Saturday, August 1, 2015

What I Learned in July

It’s time to share what I learned during the sunny, hot PNW month of July. I wrote this list on my flight to Nashville. I always love the view of the mountain from the window.

Our Northwest summer has trumped my family’s weather back in Indiana. BIG time! We experienced gorgeous days and amazing sunsets, while my former Hoosier state set a record for the wettest month on record. EVER! Due to our sunny month our blackberry bushes all over the Harbor have bloomed early. I made blackberry crumble for dessert last week. Yum!

Nordstrom’s reputation for great customer service continues... Not only do they put on quite an Anniversary sale each year, but they are on top of fraud. Our family has been dealing with some identity theft (boo!) and when I tried to use my credit card I had to speak with a financial person on the phone. Our card had been compromised and they quickly stopped it and issued me a new card. Just in time to start hunting for a Mother-of-the-groom dress...

There are times when it's OK not to be nice to spiders. Last week our fire alarm went off at 6:30 in the morning for no reason. Well, there might have been a reason; spiders. Apparently, if they get near a smoke detector or webs are inside it, the alarm might go off or not work efficiently in case of a real fire. Lesson: change batteries AND dust off any webs. 

Be careful storing any birdseed if it’s not in a can. We've been invaded by uninvited guests; first spiders, then mice!! The reason our sweet convertible is in the shop is apparently mice. I have the heebie-jeebies just thinking about mice being in our garage. Besides, we have a cat! TIGGER! Why haven’t you solved this problem? Oh, because you’re 15 and overweight and lazy?...  

My favorite new app is my alarm and devotion! Check out the new free app that was designed by Lysa TerKeurst at Proverbs 31 Ministries. It’s called First 5 and it guarantees that you begin your day with God before you tackle the world. 

Nashville is a great place to visit! I knew this already but if you haven't visited here, plan a trip! I'm having a glorious time with my hubby spending time with our daughter Allie who moved here back in January of 2014. I'm wishing we didn't have to leave Tennessee in the morning after church, but excited to head up to Indiana to see my Mom and sisters! Sure hope their rainy season is over!

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

In His Grip, 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Why would she wander? This puppy knows she is loved and this is where she belongs, and yet... Sydney decided to have herself a bit of an adventure last week and take off! We'd already been on a long morning walk and I brought her out front with me while I did some gardening. As I became engrossed in trimming dead fern leaves,  Sydney snuck away. My hubby looked for her at the park and around the corner, but she was nowhere to be found...

With leash in hand, I set off. I introduced myself to our new back-door neighbor who was out in his driveway and described our adorable, naughty, runaway:

As I continued up the street I realized I hadn't done the first, most important thing: to pray

A couple minutes after I talked with God and asked him to help me find Sydney, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around and there was my doggie walking up to the new neighbor I'd just met. Why didn't I think to pray right away?

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:25

After taking our tired girl home and scolding her, I put her in the backyard. It wasn't long before I heard her barking so I called her indoors. That's when I spotted an adorable yellow dog on the other side of the fence.

As my hubby called the number on "Carmella's" tag, her owner appeared. His doggie was afraid of the loud machine he was using in his garage. It felt good to be able to help another pet owner since I'd just found my runaway girl...

Dogs aren't the only ones who sometimes feel the need to wander. There are times when people run from more than just their location. Frustration, fear and desire to try new things are just a few of the motivations that cause people to stray from home, their marriages or their faith in Jesus. The bible tells the story of the Prodigal son;  a run-away son who comes home and was welcomed back by his father. Check out Luke 15:11-32 to read about it.

Lessons Learned:
1. Jesus cares about every little detail, including runaway pets.
2. Doing things God's way instead of our  way is for our own good.
3. God always welcomes us back whether we've strayed for moments or years...

My hubby and I are leaving home tomorrow. We're off to Nashville to see our child #2.
Y'all, I can't wait!!

Have you had a run-away lately? Or have you been the wandering one?...

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time...

July has not been the best month for our family finances... We've been the target of fraud, medical bills are arriving, plus I'm still legally blond and gullible. 

I've been putting off going to the Mall partly because of the expensive bridge toll, and mostly so I won't get too excited at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale when all I really need are two things at the cosmetics counter. Some of my favorite beauty products are pretty inexpensive and found at drugstores or Target, but a couple items I love are made by Bobbie Brown and Clinique which is only found at department stores. I'll have to share my personal favorites in a future post.

