We All have Gifts to give All others do, too Embrace
Embrace The gifts Celebrate others’ gifts Open them with care Receive
Recognize And see What others give To enhance your life Appreciate
Name Your gifts Use them lovingly Share them with humility Blessings
Share Love and Time and compassion Remember that you matter Engage
Engage In life With your heart Wide open to receive Gifts
Gifts Don’t always Come all wrapped In pretty Christmas packages Discern
Precious Loving gifts Often are disguised In very simple acts of Humility
You Have gifts Unique to you Never underestimate your impact Shine
Shine Your gifts With loving kindness Embrace the many opportunities Smile!
Thanks For coming To JanBeek today Your loving presence here Matters
Elfchen or Elevensie is a poetic form that uses eleven words in a configuration of 1,2,3,4,1. Did you recognize it as you read my post today? If you haven’t already, you should try it. It’s fun! Thank you, Richard at Big Sky Buckeye for inspiring me and sharing your gift! Check out his blog, my friends.
P.S. I found this insightful You.Tube presentation on the subject of GIFTS… gifts of the Holy Spirit. I thought it was quite well done – and a good addition to the topic, Embrace Gifts. If you have time, I highly recommend it.
I just discovered this morning that my dear friend, Leena’s son, Vince, died suddenly on Friday. No warning! He was about the age of my son, Ty. Vince worked at our local grocery store. I saw him there often … always a smile, always a cheerful greeting. He was at work Friday. Friday night after dinner, he was sitting in his chair at home with his parents, and he just stopped breathing. Can you imagine the shock??
Prayers for All Grieving
My heart is broken for Leena and Bob and their family. My prayers go out to all of you who have lost a loved one this year.
Your hearts are grieving, too, as you face this first Valentine’s Day without that special person. God bless you! Link heartstrings with mine.
In our ZOOM church service this morning, I provided the “special music.” It was inspired by the February 14th message in Charles Stanley’s In Touch Daily Devotional.
“When facing all kinds of difficulties, many of us have a tendency to power through in our own strength. But the reality is that’s never effective – at least not for long. God wants us to come closer to Him.
When we stay focused on Jesus, we can take comfort in knowing He’ll lead us through the hard places.
As you continue walking with Him, trust that He already knows what will happen in your life – and that regardless of what lies ahead, He will never leave you.”
EMBRACE HEARTS Lord, link mine to yours – And link ours to one another.
Embrace Hearts with one another – Offer your love and support to heal. Heal the broken-hearted by sharing. Share your love with a song or a meal.
Not everyone has a heart full of love today; Some are feeling quite empty. Lord, fill their hearts with the love of God – And encourage others to “Go With Him” today.
Let’s embrace blooming – Both the blooming of flowers As well as ideas.
Let’s embrace blooming – Blooming of plants and ideas As well as people.
Let’s embrace blooming – Blooming of people today; The world needs blossoms!
One is fully bloomed – One is on its way to bloom – A couple are curled.
To fully open, We must face toward the Son Light. Do not turn away!
Blossoms need sunlight. We need the light of the Son In order to bloom.
“The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; It will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.”
Your soul will sparkle; It will bloom and grow in love If you walk humbly.
As long as Christ leads We can make it all the way; We can bloom and thrive.
Let your blossoms dance! Follow in obedience. Let your spirit shine.
Your smile’s contagious When you blossom from inside. Let’s Embrace Blooming!
Your blogging sparkles And your face reflects the Son. You’re brilliant and bright!
Fertilize others With words of encouragement. Continue to bloom!
My heart bubbles over with gratitude for God’s Bright and Brilliant Light. May it continue to bubble over in our hearts and lives. “Open up your heart and let the sunshine in!” Listen to the sunny song below – It’s a favorite from my childhood.
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?
In my devotional time this morning, I read an article that spoke to me of the way poetry fits into my life … a life that is filled with the wonder of poetic healing. I am impelled to share it with you because I hope it will inspire and validate your poetic instincts the way it did mine.
Before you read it, you may want to scroll to the bottom here and click on Laura Sullivan’s piano music. Listen to it as you read Jacqueline Suskin’s inspiring article.
Finding the Poetry in Everyday Life
by Jacqueline Suskin From – Posted on Jan 25, 2021 A professional poet provides tips on healing your life by adopting a poetic mindset.
There’s a saying: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” These days, the battle feels especially hard. From everyday challenges to the forces dividing our nation, it’s fair to ask: How can I bring more joy to my life? More peace?
My answer: poetry.
I’m a professional poet. For a decade, I earned a living doing a project I called Poem Store… I wrote a story I wrote a few years ago for Guideposts about how poetry can be a vital part of someone’s prayer practice …
What is it about poetry that makes it such a powerful, universal language?
Poetry reveals beauty in the smallest details of creation. It finds light in the darkest shadow. It is a guide and a teacher, reminding readers that life is a miracle, something to be celebrated. Good poetry tells deep truths about joy and pain, triumph and grief. Like the Psalms, poetry explores every aspect of human experience, shying away from nothing and expressing gratitude for everything.
That’s why I believe poetry can be healing for anyone. You don’t have to be a professional poet.
Here are some suggestions for cultivating a poetic mindset, gained from a lifetime of writing, teaching and finding my place on this planet:
1. Be in awe of everything. A dictionary definition of awe is “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”
… The poetic mindset starts with the idea that nothing is an accident. Everything is interrelated and plays a part in a greater whole. Therefore, everything deserves notice and even celebration.
The signs are everywhere. Autumn leaves swirling in wind. A luminous raindrop on your window. The sight of someone you love peacefully asleep. Stars on a clear winter night. (And I, JanBeek, have to interject here: the sight of snowflakes dancing outside on your patio)
Even on your hardest day, a glance around will reveal something miraculous. When I focus on the intricate grandeur of nature, I feel myself relax. My mind unclenches from my problems, and I know that something larger is present, no matter what happens.
Awe is easy to cultivate. Close your eyes. Now open them. What is the first thing you see? Look closer. Ask yourself: How was this thing made? Where did it come from? What does it look like, feel like, smell like, maybe even taste like? What is good about it? What does it remind you of? Does it bring happy thoughts or sad ones? Why? What does it tell you about yourself or the divine?
I’m willing to bet your randomly selected object is full of meaning. A poetic mindset helps you tune into that significance whenever you want. It’s an inexhaustible source of healing, refreshment and inspiration.
2. Make pain your teacher.
Are you brokenhearted and angry? There’s a poem for that…
A poem is a place where you can pour out your hardest feelings. Make the words shout, burn. Don’t be afraid. You can always throw the page into the fireplace once you’ve filled it. Or seal it in an envelope and come back to it later.
Poetry can be a repository for everything difficult in your life.
But there’s more. I find that when I write about something I’m struggling with, my negative feelings begin to ebb. By writing, remembering, I am forced to admit that not everything is so bad. The world is complicated. There is darkness and light. Forgiveness comes into view.
The more I put everything on the page—the whole truth, not just an edited version—the more I ask why things happened. If I could have done things differently. Whether my poem is trying to teach me something. Here’s part of a poem I wrote while I was grieving a loved one.
You were a shining man always giving us a reason to rejoice and so you still are, you always will be.
Writing about grief helped me widen my perspective. I learned that memories are emblems of ongoing life after death. That doesn’t end my grief. My grief teaches me a healing truth.
3. Seek what inspires you.
Life isn’t perfect, but you can live with love and trust anyway.
Poetry helps us remember this essential piece of wisdom. What comes from God is good, and there is always goodness to be found once you train yourself to look.
Poetry to me is a form of praise. I build poems from things I see, people I meet and thoughts and feelings found deep inside. As I present those treasures in poetic language, I am celebrating what is good in them. My poems have an innate optimism. Poetry looks for the bright side of life, whatever is inspiring and beautiful even in the midst of hardship.
To see the world as a poet is to be aware of beauty wherever you go. A poet believes that beauty is a clue to the essential nature of existence. Pay attention to that feeling of joy as you spot a delicate tracery of dew in a spider’s web on your morning walk. The beauty, and your joy, are helping you see something deeply true about life.
4. Open yourself to a new perspective.
Few objects are more humble than the pencil. Yet, for me, a pencil is holy. Every pencil is special because I imagine the thoughts and images that it can be used to create and communicate. What are the holy objects in your life? A poet looks for what is beloved in everything, no matter how ordinary.
That is what makes poetry a force for healing. When you look for what is beautiful, good, true and holy in everything around you, you are really looking for God. When you write down what you see, you are engaged in a deep form of prayer.
When your mind and your heart develop this habit of poetic prayer, you cannot be overcome by the world’s troubles because you carry a treasury of goodness inside yourself.
Your poems don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to rhyme. They don’t have to impress anyone. All they need is a new perspective, that of a poetic mindset.”
Thank you, Jacqueline Suskin. Your Guideposts article inspired me. I hope it inspires my WordPress friends, too.
EMBRACE WRITING POETRY
Here’s a poem from a fantastic musician, Laura Sullivan, who also dabbles in poetry. If you’re unfamiliar with her music, do yourself a favor and click on the YouTube at the bottom here.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
Do you have a poem to share? I’d love to have you share something poetic in the comments section here.
these delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo
Recognize beauty manifested though fragile and scarred
Malleable are lists of sins we accrue
a barter between gains we’ve won and debts we owe
Embrace unlimited shades of blue
Exhausting – holding this constant guard
Even stormy melancholy seas are drenched in
these delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo
Healing power pulses in each flaw
like a broken heart that still beats
Recognize beauty manifested though fragile and scarred
I was going to call my blog today “Embrace Healing,” but the I came across the post above. I decided that post is a gift in blueness – and it speaks more to my mood today than “healing” does.
