Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What I Learned in August

Happy September! I'm taking a break from the packing (kitchens are brutal) to share what I learned in August. I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.

I got a bit behind in my laundry last week. ..
1.Clutter and packing brings dogs anxiety. Our poor puppy does not understand what is going on. She looks at us like we're crazy as she navigates around the packing paper, boxes and the mess. Oh Sydney, soon you will be in your new backyard and taking walks discovering new places! The boxes might still be around for a while though...

2.Audible, Pandora and Netflix make packing tolerable. No explanation needed.

3.I am GLAD I'm not getting any children K-12 ready for Back-to-School. College kids are sort of easier. Except the goodbye and the bill$. If you were a child of the 70's like I was, you HAVE to read this blog!!! Hilarious! Here I am looking mod in my senior picture. Note the cool shiny blouse.

4.Henry Winkler isn't just "The Fonz." He's a great actor, director, producer, and also an author and speaker. He wrote a series of children's books and he is passionate about getting the word out about Dyslexia. Both he and his son were diagnosed several years ago. My Mom heard him speak when he visited the retirement center where she lives. 

5.Outdoor baptisms are the best! Depending on your faith and denomination, you might think baptisms mean either getting sprinkled or dunked. Once a year our church, Chapel Hill Presbyterian, does this sacrament outdoors in Puget Sound. It was so special to watch children and adults publicly profess their faith and then have one of our Pastors lean them gently back all the way in the water. 

6.Sometimes the tests on Facebook are accurate! I took the "where should you live test" and I got Italy! My results said: "You are complex person, yet you enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Your idea of a great day is to spend some time by the water, or have coffee next to your favorite landmark, then follow it up with a fantastic meal with Mediterranean cuisine and excellent wine. You believe life is not for working too hard, but for enjoying the fruits of the earth, and you are more than happy to take a siesta. You are a lover of culture, and thrive in a town or city where you get to know those around you in depth. You appreciate fine architecture, art, music, and film, and need to be in a culture that values those mediums."
Yep, yep, yep. All of the above. Except...I don't speak the language and then I'd be even farther from my kids! Guess I just need to take more vacations there. Since moving to Italy isn't going to happen anytime soon, how about I concentrate on packing for our REAL move that happens next Saturday?!

Now it's your turn! What did you learn in August??

In His Grip, Jane

Photo Sources:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Becoming Empty Nesters (The Sequel)

Two SUV's left our driveway Monday, headed to Spokane. One vehicle was driven by the tall, broke unemployed Whitworth graduate. He's hoping to find a job quickly. The other was our youngest daughter, heading back for her junior year at Whitworth, after a bit of a Gap Year; she worked and completed her associates degree at our local community college.

 And so...here we are. Empty nesters. Again. As is our tradition, we'll have to have a period of celebrating mourning, so that most likely demands a stop at a winery or two. The packing continues since we're moving off the island the weekend after Labor Day.
It was great to receive a phone call from our oldest who is currently in Fort Collins, Colorado. Glad he and his wife are back in the states after more than a month seeing Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Due to their love of "all things Lord of the Rings," New Zealand was the favorite.

My favorite? Pretty much anyplace my whole family is under one roof at the same time. Sunshine is a bonus! We've been settling in our two "littles" and celebrating my birthday too. Spokane is definitely one of my favorite places.

Christmas might be the next time all the kids are home together (and in the new home!) Until then, I'll be making memories with my best friend as we navigate being without kids around. Again. The last time we became empty nesters was pretty good but since we've had some practice, this time should be even better!

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing? Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

Isaiah 43:18-19New International Version (NIV)

Fellow empty nesters and Pirate Parents, we can do this new thing!!

In His Grip, Jane

Photo source: photo bucket

Friday, August 15, 2014

B & B: Our Dynamic Harbor Duo

Normally the term B & B is the nickname used to describe Bed & Breakfast places. In our Judson Street strip mall here in downtown Gig Harbor, B & B means beer and babies. Sometimes things don’t seem to “go together” and yet in this case, they do!

I've been "working" at a fabulous little baby and young children’s store called Charlie Barnes that carries gear, clothes and gifts since March of 2013. It caters to expectant and young parents and grandparents. Everything is chosen with care by the Proprietor, who is a young mom herself. 
We love Kickee Pants!
We are located next to a bank (handy when I run out of change) above us is a hair salon and some offices, and down the sidewalk you’ll find the post office, a flower shop, barber shop and a couple eating establishments. Every day I get to meet new people, see friends, hold babies, play with preschoolers (I need my "fix" since I used to teach preschool, Kinders and 1st graders), arrange adorable items, wrap gifts, and a variety of other tasks. It's my job, but it doesn't seem like work!

