Friday, August 15, 2014

B & B: Our Dynamic Harbor Duo

Normally the term B & B is the nickname used to describe Bed & Breakfast places. In our Judson Street strip mall here in downtown Gig Harbor, B & B means beer and babies. Sometimes things don’t seem to “go together” and yet in this case, they do!

I've been "working" at a fabulous little baby and young children’s store called Charlie Barnes that carries gear, clothes and gifts since March of 2013. It caters to expectant and young parents and grandparents. Everything is chosen with care by the Proprietor, who is a young mom herself. 
We love Kickee Pants!
We are located next to a bank (handy when I run out of change) above us is a hair salon and some offices, and down the sidewalk you’ll find the post office, a flower shop, barber shop and a couple eating establishments. Every day I get to meet new people, see friends, hold babies, play with preschoolers (I need my "fix" since I used to teach preschool, Kinders and 1st graders), arrange adorable items, wrap gifts, and a variety of other tasks. It's my job, but it doesn't seem like work!

The place which pairs quite well with Charlie Barnes is the 7 Seas Brewery. It’s a great spot to hang out with friends and try a new hand-crafted beer, or pick up a growler or 4-pack to take home. It is not a bar or Tavern, so all ages are welcome. When the mixed nuts aren’t enough, customers carry in their own take-out or picnic food.

We get quite a few shoppers who meander in our door before or after hitting the brewery to see what’s new in the baby world. Perhaps a few quality beers even helped them get in the family way?...
The store baby, Brooke, on her 1st B-day.
And so, if you need to buy a shower gift or something for a tiny one, remember you can lure your hubby or date along with the promise that they can get a cold one while you pop in and check out our cute store in downtown Gig Harbor. For those of you who are too far to visit, we're online!

Did I mention how much I love what I get to do? 
Miss Brooke showing one of our Baby Grand Pianos.

Babies and Beer! Chickens and eggs. Which comes first? Enjoy your weekend friends! I'm looking forward to a weekend event called Overflow; a worship concert in the park and outdoor baptisms too.

In His Grip, Jane

This Story girl is now a girl who shares her story.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How Was Your Weekend?

Sometimes the weekends without any major events can be the best. Listening to Pandora (Hillsong United this morning and Nat King Cole during dinner tonight) browsing old magazines, watching the new Jen Hatmaker show on my DVR. Here are some other moments from my lazy weekend:

And then there were two. Sydney was barking on the porch the other night and I realized what/who she was directing her barks to. Our neighbor's kitty, Emma, was up on their roof! A minute later, one of their other cats, T.J. (not to be confused with my son) was also on the roof.
Our cat Tigger has never attempted to get up on a roof. Perhaps he's afraid of heights like his "Mama?" Tigger is moving into the "assisted living" phase of his life. His grooming habits are slacking off a bit and when I brushed him I got a tennis-ball sized mound of hair. Gross.
Blurry pics but see that 2nd little cat head on the left?

Yesterday I felt gross and was on a quest; to find somewhere that I could get my hair shampooed. You know that icky feeling when the surgeon says no shower until Monday and your hair hasn't been washed since Wednesday and you can't take it anymore?! My hubby would have gladly helped me in the sink if we'd known how hard it would be to find a place. We stopped by three salons; all closed. Finally after getting a bite to eat and picking up beautiful flowers at the Farmer's market we stopped by the local HairMasters. I'm now a fan since their shampoo was $6 and I felt like a whole new me!

We finally watched God's Not Dead. The movie was OK and the arguments were good and valid. We would definitely have changed the ending though. It is true! God's Not Dead!

I am hooked on the book The Blue Bistro, by Elin Hilderbrand. I'm listening to it on my Audible app which is handy when packing boxes.

Besides the sunshine and seeing kitties high on a roof, my other favorite weekend blessing was the gift of tonight's dessert. While I sat out back this afternoon, one of my dear friends who lives around the corner, snuck in and left two sweet little blackberry pies on my kitchen counter. SO thoughtful, and I've been craving pie! Thank you Lola, for your kindness.

Hope you all had a good weekend too!

In His Grip, Jane

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

They Saddled Up!

Our family and marriage motto has always been “Life is an Adventure.” We borrowed that idea from an old Stephen Curtis Chapman song, The Great Adventure. If you've even listened to the lyrics it's about getting ready for a wild ride. That seems to be the theme of this summer.

