My word for 2021 is “Embrace.” Each day during my devotional time, I am prompted with a word or two that tells me what to embrace today. Yesterday it was “Silence.” Did you miss me? I was silent. No blog.
Today I am prompted to say, “Embrace One Another.” You may be thinking, “But… How can we embrace one another in the midst of this pandemic when Social Distancing is required?” How?
However, I am afraid that many people will respond, “No, I can’t hug anyone like that right now.” So, are there other ways to “Embrace One Another” besides hugging? Think about that! What can you do? Write!
You embrace me when you embrace my ideas, respond to my post, send me a text, smile at me, affirm me.
How can I embrace you without being able to come close and hug you tight? I’ll pray for you and text you. Respond.
Send me a picture of a flower e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Send me a comment telling me that you do care! Embrace. Now!
Thanks for visiting my blog today. Will you take the next step? Embrace One Another. Embrace me! God Bless You!
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.
Talented musician and poet, Laura Sullivan, can look at her stats and know they spell SUCCESS. No doubt about it! When you earn your living as a musician – and you play to be heard, getting two and a half million listeners has got to be a rush. Don’t you think?
How About You?
How about you? Do you care how many followers you have on WordPress? Do you count a successful post by how many likes you get? Or by the number of comments? Or by the viewers the stats show?
Looking at your daily stats can reveal patterns that give you clues about what titles or numbers of posts per day can do.
BUT, they can be very discouraging.
What? All that effort and only 16 likes or comments?
When I look at my stats by the years instead of weeks or months, Wow! How encouraging! What a lot of improvement I made after I decided to post on a regular basis!
Hmmm, do those stats define success for me?
No! I won’t let numbers define me! But, look at those likes and comments for this 2020 year. Now, that can get my blood rolling through my veins at a quicker pace, can’t it?
Is it Numbers?
Oh no, wait! Are numbers why we do this? Are we motivated by our ability to reach out? Do our world views show us what we’re about?
Beware the Comparison Game!
When Cristian Mihai (The Art of Blogging) shows us his world map, every continent is colored in. It’s easy to play that comparison game – and decide you’re never gonna be good enough. Don’t fall into that trap!!
Define Your Purpose
Why do you blog? Is it for numbers? I doubt it!
Some people do it for money … they are full time bloggers and stats mean income. I understand that. But, my guess is that the majority of us are in it for the joy of being inspired and being an inspiration.
That’s my purpose! To spread positivity and optimism and to help us all just “Love One Another” more unconditionally.
When I get a response like the one below, that’s what makes it all worthwhile. That’s what makes my heart swell.
I want to be a “Beacon of Light and Hope.” Don’t we all??
Yesterday I receive this comment:
Yes, I want to be a beacon of hope and light … and be unafraid to tell you where that light originates! I can’t fulfill my purpose alone! Only as I am connected to my source am I authentic enough to inspire. It’s not a candle that keeps burning on its own!
The flame is “This Little Light of Mine” and I don’t intend to hide it under a bushel! Let it SHINE!!!
Who or what electrifies your light? What prompts your posts? Is it to inspire?
Let the stats speak… But don’t let them be your only motivation. SHINE!
We were having one of my favorite meals, spaghetti with meat sauce, when I first told my family that I had broken up with my fiance’. My dad nearly choked on his mouthful. My mom shoved her plate of spaghetti half-way across the table!
To this day, I can’t eat spaghetti with meat sauce without remembering that day.
My fiance’ and I had been engaged for about a year. He was in the army, stationed in Germany. I was a senior in college, missing the social life, trying to remain true to my engagement. I wanted to attend the school’s dances and other social functions. It was hard!
Rather than being untrue to my boyfriend who was so far away (we had not seen each other in six months), I broke off with him. Obviously, my parents were devastated. Especially when they learned the guy I wanted to date was a divorce’.
“Why buy a used car when you can have a new one?” my dad finally spoke. Then he got up and walked out of the room. (Yes, Dad was a man of few words, but a list of prejudices a mile long!)
Mom followed him, without speaking a word. That was so unlike her.
Proverbs 6: 20-23
20 My son, obey your father’s commands,and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. 21 Keep their words always in your heart. Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you. When you sleep, they will protect you. When you wake up, they will advise you. 23 For their command is a lamp and their instruction a light; their corrective discipline is the way to life.
The man I broke up with was from a family very much like my own. He grew up in the same area I did. We shared common roots. My parent and his got along wonderfully. The man I wanted to date was nine years older than I. I won’t get into why he was so attractive to me, but suffice to say, my parents’ dismay touched me deeply.
They let me have my “fling.” They did not bad-mouth my new friend. But when my ex-boyfriend came home on leave, they invited him over. When I returned home from college that weekend, he was there. I realized how much I loved him. That love has carried us through 58 years of marriage. Not always perfect, not always blissful, but always respectful, and always knitted together in prayer, faith in God, and common purpose. The love has grown as years passed – and I am grateful every day for my parents’ wisdom.
