Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘volunteering’

Z = Zeal!


Zeal!

Zeal is the zest of life!
It’s the spice that adds joy to our days.
It’s the the ingredient that allows our passion to take the reins.

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What are your passions?
What are you zealous about?

As we wrap up this A-Z series designed to help us
add more meaning and find more purpose in life,
what is your take-away?

 

I often have quoted Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat
from their book, Spiritual Literacy.
Here is what they had to say about ZEAL:

“Be passionately aroused by life.
Cherish every moment,
honor your commitments,
and treasure your kinship with all.”

Be Passionate About Life

What are you passionate about?
Make a list of those things, people, ideas, places
that arouse your passions.
Prioritize them, if you can,
and decide to
zealously do something positive
about each one of them this week.

 

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Here are a half a dozen things I am passionate about:

1. FAITH

2. FAMILY

3. FRIENDS

4. COMMUNITY

5. NATURE

6. SERVING

To “zealously do something positive about each one” of them this week, I will:

1. Practice my faith by attending church and teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, and leading as moderator for our Presbyterian Women. I will “walk the talk” as I strive to apply the principles Jesus is teaching me in His Word. Practice the principle this JanBeek.blog is built on: “Loving One Another.”

2. Devote time and energy to keeping in touch with family far and near. Treasure time with those who are here now… my husband, our daughter and son-in-law, grandson, granddaughter and her family. We are so blessed! Let the ones far away know they are precious to us, too. Write them, pray for them, call, text, or visit them. Never take them for granted.

3. Exercise hospitality as I invite friends to come for dinner, or treat a friend to lunch. Write cards of appreciation, those “Just Because” kinds of cards… not waiting for a birthday, anniversary, illness, or some other “expected” time to get a message. Pray daily for my friends, just as I do my family and our community and world leaders. Put their faces up to God and ask His blessings on them. He knows their needs better than I do.

4. Serve my community in the ways I am able: Food Bank, volunteer sous-chef at the Sr. Center, “man” the desk at the Medical Center as a “Purple Lady,” and visit friends at the nursing home (sometimes with my accordion in hand so we can sing “Oldies but Goodies” together). Shop locally – and express appreciation to our local merchants.

5. Appreciate and help to preserve nature. Pick up after myself. Give to the Wildlife Preserve, the Nature Conservancy., and other worthwhile organizations that work to enhance and protect our environment. Admire the mountains. Appreciate the deer and antelope who roam our grasslands here on Pintail Ridge, and admire the beauty of our birds – and even the cute little rodents (the hawks have to have something to feed on!).

6. Give Time! By now you know serving is a passion of mine – because I am retired and I am blessed with good health and TIME. In the list above I mentioned many ways I intend to serve. One I didn’t mention was my friend, Raymond, whom I visit weekly. He lives alone and his family is out of state. As long as I am able, I hope to look for those in need of what I have to give, and to serve in whatever way the Lord leads me. I am zealous about serving!

Cherish Every Moment

Honor Commitments

Be Zealous About Life (every day is a gift) – unwrap it!

 

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God Bless You, dear blogging friends.

Thank you for journeying with me through this A-Z series.

See you tomorrow!

Songs, Smiles & Stability


Songs, Smiles & Stability

 

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Thanks for joining me on our A-Z journey
to find ways to
Add More Meaning
and
Discover Clearer Purpose
in Life

Today’s letter
is “S”

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Songs

Yesterday my second great-grandchild was born. My grandson, Jordan, and his “significant other” Joss, live in Sacramento. The care Joss received was wonderful at the hospital when she arrived by ambulance to deliver a little girl one month prematurely. By the grace of God, all that baby girl’s fingers and toes are perfect and at last report, she was nursing and cooing. No smiles yet, but those will come. Meantime, I am singing praises to God, the Creator for this little treasure.

https://deyspublishing.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/bring-forth/
The link above will take you to my friend, Dorothy’s blog.
Her topic today, “Bring Forth” fits today’s “S” themes perfectly…
Thank you, Dorothy!

Sing to the Lord
is one of my favorites.
I can get it here with my Amazon Music.
Can you? Try clicking on it and look for
Faithful Servant album by the Herbster Trio

(But don’t forget to come back.. there’s more good stuff here!)

https://music.amazon.com/albums/
Hallelujah!

Smiles

I am smiling as I sit here this afternoon volunteering at our Madison Valley Medical Center in Ennis, Montana. The smiles are a result of my anticipated hug time with Cosette, my new great-granddaughter, named after a main character in Les Miserables.

Another thought that brings smiles is the party we are planning at our house tomorrow for my Ennis granddaughter’s 25th birthday and our great-grandson’s 2nd birthday.

I am also smiling because I am reading a small booklet that I received in the mail today from Red Cloud Indian School in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The booklet, titled Whispers of the Lakota, is filled with poetry written by 9th and 10th graders. I am soooo impressed with the depth of these poems. I called the school and asked for permission to share a couple of them with you. They agreed.

This one is by Isabelle, a 10th grader,

THE HERO IN ME

“She smiles, she laughs, she hurts,
…     she cries.
She holds it all inside.
She lives, she flies, she soars,
She dies.
She is the one I idolize.
She loves, she gives, she cares,
She is
The one I know I will someday
…     Be
A hero, a mother, a child, a soul,
…      the woman inside of me.”

Such a perfect poem for this Mother’s Day weekend, don’t you think?
Thank you, Isabelle, for letting me share it. I love it!

Kudos to your 9th and 10th grade English teacher who drew these marvelously thoughtful, intimate poems out of his-her students’ hearts!

Stability

My prayer for Cosette, my new great-granddaughter, born prematurely to this couple who have not yet yielded to the commitment of marriage, is that she will grow in an atmosphere of unconditional love, a home where her best interests are in her parents’ vision, and a family who will give her joy, nourishment, and stability.

On this topic, let me share another poem from  Whispers of the Lakota  by a 10th grader named Jessie:

LIFE

“We often call it a gift, a mystery.
We have the power to make and take.
Let’s think about this
I know we can all relate
A brand new human, bright-eyed to the world
We cannot tell time, we cannot tell where or when
Something will happen but we can see that brand new
Baby Boy or Baby Girl
Life is a treasure, a gift not to be destroyed
You cannot throw a child away as if it were a toy.
The actions you take can certainly make or break
Take the time to consider the life
You make.

What amazing insight for a 10th grader to exhibit, huh?  What might Jessie have seen in his/her young life to have been able to write so poignantly from the heart – the soul – of the human spirit?

If the poem is from Jessie’s experience, then we might assume Jessie has seen life taken for granted – and has experienced (or known up close about) the unspeakable act of the “throw-away child.” A life destroyed. How sad! Thank you, Jessie, for encouraging and believing in the right to life for these defenseless little treasures.

More Meaning/ Clearer Purpose

This blog series, devoted to adding more meaning and discovering clearer purpose
in life, could not have been enhanced more than by the words of these young people.  Thank you, Red Cloud Indian School, for the work you do with these Lakota students! The way you love them and teach them and help them learn is so appreciated!

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Red Cloud Indian School provides stability of place, stability of community, and stability of heart to children who need all of those so much. It is the largest privately funded Indian School in the USA, educating more than 600 students on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in a remote part of South Dakota since 1888. They teach the children not to run away from challenges and difficulties, but to stay and work through problems. They educate and nurture them. God bless the school and their students and staff!

Songs, Smiles and Stability

I hope today’s message has lived up to its promise to put a song of praise and thanksgiving in your hearts, give you reasons to smile, and has given you pause – as you think of the person(s) in your life who provided you with a sense of stability.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

See you tomorrow!

 

Adding Meaning to Life C=Connections


C = Connections

In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
wrote the following,
“Cultivate the art of making connections.
See how your life is intimately related
to all life on the planet.”

 

Different Kinds of Connections

The connections we have with our family and friends enrich and add meaning to our lives. For most of us, that’s a given.

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But what about random connections?

The poem by John Donne reminds us,

No man is an island,
“Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own,
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me
Because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore send not to know
For whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.”

Our lives are richer, fuller, more meaningful when we realize “No man is an island,” and we allow our hearts and our bodies to be touched by the lives of others. Feel the connections!

Feel the Intimacy

All of us are connected, whether we know it or not! We may feel the connections, but do we feel the intimacy?

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Gunilla Norris wrote, “This is intimacy: its touch is ever new, revealing the precious moments we have to live and to connect with things. No love is ever lost in this universe.”

