Notes from Jan

Life’s Insteads

July 17, 2017

Martha reminded me and so I subscribed to The Writer’s Almanac, a daily dose of poetry, significant people and events on one day in history.

For example, a condensed version from the July 11th entry.

“July 11, 1834 a baby boy’s born in lowell, Massachusetts, James Abbott McNeill Whistler.  His mom wants him to be a minister; he decides to go to West Point Military Academy, instead.  Young rebels tend not to do well in military settings and Jimmy (to his friends) Whistler proved it true by getting kicked out of West Point by Robert E. Lee, the Superintendent.  For a while he works as a mapmaker, eventually, through the help of a wealthy friend, leaves to study art in Paris.  His most famous painting, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, we know as, Whistler’s Mother. Turns out, the model Whistler’d hired didn’t show up, so he painted his mother, instead.”

Life’s insteads.

This or that?

Stay or walkaway?

Now or someday?

Yes or no?

A woman heads to a well at noon instead of the cool of the morning and meets Jesus instead of the usual women drawing water.(John 4)

I go to Wheaton College instead of another school and meet a preacher’s kid, also working in the college kitchen. His name was Jud.

Not all of my insteads  were so happily ever after.











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  • Reply Maggie July 18, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Jan, I am so glad I discovered your blog. You have such a gift for expressing profound truths with an economy of words. I am speaking at Monadnock BIble Conference this fall on embracing the life we have, rather than the one we want. May I share this – credited to you of course?

  • Reply Russ Bishop July 18, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Just think if you’d have gone to Trump U instead….

  • Reply dan russ July 19, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…
    I just viewed Babette’s Feast today which speaks to this “instead” question in a deep and mysterious way.

  • Reply Dale Lefever July 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    “Instead” indeed. I went to Wheaton instead of….., where I met Jan and Jud and, also, my wife of 52 years. Jud hooked me up with a friend at MSU and it led to my last 45 years in medical education. So, the plans of men!

    No regrets on God’s “insteads” in my life.

    Blessings, Dale

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