Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘lessons’

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!

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.

Ages (Reblogged)


This list of wisdom gained through the ages is beautifully done. I know you will appreciate it as much as I do. Click on the word “ages” below and tell SJ at “Change Therapy” how much you appreciate her blog, too.

“Throughout the Ages Age 6: I’ve learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing “Silent Night.” Age 7: I’ve learned that our dog …

Ages

Have a great Sunday afternoon, my friends. We just returned from a wonderful worship service outdoors on this beautiful day. It was predicted to be cccccold – and we were told to dress warmly. But, God is good! It was a comfortable morning in the mid-60s with the sun peeking in and out of clouds.

I video-taped on my phone some of the special music with Jim, Jaime and George singing; Jaime on the keyboard and Jim playing his saw! And of course, I recorded the sermon in my typical poetic fashion. Will share them with you later this afternoon. Come on back!

Have a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Love to you,

Jan ;o)

Expand Your Peripheral Vision


adventure conifer daylight desert
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Expand your peripheral vision
To see blessings in unexpected places.
How could Jonah in the whale do so
While he was down under – sleeping?

Reading the first chapter of Jonah,
I discovered Jonah sleeping below deck.
The sailors found him there, too.
They found he was the cause of the storm.

They tried to save the ship and him
By aggressively rowing  toward shore,
But God turned up the turbulence.
Finally, they had to throw him overboard.

The storm ceased. The seas calmed.
God sent a whale to swallow Jonah.
Inside the big fish, his vision widened!
Jonah was able to see the big picture.

You can’t hop a ship to get away
From the tasks God puts before you.
You have to stay and face the storm.
He sends turbulence to teach us.

We are in the midst of a storm today.
There is no end in sight for this virus.
God needs us to grow spiritually, and
Learn to rely on Him for our rescue.

Take comfort in knowing He’s in control
Of every storm that comes our way.
His mighty power and unfailing love
Governs whatever comes your way.

1 Timothy 4:4 helps us realize the truth:
“For everything God created is good,
And nothing is to be rejected
If it is received with thanksgiving.”

Are we to understand that this storm,
This COVID-19 is sent by God? No!
No, I do not believe God wills evil.
I believe He uses it to teach us lessons.

I do not understand the reasons why
Bad things happen to good people
Or why death rains down on our world.
But, I know God’s love surrounds me.

I know if He can send a whale
To swallow up Jonah and save the crew,
He can send a vaccine to cure this virus.
That’s how much He cares for me and You.

Expand your peripheral vison.
Look around you, don’t focus on what was.
Look to see the ways God is at work today.
Focus on what we have, not what we’ve lost.

Thank God today for all your many blessings.
Thank Him for the people who step up,
The courageous ones who make lives better.
Don’t get caught down under – sleeping!

photo of brown dog lying on throw pillow
Photo by Enrique Hoyos on Pexels.com

It’s not the “Dog Days of Summer!”
Wake up to a new day – 

A new chance to live and serve Him.

See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

Looking Back for Inspiration


Inspiration from
Daily June “Take-Aways”

Life's a Book

When daily I read
Daily Guideposts 2019, – A Spirit-Lifting Devotional –
I write 2 to 9 words on the page
to remember the message
that I want to “take-away” with me.

Here are the daily Take-Aways from June:

  1. Think creatively!
  2. Trust first; Faith follows.
  3. Work at Loving.
  4. See and feel God (at work in my life)
  5. Relax into what comes.
  6. Accept and Appreciate God’s Grace
  7. Some things are worse than death.
  8. Share Openly My Faith
  9. Find God is the Seeing, not the Being
  10. Create in Me a Legacy of Love
  11. Respond with Compassion
  12. Project Positivity to All!
  13. Let You Inner Self Sparkle!
  14. Let God Keep You Tuned
  15. Forgive as You’re Forgiven
  16. Pray Daily for Confidence in God’s Wisdom and Guidance
  17. Trust in God’s Hope
  18. Find and Follow God’s Paths
  19. Be a Reflection of Jesus’ Love
  20. Accept Barriers
  21. Be in the Moment
  22. See Beauty Everywhere
  23. Live in and Love the Trinity
  24. Praise Him – It Feels Good!!
  25. Speak Love; Exhibit Kindness
  26. Erase Past Regrets
  27. Bee Generous ;o)
  28. Go With the Flow
  29. Focus on Blessings
  30. Live with Purpose!

Which one speaks loudly to your heart
and gives you the inspiration to go out
and JUST DO IT?

