I love reading Almost as much As I love writing – How about you?
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?
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.
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!!
If you have followed my blog for a month or more, you have seen this journal before. The topics are inspired by life and living. I have written about: I CAN Volunteer Share Bee Hospitable Tackle Transitions etc.
Little did I know when I wrote some of those how difficult some would become. Hospitality requires guests, right? Well, so much for that! Most of our friends are afraid in this pandemic world to socialize.
Little did I know how hard it would become to volunteer. Most of my volunteer activities are forbidden right now. I can’t be a “Purple Lady” at the medical center desk. Our auxiliary couldn’t hold its fund raiser this year. We couldn’t earn the money to donate for new equipment and/or medical supplies as we have done in the past.
Little did I realize how many opportunities I would have to “Tackle Transitions.” Back in June of 2018 when I wrote on that topic, God knew what was coming, but none of us had a clue. My transitions poem was prophetic:
Times of transition Can be disconcerting – Facing the unknown Running, dodging, skirting.
Life is full of changes; Nothing stays the same. Rolling with the punches – Listening for our name.
In the “roll call” of life, Showing up to be Ready for transitions Sometimes is difficult for me.
But I know the Leader Is my Maker who decides What my next assignment is. In Him my life abides.
So, embrace the coming changes; Set aside all fear and sorrow. Joyfully put your hand in His; He’s gotcha covered for tomorrow.
Choosing JOY in the midst of this pandemic is not easy. My list of “I Can” do’s has changed this year. But, I try to keep it positive:
I CAN Believe Only Imagine ReJOYce Whistle!
You recognize some of those. They became blogging themes. This morning’s I CAN prompted today’s post:
I CAN Keep it Simple
No large family gatherings No stockings stuffed with toys No sounds of giggling laughter From excited girls and boys
No trudging through the snow With accordion on my back No carols at windows Or St. Nicholas with his sack
It’s a different sort of year COVID-19 has changed us quite a lot We cancelled our travel plans And we altered what we bought
Christmas Day will be different We can mourn the things we miss Or we can vow to keep it simple Pray for those we cannot kiss
The virus and death took too many – They’re in Heaven with our Lord Let us focus on Christ Jesus And the grace He richly poured.
Believe the Christmas promise Jesus came to save our souls Eternity knows no endings His love comforts and consoles
Keep it Simple!
Have a Beautiful Christmas Week! Thanks for visiting JanBeek today. See you tomorrow.
There I am in the top-middle – happily holding my two bells, ready to practice with the Ennis Bell Ringers. This photo was taken last December before all this COVID-19 pandemic was known. We learned a series of songs to play at a Christmas concert, and were set to start learning patriotic songs so we could give a concert here in Ennis on the 4th of July. And all of a sudden, everything was cancelled. You know the feeling.
I sing in our church choir, too… and those practices had to be cancelled.
I volunteered (past tense) at our Senior Center as a sous chef, and at our local hospital as a receptionist one day a week. Those opportunities to serve were cancelled.
singing with the choir
playing with the bell ringers
volunteering as a sous chef
volunteering to work one day a week at our local hospital
visiting my friends at the local nursing home
having neighborhood parties
hugging my friends
the carefree safety of flying to California or Pennsylvania or Switzerland to be with my children and their families, my sis and my niece
the freedom to shake hands with people I meet
and so much more…
I am grateful that we live where we do because here in the Madison Valley of Montana, we still are able to:
go four-wheeling in the mountains with friends in the wide-open spaces
attend church services outside on the lawn
hug one another (Bob & me… thank God!)
wear a mask and socially distance at CostCo or our local grocery store to do our shopping
interact with family and friends using the internet… here’s my sister in her last FaceTime meeting with her daughter and grandson (a real smile – yay!)
We still can hop in the car and go to see the beautiful scenery around us. In places up high, there still is snow on the ground!
And thanks to the internet, friends who go to visit Yellowstone Park can send pictures of the bison – and we can enjoy the sights they see vicariously!
So, instead of focusing on what I miss, I guess I should look at the joys we still can enjoy, right? My grandson, Mike, in Switzerland, went to a friend’s wedding last weekend – and he sent me a lovely picture of him with his darling girlfriend, Tania. I miss seeing him in person and meeting his friend in person, but I am grateful that he reaches out to me and that he sent this terrific photo:
They have those same beautiful mountains there – even prettier – that we have here in Montana. See them behind the couple? The Alps are pretty spectacular! And of course, you noticed that foot that’s stuck in the photo there, right? Someone’s having fun. I can feel the joyfulness, can’t you?
What is it that you are missing? And what are you grateful for today? Tell me!
See ya tomorrow. Love ya…. thanks for visiting JanBeek
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,
I get up, take my meds with a full glass of water, make a cup of coffee, and go up to my sanctuary.
Each morning in my sanctuary, I have a routine of quiet time, prayer, meditation, Bible Study, and devotional reading. One of my favorite devotionals is Guideposts Magazine.
