Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What I Learned in June


The month of June was full of fun surprises, family time and not as much "June gloom" weather as we usually have here in the Northwest. Here are eight things I learned in June:

1. Tow isn't just how all the boat owners in my town get their boats to the water. Tow also refers to flax or hemp fibers. The term Towhead was explained to me by an elderly gentleman I passed while walking baby Brooke, my boss's daughter, to the post office. The term towhead means a child or adult with very light (almost white) blond hair. My oldest son was a towhead as a little boy; now he's 28 and hardly has any hair. (I thought my boys wouldn't lose their hair since my daddy had a LOT of hair. What's up with the saying that the hair gene comes from the mother?! False information, apparently...)

2. Sometimes it's smarter and cheaper to rent a home for a few days in L.A. instead of staying at a hotel. I learned this fact from my boss who went on a "buying trip" a couple weeks ago. She got to stay in a swanky place in Beverly Hills and guess who was her neighbor? Jessica Alba. I totally think we need to connect the Honest Company with Charlie Barnes Kids

3. Family Reunions are worth the time and money to attend. For the 3rd time in 20 years my husband's side of the family gathered at a lake in Minnesota. Most of the extended family could come. The Omaha clan drove, we flew and rented a car. We ate too much, fished, played games, and the cousins got reacquainted. Mid-week my oldest son arrived with quite a surprise; he had bought a ticket for his Nashville sister who claimed she couldn't get off work! Mamas love it when all their kids are together under one roof! I have lots of fun memories, but my top two are: falling asleep listening to my four kids laughing in the next room and going canoeing with my hubby. 
(All the kids with Grandpa.)

4. I was told not to give up my "day job" to become a singer. What?! First of all my day job is just part-time and secondly I thought I did a fabulous job singing Karaoke! OK, maybe I was just having fun and I got caught up in the moment. Our family had a blast singing together at our reunion. SO much fun in fact that we did it for hours using You Tube. I need to make a list of my go-to song titles for the next time I get a chance to take the microphone. Watching my hubby and kids singing and dancing away and the talent of my Nashville daughter also needs to be added to my list of favorite memories.

5. I was reminded for the 3rd time in my flying life that First Class is way more fun. On our way back from the family reunion trip to Minnesota, my hubby surprised the two youngest kids and I with an upgrade to First Class. We enjoyed the free cocktails, inflight entertainment players, plus a yummy ravioli dinner. I finally watched the movie Life As We Know It. So good! If only every seat on every plane was First Class...

6. "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord is Lord of them..." Those song lyrics are true. Back in the mid-1990's were were in a small group in Illinois. One of the couples now lives in Minnesota and invited us to lunch on our way to the airport. Thank you McLains! It was so fun to catch up over delicious chicken and see how the Lord is working in our family's lives. We also spent an hour at the Mall of America. It's SO big! I did find a cute purse on sale at Fossil which made trek from the parking lot totally worth it.


7. Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington is quite an event and my oldest son never gives up. Have you heard of Hoopfest? It's the largest 3 on 3 tournament of it's kind in the United States. People from all over the country converge on Spokane where streets and parking lots become courts and players of all ages and abilities play for two days. Both the boys needed their ankles wrapped and the oldest repeatedly sprained his ankle. Despite the pain, he wouldn't give up. (He also didn't want his Dad, who was the sub, to play too much and get hurt.) Their Jambox team lost by one point in the finals and I was so proud of their effort! We also cheered on our daughter-in-law's team. The weather was glorious ~I wonder if the event must be cancelled if it rains?

 Here are some tips if you go next June: take chairs, a Kindle or book for in-between games, a cooler with lots of waters and Gatorades, and fun people to hang out with. I got to hang with my daughter-in-law's family and my son's girlfriend. If you love basketball it's the place to be.



8. Wardrobe malfunctions happen on the porch. If a neighbor shows up at your open front door with your dog (Miss Sydney ran away without my knowledge) it is totally appropriate to answer the door in your p.j. pants and sports bra.  I was hot and almost ready for bed and totally into my new favorite show, HGTV's Fixer-Upper, when the doorbell rang. Opps, but thankful.

