Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What I Learned in June

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Here's what I learned in June, 2015:
1. Marriage and weddings are on my mind, and so is a new song. Yep, since my son, child #3, is planning an October wedding this Mother of the Groom is having fun listening to their plans for their special day. Of course I'm also scoping  out Pinterest for ideas and checking out books from the library. What I REALLY appreciate, is that my son and his fiancĂ© are aware that they are also planning for their marriage~all the days that follow day one as husband and wife. 

All around me there are SO many couples separating and divorcing and struggling. (Even Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are splitting. Sad!) I'm sure they weren't thinking about that possibility when they were planning their weddings. Marriage is wonderful...but hard! Without including God into the relationship that He invented it seems impossible... 

Casting Crowns has a new song out that I love called "Broken Together." Listen and I think you'll love it too.

 2. My bedroom was a crime scene. We sell the cutest sleep buddies at Charlie Barnes called "Herbal Animals." They have cute names and smell wonderful. Mine is filled with lavender. I need it DARK in order to sleep, so my sheep is always by me in bed, ready to pop on my eyes. Do not ask my husband how he feels about it! I woke up one morning and it looked like my sheep had been murdered; there was a small slit in the seam and lavender was all over the bed... It was also stuck all over my face since I've been putting Vaseline and scar salve on my nose. I stitched her up and she's good as new!

3. My favorite new "genre" of music is called Yacht Rock. No we can't afford a yacht like some people in our age group that the genre was created for, but the music is great. Everything 1970's is coming back in style, even the music!

4. I've been to 35 of the 50 states. I took that test you might have seen on Facebook. It's fun to see all the places I've been (or at least driven through.) Here are the 15 I hope to visit someday: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island. The Carolina's and the upper East Coast states are on my wish list to see first. How many states have you been to?

5. There have been a lot of Christians talking about the Supreme Court Decision and this wonderful response is my favorite. It's written by Kristen from We are THAT Family. I love her heart, ideas and passion for helping others.

6. Our area now has the K-love radio station on 104.5 F.M. I missed it when we returned from Chicago Yesterday I heard the disc jockey on K-Love mentioning the Veggie Burger at Burger King so I tried it. I'm more of a Carnivore, but since I'm attempting to eat healthier I gave it a try and it was not bad!

7. It doesn't always rain in the Northwest in June.  The golfers and spectators that came here for the Chamber's Bay U.S. Open Tournament experienced hot, sunny weather. It was a long, hard, hilly course with zero shade. Maybe the venue wasn't super popular, but I believe the Nation saw how beautiful our area is. We didn't have tickets to attend, but enjoyed seeing our former Fox Island neighborhood on T.V. and seeing all the private planes at our local airport. 

What did you learn in June?

In His Grip,

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Looking Back...and a Five-Year Blog Anniversary

Our front porch in Whitley Hills, Fall 1997

Five years ago this month I wrote my first blog. Back then I didn't even know how to add photos. I still struggle with the techie side of blogging and I'm not a consistent or talented writer, but over the last five years I've penned 315  posts. My hope is that as I process the ordinary, daily things, that you  might be encouraged and learn some new things too!

Five years ago this weekend I was saying goodbye to the town and people I loved in Gig Harbor and moving to Illinois.  Windows and Walls was written as I said goodbye to our yellow house in Whitley Hills.

Quite a lot happened in a span of five years: one son married, lots of graduation ceremonies were attended (one high school, three college, one graduate school), I packed, moved and lived in lots of places (a Colonial in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the basement of a friend's home on Raft Island, a studio apartment near Horsehead Bay, a pretty rental on Fox Island and now to our dream home in downtown in Gig Harbor), we said goodbye to our beloved dog Sadie and rescued our adorable Sydney,  Zoe the cat ran away and found herself a new owner, Tigger stayed chubby, our other boy got engaged, Mike changed jobs and I found my passion working at a baby boutique called Charlie Barnes. We said goodbye and hello to dear friends and our church.

We learned lots of lessons during our two years back in the Midwest.

Through it all...through all the changes, tears, blessings and moves, God was there and God was good. He showed us grace and mercy and love. As I sit on my deck overlooking my gorgeous Harbor town, I try to remember not to hold on too tightly to all we've been given. Who knows what the next five years might bring?

In His Grip, 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Must Be Famous

Perhaps I've had a little too much time on my hands... Perhaps my bedtime pain meds are playing with my mind... Maybe I just decided to pretend I'm famous rather than worrying about my bandaged nose. Here is my list of reasons why it must might be true...
  • I have a personal assistant, live-in nurse, cook & bartender and groundskeeper. His name is Michael and he takes very good care of me.
  • My entry is guarded. OK, it's my puppy-dog Sydney. She does a great job!

