My high school buddy from the Stone Age, Doris, sent me a story today. It was written by a guy (no name available) who recalled an experience that stuck with him and changed him forever.
Did the title of this blog draw you in? Stay with me.
The story writer told about the way a young Downs Syndrome man impacted the hearts of all he touched. I was moved by the story – and decided it was too good to keep to myself. I hope it touches your heart, too.
Nicky’s Lesson for Us All
In 1979, I was managing a Wendy’s in Port Richey, Florida. Unlike today, staffing was never a real problem, but I was searching for a someone to work 3 hours a day only at lunch. I went thru all my applications and most were all looking for full time or at least 20 hours per week. I found one however, buried at the bottom of a four inch stack, that was only looking for lunch part time.
His name was Nicky. Hadn’t met him but thought I would give him a call and see if he could stop by for an interview. When I called, he wasn’t in but his mom said she would make sure he would be there. At the appointed time, Nicky walked in. One of those moments when my heart went in my throat. Nicky suffered from Downs Syndrome. His physical appearance was a giveaway and his speech only reinforced the obvious. I was young and very sheltered. Had never interacted on a professional level with a developmentally disabled person. I had no clue what to do, so I went ahead and interviewed him. He was a wonderful young man. Great outlook. Task focused. Excited to be alive. For only reasons God knew at that time, I hired him for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week to run a grill.
I let the staff know what to expect. Predictably the crew made sure I got the message, “No one wants to work with a retard.” To this day I find that word offensive. We had a crew meeting, cleared the air, and prepared for his arrival.
Nicky showed up for work right on time. He was so excited to be working. He stood at the time clock literally shaking with anticipation. He clocked in and started his training. Couldn’t multi-task, but was a machine on the grill.
Now for the fascinating part… Back in that day, there were no computer screens to work from. Every order was called out by the cashier. It required a great deal of concentration on the part of all production staff to get the order right. While Nicky was training during his first shift, the sandwich maker next to him asked the grillman/trainer what was on the next sandwich. Nicky replied, “single, no pickle no onion.” A few minutes later it happened again. It was then that we discovered Nicky had a hidden and valuable skill. He memorized everything he heard! Photographic hearing! WHAT A SKILL SET.
It took 3 days and every sandwich maker requested to work with Nicky. He immediately was accepted by the entire crew. After his shift he would join the rest of his crew family, drinking Coke like it was water! It was then that they discovered another Rainman-esque trait. Nicky was a walking/talking perpetual calendar! With a perpetual calendar as a reference, they would sit for hours asking him what day of the week was December 22, 1847. He never missed. This uncanny trait mesmerized the crew.
His mom would come in at 2 to pick him up. More times than not, the crew would be back there with him hamming it up. As I went to get him from the back, his mom said something I will never forget. “Let him stay there as long as he wants. He has never been accepted anywhere like he has been here.”
I excused myself and dried my eyes, humbled and broken-hearted at the lesson I just learned. Nicky had a profound impact on that store. His presence changed a lot of people. Today I believe with every fiber of my body that Nicky’s hiring was no accident. God’s timing and will are perfect.
This Christmas, I hope we all understand what we are celebrating. We are all like Nicky. We each have our shortcomings. We each have our strong points. But we are all of value. God made us that way and God doesn’t make mistakes. Nicky certainly wasn’t a mistake. He was a valuable gift that I am forever grateful for.
We are celebrating the birth of the ONE that leveled the playing field for all of us. God doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, republican or democrat, or black or white. He doesn’t care if your chromosome structure is perfect. He doesn’t care what level of education you have attained. He cares about your heart. He wants us all to love and appreciate the gift HE gave us on Christmas, His son, the Savior, our salvation. His Son that was born to die for our sins. To pay our debt. To provide us a path for eternity.
So this Christmas, let’s check our hearts. There is a little bit of Nicky in all of us and I suspect there is a Nicky somewhere in your life who is looking for the chance to be embraced. Thank God for that. Thank God for His perfect gift, Christ Jesus.
Another of my high school friends, Kristy, sent me that sketch up there done by a 93-year-old friend of hers, Alice Paschal. What a wonderful rendition of that glorious Christmas Day! Like those two doves, my husband, Bob, and I are sitting in the rafters, peering down on that magical scene – marveling at the love Christ brought down to earth. Grateful for those who share His love in stories, words and actions.