The place which pairs quite well with Charlie Barnes is the 7 Seas Brewery. It’s a great spot to hang out with friends and try a new hand-crafted beer, or pick up a growler or 4-pack to take home. It is not a bar or Tavern, so all ages are welcome. When the mixed nuts aren’t enough, customers carry in their own take-out or picnic food.

We get quite a few shoppers who meander in our door before or after hitting the brewery to see what’s new in the baby world. Perhaps a few quality beers even helped them get in the family way?...
The store baby, Brooke, on her 1st B-day.
And so, if you need to buy a shower gift or something for a tiny one, remember you can lure your hubby or date along with the promise that they can get a cold one while you pop in and check out our cute store in downtown Gig Harbor. For those of you who are too far to visit, we're online!

Did I mention how much I love what I get to do? 
Miss Brooke showing one of our Baby Grand Pianos.

Babies and Beer! Chickens and eggs. Which comes first? Enjoy your weekend friends! I'm looking forward to a weekend event called Overflow; a worship concert in the park and outdoor baptisms too.

In His Grip, Jane

This Story girl is now a girl who shares her story.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Was Your Weekend?

Sometimes the weekends without any major events can be the best. Listening to Pandora (Hillsong United this morning and Nat King Cole during dinner tonight) browsing old magazines, watching the new Jen Hatmaker show on my DVR. Here are some other moments from my lazy weekend:

And then there were two. Sydney was barking on the porch the other night and I realized what/who she was directing her barks to. Our neighbor's kitty, Emma, was up on their roof! A minute later, one of their other cats, T.J. (not to be confused with my son) was also on the roof.
Our cat Tigger has never attempted to get up on a roof. Perhaps he's afraid of heights like his "Mama?" Tigger is moving into the "assisted living" phase of his life. His grooming habits are slacking off a bit and when I brushed him I got a tennis-ball sized mound of hair. Gross.
Blurry pics but see that 2nd little cat head on the left?

Yesterday I felt gross and was on a quest; to find somewhere that I could get my hair shampooed. You know that icky feeling when the surgeon says no shower until Monday and your hair hasn't been washed since Wednesday and you can't take it anymore?! My hubby would have gladly helped me in the sink if we'd known how hard it would be to find a place. We stopped by three salons; all closed. Finally after getting a bite to eat and picking up beautiful flowers at the Farmer's market we stopped by the local HairMasters. I'm now a fan since their shampoo was $6 and I felt like a whole new me!

We finally watched God's Not Dead. The movie was OK and the arguments were good and valid. We would definitely have changed the ending though. It is true! God's Not Dead!

I am hooked on the book The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand. I'm listening to it on my Audible app which is handy when packing boxes.

Besides the sunshine and seeing kitties high on a roof, my other favorite weekend blessing was the gift of tonight's dessert. While I sat out back this afternoon, one of my dear friends who lives around the corner, snuck in and left two sweet little blackberry pies on my kitchen counter. SO thoughtful, and I've been craving pie! Thank you Lola, for your kindness.

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

In His Grip, Jane

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

They Saddled Up!

Our family and marriage motto has always been “Life is an Adventure.” We borrowed that idea from an old Stephen Curtis Chapman song, The Great Adventure. If you've even listened to the lyrics it's about getting ready for a wild ride. That seems to be the theme of this summer.

My children grew up to take those lyrics literally; as of yesterday, all four of my kids are on great adventures too far away from this Mama. I’ve got my oldest and his wife in Thailand (or possibly New Zealand...hard to keep track of their itinerary), my recent graduate in Burma, my daughter living in Nashville, and now my youngest is on a road trip/vacation to help her boyfriend move down to California. I didn't go on an airplane until I was 17 and the first time I crossed the U.S. border was to Mexico in college~for two hours.

Back in the early days of parenting, I foolishly thought life as a Mommy would become easier as my babies grew up. I was tired with four littles under seven years old. Physically worn out. I took all four of them being home under our roof for granted.

Now? They've been together under one roof twice this year; at Christmas, and at our family reunion in Minnesota. I’m still tired, but now I’m emotionally tired. “Out of sight, out of mind you say?” No, not really. Granted, when they were away at college I didn’t know what exactly they were up to, but they’d check in and I’d choose to believe they were fine.