  • The weather here has been sunny and hot. Maybe I'm really in Los Angeles on a Harbor "set?"

  • I've been signing a lot of autographs. Do birthday cards and graduation cards count?
  • A professional washed my hair Saturday. I couldn't get my bandage wet so my "personal assistant" took me to our salon around the corner. Having someone else wash your hair is the BEST!
  • People flew into town to visit me. A new friend from Tennessee and my son from Spokane!
  • My city put on a festival just for me! Due to our downtown location, I could hear the music and boats honking during the weekend's Maritime Festival. It FELT like it was just for my enjoyment!
  • Even though deer have not been spotted since we moved in from Fox Island last September, one came all the way to check on me yesterday! She respected my privacy and stayed at a distance.

  • I have a professional make-up artist on "stand-by." Yes sweet Inga, I will most likely need you when my sutures come off and stitches come out...
  • I must be playing the part of a princess because I spent a lot of time trying to get comfy in bed with peas.
  • When I go out in public (rarely) I wear a hat and dark glasses to stay "incognito." I also throw off the paparazzi by driving an unknown car. Or...I might have loaned our convertible to my son and his finance so they could have a fun drive up to Vancouver, B.C.

All valid reasons to believe I might be famous, right? I decided it's more fun to pretend I'm famous, then to wallow in self-pity since I look like I have a pig-nose. Have you watched the 2006 movie, Penelope?
It's a fact that we often believe what we dwell on. Self-talk can be helpful or harmful. I'm trying to believe that the inner-package really is more important than what is on the outside, although I am way more vain than I even thought I was. 

God's word has lots of good reminders for me (and any of us) who are feeling a little insecure in our identity.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2
"We are God’s temple." I Cor. 3:16
"Our purpose is that our lives might bring praise to the glory of Christ." Ephesians 1:12
"We were chosen by God." Ephesians 1:11
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12

What is your mind telling you lately? We need to remember that you and I are sons and daughters of   the KING!

In His Grip, 
Jane xo

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What I Learned in May

June is here!  Since I awoke to a new month, it is time to share a miscellaneous list of some things I learned as I reflect back on the month of May.
My love for Poppies continues!

1. The best place to pick up baby-sitting jobs is at your Mom's place of work. That is, if your Mom works at a baby store. My college daughter was visiting me at Charlie Barnes one morning and she now has quite a few jobs lined up for when she returns to the Harbor after her summer school session ends. That particular morning a bunch of mommies I know (who know my daughter) came shopping so they were able to connect and share contact information and dates.

2. Sip and See. What a fun idea that I'd never heard of! In the south, as an alternative to a baby shower, women host "sip and sees." Friends stop by to sip on tea (or wine?) and to see the new baby. I think this concept can be adapted for SO many things! Come see my (you fill in the ____________.) I'm sort of having one Wednesday! My friends are coming over to see my nose bandaged and we just might sip some vino.

3. I won't be serving that one particular bottle of French wine. 

While on vacation with my husband during his Palm Springs business trip we went to dinner at a French restaurant.  Glancing at the wine choices, we checked out glasses vs. bottles. One particular bottle cost a mere $12,750. Really? Perhaps that price-point  isn't shocking to some people who live or vacation in the desert, but this Mom-of-four-who-often-shops-at-Grocery Outlet, thinks that amount of money could be spent in so many smarter ways to help others... I'll stick to my $6-$12 wine budget at Trader Joe's. 

4. Perhaps Trader Joe's needs to hire me. I brought some of my favorite items that I buy on my trips to TJ's to raffle off at our last MOPS meeting and gave my spiel about them. Afterwards, some of the Mommies said my enthusiasm was evident and perhaps I should be Trader Joe's traveling Public Relations gal. I like that idea!

5. When you only pay $10 for an online swimsuit it will arrive the day after your trip to the ocean. I won't be sharing my source because after I ordered it I actually began navigating the online catalog and found out their idea of dance clothes and mine were NOT the same. Ha! Anyway, the one-piece is OK and fits. Hoping the floppy little "skirt" keeps the eye off the 10 pounds I need to lose...

6. The Drought in California is another reason to give up bottled water. While on our trip, I didn't experience a lack of water. It was in the hotel pool, endless drinking water was available and golf courses looked green. The ways I personally noticed a lack of H2O were: ice was only available at the hotel if you requested it, water wasn't automatically brought to your table at restaurants, and the big Mormon church near my son and daughter-in-law's apartment has chosen to allow their lawn to die and go brown. The big topic to residents is bottled water. SO many companies that produce bottled water are right in the heart of the drought areas of California. I learned that many private labels are manufactured in lots of states all over the country. I'll just keep refilling my bottle with tap water (thankful the Harbor water is so fresh and yummy) and I think I'll start reading the labels to see where it's manufactured...