Put a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in front of me. I can taste the kindness of my parents in every meatball. I can hear my mom’s silence and feel her prayers in every slurp of pasta. I feel my dad’s concern about age differences and divorce. I keep their love in my heart with every Italian meal! God bless ’em!!
Today at d’Verse we are trying a new form of poetry. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary experiences of a second one. There are over 80 types of synesthesia described by science. Nearly every combination of sensory experiences or cognitive concepts is possible.
Seeing music as colors is one form of synesthesia. Perceiving letters as personalities is another one, or seeing numbers in color. Even hearing colors or touching smells.
How about tasting memories? Do you have any of those?
This post is a combination prompt: 1) My Madison Valley Writers’ Group Prompt was the title of the blog, and 2) the d’Verse prompt informed the style and content. It’s not poetry… but it may qualify as Synesthesia. What do you think?
I’m quoting Kim from Writing in North Norfolk. “I’m welcoming dVerse poets to Prosery, when we ask you to write a very short piece of prose that tells a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of your choice: flash fiction, nonfiction, or creative nonfiction.
As it’s a kind of flash fiction, we have a limit of 144 words; an additional challenge is to hit 144 exactly. The special thing about Prosery is that we give you a complete line from a poem, which must be included somewhere in your story, within the 144-word limit. You may change punctuation but you are not allowed to insert words in between parts of the quotation.
We see Ole Tom with his bent shoulders and thinning torso We see his wind-weathered face and his thinning gray hair He sits in my living room strumming his guitar Singing the fourteenth verse of an old folk song He has a thousand such songs tucked into his head Along with the entire books of Matthew and Acts We see him as an ancient sage We look at him through the wrong end Of the long telescope of Time His mind is sharper than mine ever was And he shows no signs of stopping Each Christmas Ole Tom recites the Christmas story From the book of Acts, never reading, just expounding Amazing the congregation with his masterful memory He is the epitome of a wise man: Ninety-three going on thirty Never see him as old and never underestimate Ole Tom Turn that telescope around!
What fun to participate in dVerse poets’ invitation to Prosery. It’s a challenge to come up with a 144 word poem, but not when you have such a delightful subject as Ole Tom. How we loved him!! He will live in our hearts forever.
Do you have an ole Sage in your life? Count your blessings if you do… and consider joining the fun at dVerse Poets!
Were you able to find the “complete line from a poem” that I was required to insert as part of my Prosery? Which do you think it was?
See ya tomorrow. Have a Terrific Tuesday! Love, JanBeek
There were two d’Versepoets.com prompts for today. The instructions are “Write a piece of prose (flash fiction, memoir, nonfiction) that is 144 words or less and includes, word-for-word, ONE of the lines indicated above from Carl Sandburg’s Jazz Fantasia. I chose this line: “… a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills.”
Successful Independence Day
It is a hot July 4th afternoon. My husband and I are on the shady side of the bleachers. Across the arena sun-lovers shade their eyes and strain to see the gate open as the rider emerges on the hump of an angry, cinched bucking bronco.
One by one they buck out of the gates. The audience holds its breath as the rider tries to stay on the required number of minutes before the whistle blows and they are free to dismount. Too often, the rider is bucked off before the whistle. We pray no one gets trampled as the clowns emerge to divert the horse’s attention and the rider scrambles out of harm’s way.
Back home in the pasture, the horse nibbles its reward as a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills. Another successful Independence Day!
It’s Sunday. It’s a day we set aside to worship God and listen to His Word. As I listened to Rev. Steve Hundley deliver his sermon today, I did my usual. I recorded on my bulletin what my ears took in poetically.
Here are my notes:
People flocked to Jesus. He began to preach from a boat. He had to distance from the crowd So he drifted out a bit to float.
Distanced from the multitudes, Jesus told the Parable of the Seed. The Seed is the Word of God, Spoken to the people in need.
Jesus warned that the Word Often falls on deaf ear. He explained that not all seeds Grow in all who hear.
But those who allow the seed to grow, Spend time to allow the seed to sink in, Let it bury itself in their hearts, Can bear fruit and juice they drink in.
The seed of the Word is like A Smoothie blended into thought and deed. Let the Word transform you And grow to the Faith we all need.
But we may carry a ball & chain of doubt That keeps us from letting go Of the seeds that need to be planted In Good Soil so they can grow,
Don’t hoard the Seeds of plenty That God has blessed in you. Sow them, grow them, harvest And blend them to a Smoothie. Do!
Every seed carries in its bosom the future. Trust God to make the seeds grow. Be the sower who trusts the Maker To find Good Soil wherever you go.
The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:18“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Have a Super Sunday, Dear WordPress friends, Bee well Bee safe See ya tomorrow Love, JanBeek