Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘learning’

Embrace Bird Songs


Bird Songs – Haiku
by JanBeek

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.”

Psalm 144:15

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)

See ya tomorrow (God willing).

Embrace Wonder


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?

Special Effects Video

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?

Smooshed kisses –
Watch out noses!!

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?

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com
Double rainbows – no less!!
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
No two are alike!!

Ever wonder how He could make
Each snowflake different?
Each eye unique – unlike any other?
Each voice to sound like no other?

Photo by Egor Kamelev on Pexels.com
No two are alike… amazing!!
Each eye is unique.
No two are the same.
Amazing!!

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:

People recognize us by our 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?

I wonder what life will be like
when there is no more COVID-19.

Laura Sullivan is a musical artist
Whose poetry and piano expertise
I shared with you in a previous blog:
https://janbeek.blog/2020/12/15/shared-poetry-music/

Ever wonder what this world would be like
Without the wonder of music?
The streams would have to stop and
The wind would have to cease.

Ever wonder how one could live happily
Without having a sense of wonder?
What do you wonder about, my friend?
What gives you a sense of awe and wonder?

(By the way, that “Nature Sounds” video will play for 10 hours.
Do you think the image or sound will change after a while?
Ever wonder how they did that?)


Sending my love and hugs.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
Wonder which of your friends
would like a link to this post?

Bob & Jan
at breakfast
on our 59th anniversary
yesterday.

Thank you for all your positive comments and good wishes.
I wonder what blogging would be like if I didn’t have YOU in it?
Not a pretty thought!

EMBRACE WONDER!!
Come back tomorrow.

Embrace Wisdom


Thank you, dear blogging reader, for tuning in to Day #40 of my “Embrace” series.

Forty is a meaningful number in the Bible.
But its significance is not limited to biblical application.
Forty days:

  • is mentioned 146 times in the Bible.
  • is used to designate important time periods in the Bible.
  • is the number of days before his temptation, that Jesus fasted: “forty days and forty nights” (Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2).
  • is the period from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:3).
  • carries significance in today’s world: Minus 40 degrees, or “40 below,” is the only temperature that is the same in both Fahrenheit and Celsius.
  • was important in the Middle Ages: when the bubonic plague gripped Europe, ships would be isolated in harbor for 40 days before passengers could go ashore.
  • is the origin of words we use in today’s pandemic: The Italian word for 40 is quaranta—hence quarantine.
  • is the number of weeks a typical pregnancy actually lasts – Forget nine months!

The wisdom of Jesus’ emphasis on 40 came from God.
Our wisdom has the same source.
All we need to do is tap into it!

James 3:17

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

That state of peaceful happiness,
that contentment,
comes from our ability
to seek wisdom
and to follow the leading
of those words of instruction.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Daniel 1:17

“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!

Proverbs 13:20

“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!

Watch for those friends
as God puts them in your path!

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?

Bob is a star in my life… and so are CG & Caroline
Terry & Jim are stars in my life
Marcie is the friend everyone wishes s/he had!
She always looks for the good in everyone.

Daniel 12:3

“And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Psalm 147:4

“He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. “

If the God of Heaven and Earth has named the stars,
And if He has created all that is seen and unseen,
How surely can we count on His wisdom, and
How assured we can be of His Wisdom if we but ask.

Look for the wisdom in the friends you choose.
Embrace the love in their hearts that shines
Like the stars in the sky – and reflects
The wisdom of their Maker who is alive in them.

EMBRACE WISDOM

I pray you have the JOY
of wise and loving friends.
They truly are God’s gifts to us.
Terry & Elaine are two of my wise stars.

Thank You for them, God!

Thank you for visiting JanBeek today.
May the words of my blog
And the thoughts in my heart
Inspire you to reach out to your life’s stars.

(They can be friends we spend on-line time with…
especially in these days of COVID-19 social-distancing!)

Thank them…
and thank God
for His wisdom
that sent them to you!


Remember, we become
like the five
we spend the most time with.
Choose wisely!!

See ya tomorrow.

Embrace Reading


I love reading
Almost as much
As I love writing –
How about you?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As a teacher,
Reading to my students
Was my favorite time
Of every school day.

Every day when the students
Came in from lunch
Hyper and excited,
A good book settled them.

As a retired adult,
Spending time in
A captivating book
Is like being in a candy shop.

But some of my friends
Would rather color
Or watch TV
Or shop on-line.

How do you feel
About books and reading?
Do you relish a good read –
Or would you rather garden?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Reading a good book
Takes you to gardens
And castles and wonders
Around the world.

Reading a good book
Increases your vocabulary
And helps you soar
To heights beyond your reach.

I’m not telling you
Anything you didn’t know.
So, tell me about a book
That carried you skyward.

I’m all ears!
Recommend a good book to me.

Embrace Reading!