I am linking up with Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky. What did you learn in June?

In His Grip, Jane

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

She Stopped to Help, Would You?


I need to brag. I have very kind and compassionate children and I have much to learn from them. About a month ago my youngest and I were close to home, half-way across our island when she yelled, "STOP!" I slammed on the brakes and saw what had caught her eye. My daughter had spotted a fawn laying by the side of the road, injured.

Our little island is about five miles long and we often wonder why it hasn’t been re-named “Deer Island” since the population of deer continues to grow. I put the emergency blinkers on and we crossed the road to see what was going on with the little deer. It obviously had been hit by a passing car and left to die. Her eyes were open and she was still alive but was very hurt. We assumed she had internal injuries since was bleeding out of her mouth. She didn't make a sound, couldn't swallow water or move except for an occasional kick. 

By this time my tender-hearted girl was spilling tears. We were tired and a bit emotional after being on a  wonderful church retreat weekend up in Port Townsend where our theme was “restoration." This violent scene was not was we were expecting so close to home.

We were trying to decide what to do when finally a car stopped. A sweet Mom called 911 and we were told help would be on the way in a bit. Car after car drove by. A few slowed down to stare but most sped by. Shouldn't they have been even the least bit curious why we were petting a deer? Only one more car stopped to inquire if we needed assistance. A man cutting weeds nearby finally walked over. Apparently he sees deer get hit often because he showed zero emotion and asked us to leave because he didn’t want us to get hit by a car on his property.

We wondered how so many other people could drive by without helping. Not to mention where was the person who actually hit the Fawn with their car? (Do hit & runs not count if it’s a wild deer?) We seemed to be getting a first-hand lesson of the “Good Samaritan” parable from the bible... Sometimes when we see something that might require us to stop, do we? Do we walk/drive on by and assume it’s none of our business or that someone else will help? Do we slowly become desensitized and stop caring?

The emergency crew still hadn’t shown up, the sun was hot and I really needed to go to the bathroom, so I finally called my hubby to explain our predicament and see if he could come be of some assistance.

As my husband pulled up, so did another car. The man and my husband had a short conversation and then they came over to where we were crouched down trying to comfort the animal. The man was carrying a weapon in a case on his shoulder. Please note: I was NOT comfortable with this and quite shocked... (Although I am a meat-eater, I am not a fan of hunting. Although I am a conservative, I am not a fan of guns except on policemen.)

Long story short; the man with the gun (and two kids in his car) attempted to explain to my daughter that the deer wasn't going to live and that the wildlife people would administer euthanasia, my kind husband gently explained to our child that sometimes wounded wild animals can't be saved, we left (very sad), and the sweet deer's suffering was stopped...

I wonder what happened after we drove away since my husband saw the wildlife car pull up right after the deer was shot. Did the gun-carrying guy get in trouble? I wonder if her babies are surviving without her... I have a big heart for Mamas and their children.

I am no longer annoyed when I see deer. I remember the sight of my child trying to bring love and comfort to one of God's gentle creatures. I no longer want to use antlers in all of my decorating (like Gaston sings about in Beauty and the Beast.) 

I desire to have the heart of my daughter and the good Samaritan. I want to have mercy even when it's inconvenient and hope to follow the words of Jesus:
 “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37

Would you have stopped?

In His Grip, Jane
Picture sources:
Pinterest

Friday, June 13, 2014

And So it Goes...

My Daddy~Vaughn Dube' Story
This post is a little of this, and a little of that. Thanks for allowing me to ramble. My suitcase is packed for a Carver family reunion to the Great Lakes state of Minnesota. With Father's Day coming up it's made me think about my Daddy who passed away 21 years ago. I miss him dearly! He was an amazing man, loyal husband and fabulous daddy to three little girls (I was the baby.) He loved being a granddaddy too and would have loved my youngest daughter if he had met her.
Grandpa Carver with our first-born who is now 28!

