Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Open the Door


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(Photo by Charles Stanley – In Touch Ministries)

 

OPEN THE DOOR

Life is full of twists and turns –
Hardships faced and lessons learned.
We do things wrong; We make things right.
We work by day and we sleep at night.

While we are struggling to be good,
God is loving us – as He said He would.
He forgives our failures, lifts us up,
Sends us help and fills our cup.

He takes our sorrows as His own,
Understands our weakness, hears us moan.
He holds us close – draws us near,
Whispers gently in our ear:

“I am with you, never fear.
Life is hard. I feel each tear.
You’re not alone. You’re loved for sure.
There’s hope ahead. There’s life that’s pure.”

So, in the days ahead with us,
We hope you’ll rest and never fuss.
Don’t worry about what comes tomorrow.
He’ll help you find joy instead of sorrow.

Each thing in life is for a reason –
Each action has a God-given season.
You’ve had your summer and your fall.
New spring to winter – a welcomed call.

Let us surround you with love and care
‘Til Jesus calls you to a new place there.
The key to joy is around the bend –
Open the door to life’s wonderful end.

God Bless You!

Childhood Memories


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I saw him approaching me
At the Historical Society’s event.
They were honoring our family,
So folks came to join us – or greetings sent.

He approached with arms extended
And I immediately recognized his face,
Even though I hadn’t seen him since
I’d moved from our homeland’s place.

I returned the hug and marveled
At the way I was transported
Back to when at four years old,
A little tuxedo he sported.

In my taffeta dress of sparkling white
And matching patent leather shoes,
I stood with flowers of yellow hue
In contrast to the bridesmaids’ blues.

Across from me carrying ring on pillow
Was my friend, Frankie, looking sharp.
We thought we were getting married, too,
As we stood and listened to the harp.

I backed up from our friendly hug
And stood looking at my friend.
My eyes glistened with tears of joy
As I was transported back again.

Back to the days when I would sit
Down on the living room floor
And try to duplicate his accordion’s sounds
On a small squeezebox, wishing for more.

More songs to play than that little box could,
More buttons to push on the left,
More keys to play on the piano side;
Wishing I could read the treble clef.

Frankie’s mother, whom I called Aunt Olga,
Although she wasn’t a blood relative at all,
Sent me home with the accordion saying,
“Play for your mom, then bring it back. Don’t fall!”

Across the rocky driveway I went
With that eight button squeezebox in hand.
My mom heard me play “Twinkle Twinkle”
And “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

“How did you learn to play that thing?”
I could tell she was impressed.
I played again so we could sing along
As I fingered the keys and buttons depressed.

Transported back to Mrs. Jensen,
Who gave me a lesson or two
Before she said, “This accordion isn’t capable
Of doing more than you already do.”

Transported back to Girl Scout Camp
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains so green,
To the day when my parents surprised me
With the most beautiful accordion I’d ever seen.

It had one hundred twenty bass keys,
And the keyboard reached down to my knees.
Pearly white with sparkling gold keys,
I took lessons until I could play the Dance of the Bees!

Frankie reminded me I paid for the small one
With the allowance I saved every week.
Twenty-five bucks was a lot in those days.
I smiled as we parted with a kiss on the cheek.

There is nothing more precious, nothing more sweet,
Than childhood memories, friends from days past,
Chances to reconnect with those you love,
Recreate memories – and make new ones that last.

Jan Beekman
9/14/17

Retirement Vacation


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Retirement Vacation

A “Vacation” means to vacate

The work, the folks, the place –

To leave behind the stress and strain –

Get off the treadmill; leave the rat race.

But what if you’re retired

And you like the things you do?

What if you don’t have to work?

What’s a break from routine for you?

A “Staycation” means to stay put.

You don’t have to hop in a car.

You don’t need an RV or trailer.

You can take a break right where you are.

Stay in your retirement spot –

In the beautiful place where you give.

Continue to play with friends each day.

Your Staycation is the way that you live.

Gather your toys and relish your friends.

Invite family to come from afar.

You don’t have to vacate to live the good life.

You’re living it daily – right where you are.

Jan Beekman

7/21/17

Out of Order


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OUT OF ORDER

I look at those little feet
So shaped like my granddaughter’s
And I know this little child
Is hers – and ours – not some other family’s.

His lips are just like his mother’s –
And his nose and eyes are from his father.
He’s a precious child of God.
Why did I worry about his arrival?

Well, he came out of order!
In my day, first the couple married.
Then they lived together, and
Then they started their family.

