Friday, May 20, 2016

Thank You Whitworth!

"I always pray with joy...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil. 1:4,6

The Carver family Era at Whitworth University has been eleven years and is about to end. We are headed over to Spokane this weekend to celebrate our youngest child's college graduation. All four of our children have attended the same college. Crazy, right? I am obviously the school's and my children's biggest fan, as evidenced by my collection of Whitworth apparel and items. (Not shown are the Pirate Mom and Dad license plates on my car...) Twice I've been given the opportunity to act as a Pirate Mom and speak to incoming freshman and their parents about why Whitworth is such a great school.

This family adventure began back in 2005 when our oldest son Mitch started college and chose a small private school we'd learned about from our Pastor, Mark Toone. (He was and is currently on the Board of Education.) Back then, it was still a College, but in 2007, when our daughter Allie started as a freshman, it became a University.

The graduations began...

(Mitch-class of 2009/English Major)
(Allie-class of 2011/Elem. Ed.)

Keeping with tradition, T.J. also wanted to attend Whitworth and he attended 2010-2014. He's just completed his first year of graduate school in a new WU counseling program. Last, but not least,  Sarah started her Whitworth adventure in 2012. Although she spent her Sophomore year here at Tacoma Community College, she returned to complete her Art Education degree and will graduate this Sunday!

(Tim-class of 2014/Theology major)

(Sarah-class of 2016/Art Ed.)

Four times of moving excited kids into the BJ (Baldwin/Jenkins) freshman dorm... Different off-campus homes to set-up, and LOTS of wonderful friends to meet and become like family... Oh if only we'd known all four would end up in Spokane at the same University we might have bought a little rental home they all could have lived in!!

Lots of long road trips over to Spokane to attend Family weekends... Hanging out in the "Hub"... Stock-up shopping trips to Fred Meyer and Costco. Coffee dates at La Petit Chat Bakery and dinners out at The Elk, Twigs, and The Flying Goat... So many fun memories were made over the years!

Greenbluff in October

In the "Loop"

We are Pirates!

The gang at The Elk

The tradition of a steak dinner at Wolf Lodge in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho will continue this Saturday night. We make the trip when they start college and when they graduate. It's fun to see our name in the guest book in years past... This will be our 8th trip or maybe 9th!

Four Pirate graduates. Thirty-two expensive tuition checks written and parent and student loans to be paid. There have been several years when we've had more than one child on campus at the same time. Four times (plus Mitch's Master's) of sitting in the Spokane Arena for hours to hear our child's name read so we can cheer as they walk across the stage. (My tip; bring a book or Kindle to read.)

(Mitch earned Masters~2010)

Prayers shot up for finals and relationships... The blessing of both our sons meeting their amazing wives while at Whitworth...
(Daughter-in-laws Amy and Katie)

And so, our baby girl will be walking across the stage for her hard-earned diploma this Sunday. We'll be there to cheer for our fourth and final Pirate. 

Adorable photo taken by Olivia Strohm Photography

We're so proud of you Sarah! You are lovely and talented inside and out and loved by SO many! You will be the best and most compassionate High School Art Teacher ever!

We're so grateful for the blessing that Whitworth has been to our children and our family! Thanks to their friends and the nurture of Professors, each of our kids has become an improved version of themselves. Besides the fabulous education of their chosen field of study, they've gained confidence and the ability to connect with adults of all ages. Theology has been learned and tested, they became mission and outward focused, and above all caring and loving adults. 

The school motto is "Education of Mind and Heart" and I believe all eight of our family members have received that! Thank you Whitworth! 

This Sunday afternoon, I'll be the Mama holding a hankie, possibly wearing sunglasses to hide the tears and cheering loudly for my beautiful daughter, Sarah Michelle.

In His Grip, 

We will return for TJ's graduate ceremony next May, so I guess it's not actually our FINAL Whitworth weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

That Trip to the Beach

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge –that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:18

On Mother's Day weekend, since are four children couldn't come visit, I thought a road trip would be fun. That is why, on a sunny, warm Saturday morning, we packed up the car to drive to the beach. We threw in an overnight bag thinking maybe we could find a dog-friendly rental.

Yes, of course we took our dog Sydney! She loves to run and the thought of her on an open, sandy beach sounded perfect. 

Our adventure began with a new leash for Sydney and a Starbucks for me. We gave our puppy an anxiety pill and headed off. It didn't take long for things to go downhill rapidly. Traffic. Drool. NON-STOP DROOLING DOG.  Our under two hour drive had almost reached three hours due to heavy traffic, when we pulled over for a bathroom break and discovered she'd gotten sick in the back. Drool and now throw-up covered most of my car interior. Did I mention my Rav 4 is leased? We had put our desires first without thinking about the consequences or what was BEST; Sydney would have enjoyed the Puget Sound beach that was a 15 minute drive from our house!