The reunion we're headed to is in Minnesota, not because that's where his Dad is from, but because he likes it. My father-in-law is a retired Air Force Colonel, Boy Scout leader and Dad to three boys and a girl. We'll get to spend Father's Day with him this year! The last time we had a reunion the kids were little. Now all but one of mine can "legally" drink a beer and we have a lot of cousin catching up to do. The only bummer is that the weather is predicted to be rainy and low 70’s. NOT the hot, sunny, Mid-West lake vacation weather we had experienced and hoped to repeat.

I have put myself on balloon strike. Here’s why. I was given the job to buy balloons for the women’s retreat. The only ones available were graduation ones and then they flew up from the check-out stand at the grocery to the ceiling. Sort of funny, but not. This week I had helium pink balloons strapped in the back seat for the baby shower I was hosting. I hit the accelerator a bit too hard forgetting that my window was down half-way. Yes, they untied and flew out the window. Quite disappointing and I had to keep driving even though I wanted to stop and ponder what had just happened. I think helium balloons are now over-rated and at the very least please don’t ask me to be  in charge of them.

My good friend’s daughter-in-law is expecting and was in town so it sounded like a great reason to throw a party. Despite not having any balloons with helium (see above) I had fun decorating our home PINK with lots of tissue flowers and fun borrowed pennants. I tried my hand at a Pinterest project and everyone pitched in yummy brunch food. All the guests helped create an ABC book for baby Emmy and it seemed to be a hit. Expectant Mommies remind me once again how fortunate I am to work at a baby boutique. Throwing a party always motivates me to clean my house so that’s an added bonus. It’s still looking good two days later!


3D usually makes people think of art, but today it meant medical imaging. I had to have a diagnostic test today which saw something teeny tiny that needs a bit of future attention. I loved discovering a  friend from bible study was my nurse today. I had asked several prayer buddies to pray for me this morning and those prayers were answered. (I love how God is in the details and provided a warm and caring friend to calm my nerves.) I know food isn’t supposed to be a go-to for comfort, but oh the Pao’s donut I ate on my way home certainly cheered me up!

We looked at lots of homes for sale this week. We have some specific requests which apparently are difficult to combine with our price range: We’d like to SEE the water. We don’t want a huge yard to take care of, but our dog needs a bit of space. Location matters; closer to town but not too close to the traffic noise. Lots of light~I don’t want the yard to look like a scene from the movie Twilight. When the weather is rainy I still want light, not a canopy of trees. 

We discussed Pros & Cons. We tried to rank them and imagine living in them. It’s hard! We saw a couple really pretty homes with bad yards and pretty views with terrible homes. We saw a lot of ugly  interesting possibilities and one place that might be featured on a future Hoarders episode. The OCD part of me had a hard time looking past the mess to see the potential. I am so glad that God can see past MY mess and see MY potential!  

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:20
My retreat roomies!

The theme of our women's retreat was restoration. If we end up buying a fixer-upper, I will try to remember that restoration takes love and time but is worth it. I wish I could get the amazing couple from the HGTV show Fixer-Upper to fly here from Texas and take on a project!! Have you watched their show on Thursdays?


Photo courtesy of http://magnoliahomes.net/fixer-upper/

I’ll be out of touch and basically unplugged from technology for a week making family memories at cabin #17 at the Isle 'O Dreams

Photo courtesy of http://www.isleodreams.com/

And so it goes... Wishing all your Dads and/or husbands a Happy Father's Day and our USA soccer team good luck!

In His Grip, Jane

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What I Learned in May

Happy June! The month of May is over. It was packed full of family events (a wedding and graduation) and ended with a very special church retreat.  I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at the Sky. Here are 7 things I learned in May:

1. Invite your college-age daughter to a women's retreat. I didn't. She had to ask me if she could go! We had a fabulous time and it will have to become a tradition. She was totally a joy to have in our "house" and my girlfriends had great talks with her.

2. Slurry is a combination of a thickening agent like cornstarch, combined with liquid. I was watching The Pioneer Woman on the Food Network and she was making yummy blackberry cheesecake squares for a church potluck.

