Notes from Jan


May 18, 2023

The title for this blog showed up in today’s Grace Notes by Philip Yancey. He wrote, “Rather than rushing from one task to the next, pause for a moment and recognize the time between times.” Time to consider the possibilities within a pause. For me, it contrasted with “he who hesitates is lost.”

For sure, the older I get, the easier it is to pause. It’s one of the advantages of waking up to a holy blank page and a slower pace. But it also makes me more aware of time, of moments.

Yesterday was the 17th of May. The Syttende Mai is somewhat like our 4th of July for Norwegians. It commemorates the day their constitution declared Norway as an independent nation, no longer ruled by Sweden. It’s a happy time with children parading, bands playing, flags waving, and folks celebrating life.

Well today, my GRANDson Luke, flies home from Norway where he spent part of his gap year. For him, it’s been time between times to provide space between endings and beginnings. A gap year can provide time to be not just do.

So, about the 17th of May. For several years, Mama flew to Seattle, Washington to participate in Syttende Mai festivities. Lots of Norwegians live out there and many loved Mama’s book, First We Have Coffee. And so, she was invited to sing in the choir. Most wore authentic Norwegian dress. Mama wore an outfit I found in Filene’s Basement that hinted at Norwegian folk dress, if gifted with a vivid imagination. But, as the author of a book about her Norwegian family, Mama got a pass on her outfit.

But once they began singing, Mama sang heartily in Norwegian from the songbook. However, when they started another song, Mama sang in Norwegian from memory. She proudly belted it out until someone in front turned around and glared, and the one beside gave her a sharp elbow and WHISPERED, “Shh, dis vun ve are singing in English!”

Knowing Mama, she laughed, took a deep breath, then continued in English. Which may suggest some of the value in laughter and deep breathing. Both produce sacred space in which to pause, slow down reactions and appreciate time between times.

So, here’s to savoring more of those sacred stops.

Time between times when we dare be still.

Just to pause.

And here’s to you, Lovable Luke.


This story has been viewed 73 times

0 Be the first to HEART this story


  • Reply Carole A Scott May 18, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    I LOVED your Mama’s book FIRST WE HAVE COFFEE. I read it many years ago and it is an all time favorite! I saw you and your mother speak up in New England long ago and treasured the teaching. I’m so glad I found your blog. I read it every time you post. Thank you so much for continuing to write. Love, Carole

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold May 18, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    I looked up this festival to see if Andrew knows about it!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 19, 2023 at 9:45 am

      Dear Alyssa Andrew must know about this Norwegian celebration. in Seattle and Ballard, Washington.. I read that the parade and festivities in Seattle come in 3rd after the ones in Oslo and Bergen, Norway. You’d love the food, the music, parades and more. Mama was invited to tell stories, joining the choir was an afterthought once she arrived and folks wanted to hang out with her. That is until she sang in Norwegian instead of English!!!!

  • Reply Jan Carlberg May 19, 2023 at 9:37 am

    That book is a favorite of many, dear Carole. Thanks so much for reading this blog and letting me know of our connection through Mama’s book and times we were together in New England. And thank you for your encouragement to continue writing. I love connecting in this way. May God bless the pauses in your day.

  • Share Your Thoughts

    WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :