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!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Interrupted Pity Party


Happy Monday!  As I write this I'm watching the 50th ACM Awards that I taped last night. My hubby isn't a huge country music fan like I am so last night we were watching one of our new favorites, The Outlander. Have you seen it? Are you hooked?

It is handy to be able to fast forward through the commercials of the 3 1/2 hour awards show. Spoiler alert: Miranda wins a LOT of awards and Little Red Wagon gets stuck in your head.  Oh, by the way, I might have been in the audience! Let me explain...

Back in February I hosted a Mary Kay brunch. A couple of my Mops Mentor Mom friends came over and the consultant helped us all get pretty. I had heard about a contest where you send in a before and after head shot and the winner would get to go to the awards show.

Yes! I wanted to win! I was willing to risk embarrassment in order to go see my girl in Nashville! I let the consultant take my photos, and then I filled out the application. Right when I was going to be brave and post my lovely pics and start begging asking my friends to vote for me, I caught the tiny location detail; the awards weren't going to be held in Nashville, they were in Texas!! If I had won the Mary Kay contest, I would have chosen to wear a pretty red gown like the one below. Sometime in the next several months we hope to fly over to see our Nashville girl but until then, I wait...

Photo source:

My weekend didn't start out super. If you read my last blog post, I mentioned a future 10-day trip to California that I've been so looking forward to (including visiting my oldest son and daughter-in-law.) Friday morning my hubby received the news that the California trip was cancelled. What?! 

Appears that the head peeps decided everyone in the company needed to be working hard to promote the new product that just became official. I totally would have worn a hat and shirt with the company logo while lounging poolside! This cancellation news was quite disappointing and we weren't the only ones affected. All plans had to change; cancelled flights, hotel, pet-sitter, sub at work, college daughter coming home to help with pets, my anticipation of sand, sun, and a slight tan. The trip will most likely be rescheduled, but until then, I wait... 

I was feeling a bit down thinking about the cancelled vacation, all my husband's business travel, how I miss my kids and my upcoming consult with the skin cancer surgeon. Boo.

We interrupt this pity-party.

Just when I least expected it, something a bit encouraging happened. We were at Wilco Saturday buying grass seed and someone I'd never met approached me and asked if I was Jane. She recognized my face from my blog. What?!

She proceeded to tell me how we were connected several years ago by a mutual friend on Facebook when we were in the market for a used car. She started reading my blog, was challenged to begin writing herself and signed up for a blogging group. She thanked me for giving her the courage to begin. Whoa. Me? My little bitty blog?

Thank you so much Marie for your kind words. You made my day weekend!

 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24

I'm learning... Surprises can happen. LOTS of country stars love Jesus. Often we must wait.
Words matter.

How about you? Have you received any gracious words at just the right time? Have you shared some kind words with someone? It just might make their weekend!

In His Grip, 

P.S. I just saw an important announcement. Have you heard of Child Hunger Ends Here? Check this out to learn how we can all help.

As always, thank you for reading, "See Jane Learn."

Top Photo source~

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Welcome to the Club

A few of us in our family have become members to "clubs" that we didn't really want to join...

Some clubs are fun to join. Some clubs have steep membership fees. Some clubs are exclusive, others let you choose between active, social or honorary member.
Sometimes we are forced to join clubs we don't want to belong to!

For example, back in the early 80's I had a mole behind my knee that turned out to be Melanoma. Doctors hadn't developed the new Mohs technique that saves surrounding skin so my doc took quite a chunk (think lid-of-a-Mason jar-size.) I did not want to join the Cancer club again. Two years earlier I'd had a tumor removed from my bladder. Despite a painful month it was also an exciting time~scars and all Michael asked me to marry him!

I blame my Melanoma on the Spring Break trip to South Padre Island in Texas that I took with three of my Chi Omega Sorority Sisters. That sun was HOT. This girl got FRIED! Sunscreen? Yes, but not enough. There were also the previous 19 years of laying out with Baby Oil occasionally on a foil towel.... 

Fast forward 30 years. I make sure to get my moles checked every year. I always wear moisturizer that contains SPF. Too bad I didn't realize that bleeding spots aren't normal even when they aren't moles. By the time I got my funky spot on my nose checked it had become a Basal Cell Carcinoma. 

When I talked to one of my big sisters her response was "welcome to the club." Wait! I didn't want to join their club! Both my sisters have had MANY Basel Cells removed and they have the scars to prove it. Dang that Norwegian DNA! 

When I finally go get the procedure done next month, I am counting on the reputation of the doctor to do a wonderful job since IT'S RIGHT ON THE END OF MY NOSE AND KIND OF HARD TO MISS! 

Yikes! What is going on with my turkey neck?

My insecurity and vanity kicks in and I worry about what others seeThis is when God nudges me to focus on what is really important. Looks? They come and go. Not much we can do about genetics and sometimes circumstances or the aging process just changes our reflection in the mirror.

