Monday, May 2, 2016

What I Learned in April (2016)

I love the pink Flamingos that I saw on my walk one day.

Hello friends and Happy May! I didn't have time to write and post a blog on the last weekday of April, because I was in a packed car heading to our church's Women's Retreat. I'm linking up to Emily P. Freeman's Chatting at the Sky and here's a quick re-cap of what I learned last month:
1. Women's Retreats require more preparation and "stuff" than Men's Retreats.
This probably doesn't surprise most of you, especially if you've ever been on a retreat team. My hubby organizes our Men's retreats and he was astonished by the phone calls, emails, crafts, shopping, packing, etc. Women show love this way... In the midst of all the Martha-type busyness, I reminded myself to focus on why we were retreating; to be in God's presence and to be present to others...
"There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it-I won't take it away from her!" Luke 10:42

2. Having your own spot can make a huge difference.
I can't explain it. I have a large farm table I used to spread out on to work, do computer work, write or do bible study. But I still wanted my own spot/desk. There it was! At Homegoods one morning I saw it! Small, sleek, the perfect size to put behind our sectional! I was thankful it was still there the next day when I returned after asking my hubby and measuring. I am so happy to have a little place that allows me to stay organized AND watch TV or look out at our glorious view. Do you have a desk?

3. I possibly chose the wrong major.
When I taught preschool and kindergarten, decorating the classroom was one of my favorite things, so I shouldn't be surprised that I dream about being the CEO of Land of Nod. Everything about the store brings me joy. When I get their email ads and catalogs I relish every page.  I love ALL things for little one's rooms even though I don't have any young children or grandchildren! (That's one of the reasons I love working at the baby boutique, Charlie Barnes!) I wish I'd gotten my degree in interior design! Have you seen the new bedding that is based on the Little Golden Books?! Combining vintage and books and design?! Adorable!  I found the pillow above at Target and am using it in my guest room.
(If I had been a boy my parents were going to name me Peter...)

In my search for photos, I found a REAL land of NOD on a bible map!

4. Notes of encouragement matter.
When my hubby left for a week-long business trip last month I discovered little notes around the house. What a blessing! I believe everyone would benefit from surprise notes or sweet cards.
"Pleasant words are like honey...sweet to the soul and healthy to the body." Proverbs 16:24

5. Voting matters. Research matters. So does praying...
So...this is happening around my state of Washington. Lots of places are opening that sell weed. Back in 2012 my state passed the Washington Initiative 502 that legalized Cannabis/Marijuana. I remember hearing from a police officer-friend that they could focus on more pressing issues if they didn't have to spend so much of their time making Marijuana arrests so I voted for not against. (Insert sad, embarrassed face. Please don't hate me.) If only I'd done more research. If only I'd prayed about it!
"Seeking God's will first brings perspective." Proverbs 3:6
As the National Presidential election draws nearer, I ask that you don't despair but research, pray for America and it's future leader and vote. This Thursday is not only Cinco de' Mayo, but it's The National Day of Prayer. Look for a gathering that you could attend (On Thursday, May 5 at Peninsula Baptist Church at 7:00pm, our entire community will gather in a concert of prayer.) or pray on your own (and then go sip a yummy Margarita, if that's how you roll...)

What did you learn in April?

In His Grip,  jane

Friday, April 8, 2016

5 Favorites on Friday

Hello friends and happy Friday! Here are five things I'm loving this week:

1. Check out this You Tube video of a Flash mob performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 “Ode to Joy." How is it possible that this magnificent piece was written when he was deaf? You'll love watching the crowd's faces.

2. This "Never" commercial by State Farm is the BEST and quite realistic. I love it!

3. Have you eaten at a JOEY restaurant? There are JOEY restaurants in four Canadian provinces, one in California and three in Washington state (University Village, Bellevue and Southcenter.) Oh my goodness! Everything we ordered was outstanding, the atmosphere was great (my son said it had a Hong Kong vibe) and I definitely want to go again!

4. I keep a running list of my favorite quotes. Here's one that is speaking to me lately:
"God never asks us to give up anything without offering something far greater in its place." (Wendy Blight from the First 5 devotion app.) God is doing some work on my heart and I am claiming His promises. He knows what I NEED, not just what I WANT.

5. As a Mops mentor and former Mops Mommy, I've had the privilege of attending many wonderful meeting mornings throughout the years with lots of great guest speakers and topics. My favorite is always the Tea and Testimony day. We had that yesterday. Two Moms shared their stories. They made us cry, laugh, and think about our own faith journey. I believe that those who don't yet know the Lord will want to investigate...

It is time for me to get ready for the YMCA. I'm being brave and digging my college tap shoes out. Wish me luck! Have a wonderful weekend!

In His Grip, 

Friday, April 1, 2016

What I Learned in March

Here are 7 things I learned in March:

Uber can have price "surges."
While we were in Scottsdale earlier this month we decided not to rent a car. Instead, we relied on taxis, Uber, and our friends. Due to ALL the fans in town for Spring Training, a LOT of people were depending on Uber for their transportation...the night we texted for a ride home from our restaurant in Old Town, the price had tripled! We opted for the taxi and actually saved money.

I might become a baseball fan.
Of all the spectator sports, baseball is low on my list of favorites. I'm a pro-football or soccer, college basketball fan. But...sitting on the lawn in the sunshine of Arizona with my hubby and friends sipping a cold beer and talking to lots of people all around us (Cubs fans) made me reconsider. I might become a Mariner's Fan and now I own a hat and shirt to prove it! (Of course my enjoyment is totally weather-dependant.)

The "microphone drop" is a thing and not good for it.
While watching our local "Evening Magazine" they were doing a feature on people who let go of the microphone to emphasize that what they said is the last word, and nothing more needs to be added. It started with Rappers and comedians and has been used often by President Obama. In reality it's  really bad for the sound equipment.

Since Easter was last weekend, I was reflecting that Jesus didn't need to "drop the mic" to show the world that He had the last word. It was quite apparent when He rose from the dead three days later!

"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." John 19:30

Statement necklaces are going "out of style."
I stumbled upon a fashion article that said big statement necklaces are so yesterday and now dainty jewelry is all the rage. Dang. I can't keep up! I like my small collection of big necklaces (I have 4 or 5) and will probably keep wearing them. Guess I need to start slowly acquiring a few dainty necklaces. (Mike, if you read this, I like this one!)

I could be one of Santa's Elves.
I had the fun opportunity to be the assistant to Karl Johnson, the famous Silhouette artist. He is amazing! Check out his talent. Karl came to Charlie Barnes for a day and my job was to take the payment, wrap the finished product, and keep the babies and children happy so he could see their profile. He didn't actually ask me to do the "keep them happy part", but I took on that responsibility... It's just in my nature to keep things jolly, so I could probably get a seasonal part-time job as one of Santa's helpers. 

I learned an interesting pain-reliever for sore joints.
The recipe? Golden raisins soaked in Gin. I have not tried this so the only comment I can make is that # 9 on the list of directions sort of goes without saying...
Photo source:

I gained another Grandkitty.
My college daughter has her Mama's heart for rescue animals and babies... She adopted an 8 year old kitty and named her Mimosa (one of her favorite beverages) and posted her pic on Instagram. I didn't understand it was her cat at first~sneaky girl! I hope she can find a pet-friendly apartment when she graduates! Mimosa's photo is at the top. 

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. What did YOU learn in March?

It's a beautiful, sunny Spring day here in the PNW and my "baby girl" is on her way home for Spring Break~ yay! Enjoy your weekend friends!

In His Grip,

Friday, March 18, 2016

5 Favorites on Friday, and One More Thing...

Happy Friday! The rain has temporarily stopped this week in the PNW, and everyone is out and about due to what we call a "Sun break." My list of 5 favorites is quick this week because I have something else on my mind. Here are my favorites this week:

1. Beautiful sunrises
2. Walks on sunny days
3. Reading on a lounge chair in the sun
4. Not having to wear layers since the sun is hot
5. Sipping a cocktail on a deck or patio watching the sunset with my hubby

Do you see a pattern? I love sunshine! I love warm weather! I might not live in the right state...

That mountain, in all it's glory in the photo above, is one of the reasons we put up with some rainy days months. Forecasting the weather in the Seattle area is challenging. Each day normally has many different types of weather; showers, cloudy, rain, wind, sun breaks, and sometimes...sunshine!

Having returned from a get-away to Arizona last week with my hubby, I noticed that people dress according to where their habitat is, so let's talk fashion...

Shorts? Here people wear them pretty much all year 'round, but usually when it's 60 degrees or above. Back where I grew up in Indiana, kids couldn't wear shorts to school unless it was 80 or above.

Down jackets? Yes, in Chicago and Indianapolis (our former hometowns) people normally wear them in the winter. Here? Basically if the sun isn't out and the temp is low 50's or below, many are pulling on a puffy coat. It just feels colder here due to the dampness. Chicago has "Lake-effect" wind chill... we have "Ocean/Puget Sound/clouds~effect" coldness. 