This month’s Guideposts (Feb. 2020) is featuring upbeat stories about times in our USA history when the nation came together in unity. If you have followed my blog this week, you know UNITY is high on my list of priorities. When we are unified as a people, we can accomplish so much good!
Being unified allows us to gather strength from one another. Unity means fighting FOR one another, lifting one another up with dignity, living on the UPSIDE of life! “The Up Side” is one of my favorite features in Guideposts Magazine.
Each of those quotes are sufficient for a full day’s topic.
Make a Difference
Rinse and Repeat
God Grins Back
Life’s Too Short
Look for those on my blog as this week progresses. And have an UPSIDE DAY!
I’m off to volunteer at the Senior Center. See ya tomorrow.
It’s always the right time to reach out a helping hand!
At the AARP Annual Awards dinner in Helena, MT tonight, Bob & I were awarded a wooden Montana serving plaque as a thank you for our years of service to the Ennis communty. (Thank you, Elaine Forsberg, for nominating us). We do so little compared to so many others!! But, we know every helping hand matters.
What an honor to be among a room full of people from all over our state who enjoy serving others during these, their senior years. Our community of Ennis is filled with people who work tirelessly to help others in a variety of unheralded ways. On behalf of all of you who volunteer to help others at:
The Senior Center
The Madison County Library
The Lion’s Club (Park & Auction, etc.)
The Madison Valley Medical Center
The Food Bank
The Ennis Arts Association Festival
The Fly Fishing Festival
The Ennis Children’s Community School
The Senior Companion Program
The Ennis Schools
The MVWC (Madison Valley Woman’s Club – Nearly New)
Etc., etc., etc
We thank you … and we encourage you to keep on giving of your time, talents and love.
This award is for all of you who volunteer!
Tell me some of the ways YOU enjoy volunteering your time.
Each morning, just before I leave my sanctuary and head down the stairs to tackle the new day, I write in my Thankfulness Journal. It reminds me to begin each day with an Attitude of Gratitude.
So, as this page in the journal suggests, I do just that… I take about 5 minutes to reflect back on the day before… and I write down three things for which I am grateful. Sometimes I can’t stop at three (I’ll squeeze in 4 or 5), and other days (like last week when I was so annoyed at the persistent hacky cough), I can only think of one thing… “Life.” But, always there is SOMETHING for which to be thankful.
Here are the two pages for last week’s entries:
Every month or so, there is a page for reflection – a question to ponder. Today, the page said, “today i am gratetful” and the page across from it invited me to write about a place I am thankful I had the opportunity to visit.
Think about how you would respond to such a prompt. Tell me a place for which you are grateful.
When thinking about a place, this is what came to my mind:
Yesterday I worked at the Food Bank. The shelves were mighty bare. It’s because some folks are getting ready to replace the worn out carpet in there. I am grateful for the Food Bank, for those who donate food and those who donate time, for those who donate money and those who Care and Share in a ton of ways.
Today Bob & I are going to Helena, MT. We have been invited to an AARP Volunteers’ Recognition dinner there. I will tell you all about it tomorrow. It is our privilege to volunteer our time during these “Golden Years” to help those who need it. I am grateful today to Elaine Forsberg who nominated us as “Montana State Volunteers” worthy of mention. We do it for the Glory of the One who blesses us. Giving back is our greatest joy.
Independence Day in Ennis, Montana is like stepping back 50 years.
The Firemen put on a pancake breakfast and feed over 800 people.
The parade blocks off Hiway 287 traffic for two hours. The floats are simple. The horses are wonderful. The old cars are fun to see. The children are delightful.
This video taken when we were watching it from Main Street a couple years ago gives you a real good glimpse of our parade. My friend, Mary Oliver, was Grand Marshall.
This year we watched from across the way from our Manor, the nursing home. The residents come out in their wheelchairs to enjoy the festivities. Some voolunteers served them rootbeer floats and presented the with July 4th hats or crowns. Adorable!!
It was overcast and a little cool
when the sun went behind a cloud,
but it did not rain on our parade!
Thank you, God!
I volunteered at our Senior Center to offer coffee, water, donuts, and restroom facilities to the more than 6,000 visitors who came to our little town of 1,000 residents on this special occasion.
My friend, Lynn,
who is President of our Sr. Center Board of Directors,
spear-headed the effort.
The rodeo is good-ole western down-home country.
And after the rodeo, we all have a BBQ
or invite neighbors and friends to come home with us.
The neighbors invite the neighbors to come dine with them in their welcoming homes.
What a lovely evening we had!
Just look at that view from our neighbor’s patio!
(Our house is beyond the trees to the left.)
You gotta experience it to believe it.
Maybe next year YOU can come to Ennis, Montana to experience the Firemen’s breakfast, the parade, the hospitality of the Sr. Center and the residents’ homes, and the rodeo.
Hope you had a Happy 4th of July.
What did you do if you were in the USA? And if you’re in another country, do you have similar celebratory experiences to celebrate your country’s independence or founding? Tell me about it!