Notes from Jan

A Birthday Biscuit and So Much More

June 1, 2023

Never had a birthday biscuit before today and my birthday’s not until tomorrow. But that only added to the surprise when our Breakfast Club gathered around Martha and Dick Stout’s table this morning to feast on food and friendship.

We talked of books, church, science ( my turn to listen), Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, how we were raised and more. No litanies of aches and pains, pills and laments over what used to be. I was among the living and learning, so when asked what I wished for, I said, “This.” And by that I meant that I was still around to enjoy this beautiful first day of June with friends in a spectacular setting on the bend of the Ipswich river.

As I left, Martha handed me a gift and cards from Russ, Polly Ann, Ken and Alice. I’ll open them tomorrow. But for today it was gift enough on the eve of my 83rd birthday to enjoy the company of friends. And to talk of faith, doubts and puzzle over hard questions. Jud loved times like these. Me, too.

And speaking of Jud, yesterday would’ve been our 60th wedding anniversary, May 31,1963. Still there are some days when the hardest thing I have to do is get up and “faith” another day. But I take courage from Jud’s lack of desperation as he faced death. His trust in God and acceptance of whatever is beyond this life as we know it, still quiets me in anxious times.

So on this day, sandwiched between our anniversary and my birthday, I’m grateful for Jud’s life well-lived and mine still going on. I’m grateful for a candle-lit birthday biscuit and enough breath to extinguish the flame.

However, unlike Jud, I do get desperate now and then. But it’s usually over small stuff. Like last week when I bought a new deodorant. It reeks, like insect repellent. The good news is I’m bug free. Which is nothing to sniff at, since it’s almost greenhead horsefly season.

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  • Reply Niffy Dickinson June 1, 2023 at 8:28 pm

    Wishing you a very Happy Birthday! Hope you have many more birthday biscuits to come!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:22 am

      Thanks, very dear Niffy. I love hearing from you. We hope to be in North Carolina this summer. Gotta get my Carolina “fix” with my southern family, Carolina pulled pork, friend okra and sweet tea. Thanks for checking in. Hugs to your mama, JP and your family.

  • Reply shelly moran June 1, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    Happy Birthday dear Jan…. Nothing to sniff at? Get the skin so soft ready. Perhaps it will work with your deoderant to keep those nasty critters away…. I have no idea why God created them. Do YOU?

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:25 am

      Great idea, Shelly. First I’ll see how my new deodorant works. If it fails, I’ll head for the Skin So Soft brand. For sure, it will smell better. As for why God created those biting horseflies, I have no clue. But then, I’ve thought that about more than some insects. Perhaps some have thought that about ME!! Thanks, too, for your leadership in CBS this year. Loved our group.

  • Reply Wendy June 1, 2023 at 10:20 pm

    Wow. 60th? Somehow extra sad that Jud’s not (physically) here to celebrate with you. Huge ehug my friend. And Happy Birthday! So very thankful you were born, and that God brought us together so many years ago. Love you!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:32 am

      And I’m so thankful for the years that Jud and I had together here on this earth. Gratitude is my go-to RX to fight the downside of life than can overwhelm the good. And you and Steve continue be good medicine for me.

      • Reply Wendy June 8, 2023 at 8:57 pm

        A grateful heart is amazingly powerful in fighting hard times! And you’re good medicine for us dear Jan. ❤️

  • Reply Sue Andringa June 1, 2023 at 11:40 pm

    Happiest of birthdays, dear Jan! We will be celebrating you and our dear brother Dale as he celebrates his 80th tomorrow, recovering from a serious pickle ball accident. Each day is a gift and you, dear Jan, are a precious treasure! We send our love to you and hope you enjoy your special day!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:35 am

      My dear brother Dale is in my prayers. So happy to learn he’s on the upswing. That intrepid spirit will serve him well. And you, Bob and all his friends and family are healers, as well. Thank you for your friendship and for this special birthday greeting. My GRAND Lily has been with me, so tucked away reading and responding to this blog and other matters.

  • Reply Julie Mozena June 2, 2023 at 12:21 am

    Happy Birthday Jan!! So glad you got to start a day early – I have a friend whose tradition is to celebrate her “birthday fortnight.” An idea for next year perhaps? 🙂 I wish Jud was here to celebrate you and your 60 years of marriage. I know he lives on in everyone’s hearts and minds. Enjoy your day! xo

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:39 am

      It’s been great having Lily here. And it’s always a gift to hear from you, very dear Julie. I can hardly wait for our next breakfast date, with or without a candle-lit biscuit. Comfort’s pecan laden muffins await, along with crispy bacon and your insights and laughter. Bring it!

  • Reply Jeri June 2, 2023 at 4:53 pm

    Oh happy day, Jan! Wishing you a very blessed day and fruitful year. So enjoy reading your thoughtful wisdom and heartfelt stories. Keep them coming!
    Love, Jeri

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:47 am

      Wow! That’s an endorsement, dear Jeri. . Thanks for that and your good wishes. I’m loving the age I am, this Perch from which I write, and the people who bless and enlarge my view on life and God. Mercy and Grace all over the place. You and Ron are part of my long list of Gordon folks for which I thank Jesus.

  • Reply Evelyn Morgan June 2, 2023 at 5:49 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, dear Jan. I look forward to your blogs.So happy you are still able to travel and enjoy those grandkids. Sounds like Poco is fun to be with. Wishing you a special day and great year ahead. Old roomie.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:53 am

      Woohoo! I love seeing your name pop-up, dear roommate from our days at Wheaton College. Thanks for your good wishes. And yes, Poco, is fun. I’m picking her up after school today to” help” her practice her cello when she’d rather do a lot of other things, like stick sparkly sequins on her Dad’s face while he slept.

  • Reply Toni Lovingood June 3, 2023 at 7:35 am

    Happiest of birthdays to you and joy remembering your lifetime of anniversaries with Jud. I spent an hour yesterday evening watching the deer feed at dusk and enjoying the hummingbirds at the feeder. I saw a mud turtle from the pond and just thank God for these little moments of quiet peace in His creation.
    It was disturbed when a gnat bit me. I may need some of your deodorant!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:55 am

      Hah! Trust me my deodorant would send the deer, hummingbirds and mud turtle holding their noses(if possible) and heading for the hills. Thanks for your happy wishes, dear Toni. 83 is a good age to be. Fear not!

  • Reply Nancy June 3, 2023 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Jan!
    My dear friend! I’d say happy belated birthday but from your blog it was more then happy! I’m so glad
    You bring such joy and refreshment that makes me smile ear yo ear!!
    I miss seeing you! Time to get together again!
    I’ll privately message you as to when the best time would be for you to do so.
    Love love love you!!!
    ❤️ Nancy Vecchio

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 8, 2023 at 11:57 am

      And I loved getting to see you at CBS leadership retreat. Thanks for keeping in touch. So I’ll look forward to getting together in the near future. Meanwhile, thanks for your encouragement and love.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold June 16, 2023 at 10:05 am

    Happy Birthday Jan! And Jud is well remembered. <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 17, 2023 at 9:39 am

      Both your wish for a happy birthday and your observation about Jud are gifts for which I’m grateful. Jud loved fishing and enjoyed time spent with Andrew trolling for “the big one.” A Swede and a Norwegian in the same boat had to make for some fun. Please say hi to Andrew for me. Hope you’re both thriving in Utah.

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