Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Countdown to Easter...

On my living room wall

Spring is coming. I've seen it's evidence in nature as I've taken walks over the past few days. (Remember, I live out in the Pacific Northwest. Sorry if you're still buried in snow!)


There are flowers sprouting up (Crocus and some Daffodils), Rhododendron bushes and trees have buds. Our grass desperately needs mowing but our groundskeeper, my hubby, has been under the weather so it will have to wait.


Last night after I finished working, we joined the Mardi Gras crowd at our local restaurant to celebrate "Fat Tuesday" and I feasted on Cajun fish and chips and a Hurricane cocktail. (Having just recovered from a NASTY bout with the flu, my hubby had iced tea and a few nibbles of Pita bread...)

At Tides Tavern

Although it was fun to wear colorful beads and masks and pretend we were in New Orleans, my heart was heavy and far away; across the ocean where 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded for their faith by Isis, and in California where a friend's son passed away after years of organ transplants and surgeries. HARD things. SAD things. And that's just some of what is going on in our world...

This was on my chalkboard two years ago...

How can I eat fries when others are grieving? How do I reconcile a Good God with horrific and sad news?

The native Christians of Egypt are referred to as Copts and there are many living here in America.
My Nashville daughter teaches at an Egyptian Christian School.Her school hasn't had class yet this week due to snow and ice (it's the South~they don't "do" winter well.) I know it's an extremely heartbreaking time for all. She loves the people and testifies to their faith.

At the UCLA hospital, the dear Mama of the young man that passed away is praising the Lord and thankful her boy is in Heaven and perfectly healed. She has taught all of us how to persevere during incredibly HARD things...


Thankfully, believers know that Easter is coming. HE has already won the battle and evil doesn't' win in the end! We'll all be rejoicing together on Easter Sunday. Even the World acknowledges that Easter is coming...

Target is getting ready.


Today is Ash Wednesday and we have 46 days until Easter.

Dictionary.com defines LENT as:

noun

1.
(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitencein (public display of repentance) the preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays  to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.
During this Season of Lent, people often choose to "give up" things like sweets. Others "take on" daily activities such as a special devotion or volunteer work. Whatever is chosen, the purpose is to help us remember what Jesus did for us on the cross.


Have you considered how you'll spend this period of time leading up to Easter Sunday? 

Please join me in praying for the Egyptian Christian Church around the world, and the Moss family here in the Harbor. God IS good, all the time!

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



Sunday, February 8, 2015

About Me


Hi! I started writing this little blog in late June of 2010. It was my way of processing a BIG change in our family’s life; moving from the state of Washington back to the Midwest. We now live back in the Pacific Northwest an hour south of Seattle in a charming small city called Gig Harbor. We recently found our dream home right downtown and settled into “Carver Cottage” in September. Location, location, location. It's true!

For those of you who don’t know me, here are some random facts about me: I’ve been the wife of Michael for 31+ years and we are now empty-nesters. I'm mom of four twenty-somethings (two sons, two daughters.) They’ve all attended Whitworth University and the baby girl will graduate in May of 2016. Our kids including one daughter-in-law are scattered from L.A., to Nashville to Spokane. I LOVE it when they come home!

The whole family on the Whitworth Campus.

I’m a pet mom to a rescue dog and fat orange grumpy cat, and former preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade teacher. I LOVE babies and get to spend several days a week working at a fabulous baby boutique called Charlie Barnes Kids.

I grew up in the town of Carmel, Indiana and am the youngest of three girls. The “Story Girls,” as we are known, all got our desire to become teachers from our Mom Barbara, who was an amazing 5th grade teacher for YEARS! She is now the unofficial “Mayor” of her Independent Living Facility. 

I love the Lord and am learning how to be and make disciples. When I’m not working or walking Sydney, I enjoy spending my time mentoring Mommies at Mops, attending bible study, having friends over around my table, reading and sipping a yummy coffee drink or glass of wine.

I just noticed I’ve written 300 blog posts. That sounds like a lot to me and yet my writing has become less frequent. Perhaps that means I’m busy and flourishing? Or perhaps I need to become more consistent...

God always seems to take my daily situations (good or bad) and turn them into life lessons, so that’s what I try to share here at See Jane Learn. My hope is as you read you’ll smile and be encouraged. Thank you so much for stopping by and please feel free to subscribe or contact me!

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

In His Grip, 
Jane

xo

Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I Learned in January


January has come to an end! Here are some things I learned in the last 31 days:

1. The Superbowl brings us together. It is less than 24 hours until our Seahawks play in the Superbowl for the 2nd year in a row. Everywhere around town I see blue and green and 12's, flags on cars, signs, and jerseys. Despite differing views on politics, faith, careers, parenting etc. our team has brought us together as a community who is united. Strangers talk to each other and conversations end with "go hawks!" People seem friendlier...We have spirit in the Seattle area and it is contagious! Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the believers could be as "fired up" for Jesus and always end our conversations with Go God or God Bless!!?...


2. The Roasted chicken in front is fine. Tip: Do NOT try to reach over the front chicken under the lights thinking it will be fresher. (You know, like you reach to the back for the freshest milk carton?)
Those warmer lights are HOT and my right ring finger burn can prove it! (This was last week's Seahawk's manicure.)

3. When your team is in the Superbowl you are tempted to spend money and do daring things. Jersey? Check-given to me a couple years ago by my sweet hubby. Necklace? Check-a gift. Handmade yarn scarf? Check-bought from a friend at church. Headband? Check-I made it at work. Boot toppers? Check-found last year at a cute local boutique. Hat? YESsss! When we found out we were going to be in the Superbowl again, I splurged. Nails? Yep. Garden Flag? Check-ordered last season. (I gave my Colts flag and dog scarf to my sister in Indiana.) Pet scarves? Check. Clearance t-shirt from last year's Superbowl? Check-I purchased it last night. Perhaps I need to stop?!

 My friend convicted me. My savvy friend who leads our Dave Ramsey classes reminded me to stay in my budget. Do you have a good friend who reigns you in? Instead of WWJD, I will now ask myself WWDD~what would D___ do.

There is a pet toy I saw today that I wasn't even tempted to buy. There is no need in our home for the tennis ball on a Hawks tug rope. Our dog Sydney doesn't ever chase balls. Think of the money I saved! Enough to buy outdoor green and blue lights???

Thursday at MOPS I even had a blue and green hi-light painted in my hair. That is a first. Oh, I always get hi-lights, they're just usually blond! Pretty daring for a 50-something "girl" huh?

4. Despite the acquisition of all things Seahawkish,  I am really trying hard to learn to stop focusing on things and to be content. I am reading a really good book (pictured below) and I recommend it. The author's descriptions resonate with me. Ruth writes from a Christian perspective and backs up her ideas with scripture. I am blessed...

I am simultaneously reading a book called "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up" by Marie Kondo. This is not a Christian book (sort of Japanese/Feng Shui) but is helpful. One of her tips is to actually hold every item as I clean and purge and ask myself this question:"Does this spark joy?" I will be thinking much more carefully before I spend money and/or bring anything else into our home.

5. Sometimes You Tube videos mirror life. Sort of.  I found a fitting video today since I actually was at Michael's buying supplies to make Valentine's crafts that I saw on Pinterest.  Enjoy this You Tube video! I need to get busy and start cutting and knitting!

6. The M and M bag of candy divides perfectly. I sorted the bag into three groups: blue and green for the party tomorrow (Go Hawks!), brown and orange for my Bronco-loving daughter in law, and then I noticed the leftovers were red and yellow, my college sorority colors! Cardinal and Straw!
Chi Omega colors! Hoot hoot!


The month of January taught me even more lessons, but I think my list is long enough for now. I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at "Chatting at the Sky." She is a great author and you will enjoy her blog! As always, thank you friends, for reading See Jane Learn and fingers are crossed for another Seahawk victory!!

In His Grip,

Jane
xo





Friday, January 16, 2015

Do You Have Prayer Triggers?

Do you have prayer triggers? Things that you hear or see that immediately send your mind and heart into prayer-mode? This week my "prayer life" has been extra busy. My new kitchen calendar was bought at Anthropologie because I liked the travel-themed pictures. Paris is featured this month. Who knew that Paris in January would become the scene not of "all things chic" but instead the scene of a horrific terrorist attack. Now when I glance at my calendar my mind instantly prays for the victim's families and that love would win over evil.

While I was at work I realized that every time I hear the chair upstairs in the hair salon above Charlie Barnes roll across the floor, my mind zooms to my sweet friend Beth. This Mama friend of mine is currently spending most of her time right now in L.A. with her son who has been in the hospital for quite some time. She is one of the most amazing, Godly women I know. She also gets her hair done upstairs when she comes home to the Harbor. See the connection? I hear the activity in the salon, thus I think and pray for the Moss family.

I have a friend from church who obeyed God's call on her life and she's currently teaching preschool in Swaziland, Africa. You can follow her adventures here on facebook or follow her blog. One of the things she misses about being far away from home is her favorite Starbucks coffee. Now each time I see a Starbucks sign or cup I think and pray for Tiersa. Maybe now you will too?...


I have lots of prayers I'm not mentioning, but I do keep a running list on the Notes app of my phone and computer. I've organized them by topics and groups; praise, world, healing, family, friends, church, work, needs I become aware of, etc. I want to be intentional in bringing my prayers to God.

My puppy dog decided she would like to share some things she's learning. Here is the first installment of:
 "SCRIPTURE WITH SYDNEY."

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can find shelter in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32 NLT

I am on meds but apparently I am still allergic to fleas. One flea bite, just one... jumped off Tigger, before they took him to the groomer, and it caused a huge disruption in my quality of life. My pet parents are upset that I've been biting, scratching and keeping them awake at night. They even kicked me out of their bedroom last night!

"I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." Romans 7:9

Case in point. I don't WANT to chew myself raw and be forced once again to wear my Cone-of-shame, but here I go again! I suppose it's for my own good and because they love me... Until next time, Sydney.



Can I, little old me Jane, make a BIG difference in the quality of life for those around me? Can I be as tenacious as a flea (without being annoying?)

How about you, do you have things that trigger prayers or scripture verses?

In His Grip, 
Jane                  Thanks for reading "See Jane Learn!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I learned in 2014

Wycliff champagne is yummy and very affordable!

Tick-tock goes the clock...and another year is about to go! I’m pausing to look back on what I’ve learned over the last 12 months and share some favorite events.

Although saying goodbye to your young-adult kids never gets easier, knowing they’re happy makes it easier to accept. I wrote about moving my oldest daughter to Nashville here, and a year later she’s thriving and has a new job teaching first graders.


I have learned that having four children ALL attend the same University makes me somewhat of an expert in all things Pirate-Mom related. You can read more about my nine years as a Whitworth University parent here.


Separate beds? No. Separate shows? Quite often. After 31 years of marriage, we still have very few TV series and movies that we enjoy watching together.  I like feel-good shows, he likes Sci-Fi and he doesn't mind violence. We watch a few things together; Downton Abbey, The Paradise, Madame Secretary, and Seahawks games. But...you will often find us either plugged-in to our own devices watching separate shows, or sometimes upstairs and downstairs watching different channels. Do you find this disturbing? I have found it keeps the peace in our marriage, and keeps me from having nightmares. Do you and your spouse like the same shows?...


I am thankful we can tape the season premiere, since we will be busy Sunday at a joyful event. Thanks to our match-making (and God's perfect timing,) two of our good friends met, fell in love, and are getting married!


My husband's family reunions always take place in Minnesota. (Unless everyone goes to Omaha.) For the third time in twenty years, the Carver clan all met up in Minnesota in June. We stayed in four cabins that were connected, and each evening we gathered to eat dinners together. I originally wished we could have met up somewhere a bit closer to the Pacific Northwest, but it turned out to be a special, memorable time. One of my favorite memories? Karaoke night!! I'm still hoping my side of the family can figure out a reunion so my kids can see their cousins, Grandma, and Aunts and Uncles. Maybe the next time one of my kids gets married?


They'll have to kick me out of MOPS someday. Since moving here to the PNW back in 1997, there have only been a few years when I haven't been involved in the MOPS ministry at our church. I LOVE what it stands for and each year the leadership does a wonderful job. I've been a participant, DGL (discussion group leader), DGL coordinator, and Mentor Mom.
"MOPS is a grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers." 
Read more about MOPS on their national webpage.

Childhood friends grow and change yet getting back together brings joy. Over the weekend we got together with two families whose boys were best friends with our son beginning in kindergarten. We all lived in the same neighborhood and I think my boy spent more time with the other families than he did with ours! We had a progressive dinner (super fun) and caught up over food and games.

Back in the day...
All grown up and still having fun!
Dessert stop on the Progressive Dinner.

An itchy dog doesn't necessarily mean fleas. Poor Sydney. We kept treating her for fleas and she kept "eating herself raw." She really had an allergic reaction to all the flea treatments... After medicine and the cone of shame, she's almost back to her normal, adorable self. She also appreciates getting to snooze on her spot on the couch.

We should have taken the class years ago. This fall we took the Dave Ramsey class called Financial Peace University. "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else..." We've got some work ahead of us to get our finances in order. We highly recommend all couples take this course!
Waiting on God is worth it.  I wrote about us living in our rental on the island waiting to find the
right home to buy. THEN...God brought us to this amazing home in town and we are SO HAPPY!!!
All our friends agree, it is perfect for us and seems as if we were meant to live here. I have no doubt 
that God knew exactly the right downtown home for us.


I DO work at the best baby boutique in Western Washington. We even won an award that proves it, thanks to our wonderful customers.


2014 was definitely a year of adventures and blessings. Our kids are scattered (Spokane, L.A., and Nashville,) but they are thriving. My man and I are getting used to this Empty-Nester phase, and we're looking forward to all the surprises that will happen in 2015! 


From the Carver family to yours, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!! Cheers! 

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

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




Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All Is Well


After my first cup of coffee and some extra-strength Tylenol, all is well. My mind was busy last night and therefore sleep was a bit interrupted. I know I'm not the only Mom (of a certain age) who can't sleep some nights. My favorite bear husband beside me, my dog happily dreaming, a comfy bed, but still...

Thoughts of thankfulness were spinning through my mind; my Mommy's heart procedure that was successful, a job I love, my amazing new home in the Harbor, a new job for my L.A. oldest son, three of my four kids arriving home today and tomorrow (we'll miss you Mitch and Amy!) and my wonderful husband. Oh, I forgot to mention Sydney and Tigger. They are my furry blessings.
This was a Christmas "miracle." They do NOT like to be this close on a normal day.

As I contemplated all the people and circumstances that have been happening lately, I also was replaying Christmas celebrations in years past and then there was that song...

We were lucky to go to the Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert over the weekend and one song won't stop playing in my head. When Rachel Lampa did the duet with Michael, I had goose bumps and tears. It is amazing and beautiful and I want to pass it on... not so YOU will stay awake singing it in your head, but to remind you of ALL God has done for us.

This version was sung with Carrie Underwood. Enjoy All is Well and know that thanks to Jesus,
it is!

Now it's time for me to finish all the details this "Mrs. Clause" needs to get accomplished before tomorrow. (Baking, menu planning and grocery shopping, shining the house, wrapping the last of the packages.) A few years ago I wrote a blog about how much I have in common with Mrs. Clause. You can see it here.

If you haven't found a church to attend on Christmas Eve, please consider Chapel Hill. It will become a tradition for your family too!

Here are some favorite photos from last Christmas.
 Christmas Eve before heading to Chapel Hill Service.

 Christmas Morning 2013~the traditional stair photo.

As always, thank you for reading my little blog, and from my family to yours I wish you joy, a very Merry Christmas and may you experience love's light!!

ALL IS WELL! Christ has come. Go and tell!

In His Grip,
Jane
xo

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friends, Fries and Jesus


Why is this date special to me? December 17, back in 1977 was the day my life took a different direction because I asked Jesus into my heart.

A girlfriend asked me to meet her at Steak 'n Shake. Back in the late 1970's, in Carmel, Indiana, we didn't have Starbucks so friends met at burger joints or Pizza Hut. On an ordinary school night about a week before Christmas she shared Jesus with me. I was willing to listen because she was a good friend and I trusted her. Her Mom was our town Mayor, we were in a school club together and I'd known her for years. She was a part of a local church's youth group and had invited me several times. Over fries and a milkshake, she explained why she believed that Jesus came to die for us and gave me a little booklet.



Do people even give these out anymore?? 

I remember going home, kneeling by my bed (rib-cord from Sears or J.C. Penney's~I was Mod!) and praying to ask Jesus into my heart. If you've never heard of the Salvation prayer, you can check out one example here. It's all about grace, love and acknowledging God as our Lord and Savior.

After I prayed I felt a little different. I was a senior in high school, had just turned 17, and wasn't sure what to do next. Looking back, I didn't really have a mentor or follow-up. I had a special Christmas even though I didn't really share my "news" with many. BUT... I felt LOVED, and GOD knew he had a plan for my life. 

I've been a believer for 38 years. Ups and downs. Years when I "took a break" (college?), and years that I have felt SO close to God. I've belonged to great churches in three states and had wonderful pastors and bible study teachers who have and continue to, help me on my faith journey. It's a life-long process and certainly an adventure that will last an eternity!

Has a friend shared the Good News with you? Have you shared your relationship with Jesus with a friend or family member? I am thankful my girlfriend was bold and brave and loved me enough to share the good news. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season!!

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Totally makes sense why french fries bring me JOY!
Happy Anniversary to me and Merry Christmas to you!! 

In His Grip,                          
Jane                     Thanks for reading See Jane Learn!