Notes from Jan

Joy Shots

January 6, 2023

Welcome to the first week of this New Year. Christmas is history, for most. As Lily and I drove home from lunch in Larkspur, we noticed curbs laden with evergreen trees tossed beside bins for trash or recycling. Sorta sad. One day you’re the star attraction, festooned with lights, ornaments and packages billowing out from beneath your lowest branches. Next thing you know, you’re yesterday’s trash. Humbling.

Well, don’t read too much into this. Though I did say “you’re the star” instead of “it’s”, which leaves me wondering if something Freudian slipped in while I napped between sentences. However, I must admit the older I get, the more comfortable I am with cheering from the sidelines, warming a bench or rocker.

And speaking of cheering, I’m so ready for season three of All Creatures Great and Small. It returns on PBS this coming Sunday night. I love that series. A writer in Boston Globe called the show, “a vaccine against cynicism and despair.” Who doesn’t need one of those shots of joy?!

Which is how I’ve felt being out here for Christmas. I’m boosted with JOY. New Year’s Eve we partied with friends and family at the house. This year’s theme was “Glitter.” Last year’s was “Texture.” If you’ll recall, I came as JELLO in 2021. This time I dressed in black and wore a glittery pin that read JOY. Well, my Grands thought I looked like I was going to a funeral (mine, probably) so took charge. Before long they’d decorated me with post-it notes and stick-on sequins around my eyes. Well, I looked more like a walking bulletin board but they were pleased with their handiwork. And I loved them for trying to put the FUN back into funeral.

So, as promised, here are some photos of the Grands and their parents so you can put faces to tales I’ve told. And, as often, I’m grateful to my Grands, Lily and Basil for helping me attach the visuals. Actually, they did all the work. I cheered from the sidelines.

First, we have he Carlberg-Willis family plus the furry one, Tia in Luke’s arms.

Now, the Carlbergs: Chad, Kristina, Maggie Blue and Poco (Kate)

And here’s the Willis family: Matt and Heather, Basil, Luke, Lily and Tia

Add a glimpse of New Year’s Eve: All that glitters is not gold…sometimes it’s sticky notes.

Momo with her Grands: Luke (in Norway as I write, in a gap year), Basil 7th grade, Lily recent college grad, Maggie Blue, 9th grade and Poco Blossom, 6th grade.

The view from my Perch a few days before I left for Christmas in California where we’re experiencing atmospheric rivers. You’re looking at the Atlantic ocean and Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Ma.

And finally, remember my blog about Not Your Average JO? Well, this was what prompted it.

So to all, thank you for reading, responding and staying connected. So many times over this past year you’ve given me shots of JOY.

And as Karl Barth wrote: “JOY is the simplest form of gratitude.

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32 Comments

  • Reply Ann Menzie January 6, 2023 at 7:09 am

    Happy Healthy New Year to you and your family Ann

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 1:48 pm

      Thanks, dear Ann. And to you and your family JOY, the kind that helps one endure when life looses its sparkle.

  • Reply Stephen Macchia January 6, 2023 at 7:16 am

    Lots of joy here…thanks for brightening our days with your life-giving tales! Blessings and Joy to All!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 1:50 pm

      And to you, Ruthie and your family, as well, dear Steve. So proud of you and the team you’ve gathered and nurtured to tend weary, hungry souls. Mine, too, through your writing and who you are.

  • Reply Lynne Granz January 6, 2023 at 8:16 am

    What a beautiful family and photos. Happy New Year!
    Love, Lynne

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 1:56 pm

      Well, dear Lynne, we cleaned up pretty good. And it’s a little like some of those rides to church when you say and do stuff that
      warrants a bandage, an apology, or prayer(for sure), then manage to put on a “happy” face as you slide into the pew. We do love each other and our favorite gift is still spending time together. Love, like youth and aging, isn’t for sissies. Just ask God.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe January 6, 2023 at 8:43 am

    Jan, I loved getting to see your family photos as well as a view from the famous (in my eyes) perch. I don’t know how or when, but sometime when I return to New England I’d love to visit you and share a cuppa tea from your perch and exchange tales of the Old Country. We are most likely returning next winter/spring. As for your grandson Luke, how wonderful that he is spending his gap year there! They will mistake him for a native Norsk for sure. Thanks for the shot of joy this morning!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      Let me know, dear Maggie, when you’re coming to New England. I’d love to spend time with you and make Norwegian pancakes for you!
      For sure, Luke blends in with the natives. We may try to fly over to meet him in late May/early June when he finishes.

  • Reply Myrna Bayer January 6, 2023 at 9:41 am

    Happy New Year, Jan! It’s always a good day when I open my email and find your words of wisdom with a touch of joy and levity. It was especially nice this time to get the bonus of seeing family pictures. You are blessed… and so are they!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, dear Myrna. Yes, I do feel blessed and so grateful. Kids and Grands grow up fast and life changes so each time we’re ALL together I recognize the gift it is. I’m sure Jud’s enjoying these shots of JOY somehow. Maybe he and other family (saints above) gathered on heaven’s porch and laughed at all our attempts to show up, clean up and line up for photos. Fun to imagine heaven where JOY never ceases.