That’s me – reading “The Wing Ding Dilly” by Bill Peet
to a 4th grade class in California.
Their teacher, Mrs. Souza,
invited friends on FB
to ZOOM read to her class.
I volunteered.
You should try it!
It was such fun!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek
See ya tomorrow

Embrace Success


How do you define success?

Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

S tanding
U p
C atching
C laps
S alutations and
S miles

Defining success is step one to attaining it.
We have to know what we want to see
before we can know if we’ve attained it or not.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, you set a goal … like getting a degree…
And when you achieve that goal,
Then you can say, “Yay! I succeeded!”
Right?

But what if your goal is elusive?
What if you’re not sure about the outcome?
How do you achieve success?
Is it a journey?

Heehee… did you laugh?
Well, the point is, success is not a journey!
Success is a cycle!
It’s not a destination.
It’s a process that has no end.

Photo by Drew Rae on Pexels.com

In my “Refuel*” devotional time a couple of days ago, I heard a theory about the Cycle of Success that made perfect sense to me. I hope it speaks to you the way it did to me.

* Bayside Church – Refuel devotional – http://bit.ly/devo020221

Cycle of Success

  1. TEST – take risks, be creative
  2. FAILURE – fail forward! Don’t lose your enthusiasm. All success involves trial and error.
  3. LEARN – it’s not what you know that counts; it’s what you do with what you know.
  4. IMPROVE – how does what you learn improve you or your quest?
  5. REENTER – back up to the top – begin again – test
Photo by Kyle Loftus on Pexels.com

Success is a series of Ah-Hahs. It is a LIGHT that keeps on shining. It is never done.

Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” …

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” –

“The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” … (It’s not a road, it’s a cycle!)

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” –Confucius

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.”

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better. Jim Rohn

“Setting goals is the first step into turning the invisible into the visible. Tony Robbins

“If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. Napoleon Hill

Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be. Zig Ziglar

One of my measures of success
in this blogging world is
getting comments from my friends.

What are your goals?
How do you measure your success?
Tell me about it…

Bob says, “Here’s my definition of success!”

Have a great Thursday evening and Friday.
See ya tomorrow.
Love, JanBeek


Embrace a Tree


Hug a tree for me
Find one you can wrap your arms
Around and hang on

Trees are like people
Some are so big that you can’t
Quite get around them

Like giant redwoods
All you can do is admire
Their magnificence

Some are just loners
They stand apart from others
Saying “Look at me!”

Some are connected
So tightly to each other
There’s no room to join

Others form a line
Saying, “Come and join us, but
You must look like us.”

Others welcome all
They are so hospitable
You just flock to them

Some are quite fruitful
They produce enough to share
And do every day

Others hide their fruit
Above gnarled exterior
Daring you to touch

Some are cold, distant
Dark and often depressing
Warning, “Keep away!”

I love trees who shine
Like bright, colorful people
Beckoning us near

Prickly trees are
Ones we try to steer clear of
Lest we should get caught

The young and tender
Beckon us to hold them tight
And protect their growth

Trees that nourish us
Are like the fruit-filled people
Who say, “Let me share.

Come see what I have.
Come taste of its sweet goodness.
I am rich with love.”

“Come sit beside me
Please let me give you some rest.
Come and embrace me.”

“I won’t hold my love
High above and out of reach;
Won’t put you at risk.”

“I’ll spread out my arms
And keep you safe from all harm.
I’ll listen. You talk!

Tell me your troubles.
Sit beneath my shade and rest.
Come, embrace a tree.”

We come in colors
Bright and shining as the sun.
Bare – when summer’s done

Trees are like people:
We hide our troubles inside
Deceptive faces.

Let’s learn from our trees.
Let’s let true colors shine through;
Show your true beauty.

Unlike this odd tree,
Keep your roots firmly grounded.
Embrace a tree now!

Any old tree will do!!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
Tell me, what’s your favorite tree?
Which one is like you?

Bob & I send our love.
See ya tomorrow.

“Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.”

—From “When Autumn Came” by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
     translated by Naomi Lazard

Embrace Curiosity


Photo by Tucu0103 Bianca on Pexels.com

Do you have a burning question?

As a teacher of elementary children for nearly a quarter of a century and the mom of two very curious children, I can tell you that one of the most annoying questions is “Why?”

I remember the day I finally asked my father, “Why not?” when he told me NO. I was about 20 years old! Can you imagine? Being raised in a family where when Dad said, “No,” that was final? No questions asked. Just obey?

My kids were not like that. It was a different era. They asked, “Why?” before they knew how to say, “Chocolate!”

I think a measure of a child’s intelligence
may be how many times s/he asks “Why?”
The explorations,
poking,
questioning,
prodding,
relentless
inquisitive nature
of some children and adults
can be downright annoying,
though.

Seldom straight or smooth

The path may not be a straight one…
And it may be hard to determine where it leads,
but curiosity will keep you (and them) moving forward.
There is a huge NEED to know what’s beyond the bend!

