Thursday, August 25, 2016

Things I've Been Learning This Summer

The calendar says there is only a week left of August! I have obviously been filling my time with things other than writing. Am I still blogging? That is a good and yet-to-be answered question, since I haven't posted for 6+ weeks... 

We have done quite a few trips in July and August and are thankful for our loyal pet-sitters. Perhaps I could become a travel blogger!

Here are some things I've been learning this summer:

1. I LOVE summertime!
I've taken a bit of a "fast" from spending lots of time in front of my laptop screen and popping onto Facebook multiple times a day. I've been keeping busy: at Charlie Barnes Kids where I work, taking my dog for almost-daily walks, read lots of books, tuned into the Olympics. binged on a couple Netflix shows, hung out with friends and enjoyed dinners on our deck with my husband. 

2. Our bible study group loves to gather all year long.
Our Women's ministry takes the summer off but almost every Tuesday morning my sweet group who ranges in age from 24 to 70, sit outside in a friend's beautiful yard studying God's word together. We went through Beth Moore's Book about prayer and now we're doing Ephesians. 

"And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near." Hebrews 10:25

3. Getting away to spend time with family and friends is money well-spent.
In early July Mike and I traveled to Indiana to visit my family and we had a fun gathering at the home of one of my nephew's. Wish all my kiddos could have joined us!

After dinner out with dear friends (note to self... many restaurants are closed on Monday night), we stopped by Butler University, home of the Bulldogs, where my husband attended college and I had taken some Masters in Education classes.

Next, we headed to Omaha to visit the Carver side of the family and celebrate Mike's birthday.

At the end of July we drove an hour East of Spokane to Sand Point, Idaho. We rented a house with some friends big enough so there would be room for all our kids to join us. The guys golfed, we hung out on the lake, read, played games, road bikes, and even picked blueberries. We missed our two in L.A.!

4. I love the grown-up versions of my kids!
Our Nashville girl officially became a Spokane, Washington girl and we made a trip to IKEA to gather some items for her new apartment.

Her new place is so hot cute! I loved my welcome sign.

I'm honored that the "teaching gene" has been passed down from my parents, sisters and I to my own children. BOTH our daughters will begin teaching jobs in Spokane; one in Middle School and one in High School, and our oldest son is teaching in a Los Angeles High School. Our other son is in Grad school, studying to be a counselor.

Here are my cute daughters on the Whitworth campus. Love them!

5. I NEVER get tired of attending weddings!
We attended the wedding of one of our son's sweet friends who used to hang out at our house all through high school. That handsome, tall groomsman is my #3 child. Love him!

A couple weeks ago a young friend from my bible study had a beautiful wedding in a field. Everything about the event was very personal and totally fit the bride's personality.

6. There is nothing FREE about a "free" kitten.
We adore the new addition to our family! Our kitty Thor (his "Dad's" College nickname) has quite a story. He was rescued from the side of the road in Spokane, adopted by a family who discovered they were allergic, cared for by my youngest daughter, and driven across the state to me by my son. The whole family is smitten with the kitten!

We have already spent around $400 between the immunizations, Cat condo, and other gear. Our Vet suggested we buy another cat climbing item for upstairs if we want to keep him off the table and counters. He just wants to "get high." Anyone know of a better deal than $99 at Costco? If you agree that my kitty is adorable, I have been sharing some of Thor's adventures on my Instagram account "Jane His Wife." He has definitely moved into his terrible twos...

 Thor is absolutely the spitting image of our beloved Tigger who passed away in January. 
Don't you agree?

Big Tig (He was cherished for 15 years!)

7. Some crazy people head to the HOT desert in August.
When my husband had a weeklong meeting at one of my favorite resorts in Scottsdale and he invited me to join him for the weekend, of course I said yes! I left sunny and 80's here in the Harbor for SUNNY and over 100 degrees in Arizona! But...I got to read on a lounge chair, drink delicious cocktails (like the Mango daiquiri pictured above), and float in the pool. My only task for each day was to decide where and what to eat. I love Scottsdale and the JW Camelback!

8. When the news is bad, we need to draw near to God.
Watching the news is really hard. I often try to avoid it and yet I need to stay informed to what is happening around the globe so I'll know how to pray. Please join me in prayer for all the areas suffering from flooding, forest fires, tornadoes and earthquakes.