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Today the order seems to have changed.
First – live together, and then
Confirm your love with a child, and then
You might get married – but not necessarily.

The order of things as taught by grandparents
and confirmed by parents in most cases
Is not the order of things in today’s world.
Things are out of order!

However, this great-grandma is happy to be
GG to this precious child – so dear.
He didn’t choose his parents’ order of things.
All he needs to know is love.

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Unconditional love and support are yours.
You are a precious, gift from God.
Xander Leland Cantwell –
Welcome to this world.

Your order is perfect-
Not out of order at all.
How could I have questioned God’s timing?
It’s always perfect!

GG Jan
– praising  the enhanced Beekman/Cantwell Family
5-12-17

Glitter and Glue


My blogging friend, Russ Towne, wrote and posted the following today:

“Of couples I’ve seen

Way more than a few

Where one is the glitter

The other’s the glue.”

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I smiled when I read that

Realizing that I do a lot of glittering

And my dearest friend,

My spouse of 55 years,

Has been a source of the glue

That sticks us together

And has helped this union last.

Yup, it takes both kinds.

Thanks, Bob!

Thanks for being the glitter

Right when we needed it, too.

My daddy was right when he said,

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“Take this expensive tax deduction

Off of my hands!”

Glitter comes at a price.

I love that man of mine!!

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He’s the glue that keeps the lawn mowed

And the glitter that keeps the love growing.

Couples need a lot of both!

 

 

Help for Troubled Children


Sermon Notes
Guest Speaker – Michael Kalous

“Intermountain Thoughts”

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He lived in one hundred one places –
Cars, tents, parking lots, too,
Foster homes and back roads.
A hard life for years – quite a few.

The boy had a loving mother,
But his dad was a troubled guy.
God sent the boy Christ-like people
Who helped dry the tears he’d cry.

Then God sent him to InterMountain
Where his dorm parents were saints.
They gave him unconditional love –
Listened compassionately to his complaints.

With people behind him like his Grandma Grace,
And people with him who showed Christ’s love,
He found our Lord and Savior
And got to know our God above.

With God’s help and these beautiful people,
The damage of his young life faded.
God is able to use him now
And bless others whose bodies and souls were invaded.

With the common bond of a wounded soul,
He can tell his story and feel others’ pain.
He can reach out to a hurting world.
His road of suffering leads to God’s gain.

About seven years ago, when I first learned about Intermountain in Helena, Montana, I was a new member of Madison Valley Presbyterian Church in Ennis, MT. A boy named Chip came to speak to us that summer about how he and his four siblings had been saved by an adoptive parent and a program at Intermountain that provided Christian counseling to struggling children and families. Kids like Michael who were physically, mentally, and/or sexually abused and young boys like Chip who were abandoned and/or neglected found the loving, professional help they needed. In addition to a school for pre-school through 8th grade children, there are four cottages on the site. Each one is “home” for up to eight children – and a set of highly trained, loving “dorm parents” live with them. The professional staff at Intermountain also goes into homes and public schools to provide support for parents and teachers. Most of the children aided by Intermountain have what is known as “attachment disorder” because of the way the adults who should have loved and protected them the most let them down in one miserable way or another. It is hard for them to trust any adult.

So, when people like Michael “make it good,” survive in spite of the odds, and go on to finish high school and college, become counselors, and return to the facility to “give back,” they have a greater opportunity for success. They create a “common bond with a wounded soul.” Their background makes them believable. It serves as a springboard to convince the troubled, mistrusting youngster that someone else CAN understand their plight. God uses their sad history to save another soul from a lifetime of continued abuse, neglect or abandonment. The cycle can be broken.

My gratitude goes out to Michael and to all the counselors at Intermountain and at children’s shelters across the world. May your rocky path serve as a lighthouse – a beacon to help others find their way toward a healthy and secure future. With God’s help, you can help heal the wounds and allow God’s children to love and trust again.

With gratitude for what you do and an understanding of the financial needs to carry on your programs, my husband and I donate a small amount monthly to Intermountain. I invite my readers to consider doing likewise. If each of us helped a little, it would add up to a lot – and more needs could be met. God bless you! And God bless the givers who help to make your work possible.

To learn more about Intermountain, log on to: http://www.intermountain.org/   Help meet the needs of a troubled child who is learning to trust again!

