Notes from Jan

Story Stones

June 1, 2022

It’s not been a quiet week. On Sunday Lily graduated from Brown. Monday we gathered with friends and family for a Memorial Day cookout at Kris and Mike Reid’s. Yesterday family flew back to California. While they flew home and Lily resumed packing up her college years, I stripped beds and did laundry. Then flopped into the recliner and thought about Jud. It would’ve been our 59th wedding anniversay. May 31, 1963. Memorial times matter. Not just honoring those who died in wars but remembering those who are gone but marked more than time on this earth. And, sometimes pausing to honor major moments today.

Which is why Saturday night, after the Baccalaureate service, we gathered at a friend’s house in Providence for dinner and toasts to Lily. Poco started by raising her water glass and sharing a memory from last Christmas. “I really liked when Lily and I read together.” Together. That’s the gift and why we try to choose experiences more than stuff. I remember Poco curled up on the sofa with Lily while they read aloud. And laughed. Simple gifts, bridging oldest and youngest granddaughters.

As one who loves stories, I like the Bible story in Joshua 4. Moses, their great leader is dead, and Joshua’s job is to lead the Israelites into the promised land. To do this, they must cross the Jordan river. Years before, Moses led them through the Red Sea. Now, Joshua has to faith the Jordan at flood stage. So while priests stand in the middle of the river with the Ark of the Covenant, the people pass through on a dry riverbed. God rolled up the Jordan like a liquid scroll. It reminds me of two songs, “Roll, Jordan roll.” And one I sometimes sing to myself, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way.”

While the crowd puzzled over dry sandals, Joshua sent one man from each of the twelve tribes back into the riverbed to each pick up one stone. Why? They were to pile them up as a memorial. Why? “So when your children see and ask, “Why or what are these, you’ll be able to tell them what God did. “(Joshua 4:6-7, NLT) Good idea, God. It’s easy to forget.

Well, tomorrow I turn 82 and next week Luke graduates from High School. So many story stones. Rock solid reminders of God’s faithfulness and of our times together. True stories, not revised versions to help us feel or look better. Including, the times when waters didn’t part, miracles happened for other people and God seemed to take a vow of silence. Something Heather asked Poco to consider doing the other night when she couldn’t find her verbal off-switch.

So, here’s to life, family and stories waiting to be told and heard. And cheers for the times we chose to forgive, laugh at outselves, be kind, instead of hurling some of those stones at each other.

Miracles in hindsight.

Thank God!

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  • Reply Wendy June 1, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    Happy birthday dear Jan! May God bless you with his richest blessings!
    And happy belated anniversary, I am so sorry you were not with your beloved Jud. Although I do believe he is with you always. ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:06 am

      Thanks, dear Wendy. So great to see you ,Steve and Gwendy last month. You are ongoing gifts.

      • Reply Wendy June 4, 2022 at 4:04 pm

        Likewise ❤️

  • Reply Dale June 1, 2022 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Jan,

    There is no one with whom I would rather share a birthday. God spaced us so I could learn from you and know what being and older and wiser meant!

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:07 am

      I’ll take it, though I’m sure there are some in my family who question the “wiser” part. Thats, Dale, for a freiendship that spans
      decades. And I do love sharing a birthday with you. God must like to laugh.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe June 1, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    Happy birthday tomorrow, dearest Jan! Your birth certificate has misled you. The words I just read were written by a woman who knows no boundaries of age. How you bless us all.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:09 am

      Wow! Must be my Norwegian heritage and all that fish!
      Thanks, dear Maggie, for your good wishes and encouragement.

  • Reply Maralee laughlin June 1, 2022 at 5:56 pm


    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:10 am

      Yes, Maralee, it was my BIRTHDAY. I have a feeling you meant to say more, but seeing your name popup was gift and greeting enough.
      For now.:)

  • Reply Myrna June 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm

    Happy 82nd Birthday, Jan! Blessings on you!❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:11 am

      Thanks, Myrna. This getting older has its benefits, like hearing from so mant friends. I’m grateful.

