order take-out or learn to cook some fantastic stuff yourself!
make home-school an adventure for you and your kid(s); if your kids are grown, send ideas to friends, neighbors, grandkids about things they can do (like log into http://www.janbrett.com and listen to her read her newest book, COZY).
take time to appreciate the ones who are still at work – on the job – making it possible for us to have groceries, get gas, know our loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes are being cared for, and fill our prescriptions when we call them in. God Bless ’em!
don’t let the stock market numbers consume you or freak you out
stop hoarding toilet paper, and
look for virtual ways to be together while we’re apart.
My friend, Elaine Hundley, wrote this poem, “Together from a Distance.” I posted it already on my blog a week or so ago. It’s time to post it again. Take her words to heart!
Together from a Distance Elaine Hundley
“Shelter in place”, they say, “Socially distance yourself From others, and Save yourself In these uncertain days.”
Accepting the mandates Emanating from multiple sources Muddles mind and soul, Reducing faith to realms Not resonating with reality.
So, feed the children, Hold the children, Cherish the children As they carry Fears of family insecurity.
Show young adults affectionate attention, Remembering to renew The frail with hope, Casting aside Despair and defeat.
Connect with the community As faces flood your consciousness, Allowing fingers to fondle keys of phone and keyboard To share love, kindness and contentment.
Share smiles all around, sending self-confidence On its way to unsuspecting faces, places, situations. Simply become beacons of tranquil assurance And you, too, may discover realms of restful renewal In these uncertain days.
This pandemic will not last forever. Make it a positive, meaningful time in your life. With prayer and faith and compassion, it will be. When it ends, if you have remained positive and you have spread hope to those around you, it will be “A Pretty Good Day” INDEED!
Count on it!
Have a good week! Thanks for visiting JanBeek. What’s on your agenda?
Sometimes this COVID-19 feels like we’re walking through the “Valley of the Shadow of Death,” especially when we see the staggering statistics from Italy and realize how quickly the virus is spreading in places like New York City.
A friend told me today he feels we’re living in a period akin to the Great Depression or the Dust Bowl era. Songs are being composed about it. There are thoughtful essays being written. Scientists are creating impressive graphs showing the statistics of known contagions to death tolls and analyzing the relationships to age and climate. Novels will be written that will be classics in the decades to come.
How do we live through this “Valley of the Shadow of Death” without fear?
There are the usual responses: pray, sequester and meditate, have faith, bury your head…
But, while I do believe in the power of our Maker, and I pray daily for the Source of all comfort to bring us healing and peace, there are a few other ways I keep myself FROM feeling the gloom that seems to be enveloping so many. You probably have a list of ways, too. I’d love to have you share yours with me.
Here are my four favorite remedies for avoiding the paralysis of fear:
Music – sing, play, or listen to uplifting songs on YouTube or XM Radio. I love seeing those folks on their balconies in Italy making joyful music together, don’t you? I just listened to Bono and Will.i.am singing a song they wrote for/to the Italians. Google it! Music soothes the soul and uplifts the spirit.
Write – as a blogger, you know how therapeutic it is to put words on paper, in a journal, on a card to a friend, or here on WordPress. Write about what keeps you positive and passionate.
Connect – on the internet or by phone, through a window or across a fence. I just installed a new app on my phone and iPad. It’s called ZOOM. Do you know it? The basic version is free. It’s like FaceTime, but it works on other platforms besides Apple products. My friends in California and Bob & I had a great conversation. It was like sitting across the table from our friends who are 1200 miles away from us. We miss them and it lifted our spirits to see and reconnect with them.
Walk – when the weather permits, go for a walk with your dog or a friend or both. I did that yesterday in our Lion’s Club Park. Yes, we practiced social distancing, but we could chat and laugh and encourage one another. It’s good for body and soul. And TazE loved it, too.
Do tell your dog he’s gotta walk, too!
Tell me, what ways do you avoid walking in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” these days?
Chase unhappiness – Just pursue awfulizing – Make matters worse!
Psychiatrist, Albert Ellis, coined the phrase “awfulizing” and wrote that it is “engaging in the pursuit of unhappiness.” Is that what our nation is doing in this Coronavirus pandemic?
Dr. Ellis says, “… when we look at circumstances and are overwhelmed by them, we become part of a society that has an abundance of illogical ideas and philosophies that lead to self-defeating patterns or neurosis.”
Flood the toilet paper aisles with frenzied shoppers filling their carts and fighting over the last roll!
A couple days ago, my doorbell rang. When I went to the door, I found my neighbor standing there with a broad, silly grin, holding a long stick on which he had strung four rolls of toilet paper! Some friends come to the door of 70-80 year olds in their “hoods” with food or flowers or a book to read while we’re sequestered. This neighbor shared his most precious commodity: toilet paper! Who woulda thunk it??
Shop on-line and fill your garage with cases of hand-sanitizer bottles!!
How many hands did that shopper expect to cleanse? S’pose he intended to freely share them? Nope, he was hoarding with the intent of selling them at some exorbitant price in the future – gouging people!
Flock to places like Shedhorn Sports here in Ennis, Montana, and purchase every last gun and all the ammunition you can carry!
Sure enough, these behaviors will solve this awful COVID-19 problem!
James R. Hine, in his essay, The Situation is Hopeless but not Serious , wrote the following:
“The decisions we make are rarely perfect. But if we make a decision based on our best judgment and with God’s help, we should let it stand.”
He was reminding us that we cannot go back and change the past. We can’t undo the mistakes that got us into this mess that sounds hopeless. But, we can look forward, learn from the past, and move into the future with greater wisdom, with love, and with a hope that keeps our spirits up.
In that same essay, Hine wrote,
“I will never preach like Peter nor pray like Paul, but I can minister in my own way and be acceptable to God in that role. You and I are not perfect, but we are unique.”
Here I am with my accordion a few Christmases ago… Unique, indeed!! And so is Andrew with his trombone!
In your own unique way, avoid “AWFULIZING” and move forward in hope. This is serious, but it’s not hopeless!
James R. Hine, The Situation is Hopeless, but Not Serious
Let me leave you with another quote from Hine: “Through that which is deemed hopeless – the present – there arises a freshhope, a new vision, and a world of creative possibilities. It is in the dead of night. Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil city, is burning behind us. In that burning are all the tragedies of yesterday – the pretensions, the stupidities, the ambiguities, and the moral breakdowns. We have learned hard lessons, but we will not look back. Putting our hands in the hand of God, we will move toward the hills and the dawning of a new day.”
God bless you, my friends. Tell me what you are doing this day to “move forward toward the hills”?
Another friend, Penny Hall, said in a podcast yesterday, “Embrace the good with the bad, and know there is always more good than bad in this world.” Amen, Penny!
Spread positivity, my friends. See ya tomorrow. JanBeek
It’s easy to see the negative. It’s all around us.
It’s easy to wallow in the mud & muck. It can bury us.
It’s easy to hear the complaining and join in. There’s plenty out there to complain about.
It’s harder to focus on the positive, but when we do, it eventually becomes easier to see it.
It might be harder to walk around the mud and avoid the muck, but when we do, it becomes easier to stay on top of clean ground.
It’s harder to resist the complainers and work to be part of the solution instead of joining the problematic whiners, but do it! Problem-solvers discover it’s easier to find the happiness we’re all seeking.
Be Thankful – and Express it!
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs is a wonderful book of wisdom. Have you read it clear through? I read one chapter in it everyday. It has 31 chapters. This month I’ll read three chapters on the 29th. We don’t have a 30 or 31 in February! Then on March 1st I will start over again, but with a different translation. I find the various translations help me gather new and deeper meanings.
Today’s chapter 27 verse 19 is a perfect example of the way different translations can add different nuances:
The Message paraphrased version by Eugene Peterson
“Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.”
The NIV (New International Version)
“As water reflects a face, so man’s heart reflects the man.”
KJV King James Version
“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.”
Each of those passages refers to the way a person’s heart reflects to that person (and maybe to others) who that person really is. Right? But, when I went to the CS Lewis Bibleparaphrased, I found this translation:
“Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another.”
To me that CS Lewis version says it is not just a matter of looking at the way our heart reflects to ourselves who we really are … and can be seen in our facial expressions… but it also says our “heart-scape” influences how we see others.
We see others through our own heart content and our own heart lenses. We may be blind to who they really are, like this girl on a branch is blind to her own reflection. We often don’t see ourselves as others see us. And we don’t see others as they intend to be seen.
Does your face mirror your heart? Or are there cracks in the space between your heart mirror and your face?
Do you see others through a lens of love, or is your heart-scape distorting what you see?
How Do I See Thee and Me?
Do I see thee through a clear lens, a pure heart, a heart of love and compassion?