As your summer winds down, I hope you experience God's peace and joy. What have you been learning?

                                                                                 In His Grip, 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What I Learned in June~2016

I hope you all enjoyed your 4th of July! We enjoyed a fun BBQ and then had friends over to sit on our deck and watch fireworks exploding all around us over the Puget Sound.

Here's a look back at some things I learned during the month of June:

1. Planning summer activities when I'm an empty-nester looks quite a bit different than back in the day... Case in point: I don’t have to go to the library this summer, I get to. I got a notice in the mail about the Library summer reading contest for students. They obviously don't know that ALL of our kids are now college graduates and out of the house and that I get to read what I want...when I I want! (Paperbacks, Kindle, magazines, borrowed books) I also don't have to enroll kids in VBS, camps, lessons, etc. My summer will revolve around work, figuring out when I can SEE my kids, vacations and enjoying our deck! "Yes Sydney, I'll take you for walks."

2. The first Flight attendants were also registered nurses. United Airlines hired the first woman in 1930. Before that, men called Stewards served food on American flights. During WWII nurses were needed to help with the war effort so airlines relaxed the rule and hired women who could be trained in safety and emergency procedures. Another interesting fact...flight attendants used to HAVE to be single (available) women. The minute they became engaged, they could no longer work for the airlines. The history of this transportation career is fascinating and as with all things has changed a lot over the years. Do you have a favorite airline? Do you have a bunch of friends who are flight attendants like I do? Have you ever considered applying for the job?...

3. Facebook can be a little creepy and sometimes try too hard. When I clicked on my youngest daughter's name on Facebook last week "IT" decided to inform me that I had some things in common with her. Here's what I discovered:
You and Sarah                                                                                                                                                Also went to GHHS Senior Baccalaureate and Project Hope Benefit Concert Also lives in Gig Harbor, Washington Also visited Spokane, WashingtonPort Townsend, Washington and 9 others Also listens to Cold Mountain Yeti Also watched Winnie the Pooh

Dear Facebook, 
I love my girl very much so you don't need to remind me what we have in common!
Yes, I went to her high school Baccalaureate! That was four summers ago since she just graduated from college! I don't remember the Project Hope concert, are you sure I attended?
She doesn't really live in Gig Harbor anymore since she has her own apartment in Spokane.
Yes she went to the Women's retreat in Port Townsend and many other towns with me. Are you stalking us?! I don't really listen to Cold Mountain Yeti. Name me a song...
Yep, we LOVE Winnie the Pooh.  P.S. Do you really have to show me pictures of all the items I look at but decide not to order?
Kind of creepy the way Facebook stalks us...

4. When you don't know, look it up! The entire time I was reading The Garden of Happy Endings by Barbara O'Neal, I was saying the Priest's name incorrectly in my head. (Somehow I forgot that my name in Spanish, Juanita, starts with the "W" sound...) Finally I looked up HOW to say the name Joaquin and I was WAY off. I might not agree with the author's theology, but I enjoy Barbara's stories; interesting characters, always a dog and yummy descriptions of food are in her books.

5. They're sisters! Did you know that the actress Rooney Mara who plays Tiger Lily in the movie Pan, is the younger sister of Kate Mara who plays Zoe on House of Cards? I thought Rooney looked familiar, but couldn't figure out how I knew her! These two sisters have been in lots of movies and shows and their family is well-connected. Don't you think they look a lot alike?


6. Having all the kids in the same place at the same time doesn't happen often when they're all adults! My hubby and I went to Spokane the last weekend of June for Hoopfest. What is Hoopfest? It's the biggest outdoor 3 on 3 basketball tournament on earth! Our two sons and one of our daughter-in-laws were competing and even though they didn't win every game, they did great!  Our two daughters were returning from a 2+ week road trip so we had quite a fun family "reunion!" #happymama

7. God really DOES go ahead of us! My former Nashville daughter who is now back in the PNW arrived in Spokane the afternoon of Hoopfest. In less than a week she found a cute little apartment right across the street from her little sister. What are the chances? The Landlord had stopped by her little sister's place and informed them that one of his other properties had just opened up. It's in her price range and month to month. Such balm for this Mama's heart, and my daughter's too. Answered prayers are the best!

