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: www.sino-treasure.com

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, 
Jane

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~http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php



















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,
Jane
xo

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,                           
Jane
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: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/09/each-of-you-is-special-just-because.html

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,
Jane                       
xo                                            Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn.




Friday, March 13, 2015

Did You Get My Message?


Messages matter. Back-in-the-day, when my kids were younger and cell phones didn't text, I was queen of notes. Whenever I left the house, a note would be on the counter telling my family where I was going, what they could snack on, etc. I always signed them with a "Love, Mommy xo."

Apparently my four children were watching my habit of note-writing. My kids are good about connecting with a text or a note on the counter if they're home for a visit.

It's always a good thing to stay informed by our people. Knowing is better than guessing.

My hubby and I often communicate with texts. It's quick. It's handy. One of his former co-workers put post-it notes all over his car dashboard so he'd know all the hospitals he'd be visiting for work. His old-school system worked for him.

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I watch Pretty Little Liars on Netflix. I know, right?! I'm half-way through 50 and I watch a show for high school and college girls. I started watching it with my youngest daughter when she was in high school and it sucked me in... She no longer watches it but I have to see who "A" really is. The show centers around text messages being sent back and forth between the four friends as they work together to solve the mystery. Last night a simple "S.O.S. Emily's" had them quickly meeting up at one girl's bedroom.


Photo source: etreradieuse.com

Group texts are pretty convenient. I can message my kids or sisters at the same time. I love the banter between siblings. Yesterday morning I sent a group text to my prayer buddies and within five minutes I knew my sisters-in-Christ were praying for my son's Graduate School interview.

Occasionally though,  I'll miss a message...

Case in point: Last night I fixed my hair and make-up, and changed out of sweats. My hubby was still on a business trip so a friend and I were going to go out to grab a bite. The whole time, my cell phone was out in the kitchen, waiting for me to read the text that said "sorry, can't do dinner tonight."
I could have stayed in my sweats!!  I did enjoy a delicious Pot Pie and glass of Big Bold Red.



Messages (texts and notes) are meant to be read as soon as possible to keep you informed.

The Bible is God's message to us. SO many encouraging notes and loving advice from our Father to us, his people. Since His word has been translated into lots of different versions, we get to choose a way that speaks to our hearts.

Usually I read my ESV (English Standard Version) or New Living Testament. I learn more if I follow it up by reading Eugene H. Peterson's The Message, which is written in today's contemporary language.

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14 ESV 

"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easy-going formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life~to God!~ is vigorous and requires total attention."
Matthew 7:13-14 The Message
Picture source: Christianbook.com

Whether you choose to remain an old-school post-it note person, or have become a mod texting person, God's word can send us messages at just the right time.  Just like it helps to check our phones for new messages, we need to keep our bibles handy and opened and read with regularity!

How do you communicate with your "people?" 
Have you received a new message from God lately? 
What's your favorite bible version?

In His Grip, 
Jane xo            

Thanks for reading See Jane Learn and I'd love to connect with you.

P.S. Remember: do not text and drive-it can wait!

Top photo source: Pinterest/http://www.healingplacechurch.org/


Saturday, February 28, 2015

What I Learned in February

The view from my mailbox

Let's look back as we head into March. Here are some things I learned in February:

1. The Pacific Northwest has actually had some of the best weather in America. You've probably seen the news or are experiencing the nasty winter most of the country is living through. The school where my Nashville daughter teaches has been cancelled at least eight days due to ice and snow, my family in Indiana is SO COLD, and then there’s Boston. 


2. Good things come to an end. T.V. shows and football...
Parenthood is officially over. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who haven't caught up. If you did watch the finale, did you like the way it ended?

Pic source~NBC.com

Football season has ended. The Seahawks. Were. So. Close. I love our Hawks and despite not liking the way the Superbowl game ended I am a proud 12th Mama!


3. When your daughter gets her wisdom teeth removed, several things might happen:
Maternal instinct kicks in and you wake up every four hours to see if she needs more pain killers or ice. Since you try not to eat much solid food right in front of her it's an excuse to have an hour date with hubby for dinner. Couch time means movie time. I’ve watched more movies in the last 24 hours then I have in the last months. So far we’ve watched: Four Christmases, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Divergent, Vanity Fair, Belle, Willy Wonka~”Life had never been sweeter…" and now we have Stuart Little on. "That's no mouse, that's my brother."

4. Pinterest is actually helpful for more than dreaming and pinning. I had some Mom friends over for a Valentine Party and we packed care packages for our college daughters. My contribution was woven felt hearts and homemade scrub and they said I was pretty crafty. Yay! I can follow directions!

5. Food Network and HGTV are super motivating! I watched an episode of the Pioneer Woman and made her scones and Cowboy quiche for my friends. Yummy!! 

6. Twice this month I’ve wished I was more like Mary. The first had to do with the Mary in the bible parable of Mary vs. Martha. I am doing a bit better about being consistent spending time with God in the morning, but I still need to learn to have my priorities in order. The second Mary was Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey. She was super excited when she got her new shorter haircut; she felt beautiful and powerful. I, on the other hand, decided to get a new haircut and it turned out to be quite a bit shorter than I asked for expected. Even though I’ve received some compliments including a few “it makes you look younger” comments (my personal favorite!) I am still sort of missing my longer length… 
Picture source~Bing
7. This month ended with my husband and I attending a powerful “celebration of life” service for the son of our friends. Such an amazing life Aaron squeezed into 26 years and his story has touched SO many. Listening to one of the ICU nurses speak I was reminded how grateful I am for health care professionals who can give care and keep from “falling apart.” I am not able to separate my emotions from anything. Thankfully God can figure out things I can do even though I cry...

Every minute of life is precious and is a gift. It's all about love and knowing God is writing our stories. 

"Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other." 
Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Please join me. What did you discover during the month of February?

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

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.