Friday, April 28, 2017

5 Favorites For Friday

Hi! Before I begin sharing my list of this week's favorite things, I want to share a surprise I found on my computer a couple weeks ago. My #3 son had helped me add a program. (Yay! I love WORD so much better than Apple PAGES!) When I turned on my laptop the next morning I found this:

Can you read it? It says, "TJ is the best. He is my favorite son and I will always favor him! Mwhahahaha "
LOVE it! LOVE him! I have FOUR favorite children (and two favorite daughter-in-laws). I am a proud Mama because TJ will be graduating with his Masters in Family and Marriage Therapy in three weeks and he was just offered a great job!

Here are my 5 Favorites for this week:

 "God views every mess as a masterpiece in the making." Read Alicia Bruxvoort's devotion in today's Proverbs 31 Ministries and you'll find out the context. God is definitely not finished with me yet!

2. Current Nail polish
This week I took OPI's Cajun Shrimp to my nail salon for my pedicure. It's described as a spicy shade of coral. (I like to take my own bottles in case the color chips and also so I know it's fresh.)

Some other classic OPI shades I like for my toes are:
Charged up cherry (a hot pink-red) and Strawberry Margarita (sip into this bright pink and enjoy!) Nail polish names are so clever and always make me smile.

For my short fingernails which I have nibbled on since I was a CHILD, I like OPI:
Mod about you (totally modern light pink) or OPI red. In the Winter I love shades of blue and gray.

My other favorite brand is Sally Hansen. Super easy to apply and lasts! My go-to color for Spring is Grape Gatsby. I get lots of compliments on it. Reminds me of Lilacs...

3 Inexpensive lip care:
The only time I've had my lips look at all like Angelina Jolie's, was when I had an allergic reaction to something I ate. Needless to say, I don't like to spend a lot on lip products.  I DO like these two items I picked up at Target, made by e.l.f. (eyes/lips/face)

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator 
This helps if you have chapped lips. Use it before you brush your teeth, then apply balm.
It's only $3 and online it comes in different flavors. (Mine is Sweet cherry)
"Gently exfoliate lips to remove dry, chapped skin with our Lip Exfoliator! A sweet sugar and smoothing sensation, infused with Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Avocado, Grape and Jojoba Oils to nourish and protect. This Lip Exfoliator treats and smooths lips for a conditioned and revitalized feel." 

Tinted Lip Balm
This balm goes on sheer and smells great! It comes in several shades. I have "Bare Kiss" and "Berry Sweet." It's about $2. Score!
"This beautifully tinted lip balm helps create baby soft lips so you can always be kissable! Each color provides a sheer tint of coverage for a lovely and luscious lip effect. Infused with Vitamin A & E, Grape Seed Oil, and Jojoba Oil to help nourish, protect, and moisturize lips. The silky smooth formula glides on lips for lasting comfort while the minty flavor keeps lips feeling fresh."

4. Biscuit Recipe
I'm craving bread right now since I'm trying to cut back. As I was looking for a recipe for a MOPS brunch I'm attending next weekend I saw this recipe on my "breakfast page." It is for 2 ingredient biscuits. That's it! Two things; self-rising flour that Walmart sells for $2.38 and Heavy cream. Not nutritious but great, fluffy and easy! When you click on the link, music starts to play...

5. New to me children's book: 
I was unpacking a shipment of books at work the other day and I discovered a book I'd never read. I had to read it (research for customers, right?) It's called Dragons Love Tacos  
and the story and illustrations are adorable! I might have to get it for my friend who ALWAYS has me over for Taco Tuesdays or for my TJ who LOVES tacos and dragons! Maybe a graduation gift?!...

I am off to our women's retreat tonight and tomorrow. Spending time with my sisters in Christ is always a favorite!

What are your weekend plans?

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Golly Gee, We Didn't See

Do you believe everything you see?  Do you believe everything you read?... The news and social media bombards us daily (if we allow it to) with sometimes unbelievable stories and facts. It's up to us to cipher through and determine what we'll accept as truth.

In my current bible study, the first and most important item of "the armor of GOD" is to fasten on the belt of truth. Everything needs to be seen or questioned by TRUTH. What is truth?

truth ltroothl NOUN 
  • the quality or state of being true.
  • that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
This week my inbox has included two articles on this topic. "Facebook" published one called "Tips to Spot False News." This was really well written and I think teachers could even use this when instructing students on critical reading skills. (Some of the ten points were: Consider, investigate, look closely, watch, and is this a joke?) When I stand in line at the grocery looking at the magazine covers, perhaps I need to remember this!