My children grew up to take those lyrics literally; as of yesterday, all four of my kids are on great adventures too far away from this Mama. I’ve got my oldest and his wife in Thailand (or possibly New Zealand...hard to keep track of their itinerary), my recent graduate in Burma, my daughter living in Nashville, and now my youngest is on a road trip/vacation to help her boyfriend move down to California. I didn't go on an airplane until I was 17 and the first time I crossed the U.S. border was to Mexico in college~for two hours.

Back in the early days of parenting, I foolishly thought life as a Mommy would become easier as my babies grew up. I was tired with four littles under seven years old. Physically worn out. I took all four of them being home under our roof for granted.

Now? They've been together under one roof twice this year; at Christmas, and at our family reunion in Minnesota. I’m still tired, but now I’m emotionally tired. “Out of sight, out of mind you say?” No, not really. Granted, when they were away at college I didn’t know what exactly they were up to, but they’d check in and I’d choose to believe they were fine.

During this summer season when days and weeks go by with hardly any communication, I’ve spent so much time praying, that if I physically knelt each time I talk to God about them I would most certainly need a pair of knee pads. 
I have a running dialog with God. “Are they OK? Are they healthy? Are they broke? Are they making good choices? Are they depending on you, Lord? Did we teach them enough? Do they know how much I love them? Will they come back safe and sound?...”

At night I toss and turn (which makes me tired too,) trying to empty my mind, but it’s so busy! That’s why I was delighted to run across A Prescription For Worry (A two day challenge) written by Jennifer Dukes Lee. When she described herself firing her inner worrier before turning to prayer, I was encouraged to do the same. 

I am taking Jennifer's advice and trying NOT to allow my inner worrier to steal my sleep. The past two nights I've only woken once or twice and went back to sleep pretty quickly. If I refuse to worry, then I will be forced to do what I should be doingTRUST.

"It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6, The Message

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." -Isaiah 26:3

If I’m really trusting God than perhaps I should begin to actually behave like someone who is moving to a new home in 30 days! This will be my 11th move since I got married so it’s not like I don’t know that it would be wise to start filling boxes, and remember: parenting is a great adventure!

"Saddle up your horses
We've got a trail to blaze
Through the wild blue yonder
Of God's amazing grace

Let's follow our Leader
Into the glorious unknown
This is a life like no other
This is the great adventure"

What adventure does God currently have YOU on? Moving? Traveling? Parenting?...
In His Grip, Jane


Friday, August 1, 2014

What I learned in July

My brave, tender-hearted son T.J.
During the month of July I've been learning many things and you might have noticed I have certainly NOT been writing any blogs. Am I still a blogger? Hmmm... Here are six things I know for sure:
1. I kind of like Pina Coladas, thanks to my daughter. I'm not a big coconut fan (unless it's body lotion or fried on shrimp.) One hot, sunny day my youngest made a pitcher of Pina Coladas and brought me one. It was good! Don't tell anyone that the mixologist won't be 21 until September.

2. I am not my age. In reality my birthday is later this month and I'm turning (gulp)~55. I might ache in the morning but I do not think I am old in my head. I took a test on Facebook and even they agree with me! Here is what the test results said:

Here is our best guess at who you are:
1. You are female. yep
2. You are currently in your twenties, you are single, dating at nights and balancing a promising career during the day. Nope. 54, happily married, yes we love to go out, and yes I love my job at Charlie Barnes Kids.
3. You are smart, calculated, funny and imaginative. Why thank you!
4. You have black hair, dark eyes a cute nose. Not even close. Blond, blue eyes, my Daddy's big nose.
5. You own a pet. Yes. Two actually. Sydney the dog and Tigger the cat.
Am I the only one who takes those silly tests on Facebook?...

3. I am just one of many… (patients.)  When you're waiting to hear back about medical tests, sometimes it is easy to forget that doctors have LOTS of patients and sometimes paperwork and vacation-time conflicts with contacting the patient ME! After two tests and one unpleasant procedure, I had to wait for weeks to finally find out that no I don’t have cancerous cells but yesI need to have a lumpectomy next week due to atypical cells. Get your yearly mammograms, girls!

4. My friend's deck is the BEST place to watch fireworks. For the last two years we've joined our friends down the street on their gorgeous deck with a panoramic view including Mt. Rainer, to watch fireworks. Sipping wine, visiting, no traffic, it's perfect.
5. When your son is on a mission trip to Burma and communication stops, don't necessarily think the worst. Back in May I was wondering if my 22 year old would decide to go on a mission trip after graduation. He went back and forth on his decision. I went back and forth on my Mama support of the decision. In the end, despite not raising many funds, my brave, tender-hearted man-cub felt called to go with his girlfriend Katie and meet up with another Whitworth University couple ministering to the people up in Northern Burma. We got word that they’d landed in Thailand, but for the next six days or so they went “radio silent.” NO communication. NO emails. NO idea whether or not they were safe. All Katie's parents, my husband and I could do was wait, trust, and PRAYWe finally received word that after DAYS of uncomfortable travel, they'd arrived in Myitkyina and found a room in a library where they can go to get Internet connection. When I hear the following scripture verse, it now has personal meaning for me. I can't wait until they return safely and I get to hear all about their experiences.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Mark 16:15 
Kachin State of Burma

6. We're coming back to the "Mainland." After two years of wondering what might happen to the rental home we’ve been living in on an island, losing count of how many homes we toured over those two years (especially in the last six weeks) and spending too much on gas, a home went on the market this spring and waited for us to find it!  It's right downtown and will be perfect for us as we transition once again into being empty nesters. We are so thankful. We'll be moving at the beginning of September and I'll share more about it later. 

I am linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. What did you learn in July?

In His Grip, Jane

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What I Learned in June

The month of June was full of fun surprises, family time and not as much "June gloom" weather as we usually have here in the Northwest. Here are eight things I learned in June:

1. Tow isn't just how all the boat owners in my town get their boats to the water. Tow also refers to flax or hemp fibers. The term Towhead was explained to me by an elderly gentleman I passed while walking baby Brooke, my boss's daughter, to the post office. The term towhead means a child or adult with very light (almost white) blond hair. My oldest son was a towhead as a little boy; now he's 28 and hardly has any hair. (I thought my boys wouldn't lose their hair since my daddy had a LOT of hair. What's up with the saying that the hair gene comes from the mother?! False information, apparently...)

2. Sometimes it's smarter and cheaper to rent a home for a few days in L.A. instead of staying at a hotel. I learned this fact from my boss who went on a "buying trip" a couple weeks ago. She got to stay in a swanky place in Beverly Hills and guess who was her neighbor? Jessica Alba. I totally think we need to connect the Honest Company with Charlie Barnes Kids

3. Family Reunions are worth the time and money to attend. For the 3rd time in 20 years my husband's side of the family gathered at a lake in Minnesota. Most of the extended family could come. The Omaha clan drove, we flew and rented a car. We ate too much, fished, played games, and the cousins got reacquainted. Mid-week my oldest son arrived with quite a surprise; he had bought a ticket for his Nashville sister who claimed she couldn't get off work! Mamas love it when all their kids are together under one roof! I have lots of fun memories, but my top two are: falling asleep listening to my four kids laughing in the next room and going canoeing with my hubby. 
(All the kids with Grandpa.)

4. I was told not to give up my "day job" to become a singer. What?! First of all my day job is just part-time and secondly I thought I did a fabulous job singing Karaoke! OK, maybe I was just having fun and I got caught up in the moment. Our family had a blast singing together at our reunion. SO much fun in fact that we did it for hours using You Tube. I need to make a list of my go-to song titles for the next time I get a chance to take the microphone. Watching my hubby and kids singing and dancing away and the talent of my Nashville daughter also needs to be added to my list of favorite memories.

5. I was reminded for the 3rd time in my flying life that First Class is way more fun. On our way back from the family reunion trip to Minnesota, my hubby surprised the two youngest kids and I with an upgrade to First Class. We enjoyed the free cocktails, inflight entertainment players, plus a yummy ravioli dinner. I finally watched the movie Life As We Know It. So good! If only every seat on every plane was First Class...

6. "Friends are friends forever, if the Lord is Lord of them..." Those song lyrics are true. Back in the mid-1990's were were in a small group in Illinois. One of the couples now lives in Minnesota and invited us to lunch on our way to the airport. Thank you McLains! It was so fun to catch up over delicious chicken and see how the Lord is working in our family's lives. We also spent an hour at the Mall of America. It's SO big! I did find a cute purse on sale at Fossil which made trek from the parking lot totally worth it.

7. Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington is quite an event and my oldest son never gives up. Have you heard of Hoopfest? It's the largest 3 on 3 tournament of it's kind in the United States. People from all over the country converge on Spokane where streets and parking lots become courts and players of all ages and abilities play for two days. Both the boys needed their ankles wrapped and the oldest repeatedly sprained his ankle. Despite the pain, he wouldn't give up. (He also didn't want his Dad, who was the sub, to play too much and get hurt.) Their Jambox team lost by one point in the finals and I was so proud of their effort! We also cheered on our daughter-in-law's team. The weather was glorious ~I wonder if the event must be cancelled if it rains?

 Here are some tips if you go next June: take chairs, a Kindle or book for in-between games, a cooler with lots of waters and Gatorades, and fun people to hang out with. I got to hang with my daughter-in-law's family and my son's girlfriend. If you love basketball it's the place to be.

8. Wardrobe malfunctions happen on the porch. If a neighbor shows up at your open front door with your dog (Miss Sydney ran away without my knowledge) it is totally appropriate to answer the door in your p.j. pants and sports bra.  I was hot and almost ready for bed and totally into my new favorite show, HGTV's Fixer-Upper, when the doorbell rang. Opps, but thankful.

I am linking up with Emily Freeman from Chatting at the Sky. What did you learn in June?

In His Grip, Jane

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

She Stopped to Help, Would You?

I need to brag. I have very kind and compassionate children and I have much to learn from them. About a month ago my youngest and I were close to home, half-way across our island when she yelled, "STOP!" I slammed on the brakes and saw what had caught her eye. My daughter had spotted a fawn laying by the side of the road, injured.

Our little island is about five miles long and we often wonder why it hasn’t been re-named “Deer Island” since the population of deer continues to grow. I put the emergency blinkers on and we crossed the road to see what was going on with the little deer. It obviously had been hit by a passing car and left to die. Her eyes were open and she was still alive but was very hurt. We assumed she had internal injuries since was bleeding out of her mouth. She didn't make a sound, couldn't swallow water or move except for an occasional kick. 

By this time my tender-hearted girl was spilling tears. We were tired and a bit emotional after being on a  wonderful church retreat weekend up in Port Townsend where our theme was “restoration." This violent scene was not was we were expecting so close to home.

We were trying to decide what to do when finally a car stopped. A sweet Mom called 911 and we were told help would be on the way in a bit. Car after car drove by. A few slowed down to stare but most sped by. Shouldn't they have been even the least bit curious why we were petting a deer? Only one more car stopped to inquire if we needed assistance. A man cutting weeds nearby finally walked over. Apparently he sees deer get hit often because he showed zero emotion and asked us to leave because he didn’t want us to get hit by a car on his property.

We wondered how so many other people could drive by without helping. Not to mention where was the person who actually hit the Fawn with their car? (Do hit & runs not count if it’s a wild deer?) We seemed to be getting a first-hand lesson of the “Good Samaritan” parable from the bible... Sometimes when we see something that might require us to stop, do we? Do we walk/drive on by and assume it’s none of our business or that someone else will help? Do we slowly become desensitized and stop caring?

The emergency crew still hadn’t shown up, the sun was hot and I really needed to go to the bathroom, so I finally called my hubby to explain our predicament and see if he could come be of some assistance.

As my husband pulled up, so did another car. The man and my husband had a short conversation and then they came over to where we were crouched down trying to comfort the animal. The man was carrying a weapon in a case on his shoulder. Please note: I was NOT comfortable with this and quite shocked... (Although I am a meat-eater, I am not a fan of hunting. Although I am a conservative, I am not a fan of guns except on policemen.)

Long story short; the man with the gun (and two kids in his car) attempted to explain to my daughter that the deer wasn't going to live and that the wildlife people would administer euthanasia, my kind husband gently explained to our child that sometimes wounded wild animals can't be saved, we left (very sad), and the sweet deer's suffering was stopped...

I wonder what happened after we drove away since my husband saw the wildlife car pull up right after the deer was shot. Did the gun-carrying guy get in trouble? I wonder if her babies are surviving without her... I have a big heart for Mamas and their children.

