Notes from Jan

Call the Fire Department!

June 15, 2016


The day after I returned,Chad, Kristina and the girls whipped up a memorable birthday celebration.

Lobster salad for lunch together in Essex, then Chad and Poco took me to Art in the Barn, while Kristina and Maggie headed for home. Party planners.

Poco and I chose a gold beaded necklace.  It hangs like a hug around my neck. Extravagant thoughtfulness.  Chad said, “We wanted to do it up since it could be your last.”  The quality of mercy is strained, with some. 

We hurried home to their house, where Kristina and Maggie’s efforts said,”Party!”  There were party hats, a balloon and a pin that designated me, Birthday girl.”  In the center of the table stood Maggie’s creation, a cake, made from scratch by this eight year old Grand.   I looked at it with envy.  None of the layers tilted nor sank and the homemade frosting covered the top and all sides.  Usually, I’ve had to find creative ways to hide my culinary flaws.  Not so for Maggie.

All looked eager to light the candles.  All Seventy-Six!  They covered the entire top of the cake.  Chad, before  the lighting ceremony took place asked,”Did anyone get a permit to build this fire?”

They make getting older about as fun as it can be.

After the candles and cake, the hugs and happy hoopla, the time came for me to drive home and walk into an empty house.  So quiet. Alone.

It’s in those moments of adjusting from what was to what is that I remember God’s birthday gift, “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age.  I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” (Isaiah 46:4 NLT)

Not empty.

Full of gratitude.

God’s good company.






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  • Reply Jim Trent June 15, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Happy Birthday, Jan, with family and all seventy-six candles.

  • Reply Mark Taylor June 15, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Only 76 candles? You’ve got many birthdays ahead of you. My mother (whom you met at Margaret and Josh’s wedding) is 99 and going strong. Don’t step yet.

  • Reply Rita Smith Dove June 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you, Jan, AGAIN! I will read this often, especially as I remember James’ and my anniversary this Saturday the 18th, and my birthday in July. Much love…

  • Reply Dale Lefever June 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    An empty house full of warm memories that you helped create.

    “So grandpa, how old do you think you will be when you die?” Well, older than you are, so let’s watch the Tiger’s game! I sometimes tell the Yoga quote: “If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself.”

    Blessings dear friend,


  • Reply wendy lane June 15, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Yay Maggie! And Chad and Kristina and Poco!!! I love Chad’s humor – my son’s very similar. Sometimes I don’t know whether to hug him or hit him when he teases me. But I love it! 🙂

    This isn’t totally relevant, but sort of… recently we went to Lancaster – Amish country. We ate at a restaurant that was also a shop of home made Amish goodies. One sign I took a picture of said “OLD AGE IS COMING AT A REALLY BAD TIME!” Another one said “I would give up CHOCOLATE but I’m no quitter!”

    So thankful you have God’s good company. It’s normal to yearn for “someone with skin on” though. Love you!

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