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 31:8

In His Grip,

P.S. Here's a good devotional about Deuteronomy 31:8.

Photo sources:

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Week of Emotions

Last Saturday my hubby and I celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary. Thanks to a groupon, we stuffed ourselves with fondue at The Melting Pot, then we popped next door to El Gaucho for an after-dinner cocktail. It was such a fun, happy night! We are so thankful God brought us together and has helped us stay together through the good and the hard times...

I ordered my favorite swanky drink, a Sidecar and it was the best one I've ever had! Be warned; this yummy concoction at El Gaucho is quite pricey~$15, and pretty potent.
 (I wasn't driving.)

The bartender wrote down the recipe for me in case I ever have all the ingredients at home to concoct one of my own.

It wasn't until we were in church the next day that I heard about the horrible shootings at the Orlando nightclub.  My heart breaks for all the Mamas and family members who are mourning. On Wednesday I was celebrating the grand re-opening of the Flagship Cutters Point Coffee Co. with a girlfriend, when she mentioned the death of a toddler in Disney World. I can't even fathom the pain and disbelief the parents must be feeling. So much sadness... 

As we all wrestle with the evil and unexpected events that have occurred in our broken world, I want to share two things that have ministered to me:

I love this new praise song: Thy WillI've always loved the country group "Lady Antebellum." The female member of the group, Hillary Scott, is now also writing and singing praise songs with her parents and sister. I think you'll agree that "Thy Will" is beautiful and the lyrics stick in your head (in a good way!)
"I know you hear me
I know you see me Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store.

I appreciated this hope-filled response to the nightclub tragedy in Orlando:
Kristen Welch writes a blog called "We Are That Family" and she did a beautiful job in this letter to her kids. It's for all of us! 

Jesus is our only hope!

Let your family and friends know how much you love them, extend grace and kindness to all and have a safe weekend.

In His Grip,

Photo sources:

Friday, June 3, 2016

5 Favorites for Friday

Happy Friday friends! The weather here in the PNW is glorious, and since my cold/flu is starting to go away, I actually went on my first outing in two weeks; Trader Joe's with a girlfriend is always a favorite!

Here are five of my favorites this week:

Movie to rent~ The other night my hubby decided to watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E. on our "On Demand." I loved the actors, wonderful time-period fashions from the 60's and great action without too much violence. I give it 5 stars.
Photo source:

You Tube subscription~#Rach Talk of The Chic. I love watching and listening to Rachel Hollis. She always makes me smile She has her own lifestyle blog, is a Mom of 3 biological sons and 2 foster baby girls, she's a former L.A. event planner, a believer, and she's written fiction books. Check her out, I think you'll agree she's fun and talented!

Photo source:

Make-up product~ If I am deserted on an Island, this is the ONE product I need to have. Due to my Norwegian genes, I have scary dark circles. It's a multi-step process before I leave the house... First, Loréal Age Perfect eye Renewal creme, next, Garner BB eye roller, then Bobbie Brown Corrector in Bisque, and finally, the Maybelline eraser shown below. I have it in Light/pale right now and it's price-point is around $7.

Quote~"My imperfections will never override God’s promises. God’s promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on His ability to use well." 
(Lysa Terkeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministry)
 I wrote about making decisions earlier in the week. It's reassuring to remember God is bigger than any choice my loved ones or I make...

Recipe~ I saw this recipe, made by Kelly Nan on the Progressive Blog Dinner Tour and decided to give it a try. YUM! We'll be making this a lot this summer! Besides the yummy recipe, I think you'll also enjoy the Blog tour of homes!