I am no longer annoyed when I see deer. I remember the sight of my child trying to bring love and comfort to one of God's gentle creatures. I no longer want to use antlers in all of my decorating (like Gaston sings about in Beauty and the Beast.) 

I desire to have the heart of my daughter and the good Samaritan. I want to have mercy even when it's inconvenient and hope to follow the words of Jesus:
 “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37

Would you have stopped?

In His Grip, Jane
Picture sources:

Friday, June 13, 2014

And So it Goes...

My Daddy~Vaughn Dube' Story
This post is a little of this, and a little of that. Thanks for allowing me to ramble. My suitcase is packed for a Carver family reunion to the Great Lakes state of Minnesota. With Father's Day coming up it's made me think about my Daddy who passed away 21 years ago. I miss him dearly! He was an amazing man, loyal husband and fabulous daddy to three little girls (I was the baby.) He loved being a granddaddy too and would have loved my youngest daughter if he had met her.
Grandpa Carver with our first-born who is now 28!

The reunion we're headed to is in Minnesota, not because that's where his Dad is from, but because he likes it. My father-in-law is a retired Air Force Colonel, Boy Scout leader and Dad to three boys and a girl. We'll get to spend Father's Day with him this year! The last time we had a reunion the kids were little. Now all but one of mine can "legally" drink a beer and we have a lot of cousin catching up to do. The only bummer is that the weather is predicted to be rainy and low 70’s. NOT the hot, sunny, Mid-West lake vacation weather we had experienced and hoped to repeat.

I have put myself on balloon strike. Here’s why. I was given the job to buy balloons for the women’s retreat. The only ones available were graduation ones and then they flew up from the check-out stand at the grocery to the ceiling. Sort of funny, but not. This week I had helium pink balloons strapped in the back seat for the baby shower I was hosting. I hit the accelerator a bit too hard forgetting that my window was down half-way. Yes, they untied and flew out the window. Quite disappointing and I had to keep driving even though I wanted to stop and ponder what had just happened. I think helium balloons are now over-rated and at the very least please don’t ask me to be  in charge of them.

My good friend’s daughter-in-law is expecting and was in town so it sounded like a great reason to throw a party. Despite not having any balloons with helium (see above) I had fun decorating our home PINK with lots of tissue flowers and fun borrowed pennants. I tried my hand at a Pinterest project and everyone pitched in yummy brunch food. All the guests helped create an ABC book for baby Emmy and it seemed to be a hit. Expectant Mommies remind me once again how fortunate I am to work at a baby boutique. Throwing a party always motivates me to clean my house so that’s an added bonus. It’s still looking good two days later!

3D usually makes people think of art, but today it meant medical imaging. I had to have a diagnostic test today which saw something teeny tiny that needs a bit of future attention. I loved discovering a  friend from bible study was my nurse today. I had asked several prayer buddies to pray for me this morning and those prayers were answered. (I love how God is in the details and provided a warm and caring friend to calm my nerves.) I know food isn’t supposed to be a go-to for comfort, but oh the Pao’s donut I ate on my way home certainly cheered me up!

We looked at lots of homes for sale this week. We have some specific requests which apparently are difficult to combine with our price range: We’d like to SEE the water. We don’t want a huge yard to take care of, but our dog needs a bit of space. Location matters; closer to town but not too close to the traffic noise. Lots of light~I don’t want the yard to look like a scene from the movie Twilight. When the weather is rainy I still want light, not a canopy of trees. 

We discussed Pros & Cons. We tried to rank them and imagine living in them. It’s hard! We saw a couple really pretty homes with bad yards and pretty views with terrible homes. We saw a lot of ugly  interesting possibilities and one place that might be featured on a future Hoarders episode. The OCD part of me had a hard time looking past the mess to see the potential. I am so glad that God can see past MY mess and see MY potential!  

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:20
My retreat roomies!

The theme of our women's retreat was restoration. If we end up buying a fixer-upper, I will try to remember that restoration takes love and time but is worth it. I wish I could get the amazing couple from the HGTV show Fixer-Upper to fly here from Texas and take on a project!! Have you watched their show on Thursdays?

Photo courtesy of

I’ll be out of touch and basically unplugged from technology for a week making family memories at cabin #17 at the Isle 'O Dreams

Photo courtesy of

And so it goes... Wishing all your Dads and/or husbands a Happy Father's Day and our USA soccer team good luck!

In His Grip, Jane