Loving One Another

Archive for the ‘Sharing’ 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!

Outsiders


Jesus on the Cross

Jesus – simple, yet complex

Outsiders

A prophet is known
by the company he keeps.
If Jesus were a true prophet,
the right people would be His sheep.

But baaaaad people hung out
with Jesus – sinners of the worst sort.
Jesus scandalously kept company
with tax collectors, folks report.

His circle included prostitutes.
He dined with people of ill repute.
How did He respond to complainers?
Did He have a good word of refute?

No, He told the story of the lost –
Lost coins, lost sheep, lost kids.
Find the coin, search for lambs,
Be relentless finding others, Jesus bids.

But, though we’re concerned,
We have our limits, right?
Do we seek unending until we find?
No, it’s not about us and our plight.

It’s about God who searches.
It’s about our Lord who actively calls.
He needs us all …  you and me.
Invite the outsiders. Break down walls.

Amen?

Writers’ Workshop


I am excited to be taking an eight week writers’ workshop. It started last week with five of us ladies signed up to work with an amazing young woman named Allyson Adams. My friend, Lexi Sundell and I are trading off the driving responsibility. It’s about fifteen miles up the hill to Virginia City from where we live here in Ennis, Montana. A lovely drive, usually, but it snowed big time last week when it was Lexi’s turn to drive. I lucked out and had a gorgeous spring day yesterday when it was my turn to drive. Sharing the driving has the added bonus of quality one-on-one sharing with a fellow writer as we traverse the mountain and exchange ideas on what we’ve been writing or what we just learned and intend to do with it. Lexi is writing her memoirs. I am writing a book to honor my seven grandchildren (and ultimately their parents, too, I hope) and to share the wisdom my grandchildren are helping me gain on this amazing path called LIFE. Our goal is to start and finish this project in the eight-weeks of the workshop. Ambitious? Maybe. Lexi had a head start. She began her memoirs some time ago. My book is evolving as the class progresses.

The working title of my book is “Lessons My Grandchildren Are Teaching Me.” It started out in the past tense… Lessons I Have Learned… and has changed to the present as it dawned on me that the learning is an on-going, life-long process. The grandchildren, who all are now between the ages of 20 and 24, live in California and Switzerland, except for one. One is right here in Ennis. She moved here a year ago, coming to live with Grammy and Grampy for a much needed “fresh start.” Her name is Hope, and she has been the initial inspiration for this book project that is now consuming me. She also is one of the reasons that I stopped blogging about a year ago. Life got in the way! Something had to give as we focused our energies on being sorta parents again at the ripe, rich age of mid-seventies! So, I set aside WordPress and dug into helping a grandchild grow from 21 going on 12 to a bonafide young adult, capable of wise decision making, independent living, and being the responsible citizen she is becoming. We all are a work in progress. I am no exception!

It’s been a challenging year. Sharing the love of family, the joy of giving, the recognition and development of our spiritual gifts, and the confidence to grow from our mistakes and go on to make new ones and learn from them, too, has been an amazing experience. Our Hope has evolved from a beat down, introverted, jobless and homeless child to a confident, outgoing, employed and independent young woman. Her 22nd birthday is Mother’s Day. We’re going to celebrate with her and we’re here to continue the love and support and watch as she continues to make great strides. Hers will be the last chapter in my book. Hope for Hope! Stay tuned!

 

(Here is Hope – in yellow –  at about age 17 – with her siblings – before she decided she was tired of family rules and decided to go it on her own. Two years later, she was ready for her “Fresh Start.” And the story continues… My book is about these four PLUS my three grandsons who live in Switzerland. I’ll tell you more about my project in my next entry. Thanks for visiting.)

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Hands On


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Today I am headed to provide respite for a wonderful daughter and her dad who are caregivers for their mom and wife. They make it possible for this lovely lady to be in her home. She is a sweetheart, but Alzheimer’s is robbing her slowly, day by day, of her ability to function independently. Hands on care is such a gift! Whatever we can do to take care of our caregivers, we should do as often as possible. Give them a respite occasionally. Who knows, I may be that person tomorrow – that person who needs 24/7 care in order to remain in my home. God bless you, dear readers. Reach out to someone today!

