Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘volunteering’

It’s OK to…


  1. It’s OK to… Not to Have All the Answers

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.

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com
  • 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 appreciate you!

See you tomorrow.

The Place to Be


The place to be on a snowy day

Is not out in the freezing cold

It’s snug and warm in our Senior Center

Where the food is great and we join the fold

Of senior folks who come to eat

And chat with friends they see

Monday through Friday without fail

It’s an inviting place to be.

This week’s menu
Waiting for the crowd
Biding time with a crossword puzzle
Early birds here to visit
Tune in to those conversations- you’ll keep up with all the community news!
Karen & Briana are busy creating their delicious lunch for today.
They treat themselves to coffee, tea, water, or lemonade…
Or as server, I deliver it.
Sometimes whole groups reserve a table and meals for their lunch meeting. This was the ROMEOs = Retired Old Men Eating Out!
Mary is the volunteer at the reception desk today. She collects their $5. Best deal in town!!
The Center is used for a variety of purposes. One of them is described on this poster that greets our diners.
All our workers are volunteers except for Brianna who is the main chef, menu planner, shopper, etc.

The hands above belong to today’s volunteer dishwasher. He is eating his meal early so he’s available to do his job when the dishes and pots n pans start pouring in.

But no meal’s complete without dessert, right?
And no chocolate pie is complete without whipped cream!
Never fear… if chocolate’s not your thing, we have coconut cream!
Your friendly waitress will BEE happy 🐝 to take your order.

So, that’s what I did this morning. What did you do

Be on the Upside


Morning Routine

Do you have a morning routine?

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.

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
  • Optimism
  • 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.

Montana Service Award


Awarded for Reaching Out

man and woman holding hands on brown wooden table

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 Manor
  • 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
  • Local Churches
  • 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!

AARP Award

Tell me some of the ways YOU enjoy volunteering your time.

No Action wasted
See ya tomorrow.

Today I Am Grateful


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:

Yes, even if it is “just life itself,” there always is a reason for Gratitude

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:

Forget the edited “the” – I fixed it…
It belongs before “beautiful” – or not at all.
Do you edit and re-edit your work, even in a journal?
I don’t usually, but I don’t usually take a picture of it, either!

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.

What are you most grateful for today?

See ya tomorrow

Valuable Volunteering


Volunteerism
Is more than valuable
It is essential


Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary

These twenty-two gals
Work tirelessly to serve
Make and save money

Auxiliary gives
The profits from the Home Tours
Annual Event

One of the homes on the tour

The money goes to
Needs the Medical Center
Expresses to us


Always fun to serve
It is an excellent cause
Blessed to have the chance!

If you have your health
You are blessed beyond measure
So use it wisely!

Do you have the time and inclination to volunteer?
If so, I’d love to hear about it.

See ya tomorrow.

Celebrate July 4th, Ennis, MT


Celebrate July 4th in Ennis, MT

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Independence Day in Ennis, Montana is like stepping back 50 years.

The Firemen put on a pancake breakfast and feed over 800 people.

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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.

Grand Marshalls' buggy

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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!!

Betty Blue-eyes

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!

Manor residents ready for parade

Manor ice cream floats

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.

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My friend, Lynn,
who is President of our Sr. Center Board of Directors,
spear-headed the effort.

Lynn @ ESC

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.

July 4- girl

The neighbors invite the neighbors to come dine with them in their welcoming homes.

Ducsays home sign

Dinner at Ducsays

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!

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Thanks for joining me!
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See ya tomorrow.

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.

blonde hair blur daylight environment

Photo by Sebastian Voortman on Pexels.com

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.

 

heart shaped red neon signage

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

 

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!

 

birthday bow box card

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

 

woman playing ukulele

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

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”

affection baby barefoot blur

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?

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