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised."
Proverbs 31:30

Guess I will up my sunscreen protection, and wear more hats. I got a hideous olive lovely protective one from Costco~figured it will be good for when I'm lounging poolside in So Cal in a couple weeks when I get to join my hubby for his business trip and visit my L.A. boy and daughter-in-law.

 I think the baby SPF hats I unpacked at Charlie Barnes Kids yesterday are way cuter, don't you?

My second to youngest child was NOT going to follow in his Dad or older brother's footsteps and lose his hair. After all, I thought the Mom's side of the family determined hair and my daddy had great hair and a LOT of it! Apparently this is false information. About half-way through college my son's bangs were thinning. A stressful mission trip last summer to Burma caused a lot more hair to disappear. Now it's a fact. He has become a member of the club he didn't want to join: Carver men who go bald...  

Tigger the cat has also joined the Carver men cats go bald club. His balding is down by his tail though~not supper attractive (but he is 14!)  The vet says he is "over-grooming" due to stress. What stress?! He sleeps all day and his Dad put in a cat-door to the garage so he can get to his food and potty whenever he wants!! Perhaps the stress was brought on himself when he ran away for 24 hours. He must have had the cat-version of Ferris Bueller's Day Out. What isn't Tigger telling us?

Surely it's not caused by Sydney. (This isn't unique to our household.)

Oh Sydney, leave him alone!!

It's a hard lesson, but I'm slowly learning that neither our memberships nor appearance matters.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When God looks at you, what does He SEE?
Have you suddenly become a reluctant club member?...

In His Grip,

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn.
Top image source: Pinterest

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Do Your Children Teach You?

 "Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

Road Trip! This past weekend we hit the road. We wanted needed to see both our girls. They were participating in big things over a span of three days; an art exhibit and a friend's wedding. 

Our daughters are 21 and 26 and almost shared a birthday. Almost. Yep, baby girl’s labor pains were wracking me as I tried to smile for my birthday girl. In the beginning they shared a birthday celebration. Most years I felt like the character in the movie Groundhog day and just repeated all the Carver traditions with different little friends and decorations two days in a row. 

One day and five years separate them. They both have their Daddy’s beautiful brown eyes although the oldest one’s are more hazel. They both have a wicked sense of humor, are talented and love others SO well. Their lives are currently quite different and their personalities always have been. September sisters...

                                                               (This pic was taken last fall at Whitworth.)

First we hit the road for Spokane where our youngest had her art displayed on the Whitworth University campus. Our girl! Beautiful colors! So passionate about her major in Art Education... She can't wait to use the experiences she's been through to mentor her students and make them all feel equally appreciated and valued. She's going to be a fantastic high school teacher in another year.

She obviously got her talent from her Dad, along with being gifted by God. We also got to see her big brother (the one in his ridiculous fish hat) and his girlfriend, see Sarah's new off-campus house for next fall, meet the new roomies, and pig out at P.F. Chang’s. 

I love downtown Spokane. It’s very walkable and has lots of restaurants, shops and a mall with favorite stores. Yay Pottery Barn, Apple and  Nordstrom! You get the idea... Sarah joined us overnight at the Davenport Towers. It’s hard not to feel like a princess between the robes, plush bed, and attentive staff. Our baby girl youngest who is now old enough to enjoy a Lemon Drop is such a joy. I'm really thankful we could spend intentional time spoiling her and listening to her plans.

After brunch  at Madeleine's, browsing some shops and having our door opened by an official, uniformed Davenport doorman, we visited our soon-to-be-in-Graduate-School son at Ritters, the gardening center where he’s working. We need him to come bring his plant knowledge to our new yard! And his discount!... Of course ALL his co-workers mentioned what a kind and fun young man he is... 

After a quick trip to the grocery to stock our girl up, and lots of hugs, we headed to the Tri-Cities. It's the second time we've visited a couple wineries. (The first time was the day after we became Empty- Nester's back in 2012.) This trip we enjoyed great wine and a wonderful conversation with brand new friends that we met at the community table we were sitting at. It was a privilege to hear the story of how they’re planting a new church. They are brave and trusting in the Lord. Am I?

The next stop on our road trip was Bend, Oregon. Our family has had many fun trips to Sun River in this town. Our purpose for this destination was to see our Nashville girl participate as the Maid of Honor in one of her very best friend’s wedding. The celebration took place at the Five Pine Lodge in Sister’s Oregon. Gorgeous setting. Beautiful bride. Heartfelt words and blessings said over an amazing Godly couple. COLD weather. 

Most people were focused on the bride and groom, but I had my eyes on someone else; our beautiful oldest daughter. She looked adorable as always. And then, while the bride and groom took Communion, she sang and played her guitar. God was good and warmed up her freezing fingers just enough to allow her to strum. I wish I could say she got some of her talent from her Mama, but that would be lying. I do LOVE to sing, but my voice isn't meant to be shared. Hers is. She has been given a gift from God plus through hard work she taught herself to play guitar, continues to excel on the piano and keyboard, and writes her own music.

But that’s not all! She also gave the most heart-felt toast making the crowd smile, laugh and cry. She made us all want to be young men and women “on fire” for God. Then, she sang another song that she had written especially for this day. I think everyone in the room would agree that her talent needs to be exposed to more people in her current town of Nashville. (I say current because yes, this Mama would love to have her move back to PNW but I know full well that she is right where God wants her and she’ll stay put until HE tells her to move.) She teaches me SO much about faith, trust, obedience and  being a good friend. Her love for the Lord emanates from her. 

We drove Allie to Portland on our way home, so we were given the surprise gift of 3 extra hours to visit with her. A whirlwind three day trip but oh so worth it!
I hate to share this to you younger parents, but it NEVER gets easier to say goodbye to kids. You sort of learn how not to cry in front of them.

The 3 Sisters Mountains

Little pieces of my heart are scattered; Spokane, Nashville,  L.A. not to mention my family back in Indiana. 

We made plans for when we’ll be face-to-face again. (I totally get why MY Mom keeps asking "when is my next visit?") In the meantime I’ll have to make due with phone calls, texts and Face time chats. Such is the life of the Empty-Nester...

Have I mentioned how PROUD I am of my two beautiful daughters? My "Mama-Heart" is bursting with pride and thankfulness. It’s hard to fathom that God loves us even more than the love we feel for our children. 

Has your Mama-heart been bursting with love and pride lately? 
Have your children taught you new things lately?

In His Grip,                           
Thank you so much for stopping by See Jane Learn!
P.S. None of our trip would have been possible if it weren't for two awesome couples who stayed at our house to care for our fur-babies. Thank you! Also, boys, we love you too!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What I Learned in March

March Madness isn't quite over since there are final four games this weekend and the championship game on Monday, but... the month of March has come to an end and it's time for me to recall some things I learned.

1. Camilla flowers are beautiful, but they aren't really meant for cutting.
We have four bushes in our new yard. I've cut a few stems to bring inside only to realize they have a very short "shelf life."

2. Board game sales are up.
What? I rarely watch the news, but one night on NBC, Brian's replacement said it's true. Families and friends are spending more money buying, and more time playing, board games. Perhaps to compensate for all the time spent on technology? Two of my favorites were mentioned: Battleship (I used to play that with my Daddy when I was little) and Yahtzee (A favorite of my kids.)

3. Wisdom Teeth surgery is fun! 
(April Fools...)  I remember my own experience back in high school, but was reminded earlier this month how unpleasant it can be. My college daughter had to fly home on a Friday morning just in time to drive to the Oral Surgeon, she had two days to be cared for by her Mama, and then she had to fly back to Spokane and attempt to attend night class. Let's just say we were ALL tired of seeing shakes, pudding, soup, ice packs, meds, gauze, etc. I hated to see her go in pain, and her first two days back on campus did not go as planned. Classes were missed. I took pics of her all puffy but I will keep those from social media since I love her...

4. Mr. Rogers continues to teach me.
I loved watching Mr. Rogers with my oldest son back in the late '80's. By the time my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th children came along I just couldn't convince all four to tune in. Oh the sweet lessons he taught. I read a great article about him here.

One of the questions at my bible study yesterday was, "What keeps you from spending more time with Jesus? Television?" Hmmm. Makes this quote of Fred Rogers seem pretty spot on.

 “If we take time," he said, "we can often go much deeper as far as a spiritual life is concerned than we can if there's constant distraction. Often television gives such constant distraction—noise and fast-paced things—which doesn't allow us to take time to explore the deeper levels of who we are, and who we can become."
Photo source:

5. It's best to "clock out" yourself.  
Sometimes where I work  I get paid to have fun, we will stop or start each other's timesheet on the computer. A couple weeks ago I was leaving and my boss friend and store owner, said she'd clock me out. Four days later when I had my next shift and was about to "clock in" at Charlie Barnes I noticed the green time numbers turning. Yay! I had been working for over a hundred hours! What a great paycheck I'd have! NOT... Silly me. It wasn't real.

6. Taking the 90 day challenge was SO good! 
No, I didn't attempt to exercise every morning to lose these mean 10 pounds... What I did do was stretch my spiritual muscles. I joined my church family in reading one chapter of the four Gospels every day and then answering two questions: What did you learn about Jesus? What did you learn about being a disciple/disciple-maker? My husband and I, my small group, my women's bible study~we've all studied and pondered and discussed what we've read and learned. Thank you Chapel Hill for helping us prepare for Easter in such a meaningful way!

"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life." John 6:47

So, how about you? What did you learn in the month of March? I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at her blog Chatting at the Sky. She always has such great posts! I hope all you sweet readers are having a meaningful Holy Week surrounded by your people. As Mr. Rogers told us, "You are special." 

In His Grip,
xo                                            Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn.