Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sydney Reminds Us It's Simple

Our rescue dog Sydney celebrated her 4th birthday last week. What joy our rescue dog has brought us (and a few other things...) Observing her has taught me some things to apply to my relationship with God. See if any of her “tips” resonate with you:

Stay close. Sydney always lays right by my feet when I’m sitting on the couch or at our kitchen farm table so she's ready for my next move. If you’ve been to our house you know it can be tricky to stand up without stepping on her! I too need to spend time “at the feet” of my Jesus.

Be on alert. Sydney is always on the lookout for anything that might bring harm to me. As we walk she’s looking all around as if something dangerous could suddenly appear.  I also need to be on alert to avoid temptations and recognize potential situations that are totally opposite of what God would desire for me.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8 NLT

Stick to a routine. Every day, despite the weather, Sydney wants expects a walk. “No excuses Mom.” I need to read my devotionals, pray and keep up with my daily bible study despite all the hundreds of things that try to interrupt my routine. No excuses.

Be patient and don’t give up. I don’t know the entire story of Sydney’s life before we adopted her at age two, but I do know she had a story. Her former owner became ill and so she gave up Sadie (Sydney’s former name~read more about that here.) and her brother-dog Baxter to be adopted. Baxter was adopted first and Sadie waited and waited at the Wags to Riches dog rescue for a family (us!) to fall in love with her.  I’m so glad she never gave up hope. I’m so glad we found her! I’m also glad God doesn’t give up on me (or you) and His plan might take patience but is always what is best for us.

Watch for signals. Sydney’s very good at determining that a walk might be imminent. If she sees my yoga or sweat pants... if I tie on my athletic sneakers... if she hears the sound of plastic poop grocery bags being grabbed to tie onto her leash... She’s very observant. I need to be conscious of signals that I get from the Holy Spirit. When I see something or hear something that nudges my heart or mind, I need to ask God what I can do in response.

Always be ready. Even if it was the middle of the night and it was a blizzard, Sydney would be ready; to go for a walk, to cuddle with me, or to cheerfully accept a command. There would be no hesitation. I need to be ready and flexible for whatever circumstances come my way. 

“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 12:40

Trust and Forgive. Our puppy doesn’t hold grudges. She’s forgiven us for staying out late, not taking her on walks when we’re lazy and she even forgave her Daddy when he  drew blood trimming her nails. Our latest transgression was thinking her constant itching was due to allergies. We’d taken her to the Vet several weeks ago and she’d finished her meds. We gave her a bath and wondered why she still scratched and bit at herself nonstop. You know where this is going, right? 

Yep. Our dog has fleas! NOT cool. NOT fun. Poor girl! Boo hiss...We are busy trying to rid our new home and dog of the nasty little buggers (time and $$$) and hope our life group that's coming over for dinner tonight won't freak out if or when they read this blog post! Sorry friends...

Several lessons learned from the flea nightmare: You might think you’re protected, but the enemy is sneaky!...How do we react and what can we do more effectively in the future? Have Pets?... Use your Frontline or Advantage, do NOT busy generic. Sydney is now on a once-a- month flea pill called Nexgard. Worth every penny. 

What about People?... We need to trust, arm ourselves with God's word, and acknowledge that people make mistakes and deserve grace and forgiveness.

Love always. If you have a dog, you understand the unconditional love they give to their family. Sydney is SUCH a sweet, loving pet. No matter how I treat her or talk to her, she responds in love. Real love. I need to remember that love IS the only thing that really matters and it’s how I should treat everyone I encounter.

Simple? Perhaps it can be. Our sweet four-legged family member truly lives a contented life because she focusses on L O V E.

In His Grip, 
Jane                  Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Drop In!

It’s been one month since we moved into our new house in downtown Gig Harbor. 

When we first walked into this house we knew. 31 years of marriage and eight + houses, we knew what we were hoping for. Due to a remodel about six years ago, it was move-in-ready. This house had it all; location, view, size, charm. Yep, we were smitten.

I still claim that God led us to this place and kept it available for us until we could finagle the finances and make an offer the seller would accept. It had been on the market (above our price range) all summer, and yet it was still waiting for us. After a stressful weekend of counter offers, we finally received the news that it could be ours and we've been on cloud nine ever since.

It's fitting that we named this home “Cloud Nine!” (It’s the ninth home we’ve lived in, it’s the ninth home on the right off of the main drag, and the view of the clouds on sunny or gray days is breathtaking.) 

Remember the letter that Jane and Michael Banks wrote to inform their parents of the type of nanny they hoped for? Well we, Jane and Michael C., "wrote" lists in our heads and prayed together and individually. Our prayers were heard and even though it took quite a few years and some zig zags back and forth to Chicago, we received our hoped-for home. We're as happy as the Banks children when they realized how special Mary Poppins was! 

We've already noticed a change in our routines; I walk to work, Michael swims at the YMCA, we invite friends over more, and we feel settled. Rather than constantly wondering when our landlord might go into foreclosure, going to open houses, drooling at Pinterest house ideas, or commuting back and forth, I can spend my time more wisely. We love having a place with a central location so we can offer up our home and have friends drop in.

A couple Sundays ago I was reminded of the book, City Mouse~Country Mouse. The story tells of cousins and their very different life-styles. It ends with the country mouse deciding he liked his simple life out in the country better than putting up with the dangers of city life. 
"Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and jelly in fear!"

I, on the other hand, though thankful for the 2 1/2 years we spent out in the country  on the remote, quiet island, am thrilled to be a city girl. (My city is not a huge metropolis, perhaps village would be a better term...) I can even say this after we've encountered our first (hopefully only) theft.

We were HOME, watching the Seahawks game, and a young man swiped Mike’s bicycle right out of our garage. (We’d taken a break from the unpacking.) I find it a bit ironic since the police station is catty-corner from our house. Our local police were stellar and the bike was returned to us six hours later. (Lesson Learned: There is a much better chance of items being found, if you report thefts quickly.

I now keep the garage doors shut, lock our doors, wave to the police, and continue to be grateful for our barking guard dog Sydney. 

Even better than knowing the police will come quickly when we call, is knowing that every prayer I shoot up is heard. Sometimes God has a different plan than mine, sometimes I have to wait on the Lord's timing, and sometimes He gives more than I could ever imagine.  

How about you? Are you fond of living in the country or the city?

This "City" girl is on Cloud Nine and In His Grip
xo                               Thank you for stopping by See Jane Learn.

photo sources: Pinterest and Bing

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What I Learned in September

Every day I'm learning new things; I Google out of curiosity, read books and magazines (and lots of blogs) and God is always teaching me things through his word and the people he puts in my life. September was a lovely month here in the Northwest and here are the lessons learned that stood out to me:

1. Don't put your dog on Steroids for an allergic reaction the week after moving into a new home. Poor Sydney. She couldn't control her bladder, and like a senior, she'd tinkle a bit every time she stood up and not even realize it! We'll be shampooing our carpets again soon...

2. Spend the extra money to buy good flea meds, not generic. If you buy a cheaper version rather than Frontline, you will give your dog a BAD reaction which sends you to the Vet (Over $200 later and did I mention the accidents on our carpet?...) The book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie comes to mind.

3. If you turn 21 on a Monday, you will discover that the DMV is closed which means you can't get your new Driver's License. Yes, this happened to my baby girl. She did manage to have several legal cocktails due to understanding bartenders in Spokane. She's finally legal! 

4. I was intrigued by the meanings of my first and last names. I can't remember what made me want to look up the meanings but Jane means "gift of God or Jehovah is gracious" (thanks Mom and Dad!) and my maiden name Story means "dweller by large and rough water." (This fits since we live right by Puget Sound, but I grew up in the Midwest where the only water was a creek. Plus Story is my middle name now...)

5. The latest Rite Aid commercial is reminding me I probably should go get a flu shot. When I taught Preschool and Kindergarten I usually got one. Now that I spend my days in a baby store where little ones come and go and the general public touches lots of our pretty things I probably should do more than frequent hand-washing to protect myself from germs.

