Notes from Jan

Standing on Tiptoe

May 2, 2022

That’s what Spring does for me, leaves me standing on tiptoe, not wanting to miss moments or vistas. I love watching the greening and flowering of the earth, enjoying more daylight, less darkness. Seasons of life matter. All of them. In nature and in our lives. While the hairs on my head require less counting by God, my time on earth diminishes daily, as well . But neither leaves me morose. However, some hairs found their way to my chin, unannounced and unappreciated. As for my days, each one comes as a blessed blank page to be written on or colored by choices and the unexpected.

Yesterday we began a series in Sunday School, “Truth in the Tension: A Closer Look at the Book of Ecclesiastes.” As our teacher, Dr. Joanna Kline reminded us, “lots of contradictions.” Like life. For years I kept a 3×5 note card to prod me to ignore a certain penchant to postpone. It read, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, NLT) The same is true for postponing travel, shortening time with family and friends to work more, live less. I’m grateful Jud and I didn’t do that. He set boundaries to keep work at bay, and us close.

While not all know the source, many know the phrase, “To everything there is a season…“(Ecclesiastes 3:1, KJV). Although, I never gave it much forethought, I like the season of life I’m in. After Jud died, I cocooned in grief. Family, friends, some Norwegian stubbornness and trust in Jesus and a world beyond what I saw and felt comforted. All bid me inch out, unfurl my wings and fly. Somewhere I read, ” If at first you don’t succeed? Fly, fly again.” Ecclesiastes instructs when I read, “There is a time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.”(Eccle 3:4, NLT)

So, what has you on tiptoe today? There’s so much to tug us downward in the news and closer to home. While it feels safe to hunker down, it’s a closed, colorless way to live. It’s risky on tiptoe, especially with old knees but it’s worth the perspective. Life served with a jolt of joy, awestruck moments, wrapped in gratitude.

Well, our Sunday School teacher urged us to read the book of Ecclesiastes this week. So to my surprise I read, “The more words you speak,(or write),the less they mean. So why overdo it?”(Eccle. 6:11, NLT)

Sometimes the Bible offers nothing to contradict.

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  • Reply Ray Pendleton May 2, 2022 at 6:00 pm

    Dear Jan,
    I always read you somewhat regular notes. You are a gift to all of us because of your openness and creative thinking.
    I have retired from active teaching and ministry. In fact I celebrated the last Eucharist the day after my 90th birthday on April 24th.
    Than you for being an active treasure in the Kingdom of our God.
    Grace and Peace,

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 2, 2022 at 10:05 pm

      And you are a treasure, dear Ray, to those who know you from your teaching, preaching and wise counsel, as well as your beautiful voice. Thank you for encouraging me by reading my “somewhat regular notes.” I fear I’ve sometimes “waited for perfect conditions” and we know how well that works for most of us. May God bless you and your family as you journey on tip-toe to the finish line. All will be well.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 2, 2022 at 10:14 pm

      You, dear Ray, are a treasure to those who have been blessed by your preaching, teaching, wise counsel and your beautiful voice. Thank you for encouraging me by reading my “somewhat regular notes.” Alas, I still sometimes wait for “perfect conditions” and you and I know that doesn’t work well, if, at all. May God bless you and your family as you follow Jesus to the finish line. And congratulations on your 90th birthday. The best is yet to come.

      • Reply Jan Carlberg May 2, 2022 at 10:17 pm

        Well, thought I lost the first response when power ran out on my computer, so wrote another one. Now, you have two almost identical responses. Hope one of them encourages you.

  • Reply Dale May 3, 2022 at 10:37 am

    Hi Jan, since I keep all of your blogs it appears less file space will be needed. 🙂 Yes, today is the youngest I ever will be and could be the oldest. This is why “today is the day,” why “His mercies are new every morning,” and why I “take no thought for tomorrow.” While lifetime warranties now matter less, His promises today and for eternity now make a lot more sense. Your reminders are precious and appreciated. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 3, 2022 at 11:08 am

      Perhaps, less is more. We can hope. Thanks, always, Dale for adding to the post with your comments. The older I get the more I value friendships, like yours and Marty’s. If not here, it’s good to know one day we will be together with time to spare. Don’t panic. I’m sure there will be space to spread out. You and Jud can go off and fish with Peter, while Marty and I catch-up.

  • Reply Wendy May 3, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Thank you for making me laugh, and encouraging me to think about all I could see if I lived on tiptoes! Such good thoughts! <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 3, 2022 at 1:18 pm

      Well, laughter’s a form of standing on tip-toe for the heart. So happy to add some perspective.

      • Reply Wendy May 3, 2022 at 2:25 pm

        So true! ❤️

  • Reply Russell Bishop May 3, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    I remember Peter Kreeft once telling me that Ecclesiastes was his favorite OT book.I like it myself. It sure is different!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 4, 2022 at 8:56 am

      You’d like the class. Lots to puzzle over but some of the wise sayings come with too much clarity for my comfort. Live and learn…I hope. Always a fun surprise to see your name pop up, Russ. We’ll miss you Saturday but attempt to have less fun than if you were there.

  • Reply Joanna Kline May 5, 2022 at 4:44 pm

    I’m so glad that my class got you thinking! What a beautiful post!

  • Reply Jan Carlberg May 5, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    Well, you always make me think, dear Joanna. Thank you for the hard work you put into the class. You’re always worth listening to. And I love seeing you and Jonathan with your three precious daughters. Miss Junia is a reminder of how fast the seasons come and go. Happy Mother’s Day.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe May 6, 2022 at 6:46 am

    Jan, I benefit from all your posts but this one in particular, oh! I have been standing on tiptoes here in Stavanger marveling at the unexpected beauty of a Norwegian spring. I wish I could send some to you in Massachusetts! There is still time for you to get here in time to celebrate Syttende mai with us. Tempted?
    Also, I hope you or your family will seriously consider taking your posts and binding them into a collection your friends, family, and readers can purchase. I for one would love to have that for reference and rereading. If you don’t want to go through the normal (and tedious) publishing channels, there are online services that will scoop up the posts and bind them into a hardcover volume. My kids did that for me a few years back with my first ten years of posts.
    We do have big family news, which I have sent to you via email.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 6, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Wow! Thank you, dear Maggie! And Oh I would love to celebrate Norway’s BIG holiday WITH YOU! My Mama and I went to the 17th of May celebration in Ballard, Washington..which they claim is bigger than in Norway. Whatever…it was so fun to see all the festive dress, hear the music and feast on some familiar food. I’m always grateful you read these posts and respond with so much encouragement. I’ll “tink” about your idea.
      Tussen takk and blessings on you, Mike, your family and all you minister to in Norway and through your writing.

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