Joanna Gaines from the "Fixer Upper" show and "Magnolia Market" also sent out a post on her blog this week entitled "Don't Believe Everything You Read." She and her husband Chip have become quite famous and recognizable and the media LOVES to report stories about them. Just like Hollywood celebrities and politicians, they have to live with false reports about what is happening in their life. I appreciated her reminding readers and fans to only believe the TRUTH from the only source that is TRUE-her!

Last Saturday my husband and I had gone to a men's discount suit store to find him a new suit and a new black sport coat. It's been a LONG time since he's bought himself business clothes, and he needs to look sharp in his current job. I loved the way the black jacket fit him~he looked great! I do remember being a little concerned about the satin buttons but he was OK with them. 

As he was packing Sunday evening, he called me in to look at something. In the bright light we both noticed; the lapels were satin. It was as if our eyes were opened in the light of our bathroom and we both saw the evidence at the same time: WE HAD BOUGHT A TUXEDO JACKET, NOT A SPORT COAT! We couldn't believe what we were seeing. We couldn't believe what we missed in the store!

No wonder it was on sale! We obviously didn't take our time to: consider...look closely...investigate...inspect! The TRUTH was on the receipt where it was typed: TUX. (This would be #9 on the Facebook article~is this a joke?!) Thank goodness he didn't show up at a hospital in a tuxedo jacket! The truth is I was so busy looking at the "fit" I didn't pay attention to the "fabric!"

Let's also consider spiritual truth...
In the Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, the definition of truth is:
  • a quality used to describe utterances that are from the Lord
  • fundamental characteristic of God
  • a virtue that the person of God should practice
  • personified in the person of Jesus Christ
In Priscilla's Armor of God book on page 45 she states "You must filter every circumstance, personally and culturally, through the prism of His Word instead of merely learning on your feelings, political correctness, or the opinions of others."
Sometimes the truth is easier to spot than other times. 
Sometimes you need to shine the light on what you see and read, to determine TRUTH. 

Lesson Learned: When buying a sport coat, USE YOUR EYES. At other times don't only trust only what you can see but always, trust in the truth of God's word. 

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

(Many years ago I wrote a blog called Seeing is Believing. It was a very tough period in our family's life and I was challenged to trust even if I couldn't always SEE the evidence of God
working in my life.)

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

Friday, April 21, 2017

5 Favorites for Friday

Happy Friday! My writing assistant, Thor, is purring on my lap and the sun is shining! 
Here are five of my favorites for you to check out this weekend:

1.  "The Armor of God" by Priscilla Shirer
Every Tuesday my posse and I get together at Sue's house for bible study. We have breakfast, watch the video, then discuss and share prayer requests. This study is REALLY good and we're all learning how important it is to be prepared and armed since there is a spiritual battle going on...

2. This album on
My daughter Allie is extremely musical (and beautiful!) She sings, plays guitar (taught herself) and piano, plus she writes songs. One of the songs she wrote is featured on the Immanuel Spokane's Easter album called "Lectionary Songs" Vol. 2. She's singing the first song, "Behold." Proud Mama...

3. Nordstrom Recipe: Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad
Yum. Last night some girlfriends gathered for a birthday celebration (yay Mindy!), and the main course was Shrimp Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette dressing. 

Here's the recipe:
Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems

The shrimp were sautéed in butter, with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Like I said, yum!

4. These Minimalism bloggers:
In my quest to declutter, reduce, and become more of a minimalist, I found these two bloggers who have written many meaningful and helpful posts. You'll also enjoy checking out some of their other posts in their archives. 
Changing my mindset and focus will take awhile...
Rachel writes at Nourishing Minimalism.
Heather writes at Purposefully Minimal.

5. This Home Tour:
Brooke Christen from "Nesting with Grace" shared the most BEAUTIFUL home tour. I think you'll enjoy everything about Melinda's home called Hawkes Landing.

I LOVE that green velvet couch! Doubt that would work in my house with two orange pets...

Today I'm linking up with Alison from "Get Your Pretty On."

Enjoy your weekend friends, and as always, thank you for reading "See Jane Learn!"

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”  
~ Karl Barth, Christian Theologian

Monday, April 17, 2017

All By Myself...and the Recycling Buckets

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We were thrilled to have one of our four kiddos home for the weekend, along with our sweet daughter-in-law. Of course I missed the others and my extended family! We had a delicious Easter dinner Saturday night, attended our church's modern 11:00 worship service, "HE IS RISEN INDEED!" and then went to a lovely brunch at the home of friends who built a beautiful place on Fox Island.