As parents and teachers
we sometimes want to shield our children
from the unknown.
There may be danger out there.
I had a tendency to be protective.
I know that’s where my dad was coming from
when he said, “No!”

But squelching curiosity
because of fear of the unknown
is a dangerous path.
It can lead to many
missed opportunities
and
lost happiness.

Instead of being annoyed
by the “Why?” and the “Why not?”
we need to teach ourselves
and our children the importance of
always questioning.

Accepting “No”
for an answer
without questioning
can lead to
stagnation.

Instead of squelching curiosity,
let’s turn our questioning into
research with a purpose.

Curious people don’t just look
Curious people see
Curious people don’t just see
Curious people question
Curious people don’t just question
Curious people probe

With a thirst for answers,
Curious people are relentless.
They keep asking until
They find answers that satisfy.

Curiosity changes our perceptions.
It changes our way of seeing things.
It helps us gain the wisdom
That less curious people
Spend a life-time chasing.

Francoise Sagan is credited with that quote.
Who was he?
Are you curious?
I was.


Françoise Sagan (born Françoise Delphine Quoirez; 21 June 1935 – 24 September 2004) was a French playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. Sagan was known for works with strong romantic themes involving wealthy and disillusioned bourgeois characters. Her best-known novel was her first – Bonjour Tristesse (1954) – which was written when she was a teenager.

Want to know more?
Put her name in your Google search engine.
We are so blessed to have an encyclopedia at our fingertips.
Folks with insatiable appetites for answers
can ask the who, what, why, when, and how questions
and Siri or Alexa or Wikipedia are right there.
What a gift these are to the curious.

Imagine what Einstein might have done with today’s technology!!!

EMBRACE CURIOSITY!
Let your “Why?”
be followed by
active listening,
thoughtful reading,
and the
explorations,
poking,
questioning,
prodding,
trying again,
inquisitive nature
that those children and adults
exhibited who were
downright annoying.
Go ahead!
Be annoying!

All Aboard!!

Photo by Simon Berger on Pexels.com

Thanks for visiting
JanBeek
today.

I’m curious.
What are you up to?
What are you curious about?

I CAN RELEASE


I CAN RELEASE

My Journal

My Journal prompts me to decide
What it is today that I CAN
And I WILL release.
It’s not always easy to decide.

In this end of 2020
With the start of a fresh new year
Just around the corner,
I CAN release the old.

I CAN release what obstructs
And I CAN make room
For the new, the better.
What must I release?

First I must REFLECT.
What was good in this mess?
What was worth keeping?
What should I have learned?

I have learned to sift –
Sift through the garbage of the year
And find the jewels. and keep them –
Throw out the garbage!

Kindness wins!

Reflect on the kindnesses
Offered to me from others…
And keep those thoughts alive
While I release the ugliness.

Every struggle contains lessons.
Reflect on the things
COVID-19 set before us.
Did it teach interdependence?

It’s not a problem faced
By just one country or state.
This pandemic is a world-wide
Challenge… we’re ALL effected.

Release the idea of “Me First” –
Release the “We’re the best” mentality.
Absorb the understanding that
We’re all this together.

“No man* is an island –
No man stands alone –
Each man’s joy is joy to me –
Each man’s grief is my own.

(*human)

We need one another,
So I will defend
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.”

Release the idea of supremacy –
And reflect on God’s creation.
Know He made us ALL in His image.
Reflect on what that means.

When you hurt, I hurt.
When you are hungry, I MUST
Reach out to help you – and
Find the nourishment you need.

Images of people in food lines
Stretching for blocks,
And people waiting for vaccines
In “First come-first served” lines

GRIEVE ME!

There is enough food,
Enough resources in this world,
To meet each (hu)man’s need –
We just need to share!!

Release the tensions of this
Election year in the USA
And reflect on the voter turnout,
The level of participation.

Release the divisiveness
And concentrate on the idea
Of POWER in UNITY.
Work toward unification.

Release all attitudes of angst.
Reflect on the love shared –
And determine to be the change
We hope to see in 2021.

I CAN
and
I WILL.

WATCH ME!

Bee an angel and join me!

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.
Happy New Year!

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.

No, no Retards!


Ready to Be Touched

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.

Photo by Paul Efe on Pexels.com

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.

Merry Christmas!

Alice Paschal Nativity

Peering Down

Another of my high school friends, Kristy, sent me this sketch done by a 93-year-old friend of hers. 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.

My New Years glasses

My resolution for 2020 was to “Walk the Talk.”
Little did I know when I created those
20/20 Perfect Vision glasses
last January 1st
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.

Lenten Breakfast 2020

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

Time to read more,
time to think more,
time to reflect
on stories
like the one
at the top
of this blog.

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?
Think
about
it.

I love you.
Thanks for taking time to read
JanBeek.
I hope it inspires you.
Bee well!
Bee LOVE.

See ya tomorrow.

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