Notes from Jan

When my Get Up and Go Feels More Like It Got Up and Went

November 30, 2017

Debated about putting up a tree this year, even though mine comes in three parts(A, B, C) with lights attached.  It just felt like too much effort.

Had to have a talk with myself.

“Are you really ready to play it safe?  To choose sameness, avoid the effort to decorate the Perch,  to ask for help with setting up the tree, simply because it’s just you?”

“Do it for the Grands.  Do it for your neighbors who’ve said, “I like seeing your tree from our place.”   For Pete’s sake(whoever he is) do it for yourself.  You love Christmas.  You start humming in early November, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  This is not the time to pull back.  There’ll come a time but not today.”

Finally, agreed with myself, and started hauling up bags and boxes from the basement.

Time for Christmas.

Chad and girls came for supper. Afterwards Chad said, “How’d you like me to set up your tree?”


Maggie and Kate, helped.

Elves everywhere.

Spritzed some pine spray, to help my tree from China smell more like New England.

Life takes effort.

More than I feel I have some days.  Music helps or a cup of tea with one of Lillian’s mince tarts.

Last week, Mother Susan, preached from Colossians. At the end she bid us come forward to receive Holy Communion with this invitation, “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come.”



Sometimes, it’s a choice.

I’m learning  it’s often gratitude returns my Get up and Go, whether at the altar, as hungry heart receiving the Bread and Wine, or at my kitchen counter, enjoying views of salt marshes with tidal rivulets forming as a new day unfolds.


Worth the haul.


Worth slowing down,  inhaling with gratitude and discovering a hint of pine.




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  • Reply Radina Welton November 30, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Ooooo ……I so identify with your feelings right now. My three and their families won’t be coming for Christmas. All too far away. Plus I just got a call from my dermatologist announcing I need to have surgery for a cancerous lesion on my nose. Won’t happen till Jan 6. Leaves me stewing through the holidays unless I choose to put things in perspective and properly celebrate the birth of our Lord.

    I sit in my kitchen chair looking up at the SAVE THE CHILDREN calendar on the wall which glares down at me a quote from Karl Barth: “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude”.

    Guess we’ll put up a little tree anyway and choose to be grateful in order to bring on the joy of the season.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 1, 2017 at 1:40 am

      May your small tree bring you lots of joy, Radina…and may the Christ of Christmas bless you with peace as you await the surgery. What the angels said to the shepherds applies to each of us when something strange comes at us from out of the blue, “Fear not.”
      Easy to write…hard to practice. Wishing you Bethlehem moments between now and January 6th.. Then and now, the Good News is We have a Savior.

  • Reply Dan Russ December 1, 2017 at 12:12 am

    One of the reasons I often close an email with Gracias or Grazie is that they are rooted in Grace.

    Gracias Jan and blessed Advent!

  • Reply Dale Lefever December 1, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the encouraging words. You show thanks with your lips and gratitude with your hands – you are a double-threat woman.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg December 1, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      And you are a faithful friend and encourager, Dale.
      Time to spritz some pine spray.

  • Reply Valerie McCoy December 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    “I’m not doing Christmas” my grumpy self said, a month after the death of our brother.
    “Uh-huh”, said the grown son…”sure Mom”.
    And I twirled out of the room, onto the mundane task of grocery shopping.
    Returning home 2 hours later, the house was in complete darkness. ‘Well THAT just fits my mood”, the grumpy woman said.
    As I put the key into the back door I heard Christmas music, even in the complete darkness. “Ta-Da!” the voices proclaimed, as the lights went on — Christmas lights everywhere, illuminating every dark space— and a Christmas tree, twinkling with childhood strings of lights and strung with every childhood decoration that Alex (sweet son) could find in the attic.
    My supplication of “forgive me Father” went heavenward, along with a mother’s tender embrace for the son who still felt the joy of Christmas and the love for his mom—even when she was behaving like a teenager!
    Isn’t it so like our God to illuminate the dark places—especially when we forget who IS the joy of Christmas?

  • Reply Jan Carlberg December 1, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Great story, Valerie. Thanks for sharing part of your family’s Christmas history and heritage. Thank God for his “Ta-Dahs”…often coming from the least expected.

  • Reply wendy lane December 4, 2017 at 2:24 am

    <3 <3 <3

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