Grilled Tilapia and Mango Salsa RecipeMarinade Ingredients:
  • 1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic in the jar)
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets
Salsa Ingredients
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (we use serranos from our garden if we have them on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place tilapia filets in a Ziplock bag. Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pour marinade into the bag, seal the bag, and move the filets around until they are well coated. Refrigerate for an hour. 
  2. Prepare the mango salsa (this can be made ahead of time) by combining the first five salsa ingredients in a bowl. Add the lime juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and toss. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate. (We use a fish pan with nonstick spray)
  4. Remove the tilapia from the marinade, and shake off excess. Discard the remaining marinade. Grill the fillets until the fish is no longer translucent in the center, and flakes easily with a fork, 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Serve the tilapia on top of a bed of yellow saffron rice, and top with mango salsa.
It's the Maritime Festival weekend here in the Harbor, so they'll be parades, concerts and merriment. Tonight I'm heading to a Mops Mentor Mom end-of-year dinner. My youngest child is popping home too, before she meets up with her big sister in Nashville on Monday. Lots to be thankful for! 

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever." 
Psalm 107:1 (NLT)

In His Grip,


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What I Learned in May~2016

Here's a  look back at what I learned in May, besides the fact that my Loft sneakers totally match the furniture at the Davenport Tower Hotel in Spokane, Washington...

1. That tummy roll of mine that seems to have inflated the last several years has an official name: Meno Middle.

Anyone else out there in their 50's who is wondering what that roll is that won't seem to go away?Yep, another lovely side-effect of growing older. 

Photo source:

2. Preschool Art Tip:

When I substitute taught Preschool this month I learned that if you add a tiny bit of dish soap to paint (especially red paint) it will wash off hands, tables and clothes more easily. This tip was shared by a wonderful veteran teacher, Mrs. Rohn, who will be retiring next week. She looked at the mess I was cleaning up after our fun Ladybug project and realized she'd forgotten to add the soap...I'm amazed I escaped without getting ANY paint on my clothes! I forgot to snap a photo, but the project was a lot like this:

photo source:

3. Siri can be a nutritional coach:

I've talked about my love of Pao's donuts before. They are the BEST! One afternoon I was almost ready to pull through the drive-through for a snack, but decided to ask Siri how many calories were in a chocolate frosted cake donut. When I received the answer (370 calories!!) I was able to gain enough self-control to just drive straight home. I obviously need to talk to Siri more often so I can lose the "meno middle," (See above.) Update: after my doctor visit this morning (I've been sick in bed for over a week) I said to heck with Siri, Meno middle and calories and got myself a donut on the drive home. #sorrynotsorry

photo source:
4. One of my issues has a name in the dictionary:

Do you sometimes have trouble making plans, choosing paint colors, or ordering at restaurants? If you do, you might have Decidophobia!

(Decidophobia is, according to Princeton University philosopher Walter Kaufmann, a fear of making decisions. He coined the term in his 1973 book Without Guilt and Justice in which he writes about the phenomenon at length.) Wikipedia Dictionary

5. My budget won't allow me to dress like Reese Witherspoon:

Have you heard of the new line called Draper James? I consider myself someone with grace and charm, but obviously I don't have the right clothing budget or paycheck to order anything from her new Nashville store. Even her sale items are out of my reach! Sorta, kinda, fun to look and see what I would order if I could...

photo source:

6. Nashville is coming to an end:

The series "Nashville" came to an end this month. I did NOT like how it ended, but apparently the writers wanted to leave us hanging in case another network picks up the show. You can read about that here

My daughter who lives in Nashville is also ending her adventure. She moved there two years ago without a job and made quite a fun life for herself. She made SO many dear friends, loved her first grade teaching job, was very active in her neighborhood church, and enjoyed ALL that Nashville has to offer! 

She felt God calling her back to the Pacific Northwest so she's obeying. She'll be helping to plant a new church in Spokane, and hopefully she will quickly find just the elementary school that needs her experience and heart. She'll be in the same town as her younger brother, sister and sister-in-law; let the shenanigans begin! Stay tuned for updates~the sisters will be doing a cross-country-camping road trip to move her back!

When she arrived back in 2014 after our cross-country road trip

7. I have very compassionate family, friends, co-workers and employers:

I have been a bit like the character in The Grouchy Ladybug for the last week, while I've battled this cold/infection. I haven't had the energy to do ANYTHING. My husband has waited on me "hand and foot," my sweet friends have sent me texts and brought by flowers, and my work associates have been totally understanding when I've called into work sick. I am thankful! 

