Notes from Jan

Appreciation Along With Anticipation

December 29, 2023

The Christmas tree and seasonal decorations spread light and color over this rainy day in San Anselmo, California. No more presents under the tree. Still, gifts keep coming, ongoing reminders that the HEART of Christmas remains. Like yesterday, when Lily took me for Christmas Tea at the Crown and Crumpet Cafe. One of Lily’s gifts, besides time with her.

Who me, like tea?

Lily and Momo: Christmas Cracker Royalty for a moment.

It’s been good to be here with the Willis family. As Luke said Christmas morning, with a ribbon wrapped around his head, “I’m your gift.” And he is. And so are Basil, Lily, Heather and Matt. My favorite present is still time together.

Gift wrapped Luke and Antlered Basil.

As tomorrow’s return flight nears, I’m experiencing a mild form of separation anxiety. I want to cling to this family, these sacred times. But then I realize that to clutch what has been is to close off what can be.

Besides, soon this family will disperse. Lily returns to Ireland to complete her master’s degree. Luke’s off to UC Santa Cruz. Basil returns to 8th grade, while Matt and Heather continue working in public and private healthcare. Which means, in a matter of days, I’d be alone with two dogs: old faithful, Tia, and new puppy, Teddy.

Heather and Matt hiking in Utah

So, it’s time to pack up. Besides, I have family, friends and good neighbors back east who I love. Then, add to that the lure of purpose, responsibilities and my church family.

Well, by now you’re aware I’m preaching to myself. Trying to gear up for another transition. Sometimes writing’s like going to a gym, but for a mental and emotional workout. Reflection matters and a New Year is just what I need. It comes gift wrapped in HOPE.

However, since we’re straddling the old and New Year, there’s still time to appreciate what was and to anticipate fresh starts and second chances. The Bible reminds us that the best is yet to come. Still, I don’t want to miss today, nor get stressed about the future. Worry’s a waste of time.

And so, upon reflection, I thank God for you readers, my family, neighbors and forever friends. We need each other, for comfort, perspective, and encouragement. It’s a holy calling to help each other make it Home. Because life is both wonderful and hard. Which is why I pray for you when I write and at other times. And why I’m fond of these words by Anne Lamott.

“And as it turns out, if one person is praying fo you, buckle up. Things can happen.”

For sure, I’ve lived long enough to know prayer matters. So as we appreciate what was and anticipate what’s to come, I wonder what difference any of these challenges offer us in the coming year?

Fear not.

Trust God.

Pray anyhow.

“Buckle up”!


For sure, “Things can happen.”

Can I hear an amen?

This story has been viewed 66 times

0 Be the first to HEART this story


  • Reply Nancy Vecchio December 29, 2023 at 6:33 am


  • Reply Nancy Vecchio December 29, 2023 at 6:44 am

    See! this is why people, like myself, are drawn to you, Jan. You are so human and yet so Godly. Attached to loved ones yet more so to God.
    Walking in the spirit because, let’s face it, is there any other delightful way to walk? Good times and difficult ones we best to be walking with Jesus who lights the way.
    I may not have the pleasure of your presence often, but the times I have, they never go away. You made a Godly mark in my heart with your laughter, His wisdom, and pure joy because His light shines so bright in you!
    I love your stories and I love you!!
    ❤️ Nancy Vecchio

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks dear Nancy. I miss seeing you weekly at CBS. But I’m grateful for the years you co-led the group I was privileged to be part of.May this New Year be one where you sense even more the goodness of God in your life. And then may it spill over to bless others, as well. Thanks for your encouragement. I love telling or reading stories, too.

  • Reply Judy Pierce December 29, 2023 at 9:15 am

    Amen! Love this!❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:18 pm

      Happy New Year, dear Judy. It was good to reconnect with you at Grace Chaspel’s 75th birthday celebration. Thank you for your encouragement by reading and responding to this blog.

      • Reply Judy Pierce January 4, 2024 at 7:12 pm

        Happy New Year Jan! Yes it was so great to reconnect at GC 75th! I look forward to your posts and can so relate to the beautiful way you weave our humanity and God’s grace!

        • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 10:00 pm

          Well, for sure, dear Judy,that’s God’s grace at work and I’m grateful to be part of the process when that happens. I think it was Mother Teresa who said she was “a pencil in God’s hand.” I don’t know for sure what I am, but I sure don’y want to be an eraser!

          • Judy Pierce January 5, 2024 at 10:21 am


  • Reply Donna Poynton December 29, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Amen and Amen!! Thank you for your words of wisdom, and thoughts of holding on, letting go, and looking with our Hope whose name is Jesus ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:20 pm

      Well, thanks for the good summary, dear Donna, and for taking the time to read and respond. Blessings on your New Year. Stay hopefull.

  • Reply Carolyn December 29, 2023 at 11:26 am


    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:25 pm

      Always to happy to have these connections with you, dear Carolyn, back to JOY Bible study many years ago at Grace Chapel. You give my heart a boost of encouragement when I see your name show up. Thanks for adding your AMEN!

  • Reply Linda December 29, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Amen, dear Jan!!! Such a wonderful promise of God’s greatness in Anne Lamott’s words.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:28 pm

      And you, dear Linda, link me with the years you and your siste, Margie ,so faithfully supported the women’s prayer group at Gordon College. God only knows what those prayers accomplished. For sure it reminded us that the work was too much for any of us to do apart from God’s help and guidance. May God bless you and the important work you do with your hands and heart this year.

  • Reply Candy Gordon December 29, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    I look forward to your posts! Not coming from a close family- this time of year I try to think positive thoughts through great friends – it can change your perspective . I am so glad I can call you a friend- one of these days we will meet up at the Seaport Grill! – my treat!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:31 pm

      Sounds like a good plan, dear Candy. And I look forward to hearing from you when I send a post. But I especially love seeing you, getting a hug whenever I head down 128 for what I call my Grace Chapel fix, now and then. May God bless and strengthen you in thie New Year for the good work you do, some visitble, most not.

  • Reply Cheryl December 29, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    You are such an amazing gift to your readers. Thank you for sharing what I am always feeling.
    Blessings for 2024.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:34 pm

      Wow! That’s a dose of encouragement. Thanks, dear Cheryl. And I’m asking God to bless you in 2024 and to be a blessing in ways that may suprise you but be just what someone else needs to know God loves them.

  • Reply Wendy December 30, 2023 at 12:17 pm

    Ditto to all the above, especially what Nancy said! So glad you made more wonderful memories with your precious family! And so glad you have wonderful family and friends to return home to. And SO GLAD you posted pictures!! (I did see the addendum with added pics, can’t wait for more) Love you!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:37 pm

      Well, my Ipswich family is harder to capture but I’ll try to get photos soon. Meanwhile, I’m happy to have had the help of my grandson Luke to get these photos connected to the blog. It’s good to be home and to be able to “faith” this New Year. May God continue to bless the good work you and Steve do with your hands and hearts.

  • Reply Shirley Dubeau December 30, 2023 at 7:27 pm


    • Reply Jan Carlberg January 4, 2024 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks, dear Shirley. It’s always good to hear from former Gordon colleagues. Wherever you are in this world may God bless you and your family in this New Year. I know you’ll bless others, as you did Gordon College, when you served here.

    Share Your Thoughts

    WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :