The Reason for the season Is not always clear. Today as I was decorating, This message caught my ear.
Time to decorate For the coming of Jesus. It’s Holiday Time.
Time to decorate The foyer and entryway; Put up Christmas wreaths.
Time to decorate Dining room and kitchen, too. Poinsettia in place.
Time to decorate Living room and outside, too. Hang lighted snowflake.
Time to decorate For the coming of Christmas Where is the manger?
Is Jesus in your decor?
I can decorate. The reason for the season Must be apparent.
Look carefully at that picture. Santa is back there… But in front of him is a clay manger scene. It looks pretty primitive. That’s because it is! Out son made this as an art project in Sunday School when he was about 6 years old. He’s now 55.
Do you keep such works of art and take them out each year to treasure the memories?
It is a case from a friend who visited from Africa – and in the case are these darling manger scene figures made from grasses:
When the Christmas decoration boxes come up from the basement, with them come so many memories. This is a real egg with a window cut out by my dear mother-in-law, Laura Belle Beekman. She painted it red, decorated it, and added a musical angel to the center of it. It was my Christmas gift from her in the early 60’s, shortly after Bob & I were married. With her Faberge’ style eggs, she comes alive again – and lives in our Christmas decor.
When I hang this ornament on our tree each year, my Hillsborough, California kindergarten class comes alive. This one with our kitty, was the sample I made as my students were creating theirs – with a picture of themselves on their ornaments. One of those students, Heidi, still has hers. She posted it on FaceBook last week. What a treasure! Heidi is now 55!!
How are you doing with your holiday decorations? Have you put up a tree? Or do you have a Menorah? Or an Advent Wreath? Tell me about your decorating fun this time of the year.
And meantime, click on the link below and enjoy two of my favorite singers singing one of my favorite Christmas songs.
Merry Christmas is coming… Enjoy your decorating! And don’t forget the REASON for the SEASON!! See ya tomorrow. Love, JanBeek
Sermon Notes August 9, 2020 Rev. Steve Hundley Jan’s poetic notes taken while listening to Steve’s message based on John 21:15-23
“A Side-Long Glance”
Jesus was with His disciples on shore. Peter thought Jesus didn’t believe him. Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep. The answer failed to relieve him.
Have you ever felt misunderstood? Ever had your sincerity questioned bare? Peter told Jesus, “You know I love You.” Jesus had asked him three times there.
Was Jesus expecting too much of Peter? Does He expect too much of us? A tithe is a tenth of what you make. The visible return’s not much to see – why fuss?
Well, Jesus expected even more than a tenth. “What about him?” Peter asked. Like Peter, we question others’ faith. We want Jesus to take ’em to task.
There has to be a difference between Faith and foolishness – so it’s not fair Those rich folks don’t seem to give – They don’t seem to do their share.
We cast a side-long glance across the aisle, And we ask, as Peter did, “What about them?” And Jesus answers us as He did Peter, “What is it to you?” From where does fairness stem?
Jesus says, “Feed My sheep -just love!” Your side-long glance has no place here. You do your fair share and don’t worry about What others do. Give, love, and have no fear.
No side-long glances allowed. Look ahead at the One who stands Before a hurting world and says, “Feed My sheep in all My lands.”
Just follow Jesus – And what will happen today? To tell the truth, I don’t know! Just do it anyway!!
After church today we had a barbecue. It was the kick-off of the fiscal year’s drive for finances to fund the Pastor Search Committee and to consider our pledges for the 2020-21 church budget. Jesus said, “Feed My sheep!” and these sheep were fed in grand style out on the church lawn.
After the church BBQ, we went to my friend, Sue’s. Her birthday is tomorrow. We needed to sing “Happy Birthday!” while we socially distanced. She and her husband are being really careful around this COVID-19 … especially with Montana’s case numbers rising. They are being kept really busy at their beautiful home. Just look at their gardens!
Sue and Jerry joined the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church on the same Sunday Bob & I did nearly 15 years ago. We have been fast friends ever since. The two of them built this gorgeous house themselves! Just this summer they added that deck outside their bedroom window on the right.
Here is the front of the house:
Yes, we are blessed. We live in the gorgeous Madison Valley. We have a terrific church, a wonderful pastor who gives great sermons, beautiful friends, and a picture-perfect setting with glorious August sunshine and enormous “BigSky” drama. Ah, my friends, life is good!
No need for side-long glances. Keep your eyes on your own blessings, your own giving, and your own business. No need focusing on what’s “not fair!” Remember while you’re counting your blessings to share your love with others with your whole heart!
Do have a fantastic week ahead.
Thanks for visiting and for sharing with me the sermon and our visit with Sue. Happy Birthday, Sue!!
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
Come on in! I can have a meal ready for you in minutes. Our home is a place where we welcome all who welcome all! We want you to feel at home here!
Or just walk right in – because we don’t have a solid wood door where I can put a beautiful knocker. Our front doors are glass. The entry welcomes you with words on the wall that say “The greatest of these is love.” The word art was a Mother’s Day gift from our son & his wife, that first May after we moved here.
Hah! You can’t read it… it’s backward for some reason… and it’s blurry… but trust me, it says, “The Greatest of These is Love” right above the windows.
Those are the stairs that lead up to my sanctuary – my “Angel Room.”
So, that is what you see when you enter our home here in Ennis, Montana.
Our Dream House
But, this house has not always been my “dream home.” I don’t have a photo of my original dream house. It was in Heber City, Utah. I lived with that house on my screensaver in California for a year. We were ready to retire, looking for a place away from the growing congestion of California. We saw it near Salt Lake City, Utah. We toured it, fell in love with it, put a bid on it, and I dreamed of living there. But, the Lord had other ideas, I guess. The owner never responded to our perfectly generous offer, even after we went back a year later and put another bid on it.
The house was made of logs from the 1988 Yellowstone fire. Many of the logs still had the scorch marks on them. The front door was a massive wood entry with no handle. It had a lovely knocker like the one pictured at the top of this blog.
When you knocked on the door and someone came to let you in, a painting of Jesus (clearer and more beautiful than the one below) was on the wall just inside. The scripture from Revelations 3:20 was written beneath the painting.
The house seemed God-inspired – and I longed to live there.
However, it seems that Utah was not the place God had in mind for us.
This house, in this Pintail Ridge neighborhood, with lovely neighbors, this church in Ennis with these friends… this was (is) God’s dream house for us. When we put in a bid here, everything went like clockwork. (By the way, the trees were much smaller 15 years ago, and you could see the house from Mallards Roost Road clearly. Now we have a lovely forest!)
In God’s Will
Have you ever noticed that when you are walking in God’s will, the path seems smoother?
When you are walking in God’s will, deals ultimately work out better than you could have dreamed.
When you tune in to God’s will for your life, you end up in a better spot than any place you could have imagined for yourself!!
So, come on in, my friends! Mi casa es su casa!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Thank you – so many of you- who sent your love following yesterday’s blog when I told you about my heavy heart following the death of my cousin, Cliff. Your outreach warmed my heart.
Baby robins often hover Near the nest that was their home. Soon they’ll spread their wings And farther they will roam.
Like those little robins, Our children need to fly – Spread their wings and explore The vastness of the sky.
But in this COVID world, We’ve lost the freedom to soar. Our children may be caught Somewhere – longing for more.
If you’ve followed my blog for a year or more, you’ve met this young couple before. They are my grandson, Chris, from Switzerland, and the love of his life, Natalia, who lives in Colombia. Just before this pandemic hit us, Chris traveled to Colombia to meet his on-line girlfriend and her family in person. Now, the two must tuck in their wings and live with the limitations again of on-line romance. Neither is free to travel and face-to-face with the other.
When they were 2 and 4, this brother-sister duo joined our family. Hope Morgan and Samuel Leland were in foster care and God knew they needed to be Beekmans! Now Hope lives here – only a hour from us in Big Sky – and Samuel (who has special needs) had been living happily in a group home near Sacramento. They are now in their late 20’s.
Hope has two of our three great-grandchildren.
Samuel, in the group home, has been in a quarantine mode since this pandemic hit. Life is pretty empty when you can’t go out – and you can’t have visitors. Some of you may know the feeling. Family Connections are SO important!
Years ago, when the grandchildren were teens, we would often drive or fly to be together as a family. Now the family is spread out over several states and even across into Europe. Family Connections are sooo important to us! We live in Montana, and this group shot was taken at a gathering in California.
In the picture above you see (l to r) nephew Zak, Samuel, Bob’s sister Bonnie, her husband Stan, sister-in-law Ann beside Bob’s brother, Bruce, granddaughter Faith with her sister Hope (I’m between them), Bob, grandson Jordan, and behind him – daughter-in-law Monika (mom of Sam, Jordan, Hope & Faith) and lastly, Bob’s sister-in-law Marge. I think our son, Ty was taking the picture.
Yes, Family Connections are important to all of us!!
Gathering the Flock
When will we be able to gather the flock again? Is there a foreseeable end to this isolation?
Ty and Monika were so concerned about Sam and his isolation in the group home that they went yesterday to get him. He is now living back in the nest! God bless them for responding to the felt need!
Returning to the Nest
Sam may not be able to hug friends and visit up close during this pandemic, but at least from his home, he has his parents to hug, and he can see friends from a safe social distance. He is no longer isolated. Social connections are so important to our mental and physical health!
So, unlike the robin parents, We are free to go and rescue. Thank you, Ty and Monika, For returning Sam to the nest and to you!
God bless you!
Have a Happy Weekend. I hope you have opportunities to make Family Connections. Tell me about them!
We spent the day in Bozeman, Montana. Bob & I had much-overdue dental appointments to get our teeth cleaned. Then we did our grocery shopping, bought a tree to plant at our church where a tree died and needs to be replaced, and then had “linner” (lunch + dinner) before heading home.
It was a rainy drive home.
Got rainier as time went by.
When we arrived home, our neighborhood antelope were there to greet us.
Look carefully – there’s mama antelope followed by her two babies in the field.
Yesterday I watched them out my living room window.
A second antelope joined them. She has little ones, too, but they weren’t with her. Probably hiding in the grasses – not too far off.
It is such fun to watch them.
A Fun Place to Live
In the picture below, our house is behind those trees… a wonderland for birds – and a haven for us. That field on the left is where the antelope were today.
Isn’t it fun to live in a neighborhood where the deer and the antelope play? You know that song, right? Home on the Range, a favorite from my childhood.
“Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play, Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, And the skies are not cloudy all day.”
Sing it with Roy and me:
Do You Remember Roy Rogers?
You may be too young to remember this cowboy – or you’re living in a different part of the world. Roy Rogers was my favorite when I was a child back in the 1940s. As a real treat, my sister and I would go to the Saturday matinee at the little theater in Newman, California. I loved Roy Rogers even more than the Micky Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Popeye cartoons! That’s really saying something.
Roy’s sidekick was Trigger, his beautiful palomino. His wife, Dale Evans, was his singing partner. As a child, I was sure Dale Evans would grow old and die – but Roy Rogers would never grow old. And after is wife died, then I intended to marry him!
Did you ever have childhood fantasies like I did?
Did you dress up and pretend to be a princess when you were a child? Or did you imagine yourself to be Roy Rogers’ wife and ride away into the wild blue yonder?
Well, if you dreamed of being a princess on a horse riding off into the wild, blue yonder, come to Montana. This is the place where such dreams come true!
Hope you had a good day. Tell me about it... or share a childhood fantasy.
I remember glimpses of my childhood – an Ozzie & Harriet family with Dad going off to work and Mom staying home…
I remember our small, sparkly white house on the end of Fig Lane in Newman, at the center of California’s hot San Joaquin Valley…
I remember sitting around the radio in the living room listening as a family to “The Cisco Kid” and “One Man’s Family” and “Inner Sanctum” …
I remember Dad’s three-tiered tulip bed and the day I picked a bouquet of them and got into trouble…
I remember being scolded, and as I stood there with a fist-full of the precious blooms saying to Dad, “I no pick the flaws… maybe Sally pick the flaws!”
I remember walking down Fig Lane with my sister, Sally, headed to P Street School wearing my Mary Jane’s…
I remember how proud I was of those new shoes…
I remember trips every September to San Francisco to get new school clothes: new shoes, a new dress, underwear, a sweater, a coat… the essentials…
I remember eating crab legs at Fisherman’s Wharf while I gazed at the boats coming in and going out of the harbor…
I remember my first plane trip, flying to Seattle to be with my mom’s family there when her mom died…
I remember Dewey Wright, my first true love, and the Valentine card he gave me in kindergarten, and how he chased me around the playground until I caught him …
I remember moving from that little white house at the end of Fig Lane to a house out in the country right next door to my Dad’s mom…
I remember the day my cousin, Billy, came to live with us – and how upset he was – and how upset I was when he tore our doll house apart and scattered our toys…
I remember dashing past a gobbling turkey who chased me to my grandma’s back door after school…
I remember my father’s tears when his mother died…
I remember moving out to that God-forsaken place twenty miles from nowhere to begin life anew, with Dad going into business with Uncle Igino and Uncle Melio …
I remember the smell of the Pacific Tallow Works that was about 150 yards from our house, and how impossible it was to close up the house tight enough …
I remember Tiofila and Engracia and Dalia, my sweet little Spanish-speaking playmates, whose mom made fantastic tortillas, and the day they were transported back to Mexico by some cruel authorities…
I remember crying for days when I heard Dalia had died on that trip back to Mexico …
I remember Manuel Ynzunza, his basketball skill, and our first kiss out behind the cafeteria … oh, the thrill of it…
I remember “Dimples,” my Cocker Spaniel who had four puppies – and the fascination of observing the births …
I remember riding a horse, unable to control it, and being pushed into a barbed wire fence, putting a gash in my right leg …
I remember how impossible it was for Mom to leave the office unattended to take me to the doctor (she was Dad’s secretary-bookkeeper), so she taped my gash closed and how it healed leaving a big scar …
I remember the day my Aunt Jean, Billy’s mom, came to take him back … how I was filled with mixed emotions, sorrow and relief …
I remember my mom’s older sister, Aunt Evelyn, coming from Washington to visit and bringing clothes my cousins had outgrown, and Mom spending nights altering them to fit Sally & me …
I remember walking at least a mile (seemed like five) to catch the school bus and riding for at least an hour (seemed like five) while we picked up other kids to go to Crows Landing Elementary School…
I remember Mrs Yetter, my third grade teacher, who was almost bald…
I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Ethel Horwedle, and how she wrote her cursive E, and how she let me sing to the tunes of the square dance records, and let me teach the class new square dance moves…
I remember Mrs. Marlow, the principal’s wife who was my 7th and 8th grade teacher… how she let me go during spelling class to help the kindergarten teacher (because, “You don’t need the spelling lesson,” she’d say after giving me a pre-test on which I always got 100%) …
I remember wearing an “I Like Ike” button and learning in 8th grade about each of his cabinet members as they were one-by-one appointed…
I remember Howard Thorkelson, our class genius, who got polio when we were in 8th grade and was gone a long time… returning in a neck and back brace for our graduation…
I remember learning to play the clarinet and doing so well that the band leader invited me to play with the high school band…
I remember being too small to fit into a high school band uniform, and having suspenders that pulled the pants up under my armpits…
I remember playing an accordion duet with Evelyn at our 8th grade graduation, but don’t remember Evelyn’s last name …
I don’t remember a lot of things, but I remember feeling cared for, and feeling like I could become whatever I set my mind to, and not realizing we were poor…
We actually weren’t you know. We had each other. We had love. We had everything.
When I posted this morning, I told you today was a beautiful day to travel. We stayed in a lovely Wyndham Hotel (La Quina in Twin Falls) last night. I highly recommend it.
It was a terrible day to travel yesterday. But today made up for it.
Let me show you some of the sights we enjoyed on our trip home. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. The camera doesn’t do them justice, but you can get the idea.
The tracks in the snow are evidence that our neighbor came down our driveway earlier today. He blew off our walkway and prepared a clear spot for us to enter the house. God bless him!
Are you blessed with helpful neighbors like ours? I hope so!
It was a wonderful trip to California and back. We had a marvelous set of experiences with family and friends. Thank you for traveling along vicariously with us!
But, as much as we enjoyed the trip, the friends, the time with family, the sun-filled desert, the reunions with colleagues and former classmates, the Tahoe area skiing, etc., you know…. there’s NO PLACE LIKE HOME!
It’s good to be back in the Madison Valley where the Madison River beckons people from all over to the world to come and fly fish… and where the big sky smiles a welcome and neighbors are so grand.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Which of my photos from today’s travel did you like best?