Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘family’

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

Make Us One


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I take notes when I listen to the sermon in church. It helps me  internalize the message in a way that sticks. Then, I can share with my husband, Bob, whose mind wanders during sermons. We discuss it on the way home and I read my notes to him. Usually they are in poetic format. That’s how my mind holds on and interprets.

Here is my take on Rev. Jean Johnson’s message from John 17: 2-26.

MAKE US ONE

May the love I have for you
Also be in you.
May my words echo in your heart
And ring loud and true.

Each day I pray for you and yours,
For health and strength and peace.
My prayers include family and friends,
My kids, my sis, my niece.

I pray for us and our health, too,
And ask for family unity.
Jesus prayed that we be ONE –
Mend divisions between you and me.

From time’s beginnings, splits occurred –
From Adam, to disciples, to now.
Jesus asked God to make us one
Stop our bickering somehow.

Set aside our differences.
Teach us, Lord, to pray
That we can love as Jesus loved.
Make us one today.

Amen?

 

 

 

Easter Sadness


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I have heard holidays are sad times for some people. There are more suicides near the various holidays each year than at other times of the year. Have you heard that? Have you ever related to such sadness? I’m not THAT sad, but this was not a typical Happy Easter day.

I grew up in a typical American family in the center of California. At least I thought we were typical. Since then I have begun to question what is “normal” – is there such a thing as “typical”? In my world, I Love Lucy and Bugs Bunny made me laugh, Sundays were church and family time, gatherings at our house or at relatives’ homes were the norm for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, when I found myself in a funk this year as Easter approached and no family was coming to gather, I should not have been surprised, right? Wrong! I was caught off guard! Where is the laughing, carefree Bugs Bunny when you need him?

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Our church hosted a potluck after church today –  Easter Sunday; designed just for folks like Bob and me whose family is a thousand or more miles away. Ham would be provided. Last night I created my favorite comfort food for the occasion- scalloped potatoes Andre’ style. I put them in the garage refrigerator for safe-keeping. I spent an hour this morning up in my sanctuary, as usual, in prayer and Bible Study, in meditation as I listened to the robins singing outside the the window. “He is risen indeed!” Shake it off, Jan! ReJOYce! It’s Easter!! Pick up your music. Pick up your Easter lily. Pick up your spirits. Get to your house of worship!

We arrived at church 45 minutes early to practice with the choir. Surely potatoes au gratin and “Up From the Grave He Arose” would lift my sagging spirits. Oh no! I forgot the potatoes where I had safely stored them in the garage refrigerator last night! A dear friend, Susan, who arrived early to work on the potluck volunteered to drive back to our house to get them. Only five minutes away, thank God! Christian friend to the rescue! God bless her. She put them in the church oven and returned to her seat in the pew just as the service started.

I perused the church bulletin. The songs were not “He Lives!” or “Hallelujah, He is Risen.” Instead, “Low in the Grave He Lay” and “In His Time” with a sermon topic, “Failure.” What? Here I am feeling low, missing family, beating myself up for forgetting to bring the potatoes, and the sermon topic is about FAILURE? I drew a sad face next to it! I was not prepared for a downer message from the pulpit! But then as the service began, we all sang, “He Has Made Me Glad!” and the choir sang, “In Christ Alone/Solid Rock.” My spirits were lifting and I paid particular attention to the words of the next song, “Hymn of Promise,” by Natalie Sleethe. The second verse especially spoke to me:

   “There’s a song in every silence, speaking word and melody;
   There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
   From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery,
   Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

What a wonderful segue into the sermon. Listen carefully, Jan. Take your sermon notes in poetry – as you usually do – and see what “Failure,” as spoken by Reverend Jean Johnson, says to you:

Silence is in Failure.
Shouts in Victory.
Resilience lies in Failure –
Lessons there for you and me.

Moral Victory or Losing?
Which lesson do you see?
Is the score the truest measure
Of a win for you and me?

Defeat: Success is gone.
Rationalization: Better now.
Reality: Acknowledgement –
There’s a future – somehow!

Failure feels miserable.
Hope seems surely gone.
But the loss is temporary.
New beginnings greet the dawn.

God doesn’t call it quits.
He fills our loss with LOVE.
His peace is ours eternal;
Ours is Victory from above.

Christ defeated death and darkness.
Shouts of VICTORY ring ever true.
His resurrection is our promise.
Hope rings eternal for me and you.

Amen? Amen!

I drew a cross next to that sad face – and on the other side of the cross, a happy face.

No need to stay in a funk! Listen to the last verse of Natalie Seethe’s “Hymn of Promise.”