3. Fake Bake it is: Even if I sunbathe for a bit (with sunscreen of course~I had a Melanoma in my early 20’s) my legs stay white-as-snow. My friend recommended I try Fake Bake tanner and it seems to be a good, un-smelly way for me to show off my middle-aged legs in shorts or skirts now that boots and tights season is behind us.

4. Somewhere in my "wicked past," I must have done something good... (Taking liberty with the song from Sound of Music.)  In Proverbs 31:28 it says: "Her children arise and call her blessed." I have a LONG time before I can compare myself to the Proverbs 31 woman, and my children usually sleep in when they're home, but in the last several months I’ve had the joy of having at least two of my four children write me loving notes about how I've influenced them. I’m not bragging, I’m just delighted that God has orchestrated our relationship so that I can be a positive factor in my children’s lives. I’m such a grateful Mama for the way my kiddos are turning out. They are so cool~I’d want to hang out with them even if I wasn’t their Mom!! (They even forgive me for not inviting them to retreats. See #1.)

5. College graduation ceremonies are wonderful, and long... Our #3 child graduated from Whitworth on the 18th and it was so fabulous to watch him cross the stage as a Theology major. Having sat through three other ceremonies (two undergrad and one graduate), we knew the "drill. Tip: bring a book or I-Pad to kill some time as ALL the names are read. Do not try to watch netflix though~my hubby accidentally was charged by the minute for the "hot spot" he subscribed to so he could watch a movie. Busted...

6. Don't assume. I had two things go a bit sideways over the weekend while I was on a retreat at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. I assumed everyone at work had looked at the schedule I'd written covering my Friday morning shift. NOT. I received a phone call and discovered no one was at the store until 1:00. Boo. I hope we didn't lose too many customers. 

On Saturday night one of our housemates wasn't home when the rest of us went to bed so we left on several lights and assumed we had left the door unlocked for her. NOT. My poor friend came home and discovered she was locked out. She spent a chilly night sleeping trying to sleep on the porch because none of us heard her quiet knock. I am not a camper; I would have been pounding and crying... Double check is the lesson. This lesson of not assuming also applies to #1.

7. Girlfriends trump the beach. I can't believe I was at the beach and never made it down for a walk along the water. I was having so much fun at the house, going to town, and talking on the front lawn with friends that I never ended up going to the beach and yet I still left refreshed and happy!

What did you learn in May?

In His Grip, Jane


Thursday, May 29, 2014

What I've Been Reading Lately~May Edition


I love to read! You probably can guess that due to my blog title, "See Jane Learn," that I grew up reading Dick and Jane primers. My taste isn't as sophisticated as many of my friends and children, but I read whenever I'm free.

Do you read only one book at a time or do you have several "going" simultaneously? I'm usually taking turns between one fiction novel and one or two non-fiction books. I buy, borrow, download and use the Library book app called Overdrive. I thought I would share the books in my pile this month.
Non-Fiction:

I happened to read a review of Popular in USA Today and the premiss of the book hooked me. The author is only in high school and she wrote a memoir of surviving middle school and following advice from a book written in the 1950's. I haven't finished it yet, but every chapter makes me smile.

Spiritual Disciplines Handbook was recommended by one of my pastors. Each chapter covers a different subject and has suggestions for practice along with scripture. I'll be opening up this for a very long time.

I first saw this adorable book while visiting in Indianapolis and regretted not buying it. I saw it again at Auntie's Bookstore while in Spokane and it now sits on my coffee table. It uses pictures out of all the vintage Golden Books while addressing situations of real life. Two examples are; "Break bread together every day." "Dress up and go dancing...any kind of dancing!" I pretty much agree with everything in this book and think it would make a cute graduation gift.

I love The Nesting Place! My hubby took my hint and gave it to me for Mother's Day. I follow Myquillyn Smith's blog, Nesting Place and her advice is spot on. She adheres to "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," and she even has some advice for renters. (Which comes in quite handy since we've now been in this rental home 2+ years.) This book is a treasure. Put it on your wish list, hint to your hubby, or buy it for someone you love.

