Notes from Jan

A Little Perspective

July 18, 2022

Poco said more than I confessed last week. Propriety won that round. But then I thought, why not tell the rest of the story. So, here goes. Poco, at the base of the stairs, added, “And some day if you piddle, or make a mess, I’ll wipe it up, like you used to do for me.”

Well, it’s one thing for my Grand to hold my hand for support, but quite another to promise to tend me when I lose control over more than if I want jello or pudding. A stark reminder that she’s eleven and I’m eighty-two and things happen to old bodies. There are plenty of birthday cards with humorous reminders. You sent me some. Take these, for example.

“Everyone gets to be young once. Your turn’s over.”

“You know you’re getting old when you can laugh, cough, sneeze and pee all at the same time!”

And for those who’d hoped for something more “biblical”… This one’s for you. The front of the card shows a police officer beside a car that’s been pulled over. He’s talking to a priest. “Reverend, have you been drinking?” The priest replies, “Just water, officer.” “”Then Reverend, why do I smell wine?” To which the priest replies, “Good Lord! He’s done it again!” That one’s from my California family.

So why the humor? Perspective. Life’s overloaded on weeping and ranting. Sometimes laughter is the best evidence of the hope within us. When I look in the mirror, I try to see the gift of years.

The word mirror brought back a memory from my forties. Some of you know the story. So skip ahead or come for a second helping. Choose while you can. (Think jello or pudding, Sweetie?)

It was a wintry school morning. I hauled myself out of bed to make oatmeal. Heading to the kitchen, I passed a full length mirror in the hallway. Shouldn’t have, but looked. I saw a woman in a flannel nightgown. Her hair stuck out like she’d been electrocuted but survived. The gown and she looked slightly dis-eased. A moment of utter despair when I recognized her. About then, Jud came out of the bedroom. He wrapped his arms around me and smiled that grin that got him in and out of trouble more than once. As he looked over my head into the same mirror, Jud whispered, “Don’t believe everything you see.”

I had to laugh. Then told him that was one of the best gifts he’s even given me. Still is.

And speaking of not believing everything you see, I think more folks would inch closer to considering Christianity if they heard us bent over in laughter more than bent in prayer on a football field. But that’s a topic for another day.

So, to end with a smile. The sign read: “”If you could be skinny for life or never eat another taco, would you choose soft or hard shell?”


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  • Reply David Smith July 18, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    So, is Christianity a hard sell or a soft sell?

    Ohh, “shell”… Well, does that even change the question?

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 18, 2022 at 6:05 pm

      Ahh, bright and dear David, you know to consider both sells and shells, as well as to value good questions.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 18, 2022 at 7:55 pm

      ON further thought, as far as Christianity goes, I’d opt for NO selling…but BEing and DOing. You know, the hard stuff like, “This is how they’ll know you ‘re one of my followers by how you love each other.” As for taco shells, I’m happy with either.

  • Reply Sue Andringa July 18, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    That comment from Jud is a treasure forever! My heart melted … and I love the picture you painted in my mind, Jan. This is my smile for the day!! ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 18, 2022 at 6:06 pm

      Well dear Sue, that was my prayer when I sent this off: to add a smile, a laugh or perspective on the gifts of aging.

  • Reply Laura July 18, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Soft taco it is. Love every word you write Jan C!!
    Xo Laura

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 18, 2022 at 9:15 pm

      And I love you, dear Laura. Forever one of my “Gordon girls.”

  • Reply Jeri Mahurin July 19, 2022 at 7:10 am

    Hahahaha! Made me laugh out loud early this morning reading this! The birthday card aisle is such a hoot. When I’m in search of a good one it can take me an hour to go through the selection in the store. “Your turn is over“ … that’s a new one. Jan, your writing is such a treat. I look forward to your musings. And I love the picture of tumbling out of bed and hearing Jud’s greeting to you. Precious words. Thanks for your sweet perspectives.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 19, 2022 at 11:39 am

      You’re welcome, dear Jeri. One of my friends and I love going card shopping. We hunt the funiest and share the laughs. Most of the time we leave with several, then end up sending them to each other. We’re old enough to hope the oiher one forgot we bought them together.

  • Reply Nancy Vecchio July 19, 2022 at 10:58 am

    Aww, Jud sounds so wonderful. Wish I could have met him. I love that!
    Sometimes I get up in the morning and think of how I would love to be thinner and have more hair, etc, and my Joe will great me with a good morning beautiful! You look like you lost weight,(which I hadn’t, lol)
    What a blessing our husbands lost their sight and still see the younger version!
    Btw: soft and hard sheep together!! So not to make a mess or miss anything in the taco..☺️

  • Reply Nancy vecchio July 19, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Shell not

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 19, 2022 at 11:44 am

      I knew what you meant, dear Nancy. It’s all those years i CBS Bible study together. Sheep we are! And your husband’s a wise man. You are beautiful. One of my friends gave me a card that suggested the Five Stages of Female Life: 1. to grow up 2. To fill out 3. To slim down 4. To hold it in and #5 To heck with it! (That’s the stage I’m happily enjoying.

  • Reply Evie Karlsson July 21, 2022 at 3:56 pm

    Jan, you continue to be SUCH a delight! I just read this latest piece to my daughter Jenny, since we both love you like crazy!

    Mamma went to Jesus a few weeks ago, a few minutes after I’d been reading aloud from your Mom’s book “Lena.” We laughed til we cried at some of the stories from the clinic. To think that Margaret and Inge are together in heaven with our Lord— brings me joy overload.

    Can’t wait to read more of the topics for another day!

    Love you, sis.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg July 23, 2022 at 5:30 pm

      oH, dear Evie, I’m so grateful Mama’s books brought so much joy to your and your sweet Mama. To think of them together makes me do more than smile. I praise God for his goodness in connecting us years ago and now our sweet Mamas. Tusen Takk.

  • Reply wendy August 22, 2022 at 10:27 am

    Hahahaha – I love picturing you telling this story – and hearing you chuckle and laugh as you do! What a treasure you are Jan, thank you for these delightful stories that made me laugh out loud. Love you so!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg August 23, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      Great! Nothing like something to make us laugh out loud. Too much crying and moaning these days…and with good reason. But it is also true “the JOY of the Lord is our strength.” Laugh awa, dear Wendy, or as Ralph Walso Emerson said, “Scatter JOY!”

      • Reply Wendy August 23, 2022 at 1:41 pm

        Yes!! <3

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