My oldest daughter was apparently doing an amazing job of leading worship at her Spokane Church, "Immanuel." Later this week I will try to share some of her music. She is gifted!

Now it's Monday, and the house is QUIET again. Each week, my hard-working, business-traveling husband flies off for work and returns Wednesday or Thursday evening. That means I'm all by myself with Thor and Sydney. Some weeks feel lonelier than others. I have my part-time work and bible study to look forward to, I often go to my girlfriend's house for Taco Tuesday, but still... sometimes it's TOO quiet!

I took my dog Sydney on a short walk this morning. (My X-ray showed no damage even though my foot and ankle still hurt! Guess it's time for some physical therapy.)

It's garbage day in the downtown area and today is gray-bucket paper and plastic recycling day.
Do you notice something amiss? Do you notice that someone didn't pay any attention to their neighbors and notice that they were the ONLY family on the street putting out a BLUE yard-waste bucket?

Immediately I thought of the Sesame Street song, "One Of These Things." I loved that segment of the show and used to work on that classification skill when I taught early childhood.

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

Sometimes it's OK to be different than all the others.

"Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person..." ROMANS 12:2

Sometimes time spent alone is useful...
God often uses our alone time to teach us and remind us that He is enough and we're never alone. Once we're "filled up" with God's word and time spent in prayer, then we're ready to go out and pour out love on others. I do recommend putting out the correct recycling bucket though.

Are YOU brave enough and secure enough in your faith to stand out from the crowd? To be the only "blue bucket" on your street?...

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Break in San Diego (Part Three: Lessons Learned)

We always learn new things when we visit new places and in this third and final Spring Break post I'm sharing some tips and things I learned last week in San Diego:

1. Engage in conversations with people you meet. 
We made friends with a sweet gal in the gym, some of our waiters, the hotel staff, and a couple sitting next to us at Happy Hour. If we hadn't been aware of others and struck up conversations we would have missed out! It can be so interesting talking with new people and hearing their "stories." I even had a challenging faith discussion with one of my Uber drivers named Lance who is also a self-published author. My motto: "strangers" are just friends I haven't met yet...

2. Wear sunscreen and if you feel you're getting a tan, that's all that matters! 
I'm a fair-skinned girl who has battled skin cancer twice but I do love to lay out and get some color. I kept reapplying sunblock and I never really burned. I got a bit of color; I see swimsuit lines! I also "grew" some new freckles. You really should ALWAYS tell someone who goes to a sunny location that they look happy, healthy and tan. Please?!

3. Let your daughters go order beverages.
My oldest daughter somehow managed to get us free drinks from the pool bartender without even flirting! Cute girl, bikini, talking about basketball all equaled money saved. Thanks Allie! 

4. Explore new spots but try to revisit favorites. 
The fun part about returning to a city I've had the pleasure of visiting in the past, means I have favorite restaurants or hotels that I get to revisit. Last time I was in San Diego I was with my oldest son and his wife. This time it was fun to return with my daughters and watch them enjoy the spots. Besides the two places I picked, I let my girls decide where they wanted us to go. We also asked the concierge and our Uber drivers what they suggested, took notes, and were really happy with their recommendations!

5. Watch the 2016 Netflix documentary called "Minimalism: A documentary About the Important Things" before doing any shopping. 
You'll be reminded how material things aren't what life is all about, you'll save money and you won't drag home unneeded souvenirs or new clothes. I did buy one new top at the LOFT, but it was on sale and quite cute! Instead of stuff, spend your money on a massage!  I mentioned the Bangkok Spa in part one. SO good!

6. Location, location, location.
Just like finding the perfect neighborhood, try to find a hotel or VBRO in a centralized spot.
If you stay at the Kimpton Hotel Solamar, try to get a room on the same floor as the rooftop pool and fitness center on the 4th floor. We walked out our door and BOOM, we could walk out to the patio or to the gym. Kinda felt like it was our own swanky condo!

7. When flying home, if the plane ride is bumpy, open up your ECHO prayer app.                This takes your mind off your fear and instead you focus on praying for friends and family. 
(And that the pilot can land safely!) When we finally did land without incident, we discovered the PNW was having a major wind storm and power was out in some towns. I missed you immediately San Diego!

8. Take a trip with your adult kids! 
Mothers and  Daughters or Fathers and Sons. This was the first time I have had an intentional get-away with my two daughters. What fun it was to be together in such a beautiful place! Memories we make together help us through weeks that aren't so my sweet youngest daughter getting in a car accident yesterday. Thankfully she wasn't hurt too badly, (her car is history) but she is definitely wishing we were still on vacation!