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Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Four


Extended Family and Friends

What makes Switzerland so special? Besides the scenery, the cows, cheese, chocolate, watches and banks, Switzerland is special for the same reason ANYplace is special to me: the people! We have made many friends during these twenty-one years of traveling there every other year. Each time we go, we have the opportunity to make new friends! What a blessing it is to enjoy the country as family members … rather than simply being tourists!

Our daughter, DeAna, her husband, Andre’, and our three grandsons are the nucleus of our family there, but the relationship didn’t start with them. It began with Andre’s first cousin, Christian Zufferey, who was our AFS exchange student in 1981-82 in central California. AFS has a symbol… a heart-shaped world globe. It’s motto has something to do with changing the shape of our world, one person at a time. That’s what student exchange programs are all about. I am so glad that we were inspired to bring foreign students into our home when our kids were high-school aged. What a difference it has made in our family!


Andre’ wasn’t the first one who got the ball rolling, however. My mom’s oldest sister, Evelyn, married a Swiss way back in the early 1930s. It was Uncle Hans who caused us to want to invite a Swiss kid to come and live with us. Even though Christian was not the German-Swiss yodler that I anticipated, he captured our hearts and gave us an appreciation of the French-Swiss culture that has lasted a life-time.

100_1446Swiss Fondue – Mmmm

After his return to Sierre, we were invited to go there and spend a Christmas with his family. As an impressionable, romantic high school freshman, DeAna fell in love with their suave and humorous first cousin, Andre’. At the same time, we fell in love with Christian’s sister, Sylviane (Syli), and invited her to live with us in California for a year when she finished school. After DeAna graduated from high school, she lived for a year with the Zufferey family. Not surprising, the romance between her and Andre’ picked up where it left off. At the year’s end, Andre’ Solioz returned to California with DeDe. The rest is history. What a fairytale!

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De and Andre’

Now, when we visit the Solioz family, of course we spend time also with the Zuffereys. Christian’s mom (Marcelle) and Andre’s mother (Denise) are sisters. Denise and her husband, Marin, are wonderful friends who always welcome us to their home when we visit. Marin is suffering this year with emphezyma, so we had to limit our talking time with him. How I wish we could speak French to communicate more easily with him! I imagine that working to understand Bob’s pantomiming is exhausting.

IMG_2064Denise and Marin Solioz – De’s angelic in-laws
(Our prayers are with Marin during this difficult time in his life)

Marcelle’s husband, Antoine, died tragically of a blood clot that traveled to his heart several years ago. Marcelle is a gracious hostess – and we always enjoy seeing her in her lovely home.

IMG_2059Marcelle and me in her living room

 Christian has three children (aged 18 to 22) and Sylviane has five children ranging in age from 15 to 23. We were able to spend a Friday afternoon with Syli in her apartment in Sion and a weekend with Christian in the chalet in Arnouvaz that has been in his partner’s family for three generations. It was built by Celia’s grandfather and great-uncle in 1892.

IMG_2384Bob, Syli, and Jan in her Sion apartment

IMG_2398ZuZu and Celia’s chalet above Crans-Montana, Valais in Arnouvaz

The extended family also includes several cousins. One very special one is Chantal Fornier who lived with us as a recent high school graduate in the early 1990s. She was such a blessing in our lives at that time because she has the gift of love and compassion for the elderly. I am eternally grateful to her. My dad was not well at that time, and she was so very kind to him. And she is grateful to us – because through that experience, she found her calling. Chantal works in the Nursing Home in Sierre and continues to spread her gentle kindness to the elderly.

IMG_2395Marie and Chantal Fornier with Bob and me

Our circle of Swiss friends spread to include a couple of De’s girlfriends this year. Perky and fit, a soul-sister for sure, Kad Giromini invited us to her home for dinner one night.

IMG_2057DeDe and her Swiss soul-sister, Kad

Another Chantal (a new friend of De’s) and her husband, Pierre-Andre’, invited us to their home when we returned from a week-long trip to Spain. We had a delicious barbecue in their backyard with this phenomenal view:

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The view from Chantal’s backyard

Our two oldest grandsons, Mike and Nick, made it possible to add their girlfriends to the circle of our new Swiss friends. They treated us to lunch in Sierre on our second day there. I posted their photos on Parts One and Two of these blog stories. After lunch, Nick walked through the fountains in the street display. He is such a character!  Yes, it is the people of Switzerland that make it so special…

IMG_2040Nick – walking through the water fountains in Sierre

Stay tuned for Part Four, “A Time to Celebrate” and Part Five – “A Week in Spain”

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