Thanks for dropping by.
I’d love to see your choice below.

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See ya tomorrow

Mom Was an Okie


Let me take a break this Mother’s Day weekend from my A-Z series and talk instead about moms. Okay?

How would you describe your mom?

My mom was an Okie.

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Hmmm… How dare I?!

How dare I use such a derogatory term! “Okie” was a term used by those who thought they were better than those Dust Bowl transplants who moved to the west coast from Oklahoma to find a way to make a living when years of drought forced them from their homes there.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a classic book that told the story of Tom Joad, the father of a migrant family. Tom left the Oklahoma dust bowl for promised land in California, only to face new and daunting challenges. It was made into an award-winning movie starring Henry Fonda.

Wrong Assumption

My father’s sisters erroneously decided Mom was a west-coast migrant from Oklahoma. Unlike those Dust Bowl transplants from Oklahoma, my mother, Elizabeth Totten, had ancestors who migrated in the late 1800s from Ireland and Scotland to Iowa and then to the state of Washington at the turn of the century. Mom’s family owned a farm in Fall City, Washington. Her dad died when she was in her early teens. My grandmother guided her six children to work hard to keep the farm operating without my grandpa to lead the way.

After Elizabeth graduated from high school in 1933, she worked in Fall City at a creamery to help the family survive and retain the farm. She moved to California after she met my dad, Sal DeAngeles, a handsome, suave, dark-haired young man, 4 years her senior.

Early Days in Mom’ & Dad’s Marriage

Elizabeth and Sal eloped to Reno, NV in 1937 and kept their marriage a secret for awhile. They were aware that his family might have trouble accepting her.

Many times Mom told me the story of how Dad’s Italian sisters (he had 5 of ’em) were resentful of her intrusion. She said they called her an Okie. (To her face? I hope not!) She was not Italian. And worse yet, she was not Catholic! And to add insult to injury, Dad’s mother (my Grandma DeAngeles) loved Mom as if she were one of her own daughters. There may have been some jealousy at work there.

Mom thought Dad’s sisters had a friend, a local Italian, Catholic girl picked out for their brother. Mom said she believed they were shocked and rather put-off by his decision to marry this outsider.

Whether her perception of their non-acceptance was true or not, it colored our family’s relationship with my dear aunts forever! It may have been one of the reasons I recall our family going on Sunday afternoons to visit Dad’s sisters at their homes, but rarely inviting them to come to ours. What a shame!

Who was Mom – – – really?

Elizabeth (later nick-named Betty) was the fourth in a family of five children born to Laura & Ralph Valentine (RV) Totten. She was a slightly built, blond, blue-eyed girl with three older sisters, one brother, and a younger sister. She adored her father, whose untimely death (he fell off a barn roof and died of a brain injury), left her devastated.

She was a good student, particularly talented as an “elocutionist” (public speaker), and would have loved to attend college. Financially it just was not an option. She was good at math as well, and eventually became Dad’s secretary/treasurer in his business. In her retirement years, she kept herself busy playing Bridge and participating in the women’s organizations of Eastern Star and Rebekahs.

What do I Remember Fondly About My Mom?

Mom always told me I could do and be whomever I decided I wanted to be. She believed in me. She gave me confidence, and encouraged all my various endeavors. She made sure I got accordion lessons when I showed an interest in that instrument. She helped me get a clarinet when I wanted to join the elementary school band, and she drove me to weekly accordion and clarinet lessons fifty miles away.

Mom helped me develop my writing skills and encouraged my ventures into art and school leadership. She convinced Dad that I should be able to go to college – and made sure they managed to finance my college expenses so that I could concentrate on my studies. “Your school work is your job,” she explained when I was contemplating a job to help with college costs. Unlike most college students today, I graduated with a BA of education in four years – and was debt free. What a gift!

Mirror Images

Mom’s spit-fire personality sometimes caused us to be at odds with one another. I see her in me now and blame her for all the parts of my personality that annoy me. I look in the mirror and see her arms hanging from my shoulders (when did that happen?). I see her impatience in me when I am being less than kind. I look up and shake my finger at her when i am too outspoken.

Thank You, Mom

But at the same time, I thank my mom for all the ways she helped me become the  “Child of God” I am today. She made sure my sister, Sally, and I got to church each Sunday. She was 100% honest and she taught Sally and me to be morally responsible, dependable, hard-working young ladies. I am grateful to my mom for her role modeling, her work ethic, and her unconditional love.

