made. I taught them safety features. Looking out for themselves and for one another. Yes, we had partners who took care of each other when we went out on field trips.
It’s time once again For us to stop, look, listen Practice safety rules
It’s time once again To look out for each other Hold hearts across miles
Just STOP, everyone! Stay sequestered and stop now Look for ways to help
Listen for the cries Of people less fortunate Look for solutions
Kim Taylor Henry is one of the contributing writers for Daily Guideposts 2020. This week, she has taken us through her devotionals on a journey to the Holy Land. We stopped with her in Jerusalem and bemoaned the way “the city bustled on.”
Kim thought of the words of Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem… how often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”
She wrote that when she traveled to Jerusalem, she “had expected to feel connected to God through tranquility.”
Instead, as she stood on a hill looking down at the expanse of the city, she wanted to cry out, “Stop everyone! This is holy ground! Bow down. Worship. Praise.”
We were just like that – Chaotic, bustling, busy – Moving way too fast
Then this virus hit We came to a screeching halt Stop, look and listen!
Now we have the time We are forced to be at home How will this change us?
Will we use this time To reclaim our best values To reach out in love?
The city is still The children are in their homes It seems the world stopped
Take time to bow down Reconnect with your Maker Let His Will guide you
When Kim Taylor Henry left Jerusalem and traveled on to Gethsemane, she expected to find “a hushed highlight” for her trip. She wrote that she thought she would find “a spot where I would reflect on our Savior’s suffering, a place of pain, yet serenity.”
“Instead ,” she wrote, “I saw a fenced-off grouping of knobbly olive trees… It didn’t feel peaceful.”
Opportunity or Tragedy
We have the opportunity during this COVID-19 pandemic to create in our homes a place of peace, a spot where you sense a “hushed highlight” in the opportunity to just BE… just BE together with family or alone in your space…
We can create a tragedy where we feel “fenced off” and we can be resentful, and we can worry and let our fear blind us to the opportunities that are before us.
Indifference or Awareness?
Traveling on the Via Dolorosa, the road to Calvary, the place outside the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified, Kim Taylor Henry wrote in her Guideposts devotional,
“I felt irritated by what I viewed as near oblivion to the sanctity of the path. Crass crowds and the array of souvenir shops disturbed me.”
But she went on to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Golgotha, the hillside where Jesus and the two thieves’ crosses remained, and she felt a sense of hush and respect.
Kim asked herself, “Why is the Via Dolorosa bustling with indifference and commercialism while the sites of death and resurrection are worshipful?” And she postulated, “Perhaps it’s a reminder that I, like so many wrapped up in the world… realize my errors too late, and bow down after the fact – when crisis has already struck.”
Is it Too Late?
Help us not to wait Until the crisis has struck Devastating us
Help us to heed NOW The directions we’re given And let us bow down
Stop, look and listen Like kindergarteners did No, it’s not too late!
Thank you, Kim Taylor Henry, for permission to quote your writing. Thank you, Guideposts, for your wonderful DailyGuideposts 2020spirit-lifting devotionals. I appreciate this resource that helps me each day stay focused on the positive ways we can remain in His Word and “Walk the Talk” as we learn to better love and care for one another.
In her devotional this morning, Cynthia Ruchti reminded me it’s Ash Wednesday. She wrote (on this Feb. 20 devotional in Daily Guideposts), “… my sins have been incinerated, a fine layer of ash is all that remains – and that layer has been blown away by the breath of Jesus’ mercy.”
What a wonderful image that is! She reminded us of the devastation of the 2019 California fires that left whole neighborhoods (in fact major parts of whole cities, like Paradise, CA) incinerated. She mourned, “The ash was so fine it left only a dusting over the footprint of each lost home.”
Cynthia reminded me that Ash Wednesday is “a time of reflection, self-sacrifice, spiritual discipline, and fasting to prepare the heart for Easter.” Her “Faith Step” at the conclusion of the message was: “Our humanity and our sinfulness have been conquered in Jesus and we are free. Ashes to joy. Dust to life. Live victoriously.”
At http://www.Christianity.com the author wrote: “Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.”
I am ready to embrace this season. I am ready to “live victoriously.” I am ready for “Dust to dust” to become “Dust to Life.”
I am ready for “Ashes to ashes” to become “Ashes to Joy.“
I get up, take my meds with a full glass of water, make a cup of coffee, and go up to my sanctuary.
Each morning in my sanctuary, I have a routine of quiet time, prayer, meditation, Bible Study, and devotional reading. One of my favorite devotionals is Guideposts Magazine.
This month’s Guideposts (Feb. 2020) is featuring upbeat stories about times in our USA history when the nation came together in unity. If you have followed my blog this week, you know UNITY is high on my list of priorities. When we are unified as a people, we can accomplish so much good!
Being unified allows us to gather strength from one another. Unity means fighting FOR one another, lifting one another up with dignity, living on the UPSIDE of life! “The Up Side” is one of my favorite features in Guideposts Magazine.
Each of those quotes are sufficient for a full day’s topic.
Make a Difference
Rinse and Repeat
God Grins Back
Life’s Too Short
Look for those on my blog as this week progresses. And have an UPSIDE DAY!
I’m off to volunteer at the Senior Center. See ya tomorrow.
Forgiveness is a two-way street. Not only do we need to forgive others, but we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes that is much harder than forgiving others.
So, as this decade of 2010 to 2019 ends, commit your heart to forgiveness. Let go of any hurts from others. Tell them so. And let go of those regrets that creep into your heart and cause you to scold yourself.
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all say things and do things and think things that we regret afterward. Forgive yourself … and move on!