7. There is a tool to help us take better "selfies!" Have you heard of the new product for your cell phone? I walked by a whole display of them last week at Michael's.

I suppose it would help keep those awkward arms out of the way but won't it be awkward to carry around? How often do we need to take selfies? Here is an example of what NOT to do, followed by a selfie of my hubby and I enjoying the ocean yesterday.
My sweet friends & I in the dinner line. Notice the bunny ears?

8. Sometimes you need to keep the door open and stay standing (Literally and figuratively!)
My friend Andrea and I were given the task at the retreat of setting  up the lunch salad bar at the  house where we were staying.  After doing just that we sat down and had a lovely visit. After a bit we heard a noise so I thought maybe I should check the front door.

photo source:

Imagine our surprise when we saw all the retreat attendees (almost 100) waiting in a friendly line winding up the street.They were NOT grumpy like the nanny applicants in Mary Poppins, but that scene did come to mind.  I laugh just thinking about it! So sorry friends that you were hungry and kept waiting for lunch Saturday! Please knock next time!!

I learned SO many things about becoming FREE over the weekend at retreat. Our guest speaker was amazing and my housemates were a blast. I'll have to share some tidbits in a future post.

It's always a bit hard to return from a sunny "mountaintop experience" back to the ordinary and gray skies. And yet...
God is good, all the time!

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.
What did you learn in the month of May?

In His Grip, 

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Around the Block for Love

If you're as old as I am, you might remember the movie starring Haley Mills called "That Darn Cat!"

Tigger Duncan Carver is MY darn cat. He decided to go on another adventure last week. The weather was pretty so our back door was open. It is time for us to figure out some kind of screen door...

I didn't realize he was missing until breakfast. He must have snuck out before I locked up the house for the night. In between work and errands I hunted for him, called for him, texted my hubby to pray and hoped he hadn't wandered over to the forest. He'd been gone about 24 hours when I decided it was time for some intentional searching. I printed out fliers with "big boy's" photo and our info and started going door-to-door around the block.

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" Luke 15:4

If you're a parent (of a human variety or pet) you probably go to great lengths to show your love. Runaway Bunny is a another great example of a parent's love for their child, picture-book style.

It was a Friday night around dinnertime and most of my neighbors were out. Obviously they had more exciting Friday night plans than I did. I made some new acquaintances and unfortunately went to a house containing people and a yappy dog which will require extra grace in order for me to follow the command: love your neighbor.  The sweet grandma on the corner might not have realized that telling me about cats due to raccoons was probably NOT what I needed to hear...

Guess who was waiting for me in the driveway? Apparently Tigger just needed to know how much I loved him and what was I willing to do to prove it.

How do I love thee? All the way around the block! 
Feeling a bit worn out and a tad guilty.

 You and I also desire to know we are loved and cherished. Sometimes it only takes something little, like when my hubby makes me a pot of coffee or smoothie in the morning, or I receive a text or email from one of my four kids in the afternoon.

Sometimes it's something BIG like when God proved how much he loved mankind by sending Jesus.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 

My four kids didn't always make wise choices, but I LOVED them anyway. I ALSO tested my parent's love back in the day... "Dear Mom, I'm sorry I used to hide Boone's Farm wine in the bushes outside my bedroom window when I was in high school. Thanks for putting up with me and loving me through my wild years! Love, Janie xo"

I'm headed up to Port Townsend this weekend with my Chapel Hill sisters for our women's retreat. I know it's going to be a special time connecting with friends and hearing from the Lord. Last year our theme was Restoration and my sweet Sarah got to go with me.

My kitty cat must have discovered this year's theme: 
"Be Free!" 

How about you? Have you had to prove your love lately? Have you felt loved lately?

In His Grip,

Have a great weekend friends, and thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!

Photo sources:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Stone's Throw

We live directly across the street from Grandview Forest and the Civic center. The expression, "a stone's throw" describes how close we are. Other than the occasional litter around our mailbox, it's a fabulous and quiet street. 

a stone's throw
 a very short distanceThe apartment is just a stone's throw from the sea."Is your house far from here?" "No, it's only a stone's throw away."
My sweet college girl was packing up the car to drive back for summer school on Monday and I was waiting for her on our front porch. I could see and hear a young man on a riding lawn mower attempting to mow around the huge city water tanks. I say attempting because from the sounds I was hearing I believe he was mainly plowing over sticks, dirt and rocks. While Sarah popped in the house I was putzing around; singing and dancing (kind of normal for me.) 