  • Reply Linda Moore January 6, 2023 at 10:08 am

    I loved seeing all your family pictures! Joy is certainly a good theme for this post! Soak in all you can!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks, dear Linda. I’m soaking away. So is the earth with all the torrential rains. A gift to this part of our country, for sure. Sending hugs to you and your family. And speaking of JOY, thank you for your years of encouraging women in ministry. You make a difference.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold January 6, 2023 at 10:53 am

    Jan it’s great to see your face and your happy, blossoming family. And the shot of Gloucester warms my heart!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 2:36 pm

      And I love seeing your name pop up, dear Alyssa. While we’re getting rivers of rain, I suspect your’re getting snow in Utah. Tons of it! Gloucester is a fascinating, fishy place. Whenever I cross the bridge from mainland to Gloucester, I take a deep breath. Sometimes, I open the windows. Fishy air means I’m almost home. Must be the Norwegian genes in me! However, I’m not a fan of lutefisk. JOY to you and Andrew.

  • Reply Karen Langlais January 6, 2023 at 11:17 am

    Jan I am always blessed by your messages, and often forward them to others. Loved the family photos. I think you sparkle even without any decorations, and the Grands feel that way too. Blessings all around.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 2:42 pm

      Well, for sure, the youngest Grands liked decorating me, dear Karen. While one look tells you I’m old, those Grands add life to my years and so much JOY. Laughter is good medicine and they keep me up to date on holy health prescription RX: Love and Laugh daily.

  • Reply Sue Andringa January 6, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    I love this post and all of your pictures, Jan! Happy new year to you, a very dear and special friend!
    Much love, Sue ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      And to you and Bob, dear Sue. Hope you’re getting rain in Arizona, like we are in California. Wild! As you can imagine, I miss seeing Jud in these family photos. But I suspect he’s enjoying a panoramic view from heaven’s porch, along with great grandparents and so many other saints above. I think of them when we sing the carol,”O Come All Ye Faithful.” Especially when it gets to the line,”Sing all ye citizens of Heaven above.” And then when saints above and below join to sing,”O Come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.” Amen!!

  • Reply Carolyn Sylvester January 6, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    Jan,
    I LOVED seeing pictutres of all your grands and your 2 kids and spouses. Thanks for sharing about them. Also, the view from your deck/porch is awesome! Happy 2023.
    Blessings, Carolyn

    • Reply Carolyn Sylvester January 6, 2023 at 3:03 pm

      Haste makes waste. I typed in my website address incorrectly in my comment. It is correct here.

      • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 3:51 pm

        Well, in this case, haste gave me a second chance to see your name, dear Carolyn. The view is awesome and I never get used to is, as in ho-hum. It’s amazing at any season of the year, in calm or storm. And seeing your name takes me back to JOY Bible Study and years we spent together at Grace Chapel, for which I’m so grateful.

  • Reply patrick McCary January 6, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Jan, One of my favorite quotes, “The business of Heaven is Joy.” CS Lewis. Thanks giving us a vision of joy with your wonderful families.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 4:51 pm

      Love that quote, dear Pat!! But I love you, Diane and your family more! Are you snowed in up in your Colorado cabin? It gives me JOY to think back on our years of friendship, especially those years at Michigan State University. So thankful for you and all we learned about each other and those we tried to figure out during those early years of fascination with the Myers-Briggs type indicator. Sending JOY to you, Diane and your family. Love always, from your INFP friend, Jan

  • Reply dale January 6, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    Your thoughts always provoke some in me but I will restrain myself as this is your joy moment. A beautiful family and one worthy of many moments of joy and associated gratitude.

    Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 11:55 pm

      I’m hoping when I return and open up mail that’s been held for the better part of a month, I’ll find your Christmas card, letter and photo. I always look forward to catching up one way or another. You’ve been one of the JOY shots throughout this past year and for many years before through our friendship. We go way back from your Aunt Kitty working with Jud’s Dad, to Wheaton years together, then MSU when the four of us formed a friendship that’s remained strong and faithful. Thanks, dear Dale and Marty.

  • Reply Niff Williamson Dickinson January 6, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    Happy New Year to you and the family! Love to you all!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 6, 2023 at 11:58 pm

      WooHoo to and for you, dear Niffy. Thanks for checking in all the way from North Carolina. I passed on your greetings and love to Heather and family. I’ll repeat it for Chad after I return home, since his family’s already back in Ipswich. Love to you, your family and an extra hug to your wonderful Mama.

  • Reply Shirley Westrate January 7, 2023 at 11:35 pm

    I join this earthly chorus, Jan, in sending love to you and yours. I am so grateful for the comfort and joy your blogs bring every time. Christopher and Jen join me in sending our best wishes for a joy-full 2023!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 8, 2023 at 10:29 pm

      Thanks, dear Shirley. Well, I’m all for “comfort and joy” so that makes me smile if this blog gives you some of each. And, as always, I send hugs to Christopher and Jen, two of “my Gordon kids.” Hope we can get together in the New Year.

  • Reply Wendy January 8, 2023 at 9:43 pm

    Oh my goodness! What fabulous pictures! So thankful Lily and basil “helped” you attach them to your blog! I had to call Steve in to look at them with me, we both love them all so much. What a beautiful, beautiful family inside and out. Thank you for bringing JOY to us, both through these pictures, and as always, through your writing. Love you!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 8, 2023 at 10:34 pm

      And i love you and Steve, dear Wendy. One of my JOY shots this past year was having some time with you, Steve and G’Wendy of Flag fame. Swiftly fly the years so, as always, moments matter. Thanks for making that moment happen. Tomorrow all my held mail gets dropped off. I’m excited to see Christmas cards, letters and photos. All gifts that keep on giving.

  • Reply Wendy January 9, 2023 at 6:29 am

    That was such a treat to have that time together. So thankful. Enjoy your Christmas cards, photos and letters – more JOY.

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