So...I'm almost out of eye cream and serum and I was scanning Facebook when BAM! Christie Brinkley and Diane Sawyer (two faces a bit older and a lot prettier than mine) were attached to some products. The deal was a trial for just the cost of shipping. I was excited to get eye cream and serum for under $12 and it would keep me from heading to Nordstrom!


My bank notified me I'd overdrawn due to an unexpected charge of over  $175 from the Lumare Skin company. What??? I immediately called and had a little "chat" with the company's customer service. I had been enrolled in an ongoing deal... (Did any of you ever order Proactive for your teens and thought that was annoying?)

I never saw prices or membership mentioned. I'd unknowingly opened one of the products so I can't return it but I am getting half my $$ back and I'm NOT EVER GETTING MORE OF THEIR PRODUCT. I will use it up and I'd better start to look TV and magazine ready!!

It's been awhile since I've made such an idiotic choice that sounded like a good idea at the time.

My hubby has also been guilty of falling for "the deal." There was a vacation weekend when we lived in upper Illinois and had four littles under the age of eight. that we will never forget. My hubby found a "great deal" for a family "resort" on Elkhart Lake in Wisconsin. The photos and description were just what we were looking for and the price was right! It was a two hour drive and we couldn't wait to have fun beach time.

Perhaps their marketing was not completely honest?? Or brilliant, depending on how you look at it...

Here's what we found upon arrival at the "resort": a room so small we couldn't open the door all the way without crashing it into one of the saggy beds (where would our port-a-crib go?), a dirty room without air-conditioning, and no sunny beach area (just a rocky, shady, high-bank dirt area.) Needless to say we were discouraged. We tried to make the best of it the first night and went for a boat ride the next day.

While out on the lake saw something in the distance... Cue the choir singing.

The most beautiful resort was right next door. Even though money was tight, my hubby made the wise decision to move us over to the Osthoff Resort for our second night. It was amazing. The kids played at a sandy beach, we swam in the pool, and the big kids got to see 4th of July fireworks over the lake. It was worth it to spend a bit lot more. 

The place we stayed our first night back in the mid-90's is no longer in operation. It's been completely remodeled, changed owners and is probably fun for young families. Hopefully the brochures are truthful.

Lesson Learned: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is... RESEARCH!

Have you ever made a decision that sounded like a good idea at the time but you later came to regret?

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

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What I Learned in June

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky. Here's what I learned in June, 2015:
1. Marriage and weddings are on my mind, and so is a new song. Yep, since my son, child #3, is planning an October wedding this Mother of the Groom is having fun listening to their plans for their special day. Of course I'm also scoping  out Pinterest for ideas and checking out books from the library. What I REALLY appreciate, is that my son and his fiancĂ© are aware that they are also planning for their marriage~all the days that follow day one as husband and wife. 

All around me there are SO many couples separating and divorcing and struggling. (Even Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck are splitting. Sad!) I'm sure they weren't thinking about that possibility when they were planning their weddings. Marriage is wonderful...but hard! Without including God into the relationship that He invented it seems impossible... 

Casting Crowns has a new song out that I love called "Broken Together." Listen and I think you'll love it too.

 2. My bedroom was a crime scene. We sell the cutest sleep buddies at Charlie Barnes called "Herbal Animals." They have cute names and smell wonderful. Mine is filled with lavender. I need it DARK in order to sleep, so my sheep is always by me in bed, ready to pop on my eyes. Do not ask my husband how he feels about it! I woke up one morning and it looked like my sheep had been murdered; there was a small slit in the seam and lavender was all over the bed... It was also stuck all over my face since I've been putting Vaseline and scar salve on my nose. I stitched her up and she's good as new!

3. My favorite new "genre" of music is called Yacht Rock. No we can't afford a yacht like some people in our age group that the genre was created for, but the music is great. Everything 1970's is coming back in style, even the music!

4. I've been to 35 of the 50 states. I took that test you might have seen on Facebook. It's fun to see all the places I've been (or at least driven through.) Here are the 15 I hope to visit someday: Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Rhode Island. The Carolina's and the upper East Coast states are on my wish list to see first. How many states have you been to?

5. There have been a lot of Christians talking about the Supreme Court Decision and this wonderful response is my favorite. It's written by Kristen from We are THAT Family. I love her heart, ideas and passion for helping others.

6. Our area now has the K-love radio station on 104.5 F.M. I missed it when we returned from Chicago Yesterday I heard the disc jockey on K-Love mentioning the Veggie Burger at Burger King so I tried it. I'm more of a Carnivore, but since I'm attempting to eat healthier I gave it a try and it was not bad!