Ready to Learn
May we all be like the workers in that restaurant long ago – ready to learn to love, learn to accept, learn to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable. May we learn to see one another through Jesus glasses, from the inside out.
I first posted this in December of 2020 … and here it is a year later … December of 2021 … and in many ways, we are more engulfed in the effects of COVID-19 now than we were then!
My resolution for 2020 was to “Walk the Talk.” Little did I know when I created those 20/20 Perfect Vision glasses January 1, 2020 what a challenge that would be!
I posted the picture of that little girl in early January, determined to talk less and to do more.
No Way of Knowing
I had no way of knowing when we celebrated the first of five planned Lenten breakfasts leading up to Easter that it would be our last. COVID-19 hit, our gatherings were shut down, and social distancing eliminated these opportunities.
Time to read more, time to think more, time to reflect on stories like the one at the top of this blog.
I asked you, my WP readers, “How will you spend the rest of this 2020 year? What will you do to Walk the Talk and Show the Love of Christ with those you meet?”
I asked you, “Think about it.”
And here it is another year gone by, still dealing with the effects of COVID-19, and still asking the same questions. still making the same requests:
And I still want you to know, “I love you.“ I hope you have avoided the ravages of the virus. I hope you are well, and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with loved ones.
Thanks for taking time to read JanBeek. I hope it inspires you. Bee well! Bee LOVE.
When life seems challenging and circumstances tax your patience, do you ever wonder if God’s really gotcha covered?
Well, trust me –
Trust the Savior –
He’s gotta grip on you!
God’s gotta grip on me.
Our Lord’s not lettin’ us go!
“ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My Prayer for Today
“Gracious God, how grateful I am to rest secure in Your grip forever.”
God’s Not Gonna Lose Me
In today’s devotional time, Daily Guideposts 2021 reminded me that while I may misplace my sunglasses or my phone occasionally, God never misplaces me!
In his comments, Bill Giovannetti recalled a time when his daughter asked him, “What if I lost God? Or what if God lost me?”
Her younger brother responded, “Right, Josie, you’re the only person in the whole wide world that God forgot about!”
Reading Romans 8:38-39 together, Bill and his son reassured Josie and asked her, “If God keeps His Word, what is that verse telling you?”
“It’s telling me God never loses His sunglasses,” she said, “Or me!”
Today Bob & I celebrated my birthday (I’ll match Bob’s age – and be 82 tomorrow). Our hands certainly show the wear and tear of work and years!
But, like that hold God has on us, we’ve got a grip on one another – and we’re not letting go!
Taking a clue from us and God, Xander’s got a grip on his GreatGrandma Jan (GG – that’s me!) and he’s not letting go!
My great-granddaughter, Sienna, gets a grip on her mommy, my granddaughter, Hope. When children have a hold on loving, devoted parents, God smiles.
It’s a double blessings when Grandpa gets down on the floor with his granddaughter. Our son Ty helped Sienna learn how to get a grip on puzzle skills.
Children are blessed indeed when they have a grandma who reads to them. Sienna gets a grip on what books are all about with Grandma Monika’s help.
How special to get a grip on my great-granddaughter, Sienna, and her mommy, Hope … while they get a grip on TazE, our Boston Terrier!
Not every family has the privilege of gathering 4 generations together! Get a grip on longevity … and the joy of embracing great-grandpa!
Such fun to see TazE getting along so well with Xander!
Monika and Hope with Sienna & Xander… They sang Happy Birthday to help me get a grip on turning a year older. Not older… just more mature, right? So nice!
Ty & Monika brought their big dog, Nakota…
… and TazE had trouble getting a grip on having such a big buddy!
She was exhausted! Time to get under the table and get a grip on some rest!
As I strive to spread love, joy, peace, faith and unity, I often embrace haiku as a means of expression. Today I learned about a poetry form that is new to me: ukiah. It is reverse haiku. Instead of pattern of 5-7-5, it uses a 7-5-7 pattern. It is a joy to me to learn new things … and to put new ideas into practice. Do you find joy in newness?
Try applying new concepts Making room for joy Embrace ukiah today
Then I learned, Oh no! There’s another requirement for ukiah. It has to rhyme! All three lines? Or just two of the three?
