Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Missing the Fat One...

“What greater love, than the love of a cat.” Charles Dickens

For 16 years, Tigger Duncan Carver was a part of our family. Last Friday he passed away. Here is his story: 

My Mom was allergic to pets, so I never had a dog or cat as a child; Tigger was my first (and maybe my last?) kitty. We had just adopted our yellow Lab dog Sadie from the Prison Pet Partnership, when I received a call from friends (thank you Amy and Danny!) saying a tiny red stray kitty needed a home. One look, and I was smitten... 

He started out tiny, but grew quickly! Tig acquired many nicknames; Fatty, General Fat one, Big Tig, Biggy, Mr. Bigs... to name a few. He answered to all of them. He arrived with the name Tigger; I added his middle name Duncan, after the character in one of my favorite preschool books, Duncan and Dolores.

He was “Grumpy Cat” before the female version who became famous. We often joked that he would give us the “paw” and then leave the room. 

Tigger had the most beautiful red coat. I thought about taking him with me to the hairdresser and asking her to make my hair the same color. He put up with four loud kids, a sister-dog Sadie, a pet bird for a few months, and a sister-cat named Zoe Mittens.

The kids left for college, one by one, and TIgger had to get used to the way they’d come and go. In 2010 we had to go to Chicago and our friends agreed to keep Zoe since we could only fly with two pets. Yes, Tig has always been my favorite. Tigger adjusted to Glen Ellyn and spent most of his time on a shelf in our basement. While we were there, our Lab passed away and we all had to adjust to life with just one aging, kitty cat.

We moved back to Washington in 2012, and rented a home on Fox Island. Tigger loved the two years we spent there, and had his own favorite spots in the yard.

Our resilient cat adjusted when we rescued/adopted our Kelpie dog Sydney. They sort of got along, but their relationship was usually a challenge. Sydney wanted to play, Tigger didn’t... 

When we moved to our current home, Tigger only went outside occasionally. He loved his cat-door to the garage, and stayed in the lower level most of the time. We were graced with his appearance once or twice a day when he’d come up to snuggle on or next to me. Last winter he was introduced to his little "cousin" Walter. Red cats are the best!

Katie & Walter, T.J. & Tigger

If you’ve ever had to make the HARD decision to "put down" a pet, you understand how painful it was. Our "fat cat" had slowly stopped eating and lost 6 pounds. The last two weeks of his life had been very difficult. Saying goodbye was really, really hard, but the humane thing to do for our beloved kitty. 

HE WAS THE BEST CAT EVER! Missing him...

In His Grip, Jane

 Sarah & Tigger

 Mitch & Tigger

Allie & TIgger

Saturday, January 30, 2016

What I Learned in January

Here's what I learned this month:

  • I hope to go back to Hawaii.

My youngest spent the month taking a class in Hawaii on the island of Ohahu. She's an Art Ed major and she was doing a multi-cultural class for her "Jan-Term." I do not remember having that option back at Ball State University in the late 70's. She loved learning about the culture and experiencing the beauty of God's creation. One thing she shared that surprised me,  was that ALL the islands only have one school district. My hubby and I have been to Hawaii together once, for a shot trip, and I went for a week in High School. There are SO many reasons I hope we can go again someday! Notice her tan in the photo above, vs. her Norwegian-skinned Mama...

  • Back up cameras only work if you use them. (Don't read this part Michael.)
My new Rav4 is wonderful; heated seats, great features, room for Sydney. The back-up camera is super helpful, but one day I was backing out of a busy parking lot and was paying attention to the car waiting for me to leave. I should have also checked the screen to see there was also a car driving by... Let's just say the honking and swearing got my attention in time to avoid a fender bender. Wow. Road rage in my quaint hometown is alive and stupid well.
  • Sometimes a "smiley face" isn't enough.
My oldest daughter introduced me to a new personal Emoji for my text messages called Bitmoji. It's a free App and makes sending messages WAY more fun. I got to design myself~hair color, build, clothing...Bitmoji is rated T for teen, but it's fun for Mamas too! 

  • Some people do not pay attention to signs.
One of my tasks at the baby boutique where I work part-time is to take out the trash and recycle the shipping boxes our products arrive in. Apparently our alley dumpsters are attractive to people that don't read. I seriously pulled that vacuum out of the recycling! #makesmegrumpy #noroomforourtrash

  • Do you know which animal lives in America?
Most of us grew up singing or hearing the western song "Oh Home on the Range" that was written in the 1800's. When the line says, "where the deer and the buffalo roam," it should really be "where the deer and the Bison Bison roam." Bison live in America, Buffalos are found in Asia and Africa. Perhaps Mr. Kelley would have appreciated having access to the internet. Check out this link to learn more. (Thanks for bringing this to my attention Allie!)