Tank tops? I was one of the few people at the Scottsdale outdoor mall wearing one. It was sunny and low 70's. Most locals had on long sleeves or sweaters. (I was a bit chilly, but by golly I was on vacation and I'd packed "hot weather clothes!) Let it be noted that I often wear sleeveless tops under sweaters in case I have my own mini "Tropical vacation" due to being a certain AGE.

And one more thing... I love weddings and love being married. I do however, think we should have added another vow.

When the bride and groom are saying their vows it's not just "for better, for worse." What about "in sunshine and in rain..." When you get married there is never a promise that the sky will always be blue and that evenings will be cocktails on the deck. Sometimes it's stomping through puddles and mud in the park walking the dog. (There was that one fun Saturday when we participated in our town's "Sip and Stroll.)

I am a MUCH more content person when the climate is sunny and warm. Candles and coffee became popular in the Seattle area for a reason; we need warmth people!! Until my next get-away, or until Mid-summer when our weather here is spectacular, I will do my best to appreciate each day no matter what the weather is doing. I'm praying the Lord will help me have the attitude of your apostle Paul.

 "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4:11 NIV

Smiling in the sun...

Smiling in the rain...

No matter the weather, we enjoy being together...

Do you mind the rain? Enjoy your weekend friends!

In His Grip,

Friday, March 4, 2016

5 Favorites on Friday

Happy Weekend Friends!   I am snuggled on the couch with a fire and my doggie watching a "guilty pleasure" show which shall remain unnamed while my frozen pizza bakes. 

Here are 5 of my favorite things:

Main & Vine: Our town recently got the Kroger flagship store called Main & Vine. It's a health food market. It features a coffee shop that serves beer and wine. It's become quite the popular spot to meet for lunch. I like their fresh displays, $5 Sushi Tuesdays, frozen fast meals to go, samples with recipes, decor, salads, and more! Have you been yet? It's a bit like if Whole Foods and Trader Joe's married and had a baby... Their tag line: "This is Main & Vine…where eating healthy is a way of life."

Scandaleyes gel eyeliner: Although I'll spend a bit more for certain cosmetics, when it comes to eyeliner I like it cheap. I've tried Elf brand and this time I bought the one from Rimmel London. I like using a little brush so much better than a pencil which can hurt and is harder to get smooth and even. I use brown for everyday and black for nighttime. 

My new slip-on sneakers: I've admired the shoes on a blogger I follow ( The Middle Page) and I clicked on a link she had. Yay! Loft had a sale on the Leapard print slip-on sneaks and even though it was a final sale (aka can't be returned) I placed my order and am happy to say they're fit and are comfy! I love great deals that work out!

Good customer service: Thank you Stitch Fix for offering to pay my next styling fee when you discovered how underwhelmed I was with my shipment. Thank you Peace Water Winery for shipping us a special bottle of wine since they accidentally forgot to fill our winter order. As a sales person at Charlie Barnes who always tries to give good customer service, I appreciate companies that give it too!

This song: Francesca Battistelli's song, If We're Honest is one I love listening to. Why do we try to keep our hurts or depression to ourselves instead of just being real? 

"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

Have a good weekend! I am counting down the minutes until I get to escape the rain and head south for a holiday in Scottsdale, Arizona with my hubby.

In His Grip, 

I am SO not regular in my blogging...thank you for putting up with me!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Through February

Happy Leap Year Day! 
How are you going to spend your extra day? Mine will be pretty ordinary; taking my dog Sydney for a walk, and working at the baby boutique. I do hope to do something nice and unexpected for someone. I'll be looking out for an opportunity...

Here are six things I learned this month:
1. Compassion wins.  I wrote about my beloved cat Tigger passing away a few weeks ago. The last week of his life my husband (who always just put up with him,) allowed me to bring the litter box up from the garage and put it in our bathroom since he was hunkered in our closet...  On his last morning of life I gave my kitty milk. Wouldn't you?

2. The YMCA is for everybody. After years of saying I'd get in shape, I finally am making an effort. I've now been a semi-regular for a month. I've tried the treadmill, recumbent bike, Eliptical, weight machine circuit, Zumba class, and Mixed Fit. My muscles are in shock and I am sore. I see people of all ages and no one has laughed out loud at me. Women in my dance classes have been encouraging even though it's going to take a few more weeks before I can learn all the steps. (I used to be on a dance & drill team and a Jazzercise fanatic but that was a LONG time ago!) Here's my personal tip for the machine TV's: I watch either "HGTV" or the "Food Channel" so I have to exercise at least 30 minutes. Why?...because I have to see how the remodeled homes turn out or how to make an entire meal!...

“Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.” 
Psalm 51:8-10 The Message
Photo source:PFAStudent - I took this picture., CC BY-SA 3.0,

3. Once a teacher, always a teacher... I've missed the classroom. I was lucky to be asked to fill in at our church preschool as a substitute teacher this month. Years ago I was on the staff, and I've also taught Kindergarten and First Grade. It's been several years since I've been "Mrs. Carver" or "Teacher Jane."  I had so much fun! Kind of like riding a bike, it all came back quickly; I remembered most of the songs, the schedule seemed familiar, and the kids were adorable. God has been reigniting my desire to teach part-time, so hopefully they'll be a spot for me in the future.

4. Teaching Kindergarten can be good training for the Retail business. The whole multi-tasking thing, one teacher outnumbered by lots of little needy people, and unpredictable circumstances have been good training for me for busy days. If you've ever worked in retail, you know that some days can be slow and some can be high-sales and hectic. I was concentrating on several projects one day (pricing new inventory, reorganizing, making package bows) when suddenly everyone in our town came shopping! There was only "little old me" trying to assist and ring up and wrap... As the story goes, "Some days are like that," even in Australia Charlie Barnes.

5. Some names are popular for years! My Grandma was ahead of her time when she named my Mom Barbara back in 1926. Yep, my Mom is a feisty 89 year old and my dear Grandma Grace has been in Heaven since I was in college. I wonder why she chose Barbara? Did she know that the name Barbara would become one of the three most popular girl's names two years later (in 1928) and would continue to be in the top three until 1945?! (The other two were Mary and Betty.)  In 2016 the three most popular girl names are Emma, Olivia and Sophia. Apparently Jane was only rated #66 the year I was born...

6. Hail Happens when cars aren't parked in the garage. Suddenly it was hailing last night while we were watching the "Golden Globes. "The only movie I'd seen that was up for anything was "Star Wars." 
We were concerned about the Toyota Camry our oldest is buying from us that was parked by the side of our house. Hoping it wasn't damaged! We had memories of having to claim total damage to two cars back in the 1980's in Indiana after a HUGE hail storm. I haven't actually gone downstairs to inspect any damage, but all seems well looking out the window. 

That's about it for the month of February. I have a few more stories, but I'll have to share them on another day. I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at the Sky

What things did you learn in the month of February? 

In His Grip, 

(The photo of the yummy cookies at the top was taken at Madeleine's Cafe in Spokane, WA.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Windex is a Good Reminder

Saturday morning I spent some time doing housekeeping chores I’ve been putting off. Basically I’ve just “spot-cleaned” since the holidays. It looked “good enough” but I knew it was pretty dirty around here!

 We had company coming, the sun was shining and I’d had coffee! (I mention the coffee only due to the fact that I’d given it up for five mornings while I attempted to do a full-body cleanse. I did NOT make it the full 10 days but I did learn some self-control.) 

“I might as well face it I’m addicted to caffeine...”

I scrubbed the kitchen, mopped, organized, put away, hung some pictures, and made our place look company-ready. I noticed the front door looking a bit spotty so I proceeded to clean all the glass doors of our house. (Yes, one of them is the door I wrote about back in May. You can read about it shattering here.)

We are blessed with a wonderful “view.” Our home sits up on a hill and we get to look down on our Harbor Town and over at Puget Sound. It only took a few sprays of Windex and wiping to realize HOW DIRTY my glass was! I looked down at all the dirt on the paper towels and wondered why we could still see the view...we could see out, the light could come in, and yet they were not sparkling.

It suddenly made me think about what I look like to others. Do I sparkle? Am I "clean?" Friends might look at me and not SEE my sins.  I’ve always tried to be a “good girl.” Do I attempt to hide my sinful nature from those around me? God sees right through me~to what is really in my heart. (My family often sees that icky part of me too.)

"But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin." 
1 John 1:7

I love that God wipes away my filth, and just like Windex on my glass, it’s not a one-time-thing...
Over and over I need to be cleansed; I’m nudged and convicted and reminded. Because of Jesus I can be wiped clean!

"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." Psalm 51:2

Our view is even better now. As I continue to spend time in God’s word, I hope that my behavior and thoughts and mind and heart are beginning to shine too...

Have you (and your windows) been wiped clean lately?

In His Grip,