  • Reply Sue Andringa June 1, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    Bless you, Jan, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!
    So many memories, so many stories. I love hearing about your family. Remember the days as young marrieds at MSU? We’ve seen a lot and done a lot since then. We’ll have all eternity to reminisce. Until then, we miss you and we miss Jud too. A lot.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:14 am

      Yes, I do remember those years at MSU and remain so grateful for the time we spent there and freindships forged. Hugs to you, Bob and your family. Say hello to the Eatons when you bump into them. And thanks for the birthday greetings and the reminder we have “eternity to reminisce” unless we’re in choir practice.

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio June 2, 2022 at 12:40 am

    Yesterday my Joe and I met two dear friends for lunch, Glenn and Margaret Kruse. You know Margaret, of course, she was in your CBS group this past year. And whose name did she bring up but Jan Carlberg! She loves you like I do!! Wished you were neighbors like I do! I told her about these amazing blogs of yours so I’m sure you’ll hear from her soon!
    Her Glenn, what a miracle! Cancer is in hindsight! Hallelujah! I love good news especially when there’s been so much bad news lately on TV.
    Your blogs lift me up, Jan. Your sweet face fills me with joy. Happy birthday beautiful friend, sister, amazing storyteller and woman of God! What a treasure you are to everyone blessed to know you.
    We really need to have that “coffee” together, and now with Margaret.
    I love you, dear Jan! Thank you, as always, for sharing your life’s experiences that make us laugh and cry and thank God for!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:17 am

      Oh, I’d love to have coffee with you and Margaret. After I return from Kale-i-fornia, I’d love to have you come out here to my Perch. If it’s hot, I’ll serve iced tea. So happy about Margaret’s good news regarding her husband. We do need good news. There’s an overload of the other kind. Thanks for your encouragement, dear Nancy. Hugs and JOY to you and Margaret.

  • Reply Sara Jeanne Ratichek June 2, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Happy happy Birthday, Jan! Thank you for these reminders as we mark important times in our lives. May God bless you richly today.
    With affection, Sara

  • Reply Jan Carlberg June 4, 2022 at 11:20 am

    Thanks, dear Sara., for your good wishes and encouragement. I love seeing you and John at church. What a loving community and you are part of the heart of it.

  • Reply kris June 5, 2022 at 8:18 am

    i love this, i love you, i love that story of Joshua and the 12 stones. xo

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 6, 2022 at 2:12 pm

      And I love you, Kris. since you were six and you and Heather became best friends. You’re part of our family, like another daughter. As challenging as its been for your famioy to move back, it’s so good having you nearby. Uganda’s part of your heart. The place and people will always be some of your dearest story stones. And the story’s not over.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood June 5, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    I hope your birthday was the happiest day. I’m so glad you have college and high school graduations to celebrate and wonderful memories of many years with Jud. Your stories are always so human that we all relate and then you point us to God. Thank you for taking the time to be used in His service.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 6, 2022 at 2:14 pm

      Well, dear Toni, it’s a beautiful day in California and the celebrastions continue. Life provides what the teacher in Ecclesiastes reminds us, “a time to weep and a time to laugh.” Laughter’s winning, right now. And how good it feels. But it’s good to remember that Jesus doesn’t just come along for the laughs.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold June 18, 2022 at 12:34 pm

    Congrats to your granddaughter’s graduation from Brown! And for your birthday, Jan!

  • Reply Jackie Larsen July 12, 2022 at 9:41 pm

    Dear Jan, I hope you get this. I just finished The Welcome Song (for the 2nd time). I love that little book! I also am reading through all your mom’s books this summer for the 2nd (some 3rd) time. She was so dear to me and we even corresponded by mail a number of times. I own all your books and all your mom’s books. They are special to me and hold a treasured place in my library. Thank you for your wisdom and transparency in your writings. I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned through both of you and many nuggets are in the journals I keep. Love in Christ, Jackie Larsen

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 13, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Thank you, dear Jackie, for this encouraging response to my post. It did my heart good. My Mama touched many through her books, letters and personal face fo face connections. I’m still learning from her, as well. May lessons your’re learning bless many through your choice words and moments. We’re in this together. Pilgrims helping each other make it Home.

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