Spreading love, joy, peace, faith & unity

Posts tagged ‘writing’

Embrace Shadorma


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Click click click
The sound of typing
Is silent
There’s no click
Tapping on today’s keyboard
I miss it. Don’t you?

I love learning new poetic forms. Today Rahul Gaur introduced me to the shadorma. His example of it is superb. You can find it here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/84993506/posts/3274493365

Smoke Words Every Day Tumse Na Ho Payega

The roaring
Of an angry cat
Who’s hungry
Tells you “Run!”
Especially a lion –
Not a pussy cat!



The shadorma is a six-line, 26-syllable poem (or a stanza – you can write a poem that is made of multiple shadorma stanzas). The syllable count by line is 3/5/3/3/7/5. So, like the haiku, the lines are relatively short. Rather poetically, the origin of the shadorma is mysterious.

Embrace Shadorma
Give it a try!

Embrace Grace


Photo by Jacob Kelvin.J on Pexels.com

My hands are dirty –
And my heart is soiled, too.
Time for spring cleaning!

This season of Lent is a time for cleaning –
Cleaning out our hearts in preparation
For the arrival of Easter when we can
Embrace God’s grace through Jesus’ sacrifice.

Today’s sermon on our ZOOM worship service
Was titled, “Holy Ground” as our pastor,
Steve Hundley, recounted his trip to
The Holy Land back about 20 years ago.

My feet are dirty –
And my heart is soiled, too.
Time for spring cleaning!

Holy Ground

What was it like to be able
To walk in the footsteps of Jesus?
What was it like to stand
On Holy Ground? Spiritually renewing?

I was expecting each site to be charged
With such power that holy goose bumps
Popped up all over my body.
But I was a bit disappointed.

It was hard to feel the grace of the risen Christ
In this historically preserved place.
How do you feel Jesus breaking bread
When all you’re seeing is the top of a rock?

It’s important to protect these sites,
But looking through plexiglass makes it
Hard to feel the reality of Jesus.
The garden tomb remains open, though.

It’s helpful to see without obstacles
That distort the original places.
We have our own expectations of
What we’ll feel imagining holy faces.

Jesus and the money changers
Were there on the temple floor
Where I stood on that visit.
But I couldn’t feel Jesus’ anger.

I wondered if maybe those men
Were in fact offering a service.
He told them they could tear it down
And He’d rebuild it in three days.

They didn’t know He was referring
To His body, not the building.
Buildings are not what we worship.
We worship God’s nature in spirit and in Truth.

We are often tied to the
Rites and rituals to define us.
But our traditions must not
Rise above the Christ we adore.

It is not the place that matters.
It is the love in our hearts
That counts when we join together
In worship… thanking God for His grace.

Thank You, God, for Jesus, for Easter,
For the meaning of the cross,
And for the sacrifice of Your Son’s life
So we might EMBRACE GRACE.

The HOPE of EASTER
Is in the grace of the cross.
Let’s engage in some spring cleaning
In preparation to stand on that Holy Ground…
At the threshold of our eternal cleansing.

Embrace Grace.

AMEN

Thanks for visiting JanBeek today.
See ya tomorrow.
I’m headed to do some spring cleaning!

Embrace Writing 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.

Poet Jacqueline Suskin; photo by James Adam Taylor

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.”

Plan to write at least one poem a day.
Let your awe or pain or dreams inspire you.

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.

See ya tomorrow

Embrace One Another


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?

Is there someone in your life
that you can hug like that today?

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!

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Send me a picture of a flower
e-mail jan@janbeek.blog
Send me a comment
telling me that
you do care!
Embrace.
Now!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thanks for visiting my blog today.
Will you take the next step?
Embrace One Another.
Embrace me!
God Bless
You!

See ya tomorrow.
JanBeek

Never Go Back!


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.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“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
Peace to you.
Good Night, my friends.
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve Day.

Thanks for visiting JanBeek.
I leave with you my hopes and wishes
for a most Blessed Christmas.

God is Whistling


As I sat
in my sanctuary
this morning,
with the painting of Jesus praying
looking at me,


I stopped
and appreciated the peace,
the quiet,
the calmness.

I tuned my ears
to God
and
what do you think I heard?
God whistled at me!

No, God didn’t whistle like Roger Whittaker.
He didn’t even whistle like this obsessed whistler below.

No, God whistled through the trees outside in my snow-covered yard.

Didn’t take long for the snow to blow off the trees!


The wind was blowing at about 30 miles per hour.

Some people might find that sound
annoying
or
frightening.
I found it inspiring.

Here is the poem it inspired:

God Is Whistling

God is whistling
At me this morning
The trees are dancing
Sending out a warning

A storm is coming
The sky is darkening gray
We’re going to have snow
Again on Christmas day

I listened to His whistle
For in it there was joy
I heard His song announcing
The coming of His Boy

I can whistle His arrival
I can join God’s happy tune
‘Cuz I celebrate this season
Christ the Lord is coming soon

Alice Paschal drawing

I imagine those doves are cooing
as they peer down on the Christ Child.

I can whistle a cooing sound of a dove.
Try it.
God is listening.

I can whistle. Can you?
Whistle a love song.
Whistle a Christmas carol.
Whistle along with your favorite song of the season.
Here’s another Roger Whittaker for your listening pleasure:

I hope that made you smile.
Nothing like a cheerful whistle!
Thanks for visiting JanBeek.

I love you!


Have a Marvelous Monday.
See ya tomorrow.

Care About Stats?


Do You Study Your Stats?

What do your stats tell you?

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:

Whose Light?

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!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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!

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

Thanks for visiting
JanBeek.
See ya tomorrow.

Do You Journal?


Do you journal?
Do you write most days –
Only here on WordPress?
Do you write in other ways?

Journaling on WordPress
Is a great opportunity,
But I might not say
All that occurs to me.

My journal from Marcie & Monica

I have a wonderful journal –
A gift from two good friends.
They gave it to me last year
Knowing my journaling never ends.

Today I wrote an entry
About how November’s end –
And how Christmas is coming
Right around the next bend.

But, I don’t want to squander
All the lesson November brought,
So I recalled all the Take-Aways
Each November devotion brought:

Which of those take-aways
Speaks to your heart today?
Which will you carry with you
As you travel on your way?

Each day I read the message
And in a word or five,
I take the thought I need
This day to live and thrive.

I invite you to also journal
If it isn’t already a habit.
Find a booklet that fits your taste
Then think your thoughts and grab it!

Grab that booklet daily
To augment the things you say
On WordPress to your friends here.
Your grandkids will love it some day!

This is another of my journals

Do you journal?
Do you write most days –
Only here on WordPress?
Do you write in other ways?

Journaling can be very therapeutic.
It can get things off your chest.
Then you can refer back to it.
It can be comforting at best!

If you don’t journal in a booklet,
Try it, my friends, start today.
You may discover, as I did,
It’s a place to finish your “say!”

Reading your journal later
Is like looking in a rear view mirror.
It helps you see what was
And makes today seem clearer.

Try it! You’ll like it!!

Bye for now.
See ya tomorrow.
Hugs from JanBeek

This song by Roy Clark tells us, “I never stopped to think what life was all about…”
Well, I find that journaling helps me to that as I can recall “Yesterday When I Was Young” by looking back…

When I first told my family…


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!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

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?

Photo by Ali Nafezarefi on Pexels.com

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?

My Italian Daddy and me

See ya tomorrow.
Thanks for visiting
JanBeek

Join Me with a Prosery


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.

Ole Tom

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!

Bob, Jan & Tom
New Years Eve 2011

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

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