Fiction:

I just downloaded this Novella, A June Bride, on my Kindle Cloud. Mary Beth Whalen is a Christian author, and mom of six and I follow her blog. I've read her four previous novels and a new one is coming out next week called The Bridge Tender.


Last on my pile is a paperback romance that I picked up at an airport when my kindle app wasn't working. It's called The Devaney Brothers (Ryan & Sean) and takes place in Boston. Sherryl Woods has written lots of books that take place on the East Coast. (Remember me mentioning I didn't always have sophisticated taste read classics? A good romance book can be a fun escape!)

Right now I need to get my pile of books set aside and begin packing for our church's women's retreat. It's going to be a wonderful weekend spent with my daughter and lots of friends and the only book I'm bringing along is my favorite, The Bible!

Happy Reading!

In His Grip, Jane





Tuesday, May 27, 2014

About this Mothering Thing...


If you are the parent of college age kids you will relate. If your kiddos are little, well...they grow up! 

My kids have become young adults. Our third child of four recently graduated from college and yet to me he’s still "my boy.” OK, he’s 6’4” and has a B.A. in Theology, and he’s 22; but he’s still my boy! Visits home require washing dirty clothes, making cookies and tacos, and picking up a growler of the man-cub’s favorite craft beer. (I was a bit concerned when a flyer from his trip to Europe LAST SUMMER fell out of the pocket of a pair of shorts I washed...let's pretend he really hadn't worn them since then.)
Being a Mom of kids in their twenties is hard stressful different. Maybe it’s not so much the physical exhaustion of non-stop action and interrupted sleep, but it’s emotionally tiring. Here are a few ways that mothering changes, yet stays the same...

You never stop hoping that your kids are safe. We Mamas just want to protect our offspring. I appreciate knowing that my children have arrived at their destination when they're traveling. This past weekend I had the recent graduate driving to two Oregon cities for a concert and a friend's wedding...my oldest son going from Chicago to Indianapolis for the 500 race, and a daughter driving from Nashville to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit a friend. Yep, they are kids-on-the-go and I was relieved to receive the “I arrived text or phone call.” I chose to believe the saying that "no news is good news"~for the kids who were too busy to touch base with their Mama.

Play dates happen. Years ago I was the Kool-aide mom who hosted slumber parties and had the sport court. Then my kids had friends with boats and trampolines that were way cooler than what our house could offer so they didn't always spend time at our place. Thankfully that changed as they left home for college. I’ve been fortunate to be able to open whatever home I’ve resided in to our kid's out of town friends. It is not labor-intensive like when you have a kindergarten classmate over. We’ve supplied the air mattress, hot tub, meals, conversation or games, breakfast with coffee, and Wi Fi. We LOVE having our kids invite friends for a night (or Thanksgiving, or winter break, or a weekend.)  It is really fun to get to know who your kids spend their time with. 


Daddy-son time is fun... As I drove home from work and approached our house I was greeted by a wonderful sight. My Man and my boy throwing Frisbee with our Sydney hanging out with them in the street. The biggest change was our current puppy isn’t obsessed with Frisbees so she wasn’t chasing them. Dads talk best with their kids when they’re doing something. Throwing a baseball or Frisbee, shooting hoops, playing a round of golf, sitting in the hot tub; all those activities are a safe time to engage in conversation with their kids. As I write this my man and boy are at the movie theater, enjoying the new X Men movie, popcorn and each other's company. Hang out together and conversation will follow.

Kids grow older, but family time needs to remain a priority. We laugh, we talk about future plans, we reminisce about fun memories, we listen to all the new things that have been happening and we challenge each other to follow God’s calling on our lives. I am grateful for kids who enjoy coming home and spending time with their Daddy and I and their siblings. In two weeks at least 5 of the 7 in our immediate family are heading to Minnesota for a family Reunion on my husband's side. Intentional time together is priceless.

Like I said, parenting changes as they grow. My former mothering questions used to be along the lines of; Will she ever sleep through the night? Will he be potty trained by the time preschool starts in the fall? The answers were yes and yes.  