Connection with Things

Some people say they have never felt closer to God than in their garden or out in the woods or on a river. They connect to the plants, the trees, the water, the earth… and the intimacy they feel with things fuels a greater love and appreciation of the divine. Out in nature, they are freer to be their true selves.

Are you one of those people?

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Connections Make Us Stronger

Like a chain, linked together, we are stronger, more effective, when we are connected.

We can keep evil at bay more convincingly when we are connected. We protect one another.

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We can invite more joy and create more good when we are connected.

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Today I am volunteering again at the Medical Center. As a “Purple Lady,” I am connected to a group of ladies who “woman the desk” five days a week, greet people who enter the door, and help them feel welcomed and taken care of. Our fund raiser each year (a Home Tour event) raises thousands of dollars. The money is donated to the hospital for needs such as x-ray machines, physical therapy equipment, a crash cart, blanket warmers, etc. Connections make us stronger and more effective… and friendships are formed that enrich our lives immeasurably!

What connections have added meaning and enrichment to your life?

Wonderful Wednesday


Good morning, my friends!

It’s a Wonderful Wednesday!

Find a way to give.

My friend, Steve, has no trouble finding neighbors who need
their driveways shoveled or blown out. What a gift that is!

Volunteering to help others is giving back … or paying it forward! Someday Steve won’t be able to do this anymore. Then, hopefully, someone will volunteer to shovel or blow out HIS driveway!

Look at the book my daughter sent me:

I bet you have a story to tell about some “giving” you have done.
I try to give daily, so when I received this book, I thought,
Why not write about it?

Sous-Cheffing

I love working at our Senior Center as a sous chef (that’s a fancy name for potato and carrot peeler. salad maker, and onion slicer). I can pretend I am at a fancy Paris Bistro… and my customers are the most precious children of God! (Actually, they are!)

Visiting Shut-ins

Another way to volunteer your gifts is to visit a friend who is in a nursing home or at the hospital. Anyone can do that! It doesn’t take lessons or months of practice. Just an open heart, and a wiilngness to treat yourself to the infectious smiles your visit will bring.

In our little town of Ennis, Montana, I introduced you day before yesterday to Artists on Main, the wonderful art gallery with its amazing variety of locally created art for sale. We are blessed to have that shop… and if I had the ability to paint or sculpt or whittle or create pottery, jewelry, or stained glass, I’d use that talent to provide items for my friend, Carol, to sell… or I’d visit a friend and bring a product of my creativity as a gift.

Share Your Writing

But, that kind of art is not my forte’… I love to write, so I share my blogs orally with friends in the hospital. I read “Art is Life” to one of my dear friends this morning.

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Play Your Instrument

Before going to the hospital, I shared another one of my gifts: the accordion. Do you play an instrument?

I started learning to play the “squeezebox” when I was about ten years old. (Every good little Italian girl or boy played the accordion in those days!) Now, it is a seldom seen (in person) whimsical, portable instrument that can bring joy wherever it goes!

This one is over a hundred years old.
I bought it from Frankie, my sorta cousin, about 70 years ago.
It still works, but with only 8 buttons, you are limited to songs in the key of  F, C, G or A.

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Many people today have never seen or heard an accordion played in person. They think of Lawrence Welk and expect me to play Flight of the Bumble Bees or The Beer Barrell Polka with bellow shakes.

Once upon a time, I actually could play those advanced pieces. But now, I am content to accompany the hymn singing at church when the piano or organist is ill or out of town… or accompany singing at the Lenten Breakfast where no other instrument is available. (I did that early this morning).

In the summer, I entertain  at our Art Festival in the park.
Sometimes I pull it out at home after dinner with friends
and we have a sing-along.
It makes for a memorable evening.

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If music is not your forte’, think of other ways you can give.

I belong to the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxuliary. Sitting at the desk a couple of Fridays each month is one way I can volunteer. Donating our home for the “Home Tour” fund-raiser is another way. Our auxiliary earns thousands with that fund-raiser every year and gives the benefits back to the hospital for new equipment, beds, sheets, and other needs. It’s gratifying to be a volunteer. I’m in the center, middle row here.

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I hope you will consider ways you can volunteer your talents
for the benefit of others.
Perhaps you already do – in ways different from mine.

Tell me about a way you volunteer
or give back.
Does it express your purpose and passion?