Let those mistakes (sometimes intentionally placed in our lives … so not mistakes at all) be building blocks toward a better you! With 20/20 CLARITY, let this new decade be a time of strength and sincerity, compassion and courage, challenge and change, faith and fearlessness.
Know in the midst of life’s struggles that you are never alone. In my devotional this morning, I am reminded of God’s love for me and His changelessness with Ps. 59:10
It is our fluctuating emotions that cause us to ask for forgiveness and then take back the guilt that God has taken from us. We try to forgive, but we remember. We remember our own wrongs. We suffer the wrongs others have inflicted on us, carrying them in our hearts long after we think we have given them to God. The devo from Guideposts for today tells me, “Stop that!”
Accept His forgiveness. Acknowledge His death that took away our sins. Know His changeless love and His unconditional acceptance of us. And pray with me the prayer Rebecca Barlow Jordan wrote as our “Faith Step” for today in the last entry of Daily Guideposts 2019:
“This coming year, as I confess any wrong things in my heart to Jesus, (either my own wrongs or those inflicted on me by others), remind me to thank Him for His changeless love and acceptance. (And help me imitate His unconditional love as I interact with others… and with myself.
One dictionary says,
1) the quality present in a thing or person
that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind,
whether arising from the sensory
(as shape, color, sound),
a meaningful design or pattern,
or something else (as a personality
in which high spiritual qualities are manifest),
or 2) a beautiful person or thing
(as work or art or building),
or 3) something excellent of its kind
(My old car was a beauty)
In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
with a sub-title of “Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life,”
authors Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat wrote:
“Walk the path of beauty.
Relish and encourage its inward and outward expressions.
Acknowledge the radiance of creation.”
Find Beauty in Others
Observing and appreciating beauty
is a spiritual practice for me.
It enhances my ability to see the world
through Jesus glasses!
There is beauty in each of us.
Look for the beauty in others
and watch your happiness factor increase.
Find Beauty Within
Last weekend my grandson, Chris, and I went to see “Breakthrough.” It’s a new movie starring Chrissy Metz, a true story of a high school-aged boy who fell through the ice in a lake and was underwater for ten minutes before being pulled out. Presumed dead after a long and arduous attempt to resuscitate him, the story focuses on the power of prayer and the results of a loving, passionate mom who would not give up. The beauty of Chrissy Metz as she superbly played the role of the mom was undeniable.
(You may recognize her… she starred in the TV series, “This is Us” and told her personal story in the April edition of Guideposts Magazine.)
When we see compassion and love in the eyes of another, in the behavior of another, we see the inner beauty that shines through. We are encouraged to emulate that behavior.
Chrissy’s ability to passionately demonstrate the power of
unconditional love and an unwavering faith
showed us what beauty there is
in the treasure of life.
Find Beauty in Nature
While looking for greater meaning in life, I find inspiration in the beauty of nature. A week ago as we were experiencing snow in April, and last Sunday when our Sunrise service was drenched in rain and no sun was visible, I wondered if spring would ever come to my part of the world. Yesterday we had a gorgeous sunny day. Hooray! This morning, look what I found outside my kitchen window:
Yes, this is a sign of spring… it’s here! Never give up hope!
Enjoy the beauty of nature
Let it remind you of God’s unfailing love for our earth and for us!
Are you in sanctuary or synagogue or temple or church today? God Bless You!
In my quiet time this morning, Carol Mackey reflected on 1 Cor. 1:10 in which Paul wrote to the people of Corinth, “Now I plead with you… that you speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind…”
Carol wrote in Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus, “Sunday morning at eleven o’clock is the most segregated hour of the week.”
I was prompted in thinking about that statement to create this Haiku x4:
Segregation thrives most in Sunday morning pews. Where’s our unity?
Race and culture, Ideology and thoughts Pull worship apart.
It must sadden God; It must grieve Jesus’ heart To see divisions.
Instead of focus On our obvious fractures, Focus on One God!
“Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.” This is a quote from Sanaa Latham, actress, as quoted in my December Guidepostsdevotional on The Upside page.
At our local medical center, the “Candy Stripers” are not young high schoolers dressed in red and white stripes or pink tunics (as they were back in CA) who greet you from the reception desk. They are mature women with a heart for helping who wear purple jackets.
Look carefully at the last picture. I am third from the left in the back row. Notice the donation we made to the hospital. We gave $31,700 !! The money went to help pay for that diagnostic scanning machine that I used yesterday! Our big fund raiser each year is an Open House tour of six different homes (our house was on tour about 10 years ago shortly after we moved here to Ennis, MT). The fund raiser also includes a collection of silent auction items and donated events. God bless those dedicated workers and donors who make it all happen every year!
As I indicated, yesterday I had a scan … a CT scan… (a follow-up on the irregularities found in Wednesday’s ultrasound).
Yesterday also was my day to be a “Purple Lady” volunteering at the reception desk. So, since I couldn’t be two places at once, I needed a substitute for about an hour and a half.
But, Friday afternoons are not a good time to try to find subs … especially with that snowy, cold weather going on out there.
So, what did I do? I conned my husband, Bob, and grandson, Chris,
into covering for me. (Actually they volunteered – what nice guys!)
I wish you could have seen the expressions of staff and visitors
when they came in and saw these “Purple Ladies!”
I don’t believe what I’m seeing!!
Hey, why not?
We take volunteers of all kinds! Come on over, guys!
Thanks, guys! Get off your ATVs and out of your fishing boats,
and perform a little community service!
It’s not just the Lion’s Club that needs you.
We’d be happy to add some men to
our Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary!
Remember, especially during this gift-giving time of year,
“Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.”