Friday, January 16, 2015

Do You Have Prayer Triggers?

Do you have prayer triggers? Things that you hear or see that immediately send your mind and heart into prayer-mode? This week my "prayer life" has been extra busy. My new kitchen calendar was bought at Anthropologie because I liked the travel-themed pictures. Paris is featured this month. Who knew that Paris in January would become the scene not of "all things chic" but instead the scene of a horrific terrorist attack. Now when I glance at my calendar my mind instantly prays for the victim's families and that love would win over evil.

While I was at work I realized that every time I hear the chair upstairs in the hair salon above Charlie Barnes roll across the floor, my mind zooms to my sweet friend Beth. This Mama friend of mine is currently spending most of her time right now in L.A. with her son who has been in the hospital for quite some time. She is one of the most amazing, Godly women I know. She also gets her hair done upstairs when she comes home to the Harbor. See the connection? I hear the activity in the salon, thus I think and pray for the Moss family.

I have a friend from church who obeyed God's call on her life and she's currently teaching preschool in Swaziland, Africa. You can follow her adventures here on facebook or follow her blog. One of the things she misses about being far away from home is her favorite Starbucks coffee. Now each time I see a Starbucks sign or cup I think and pray for Tiersa. Maybe now you will too?...

I have lots of prayers I'm not mentioning, but I do keep a running list on the Notes app of my phone and computer. I've organized them by topics and groups; praise, world, healing, family, friends, church, work, needs I become aware of, etc. I want to be intentional in bringing my prayers to God.

My puppy dog decided she would like to share some things she's learning. Here is the first installment of:

"The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants and grows into a tree where birds can find shelter in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32 NLT

I am on meds but apparently I am still allergic to fleas. One flea bite, just one... jumped off Tigger, before they took him to the groomer, and it caused a huge disruption in my quality of life. My pet parents are upset that I've been biting, scratching and keeping them awake at night. They even kicked me out of their bedroom last night!

"I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway." Romans 7:9

Case in point. I don't WANT to chew myself raw and be forced once again to wear my Cone-of-shame, but here I go again! I suppose it's for my own good and because they love me... Until next time, Sydney.

Can I, little old me Jane, make a BIG difference in the quality of life for those around me? Can I be as tenacious as a flea (without being annoying?)

How about you, do you have things that trigger prayers or scripture verses?

In His Grip, 
Jane                  Thanks for reading "See Jane Learn!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I learned in 2014

Wycliff champagne is yummy and very affordable!

Tick-tock goes the clock...and another year is about to go! I’m pausing to look back on what I’ve learned over the last 12 months and share some favorite events.

Although saying goodbye to your young-adult kids never gets easier, knowing they’re happy makes it easier to accept. I wrote about moving my oldest daughter to Nashville here, and a year later she’s thriving and has a new job teaching first graders.

I have learned that having four children ALL attend the same University makes me somewhat of an expert in all things Pirate-Mom related. You can read more about my nine years as a Whitworth University parent here.

Separate beds? No. Separate shows? Quite often. After 31 years of marriage, we still have very few TV series and movies that we enjoy watching together.  I like feel-good shows, he likes Sci-Fi and he doesn't mind violence. We watch a few things together; Downton Abbey, The Paradise, Madame Secretary, and Seahawks games. will often find us either plugged-in to our own devices watching separate shows, or sometimes upstairs and downstairs watching different channels. Do you find this disturbing? I have found it keeps the peace in our marriage, and keeps me from having nightmares. Do you and your spouse like the same shows?...

I am thankful we can tape the season premiere, since we will be busy Sunday at a joyful event. Thanks to our match-making (and God's perfect timing,) two of our good friends met, fell in love, and are getting married!

My husband's family reunions always take place in Minnesota. (Unless everyone goes to Omaha.) For the third time in twenty years, the Carver clan all met up in Minnesota in June. We stayed in four cabins that were connected, and each evening we gathered to eat dinners together. I originally wished we could have met up somewhere a bit closer to the Pacific Northwest, but it turned out to be a special, memorable time. One of my favorite memories? Karaoke night!! I'm still hoping my side of the family can figure out a reunion so my kids can see their cousins, Grandma, and Aunts and Uncles. Maybe the next time one of my kids gets married?

They'll have to kick me out of MOPS someday. Since moving here to the PNW back in 1997, there have only been a few years when I haven't been involved in the MOPS ministry at our church. I LOVE what it stands for and each year the leadership does a wonderful job. I've been a participant, DGL (discussion group leader), DGL coordinator, and Mentor Mom.
"MOPS is a grassroots movement that believes moms are world influencers." 
Read more about MOPS on their national webpage.

Childhood friends grow and change yet getting back together brings joy. Over the weekend we got together with two families whose boys were best friends with our son beginning in kindergarten. We all lived in the same neighborhood and I think my boy spent more time with the other families than he did with ours! We had a progressive dinner (super fun) and caught up over food and games.

Back in the day...
All grown up and still having fun!
Dessert stop on the Progressive Dinner.

An itchy dog doesn't necessarily mean fleas. Poor Sydney. We kept treating her for fleas and she kept "eating herself raw." She really had an allergic reaction to all the flea treatments... After medicine and the cone of shame, she's almost back to her normal, adorable self. She also appreciates getting to snooze on her spot on the couch.

We should have taken the class years ago. This fall we took the Dave Ramsey class called Financial Peace University. "Live like no one else so you can live like no one else..." We've got some work ahead of us to get our finances in order. We highly recommend all couples take this course!
Waiting on God is worth it.  I wrote about us living in our rental on the island waiting to find the
right home to buy. THEN...God brought us to this amazing home in town and we are SO HAPPY!!!
All our friends agree, it is perfect for us and seems as if we were meant to live here. I have no doubt 
that God knew exactly the right downtown home for us.

I DO work at the best baby boutique in Western Washington. We even won an award that proves it, thanks to our wonderful customers.

2014 was definitely a year of adventures and blessings. Our kids are scattered (Spokane, L.A., and Nashville,) but they are thriving. My man and I are getting used to this Empty-Nester phase, and we're looking forward to all the surprises that will happen in 2015! 

From the Carver family to yours, we wish you all a very Happy New Year!! Cheers! 

I'm linking up with Emily Freeman of Chatting at the Sky.

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

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

All Is Well

After my first cup of coffee and some extra-strength Tylenol, all is well. My mind was busy last night and therefore sleep was a bit interrupted. I know I'm not the only Mom (of a certain age) who can't sleep some nights. My favorite bear husband beside me, my dog happily dreaming, a comfy bed, but still...

Thoughts of thankfulness were spinning through my mind; my Mommy's heart procedure that was successful, a job I love, my amazing new home in the Harbor, a new job for my L.A. oldest son, three of my four kids arriving home today and tomorrow (we'll miss you Mitch and Amy!) and my wonderful husband. Oh, I forgot to mention Sydney and Tigger. They are my furry blessings.
This was a Christmas "miracle." They do NOT like to be this close on a normal day.

As I contemplated all the people and circumstances that have been happening lately, I also was replaying Christmas celebrations in years past and then there was that song...

We were lucky to go to the Michael W. Smith Christmas Concert over the weekend and one song won't stop playing in my head. When Rachel Lampa did the duet with Michael, I had goose bumps and tears. It is amazing and beautiful and I want to pass it on... not so YOU will stay awake singing it in your head, but to remind you of ALL God has done for us.

This version was sung with Carrie Underwood. Enjoy All is Well and know that thanks to Jesus,
it is!

Now it's time for me to finish all the details this "Mrs. Clause" needs to get accomplished before tomorrow. (Baking, menu planning and grocery shopping, shining the house, wrapping the last of the packages.) A few years ago I wrote a blog about how much I have in common with Mrs. Clause. You can see it here.

If you haven't found a church to attend on Christmas Eve, please consider Chapel Hill. It will become a tradition for your family too!

Here are some favorite photos from last Christmas.
 Christmas Eve before heading to Chapel Hill Service.

 Christmas Morning 2013~the traditional stair photo.

As always, thank you for reading my little blog, and from my family to yours I wish you joy, a very Merry Christmas and may you experience love's light!!

ALL IS WELL! Christ has come. Go and tell!

In His Grip,

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Friends, Fries and Jesus

Why is this date special to me? December 17, back in 1977 was the day my life took a different direction because I asked Jesus into my heart.

A girlfriend asked me to meet her at Steak 'n Shake. Back in the late 1970's, in Carmel, Indiana, we didn't have Starbucks so friends met at burger joints or Pizza Hut. On an ordinary school night about a week before Christmas she shared Jesus with me. I was willing to listen because she was a good friend and I trusted her. Her Mom was our town Mayor, we were in a school club together and I'd known her for years. She was a part of a local church's youth group and had invited me several times. Over fries and a milkshake, she explained why she believed that Jesus came to die for us and gave me a little booklet.

Do people even give these out anymore?? 

I remember going home, kneeling by my bed (rib-cord from Sears or J.C. Penney's~I was Mod!) and praying to ask Jesus into my heart. If you've never heard of the Salvation prayer, you can check out one example here. It's all about grace, love and acknowledging God as our Lord and Savior.

After I prayed I felt a little different. I was a senior in high school, had just turned 17, and wasn't sure what to do next. Looking back, I didn't really have a mentor or follow-up. I had a special Christmas even though I didn't really share my "news" with many. BUT... I felt LOVED, and GOD knew he had a plan for my life. 

I've been a believer for 38 years. Ups and downs. Years when I "took a break" (college?), and years that I have felt SO close to God. I've belonged to great churches in three states and had wonderful pastors and bible study teachers who have and continue to, help me on my faith journey. It's a life-long process and certainly an adventure that will last an eternity!

Has a friend shared the Good News with you? Have you shared your relationship with Jesus with a friend or family member? I am thankful my girlfriend was bold and brave and loved me enough to share the good news. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season!!

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Totally makes sense why french fries bring me JOY!
Happy Anniversary to me and Merry Christmas to you!! 

In His Grip,                          
Jane                     Thanks for reading See Jane Learn!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Candlesticks

We are three sisters who live in different places yet ALL love the set of Norwegian Christmas Tree candlesticks that belonged to our Grandma Grace's family. Growing up, the candlesticks always adorned the mantle of our rock fireplace on Jenny Lane. I enjoyed looking at them there from the age of 7 until I married at 23 and moved out. When our Daddy passed away my Mom moved into a smaller home and the beautiful trees had their place of honor on her new mantle.

Last November she moved one more time, into the retirement center called The Barrington. Her apartment is cute but we realized she didn’t have a mantle and the candlesticks just really didn’t “fit” into her small place. That left my two older sisters and I with a dilemma. Who would get to own them? We aren’t siblings who fight over objects~we know people are more important than things...

It didn't take long for my oldest sister to come up with a brilliant idea! We would take turns! She had them last year, and she carefully packed them and passed them on to my middle sister who lives about 45 minutes from her. (The photo below shows them in my middle sister's home.)  I’m the only one who lives far away~Washington State is FAR away from Indiana, so they will have to be carefully shipped to me.

Isn’t this idea brilliant?! Remember in the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, how all the friends made special memories while having their turn with the jeans? They were all very different girls yet they all appreciated the jeans in their own way. (And they all miraculously "fit"!) My sisters and I all have very different styles and beliefs, yet we love each other and our family memories. 

My sisters are givers; of their time and talents. They are always there for my Mom and each other. Living thousands of miles away, it’s hard to stay in the loop or feel helpful, but they keep me posted with texts and never make me feel guilty. When I visit them (about 2-3 times a year) they clear their calendars and give me their time & attention. I AM the baby, they say. I AM the princess still. 

“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” 
Luke 6:38 

I eagerly await a package arriving from Indiana when Christmas is over. Our new-to-us home doesn't have a very wide mantle, but next December I will be delighted to take my turn with the  “traveling” Norwegian Tree Candlesticks. Even if they need to be placed on our farm table if they won't fit safely on our fireplace mantle, I can't WAIT to have my turn sharing this gift of love, family memories and sisterhood. 

Did you notice the amazing stockings in the photos? Another family tradition started by my Grandma Grace Pande' Young was the hand-knit stockings made for each baby's first Christmas. They are beautiful, vintage-looking and BIG! My four children were each given one lovingly-made by my Mommy. Someday when I discover I am becoming a Grandma I will be attempting to keep that stocking tradition going... 

What are special treasures in your family??

In His Grip, 

Jane                   Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn

Even more loved and treasured than family heirlooms?... The gift of JESUS, and sharing and passing on the heritage of faith.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Monday, December 1, 2014

He's a Keeper

Just like in the story of The Tortoise and the Hare, it has been a long and slow process but we are plodding along together on the right path in our marriage.

We are a bit like turtles... slowly learning how to love well.

We are in it for the LONG run and the prize at the end of our lives. Marriage takes perseverance and practice and definitely prayer.

It was 32 Novembers ago that we first met and started dating. We both worked at an Indianapolis restaurant called DALTS; I was a waitress waiting to get a teaching job, he was a cook trying to figure out life after college. November 7th~first date: (he had a free pizza coupon.) December 10th~(we knew it was love.) Mid-December~I had melanoma surgery and he spent all his non-working hours hanging out with me at the hospital. December 22nd~(he proposed.Christmas Day~he asked my parents. Yes they were shocked and not quite on board. I totally understand now that I have young adult children!! June 11, 1983~we were married!!!

31 years, 4 kids, laughter, lean years, disagreements and tears, his fall off the roof and recovery, job changes and moves, surgeries, some bad choices, counseling, grace, and through it all hanging on to God and each otherWhich brings us to now...

"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." 
Ephesians 5:25

Here are some examples from the past month of how my husband has loved and served me:

He helped with my MOPS church project making baby blankets.

 He baked really good chocolate chip cookies for our kid's visit.

He helped me untangle my yarn and roll it into balls. He even convinced his friend to help during a Seahawks game!

When I missed my Chicago flight home due to bad weather in Indianapolis, and it was the last flight out, he booked me a hotel room and a got me a ticket for the next morning. Dragging my 48 pound suitcase through O'Hare has convinced me to pack lighter. (BTW, when you book a Hilton room with points they give you two free water bottles.) The cold, stale Starbuck's bagel was my delicious dinner.

When my Thanksgiving apple pie completely dripped to the bottom of the oven, (why didn't I put the pan on foil?) he took care of my mess.

Even though he loves log fires, we both agreed that we were tired of the draft and the smell of smoke every morning. He convinced a company to give us a good deal on a gas fireplace insert. YAY! 

Let it be noted that when the gas grill quit working Saturday night he cooked our "welcome home two youngest kids steak dinner" over the open fire. My guy has many talents!

Before leaving for a business trip yesterday morning he managed to go work out, clean the kitchen, buy more lights, make a pancake breakfast and help a child with an application. I really haven't embellished the previous examples. He treats me like a princess (most of the time) even when I don't deserve it.

What have been doing, you might wonder?? Well I certainly haven't been blogging! I've just been a little off this month. I can't explain it... I just haven't had tons of energy or enthusiasm. Also, I was out of town for a week visiting family and ever since I returned I've been sick. 

Marriage is about give and take. Ups and downs. Peaks and valleys. We take turns caring for each other and sometimes it's a bit unbalanced. I hope there are times when my husband feels spoiled and I hope he ALWAYS knows he's loved.

If you too have been in a marriage for awhile then you understand. It isn't a race... It takes perseverance yet it's SO worth it.

Thank you for letting me  share how very grateful I am for how God has worked in the heart of the man who I get to call my best friend, husband, father to our four, and partner for life. He's a keeper.

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

What I Learned in October

Here are some things I learned last month:

1. MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) is still thriving. Our two coordinators recently flew to Louisville, Kentucky for MOMCon, the MOPS national convention. I had attended a convention back in 1998 in Denver and still have amazing memories from that trip. Were any of you there? Thanks to technology, I was able to stream all the large group talks given by fabulous Christian Mom speakers. I was familiar with many of them from blogs and books I've read, and spending my weekend immersed in their encouragement felt like I was there! This Mentor Mom is going to start saving her pennies to attend next year's MOMCon since it's in my childhood hometown of Indianapolis!

2. Even guys like collections. Throughout our marriage, my husband has put up with my collections, many of which have come and gone. Two of my favorite items I collect are antique aqua Ball Jars (I went to Ball State!) and white pitchers. Now that we've down-sized, I realize I need to quit collecting and "edit" my belonging. My husband has a collection...shower heads.
Yep. He keeps a stash and switches out our shower head occasionally. The zip lock bag moves from house to house.

3. I appreciate the sound of English words better than American words. One of the books I recently listened to on Audible was A Little Love by Amanda Prouse. I enjoyed the accent of the narrator, and here's a few reasons why the English vocabulary sounds better:
"edit my belongings" vs. purge, "load the boot" vs trunk (besides, aren't trunks located on the front of an animal?), "it's rubbish" vs. trash. See what I mean? Their words just sound more classy. Great book by the way. 

4. You can find out your blood type when you donate. When I asked my doctor's office if they could tell me my blood type, they said it would  cost something like $90 to do the test. The nurse did tell me that if I donate blood to a blood bank, I can find out for free. Sounds like a and getting.

5. Now I understand why pastors where robes. I attend the modern service at Chapel Hill so our pastors are usually wearing casual clothes. I never really questioned why pastors wear robes in traditional churches (or mine on certain days such as one we call "Saint Andrew's Sunday".) After our pastor brought up the topic, I did a bit more research hereThe purpose is so our focus is on the message, not the man/woman or their personality delivering God's word. It also reminds the people of his/her special calling. The robe is not meant to set him/her above the congregation, but to set them apart due to their unique office as pastor during the Lord’s Day worship service. 

6. It's not just a musical, it's a possibility. A couple years ago when my man and I were still living in Illinois, I convinced him to watch Fiddler on the Roof with me. I had never really watched the whole musical. Well...this fall WE got to play matchmakers and connect two single friends we know and love. Guess what?! Five weeks after their first date, they are engaged and a wedding date has been set. I love happy endings, and I love how GOD knew all along they were meant to be together.
Photo courtesy of Bing
7. We should have taken the course twenty years ago. We've been taking the Dave Ramsey course at our church called Financial Peace University. Oh my... He.    Is.    Wise.
Using biblical principals, Dave teaches how to handle money. If only we'd taken his course when we first got married. Now, we're working hard to change our behaviors and correct past mistakes and move forward. If you haven't heard of it, I recommend you check out Dave's website and buy this class for couples getting married. 

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. What have you learned lately?

In His Grip, 
Jane       Thank you for stopping by See Jane Learn.