7. It doesn't always rain in the Northwest in June.  The golfers and spectators that came here for the Chamber's Bay U.S. Open Tournament experienced hot, sunny weather. It was a long, hard, hilly course with zero shade. Maybe the venue wasn't super popular, but I believe the Nation saw how beautiful our area is. We didn't have tickets to attend, but enjoyed seeing our former Fox Island neighborhood on T.V. and seeing all the private planes at our local airport. 

What did you learn in June?

In His Grip,

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Looking Back...and a Five-Year Blog Anniversary

Our front porch in Whitley Hills, Fall 1997

Five years ago this month I wrote my first blog. Back then I didn't even know how to add photos. I still struggle with the techie side of blogging and I'm not a consistent or talented writer, but over the last five years I've penned 315  posts. My hope is that as I process the ordinary, daily things, that you  might be encouraged and learn some new things too!

Five years ago this weekend I was saying goodbye to the town and people I loved in Gig Harbor and moving to Illinois.  Windows and Walls was written as I said goodbye to our yellow house in Whitley Hills.

Quite a lot happened in a span of five years: one son married, lots of graduation ceremonies were attended (one high school, three college, one graduate school), I packed, moved and lived in lots of places (a Colonial in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the basement of a friend's home on Raft Island, a studio apartment near Horsehead Bay, a pretty rental on Fox Island and now to our dream home in downtown in Gig Harbor), we said goodbye to our beloved dog Sadie and rescued our adorable Sydney,  Zoe the cat ran away and found herself a new owner, Tigger stayed chubby, our other boy got engaged, Mike changed jobs and I found my passion working at a baby boutique called Charlie Barnes. We said goodbye and hello to dear friends and our church.

We learned lots of lessons during our two years back in the Midwest.

Through it all...through all the changes, tears, blessings and moves, God was there and God was good. He showed us grace and mercy and love. As I sit on my deck overlooking my gorgeous Harbor town, I try to remember not to hold on too tightly to all we've been given. Who knows what the next five years might bring?

In His Grip, 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Must Be Famous

Perhaps I've had a little too much time on my hands... Perhaps my bedtime pain meds are playing with my mind... Maybe I just decided to pretend I'm famous rather than worrying about my bandaged nose. Here is my list of reasons why it must might be true...
  • I have a personal assistant, live-in nurse, cook & bartender and groundskeeper. His name is Michael and he takes very good care of me.
  • My entry is guarded. OK, it's my puppy-dog Sydney. She does a great job!

  • The weather here has been sunny and hot. Maybe I'm really in Los Angeles on a Harbor "set?"

  • I've been signing a lot of autographs. Do birthday cards and graduation cards count?
  • A professional washed my hair Saturday. I couldn't get my bandage wet so my "personal assistant" took me to our salon around the corner. Having someone else wash your hair is the BEST!
  • People flew into town to visit me. A new friend from Tennessee and my son from Spokane!
  • My city put on a festival just for me! Due to our downtown location, I could hear the music and boats honking during the weekend's Maritime Festival. It FELT like it was just for my enjoyment!
  • Even though deer have not been spotted since we moved in from Fox Island last September, one came all the way to check on me yesterday! She respected my privacy and stayed at a distance.

  • I have a professional make-up artist on "stand-by." Yes sweet Inga, I will most likely need you when my sutures come off and stitches come out...
  • I must be playing the part of a princess because I spent a lot of time trying to get comfy in bed with peas.
  • When I go out in public (rarely) I wear a hat and dark glasses to stay "incognito." I also throw off the paparazzi by driving an unknown car. Or...I might have loaned our convertible to my son and his finance so they could have a fun drive up to Vancouver, B.C.

All valid reasons to believe I might be famous, right? I decided it's more fun to pretend I'm famous, then to wallow in self-pity since I look like I have a pig-nose. Have you watched the 2006 movie, Penelope?
It's a fact that we often believe what we dwell on. Self-talk can be helpful or harmful. I'm trying to believe that the inner-package really is more important than what is on the outside, although I am way more vain than I even thought I was. 

God's word has lots of good reminders for me (and any of us) who are feeling a little insecure in our identity.

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." Colossians 3:2
"We are God’s temple." I Cor. 3:16
"Our purpose is that our lives might bring praise to the glory of Christ." Ephesians 1:12
"We were chosen by God." Ephesians 1:11
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12

What is your mind telling you lately? We need to remember that you and I are sons and daughters of   the KING!