6. The series "Outlander" on the Starz network is timely! I found it ironic that last week there was a vote over in Scotland to decide if they would separate from the United Kingdom and the "Outlander" TV show incorporates the fight for freedom back in 18th century Scotland. (Along with  featuring time-travel and romance.)

7. I don't need to participate in "National Coffee Day." Apparently there was a day set aside for coffee this week and I didn't hear read about it until bedtime. No worries... every day is coffee day for me. My mornings always include a big mug of Pike Place blend brewed at home with a mixture of hot 1% milk and fat free half & half. 

8. Yesterday I found "TDN" on my laptop, which stands for "The Design Network." I can watch short videos (usually under 5 minutes) about decorating or cooking. Three of my favorites are "Holiday Decorating with Girls with Glasses," "The Lettered Cottage," and "Entertaining with Beth." 

9. I have discovered one of my unofficial roles: to change the rolls in bathrooms! Everywhere I go I seem to be the one who needs to replace an empty toilet tissue roll with a new, full one. I might be at home, at work, or at a friend's home. I'm really not exaggerating. Almost every day I seem to be replacing a roll somewhere. Perhaps I'm like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz who felt it was his job to oil all the squeaky gates with his oil can. I hope I'm taking care of a small task that makes life a bit easier for the next person. 

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." Helen Keller

10. Great Champagne doesn't have to be expensive. One of our local restaurants always greets their customers with a free glass of bubbly and it's really delicious. The waitress shared where we could find their brand ($8 a bottle) and so I headed over to Tacoma to buy some in case we had reason to celebrate. About one day later, we received the news that our Nashville daughter had found a job. Certainly an answered prayer that deserved to be toasted. We're super excited that she gets to come here for a visit next week before her new job begins! Good thing I bought a second bottle!

Did you have moments worthy of celebrating? Learn any new random facts? I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. I'd love to hear about things you've been learning.

In His Grip, 
Jane       Thank you for stopping by See Jane Learn.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dealing With Some Changes

Our family’s picture might be in a Webster Dictionary beside the description of change


 verb \ˈchānj\
: to become different
: to make (someone or something) different
: to become something else

All seven of our family members (plus the pets) are going through some type of change...  
Here's what the Carver family has been up to:

We moved! We are settling into our new home in downtown Gig Harbor. The location is amazing; close to shops, restaurants, church, the highway. I can even walk to my job! 

It is really different than living 25 minutes out on the tip of an Island. We are so grateful that God lead us to “Cloud Nine.” (More on the name of our place in a future post...) We still can’t park our cars in the garage yet, but most of the house has been unpacked. 

Our oldest son and his wife left Chicago in July, and are back from their “funemployment” vacation overseas. They are temporarily living in Fort Collins, Colorado until they move to L.A. in the fall and they’re actively looking for jobs...

Our Nashville daughter just found a first grade teaching position that starts mid-October. This former first grade teacher Mama is thrilled for her! She’ll be great and her class will be blessed.

Our just-graduated “Man-Cub” is on the journey of deciding whether to find a career-type job or apply for grad school. In the meantime, hopefully he’ll find something to pay for his rent and groceries!

After a year back home completing her Associate Degree at our local community college, baby girl moved back to Whitworth University. She loves her new off-campus house and roomies, and just began a practicum in a local high school art class for her teaching degree. She also loves getting to hang out with her big brother!

Sydney is trying to figure out where her neighbor dog friends are and why her Mama hasn’t been taking her on daily walks lately. (My excuse is unpacking and kids visiting. And yesterday the rain returned...) She seems to be adjusting to her new fenced-in backyard and is recovering from an allergic reaction to cheap, generic flea meds.

Tigger has adjusted well for a 14 year old kitty. He’s hanging in the garage, venturing out occasionally to wander around the yard, and even spending time with us on the couch or on Sydney’s bed.

Change. Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it is our choice and sometimes it is thrust upon us. Thankfully this "I like things to stay the same girl" is learning that often change is for the best and that God goes before us and is for us!

Change. It's a verb. Things are happening... I am changing... Our empty-nester marriage is evolving...Our kid's lives are becoming something else... It's new and exciting!

"See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:19

In His Grip, 
Jane          Thank you for stopping by See Jane Learn!

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 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.