Notes from Jan

Blanket Approval

December 8, 2016

The closet’s lined with cedar.  Crack open the door, breathe,  step back in time, if only to retrieve winter woolens.

I’d gone downstairs to haul up boxes of ornaments, forcing myself to make Christmas happen, to replicate, as much as possible, what Jud and I did together for more than 51 years.

The ornaments were in containers, on the floor of the cedar closet, “where neither moth nor rust” feel at home.

After pulling out the boxes, I noticed a shelf where quilts rested, then another, for woolen sweaters.  That’s when I saw Jud’s Norwegian sweater.  To see and touch, took me back to Christmas 1961, when Jud came for Christmas in Greensboro, North Carolina. We weren’t officially engaged until the following May but that didn’t stop my grandmother, Bestemor, and parents from presenting Jud with their blanket approval, a hand knit Norwegian sweater.  Pretty hard for him to back out now!

And he didn’t.

I can still picture Jud, reserved and slightly awkward, slipping his long arms into the sweater,  as my gregarious family oohed and aahed in English and Norwegian.

It fit.

We fit.

Hand knit.

Jud smiled, that killer grin that “had me at hello.”

We both wore Norwegian sweaters for our first Christmas photo in 1963.

The psalmist writes,” (God) You knit me together in my mother’s womb..all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (from Psalm 139)

Remembering God knows, nudges me to be brave, open the boxes of memories and let gratitude make Christmas come alive, again. And when it feels life’s unraveling, to trust Jesus to knit together past, today and someday into something worthwhile, worthy of His while on earth.

Crack open the box.


It’s Christmas.

God’s blanket approval.







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  • Reply Niffy December 8, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Precious memory! I remember that beautiful smile!

  • Reply Ruth S. Wacome December 8, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    Touching words, Jan. Made me cry as I identified with much of it. And you are right—-it is Christmas. Thank-you, Lord.

  • Reply Jeri December 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Perfect. Just perfect. Thank you for sharing sweet memories Jan!

  • Reply Rita Dove December 8, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Sadness, yearning, gratitude and hope all mixed together. ❤️ God carrying us.

  • Reply Dale Lefever December 8, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    I feel sorry for those who don’t take the time to make the memories that sustain us: no deposit = no withdrawal; emptiness just when we need to be filled. Thanks to you, my memories with Jud are fresh.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Sharon Eaton December 9, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Jan, This is just beautiful & sweet & tender!
    Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories!
    Blessings to you for a Christmas spent without that “killer grin” but with the blessed memories of all those years together & with the beautiful family you “grew” together!
    Thinking of you especially in this season!
    Much love,

  • Reply Mark Taylor December 9, 2016 at 4:37 am

    Jan, you are doing a good job of moving forward, even though it often hurts to do it without your lifelong partner. Keep up the good work, one step at a time. Including “doing” Christmas!

  • Reply Valerie McCoy December 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Eack week I think, oh this is Jan’s best writing. And then your pen authors another beauty. Your writings ‘fit’ perfectly and I hope you don’t mind if I re-gift them to yearning hearts.
    I love you

  • Reply wendy lane December 14, 2016 at 2:35 am

    I agree with all of the above. Precious. On so many levels. <3

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