Notes from Jan

Signs of the Times

May 9, 2020

Awoke to blossoms fluttering past my window.  That’s strange. It’s May. After a few blinks, I looked again.  Snow!

These are strange times.

No point in fussing and fuming, I’m not going anywhere.  Plus, this too shall pass, and as a matter of fact, already has. Which can also be said for this beast of a bug igniting a pandemic.   It won’t last.  But in the meantime, suffering multiplies more than debt. People in high places wrestle with the greater good versus the bottom line with some variations.Then there are the unemployment lines, hungry and desperate people hoping for food, while farmers struggle with distribution issues. Add to the sorrow a senseless murder in Georgia of a young black man, Ahmaud Arbery,  guilty of jogging. God, help us!  There’s a global virus worse than Covid-19. Hate and fear of the other will destroy more than our bodies, which all carry expiration dates.

But enough truth!

My neighbors, I might as well call them, “Mr. Rogers X two,” since they’re  that good. For example, they sent a postcard with”Messages from Massachusetts.” It was made of colorful signs of the times. “Don’t Give Up.” “Hope.” “Stay home.” “We’re all in this together.”  And for those of us who live near the tempestuous Atlantic,  “Together We Will Weather This Storm.” Good neighbors make good signs.

Down near Stop and Shop grocery,  someone staked a sign in their front yard, “Clap for Dr. Fauci.”  I did. My California family and their town howl their support each night. Around the world, some bang pots and pans, sing, clap, flash lights, do fly-overs, mow hearts into playing fields and create fresh ways to communicate appreciation to those who serve and to cheer those who suffer in seclusion.

So, I say to myself,” no more yapping about social distancing, staying inside, opening businesses responsibly and wearing masks.” Besides yesterday as I stood washing my hands, I made the mistake of looking in the mirror. Staring back at me was an old woman with long hair and sallow skin. Upon further reflection I realized, “I know her.” Then I thought,”Thank you,  friend Meredith, for making a mask for me!”  Really,  they protect others from more than germs.

There is a downside.  Masks highlight eyes and I’m a squinter, which leaves onlookers thinking I’m  perpetually puzzled. I’d have loved large luminous eyes, but my curious Norwegian/Danish DNA and inability to put on make-up has left me looking  like I’m forever squinting to read life’s fine print.  The one time I tried to draw eyebrows, I looked “permanently startled” according to my son.

Well, enough true confessions.  How about a sign for all seasons?

“TRUST steadily in God, HOPE unswervingly, LOVE extravagantly.  And the best of the three is LOVE.”( I Corinthians 13: 13 in The Message) 

Speaking of, I just love my mask…

And any of you who are still reading.







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  • Reply dale May 9, 2020 at 3:09 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    A friend asked if thought I had aged during these last months. I thought and the only comment I could make was yes, thankfully.

    Your words are an encouragement and add life to my day.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      Thoughtful and true response, Dale. To grow old is not for all. Joan Chittister wrote a good book called, The Gift of Aging. She’s a nun whose written well on many subjects. One of my favorites is Scarred By Struggle, Transformed by Hope.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe May 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm

    Jan, you are guilty of interrupting my work. Every time you post, I stop whatever I am doing to visit with you a bit., And I am always the better for it. Thank you, friend.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 9:57 pm

      Well, I don’t mind being guilty of this “crime.” Thank you for visiting. I always enjoy your company, Maggie.

  • Reply Linda Moore May 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Yes, still reading…still smiling!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 9:59 pm

      And you have a beautiful smile,Linda. Thank you for “still reading.”

  • Reply Shirley Westrate May 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Still reading, still chuckling, and always loving you from afar!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      Happy to hear from the Florida delegation. It’s good to be loved, near or afar.

  • Reply Dan Russ May 9, 2020 at 3:44 pm

    Your squinty eyes help us to see. Grazie!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks, Dan. My eyes crinkled into a hopeful smile that something I’ve written “helps you see”, since I consider you a wise man.

  • Reply Daphne Key May 9, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Perfect. Thank you so much, Jan. Happy Mother’s Day from NC.

  • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Well, that’s not a word I hear often, Daphne. “Perfect.” I’ll take it as a Mother’s Day gift since my kids won’t be apt to call me or anything I’ve written close to perfect. I’m always happy to hear from North Carolina and a friend of Barry’s. Come again.

  • Reply wendy lane May 10, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Hahahahaha – you’re the best! I have to say I have never once thought your eyes were anything but beautiful! They twinkle with amazing love and joy and give a glimpse into your wonderful heart. <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 10, 2020 at 3:10 pm

      Well, the net time I pass b;y a cosmetics counter and they try to lure me to sit and be “healed” of my squints and wrinkles, I’ll quote you! Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply Jeri May 10, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Squinting definitely helps in the focusing AND understanding so I am right along with you, Jan! Still reading, still chuckling, and still appreciating your beautiful perspectives of this life on earth and eternal Truths of heaven! Happy Mother’s Day! ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 10, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      Thanks, Jeri. Happy Mother’s Day to you, as well. Happy to add some merriment and understanding of the gifts hidden within even tough times.

  • Reply Jennifer Dickinson May 10, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Happy Mother’s Day! I hope your blustery weather passes soon. I left a private on Facebook- if you get a chance to check it.
    Hoping you have days of sunshine soon.
    Love Niffy

  • Reply Jan Carlberg May 10, 2020 at 3:13 pm

    Dear Niffy, I love hearing from you. Alas, I couldn’t open your message because I don’t have a Facebook account. Please send through my email. I’ll respond just to you. Happy Mom’s Day!!

  • Reply Laura G May 10, 2020 at 11:23 pm

    You SIGN your work with excellence and love and laughter. The world needs more Jan Carlberg’s. Care to anchor the morning and evening news?? It would be a good sign for all of us, squinty eyes and all. <3
    Xoxo. Laura

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 11, 2020 at 11:15 am

      That made me smile, then laugh out loud. Thank you, very dear Laura. It’s a sign of God’s love that He allowed Jud and me to be part of Gordon’s family and have “kids” like you to cheer on.

  • Reply Raquel May 11, 2020 at 7:09 am

    And we love you too!!
    Happy mother’s Day, dearest MamaJan! You are precious. R.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 11, 2020 at 11:17 am

      And I love you, precious Raquelita! You are a forever part of our family and i send MamaJan hugs to you and your family in the Netherlands and the Dominican Republic..

  • Reply Nancy Sheys May 11, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    God has given you a wonderful sense of “jummer.” Keep on keeping on. You bring joy to my day. I know exactly how it feels to glance not my mother in the mirror, but my grandmother! Blessings!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 11, 2020 at 3:09 pm

      Aha! So that’s who’s squinting back at me! The generations before are winning!

  • Reply Cheryl Ward May 14, 2020 at 9:36 am

    God bless you Mrs. Carlberg ~ You are the highlight of my Inbox!
    My son and daughter-in-law graduated from Gordon and have settled in Gloucester, so your Godly Massachusetts perspective on life warms my heart.
    Thank you so much for continuing to share your insights and messages.
    Stay safe ~

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 14, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Thank you, Cheryl, for this massive dose of encouragement. Gloucester’s a beautiful and interesting place in which to live. Jud and I were blessed beyond our wildest imaginings to have been called to serve at Gordon for 35 years. Always love connecting with alums, Gordon parents and former colleagues.

  • Reply A May 26, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Jan, I think you are beautiful!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 27, 2020 at 4:49 pm

      Thank you, ,whoever you are. For now, I’ll give you an A for affirmation, for which I’m grateful.

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