Two Magic Words


Thank you!

I thought I had lost my WordPress account. I was told that the $99 per year fee was due and overdue. I decided with the other expenses we have right now to forego that expense, so I thought that meant JanBeek was now defunct. However, I discovered I was wrong. Here it is, still waiting for me to add a post. Thank you! I have missed my WordPress friends!

What’s new with you? I have been busy this summer with family and friends, festivals and fiestas. It’s been great fun. I hope you’ve had fun, too.

From the Pastor’s Study


My former pastor, Brent Mitchell, is a wordsmith. He writes as well as he speaks – and he speaks with eloquence and conviction, love and compassion. You can hear those qualities in his written words. Below is a post of his message to his congregation that was in this month’s church newsletter. I want you, my blog readers (most of whom also are writers) to have the opportunity to read it. I asked him for permission to post it. He agreed. Here it is:

VOLUME 42 NO. 8 2013,  THE BEACON
Third Presbyterian Church, Springfiled, Illinois

From the Pastor’s Study
It seems to me that all writers have a voice. With rare exceptions I have never heard them speak. Many of the authors I read have died before I could get to them, but I know what they sound like. And I would bet you do, too. Of course we don’t hear their vocal timber and tonal qualities, but they each have a voice and the voice we hear as we turn page after silent page is as distinct and unique to each author as are their fingerprints. We hear it in the words they choose to open their books, the way they stack up phrases, the rhythm of their sentences, their stylistic preferences for using words as assault weapons or bandages, as a healing balm or more like razor wire—intent on drawing blood. And my guess is that we know whether we like their voice within the first few paragraphs.

Some authors sound instantly pompous to me. They write as though they don’t care if anybody understands them, because they love the sound of their own voice, and if writing affords them the opportunity to impress themselves, that’s all that really mattered. Some are to saccharine, some are just smart alecks who don’t impress me any more than they did in seventh grade, some are just vulgar as though they have never gotten over the thrill of being naughty or saying bad words. Some are moralizing prigs who were born to correct someone somewhere, and some are just boring because they never learned to distinguish the incidental from the pertinent and write as though there is not a difference. They want to say something in the worst possible way, and they do.

I think the type of authors I most enjoy are the ones I would like to sit down with over a long quiet dinner in a free ranging conversation till the candles burn low. Their voices are tinged with self-effacing humor, a compassion born of suffering, elegant enough to be precise, but wanting more to communicate than to impress. Sobered by their own imperfectionsthey keep their egos in check. They  admire honesty, common people and courage in all its forms. And without exception, they understand grace. They might not use that word in any paragraph, but most of what they write is a confession of their need for it, and a sustained act of advocacy in the slender hope we will receive it for ourselves and extend it to others, and thus find our humanity.

One of the authors whose voice I like is Herman Wouk. Jim Marshall put me on to him years ago. In 1952 Wouk was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his fictional World War II novel, “The Caine Mutiny.” I had seen  and loved the movie (starring a superb Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Francis) but the book, as you might guess was even better—as per typical, much more nuanced and textured with material that told an even fuller tale. Toward the start of the book the newly commissioned Ensign Willie Keith (the chief protagonist through whom the story is told) receives a letter—a final letter—from his father who (unbeknownst to Willie) was dying of cancer. The letter is a father’s last-ditch attempt to rescue his son from a life of pampered shallowness. He writes, “Remember this, if you can— there is nothing, nothing more precious than time. You probably feel you have a measureless supply of it, but you haven’t. Wasted hours destroy your life just as surely at the beginning as at the end—only in the end it becomes more obvious. Use your time while you have it, Willie, in making something of yourself…Think of me and what I might have been, Willie, at the times in your life when you come to crossroads. For my sake, for the sake of the father who took the wrong turns, take the right ones, and carry my blessing and my justification with you.”

