Saturday, November 21, 2015

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Happy Saturday Morning! I hope you're enjoying your weekend. Since it's a day late to call this post "5 Favorites for Friday," how about I just call it "Things I'm loving right now."

I am loving cold, crisp, sunny mornings and the "grand" view out my kitchen window. Since the leaves have fallen off my neighbor's tree, we really have a big view of the mountains and sunrises. I'll take chilly over rainy any day. Must be my Mid-west roots.

I am NOT loving what happened, but I'm loving how Whitworth University has dealt with the horrific storm that occurred in Spokane, Washington this past Tuesday. The beautiful campus lost over 50 trees, power for days (my daughter's off-campus house is still without power) classes had to be canceled, and it's been hard and COLD. Thankful for the updates posted on the University Facebook page and that no one at the college was hurt. Please join me in prayer for the staff, emergency workers, faculty and students as they continue to deal with the aftermath. The Loop will be a lot more open-looking now...

Here are some "before" pictures of the beautiful campus:

Here are some "after" shots:

I am loving my White Black Loose T-shirt  It's comfy, loose and quite affordable! I wear it all the time.

I am loving my morning cup of coffee. Right now it's the Thanksgiving blend, soon to be switched to the Holiday blend. I am not all fired up about the red cups, I just focus on the drink that helps me wake up!

I am loving my hubby right now. Actually, I love him all the time. For the second time in our married life he surprised me with a new car. Our cute convertible was needing extensive repairs. Have you ever owned an Audi? Everything costs more to fix...

We had discussed trading in our car for a short-term lease but hadn't come to any definite decision. Or so I thought...  After work the other night I couldn't find the car I'd driven in the parking lot. In frustration I finally punched the key fob and a brand-new, red Rav4 started blinking it's lights! Yep. My sneaky, sweet man got me a new vehicle. Meet Ruby!

(I'll have to tell the story of the last car surprise some other time...)

What are you loving right now? 

Since there is a chance I might not post again before next Thursday, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

In His Grip, 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What I Learned in October

I'm looking back on the month of October, and here are five things I learned: 

1. Shoes do matter sometimes.
In an attempt to save money, I decided to wear the same sling-back shoes I wore to my oldest son's wedding five years ago, to my younger son's wedding that occurred the first weekend of October. My decision seemed fine until the rehearsal. I realized I'd be walking down a grass aisle and my "kitten" heels would sink in... The only store near our hotel was Nordstrom, but I dashed in to see if they had anything affordable. NOT! The salesperson suggested heel protectors. (They do not work. They do not stay on. Do NOT buy them!) I survived the sinking and my shoes did not spoil the day. I do remember throwing my shoes to the side during the mother-son dance... I can't wait to see those pictures!

2. Do not assume that your cell phone app is giving good directions.
When my two sisters were in town for my son's wedding we did a day trip up to Seattle. We had a fun time on Bainbridge Island, a ferry ride to the city, shopping, lunch and a walk in the sunshine. All was perfect until it was time to drive home. As my sister looked at her phone and read off which way to turn, I realized something was amiss. We were headed straight toward water, not the highway. No, we did NOT want another ferry ride which would add two extra hours to our trip home... Thankfully we figured it out but I have learned to double-check Mapquest's "steps." I hope the next car I purchase will have a built-in GPS system!

3. "Call the Midwife" makes me want to be a more helpful person.
Do not EVEN get me started on how much I love the PBS series "Call the Midwife" that I binge-watched on Netflix! I love the characters, the voice of the narrator, the health topics, the early 1950's timeframe, the way the nurses and nuns helped their poor community in London, the clothes, and then of course there were always babies... Have you watched it? It can be a bit graphic at times, but it is SO good! The focus was always on caring for others and I want to be more intentional about helping those around me. Perhaps I'll even ride my bike next summer!

photo source:

4. All major moments contain love, tears and Jesus.
My son got married on October 3rd on a beautiful sunny fall day in Spokane. Oh what a day of joy our family shared!  I'm a bit bias, but the day was perfect and I can't remember being that happy! We laughed, we cried, we danced, we prayed, we toasted, we ate, and we knew Jesus was with us.

Another major moment happened last week. One of my dear friends from my couples small group suddenly passed away unexpectedly as she recovered from surgery. It has been a week of sorrow as it sinks in that I'll never see my friend Malinda again until I join her someday in Heaven.  Her Memorial on Friday was full of love, lots of tears, and was such a testimony of a life well lived. If people didn't know Jesus before that day, surely they do now. 