Our destination was Seabrook, WA. It's a Sunset Magazine Idea Town with cottage rentals, a little center with market, shops and a restaurant and miles of sandy beaches. It was charming, but smaller than we expected. We walked around and even participated in the Savor Seabrook seafood and wine tasting event at the Town Hall~with our dog! Apparently it was the place to be, since we ran into our former neighbor and congressman Derek Kilmer.

After our walk around town it was time to take Miss Sydney to the beach. Have you been to a Northern Pacific beach?! The temperature on the coast is always cooler and WINDY! We'd forgotten that, and dressed in shorts since it was hot when we left our house. Thank goodness we brought fleece pull-overs!

The view was magnificent and Sydney had about ten fun minutes running around until we just got too chilly.

After finding out how expensive one overnight with a dog would be, we went to a little wine bar to have a snack before heading home. (Sydney stayed in the car.) We even got to watch the Kentucky Derby while we sipped and nibbled and relaxed. The drive home was tense and very slobbery, but only two hours. I have such compassion now for parents of carsick, crying babies on long drives...

My souvenir from the day (did I really want a reminder?) was a  wooden tray with votive holders and a car interior that took a long time to clean.

Safe to say we will NEVER, EVER, take our dog on another road trip except to the Vet or maybe the quick drive to the Fox Island beach. It was a long, exhausting day, and yet the peace I experienced gazing out at the beautiful ocean God created made it all worthwhile.

"Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the LORD,
The creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary." Isaiah 40:28

In His Grip,


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Hi Friends!  This is a BIG week for our family. Our baby girl will be graduating from college in exactly one week. More about that on another day! It seems like just yesterday we were posing for her high school Senior prom!

Since I want to be a person who chooses joy, here's my latest list of "things I'm loving right now":

I love discovering something fun and random on a drive. On the way home from our Women's retreat earlier this month, I spotted something colorful out my window. Luckily my friends in the car are also spontaneous, so we drove closer to see what was happening. A small private school was celebrating "May Day" with an old-fashioned Maypole Dance. It's "roots" are definitely not Christian, but so pretty and festive! These families were having fun and also enjoying a pot-luck picnic lunch. I was reminded of a time when I was a little girl and my teacher had us do a Maypole dance for a program. That was a LONG time ago!

I love being a part of the MOPS ministry at my church. If you know me, you know I've been a Mops mentor for years. When I moved to the Northwest back in '97 I was involved as a Mom and enjoyed being a DGL (discussion group leader) and then on "Core" as the DGL coordinator.   I adore the relationships I have with the Mamas who range in age from 20's-40's, my fellow mentor moms who are all my dear friends, and then of course there are the babies, toddlers and preschoolers... We gather twice a month at church during the school year to hear speakers that talk about relevant subjects and occasionally do hands-on projects.  I'm so impressed by how talented and smart these young women are and the variety of careers they have, or are taking a little break from, while their children are young. There is no right way to "do" motherhood!

"MOPS International encourages and equips moms of young children to realize their potential as mothers, women and leaders, in relationship with Jesus, and in partnership with the local church. If you want to learn more about MOPS, check out the link at

I love that I have not one, but two part-time jobs that are fun! I get to enjoy the retail world at Charlie Barnes, and also substitute teach preschool at my church. Both allow me to hang out with little cuties and wonderful adults.

I love the "app" First 5 from Proverbs 31. It's free and it's a wonderful way to spend the first five minutes of your day focusing on God. There's a great wrap-up video every weekend too. Right now we're in ACTS and I love that our church is in ACTS too. Double-dosing can be a good thing!

I love this quote: "God never asks us to give up anything without offering something far greater in its place." (Wendy Blight from Proverbs 31 First 5)

This Potluck Recipe is a winner: When I need to bring something hot and yummy to a breakfast/brunch, my go-to is always this hash brown casserole. It's easy and always polished off at Mops gatherings.

Our rose bushes have started blooming! Thanks to previous owners, we have 12 rose bushes. The first rose of the season is one of my favorite colors and is SO fragrant! Since I love having cut flowers in the house, I can save a bit of grocery money when our own "free" flowers start blooming.

I love the way my four kids spoil me. I didn't get to SEE them on Mother's Day, but I got to talk to ALL of them and cards have been arriving. I laughed when I realized how this card was addressed. I bet it made the mail carrier smile too! I AM Mama Sama!... (I also answer to Mom, Mama Bear, Momma, Marmie~depending on which child is writing or talking to me.)

Even though I often wish my daughters and sons were still under our roof, I'm thrilled that they are all thriving!
"Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don't you recognize it?" (GWT) Isaiah 43:18-19a

What are you loving right now?

In His Grip, 

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,