Today I am blue… because the note I received from my former student’s mother-in-law, Marilyn, left me with no hope for Ty Stiles’ earthly healing. I studied my broken heart and looked again at Marilyn’s words. “He told Roxann [his wife] that he is ready to go to Heaven.” As I prayed for Ty’s last days, I looked at that broken heart again.
Did you ever realize that the two parts of a broken heart are angel’s wings? Look again!
God’s angels spoke to me and reminded me that death is not final. Jesus conquered death. Ty is a believer. Ty is called according to His purpose. Yesterday Ty’s church members gathered outside his home for a prayer vigil. One of his cousins made the gathering into a FaceTime chat so he could see/hear the prayers being offered on his behalf (and if he was unable to hear and comprehend, at least I know his wife, Roxann, could. The prayers were for her, as well.
As I shared in my “Embrace Reassurance” blog a couple days ago, God hears. God cares. God answers. Sometimes HEALING does not come in the form of a magical cure. Sometimes it comes as RELEASE.
Ty is ready to let go pain. God is asking me to let go my blueness. Release the melancholy that blue sometimes represents, and instead, embrace the “delicate hues of sapphire, turquoise, and indigo” – and the promise of the vast blueness of Heaven where “Healing power pulses” and God is ready to transform the broken heart into angel wings.
My heart is with you as you leave the pain and embrace the beautiful blueness of Christ’s Kingdom. Someday I’ll join you there, Ty. Meantime, keep the Pearly Gates polished!
Thanks for joining me at JanBeek and thank you for praying for Ty and Roxann. See you tomorrow.
What? Embrace Extravagance? I have to be kidding, right?
Extravagance is kin to outlandish. Extravagance means excessive. Right?
Wrong! Extravagance doesn’t need to mean outlandish. It can be thought of as abundance.
Extravagance is Abundance of some good food – Okay if it’s shared!
Extravagance is An abundance of pure love – Beautiful when shared
Extravagance is The overflow of blessings – Lovely gifts from God
When the night sky touches your soul, When other bloggers touch your inner core, It’s a sign of the extravagance of others That keeps you longing for more
In his “Keys to Living Life”
Today, January 24, 2021, Rahul Gaur wrote a blog so powerful that I HAD to share it. First I tweeted it. I have never shared someone else’s blog by tweeting it before. I have reblogged a few. This one is so impactful that I need you to click on Rahul’s name and go to it. See it for yourself. It is extravagantly beautiful! Here are a couple of sentences that particularly touched me:
“The soul is the lost intuition and the listening switch of your body. When you need to see things beyond as they are, to see things as they were meant to be, you listen to the orchestra of your soul.”
Sermon by Rev. Steve Hundley at the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Ennis, Montana
Thy Kingdom Come
“Thy Kingdom Come” is a political statement – Except we believe in a heavenly kingdom.
It’s not a worldly kingdom. It is “THY” kingdom come. Let God’s Kingdom reign, Not MY domain – not MY will.
As a pastor, I am sometimes Guilty of saying, “Look at me!” I do the “my” and not “Thy” message And have to learn to lose self.
We all need to learn to be De-throned … and let God’s Kingdom be the focus. Peace, reconciliation & hope are God’s.
God’s Kingdom is not attainable On our earth. It is not! Utopia here in our world Is not within our reach.
No earthly political order Will ever be the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is like a seed. It’s like a net in the water.
The seed one day will sprout. The net will gather fish. God’s work on earth is extravagant, But the Kingdom is elusive here.
The Kingdom of God is at the door. It takes eyes of faith to see What lies beyond the threshold. It is there though we see it not.
When we say “Thy Kingdom COME,” We might more easily say GO. Go from You into me… God’s Kingdom lives in each of us.
It’s an awesome fact that The Kingdom of God is in you. We must not lose hope or faith And we must not live in satisfaction.
Never be satisfied with what is. Only when we submit to God’s Kingdom Does it really COME. So care! Care for the poor; release greed and pettiness.
It’s liberating to know when We turn our lives and our futures Over to our Extravagant God – We’ll see His Kingdom coming into the world.
“Listen to the orchestra of your soul.” Rahul Gaur Keep you ears open to soulful listening… Thank you, Rahul, for your blog. Thank you, Rev. Steve, for your message. Thank You, God, for your Kingdom of Love.
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.
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.
“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
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. I leave with you my hopes and wishes for a most Blessed Christmas.