Notes from Jan

On Pardoning Turkeys

November 22, 2023

Saw in the newspaper that President Biden pardoned two turkeys. Liberty and Bell received a repreive. Sorta like an early Christmas present. Although I wouldn’t crow prematurely, Pardoned Twosome. Not everyone prefers a Christmas goose.

Apparently, according to a recent post(11/20/23) by Garrison Keillor, ” Minnesotans produce a billion turkeys a year so that America can feel gratitude.” He added, ” Minnesotans who might’ve written novels and won National Book Awards and appeared on talk shows instead spent their summer and fall supervising herds of brainless birds with giant bazooms. Imagine coming to New York and some slicker asks, ‘What do you do? ‘ and you being honest say, ‘I raise turkeys.’ “


Well, by now some of you have gone off to buy your turkey or decided you’re reading the post of one. Either’s justified. However, I’m starting to feel sorry for all the turkeys who’ll lose their heads so we can feast “thankfully.” Or fight over the wishbone or with each other.

But then, along with flyers from grocery stores offering the best prices for turkeys, come ads for Black Friday and savings on stuff most of us don’t need. Which causes me to wonder what I’m apt to lose my head over? Hard to keep my head on straight, to resist targeted marketing. Like an ad that popped up today with a mini-skirt bearing this seasonal caption, “Even the tree gets a skirt.”


Speaking of needs and wishes, November 20th, marked nine years since Jud’s dash on earth ended. It still feels unnatural without him. But while grieving’s lessened, there’s a place that only he fills. Which is good, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Tis the season to remember what we already have, what we really need and what truly matters. It’s each other more than stuff.

So, as we gather around tables tomorrow, maybe it’s long past time we offer pardon to more than turkeys. No matter if we live as long as Rosalynn Carter (age 96), it’s still such a small dash between our date of birth and death. Too short to miss moments of doing more than saying grace. Time to be Grace.


And so I thank you for reading and being Grace to me over the years on Caring Bridge and now in this blog post. So tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day 2023, may you be so full from recounting blessings, you can hardly swallow another bite of pumpkin pie, unless it comes with a dab more whipped cream.


P.S. Bill and Randy Petersen in their One Year Book of Psalms(Tyndale House,1999) tell a story behind a familiar hymn, based on Psalm 145:14-21:

Now Thank We All Our God.

It was written during the Thirty Years’ War in Germany “when Germany’s population was decimated, falling from 16 million to 6 million.” Martin Rinckart, a pastor, arrived in Eilenberg, Germany as the war began in 1618. “Because it was a walled city, refugees came from all over the country seeking refuge. Many brought diseases. When the plague of 1637 ravaged the town, Rinckart, was the only minister left in Eilenberg. During that year, he conducted more than 5,000 funerals, including his wife’s.” Yet, like many of the Psalmists, Rinckart amidst deep sorrow composed a song of Thanksgiving.

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things hath done, in whom his world rejoices,

Who, from our mother’s arms, hath blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.”

Thank you, Pastor Rinckart, for the reminder that Now is the time to sing or say thanks to God and each other.

And so because trust goes beyond what’s seen and felt sometimes, I say to God, family, friends and this life what I often heard my Norwegian grandmother (Bestemor) say,

“Tak fra alt.”

Thanks for everything.

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  • Reply dale November 22, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    It might not be a principle or, at least, one I want to honor, but the sufferings God brings to or allows in our lives often are the foundation for the praise and gratitude we need to express. Jud was a loved friend and I miss him too, but I remember his wisdom and try to express at least some of it in my life. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 22, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      Oh thanks, very dear Dale. You were to Jud and still are to me, a loved friend. Looking back I see how suffering can turn us away or towards God. For me and Jud, like you, it turned us towards God. So I give thanks for the blessings that sometimes come disguised in suffering. And I remain so thankful for you and Marty.

  • Reply Eric Wilder November 22, 2023 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you Jan. I so enjoy your blog.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 22, 2023 at 1:49 pm

      Well, what a nice surprise, to see your name crop up, dear Eric. Thanks for reading and responding to the blog. I love hearing from former Gordon colleagues. Welcome back to the North Shore to you and Eileen. i’m sure June’s happy you’re closer. May God bless you iin your new place of ministry.

  • Reply Pat Sheridan November 22, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    Many thanks to you, Jan, for your kind words and thoughts, and of your prayers for all of us.
    Blessings tomorrow and everyday.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 22, 2023 at 1:57 pm

      Well, perhaps you know some turkey growers in Minnesota, dear Pat. Always glad to see your name show up, my beloved nurse practitioner. Thank you for all your years of wise and thoughtful care for Jud, me and others at Family Medicine in Manchester. Perhaps you’re reading this in Minnesota, while being with family. Well, wherever you are, I wish you and your family a wonder-full Thanksgiving.

  • Reply Bill Hausman November 22, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Tak fra Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 22, 2023 at 5:36 pm

      Tak fra Bill and Rose,too! Good to hear from you always., dear Bill. And I wish you both a wonder-full Thanksgiving.

  • Reply Myrna Bayer November 22, 2023 at 5:13 pm

    It’s always a happy surprise seeing another one of your installments Jan! Keep sharing your words of wisdom…. Always food for thought! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family!

  • Reply Jan Carlberg November 22, 2023 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks, dear Myrna. And it does me good to hear from you, as well. May you be blessed with a sense of God’s goodness on Thanksgiving and during the season of Advent. Grace to and through you.

  • Reply Gordon Candy November 23, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Thank you for being you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 23, 2023 at 6:48 pm

      Same to you, dear Candy. Hope to see you Sunday at Grace Chapel for the 75th. Thanks for your welcoming and caring ways, dear Carndy. You’re an important part of the ministry of Grace Chapell.

  • Reply Maggie Wallem Rowe November 27, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Jan, I appreciate each of your posts, as you know. Glad to see above that you were going to be at GC yesterday. Adam was as well and I hope you were able to greet one another. Life has been very very challenging for them of late. I am thankful for you, Jan!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg November 27, 2023 at 1:22 pm

      I saw Adam and gave him a BIG hug but didn’t get a chance to talk to him. It was a wonderful celebrastion of 75 years of God’s faithfulness to and through Grace Chapel. It is well-named. Former staff and elders were on the platform. When Adam came forward some cheered. Didn’t happen for any of the rest of us. I think God knew he needed cheeering on. We all have our moments. God sees. God hears. God cares.

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