Notes from Jan

Do-Little Days

January 29, 2022

Today qualifies as one of those days, when life slows, then halts as nature determines the agenda. While I slept last night, a blizzard formed, roaring up the east coast on January’s final Saturday. When I awoke, visibility was next to nil. Somewhere beyond my deck the Atlantic ocean churned. Only some rock ledge and a few tenacious stalks protruding from its crevices remained visible. To my left, a faint outline of a condo roof, to my right, a world wrapped in white. So nature compelled me to settle into a do-little day.

We need them. Days when hush and awe stop us in our frenzied tracks. We need those moments when whatever good that’s going to happen, takes place on the inside. Maybe, even inside us. As winds bluster and plaster these northeast facing windows with snow, I’m drawn to the God who thought up weather and us to boot. As I stand and stare, snow gathers in mounds. I wonder, “Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike?”

Well, I can stand or sit in silence for just so long. As Frederick Buechner wrote in Telling the Truth, “None of us are very good at silence. It says too much.” And so I hit a mental pause button and headed to the kitchen to fix some lunch. I needed to make use of some of the bread I stockpiled in case I got snowed in. We do that around here. Market Basket, Shaw’s and Ace Hardware benefit when storms come with a day or two of warning.

So, back to fixing lunch. When I opened the refrigerator, I remembered something my brother, Dan, sent me. “There’s a strange new trend at the office. People putting names on food in the company fridge. Today I had a tuna sandwich named Kevin.” My sandwich remained unnamed.

Well, it’s been a good day to do-little. I’m grateful to be tucked inside this warm perch, to keep an eye on nature, and to reflect on the uniqueness of snowflakes, you and me. Each of us bears God’s image. Unique. One of a kind and beloved. Which leads me to offer again Soren Kierkegaard’s prayer, ” “And now Lord, with your help, I shall become myself.”

You, too.

“Little is much when God’s in it.”

Think: a mustard seed of faith, a breath of fresh air, a dose of hope.

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  • Reply dale January 29, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the “tender” message. Actually, I was going to text you to see if you were safe and well during the snow storm. I guess I should learn not to worry and to expect a parable instead. And, as most people, not in the storm, say, “I bet it’s beautiful.” I believe there is a cooler spot in heaven for these folks. 🙂

    The sounds of silence actually are beautiful so thanks for sharing them.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 29, 2022 at 9:48 pm

      Today was a strange mix between howling winds, pelting snow outside and stillness inside this perch. I’m grateful to be in a condo where the association (fees) take care of plowing roads and shoveling sidewalks up to our front steps. Snow’s still falling but less. The temperature will plummet further tonight, projected to be minus something or other tomorrow morning. Thanks for checking in, Dale. It was a good day to do-little and to write, which helps me think, process and sometimes connect with good friends, like you.

  • Reply Mrs Toni Lovingood January 30, 2022 at 9:37 am

    So glad to see your update. The news showed “white-out” conditions, large snowdrifts, etc. A bleak outlook and then out of the storm arrives your cheerful update that all is well and life is filled with wonder.
    The danger will be in the melting snow and ice just waiting for you to step outside.

    Stay safe and warm!


    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 30, 2022 at 9:50 am

      Thanks, Toni. It’s a sunny but very cold day today. Church is on-line, so I’ll be tethered to technology and grateful for it. The word went out Friday about all the places, churches, etc. that would remain closed through today. Folks urged to stay off the roads so plows can do their good work unimpeded. We’re used to Winter up here, so know how to push it to the sides so life can go on. I enjoy each season in New England but there’s nothing like Spring in the South. While we’ll still be hoping Spring won’t be afraid to return, you’ll be enjoying its beauty and fragrance.

  • Reply Sue Andringa January 30, 2022 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you, Jan, for the beautiful painting you have made with your words. It’s gorgeous, but I can only imagine … and actually I would love to be there with you. I miss the snow and its beauty, but only for a day or two. By the way, I keep forgetting to ask you if you know my friend, Betty Pijut. She is also in a condo that overlooks the Atlantic in Glouchester (on Rackliffe St) How wonderful that would be. 🙂
    Stay warm, dear friend, and very safe.
    Love, Sue

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 31, 2022 at 10:10 am

      Well, there are days when Arizona, where you live, would be most welcoming from scraping ice off windshields and digging out a car. No, I don’t know your friend, dear Sue. But Gloucester’s full of folks, fishermen and women and just enough condos to satisfy the natives.
      Today’s cold but sunny and sending sparkles across the snow. I see the ocean, calm and resting after a few tumultuous days. Calm is good unless it’s the kind that comes before another storm. Love always to you and Bob.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe January 30, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    Jan, as I sit at our daughter’s in coastal California this afternoon with the ocean in view, I can easily picture you in your perch overlooking the winter wind and waves. Nobody excels at Doing Winter like New Englanders. We miss something valuable when we have instant access to everything we need all the time. Thank you for gathering us in with you as you share stories as filling and comforting as cups of chocolate. I benefit from each and every post, and my grateful heart thanks you.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 31, 2022 at 10:18 am

      California’s home to my daughter, too. They’re near Mt.Tam, not far from San Francisco. Beautiful until fire season. We do winter well in New England, which you remember from your years here, dear Maggie. The Cape, South Shore took it hardest. But here we are on a sunny Monday morning, brisk and beautiful. (Not me, the weather.) Thanks for your encouragement. Happy to share comforting stories, but only some of my stashed chocolate…just in case another storm hits before I get dug out.

  • Reply Anna January 31, 2022 at 9:34 am

    I love the unique you that God made! You are a blessing!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 31, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Well, thank you, dear Anna. As I bask in your words, I can hear my grandmother’s voice saying, “If you ‘tink’ you are a blessing, you’re not.” I understand her words of caution and your words of encouragement. I need both. Love to you and Peter, two big blessings to Jud and me during our time at Gordon.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold January 31, 2022 at 11:19 am

    Hi Jan. Thank you for this calm reminder on nor’easter days! I requested photos from family. As my jaw dropped in remembrance from my sunny porch in the west.

    Love and warm wishes.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 31, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      Well, Utah gets its storms, but not nor’easters. Today’s a beautiful day, crisp and sunny with snow covered rock ledge and sand dunes. I’m grateful to be warm and to hear from some of my “Gordon kids” like you. Sending hugs to you and Andrew.

  • Reply Joyce Ruppell January 31, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Thank you for your words and reflection and for he Soren Kierkegaard prayer. I have added it to my file of special quotes.
    Continue to stay well and safe.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 31, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      And thank you, Joyce, for your response. I like that quote, as you noted. It’s tempting to be someone else sometimes or envy who they are or what they can do. But nobody can be you, as God intended, nor me. And that’s Good news. Enjoy being you today. Yes, I’m grateful to be well, warm and as safe as I choose to be.

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