I researched it and found the definition written by the person who invented it, Robert Ropars :
“My idea is the opposite of the haiku. I was thinking it should be a “Roparsku” but my lack of ego (and my very wise girlfriend) kept me grounded. So since I’m talking about the opposite, then reversed it would a “Ukiah.” Now searching around online I see some people have played with variations (calling this a “reverse haiku”), but only changed the syllabic construction. I think a true “reversal” would also take into account the rhyme aspect. In addition, this adds an extra level of challenge to the endeavor.
It would be composed of: •3 lines in length •rhyming •lines 1 and 3 contain 7 syllables •line 2 contains 5 syllables
Haiku example: Winds blowing lightly Leaves whispering in the dark Stars twinkling above
Ukiah example: Leaves are drifting in the night The stars are so bright Shivering I hold you tight
Wow… all three lines rhyme. That changes everything!
I took its ideas and tried to create a Ukiah using it:
You can’t see me; I hear you – And you can’t touch – true, But I feel you near clear through.
You do not taste my sad tears, But I cry your fears. Your sadness pierces like spears.
In this very empty room, Silence is perfume: A claustrophobic deep gloom.
I smell and feel it around. Miss your loving sound. Hate social distance ground!
When ukiah is so sad, Where’s joy to be had? Just creating makes me glad.
Practice keeps newness churning. Embrace the yearning. Apply newness while learning.
7-5-7 and add rhyme… Try it! Embrace Ukiah!!
Be a sport! Share your try at ukiah in the comments below.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. See ya tomorrow (God willing!)
In 2018 we were in Switzerland and our daughter, DeAna, arranged for our grandson, Michael Solioz, to visit a Swiss beekeeper with his Grampy Bob. Bob wrote up some questions ahead of time, and Mike translated them for the man who is the president of the Sion Beekeepers’ Club.
This video is so professionally done by Mike. I guarantee you will enjoy it. The beekeeper is such a delightful man – a retired physician!
So, what did you think of that?
If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know that Bob is a retired beekeeper… He did that for over 20 years after he retired from teaching/coaching.
No, that’s not Bob up there. He rarely dressed up like that! No suit, no gloves, just the hat and veil sometimes. He is the “bee whisperer” according to beekeeper hobbyists here who enlist his help with their hives occasionally.
Notice Bob’s short pants, bare hands, and hat without veil. Experienced beekeepers seem to know how to approach the bees with peaceful intentions that the bees can sense… unless they’re Africanized bees (that’s a whole other blog topic someday).
Anyway, it was fun to uncover that 2018 Swiss beekeeper interview. I hope you enjoyed it.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. See ya tomorrow(God willing)
It’s a beautiful evening for a maiden fly fishing adventure. Bob & Steve took Mary Grace out on the Madison.
Stay tuned, friends. I’ll give you a report tomorrow to let you know how they did. I hope they are able to catch a few big ones. They will call when they are ready for me to get them at the “take out” in Ennis. Bob says, “The tug is the drug.”
Let’s embrace bird songs. They bring music to our souls. Delight in their sounds!
The following video is a 42 minute delight. It displays 80 birds, identifies them for you, and plays their songs. I LOVE it!
I recommend that you play it as background music as you read the rest of my blog and go about your day.
Peek back at it every now and then – because the close-up pictures of these birds and the words that identify them and the settings where you find them will be sure to delight you!
I woke this morning to the sound of doves cooing. They have built their nest in the eaves Outside my bedroom window – Crafted it with twigs and leaves.
Partner doves made their home there And sang their song, “I hid hid hid it!” Soon they’ll lay their eggs there And change their song to “I did did did it!”
But their nest is not hidden from us. We can see their coming and their going. Their song brings us daily happiness. Our day starts with shared music – enjoying!
After you have listened to some of that first video, check this one out. It is just the dove… Then go back to that first one. Let it mesmerize you! (You can slide the red bar at the bottom of it to go back to where you left off.)
“Happy are the people to whom such blessings fall; happy are the people whose God is the Lord.”
Just as each bird has its song, People have songs that identify them. Some are blues, some jazz or rock and roll, Others are known by their favorite hymn.
As I listen to music on my Amazon device And I hear one I wanna put in my cart, I say, “Alexa, add that to my favorites.” My list – like a bird song – comes from my heart. .
Take a break from the bird songs, and listen to a song that touches my heart. I can’t help but sing along whenever it plays:
In my “Happiness Project” (one sentence journal) the verse at the top of the page today was:
“It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.”