"The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again." Deuteronomy 6:4-7

How do I love thee, San Diego? 
Let me count the ways:

Sunshine, walkable, the airport is close to downtown, lots of food and drink options, interesting people, nice Uber drivers, great atmosphere for having wonderful talks with my daughters, THE OCEAN!, pretty pools, cute boutiques, pretty ships and sailboats, seagulls, flowers, restaurants with outdoor patios, NO RAIN (at least not while we were there.) 

I LOVE to travel. One of my daydreams is to be a travel blogger or have a show like Rick Steves on PBS. Since Rick's covering Europe, I volunteer to cover America! After all, he's from Washington State, and I live in Washington State too! A girl can dream...

I am so grateful for the opportunity to escape with my beautiful daughters (and to have my husband join us at the end of our trip!) to one of my favorite cities in California. I hope you get a chance to visit too! Thank you for reading my three-part series on San Diego.

What have you learned on vacation lately?

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Break in San Diego (Part Two: Best Places to Eat and Drink)

Let me start off by saying that traveling with adult children is NOT like traveling with littles... 
Our goal was relaxation. Because both my daughters are over the age of 21 and enjoy sipping wine and cocktails with their Mama, that was one of the fun things we got to enjoy on our trip to SoCal. We returned to some of my favorite spots and discovered lots of new restaurants and bars. We saved money by walking, taking a few Ubers instead of renting a car, and hitting up reduced-priced happy hours. We basically had a nibble in the morning, "Linner" (lunch/dinner=happy hour) and then sometimes a late-night snack if we were still hungry.

After checking into our hotel, Sarah and I walked around the Gaslamp area looking for the great brunch place where I had eaten on a previous trip. I finally remembered it was across the street from an Urban Outfitter store. It's called "Florent." It is located on the corner of 5th Ave in San Diego’s Old City Hall building, established in 1874. I highly recommend the delicious Eggs Benedict and Mimosas. Their house champagne which is our family favorite; Wycliff! Make sure to head downstairs to the ladies restroom and check out the third stall on the left. It's quite a surprise!...

Still wearing my comfy flying leggings~guess I should have changed...

Sunday evening we found a cute little spot for dinner called Chocolat, that featured panini sandwiches, salads, cheese and meat platters and gelato. 

Monday morning we headed to "The Broken Yoke"; a breakfast spot just steps away from our hotel. If you want a great deal you need to show up between 6:00-8:00 a.m. This Mama didn't roll out of bed quite early enough to take advantage of the deal. 

We found a sports bar to settle in and cheer on our Gonzaga Bulldogs. Unfortunately our cheers didn't change the outcome of the game, but we still had fun. Bub's at the Ballpark had a good happy hour menu and lots of beer options. I loved the Coronado Orange Wit! 

Afterwards we headed to "The Whiskey House" (not to be confused with "The Whiskey Girl") for a nightcap. It has a swanky atmosphere.

Tuesday was breakfast at Lani, a Hawaiian coffee cafe. The girls loved their Acai bowls and I chose oatmeal. They serve "Lion" Kona coffee. I've discovered that if I have a craving, I can purchase Lion coffee at Walmart online. Who knew?
An Uber driver told us a great place for Tuesday Tacos in San Diego was at Seaport Village. "Puesto" had such a cool vibe! We loved the bright chairs and enjoyed delicious guacamole and Margaritas out on the patio. Their tacos were only $2.00 and so fresh and totally homemade. I must mention our waiter. Adorable? Yes! As we were paying, he asked where we were from and when I mentioned Gig Harbor, he mentioned a mutual friend he went to college with. I love how our BIG world can sometimes seem not so big... Brandon, come up and visit us!

Each night from 5:00-6:00 our hotel offered a free Happy Hour at the JSix Restaurant which is attached to the Solamar Hotel. We met the nicest people there! We made friends with two hotel employees and a retired Rhode Island couple going on a cruise for their 25th anniversary. Free wine or beer? Yes please!

Tuesday evening my husband joined us late after he flew down from a meeting in Sacramento. We went to The Bootlegger for a snack. That was our last night at the Hotel Solamar. In the morning we packed up to head to the Marriott by the Marina.

Wednesday afternoon we cleaned up after pool time and headed to Little Italy to the Ballast Point Tasting room so Allie could try their beer. Airplanes that are coming in for a landing fly DIRECTLY over the open roof. We enjoyed wandering the sidewalks of the little area. It had a much friendlier, safer vibe than Gaslamp. We were SO happy with our dinner spot, Solunto Restorante and Bakery! Our waiter had just moved from Italy to the States a month prior. His attempt at English was darling and his suggestion for wine was fabulous. Try Cannonau di Sardegna 2011 if you can ever find it!