8. The world thinks I have four independent adult children:

Our baby girl graduated from college, signed a year lease on a charming wouldn't pass code apartment, and is interviewing for jobs. For 30 years we've given our four love and roots and wings and $ and now they are all living life under their own roofs, not ours. They are independent adults, but they're still my babies!

"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living, 
My baby you'll be."
Robert Munsch

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.

What did you learn in May?

In His Grip,

Friday, May 27, 2016

5 Favorites on Friday

photo source:

Happy Friday Friends!

Here is my list of favorites for the week:

1. Have you seen the Happy Chewbacca on You Tube? Oh the joy of simple pleasures! She's adorable! We all need to learn how to be entertained by silly things and laugh at ourselves...

   Photo source:

2. I really like these shirts : I'm excited that I stumbled upon a sale this weekend for a cute baseball-style t-shirt. They are all cute but I chose the green yoga pants one. The blog, The Handmade Home is always good!
3. This fun coloring book by one of my favorite bloggers is available on Amazon for pre-sale. If I was going to purchase myself an adult coloring book, this would be the one... It's on my wish list!

photo source:

4. My favorite spot to hang out in Spokane is the Davenport Tower Lobby. It's so fun to sit in front of the fireplace sipping a Starbucks or a cocktail. My dreamy "home" away from home. Added sneakers match the Jungle decor!

5. My Tuesday morning bible study life group is the BEST! I love the women who have become like family; we are sisters in Christ! It's been such a great year of study, prayer, laughter, challenging each other, and friendship. 

Not pictured: Jean

Besides the favorites mentioned above, my favorite MOMENT  last week was watching my baby girl graduate from Whitworth University. She went through a lot to finish her degree and she persevered and did it! We also had a blast eating pizza, toasting with Champagne, and playing board games afterwards at her very own apartment. 

Mike and I are so thankful God provided a way for all four of our children to receive an education from a wonderful Christian University. Three teachers and one soon-to-be counselor making an impact in the World!

Do you have any fun plans for your 3-day Memorial Weekend? Since I'm a born and raised Hoosier, I'll have to tune into the Indianapolis 500 mile race on Sunday. If I feel better, I'm headed to a Mops end-of-year celebration tonight. I am excited to have my youngest coming home tomorrow for a short visit and possibly bringing her kitty (Mimosa, the Grandkitty I haven't met yet.)

(If you hear barking and toenails scraping wood floors coming from Carver Cottage, you'll know Sydney isn't adjusting well to the furry visitor.) Fingers crossed...

Don't forget to honor and remember all our service men and women who have lost their lives to protect our freedom! GOD Bless America!

What are your favorite things lately?

In His Grip,

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Love "Sick"

It’s a bit of a pattern... My body reacts to stress. Here are some examples:

First High School crush? I broke out in hives. 

Years ago when I was in college, my busy days of attempting to balance studies with Chi Omega Sorority life? I ended up with Mono and had to come home for a month causing me to graduate in August instead of May.

Fast forward to the time I coordinated our women’s retreat. I developed walking Pneumonia that lasted most of that fall.

In 2010 we were getting our house ready to sell and relocate to a suburb of Chicago. I thought I was dealing with the tummy had other ideas. I suddenly had severe on-going pain and many tests were run to try to determine why it hurt and why I couldn’t eat hardly anything. Perhaps counseling was what I needed, not hospital tests! On the upside, I did lose 15 pounds. Unfortunately, they’ve returned...

I haven’t had a cold or been sick for almost two years. I’ve taken my vitamins and washed my hands and wiped down my grocery cart handles. I clean my house with antibacterial products, let in fresh air, and get moderate exercise. But alas, I find myself with a mean bug this week; headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, and hacking cough. The last two days I’ve been snuggled on my bed or on the couch with hot tea; reading or catching up on recorded shows.

Did I literally get this “bug” from my youngest daughter over the weekend, or did my body finally realize that I have just launched my last child into adulthood?

Four children... All grown up and out on their own with college diplomas...Even though we’ve been empty-nesters now for four years, we came home Monday after the graduation weekend realizing that our kids will never live under our roof again. 

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Luke 2:19

Another transition... 

Did you know it’s possible to feel proud and filled with joy and yet also a bit sad all at the same time?

In His Grip,