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Family is So Precious!

The picture below is 53 years old!! That’s me on the left, pregnant with our first child. My husband, Bob, is standing next to me. Next is my sister, Sally, with her husband, Dave, holding their eldest daughter, Denise (both of whom are now deceased). I thank God every day for life – and for the life of my children – and count my blessings that they are alive and healthy, productive adults today. I never take that for granted.

My mom and dad (Sal & Betty) are in the foreground. The best gift they gave to me was their love for one another – and their love for our family.

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Happy Mother’s Day
to all those wonderful moms out there
who have impacted their children
in such important ways –
and continue to do so everyday…
some up close and personal,
and others as they lean over the
Heavenly railings and watch over us from above.
***

What do you remember most about your Mom?
And what do you want to thank her for?

 

Prophets – Bah Humbug!


If you’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I take notes in poetry as I listen to the sermon in church on Sundays.

white house on green grass and green mountain

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following. You help me know with your “likes” and comments that I am not just writing into cyberspace. There are real people out there – my blogging “friends” – who may be touched, encouraged, tickled, or illuminated by my posts. If I help you somehow along this rugged path of life to step a little lighter, see a little brighter, or love each other “righter”, then I have accomplished my purpose.

Here are the notes reflecting the message I gathered from yesterday’s sermon. After the service, I told Rev. Jean Johnson, our pastor at Madison Valley Presbyterian, “Your message spoke to me. I think I’ll blog this one.”

So, here it is:

Prophets – Bah Humbug!

Who needs a prophet?
They are annoying, I think.
At best, they are pests.
At worst, they stink!

Tell ’em to take
Their soapboxes away
To some other place.
They harp doom everyday.

Isn’t it enough to try
To be good to each other?
Isn’t it enough
To love sister and brother?

Here we are this Advent
Being called to goodness and hope.
John the Baptist says we
Need baptism and repentance to cope.

He persists in saying
Mountains must be flat.
Paths must be made straight.
Who needs all that?

We like our high mountains.
We like crooked paths, too.
Who needs these prophets?
Do they annoy you?

Well, to be honest, I must
Tell you these truthtellers
Are important to us.
They’re really not such bad fellers!

They call us to be humble.
They show us the Christ-like way.
They remind us of past errors
And guide us to a better way.

Prophets help us discover
How love is better than hate.
They show us what really matters.
Heed them. Invite them in. It’s a date!

Be the love to the loveless.
Don’t worry and think you’re too small.
Listen to the wisdom of the prophets.
Their message is good for us all.

Let God’s light shine through you.
Be the prophetic face of love.
Go out and BE a prophet.
Share the message from God above.

Amen?

 

95 Years of Life Lessons


Living Fully Every Day

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My 95 years young friend, Carol, was in the hospital. Her face lit up when I walked in. It was a joy to see her. We chatted about her recent birthday, the family who came from far and near to celebrate with her, and about my trip this year to visit our daughter and grandkids in Switzerland. I shared that one of my grandsons may come to live with us for a time – and how Bob & I look forward to sharing life with him for awhile.

I told Carol, “With eight decades of living under our belts, we find joy in sharing some of the pearls of wit and wisdom we’ve picked up along the path.”

I asked Carol if she would share some of her life lessons with me. I don’t think I was prepared for the depth of her sharing. But, as soon as she began, I knew I was in for a treat. I grabbed a paper and pen and asked her if she would mind if I took notes. Carol used to be a writer, too … but she finds it hard to set pen to paper these days. So, knowing I love to write, she grinned widely, and nodded.

“Here are some things I have learned as I’ve grown older:

  1. Life softens.
  2. Things aren’t so urgent.
  3. I can fall in love at all ages.
  4. Life constantly changes – be open!
  5. It takes judgement to realize the possibilities life holds.
  6. We’re happier if we count our blessings.
  7. Our lives become more dimensional with years.
  8. Love is huge!
  9. We all must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
  10. . Life comes together in a natural and beautiful way.”

I read her list of life lessons back to her – choking up more than once in the process of doing so. Such wisdom! Such articulation!

“I want to be you when I grow up,” I told her. “I hope I can learn and internalize those lessons as beautifully as you have done.”

Carol and I hugged – and as I left her, she called after me, “It all comes down to living fully every day.”

May you, my dear blogging friends, live fully every day, too. Reach out to a loved one and ask, “What have you learned as you’ve grown older?” Their answers may surprise you.

Share one of your life lessons with me today.

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