“In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity:
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity.
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”

Thank You, God. Thank You for Jesus… for His life, His death, and His resurrection. Thank You for the promise of Eternity. Thank you for helping me see You, the source of all life and hope, all joy and peace, all compassion and justice – alive and victorious this day and always. May my life be a witness to the new life You offer. You are new every morning. So am I! Happy Easter!

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Family and Friends


There are friends who are family and family who are friends.
There is joy in knowing the love never ends.
There is joy in the morning and there’s joy in the night.
But the God-joy eternal is the best joy in sight!

We are blessed by our family and by our friends, too,
But the blessings of faith bring the best love to you –
Because God is the maker of friends who uplift.
He takes fleeting moments and wraps them up as a gift.

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If you have the fortune to have a best friend who’s your gift,
If that friend is there for you to give you a lift,
I hope you thank God every day of your life –
Especially if that friend is your husband or wife.

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And if in your family you are blessed with a pet,
The love and devotion may be the best it can get!
For an animal gives unconditional love –
The kind we can learn if we’re connected above.

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I thank God today for family and friends – true-blue,
For the two-legged ones and the four-legged, too.
May I always be faithful to love joyfully.
Dear loved ones, be assured, you can count on me.

Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Three


Family Time

The best part of being in Switzerland is the Family Time. Yes, it’s a wonderful place to “have to visit!” We have gone every other year since 1991 when our daughter, DeAna, and her Swiss-born husband, Andre’, moved back to his hometown of Sierre. They were pregnant at the time with our first grandchild. Of course, we had to go as soon as Mikey emerged! You will find a picture of Mike with his girlfriend, Sophie, in Part One of Our Trip to Switzerland. Mike and his girlfriend, Sophie, are so suited for one another! Keep him in prayer, though, he applied for an apprenticeship that he did not get. So now, his future employment is in limbo. Pray the perfect job opportunity emerges for our #1 Grandson.

Going back to 1993, two years after Mike’s birth, pregnant with our second grandchild, De prepared for a little girl. I traveled alone to be there to spend a week with “Melanie,” taking a suitcase full of pink things with me. Humph! “She” didn’t come as planned! Finally, the day before I was scheduled to leave to return to California, the doctors went in and pulled out by Caesarian section,  a squalling, red-faced boy. Nicolas Marin Solioz was a screamer! Oh my, what a set of lungs! In the nineteen years since then, he hasn’t stopped making noise! Some of it is in the form of music on his steel guitar. Oh, yes, he’s a musician, an entertainer, a clown, a brilliant life of the party! Of the three, he looks the most like De & me. He has drive, determination, and charisma coming out of every pour!

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Here is Nick with his girlfriend, Sandrine (Sorry about catching you with your eyes partly closed, Sandrine… you are a beautiful, bright, and thoughtful young lady with a bright future. Good luck as you pursue a career in the medical field!).

Two bright stars!

Two bright stars!

But, wait! Did I say three? Yes, two years later, determined to have that little girl we anticipated, Bob and I traveled back to Switzerland in time to greet Solioz child number three: Christian Robert (middle name after his Grampy Beekman). No, not a “Melanie” or “Janet,”  but we would not trade this sweet, compassionate, thoughtful young man for a gillion bucks! No way!!

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There’s he is, his 17-year-old face smiling on the left with his brothers,
having “the plate of the day” at their parents’ restaurant,
Le Rothorn, in Sierre- the Swiss state of Valais.

Chrissy sometimes has a break mid-day and comes home to eat his main meal of the day in the restaurant. He works at the Nursing Home about a half a mile from their apartment, which is above the restaurant on the main street of Sierre. At 16, disgusted with school, he quit the misery (for him) of public school and went to live for about seven weeks with a family in Germany so he could learn a little more conversational German. In their French part of Switzerland, so close to the German-Swiss section, it is imperative that people are at least bilingual. Most know at least two languages, French and German, and the younger generation almost all know English as well. Being a trilingual male interested in a job in the service profession, it didn’t take Chris long to land an apprenticeship at the local nursing home. The transition from being a sixteen year-old, care-free youth to becoming a vocational nurse has not been an easy one. But, with the help of observant supervisors and compassionate colleagues, Chris is succeeding. He works three days a week and attends relevant classes two days a week. His goal is to become a head nurse someday like his Auntie Marge in Fresno, CA. Isn’t it wonderful that Switzerland has the kind of apprenticeship programs that give young high school “drop-outs” viable alternatives? The United States could learn from the Swiss mentality!