It is a mark of Wouk’s gift that we can read as the failed father and the shallow son. Perhaps we are both/and. The older we get we rue the wrong turns, the wasted hours. The part of us that senses the
adolescent that still walks inside us, can still catch embarrassed glimpses of our own shallowness and wonder what it will take to sober our senses and save our souls. Listen for the voice before it’s too late. It may be His.

~ Pastor Brent

Teacher Perks


Happy Summer Time to all you teachers out there! I love teachers! More than a handful of them made a significant difference in my life. The dedicated, creative, caring ones made me want to become a teacher, too. Then the administrators who were teacher advocates made me want to become an administrator who supported her staff and students and made their school days happier, more successful, memorable times. Teaching is a profession with perks that keep on perking – forever! Dedicated teacher/educators give from the heart. They care about their students and their students’ families. They care about their colleagues. They care about the profession. Dedicated teachers are educators who never really retire; they just teach from a different platform, in a different venue, on a different stage, to a different audience. But, they can’t help themselves. They teach wherever they are.

Like millions of educators around the world destined always to teach, I discovered that the perks of teaching never stop. No, the perks are not “Summers off.” No, they do not include getting rich quick… at least not monetarily rich. But richness comes in many forms. The perks for educators come in the form of feedback – from students, from family members, from colleagues, from community, from life. The perks are in the lifetime of memories, the feeling of making a difference in the lives of others, the blessing of hearing now and then that you did, in fact, matter in the life of one of your students… or a parent … or a colleague.

I retired officially from public school education in 1999. One of my favorite “jobs” during my varied and interesting career was as a teacher/principal in the central valley of California. Last week one of my former colleagues (a teacher at the school where I served nine years as principal) came to visit me here in Montana. What a joy! What a perk!!

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Then, as if the week was not already special enough, out of the blue came a text message from the parent of a kindergarten student that I had in the 1970s! She found me on Facebook. It’s one of the perks of allowing your postings to go “public” instead of limiting the viewings to only those identified as “friends.” This former room mother from the San Francisco Bay Area wrote to compliment me on my recent weight-loss and ask me how I did it. We did the finger-tip chat for a while and then she asked if we might talk on our cell phones. “There’s something wonderful about hearing each others voices,” she commented. I agreed and we chatted on the phone – catching up on each others lives – for almost an hour. It was the best perk imaginable!

Now, you’re probably thinking that during that conversation I heard stories about things she remembered about me as a teacher, right? That would be the usual expectation. Nope! Not really… not as much as, “Do you still fry pork chops with green bell peppers using a splatter guard?” That was my trade-mark meal back in those days! And yes, I do still have that splatter guard 40+ years later. It saves hours of stove top cleanup! She said she bought one after coming to my house for dinner – and still uses hers, too. Pork chops with green peppers is her husband’s favorite meal! Do I remember inviting her and her family to dinner? No! But she does! And “little” gestures like that are some of the things that help me live on in the lives of the students I have taught. Who would’a thunk it?? See, you never know! You just never how know what you say and do will live on in others. When a parent, student or colleague takes the time to find you years later – and tells you about your impact – that’s worth more than a million bucks!Some of my former students from those days in the classroom back in the 70s are my Facebook friends and my on-line Scrabble partners! I love keeping in touch!

Feedback – – – in all kinds of forms – – – it’s the “Teacher Perks” we educators live for!

Take time to contact a teacher who was memorable in your life. Give a teacher a perk. And while you’re at it, take time this Father’s Day weekend to give a “Parent Perk” to your dad (if you are fortunate enough to have him still with you) or your son or son-in-law, or to some other “Dad” figure in your life. Tell him what makes him memorable. It might be the way he fries pork chops! And if he doesn’t have a splatter guard; that’ll make a wonderful gift! Order one today!!

Photo on 6-15-13 at 11.31 AMhttp://www.wdrake.com

P.S. No, this is not a paid advertisement; just one of the perks from a retired educator bent on being a life-long teacher!

 

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