I was about to straighten our American flag when I suddenly heard a loud noise like a gunshot and then a crackling sound... It took just a second to realize what had happened. A rock had shot out from under the riding mower across the street and hit our GLASS front door.

Yes. It traveled through a chain-link, no-tresspassing fence, across a street that cars drive on regularly, up our driveway and porch and hit our door. It missed me by inches. 

The bible mentions stones often. (David used a stone to kill Goliath.)
17:49 "Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground."

Jesus talked about throwing stones in the New Testament when the scribes and Pharisees wanted to kill a woman caught in adultery; "Let him who is without sin among you throw the first stone." John 8:7

Joshua 4 talks about memorial stones. I WILL remember this particular stone...

I am confident that the young man hired to cut weeds, sticks,rocks grass did not intend harm on anyone. It was an accident. I try not to dwell on the what ifs. I'm so glad Sarah and my doggie Sydney had gone inside. Thankfully, God protected me from what could have done some serious damage.

We are very glad that the people who remodeled our home choose double-pane glass that doesn't shatter. It's still holding strong as we wait the 7-9 days for the new door to arrive. We're closing the door gently and keeping a sheet on the porch in case it falls... The City of Gig Harbor agreed to pay for our new front door. Yay, tax dollars working for us!

Since I've been "worrying" about having my basel cell surgery on my nose in early June, having a rock almost hit my head has put that in perspective. Yep, I'm a thankful girl.Have you had any "close encounters" lately? In His Grip, Jane xoThanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!definition source: source:

Friday, May 1, 2015

What I Learned In April

Happy May Day! Isn't it just like God to remember how much I LOVED the Lilac bushes we had in our Fox Island yard and surprise!! Our new back yard has a beautiful Lilac Tree. We were SO excited when the flowers started to bloom. I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Here are some other things and lessons I learned throughout the month of April.

1. She said yes! The most important thing I learned this month is that my #3 child is loved by another woman besides his Mama. Yep. My son asked the love of his life to be his wife and she said yes. I have a lot of memories of my boy flashing through my head and heart. How could 23 years have flown by so quickly? I DO know I raised an amazing husband-to-be and I'm very excited to have another daughter-in-law!

2. A Cat door changes everyone's life. Tigger is 14+ and we FINALLY installed a cat door for the big guy. He now can go from his "Man Cave" downstairs on the chair to the garage where his "bathroom" and food are located. We don't hear a lot of grumpy complaining from him. If you don't have one, get one!!

3. Now I know how to order my iced tea! My dear friend who grew up in the South taught me a new term last week; "Half-cut." Now when I go to McDonald's or Chick-fil-a (They just opened one in Tacoma! Who wants to go with me?!) I can order a half-cut sweet tea which is 1/2 sweet tea mixed with 1/2 regular unsweetened tea. I have my own version of this for cola when I go to restaurants; 1/2 regular and 1/2 diet coke. Yummy. Even better tasting than Coke Zero. I'm not sure if I can call it "half-cut coke." Thoughts?

4. Earth Day continues. Did you celebrate/recognize Earth Day? I first heard about Earth Day in college when I was attending Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. (The Ball Family made it's fortune making Ball Canning jars.) I Remember being at a big event outside on campus and I was wearing my tan skirt and sandals that I loved. I think it was 1980. Fast forward to 2015. I sort of forgot it was Earth Day last Wednesday. It was a work at Charlie Barnes day for me.

I did my part when I picked up all the litter on the street in front of my house. I don't want to sound bitter or judgmental, but why do people leave the park/skatepark which is across the road and dump their fast food wrappers and BAD beer cans (PBR anyone?) and energy drink cans all around our mailbox and yard?! I think it's time for me to ask the city if they can place a trash can near the park exit. Here's a sampling of what I picked up in one day and threw in my recycling. Take that Earth day advocates!

5. I was not born with the "card-playing" gene. A couple weekends ago we invited good friends over for dinner and card games. I tried. You have to understand, I've never been good at card games. The whole strategy not to mention remembering rules had me practically breaking out in a sweat. I WANT to be smart. I WANT to be a good teammate. Obviously I was born without the gene that helps with card games. I found this book on my shelf; time to study!

6.  THE cookie is in Procter. Best. Cookie. Ever. Go to the Metropolitan Market grocery store bakery and order "the cookie." It is huge and warm and has chocolate chips, chunks of chocolate and roasted walnuts. It is SO good!

Source: You Tube

The saddest news I learned in April was the Earthquake in Nepal. I'm praying for that part of our world. What did you learn in April?

In His Grip,
As always, thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!