5. Friends are a precious gift and sometimes words aren't necessary. 
Malinda's passing has reminded me not to take time with friends for granted.  I've been spending lots of time with friends and I hope I've told them all how much I love them. Sometimes we've just sat by each other and words weren't spoken. That's OK. It's just being together that matters.
Even two year olds know that...

Sweet little BFF's at Charlie Barnes.

What did you learn in October?
I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.
In His Grip,
Thank you for reading "See Jane Learn."

Monday, October 26, 2015

Holes and Hope

Psalms 116:15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Some holes can be fixed; like the little ones in the baby hat I’ve knit. (I have no idea how they got there, but I’ll stitch them closed.)

Some holes seem irreparable. My sweet friend Malinda passed away last Thursday and she has left a huge hole in my heart and many, many others... Her passing was very, very, unexpected. Losing someone is never easy, but when it comes without warning the pain feels deeper. She left behind her husband Dave, son Dylan and daughter Jordan, friends and neighbors who all are wondering what her husband expressed; “How do I go on and do life without her?” 

(4th of July Parade)

The last four days have been filled with tears, quiet talks, memories shared, food delivered and hugs. We are gearing up for her Celebration of Life this Friday and know that she’ll be pleased with the care and thought that have gone into each detail of the service. Please join me in prayer for her family and also for the individuals who will be sharing their words and musical talent at the service.

In the midst of all the sadness, a celebration in our church community has happened yesterday! A baby has been born to our beloved Pastors. It took years for little Michael Reed to be conceived and then he decided to create a bit more drama by staying in his Mama’s tummy an extra two weeks. I think his birthdate was God's perfect timing.  His arrival reminds us of God’s love and promises kept and hope for the future.

"A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on." (Carl Sandburg)

Hundreds of years ago God’s people were wondering and waiting and then...Jesus came as a little baby. I’m remembering 22 years ago when my Daddy passed away. In the middle of my grief I discovered I was expecting a surprise 4th child. Babies give us hope that even though lives end, life goes on and joy can return.

(Malinda on her birthday holding a "Young Lives" baby. She would have adored her future grandchildren.)

Some holes are so huge and so painful, that the only one who can do the repair work is Jesus. It is going to be a long process... 

“Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?” (C.S. Lewis)

Grieving, yet still In His Grip,

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Someone is Turning Five!

Today is the birthday of our rescue dog Sydney! We adopted her three years ago right after she turned two years old. As a former Kindergarten teacher, I have a soft spot for five year olds. 

The celebration is pretty low-key. Party attendants; birthday girl, Tigger and me. I attempted to pose her for a photo like I saw on Pinterest, but the execution was a failure... 

She received a new collar, yummy bone and stuffed toy squirrel.

Sydney has taught me a lot...
  • Get out there and walk every day even if the weather is cruddy.

  • Stay close to your loved ones.
  • Only bark when necessary.
  • Enjoy quiet time in front of the fireplace, no matter what the season.

  • Protect your “people” from strangers.
  • Chase after your passion. (In Sydney’s case, that’s squirrels.)
  • Forgive.
  • Share if possible.

  • Be grateful for freedom. (She runs like a crazy girl when off her leash.)

  • Wait in expectation.

  • Most unconditionally.

Thank you Sydney for being great company since all my human children aren't here and the nest gets lonely when your pet-daddy travels for work.

Cheers to a wonderful dog even if we can't take her to 7 Seas anymore since she doesn't get along well with other doggies. We love you Sydney Lou Carver! Happy 5th Birthday!

In His Grip, 

Sydney would like to take this opportunity to thank her favorite human friends who stop by to let her out or take care of her when we're out of town. Thanks Maddie, Debbie, Sue and Theresa!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What I Learned in September...

It is wedding week in our family! Relatives have begun arriving, my oldest kiddos fly into SeaTac tonight, we drive over to Spokane tomorrow, and in three days my #3 child will morph into a married man!

I've had wedding-on-the-brain, but I did learn a few things in September and I'm linking up with Emily of Chatting at the Sky.

