Notes from Jan

Blessings with a Side of Bacon

June 3, 2019

Yesterday I aged as gracefully as possible. My birthday, not I, fell on a Sunday, which helped.

Driving to church, I found myself praying for God’s Spirit to show up, probably prompted by the banner at Our Lady of the Good Voyage Catholic church announcing: “Pentecost Celebration, honoring the Holy Spirit.” They’ve got High standards.

True, I know the verse “where two or three are gathered together in Christ’s Name” but sometimes I need something tangible. Just never expected a Holy breeze infused with bacon.

We’d gathered between the 8 and 10 o’clock services to say farewell to four saints-in-process, two moving to Florida and two heading to Nashville. The Parish Hall overflowed with folks, the aroma of bacon, and a feast fit for a royal send-off.

It was communion at its coziest.

The Holy Spirit mingled among us, drawing us to Do Church, not merely attend.

Love does Church best.

It felt New Testament farewell-ish. Folks wiping eyes, laughing, remembering, sharing and lamenting. The final words spoken by one retiring to Florida, “Take care of this place and each other.”

Good words to remember as a mandate for whatever days or years remain in this life.

Later, Chad, Kristina, Mike and Kris(Wood-Reid) treated me to brunch without the Grands. Sometimes it’s good to not have to worry about cutting someone else’s food, or playing one more game of tic-tac-toe while waiting for a meal to be served. Fun party with just grown-ups.

The girls made cards with 79 written in various colors and sizes. Poco added, “Almost 80.” Maggie included one of my favorite words, “JOY” with sprinkled hearts on every page. Poco- the- practical, wrote, “So far, so good.”

And it has been.

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  • Reply Dale June 3, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    When our pastor said we had a special occasion to recognize, I prepared myself to stand and be recognized for sharing a birthday with an east coast saint. Unfortunately, he was asking the Holy Spirit to be recognized and, clearly, this was needed for at least one in attendance.

    Happy Birthday, friend.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:07 am

      Thank you, way younger “twin.” Kindred hearts, for sure.

  • Reply Sue Andringa June 3, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Happy belated birthday! I remember now you share your birthday with Dale. Another reason to remember this date … Bob’s older brother passed away in Traverse City last night. He was 82. We’re in that season of life. Every day is a gift. We’re grateful for your 79th. God bless you, dear friend!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:09 am

      I do feel blessed. Not all have the “Gift of Aging” as Joan Chittister called this season.

  • Reply Randall Mathews June 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    Dearest Jan:

    Those two “grands” of your’s are special!! So glad that they could help you celebrate your 79th and many more!

    Love from the Mathews

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:12 am

      We do miss you and Alice sitting in front of us at church. Thank you for ways you two have led the way in aging with the grace of open minds and hearts. And you, Randy, have THE gift of remembering names, always making the young, especially, feel noticed and welcomed at church and elsewhere.

  • Reply Myrna June 3, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday,Jan! Your 2 granddaughters are so special. I miss seeing them like we did when they were younger. They are a breath of fresh air and I think I know where they got it!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Thank you, Myrna. They are “a breath of fresh air”, for sure, sometimes making me gasp, then take a deep breath.

  • Reply Paula Cerulli June 3, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Happy Blessed Belated Birthday Jan~ Fondly, Paula

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:18 am

      Happy to see your name pop-up as a reader, Paula. Good wishes are always welcome.

  • Reply RUSS BISHOP June 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Now I know why the bacon plate was empty when I reached it!

    Happy birthday! The 80’s are around the corner….

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:21 am

      Hah! I thought it was you! Sweet time, wasn’t it, Russ.

  • Reply Nancy Mering June 3, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Ain’t it great to have Russ Bishop comments to mark any significant occasion!

    I’m sure everyone in that gathering at church yesterday would have thoroughly enjoyed singing to you, had we known the important day it was, Jan. It sounds like you had a sweet day anyway. Terrific. I wish you a new year of good health, abiding peace and abundant joy.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:26 am

      Thank you, Nancy. The song I needed most was the joyful sound of The Church at play, loving each other, and affirming faithfulness through caring words/prayers and a festive farewell…along with some bacon bits, thanks to Russ.

  • Reply Priscilla Young June 3, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    Happy Birthday Jan! We count it a blessing to know you, and it was great seeing you at the Gordon-Conwell reception. We had a lovely weekend in your neck of the woods!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 9:37 am

      And so good to catch a few minutes with you two. Mark’s remarks will come to mind whenever I go through a car wash. Not, a personal scrubbing, though it sometimes feels that way. It’s necessary to “put it in neutral” to come out clean and safe through the car wash. In life, neutral may be safe, but it gets you nowhere, in the long run. And I’m hoping for a longer run.

  • Reply Jeri June 4, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Happy Belated Birthday Jan! Such a sweet reminder to take joy in the routines and special occasions of life. Love the “so far so good” comment. Made me chuckle…Have a wonderful year. So look forward to your writings and reflections of every day life back in our stomping grounds. We miss New England!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Well, I always love hearing from “my gordon kids.” You have been a significant part of the JOY in my life and have kept me younger than I look.

  • Reply Wendy June 4, 2019 at 2:46 pm

    It sounds like you had a really lovely day! Fellowship with other believers – “doing church” – yes! Dinner with just your adult children, what a treat! And wonderful cards from your grands – I too laughed out loud at the “so far so good” 🙂 Hooray! Love you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2019 at 4:41 pm

      And you and Steve are part of “my Gordon kids.” Thanks so much for reading and staying in touch through this blog, Wendy. I hope to see you at Homecoming.

  • Reply Evelyn Morgan June 5, 2019 at 12:11 am

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY from an OLD friend. Wishing you the best in the year ahead..
    Love from your old roomie Evelyn

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 5, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Always a treat to hear from you, thoughtful college roomie. We’re both older and wiser than when we shared a room at Wheaton. Thanks be to God, as I’ve grown to say often. Thanks for staying connected, Evie.

  • Reply Sharon Davie June 5, 2019 at 9:21 am

    Happy birthday to a wise, funny and inspiring example of living out life with Jesus. I love how you share the ups and downs and always end up!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Thank you, Sharon. Laughter oils the machinery, helps slow down the rust that comes with aging. As for “always ending up”, it helps to be shaped like a Weeble-Wobble.

  • Reply Mary & Marshall June 12, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Happy belated birthday, Jan! Join the 79 rank. “So far, so good” pretty well sums it up. So loved spending time together in your perch. You bring JOY to our lives and have for a very long time. We love you dearly.

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