We drooled over their pastry case and took a Tiramisu and Cheesecake back with us. 

Thursday, before Allie hopped a commuter train up to L.A. to visit her older brother, we popped into The Garage Restaurant for hummus and flatbread. Another fun place to enjoy sitting outside was called Rustic Root

Later on we split pizza at Pizza on 5th (P5), then capped off our night at  a Speak Easy called Prohibition, where they had live jazz. Have you ever been to a Speak Easy? SO fun! Sign on an unassuming door, down stairs, dark, lots of couches and bartenders dressed like the 1920's.

Can you tell that our family loves to eat and sip together? Since our kids are all grown and living far away, we treasure conversations around a table. Wishing it was true that calories don't count in a different zip code, but the scale says I over-indulged. I'm getting an x-ray this morning to find out when I can get back to walking and working out at the YMCA. 

"And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God." Ecclesiastes 3:13

Stay tuned for my third and final post about some lessons learned on this vacation.

Grateful for Grace and In His Grip,
xo Jane

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mama in San Diego (Part One: Favorite Places to Stay and Relax)

The way Bert the Chimney Sweep described Mary Poppins pretty much describes the week I had in San Diego; "practically perfect in every way..."

The only less-than-perfect part of the trip was my very sore foot and ankle which hampered my normal fast walking (time to get an X-ray) and the fact that Gonzaga got beat in the final NCAA basketball tournament.

Both my beautiful daughters are teachers in Spokane and they wanted to leave their snowy city on their Spring Break. I wanted to leave my rainy town and spend time with them. My husband had business down in California so a trip was planned. Here's a recap of our fun five days!

My youngest daughter Sarah and I flew down early Sunday morning and checked into our little Boutique hotel called The Kimpton Hotel Solamar. I had discovered a deal on the "Jetsetter" website. It was right in the heart of the Gaslamp District so getting around on foot was so easy! Well, not SO easy since I was limping... I love how they welcome dogs with "VIP-very important pet" signs and the guys at the door are always there to greet and open the doors for you. So welcoming...

We lounged by the pool, then explored the area and window-shopped.  After a light dinner, we turned in early since we had gotten up EARLY for our flight down. Monday morning I slept in and found my daughter out on the patio writing. Given the option, it's always more enjoyable to sip coffee or tea outside.

My older daughter Allie joined us on Monday afternoon. She had been visiting a friend who is in Grad School up at Pepperdine, so she took the train down from L.A.

Sangria by the pool with my girls was quite relaxing. We met Nicole who was also from Washington State and on a Spring Break from teaching. She looked so much like my pretty boss!

One of our favorite things in the world to do on vacation is to get massages and we tracked down a great deal only two blocks from our hotel. "Bangkok Day Spa" might look sketchy but the service was amazing and it was half the price of treatments at resorts or spas!

Wednesday morning we loaded up our bags and Ubered over to the Marriott Marquis by the marina. Due to my husband's constant business travel, he'd racked up some points for some free nights. Our view? Beautiful. The pool area? Quite nice! I will say however, I kind-off missed our small, uncrowded spot back at the Solamar.

The view from our balcony was stunning.

Our last day of vacation was a divide and conquer; almost like we used to do when our children were younger! Sarah wanted to see the Zoo and take pictures, so my husband took her for the day.

Meanwhile, Allie and I wanted beach time, so we hopped a ferry and headed to Coronado Island. Have you been there?! It's just so beautiful and has such rich history. The Del Coronado opened in 1888 and was the largest resort in the world at that time. Hollywood stars, athletes and politicians have stayed there through the years. Unless I find some crazy deal, I doubt I'll be spending the night at the Del Coronado Resort anytime soon. Doubt we'll be buying a house on the island someday either since they start at just under a million dollars!

Tip: When you miss the ferry by one minute, don't panic. Joe's Crab Shack has a lovely Sangria.

I want to do a bit more research and find out if maybe I could be related to one of the resorts founders whose last name is my maiden name: Story. I did discover Hampton Story started the company in Chicago named Story and Clark Pianos in the mid-1800's before heading west.

The beach and ocean filled our souls. Thank you God, for your amazing creation!

Many of my pictures were taken by my "art teacher, blogger, photographer" daughter. Please check out her blog, Simple Joys by Sarah and see some of her other talented work.

Stay tuned for suggestions for dining and some lessons learned from my trip in future posts.

Grateful for Grace and in His Grip,
xo Jane