1. Nordrom customer service is the BEST! 
I knew it was good, but I got treated with above and beyond kind service. After two alterations on my "mother of the groom" dress, was still choking me. A wonderful sales associate named Kat, personally stopped at another store on her way to work, brought me a new dress, and had her favorite seamstress tweak it just a tad. The dress drama is over, and I am SOLD on Nordstrom service.

2. I agree with Michael Jordan; tags are annoying!
Tags can be bothersome. I almost wore my new sweater yesterday with the tag dangling from under my sleeve. Please notify me if you ever notice me out in public with a tag showing. The most annoying "tag" though, is the one on my cheek. It's a dermatologist term, but this thing on my cheek is called a tag. Apparently I should blame hormones. I refer to it as the ugly, annoying thing that I wanted my doctor to remove before the wedding but I forgot to call insurance to get pre-approved so the stupid little witch-looking thing will be at the wedding. (Yes, that was a run-on sentence, and yes, I'm praying the photographer uses photo-shop!)

3. I thought EVERYONE knew the "I see the moon" song.
We spent the evening of the Lunar Eclipse with our Life Group (church couples small group.) We won't see another one until 2033. I will be 74 years old... I will think back to the evening I spent with friends talking about God, studying the story of Joseph, praying, and looking in awe at the beautiful moon over Puget Sound. I asked my girlfriends if they sang "I see the moon" to their littles and NO ONE had heard of it! It was a "classic" in my childhood and I sang it to my four children. I couldn't find the exact version on you tube; I've been singing the wrong lyrics for 29 years! Sorry kids! Here is the lullaby and it is really sweet. My lyrics have an extra verse: "It seems to me that God above, created you for me to love. He picked you out from all the rest, because He knew I'd love you the best!"

4. History often repeats itself. 
I had Mono at my middle sister's wedding. My daughter just got diagnosed with Mono and she's in her brother's wedding. Oh, and did I mention she's supposed to sing and play guitar? She flies here from Nashville tonight. Please shoot up some prayers that she's no longer contagious, that she feels better, and that she can sing!

Five years ago when my oldest son got married, the soon-to-be groom was anemic and pale as a ghost. He weaved up at the front as a groomsman and almost fainted. Thankfully his Aunt Chris noticed and got him water, pretzels, and helped him sit down. My youngest has had some fainting issues lately and she's also a bridesmaid. We like excitement in our family...

5. I'm not "losing" a son, I'm gaining another wonderful daughter! 
This boy son of mine who is the groom; he is pretty special. I've been a bit melancholy thinking I am no longer his #1 girl. Silly me. I am and will always be his "Mama" and he has enough love to share with both of us!

Now I get to see him tenderly care for his beautiful wife and continue to grow as a man after God's own heart. And...I will have another beautiful, talented, loving daughter to enjoy spending time with. Win, Win!

 "This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one." Genesis 2:24

That's all for now! When I blog next my son and his new bride will be honeymooning in Hawaii and I'll be recovering and reminiscing about the fabulous celebration of two lives becoming one.

In His Grip, 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sydney and I Are Still Sorry

Dear Pet Mom of the Black Lab,

Yes, I’m still feeling terrible about what happened on Monday morning. I wouldn’t have been walking down Stinson Street with my dog if the big mowing machine hadn’t been in the way over on the Cushman Trail. I had to turn around and go a different route. I was thinking about my two daughters' birthdays and enjoying a Podcast. 

I saw you and your black Lab coming toward us up the hill. Did you see me pull my dog's leash in tight so we could get past you? I thought we’d be able to sneak by with maybe a growl but I NEVER expected her to snap at your Lab and get fur in her teeth. I’m not sure who was more surprised and shocked; you or me! I have four amazing children who are now all young adults and somehow we made it through the toddler years with no biting incidents .

I totally understand why you were angry. You love your dog and he/she was a “senior” so you are extra protective. I would be very upset if another dog tried to bite mine...

I really need to tell you more than the hand full of ridiculous words that sort of came out of my mouth while you were inspecting your dog to make sure Sydney hadn’t drawn blood...

My dog has never hurt another animal (at least not on a walk when I’ve been with her) and never been aggressive to a person.

Sydney loves people. She lays at my feet, she’s quiet as a mouse when friends come over and she’s my “baby” now that I’m an empty-nester. She’s practically perfect in every way (just like Mary Poppins) except for the shedding and barking at squirrels. 

