Notes from Jan

Nuggets from a Nursery Rhyme

February 17, 2023

To be sure, a nursery rhyme never opened a sermon or talk I’ve given. But, Father Patrick did so last Sunday. And that illustration continues to set me up for daily eye exams, which leads me to another blog on The Church. So, stop reading now if you’re into something like comic relief.

So here’s the opener:

“Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

I’ve been to London, to see the great Queen.

Pussycat, pussycat, what saw you there?

I saw a wee mouse under her chair.”

Well, I’ve gotta say, that’s a long way to go to end up doing business as usual, so to speak.

So, here’s my leap from a nursery rhyme to The Church. Like I wrote last week Church-R-Us. And alas, I think we get off track wiNOT DOWNth each other, distracted by the mice and miss the One we set out to see. You see, the older I get, and I’m old, I picture The Church with a gazillion Sunday school classrooms inside. We did the dividing, not God. But that’s another blog which I don’t intend to do. You know we have classrooms marked: Methodist, Baptist, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Covenant, Congregational, Episcopal, Non-Denominational, Anglican, Catholic, Interdenominational, Pentecostal Holiness and more.

But the point it, they’re classrooms, where we’re to learn and grow in love for God and for each other. Those old flannel graph boards, now videos, are to help us see better. To LOOK UP, and inside, NOT DOWN. I get why Jesus loved children and encouraged us to be childlike. How so? To be teachable, curious, adventuresome, playful, quick to forgive, to say “I’m sorry” and trusting.

Mice are everywhere, not just in The Church. We get distracted by them as they represent the little stuff in life that shifts our focus from up to down. To what’s immediate, pressing and what we want over what’s often most needed for REAL LIFE. They’re the squeaky hinges that get the oil of our time, strength and too often, our hearts to the loss of quiet but needier ones or issues around us.

Well, suddenly I’m recalling something my son, once texted me, “Mom, can you imagine a time when you say nothing?” Hmm. Still imagining.

Which is why I need The Church, Sunday School and YOU to help me LOOK UP NOT DOWN. To know when to speak and when to keep quiet. But above all to love God and each other. And speaking of love, we had a family Valentine dinner Monday. For Poco’s benefit I read a few quotes from kids on love.

“Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.”( Carey, age 7)

“I’m not rushing into being in love.I’m finding fourth grade hard enough.” (Regina age 10)

And “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long. “(Glenn, age 7)

Well, dear hearts, I don’t want to spend whatever time I have left focused on mice. I want to see “the Queen.” To LOOK UP NOT DOWN and see Jesus, to share Jesus with others. To be childlike, curious, teachable, adventuresome, trusting, quick to forgive and say “I’m sorry.”

Maybe I need a tatto that reads: Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ” (I Corinthians 13: 7, NLT) I’ve got enough space for a tat.


Still imagining.

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  • Reply Russell K Bishop February 17, 2023 at 11:48 am

    Great. I’m all for the tattoo.!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 17, 2023 at 11:56 am

      Which I misspelled and caught AFTER I posted. Oh, well, it shows I dabbled in unfamiliar territory. Always good to hear from you, dear Russ. Looking forward to seeing you and the Bible study group here tomorrow for brunch .

  • Reply Jan Carlberg February 17, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    Something weird is going on…only part of the blog is showing up here> doesn’t include most of the post, including the Tattoo part…so I know the whole blog floats out there somewhere. HELP! Maybe mice ate some of it.

  • Reply David Smith February 17, 2023 at 12:30 pm

    I think I’d rather be tattered and torn, (milking the cow with the crumpled horn…)
    .than to be tatted.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 17, 2023 at 5:54 pm

      Well, dear David, you’re a very good wordSMITH. As for the tattoo, not gonna happen. I’m too good at imagining and didn’t like the look. Meanwhile, keep looking UP.

  • Reply Krisie Brown February 17, 2023 at 12:31 pm

    This is a great way to look at it. I just read today in God Calling (the original edited by AJ Russell, the 2 listening women wanting to remain anonymous) “Do not expect a perfect church, but find in a church, the means of coming very near to Me. That alone matters, then the much, that is husk, falls away. Hold it of no account. Grasp the truth and find Me – the true Bread of Life. The lesson of the grain is the lesson of My Church and Me. The real life is all that matters, the outward Church is the husk; but the husk was necessary to present the lfie-grain to man.”

  • Reply Jan Carlberg February 17, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    Welcome. I don’t recognize your name. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and respond, dear Krisie. We have much to learn about being The Church, a living organism not an organization.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe February 21, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    Jan, this post spoke to me deeply, No, I couldn’t figure out how that nursery rhyme could lead to a deeper application, until it hit me that I, too, spend way too much time gazing down at the “mice” rather than up at the King! (“Mouse” was also my childhood nickname – I wish I had asked my dad why he named me thus. Little and pesky, I think. )

    • Reply Jan Carlberg February 23, 2023 at 5:44 pm

      Yes, dear Maggie, I fear most of us spend more time looking down than up. But every day offers opportunities to choose again and to remember why we’re here. As to your childhood nickname, I can only imagine and smile. The love between a father and daughter is one of great joy and wonder.

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