Your story may inspire others!

 

Purple “Ladies” Volunteer


Do you enjoy volunteering? I do!

“Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.” This is a quote from Sanaa Latham, actress, as quoted in my December Guideposts devotional on The Upside page.

At our local medical center, the “Candy Stripers” are not young high schoolers dressed in red and white stripes or pink tunics  (as they were back in CA) who greet you from the reception desk. They are mature women with a heart for helping who wear purple jackets.

Look carefully at the last picture. I am third from the left in the back row. Notice the donation we made to the hospital. We gave $31,700 !! The money went to help pay for that diagnostic scanning machine that I used yesterday! Our big fund raiser each year is an Open House tour of six different homes (our house was on tour about 10 years ago shortly after we moved here to Ennis, MT). The fund raiser also includes a collection of silent auction items and donated events. God bless those dedicated workers and donors who make it all happen every year!

As I indicated, yesterday I had a scan … a CT scan… (a follow-up on the irregularities found in Wednesday’s ultrasound).

Yesterday also was my day to be a “Purple Lady” volunteering at the reception desk. So, since I couldn’t be two places at once, I needed a substitute for about an hour and a half.

But, Friday afternoons are not a good time to try to find subs … especially with that snowy, cold weather going on out there.

So, what did I do? I conned my husband, Bob, and grandson, Chris,
into covering for me. (Actually they volunteered – what nice guys!)

I wish you could have seen the expressions of staff and visitors
when they came in and saw these “Purple Ladies!”
Priceless!!

I don’t believe what I’m seeing!!

Hey, why not?

We take volunteers of all kinds! Come on over, guys!

Thanks, guys! Get off your ATVs and out of your fishing boats,
and perform a little community service!
It’s not just the Lion’s Club that needs you.

We’d be happy to add some men to
our Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary!

Remember, especially during this gift-giving time of year,
Whenever you’re giving, it’s like a gift to yourself.”

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Happy December! Where are you called give?

F = Friends


Day #6 of the A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy”

FRIENDS

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Friends who go fishing with my hubby (Thanks, Ray & Charley, CG & BW, Gerry & Steve)

Friends who are fabulous cooks, invite us over, and serve fabulous food, wine, and conversation

Friends at TOPS who reach their goal weight and inspire me

Friends who share their birthday happiness with us

Friends who worship with us at church, share their husband to fish with mine, make me smile, give great hugs and are just plain FABULOUS

Friends who are family – what a blessing when that happens!

Friends who are grown up former students and have kept in touch through the years

Friends who bake beautiful pies and who love the Lord as I do

Friends who serve the community, support FUND-raisers, and give generously to make our world a better place

Friends who donate zucchini to the Sr. Center – and the dear friend who plans, cooks, and serves our seniors with such grace and skill

Friends who live into their 80s and 90s and set a beautiful example of vitality and grace for the rest of us

Forever friends who are FAITHFUL forever and continue to love us in spite of our FLAWS (ah, don’t you love that F word?) … and who are as lovely inside as these FLOWERS are outside!

Friends who go FOUR-WHEELING with us

Friends who never forget us and who are FAITHFUL friends to our children

Here’s another one of those… our Friend who is our #2 daughter… Yes, FAMILY is more than blood relatives.

FAMILY is FRIENDS we choose, not just those we inherit. And if we’re truly blessed,

We have family who are friends in all parts of the world

We have grandchildren who are friends and are FUN to be with, and

We have children who keep in touch with love and gratitude daily, even if they move across the sea thousands of miles from us.

My prayer is that the ones who live close enough to see us daily will come by at least once a month, and let our great-grandson grow to know us as his FRIEND, too.

Ah, my blogging friends, I hope you are truly blessed with the FUN of FAMILY and FRIENDS who make you happy, too! I love making new blogging friends!

And never FORGET (that’s a troublesome F word) the Friend who is your constant companion. If you have this kind of a FRIEND you are blessed indeed

And don’t forget the faithful furry four-legged friends, too!

What’s the F word that makes you happiest?

Creating Hope in a Conflicted World


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How to Create Hope in a World of Conflict

 

Today is the day Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed for a life-time appointment to the Supreme Court of the USA.  It is a day of deep national divide. Many are feeling relief that our right to be “innocent until proven guilty” has been affirmed. Others are feeling emotional despair. On this day of huge chasms, how can we create, maintain and foster a spirit of hope?

