Notes from Jan

Hankering for Home

November 23, 2021

It’s been awhile. Almost two weeks. In between blogs, life happened. Heather and Basil flew in for a visit, an early cause for thanksgiving. When I was young, time moved sloth-like. Not anymore. Blink and yesterday’s tomorrow.

Sometime this month, the days shortened, temperatures dropped, and the newspaper bulged with ads. Printed reassurance that some goods escaped those container ships. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m older, I find myself longing for less, not more. Oh, don’t get me wrong. As a kid, I wished for a certain doll, new crayons, and marzipan. As a teen, I hoped for my first pair of high heeled shoes. And even now, I still wish and hope. But mostly for people, not packages.

Last Saturday marked seven years since Jud died. A few blinks back we married, “for better or for worse.” And we shared an amazing, imperfect life together. Still, every day delivers opportunities to choose for better or for worse. Which is why I love Thanksgiving and Advent, a focus on gratitude and hope.

As a kid this period came laden with sounds and smells. Presence. More holy than I knew then. Mama’s cardamom laced Julekake, Norwegian Christmas bread, filled the air with that seasonal scent baked inside loaf after sacred loaf. Mama’s manna. Because she knew family, friends and strangers hunger for something money can’t buy.

So, after the family left last Saturday, I settled into the calm of remembering, missing, thanking and hoping.Then I put on some Christmas CDs. That alone tells you I’m old. I listened to parts of the Messiah, then sang along with Silent Night and ” I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

Jud’s Home.

Life is good, still.

Thanksgiving day we’ll gather with friends and family to say thank you to the God who provides. To love the least among us. To share manna, with or without cardamom.

Still. Especially when we’re still, many of us will hanker for Home and hunger for something, some One, money can’t buy.

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  • Reply Shirley Westrate November 24, 2021 at 12:15 am

    Amen, Jan. Amen.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 10:30 am

      And you know this well, dear Shirley. I know your family and friends feel blessed to have you back in New England. Me, too.

  • Reply Kristen Turner November 24, 2021 at 5:51 am

    Your blogs are such a blessing. We lost Nathan’s father this week. A man who loved The Lord with all his mind, soul, and strength. He is with Jesus now. Your words rang so true and gave hope for the future both as we stay present with the time we have left here on this side of eternity and the reminder of the hope we have for the eternity to come. My parents are here and every night we lay across my king sized bed and watch Madam Secretary and at times hold hands just to feel that awareness of the gift of time together.

    Thankful for your friendship with them and your blessed words. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

      Oh, Kristen, what a Thanksgiving treat to hear from you. I’m sorry to read of Nathan’s dad’s death. It’s a hole that heaven can only fill one day. Peace,strength and wisdom to Nathan as he deals with all that follows the death of a parent. I absolutely love picturing you and your parents sprawled across the bed, holding hands and watching Madam Secretary. Diane and Pat are two of my favorite people on earth. So grateful we reconnected and stay linked through this blog. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and dropping their hands to respond. Love that image. Hold on to each other. As my Mama told me after my Daddy died, “Life’s short. Never miss a chance to sit close.”

      • Reply Myrna Bayer November 24, 2021 at 1:10 pm

        I appreciate and love all your notes of wisdom, but this was especially dear. Thanks Jan for sharing your thoughts.
        Have a Happy Thanksgiving with those you hold dear!

        • Reply Jan Carlberg November 28, 2021 at 11:51 am

          Thank you, Myrna. For some reason, I’m reading this on the First Sunday of Advent. Another Thanksgiving Day’s history but not gratitude. And I appreciate your encouragement on this first day of the new Christian year. Wishing you JOY, HOPE and LIGHT in dark places during this Advent season

  • Reply Becky Manseau Barnett November 24, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Thank you for this, Jan! Sending love!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 10:38 am

      And a wonder-FULL Thanksgiving to you, dear Becky and Will. Good to hear from you. Always.