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Stay tuned for Part Four – “Extended Family and Friends” in Switzerland

Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Two


Our Grandsons

My husband, Bob, and I went to Switzerland June 27 through July 16 this year. It was our best Swiss vacation ever! One of the reasons it was so great is that our three grandsons, Mike, Nick, and Chris were such a joy to be around. Nick joined us for lunch our first day there. Tante (Aunt) Irene did, too. We ate at Le Rothorn, the restaurant (bar and grill) that our daughter and son-in-law own there in Sierre, the Sun City of Valais, Switzerland. Andre’, a master chef, prepared chicken in curry sauce over rice with veggies. His meat sauces are the best! The restaurant is a place people go for a cup of coffee and a place to read the newspaper in the morning. The plate of the day is a popular lunch time fare. Lunch is the main meal of the day. The menu includes typical Swiss dishes of cheese, chicken, pork, beef, cheval (horse), and pastas. The bar is the most popular part of Le Rothorn, in spite of Andre’s wonderful cooking skills. I wish more people came to enjoy his talents!

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Our youngest grandson, Chrissy, joined us up in the apartment after he finished work. De & Andre’ and the boys live in a three bedroom, one bath, no kitchen apartment above the restaurant. They allowed us to stay with them during the first four days of our visit. The boys all bunched up in Mike’s room on two beds and the floor so we could have Nick & Chris’s beds. We really appreciated it because staying with them gave us a chance to really have quality time with our grandsons who have grown from “boys” to young men since we saw them two and a half years ago.

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At age 17, Chris has quit regular school, lived for 7 weeks in Germany with a family (to try and learn to speak that language), and then returned to enter a nursing apprentice program. He works three days a week at the Nursing Home in Sierre and attends classes two days each week to get his vocational nursing certificate. Chris has a tender heart. He is a compassionate, thoughtful young man with a bright future ahead of him.  Bob and I enjoyed several long, insightful discussions with him during our three weeks together.

Nick, likewise, entered an apprentice program – but he finished his regular schooling near the top of his class and chose to go to work as an apprentice at SwissCom, the state owned telephone company, rather than going on to college at age 17. Now, as a 19 year old with two years of experience in the work world under his belt, he has his resume’ out and is looking for a job before going for a year to serve in the army. Army is mandatory for young men in Switzerland. After that year, Nick plans to go back to school to become a “mediamatician.” He plays a mean steel guitar, has a magnetic personality, and is the life of every party.

To complete the grandson picture, Mike (21) also is an apprentice. He worked last year as an assistant to a disabled 12 year old who was in a wheel chair and needed one-on-one help at school. Now, with the school year completed Mike is considering a computer programming apprenticeship. He has had an interview and is awaiting results. Meantime, he worked a week at a summer camp for handicapped teens. Isn’t it wonderful that our young grandsons have such a giving heart for service to others? I am so proud of them!

In the evening on our second day there, we took the three boys to dinner in Sierre. De and Andre’ had to work at their restaurant that night. We went back to Le Rothorn after dinner, had a “nightcap,”  and visited with friends before tucking in for a good night’s sleep.

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Stay tuned for Part Three – more “Family Time” and some scenes of Sierre, Switzerland 🙂

Watching the Wind


We returned to Montana from California yesterday. It was a whirlwind trip. We dashed there to celebrate family events (birthdays, graduation, acceptance into the Navy). While there, we arranged also to spend time with friends and to attend my husband’s high school reunion. All the way from Ennis, MT to Elko, NV we watched the wind part the storm clouds before us as we drove in the sunshine. The roadsides were sparkling with new fallen rain, but the sun and wind dried the roads. We had smooth sailing! Reaching the central valley of California, we were told it had experienced a heatwave the week before… unseasonably hot – in the 90s. But as we sat with old high school chums on the patio midst the almond orchards, the cool breeze kept the temperatures in the mid-70s for us. Watching the wind rustle the new leaves on the recently blossomed branches was delightful. Not too strong… no paper plates were blown away… just right! Ah, thank You, God!

At our son’s in east-central California, again there had been storms just before we arrived. The wind parted the clouds, gave us perfect temperatures, created glorious sunsets and sunrises, and made our stay picture perfect!  Days in the mid-70s allowed us to take drives in his little convertible sports car with the top down, casually walk around the shopping malls with our granddaughters comfortably attired in shorts or sundresses, and leisurely lounge on their patio for barbecues and blab sessions. What a life!

Back in Ennis, watching the wind takes on a whole new dimension! The sky was gray and threatening as we drove into the Madison Valley. Deer, antelope, elk and eagles, usually plentiful and visible in the late-afternoon, were hunkered down out of sight for the night. Angry wind blew in heavier clouds which dropped their contents as we slept – happy to be back in our comfy bed with our own pillows and our snoring pup between us! Whistling wind continued in the mistiness of morning. It blew the storm clouds to the Madison Range east of us. Blue sky and sunshine emerged again. Watch the wind. It’s strong. It has a mission. Welcome home!

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