In His Grip, 
Jane xo

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What I Learned in May

June is here!  Since I awoke to a new month, it is time to share a miscellaneous list of some things I learned as I reflect back on the month of May.
My love for Poppies continues!

1. The best place to pick up baby-sitting jobs is at your Mom's place of work. That is, if your Mom works at a baby store. My college daughter was visiting me at Charlie Barnes one morning and she now has quite a few jobs lined up for when she returns to the Harbor after her summer school session ends. That particular morning a bunch of mommies I know (who know my daughter) came shopping so they were able to connect and share contact information and dates.

2. Sip and See. What a fun idea that I'd never heard of! In the south, as an alternative to a baby shower, women host "sip and sees." Friends stop by to sip on tea (or wine?) and to see the new baby. I think this concept can be adapted for SO many things! Come see my (you fill in the ____________.) I'm sort of having one Wednesday! My friends are coming over to see my nose bandaged and we just might sip some vino.

3. I won't be serving that one particular bottle of French wine. 

While on vacation with my husband during his Palm Springs business trip we went to dinner at a French restaurant.  Glancing at the wine choices, we checked out glasses vs. bottles. One particular bottle cost a mere $12,750. Really? Perhaps that price-point  isn't shocking to some people who live or vacation in the desert, but this Mom-of-four-who-often-shops-at-Grocery Outlet, thinks that amount of money could be spent in so many smarter ways to help others... I'll stick to my $6-$12 wine budget at Trader Joe's. 

4. Perhaps Trader Joe's needs to hire me. I brought some of my favorite items that I buy on my trips to TJ's to raffle off at our last MOPS meeting and gave my spiel about them. Afterwards, some of the Mommies said my enthusiasm was evident and perhaps I should be Trader Joe's traveling Public Relations gal. I like that idea!

5. When you only pay $10 for an online swimsuit it will arrive the day after your trip to the ocean. I won't be sharing my source because after I ordered it I actually began navigating the online catalog and found out their idea of dance clothes and mine were NOT the same. Ha! Anyway, the one-piece is OK and fits. Hoping the floppy little "skirt" keeps the eye off the 10 pounds I need to lose...

6. The Drought in California is another reason to give up bottled water. While on our trip, I didn't experience a lack of water. It was in the hotel pool, endless drinking water was available and golf courses looked green. The ways I personally noticed a lack of H2O were: ice was only available at the hotel if you requested it, water wasn't automatically brought to your table at restaurants, and the big Mormon church near my son and daughter-in-law's apartment has chosen to allow their lawn to die and go brown. The big topic to residents is bottled water. SO many companies that produce bottled water are right in the heart of the drought areas of California. I learned that many private labels are manufactured in lots of states all over the country. I'll just keep refilling my bottle with tap water (thankful the Harbor water is so fresh and yummy) and I think I'll start reading the labels to see where it's manufactured...

7. There is a tool to help us take better "selfies!" Have you heard of the new product for your cell phone? I walked by a whole display of them last week at Michael's.

I suppose it would help keep those awkward arms out of the way but won't it be awkward to carry around? How often do we need to take selfies? Here is an example of what NOT to do, followed by a selfie of my hubby and I enjoying the ocean yesterday.
My sweet friends & I in the dinner line. Notice the bunny ears?

8. Sometimes you need to keep the door open and stay standing (Literally and figuratively!)
My friend Andrea and I were given the task at the retreat of setting  up the lunch salad bar at the  house where we were staying.  After doing just that we sat down and had a lovely visit. After a bit we heard a noise so I thought maybe I should check the front door.

photo source:

Imagine our surprise when we saw all the retreat attendees (almost 100) waiting in a friendly line winding up the street.They were NOT grumpy like the nanny applicants in Mary Poppins, but that scene did come to mind.  I laugh just thinking about it! So sorry friends that you were hungry and kept waiting for lunch Saturday! Please knock next time!!

I learned SO many things about becoming FREE over the weekend at retreat. Our guest speaker was amazing and my housemates were a blast. I'll have to share some tidbits in a future post.

It's always a bit hard to return from a sunny "mountaintop experience" back to the ordinary and gray skies. And yet...
God is good, all the time!

I'm linking up with Emily P. Freeman at Chatting at the Sky.
What did you learn in the month of May?

In His Grip, 

Thanks for stopping by See Jane Learn!