  • Reply Carolyn Sylvester November 24, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Happy Thanksgiving, Jan. I love reading your posts. Thank you for being you! Hugs, Carolyn

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 10:39 am

      Well, as for being me, nothing else seems to fit. Thanks for you encouragement, Carolyn. May you always have much for which to be grateful…and manna to share.

  • Reply Ann Menzie November 24, 2021 at 10:09 am

    wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends

  • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Thank you, dear Ann, and may you and your family be blessed as you’ve blessed many over the years.

  • Reply Dale November 24, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Thanks Jan,

    This one was worth the wait as it managed to touch my mind and my heart. As you know, Mennonite stoics have a bigger distance between the two 🙂

    Love you sister, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 3:37 pm

      Well, in the end, truth comes forth. You are both, dear Mennonite brother. Sending thankful thoughts for you and Marty and our years of friendship. Sending hugs to your family, as well. Loved our years together in Michigan.

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio November 24, 2021 at 1:46 pm

    Truly spoken Jan!
    It is a time for reminiscing as we remember our loved ones in heaven and here. My husband is sitting next to me talking with an old friend and now a new younger friend. How he loves that!
    I’m finished making my pumpkin soup and prepping to make a pumpkin roll requested by my granddaughters. I love that they love my traditional foods!
    Most of all I’m thinking of how grateful I am to God, to Jesus, and his Holy Spirit for everything and everyone, for the trials that test and refine me, and getting my attention in devoting my heart to Him.
    Time flies and just like that my first granddaughter, Talia, is a senior in high school. She came rushing out to her papa and mimi, (that’s me), as we were raking leaves in the yard, to excitedly share she got accepted to GORDON COLLEGE!! ( how I wished Jud was still there because of getting to know his lovely wife has been a blessing! I knew he must have been also a wonderful man!!
    Last night Talia also had exciting news after her volleyball banquet as she was awarded “the most unsung hero award!!” She’s the real deal Christian teenager, young lady, I admire!!
    Well enough of my chatter. I miss you Jan and still want to have a visit with you!
    Thank you for your blogs and beautiful heart after God.
    Love Nancy Vecchio

  • Reply Jan Carlberg November 24, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    Congratulations to Talia!! I’m so happy for her and for her family. I wish Jud and I were there to welcome her and her family..but the new president and his wife, Jen, will do a super job. They are wonderful folks. Meanwhile, have fun baking and basking in the joy of being a grandparent and a child of God. Love CBS but miss seeing you and hearing your insights, dear Nancy. Blessings on you and your family as you gather together tomorrow. Don’t we have it good!

  • Reply Maggie Rowe November 24, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    Jan, your posts are always worth waiting for. I could also smell the Julekake. My Norwegian grandparents passed away at 45 and 60 so sadly, I never knew them or experienced my Farmor’s cooking. A member of our church on the Cape always made cardamom bread for us, though – your words brought that memory back. Hard to believe Jud has been with the Lord seven years already. Earth has lost such good men – Jud, then Bob Fantasia, and now Woody Anderson. Adam’s baby girl, now 3 1/2 months, is back at BCH for Thanksgiving for insertion of a stomach tube for feeding, but it’s another step forward. Love you, dear friend.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 28, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Thank you, dear Norwegian Maggie. Oh, I didn’t know about Woody. I’m so sorry for Linda and the family. Heaven’s getting crowded. As for your precious granddaughter, Adam and Liz and the rest of the family, I pray for calm, Hope and the Light of Advent for the dark places where worry hides. The Comforter has come and stayed.
      Love always,

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold November 28, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Jan, sending you hugs from Utah.

  • Reply Jan Carlberg November 28, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Thank you, Alyssa. I feel those hugs from you and Andrew. I’ll bet the aroma of cardamom infuses the air of your mother-in-love’s kitchen. Take a deep breath for me. I miss Mama’s manna, Norwegian Julekake.

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