Here are three ideas for creating hope in this, our own personal, world of conflict:

1. Let Go

In a heartfelt article in this month’s Daily Word, a devotional published by Unity, I was encouraged today to “let go of trying to change things…, take some deep breaths, and rest in tranquility for a while.”

The devotional referred me to Matthew 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” I really need that gentle rest for my soul today!

I decided to look and see how that passage was translated in The Message by Eugene H. Peterson.  His Study Bible often gives me an insight that the King James or the NIV (New International Version) don’t. Sure enough, in our more modern vocabulary, The Message in Matt. 11:29-30 begins, “Are you tired? Worn out?”

Wow! Yes, after a few days of being drawn into conflicting testimonies, angry shouting, accusations and denials, and crowds protesting, I am tired. I am worn out. I am deeply troubled. I am looking for harmony!

The Message version goes on to say, “Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythm of grace… Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

That’s what we all need! We need to live freely and lightly. We need to enter each day in an unforced rhythm of grace. We need live each day with a renewed sense of hope. Let go!

2. Be Nuts!

This month’s National Geographic magazine had a timely, pertinent article by Anne Lamott titled, “Despite Perils, Decide to Hope.” Her beginning sentence reads, “You would almost have to be nuts to be filled with hope in a world so rife with hunger, hatred, climate change, pollution, and pestilence, let alone the self-destruction or severely annoying behavior of certain people.” But she goes on to tell us that she lives in a state of “boundless hope” most of the time. She must be nuts then, right? How does she do it? She says she lives in hope by being optimistic, trusting, and confident that those she loves will be okay, no matter what.

That’s what we all need! We need to be more optimistic. We need to be more trusting. We need to be more confident that everything is ultimately going to be okay. Let go of what we cannot control. Focus on what we have the ability to change. Start with our own attitudes.

3. Take Action

In this week’s Guideposts magazine there is an article titled, “Heartfelt.” It tells about a Salvation Army crafts project – sewing red hearts. Called “Others,” it began in Bangladesh in 1997 with the goal of helping single women become financially able to support themselves and their children without prostituting themselves. Since its onset, “Others” has helped 1600 women in Bangladesh come out of human trafficking and step into a brighter future. The article was so compelling that I went to the website: guideposts.org/hearts-for-others and donated to the cause. For $10. or more, OTHERS will send you two handmade hearts. My donation will help other women find hope where there is despair.

With the internet and its world-wide reach, there are literally millions of places we can reach out to take action for causes in which we believe – issues for which we feel a deep compassion. Additionally, within our own communities there are dozens of places we can volunteer to offer our services.

Volunteering was one of Ann Lamott’s thrusts in her National Geographic article. She said, “Create goodness in the world and that gives us hope… ” Her examples include helping with school labs, with building water wells, cleaning up estuaries and water sheds. She said by volunteering, we wake “to the momentousness of life – the power of loving hearts.”

In my little town of Ennis with less than a thousand people, I volunteer at our local Food Bank (distributing food to the less fortunate), our Senior Center (working as a sous chef to prepare meals for folks 55 and over who come for nourishment and camaraderie), and at the Madison Valley Medical Center (greeting, answering phones, guiding patients to needed services, fund raising for needed hospital equipment, etc.).  Volunteering does indeed give me the opportunity to make a difference where I can … and focus on the areas where I have the power to create goodness.

Creating Hope in a World of Despair

So, how can we adopt an attitude of hope, of optimism, trust, and confidence in a world of conflict? We don’t do it by pointing fingers. We don’t do it by accusations and finding someone else to blame. We don’t do it by closing ourselves in a closet and avoiding exposure. We don’t do it by looking out for #1 and to Hell with the rest of the world! We do it, I believe, by following the greatest commandment. It is the sub-title of my JanBeek blog: Love One Another.

Look for the good. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Emulate it. Praise it. Tell people how much they matter. Treat others with respect. Listen. Value one another. Give others hope and encouragement. Serve with kindness. Focus on being compassionate. Find your niche. Let your cup overflow. Love One Another. Spill out HOPE!

Tell me one thing you can do this day or this week… just one thing…  to create HOPE in our desperate world. Let Go. Be Nuts. Take Action. How will you reach out?

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