Is my recent graduate really supposed to go on a mission trip to Myanmar at the end of June? That is still being determined. Will my youngest figure out where and who she’s living with since deciding she’s returning to Whitworth in September?  (Remember, I have four kids so those two examples are just a snippet of the things I’m praying about right now...) 

I have to trust that my kid’s current “unknowns” will also be answered when the time is right. As I was looking up the subject of parenting adult children, I came across a wise quote on a Focus on the Family article.

"Your parenting in the flesh is over," It's time to parent him in the Spirit. Pray for your son and trust God to do what you cannot do — and He will." 

This mothering thing changes as our children grow. Diaper changes and carpooling? Not anymore... Praying for my children? Yep. All the time...

How are you adjusting to this mothering thing as your children grow?

In His Grip, Jane


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Attention: You're Not Cool

I thought I was SO cool as I flew home from attending my niece’s wedding in Indiana. That feeling only lasted for a while... Here's a picture of the cute couple.
There are no direct flights to Indianapolis and so the cheapest flight I could get took me through L.A. on the way there and Phoenix on the way back home.  I forgot my I-pod and decided the fee for Internet would be worth it on my long travel days. (I think it was $5 on Alaska and $8 on Southwest.)

Last month I got to use Mike's upgrade and sit in first class. While sipping my free white wine I watched everyone walk by and wondered if they were envious of my spot. I felt special. Sort of cool.

This trip I was just like everyone else; waiting my turn to board, squeezing in, ordering my Diet Dr. Pepper. On the Indy to Phoenix flight I was in the Southwest "C" group. Translation: you board last and you WILL be only able to find a center seat. When I left Phoenix I got to board with the "B" group. Translation: it is more likely you might be able to get an aisle seat or sit near the front.

I saw a spot in the second row and I quickly snagged it. The only problem was the overhead bins near my spot where all full so I had to put my carry-on suitcase a few rows back. My seat-mates were nice and didn't talk too much.  I even got to swap magazines with the young Mama next to me. Of course I gave her my business card for Charlie Barnes, the baby store where I work.

Wi-Fi on a plane is cool! I happily checked emails, “talked” to my hubby, perused  Facebook, wrote a blog post, caught up on some blogs and even checked out Pinterest all while listening to music on Pandora. Almost like being at home even though I was thousands of feet up in the air.

I thought I was so cool getting to disembark quickly after a nice man passed up my carry-on. I hurried toward baggage claim because I knew my hubby was waiting in the cell phone lot. I am always a fast walker. Just ask my husband. I was half-way down the terminal, heading into the women’s room before going to baggage claim when I heard an announcement over the P.A. that caught my attention. 

“Passengers who just arrived from Phoenix” (oh, were they going to announce which number our luggage would be on?) “you might have left some personal items on the plane.” My brain engaged. I looked down at my carry on and noticed the front laptop storage space was EMPTY. 

They were talking to me!! I hadn’t grabbed my Macbook that I’d stashed under the seat during landing!

As I raced back to the gate I had to walk by ALL the passengers who had sat further back on the plane. They totally knew the blonder than she pays to be lady must have forgotten something. 
Who was cool now? 

I am so grateful that my laptop was waiting for me. I am thankful for the announcement over the P.A. that caught my attention. I’m glad this travel story had a happy ending. They say pride comes before the fall. I guess I will learn not to think I’m “all that” just because I got a good seat and had Wi-Fi on a plane. 

Proverbs 11:2 "Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."

I’m reminded of a Scott Krippayne song. It's called, I'm Not Cool, and I think it's my theme song. I used to drive my daughter crazy singing those lyrics. "I'm not cool, that's OK. My God loves me anyway."

God loves me SO much that He even used an airport P.A. system to get my attention so I wouldn't lose my expensive computer. 

Acts 9:6 "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." (Pay attention, hurry back to the gate and ask for your laptop.)

God is deeply involved in every aspect of our lives and he also wants to get our attention. How has he gotten yours lately?

In His Grip, Jane

Speaker photo source: photobucket.com