 Photo source: Lunch Breath
  • I need to practice my word for 2016.
For the last several years I have chosen one word to focus on, rather than making resolutions. This year it took me a while to decide, but then I knew. I chose the word LISTEN. I want to listen to God and listen to my friends and family, rather than always thinking of what I'm going to say... I want to hear what God is teaching me and not talk so much... This will totally be a challenge. 

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

As I compose this, I'm hanging out in the business lounge of the Spokane, Washington airport. I drove over with my daughter (it's her LAST college semester) and so I'm flying home.  Today I learned a painful lesson: Always check your flight status before getting to the airport!

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky
What have YOU learned this month?

In His Grip, 

Friday, January 1, 2016

What I Learned in 2015

Happy New Year! I'm linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky and looking back to recall the major moments and things I learned over the past year.

Lessons from Football:
I consider myself a "12th man" and love to cheer for our Seahawks team even though I don't truly understand the rules of the game... It is also true that Americans seem way more excited about their favorite sports teams than they do about following Jesus. Are you a fan of Jesus? Can others tell by what you wear or how you love?

Our spot is so special:
We've lived in our current home now for just over a year and we continue to pinch ourselves. We LOVE our house, view, neighbors, convenience to everything and how friends swing by more often since it's in a great location. SO grateful...

Retreating with girlfriends is a must:
I was fortunate to go see Beth Moore Live up in Seattle last winter and return to Pt. Townsend for a Spring weekend women's retreat. There is just something special about leaving town with girlfriends to focus on God, fellowship and worship. To my friends who claim they don't "do" women's retreats I plead once again...be brave, it's worth it!

There are always natural consequences:
Example #1~The pounds have continued to creep on... I cannot keep blaming Menopause. Perhaps the desserts, carbs, wine and margaritas coupled with not enough exercise is to blame?  Dang! I finally stood on the mean machine (aka~scale) and it told me the reason all my clothes are too tight.

Example #2~All those moments in the sun with my pale Norwegian skin and not enough sunscreen led to an unfortunate event; my second bout with skin cancer. This one was right on my nose and the Mohs surgery and recovery was NOT fun! Every day I have to see and try to cover-up my scar. Boo. Wear sunscreen and hats people!

Unexpected events happen:
Back in May I wrote about our front door being hit by a flying rock and shattering. It happened so unexpectedly and it took a LONG time to get it fixed.

In October, what began as a typical Mops morning quickly became a day of disbelief and grief. One of my dear friends died suddenly a few days after surgery and there was a ripple effect that was felt in our entire church and community. Life can change so quickly~let your friends and family know you care. We miss you Malinda!

I need nature and the city:
I love the ocean and had a wonderful time in May visiting my oldest son and his wife who live in California. My daughter lives in Nashville and we spent several busy days in Music City. I would have a hard time choosing busy vs. beautiful. My soul needs the beauty of water, green and mountains, plus I love people and shopping and dining out. Thankfully I got to have a bit of both this past year!

Sisters can be alike and different:
My two older sisters have mannerisms and tastes in food that are very similar. The three of us definitely look like we belong to the same family. We've all chosen careers that are in the field of education, and/or helping kids and families. There are many differences though, in our personalities, where we live, some of our beliefs, and our hobbies. They both got to come out to the PNW for my son's wedding in October and it was SO fun to spend time with them and let them peek into my "world."

My two daughters are also the same and different. They both have their Daddy's beautiful brown eyes and huge hearts, they both chose to become educators and they're both talented (one is musical, the other, an artist.) There is a difference in their tidiness factor...One is an organizing Maven, the other, not so much. If they ever decide to live together in the future, that could be interesting!

I am NOT up on the news:
When I was growing up my parents were always reading the newspaper and watching the network and local news. It is really difficult for me to process hard, sad, scary news so I basically avoid it.  I know adults should be a bit more informed on current events but I'd rather hear on a need-to-know basis by my hubby who checks in online with USA Today.

