Notes from Jan

Sweet, Sacred Summertime

June 22, 2022

Summer’s here. Yesterday I stopped at a farmstand to pick up some freshly picked strawberries. Nothing like New England strawberries. They’re smaller and sweeter, unlike ones shipped from faraway places in hope they’ll ripen some day.

As I stood in line behind a woman stocking up on fresh argula, asparagus, jars of preserves and more, I spotted a sign above the wooden counter. It read: I’m sorry for the things I said when it was winter.” Me, too.

Well, yesterday Poco graduated from 5th grade. She’ll enter Middle School come fall. She may need a larger version of the shirt she wore when we sprinkled some of Jud’s ashes in Good Harbor on Father’s Day in 2015. Her shirt said, “My Middle Name is Fierce.” Poco, age 4ish jumped into the frigid ocean, splashed about and exclaimed, “I’ve got Popo all over me!” She’ll need that strength as she enters 6th grade.

We’re in party mode around here. Chad turned 50 on June 17th. Maggie turns 15 tomorrow. I’m grateful to still be turning. And thrilled spring turned into summer.

A couple of days ago, Kristina, Heather, Maggie and I went to Salem for lunch. Maggie took her mic, amp, and guitar. She busked. While Maggie sang and folks dropped money into an old bait bucket, I kept an eye on her and the bucket.

After a while Kristina and Heather returned with a “gift.” It’s a refrigerator magnet, which I need about as much as I need more address labels from various charities. But the magnet made me laugh. Still does. Laughter’s always a good gift. The magnet shows a smug woman, smiling and saying, “Not to brag, but I was washing my hands way before it was this trendy.”

They think I’m OCD. I prefer tidyish. Today Philip Yancey cautioned about separating life into sacred and secular. Thomas Merton said, “You can tell more about a monk by the way he uses a broom than by anything he says.” (from Grace Notes by Yancey) I’m hoping that speaks well of me.

Well, It’s summer. A good time to tidy less and savor more the sacred in fresh strawberries and soft sand. Even though my kids think I’m lying. I still stand by my sign, “Sandy feet welcome.”

Happy Summering!

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  • Reply Sweet Sue June 22, 2022 at 9:10 pm

    I’m coming with my regular feet and we can go for pedicures so we can dip our feet into the sand!!
    Love you my Jan ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 23, 2022 at 11:16 am

      Now, that’s a fun thought. You’re welcome with or without sandy feet or painted toes, Sweet Sue.

  • Reply dale June 22, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    I celebrated summer and the longest day of the year by getting less sleep. I am sure this is not on the list of ways to celebrate the advent of summer but going to bed later – once it was dark – did not yield anything on the other end. we are at our cottage ‘happy place” for the summer and know there will be plenty of sand in the shoes and on the floor. Ours sweeping will be a daily ritual.
    Thanks for making life tolerable.
    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 23, 2022 at 11:23 am

      I can picture you and Marty at your “cabin.” Your summer home full of family and friends, sand and reminders of life lived well and often outdoors. One of the many aspects of life in Michigan I missed after we moved to New England was more light in summertime. Being at the end of a time zone provided that benefit, unless one was trying to convince little ones it was time to go to bed. “But it’s still light outside!” Less sleep, more summer. Good trade. Happy memory making, dear brother.

  • Reply Sharon Wolgemuth June 22, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    That made me laugh too Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 23, 2022 at 11:25 am

      Laughter is something I associate with you and Ken and our time together in Owosso. In between crying. Happy Summering to you and your family. Hug the Myras for me.

  • Reply Valerie McCoy June 22, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you sweet Jan! I, too, came home from the farm with a quart of luscious strawberries. Poor Peter when he looked in the refrigerator and there was no sign of a single berry………
    Poor Valerie because she devoured the entire QUART at one sitting……….uh oh

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 23, 2022 at 11:27 am

      Well, I’m not usually so disciplined but still have 1/2 quart left. Some things are better fresh from the farm. I may have to improve mine with some vanilla ice cream. So much for discipline.

  • Reply Gail MacDonald June 23, 2022 at 6:01 am

    Jan, you are such a rare and beautiful gift to your “grands”. They know you can laugh at yourself as well as many other things life is made of. Some might find something wrong–you find something right about all that happens. Yours is a family that builds in each other daily. You have a great mind and spirit, and you inspire your readership! That would be me! Thank you for this celebration on summertime! You matter BIG!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 23, 2022 at 11:35 am

      Good morning, my forever friend. Thanks for BIG encouragement. Hope we can get together soon. I noticed you
      posted this at 6:01 this morning. I didn’t know the day started so early. Knowing you, you’ve probably already tidied up and prayed for me. Whew and thanks!

  • Reply Wendy June 26, 2022 at 11:16 am

    So thankful for all you have to celebrate! Can’t even believe Chad is 50 – I feel like I just turned 50 🙂 Love hearing stories of your time with your grands – so cool that Maggie is confident enough to busk (I had to look that word up!) I will always remember with a mixture of admiration and horror when you told us you iron your sheets! Ha! Yes, very tidy and neat. Have you read Philip Yancey’s memoir yet? I haven’t, but would like to. I heard him speak on it, quite moving. And I believe your sign “Sandy feet welcome”! You would never turn anyone away – sandy feet or not! <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 27, 2022 at 12:32 pm

      Well, I’m sorry I had a moment of deeply personal revelation. To be clear, I ONLY iron pillowcases and the top band of the top sheet. Underneath, they’re wrinkled, like me. Yes, I’ve read Philip Yancey’s memoir…so moving. There’s much I can identify with. He’s been a truth teller and eyeopener for all the years I’ve read him. Each morning I read from his daily devotional,Grace Notes. Today Philip refered to his fundamentalist background and how words could be used to manipulate, feed racism, foster fear and promote America first. But he was “saved” by words from other sources outside the church. Calm and insightful voices opened his eyes. He read, To Kill a Mockingbird, MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham City Jail. , writings of C. S. Lewis, Saint Augustine and others. “These calmer voices leapt across time to convince me that somewhere Christians lived who knew grace as well as law, love as well as judgement, reason as well as passion.” What a gift to have eyes to see, minds to comprehand and writers worth reading or listening to. The Church and folks taking a chance on Christianity owe much to Philip Yancey, who, as he confesses, someday celebrfates “just the right adverb.”

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