Notes from Jan

A Good Day to Make Soup

April 25, 2022

Somewhere I read a poem about making soup after all the holiday feasts. Something simply nourishing for body and soul. True for Easter, too. Jud, not known in the family for his culinary skills, took to making bean soup with the ham bone after Easter. Poco, especially, loved his soup. As I write, I remember John, friend and former manager of these condos, who brought his famous bean soup often after Jud died.

Leftover kindness.

Life’s more soup than feasts and wisdom comes with learning what to do with the leftovers. Mama made soup on Monday with the bone left from the Sunday roast. There’s something to be said for a kind of peace that comes with predictable moments. Small rituals that mark more than time.

Leftover wisdom.

Last week I made an apple pie. Haven’t done one since Jud died. There’s a touch in handling pie dough and I, apparently, lost it over almost eight years. Even though I used my “holy” roller, a rolling pin bought at the Kutztown fair almost fifty years ago. The Amish and Mennonites know how to make pies. Call it a generalization if you wish but, “It’s true!” Michigan Marty and Dale met us there. Faithful friends.

Leftover memories.

This pie looked too perfect to be good. And it wasn’t. The top crust came out like a frisbee sprinkled with sugar. It was to be Gordon’s birthday “cake” and Gail thought it would be a sweet surprise for his birthday lunch. Well, the surprise part worked. Even though we’ve been friends forever, I still felt like I needed to get them to sign something stating they wouldn’t sue if they lost teeth or worse. Gail, as only she could, commented on the apples and how much love she tasted in the pie.

Leftover grace.

Last Thursday I connected by Zoom to a national debate on Public Health, sponsored by Braver Angels. It’s an organization with the goal of “uniting red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America.” While Dr Francis Collins and my son-in-love, Dr. Matt Willis, were part of the pro team, it was the manner in which those against and those for spoke to each other through “Madam Chairman.” At the heart of why it worked was more than format. It was the desire to listen and treat each person as worth the time it takes to pay attention to more than words. Civil discourse.

Leftover trust.

And after all the feasting and shouting, “Christ is risen!” returns to just another Monday, I take hope from a simple meal. Soup, of sorts. Jesus fries fish on an outdoor fire and invites the disciples who’d gone fishing with Peter to “Come and have breakfast.” (John 21: 12, NLT)

They come. But Peter craves more than food. Seeing the fire must’ve reminded him of his biggest failure and he had many. Not long ago, he stood outside by another fire and denied three times that he even knew Jesus.

Leftover guilt.

So Jesus took him aside. Maybe draped his arm around Peter’s sagging shoulders, drawing him close with his nail pierced hand. Then asked three times, “Do you love me, Peter?” And Peter ends up the third time saying what’s true for all of us, “Lord, you know everything.” Then added, ‘ You know I love you.” (v.17)Forgiveness and reconciliation.

Leftover love.

Monday’s a good day to make soup with some holy leftovers.

So no one’s left hungry to be remembered, heard, forgiven or loved.

Or given a pie worth a story, but not a second bite.

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  • Reply Carol Taylor April 25, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    We made soup here, too. It wasn’t leftover soup because I bought a turkey breast for that purpose, Bur we do love leftovers- food, Grace, love, or anything else. You have turned our simple meal into poetry. This is a wonderful post.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 6:37 pm

      Thank you, dear Carol. Your words and friendship come as soup to feed my soul Sending love and healing mercies to Mark and you.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood April 25, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    I know your friends felt honored that you made them a pie and felt your love in every bite. Soup warms the body and the heart. Thanks for sharing.


    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 6:39 pm

      Well, Toni, in true friendship we feast on more than food. Thankfully!

  • Reply ann rockness April 25, 2022 at 4:33 pm

    Jan, next time you make a pie use pillsbury frozen pie crust. It never fails.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Ann. I’m sure my friends will find almost anything a vast improvement.

  • Reply Nancy vecchio April 25, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    You are so beautiful! Funny! And a true friend of our Lord! I’m so glad we have eternity together!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 6:44 pm

      Well, when it comes to heaven, I’m hoping pie in the sky is something to look forward to, not duck to avoid being hit in the head with an “apple”frisbee. As for you, Nancy, it’s been a feast to be part of Community Bible Study with you.

  • Reply Shirley Westrate April 25, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you, dear Jan. I am so grateful for these unexpected blessings that appear in my email. This one is just what I needed this afternoon…God’s timing for sure!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 6:46 pm

      And I’m grateful to see your name pop up, dear Shirley. Wore your pretty earrings yesterday, a reminder of your “leftover kindness.”

  • Reply Dale April 25, 2022 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for the words and for highlighting, at least, my heritage. It was not quite like “throw daddy down the stairs his shoes,” or “too soon old and too late smart,” but it brought back wonderful memories especially of shoefly pie – the combination actually is a good description. And if you type in “Lefever,” watch out for spellcheck as it will come out “leftover,” which reminds me of all the love Jud left over for you to share, which along with yours, is a great comfort on so many days and to so many of us.

    Blessings, Hans Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 9:04 pm

      Oh, my very dear friend Dale, thank you for your encouraging words. And thanks for many ways you and Marty kept us woven together in friendship for decades. I laughed at spellcheck calling you the Leftovers. However, in light of this post, that’s a compliment of the highest order, Hans.

  • Reply Wendy April 25, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    Only you could make such a beautiful, heartwarming story out of “leftovers”! <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 9:05 pm

      Speaking of food, I promise not to serve pie when you come for lunch in May.

      • Reply Wendy April 25, 2022 at 9:10 pm

        Hahahahaha! We’re taking you to lunch!! ❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply Jan Carlberg April 25, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    Wise decision!

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