– Thomas Jefferson
What Creates Happiness for You?
I used to find my greatest happiness in the classroom – working with young children. Then I found it in my home with my husband and two children. Neither of those sources, however could be defined as “tranquil.”
It wasn’t until we moved here to Montana, we both retired, and we bought a house with an upstairs “SanctuAiree,” that I found my place of tranquility. Surrounded by trees with singing birds outside and my Bibles, devotionals, and angels inside, I am at peace. Inner peace is my definition of tranquility and happiness. How about you?
For me, there are few things in life which create more tranquility than the sound of a dove cooing. Our God used a dove as the carrier of good news (it returned to the ark with an olive branch to announce “Dry Land! It’s here! It’s here!”) The dove is a symbol of peace.
What a way to wake up in the morning! And then they greet me on the rooftop when I am in my SanctuAiree.
Doves are little gifts from God. I love them and their song.
What is your favorite bird song?
Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
I hope you’ll be singing when you leave here!
(You can go back to that first video and continue enjoying those bird songs)
Do you ever wonder what’s real and what’s not? Do you wonder what’s truth and what’s fiction? Do you wonder why certain things happen? Do you wonder what tomorrow will bring?
What if you grew up with a dad Who was a Special Effects Artist? What would the world seem like To you if this was your daily reality?
Ever wonder what life would be like If you had not met the person who Is front and center in your life now? Who would be with you instead?
Ever wonder how God created The beauty of a rainbow or sunset? The colors of the variety of birds? Or every zebra’s stripes unique?
Ever wonder how He could make Each snowflake different? Each eye unique – unlike any other? Each voice to sound like no other?
Did you ever wonder if our eyes grow over our lifetime? When we’re born, our eyes are about two-thirds smaller than they’ll be when we reach adulthood. People’s eyes stop growing in length by the age of 20-21, when they reach about 24 millimeters. But the weight of the eyes’ lenses continue to increase over time. Isn’t that a wonder?
Ever wonder how I knew that? Used to be we had a huge set of encyclopedia that we bought from a door-to-door salesman. Encyclopedia Britannica. Outdated by the time it was published. Ask Siri today. Ask Alexa. Carry your encyclopedia in your pocket. Ever wonder how our kids could survive without their cell phones?… And about those voices:
Ever wonder what life would be like If the only thing we bothered to talk about Was the good that we see in others? This is a poem my mom had memorized:
Wouldn’t this old world be better If the folks we meet would say “I know something good about you,” And then treat us just that way?
Wouldn’t it be fine and dandy If each handclasp warm and true Carried with it this assurance, “I know something good about you”?
Wouldn’t life be lots more happy If the good that’s in us all Were the only thing about us That folks bothered to recall?
Wouldn’t life be lots more happy If we praised the good we see? For there’s such a lot of goodness In the worst of you and me.
Wouldn’t it be nice to practice That fine way of thinking, too? You know something good about me! I know something good about you.
(Louis C. Shimon)
Mom posted that poem along with many others on a cardboard that she had hanging inside her kitchen cabinet door. She gathered the poems as a new bride in 1937. They were cut from the weekly newspaper. I have that cardboard posted inside my kitchen cabinet door here in Montana. It’s fading fast and becoming harder and harder to read… but I have most of them memorized now, too!
Ever wonder what your life would be like If you were born to a different mother? You wouldn’t be you, would you? What if your mother had different attributes?
My mother loved poetry (obviously) – And so that love of words well spoken Rubbed off on me – and I wonder What would life be like without poetry?
“As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”
Wisdom is not relegated to the aged. Daniel was a boy of 17 when he was chosen. You are chosen today to tap into The wisdom God has for you!
“Walk with the wise and become wise.”
God gives us true friends Who are wise and wonderful. They are His gifts to us To help us EMBRACE WISDOM
He has chosen friends for us Who are wise and full of grace. They walk into our hearts And leave their footprints all over it!
In today’s Daily Guideposts, Ginger Rue wrote, “…you become like the five people you spend the most time with.” She told a story about how her husband, “Sweet Dwight,” is a person she wishes to emulate. “I hope someday to have a heart like my husband’s: wise, and full of grace… and always looking for the best in people.”
Who is a star in your life, an example of wisdom and grace? Are the five people you spend the most time with people whose lives you wish to emulate? Can you name them?