We adopted her from a Yakima Rescue spot called “Wags to Riches.” I saw her face online and fell in love. (Our beloved yellow lab had passed away a year before.) Sydney is the first non-Lab dog we've ever owned. She's a breed called Australian Kelpie. Once of her traits is she is a herder/protector. To her, I am sort of like "The First Lady of the United States" and she is my secret service body guard.

We don’t know a lot about Sydney’s history, but living in a place with lots of dogs waiting to be adopted can’t have been easy or fun. She probably had to fight to show she was strong. She still has nightmares... Maybe she was often scared of other dogs so she acts aggressive as a way to stay brave?... Her past doesn't excuse her bad behavior, but it does explain it a bit.
When my dog tried to bite yours I was SO angry at her and yet... as a human parent I understand that sometimes kids do rotten things. (We’re all sinners, sometimes we regret our actions and well... dogs will be dogs.)

You probably think I’m a rotten Pet Parent just because my dog snapped. I “snap” sometimes and most people have forgiven me. My husband and I walk Sydney most days, and we'll keep working on socialization. I’m booking her a play date next week at Bed, Bark, and Beyond so she can spend the day around other dogs and re-learn how to co-exist without being aggressive. The caregiver, Justin, is very patient.
If we end up on the same sidewalk someday, I hope you can give us a second chance. Sydney says she's sorry!

Yours Sincerely, 
Sydney’s “Mom”

P.S. I’m including some photos. I thought they might show you how sweet our Sydney can be when she doesn't "feel" threatened or feel like she must protect me.
 The day we adopted Sydney in 2012.
Enjoying the sunshine on our deck.
She gets along with her brother, Tigger the cat.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Six Things I Learned in August

I love August! It's the month I was born and the weather here in the PNW is typically fabulous. I'm linking up to Chatting at the Sky, where we share new things we learned during the month. Here are six things I learned in August:

Do not give your dog a bath if you're inviting friends over that evening. That horrible wet-dog smell lingers... Even three candles doesn't mask the odor. 

The second astronaut to walk on the moon took communion and read scripture.  I was just a little girl back in 1969 when I watched the amazing walk on the moon but I don't remember hearing the words of Jesus. I read about this a few weeks ago while reading "For Your Weekend" on Emily P. Freeman's blog. I researched Buzz Aldrin to find out more about this Holy moment on the moon.

Some "45 minute make-overs" take longer... My daughter and I signed up for make-overs at the Bobbi Brown counter a couple weeks ago. We wanted to learn some tips for the upcoming wedding and try out new products. It was really fun and our artist was one of the professionals trained under Bobbi. She goes to Nordstrom's around the country. Should I be concerned?...It took her a LONG time to do me up from start to finish. I do think she made us look "wedding-ready." Hope we can recreate this look ourselves!

New math: 5 years + 10 pounds= 5 dresses. When my oldest son was getting married back in 2010, I saw a dress I liked one day, tried it on, and bought it. Boom. The End.

This time was a tad more complicated. I ended up bringing home five different dresses; one from J.C. Penney's, two from my private appointment at Nordstrom, one from Target (What?! Yes, they have a bridal department online and it was a returned dress I found in the clearance area.)

The winner was found by chance when I went to a different mall with a friend. (I'll share a pic after the big day.) The "rejects" have all been returned. They all had potential, but most of the colors washed my pale Norwegian skin color out. The plum one below was definitely the runner up.

Maroon 5's debut album was named after me! Ok, not really me, but the 2002 album is called "Songs About Jane." I just learned that while listening to Pandora last night. The muse was a former girlfriend of Adam Levine. 

Good grief, I can't even pretend it was me since I was in college the year Adam was born! Which leads me to the last thing I learned this month:

Celebrating my Birthday with family and friends is fun even if it means I'm getting older. On my actual "day" my hubby and youngest spoiled me with a Mexican fiesta on our deck. Margaritas, enchiladas, beautiful roses and perfect weather; what's not to love? 

On Friday night lots of my best girlfriends helped me celebrate at a local spot called Zogs. (It's a hidden gem on Fox Island. You walk through the Shell gas station store to get to it.) 

Each time a friend showed up I felt my heart swell bigger. I am blessed! We had an "after-party" too, with cake and bubbly. I felt totally loved and spoiled and I'm thankful to have been given another year to spend with all the people I love!

"So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

What did you learn during the month of August?

In His Grip,