Parenting changes:
Parenting adults is quite a bit more challenging than parenting kiddos who live at home. How much do I say? How do I show concern while letting them make their own choices and decisions. How do I stay connected even though all four of them live a car or plane-ride away? Have I accepted that both my sons have wives who come before me? These are questions that I continue to grabble with.

I'm learning as I go, sometimes getting advice from friends, always praying. One thing remains the same no matter how old they get. When they're happy, I'm happy! (See photo at the top.) When they're hurt or sad, I hurt right along with them... How I love these four!

Marriage is hard, but oh so worth it:
Thirty two years with this guy who asked me to marry him about six weeks after we met. So glad I said yes and that God has been with us every step of the way... Thanks for putting up with me Michael!

What did you learn in 2015?

In His Grip,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve!

Happy Christmas Eve! A lot has been happening around "Carver Corner" since I posted last. The house looks quite merry, the gifts are wrapped and almost all our kids have arrived. The house feels so much happier when it's filled with family and friends!

The past couple weeks at Charlie Barnes have been busy with parents and grandparents shopping for wonderful presents for the little ones in their lives.

We had our annual party over the weekend and it was a fun evening, as always. It warmed my heart that our friends donated socks for the homeless. There was almost a snafu...I had put all the socks in a white garbage sack and my hubby thought it was a sack of garbage. I was SO thankful that the trash wasn't collected early  so I could rescue the bag out of our can. I got to deliver the bag to the Engine House #9 Restaurant in Tacoma who was collecting them.

We've been sleeping in, listening to Christmas music, playing cards at our local brewery, watching Star Wars to prepare for our movie outing on the 26th, baking cookies, eating and drinking, and are thankful for two fireplaces; gas and wood-burning!

Our Nashville girl arrived this morning despite Tornadoes in Tennessee. She also brought along the family treasures; the traveling Norwegian candlesticks. Our newlywed son and his bride arrive tomorrow afternoon. I can't WAIT to have all my kids under our roof at the same time!

When I wake up in the middle of the night (always at least once) I usually have one particular song running through my brain. I wrote about All Is Well last December. You can read it here. Such a beautiful song and message.

I am blessed beyond message and thankful for my family and dear friends. All is well.

"All is well, all is well
Let there be peace on Earth
Christ has come go and tell
That He is in the manger
Sing A-le, sing Alleluia"

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! May you all sleep in heavenly peace, knowing Emmanuel is coming...

In His Grip, 

If you live in the Gig Harbor area, and want to attend a special Christmas Eve Service, I've linked the Chapel Hill Church schedule of five services.

Read more:  Michael W. Smith - All Is Well Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Happy Saturday Morning! I hope you're enjoying your weekend. Since it's a day late to call this post "5 Favorites for Friday," how about I just call it "Things I'm loving right now."

I am loving cold, crisp, sunny mornings and the "grand" view out my kitchen window. Since the leaves have fallen off my neighbor's tree, we really have a big view of the mountains and sunrises. I'll take chilly over rainy any day. Must be my Mid-west roots.

I am NOT loving what happened, but I'm loving how Whitworth University has dealt with the horrific storm that occurred in Spokane, Washington this past Tuesday. The beautiful campus lost over 50 trees, power for days (my daughter's off-campus house is still without power) classes had to be canceled, and it's been hard and COLD. Thankful for the updates posted on the University Facebook page and that no one at the college was hurt. Please join me in prayer for the staff, emergency workers, faculty and students as they continue to deal with the aftermath. The Loop will be a lot more open-looking now...

Here are some "before" pictures of the beautiful campus:

Here are some "after" shots:

I am loving my White Black Loose T-shirt  It's comfy, loose and quite affordable! I wear it all the time.

I am loving my morning cup of coffee. Right now it's the Thanksgiving blend, soon to be switched to the Holiday blend. I am not all fired up about the red cups, I just focus on the drink that helps me wake up!

I am loving my hubby right now. Actually, I love him all the time. For the second time in our married life he surprised me with a new car. Our cute convertible was needing extensive repairs. Have you ever owned an Audi? Everything costs more to fix...

We had discussed trading in our car for a short-term lease but hadn't come to any definite decision. Or so I thought...  After work the other night I couldn't find the car I'd driven in the parking lot. In frustration I finally punched the key fob and a brand-new, red Rav4 started blinking it's lights! Yep. My sneaky, sweet man got me a new vehicle. Meet Ruby!

(I'll have to tell the story of the last car surprise some other time...)

What are you loving right now? 

Since there is a chance I might not post again before next Thursday, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

In His Grip,