Notes from Jan

Value Judgments

September 13, 2018

As a baseball fan, I love quick outs,  but only when the other team’s at bat.

Yesterday, thousands of people along the coasts of the Carolinas were making quick outs  of a more consequential kind.  Like my brother and sister-in-love, they had to get out quickly from Wilmington, North Carolina, toss whatever mattered most into their car and start driving as far west as possible.

Life’s storms, not just hurricanes, tornados, and such, challenge  us to examine what we most value. Stormy relationships, a life-altering diagnosis, a flood of bills, or a costly mistake in judgment can catch us in a riptide that pulls us out and away from safe moorings.

Yesterday, I went into temporary panic mode when I looked down and noticed the diamond gone from the ring Jud gave me for our 50th anniversary.  There were five of those sparkly stones, one for each decade.  When we got engaged, 50 years earlier, there was no money for diamonds or any gem, for that matter and it didn’t,  But this one mattered.

Having just left Community Bible Study, when I noticed the missing stone, I scurried back to see if it fell anywhere in the church or room where our small group met.  My core leader and strangers joined the search, bending, reaching, crawling around.  Nothing.

Talked to Jud and Jesus on my way home and said, “I know it’s only stuff  and I can’t take it with me. Blah, blah, blah…” I told both I was sorry for not heeding the fact I’d sensed a loose prong a few days ago.  Then searched the car and kept my eye out for something small and sparkling as I went about the house.

Shoved my disappointment and worries aside, temporarily, and watched the Red Sox win game #100.  Price pitched a gem, which brought my worry back.

Finally, headed upstairs to bed,  shifting my thoughts to  remember what went right in this day.

First, I awoke to a new day.  That’s always a plus. Then, my first day at Community Bible Study felt like a good place with a good purpose.  Also, having mostly strangers join in the search for one small diamond reminded me I’m not meant,nor have to deal with life’s storms alone, no matter how small.

After turning back the covers, I lifted my pillow to fluff it and there, like a gift from the tooth fairy or Higher up, lay one small diamond. Carefully picked it up, placed it in a safe place while shouting and crying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  Hugged that pillow like a crazy-in-love person,  which I was with Jesus, Jud and a group of women who crawled around on the floor, dug through bathroom trash and more to say, “If it matters to you, it matters to me.”

Diamonds everywhere.










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  • Reply Rita Smith Dove September 13, 2018 at 9:40 pm

    Oh Jan, my heart skipped a couple of beats for you—and I immediately prayed that you would find that diamond. What matters to you matters to us your friends—and to your best and closest Friend. So grateful he returned it to you. Grateful too, that your NC relatives were able to evacuate. We have had some evacuations in this area also, as we brace for rain and wind from Florence.

  • Reply Eleanor September 13, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Dear Jan, I am so glad you found your diamond. Have been thinking a lot about your mother during this hurricane and your brother and sister-in law. Hope their home will be safe. Praying for all the people in Wilmington. Love Eleanor

  • Reply Alice M Shea September 14, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Praise God! So Happy for You!

  • Reply Marty Lefever September 14, 2018 at 12:28 am

    A precious “find” for sure and a gem of a story!! So thankful for you!

  • Reply Randall K. Mathews September 14, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Dear, dear Jan:

    So glad for the good news about that precious diamond. I still believe in miracles! Something similar happened to Alice this past week. One of her credit cards came up missing. We looked everywhere for it; sometimes searching two or three times in the same place without success. This morning as I was loading the washer from the laundry basket. the long lost card dropped out. One of her suit pants hang over the laundry basket and apparently the card was in one of her pockets and dropped into the basket. What a sense of relief!and joy!

    Love to all the Carlbergs,

    Randy for the Mathews

  • Reply Becky Manseau Barnett September 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Cheering with you at the finding of the diamond!! xo

  • Reply susan mcmullen September 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    I am definitely going to start fluffing up my pillow.

  • Reply Evelyn Morgan September 14, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    I have thought a lot about Ralph, and remembering your mom and all the stories of hurricanes. Praying for minimal damage. Is there family in mom’s house? Loved the diamond story – God is good.

  • Reply Nancy Mering September 14, 2018 at 3:26 pm

    Love a happy ending—for you, Jan, and for Randy and Alice, too. And I love knowing that the Lord is pleased when we can see his presence and provision in such quotidian events. . .

  • Reply Wendy Lane September 19, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Oh what a wonderful story!!! Joy!
    PS I love CBS – attended for a year and then was a core leader for many years until I went to work at my church. What are you studying?

  • Reply Anna September 20, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Another hug from the Lord!!! He knows our hearts and loves us!!!

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