Ask yourself: Do I see Me the same way? Do I see myself as God sees me? His redeemed, forgiven, beloved child? Am I gentle with myself? Am I open and positive? Do I see the positivity in others?
I see thee dearly. I see me clearly. We are not merely clones; we are beloved, unique children of God.
I love you! Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. Have a blessed day!
When Bob & I first moved from California to Montana back in 2006, I was a recently retired educator with over 30 years of teaching/administrating under my belt. I was not really ready to “hang it up.” You know, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”
So, when I joined the Friends of the Library and received a message from a young man who was seeking help to earn his GED (I think that stands for: General Education Diploma, but it might be Graduation Equivalence Diploma) … anyway, I was all in.
Zahid was a 19 year old from Pakistan whose English was sketchy enough that he had trouble understanding the questions, let alone knowing the answers. I agreed to help him with the English/Language Arts/History areas while a good friend worked with him in the areas of Science and Math.
His host mom would drop him off at our house at 7:30 AM three times a week, and after an hour of study, I’d drive him to his place of work, just five minutes away. During our hours together, one of my greatest challenges was teaching Zahid that it’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” He tried to bluff his way through answers. It was often quite amusing!
Once Zahid learned to say, “I don’t know,” and admit to needing help with the answers, we made great progress. He eventually passed and got his high school equivalent diploma. Hooray!
2.It’s OK to… Feel all the Emotions
Zahid tried to hide his lack of knowledge and his feelings of discouragement. He tried to hide his frustrations. He attempted to bluff his way through the quizzes. It didn’t work. When he learned to let his emotions show, when he opened himself to being “real” with me, we made great progress.
3. It’s OK to… have Bad Days
Life is not always fair. Even with hard work and the best of intentions, our dreams don’t always pan out. The first time Zahid took his test for the credential, he failed. Without encouragement and a shoulder to cry on, he might have folded. He might have said, “Give it up! I can’t do this!” But, we didn’t let that happen. His host mom and dad joined our Positivity Club – and together we helped “Z” keep at it, learn from his mistakes, try again, and ultimately pass.
4. Its OK to …Let Yourself Cry
Once “Z” passed his GED, the next goal was to pass his driver’s behind-the-wheel and written tests and get a driver’s license. He worked hard at it.
My husband, Bob, is a retire teacher. (If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you know he also is a retire beekeeper. But before he went back to the family bee farm, he taught driver’s education and coached wrestling for nine years in California.) So, Bob was a natural to help “Z” get his driver’s license.
Once that goal was accomplished, the next step was to buy a car. Zahid had saved the money he earned working at the local grocery store. He had enough to pay for a good “starter car.” But the problem that emerged was that he had no idea how to take care of a car. That’s where the “It’s OK to let yourself cry” comes in. He burned up the car’s engine by not checking the oil, the water, etc. The tears were real! It was a sad lesson in the reality of truth #5…
5. It’s OK to …Ask for Help
Bob would have been more than happy to help “Z” learn the basics of car maintenance, but Zahid never asked. It was a tough, expensive lesson. But “Z” learned it. He asked Bob to help him find a new engine. He did… and “Z” learned to ask for help in car maintenance in the future. That car gave him several years of reliable service and actually made it from Montana to Alaska when “Z” moved there for better job opportunities.
6. It’s OK to …Make Mistakes
Looking back over our experiences with that young Pakistani, we know we made mistakes, just as he did. We backed off when we should have moved forward and been more assertive with him. He tried bluffing and exercising independence when admitting his lack of knowledge and asking for help would have served him better. But, he learned – and so did we.
As long as we learn from our mistakes, it’s OK. In fact, making mistakes is sometimes the ONLY way we learn. Knowing what doesn’t work helps us eliminate some options and seek better solutions.
Don’t try to have all the answers.
Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. Be real. Let them show!
Don’t let the bad days get you down. We need valleys in order to appreciate the mountain tops!
Don’t hold back the tears. Let them flow when they need to. Let them cleanse you!
Admit your ignorance. None of us is an expert at everything. Ask for help when you need it.
Don’t let mistakes get you down. No one is perfect. We need to make mistakes in order to learn and move forward.
It’s OK to … select friends who lift you up, encourage you, and give you a shoulder to cry on when you need it.
It’s OK to … BE one of those friends. Happy, warm, genuine. Even long-distance, over the miles, through cyberspace, you can reach out and be the positive friend others are seeking.
Just do it! It’s OK…
Thank you for your visit, your comments and your friendship,