During this summer season when days and weeks go by with hardly any communication, I’ve spent so much time praying, that if I physically knelt each time I talk to God about them I would most certainly need a pair of knee pads. 
I have a running dialog with God. “Are they OK? Are they healthy? Are they broke? Are they making good choices? Are they depending on you, Lord? Did we teach them enough? Do they know how much I love them? Will they come back safe and sound?...”

At night I toss and turn (which makes me tired too,) trying to empty my mind, but it’s so busy! That’s why I was delighted to run across A Prescription For Worry (A two day challenge) written by Jennifer Dukes Lee. When she described herself firing her inner worrier before turning to prayer, I was encouraged to do the same. 

I am taking Jennifer's advice and trying NOT to allow my inner worrier to steal my sleep. The past two nights I've only woken once or twice and went back to sleep pretty quickly. If I refuse to worry, then I will be forced to do what I should be doingTRUST.

"It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6, The Message

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." -Isaiah 26:3

If I’m really trusting God than perhaps I should begin to actually behave like someone who is moving to a new home in 30 days! This will be my 11th move since I got married so it’s not like I don’t know that it would be wise to start filling boxes, and remember: parenting is a great adventure!

"Saddle up your horses
We've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder
Of God's amazing grace

Let's follow our Leader
Into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
This is the great adventure"

What adventure does God currently have YOU on? Moving? Traveling? Parenting?...
In His Grip, Jane


Friday, August 1, 2014

What I learned in July

My brave, tender-hearted son T.J.
During the month of July I've been learning many things and you might have noticed I have certainly NOT been writing any blogs. Am I still a blogger? Hmmm... Here are six things I know for sure:
1. I kind of like Pina Coladas, thanks to my daughter. I'm not a big coconut fan (unless it's body lotion or fried on shrimp.) One hot, sunny day my youngest made a pitcher of Pina Coladas and brought me one. It was good! Don't tell anyone that the mixologist won't be 21 until September.

2. I am not my age. In reality my birthday is later this month and I'm turning (gulp)~55. I might ache in the morning but I do not think I am old in my head. I took a test on Facebook and even they agree with me! Here is what the test results said:

Here is our best guess at who you are:
1. You are female. yep
2. You are currently in your twenties, you are single, dating at nights and balancing a promising career during the day. Nope. 54, happily married, yes we love to go out, and yes I love my job at Charlie Barnes Kids.
3. You are smart, calculated, funny and imaginative. Why thank you!
4. You have black hair, dark eyes a cute nose. Not even close. Blond, blue eyes, my Daddy's big nose.
5. You own a pet. Yes. Two actually. Sydney the dog and Tigger the cat.
Am I the only one who takes those silly tests on Facebook?...

3. I am just one of many… (patients.)  When you're waiting to hear back about medical tests, sometimes it is easy to forget that doctors have LOTS of patients and sometimes paperwork and vacation-time conflicts with contacting the patient ME! After two tests and one unpleasant procedure, I had to wait for weeks to finally find out that no I don’t have cancerous cells but yesI need to have a lumpectomy next week due to atypical cells. Get your yearly mammograms, girls!

4. My friend's deck is the BEST place to watch fireworks. For the last two years we've joined our friends down the street on their gorgeous deck with a panoramic view including Mt. Rainer, to watch fireworks. Sipping wine, visiting, no traffic, it's perfect.
5. When your son is on a mission trip to Burma and communication stops, don't necessarily think the worst. Back in May I was wondering if my 22 year old would decide to go on a mission trip after graduation. He went back and forth on his decision. I went back and forth on my Mama support of the decision. In the end, despite not raising many funds, my brave, tender-hearted man-cub felt called to go with his girlfriend Katie and meet up with another Whitworth University couple ministering to the people up in Northern Burma. We got word that they’d landed in Thailand, but for the next six days or so they went “radio silent.” NO communication. NO emails. NO idea whether or not they were safe. All Katie's parents, my husband and I could do was wait, trust, and PRAYWe finally received word that after DAYS of uncomfortable travel, they'd arrived in Myitkyina and found a room in a library where they can go to get Internet connection. When I hear the following scripture verse, it now has personal meaning for me. I can't wait until they return safely and I get to hear all about their experiences.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 
Kachin State of Burma

6. We're coming back to the "Mainland." After two years of wondering what might happen to the rental home we’ve been living in on an island, losing count of how many homes we toured over those two years (especially in the last six weeks) and spending too much on gas, a home went on the market this spring and waited for us to find it!  It's right downtown and will be perfect for us as we transition once again into being empty nesters. We are so thankful. We'll be moving at the beginning of September and I'll share more about it later. 

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

In His Grip, Jane

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